• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,221 Views, 969 Comments

Little Consequences - Skijarama



Princess Rainbow Dash and her friends have found themselves in the newly restored Crystal Empire, and now struggle against the forces of Queen Chrysalis and the enigmatic King Sombra in an effort to reclaim Canterlot and save Equestria.

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First Contact

The swarm had been moving for several hours, now. Under the shadow of the night, they had not stopped once for rest since departing Canterlot, their hunger driving them on despite the protesting muscles attached to their buzzing wings. Chrysalis, at the head of the swarm, glanced back on her drones out of curiosity, and a look of agitation spread across her face when she saw the exhaustion in their ranks. Lightweights. They could not afford to waste any time!

Still, she supposed, it could not be helped. If she drove them too hard, they would drop from the sky. With a resigned groan, she rotated around to face her army and spoke up. “Swarm, stop!” she shouted out, her words echoing around them. All at once, the enormous cloud of changelings came to an abrupt stop in the air, looking to their queen for instructions.

Chrysalis studied the swarm for a moment, making sure they really needed the rest. It became pretty evident when she saw more than a few of them struggling just to keep in the air. “You are all tired, and we have been traveling for quite some time. Get down to the ground, find a secluded spot and get some sleep. Divide into groups of four and determine a rotation for night watch amongst yourselves,” she ordered plainly, and the relief in the swarm was palpable, many of them vocalizing their gratitude with loud sighs.

While her subjects set themselves down on the ground beneath them, Chrysalis took a moment to study their environment, slowly spinning in the air as she did so. Directly beneath them, the hills around the Canterlot Mountain smoothed out into a long, flat expanse of grassy wetlands, pocketed with hundreds of small ponds and shallow rivers. If it weren’t so vibrant, she might have considered it a swamp. Looking to the east, much of the moisture could be observed coming from an impressively enormous waterfall spilling its contents from the top of a tall cliff-face. The cliff itself was surrounded by a lush patch of forest that, sadly, seemed to be adverse to the overabundance of moisture let off by the waterfall.

If Chrysalis really strained her ears, she could just hear the roar of the rushing water, even from so far away. She believed that was Neighagra Falls, if she was remembering the maps of Equestria she had studied back in Canterlot correctly. She then turned her gaze to the west, revealing more of the wetlands as far as the eye could see. Scattered about in small, albeit dense patches were pockets of trees and shrubbery.

And, of course, to the north was the mountain range that separates the Frozen North from the rest of Equestria, the steep slopes capped with centuries of built-up snow. In the distance far beyond those frost-tipped peaks, Chrysalis could just make out the last, dwindling vestiges of the northern lights. The ribbons of colorful light had slowly faded over the course of the day, although the smell that they left in the air was still unthinkably intoxicating. Just thinking about it made her legs feel like jelly and her mouth water excessively with eager anticipation.

With her stomach growling somewhat as she thought back on those heavenly lights, Chrysalis decreased her altitude and eventually touched down on the grassy ground, surrounded by her subjects on all sides. Most of them were already curling up on the ground to get some much needed rest, hiding themselves under bushes or anything else they could use to hide themselves. There were also several dozen drones scouring the area for spots to hunker down and blend in for their turn taking watch, many of them opting to just turn into birds or other small creatures and find perches in trees.

Satisfied that her subjects would be fine for the night, Chrysalis soon found a spot on the ground covered in a thick patch of damp moss and settled down on it, her muscles relaxing under her chitin from the cushiony substance. A small exhale worked its way out of her nostrils, and she closed her eyes to get some rest of her own.

Her rest would be delayed, unfortunately, by the tell-tale tingling of magic reaching her horn. Recognizing the sensation immediately, she sat up and opened her eyes, answering the tingle with a quick flick of her magic. A sphere of green magic began to form in the air in front of her, letting out an ethereal hum as it grew it scale. After a few more moments and an unstable quiver in the sphere’s surface, an image was shown, revealing the inside of a cave made of ice, illuminated by a green campfire with four changeling drones sitting around it and looking back at her. While they all gave low bows, a small smirk appeared on her face. “Ah, my scouting party…” she mused with interest, her ears standing upright. “I was wondering when I would hear from you. What do you have to report?”

The leader of the drones stood tall and cleared his throat before beginning to speak. “Your highness, we’ve made considerable progress in tracking down the Princess and her entourage. While we lost the tracks for a time in the snow, a sudden eruption of light and love in the sky has given us a clear direction to follow. What’s more, there seems to be a large city of some sort farther north, and that is where the love is coming from.”

