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Starlight has a conversation with Pharynx about the significance of a changeling’s true form. In the process, she might just learn a thing or two about herself as well.

Cover art by InkSpecter, formerly AzureDreamerRode, who graciously gave me permission to colour it.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 63 )

I love stuff like this. Good work.

“I want my fangs back. Black and dark red are the best colours. This silly tail isn’t anywhere near as sharp and sleek as my old one, and I don’t even have my awesome spinal crest anymore!”

Well, every OC should have these, right?

Also, a meeting between him and Ember would be awesome.
And well-placed reference at the ending.


Good story.
I enjoyed reading it.

It seems this is the first story with Pharynx on Fimfiction, according to the search engine.
(It found another one while searching stories with "Pharynx", but it only mentioned him in the description.)

“I looked better with holes…” he whispered.

:rainbowlaugh: Well, I guess we all have our little vanities, I suppose. Even the totally not evil (anymore) shapeshifters.

She squealed when he lunged and grabbed her, and for a moment, she thought he was going to stuff her into a cocoon. But her panic vanished when he growled playfully and mussed up her mane with a hoof. She then giggled and wobbled off to the side when he released her.

Oh, that was just adorable. Really fun and heartwarming.

Now this I like. Not even a change like the changelings underwent is wholly a positive, and it's nice to see you tackle that head on.

Okay, I can ship this.

This was a great story. It makes sense that Pharynx would have some misgivings over his new look.

Ri2
Ri2 #8 · Sep 4th, 2017 · · ·

Now kiss

Wow... I didn't see it like that...
INTERESTING Story, Good job!


“There was this idiot named Maxilla that we exiled because we caught her smuggling contraband into the hive. Threw her out myself! She really couldn’t stop sticking her muzzle into those ridiculous Daring Do books…

That makes me remember that other story...:trollestia:

i feel like i missed an mlp eppisode

Also, Starynx.

...

Son of a biiiiiitch. *adds an idea to the pile*

Hmm... makes me wonder if we still have one more old changeling still left in the canon universe. Tell me; anyone else remember Kevin, back in Ponyville? Wonder what he's up to these days... *nudges the author, then gestures towards the storyboard*

It's great to see a Pharynx story so soon after his premier (only?) episode. I love stories where two odd people simply sit down and talk. In the wrong hands, that kind of story can be a snooze-fest. In your hands, it turned out to be a gem.

C'est tres bien!
First the pros mostly all of it the plot was good the characters were spot on and the dialogue and tone were all B+ to A material!
Cons
The ending was a little weird I wasn't sure if you were giving a nod to other OC or something with that last line. And your word choice especially in first sentence. I felt weird say they knew how to throw a party instead of know how to throw a party. Though that may just be me. All in all loved your story good job!

True I don't like the new Chagelings but like Pharynx said, you get used to it. And I am starting to like them more. This one of the reason I still watch MLP, it's constant changing be it bad or good but it is not stuck in time like the simpson. For this story I really like that he have his doubts about his new body. But in the end that it might work out. Have like and Fav.

“Hey, hey, watch your mouth,” he growled, waggling a hoof at her. “Those guys were going to beat him up, and only I get to do that. Pecking order.”

Did someone say pecking order?
68.media.tumblr.com/5f0503ef348fca8ab81ebe2976c1a4ef/tumblr_mx7ed8ALAt1s94hp8o1_500.png

8407112 Oh yes, red and black OCs for everypony! And with more spikes and blades than you know what to do with. :pinkiecrazy:

8407210 I'd been internally banging on about it since the Season 6 finale, and this was a nice way to let it all out. :twilightsheepish:

8407885 Embrax and Starynx double date. You know you want it. :derpyderp1: :trollestia:

8407949 Pretty sure I've seen quite a few stories featuring Kevin already. There's not a whole lot for us to work on, though, given his really brief appearance.

8408069 Glad it worked out. Writing engaging conversation-heavy stories are always a worry for me.

8408407

The ending was a little weird I wasn't sure if you were giving a nod to other OC or something with that last line.

 
Guilty as charged. :twilightblush: I'll probably edit out the namedrop to make it a little less on the nose.

8408605 I was kind of devastated when they all turned into rainbow reindeer at the end of Season 6, but the latest episode sort of made up for that. It felt pretty meta with how they addressed what upset me so much about their ascension.

