• Published 15th Jan 2024
  • 1,013 Views, 40 Comments

Lovefools - magic-aggy

Princess Cadance and Queen Chrysalis find themselves trapped in a dangerous dream world, and must work together if they want to survive. As they travel through a shared nightmare, can they come to understand each other, or will this all end in tears?

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Chapter 4: Waylaid by the Waterfall

Chrysalis lay sulking in the wet grass near the riverbank, watching the water stream past her and forcing herself to ignore the bright pulsing throng of little pains, and the myriad of distressing sensations flooding her mind. Between the lingering taste of blood, the cruel knots in her mane, and the awful sensation of a wet coat of pony fur, she felt close to snapping.

The fur on the back of her neck prickled, and out of the corner of her eye Chrysalis saw the beloathed alicorn princess watching her with an odd look that she couldn’t parse.

“What is it?” Chrysalis spat nastily, her cheeks blossoming bright pink with shame. “Go ahead. Do your worst. Nothing you could possibly do to me could be worse than what your kind has already done.”

Cadance’s eyebrows shot up and her eyes went wide with shock. “What? No no, please it’s not like that.” She hesitated before continuing. “I was just… trying to think of a way to convince you to let me help. I could clear all that up in a couple of minutes, if you’d like.”

Cadance smiled as she finished speaking, but her face was still doing something strange that Chrysalis couldn’t put together. It put her on edge, she felt as though she was being looked down upon.

Chrysalis broke away from trying to comprehend the behaviour of the pony, gaze drifting down as she did. Her eyes settled on the bite she had left in Cadance’s leg. The alicorn was still holding the wound with one hoof tightly, trying to staunch the bleeding. It had apparently slowed, but as Chrysalis watched, a droplet of blood trickled down the pony’s leg, leaving a thin red trail.

The gland in her throat awoke again, and she bit her tongue trying to suppress the impulse.

Desperate for any excuse to avoid the morass of shame and guilt that was piling up and smothering her, Chrysalis croaked, “Why did you bring us here, alicorn?”

Cadance opened her mouth to reply, but was cut off by a sudden crashing noise from deep in the woods. It was coming from this side of the riverbank, and sounded like… something or someone smashing their way through the trees.

Turning towards the sound, Chrysalis bared her teeth and crouched low, poised and ready for whatever was approaching. To her right, Cadance just peered into the forest, looking startled.

As the noise came closer flashes of golden light stabbed through the brush, unnaturally bright and tinged with odd flecks of indigo and violet. The crashing sounds resolved into crackling bursts that sounded magical to Chrysalis’ ear, and coincided with the bright flashes of light.

Cadance started to speak, but when Chrysalis turned and glared at her she cut herself off and said nothing.

Just as Chrysalis turned back towards the approaching blasts of magic tearing through the trees, an unfamiliar voice called out from the same direction. It sounded… bizarre, to the changeling queen’s ear. Whoever was out there was shrieking loudly and erratically, and it was unintelligible at first. Whatever they were saying, they were clearly furious. But then the part of her brain responsible for processing audio was able to just barely separate the voice from the sounds of magic and destruction polluting the night.

One word was being repeated, on its own or strewn into garbled sentences.

There was a pause in the sounds of magical violence, and the manic voice rang out clear, slicing through the air.


The tone sounded hysterical, completely hell-bent. A shiver ran down Chrysalis’ spine as it hit her. She glanced over at Cadance, who was backing away slowly. Her mouth hung open and her eyes were glassy and wide, unblinking. She was backed up against the edge of the river, her tail actually in the water.

Just before Chrysalis turned back to face the oncoming threat, she heard Cadance whisper under her breath, “No… It couldn’t be.”

Whoever or whatever was approaching, it was almost upon them. Chrysalis felt her heartbeat loud in her chest and throat, and her muscles began to ache, but she stayed low, ready to leap.

The seconds stretched by, as whatever it was came closer and closer. There was another blood curdling shriek, and then one last blast of gold burst apart the foliage. As the flash of magic cleared, a figure hurtled out of the trees onto the edge of the clearing.

In the turmoil, Chrysalis lost a few moments trying to comprehend the stranger that stood before her. It was clearly a pony, but it wasn’t a unicorn or even a pegasus, just an earth pony. Where had all those flares of magic come from?

