• 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.46 "The Avalanche Ceases" part 2

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.46 “The Avalanche Ceases” part 2

There was a knock at Fancy’s door, and he answered it. His cool blue eyes narrowed in confusion when he saw who was at his door. Before he could utter any words of confusion the guest spoke first.

“Is Chrysalis here?”

Her words were slightly slurred, since she had part of a pony’s ear in her mouth, which she slowly nibble. As Fancy studied the strange situation he recognized the pony on the changeling’s back.

“Blueblood?”

The princely stallion was rather grey in the face, and hung limp, other than where royal changeling tugged on his ear. She stamped in irritation at Fancy’s confused gaze. The sudden sound brought his attention back to her, and he responded with a little fluster.

“I’m sorry, but are you playing some kind of game with me, queen?”

“I am Crone, her sister, and she said I should meet her here.”

CCCCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAKBBBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!

A flash of lightning and the roar of thunder caused every equine to jump. Fancy’s monocle fell off, and his fancy mane-due became frazzled. Crone jumped and clenched her jaw, which gave Blueblood a brand new ear-piercing. The prince squealed in an unorthodox manner, and scrabbled off the changeling that held him hostage.

Crone let the blonde stallion scamper off as she processed what happened. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, where did that lightning come from? Also it was much stronger than the usually scheduled weather could produce. Slowly she turned back to the disheveled Fancy.

“Where is my sister?”

“She was over… that direction.”

He indicated towards where the flash had been. A hood was brought under Crone’s chin as she thought.

“Why is she over there?”

“She wanted to meet with some foreign dignitaries over lunch.”

“Uh huh, well, if she didn’t want to wait for me, I’ll be off.”

“Um, Crone?”

“I am still a queen.”

“Queen Crone, would you like to leave a message?”

“If she comes back here, just tell her last night’s plans have proceeded as we wished.”

“Is that all?”

“She can look for me after that.”

The giant changeling didn’t wait for anymore conversation before she turned and trotted up towards the castle. As she advanced she noticed a bush wriggle, so she kicked at the offensive bush. A dirty and dismayed Blueblood popped out, and when he looked up he jumped in surprise. Crone smiled down at him.

“I wasn’t done with you.”

Blueblood put a hoof to his ear, then pulled it away. He was surprise to see his own blood was in-fact, red.

“My ear! Nopony makes me bleed my own blood, nopony!

“Don’t start whining, I’ll take you the castle and you can put an expensive earring in that lovely new hole.”

“Not my style!”

“Or I could drain every last bit of narcissism out of you…”

“I… oh, ok…”

“Good, now get back on, lunch.”

“Blueblood.”

“Excuse me?”

“I have a name.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you wanted to be called dinner too.”

“What? No!”

“Oh fine, you can be breakfast as well.”

“Please, I, I-”

“Come now, didn’t you want association with royalty? I’m giving you an in.”

“But-”

“On we go.”

Crone scooped up the reluctant Blueblood and rested him between her wings and neck. As she trotted along she began to nibble his un-punctured ear. Silently, the white stallion prayed. By my jailed auntie, no more lightning please!


---


Vivisect slowly walked to the front door of her apartment, on her back was a baby dragon and a box of donuts. The little dragon held a few samples in his claws, and enthusiastically tried each.

“Thanks for taking me to Joe’s Vivi.”

“You’re welcome, and you don’t need to call me that, just because Shade did.”

“I like it better, makes you sound less like a surgeon.”

“What?”

“Vivisect… how did you get that name anyway? Did you do a vivisection on somepony?”

Spike stopped himself mid-bite as he cringed at the thought. Vivisect also stopped mid-stride and cringed.

“I certainly hope not. It’s not exactly our goal to kill ponies…”

After another moment or two of mental digestion the sentinel put a hoof up to the door knob and opened it. A few steps past the threshold was her favorite spot in the apartment, the couch. She stopped next to the cushy furniture and bumped Spike off her back with his box of donuts, then seated herself.

While the kid-dragon happily munched away at the contents of the box, Vivisect hung her front hooves over the edge of the furniture, and looked out the window across the room. From that vantage point she could see the castle grounds, the gardens, and the roof tops of the city. In the distance she saw the occasional changeling fly by, as well as some pegasi.

Her breaths were slow and regular, the trip to Joe’s and back had been uneventful… thankfully. It had been constant overload the last few days, she had to relearn many of the changeling she had supposedly ‘known’. For all she knew they could just be making it up, she had no idea. She drew in a particularly deep breath, and let out a prolonged sigh.

The motion caused the little drake to stop his eager munches, and he looked up at his current changeling caretaker. Her muzzle was drooped, and her eyes rather exhausted. It was familiar look, one that Twilight often had when she stayed up for days… reading, and unable to find what she was after.

“What’s wrong Vivi?”

“Huh? oh, nothing, just tired Spike.”

“Uh huh, you haven’t been sleeping, have you.”

“I, no I haven’t, observant dragon aren’t you.”

“I’ve just seen that look several times before.”

“From Twilight?”

“Ya…”

When her name was mentioned aloud Spike set down his donut, and looked downcast at the floor. The sentinel noticed his change in tone and pulled her eyes away from the window.

“I’m sorry about that.”

“Huh, really?”

“Well, maybe not old me, I have no idea. But that last few days have been a mess, I haven’t really had an anchor. I don’t remember any creature… At least you can remember who genuinely cares about you.”

“I hmm…”

Both of them stewed on the emotions and thoughts for a little while, both of them looked out the window together, and Spike took another bite of vanilla glaze, with extra sprikles.

“Shade seemed like a decent changeling, I’m sure he won’t hurt Twilight if he doesn’t have to.”

“Ya… he did seem nicer than others.”

Another bout of silence fell between the two, and neither really pushed to say anything else. The sun shone, the birds sang, and the door was knocked. THE DOOR WAS KNOCKED!

