• Published 20th May 2012
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Mirror's Image - Evilpresident



Twilight never was a unicorn. And she didn't even know it.

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Chapter 24

Chapter 24


It was painfully obvious that the Ponyville hospital was not properly equipped or prepared for a situation like this. Changelings with broken limbs and deep cuts had taken up every bed in the hall and several nurses and doctors were running around, tending to them as best they could.

Needless to say, nopony working there had ever seen creatures like these but fortunately their anatomy was sort of similar enough to a pony’s for the staff to be able to help out. After they had conquered their fear of the sharp fangs and overall odd look of these creatures.

“A patient is a patient,” Nurse Redheart said to herself as she bandaged up a wounded Praetorian’s head. “But bite me and I will not hesitate to bite back, patient or not,” she added, looking straight at the changeling. “And no, that wasn’t a joke.”

Despite that comment, the Praetorian let out a raspy laugh at that. “Queen ordered us not to, so you are safe, pony,” he said in an equally raspy, almost painful voice.

“Somehow, that doesn’t really fill me with confidence,” Redheart admitted, though she returned to bandaging the changeling’s head anyway.

“I vouch for them,” a somewhat familiar voice said from behind her. Redheart turned around to see Twilight Sparkle standing behind her. Or at least she assumed it was Twilight Sparkle.

“And I’ll keep you to that,” the earth pony said, not fazed at all by the sight before her. After all, being a nurse she was used to seeing worse things.

“Wait, before you go,” Twilight said, levitating Spike off of her back. “He’s been injured too, could you give him a checkup, please?”

Spike shot her an annoyed look. “But Twilight, I am fine! More than fine, even,” he said, trying to convince her.

Redheart couldn’t help but crack a smile as she saw the look on Twilight’s face. For some reason, it reminded her of a very concerned mother telling their child what was best for them. “I’ll take good care of him,” she assured Twilight as she took the baby dragon from him.

Twilight thanked her quickly, before running off again to tend to her subjects as well.

“Such a chaotic scene,” Queen Chrysalis said, looking across the emergency ward. Her daughter was taking her time to pay some attention to each and every changeling that was wounded, before heading off into one of the different sections of the hospital. She didn’t need to ask or attempt to read her mind to know what that daughter of hers was up to.

Instead, she decided to focus on what was most important to the hive right now. “Status report,” the queen yelled, demanding information.

“This Great and Powerful Changeling has taken the liberty of making a list,” the Great and Powerful Changeling said, running up to her while holding a clipboard.

The queen stared at her. “And where, pray tell, have you been?” she asked, her voice cold as ice. She could have sworn that she had ordered this particular changeling to stick to her daughter like flies on honey.

The Changeling visibly flinched. “This Changeling has been running around town, looking for her princess while towing an infant around,” she said, showing a bag with a baby changeling inside of it. Said little changeling put up his hooves and chirped happily at the sight of his mother. “In all the chaos and screaming, it was hard for this Great and Powerful Changeling to locate her princess,” she said with a dramatic flair to her voice, complete with theatric poses.

Queen Chrysalis sighed as she lifted the playful nymph up with her magic and placed him on her back, snug like a bug between her wings. “Very well… status report please.”

-

It was a nice and sunny day and at Canterlot castle, nopony seemed to be aware of what had happened in Ponyville. Princess Celestia and Luna had taken it upon themselves to search for clues in Prince Blueblood’s bedroom.

“You truly think we will find anything the guards didn’t?” Luna asked, sticking her head underneath Prince Blueblood’s bed.

Celestia frowned. “I’m not sure,” she said. “I don’t even know what we’re looking for,” she added as she levitated a pile of books up into the air and read the titles. “Did Blueblood actually read these tacky romance novels? Let’s see what else is here...” She tossed a few aside. “The Old Stallion and the Sea, Journey to the Centre of Equestria, Much Whinny About Nothing, La Condition Equine all the classics.”

Celestia arranged them into a neat stack before grabbing the next of the pile. “A copy of his own book, Unexplored Edges of Equestria,” she said. “Signed, of course,”

Luna scooted backwards, out from underneath the bed with a small book in her mouth. “How about a diary?” she asked, pulling the book out of her mouth.

-

“Miss Pie, please keep the mask on,” Nurse Snowheart said. “By Celestia, you’re almost as fidgety as those changelings.”

Pinkie Pie giggled, the sound a bit distorted by the oxygen mask she was wearing. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s just really uncomfortable.”

Snowheart sighed. “I know, but it’s really necessary. Your lungs need all the help they can get right now.”

Pinkie Pie nodded and laid her head back down on the pillow, breathing calmly just like the doctor had told her to. From her bed and through the window, she could still see smoke billowing up from the sweet shop she had called home.

However, a knocking sound on the door frame drew her attention. Twilight stood there with a deep frown on her face. “Hi, Pinkie Pie,” she said. “Can I come in?”

Pinkie Pie nodded fiercely before coughing a few times. Twilight winced at the guttural and painful sounds. “Sorry, the doctor said I should take things easy for a while,” Pinkie Pie explained, putting on a brave smile.

