• Published 29th Jun 2022
  • 2,742 Views, 51 Comments

Battle For Holed Hearts - David Silver

To rise against the tyrant. To taste victory. To become what you hated. He had experienced that loop and, given this chance, he would do it right this time. He would turn his suffering people on a better path from its tyrant, Queen Chrysalis.

  • ...

3 - Crescendo

"Sir." Perception looked up at one of the few changelings beyond the barrier. "An incident."

"Did she do something?" Perception scowled at the other changeling. He didn't specify who 'she' was, but it wasn't required.

"She decided to arrange 'back up' and assigned three ponies to guard the cave." They pointed where that was happening. "They might be missed from the wedding..."

"Right. Yes. I'm on it." He marched past the other changeling. They weren't in on his machinations. So far as they knew, they were doing their job to help make sure the takeover went smoothly. Why would she pull ponies out of position? It was another reason to do what he was doing. But first, a job.

He marched to the caves where, in theory, Twilight was busy winning her way through. She should have been on her way back, if it was all going according to plan. She didn't need to be interrupted.

"Stop right there!" demanded a pony, springing out from behind a rock, two others joining her. They had the glowing green eyes that told Perception what he needed to know. Chrysalis had used a sledgehammer for the job. "You don't belong here," insisted a bewitched Lyra, ears splayed back and a scowl on her face.

That kind of brute force had holes. They couldn't be overridden entirely, not that fast and not that easily. "Ladies, this isn't where the wedding is going to be."

Minuette blinked, confused. "Huh? Oh." She looked to the other two. "We're going to join later."

Twinkleshine bobbed her head. "And I'm going to catch the flowers and be next!" She giggled with joy, thinking of that future event.

Hole located. "Well, you don't want to miss that. Somepony's going to come through here." He pointed deeper into the caves. "And you should let them past, so you can get to the reception on time. I would hate for you to miss out."

All three gasped in horror. Lyra shook her head. "Yeah. That bouquet has my name on it! You heard the stallion."

Perception held up a hoof. "But you don't want her to get angry." They looked equally appalled at that idea. "So make it look legit, and give up as soon as they give you any reason to. You tried your best. I won't tell."

Minuette elbowed Perception. "No idea who you are, but you have some good ideas. Let's get this over with so we can get back to the wedding." All three mares cheered, united behind that idea of rejoining the festivities as quickly as possible.

Perception had no idea that he was the reason the mares would be defeated so easily by Twilight shortly. He trotted in a brisk jog out of the caves. "It should be starting... now." The actual wedding, well, not actually. The fake wedding. He moved to join it, slipping in among the many other ponies that gawked and stared at the big event. There was no time left, at least from what he saw of Shining Armor. Poor wretch was barely standing, and when he fell, the invasion would begin properly.

Ugh, they could have just... not. Chrysalis had an ideal spot to feed on the ponies for years without even being noticed. Nope, she wanted a grand feast and back to famine as soon as possible. He could feel the tension that most of the ponies around him were ignorant of. There was Celestia. She could feel it, he was certain, but she was a statespony, and she revealed none of it.

It was time for--

The doors slammed open, revealing Twilight and Cadance. "Imposter!" She leveled an accusing hoof at the false Cadance. "I have the real Cadance right here."

Cadance waved a shaking hoof at her stand-in. "She's a changeling. She takes the form of somepony you love and gains power by feeding off your love for them."

Now was the time any sane person would stand up to Twilight and call them the deceivers. Chrysalis didn't even try. She revealed herself as if everything was all done, laughing all the while. "Right you are, Princess. And as queen of the changelings, it is up to me to find food for my subjects. Equestria has more love than any place I've ever encountered. My fellow changelings will be able to devour so much of it that we will gain more power than we have ever dreamed of!"

Cadance scowled with more strength than she actually had in her tired body. "They'll never get the chance! Shining Armor's protection spell will keep them from ever even reaching us!"

Chrysalis chuckled darkly. "Oh, I doubt that. Isn't that right, dear?

Shining Armor nodded numbly, clearly out of things. "Mm-hmm."

Queen Chrysalis chuckled with a wicked grin. "Ah, ah, ah. Don't want to go back to the caves, now do you?" She was looking at Cadance, victory in her eyes. "Ever since I took your place, I've been feeding off Shining Armor's love for you. Every moment he grows weaker and so does his spell. Even now, my minions are chipping away at it.

It was time. He knew it. Celestia knew it. She stepped forward. "You may have made it impossible for Shining Armor to perform his spell, but now that you have so foolishly revealed your true self, I can protect my subjects from you!"

He burst from the crowd, his own disguise wearing free as he drew a sword into view, clenched in his teeth. He could see Celestia saw him, but her eyes were on Chrysalis. Good, she knew who her allies were. Ponies around him panicked and screamed, running in all directions. They didn't know him, and that was fine. Them leaving only made things simpler.

Chrysalis was locked in a magical duel with Celestia, power flaring between them. "Get her," she hissed, clearly hoping he would end the fight for her.

