• Published 19th Sep 2015
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I, Chrysalis - Scarheart



Imprisoned, Queen Chrysalis writes the story of her life, her legacy. But not for those pathetic ponies! Gifted with a daughter, she cherishes what could be the last changeling she will ever interact with...

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Chapter X

It was a start, she decided as she released her hold. So long as she was like a shadow in the mind, the host would never know she was ever there. Chrysalis had many, many years of practice. Her art was second to none, so far as she was concerned. It was even more important to her than her shape changing abilities, which were currently curtailed thanks to the ring at the base of her horn. Changelings could assume almost any form they wished, but there were rules, as there were rules in any form of magic.

She brought her head up, peering through the locks of her mane at Nightstorm. As always, he watched her like a hawk. A small smile graced her lips as she bent and tended to Atalanta. The hatchling was beginning to fuss and her chirps were beginning to draw attention from the maids.

“Nobody told you to stop working, ladies,” said the thestral in a monotone. “Do your duties quickly. The Queen has a busy day ahead of her.” He cut an imposing figure which brokered no argument.

They were started by his voice and quickly resumed their work in varying states of embarrassment. Chrysalis worked on quieting her daughter, whispering and cooing. The poor thing was very uncomfortable in her slowly shrinking skin. Naturally, motherly instinct told her to do what she could to comfort her offspring. Pulling Atalanta out from under her belly, the Queen loafed, placing the squirming hatchling on top of her folded forelegs. Then, with her mane serving as a curtain, she began to bathe her daughter with her tongue. A very wet and slobbery tongue. After several strokes along her daughter’s length, Chrysalis pulled her head up to see her work. Already the pale, almost translucent chitin of her daughter was absorbing the saliva, stretching it out and hopefully making Atalanta a little more comfortable.

The maids finished and quietly departed the room. “I will give you fifteen minutes,” Nightstorm told Chrysalis. Without waiting for a response, he followed them out, leaving the Queen alone with her daughter. Rising to her hooves, she sauntered over to her vanity mirror and plucked up her brush. Atalanta had quieted by now and was making innocuous sounds as her mother busied herself to look presentable.

Chrysalis only needed half of her allotted time to get ready. The remaining time she simply sat in the circle and waited, Atalanta in her sling and still making adorable little noises. The Queen kept her eyes closed as she made another connection. Her host was unaware. Testing her hold, she kept everything simple, using only sight and allowing the host to keep full control of their faculties. She smiled.

It was a good start. As much as Chrysalis wanted to simply take control, there was not enough information for her to go on. She had to know the layout of the castle, its strengths and weaknesses, the number of guards, the patterns to the patrols, shifts, and so much more! Even the civilians working in the castle need to be watched. More importantly, Chrysalis did not know where in Equestria she was. Somehow, she needed to get a message to her hive. The excitement within her had to be contained. She had a sliver of an opening and somehow, she had to turn it into something feasible.

Patience…

There was the expected knock at the door. Chrysalis drew herself up, tall and proud. It was time to meet a princess for breakfast and break the news to her.


“Ah, Chrysalis, I am pleased you could join me for breakfast,” said Luna the moment she saw the changeling escorted into the dining hall. The Princess was seated at the head of a long table, looking very regal as she was almost hidden between the shafts of sunlight coming through the window. Chrysalis could only make out the alicorn’s eyes and the reflective silver on her crown and torc. The sun poured in through the open windows, bathing everything in a cheerful light. An assortment of foods were laid decoratively and in modest amounts. There was even a bowl filled with the love spheres.

“I was not expecting an invitation, but I accepted for the sake of the burgeoning relations between our peoples,” Chrysalis said with a slight sneer. She could sense hidden guards watching her, ready to spring to the defense of their princess.

Princess Luna did not flinch, but smiled and indicated a chair to her right. “Please. Sit. Help yourself. I take it you have not fed Atalanta yet?” Her smile was the smile of the perfect hostess, though wafts of irritation had already touched Chrysalis.

“Thank you.” Chrysalis moved past Nightstorm. The thestral adjusted his leathery wings and bowed to Luna. She dismissed him with a nod before focusing back on the changeling.

Chrysalis settled into her seat, her eyes roving over the food. She was hungry. She noticed something. “No meat?” she asked with a pout.

Luna smiled pleasantly.

The Queen checked on the lump in her sash. Atalanta had fallen back asleep. Content, she began placing food on her plate, having noticed Luna waiting for her to begin. As soon as the first hash brown hit her plate, Luna dug in.

“Princess Cadence and Shining Armor have been asking about your daughter,” Luna began conversationally. “Cadence, especially, considering.”

