• Published 11th Jan 2018
  • 4,370 Views, 290 Comments

The 4000 Year Old Virgin - Harmlesskitten13

4000 years isn't too old to still be a virgin...right?

  • ...

Chapter 11

On the subject of decapitations: as mentioned in another work, these are more often than not a form of euthanasia - effectively a mercy kill. It originally began as a means of ending a mate's life as benevolently as possible. The question then arises: if the eggs consume the body, what happens to the head? The head is frequently mounted on a plaque, and placed on a wall in a private area only known to royalty. At one time it was erroneously believed to be a grotesque habit picked up from griffons and ponies hunting in the Everfree Forest, but it instead appears to be more of a means of proving one's worth to fellow Queens. Simply put, the more heads one has mounted on one's wall, the more they have contributed to expanding the species, and the more they have expanded the species, the more respect one usually garners from her peers. -The Rise of the Changeling Queendom, Vol. V by Works Cited

Due to the accommodations, Twilight slept fitfully, all things considered. Her parched tongue clung to the roof of her mouth, and she blinked her eyes awake...only to grumble out a quiet string of obscenities. Sadly, her being captured hadn't been a nightmare; it was very much real. She tried to stretch, only to be reminded that her legs were still bound with crystal. The Queen of Queen's restraints had left her in an uncomfortable sitting position: not quite fully relaxed, but not standing either. It left her muscles aching. Then again, maybe that was the point. Looking towards the bed, she unsurprisingly found it empty. The changeling must have left for her 'Queenly duties.' Leaning down, she imitated the motion that Chrysalis had done when she initiated her 'mating ritual.' She clamped down on the rock-hard restraints with her mouth. Nothing. She gnawed and chewed, to no avail. Giving up after several minutes, all she accomplished to do was abuse her molars. Her neck popped and cracked as she searched left and right for any sort of means of escape. Hmm, maybe there's something in the vanity that might get this stuff off? Or wait! Those crystal balls! she thought flicking her eyes to the shelves to the left of the bed. They must be full of top-secret information if she keeps them in a place only she can access. Maybe even how to break this crystal!

Her legs still immobile, she shifted her weight back and forth, nudging herself across the bedroom floor. "One, two, three, go!" A shuffle. "One, two, three, go!" Another shuffle. "One, two, three, gooOoOooo-" Instead of a shuffle, a tip. A tip that left a purple alicorn face-first on the floor. Stifling an angry groan, she rolled onto her side. "Oh, COME ON!" Biting her lip in anger, she growled as she used her head and neck to right herself. A few more tip-overs and what felt like hours later, the little pony finally managed to shamble over to the shelves, which stretched from ceiling to floor. Unable to tell the contents, she grabbed the first one she could with her teeth. Setting it carefully on the ground, she stared at it. "...so how do you interact with this thing?" Her horn was still seemingly useless, so she booped it with her snout. Nothing. "Uh...start? Open? Abra-cadabra? Come on, give me something here!" She craned her neck down to pick it back up, only to tip forward. Being so close to the wall, she collided with the shelving, causing several more orbs to fall. Dodging as best she could, she narrowly missed being brained by the heavy spheres, ending up on her side yet again, and surrounded by what was undoubtedly the key to her escape. She blew a strand of mane from her face, and began the laborious process of righting herself, only to have her horn touch a nearby orb. There was a flash...and then darkness.

Twilight awoke with a start. She was surrounded by inky blackness, and yet...she could hear voices. Eventually the darkness receded as an ethereal light entered the area.

"Just do like I do. See?" came an unfamiliar voice.

"I'm trying!"

Twilight instinctively walked towards a pair of four-legged creatures. Slowly, as the world fully faded into view, she spied two changelings. One was easily twice the height of the other, but both wore crowns. The larger one had a bright orange thorax, while the smaller's was green. The green changeling's crown barely fit on her head, and she constantly fussed with it to keep it above her eyes.

"Look, just try to look like me, okay? That's an easy one. It's just a slight color and size change. Even drones can do that." the orange one stated matter-of-factly. The green changeling closed her eyes and grunted. Her horn glowed, and she began to tremble. Finally, after a full minute of trying, there was a bright flash. All at once, there were two orange-thoraxed changelings. However, one was still considerably smaller than the other. "Oh, for Praedo's sake. It's not that hard!" nagged the larger changeling.

"But I really tried Reticentur! I really did!" cried the smaller one.

"Yeah, well trying isn't what matters. The only thing that matters is the result. Do it again." Reticentur demanded. The small changeling tried again and again, but simply couldn't get it right. Sometimes she was the right height, but the wrong color. Other times she was the right height and color, but the completely wrong species. She did it over and over, becoming more frustrated and physically spent with each iteration, as her older sister's verbal assault became louder and harsher.

