• Published 19th Sep 2015
  • 4,018 Views, 764 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 V

On the Savannah, we had to move with the animals. During certain parts of the year, dry river beds would become raging waters a mile wide. Everything would be lush and green and full of promise. The animals of the Savannah travelled in vast herds. We followed the herds. Our hunters took down game. Our gatherers were skilled in taking in the affections of animals and converting it to love we could sustain ourselves on. When the Greaters left us alone, life was good. It was hard, but rewarding with enough hard work. The days were hot and humid until the dry season rolled around. Then the heat became dry and perfect for changelings.

We love the heat.

I may have been entering my fourth or fifth rainy season. Mother told me I had been born at the end of the dry season. So, perhaps somewhere in between? Mother was teaching me my magic down by the great river we called the Winding End. It was often we would meet other colonies like ours. Lesser queens often knew each other. It was not uncommon for sister queens to have their own colonies. I met my aunt for the first time at the Winding End.

Her hive was slightly larger than ours. She was a feral Queen. Her colony had no hive. They lived out in the wilderness, constantly on the move. She and Mother were very close. Our changelings met hers completely unaware they were near the river. There was almost a fight, but at the last moment, before blows could be struck, the opposing sides detected familiar pheromones from the other. What might have become a terrible battle, instead became a sort of family reunion.

My aunt was a tall queen, easily a head taller than Mother. She was covered in scars. Her horn was chipped in several places. She had two daughters and a son. After Mother became reaquainted with her sister, there was a celebration by the river.

Changelings, as a rule, stick to their own colony unless a Greater queen commands otherwise. We are a secular species. We are also typically suspicious of those we do not know.

Aunt Cerri was suspicious of Mother. She was a slave. Slaves did things to gain favor with their masters. Cerri was not a slave. Cerri was free. I envied her. Her children and the children of her changelings played with no fear. They were fierce. They were not afraid to fight to stay free.

The celebration was short, but I would never forget the day I saw what a free changeling looked like. There was power in freedom. Freedom was intoxicating. It was them I learned there were other sapient beings such as us in the world.

Zebras. They lived in scattered tribes to the north. Their wilderness was a vast plateau. A desert separated the Savannah from their lands. Occasionally, they braved the desert and engaged in trade with various hives. They were often left alone, for the Greater queens desired the worthless trinkets the zebras brought with them.

Zebras, I discovered, could give more love than a simple minded animal. Aunt Cerri had captured him, made him her thrall, and flaunted him before Mother like a prized pet. Mother was horrified. Greater queens did not take kindly to the bringers of their shiny trinkets being made into slaves by their other slaves. Cerri did not care and laughed when Mother brought up the anger of the Greaters. Zebras were for the whims of the powerful and forbidden to the Lessers.

Aunt Cerri refused to believe any changeling should be denied love simply because they were a part of a weak hive. One zebra could sustain five changelings for a month. It took ten gazelles to sustain one changeling for three days. How could so much love be held in one creature? Was such a thing possible?

Curious, I stared at the zebra. He smiled at me. His eyes were strange. Cerri’s magic shone through his eyes. It was as if he was her slave, just as if the Greater queens controlled their minions. The other nymphs gathered with me and we looked at him. He just stood there, where Cerri had commanded him to stand. He never moved. His ears were always pointed towards her, though his eyes followed what was going on around him.

Cerri approached, followed by Mother. The former smiled while the latter hid her worry by measuring up the zebra. She had never had anything other than a changeling near her hive.

My aunt invited me to taste the zebra. Only a taste! She cautioned, adding to us nymphs to always take good care of the things that give us love. If we were ever to abuse it, there could come a point in time where the source of our love would no longer love us and we would have to take steps to force it out of him. That was a bad thing, she told us sternly. Freely given love was rich and bountiful. Love forced from the source had an aftertaste of resentment and sometimes even hate. Hate was bad for us.

With Mother’s permission, she showed us how to withdraw love from the source. The zebra seemed eager to be that source. She commanded, he obeyed. Just a taste. Just a small portion. Something less than a snack.