“A city…?” Chrysalis hummed in thought, her interest piqued. She lifted a hoof up to her chin, a curious smile appearing on her muzzle. “Fascinating… I haven’t heard of such a place. What have you learned about it?”

“So far, I am afraid, nothing,” the drone replied with an apologetic bow of his head. “A powerful blizzard has picked up and forced us to seek shelter in this cave. Until the storm passes, we will be unable to continue our mission.”

“Then stay where you are,” Chrysalis ordered firmly, her eyes shimmering with predatory delight. “Harvest what you can from whatever local wildlife you can find and wait for the swarm.”

“The swarm, my queen?”

Chrysalis’ sharp teeth showed themselves in a spine-chilling grin. “Why yes, my subject. We saw the light all the way down here in Equestria as well, and we have already started our journey to lay claim to it. The love in that light…” she involuntarily shuddered and licked her lips, remembering that tantalizing aroma from earlier. “It could be enough to finally end our eternal starvation…”

The drones in the cavern shared some eager and hopeful looks and chattered amongst themselves for a moment before the leader gave another bow of his head. “Very well, my queen. We shall hold this position and await your arrival,” he raised his head back up. Suddenly, he looked to the side and spread into a defensive stance. “What was that?!” he barked out in surprise, his comrades rising to their hooves as well.

Chrysalis, confused, narrowed her eyes and stepped closer. “Drone, report. What did you see?” she demanded sharply, drawing the drone’s eyes again while his companions began to cautiously spread out.

“I thought I saw something in the darkness. It must have just been…” his words trailed off, his eyes slowly going wide and his ears going flat against his head as he looked past the sphere of magic. Chrysalis glanced over her shoulder for a moment, expecting to see some monster or something lurking in the shadows, but found nothing. Unnerved, she then looked back at the drone. She saw the fear building in his eyes as he took a few steps back, his entire body shaking. His comrades weren’t much better off, similarly backing away from something that Chrysalis could not see. The way they were staring past the sphere on their end made Chrysalis feel like something was looming just behind her.

She grit her teeth and pressed her face into the light, trying to get a better viewing angle on whatever it was that had scared her drones so much. “I can’t see anything! What is it?!”

“The Queen have mercy…” one of them whimpered out before, all at once, the image in the green magic was smothered in tendrils of eldritch darkness. Chrysalis leaped back in alarm, a startled hiss escaping her throat even as her horn lit up with magic. Her blood began to run cold when she heard the terrified and pain-filled screams of her scouts on the other end of the spell. She could hear them letting off spells, trying to defend themselves, but their screams never ceased. A harrowing roar reverberated out of the sphere and, at the same time, the screams faded into an eerie silence. Several seconds passed with only the slowly diminishing crackles of the fireplace coming out of the sphere, before those too fell silent. Chrysalis composed herself, set her jaw and stepped forward.

“Drone? Anyone? What is happening over there? Answer me, right now!”

For a moment there was yet more silence. If she really strained her ears, Chrysalis thought she could hear something hard being dragged across ice and stone… like a body, perhaps. She couldn’t be sure, however, as the sound was so muffled. Then, two eyes snapped open to glare at her with crimson iris’ and reptilian-slit pupils. The whites of the eyes were a glowing acid green, while poison purple trails of magic drifted out of them. A curved, crimson horn could be seen fading back into the darkness above those eyes, and a crescent-shaped grin filled with razor-sharp teeth spread out below them.

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes in scrutiny. “What are you? Do you speak?” she demanded in a cold, threatening growl.

The grin slowly faded away into a neutral expression before speaking. “You must be these changeling creatures I was told about…” it mused in a deep, authoritative voice with impressive carry. The eyes looked down towards something Chrysalis couldn’t see, and a disappointed snort could be heard. “I was expecting something more… intimidating.”

Chrysalis scoffed dismissively before a fiery spark lit up in her eyes, and her teeth were once again bared in a furious scowl. “What did you do to my drones, demon?”

“Demon?” the shadow parroted with amusement before a low chuckle slipped free from it. “No, I am not a demon…” the eyes flared up with a crimson glow, and the shape of a stallion’s face could briefly be seen in the undulating smoke. “I’m what demons fear.”

“A bold claim,” Chrysalis shot back dryly before her eyes shifted in an attempt to look past this creature, hoping to catch sight of the cave and her drones. “But you did not answer my question, and I do not have the patience to ask you again.”

“Your minions are alive, don’t worry,” the darkness answered in a mocking tone, the face of one of them emerging from the smoke. His eyes were wide open and colored the same acidic green as those of the monster that held him with those same, ominous purple trails leaking out the sides. His jaw hung limply open and there was no discernable expression on his face. He looked like he was in a trance. The teeth hovering over his shoulder formed into a sadistic grin. “They’re just… taking a little nap.”

