• 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 13: Poseidon's Wrath

Evening, Alternia’s taskforce, about when attack on Celestia’s fleet starts...

Alternia, Chrysalis and Retariusil were just about to start the main course of their dinner, a vegetable lasagna. It was one of Alternia’s favorite dishes—simple, but filling and delicious.

Before Alternia could dig her fork into it though, a voice echoed in her head and she froze.

Your highness, it’s Diamondshell. I have urgent news.

Alternia nodded and glanced at Chrysalis, who had the same far off look in her eyes. Clearly she was receiving a similar message from one of her changelings.

Is something wrong, Diamondshell? asked Alternia.

Yes, your highness. Flashes of naval gunfire have been sighted on the horizon. We think it’s Celestia’s fleet being attacked.

Gritting her teeth, Alternia stood up and ripped the napkin hanging from her chestpiece. She had been worried that this would be the case. Alternia had hoped that her and Celestia’s journeys would go without event, and initially that hope held true as her fleet had left the trade route and began the dash toward Venecia. Evidently, fate had other ideas.

Thank you, Diamondshell. Order the radioponies to raise the Llamrei on radio if possible.

Shifting her attention, Alternia then focused on the mental link she had with her captain. Not that it was particularly difficult. The link he had with her was quite strong.


Yes, your highness? responded her captain.

Order the captains of the flotilla to set a course to the flashes of gunfire immediately, and order all hooves to battlestations. I’m shifting my flag to the Hornblower. Have the Mirror Guard prepare to transfer to the Hornblower by flight and by longboat.

Understood. I’ll relay that to the captains. I’ve already ordered all ponies and changelings to general quarters.

Good. See you on the Hornblower.

Alternia exited the mental link then and looked back up at Retariusil and Chrysalis, the younger queen being understandably confused.

“Celestia’s under attack, probably by your mother’s killer. We’re going to go and reinforce her,” said Alternia.

Retariusil’s eyes widened before she sneered. “How can I help?”

“Heh, your transfer plan to get all of the Mirror Guard to the RENS Hornblower quickly worked quite well, Captain” said Buzz to Harlequin as they trotted through the corridors of the battleship in full armor and battle gear.

Harlequin grinned, and checked his dual short swords at his side. “Thanks Buzz, but considering we had so few unicorn and earth pony members anyway, all we needed to do was have our changelings tow their boats to the Hornblower.” Pausing, Harlequin turned to an approaching changeling soldier. “Ah, Scarab, what’s the status of Queen Chrysalis’s changelings and of Queen Retariusil?”

“Queen Chrysalis and her changelings are still in the process of getting their equipment on the Neptune and will be joining us shortly. Queen Retariusil is also with them,” reported Scarab.

Buzz nodded. “Good. We’re heading to the Ops room. Report to Captain Diamondshell and inform her of that.”

“Also, have you seen her highness of late? We cannot seem to find her,” said Harlequin.

Scarab blinked in realization and swallowed. “Oh. Um. Her highness is with Captain Diamondshell and is in the…” The changeling coughed. “Seats of ease.”

Harlequin and Buzz blinked simultaneously, almost owlishly.

“Oh… Well that’s understandable. I suppose she wants to clear her head before the battle,” said Harlequin as if he was discussing the weather.

Buzz glanced at Harlequin with a devilish grin. “You mean clear her…”

“Don’t you dare say it, Buzz,” growled Harlequin softly, even though he was still smiling.

Shaking his head, Buzz turned back to Scarab. “All right, thank you for informing us Scarab. Off you go.”

“Yes sir—AARGH!”

There was a massive bang and crunch. The sound of steel simply being smashed and torn so quickly it didn’t have the time to scream. Meanwhile, Scarab, Buzz and Harlequin went flying as the entire deck jumped up from under them, sending the three changelings into the ceiling with a loud clunk. Luckily, instead of their mostly ceremonial silver armor, all three were wearing changeling armor, a highly rigid and durable design made from laminated layers of old changeling carapace molts. So it hurt when their helmeted heads slammed into the ceiling and more when they came crashing back down onto the floor, but they were more or less fine.

“What in the Queen’s Sordid Bedchamber was that?” groaned Scarab.

Buzz shook his head. “Her highness’s bedchamber is actually very well kept and clean. But seriously, what in her highnesses flaming tits and shiny carapace was that?”

“@!%$#! that. Get up already. We need to get to her highness immediately!” Harlequin snapped as he struggled to his hooves and checked if the silver captain’s badge attached to his armor still stuck.

Buzz and Scarab stared at Harlequin with wide eyes.

“Long infiltration mission in Equestria. Don’t ask.” Harlequin helped Buzz up and ran to the nearest intercom, pulled down the communication mouthpiece with his magic and used his hoof to phone the bridge. “This is Captain Harlequin from near the Mess Hall to the bridge. What’s the status of the ship Captain Hotspur?”

“Unsure captain. We got hit by something… Hold on, I’m getting reports.” There was a pause on the other side of the line and Harlequin staggered as the Hornblower lurched to the right and continued to roll. “We’re taking in water fast! We’re going to capsize. Get her highness out of here! All hooves abandon ship!”

“Affirmative!” Harlequin turned to his colleagues. “To her highness, now!”

Chrysalis had staggered mid-flight when the battleship her sister was on jumped several feet in the air and smashed down into the water again, sending a massive wash of spray into the air. Bobbing slightly up and down like a cork in a bathtub, the ship quickly had began to tilt as it took in water, exposing its side.

