• Published 4th Nov 2019
  • 2,518 Views, 243 Comments

Little Changes - tom117z



When a Rainbow Dash from another world crash lands near the Badlands Hive, Princess Twilight Sparkle, daughter of Queen Chrysalis, works to find a way to send her home.

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1 - Prologue

The Badlands. It was a largely desolate place, a mixture of bare rock and sand for as far as the eye could see. It was the natural divide between the magical land of Equestria and the Southern Ocean, a place where nothing lived aside from the occasional scavenger. That scavenger might be an animal or a person, but a scavenger nonetheless. Almost nothing actually lived out here, the most obvious form of civilisation being a hive of scum and villainy towards the landmass’ bottom coastline. A haven for the desperate and the dying, a wasteland in almost every sense of the word.

And yet, that was only completely true of the surface. Below the harsh beats of the sun and whirling sands laid a great underground city, a home for a group of individuals famously predisposed to remain unseen. What better location to do so than a land where no one would ever go?

This, of course, was the Badlands Hive. One of the many changeling hives across the surface of Equus, and by no means one of the more populated or sizable ones at that. A home for ten thousand souls, and for them they had created an oasis amidst the desert. They had their reservoir of love energy, they had the protection of a Changeling Queen, they had the hive mind.

All a changeling could want.

For them, the desert was their ally. As much of a shield as the perception filters and glamour shielding that hid the entrances to their home away from those few who might wander too close. It was home, the hive existing peacefully beneath the cloudless blue sky and under the scorching sands of the Badlands.

Crash.

“Gah, SPIKE!”

Most of the time.

“I’m on it!” the young dragon announced, dutifully running forward with a dustpan and brush held in his claws. “Always your Number One Assistant.”

“Ugh. Thanks, Spike. Why won’t these quakes stop already!?”

Twilight Sparkle let out a breath of irritation as her head thumped down onto her desk, glancing in abject horror and dejection at all of her previously pristine stacks of papers now scattered all across her bedroom. She didn’t even need to look to know that the bookshelves lining left and right walls had undoubtedly lost some of their contents, the bedsheets on her bed becoming crumpled and both the sofa and table at the room’s centre had vibrated a few centimetres out of place.

How was a changeling princess meant to organise anything in these conditions!?

And the vase…

“Sorry about it breaking, Twilight,” Spike apologised as he finished picking up the shattered pieces and scattered flowers. “But to be fair, they weren’t the most edible flowers in the world.”

“They were for decoration, not eating!” the changeling protested, a black hole-ridden hoof meeting her chitinous face with a clop. “And they were a gift from my parents, remember?”

“Velvet and Night Light, I remember,” he confirmed in reference to the two ponies who had raised the shapeshifter for most of her formative years. “Their ‘we hope you are doing well’ present.”

“Well, yeah. We’ve been here a couple of months; they were bound to worry.”

“You would have thought they’d be used to it by now. Especially after moving to Ponyville for the good part of a year.”

“That was different. They still thought I was a unicorn for one,” she shot back. “But we’re getting off track. These earthquakes have been occurring for the last few days, it’s getting more than a little… strenuous.”

“Hey, at least the most damage they’ve caused is some scattered papers.”

“I know! It’s horrible!”

“Uh-huh…” the drake deadpanned, crossing his arms as he tapped his foot. “Want me to run over to Ponyville and get Rarity’s couch?”

Twilight blushed. “Um, that… won’t be necessary. Let me just…”

Twilight’s horn lit up a bright lavender, almost all of the objects that had been displaced around the room getting caught in her aura as all the papers swirled into the air and back into position. She quickly put everything back where it should be… Probably, she’d have to have Spike triple check them to their precise measurements.

Later.

“Better. Now that just leaves these,” Spike said as he gestured towards the shards. “I’ll go dump them off. What’re you working on right now, anyway?”

“Researching the history of the Council Hive,” she recounted. “I’ve been trying hard to find out who founded it, but nobody seems to know. Oh, how I’d love to actually go and see it for myself.”

“Too bad the Changeling Queens don’t meet all that often,” he mused. “You could always go yourself.”

“If only. Things are too busy at home. Maybe someday, if I can get mother’s leave for it. But I’m going to put my research on hold for a moment.”

“Huh? Why’s that?”

“Because I need to break out my charts,” she announced as she deftly retrieved several scrolls of notes, graphs and diagrams from the pile. “Another quake means another round of investigation. There has to be a reason for these tremors, they can’t just happen for no reason. But I can’t find any indication of tectonic shifts being the cause, which is super strange as that’s the whole point of earthquakes. I’ve ruled out nearby tunnelling operations by roaming diamond dogs as there is no sign of such a thing AND the quakes are spread all throughout Equestria and-”

“Okay! I get it! The quakes are weird and you want to find out what makes them tick,” the dragon interrupted her lecture. “But do you really think you are going to be able to find the source after trying multiple times already? They’ll probably pass before long.”

“I have to try,” she responded determinedly. “Everything has a logical explanation.”

“What about Pinkie Pie?”

“We don’t talk about that.”

“For the best. The party one does emit an aura of… an unsettling nature. Not to mention her cheerfulness is just sickening.”

Twilight yelped and jumped up in surprise at the new voice, almost falling off of her chair as she whipped around to see a tall and slender figure standing in the doorway. Her gossamer wings buzzed at her sides, green eyes with slit pupils staring at her in bemusement. Her horn was long and jagged, a green carapace sitting on her back and with hooves filled with holes of varying sizes. A crown-like antenna sat atop her head, a signifier of her nature as a Changeling Queen.

