• Published 14th Apr 2018
  • 1,693 Views, 219 Comments

A Time to Think - The Sonic Mage



Mercy isn't just about sparing others. It's about helping them to their feet, and keeping them steady as they travel forward.

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Chapter 10: Go and Smell the Roses

Chrysalis awoke with a groan. Her eyes ached from the act of rising from her deep slumber. That, however, brought to her attention a very important detail.

‘So…I’m not dead.’ She thought to herself. Which meant that yesterday’s fish wasn’t poisoned. ‘Terrific.’

Her eyes, still somewhat sore, were drawn to the bottle of Extract on her bedside table. Her energy was low and it was about that time she took her meds. She thoughtlessly levitated the bottle to her hoofs. However her attention was caught by how fast the bottle came to her.

Chrysalis then started moving the bottle up and down with her magic. She felt the increase in accessible power. ‘But, how? I mean the only way that could happen is if…’ She quickly looked down at the inhibitor around her neck. Her eyes widened.

Several of the enchanted gems had lost their glow. Meaning that the inhibitors level of restraint over her had decreased. ‘What?!’ She mentally questioned herself, ‘Who in the name of Equestria would-’

Her brain put two and two together, clicking in the process. There was only one individual that could, and would, lower the restraint level.

‘Thorax…’ It seemed clear that he could be rooms away, and still be able to loosen her bonds. Which brought forth another question that came up often, but she would save that for a face-to-face conversation with the Changeling himself. For now, it was medication time. ‘At least it tastes good.’

Shortly after taking a sizable gulp from the bottle, a familiar knock, at a familiar time, came at her door. ‘Breakfast time, I guess.’ Chrysalis walked over to the door. She felt like opening the door herself today, rather than letting off a small magical signal to telegraph that entry was permitted.

She opened the door, and expected an average character to be carrying a tray. However, what she got was a gleeful “Good Morning!” from a very familiar voice. Seemed that face-to-face discussion would come sooner than she thought.

Thorax had showed up on her doorstep to personally deliver breakfast. His expression was wonderfully cheerful. “Would you like some breakfast-in-bed?”

Chrysalis, taken aback by the sudden gesture, managed to stumble out a reply. “S-Sure, gladly.” She stepped aside and let the young king into her room. He set the somewhat cluttered tray on the table in the middle of the room, and began unpacking it.

“Here we are. Breakfast is served.” Thorax took a seat on one end of the table, and waited for Chrysalis to do the same. She slowly did, as she was able to process the current events. She lifted a fork to dig into the plate of eggs that lay before her.

‘Poison-’ Chrysalis mentally slapped her subconscious in the face. She was really starting to get tired of this.

‘Oh, shut up you paranoid maggot!’ She cursed in her personal mindscape. ‘Your endless rambling is the reason I’ve gotten anything into my system for the past days! I have been here for over two weeks, and nothing I have eaten or gone to see has resulted in my demise!’ She managed to not let her anger show in her facial expressions. ‘And before you say anything, we discussed this yesterday: I don’t care about the punishment! Weather it be execution, torture, or the wrath of the Princesses, I deserve it. And I will accept it. So you had better bulk up, accept the reality of the situation, because I am not having this conversation with you ever again. You hear me!?’

‘.....’ Silence. No response. There was nothing left to argue about. The new found peace allowed her completely focus on consuming her breakfast.

The eggs were cooked to perfection. A little rough around the edges, but still good. The biscuits were also creamy and had a soft, warm, puffy inside. “This is really good.” Chrysalis said, this time remembering to chew and swallow her food before speaking.

“Made and delivered by yours truly.” Thorax put a hoof on his chest, comically exaggerating the small bit of pride he took in the fact.

Chrysalis paused for a moment. Looking at her plate. “You, made all this?”

“Well, I can’t expect Tibia to cook everything,” he said, “Besides, it makes me feel like I’m good at something other than ‘being king’.”

Chrysalis then remembered something important. A question that she had to ask. ‘Oh, right. That.’ She steeled herself, gathering the courage to ask. ‘Come on Chrysalis, you can do this. It’s just one question. One, simple, question.’ She quietly took a deep breath.

