• Published 30th Dec 2016
  • 9,315 Views, 456 Comments

The King of Love Bugs - NavelColt

Embracing the power to share love rather than steal it, the changelings seek to reinvent themselves and their kingdom, while Thorax works to introduce the idea of changelings in Equestria, one escapade at a time.

  • ...

An Elegant Discussion

The midday sun offered a tepid sensation, complimented by a cool northern breeze. It was something a little purple dragon felt for himself as he tread the vibrant grass of Equestria's rolling hills.

Today was a day he'd anticipated all week, ever since Twilight had relayed the other princesses' plans to him. Today was the day Equestria was to check up with the still-rebuilding changeling empire, and lay a possible ground work for friendly relations.

But politics were merely a side quest for the young dragon. More importantly, today was the day he'd finally get to see his changeling friend again. As exciting as Twilight made pen pals out to be, chatting via scroll had gone out of style for him a long time ago, no thanks to Twilight.

"Spike," came a voice by the dragon's side, knocking him from his thoughts.

"Yes, your highness?", Spike replied with newly rapt attention.

"I'm very thankful for your assistance today, Spike," the soft voice continued. "My sister would see to it that an entire squad of guards had accompanied me today, but I much prefer the company of a good friend."

The same sunlight that warmed Spike's scales filtered a rainbow of color through the ethereal mane of Princess Celestia. Even in casual stride on a nameless hillside, so far outside her element, the sun monarch still managed to stand regal and dignified. With Spike jogging along in hoof, the alicorn carefully navigated through thickets of brush and trees, her golden aura acting as a thousand hooves to mold a path before them.

"Oh, it's nothing, princess," Spike replied with pep. "You know me - always happy to help. Besides, I haven't seen Thorax since Starlight helped him defeat the evil queen. I can't wait to see him! I bet he's already doing a great job as the new changeling king."

Celestia nodded, a warm smile surfacing to the dragon's earnest.

"Now, how could I forget how close you are with Thorax?" she chuckled. "Princess Twilight told me of the events in the Crystal Empire in great detail. Standing up for a friend, even when faced with animosity for it took a great deal of courage, and no lack of loyalty."

Pushing past the last of the thickets, a landscape of lush greenery opened before them, and Celestia's magic dispersed. What was once a crater containing a wasteland of sand and hot, jagged stone was now a series of blossoming hills full of fresh grass and newly-rooted trees. Rising from the center of the oasis was a stone structure, its familiar holes now sprouting with vines that snaked from nearly every entrance.

Spike squinted through the sunlight. Tiny objects circled the crown of the hive's highest peak, which touched the sky with a commanding presence. Though their steady orbits were mechanical, the specks cast a personality all their own. They were zestful, carefree.

Spike borrowed his company's smile.

"You know, Equestria has a lot to be thankful to you for, Spike," Celestia pointed out, a flick of her eyes conjuring a stairway of golden magic. Shimmering in the light, it descended the treacherous cliff face and touched down by a particularly cozy looking berry bush. Graciously gesturing her hoof, the alicorn followed after the young dragon as he began to hop from step to step.

"Your act of kindness towards a lone straggler put in motion events that have lead to a new age for changeling-kind. With that comes the chance for peace between ponies and changelings - something that has never happened, before."

"Well...I guess that's true," Spike mumbled, rubbing a claw along his green spines. "Thorax was just so alone, I couldn't let him continue on like that. All he wanted was a friend, and nopony truly evil could ever want that, you know?"

"You're wise for your age, Spike," Celestia complimented, eyeing the small dots zipping around the structure like dust caught in a breeze. "You've always had a pure heart, and more than anything else, that trait has brought you many friends and allies from across Equestria, and beyond."

"Oh, it's not that remarkable, princess," Spike deflected, climbing over a rock. "I just do my best to be friendly and kind to ponies I meet. I'm sure anypony else would have done the same thing."

Close enough were they now to see a small group of changelings waiting for them at the foot of the hive, their chitinous faces warm and welcoming. A few younger bug ponies had taken to the air above their elders, enthusiastically flailing their hooves in what Celestia could only imagine was a greeting. The nymphs catapulted over each other in rapid succession, competing to get a better view of the strange and fascinating creatures approaching them.

