• Published 5th Sep 2015
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Equestria’s Changeling Queen and the Abyssal Empress - vren55

After Alternia, changeling queen and former regent for a missing Celestia, is coronated as Equestria’s third ruling princess, she must face her first crisis in the depths of the Eastern Sea. Sequel to Princess Celestia: The Changeling Queen.

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Chapter 9: The Storm Begins

On the bridge of the Llamrei, Celestia stood patiently as the sight of the errant Venecian convoy loomed ahead of them in the daylight. Around her were the rest of the battleship’s bridge crew, manning their posts.

As for Sunset Shimmer, Celestia had asked her to stay close, and so she did, practically squashed up next to the princess as the ponies around her ran around to carry out the functions of a warship at General Quarters.

Captain Smith, after consulting with an officer, turned to Celestia and saluted.

“Your highness, the Venecian Fleet is in range of our main batteries. They are not responding to our hails.”

“Hail them again. This time, inform them that should they not turn around and rejoin our escort, we will fire a warning shot. Also, order all ships to prepare their boarding parties and be ready to detain the mutineers.”

Smith nodded and yelled the order out to one of the ponies at the radio station. That pony fiddled with the dials and spoke into the radio again.

“No response captain!” yelled the radio officer.

Resisting the urge to swear, Celestia gritted her teeth and forced her jaw to relax. Why did it always have to be so difficult with some ponies?

“Captain, fire a warning shot.”

“Affirmative!” Smith turned to his officers. “Train forward turret two hundred meters to the rear of the convoy!”

“Yes sir! Traversing”

As the crew and officers of the Llamrei plotted and calculated their relative positions on a battle-board towards the rear of the bridge, Celestia and Sunset could see the massive turret on the bow deck of the Llamrei slowly turn, its guns elevating to target the convoy.

“Ready to fire, your highness!” said Smith.

Celestia inclined her head slightly, and put on the protective earmuffs she had been given.


Nothing could quite prepare Celestia or Sunset for the sheer volume of the 12 inch main gun firing. The entire deck of the warship shook as the gun sent a massive shockwave and sound that shook Celestia’s and Sunset’s fur, which they could hear through their earmuffs.

The gun itself spat a tongue of smoke and flame out from its end, sending a shell at impossible to see speeds off into the distance. Even then, it took a moment for the shell to land in the water, sending a great tower of cascading water into the air.

Celestia watched in awe as the plume collapsed back upon itself, and it took a moment until she could hear Captain Smith’s query.

“Your highness, they’re hailing and they’ve surrendered.”

“Good, order them to heave to and —”

“Your highness! The Venecian ships are reporting their propellers are being jammed!”

Celestia spun around her eyes wide even as the officers in the bridge connected the dots and froze in horror.

They were going to be attacked.

“Captain! Turn our fleet around and have us circle on this position! We’re going to be attacked! Order the Venecians to abandon ship and get the pegasus boarding parties in the air to help them evacuate as many as we can!”

Smith nodded. “Yes, your highness! Fleet, battle about turn to Starboard and continue the turn to circle on this position! All ships, lock all external doors and prepare to be boarded!”

The officers on deck responded quickly, yelling out orders and running out and off of the bridge.

“Celestia, what do I do?” asked Sunset.

Celestia didn’t glance at Sunset. Her eyes had hardened into magenta flints and her tri-color mane shone with a bright, almost ethereal light, that comforted, but at the same time, terrified Sunset.

“Stay here, there is a pretty good likelihood we’ll need your fire magic to protect the ship.”

“Your highness! Some of the Venecians are refusing to evacuate, but most are taking to the boats,” said Smith with a grimace.

Her lips curled in a snarl, Celestia turned on Smith. Her voice a low, dangerous growl.

“Hail them again and tell them that if they insist on doing that, this fleet will abandon them to be kelpie bait!”

Smith swallowed, but nodded and rushed over to his first officer, while Sunset’s eyes widened.

“Oh Faust you’re serious, Celestia,” whispered Sunset.

Celestia didn’t look at her friend, her eyes being fixed on the horizon and the golden-armored pegasus teams taking flight to the Venecian ships. “Those idiots have put us in enough danger, Sunset. I will not sacrifice this fleet to save those too stubborn to save themselves.”