“Um, Thorax?”

The king put his fork down and looked up at the mention of his name. “Yes?”

“This morning, I noticed that…” She faltered for a moment.

“Noticed what?”

“...That the magic inhibitor significantly decreased its restraint level.” Another moment of hesitation, “It wouldn’t happen to be losing its…?”

“Wha-?” Thorax realized what she was asking. It made him laugh a little. “Oh, ho, ho, ho. No, Chrysalis. It’s not losing power. I loosened its grip.”

‘Well there’s the conformation,’ Chrysalis thought. ‘Now for the big part…’

“Well...Why?” She asked. “Do…Do you trust me?” The very thought of such a thing made her conflicted.

Thorax smiled, “It’s not a matter of me trusting you, Chrysalis,” He paused for a moment, “ It’s about you trusting yourself.”

“Uh...What?” Chrysalis just stared back in bewilderment.

Thorax blinked, and then nervously laughed. “Oh gosh, I’m starting to sound like Celestia now, aren’t I?” He laughed a little more. “No more Royal meetings for me.”

Chrysalis laughed a little as well. He was right. That did sound like something the Sun Princess would say.

“No, but in all seriousness, I feel like you’re not as stressed about yourself, if that makes any sense.” Thorax was attempting to explain his highly complicated position in the simplest way possible. “I’ve always been fine with you being here. But I wasn’t sure if you were comfortable with it. And because of that I was worried you would…do something drastic.”

Chrysalis was still a bit confused, but decided to just roll with it, as to avoid giving herself a headache. She simply responded with, “I see…” and moved on from that part of the conversation.

“Anyway,” Thorax decided to get to his reasons for being there. “We have recently created a garden area in the hive, and I was wondering if you would like to come and see it?”

Chrysalis stopped. She had just been made another offer to be taken on another walk through the hive, for the purpose of entertaining her. Normally, at this point, her subconscious would be making some radical comment about execution or something of the like. But, considering the lecture she had given it a moment ago, she was able to think without too much mental noise, and instead came up with her answer to the current question.

“Yeah, I guess. Maybe this afternoon?”

Thorax looked off to the side. “Actually, it’s almost 11:00 am right now.”

Chrysalis’ eyes shot wide open, “What!”

Thorax waved his hooves, “l-I’m sorry! I just thought that I would let you sleep in, get some extra rest.” He was somewhat panicked by Chrysalis’ response, fearing that he upset her.

Fortunately she got a hold of herself and, almost on impulse,quelled Thorax’s worry. “N-No, it’s fine! I was just surprised, that’s all.” ‘Whoa…where did that come from?’

Thorax calmed down. “Okay. But, is there a specific time you’d like to go and see the garden?”

“Uh…” She pondered for a moment, “Whenever you think would be good.” Only to put out a non-specific answer. ‘I shouldn’t be making any decisions about whens and wheres around here.

Thorax tilted his head to one side. He was slightly confused by Chrysalis’ some what non-answer, but he went with it. “Alright. I’ll come and get you a little later, okay?”

“Of course.” A small nod accompanied the conformation.

The current and former monarchs finished their respective plates and Thorax took them way to be washed (by himself of course. He wasn’t going to leave everything to his fellow Changeling). He looked back at his guest with a smile. “See ya later.”
Chrysalis weakly waved back in response.

And so she was left to herself, with yet another question to herself.

>~~~~~~~~<

Thorax went to Chrysalis’ room to take her to the gardens at around 12:00 pm. He was running down the halls to get to her room. He didn’t want to be delayed even further. When he finally made it, his breath was heavy, as he knocked on the door. Chrysalis opened the door slowly, as she was a bit nervous about letting others in.

“S-Sorry for taking so long,” Thorax said through his exhausted breath, “I would have came at 11:30, but Royal duties delayed me.”

Chrysalis shook a hoof in dismissal. “N-No, it’s fine. You’re not at fault for anything.” She was referring to more than just his lateness. And more then just him.

“So,” Thorax began, “Do you still want to go?”

“Yes, I do.”

Thorax perked up at the response. “Alright then. If you would please follow me.” And they began on their way.