After a moment of thanking the Great Hive Mothers that Cyndra was still on the Neptune with Raven, Chrysalis’s years of battle experience kicked in at that instant. Instead of screaming for her sister at the top of her lungs, Chrysalis focused on the mental link to the two hundred changelings that hovered behind her.

Two squads of changelings assist with the evacuation of the Hornblower! All other squads, prepare for battle against kelpie forces.

As the changelings spread out to do precisely that, Chrysalis seized on the link she had with Alternia.

Alternia. Alternia! Are you alright? Where are you?

Silence filled the link. Taking a deep breath, Chrysalis probed the link. There was a sense of confusion on the other side, as well as pain.

Chrysalis… it hurts… my head…

Alternia! Wake up! You need to get out! The ship is capsizing! Something hit you. I think it might be kelpies but I can’t be sure!

Her sister’s response was weak, but coherent.

Okay. Will do.

Turning to her changelings, Chrysalis watched them pluck ponies out of the sea. It was very difficult to see how many survivors there were in the dark, despite the starshells fired by the Jack Sparrow’s guns. In the dim light and flashes though, Chrysalis could still spy Retariusil helping ponies into the hooves of other changelings.

More worrying, though, was the Hornblower itself. Its deck continued to slope and the hull kept rolling.

Inside the Hornblower, a few minutes ago

Diamondshell and twenty other female changelings and ponies of the Mirror Guard had been in and around the washroom their princess was in when their ship had decided to do a jig. The result, the guards were all bowled over like ninepins, most of them sent into the ceiling.

Groggily, Diamondshell dragged herself up onto her hooves and blinked as she felt the floor tilt under them. Instantly, she had damned all privacy and threw the door to her highness’s cubicle open.

Thankfully, her queen had finished her business. However, she was not in good shape. She leant against the side of the cubicle, eyes closed, muscles limp, crown lopsided on her head. Diamondshell quickly realized that being taller, and not having put her armor on yet, her princess had been subject to the full impact of the steel ceiling against her horn and head.

Grabbing her highness with her magic, Diamondshell levitated her out of the cubicle and was assisted by another unicorn and two changelings in laying her against the floor. She instantly changed her mind as she noticed that she was finding it increasingly difficult to keep her footing on the floor. At this rate, her highness would just slide into an obstacle.

So she turned to the pony guard and changelings. “Lieutenant Hydrangea, you, Noor and Szabo, are to keep her highness midair and safe from any objects at all cost until the ship levels out. Think you can do that?”

Hydrangea, the pony guard, tightened her steel helmet strapped, glanced at her changelings and nodded.

“We can do that, Captain.”

“Good.” Diamondshell ran out of the bathroom to check on the guards outside. They had just finished picking themselves up and were checking their equipment for damage.

“Some changeling or pony find me Captain Harlequin and get me a sitrep on what’s going on outside—”

“Attention, all hooves. This is the captain speaking. Abandon ship. We are capsizing. All hooves, abandon ship!”

Diamondshell hissed exasperatedly. “Well belay that order. At least I know now— woah!”

Ponies and guards slid down the floor as the ship lurched suddenly, the deck rolling from the already perilous forty-five degrees to near ninety. Even then the ship continued to roll.

The clatter and thump of loose objects falling from their perches, as well as the smashing of glass filled the air. Yelps and distant cries of surprise also filled the corridor as crewmembers were forcefully reorientated. The changelings managed to hop into the air, hovering away from the flipping deck, and grabbing onto their pony comrades as they did so with their magic.

Before they knew it, up had become down, down had become up. Diamondshell found herself standing on what used to be the ceiling, next to one of the ceiling lamps.

“By the Traitor’s Sordid Heart, this is going to be a problem,” muttered Diamondshell. The changelings they had on the ship were going to have some difficulty navigating the maze the corridors had now become.

Darting back into the washroom, Diamondshell noticed that her guards had placed Alternia safely in a corner and were none the worse for wear. Intriguingly, Hydrangea was gingerly walking upside down from the original bathroom floor to the wall, having performed some sort of sticking spell to keep her from falling flat.

Diamondshell had other concerns though and she quickly gripped her hooves around Alternia’s shoulders. “Your highness! Call us to you! We need to assemble and get out!”

Alternia opened her eyes. They were slightly glazed over, but there was a sense of urgency in them. “Trying. My head hurts…”

A concussion for sure. How serious, Diamondshell didn’t know, but it had to be addressed. Turning “Corporal Asclep, get a healing spell on her highness, quickly!”

“No time… boat was hit by something… possibly kelpies,” gasped Alternia.

Diamondshell grimaced. “In the Traitor’s black name... this is going to Tartarus…” She didn’t stop her changeling corporal from casting the spell, though. They needed to make sure her highness didn’t have a serious head injury.

She did inform the rest of her guards to get ready for battle.

Thankfully, more changelings and ponies following them arrived to their position in the next few minutes. On occasion they were followed by sailors who were still trapped in the ship and looking for any kind of group.

Finally, after a few minutes Buzz and Harlequin arrived, at the head of the rest of their changelings and ponies. They also had about ten other sailors with them.

“Buzz, Harlequin, did you see any kelpies on your way here? Chrysalis suspects they might be responsible for this,” said Diamondshell, trying not to show too much relief in her voice.

Harlequin shook his head. “We didn’t, but we weren’t too far away from the bathroom. We just had to make a quick scouting run to the outside of the ship to figure out which part was submerged.”


