• Published 7th Sep 2021
  • 416 Views, 6 Comments

Darkside - Black Butterfly



Queen Chrysalis decides to steal a certain magical mirror portal from Twilight's basement.

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Chapter 2 - W'i dé bak'en em Puʉßorp Kék-saur

A shining, emerald flare roused Twilight from slumber's embrace. "Rise and shine, my dear!" called Chrysalis' melodic, yet poisonous voice. She towered before the alicorn with a glowing horn.

Twilight blinked away the remnants of sleep, listening as Chrysalis began detailing the changed circumstances and new course of action, leaving out the details of her scraped plans of betrayal, of course. “Acquiring the Elements of Harmony may be the better choice. They’re not at the castle so they have to be out there somewhere.”

"You went to the castle alone?" Twilight inquired with a gentle nod towards the outfit and a basket Chrysalis’ magic levitated over to her. "If we want to make it back to our world whole we have to be able to rely on each other!"

Chrysalis waved off her concern. "Impatience overtook me, 'tis true, I went there on my own. But see, I also got you something to eat to break your fast." Within the basket were small, shriveled apples - clearly the best that could be found in a world lacking sunshine. “You’re welcome.”

Twilight accepted the humble offering with grace. "Thank you, Chrysalis. Small kindnesses like this are a great start on the long road that leads to friendship."

“Oh, you’re delusional.” Chrysalis snapped. “I just don’t want us to waste any more time on your pity pony needs.” Twilight’s gratitude warmed Chrysalis' prowling hunger. "If you want to thank me let my gesture of kindness nourish me as well, that together our magic may flourish all the stronger."

Twilight levitated an apple over for inspection, contemplating Chrysalis' independent adventure. "Be honest for once - you were out to feed on other ponies while I was asleep, weren’t you?"

Chrysalis scoffed, waving a hoof dismissively. "The orchard held none capable of slaking my hunger. No, your love, Twilight Sparkle, would invigorate my magic all the more. As alicorn your love is much more potent."

Twilight raised an eyebrow, “But you were still trying to find somepony.” She took a delicate bite from the puny apple.

“Yes.”

Twilight’s assumption was just the excuse Chrysalis needed. A few seconds of silent chewing passed before Twilight responded. "Then have your fill, I’ll let you feed on my love, or whatever positive feelings I can manage in return for your gesture. You gave me food, I’ll return the favor."

Chrysalis blinked, taken aback by the alicorn's compassion. "You yield yourself so freely? Well then, let your love energize me anew!" She stepped near, feeling Twilight's aura swell with emotions like gratitude and empathy. Emotions that one could label as love, even if they pale compared to romantic love, they'd suffice.

Licking her fangs Chrysalis stepped closer towards Twilight, who looked up to her anticipation, finishing the apple. She swallowed. “We need each other, but don’t expect this to become a regular thing.”

“I will only take as much as I need for now, Twilight Sparkle.” With that she opened her fanged maw and began to feed. Twilight felt as if something was pulling on her body, yet her body wasn’t moving. Her feelings of kindness and gratitude amplified against all expectations and her heart began to pound like she’d just finished a marathon on empty stomach. The sensation was a mixture of pleasure and energy being drained, it made her feel empty and numb, yet there was a feeling of amenity to it. Like entering a lukewarm swimming pool unprepared and before she could make sense of the sensation it was over.

Now Twilight felt just felt empty and at the same time, it was like the feeding had not done any harm to her body at all.

“This is weird…” Twilight mumbled as trembling hooves carried her away from Chrysalis who wore a satisfied smile. “I thought it would feel worse to have a changeling drain my love.”

The energized Chrysalis sneered and circled Twilight. “Only the barest sips I have taken—just enough to invigorate my magic. But you’re correct. The feeding process doesn’t do any harm to one’s body. It will drain you emotionally and perhaps tire you. For the darkness we’re about to face together I need your powers to be intact.”

Twilight, drained from the feeding process offered a drunken smile. “Then we’ve had the wrong idea of how changelings feed! If it really doesn’t do any harm, ponies need to know! This realization added to Thorax’s approach to feeding could-”

As Twilight began to speak, Chrysalis' magic took sudden hold, pressing the alicorn against the dirty shelves. But where anger shone in her eyes, deeper wounds laid bare.

"Never mention that betrayer to me, Twilight Sparkle!" Chrysalis hissed, her voice quaking with rawest agony. "You know nothing of what I have endured to survive in this world, what harshness shaped my kind!"

Twilight quickly invoked her teleportation spell, reappearing behind Chrysalis. She stomped a hoof on the floor, glaring at her with a mixture of accusation and confusion. But her posture softened a little when she saw Chrysalis’ panting, trembling form. She made another cautious step forward. "Clearly this is a raw subject for you, one I did not intend to provoke. I just want to understand, not to anger you."

