• Published 17th Mar 2017
  • 7,014 Views, 114 Comments

A Canterlot 'Mending - River Road



Stripped of her place as best mare at her brother's wedding, Twilight comes across her old friends from Canterlot.

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Acceptance

Queen Chrysalis stares at me, in what seems to be equal parts shock and disgust. Her changelings seem mostly too stunned and confused to move. Whoever loses a battle to the death doesn’t usually come back for a rematch, for obvious reasons.

I turn to my friends and walk up to them with a gentle smile, my magic cleanly dissolving the green gunk they’d been bound with. I pretend not to notice their tears of relief at seeing me alive.

I can’t help it. “I told you girls not to come along.”

Minuette snorts and giggles, soon followed by Lyra, Twinkleshine and Lemon Hearts. “Yeah, you sure did. Serves us right, huh?”

“You, you… you jerk!” Moondancer screams and lunges at me, hitting me in the chest a few times before she breaks down sobbing. “You promised me, damnit! Stop doing stuff like this… to me…”

I wince and wrap my wings around her to calm her down, blushing a bit both at the unfamiliar feeling of giving a winghug and at the fact that it doesn’t seem to help much.

Dang it Moonie, I haven’t even had this new body for five minutes and you’re getting snot and tears all over it.

The girls all shuffle their hooves and look away awkwardly. The Twilight Zone transcends even death. Luckily, Twinkleshine quickly finds a new conversation topic.

“Uhm… I don’t want to interrupt, but…” She bites her lip, nervously pointing at something behind me. I turn my head slightly to see Queen Chrysalis charging her horn with more and more magic, mindless rage written across her face. Apparently playtime is over now.

Yeah, that’s probably somewhat important. I watch with casual interest as she releases the magic in a massive beam strong and wide enough to completely obliterate me, my friends, any changelings unfortunate enough to stand behind us and probably a good part of the cavern wall as well.

It’s a beautiful sight. Powerful, yet with a simple elegance. No spell is ever actually raw, magic needs a spellform to have any effect. Even wild magic does, making up its own spellforms on the fly. As a student of magic, I know that… but now for the first time I can see, really see it.

A light tug on the spell matrix here, a small twist there, and the massive beam of ‘raw’ magic turns into a swarm of little butterflies of green fire, fluttering all around us. My friends let out small gasps of surprise and wonder, turning their heads to watch them. I carefully let go of Moondancer and fully turn towards Chrysalis, slowly striding towards her and batting away smaller magic blasts with a simple movement of my horn.

The Queen hisses and growls at me, slowly but surely backing away to keep her distance. She looks around frantically and roars, “Don’t just stand around there! Get her! Kill her!

With a deafening buzz the swarm of changelings takes air to charge at me, their number enough that they’re filling the air both to the left and right of me, black over black. A small tug of my magic and the butterflies float back over and around me to face the attack. I don’t turn my head or break eye contact with Chrysalis even as green fire flashes all around me and changelings are blasted back into their fellow changelings to crash down in a tangle of holey limbs.

“What kind of trickery is this?! Turning my own magic against my hive!” Chrysalis growls and snarls, her eyes glowing as she casts a completely different kind of spell. It’s something I was somewhat expecting and somewhat prepared for, even before I could really see it the way I can now. In fact, I was hoping for it.

Sunset told me that this was the craziest part of my plan, and I keep that in mind as I willingly open myself up to a mind control spell just so I can try to hijack and ride it back into the mind it was sent from. It’s an incredibly stupid idea, but it works, somehow. Our eyes flash green and purple as my own magic overcharges her spell and for just a few seconds I feel everything she feels and vice-versa. Then the spell collapses and we both with it.

I groan and push myself up again, feeling about ready to lose my lunch. Luckily – I suppose – my lunch has been disintegrated along with the rest of me not too long ago, so there’s really nothing left to lose. Chrysalis seems to have it even worse, maybe because she couldn’t brace herself for it.

I force myself to straighten up and not stumble too much as I walk over to her, standing over her just as she manages to get up onto her knees. She looks up at me and I see some real fear in her eyes, under the madness and rage.

She does her best to gather herself, baring her fangs at me. “What are you waiting for, pony? You don’t have the guts to–“

The rest of it is unfortunately cut off as my magic lances into her chest and stops her heart. It probably wasn’t important. Chrysalis would probably agree, if she wasn’t falling over onto her side with her eyes wide open in shock. And death. Mostly death.

One alicorn, two alicorn, three alicorn, four alicorn… I ponder the irony of counting by this method for another alicorn, then tilt my head down and aim. A spark of magic jumps from my horn into Chrysalis chest and her whole body twitches before jerking up, taking a deep, shuddering breath.

She holds a hoof to her chest and greedily takes deep breaths with wide eyes, glancing up at me. “What… you…”

“Killed you.” I nod. “For about six seconds. I suppose that makes us even now, if you want me to kill you again. Or are you willing to surrender and accept my victory?”

Her eyes narrow and she hisses at me, trying to get up until I place a hoof on her chest and push her back down. I had expected this, too. I sigh and gather my magic, watching her as I shape the spell to end this once and for all.

My magic hits her chest one more time and she tenses, staring up at me for several moments in anticipation of my final strike. It takes her almost a minute until she realizes what I have done and her eyes slowly widen as she struggles to believe it. “You…”

I pull my hoof away and step back, nodding gravely. “It was only a few seconds, but I felt it. That hunger… the more love you steal, gather, devour, the worse does the hunger get, doesn't it? And as the queen… it slowly drives you insane.”

She gets to her hooves and looks down at her stomach, putting a hoof against it before she looks up at me again with tears in her eyes. “But… how…?”

“I’m not Cadence, but the source of the problem is connected to both love and magic.” I give her a sad smile. “I think it’s a genetic defect that was passed on and spread through generations of changelings until it became the norm for your species. All the love you collect is converted into magic almost immediately. Your power grows indefinitely but the hunger remains… and the more magic you have, the faster does it convert any new love and makes you crave more.”

“Then… you can…?” She chokes and gestures over to all the other changelings around us with a trembling hoof.

I blush. “I want to run some more tests until I can make permanent solution and make sure that it doesn’t do more damage than it helps. But yes, I think I… we can treat them, every last one of them.”

That does it. Chrysalis tackles me and breaks down crying, muttering incoherently in between sobs. I smile awkwardly and rub her back with a hoof. At the very least, it seems that I have won this battle for good this time. There’s still a lot of problems to unravel and loose ends to tie up, but those are all just technicalities. I’m pretty sure the worst that can happen now is miscommunication and the changelings having to make amends with whatever ponies they took hostage.

Also, more snot and tears in my fur. Greeeeaaaat…