• 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 2

Chapter 2

“Sunshine, sunshine. Ladybugs awake.” Cadance sang to herself. “Clap your hooves and do a little shake!” She had been singing it the last half hour, memorizing the childish rhyme. Just in case Twilight asked for it again.

The real Cadance had been a wellspring of information about the purple Unicorn. One of the reasons she had decided on taking her form as a disguise.

Cadance looked in the mirror. Shining Armor’s parents had a nice place, in the middle of downtown Canterlot. Though she didn’t quite understand the need for such a small mirror.

She loved mirrors.

They showed her what she looked like. What she wanted to look like. What others saw when they saw her.

Foolish ponies, fawning over her beauty and title. Her lips pulled into a grin, sharp canines visible.

If only they knew what lay underneath the fluffy pink coat. Flames flickered in and out of existence around her form.

Would they still flatter her if she had a coat as black as the night? Would they complement her on an uneven, hole riddled mane? Probably not.

She knew that they would cower before her. That they would turn to violence and move against her in fear.

And fear wasn’t that interesting to feed on. It did nothing to still her hunger. It always kept her longing for more.

“Sunshine, sunshine.” She sang, her voice slightly distorted. “Ladybugs awake, clap your hooves and do a little shake!” The rhyme was downright terrifying in the way she told it.

“Just one more day, my Amaryllis.” She said, fixing her disguise once more and dispelling the wards on the room. “Then we will be together at last.”

-

Cadance could hear the door unlocking, signaling the return of her soon to be husband and his sister and parents. “That was one awkward Nightmare Night.” She heard Shining Armor say with a laugh.

“You were the one that put me up to it Shiny.” Twilight grumbled. “I was five and dressed like Daring Do, I didn’t know better.”

“How long did the fire brigade need to get you out of that tree? Two hours?” The white stallion teased.

“Three.” Twilight grunted. “Three hours! And I didn’t get any candy out of it either.”

“I remember when you were dressed like Princess Celestia.” Twilight Velvet said with a smile on her face. “You were so cute. And you had Shining Armor with you as your royal guard.”

“Shiny took his role a bit too serious .” Twilight stuck her tongue out. “He didn’t let me do anything fun. Barely got any candy too.”

“Hey, I had to protect my princess, didn’t I?” Shining Armor defended himself. “Who knew what lurked behind all those doors?”

“Ponies.” Twilight said. “With candy. Free candy! That’s the best kind of candy!”

“Sounds like the four of you had a good time.” Cadance had been listening in from atop the stairs, only now making herself known.

“Hi Cadance!” Twilight said, forgetting about the candy discussion. “And yeah, we had fun! We went bowling!”

Shining Armor nodded. “We had fun. Thank you Cadance, you were right. I really needed to get away from things for a bit. Spend some time with my family.”

“Hope you enjoyed it.” Cadance said with a sweet smile. “Because after tomorrow, you’ll be all mine.”

Shining Armor laughed at that. “Of course dear.”

“Is everypony ready?” Night Light asked, checking his watch. “The rehearsal is in half an hour, so we best make our way to the castle.”

-

“So Twilight…” Twilight Velvet started as they made their way to the castle on hoof. “Do you have a special somepony yet?”

“Mom!” Twilight whined. “No, I do not.”

Shining Armor stared at her. His eyes narrowed. “You’re not telling us something Twily.” He accused her though his tone stayed lighthearted.

“Okay, I may have a little crush.” Twilight’s cheeks flushed crimson as she thought about the tan colt she fancied just a little bit.

“That’s good to hear.” Night Light said. “When’s the wedding?”

“Daddy, when I said ‘little’ crush, I meant little.” Twilight said. “And can we not talk about this? You can worry about my love life after these two get married.” She pointed at Shining Armor and Cadance.

“Just teasing you a bit.” Night Light said as he rubbed Twilight’s mane. “What kind of father would I be if I didn’t?”

“Don’t answer that.” Velvet said to Twilight, who had opened her mouth to retort with something sarcastic and probably insulting.

“Anyway, what do I do?” Twilight asked, changing the subject. “At the wedding, I mean. Do I just sit there? Do I say anything?”

“Your job will be the easiest.” Shining Armor said. “You just have to stand next to me and smile.”

