• Published 12th Oct 2019
  • 4,013 Views, 199 Comments

The Engineer - TCRG101

After being freed from a stone prison, a girl joins the legion of doom seeking revenge.

  • ...

Chapter Four: Hive hijinks

Two years ago

Chrysalis stood at the entrance to the hive, watching as specks on the horizon grew larger. "About time." She muttered "They should have been back days ago."

While she was annoyed by their late arrival, she found herself excited to see if the group had been successful, the scouts had been searching relentlessly for months to bring home missing drones after they were scattered at Canterlot. They hadn't found any drones for a while though, but she had hope that they would bring back more of her subjects. Her hopes were dashed as they grew close enough to count their numbers.

Chief scout Ommatid landed gracelessly, exhaustion and hunger had sapped him of all his strength but he still had the good sense to snap to attention in front of his Queen. "Your majesty, the party was unable to locate any missing drones. We have five wounded, one severely, and all of us have exhausted our reserves of energy." The rest of the scouts collapsed as they landed

Chrysalis wanted to scream, but was able to hold onto her temper, it would do no good to lose her composure in front of her subjects. She turned to the medics who were awaiting their return "Take them to the medical bay, and see to it that they are well fed."

"Yes your majesty." the medic's replied, giving Chrysalis a quick bow, and turned to his drones to bark orders. Chrysalis watched the group limp off. Chrysalis felt her heart sink as they carried off a scout who was missing a leg, the stump was bandaged roughly and she could see dried green ichor had seeped through it.

"What happened to Tarsal?" Chrysalis asked one of the scouts.

"We were flying through griffin territory without our disguises to save energy, your majesty." The scouts replied "We were spotted by a troop of griffins and he lost his leg to a griffin halberd."

"Will he live?" Chrysalis asked.

"I don't know your majesty." the scout replied before trudging off with the rest of his comrades. Chrysalis gritted her teeth and stormed off back to her throne room.

As she entered her throne room she spotted Proboscis, she was pouring over a pile of papers and had not spotted Chrysalis enter the throne room. Chrysalis cleared her throat making Proboscis jump, the papers splattered on the floor and she frantically tried to retrieve them. "Y-your majesty!" She stammered "Did the scouts find anyone? Did they find Mandible?"

"No, they didn't find him, they didn't find anyone, again." Chrysalis answered pacing her throne room "And they got chewed up bad for their trouble, one of our scouts, Tarsal, lost a leg."

"I guess that means that we're going to the next phase then." Proboscis stared at the ground "Will that be all your majesty?"

Chrysalis dismissed her with a wave of her hoof, she watched Proboscis leave, and the heard faint sound of sobbing come from the departing changeling until it was cut off by a closing door. Chrysalis buzzed up to her throne and slumped into it. "What are we going to do now?" she asked herself aloud.

"I don't know your majesty." Chrysalis jumped in her seat, she thought that she was alone, she had forgotten about the guard standing by her throne vigilantly.

"Pharynx, you heard all that?" She asked.

"Yes your majesty." He answered "I didn't know that she cared about Tarsal enough to cry about him."

"She's not crying about Tarsal, she misses Mandible." She sunk deeper into her throne "I knew they would make a good couple, it's why I put them together in keeping track of our energy supply."

"Oh yeah, I remember." Pharynx chuckled "One day he's complaining about his job, the next he's gushing about how great Proboscis is. To be honest, I don't know which was more boring to listen to. But he's a tough kid, the scouts will find him soon enough."

"No, they won't, this was the last time that I'm having them sent out." Chrysalis said "Its costing us too much love energy and doesn't give enough returns."

Pharynx balked at that "What pencil pushed gave you that idea?"

"Proboscis did" Chrysalis replied. "She did the calculation and if we don't preserve our energy, then we will all starve, and if she's the one saying we can't look for missing drones anymore, well." Chrysalis trailed off.

"Oh" Pharynx said "So anyone, who's gone is gone for good then?"

"Looks like it." Chrysalis replied "Why, you miss anyone?"

Pharynx nodded "My brother, Thorax. Although he's probably long gone, he's not exactly the type to last long on his own. I tried to toughen him up when we were younger but it never worked."

"I remember Thorax" Chrysalis said "Why was he at Canterlot? I would have thought he would have remained behind with the larvae, since he's no good in a fight."

"I had hoped that if I brought him along, that would finally make him toughen up. I told him not to worry, that as long as he stayed close that nothing bad would happen. But now he's gone, because I brought him there." Pharynx rubbed his eye "Sorry your majesty, just some dust."

"It's alright to miss him Pharynx" Chrysalis said. "And it's not your fault that he's gone. It's those Ponies that are to blame, but don't you worry, we will have our revenge soon enough."

Chrysalis laughed, soon those ponies would pay, with her hive behind her she knew that she would avenge Canterlot and hoard enough love that her hive would never go hungry again!

Present day

"Thanks for helping out Chrysalis" Engineer said "It would have taken me ages to grind these statues down into a more useful form, once they're ground down to powder then the real fun can begin."

"Do you know what would make me happy?" Chrysalis said "If Cozy would actually help."

"I am helping." Cozy protested as she buzzed overhead "I'm offering moral support, besides I'm not strong enough to crush down crystals, I'm just a kid remember."

Engineer chuckled "A kid who nearly destroyed all the magic in Equestria."

"Yup" Cozy said, landing back on the ground. "Golly, It's going to be so much fun when we takedown the Princesses together, almost as much fun as Chrysalis is having over there."

