• Published 21st Oct 2012
  • 5,037 Views, 92 Comments

Love Mine POV: MANE SIX - Zephyrus Scary

The Bearers attempt to return to their lives after their first encounter with Alternate

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Part Two of Two

Love Mine



(Part Two of Two)

Zephyrus Scary

Pinkie Pie zooms through Sugarcube Corner so fast she doesn’t see the suddenly relieved, then startled looks of Mr. and Mrs. Cake from where they’re putting up the chairs on the tables, preparing to close for the evening. The two bewildered Earth ponies blink at the stairs for a moment, hoping that Pinkie has only forgotten—as the eccentric mare might—to help close up shop; when she doesn’t come back down after a few moments, the married couple turns to the last customer left, Spike, as if he may provide an answer. The three seem to speak without words as Spike scratches the top of his head before they come to some silent understanding when he shrugs his shoulders, tosses the last bite of a sapphire cupcake into his mouth, and heads upstairs.

As Pinkie rushes into Sugarcube Corner, up to her room, locks her door, then leans against it (as if the lock isn’t enough to keep unwanted ponies out), there is only one thing running through her head: This can’t be happening. It isn’t happening! It can’t be! Can’tbe.Isn’t.Can’t.Isn’t! My. Friends. Aren’t. Fighting. Over. A. Changeling! That’s just ridiculous! She tries to laugh, but it comes out sounding more like the strained cough of an old mare on her deathbed.

Trying to steady her breathing, she squeezes her eyes shut as she tries to settle her mind as well. That Changeling… he tried to help Fluttershy even though he was being sent away and wouldn’t be able to feed off her love any more, because he wouldn’t dare go near her again after what Princess Celestia said, right? He sounds too smart for that… and it sounds like he was telling the truth about being in Ponyville since Nightmare Moon came back, but… then why did my Pinkie Sense tell me a new pony arrived in town today, then stop when I saw him?

With that question, Pinkie stands straight and opens her eyes with surprise before narrowing them with suspicion. Why? She rubs her forehead with one forehoof as she asks herself this over and over, but the only thing she can say for sure is, Either I’m missing something, or Alternate… lied, and as much as the latter idea disappoints her, she finds the disappointment overridden by her surprise that such a thing would disappoint her at all.

In time, she hangs her head with a sigh before walking slowly up to the mirror next to her closet, and there in the silver reflection is part of the reason she had rushed up here: Her mane, once thought always poofy since the first Sonic Rainboom, is now, for the third time in her life, almost unnaturally straight. “Oh, Pinkamena Diane Responsibility Pie, what are you going to do now?” she asks herself as she lays before her tearful reflection.

Even during the problem with the buffalo in Apploosa, even after the buffalo had threatened to attack the settlement, even when they did attack, Pinkie hadn’t worried about the friendship between the Bearers; she had believed to the end that a peaceful resolution was possible, and in the end had been right, but now… Now, with Alternate, just one Changeling among the countless, without power and stuck between his aggressive Queen and (apparently) wanting to live in quiet peace with his food source, what kind of peace could there be? How could any be achieved?… What would Zecora do if the zebras decided to attack Equestria? Would ponies start to think she had been a spy all along?…

… Probably… Pinkie has to admit to herself with a sniffle, Even Twilight would start distrusting Zecora. With a heavy sigh, she stares at herself, mind curiously blank until the full power behind the revelation hits her: “Losing a friend’s trust is the fastest way to lose a friend… forever”… Trust really is everything to Equestria, isn’t it? It’s everything to everypony that wants to live in peace, really, and it’s the reason Alternate lied because he knew nopony would trust him if we knew what he is… Her frown deepens, too sad about Alternate’s position to be angry with this truth about herself and her (supposed to be) Harmonious friends.

…-But Fluttershy did! She realizes with an almost physical shock that all the same makes her sit up straight. -And if there’s one thing I know about Fluttershy, it’s that she isn’t a monster, and even though she’s really, really, REALLY, reallyreallyreallyreally super-duper nice, she wouldn’t be nice to anypony that wants to hurt her friends!… Even if Alternate lied, he wasn’t lying to hurt anypony (like my friends didn’t mean to hurt me that one time with the surprise party), but to protect himself! She finishes with a slight, empathetic shiver for any and every creature that has ever been put under The Stare.

She looks proud for her super nice friend then, but soon slumps in a bit. Right? He didn’t want to hurt anypony; Fluttershy believed that! -but Twilight says Changelings can’t be trusted… but Rarity trusted Fluttershy, even though Alternate took ‘Shy’s appearance and fed off Rarity herself, but Princess Celestia is more than a thousand years old and should know what she’s talking about! Celestia was wrong about Cadance, but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong about Alternate… How am I-!… -supposed to decide… what’s… right? Looking down at the floorboards then, flipping back her curtain of a mane with an absentminded hoof, she still cannot ignore or argue away the danger posed against their friendship; she still cannot see any way that this issue Alternate has (inadvertently) created can be resolved without hurting somepony… or hurting Alternate himself.


“AAAAAAAH!” Pinkie screeches in alarm, jumping up and staying in the air for far longer than should be possible—until she hears, underneath her own screaming, another’s cry of surprise: young, but identifiably male. Wait. Spike is here? Since when?! I thought it was closing time… she asks herself as she falls back down, legs crumpling under her and mane, which had been (somehow) fanned out as if by strong wind as she yelled, now fell back into place.