"Hello dears, and what are we up to?" Reticentur jumped as a larger, more regal-looking changeling entered the room. Finally, Twilight found a face she knew: Dominatus.

"O-oh! Hey, Mom. I was just trying to-"

"Is your homework done?" the elder Queen asked.


"Mostly? That's not a 'yes,' young lady." Dominatus replied. Her daughter opened her mouth to reply, only to be cut off. "Go wash up for dinner, then as soon as you're done, return to your studies and go to bed."

"Fine. Just tryna help." muttered the orange changeling as she trudged past the Queen of Queens, who stared at her until she left the room. Her face immediately brightened as she turned to face the much smaller changeling, who had returned to original form. Picking her up her in her magic, she placed the young Queen on her back.

"So, Chryssi! What did you do today?" she asked her daughter.

"Um! Gamma, um, ninety-something taught me all about Praedo the Bloody!" she squealed, holding tight on Dominatus' back.

"'Praedo the Bloodthirsty,' sweetie. It's 'Bloodthirsty.'" the Queen of Queens gently corrected.

"Yeah! And how she released the Windigos from Tartus!" the response made Dominatus smile to herself.

"It's 'Tartarus,' my lovely. Tar-tar-us." she chuckled.

"Yeah, and then how she got to get the unicorns to think the mud ponies were hip-po-phogists!" the little changeling added with a gleeful little cackle.

"Well, it sounds like you had quite the day! Say, do you know what we're having for dinner?" Dominatus asked as she walked off. The tiny Chrysalis shook her head. "We're having mashed lentils with pure love."

"YAAAAAY! That's my favorite!"

Twilight jerked back from the orb and shook her head. "...okay...that was trippy..." Looking around, she was still surrounded by felled orbs. Huh. I guess this stuff doesn't block ALL magic, does it? she thought, staring at her horn. Grunting as she as she slowly righted herself, Twilight looked around at the various orbs. None of them were labeled. Poo. I guess I'll just have to watch them all until I find what I'm looking for. Oh well. It's not like I don't have the time. Picking one at random, she leaned down, this time far more carefully, and touched her horn to a sphere.

A purple Queen confidently strode into a large throne room. Sat in the middle was Dominatus, surrounded by guards and assistants. Bowing reverently, the purple changeling spoke: "My Queen of Queens, I humbly request an audience." Dominatus nodded.

"Of course, Queen Innominatrus. What news do you bring?" The other Queen rose with a devious smile.

"My Queen of Queens, you will be pleased to know that your drones and I have successfully begun the downfall of the Griffonstone Empire. It should only be a matter of years before they become a shadow of their glory, if they even exist at all." she announced triumphantly.

The elder royal hummed with approval. "I see, I see. Excellent work. And tell me, what of King Guto?" The question brought a deceitful grin to the purple Queen's face. Reaching back into a saddlebag, she lifted out a severed griffon head.

"As of now, his corpse is incubating my first clutch, and Tau-4112 is ensuring that my plan comes to fruition." she answered proudly.

"Ah, Tau-4112. One of my foremost experts on griffon culture. That was the correct choice, Queen Innominatrus. I assume he is safe in his position?" The purple Queen nodded.

"Yes, my Queen of Queens. His guards were replaced by a cadre of your elite warriors." she replied. Again, Dominatus nodded approvingly.

"I must admit, Innominatrus: I had high expectations of you, but you have surpassed them in every regard." the Queen of Queens said, her smile threatening to overtake her face. "I sincerely look forward to your future infiltrations if this is your opening act." The purple Queen puffed her barrel out in pride.

"Thank you, my Queen of Queens. It couldn't have happened without your training. With your permission, I'd like to celebrate my first clutch." she asked with a wink. Dominatus' eyebrows arched. She loudly cleared her throat, and the throne room emptied, save for the two Queens. Innominatrus searched her other saddle bag, and brought out a bottle. "I figured you'd like this; I...'liberated' it from Guto's personal liquor cellar. I figured he doesn't need it anymore, so why not put it to good use?"

"You didn't!" the elder Queen shouted, magically bringing the bottle to her. Cradling it in her forelegs like a newborn, she read the label: "'SPIRYTUS REKTYFIKOWANY!' YOU DID!" she squealed. "Oh, nectar of the gods, violate me in ways I've never known!" the elder Queen whispered to the bottle. With a smile, Innominatrus brought two crystal glasses out from her saddle bag, each etched with the Griffonstone Royal Crest. Her mother poured a hoof's full into both, and they toasted to the Queen's success.

"And there we go. Everything is securely connected, and should keep her canines from coming in crooked." a bespectacled changeling announced with a smile, removing a tiny hex key from Chrysalis' mouth. The little Queen clamped down a few times, then ran her tongue across the metal now lining her teeth. "How does it feel, my Queen?"

