• 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.67 "Our Guests"

Chrysalis Wins




Ch.67 “Our Guests”

( Isle of Draconequi )








Chrysalis and Specter followed Mop in relative silence for some distance. In fact, that was the strange thing. The changelings began to notice how entirely quiet the trip had become. Despite being deep in the jungle there were no peeps of birds or chatter from critters. Not even the sound of a breeze trickling through leaves. Only their soft footsteps, which began to feel deafeningly loud.

With a brief cough that signaled her intent to speak, Chrysalis voiced a concern she had been thinking for a greater part of the trip.


“Mop. Why are we walking through the jungle? Can we not fly over to where we need to be?”


“We’re almost there, and yes we’re walking, you’ll see why in a moment.”


A small smirk crept on the edges of the draconequus’s lips. Chrysalis didn’t like that smirk, and the ominous reply wasn’t particularly enjoyable either. Though she supposed there wasn’t going to be much more of explanation, not at this point.


They all passed through a particularly thick bit bramble, and under an especially dark canopy, it was nearly dim as a cave. Which funny enough, felt comforting, and somewhat nostalgic. She had spent most of her life in the dark wilderness. Though she shuddered, that was exactly what she wanted to leave behind as well.


To her surprise, a large set of double doors was right around the next tree. The doors were attached to a building that remained heavily obscured by the overgrown foliage, though it was easy to see they could fit a creature of Mop’s stature. The grey draconequus took no time to knock on the door.


A small peeking slit slid open, and a pair of mismatched eyes looked out of it. Mop leaned down and whispered something to the small exposed hole, and a moment later the slit shut, and the door swung open, revealing a pitch black room.


So black in fact that Chrysalis could discern nothing, which bothered her a great deal, because changelings posses excellent night vision. When she turned to Specter, she noticed he wore an apprehensive expression as well. Mop spoke up, with a tone of reassurance.


“There’s nothing to worry about, no prank is behind the door. Infact… (His voice shrinks to a whisper) They’ll be angry I spoiled their surprise, but there’s a welcoming party on the other side. They want to do something more cordial than Silver’s prank. (His voice resumes normal pitch) So uh ya, go right on in!”


He proffered them the door. Now, feeling far more reassured, Specter and Chrysalis both sighed in resignation, and stepped forward. She took a little extra comfort that Specter seemed to not enjoy this as much as her.


“SURPRISE!”


The lights came on and there was an explosion of confetti, streamers rolled across the revealed room, and the changelings took in the sight before them. The inside of the building was a wide cavernous hall, alight with a warm homey atmosphere. A large fireplace on the far side threw out an amber glow, along with the dozens of occupants already there, who exuded an infectious energy.


Drinks, food, and a myriad of interesting objects were all decoratively displayed on various tables. The young queen had never seen such variety in any dining hall before. Then the crowd spoke again, at the same time a banner dropped from the ceiling.


“Welcome Chrysalis and Specter!”


The banner said as much aswell.


One of the chimera stepped into the foreground, Chrysalis recognized it as the overtly pinkish-dovey one Authority had stuffed into a washing machine. Now that this specimen was close and quite visible, the queen noticed other obnoxious details.


The thing’s mane was done up to resemble a large poofy heart, the wings on it’s back and tip of the tail also sported crimson symbols of passion… It was basically the physical manifestation of what a pony would think is a perfect changeling snack. Though, the most disconcerting feature was this individual’s symmetry, which was unlike every other odd ball and eccentric in the building. Then it spoke, in a tone that was much-too-sultry.


“My name is Love, and I’ll be your host for this afternoon.”


Externally Chrysalis put on an awkward smile, and muttered an unenthusiastic reply,


“How...nice.”


Internally the queen groaned in disbelief. This must be the some kind of bad joke, then again, they could easily be serious. The only level-headed one she’d encountered so far was Mop. Speaking of which, when she turned around their guide was gone, and the large double doors shut behind them. Specter voiced what she already thought.


“Great…”


“Aw, don’t be scared.”


The one called “Love” apparently heard the discouraged reaction, and fluttered over to the changelings to present herself in a more accommodating manner. She made a sweeping majestic bow, and the rest of the draconequi followed her example. After the genial display Love righted herself. She posed a much less intimidating figure than any of the grey draconequi, and was barely taller than Chrysalis herself. When she spoke again it was much less sultry, and more affable.


