• Member Since 25th Oct, 2021
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Sometimes I think I like speculating about stories more than writing stories.


Given the circumstances that had found her permanently posed in granite, Chrysalis hardly expected to find herself freed from that state by Starlight Glimmer herself - much less asked for help by her number-one nemesis.

But for Starlight Glimmer and Spike, all other alternatives are exhausted. Something is sickening the changelings: A disease which spreads by no clear vector, no observable cause, and has no known history in their species. If any information or hope of a cure exists, it may very well reside with the mind of their former queen.

But coercing Chrysalis to cooperate for the sake of those she views as traitors will be hard enough, and even if she does, what will the consequences of her information be?

An entry in Imposing Sovereigns III, using the prompt Chrysalis / Perseverance.

Cover art made by Comma Typer, who deserves all credit.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 51 )

"the consumer can never generate more energy than he consumes" - this is the truth according to which it is impossible to invent a perpetual motion machine.
But in the series, the reformed Changeling somehow defeated hunger by sharing love with each other.
technically, it's like someone wants to quench their thirst by trying to drink their own blood or get rid of hunger by eating themselves.
I think this is the essence of the disease in this story Changeling always needs love from other species otherwise they will slowly eat themselves from the inside.

I love the story so far, the concept of in the name of harmony and friendship all creatures are becoming more pony like is great, some sort of cultural colonization. And now changelings have lost their traditions and past just to be acepted and that is their doom. Will the ponies realize whatthey have done?

So judging from the comments, this story is putting their "reformation" in a negative light? Finally!

Despite how dark you typed it, its true. To be honest; I kind of wonder if those Changelings that reform might have weaken their immune systems to diseases they once caught before?

Yes, I've been thinking for a fic like this. Defintely faving and tracking! Keep it up mate.

Finally a story that questions their reformation. Their change was always too deus ex machina for me in the show. I can't wait to see where this goes.

, “for when it does happen. Because it will. Ponies love their control - magic, weather, other species, everything has to be controlled..”

Except pony don’t actually control these things, they may shape the weather , bring the seasons and raise the sun and moon but this isn’t control. They are just as subjected to nature as any creature. Whenever ponies have tried to force their will over thee things it’s turned out horribly

While interesting, this story feels like it’s really forcing the changing reformation into a bad light especially with it being framed as all Starlight’s fault. Like it’s saying “yes, how dare she try to give the changeling a new opportunity for a better life and culture that doesn’t centre around having to enslave and harvest others.”
It also doesn’t help that they’ve created this plan without asking Thorax or any of the other changelings before going to do it. Could have been a really interesting topic if Thorax just straight up almost condemned them to death cos he’s rather that then go back to the way they were living before.

This fic isn’t bad, it just feels it doesn’t have much going for it outside of “the reformation was bad”.


”yes, how dare she try to give the changelings a new opportunity for a better life and culture that doesn’t centre around having to enslave and harvest others.”

Especially given that the only reason Starlight "overthrew" her in the first place was because Chrysalis kidnapped her friends, stuffed them into cocoons to be perpetually drained of their love, and replaced them with changeling imposters. "To Where and Back Again" was a rescue mission first and foremost; the "better life and culture" were just a discovery made along the way.

For that matter, why wouldn't have the changelings accepted that "better way"? They didn't think they were "better" than the Kuru, nor did they shrug off any notion of its existence; rather, they literally had no way of knowing that any downsides to their new, would-be utopian way of life existed. And why? Because Chrysalis, the one and only creature who knew about the ticking time bombs they'd accidentally implanted in their own minds, vehemently refused to warn the children she only later chose to mourn. By that logic, should we crucify the Radium Girls — who had no way of knowing the true nature of their radioactive paints — for poisoning themselves?

I'm undeniably biased (for better or worse, I am a product of Friendship is Magic's twilight years), but with all of the above factors in mind, I can't help but be distressed by just how hellbent the story is on seeing Starlight, Thorax, and the "reformed" changelings raked over the coals for things they had no reasonable way of knowing or controlling. I love this story from a characterization and composition standpoint (Chapter 2 in particular), but spoonlol's closing statement rings true for me as well.

