• Published 12th Oct 2019
  • 6,409 Views, 399 Comments

My Life As A Royal Changeling - Tangent



A middle aged brony finds herself inexplicably replacing Chrysalis as the new queen of the hive a few decades before a certain pony prophesy comes to fruition. Now the new queen must decide what direction to take the kingdom she inherited..

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Chapter 3

Humblebee led the entourage of gathered changelings into the throne room, picking up Meta Knight last as the captain of the royal guard had been stationed right outside the doors of the great chamber anyway.

"Humblebee?"

"Yes, my Queen?"

"When I sent you to collect Meta Knight, Mayhem, and Calamity to meet me here, that would have been a total of three changelings plus yourself, correct?"

"That is correct, my Queen."

"I can't help but notice that you brought me... let's see now... ah yes. You have brought me twenty-one changelings. Now correct me if I'm wrong, Humblebee, but isn't that seven times the number of changelings I asked you to bring? Because I'm pretty sure that twenty-one is a bit more than three."

"You are indeed correct, my Queen," Humbelbee confirmed, proud of the new queen's math skills, so gifted for one who was only just born earlier that same day.

"Care to explain?"

"From the context of your request, I assumed that you would want additional veterans of your mother's previous campaigns."

"Well, showing initiative is a good sign, I suppose. And all of these are swarm rush survivors?"

"That is correct, my Queen."

"By any chance, are these all of the swarm rush survivors?"

"Yes, my Queen."

"Of course they are," the new queen grumbled. "Okay, let's get started then. Meta Knight, you stand over there, as you will only be peripherally involved in this. Now, anyling who isn't a veteran of at least two swarm rushes go stand over there. That few, huh. Okay then, anyling who hasn't been involved in more than two swarm rushes can go join them. That's better. Humblebee, in descending order, introduce the remainder to me by name and number of swarm rush campaigns survived."

"Of course, my Queen. First up is Mayhem, veteran of seven campaigns. Next is Calamity, who has weathered direct involvement with six swarm rushes. Then there are Inky and Flambé, who have each survived three swarm rushes."

"Flambé?"

"Yes, my Queen?" the named changeling piped up enthusiastically.

"Was that always your name, or were you renamed by my mother?"

"I've had the honor of being renamed twice by Queen Chrysalis, my Queen!"

"And what, pray tell, were your previous names, if you can remember?"

"I was born as Lampyridae, and my first redesignation was as 'Oh No, Not You Again," my Queen!"

"Congratulations."

"My Queen?"

"You're in charge of demolitions."

"My Queen!" Flambé puffed up proudly.

"As in, if anything in the hive blows up, catches fire, or is otherwise destroyed when it is supposed to remain intact, I'm holding you directly responsible."

"Yes, my Queen." Flambé visibly deflated.

"That said, I may have need of your presumed talent for pyrotechnics, and possible pyromania, fairly soon."

"Yes, my Queen!"

"Mayhem, Calamity?"

"Yes, my Queen?" the named pair responded.

"Do either of you have any actual training in combat, tactics, and/or strategy?"

"I have been on two tours undercover as a mercenary for the Confederation of the Wastes, and one tour undercover as a junior officer in Equestria's EUP forces, my Queen."

"And you, Calamity?"

"One tour on each side, my Queen. Both undercover."

"And what experience do you have outside of any swarm rushes, Inky?"

"..."

"What was that? I didn't quite hear what you said."

"The defect plays a bard in Bookworm's Ogre's & Oubliettes campaign, my Queen!" one of the changelings in the group set aside earlier snarked.

"Meta Knight?"

"Yes, my Queen?"

"That one is throwing off my groove. Deal with it."

"At once, my Queen!" Meta Knight approached the now trembling changeling who had taunted Inky. "I'm sorry, but you have thrown off the new queen's groove."

"I... but... I... AAAAaaaiiieeeehoohoohoo!"

Queen Whatevra Wa'Nabe wondered idly at the narrative convenience involved in a window opening up in the throne room just then, but then shrugged and went on with her interviews without any further thought about the changeling that Meta Knight had just ejected. After all, it wasn't as if changelings couldn't fly.

"In any event, it has come to my attention that there are, or at least used to be, giant spiders large enough to have been a threat to changelings inhabiting the caverns beneath Gandahar. While I'm told that there hasn't been a notable incursion from below in nearly a thousand years, I would rather not find out that this is due to one of those 'time release monsters' or 'sealed evil in a can' situations, so I require someling to investigate the matter."

The gathered changelings blinked in confusion when the new queen mentioned time released monsters and sealed evil, but otherwise refrained from comment lest they too be forcibly ejected from her presence.

"Now, since I desire to actually receive the intelligence I am sending you after, I would like to ensure that you are all capable of surviving and returning from any bad situation you may potentially find yourselves in during the upcoming expedition. Therefore Meta Knight will be in charge of training you in combat. Specifically tunnel fighting. Particularly against known and hypothetical tactics and strategies that might be used by giant spiders. Mayhem, you will be the captain for this expedition, with Calamity as your executive officer, while Inky and Flambé will act as sergeants. The rest of you will be divided into two squads as appropriate, first decided by Meta Knight, and then later by either Mayhem or Calamity. Once you have all been sufficiently trained for the task ahead of you, additional changelings will be filtered in until the expeditionary force is sufficiently large enough to meet the requirements of the mission, with those already trained assigned to assist the new recruits in getting up to speed."

