• 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.42 "The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything"

“I’d rather you decide now, I really do have other important matters to attend to.”

Sombra made a challenging frown against Chrysalis’s assertiveness. He looked between her, and the taller, darker, more lithe version of her… Possible reasons for this appearance began to fire rapidly through his mind. If queen horsefly had a sister why hadn’t he seen her earlier? Were they not on good terms? Was there some power difference or struggle between them? Hmm, was there some kind of advantage he could pull out of the situation? Or was he even more disadvantaged now?

While the crystal king had apparently gone mute, Chrysalis turned to Crone and waved a hoof dismissively.

“Well, I’m leaving. The swarm and matters of state could do with some evaluation. Meet me at Fancy’s house when you’re done here. Until then, have fun Crone.”

The smile Chrysalis made was as dull as her tone, nothing devious about it. Sombra looked for something devious, but couldn’t find it. His frown intensified as beetle horse opened a portal and vanished within moment. Now there was only him, and this other changeling, who smiled at him, and he didn’t like the way she smiled at him. Her fangs were flawless and pearly though…

He was going to just stand there a little longer, and play some kind of observation game, but this ‘sister’ of queen horsefly had other plans. She walked up to him, gave him a cheery look, then continued right past him. Sombra quickly got over his momentary surprise and called out somewhat indignantly.

“Hey!”

“Well, you said you had breakfast this way right? I can smell something, ooo, and it might be burning.”

In reaction Sombra sniffed the air… No! not the snake-banana sausage!

He teleported back into the kitchen right away, and pulled open the oven right away. A puff of smoke greeted his face, and he waved it away with a hoof while he coughed. After he muttered a few curses about being distracted while the oven was left on high, he inspected the banana-snake. It was crusty and black, but the banana inside the snake was actually fine… snake oiled banana? Whatever, he plopped a few in his mouth and chewed.

The rest of the burnt meat fruit was levitated towards a smaller save-away container. Then his attention went to the rest of the entrees. The turtle soup was kept on simmer, The mouse-egg cakes were dished up, badger-bread pulled out, pan fried squirrel and vegetable dices put into bowls, and cooked birds pulled apart into organized pieces, then spiced and placed with some rice.

While he furiously worked both his magic and his hooves to either keep things for later, or prepare them for now, Crone stopped right outside the entrance of the and peered in. The smoke had mostly cleared, and the king of the kitchen was still distracted with his preparations. So she took a few more steps in and inspected some of the more intricate details of the room. Everything was crystal, little to her surprise, but when she looked into a basket she wrinkled her snout.

There was a burnt raven? Huh, and as she looked more directly at what Sombra did, she saw him pull a turtle shell out of the soup, and the shell was empty of turtle. The grey stallion still hadn’t noticed her yet, so she strode over to the counter. There was bread in a pan, and she lowered her head close to it and smelled the wafting aroma. It smelled… off, for bread atleast. There was also a little white protrusion she found curious, so she poked it with a hoof, it was hard, and that confused her even more. So she gripped the nub with her lips and pulled, after it popped out she let it fall to her open hoof.

It was a bone.

Combined that with the different smell, and it made her very suspicious of the ingredients. It was a suspicion that made her smirk however.

“Quite a carnivore aren’t you… especially if you have to bake it into your bread. What were you going to put between the slices?”

“Probably some salmon or chicken, though I did acquire some falcon and raven recently. Combined any of that with bacon, or tiny crystal ewe and your have yourself a…”

A few magically gripped instruments dropped to the ground, and the bowl in Sombra’s hoof was hurriedly placed on the counter. He rounded about to look at the intruder he had absentmindedly replied to. A mixture of fear and surprise was swept up under a defensive mask. Crone just wore an innocent grin. The protective tone the king picked up reached high decibels, and his hooves forcefully shoved Crone towards the exit, she didn’t really resist, and she snorted in humor. Sombra was not amused.

“Get out! No pony’s allowed in the kitchen!”

“I’m not a pony.”

“Or bugs!.. Unless I’m eating them! But you didn’t hear that! Out!”

“My, my, sensitive about our private kitchen time are we?”

“Only when others are in it!”

When he had successfully escorted the changeling, who was gifted at tallness, to the exit of the kitchen he huffed in a highly irritated state, and pursed his lips. His eyes communicated his distaste and disapproval of the changeling’s invasion.

“Just go explore your way to Luna already, she’s why you’re here is she not?”