That question was put to the side as Chrysalis realised she could see the trees behind the stranger through their body. A grey blue glow emanated from them, except for their eyes, which shone bright fiery red, but stared vaguely and had an empty quality to them. All the colour in their coat, mane and tail was obscured, faded to grey like an old moving picture. She, for Chrysalis realised at this point the stranger was a mare, was nearly completely translucent.

The only thing that she couldn’t see through was the necklace the figure wore, from which hung a strange black glass spike, spiralled, and at least as long as a unicorn’s horn. When the light hit it, the long obsidian stake shone deep purple, edged in burnt orange.

Before she could get a grip on what she was seeing, the figure stepped towards Cadance aggressively. It let out another furious howl, then pointed one hoof at the alicorn princess in accusation.

“You! I finally found you, you putrid brat!” The stranger screamed. “You did this to me!”

Cadance shrunk under the intensity of the screech, and nearly tripped into the river as she went to step back further and her hoof found only running water. Her mouth still hung open, and Chrysalis just barely heard her whisper “No…”

“Liar!” The spectre immediately shrieked back. The noise was so loud and sudden that Chrysalis recoiled instinctively, and Cadance nearly fell over again.

“It was you…” The stranger continued, slipping into a low tone that dripped hatred. “You killed me.”

The alicorn princess flinched at those last few words as though she had been struck, and somehow found room to sink even lower into the grass, staring up at the shrieking apparition. She choked out a reply, “I- I didn’t mean to…”

“Disgusting foal.” The phantasm continued in a mocking, singsong tone. “Living your perfect pony princess life with your happy family and your crystal castle. But none of them know what you really are, do they?”

Tears started to trickle down Cadance’s face, and she tried to take another fearful step back, but as she shifted her weight the mud at the edge of the riverbank gave way, and both her back legs slipped into the river with a splash. The spectre stepped forwards again, nearly close enough to touch Cadance.

It was strange how small the princess seemed. Even in that enormous alicorn body, crouched low in terror and clinging to the shore, she seemed so fragile. In her panic, her back legs kicked and scrabbled at the riverbank, trying to stop herself falling in, but there was nowhere for her to go unless she fought back.

The water whipped around her and threatened to drag her in, and she spoke so quietly that Chrysalis almost missed it. “Please, I had to… You were going to…”

Before she could finish explaining the spirit cut her off. “Oh miss high and mighty! Judge, jury and executioner over here. You’re just as bad as I am missy. Maybe even worse. Sure I let a few worthless peasants starve, but I was just careless. You wanted me to die. Don’t deny it.”

The black crystal spiral hanging from her neck started to glow, and began to hover, tip pointed towards Cadance. The stranger continued, “An eye for an eye, little one. If I deserved to die for what I did, then it’s only right you die with me.”

With the last syllable, a ray of golden light flew out of the horn-like crystal with a sharp static buzz, and struck Cadance in the forehead. She flinched, then froze, as the golden beam spread out to encompass her whole body.

The cacophonous spectre cackled hysterically as she caught Cadance in the ethereal beam. At first Chrysalis couldn’t understand what the unfamiliar spell was doing, but as she watched, a stream of pink energy slowly began to flow out of the alicorn’s mouth and back into the amulet. Cadance was frozen, eyes wide and staring at nothing, transfixed under the magical assault. Her coat began to fade to grey and lost its lustre, and she grimaced in pain. The light in her eyes started to dull, and her body jerked back into the river slightly, as her grip on the riverbank began to fail.

Seeing the beloathed pony princess moments away from being swept away by the river, Chrysalis felt a violent primal surge fill her body. Before she could even think, she reacted. Using every inch of muscle in her body to propel herself forward, she leapt towards the distracted phantasm.

As she sailed through the air, a split second sliver of panic stabbed through her, weren’t ghosts usually intangible? What if she passed right through and she couldn’t do anything, and by the time she landed Cadance was gone? Swept away, or drained dead?

Before uncertainty could sabotage her, she felt her hooves meet the solid form of the earth pony spectre. She clung tight, and an instant later her head lunged forward. Her bared teeth hit home, and with all the might she could muster, the little grey filly bit hard into the neck of the horrid, dead pony. Even trapped in this pathetic form, she knew where to bite a pony to inflict the most brutal and conclusive injury. She also knew that she only had one chance. If this didn’t work, she didn’t have any other option to stop this monster hurting Cadance. It had to work.

