• Published 11th Nov 2015
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Long Live the Queen - QueenChrysalisForever

The current Queen Chrysalis has been wounded beyond the healing a good feeding provides. So she invites Discord over, to perform a spell he has been helping with for centuries. Will the new Queen be able to handle the pressure? Or will she fail?

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Loss and Anger

Changeling Castle- Library- Apatelodes

I startled awake to a hoof on my shoulder. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” a soft voice said, and I turned to see that unicorn mare friend of Shiny’s, Star Bright. She lowered her ears and blushed, nervously tapping her front hooves together. “The others were worried about you when you missed the meeting this morning. I was the first pony they saw and asked me to look for you.”

“Wait, what?” I asked, brain still feeling a little fuzzy. I blinked slowly a few times, then looked up to the windows on the far side of the library. The sky was a vivid cerulean, a few puffy clouds floating by. My lamp beside me was cold and long burnt out. “What time is it?”

“Nearly time for the midday meal, sir.”

I groaned, how had I let this happen? A History of the Crystal Empire lay open in front of me, thankfully drool-free. How late had I been up reading it, before falling asleep? Either way, I needed to get out there, who knew what they might have decided while I slept? I levitated the book up, wrapped it back in its cloth, and put it in my saddlebag.

Star Bright watched me for a moment before I turned to her. “Well? You found me, I’m awake now. So get back to work.”

“Of course sir just, have you heard anything from the Queen? Are they doing okay?”

I sighed and rubbed a hoof against my forehead. “No, she hasn’t contacted me. It’s only been two and a half days. Probably not even to Dodge Junction yet. I’m sure they are fine.”

“I hope so,” Star Bright said and sighed.

“Not falling for that purple headache are you?” I said and scowled.

“What? No, of course not! He’s just my friend,” she stammered, and I just narrowed my eyes at her. After years of practice and political meetings by my queen’s side, I could tell she was lying. Interesting, I wonder if he knew how she felt. Probably not, stallions were quite stupid when it came to noticing a mare’s feelings. Especially when he seemed crazy for Chrysalis already. How he thought that would work out, I had no idea.

“Well then, stop worrying and get back to work. Being so close to the midday meal they must need your help in the kitchens.”

“Yes sir,” she said and trotted away.

I rubbed the back of my neck with one hoof, wincing at the pain from having slept in an upright position. I needed to get through this book though if we were to know exactly what we were up against.

A few minutes later I walked into the throne room, where the others were already babbling away. Half-full bowls of fruit were scattered across the table. Morpheus narrowed his eyes at me as I took my place at the table. “Ah Apatelodes, nice of you to join us.”

I ignored him, drawing a bowl of pear slices closer to me and picking one out, popped it into my mouth. “So did you find anything else in that book?” Chioides asked, leaning forward.

Grabbing another slice of pear I nodded. “Of the two, the second is far more powerful.” I wiped my hooves off on a cloth napkin, and then levitated the book out of my saddlebag, turning to a page I had marked. “And with its secondary power, is what we must fear the most.”

“Well, spit it out then, what is this other power it contains?” Morpheus growled.

“It is as follows,” I said and began to read:

“It took him hardly any time at all to realize what it could do. By now he murdered a pony nearly every day in his ‘research’. I could barely stand watching, but I being his scribe, had no choice. One day when he had one of the last unicorns of the crystal empire on his examination table, as its lifeblood spilled a smoky colored plume of magic drifted from its body. The amulet glowed as the magic tried to float away, and with a hissing sound, was sucked into the amulet.

When Sombra noticed this, he tested his powers out, to find they had grown stronger by a margin. Oh, how I shuddered at the evil grin that graced his face at that realization! He repeated the experiment, with unicorn, pegasi, and even earth ponies, crystallized or not. Each time, the plume of magic was sucked into the amulet and increased his strength. He tried it with other creatures as well, griffons, buffalo, and even the rare changeling he was able to capture. The others didn’t give as much power as ponies, but their magical essences were still useful to him. I fear with this newfound power, he could become all-powerful.”