>~~~~~~~~<

“Not much further now.” Thorax reassured. They were approaching a large set of wooden double doors, with grand vine-like designs on them. It was beautiful.

“Hello, my lor- Oh! Uh, I mean, Thorax. The guard that greeted them slightly looked away in embarrassment.

“It’s okay, Hard Shell,” Thorax said kindly “Everyling messes up at some point. I’m fine with it really.”

Hard Shell nodded, relieved he hadn’t offended his king. He pulled a collection of keys from his saddle bag, and began to single out the one that unlocked the doors behind him.

Chrysalis got a chill down her spine. She recognized the Changeling guard. He was one of the troopers who originally captured her and brought her to the Hive. She shuddered at the thought of what he must think of her.

“So, Hard Shell,” Thorax began as the guard he addressed continued his search for the right key, “What are you doing here? I thought you were on Pharynx’s scouting team.”

“Oh, I’m taking a break from it.” Hard Shell fumbled with the multitude of keys on the loop. “That’s what active duty does to ya: Wears you down.” He found the right key. “We really put labels on these…” The young soldier muttered to himself.

“I’ll get to work on that.” Thorax affirmed. Hard Shell froze, turning to look at his monarch.

“How…did you…?” The guard had a rather puzzled look on his face. Thorax simply tapped his horn as an answer. “Wha…? Ahhhhhhahaha, I see you!” Hard Shell laughed at the indication that he needed to check when he was accessing the Hive mind. “Ah, here we are!” He proclaimed with triumph, as he stuck the key in the lock. The sound of creaking hinges echoed through the hall. The doors to the gardens were open.

“Thank you, Hard Shell.” Thorax gave a little bow to the young trooper. He stared walking in, motioning Chrysalis to follow.

As she walked through the door, she stopped as she turned her head to look at Hard Shell. She opened her mouth to speak, but Hard Shell cut her off. “Yes, I know. And I’m okay with it.” He knew what she was going to say. “I’m not harboring any grudges, nor do I think any other Changeling is.” He then motioned his head towards the gardens that await outside. “Go on, don’t wanna get left behind, do ya?”

Chrysalis looked out the doorway. Thorax was patiently waiting for her. She took one last look at Hard Shell, before slowly stepping into the sunlight. The doors creaking closed behind her.

>~~~~~~~~~~<

A sudden swell of light and colors and smells assaulted her senses. At first she winced as if in pain, but slowly, her nose and eyes began to registering all the colors and smells. And when that happened she was amazed. All around her were lively green shrubs, trees of various sizes, and most importantly: All the flowers. On both sides of the walkway, there were more flowers than could be counted in a reasonable amount of time.

Chrysalis couldn’t help but keep looking from side to side, her eyes eating up the view as if it were candy. It was as if she had entered some kind of wonderland. All around her, all about her. Roses, tulips, violets on one side. Daisies, carnations, and sunflowers on the other.

“You like it?” Thorax seemed to come out of nowhere as he brought Chrysalis out of her trance.

She struggled to find words, “It…I…” She struggled with her vocabulary for a little longer, until eventually, something came to her. “I…It’s…I-It’s beautiful.”

Thorax looked out on the same view, “I know. It’s amazing that this actually all here.”

Chrysalis looked to Thorax, “How was all of this made?”

“Well, to put it simply, one day a dozen or so Changelings got together and made a plan to create a massive garden. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever attempted. They spent months turning over soil, gathering seeds, planting, building. Then more Changelings joined in. Then more, and more, until practically the whole Hive was working on it. And now, here we are.”

Chrysalis tried to imagine it. The whole Hive working to complete one massive land project, that was first started by only a small group. It’s was hard to visualize, but she tried.

“Would you like to see the rest of it?” Thorax put his hoof towards the rest of the garden, as if he were presenting it.

“O-Of course…” And so, the two continued on their way.

>~~~~~~~~<

Cherry blossoms, ferns, ivy, and dandelions. There was such an extensive variety of plant life. Chrysalis had never even seen or heard of half the plants growing around her. She had to rely on Thorax for information about their rather green surroundings. It was somewhat embarrassing. They were steady making their way to the center of the gardens. She wondered what the centerpiece would be. What was the crown jewel?

