• Published 24th Jan 2017
  • 6,197 Views, 272 Comments

Why Are You Here, Your Majesty? - forbloodysummer



Following her defeat, Chrysalis visits Celestia in her chambers for a long chat. For all their differences, they also find they have a lot in common, some of which puts Chrysalis’ recent actions in a new light.

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Any Day Worth Remembering

“And you saw how quickly they turned against me, after all the sacrifices I have made for them,” Chrysalis concluded wryly, “so what they deserve is relative.”

Celestia could feel the ground slipping away underneath her, almost overcome with the urge to grab hooffuls of her own mane, clinging onto anything she could. She needed time to adjust her thinking to the new knowledge about changeling natures, but she had none. Chrysalis might never be as receptive again; if there were anything Celestia could do, she had to do it right now.

“I will reach out to them,” she blurted, not knowing if she’d actually be able to do anything to help, but certain she had to try. “Offer the love they need, if they cannot sustain themselves on their own.”

And at that, Chrysalis froze. All traces of the haughty, scheming changeling queen vanished, replaced with a blank face and a mouth hanging open. Her wide eyes were locked on Celestia, unblinking. After a couple of seconds, Chrysalis recovered, but spoke haltingly as she leaned in.

“W-would you, would you really do that for them?” she asked in a breathy voice, edging closer on the bed to Celestia. Chrysalis covered her mouth with a hoof, and then spoke more quickly, disbelief in her tone giving way to wild hope. “Now they’re in their adult forms, they’ll only live about ten years, even with plenty of food, and they can’t reproduce,” she babbled. “So it would only need to be temporary.”

Then she caught herself again, holding her breath and giving Celestia an earnest look. Chrysalis’ face by that point had drawn to within hoofwidths of Celestia’s own. “And I would owe you the biggest favour in history, for not letting my children die.”

“Of course we would,” Celestia said without hesitation. She could already picture the strange looks she’d get, helping those who had so recently been enemies, but if Thorax and his people were in need of aid, Equestria would provide it. It would have been easier had they eaten pony food, but love was what they ate, so love they would have to have.

“I don’t have much to offer in return,” Chrysalis said softly, looking down at the bed and pulling back a little. “Not at the moment. Once I rebuild a new hive, then–”

“I can think of one thing,” Celestia interrupted gently. Revelation after revelation queued up in her head waiting to be processed, but the most recent one, that Chrysalis would put such stock in whoever might offer to help her children, might have put hope back on the table, and that couldn’t be left not acted upon.

Very slowly, Chrysalis straightened upright again. There was a tight look around her eyes that Celestia interpreted as sad, but also hard. There might have been shame in there, perhaps, or fear, she couldn’t quite tell.

“I will not lay down my life,” Chrysalis said. Celestia heard reluctance, but also unwavering resolve. “I am the mother of my race, and it will die without me. I cannot allow that to happen.” She paused to swallow. “Ten years of happiness are not worth infinities of extinction.” Celestia noticed guilt in Chrysalis’ expression, too, at the thought of those she would be abandoning. “If you want that, you’ll have to catch me first.”

Chrysalis leapt backwards off the bed, landing on her hooves and flaring her wings. A green glow immediately appeared around her horn. She looked like her heart wasn’t quite in it, but that she was determined to fight her way out anyway.

Celestia remained where she sat, trying not to show her alarm, but reasonably confident she could placate Chrysalis before the situation grew out of hand. Celestia could understand defensiveness and suspicion, but that had been quite a conclusion for Chrysalis to leap to. Celestia patiently watched Chrysalis, saying nothing, only wishing that she had some tea to sip while doing so.

“That wasn’t it,” she said calmly. And she understood Chrysalis’ decision, too. However hard it must have been to doom her own children, a leader had to put their subjects as a whole first. In this case, that meant Chrysalis’ unborn future changelings over Thorax’s extant ones, which was an unusual situation, but Celestia knew that any monarch worth their salt would have made the same decision.

Wincing, Chrysalis’ ears turned red as the green glow around her horn fizzled out.

“Then, what?” she asked sheepishly, shuffling her hooves before looking away.

Celestia gestured with her muzzle, pointing at the spot on the bed Chrysalis had been occupying, and smiling encouragingly. In as low-key a manner as she could, Chrysalis returned to her former spot, her face still flushed, rubbing the back of her neck before settling down.

“You will build a new hive, yes, once they’re gone?” said Celestia. She perked up where she sat as she asked, tapping a hoof to her lips while thinking.

“Yes,” Chrysalis answered, unsure of the purpose of the question. Her brow furrowed slightly, puzzled where Celestia might be leading the conversation to.

“And,” Celestia kept her tone neutral, “you will raise the next generation of changelings to be just as cruel as the last?” Her mouth had gone dry at the thought, but she made sure not to wrinkle her brow.

“Probably more so,” Chrysalis replied evenly. She showed no outward signs of what she was feeling, and her voice held neither sadness or pride. “I think it will give them the best odds of survival.”

And there’s a very good chance you’re right. Chrysalis absolutely believed so, that much was obvious. Celestia couldn’t trust her own opinions on the matter: when they weren’t influenced by what loving ponies would do in that situation, they were too wrapped up in what it would mean for Equestria.

That was a debate for another time. Celestia would have to set things up for now, and consider them as she went. There’d be plenty of opportunity to think it through from all angles once the initial arrangements were in place.

“Do you have to start now?” she asked, feeling her breath hitch. “Or can you leave some time before starting a new breeding cycle?”

Chrysalis arched an eyebrow, and Celestia realised that it might have been quite a personal question. It was a necessary one, however, that she couldn’t have moved forwards without asking. Chrysalis didn’t look indignant, though, more like mystified.

“...I can,” she said, sounding bemused.

Celestia bit her lip, noticing the sweat on her forelegs, and picking up on how acute her senses suddenly felt. She would not let her eyes flick to the exit. She would not! Instead she closed them and took a deep, steadying breath, then opened them again and fixed her gaze on Chrysalis.

Ok, moment of truth. Go for it.

