• 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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Luxury Treatment

“Now, I don’t mean to rush you, but is there any chance that you could be able to transform a little earlier than you promised?”

“Not likely.”

“Could you at least give it a shot?”


“Could we drop the idea of being difficult just to be difficult?”

“I do so enjoy the activity, though.”

“I’m aware. Now can you swallow some of that pride and humor me here?”

“I’ve done plenty of pride-swallowing as of late. I refuse to stoop any lower.”

“Okay . . .” Cadance kneaded her eyes with a hoof, exasperated at the lack of cooperation from her houseguest. “Pretend it’s not for me. Pretend I couldn’t care less whether you could transform or not. Do it for yourself, not me. I mean . . .” The princess looked up, a strained smile now plastered on her face. “Transformation is the first step to getting out of here, right?”

“No matter how you slice it, sweetheart, it doesn’t benefit me as much as you’re trying to convey. So . . .” Chrysalis forced herself out of the constraints of the bed, ignoring the ache that accompanied the seemingly-insignificant effort. The Changeling stretched widely, eliciting several pops in various joints. She cringed—her stiff limbs had been still for so long that the sudden movement had brought with them a series of stabbing pains. “I’m afraid that I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.”


“That means ‘no’.”

Chrysalis could see Cadance’s eyes darting back and forth under her closed eyelids, and her teeth grinding against each other. Satisfaction flashed across the Changeling’s consciousness—her current mission was to annoy the pink alicorn as much as possible, and it seemed as though her objective was progressing nicely.

However, the sly smile that played about Cadance’s lips bode ill for Chrysalis. The princess had thought of something, and Chrysalis wanted nothing to do with it.

“Well, I don’t mean to coerce . . .” Cadance started.

“Which basically means you’re going to coerce the Tartarus out of me,” Chrysalis interrupted grimly.

“But I have ways of making you do what I want.”

“I was sincerely hoping that you wouldn’t play that card.”

“Tough luck, sister. If I have to, I will turn you in to Celestia. Is that what you want, Chrysy? No? Okay. Let’s get started then. First, let’s select a likeness that you will assume.” Chrysalis didn’t respond, but Cadance was beyond waiting for her nemesis to acknowledge that she had spoken. She continued briskly. “Now, do you need to have the actual pony in front of you in order to transform into them?”

“The lesser Changelings need a point of reference, yes, but I can pull a disguise from memory, and memory alone. And I might add, it takes an unimaginable amount of brainpower to accomplish this, so in all seriousness, you should be congratulating me on my excessive amount of intelligence.”

“You’re very smart.”

“Thank you.”

“So, could you do that now?”

Chrysalis waved the princess down, batting at her with a flailing hoof. “Give me space.”

Cadance’s eyes surveyed her immediate area. Chrysalis was standing at the opposite end of the room— though she didn’t doubt that whatever the Changeling had in store was perfectly capable of hurting, given that Chrysalis had already blown her across the room with one of her previous explosions. “Okay.” Cadance took several long steps backward, forcing herself into the corner, as far away as she could possibly go.

“Space. Need it. You . . . understand?” Chrysalis repeated, her eyes narrowed to catlike slits.

“Yes. Got it. Whatever you need. Thanks for using short sentences.” Cadance, laughing quietly to herself, made her exit, closing the door behind her.

As soon as Chrysalis was satisfied that the door was shut and latched, she dropped the charade. A ring of venomous green light appeared around her body, quickly moving up to envelop her in a pulsating, lime-colored curtain. Under the cover of the light, her likeness began to change—her legs shortened, her punctured limbs became whole, she sprouted a thin coat of light blue fur, and her mane transformed into an elaborately curled blonde structure.

The green light swirled around the newly-disguised Chrysalis, spinning once more to ensure that all the necessary transformations had been made, before dissipating into a flurry of quickly dissolving wisps. A soft breeze ruffled the curtains, spawned from the event’s conclusion; not nearly the catastrophe that Chrysalis had led Cadance to believe would occur.

Chrysalis picked up the mirror resting on the end table with her customary green magic—the transformations she adopted weren’t capable of changing the color of her magical aura. Nothing in the known world could alter a pony’s soul enough to make a change in his or her magic.

The reflection that smiled back at her was not her own. It was of a pony that she had taken the likeness of decades ago, a friendly, cute unicorn from Las Pegasus with an affinity for painting still lifes. Her cutie mark—which Chrysalis now bent down to see—was a thick paint brush, with a splatter of red and orange paint swirling outward in a short spiral.

This pony’s name was Prism Brush, and had long-since passed away from disease, so there was no chance of her showing up to call out the disguise.

“Done,” Chrysalis called out, making a point to put a layer of weariness on her voice, as though she had just gone through a grueling ordeal. It would be in her best interests to keep acting as though she was incapacitated. The princess would underestimate her, and that would be her undoing.