Chrysalis smashed another crystal statue of Cadence to pieces with a hammer held in her magical grasp "I have to admit this has has been quite therapeutic, I look forward to when I can do this to the real Princess Cadence, that will be a day to remember." Chrysalis giggled a little at the thought, "Whenever I think about revenge it always gives me a warm feeling."

"Speaking of Cadence." Engineer said "I've always wondered about something Chrysalis."

"What is it?" Chrysalis asked.

"When you were impersonating Cadence" Engineer asked "Did you and Shinning Armor ever, you know?"

Chrysalises giggled "I'm afraid I'm going to keep that a secret from you" she said.

Cozy Glow flew over to engineer "What are you guys talking about?" she asked.

"You'll find out when you're older" Engineer replied "Please don't ask me to explain."

"Oh" Cozy said "Your talking about s-"

"Why do you want to know in the first place?" Chrysalis said, lowering the hammer down onto the table "I never took you for the kind of girl that was interested in that kind of thing, you aren't exactly the most feminine girl I've ever met."

"Hey!" Engineer protested "Just because I'm not girly, doesn't mean that I'm not interested in that kind of thing."

Chrysalis smirked "Oh you are? Did you have a boyfriend or something?"

Engineer blushed, embarrassed by the question "Well, no, I didn't."

"Why not?" Chrysalis asked "Let me guess, you spent all day locked in your room and barked at anyone that tried to disturb you?"

"If you must know, yes, I was too busy equipping the greatest army in history to have any time for a relationship" Engineer answered "And, well, being a different species didn't help either, most of the Diamond Dogs thought that I looked weird."

"Don't worry Engy" Cozy said "When we take over Equestria, you can have any stallion you want, or mare if that's what you prefer."

Engineers face had gone completely red by this point "Okay, changing the subject right now! Chrysalis, when are we getting that thing that we talked about."

"My throne isn't 'a thing', it was one of my most prized possessions." Chrysalis hissed "Like I said it's carved from stone that had the ability to nullify pony magic while leaving Changeling magic unaffected, that was until it was blown apart by Thorax, that traitor."

"Golly, you must really hate him for turning your hive against you" Cozy said.

"Don't remind me" Chrysalis groaned "The little fool ruined my plans, and infected my hive with the 'magic of friendship'. Once we take over a Equestria and destroy that usurper, I will return the hive to its former greatness!" Chrysalis stamped her hoof down as she grinned at the thought of revenge.

"And I'm sure your subjects will be so happy to see you back" Cozy mocked. "Their probably fed up with not starving all the time, and they probably miss having every other species out to kill them."

"You know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit" Chrysalis said with a scowl. "My subjects will want me back because they will have missed the glory of my reign. They will be tired of being ruled by that weakling, and want a strong and effective leader again!"

"Yeah, they're desperate to become parasites again" Cozy responded cheerfully, earning a growl from Chrysalis.

"Can you stop arguing so we can get back on track" Engineer rubbed the bridge of her nose. "You guys bickering like an old married couple is getting in the way of our revenge."

"Alright" Chrysalis huffed. "The plan is we sneak in, steal the fragments of my throne, then sneak out, simple."

"In the event that they have gotten rid of the fragments, and we can't find them, whats plan B?" Engineer asked.

"Then we go to the cave where the stone that the throne was made from and extract some from there." Chrysalis answered.

Cozy had a puzzled look on her face "Wait, why is sneaking into the hive plan A then if their's a nearby cave that has what we need inside as well?"

"Because Maulwurfs like to chew on those stones, so the cave will likely be full of them" Chrysalis answered.

"What the hell's a Maulwurf?" Engineer asked.

"Think a mole rat, but gigantic and constantly pissed off, and because of their diet they have an innate resistance to magic." Chrysalis answered. "They were a constant menace to the hive, so taking them on is definitely not a good idea, I was only able to hold them off with the help of my warriors. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the area isn't overrun with them, with me being gone."

"Ok so I guess we're going to Chrysalises old hive" Cozy said. "Do you think you can sneak us in Chrysalis?" Chrysalis nodded, a confident smirk on her face "Good, then I'll find Tirek, he's probably working out somewhere, and we'll meet downstairs in an hour."

Engineer watched Chrysalis leave, and set about cleaning up her workshop by herself. "So, big mole rats that are resistant to magic, what should I bring for that?"

"I don't know Engy, why are you asking me?" Cozy answered.

"Cozy!?" Engineer jumped "Sorry, didn't realise you were still here."

"Yup" Cozy said "I just wanted to let you know that if you ever want to be more feminine, I could give you a makeover, I read about them in a magazine and always wanted to try one out."

"What kind of magazines have you been-" Engineer sighed. "Never mind, fine, if I ever want to get a makeover you'll be the first to know."

"Ok, see you Engy, and by the way always remember that you're a catch, even if you do look kind of weird." Cozy left before Engineer could respond, leaving her confused by the whole exchange.

"Damn it Cozy, you really know how to make a girl feel awkward." Engineer scratched her head "Alright, enough of that, time to go to work."

Tirek, Chrysalis and Cozy were all assembled in the main hall, waiting for Engineer to join them. "What's taking her so long?" Chrysalis asked.