The changeling princess couldn’t help but chuckle softly at that. Knowing Pinkie Pie as well as she did, Twilight knew that it was all but impossible for the energetic pony to accomplish.

“That was very brave of you, Pinkie,” Twilight said as she sat down next to her bed on a conveniently placed chair. “I spoke with the doctor on my way here, he said that the twins and Mr. Cake will be just fine with a lot of rest.” Even so, Twilight was still more than a bit shaken by what had happened today.

A smile formed on Pinkie Pie’s lips. “That’s good,” she said after a while, turning her attention back to the fidgeting changeling next to her. “But what about you?” she asked, looking straight at Twilight.

Twilight averted her eyes, not wanting to stare at her. “Me? What about me?”

“Well, you’re the one that’s shaking like a leaf,” Pinkie Pie pointed out, seeing her friend shiver nervously.

The princess closed her eyes, her shoulders sinking as she let out a long sigh. “It’s just… I never expected any of this to happen. Even after Mom, I never imagined Prince Blueblood would go to such lengths to get to me. He put all of you in danger and it’s a miracle that nopony got killed today.” Her haphazardly mended wings fluttered nervously. “And I’m starting to think it’s dangerous for you to be around me…”

A loud snort could be heard from just outside the hospital room.

“Yeah, we’re going to be charging hazard pay from now on,” Rainbow Dash said as she walked in through the open door, having overheard the changeling princess’ worries. “Don’t worry, Twi. My rates are very generous.”

“Ain’t nothing to joke about,” Applejack said as she followed right behind Rainbow Dash. “Twilight’s right to worry, given the situation.”

Despite Applejack’s warning words, Twilight managed to crack a smile as she saw that her friends were okay, save for a few bumps and scrapes here and there.

“Who wouldn’t worry?” Rarity asked as she walked in behind Applejack. “Such a dreadful situation and poor Twilight’s in the center of it all.” She then walked up to Pinkie Pie’s bed. “And how about you dear? How are you feeling?”

Twilight looked down at her hole-riddled hooves, tuning the conversations out as Pinkie Pie started to explain everything that had happened in the hospital in minute detail.

As Rarity said, she was at the center of the whole situation but she wasn’t the only one to get hurt. She turned back to Pinkie Pie, a shudder running across her body as she imagined how much worse today could have ended.

“I’ll be fine, Rarity,” Twilight eventually said, drawing the attention of every pony again. “It’s everypony around me that I’m worried about. How’re Fluttershy and the girls?” She hadn’t seen any of them since her standoff with Prince Blueblood and she couldn’t help but worry about their safety.

“The girls are with Big Macintosh,” Applejack told her. “They’re fine, just a bit shaken up. Fluttershy should be on her way here.”

Twilight let out a sigh of relief. “Now that’s good to hear,” she said, her face clearing up a bit. With all the awful and chaotic things that had occurred today, any good news was more than welcome.

Feeling more than a bit exhausted, Twilight sat down on one of the chairs near the window and stretched her aching wings. The thin, bug like appendages fluttered weakly and looked just about ready to snap off.

“That doesn’t look healthy,” Rainbow Dash said, walking up to her. “Not that I’m an expert on changeling wings but you know what I mean,” she added as she moved her hoof up to Twilight’s wing to nudge it, only to stop herself before she hurt Twilight.

Twilight folded her wings in again. “It hurts but I’ll live,” she assured Rainbow Dash, before looking at the rest of her friends. “Just need some time to heal up, that’s all.”

“If you say so, Twilight,” Applejack said, though her face betrayed her skepticism. Still, there was little more she could do for either Pinkie Pie or Twilight at the moment other than worry.

An awkward silence filled the room for a bit, the only discernable noise being that of Pinkie Pie’s strained breathing. It gave everypony some much needed time to think about what happened today and put it all into perspective.

But the silence was soon broken as Fluttershy rushed in through the door. “Pinkie Pie!” she exclaimed as she rushed to the bedbound pony’s side. “I heard about what happened, are you okay?” Fluttershy then awkwardly looked around the room. “Oh, hi girls,” she said, before directing her attention back to Pinkie Pie.

“Hi Fluttershy!” Pinkie Pie said happily. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be just fine!” she assured the distressed pegasus. “Uh, eventually that is,” Pinkie meekly added, trying to suppress a coughing fit.

Unfortunately, she failed to keep herself from doing so. Everypony just stared in silence as she all but hacked her lungs out, knowing that there was nothing any of them could do to help her.

Once she had recovered a bit and was able to breathe slowly again, Pinkie Pie just cracked a big smile again like nothing had happened. “See? Just fine!” she said happily.

Fluttershy didn’t say anything to that. She just grabbed the pitcher of water the nurses had provided for Pinkie Pie and poured out a bit into a glass. Rarity in turn lifted it off the table with her magic and slowly floated it towards Pinkie Pie.

“Thank you!” Pinkie Pie said, grabbing the glass out of midair.