The Royal Guard pegasi squads worked quickly to get the Venician sailors who wanted to leave off. Most of them did want to leave, and within minutes, a fleet of lifeboats now made their way to the Equestrian Fleet, all of them towed by Royal Guard pegasi that nervously glanced at the water below.

It was even worse for the sailors in the lifeboats, a motley combination of earth pony, unicorn, and even zebra sailors as reflective of the multinational population of Venecia. They knew they were at the mercy of the sea.

Which was why when the first lifeboat flipped, everybody started to panic.

Lifeboats are pretty stable after all, and every sailor with half a mind would realize that there was no way a boat would just flip.

And even if they didn’t realize that, there was simply no way to miss what they saw.

That is the water itself frothing as half dolphin, half equine shaped figures surfaced from the depths of the sea. They seized the confused sailors and with their hooves and with a quiet splash, dragged them into the depths, their flukes being the last to vanish.

Needless to say, everybody started screaming.

The poor pegasus boarding captain reacted instinctively, by firstly, stating the obvious.

“We’re under attack!”

One of the sailors snapped at the captain. “NO S—!”

Except his boat went over next, toppling him and his fellows into the water. Luckily, by this time though, the captain had gotten his act together. He swooped down and scooped the swearing sailor up, dropping him into one of the still floating boats before yelling at a nearby private.

“Get a messenger to the Llamrei! Tell them to get us some reinforcements and get their flanks over here!”

The private, a mare, shot off to the fleet of waiting ships. The other pegasus guards who were not pulling the lines and the griffon sailors swooped down to the sea. The ponies from the sea still yanked many of the sailors into the water, but the Royal Guard pegasi managed to seize some of the other sailors and drop them into lifeboats that were rapidly being overcrowded.

Any attempts by the pegasi to hit the elusive sea equines however, failed. They just splashed water. Though sometimes a dive might interrupt a snatch and drown, it mostly failed.

And with the rate of the lifeboats being flipped over like falling dominos, sending screaming sailors into the water and into the clutches of their captors, it seemed like none of them would make it alive.

It was at that moment when all hope seemed lost that something odd began to happen. A golden light surrounded every one of the sailors in the water and they rose slowly into the air. Some wailed as the sea equines held onto them with their two front hooves, but the sailors continued to rise, until even the most daring of the hangers-on dropped back into the water.

The source of this light, stood, hovering in the air, her white form blazing even in the daylight, her hair whipping in the sea breeze. It was Celestia, Princess of Equestria.

And judging by the scowl on her fair features, she was furious.

“Seaponies of Empress Samudra! For what purpose do you attack our ships and sailors!” roared Celestia.

Sailors clapped their hooves or claws to their ears at the volume of Celestia’s voice, but the seaponies only flipped another lifeboat. As the lifeboat twisted over however, golden magic steadied it.

“Enough of this! If you do not explain yourselves, we will…”

But there was no response, and Celestia found her voice trailing off as she realized the seaponies had simply gone.

The scowl Celestia had on her features as she landed on the compass platform of the Llamrei made everypony near her take a step back. Behind her, the Equestrian destroyers picked up the sailors off of the surviving lifeboats.

“Captain Smith, get us turned around and out of this place now,” ordered Celestia as she stalked off to the stairs off the platform. However, Smith didn’t reply immediately, and so Celestia turned slowly to face the captain, who swallowed.

“Is there a problem, Captain Smith?”

Smith was doing that odd squirm without actually moving your legs that ponies paralyzed with fear would do.

“Your highness, it appears that when we slowed to pick up the lifeboats, the kelpies took the opportunity to disable several of our ships propellers and rudders.”

“Seaponies, Captain. It appears that seaponies working for the Empress Tethys likely were behind the disabling of those ships,” corrected Celestia. Sighing, she rubbed her head. “How many ships were disabled and when can we get underway?”

“That’s the thing, some of our ships can’t and will need repairs at a drydock. All our battleships are dead in the water, including this one. Our destroyers and cruisers fared better as they didn’t have to slow down so much, but two of them have been disabled. We’re attaching tow lines but our fleet’s top speed has been significantly slowed to ten knots.”

Her eyes widening, Celestia felt a growing dread forming in her heart. “Wait, you mean we can’t make full speed out of these seas?”

“No your highness.”

Celestia bit her lip and turned around, surveying her fleet for a moment, noting that several of the battleships had stopped moving even as the destroyers and cruisers threw lines to them.