As her teeth sunk into the translucent flesh of the ghoul, she felt something squirt and spray out of the wound. An acrid, foul taste filled her mouth, and her nose was filled with the scent of something long dead. She fought back the urge to be sick, and used all the power contained in this diminutive form to rip away the chunk of flesh between her teeth. There was a sickening squelch as the meat tore away, with thick grey glowing blood gushing after it.

Chrysalis let go and fell off the stranger as she tore away the lump of flesh, spitting it out into the grass. Her ears rang and her blood was pumping so hard and fast she felt like she was going to pop. As the ringing faded it was replaced by guttural screams of pain and anger coming from the monstrosity she had just savaged.

The magical aura that had been leeching energy from Cadance had faded, and the ghost was suddenly directing all its attention at Chrysalis. Screaming bloody murder, it advanced on her. The effort to attack it had been so great, all the changeling filly could do was watch and try not to choke on the ichor filling her mouth. Just as it raised a hoof to strike her, the shade staggered.

Where Chrysalis had wounded it the spectre’s form began to waver. The uncertainty of form quickly spread, and all over the creature’s body large patches began to fade away into nothing. It fell to the ground, collapsing on legs that were rapidly disappearing.

“No!!!” The stranger bellowed, and swiped a hoof hard at the pegasus filly panting and coughing on the grass in front of it. Chrysalis shut her eyes right before it struck her, then opened them wide again as she felt only a wave of cold pass through her body. The ghost shrieked and flailed wildly at the changeling queen, but every blow passed right through her harmlessly, and every moment the spectre dissolved more. In no time at all she was gone completely, save for her amulet, which dropped into the wet grass.

Chrysalis forced herself to stand, and staggered over to the amulet. It was jagged and rough, clearly assembled by an amateur. But on closer inspection she realised that there was a disconnect, this wasn’t all the work of the same single craftspony. The metalwork was rushed and shoddy, but it was just wrapped around the crystal, which was shockingly detailed. It was an intricate and eerily realistic black crystal carving of a unicorn’s horn, one that was unusually long and sharp.

Chrysalis spat out a mouthful of ectoplasm, and watched it evaporate on the grass, then stepped forward and put all her weight into stamping on the amulet, directly in the middle of the horn. It snapped easily, breaking into two halves. On the off chance that this wasn’t a dream, the changeling queen felt safer destroying the unnerving artefact. If anyone was going to magically manipulate emotions and control ponies, it should be her, and she didn’t need a magic trinket to help her.

Satisfied, she turned to check on Cadance. The beloathed pony princess was frantically pulling herself back onto the riverbank, soaking wet but physically unharmed. The colour had returned to her coat, and her eyes gleamed with concern as she clambered to her hooves and rushed over to the changeling filly.

Tears were still streaming down her face as she arrived at Chrysalis’ side and asked, “Did she hurt you? Are you okay? I’m so sorry i-”

Chrysalis cut her off with a hiss, then whispered, “How could you let that wretched thing do that to you.”

“W-what? I-” Cadance stammered.

Cutting her off again, Chrysalis’ voice was pure ice as she said, “You’re an alicorn, one of the most powerful creatures in all of Equestria, if not the world! But you acted like a foal and let that foul thing get the better of you without even trying to resist!” As she went on the ice broke away, and tears spilled down her face to match the princess.

Chrysalis’ voice cracked as she said, “You were going to let her kill you!”

The accusation hung in the air, and Cadance’s mouth opened and closed several times before she could say anything. When she finally did, It came out as a whisper, just shy of a breath.

“You’re right.”

Cadance sniffed and wiped some tears out of her eyes before she went on. “I know, I’m sorry, I just… What she was saying, some of it was true…”

“I did kill her.”

Chrysalis’ jaw dropped, and the alicorn continued, “Look, it was a long time ago. Her name was Prismia, and she was hurting people, back in the village I grew up in. That necklace she had, she was using it to control the minds of all the townsfolk, including my parents. She just showed up one day demanding things, and when she didn’t get what she wanted she’d blast somepony with that crystal horn and they’d do whatever she told them.”

“She had everypony in my village under her spell within a day. My parents…” Cadance paused, looking down. “Her magic didn’t work on me, I still don’t know why. I tried to tell her to stop, but I was just a filly, she laughed at me.”