I paused in the reading, looking up to see the faces of the others around me. All had gone pale grey, a few even looked ready to faint.

“So you are saying, when this amulet is present at a death, that creature's essence enters it and makes the amulet even stronger?” Chioides said, biting his bottom lip.

“That is what it sounds like,” I said.

“Then we are in big trouble,” Morpheus said, for once with fear showing on his face. “Our informants alerted us that last night, the town of Hoofville was pretty much burned to the ground.”

“What?” I yelled, my own eyes growing wide now. If they had kept up an even pace, my Queen and Shiny were probably around there, or not far from it.

“If you had been here for the morning meeting, you would have known already,” Morpheus growled. “The only ponies that got away were the town’s pegasi and some of the unicorns. Maybe a small handful of earth ponies. Our informants told us the arsons were some strange shadows with pony forms.”

“That sounds like-“

“Yes, what the old tales call the Umbrum,” Morpheus confirmed.

“Then the chaos has begun. That pony is making true to their word.” I shut the book and placed it on the table. “And with it, getting stronger every time they or their minions kill.” I reached into my saddlebag and drew out a large green emerald. “Changelings, continue. I’ll be right back. The queen must hear of this.”

Racing out into the hall, I slammed the door behind me, taking deep breaths as I leaned against it for support. I touched the emerald to my horn, and it started to glow. “Contact, Queen Chrysalis,” I said into the emerald. Oh, how I thanked the changeling or pony that had come up with this spell, made it so much easier to contact others out in the field. Though it was only given to the higher ranking scouts and royals usually. I tapped my hoof as I waited for it to connect to the emerald in Chrysalis’s saddlebag.

“Ugh, it shouldn’t be taking this long,” I said as the minutes passed. I jumped as a sound like a dozen buzzing bees came from the emerald. “Oh colt,” I groaned. That was not good. Something must have happened to her emerald. Was she okay? Was she even still alive? “Things just got a whole lot worse,” I said, and collapsed to the cool floor. What was I to do now?

Hoofville-Queen Chrysalis

Crows scattered into the air as I entered the village. Cats scampered into the ruins of buildings around me, eyes shining as they stared at me from their hideouts. Smoke still crept upward from many of the buildings, but the fires had all burned out from what I could see. It was a good thing I hadn’t brought any of the foals with me, they would be scarred for life.

Pony bodies lay scattered among the debris, many half-buried in collapsed buildings. Bodies covered in soot and dirt, their bright colors were faded, and I had to step carefully to avoid placing a hoof on one. Some had their necks at unnatural angles, likely broken from when the Umbrum wrapped themselves around them. Others burned, a few even almost beyond recognition. Yet others were only partially there, scavengers having already arrived and started their work.

The few buildings that still stood looked about ready to collapse at any moment, their remaining walls creaking in the wind. I trotted forward when I spotted a familiar-looking pink mane and tail. Pushing aside some rubble with my magic, my heart sank at the sight before me. Her colors were muted with the soot and dirt, but her pale purple crystal rose cutie mark still stood out. “Oh Amethyst,” I sighed, lowering my head and closing my eyes. Along with the soot and dust were deep bite marks across her face and body. “At least you went out fighting,” I whispered, and moved the rubble back over her. I wanted to protect it from the scavengers for as long as possible.

“I kind of liked her,” Chrys said then snorted. “What am I saying? Me, liking ponies? Maybe you are rubbing off on me too,” she groaned, making me grin for a moment.

“Well if I am, then it is for the better.”

“That could be argued.”

“At least the foals seem to like us?”

“True, and that’s new.”

We soon came to the inn, its upper floors had collapsed backward into the buildings behind it, leaving the first floor mostly standing, the front door kicked in and broken. I stepped inside and immediately began coughing over the strong acrid stench of smoke. The door to our room was cracked open, and stepping inside I saw our bags against the wall. Or what was left of them. The strong material used to make them had held up somewhat well, but a single touch of my hoof poofed the upper layer into soot. The straps were completely gone, leaving just melted hunks of metal where they had held them against our barrels.