"It feelsh weird." She gave a confused look. "No, I meant to shay 'feelsh,' not 'feelsh.' Feelsh. FEELSH. FEELSH!" The little Queen glared at the changeling next to her. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME? WHY AM I TALKING SHO FUNNY?" The drone slowly scooted away from his patient.

"Sometimes the braces affect your diction. It happens to many Queens, and eventually you should get past it." he replied, turning to wash his hooves. Looking at the eldest royal in the room, he quietly continued. "As always, keep her away from lust, liquefied or otherwise; no matter the state, it can dissolve the connections, and she'll have to start all over again. Also, don't let her eat anything sticky and sugary, because that does the same thing. Outside of that, just make sure she doesn't get hit in the face too hard, and she'll have a fearsome mouth in a few centuries." Dominatus nodded.

"Understood. Thank you." The drone nodded and left the room. "Well Chryssi, I know this feels strange, but trust me: it's for the best. You'll thank me in a couple hundred years."

"I hate it already." she grumbled out, leaping down from the chair.

"Oh, don't be like that. You know, your grandmother didn't have this luxury, so her teeth were painfully catawampus. Her smile never did look right..." Dominatus mentioned, looking wistful. Shaking her head, she continued. "Besides, it's only for two to three hundred years at most, so it will be over before you know it." The two left the room, and as they entered the hallway, an orange-tinged Queen happened by. Seeing the Queen of Queens, she walked over.

"Hey, Mom, I need to borrow some drones for the weeke-hey, wait a minute." Reticentur looked past the two royals to the doorway behind them. Above it was a sign that read "Confession-Inducing Room." Looking back at Chrysalis, then the sign, she grinned. "Hey, Chryssi, how are you?" The tiny Queen shrugged her shoulders.

"Good, good...hey, uh, I forget, when's your birth month? I was trying to figure out when to throw a party for you." she asked, trying to avoid the death stare coming from Dominatus.

"You know which month it is Reticentur." the Queen of Queens replied in a threatening tone.

"No, really, I forgot. When is it...'Chryssi?'" the orange Queen again asked, ignoring her mother.

"It'sh Deshember, jusht like Innominatrush." she answered.

"HA! I KNEW IT! YOU'RE A METAL-MOUTH!" Reticentur screamed, cruelly pointing a hoof at her sister. "Oh my gosh, please tell me you can pick up unicorn spells on those things!" Chrysalis quickly closed her mouth and looked away. "And that lisp?! Oh. My. Gosh. That lisp!" she laughed out.

"Reticentur!" Dominatus warned.

"You can't even say your name, heck, HALF of our names without sh-shing all over the place!" the orange royal cackled.

"RETICENTUR U. SUCCADANEUM!" Dominatus shouted, quickly shutting her daughter up. "You will NOT speak like that to your sister!"

"Oh, come on! It's just a little fun! Or wait, I meant 'jusht' a little fun!'" she replied with a giggle.

"That's it; you're grounded for a month."

"What?! Seriously?! Why, because I made fun of her stupid braces?!" Reticentur demanded, gesturing towards her little sister.

"No drones for two months."

"Oh, come on!" she shouted.

"Three months."

"You know what?! I don't care if you ground me, because you, and HER, need to hear this: you treat her like a grub! You keep protecting her, and she's going to grow up to be a wimp!" the Queen spat out, scowling at her sister who still refused to make eye contact.


"FINE! Keep shielding her from anything difficult, and just you watch! She'll end up a failure!" the orange royal declared, stomping away. Dominatus glowered as her outspoken daughter turned the corner. Taking a calming breath, the Queen of Queens softened her features as she looked back down at Chrysalis.

"Sweetie, don't listen to her. You know how she likes to get under your chitin."

"...I hate theshe thingsh." she replied, doing her best to give her mouth a dirty look. "They make me shound dumb." Looking down at her, Dominatus took on a thoughtful look.

"You know, sweetie, you kind of remind me of Retty's father." Her daughter arched an eyebrow.


"Soooo, do you know how he sounded?" The little royal shook her head. The Queen of Queens morphed into an ungainly-looking stout little stallion, barely taller than a regular drone. He had one buck-tooth protruding out, and one leg was shorter than all the rest.

"He thOUnded like THIth." it warbled out, snorting at the end. "Jutht reMEMber, you could have COME from thith thing!" Chrysalis giggled at the sight.

"Oh my gosh, Mom. Why would you date him?" she asked as her mother returned to her normal form.

"Because sometimes the only gene pool you can work with is...rather dry...and recycled, so you take what you can get." she replied.

