• Published 13th Nov 2016
  • 5,819 Views, 75 Comments

Buggy Vanity - Rambling Writer

Some changelings love their new forms. Others loathe them.

  • ...

On the Image Issues of Shapeshifters

Queen Chrysalis’s rousting and the subsequent transformation of the changeling species had been… to say “disruptive” would be like saying lava is a little bit hot. Between the changes in physicality and the world’s first accidental coup d’état, changelings weren’t so much making decisions as crossing their hooves and hoping for the best as they ran blind. But after the obligatory panicking and some help from one Twilight Sparkle, the Hive was settling down back to a semblance of normalcy. Now, the changelings could once again mull over the important things in life.

“We look idiotic,” moaned Trochanter, staring at his yellow leg.

“We look awesome is what you mean,” said Cilia. She took a break from clearing the rubble of the throne to preen, flexing her entire green body from nose to rump and buzzing her wings. (Even though they didn’t buzz anymore; now it was more of a pleasant, low-key hum.)

“We. Look. Abominable,” said Trochanter. “I cannot believe I must live like this for the rest of my life.”

Cilia rolled her eyes. “You… do realize you’re a shapeshifter, right? Just turn into something else and stick with that.”

“It is the principle of the thing,” snapped Trochanter. “Yes, I could fashion myself into a fierce changeling warrior in the old style. Perhaps with more pointy bits than are strictly necessary. I like pointy bits. But I cannot wear it forever without it aching, and I do not want to refresh myself by going back to this… grotesque… thing,” he spat. “It is why you have not given yourself your tail back.”

Cilia twitched and looked over her shoulder, at her tailless rump. She wiggled it sadly, swishing her lack of a magnificent tail through the air. “Yeah,” she mumbled, “I miss my tail.”

“I miss my fangs,” said Trochanter, punctuating the last word with a buck, sending a good-sized boulder flying out of the room. (Several changelings outside yelped and things broke.)

“Your fangs?” said Cilia. “You didn’t even need them, and those are what you miss?”

“Fangs have style,” Trochanter said, waving his hoof through the air like he was presenting some grand idea. “Character. They were indicative of our fierce natures, our determination. Now we are, both metaphorically and literally, toothless.” He scowled at his leg again. “And this is not helped by our universal change in hue. Looking like some brightly-colored children’s toys is not what we should be.”

“I like the colors way better,” responded Cilia, rolling another boulder out of the room. “It adds variety and flavor and texture and artsy stuff like that. It’s polychromatic or whatever the term is. Color spices things up a bit. Plain black is so… plain.”

“But we are so gaudy,” said Trochanter. He waved his leg. “Look at this! I have no qualms against color, but… pastels? Pastels? PASTELS?!

“I like pastels. What’s wrong with pastels?”

“What is wrong,” hissed Trochanter as he pushed another boulder out of the room, “is that they are pas. Tels. And they are omnipresent. I cannot take two steps without experiencing obscene amounts of visual overload from bright shades, with nary a burgundy or navy blue to be seen. Would it have killed the Powers That Be or whatever force caused this horrendous metamorphosis to include a few additional darker colors?” He scowled at his bright yellow leg again. “Not necessarily black, although that is ideal, but-”

“Black’s not bad,” Cilia said, “but it’s kinda lackluster when everyone’s black. You could barely tell anyone apart by sight, an-”

“And that is why you learned to do it via body language!” said Trochanter. He braced himself against a boulder, planted his hooves on the ground, and started pushing. The boulder didn’t budge. “It taught you how to recognize how someone moves, which is woefully underrated as an infiltration tactic. I could read one’s body language like no one else. Given a week of observation, I could flawlessly imponyate Celestia herself, and nopony would be the wiser.”

Cilia added her strength, and the boulder started moving slowly. “So why weren’t you selected to do the thing with her?”

“I almost was,” said Trochanter, waggling a hoof at her. “We were down to the last five, and the only reason I was not picked was because Proboscis started brownnosing to the Queen before I did, the stupid ┌┐a!tzoʖ little ϟ̈͛i⨎errѱ цъusↆelŋǂ.” (That’s not censorship. The clicks, buzzes, and hisses he said then are nearly untranscribable even with extensive borrowing from various Khorsan alphabets.)

