• 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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Pinkie slid down the firemare's pole and hopped off onto a cushioned pad. What had once been merely a party cave hewn from raw stone was now a well-lit and pleasingly decorated foyer which wouldn't have looked out of place in an upscale hotel. A changeling was waiting for her and had been for some time based on the look she received over the edge of his glasses.

"Welcome back, Overseer. You are thirteen minutes behind schedule."

"Sorry," she apologized, "Got held up at the school."

He snapped shut a small pocketwatch and slipped it away. "I suppose it could not be helped then."

The pair turned and began to walk down a long corridor. "So, what's on my schedule today, Jasp?"

The changeling, Jasper, adjusted his glasses and consulted his clipboard. "You have a meeting with the economic advisor to discuss the sale of the new resin products in Manehattan and Phillydelphia. This will include the necessary paperwork to establish a front company for shipping and transport. Following that, the engineering team has requested your review and approval of the new chambers under construction. You also have an open Q&A session for solving friendship problems, a dedication ceremony for the sixth-floor mushroom arboretum, and a trip to replenish the reservoir."

Pinkie nodded. It was a lot of work, but she enjoyed it, knowing all the good it was doing her changelings. She waved at a few as she passed and they returned the greeting with wide smiles and called out to her. Exactly what to call her had become something of an issue. Landlady and Hostess had both become slightly ridiculous once their numbers entered the hundreds. Miss was too impersonal for those she considered family, and even Aunt was starting to wear thin. Some of the bureaucrats settled for Overseer while other changelings tried out Boss or Big Sis with various degrees of success. A faction favoring Mistress had briefly formed, but she nipped that one in the bud. Frankly, Pinkie would have been happy with no title at all, but that was one thing all her changelings were oddly insistent about.


"Wowzers, this is a pretty nifty room!"

Pinkie walked among tall pillars that held up the enormous chamber. The room was vast yet sparsely filled, giving it a sense of airiness despite being underground. Three tiers of balconies ran along the edges, making full use of the high ceilings. She ran her hoof along one wall, where creamy-white bricks reflected the lamplight like rainbow stars.

"How'd you make these?"

"It's changeling resin," answered Lead Engineer Quartz, "Stained white with lime and flecked with gemstone shards. Chalcedony's pet project. He's still working on a name for it."

"I like it! It's like the wall is made of confetti cake. Except it's concrete. Ooh! Confetticrete!"

Jasper marked it down on his clipboard. "I'll let him know of your decision."

"My suggestion," she corrected. "But yeah, I like it. In fact, I think I'd like to see more of it used around the place."

"I'm sure he'll be delighted." Quartz began walking towards the far end of the room, "If you'd follow me please, Chief."

They trotted to the far end of the room where all the architectural lines seemed to lead. On the edge of the wall sat a five-tiered dais like a short and very wide wedding cake. Atop it was a most unusual chair. Or possibly a piece of modern art depicting either a broken eggshell or a ring of fire frozen in place. But it did have a large cushion in the center, so Pinkie placed her bets on it being a chair.

"Cupcake and his guys've been working real hard on this," Quartz continued, "Very traditional changeling style. 100% hoof sculpted. It ain't done yet, but once they put the enchantments in place, it'll be able to tank a hit from an alicorn and you'll be able to whisper a speech and have the whole hive hear you. Both at once if you're feeling adventurous."

"When have I ever needed to give a speech to the whole hive?"

"Consider it future proofing," Jasper interjected. "Better to have a place and not need it than need and not have it."

"Hmm... alright," she agreed, "In any case we can always use the space for extra big celebrations."

"It can double as a ballroom," Quartz agreed. "Though-"

Whatever he had been about to say was interrupted by a low rumble from the changeling's stomach. He blushed, giving his chitin an odd blueish tint.

Pinkie grinned. "Hungry?"

"A tad. I skipped lunch to finalize the designs of the new hot springs."

She tutted at him. "Quartzy, skipping meals is no good. Here, have a snack." Pinkie closed her eyes in concentration. Slowly, a thin blue mist began to waft off her body. After years of getting to know the sensation of her emotions being pulled, she'd finally learned how to push. Quartz sucked it all in eagerly.

"Thank you," he said when they were done.

"No prob, Bob. I was planning on dropping by to top off the reservoir later today anyway."

"Speaking of continuing with the schedule," said Jasper, "If all is well here then we should make haste to-"

"Boss Pinkie!" A changeling burst into the room at full speed, wings buzzing like a hummingbird's for even the smallest extra boost of speed. He slammed to a sudden stop mere inches from colliding with the assembled group and turned his face to Pinkie, eyes alight with both excitement and panic. "It's time! It's happening!"

The color drained from Pinkie's face then immediately rushed back with twice the force. "You mean-"

"Yes!"

"How long?"

"Now!"

Pinkie was out the door so fast she left behind a pony-shaped cloud of dust. Jasper sighed and flipped down a few pages in his clipboard. She was going to need a clear day for this. Possibly two.

Meanwhile, Pinkie barrelled down the corridor with the force of a runaway freight train. Walls of polished stone and bodies of polished chitin flashed by her in a blur as anything that could get out of her way did so as fast as possible.

