• Published 6th Nov 2016
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Change: Queen of The Hive - tom117z



Changeling hives are vanishing with no trace left behind, who, or what is hunting the changeling race? And what fate awaits Queen Twilight Sparkle and the rest of her hive?

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1 - Prologue

Equestria finds itself in the middle of a conflict that may consume them all, can they survive what is to come?

****

Amidst the changeling civilisation there sat a hive. A hive that served as the centre of everything, the hive where all decisions were made and the future of the changelings as an entire species was continuously decided.

On the average day, drones and queens alike would move through its halls. Guards would vigilantly watch every entrance as their royalty went about their royal duties and maintained their civilisation. The hallways were pristine and well kept, the shining sun lighting up the hallways magnificently in order to display the power of the changelings while inspiring both awe, and even fear. It was here their civilisation had sprung up and spread out across the land, it was here that the Changeling Queens would convene and discuss what was next for them. The queens and their daughters would all meet in one very specific chamber at the very centre of the hive, a large rounded chamber where they talked and bickered under her watchful eye.

They discussed, and they suggested. But at the end of the day it was she, and only she that made the final decision. They all lived to serve her, whether they liked it or not. She owned them. It was she who brought their race to power over the griffons and the zebras, it was the lesser race’s fear of her that prevented rebellion and it was she that would rule over them all for eternity.

They were all subservient to Immortalis, Empress of the Changelings.

It was here in the throne room that Empress Immortalis sat in quiet thought as her queens debated where their sights should be laid next. Some suggested the minotaurs, some the diamond dogs, and others suggested that fledgeling species of equines from across the sea and far into the west.

“They’re divided, their civilisation is like a new-born nymph ready to go in a maturation pod,” one Changeling Queen argued. “But their talents cannot be ignored. Pegasi control the weather, and earth ponies the land. Both traits could be useful to us.”

“And the unicorns?” another asked.

“They… would be more of a problem,” the first Queen admitted. “We have our own magic, theirs would likely only serve as a hindrance to us as they retaliate. Best to simply wipe them out.”

Another Changeling Queen with a light green mane shook her head. “They are too far away. We’d have to cross the sea, and move through that barren land. All that exists there are a few tribes of buffalo to the south and that’s it. Everything else, stretching from that mountain filled with crystal to the Frozen North, is empty!”

“There are the Yaks deep in the Frozen North,” one reminded the others.

“My point still stands!” the Queen with the green mane rebutted. “We’d have a large empty space between our territories. I would advise we colonise that land before we even think of going after the ponies.”

As the debate continued, one Changeling Queen sat quietly. She wore a brown cloak around herself, beneath the hood you could just make out a teal mane with a green highlight striking through it along with her sparkling lavender eyes.

“I have heard some rumours,” another began. “Some claim to have seen ponies with bat wings. And others have even said to have witnessed a pony with both wings and a horn. An alicorn.”

“Alicorns? They’re myths, nothing more,” the Queen with the green mane dismissed.

The one who had brought up the subject of alicorns went to retort, but was silenced when the Empress raised a hoof into the air silently. Immediately, the whole throne room became silent as the Changeling Queens looked towards the throne nervously, some even shuffling back away from it.

“This talk of alicorns and bat-ponies is highly entertaining,” the Empress began. “But I care little.”

The Empress stood up from her throne, her teal mane flowing ominously through the air. Even without the elevation caused by the steps leading up to her throne she still stood a head taller than any of the other royals present. She stood up tall and regally as her predatory eyes glanced over all of the queens present, all flinching back as her reptilian eyes bore into them.

All but one.

The one with the cloak looked up as the Empress glanced in her direction, meeting her gaze with no fear or trepidation. A curiosity the Empress would investigate after the meeting, but for now, she had to do her duty and let her command be heard by her servants.

“While the ponies could be useful as a slave race,” she began. “Now is not the time for it. Once the land that lay in-between belongs to the swarm we can take those equines, but for now, we must set our sight to other prey.”

The Changeling Queen who had brought up the ponies originally bravely, and foolishly, found the courage to speak up in protest. “E-excuse me Empress, but why not take the yaks and buffalo now, along with that land. Then, the ponies would quickly follow.”

“The yaks and buffalo are of little interest to me,” the Empress coldly responded. “Once we have run out of prey in the immediate area, then we shall move on.”

“Empress! I really think we should-”

She was cut off as her eyes started to give off a red glow, the Changeling Queen clutching her head and stumbling to the ground as she barely kept in a scream of pain.

Empress Immortalis turned her harsh gaze onto the changeling in question, her pupils dilated in fury.

“You dare question me?!”

“Empress, I-I’m sorry I-”

“Don’t bother begging you pathetic whelp,” the Empress snarled. “You know what happens to those who do not know their place beneath my hoof. You know how easy it will be to bury who you are deep within the hive mind and reprogram your mind and body to be exactly what I want it to be.”