Everyling felt a bit of excitement as their new queen briefed them. Even if the assigned mission turned out to be little more than assuaging a newborn's fears, they were still being assigned actual training, and that alone would make each of them more valuable to the hive. And should their new queen's fears turn out to be valid, the training would ensure that they would be prepared to deal with it immediately, so the new mission was win/win as far as the hive, and thus everyling in it, was concerned.

"Meta Knight, Mayhem, Humblebee."

"Yes, my Queen," the three addressed responded in near unison.

"You three are to remain. The rest of you are dismissed to complete whatever tasks you were pulled from and then to prepare for when you are summoned to report for training."

"Yes, my Queen!"

"Well, what are you all standing around for? Go! Shoo! Get out of here!"

Once the throne room was otherwise clear, Queen Whatevra Wa'Nabe spoke. "Humblebee."

"Yes, my Queen?"

"Prepare dossiers for each changeling involved in this new unit. I wish to be aware of any special talents, quirks, or skills that I need to be aware of, with copies going to Meta Knight and Mayhem as well. Be prepared to read them aloud to me, as this will be required until I am sufficiently literate enough to peruse them myself."

"Meta Knight."

"Yes, my Queen?"

"Just to be clear, you are neither training your replacement nor the replacement for the Royal Guard. What you are to accomplish is to train up a force suitable for dealing with external threats to the hive while still being able to assist the Royal Guard with dealing with any internal defense issues that might crop up. Mayhem, if he..."

"She, my Queen," Humblebee interjected.

"If she proves to be capable, is to be trained to be your equal, as she is to be your counterpart for the new force. Not your rival, but rather your partner in ensuring the defense of the hive and the interests of Gandahar. Do you understand what I am asking of you?"

"Yes, my Queen!" the Captain of the Royal Guard confirmed, eyes shining with pride and approval of the task laid out before him.

"Mayhem."

"Yes, my Queen?"

"If you prove to be up to the task, you will be the new commander, and eventually general, of Gandahar's military forces. You are to be the spear to the Royal Guards' shield. The thrust in the dark against our enemies, or even the quick buck to the face against those who dare to openly threaten Gandahar. You may also be called upon to provide aid to allies or potential allies of Gandahar as the situation warrants. This mission is to be your first test. Do you understand what I am asking of you?"

"Yes, my Queen."

"Very well. Meta Knight, Mayhem, I release you to your new duties. You are dismissed."

The two changelings left the throne room and headed for Meta Knight's office to discuss how they would go forward with their new tasks.

"Humblebee."

"Yes, my Queen?"

"Let me know the next time Bookworm has an Ogres & Oubliettes session scheduled. I wish to sit in discretely as an observer."

"Yes, my Queen."

"Also, I haven't eaten all day."

"I will have something suitable brought up from the reserves, my Queen." Humblebee bowed and turned to leave.

"Oh, and one more thing!"

"Yes, my Queen?"

"Don't forget the dossiers I asked for!"

"Of course, my Queen."

Once she was alone in the throne room, Queen Whatevra Wa'Nabe, new queen of the changeling nation of Gandahar of all things and former human, slumped down on her throne and rubbed her temples with a hole riddled hoof. The day had been extremely stressful so far. Not only had she somehow become a completely different species, she had also been transported to whatever highly magical world that Equestria was on.

Well, Equestria and whatever the Confederation of the Wastes was. It sounded familiar, so she was sure that it would come to her eventually, but it sounded like they were in opposition to Equestria.

Oh, and her new subjects had spies on both sides of whatever the issue between Equestria and the Confederation of the Wastes happened to be. Or maybe the issue was between Gandahar and one or both of the other two. Fun.

But first there was the issue of the probable horde of giant freaking spiders just waiting for their thousand years of whatever was keeping them down there to go away before raiding the surface again! Those needed to die in fire. Lots of fire. It was bad enough that she'd have to get used to the domesticated crèche spiders, she wasn't about to suffer the possibility that there were even bigger and notedly hostile spiders lurking about ready to pounce from the shadows!

Trying to distract herself from the dark turn her thoughts had once again taken, the new queen idly wondered what sort of food Humblebee was going to bring her. Love based, presumably, but given that changelings apparently ate lollipops, it might well be something more substantial than the hazy mist of emotional energy that Chrysalis had been showing draining from Thorax...

Author's Note:

Argh... Just realized that I neglected to put the note in the first chapter that the first six chapters are already finished and are going to be posted at a rate of roughly once per day or so. Hopefully chapter seven will be finished and ready to publish by the time chapter six is posted, but the current rate of posting will be slowing down once the backlog is cleared.

:facehoof:

*O o O o O*

The Coalition of the Wastes

An exercise in world building

In the context of this fic (and possibly some of my other fics as well), the Coalition of the Wastes isn't an officially recognized nation so much as it is a collection of loosely allied pirates and bandit kings who use the Bone Dry Desert as a buffer against retaliation for their various nefarious activities. Kludgetown occasionally serves as what passes for a "capitol" for this alliance, but it's mostly an isolated freeport that was originally built up around an oasis.

Think of the situation being somewhat similar to one of the ages of piracy in our own world: various factors contribute towards such things either being viable or not. In this case, the simultaneous existence of semi-rapid travel with huge buffer zones preventing swift military retaliation on the part of the nations victimized by the Coalition of the Wastes. While Equestria is one of those nations, there are additional buffers in the form of two jungles, the Hayseed Swamp, and the Badlands, all of which the various raiders use to try to dodge military patrols.

The changelings operating out of the Badlands (now revealed to be Gandahar) have spies on both sides for reasons that will come up later in the story.

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