"Come on, give me something useful here!" the purple alicorn muttered to herself. Picking the next orb nearest to her, she entered the flashback:

Dominatus sat at a regal desk, reading over various parchments. The room was illuminated with only a few candles, and the Queen of Queens squinted in the darkness to read. A knock at the door startled her, and only after composing herself did she answer.

"Your tea, my Queen of Queens." A drone carrying a gilded tray entered the chamber. The platter held a large silver tea kettle and tea cup. Setting it down on the desk, the changeling poured a steaming cup of the liquid, and offered it to the Queen. Nodding and giving a terse thanks, she dismissed the drone from the chamber. Bringing the cup to her lips, she drank deeply...only to quickly spit out the vile substance. Snapping her head up, she continued to spit, only pausing to stand from her desk.

"PSUEDONYMOUS I. SUCCADANEUM! YOU COME IN MY OFFICE RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" she shouted, shaking the walls around her. She could hear cackling coming from outside her office, which only slowed to a quiet murmur as the source of the sound got closer. The door opened, and the small changeling from before entered. "In your real form, young lady." Dominatus seethed. The drone struggled to suppress a smile as it changed. A flash later, and a changeling Queen with a bright yellow thorax and crooked fangs protruding from her upper jaw appeared.

"Something wrong with your tea, Mom?" she asked while giving a sarcastic curtsy. Breathing heavily, Dominatus glared at her daughter.

"You have no idea how close you were to being grounded just now, young lady." The yellow changeling tilted her head in confusion.

"So I was going to be grounded for putting a bunch of pepper flakes in your tea, but now I'm not?" The Queen of Queens nodded slightly. The reaction caught the yellow changeling off-guard. Dominatus fought the urge to smile, but found it to be a losing battle.

"While a part of me wants to ground you until these mountains crumble to dust, I can't help but be proud of you." Psuedonymous gave her mother a sideways glance.

"...yeah? Why's that?"

"Because you..." Dominatus answered with a sigh, "...completely fooled me. I had no idea you weren't Gamma-6320 until it was too late. That could have been poisoned, and I might be dead right now. Luckily for the hive, I'm not." She turned to give the tray back to her daughter. "Speaking of Gamma-6320, where is she?"

"Oh, she's tied up in some broom closet. I figured I'd let her out in an hour or two. She gets real snooty with me and how I like sugar in my tea, so I figured I needed to take her down a peg or two." Dominatus tsked, and placed a foreleg over her daughter's shoulders as she guided her to the door.

"Ah, I see. Well, make sure that you do let her out. I'd hate to lose one of my best baristas to your forgetfulness." Pseudonymous nodded, and began to leave the room when her mother squeezed her foreleg, bringing the two Queens uncomfortably close. "Two more things, dear: for starters, let this be a lesson to the both of us - a Queen can never, and I mean NEVER, not be on her guard. And more importantly, if you pull a stunt like this again, no amount of pride will save you from my wrath." she whispered with a devilish smile. Eyes wide, the young Queen gulped and nervously nodded as she left the room.

Two Queens, one orange and one green, paced in circles around each other in a pit. Above them sat Dominatus, flanked by Innominatrus and two guards. Without looking away, the Queen of Queens quietly spoke: "So Natty, how goes Griffinstone Hive?"

"It's going swimmingly, Mother. As expected, their empire is disintegrating, so we should be able to harvest from them rather efficiently, assuming all goes well." the purple Queen responded.

"Good, good." the elder royal commented. "Just be careful: becoming too efficient can have adverse effects. If you take too much too quickly, they'll become selfish with their love and kindness."

"I will keep this in mind going forward, Mother." Innominatrus lowered her voice. "Um...has Chrysalis gotten any better at infiltrating? Or changing?" she ventured. Her mother dejectedly shook her head.

"No, and it's starting to bother her. And me, to be frank. She should know how to do this by now, and I worry..." she started, before dismissing her guards, "...I worry that Retty may have been right. Maybe I have been coddling Chryssi too much. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to be a bit more 'direct' in my motivations for her. At this point, a little bit of a fire under her wouldn't be a bad thing, don't you think?" Innominatrus shrugged her shoulders.

"I can't admit to knowing the answer, Mother. She's a peculiar case, that's for sure."

"That she is. It's settled, then. If she can't properly change, perhaps I'll start leaning on her a little more. Push her harder. Do what I can to...toughen her up. Physically and mentally." Dominatus decided with a firm nod.

Down in the pit, Reticentur and Chrysalis continued to circle each other, glaring and snorting. The only way Twilight could tell that any length of time had passed was the orange Queen: she was easily twice the height that she was in the earlier memory. Chrysalis had barely grown, and still possessed her braces.

"C'mon, CHRYSSI! Make a move already!" the young Queen taunted her half-sister.


