• Published 22nd Sep 2021
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New Noses To Know - Irrespective

Baked Bean and Princess Celestia have welcomed their newborn into the world. Now the fun begins.

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5. - Crystalling Pt. 1

* * * *

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

Celestia drew in a long, deep breath as her husband paced the length of their personal chambers, his brow furrowed in anger and frustration. She understood fully why her Baked Bean was in such a sour mood, and truth be told, she was not comfortable with the idea, either.

This latest stunt by Queen Chrysalis had thrown them for a rather large loop, but the worst part of it was that she had done everything legally. The formal, written request of the Queen to attend the Crystalling as the official representative of the Changeling Hive spoke of improved relations, and of fostering understanding between ponies and changelings. It was formatted correctly, it had no spelling or grammatical errors, and it was even written on official, watermarked paper bearing Queen Chrysalis’ signature.

Celestia was nearly convinced that this was Chrysalis’ most diabolical scheme to date. Her first reaction was the same as her husband’s: outright rejection. She had agreed that the changeling was up to no good, that her request was some sort of ploy to somehow collect the love that the Empire produced and use it to superpower herself once again.

Celestia most certainly did not want to repeat that battle.

However, despite her misgivings and concerns, she had eventually and reluctantly agreed to the Queen’s request for two reasons. The first was that Lieutenant Spear Point and Captain Shining Armor were more than willing to provide an ‘honor guard’ for the Queen. At the slightest hint of trouble, this escort would swiftly spring into action to subdue and, if necessary, eliminate the threat.

The second, and more compelling reason, was that upon receiving the request via Hokey Pokey, Celestia had asked him, point blank, what his thoughts were concerning her motivations.

His answer was slow and thoughtful, but with her vast experience, Celestia knew he had given her the most truthful answer he could.

“I don’t know what she’s up to, exactly, but deep down, I believe she’ll behave herself. Besides, if you know she’s there, you don’t have to worry about where she’s hiding.”

Hokey Pokey had then gone on and shared the conversation he had with Chrysalis about her desires to be treated like a real queen at the last Grand Galloping Gala. He suspected that her request was directly related to those hopes.

If it was true, then the fearsome leader of all changelings was, in her own way and at her own pace, beginning the process of reformation. Well, for a given value of ‘reform.’ Scheming and plotting out in the open was what every other race did in their search for political power, so why not changelings?

On top of that, Hokey Pokey’s influence had affected Chrysalis too, more than she would ever admit to. Perhaps if she were offered a few more olive branches of peace, about a forest’s worth of them, she and her hive just might have a chance at change.

Baked Bean had rejected the entire notion outright as soon as he heard it, and could not be persuaded otherwise. If he could work his will, Chrysalis would be stuffed in a stockade in the deepest, darkest dungeon that could be found without the slightest hope of release. And fed only stale bread. With ketchup on it, for good measure.

“She’s going to do something, I just know it,” Baked Bean went on as he turned and marched back across the room. “She’ll steal the Crystal Heart and take it back to her hive, so all the love from Equestria flows to her. I can’t believe you’re allowing her to come.”

“Bean, please settle down. You’ll wake Apollo,” Celestia said with a glance over to their slumbering son in his crib. “Shining Armor assures me that the Crystal Corps will be on high alert, and that the Crystal Heart will be protected by one of his shields and the finest troops he can muster. It will be impossible for Chrysalis to do anything.”

“I can’t believe Shining and Cadence are fine with her coming, either.” Bean stomped over to Celestia and collapsed on the cushions next to her with a hard whumph and a nicker of derision. “They should know better. You should know better. Chrysalis can’t be trusted.”

If Bean had been just another one of her subjects, Celestia might have taken that moment to remind him that she did have over a thousand years of analytical skill and decision-making capability to rely upon, but she elected to bite her tongue instead. Such a statement would only irritate Bean more, and this was not a fight that she wanted to have.

“Come here,” she said, her wing pulling him in until he was held snugly to her side. With a small grin, she began nipping in between his ears and down his neck, and to her relief, she could see his muscles starting to relax. “You are going to hurt yourself if you don’t calm down.”

“I am calm,” he grumbled, his anger clearly being overrun by his enjoyment of Celestia’s actions. “Little to the left, please.”

“I know I am asking you to do something that is extremely difficult,” she said in her softest and most soothing voice as she continued nipping. “And I understand why this is so hard for you. But I need you to trust me, and give Chrysalis a chance to show her true self. If she does, in fact, try to attack us in any way, she will have to fight through myself, Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor, all six Element Bearers, a full platoon of Crystal Corps ponies, another full platoon of our Royal Guard, Sergeant Hokey Pokey, Sergeant Clover Leaf, and the citizenry of the Crystal Empire. I do not see how she could be successful at anything with so many ponies opposing her, and right at the instant when she attempts to strike.”

Bean let out another nicker, only this time with resigned defeat. “Okay, fine. It might be a little bit harder for her to do something. I still don’t like it, though.”

“And that’s fine. Your feelings in this matter are important, and they have weighed heavily on my mind as I contemplated this unusual request. If you are right, I will ensure that she is dealt with permanently.”

Bean relaxed more with her statement. “Now, when you say permanently, does that mean...?”

“I am a forgiving pony, but even I have my limits. I lost you once, and I will not lose you again.”

Celestia felt Bean’s shudder of delight, and her smile grew with his. “Just don’t go full Daybreaker. You might melt the Crystal Empire if you do.”

Celestia chuckled. “I will restrain myself, if the situation arises. But I am confident Apollo’s crystalling will be rather uneventful. Now, we should probably figure out which crystal to use, since the ceremony is this weekend.”

“Indeed we should,” Bean agreed as Celestia’s magic brought over the case containing their options. “I like the smell of this one, here on the right…”

* * * *

“This is so unfair,” Chrysalis grumbled, her eyes darting back and forth as the scenery of Equestria rushed by their window. “Moonbutt, Sunbutt and that Bean get to ride in luxurious accommodations, and I’m stuffed back here in steerage.”

“Careful,” Pokey said with a sly grin. “You’ll upset the steers talking like that.”

“Indeed!” A nearby cow huffed indignantly. “Never, in all my days…”

The Queen of All Changelings glared daggers at the offended heifer for a moment as somecow began kicking her seat from behind, then turned her attention back to Pokey when a calf began to wail at the top of its lungs. “This is no way to treat royalty, you know.”

“Hey, if you don’t like it, then you need to provide your own train car. Every creature from Minotaria to Yakyakistan wants to attend the crystalling, so you’re lucky that you even found a seat, and that Celestia allowed these passenger cars to be hooked to her personal locomotive. You’re also insanely lucky that Prince Bean even let you get on. If it were up to him, you’d be walking the whole way. Backwards. With hobbles.”

“He really needs to quit living in the past,” Chrysalis grumbled more. “You try to melt one measly little pony’s brain, and then you never hear the end of it. I said I was suhhh… s-s-s...”