“Then stay with me,” she said simply. She didn’t need to struggle for her voice to sound open, or fight down her nerves, that all happened by itself, and she found there was a clarity in the moment. “Take a century off to spend with me here, in the palace.” She smiled, feeling almost weightless, and arched an eyebrow of her own. “You said you wanted company.”

Chrysalis didn’t say anything or give much of an outward reaction, but she smiled and pursed her lips. There was a calculating look, a slight narrowing of her eyes, but the smile never faded. Celestia took that to be the best response she could have wished for, under the circumstances.

“You’re thinking you can win me over,” Chrysalis said shrewdly. It wasn’t a question.

Using subterfuge on a changeling is a bad idea, especially if I’m hoping to teach her openness and honesty.

“I think if you live among the sheep,” Celestia said with a playful grin, borrowing Chrysalis’ metaphor, “you might be more reluctant to go back to feeding on them.”

“Changelings have to eat,” Chrysalis reminded her, but at least sounded more amused than disparaging, as her lips pressed together into a fine line.

“But that food could be freely given, without you having to steal it,” Celestia implored, rushing, with a fluttering in her stomach.

“You would make us your pets, utterly dependent on you for love, and helpless should you withhold it.”

Was that how it looked from the other side? In a way it was nice to think that changelings had a deeper reason than mutual distrust for not simply asking ponies to love them. They were unwilling to put themselves in such a position of subservience. How could Celestia offer them some self-worth, making them slightly less co-dependent?

“If love is only a resource to you, then it would be no different to a basic bartering system,” she said, “exchanging food for whatever services you could provide.” And once she’d said it, Celestia realised she had no idea if changeling society had any form of currency, insectoid as it was. Then she remembered that Chrysalis had had no trouble fitting in amongst ponies as Cadence, and she and Shining Armor had always kept tight-lipped about exactly how long that had gone on for, so the idea would likely not be foreign to her after such immersion in pony society.

“But we would still be at your mercy,” Chrysalis said pointedly, rolling her eyes. “You’d be able to set whatever price you wanted, because we couldn’t survive refusing it.”

Hmmm. That was hard to argue with. Celestia looked off to one side, eyes lowering and darting around studying nothing as she tried to consider the problem. Ponies could grow their own food, but changelings could never hope to be so independent. Nothing they could offer ponies would ever be needed in the same way as love was for them, and so the imbalance couldn’t be countered.

“Then we will have a century to work out the details,” she smiled, straightening her spine from where she had hunched over in thought, and feeling the lightness in her chest as she pushed it out confidently. Given enough time, all problems could be solved. Time was something she had. Chrysalis too.

“But even if, after that, you leave and continue just as before,” she pressed on, “a hundred years without me having to worry about another changeling invasion will have been welcome.” There would be other threats, of course, but the changelings had presented a unique challenge since Equestria had become aware of their existence, requiring all manner of anti-deception spells. None of which had reliably worked, but they still had served some purpose, reassuring the populace.

They had not been cheap, though. Being able to do away with them would definitely be a boon.

“And you’d have me here, as your guest?” Chrysalis asked, narrowing her eyes and jutting her chin out sceptically, but it came across as good-natured. “Perhaps in some official function, an ambassador to a nation that no longer exists?”

“Something like that, if you’d like,” Celestia nodded, breathing easily. In the meantime, until such appointments were made, Chrysalis would probably need to remain as Celestia’s personal guest. Happily, the private guest rooms of the palace were every bit as lavish as the state rooms, so Chrysalis ought to have nothing to complain about.

Chrysalis chuckled and lifted a hoof to her mouth, trying to stifle her laughter, but not trying that hard, and looking around the room in mock-innocence at anything but Celestia.

Moving only her eyebrows, Celestia sent Chrysalis a ‘something funny?’ look.

“How would Princess Cadence take that, I wonder?” Chrysalis grinned. Her eyes twinkled mischievously, not taking the situation nearly seriously enough. But Celestia struggled to hold her decorum, too. To an immortal, any day worth remembering would ultimately end up being thought of fondly. And she’d been struck down in her own throne room!

“That was quite a while ago,” she said with a knowing look. “I doubt she was too happy to see you again, especially via abduction” – she frowned for a moment – “but you probably need not fear for your safety.” She tried to keep the rosiness from her face as she confided, “I happen to know that now the trauma of the incident has passed, the Princess of Love is quite proud of having a wedding nopony will ever forget.”

Was it the jaded indifference of immortal perspective to find herself smiling about the whole thing with the very creature who had done the striking? Or could it be the first sign of friendship?

“Then she’ll love Flurry Heart’s cute-ceañera,” Chrysalis cackled, and Celestia chortled despite herself. She probably ought to warn Cadence about that one...

“Since you mention love, and that occasion,” Chrysalis continued once they had both regained their composure, rubbing her sides, which ached from laughing too hard, “you know I’d need to eat while staying here.”

Celestia had already thought of that. She cleared her throat and looked uncomfortable, although probably not for the reasons Chrysalis might have guessed. This would need handling delicately.

“I don’t mean to rub your face in it,” she said, “but love is a luxury I can afford.” She made an effort not to shuffle her hooves in front of her. “And I have plenty of it to spare.”

Would the platonic love of a friend be enough to sustain Chrysalis? And how quickly could those feelings be developed? Celestia wasn’t sure how drained being fed on would leave her, but attempting to bring peace to relations with Chrysalis and the changelings would be worth substantial sacrifice.

“You would love me?” Chrysalis smirked.

Well somepony’s got to. And I don’t see any others lining up.

Chrysalis looked like she’d just been handed the keys to the kingdom. Nothing was impossible, Celestia reminded herself, so there was the tiniest chance that when future historians looked back on this moment, that was exactly what they would conclude to have transpired. “I, who, only a few minutes ago, you looked ready to strike down for tyranny?”

Maybe the answer was to look only at Chrysalis’ good traits. She was loyal to her race as a whole, if not individual members of it, or even individual generations of it, ensuring its survival at their expense if that was what it took. Kindness and generosity were present in her dedication, if not her manner. Honesty was out entirely, of course, but, between raw power matching Celestia’s own, bringing down Shining Armor’s shield, and that throne of hers, Chrysalis had proven herself with magic time and time again. And laughter? She had that down to a tee.