Vivisect shook her head as her serene mood was broken by another stranger that demanded attention. With an annoyed grumble she got off her seat and moved to the door. As she expected it was another unfamiliar face.

“Can I help you?”

It was another sentinel at the door. He had bits of orange mane, a touch darker than hers, along his impressive crest. The mystery changeling simply stood there and studied her. It became a little awkward for her after several moments, and her eyes started to wander off in a different direction. She started to repeat her initial greeting.

“Can I hel-”

“Mother…”

“I, what?”

He didn’t answer her back, instead he took a wide bow, like a changeling would do for the queen. Vivisect lifted a hoof in agitation, and experienced confusion a little more severe than her other encounters.

“That’s a new one.”

Spike helpfully called out from the living room. The youthful dragon’s voice caused the stranger to perk an eyebrow, before he raised himself again. He stared into Vivisect’s orange eyes with his own.

“It’s true you have no recognition then.”

“No, I don’t. What’s your name?”

Unsure of how to feel, she remained where she was, as did the other sentinel.

“Lacerate.”

He let it hang there in the air, as she shifted on her hooves. Her brow furrowed and she closed her eyes.

“Is there any other family I should know about?”

“You have a younger sister, Gnarla, but she was banished a few days ago for incompetence.”

“Hmm.”

“Your mate, Ripper, died ten years ago defending the vanguard from a hydra. You haven’t coupled since then, as far as I know.”

Vivisect pursed her lips and kept her eyes shut. She couldn’t remember any of it, and the lack of anything was the most painful part. The ghost of the unknown past came to haunt her with a vengeance. Lacerate continued while she soaked it in.

“Before Ripper died, I was born, as well as two others, a brother and sister. Neither of them achieved names before they died.”

The mention of each of these changelings was a straight prick to the heart. Changelings she should know, who were integral to who she was. But all were parts of a fleeting identity.

“There are no other kin in the swarm at this time.”

The building emotions weighed heavily on her, and she fell back onto her rump overtaken for the moment. Lacerate remained there and watched while a few tears fell down her cheeks. His otherwise stoic expression cracked, and he was a little perturbed. Vivisect’s voice remained surprisingly level while she asked.

“Why didn’t you come earlier?”

“I heard of your condition, and when I saw it for myself… I, -swallow-, gathered the other sub-heads, and we mourned your loss. You are not who you were. You need to be replaced.”

“-sigh- Ofcourse.”

She opened her eyes, but kept her lids low, and she looked up at her ‘son’. Her gaze caused him to shift uncomfortably, and he cast vision to the side. She noticed this, and inquired.

“What’s bothering you?”

“I… I haven’t seen you shed a tear before.”

This caused her to snort, as she wiped some of the wetness from her face.

“Wow, I must have been a cold-hearted monster…”

She collapsed to the floor in a pathetic heap and covered her face, and she began to cough hoarsely, more wetness was expelled from her tear ducts. Things remained deadly silent around the apartment for a while. The quiet let her experience the raw sensation of her shattered world poignantly

After some time she felt a touch on her neck, which caused her to flinch, but the contact remained.

“You weren’t a cold-hearted monster. You were strong, you didn’t break. You showed me how to continue despite all the loss.”

Vivisect dropped the hooves that covered her face and looked up to see Lacerate right next to her, he continued as he slowly stroked a hoof down her crest.

“I knew you felt things, there were signs from time to time, but you were always that unyielding bulwark. You were reliable where other changelings would give u-”

He choked and couldn’t finish, his hoof went still and began to tremble. So Vivisect put a hoof on top of his, and they remained there for a while. No doubt Lacerate had plenty of memories to run over, and she had enough to stew on without them.

The only sound to break the hitched breaths was the sound of munches in the background. Vivisect flicked an eye over in Spike’s direction, to see he had resumed his donut eating spree. His little backside was high in the air as he dug his head through the contents.

After a while longer Lacerate removed his hoof, and stepped back. He coughed a few times to clear his throat.

“I need to get going. The rest of the sub-heads and I need to prepare a candidate for the queen. Though, I don’t think she will find any as satisfactory as you were.”

With a turn about, Lacerate began to trot away. Before he had disappeared from view Vivisect roused herself to her hooves.

“Please, comeback sometime.”

The departing sentinel paused, and nodded his head in acknowledgement. When he was gone she wearily turned around and closed the door, and after a few steps she slumped back onto the couch. This caused Spike and his donut box to bounce.

“Hey a little warning next time!”

“Sorry.”

The dragon busily wiped the sprinkles and frosting that was smeared over his face. The small sight was amusing, but she was still in pretty low spirits. There was barely anytime for her to catch her breath when there was another knock on her door.

“Seriously?”

Spike licked some of the icing off his face as he shot an incredulous look at the offensive door. Vivisect mechanically got herself off the couch, and opened the door. She didn’t bother to mask her face with any kind of spritely expression.

When she opened the door she had to look up, for the newest visitor was very tall. She blinked a few times, and narrowed her glistened eyes.

“Queen?”

The “queen” stood there and looked at here, and it was reminiscent of what just occurred earlier. The giant changeling didn’t wait long before she made a follow up statement.

“Follow me.”

She turned about and walked in the direction of the mountain. Vivisect hesitated for a moment before she inquired.

“I have the small dragon under my watch what should I do with him?”

The royal changeling slowed her stride, but didn’t stop. She waved a hoof in a nonchalant manner.

“Then bring him along.”


---


They were led up into the mountain, past twists, turns, pits, and other various obstacles. Several times Spike made a nervous yelp as they flew over cavernous pitch-black crevasses. For the most part no words were shared, and they traveled in silence. Occasionally the royal changeling would look back to make sure Vivisect was able to kept the pace.