“Stand next to you?” Twilight asked. “But that’s where-” She trailed off as she saw Shining Armor’s smile.

“Twilight? Will you be my best mare?” Shining Armor asked.

“Of course!” Twilight said with glee. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” She hopped around like a filly that just got her cutie mark. “Thank you so much Shiny!”

“Any time kiddo.” Shining Armor said.

-

They soon arrived at the castle. Princess Celestia was waiting for them, eager to practice her own lines. “It’s been ages since I last performed a wedding.” She said as she took her spot.

“Dearly beloved.” She started. “We have gathered here today…”

Twilight tuned her out as she turned to her friends, sitting in the front row. Since she had no real job to practice anyway, other than look pretty and smile, she decided to sit there with them. At least until Cadance came in.

“How were the preparations?” She asked, her voice a whisper so she wouldn’t disturb Celestia.

“Mighty fine.” Applejack said. “Had to bake the cake again though. First one tipped over and landed on the pastry chef. There was frosting everywhere!”

“If only it could have landed on that pompous prince." Rarity sighed. A mare could dream. "The dress is done.” She said. “And I made some outfits for us as well. Other than that, I’ve spent the rest of the day looking for my saddlebags and supplies.”

“You lost them?” Twilight asked.

Rarity nodded. “I know, can you believe it? I just can’t figure out how. Luckily I was able to obtain some more supplies.”

“Strange.” Twilight said, Rarity was usually so proficient with finding lost things. “I’m sure you’ll find them sooner or later.” She added.

Rarity nodded, though a look of worry still adorned her face.

“The party’s been planned.” Pinkie said. “Streamers, confetti, party hats. Everything is accounted for! Except the record for the Pony Pokey. Somepony scratched it up and used it as a Frisbee. And broke it into pieces.” Pinkie mused. “And then they set it on fire.”

She leaned in closer to Twilight. “I have the sneaking suspicion that somepony doesn’t like the Pony Pokey.”

Twilight nodded. “We’ll find the culprit after the wedding, okay?”

“No worry, I brought my own copy!” Pinkie pulled a record out from under her seat.

“The birds are all ready too.” Fluttershy said as Twilight turned to her. “We practiced for hours and hours, until it was just right.” Her face turned to a worried look. “I just hope that they’ll be rested by tomorrow.”

Twilight nodded. “Wow, some setbacks. But I suppose that’s what happens when you plan the most prestigious wedding of the century.”

“Speaking of planning, where the hay were you?” Rainbow Dash asked. A thought occurred to her. “And Spike for that matter?”

Twilight frowned. “I haven’t seen Spike either. Knowing him, he’s probably hanging out with Hoity Toity or maybe Doughnut Joe.

“Anyway, I was out with Shining Armor and my parents.” Twilight said as her face cleared up a bit. “Shiny’s been under a lot of stress lately, so Cadance told us to go and have some fun!”

“So the two of you are okay?” Applejack asked. “Not angry anymore?”

“Of course not.” Twilight said. “We sorted things out.”

“That’s good to hear.” Pinkie Pie said.

“And your headaches?” Fluttershyy asked.

“Just fine.” Twilight said. “Cadance fixed them for me.”

“Cadance? Is she a-” Fluttershy was cut off by the doors opening behind them.

Cadance walked in, beginning her slow trek to the front of the aisle, where Shining Armor awaited her.

Twilight leapt off her seat and hurried to stand next to her brother.

“I hope you don’t plan on doing that tomorrow.” Shining Armor nudged her playfully.

Twilight just rolled her eyes in reply. She then turned to watch as Cadance approached. Her old foalsitter looked so beautiful, even without the wedding dress.

Her eyes met with Cadance’s.

A wave of pain descended over her, enveloping her mind. Her head felt like it was going to crack and split open!

And then Twilight fell to the ground.

-

“My head…” Twilight muttered.

“Are you okay? Speak to me Twilight.” She vaguely recognized Shining Armor’s voice.

“Yeah, sure.” She said groggily as she scrambled to get to her hooves. “My head’s pounding again.”

“Let me take a look.” Cadance said. She lowered her horn to Twilight’s.

Again Twilight felt the warm glow come over her, covering her entire body. Instantly the headache disappeared. “Thanks Cadance, you’re a lifesaver.”