The monarch's smile brightened. She could not help sharing their wonder. The flourishing hive, they themselves were a sight she never thought she'd live to see from the former minions of Chrysalis.

"A pure and compassionate heart is a gift, Spike," Celestia commented. "It is a beautiful power that Equestria will always have a need for."

The throne room, once lit with hanging cocoon prisons was now an open, illuminated space, the vast sky overhead its only ceiling. The walls split off into multiple hallways, with lamps built from luminescent cocoon slime lining the corridors. In contrast to the dark throne that had once jutted up from the floor, now a small, modest throne sat, surrounded by a shelf of communal space.

It was here that Thorax had laid himself down, enjoying the rays of sun blanketing his shell. A handful of changelings were curled by his sides, some fast asleep, others relaxing and lightly chatting among themselves.

Thorax drew breath, and his eyes grew heavy upon the exhale. Never had he felt so at peace within the walls of the hive, stained with memories of friction and anxiety. It was not so long ago that he'd fled from his kind, leaving his hive behind to pursue a foolish dream of love and friendship. Not so long ago that he'd worried he'd succumb to the Frozen North, friendless and alone.

But the monarch gazed to his hooves, to a blue changeling utilizing them as a pillow, and he beamed. The brighter reality of today surrounded him, and once again it politely shook his mind free of lingering doubts.

No longer did he suffer that hopeful dream. No longer did he feel alone.

The drone shivered, and it tugged a grin from the alpha changeling. Was it the sun warming his underbelly? Was it the satisfaction of having taken in his fill of love magic? Perhaps it was both.

As if sensing his gaze, the changeling tilted his head back and peered skywards. Violet orbs locked with brilliant amber, and the bug pony twitched his ears to the loving expression eclipsing the sun.

"...is everything okay, Thorax?", the drone asked curiously.

"Everything is perfect, actually," Thorax replied softly. "I'm just excited from how well the re-construction has been going so far. Everyling is doing a great job, and I'm so happy I can help you all rest like this."

The changeling reflected the smile, standing to his hooves and stretching his wings of fatigue. Running with the signal, Thorax gently began to wake the other drones encircling him with his hoof.

Time had truly flown by. The sun's position had noticeably shifted, yet he'd only just laid down with the drones. Or, so he thought, anyway. Granted, he was still suffering a bit of a blissful ignorance whenever he took to rest with changelings.

"Tarsus, could you and the others take over the work being done on the left portion of hallway X?", Thorax asked, returning his attention to the drone before him. "Please let the squad there know that they should rest for a while, and that I'm still stationed here should they like to regain some energy."

Tarsus fluttered his wings and took to the air, watching a few other drones yawn and peer around in a haze of confusion, before doing the same.

"Of course. Thank you, Thorax," Tarsus said with a nod of his head, signaling the others to follow his lead. "I appreciate your help, as always."

"Yeah, thanks Thorax! I feel great!", another drone echoed, doing a few mid-air loops to demonstrate his point.

"Who knew being lazy together could be so filling?", a third pondered aloud, her voice fading off as the group headed through an onyx doorway.

Thorax stared after them. It was surreal how much had changed so quickly. He had undergone a drastic metamorphosis, replaced Chrysalis as the hive's leader, and was now helping the changelings rebuild the hive into something they could all enjoy. But even more than status and appearance, Thorax felt a joy from simply being among his kind, again. No longer was he condemned to separate himself from other changelings for being different, no longer did he feel out of place.

He could talk with changelings, joke with changelings, even embrace changelings and be met with acceptance, not disdain. It was no wonder he often aired caution to the idea of a lucid dream.

The monarch's thoughts were brought to an abrupt halt as the throne room's doors burst open.

"Thorax!", came the voice of a red and yellow guard drone, fluttering into the room and saluting his king. "Her majesty, Princess Celestia, and Spike from Ponyville are here to see you."

Thorax's lofty expression flipped to one of rising excitement. The princess he had been expecting, but Spike visiting was news to him.

"Oh, please send them in!", Thorax commanded, promptly fluttering from his sat position and perching himself on his throne. Though not fond of them, politics brought out his formal side. He was a new leader in the eyes of Equestria, and he wanted to make a good impression.