“How far are we from Venecia?” asked Celestia.

“A little more than one day, your highness,” said Smith.

Celestia shut her eyes and swallowed before she spoke. “Detach the griffon cruiser and destroyer under tow. We’ll have to leave them behind if we are to get out of this alive. Besides, I doubt the griffons are going to be able to recover their ships anytime soon. Then, take the jammed vessels under tow and set a course for Venecia at full speed.”

Smith’s eyes widened “Your highness, I thought we were trying to get away from Venecia?”

“We won’t be able to get away from Venecia at that speed. It’s basically a crawl. Our only option is to make for the island and get our ships repaired.” Celestia opened her eyes and faced the captain again. “Hurry, Captain!”

“But what about the remaining Venecian ships?” asked Captain Smith.

Her eyes briefly looking over the limping Venecian convoy ships in the distance, Celestia grimaced.

“Leave them. They have expressed their allegiance, and I will not risk this fleet any further to save those who do not let others save them. Now get going!” ordered Celestia sharply.

Smith saluted and ran down to the bridge, he was followed by his officers and other sailors, leaving Celestia on the compass platform.

As well as one trembling Sunset Shimmer, who had rushed to the compass platform with the officers.

Immediately, Celestia found herself wordless. “Sunset… I…”

“I know you’re right!”

Sunset was trying her best to stay on all four hooves, but her strength failed and she sat her flank down on the deck.

“I know you are right, Celestia. Those Venecians still left on the boats brought it upon themselves with their stubbornness. I’m just… scared. Will we ever even make it to Venecia? Are we going to make it out of this alive?”

Celestia grabbed Sunset in her hooves and pulled her into her chest.

“We will Sunset, if anything I promise we will,” promised Celestia.

That was when the Llamrei shook, and a great screeching sound filled the air, like as if a gryphon ran its claws down a blackboard. The bits of the Llamrei’s deck vibrating so furiously that Celestia and Sunset nearly lost their balance. Fixtures rattled, lines thrummed, and ponies reeled as the Llamrei almost seemed to want to buck its crew off.

Then all of a sudden, the shaking stopped and Celestia could stand again.

Sunset looked out over the sea, frowning. “What in Equestria— Oh Faust.” The unicorn immediately paled, her mouth dropping open as she stared out to the rear of the ship.

Celestia, looked in the direction of her friend and felt a chill through her heart.

The Llamrei when under steam, would leave a pretty big wake behind it, but right now it was dead in the water, and about to be taken under tow.

Which meant the massive A-shaped wake behind the ship right now, going the opposite direction that the Llamrei should go if under steam, was definitely NOT the battleship’s.

Whatever it was though, and nobody could figure out what it was because whatever ‘it’ was was underwater, it was the same size that the battleship’s wake would be...

Celestia lunged for the phone to the bridge and roared into it, “GET US OUT OF HERE! NOW!”

“Yes your highness!” screamed Smith from below in the bridge.

“Celestia! It’s submerged!” yelled Sunset.

Celestia spun around and cursed, the monster, whatever it was had gone and dived deep, but who knows where it would surface. It could possibly even be the Empress Tethys herself.

As confident as Celestia was in her own abilities, she did not want to fight the Empress now, not with her ships disabled, and not with knowing that the Empress could drag an entire battleship down into the depths.

“All hooves to general quarters! Get our dead ships under tow and prepare to be boarded” she ordered into the communication pipe. Not waiting for an affirmative answer, Celestia took to the skies, her horn ready to blast the creature if it dared show itself to the light of day.

Many, agonizingly long minutes passed, and still Celestia hovered, Sunset watching her. The Equestrian fleet got under way, pulling away slowly from the limp Venecian ships that were fast disappearing on the horizon of the slowly setting sun.

“What the heck was that?” asked Sunset.

“A warning, of what I am not entirely sure, but we best heed…” Celestia’s eyes widened as her eyes scanned the horizon. “Oh no.”

In the distance, huge, long, dark blue tentacles, clear even at this distance, rose into the air, wrapping around one of the stubborn Venecian ships. Celestia could hear the faint wails of the once stubborn crew as their vessel was dragged into the water, slowly, resisting, but unable to fight back against the monster that had caught hold.