“The villagers, she worked everypony to the bone for days, not letting them eat or rest. I tried feeding them myself but it was like they couldn’t see me.” She shivered. “When she wasn’t ordering them about, everypony just stood there, waiting, like they were puppets.”

“Ponies started to collapse, and when they did she’d just order someone to drag them off so they were out of the way. All while she was waited on by hoof, and had them carry her about on a throne. It was insane.”

“My parents, they were… old, and not well. At first they were lucky, she left them mostly alone until she’d burnt through all the healthier ponies in the village. But after a few days they…” Cadance looked up again and stared directly into Chrysalis’ eyes. “I begged and pleaded with her to stop, to at least look after them. She made them lock me in our house, but I crawled up the chimney and flew back.”

She spat out a wry, hollow laugh. “I should have broken a window, or attacked her earlier. When I made it back to the town square, she was shouting something nasty, and two ponies were dragging off my parents. I was too late to save them. I remember feeling like I’d been set on fire. When I saw them, crumpled and empty, being dragged through the mud, something in me broke. Next thing I knew I had flown at her, and I was kicking and screaming and trying as hard as I could to hurt her.”

Cadance went quiet again, whispering, “In the struggle she fell over… she hit her head on the cobblestones, and because I was on top of her the extra weight, it… By the time I realised what had happened it was too late.”

“Then the spell ended and they all saw me. Standing over her body. Prismia had been old, like my parents. Fragile. She bled so much so quickly.” Cadance shut her eyes tight and went tense. “It got on my hooves, and they were all staring at me with this look. I flew away before anypony could say anything.”

“I was the only pegasus in the village, so I knew if I took off they’d never find me, so I came here.” She turned and gestured towards the waterfall. “I used to hide here a lot. I was… out of place in that village. When something went wrong and I needed to be alone this was where I went. It was my secret. But that was the last time, I haven’t been back since.”

“I stayed in that cave for days, I’m not actually sure how long I hid there, I slept for most of it. I drank from the river, and when I got hungry I curled up tight and tried not to think about it. Until she found me…” Cadance trailed off, looking lost in thought.

Chrysalis sat up, and with a wary look asked, “Who?”

The alicorn princess met the changeling queen’s gaze again, and smiled wearily at her. “Celestia. The last thing I remember from this cave was being woken by the sound of somepony moving through the trees, and seeing a bright white light outside. I was too weak to do anything except lie there, and I fell unconscious again before she found me. The next thing I remember was waking up in Canterlot. The sun was shining through a huge window, and I was in the biggest bed you could ever imagine. At first I thought I was on a cloud, everything was white and blue, and bathed in golden light.”

“Apparently somehow word had gotten out, and Celestia had come herself to investigate. The villagers told her what happened, what I had done… and she came to find me.”

Cadance smiled brighter as she went on, “Not long after I woke up, she came to check on me. I tried to apologise, but she hushed me and hugged me tight. I was only eight years old. She told me to forgive myself, that what had happened was a terrible accident, and that I’d done the only thing I could have. It’s so hard not to go back to it, to think about what I could have done differently. But I know it isn’t fair to myself to do that. I just try to remind myself that she was right, I did the best I could.” A choked laugh escaped her lips, and she slumped slightly. Chrysalis could see she was shaking.

“This dream… It’s like it’s trying to dig all that back up and hurt me. I worked so hard to forgive myself for what happened, I hadn’t thought about it in years. But now it all feels fresh, like it happened yesterday.” The alicorn looked ready to collapse again.

Chrysalis huffed and pulled herself to her hooves. Straining to stand at her full possible height, she glared at the alicorn princess and in a commanding voice said, “You did nothing wrong. This, Prismia, this sorceress. She was an idiot, a selfish thoughtless glutton. Working ponies to death for her own fleeting pleasure. For once I agree with Celestia…” Chrysalis hissed as she said the name of her ancient enemy.

Emphasising each word she went on, “You did nothing wrong. Do not forget it.”

“You are nothing like that waste of magic Prismia. If I find out one day that some impulsive idiot with a trinket, or a worthless ghost in a dream managed to- to.” Chrysalis bared her teeth and hissed, and her cheeks flushed brightly. In a low voice dripping menace she said “If anyone hurts you before I get my revenge, I will kill them.”

