• Published 4th Jan 2016
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Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead - Rune Soldier Dan

The faculty of Canterlot High battles otherworldly horrors with style

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I Lied.

Sunset thrashed uselessly. Her wrists were cuffed behind her chair, and her ankles were tied to its legs. Her logical mind knew the struggle was pointless, but Sunset wasn’t feeling very logical. She wasn’t even afraid. All her emotional energy was consumed with fury for the sneering, backstabbing bitch who loomed above.

“You’ll never get away with this!”

“I already have.” Chrysalis idly tossed the handcuff key to one of the equine changelings camped around the shadowy basement. “But go on. Your impotent defiance is as amusing as your gullibility.”

“Celestia knows where I went! The rest of the hunters will find me, you’ll see!”

She winced as a black finger flicked, slapping her nose. “Right, because it’s not like I have an army of infiltrators at my beck and call.”

Sunset grinned back savagely. “You’re not as smart as you think you are.”

“Right back at’cha, twerp.” Smirking, Chrysalis moved her hand up and began flicking Sunset’s right ear. “‘Sunflash.’ Cute, but a thumbprint-secured phone isn’t much good against changelings.”

Sunset leaned away from the aggravating hand as best as she could, growling. Chrysalis’ smile grew as the move took Sunset’s head next to the other hand, which flicked her left ear. Sunset recoiled, and Chrysalis laughed. “That’s why I chose you, of course. The idealistic rookie who thinks a little suspicion makes her clever. The weakest link in a chain that’s about to be broken.”

“We’re not brok-AH!” Sunset rocked her head back in the other direction, but the first hand gripped her ear and gave a sharp twist. “Seriously, whatever happened to ‘zombies are bad for business?’”

“I lied.” Chrysalis shrugged, slapping two fingers up below Sunset’s nose, chuckling as she squirmed. “I said what it took to get you in the car. The rest was easy.”

Sunset growled and snapped as the assault on her ears resumed, finally shrieking in frustration. “Okay, you’re winning! You don’t have to be such a bitch about it.”

“Oh, I can’t help myself.” Chrysalis giggled, giving a quick pull at Sunset’s hair. “A bad habit, really, but I’ve always played with my food. And you’re the first pony I’ve had to play with in a long time, so…”

She laughed out loud at Sunset’s surprised look. “Oh yes, one of my changelings made herself at home in Canterlot High. She told me all about the awful, yellow bully who ended up being from another world. MY world.”

Fangs flashed, and her face warped for a second to that of a grinning equine bug. Sunset recoiled, and Chrysalis changed back. “I’ll be mayor soon, you know. It’ll be a cakewalk with RichCorp’s endorsement. And then governor, and then… well, you know. And then I’ll show Equestria the power this world holds. We’ll see how that pink little prissbucket’s ‘love magic’ stands up to tanks and missiles. We’ll see how much of Twilight Sparkle’s precious ‘friendship’ is left after I napalm Ponyville. And when the human dupes have reduced Equestria to a smoldering ruin, my changelings and I will take over and glut ourselves on its love!”

"Your plan needs work,” Sunset deadpanned. Then she blinked, looking away. “Huh, I’m not even really surprised…”

A second blink as realization dawned. “Crap, that means I’m getting used to this.”

“At least she makes more sense than Principal Cinch.”

The gruff whisper drew her eyes to Chrysalis’ other captives. The speaker, Iron Will, had chains instead of handcuffs wrapped around his wrists and legs.

Another Chrysalis sat tied to her own chair, looking with undisguised revulsion at one of the changelings.

“I still can’t believe people think she’s me,” she growled quietly as her other self continued monologuing.

“You seem pretty chill about this,” Sunset whispered.

The human Chrysalis shrugged. “At first, it was horrifying. Pony-shaped bugs? Face-snatchers? With me as their target, of course. But it became this bitch’s nightly tradition to yak my ear off about her evil plans, her coming triumphant return to Equestria, how all this will finally make Princess Celestia realize how cool and sexy she is, her corruption of the Rich family…”

“Wait, what?”

“It’s not so impressive.” Human-Chrysalis gestured with her head to their fourth – a gagged, furious-looking Spoiled Rich. “She just took her face and talked Filthy Rich into supporting the other me’s run for office. Nothing brilliant.”

Sunset shook her head. “No, the other thing! With Princess C–”

She froze as a hand shoved her chest, sending her chair rocking onto its hind legs. A precarious weightlessness struck her, ending with pain as the chair continued its journey downwards. A quick twist saved her head from the concrete floor, though nothing could save her bound hands. They mashed painfully to the ground as Sunset completed her descent with a shocked cry.