“Any time Twily.” Cadance said.

“Twilight, you should go home.” Shining Armor said. “It’s getting late and you’re going to need your rest. Trust me, big brother knows best.” He ruffled Twilight’s mane.

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Good thing I have you looking after me.”

“Come on sugarcube, ah’ll escort ya home.” Applejack said.

“Let me.” Cadance interrupted. “In case she gets another headache on the way home.”

Applejack shrugged. “Fine by me. Ain’t it kinda hard to have a rehearsal without the bride?”

“I’ll be back soon.” Cadance said, draping a wing over a still groggy Twilight.

“See you guys tomorrow.” Twilight said, waving at her friends and her mentor.

-

“Thanks for bringing me home Cadance.” Twilight said once they came back to her family’s house.

“Sure thing Twily.” Cadance said. “Now scoot, off to bed.”

Twilight smiled. “Of course.” She absently scratched at her back. Unbeknownst to her, plucks of her coat were falling off, dropping onto the carpet.

Cadance noticed this. “Want me to tuck you in? One last time?” She offered with a sweet smile on her face.

Twilight stared at her. And blushed. “Would you do that for me?”

Cadance winked. “Of course. No matter how grown up you get, you’re still my favorite little filly.”

Twilight led the way, shedding more hair on the way there, which Cadance destroyed before it could even hit the ground, her magic wiping it from existence.

“Cadance, I don’t feel so good.” Twilight said once they got to her old room.

“Just get into bed.” Cadance pushed the door open, revealing a made bed. Velvet had prepared it for her daughter’s arrival. “And I promise, tomorrow everything will be better.”

“I believe you.” Twilight said, pushing the sheets off the bed and climbing in. Her hoof caught something. “Is this… hair?”

“Sleep.” Cadance touched her horn to Twilight’s. Twilight dropped like a stone, snoring softly. “Sleep tight, sweet Amaryllis. Tomorrow everything WILL be better.” She covered the sleeping Unicorn and quietly made her leave, locking the door behind her.

-

“Now where were we?” Cadance asked as she entered the chapel once more.

“How’s Twilight?” Shining Armor asked.

“She’s fine. Sleeping like a foal right now.” Cadance said.

“That’s good to hear.” Celestia said. “And I believe that we were just about to commence the ceremony itself.”

Cadance nodded and took her place next to Shining Armor.

“Ahem, dearly beloved…"

-

Applejack yawned obnoxiously, much to the dismay of Rarity. “Honestly Applejack, hold your hoof in front of your mouth when you yawn.” She scoffed.

“Ah’m sorry Rarity. Ah’m just so tired.” They all were. Cadance had insisted that they practice ten times, to get it right. “Why the hay did we even have to stay?”

“Because the princess asked it of us.” Rarity said. “It’s a great honor to be so involved in a wedding of this magnitude.”

“I’d rather get involved with my bed.” Rainbow Dash muttered. “Let’s just get to the hotel now.”

It was well past three in the morning when the five ponies retired to their hotel. Twilight Velvet and Night Light went home as well, leaving Celestia, Shining Armor and Cadance at the castle.

“I’ll be taking my leave as well.” Celestia said. “I should have been in bed hours ago. Better go, before Luna accuses me of trying to steal her night again.”

“We are watching you sister dearest!!!!” Luna yelled from atop her watchtower.

Celestia facehoofed and walked off, bidding the soon to be wed couple good night.

“You want to go for a late-night stroll?” Cadance asked.

“I don’t know, shouldn’t we get to bed as well?” Shining Armor asked. “We have a busy day tomorrow and- Aah!”

Cadance’s horn glowed green. “That wasn’t a question my love.”

“Of course.” Shining Armor’s eyes turned green. “Let’s go for a walk.”

“Good night aunty Luna!” Cadance yelled at Princess Luna, confident that the watchful mare had seen nothing.

“Yes, we bid you good night as well.” Luna said absentmindedly as she peered into her spyglass.

-

The pair quickly arrived at Cadance’s intended destination, the shield. “Shining Armor, my dearest. You are certain that Luna can’t see us here?”

Shining Armor nodded.

“And you are certain that no guards will pass this spot tonight?” Cadance pressed on.