Tirek just shrugged his shoulders, Chrysalis paced the room, anxious to get going. Finally, they spotted Engineer descending down the stairs to join them, she was carrying a large metal box in her right hand, the same hand had a metal gauntlet on it that was adorned in strange blue runes. She also had her repeating crossbow strapped to her back, as well as a bandolier of bolts, each of which had their own magic runes carved into them, lastly she wore a belt that held several glass smoke bombs.

"Took you long enough" Chrysalis spat "We've been waiting here for over two hours!"

"Getting my equipment ready, and also dealing with a little problem that you overlooked" Engineer said as she dropped the box down "I carved some runes into it that will nullify the magical ability of the stone, meaning that once they are placed in here, Tirek's magic will be unaffected, Tirek do you mind carrying it?"

Tirek lifted the box up with one hand "Sure, now can we go?"

Chrysalis began to prepare the spell, her horn glowed intensely and with a blinding green flash they were teleported to their destination.

They found themselves standing on top of a small cliff, overlooking a jagged landscape full of rocks jutting out of the ground, it would have been quite menacing without a lush green and brown coat of grass, bushes, trees and flowers giving the whole area a disgustingly happy feeling. In the distance they spotted a massive stone structure, with towers stretching into the sky and dotted with holes, it too was covered with fresh greenery adding to the idyllic atmosphere.

"Disgusting" Chrysalis muttered "When I ruled here this place inspired fear in our enemies. That helped to keep us safe, now any invaders will see it as an easy conquest."

"Enough complaining Chrysi, let's get a move on." Cozy began to walk towards the cliff edge.

"Wait Cozy" Engineer said "We can't just walk straight in, there might be guards."

Cozy scoffed "These Changelings? Please, Chrysi is right, they're a bunch of wimps." She flew down off the cliff and began making her way towards the Changeling hive while the rest of them watched on nervously. She turned back to signal them to follow, just as a dark green figure dropped out of the sky, landing in front of Cozy Glow.

"Halt, who goes there!" The figure shouted in a gruff voice "Who dares trespass in the Changeling lands!"

Cozys went wide, she thought fast and came up with a plan. "WAHHHHH!" she wailed loudly as she flopped down into the dirt.

The demeanour of the green stranger changed instantly "Oh, crap, please stop crying I'm sorry I yelled at you, good job Pharynx you made a kid cry." His pleading did not stop the onslaught coming from Cozy Glow "Please stop crying kid, please, damn it Thorax is gonna chew me out over this, the kids probably lost and scarred and here I go yel- ACH!" The dark green figure dropped to the ground in a heap, Engineer standing over his unconscious body.

"Nice acting Cozy" Engineer said "Was able to sneak up on this guy easily, almost feel bad for him, all those colours do make him look cute."

"All in a days work" Cozy grinned "How did you knock him out?"

"With this" Engineer replied pointing to a gauntlet that she was wearing on her right hand "It gives out a little shock that will keep him unconscious for a little while, don't worry about pretty boy here, he'll have a bad headache but other than that he'll be fine."

Now that all the excitement had died down, they were able to get a good look at the unconscious figure, he had two bright red horns as well as red translucent wings, his back was covered in a thick purple carapace that matched the colour of his eyes, the rest of him was a shade of dark green with just a hint of blue.

Chrysalis glided down joining the group "I've forgotten just how abhorrent my subjects look now that they have become deluded by the 'magic of friendship.'"

"Golly Chrysi, this guy Pharynx here seemed pretty mean to me" Cozy said.

"Wait, that's Pharynx?!" Chrysalis said "I can't believe, that he fell for that harmony crap too."

"You knew this guy?" Engineer asked.

"Of course, he was one of my best guards" Chrysalis replied "Although he was a bit arrogant."

"Like you?" Cozy asked, Chrysalis didn't respond she just stared at Pharynx with a look that none of them had seen from her before.

"Hey Chrysalis, all good?" Engineer asked, snapping her out of her stupor.

"Yeah, I'm all good" Chrysalis replied "I just think we should move him out of the sun, just so that he doesn't get spotted." She levitated up his unconscious body, and began to move him towards a nearby tree, Engineer followed her to make sure that he was well hidden. Chrysalis gently place him down in the shade, she stood there watching Pharynx for a moment. She turned to Engineer with a sombre look on her face "I never thought he would betray me too."

"Why not, the rest of your drones did?" Engineer asked.

Chrysalis took a deep breath "Despite what most people think, Changelings aren't the children of one Queen, they reproduce the same way that most species do. In fact Queen's aren't even supposed to have kids, they always try to overthrow their mother. But I thought if I didn't tell them, that it would turn out okay. Because Thorax and Pharynx, are my sons."

Before Engineer could say anything they were interrupted by Tirek "What's taking so long in there?"

"Nothing" Chrysalis yelled back, "I shouldn't have told you that" she said to Engineer "please don't tell the others what I said" they both left the tree to rejoin the impatient Centaur.

"Bad news Chrysalis, I can still use magic" Tirek said "The remnants of your throne has been moved."

"Are you certain?" Chrysalis asked, to which Tirek responded by levitating a rock that was lying nearby. "We might still be out of range" Chrysalis said, "they may have only removed some of it."

"Why would they only remove some of it? Cozy asked.

"I don't know!" Chrysalis snapped back "but we're going in." Chrysalis stormed off towards the hive, leaving the rest of the group to catch up. As they approached the hive they saw that the entrance was deserted, Cozy volunteered to check inside for an ambush and when she could not find one she waved the group over.

"That's odd, why aren't there any guards?" Engineer asked.