Eventually they stopped near two other sentinels, who guarded a special chamber. The royal changeling gave them a simple nod and both of the guard stepped to the side, and let her, and Vivisect pass. Once they were in the chamber Spike let out a sigh of relief.

“Whew, does that mean we’re done? This whole trip has been creepy.”

“Quiet drake.”

Spike snapped his mouth shut at the sound of the royal's voice. She was not in his “nice changelings” list, more like the “Dangerous and avoid” list.

The giant changeling sat down at the edge of a reflective pit, where bluish light danced along the edges of the earthy surface. Her voice was level when she raised it again.

“Come here Vivisect.”

The sentinel did as she was told, and stood near the queen. Spike slid off the smooth shell of Vivisect’s back and took a seat on the ground. The royal changeling stared at the pool while she continued to speak.

“You haven’t re-met me yet.”

“But, you are the queen are you not?”

“I am her sister, you reacquainted yourself with Chrysalis in the gardens a small while ago. My name is Crone, my word is only second to hers. Today we shall do some research that Chrysalis would otherwise be doing, if she had the time.”

“So you need my assistance?”

“Yes, I do. Though there is a particular reason I wanted you to accompany me.”

“What would that be?”

“Just touch the well with your magic for now, I’ll explain in a moment.”

“Um?”

“It doesn’t matter what method, just reach out with anything and it will start itself.”

So Vivisect focused a little, and to her surprise, concentrated magic flowed from her horn in a blade like manner. It was easy, reflexive even. With the slice of magical energy that sprouted from her head, she approached the well, and touched the tip into the crystal liquid.

All at once the fluid substance sprang to life and floated through the air, it shifted and swayed until it encapsulated all three of them. The sentinel made a small gasp as the light swirled around them with ghostly detail. Spike widened his eyes in awe.

“That’s gnarly.”

Crone made a grunt and shot him a look, which Spike responded to with a submissive cringe. The royal turned her attention back to Vivisect, who just looked at her surroundings with interest and confusion. Her next words were spoken slowly.

“I know you’ve had many changelings try to tell you who you were. Words were never terribly importantly to me, since many of them are lies. So, instead of telling you who you were, I will show you. Show you who you were to me, you deserve to know atleast that much.”

“I, how?”

“The well. It’s magic contains the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of memories. Chrysalis has shared a great deal of her memories with me, and what I’m going to show you will be primarily her perspective.”

“T-thank you…”

“Just maintain a little magic, and I will recall the events.”

A small tether of magic was maintained between Vivisect and activated well, while Crone moved forward and tapped the surface with her horn. She didn’t need magic to add memories to the well, so she dealt with it just fine…


---


Rancorous screeches and hisses blasted throughout a large tunnel. Fire plumed and flooded the narrow spaces the scene took place in. After the gout of flame dimmed down a large scaly paw raked and reached around, and tried to grasp at anything vulnerable.

Changelings skittered around in total panic, the buzzes and screeches were primarily from them. The cave they occupied wasn’t nearly deep enough yet, and a giant dragon scraped around for them like an anteater.

A young disheveled Chrysalis put a hoof up to the crown on her head to straighten it. It was a little large and difficult to keep in place. So she spat up some slime and glued it down to her skull. After she steadied her own composure, she screeched at the swarm.

“Sentinels!”

The call was accompanied by a mental pulse that acquired the sentinels’ attention. At the same time the young queen issued a command for the drones and vanguard to cluster as far down the tunnel as they could. The strength of her commands rendered near immediate obedience.

The head sentinel, Evisect, approached his stern ruler.

“What would you have us do queen! We’re pinned! And that beast is going to dig us out!”

“I know!”

The queen bore her fangs angrily at the unhelpful head-sentinel. Another voice piped in among the growing crowd of sentinels. She had bright orange eyes that held a steely determination.

“I don’t wish to sit idle while fire approaches us. I would rather die trying to drive the dragon back.”

“Don’t speak out of place inferior!”

Evisect growled at the uncalled for suggestion, before a brawl could begin Chrysalis stomped her hoof, which rattled the ground. The head-sentinel released the aggressive posture he had taken and looked back at the queen. The orange eyed inferior remained firm as the royal spoke.

“If you are really willing to go and try, then do it. Who else volunteers to protect that swarm?”

Her harlequin eyes roamed over the nearby sentinels that surrounded her. Many wavered under her gaze, and shrunk their postures, some even took a few steps back. But for every sentinel that cowed under her gaze, another stood fast. Most of those that held their courage were right next to the outspoken inferior.

The head sentinel watched the process and clenched his jaw in maddening frustration.

“This is suicide…”

“You don’t have to go out Evisect. You can join the drones and try to dig our way to safety.”

Chrysalis venomously spat his name before she turned to the sentinels that stood firm.

“Those of you willing to protect your swarm can follow me. I will provide an opening distraction for you. Just try to harass the dragon away, prolong it so the drones can dig deep enough for us. I will signal you when the depth is sufficient.”

With a quick nod of acknowledgement the rest of the sentinels followed the queen as she leapt to the air, and approached the outside entrance.

The dragon had pointed his snout inside the tunnel, and attempted to force his head through. He inhaled another bout of air as fire glowed behind his nose. The queen saw their imminent doom if she didn’t act, so she replied with a precise blast of magic up his left nostrils.

The magic didn’t bother dragon so much, what caused real discomfort was how the magic reacted with his fire. As he exhaled the flames the magic blocked it all inside his nose. The combustible flames and pressure built up until he choked. The massive beast reared backed his head as he hacked and coughed smoke.

The band of sentinels flew out the open entrance into the canyon, and buzzed about the dragon like angry bees. Chrysalis remained behind to guard the entrance.

“Damnit!”

One last sentinel flew past the queen, and she smirked when she realized who it was. Her head-sentinel had decided against being a coward.