“Of course.” Shining Armor said with a monotone voice.

“Good. That means it’s showtime.” Cadance closed her eyes. Her horn glowed.

-

In downtown Canterlot, Twilight Sparkle shivered in her bed.

-

Cadance opened her eyes again. A smile formed as dozens of blue eyes glowed in the darkness beyond the shield.

“My children.” She said, affection clear in her voice. “Shining Armor, be a dear and let them in.”

Shining Armor nodded. His horn glowed and a part of the shield dissolved.

Dozens of black creatures stepped through. “Ready to serve.” One said. “Ready to serve.” The others mimicked as one.

“Good.” Cadance said. “We go ahead as planned. Assume disguises. Mingle amongst the populace. Unicorns outnumber Pegasi and Earth ponies three to one. Adjust accordingly.” She tossed her saddlebag to the ground in front of one of the Changelings. “There are invitations in there. You’re all invited.”

“We are honored.” They said as one.

“All of you… except you two.” Cadance pointed at two changelings. “I have a very special mission for the two of you.” The two changelings looked at each other, before turning to their queen and nodding.

-

Many ponies woke up early, just so they could see Princess Luna lower the moon and Princess Celestia raise the sun. They made a display of it, to signal that today would be a very special day.

“Rest well my sister.” Celestia said as Luna moved to take her leave. “Are you sure that you will not attend the wedding?” She asked one last time.

“Neigh sister.” Luna said. “We must slumber. The day is yours, as are all the events that partake in its glow.”

“Uh-huh.” Celestia said. “You just don’t want to give a speech, do you?”

“That too.” Luna admitted. “We shall see you at the celebrations later today.” With that, Luna leapt into the sky with wings unfurled. A flash of her horn made an alicorn-sized hole in the shield, which quickly closed behind her.

Celestia watched her sister take off. “One day Luna, one day.” She said, even though nopony heard her. “One day you will allow yourself to be loved once more.”

The sound of bells ringing filled her ears, signaling to everypony that today was indeed a very special day.

Celestia took off. She still had some time to finish preparing for the ceremony.

-

“Twilight, quit squirming.” Velvet said as she zipped up Twilight’s dress. Rarity had whipped up some designs for the six of them to wear, using what she had left from Cadance’s dress and some additional supplies.

“I’m sorry mother, I’m just so excited!” Twilight said. “It’s not every day that your brother marries a princess.”

“Where the hay are Rarity and Fluttershy?” Applejack groaned. “Ah swear, if they’re ‘fashionably late’ again ah’ll hogtie em!”

“You sure are anxious about this wedding.” Night Light noted.

“Of course! The Apple family name is at stake here. All of the Canterlot nobles’ll be eating from the cake ah baked with apples from our farm.” Applejack said with pride and a hint of smugness in her voice.

“Hey Sparkle, have you seen Spike yet?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Because I’m getting a bit worried.” She coughed. “Just a bit, mind you.”

Twilight just shook her head.

“Where could that baby dragon have gone?” Pinkie Pie pondered, before letting out an obnoxious and overly loud yawn. “Sorry, just a bit tired from last night. Which is odd because I-”

Pinkie stopped talking as the door to the Twilight residence swung open.

“Well, speak of the devil.” Applejack snorted. “Spike, where’ve you been?”

“Bachelor party.” Spike said, his eyes wide and red. “One hell of a bachelor party might I add. You should have come.”

“Spike, you disappeared without a word.” Pinkie said, picking the dragon up and shaking him. “And you had a party without me!”

“Whoops.” Spike shrugged in Pinkie’s grip. Sleep deprivation was not something he was familiar with.

“Spike… is that a tattoo?” Rainbow Dash asked as Pinkie put him down again. The Pegasus ran over to him. “Oh my Celestia! It is!”

“Huh?” Spike looked at his left arm. A big red heart was inked on his upper arm, a small purple star in it and underneath stood ‘mother’ in curly letters. “I hope that’s a rub-on tattoo.”

“Well, at least Spike had fun last night.” Twilight admitted.

“Apparently.” Spike gingerly touched the tattoo. It still felt a bit sore.

“What’s this?” Pinkie picked up a little note. “See you around Spikey, kisses – Buttercup?” She handed the note to Spike.