Spike tried the door, but the handle only jiggled slightly against the lock. “Pinkie?!” his voice started agitated, but steadily grew worried as Pinkie didn’t answer his question. “Are you alright in there? Why’s your door locked? Why did you run up here? Mr. and Mrs. Cake said you’ve been away since early afternoon without telling them, and they were worried. Where were you? Did-…” he goes on, trying to get the other to say something

Pinkie’s first thought is that he sounds way more worried than the situation warrants, but one glance out of the corner of her eye to the mirror, and her straight mane—the way her mane was when she didn’t know joy, then again when she thought she had lost her friends—quickly has her reevaluating the situation. In time, she gets up and heads for the door, the sound of her hoofsteps finally getting Spike to stop asking questions and instead stand in anticipation of the door being unlocked.

“Hi, Spike,” she answers more dully than she had intended when she finally opens the door, and while she shrinks back inwardly, Spike steps back, unpleasantly surprised by both her tone and appearance. “Sorry, but I don’t think I can talk to the Cakes right now. I… have too much to think about right now.” She finishes with a long sigh that gives voice to her inner suffering that words would be hard put to describe, before turning away and hopping all the way from the door onto her bed in one jump.

Spike stays in the doorway for a moment, watching as Pinkie lays down, facing away from him, before rolling his eyes in a resigned-exasperated way and striding in. “Well then, maybe you could use some help to sort through whatever problems you’re having? Help from a friend?” He takes a few steps forward, a hint of something hopeful behind the worry in his voice; he stops somewhere about halfway between the door and the bed.

Pinkie Pie doesn’t answer right away, and if not for both of their breathing, it may have seemed the room is, for a moment, locked in time—still and silent. Throughout this time, Pinkie debates with herself over how much to tell Spike; it seems to her that Princess Celestia, if not Twilight, would at the very least not be comfortable with the idea of telling Spike about their “problem;” like herd mares arguing amongst themselves might hide their worries from their foals and even their stallion.

In time, however, she arrives at what she thinks is a compromise, after all, I wonder if Alternate ever took on Twilight’s appearance once or twice? Or even mine?! “Spike?”

Turning hopeful at this sign of recognition—and not pushing him away, literally or otherwise—Spike dares a small smile and walks quietly, almost reverently, but mostly respectfully, to the edge of the bed, but doesn’t climb onto it; not yet. Another long pause before, “Yeah?”

“What if-.” Pinkie has to stop to sniffle to get her voice to sound relatively normal, or at least not morose. “What if you found out I was a Changeling? Like, I’d been a Changeling my whole life, and there was no ‘Pinkie Pie, the pony’? Or Twilight? Or Princess Celestia? Or anypony you love and trust?… What would you do?”

“What if you were a Changeling?” Spike repeats, the tiny waver in his voice evident enough for Pinkie to not want to turn around, but she does, sitting up to look around, and there is Spike, stepping back wards slowly, but stopping upon Pinkie looking at him. He tries to laugh the idea away, “Eh-heh. Heh… You’re not really a Changeling, though, right?” and his grin is awkward; lop-sided and fake.

The mare lets out a long sigh before flopping back down on the bed, pushing her face into her pillow. “I mean, of course you’re not a Changeling! I don’t think they’d know about your… uhm… ‘depressed hair,’ first of all…” When he says this, Pinkie turns slightly to stare at him with one jaded eye, the other half of her face still smushed into the pillow, wet with tears she had until been holding back; Spike, looking up the ceiling with his tongue trying to think of an answer, doesn’t yet notice, but at least he’s not weary of her any more. “Hm… ‘If you were a Changeling’ Huh?… Wellllllll, first of all, I think it’d explain quite a bit! Like, what if you weren’t just one Changeling, but a whole bunch! That’d explain how you appear out of nowhere all the time. And your Pinkie Sense would be the hivemind telling you what other Changelings see happening around Ponyville, and you’re guessing what could happen from there… maybe?” He laughs at his own deductions, much more honestly this time, but stops instantly upon finally looking down at the half of Pinkie’s face he can see and the one eye glistening with tears.

Another sniffle from Pinkie seems to prod him back into speaking. “Well… ah… ‘What I would do’?” He reposes the question, biting his lip, hesitant, perhaps afraid of his own answer. “I’d-… I would be-… I guess I’d be…” He gulps, not wanting to go on.

“Scared,” Pinkie finishes for him.

Spike hangs his head and sighs, staring at his hands as he twiddles his claws. At length, he knows he has to admit it or lie, and he doesn’t want to lie—not to a Pinkie in such an obviously vulnerable state. “… Yeah… I’d probably run away and tell Twilight—or somepony else, if it was Twilight—and let them deal with it…” He balls up a fist and glares at it for a moment before suddenly bursting out, making Pinkie jump with a tiny, Fluttershy-like sound of surprise. “What’s with those Changelings, anyway!? They’re just so… weird! -Looking like ponies, but they’re not like them at all! -And-!” He stops just as suddenly with a sigh. “But… maybe it’s because I’m dragon, and not a pony, and because I saw what dragons are like last Migration, but… I kind of… don’t hate them?” He ends with a unsure tone. “I mean-! I hate what their Queen did, and what happened at Canterlot, but I don’t hate… Changelings, and I think I understand why they… did what they did… That doesn’t make me… evil, too, right?”

Yes, is Pinkie’s first thought, and she instantly hides her face in the pillow again. No! You silly filly, Fluttershy isn’t evil! -and her first instinct was pretty much the same as Spike’s: get Twilight. -but does she empathize with them? Would it matter? Yet again, her first thought is, Yes, but she quickly redacts herself. No! I can’t think like this! If even one of us doubts that we’ll be able to push through this and still be friends, then that’ll be a self-fulfilling prophesy! But what solution is there? What is the truth? How can it be uncovered when Changelings are so rightfully and understandably secretive? And how can that truth be presented in such a way to convince the ones who are wrong? Who’s wrong, though? What side should I be on?

