• 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.

  • ...
3
 141
 3,464

Unhelpful Felinity



Part of the reason that the Changelings as a race had been isolated from the equestrian population was the fear factor that they oozed so apparently, the unsettling fact that they captured their prey and basically drained them of their life force. Myths swirled around the species, as to their feeding methods. Some thought that they sucked love out from the mouth, while others retained a firm belief that they extracted it from the neck like vamponies.

None of the theories held any merit; the Changelings’ actual dining habits were not quite so romantic. There was no blood, no forcible extraction. Nothing that would constitute a good bedtime story.

Changelings got their life force by fooling their prey into loving them.

Evolution had given them the ability to copy another creature’s likeness, accurate down to the last cell, in order for them to feed. Contrary to popular belief, Changelings were not a mindless race of savages; some spent weeks at a time studying their targets, learning them from the inside out. Their methods were far from crude. Learning who the ponies were attracted to. Once the Changeling had taken the loved one’s place, and lulled the victim into a false sense of security, it gradually begun to feed on the love that emanated from its new “partner” in a non-corrosive manner. The pony would walk away from the relationship none the wiser.

Unfortunately, the rumors had carried on throughout the centuries, firmly implanting a deep-rooted fear of the exiled race.

But apparently, Princess Cadance couldn’t care less about Chrysalis’s reputation.


Chrysalis stared at the creature before her, willing it to bend under her gaze. Her poisonous green reptilian eyes bored into the animal, burrowing deep into its very soul and forcing it to comply to her every whim. In mere seconds, she had it completely under her command, a mindless slave awaiting orders from its new master.

That was the theory, anyway.

Opalescence was having nothing to do with it.

The infernal feline simply sat at the foot of the bed, gazing at the Changeling disinterestedly. Every now and then, it raised a paw to its mouth and gave it a contented lick. It’s boredom was apparent, despite the limited facial expressions available for the species. Chrysalis surveyed the cat cryptically; she couldn’t decide if the fluff was because of fat, or simply an excess of fur.

“Love me.”

The statement would normally have been finely layered with a mixture of contempt and fiery assertiveness, compelling almost anything to comply to the Changeling’s every command. In Chrysalis’s dilapidated state, however, she could only manage to sound feebly helpless.

“Please?”

Being polite hardly helped Chrysalis’s cause; it only made her sound weaker. The queen hadn’t ascended the ranks of the Changelings simply by being nice to them. Hard sweat, no tears. Suck up any discomfort and power on. No weakness. No softening.

Opalescence turned in a slow circle, and plopped down on the bed clothes, purring. Her eyes squeezed shut and her breathing slowed. Evidently finding the Changeling queen disinteresting, she had simply taken the easy way out and gone to sleep. Chrysalis spewed out a string of muttered oaths, raspy because of her aching throat. She made an attempt to kick the cat from under the covers, but the limb that she had instructed to carry out the action could only manage a delicate twitch.

The sound of dainty hoofsteps reached the Changeling’s ears, approaching the closed door to her adopted room, deafeningly loud compared to the serene silence in which she had been languishing in. Chrysalis tensed as the cacophony reached a crescendo, then ending as they reached the door. With a long, drawn-out creak that grated against her worn eardrums, the wooden slab that isolated her from the rest of the world swiveled outward, revealing a smiling Cadance.

Weary hatred coursed through Chrysalis’s being, aimed with certainty towards the figure silhouetted in the doorway. A bubbling pit of animosity churned within the queen’s being, filling her up to the brim with abhorrence.

“How’s it going?” Cadance inquired cheerily, sisterly.

“Not well,” Chrysalis replied bitterly.

Cadance frowned, showing legitimate concern in the revelation, in Chrysalis’s well-being. Her eyes found the slumbering feline at the foot of the bed. “Is Opalescence being less than helpful? I’m sorry. You asked for a cat, and the first pony I thought of who could help was Rarity. I should have gone to Fluttershy; she has at least a dozen kittens I could have picked from.”

Chrysalis grunted in response, an undignified intonation that she was utilizing much more frequently now, given her inability to communicate adequately with words. She put as much annoyance and distrust into the grunt as she could, forcing her dislike upon the alicorn across from her.

“What were you going to do to her?” Cadance asked. “I mean . . . if you don’t mind me asking. I’ve always been a bit curious about how Changelings actually eat, ever since . . . well, you know.” Cadance shuffled her hooves uneasily, having trodden onto a subject that was sensitive on both ends. Her eyes locked on the floor. “But you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I mean, if it’s a secret . . .” she finished awkwardly.