I sorted through the bags, trying to see if there was anything that could be salvaged, but it was all damaged. I pulled out my casting emerald, which was used to contact others while out in the field, only to find a large crack down its center. Looking through Shiny’s bag I pulled out his penny whistle, now just a melted hunk of tin. “We should move on, nothing of ours survived,” Chrys said. I could feel her mind swirling within, shocked as I was by the damage.

We stepped back outside. I still held my emerald and Shiny’s whistle and wrapped them in a tablecloth that had mostly escaped damage, with just a few scorch marks here and there. I stopped in front of a burned-down building with a large sign, broken in half, saying “Grocer-”. “Well, so much for finding food,” I sighed and turned to look for the hospital.

I did my best to ignore the dead scattered on the ground around me, not wanting to spot somepony I might have met last night. But when I stumbled over one as I came to the far side of town, opposite where the fire had started, I couldn’t help looking at them. It was a dusty peach-colored earth pony mare, cutie mark a peach cut in half, exposing the pit inside. I closed my eyes and hurried past, not wanting to see any more.

Beside a shattered store mirror, I heard little squeaks, and rats paused to look at me, beady eyes gleaming and mouths already red with blood. They raced off as I paused to look in the mirror, to see even in this short time of walking through, my pink coat had turned almost grey, my eyes were bloodshot and tired looking, and my mane was sticking up in clumps of soot.

Across the way, near the end of the block, I finally found the hospital. Much of it had fallen inward, but the front of it was still intact. I stepped inside, jumping back as I nearly stepped on a unicorn stallion in a doctor’s coat. Dead as all the others but with a key in his hoof, pointing at a strong metal case, a small keyhole in the center. I grabbed the key and inserted it into the keyhole, surprised when it clicked open easily.

I breathed a sigh of relief at what I found inside: thick bandage wraps, medical scissors, bandages, and a sharp scalpel. Fire Stick could sure use a lot of this, and it would be that much better than the dirt and vines for keeping his wounds from getting infected. I grabbed as many wraps and bandages as I could fit in the tablecloth, adding the scissors and scalpel as well.

“Well, we didn’t find food, but we found some useful things,” I said as I walked toward the door, “now to get back to the others.”

Cave near Hoofville- Shiny Whistle

When I opened my eyes, I looked around me. Light filtered through into the cave, with Fire Stick resting near the entrance. Lucky Shot sat near the middle, one eye on the entrance and one eye on the foals gathered in the back of the cave. I sat up quickly, regretting it as I became dizzy. Where was Chryssy?

“Where is she?” I asked, letting out a yawn as I lifted myself to my hooves.

“Went to the village to find food,” Lucky said, “been gone a while, so I imagine she’ll be back soon.”

“You sent her off alone?”

“Someone had to watch over the foals, and neither you nor Fire were in any condition to do so.” Lucky shrugged. “How are you feeling?”

“A little groggy, and hungry, but otherwise okay.” I looked up upon hearing a tired sigh, a dusty pink mare pulled aside the ivy vines and entered the cave, dragging a scorched white-and-red checkered tablecloth with them. Its edges were tied together and stuffed full.

“Finally back,” she sighed and plopped the tablecloth on the ground to one side of the entrance. “We’ll want to go around the town when we leave.”

“Chryssy?” I said, trotting closer. Yes, it had to be her, there was no way my sister would be all the way out here on her own.

“Of course,” she said and gave me a half-hearted grin. Her coat was filthy, covered in soot and dirt. Mane clumped up with the stuff too, and eyes red around the edges. “The town is in ruins. Nopony that I could see was still alive.” She turned to Fire Stick, who had awoken upon her arrival. “I did find some medical supplies. When we find a clean stream we can wash out your wounds and redress them.”