Chrysalis scrutinized the drone for several moments, her eyes narrowing. “Scout, can you hear me? Say something!” she barked, but no response came. The drone’s mouth shifted up and down like that of a fish, but only slightly.

“He cannot hear you; as we speak, he is seeing all of the things he fears and hates the most…” the darkness hummed before it looked down at the drone hungrily again. “I can allow his fears to be heard, however… if you wish to know.”

He didn’t wait for Chrysalis to respond either way. The Drone suddenly jerked back to life, his eyes darting around in a panic while his hooves reached up to protectively shield his heart. His breathing began to come in ragged, terrified gasps, and fresh tears spilled freely down his cheeks. “Wait, my queen! P-p-please! I can do b-better! I’m begging you, d-don’t do this to me!”

“I’m not hurting you,” Chrysalis tried to assure him, her brow furrowing with confusion. “What are you talking about?”

The drone didn’t respond to her words, simply continuing to thrash. After a few seconds, though, he went rigid, his expression going from panic and desperation to dread and quiet despair. “M-my queen?” he choked out in a hoarse whisper before his eyes slowly turned to look over his shoulder. “Wha… n-no, wait! Please!” he tried to reach out towards something unseen in front of him, but only fell forwards to his knees. “Don’t let him take me! Please! I don’t want to be in the darkness again! Please-”

His shrieks and pleas were suddenly silenced, that empty look coming back onto his face before he was slowly pulled back into the smoke, vanishing from Chrysalis’ point of view. The shadows smiled pleasantly and then shot an expectant glance towards the stunned changeling queen. “I see… he fears you and me equally…”

Chrysalis felt one of her eyes twitch, her blood starting to boil with unthinkable rage. “Why did you attack them? What purpose does it serve you?!” she asked in an infuriated shout, unable to suppress the snarl in the back of her throat.

The shadows seemed entertained by her question. “Your servants were trespassing in my domain. And should you follow them into the snow, you will face the same fate.”

“What is your name?” Chrysalis demanded through clenched teeth in a quiet growl, her own eyes starting to glow out of a desire to make this monster suffer for his insolence.

“Me?” the shadows grinned again, that stallion’s face, for a moment, becoming clearly defined. “I am the King of Shadows, Lord of Terrors, and the one true ruler of the Crystal Empire. I am King Sombra!” the face then drew closer to the light, it’s eyes taking up the entirety of Chrysalis’ side of the spell. “And to you, changeling, I am your worst fear made solid.”

Chrysalis eyed Sombra intently for several seconds, not flinching even slightly from his threat. She could feel her subjects behind her watching the exchange, and she could smell their fear in the air. A sickeningly amused smile slowly began to grow on her face. “Is that so? Oh, that is quite the impressive list of titles you have, King Sombra...” she said in a soft-spoken coo, stepping closer to the light. Her expression then hardened and the glow in her eyes magnified many times over. “But if you believe that I am afraid of a formless shadow, then you clearly know nothing about me or the powers at my beck and call.”

“Everything is afraid of something….” Sombra noted ominously, bringing his face closer to the sphere. “I look forward to discovering what it is you fear most...”

Chrysalis grinned hungrily. “Oh, I can’t wait…” she remarked before bringing her face just a little closer to the light, so close that if they were in front of each other in person, their foreheads would be touching. “And I look forward to showing you what you fear most as well.”

Sombra raised an eyebrow, visibly intrigued. “Oh? What might that be?”

Chrysalis lidded her eyes, blinked softly a few times and licked her lips before she spoke in a soft, gentle whisper.

“Me.”

Sombra, for a few seconds, seemed taken aback by Chrysalis’ remark, and the way she had made it. Then he began to laugh. It began as a low, entertained chuckle that then swelled into a loud, hysterical fit of maniacal laughs that echoed all around Chrysalis, washing over her and her drones like a tsunami of malevolence. Then, with his laughter slowly dying down, Sombra lowered his gaze to look at her again, an unspoken challenge being relayed through his gaze alone. A challenge which Chrysalis happily accepted with her own.

Then, with a sputter and a flash, the sphere shattered and faded into the night, leaving Chrysalis standing there and looking out onto a world bathed in moonlight. But with that laugh still echoing in her ears and the image of those eyes burned into her mind, the moonlight seemed distinctly less comforting then it did before...

Author's Note:

Kinda nice to flex my horror muscles a bit with Sombra causing trouble. Been too long since I've written something spooky.

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