Buzz shuddered. “Most of the superstructure is underwater and is beginning to flood, but one of the sailors with us reported that the hull doors in the side of the ship are still above water. We can make our way there.”

“Good, let’s get going. Her highness is hurt. We can’t let the kelpies get their hooves on her,” said Diamondshell.

And so quickly and quietly, the limp form of Princess Alternia levitated in the middle of the group, the ponies and changelings scampered down the corridors.

Outside, Chrysalis and her entourage were gingerly approaching the overturned hull of the Hornblower, whose red paint made it quite visible in the night.

The cause of the ship’s capsize was evident for all to see. A great hole that could swallow thirty ponies below the armored belt of the battleship. The nature of the hole was very odd though. It looked as if something had bucked the ship’s hull in. That was impressive. Chrysalis didn’t know too much about engineering, but Alternia had been telling her about how the Hornblower had a double-bottom hull. This meant the ship’s bottom had two watertight bottoms so that if one was penetrated, the other could hold water out.

Both bottoms were obviously holed, and the steel itself was bent inward into the gap. Some shattered pieces of the original hull steel had fallen into the cavity, which gave Chrysalis a clear view into one of the central boiler rooms and the coal bunker.

For a moment, Chrysalis irrationally worried that if she set hoof on the ship, it would wobble or tip, but as she landed, the riveted steel under her hoof felt as solid as land, though still heaving in the waves.

Turning to two squads of her changelings, Chrysalis sent a message. Go inside and locate my sister. Also, try to get as many survivors as you can out, but be ready to escape on short notice. I will inform you the moment the ship starts to sink.

The changelings sent back affirmative replies and hovered into the hole, spreading out as they advanced inward. With a sigh, Chrysalis turned away and waited.

It was then that a flash of gold, reflecting the light of one of the starshells they had fired for illumination, caught the corner of Chrysalis’s eye. Initially thinking it was a guard, Chrysalis turned and her eyes widened as she saw a kelpie just floating in the water near the ship. From the look of how his hooves and tentacles were simply splayed out over the water, he, or she, was unconscious.

Immediately, Chrysalis seized the kelpie with her telekinesis, while ordering her changelings to back her up. As she set the creature down onto the hull, changelings, backed by their comrades with weapons levelled at the kelpie, came forward with military-grade rope which were used to tie the kelpie’s hooves.

“What are you doing, Queen Chrysalis? Let’s just kill him!” spat Retariusil, lifting her borrowed poleaxe.

Chrysalis shot the younger queen a cautionary glare. “We need information, Retariusil. We can decide what to do with him later, but leave him alone for now.”

“Information? We’re at war Chrysalis! And I doubt we can get anything out of this monster! Let’s just kill him and be done with it! It’d be one less of these creatures in the world.”

Chrysalis quickly levitated the kelpie onto the hull, while her changelings surrounded him, weapons pointed at the tentacled creature. She then stood in front of Retariusil, blocking her sight from the kelpie.

“Retariusil! Calm down.”

Retariusil side-stepped Chrysalis, her horn shining a wicked green light into the night. There was a manic grin to her features, an anger that had been held back too long, unleashed.

“His kind killed my mother! They murdered her, likely eating her alive! Don’t you dare ask me to calm down!” spat Retariusil as she stepped forward.

But before Retariusil could unleash her spell, ten of Chrysalis’s changelings leveled their weapons at her, forcing her to halt and hold the spell.

What held Retaruisil’s attention though, were the narrowed eyes of Queen Chrysalis that gleamed in the dark like green flames.

“Retariusil, your anger has no place on the battlefield and especially not in an interrogation. Return to the ship, or I will drag you there myself.”

Chrysalis punctuated that order by flashing her fangs as she held Retariusil’s glare, a traditional changeling threat in response to the challenge invoked by the younger queen. Chrysalis expected Retariusil to back down quickly, but to her credit, or more likely, her foolishness, Retariusil held her ground for what seemed like an entire minute.

“As you wish, Queen Chrysalis, but do not think I have forgotten this insult,” said Retariusil heatedly as she stalked away.

“And I will not forget your near-idiocy,” whispered Chrysalis under her breath when Retariusil had lifted off and headed back toward the Neptune. Shaking her head, Chrysalis then examined the kelpie.

This kelpie seemed to be a male. There was something in the firmly set jaw and bulkier figure that indicated this. He was also heavily adorned with gold. Gold chain around his neck, gold bracelets around his hooves, gold rings around his tentacles and a small gold crown nestled on top of his head, attached by strands of his kelp mane.

Clearly this kelpie was important, how so was not clear to Chrysalis, but she wasn’t going to let this opportunity for information be passed by. So she ordered her changelings to tie their new guest up.

“Wake him up,” ordered Chrysalis.

One changeling, who earlier had been ordered back to the Neptune to find smelling salts, uncapped the small bottle and waved it under the kelpie’s nose. The kelpie breathed in, flinched and then groaned loudly.

“Ughh.. What in Aquestria hit my head?”

Blinking, the kelpie finally noticed his environment as the changelings pointed their weapons at him, and Chrysalis stepped forward.

“Greetings. I am Queen Chrysalis of the Evergreen Hive, sister to Princess Alternia of Equestria whom your kind have attacked and whose capsized ship you are standing upon.”

Much to Chrysalis’s pleasure, the kelpie swallowed as he took in the narrowed eyes of the armed changelings around him, and Chrysalis’s own fanged sneer.