At first, as all of these thoughts chase each other around Pinkie Pie’s head, leaving her unable to respond, Spike looks on with increasing worry for both himself and Pinkie. However, he comes to look down and shake his head in a way as if understanding the stupidity behind his questions. Then, he finally climbs into the bed and hugs Pinkie gently from behind; when she comes out of her thoughts enough to be aware of anything beyond, she shifts around to hug him back, finding him already asleep. As she begins to drift off herself, her mane regain a little bit of its poofiness, but right then, a little feels like a lot.

Three silent mares walk slowly—pensively—to the spa; after Rarity had assured the others she would be able to convince the twin co-owners to serve them despite the hour, they had fallen into their own thoughts again. As Rarity leads the trio, Fluttershy takes up the rear; knowing the path to the spa more-or-less by heart thanks to her weekly visits there with Rarity (which they had been having even before they became two of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony), the pegasus of the group merely looks down at the ground, her eyes never having dried since she started worrying for Alternate’s life. This whole confrontation is my fault. If I had just thought for a second instead of running off to Twilight, none of this would have happened. Nopony would be angry with anypony else. I would know Alternate is safe… -…but, what if… he was lying? I… don’t want to believe it, but what Princess Celestia said-

“… this Changeling took on the appearance of Fluttershy and tricked Rarity… … no matter how you may feel for a Changeling, it wants nothing but your love, and everything it does will be towards that goal. … Changelings are incapable of emotion, and any display they give is only designed to gather more love for themselves. … As something I’m sure you are familiar with, Fluttershy, the more hungry an animal is, the more dangerous it is. … It knew its only chance of survival and escape was to convince you that it is ‘good’…”

“I’ll be fine, I promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly/ Stick a cupcake in my eye.”

No! Fluttershy asserts to herself with a small, barely noticeable stomp as she continues trotting.

Princess Celestia is wrong! Another stomp.

Alternate- Changelings- Nothing is “just” evil! A third stomp.

Changelings are-!… -victims… What would have been a fourth stomp instead turns into pause with the hoof left hanging. Victims of nature. Everything has to eat somehow—usually by eating something else. Even ponies have to eat other living things; even though it’s mostly stuff like grass and berries and things, it’s still was alive once…

… And Changelings don’t “kill” love when they eat it; Rarity seems to care about me just as much as ever before, and even though I could feel Alternate feeding off my love for him without any disguise, I don’t care about him any less… When Fluttershy finally looks up, she sees that she had chosen an opportune moment to stop, as they are indeed right outside the spa now, and it seems she’s just managed to convince Aloe to allow them into the sauna while the rest of the place is being closed down.

I really should learn to think before acting… I should have realized what time it is before making the suggestion to come here…

Rarity lets a slow, aggrieved sigh out of her nose so it’s not too audible. Silly Rarity, there’s no reason to get upset. It is Aloe’s (and Lotus’s) business, and they can do whatever they want… but after that dreadful display, it would be more than a simple disappointment if they didn’t relent… Rarity turns to grin back at her friends and fellow Bearers in a way not entirely honest; Applejack returns with a small smile that all the same shows she knows what Rarity is thinking, but when Fluttershy passes by Rarity as the unicorn holds the door open, she’s surprised by the strangely, Determined? expression on the pegasus’s face.

Rarity’s first instinct is to ask what’s bothering her oldest friend, for surely Fluttershy’s thoughts have been disturbed beyond the normal range for the pegasus to make her display such an emotion, but in the next instant she manages to shake the impulse off. That is not the point of us being here. This is a time for relaxation and putting aside the past, not spreading new worries! And with that, she steps in after the other two, who are now waiting for her to show them to the sauna—Aloe has already disappeared, presumably to help with the daily maintenance (Rarity is her most loyal customer, and that comes with a certain degree of trust)—for Applejack doesn’t know the way, and Fluttershy is apparently too absorbed in her thoughts (and too much of a “not leader”) to show Applejack the way.

For the unicorn, each step to the sauna feels agonizingly slow; certainly, the drama and worry and everything else that came with whole situation concerning Alternate is starting to show. Rarity wants nothing more than to rush ahead, but at the same time, she feels as if she can barely manage to keep moving one hoof in front of the other: wanting something—her body itching for it—yet at the same time, incapable. Urge and impossibility competing; creating nothing but evergrowing discomfort and strife. Like poor Alternate, needing love, and wanting it honestly, but knowing nopony would love him if he didn’t disguise himself… he didn’t even seem to believe Fluttershy, of all ponies, would give him so much a chance!

“Honestly”? Rarity hums thoughtfully as the group (finally) files into the sauna. As she holds the door open with a hoof and levitates a bucket of water inside, she follows Applejack with her eyes as discretely as she can—not as hard as she thought it would be, given that Applejack doesn’t seem any more aware of things than Fluttershy as she slips onto one of the benches in a most robotic manner. I’m going to have to be discrete… Applejack wanted to come here to put our troubles away…

But Fluttershy seems to be on a role with taking charge of the conversation. “Applejack?” She asks as she steps next to the Earth pony, who raises her head up with a look in her eyes as if she’s recovering from a fever that had brought her terrible visions. When the other finally nods, Fluttershy smiles. “I just wanted to say: I don’t blame you. If I had just-…” She slows and shakes her head. “I mean… I couldn’t have expected you to react any other way, given how you were raised. -And your Element… and just everything else that makes you Applejack…” Fluttershy trails off, but she doesn’t look down or away.