The fluttering drone vanished beyond the doorway, and was shortly thereafter replaced by a pair of telling shadows.

"...King Thorax, what a pleasure it is to see you again," came the soft and soothing voice of Celestia. Like a goddess she strolled into the room, mane shimmering in the overhead light. Following after her was Spike, who, after maneuvering around Celestia's flowing mane, caught sight of Thorax and released a pent up grin.

"Oh, the pleasure is all mine, princess," Thorax assured, raising a hoof and beckoning his guests to join him. "I hope your journey went well."

"Oh yes, it went just fine, thank you," Celestia replied, stepping towards the throne and settling herself on the stone floor. "We quite enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature that surround the hive, now."

"Thorax!", came the excited voice of a certain young dragon. Before Thorax knew it, two small claws had firmly wrapped themselves around his foreleg. With a nymph-like energy, Thorax assailed a hoof across Spike's head and chuckled.

"Hey, Spike! It's good to see you again," Thorax said jovially. "How are things going? Have there been any more adventures by 'Spike the Brave and Glorious' that I should know about?"

"Well, nothing major so far, but give it time," Spike replied, lazily flopping down by Thorax's throne. "Though, you should probably know that ever since Chrysalis's defeat, Twilight's been obsessed with establishing new changeling records for Equestria. She's bugged Starlight a lot, but of course she only knows so much. Now she's taken to sending you letters, but I told her you were a bit busy for that right now."

The monarch laughed and rubbed the back of his head.

"Yeah, we've been so busy here lately," Thorax admitted. "To be honest, I did get a few of Twilight's letters, but I haven't gotten around to responding just yet. I want to, but...the construction has been constant, and it takes up most of my time just helping the other changelings."

"Oh, don't worry about Twilight, she won't take it personally," Spike dismissed, relaxing his head against the cool stone outcropping. "She's just Twilighting right now. She kinda woke up from a cocoon and found out an entire species had changed completely without her knowing. She'll calm down. You know, eventually."

Celestia giggled from her spot on the floor.

"Well that's a relief," Thorax breathed. "I'm really excited to exchange information with her - we've all been discovering new things about ourselves, lately. I guess that's what happens when you transform and change your means of getting your food, though."

Thorax turned his attention again to the esteemed co-monarch of Equestria. She had crossed her hooves, pacing herself in observing the layout of the newly-established throne room. With every glance, Thorax could tell the princess wasn't so much observing the walls and architecture of his hive, as much as she was enjoying the atmosphere, itself.

Even an emotionally-stunted creature could feel the difference between Chrysalis's hive and this one. For an alicorn as old as her, it must be a remarkable feeling indeed.

"Princess Celestia," Thorax began, "I want to thank you again for taking the time to journey out here to see me. I know you must be very busy."

Celestia's magenta eyes turned to fixate on him. Her ever present, subtle smile never ceased to make Thorax smile as well.

"Think nothing of it, Thorax," she assured in a gentle tone. "Equestria has the unique position of having four fairly autonomous figureheads. I would never ask a solo monarch to journey just for the sake of my own convenience. I may be your guest here today, but in the grand scheme of things, I wish to do everything in my power to ensure you and your subjects feel comfortable and confident with myself and mine."

"Thank you, princess...that's really considerate of you," Thorax replied, his look practically glowing. "I'm just as excited as I'm sure you are to develop our relationship from here on out. I'm confident ponies and changelings can become good allies, as well as friends. We're not so different, really."

"Thorax, we finished the work on the southern end of hallway X!"

The small summit of friends turned their attention to a corridor adjacent the throne room's front doors. A group of drones emerged from it looking rather ragged, but proud nonetheless. The speaker at the forefront came to a dead halt upon spotting the Equestrian Princess engaging with his king, his grin retreating to a toothy grimace. With an embarrassed blush the green and yellow drone lowered his altitude, his ears flattening.

"O-oh, I'm so sorry, Thorax, and, uh, your majesty," he stuttered out. "I didn't mean to interrupt your meeting. I-I forgot that was today."