Of course, the story isn't finished yet. Regardless of my irrational qualms, I'm very interested in seeing how all of this concludes.

Thanks, I was scared I was about to step on the toes of the author and the people who were enjoying this so it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one that felt this way.

What about animals? I mean Fluttershy loves animals a lot but what about those who eat smaller animals?

That kinda the point, it’s another aspect of nature, the ponies haven’t tried to force vegetarian diets on meat eaters or the like. Heck even Fluttershy fed two fish to ferrets, even though we’ve seen that Flutter’s make friends when Fish (in the comics at least).
They are a bit friendlier because of the ponies but they haven’t completely rewritten their nature. They tried to do that in the Bats episode and like I said, it went horribly

personally, I'm not against the reformation, but the way it was implemented in the series is frankly stupid.
the show itself showed more logical ways to resolve the hunger crisis.
Changeling could integrate more actively into society and collect love voluntarily instead of stealing. Could be more active in art, career of actors, doctors and other specialties in which you can get love, adoration and gratitude. Could open orphanages. The series has a whole "Crystal Empire" that throws love into the air and there is also a "Princess of Love".
but instead, Changeling continues to sit in remote "former badlands" as a closed society and feed on love from each other.
Also, the very heroic act of transforming Thorax and self-sacrifice does not feel so if, with heroic self-sacrifice, the character does not feel any negative debuffs, but instead receives a body upgrade.

I kinda get what you're going for overall, but I don't understand how you came to the conclusion that Thorax "self-sacrificed" himself. I rewatched the climax of To Where and Back Again just to make sure, and it never tries to frame Thorax's sharing of love as a sacrifice; if anything, it's him going on the offensive and trying not to die. Of course it isn't a satisfyingly "heroic" sacrifice: it isn't trying to come off as one.

Feel free to correct me if you think I'm misinterpreting this.

Yeah I totally agree with you, al of those things could have been done. But it’s made very clear in the show that Chrysalis doesn’t want me to do that because with any of those situations could lead to loosing an ounce of control over her subjects. Her obsession with power and greed is what held the changelings back. It’s always been in the dar vain as an abusive parent.
Sure they could have had it where Starlight and co defeated Chrysalis by reasoning with the other changelings, could have even had Thorax’s wings as a sign that they don’t even need to feed anymore.
But I personally think it’s more symbolic then anything, they no long have to steal or trick others. They no longer have to be these creepy bug monsters.
Also Thorax’s change wasn’t a heroic sacrifice, like you said he doesn’t actually sacrifice anything nor does he intend to. It’s more along the lines that because Thorax had experience life outside of the hive, he was able to show the changelings a better way to live. It’s more of a beacon of hope moment rather then a heroic sacrifice

as I see this culmination: Chrysalis demonstratively takes from Thorax all the love that he has collected. Thorax with the words "Take everything" he himself throws energy into it in a large stream, thereby throwing it away and stunning it. - this action itself can already show the others that he is not afraid of Chrysalis and how much he was able to collect with the help of friends in the Crystal Empire. if this is not a heroic sacrifice, then I do not know what then it is. (It is not necessary for the hero to die as a result of the heroic sacrifice.)
but for some reason, having given everything accumulated instead of weakness, hunger or other debuffs of any kind, on the contrary, loses the feeling of hunger, becomes higher and stronger.
From my point of view, it looks like a "piano in the bushes"
I have only one explanation for the situation in which this Reformation would work. According to her, the entire family of Changelings was originally cursed with a curse that can only be removed by fulfilling certain conditions [being hungry, voluntarily give the last piece of bread to others], [being a freak, find someone who will love you] and so on. But since this option was not exactly implied by the creators, I will consider the chosen option of the reformation foolish.

no one said that Chrysalis should have done it, Thorax should have done it. He showed that a new path can be taken and that changes await them.
But as a result, "what has changed?" They continue to sit remotely in the old place and organize "forums of feelings" without even thinking about how to either replenish their reserves of love or integrate into equestria.
my complaints about this approach would quickly disappear if they simply built a new hive in the Crystal Empire, but for some reason they did not.