8408817 Knew that was going to turn up at some point. :rainbowlaugh:

8408822 ... Damn you ;3;

Interesting look into the issue of identity for a shape shifter. The issue of identity can be hard, sorting out who others see you as, who you want to be, who you present your self as, and your true self is no easy task. For someone who can literally change their external appearance their true self would be even more important.

8408826 Oh yes, Thorax and Starlight can have an awkward conversation at the table whilst their respective dates have a brawl to settle a dispute about who really won that arm wrestling contest. :flutterrage: :pinkiegasp:

8408843 Exactly! It ain't necessarily as simple as swapping clothes like some might suggest.

8408881
I can't tell if you're trying to brainworm me or set up your next fic lol

One interesting observation about Pharynx, no matter how much he chafed under the new ways, and fought against them, he still respected Thorax enough to not feed on ponies. He didn't like it, he would have rather not done it, yet he still didn't feed on them. It says quite a lot about how he thinks of his brother.

As for the story, I love how you write Pharynx and Starlight, written like this I could totally get behind Starynx.

This is great, but one question though. Is this friendship shipping or romance shipping because if it is romance shipping then should there be a romance tag?

8408984 Interesting point. It does raise the question of where he was getting his love from, then. Probably from Thorax, and it must've really hurt his pride to be so dependent on him for sustenance.

8409083 I'm leaving it open enough for everyone to decide whether they want to see it as the start of a romantic relationship or just a very personal conversation between new friends. The romance tag implies an actual working relationship at some point in the story, which would make this false advertising if I used it, I think, since it doesn't go that far.

8408917 Well, I'm a lazy ass, so that kind of narrows it down, doesn't it? But then again, you never know... :trixieshiftright:

8409119
Okay. Thanks for answering. I can see them having a strong bond as kinship.

8409119

I'm leaving it open enough for everyone to decide whether they want to see it as the start of a romantic relationship or just a very personal conversation between new friends.

I like it better this way, really. The entire situation just feels sweeter without all that subtext hanging over it. Just two friends getting to know each other better. Not enough of that here, in my opinion, considering what the themes of the show are supposed to be.

changelings I can understand but how can you confuse two different ponies one is light pink and without wings and another one purple with wings, different hairstyle, different hair color?

The show has now confirmed that chernglerngs can transform into any size, shape, and even inanimate objects like rocks... with a corresponding change to their mass (as we saw from the impact Thorax as a bear could make and Pharyx as the spider monster).

Add to this their mind control ability and... my god, Chrysalis was the WORST leader ever! How the hell did she lose with an ARMY of creatures with such overwhelming advantages?

In a realistic situation with just a trace of proper strategy by the 'lings, I'm afraid the ponies would have utterly lost forever unless in that realistic scenario Celestia and Luna were as powerful as they SHOULD be as beings that move heavenly bodies. But then, Chrysalis would have many many hostages to threaten, and so it could end up being a hopeless situation.

8409222

I would argue Starlight is a light shade of lilac rather than pink. Twilight's coat is pretty similar, mostly it's a bit darker.

But yeah, you would think the extra set of limbs would be a bit of a giveaway at least.

8409244

And on that note, I have to admit I have some trouble taking arguments that the changelings were a fearsome and badass army seriously when they use "A Canterlot Wedding" as evidence. I mean, even if not all changelings can take huge and powerful forms (we've technically only seen Thorax and Pharynx do so) getting your asses handed to you by six civilians with no formal combat training that you outnumber by at least a dozen to one doesn't exactly strike as a very good showing for an army.

The influx of love was so strong that the majority of the changelings couldn't help but turn into complete pushovers. They just didn't know how to handle it. Pharynx has a great deal of work ahead of him to bring the changelings back to a balance.

I was excited to see a story from you on this! I knew it would be a solid wrap up for the episode.

8409244

The show has now confirmed that chernglerngs can transform into any size, shape, and even inanimate objects like rocks... with a corresponding change to their mass (as we saw from the impact Thorax as a bear could make and Pharyx as the spider monster).

Add to this their mind control ability and... my god, Chrysalis was the WORST leader ever! How the hell did she lose with an ARMY of creatures with such overwhelming advantages?

Until we see that most changelings are capable of regularly violating the law of conservation of mass to such a degree, I'll desperately hold onto the headcanon that Thorax and Pharynx are exceptionally gifted in that area. Still doesn't help Chyrsalis' case, though. :twilightoops:

On the other hand, the ponies got worfed right the hell back in Season 6 when the changelings somehow managed to capture the princesses and the Mane 6 without breaking a sweat, so I guess that evens it out? :ajbemused:

Season 2: Twilight > multiple changelings
Season 5: Starlight = Twilight
Season 7: Starlight < one changeling

Power levels, how do they work? :derpytongue2: Makes me worry that the movie will have similar issues.