In the most earnest and commanding voice that she could muster, Chrysalis demanded, “Promise me right now that you will not let some creature take advantage of you like that again.”

The alicorn reeled and said nothing. Chrysalis felt the ichor dripping from her body, and the debris still caught in her mane, and almost faltered as she realised how she must look. A vicious, feral creature, ranting aggressively at a graceful princess.

Cadance recovered from the intensity shone directly at her, and stammered, “Look, I don’t need you to-”

“Promise me.” Chrysalis snapped, deathly serious.

After a long pause, Cadance replied, matching Chrysalis’ sincerity with her own.

“I promise.”

Chrysalis stared deep into the lavender eyes of the beloathed alicorn princess, searching for any trace of insincerity.

Once she was satisfied she spoke again, forcing herself to sound bright, “Well then. Come princess, you spoke of finding somewhere to wait out the rest of this dream. Let’s clean off this muck and then…” She faltered, and squirmed in discomfort as she finished her sentence. “I would… appreciate your assistance in clearing this mess from my mane.”

Chrysalis turned away and trotted haughtily over to the river’s edge before she let Cadance reply, and for the second time that night hastily washed blood out of her mouth and coat. She didn’t look up, but she heard the alicorn sigh, then follow suit, washing off the mud she’d picked up when struggling at the riverbank.

They both spent the next few minutes in silence, save for the sounds of the waterfall and river.

Chrysalis was just about done when she heard the alicorn finish up and start trotting slowly over to the cave. The changeling filly rushed to finish cleaning the last of the blood away, then raced after Cadance, fueled by the petty need to enter the cave first.

She made it into the mouth of the cave just ahead of the princess, nearly slipping into the river on the mossy rocks that led into the small pocket behind the waterfall.

The interior was just as she remembered. Quite shallow, but just big enough for two or three ponies to shelter in. It was perpetually damp, and a lush green carpet of moss covered the floor and most of the walls of the space. It was nicer than she remembered, in a dreamy idealised way.

Chrysalis found a soft patch of deep green moss and got comfortable, sitting with her legs tucked up beneath her for warmth. The cave may have been very soft, but it was also quite cold, definitely not as cozy as it looked.

She flinched as Cadance stepped over her and settled down behind her. Neither pony said anything, and after a short pause, Chrysalis felt the odd sensation of her hair being levitated by the alicorn’s magic. It felt a little like being underwater, and the thought made her shiver.

Chrysalis inched closer to the princess. The damp, cold air was quickly stealing the heat out of her currently tiny body. She squished up as close as she could, forgoing subtlety as her teeth started to chatter. Cadance didn’t react, and continued to quietly comb the knots and foliage out of her mane.

Tucked neatly up against the alicorn’s side, the wound Chrysalis had left in the leg of the beloathed pony princess’s leg was impossible to ignore. Where she sat, she realised it was close enough for her to reach out and touch. Once again, her instincts pressured her to do something about it. She sat, frozen and staring at the wound for nearly a minute before she relented. So be it, she thought.

The alicorn princess had just started work on brushing her tail, when she suddenly leaned forward and spat a tiny glob of bright green slime directly onto the wound. Cadence jumped as she did, and accidentally tugged at her tail.

Chrysalis was about to snap something nasty at the princess, but before she could Cadance squawked in fright, and said, “Ow! What in Celestia’s name are you doing! Get that off me!”

The tiny changeling hissed, “Hush alicorn, I am doing this for your benefit. I couldn’t stand to owe you anything, so I’m returning the favour. This is a kind of resin we changelings can produce. Once dried, it will protect the wound and keep it clean. Don’t make me regret this.”

She was careful to stay facing away from the beloathed pony princess while she spoke. She’d only ever done this for herself, or had some subordinate do it for her. So by actually helping another creature in this way for once, she felt acutely vulnerable. But she was not about to let Cadance see her insecurity.

Pushing those thoughts aside, she leant forward with her tongue stuck out and tentatively began to massage the green resin into and around the wound. She hurried, as the waxy substance was already starting to harden. She pressed it firmly against the skin, forming a roughly round seal. Once dried it would be just as flexible as the skin it stuck to, and would stay on tight, protecting the wound from being reopened and allowing the blood to finally clot, and additionally keeping out anything that could lead to an infection. There was even a subtle anaesthetic quality to the substance, Chrysalis recalled, feeling her tongue start to numb slightly as she thoroughly kneaded the waxy resin over the wound.

