• Published 11th Nov 2019
  • 617 Views, 32 Comments

The Joy Hive - TheDriderPony

The story of Pinkie, a few changelings, and they world-changing snowball they kicked down a hill.

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Territorial Expansion

"This party cave," Pinkie observed critically, "Is getting a teensy bit cramped."

Her statement was not without truth. Though the cavern was of considerable size, by this point there were nearly thirty changelings camping out among, beneath, and on top of her supplies. A careful pony could still trot from one side to another easily enough, but if more kept showing up, then the little space remaining wasn't going to last long.

Pinkie weaved through the cave-turned-home with practiced ease. It helped that most seemed to move out of her way almost instinctively.

"Feldspar!" she called, "Feldspar!"

"I am here," the changeling announced as he appeared beside her.

Somewhere around the arrival of the tenth or eleventh changeling, they had begun to speak proper Equestrian. Simply at first, starting with small words and broken sentences, but with every new member their vocabulary seemed to improve. By now, most were as fluent as any pony. It was thanks to this that Pinkie had finally been able to learn what had happened to them. How Cadence's love blast had shattered their hive connection and scattered them to the four winds, leaving them lost, alone, and often starved to a near-feral state. It was only the sensation of a gathering of changelings that had drawn them to Ponyville, an instinctual feeling of safety and security radiating from the ones already settled in. After hearing this, Pinkie had made it her goal to promote such feelings so she could help as many as she could. Starting with improving their living space.

"Feldy, I need some ideas." Feldspar, after having fed solely off of Pinkie for several months, had hit a considerable growth spurt. He stood as tall as any pony, even slightly taller than Pinkie if one squashed down her mane. His days of riding were long over, much to their shared disappointment. He had also become rather stoic for a changeling. Unlike his chatty and energetic brethern, he preferred to keep his thoughts to himself, only voicing them when he had something important to say. Unless it was Pinkie talking, in which case he always replied. The others all treated him with a degree of respect; almost as much as they gave Pinkie herself. As such, he made an excellent sounding board for Pinkie to bounce ideas off of, since she obviously couldn't discuss changeling issues with her pony friends.

"Pray, tell me what is on your mind." He also spoke a little bit like Princess Luna, which Pinkie found adorable.

"Space," she said simply, "Space is on my mind. That and how fast we're running out of it. We need more room."

"There are... several options."

Pinkie perked up. She wasn't expecting him to have ideas already, but was more than happy to hear it. "Hit me with them."

He nodded solemnly. "One. We can all shift into smaller forms, thus doubling our space."

Pinkie shook her head. Too many drawbacks and more of a short term fix than a long term solution.

"Two. Given the rural town setting, we could easily replace several ponies and then convert their houses-"

"No." Pinkie said firmly. She was not often strict with the changelings she took care of, but there was some ground which she would not concede. "You know the rules. No kidnapping. No replacing. There's a better way to do things."

He lowered his head. "As you say My-" he caught her side-eye, "Aunt Pinkie."

Pinkie smiled, her peace of mind restored. She liked the Aunt title. It was pleasantly familial, but without the weird baggage that would come with an orchestras-worth of creatures calling her Mother. But titles aside, her space problem still remained.

"Three. We could expand the Party Cave through excavation."

Pinkie froze mid-step and Feldspar turned back to her. "That... could actually work," she mused. They were already underground anyway, what harm would there be in going further? But getting a construction crew to agree to keep her changelings secret would be a problem. Maybe she could write to Maud...

A thought struck her. "Are changelings any good at digging?"

"There are none superior." A note of pride entered his voice. "Before the Old Hive was such, it was a solid mountain. In fact, we have already been slowly enlarging and reinforcing the cave for some time, but feared not to expand too far before obtaining your approval."

Pinkie mused on this as an idea began to twist and grow in her mind. Like a strange plant of stone and air, her mental image of the three-chambered party cave began to grow and stretch. A hallway here, new storage there. A large space for the younger lings to play and exercise, maybe a pool even. Yes, yes it could work!

"Lemon Square! Carbuncle! Bundt Cake!"

Three changelings hopped to attention as she rattled off their names, all eager to please.

"Bring me a map of the town, any records of other underground structures, paint swatches, and an extra-large hot chocolate." Pinkie popped on a yellow hard hat. "Aunt Pinkie's gonna do some civil engineering!"

Over a dozen changelings watched in rapt attention as their benefactor sketched out plans for an underground series of tunnels and rooms that put anything Chrysalis had ever designed to shame. It was logical, yet elegant. Homey, yet functional. A trio of tiered floors that sunk deep into the earth and offered all the amenities one could wish for. She'd even planned for a pool!

"And... there... we... go!" Pinkie twirled the quill as she signed her name on the corner of the blueprint like an artist finishing their still life. She held it up and turned to her carapacious companions. "How's that look? Good enough?"

"Amazing..." someling breathed.

Pinkie beamed, instantly able to single him out from the crowd. "Thanks, Fondant! I tried my best."

Every changeling present inhaled deeply for a moment before relaxing with contented expressions.

"Now then," Pinkie continued, "This is a big job so we're gonna have to divide up the tasks. First, who wants to be on an excavation team?"

She was met with shocked silence. After a long pause, Feldspar, who often spoke for the group, took the lead. "You would have us choose?"

"Jobs aren't assigned?" Another voice queried.

"Of course not! Why make someone do a job they don't want to if there's someone else who does? That's just basic teamworking skills."

Once more the room seemed to hold its breath. Even the changelings in the next room over had stopped talking to listen in. Finally, one changeling raised his hoof.

"I would like to dig."

He was quickly followed by another. "Me too!"

"And me!"

"I'll be a runner!"

"I'd like to decorate!"

"I used to work in city planning. I can do management."

As was usual when dealing with her strange little band, Pinkie found a smile growing across her face. Their eagerness was so cute, like little foals trying to impress their mother with their art class projects. All they'd needed was a little encouragement and they were roaring to get started.

"Alright! Everyling divvy yourselves up into teams and elect a team leader. While you do that, Marzipan, you said you worked in city planning? Come give this a professional look. I know you all liked it, but I'm not an expert. Let's hop to it, everyling!"

The changelings cheered and quickly dissolved into smaller groups of quiet discussion and planning. Emboldened by the freedom they'd been granted, many changelings had their own small improvements to suggest and discussed in low tones how to work them into Pinkie's grand design.

"...we could put a fountain in the atrium there..."

"With a statue of Aunt Pinkie."

"A bigger one than Chrysalis had."

"Oh definitely. I think I felt Infiltrator 2312-0809 in town the other day. He used to sculpt. I'll invite him to the hive; I bet he'd jump at the chance to join."

"...think we could fit in a nursery?"

"Maybe. Have to be on a lower level so..."

"Single bedrooms?"

"I don't think I could take the isolation. Quad-bunks could work."

"We'll have to move this easternmost wing. If we dig it where she's drawn it we'll tunnel right into Twilight Sparkle's new castle."

"Better avoid that area entirely. Who knows how deep those roots run."

"Yeah, the last thing Aunt Pinkie'd want is someling popping up in a royal wine cellar!"

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