"Or else what, huh? You can't even change properly, so something tells me that you're not going to be able to stop me...or should I say 'shtop' me?" Reticentur jeered. Chrysalis glared daggers at the Queen across from her.

"I SHAID SHUT UP, YOU IDIOT! JUSHT PICK A FORM AND LET'SH GET THISH OVER WITH!" The orange Queen opened her mouth to retort, but stopped. A diabolical grin spread across her face.

"Okay. I know what disgusting creature I want to be." A flash later, and there were suddenly two Chrysalises in the pit. The original narrowed her eyes in disbelief at the copy.

"Look at me, I'm CHRYSHI!" the doppelganger cruelly teased with an exaggerated lisp. "I can't even keep my formsh shtraight, or infiltrate anything!"

The smaller Queen stood slack-jawed at her sibling's performance. The clone only continued taunting, as she began prancing around the pit.

"It doeshn't matter that I'm jusht a unworthy RUNT of a Queen who won't accomplish anything, becaushe Mommy will alwaysh protect me and take care of me, becaushe I'm CHRYSHI!"

"You better shut your mouth, or you're gonna regret it you...you...jerk!" the young Queen fumed, trembling with rage.

"Or elshe what? You'll cry on me? Don't worry; Mommy will alwaysh dry my tearsh, becaushe I'm CHRY-" Reticentur's invective ended as the original Chrysalis leaped on her with a banshee wail, flailing her hooves in rage. "AAAHHH! GET OFF ME YOU LITTLE FREAK! GET! OFF!" Reticentur changed back to her original form as she attempted in vain to remove the swirling ball of hate that was assaulting her.

"Mother...should we do something about this?" Innominatrus uneasily asked the Queen of Queens. Dominatus sadly shook her head.

"No...no, even though they're breaking the rules of the sparring pit...I think she needs this. They both need this, if I'm honest. Hopefully it will help Chryssi work out some of her unresolved anger." she replied. Noticing the worried look on her daughter's face, she waved a hoof. "Don't worry; if it looks as though it's about to get out of hoof, I'll intervene." Kicks landed on faces and mouths clamped down on limbs. The scuffle lasted several minutes, until finally it seemed to reach a conclusion. Chrysalis, battered, scratched, and bruised, was using what little body weight she had to hold her sister down by the neck.

"SHAY IT! SHAY THAT I'M NOT A RUNT! SHAY IT!" the warble in her voice was apparent, and she blinked back tears.

"NEVER!" The young Queen began pressing further down on her sibling's throat.

"SHAY! IT! SHAY I'M A WORTHY QUEEN! SHAY IT!" she screamed, the tears now flowing freely. Whatever answer Reticentur attempted to choke out was cut off as a red glow enveloped the two. Dominatus landed in the pit, and separated the interlocked Queens before releasing them.

"Chrysalis, go to your sister." The young royal began to protest, but was stopped by the Queen of Queens' glare. Turning to face to her older daughter, Dominatus righted her and dusted her off. "As for you, would you mind telling me why a smaller, and as you put it 'unworthy runt of a Queen' was able to best you in combat?" The orange royal coughed for a moment while massaging her throat.

"Are you-" she coughed again. "-are you kidding me right now?! She almost just KILLED ME!"

"Yes, and it would appear that Chryssi isn't the only one that 'Mommy' will protect, now is it?" Reticentur stared incredulously at her mother. "Now, if anything, you need to use what just happened as a learning experience. You do that, and the hateful things you said about your sister won't come back to haunt you, yes?"

"How was THAT supposed to be a 'learning experience?!'" her daughter hacked out.

"Well, for starters, it was smart to use psychological warfare on your opponent. It's an excellent way to reduce their fighting effectiveness. What wasn't smart was to do it where they essentially had no way out. If you corner an animal, then they have nothing to lose, so you had better be able to finish the fight. You obviously weren't able to." Dominatus lectured, finding her daughter's crown. Bending it back into shape, she continued. "Remember, your grandmother had a saying: 'Don't poke the bugbear when it's angry.' It's one thing to get inside your opponent's head; it's something entirely different to push it too far. Chrysalis was clearly at a breaking point, and you kept on going. Knowing when to use restraint is far more important than knowing when to use strength." Now back into shape, she dusted the crown off and placed it atop Reticentur's head. "Finally, and most importantly, Chryssi is your sister. And the future of this species. Maybe you feel like it's not fair, or that it should have been you. But none of that matters. Like it or not, she's your family, and she's going to be the Queen of Queens someday, so it might not be in your best interest to anger her, hmm? Grudges have a way of lasting, after all."

"...whatever." Reticentur grumbled, brushing past her mother and out of the pit. Sighing and promising to have an actual conversation with her, Dominatus flew back up to a no longer crying youngest daughter, who was being soothed by her eldest.