And as much as Celestia wanted to go help the poor souls who were now the monster’s prey, she couldn’t. For who knew if another monster would attack her fleet, her subjects, while she was trying to save what few sailors that would survive from that monster?

No, Celestia sighed heavily as she landed back on the deck. She had offered those Venecians enough chances.

“Look away, Sunset, look away,” ordered Celestia as she grimly watched as the monster seized another vessel.

Sunset complied, sobbing as she buried her face into Celestia’s shoulder.

It was a grim assembly connected by the link provided by the crystal balls. Luna’s was horrified, her eyes wide, Celestia was downcast, her chin drooped and ears flat against her head, and Alternia…

Her lips were pressed together in the thinnest line, curving in the slightest hint of a scowl. Her eyes narrowed, one could practically see the gears turning in her head.

“Celestia, you know more about seaponies than either of us. What does this mean?”

The solar alicorn frowned.. “Apart from the obvious that seaponies appear to be supporting the kelpies, it means several things. That Empress Samudra, or her successor, was deposed by Tethys with seapony support. It also could mean that Empress Tethys came to power by legitimate succession. This is in spite of all that we ourselves know about kelpies and seapony relations, in that they are supposed to be hostile against one another.”

“Is it possible that the kelpies are enslaving the seaponies and forcing them to do their dirty work?” asked Luna.

Celestia shook her head. “There are far too many seaponies for the kelpies to rule over them by force. The seaponies are the dominant race in Aquestria and they would not accept kelpie rule lightly.”

Alternia grimaced. “It also could mean that something united the seaponies and kelpies.”

“That is… more likely, though we have a difficult time imagining what possibly could unite the common interests of both species,” said Celestia.

“Maybe the sea itself?”

Celestia and Alternia stared at Luna. “Explain, sister,” said Celestia.

“The Empress, Tethys, was oddly specific in ordering us to clear the Eastern Seas. Perhaps they’ve united over establishing sovereign control of their waters?”

Alternia nodded. “Perhaps, but the question remains, why now? Why not a hundred years earlier?”

The triarchs sat in silence, each in their own thoughts for several long seconds.

Until Celesta couldn’t take it any longer and slammed her hoof on the table, bouncing her crystal ball up.

“Confound it! We know nothing about the kelpies apart from the danger they pose, that they have likely united with the seaponies, and that they want us out of the Eastern Seas. We do not even know if they actually set off the tsunami that destroyed the pirates, or even if it was them that were working with the pirates in the first place! All of these unanswered questions rankle our mind!”

“All the more reason we seek to make diplomatic contact with them, Celestia,” said Alternia.

Luna glanced at Alternia’s image, brow furrowed in worry. “Alternia, what’s the point? We have nothing to negotiate with them for, and they have shown they are obviously hostile to Equestria and Venecia. We should prepare for war.”

Alternia paused for a second, but shook her head. “We don’t know that, though we do need to prepare for the worst. It is why you are talking to the changelings about joint defensive measures, and why we’ve commissioned more ships. However, as Celestia said, we know too little about our enemy. We don’t know their long term goal, their reasons for why they started to pursue it now, or how truly powerful they are.”

“Ah, we see now… thou want to make diplomatic contact in order to ascertain their motives, so in the event of a war, we can anticipate their actions better,” said Celestia.

“Precisely. It is too much to pin all our hopes on a negotiated settlement at this point, but it is also something we must try due to the strength of our enemy. Right now however, we need to know more about our enemy, and we can only do this through establishing diplomatic contact. Additionally, I need to go to Venecia anyway to attempt to retrieve Murmilia’s book on kelpies. If it can tell us anything about their motives or culture, we can use that to our advantage.”

“Thereby at least figuring out who our enemy is and why they fight,” finished Luna, nodding slowly. She didn’t seem entirely convinced however, as her brow was still furrowed.

Celestia sighed and nodded. “We agree with thy reasoning, Alternia. Just… stay safe.”

Alternia nodded. “You too, Celestia. Luna?”

The younger of the alicorn sisters grumbled, but also nodded in assent. “We think that your course of action is prudent, but just in case, we will continue our talks with the changelings, have our coastal defences examined for weak points, and have Marenitz further increase the rate of shipbuilding. We would do well to prepare for the worst.”

Alternia considered the proposal briefly, and nodded. “I agree. I also suggest you have Marenitz order the construction of several more zeppelins. We’re going to need them if sea communications with Venecia are cut off.”

