• Published 10th May 2016
  • 515 Views, 6 Comments

How Love Works - HypernovaBolts11

Toothless is (sadly, not a dragon) tasked with running New Hiveland, while trying to sort out his feelings for the newest member of the city.

  • ...

Chapter IV - Thrones

By the time Glados returned, I had only spoken one phrase outside of plain denial, "Why me? Why me? Why me? Why me!" I stood up and slammed my hoof against the wall, bashing it against the engraving of the star that was me. I only cried more, and, when I heard a familiar, deep voice, ran over to Ladybug Spring, so I could cry into her shoulder.

Ladybug went still when I got to her, burying my face against her neck, and asked, "What's this all about?"

I beat my sisters to the answer, and sobbed, "G-gone!" I wrapped my forelegs around the base of her neck. "Th-they're gone!"

Ladybug sat down, and held me in front of her for a moment. She looked into my tear soaked, bloodshot eyes —the blue veins having been highlighted. She reached her forelegs out to me, and let me cry against her fluffy chest. She hugged me, and ran her hoof down the left side of my neck.

I reached my own forelegs behind her, closing them around the space in front of her wings, and nuzzled her chest.

She spread her wings, and wrapped them around my back. "I'm sorry, Toothless. No one should have to go through this," she said.

Glados said, "I don't think he's so worried about our parents, as the tree has already declared them dead. Why I mentioned a royal consort in your summons, Miss Spring, is that Toothless is now holding the crown, but not legally allowed to rule, and thus, we have a paradox." She walked from the back of the room towards Ladybug and me. "And he'll need as much support, emotional and otherwise, as he can get, if he is going to run this place."

Ladybug's wings stiffened. She blinked at my sister, and said, "So... I'm supposed to make sure he doesn't hurt himself?"

"Not per say," Glados answered, and made a few clicking sounds with her tongue. "The thing is that, if he has that sword, he can't legally become the monarch, as the knight is sworn to protect royalty. That's where you come in. If Toothless has an heir, then they get the crown, and he can legally rule."

Ladybug asked her, "So... That involves me how?"

I sniffled, and poked my head out of Ladybug's embrace. I blew my nose on a tissue from a box one of my other sisters was holding. "She's saying that... I need a princess..." I clarified. "You're the only person in this city I talk to on a regular basis, so you're the default choice."

Ladybug's eyes went wide, and she released me from her hug. She thought for a moment, and held up her hoof. She opened her mouth to speak, and stammered, "I... um... Princess... Me?" Her ears flopped down, and her eyes rolled closed. She started falling backwards, but I moved between her back and the ground in time to set her down on her stomach.

I looked over her unconscious body, and turned to Glados. "No," I declared. "First of all, I'm only sixteen. I'm not of legal age to consent such a thing. She's not up for the job, and I've only known her for three weeks. She's competent enough to handle literally any other job."

Glados said, "She's of legal age, and the crown cares not for the age of its bearer on such matters. No one will call us out on breaking this one law for the sake of New Hiveland and the betterment of the world. Mother and father's next potential heir isn't even able to speak, and you cannot abdicate the throne before you've even taken it."

I stood up, and marched over to my sister. "You cannot force me or Ladybug to marry. She is neither related to or herself royalty. I'd rather see to it that you and the rest of you purples form a parliament than force me and my only friend into the throne," I told her.

Glados thought for a moment, then smiled. This was the kind of smile one only gets alongside one's best idea. She said, "She could become royalty through ascension, and besides, if we were busy running the country, who would defend the castle, deliver mail, and train all day?"

I squinted at her, thinking this argument over. "We are not forcing her to marry me, and that's the last of it I want to hear from you, captain," I told her, my lips curled back in a snarl.

"You have no power over me, as you are not the prince. You are only the crown's personal bodyguard, and must submit to my authority in the absence of a ruler," she said, cooly, and grinning the whole time.