Outside of the Elemental virtues, Chrysalis had ambition, determination, and the toughness to weather the centuries on her own, at least until now. She was audacious enough to kidnap every important political figure in Equestria in one go. She even had a great singing voice.

And she was clever. Celestia had been devastated after the wedding to realise how harshly she’d treated Twilight, who had been right all along, of course, but she’d grudgingly had to respect Chrysalis’ masterful plan to drive a wedge between the six bearers of the Elements, manipulating people she’d never met before.

“I’ll try,” Celestia said levelly, biting the inside of her cheek. There was no denying the adventure Chrysalis always brought with her when she entered the picture, where at the time ponies, Celestia included, would only see danger. That kind of thrill ride only worked when mortal peril was present, which Chrysalis saw as something of a speciality.

“Maybe it’ll encourage you to start acting more lovably,” Celestia teased.

“And here we are with the pet thing again,” Chrysalis drawled, shaking her head indignantly before crossing her forehooves and looking away, scowling. All done in a way Celestia knew wasn’t really meant.

There was definitely a sense of fun about Chrysalis, a mischievousness and unpredictability that only came from somepony who wasn’t necessarily going to do the right thing.

“All I’m saying,” Celestia said lightly with a grin, “is that being difficult to love might not work in your favour.” She wanted to give Chrysalis a playful nudge, especially when facing the feigned indignation, but restrained herself. Soon, if all went well, they would actually have the kind of bond between them where such behaviour would be acceptable, even encouraged. But not yet. “You evolved yourself to be cruel, can you reverse it?”

The circumstances were unique, but ‘evolved’ was absolutely the word. Chrysalis had been shaped into something different by natural selection, her nature changed over time into whatever form gave her children the best chance of survival.

“That’s not a good idea,” Chrysalis said after a hard swallow, giving the answer Celestia had mostly expected to hear. “It’s taken me a long time to get to this state, backtracking would not serve the changelings well.”

I wonder what she used to be like, once upon a time. And how the Chrysalis from back then would think of her modern self being so reluctant to let go of malicious attributes she might once have found horrendous.

Clearly, Chrysalis was taking the consideration seriously. Her reply, as well as the tension in her shoulders, said that she knew what would be at stake, and would not risk it without very good reason. But it also suggested that Chrysalis at least thought such a change possible, rather than her being too locked into her ways to turn back.

And that’s it, then. That’s my mission. To prove to her how much she could stand to benefit, and find a way together for us to make it work. It would be in Chrysalis’ personal interest, with Celestia’s affection for her presumably growing with each step away from cruelty, and it would mean a more comfortable life for her people. But it did threaten their independence, and maybe in the end their survival, if no solution were found. One hundred years to find some compatibility, some way to coexist, with the terrifying changeling queen.

“If you see it that way, perhaps,” Celestia smiled serenely, feeling warmth radiating throughout her body. “But you could look at it as taking some time off from the endless cycle of death and rebirth, to enjoy the company of another immortal.” She struggled very hard not to reach out and touch Chrysalis, with how euphoric she was feeling. Her horn wasn’t glowing, but she wondered if she might all the same be subconsciously making the sun bounce up and down happily in the sky. “A holiday, if you will.”

Chrysalis gave her an appraising look, moving her head this way and that, studying closely with a piercing gaze as if the answers she sought could literally be seen in Celestia’s eyes. For a long time Chrysalis sat there opposite Celestia on the bed, biting her lip as she weighed the options.

And then, during a conversation in which Celestia had had to rethink her opinion on Chrysalis again and again, realising how wrong she’d been for years about various things, came her biggest surprise yet. Haltingly, nervously and with great uncertainty, Chrysalis leaned forwards, stretched out her forehooves and wrapped them around Celestia, enveloping her in a hug.

Celestia barely had the presence of mind to respond in kind, trying not to start shaking from the shock of it as her heart hammered away. Not letting go, Chrysalis rested her head on Celestia’s shoulder, thoughtfully on the opposite side to her flowing mane, and Celestia did the same, slowly closing her eyes.

“I’ll give it some thought,” Chrysalis said quietly in her ear.

Author's Note:

Six months after I joined this site, and after writing 27,000 words, I can finally say I've written about actual ponies! One of them, at least, since Chrysalis doesn't really count. And Celestia can hardly be called 'little.'

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun adding words like 'everypony' to Word's dictionary. I am intending to write a blog post about this story soon with more detailed notes inside.

Also, everyone has their own headcanon on changeling society, I know. This is mine, and it may not be compatible with yours, sorry about that. If my own headcanon had been the same as how the show chose to show them in To Where And Back Again, the discussion in the second chapter here would have been a lot shorter.

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Comments ( 240 )

excellent fiction can you do a sequel?

That was quite good. I enjoyed that.

That was pretty good! I really enjoyed reading the exchange between these two. Keep up the great work!

Interesting take on changeling biology and the attitude of immortals. Well done

While the story is good, though, I can't help but wonder how the feature box even works anymore. With barely over fifty views at the time of reading this and only two comments and seemingly having only been up for a couple hours maximum, I'm unsure how it made the feature box.

Again, not that it's not necessarily deserving I'm just puzzled by the mechanics of it.

7893953 Thanks :twilightsmile:

Without saying either yes or no to a sequel; I guess whether it would work would depend on what it was you liked about this story - for example, I don't think there are many more revelations about changeling biology that would be left to shock Celestia with, so I don't know how I'd write more of that. Any thoughts on where you'd see the story going?

7893960 Thanks!

I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. :twilightsmile:

I like this. I never thought about the changelings much after they turned into rainbow reindeers. I look forward to more from this headcanon or similar works. A sequel isn't necessary, but would be interesting to see. Note, though, that a sequel should only be written if you want it to, not your readers.

7894135 Thanks very much :twilightsmile:

I kind of agree with you, I'm a bit mystified by the feature box too.

I've never been featured before; I can definitely say that this story has picked up views and likes much much faster than anything else I've written (and more total likes), so its reception did feel quite different to my others, and on that basis I checked the feature box just in case and had my mind somewhat blown. :rainbowhuh:

But it also picked up two dislikes pretty quickly, and it's ranked 123,000th, which is almost twice as low as the lowest-ranked story I've written other than this one, so I thought that would sink its chances of being featured completely.

