• Published 19th Sep 2015
  • 5,775 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 IX

When what was left of my hivemates were herded towards our destination, we came into contact with many, many other types of changelings. We realized there was more to our kind than simply the haves and have nots. The diversity of the changeling race was and is astounding, leaving little doubt why our side of the world is dominated by our kind. We wept in silence as we left the deaths of our families in our wakes.

Princess Taalia took special interest in me. I was made to sleep with her at night. She treated my like her own, trying to coax me out of the trauma of my mother’s death. A far cry from the gentleness of Mother, Taalia showed she had little patience and a quick temper. Her idea of coaxing me was a quick zap of her magic or a swat of the hoof upon me.

“I am your mother. I am your father. I am your world. Accept it or die, little one,” were her words. Inevitably, I chose to live.

Taalia was a monster. She was cruel. She had her Ravagers, nourishing them with hate. That hate made me shake beneath my chitin. To the other changeling types we came across in our travels to her mother’s hive, she looked down upon them with disdain. She hated all other changelings, I learned. She hated my kind. We were not complete predators, she believed. Then why did she take me under her wing? Why did she want me? I asked her.

I was beaten for asking questions.

I was to be taken before the pinnacle of changeling power and presented as a prize before the two most powerful queens in all the world. They were spoken of in reverence and awe. For as the ponies had their princesses, changelings had the Twin Queens.

They might be as old or older than Celestia or Luna. I do not know. Back then, when Mother used to speak of them, she would offer an apology in the form of a quiet prayer as though to stave off their ire. Tappis and Tappaz were not queens to be trifled with, even with the simple utterances of their names. Even Taalia, in her fervent disregard for other changelings, held a spark of fear whenever they were mentioned.

Eventually, the remnants of my hive were dispersed and traded off to other hives with stronger queens. I saw none of them ever again. As I mentioned, there were other changelings out there, other types. I was categorized as a ‘medium type’ changeling. Taalia was eager to begin my instruction as to her deconstruction of the changeling sub races. All were inferior to her, save those who were purely predatory by nature. Even then were viewed with skepticism, derided through the belief tiger changelings were the apex changelings of the race.

Taalia was a tiger changeling. Her stripes matched those of the great cats of distant jungle lands. The open Savannah suited her fine. She preferred jungles.The tall grasses hid her Ravagers well, but on the same token, she preferred being under a vast canopy of leaves, the shadows, and the darkness of the forest floor. Open skies made the princess nervous. I caught her glancing up into the sky more often as we traveled.

Tiger changelings are one of the few changeling sub races who do not have large hives or colonies. They move around in small family groups or, as in Taalia’s case, alone with her pack of savage semi-intelligent monsters who did her bidding. Other changeling queens came, or representatives of queens, and bought my hive out one nymph at a time or in bunches.

I saw my first lion changeling. It was a male. He was huge. Taalia was wary of him. Lion changelings were notoriously territorial and the only ones where the males could stand on par with a female in terms of size and strength. The lion changeling preferred claws and carried massive jaws filled with sharp teeth. Their wings were like those of a dragon’s and their massive horns were built for impaling. The edges of their chitin were razor sharp when they chose them to be. Their tails ended in jagged whips. The muscles in those tails could generate enough force to slice a hapless victim in half.

How do I know this, my dear, sweet Atalanta?

A young princess, perhaps on her first journey from her hive, got into an argument with this leonine male over who was going to purchase a group of nymphs. The short tempered monster decided he had enough of her shrill voice, spun around on his hind legs and brought his tail to bear. The princess became two halves of one princess, living long enough to see her bottom half was no longer a part of her. She screamed...or tried to...before first shock, then death overcame her.

The lion offered her remains to the tigress. They feasted together while I and the other slaves looked on in horror. As they ate, Taalia looked at me and grinned a bloody smile at me. Gobbets of flesh hung from her mouth and fangs. She offered me some. I vomited. She laughed at me and resumed her feast.

Then, the lion and the tiger mated before the eyes of any who happened to glance. They struck a bargain. He got the remaining nymphs of my hive. We went our separate ways. Taalia gathered me up and commanded her Ravagers to follow. We went north.

My world was utterly shattered. What kindness I once experienced was in the past. Tears meant nothing and brought only pain. I was not to feel sorrow or pity. I was only to become mighty and powerful; a weapon of stealth and treachery. Taalia repeated this mantra over and over. Her cruel tutelage included depriving me of sleep, giving me little food and water. She wanted to see what I was made of, to see if my survival instincts were of any use to her. My fortitude mattered. My mind mattered. My potential mattered.

“I will one day be hunted and killed. I need to prepare you to take my place one day,” she once told me under a starry night. “I have no delusions I will live as long as the Twin Queens. Nor do I harbor thoughts of exceeding their power. But I will leave my mark upon this world, Chrysalis. My mark will be through how you are molded, how I will create you into my deadly image. You will, in turn, pass this to your daughters and they in turn upon their daughters. Thus will I live forever.”