8409642 Either that, or the absence of a queen's pheromones has messed up their ability to react appropriately to danger. It was funny how most of them defaulted to hysteria in the face of impending mole-thingy attack.

8409996

Power levels, how do they work? :derpytongue2: Makes me worry that the movie will have similar issues.

The word on the street is that the movie villains have some kind of magic dampening rock/gem (the purpose of which is ostensibly to prevent the Royal Sisters, Twilight, and company from ending the movie in the first fifteen minutes). It is possible that this material is related to that of the old changeling throne.

*Edit* Wild Guess: Perhaps the changelings developed miniature versions of the throne material which allowed them to successfully defeat the alicorns during their second attempt.

8409451 Ahhh, you've unintentionally taken the bait! That IS my ultimate point (but if I say so outright people will disagree because they despise me for being a brilliant troll they can't defeat in an argument).

The changelings WERE weak fighters in "Canterlot Wedding" and DID clearly have limits on their shape-shifting abilities! Now, they have been plot-conveniently and/or sloppily been upgraded into a force that SHOULD have easily won in "Canterlot Wedding" if even a fraction of their number could perform at Thorax and Pharynx's level, thus proving the show's internal continuity is in utter ruin!

VICTORY IS MINE!! And soon, the rest of the planet shall fall to me as well! MUWAH HA HA HA HA!!! :pinkiecrazy:

8409996 And let's not forget the absurd plot-convenient McGuffin of the throne made of anti-all-magic-except-cherngelerngs' stone. It was so lazily thought out, it didn't even make sense in its own episode! Was the stone anti-magic itself? If so, why did just breaking the throne stop the effect? Was it the shape of the throne, or was it a spell? But that's not what Thorax said... and even if it was, how did Chrysalis know how to make it? When did she learn such a skill, and from who? If she could do that, why didn't she sneak this EXTREMELY useful artifact into Canterlot in the FIRST invasion to negate ALL THE PONY MAGIC INSTANTLY and ensure swift and absolute victory?

None of it made any sense at all!

But the most egregious problem with the anti-magic throne was how easily all the problems with its origins and use could have been solved with a single spoken paragraph by Thorax, had the writers thought just a teensy bit more: "When we were flung into the Badlands after the invasion, Chrysalis found a stone here which negated all magic except changeling magic, which is why this place is so lifeless. She fashioned the bulk of it into a huge throne to prevent even someone as strong as Discord from even getting close to her and gave amulets made of it to the rest so they could invade again."

And Starlight could dramatically gasp and comment, "So THAT'S how they were able to abduct all the Princesses so easily!"

And with that, about 10 seconds of dialog, virtually all the problems with the episode would have disappeared.

It's really not that hard to eliminate plot holes when you have good enough writers OR story editors, who should catch such obvious inconsistencies and issues.

8410036 Regardless of what that piddly stone can do, I hope the villain at least poses a credible threat to Equestria. Would be kind of underwhelming if all he did was squat in the palace and eat Celestia's food whilst the Mane 6 went adventuring. :ajbemused:

8410219 You gotta wonder if they'd actually thought of that and put it in, only to lose it on the cutting floor because they needed to make room for oh-so-sacred advertisements.

8410213

The changelings WERE weak fighters in "Canterlot Wedding" and DID clearly have limits on their shape-shifting abilities! Now, they have been plot-conveniently and/or sloppily been upgraded into a force that SHOULD have easily won in "Canterlot Wedding" if even a fraction of their number could perform at Thorax and Pharynx's level, thus proving the show's internal continuity is in utter ruin!

Discussion Prompt or Over Analysing Cartoons Is Surprisingly Fun: What is incompatible, here, continuity-wise? The changelings are a swarm race. Like most swarm races they have lots of (relatively) weak members that are dangerous in large numbers (but not absolutely discountable on their own), as well as far less numerous “big guys” that shake up the formula a little.

We don't get to see a whole lot of the Canterlot Invasion besides where our main characters are at, but a few shots at the end suggest that the swarm secured a martial victory with relative speed and ease. The changelings were only defeated by an overwhelming pulse of energy that they were highly susceptible to (See Starcraft: Brood War, Protoss Campaign, Final Mission).