"...and if you like, I'll give you my old phonograph and some of my records. Would you like that?" the purple changeling asked, earning a short nod from her baby sister.

"Sweetie, are you okay?" the Queen of Queens asked. Chrysalis wiped her snout with a foreleg and weakly nodded. She shambled over to her mother before plopping on the ground, still sniffling. Innominatrus gestured with her head in another direction, and the two elder royals shared a knowing nod. As the purple Queen left the room, a little voice spoke up.

"Mom...am I really an unworthy runt?" The question caught Dominatus off-guard, and she hesitated before responding.

"What? No, of course not, sweetie!" Chrysalis opened her mouth, but was cut off. "Now look, I know what Retty said. But she was angry, and didn't mean it. She was trying to hurt you, but that doesn't mean she meant it. Sure, you may be small now, but some Queens are just...late bloomers." Again, Chrysalis tried to speak, but was cut off. "And no, you're not an unworthy Queen, either. You are just as, if not more, worthy than any Queen of Queens that's come before you. I know you struggle with infiltration, but all Queens do when they're starting out!"

"But I'm not shtarting out Mom! I'm thirteen hundred! Retishentur could do it perfectly when she wash 900!" Taken aback by her daughter's outburst, Dominatus struggled with a response.

"I-I know, sweetheart, but like I said, some Queens are just late bloomers."

"What about Innominatrush? Or Exterrerish? Or Psheudonymoush? Were any of them late bloomersh?" The Queen of Queens found herself again struggling to come up with a useful answer.

"Well...no, not really. They all had it down pat by their thousands..."

"Sho I really am a freak!" Chrysalis cried out, throwing her forelegs up in frustration.

"No, no! That's not it at all! You're just...different! Just like every Queen is different!" Dominatus quickly retorted.

"I don't wanna be different! I wanna be normal! Why can't I jusht be normal, like every other Queen?!"

"Because you're going to be better than them, okay?!" the Queen of Queens blurted out, before slapping a hoof over her mouth. The response earned a questioning look from her daughter. Looking around her, she sighed. "Okay, look: this is something that you're normally only supposed to learn when you're old enough, but..." again she looked around her, "...but the thing is, we're all Queens, but not all Queens are created equal. What you and I are, brood-mothers, we're known as 'greater Queens.' Because only we can hatch all other Queens. Retty, Natty, Terri, and the rest of your sisters? They're technically known as 'lesser Queens,' because they can only hatch drones. So, if anything, you should be happy that you're not normal. Yes, you're small. And yes, you struggle with infiltration methods. But you'll always have one of the most important, if not THE most important, roles within our species. In fact, the entirety of our survival rests upon your shoulders. So...please, just always remember that when you feel...inadequate, okay?" Chrysalis' eyes slowly widened, taking in the information. "Also, you have to promise me something: this little conversation we just had? It's just between us. Don't tell your sisters any of this, okay?"

"Okay, I won't." the diminutive Queen sniffled out.

"That's my girl. Hey, tell you what: how about tomorrow we really work on your infiltrations and form-changing, just you and me, would you like that?" Chrysalis nodded her head. "Alright, I'll clear my schedule."

"If you're going to invade my personal memories, the least you could do is pick up your mess." came a disappointed voice as Twilight phased back into reality. She yelped as her head twisted around to see the Queen of Queens in the bedroom's doorway, looking none too pleased. In her magic was a tray, and on it: food. "It's worth mentioning that nothing in those orbs will help you escape. It's just happy little memories for an old crone to reminisce with." Setting the tray down, she telekinetically lifted the Princess closer to her and replaced the balls back on to the shelves. "Anyway, I figured you were hungry, so being the benevolent and caring demi-deity that I am, I brought you food so you won't die before Chryssi has the chance to behead you." Twilight opened her mouth to complain, but a rumbling stomach silenced her. Dominatus smiled, and brought the bowl over to her, and magically dipped a spoon in. "Now, say 'Ahhh.'"

"Oh for pony's sake, don't treat me like I'm a foal. I can feed myself." the pony retorted indignantly.

"Uh...huh. Okay." the Queen of Queens said with a knowing grin. Setting the spoon back in the bowl, she placed the whole tray in front of Twilight. "Alright, go ahead. This should be good." The Princess craned her neck down, and with her lips barely able to reach the brim of the bowl, slurped loudly. It was...mashed pea soup. No seasonings, no flavorings, just...mashed pea soup. It had to be the blandest bland that had ever blanded. Grimacing, she leaned over further to slurp more of it, when she felt her balance go. Letting out a gasp as she nearly landed face-first in the bowl, she felt herself stop. Dominatus had caught her just before her purple face would have turned green. Righting her and lifting the spoon to her mouth, she repeated herself. "Now say 'Ahhh.'" Twilight glared at her.