"They're idiots who can't defend themselves, thats why" Chrysalis responded.

"Well Tirek does your magic still work?" Engineer asked.

Tirek tested his magic again, lifting a nearby rock off the ground with ease. "Well that settles it" he said "We're going to have to go to that cave of your's Chrysalis."

"Maybe they have a little left in there" Chrysalis replied "Come on, the throne room is this way."

"Are you sure that's a good idea Chrysalis?" Cozy asked "If we get caught, that's the end of it for us, and from the sound of it, there isn't anything in there worth the risk."

"We won't know that for sure unless we check, will we?" Chrysalis growled, her three companions were unmoved. "Fine" she spat "You cowards can wait here while I do all the hard work." She ignored their protests and headed inside leaving the rest of the group to wait anxiously for her return.

Chrysalis darted down the corridors of her old hive, it was much brighter and had more greenery strewn throughout but the layout was unchanged. She was surprised to find that the hive seemed to be deserted as she had not seen or heard another living thing, 'they must have gotten fed up with listening to that weakling Thorax and abandoned it long ago' she thought to herself.

As she began to approach her old throne room, a strange sound started to reverberate down the halls, as she grew closer to her throne room the sound grew in intensity. 'Is that a damned party I here' Chrysalis thought to herself 'of course, they must be celebrating burning Thorax at the stake or something, about time.'

She found herself almost skipping as she approached the doors to her throne room, as she got to the door she resisted the temptation to immediately burst through the doors as she was. 'Not yet' she thought to herself 'If I reveal myself too soon then all my work would come to nothing' she took a deep breath and peaked through a crack in the door, she was slightly disappointed to see that her drones were still pastel, but they all seemed to be excited about something. Chrysalis transformed herself into a less conspicuous form to match her subjects, her new form was a pale yellow with green eyes and a purple carapace, and slipped inside to join the crowd.

She stepped inside her old throne room, when she was last here the roof had been blown off and it was still missing, in fact the roof had been gone for such a long time that colourful plants were strewn throughout the room. She decided to ignore that for now and focus on getting through the energized crowd, she carefully creeped through the mass of drones to get to the front to watch whatever show had made her subjects so excited.

Upon reaching the front she was faced with a shocking sight, Thorax was seated on a throne made from a live tree, 'There's that traitor!" she thought to herself, but a quiet voice in the back of her mind said 'There's my son.' She pulled her eyes away from Thorax and spotted something even more distressing, an unreformed Changeling stood next to him, it was Mandible.

Thorax raised a hoof, calling for quiet "thank you all for gathering today, we are lucky that one of our people has returned to us today" Thorax turned to Mandible "Mandible are you prepared to join us? To no longer steal love but to share it?"

"Yes, I am" Mandible nodded.

Thorax smiled "That's very good to hear, now stand still this will only take a moment." Thorax closed his eyes and began to hover over his throne, a glowing pink energy shot out of him towards Mandible. The energy lifted him up, and he closed his eyes as his body began to change, holes in his leg sealed up, his body changed from an intimidating black to a light, pastel red and as he reopened his eyes they were no longer light blue but a dark purple.

As he dropped back down onto his hooves, Mandible inspected his new body with a smile and opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a pink blur slamming into him.

"Mandy! I've missed you so much!" Proboscis had latched herself onto him and was now refusing to let go.

"I've missed you to my little love bug" Mandible leaned in kissed Proboscis deeply, the crowd cheered at their display of passion, making the couple blush a little in embarrassment.

"Alright, we've teased them enough" Thorax announced to the crowd "Now that the ceremony is over, let's get to the celebrating!" The crowd sprang into organised chaos as table and food were brought in, music began to play and a jovial mood gripped the entire room. Thorax turned back to the couple "It's good to have you back Mandible."

Mandible grinned back "When I first heard that you were in charge Thorax I will admit, I was skeptical. But seeing everyone so happy, well, now there is no one I'd rather follow than you." Mandible's smile faulted slightly as he thought of something "I haven't seen Pharynx, is he around?"

"Yeah he's around, but he's gone on patrol, he should have been back by now." Thorax frowned "I hope he's alright, I think I might go look for him."

Mandible put a hoof up "Please don't go, he's a tough dude I'm sure he's fine. I don't want you to miss out on the party because of me."

"If you say so" Thorax said "Now come on, this is your party you should enjoy it to." Thorax, Mandible, and Proboscis descended into the mass of partying Changelings. No one noticed a pale yellow Changeling slip out the door, or the tears in her eyes.

Tirek groaned "That's it, I'm going in." He began to march towards the entrance to the hive, but was blocked by Engineer standing in his way.

"Don't be stupid" Engineer hissed "If you go in there you'll definitely get caught."

"Well we can't just wait here forever" Tirek shot back "For all we know she could be captured or dead!"

"Or walking out as we speak" Cozy interjected. Tirek and Engineer whipped around towards the entrance, and just as Cozy had said, saw Chrysalis walking towards them, and then right past them.

Cozy buzzed up beside the Changeling "Chrysalis, where are you going?"

"I'm taking you to the cave" Chrysalis whispered back, not even looking at Cozy Glow.

Engineer rushed over to Chrysalis, as did Tirek. "What happened in there?" She asked.

"Nothing" was all Chrysalis said in response.

"I'm guessing that the remnants of your throne were gone" Tirek said.

Chrysalis was silent for a moment before responding "There's nothing in there for any of us."

