• Published 19th Sep 2015
  • 5,734 Views, 781 Comments

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 XXI

Chrysalis flit her wings anxiously, her eyes darting around the camp as she took dainty steps across the dusty ground. Her large, floppy ears turned this way and that as she focused to the sounds and smells around her. Her inner sense fixated temporarily on the emotions of the thousands of ponies gathered at this site, only to focus on the next strongest one as she gauged the mood of the ponies around her. The ponies who did notice her stared and she sensed some hatred and distrust, far less than she expected, in all honesty.

The tents were arranged in neat rows. The changeling had noticed this first thing when she flew from the airship and towards the camp alongside Celestia and her swarm of guards. Pegasi darted through the skies, their polished armor gleaming in the light of the midday sun. The din of noise coming from the camp was like the smoke from the numerous cooking fires set up at intervals throughout; it rose and spread out, diffusing into the sky.

She noted with a sigh the whole camp was horribly exposed. Certainly, there were plenty of patrols from what she could see. The changeling could imagine eyes were already watching the ponies and their adorable little camping expedition. What idiot thought it was a good idea to allow families to tail after a military operation? She had heard the sounds of foals before she even saw one, blinking in disbelief as she paused in mid stride as a trio of foals ran out from a cluster of tents, chasing a dog.

These ponies have no clue!

Celestia had been told of the meeting between Chrysalis and the generals during the trip from the fortress to the camp. The alicorn listened and was not happy about what Chrysalis had told her. Words would be exchanged with her generals. They had already left to prepare for their jolly little changeling chase.

The queen ground her teeth in frustration. These ponies were idiots. They were begging for it. Often she would glance over at Celestia, who looked perfectly serene yet businesslike with the mask she wore. Chrysalis had pleaded with the alicorn for much of the duration of their trip. She practically begged, something she would never have done for herself and could never have imagined herself doing for ponies.

The flickering of concern in the magenta eyes of the princess showed she was beginning to see what her dark companion had tried to explain. Celestia’s own attention swept over the expanse of the camp, focusing more on her civilians and their section where they were staying.

The bowing ponies were ignored, though Celestia still wore her patented public smile. The three foals paused in their play to gape up at her in unbridled joy and wonder. They did not have the social grace to bow before her, but they did grin openly and in wonder. Chrysalis felt their love pour out and drank in some of it, feeling a shiver of loneliness course through her heart. She missed her daughter. Separation anxiety reared its ugly head.

“I think I see,” Celestia said quietly after the crowds parted. “Let us retire to my tent. We will discuss this further.” She turned towards the officers who had turned out to greet her. Chrysalis noted the same generals who had spurned her advice. “Where is my sister and why has she not come out to greet me?”

“Princess Luna is currently at the site of the burned out changeling hive,” responded one of the generals. His military discipline was impeccable, yet Chrysalis felt his disdain for her.

“I want to see it,” Chrysalis demanded sharply. “Take me to it now. There is little time to waste.”

“Know your place!” snapped another general, openly baring his teeth at her in hatred.

Calmly, Celestia said, “Queen Chrysalis is my guest. I have brought her along as an advisor. Her knowledge is invaluable. Valuable insight to your enemy is priceless. We shall discuss this later when my sister returns. She will want to be present when I say what needs to be said. Chrysalis, if you be so kind as to come with me.” A small smile combined with a dismissive stare at the generals was a work of art to behold.

Chrysalis was intrigued. Such a subtle yet effective show of her authority! Still, mustn’t be impressed by spoiled rotten pony princesses!

The general cowed, his eyes going wide as he ducked his head submissively, his ears splaying out behind him. The chastisement was crushing, despite the gentleness in Celestia’s voice. Chrysalis could see past it. She could feel past it. Somehow, the ancient alicorn could project what she felt and upon the object of her ire and disapproval. This was an interesting point of observation for the changeling queen. She said nothing, gave away nothing, but locked this information deep within the barriers of her mind.

“O-of course, your Highness,” he stammered. “I meant no offense to you.”

Chrysalis swished her tail once, the tips of strands kicking up small dust clouds. A sneer partially appeared on her lips, but just enough to show the tips of her fangs a bit more menacingly. “We are wasting time with fools,” she told Celestia irritably. “We must move quickly. I must get to the remnants of the hive immediately. Time is precious, Celestia. There are lives at stake.”

The alicorn simply nodded. “I have told my sister we are coming. She is expecting us.” She glanced around the camp, noting the defenses and disposition of the troops. “Double the guard. Active patrols, if you please. Diligence, my little ponies. Remove all civilians from this camp and send them back. This is not a vacation nor a family outing. This is warfare, generals.”

Chrysalis winced, feeling the ire of the alicorn. The changeling noted how the ancient pony deliberately avoided using the names of her little ponies. Clearly, she was not happy with them. The generals blinked, rebuked and rebuffed before reassembling their shattered pride and carrying it off somewhere to put it back together. This was going to be a bad day for them, Chrysalis surmised.