“Slow and small sips, dear,” Rarity warned as Pinkie Pie threatened to drink the whole thing in one go. Pinkie Pie stopped drinking and flashed her a smile before taking a few small sips. Once done, Rarity floated the glass away again.

“So, now what?” Applejack asked eventually. She cleared her throat to get everypony’s attention. “Hate to be the one to say this but ah do believe we have a situation on our hooves.”

“We do as we always do, I suppose,” Rarity said. “Go about our lives and deal with difficulties as they come.”

“I like that idea,” Pinkie Pie piped in with a sore voice. She took a moment to copy Applejack and cleared her throat as well before continuing. “Show that meanie of a Blueblood that we’re not afraid of him or his copycats.”

“You got that right, Pinkie,” Rainbow Dash said. “Those guys weren’t that tough anyway. I could beat up a few dozen more of them.” She grinned and began to throw a few mock punches. “Like this and that!” she said, almost enthusiastically.

Applejack decided not to entertain her behavior with a comment and instead opted for a roll of her eyes. “Ah also think we need to address the elephant in the room…” She turned to Twilight and the others turned their attention to her as well.

-

“You can say what you want about our nephew but he had impeccable hoof writing,” Luna noted as she sat down on his bed, reading through the small book. “Though he does write in a rather boring manner. Almost like reading a report. ‘Met Ms. Emerald Memento of Minneighsota Museum, delivered Zebrican artifacts. Discussed sponsorship of the Applewood Youth Orchestra with Mr. Rocky Ballad. Finished editing piece on ancient Griffonstonian warriors for next issue of Equestrian Geographic.’ And so on.”

Celestia pulled the book out of her hooves, looking over the beautifully written entry of a particularly boring sounding day. “I’m not denying that,” Celestia said, flipping pages to a more recent date than the griffon goodwill visit from last year. “I’ve had scribes that wrote more lively than this.”

Her eyes moved from side to side as she read through the carefully written and worded sentences. “This might be interesting” Celestia said. “It’s dated last month.” She cleared her throat and began to read out loud.

“Today I've acquired a beautiful amulet from a traveling merchant. He didn't know its origin, but I have a hunch that it may have historical value. Seemingly arcane, too. I shall study it further. Perhaps this would make a nice birthday gift to Aunt Luna."

“Well, that doesn’t help us much,” Luna said, leaning in to read as well. “Anything else?”

Celestia turned the page. “Not much. But it seems like he bought it for your birthday,” she said. “And that he found the aura it exhumed to be distracting.”

“He really wrote that?” Luna asked, snatching the book back.

“Well, Bluey did always have a knack for dramatic writing,” Celestia pointed out.

Luna shook her head. “No, about my birthday,” she said. “Explains the wrapping paper the guards found.”

-

Chrysalis patted the last of her soldiers on the head. They had all done pretty well and there weren’t quite as many wounded as she had thought. Seemed like some of her troops had developed a sense of drama on the way to Ponyville and had made things seem a bit worse than they actually were. Most of them just had a few scrapes and bruises, along with few soldiers that were a bit worse off for wear than the others. And even those just sported a broken bone, a tattered wing or a dislocated shoulder.

All in all, Queen Chrysalis was pleased that her victory didn’t cost her any more than this. Though she made a mental note to herself that she’d have to give her daughter a few pointers on defending herself.

But Chrysalis would have more than enough time for that when she brought her daughter back home, to their hive. Already she was thinking of things to teach to Twilight, to turn her from an inexperienced princess into a proper queen, capable of defending herself and the hive from whoever was foolish enough to oppose them.

However, as she walked into the now seemingly empty hallway of the hospital, her train of thoughts was cut short by the arrival of an unexpected but not at all unwelcome visitor.

“Filthy Rich,” Chrysalis said, her voice betraying how pleased she was as she turned around to face the stallion.

“Ah, my lovely queen,” Filthy said with a deep bow. “How lovely to see you in good health, your majesty.”

The queen flashed him a quick grin, showing off her pearly white fangs. “No need to be so formal, Filthy. You’re no drone of mine after all.”

Filthy wasn’t unnerved by the changeling queen’s apparent display of affection. “I know but I have to be a good example for future generations. Isn’t that right, sweetie?”

It took Chrysalis a few seconds to realize that he was talking to the filly hiding underneath him. A huddled form of pink and purple laid between his legs, covering her eyes with her hooves. “Is this little Diamond Tiara?” she asked. “Oh, I haven’t seen you since you barely even came up to my ankles.” The queen crouched so she could take a proper look at the filly.

Diamond Tiara peeked from behind the safety of her hooves and looked straight into the queen’s green eyes. She let out a small cry of fear before covering her eyes again.

“Hmm, I don’t remember her being such a scaredy cat before.” Chrysalis frowned, turning her attention to Filthy Rich again as she stood back up to her full height.

The stallion was seemingly getting annoyed with Diamond Tiara’s reaction to the queen and gently but firmly nudged her out from between his forelegs. “Come on, Diamond. Show a little respect to the queen,” he said, his voice carrying authority as usual.