From the ground, she watched her sentinels buzz about the large predator, and nimbly dodge the slow broad swings of his claws. After a short while the dragon gave up, and started to ignore the distraction. The guard-changelings hadn’t managed to find anything soft, or even seriously annoy the dragon other than crossing his vision too often. So the malign beast moved back towards the tunnel.

“No you don’t”

Evisect dove right for the dragon’s eyes, who blinked and blocked the head-sentinel’s claws. The sharp digits cracked against the scaly armored surface, and Evisect barked in pain. The momentarily stunned changeling left himself vulnerable for a few vital seconds and…

CHOMP!

The head-sentinel disappeared inside the dragon’s jaws. Chrysalis and the other sentinels flinched as they felt his mental connection snap and evaporate, which left several more sentinels stunned in the air.

SNAP!

Another changeling fell prey to hungry jaws.

CRUNCH!

And another. Soon a numbed shock climbed over Chrysalis’s features. She had only become queen a few days ago, and now her tiny swarm was being mercilessly reduced beyond her control. As she was about ready to fall down and despair when a loud hollered screech snapped her out of her numbness.

The dragon pranced about in a spastic dance and screamed his reproach.

“My brains! My brains! GAW!”

His claws shot up to his right ear, and clawed at it desperately. Soon he discovered his claws did no good to rid the problem in his ear, and he began whip his head violently back and forth violently. Fear and panic kept the dragon’s eyes wide open.

Soon a small dark figure was flung out of his ear, but it flew straight back towards the agonized orifice. The mere sound of the buzzing wings was enough to send the dragon off in a terrified scamper.

“NO! NO! GO AWAY! MY EAR! MY BRAINS!”

The dragon’s desperate escape outpaced the small figure, and soon his wings carried him off and away. When it was clear the beast was gone for good, all the sentinels that remained, gathered to their queen.

Chrysalis stared out and waited until the small dark figure returned. The changeling that had driven off the dragon landed in front of her. She was tiny, not even up to any other changeling’s knees. However a flash of green fire brought the miniaturized sentinel back up to size. It was the outspoken inferior.

“What is your name sentinel?”

“Vivisect my queen.”

“You are my new head…”

Each of the surrounding sentinels stomped a hoof in respect and bowed their heads forward. Vivisect in turn bowed to the queen. Chrysalis stood firm until her breaths relaxed, and turned to face down the tunnel.

“Let us introduce the new head-sentinel to the swarm. Also each of you proved yourselves worthy protectors of my swarm. I will see to it you receive extra rations.”

There was a somewhat excited buzz to the survivors of the group, though the recent losses still kept them in a sober mood. Vivisect kept her expression stoic, and masked the limp she had from a banged up leg.


---


The memory well paused and Crone looked over towards Vivisect. The sentinel held her hooves tightly over Spike’s eyes and had a rather shocked expression. The little dragon spoke up.

“Did I hear another dragon?”

Crone ignored his comment and spoke directly to her sentinel.

“From that day onward the swarm remained a little safer. Your technique and ingenuity for the dissuasion of predators kept the swarm alive. I never regretted making you my head-sentinel.”

“You made me head?”

“Oh, uh –cough- I mean Chrysalis never regretted it, and she expressed as much to me. That was a very turbulent time within the swarm. What with Chrysalis and I being so new to the throne.”

“So it seems.”

“To be honest, Vivisect, though I am your queen. Your fearlessness helped embolden me and others.”

“I, don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything, your merit was your word. Speaking of which, there is one other pivotal moment I wish to share with you.”

“Is it safe for Spike to watch?”

Crone noticed Vivisect still had her hooves over the drake’s eyes. The little character had his arms crossed and wore a rather grumpy frown.

“Come on Vivi, you don’t need to treat me like some foal.”

The baby dragon’s demeanor caused Crone to smirk, and she spoke before the sentinel could.

“Sure, infact he should watch. It’ll teach him to be wary of stranger’s deals.”

Reluctantly she lowered her hooves, as the royal motioned a hoof to sift through additional experiences.


---


They were now in dark murky swampland. A very dirty, youthful Chrysalis trotted along a relatively dry patch of ground, and she appeared a little lost. Her wings were soaked with clingy mud, and most of her chitinous body was equally soiled.

“Curse this fog!”

She growled at the thick wall of opaque moisture that surrounded her in every direction.

She was in this unfavorable predicament due to being spread thin. Several vanguards needed protection for their journey homeward, and she was short staffed on sentinels. So she ventured out herself to escort half a dozen invaluable vanguards from Baltimare to the Badlands. The only problem was the enormous HaySea’d swampland inbetween. During this time, she didn’t have the disposable energy to simply portal the distance, and had to wing it there, or hoof it as the situation now was.

Alone in this spooky swamp, Chrysalis was constantly on high alert. Royal though she was, she was weak, under fed, and covered in parasites. The large aggressive mosquito’s in the area didn’t do anything to improve her mood either as they constantly harried her.
Amid the darkness she noticed a faint glow, and the hum of some melody began to tickle her flea-bitten ears. A deep feminine voice accompanied the somber tune.

Loooooooooong long have I have swayed
With despair kept abai’d
Soooooooooon soon this drought will end
it’s right around the bend
Theeeeeeeeeen then will I have bliss
And my song no longer a whis’p

The young queen became somewhat enchanted with the strangeness, and her hooves carried her towards the dim yellow light she saw in the distance. Slowly it became brighter, and the song stronger.

Befoooooooooooore before I was so weak
I decided who was the meek
Revvvvvvvvvvvvvvrence reverence was mine
As I was worshiped so divine
Willlllllllllllllllll will I feel that again
I prithy thee gods, please sen’d

The light was not so faint once she drew close, and the song she could hear with great clarity.

