• 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.64 "Assessments"

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.64 “Assessments”

It flashed dark, then light. Crone’s eyelids contorted as consciousness filtered in. It be became dark again, then light again. The lethargic queen crack her reluctant vision open, just as the brightness went through another cycle. She croaked out in surprise as she processed how the light was haywire.

“What the devil?”

She sat upright and looked out the window, and to her bewilderment she saw some very unorderly heavenly bodies.

The moon passed by, though something was off, and the sun was close behind, chasing it. It dimmed to darkness as both of the sources of light dipped below the horizon, only to reignite as they both came back up moments later. The sun still chasing the moon.

Crone’s eyes narrowed in on what made them seem so wrong, besides their erratic movement. Upon a few moments observance she noticed the moon was in the shape of a mouse, and the sun a cat.

The royal changeling blinked, then everything from the other day came crashing down on her again. The verge of war, Discord’s cruel games, and the split. Crone whirled about and sprang to her hooves while on the bed. Down next to her was Shellish, who groaned at being disturbed from slumber.

Crone let out her own groan as a heavy headache started to pulse in her skull. Where to even start…

Fortunately she didn’t have to comprehend for long, a knock at the door distracted her from the potential train wreck of her scattered thoughts.

“My queen! I don’t want to disturb you, but there’s a demanding crowd building outside the palace.”

“One moment.”

The queen jumped of the bed, and strode over to the door. She caught a glance at herself in the nearby vanity, and noticed her otherwise smooth mane was quite disheveled. An apt reflection of her mental state as well, but there were other matters to attend to.

The double doors were pushed open by one of her long legs. On the other side was Shade, Colony, and that certain orange pony with an apple mark... Her head vanguard and drone both wore looks of agitation, while the pony by then held a stern gaze at the floor. Crone briefly regarded her before addressing Shade first.

“What’s this about a demanding crowd?”

She pushed her way out into the hall, and began a slow stride towards the central balcony. It was a decent length walk, and she took it at a slow pace. The other changelings, and pony, quickly followed in tow. Colony raised her higher voice.

“They’ve been accumulating for the last several hours my queen, their is rank fear among the crowds. Atleast as far as the drones’ have been tasting.”

“It could also have somethin’ to do with the big ominous message painted on yall’s shield.”

The party paused as Crone recognized Applejack’s voice. The queen instantly became irritated with the matter of fact tone, and who it came from, however when the light flashed in and out again it reminded her of bigger problems.

“What message…”

Crone came across unnecessarily harsh, her fangs became more steadily exposed.

“Just go to your balcony, and take a look”

The honest pony didn’t take her eyes from the floor while she spoke. The tension in the air between the two began to quickly escalate, but Shade stepped in with another assertion.

“Also, the populous wants to hear from you.”

Crone’s leer was directed towards the vanguard, where it softened, with a hoof she gestured for him to continue.

“If you step out onto the balcony, they’re going to want answers. The vanguard out there are reporting to me even now, the agitation is only getting worse.”

“I can confirm the same from the drones”

Colony raised her voice in support of Shade’s statement. After both of her sub-leaders confirmed the message, Crone swiveled about, and took a long distant stare towards the balcony entrance.

“What could they possibly want to hear from me? How could they have any faith in me after that vile display in the stadium…”

The little group had stopped just short of the large arch-way. There was no nervousness in her expression, just cold resignation. Stone still were the wings on her back, the tail on her rump, and the ears on her head. Everything was quiet and still for several moments, and the queen’s escorts grew uneasy on their hooves, unable to come up with any answers. Meanwhile, the noise of a building crowd rustled from the distance.

“I’ll admit, I don’t like you on bit. I believe all the nasty things you said about yourself and your sister… That acknowledged, the ponies out there still want to hear from their leader.”

Crone’s head tilted, and one eye leered toward the apple pony who dared to speak. The royal changeling didn’t respond otherwise to the words, so AJ took that as a cue to continue. She even feelt bold to look up from the floor into the eye of the queen.