At length, Applejack finally responds, though she stares at her forehooves. “Yeah… me neither… If I hadn’ been so worked up an’ worried, I would’a realized ya both were just doin’ what you though’ was righ’, too. -An’ all the reasons ya both gave that Changelin’ a chance is part of whai I…” She has to stop to wipe her eyes and sniffle, but the tears are instantly replaced and her voice is no less nasal when she continues. “-whai I love the two ‘a ya!” She cries out in a rush before burying her face.

“Oh!” Rarity, with her muscles now finally giving in to her commands as comforting steam begins to swirl about her legs, manages to kick herself into all but jumping to Applejack’s side. Poor dear… She just not used to admitting her weaknesses to anypony, even after that Applebucking Season fiasco… and the whole “cherry farm adventure.” As sad as the thought is, I can only guess it must come from needing to have grown up so young… Rarity quickly shakes such depressing thoughts off, though; right now, Applejack needs a boost! Not a reminder of her failings!

“Applejack.” No response.

Applejack…” Still nothing.

“Apple-! -jack!” Not so much as tiny change in the volume of her crying.

APPLEJACK!” Rarity all but roars and, deciding enough is enough, smacks the Earth pony across the back of her head with a hoof.

Instantly, as if by a switch, Applejack’s sobs disappear and her heaving is replaced with deep, quiet breaths. In time, she eventually looks up, revealing her eyes still shimmering as emeralds under the Sun may. With a small cough as if such can help her regain some composure, Rarity speaks again. “Yes, Applejack, of course we all still love each other, even after what just happened, and do you know why?”

Applejack swallows and takes a long moment (during which Rarity and Fluttershy take their own benches to lay on) before answering, “Because-… Because we… trust each… oth-…?” Applejack slows, stops, and cringes as Rarity starts to shake her head, but she smiles in a teacherly way, inviting Applejack to rethink her answer. “… Because… uhm… ah?… well…” Applejack bits her tongue and makes a series of other strange faces, staring at Rarity as if hoping to read her thoughts and snatch whatever idea Rarity is looking for out of her mind. “Durn it! I dun… know!” She eventually shouts half-heartedly, sounding on the verge of outright crying again.

Rarity is sure whatever expression is on her face now, it’s the most sympathetic thing she had ever worn in her life. “Applejack, it’s because, when you think about it, Changelings are… powerless. Truly. They can eat love all they may, but they can’t make me, or anypony—or anything—‘not love’.”

When Applejack turns as stiff as stone, so much so that even her eyes stop tearing up for a moment, Rarity is about to silently mentally pat herself on the back when Applejack’s somewhat deadened voice calls her back to the world. “That is the dumbest thing I ever heard, Rarity, and I’ve known you, and Pinkie, and R.D. for a while, now; enough, I thought, to’ve heard-.”

“Uhm… Applejack?” Fluttershy’s tiny voice, no matter how small, shall always be enough to quiet any beast’s roar—Applejack’s steadily rising voice didn’t stand a chance. “I think you’re missing… the point?” While Rarity nods, Applejack simply turns nonplussed, looking between the other two. “We love you because you’re you, so as long as you don’t change—good things, or bad—we’ll always love you. Though, maybe, you could stand… to not be… so-…” Fluttershy’s last statement quickly slides from mumbling into complete incoherence.

“Exactly!” Rarity heads off, for Applejack is not looking entirely convinced just yet. “We’ve all hurt each other in one way or another with the… unique brands of stupidity each brings to table, so to speak.” Rarity chuckles in a strained kind of way, but she doesn’t doubt her choice of words. “For example, you’re as sturdy as stone, in body and mind, making you, well, stubborn. -But-! -you wouldn’t be the mare we love if you abandoned that part of yourself! We still cared about you after you poisoned half of Ponyville with baked bads, after you helped almost start a war with the buffalo, after you ran away and broke a Pinkie Promise, a-”

The last one is too far for Applejack to handle, though, and she stops her there. “How many times do I have to explain: I di’n’t break no promise, or lie, or no thing like that!”

“Semantics, Applejack.” Rarity waves her hoof in a way she realizes too late is perhaps a bit too condescending. “If you want me to be more accurate, then you deceived us. When you promised to tell us what had happened at tomorrow’s breakfast, the implication was that you were going to actually be there to tell us, and you betrayed that trust.”

Applejack opens her mouth, but goes no further than that; Only when Rarity raises an eyebrow expectantly does Applejack get her vocal cords to unpetrify. “Well… dang. I reckon… ya got me on that one.”

“Yes…” Rarity looks on uncertainly, wondering if Applejack will want to drag the conversation further away from the original topic, and truth be told, I’d not only understand, I wouldn’t stop her, but the Earth pony does nothing of the sort. “Well, the real, core point here, Applejack, is that we’re friends because we know each other, good and bad, and still care, and everything that’s happened in the past, including Alternate, isn’t going to ch-.”

“Ya’ll are applyin’ that to that Changelin’, too, ain’t’chya?” Applejack suddenly interrupts, serious, but, as it takes Rarity a moment to notice, not angry. Not any more. “Ya’ll ‘care’ about it, even though it’s a lyin’ lil’ monster?”

Fluttershy sits up, but Rarity answers before she can, not even so much as raising her brow with incredulousness. “And how should I know you’re not lying, Applejack?”

Applejack takes upon her face a deadpanned expression before deciding that she better grace the stupid question with a stupid answer if she wants to get anywhere. “First bein’ because I’m the Element of Honesty, an’ second bein’ I couldn’ lie to save mai life…”

Rarity grins in the manner of a chessmaster making a gamechanging move, unsettling Applejack enough to stop in her reasons she’s no liar. “Are you so sure about that, Applejack? You couldn’t, say, deceive even a single pony? -And you couldn’t use that deception to get out of an uncomfortable situation?”

