• Published 29th May 2015
  • 25,838 Views, 2,229 Comments

Undead Robot Bug Crusaders - Banjo64

Scootaloo has a secret. So do Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. What happens when the truth comes out?

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Chapter 15: Going Bug or Bird?

The queen of the Cloudsdale hive called for a meeting. Every changeling, including those living elsewhere, were to make their way to the royal council room and participate. The only exceptions were the guards on active duty, and Twitch.

About a hundred or so showed up.

This was unsurprising considering that said council room wasn’t big enough to fit much more. And when you have a hivemind, things like physical presence aren’t exactly required to attend.

This is so exciting! A hive-wide meeting! The last time the Cloudsdale hive had one of these we weren’t even born yet! exclaimed Beetle.

Calm down, Beetle. We already know what this is about, said Lynx.

Eh, let him gush. It’ll help him stay quiet when he’s supposed to, said Poppy.

Yeah, because the rest of us are definitely going to contain ourselves the entire time, snarked Uno.

Scootaloo mentally rolled her eyes. Even when history was being made in front of them, her siblings were still going at it.

Speak for yourself. I for one am busy setting up a little surprise for the first changeling to leave the meeting, added Twitch.

That’d be impressive considering you’re grounded again, and mom set up some guards to make sure you don’t sneak your buggy hide out of your room, said Dove.

Yeah. You’ve never managed to get past them before, and today will be no different, said Goose.

Are you sure about that? taunted Twitch.

There was some nervous muttering at that announcement.

Nopony check in on him. He’s probably trying to trick us into looking at one of those disturbing magazines again, said Uno.

A moment later, Goose started retching.

Why does she never listen to me? complained Uno.

Finally, every changeling in the hive felt a call to attention. Everyone immediately shut up (yes, even Twitch), and turned towards the front of the council room. A moment later, the royal changelings of the hive appeared.

As was tradition, the three princesses entered first: Blue Monarch and her sisters Red Velvet and Green Glow. They were nearly identical aside from their colors, as was typical of royal changelings. They all smiled and waved at the crowd as they took their seats. The changelings before them were their children, after all. They were princesses, but more than that they were mothers.

And judging by the wince on Red Velvet’s face as she sat down, they were still in the middle of their latest prank war. Hopefully the vanilla pudding now leaking down her chair was a point to team Blue.

Everyone's attention turned back to the entrance as queen Ptera IV herself entered and looked at the crowd with professionalism. While her body was similar to the princesses, her violet chitin was notably darker, and her posture was far more regal. She took her seat without so much as a grin. She was the matriarch of everyone present, but as queen her first priority was the hive itself. She did genuinely care for her subjects, but for her, business came first.

Needless to say, changelings don’t get many hugs from their grandmothers.

The queen cleared her throat.

“Thank you all for coming. We are all aware of what this is about, so I’ll just get straight to the point and keep this meeting brief,” she said.

There was some muttering at this, but no one objected.

Good. I need to get started on that cabbage for dinner tonight, added Butter.

“As you are all undoubtedly aware, we have recently finalized negotiations with the Equestrian crown. While the details shall be available for public viewing shortly, I feel it necessary to directly and vocally address two of the more pressing details, and what they imply for the future of our species,” continued the queen.

There were several groans from a few less than subtle changelings at this announcement.

Five bits says it’s about something needlessly paranoid and cautious, said Lynx.

No deal. Too likely, replied Beetle.

“The first of which is the fact that starting tomorrow, changelings will be formally recognized as citizens of Equestria. And while we will no longer be required to mask our true forms from...” the queen paused as the hivemind erupted with cheers from happy changelings.

Scootaloo herself was among them. After all these years of living in fear of discovery, it was over. She didn’t have to keep her secret anymore. She could…

The queen banged her hoof a few times. The cheering and chatter quieted down.

“Yes, this is indeed exciting news. This is the start of a new age for changelingkind. However, this is not an indication that all our problems are over. I must remind you all that there is a reason why we have lived in hiding for so long. Ponies have changed a great deal since we first escaped our vile prison, but there are still those who cling to prejudice and intolerance. There will be those who despise us for our corrupted nature. We may be free to be ourselves, but in doing so we invite others to judge us for who we are,” said the queen.

