• Published 31st Dec 2020
  • 1,148 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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65536: 6

“Once again, what have we learned?” asks Sharp with a smug smirk.

The red-eyed alicorn gives him a bloodshot look.

“That bad batponies get sent to the moon along with their changeling friends?” she grumbles.

“Aww, come on,” Sharp turns his head to 65536 unsuccessfully attempting to blow bubbles out of his now clean and soap-less leg holes, “You win some, you lose some. Now you’re both squeaky clean, everything has calmed down, and other than that wet plush likeness of Celestia everything is fine.”

“It’s not fine, Sharp, that’s the problem,” Luna sighs, “From what you told me, it’s clear that the trauma ponies suffered from the invasion was so powerful that certain inhabitants of the dreamscape were able to get out into the real world. From my experience, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

“Oh,” Sharp hesitates,”So, for the record, you’re not all grumpy because we bubbled the everliving moonlight out of you until you cried?”

“Having a sentient bubble blower is an advantage that not even alicorn magic can overcome,” she shrugs, “No, you won fair and square, but you being a sore winner and not shutting up is a one-way ticket to the Badlands.”

“Why the Badlands?”

“Didn’t you hear the theory that Celestia faked sending me to the moon there?”

“I did, actually. From the same kind of ponies who think Equus is donut-shaped and rides on the backs of four giant llamas standing on an even bigger blobfish floating in space,” Sharp shakes his head, “So what’s the big deal with the dreamscape creatures? My experience with Krumare was less than impressive and little buggo here punched off that weird bladed leg poking from the rift as if it was nothing.”

“That’s what worries me the most...” Luna looks at the changeling currently amusing itself by shoving Sharp’s short mane through its leg holes and quietly buzzing and chittering to itself, “If I’m not making a complete miscalculation, the thing attempting to hurt me was a dreamweaver. They are among the most dangerous dreamscape beings who, when they get out, are invulnerable to most mundane means. I have zero idea why a common changeling would be able to harm it without a problem. Normally, you would need weapons enchanted with complex magic, something on the level of paladin grandmaster relics or the items locked in the castle’s main vault.”

“And Krumare? In the movies he’s pretty much invincible to anything other than plot holes.”

Luna shrugs.

“It really depends on the dreamer who brought it up but inside the dreamscape they are possible to banish or hurt. It’s the real world that’s the problem. The natural divine power of my aspect usually makes an incursion like this impossible but in the light of recent events...” she lowers her head, “I’ve allowed myself to become weak, unfocused. If I was in my prime, I’d be able to hold the horrors inside on my own.”

“Or you might attempt to usher eternal night again, Luna,” Sharp pulls her into a hug, “It doesn’t matter whether this happened because you are too weak now, because the ponies are softer than before your banishment, or because the threat of the changelings being able to replace anyone is just too much. We are here, your guards are here, and Equestria is still here,” he lets go and boops her as she leans back, “So, Moonpie, what do we do now?”

Luna looks firmly at the changeling who, seeing attention focusing on it again, gives her a happy smile.

“The changeling was able to talk in the dreamscape, yet it’s unable to do so now. It’s either playing the long game and pretending it doesn’t even understand us at all or it can’t do that either. The answers are in the dreamscape, and I have to find them before tomorrow night when all this is going to happen again, likely to a worse degree.”

Knocking on the door makes all three turn their heads.

Sharp drops the changeling on the bed and peeks outside. After a few hushed words, he lets a blond-maned head of a bronze unicorn peek inside. 65536 waves at him, eagerly waiting for an answer which doesn’t come.

“Princess,” says the unicorn, “We found one - a brothel worker. It- she seems to be well-liked by all her coworkers. On top of that, one of her friends seems to know a high-ranked Royal Guard who knew about the changeling before and vouched for them both. I could use your truth-telling ability to figure out if it’s not just a long con.”

Shaking her head, Luna points at Sharp.

“You have a good instinct for lies, Blazing. Take Sharp with you and interrogate the changeling. I have something more pressing on my plate right now,” she nods her head towards 65536.

“As you wish, princess,” the unicorn leaves.

“Do you need anything else, Luna?” asks Sharp.

“Send Shady Glen in,” she replies, “I don’t doubt for a second he’s eager to see what’s been happening in here tonight. Midnight Cloak will stay alone on door duty. The official story is that in light of the invasion, I decided to have a guard close for tonight.”

Sharp knows Luna and the elite members of the Nightguard too well to ask if she’s sure about that. He leaves and instructs one of the two door guards to go inside and not breathe a word to anyone about anything he’s going to see.

As the door closes behind Shady Glen, the batpony’s eyes stop on the chitinous form sitting on the bed.

“What is that, Your Highness?”

“That’s what We want to figure out, Shady,” Luna takes a deep breath and her horn lights up with an eerie teal glow, “Keep an eye on both of us.”