Chrysalis chewed her bite thoughtfully, keeping her eyes on her plate. “Interesting.”

“I should think so. Shining Armor refuses to admit anything happened.”

“Is that so?”

Luna gave her an annoyed glare, then smiled pleasantly. “Cadence would like to see your daughter. She is curious.”

“I would imagine so. We changelings guard our children and hide them from outsiders. The only reason you are able to see my daughter is because you leave me little choice. This is the stage of her life where her only contact is me, her mother so we can make our Bond.” Chrysalis sipped her orange juice. It was freshly squeezed. “Our hatchlings are kept in dark, secure places, in the heart of our defenses. They are the most precious things to us. We would die to the last changeling to protect them.” A bitter expression soured her complexion. “It sometimes isn’t enough.”

“Perhaps—”

“Perhaps nothing,” interrupted Chrysalis sharply. “If she sees my daughter, blood relations or not, she will want to take her from me because of the monster I know she sees me as. Mark my words and mark them well, princess, I will fight to the death to protect my blood. No magic power on this world or any other will stop that. No immortal being will have the strength to stop me. If my legs are broken, I will bite. I will bite until my jaw is broken. I will not stop protecting the most precious thing the world to me even if Death should come to take me to her breast.” She munched on a slice of apple. It was sweet and crisp.

“Chrysalis, she does not want to separate your daughter from you. She simply wants to see her. She also wants to speak with you, despite her husband’s protests.” Luna took a bite from her own plate.

“Why?”

“As the Princess of Love, she feels she is in a position to offer help if you will accept it.”

“And why should I trust her? I already have a strong distrust for you, Celestia and her stronghoof tactics, and Twilight Sparkle. You have all the advantages and you flaunt them mercilessly at me.” Chrysalis found she was enjoying the banter as it was flustering Luna. She helped herself to a strange yeast bread she could only describe as a muffin, slathering it with liberal amounts of butter and topping it off with strawberry jam. Motherhood had given her a bit of a sweet tooth. She bit into the muffin and encountered buttery heaven. The Queen moaned.

Luna rolled her eyes. “You are impossible.”

Chrysalis swallowed her bite. “That I am. I must be stubborn, for I am in the land of my prey and my prey has placed me in a gilded cage. Even my dreams are no longer a refuge for me.” She glared pointedly at the alicorn.

“I altered nothing. I can do no such thing.” Luna munched on a salad of sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Bits of cheese was sprinkled on it. “Though I am the Mistress of Dreams, I must follow certain rules and guidelines. The more powerful the being, the more rules come into play. Responsibility becomes heavier and heavier. I shirked my duties once and it nearly plunged the world in eternal darkness. I merely observed your dreams. I spoke when I was permitted and I was careful not to pry too deeply into your subconscious.” She spoke as though she were giving a lecture to a student who had potential but suffered from a severe case of procrastination.

“Is that so?” Chrysalis finished the marvelous muffin and hungrily hunted down something else with her eyes on the table. “Far be it for me to assume the role of a victim in the light of what you and your sister believe me to be.” She found some honey dew melons mixed with watermelon and in bite-sized pieces.

“And what exactly are you?” prompted Luna. A cup of coffee now hung near her muzzle and on her right.

“Hungry,” replied the Queen airily. She seized one of the love balls with her hooves and pulled it up to her mouth. Smirking over it, she sank her fangs into it and began to suck slowly and loudly, her eyes never leaving the alicorn.

“And immature, it would seem,” huffed the alicorn. She slurped her coffee.

“When the mood strikes, yes.” The changeling set aside the empty ball. Bits of love had dribbled down her chin. Daintily she dabbed at it with her napkin. “Why am I conversing with you?”

Luna set down her cup. “I would imagine because you yearn to speak to someone closer to your intellectual level than to a child who can perhaps drool you into an adoring stupor. You are more comfortable speaking to me because you see me as an equal in power. I was also not a visible figure at the wedding. Celestia you look down upon because you see yourself as having bested her in single combat, though in fairness she held back as there were hundreds of innocent ponies who would have been in the way. Then there is Twilight Sparkle. You do not care much for her because she was the instrument of your fall. It was she who suspected you and you fostered her distrust by turning her friends, her brother, and her mentor against her. Very clever, by-the-by. I should add you feel some sort of connection to me because of my own attempts at conquest, though the culprit was a creature who stole my body and suppressed my mind. In short, you need a friend.”