Well the hive was still their home, pitching everything up and creating a new hive would have taken a lot of time and effect which they didn’t really need to since the old one was still there.
They don’t need to replenish their love anymore, they share their own love with each other now and generate it themselves. They’re feeling forums are their to make sure a changeling can love themselves as well as others.
As for integrating into Equestria, we see that in the finale. Something like that takes time and would be a long term goal. Especially since the changelings had to create their own culture and traditions. They needed to discover their own identity for they could integrate with others

I've said before why I think Changelings can't provide love for themselves.

and my main argument is based on logic and the laws of physics. that "energy does not arise out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere." from which it follows that "the consumer will never be able to generate more energy than it consumes" otherwise we would have long ago invented a perpetual motion machine capable of generating energy for ourselves.
Foreseeing your argument that "magic" works in this world, I will answer that even it is not infinite, not omnipotent and obeys certain rules. that we were repeatedly shown in the series.

While that is what this fic is going for, this logic doesn’t work in universe cos changelings feed off love. Raw emotion that doesn’t have a limit and can be replenished within moments.
It’s a cool idea for this fic sure but in canon changelings have ultimately solved their hunger/love crisis.
But also you say that magic has its limits, we’ve never actually seen that, simple the limitations of the user of said magic. Just look at discord, he can literally do anything because he has no limited control over it.

precisely because the Reformation took place in the canon, I say that everything looks like a "piano in the bushes" and "script laziness invented at the last moment."
the script shown would work in the case that I have advanced before.
I'm too lazy to repeat all over again.

And yes, even Discord, despite its godlike capabilities, cannot do absolutely everything. Remember the same moment with "back and forth" where he was completely helpless or the few times when Tirek took magic from him. It is also worth noting that he seems to lose his strength and weakens when there is absolute order around, which was shown to us when he invited Fluttershy to his home.

While it could have been handled better, like a lot of stuff in the show, I personally thought their reformation was fine and it was mainly served to future both Thorax’s character arc and to push Chrysalis away from the hive.
If you didn’t like it much, that’s all good dude.


This story reminds me of another thing, how some fans compare the black firm of Changelings to a larval stage, and the rainbow moose to the final, adult form.

It can be kinda cruel and fitting for this scenario if you realise that, for example, certain dragonflies spend as much as over 20 years as larvae before transforming into their adult forms... And dying within a week or a few.

Or may flies and certain species of moth that die in a few hours up to a day after achieving their adult form because their adult forms are designed only to procreate and don't even have a digestive system, so they don't even eat and just keel over when spent.

'wardnear-abandoned' - ward, near-abandoned

Hmm... Okay, I was worried at first that this would swerve into Chryssie being completely right so the time, but it's turning out to be more balanced than I thought, with her being shown as a polar opposite to the ponies' approach in a way.

One funny thing I just realised, though - the only gryphon to become a regular character on the show, Gallus, is the one with the unnatural blue colouring, closest to the technicolor colour range most popular in ponies. Every single gryphon we've seen before and I think since has more natural colours that a cat could have, or a bird that's not a bird of paradise.

'“I look forward to anything that sours' - missing rest of sentence?

Well, if its be a guessing man, she might be trying to revert the transformation by draining him off love?

Can't really for more.


I can't believe neither I nor my editor spotted that. Well, that's fixed now. Thank you!

There's something bothering me: in Chapter 2, Spike gives Chrysalis a pleading, heartfelt speech about his unwillingness to watch Thorax die… and then the next chapter quite literally jump-cuts to him wholeheartedly* accepting Chrysalis' plan to drain the life out of him and all the other Kuru-infected changelings, all while he watches through a glass window one room over. Even if it ultimately may have been the right call within the story's logic, it's a jarring 180 for him, and one I feel deserved far more lip service than "Twilight said we have to do this."