“Understood. Be careful, Alternia,” said Luna.

Her heart warmed by the love of her co-rulers, Alternia smiled and dispelled the magical link between the crystal balls. Without saying a word, Alternia rose and walked to the french doors that led to the balcony outside her chambers, and looked out over Equestria.

It was midday, and there was a light drizzle scheduled for Canterlot, so small raindrops beat against the glass. Yet, Alternia still had a sweeping view of Canterlot, the mountain, and the countryside all the way to distant Ponyville.

Quiet moments like these kept her sane, and kept her grounded. And Alternia knew that she would need all her wits about her in the coming days. Too much rested on her to try to preserve the lives of those outside.

There was a knock on her door, and Alternia sighed, but pulled her lips into a small smile and turned around.


The door opened to let in Buzz and Diamondshell, who were escorting Admiral Marenitz.

Alternia’s smile widened. “Admiral, this is a pleasant surprise. I trust you have something for me?”

Marenitz dropped her saddlebag onto the ground and pulled out a long roll of paper. Yes. A very interesting discovery. I am not sure how it affects the situation, but I thought I should bring it to your attention.”

With Buzz and Diamondshell’s help, Marenitz spread the paper out onto one of the tables in Alternia’s room and pinned the corners down. Now that it was open, Alternia could see that it was a map of Venecia’s waters, but extensive alterations had been made to it. There were a number of X’s, and circled areas in red ink.

“Your highness, this is a map laying out where ships have been lost these past few months. Our analysts were trying to find a pattern in the attacks, and I believe we have something.” Marenitz raised her cane and tapped on Venecia, in the centre of the map and slowly drew it over the sea. “Now, our initial hypothesis were that these attacks were random, and for the most part they are, but when we drew them all out we realized something.”

Alternia, who had been watching the path of the cane, found herself leaning forward as she realized what Marenitz was outlining to her.

“There’s a path where there are no attacks. A sea corridor from Equestria to Gryphonia, where there have been no assaults or disappearances, but why?”

Marenitz grinned. “Here’s the interesting part. We looked up a map of the old trade routes from Gryphonia to Equestria and realized that this corridor used to be an old trading route used back in the day when ships only had short masts and very limited sails. We’re talking about more than a thousand years ago, before Venecia ever came into existence.”

“That’s… intriguing… though that by itself doesn’t tell us why they are attacking,” said Alternia.

Nodding, Marenitz rolled up her map. “True, but realizing this, we went over what we knew about the attacks and found something else… strange. There have been no attacks on ships going away from Venecia.”

“What! None?” gasped Alternia.

Marenitz nodded. “Yes, and to confirm it, the oceanographer Matte Hoope and Captain Flint volunteered to head to Gryphonia, alone. They hopped from Venecia onto that route, while maintaining radio contact with a nearby zeppelin. They survived and didn’t see a single unnatural ripple.”

Turning away from the map, Alternia paced across her room, her lips twisted in a grimace. “Two ponies in a banged up fishing boat survived what the Gryphon fleet could not… there appears to be some method to the kelpies’ madness, Marenitz, but what…”

Marenitz frowned. “I don’t know, and will keep working with what I have. Meanwhile, retrieving that book of yours has become top priority. I doubt the kelpies and seaponies have accidentally left these evacuation routes open.”

Turning back to Marenitz, Alternia took a moment to consider what she knew and what she needed to know. “Agreed. Can you also try to have your archivists to search through their collections and see if they can find anything on the boundaries of Aquestria?”

“I’ll do what I can, your highness,” said Marenitz.

“Thank you.”

Later, throne room…

Harlequin, Diamondshell and Buzz had found it a bit odd when Alternia asked them to assemble all of her changelings in the throne room, but they had obeyed without hesitation. Now, they stood at the head of the group, weapons at their side, waiting for their liege.

“You got any idea what’s going on, captain?” Buzz asked.

There was a bit of a sulky expression on Harlequin’s features as he quietly whispered back, his eyes straight ahead. “No, her highness has been remarkably tight lipped these past few weeks.”

Buzz chuckled. “Loverbug misses his queen’s affections eh?”

“I’m just worried for her, Buzz,” said Harlequin.

Diamondshell cut in, her voice soft. “And he is right to, Buzz. Her highness’s sleep has been… fitful so to speak. She hides her worry well, but I’ve had to remind her to go to bed on several occasions.”