"Don't worry about it, Tibia," Thorax replied, disarming the bug pony with a look. "That's wonderful news. What's the squad I sent to take over your work, working on now?"

"They're beginning work on hallway Y's corridor connection between X and Z," the changeling known as Tibia replied, already regaining some composure. The other changelings came to silent landings on the stone floor by him, but maintained their positions near the hallway, as if unsure whether they should stay or leave.

"Perfect, the southern end of the hive will be finished by tomorrow at this rate," Thorax surmised. "Thank you again, Tibia, your squad is doing great work today."

"Thanks, Thorax," Tibia murmured, rubbing one leg with the other. Being singled out and given praise in front of the foreign sun monarch had his belly convulsing in squirms.

"Thorax," came the voice of another drone. Crimson eyes peered around the curvature of Tibia's flank. "Are we interrupting? Would you like us to leave?"

"Oh-no no, of course not," Thorax stammered, rising from his throne with purpose and venturing to the floor. "You all deserve to rest now, so please don't let us stop you. Actually, you know what? This is perfect timing."

He shifted his gaze to his guests. "Princess Celestia, Spike, let me show you something."

With a wave of his hoof, Thorax beckoned the drones to join him as he laid down against the floor. Though still timid in the presence of a ruler of Equestria, the changelings obliged, some trotting and some fluttering over to join their leader. Thorax let off a sigh, and he assumed the position he had held earlier, eyeing the bug ponies now surrounding him. When they looked to him for permission, he gave a subtle nod.

"As you both already know, changelings feed on love," Thorax began, as changelings began to settle themselves down on the floor. "That much hasn't changed, per say - we still need love to survive, long-term. The thing is, we never realized we were able to sustain ourselves through friendship and romance, or rather, the feelings of compassion we mutually feel for other creatures."

As drones began to settle, their individual preferences became apparent. While some nested nearby, holding a modest distance, others dove right in, cuddling up to Thorax's sides and making themselves comfortable. The air sang with the pleasant chirps of wing rubbing carapace.

"After we transformed, we discovered something else," Thorax continued, looking around at his newly-assembled nest. He rested a hoof on the head of a young changeling flopped in front of his chest, and the bug thrummed incessantly. "While long-term relationships sustain us from hunger, physical acts of affection and resting together rejuvenates our bodies rapidly of fatigue in the present."

"That is...super cute, and that's coming from me," Spike chuckled, dropping down by Celestia's side. "Twilight is gonna go ballistic when I tell her about this."

Celestia cast an enchanted smile. She met each pair of curious, colorful eyes that watched her with such curiosity.

"Truly remarkable. I'm curious, how did you all come upon this discovery?" the sun matriarch inquired.

"About a week ago, a changeling that I know was working on the exterior of the upper hive," came a changeling laid against Thorax's left side. "It was freezing that night, so when he came back in shivering I offered to share my bed burrow with him. I turned into a really big, fluffy dog and that helped him warm up. After a short while we both felt so much more alert and full of energy than before. We tested it with other changelings we knew, and it happened every time."

"It works whether you're awake or asleep, but it works best when you do it with other changelings you know well, because the magic is stronger if there's a pre-existing relationship." The speaker, a tangerine drone, flattened his face along Thorax's purple shell. "Thorax really cares about everyling, and we're all thankful for everything he's done, so it's really easy when he's around."

Thorax suffered an awkward smile when the changeling looked up to him.

"The one time I didn't bring a note-taking scroll with me," Spike muttered to himself, pricking fingers along his forehead. "Twilight's gonna go ballistic, alright. She's gonna kill me for not being prepared."

"It's quite alright Spike," Celestia said with a giggle, "I'll keep record of this myself, and relay it to Princess Twilight. I imagine Princess Cadance in-particular will also find this news fascinating. Love magic has always been her specialty."

"We've already come a long way from what our kind defined as absolute for so long," Thorax stated thoughtfully, chuckling to the feeling of a body pillowfying his flank. "It makes me curious of what else we'll discover, and all the things we can accomplish now that we're more self-sufficient."

There was a moment of silence. A few changelings shifted their positions, and Celestia, after glancing at Spike, locked eyes with Thorax.

"Thorax, I believe now is a good time to bring up what I'd like to discuss with you, today."