Queen Chrysalis.

Twilight Sparkle’s biological mother, one whom she had only recently been reunited with.

“Uh, hi! I didn’t hear you come in!”

“You seldom do. Especially when you are muzzle deep in some book.”

“Which is most of the time!” Spike helpfully pointed out.

The Princess glared at him. “Yes. Thank you, Spike. Weren’t you dumping those shards?”

“Sheesh, fine then,” he conceded. “I’ll be back in a jiffy!”

The two changelings watched him depart, finally seeing his purple scaled tail slip through the door as it shut up behind him. This left mother and daughter alone, Chrysalis turning to Twilight with an expectant gaze.

“Now then, I must wonder…” she began. “You were supposed to meet me for lessons in commanding a hive around… what, twenty minutes ago?”

“Oh!” Twilight got up quickly, clearly flustered. “I completely lost track of the time! And… and why didn’t you just ping me over the hive mind?”

“Like this?”

“Yes, that. Thank you for that demonstration,” she said flatly.

Chrysalis gave a chuckle at Twilight’s expense. “Truth be told, I decided I could use the walk. And to see you. I assume some subject of interest had captured your attention?”

“Between looking into changeling history and these earthquakes, you could certainly say that. Again, I’m really sorry for being tardy. It’s my fault, I should have been paying more attention.”

“It is of little consequence. The night may be due to fall soon, but I assume you won’t object to staying up a little later.”

“Heh. Late-night study sessions aren’t exactly something new to me.”

“As I’ve noted. But useful in this case. You have yet to completely explore the capabilities of our hive mind. And managing so many drones simultaneously is going to be a taxing experience when you first try it.”

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I like to be organised. I’m sure I can manage it.”

Chrysalis smirked in an almost predator-like manner. “Oh really? I do look forward to seeing the attempt. It should make for an interesting cautionary tale for your own daughter someday.”

That didn’t bode well.

“Well…” Twilight started a little nervously. “I suppose we should find out. Lead the way?”

“Yes. But first…” Chrysalis held out a wing to stop Twilight from further approaching the door. “I had a rather peculiar experience last night. Never before have my dreams been invaded by another.”

“Princess Luna?” Twilight questioned. “Why would she be in your dreams?”

“I did make it clear in no uncertain terms that I do not usually appreciate such an infraction,” Chrysalis stated. “But given our discussion, and her concerns, I will forgive it on this occasion.”

“Concerns?”

“You are dreaming about him again.”

Twilight flinched, her hoof reaching out to scratch the scar in her chitin on reflex. In the back of her mind, she could almost feel the old injury burning as a blade was plunged into her chest and poison seared through her system.

Chrysalis didn’t miss the reaction.

“So, she was correct.”

“I… didn’t think the Princess saw it. Since she didn’t interrupt it, I mean.”

“She apparently caught sight of the ending,” her mother explained. “The beast is long dead. What more is there to fear from the pathetic creature?”

Twilight averted her eyes, both orbs becoming downcast as her hoof remained placed against the wound.

Chrysalis’ eyes softened, the changeling giving out a sigh. “But… I know what happened still hurts you. You still scratch it whenever you are nervous.”

It was only then that Twilight actually realised she was doing it, awkwardly lifting off her hoof and placing the appendage back down onto the ground.

“It’s just nightmares. And they’re nowhere near as frequent as they were right after it happened,” Twilight reassured Chrysalis. “They’re going. I’m fine, so don’t worry about the onset of PTSD or anything like that.”

Of course, her research indicated it could manifest some time after the incident. She wouldn’t mention that part. Besides, she was past it. Serpens was no longer a danger to anything or anyone, there was no reason to fear him.

Still…

“Alright. I trust your judgement on the matter,” Chrysalis said in a way that indicated in incoming ‘but’. “However, I want you to talk to me if they don’t go away. I almost lost you to that assassin, I won’t have him continue to cause you harm from beyond his deserved grave.”

“Really, I’m fine,” Twilight insisted one last time. “Can we please just not talk about it, him or anything else revolving around that incident. Dump me into the deep end of hive management if you want, but I want to get back on task.”

Chrysalis studied her for a moment, but she did seem to relent. At least for the moment. She was her mother, and the two still had comparatively little time being together. Serpens was a black cloud she couldn’t wish harder to become a forgotten name in the annals of history.

And the moment her agents found who sent that changeling drone after her child, the Changeling Queen in question would sooner beg for mercy from the Princesses of Equestria than face her wrath. That she swore to the hives and back, they would burn for the audacity of their attack!

But the Queen had to put her vengeance aside for the time being, she could see Twilight giving her a look of concern. No doubt she could feel the edges of her anger leaking out through the hive mind.

She could be that Queen later. For now, she just had to be a mother.

It was still wonderful to be able to finally do that.

“Then the matter is settled,” Chrysalis decided. “Come, Twilight. I think you will find the experience of delving deep into the hive amongst hundreds of voices to be as rewarding an experience as it is taxing.”

And so the two royal changelings departed, leaving that morbid business behind them and each eagre to spend some time with one another. And as they did, Celestia began to lower the sun into the horizon and Luna brought forth her moon. The temperatures dropped drastically, a cool chill entering the Badlands as the night came into effect.

But even the dark couldn’t remain undisturbed, a strange flash crackling amongst the clouds high above the hive.

Author's Note:

So begins a new fic! This first one was by me, tom117z. The next chapter will be created by Skijarama. All chapters after that will be written collaboratively.

Enjoy this meeting of universes!

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