The muttering returned, now somewhat annoyed.

Great. The “we are outcasts” speech again, groaned Uno.

And on today of all days, too, added Scootaloo.

“This problem will not be solved quickly. And indeed, there will always be those who will reject us. Our generation faces the challenge of proving that our species can peacefully live among ponies. It will not be easy, but we must not allow ourselves to be driven to anger or violence. We are now citizens of Equestria. This means we now adhere to the same laws,” said the queen.

More than a few changelings in the crowd rolled their eyes. Discreetly, of course.

And there’s the part about the ponies that are going to despise our guts. Of course there’s going to be haters. But I doubt there’s going to be too many of them after they realize how long we’ve been living peacefully with ponies in secret, commented Beetle.

For now, at least. I bet that’ll change real fast if Twitch ever leaves the hive, added Poppy.

The entire clutch mentally glared at Twitch. He replied with a raspberry.

I think she’s just being extra cautious as usual. Making sure that we all realize what’s at stake if we do run into somepony like that, answered Uno.

Yeah. I can think a lot of ponies who are nothing like that, and only two who are, added Scootaloo.

The queen cleared her throat again. Scootaloo turned her attention back towards her.

“The other matter I wish to address is regarding our disguises. As you all know, until today it has been illegal for changelings to reveal themselves without good reason. My fellow queens and I have agreed that this law needed to be changed. However, it has not been removed entirely,” said the queen.

This led to more muttering, with a fair amount of confusion. Scootaloo’s siblings were surprisingly quiet, unsure what to make of this yet.

“As part of our agreement with Equestria, we have provided the Princesses with the identities of every disguised changeling in the nation. They have elected to keep this information to themselves barring any major crisis or criminal activity. What this means is that while the crown will have an easier time finding… problematic individuals, our network of changelings living outside the hives remains hidden from the populace,” explained the queen.

“Which brings me back to the law of disguises. While it is no longer unlawful to reveal yourself, it remains illegal to reveal another changeling. As I have just stated, changelings who choose to reveal themselves will likely face hardships for doing so. Any changeling who does not wish to contend with such matters may simply maintain their disguise and continue with their lives as if nothing has changed,” said the queen.

Surprisingly, no one started chatting at this announcement.

“I hereby make this official declaration: all changelings, regardless of age, location, or any other factor, must decide for themselves whether they wish to live their lives as public changelings in Equestria, or as disguised ponies. Please bear in mind that there is no correct answer to this decision. I advise you all to look at what you have now, and what your current identity means to you,” declared the queen.

The muttering returned, though it seemed a little less… whiny than before.

“There is, of course, much more to the situation that these two factors, but you can all learn the details for yourselves at your own time. The issue with our disguises simply needed to be addressed before the official decree by the Equestria Crown to prevent easily avoidable incidents. With that said and done, I declare this meeting concluded. Thank you for your time,” finished the queen as she got up and left.

Seeing that that surprisingly short meeting was already over, Scootaloo let her mind slip back to her body, lying on her bed at home.

OK, I didn’t see that coming, said Uno.

Yeah. I thought for sure the disguise law would been completely demolished. But why did the queen call for a hive-wide meeting just to tell us this? Most of us live in the hive, after all, asked Butter.

Well, a lot of changelings don’t, and she wanted to make sure we all got the message before tomorrow. And besides, I think we’re going to be getting visitors soon. I overheard mom talking about possible tourism, answered Poppy.

That makes sense. She wants to make sure nopony lets something slip while we have company, said Uno.

What I want to know is why she didn’t mention anything about the ghouls. I’m pretty sure part of the negotiations was finding a way for changelings and ponies to work together to fight them, said Lynx.

That’s military stuff. The queen’s not going to waste everypony’s time with something that only the guards need to care about, commented Dove.

I care, mumbled Lynx.

And none of us care that you care, so who cares if you care or don’t care? So if you care about our caring, would you care to not care about... added Twitch.

Shut up, Twitch, said everyone else in the clutch.

Twitch responded with a cackle.

Anyways, what about you, Scootaloo? You’re living among ponies. What are you planning to do about this? asked Beetle.