"Oh absolutely, I'm all ears," Thorax replied.

"Regarding our respective kingdoms, I believe the best approach for improving our relationship past a political level is to slowly integrate your subjects into events and gatherings in Equestria," the princess explained, her patient voice never once waning. "Regardless how promising our relationship may be looking towards the future, Chrysalis's reign was a long and cruel one, which left many scars upon both Equestria and its inhabitants."

Thorax nodded, while his clutch of changelings remained silent. Some paid attention to the princess, their ears perking at the mention of their former leader's name, while others tuned her out, deciding instead to pursue sleep while they could.

"By introducing changelings little by little, I believe the fear and stigma many of my subjects feel towards yours may slowly ease to a point where changelings may freely roam Equestria as they please, with no panic from its other inhabitants."

Thorax's attentive expression broke to a humbled nod.

"That's just the kind of wisdom I'd always imagined a princess of Equestria would have," he followed up. "I agree, taking small steps is definitely the way I want to approach this, as well. We can't change the damage done but we can begin to soothe the fear that the aftermath left."

"Which brings me to my exciting announcement for you, today," the sun princess replied, cracks of elation shining through her calm, political exterior. "Because you played such a crucial role in the triumph over Queen Chrysalis, I would like to cordially invite you to a special dinner at Princess Twilight's castle in Ponyville, in the upcoming week. My sister and I wish to grant Discord, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie Lulamoon and yourself with the Equestrian Pink Hearts of Courage, for your bravery and resolve in saving all of Equestria."

At a loss for words, Thorax gaped stupidly. Several changelings grinned and prodded his sides in a congratulatory manner.

"Naturally, if any of your subjects feel comfortable in going, they are more than welcome to join you," Celestia continued. "All attendees have been briefed of your possible attendance, which includes changelings other than yourself. Of course, there are no obligations."

"W-wow, that's amazing, Princess Celestia. I'd be totally honored!", Thorax replied, initial shock and surprise subduing to glee. "I'll definitely attend. And yeah, I'll talk with the changelings to see if any of them feel comfortable in going. Some of them feel out of place and nervous, as I first did, and need time to grow comfortable with the idea of opening up and mingling, but I know others wouldn't mind. For now I'll go on a volunteer basis."

Celestia nodded. "Perfectly natural. I hold no expectations on the time it will take our subjects to grow comfortable with one another, I simply wish to leave out a warm welcome for when they are ready. Many wonderful events can be attended by anyone in Equestria, and beyond, given adequate invitation. You need only let me, or Princess Twilight know in advance if you require any assistance with attending any Equestrian events."

Celestia's attention turned to Spike.

"Thanks to Spike, you are already welcomed with open arms within the Crystal Empire," she pointed out. "I recommend you keep in touch with Princess Cadance as well, Thorax. I believe coordinating with her and the crystal ponies would prove beneficial as an initial step for your subjects, as well."

"I bet Cadance and Shining Armor would love to have you and the changelings visit them!" Spike chimed in. "Other ponies in Equestria would probably start to open up too, once they see Princess Cadance accepting you in her own kingdom."

"That's exactly right, Spike," Celestia praised. "Having already accepted Thorax, the Crystal Empire should have few qualms about giving his subjects a chance, and we have you to thank for establishing that connection."

"This all sounds wonderful...and, I'd love to keep in touch with all of the princesses throughout this process, actually," Thorax thought aloud, starting to playfully rub the head of the unsuspecting changeling laying below his chest. The drone jolted in surprise, immediately taking evasive action to try and avoid the alpha changeling's assaulting hoof. "I'm sure Twilight, as well as Cadance will have great ideas and advice on how to proceed next."

While a few changelings watched the absent-minded play between Thorax and their friend with benign amusement, Celestia rose from her spot on the floor with an air of contentment.

"I will be sending you a scroll as soon as I've addressed my subjects regarding your crowning, Thorax. The scroll will also include the dinner date, and a list of Equestrian events that your subjects may find of interest in the future," the sun princess said warmly. "In the meantime, I suggest you contact Princess Cadance and see what her thoughts are. I am confident she would be delighted to work with you on forging a relationship between the changelings and the crystal ponies."