Loooooooooong long have I have swayed
With despair kept abai’d
Soooooooooon soon this drought will end
it’s right around the bend
Theeeeeeeeeen then will I have bliss
And my song no longer a whis’p

She came to the source of the song and light. What appeared to be a large swamp reed, full of cat-tails, swayed with the music, and sat next to a fire. Slowly the royal changeling circled around the moving foliage, until she saw an enormous pair of hooves strum over a hollowed out turtle shell. The creatures face was also equine, though cracked and jagged yellow fangs were easily visible. Leeches coated her limbs, and she had a bloated segmented gut. Chrysalis hadn’t seen such a creature before.

“So child, what brings ya to this side of the HaySea’d swamps?”

The deep voice caught her off guard, and in a panic she flashed into a pony disguise. Without so much as a glance, the large creature chuckled at the reaction.

“There ain’t no need for disguises little missy.”

“I…”

“Come now, take a seat round the fire. Ya won’t do yurself no favors bein’ lost.”

With a certain hesitation Chrysalis continued around until she was on the opposite side of the fire. She kept the grey pelted pony guise she had shifted into, and looked at the large swampy equine with careful fascination. She continued to strum on her stringed turtle shell as her deep, thickly accented voice rolled out an introduction.

“The name is Boggy Bog Sog Soggin’ Flanks. Jus’ call me Boggy if ya like.”

“Que… Queen. I’m Queen.”

“Well, Queen, what drew you out so far from home?”

A loud growl gurgled from Chrysalis’s stomach, and she placed a hoof defensively over her achy belly.

“Heh, guess that answers that. If ya need a bite, I have somethin’ to share.”

Boggy kicked over another turtle shell she kept nearby, and revealed the contents inside. What surprised Chrysalis about the contents was they appeared so clean, and fresh. Neatly prepared sandwiches of various kinds were stacked inside along with some fish and some fruity tubers. The disguised changeling hesitated to reach for anything.

“Go on, I don’t have no traps in my luncheon shell.”

“Thank you.”

She sat down on the nearby log as she pulled out a lily sandwich, and munched away. Solid food wouldn’t stay her true hunger, but it was something. As she ate Boggy sniffed a few times, and smiled softly.

“Ya can go for some meat too. I can smell sparrow about your lips. There’s no need to hide your real hungers. Not here in the middle of forsaken lands.”

Chrysalis battled with herself for a moment. Apparently this creature already knew she wasn’t a pony. The amount Boggy was able to discern was already bothersome. That sparrow didn’t even taste that good… The relentless growl of her stomach decided for her though. The disguise was shed and Chrysalis snatched up several of the fish, and waffed them down greedily.

“Now I’m not one to come across strangers all that often, but I can certainly smell opportunities when they come by. Would ya be interested in hearin’ a proposal missy?”

Chrysalis acknowledged Boggy’s words with a grunt, while she continued to stuff her face. That was enough for the plant ridden equine to continue you.

“Ya strike me as some creature who enjoys a bit of regal respect. A creature who enjoys a measure of control in her life? Perhaps… Power to rise above the mediocre plagues of life?”

“Uh huh”

“Good, good… I have somthin’ that can help that. If you’re still inclined.”

Chrysalis swallowed what was in her mouth before she replied.

“What are you getting at?”

“This.”

Boggy flipped her instrument around, and caught some dark seeds in her hoof, then held them out to the inquisitive changeling.

“Seeds?”

“A means to an end.”

“Um, less riddles please?”

The girthy equine hit the ground with a loud stomp, and for a moment nothing happened. Then the pools of the swamp around them started to bubble. Soon shapes started to bob above the surface of the water. To Chrysalis’s gross fascination the shapes were transparent resin shells, and contained ponies…

She flinched at the scene, and turned on Boggy with a fearful glint in her eye. The large swampy equine kept a level, thoughtful expression.

“Now I may have noticed your kind flitter back and forth between here a few times. You creatures never carry supplies, but always look hungry. Somethin’ tells me that traditional food isn’t enough for ya. Am I right?”

“What do you want?”

“If I am right, then I would suppose our desires are similar.”

Boggy shifted from where she sat and lumbered over to one of the resin shells, she pulled it out of the water, and placed it near the campfire. As she slowly caressed the pony capsule, roots distended from the ground and tried to wrap their fingers around it.

“Now I have particular hungers as well. Hungers that can be difficult to satisfy. Hungers dependent on our pony cousins, who don’t make it easy to acquire.”

“Yes.”

“However I don’t have a means to leave the swamps all that easy. I tired of waitin’ for ponies to wander on in. This is where I’d like to make a deal if ya will.”

“I’m listening.”

“These here seeds boost your magic. Make you potent beyond belief, and I would be willing to give them to you.”

“In exchange for?”

“Ponies… Capture em’ and bring me some. I’ll even teach ya how I bag em. Then you can fulfill your hungers, whatever they are, to your guts content.”

“Why do you want the ponies?”

“Their dreams do taste so divine, and I can never seem to get enough. I keep em’ stowed, I keep em alive. But their dreams… they’re gettin’ old.”

Chrysalis remained silent while she thought over the offer and the new knowledge she acquired. Boggy patiently strummed over her instrument while the changeling took the time to ponder. After a little longer she came up with her last question.

“How do I know these seeds are not a trick, or that they will even do what you say?”

Boggy just smiled in response, and rolled around one of the seeds in a hoof before she dexterously plopped it into her mouth. Rapidly an orange-green glint came over the swamp equine's features, and every capsule nearby began to glow. When Boggy next spoke her voice carried like a tidal wave.

“I am an equine of my word missy. If I promise power, I’ll give power.”

The air suddenly became very heavy and Chrysalis found it hard to breathe. The trees in the swamp started to warp and crack, the branches flailed about like grasping limbs, the water of the bogs boiled and bubbled, the very fog swirled and howled with spectral creepiness. Voices whispered of forbidden things, and the changeling felt as if the very atmosphere was going to consume her.

