• Published 5th Dec 2019
  • 3,082 Views, 55 Comments

The Canterlot Hive - Bronyxy



When Shining Armor banished Twilight from his wedding, she returned distraught to Ponyville, but she soon got to hear about the changeling invasion of Canterlot. With the help of some unexpected allies, she returns to try and put everything right.

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1 Servitude

Cadance cradled the infant softly, allowing it to feed from her, but felt no closeness; it was a chore forced upon her. Its little eyes were blue, the same colour as the father’s, but even this failed to trigger a positive bond as she settled into a familiar feeding position to perform the duty necessary to nurture the young one in its innocent frailty.

How she wished it could have been different.

As she felt the infant begin to feed, she could see nothing before her other than the imposition of running an unending nursery. She couldn’t even look forward to death to relieve her from this endless torment, because she still retained the curse of immortality.

How she wished it could have been different.

She had been preparing for the happiest day of her life, her wedding to Shining Armor, her foalhood sweetheart and handsome Captain of the Royal Guard. In fact, the event was considered to be so important that it was going to be held in Canterlot Castle and presided over personally by her aunt, Princess Celestia.

It was every filly’s dream.

In the build up to the big day, she had become so engrossed with romantic thoughts about their future together that she had allowed her guard to slip, and found herself ambushed by a doppelganger, who had banished her to the caves below Canterlot.

She had been kept in solitary confinement for weeks; she couldn’t tell how many because the prevailing half-light betrayed no rising or setting of the sun. As time dragged its hooves slowly, she became desperate for companionship and when she heard hoofsteps she met the prospect with a combination of both elation and dread.

When she saw who it was, her heart sank; it was the same doppelganger returning to gloat, holding Court in the very caves that imprisoned the pink alicorn. She had brought an entourage of three mares to accompany her; one light blue, one cream and another mint green, all of whom stood line abreast providing a defensive barrier protecting her from the weakened Princess of Love.

“How is my Shining Armor?” she demanded, moving forward aggressively “I hope for your sake you haven’t hurt him!”
The doppelganger laughed heartlessly as her three protectors closed ranks, stopping Cadance from getting past.
“Oh, you don’t need to worry about him”, she crowed, “He believes he is serving your every whim and desire. In fact, you would be surprised how much he is prepared to do for you.”

Cadance bared her teeth and surged forward into the three bodyguards with surprising strength. The doppelganger laughed once more as the line held and Cadance was rebuffed.
“Perhaps you need a greater deterrent to dissuade you from your more violent tendencies” she suggested, and her horn flashed green as the three ponies turned into yaks, none of whom broke eye contact with the Princess. Cadance stared back, totally unfazed by the solid looking wall of muscle that faced her.

“Or perhaps you wouldn’t attack those who are weak and defenceless?” asked the doppelganger as her horn flashed again and the yaks turned into the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
“Princess Cadance, Princess Cadance” pleaded the white filly, “You wouldn’t hurt us, would you?”
Cadance gasped and shifted her weight backwards, lifting a forehoof defensively, telling the doppelganger everything she needed to know; the Princess would take on any level of personal risk, but never hurt anypony or anything too weak to defend themselves.
“You are weak” she sneered, as Cadance struggled to comprehend what she saw in front of her.

“Who are you?” she whispered.
“Oh, of course. How rude of me not to introduce myself” she replied, shrouding herself in a column of green light as the imposter Cutie Mark Crusaders smirked knowingly.

When the light dissipated, standing there was presumably some kind of alicorn, but not one like she had ever seen before. She had no fur; her wings were gossamer rather than feathered, and she had holes through her shins and her horn too. Looking at this apparition caused her to flinch inwardly, but she stood firm and maintained an assertive stance, refusing to be intimidated or show the disgust she felt.

“I am Queen Chrysalis. Queen of the Changelings and now Queen of all Equestria” she announced, her large green eyes fixing her in a malevolent stare, “And I have plans for you that will be right up your street.”
“You’re a shapeshifter?” gasped Cadance.

“That much should have been obvious already. I can make myself look just like you and even put on that sickening whiney voice of yours too. In fact, I’m so good at it that nopony suspected a thing; all except for that Twilight Sparkle.”
Try as she might, Cadance couldn’t help a smile crossing her muzzle at that revelation – if she could count on anypony right now, she was pleased it was her.

“Your optimism is not well founded” mocked Chrysalis, “Because nopony believed her and her brother, your fiancé, sent her home!”
“Aunt Celestia will sort you out!” she countered.
“I doubt that very much” gloated Chrysalis, “You see, I’ve already beaten her and now she hangs from the ceiling for my entertainment; and believe me, I intend to make it slow and painful for her.”

“You beast!” screamed Cadance, surging forward, before her attack faltered at the sight of three foals with big innocent eyes looking up at her pleadingly.
Chrysalis laughed scornfully at the ease with which she could control this junior alicorn; she clearly wasn’t in the same league.
“You see” she continued, ”The wedding was just a subterfuge, a diversion to make the ponies go all gooey eyed and drop their guard while I assembled an invasion force.”
“So the rumours were true” gasped Cadance.