Thorax could sense the political discussions coming to an end. He ventured to stand, to join the alicorn and his dragon friend, but five fast-asleep changelings had swiftly turned him into little more than a large pillow, and he couldn't deprive them of the sleep they had just obtained. Instead, he cast Celestia a beaming look.

"I look forward to hearing from you, princess," he said, his volume noticably restrained. "Thank you so much for your time. Being a new king doesn't feel nearly as frightening, knowing I have such kind allies ready to offer me help."

The sun princess took a few steps forward, and looked upon the precious scene before her once more. The changeling monarch had been surrounded by colorful puzzle pieces, perfectly tucked into various shapes around his body. Beyond them was an even larger amount of drones, content with simply relaxing nearby their king. Many of them gazed at the towering alicorn with a child-like wonder, their colorful compound eyes hypnotizing.

"I've lived for several millennia, Thorax, and in that time I have never had the pleasure to stand within a changeling hive and discuss a future relationship between our kingdoms," Celestia said, her voice equally lowered. "The compassion you have for your subjects, as well as other creatures is truly unparalleled. More than any monarch I've had relations with, I can tell you will be a loved king indeed."

The young changeling could feel his composure melt away before the princess's watchful gaze. With great difficulty, Thorax fought back tears from the corners of his eyes, his lip quivering as he spoke.

"T-thank you, Princess Celestia," he managed out. "That means so much coming from you."

"...is something wrong, Thorax?"

Thorax's attention was drawn to the drones by his sides. As if by a silent alarm they were waking up, one by one, some of them already sitting up straight and scanning his face carefully. Looks of puzzlement, of concern, even slight irritation of having woken so abruptly sprouted among them.

"I-I'm fine," Thorax replied, fighting to regain his composure for their sake. "W-why did you all wake up so suddenly? There's no way you guys all had bad dreams at the same time...right?"

"I was having a great dream, actually," one drone replied.

"I dunno, I just woke up to you crying," pitched in another, cocking an eyebrow. "That's a little unnerving to wake up to, by the way."

Thorax chuckled nervously.

"Yeah, I suppose it is, isn't it?", he said, rubbing his head. "Sorry to worry you all, like that. Try to go back to sleep, okay? If you guys don't get enough rest before your next shift because of me, I don't think I'd be able to forgive myself."

Spike, who had kept rather quiet for the majority of the ending semantics was now watching the changelings with a heightened curiosity.

"Hey, princess...what do you think just happened?", the purple dragon asked, just loud enough for Celestia to hear.

"I believe Thorax and his subjects are continuing to discover the role love plays in their lives," she replied, the radiant smile she'd been wearing since they stepped foot in the hive still going strong. "Thorax spoke of how physical connection amplifies the relationships, the love that they share. Perhaps even drastic changes in emotional state can affect this unique connection."

"Twilight's gonna eat me alive," Spike mumbled, burying himself in his claws. "She'll be like, 'Spike, what were you thinking not bringing your note-taking supplies on a trip like this!?', and I'll be all, 'Oh, sorry Twilight, I was excited to see my best friend Thorax again, and kinda forgot that I needed to take notes on changeling eating habits.'"

Spike felt a gentle, soft hoof place itself on his head. It caressed just behind his first curvature of spines.

"Come on, Spike," Celestia said softly. "I think it's time we leave them be for now."

"Wait, what?", Spike fumbled, blooming from his spot and assailing the princess with pleading eyes. "But, I've hardly gotten any time to hang out with Thorax! I mean, we just got here!"

"There will be time for that, Spike. However, for now, it appears your friend is very busy. I think we've taken up enough of his attention for today."

The dragon crossed his arms and shot the sun monarch a skeptical look. It was a look Celestia was all too familiar with, and one she could only giggle at. If only the young dragon had a flowing blue mane to go with it.

"Why don't we return to Equestria for now, Spike, and we can have Princess Twilight promise to make a follow-up trip very soon," Celestia offered. "As you've so aptly put, I'm sure she'll be very eager to make her own return to the changeling kingdom as soon as she can spare the time."

"Yeah, where she'll bug Thorax the entire time with a checklist of questions,", Spike muttered, watching as Celestia turned her attention to the changeling king one final time.