“Who is Buttercup?” Twilight asked.

“Wish I knew.” Spike admitted. Last night was a bit too muddled right now.

Twilight sighed. “Look, can we worry about this later? We have a wedding to attend!”

“Of course.” Velvet said. “Let’s just get Spike dressed and we’ll be off.”

“Huh? Oh right. Wedding.” Spike said groggily.

“What about Fluttershy and Rarity?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“They’ll come if they know what’s good for them.” Twilight said. Applejack and Rainbow Dash exchanged a look of concern and worry between them, though neither of them acted on it.

-

The wedding went according to plans.

The bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the best mare smiled and looked pretty and Spike only lost the rings once.

By now the ceremony was nearing its end.

Celestia smiled as she came to her favorite part of the ceremony.

“And let anypony who opposes the union of this mare and this stallion speak now.” Celestia said. “Or forever hold their peace.” A quick glare was fitted in, just to make sure nopony gave a peep.

“Nopony? Well then I declare you mare and-”

“STOP!!” A voice boomed through the chapel. Ponies gasped, others fainted.

“Rarity?” Applejack uttered, getting up from her seat. “What in tarnation are ya doing?”

“She’s a fraud!” Rarity accused, stepping forward as she pointed an accusing hoof towards the bride. A red heart-shaped gem hung from a chain around her neck. “She is not Princess Cadance, she’s a monster hiding under her skin!”

Cadance gasped. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “Why must you ruin my special day!” She sniffed.

“Because it’s supposed to be my special day!”

Even more ponies gasped.

Fluttershy walked in, doing her best to support a weakened Alicorn. “Get away from my fiancé!”

“You have been found out, you imposter!” Rarity yelled.

“How?” The other Cadance asked, her tears drying up. “How did you find her?”

“Well that was easy.” Rarity said.

-

“Rarity? Are you sure that your gem is in this cold scary cavern?” Fluttershy squeaked.

“Apparently.” Rarity said. “My spell is pointing in this direction… right here.” Rarity stopped in front of a chasm. “This isn’t right.” She said.

“D-do you think it’s down there?” Fluttershy asked.

Rarity nodded. “Fluttershy my dear, would you mind sneaking a peek down there?”

Fluttershy gulped but nodded anyway.

Rarity watched as her friend floated down the abyss, only to come back up mere moments later. “It’s not that deep.” Fluttershy said. “Look, I found your saddlebag.”

Rarity quickly opened it up and pulled out her fire ruby necklace. “My little Spikey-Wikey’s gift! Oh I thought I’d never see you again.” She kissed it affectionately.

“There were rolls of fabric down there as well.” Fluttershy noted.

Rarity blinked. “Really?”

“Yes.” Fluttershy nodded. “Somepony must have tossed them down there. But why?”

“To distract you.” A voice was heard. A weakened Alicorn came around a crystal pillar. “Please, help me.”

-

“And now your game is over.” Rarity said smugly.

“Blast.” The other Cadance muttered.

“Show your real face Changeling.” Cadance said. “Show them!”

“I might as well indulge you.” The other Cadance said.

An inferno raged around her. Green flames moved around her, engulfing her. Pink fur turned black, a perfectly styled mane turned weathered and frayed. Wings shed, revealing a membrane underneath.

And perfectly straight and white teeth turned sharp and wicked.

Ponies screamed in fright as the creature emerged from the flames. “Much better.” Chrysalis said as she stretched her wings. “I’ve been holding up that disguise for far too long.”

“Who are you?” Princess Celestia demanded. “And why did you attack my niece?”

“My name is Chrysalis.” She said. “But you will refer to me as ‘Queen’ Chrysalis. As for the why, I needed Shining Armor’s love.”

Cadance’s eyes widened as she remembered what her imposter had told her before. “Twilight!” She shrieked. “Get away from her! Run!”

Twilight backed away slowly, only to be caught in a cage of fire, along with her brother. The flames solidified into rigid steel bars. “Going somewhere?” Chrysalis smirked as her horn dimmed. “Good luck breaking out of that.”

“You won’t get away with this.” Celestia said, stepping forward. “Release my student and my captain and you will be given a chance to surrender.”

“You think I didn’t come prepared?” Chrysalis laughed. Random ponies in the crowd laughed with her.