Her comrades all said, "Ouch."

I took a step back, and said, "You can't do this... Even as captain, you cannot tell the knight who to marry."

"The reigning monarchs have simply vanished, and that makes this a national emergency. As captain, in the absence of a reigning monarch, I become the general. And the general has absolute authority in times of emergency. Everyone, so long as they are a member of this city, must obey my every command, even the knight," she argued.

I shuddered, knowing all of what she said to be true. I didn't want it to be true, but she was right. "Y-you could simply make a law that states me as the prince, and then we can be done with this whole mess," I told her.

"No, I can't. The general is not a legislature. My job is to ensure the safety of my people, and nothing else," she said. She stepped forward, pushing me back. "You have a sworn duty, Toothless, to take the crown in our parents' absence, and you'd rather let the city starve itself than fulfill your only job."

"N-no, I'd not see the city starve. You're in charge of the love substitute supply as general," I said, glancing at the wall behind me as I continued to back up.

"You cannot deny my orders, Toothless, and neither can your friend. She seems to like you, and besides, you know better than to let the crown go untouched for more than the day it's already endured. The citizens will hear of our parents' death, and what'll happen then?" she asked me, pressing me against the wall.

"They'll all try to become princess..." I whispered.

Glados nodded and asked, "And how far will the oranges go to get at you?"

I clamped my eyes shut, and looked away, biting my lip.

"Toothless, what will they stop at?" Glados asked me, more sternly this time.

I pinned my ears back, and swallowed hard. "Th-they won't," I admitted. I looked at Ladybug Spring, who was lying on the floor, eyes closed, chest rising and falling. "I... There must be a better way."

"There isn't one, Toothless, and I'm sure that your friend will agree with me. What's necessary must be done, and if that means marrying you off, so be it," Glados said.

"B-but..." I stammered.

"But nothing. There is no dispute left to be had," she said, and stepped away from me. "Now, you're going to tell me what you and father argued about last night," she told me.

"I... I tried to get back at Grgrrel for making fun of Ladybug three weeks ago, and made a few mistakes," I said. I bit my lip, and slowly walked towards Ladybug, whose eyes were fluttering open as she recovered from her initial shock. "I asked him about the manifestation of the desert and its relationship to me, only for him to ask mom if having more kids would be okay."

Ladybug stood up, and I stopped dead in my tracks. She looked at me, and said, "I'm okay. I just um... don't think that I'm alicorn material."

Glados said, "Good, because you don't have to be an alicorn." She walked over to me and pushed me closer to the pegasus. "Now, you two will have to get married. Does... tomorrow sound like a good time to hold the ceremony?"

"How about never? Does never sound like a better date to you, Ladybug?" I asked the pegasus, not looking away from my sister. I blinked, then looked at Ladybug. "Please tell me that you already have a significant other, preferably somewhere very far away."

The pegasus said, "I have my eye on someone, yes b-"

"Check and mate, Glados!" I declared. I had never actually beaten her at chess, so saying that made this whole thing feel a lot better for me.

"Okay, let me check," Glados said. She looked over me at Ladybug Spring and asked, "Who is this person? And do you think that Toothless should stop being so stuck up and follow his general's orders, regardless of what that means? If he doesn't marry you, then this city will have no ruler, and I am not capable of keeping everything in order for more than a week."

Ladybug Spring rustled her wings a bit, and glanced at me. Her cheeks turned bright red, and she rubbed the back of her neck with her left hoof. "I... I wouldn't be opposed to marrying him, if that's what it takes to make sure my new home has a ruler," she said.

My jaw dropped, and my wings shot out at my sides, before going limp, dragging along the ground, displaying my mixed reaction to my sisters. "B-b-but... But... I'm not of legal age," I argued, then frowned, remembering that I'd already tried that.

Glados turned to me, and declared, "Checkmate!"