I lit up my horn, focused on the source of love within the zebra, as I was instructed, and had my first taste. I was used to the hum the love from my usual fare gave me. It was what our hunters brought from the local wildlife and it had a resonance about it as it was ingested. We could either absorb it through our horn in its essence form or we could eat it in a jelly form that could be produced through the holes in our forehooves. Gatherers typically used the horn to absorb love from their sources. It could be stored in cocoons within the storage chambers in the hive or stored like fat beneath our chitins. It could not be stored within us for long because the Hunger would eventually find it and devour it.

The taste of the zebra’s love was full and rich. It was like cream compared to the water I was used to. Cerri laughed and shared the zebra with Mother after us nymphs had this new and exciting new treat.

I...I...

I found I craved it.

The Hunger demanded it.

Aunt Cerri suggested there were ancient legends telling of a kingdom across the sea. A place where the Hunger could be finally satisfied. It was freedom.

True freedom is nothing but a legend, Mother declared. True freedom was not for changelings. Something had happened long ago to make us what we are today. Something terrible. It was never spoken of, but always hinted at. From the way Mother sounded, we deserved our fate. The Hunger was our burden.

Aunt Cerri disagreed. The two sisters argued that night. It would be the last night they would ever have together.

The next morning, Aunt Cerri was gone. It was the last I would see her for a very long time.


Chrysalis noted the stack of papers she had written had grown quite thick. The pages had grown in her long nights. There had been many such writing sessions. A lot of it was random things popping to mind. Some of it was meant for her daughter. Writing, she discovered, was very therapeutic. It was even more so when she had Atalanta sleeping against her chest.

For the moment, she had a troubling thought at the forefront of her mind.

Princess Luna had been visiting her in the evenings while the Queen recovered from her injuries. For the past eight nights, she went over the charges Equestria had placed at the hooves of the Queen. There were books with her. Legal tomes. Some were new. Others were old. All had to do with principles and theories of how to establish relations between the combatants. Chrysalis had some interest in the matter, mostly because she thought there were things in her favor, minescule as they were.

Somehow, Luna was behaving like a changeling. The anger Chrysalis normally had for all ponies was muted in the presence of the alicorn. She suspected manipulation magic at play, but could not detect such deceit from the alicorn. Luna always presented her wings to Chrysalis and kept her head below the Queen’s chin when she made her greetings.

She also said nothing unless Chrysalis spoke first.

The Princess was beginning to understand? Luna was making the attempt at an effort. None of the other ponies, not even Celestia had even bothered to try and understand the changeling. This confused Chrysalis at first. Such manners demanded she respond with politeness in kind. Luna had not approached her as either a slave or a master, but as an equal.

“It’s a start,” Chrysalis had grudgingly allowed the first time Luna greeted her properly.

The pony did not smile, did not frown. Proper neutrality and no show of facial expressions to match. The Queen decided to grant the Princess status as a proper guest. It was only fair and protocol demanded she meet such politeness with the same dedication.

If proper civility was to continue, then Chrysalis knew she was going to have to encourage Luna to go on behaving like a proper guest. Her room was her kingdom. Here, she was sovereign. Of all the Equestrians, Princess Luna was the only one to display a willingness to meet Chrysalis on the Queen’s terms.

But how was she able to figure it out? Was she that clever?

She shook herself from the recent memories. Chrysalis was having issues enough with her dreams. Three times already she had the same dream since the first time, waking up and screaming her daughter’s name. Her noise had awakened her daughter. Atalanta felt her mother’s fear and began crying almost immediately.

The Queen felt worse and worse every time the same dream had the same results. Atalanta did not and could not understand why her mother was filled with fear. There was a threat. A threat made the hatchling call out to her mother instinctively.

Chrysalis wondered if Luna was playing a part in her dreams. Something blurred the end of the dream, or a part of it. The only bue changeling queen she knew of was dead and had been for a very long time.

“Something amiss?” Luna asked, tilting her view of the Queen in repose. “Is there something you do not understand in regards to matter at hoof?”

Chrysalis glared at her. “I understand your Equestrian foolishness quite well, Princess Luna. I am merely distracted.”