"Thorax, you and your subjects appear to be doing remarkably well. I wish to leave you to the work on your hive, for now," she explained. "We now have a solid basis for a plan, and I will relay it to the other princesses. You may contact Princess Cadance when you feel the time is right, and in the meantime, please await my scroll by this time next week."

"That sounds perfect. I'll contact Princess Cadance as soon as the hive has been completed, which should just be another week or so," Thorax replied, feeling one of his subjects climb atop his back, much to the amusement of the other drones. Within minutes they had abandoned their timid and cautious attitudes in favor of regular shenanigans, even around the foreign monarch. The young king felt an innate pride in it.

"Seeya, Thorax!", Spike called, waving a claw and following the princess's lead towards the large throne room doors. "Sorry we couldn't hang out much, this time...but I'm gonna come back with Twilight really soon, okay? We'll hang out then! I've got a really awesome game I wanna show you!"

"That sounds great, Spike! Please tell Twilight and the others that I send my regards!"

With waving hooves and smiling faces, the sun princess and young dragon departed the hive throne room, leaving Thorax and the changelings behind. As soon as the doors closed behind their guests, Thorax felt the drone perched on his back stand up, resting his upper legs and head between Thorax's rigid antlers.

"Thorax, do you really think we can be friends with Equestrians after everything that's happened?", the drone inquired.

Thorax could barely make out the drone's ears and snout in his upper peripheral.

"I know we can," he stated with a smile. "This isn't Chrysalis's kingdom anymore, it's ours. The races of Equestria have gotten to where they are today through coming together, and we'll do the same."

Thorax swept a glance about the room, at the various bug ponies staring back. His subjects, yes, but also the friends he had once wished so much he could have. Now it was up to him to guide and protect them, to love them and lead them.

The future was uncertain, and it caused him anxiety, but no longer was he alone. No longer was he an outcast, left in the frozen tundra. He was a part of the hive, and the hive would face that future, together.

"So, princess," Spike began, flicking brambles from his shoulder upon stepping from a dense perimeter of forest. "Will you be there to clean up my remains, after Twilight blasts me to smithereens for forgetting to take notes about changeling hugs?"

Celestia giggled to herself, giving the dragon a modest look.

"Come now, Spike, give Twilight a little more credit than that," she said. "She's come a long way from the...enthusiastic pony she used to be while she was my faithful student."

"Yeah, she's changed a lot in some ways," Spike admitted. His expression soured immediately. "Though in other ways she's still kinda obsessive. She's had two separate book-sort-cations within the last month, alone. If you ask me, princess, I think being cooped up in that castle and not getting to go on friendship missions is messing with her head."

"As I said, I will relay all of what we learned today to Twilight, myself," Celestia replied. "I will even make sure she has a return visit in place between the two of you, before I leave for Canterlot. I know how much it means for you to spend time with your friend, and I'm sure it will be a priority for Twilight, as well."

His expression salvaged, and Spike put his claws together below his tummy.

"Aww, thanks, Princess Celestia."

"You are very welcome, Spike."

A few moments of silence passed, while the two walked towards the setting sun on Equestria's horizon.

"By the way, Spike, I'm rather curious," Celestia said suddenly.

"About what?"

"What's a...'book-sort-cation'?"

Author's Note:

Welcome to my contribution to the fandom as of late! :pinkiehappy:

While many are mixed about the new changeling designs, I find our new bug fairy overlords rather cute. More importantly, now that everyling is sharing love and not stealing it, we have all kinds of excuses to have them doing adorable things. Allow me to crank the throttle to maximum fluff, gentlecolts. :moustache:

Changelings have always been creatures with more primal behaviors than ponies for me. Not necessarily more or less intelligent, but exhibiting behaviors seen in many animals, as compared to ponies who behave almost entirely human-like. This is reflected in the fact that changelings live in hives made from stone, earth and other materials, where ponies are living in human-like houses, etc. :twilightsmile: You will find this theme throughout this story, as it's my own personal take on the changelings and their basic behaviors.

If you enjoyed this chapter, there are many more ahead. :ajsmug:
Take this with you. :heart: It's dangerous to dawww alone.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!