“Yes, but I wanted to see what you had in mind for breakfast, and I must say it certainly seems to have novel ingredients. –snort- What have you been feeding Luna lately?”

“-sigh- Things I steal from your sister’s kitchens… I’d like to see her try and catch me doing it.”

“Huh, if I tell her she might take you up on that challenge. Anyway, I didn’t get to say I like your apron.”

Sombra looked down to his apron, which got a little messy in the process of cooking and other preparations, but the phrase “I’ll rule your kitchen” was still legible. When he looked back up to Crone, and he had to look up to her, which was not something he had to do with any other pony… and now that he noticed that, it really bothered him. He was eye level with Celestia and Chrysalis, the two tallest mares he had ever met, but this sister of the mosquito queen was almost a head taller than him. Despite the distraction, he was able to formulate his intended words.

“I will rule it in time.”

“You want to rule my sister’s kitchen?”

“And more besides.”

“What’s next? The living room? Dancing hall? Throne room?…bedroom?”

Sombra planted his face squarely into one hoof, and grumbled something inaudible. While the crystal king shook his head, Crone chuckled at his expense.

“It is a nice apron though.”

“Just go find Luna already, you’ve caused enough unnecessary distraction... hmm, is that how your sister sees you? Such a menial tactic to undermine me, if it’s true.”

“Ouch, what a way to return a compliment.”

“Only honest speculation.”

“Fine, I’ll take my powers of distraction to Luna’s room.”

“Thank you.”

“Psh.”

Crone twirled around on the spot to face away from Sombra, and her tail flicked about indignantly. She was about to stomp off, but an idea came to mind, and she put a hoof over her mouth. Sombra had already turned back to his work in the kitchen when she glanced back. At this moment she could proceed without his suspicion. She exhaled a thick waft of positive emotions, took a few steps forward, and began to buzz her wings furiously.

“It’s still rather smoky in there! You could do with some fresh air before you get anymore stingy.”

The high powered fan of Crone’s wings blew the waft of hazy energies into the kitchen. As the smoke was pushed out, it was replaced by a diluted volume of what the changeling blew in. He replied to her lack of departure with a shout.

“Just go already!”

“See you soon for breakfast…”

She left down the crystal hallway, she already knew the way to find Luna. Thanks to a few shared memories, and rounded two more corners to get there. On the walk she had a little more bounce in her step, and couldn’t wait for the results of what she had just planted. When she neared Luna’s chamber she changed her devious smile to a friendly one.

As she approached the chamber that imprisoned Luna, she was stopped by a large clear pane, and she tapped it with a hoof, then to her surprise, it lowered itself and gave her access. So she trotted in, and found that the princess of the night was fast asleep on her extra large crystal prison crystal cot. Crystal blanket and crystal pillow included. How is it even possible to make comfortable bedding with crystal?

Besides that, there was the game table was still present, though the pieces had been tucked away. There were a few books scattered on the floor to one side of the room. A few empty bottles of something, and a few crystal seat cushions.

Crone grabbed one of the cushions, and noted its strange texture, it was if the fabric was woven with stiff fibrous threads, and stuffed with sand for actual cushioning. She plopped it close by Luna’s cot, sat on it, shifted around till satisfied, then turned to the snoozy alicorn.

She lifted a hoof to poke at the equine challenged for consciousness, and didn’t get much of a response for it. So she gave a harder shove, one that shook the princess’s barrel, and had just as little success.

“Come on Luny, get up!”

One of Luna’s wings received a rather fierce tug from the giant changeling, which caused her to grumble and roll over so she was on her back with her wings tucked in. A shrewd expression came over Crone’s muzzle as she narrowed her brow at the blue pony. The princess started to snore in a manner that was not so regal.

Rather than progress slowly, and find a waking point gradually. Crone put one of her large hooves at one end of the cot, and flipped the entire thing over. That had better results, as the sensation of falling a short distance managed to rouse the stiff alicorn out of her slumber.

“Wha-!”

After the remedial face-plant had accomplished it’s goal, Luna’s awakening, Crone smiled with satisfaction. Luna didn’t get up from the floor, and closed her eyes again, but she was able to moan a complaint.

“Too early.”

“You have all the time to rest later, I want to talk with you, and I won’t let sleep get in the way.”

The princess scrunched her face, and perked her ears, she started to recognize the voice despite her grogginess and closed eyes. When it finally dawned on her she opened her eyes into a thin line.