Before she could do any of these things, there was one place we had to go. Princess Taalia had to present me before the Twin Topaz Queens. I was to be recognized as the daughter to the Tigress. My past would be expunged from my memory and I would know nothing of my old life as though it had never been.

The prospect terrified me.

The Queen looked up from her work and over the sparse stationary not cluttering her desk. She liked having a cluttered desk. It meant things were being done. It gave her a sense accomplishments were in the works. Irked and irritated, she sighed before sipping a cup of cold coffee. It had been hours since the dream had her waking up, breathing heavily with her heart pounding painfully in her chest. Most of it had faded, but the Queen looked in on Atalanta just to be sure.

Even though she was satisfied her daughter could not possibly have the capacity to speak, her mind still raged with old fears and new ones. Why was Luna observing? That much was made clear. Chrysalis wondered if there was a way to block the alicorn from invading her dreams, even if the Princess of Dreams could do little more than play a bit part in them. What was Luna doing, anyway? The Queen lifted her tired eyes towards the door and snorted derisively.

“I do believe I will fire my counsel,” she muttered as the quill was set aside. The candle flickered, having never burnt out since it was given to her. Of course it would have a magic enchantment. Chrysalis imagined Celestia no doubt used the single flame to look in on her, to see what the pesky little queen was doing!

No matter. Very little Chrysalis did went unobserved. She was confident she could make out the runes and wards throughout the walls of her accommodations, despite the restraining ring on her horn. She gently blew on the paper of the last page she had written. The stack of writing was growing. Many hours had been poured into them since she decided to write for her daughter everything she could remember about her life. So much of it was a blur.

Taalia could not have followed her halfway around the world. It would have taken her too far from her mother as well as support. Taalia was a huntress, a tracker. She was not an explorer. She was territorial. Had she angered the tigress so much as to provoke her into following? If so, how did she know Chrysalis was on the other side of the world?

Such questions already had answers. Ravagers had been spotted. Everything had been rushed. Whispers of a threat wormed their way into Canterlot’s military circles and eventually to the ears of Princess Celestia. It was kept vague; a threat aimed at Equestria’s capital. Chrysalis tried to keep it vague. Revelation of Taalia and her Ravagers would have led to panic, disrupting the Queen’s plans and forcing her to ground again. Point the Equestrian military in the direction she thought Taalia might come. Perhaps hope she would give pause before entering Equestrian territory.

Ravagers unleashed in Canterlot?

Even Chrysalis would not wish such a fate on the ponies. Chrysalis knew the embodiment of horror. She knew it far too well. She would be damned before letting that horror come across her changelings and especially her daughter! Even the Equestrians deserved to know what Taalia was capable of. The tiger changeling was remorseless, ruthless, and fed on fear as easily as if it were love.

And fear was a path to hate. Hate made monsters.

Like Ravagers.

So close! She had come so close! Had Canterlot fallen, then Chrysalis would have had a base of power from which to consolidate and turn the tables on the huntress and her menagerie of horrors. There would have been enough empowered love in her soldiers to finally turn on the Tiger Queen. But, everything had gone horribly wrong and the might of her military had been shredded to almost nothing. All that was left of her soldiers were guarding the rest of the hive.

Sorrow and bitterness filled her heart. Such a waste! Such loss! The cusp of victory was there, in her hooves! Everything had gone right! Better than she could have dared hope! It was as though a horribly written story had unfolded before her eyes, when that pink bubble of doom cast her and her army out. Someone beyond the cosmos and in the realm of the Gods had deemed her struggle worthy of a vast, soul-shattering joke in the form of taking everything from her in the form of one Twilight Sparkle.

Oh, my, the bitterness was still there. No hate, Chrysalis surprised herself as she looked inwards reflectively. The circumstances were too ridiculous to believe anything other than Divine Intervention had played some hoof in guiding the unicorn, the Queen was certain. Something odd about that mare struck Chrysalis with the belief great things would follow her. Perhaps it was destiny? Something preordained? Though Chrysalis never considered herself a mare of superstition, she was aware there were forces at play far greater than anything she could even dream of.

Atalanta squirmed against her side, breaking her mother’s thinking. With a smile, she craned her neck and bent down, giving a gentle nudge to the little sleeping form. A tongue flicked out and kissed a chubby cheek. Already the legs were getting too long for their chitin. Atalanta was growing more and more uncomfortable every day as she was outgrowing her skin. Already she was nearly twice the size she had been when she first hatched. Her white skin was going gray. The tips of her hooves were charcoal black. Wing buds were starting to show. Hints of a mane and a suggestion of a tail were becoming apparent. The Queen heaved a great sigh, rolling the hatchling in the process. The chubby hatchling, fat from her mother’s love, rolled away in the inhale, then rolled back to its original position on the exhale. Her own body was adapting to meet the needs of her child. Chrysalis was growing teats.

Chrysalis giggled. “I love you,” she told Atalanta.

Atalanta kept right on sleeping, kicking one little leg reflexively in the air.