So on that basis, I don't really know how the algorithm works :twilightoops:

7894169 you really gave good explications to the behaviors of the changellings and you even combine it with the season 6 changelings . a sequel about Chrysalis accepting the proposition and the reaction of equestria + the developpement of Chrysalis behavior and the relation between her and Celestia , them becoming good friends and maybe more will be something good , that with the bases you gave.

Very nicely done.
Too often we have folks writing pivotal characters only to their cliches, ignoring the idea that those cliches exist for more than a quick label or dramatic splash. Fleshing them out, like you've managed to do, where they don't downplay their established traits, but expand upon them.... that's a difficult but wonderful accomplishment.
I liked this. I like this a lot. And dangit if I don't want that particular outcome to work.

7894195 Thanks very much, I'm aware that it will become invalidated the second the changelings make another appearance in the show and clearly aren't all dead, but at least until season 7 I can imagine it my way.

Thanks, that's good sequel advice :twilightsmile:

7894169
I'd probably focus on how Starlight, the rest of the girls and maybe the ex-changelings themselfs in a potential sequel.
How they handle the revelations, how to make sure their 10 years will be happy ones, stuff like that. That would be something I'm interested in.

Though I also wouldn't be suprised if they will never be told anything about it and Chrysalis lives in secrecy for those 100 years to start over when everyone involed is long dead.

7894231 Thanks, those are some good ideas. I hadn't even thought about how it might be received by the rest of Equestria as a whole, only one or two other characters, like Cadence as mentioned. I don't really have any plot ideas for a sequel myself, so right now I wouldn't say anything either way about making one, but would you for example be disappointed if a sequel was noticeably different in tone? Like if it was a fluffy shipping story?

7894238 Thanks very much :twilightsmile:

In a way that's what I feel they did with her in season 6, they took away most of the reasons she was great in A Canterlot Wedding (the manipulation, the audacity, the song!) and pretty much just played up the standard egotistical villain cliches. I get that they wanted to do something different, having the changelings take centre stage and her only appear at the last minute, but it didn't do her any favours, I don't think.

In terms of the outcome working, that'd be really nice. But also I'm always a bit sad when a villain gets softer, I rather appreciate how nasty she is right now. I'd definitely prefer that to her ending up alone, though, as she does after season 6, or imprisoned like Tirek.

7894347 That's an interesting idea, do you think it would be better to see more of the situation, then, rather than more of the characters?

Hiding her away for a century wasn't what I was imagining, but it's a great idea! The ultimate weapon of the immortal, they will live you to death.

7894169

Any thoughts on where you'd see the story going?

The obvious direction would be a very long and gradual showing of Chrysalis' adoption into Palace life. Start with Celestia inviting her to stay the night in her room, the two resting side by side together, Celestia closing her eyes, their breathign slowly synchronozing...then Celestia thinking to herself that she really can make this work and planning out how to most gently introduce Chrysalis to the Palace.

Then she's woken up the following morning by the guards, by Chrysalis decided it would be fun to take the initiative of introducing herself instead. Perhaps by going to the dining area to "feed." Because that's where ponies go to eat, right? Celestia can walk in just in time to stop Luna from attacking her. While Chysalis takes pleasure in putting Celestia in the awkward position of having to explain that no, she's a guest now. Luna is angry and insists that Chrysalis is taking advantage of Celestia's kindness, and vows to catch Chrysalis in the act of betrayal.

And that sets the stage for a very long and gradual progression of Chrysalis slowly adapting to pony life. Luna continues to disapprove, and shows up from time to time to remind everypony that she's simply waiting for Chrysalis to mess up. Eventually Chrysalis begins taking to the pony way of life, the free food, and starts to genuinely relate and wants to be there and try things their way. Along with the occasional misstep, perhaps an error or misunderstanding that results in nopony trusting her, unfairly, but her unable to prove her genuineness. However, Luna wasn't the one to catch her. Chrysalis then leaves or is cast out from Canterlot in a travesty of unfairness and cruelty that Luna had nothing to do with. Then calm before the storm. Then a growing new threat. A threat that many suspect is Chrysalis marshalling forces in vengeance. But Celestia is skeptical of this because she believes she genuinely did get through to her. "Of course you thought that, dear sweet unsuspecting Sister of Mine," Luna frowns. "She was manipulating her way into your confidence all these years, as I have so often told you." Eventually a catastrophe befall Equestria and in the dark moments when everypony expects Chrysalis to swoop in as the perpetrator, no she's there to save the day. Tears and hugs for everypony. Luna remains skeptical. "Clearly the entire affair was orchestrated to win our trust." "Oh, Luna."

You then write a sequel to that that takes place many years later. All the changelings have died, and there are now ponies who have lived their entire lies having never seen an old changeling. Chrysalis is known to the general pony population not as the invader of Canterlot, but as the savior of Canterlot from that event. She even has her own stained glass window in the palace. Everypony loves Chrysalis and is nice to her, and has no clue what she is or how things have come to be how they are. Most of the elements are dead and gone. Twilight is much older, wiser and less spastic. Celestia and Luna, eternal as they are, are the same as always.