“I have a few questions I would like answered.”

Navigating the corridors of the upside down Hornblower was odd to say the least. The stairs didn’t quite work properly anymore and some tricky levitation and hovering was required to get the still groggy Princess Alternia up. The narrowness of the corridors also didn’t help. The hallways would only fit two ponies or changelings abreast at most, and most of the smaller corridors forced the group to walk single file. Suffice to say, everybody was on edge as they trotted through the ship.

So when somepony started to scream and wail from somewhere in the ship, everypony and changeling froze.


The cry was abruptly cut off and the group was left with nothing but the sound of their own gasping breaths.

“Was that...” whispered Scarab.

Harlequin hefted his blades. “That was exactly what you think it was. Move!” he hissed. He risked a quick glance to Alternia. She was walking now, supported by Lieutenant Hydrangea and two other changelings. Meanwhile, Corporal Asclep continued to cast his healing spell on Alternia.

A sense of urgency sped the hooves of the changelings and ponies in the group as they cantered toward the exit, weapons at the ready, eyes peeled. Every corner was negotiated with speed, a changeling, pony guard, or a sailor clearing it and watching the empty corridor as the rest passed.

Then, their luck ran out.

“Kelpies!” screamed one of the sailors at the back.

Harlequin didn’t hesitate, he charged forward. “Everybody move!”

The Mirror Guard galloped like they had never had before, the rest of the ship’s crew with them hot on their hooves. The screams of those behind them propelled them onward and they dared not look back at the kelpies who had gotten ahold of the survivors that had been with them.

Alternia being dragged through the air by her guards. She could feel the fear in her changelings through her link with them and she tried to do her best to stay calm. Yet, the pounding in her head refused to stop.

“RIGHT! Get to the mess!” yelled Harlequin suddenly. The group turned right instead of going straight ahead and Buzz saw why as he neared the corner. Five kelpies were running toward them, nearing the group as they tore down the hall.

Grimacing, Buzz hefted his broadsword. “Seven with me! The rest keep going!” he ordered and he charged, four changelings and three ponies following them.

Diamondshell froze as she saw her fellow captain charge. “Buzz, stop!” she cried.

But Buzz didn’t listen. “Go, Diamondshell!” he roared. He knew there was no way the group could escape this if they didn’t delay the kelpies in some way.

Both changeling and kelpie had slowed down, advancing upon each other at a trot. Buzz hefted his broadsword, the rings on it jingling in an eerie fashion as he swept it right and left. The kelpie didn’t seem intimidated, though. It merely raised its armored tentacles.

And struck.

Buzz stepped back, his broadsword slapping the first strike out of the way. The kelpie was very persistent though, and attacked again, multiple tentacles from multiple angles, trying to wrap themselves around the changeling captain.

Not wanting to get caught, Buzz jumped back again and pulled on his reserves of magic, while keeping his broadsword levitated. But the kelpie wouldn’t let him. It continued to press onward and Buzz was forced to parry.

All the while, Buzz considered his alternative options. Changelings were heavier than ponies due to their carapace and he assumed the kelpies were even heavier especially since they had no holes in their legs to save weight.

Buzz stepped back and countered another lunge at his head. Problem was that the best way to fight a changeling was to out-maneuver them and flank them. In a corridor, he couldn’t do that.

Perhaps he could buy himself some distance though. Concentrating Buzz deflected another tentacle strike and used his magic and stabbed forward, propelling his broadsword like a spear at the kelpies chest.

However, the broadsword only deflected off the kelpie’s hard carapace and didn’t knock him back. Buzz groaned and almost unable to pull his weapon back to block the kelpie’s counter. He shouldn’t have been surprised, his weapon was a slashing type. It wasn’t one of those that can pierce armor easily and judging by how unfazed the kelpie was, it was even heavier than he expected. There was no way he could have knocked it away with one stab.

It was at this time that Buzz realized he’d been horribly mismatched by bad luck. If he had another opportunity, he’d likely not choose this ground of engagement or the weapon he bore, but now…

Buzz grimaced and stepped back to dodge another tentacle. All he could do was sell his life dearly. Parrying another blow, he retaliated, and slashed another tentacle aside.

He overextended himself though. He slashed the first tentacle aside, but he hit too hard and left himself open.

In a flash, the kelpie seized the captain, wrapping its writhing limbs around him and pulling him up close. Buzz barely had time to groan and curse his own foolishness before the kelpie’s teeth broke through the carapace around his neck.

Horrified, Diamondshell staggered as her colleague’s throat was crushed and the other kelpies fell upon the rearguard. The changelings and ponies that composed it were faring no better. One pony managed to fend his opponent’s tentacles off with his spear for several seconds, but the kelpie then resorted to entangling the spear with its tentacles, yanking the pony into the kelpie’s bite. A changeling tried to resort to a magical solution and fired off one spell that forced the kelpies to duck, before another kelpie plundered the fallen pony spear and threw it into the changeling’s throat.

“Go, captain!” yelled a changeling. Diamondshell hesitated.

A wail of despair from where the main group had run convinced her and she galloped away, knowing she was leaving the remaining ponies and changelings to their deaths.

“So, who are you?” demanded Chrysalis.

The kelpie squirmed, glancing left and right, but only meeting the glowers of his changeling captors.

“Prince Typhon of the Sea Ponies at your service, your majesty,” said the kelpie.

