• Published 29th Jun 2023
  • 5,569 Views, 160 Comments

Run Without Debugging - RunicTreetops

After a misunderstanding, you end up sustaining a serious injury while trying to protect Chrysalis. Now, the ex-queen is on the run, carrying you with her as your time among the living grows short.

  • ...

A Walk Around Town

The following morning, you awoke to find that Chrysalis was no longer in bed with you. You sat up, prepared to find where she may have gone. Looking around, you realized that she was no longer in the bedroom. You chuckled to yourself. She'd probably been dying to get out of that bedroom. You rolled out of bed, and it was at that point that you smelled a distinct burning smell. Throwing yourself out the door, still not fully dressed, you rushed down the hall to locate the source of the smell. You skidded to a stop as you reached the kitchen, the sight before you catching you off guard. Standing next to the stove was an aggravated-looking Chrysalis, growling as she looked at a frying pan sitting on the stove.

"Uhh, Chryssi? Are you cooking something?"

"How difficult can it possibly be to fry an egg?!"

You peered over her shoulder, immediately noticing the charred, coal-like lump of what might have once been an egg in the pan. So that's where the smell came from. With a sheepish smile, you reached past her and turned the stove off, causing her to glare at you.

"I, uh, I think that egg is done for, Chryssi."

She growls under her breath.

"So it would seem."

You opened a nearby window in an attempt to air out the kitchen.

"I see you're feeling better. Can I assume that has something to do with why you're trying to make food? Last I checked, you neither wanted nor needed to eat."

"As far as my health is concerned, I feel like I could conquer Equestria if I so chose. And you are correct, I have no interest in feeding on anything other than your love. This was... supposed to be for you."

She glanced away, apparently avoiding eye contact with you.

"W-wait, you were trying to make breakfast for me?"

"Do not misunderstand! As my subject, you performed well in acquiring the means through which I could recover. Let it not be said that I do not care for my underlings."

There are many changelings who would disagree with that. It doesn't help that you sort of lied about the medicine, but telling her that would probably be a bad idea.

"Th-thanks, Chryssi. I appreciate the thought."

"That said, you will not be getting any eggs."

"Not that I'm trying to demand food from you or anything, but I didn't take you to be the kind to stop trying after one failure."

"That was not my first failure."


"You are out of eggs."


You were pretty sure there was an entire carton in the fridge. She ruined that many eggs?

"What will you be doing today?"

"Hm? Well, it's may day off, so I was going to run some errands."

Chrysalis turned to look at you, her face appearing conflicted for a couple of seconds before she spoke up again.

"I... I will be accompanying you."

"Excuse me?"

"I grow tired of being in this house, but I think it would be bad for both of us if I went out on my own."

"Well, that's probably true. Still, I'm surprised. You haven't left the house since you got here a few months ago."

"Are you suggesting I should stay here?"

"N-no! By all means, feel free to come with me. I'd be happy to have you along! I can finally show you around town! Oh, but we should probably steer clear of the School of Friendship. Probably best to mitigate any chance of running into Ocellus."

"I do not fear that child."

"Perhaps not, but I got in a lot of trouble for letting her speak to you."

"A foolish decision on their part. You did nothing wrong."

"...That's debatable, but thank you. I'm going to get dressed now."

"Very well. I suppose I should brush my hair. A queen must look her best for her grand return."

You silently hoped that that was a joke.

Walking through Ponyville with Chrysalis at your side definitely made for an interesting experience.

As you walked down the dirt paths that weave through the quaint town, pretty much every single passerby reacted negatively to your presence. You were already getting a lot of dirty looks from those you weren't super close with, but now with Chrysalis herself at your side, most ponies actively tried to avoid you. Some darted into nearby buildings or obviously changed course when they saw you. Others tensed up as they passed by you, and others still gave you quite the look as you walked by. You glanced at your changeling companion, but she seemed completely unbothered by the reception she was receiving. If anything, it looked like she found it humorous. As you finished that thought, you took the chance to really look at her properly. It had been a long time since she had gone outside, and despite her "scary" appearance, the sunlight does wonders for her. Her mane, tail, and wings seem to sparkle, and although many would call her disgusting, you can't help but find her beautiful. You smiled, which caught her attention.

"And what are you looking at?"

"Oh, nothing. I was just thinking that you look great today."

She lets out a haughty laugh.

"Yes, I suppose I do! You would do well to keep those complements coming."

"Er... I'm glad... you're such a quiet walker?"

"Okay now you're forcing it."

You laughed, and for the first time ever, you saw her let out a light, genuine laugh of her own. Not a haughty laugh, or a cocky guffaw, or a villainous cackle. She just... laughed. It was kind of jarring hearing that from her voice. It's nice.

The two of you reached the market. You pulled out a list of groceries you needed to pick up and showed it to Chrysalis.

"I will never get used to this. There is no need for any of this when you simply take the love that you need from others."

"By 'this,' are you referring to grocery shopping? I suppose it's not that different from taking love. The only difference is that you agree to pay for the stuff you want, just like how our deal means that I willingly give you my love in return for your... agreeability."

"How woefully inefficient."

"Perhaps on an individual level, but on a societal level, it works out fairly well I think. Better for everyone to mutually agree than for one half of those involved in every transaction to be screwed over every time."

"Survival of the fittest, Anon."

"Survival of the fittest isn't needed anymore, Chryssi. That's why everycreature in Equestria can actually enjoy their lives rather than fight for them every day. That's why you don't have to fight for yours every day anymore, too."

"Hmph. We'll see how long that lasts."