I didn't want to bring this up at first, mostly out of fear that I was misinterpreting Chapter 3's closing line. But now that this final chapter's all but confirmed that Chrysalis did indeed "put them out of their misery", so to speak, I can't help but be irked by how, within the span of a chapter transition, your Spike completely and utterly gave up on one of his best friends.

I can't shake the sense that I'm looking at this the wrong way, and I desperately want to believe that's the case. If I'm still misinterpreting something here, please tell me what it is.

*Or, at least, he accepts it enough that he goes on to willingly defend her actions to Starlight.

Wow. I certainly suspected that my views of the world may be different from others. But I could not imagine that my opinion would cause such a negative reaction.
It seemed to me that I gave logical and well-grounded arguments, and also my messages are not offensive to anyone.
But apparently it turns out that you will be hated only because I am not like everyone else.

is it hypocrisy?

Is there going to be a sequel.

I really loved Spike in that chapter simply for his well he calls out all of Chrysalis’s selfish BS. It’s true, she only thinks of herself and how it all revolves around her. Even when asked if she loves them, she can only express it in a way that brings herself up.

Honestly I’m not sure why your comments got downvoted or who would. It seemed to me you three were having a discussion and both you and spoonlol brought up valid points. The only issue I can maybe see is that your responses were a liiiitle brusque and you may have benefited by using a little more tact.
I think people locked onto; “I’m too lazy to repeat myself”, “foreseeing your argument…”, “I’ve said it before…” and that sort of language (when in text form without any tonal voice attached to it) can come off as patronizing or a form of belittlement.
As for who was more convincing with your debate? Spoonlol was your most avid debater but lost points for using assumptions as main counterarguments and while your own speech was dry to the reader you did use the most facts and logic without bringing too much emotion into it (which you both did well but it seemed you did better to avoid)

You both lose some points however because these are (very entertaining and well written!:raritywink:) horse words and don’t need to be discussed quite so heavily.

EDIT: also I loved this story and would love to see just a liiitle bit more! Half because you are a good writer and half because Chrysalis being misunderstood is my niche guilty pleasure :twilightblush:

Thank you for the clarification. It was really interesting for me to look at the opinion from the outside.
With regard to dry and unemotional comments, there may be a language barrier, which is why my answers can sometimes be rude and straightforward. But the fact is that I really believe that in making any decisions there is no place for emotions and you need to rely on cold calculation and logic. Impulsive and emotional decisions often lead to wrong choices that you later regret.
Perhaps this is my main problem.

At least claims and negativity spoken in person are much easier to bear than condemnation behind the back.

Thank for everything.

Well, dunno why, but it feels like the ponies will still try to forge the 'lings in their own image, no matter how many are going to die as a result.

Or, Spike, by her own experience, proven by the very fact that she's never fallen to Kuru, she had the mental fortitude to resist it. May sound egocentric or selfish, but if it's true...

I wonder if when all changelings perish, are they going to just keep her in stone and brush the whole thing under the carpet of history to preserve the sanctity of Harmony, or will they turn to horrible, unethical experiments to try and mould changelingkind into something fitting their vision, no matter the cost.

Despite what Chrysalis did and say, I think its true. I mean Twilight and her friends spread the Magic of Friendship and it always show good results and never something bad from it. I mean the Kuru infected all the reform Changelings because of Thorax saying to share love and to be honest; nothing bad ever happened to the ponies because of their actions. Despite how Twilight and every other creature that is friends to a certain Changeling; they've always thought The Magic of Friendship is perfect with no flaws but now that is considered a sign of its flaw. To every creature who hates Chrysalis for ending the sick Changelings, they have to learn the dark truth on Changelings sharing love; a lethal disease affects them if they share it with each other. This is the dark lesson in friendship; Change is good but you must consider the consequences of those changes.


I wonder if when all changelings perish, are they going to just keep her in stone and brush the whole thing under the carpet of history to preserve the sanctity of Harmony?

How on Earth did you come to this conclusion? "Unpersoning an entire race" is so out-of-character for Twilight that I don't understand why you consider it a feasible possibility.