She spoke softly in an attempt to soothe. "Our predicament demands empathy, not allegation. Anger solves nothing, while openness may be a step towards betterment."

Chrysalis gritted her teeth and without turning around, she let out a sigh. “Well, bringing up the past will do nothing but anger me. Don’t mistake our situation for an invitation to infect me with your friendship. We’ve formed an alliance out of necessity.”

“That’s true. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to build a bridge and learn to understand each other for a chance to make peace. I really wish to help you and your changelings.”

“You’re not my therapist, Twilight Sparkle. This conversation is over. Use your energy to think of a solution to the problem at hoof. We’re still stuck in this dull world.” Chrysalis replied before finally turning around to face Twilight.

“Fine.” Twilight folded her wings and picked up the clothes Chrysalis had made for her to disguise her wings. “You mentioned an orchard. I assume it was Sweet Apple Acres. Perhaps we can find my friend Applejack. Or rather this world’s mirror image of my her. Without my friends the Elements of Harmony won’t work and we could really use their help to find them.”

“No more idle chatter, then! Let’s seek out your apple friend.” Emerald flames engulfed Chrysalis’ form and once more she appeared as an olive-colored mare with orange mane. This time a unicorn.

“Wait a minute, you were that photographer! Shutterbug was it?” Twilight pointed a hoof at the disguised Chrysalis who responded with a snort. “Indeed. And it’s an original disguise, actually. In darker days after my failed invasion I went by many names, Shutterbug was my artist name, Crackle Cosette I called myself around Canterlot.” With a playful twirl she displayed her ladybeetle cutie mark.

“I don’t know if I should be impressed or feel bad for you, considering how much effort you put into not being yourself.” Twilight commented dryly.

“Eh, whatever.”

And with that the unlikely couple left the quiet Ponyville behind and ventured into the dark fields of what resembled a seemingly abandoned Sweet Apple Acres.

— —

Twilight broke the uncomfortable silence as they walked. "Fascinating that crops still thrive without sunlight. How do the ponies in this world tell time?"

Chrysalis—or lets call her Crackle Cosette in this form, walked close behind Twilight and pondered thoughtfully. "I've observed magical orbs providing warm illumination across Ponyville, like miniature moons. To me it seems their placement marks the 'day's' progression."

Twilight gazed across the dark apple fields in awe. Though night eternal reigned, the beauty of billions of stars and the few glowing orbs brought their own sublime comfort.

"There is solace to be found even in darkness, if one opens their heart to life's glimmering blessings rather than cursing absence of light," she mused.

Chrysalis Crackle smiled softly. “You ponies see the world through a distorted, glittery lens, that’s why you think friendship is the solution for everything.”

“You’re so much fun to talk to.” Twilight deadpanned, already regretting her attempt at small talk.

The two travelers reached the barn where Twilight spotted two familiar faces sitting outside at a cart that had been turned around to serve as a table. The ponies she recognized as Big Macintosh and Applebloom seemed busy with paperwork. When they noticed the approaching couple the red stallion stood up.

"Well, who we got here? What them two fancy unicorns fixin' to do on a farm like this?" The grubby stallion asked with a stern look on his face.

Twilight approached with a smile on her face, adjusting her coat with a hoof. “We’re looking for a mare named Applejack, we heard that she lives here?”

Big Macintosh scoffed and stomped a hoof. “Hah! Y'all talkin' 'bout Orange Pare? She done left the farm a long while back, lettin' it fall apart! Done moved to Manehattan, chasin' that big money. She said she'd send some to support the farm, but that was all lies. Ain't a single Bit made its way over here."

“Orange? No, no, that can’t be right! She—” Twilight was silenced by one of Crackle’s hooves.

“Your supposed friend isn’t here, Twilight. Let’s look for the others.” Crackle lowered her hoof and sighed.

“Twalight?” Big Mac echoed with squinting eyes. Applebloom poked his flank to get his attention, she held one of the wanted posters of this world’s Twilight Sparkle between her teeth.

Twilight saw the paper and began to back away. “Well, never mind, we’ll leave you two be.”

“Oh no, y'all ain’t goin’ nowhere!” Big Mac’s brow furrowed in suspicion and he reached behind the makeshift table and withdrew a lasso. “You’re bein’ sought after by the Empress. Turning y'all in might be a shot at savin’ the farm!”

Crackle lit her horn just as the rope's loops began to fly. With gentle grace, her magic halted its course, weaving instead knots around the siblings to bundle them up.