Panic broke out in the crowd as various ponies erupted in flames, their disguises burning away to reveal the Changelings within.

“There must be dozens!” Rarity uttered as more and more Changelings revealed themselves and took to the air.

The chapel quickly cleared as most of the guests fled away, leaving just them and the Changelings hovering above them.

“You are threatening my subjects.” Celestia said, her voice as cold as steel. “I will protect my subjects, using lethal force if I have to. Surrender now, or face the wrath of the sun itself!”

“I’m so scared right now.” Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “Let’s see if you can land a hit, your majesty.”

Celestia’s eyes narrowed. Light erupted from her horn. It condensed into a single beam that she fired at Chrysalis. Despite her claims, she did not aim to kill, merely to wound and subdue.

So she was pretty surprised when Chrysalis actually moved into the beam of light, taking it head on.

A small explosion occurred, seemingly taking Chrysalis down.

“Uh, princess…” Somepony moaned from the smoldering crater the spell had left. “Please, please don’t hurt me.”

“Hurt you? I-” Celestia froze when the smoke cleared. Her eyes were wide with shock. A Unicorn with a bright yellow coat and red mane crawled out of the crater .“Starlight? Is that you?” Celestia couldn’t believe her eyes.

“Starlight?” Celestia repeated, taking a few tentative steps towards the wounded filly.

“Surprise!” The yellow pony said once Celestia was close enough. Her horn crackled with green lightning.

The unsuspecting Alicorn was blasted at pointblank range. The force of the spell was enough to send her flying into the altar, shattering the marble slab on impact.

Her tiara clattered to the ground dramatically.

‘Starlight’ let out a mocking laugh as flames erupted around her. She turned back into the Changeling queen.

“Too easy Celestia.” Chrysalis said, sauntering over to the fallen headdress. “For a moment I thought you didn’t recognize me.” She picked it up with her magic and gazed into the reflective gold, taking a moment to revel in her own reflection.

“Y-you are not her!” Celestia gritted her teeth in pain.

“No, not anymore.” Chrysalis said, tossing the tiara to the ground in front of Celestia. “I haven’t been so in a long, long time. But I digress.” She grinned, baring her teeth. “I am here to claim my prize.”

“You will never take Canterlot!” Celestia roared in anger.

“Canterlot? Oh that will be a nice bonus, yes.” Chrysalis said nonchalantly. “The real prize here is in that cage. Your student is mine!” Twilight let out a squeak of fright as she heard that.

“No! I will not allow it!” Celestia struggled to get to her hooves as she saw Twilight’s distressed face, only to be forced down once more. “You will not hurt her!” She groaned.

“You have no say in this Celestia.” Chrysalis said as she applied more pressure with her front left hoof, pushing the princess of the sun down.

“Neither do you!” Cadance called out. “You have no right to take Twilight!”

“Of course I do, I’m her mother.” Chrysalis snapped back.

Everypony, except a select few, gasped.

“What did she say?”

“She can’t be serious!”

“Impossible!”

“That’s right.” Chrysalis smiled at the confusion she saw on everypony’s face. “The one you call Twilight Sparkle is my daughter. Her true name is Amaryllis. Princess Amaryllis!”

All eyes turned to Twilight, who was still huddling in the cage next to her brother.

Nopony noticed her parents quietly crying in the corner of the chapel.

Celestia weighed her options. “Girls!” She yelled. “Get the Elements of Harmony! They can help!” Or at least she hoped they could.

Celestia’s horn erupted in a flash of magic, taking the Changeling queen by surprise and forcing her off the Alicorn’s back.

“I am not that easily defeated!” She got up, her wings flaring open in a display of power and challenge. She strode over to Chrysalis, intent on bringing her down.

Twilight’s friends were still frozen in shock, even after Celestia’s direct command. “Snap out of it!” Cadance yelled as she weakly grabbed Rarity. “We can worry about this later, right now you need to hurry up and fetch the Elements!” She pleaded.

“Of course.” Rarity said, snapping out of her daze. “We must hurry, lest Twilight ends up looking like that.” She pointed an accusing hoof at Chrysalis, who nimbly dodged everything Celestia threw at her.