Even before the last word, Applejack starts to get a far off look in her eyes, apparently no longer listening and, at least as far as Rarity is concerned, no longer needing to. In time, Applejack comes back to herself, and gives Rarity a submissive “you’re right” kind of smile, and for the rest of their stay in the sauna and as they walk to Sweet Apple Acres together under Luna’s moon, they tell stories of things that had happened because, as Rarity so succinctly put it, their unique brands of stupidity, laughing at themselves and each other good naturedly. Upon seeing Applejack to her door, they hug their farewells before Fluttershy and Rarity head to their homes.

From one of the many balconies of Canterlot Castle, Princess Celestia opens her eyes as her horn, releasing a scrying spell, stops sparkling, and she looks down at the dark silhouette of Ponyville, barely distinguishable under the cover of night. She knows the days troubles are not forgotten—never forgotten—but the six have put such behind them, at least for now, for each knows, at least subconsciously, Celestia’s intention, but keeps it to themselves. Alternate… it would seem you failed to split the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony, and I doubt you are unaware of this. I wouldn’t count on me being naïve enough to think Queen Chrysalis would let such a tiny failure hold her back from trying again; in fact, I’d be surprised if all my preparations for your return are eventually revealed to be a waste of time.

Comments ( 53 )

We got a tiny bit of your head-canon for pony society, and a better understanding of what Celestia thinks is going on with the Changelings.

It's interesting to see that Twilight needs to use a hive-mind theory to protect herself but Pinkie can much more easily condemn them without the justification that they're doing it to survive.

I also didn't realize until now that I have an insanely hard time picturing Applejack crying without restraint. It could be the similarities between our families coloring my judgement. Then again, there was Bic Mac crying when she abruptly decided not to come home, so maybe they aren't raised with that "bottle up your pain" mentality.

Could Celestia hear their thoughts at all? Probably not, just wondering if it was intended that the story was seen from her point of view.

I'm really glad that I found this. Love Mine was one of the first stories I started following when I got on this website, and I still consider it to be one of the really good ones. The only problem was not seeing an update for a long time. I look forward to your next chapter, in this story or in Love Mine.

Well, I did try to make each pony's reason to hate Changelings or trust Alternate different, otherwise it would have basically been the same scene three times in a row.

About Applejack: Maybe, maybe not. After all, so many things about ponies have attributes of American(/Western?) society "gender swapped" so that perhaps males would have less emotional restraint than females? Just throwing the idea out there, not saying that's how it is in my headcanon...

As for Celestia, the simple answer is "no", she wasn't reading anypony's thoughts, on "spying" in on them to keep tabs on the extent of the "damage" Alternate caused.


D'oh! :derpyderp1: Good thing you said that! It should be listed as "Complete" now, since it's only two parts...

I love the conversation in the sauna, the back and forth is excellent.

Have I already mentioned the song by Prince, Trust off the 1990 Batman Movie soundtrack?
Your 'Aternate Universe' always reminds me of it.:raritywink:

Ah, that's a relief... I was worried the sauna scene would come out... contrived, forced, OOC, stilted, weird, etc., etc.

I believe you have mentioned that song before, though I have not been in a rush to look for it...

"Alternate-"... "-Universe"...
... ... ... ... ...
Actually... That gives me an idea...

Celestia's general reaction and paranoia honestly make me think one line.

"Wow, what a bitch."

Argh, Princess Celestia is one of my favorite characters, stop making me hate her. :ajsleepy:

Y'know, for a being who is thousands of years old, Celestia is being really narrow-minded.

Hopefully, I'll be able to turn your thinking around a little bit once I get to POV: CELESTIA and the scenes in "Love Mine" that lead up to her POV story.

There are reasons Celestia thinks what she does, including explanations for why (from our perspective) she's narrow-minded, some of which I've hinted at before and should become a little more evident in the next chapter of "Love Mine".

Simply FANTASTIC chapter! MOAR!!!!

Yeah, that makes sense, I guess. :twilightsheepish:
Looking forward to the next chapter then.

well, the only way to win the game is not to play...

1514901 The question is, does living for hundreds of times the lifespan of similar creatures give you more time to broaden your views or more opportunities for you to find evidence that your viewpoint is right.
Does spending time around ponies less than a tenth of your age affect how you view their ideas and perspectives?
I would imagine the god-queen of Equestria would have to actively search out ponies who wanted to tell her she was wrong on a philosophical level. Without opposition or an 'other' we have no impetus to broaden.

1521023 ... but where's the fun in that?:unsuresweetie:

1514404 Thankless job is thankless:ajbemused:

Wow, I found Celestia logic unbelivable weird.

It sounds like someone in a comedy movie where in goverment secret agency, someone get info that someone may be elite spy who is wroking for enemy goverment, when in reality he is normal unaware of anythink cyvilian.
And it result in suspecting him of everythink, this cyvilian give someone coffee ( oh no, it must be some sort of true serum or poison ), he kick a rock because he is angry ( oh no, it must be some sort of secret signal ), he asked his friend to go on a fishing ( oh no, it must be some sort of secret message about top secret meeting with enemy contact to send some informations or meaby an assasination plan, and the fish must be some importand politishin ).

My point is that you can do the most innocent thinks in the world, and if others think you are criminal or spy, everythink for tham will be hostile and evil.

And now Alternate is captured in all this madness, all he wanted was to feed to not die from hunger and Celestia think that he want to destroy bonds between elements of charmony, and I bet she was ready to kill him no matter do he was innocent or not, it is just impossible to talk with someone who not want to talk, or to explain to someone that you are not evil if he thinks that you are evil.
As result it does not matter do alternate will do good thinks or bad thinks, since everyone will expect the worse of him, and if mane 6 decide to trust him, Celestia will think that it was his plan all along, and if mane 6 will not trust him, Celestia will just proudly think that she was right all along and Changelings can not be trusted.