“Please, settle down and relax.”


With a snap of magic somewhere, from some draconequus, large fluffy chairs appeared and were deftly scooted under the royal visitors. Though a surprise, the sensation wasn’t uncomfortable. Love gestured widely at the grandeur of the homey dining hall.


“As my compatriots proudly present, your lunch.”


All of the chimera seemed to move in one motion as the room exploded with movement.


The rectangular room bulged, and stretched into something more cylindrical. The furniture and dining equipment flew across the room in sentient fashion, the fire place became a central fire pit. The floor began to segment and divide itself into steps.


Chrysalis and Specter found themselves at the highest level of a multi-level rotisserie platform, and slowly rotated around the central fire.


Love had taken position above the flame, which accentuated her already passionate colors, and began to slowly dance. The chimera’s words began to come out in melody.

“Be...our… guest, be our guest! Put your worries to rest!”


The changeling queen’s ears flicked downward in annoyance, and a brief snort escaped her muzzle. Everything was a performance with these creatures… and all of them were too caught in the flurry of activity to notice her irritation. Love continued unfettered, and the rest of the crowd joined in for one liners and chorus bits here and there.

Sink into bliss, cherie
As we provide the zest
Pie ala mode
Or paved in rockyroad
There’s no limit in our abode
Try the pink stuff

( Some little pocket-sized draconequus does a cartwheel in front of Chrysalis )

It's delicious!

( Love leads the crowd )

Don't believe me? Don’t be suspicious!
We can sing, they can dance
After all, your majesties, this is chaos
And a no one meal here ever tastes the same
Go on, unfold your menu
Take a glance and then you'll
Be our guest
YAY, our guest
Be our guest!

( The crowd joins in as Love’s dance get’s more vigorous, and evermore entrees dance by the changelings. At this point the enthusiasm finally starts to infect the equines, and they start to sample some of the sumptuous things passing them by. )

Bar-be-que
Peas and hay
Crystal pudding with regal ray

( Love continues solo )

On the dot, we’re here and there
Nothing’s surreptitious
You're far from home
And unprepared
But our acquaintance is your grace
No one's gloomy or complaining
While the company’s entertaining
We tell jokes! I do tricks
With my fellow hipster-slicks

( The crowd breaks into it’s own lines )

And it's all at perfect pace
No qualms that we’ll deliver
Come on and lift your glass
You've won your own free pass
To be our guest

( Love solo’s again )

If you're stressed
It's fine dining we suggest
Be our guest! Be our guest! Be our guest!

( Love )

Be our guest!

( Crowd )

Be our guest!

( Another Chimera pops up, hip-checks Love out of center, and dances above the fire. This upcomer is blue, white, and wears large violet glasses )

Some guests! We’ve got guests!


We’ve got some peeps to impress
Wind up the line, so no one's bored
The beats are ready to caress
Post meal, They'll want to see
Something especially extraordinary
It won’t be hard to do
The outside world is long past due
I'll get revved, and amped up
We’ll shake some skulls like it’s hot!
Hook it up! We don’t want them to forget!

( The crowd as a whole )

We've got a lot to do!

( Love pushes the blue Chimera out of the way, and the overall tempo of the room slows down, and darkens, save for the pink-one spotlighting herself )

Life was so stale
For a socialite with no one to hail
We’re not whole without a soul to entertain
Ah, those good old days we don’t remember...
Suddenly those good old days tickle our hope
Ten years since our last
Chance to please someone besides our own cast
Needing exercise, a chance to use our skills!
Most days we just repeat the same old drivel
Foggy, flat and hazy
You walked in and now we’re crazy!

( The blue one )

Is it one bump or two?
For you, our guests!

( The crowd )

They’e our guests!

( The blue one )

They’re our guests!

( Everyone all together )

They’re our guests!
Be our guests! Be our guests! Be our guesst!
Be our guests! Be our guests!
Your desires are our quest
It's been years since we've had anybody here
And we're obsessed
With your meal, with your ease
Yes, indeed, we aim to please
While the firelight's still glowing
Let us help you, We'll keep going
Course by course, one by one
'Til you shout, "Enough! I'm done!"
Then we'll sing you off to sleep as you digest
Tonight you'll prop your feet up
But for now, let's eat up
Be our guest!
Be our guest!
Be our guest!
Please, be our guest

Specter gave a respectable clap, and Chrysalis deliberated for a moment before she joined the king in applause. It had been a while since she enjoyed something so simple as a show. The fireworks at the end were a nice accent to the overall energetic atmosphere.