“Sorry?” Pokey finished the sentence since Chrysalis was unable to. “Funny. I don’t ever remember hearing you apologize to him.”

“I’m quite sure I did,” Chrysalis said, her nose firmly in the air. “You must have been out sick that day.”

“Sure, sure.”

“How much longer is this infernal ride going to take, anyway?” Chrysalis shuffled to her left, but the minotaur next to her adjusted to the left as well, thus eliminating the infinitesimal gap that she had created between them.

“Oh, at least another six hours, probably,” Pokey said casually. “We left Canterlot ten minutes ago, after all.”

“You’d better be joking,” Chrysalis snarled. “There’s no way I’m going to sit in this tin can like a sardine for six hours.”

“I don’t see how you have another choice,” Pokey said with a devious grin as he stood. “If you’ll excuse me.”

“Just where do you think you’re going?!”

“I have to go report for duty. Prince Bean is on this train, so I still need to guard him. I’ll come check on you eventually.”

“I’m coming with you.”

“No can do. We guards have standing orders to arrest you if you get any closer to Prince Bean. Unless you want to find out what it’s like to be thrown from a railroad car traveling at this speed.”

“I loathe you,” Chrysalis snapped as her fellow passengers moved to fill the space that Pokey had vacated.

“Yeah, I know. Normally I’d say ‘don’t steal any love,’ but I don’t think that’ll be an issue today.”

“You’re going to pay for this,” Chrysalis shot back in barely restrained fury. “Do you hear me, Hokey Pokey?! Don’t you walk away from me while I’m talking to you!”

Chrysalis began to fume and snarl as she watched Pokey’s laughing departure, unable to properly smite him since whoever was kicking her seat was nearly pushing her into the previously offended dairy cow in front of her. The indignity of her situation was nearly more than she could bear, and if her fellow passengers had been ponies instead of livestock, she would allow her displeasure to be expressed.


But Chrysalis had learned not to mess with cattle many years ago,⁽*⁾ so she suppressed her rage and glared out of the window again. Her beloved crossword puzzles were in her personal baggage, and that had been taken from her and thrown into the baggage car as soon as she and Pokey had reached the train station, so she had nothing to do for six hours but seethe and stare.

⁽*⁾Don’t ask. You really don’t want to know.

Or strike up a conversation, but that wouldn’t end well. Changelings were far more intelligent than bovines, so talking to one of them would be like trying to talk to a stick.

Lacking anything better to do, Chrysalis mentally reviewed what information she had on the Crystal Empire. She had sent a couple of scouts when it had first appeared, and she had hoped that at least one of them could have infiltrated and integrated with the locals while the other one reported back. Sunbutt, however, had beaten her to the punch, to her immense annoyance, and Studly Do-Right went and raised a small but effective military patrol that hounded her scouts relentlessly from the moment they had stuck their buggy noses inside the Empire’s borders.

It hadn’t helped that the Crystal Ponies were naturally wary of strangers and outsiders to begin with, thus making it impossible for the scouts to foalnap, pod, and replace a loved one. Once she had received their report, she ‘rescheduled’ her planned invasion, since she didn’t have enough ‘lings with enough love to stage a full frontal invasion, nor the resources and time to sneak across Equestria with a small infiltration crew. The priority, then and still, had been to reestablish her hive.

Provided she could refrain from strangling the miscreant who was kicking her seat still, this trip would provide her with a first hoof look at the Empire, and more specifically, the defenses that Studly had put up around it. If she could just find a small hole in the security—miniscule as it may be—she could be sitting on an all-you-can-eat buffet of love, and her power would know no bounds.

The thought made her giggle with wicked delight. Vengeance was a dish best served cold, and soon, every creature would see just how cold and calculating Queen Chrysalis could be.

* * * *

“Why me?” Pokey asked the heavens above as he jumped over the couplings from the last passenger car to the baggage car. “Why? Did I do something wrong as a child?”

There was no answer. Pokey slid the door open as fast as he could. Now that the train was within the borders of the Empire, Princess Celestia had asked him to assemble his ‘Honor Guard’ for the Queen, and to stay with her for the entirety of her visit.

But when he and his fellow guards had returned to the passenger car, she had disappeared. The other passengers informed him she’d left not long after he had, but there had been no reports of her moving forward, or toward the locomotive.

That meant that she’d either jumped off the train entirely, or she was now in the baggage car or the caboose for some idiotic reason. Pokey didn’t figure he’d be lucky enough for the former, so once he’d entered the car and shut out the snow, he began to search among the suitcases and parcels. “Chrysalis? You’d better not be stealing anything back here.”

“Please tell me we’re almost there,” came her muffled reply.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” he dryly replied while moving around a large crate. “We’ll be arriving any minute now, depending on the weather. Now, is there any reason why you’re…”

Hokey Pokey stopped dead in his tracks, and it took all of his willpower to keep from bursting into hysterical laughter. In the middle of the car, surrounded by emptied out suitcases and vacant bags, was a large pile of sweaters, scarves, mittens and coats, with a pair of Changeling eyes peering back at him from within the mess with annoyance.

“Shut up!” Chrysalis snapped. “This isn’t funny!”

“Okay, so walk me through the logic on this,” Pokey replied. “Why did you decide to leave the heated passenger car, and to move back here to the unheated baggage car when you knew the Crystal Empire was surrounded by snowstorms and ice fields?”

“Nopony told me there would be a blizzard!” she shouted back. “I thought it would be a few snow drifts and some random flakes. You ponies control the weather, don’t you? Why on earth don’t they take care of that mess outside?!”

“The storms that come off the northern mountain ranges are too large for us to handle. We can keep things under control in the Empire proper, but not outside of it. Besides, it keeps nosy little bugs from buzzing into places where they shouldn’t be.”

“You could have warned me.” The pile shivered, and Chrysalis let out an audible sniffle. “This is all your fault.”

“I didn’t think I had to. I was fairly sure that you had enough sense to stay in the passenger car.”

“I was going to do something unpleasant if I stayed in there any longer, Pokey,” Chrysalis growled. “I’m a patient Queen, but even I have my limits. Whoever was kicking my seat was this close to being turned into a tenderloin.”

“I suppose I should thank you for not acting on your impulses, but maybe this’ll teach you to not invite yourself to things at the last minute.”

“Instead of making wise cracks, go be useful and get me something warm.”

“Sergeant?” Corporal Larkspur’s voice had cut in, and he stepped around the crate with his horn lit and ready to fire. “Do you need assistance, sir?”

“Stand down, Corporal. Chrysalis was just about to clean up this mess she made, wasn’t she?” Pokey asked with a pointed look.

“I will do no such thing. If you don’t want me to tear apart your train, then you ponies need to provide me with reasonable accommodations.”

Five more guards then appeared out of the woodwork, each with a spear or a horn primed to strike. Hokey Pokey took a moment to glance over his comrades before turning back to the Queen with a smug smile.