She lies down, the glow envelops 65536 who lets out a squeaky yawn, and before it can turn its head around to look for Not-Blue, the heaviness of its body makes it curl up by Luna’s hind legs and fall asleep within seconds.

***

When 65536 opens its eyes, it is standing in a room that could rival the breeding caverns in size, though it’s far more rectangular than the common jagged domes back in the hive. Parts of the ceiling are missing, showing grey clouds up in the sky. A balcony overlooking the throne ahead is inaccessible due to both staircases on the sides of the room having collapsed who knows when.

It’s so beautifully quiet, almost like in the good old days of digging a fresh tunnel on its own. After resting in the peaceful silence for a few moments, 65536 decides to have a look around, starting with the massive wooden gate behind it.

It gives way under the drone’s push, the wing breaks off of its rusty hinges, and with glacial slowness it falls over and slides down a short set of stairs on the other side leading into an empty black void.

“Huuuh,” is all 65536 has to say. The world is a complicated place for a little drone, so spending too much time on details isn’t really worth it, “Not-Blue?” it calls out.

There’s no answer other than a strange whisper of wind from behind. Where there was nothing before, there now stands a tall, faintly familiar equine shape seemingly filled with what to 65536 looks like the night sky.

“What brings you here, little creature?” it asks in a booming voice.

“Dunno,” 65536 shrugs, “I just suddenly felt sleepy and now I’m here.”

That seems to give the being a pause.

“You do not seem worried.”

“Nope.”

“Are you not afraid of this form?” it opens its eyes wide, revealing pure white glow. Its mouth follows, glowing like the midday sun and filled with sharp teeth.

65536 leans forward, tilts its head, and replies:

“Nah, it’s just like looking at the sky at night. Sky isn’t scary.”

“And the teeth?” it’s suddenly right in front of the drone without even moving. It opens its jaws wide and snaps them at it.

“I got those too, see?” 65536 opens its mouth and pokes the two fangs in there.

For some reason, the star creature growls, its features shift, and two giant spider legs sprout from the sides of its barrel. Venom starts dripping from its mouth as it hisses at 65536 who gives it a confused look.

“Are you a changeling too?” it scratches its head, concentrates, and three more spider legs grow out of each side of its barrel, “Look, now I got more than you!” it wobbles its new legs in the air.

Star pony’s eyes narrow.

“What are you afraid of, changeling?”

65536 takes a looooooooong breath.

“Big rocks, cave-ins, cave spiders, Badlands scorpions, glowing goo, glowing grass, other unexplained glowing stuff-”

“Okay, natural phenomena and glowing-” Star pony tries to talk over 65536 with no success.

“-explosive rocks, random red barrels, underground rivers, those are the worst. You just dig dig dig, and then you go blub blub and you’re gone. Anyway, where was I?”

“Alright, alright, I get it-”

“Pockets of gas, acid drips, starvation, those weird fish with more teeth than both of us put together and the worst part about them is the shiny ball on their forehead-”

“Stop!”

Zero result.

“-the crusher, that’s the worst.”

“I WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL!”

“Uhh, is that the part on the bottom of my hooves? I’m sorry, without the high ranks around I can’t recall that many things. Wait, are you grumpy just because you’re hungry? What do you star ponies eat anyway? We changelings eat love.”

The star pony’s eye twitches.

“I devour fear, terror, and sanity of lesser creatures!”

“Fear?” 65536 smacks the side of its head, “I completely forgot, I was just starting off with the list-” it takes another long breath.

“No, don’t you dare!”

“Those evil mole thingies, lava - yeah, that’s a really bad one, sudden crevasses, bedrock, crusher again. I know I said it before but it really is the worst-”

“For the love of all nightmares STOP!”

“-aaand the high ranks. They’re the super worst, even worse than the crusher. Eeeeh, or maybe not. The crusher is supposed to hurt more but the high ranks can just come and slurp you and you’re gone,” 65536 wipes its forehead, “Awww, sorry, did I scare you with all that? There’s so much more but once Not-Blue arrives we’ll be safe. She’s big and soft and white and warm and full of love.”

The drone beaming without a care in the world is just too much.

The star pony’s form bubbles and shifts into that of the changeling queen, majestic, towering, powerful, and merciless. The one form it learned that the changeling fears the most.

That lasts for about a second before the body starts dripping acid, sprouting extra legs, a stinger, several rocks, multiple horns, mouths all over its body filled with needle-like teeth, and a bioluminescent light of an anglerfish.

65536 gives it one incredibly confused stare before a crevasse opens only underneath the monstrosity and it falls into a flowing stream of magma in the depths.

“Huuuuh,” the drone scratches its head as everything suddenly stops and disappears, the big room going completely silent again, “What was that all about?”

A ray of moonlight pierces the clouds and lights the shattered throne at the other end of the room, and from its silvery light steps out the shimmering form of Luna.