Chrysalis raised an eyebrow. This was a rather well-mannered kelpie, and apparently, royalty, but then…

“Okay, why were you just floating in the ocean?” demanded Chrysalis. If this was a trap, she needed to figure it out quickly.

Typhon pursed his lips and squirmed in his bonds.

“I uhh… I must have got knocked off of the leviathan when it rammed the ship.”

Chrysalis’s eyes widened. “An actual Leviathan?” She had heard of those mythical creatures on the sea, but always thought they were tall tales from crazy sailors.

“Um, yes?”

Tucking that way for future reference, Chrysalis glared at the kelpie. “Why have you attacked us?” she demanded.

At this question, Typhon frowned slightly. “The white one put her fleet on top of our capital. As per the treaty of Aquamaris signed more than a thousand years ago, the seas above and around the Aquestrian capital are off limits on the pain of death, until the last star has winked out of the sky.”

That earned a few blinks from Chrysalis and her changelings.

“Wait, you’re saying that you attacked because of a thousand year old treaty that nobody has heard of?” demanded Chrysalis. The queen frowned. “Are you saying the rest of the attacks on the ships in the Eastern Sea are because everypony has been violating this treaty?”

Typhon nodded nervously.. “Well, yes. We warned the Equestrians and Griffonians that we would no longer tolerate trespassing, but when our missives were ignored, my regent saw fit to enforce the treaty that Equestrians and the Griffons swore they would honor forever. We still are. No ships over the outlined trading routes across the sea have been attacked and we have not strayed into the waters near the capitals of Equestria or Griffonia.”

“Your missives were ignored? But from my knowledge, the Equestrians received no missives…” said Chrysalis, her voice trailing off as the implications of Typhon’s statement hit her like a hammer. If this was all true, and so far, Typhon hadn’t given off any tell-tale guilt, then that would mean they had a serious miscommunication problem. Somehow the message had gotten misplaced, but where?

“Besides, if you truly warned us beforehand, then what in Tartarus was with the tsunami that devastated Venecia?” demanded Chrysalis.

The kelpie averted his eyes. “I don’t know why the missives were ignored, but we sent them to the Equestrian and Griffonian capitals. As to the tsunami... that… was due to Empress Samudra’s death when she fought Tethys. When she died, all her power was released into the water, leading to the tsunami.”

Chrysalis nodded. She could sense the kelpies emotions. He wasn’t lying, but there was a great sadness in him when he mentioned Empress Samudra’s death.

“You said, Empress Tethys is your regent? She is not your mother?”

“No. Empress Samudra was my mother.”

Well that explained why Typhon was feeling sorrow. It also confused the heck out of Chrysalis.

“You’re a kelpie though. How could you be the son of Empress Samudra? She was not a kelpie. And how can you and the seaponies accept Queen Tethys as your regent?”

“I am Samudra’s son, Queen Chrysalis. And believe me, I have wished that I was not a kelpie, but I am, I can’t change that.” The prince heaved in a deep breath. “The seaponies support Tethys’s rule because she has been garnering support from the lower classes in our society for ages and has slowly and subtly been taking control of the empire for quite some time. Her battle against Samudra was the end to their struggle.” Typhon averted his gaze, his jaw clenched. “As to how can I accept Tethys as my regent… she did kill my mother… but she has ruled kelpie and seaponies fairly since my mother’s death.”

Chrysalis nodded. Typhon’s indignant and turbulent emotions were real, which suggested what he was speaking was the truth as he definitely felt conflicted about the whole situation. But that meant something rather strange about this whole situation. If Typhon was Samudra’s son… how did she give birth to a kelpie? Chrysalis wondered if Samudra had had relations with kelpies, but considering what she had been told about the Empress’s hate for them, that was highly unlikely.

“Um… do you mind if I ask you a question, your majesty?” asked Typhon hesitantly.

“It depends,” replied Chrysalis in an evasive fashion.

“Who is Princess Alternia and how can she be your sister? We know of the Dark One who moves the moon, the White One who raises the sun, but I have never heard of an alicorn who is the sister of a changeling queen.”

Chrysalis blinked and shortly afterward, sighed as she realized her earlier theory was right. It looked like that there was some serious miscommunication going on in the Eastern Sea.

“To put it shortly...”

Diamondshell expected to be running alone for a long time, but when she entered the now upside down mess hall, she found Harlequin and the rest of the guards in a firing line.

“Hold! Diamondshell! What happened? Where is Buzz?” demanded Harlequin.

“He’s dead. What the hell are you doing here, Harlequin! We should be moving!” roared Diamondshell.

Harlequin didn’t start running though. He only swore under his breath and marched through the firing line. Diamondshell was going to yell at Harlequin again, but something in his expression made her pause and she followed him until he reached the half-circle of pony and changeling guards next to the wall of the mess hall.

Alternia was sitting up in the middle of the circle, holding an ice pack to her head, back leaning against the wall and eyes closed. As she heard Diamondshell and Harlequin approach, she looked up. “Harlequin? Diamondshell! Where are Buzz, Boudicea, Diamuid and Arethusa?”

Diamondshell blinked and realized precisely whom she was talking about.

Eyes downcast, Diamondshell sighed. “They stayed behind along with privates Barrier, Stronghoof, and Maize to defend us, your highness. I’m afraid Captain Buzz was the first to fall in battle.” How did her highness know about those deaths though? And why was she missing one?

Alternia’s eyes widened. “No. That means… what I felt…” Alternia suddenly stiffened and she grabbed her head with both hooves. Her eyes tearing up, Alternia shut them as a weak cry escaped from her lips.