Once she was done, she realised she couldn’t feel her tail being pulled to and fro by the alicorn. She spun round, intending to chide the princess for stopping. But as she turned, she saw Cadance watching her with another strange look.

Her eyes were bright, almost twinkling in the darkness, but she wasn’t smiling. Her mouth was open slightly, and she was silent, just staring at Chrysalis, who squirmed under the scrutiny.

The changeling felt her blush return, and looked away again. Then she snapped, “What is it? Stop looking at me like that, you pink cretin.”

Cadance blinked, then leant back and laughed. It was such a sweet, bubbly noise, like the tinkling of a wind chime, or the babble of a brook. Chrysalis felt the red in her cheeks spread as the beautiful sound lit up the dank gloom of the cavern.

She was about to say something targeted and very unkind, to try and cover up the confusing mixture of feelings swelling in her as the beautiful alicorn laughed, seemingly at her. But the princess of love spoke up before she could.

Still giggling, Cadance said, “Sorry, sorry. I just never would have thought you could do something like that. I thought you were trying to wrap me up in a cocoon… Wait, how can you do that? Aren’t you stuck as a pony, have you not tried to change until now?”

“Of course I have!” Chrysalis snapped indignantly. “Do you think I want to be stuck like this? If I could have been in my own beautiful body this whole time, I’d have changed shape in an instant! I tried to as soon as I woke up, but something about this place is interfering with my magic. The one silver lining is that the form of this pathetic little pony is only skin deep…”

“Oh, I don’t know, I think I could get used to seeing you like this.” Cadance teased, giggling again, seemingly unaffected by the changeling queen’s acerbic attitude.

Ignoring Chrysalis’ dramatic scowl, Cadance sighed and went on, “This dream is so peculiar. I’ve had nightmares like this before, but not for years. Usually it’s pretty straightforward, and I just get put through it all again. But this time you’re stuck in my role, and I’m… I think I’m supposed to fill the role of Celestia? I don’t know how she can stand being this big! I’m having a hard time just walking without tripping on my mane.”

Chrysalis scoffed, then said, “Perhaps. Though you’re hardly the only creature to ever shelter here.”

The alicorn looked surprised, then asked, “Wait, are you saying you’ve been here before?”

Internally Chrysalis cursed herself for giving something like that away, hissing under her breath before continuing. “Once, long ago. I had good reason to need… space… from my family.” She fought with herself over how much to tell, then said, “There was an incident, something that made me what I am today…” Trailing off, she curled up tighter around herself.

“It’s no concern of yours.”

Cadance gave her a gentle smile, “I guess at the end of the day, everyone has a story like this. At least we’re not alone.”

Chrysalis felt her composure melting. It was too cruel. She was so close to the beloathed pony princess, pressed together in this little private sanctuary for warmth. If she wanted, she could in a moment lean her face against the princess’ chest, and bury her snout in Cadance’s warm fur. The urge to do so was weighing heavily on her, and she set her jaw. She refused to fall victim, to let herself be seduced by the princess of love’s beauty and kindness. The ponies truly were insidious, she thought, as soon as you gave them an inch they would try to take a mile. In spite of herself, she leaned closer to Cadance.

“You know, I think if you’d shown up in your usual body, we probably would have just ended up fighting.” Cadance’s voice rang with sincerity. “Maybe Prismia would even have caught us in the middle of it, and hurt both of us.”

The alicorn smiled radiantly at the changeling again, and Chrysalis felt the last foundation of resistance in her barely holding out. In the face of that blazing, brilliant, beautiful pink sun beaming down on her, how much longer could she hold herself together? When Cadance smiled at her, all her pain and troubles felt so, so far away. She bit her tongue to break the spell, and sharply looked away.

Just as she did, Cadance spoke again, “Thank you for saving me from her, I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been there to help.” To Chrysalis, the alicorn’s voice seemed to ring through straight to her heart.

Chrysalis knew she was succumbing to the sweet assault of the beloathed pony princess. It would be so easy to just give in… Maybe she could just apologise. The ponies were so eager to forgive, it would be so simple to turn herself in and let them lead her where they wanted… Then surely she could spend more time like this, alone with the princess.