Well, of course I’m… Scootaloo trailed off as she realized something.

She’d never thought about this part before.

You’re what, Scoots? asked Uno.

I’m… not sure, admitted Scootaloo.

Scootaloo found the official announcement on the town hall bulletin board. It was also available on fliers around town, but that was besides the point.

By Decree of their Royal Highnesses Celestia and Luna:

In light of the invasion that took place during the royal wedding, we have conducted an extensive investigation into these changelings. Our efforts have revealed an astonishing truth: the invasion was the result of an outcast of their society, and they were just as horrified by her actions as we were.

Over the last several months, we have endeavored to learn more about changelings, and...

Scootaloo skimmed over the rest. It was more or less just stuff she already knew mixed with a repeat of what the Queen had told her yesterday, though directed at ponies. There was a call to be better ponies, to not let fear of the unknown control one’s behavior, to show love and trust to their new neighbors, etc, etc.

Interestingly, there was also a small note on changelings and ponies having a common heritage, but nothing about the flutter ponies or the smooze. There was probably some political move behind it, but Scootaloo honestly didn’t care enough to ask her mom. Seriously: buck politics.

Regardless, it was official now: Changelings were citizens of Equestria. And now that the big world-changing event had finally happened, Scootaloo wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about it. She’d spent the last few months so excited that this was finally happening that she’d never stopped and considered what it would mean for her as an individual.

She wasn’t scared of course. She’d heard her queen’s speeches too many times to let the fear of rejection hold her back. And after Zecora, Ponyville ponies knew perfectly well not to judge by appearances. Well, most of them, but the few who didn’t hardly mattered. The issue wasn’t about how ponies would treat her. It was about how she would live her life from this point forward.

She’d spent so many years learning how to be a pegasus. And now she had to option of not bothering anymore. True, nopony had any idea what it live as a changeling in public yet, but it couldn’t be that difficult. But was that what Scootaloo wanted? And what about her flying lessons with...

“Excuse me,” said a gentle voice.

Scootaloo jumped and turned to see Mayor Mare holding a sheet of paper.

“I’d hate to interrupt your moment of deep reflection, but I need to post this on the bulletin board. Would you mind stepping aside for a moment?” asked the mayor.

Scootaloo blushed as she realized how suspicious it was for her to be brooding in front of the royal decree about changelings.

“Right, sorry,” said Scootaloo as she trotted out of the way.

Mayor Mare pinned the document to the board, then turned and left. Curious, Scootaloo looked at the new document.

To any changeling in Ponyville who wishes to reveal him or herself, there will be an official meeting in town hall this evening at 8 o’clock. Not all changelings need to attend, but I believe an open forum for changelings to show us their true forms and answer any questions may help prevent rumors and wild accusations from becoming widespread.

-Mayor Mare.

“Eh, makes sense I guess. I bet the Flower Trio’s already started hearing rumors that changelings drink blood or something stupid like that and spreading them like wildfire,” Scootaloo said with a shrug.

Though now she had to consider whether she wanted to attend or not, but she could worry about that later. She had a flying lesson to get to. If it would still be a flying lesson by the time she got there.

“Hey, Scoots! I heard the big news! You’re a full-fledged citizen now!” said Rainbow as she flew down to meet Scootaloo at their secret training hill.

Well, not so much secret as simply far enough from town that they could talk openly without being overheard. Especially since this was where they had their sappy “sister” bonding moments. Neither of them wanted to be seen doing anything like that.

Scootaloo let out a small sigh.

“Yeah. Though I’m not sure what to make of it all just yet,” admitted Scootaloo.

“I hear ya. These things are always kind of awkward at first. Remember when Luna took back her crown? Nopony knew what to think at the time, but now it’s hard to remember what it was like with only one Princess in Canterlot,” said Rainbow.

Scootaloo blinked at Rainbow’s surprising bit of insight. It was also a welcome distraction.

“Oh yeah. Now that you mention it, there’s been a lot of world changing things happening lately. Princess Luna, the Crystal Empire, and now this. You think anything else is going to happen?” asked Scootaloo.

