• Published 31st Dec 2020
  • 1,141 Views, 218 Comments

They're EVERYWHERE! - Nameless Narrator



No one really knows how many changelings were present during the invasion of Canterlot. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, it also means that the love explosion scattered them all over the surface of Equus. These are stories of some of them.

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156, 387: 1

In the middle of a nondescript forest, two changelings are staring at each other. Overall, they are both of the standard changeling mold - no tail, no mane, teal eyes, black carapace with slight dark green undertone. Neither of them even have a secondary belly plating. The smooth carapace and general figure of one, however, hints to it being a female infiltrator, currently blinking in shock with her jaw dropped.

“What?”

The other changeling’s carapace is more jagged and bulkier which, in addition to its deeper voice, reveal that it’s in fact a he and likely a warrior.

“What about which part? I mean, it’s difficult to misunderstand the phrase “we’re screwed, oh holes we’re so screwed, holes help us we’re so unbelievably screwed”, or am I wrong?”

“I mean the part before that where you said ‘she left’.”

“She said that the splitting headache she’s had for as long as she could recall was gone and that she was about to enjoy some peace and quiet. Now, before you ask, I have absolutely zero idea what she meant by that.”

“Damn it!” the infiltrator stomps the forest floor in frustration which only deepens as the soft ground gives in.

“Sooo, we synced on that “we’re screwed and not in the good old feeding way” part?” the warrior completely ignores her outburst, earning him a withering glare from the infiltrator.

“Alright, I came as quickly as I could when I heard the hive call. Who’s in charge here then?”

“I suppose it’s me, 387 here by the way, but in charge of what exactly? Hive knowledge has collapsed after the queen left, most of the drones here are trying to hug grass because they think it’s waving at them, 36658 there just successfully figured that bark isn’t edible after stripping whatever that tree is down to a toothpick, and 47989 jumping up and down on his stomach thinks it’s helping him purge.”

Crack.

“Aaaand great! 47989 slipped, hit its head on a rock, and is now twitching on the ground in a rapidly expanding pool of goo,” 387 rolls his eyes, “I’ll go snap its neck so that it doesn’t suffer.”

The infiltrator sighs.

“You know what? No!”

You monster!” gasps 387, “Though I can’t deny that it’s funny… in a morbid way. We’re betting on how long it’s gonna keep twitching then or-”

“That’s not what I meant!” she facehoofs, “What I meant was that we’ve been dealing with this… nonsense for as long as all of us can remember and every time the solution was to “get rid of the weak links”. Look where it got us? Get someone to bandage 47989’s head and see if not bleeding out can help its situation.”

“That’s dumb.”

“Rank 156 here. Dumb or not, you’re doing it.”

“Alright,” 387 shrugs, “Now for the million-bit question - how does one make bandages?”

“Are you stu-” 156 scans her fragmented remains of the hive mind knowledge and blinks, “Oh dear...”

“Thought so,” 387 nods, “Back to the neck snapping it is then.”

“Can you warriors not think of bodily harm for one second? You know, try being constructive, maybe? Ponies can… build… forge… make bandages, who says we can’t?”

“Literally the two of us a few seconds ago.”

“Just do it!”

“Still only a changeling warrior, not a changeling genie. Wishing on me won’t do squat. You, on the other hole, just sounded waaaay too much like Ch-”

“Don’t you dare end that sentence.”

“No problem. I could still end 47989’s suffering, though, if you wish vaguely enough.”

“I ordered you-”

“Aaand nevermind, it’s just stopped twitching on its own,” 387 calls out, “Well done, 47989. Your problem-solving initiative is commendable!”

“Goo, fill the fracture with goo.”

“A changeling solving a problem with goo. How original.”

“Get your lazy ass going or you’re next in line to help 36658 throw up! I’ll even arrange the boulders around you two myself.”

“Hey, 6689, goop up 47989’s head!”

“The hole was that? You outrank that drone ten times over.”

“Yes, and this is called delegation or, as our currently absentee queen would never admit is the right way of doing something, finding the right tool for the job.”

“In what reality do you think a drone can do a better job than a three-digit warrior?!”

“6689, don’t just glob it all over 47989, imagine he’s a tunnel with a cracked wall that needs fixing!”

Several moments later, 47989 is sitting up, blinking out sync, and drooling from the corner of its mouth, but its mangled mental link is up and running.

“Huuuh… how?”

387 gives 156 a smug smile.

“I take it you have never been posted to the lower levels of the hive as an infiltrator of your rank, hmm?”

“Not really. I spent most of my time trudging between the southern villages and the hive with the love I stole,” admits 156.

“Drones are a miracle of life, in a way. They get hurt on a daily basis - cave-in, random slips with eggs here, aggressive cave worms or blasts of gas there. With our queen’s overly caring and loving approach only those who know how to patch each other up get to see their second week. It’s pretty much the only knowledge aside from the map of the hive and digging instincts that they have without the information inside the hive mind.”

“Hmmm...”

“Doesn’t leave a great aftertaste, does it?”

“Not really, no...” 156 sighs.

“So what now?”

“Why are you asking me?”

“I can’t really do math anymore but I can still count upwards from zero a bit and I’m forced to agree that you’re the top rank around here now that the queen got up and left for some R’n’R.”

