• Published 12th Oct 2012
  • 3,464 Views, 141 Comments

The Unlikeliest of Places - Desideratium



Chrysalis finds herself powerless. All she needs is a little kindness.

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Coerced Entrance

The cottage that the newly-married royal couple had chosen to stay in was a quaint, red brick structure with a long, meandering path through an overgrown front yard leading to the front door, which was adorned by a brass door-knocker in the shape of a phoenix head. A thin chimney protruding from the roof, belching cinereal smoke. And as Cadance had mentioned, it was far away from the town. Far out of range of curious, prying eyes.

Cadance led Chrysalis up the cobblestone path, her captor being helpful not in the least. The Changeling hung like a sack of apples from Cadance’s grasp, mulling over her overwhelming abhorrence toward the salmon-colored princess. For the past hundred meters, Chrysalis had been digging her fangs into her lower lip, and now detected the metallic taste of blood in her mouth.

Cadance stared at the front door for a moment, wondering how in the name of Celestia she was going to get inside with the weakened Changeling weighing her down. With her hooves otherwise occupied, she reached out and grasped the ring of the phoenix knocker between her teeth and rapped it sharply against the designated metal stud below it. Once, then twice, the ringing cacophony sure to attract the attention of the stallion inside the house. “I hope he’s not asleep,” Cadance said cheerfully, beaming.

“Is that likely?” Chrysalis muttered her response.

Cadance shrugged as best she could with a semi-dead Changeling queen wrapped around her shoulders, while still retaining her smile. “I did keep him up past his bedtime last night, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll be awake before noon.” The alicorn knocked again, more insistent this time. This time, several denizens of Ponyville might have heard the racket.

A muffled call sounded from inside the house. Too faint to make out words, Chrysalis could only determine that it belonged to a stallion; Shining Armor, most likely. The intonation was followed by brisk, heavy hoofsteps, increasing in volume as they approached the door. “Cadance, the door’s unlocked.” The voice was much clearer now, with only a thin slab of wood acting as an impediment for the speaker. “Why did you knock?”

“Hooves are full, dear,” Cadance called out to her husband. “Could you get it for me?”

“Absolutely.”

The door swung inward, revealing the smiling face of Shining Armor. Indeed, he did look like he had just rolled out of bed; his blue mane was half vertical, two-thirds horizontal, and six-eighth’s bursting past the third dimension into uncharted territory. His cobalt eyes were rimmed with an unbecoming pink, adding to an overall sense of unprofessionalism.

As soon as the door was fully opened, Shining Armor’s grin slipped off his face, replaced by a look of horrified shock. He recoiled back into the house, one hoof elevated in fright. “Cadance!” he wailed. “What is she doing here!” Chrysalis smiled weakly at his discomfort.

Cadance beamed widely. “I found her in the Everfree forest! Can we keep her?”

The captain of the guard mouthed wordlessly, bearing a striking resemblance to a beached fish. His eyes, sleepy before, were wide and staring, taking in every inch of the dilapidated creature before him. “W-what?” he stammered.

“She’s not doing that well, I’m going to help her out.”

“. . . What?”

“Shining, could you step aside to let us in? Chrysalis needs to get into bed as soon as possible. She’s barely coping as it is.”

“Not true,” Chrysalis protested quietly.

“Cadance!” Shining Armor stood resolutely. No matter the reasons, he was not prepared to allow a Changeling access to his house. “Do you realize who it is we’re talking about here? Do you know what she did to you? To me?” he added for emphasis. “And you want to nurse her back to health?” His face had moved past fright, to utter bewilderment. His eyes flitted to Chrysalis’s sagging face, and she bared her fangs menacingly, narrowing her eyes and hissing. Cadance dug a sharp elbow into Chrysalis’s ribs.

“Not helping our case, Chrysalis,” the princess said. “Be nice.”

“Allow me to remind you . . .” Chrysalis took a deep breath, the single statement robbing her of all air. Oxygen flooded her being, and she immediately utilized it to finish her sentence. “I don’t even want to be here.”

“Shut up.”

Chrysalis exhaled in exasperation, and immediately regretted it: her oxygen reserves, recently replenished, drained out of her lungs in an instant. It left her choking, struggling for air.

Cadance ignored the gasping Changeling next to her. “Shining, honestly. I don’t remember you to be a grudge-holding type of guy.”

“Because I’m normally not! If I was, I never would have made it through foalhood with Twilight! But this . . .”

“It’s no different.”

“Of course it is! She trapped you in the Canterlot caverns and invaded Canterlot with an army of Changelings! This isn’t like Twily stealing my toys! What makes you think that when she’s back to full health, she won’t try to do it again?” Shining Armor gestured widely at nothing, his discomfort apparent in his body language. “How did you even find her?”

“Oh, she wouldn’t do anything like that . . .” Cadance’s grip around Chrysalis tightened in an affectionate hug. The Changeling would have protested the action, but her limbs were constricted against her body, and there wasn’t enough air in her being to articulate words. Their cheeks met, Cadance’s soft and warm against Chrysalis’s. “By the time that she’s back on her hooves, we’ll have such a strong, sisterly bond, that she wouldn’t dare do anything against me!”

“Cadenza . . .” Chrysalis warned.

“Cadance,” the princess corrected.

Chrysalis glared at her captor as best she could with their faces pressed together. Cadance’s infernal cheeriness was unbearable. Logically, she should be furious; Chrysalis had indeed sabotaged her wedding and attempted to invade the capital of Equestria. Cadance had every reason to despise the queen, and yet here she was, Tartarus-bent upon healing her.