“Me and the girls actually have a betting pool going on about it. Twilight expects another long lost civilization reconnecting with Equestria, Pinkie thinks some fictional character will turn out to be real, Rarity’s convinced we’ll have another princess appearing out of nowhere, Applejack thinks another ancient evil is going to show up, Fluttershy’s betting on some kind of parallel dimension thing happening, and my money’s on an alien invasion,” said Rainbow.

“Really? Aliens?” asked Scootaloo with a raised eyebrow.

“I learned my lesson the last time we had a betting pool: never bet against Pinkie Pie. Ever. And if someone fictional is going to turn out to be real, it’s probably going to be from some science fiction thing. We already have a robot in town with no clue why, after all, so aliens seem like a safe bet,” responded Rainbow with a shrug.

Scootaloo had to admit she had a point there.

“Anyways, how about we get to our lesson? I had an idea the other day about focusing your magic and…” Rainbow trailed off as she noticed Scootaloo letting out another sigh.

That had been enough sidetracking. She needed to bring this up before she lost her nerve entirely.

“About that. Are we… still going to have flying lessons?” asked Scootaloo.

“Uh… Come again?” asked Rainbow with a confused look.

“Well, you know I can fly perfectly fine without my disguise. And, well, if I decide to stop being a pegasus then... Well, there’s not much point in you teaching me how to fly like one, right?” asked Scootaloo.

Rainbow Dash blinked in surprise before giving an ‘ah’ of understanding.

“Oh, right. I didn’t think about that. It makes sense though. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, I say we keep up the lessons. No harm in more practice doing it pegasus style, right?” suggested Rainbow.

“Yeah, I guess. But.. if I do chose to just be a changeling then... “ Scootaloo trailed off, uncertain how to put her feelings into words that didn’t make her sound like a baby.

She didn’t need to though. After all the time the two had spent together, Rainbow knew the little changeling well enough to see what was bothering her.

“Then we turn these flying lessons into flying sessions, and you become my flying buddy instead of my student. Don’t worry, Scoots. I won’t stop hanging out with you just because you decide you want to fly the buggy way. You’re too awesome not to spend time with,” reassured Rainbow with a smile.

Scootaloo let out a sigh of relief.

You know, as much as you fanfilly over that pegasus, you seem to always assume the worst about her, noted Dove.

Scootaloo ignored her sister.

“You know what? Why don’t we skip the lesson today and do just that? Let you stretch your wings in the air for a change. We can worry about the sappy stuff after,” suggested Rainbow.

Scootaloo’s eyes grew wide the thought of flying with her idol, and she quickly dropped her disguise.

While it wasn’t quite the best day of Scootaloo’s life, it was certainly proving to be one of the better ones. She was flying with Rainbow Dash!

They couldn’t race or anything. Rainbow was simply too skilled, and Changeling wings were nowhere near as powerful as pegasus ones. But that didn't stop the two of them from enjoying themselves. There was more to being awesome in the sky than just speed, after all.

“OK, now let’s see some flips,” called Rainbow.

Scootaloo nodded and, with a rapid flutter of her wings, performed a perfect mid-air triple backflip.

“Awesome! I don’t think even I could pull a flip that tight without pulling something, let alone three!” cheered Rainbow.

“Well, yeah. Insect wings are kind of made for rapid turning and control. Not so much for speed or making gusts of wind,” replied Scootaloo with a blush.

“Which is all the more reason why I think you should learn how to fly as a pegasus, even if you decide to go full-time changeling. You never know when you’ll need to really pick up the pace, you know?” said Rainbow.

Scootaloo nodded. That was certainly another point to consider.

“Right. Now how about we try…”

Scootaloo smiled as she looked down over the edge of the cloud she was sitting on. It was always a treat when she had an excuse to fly this high and enjoy the view. So many pegasi just took this sort of thing for granted. Though if she decided to stay a changeling, she’d be able to do this all time.

And that made yet another factor to consider in her decision. It seemed like the more time that passed, the more complicated the choice became.

Scootaloo shook her head and turned back to taking in the sights. A moment later, Rainbow came zooming towards her, popsicles in hoof.

“And, bam. To my house for the bits, then Sugarcube Corner for the goods, and finally back here in less than two minutes. Not bad considering I was only cruising. So, strawberry or lemon?” asked Rainbow as she offered a popsicle.