“Ooookay,” 156 rubs her temples, “I think that a good idea would be to have someone who had enough access to the hive mind as well as the brainpower to retain some of its knowledge. Queen-”

“Vacation.”

“Yes, I get it,” 156 glares at 387, “With her out of the picture, how about 1?”

“Blasted off by the invasion-ending love eruption into the sky with a string of curse words I would like to try out at some point. Really inspirational in a way.”

“You saw it?”

“Didn’t you? I was just outside the Canterlot throne room after bringing some six mares back from the vaults. 1 was pretty loud when the shockwave hit.”

“I was on my way to the gardens to help deal with some still resisting guards. Missed most of the action, really,” 156 shrugs, “So… how about 2?”

“Found dead in the Canterlot castle cake storage under unforeseen circumstances before the queen took over the place. We only saw her shadow burned into the wall with some ruined cakes around it.”

“How did you know it was 2?”

“The shadow was extremely anatomically accurate.”

“Okay, 3?”

For the first time, 387 salutes and his eyes tear up.

“The only warrior in the top five. He died as he lived, like a true hero and an inspiration to all warriors everywhere. Punching some massive, several buildings tall, magical stone construct the unicorns animated to help them fight us off.”

“I take it he didn’t win then?”

“Oh, he did!” 387 smiles with pride, “After an exhausting battle, he punched its legs off, dug through its chest to its magical diamond heart and shattered it like glass.”

“Sooo?”

“The enchanted stone was super heavy, so the remaining unicorn wizards just held him in place as it fell right on him.”

“How do you know all that anyway?”

“Eh,” 387 shrugs, “There wasn’t much to do while we were escorting the captured mares back to the castle, so I was checking the situation out through the hive links. I recall a lot of cheering around so I couldn’t have been the only one.”

“I’m afraid to ask, any info on 4?”

“Splat!”

“Crushed too?”

“Yep. He was in the back of the throne room, near the epicenter of the shockwave, examining the intricate details of the wall carvings. He’s part of them now, unless they used a really good mop.”

“5?”

“No idea, she wasn’t with the army after we broke the shield.”

“6?”

“Not… alive. Umm, can we skip details about that one? I’d rather not talk about it. Pleeease?”

“7?”

“Overhydrated.”

“What the hole?”

“Eaten by a hydra while crossing the Everfree.”

“8?”

“Dead. Paired up with 9 to kill and eat 10. She killed them both, thus achieving the high score of 109.”

“You mean 8.”

“Do I? Told you I couldn’t count now that the hive mind is defunct.”

“Anyway, killing two higher ranks at once in the top ten shouldn’t be physically possible.”

“I don’t think she survived it, if it makes you feel any better. Last time I saw her, she was bleeding out and looked like she needed less a doctor and more someone good with jigsaw puzzles.”

“So you’re telling me the entire top brass of changelings plus the queen herself are gone.”

“I mean, it is possible that some of the tops survived in the end but from what I saw, it always ended with a crunch and a dead hive link. Can’t say more past that.”

47989 wobbles over to the duo, one eye partially closed, mouth full of leaves, and a string of drool from its corner reaching all the way down to the ground.

156 sighs.

“That’s not edible, you know? We eat love, not leaves. It sounds similar, that much I grant you.”

47989 slowly shakes its head and spits all the leaves but one out. The one is bigger and not just fresh green, rather boasting the first colors of autumn - fading from green to yellow and red all in one. The drone pushes it out with its tongue and presents its tip to 156 who glances 387’s way.

“Don’t look at me, I don’t eat that either,” he shrugs.

“It’s a thank you. It’s pretty,” calls out 6689. All the changelings around go deathly quiet. It doesn’t pay to speak up when not spoken to by a high-rank and it’s not a mistake a ling makes twice. 6689’s confidence drains instantly, “Umm, we didn’t often get many colors underground...”

156 feels as if she should be outraged but for the love of holes can’t figure out why. A lot of previously obvious things are murky at best now that the bulk of the shared hive knowledge is gone and she’s right in the middle of the mess.

In the end, she takes the colorful leaf and tucks it into a random leg hole. It’s bound to fall out in a few steps but somehow she knows that it’s the gesture that matters, not the thank you gift itself.

“You’re welcome,” she says.

“Just don’t pet it,” adds 387, “With its concussion, it would die,” as 47989 shuffles back to the other drones visibly confused by the timers of their lives still ticking, 387 whispers to 156, “You know that’s not healing any time soon and we need to get moving, right? I can wait until it’s dark and make it look natural-”

“387, has any creature ever liked you without venom?” asks 156.

“Can’t say, really. I was just a hive guard, not one of you fancy infiltrators who got out and saw the world,” 387 shrugs, “Not my role to try and get liked.”

“Thought so. Congratulations, now you’re about to get your chance.”

“You know, all those words sounded nice but for some reason they made my carapace crawl.”

“Hey, 47989,” 156 calls out which makes all the drones huddle together for moral support, “387 here offered to carry you until you can walk without slowing us down. Said it was only natural to help.”

“You smug anus...” 387 breathes out.

“What was that?”

“Yes, smug anus ma’am.”

“That’s better.”

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