This is the dark lesson in friendship; Change is good but you must consider the consequences of those changes.

How could they have "considered the consequences of those changes"? They had no way of knowing those consequences existed in the first place, because Chrysalis, the only creature who knew about them, withheld that information until those changelings were already doomed to die. The story itself addresses this.

Would they believe her or if Thorax knew about Kuru and told Spike and his pony friends about it, would they believe it? Beside even if she withheld it, wouldn't the other Changelings who once witness the Kuru, would warn the hatchlings never to share their love?


Beside even if she withheld it, wouldn't the other Changelings who once witness the Kuru, would warn the hatchlings never to share their love?

Chrysalis's own words refute this:

"And so-" Chrysalis paused, and to Starlight's shock choked on her words. "-they must all die. Any who knew that love can be shared out by any but the Queen, for it is a siren's song leading to a poisoned prize. And then, when they are gone, a new hive shall arise. And all they shall know is that the old disobeyed the queen - and died."

Before the old queen passed, as the Kuru took her mind, she gave this knowledge to a single Changeling. The knowledge was in turn given to me, and then I scoured his mind with the strongest of our geasses to wipe it from him forever."

She and the previous queen took literally every measure possible to ensure none of the other changelings knew about the Kuru. If you're going to justify her actions, make sure you know what these actions actually were first.

i wonder if chrysie shall wake up when Equastria gone? bitter amusement probably of how ponies are once again relearning friendship again history repeated itself or wake up for the next disaster that hits feeling annoyed at being the experienced one who probably survive it best i mean Celestia in those comic thrown her and her kin into a volcano and lived! CHECK IT!
maybe a story for what spike has to deal with when the time come for that avalanche changeling queen warned about?

Wow, I'm quite surprised and delighted this story has inspired such vibrant debate!

I'll say this: Chrysalis is not entirely wrong about the danger of Kuru. To the Changelings, it is an informational hazard: The more who know it is even possible, the greater the risk one will succumb to the promise of freedom from hunger and to surpass or resist it, to fatal results. Her reluctance to reveal it is informed by her own experiences, which suggest that, indeed, her own absolute perseverance in the face of monumental tragedy is the only safe direction forward.

Yet at the same time, I would suggest keeping in mind that when Chrysalis is explaining things, she is hardly an unbiased source of information. There's more than a touch of megalomania and self-centeredness there; as Spoonlol pointed out, she's unable to express her own care for them in ways that don't involve herself as well. Blame is always assigned to others, even when she is regretting her own failures. The moment she has someone else to argue with, she turns the discussion to their own alleged failures.

This story is not meant to absolve Chrysalis. It is not meant to condemn her either. It is means to show a ruler convinced that her species hinges on her own perseverance, for better or for worse.


This, on the other hand, I will admit is a flaw (and a fairly serious one): Too much happens off-screen here; ideally, I'd have been able to work through the entire impact on all the various characters (Starlight, Spike, Twilight, and others) of Chrysalis' revelation. Perhaps that could be the launching point for any potential sequels or follow-ups: Showing them searching for any evidence to corroborate or invalidate her claims, trying any alternatives, and going through the stages of grief.

For now, I will admit that trying to keep the focus on Chrysalis did produce a notable characterization gap for Spike; even if I didn't transfer the point of view away from her, I could have conveyed his shock better.


Why thank you! I can't say if I'll take this idea further right now, but I'll definitely keep it in mind for the future.

Well, this one's a thought provoker. As has been noted, Spike's shift is so abrupt that I still wasn't sure whether Chrysalis has euthanized the Kuru ward until I read the comments. It just contradicted what the story had established earlier to too great a degree to seem possible.

That said, this is a fascinating meditation on the limits of pony philosophy and cultural hegemony. The faults of more than one species are laid bare here, and I can see dominoes getting arranged in a path that cascades down to the state of equinity come G5. Chrysalis has some good points, but so does Spike. The problem with Chrysalis's worldview is that she cannot take herself off her own vaunted pedestal, and thus can never consider that she might be wrong. That she could learn or improve. That she could change. There's a tragic irony in a shapeshifter being so convinced that all creatures have an intrinsic, immutable nature to them.