“Chrysalis.”

“Nope!”

“…”

“Her sister!”

“Hmm?”

“My name is Crone.”

“Ha-ha-what?”

“Yes, I don’t think my name was chosen very cleverly either, but so it is. Anyway I wanted to ask you… about things!”

Luna rubbed her eyes with her wings, blinked a few times, and did a double take on her awareness levels. They were pretty good at the moment, and she looked up at awakener with a certain scrutiny. The face seemed almost the same, a slight difference in the coloration, but the eyes more or less looked the exact same. The shape of the horn was different though, for some reason. The night princess rubbed her head with a hoof, then brushed her mane a little. She lethargically clambered back onto her cot before she grumbled.

“What is it you wish to antagonize me about this time Chrysalis?”

“I thought we just went over that.”

“Remind me.”

“I’m not Chrysalis.”

“That is who I see infront of me.”

“We look a lot alike, we’re sisters. Do we need to be as different as night and day for you to distinguish us?”

“Well, you’re a changeling, and I don’t think a few cosmetic differences aren’t going to fool me. Though I suppose it doesn’t matter if you claim to be different, you all work for your queen…”

“I’m a queen too, just not the queen.”

“Oh, and please indulge me, how does that work?”

“Well, you share the title of princess with a few others. I don’t know why none of you have settled on having a proper queen yet, but we have a distinguished hierarchy at least. Chrysalis resides as the high queen, and I’m on her right hoof, as far as authority goes.”

“Then you should be a princess, or do you have a kingdom of your own?”

Crone put a hoof to her chin in thought. There were a few technicalities weren’t there?

“The swarm is the kingdom, and Chrysalis will have me rule over a portion of it. Such is the tradition of having multiple royals in any swarm.”

“And how many other swarms are there? I find it strange my sister and I have never met your kind before in our extended lives.”

“I suppose that’s where the other questions come in.”

“Hmm, about what you… your sister, came in here and showed me last time?”

“Yes, apparently you have met our kind before, and not in disguise.”

“I have no memory, nothing with substance. I already went over that with your queen. So I don’t really see what there is to expand on.”

“Hmm, honestly I’d have to do a little more of my own research on that as well.”

“Your sister mentioned a well last time she was here, would you care to explain that?”

“Oh, I suppose. It’s called the well of memories. Royals throughout time have added their wisdom and experiences to it. It’s truth as far as we’re concerned, and regarding changeling history, that’s something that’s nearly impossible to find from other sources.”

“Fascinating…”

“Hmm, I do have some questions about the nature of your imprisonment.”

“What about? I’m imprisoned…”

“Have you not tried to break out?”

“Ofcourse, but this…”

Luna lifted a hoof to point at her horn. Crimson crystal was wrapped around it in circular growths. The peculiar thing was how the crystal constantly glowed, with a pulse. The faint movement of light echoed up through the top of the chamber, and the entire chamber seemed to pulse. Though it was a very subtle movement, and Crone hadn’t noticed till she looked harder. Luna continued to explain.

“The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t use magic.”

“Pity…”

“But it also constantly drains me, I have no idea where it’s being siphoned off to, but I don’t have my inherent strength either. Otherwise shattering that crystal pane over there would have been simple. I don’t think I could even fly at this point, not that there’s much room to try, but I always feel tired.”

“Fascinating…”

“Hardly, really boring is more like it. All I want to do is sleep, all the time.”

“Then let’s talk about something more interesting.”

“Mmm…”

“Do you know if Sombra can hear us, from outside the chamber?”

“Your sister listened in, next to the entrance for a while the other day.”

“I mean, does he have some kind of listening spell linked here.”

“He hasn’t shown awareness of what I mutter to myself when he’s gone, or simply doesn’t care to bring it up.”

“Then I guess I’ll try a private word before he comes in.”

“And what is that? Sister to the current usurper...”

“Oh please, you tried to usurp your sister a long time ago, and we only resolved that recently. Didn’t we?”

The night princess gritted her teeth and looked down and away from Crone. As soon as her face was concealed from the changeling she relented some, and internal pain manifested as an outward grimace. Crone didn’t need to see her face to get a strong waft of her emotions. The changeling lifted a hoof to cover her nose.