“Let’s move.” Crackle said with a stern look. Twilight bowed apologetically as she called upon her magic to teleport them out of sight.

They both reappeared in a purple flash at the outskirts of Ponyville, Crackle stumbled and gagged. “Ugh! We could have just run! I had them tied up!”

“I’m sorry! I panicked!" Twilight apologized. “Wait, you're a magic user, why does a simple teleportation spell take such a toll on you?”

With another green flare Crackle turned back into Chrysalis, now that they were alone. “I was just taken off guard.”

Twilight eyed Chrysalis thoughtfully. “You can’t teleport. That’s why you’re not used to it.”

Chrysalis snarled, her pride stung. "Preposterous. I am more powerful than you can imagine!”

“Yeah right, I can tell when somepony isn’t used to teleportation. If you were able to do it, you wouldn't complain. I've never seen you do it now that I think about it.”

“So what? I can’t cast a teleportation spell. It’s a weakness you better forget about if your life means anything to you!” She hissed.

Twilight smirked. “You don’t have to be ashamed, no pony’s perfect.”

“I- Well- shut your mouth! Or I’ll make sure your mug matches this world’s version of you.”

Relieved, Twilight chuckled, she resumed strategizing. “Anyway, Applejack doesn’t live at Sweet Apple Acres in this world and if she is anything like her brother described her, she may not even be the pony meant to bear the Element of Honesty here… That means we are out of a plan yet again.”

“What about Princess Cadenza?” Chrysalis suggested. "She is all about love, perhaps she could help us."

As the two brainstormed, a familiar voice carried on the winds. “Cadance won’t help you. She and my brother are loyal to Nightmare Moon.” They turned around to behold a shocking sight - A few hooves away another Twilight stood, though worn and battered.

“You’re me! I mean the me that broke bad from the wanted posters!” Twilight remarked in surprise.

Chrysalis buzzed her wings, poised to confront this dark doppelgänger. But the unicorn greeted them calmly, weary eyes holding no malice. Her tail and mane looked like they hadn’t been cared for in a while, she was wearing heavy, dirty saddlebags. “Your magic has not gone unnoticed, Queen. Long have I studied the arcane, able to discern its variances. The Empress may not know that you’re alive but she’ll send her best magicians to investigate the use of changeling magic.”

Chrysalis raised a brow. “Enlighten me, how exactly are you able to perceive my magic and even tell it apart from the ponies'?”

"To put it simply, you two have drawn too much attention," spoke this Twilight, ragged mane wind-blown. Her world-weariness hinted at untold hardship, yet sparks of wisdom glinted still in amethyst eyes. The familiar unicorn turned her scarred face to Twilight. "Through whatever spell the changeling Queen has cast, our realms grow ever entwined; I suggest we glimpse hope by pooling our knowledge, and conspire against the Nightmare?”

Chrysalis and Twilight exchanged thoughtful looks before Twilight offered a hoof to her doppelgänger. “We may be able to help each other out, yes.” She cast a sidelong glance on Chrysalis. “Do I really talk like this? I mean, honestly, she looks like me but she feels so different!”

Both Chrysalis and the twin Twilight chuckled at that. “No you do not, but honestly, I find her much more likable than you.” Chrysalis teased. “We should give you two different names however, just to avoid confusion.”

“Well, we come from a world in which Princess Luna and Celestia rule together. To us this is like… a darker version of our world.” Twilight said, “We could call you Twi-Night instead of Twilight, or Nightlight after our father.” A moment of silence passed and they both shook their heads. “That’d be too weird.” - “Right?”

Chrysalis let out a groan. “You two should just... kiss or something.”

“You're making this situation even weirder, Queen.” The unicorn pointed out. Twilight chuckled. “Anyway, I feel your version of Equestria is how it should be, not like this… so you are Twilight Sparkle." The unicorn pointed at her other self. "Just call me Midnight, it does fit the reputation I have. Nightmare Moon made sure all of Equestria sees me as a terrorist…” Midnight mustered Twilight, amethyst eyes scanning the makeshift outfit she was wearing. “You’re an alicorn. How did that happen?”

Twilight unfurled her wings beneath her cloak and let out a deep sigh. “Well, that’s a story I better tell when we’re not standing around in the open like this.”

“Right,” Midnight turned around and waved a hoof. “Follow me then. I’ll show you to my base and introduce you to my team.”

“Your… team? You made friends?” Twilight blinked.

“Did you truly believe I'd operate solo? Friends may be a stretch, but there are ponies who share my interests and assist me in gathering the Elements of Harmony.”

Chrysalis’ ears perked up, wings buzzing with curiosity. “You've obtained the Elements?”