She bit her tongue again, hard this time. The jolt of pain cut through the fluffy pink fog that had descended across her mind. No. This was what they did. Wormed into your brain and destroyed your pride, took away your independence. Fed you sweet nothings and kindness and all manner of delights until they had you dancing to their tune.

Chrysalis pushed away from the pony and stood up. Saying nothing, she stepped away from the princess, and sat down again in the moss at the opposite side of the cave.

In a moment of weakness, she glanced up at the beloathed pony princess, and their eyes locked. Cadance had another look on her face that Chrysalis wasn’t sure how to interpret, but it might have been sadness, or confusion. She knew her own face was showing the pain she felt, and she didn’t have the energy left to stop it. As she stared into the alicorn’s eyes, she felt something deep inside her ache.

At last Chrysalis turned away for good. She felt ashamed at how much of herself she’d given away, and how close she’d come to falling for the pony’s temptation, but all she could do was close herself up again and wait out the rest of this dream in silence. She sighed, and curled tightly around herself, trying not to let it show when she shivered.

After what felt like an eternity, the energy she’d spent finally caught up with her, and she sank into the grey abyss of sleep.


Chrysalis woke to the warmth of the sun on her face, shining through the gap in her curtains. Well, she corrected herself, not her curtains.

She enjoyed the warm sensation for a few minutes, and stretched out lazily in bed, eyes still shut. Her wings got in the way, and her tail had gotten itself wrapped around her leg somehow during the night.

The changeling’s eyes shot open and she sat bolt upright. Pulling back the blankets, she groaned in revulsion as she saw her body clearly.

Somehow she had changed shape in her sleep, to match the form she had been trapped in in that awful nightmare. She groaned as the memories of her dream flooded in.

Green fire flickered across her body, and where the dark grey filly had been was now her natural form. An enormous, fully fledged changeling queen. Seeing her own body returned to her she let out the breath she’d been holding and collapsed back into the bed.

These dreams had to stop, she had had enough of her own mind sabotaging her. The ponies said a lot of things, and offered the world, but everything they gave came with the caveat of supplicating yourself to them, and doing things as they demanded. That might be good enough for that pathetic pony pet Discord, and the traitor Thorax, but she would never bow to a pony.

Pride rushed in and forced any trace of uncertainty out. Yes. She didn’t yet know how, but it was only a matter of time. She’d get her revenge, she’d taste the satisfaction of ruling Equestria and bending the ponies to her will. Then she could do whatever she pleased with that beloathed princess of love…

A blush spread across her features and her eyes went wide as she realised what she’d just told herself.

She shook her head, dismissing the thought. That was the dream’s influence. She felt nothing for the princess of the Crystal Empire except the same loathing she felt for all ponies. Yes, definitely. It was just all this time she’d been forced to spend around ponies, it was affecting her.

A moment later, she huffed in resignation, and returned to the form of the mint green earth pony. For now, she needed to focus on survival. Revenge could wait.

Author's Note:

Howdy! That's the intro chapters done! I'm glad that I held back and build up a real body to this fic before I tried to post anything. I've been able to develop a workflow and good habits that I'll be able to stick to. I'm really excited about the future of this fic and my other eventual contributions to this site! My Little Pony has been deeply important to me for nearly half of my life, and led to a lot of growth and inspiration. I'm glad to put something out into the world that I can be proud of. I really hope it resonates with you!

Not to toot my own horn, but Chapter 3 and 4 really highlight one of the best parts of writing fics. I get to make things that I can come back to later and get excited about! Giving this the final proofread before uploading it to fimfic barely felt like work. It's been a few weeks since I read through these chapters, and months since I'd read Chapter 1. There was a feeling of "omg, did I really write this?"

Anyway! Prismia and the black crystal horn are two specific pieces of mlpfim extended (optional or perhaps dubious) canon, each from a very different source. 10 points to whoever can pick where the horn comes from :P

I think I mentioned earlier, but I'm aiming to post 1 chapter a month, and for whatever it's worth each chapter will be around 5k words. I can't promise I'll keep to my planned update schedule, as my life is very hectic, and there's a few things that tend to disrupt plans that I make. But I'm optimistic! Whatever the case, I will finish this fic! It's going to be a fun ride, and one day we'll have something complete and pretty to look back on.

These notes are a little stream of consciousness, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments, feedback is welcomed <3

Thank you for your time! ^w^