“You, uh, your sister? Ug, whatever, have done a lot of wrong. There’s no denyin’ that. Though from what I’ve heard, from these crystal ponies, you’ve done alright by them. You haven’t put ‘em in chains and enslaved ‘em. Albeit they’re disappointed in what you said in the stadium, but they don’t know who else to turn to for help right now.”

After AJ said her peace she hung her head low, and her gaze reverted to the floor. Only now the pony looked ready to flinch, prepared for potential punishment.

“Shade take her… somewhere else, and Colony, return to your royal charges.”

They all left without another word, which left Crone all alone. The giant changeling took a single deep breath before she took a step outside. The view was wide swept, and from the grand palace balcony she could both easily see, and be seen.

Day and night continued to play coyly along the edge of the horizon, and stayed in neither condition for more than very brief periods. One thing, however, grab even more attention the game of cat and mouse.

High above the empire, splattered in enormous gold letters that spanned Shellish’s shield was-

“Have fun! … for now.”

The clone let out and uneasy gasp as she saw the words writhe, stretch, and shift color. The noise she made was louder than she realized, and the mumurs of the crowd below intensified.

“It’s one of the queens!”

Was proclaimed and spread in variations between the crystal ponies and changelings gathered. The call of the populous drew her attention away from the sky wide notation, and after a quick cough, she raised her naturally voluminous voice.

“Yes, it is I, queen Crone. I am here to agree recent events have been… unsettling, to say the least. However, there is no need to fear. At this moment your queen Chrysalis is finding an answer on the Isle of draconequi itself. She’ll be petitioning one called lord Golden Spoon, and I will remain in constant communication with her, and I can assure you, she’s just fine.”


---


( Isle of Draconequi )


Chrysalis sweat bullets as she was carried forward by the crazy band of tiki themed draconequi and steadily advanced into the jungle. The paralysis of the spoon spell still held full sway, and she couldn’t figure a way to counter it. Specter was in no better condition, helpless and dangled as he was, as a pair of overly jubilant draconequi pulled him along.

Though it seemed to take ages, what with the whole feverish atmosphere, the time traveled was actually quite short. Around the corner of a particularly large and thorny tree was a fairly broad clearing. Chrysalis strained the only unparalyzed part of her, her eyes, to try and see what she could.

To her displeasure and foreboding a blast of hot air washed over her body, and a fiery blow permeated from the center of the clearing. Right ahead of her was a large pool of lava.

The changeling’s eyes went spasmodic and she screamed internally. Her captors carried closer towards the pool of doom. The chants increased in pace and intesity as the two changeling were brought near the edge of the bubbling boiling liquid. Several of the draconequi began to dance in erratic patterns, until ground shaking stomps echoed through the clearing.

The silver giant from the beach loomed over the two victims of his paralysis, a wide facetious smile bedecked his broad muzzle.

“Throw them in!”




He bellowed, which was followed by an all too enthusiastic cheer from the crowd of gathered chimeras. Dozens of paws immediately pulled and pushed on Chrysalis and Specter, and the both of them were flung into the lava…

For a brief moment, while they flew through the air, in what seemed like slow motion, Chrysalis thought “This is the end.” Her lively jade eyes dimmed, and swiveled to look at her fellow victim, and their eyes met before they both plunged into the molten earth.

...

After she submerged, Chrysalis felt her body relax. She didn’t even feel any pain, she felt confused and slightly comforted. Was she burned so quickly she didn’t even realize it? She stretched one of her legs, and the sudden realization the paralysis was gone hit her like a shower of bricks.

In a flurry of panic all of her limbs sprung into action and flailed vigorously. A moment later she broke the surface of the “lava” and coughed and sputtered something cherry-custard flavored from her mouth. Her vocal faculties had returned as well, and she used them immediately to express her great frustration. Which was a simple passionate screech of anger.

Her jagged horn burst to life with magic, ready to attack the next thing that approached her. Before that event could become realization a voice came from beside her, one she recongnized.

“Calm down! What do you think you’re doing?”

The changeling queen wiped cherry custard away from her eyes to get a better view of things. Specter was next to her, and looked nervously between her and band of draconequi around the pool.