“It’s not nice to interrupt,” the standing Chrysalis said smugly.

“HEY!” Iron Will screamed, from calm to furious in an instant. “You push her down, I MAKE YOU FROWN… uh-oh.”

He had jerked forward with the words, unbalancing his own chair and sending him into an embarrassing face-plant on the ground.

Queen Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “In hindsight, I probably could have left you hunters alone. But no sense leaving a job half-done.”

A final smirk as she turned away. “I’m heading out. Feel free to escape – this factory is nest to a hundred changelings, and love isn’t the only thing they’ll eat.”

“Luna, come look at these texts.”

“Can it wait?” Luna called out over her game. “I’m in the middle of something.”

“No, it can’t,” Celestia replied tensely. A moment passed, and she called again. “Luna!”

“I’ll be there in a sec.” Luna’s voice mingled with an on-screen explosion.

While normally accepting of her sister’s quirks, Celestia gave a frustrated sigh and shouted. “Now, Luna!”

She groaned in time with the aggrieved sigh coming from the other room, but the violent noises paused. Luna slouched into view, arms crossed and a petulant frown on her face.

“Yes, Princess?”

“That wasn’t funny the first time,” Celestia grumbled. Comparisons to Equestria’s ageless queen never sat well with her, giving Luna an extra bullet in her little-sister arsenal. “Come look at these texts.”

Luna accepted the phone, blinking as her hand brushed Celestia’s. “What’s up with the scars?”

“Ghast bites.” Celestia absentmindedly scratched one. “It didn’t go well this afternoon. But Luna – the texts. I wish I’d seen them sooner.”

Obligingly, Luna opened the first of the highlighted trio and began to read. Her posture stiffened with the first lines, and the sisterly squabble was forgotten

“Sunset really is a pony.” Luna handed the phone back with a groan. “From a magical world of peace and rainbow sparkles. You need to have a talk with her.”

“She’s upstairs,” Celestia said softly, putting the phone away.

Luna twitched. “Is she? Or is it a changeling?”

Celestia cupped her chin in her hand, leaning on the dining room table with her eyes away. “I don’t know. She gave the password, but…”

“Yeah. ‘But.’” Luna tapped her foot in thought, then nodded. “We need to ask her a question only Sunset would know.”

“Like what?” Celestia asked. “She could easily have forgotten her appointments, or any little moment between us. It can’t just be something Sunset would know, it has to be something she wouldn’t forget.”

“Yeah.” Luna frowned, then laughed abruptly as inspiration struck. “Or something she wouldn’t remember.”

Uncomprehending, Celestia tilted her head. “Huh?”

“Follow me. This’ll actually be really easy.” Luna beckoned Celestia to stand, and led her to the stairway. “Wait here and listen.”

Celestia raised a hand to stop her. “If she is a changeling, she’ll be dangerous.”

“And if I’m armed, she might smell a trap.” Luna gestured behind them. “Grab the flanged mace.”

Celestia hesitated. “Um… where do we keep it?”

“Living room chest, right next to my Toriel plush.”

“Why do we have a fl–”

“Don’t ask, Tia. Just get it.”

Celestia did so, nervously gripping the blackened metal as Luna ascended the stairs. The attic lights were on, and Luna called out without subtlety. “Sunset?”

“Up here!”

Celestia grimaced at the voice. She had never encountered shape-shifters before, but could well understand the horror of fighting them. Dangerous not only for their abilities, but for the fear and paranoia they evoked. Making a thing as simple as a young girl’s voice produce a cold stone in her gut.

“We need to talk.”

“What about? I was just going through my stuff.”

Going through her stuff… or getting a feel for being ‘Sunset?’ Celestia didn’t know. She eyed the mace’s head and wondered if she could really swing it at Sunset’s face.

Luna’s voice came down in response. “About you having sex with my sister.”

Celestia blinked.

Sunset probably did too, because the answer was a few seconds in coming. “What?”

“She admitted it,” Luna said in the same tone as ever: serious, and vaguely bored. “But she also said you told her you’re about twenty in pony years, so it’s okay. I just wanted you to know that I’m alright with this. It’s a little weird, but your secret’s safe with me.”

The hesitation said it all. No words of shock or indignation. Celestia sighed, looking down and away as the cheery response finally came. “Thanks, Miss Luna. That means a lot to me.”

“No problem. That’s all.”

Luna descended the stairs. The door closed.

And their squabble resumed. “Really, Luna? Out of all the made-up stories you could have told, you went with that?”

Luna rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of my plan succeeding. Now are we going to save Sunset, or what?”