She raced across the atrium where the larger-than-life statue of herself poured a stream of thick blue honey from an open present into the pool below.

She bobbed and weaved through the marketplace, leaping over merchants and sliding under their stalls.

She galloped through a new underpass, still under construction, giving neither a thought nor a glance to either the Head Foreling, her sister Maud, or whatever design choice they were arguing about today.

Dragging her tail to bleed off speed, she launched onto a firemare's pole, slid up its brassy length, and disembarked on the third floor with a leap that barely missed hitting a shocked changeling going down.

Finally nearing her destination, she skidded around a corner and violently forced herself to a stop just before a pair of double doors. A single attendant stood outside, waiting for her.

"Did it happen?" she asked, panting and out of breath, "Am I too late?"

"You're just in time," he said as he opened the door. "Inside, quickly. And quiet."

The inside of the room was dim, lit only by a ceiling carpet of glowing moss. Of all the many rooms and passages in the hive, this one held the truest to traditional changeling aesthetics. No ling wanted to risk mucking up the process by changing something they didn't know was important.

In the center stood two changelings and a patch of what looked like strange rounded mushrooms wearing ripped fishnets. Pinkie approached on silent hooves.

"Is it time?" Her body practically vibrated with the amount of sheer excitement she was forcing herself to rein in.

"Soon," Feldspar nodded. "Quicker, now that you are here."

Pinkie turned to the other, a changeling smaller than Feldspar with more rounded features. "How do they look, Nurse Velvet?"

"I've never seen a healthier clutch," she admitted, "Nor better fed. They might actually come out fat."

Pinkie giggled as she pictured teeny tiny roly-poly changelings. That would be funny. But she'd prefer it if they didn't. She wanted them to be healthy.

"It's starting..." Feldspar's voice hitched at the sight.

Before them, the round fishnet-mushrooms were glowing. They pulsed a soft blue, out of sync with each other but all slowly increasing in tempo. The lights came faster and faster as they began to jolt and jerk. Pinkie gasped and reached out to touch one, to protect it, but felt a firm hoof holding her back.

"No," Nurse Velvet whispered, "This is what's supposed to happen. This is good!"

The pulsing glow entered epileptic territory as the brightness drowned out the glowmoss and cast sharp shadows across their faces. Feldspar and Velvet snapped shut their inner eyelids to block out the worst of it. Pinkie had no such protection.

A part of her wanted to look away, but she found she could not. A far stronger force told her to look, to watch, to not miss a single second of the miracle that was about to occur. Her heart sped up in time with the lights, beating in her throat like a seizing bullfrog.

There was a sudden flash of light that put everything prior to shame, and then the dark returned.

All was silent.

And then it wasn't.

A small cracking noise permeated the still air, like ice cubes dropped in a warm drink. Pinkie reached out blindly till she found Feldspar's shoulder. "My eyes! Fix my eyes!"

She could not see his horn glow, but she could feel its effects as her darkvision was quickly restored. From the darkness came the sight of eggs slowly moving, shaking, hatching as little bits of shell began to flake and crack. She hunched down till she was nearly lying prone and brought her face as close as she dared. Neither of the changelings moved to stop her and she didn't want to miss a thing!

The egg before her cracked and a few black chips fell away like paint off an old portrait. A small white nub poked at the hole, followed by another. As it shifted its weight, the resin stalk holding the egg aloft flexed and bent, allowing it to lean down to the floor. Just before it touched down, the resin snapped and the egg popped open, depositing a slimy ball of goo on the floor.

More eggs were doing the same, but Pinkie was transfixed by the one that had hatched first. It was small, semi-translucent, grub-like and the most precious thing she had ever seen.

Working away at tendrils of embryotic slime, the nymph --so small it could fit sit on her hoof-- blinked for the first time and opened it's giant, soulful, pink eyes.

"Pink?" Pinkie asked, but it was less a question and more a stray thought slipped into the open. Its eyes were pink, yes. As was the tint to its unhardened exoskeleton.

Nurse Velvet opened her mouth to answer but stopped at a look from Feldspar. He shook his head. It wasn't time yet. She still wasn't ready. Nodding, Velvet gave a different answer. "It's an effect of getting all of their food from a single source. Nothing to worry about. I'll give them a full check-up in a few minutes, but at first glance they all appear to be perfectly healthy."

Pinkie said nothing, all of her awareness focused on the tiny creature before her. It twisted about, squinting new eyes even in the dim light of the moss. She could nearly make out organs pumping beneath its fleshy skin. It was so delicate, so fragile. And it was hers. She'd helped bring this life into the world.

"Hello little one," she whispered on the faintest of breaths. "Welcome to the world."

The squirming little changeling nymph turned, perhaps at her voice, perhaps merely from the breeze she'd caused. It moved slowly, flopping its pudgy body along until both it and Pinkie filled each other's vision. Then it reached forward and latched onto her snoot in the tiniest hug Pinkie had ever received.

Pinkie had acquired many titles since the changelings had come into her life. Overseer. Project Head. Boss mare. But until now, she had never done anything to earn the title of Mother.

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