After the song, and things started to quiet down into loud chatter, the double doors opened back up, and Mop made his way into the hall. Many of the smaller chimera chuckled or openly laughed at the grey one’s reappearance, and a few made chiding calls.


“Still phobic of songs eh Mop?”


“‘Course, he only like to clean up!”


The tall creature ignored the smaller ones, even as he quietly pulled out a long vacuum hose, and sucked up spilled food and confetti. While he did this he made a loud announcement to the room, where his baritone voice carried well.


“Now, I know you all would like to talk to them, but the goal is not to overwhelm. ONLY one at a time, and ONLY for the next hour… Otherwise Authority might crash the party.”


There was a general boo at the mention of the cursed Authority.


“Jeez DAD! What a downer…”


Love sulked and blew some of her performance-disheveled mane out of the way. Mop scoffed at the mock annoyance.


“You really wanna call me a downer? Please… just work with what you’ve got. I won’t interfere till the time’s up. Until then, keep yourselves polite.”


The large grey figure leaned down towards the changelings and spoke in a low voice.


“I hope you two are ok with a whole hour. You said you wanted to meet some of them, and I figured you could get a glimpse here.”


Chrysalis nodded her head, as much as she wasn’t looking forward to it, this is what she came here to do. Specter voiced a reply,


“Thank you for giving it some structure Mop, it’s much appreciated.”


“No problem, I’ll be back within the hour. You don’t need to worry that I’ll keep you waiting.”


With that he turned back towards the double doors, and pulled out some clean wipes, which he used to thoroughly scrub down the handles, then finally exited. With him gone, Chrysalis closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. When she opened her eyes again, there was already a draconequus leaning on their table. She was giggly, and battered her eyes at both of the changelings stupidly. It was that thing called Love. Once more, Specter took the initiative, and sounded relatively polite while doing it.


“You’re our ‘host’, Love, right?”


“Uh huh… hehe.”


“Um, did you have a question?”


“Uh huh… hehe.”


Specter looked to Chrysalis, his eyes communicated a desire for her to engage, and his head gave a nod of indication. The queen bit her tongue before she turned to the pinkish-dovey thing, and stated flatly.


“What’s your question.”


“I don’t want to assume… but are you two a couple?”


Chrysalis planted her face squarely on the table…




---






The hour passed relatively quickly, and none of the questions posed by the other chimera after Love were overly frustrating or difficult… Though they weren’t quite as bad as she initially thought they would be. However, she wasn’t sure any in this particular crowd would live up to what she needed them to be. Most of them were quite happy to see her, but also smelled of nervousness and apprehension. None of them carried the charismatic self-assurance to the level of Discord.


All of them were short, well, short compared to something like Authority, Mop, or Discord… not that size was a correlation for power… but it often seemed to play out that way.


True to his word, Mop returned after a full hour had passed. The double doors opened wide and revealed the light of a setting sun.


The dining hall had become quite the mess, and the grey draconequus had come expecting it apparently. As he was already strapped with goggles, fitted with gloves, and armed with a large reality bending vacuum.


“Time to clean out!”


Mop announced with reverberance, and he was quickly received with a collective groan of disappointment, voiced most loudly by Love.


“But we barely started!”


“Not according to my clock.”


“Clocks suck!”


A switch was flipped and the vacuum roared to life. The threat of the active instrument was enough to make the crowd scatter, and within moments the entire place was vacant. Except for Chrysalis and Specter, who rested patiently on their guest chairs.


Clean up was all of 60 seconds, then Mop popped off his goggles and turned to the changelings. Specter was off his chair and on his hooves, ready to move at the grey chimera’s approach. Chrysalis on the other hoof, remained lazily in her chair. Her gut had become quite bloated after an hour of consistent snacking. She groaned a bit after a gurgle emanated from her over-stuffed system.

“Gimme a minute.”


A small grin spread to the edges of Spectre’s muzzle, and he whispered so only Mop could hear.


“I think she took a little too quick to the suggestion of “Fine Dining” for “Stress”.”


“Was it that bad?”


“I thought she was handling the pestering fine, but I suppose I wasn’t paying close enough attention to notice.”


“Huh, well, I’m afraid we can’t wait much longer. Authority is expecting both of you, and I’d rather not get on her bad side.”


