• 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.35 "King Avalanche" part 4

Chrysalis Wins

Ch. 35 “King Avalanche” part 4

The mountain complex, just outside of Canterlot---


Agitated was a good word to describe the current state of the queen, as she rushed back towards the earthy confines. Some entity had manipulated things, and manipulated them extensively. Only a short while earlier Chrysalis thought she was the only royal to make an open and successful attack on pony kind. That this might not be the case made her shiver with uncertainty.

King Avalanche used some stealth, but he didn’t infiltrate like modern changelings. He and his swarm had been seen, by hundreds, if not thousands of ponies…

Sloppy, terribly sloppy.

She mentally chided the deceased king.

Yet none of this made it to any pony history books? He must have failed miserably and been forgotten. At least that was what she had assumed in the beginning…

Every other country Chrysalis had been to, every country her vanguards had scouted, all of them lacked knowledge of changelings. It was rare that her kind was even mentioned in myth, very rare indeed.

This was something she had personally reveled in, and despised. Reveled because it was proof of the cunning and manipulation of her species, and despised, because the only source of history she could turn to about changelings came from the well of memories. There were no other examples to be found. She would need to sift the well, and see if the answer to this disturbing debacle could be found there.

Soon she approached the chamber that housed the well. Sentinels stood there attentive as ever, and when she walked up to them she tossed the basket of food she had absentmindedly carried at them. They flinched in surprise, but one of them managed to catch it and keep the contents from spilling everywhere.

“You two can share it, just see that I’m not disturbed.”

“Of course my queen!”

Both Sentinels straightened themselves until she had passed, then they both turned to look at the contents of the basket. Something tingled their noses in a pleasant way, and they licked their lips.

Chrysalis sat down at the edge of the well, and took a moment to look over her own craftsmanship. It wasn’t as elegant as the altar constructed in the badlands. Shellish had been responsible for the creation of that. Her old mentor always had a fascination for designs. The pit before her now was a crude and practical sculpt, just a bowl that contained a substance.

The queen shook her head to remove distracting thoughts. She didn’t want to miss any other potentially crucial details that were left in the peripherals of the well’s memories. Pale light emanated around her ocular orbs as she manipulated the magical liquid before her. The swirl of the crystal-like substance enveloped her and immersed her in experiences from the distant past.


---


“Come here roach!”

The titan of flesh, scales, and fangs lunged at the flighty Avalanche. After a narrow dodge from Archway’s ominous jaws the changeling king backed away, and flew higher into the air. The dragon huffed and growled in annoyance.

“Fine, if you won’t stay still...”

A great breeze ripped through the air as massive volumes were inhaled into the beast’s expansive chest. A malevolent smile spread past saber rows of teeth, and the dragon aimed his head not towards Avalanche, but the rest of the city and the scattered bits of the changeling swarm.

The inferno that followed dealt nerve wrenching carnage. Anything that was close by the initial blast was blown away by the force of it. Buildings, stone, wood, and any creature unfortunate enough to be close when it occurred, all of that was incinerated and left a deep gouge in the cityscape. The rest of the flames continued forward, and didn’t knock down structures, but set alight everything for hundreds of body lengths.

The devastation appeared like a massive laceration, which hemorrhaged fire over the body of the pony population, as well as the changeling swarm. A thunderous and gutty laugh boomed across the panic struck city.

“Be as nimble as you want roach, this city is still mine!”

In disdainful glee the dragon simply ignored avalanche, and stomped forward through the path of ruin he had just made. His eyes set on the capitol halls, and treasury’s location.

In a desperate effort Avalanche called out to the remnants of the swarm. He tried to get them to come back, but their terror overrode his command. All save one.

“Yes high king!”

It was Scraps, the old sentinel who Avalanche counseled with before. Rage still burned in the giant royal’s eyes. Though his swarm was disheartened he was not, and the king turned to the faithful sentinel.

“I need a distraction, keep Archway still as long as you can.”

“Yes my king.”

After that Avalanche ascended into the sky as fast as his large wings could carry him. The loyal sentinel darted towards the dragon, and approached him from behind. The colossal scaled monster heard the buzz of changeling wings and lazily swatted at it with his claws.