In this story, Chrysalis faces her old dilemma. how dose she raise the next generation? It's been 100 years. Perhaps she's gone over because she's uncertain and stalling. Celestia has become a good friend, but she also knows that it was always a gamble to let Chrysalis stay. Does Chrysalis choose the course of cruelty or love? Eventually it is decided that the Hive will be created inside Canterlot, and you then deal with the politics of that decision. Ponies may have forgotten, but the griffins have not. "Do you seriously plan to allow these parasites to flourish in your land? You are a fool Celestia, and though it pains me I must save the world if you will not. Forgive me my old friend, but I do this to save us all. The griffons shall go to war." Twilight is dispatched diplomatically to the griffon kingdom to try to stop a war. Luna seems generally ok with the idea of war. Chrysalis is trying really hard to do the right thing, but circumstances make it difficult for her. Eventually, some external force becomes involved that requires Celestia to go away for an extended period of time. Perhaps something wrong with the sun, and she needs to personally leave the planet for some months to restore it, for She is the Sun, and if she doesn't take care of this all life on the planet will die. So...Chrysalis becomes temporary regent during her absence. Chrysalis fully expects Luna to be a contiunal thorn in her side as she has always been throughout every point of the story...until now. Seeing Chrysalis in a position of power and still trying to be good and genuine, Luna is finally convinced. Twilight returns to apologize to Luna and explains that the griffons are en route right now and their armies will arrive in two days. Luna dismisses this as if were nothing and says that it's the role of the Day Court to deal with this kind of thing, then goes to sleep. It's now up to Chrysalis to stop a war...despite the irony of her being the cause of it. Twilight, much matured, is not very much perturbed by this, and agrees to go along with it, much to Chrysalis' chagrin. After a night of contemplation, she commits to doing it. But rather than doing it the pony way, not-yet-beknown-the-readers, she decides to do it the changeling way instead: paragraph break, italicized letter to the griffon king explaining that the situation with the changeling has been resolved, and inviting him to meet with her, signed Princess Celestia. Griffon king shows up armored and with army camped outside the city. He flies in, has dinner with "Celestia," and Chrysalis magically locks the doors, reveals herself and lies to him, claiming that she has always been Celestia, she controls the sun, and if he wants his people to continue to exist he'd better swear allegiance to her and shut up about it.

He submits, and Celestia returns from the sun to a happy and successful changeling hive in Gryphonia.

Roll credits.

Would probably take 2 sequels over 20-30 chapters to do the story justice. Are you up for an epic, long story that will take a year to write? If you are, that's the way to write the sequel to this.





"I am NOT a spastic!" :twilightoops: *twitch*

Not a bad take, but it leaves me wondering.

From a biological point of view, you'd see some sort of transformation in nature to an adult form, and that would give some sort of tangible benefit. Butterflies get around fast, breed and make eggs, obviously. So here, it really wouldn't make sense for changelings to lose shapeshifting, grow up, and die so soon without getting something amazing out of it. More intelligence to make great wonders for their kind, the ability to breed, great power to protect the next generation. Something. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense.

Or it's just magic, don't question it, I know. :facehoof:

bep
bep #19 · Jan 25th, 2017 · · 1 ·

7894491
Losing shapeshifting only happens if they decide to do the whole love sharing thing and become those garish abominations of 'design' you saw on the show.

7894467 So, just to check, I reread all the comments I've ever received on here, across all my stories, and can now definitely confirm that yours was the best ever. I loved it, thank you so much :pinkiehappy:

...And I don't think there's any way I could do it justice. Really, I'm not sure I could expand that synopsis into a story of the size it would require and make it better than the synopsis itself; I think it might be at its best as that synopsis. There are so many good ideas in there, from the conflict with Luna and the gradual mellowing of the characters, to the resolution with the griffons, and Celestia going on a Sunshine-esque space mission, I thought it was all great.

I feel bad not offering a reply of a similar length to your comment, but I don't know what else I could say beyond 'excellent idea, thank you so much for it, but there's no way I can do a decent job of writing that.'

:pinkiehappy:

7894491 This is a very good point. The transition usually occurs to bring about sexual maturity, as you say it adds advantages like flight and speed. With things like butterflies, it adds physical attractiveness in order to attract a mate, I think that's where it would overlap with changelings. Except the implication in this story is that Chrysalis doesn't really need them for mating, and is essentially born pregnant, gestating egg clutches whenever she chooses. Equally, it could be that she has to collar one of the adult drones each time shortly before they die off to do a bit of fertilising. I wonder if significantly more powerful magic might be an adult changeling advantage; it would be a good thing to have, but wouldn't actually solve the problem of their survival.

Unfortunately in this instance it may have to be a magical handwave thing, immortals have a way of slightly sidestepping biological principles.

That was incredibly endearing, sweet, and silly at the same time. I'd love to see a continuation!

7894592 Thanks :twilightsmile:

I'm really glad you thought that - can I ask what it was that gave it silliness, for you? As in because they're calmly sitting on Celestia's bed discussing things?

7894205 I swear there's an auto-downvoter somewhere. I had a story once posted that got two dislikes *literally* in the amount of time it took me to open the description and change a single word right after publication. Less than three minutes on the site, one up and two down thumbs.

You've captured the characterization of these two fairly well and used it to weave your own headcanon. Well done!
I feel like most authors I see start with their headcanon and bend the characterization to fit instead of the clever justifications you've used here.

Thank you for the read. This was a lovely story.

7894757 Do something well enough, for long enough, and you're bound to upset someone in the doing of it. You can look at those as knee-jerk reactions, people who took one look at your description and noped out.

I'm on the fence on this story, I liked the writing and characterization but by the end of it i was feeling like i was reading a fix-fic. Chrysalis had instant answers for everything Celestia asked and she seemed a little too all-knowing. Also some things seemed a little far fetched to me like Chrysalis having seen the transformation multiple times without the other immortals having taken notice (also wouldn't she herself had jumped at the chance the first time it happened?) I think it would have worked much better if it had been the first time that this had happened and Chrysalis just came to that conclusion right before she accepted Starlights hoof in friendship (would have explained why it looked like she was about to accept.) Also there is no explanation on how Thorax survived so long without getting any love, I always assumed that it just confirmed that getting love passively without directly draining a pony was possible but that would put a big hole in the plot.

Interesting! Frankly, the notion that in the entire history of Ponies and Changelings none of them had ever thought of sharing love with each other struck me as incredibly silly (and how does that even _work_ for Changelings, how the hell are baby Changelings fed if the adults can't give them some of the love they have collected?) Although I don't see any reason why their transformation means they no longer can shapeshift: is that something from the comics or pure headcanon?

Interesting idea about why Changlings are so cruel. Overall was a good read, quite enjoyable as well.

This would never fly within the canon of the show, which has been very, very coy about just how old Luna and Celestia are, and about the nature of immortality. Mind, not sure how to feel about this one, as it implies a lot about the rules of the universe as a whole, and also begs the question, why not send the changelings through the mirror?