“I miss my changelings,” she went on with a sad sigh. “I hope the nymphs are safe. There are so many orphans now. I made a mistake and I am paying for it. They are paying for it.” Chrysalis kept her voice low, as if only her daughter could hear here. It would not do to speak so loudly with walls that had ears. “I did the right thing. I know I did the right thing. I just wish—”

The Queen interrupted herself with sudden anger at herself for her self pity. She snorted, tossing her mane and snapping at the air with her jaws. Atalanta squirmed, sensing her mother’s ire and frustration. She opened her eyes. They were already clouding over as her own moulting drew nearer. And uncomfortable grunt confirmed what was obvious.

“Soon, my dear. Soon the confinement will end and you’ll have a new shell to grow into,” she cooed. “Then your learning will begin. Your mind will be able to think beyond simple instinctive needs. You will take your first steps. You will say your first words. You will begin to look like your mother.” Chrysalis held up a holed foreleg and frowned sadly. “I had hoped, no, still hope to end the Curse.” The impossible dream.

There was a knock at the door.

The Queen huffed, rising to her hooves carefully while keeping her daughter as undisturbed as possible. A squeak of protest came anyways as the hatchling’s source of heat was leaving her with nothing more than thick, soft blankets to nestle in. Life was simply not fair.

It was probably the morning cleaning maids, along with her breakfast. Chrysalis supposed it was close enough for the night to give way to the day. She needed sleep. The nightmare was not cooperating with her. Stupid dreams. Stupid ponies. Stupid princesses of dreams. It was aggravating. Chrysalis thought these things as she moved into the circle and waited, tapping an impatient back hoof as she stood.

As per usual, the door opened and in was pushed a cart and the three maids who always came in to clean. There was also Nightstorm, always the first guard she would greet every morning. Chrysalis knew they would not approach Atalanta. There was an unspoken agreement the hatchling was not to be approached. If the bed needed to be made or the sheets changed, the Queen was politely asked to take up her daughter. If there was any moment where Chrysalis cooperated, it was when the maids cleaned her room.

She hated a pigsty.

“Good morning, Queen Chrysalis,” greeted the lunar pegasus politely. What else were they called? Thestrals! Chrysalis gave him a curt but polite nod in return. “Princess Luna will be arriving shortly and asks respectfully if you would agree to having breakfast with her.”

“Very well. I will agree. When is my hearing?”

“The schedule has you meeting the princesses at noon today, your Majesty.”

The maids went about their business, having learned long ago to not look the Queen in the eye. Something about her harlequin eyes made them shudder. Chrysalis remembered fondly the first maid weeks ago who had locked eyes and was last seen screaming bloody terror down the hallways. It was priceless. The howling laughter of the changeling haunted the hallways. Chrysalis wondered if she helped give some ponies nightmares. Part of her wondered if her current nightmares were a sort of payback.

The Queen was a bitch and loved being one.

She was also quite intelligent. Sensible, not so much. However, as the weeks had passed on, Chrysalis was already aware she was running out of time. Her changelings were running out of time. Pride was proving to be working against her. It seared her soul to know her hive was in danger. It had to end. Battling her instincts along with common sense was far more difficult to come to grips with than the Queen would have liked to admit. Sensibility was beginning to worm its way into her mind. Chrysalis was beginning to think she had been acting the fool.

“Very well. When should I be ready to meet Princess Luna? There are some things I wish to go over with her.”

Nightstorm tilted his head to one side. “I can let you know when she arrives. It should not be too long. Within the hour.”

“Very good. Ladies,” Chrysalis flicked her tail. “I am low on stationary for my desk. Ink. Spare quills. Paper. Coffee. Everything else. Check and fill, if you would be so kind.” Her smile was genuine. The common ponies were simply doing their duties and these mares seemed to take their job seriously, if their attentiveness to her words were any indication. She ignored the sound of knocking knees. Fear happened when it came to ponies interacting with changeling war criminals who also happened to be powerful royalty.

“O-o-of course, Queen Chrysalis,” stammered one of the mares through a nervous smile reeking of fear. She was a brave one! “May I change the sheets and make the bed?” A hard swallow followed.

“Nightstorm?” Chrysalis quirked an eyebrow at the guard.

He flicked an ear towards the door. It had already closed, but there was a small portal where another guard was peering in. There was a nod between the two. The runes around Chrysalis’ hooves faded and she went to scoop up Atalanta. Then, she went back to her circle, offering a patient faux smile. Patience… always the patience. Her eyes did not betray the annoyance. Atalanta squirmed, pressing herself against her mother’s warm belly as she was placed between the Queen’s legs.

The mares spoke quietly amongst themselves, working and cleaning. Chrysalis ignored them, instead staring at the massive lunar pegasus. She admired his professionalism. Closing her eyes, she concentrated, looking as though she were lost in thought.

When she next opened her eyes, she could see herself from a much different point of view. Inwardly, she smiled.


Author's Note:

Pre read by Magic Man and DJ_Neon_Lights.
Catering by Pinkie Pie.
Music by Two Steps from Hell.
Still waiting on Twilight to give me a library number for the book.

No pigeons were harmed in the writing of this chapter. A little more world building, a little more remembrance from everyone's favorite changeling!

Spot a typo, be a pigeon and poop on it.