• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
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Not a changeling.


There's a lot of things about Cadance and Shining Armor that never quite made sense: their sudden appearance before the Royal Wedding; their suspiciously convenient suitability as rulers of the Crystal Empire; their oddly abbreviated pregnancy; and even their quick change of heart after Spike asked them to forgive Thorax.

Twilight Sparkle knows exactly how deep that conspiracy goes — she was there in the beginning, when her hive's queen created Shining. And she wasn't happy about it.

Finalist in the "Things Left Unsaid" December 2015 Writeoff! Rewritten and greatly expanded to fill in more backstory and to account for Season 6 canon.

Rated 'Worth Reading' by Titanium Dragon! "If [you like] the idea of a story which hints at a greater conspiracy behind the scenes which explains some of the plot holes we see in the series, you’ll likely enjoy this."
Reviewed by Matthewl419!

Cover art by Lo-23, using Twilight from "Deception is Magic" by Heilos.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 119 )

I'm tagging this one AU because, while I have tried to keep it 100% compatible with all directly observed present-day show canon, I'm pretty certain that the showrunners did not actually intend for Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor and Celestia to be changelings.

If you're lost, author's notes of the Writeoff version have a more detailed explanation of my premise and the backstory to this conversation, but I'm hoping that the expansion offered me sufficient room to work that exposition in.

Not too shabby. Certainly a very well done execution of this premise, and I do really like how the warring hives idea came off.

I love it when this sort of expansion works, especially when it completely dodges the negative fix-fic feel like this one did while still tying together all the details and even addressing some contentious points. Probably my favorite of the genre since "Even in Dreams".

Awesome! I loved this in the Writeoff and I love it now... though, looking back on the old author's note, I still didn't get the "all alicorns are well-fed changelings" thing. In hindsight, it's pretty obvious; it's not like Flurry Heart could disguise herself, and even if she could, given the way she was flapping and zapping, she'd probably disrupt the disguise at the first opportunity. Still, had to look back at the notes to be reminded of that tidbit.

Aside from that, a fantastic way to answer one of the show's more troublesome questions in the most insane way possible. Thank you for it.

Because I totally need more plot bunnies to think about at work.

No, seriously. I'd love to see this made more. It's too damn good to leave as is.

~Skeeter The Lurker

I totally agree!

Would definitely love to see this become a full-fledged fic but I agree with with the author note that it would be better to start from the ground up around when FiM started.

this look like good idea for story of twilight and Celestia and Candace being changeling with either Candace or Celestia as the queen in place of royalty, then luna get back form the moon and none the wise, sound like good story to me,


I am not disapoint. Upvote and fave for a nice little slice of "What if?"

Gah, I only wish it wasn't so short! The premise is awesome and the execution is great. I wish this story could be expanded to around the length of The Iridescent Iron Rat (though I wish that story could also be expanded even further as well).

At any rate, nice story; I enjoyed it.

7514785 My mind.

She's tripping balls at the sheer conspiracy theory...


It's a good short, only thing I don't like is that a few lines are too crammed with headcanon exposition where the dialog would be better skipping a few details. The Princesses being benevolent changelings is a cool idea and the only rational explanation for Shining Armor's sudden existence.

This story still properly amuses me.

Also, I took the liberty of adding this to a few groups.

Interesting, this raises the very complex question ofwould it matter. Though I just can't see it being as air-tight as others personally, so the AU tag really helps me suspend my disbelief.

wow... mind blown.

This makes complete sense.
Now what comes next.

Hah! This is some brilliant work. Well done! :pinkiehappy:

I kinda want more, now. Look what you've done. :rainbowlaugh:

I love the idea, but this story feels like it should be twice as long. Secret conspiracies and political ju jitsu are some of the things that get my writer motor running (right behind pirates, cosmic horror, beefin' over turf, and world building), but there are so many 'what ifs' and as Celestia put it 'onces' that it's asking me to swallow for the sake of story. Perhaps I am missing something because I still haven't finished last season bu this is a lot of groundwork to cover. I see this was a writing prompt, and perhaps that was the source. Was this pressed for a deadline and some content cut?

Welp, I'm now properly interested. Too bad it's just a one shot. :twilightblush:

Everything suddenly makes sense now.

I'm so impressed by this horizon, this has so much content in so little space while being entirely plausible.

I think I have a new favorite Changeling story.

Well done.


Just one question.

Arachne would be clever enough to look for a deeper angle — will be too busy scrambling to neutralize Shining Armor herself to examine the golden prize that's in her grasp."

Who is Arachne?


A different approach, but none the less well written, and plausable in its setting

wlam #23 · Aug 29th, 2016 · · 1 ·

their oddly abbreviated pregnancy

I always kind of figured Cadence must have been already pregnant when they got married. It's not exactly an uncommon reason to get married in the first place.