We know it converts life forms to other ones on stepping through, perhaps it can change them into something more survivable. Also is Thorax himself a common thing to happen? Because if other rulers are born from this, doesn't that imply something, like maybe even the Changedling form is just a transitional stage. Perhaps by truly opening themselves up to Love and the like, they'll ascend beyond this form. Perhaps that's even what others have done, and what Chrysalis has seen as 'dying' is in fact them evolving beyond her, and her heart is so closed she simply can't accept it.

That was awesome.

Extremely logical (but certainly emotional) discussion between two incredibly powerful beings deciding on the future of their respective races. Those are always fun.

Although it seemed weird to me that Chrysy seems to have done this many, many times before, and yet Celestia is only aware of them as a threat to her subjects after the very recent wedding? Unless the world is FAR larger than I had assumed, or Chrysalis is far older than Celestia, this doesn't seem to add up. Celestia would certainly be aware of Chrysalis as another player in the immortal game.

That's really the only thing I saw remotely wrong with the story, and it could easily be overlooked.
I kinda want to see Luna's reaction to all this.

*Ten years into Chrysy's stay, after Luna has gotten used to the current era*

Luna, exhausted after a long day, walks into her room to find Celestia waiting with a concerned expression. "Lulu, I nee--"

"Chrysalis, get out. I'm too tired for this." Luna walks straight past her and into her bathroom.

Celestia's mouth opens and closes a couple times. "Fine." Celestia is consumed in a flare of green light and replaced by Chrysalis. "How did you know it was me? I didn't even finish my sentence and I know for a fact I am physically identical."

Luna's voice carried from the side room. "It's the smell."

"...Smell?" Chrysalis sniffed herself. "What are you talking about?"

"Your transformation burns a minute amount of your surroundings. A hair's breadth of the ground, a bit of the air. It leaves an incredibly light smell of sulfur that follows you wherever you go. I have trained myself to recognize it."

"Wha... No it doesn't! That's not even heat! Don't bullshit me! I'm the li--er...almost literal Queen of bullshit!"

"Fine, you got me. My sister and I actually have a constant, very small telepathic bond by virtue of being linked celestia objects, which allows each of us to sense the general direction and distance of the other at all times. Obviously you were not my sister as my sister is in her room across the hall."

"That's...Wait, really?"

Luna poked her head back out and smirked at her guest. "Are you saying you can't tell if I'm lying, miss 'Literal Queen of Bullshit'?"

...etc

Banter is wonderful. Most stories I read that I really like have a tendency to bring up snarky conversations in my mind. I imagine Chrysy will be the one dishing out most of the snark, but Luna might very well give as well as she gets once she acclimates to modern humor.

I would read the shit out of a sequel. Fluff, serious, romance, slice of life, adventure, anything.

Awesome read, can't wait for the sequel (if you decide to make one). Obviously, a century is a very long time for a single story, so why not do the first few months or so of Chrysalis settling in, maybe surprising/embarrassing the royals with a few changeling-specific bodily functions along the way :trollestia: . Also, I'd love to see the first meeting between Chryssy and Cadence, as well as shining's reaction

7894882
7894757

Only one of my stories has avoided gaining a dislike within the first few hours of publication, I'd hope it's not a bot but then people downvoting based on the title, image and synopsis alone would be perhaps even more depressing.

In this case I hit publish and then went off to watch something for 45 minutes, I think one or two of the dislikes were there when I came back, so there'd still be time to read the whole thing first, I think.

I'd like to think there's not anything hugely terrible about the way the story's written; I know some people don't take kindly to villains being presented favourably, but most of my other stories do that and it's mostly ok there, so I think part of it may be due to people having their own established changeling headcanons, and this not fitting with them, or how it twists the idealism of the show into a bleaker reality.

Equally, no story is going to appeal to everyone, and this one has received a lot of attention; the like/dislike ratio is way way more favourable than anything else I've done with a dislike on it.

7895666 Trust me when I say this: people can and do downvote for description, image, sometimes even because a certain author wrote it. But that's nothing to be depressed about. It's unavoidable.

7894788 Thanks!

The cynic might argue that's exactly what I've done, searching for some explanation that paints Chrysalis as something other than just not a very nice creature or ruler :twilightoops:

But the problem with the physics of them sharing love stood out to me the second I saw it in the episode, so the idea of Chrysalis knowing about that but denying them it out of necessity wasn't too far behind. Given how much effort she and the changelings as a whole had put into taking love by deception and force, not to mention taking over Equestria, it seemed that would have been a huge waste of time and resources if they could just share love with each other at home and get by that way, so I preferred thinking there was a reasonable explanation they hadn't done that besides Chrysalis being too evil and controlling to even think of it.

And then certain things fell into place, like why she rejected Starlight in that manner, and how she could be so dedicated but still so tyrannical.

So thanks, I'm glad you liked it and it came across that way. I do think I put character first, but I may have been taking 'Chrysalis is awesome' as a fixed, non-negotiable starting point. Maybe if I'd intended to write an explanation of the changelings story, it might have been more twisted to fit the headcanon, but I just set the two of them up having a conversation and it all simply came out. :twilightsmile:

A great story full of delicious changeling headcanon! Among other things, I never expected someone to take the idea of the 'changedlings' being a short-lived adult stage and run with it in a serious fashion; well done!

7895229 Thanks, I know what you mean about it approaching fix fic territory. That wasn't my intention, I just wanted the two characters to have a conversation, but once I decided to set the story after season six, those events pretty much raised themselves, and Chrysalis just answered with how I'd seen it in my head.

I had a hard time with the long description on this story; as such it's perhaps misleading. When it says all the immortals in Equestria are known to each other, it's only really talking about post-A Canterlot Wedding. I don't remember if To Where And Back Again confirms whether or not the changeling hive is in the badlands, but I think it's so barren and far away that ponies would have had very little reason to go there historically, and those that did would have been incredibly obvious in their approach, allowing the changelings to be safely out of sight long before the ponies arrived. So I would say that the cycle of birth and death has gone on unnoticed by ponies for a long time, and that they only became aware of changelings as more than distant myths when Chrysalis attacked the wedding. It does say here that the first few generations of the hive were attempted with the adult-form, love-sharing changelings, for which presumably the changelings wouldn't have hidden away, but it also says they never lasted long; I wouldn't see each generation surviving longer than a few months, a year at most, in adult forms with no food. So I think even though Chrysalis tried everything she could think of for ways they could share love, each generation had such a short lifespan that the experiment as a whole was over quite quickly, and could have gone unnoticed by ponies.