Engineer was beginning to get annoyed "Chrysalis, you can't just keep ignoring us, what happened back there?"

"Nothing" Chrysalis repeated, her gaze locked to the floor.

"That's it!" Engineer growled, she stepped in front of Chrysalis, blocking her path "I'm not moving until you tell me what happened in there!"

Chrysalis looked up at Engineer, allowing Engineer to see the tears, and rage in her eyes. She snarled, launching a spell out of her horn, knocking Engineer to the ground. "You want to know what happened!" She screamed "They're happier now than they ever were when I was in charge! All the suffering I put them through, all my plots and schemes that just hurt them!" The tears were starting to stream down her face "You like to hear me say this, huh? That I am nothing but a parasite, unloved and betrayed! Hated by my hive, hated by my own sons!" Engineer shook her head, terrified by Chrysalises outburst "Then just shut up you stupid monkey, shut up and let me get your damned rocks so that we can get the hell out of here!"

Chrysalis left Engineer on the ground and continued on, Tirek offered Engineer a hand which she gladly took to get up. None of them dared to say another word and followed Chrysalis in silence. After half an hour of walking they found themselves at the mouth of the cave.

"It's in there" Chrysalis said "I'll stay out here and keep watch" She tore a branch off a nearby tree, and casted a spell that made it glow intensely, "Here's a source of light, now go in and get what you all came here for."

They decided not to press her further and just took her advice and headed inside. Engineer led the group, holding their light source, Cozy Glow took up position in the middle while Tirek stayed in the back, Tirek was also using his magic to illuminate the surroundings so that when his magic failed they would know they were close to their objective.

"So" Cozy said, finally breaking the silence "Thorax and Pharynx are Chrysalises kids?"

"Sounds like it" Tirek responded "Damn that must suck for her, I know what it's like to be betrayed by my own family."

"So do I" Engineer said "I hope she'll be alright." She paused for a moment before continuing on "What do you think she meant by what you all came for?"

Before Tirek could respond, he felt his magic fail making their surroundings much darker "It seems we're getting close" he whispered "Keep your voices down, we don't want to alert the Maulwurfs to our presence."

They skulked down the cave until they found themselves in a large chamber, a shaft of light was coming through a hole in the roof helping which helped to illuminate the cavern, as they looked around the room it appeared to be empty, except for a few strange rocks scattered around the floor.

"Golly, thank goodness that their aren't any Maulwurfs here" Cozy Glow said.

"Don't jinx it" Engineer replied, as she took a step a loud squelching sound was heard "Oh, crap."

Tirek chuckled "Looks like it." Engineer had just stepped in Maulwurf droppings, and was franticly scraping her boots on the ground to get it off.

"Damnit, I only have the one pair as well" Engineer complained "Whatever, let's just get what we came for and go."

Cozy Glow giggled "I think you just stepped in it, remember what Chrysi said. Maulwurfs liked to chew on those rocks to help wear down their teeth, their poop must be full of it."

Engineer sighed "Great, we're collecting dung now. Tirek do you mind?"

"I do mind" He said, quite indignant "I'm not going to pick it up with my bare hands, you've got gloves you do it."

"It's not a glove it's a gaun-" Engineer shook her head "Never mind, fine." She cringed as she begun to collect the Maulwurfs waste that was scattered around the cave, luckily most of it was old and had hardened by now "This is a great idea Tirek" she said "after I'm done I really want to shake your hand, or maybe give you a high five, in fact I'd settle for giving you a pat on the back". After picking up the last one and putting into their crate, she sealed it up and handed it to Tirek. "There, I got em all can we go now?"

"I'll just check real quick if their's any left" Tirek said, he prepared a spell to test if his magic was working, "good, it's working again, it felt weird not being able to do magic." Tirek hurled the spell at a nearby wall of the cave, it hit the yet unseen Maulwurf that had been sleeping within the cave. It groaned as it rolled over to see who had disturbed its slumber, its eyes settled on the intruders, a deep growl echoed through the cave as it lumbered to its feet.

The group stood there stunned at the reveal of the giant monster that towered over them, Cozy Glow was the first to break the silence "Oh, shit."

The Maulwurf roared, its giant rodent teeth on full display, it begun to creep forwards, its menacing claws scrapping along the ground. "Cozy!" Engineer yelled "The roof, get out of here!"

Cozy Glow didn't need to be told twice, she darted up towards the hole in the roof and escaped leaving Tirek and Engineer to face the giant monster alone. Tirek turned to face Engineer "You too!" he shouted.

"But I can't f-" Tirek grabbed her and flung her towards the hole in the ceiling, she screamed as she flew through the air, but Tireks aim was true and she sailed through the opening and landed with a thump in the grass. "Ow" she groaned, she struggled to her feet, turning towards the hole to see if Tirek was alright. For her trouble she was nearly decapitated by the crate sailing out of the hole and towards her head.

"GET TO THE ENTRANCE!" Tirek screamed from inside the cave "GET CHRYSALIS!" Another chilling roar was heard from the cave as Engineer and Cozy rushed off to get help. Engineers heart was pounding as she raced in what she hoped was the right direction, she pulled her crossbow out from behind her which had miraculously remained undamaged.

Engineer and Cozy, reached the entrance but there was no Chrysalis in sight "Chrysalis!" Engineer cried "Chrysalis where are you, we need your help!" There was no response, the only sound they heard was the sound of battle growing closer as it echoed out of the cave.