“Boadicea! No!”

“Harlequin? What the hell is going on?” asked Diamondshell in disbelief as their queen started to sob quietly.

Harlequin grabbed Diamondshell and yanked her away so that they weren’t facing their queen.

“Her highness only recently ascended. I frankly should have realized this, but her connection to us, the first changelings she has ever bonded with is far stronger than the ones our old queens ever had. Not to mention she has little experience sharing in the thoughts and minds of her changelings.”

It clicked for Diamondshell then. “So when Buzz died…”

“She heard some of his last thoughts… and started kicking and screaming. We had to take a momentary rest,” explained Harlequin.

Diamondshell sighed. “You did right, Harlequin, but we need to get a move on. As we now know… the last of the rearguard has fallen and we can’t afford to take any more losses, especially in light of what we know now.”

“But her highness—”

“I can move.” The two guard captains turned to Alternia, who was struggling to her hooves, at the side of Corporal Asclep and Lieutenant Hydrangea.

“Alright, first squad—”

“Kelpies coming up the corridor captain!” yelled a changeling. Harlequin and Diamondshell ran to the firing line and saw the kelpies, charging down the hallway.

“Volley fire!” ordered Harlequin. “Diamondshell, get her highness and the remaining survivors out of here. We can’t take the hull door now, but perhaps we can use the hole that sank this ship in the first place. Get to the boiler rooms.”

Diamondshell nodded and ran for the corridor entrance. “Hydrangea, your squad assist her highness. My squad, we’ll be the vanguard!”

As Diamondshell, her score of changelings and ponies, as well as the small group of survivors moved out with Alternia, Harlequin turned his attention to the engagement and the advancing kelpies.

That Buzz had been killed worried him substantially. He wasn’t sure of the details, but whatever the case, Harlequin decided to use his range and prioritize disengaging with the enemy.

The kelpies’ advance had been slowed substantially. The narrow confines of the corridor meant only two at most could be at the front and the hail of beams and crossbows fired had dogged their advance. The kelpies were still coming, though, a mark of how tough their carapaces were.

They had to disengage. Harlequin turned to his unicorns. “Light up the corridor with fire spells!” They nodded and two ignition spells went into the corridor, setting it alight. As flames caught on the wooden hall, kelpies snarled and eyes narrowed, shied away

Just to be doubly sure, Harlequin ordered his ponies to shove the wooden mess tables to block off the corridor. They also doubled as a fuel for the fire.

“Think that will hold them off captain?” asked Scarab, one of Harlequin’s sergeants.

Harlequin shook his head. “Not forever. They’ll just find a way around it.” Jaw set, Harlequin turned to the exit. “Let’s get off this forsaken ship and to our queen.”

“So, if I understand what you are saying, you claim that Princess Celestia for the last one thousand years has been actually a changeling queen, your sister, who you nearly killed in a family feud?” asked Typhon in a very unamused tone.

“I know it’s hard to believe —”

Typhon growled and rolled his eyes. “It’s preposterous! I mean if you are going to come up with a better excuse to explain why you’ve broken the agreement that we’ve upheld for a thousand years despite your constant violations—”

“Your highness! We’ve found your sister!” yelled a changeling.

Chrysalis ran to the hole in the ship where changelings were levitating out pony survivors and members of the Mirror Guard. Her sister was also one of those being levitated by a changeling she recognized as Diamondshell.

“Alternia! What happened?” Chrysalis asked.

“I hit my head very badly, Chrysalis. I’m better now thanks to Corporal Asclep.” As Alternia looked over Chrysalis’s shoulder though, her eyes narrowed and a snarl twisted her lips. Diamondshell and the ponies and changelings with her did likewise, their muscles stiffening and weapons rising as they saw the tied up kelpie.

“Why is there a kelpie here?” demanded Alternia.

Chrysalis blinked at the uncharacteristic anger in her sister’s voice. “We captured him. His name is Prince Typhon and he is Empress Samudra’s son and he’s had some very interesting things to tell us.” Chrysalis paused as she couldn’t help but notice the redness in her sister’s eyes. She had cried recently. Nor could she ignore the anger Alternia felt that seemed directed at Typhon. Moreover, the ponies and changelings Mirror Guard were glaring at Typhon and Chrysalis could tell they were furious.

“Sister, what happened in there?” asked Chrysalis slowly.

Alternia glared at Typhon briefly, causing him to cringe, before she turned back to Chrysalis, tears welling back up in her eyes again.

“There were kelpies in the Hornblower. They killed Buzz and seven others. I… I could hear their thoughts and…”

Chrysalis felt her heart cringe as she realized what her sister had just gone through. Lifting her hooves, Chrysalis wrapped Alternia in a tight hug as her sister sniffled, taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself.

“What do you want to do, Alternia?” asked Chrysalis.

“We… we need to get to safety and interrogate the kelpie further. We need to figure out why they attacked.”

“He has given me some information on that. Apparently, there has been an agreement between Equestria and Aquestria,” explained Chrysalis.

“What?” gasped Alternia. Chrysalis summarized what Typhon had told her briefly, watching as Alternia’s narrowed eyes relax and her hoof touch her chin in thought.

Just as Chrysalis finished, Harlequin and the rest of the Mirror Guard arrived. As they did so, they started at Typhon and cantered toward him, weapons raised. Chrysalis was about to order them to stop, but Alternia beat her to it.