The idea to blast all the wretched creatures entertained Chrysalis’s mind for several moments, until she finally decided against it, and the charge fizzled out. She was here for answers and allies… at least she had thought so. She turned towards Specter, as uncertainty danced in her features. The king’s gaze was drawn up to the silver giant, who still wore that same facetious expression.

The over-sized brute tapped one his thighs with a golden spoon, though shovel might be a more apt description, and stepped into the pool of cherry flavored “lava”. Within another moment the silver beast adopted a relaxed position, as if they all enjoyed a simple gathering at the community hot tub. The other chimeras followed his example, discarded the tiki gear, and hopped in. His large voice addressed the pair of changelings on the other side of the pool.



“Welcome to our humble abode my fine queen and king. What, pray tell, can I assist you with?”

The giant gesticulated in a very controlled and flourishy manner. Chrysalis wasn’t sure if she was being mocked or not, but she already felt a strong distaste towards spending anymore time here than she absolutely had too. She just started to notice how uncomfortably sticky every part of her body felt, and one of her ears flicked some excess goop off.

“Are you lord Golden Spoon?”

“That is what some still call me, though these days to the residence of this Isle I mostly go by Silver. And you, I assume, are the one called queen Chrysalis.”

There were many excited and hushed murmurs among the draconequi, many of them too excited for Chrysalis’s taste. She was confused, why was her name so popular here?

“I am.”

“Is it true you beat the ponies that beat Discord?”

The question was blurted from one of the smaller draconequi near her. This particular individual was fruity shades of white and pink, and gave off a similar vibe to princess Cadance. The changeling’s snout wrinkled in annoyance.

“Yes, it was quite simple too.”

There was a collective gasp at her reply, and the excited whispers exploded into noisy chatter, and many admirable compliments were passed about. All of their voices went quiet after Silver banged his golden spoon on a large stone. The metallic ring of the instrument silenced all conversation for a while. When there was finally peace, and with every individual’s attention, Silver spoke with slow deliberate words.

“But he’s free now… and you don’t have a proper answer, do you.”

There was another collective gasp, but unlike the previous one, this one was fearful. An unwelcome tingle felt its way up the queen’s spine as the giant’s grey eyes bore down on her. She bowed her head, at a loss for any other explanation.

“Yes, and yes…But how do you-”

“Know? Heh, I’ve been watching!”

Silver raised his spoon into the air and swirled it around in the air like he stirred something in an upside down pot. Streams of glittering magic followed his motions, and soon a wide reflective surface was above them. The new stretch of visionary magic created a portal like effect, where one appeared to look through time and space.

The recent events of the stadium, and conflicts between various royalty played out above them, highlighting the more exciting parts, especially where Discord laughed at them all. A small “oh” formed on Chrysalis’s muzzle.

“Now you’re here, and hoping that we have some kind of harness to put on him? Or did you just come to be a friendly neighbor…”

The facetious smile on Silver was more facetious than ever. Before Chrysalis could confirm or deny Specter spoke up.

“I know you have an answer. The only question is if we can find one of you courageous, or generous enough.”

The facetiousness finally dropped from the giant’s face as he focused on the changeling king. His expression turned more into an unfriendly sneer, and Chrysalis cowed a little, slightly intimidated at the bemused expression, Specter remained steadfast however.

“Hmm, generous isn’t a word associated with me… anymore.”

Silver leaned back and twirled his long stringy mustache with a paw. Specter was about to say more, but was interrupted by the crash of thunder, and flash of lightning.

“What’s going on here!”

Shrieked a shrill voice. After everyone blinked several times and cleared their vision of disorientation stars, there was a collective groan from the rest of the draconequi. Chrysalis looked over to where the shrill voice came from.

Two new greyed out figures stood tall, taller than all the other draconequi, save silver.



“What are you two doing here…”

The pink draconequus accused with vehement hostility. The tall grey female straightened the pair of glasses on her snout, and dusted the formal suit she wore. Then she clapped her paws, which caused a large washing machine to appear.

Silver magic plucked up the dovey pink chimera up, and promptly shoved her into the cleaning device. The door to the contraption shut after she entered, and locked itself. An indicator dial on top swiveled to a setting called “Extreme Prejudice.”