You have my attention and my interest.
Please, continue.

Please continue. This looks like a very interesting premise and could go in a lot of directions. I'm assuming that Sunset was either a rogue changeling or on a top-secret mission to the EQG 'verse that became the mask?

7520665 no it was all off screen it's been about three years, plenty of time to have a kid.

... Soooooo, you ARE going to write like a bajillion stories in this AU, aren't you? Because under 2000 words and you've already sold me on it so hard.

7520665 I can't remember who,but one comedian had a bit on this. To roughly paraphrase from memory:

"yes, I was born in the usual way. My parents met, fell in love, got married, and then two months later my mother gave birth to a healthy baby boy"

Sequal plz.


It might be AU, but that was really clever how you together all of the show's retcons. *Clap* *Clap* *Clap*

Equestria and all its society and works as a giant farm. Interesting. Not to mention that Celestia also gets access to the resulting civilization, scientific and magic advances, research, resources, and things like the Elements, all of which provide rather advanced defenses against other hives.

Now I'm wondering if Celestia would be sneaky enough to mass-issue a not-quite-Changeling-detector spell which operates by identifying which geopolitical area, culture, and/or leader an individual associates themselves with. Of course, ponies would show up as Equestria/Celestia+Luna, but so would changelings of the Equestria hive. The spell wouldn't even need to have any sneaky filters including or excluding Equestrian changelings specifically, which might be detected by a mage picking it apart.

7520622 the way it was stated, Arachne sounds to be Chrysalis's mother, and is likely dead.

I wasn't aware there's an actual timeline to the show. Everything seems to happen in Cartoon Space until now. I suppose that only makes the pregnancy less abbreviated, though. Plenty of time to stuff three foals in there.

Well, my own timeline was "my mother got pregnant, had me, and then my parents got married some ten years later," but same sentiment, really. I'm sure falling in love happened at some point.

I so need more of this. An interesting premise and tantalising hints of so much more happening behind the scenes. Please, PLEASE expand this into a bigger story. This twilight specially intrigues me. I'd read the stuffing out of it :twilightsmile:


I wasn't aware there's an actual timeline to the show.

I not sure about three years, but in S4 premiere it's two days till Summer Sun Celebration. So from S1 to S4 one years elapsed.

...I think I'll just go back to simply not paying attention to that kind of thing. The way everyone tells you something different just makes it too annoying to bother with.

Well, I'm sold. Sequel please?

7519634 Is this the story you are talking about or is this the story you are talking about or other?

I'm freaking out... This is AMAZING!

Big Bug Brother Changelings Forever?

Nothing there says it has to be the next SSC after the one we see in the pilot, though. Celestia just says that this is the first one where Luna will be participating fully.

Ahhh, yes. I remember this story from the writeoff. I think you did quite a good job with it.

One question occurs to me that I don't think you really covered here or in the writeoff retrospective: Why did Shining Armor have to be a brand new changeling? Wouldn't it have been easier for an existing changeling to just assume his form? Or where you trying to imply that Twilight, Shining, Cadance, Celestia, and possibly Luna are the only changelings in this hive, or at least that their hive is small enough that they don't have any spares available?

What I like about this? You take a really, potentially creepy subjectt...and make it reasonable.

There's something known as an "Epileptic Tree" which is an insane theory that makes no sense...until you look at it, and it starts making a LOT of sense. (You know, a crack theory)

However, there is something known as a "Poison Oak" Epileptic Tree. This is one that makes the entire show...poisoned. For instance, the theory that Pinkie Pie secretly kills people. The theory that some bad guy actually WON, and the good ending is just a dream. Etc, etc. That Celestia is brainwashing everyone.

This may be an Epileptic Tree. But it doesn't POISON the show. And might even add to it. Which is an incredible accomplishment. (For instance, see that one fic by Titanium Dragon, where Diamond Tiara faked her turning good. Well-written fic, but it means any scene with Diamond Tiara is...darker, now.)

This is an interesting spin on a couple of different concepts. Have a like.

7520622 I'd also imagine a poke at the other arachne of greek myth. Given the nuance of weaving plots.

My newest bit of alternate head-cannon.

perfect depiction of tia! she's a lying, deceitful, manipulative, backstabbing, oppressive tyrant with velvet gloves that are actually her skin well chitin but still

Linglestia is best queen.:trollestia:

Very interesting bits of worldbuilding here, and it does seem to fit into canon without too much squinting. After all, if the show staff didn't want people to imagine Celestia and Twilight as members of a changeling hive secretly ruling Equestria, they should be more up front about whether or not Twilight is a changeling.

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Now Reviews #92.

My review can be found here.

7521182 My timeline is "My parents fell in love, had me, and my younger brother, and they're still not married.

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