“WHAT ARE… you two whispering about?”

Chrysalis blurted in an inconsistent tone, her heavy food coma being a rather large influence. She shifted about uncomfortably in her chair, and threw a suspicious glare at the other two creatures. Mop answered neutrally.


“We can teleport to the base of Authorities office, if you don’t feel up to walking that is.”


“What you think I ca-”


The swollen queen leaned forward and attempted to get out of her chair. She did not accomplish her objective however, and ended up sloshing back and forth in futility, rather like a water-balloon in a bowl.


“I, I… ok, let’s teleport.”


She realized she was embarrassing herself, kind of, she didn’t have the effort in her to figure it out anyway. So with apparent permission, Mop clapped his paws, and they all vanished.




---




After landing at the base of a large modernistic tower, the sudden lurch was too much for a certain member of the party, and Chrysalis’s lunch spilled all over the shiny chrome doorstep.


Several moments of undignified heaves followed, but the queen was accompanied by a strangely cheerful Specter, who pat her on the back and muttered soft reassurances. “There, there, whenever you’re ready.” or some such generic comfort.


Chrysalis was about to wipe the spillage from her face when Mop offered her a clean wipe. With bloodshot eyes, she stared at it, somewhere between embarrassed, grateful, and mortified with herself. When Mop started to reach forward to do it for her, she made her decision and took the wipe herself.


“I’m not going with your teleportation anymore…”


Mop just shrugged, and used his vacuum to clean up the royal vomit all over his sister’s stairs. Specter removed his hoof from the queen’s back and walked towards the steel sheen of the tower doors.


“Well, that lunch was certainly more interesting than any I’ve had in recent past. Are breakfast and dinner served here as well?”


“Call it whatever you want, and you can probably have it served to you… Now, I’m going to let you two handle Authority… here’s the only paper you need to give her to be satisfactory.”


The grey draconequus whipped out two pieces of parchment, and pawed over one to each changeling. It was a simple list of terms, with a space for a signature at the bottom. Both Specter and Chrysalis seize each piece in their magic, and read them briefly before preparing to sign.


The changeling king pulled out a stencil made of exotic wood, wetted it on the side of his mouth, and signed the document. Chrysalis morphed one of her hooves into a sharp, clawed appendage, wetted on the side of her mouth, and signed.


“Best of luck to ya both, if ya need me, I’m bunkered out on the other side of the volcano, there’s a sign. Bye.”


A dull flash signaled his departure, and left the two of them alone with the large, soulless, structure in front of them.


“Let’s get this over with.”


Chrysalis pushed open the doors, and marched into the abyss, Specter followed in silent agreement. Though, to their surprise, the inside of the tower didn’t match the volume as it appeared on the outside. Inside it was a massive, cathedral-like structure, complete with colossal stained glass windows, and intricately carved stonework.


Both changelings paused, and soaked in the breadth of it. The path in front of them ended abruptly, a generously sized floating disc was all the only object between them, and a canyon that disappeared into blackness below. The stained glass on either side of them was such a span it could easily outclass the skyscrapers of manehattan. Hundreds of stories were told through imagery, detailed exquisitely on each immense opaque canvas.


Then there was a rush of sound, something that was a great howling wind, but contained within the mountainous hall. Though this wind had a melody to it, a melody blown through an impossibly large organ. It’s tone was evocative, if somewhat foreboding.

Specter stepped forward after poking Chrysalis to get her attention, for the music was too loud to speak over. After brief indication, they both stepped onto the disc, which came to life at their touch. Steadily it flew forward, away from the entry doors, and down the utterly cavernous halls.


The journey took time, and followed several swerving curves, that made the limbo of the building external nature all the more inconceivable. Eventually the tones of the music shifted to something more regal to serenade them with, before it would make sudden jumps back to empowered tones.


Eventually an end to the hall began to appear, and the disc carried them upward and completed their journey at the base of another large platform. Much larger than the one they had entered on.


Flush with the wall, and up against it’s own massive stained window, was the largest organ set Chrysalis had ever seen. Down at the center, playing the titanic instrument was Authority, who either hadn’t noticed or acknowledged the changelings as of yet, enraptured as she was with her set of keys and pipes.


Specter hopped off the disc onto the platform, but didn’t go any further, content to simply stand and watch. Chrysalis followed suite, and neither of them noticed as their disc ride faded away. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait too much longer for the draconequus to finish her work of art. Strangely the changeling queen found herself wanting more by the time it was over.