With heavy hooves and shaking knees, Diamond Tiara stood up and walked up to the intimidating queen, who again bowed down and smiled at her with those wicked fangs. Chrysalis didn’t mean for her look to be so menacing but to a little filly, she looked like the monsters she’d find underneath her bed.

“P-Pleased to meet you,” she stuttered, tripping over her words as she looked straight into Chrysalis’ green eyes again. However, they didn’t seem quite as scary as before, now that she had gotten somewhat used to her being so close.

“That’s better,” Filthy Rich said, though it was pretty obvious that he was annoyed by his daughter’s reluctance. “You’ll need to get used to her, Diamond Tiara. Working with changelings is a vital part of my business.”

“Ah, yes… business,” Chrysalis echoed. “I doubt you came here just for a social visit.”

The stallion chuckled softly. “I came here for business as usual, though just seeing you again was a nice extra,” he told her. “But I assume you know just how big the extent of the damages on Ponyville was? It’s not a pretty sight to behold.”

Chrysalis opened her mouth to respond, only to close it again as a pair of changelings came rushing by. One of them sat in a wheelchair while the other pushed him forward at breakneck speed.

But Nurse Redheart was in hot pursuit, holding a syringe in her mouth as she chased after the pair of rogue patients.

It took Chrysalis a few seconds to fully progress what had just happened. A frown formed on her face as she stared into the now empty hallway. “My changelings have been acting strange lately too,” she admitted. “But I digress… you were saying?”

“Ponyville has suffered quite the bit of damage today,” he said, frowning as he pulled out a piece of paper. “The town’s bakery burned down, several houses suffered smoke and fire damage and a construction site of mine was a bit… vandalized by the fight between Princess Amaryllis and Prince Blueblood.”

“That’s one way to put it,” Chrysalis said, the look on her face turning into of obvious annoyance from the way he worded that. “And where exactly do I come into this picture?” she asked, not sure of where exactly the tan stallion was going with this.

Filthy Rich grinned, a devious look in his eyes. “Well, given the fact that changelings have been a bit exposed, I figured it might be in your best interest to help with funding the repairs to Ponyville,” Filthy explained. “A public relations stunt, so to speak.”

The queen cocked her head in confusion. “And in what manner would this benefit me?” she asked, suspicion clear on her voice. “Save for making my coffers lighter? And lining your pockets.” As much as she enjoyed the stallion’s company, Chrysalis knew just how greedy he could be from time to time.

The stallion let out a soft chuckle, scratching his hooves against the tiled floor underneath. “You know me too well, my queen,” Filthy said. “But I was thinking that if Ponyville were to learn that you, as queen of the changelings, funded the repair of Ponyville’s beloved sweetshop…”

A tense silence clung to the air for a few seconds, before Queen Chrysalis’ lips curled into a grin.

“I knew I kept you around for a reason,” she teased.

-

“The writing grows more erratic,” Luna pointed out. “More hurried, more scribbled. Though I suppose that can be attributed to being so close after the wedding.”

“Anything else useful?” Celestia asked.

Luna shook her head and turned a bit further. “This might be good, though,” she said, pointing at a certain page. “Here he speaks of us as if we’ve been kidnapped,” she read. “Or mind controlled. His writing devolved into chicken scratch, it’s hard to make out.”

-

Saying goodbye was never easy. Twilight hated the idea of leaving her friends right now, especially given the conditions she was leaving under, but she figured it was for the best. Right now, she was a rather big target as Princess Amaryllis.

At least back at the hive, she would be safe.

Or at least Twilight hoped she would be.

“Well girls, I guess this is it,” she said with a sigh.

“I guess so,” Rarity said softly. “And I do think I speak for all of us when I say that we hate to see you leave so soon again.”

Her friends nodded in agreement, the looks on their faces betraying their true feelings on the matter.

“We’re going to miss you so much,” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah, what she said,” Rainbow Dash pitched in. “You know.”

Twilight let a small smile grace her face at Rainbow Dash’s comment. “I’ll miss you too, Rainbow,” she said.

“Do remember to write, darling,” Rarity reminded her. “I expect several letters a week, you hear me?”

“And if they don’t treat you right there, you come right on back here, you hear me?” Applejack said.

“I don’t think Nurse Redheart will appreciate it if I get out of bed again,” Pinkie Pie pointed out, holding out her hooves.

Twilight Sparkle smiled and shook her head. “No, I don’t think so either,” the princess said as she walked up to Pinkie Pie and gave her a very careful hug. Feeling how weak Pinkie’s grip was reminded Twilight of just how badly today could have ended. Her wings twitched nervously at the thought, which didn’t escape anypony’s attention, save for Pinkie.

“You take care now,” Pinkie Pie said. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

“Now there’s a short list,” Applejack said with a chuckle.

-

Celestia frowned. “Still nothing actually useful,” she said, flipping to the next page. “Oh.”

“Oh what?” Luna asked, jumping off the bed and swiping the book back from her sister. “This date. That’s the day Twilight Velvet died."