As the machine roared to life and was followed by desperate gurgles, the grey female spoke in a less shrill, but deadly serious voice.

“Does anyone else want to question me?”

There was dead silence among the draconequi, except for the muffled howls of the pink one trapped in the washing machine. Well, and Silver, who used his spoon like a catapult to launch a large glop of cherry custard at the two newcomers. Both of whom reacted in shock to the sudden dowse of goop.

“How are you doing Authority and Mop?”

Authority sputtered while she wiped the stuff offer her face. The one called Mop lit himself on fire, and caused the terrible stench of burnt cherry to permeate the clearing.

“What are two uninvited foreigners doing on our island!”

Her voice became high and shrill again.

“But they were invited, I mailed them a spare spoon.”

“Then why did I not receive documentation and a schedule!”

“Because I knew it would frustrate you. Heh, but if their is a draconequus on this isle that has any authority of me, it certainly isn’t you.”

Silver stood up to his full, and excessive height, then exited the pool. Just before the giant disappeared into the jungle he turned his large head and rumbled a few words.

“As far you, Chrysalis and Specter, feel free to do as you please, and -snort- good luck finding a volunteer...”

As soon as Silver was gone, Authority rounded her wrathful attention on the pair of changelings.

“You two are going to tell me all your plans for being here. After Mop makes you sanitary of course.”

Mop has since extinguished himself, and now smelled strongly of rubbing alcohol. A thick pair of goggles obscured his eyes, a breather filter covered the snout, and latex gloves were on his paws. One clap later a white suitcase came into existence, and the antiseptic smelling draconequus proceeded to pull a fierce looking vacuum out of it.

Specter and Chrysalis bolted out of the pool and into the jungle. Unfortunately, they left large cherry-stained tracks behind them. Authority growled in their general direction before she disappeared in a flash of lightning. Mop flew along upon swan and raven wings, and followed the changeling tracks.

When the grey draconequi were gone, those that remained sighed in relief. Except for the one stuck in the washing machine, which exploded shortly, and launched the pink one sky high.


---


( Crystal Empire )


Shade led Applejack down an innocuous path of the empire. Their pace was leisurely and the vanguard took his time to look around. Frequently changelings they passed would call out in greeting or other friendly gestures. Several of the friendly passer byes were crystal ponies, who acknowledged the head vanguard with respect.

One particular middle-age mare even walked up to the pair of them with a smile on her muzzle.

“Shade! It’s good to see you made it to safety.”

“It’s a relief to see you made it as well miss maresbury.”

“Is that a speech I hear coming from the palace?”

Crone’s natural voice could indeed be heard from the distant palace. The changeling glanced that way briefly before her turned back to the mare.

“It is. Queen Crone is explaining the royals’ approach to the current situation.”

“Well, I hope they find an answer soon. It feels so strange, just remembering how much I wanted to escape this place when Sombra ruled over us. Now, I can’t imagine wanting to leave this bubble, lest that chaotic demon has his way again.”

Maresbury cringed in memory of the recent debacle, and pointed a hoof to the giant shifty letters to emphasize her point. Shade grunted in grim acknowledgement, but shifted to a more curious tone.

“Speaking of the ‘chaos demon’, have you had the chance to look through the library?”

“I have, but I keep encountering the same problem. Almost all of the books in the library have large blank sections in them. As if things have been erased. I have no idea if that was Sombra trying to purge more of our culture, it wouldn’t surprise me. But no, I didn’t find anything helpful about this ‘Discord’.”

“Well, that’s a shame. I suppose you should and catch the end of the queen’s announcements. I’m probably going to be hearing plenty of the details personally, later.”

The tall changeling tilted his head towards the palace, and Miss Maresbury glanced at the faraway balcony. She shared a grateful nod with the head vanguard before she took notice of the orange mare just behind him.

“Oh? Who’s this Shade? Did you pick her up in the dispersion? She doesn’t look like a crystal pony.”

“I’m Applejack… I’m his prisoner.”

Her head hung low, a cast of resignation dowered her face. Maresbury meanwhile looked rather shocked.