My ears flopped down on either side of my head, and I spoke the very first thing that came to mind. "K'unel!" I shouted. I shouldn't have said that, nor should I have ever considered it. It was the filthiest word in changeling tongue, and, while not really an insult, shouldn't be spoken in front of anyone but your significant other —and, even then, only in the most intimate of situations.

Glados froze, as did the rest of my sisters, their wings stiffening, and their eyes going wide. They all turned to look at me, aghast that such a word had been spoken by —of all people— me, who had only ever sworn thrice in his whole life. That was the severity of my situation.

Ladybug took note of my sisters' sudden change of attitude, and whispered to Glados, "What'd he just say?"

"Tell her, and I'll see to it that my first action as prince will be to strip you of your command!" I warned Glados.

Glados took my warning seriously, and said nothing. She stood there for a few moments, while the room grew ever quieter and quieter. "So, you will be prince?" she asked me, after what felt like nearly an hour had passed.

I bit my lip, looked up to find my horn glowing, and put it out with a hoof. I stormed out of the throne room, and added, "Futuere!" That was from the language of the bat ponies, and translated to the exact same thing as I'd spoken in changeling.

Ladybug Spring gasped, covering her mouth with a hoof. She and my sisters all stood there, having received nearly half of all the curses I'd ever made in just one night. The pegasus shook herself out of her shock, and said, "That... That sounded like Old Unicorn."

Glados said, "Unicorn is mostly derived from Bat, but I should mention that what he said in Changeling also meant the same thing. He can speak three different languages, and, before tonight, he'd only ever intentionally cursed three times. The problem is this, whenever he gets this mad, he only gets worse the longer he stews."

I stormed into my bedroom, which was almost perfectly cubic, save for the narrow opening that led to the window above the head of my bed. From the outside, my bed was to the left of the door, and took up the entire length of the room. The walls were black and smooth, carved from the same magical obsidian as the rest of the castle.

I slammed the wooden door to my room closed, grabbed the hilt of my sword from my magic vault, teleporting it into my room. I turned it over for a moment, pushing any thoughts of my present situation to the very back of my mind. After examining it for a moment, I set it down on my nightstand, and sat down on my bed.

I looked at the window, and smiled at the purple flower, with a million petals and a dozen meanings. It was a tribute to my Aunt Chrysanthemum, who had died to save my parents when they were very young, despite having grown up in their shadows. I told the flower, "I shouldn't have to get married at the age of sixteen, right?"

I thought for a moment, and added, "She's nice, which is more than I can say for most of this city. She's understanding, and almost overwhelmingly empathetic. No matter what I do, she seems to always have the greater good in mind. I suppose that's all I could ask for in a mate."

I did this often, more often than I'd admit to anyone. Talking helped me think, and —as I lacked a confidant— I talked to flowers. "But... it's still not legal. If I had to marry anyone, I'd like it to be her, but... she has other romantic attachments. It's a purely political marriage, not a real one," I said.

I sighed, and shuffled my hooves idly. I teleported a cube, with each face divided into nine squares of the same color, into the room, which my mother had often used as a fidget. I closed my eyes, and rotated its various faces several times, then dropped it, picked it back up, and scrambled it some more. "If I am going to get married, I want to mean every vow I say," I said.

"I'm just not sure if I love her, and, again, she's only doing it because Glados is using her authority to make her do it," I said. I opened my eyes, and looked at the cube, which was in the same configuration as when it had been solved. "Dang it. I must have unconsciously remembered the scramble, and undid it without realizing it."

I bit my lip, and set the cube down on the nightstand. "Do I love her?" I asked myself, more a whisper than a question. I found the thought ludicrous, then asked myself, "How would I know?" I froze, and found myself at an impasse. I wanted to say that I didn't love her, to be safe, and not the prince, but I knew that I couldn't make such a claim without knowing the difference.

I stepped off my bed, which released a springy, squeaking sound. I heard footsteps from the other side of my bedroom door, and froze. "Who goes there?" I asked, facing the door.