Fire nodded. “Thanks for thinking of me.”

“How about food?” Lucky asked, trotting over to the tablecloth and untying it with his magic.

“No, and even if I had I doubt it would have been edible. The entire market district was destroyed.” Chryssy levitated something out of the tablecloth and hovered it over to me. “Thought you might want this, even if it was destroyed.”

My ears went down slightly at the sight of what was left of my penny whistle. I could still make out where one or two of the holes had been, but other than that it was indistinguishable. “Thanks,” I said and took it from her, lying down on the ground and looking at it in front of me. “You know, this is the same whistle my father gave me, over twenty years ago now. It was for Hearth’s Warming Eve the year I turned ten. It’s had repairs done since then, like when my brother Velvet Beat accidentally sat on it and broke it in half. That I was able to fix, but this,” I sighed and closed my eyes. “This time repairing it is beyond even my ability.”

“That’s too bad Shiny,” Fire said, his ears going down as well.

“Can you get another one?” One of the foals, the dark purple pegasus asked.

“Yes, I even make them so it wouldn’t be hard to get a new one,” I said and smiled down at her. “But it won’t be the same.” I looked back up at Chryssy. “But thank you still. Having it in this condition is better than not having it at all.”

“You are welcome,” she said and walked back over to the tablecloth.

“We should get going,” Lucky said, watching as she did so. “We are all hungry, and if we have to go around the town, it will take that much longer to find any food. Thank Celestia there is a peach orchard a few miles down the road.”

“And you couldn’t have mentioned that before?” Chryssy growled softly at him. “It could have saved us time!”

“I didn’t think of it,” he said, “plus we needed to check if the hospital was in working order anyway.” Chryssy just glared at him, tying up the tablecloth again and pitching it his way.

“Fine, for not thinking of it, you will carry the medical supplies to this orchard.” She stomped out of the cave, ears pulled back against her head.

“You might want to try being nicer Lucky,” Fire said, grimacing as he stood up. “You don’t want to give her an excuse to kill you in your sleep.”

Lucky just grinned, levitating the bag onto his back. “She wouldn’t dare.” He followed Chryssy out of the cave, followed by Fire who limped along behind him.

“Come on kids,” I said, nudging the four foals along with my muzzle. “The quicker we get out of here, the quicker we can eat.”

“I wonder if our mother is waiting for us in the orchard.” The little earth pony mare said. I stayed silent, not wanting to give them false hope. Who knows what Chryssy had seen in the town? All I knew is it was bad enough she wanted to avoid going through it again.

As we trotted along, the town, or what was left of it, was visible on the horizon. I ushered the foals to my far side, not wanting them to see the destruction. From what I could tell, very little survived. A shell of the peaceful town it had been less than a day before. I did my best to ignore the smell the wind blew our way, and Chryssy made it slightly easier by setting a fast pace. Fire Stick grunted beside me, doing his best to keep up even with his injured flank. He wouldn’t be able to keep up this pace for long, and neither would the foals most likely.

Lucky Shot trotted behind Chryssy, even with the weight of the supplies around him he was taking it well. He kept his gaze on her, only making a slight grunt and pointing when we reached the end of the town down a pathway lined with oak trees. She adjusted her pace to head into the trees. Just as we entered the cover and shade of them she put a hoof out to stop Lucky. “Halt! Keep the foals here for a few minutes, I’ll be right back.”

I didn’t need to ask why. The smell of fresh blood assaulted my nostrils, the foals shivering as they moved behind me. Peach Pie grabbing onto one of my back legs with both her front hooves. “You’ll be okay, Shiny and I won’t let anything happen to you,” Fire said, collapsing down in a grassy spot near the side of the path, breathing heavily. The swift pace had opened the scabs that had started to form on his flank, and he was starting to bleed again. Just a small trickle, but even that was enough.

“How… how can you protect us when you are hurt?” Peach Pie said, biting her bottom lip and holding on all the tighter. The others nodded, staring over at me with big, wide eyes.