“The condition is quite simple.”

The theatrics died down, and Boggy’s voice went back down to it’s conversational tone. Chrysalis was left to pant and stand on shaky hooves, as the explanation was wrapped up.

“Take these seeds, they’ll give you the power you so desire. But the condition is temporary, you’ll need to come back for more. I won’t make more unless you come back with the pony prizes I so desire.”

Chrysalis nodded, and fixed her eyes towards the seeds held by the swamp equine’s free hoof. A greedy edge started to climb over her harlequin eye’s and she couldn’t look away.

“When you come back, come back alone, or you get NUTHIN’!”

Boggy flipped her hoof over and crushed all but one of the seeds, her voice carried a deadly seriousness to it. In a slight panic Chrysalis reached out and snatched the remaining seed, to see it to safety. The large swampy creature smiled at the queen’s assertive protectiveness of the gift.

“Go ahead and take it now, then, I’ll expect to see ya again soon.”

With out further encouragement Chrysalis plopped the seed into her mouth. Almost immediately she felt different. Everyone of her limbs, from the tip of her nose, to the edge of her wings felt alive, more alive than she had ever felt before. Her eyes opened wide and she even noticed her vision alter. This was a clarity that felt terrifyingly addictive.

To experiment with the spike of energy she felt, her horn was ignited and a portal rent into the very air. As she witness the extra powerful portal manifest it’s self she gave a disbelieving laugh. She didn’t dream she’d be able to conjure something that could go the distance she projected now.

“This… is amazing!”

“Glad to here it’s treatin’ you so well child. Now go get em’.”

The changeling queen dashed into dimensional rift, and was gone.


---


Crone hit a hoof to the well to stop the train of memory, and sighed. When she looked over she saw that Vivisect held a suspicious scowl, and Spike nervously chattered his teeth. The royal went on to voice her thoughts.

“That was Chrysalis, and if you noticed, her horn was very similar to mine. Compared to the twisted state it is now, her magic has never been the same since. But that is something you will see explained in a minute.

After that deal was done, Chrysalis made good on her side of the bargain, and brought Boggy all the ponies she could want. This is where Chrysalis earned her name, Chrysalis. She modified the encapsulating technique to work with changeling slime.

Many of the ponies were brought back to the swarm’s heart, and we knew experienced a more stable supply of food than ever before. We started to expand rapidly within our own domain, and the swarm became much stronger than it had ever been under Shellish.”

“But…”

Vivisect proffered, and Crone continued.

“But things couldn’t continue like that. You, Vivisect, were suspicious from the beginning. After several months you noticed ‘symptoms’ that Chrysalis would ignore, terrible migrains and such. My sister still had power so things had to be fine. Except they weren’t…”

The royal changeling hit the well again and another train of memory began


---


An exhausted Chrysalis buzzed into a swamp clearing, heavy bags hung under her eyes, and her posture sagged when she finally landed. Her voice was hoarse as she called out.

“Boggy! I need more seeds!”

A patch of reeds slank and swam through a nearby bog. They steadily rose as they approached the bank, and lurid eyes appeared beneath the blackish green mess.

“Back so soon child? Yur last visit was jus' a few days ago…”

“I ran out of what you gave me.”

“Hehehe my my your appetite has grown and grown. Come here missy.”

The changeling trudged over towards the edge of the bank, and Boggy herself rose out of the water, which caused a slosh of drippy stinky liquid to cascade over the bank. When the two of them where fairly close, the girthy swamp equine lurched forward and knocked Chrysalis to the ground.

Her immediate response was to shriek in surprise and flail around helplessly. She tried to ignited her horn and blast Boggy away, but pain shot straight through her horn to her skull, and she gasped in shock. No spell could escape from her horn. The swamp monster chuckled under her breath.

“It’s about time… You’ve already stocked me up for years. Frankly, I’m surprised ya lasted this long. The last critter I did this trade with succumbed to the parasites much earlier.”

“Parasites?”

“Ha, there were no seeds. Just a few little symbiotes I cooked up. Now missy, you’ve enjoyed the power I’ve given to you for a good long while, but now you’re jus’ gonna be burnt out and useless. There’s no use lettin’ you rot and go to waste.”

Boggy licked her already slimy lips, and lowered her head towards Chrysalis’s neck as she bore her teeth. The pinned queen squirmed and tried in vain to cast more magic. The more she tried the more pain she experienced, and her horn bled bits of emerald light. She flinched and shuddered as audible cracks sounded right above her skull, and her horn bent itself out of shape.

“You’re mine queeny.”

Before the perilous event came to it’s conclusion a distinct buzz could be heard in the background. One of Boggy’s gremlin ears twitched at the sound, but she was focused on her target. From the corner of Chrysalis’s eye she could see a blurr fly through the air, and soar right into the swampy equine.

Suddenly the crushing pressure was released from ribs and she breathed deeply. Hisses, screeched and bellows were heard for several moments, while the weakened queen tried to drag herself away with her front hooves. After she managed to crawl a yard or so she couldn’t strain anymore, and collapsed.

The memory ended with the sound of Vivisect’s voice

“Queen! My Queen!”


---


As the memory sequence faded to blue and grey Crone surmised the rest.

“You trailed Chrysalis without her knowledge that day, and saved her from that monster. Afterward you carried her home. She recovered after a while, but not fully.”

Vivisect remained silent, and Spike shivered in place. As they remained quiet the sentinel was suddenly startled when she was brought into a tight embrace. Crone’s voice strained to maintain stability as she whispered into Vivisect's ear.

“Chrysalis would probably not say this… but, you were her, our, my best friend. No changeling has stayed by our side so fiercely loyal for so long. No other changeling have I owed so much to. No…”

Crone’s words trailed off into nothing, and they simply remained there for a while. Eventually the embrace was broken, and the royal changeling’s features contorted into a ferocious mask of anger.