The Queen’s eyes widened in fear at the thought of having everything she was lost, her already limited free will stripped from her and buried within. She would become a prisoner inside the hive mind and she would be able to do nothing but watch and feel herself acting as the Empress dictated.

“P-please! I didn’t mean any offence! Please!”

The red glow in her eyes only increased as all but one of the other royals looked on in terror, backing as far away from the Empress as possible.

“You are young,” the Empress noted. “I shall only enact this penance upon you for a short while, as an example to others. But question me again, and I shall take your mind until the day your pathetic body gives out and you drop dead in service to me!”

“No.”

The throne room came to a standstill. The silence was deafening to all within as Empress Immortalis slowly looked up from the shivering changeling in front of her and examined the rest of them, her rage subsiding as her now calm eyes moved on over the group.

To them, the sudden calm she displayed caused even more unease than her previous rage.

“What did you say?” the Empress asked gently, though it was the kind of gentle voice an incognito assassin displayed while hiding a knife behind their back.

“No,” the Changeling Queen in the cloak repeated as she stepped on forwards. “This has gone far enough.”

The Empress stood up to her full height, carefully examining the one who dared speak up against her.

“Queen Crepuscule, what do you think you are doing?”

Crepuscule met the Empress’ gaze; if there was once fear to be found in them it was no longer present.

“You enslave everything you encounter. Not just the griffons or zebras, but your own kind. We have served under you with no other choice, nor any decisions of our own for too long. I can no longer stand by and watch.”

Immortalis had to admit, she was impressed. It had been a long time since one of her favourite pets had directly challenged her like Queen Crepuscule was doing.

She would enjoy breaking her.

“Leave us,” the Empress commanded, the one she was previously about to punish already forgotten.

The other queens scampered out of the throne room as fast as they could manage, none wanting to see the horrors about to be inflicted upon their fellow queen.

The Empress waited until the door was shut and it was just the two of them inside the throne room. She then walked back up to her throne before looking down onto Crepuscule in judgement.

“You are brave, I will give you that,” Immortalis stated. “For you to confront me in such a way, your strength is something I would not have expected from you. Though it does explain your attitude in the meeting.”

“Thank you.”

The Empress chuckled, her predatory eyes locking onto the changeling before her. Oh yes, she would enjoy what was about to happen.

“You know, I could use you in some of my more important, and dangerous, plans. A changeling with a fire in them, one who gets results.”

“Are you promoting me or something?” Crepuscule deadpanned.

“In a manner of speaking…” Empress Immortalis leaned forwards a little. “But I cannot have a queen questioning my commands. Do you remember what I told that little queen? I am going to break you, Crepuscule. I will leave nothing of you left and then nurture the traits I desire from you into a changeling forever loyal to me. I give you fools as much free will as you have out of kindness, but you have lost those rights.”

The Empress grinned, her sharp fangs gleaming. “Your mind shall be fully mine, and you will serve me with a smile!”

“Your own unique brand of mind control,” Crepuscule commented. “Go on then. Do it.”

The Empress reached out through the hive mind, searching quickly and thoroughly for Crepuscule’s mind within the many contained within.

But she found nothing.

The Empress’ eyes widened “W-what? How is that possible? I can’t sense your presence anywhere! When and how did you do that?!”

“Just now,” the Queen responded. “I’ve been waiting for the right time, and now is it.”

“You think disconnecting yourself has saved you?!” The Empress flared her gossamer wings as she shot up to her hooves. “I can reconnect you at any time. The process of containing your will shall not be pleasant, I shall make every moment of your existence for the rest of your miserable life an eternal torture within the hive mind!”

The Empress released a beam of putrid green magic at Crepuscule, whose hood fell backwards as her own horn lit up, a shield forming around the Queen as the beam impacted.

Despite the shield, Crepuscule was thrown off her hooves and collapsed backwards to the floor. It was here she lay, panting heavily as she tried to get back to her hooves. Crepuscule fired a bolt back at the Empress, who simply deflected it with one of her own without even flinching.

“You queens, you are nothing. You believe yourselves superior to other changelings, when in reality the only one who is superior is me. You are no different to me than the common drone or the slaves labouring away for us. You are all mine, and those who forget that shall be quickly reminded.”

“And what gives you the right, Immortalis?” Crepuscule asked, sneering. “What gives you the right to dictate our lives as you do?”

“It is the order of things,” the Empress responded. “A simple hierarchy, and it fills me with dread and sorrow you fail to understand it. You have the drones, the queens, and then me. It is a simple matter of biology, my dear.”

“You speak of order, and hierarchies, but how you act and rule is a choice,” the Queen rebutted. “You don’t have to act cruel, you could have reached out to the other races and befriended them, but you didn’t. You could have worked with the rest of your kind, but you didn’t. Instead, you take our minds and free will.”

It was then Immortalis noticed the smirk forming on the other changeling's face.

“You don’t bring order or harmony. Only chaos and destruction,” Queen Crepuscule spat. “You don’t bring harmony, but these will.”