A loss to loss situation is not justice.

I liked it until the last line which actually broke the story for me. All the Elements are coming to grips over their altercation about Alternate and at the end you have Celestia acting like a pretty stereotypical Tyrant!Celestia. Don't bother mentioning it's a lead in to another chapter of an entirely different story as this is a self-contained story. Using the "Go here to see why I portrayed them like that" is a cop out excuse

Very well. If you insist on reading this without the story it's a part of... I didn't need to anyway. :ajsmug:
Look at these passages from Part One again:

Naturally and not without reason, Celestia inwardly fears that such is simply not possible given how far too close to home the events just past have hit, yet she cannot do more than ask them this.

How can one mortal render me so helpless?

Consider what these feelings might mean for Celestia. How they might make her... desperate, perhaps?

1686093 Then make her seem desperate. Here she just goes to full on bitch mode without stopping.

Naturally and not without reason, Celestia inwardly fears that such is simply not possible given how far too close to home the events just past have hit, yet she cannot do more than ask them this.

This phrase is part of the problem. Really wordy and awkwardly phrased. Simply state what she's feeling. "Celestia feared it was not possible due to recent events." Something like this. Short, simple and to the point. Excessive prose just drags the story down.

First of all, this is in present tense, but even "Celestia fears it is not possible..." sounds strange to me.
Secondly, "short, simple, and to the point" is just not my style, and I use particularly excessive prose occasionally to obscure a point on purpose. Note the first thing I quoted is obscure, then the second comes along and expands upon the idea presented before it; though the connection isn't obvious (it's not supposed to be), the implications are there all the same.

1686272 If you obscure the point behind excessive prose then be prepared to have people miss the point all together which rather defeats the point of subtlety.

ERMAGERD I found your Eureka! moment for "When They Found US". I'm happy now. Also, thank you for mentioning Love Mine in the comments, I would've missed this side story otherwise.

Oh... when Celestia finally takes notice that she's violating her own central principle she's going to have a breakdown.

She's using their trust in her to manipulate them, thus violating it. And she's using the 'changelings can't be trusted' thing to justify it.

I smell a breakdown.

Buck you and your teacher (you can go ahead and tell him I said that); I'll do what I want. dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Twilight_Sparkle_lolface.png Here's a lesson for you: This is a story. Stories are art. Art is subjective. Subjective means something can only be defined by opinion, never fact. That's "never" as in "no matter what happens and no matter who says otherwise." Sure, I've gotten other comments like yours, but they're way, way down in the minority, so I'm just gon'na go ahead and assume everyone else is at least okay with my style choices.

Now here's my opinion: I think the past tense reads like something "dry" and "dead" (I endure it when reading others' stories, but more often than not change the tense in my head), whereas present feels "fresh" and "immediate" (i.e. "alive"), so I write in the present tense as much as possible--only using past when present doesn't make sense in the narrative, and even then I seriously consider future before past. If you hate it that much, you can edit it for yourself (as long as you don't post it anywhere on the 'Net, of course)because I'm not going to waste the time changing it to something I feel is inferior, and maybe you'll like my other story: "When They Found Us"

2057580 wow for all the ponies wanting "peace, harmony and tolerance" they are hypocrites

hell they don't consider that there is any gray area in life, all they know is good or evil
this means they are blind to the fact the invasion was out of desperation also to the fact that the changelings may be individuals
and they only followed orders due to loyalty to the queen

this is why a human is a good thing for Equestria because we as humans know what it is like to be desperate to survive

BTW good addition to the story

2070506 Finally I found a author who back ups his writing decisions! Hats off to you! Most of the stories I've read have some negative reviews and the author replies that he either isn't a good righter or is completely horrible at it. I usually give points of views that back up the authors choices for him. Glad I don't have to do it here! :pinkiehappy:

But was the invasion out of desperation? The story implies that Changelings don't need to feed on love to live, considering how much positive emotion is being produced by Alternate and his associates. Then again, maybe it's not enough to survive on, but the story doesn't seem to go to any lengths to imply that. Changelings don't necessarily have to be evil, but that doesn't mean that Chrysalis isn't, or at least not greedy. Love, after all, seems to be very powerful, or maybe emotions created by non-Changelings are stronger in general, or because non-Changelings aren't absorbing part of that energy, giving normal gain, but with half the requirements.

And, of course, they don't follow Chrysalis because they're loyal to her in the sense that ponies are loyal to Celestia, but because all of Chryaslis' hive are her children. Or, potentially, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but that implies some sort of "Sub-Queen" system, so I don't know about that.

Uhm... You may wish to read over "Love Mine" again. Particularly the part when Alternate first meets Twin, and the part where the Changelings are discussing the love Alternate received freely and truly from ponies. In the former, it is very clear that, as Alter grows to care for Twin, Alter is being being drained of energy. In the latter, Reflection and co. marvel at how Alternate got a pony to love him as himself, and Alternate relayed that the love he received felt different, even though he is at that very moment receiving love energy from other Changelings--if there was any connection, he surely would have compared the feeling of the love that came from ponies after he was exposed to the love he's feeling coming from the Changelings, but instead he says it's "different".

While (thanks to the first person perspective) I may not be able to provide proof that the energy given is equal to or more than the energy received, I ask you to think about how Reflection and co. feel towards ponies, then ask yourself if you think they would continue to feed off ponies if they didn't need to.