Scraps managed to dodge the sharp protrusions that were twice the size of his entire body, but the turbulence created by the dragon’s passing limb threw him off balance. Fortunately there was enough time for him to recover before Archway tried to swat at him again.

The sentinel’s heart beat hard within his chest, he was utterly terrified, but his nerves were practiced. He had helped Avalanche protect the vanguards on runs before. He was in even better condition now; he had regrown his wings, eye, and leg because of their recent success. If his king asked, he would do, no matter the risk to his life.

When he saw his opportunity, Scraps dived at the dragon’s eye, horn first and emblazed with magic. The impact was a success and the dragon roared in pain. An immediate problem after the hit was that the dragon blinked, and the titan’s closed eyelids were strong enough to hold him fast. In a panic Scraps tried to pull out, but his head was stuck.

To the loyal sentinel’s slow horror, he watched as the dragon raised the back of his paw to his face. The changeling’s desperate struggle was futile against the iron grip of the eyelids, and the moment before it happened, Scraps closed his eyes, and resigned himself to his fate.

The changeling warrior became a green and black smear across Archway’s irate face. The angry dragon flicked his paw around to get rid of the sticky goop. The colossus had stayed still as a result of the distraction, and he was about to walk forward again, thoroughly annoyed about the punishment his eye received today, but a high pitched screech caused his ears to perk. It came from high above, but he didn’t have the time to look see what it was before something bright hurt his eyes, and he didn’t comprehend what happened next.

A green comet tore through the atmosphere with blistering speed, and the air around it was broken by the enormous friction. A trail of green energy traced around a dark form, and it was completely obscured by the distortive waves that surrounded it.

The comet sailed straight towards Archway, who had remained still long enough to be in it’s path. The alabaster beast barely shifted as he went from one distraction to another, and was caught completely off his guard. The resultant impact of the comet into dragon caused the foundations of the city to quake.

The ground rippled and cracks appeared in the foundations of dozens of distant buildings. The shockwave that followed up was strong enough to clear the air with strong gales, and blow out the flames that consumed the city.

It was not easy to tip the inertia that kept the titan where he was, but the momentum from the emerald comet overcame the colossal resistance before it. The core of the furious ball of energy buried itself deep into the dragon’s side, and there was a thunderous crunch, like the groan of some great tree being felled. Followed by a loud pop, that was more of a boom, since it was muffled by the layer of meat that surrounded it.

Shortly after the impact the blinding light burned itself out, and the form of Avalanche backed away from the crater he had created in the monster’s ribcage. The giant changeling fell down backward, utterly exhausted from the effort of what he had just done. He landed hard into a nearby building.

Mean while the dragon was still on his feet. The shock of what had just happened hadn’t traveled the distance up his inordinately long neck to his disoriented brain. When he tried to take his next breath that’s when he choked.

Albane’s eyes shot open wide in panic, he felt something he had never felt before. The terrifying titan now had terror in his own eyes as his head tilted towards his side. A deep gargled struggle developed in his throat as he tried to pull air into his collapsed lungs. Smoke plumed from his open jaws and nostrils, but the effort was entirely futile.

A terrible shake rumbled over all of the dragon’s limbs and he started to flail as he collapsed to the ground, unable to roar, unable to cry out in agony, unable to voice the terror of his failing consciousness. All the digits of his feet and paws spread out in desperation, as if he could grab onto to something, anything, that would save him from his mortal condition.

Eventually the dragon’s struggle ceased, his vital functions failed, and he flipped onto his back. His paws were clenched in a death grip towards his collapsed ribcage. Even as his form finally fell still, his eyes were left wide open.

Silence followed for a long while afterward. The fire that plagued the city had been reduced to mere embers, and sudden quite unnerved the occupants that remained. The first to investigate the change of activity were the remnants of the changeling swarm.

Their nervous and cautious approach was slowly relieved as they came closer. Some disbelieved what they saw. The dragon was dead, the unnatural shape of his chest and motionless state of his being made that obvious. After that one of them quickly spotted the king. The many of them buzzed over excitedly, still in a state of disbelief of what their eyes beheld.