“We provided you with a heated passenger car, which was more than adequate. Now get to cleaning, or the troops here might have a valid reason to dismiss you from our company.”

The pile of winter wear let out a sharp hiss of annoyance, went motionless for a moment, then levitated into the air with a sickly green glow. “Mark my words, Hokey Pokey. You are going to pay severely for this.”

Before Chrysalis could start sorting, the brakes on the train activated, letting out a low screech as they brought the journey to an end. Chrysalis, upon feeling the slowing, promptly dropped the pile and strode towards the exit. “What a shame! It seems we have arrived, and I am sure you don’t want to keep your friends in the Crystal Empire waiting. They might get anxious if I don’t show up when I’m supposed to.”

Hokey Pokey groaned, then turned to Larkspur. “Stay here and see if you can’t get this mess sorted out. Much as I hate to admit it, the bug is right.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let’s go, Chrysalis,” Pokey said with a snort. “But you are on extremely thin ice. Any more stunts like this and you’ll wish you’d stayed back in Canterlot.”

Chrysalis scoffed, plucked a scarf from the floor with her magic, and wrapped it around her neck before flashing Pokey a pleased grin. “I’m always on my best behavior. Haven’t you learned that by now, Pokey-poo?”

“That’s what worries me.”

Queen Chrysalis took a deep breath of the clear crystal air as she stepped onto the train platform, and out of reflex, her tongue darted out to sample all of the delectable emotions that were sure to be dancing about. If she was lucky, the ambient levels of love would be strong, even out here on the edge of the Empire, and all she would have to do is open her mouth and begin swallowing.

What she tasted made her gag, cough, and spit all at the same time. The mishmash of conflicting emotions was like she’d just had week-old gum, a pine log, three cow pies, and a pound of pepper crammed down her throat. The snickers of amusement from her ‘Honor Guard’ only added to the disgusting flavors, and she was severely tempted to smack them all upside the head for their audacity and insolence.

“Aw, was the Queen expecting something different?” A derisive voice asked with deep sarcasm. “Looks like you don’t like how we taste around here.”

Chrysalis spat once more, then glared at her newest addition to her ‘Need to Smite’ list. A yellow crystal pony, with a blue mane and clad in brilliantly polished silver, stood at the fore of a dozen Crystal Corps ponies, with a look of contemptuous delight that was begging to be removed with force. “Somepony just earned themselves the top spot on my naughty list. Who, exactly, are you?”

“Sergeant Stonewall, Your Majesty. I and my troops here are under the strictest of orders to keep you out of trouble. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…” The Lieutenant approached, drew his sword, and held it to Chrysalis’ neck. “Why don’t we come to an understanding, shall we? Nopony wants you here. All of us are keenly aware that you are in the opening stages of some nefarious plot to steal our love, and I will not allow that to happen, under any circumstance.”

“I’m going to like it here.” Chrysalis bobbed her eyebrows and ran her hoof along the opposite edge of the blade. “It’s been so long since I’ve been properly threatened, I nearly forgot how exhilarating it is. Oh, but don’t tell me you really thought threatening my life would somehow change my behavior?” Her tongue darted out again, and a knowing grin came with the emotional taste test. “You did! How beautifully naive of you! Pokey-poo, take note of this. These ponies could teach you a thing or two about how to turn me on.”

“That’s enough, Sergeant.” The commanding voice of Captain Shining Armor rang out, and Chrysalis purred as he approached, clad in his purple armor and with Princess Cadence at his side.

“Well hellooo, Studly.” Chrysalis bit her bottom lip playfully as she drank in his form. “My, my. I’d forgotten how delicious you look when you get dressed up, and all just for little old me! I do hope you’ll keep it on for the duration of my stay.”

“Only if you revert back to your tie-dye color scheme,” Shining shot back with a smug grin.

That killed Chrysalis’ mood in a hurry, and she snarled. “I’ll have my revenge for that little stunt, believe me.”

“I’m sure you will. In the meantime, care to explain why you brought an invasion force with you?”

“I think your helmet is on too tight. The only Changeling in the Empire is me, handsome.”

“There have been several changeling sightings along the borders over the last week,” Cadence cut in, her horn flaring to life. “So unless you’d like to see what it’s like to be imprisoned and abandoned in a dungeon made of crystal, you’d better explain what’s going on.”

Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “And you ponies wonder why I don’t play by the rules. Even when I behave, I’m in trouble. Look, Lovebutt, I’m being completely honest. The only changeling that should be in the Empire is me. My little ‘lings were told to stay at the hive, and all changelings hate the cold. So if there’s some moronic drone stomping around out there in the snow, it’s defective and should be destroyed at your leisure.”

“Sergeant Pokey?” Princess Cadence turned to him, and he came to attention.

“Your Highness, to the best of my knowledge, Queen Chrysalis is telling the truth. I have seen no correspondence between her and her hive regarding an invasion, and changelings do not share a hive mind, ma’am.”

“I wish we did,” Chrysalis added under her breath. “That would solve so many problems.”

“I’ll send a force out and see if we can’t capture it,” Shining Armor said to Cadence. “Then we can get to the bottom of what’s going on. Why don’t you show our ‘guest’ to her room?” Their attention turned back to Chrysalis, who flashed a smile. “I’m sure she’s tired from the journey.”

“Follow me, please.” Cadence motioned with a hoof, and with two dozen guards at her side, Chrysalis took the invitation.

“Shining? What was all that about?”

Shining Armor took a deep breath before turning to greet his Princely counterpart. “Hey, Bean. Glad to see you made it safely. How was the trip?”

“Fine. Celly and I went over the itinerary for the crystalling, mostly. Luna slept the whole time. Apollo did yearling stuff. What’s going on with Chrysalis? Did she do something?”

“Not that we can prove, yet,” Shining said. “There’s been several changeling drone sightings lately, and we thought Chrysalis might be up to something. But she denies having any other changelings here beside herself, so we need to catch the rogue and figure out why it’s here and what it’s doing.”

“Is it just one drone, or multiples?” Bean asked with concern.

“We think there’s just one, but it’s hard to tell. Hey, don’t worry about it.” Shining put a hoof on Bean’s shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile. “I’ve got my finest troops out looking for it, and my even-better-than-that troops guarding Chrysalis. If she is up to something, we’ll stop it.”

“I still say letting her come here is a bad idea,” Bean huffed. “I tried to warn all of you.”

“Trust me, I told Cady the same thing,” Shining answered. “But we’ve both been overruled by our wives, so we’ll just make do as best we can.”

“You’re at least sticking her in one of the worst rooms you have, right?”