Hm... Far be it from me to argue with the author, but the methods of the Changelings in the fic seem radically different to the methods of Chrysalis in the series. In the series, Chrysalis replaces someone to feed off an already existing love as some sort of necessary action, but in the story, the stallion they've created might be able to feed off the love of his suitors to a degree, but they aren't able to cultivate it without severely impacting their ability to stay hidden - if Alternate's behaviour is in any way similar to the others, they've been shunning their main suitor.

This may be a matter of personal preference, but I wouldn't even believe they're gaining any love at all. Affection, respect, lust, etcetera, but not true love in the way that the series treats it. Fluttershy most certainly isn't romantically attracted to Alternate, and Rarity probably isn't romantically attracted to Fluttershy. So, romantic love isn't necessary, and there's no need to convince anyone that they're ponies. Thus, Changeling transformations are not only redundant but counter-productive, due to providing less energy, and could only be necessary with the inclusion of some sort of predator that feeds on Changelings, but not ponies. Of course, that predator seems to be the ponies themselves... which is annoying because the ponies are killing Changelings solely because of the transformation.

While I certainly accept that Changelings are empathic emotivores in general, they're not presented in this fic as amorivores. There doesn't even seem to be any trace of that Changeling disease that the encyclopaedia mentioned. It even suggests that Changelings would be better off as symbiotic, not parasitic. So while it is necessary to hide, it's necessary because the ponies will murder them, not to gain energy, specifically. So it has to be that Chrysalis was greedy and selfish, capturing Canterlot and ruling over it with an iron hoof was an untenable plan (because love for the horrific, murderous, racist dictator is unlikely, and that goes double for being in a cocoon), not necessary for the survival of Changelings at all, and Celestia is paranoid and without trust (for anything illusionary in general?).

As for the drain, I only recall them having a shared pool of energy when they're together as a group. (Alternate's high reserves being shared between them, surely.) I don't recall any specific mention of emotions they create themselves having or not having any effect on their energy pool. I simply assumed the gain, if any, was simply too low to live on. Of course, I don't recall what was said about what energy was gained as Wood Work, either.


they aren't able to cultivate it without severely impacting their ability to stay hidden

I don't see how you came to this conclusion. It is all but stated--implied to the point of without question--that the absorption of love is a passive thing.

romantic love isn't necessary


ponies are killing Changelings solely because of the transformation.

Let me just say this: Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions, and especially don't be so quick to assume that Alternate has all the relevant information. Remember, Cele is scared of Changelings--what could scare her so? A species with a specialty in transformation magic?

There doesn't even seem to be any trace of that Changeling disease that the encyclopaedia mentioned.

... Reread the scene where Rarity is tending to Alternate's injuries.

Chrysalis was greedy and selfish, capturing Canterlot and ruling over it with an iron hoof was an untenable plan (because love for the horrific, murderous, racist dictator is unlikely, and that goes double for being in a cocoon), not necessary for the survival of Changelings at all

Ohhh... this... Heh. Heh heh... I'll just put this here: Rewatch the scene where Chrysalis reveals herself.


I don't see how you came to this conclusion. It is all but stated--implied to the point of without question--that the absorption of love is a passive thing.

What I mean is that they can't actually "return" those feelings, and increase the amount of love received - assuming there is a difference between an unrequited crush and entering into a long term relationship. which I already said that I do.

... Reread the scene where Rarity is tending to Alternate's injuries.

The chill? I should have paid more than brief attention to that - I should ignore canon in regards to this detail, I think. So, are you suggesting that 3-6 mares in Appaloosa have been getting cold chills and no one notices? Actually, at this point, it's weeks and weeks, with much longer implied beforehand, but no more than 3 months, so the mares should be suffering much more pronounced effects like the headaches, and the "sense of doom" should come soon enough, as well. (Mutliple Changelings feeding off of multiple hosts shouldn't result in the stable, effectively permanent second stage that would have appeared if there was only one Changeling, right?)

But at the same time, that doesn't hold true, later, when he's not disguised, and no one displays any chills... If Fluttershy's right, and she doesn't "lack" in love after being fed on, despite there actually being a dangerous result, and suffers no effects after the disguise is lost and the "feeding" continues, does that mean that the disguise is actively poisoning their food source? Then, the disguise is the worst attempt to feed, ever. It's proving itself as being increasingly unreliable.

Also, doesn't that imply that the Mane Six have come to the wrong conclusion? Or at the very least, Twilight and Rainbow Dash have, in regards to the illogically quick - and apparently accurate - information being released?

Remember, Cele is scared of Changelings--what could scare her so? A species with a specialty in transformation magic?

Also a being that's effectively on her level with a little bit of love, but that's a bit petty for Celestia. If you're confirming that Changelings are legitimately dangerous, then there's the obvious answer. But... If combined with the mostly accurate information being released, does that mean that Celestia already knew... and thought they had already been wiped out... presumably by her? (Actually, Cadance knew, but, according to this, it didn't appear in the Encyclopaedia, so Celestia would need to be the one to tell her, and also removing the information from circulation... It's not as if this is the first bit of information that Celestia knew of, while still hiding it from everyone else. Not to mention her apparent agreement that Alternate is a singular being, rather than the same entity that attacked the wedding, as is popular opinion.)

I'll just put this here: Rewatch the scene where Chrysalis reveals herself.

I'm... not entirely sure what this is leading to. Chrysalis has a flawed understanding of the best absorption methods when she confirms Cadance's tale?


What I mean is that they can't actually "return" those feelings, and increase the amount of love received - assuming there is a difference between an unrequited crush and entering into a long term relationship. which I already said that I do.

This will be brought up in the story in the future, but I don't mind saying now that different "kinds" of love produce different amounts of energy. This is somewhat implied in the first few chapters with Alternate's meeting of the Mane Six.