Thank you for a grim but deeply enjoyable read. Best of luck in the judging.

I was going to write something about how Kuru reminded me of that one laughing cannibal prion disease, then I looked up Kuru and realized that's literally what it's called.

Good fic, sent me spiraling into reading about prion diseases on Wikipedia, and I imagine those will make themselves present in my nightmares tonight. Would recommend.

Interesting read! I think Chrysalis point could and would, considering her megalomania, also include the Mother Card. She had to euthanize her own children, and she does love them in her disturbed way. Sure, she's biased as hell, but the ponies and Spike are quite heartless when dealing with her.

The moment the true nature of the disease was revealed it changed from "you refuse to exist in piece, you megalomaniacal tyrant!" to "holy fuck we just murdered all your children", or at least it should have. The fact they're still so standoffish even after is quite telling of their absolute belief in their ways.

Sure, they could possibly find a cure with more time to research. Or they might not, but a cure needs subjects to be tested. They'd need to keep healthy changelings to be exposed to the Kuru in order for them to test a cure. That'd mean keeping Chrysalis as a captive birthing machine while sacrificing her children to their beliefs. And I doubt anyone who ever spouses following the elements would be able to continue doing so being so monstrous.

All in all an amazing story that shows that there are things in life which you have to adapt to deal with and the drama of two ways of doing so. Just wished Spike & the ponies recognized the implied "forcing a mother to kill her own children to lessen their suffering" as a more serious thing than they did.

Edit: have a follow, very curious to see what you'll come up with next! :twilightsmile:

An impressively dense character study on Chrysalis. This version of her is Green-dominant Sultai to the letter: A cynic both by instinct and due to experience. She's calloused, time-tested, and the only stage of grief she experiences anymore is Acceptance.

I give the story's ethical challenges and honest clashes of character the absolute highest compliment I can possibly give: It felt like a classic Star Trek episode. A true nightmare scenario being confronted by thoughtful, mature, and strong-willed characters.

Wonderful work.

The story was great, but it certainly feels like there should be more to it. Or that more may end up coming.


Yes! The nucleus of this story was a question and a point of information:
- If infinite love is so easy to achieve, why haven't the changelings done so before?
- Kuru - the actual real-world disease - exists.
Everything else grew from there.

Thank you as well! I'm definitely going to work on refining this kind of characterization, so I can present it better in the future. I think, though, that you've accurately summarized what I was aiming for with Chrysalis, at least.

I deliberately avoided outright stating that she is her entire species' parent, as that would limit some directions I may want to take in the future. She certainly is some, and there is a motherly aspect to how she views them... but it's not a sure thing.

That said, there is a fair argument that the reaction to her revelation should have been a lot stronger for everyone in general - Spike, Starlight, etc. That's a fair criticism.

Thank you! I think I've mentioned before in our talks that Deep Space 9 is my favorite of the Treks, in large part because it forces the cast to confront such terrible scenarios. At the same time, I also recognize that only works when there's some optimism elsewhere for that peril to stand in contrast to: It can't be all-depressing, all the time.

an exquisite read. thank you for publishing this!

This was a gut-wrencher of a tale! While I agree that Spike's change of heart feels a bit too fast, I can still forgive it a bit since Chrysalis is the focus here. It's notable, though, that it doesn't seem like Chrysalis herself has changed on the inside throughout the whole story... while everything else is changing, writhing—as, sadly, is part of the natural order of things in this fic's depiction of changelings.

Thanks for the story!

It wouldn’t have mattered if they had listened to her.

I'm pretty sure they lost because of Chrysalis. Yeah Harmony would have ruined them anyway, but it would have taken longer if Cozy Glow had been the leader.

Even Tirek had more accurate strategical takes then her.

Her heart was never in it anyway.

And yet she was the driving force behind it after "freneimes".

To the point where it is arguable that the other two might not have continued with the course they did, if it were not for her.

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