“Three of them, yes. The other three still elude us. Nightmare dispersed them across the breadth of Equestria. She understands their power can only be harnessed by those with genuine Harmony in their hearts, hence she's incapable of their manipulation.”

“Ha!” Chrysalis shot past Midnight, her wings humming with delight as she performed a playful aerial twirl. “What a doomed trio we are! The Changeling Queen, a friendless princess, and her notorious doppelgänger! Talk about harmonic! So, are we just going to trust her?”

“I suspect your version of Chrysalis isn’t much of an improvement from the rumors I've heard about my world’s changeling Queen before her demise.” Midnight quipped.

Twilight nodded in agreement, a wry smile on her face. “Oh, she’s awful. But wait, are you saying in this world, Chrysalis is-” - “Dead, yes. Put to rest by Nightmare Moon’s magic.” Midnight confirmed. A pang of sympathy welled up within Twilight. She peered at Chrysalis and wanted to offer kind words, but what came out sounded more like a jest, “Rest in peace.”

Chrysalis halted in her tracks, a surge of anger pulsing through her veins. Yet she maintained her composure, even managing a smile. “You say that to mock me, Twilight. But I sense pity, empathy even. You're betraying your own feelings.”

Her words hung in the air over the trio as they started traveling north-east, Canterlot on the horizon.

Midnight’s base was located between the mountain that leads to Canterlot, and Foal Mountain - The forest grew more dense as Midnight led them on. Twisted branches woven thick as a castle's walls.

Twilight felt the veil weakening between realms, magic thinner in this realm of eternal night. Her teleportation spells brought them leagues closer, but Chrysalis' distaste for it delayed their journey as she refused to be teleported yet again. At last over a moss-shrouded rise emerged plumes of woodsmoke, curling mystery into the moon-hued boughs. Midnight quickened her pace, joy sparking in weary eyes at homecoming's sight. The hidden base was nested between mountains and large woods. Three tents were set up, there was a chariot and a few barrels and crates with supplies.

"Welcome to my humble abode." Midnight said with a soft smile. "I’ll introduce you to the others. They should be back from scavenging.”

“What did you bring us here, Twi, are they changelings?” A pink pony with a straight, long mane, wearing a tight, black jacket that had pockets and tools attached to it came out of one of the tents.

“Pinkie Pie!?” Twilight gasped at the sight of a stern looking version of the party pony she knew from her own world.

“It’s Pinkamena.” The pink earth pony corrected with a glare before she looked at Midnight. “Where'd you find these changelings, Twi? I thought they were extinct.”

Midnight greeted Pinkamena with a hoofshake, then turned to face Twilight and Chrysalis.

“It’s a long story. These two hail from an alternate Equestria, one untouched by eternal darkness. Queen Chrysalis," she gestured graciously, "and the mare by her side, a mirror image of myself from the other world, Twilight Sparkle."

Two mares were drawn out of the tent by the chatter. Gray coats and manes, they halted next to Pinkamena and Midnight continued, "These valiant survivors are Maude, Limestone and Pinkamena. Their family gave all in service to Nightmare's twisted cause."

Maude remained silent, Limestone spoke then, her hoarse words carrying sorrow. "You’re a welcome addition to our cause. The Empress had us move Holder’s Boulder to build a train track, that’s when the accident happened… our parents didn’t survive it."

Midnight stepped between the Pie sisters and the visitors. “To avoid confusion, you may call me Midnight, while she remains Twilight - hailing as she does from a land where hope still journeys in the light. They are stuck in our world, but they are willing to help us defeat the Nightmare and bring back the sun.”

Pinkamena listened keenly, skepticism dancing in eyes that had seen too much to believe mere words. “Tales of other worlds sound like fancy, yet here stands a second Twi and the infamous changeling Queen we all thought was history.”

Midnight gave a nod and gestured a hoof towards one of the tents. “Let’s settle down and I’ll try to enlighten you all.”

And so the troupe made their way into the large tent that served as the communication hub. As comfortable seats were found, and watchful shadows waited, Midnight began to fill every creature in by flickering firelight.


Picture generated by Bing

Author's Note:


Visé dum mod ssmek h'e em- Puʉßorp Kék-saur

Comments ( 3 )

10968487
Took me two years but there you go.

11754168
Better late than never, it's a good feeling when a story updates after a long time, just a piece of advice, Twilight and Chrysalis have good chemistry between them, their attitude is correct but I feel like too many things happened in a single chapter, well that's what I think. The image at the end of the chapter is also a good detail. I look forward to the next chapter and to see what the protagonists' challenges will be.

11754398
Fair, I could have made two chapters out of this, but it's been in the work for a while. Thank you so much for reading, it means the world to me.

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