Actually, at this point, it's weeks and weeks, with much longer implied beforehand, but no more than 3 months, so the mares should be suffering much more pronounced effects like the headaches, and the "sense of doom" should come soon enough, as well. (Mutliple Changelings feeding off of multiple hosts shouldn't result in the stable, effectively permanent second stage that would have appeared if there was only one Changeling, right?)

Perhaps I could have made this slightly clearer... the "feeding on one host by multiple Changelings" is concerned with multiple Changelings feeding at the same time. I suppose I assumed too much in thinking that, as Alternate doesn't feel any love coming into him when he is not disguised as Wood Work, that his nonexistent feeding would not cause symptoms to worsen? If multiple Changelings alternate, only one feeding at any one time, then the timetable would be comparable to one Changeling feeding, period. Then, since the Apploosan Changelings are feeding from multiple hosts, their timetable is comparable to one Changeling feeding from multiple hosts.

no one displays any chills

Does no one display any chills, or does Alternate not notice if they do, for one reason or another? Remember this is a first-person account; not everything is sensed by, recognized by, or known to him.

quick - and apparently accurate - information being released

The only completely accurate information in the encyclopedia is the section on signs and symptoms--this is because the disease was already recognized as a "strain" of Fear Flu.

Does no one display any chills, or does Alternate not notice if they do, for one reason or another? Remember this is a first-person account; not everything is sensed by, recognized by, or known to him.

I'd expect Celestia to notice and point it out, to strengthen her argument. Failing that, Twilight.

2836260 Aye, while this may be true, if anything from all changeling fics I've read is true all across the board, then those who love the changeling itself-- and not the disguise-- won't feel chills, because instead of the love being stolen via deceit, the love is being willingly given to the changeling. I can't remember if this was the case after Alternate was revealed or not, but if the Mane 6 who were supporting him do in fact realize that "hey, we only felt the chills when he was disguised, not when he wasn't!" then that right there would be the reason why.

Same with Trixie in the main story, actually. I don't think she shivers, even though she's giving Altie her love to feed on.

Celestia is making a big mistake only thinking that the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony would split.Her downfall is that the worse case scenario would be to lose them as allies.Then she would wish they did split.It could come to bite her hard on her flank.Cause the 3 that were with Alternate made better points than the 3 that weren't and those 3 know it. Celestia sun help you if in up there for your own selfish thinking.

Alternate... That's the same name as my changeling oc. One that I've been having ever since season 2's finale aired. :rainbowhuh:
Yet, aside from the name share, everything else is completely different. :rainbowlaugh:

3090387 I don't understand the point of your response to my sarcastic comment. My implication was that this was a ridiculous assumption to make about any sentient creature.

Who benefits from denying everyone in Equestria personhood? :unsuresweetie:

GOD I hate Bitchlestia wit ha passion. :twilightangry2:

Hopefully by now in this story you ended up figuring out, along with Alternate, why Celestia thinks the way she does.

I wonder what kind of preparations Celestia has prepared for Alternate... unless that changeling Alternate met in Ponyville is a fake by Celestia or placed there by her willingly or she is aware of it but didn't do anything about it. Anyway I wonder what her reaction will be if Alternate just up and walked up to her castle in no disguise, being escorted by guards.

Applejack has a secret, but I think you know that by now. ^^;

3622804 Indeed, I kinda wish I had suspected her of being a changeling. That said with the foal free press episode they did establish her as someone who bottles up her problems when shes mad and so in hindsight I could see how its more likely for her to go straight to a nervous breakdown.

Wait, the episode really did portrayed Applejack like that? I thought it portrayed her as a slacker.

I think kagemao is referring to the scene when the CMC try apologizing to the town, and AJ and BM "switch roles" in regarding their speech patterns. Big Mac gives the verbal beatdown while AJ stands off to the side, looking away, simply "E-yep"-ing and "E-nope"-ing.

I was asking how the changelings do know this about AJ from the Foal Free Press, but then again a simple observation might make others think she's supposed to act like that instead of a newspaper.

Hmm, now we must wonder if replacing Applejack was a good idea after all...

Rainbow Dash is the Element Of Loyalty.

She should tell Twilight she's loyal to her friends and that she (Twilight and Celestia) can go buck themselves.

I also hope Pinkie gets a "Okay I lied about being in Ponyville before, but I'm actually a transdimensional alien and I've secretly watched all of you for YEARS! No wait that came out wrong!" speech at some point later on. :)

I sincerely hope the princess is ready to be surprised then. Shes going to be blindsided with the chaotic variable (and I don't mean Discord either) throwing her calculations off so badly that its unrecoverable. Shed have a better chance of rhyming with 'orange'.

Oh Celestia is correct they will not be split between themselves but being split against her may be an entirely different story.

I both expect, and look forward to, all her machinations collapsing at the worst possible time, because it all hangs on proving changelings have neither emotion, nor individualism. Thusly, she is ultimately disproven, she and her subjects are faced with heavy amounts of guilt, and Queen Chrysalis is at their doorstep with another invasion. The Queen mocks her, asking if the "spy Equestria sent to the Badlands x long ago" had successfully delivered the message. During this gloating, Celestia shows genuine confusion, when asking about the "spy". This leads to the revelation that neither know just who the actual Tartarus Alternate really is. They both freak out, and Alternate charges into throne room, which provides a distraction for the Elements to defeat the changeling menace. This changes Alternate back into a human (or just sends him back to Earth... Or both), and that's the end... For now, at least.

(EDIT: I only wish this, because Celly just tempted the Deity of Fuck Ups, Murphy.)

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