“We don’t know where she is,” Celestia said. She shook her head, mouth drawn and eyes afraid. “She… might not even be alive.”


Once more, the fight ended as quickly as it came. Luna gripped her shoulder and pulled her in for a quick kiss on the cheek. “You’re the sickening optimist, remember? She’s alive, and we’ll find her. The changelings have to be keeping her somewhere secure, so it’s got to be either Chrysalis’ mansion or factory. We hit one, and if she’s not there, we hit the other.”

“You make it sound so easy.” But Celestia smiled warmly with the words.

“It is easy.” Luna shrugged, already thumbing her phone. “I’m texting the guys. Get the guns. We’ll leave now, and we can deal with our little house guest when we get back.”

“Right,” Celestia nodded.

…One more thing. “What if we attack the wrong place?”

Again, Luna shrugged. “Then we’ll have destroyed a cigarette plant, or a tobacco baron’s mansion. I don’t know about you, but I won’t lose any sleep.”


Sunset groaned. Her eye twitched, the handcuffs were starting to chafe, and two hours of being locked in place were enough to painfully cramp up her muscles. And Iron Will – despite incessant, strenuous effort – was not helping things.

He looked… kind of pathetic, really. Queen Chrysalis hadn’t even left the room when he recovered from his fall, and immediately set himself to wrestling his bonds. Still tied to the chair, he rolled around on the concrete floor, sweating, straining, grunting, pulling, twisting, yanking, snarling, roaring, rhyming… and accomplishing absolutely nothing. Even the changelings seemed morbidly fascinated by the spectacle that had endured for two hours and showed no signs of stopping.


The human Chrysalis snapped, moments before Sunset would have. “WILL YOU SHUT UP, YOU CAN’T BREAK THOSE CHAINS! And, oh, God, you’re starting to smell.”


Sunset jerked her head to Spoiled Rich. “How come she gets a gag, and not him?”

“You’ve never listened to her,” Chrysalis grumbled, drawing a glare from the pink subject. “Trust me, her opinion would not help matters.”

“I CAN BREAK THESE CHAINS!” Iron Will threw his face to the ceiling and roared, causing an eruption of spittle to fly from his mouth.

A bit of it impacted Sunset’s hair, and ran slowly down to its tip. She breathed out raggedly, shivering in her bonds.

“He’s driving me crazy.” Sunset closed her eyes. “And now, to make this absolutely terrible night complete… I have to go to the bathroom.”


“Oh, thanks for announcing it!” Sunset screamed.


The last word degenerated into a wild cry. Veins bulged on the huge man’s neck. His nose ring waggled in the self-made hurricane of breath. His face was bright red, and his hairy knuckles turned white as their arms made the supreme effort against the binding chains.

A noise came. A tearing.

It was over before Sunset even realized what was happening. A hairline tear appeared across his pinstripe suit, then vanished – along with the suit. It exploded, sending fragments of cloth flying in every direction.

Mercifully, the pants remained intact. But his naked torso rose, and Sunset’s breath caught in her mouth as his arms thrust their fists above his head.

Only then did she hear it. The tortured, somehow-delayed crunch that could only be the sound of breaking chains. Their twisted remnants slid down Iron Will’s chiseled frame like so many meager nay-says, and he stepped over them without a glance.

“…Wow.” Chrysalis managed.

Spoiled Rich nodded, eyes wide and dreamy. “Mmph.”

Sunset’s own comment was abandoned as the air filled with angry hissing. Baring sharp teeth, with heads growing horns and hooves growing blades, the watching changelings crouched and circled. Dozens of them, eyes glowing malevolent blue in the meager light.

“And now they kill us.” Chrysalis’ tone was grumbling, but she followed it with a dry laugh. “Totally worth it, though.”

“No one’s going to die,” Iron Will announced, his voice raspy and hoarse. “And that isn’t a lie.”

Sunset jerked at her own bonds, looking nervously at the closing foes. “Iron! Get me out. I can help!”

“No time, Sunset.” With no other weapon close to hand, Iron Will picked up his chair. Cheap metal, but it would be good for a smack or two.

“There must be something I can do!”

“There is.” Iron Will nodded, steel in his eyes. One hand held the chair easily, and the other beckoned the changelings to come at him. “You can watch.”

Author's Note:

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead, and some come from behind.
But I've brought a big bat! I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me!"

-Dr. Seuss

-Second official quote of the fic.

(With props to Utopianking for guessing the "Iron Will is kinda like Alex Armstrong" thing)

Next chapter shall be the shamelessly campy action-packed extravaganza you've probably been expecting from day one.

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