“And then I married your fiancé, defeated Celestia and took over Canterlot” she summarised, ”And next we will colonise all of Equestria. It's all been surprisingly easy.”
“What have you done with my Shining Armor?” demanded Cadance stamping a forehoof assertively.
“Well, that feeble minded fool thinks I am you” sneered Chrysalis, readying her trump card, ”And of course, you know what newlywed couples do on their wedding night?”
“You didn’t!” screamed Cadance, horrified at the thought, “Not with my Shining Armor!”
“Oh yes” she replied triumphantly, “Good strong specimen; just what I need to start a new hive.”

Cadance was heartbroken and her mouth fell open in shock at what she was hearing.
“No … no …” she wept softly, a broken mare.
“In fact” Chrysalis crowed, “We didn’t even wait for the wedding night, and that brings me to why I’ve come to see you.”
Cadance shook her head slowly in denial and looked up at the evil apparition through a veil of tears.

“You see” cooed Chrysalis softly, “I have been laying the eggs for weeks already, and now the first ones are beginning to hatch, I have decided that you will act as their wet nurse. They will bear a passing resemblance to your fiancé, so looking after them will be a labour of love, wouldn’t you say, Princess?

Cadance felt her legs go weak and lay down before she could allow her enemy the opportunity of seeing her fall, bitter tears mixing with the remnants of her shattered dreams, her life in ruins. Chrysalis laughed at her own cruelty and took off for the exit, her three guards snapping back to their natural form and following her out with a buzz of their tiny wings.

***

Cadance held the latest unnamed hatchling close to her as it drew greedily on her love, growing stronger at her expense.

The line of hatchlings demanding her attention had become an unending stream, dragging her down and wearing her out. Even the Princess of Love had limits and it was clear that Chrysalis wanted to push her further, so she could watch as she was either driven to utter exhaustion or rebelled against the hatchlings, finally betraying her own cherished principles.

She came down into the caves, which had become the centre for her new hive, and gloated over Cadence’s suffering. She enjoyed taunting her about all the ways in which she was forcing Shining Armor to betray his own values and those of Equestria that he had sworn to uphold as a Captain of the Royal Guard.

There were many times Cadance had wished not to have been cursed by immortality so at least she could see an end to this torment, but such a luxury was not hers to indulge; all she had was hope, and that was thin on the ground right now. She had long since finished shedding tears about how her husband-to-be had been stolen away from her and their wedding ruined, but seeing his imprint on the new breed of changelings was a travesty that turned her stomach, as Chrysalis knew it would.

In a rare moment of sleep, Cadance had dreamed about picking one of the hatchlings up by its hindlegs and smashing its head into the stone floor, hard and repeatedly, until there was nothing left that could identify the remains as being the product of Chrysalis and Shining Armor. The imagery of her dream grew a deeper red, as she imagined she was being attacked by hordes of other hatchlings and awoke to find Chrysalis kicking her in the ribs.

Cadance looked through red bloodshot eyes in utter contempt and could see the changeling Queen’s mouth working, but her ears were only now starting to come online.
“What do you think you’re doing?” demanded her jailer, obviously angry to be repeating what she must have just said, “My hatchlings can’t feed themselves. You need to take better care of your duties.”
“Or what?” Cadance glowered in return, rising painfully to her hooves and squaring up to Chrysalis, punctuating her insubordination by stamping her forehoof assertively.

If the changeling Queen was perturbed by this small act of insubordination, she didn’t show it.
“Or I will order your fiancé to call for the imprisonment of all the foals in Equestria” she threatened, “You deny me my children, then I shall deny Equestria its foals; it’s all up to you.”
“You wouldn’t” Cadance bit back, “Parents develop a deep bond of love with their foals; you would be denying your hive a rich source of food.”
“Would you care to take that chance?” goaded Chrysalis.

Cadance struggled to maintain eye contact, but the more she considered what Chrysalis may yet be capable of, the more she felt herself to be drowning in a rising tide of despair, and lowered her eyes. She could not be the one responsible for tearing foals away from their families, no matter what personal hardship she had to endure.
Chrysalis laughed scornfully, knowing she had won.
“Now, get back to work!” she demanded, and Cadance obeyed meekly.

As she brought the next hatchling alongside to feed off her, she was reminded of her dream and hated herself. She wouldn’t, no, she couldn’t take such action against one so young; it wasn’t their choice to have been born, nor was it their fault what type of creature they had been born to be.

The hatchling started to struggle and Cadance felt her eyes begin to sting; how could she have wished, even subconsciously, to subject an infant to such horrible retribution? She knew the hatchling was protesting because her love had become soured, so gently drew it closer to rekindle the necessary bond and as it settled down, she wept softly.

There was an exit further up within this massive cavern, that much she knew. She yearned for freedom, but her energy was so depleted now by the constant demands on her love, that she doubted she could summon the strength to even consider using her wings any more. Besides, even if she did, by some miracle manage to fly to the exit and escape without being intercepted by the changeling patrols, then what would she do, where could she go?

Worse, what retribution would Chrysalis demand from Shining Armor in payment for her act of reckless folly? She had already forced him to compromise his duty, his morals and his body at her whim; what more would she do to him if she was really angry? No, for his sake if nothing else, she must endure.

She could feel the restlessness from the hatchling telling her that it had taken its fill, and so she prepared for the next to follow along as she imagined night falling in the outside world, where right now, any free ponies still remaining beyond the changelings’ grasp must have been going home to bed.

How lucky they were.