“There he is, the high king!”

“He… He killed the dragon!”

The cry rang out, and caught up quickly with the rest of the swarm. Ponies began to overhear the clarion calls as well, and many of the castle’s unicorns poked their nervous heads out curiously. The changelings were obviously distracted by something, and no longer fled in terror.

News quickly spread throughout the small city, and the details of what happened made it to the ears of the local duke, Duke Polish Platinum. An entourage of moderately maintained unicorn guards was assembled, and they made their way towards the gathering of changelings.

Avalanche was barely lucid as he fumbled over the rubble around him. Drones, vanguards, and sentinels gathered around to support the high king of their swarm. Many readily donated large portions of their love reserves towards him with loud exhales of the wavy energy. Out of need, he accepted, and with the tending of several drones, the large cracks all over his chitin were in partial repair. His blood was busily wiped up, cleaned, and magically cauterized.

It was in this state which the head unicorn of the city approached the head of the changelings.

Duke Polish Platinum held a face as sour as rotten grapes over his twisted grey muzzle. His coat was white, and his mane was blonde, he wore a fancy purple cape, and a small silver circlet decorated his head.

The dozen guards on either side of him were heavily armored in bright steel, all them were unicorns as well, and they held aloft dozens of bladed weapons in their magic, all of them were pointed at the group of changelings they approached. The duke called out to the ragged swarm in an austere voice.

“Be gone vagabonds, your filthy subterfuge has brought irreparable devastation!”

A loud deep laugh caused the duke and his escorts to stop mid trot. With shift and loud thud Avalanche brought himself to his hooves, claws since morphed away, and looked down over the group of unicorns. His tall form was great enough to cast them all in his shadow.

“Pardon me, but I just stopped the rest of this city from burning to the ground. You don’t have to be grateful, but it would be a nice start.”

“Grateful? That flambasted creature would never have crossed our walls if it wasn’t for you!”

“How was I supposed to know he was waiting to pounce?”

“Because dragons love our gems you frag chumming idiot! And now you left us too weak to defend ourselves properly!”

Avalanche just growled and stomped at the ground, which caused every other equine to bounce on their hooves. All the guards around the duke readied their weapons and pointed them at the enormous royal. This in turn caused all the changelings behind the king to bristle in agitation, and they ignited their horns and hissed. Their wings buzzed in anticipation of a fight. One wrong move, and the situation was ready to erupt into a skirmish.

“Stop!”

The sudden shrill voice caught everyone’s attention, and both unicorn guards, and changelings risked a glance. A tall unicorn mare approached from another side of the city rumble. Her long pink mane was scuffled and dirty, and long with large patches of her white coat.

“Have you not had your fill of death?”

The white mare pointed a hoof towards the great smoldering scar in the middle of the city. Amongst the ruined structures and sizzled remains were the bodies of both ponies and changelings. Some were more or less charred than others, and the stink was repugnant. A shudder went through both groups, but the duke’s countenance remained hard.

“Don’t interfere Tia, all the death that’s happened is his fault!”

The duke pointed a sword at the royal changeling, and gritted his teeth. Avalanches red-orange rings flickered towards Polish Platinum, before his gaze returned to the white mare.

“I don’t want my swarm to suffer anymore than it has to. The dragon did grievous harm to the both of us.”

Avalanche’s posture relaxed a little and he folded his wings back. The gesture signaled for the rest of the changelings to stand down as well, and their magic charged horns fizzled down. In turn the unicorn guard lowered their weapons, slightly. The duke still had his sword pointed at the king, who spoke at the pony with relative calm.

“Perhaps I could offer help in the reparations of your city. I am aware of where the belated Archway kept his lair.”

This perked the interest of many of the guards, and even Polish did a double take. The legends of what elder dragons kept in their lairs were a tickle to the imagination. Many cities had been plundered over the centuries, and the dragons that took the wealth guarded it jealously in their remote volcanic lands. No pony dared ventured there, unless they had a death wish. None recovered what had been taken.

“You lie you changeling git.”

“DID I NOT JUST KILL HIM!”

The roar of the king, though nowhere near the volume of the dragon was still impressive and blew down the aggression of the duke a notch, and he lowered his sword.

