• Published 5th Feb 2019
  • 8,921 Views, 223 Comments

My Life As An Interdimensional Insect - XenoPony

A new world, a new place. A bunch of pastel coloured talking horses, and turns out I'm some kind of strange insect monster responsible for almost the ending the world. This is shaping up to be a hell of a new life.

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Chapter 3: Only One of a Kind

"Ten, nine, eight..."

"Let her go... Changelings are extinct... Last of your kind... What would you do…? My Queen. Anything and everything."

"Each point of the star. Eight years on the summer solstice the veil will finally fall. Eight years."

"Three, two, one... Zero."

Present Day:

Eight Years Later:

"Changelings!" I awoke with a start, hooves flailing, wings buzzing and cover sent flying as I lurched up in the bed. "They're extinct... I'm..." My words died into a series of long breaths as the distant memory seeped back into my mind.

I pressed a dark hoof to my chest, breathing in and out slowly, just like Twilight taught me as I composed and collected my thoughts. A dream... Nightmare? No, like a memory played out as perfectly as the day I'd been there. I was no stranger to my mind wandering, yet never had it been so clear, like watching through the eyes of my past self as if they were windows. The past was there, like a nagging leech sapping my existence, a life that lay under my own, a shadow of what I was. Eight years ago I'd awoken in that chamber in Twilight's castle, I'd forgotten, grown up and left it behind. So right now why did it feel as fresh as the moment my face had hit the table?

Taking one last breath, I lay my forehooves down on either side of me, the soft mattress squashing under the pressure as I looked over the darkened room. A square outline of golden rays shone in from the edges of the curtain, notifying me that I'd fortunately not awoken in the dead of night with no way to return to sleep.

"Thank Celestia for small favors," I droned, my reverberating voice dry as my parched throat as I concentrated hard and summoned my magic.

With less strain than usual, the bright green aura lit up and enveloped the curtain. My brow wrinkled, jaw clenched as I repeated the motion I desired over and over in my head.

Lift and fold, just like Starlight taught you. The thoughts came far easier than the actual motion, and for a moment, I was about ready to give up. Hey, did you ever get anywhere before by giving up?

Allowing me some reprieve, the universe obliged, and just as I intended, my magical grip tightened around the target. Lifting the two fabric sheets apart I finally allowed the glow of Celestia's new dawn sun to wash in and bathe my crystalline bedchamber in radiant light. I let out a breath I'd been holding as I slumped back, tense muscles going slack as I did so.

I can hardly even open the curtains... Urgh, maybe my magic is developing wrong? I asked myself, tapping my horn with a forehoof. Then what if I do need that book?

'Unicorn Magic for Foals' read the cover of the neat purple book on my bedside table, the golden depiction of a unicorn filly with sparks igniting form her horn below. 'Find Your Spark' added the subtitle.

I shoved the book to the other side of the nightstand with a hoof, looking away with a huff as my ears folded back. I'll do it on my own, all of my friends can do it so why not me?

So what if I'm not a unicorn, I have a horn and wings! I mentally assured myself. And yet no pony really knows how a changeling is supposed to develop.

Well, isn't my mind just so supportive? I crossed my forelegs and huffed, stretching my shimmering wings.

Brow furrowing, I licked around my fangs, once again trying to summon my magic to throw my bed sheets off of my lower half. Not one for giving out miracles twice in one day, the universe ensured that my poor excuse for arcane arts went nowhere and I finally gave up with a snarl.

"Stupid magic, stupid bed sheets," I fumbled, half throwing, half kicking the pale covers off with my hind legs before rolling over and dropping onto all fours. "Still can't stop me from just using my hooves, can you?"

I half expected some kind of snide response from the aether. That would be just my luck. I was the last changeling in existence and also not the best at magic. Still, I'd gone the past eight years trying my magic as hard as I could, and I knew I'd never get anywhere by whining about it.

Ha, even extinction didn’t want you. When the inanimate sheets of fabric failed to produce any kind of retort akin to that, I smirked.

"Well, that only gives me more of a reason to be glad I'm not extinct," I stated triumphantly, throwing my head up with a snort and trotting over to the window.

Sure, I may have grown up in an unknown world with no idea where I came from or even if I'd come from anywhere. Yet I was glad that if every changeling had died in the war, I was still here to keep at least the Crystal Wing rebels' reputation intact.

"Celestia knows if good changelings died for this then I can't go around complaining about it," I said to myself, forehoof pressed to my chest as I peered out of the window.