Shining Armor sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Well, since there isn’t exactly a ‘bad’ room in the palace…”

* * * *

“Now this is more like it.” Chrysalis wiggled a bit to properly settle into the plush velvet chaise, and her magic plucked a pear from the overflowing fruit bowl on the large crystal table in front of her. The afternoon light danced into intricate colors and patterns as it streamed through the crystal walls and windows, and the roaring fire in the hearth was removing the last of the chill that had been stubbornly stuck in her chitin since her arrival. She’d grown accustomed to marble and gold during her stay in Canterlot, but crystal did have a certain charm and elegance all of its own.

Neither were as grandiose as the slime and fungi of her hive, of course, but nothing could ever measure up to that.

With a grin, Chrysalis took a large bite of the pear and chewed noisily while relaxing. Her Pokey-poo was out with the Crystal Empire guards and Studly, probably going over how they would contain her and keep her in line, so for the moment, she had the luxurious guest suite all to herself.

And this was only the beginning of her turn in fortune. Seeing as how her Queenly self was the official representative of the Changelings, Princess Celestia was compelled to extend an invitation for Chrysalis to attend a state dinner that evening. Dignitaries from Griffonstone, Yakyakistan, and a bunch of other places that she couldn’t be bothered to remember would smooze and socialize in celebration of Apollo’s crystalling tomorrow afternoon. Lovebutt and Studly had organized some other social activities for the day, but Chrysalis had decided not to attend, partly because of the foul emotions in the Empire and partly because she simply didn’t feel like being sociable.

Besides, if she stayed put, she would have Hokey Pokey all to herself, and that thought made her innards feel all bubbly and warm.

As if on cue, Hokey then entered the room, kicked the door shut, and let out a deep sigh while removing his helm. “This is a fantastic way to start a road trip,” he muttered as he moved towards her.

“What can I say? I always make a splash wherever I go,” Chrysalis said with a deep grin. “You should know that by now, my sweet Babboo.”

Pokey snorted, moved to the window, and stared off into the frozen wastes that lay beyond the city’s bounds. “Chrissy, I need you to be totally honest with me. What is going on with the changeling sightings?”

The urgency and concern in his voice was unexpected, and Chrysalis sat up as she tasted the tang of his fear in the air. Normally, her Pokey-wokey was always so sure and confident, so in a small way, it actually hurt her a little to see him in such distress.

“Hokey Pokey, I truthfully and honestly do not know if or why there’s a drone out in that tartarus-spawned mess. No ‘ling in their right mind would willingly stay out in that, so whoever it is has gone mental. To be blunt, such a drone would be just as much of a threat to my hive as they are to this Empire, and Studly would be wise to destroy it, just as I told him to. I’ll even do it myself, if he feels squeamish about it.”

“Why is it all the way out here? Do you think it was attracted by the love?”

“No way. This place tastes like a sewer. It would have to be acting on instinct.” Chrysalis shrugged. “We bugs still need to eat, even if we’re deranged. Speaking of which…” she trailed off with a low growl.

“At least you’ve finally admitted it,” Pokey snarked while Chrysalis’ magic pulled him to her.

“I have to be crazy to want you.” Chrysalis pulled him into her embrace and began to nibble on his neck with gentle kisses. It took deliberate effort to keep her fangs from scratching or piercing his neck. “But then, I’m not the only thief around here. You managed to steal my heart, and I don’t know how to get it back. It’s quite a frustrating conundrum you’ve put me in.”

“Good. Serves you right for all of the agony you’ve put me through.”

There was a peaceful silence as Chrysalis continued, and somewhere deep in her soul, she felt a warm serenity begin to flow when Pokey’s muscles relaxed beneath her touch. It was a feeling she hadn’t fully experienced—or enjoyed—since her time masquerading as Bluebelle, and in the silence of that moment, Chrysalis found that she had deeply missed this feeling. There was no lie to maintain, no deception to keep covered. She didn’t have to continually taste the emotions in the air to make sure her mark remained adequately fooled, and there was no need for her to adjust the next five steps of her latest plan.

She didn’t even need to steal her sweet Babboo’s love, she realized. Even if it was unintentional, Hokey Pokey was willingly giving it to her.

The revelation made her pause, and she pondered over the curious notion. What she was getting wasn’t quite full on pure love, but a form of it, a lesser but welcome beginning. Pokey was providing acceptance, affection, and perhaps a touch of fondness, all emotions that held a spark of love within them.

For as long as she could remember—and for long before that—the only way changelings could get their greedy little hooves on love was to steal it. She had never, in her entire life, been with a creature who was willing to give her love, in any shape, size, or style. Every creature she’d ever encountered in her natural form either ran away from her while screaming or attacked her with a long blade and, ideally, a longer handle.

But her Pokey didn’t care about her outward appearance. He never remarked about her fangs, her insectoid wings, or the holes in her legs—at least, not in any serious way. He would make a snarky joke about them on occasion, but she never felt like he was being malicious or demeaning. He accepted her, despite what other ponies would see as flaws, and…

And when she was with him, she felt safe. She could be herself—no disguises, no tricks, no deceit—and he would never try to change her.

It was a somewhat stunning revelation, and her breath hitched in her throat as the full weight of it settled in on her. For the first time in forever, Queen Chrysalis could just be Chrysalis.

Just Chrysalis. No more, and no less.

“Hey, you okay?” Hokey Pokey asked. She shuddered as his heartfelt concern tickled her senses. “You’re awfully quiet all of a sudden.”

“Just getting my fill of love for the day,” she half-lied. Even though she knew his concern was genuine, she couldn’t bring herself to admit her revelation to him, or even fully to herself. What she had just glimpsed was nothing more than a moment of weakness, a vulnerability that needed to be hidden so it couldn’t be exploited. “I’m going to have to go buy a treadmill if I’m not careful. You’re just too easy to steal from.”

“Hey, if you’re getting love from me, then you don’t need love from anypony else.”

“Maybe,” she said with a cheerful hum.

* * * *

“Any luck yet?” Baked Bean asked.

“Nope,” Shining Armor said with a deep frown. “This bug is good. But don’t worry, Bean. We’ll catch it.”

Bean took a deep breath as he waited for Twilight Sparkle and her friends on the Empire’s empty train platform with his friend. Reports on the search were coming in every fifteen to twenty minutes, and Bean found comfort in the fact that Shining was literally searching every nook and cranny that existed in the Empire’s boundaries. But there were almost limitless places for a changeling to hide, and the Crystal Empire had a limited number of guards who could be spared.

Still, even if they couldn’t catch the stray, it wouldn’t be able to attack the Empire in any way. There was only one bug, not a whole army of them—and Shining had reassured Bean that the Empire definitely would have noticed if Chrysalis had sent a force of more than one to attack. The threat to the Royal family was virtually none, so Bean found it easier to calm his nerves.

“So, how’s Cadence doing with her pregnancy?” Bean asked. A change of subject would be welcome, and Bean hadn’t heard any updates for a few weeks.