“I’ll return with what we can carry. Other dragons will probably move fast to loot it, once they hear Archway no longer guards it. Though I will ask for something in exchange.”

“What?”

“Let my swarm feed.”

“Your damn hunger is what drove us into this mess!”

“Me being fed is what saved your arse!”

And both parties flared up in temper again. Changeling magic cackled, and unicorn weapons brandished. This time it seemed negotiations had tired themselves out, and blood ran hot. The anger and indignation of the head pony and changeling infected their underlings quickly. A cool toned voice broke the air before any equine leapt at the other.

“I will help feed the changelings.”

This drew everyone’s attention to the side once more. Next to the tall white unicorn mare, a slightly shorter dark blue one walked forward. She quickly continued lest she lose the strained attention she had gained. She pointed a hoof at the giant royal changeling.

“He may have weakened us, and caused our shield to fall, but I do not believe he means us malice. He saved me and my sister before the beast could crush us. Every creature has needs, and I will help them, so no equine has be driven to senseless desperation.”

“But Lulu…”

“You have always meant us well, Duke Platinum, but all of us are hurting. What good will it do to fight over scraps?”

Avalanche flinched when he heard Lulu mention ‘scraps’. He had felt it, the moment the loyal sentinel’s life was snuffed out. He had felt it when each member of his swarm had been burnt or crushed. Not their physical pains, but the mental flashes of terror, and despair. It weighed heavily on him.

“This pony is right. Too many corpses litter the ground, and it was never my intent. Would you still be interested to strike a bargain, duke?”

Polish Platinum turned his hard blue eyes towards the giant royal, a frown still etched into his graying muzzle. He looked at the two sisters, then back at the changeling. Hate and reason battle in the white stallion’s mind for a little while, and both sides stood tensely among the rubble.

“I will hear you.”

The duke finally decided. There was a very audible sigh from both parties, now that they had determined they weren’t in immediate danger.


---


The scene froze, and Chrysalis heard the voice of an older Avalanche boom from behind her.

“That was the start of an interesting turn about. My swarm and I collected the dragon’s horde and brought it back to that city. Mountains of gems, gold, and all that. We were essentially able to ‘buy’ pony love as a result. The surrounding towns and villages of earth ponies and pegasi were rather bitter at the unicorns, since a deal and bargain was struck, but not with them. I just continued to drain them as needed. Hehehe, but hey, Archway wasn’t the only sodden dragon that made himself a problem, and a few others followed, as they tried to prey on those I left exposed and vulnerable. I protected the pony villages and cloud towns too. Many of pegasi who had their feathers plucked by my earlier excursions needed the help. Also, dragon doesn’t taste half bad either.”

The older Avalanche licked his lips lightly, and pulled over another spare rib from the building Crafty had called him out of. He crunched it down and continued.

“Besides fighting a few dragons, I managed to merge my swarm with a few others. I needed the numbers, and territory. Sometimes the transition was smooth, other times it was not. Most royals were terrified of me after they heard of what I had done, and they submitted easily. So it went until I met Crafty, anyway.”

Avalanche pulled another rib over with his magic, and chewed it slowly enough so that he could talk.

“Archway’s death is what gave me my name sake. I was titled Avalanche, or at least that’s what I was called by my swarm. I’ve come up a number of techniques that I’ve taught my changelings over the years… How to change hooves to claws, how to enhance speed and strength with love reserves, even how to briefly accelerate personal healing, but apparently my most memorable lesson was what you just witnessed back there. That empowered dive bomb. Now if any who listens to this are royals themselves, you can teach that dive bomb to any of your changelings, but sentinels and other royals use it the most effectively.”

Chrysalis paused Avalanche in his words. She raised an accusatory hoof while she let out an exclamation.

“Aha! So you’re the one who came up with those things! I always wondered, Shellish never showed me back this far… It seemed like every royal just, knew.”

She unpaused the scene so the older Avalanche could continue, but another accented voice interrupted.

“Aval!”

“Yes?”

“You’ve been at it for hours.”

“So.”

“I’m tired, and I need my royal comforter.”