“We’ll do our best,” I said and nuzzled them each on their heads.

“I’ll protect you too of course,” Lucky said, setting the makeshift bag down and grinned. “Nothing will get past the three of us, even with Fire injured.”

“It’s clear, let’s continue,” Chryssy said, returning.

“Can we rest just a bit longer?” Fire said, grimacing as he tried to stand. “I’ve started bleeding again.”

“Very well,” she sighed, “but we must not wait too long. Those things might return with the cover of darkness.”

“We have plenty of time,” Lucky said waving a forehoof at her. “The sun won’t set for hours still, plenty of time to make it to the orchard.”

“But is it enough time to find clean water and a safe place to rest as well?” Chryssy growled, glaring at him.

“Of course! We don’t need to get all the way to Dodge Junction tonight. Doubt we could anyway with the condition Fire is in. We’ll stay in the home of the Peaches,” Lucky said, snorting and blinking his eyes slowly.

“If it’s still standing,” Chrysalis said and rolled her eyes.

“Well if you are so worried oh great queen,” Lucky said, rolling his eyes, “why don’t you fly ahead while we rest and check?”

“I’ll come with you!” Midnight yelled, jumping to her hooves and spreading her wings.

“Oh no, you will not!” Lucky said stomping a hoof and narrowing his eyes at the little filly. “None of you foals are to be alone with her.” He scrunched his muzzle and looked back at Chryssy, whose ears had lowered, and was baring her teeth at him. I grinned slightly at the sight, wondering how she would feel if I told her my sister looked exactly the same when she was growing angry. It was quite cute.

“HOW many times must I tell you?” Chryssy yelled, stomping a hoof into the ground, nostrils flaring as she breathed heavily. “I. Will. Not. Harm. Them!”

“You have not proved that to me yet,” Lucky said, frowning. “Nor have you proved you are not really in cohorts with those monsters.”

“Lucky,” Fire Stick said, his ears going down, “what are you doing?”

“Stay out of this!” Lucky growled, and Fire lowered his head, looking over at me. What did he want me to do?

“How dare you compare me to those Umbrum? They kill, they mutilate, they burn cities to the ground.” Chryssy hissed, her eyes flaring green for a moment.

“Oh, and your changelings don’t?” Lucky said, glaring at her. “I seem to remember hearing about some of your other exploitations before Canterlot. Remember Timbucktu? Or Trot?”

“Both of those were over a thousand years ago, we’ve changed.”

“Heh likely story. What about that village of those poor wittle fluffy critters you landed in after being blasted away from Canterlot?” Lucky snorted.

I looked at him in surprise. Where had he gotten all this information? He sure didn’t seem like the reading type, nor did I think he had been in the changeling kingdom recently. After all, even I hadn’t heard about the village of those critters until I had been in the castle for about a week.

“That’s it, that is it!” Chryssy yelled and lit up her horn to its regular lime green hue. “I’ve had enough of your insolence!”

“You do anything to me and you’ll just be proving my point,” Lucky said with a grin. Even Midnight Orchid hid behind me now, all four foals shivering once again. I had to do something, but what? How could I calm her down? Along with her horn, her eyes now glowed lime green as well. She might be disguised in my sister’s form, but certainly wasn’t acting like her.

That’s when an idea came to me, a crazy idea. Deadly? Maybe. But it would have to do. As she lit up her horn even brighter, the smile faltered on Lucky’s face and he lowered his ears. Of course now would be the time he realized he went too far, as he backed up a few steps from her. “Hurry over by Fire,” I whispered to the foals and they nodded, sprinting over to stand behind him and hunkered down. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, then opened them again as I looked over at Chryssy and Lucky, then cantered forward toward her, and pressed my muzzle against hers in a kiss.

Edge of Woods-Queen Chrysalis

If I could have, I swear steam would have blasted out of my ears at Lucky’s words. I might not have been there to experience the things he blamed me for, nor Chrys for the older ones, but oh how our blood boiled at the accusations.