Shining Armor stood a bit taller, and Bean instantly recognized the proud, fatherly smile that overtook the Captain. It was the same smile he saw whenever he would pass by a mirror. “We just met with the obstetrician yesterday, and everything looks normal. Provided we can catch the changeling, Cady and I are going to come back to Canterlot with you so Doctor Horsenpfeffer can do an exam and continue her research on alicorn pregnancies.”

“How far along are you, again?”

“Four months, give or take a few weeks.”

“Ah. And how are the alicorn cravings?” Bean asked with a sly grin.

“They’ve been… manageable.” Shining glanced around the platform, as if making sure they were still alone. “Between you and me, I’m not sure who’s more nauseous, her or me. Half of the stuff she eats looks like she just threw whatever was in front of her on a slab of cheddar cheese and called it good.”

“Get used to it. Celestia came up with the strangest concoctions, too. Most of them involved ketchup,” he added with a shudder. “You might want to consider getting a pair of nose plugs.”

“I might have to. Thankfully, Cady’s mood swings don’t seem to be as bad as Celestia’s, thus far. She’s more restless at night, too, like she can’t get comfortable. And then she ends up kicking me awake when she’s bored, and then…” Shining trailed off and tapped the tips of his hooves together.

“Doctor Horsenpfeffer told me that Celestia would be more, um, receptive starting around month four, too,” Bean said with a bob of his eyebrows. “It’s all the hormones raging through her system, and alicorn hormones at that. Plus, you married the Princess of Love, so I bet I can’t even imagine how that affects her.”

“Dude, it’s like somepony flipped a switch!” Shining moaned. “Don’t get me wrong, the spirit is more than willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”

“Yeah, that sounds about right. There were a couple of times when I had to head down to the infirmary and get some burn ointment,” Bean said with a wistful, pleased look. “I think you should have a talk with her. Let her know all of this, but in the nicest possible way. I’m sure she doesn’t want to hurt you, so you should be able to reach some sort of compromise.”

“Compromise about what?” Cadence asked from behind them. The two stallions turned to greet her and the two guards who flanked her. “Is something wrong, Shiny?”

“No, everything’s fine. We can discuss it later tonight, in private,” he said, with a lean to plant a quick kiss on her cheek.

Cadence was having none of it. She dodged his initial offering, puckered up, and pulled her husband into a passionate embrace that went on for several long minutes. Bean glanced away from the tongue tango going on in front of him as best he could, but there was no way he could ignore the delighted hums and grunts.

While he waited, Bean wondered if this is what it was like for other ponies when he and Celestia locked lips, but he had no intention of cutting back. If anything, the snogging going on in front of him fueled his desire to go show the crystal royals how it was really done.

Once Cadence had gotten her fill of Shining Armor succulence, the pair slowly separated, noticed that Bean was giving them a playfully annoyed look, and cleared their throats.

“Are the yaks still smashing the castle?” Shining asked his wife, his voice only cracking a little.

“I took care of their concerns, with the help of Ambassador Horwitz and with a minimum of smashing. I’m very grateful Horwitz came; I think he’ll help be a calming agent of sorts to the rest of the Yak dignitaries.”

“I hope so. He hasn’t smashed half of Canterlot yet, has he?” Shining asked Bean.

“No. In fact, I don’t think he’s smashed anything at all,” Bean replied thoughtfully. “For a yak, he’s remarkably patient and understanding. I can see why Prince Rutherford picked him.”

“As I understand it, Rutherford and Horwitz have known each other for quite some time,” Cadence said. “I’m sure the two of them will regale us with glorious tales of ancient yak battles tonight during dinner.”

“Let’s hope Horwitz can keep Rutherford from smashing anything if his meal isn’t just right,” Shining added just as Twilight’s train approached with a sharp blast from the whistle. “I realize you’re busy with Celestia, Bean, but there’s a part of me that really, really wishes you were our chef for tonight. You’ve had more experience with cooking for Yaks than any crystal pony does.”

“I’ve cooked one meal for him, so that doesn’t really count,” Bean countered as the train stopped in front of them. “I’m sure Berry Blast will do just fine.”

Bean’s demeanor turned grim as the passenger car door opened and the Element Bearers—plus one recently reformed cutie-mark stealer and a dragon in a trenchcoat, afro wig, fedora, and sunglasses—stepped onto the platform. While it was highly unlikely that the stray changeling had snuck in with Twilight Sparkle or her friends, Shining Armor wasn’t willing to take the chance, and it showed clearly on his face as well. The new arrivals were chatting happily as they disembarked, but as soon as they saw Shining Armor in his armor, the conversation died out and everyone froze.

“Shining? What’s going on?” Twilight asked, her eyes moving between him, Bean, and the two guards.

“We can explain, Twily,” he said, his tone dead serious. “If it really is you.”

Cadence shared a quick nod with her husband, then trotted up to ‘Twilight.’ “Sunshine, sunshine-”

“Ladybug’s awake!” Twilight didn’t hesitate to jump in with the familiar greeting, or the motions that went with it. “Clap your hooves and do a little shake!”

The tension that had been building evaporated, and Bean let out the breath he’d been holding while Twilight and Cadence hugged.

“It’s okay, everypony. It’s her,” Shining announced with relief.

“Of course it’s her!” Starlight Glimmer exclaimed. “What’s this all about?”

“A changeling’s been spotted nearby,” Shining Armor answered. “And according to Queen Chrysalis, it’s not here on her orders, so we’re not taking any chances.”

“That’s not good,” Spike the Well-Disguised noted.

Shining Armor and Cadence then took turns explaining the situation to the new arrivals, and Baked Bean was pleased to see that the group looked appropriately concerned. Afterward, Shining reassured everypony that his troops were on the hunt even as they spoke, and that there was no need to worry.

“Sounds like quite a pickle of a situation,” Applejack said at the conclusion. “But if’n there’s anyway any of us can help, we’re all rootin’ and rearin’ to go!”

The rest agreed with her in unison, bringing a smile to Bean. Knowing that the Element Bearers were now on the lookout made him feel much better about the current situation.

One of the guards stepped forward and whispered something into Shining’s ear, and the Captain smirked. “Hmm! The Crystal Corps ponies were wondering if Spike, the Brave and Glorious, would like to join in the search for the changeling.”

“Really?!” Spike exclaimed.

“I dunno if that’s such a good idea, Spike,” Twilight cut in with a frown. “It sounds dangerous.”

“C’mon, Twilight! This is Spike, the Brave and Glorious you’re talking to.” Spike flexed his muscles. “Have you ever known me to run from danger?”


“He’ll be safe with our guards,” Shining added reassuringly.

“Or, will your guards be safe with me?” Spike corrected.

Twilight rolled her eyes “All right, I guess you can go. Just be careful!”

“Bah!” Spike scoffed. “Looks like I won’t be needing my disguise after all!”