“DAMNIT WHY!”

Both sentinel and dragon flinched when Crone all but roared. She thrashed and stamped at the ground, her wings buzzed angrily.

“Why’d you stay and fight? Keeping Luna wasn’t worth losing you…”

She burnt out her anger quickly enough and she fell back on her rump, defeat written all over her features and posture. Anger wouldn’t fix the real problem.

Despite the flare of aggression, Vivisect found herself determined to approach the royal. As she approached Crone gave her a hard look, but didn’t move.

Eventually the sentinel sat herself across from the queen, and looked her right back in the eye.

“I’m here. I’ve learned more in the last few minutes than I have the last few days, thank you my queen.”

Vivisect touched Crone’s hoof with her own briefly, then she got up and sat down near Spike again. The royal had to sit there and gather herself for a little while, her emotions still felt a tad raw. Meanwhile Vivisect slowly ran a hoof down Spike’s spikes, and helped the drake calm down.

With a snort and a wrinkle of her snout Crone was ready to look into other important matters. Speaking of which, she still needed to find the ‘being’ that was responsible for altering all sense of equestrian history. She would need to sift through where she left off.

The sentinels magic kept the well active, and the queen raised a hoof to command the liquid.

“Well, I need to pick up where my sister left off.”

The last message was that personal one left by Crafty, so if she tapped here, swiped there, AH HA! There it is.


---


The scene became a blur of white and grey. Overcast skies blanketed from horizon to horizon. Snow coated the ground in a sheet of white throughout the valley and over the mountains. For a while Crone observed the surroundings and looked for who’s memory this actually was. As she turned her head about a massive dark figure sat close by. The figure was also coated with snow, and shivered like a hill that suffered from an earthquake.

With another blink of her eyes she recognized the figure as Avalanche. What was he doing in the middle of this waste land? The last time she saw him was in a beautiful meadow…

The bass voice sounded hollow when he addressed the well.

“Crafty… I… well, -cough- I suppose I’ll address this for the history of the swarm first. If the any changeling or pony survives this catastrophe. There are a few hard truths that were brought before me. That any royal in the future should heed.”

Avalanche shifted his large hooves, much of his dark chitinous hide had become bleak and grey, and frost claimed large portions of his extremities. He continued with a dry tone.

“Don’t pretend you have power over ponies… Not in the open. Don’t let them know what you feed on is love, because with that knowledge, they can starve you, make you wittle away until you’re nothing. All the ponies have to do to make you powerless… is hate each other.”


---


The memory was paused right there, and a very awkward silence began. Eventually Vivisect broke it.

“Uh, didn’t the queen just do that? And, let everypony know we live on love…”

“Ya… why would you guys do that?”

When even Spike piped up Crone felt but a little flustered, and she started to get red in the face.

“Well he doesn’t know everything! Just watch.”

Crone angrily tapped at the well again, and was tempted to simply skip this scene. It hit a little too close to home, and she didn’t want some old fogie to rag on one of the most monumental mental decisions she… Chrysalis had ever made. There had to be a way around this. Changelings had apparently survived Avalanche’s blunder, so how did this follow up?

The memory was resumed.


---


“It was bad enough they could starve us. Almost all of the tribes resented our presence, more than they even resented each other. The ponies that actually appreciated our interaction were few. They are the reason we are still alive.”

The giant king looked as if he had been slapped.

“Apparently whatever cruel gods rule this world think cutting off most of our food wasn’t enough. These demons, these windigos came.”

Avalanche snarled and his lips cracked even as he bore his fangs in anger.

“They just so happen to feed opposite to us. They grow strong when there is anger and hate. Several of the ponies that figured this out even when so far as to deliberately help them, and spread as much hate as they could… Foolish ponies… Even as the windigos grew powerful from the plentiful malcontent, they began to freeze everything.”

The massive changeling lowered his head in despair.

“The fools that aided them were among the first to be stuck in ice. Ponies died as much as my changelings did, and none have turned out for the better, except the windigos.”

The angry snarl died, and a dead look killed the vibrance in the king’s eyes.

“All my off spring, but Sly, are dead…”

Avalanche scuffled one hoof about, and brought up a curious item. It was a large slab of crystal, cut to the shape of a heart. His fiery eyes looked down at the artifact for some time, before his gaze was raised, and he looked directly into the well.

“Crafty…”

His voice was more broken than ever.

“There is no way I can adequately apologize for what I brought upon us. When you find this, know I did what I’m about to do, because I love you… I know you’ll take good care of Sly and the swarm for me.”

He picked the crystal heart up with his mouth and ignited his horn, all the frost and snow exploded off of him in a wave of green fire. A deep resolution crossed over his features, and as his magic was exercised the heart glowed brighter and brighter until it was difficult to look at.

In the distance the ethereal whinny of spectral hate-demons filled the air. Hundreds of figures could be seen as they roamed the sky, each of them turned towards the center of light, and the overcast sky became a surge of storm clouds, and a blizzard threatened to close in.

The light from the heart exploded outwards…


---


Then memory ended there and the well became a blank canvas.

“What?! Wait What!”

Crone voiced angrily.

“Ya, this thing has history all off. I was in the hearths warming eve pageant. The windigos were beaten by-”

Vivisect blocked Spike’s mouth with a hoof.

“Not now Spike.”

Crone’s temper threatened to rise up again, and the little dragon’s comments wouldn’t help cool that down.

“Gaw, it definitely doesn’t end there! Give me moar well!”

The well was slapped to continue by rather indignant royal changeling.


---


The scene suddenly became a strangely familiar place… The Crystal Empire! There were crystal ponies in the streets as they casually walked by their crystal lawns, and crystal houses. There in the center of it all was the crystal castle. Before she could just gawk at the beautiful city a voice spoke directly at them.