She shot a nervous glance at her sister, before turning her attention back to the page.

"To whoever has found this journal: these may be my last words,” Luna read out loud. “This may be the last day of my life. If that is so, be warned. The situation is far more dire than I had assumed, much more desperate than anypony could have predicted. If I fall this night, I beg for your forgiveness, for with this message, I entrust you the most dangerous mission in the world."

“How dramatic", Celestia noted with a worried voice. "It almost sounds like a suicide letter."

"Tia! Let's not think of such things."

"You are right, Lulu. Please, continue."

-

Twilight figured now was as good a time as any to take her leave. Saying goodbye wasn’t exactly fun after all but she’d manage. Or so she told herself. Her twitching wings told everyone around her that she was more nervous than ever.

Heading down the hallways in search of her mother, Twilight quickly found the queen of the changelings conversing happily with Filthy Rich.

“Ah, speak of the devil,” Chrysalis said. “There is our darling princess right now. Be a dear and take Diamond Tiara here to the cafeteria to grab something sweet, will you?” she asked, motioning to the filly sitting on one of the nearby benches. “Poor thing looks so pale, I think she’s about to faint.”

Diamond Tiara opened her mouth to protest but eventually decided against it, figuring that it was better than sticking around her boring father and his more than scary associate.

Twilight on the other hoof did protest. “What?” she asked, a bit confused.

“Come on,” Diamond Tiara urged her along, almost pulling on her hooves to get Twilight moving. The filly visibly flinched as she accidentally rubbed across Twilight’s porous hooves but even that didn’t stop her from attempting to drag Twilight along.

As confused as she was, the changeling princess decided it was best to just go along with what Queen Chrysalis said.

She allowed Diamond Tiara to drag her by the hoof into the cafeteria. It was completely empty, though Twilight could see the chocolaty treats disappearing one by one into the bellies of several invisible and very hungry changelings.

The stallion behind the counter was blissfully unaware of this happening or he was deliberately ignoring it. From the utterly bored and disinterested look on his face, even when faced with her foreign form, Twilight figured that both were very much possible.

“Uh, two sweet rolls, please,” she said to the stallion, getting a gruff mumble as an answer. Using his magic, a pair of sweet rolls floated from behind the counter onto a plate. “10 bits please,” he said.

Twilight frowned as she realized that she forgot to bring her saddlebags and thus her money as well. However, a pile of bits were dumped on the counter by Diamond Tiara. “I don’t take charity,” she said before grabbing the sweet roll and heading to a nearby table.

The stallion behind the counter shrugged, obviously not caring who paid him, as long as bits changed hooves.

Twilight sat down across Diamond Tiara. “So…” she started, not sure on how to start a conversation with the little filly. “You know who I am, right?”

“Twilight Sparkle,” Diamond Tiara said, pushing the second sweet roll towards her. “Daddy says that I have to get along with you because we’ll be working together when I take over the company,” she said. It was quite obvious to Twilight that Diamond Tiara wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about that prospect. In fact, Twilight could even sense a bit of fear.

“Are you afraid?” she asked calmly. “I could turn back into my pony form, if that would put you at ease.”

Diamond Tiara scowled at her. “I am not afraid of you,” she said softly. “You don’t look like you’d eat me, unlike the big one.” She looked from side to side a few times a few times, just in case Queen Chrysalis had decided to materialize out of thin air and was listening in on them. “She has that look in her eyes…” Diamond Tiara whispered.

Twilight didn’t know what to say to that. She knew that Chrysalis would never lay a hoof on the filly sitting in front of her. But Twilight also knew that the changeling queen had more than a few skeletons in the cupboard.

“And of course, Daddy won’t shut up about how amazing she is,” Diamond Tiara continued with renewed vigor. “Despite being an icky oversized bug,” she added with a dry laugh.

Twilight barely managed to suppress a laugh at the queen’s expense. “He has known her for a long time,” she explained, not sure just how much Diamond Tiara knew about her father’s backstory with Queen Chrysalis and the changelings in general.

“Yes, so I’ve been told,” Diamond Tiara said, finishing off her sweetroll. “However, daddy has always been pretty cheap when it comes to details.” Though the look on Diamond Tiara showed that she wasn’t particularly interested in her father’s story. Or at least not interested enough to keep pressing for details. “Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not staying here any longer than I have to. I hate hospitals.”

Twilight nodded. “You and me both,” she said. She didn’t think that anypony particularly enjoyed being inside a hospital, save for the nurses and doctors that worked there.

The two of them made their way back to the lobby, where Queen Chrysalis and Filthy Rich were still having an animated conversation, much to the annoyance of the hospital staff.

Neither of them seemed to notice just how much of a nuisance they were being, nor did they seem to care. They only stopped talking when they noticed that Twilight and Diamond Tiara had returned.

“Ah, there you are,” Queen Chrysalis said. “Just in time, we were just finishing up. Time to leave.”