Tirek was hurled out of the cave, landing with a thump beside them, the Maulwurf was hot on his heels, it bounded towards them on all fours. As it came into the light, Engineer was able to get a good look at it, the monsters thick hide was covered in coarse purple fur, its teeth were yellow and filled to a point by its rocky diet. It toward over them, fifteen feet tall and mean as all hell, Its glowing yellow eyes focused in on its quarry as it charged at Tirek.

A volley of fire from Engineers crossbow made it stumble as they impacted into its hide, the bolts did little damage but the fire runes carved into them made the Maulwurfs fur catch fire. As it batted at itself to extinguish the flames, Engineer pulled
off the belt of smoke bombs she was carrying and handed them to Cozy "Aim for the eyes!" Cozy flew high above the Maulwurf and hurled one straight at the monster face, it screeched in pain as the smoke blinded its eyes.

While it was distracted Engineer ran over to Tirek "You still alive Tirek?" he groaned in response "Then get up, I don't know how long that thing will be blinded for." Not long enough it seemed, as the creature honed in on her voice and lunged at her, time seemed to slow down as its giant claws arced towards her, ready to cut her into mince meat. The Maulwurfs snarling face would have been the last thing she would have seen, if a giant black claw didn't punch it in the face. The beast was sent hurtling through the air, slamming into a nearby rock, it shook itself to quiet the ringing in its head and turned its hateful eyes on its newest enemy.

The new arrival was a hulking beast, covered in a thick black carapace with its bat like wings extended outwards, its body was hunched over with a spiked tail giving it balance as it stood on two squat legs that bent backwards like a dogs, its two outstretched arms ended in a three fingered fist that each had long claws in place of nails. Its gaze was locked on the Maulwurf, its glowing green eyes stared death at its quarry, a snarl exposing its mouth full of razer sharp teeth. "GET AWAY FROM THEM!" It roared, the voice, despite its depth and volume, was unmistakably Chrysalises.

The Maulwurf snarled in response begun to approach Chrysalis, ready to get revenge for her cheap shot. It suddenly stopped in its tracks, it sniffed at the air and with a yelp begun to bore back down into the earth. Engineer was momentarily relieved at the creatures cowardice, however Chrysalis seemed to be even more tense than before. "Watch out!" Chrysalis screeched "There's an alpha coming!"

The ground shook as a hole tore open in the earth and a horrifying sight emerged, a bright red Maulwurf, twice as tall and pissed as the last one. It scanned the area before settling in on the group, it pulled itself out of the ground and begun to lumber towards them. Chrysalis let out a roar and flew towards the new threat, she went for the monsters throat but was blocked by the forearm of the beast, as she sunk her teeth into the creatures arm, making it wince, it reared back its other arm and punched Chrysalis in the stomach, hurling her through the air into a tree.

Engineer rushed forward, her crossbow reloaded, and fired a hail of bolts at the giant Maulwurfs center of mass. They bounced off its thick hide, leaving a small fire that it quickly patted away, before turning its attention to Engineer. While distracted Chrysalis lept at the beast leading with her spiked tail which dug deep into the monster side making it howl in pain, it grabbed the tail digging into its side and used it to slam Chrysalis into the ground, It raised a foot to crush Chrysalises head, but got stopped by a large boulder slamming into its head.

Tirek levitated another and hurled it at the beast, which it carved through with its claws, it roared in indignation but was interrupted by Chrysalis who had soared back into the air and dug her claws into the Maulwurfs skull, the monster snarled and swung wildly at the Changeling queen, who backed off out of range before coming in for another pass. When she got close the Maulwurf leaped into the air and swung at her, she almost dodged but the monsters claws cut through one of her her bat like wings, sending her hurtling to the ground.

Cozy Glow buzzed down and hurled a smoke bomb directly into the Alphas face before flying past, the monster wheeled around trying to catch the annoying filly. But Chrysalis leaped up and latched onto the monster back and sunk her teeth into the beasts neck. It howled in pain as it tried to reach behind it to get the attacker off its back.

"That thing isn't going down, what do we do?!" Tirek shouted.

"I have a plan, but I will need your help!" Engineer replied.

The Maulwurf gave up on grabbing its opponent and settled instead to fall backwards onto her. It turned over pinning Chrysalis down before sinking its massive teeth into Chrysalises chest, green ichor spurted out of the wound, Chrysalis cried out in pain at the almost certainly fatal blow.

A massive tree was hurled into the back of the head of the creature, drawing its attention back to Tirek who was charging at the creature. "GET OFF HER!" he roared as he charged forward, the creature snarled in response, green ichor still dripping off its massive teeth.

While its attention was drawn to Tirek, Cozy hurled all of the remaining smoke bombs directly from above into the creatures face, it clawed at its face trying to get through the smoke. Tirek continued his charge, and picked up Engineer, who was riding on his back and hurled her forward directly at the monsters face. She held her gauntleted hand behind her as Tirek pumped all the magic he had into her gauntleted hand at she flew through the air, it glowed bright and shook as sparks shot out of it. The Maulwurf cleared its sight just in time to see the Engineer roar as she brought the gauntlet down into his skull, sending electricity coursing through the creatures entire body.

The Maulwurfs eyes rolled back as it collapsed onto the ground leaving Engineer to fall with it, however the outstretched arm of Chrysalises form saved her from the fall. Chrysalises arm lowered to the ground before she collapsed and returned to her original form.