Buzz frowned, his earlier merriment fading away. “So something big is happening…”

Just then, Alternia entered from a side passage and the changelings stiffened. Silent, their queen trotted down the stairs up the dais to stand in front of them.

There was an odd look to Alternia’s face. There was a resigned note to her features, and yet her eyes were bright with resolve.

“My changelings, as you all know, I plan to lead a highly dangerous expedition to Venecia and her waters, which have been infested by kelpies. Kelpies who, above all else, like to devour changelings.”

The three chevalier commanders could hear their changelings mumble amongst themselves, and it was all they could do themselves to not gasp. They knew the tales about kelpies, but to think they originated from this horrible fact…

Yet, they didn’t interrupt their queen as Alternia continued. “Even so, the need for me to go to Venecia increases. Yesterday, as you know, I attended the Queens Council. Queen Murmillar of the Sea Serpents of Venecia, who was recently abducted by the kelpies, has in her hive’s possession a book on the kelpie species that we must recover to assist our actions in this coming crisis.

“Which is why I asked you all to gather here today. I wish to ask you if you would join me on this journey, and I wish to ask you to join me, not simply as subjects, but as part of my hive.”

Harlequin felt his heart jump into his chest as he beamed. Buzz blinked and grinned. Diamondshell stiffened but her lips twitched in the ghost of a proud smile.

Their queen, smiling a little more widely now seemed to grow taller in the sunlit room. “I have come to know you all in the past few months, some better than others, but I have found each one of you, changelings any queen would be proud to have serving under them. So I ask you all, will you accept me as your queen, and will you follow me to whatever end?”

Harlequin, Buzz and Diamondshell added their voices to the roar that came from the changelings. “Yes, your highness!”

Their queen nodded. “Then gather around.”

A circle was formed, Alternia in the centre, her eyes closed and horn glowing. Harlequin, Buzz and Diamondshell in the front row of the circle.

Silent, they watched as tendrils of Alternia’s green magic extended like plant feelers, slowly connecting the horn of each changeling. Judging by some of the winces and wide eyes, each of them felt slightly different as the tendril touched them.

Buzz got his tendril first of the three chevalier commands, and as he closed his eyes, he started.

He could feel the great determination, the resolve, that his queen embodied. He also felt her feelings of him. Not for him, no, it was quite clear that his queen didn’t see him in a romantic light, but Buzz could feel she appreciated his humor, his military experience, the grin he brought into discussions and his attempts to lighten the mood. She was truly a liege who valued him, and he felt satisfied by that.

Diamondshell was a bit hesitant, but she took a deep breath as she was linked. And immediately her eyes snapped open and she gasped.

Remorse, a degree of guilt. That was what Diamondshell felt. It was Alternia’s remorse for having been a part of driving Diamondshell from her home.

Then, there was the deep appreciation her queen felt for her. It was for dragging her to bed, for her blunt manner and for her seriousness in her duties; things that Diamondshell had seen as simply doing her job suddenly were magnified. Diamondshell could only swallow and send a single thought through her new link

There is nothing to forgive, my queen.

Halequin was perhaps the most nervous of all the chevaliers. He knew he was in love with his queen. He had a crush on her ever since he had seen her, and to his agitation, it hadn’t faded, it had grown the more he had seen Alternia. He admired her, saw her as so strong, but he also knew that she was not invincible. The Ponyville incident had seared itself into his mind. Yet, despite having spent several months with her, his queen had never seemed to express any interest in him, but neither had she expressed disinterest.

So when he was linked, he found himself in for a bit of a shock.

There was a wisp of love in the link. Deep appreciation dominated most of what he could feel, and that comforted him, but the presence of love, romantic in nature that gave Harlequin hope. He wasn’t sure if his queen was aware of it, but he could feel it and he grinned like a kid whose christmas came early.

Harlequin? Can you hear me?

Harlequin tensed up and spluttered, mentally anyway. That was his queen’s voice, in his head. Like his Queen Belladonna used to do. But why? Why now? Could she sense him?

First things first, answer her.

Uhh…Yes your highness? thought Harlequin.

I am well aware that you are in love with me.

Harlequin’s eyes snapped open and he gawked up to his queen, whose eyes were still closed, features calm.