He saw no good reason to do that, but he would get 'her'. Just the wrong her. "I'll protect you," he hissed, tongue flicking as he rushed to Chrysalis' side. It was dumb and not what she had asked. It was exactly what she expected from her minions. The duel was going her way, the energy inching towards Celestia dangerously.

The grin on her face was one of manic victory, oh that delicious moment. She didn't expect that sword to stab into her side. Her magic guttered out in the shock of that betrayal, and Celestia's magic rushed in to fill the void, knocking both of them back. Celestia had clearly not expected that as much as Chrysalis, and both were knocked clear by the sudden release of magic.

Perception lowered his sword at Chrysalis. "Give up, if you even know how."

She smashed his sword away with an iron hoof, springing to her hooves, blood tricking down her side, but still full of fight. "I will drain every last drop of love from you and leave you a dessicated husk!"

A shattering sound greeted them. Shining listed to the side against Cadance, his barrier coming down.

"We're with you." Twilight stood defiant against the queen of the changelings, her friends arrayed behind her. "Whoever you are."

Celestia was gathering herself up to her hooves, having been stunned but not knocked out. "Get the elements. I'll face her."

Good. He had backup, and that backup had a backup plan. Even as the mares raced off, he parried Chrysalis' wicked horn with his sword, magic sparking at the point of contact. "You lost before you even started this," he growled at her.

"You lost when you decided you could take me on!" Her magic wrapped around him like an iron vice and she threw her head, slamming Perception against a wall with a crunch. Magic was a lot harder to block or dodge.

Celestia crashed into her side, knocking her back. "Did you forget he isn't your only opponent today?"

"Celestia..." Chrysalis took a firm step forward, tail lashing. "I don't know how you talked one of my little drones onto your side, but it won't help you. That was especially rude, but I feel ready for more. That idiot filled me with enough love to take on two of you."

Changelings were filtering in. Many were attacking what ponies remained, capturing them as they had been commanded some time ago. But others came in to land beside the standing Perception. He spat out some green ichor from his injury. "Good to see you all. The plan is on."

"You only have to face one of me," calmly countered Celestia. "But I don't stand alone." Her eyes darted to Perception and his friends. "I didn't have to talk your people into turning against you. It seems you did a perfectly good job of that on your own."

"Queen!" A buzzing drone lowered in front of her. "We are--"

"Silence!" she roared, pointing at Perception. "We have traitors. Seize them!"

The drone saluted, other changelings swarming on the scene. It was time to battle. There was no subterfuge there. What could they become to throw one another off? They were all changelings, just those on Chrysalis' side, and those against her. They met in a wild clash of hooves and one sword.

With a bash, a hoof connected with the side of Perception's head, knocking his helmet free. He made the changeling regret that move with a sharp slice of his blade, forcing them back with a screech. "The ponies are already on our side."

"Glad something is," grunted one of his recruits, gathered by his friend. The larger changeling grabbed two of Chrysalis' faithful and smashed them together. "This is a big mess. You better know what you're doing, or I'll tear you apart before Chryssie had a chance."

"You'll have your chance." A wiry changeling was ducking back from a swinging hoof. "She's busy with the big pony."

"Watch as our 'great leader' struggles." Perception angled his head at where Celestia and Chrysalis were locked in battle. Her injury had helped even the odds. She still had an edge, but it wasn't the lofty mountain she had been on. "We can do better than that, my brothers and sisters."

"You attacked her!" hissed one, bringing in a spear to clash with Perception's sword. "Traitor!"

Perception pushed against that spear, turning it aside from jabbing him with a brutal kick at the changeling midsection. "So what if I did?! If she was half of what she claims she is, she would have stopped me. She keeps us hungry and desperate. Enough!"

Another spear was coming straight for Perception. There were too many for him to fight at once. Fortunately, a small form crashed against it from the side, knocking it off track. "Stop that!" called a possible female changeling. "He's fighting for us! Chrysalis is our enemy," she hissed. "Not him."

Celestia forced Chrysalis back with a great shove. "Your changelings are already in disarray."

"As if your ponies aren't." Chrysalis laughed manically as her people cocooned helpless ponies for later enjoyment. "How does it feel, knowing your entire kingdom is just a little snack for us."

Their magic met in a show of force and combatting wills. "We will not let... a tyrant like you... be the end of us."

"It is time, my breathen. It is time we took back our future in our own hooves." Perception raised a holed hoof into the air. "Chrysalis cannot feed us, so let us feed ourselves, together!"

One of the changelings facing them sneered. "She is about to feed us more than we ever knew!"

"And why--" Perception fell back to all fours. "--do you not know what it feels like to not be starving? What it feels to be content and, dare I say it, happy? Why do you not know what it feels like to know your grubs will never have to know the hunger in your belly? Can she offer that? Can she?!"

Author's Note:

Perception asks some tough questions, and we've caught up with canon here. It's all AU from here out.

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