“Hang in there sugarcube!” Applejack yelled. “We ain’t letting some bug steal ya away!”

Twilight nodded, before turning her attention back to the duel between monarchs.

“Just hurry.” Cadance said. “I’ll try and break through this cage.” Even though she knew that her current magic was no match for the enchanted construct, she would try. She had to.

The five mares nodded. “Good luck princess.” Fluttershy said.

They hurried towards the door, left open by the other guests that scrambled to get away from there.

“Have you forgotten about us?” Four Changelings said in unison as they landed in front of the door, blocking the way out.

“Have y’all forgotten ‘bout me?” A calm and reserved voice spoke from behind them.

The Changelings turned to see a massive red stallion standing there, wearing a fancy tuxedo. “Ah spend three hours climbing into this penguin suit and when ah finally get here, there ain’t no weddin’ to attend.” Big Mac cracked his hooves. “And ya’ll appear to be threatening mah lil sis and her friends.”

Big Mac reared up and slammed his front hooves down on the single Changeling that hadn’t had the intellect to get out of the way. The other three skittered off, trying to find a way around the massive stallion.

“Ya’ll run ahead and fetch them fancy necklaces!” Big Mac yelled as he bucked another Changeling into a wall. “Ah’ll hold them off!”

“Thanks Mac!” Applejack yelled as the five of them ran past him.

Big Macintosh grunted in pain as one of the Changelings bit down on his front left hoof, tearing through his tuxedo.

Using his immense strength he tossed the Changeling away. “Ya ripped mah suit.” Big Macintosh said calmly as he regained his composure. “This was my pa’s best suit.”

He stomped his hooves, cracking the tiles underneath him.

-

“How long do you think he’ll be able to hold them off?” Rainbow Dash asked as they ran towards the royal vault.

“Not long.” Applejack said. “There’s too many of them and too few of him!”

The castle was deserted. All of the guests seemed to have either fled or were in hiding.

“You don’t think there’s more of those creatures out here, right?” Fluttershy squeaked, her eyes shifting from side to side looking for any potential threats.

“Ah sure hope not.” Applejack said.

Soon they arrived at Celestia’s vault.

“Hey guys?” Rainbow Dash started. “How are we going to open this thing?” She kicked the severely reinforced and magically protected door.

“Oh that’s easy. Princess Celestia just needs to unlock it with her horn.” Rarity said. A look of realization came over her. “Never mind.”

“Now what do we do?” Pinkie asked. “We need the elements to make queen meanie over there taste the rainbow.”

“Perhaps we may be of some assistance!” Somepony yelled.

-

Chrysalis observed as the red stallion was sealed inside a cocoon. “He will make for an excellent Praetorian. Such ferociousness, such determination!” She turned to her troops. “You could learn something from this kind of devotion.”

“Yes, our queen.” The Changelings said in unison.

Chrysalis frowned as she took in the damage. She hadn’t expected the stallion to be so fierce. He had decimated over a dozen of her troops before she intervened.

Subduing both Celestia and Cadance took longer than she expected, though both of them were now glued to the wall with Changeling resin.

“I must say, I hadn’t expected such… resistance from a common pony.” Chrysalis said as she traced a hoof over the cocoon.

“That’s what you get for threatening our home.” Celestia growled. “And imagine, that was just one pony and he defeated nearly a third of your invading force!” She said, pride clear in her voice.

She was worried too. About Big Macintosh’s current health and about what Chrysalis said about what that cocoon was doing to him. They couldn’t really turn ponies… could they?

“I am bothered by something.” Celestia continued, shoving her worries to the side for now. “My personal guards alone are greater in numbers than this lot. Add to that Luna’s Night Guard and you are royally outnumbered.” She smirked. “So why this pathetic attempt?”

Chrysalis gazed at her, green eyes glowing. “And where are they?” She asked. “Thanks to Shining Armor, I know which soldiers are where at which time.” She said with in a tone of voice bordering on arrogance before she continued. “The Night Guard and their commander are all asleep, out of town might I add.”

She strutted over to Celestia. “And besides, why should I worry about your soldiers when they will be mine to command soon?” Celestia’s eyes widened as Chrysalis lowered her horn to her own.

“STOP!!!” Somepony cried out. Chrysalis cursed under her breath and turned to face whoever dared interrupt her taking control of Celestia.