“But we’re not gonna be like that anymore,” grunted Cilia, “so what’s the problem? We don’t need to learn body language so much. Ponies know each other by sight, why can’t we?”

“I am more than twice as old as you, and I learned things differently,” said Trochanter. “I do not identify changelings by sight and the pastels are distracting. I keep confusing Aculeate and Gula, when-”

Cilia froze. The boulder stopped moving. “You’re getting those two mixed up?”

“…Yes. Why?”

“…One of them’s orange and the other’s blue. I didn’t think mixing them up was possible until now.”

“My point exactly! It should not be, but thanks to the blindingly bright colors, I forget to focus on what they’re doing and I turn to what they look like.” He shoved the very immobile boulder and grunted.

Cilia got the hint and started pushing again. “Well, okay, but if you’re focusing so much on body language, you’re kinda forgetting that visuals play a large part for ponies identifying each other. Not to mention personality and vocals and…” She frowned at him. “How many successful infiltrations have you run?”

Eight,” snapped Trochanter. “How many have you run?”

“…How many total infiltrations have you run?”

“I asked you first.”

“I asked you second.”

Trochanter buzzed his wings and looked away. “…A little below seventy.”

“Ha!” With a final shove, Cilia and Trochanter got the boulder out of the room. “How many of those fell apart because you got somepony’s appearance wrong?”

“I. Do. Not. Know,” whispered Trochanter angrily. His eyes narrowed as he glared at Cilia. “It is not as if I could return there and inquire, ‘Beg pardon, madame, but I was wondering, how might I improve my deception? It would be of irreplaceable assistance in my species’ objective to undetectably spread love-eating shapeshifters throughout your nation.’”

“Based on what I’ve heard about ponies, you probably could.” Cilia glanced at Trochanter. “You sure you lost the role just because Proboscis was a suckup?”

Trochanter snorted.

“C’mon, live a little,” said Cilia, smacking him on the shoulder. “Stop being such a downer and look past the colors. We’ve actually got full legs now. Yeah, black looked nice, but those holes were just wlluuaugh.” She glanced down at one her legs. “And I swear they’re stronger now. I used to get sore legs all the time, but proper structure can do wonders, I guess.”

“Perhaps,” grumbled Trochanter, looking at his own leg again. “But I feel as if I have gained twenty pounds simply through filling in the holes, and I am much rounder than I used to be. I am becoming…” He shuddered. “Fat.”

“You’re just full.” Cilia started nudging some of the smaller rocks into a pile. “You were starving before, but now you actually have enough to eat, so you feel funny. I get that, I’m the same way. You’re not fat, you just think you are.”

“I’m fat.”

“You’re full.”

“I’m fat.”

“You’re full.”

“I am full, but that does not make me not fat!” Trochanter rubbed his chest. “I have not the faintest clue as to what happened when we shared love, but I am bloated. I feel as if I am liable to explode at any given moment.”

“Are you still taking in all the love you can?”

“Of course. I-”

Cilia slapped across the back of the neck. “Well, don’t do that, you ninny! There’s plenty to go around, you don’t need to keep gobbling it up! Of course you’re fat if you don’t pace yourself!”

“And of course,” mumbled Trochanter, “there is no possibility that the boundless love we are currently experiencing will ever run dry, so I most definitely should not take in what I can before the drought returns.”

“Are you gonna keep sharing love?” Cilia asked with a sigh.

“Well, it is our new duty, so-”

“Then no, it won’t run dry, not as long everyone else keeps sharing, too! Stop eating everything.”

Trochanter spluttered for a moment before snapping, “I am still fat!”

Cilia rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well, that’s your own fault.”


Another eye-roll. “You’ll find anything to complain about, won’t you? I guess you also think that these-” She spread her wings wide and twirled, making them sparkle majestically in the sun. “-are supremely wussified?”

Trochanter flared his own wings. “I actually find the wings to be quite superb. I see nothing wrong with the shape, their capacity for lift has been greatly increased, and I imagine the covers will keep them dry in the worst of rainstorms. Perhaps not flight-capable, bu-”


Synkínisiphage stuck his head into the room. “Will you two shut up? We can hear you all the way down in the fungus gardens, and it’s frigging annoying. I’d rather listen to Termen wax poetic about slime glands.”