Engineer raced over to Chrysalis "Chrysalis!" she shouted, upon reaching her Engineer gasped as she saw the state that Chrysalis was in "Oh no, no no no NO!" Chrysalis was covered in wounds leaking green ichor into the dirt, she was missing her right wing.

Chrysalis opened her right eye, a cut on her forehead had sealed the other "Engineer, everyone else alright?" Engineer nodded in response as tears rolled down here cheek "Good" Chrysalis whispered, a smile on her lips as her body fell limp.

Chrysalises eyes opened and saw the blue sky stretch above her 'am I dead?' she thought to herself, but when she tried to move she felt pain course through her body 'nope, not dead.' She groaned as she moved her head to look around her, they were encamped on the hill overlooking the hive, Cozy Glow and Tirek were there with her.

"You're awake" Cozy said excitedly, "Thank goodness, I thought you were a goner." Cozy trotted over to Chrysalis and offered her some water "You've been out for a while, almost two days."

Chrysalis took a sip of the water, she took a moment to savour the taste before speaking "What the hell is wrong with all of you."

Tirek laughed as he came over to join them "Well at least we know she's all the same in the head."

Chrysalis ignored him "I gave you guys so many opportunities to escape, I kept distracting it so you all could get away."

"You would have been killed if we had left" Tirek said "We couldn't just abandon you."

Chrysalis sneered "Of course you could, I abandoned you first!"

"What do you mean?" Cozy asked.

Chrysalis stared at the ground "I was gonna leave, it was only a matter of time until you saw me for what I really was, a parasite. My own hive threw me out and I couldn't stand the thought of going through that again."

"But you came back!" Cozy protested "You turned into that awesome looking monster and gave it your all!"

"And I got my ass kicked" Chrysalis snapped back "Engineer was the one who beat the Maulwurf, not me. I'm surprised that I'm not dead, where is Engineer anyway?"

"Well she is the reason that you're not dead" Tirek said "At least it was her idea."

"What was my idea?" Engineer said as she approached the camp, trailing behind her was another figure.

"Pharynx!?" Chrysalis shouted, trying to rise to her hooves, but her tender body prevented her from getting up.

"Hey mom" Pharynx said with a stern look on his face.

"What is he doing here!" Chrysalis exclaimed "If he tells anyone about us then we're done for."

"I think we'll give you guys some privacy" Tirek said as he led Engineer and Cozy away.

"I've been keeping you alive with some transfusions of love energy from that alpha Maulwurf you guys took down." Pharynx said "Now stay still, this won't take a second."

"No! You're gonna turn me into one of you!" Chrysalis cried.

"Calm down" Pharynx said "I've done this several times already and you are just as black and full of holes as before."

"Why are you helping me?" Chrysalis asked Pharynx "You abandoned me, you all did, why are you helping me now."

"We didn't abandon you, you left us remember?" Pharynx snapped back "You left us with Thorax in charge because you were too stubborn to be friends with ponies, which to be fair I did have some trouble getting used to as well."

"Well it was only a matter of time, after you put Thorax in charge everyone seemed a lot happier, they wouldn't have wanted me hanging around." Chrysalis countered "When they have someone better to follow, who would want me." Chrysalis pointed a hoof at Pharynx "Yeah thats right I admitted that Thorax is better than me, what are you gonna do deny it?"

"No, Thorax is better than you!" Pharynx shouted "And do you know why? Because you made him better, he's your son too, and when I look at him I see the best parts of you. I used to think he was weak, that he couldn't lead the Changelings, but now I would follow him to the end of Equestria."

Chrysalis scoffed "Are you trying to make me angry?"

"No damnit I'm trying to make you proud, your sons are doing better than you because we learned from you." Pharynx replied. "When I first found out you were my mum, I didn't know what to think, but now, despite all your flaws, I'm bloody proud to call someone as tough as you my mother!" Pharynx took a breath to calm himself before continuing "The only question is, are you're proud of us?"

Chrysalis starred at the ground for a moment, "Yes, I am proud, I let my anger get in the way for so long, but it feels so good to say, I am proud of my sons! They have led the Changelings better than I ever could."

Pharynx smiled, releasing the tension that had built up in his body "Good, now can I give you the love energy, I'm afraid that our big friend is almost awake so this will be the last of it." Chrysalis nodded, "Thanks mom, now hold still, we need to fix that wing of yours." Pharynx fired off a beam of pink energy at Chrysalis, which swirled around her damaged wing, before repairing it a bit too much, "Oops."

"Why oops?" Chrysalis asked.

"Well you know how, I said you would look the same? Well that was when I was healing the wounds on your body, restoring a wing on the other hoof." Pharynx trailed off rubbing the back of his head.

Chrysalis turned around and looked at her new right wing, it was still translucent but was now a light purple instead of a sickly green, and had no holes through it unlike her left wing. Chrysalis laughed "Well no one's perfect, I'm just lucky to have the wing back."

Tirek pocked his head out from behind a tree "So uh, can we come back yet."

"Where you eavesdropping on our private conversation!" Chrysalis yelled.

"Kind of" Cozy said, appearing in the branches of the tree, "It was hard not to, you guys were really loud."

Pharynx chuckled at the groups bickering "I should be heading back, Thorax is probably worried sick that I haven't reported in yet. Mom, take care of your comrades, they took good care of you."

Chrysalis nodded "Goodbye Pharynx, take good care of your brother for me."

Pharynx waved goodbye as he headed towards the hive, Engineer ran after him, hoping to say something as well.