“Curious how dreams are carried into the waking world, isn’t it? You must know such distractions are irrelevant and counterproductive. We are concerned. Dreams are Our realm. We can help you to understand them, if you are so inclined.”

“I am not inclined to share my dreams with the one who rules them. I would imagine you would already know. I cannot defend against you there.”

Luna shook her head. “That is where you are wrong. We cannot control dreams. We can only see them and offer Ourselves as a guide if necessary. Our duty is to keep nightmares from manifesting.”

Chrysalis gave her a blank look.

“Think of them as emotions let loose and without control. A nightmare can take your deepest fears and twist your perceptions until you cannot see the truth around you.”

The Queen thought about the Princess’ words. “An interesting comparison. Perhaps there is truth in your words.”

Atalanta woke up and announced her hunger.

Luna suddenly gave the changeling a sense of longing. It was directed towards the crib. Chrysalis wondered why she was using the crib. It was an Equestrian construction and therefore weak. Their laws were weak. Their culture was some horrible, fluffy joke. Yet, she allowed herself the same weakness by placing her daughter in the very comfortable looking and beautifully crafted thing her daughter had eventually found herself in when she slept. As quickly as she felt it, Chrysalis noted how rapidly Luna withdrew her emotions.

Chrysalis came to a startling conclusion. She filed it away for later use. Perhaps it would be useful. It could just be another Equestrian trick.

The Princess settled back, splaying her ears out as she went silent and expectant. Chrysalis lifted her daughter, straining yet again at the limitations the inhibitor placed. Flickering a chance glance at Luna, she brought Atalanta to herself and fed the hatchling without a second thought. With their respect for each other still filled with a deep sense of distrust mostly from the Queen’s stance, Chrysalis would have shamed herself if Luna had caught her struggling.

But no, she had control. It was there, just not with the full access to her mana. The changeling could still have show of confidence even if it was tentative. They had replaced the old inhibitor. Her own magic had nearly burned the runes off along with doing damage to the base of her horn. The headache in the aftermath plagued her for four days. Luckily for her, the ponies had not yet discovered her innate abilities were not tied to what she could do with her horn. Testing the ponies had been a chore. They were no longer baiting her.

This was good.

She suspected Luna had a hoof in this. Cold logic and sequences of events suggested this to be highly likely. They were far from friends. She doubted such a thing would ever be possible. Chrysalis would freely admit she hated Luna, but not so much as she despised Celestia or Twilight. Of all the alicorns, Luna was the one Chrysalis thought capable of purging herself of emotions.

She never even considered Mi Amore Cadenza.

Her time would come.

For now, Chrysalis realized she needed knowledge. She needed to know where she was and how to escape. Patience would be her ally. Perhaps Luna would be the key. Even if she were to pursue this plan, there was no guarantee Luna could see past her intentions. Balancing everything within her mind and keeping her emotions in check meant she had to keep her thoughts below the surface. She had to be as still as the surface of calm water while channeling her currents carefully.

Atalanta was a distraction for Luna.

Chrysalis fed her daughter while at the same time perused one of the books Luna had brought. It was useless to her. None of the books had proven useful. Equestrian laws were numerous and most of them were unnecessary. A queen’s word was law. Good changelings obeyed. Bad changelings were cast from the colony. Hives were an extension of a queen’s will.

“Your laws are foolish,” she stated, setting the book back down. “They will not help me. If anything, it only seems to make my situation worse. I attacked without a formal declaration of war.” She forced more jelly out for Atalanta to feed, sparing a quick glance. The hatchling was growing so quickly! Filled with a sense of renewed pride, she continued. “Nor has Equestria acknowledged the state of war we are technically in. No peace can be declared. No cease fire. No armistice.”

“Yes. This is true.”

“According to some of your bylaws, I could be prosecuted as nothing more than a common bandit. A thief. Your laws do not recognize me as a queen as I do not have a kingdom as you understand them. I am nothing more than a common criminal.”

“Again, you are correct.”

Chrysalis pursed her lips over her fangs and narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. A small smile appeared. “No state of war can exist if I have no nation to fit the descriptions as required by your silly laws.” A hard snort blew through her nostrils. “How did you know?”