“Strawberry,” answered Scootaloo as she took her piece of frozen paradise.

The two just sat there on the cloud in silence for a bit, enjoying their popsicles. That was just how the two of them prefered it. Chillaxing with each other’s company was so much cooler than talking about boring life stuff or gossiping about hot stallions.

They’d tried that once. It had gotten really awkward when it was apparent that Scootaloo knew more about stallions in that regard then Rainbow did. Scootaloo blamed her siblings for that. And that one aunt who kept bringing inappropriate magazines to the hive. They always seemed to make their way to Twitch, who didn’t read them himself.

Still, even awesome ponies like them needed to have heart to hearts from time to time. And this was obviously one of those times.

“So, you have to choose between living as a pegasus or a changeling, right?” asked Rainbow.

Rainbow was as blunt and to the point as ever.

“Well, I could become a unicorn or earth pony too, but yeah,” replied Scootaloo.

“I’ll be honest, Scoots. I’m having trouble seeing the problem. It’s not like deciding to show everypony you're a changeling means you can never put on your pegasus disguise again,” said Rainbow.

Scootaloo held back a wince. She could see where this conversation was going, and she was hoping to avoid that.

“That’s not it. It’s more of... do I want to live my life as Scootaloo the pegasus, or Scootaloo the changeling? I kind of want to do both, but once I go public, that’s it. Everypony will know I’m not really a pegasus, and...” Scootaloo’s voice trailed off.

Scootaloo didn’t want to say it.

“So what? I gave the changelings a chance to prove themselves. And if I, the pony who called Twilight Sparkle a spy once, can do that, then I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” said Rainbow.

Scootaloo cringed. She was going to have to say it.

“It’s not about that either. I’m just concerned because... well…. I just… I don’t know what I want to do with myself,” Scootaloo admitted.

Rainbow looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“You don’t know what you want to do with yourself? That’s the issue?” asked Rainbow.

Scootaloo held back a groan. It sounded even stupider when Rainbow Dash said it. And now Rainbow probably thought she was less cool.

“Last time I checked, Scoots, you still don’t have your cutie mark yet,” said Rainbow.

This statement banished Scootaloo’s fear and replaced it with confusion.

“Well, yeah. But what does that have to do with deciding to be a pegasus or a changeling?” asked Scootaloo.

Rainbow Dash blinked before she let out a soft groan and put a hoof to her face.

“OK, so maybe the two aren’t exactly related, but I’m trying to make a point here without it sounding lame. And you know how bad I am with fancy word things like meta-phones or whatever they’re called,” admitted Rainbow.

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow.

“You know you don’t have to…” she started to say.

“Hey, I’m trying to be a mentor here. Good mentors are all about these fancy teaching speech things, so I got to pull off at least one. And the point I’m trying to tell you is about making big choices, Scootaloo,” said Rainbow.

Now Scootaloo was even more confused.

“Of course you don’t know what to do with yourself. You don’t even know what your special talent is. Yeah, choosing your species is kind of a big deal, but is it any different than choosing your cutie mark? Didn’t you once tell me that even if the mark doesn’t appear, changelings always know when they’ve found it?” asked Rainbow.

Scootaloo nodded.

“Well, this is just another part of the same thing. It’s not just a changeling thing, it’s a part of growing up: finding out your place in the world. Everypony goes through this. And getting your cutie mark is only a step, a big step maybe but still only a step, in that process. Finding your place is something you spend your whole life doing, not deciding in an afternoon,” said Rainbow.

Once again, Scootaloo was impressed how deep her idol could be when the mood fit her. This didn’t happen very often.

Still, Scootaloo had to admit Rainbow’s little speech made her feel a little better. Maybe Rainbow was better at being a mentor than she thought.

“I think I get what you’re saying. I don’t know what I want to grow up to be yet, so of course I don’t know what species I want to be either. And when I do chose, I won’t know it’s the right choice for a long time. I just have to pick what I think is best and see if it works out,” said Scootaloo.

Rainbow rubbed the back of her head with a nervous chuckle that Scootaloo didn’t notice.