“You’re the one who wanted to get me on this thing…”

“Now I want you off of it.”

“Grr, make up your mind Crafty. I like to keep going once I’m started.”

Started, was four hours and a sunset ago. You can use it again tomorrow.”

“Mmm, you need to persuade me first…”

“What?”

“I’m quite invested in telling tales at the moment. What are you going to offer to help me change my mind. Hehehe.”

The vision around Chrysalis swirled this way and that, and she no longer beheld the younger Avalanche who faced the town of unicorns, with a titanic dragon corpse nearby by. Now she saw the older Avalanche, who sported a stupid grin, while Crafty gave him a deadpan glare. The past queen rolled her eyes and turned tail. She started to walk away without a word. As the distance between them increased the king’s grin dropped. He looked between the well, and over to his queen, and back to the well, then back to his queen. He bit his lower lip in turmoil. A uncharacteristic whimper strained from his closed mouth.

“Mmm, GAH! Fine! One last word from me. If you have to choose between recording a memory, or making one… make one.”

With that the king’s horn flashed and the vision went blank. Chrysalis snorted, then progressed to a chuckle, which eventually grew to laugh, that evolved into riotous heaves.

“Oh, my sides!”

Her hooves clutched to either side of her as she rolled on the ground and laughed her head off. He hind legs kicked weakly in an effort to work the giggles out.

Not but a moment ago, she saw this mammoth of a changeling take down a dragon. With a dive bomb much greater than what she had dropped on Sombra. Who intimidated every equine around him with his stature and voice. Now she saw him whine like a dog… and be pudding in the hooves of his queen…

“Hahaha!”

Oh such control was admirable, and it wasn’t even mind control… Once she was done giving her over-worked diaphragm some time to recover, she weakly raised a hoof to progress the bank of memories. It was some time before the next memory popped up.

There was a way to tell how far apart memories were, and it surprised Chrysalis that it was several years later before the well was used again.


---


The scene before her was clearly daytime, and in the midst of a spacious glade. Tall grass filled large portions of the healthy meadow, and lazy trees slowly ruffled about in a lazy breeze. It smelled of spring time and the flowers were in bloom. Bees buzzed, birds sang, yadda yadda.

Chrysalis looked about for why the well showed her this. Soon she spotted why.

Avalanche and Crafty were there, and lay leisurely in the grass, but many smaller figures were around them as well. She quickly recognized it as a brood of royal changelings. Most of them lay down lazily and were in the midst of some very relaxed naps, a bit of drool here and there. There were over six of the young ones. One in particular was very active.

The queen looked closely at this one broodling, and noticed a few peculiar traits. It was a little female, who had many pale grey spots. Her horn in particular stood out, as it was very oddly shaped, a cork screw. Aside from that her tail was strange, and acted more like a fox’s than a pony’s.

Chrysalis’s brows raised slowly while her eyelids stayed level, and she turned to look between Keen and Avalanche, who appeared to be completely content.

“Who’s broodling is that… I don’t see the resemblance in either of you.”

The blissful barrier of time kept Chrysalis’s skeptical comment from ever reaching the ancient royals’ ears. She sighed and waited, and watched. Was anything useful going to come up? The little fox-like broodling played around a bit, and Chrysalis saw her jump off of Crafty's back, then proceed to use Avalanche’s fore-leg like a slide. She was giggly and bubbly and just a sweet precious little bundle of joy for the two parents that watched her proudly. Chrysalis sighed.

Just when she was about to raise her hoof and skip the scene, the whole thing shifted, and it was just Crafty who faced the well. It was difficult to tell what setting the ancient queen had moved to, but her face was clear.

“I know it’s been a while, me and Aval have been, busy. I just wanted to record something for my own time’s sake. I know I said I would use this mostly for you future royals, but there are some things I would like to look back on as well. This well was designed to grow, as memories were added, so there isn’t really a shortage of space. In fact, I’ll encourage you other royals to put private memories in here if you wish. It’s not like there’s really anything to be embarrassed about after you’re dead anyways. If anything, it’ll just show you we’re equines, like any other.”