Friend? Chrysalis gave Luna a look as though the alicorn had just suggested elephants married mice for their ability to fly to the moon. She started to laugh, a cackling, evil laugh villains in storybooks did when the hero or heroine said something along the lines of ‘love conquers all’. Then she realized love had kicked her flank hard enough to leave a crater. The laughter abruptly died and she was suddenly staring vacantly at her plate.

“Friend?” she parrotted the thought, the word sounding funny coming from her mouth. “I suppose I could use a friend.” The Queen looked blankly at the wall across from her. “How was life for you growing up, Luna?”

Startled by the sudden question, Luna asked, “How do you mean?”

“It is a simple question. You ask plenty of me. Would it hurt to answer one of mine?”

Luna considered before selecting a peeled hard boiled egg. Dusting it lightly with salt, she considered for a moment. “I would imagine my fillyhood was much as any other pony should have, sans a mother and father. It was just my sister, really. Even she does not know who her mother and father was. We were moved between the tribes, sharing time with each of them. We were loved and always seemed welcomed wherever we went.” The mare focused on the egg before taking a bite. “All of Equestria raised us, I suppose you could say. It would be a fair assessment. So very long ago. So very different than the world is today, I might add.”

“A partial answer, but good enough.”

“Just as you do not enjoy sharing full divulgence, I am reluctant to reach into the past and tell you more of myself than I deem you worthy of knowing.” The alicorn popped the egg into her mouth and chewed slowly.

Chrysalis snorted. “Fair enough.” She nodded to herself. “Fair enough.” Chrysalis resumed her meal in silence. The sound of clinking utensils on plates went on for several minutes as the changeling and the pony focused on their food.

Luna lit up her horn. The Queen felt a weight lift from her horn. Startled, found herself watching her inhibitor float off towards Luna. It came to rest on top of the table next to her plate.

“What is this?” she demanded, more curious and even a little afraid. Very suddenly afraid. “What are you up to, Luna?”

“You have access to your magic. You may contact your hive and check their well-being. I will allow it for a few minutes.”

“Oh, you expect me to trust you? No.”

The alicorn snorted and sighed, shaking her head. “Chrysalis. Your hive is in danger. The Guard searches for them to save them. What are these Ravagers you mentioned yesterday at the hearing?”

Buzzing her wings fitfully, the Queen hugged her daughter to her. “They are death given life. They are relentless hunters. They exist to hunt other changelings.”

And so she told Luna about Queen Taalia, with her shoulders slumped and her head bowed in defeat. She told nothing of herself or her hive.

“But what of your changelings?” Luna asked quietly when she had some time to digest this revelation of a new, more vicious queen.

“They know how to hide. With their numbers dwindled and their protection a fraction of what it should be, they can blend into the shadows and become as a forgotten memory.”

She could feel eyes upon her. Wary, unseen eyes. Some were hostile. Chrysalis had nearly forgotten the guards. They wanted her to do something stupid. With a quirk of a smile, her form shimmered through a rising sheet of green flames hugging her body. She appeared as a perfect copy of Princess Luna.

“No itchy trigger hooves,” she commented, looking up at the ceiling. “Nice to know your Night Guard follow orders.”

“That was foolish, Chrysalis. They could have shot you!”

“But they didn’t,” the Queen countered. She flared out an indigo blue wing and examined it closely. “I like this color. It makes me feel deep and mysterious. It’s more hawkish than those swan wings of your sister.” She peered down at the fur on her chest and noted Atalanta was peeking up at her from the sash. The hatchling discovered the feel of fur and promptly rubbed her face fully into her mother’s chest. “See? Even my little morsel approves! Soft. Supple. Weak.” Chrysalis smiled mirthlessly. She already was feeling a pang of jealousy with how much Atalanta loved the feel of pony fur.

Luna was not amused. “The ring was not removed so you can amuse yourself,” she chided, clucking her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “If you are unwilling to contact your hive, then you leave me with no reason to believe you need to remain unfettered.” The horn ring disappeared in a flash of magic, only to settle heavily at the base of the changeling’s crooked horn. The false Luna’s form flickered green, then faded away, revealing the Queen’s true form beneath.

Even Atalanta seemed disappointed. With a sad chirrup, she slid into the depths of her sash, leaving Chrysalis staring at a lump assuming a ball shape.

She gathered her thoughts, thinking of the returned weight upon her head. With a sigh, she pushed her plate away. “I do believe I am full. Was there anything else you wished to discuss before the continuation of the farce?”

“I have nothing further to add. Do you wish to disclose anything on your behalf? I am still vexed you did not include me in the proceedings. You made me look the fool and made my sister seem the overbearing tyrant. However, she did discover something you might find interesting.”

“Oh?”