It confused the Changeling.

Cadance peeled her face off of Chrysalis’s, taking with her a layer of sticky fluid whose origin Chrysalis was not entirely sure of. With the amount of bodily wastes she had been excreting during the day, she lost track of which liquid came from where.

At the sight of what appeared to be a green amoeba clinging onto his bride’s face, Shining Armor paled, what seemed to be an impossible feat for the white unicorn. His coat no longer looked like the proud alabaster he normally wore. It now seemed unhealthy, chalky. Most unbecoming. “But . . .” he started.

“No buts.”

"But . . .”

“Please? I want to do this, Shiny. Please?” Cadance looked up with wide, pleading eyes, sticking out her lower lip to increase her chances of success.

“No.”

“Please?”

“No!”

“Then what do you want me to do with her?” Cadance’s voice rose an octave. “Leave her out in the cold? To starve?”

Shining Armor’s armor appeared to be breaking up. Cadance had targeted the weak chinks, gradually tearing his shell apart from the inside out. His instincts still strongly suggested against letting the creature into the house, but his wife’s desperate pleading appealed to his better nature. The conflict raged behind his eyes, and Chrysalis picked up on every bit of it.

“Fine.” The single word, signifying that his adoration for Cadance had won out over his logical half. That he was prepared to allow a Changeling lodgings in his home, however grudgingly it might be. The look that he gave Chrysalis was a warning: he had allowed her a place to stay, but there will be no funny business. Even the slightest hint of her old ways would result in her being thrown out of the house headfirst.

“Thank you so much, Shiny!” Cadance dropped Chrysalis, who collapsed into a tangle of spindly limbs, and rushed to embrace Shining Armor. As the pink forelegs wrapped around his neck, the stallion’s prominent scowl faded slightly. “I promise, this won’t blow up in our faces!”

“That’s comforting,” Shining Armor muttered.

A muffled groan brought all attention back to the resident Changeling, who was currently facedown on the cobblestone, with no energy even to turn her head to spit out the dust that had coated her tongue. Her eyes were free though, and she made out a look of poorly-concealed mirth on Shining Armor’s face. Despite his reservations, he was prepared to honor his wife’s intentions. But that didn’t mean that he was going to make Chrysalis’s life easy.

Shining Armor’s long horn illuminated turquoise. A warm blanket of magical energy washed over Chrysalis, consuming and engulfing her. She felt herself being lifted off the ground. Her long legs dangled as she hung limp, any last reserves of energy she had been living off of completely gone now. Without any forewarning, the unicorn thrust Chrysalis into the house, the sudden movement jarring her drooping eyes open.

Chrysalis’s vision fogged. Mercifully, her consciousness slipped from her, leaving her to peacefully meander a wide, black landscape, undisturbed by neither Shining Armor or Princess Cadance.


The Changeling’s blissful slumber was erased. Slowly, at her own pace. No external stimulants to jar her out of it suddenly.

The feeling was glorious. It had been so long since Chrysalis had been able to sleep on something that was actually soft, and it had done wonders for her back. Her head was cushioned on something that was made most likely of no less than the finest of clouds.

The sensation was almost enough to make the hardened queen smile. Genuinely for a change.

Then the emptiness returned.

The angry beast, clawing at her insides mercilessly. The horrible feeling of having absolutely nothing. And yet that “nothing” was causing her so much pain. She felt periodic stabs from her organs, informing her unnecessarily that they were hungry.

A particularly bad bout of clawing made Chrysalis gasp, her eyes snapping open.

The room that she had awoken in was unfamiliar, and yet it made her feel like she’d been living in it her entire life. The space itself was unremarkable; simply wallpaper, wooden planks for flooring, furnished only with the bed that Chrysalis was currently occupying, and an end table.

“How are you doing?”

The tender voice, layered with so much genuine concern, caused Chrysalis’s eyes to dart to the side to search for the origin. Apparently, she had a visitor.

Cadance sat next to the bed, a ceramic bowl of soup hovering next to her head, accompanied by a long spoon. She wore a wide, comforting, motherly smile. “Did you have a nice rest?”

Chrysalis didn’t respond. She couldn’t. Her mental facilities were not yet fully operating, nowhere near the concentration it would take to formulate words and excrete them in a manner that was interpretable.

“Do you . . . need anything?” The bowl hovered a few inches closer to the dilapidated, bedridden queen. “I have some soup, if you wanted.”

“Water,” Chrysalis rasped. One word answers would have to suffice.

From seemingly out of nowhere, Cadance conjured a tall glass, filled to the brim with clear, tasteless liquid. In other words, liquid gold. Greedily, Chrysalis raised her head, mouth gaping. Cadance positioned the glass in front of the Changeling’s face. The queen thrust her snout into the magical skin surrounding the object, the sudden warmness tickling her nose and making her want to sneeze. She forced down that desire and began to drink.

“Anything else?” Cadance offered.

Chrysalis considered. Food was optional; Changelings did not need it to survive. When they did eat, it was for the novelty of it. Not for sustenance. No, what the queen needed was a source of love. “A kitten.”

“What?”

"Kitten. Young cat."

Cadance smiled confusedly. “If you say so. I know a pony who might be able to supply one. Out of the goodness of my heart, I’m not even going to ask what you’re going to do with it. Is that all?”

Chrysalis nodded, and Cadance left her alone once more.

Left to drift back into sleep, but not nearly as blissful as her previous rest had been. Teeming with unsettling dreams and constant awakenings, Chrysalis’s desideratum for peace was not fulfilled.