“Are you okay?” she asks, “I couldn’t get in immediately. The tantabus didn’t hurt you?”

“Tanta-what?” 65536 tilts its head, “Was that the purple star thingy? I think it got a little confused and threw itself into lava.”

“Whaaaaaaat?!” Luna physically leans back as reality stops making sense.

65536 shrugs.

“I dunno. What is this place anyway? I kinda like it, it’s a bit like home but, you know, without the constant buzzing of the hive mind.”

Luna has to shift gears.

“This is… this is my mental fortress, my pocket dimension modelled on an old castle in the Everfree forest I used to reside in before… before… nevermind. I was afraid that if the tantabus was able to lock even me out, it must be powerful enough to torture the life out of you.”

“Nope, we just had a chat and then it sorta ate itself.”

Luna’s eye twitches as migraine assaults her. Nothing is making sense at the moment. How was a small changeling able to hurt a dreamweaver in the real world? How was it able to force the tantabus to retreat?

She takes a deep breath. There’s a more important thing to sort out right now, and if she can do that, she’ll get to the answers eventually.

“How come you can understand me and talk?”

“I, umm, hatched like that?”

“I mean, how come you can’t speak in the real world?”

65536 blinks.

“Huuuuuuh...” it ponders the situation for a moment, “I… think it’s because we don’t speak ponish back home and there are no high ranks around for me to tap into,” it rubs its temples, “I can’t recall… much. Hey, how come you understand me here then? How is it that can I talk to you now?”

“Simple,” Luna’s finally starting to get a grip on the situation, “There’s no real language in dreams, only feelings and intentions. In the dreamscape, we all are of one reality. We can understand things far out of our experience and knowledge if there’s somepony else who knows them involved.”

“Hey, that’s like the hive mind! The high ranks knew these long words,” 65536 spreads its forelegs to illustrate, “Uhhh… I can’t exactly recall which but they were really difficult.”

“Like marmalade?” asks Luna, the corner of her mouth curling upwards.

“Ohhhh, that’s a big one!” the changeling’s eyes go wide, “The high ranks must know that and many many more too. The queen has to know all the words, I think.”

“Speak of words, little changeling, what’s your name?”

“I’m drone 65536,” with a hint of pride in its voice, it adds, “You’re Luna!”

“That’s a number.”

“Really? What comes after Luna?” the drone’s mouth makes an ‘o’ of surprise.

“No, I mean, Luna is a name but you, 65536, that’s a number.”

“Yup.”

Luna closes her eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath. Two completely different worlds.

Why do you have a number instead of a name?”

“It’s a rank. It means that the stronger you are, the lower your number gets. I mean, for us drones it kinda just means who managed to get the most scraps of love but for warriors and infiltrators it’s a big thing. 9999 once said that the top ranks always keep competing against each other on missions and stuff.”

“So… your rank 1 is the most powerful changeling there is?”

“Other than the queen, yeah.”

“Hmmm, and what can you tell me about your hive?”

“Not much? I can’t even recall the map anymore. There’s a looooot of tunnels, bad changelings get eaten or thrown into the crusher, and everyone obeys that higher rank tells them.”

“That’s all?”

65536 shrugs.

“I’m a drone. I dig stuff and carry stuff. I’m not supposed to know stuff,” it pauses, furrowing its nonexistent brows, “Aaand… I had… a rusty horseshoe and two nails tucked away behind a loose rock in the shaft x0554ww35d72s!”

“I couldn’t understand the last thing you said, it just sounded like buzzing and chittering to me.”

“That’s just how we mark places in here,” 65536 taps his head, “Anyway, now I’ve got you, Shabiski, and Not-Blue, and that’s like… at least five times better than a rusty horseshoe and two nails,” it beams.

“Shabiski?” Luna decides to take the ‘at least’ part as technically true rather than mathematically insulting, “You mean Sharp Biscuit?”

“Oooooh! That makes so much more sense!” the drone nods, “My rusty nails were sharp too. Does he taste like biscuits or is he crunchy like our chitin or soft, sweet, and warm like Not-Blue?” its eyes go wide with eager curiosity.

It takes all Luna’s self-control not to start grinning like an idiot. Instead, she forces herself to focus on the task at hoof.

“Yes on some of those, I’ll let you figure out which on your own. Do you think that if you got close to a changeling who speaks ponish, you could talk in the real world too?”

“Uhh, I think so.”

“Then I’ve got a job for you.”

“Digging?” 65536’s eyes light up, “I can do digging! Can I take Not-Blue with me?”

Luna smiles.

Asking about being able to harm dreamscape creatures would have to wait. There’s no doubt the small changeling has absolutely zero idea about anything that’s happening.

However, it might just be the key to figuring out how to communicate with any potential survivors.

Author's Note:

A long one for today with a little bit of lore, but maybe it might help the tiniest bit to make this Monday better.

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