Diamond Tiara let out an almost inaudible sigh of relief at that. The queen, however, seemed to notice anyway. She sat down and leaned in a bit closer to the filly and grinned. “It was nice seeing you again, little Diamond,” she said, her voice as sweet and kind as she could muster. Which in turn was a sharp contrast to the sharp teeth she was sporting.

And from the look on Diamond Tiara’s face, it was quite obvious that the feeling was not exactly mutual.

The queen stood upright again and turned her eye to Filthy Rich again. “And always lovely to see you,” she said, giving him an awkward hug, before facing Twilight again. “Let’s go, before all this mushy stuff ruins my… reputation,” she said. “Even more than being here out in the open already has.”

-

“So…” Luna said, shutting the book again. “Seems like the amulet made our nephew snap and dive off the deep end, head first,” she said, turning to Celestia. “Did you know it could do that?

Celstia frowned. “Apparently so. Though this does remind me of Mother’s warnings about the amulet,” Celestia said, taking the book back. “She told us it could be dangerous. And we still don’t know where Prince Blueblood went, but at least this book proved to be a window into his insanity.”

She opened the book again and turned to the last, hastily scribbled entry. “He genuinely believes that he was helping us, helping Equestria by attacking Twilight,” she said. “He truly believes she’s an impostor.

“And what can we do about that?” Luna asked.

“Try and find him,” Celestia said. “Save him, like we saved you,” she added, nuzzling her sister. “He is far but not lost. We can still bring him back.”

A guard hurried into the room. “Princess Celestia, Princess Luna,” he said, obviously exhausted. “Prince Blueblood has been spotted in Ponyville.”

-

It was strange, just leaving Ponyville without much ado. No Pinkie throwing a ‘Going-away-but-coming-back-soon-or-else’ party. Sure, Twilight had already said her goodbyes to all of her friends, but that didn’t stop the situation from being weird.

The carriage that would take her and Queen Chrysalis back to the hive had already pulled up to the front of the hospital. Soldiers and Praetorians were stationed all over the area, keeping a close eye on the whole situation, in case Prince Blueblood came back for seconds.

As Twilight approached the carriage, the Great and Powerful changeling rushed past her, nearly knocking Spike off of her back. “Let this Great and Powerful changeling get that for you,” she said, opening the door for the queen and princess.

“Sheesh, what’s her problem?” Spike muttered. Twilight stepped into the carriage and took a seat, allowing him to crawl off of her back safely.

“She came back a bit wrong,” Chrysalis said nonchalantly. “It happens occasionally.”

Spike stared at her with a thinly veiled look of disgust in his eyes. “Ugh, sorry I asked,” he said with a shudder. The little dragon shifted in his seat, closer to the window and just a bit further from the queen.

Outside, the swarm began to move. Behemoths and Soldiers started to march as the carriage’s wheels began to turn. Praetorians took to the sky, unseen to all but Twilight knew that they were there. It was kind of soothing, knowing that they were out there.

“We’re going home,” Queen Chrysalis said.

-

Deep inside the Everfree forest, Prince Blueblood had returned to his temporary hideout. “Get a move on,” he said to the clones that were draining the mirror pool. “I saw Aunt Celestia’s guards flying over. They’ll find us before long. We need to get out of here, now!”

The clones nodded and picked up the pace, filling buckets upon buckets with the magic infused water of the mirror pool before teleporting away to a new hideout.

The mad prince himself oversaw the work, fidgeting nervously. He had been so close to victory, but as before, it had been taken from him. “Curse those changelings,” he muttered, starting to pace around nervously. “Why does this keep happening?” he asked out loud.

He stopped moving and stared at the clones again. “I have an army, I have the alicorn amulet… So why am I losing?!”

The few clones within earshot of the mad prince shrugged, before scampering off as Blueblood sent a death glare their way.

“Why indeed?”

Blueblood froze up. “Who said that?!” he uttered, moving his head from side to side, scanning the room for any unwelcomed guest. All he saw was a bunch of equally confused Bluebloods.

“I did,” the voice said again. “Over here,”

The prince looked around. “I don’t see you,” he said.

“You’re not the most attentive one of the bunch, huh?” the voice asked before bursting out in mock laughter.

Blueblood growled as the chilling laughter echoed all around him. “You dare insult me, yet you refuse to show your face?!”

It was only then that Blueblood noticed that all of his clones had stopped working and were staring at something behind him. Some were even trembling with fright, while a few others had turned pale. “What are you looking at?” he demanded, turning around as well.

And he quickly regretted doing just that. A large, grotesque and almost serpentine shadow slithered around on the wall behind him. Glowing yellow eyes seemed to stare straight into his soul.

“You like it?” the shadow asked as it moved across the wall and up the ceiling of the cave “It’s a new look I’m trying. Makes me look cool and mysterious, no?”

“What are you even talking about?” Blueblood asked, thoroughly confused by the entity’s behavior. As he said that, the shadow seemed to peel itself off of the wall, extending towards him. Moving like some twisted mockery of a snake, it brought its shadowy face uncomfortably close to Blueblood’s face.