Luna hefted a book near her with her telekinesis. “We were not sure. The laws still confound Us. We agree the laws have become more burdensome over the course of the centuries, but the unfortunate truth lies with the simple fact many old laws are not rescinded when new laws are put into effect. There is even a law stating if either Celestia or myself were to marry, then we must ascend to the rank of queen. If We were to bear foals, then we would have to take upon the same mantle.”

“Why do you not simply make yourself queen?” asked Chrysalis with genuine curiosity.

Luna sighed, giving a wistful whinny. “Some things We do not and will not feel comfortable telling you. Reasons, you understand. Let Us say We made a promise and We, along with Our sister have kept it.”

Chrysalis could accept that, though, her curiosity had been piqued. Still, she felt it odd and foolish the alicorn would so openly admit to such a private pain. She assumed the princess would be reluctant to show any weakness, especially around her enemy, albeit a captured one.

“So,” she sighed, flicking her tail and readjusting it. “What is your plan? How do you plan to represent me in this hearing?”

Luna looked at her plainly. “Simple. We declare all charges associated with your declaration of war to be unfit and untrue. As there can be no nation as the aggressor, then there can be no war. The prosecution will refute that, of course.”

“Twilight?” Chrysalis bristled.

“Indeed. Her knowledge in literature, laws, magic, and countless other things We find... excessive, will make her a most formidable opponent. She is quite intelligent, obsessive-compulsive, and has an immaculate eye for detail.” Luna flicked her own tail (Chrysalis wondered how one did that with an ethereal mane) and resettled her wings. Her posture suggested an eagerness.

“You look forward to facing her?” Atalanta mewled for more love. Chrysalis complied. Where is she putting all of it?

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“A battle of minds is still a battle. Twilight is a formidable opponent. The wars I would rather engage in involve armies. Strategy. Planning. Neigh impossible. Even chess becomes boring after one learns the strategy. It is the only game Twilight cannot defeat Us at. She lacks the killer instinct, as the saying goes.” Luna looked forlornly about the room. She wanted something.

“Princess Luna?” Chrysalis prompted.

“We should have tea brought. Do you wish to partake?”

“No. Perhaps a break is in order. We have been going at this for several hours.”

“Indeed. Do you mind if We have tea brought to your room for Our own consumption?”

Chrysalis gave a nod. “Your request is acceptable.”

“With your permission?” Chrysalis nodded again and Luna rose to her hooves. “Very well, I shall ask the guard outside to fetch some tea. Ah, is there anything you should require since We are up?”

“Nothing. I do not require food for the moment. Perhaps love. I don’t know how you are able to put it in the food you bring. It is curious how you ponies are able to do that. The little one is currently feeding more. Did you know hatchlings require nothing but pure love? They require nothing else. Not until their first molt.” Chrysalis became lost in her words, her eyes growing distant. “Never give them hate.”

Luna gave her an odd look, but the Queen’s mind had drifted. It returned to the present and the changeling seemed not to have noticed. “Very well, then.”

Chrysalis was actually feeling hunger pangs of the Hunger acutely. She needed to feed. The Hunger was never satiated. It was impossible for any changeling to rid itself of that hunger. Food was not an emotion. It could only mask the need. If only there was a cure! If only she had been given more time to search. Equestria was the key! It had more love in it than any other kingdom she had come across!

“I was so close,” she murmured to Atalanta with a voice like a cool breeze. “We were so close. I could have sworn I had felt it.”

Everything had been for nothing. Chrysalis understood that now. Her gamble had cost her everything. There was nothing more to do than go forward and hope for a second chance.

It was doubtful Celestia would allow it.

Author's Note:

One of my editors was able to get a look at this while I was writing...while he was at work!

Have a chapter. I can't promise if it will or will not cause indigestion, but I really don't think about health risks when it comes to reading fanfiction. I just hope my jumble of words make sense to you guys!

Enjoy!

See something evil in the chapter? Blame your little sister/brother. Mom and dad will understand...Or you could just let me know I made a boo-boo and I'll fix it. Maybe.

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