8411164 I don't think so. The fact that Thorax explained it so flimsily tells me it wasn't thought out at all from the get-go. It was a lazy writer's ACME Brand Kryptonite, guaranteed to de-power all the heroes instantly as long as the plot demands (Chrysalis forgot to read the fine print that its effects would be negated immediately by a Deus Ex Machina solution at the very end).

8410036

Perhaps the changelings developed miniature versions of the throne material which allowed them to successfully defeat the alicorns during their second attempt.

That would be a nice solution in-line with my fix for the various plot holes, but the problem is NONE of the changelings we see are wearing any little stone anything at any point in the episode, nor is there even a hint of explanation as to how they invasion worked this time with regular changelings against alicorns... ESPECIALLY Luna since she was obviously conscious of what was happening and thus ostensibly able to react and fight. And given that Luna has shape-shifting abilities of her own, the ability to turn into nearly intangible starry-smoke form, the ability to long-distance teleport, etc... she'd wipe the floor with dozens of typical changelings single-hoofedly.

No, forget the blind fandom praise. That was a terribly-written episode from a plotting level.

8411244

I don't think so. The fact that Thorax explained it so flimsily tells me it wasn't thought out at all from the get-go. It was a lazy writer's ACME Brand Kryptonite

Clarify for me: What is it? What don't you think and why don't you think it?

8411237 You forget that the Mane 6, including AJ an Earth pony with no magic and no formal training, kicked the crap out of dozens of them before being overwhelmed by HUNDREDS more. Let's face it, we'd fare much worse against an equal number of angry rats, and rats are FAR physically weaker than we are.

The Royal Guard... I'm sad to say, have been useless in every encounter, and most ponies just run away in fear from such things as bunny stampedes.

The fact remains that the first appearance of the changelings paints the typical 'drone' as pretty feeble and limited in its shape-shifting. If they were holding so much back... WHY?! This was an INVASION!! TO TAKE OVER!! Chrysalis basically gave them cart-blanche attack orders! One could understand them not bothering with the pathetic guard or citizenry... but the Mane 6 were successfully fighting. Why did none of them employ their better transformation tactics at that point? It's simply common sense that anything in such a situation would reflexively respond with.

And then we STILL have the issue that they were untransformed when they dragged Luna away... in the dreamscape at that... HOW ON EARTH DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN?! Since when can they enter dreams?! Or was she projecting a conscious real-life image of her actual self into a dream... which we've never seen her do before... and which isn't ever followed up on to clear that up. See, there's just too little explained and far too many plot holes and inconsistencies, not just between appearances, but in the episode itself.

To make the episodes work, the audience is expected to fill in every blank and plot hole themselves... and good writing won't force an audience to do that for ever single important aspect of a story.

8411265 The throne, duh. He barely mentions it, but says it's made of a stone which negates all but changeling magic. But that doesn't seem to be the case, since merely shattering the throne stopped the effect... something that would not happen if it was an inherent property of the stone itself. But if Chrysalis made it to act that way, how did she do it? When did she do it? Why didn't she use this extraordinarily useful ability to negate all the magic in Canterlot? Use disguised changelings to slip the throne into the crystal caverns just before the wedding ceremony, which would have guaranteed absolute victory... something she was clearly uncertain of since she struggled against, and was shocked when she actually defeated, Celestia.

Those are just SOME of the problems and plot holes brought about by the throne. It's just a sloppy, plot-contrived, throw-away McGuffin solution for the fact that otherwise Discord and Starlight (not to mention the alicorns before capture) would obliterate the lings INSTANTLY.

8411279

Why did none of them employ their better transformation tactics at that point?

That's the it? Okay, cool!

This story is amazing and whenever you had Pharynx speaking, I heard it in his voice. Also, regarding Starynx....I will be honest, I generally don't care for straight shipping but that is one I could go for.

Greetings from Equestria Daily!:twilightsmile:
(Came here because there was a post about this story:derpyderp2:)
:-P ;-)

“There was this idiot that we exiled because we caught her smuggling contraband into the hive. Threw her out myself! She really couldn’t stop sticking her muzzle into those ridiculous Daring Do books…”

Does this mean that Pharynx knew Max wasn't really a pony infiltrator, but went along with the hysteria anyway? :rainbowlaugh:

8549304 Either way, he probably thought it was hilarious.

Full (if short) review here, but in (even) brief(er): an interesting look into Pharynx's character, and I appreciate that he hasn't had all the rough edges rubbed off.

8719792 Nice. :pinkiehappy:
Had a look at your other reviews there; Solving for Death was great. :rainbowlaugh:

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