“What am I talking about?” the head asked. “Revenge, of course,” it said. “And justice. You see, Prince Blueblood, I am but a humble prisoner, locked away by the efforts of a mutual adversary,” it continued, its shadowy head drooping dramatically, as if struck by sadness. “A changeling princess you have gotten very familiar with.”

The mad prince’s eyes widened. “You dealt with her as well?” he asked, stepping closer.

The shadow moved back onto the wall. “Is it that obvious?” he asked. “Yes, I did come across her once. She sealed my physical body into stone. It took me a lot of time and effort to appear here before you.”

Blueblood shot a quick glare to his clones, signaling them to get back to work before turning his attention back to the shadow on the wall. “And why exactly?” he asked.

The shadow laughed. “Revenge, of course,” he said. “Why else? Free me, Prince Blueblood. Free me and I will ensure that you and Twilight Sparkle will be together forever.”

The prince hesitated. “Why should I help you? You haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself?”

“Oh, where are my manners?” the shadow asked, peeling itself off of the wall again. As it did, it become more detailed while retaining its shadowy skin. A pair of mismatched, sinister looking horns formed on its head and a crooked set of teeth twisted into a grin. “You can call me... Discord.”

Author's Note:

And that's Chapter 24 and the end of Mirror's Image. I had planned to continue the story like this but I decided to split it in two, since the next part will be taking place after a timeskip.

Hard to believe that it's been so long since I posted the prologue of Mirror's Image. I think Season 2 of MLP had just ended. Now we're up to Season 7, I believe. It's been 5 years, damn.

I almost lost all will to write this story due to some real life issues. My mom getting cancer hit me like a ton of bricks. Nothing seemed worth doing anymore, including writing stuff.

But I'm glad I persisted and I hope you all enjoyed this very delayed chapter.

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Comments ( 102 )

Complete

Wait, what? :applejackconfused: *starts reading*

Now we just need to wait for the sequel...

*Impatience intensifies*

~Crystalline Electrostatic~
13:22_9/29/2017

8456111
Read the footnote :raritywink:

8456125
Patience :pinkiecrazy:

a very fitting end, please, whenever you put the sequel give it a chapter here so we can check it

Oh great, as if Blueblood with the Alicorn Amulet wasn't bad enough, now he is allying with HIM?! The individual responsible for the changelings in the first place?! Blueblood has no idea what he is getting himself into, and I wonder who which of the two will get stabbed in the back first.

8456128
Will do :twilightsmile: And I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for the long wait!

Huh. I saw this chapter was the last one, but as it proceeded we had more things introduced, like Filthy Rich's dubious business partnership with Chrysalis.

So your announcement of a sequel makes sense.

And, about Blueblood, at least... someone explicitly wants to save Blueblood, even if nobody seems to like him much.

Anyway, I am looking forward to some more, and if you just pulled through a tough time in your life I hope you are feeling better.

this was fantastic and I'm so sorry about the cancer it is a terrible terrible thing

8456127 If I believe the sequel will be out tomorrow hard enough, it will be.

~Crystalline Electrostatic~
13:30_9/29/2017

8456138
Thank you. My mom has been declared cured of cancer a while ago and I couldn't be happier


8456139
Glad you enjoyed it and yes, cancer is the worst. Such a terrible disease and you can't do anything to help. But at least my mom pulled through.

oh i cant wait for the sequel

Glad to see it finished and a sequel anounced , as this might very well be my favorite story on this site. :pinkiehappy:
I was afraid for some time that given everything , you would never come back to it... Glad to see my worry was unfounded.
...I wonder how Twilight is going to evolve during the time skip. One thing is for sure , her innocence is shattered.

8456129
Allying, or... being used as a puppet? :twilightoops:

Glad to see this continue, having a fondness for changeling Twi myself. :twilightsmile:

8456185
Depends on whose perspective you are looking from. From BB it is allying, from D it is puppet.

Good lord... It's been forever since I've seen this. I forgot that Trixie and Rich are Changelings...

i now wait for the sequel

Its aliiiiive!
Glad you're back!

8456200
Correction: Twi's departed older sister was faustered as Rich's little sister. Her death via neglect nearly broke him, yet resulted in him being Chrysalis' pony agent.

8456191
Bah. BB is already a puppet. The only question is, if the Alicorn Amulet is The One Ring, who is it's Sauron? (I vote Sombra)

Also, I call unreliable narrator on that book. We know Trixie had the Amulet stolen from her. Either BB is lying about it, or a third party decided that BB would make a better host than Trixie would. Only time and the sequel will tell.

8456150
Glad to hear that your mother is on the mend. Hopefully the same will be said of The Great And Powerful Changeling in the sequel. Once she can call herself Trixie again(, prefex intact), only then will we know that she is whole once again.

Yesssss, it's alive!!! :pinkiehappy:

8456280
Actually, BB was perfectly delusions before donning the Amulet. It would have had no reason to take control of his mind, it would have only needed to keep him focused on his goal. It has not been shown in this story that the Amulet takes control of its wearer's mind, only amplifies their desires and powers while removing those pesky feelings of guilt and regret.