With your conversation concluded, you made your way throughout the market gathering all of the groceries on your list. There were no lines, as anypony waiting in a line would quickly leave once they saw Chrysalis behind them. A double-edged sword, you supposed. The vendors themselves weren't much better, but it's not too hard to just take what you need and place the correct amount of money on the counter that they're hiding under.

With your business in the market concluded, you made your way to your second destination for the day: Sugarcube Corner.

Chrysalis looked unimpressed as you entered the brightly colored building. There weren't many ponies inside, but those that were either shuffled out the door behind you or went silent and stepped out of your way as you walked up to the counter.

"What would you even need from a place like this?"

"Well, it's a bakery/confectionery, so I imagine baked goods and/or confections."

"I do not appreciate the sarcasm. What did you come here to buy?"

"I didn't come here to buy anything. I need to ask Pinkie something."

"Ugh, I have no desire to speak with that mare. And the sickly sweet smell in here is making me nauseous. I'm going to wait outside."

"O-okay, I'll be out in a bit."

About ten minutes later, you walked out of Sugarcube Corner to a worrying sight.

"I don't care whether you go outside or stay in that house. All I'm asking is for you to move out of the way."

"And as I told you already, I am not in your way."

The worst-case scenario had already come to pass. A few feet away from the doorway to Sugarcube Corner was Chrysalis, an annoyed look on her face as she stared down a tense and defensive-looking Ocellus. Ocellus was keeping her distance, as though she was afraid to get too close to either Chrysalis or the building.

"Woah, woah! What's going on out here?"

"Mr. Anon, Chrysalis is preventing me from picking up my order from the Cakes."

Chrysalis turned to look at you with an annoyed expression.

"And as you can see, I am doing no such thing. She can simply walk by me."

You glanced between the two before shuffling closer to Chrysalis, doing your best to whisper to her so that Ocellus couldn't hear you.

"Chryssi, we talked about this. She's terrified of you. It wouldn't kill ya to take a few steps back."

"If she's so terrified of me that she cannot come within five feet of me to get into a bakery, she is the one with a problem, not I. No one makes demands of a queen."

You furrowed your brow and spoke in a slightly more aggressive tone.

"In case you've forgotten, you aren't a queen anymore. You can't keep behaving like this. Let's just walk away from this, okay?"

"Pfft. I was planning to do that anyway."

You turned back to Ocellus, who looked at you with concern and confusion.

"Sorry about that Ocellus, we'll be on our way."

"Thank you, Mr. Anon."

You and Chrysalis began to walk back in the direction of your house. As you did, you could have sworn that you heard Ocellus mumble something behind you.

"And still no apology, I see."

When you returned home, the mood was much less cheery than when you left. Chrysalis immediately headed for the basement. You let out a sigh and started putting the groceries away. All things considered, Chrysalis's first trip into town went pretty well, it just ended poorly. It will take time for her to adjust, but you were still confident that she was capable of it. However, you were less sure if everypony else could adjust to her.

Not long after the groceries were put up, the sun began to set. After taking care of your nightly routine, you headed back to your room and crawled into bed. After sleeping on the couch for two weeks, it felt nice to get to sleep in there again. To your surprise, Chrysalis came in sooner than you expected.

"Oh, hey Chryssi. You're early. I'm not asleep just yet."

"I know that. I..." She took a deep breath. "I've been meaning to talk to you."

"Oh?" You sat up in bed, giving her your utmost attention. "What about?"

"Me. Er, and you."

"Ooooookay. I'm listening."

Chrysalis seemed to fidget for a few seconds, which is extremely out of character for her.

"If I... if you could pick, what would you have me be?"

"Excuse me?"

"I am a changeling. Turning into others is what I'm best at. If I wasn't 'Queen Chrysalis,' what would you want me to be?"

You took a second to process her words before giving her a smile.

"Just... 'Chrysalis.' Just be you."

"Do not lie to me, Anon." That was the first time you ever heard her sound so... insecure. "No one wants Chrysalis. They never have. Even you keep trying to change me. So, tell me: What do you want me to be?"



"I want you to be kind. I love you, Chryssi. I love you for who you are. But the fact of the matter is that your behavior towards others is what's giving you that reputation of yours. I don't mind that you're a dark changeling. I don't mind that you want to be treated like a queen. Heck, I don't even mind that you don't get along with everyone. But I can't protect you forever if you keep trying to be... well, to put it bluntly, evil. You've made a lot of mistakes, Chryssi, and you can't take those back. But you can admit your faults, learn from them, and do your best to make up for your past missteps. Instead, you just keep making excuses and trying to prove yourself right. You keep digging yourself deeper and deeper into that hole you're in. I can throw down a rope, but I can't make you climb it."

"..." She looked away from you, and you could have sworn you saw her eyes starting to get misty. "I'm going to head back downstairs. Goodnight, Anon."

"W-wait, you haven't even fed yet."

"I'm not hungry."

Without another word, she turned around and left the room. You sighed to yourself as you fell back onto your pillow. You really hoped your words got through to her.

The following morning, you awoke not to the smell of a burnt breakfast, but instead to a knock at your door. You quickly got dressed and headed downstairs, where Chrysalis was already waiting.

"Who's here?"

"No idea. I assumed you would answer the door, and look at that! Here you are."

"...That's probably for the best, to be fair."

You opened the front door, allowing the morning sunlight to pour into your home. Standing on the other side of the doorway were three of your closest friends: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Princess Twilight Sparkle. Each wore an expression that seemed both anxious and frustrated.

You had a bad feeling about that visit.