I suggest you close your eyes and not gawk at me or else you will be subject to more barrack room gossip.

Harlequin swallowed and shut his eyes and jaw. Of course, your highness. Harlequin bit his lip. How long have you been aware of well… my feelings?

Since the day I interviewed you. Though I only became aware of the depth of your affections when I transferred love to you all.

She’s not using the word “infatuation”... huh. Maybe I have a chance? Thought Harlequin.

He was brutally reminded that his queen could hear his surface thoughts as he could sense his queen’s merriment in the link.

You do have a chance, Harlequin. Alternia hesitated then, and Harlequin could sense the oddest thing from his queen.


Harlequin… I do like you, and I… welcome your feelings.

Harlequin could have started dancing right there and then, but he managed to keep his hooves under control.

As you know though, I am a princess, and your queen. I have many responsibilities. Are you sure you want to pursue me even with that in mind?

Your responsibility to your position was part of the reason I fell in love with you, your highness. I would not ask you to part from them. Answered Harlequin truthfully.

He could sense his queen’s trepidation, what for, he wasn’t certain, but he waited until she was ready to answer.

Harlequin, I have had twelve partners over the last one thousand years, and have not had a partner in fifty-four years, Harlequin, and not for lack of trying. I also… have never experienced true intimacy with another changeling.

That surprised Harlequin. If his queen was right, he had more experience with his own kind than his highness did. He also imagined that ponies and changelings would throw themselves at his queen, but considering her position and the circumstances of her and Chrysalis’s feud… it made sense.

I am not a very romantic changeling. In fact, I am wholly inexperienced in having any kind of relationship with a changeling.

You don’t have to worry about that, my queen. If you wish me to court you, I will respect your wishes.

Thank you, Harlequin. But there is also the matter of the crisis at hand. It will be most problematic to start a relationship now when we are both about to dive headlong into danger...

Harlequin signed and braced himself for disappointment.

That being said… I would be welcome to your courtship after the crisis has been settled, and should we survive this.

Hope flared in Harlequin’s chest. He knew they were both going to be in danger, but if they survived… he had a chance, and he had something he would be fighting for.

That’s perfect, your highness.

Gratitude poured into the link. Thank you, for understanding, Harlequin. She paused. It is time. We will speak later.

The links of all the changelings suddenly strengthened as Alternia’s horn flared a bright green that filled the throne room. Slowly, emerald flames rose around in a pillar around the queen as she raised her head, her horn still linked by magic to the horns of her new hive.

And a voice spoke, Alternia’s voice, yet it was blurred by the voices of all the changelings assembled as they spoke in unison with their queen.

“Let the spirits of the Great Hive Mothers, and all gathered here witness my ascension. I am Queen Alternia, daughter of Queen Chamelia, daughter of the Great Hive Mother Zagara.”

All the changelings could feel a hint of sorrow in their queen’s recollections, but mostly pride and overwhelming happiness. It was the fulfillment of a long dream, a once thought to be impossible dream, and the changelings rejoiced with their new sovereign.

“I claim the title of Queen, with all its power, its responsibility, its joys and its burdens. I claim a new name for my hive, a name which will be written in the annals of changeling history.”

“I claim the title of Queen Alternia, Hive Mother of The Phantoms.”

Their was a thunderclap. The magic in the air evaporated and the flames vanished. The changelings opened their eyes and they felt the links now permanently embedded into their mind. Their sacred connection to their queen, forever sealed.

Alternia herself was slightly taller, her horn was an inch longer, and her wings larger. Apart from that, she was the same except for one key difference.

There was now a black crown antenna on her head, just behind her silver tiara.

The mark of a fully ascended queen.

“All hail, Queen Alternia!” yelled Buzz.

And all the changelings assembled cheered. For to death or to life, they were now sworn to serve, and they would do so until they drew their last breath.

Author's Note:

Welp. Crap is getting real and… what’s this?

Zerv note:

And here we have the rare Vrenatotitan, a living fossil of a dinosaur. Watch as this slow moving beast avoids any kind of literature, perhaps an inherent aversion to the literary arts such as writing. It is known that this beast has no drive whatsoever, leaving all work at the point where it was last forced to work as opposed to doing some on it's own time. Fascinating!

vren55:.... *slowly gets up and cracks knuckles* Gimme one second

Also, have a look at my Supplementary Blog Post on Changeling History.

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