Chrysalis stared blankly. “Okay.”

Cadance perked up, her face popping back up to meet Chrysalis’s eye level, her violet eyes wide and excited. “Really?”

“Yes.”

Cadance bounced to the Changeling’s side, her enthusiasm dominating her features. She looked closely at her, a curious grin on her face. “Do you do it through the neck? Like, with your fangs? Auntie Luna told me that you sucked the love out like that, but I thought that she was just kidding. Is is true?”

“No.”

“Oh . . . right. I thought is was a little far-fetched. Luna was probably just messing with me.” Cadance looked vaguely disappointed that her notion had been dismissed, but she bounced back with just as much enthusiasm. “Is it with magic, then? Twilight told me that she saw me . . . you . . . using some sort of green magic that made his eyes go like this . . .” She thrusted her face close to Chrysalis’s, with barely an inch of air between them, and twirled her bulging eyes in wide circles.

Chrysalis jerked back, accidentally banging her head on the headboard and accentuating her prominent headache. “No,” she repeated, rubbing the back of her cranium.

“Then what was that?” Cadance wondered.

“Not feeding . . .” Chrysalis rasped. “Weakening. So he’d be more . . . compliant.”

Cadance cringed. The memory that her husband had been turned into a mindless zombie by the Changeling queen had been repressed, but now surfaced painfully. “Right. Got it.” Mercifully, she withdrew her face from Chrysalis’s. “If it’s not by magic, then how do you do it?”

“Affection.”

“Explain.”

“We need an indication that the target loves us. That’s why we transform . . . so ponies are more relaxed around us.”

“That’s why you asked for a kitten.”

“So it could love me.”

Cadance laughed humorlessly. “I really shouldn’t have brought Opal.” At the sound of her name, the cat stirred, opening a bleary eye and pointing it in the princess’s direction. Cadance ran a hoof across her back soothingly, giving her an excuse to close her eyes again. The vibrations emanating from the cat deepened in pitch, signifying her contentedness. “There aren’t many cats who are less loving than this one. Don’t tell Rarity that I said that, though,” she added.

“Do I look like I would even want to talk to Rarity?”

Cadance giggled. “No. I guess not.” She continued to pet Opal. Her love towards the despicable creature was apparent, even though she had just been saying how abominable it was. “Should I get another kitten?”

“No . . . don’t want kittens.”

“Then how are you going to get better?”

Chrysalis didn’t respond. She didn’t know. And she hated not knowing.

“You just need somepony to love you?”

Chrysalis gazed at Cadance uneasily. The use of the word “somepony” sounded ominous. “Yes,” she replied cautiously.

“Well . . .” Cadance met the Changeling’s gaze shyly. “I love you.”

Chrysalis’s jaw hung slack, not out of amazement, but of surprise. Cadance had said it so easily, so confidently; her body language was uncomfortable, but her voice was assertive. She was perfectly comfortable revealing the tidbit of information.

“I mean . . . not like that,” Cadance corrected herself immediately. “I’m married, and I’m not . . . well . . .” She cut herself off, flustered.

“I see,” Chrysalis said simply, evenly.

“So . . . could I . . .you know . . . help?”

Chrysalis, despite her aversion to admitting it, was running out of options, to the point of having only one. And that prospect was impossible, unbearable. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she decided to go through with it; she was a picky eater, and an old enemy would not be a desirable addition to her meager diet. “No.”

“Why not?”

Chrysalis mustered up whatever energy she still retained, and forced it into her voice box. “Because I hate you, Cadenza!” she shrieked. “I don’t want anything you have to offer! I don’t want your love inside me, I don’t want . . .”

Chrysalis was cut off by a mass of pink enveloping her. Cadance had thrown her forelegs around the Changeling’s neck and buried her face in her sticky green mane. The warmth of the hug pressed against Chrysalis’s core, warming her up, faster and faster. Stronger by the second.

Something clicked.

Then the explosion.

A vibrantly gold shockwave radiated out from Chrysalis’s heart, blasting Cadance away from her, and shocking Opalescence back into the world of the living. The cat hissed and darted under the bed, while Cadance slid down the wall and slumped on the floor, eyes half-closed. The air was metallic; electricity danced across the room in thin tendrils of spiky yellow illumination. Chrysalis’s mouth gaped open, light radiating from the back of her throat. Her eyes, open to their widest extent, were solid gold. Warm radiations of opaque energy swirled around her form, writhing in an unorganized cavortion.

Chrysalis felt something. Something stirring deep within her, an alien feeling that she had never experienced, and never planned to.

Changelings couldn’t feel love.