“Yeah… exactly. I was totally trying to say that, not just telling you to be patient and… stuff. Yep. Now are you going to finish that popsicle, or let it start melting over your hoof?” asked Rainbow.

“Hey, I’m eating it. I’m just being careful. Changelings are more vulnerable to brain freeze,” objected Scootaloo.

“That’s never stopped you before,” countered Rainbow.

“Maybe I just decided I was sick of the pain?” said Scootaloo.

“Uh huh, sure, and I just decided I’m sick of spending my bits on you, you freeloader,” said Rainbow with an eyeroll and a playful jab.

Scootaloo laughed.

Later that day, after spending some time thinking about the pros and cons of her options, Scootaloo made her way to the clubhouse. She arrived to find it a bit more crowded than expected.

“Huh. I thought you were taking the train back to Manehattan this morning, Babs,” noted Scootaloo.

“Eh, it’s still the weekend, and I got a letter in the mail today. This whole changeling business’s gettin’ a little out of hoof in Manehattan, and it’s makin’ mah ma all nervous. She figured it’d be best if I stay out of the city till things quiet down a bit,” said Babs with a shrug.

Scootaloo winced.

“Yeah, the Manehattan hive is known for being a bit crazy at times. I guess we should have seen this coming,” Scootaloo apologized.

“Wait a minute, your mom thinks you’ll be safe in Ponyville, of all places?” asked Sweetie Belle with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I’m kind of here right now anyway, and we’ve already had our inevitable disaster during Nightmare Night. But honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact she still thinks I’m a vampire,” deadpanned Babs.

“Oh, yeah,” said Sweetie Belle with a blush.

Scootaloo rolled her eyes and turned toward the other non-CMC member in the clubhouse.

“Hey, Thorax. How you holding up? Ready to make your big debut?” she asked.

Thorax let out a small sigh, but his expression was calm.

“I’m nervous, but not as worried as I’d thought I’d be. I don’t have to leave for Canterlot until tomorrow morning, and after these last few months, I think I’m ready. I am going to miss you girls, though,” he said with a sad smile.

“We were glad to have ya, Thorax. But now that Ah think about it, how does goin’ to grade school help prepare ya for bein’ an ambassador?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Well, it was more for getting some general education than work experience, but apparently the only difference between elementary students and nobles is the amount of clothes they wear, and how often they use strong language,” said Thorax.

“Let me guess, we kids swear more often than the adults?” asked Babs with a smirk.

“I didn’t say swearing. I said strong language. Because running their mouths is the only thing nobles do for exercise,” said Thorax with an awkward smile.

There was some giggles at that. Thorax had come a long way from the terrified changeling who had joined them. He was still a bit on the timid side, but definitely much more confident.

“In all seriousness though, I’ve been getting plenty of tutoring outside the classroom. And it’s not like I’m going to be the only changeling ambassador in Canterlot. I’m just the neutral one that isn’t tied to any particular hive. I’m not even going to be part of a hivemind once I get there,” answered Thorax.

Scootaloo wasn’t sure how a changeling could survive without a hivemind, but then again ponies did it just fine their whole lives, and Chrysalis’ hivemind could not have been pleasant to be a part of. And Thorax didn’t seem to mind that much…

Scootaloo shook her head. It had been his choice to make in the first place, and he’d been willing to go through with it. It wasn’t her place to question his life choices. Besides, she had something else she needed to ask him about.

“So, about that meeting at town hall tonight...” started Scootaloo.

Thorax nodded.

“Yeah. I’ve put some thought into it, and I decided I’m going to attend. I mean, I’m going to be leaving anyway, so no reason to keep it hidden. Everypony in town should learn that I was a changeling at some point, and this seems like a nice and easy place to do it. What about you, Scootaloo?” asked Thorax.

Scootaloo smiled.

“So… changelings don’t drink blood?” asked Lily.

One of the changelings on the stage sighed.

“No, we don’t drink blood, or devour souls, or anything else like that. And if we feed on love directed at us, it has no negative effect on whoever we’re feeding on,” he said for the fourth time.

“OK, just making sure,” said Lily with a sigh of relief.


Scootaloo rolled her eyes.