When Authority twirled around, her petite round glasses were still on her snout, but she was no longer in a professional business suite, but a more casual button up shirt. Her air of severity seemed somewhat toned down, possibly relaxed? Though Chrysalis didn’t read into it too much. The draconequus extended an expectant paw.


“Your papers?”


The changelings passed them over with magic, and the chimera gave both sheets a brief look over. Apparently satisfied, she tossed the papers towards a cupboard near the organ, labeled “Binding agreements”.


“So, this is your office?”


Specter looked around, wonderment still in his violet eyes.


“Indeed.”


Authority’s short quip didn’t set a very conversational tone, and she went back to her business air.


“Both of you happened to appear in time for a particularly important occasion, one that’s on schedule for every five years, on a particular time, at a particular location.”


“And what occasion is this.”


Chrysalis stated, not eager to play around either.


“The formal, straight-lace, grandeurs’ dance. It’s the one time every half-decade that the populous of this island mandatorily practices some civil conformity. Perfect attendance is expected… even of guests.”


The implication was clear, but Specter voiced concern for further clarification.


“So our attendance is expected, very well, anything else?”


“In two days, five o’ clock. Formal clothing, and a dance partner. The ball then breaks into less-formal form after eight, and finishes at ten. Quite frankly, it’s the one thing that keeps me from giving up on sanity and destroying the entire island. I want no hiccups, otherwise, I can’t promise what the consequences will be.”


Authority’s eyes narrowed dangerously. However, the threatening intent excited Chrysalis, excited her in such a way that she was more hopeful in her goal.


“You know of Discord’s return?”


The grey chimera’s eyes fixated on the changeling queen. There was no humor in her words.


“What about it.”


Then Chrysalis thought about this draconequus… she didn’t actually like this draconequus… Though she possessed the demeanor of power, and the will to use it, the changeling reconsidered whether aiding this draconequus would lead to a greater nightmare or not.


“Nevermind.”


Perhaps she would try later, if absolutely nothing else seemed like a better option. This “Authority” appeared to respect contracts, down to the letter. The queen would just have to think of one that could work. However, the chimera’s cold, perceptive eyes already processed her implication.


“You wish me to oust him from his position…”


The changeling cursed under her breath, she revealed too much. Too much for such an edge ridden character. But there was nothing explosive from Authority, rather she turned around, and started to slowly walk away.


“Nothing would please me more… but I’m afraid I’ve not been able to do anything about the barrier, anymore than any other draconequus… save for Silver, that conceited jerk.”


Silver... Chrysalis clenched her jaw at the idea. Everything seemed to turn back to that facetious prankster. She didn’t like where these options were going.


“Are you so su-”


“I will take your request into further consideration after the ball. Until then, I will enjoy my isolation.”


With a brief wave of departure, Authority stepped up to one of the organ pipes, opened a well concealed door, and went down the chute. When she was gone, the grand hall began to compress in on itself.


For a moment, the queen feared she was going to be crushed in some kind of deadly trap, but it came to a stop in a few seconds. The endless hall was now a small room, the giant organ, now a baby organ.


It had become a cosy library, with a soft fireplace. It was a drastic change from the magnificent grandeur, but not an unwelcome one. A final question pestered Chrysalis’s tired mind.


“Where are we going to sleep?”


Specter put a hoof to his chin in thought.


“There was an old cave I hid in a hundred years ago, I suppose I could check if it is still there.”


Her highness spotted a couch, a plush inviting couch, she didn’t have to think twice about what she would rather do. She trotted over and flopped onto it in a weary slump. It was just the right size too, for her, and only her.


Specter Looked around, and saw a large armchair near the fire. When he peered over at Chrysalis, she’d fallen to snores already.


For some time, he simply stood there, and watched the fire in contemplation, occasionally he threw a glance back at the restful queen. Developments had certainly been strange, and easily could have been far more tragic than what occurred. In several ways he was grateful, and the expression appeared in the form of relieved tension.


Eventually exhaustion caught up with him, and he eased himself into the broad furniture. His last look at Chrysalis held an air of curiosity, then he closed his own eyes, and let consciousness fade.

Author's Note:

You're welcome...

And before you ask... No, Vinyl Scratch is not a draconequus... She just has a dedicated fan.

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