“Ug, I didn’t come here to guilt you, that’s makes a nasty smell, so get over yourself, besides, what I really wanted to know was how Sombra’s been acting as of late, he seemed a tad more rude than usual. Also I may have a few terms my sister gave me permission to discuss.”

Luna fixed Crone with a hard glare that conveyed a sense of incredulousness, and Crone only returned it with cheery smile. The princess shook her head, and rolled over on her cot, so that she faced the wall instead of the changeling.

“What terms would she discuss when I’m some other pony’s prisoner.”

“You know she wouldn’t want you as a prisoner forever right?”

“Is that so?”

“It is, you could outlive us, and cause problems for future generations, should they become careless in your containment.”

“Oh, and why would I cause problems…”

“Since we would prefer not to end any life if we can help it, we’d like to offer eventual freedom. That will only come if real trust can be developed.”

“Ha, trust, yes… Your queen has been a marvelous example of why I should trust her. Let’s see, she only started with deceiving us, and lying through her teeth all the way till she forcefully took the throne for herself. Then spew a constant stream of threats to get her way. As well as fail to adequately contain Sombra, another potentially catastrophic problem for my ponies. Yes, the only way I see our relations ending is prancing through a field of daisies…”

“Eh, only a few small hurdles.”

“Only if you subject me to mind control.”

“That makes emotions stale eventually... But in any case, we don’t have to be best of friends for freedom to occur. Just enough assurances that you won’t be hostile, or try to take the throne back. A thousand years is a long time for any pair of flanks to occupy a single throne, no? Has your sister not desired a break before?”

“Others have done it for longer.”

Before Crone could continue with their discussion they both heard hooves clip clop down the hall and towards the entrance of Luna’s chamber. So rather than just be quiet and wait for the king to enter, Crone picked up a radically different tone, and flipped onto her back, so she could assume a much more relaxed pose. Luna eyed the shift wearily with a cocked eye brow. The changeling was loud enough that any pony that approached could hear easily.

“So Luna! You’ve got to tell me what your favorite kind of stallion is! After centuries I’m sure you have lot’s of experience, and have gone through several!”

“Actually I-”

“Or tell me why your room is covered in silver and onyx, did some designer pick that for you, or did you insist on it, because the whole nightly theme?”

“I deci-”

“How about what you were up to before the invasion? Oh, from what I heard you weren’t even at the wedding ceremony? Why weren’t you at the wedding ceremony for your own niece? Adoptive niece? Are there despondent feelings there? Is that more of the reason why you didn’t show? Or were you jealous? Or do you not like weddings? Or-”

“CRONE!”

“What?”

“Stop.”

“But those were just a few things I’ve wondered about.”

“And what makes you think I’d want to answer all of that.”

“Cause it’s fun, interesting, or juicy?”

The sound of hooves on crystal reached the body of the room, and Sombra entered with several dishes held in his magic, heat wafted from some of the dishes. The king held a very reserved smile, though smile he did.

Crone laid back and looked perfectly innocent, as she rested her chin on her forelegs, Luna on the other hoof rested her head on her pillow, and stared at the changeling with a quiet suspicion.

The game table was shifted, so that it was closer to Luna’s cot and Crone’s cushion, a crystal cloth was set over it, then all the food and condiments were placed on top of it, as well as a few dishes. Sombra then pulled over a cushion for himself, and let out a long sigh as he plopped his haunches down.

“Morning princess, I suppose as you can see, a crone is joining us for breakfast.”

Sombra chuckled stupidly, and uncharacteriscally, even compared to his previously altered behavior. His muzzle trembled as he tried to restrain a smile, but he couldn’t, and his broad fanged teeth were bared.

Crone put one innocuous hoof infront of her face to stifle a large yawn, and when she exhaled, more clear and hazy energies were released. She batted them away to make them less noticeable, and by so doing spread them around the air in the room. Luna had to voice her concerns.

“What are doing?”

“Yes, what are you doing? I am much too happy at the moment… hehe-haha.”

The changeling looked at both the night princess and crystal king, she held a rather blank, but inviting expression.

I'm yawning...

She yawned again, and exhaled more exuberant things. Soon the air was thick with something the other equines couldn’t see, but definitely felt.

After a few breaths Luna began to feel a little different too. Her suspicious face started to irresistibly morph into something more… happy?

Author's Note:

Sorry, I couldn't resist the gag, it's ch.42 after all...

Anyway, sorry this took a while to come out, business and all that, blah blah.

The links if you missed them.

A sketch.

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