"You purposely put it on the floor so I would fall. It wasn't fair from the start."

"Few things are, dear. Now, swallow your pride for a moment, or I won't hesitate to break out the bibs I had to use when I'd feed my daughters." Glowering at the Queen, Twilight leaned forward and took the bite. "Good girl!" Dominatus squealed. "It's almost a shame, too; you would have looked darling in that little bib I used to use on Natty. Same color scheme and all that."

A half hour and an entire lifetime's worth of pride swallowed later, Twilight was finished eating. She wasn't sure exactly why the Queen had decided to humiliate her like that, but at least her friends would never see it.

"So, now that you've eaten, how would you like to see more of my hive?" Dominatus asked. The Princess stared at her in response. "Oh, come now, surely it's better than sitting in my bedchambers all day?" Still refusing to answer, the Queen sighed and rolled her eyes. "Okay, executive decision time: we're taking a walk!" Picking up the pony, they exited the room, and walked back down the hallway they had taken last night.

The walls seemed to...move. Not so much on an X-Y plane, but more like...breathe. Holes opened and closed sporadically, and the whole thing seemed to feel alive somehow. It simultaneously unnerved and fascinated the alicorn, and her curiosity got the better of her as they rounded a corner. Finally breaking the silence, "...why do the walls do that?" she asked. Looking down at her captive, Dominatus arched an eyebrow.

"Do what?"

"That." the purple royal responded, nodding her head in the direction of a hole that had just opened. Looking in the direction, it took the Queen a moment before she finally understood the question.

"Ah. That. Well, being underground as we are, airflow can become a serious problem the larger a hive gets. So, our walls, at least our non-loadbearing ones, are designed to open and close at random intervals. This way, it pushes and pulls the air throughout the hive." she stated matter-of-factly. "Also, it gives me an easy way out when I need to leave a conversation I don't particularly enjoy." she added with a chuckle. Twilight looked at the Queen questioningly.


"Well, see, I could just teleport, but that's a bit...melodramatic, don't you think? It's so much easier to just shout 'Look over there!', then while my accounting drone is distracted, I dive through a wall. By the time he realizes there's no 'over there' worth looking at, the hole has closed and I'm already gone." she smiled as she continued, "It's also an easy way to get away with pranks. Donny once pasted me with a sap balloon and pile of leaves, and before I even had a chance to respond, she had already..." she whistled as she imitated a dive, "...through one of them. She was already on the other side of the hive by the time I found her." the changeling added with a laugh. "Of course, don't go getting any funny ideas. Those are only on interior walls; only a fool would put them on the exterior." she finished, clearing her throat. As they exited the long hallway, the two entered into a large hub. There were at least eight other hallway entrances and exits, with drones buzzing back and forth, going from one entrance to the next. Some carried parchments, others armor, and some nothing at all. Many saluted as they passed the Queen, who nodded in return.

"How big is this hive?" Twilight asked, craning her neck to see every detail around her. Dominatus chortled.

"You know, I used to know the number of cubic meters, but the place just keeps changing, so it's hard to keep track. Anymore, I just say 'VERY BIG.'" she answered with a smirk. Turning left, they entered another corridor, this one lined with doors. They all had what was presumably changeling script, but the alicorn couldn't make heads or tails of it. As they left the corridor, they entered into the atrium she had seen above her when she was first captured. Above her was the same mural; only this time, her mouth wasn't shut.

"Who are they?" she asked, nodding in the direction of the ceiling. Looking up, Dominatus grinned.

"Those are my most successful daughters. Not that any of my...well, most of any of my daughters are unsuccessful, that is. It's just that they are the ones who most helped the species." Pointing at the changeling on the left, she cleared her throat. "That one is Natt-er, Innominatrus. On her first infiltration, she struck down the Griffon King...uh...Gumption, I think?"

"You mean Guto?" Twilight corrected. The Queen clopped a hoof on the floor.

"Right! Guto! You know, I may not remember his name, but I certainly remember his wine cellar." she added with a chuckle. "Anyway, that was her first, and dare I say it, most successful infiltration. From my knowledge, the damage she wrought to the Empire was so long-lasting that they still haven't recovered." the changeling said with stars in her eyes. "The one in the middle? That's Don-for Praedo's sake-Pseudonymous." she clarified. "Yeah, what earned her that spot on the mural was releasing Discord from his stone prison. She always did like his style. I think she may have had a crush on him, to be honest."

"So THAT'S how he got out?! You let him out?! Why would you do that?!" the Princess demanded, her voice screeching at the end. Dominatus giggled like a schoolfilly.