"Hey Pharynx, I'd just like to thank you for helping us and not, you know, turning us in" She said.

He smiled back at her "Just take good care of Chrysalis for me, she needs you."

"I'd also like to apologise for, um, electrocuting you and all." Engineer said nervously, as she stared at her shoes. Pharynx got a mischievous look on his face as he thought of something, a tiny little electrical bolt fired out of his horn hitting Engineer in the arm. "OW!" She rubbed her arm frantically "That hurt." Pharynx stuck out his tongue in response "Oh, now you're gonna get it pretty boy!"

"Lets see what you've got then?" Pharynx immediately regretted that statement as Engineer tackled him, their tussle ended with Engineer pinning his forelegs above his head as she sat on his belly, her face only an inch from his.

"Thats what I've got" she gloated, the smile died on her lips as she realised what position they were in 'I should get off him' she thought to herself. Instead she found herself pressing her lips against his as he responded in kind, this was her first kiss and was quite the sloppy affair that came to an abrupt end when her body reminded her that she had forgotten to breath. She stared into his eyes panting to get her breath back, her eyes went wide as she took stock of what had just happened and scrambled off of the prone changeling.

"No!" Cozy shouted "Keep going!"

"Cozy Glow?!" Engineer shouted at the peeping pegasus "What the hell are you doing?!"

Cozy scoffed "Isn't it obvious? You two have been starring at each others butts whenever the other wasn't looking for the past two days, I wanted to see if either of you would make a move, and what a move it was Engy!"

Engineer and Pharynx were both blushing profusely at the embarrassment they were suffering through. "So, um, goodbye I guess" Engineer stammered out.

"L-likewise" Pharynx said in response before flying off quickly towards the hive.

Cozy Glow was grinning from ear to ear "Engy and Pharynx sitting in a-"

"Cozy please don't tell Chrysalis about this" Engineer pleaded.

Cozy Glow huffed in response "Fine, but you owe me."

Engineer was standing in the shower, enjoying the luxury of civilisation. She had gone through a lot of crap, literally in some cases, in the past couple of days. But now, she had gotten all the ingredients, and had processed them into jet black ingots, that were perfect, capable of holding a great deal of magical energy and incredibly durable too, now all she needed was the right tools and then the real work would begin.

She massaged a nasty bruise on her back, it was still healing from her tussle with a Maulwurf. Her finger glided towards her lips as she remembered something else she had gotten. She shook her head, she had to forget about him, work was the only thing she could focus on, besides, she didn't think Chrysalis would approve her dating her son.

She turned off the shower and dried herself off, right now she just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for a week. She didn't want to leave a wet spot on her pillow so she made sure that her hair was completely dry. She got changed into her pyjamas and entered her bedroom, only to find an unwelcome guest sitting on her bed.

"Hello Engy" Cozy said in her usual chipper voice, a strange pink case lying on the bed next to her "Remember how I said you owe me?"

"Yeah" Engineer replied.

"Well I know just how you can repay me" Cozy opened the case revealing its contents "Makeovers!" She shouted, practically bouncing with excitement.

Engineer groaned "Let me guess, if we don't do this you'll tell Chrysalis?" Cozy Glow nodded in response, "Screw it, fine do your worst." Engineer sat on the bed and prepared for the onslaught. "Well, are you going to start or what?"

"Sorry Engy, I'm trying to remember how it starts, I've never done this before" Cozy said.

"Well that makes two of us." Engineer sighed "This couldn't get any worse." Just as those words left her lips the door of her bedroom opened and Chrysalis walked in.

Chrysalis chuckled "What's going on in here?"

"I'm giving Engy a makeover" Cozy said "Although I don't know how to begin."

Chrysalis smirked "Well you don't become a master infiltrator without knowing a thing or two about applying makeup. Do you want me to show you Cozy?"

"Yes please" Cozy responded and before Engineer could raise any objections she was set upon by a flurry of brushes. Engineer sat stoically as Chrysalis and Cozy used her as a practice dummy. That was until something that Chrysalis said caught her attention.

"I bet Pharynx would be impressed with how you look now" Chrysalis smirked.

"What?" Engineer hissed, unable to move due to the proximity of a brush to her eye "Cozy, you betrayed me."

"Sorry Engy, it just kind of slipped out" Cozy said in a tone that gave away that she was not sorry at all.

"Oh thats just brilliant, now I'm going through all this for nothing" Engineer seethed.

"Not exactly nothing" Chrysalis said "Your coming along quite nicely. And just so you know I'm not entirely against the idea of you going out with my son, after we takeover Equestria of course. I think you two would make a wonderful couple, and I am a bit excited at the thought of having grandkids."

"Slow down Chrysalis" Engineer said "It's a bit early to be talking grandkids, besides I don't think that we would be, um, biologically compatible."

"Theirs no reason not to try, your personalities would mesh really well." Chrysalis replied.

"But he's a Changeling and I'm whatever I am, do you really think it could work?" Engineer asked.

"You deserve happiness Engineer, and the only way you'll find out is if you give it a shot." Chrysalis finished up with Engineer and held up a mirror to her face "Well what do you think?"

Engineer was speechless, she looked amazing!

"Wow Chrysalis!" Cozy said "Your really good."

"Well the canvas was pretty good to start with" Chrysalis said "And now its your turn Cozy, I have something special planned for you."

Engineer giggled along with Cozy as Chrysalis got to work, For the first time in a long time Chrysalis was having fun.