With one smooth motion, Spike doffed his wig and hat, removed his coat, and was instantly mobbed by a crowd of crystal ponies that hadn’t been there before. Cries of “It’s really him!”, “Spike, the Brave and Glorious!” and “He’s come to save us again!” rose from the grateful assemblage. Before anypony could react, the ponies hoisted him into the air and began to walk towards the castle, with more cries of joy and a chant of “Spike! Spike! Spike!” ringing out with glee.

“We told everypony to stay inside as much as possible,” Shining explained. “That way, if the changeling somehow snuck into the city, it would be easy to spot. But I think we can lift that restriction now, don’t you, Cady?”

“We’ll have to for tonight’s festivities,” she said, “but I think we’re pretty safe, now that Spike the Brave and Glorious is here. While he and the guards go hunt the changeling, let me show you to your rooms. You all must be tired from your long trip.”

* * * *

“All right, you’re free to go.”

“About time!” Gruff snapped. “Now beat it, you bunch of buzzards!”

“Can you believe these guys?” Gallus jabbed a talon at the retreating guards. “Soon as we step off the train, they’re demanding we prove who we are!”

“Quit whining, you two,” Gilda said. “Ponies are paranoid by nature, and I sure don’t want to be abducted by a changeling.”

“It’s still annoying,” Gallus huffed.

“Look, we need to be friendly with the ponies here, okay?” Gilda said exasperatedly. “Things have finally started to get better in Griffonstone since we started trading with them, but we need to expand our reach, sell our stuff to more creatures. If we can get the Yaks and the Minotaurs to buy our junk, just imagine how many bits we could be pulling in every day! Just follow the rules, pretend to be nice for a couple of days, and before you know it, you’ll be clucking over a mountain of gold.”

“I know, I know,” Gallus grumbled. “I just wish you hadn’t decided that I was going to be your personal slave again.”

“You wanna be left alone? Then quit whining about being stuck at the aerie!” Gruff shot back. “We picked you just to get you to shut up already.”

“Excuse me?” another voice cut in, and the three griffs turned to face the crystal pony. “So sorry to intrude, but I’m here to show you to your rooms.”

“Hmpf! About time,” Gruff suddenly smacked Gallus in the chest and let out a wheezing laugh. “Let’s go see if we can find that Royal Guard mare that you’re head over tail in love with, eh?”

“I am NOT in love with her!” Gallus insisted. Gruff and Gilda laughed more. “I’ve told you a thousand times that I liked her armor, not her!”

* * * *

“Ah, Prince Rutherford!” Celestia offered her most disarming smile as she dodged a small gaggle of dignitaries and finally made eye contact with the Yakki leader. She was pleased to note that his countenance lit up upon noticing her.

“CELESTIA!” Rutherford roared in delight. He moved to pull the daytime diarch into what was sure to be a bone-crunching hug, but then thought better of it and stopped himself short. “Yak very glad to see you! Yak glad to be part of crystalling for tiny pony prince.”

“I’m delighted that you accepted my invitation, Your Highness. And who is this young yak that is accompanying you?”

The smaller visitor stepped forward, but she nearly tripped on one of her long braids as she did so. “My name Yona, Princess. Opa Horwitz asked me to come.”

“Ah! So you’re the fabled granddaughter that I’ve heard so many good things about.” Celestia felt a tingle of joy spread out of her chest as Yona glanced to the floor in pleased embarrassment. “I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Where is pony foal?” Rutherford glanced to either side of Celestia, then back to her.

“Apollo is with my husband at the moment. They should both be back momentarily.”

Rutherford nodded, then motioned to the ornate reception area that had been set up in the castle. “Yaks impressed with Crystal Empire. Pregnant pink pony princess take Yaks on tour of Empire earlier. Yaks looking forward to visiting often.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Celestia said with a warm grin. “Princess Cadence and Prince Shining Armor have spent countless hours preparing everything so that you might be at ease.”

“Is Horwitz here?” Rutherford glanced around the room quickly. “Yak want to talk to Ambassador before dinner.”

“I’m not quite sure where he is, but he should be somewhere in the castle. Shall I send a guard to find him?”

“Nah.” Rutherford scoffed and ruffled Yona’s hair. “Horwitz will want to see Yona. Yona is Horwitz’s favorite.”

“Am not!” Yona tried to protest, but her tone gave away that she knew he was right. “Opa Horwitz love younger brother and sister, too!”

“YONA?!” Horwitz’s voice blasted over the crowd. “WHERE IS YONA?!”

“OPA!” Yona shouted back, and the crowd quickly parted, lest they be trampled in the reunion. Yona was the faster of the two, so they collided with each other near the main entrance, each a bundle of laughter and joy as they hugged and rubbed noses. “Yona glad to see Opa again! Been too long!”

“Yona has been good for Ana, right?” Horwitz demanded. “No lies!”

“No lies! Yona good yak. Yona does all her chores, and helps Ana with brother and sister.”

“Perhaps we should give them a moment?” Celestia asked Rutherford while Horwitz asked for a detailed accounting of Yona’s recent behavior.

“Make that many moments,” Rutherford quipped with a grin. “May not be able to seperate them.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, Your Highness, why did you select Horwitz as your ambassador?”

“Horwitz is old family friend. Is like uncle to Yak; has been best friend with Yak’s father since they were both little. We smash many things together, and his family always spends Snilldar Fest with Yak’s. Rutherford knows Horwitz is good yak; perfect for position with ponies.”

Celestia was about to reply, but she stopped and smiled when she saw Baked Bean enter the room with Apollo in a carrier on his back. If the enthusiastic reunion between Horwitz and Yona hadn’t been enough to melt the hearts of every creature in attendance, then the appearance of Celestia’s bright-eyed son pushed the few holdouts over the edge. There was a collective gasp of admiration as both Princes made their way to Rutherford and Celestia, and there were a number of ponies who wanted to get a better look at the newborn.

“Pony Princess has cute foal,” Rutherford remarked with a small smile. “Tiny pony will be… how do ponies say? ‘Lady killer?’”

“That is the phrase, and I fear my son already is,” Celestia said as one crystal mare cooed and fawned over Apollo, who seemed to be enjoying all of the attention. “I suppose I should have expected it, given who his father is.”

The two royals then chatted about Rutherford’s immediate family while they waited for Bean and Apollo to join them. Celestia was a bit surprised to learn that Rutherford was still unmarried, but Rutherford’s father had only stepped down from his position as Prince and Leader of All Yak just two years ago, and it had taken time to get the new ruling councils into their positions.

Of course, all of this required extensive smashing, to ensure all new Yaks would be proficient in their governmental employment. Celestia had to admit that there was a simple elegance to the process, and she did briefly consider adding some sort of smashing test for any future appointees in Canterlot.

“Yak not worried about finding special someyak,” he said proudly. “Yak has many suluu lady yak admirers. Yak will soon have wife and many yak calves to smash with.”

“I wish you all the best, then,” Celestia said warmly as Bean finally approached on her right side. She paused to give him a kiss, nuzzle Apollo affectionately, and then finished with “In my experience, marriage is a most worthwhile investment.”