Part of the guard contingent who had traveled with them strode forward at an unseen command and took up positions around Celestia and Chrysalis. The others turned smartly and marched off to their tents, their hooves thundering in rhythm as they announced their arrival proudly.

“Gentlestallions,” Celestia announced crisply, “I do not think I need warn you we are in a potentially hostile location. Be wary, my little ponies!” She turned her head towards a plainly garbed pegasus scout who bowed reverently to her. Chrysalis rolled her eyes at his adoration of the alicorn.

He declared in a squeaky voice, awkward in the growth from colt to stallion, “I am your escort, your Majesty.”

“Rise,” she bade with a smile. When he looked up at her adoringly, she asked, “What is your name?”

“Finder, ma’am,” he replied with a nervous crack in his voice. He was very young, it seemed and very rough in his appearance.


“Yes, ma’am!”

“You seem a bit young for your role as a scout,” she observed benignly.

He cleared his throat, declaring proudly, “I was drafted!”

Celestia’s expression did not change, but her eyes went flat. “Is that so? On who’s orders?” She maintained her motherly voice.

Chrysalis ignored his reply, having settled her own attention to the receding generals. She could understand using a guide familiar with the area and even applauded reluctantly somepony had some semblance of a brain. However the age of the colt irked her. He should be in training! Such a youth would never be thrust into an offensive role. Even as a scout! Scouts needed to be experienced and sure!

“Idiots,” she spat, ending the word in a hiss. Her wings buzzed in her agitation. “They send a child to do a warrior’s task.”

The young pegasus cringed from her and she did not stop glowering. But her gaze was not on him. No, Chrysalis glared daggers at the back of the departing officers. “Child, you do a service for your fellow ponies.” She tilted her head at the colt and blinked. “Never give that service with the intention to impress those who could care less if you live or die in the service of your nation.”

The poor scout squeaked as his brain registered a changeling was speaking to him. He had tried so very hard to ignore Chrysalis, focusing on Celestia. His legs became rubbery and the fear swelled around him enough to make the queen jerk her head back with a wince. Finder was terrified of her!

“Chrysalis…” Celestia warned tiredly.

“What?” She assumed the picture of absolute innocence. Chrysalis could pull it off perfectly. She was, after all, a changeling.

Humor among changelings is a dark thing. It is almost always associated with the things predators relate to; the fear from one’s prey, hunting, stalking...dark things. We are masters of our surroundings and secretly take joy in the hunt...or in some cases, being the hunted.

Taalia did have a dark sense of humor. Consider her joy of death and destruction. Her joy came from the destruction of her prey. Her laughter stemmed from the blood that flowed at her hooves. Her ecstasy grew from the sounds of the suffering and the dying. There was humor in her, and a burning world to her was the most amusing thing.

I vexed her. I refused to join her in those sick little games of orgasmic destruction she delighted in. I could never stomach excessive death and bloodshed. There was always a voice only I could hear that could stave off the urges Taalia tried to put within me. My inner struggles confused her. No matter how many times I defied Taalia, she would at first rage in her failures, then laugh as she beat me for failing her. My sanity was maintained by that other voice. A familiar voice. I trusted that voice. It was familiar to me.

It was always a moment of humor for me when it would speak and override Taalia’s demands. The twisted queen would rage and I would laugh. She would hear me laugh and rain blow after blow down upon me, in violation of the orders given to her by the Twin Queens.

I would only laugh harder, despite my fears, despite everything that made me hate my queen. Taalia was the joke and she did not understand this. I was young, yet when I had been touched by one of the Twin Queens, my eyes were opened and I had been shown a glimpse of the joke that was the core of changeling life.

The Void was a most terrible, terrible joke. It could never be filled, yet we fed to fill it as the Hunger demanded we serve the Void. It was the only thing greater than the Queens.

The flight was short, perhaps thirty minutes. Finder led them unerringly, through a small forested valley that was formed around a lazy winding river. The pegasus colt was eager to please, puffing himself up proudly after being smiled upon by Princess Celestia. No doubt he would tell his grandfoals later on in his life of the time he had once showed the Immortal Sun the way.

Chrysalis found she envied the love the ponies had for their princess. Celestia had always been a constant, had always been there for them. She ruled more as a shepherdess rather than royalty. Celestia offered advice freely and ran her nation with minimal interference from her part. Each town was independent, its inhabitants free to live as they saw fit. The Crown simply set the guidelines and standards and Celestia would rule through means as simple as looking at results presented before her. Often, she would go out amongst her subjects, hiding beneath a disguise in order to keep a hoof on the pulse what was considered an acceptable standard of living throughout Equestria. Different places had different needs, so the princess was never bored with how her subjects more or less ruled themselves.