"Well, partially because she wanted to see what would happen. He did not disappoint!" Looking down and seeing a dour face, she cleared her throat. "Oh, and also the ensuing chaos allowed us to seed so many of your cities with spies and collection agents. She managed to quintuple the number of implanted drones practically overnight." Still seeing a grumpy pony, she rolled her eyes. "Oh, come now, don't be that way. He was placed back in prison within a day or so, wasn't he? So see? Win-win!"

"I'd hardly call the near-total destruction of equinity as we knew it, only to barely beat him because he became overconfident a 'win-win.'" Twilight answered in a deadpan voice.

"There's more than one point of view in this world, you know. My hive was safe, so that's all I had to worry about. Annnnyway, the one on the right is Exterreris; she was the one who corrupted Princess Luna. My idea, by the way." the Queen said, puffing her barrel out in pride.

"EXCUSE ME?!" the alicorn shouted. "Why would you be proud of that?! Princess Luna nearly shrouded the world in permanent darkness! And then nearly did it again a thousand years later! And what's worse, she hates herself for it! She still struggles with her past!" Dominatus tsked.

"Goodness, Chrysalis may be right: you really are a negative one, aren't you?" she replied, picking the pony back up in her magic. "See, I'm more of a 'glass half-full' kind of Queen, because: one, it allowed you to meet your friends, especially that Earth pony you're so fond of, and two, the darkness wouldn't have been much of a problem for my children, seeing that they don't need sunshine. Also, Princess Luna got over it, from what I've heard, so all's well that ends well, yes?"

"You've got a funny way of looking at things..." Twilight grumbled.

"Well, there's always a silver lining to everything. For example: Chryssi failed at maintaining her last hive. As much as it irks me that she constantly screws up, at least it means I get to spend time with her." Leaving the atrium, they entered into the throne room. "And even if she thinks I'm being mean to her, I know she'll come back. And do you know why that is?" she asked. The alicorn only responded by giving a confused sideways glance. "Because she needs me. As much as I may tease her, she knows that I care for her, and only push her so hard as to make her strong enough to succeed in this world."

"You may want to actually tell her that at some point. Also, that sort of sounds like what you said you last night, only with less slurred yelling." Twilight retorted.

"Does it? Well, you'll have to excuse me; I tend to repeat myself, because as a mother, you sort of have to." she responded with a sideways grin. Setting the Princess down behind the throne, she looked around her. No drones in sight. "So, there's something I'd like you to see. Perhaps it will help you get into the right frame of mind for when Chryssi returns." Dominatus' horn glowed a deep red, and several engravings in the wall lit up. Slowly, ever so slowly, they began to turn. Dust and bits of stone fell from a few. Within moments, the whole wall began to separate, showcasing...darkness. Once the walls had spread far enough to allow the two to enter, the Queen brought her captive in, and the walls quickly slammed shut behind them. The royals were bathed in darkness, and only their breathing could be heard, until...

"Um, what was that about? Where are we?" asked a confused voice. Another voice giggled.

"Well, here's the thing. Part of me doesn't want to show you this, if only because technically only Queens are allowed to see this. Buuuuut you're still royalty, and you remembering it isn't going to have any long-term effects on our hive. So that's why I wanted to show you...THIS!" Dominatus shouted, her horn flaring out beams of light.






Even a manticore.

There had to be scores, if not hundreds of them.

Heads. Mounted on plaques, from floor to ceiling. Each with their own little gold nameplate beneath.

The Queen of Queens couldn't hear a thing. Not from being overcome with pleasant memories, although they were there, of course. No, she couldn't hear a thing because she was fairly certain that Twilight's blood-curdling screaming had burst her ear drums.

Author's Note:

Hurray, the story isn't dead! Don't you worry. It may take me a while to get out each chapter, but just know that I won't stop until I'm done!

You have no idea how much I've been wanting to write young Chrysalis. She's just another bit of evidence proving that practically anything is instantly cuter when they're a youngin'. What did you think of itty-bitty Chryssi? Also, what did you think of her sisters?

So I can't lie to you, dear reader: this chapter originally went on and on and on. Mostly with the flashbacks (which I sincerely hoped you enjoyed!). I just kept coming up with more and more ideas, and then it spiraled out of control, and...yeah. So that ended up being part of the reason this chapter took so long to put out. Also, I moved! And only recently got my computer unpacked. So there's that. Annnnyway, I wanted to let you know that I was also working on chapter 12 whenever I got writer's block for this one, so it should be out, well sooner than this one was!

As always, if you enjoyed this chapter, let me know! If you hated it, tell me, but only in a language you don't speak fluently but sorta know. I'm curious to see what Google Translate spits back out at me. Also, fun fact: "Spirytus Rektyfikowany" is, as far as we know, the highest-level alcoholic spirit in the world. Yes, even stronger than the vaunted "Everclear."

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