“Prisoner? What do you mean? I don’t see any chains? Is this some kind of joke Shade?”

“Um, you remember in the stadium?”

“Oh, does this have something to do with those foreign princesses? What this pony do?”

The old grey mare looked at AJ with a great deal more suspicion. The farm pony returned the look with annoyance.

“The high crime of doin’ nothin’.”

Shade stepped between the two, as he smelled a rapid increase in tension.

“Applejack here is a key player, being one of the elements of harmony. The strongest weapon Equestria’s ever had. She hasn’t done anything personally, so don’t give her any scorn. We just have the unfortunate circumstance of our leaders being opposite sides of the fence. Also, I really think you need to go catch the last of the announcements Miss Maresbury.”

The grey mare didn’t drop her suspicious look, and started a trot towards the palace.

“Be safe then Shade.”

After she was gone, Applejack let out a snort. There were almost no ponies around them anymore, nearly all had gone towards the queen’s announcements.

“I say, what in tarnation is wrong with your queen. That ‘ol mare looked like she was about ready to attack me… Why did ya attack us, but save them? Hardly seems fair or consistent.”

Shade let out a sigh, and rubbed a hoof down half of his face.

“I never agreed with the attack, I believe there were better ways we could have approached the situation. But a bad combination of desperation and ambition made for some rather reckless decisions. All I can do is try for damage control, for both sides, as much as I can.”

“Uh huh. I remember well enough that crack of Tartarus you were livin’ in. It’s just… grrrr.”

She stamped a hoof in frustration, and turned away from Shade. A stiff frown stuck to her muzzle and she closed her eyes.

As much as Shade wanted to act on instinct, and reach out a comfort her with a pat on the withers, he restrained himself. She probably wouldn’t react all that well.

“I’m sorry, Applejack.”

“Ya ya, I’m sure ya are. Duty and some such… So when are ya gonna put me in another one of those awful slime balls? In fact, why haven’t ya already?”

The mare opened her eyes again, and stared at the vanguard with consternation. She noticed the odd feature of his violet eyes. They had steadily become more clear and defined, and looked less like a gradieated cloud.

“I think that isn’t necessary on this occasion.”

Applejack quirked an eyebrow, and Shade continued.

“That shield isn’t going down as long as Discord’s still a threat, and frankly, I don’t take you for much of a vandal.”

That actually got AJ to crack a thin grin.

“Oh? What makes you think I won’t go take out your queen in her sleep?”

Shade just snorted.

“You’re a more sensible pony than that.”

“Fine, fine, so where am I to be ‘kept’?”

In response to her question, Shade turned back to the walkway and continued their trot.

“There are several empty residences this way, we can go ahead and pick one you fancy. Also as far as being ‘kept’, I think I’ll extend you some trust. You can go where you like, so long as I don’t hear you’re up to trouble.”

The farm ponies eyes widened in surprise, this was a great deal more freedom than she expected. Though other thoughts broached the possibilities.

“Well, load a good that’ll do me… If the way that ol’ mare reacted is anything to go by.”

The head vanguard narrowed his eyes in concern.

“Just don’t go around with a big banner saying “GO CELESTIA” and you should be fine. In fact-”

Shade paused and flashed his eye-lights.

“You’ll definitely have no changelings giving you trouble, and they’ll make sure the crystal ponies don’t give you any.”

“Wow, just like that huh?”

Shade smiled.

“Just like that.”


---

Around the corner of a nearby building, listening with prying ears, was another vanguard. Camouflaged with specialized magic, he spied on his enemies, the mare and the head vanguard. They would pay, and their queen would pay, especially the queen.

All of them would suffer for what they did to his Monny!


Author's Note:

I know only one of the images is actually colored for now... The reason is the amount of time it takes to color one. It takes about 20-30 min to do each sketch, and 2-3 to do color. But hey, I plan on coming back and recoloring things... many things.

Anyway, sorry for the long break, it was like... the summer of writer's block. But now that i'm all vacationed up, things should be gettin' back into groove, which means not multi week break things...

Cheerio :twilightsmile:

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