An alto voice answered, "It's me."

I frowned, and said, "You'll have to be more specific. The door's pretty thick, and I can't be sure if you're telling the truth or not."

The voice repeated itself, "Ladybug Spring."

I stepped towards the door, and paused. A million questions came to mind about what love was, and how I could reliably check that I loved someone or not. I opened the door, and jumped back, opening my mouth to shout, but found my throat being pressed against the floor, just delicately enough not to crush my windpipe and inflict serious damage.

I looked up at the old changeling. Her eyes had two irises each, the middle ones darker green than her outer ones. Her pupils narrowed to vertical slits, and she opened her mouth to hiss at me, but stopped to close the door with one of her hind legs. "We wouldn't want any witnesses, now, would we?" asked Chrysalis's vile voice.

I found my hooves stuck to the floor by magical bindings, and my horn blocked by the hoof she held to its tip. "Such a fine changeling you've become," she said. She smiled, showing her small fangs, and her four wings buzzed delightedly as she added, "It's such a shame that I have to kill you too."

She lit up her horn, and placed a neon green binding around my throat, attached to the floor below me. She said, "I had hoped that, someday, you could serve as my pet. It's not nearly as bad a job as it sounds. You'd have simply been beaten with a whip a few times, likely branded, and sterilized."

Her magical choker contracted a bit, closing down around my throat, and I said, "You're too late to get the throne back, witch. There's another heir waiting for the throne, and you're not on the list." It contracted again, and I began to panic. "My mother, you deemed harmless, but she's the one who caught you."

Chrysalis's eyes narrowed, and she hissed, "Silence, maggot!" She closed the choker a few more times in rapid succession, blocking my ability to breathe. She crouched down above me, and whispered into my ear, "Like I said, it's such a shame that your little marefriend can't save you."

She was torn off of me, into a flurry of yellow feathers. I distinctly heard hooves striking chitin, and tried not to panic in an effort to conserve what little oxygen I had left. I heard a shout of undeniable rage, and the magical restraints on my limbs and neck dissipated.

A pointed object landed on the floor next to my head, and I jumped when I realized what it was. A piece of Chrysalis's horn had been taken off, and less than cleanly.

When it was all over, I saw Ladybug Spring pinning down Chrysalis, nostrils flaring, eyes narrowed. She thrust her hoof downward, but the old changeling vanished in a puff of smoke. The pegasus looked around for a moment, and ran over to me. "You're alive," she sighed.

I nodded, unable to properly process what had just happened. I continued to nod for a few seconds, until Ladybug steadied my head with a hoof.

She panted for a bit, recovering her breath from the fight, and said, "Don't scare me like that, okay?"

I nodded again, and rolled onto my stomach so I could stand up. "I'm... I..." I said. I found myself face to face with the pegasus. "Um..." I blushed, my ears burning, and my cheeks practically glowing iridescent blue. "Forgive me, I'll try not to get assassinated in a way that frightens you so."

Ladybug smiled warmly at me. "Poetic sarcasm," she said. "Now I've seen everything."

"Aside from the fact that you didn't see poetic sarcasm, if that was even poetic, but heard it, you can't have seen everything. For example, have you ever seen a blind you? Have you seen the heat death of the universe? Have you seen the beginning of time? Have you ever met the Goddess?" I asked her.

"Shut up, Toothless," she said. She lifted her hoof up and bobbed me on the nose. "Just... Never change, or I'll assume that you're another changeling disguised as you."

I nodded.

She said, "And stop nodding so much, it's getting on my nerves!"

I nodded again, and said, "Okay, I'll try. I just... You took Chrysalis in a fight." This stunning revelation was immediately followed by a string of progressively more terrifying thoughts. "Chrysalis got into a fight. Chrysalis escaped! What if she killed..." I darted out of my bedroom, and ran back to the throne room.