I imagine that yes, Chrysalis might very well have been very surprised the first time her changelings tried sharing love, but at this point she's seen the events so many times over and thought it through from every imaginable angle, and so the answers really are that apparent and obvious to her. She's had a millennium to think of not that much else, so if she doesn't immediately know what she's talking about when responding to questions Celestia raises after having learned about the situation only minutes before, I'd say there'd be a bit of a problem with her thinking. By the end of their century together, Celestia may well have thought of some angles and solutions that Chrysalis has never considered, but at the point when this story is set it's almost a pupil-asking-teacher level of imbalance with the familiarity of the situation.

With regard to your idea of To Where And Back Again being the first time the transformation had happened, and Chrysalis working it out on the spot, it would be interesting, but I have real problems with the idea that the changelings have been around for a thousand years or so but somehow never thought of sharing love before. That just seems implausible to me, when they're clearly not unintelligent or completely irrational, and since I had noticed the physics problem anyway, that seemed a more reasonable answer to me of why they hadn't already done long ago what Thorax did.

...I had forgotten that Thorax survived the whole way from season 2 to season 5 without directly receiving love. Can't say I liked that episode (terrible song!), probably should have rewatched it before writing this, didn't :twilightoops:. I think there is a headcanon that says that the seasons of the show are quite close together, and only a year or so has passed between seasons 1 and 5, but I don't think that fits this story too well, as the immortals need a bit of distance to think more fondly of the wedding. So I would say that the changelings, in their larval forms, are really very good at surviving their hunger, and are used to getting by on tiny scraps here and there (whereas I'd say that in their adult forms they require a lot more energy, and so they'd only survive a few months, possibly a year without love as adults). It could also be that changing form requires a lot of energy, which presumably Thorax didn't have to do too much in his cave.

I don't think them being able to passively receive love, as in picking it up from the air when around ponies like in the Crystal Empire, would invalidate the things mentioned in this story, they'd still be feeding on each others' love when sharing love between them as adults, which would still be using up the same fixed supply.

I hope none of this comment comes across as defensive, I really liked your response and was glad to have the chance to think about the things you raised and discuss them, so thanks :twilightsmile:

This is probably the kind of reaction the real Celestia would have for a situation like this.

“I doubt she was too happy to see you again, especially via abduction, but you probably need not fear for your safety.”

Cadance: "We will see about that..."


Small note:

It's Cadance, not Cadence.

Excellent fic! You've managed to work around the godawful new changeling lore without ignoring it. Chrysalis' reasoning for being such an evil love bug was very creative IMO. If this fic ever got a sequel or a side story, you can bet I'd read it, but it definitely stands well on its own.

7895242 Eeyup, tell me about it :twilightoops: You raise a very good point about their hatcheries, I hadn't thought of how they could feed the newborns with love without sharing it in the way Thorax did. I don't like complaining about what the show's writers do, that's their prerogative and all, and even though I thought season 6 was a step down from the incredible season 5, it had plenty of good moments. All the same, though, I don't think they thought it through from the angle you just suggested it :facehoof: One could certainly argue that we're taking a kids' show far too seriously, but... I like doing that, and it's often necessary when expanding stories to the written format, and it's usually been possible in the past, it's just that that episode caused some really big changeling problems, I thought.

I checked the end of To Where & Back Again before writing this, you never see any of the adult changelings change form on-screen. Of course, that, along with most of the rest of this story, will probably be rendered completely canonically impossible the second the changelings show up on screen again, but I thought at least setting it after season 6 would be better than condemning it to the realms of the already-impossible, had it been sometime after A Canterlot Wedding and just ignoring their later appearances.

I think, thematically, it fits in the show that they'd no longer change form, the implication being that they're now happy with who they now are, and not so hungry they have to trick others into loving them. In terms of basic evolutionary abilities, though, it seems like a significant step down to me. Added to the shorter adult lifespan idea I added here, I'd rather stay in their larval form :twilightoops:

7895513 Thanks! I don't like redeeming villains, I like them how they are :twilightsmile: So it's nice to think someone as obviously intelligent as Chrysalis might have a reasonable explanation for some of her ways which otherwise seem counterproductive at best. Also I find the idea of sapient species preying on other sapient species quite interesting, and it seemed a good strategy for dealing with that.

7895621 Definitely not, no, it's way too bleak. I don't think the canon to-date invalidates it, so if the changelings somehow never appear again on-screen, I think this can fit, but no, it would never ever be confirmed on the show. And you're right, they've said very little about immortality; we don't for example know if Cadence, Twilight and Chrysalis are immortal, or the sirens in Rainbow Rocks, and even Celestia and Luna could simply be long-lived. They've revealed a bit more here and there on Twitter, but some bits are contradictory.

I hadn't thought of sending them through the mirror, that does seem a good solution. We know a baby dragon became a dog, but also that a siren became human, so I don't know what would happen to a changeling. I've never hit an Equestria Girls interpretation of Chrysalis that I liked; some go with the mother angle, some the queen of love, and some the identity thief, but none have managed to capture all three.

Sorry, I don't quite follow what you mean about other rulers being born from it. My impression from the episode was that Thorax was the new leader as he was the first to try sharing love, and had shown them a new path, rather than because there was anything biologically different from him, as there was with Chrysalis.

I think the implication absolutely is that the familiar changeling forms are only supposed to be temporary, and the rainbow reindeer are how they're 'meant' to look when healthy adults. So I added in something in this story from various butterflies, moths and mayflies, that the adult form can't survive very long, and I thought it might also require a lot more food to sustain for even a short period. So unless they gain something amazing from looking as Thorax does, personally I'd rather stay as their bug-like larval form.