Maxilla strode into the room. “Come on, Syn. It’s not that bad. You just need to give a crap. Here, you can borrow one of mine.” She reached under her wing and came away with an empty hoof. “Darn it! I’m out.” She glared at Cilia and Trochanter. “Because you two used them all up with your pointless bickering! Shut up unless you want to clean out the ventilation tunnels in the lower galleries! And when you almost pass out from the fumes, don’t come crying to me, because as we’ve already established, I’m all out of craps to give!”

Cilia and Trochanter both snapped to attention. “Yes, ma’am!” they said in unison. “Shutting up now, ma’am!”

Maxilla huffed. “Good.” She left the room, picked a medium-size boulder, and began rolling it down the hall.

Following her, Synkínisiphage rolled his eyes and started moving another boulder. “What a stupid thing to argue about,” he muttered.

Maxilla nodded. “I know, right? Everyone knows these new forms blow.”

“Oh, come on,” said Synkínisiphage, shooting a sidelong glance at her. “I’m not saying they’re great, but they’re not half-bad.”

“Good joke,” Maxilla said with a snort, “but you’re not the one with crystals embedded in their chest.” She looked down at said crystals and nudged them. “I mean, really.”

“Hey, I could live with that. I actually think they look kind of sweet, to be honest.”

“Are you honestly saying that…”

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Comments ( 75 )

Ok, that was pretty funny :pinkiehappy:

This is a funny little story XD


That word alone made me laugh.

Great little story, and I loved the exchange... and concept, to be honest. 10/10 hope this gets featured.

Perhaps with more pointy bits than are strictly necessary. I like pointy bits.

Meta as heck!

And lo, did Thorax' reign end, not two days after it began, because every changeling in the land argued themselves into a civil war over naught but the color of their bodies. Let this be a warning to all who read this, beware magical transformations... They may just ruin your badass look.

I think I'm going to have to agree with Syn's viewpoint at the very end. The old changeling design was very unique and it clearly identified them from the ponies, though not so much anymore. The new designs aren't that bad, and I don't mind the pastel colours; although it's obvious that Hasbro made these new designs to increase toy sales. All in all I'm excited to see where they go with the changelings after this, should be interesting.:derpytongue2:

That has been every discussion about the change I've ever seen. I rather like the new design, if only because it allows uniquely characterized changelings. Here's to hoping they will revisit them within a season or two.

Well, this was fun. Some very nice details on reasons why changelings themselves would be for or against the transformation. I especially like how Trochanter's slower to adapt to the sudden, sweeping change. In all, quite entertaining. Thank you for it.

What really upsets me is that they still don't have MANES.

Both forms are great in my opinion.

The old one looked incredibly badass and definitely endeared me to changelings from looks alone. However they really did lack any form of individuality outside of any liberties that the fandom took.

The new ones bring all sorts of potential in terms of individuality in terms of the wide variance of colors on what they're based on (jewel beetles), their eye colors and the jewels on their neck which can actually be used to tell the potential difference of maybe male and female.

Are the Changelings, like, perpetual motion machines now or something?

7718456 Yep. Infinite energy. The ultimate answer to The Last Question.

Well, what do you expect?
They are bug-horse after all. Though in this case, jewel bettle-horse.

I know. They're bug-HORSES. Not even Thorax has a mane!

Good story. Nice discussion piece.

I liked the old changelings better. Not to mention that they destroyed EVERY SINGLE FANFIC written before the finale.

7718703 Pretty sure those fanfics are still around.

There are also plenty of approaches one can take to reconcile the existence of both old-school Changelings and new-style Lovelings in the same universe, if one wants to write a story about Changelings without disregarding canon. Chrysalis got away unchanged, she'll make more. There are likely other hives out there. And the Loveling transmutation could well be due to unique circumstances - Thorax had spent half a season soaking up crystal love radiation from the Empire and was spewing it all over everybuggy when they transformed, I could easily imagine that that was a key component of the process.

7718456 Sure seems that way...

7718733 I meant destroyed as in terms of they might be cannon, at some other date in some more mature series.

7718365 More evidence that the changed-lings are bug-deer now, rather than bug-horses?

Yeah. At least they aren't jerks anymore. 'Cause people always find a way to make deer jerks. Or evil, world-destroying villains.

I like this logic a lot. It suports all old and new fanfics and it's plausable.:derpyderp2:

7717608 Hey, look! It got featured!

Fungus gardens. What, they're ants now?