The alicorn sighed. “Unfortunately, Twilight used a part of the truthing spell to incorporate a mind spell that removes the desire for the target to move if the question asked is not something they wish to answer. Truthing spells used on an official capacity are supposed to allow for the target to move and help against self incrimination. The purpose of yesterday was only to establish the spell and to understand how strong your mind was. Twilight also applied too much compulsion to the spell, as she either ignored the base setting required and applied her own estimation of your mental fortitude, or simply had overlooked it. As much as I would like to believe she did not do it on purpose, I question the reasons for allowing a biased party to assume the role of prosecutor.”

“So, you did not think for a moment Celestia’s prized pet would alter the rules to benefit herself? Her brother and her sister-in-law were directly affected by me. Why would Celestia want to include her in the hearings?” Chrysalis snorted.

“It was a test. One of many my sister has set before Twilight.” The Princess shook her head. “One of the few she has failed. Celestia was quite disappointed in her. As am I.”

Chrysalis balked. “I beg your pardon?”

“In short, Twilight Sparkle violated the law.”

“You mean she broke one of your own laws.”

“Ah, yes.”

“And you did nothing about it?”

“I was not aware at the time, no.” Luna paused as she refilled her coffee cup. She sipped, sighed, and looked decidedly unhappy. “I have tried to see if there was any way I could have detected it, but she was very subtle. Magic is her strength, after all. In time, I do believe she could be as formidable as Star Swirl the Bearded was.”

Chrysalis gave a flit of her wings. She was irritated. She was angry. “As I mentioned: Kangaroo court. The odds were against me and you were naïve enough to not see it. Or you trusted your sister and your unicorn friend so much as you were blind to the obvious. Celestia is determined to get me to break and give her what she wants. All for the sake of your precious ponies. Well, the way I see it, my changelings will get the short end of any deal, or those Ravagers will find them. Do you see the position I am in? If you could but sit in my hooves for a day while I sit in my cell and think of ways to save my hive!”

“I do sympathize, Queen Chrysalis—”

The changeling interrupted her with a raised hoof, her words fading, then abruptly ending. “No. I don’t think you do. It is with great pleasure I inform you your services as my counsel are no longer required. Thank you for the lackluster effort you have given me. I shall be sure to let the next changeling queen you ‘defend’ know of your dedication to the mediocre.”

“Now see here!” Luna rose to her hooves, the table clattering from her sudden movement. She was livid.

“Princess Luna, Mistress of the Night, Lady of the Stars, and my newly acquired friend. Though I do not see the merits of having an equine friend, I will humor you. Breakfast was wonderful. Oh, and you’re fired, just in case you did not understand the first time.”

Luna started to say something, but Chrysalis interrupted her.

“I know what you are going to say. ‘It is unwise to go before any court without representation’. Is it also my prerogative if I so choose to represent myself in any court setting, be it formal or informal?” Chrysalis cocked her head to one side. Atalanta gurgled hungrily in her pouch.

“It is,” admitted the alicorn. “However, I feel I must advise strongly against such a decision, even if you chose, as you clearly have, to not use the counsel provided to you. Should you still desire your own counsel—” Words failed her and she decided to resume her seat. Chrysalis maintained a perfectly straight face. In moments, she recomposed herself. “Should you desire your own representation or have somepony else in mind to represent you in the hearing, it can be postponed so you might prepare yourself. You are allowed to make one request for a counsel of your choosing, so long as it is within reason.”

“None.” Chrysalis helped herself to coffee. “It is somewhat not personal, Princess Luna, but I have doubts of your allegiance, given the ridiculousness of everything.”

The alicorn scrunched her muzzle and rolled her eyes. “We take this most seriously, Queen of the Changelings!”

“As do I. I have some questions to ask Twilight Sparkle and I do request I ask them under the exact same circumstances to which she interrogated me. Am I allowed at least that?”

A ragged sigh escaped Luna. Whether or not it was for show eluded Chrysalis. Shrewdly she wondered exactly how much she had witnessed at the table had been acting and how much was genuine. Luna was a crafty creature. She was far older than Chrysalis and was used to dealing with beings like the Queen. She was also clearly not Princess Celestia, to which Chrysalis approved.

“I am certain my sister will allow this.”

“Good. Are we done here?”

“We are, Queen Chrysalis.” Luna hid her disappointment well.

The changeling took wing and hovered slowly, mindful of the eyes watching her. “Very well then. There are some hours before the hearing. Atalanta will need her breakfast soon. I will need time to finish preparing. It will be a very busy day. Thank you again for breakfast. It was delicious...friend.

Author's Note:

Edited by DJ_Neon_Lights and Magic Man.
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