“THE PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT COMMANDS YOU TO BACK AWAY!!” Luna cried out as she entered the room along with Twilight’s friends.

“How did you find out?” Chrysalis asked, her eyes wide with surprise. “You were supposed to be miles from here!”

“A Changeling? We haven’t see your ilk in more than a thousand years!” Luna said, a hint of disgust and wonder in her voice. “How’s dear old Queen Amethyst?”

“Mother has been dead for almost nine hundred years.” Chrysalis said, gritting her teeth. “How did you find out?” She was genuinely curious. She had never made a slipup, as far as she knew.

“We knew something was wrong. Our niece calls us aunty Lulu, because she knows it annoys us!” Luna said, her horn glowing with a silvery light. With it she struck down the changelings that tended to Big Mac’s cocoon. “Somepony get him out of there, now!”

Luna’s Night Guard swarmed into the room. Over fifty stallions and mares bearing the seal of the night’s princess on their flanks.

“This complicates things.” Chrysalis said, fear creeping into her voice. She had hoped to be done with this before Luna would suspect anything. “Luckily, I have a backup plan.”

“Which is?” Cadance smirked.

“A tactical retreat!” Chrysalis cried out.

“You cannot escape us!” Luna yelled. “The shield is still up, it shall keep you in as well!”

“That’s what you think.” Chrysalis smirked as her Changelings surrounded her. Her horn glowed green. “I’ve just ordered Shining Armor to drop the shield.” She said smugly.

Indeed so, the pink bubble tore open from the top, the walls crumbling down and dissolving into harmless, raspberry flavored energy.

“And now, I must take my leave.” Chrysalis said as she spread her wings and leapt out the window.

“You won’t escape!” Celestia cried out.

“Not like this.” Chrysalis said. Her Changelings swarmed around her. Fire flashed and suddenly there were twenty-three copies of Chrysalis. “But like this!” They cried out in unison.

The Chrysalises smirked, showing their fangs as they moved amongst one another, mixing so that nopony knew who the real one was. “Farewell ponies, till we meet again!” They called out in unison.

“Stop them!” Luna cried out. The Pegasi of the Night Guard took flight.

The Chrysalises in turn dove away, scattering and flying off into the streets.

More flashes of fire were seen as they took on random pony forms and mixed into the crowd. The guards pursued them.

“Well, that was anticlimactic.” Rarity admitted as the chapel was nearly empty again.

“Victory through superior horsepower.” Luna said. “Boring but effective.”

“Shining Armor, my love!” Cadance called out, clinging to the bars that held her fiancé and favorite little filly. “Are you alright, is her spell gone?” She needed to hear him say it to her. That he still loved her.

Instead, the caged stallion and mare began to laugh. At the same time, in the same way and same tone. “Plan B.” They said as one before erupting in flames, revealing two normal Changelings.

-

Meanwhile just outside Canterlot.

A small group of Changelings had been waiting for the shield to fall. They quickly exited the city and made their way into the forest.

They were wary of their surroundings, searching for anything that might pose a threat.

For they had the most important treasure with them. The queen had entrusted them with the safe transportation of their princess.

The Changeling in question slumbered on the back of a Behemoth, a Changeling so big that he couldn’t take on pony disguises.

Their precious cargo was sealed in a green cocoon, allowing their princess to rest as they marched onwards towards the Wastelands.

Shining Armor marched on as well, not knowing where they were going and not really caring either. His eyes were dull, his mind blank. The effect of being drained of most of his emotions.

Three Chrysalises landed in front of the party. Two of them caught on fire and turned back into regular Changeling soldiers.

The third one, the real one strode over to the Behemoth carrying Twilight on his back. Without a word she jumped up onto his head so she could get a better look at the cocoon.

She taped it with her hoof, like a foal would tap on an aquarium to get the fish to move.

The fish in this aquarium didn’t move. She just opened her eyes for a few seconds before closing them again.

Chrysalis smiled. Not a smirk, not a grin. A genuine smile. For the first time in a long time her own happiness filled her heart. And it felt so much better than somepony else’s.

---

Off course, of course. Off course is when you stray from your path. I must remember that! Seriously, I keep on making that same mistake.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it.

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