“Captain, stay your hoof, we need more information from this kelpie before we decide on a course of action,” said Alternia. Harlequin flinched, but waved his hoof, leading the guards to stand down.

“Sister, are you truly alright with this?” asked Chrysalis mentally.

Alternia swallowed and looked Chrysalis in the eye. Let me speak to him. As much as my heart hurts… we need to think of the greater good.”

“Alright, but you’re in no condition to do so alone, sister,” said Chrysalis in a stern tone. “Let me help you.”

Alternia hesitated and glanced at Typhon, only for a knee-jerk reaction of fury to well-up like vomit in her throat. She forced it back down with the realization that they needed to find out about what had led up to this crisis, but it wasn’t easy.

“You’re right. Thank you, sister. I’ll introduce myself first.”

Straightening up, Alternia slowly walked up to Typhon, her features impassive.

“Greetings Prince Typhon, I am Princess Alternia of Equestria. I understand that Equestria has apparently violated an agreement my co-ruler Princess Celestia signed. I’d like to ask you for details as to that agreement and whether it is possible for me to meet your regent at a negotiating table so we may hear both of our stories out.”

Alternia could feel Typhon’s apprehensiveness and fear, but she also could sense his curiosity, hopefully that would win out, and hopefully that would be soon. Alternia did not want to stay on the sinking Hornblower longer than she had to, and she wasn’t sure if they could transport Typhon to the Neptune safely.

“Look, just because you wear regalia, Princess Alternia, doesn’t mean I believe that you rule Equestria,” said Typhon.

Alternia had to fight the temptation to groan, but Chrysalis merely nodded.

“Perhaps, Prince Typhon, but I am sure you have heard of the disguised changeling crew boats that the Equestrians used to counter the pirates. Maybe you’ve even noticed how ponies and changelings work together in this small group of ships.”

Relief filled Alternia’s heart as Typhon frowned in contemplation. “Yes… We have noticed your kind and the ponies working together rather closely… I take it that Princess Alternia is responsible for all of that?” asked Typhon.

“Very astute of you, Prince Typhon, and I tell you this, I had no knowledge of the agreement between Celestia and Samudra.” Alternia had a sneaking suspicion that this may have been one of Celestia’s memories with Samudra that had not been shared with her, but that didn’t explain why Celestia appeared to have no knowledge of the agreement.

Typhon frowned, shaking his head. “But how? You should have had a copy of the agreement and we sent you a missive before we began our attacks!”

Putting her thoughts about Celestia aside because of the fact they had no time, Alternia glanced at Chrysalis, who nodded and asked:

“Where did you send your missives to, Prince Typhon?”

“To your capital by magic!”

Alternia racked her mind. Typhon wasn’t lying. He was just as confused as she was and she could feel his insistence. She would have to have received a message somehow if the magic of the message was keyed to a location. So… if it never got to Canterlot.

Wait, Alternia blinked as she thought back to when precisely the treaty was signed. More than a thousand years ago, before Canterlot was…

“It’s possible… By the Great Hive Mothers… Oh no.”

“What?” demanded Typhon.

Alternia swallowed. She couldn’t believe what had happened, but the circumstances matched up too well.

“I think the capital you refer to was Equestria’s original capital a thousand years ago, called the Castle of the Two Pony Sisters! Celestia’s battle with her sister devastated that castle. As such, that castle was abandoned and the capital was moved to where it is now, Canterlot. That would mean that whatever missives you sent to us ended up in an empty ruin! Which would mean that it wasn’t that we ignored you, but that we never received the message!”

Typhon’s eyes widened. “What about the Griffons?”

That had been the next question on Alternia’s mind, and Chrysalis had an answer or that.

“They moved their capital as well five hundred years ago after their Idol of Boreas was nearly stolen! That must be why they did not receive the missive!” exclaimed Chrysalis, glancing at Alternia, who nodded in agreement.

Alternia’s brow was furrowed though. Something wasn’t lining up. Yes, the old lines of communication had been broken, leading to the kelpies being unable to contact the surface world. But then… why had there been no other contact?

She voiced that question mentally to Chrysalis who took a deep breath and turned back to Typhon.

“Prince Typhon, why have the seaponies or kelpies have made so little surface contact with us? Our world has basically forgotten the existence of your kind, relegating them to myth or legend. Why did you not remind the Equestrians or the Griffons of their agreements?” asked Chrysalis, calmly, keeping all hints of accusation out of her voice. They needed information, not a retaliatory response.

Besides, the water in the night was looking increasingly menacing the longer they stayed on this upturned battleship.

Luckily, Typhon, judging by the horror both Alternia and Chrysalis felt in his emotions, was similarly surprised by what he heard.

“Our kind has been preoccupied with internal matters for the last one thousand years. Only recently have the kelpies and seaponies been united,” Typhon said quickly. He glanced at Alternia. “As for why we didn’t send an envoy, you broke your word and ignored us. Why would we want to send an envoy then?”

The kelpie prince wasn’t telling them everything, that was for sure. “Internal matters” could mean a variety of things. However, Alternia and Chrysalis were beginning to have an idea of how Typhon thought and they had a more pressing question that they needed answered.

“That doesn’t justify your sudden blockade and violent reassertion of your claims,” Chrysalis pointed out, voicing Alternia’s thoughts.