It was then that Crepuscule used her magic to tear away the broach holding her cloak, allowing it to fall to the floor as she brought out the six objects she had hidden beneath.

Six gems orbited the Queen. Red, pink, orange, blue and green along with a lavender gem in the shape of a six-point star all glowed softly as they interacted with the Queen’s magic. Also revealed was the presence of a mark on Crepuscule’s flank, the image of a crystalline tree with those very gems embedded within that tree above the images of the sun and moon carved into its trunk.

The Empress examined the six objects in utter confusion. “Gems? Where did you find those?”

“The land between the Frozen North and the Badlands isn’t as empty as many believe,” Crepuscule answered. “It is here that I found the answer to you, and now your darkness shall fill the land no longer!”

Immortalis growled as she lit up her horn with a lethal spell preparing to render the Queen in half.

“With those? You’re kidding right?” she questioned. “I’ve changed my mind, you would serve a better example if your flayed body was hanging above my throne!”

The Elements of Harmony all moved into position, five of the gems forming a circle around Queen Crepuscule facing the Empress, while the star moved itself to a little in front of the circle in the centre. The five gems began to glow and spin with their magical energies all focusing on the star in the centre as the firing sequence initiated.

Empress Immortalis gave a shout of rage as she unleashed her spell toward Queen Crepuscule, only for a rainbow coloured wave of magic to shoot forwards and consume the Empress’ spell like it was nothing. Immortalis could only watch as the wave steamrolled towards her and swallowed her whole, screaming in pain as she felt her body evaporate into the air around the throne room.

Then there was silence.

Crepuscule had to groggily pick herself off the floor, the Elements of Harmony having taken quite a bit of her energy to use.

The elements themselves, their work done, had fallen a little ways from the Queen. She looked at the six gems gratefully, knowing she was to return them to the tree as she had vowed when she had taken them. The tree needed the elements in the long term, and she was not going to get in the way of things.

Her gaze moved on from the elements towards the throne, which was now empty. All that was left of the Empress was a smouldering piece of regalia on the floor, the Empress’ chest piece to be exact. The regalia was black and silver in colour with a gem the matched the Empress’ mane in its centre, though the regalia now had burn marks scarring its previously pristine frame.

However, that was not what caught her eye. Rather it was the red magical glow emerging from the regalia that filled Crepuscule with a sense of dread. And that was when she heard the whispering.

A voice in her ear, a voice telling her to place the regalia on her own chest. A voice promising her power equal to the Empress, to rule over the changelings as she had.

Crepuscule powered up her horn to destroy the regalia, but it reacted almost like a wounded animal. The voices and magic increased, and the Queen could feel the temptation overriding her screaming mind as her horn flickered out. She began to take slow and deliberate steps towards the regalia, reaching out for it with a hoof.

“NO!” she screamed as she forced herself away from the regalia, looking upon it with horror written on her face.

“You are pure evil, but temptation and influence strong, an echo of the Empress perhaps,” she stated to the chest piece. “If I cannot bring myself to destroy you, then I shall seal you away far from where any creature lives. Your influence will be lost forever, I will see to it, Immortalis!”

And that was a promise she kept. She hid the regalia away from the other queens as she spearheaded the formation of the council. She would form her own hive and with her drones working to build a vault beyond the Frozen North, in a barren land filled with almost nothing but wilderness and volcanoes.

It was in this hidden vault that she stored the regalia of Empress Immortalis, sealing it from the world before trying to destroy all mentions of its existence, though she was never sure if she completely succeeded in that regard. Still, as time went on, the Empress of the Changelings became a story told to scare nymphs at night while the Elements of Harmony would remain in the tree where Crepuscule left them, at least until the formation of Equestria and their subsequent collection by Celestia and Luna.

Four thousand years later and the world Immortalis had constructed was no more, the changelings still existing with the council Crepuscule had formed governing the species, though each hive tended to operate individually for the most part. New bearers for the elements would be selected in the form of six friends, five ponies and one Changeling Queen, even if the latter didn’t know about it at first. The elements would be returned to the tree once more, but their power remained with the six as they defended the land from many threats that came along over the years.

All the while, the regalia had remained silent. One had sought it, but she had never obtained it. However, all was not as Crepuscule had planned…


The Vault, Many Years After The Empress’ Fall



The vault shook as the changelings outside the entrance continued to undo the last of the remaining enchantments on the doorway, coming closer and closer to breaking in each and every minute. They didn’t know what lay within, but curiosity was driving them forwards.

Queen Draco looked on at her changelings’ work, considering what she might find within the vault. She knew her friend, Queen Twilight Sparkle, would also be quite intrigued to find out.

Author's Note:

And here we go again! Our favourite book bug is back, and next time we catch up with the mare in question!

Also, a cookie for anyone who knows what Crepuscule is another another word for...


This is the thing now, apparently :rainbowderp::
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32506859-change?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32294538-of-love-and-loss?ac=1&from_search=true

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