“I don’t understand why mother kept this stowed away for so long! There’s so much that’s happened."

Crone wheeled about to see another royal changeling peer back at them through the well. This changeling had a cork-screw horn, and red mane with dark highlights. Her eyes were contrasting rings of yellow.

“The point of this bubble was for the future right? So I guess I’ll say hi, I’m princess Sly. Crafty’s my mom, at least she raised me like that. Apparently she found me on the side of some road somewhere so I don’t know who my actual parents are, but whatever, my mom and dad... were, are the best.”

“Do I hear someone monologueing?”

A female voice came from above, and the well was suddenly shaken as Sly jumped.

“Hey wait! Don’t! I’m doing something important right now!”

“Oh please, what could be more important than some fun!”

“Anything Discord…”

Two male voices sounded from above as well. Crone looked up, and there above the well were three draconequi.

The female one had a bright pink mane, blue eyes, and lightning strike horns. Her wings were that of a Fenix and dactyl. The arms were that of the amphibian and reptilian persuasion. The bottom half consisted of zebra and gazelle leg, and a long rat tail.

The more jovial male had a deer antler, goat horn, goatee, short cut black mane, eagle claw, lion paw, dragon leg, cloven hoof, and dragon’s tail.

The dull toned male had two recurved horns, ridiculously broad sideburns, a large poofy white mane, tiger and bear paws, leopard and jaguar legs, swan and raven wings, and a long finned sea serpent tail.

“Oooo what’s this?”

“Anarchy no! sto-”

The well was grabbed and lifted up to the female draconequi’s face who held it with fascinated starry eyes.

“Let’s see what were you doing? Oh ya, HELLO FUTURE! Hmm I wonder if this thing actually tastes any good.”

“DON’T YOU DARE!”

“That’s a dare Sly… hehehe.”

She proceed to give the well a good long lick, then spit back profusely.

“Yick, it taste like dirty hooves!”

A shriek erupted from behind them, and Anarchy looked back towards the action.

“Discord! Mayhem! Put me down!”

“Relax foxy, we’re just going to help you get to wherever you were going. You were going to the palace right?”

Both Discord and Mayhem had each seized a leg and began to swing Sly back and forth, like a foal that bounced between its parents.

“No, put me down!”

“Calm down Sly, you know he loves it the more worked up you get…”

“Shut it Ham!”

“To the castle and as Luna likes to say, huzzah!”

In a quick blurr of motion the three draconequi and changeling soared, tumbled, dived and otherwise performed ridiculous acrobatics through the sky. Anarchy kept a hold of the well while they crossed the empire and its glittery crystal buildings.

“So like, future people, ya gotta tell me what’s happening! Is it fun? Is it better? Is Lord Golden Spoon still in charge? Am I in charge? Do the sirens get the golden tongue award for their totally jacked singing? Does Crafty get happy? Does it rain more muffins, chocolate milk, or spaghetti? Tell me future people, TELL ME!”

A few seconds of silence.

“Psh, future people are so lame… Yall don’t even talk. You can have your silly ball back Sly!”

The well swirled in the air as it was tossed, a panic stricken Sly managed to catch it between her hind legs.

“Anarchy I swear!”

“That I’m the best? Oh thanks Sly! You so nice! I could just squish ya in a big ol’ hug.”

The female draconequus made a dive, but Discord swayed and made her miss.

“Darn it!”

“We’re here!”

With little room to breathe all four of them dove into the castle through one of the large windows. Discord and Sly skidded across the floor, the well of memories bounced all over the place, and Mayhem and Anarchy hung out around the window.

“Drama fiend…”

The voice of Tia broke into the tumble of chaos. Discord righted himself, and slithered across the floor.

“Come now, I know you love it Tia. You didn’t know what a good time was until I came around.”

As the draconequus approached, the tall alabaster unicorn stooped into an aggressive posture, and threw on challenging confidence.

“Oh, I thought you enjoyed me teaching you how to behave yourself.”

“Are you sure it’s not the other way around?”

“Quite…”

Tia tackled him over, and began a miniature riot. Meanwhile Lulu sat further to in the back next to the elegant and very tall Crafty.

“The trouble has been doubled!”

Slowly Mayhem wandered over towards Crafty, and they began a hushed covernsation. Anarchy flew through the castle windows like they were somekind of obstacle course, and the Discord-Tia tussle showed no sign of stopping.

An exasperated Sly seized the well, and shielded it’s perspective from the rest of the nonsense in the throne room.

“I’ll get back to this later.”

The well was tapped and the memory ended.


---


-present time

“What?”

The triple consensus was voiced.

Author's Note:

Hi there! Hope you enjoyed the chapter. I've spent day and night on it for like the last two days. It felt like a rollercoaster to write, and the sketches and music were all fun to add. but yep, I think i'll be close to adding multiple chapters a week again. Or least that's what i'd like to get back on.

For those of you who are concerned, the story is going to shift in a new phase pretty soon. I'm sorry I like to dally and explore some characters more, but then again, my rule is if i'm having fun, I'll write it. The next two chapters are going to set up a pretty significant shift.

Again thanks for reading. I love your feed back!

text links if you missed em'

music N sketches

couches N donuts

mood music

A door side conversation anyone would like to have! (sarcasm)

Then the swamp encounters, with Boggy Bog Sog Soggin' Flanks.

moar mood music


The next one even has COLORZ

Inspiration lolol.

Cause I like this song too.

N close them eyes Spike...


mood music for the windigos

A good bye for Avalanche # I'm too sad to make a sketch for him atm... (Check back in a few days, I may update this particular chapter with one.)

Then some sketches of the new introductions, mixed with a familiar face or two

then

hehehe...

Some old concept art for Sly

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