“I concur,” Bean concurred. “Prince Rutherford, it’s my pleasure to finally meet you face-to-face.”

“Yak is honored to meet…” Rutherford trailed off, a shocked look of awe and panic quickly overtaking him. With a loud gasp, he prostrated himself before the befuddled Bean, but it only took a moment for Celestia and Bean to realize what was going on.

“Oh, horseapples. I forgot,” Bean mumbled, reaching up to touch the phoenix feather that was still behind his left ear.

“Yak is most humbled to be in presence of Feniks Kuşunun Asıl Dosu,” Rutherford offered in deep reverence and humiliation. “Yak did not know he would be meeting one of the Favored.”

* * * *

“Wait. Phoenixes are sacred to them?” Cadence asked.

“Yeah,” Bean answered as he, Celestia, Cadence, and Shining Armor walked down the hallway that led to the castle’s kitchen, with Apollo still in Bean’s carrier. Celestia wanted to feed her son before dinner began, and the rulers of the Crystal Empire wanted to check on the final preparations with Bean to ensure the visiting Yaks got a meal that would lead to minimal smashing. “There’s a lot of legend and history to it, but basically, a phoenix gave them fire way back when, so they see them as demigods. Any creature who has a feather from a Phoenix is believed to have great power and wisdom, and they offer deep veneration to those who are so favored, as you saw.”

“Huh!” Shining said thoughtfully. “You know, I’m really glad they’ve opened up their borders. It sounds like they have a really rich and dynamic cultural legacy, and I’d love to learn more about them.”

“As would I,” Celestia said. “I believe we have much to learn from each other.”

“Do Auntie Luna’s and Auntie Celly’s feathers have any special meaning to them?” Cadence asked.

“Not as much, no. Their feathers, Horwitz tells me, simply tell the Yaks that I am equal to the Princesses in authority.”

Cadence nodded as she pondered this information. She then glanced to Shining Armor and grinned. “Well, I certainly don’t want anyone to think you’re not equal to me, so…” Her horn lit, and with a quick tug, she pulled one of her long primaries from her right wing, and placed it behind Shining’s left ear. “Here we go! Now no creature can say you outrank me.”

“Even though you always will be better than me,” Shining Armor said with a kiss. “Thanks, hon.”

“Don’t you forget that. And, just to be safe…” She plucked another primary from her left wing, which she slid under Luna’s and above Philomena’s in Bean’s mane. “There. I don’t outrank you, either, Uncle Bean.”

“I could argue the point with you, but there’s not enough time for that right now,” Bean quipped. “I do appreciate it, though.”

“Of course.” Cadence nodded, then playfully bumped her husband as they approached an intersection. “We’ll see you at dinner.”

Bean and Celestia nodded, but neither of them moved until their hosts were out of earshot.

“What’s wrong, love?” Bean asked his wife. “You’ve been acting a little funny ever since we left to feed Apollo.”

“You noticed?” Celestia pulled a face when Bean nodded. “Hmm. It seems you are becoming quite apt at discerning my moods, even when I am actively trying to hide them. It’s almost like you’ve been living with me or something.”

“Or something. But really. What’s up?”

“Nothing of major importance, I hope. I…” Celestia paused, huffed, then started again. “I’m not sure why, but Apollo has not been feeding as well as I would like. He seems to be having difficulty latching on.”

“Really?” Bean glanced towards his wife’s hindquarters.

“Yes.” The new mother lifted Apollo from Bean’s carrier, and a poor attempt at a smile came to her. “I’m worried he’s not getting the proper nourishment, and that leads me to worry that there is something wrong with me. I meant to speak with Doctor Horsenpfeffer before we left, but with everything that was going on, I was unable to YEEEEP!”

Celestia went as stiff as a board, her ethereal mane nearly standing straight out and her eyes wide in alarm. After a moment of fighting off a near panic, her husband emerged from her rear section with a smack of his lips and a thoughtful look.

“Mm. I need to adjust your diet,” Bean muttered mostly to himself. “No wonder he’s having trouble latching on; you’ve got a sour, almost bitter taste to you. I wonder if all of that asparagus has…”

Bean trailed off as he went in for another sample, eliciting another shirek of alarm from Celestia. She even leapt away from him for good measure. For a brief second, Bean looked confused, but both of his eyebrows quickly went up in thoughtful alarm.

“Should I not be taste testing?”

“It’s…” Celestia hesitated. “It’s not unwanted, but please warn me first. And I’d rather not do this out in a public hallway.”

“Right, sorry. Let’s get to our room, and then I’ll try to figure out what to do about your milk.”

* * * *

Comments ( 51 )

Okay, I love this chapter. I really do, and somehow I see the human counterparts of Bean and Celestia having a similar scene to the 'teatfeeding' scene in a separate chapter. Oh the fun with that.

this is a amazing chapter. and i so love the reference.

“Don’t get me wrong, the spirit is more than willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”

“Should I not be taste testing?”

no not a thing wrong with a taste test.:pinkiehappy:

“Should I not be taste testing?”

A good chef always checks the ingredients.

Bean you bad pony. If some pony, creature, or even a child saw that they would have nightmares for a long time till Luna punishes you :rainbowwild:

Can’t wait to see your take on the Throax episode. Also, it’s awesome to see other characters involved too also I kind of forgot which guard that the griffin is in love with oops.

Btw I wonder if Celestia will be sort of upset or sad when Flurry is born. Because since she is born as an Alicorn I wonder she’ll cry alone with her baby since she knows Apollo is a unicorn and Bean is a earth pony. Both of which will be with her till the time comes.

Btw I totally read a sequel story called “Lady Killer” of Apollo living the life of mares trying to get his attention or his life becomes hard to go by with any female trying to hit him off :trollestia:

Oh yea I guess we’ll be seeing Sunburst and Starlight story arc too. Can’t wait btw it seems like in the fandom it’s becoming popular that Sunset is Sunburts sister? Not sure if you’ll do that or not but I notice it being around a lot.

I wonder since in the EQ films Sci-Twi dates a character name timber or something? The brother from Camp Everfree I wonder if we’ll see a pony version of them…

“Dude, it’s like somepony flipped a switch!” Shining moaned. “Don’t get me wrong, the spirit is more than willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”


I gotta be honest, I'm really hyped up for Thorax in the coming chapters, and I'm really interested in seeing how Chrysalis will react to him

At this rate, Bean's going to need a proper cap or something for all the feathers he ends up with.

The ending to this made me laugh harder than I should have.

Chryssy is a silly buggo and Bean is a goofball with odd timing.

DAMN, Bean, no hesitation, just got RIGHT in there. Leave it to the former cook to sample the food, huh?

The ending of this chapter made me snorpt.