Beyond the neatly crafted fusion of golden metal, ornate glass, and dark blue crystal, I could see the other spires of Twilight's castle. Purple and golden trims glowing in the dawn's light. Beyond sat the town of Ponyville itself, quaint thatch cottages, town hall and carousel boutique beyond the river in the distance. A marvel of earth pony tradition to be sure, the countryside settlement was like a diamond amidst the rolling green hills and lush forests.

Ponyville. I'd only lived here my whole life, eight years, even since I'd appeared without an explanation. There had been theories, sure. I was the last changeling in Equestria after the civil war that had seen the last of my kind wiped out almost a decade ago. Queen Scolopendra, daughter of the fallen Queen Chrysalis, leader of the tyrant hive, scourge of ponies and any traitor changeling that had sided with them.

I sighed, looking at my shimmering wings as I thought about that. An inexperienced and undisciplined leader that had taken control of the hive after her mother's death at the royal wedding. It only made sense that any changeling with half a brain would go against such a change, yet the fact they were all dead left a hole in my chest.

Thorax, Elytra, Ocellus. I'd never met any of them, but I recounted the names from the monument I'd seen in the Crystal Empire nonetheless.

Just think, if it were not for them turning their back on that monster you'd have been crushed like a bug once. I shook my head at that, the snide voice in my head was no stranger to me, one could not grow up feeling so displaced without a few issues. Yeah, well, lucky for me I am a changeling with half a brain!

Voices in my head, that I was used to. Yet when a new voice that sounded akin to the sudden sensation of being plunged into a pool of cold water slithered into my ear, all that thinking I was still a little crazy shot into overdrive.

"My, my, look at you. You have grown." I spun on all fours, moving on legs that had once felt alien to me with the swiftness of a natural born foal. "I love the wings too, it's a nice look."

For some reason, the information my twitching ears were feeding me felt familiar and yet most distant the then stars that twinkled in Luna's night.

"Wow, standing to attention like a true drone, you, are well bred." The hooded mare loomed out of the shadow like a ghost as she shot me a sly look. "It's impressive, really. Eight years... You grow up so fast."

I froze like a statue as the quadrupedal figure trotted forward. All I could see below her cowl were a pair of amethyst eyes and, a smile that seemed to glow.

"What... I..." Words caught in my throat, as if my mind knew exactly what to say even when my lips did not. "Do I know you...? I've seen some really odd things in my life and never before has it been anything like this."

There is a mare, an absolute stranger in my bedchamber, and the first thing I do is not to call out for anypony that may be close by? The hooded figure actually giggled at that, her voice becoming considerably softer, almost like a young filly, as she cocked her head and added.

"Oh, making light of the situation as if you have a choice. Is that still a sense of humor I see?" she asked, flicking off her hood to reveal that she was not a pony as I'd come to know them in the past few years.

This mare had stripes and a short mane and spoke with an odd accent that I recognized from the many books Twilight had given me to read over my life. Not to mention the multiple trips to Zecora when the princess who'd raised me thought I might be evil or have some freaky changeling infection. Even so, as composed as I tried to appear, I could not help but shiver under the glow of her eyes, my ears flattened and my wings folded tightly. They felt so familiar and yet so distant.

Why does it feel like that light in her eyes is calling me? I was never this much like a literal moth, right? I thought, even if I recalled that one time Rainbow Dash had compared me to one of the moth ponies from one of her Daring Do novels.

"I'm a zebra, I can read the look on your face," she offered, taking the memory right from my head. "I can also sense you're confused."

Oh, she knows I’m confused? How long did it take her to work out that a total stranger in my room would confuse me? I thought drily.

I looked to the door, the urge to call outgrowing, only to sink when I looked at her smiling face. The odd sense of charisma was unnatural, like I wanted to like her even if she felt wrong.

"I... I know that, I met a zebra, though that does not explain why you are in my room," I retorted, my mouth formulating words before I could really consider them.

She lifted a hoof and I was practically prancing on the spot like a giddy colt again at the urge to run and tell somepony that I'd woken from an odd dream only to have a stranger in my room. The zebra considered me with a hum, then looked at the back of her hoof.

"Eight years, it almost feels like yesterday," she mused and my attention perked.