The scene dissolved and Chrysalis was left there to wonder. She lifted a hoof to pause the well’s activity so she wouldn’t be interrupted in the midst of her contemplation. She rested her chin on top of her hooves and just thought.

It had never really occurred to her to put a memory in the well just because she wanted to. Shellish had always encouraged her to be efficient, and use the well like any other scarce resource. Chrysalis now wondered why her former mentor had cultivated that attitude towards the well. After another moment she supposed it was just another general attitude within the changeling swarm. The well could be a distraction, when there were more important things to deal with in the present.

For now, she was content with the way things were. Colony managed the attitudes and feedings of changelings and ponies within Canterlot. Shade was off retrieving the elements and amulet. Vivisect… oh Vivisect… She still felt muddled about what to do there.

So she simply turned back to the well, and activated magic from her horn. She was going to make a personal addition at the moment. The topic in mind was inspired by the little scene Crafty had decided to share.


---


Over in the high mountains of Prance, some forty years ago or so, at dusk

Chrysalis saw herself, her younger adolescent self. The youthful Chrysalis sat on top of a fairly large rock, and next to her on the ground was Shellish. Both of them looked out over the wide valley below them. The sun had just set, and the ambient purple-blue glow of twilight kept some details of the land visible. Fire light, and magic light kept the fairly large town below illuminated. The activity was still fairly high, and many were in the midst of their commute home for the day.

Young Chrysalis turned towards the older royal, and her turquoise mane blew slightly as she shifted.

“So why am I different from my parents. Why am I like you rather than them?”

Shellish kept her gaze out towards the valley as she replied.

“Because, little royal, it happens sometimes when different types of common changelings interbreed.”

“Huh? why? How does that work?”

“Well, over the millennia the formula has been pretty clear. A drone and a drone mated together makes drones, vanguard and vaunguard make vanguards, and a sentinel with a sentinel makes more sentinels.”

“Then two royals would make more royals… But my parents are a drone and a sentinel…”

“Yes, I see the confusion. So it works like this when there is a cross. Whatever the pair is, drone / vanguard / sentinel, the offspring will be the same type as the mother. On rare occasion, very rare, like once out of thousands of pairings, such a cross can produce a royal changeling. It’s suspected to be some sort of survival mechanism, should all of the current royals be wiped out. There is still a way for our kind to come back and keep order in the swarm, although it is certainly easier to maintain a royal population with royal pairings.”

“But what about a royal paired with a common changeling?”

“Aw, caught something I missed, you are a smart one little royal, you’ll do the swarm good when it’s your turn to rule.”

Shellish raised a hoof to playfully rub it through young Chrysalis’s mane. The youthful royal shook her head in half-hearted annoyance, and blew a strand of hair out her eye. Ever since she was old enough to talk, she had been put under Shellish’s care.

Any broodling that came from a mixed pair would be raised according to their type, by other changelings of their type. So that meant only one of the parents would get to see their broodling regularly. In Chrysalis’s case, that meant neither of them, though she did stay with them until she was old enough to be taught.

“So are you going to answer my question?”

“Oh yes, well, if a royal breeds with a common changeling, the results are rather random. There’s an equal chance that it would be any of the common types, if the royal is female, otherwise a male royal plus, whichever of the other three, will just make that, whichever of the other three.”

“So there’s no chance to produce another royal?”

“A very low one, in fact, I can’t remember the last occasion I’ve heard of it happening. It’s considered rather undignified for a royal to pair with a common changeling, and there are so few of us to try in any case. Why the sudden questions little royal?”

“No reason…”

“Are you afraid of being alone?”

Shellish let the question hang in the air, and her gaze shifted from the stars and dancing city lights to the smaller royal. The young Chrysalis dropped her gaze and rubbed her hooves together uncomfortably.

She gasped slightly when she felt a fore-leg wrap around her neck. Shellish had joined her on the rock, and pulled her into a gentle hug. The adolescent royal contemplated whether she wanted to resist or not, but eventually gave in, and nuzzled into to older queen’s orange-purple mane. There was a tangy scent to her mane, and it was comfortable to brush against.