So no "One Ring" connection, not yet.

8456128 No, don't, because that's against the rules. So long as you are still subscribed to this story, and the author remembers to add the link in the story creation thingy that it is a sequel to THIS story, then we will all get a blog notification saying that the story has been posted. Making a new 'chapter' to say that the story is over there, or putting the first chapter here *and* there is against the rules. Best not to get any mods involved, yeah? :raritywink:

... I wonder what's going on with the changelings being more wacky.

Yeah, at least no one died.

It was a good ride, glad to know that a sequel is eventually coming.

... The Great and Powerful Changeling is awesome as always.

"Came back a bit wrong." XD

Ooooooh shit, now Discord is in as well.

First fic about changelings that I read on this site. Story that made changelings with their slighty alien life my favorite race.
Than you kindly for this great fic. Waiting for the sequel.
Also glad that all right with your mother.
Sorry for bad English.

Wow, I completely forgot about this. This is the third time a story got off of my canceled the list. Good job.
Can't wait for part two.

Well, it makes me glad to see how this story ended in a way that we can hope to see a sequel in the future.

I hope your problems get fixed and best wishes.

Glad to see this had started again this is one of the stories that go me reading fanfics and make a account in the first place

My dad went through colon cancer last year. Luckily, it was caught early and some really nasty chemotherapy plus a bit of surgery managed to nail it. The real eyeopener was the cost. Because he's on Medicare and stuff, they paid for +90% of it leaving us with about $1500 after all was added up.

8456301
:facehoof: One, bone up on your Tolkien lore. Proximity is enough for The One Ring to get it's hooks into you. Two, the Alicorn Amulet was effecting him the moment he got his hooves on it. The diary all but says as much.

oh boy, its alive!

8456476
Aw man, it's over...

8456465
Ok, one, I haven't read the books or seen the movies in years. Two, in the ACTUAL STORY, it has never been OUTRIGHT STATED OR EVEN IMPLIED THAT THE AMULET MIND CONTROLS ITS WEARER. The closest thing to that was BB saying that it supposedly drives whoever wears it insane, but that he hasn't noticed a difference, and planting the idea to use a lethal spell against Night Light and Velvet. If there is more concrete evidence that the Amulet is actually controlling BB's actions, or that there is a force behind the Amulet, please provide a direct quote from a chapter.

Things are building up at the finish line for this story. I can’t wait to see its sequel, that for sure! Also, I know that you have been hearing this for a while, but grad to hear about your mother’s recovery. All I can say now is good luck with everything.

C&Cs will be PM.

8456450
Yeah, cancer treatment can be costly. I count myself lucky that I live somewhere with excellent healthcare and health Insurance. And I hope your father is doing well. My grandfather had colon cancer as well and I remember him having a lot of pain. Not that he ever admitted to that, though.

You may wan't to consider just adding the time skip chapters to this story. Separate sequels have trouble gaining traction because of the way the site algorithms and feature box works and I'd hate for it to die before it gets started because you think no one is bothered.

Good job and welcome back E.P. Sad this story was among the first five That I ever added to my favorites but am glad it got finished. Can't wait till sequel, hope it doesn't take to long.

8456519
Outright mind control? No. (Maybe some whispers near the end, but nothing we can prove so far). Having his brain turn to tapioca between picking up the Amulet (aledgedly to give to Luna) and his putting on the Amulet? Yes. If I really need to repost the relevant portions of the chapter, I will, but I would rather move on with my life now.

Oh look, it's time for the yearly upda-COMPLETE?!?! It actually finished?! Awesome!

I've been holding off reading any more of this for about four years now since I'm terrible at remembering story details over the long haul, but I am more than ready to dive back into one of the first stories I ever favorited (and IIRC, the only one I've ever been willing to favorite in an incomplete state, on the strength of its first several chapters).

That you managed to push through real kife adversity and continue writing is a testament to your strength! Very well done

8456852
Ok, sorry. I just misunderstood what you were saying.

Dang, well I kind of doubt Discord will get redeemed after this. I can't wait to see how Twilight turns out after mastering her Changeling abilities.

Free me, Prince Blueblood. Free me and I will ensure that you and Twilight Sparkle will be together forever.

Not in the way Blueblood thinks...

Must feel nice to have finished this, even if it is on a cliffhanger.

I hope your mother is doing better and the cancer was caught early.

8458158
It was caught super early, thankfully. And my mom has been declared cured now, so I'm overjoyed :twilightsmile:

8459572

I know the feeling - my mom's still going through Chemo, but it's looking good. Glad to hear your mom is doing better, though!

discord. well now things get more interesting

I'm glad to hear they told you your mother has been cured, I know all too well how hard it is to lose a family member, especially a close one to cancer, so I'm glad you didn't have to go through it.

Also did you mean you'd make a new fic for the continuation? With that splitting it up part I mean.

Great story dude! Can't wait for the next one! :pinkiehappy:

I love this story so much!!!!

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