Hm, now that you mention it, there is a lack of darker colours amongst the new alien-beetle-deer Changelings.

Yeah, I can see talks like this happening in the Hive post-metamorphosis.

Sums up the reaction of the bronies nicely as well, I note. :rainbowlaugh:

Huh. Not half bad of a read for today.

Cilia slapped across the back of the neck. “Well, don’t do that, you ninny! There’s plenty to go around, you don’t need to keep gobbling it up! Of course you’re fat if you don’t pace yourself!”

“And of course,” mumbled Trochanter, “there is no possibility that the boundless love we are currently experiencing will ever run dry, so I most definitely should not take in what I can before the drought returns.”

On a serious note: This is, in fact, something that actually happens to starvation victims once they get access to a reliable source of food.

Ya know, if you don't like the new changelings. Nobody is forcing you to accept them. If you write fiction, ignore the whole change in your writing. If you are an artist, keep drawing them in their older forms. The show isn't the word of god set in stone.

Comment posted by Wroth deleted Nov 14th, 2016


There are some times when you just have to say 'you know what? Screw cannon!' and go from there. Every franchise, every series has at least one monumentally stupid thing that's better off being ignored. Half the time, they make fun of it themselves.

7718733 If the show and the comics follow each other's stories, then there was actually only one hive in existence. But yeah Chrysalis is still around so there is still the possibility for another Changeling hive.

7718081 A source I came across suggests we may see the old forms a lot sooner than you think.

I bet it's a fight or something between good and evil Changelings.

7717856 Unless the magical transformation makes you a Super Saiyan, in which case the badass look is doubled.

7720263 Plus there were definitely Changelings who weren't present at the hive for the Lovesplosion - the infiltrators who were impersonating all the kidnapped ponies, for starters. Chrysalis could have had a whole army of infiltrators in the field gearing up for the harvest. The hive did seem pretty spacious and empty for the number of Changelings we saw there.

"You sure you lost the role just because Proboscis was a suckup?"


This is a very good one-shot.

Xerox: "*groan* Noling looks like any other ling! How can we ever tell each other apart now!?"
Twilight Sparkle: ":twilightoops:.....:facehoof:"
Thorax: "No. Seriously. Fred's right."
Xerox: "I'm Xerox. That' Fred."
Pfauxtocopee: "I'm not Fred! I'm Pfauxtocopee!"
Thorax: "Well, where the hell is Fred?"
Phredd: "Fred took off weeks ago. He was actually Chrysalys."
Thorax: "Wait...he was Chrys..? Hold up! We did that skit before, didn't we...?:facehoof:"

7719662 I know from experience. I don't really want to say anything about the details but I went a week without food once and even though it was that short of time compared to the changelings who most likely dealt with starvation their whole lives. I had a really hard time pacing myself with food for a while afterwards.

It's been at least a year and I think there are still times where I slip back into it.

Hah, polarizing opinions. Always a good thing to joke about :rainbowlaugh:


Now imagine what it's like for people who have starved long enough to form long-term survival strategies around it. We're talking about people who will habitually hoard food and hide it away in secret stashes, even if they don't have to, because they still fear that it will run out eventually.

Do you watch anime/read manga? If you do, you may have noticed that the Japanese seem oddly obsessed with food. Like, no matter what the story is about, at some point it will bring up how awesome it is to eat stuff. Heck, they have entire shows based entirely on cooking. Not cooking shows, but actual fiction about cooking.

Supposedly, that goes back to WW2 when a lot of people were really, really hungry. Apparently that had such an impact on the entire culture that we're still seeing echoes of it generations later.


Heck, they have entire shows based entirely on cooking. Not cooking shows, but actual fiction about cooking.

Toriko comes to mind. If you don't recognize it by that name, perhaps you recognize "gourmet world". Last I heard, the protagonist was planning to kill, cook, and eat the Big Bad. It makes sense in context.


When you're writing fics for a series that's still ongoing, it's bound to happen sooner or later...

As for the new forms, except for they having a third wing where a tail should be, I don't mind them.

“You sure you lost the role just because Proboscis was a suckup?”

I see what you did there :rainbowlaugh:

7717856 So let it be written! So let it be done!

Down with Gummylings!

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