Was it just me, or did the fact that I'd also been stuck here that exact amount of time and had just dreamed about it like a nightmare, sound far too convenient? I narrowed my eyes at the mare, putting on the best changeling mean face I could muster. Having grown up as a changeling as far from another of my kind as possible, it was pretty pathetic. The mare actually laughed and I felt the heat drain from my face as I paled and looked at the door again.

"Oh, you are adorable, and you grew up in such an ideal place. Far, far better than that other one, she's far too much trouble." My ears perked up at those words.

"Another one? Wait, you know another changeling?" No amount of fear in the world could have held back the longing. I had to meet another member of my race, but the odd mare just grinned.

"That does not matter, what does is that today is finally the day, I get to..." The sound of a knock at my bedchamber door stole my attention for just a second, her words cutting off.

I looked back and the zebra was gone. I jumped, wings flaring in alarm and buzzing like an agitated fly as I was forced to do a double take. Finding she was still gone my eyes darted around the room. Then the pressure on my mind lifted and for a second all I could remember was amethyst eyes under a hood. I pressed a hoof to my head and groaned, the sound of another knock dissipated the mental image of the stranger like my reflection in rough water.

"Yeah, who is it?" I asked my mind muddled, and without an answer from the other side, the door telekinetically opened to reveal the face of a familiar lilac mare.

Oh, because seeing magic used so casually does not get under my wings at all, I mentally huffed as I frowned. Is it right for an eight-year-old changeling to be so bad...? Sweetie Belle was ten when she learned to use magic?

"Oh, Digit, you're awake... Sorry, I just thought... Well, it sounded like you were talking to somepony." Starlight Glimmer stretched the words out until her voice turned shrill.

Talking to somepony, was I? I wracked my memory for answers, yet even as I tapped my forehoof against my head all I got was an odd image of amethyst eyes under a gloomy hood. Why does it feel like there is a dusty hole in my mind all of a sudden?

"Digit?" Starlight’s voice called me back to reality as she asked again, and I perked up suddenly.

Digit, my name, the epiphany of all I could remember before I ended up face first on the cutie map. A series of numbers, a countdown from ten down to zero. It was all that Twilight had been able to magically pull from my memories years ago when I'd finally stopped freaking out about magic enough to let her. Upon identifying the series of digits and one note from Spike that Digit was not a bad (if very un-changeling like name) and it had stuck.

Yeah, I may as well have just called myself improvise, I mentally grumbled, recalling my foalhood self bedridden for days with a broken wing, prodding at my odd, alien body like I was some science project. Still, better to carry the memory with me wherever I go, even if they are just numbers.

I only realized I was smiling awkwardly at one of the mares who'd raised me when Starlight cleared her throat. The spike of worry I picked up coming from her forced me to finally flounder out an answer.
"I'm fine, really... Just another dream... I think," I winced, before adding. "It was about the day I first woke up again."

Starlight's smile faltered a little, yet her reassuring expression was still there as she trotted over to me, magically shutting the door behind her. Now, Digit, don't let it get to you... You'll be good at magic someday.

"Haven’t heard you talk about that in a long time," she said as she pressed a forehoof to my head. "Like a fever dream or night terror."
I rolled my eyes, even as my ears folded back and my forelegs rubbed together anxiously. She was right, it had felt oddly specific to be a dream. Along with the yawning hole in my memory where those amethyst eyes that sent a shiver down my spine.

Nevertheless, Starlight's presence brought a new warmth with it, one far stronger than that cast by the sun though the window behind me. I had to admit, upon first hearing about it, it was not something I was proud of. I'd known from a very young age why emotions felt so tangible to me. Many were refreshing and the greatest, love, was even filling. Changelings mostly fed on love or similar positive emotions. Happiness, joy, and empathy were a few tasty ones to name a few. Yet others, like guilt, were disgusting to taste. Anger was hot, leaving a burning sensation in my chest and sadness was cold and empty.

That fact, combined with a mostly carnivorous diet on the side, was one of the major reasons my kind had been shunned by ponies. Yet with the outbreak of the war and the alliance of the Crystal Wings, we'd at least come to be a little more respected, shape-changing parasites or not.

Yeah, that was if you were able to shapeshift, my mind mused, but I slammed a door in the doubt’s face. Magic first, foal steps, brain.

I blinked slowly before looking at Starlight, feeling my own compassion for her filling my veins. Purely platonic love radiated off of her like a small star, she cared for me and I cared in return. My own emotions were like an internal engine in a way. Twilight's assumptions about that years ago had been right, at least. Even if my love had originally been born from fear that, without the ones I cared for, I'd be abandoned.