Typhon groaned. “Your majesties, our oaths are our lives and the punishment for oathbreakers in our society is harsh. Until now I’ve thought you as oathbreakers, but now this situation is more complicated than I could have imagined.” Typhon shook his head, looking as if he wanted to rub it, but couldn’t because he was tied up. “To think that the surface world completely forgot our existence is crazy, but it seems you have.”

Glancing once again at the water lapping the hull of the capsized battleship they were on, Alternia grimaced. “Typhon, I need to talk to your regent. Can you arrange a meeting with her?” asked Alternia.

The kelpie prince grimaced. “Unfortunately, that’s all too easy. She is attacking the White One’s fleet now.”

Silence. Alternia and Chrysalis stared at the kelpie. They now had confirmation that Celestia and Tethys were fighting each other, likely directly at the head of their respective forces. But from what Alternia had seen from how easily her battleship had been holed and from how her changelings had been unable to fight the kelpies in melee, she had a sinking feeling about how the battle was going.

“Why did you not tell us earlier!” exclaimed Chrysalis.

“I didn’t know that this was a big misunderstanding! We thought you purposely ignored us and violated our territory,” protested Typhon.

“By the Great Hive Mothers… what do we do, Alternia?” asked Chrysalis.

Alternia bit her lip. “We need to get him to the Neptune.”

Chrysalis nodded. “Got it, guards!”

At her command, several of Chrysalis’s changelings moved forward to grab Typhon.

That was when a rain of ice shards shot out from the water.

Alternia was tackled to the hull by Diamondshell, while Harlequin and the rest of her guard formed a wall around her. Chrysalis shielded herself, but snapped an order for the rest of her changelings to keep their weapons trained on Typhon.

The ice shards however, shattered between Typhon and the ring of changelings that surrounded him though. None them actually hit any of the changelings.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” remarked Typhon in a matter-of-fact voice. “My own guards are still present after all.”

This statement was immediately followed by sudden wave of water that pushed out from between the Neptune and the escorting Black Pearl, and the capsized Hornblower that splashed several changelings too near the water’s edge. What was far more alarming though was the long form they saw in the sea. In the dark of the night, the monster, for they couldn’t really see the head which was underwater, seemed longer than a battleship, though narrower. It’s back, for that was all they could see was not too dissimilar to that of a crocodile’s back, but smoother and lacking a crocodile’s bumpy ridges.

Her guards watching the water, Chrysalis cursed. That must be the leviathan Typhon had mentioned.

“Damn, what do we do now, Alternia?”

A scowl on her features, Alternia turned away from Typhon, Chrysalis joining her.

“We need to release him,” whispered Alternia.

Chrysalis balked at the prospect of losing such a valuable source of intel. “Release him? Are you sure Alternia?” she asked.

Chrysalis couldn’t quite see Alternia’s night darkened features from where she stood, but she saw her sister’s shoulders sag with an invisible weight. “There are kelpies in this ship and judging by that thing over there, likely in the waters, Chrysalis. I don’t know if we could move him if we wanted to. Besides, Typhon is our only chance of trying to halt this madness before it continues, sister, at least if he agrees to do so. I will not kill the only member of the Aquestrian royalty who acknowledges that there has been a misunderstanding.” Heaving in a deep breath, Alternia whispered very softly. “As much as I am sorely tempted to do so.”

Typhon swallowed. “Um, I heard that.”

Alternia and the queens spun on Typhon, their eyes wide.

“How...” squeaked Alternia. She swore she had said that very quietly.

“We have very good hearing,” said Typhon his eyes nervously flick right and left over the queens.

Alternia swallowed and stored that fact into her mind as she looked the tied up kelpie in the eye, trying to see him as he was, and not as one of the creatures that had killed Buzz, and seven of her faithful guards. Taking a deep breath, she finally drew her impassive mask back over her features.

“Prince Typhon, I am going to attempt to persuade your regent to send an envoy or at least hear us out. However, in return for your release, I ask that should I fail for whatever reason, I ask that continue to implore her to at least consider it? You know about the situation in Equestria and now I know about the motivation behind your kind’s actions. If we act quickly, I believe that we can avoid further conflict between our species.”

The kelpie nodded. “I will try, Princess Alternia. I’m afraid I don’t have that much power, so it’s best you evacuate now as I can only delay them.” —his eyes narrowed— “I must warn you though, be very careful when trying to convince my regent. She is not as tolerant as I and believes the seaponies and kelpies have suffered from Equestria’s carelessness long enough.”

Alternia sighed. “Do your best. The fate of both of our species lies in our hooves.” Turning to her sister, Alternia asked, “Chrysalis?”

Chrysalis glared at Typhon, but sighed.

Turning back to Alternia as her changelings used their magic to untie Typhon from a safe distance, Chrysalis frowned. “What do you intend to do?”

Alterna lifted off her chestplate and kicked off her hoofshoes. The silver regalia was too damn heavy for her to fly with quickly.

“Help Celestia, and talk to the Empress. I’ll take anyone who can fly in my Mirror Guard with me. You need to protect the rest of this squadron and get them to Venecia.”

Chrysalis pursed her lips with worry, but sighed and turned to a changeling chevalier. “Captain Drizzt, take your platoon and protect my sister.” Alternia frowned as Chrysalis glanced back at her. “You’ll need all the help you can get, little sister.”

“Thank you, Chrysalis.” Facing Harlequin and Diamondshell, Alternia jumped into the sky. “Mirror Guard with me!”

Author's Note:

That was a whammer. Forgive me for whacky indents, but i'm short of time and can't fix em all.

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