7895627 Thanks very much! :twilightsmile:

I agree it does seem odd that they'd be unknown to each other after being around for so long, but I didn't see any recognition between Celestia and Chrysalis at the royal wedding, and there was no suspicion from Celestia that Cadence might have been replaced, despite the protestations of her most trusted student, even when Canterlot received a direct threat and was keeping its shield up. Which implies to me she hadn't thought of the changelings as being a possibility for that, and therefore suggests that ponies didn't really know about changelings until that point. I think the ultimate goal for a species developed as the ultimate deceivers is to have others, especially those they are preying on, be unaware of their existence. The question would be why Chrysalis then broke that and attempted the wedding plan.

Luna and Chrysalis interactions are almost always great, A Princess And Her Queen is one of my absolute favourite stories, and it's sad we've never really seen those two have a conversation on-screen. I really liked the dialogue you wrote for them in your comment, and the suggestions for how Luna knew were great :pinkiehappy: I could also see Luna and Chrysalis ganging up on Celestia, banter-wise, backing each other up on the more morally dubious side of arguments until Chrysalis inevitably goes too far and Luna has to switch to her sister's side.

I'd also like to see how they'd interact with Twilight, who's probably been more involved with Chrysalis as a character on-screen than any other, and belongs to the family she's hurt most, but also has a vested interest as Princess of Friendship in former enemies making amends and getting along.

As you say, the snarky back and forth most of them would inevitably have would be great to see. I think past a certain point Celestia might keep Chrysalis around just to make life more fun.

Thanks, I don't have any plans for a sequel beyond the odd vague thought, but I'd be tempted to go more in a fluffy direction, so I'm glad to hear you'd still be interested in that :twilightsmile:

7895634 Thanks a lot :twilightsmile:

I have no plans for a sequel at the moment, the reception this story has received has taken me completely by surprise, but those are some good ideas that could create some great scenes. It sounds like they'd be more comedic or fluffy in nature, do you think that would still work as a sequel to the sombre and headcanon-heavy tone of this story?

7895669 ...I dunno, my instinct is still to say that's kind of depressing, even if unavoidable...

7895690 :facehoof: I've been seeing 'changedlings' in comments and assuming it was a typo :facehoof: Makes a lot more sense now, thanks!

Thanks very much, I'm glad you liked it and hope it didn't shatter too many personal headcanons about changeling biology. It's hard to know how much the larva/adult form is supposed to be implied by the episode, but I think it fits with how insectoid they are, and the name of their queen. And making them short-lived gave Chrysalis a reason to keep going independently of them, as she'd need to raise the next generation afterwards, rather than living out the rest of her days as a deposed monarch from a continuing society. I felt it also gave her a kinder side, in that keeping her offspring as children extended their lifespans.

Of course, evolutionarily the reason for the adult form in nature, however short-lived, is to mate, but with her as the permanent mother of her race that's hardly necessary here. Immortality and magic can get in the way of nature sometimes :twilightoops: Or it could be that one of them still has to help Chrysalis out before dying to fertilise the next generation; I guess it would still be possible that she could suspend the process for a century after fertilisation, and resume it when she's ready, magically, maybe?

Damn this is all too interesting. So... what happens now?

7895707 Thanks! That is exactly what I was going for :twilightsmile:

I think it probably depends on the timescales involved. Right after the wedding, Celestia would have been pretty angry, I think. Probably straight after the season six finale to some extent, too. But I think after a few months, she might have enough pity to put her anger aside, as she does here, at least until Chrysalis brings it up, as she does at the start of the second chapter. I read and write a lot about the sirens from Rainbow Rocks, who are sometimes portrayed as immortal; I don't go for that angle myself as I think immortality changes a great deal, and this was in some ways my examination of that, that ultimately fondness for those who have been around through the centuries with you outweighs anger over the disagreements you've had with them. So with Cadence, I feel it could go either way. I'd like to play it for comedy, rather than drama, if I ever wrote about that encounter.

Small note:
It's Cadance, not Cadence.

My proofreader pointed out the same thing, so I did some Googling before publishing. In a word, yes, you're right. However, it looks like there are quite a few discrepancies out there in various published materials, enough that hopefully Cadence with an E is still acceptable.

I'm a musician, and I've been hearing cadence as a musical term for far longer than the pony has been around, so my preference is definitely in that direction. Cadence is certainly the correct spelling of the noun rather than the name, and the explanation I found suggested that Cadance with an A may have therefore been easier to copyright, which to me seems a very sad, cynical reason for misspelling a beautiful word and name :fluttershysad: I would also point out that Cadence as the pony's name is short for Cadenza, which definitely is spelled with an E, so I think it likely the nickname would be as well. Strangely, the tags on this site stipulate Princess Cadance with an A, and Dean Cadence with an E.

So you're right, and I agree, and thanks for pointing it out. But, while trying not to be too much of an <expletive of your choice> about it, I prefer it my way.

For far less justifiable reasons, I prefer Starswirl to Star Swirl, too :derpyderp1:

7895720 Thanks very much :twilightsmile:

This will probably be rendered completely obsolete the second the changelings reappear in a future season and clearly aren't all dead, but for now it's how I'm choosing to think of them.

The angle with Chrysalis comes from a long and probably ethically-unfortunate history of defending MLP villains. Eyeswirl The Weirded made a blog post about the season 6 finale, and I had a long discussion with him about why I was glad Chrysalis wasn't redeemed at the end. I think that would be a betrayal of who she is, and that if honesty and loyalty are elements of harmony then we shouldn't try to change people/ponies, so I thought about why else she might be like that in a way that would be morally defensible. Because if she's cruel just for the sake of it and was keeping her people down, she wasn't really the best of leaders. But since there were no gaping physics holes when Chrysalis was in charge, and enormous ones after, I tied the two together :pinkiehappy:

I don't have any plans for a sequel, but I'm interested to see what people would be hoping for from one - given that I'm all out of dramatic revelations about changeling biology and society, I don't think I could do another story with the same tone. So do you think it would still work if a sequel were more comedic, romantic or fluffy? Or if it focused on different characters dealing with the developing situation?

7895781 I don't think there can ever be too much headcanon, we've got a gigantic, varied world to work with after all :twilightsmile:

As for the more comedic style, try it out, might suit your writing style. It's a matter of opinion anyways, but I personally love anything with a princess and a comedy tag. Additionally, if you want to try it out, anything cute is generally received very well, and I'd love to see some cutesy moments from bughorse :rainbowkiss:

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