"I'm fine, Starlight, really... You know how it is, when is my head ever in the right place?" I responded, brushing her hoof off of my forehead. "What time is it anyway, I feel like I overslept?"

Starlight placed a hoof on my shoulder, smiling warmly as she giggled. "Oh, you did. How late were you and Twilight up rereading again last night?" she asked. At my infuriatingly obvious glowing green blush, the answer was pretty clear.

She rolled her eyes. "You're such a little brain bug... Though, I thought it was best to leave you in bed while we set up for the celebration tonight."

My head perked at that, ears tall as the ecstatic emotions coming off her at my giddy reaction that only reinforced my excitement.

"Wait, the summer sun celebration is today!" I darted over to the mirror in a flash, rubbing a hoof over my wings and marble blue carapace."Oh, how could I forget about this! How do I look?! Presentable?!"

There were yet more books and scrolls arrayed on the dresser, clearly not what it had originally been intended for. Among them were quills and pencils, scribbles as a result of my magical levitation practice and me just finding things in this new world fascinating. A silver length of thin chain that was hooked to a smooth black stone sat among them, faded purple markings etched into its surface. The only thing that had appeared with me that day eight years ago was that stone. Upon confirming it was magically safe, Twilight and the others had fashioned it into a necklace for my first birthday. (Well, anniversary of the day I appeared. Close enough.) Safe to say, I didn't go anywhere without it.

Most treasured of all however were the multitude of photos posted to the rim of the crystal mirror. Me in Manehattan with Twilight and her friends, disguised as a very timid looking blue colt, me in Sugarcube Corner years ago with the fillies that had tried and failed to get the first (non-improvised) changeling cutie mark. The few times I'd been my true self in public were there too. Looking very embarrassed when a group of curious foals inspected my glittering wings at school. A final picture of me, slumped. Looking very unsatisfied with the wings of the Crystal Empire's princess Flurry Heart flopped like a sheet over my head, forced me to chuckle.

Flurry Heart. Ironic that the princess whose empire and family the war had torn a gaping hole in had become my first and best friend. Being raised by Twilight and her friends practically made us cousins. Or at least how she'd put it back when we'd first met, no matter how hard the truth about her mother and my kind’s last queen had hit me back then.

"It's kinda hard to hate changelings when a Crystal Wing saved my life. You're not all bad, like Thorax!" Headstrong as always, some of her first words to me had been not so tarnished by my kind's reputation.

Growing up as the future ruler of an empire where my kind were so close to the infrastructure only a few years ago would do that, I supposed.

Even so, I was not the biggest fan of going around looking like a true changeling. As, to the uneducated pony, half of my race had indeed been evil, making martyrs out of princesses and almost draining the land of all love. She at least helped me sustain the pride I had in my Crystal Wings. If the princess that had lost the most still thought me worthy of their name then I'd stick to it. Even so, Twilight and Starlight’s magic often helped with the disguise when I struggled to maintain it myself. Cerulean Swirl, my ponysona, was who most ponies knew me as.

A form I'll shift into and maintain all on my own someday! I thought triumphantly, the idea of changing shapes not as sickening to me as it had been when I'd first learned I could do it.

Still peering in the mirror, I lifted a lip to inspect a pearly white fang, as Starlight giggled again. "You look like a changeling who only got a few hours sleep."

She trotted over and rubbed a hoof under one wary eye, even as I shook her off. "Still, if you want to come down for breakfast, I saved you some pancakes."

My head pivoted to her as I pranced on the spot like a giddy foal. The Summer Sun celebration, the one day of the year aside from Hearth's Warming that we were all together. All of the ponies that I'd met in this crazy rollercoaster of the past eight years. Call me a sucker for a happy atmosphere, it was delicious after all. I had no idea why or how I was here, I'd once been terrified by that prospect. Yet after this long, there was no way I'd give up that happiness for anything.

The fact that even some ponies I'd not seen in weeks may be in the castle right now had me wishing I'd woken up sooner. Maybe it was my body being far younger than my mind, but there was so much to say, catch up on, show off. Being the last of a kind did at least have the bonus of being completely unique. Judging by how her feelings tasted, Starlight found my beaming smile adorable regardless of fangs. I, on the other hoof, was so eager to start the day that I failed to notice the striped mare looming in the far corner of the room's reflection in the mirror, glowing eyes just peeking from under the brim of her hood as she grinned.

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