“That’s it! He dies, I don’t care if it makes us look bad!” Chrys growled, and I couldn’t blame her thoughts. We all would have died after all, if not for what happened in the village of those critters. Of course, that didn’t excuse what had happened. We didn’t have to drain all of them like eventually happened, at least according to the stories Chrys had told me, but that didn’t give him the right to berate us!

The anger flowing from Chrys filled my veins, and I could feel my eyes begin to glow. I breathed heavily through my nostrils, ears splayed flat against my skull. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control the anger this time though.

“That’s it, that is it,” I yelled, pouring more power into my horn. I couldn’t ignore Chrys’s ire at him anymore. Just as I was about to shoot a bolt of magic at him, I felt another muzzle placed against mine and gave a little jolt, the anger flowing from me as I blinked and looked down to find Shiny kissing me! That one stray hair hanging over his closed right eye like usual.

When he pulled away I just stood there frozen, mouth parted slightly and eyes open wide. Even Chrys was silent.

“I think you broke her Shiny,” Fire Stick said and chuckled. “At least we know what to do if she gets angry again.”

“Until she gets used to it,” Lucky grumbled but stayed far back from me now.

I shook my head, blinking, and closed my mouth. “What… what?”

“I’m sorry, it was the first thing I could think of to stop you from attacking Lucky,” Shiny said and blushed.

“Hmm well at least we know he is a good kisser now,” Chrys said, chuckling. “And I guess I did overreact a little. He was right after all. Though my… predecessor was crueler than I. Trot was the last major town she tried to take over before Princess Celestia imprisoned her in a volcano for I think it was two hundred years? It wasn’t long after that before I came into the picture, and I had settled for small towns until the opportunity to take Canterlot came around.” She sighed, and I turned to look at Shiny.

“Have no fear Shiny, it was needed. Thank you.” I lifted my ears and grinned at him. I looked over at the foals cowering behind Fire Stick and lowered my ears again. Getting angry like that wasn’t doing my reputation good in their eyes. “You ready to move on Fire?”

Fire nodded, standing up and grimacing a little. “The bleeding stopped again, I should be fine for a little while at least. But may we go a little slower, please?”

I sighed but nodded. “Very well. If we do end up needing to rest outdoors, hopefully, there will be enough of us to deter any predators.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Shiny said. “After all, I doubt any of them could be scared of you, especially if they just saw what happened.” He punched my side lightly with his hoof, and I just widened my eyes in surprise. Was he already joking about me trying to kill his friend?

“Ponies, I’ll never fully understand them,” Chrys sighed. “One minute they are totally serious, the next moment joking. Perhaps it is just their way of coping? Either way, perhaps his making light of it is just his way of trying to keep us in a good mood.” And we sure did need that.

I turned to look at Lucky Shot, who lowered his ears slightly, backing up a step. Well, at least it seemed like he wouldn’t be making any more problems for us. At least not for today. I sighed. This was going to be a much longer trip than I had planned.

Author's Note:

Wooo and another chapter! And our duo's first kiss. *grins* And with this chapter, I am going to have to add the gore tag now. Hopefully that doesn't deter any of you from continuing! Though it shouldn't end up being bad enough to gain a Mature tag as well. I'm judging this by my friend on here Meep the Changeling. The mods have said theirs barely sneaks under the teen rating, so my 'rule' for myself is as long as mine is not as bloody as theirs, I can get away with a Teen tag still. ;P
Anyway like usual, this little changeling would love comments/critiques and to just hear what you think in general.
And one more thing, with this chapter, I have finally broken the 50k words mark! Sure it is like almost 6 months late to count for NaNoWriMo, where this story began for, but I finally hit it so *cheers*. Thanks to those who have stuck with me with all my insane ideas. It is thanks to all you out there, ponies and 'lings, that I keep writing.
Small Edits done 7/6/21