‘A giant tree? A sculpture of some kind?’ Her curiosity kept her walking forward, as they passed by other Changelings, who gave smiles and greetings. The fact that their kind compliments were so sincere, still gave her pause.

“So, you enjoying yourself?” Thorax posed the question, making his guest was enjoying their time.

“Very much so.” Chrysalis tried not to sound like she was lying. She was enjoying herself, but her anxiety and lack of self assurance made her a tad stressed. “It’s hard to believe that this was all built by Changelings.”

“Well, ya know what they say,” Thorax quipped cheerfully, “The best way to get folks to unite, is to give them a common goal.”

“Who said that?” Chrysalis raised an eyebrow.

“Me.” Thorax smiled and the two shared a small chuckle.

It was then, that Chrysalis saw it. The centerpiece. She stared at it, walked over to it, seemingly in a trance. It wasn’t a massive tree, nor a sculpture of any kind. It was something she didn’t expect at all. In a vase, upon a pedestal, surrounded by white and red roses, sat a single flower. One that, by all means of nature, should not be able to exist.

It was a single, Black Rose.

There another thing odd about it. When she looked closely, a lot of the outermost petals had holes in them. Not holes punched in them, no, these holes were naturally occurring. Chrysalis was so entranced that she didn’t notice Thorax coming up beside her.

“Chrysalis?”

“Gah!” She jumped, having been suddenly brought back to the conscious realm.

“Whoa, whoa, hey it’s okay. It’s me.” Thorax reassured her. “You alright?”

Chrysalis didn’t answer his question. Instead she asked one of her own. “Wha-? What is- What is that?” She struggles to form a sentence due to the amount of confusion she was experiencing.

Thorax looked to the flower in question. “Oh, that. That’s the garden’s central flower. The original planters called it ‘their greatest inspiration’ when they announced the project. They built this whole garden around that flower.”

Chrysalis could only think of more questions to ask. The original planters must have known the implications of the plant’s appearance. “How did this thing come to be? Are there more of them?”

“No,” Thorax replied, “This is the only one we know of. As for it’s origins, some say it’s magic, others say it’s a random, one time byproduct of nature.” He looked to Chrysalis, “But, I can tell you, that everyling thinks it’s beautiful.”

Beautiful. The word echoed in Chrysalis’ head. ‘Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.’ It confounded her. Surely she wasn’t the only one who could draw the comparison between the appearance of the flower and the appearance of what the Changelings used to be. Chrysalis had so many questions. What, when, where, why, who, how. She could go on for days listing off the number of inquiries that racked her brain. However, only one question managed to squeeze its way out of her mouth.

“What is it called?” Chrysalis spoke somewhat quietly.

“What?” Thorax didn’t quite hear her.

She quickly turned to him. Speaking in a hurried, almost panicked manner. “The flower. The flower, what is it called?”

Thorax replied with one word, “Hope.”

Chrysalis blinked, “W...What?”

“The flower is called Hope.”

Chrysalis looked back to the black rose that was causing her confusion.

“There’s, uh, still some more garden to explore,” Thorax added, “Would you like to go and see it?”

Chrysalis mindlessly nodded, and the two began walking again.

>~~~~~~~~~~<

They walked on for another hour or two. Thorax would point out different plants, but Chrysalis wasn’t really paying attention. Her mind was ablaze. To her, there were so many things wrong with what she just saw, the list could go on for days. At the end, Thorax offered to get her something to eat, but she declined. She, instead, asked to be taken straight to her room. “Thank you”s were exchanged, and after closing the door and taking a few sizable gulps of Love Extract, she fell right onto her bed. She needed to rest. To process. To comprehend what she had seen only a few hours ago.

She didn’t get much sleep that night.

Author's Note:

I'm still alive!!!:pinkiegasp:
Thank you all for being so patient. :twilightsheepish:
Again school and regents got in the way of my ability to write.:ajbemused:
But it's here now! :pinkiehappy:
So enjoy! :twilightsmile:

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