Funny... He needed to taste test the Milk to get the inbalance. Guess her honey is uneffected by her Nutrition problem... :rainbowwild:

The End was PRICELESS :rainbowlaugh:
Magnificent humor overall once more!

Thorax sure has it difficult to stay alive... :fluttercry:

Chrysalis is... well... Herself :duck:
It was very cute when she had her wholesome moments with her beloved.

Feather collecting continue until he will have enough for a full on winter coat :yay:

Pfff-Bean, while I'm sure Celestia appreciates your gracious help, most mares would prefer you do such a thing with permission and preferably not in a public area

In other news, are we about to get ourselves a certain little puppy buggo?

THANK YOU!!! I laughed so hard at Celestia's "Yeep" and the following sentences. :rainbowlaugh::pinkiehappy::trollestia:
You have an excellent talent for humor and I really love this story. :moustache:

I'm both scared that Bean will outright hate Thorax and excited for Chrysalis to outright hate Thorax.

...I'm of two minds about Changelings, obviously.

“Why me?” Pokey asked the heavens above as he jumped over the couplings from the last passenger car to the baggage car. “Why? Did I do something wrong as a child?”

Did you steal any cookies? :trixieshiftright:

Bean won't hate Thorax, as he's the changeling who freed Bean from captivity in the hive all the way back in This Nose Knows. Chrysalis might be rather peeved when she learns this, but Bean will probably be glad that he has a chance to thank Thorax for the jailbreak (assuming that his deteriorating mental state after escaping the hive didn't cause him to forget).

Bean decided to take a shot lol

Welp. That’ll be an awkward thing to being up with Dr. Horsenpfeffer. Not for the doc, he’s probably heard worse literally a million times. But for whichever of the pair has to listen to the other explain to the doc just how they know there’s a problem with her milk’s taste? I foresee some squirming.. :rainbowlaugh:

“Hmpf! About time,” Gruff suddenly smacked Gallus in the chest and let out a wheezing laugh. “Let’s go see if we can find that Royal Guard mare that you’re head over tail in love with, eh?”

“I am NOT in love with her!” Gallus insisted. Gruff and Gilda laughed more. “I’ve told you a thousand times that I liked her armor, not her!”

I don't remember this, someone please remind me about this :trixieshiftleft:

Of course, all of this required extensive smashing, to ensure all new Yaks would be proficient in their governmental employment. Celestia had to admit that there was a simple elegance to the process, and she did briefly consider adding some sort of smashing test for any future appointees in Canterlot.

Now that could be fun :trollestia:

I absolutely love Sunset being Sunburst's older sister.

From Preggo Nose, Chap. 20:

“I want to join the Royal Guard,” Gallus murmured.

“You want to what?” Gwendolyn glanced in the direction that Sergeant Clover Leaf had gone, and a broad grin split her beak when her gaze came back to him. “Ha! You’re crushing on that guard, aren’t you?”

“I am not!” Gallus’ senses snapped back with the accusation, and he quickly pulled himself together. “I...I just think my future is in the guard, that’s all.”

“You want to flirt with the prince’s bodyguard!” Gwendolyn cackled. “Flirterer!”

“Don’t be stupid. She’s probably old enough to be my mother,” Gallus snorted before wheeling himself away from her and folding his arms tightly. “I just… I like the armor.”

“Armor. Sure,” Gwendolyn said in a highly disbelieving tone and with a laugh. “Deny it all you want, but you’ve got it bad.”

“I don’t have anything.”

That little Colt will be dynamite once old enough...
Celestia should have no problems have grandfoals, but finding a good mare...

That ending got pretty personal there. Spicy! I like it!

Never enough spice when partaking in mutual marriage benefits.

“Should I not be taste testing?”

Bean, bro, buddy, pal, dude… jeez-oh! :rainbowlaugh:

We’ll done by Bean to track down the problem by “sipping it in the bud,” so to speak. :rainbowlaugh:

Kind of odd how kiddos work. My wife had to visit a lactation nurse for all four of ours, multiple times for two of them. You’d think it’s genetically set up to be the same for all of them, but nothing could be further from the truth.

NO, no hate, Thorax is precious cinnamon roll.

Yeah, and the Hive has no need for traitorous cinnamon rolls.

There you go again, trying to kill us all. Gosh darn diabolical writers :pinkiecrazy::twilightsmile:

“Dude, it’s like somepony flipped a switch!” Shining moaned. “Don’t get me wrong, the spirit is more than willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”

XD Futurama quote. Nice.

Celestia went as stiff as a board, her ethereal mane nearly standing straight out and her eyes wide in alarm. After a moment of fighting off a near panic, her husband emerged from her rear section with a smack of his lips and a thoughtful look.

XD I imagined the sproing sound effect for this scene.

“Dude, it’s like somepony flipped a switch!” Shining moaned. “Don’t get me wrong, the spirit is more than willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”

Oof. Poor man…

“I am NOT in love with her!” Gallus insisted. Gruff and Gilda laughed more. “I’ve told you a thousand times that I liked her armor, not her!”

Am I forgetting something, or have we not reached this part yet? Gallus met a lady guard?

Comment posted by A Wild Magikarp deleted April 7th

Gallus previously met Sergeant Clover Leaf in Preggo Nose, Chap. 20. This is a reference to that meeting. :twilightsmile:

What on tap?

Two words:

Kid's table. :pinkiehappy:

I hope this gets finished. This is really good.

Great update and great story! Am enjoying reading. :twilightsmile:

Hehehe seeing Celestia letting out a shrink of surprise is wonderful. As usual it’s an amazing story so far and I do hope to see more soon! Keep up the awesome work!

The thought made her giggle with wicked delight. Vengeance was a dish best served cold, and soon, every creature would see just how cold and calculating Queen Chrysalis could be.

She may be cold and calculating, but I am a heavy, blunt object. Observe! *beats Queen Cheese Legs repeatedly with a 40-lb iron prybar*

I love this series soooo much. Bean is a wonderful protagonist. I haven't been able to stop reading for long since I started with No Nose Knows. I just finished reading chapter 5 of this story and I'm very eager to see what happens next.

Finally all caught up with the Bean-verse - The series of fics that inspired me to consume less ketchup*!

(*) And in turn, more barbeque sauce to make up for it

The Bean will be much pleased.:pinkiehappy:


I would suggest expanded use of miso and mirin and shoyu in your cooking.

Fun fact: Rainbow Dash was actually named that because her family was originally from a coastal village and specialized in dashi.

Dan #50 · 2 weeks ago · · ·

Has Princess Cadance ever let slip her secret love of gravlax and oysters? I'm sure Beanie would love the rare chance to make some for her. Maybe invite the Crystal Empire royal family to a lutfisk supper for the next winter solstice celebration. Just don't let Luna try the axe throwing contests unless you're completely sure she's completely sober.

I wonder if Sunset Shimmer might come for a visit and talk sushi and sashimi with him. I bet he'd take fugu preparation as a challenge.

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