“Alright, next question,” said Thorax from the changeling’s left.

“So, you mentioned that your old queen’s been arrested. If you’re going to Canterlot, what exactly happened to the rest of your hive?” asked another pony in the crowd.

“Well, we’ve been mostly divided among the other hives and slowly adjusting to living under queens that are not power-hungry tyrants. A few of us, however, have decided to set out on our own. My brother Pharynx, for example, is currently in Canterlot, hoping to become the first changeling in the royal guard,” answered Thorax.

“So no changeling ever joined the guard while disguised?” asked another pony.

“Well, we’re not really supposed to give away who other changelings are disguised as, so I can’t say either way. He’s definitely the first public changeling to go for it, though,” Thorax admitted with idol hooves.

And so it continued, ponies trying to learn more about these strange and surprisingly colorful beings. It was going pretty smoothly, all things considered. No blatant insults or accusations were thrown towards the changelings. There had been a few surprising revelations on who was a changeling, though.

“So you’ve really been a changeling the whole time we knew each other?” asked Lyra, looking at one changeling in particular.

Bon Bon facehoved.

“I think it’s rather obvious that’s the case, Lyra. Must you ask such redundant questions?” she grumbled.

The changeling on stage giggled, but nodded.

“It’s alright. This is Lyra we’re talking about, after all,” said Colgate with a fanged grin.

Of course, there were still a few hiccups. There were some downright stupid and insulting questions, but nothing worse than expected. Spoiled Rich had made a scene, but everyone, pony and changeling, had seen it coming and quickly dismissed everything she’d said after she’d stormed out. And more than one mother had been concerned about a grown changeling going to school with their kids, but Thorax’s timid nature had quickly won them over.

So, all in all, it was proving to be a successful event. Scootaloo herself, however, was attending the meeting more out of respect that anything else. After all, she had chosen to sit in the crowd.

In the end, she’d decided that she was going to remain a pegasus for the time being. She couldn’t say what single factor had tipped the scales, but she felt that this was the best choice. Time would tell if she was right or not, but for now a pegasus she would stay.

I’m glad to see that you were able to make this decision on your own, my little firefly, said Blue Monarch.

Well, yeah. I’m not a baby mom. I’m more than capable of making important decisions. I just needed some advice and time to help me see this from as many angles as possible, replied Scootaloo.

Blue Monarch didn’t reply with words, but her nod of approval could be felt through the hivemind.

Could have fooled me about the baby part, little Scooty, commented Dove.

Scootaloo held back a groan. Not this again.

Shut it, Dove. I’m not getting into another argument about how a matter of seconds makes me the baby sister. I’m not even the youngest in the clutch, countered Scoots.

But it does! And you’ll always be a baby to me, said Dove with a sneer just oozing from her voice.

And so began round twenty six of the older/younger sibling technicality debate.

Blue Monarch giggled as she listened to her children arguing again. This group of little ones still had a lot of maturing to do.

Oh, to be old enough to see the world changing, but young enough to able to overcome the challenges these changes bring with simple, clear answers. Such a beautiful time to be alive when thousands of years of tradition are uprooted.

Ah well, her little Firefly and her siblings would grown up soon enough. They always did seem to become adults so quickly.

Unlike certain changelings, she thought to herself as she turned back to her bedsheet, stained a moldy green by one of her sisters.

Really? Colored water on my bed? At least give it an unpleasant scent as well if you’re going to try this stunt! I do believe my sisters have no inspiration what so ever. Well, three can play the lazy game. I still have some itching powder lying around, she thought with a giggle.

Author's Note:

Another chapter I'm not entirely happy with. I certainly learned something writing this: it's kind of hard to wrap up a character's internal struggle when there was never a struggle in the first place. I really hope this doesn't come off as shoehorned in.

On the bright side, you might have noticed from the character rotation that the next chapter is the big one. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. The big one. So big I've been looking forward to writing it since I first came up with this story. So big I'm probably going to have to make it a two-parter. Oh yes, this shall be a fun month for me...

And I apologize to all individuals reading this with better grammar sense than me. I am fully aware that it's idle, not idol. I just couldn't resist the golden opportunity for a reference.

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