To her surprise, she heard heavy sigh, and felt Shellish’s whole frame deflate somewhat, and something wet trickled onto her head. Young Chrysalis looked up to her mentor, and saw a few tears run from the corners of her eyes. The youthful royal’s brow furrowed, and her muzzle scrunched in confusion.

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing. You just got me thinking, I had several things I worried about by the time I led the swarm by myself. After the war between swarms not so long ago, all the other royals disappeared. I was worried that I was the only one left, and it was like that for many years.”

“But I’m here.”

“But you’re here.”

A melancholy smile crossed over Shellish’s snout, and she hugged the young Chrysalis a little tighter, almost defensively.

“As long as my shell holds, I’ll keep you and the swarm safe.”

For emphasis Shellish tapped the large flexible piece of carapace on her back. While they sat there, Chrysalis’s eyes wandered back down to the prench town. Her concerns were temporarily assuaged under Shellish’s wings.


---


Present Chrysalis cut the memory off there. The well presented things more vividly that her mind could recall on simple reflection. A few tears rolled down her cheeks, and she put the well of memories away. For a long while she just sat there, and gazed into nothing. Eventually her knees felt weak, and she curled into a ball on the ground.

The next moments dragged on in painful slowness, and she hiccupped. Eventually she buried her face among her fore-legs as if she could hide from the world. Most of the problems that troubled her were forgotten about, as a few deeper and longer held concerns were brought to the fore front of her mind. They stayed there, as if the ephemeral concepts were the only thing she could see in the physical world.

She hiccupped again.

The small spasm felt like the final crack in the dam of her bottled emotions. Her composure fell apart and she wept and wailed openly. Her breaths were cut into ragged heaves and her throat felt painfully choked up. The raw pressure in her chest was agonizing to bare and her cries were intermixed with mournful moans.

The queen of the changelings had become a royal mess, all by her lonesome in a secluded chamber in the mountains. She continued to sob relentlessly, and it bothered her to no end. Why had that memory hit her so hard, why? Why did she have to so alone? Even after the thirty years she had ruled, no other royal had been born.

It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried. She encouraged mixed relations within the swarm, and she had even participated by having a few broods of her own. Yes, she had stooped to that ‘undignified’ level and mated with a few common changelings. None of the broods she had resulted in any royals, and the broodlings were moved and raised by their respective classes like any other changelings would be.

In a sense, she had always looked at the entirety of her swarm as her “children”. But she had since become discouraged with the idea, and dropped it a while ago. The refresher from well was a poignant reminder, and opened some old wounds. The well made it seem like yesterday, even though it had been over thirty years since she last saw another living royal.

Eventually her cries and sobs got weaker, and her eyes ran out of tears. Her throat was sore and ragged, and she shivered violently. She didn’t move from the ground, and slowly she unfurled from the ball she had curled herself into.

Her gaze was dead and forlorn, and the slit pupils focused on nothing particular. Now that she was too tired for any forceful expressions of sadness she laid there, and drifted off to sleep. Her mane was dirtied by the earthy floor, as well as most of her chitinous skin, and one of her wings was quite soiled from the position she held.

No kind of composure for a queen at all…

Author's Note:

I'm worst author :raritycry:, i can't pump out chapters as fast as i want to... :fluttercry: atleast not since i picked up a new job :raritystarry: Oh, and sorry softshell... i didn't put this chapter in the shredder, forgive me! :fluttershbad:

anyway, irl stuff isn't what you wanna hear about. That stuff get's annoying enough in other stories. Author's notes are more fun when they contain extra little tib bits of the story. So on with that.

Got a dragon problem, just dive bomb it...

everyone is just so happy! Anyway, not sure if i described Avalanche's condition enough after he made the impact. He looked somethin' like that.

Family photo! the little awake one will be particularly important... soon... :trixieshiftright:

Some Shellish and young Chryssie. Chrysalis's horn looks different... that is for a particular reason, and i'll tell that tale, eventually. I have it partially penned out ok! :flutterrage:

A bit of music for the last scene.

and teaser music for the next segment! Some of ya already guessed it was coming, aaaaaaaaaannnnd you're right! Man, i like dis band :rainbowkiss:, but only when i'm in the mood for it :duck:

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