Chrysalis pondered this as she followed the alicorn closely. She could sense her own changelings now. They had picked up on her presence and pinged for her. The queen smiled to herself and replied in kind, urging patience. She knew they were safe and they yearned for her return. They would follow and watch from a distance. Their worry for her touched Chrysalis, but her primary concern about their safety was alleviated for the moment.

Be my eyes and my ears. Stay hidden, my children. Taalia is near!

They echoed in agreement and faded into near silence in the queen’s mind. An unintended happy chirp escaped her throat, but Chrysalis ignored the stares that fell upon her.

There was a burned out clearing in the forest by the river ahead of the group. It only came in view when they rounded a jagged hill jutting into the side of the river. Chrysalis noted there was an odd charge in the air, so faint as to be almost unnoticeable. Celestia noticed the subtle perk in the queen’s ears.

“I once battled Nightmare Moon here,” she said simply, as if it explained everything.

Chrysalis nodded mutely. This was an ancient battlefield, then. One fought between goddesses. Old memories were resurfacing within the ancient pony. It was a sadness Chrysalis had only felt once before and it was not one she could easily place, if at all.

Her nostrils quivered as she caught the faint whiff of burnt wood and changeling resin. She could also smell death as she drew closer to the blackened earth with its scorched stumps and blasted tree limbs reaching to the sky, frozen in their death throes. Within moments, she could make out the moving forms of ponies sifting through the carnage. The primary entrance to the shattered hive seemed to be under the roots of a splintered oak tree. Even several days after the massacre, there were still obvious signs pointing how the battle had played out.

Almost immediately, Chrysalis realized the attack had been a complete surprise. Most of the guards had fallen within the first moments of the attack and the Ravagers had swarmed into the entrance, two abreast. Chrysalis ignored the ponies and the shouts as she landed and immediately began to study the ground. Her nostrils flared as she sniffed the burnt earth, detecting where blood had been spilt and sensing for lingering emotions left behind at the moment of death.

She growled at ponies who were in her way as she conducted her own investigation. To the untrained eye, the changeling queen seemed to be meandering around in a nonsensical pattern. Celestia watched with great interest even as her sister emerged from the hive entrance. Luna trotted to her sister’s side and the two whispered to each other as Chrysalis eventually made her way to the entrance. Lifting her head, she flicked an ear and stared down the dark hole, ignoring the corpses of the fallen.

The ponies had not touched the bodies.

Her left ear twitched and Chrysalis snorted loudly. “I need to find the brooding chamber,” she announced as she surged forward.

Celestia was on her heels. Luna was on her right flank. “Why?”

Without looking back, Chrysalis snarled, “Taalia was after the hatchlings! Queen Fern was a crafty queen. She cared deeply about the weakest of her hive. She would have taken steps to protect them. Her motherly instincts were strong, but her defenses were weak. I warned her. I warned her to move away, to find another place, yet she ignored me. I should have killed her the moment I met her.” Her voice jostled with every heavy step the queen took. “Now her hive is dead. I need to know if she protected her little ones. There might be a chance...I must know!”

“Know what?” called Celestia in the wake of the surging changeling.

Chrysalis led them around numerous bends, going around investigating ponies and stepping over body parts and blood splatters that seemed to be everywhere. Not one Ravager had fallen, Chrysalis noted. The old fear threatened to fill her heart and she fought to keep it down. Swallowing hard, she paused to regain her bearings, sniffing the air filled with lingering death. She turned and followed a corridor, stepping over more bodies. The passages were becoming narrower and narrower as they slowly wound down and deeper beneath the roots of the tree.

It ended into a chamber, large enough for twenty ponies to stand in. It had a low ceiling. The queen felt her horn scrape against the resin that supported the room and kept the world from collapsing down upon them. Along the slightly rounded walls were nests. Empty nests.

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes. She sniffed around the floor, noting there were few dead changelings. Nurses. Caretakers for the hatchlings, she surmised. None were warriors. The signs pointed to frenzied searching. Fruitless searching, Chrysalis noted with grim satisfaction.

“They’re here,” she said. “They’re still here.”

“Who?” asked Luna in confusion.

“Unhatched eggs. Hatchlings. They are hidden.” Chrysalis continued her search. Her horn lit up. “Magic hid them. The Ravagers can’t use magic. They can sense it, but that is what saved the little ones. They’re asleep. Magically induced comas. They’re here. Taalia must have gone mad. She killed those in a fit of rage who would not tell here where the little ones were. I imagine Fern was defiant to the bitter end. I can feel her death screams in the wall. Her magic was at work here. She protected them. And she’s dead. But they are here. In this room.”

The queen stopped moving, becoming as still as a statue. Her horn continued to glow. Beneath her hooves were the scuff marks of a struggle. Dry blood was everywhere. The ground before her glowed, then fell away like crumbling dirt. With telekinesis, she swept it all away, revealing a deep depression in the center of the room. Letting out a long and slow exhale, she looked down.

Her smile was gentle and relieved.

“I claim these little ones as a part of my hive. I give them my love and without reservation.”

Author's Note:

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