Cadance pushed the door open with her nose, her eyes eagerly searching the room for Chrysalis’s altered figure. She found it, and latched upon it, jaw hanging slightly ajar. Chrysalis sat down heavily on the bed, continuing the act of weakness. She made a point to quicken her breathing, giving her the appearance of having just run a marathon.

“Happy?” Chrysalis wheezed exaggeratedly. Her voice was no longer her own husky tone, but a bright, singsong titter. With a voice so naturally cheerful-sounding, it was hard to appear sinister.

Cadance admired the new mare in front of her. The sheer innocence of the pony didn’t match the extraordinarily dirty look it was giving her. “Yes, actually. You look good, Chrysy.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Now, without further ado . . .” Cadance stepped forward, grasping the transformed Chrysalis behind the elbow and yanking her along, dragging her across the wooden floor. “We should get going.”

Chrysalis exhaled heavily, in genuine exhaustion this time. No matter what she told herself, she wasn’t fully healed. Assistance with walking would be necessary until she was more comfortable with her motor functions, but there was no need to indulge Cadance quite so much.

“I can walk, thank you,” Chrysalis lied through clenched teeth.

“No, you can’t.” Cadance called out the bluff without a moment’s hesitation.

Chrysalis didn’t bother contradicting her—it seemed as though the Equestrian royal family had a knack for picking out liars, so there was no point in arguing her point further. So she kept her adopted mouth shut, allowing herself to be forcibly guided out of her room, down the hallway, and out the front door.

“I don’t care how flawless my disguise is, I won’t be walking down the middle of the main Ponyville thoroughfare,” Chrysalis insisted, planting her hooves down on the cobblestone as firmly as she could manage.

“Well, first off, you won’t be walking anywhere. And secondly, I have a better route we can take. Something that keeps us a little more in the shadows, as per your request.” Cadance tugged at the unwilling Changeling, knocking her grip loose and propelling her forward a few feet in surprise. “Can’t we have a little trust here?”

“Coming from the pony who threatened to turn me in to the authorities. So apparently we can’t have a little trust, Cadenza.”

“Lighten up. Let’s get going, Chrysy.”

“Stop calling me that.”

“Love you too.”

Chrysalis found herself being forced into an unimaginably soft spa chair, the hooves of the specialists—Aloe and Lotus—on her shoulders. Her face was set with a permanent scowl—the excessive touching coming from the twins was unwelcome, and would usually warrant a lifetime of imprisonment, or death, depending on Chrysalis’s current mood.

Today, it was death.

“Miss Cadance, I do not see the source of this . . . erm, ‘emergency’ you mentioned,” said Aloe, remarking to Cadance, who was sitting on one of the provided benches. The princess had her nose buried deep in a magazine, her eyes darting across the page hungrily, as though she had never seen a formal ware model before. Although, Chrysalis rationalized to herself, she likely was brought up in a sheltered household, being a princess, and all—maybe casual gossip magazines weren’t permitted within the palace.

“Hmm?” Cadance looked up, annoyed at the interruption.

“Miss Prism Brush appears to be in spotless condition,” added Lotus. “I don’t fully understand why you enlisted our assistance.”

“Ah, of course.” Cadance stood, regretfully relinquishing her precious reading material. “Could I speak with the two of you for a moment?”

Aloe and Lotus regarded each other uneasily. Their jobs were usually quite straightforward; a customer selects one of the treatments from the provided menu, and the twins carry out their orders. Custom treatments weren’t usually permitted, except for Lady Rarity, of course. “Of course, Miss Cadance.”

“Lovely. Now . . . I’m going to show you something that may very well disturb you greatly,” said Cadance. The spa specialists’ eyes widened. It was almost comical to watch—their movements nearly perfectly mirrored each other. They were a pair of identically frightened sycophants. “But you have to promise me that you will not scream, faint, or run out of the building in panic. Are we clear?”

The twins now looked downright terrified—the most horrifying sight that they had ever witnessed was a customer sneezing through her mud mask, and that had taken Aloe the rest of the day to recover from. For what was forthcoming, Chrysalis could only chuckle silently.

“Y-yes, of course, miss,” Lotus assured Cadance. The stammer punched a hole in her professional appearance, giving way to her anxiety.


“Yes, miss.” The second twin managed to keep her voice level, but her wide eyes told an entirely different story.

“Excellent. Chrysalis? If you would be so kind . . .”

Without standing up, Chrysalis closed her eyes and willed herself to revert back into her original form. The violently green curtain rushed forth from out of her blue horn, swirling around her once more. Ribbons of Changeling magic wrapped around her limbs, lengthening and puncturing them. Her body grew larger, growing uncomfortably big for her chair.

After one last wipe, the magic faded, leaving behind only the scent of rot and mildew—an unwelcome smell in the refined establishment.

Chrysalis smiled winningly, baring her fangs prominently.

Both twins screamed.