• Published 31st Jan 2013
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Of Princesses and Changelings - Vigilance


Princess Celestia and Queen Chrysalis have become a couple. Cadence is more than determined to make sure it doesn't stay that way.

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The Moments Before the Storm
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Frozen Outskirts of the Crystal Empire

Grizzled Policy inhaled deeply, allowing the noxious fumes of the cigarette placed in his mouth inside before exhaling heavily. The Capricorn rubbed his hooves together and then held them in front of a nearby fire to generate as much warmth as possible. He flexed a little in his armor, the inside lined with cozy fur to keep out the frigid winter surrounding the camp the Ambassador and his troops occupied. The Capricorn hated the areas that bordered the Crystal Empire, too damn cold.

The Ambassador wrapped his lips around the cigarette’s butt and spitting loudly sent the toxic stick of carcinogens flying into the nearby snow. “Bleh, I hate tobacco.” The goatfish snapped and flexed his neck, seeing an approaching zebra in the process. “Yes?”

The zebra saluted. “Sir, a message came from the Griffon Ambassador. He wants the Changelings to control the Empire no more.”

Grizzled nodded understandingly. “Right then, the party begins.” He got up and stretched to remove some numbness. Yawning blandly, the Capricorn regarded the Zebra again. “Go and get the rest of the troops ready. We’ll move in quickly as stated in the battle plans and neutralize Queen Carapace and her forces with no blood on either side.”

“Sir, there is more.” The zebra said, causing the Capricorn to cock an eyebrow. “It seems Cadence flies to the Empire quite sore. She is shown to hate Changelings with a passion, and will end them in the traditional fashion.”

Grizzled rolled his eyes. “Well we can’t have that. I suppose Septimus ordered us to take out the Changelings quickly and then focus on Cadence?” The zebra nodded. “Alright, stop the bugs, then save them from psycho Cadence. All in a day’s work.”

“Cadence is also using ENEC.” The zebra added.

The Capricorn Ambassador snorted. “What a child she is. It matters not, she can’t hold out against all of us. Go and get everyone ready, we move at dawn.” The zebra nodded and ran off into the newly forming blizzard.

Grizzled Policy didn’t watch the striped equine leave. He turned instead towards the direction of the Empire; the bright city could easily be seen on the darkened canvas of the horizon. It was actually a very appealing sight, one the Capricorn could appreciate.

The Ambassador snorted again. “Well, this ought to be very interesting.” He suddenly smiled grimly. “I get to fight a Changeling Queen and an Alicorn Princess? Maker, I may not celebrate the holiday, but is today Hearth’s Warming Eve?”

~~~~

Changeling Drone Twenty-three marched around the outskirts of the Crystal Empire, where the lush green grass met the harsh white snow. The drone stopped and looked around, scanning the freezing tundra beyond with its blue insectoid eyes. Nothing, it noted.

The Changeling sighed; it hated guard duty out here in the ass end of nowhere. It rather be back at the city watching the captives and ensuring they weren’t trying anything. Twenty-three thought its services to the Queen would be better there then here. Well, on the bright side, at least nothing bad ever happened out here.

Crack…

The Changeling’s ears perked at a slight cracking sound. Twenty-three looked around, trying to locate the source of the sound. When no discernable epicenter was located, the Changeling simply shrugged. Must’ve been nothing… It chimed in its mind. That’s when the ground gave out underneath the tiny thing and swallowed it whole. Everything was silent for more than a minute.

Grizzled Policy popped his head out from the now gaping maw. “Ha! See? I told you it would work!”

A Griffon’s head shot out from the hole. “It was a stroke of luck, nothing more. I’d like you to try and pull it off again.”

The Capricorn snorted. “Watch me.” With that, the goatfish dove back into the hole and started digging towards the city with his pickaxe.

“How are these pickaxes even effectively digging up this dirt?” The Griffon thought out loud.

“Magic!” Grizzled called back. The Griffon sighed at the vague explanation and went back into the hole to dig.

~~~~

Canterlot Castle, Equestrian War Operations Center

Princess Luna paced back and forth, waiting for the data to come in. Her mood was agitated and she had a very visible frown on her face. This was a stark contrast to Princess Celestia and Griffon Ambassador Septimus, the two opting to sit in comfortable seats rather than stand. They watched as the nighttime Alicorn as she paced and allowed her annoyance to fester.

Finally, Luna couldn’t take it. “UGH! Where is that blasted data! Can’t it get here any faster?!”

The mare handling the complex, magical equipment whimpered pathetically at the shout of her Princess. “S-sorry m-my Princess… But these things take time and-and…”

“How hard can it be to track Cadence?!” Luna asked. “She is a fuming vessel of uncontained Alicorn magic out for the blood of an entire species! A blind, deaf pony could notice her a mile away!”

The mare whimpered more, oh why had she come into work today? “Alicorn magic is different from all other forms of magic, we need to calibrate it to track Princess Cadence. Maker, we’ve never even needed to track Alicorn magic before!”

“Well hurry!” Luna shouted, returning to her steady pace.

“Luna, please, calm yourself.” Celestia bade, giving her sister a slight smile. “We will find Cadence, you needn’t worry.”

Her sister’s words only angered Luna more. She halted and turned to Celestia. “Needn’t worry?! I am shocked you do not worry! An Alicorn with dangerously boosted magic is out there planning to do Maker knows what to an entire species!”

“Cadence is stronger than you believe, sister.” Celestia countered. “She will come to reason.”

“How do we know this?!” Luna shot back. “After all, Septimus has proved how long she’s been depraved! Maker, I bet everything bad that’s happened to Chrysalis since she arrived has been Cadence's doing!” The younger Alicorn gritted her teeth. “She’s been playing us… all of us, this entire time!”

“And we will deal with it.” Septimus added, joining the conversation. “But right now we need to pinpoint her magical signature so we can track her wherever she may go.”

“And how,” Luna asked. “How will we stop her just sitting here?!” The mare’s expression darkened into one of hate and frustration. “I will not let her become another Nightmare Moon…” She said half-sobbingly/half-angrily. “I will never let that happen again!” (Celestia could see her sister hold back a pained tear).

Septimus nodded to Luna’s concern. “I assure you, Princess Luna, that will not happen. In fact, this whole ghastly ordeal will mostly likely meet its predictable end. After all, I doubt our renegade Princess can stand up to an Alliance task force.” The Griffon exhaled heavily. “Especially if that task force is headed by Grizzled Policy…”

~~~~

“What do you mean we’ve lost contact with ALL our border patrols?! How is that possible?!”

The little Changeling drone shivered and shook violently inside the aura of green magic. Queen Carapace glared angrily at the thing, baring all her teeth. All contact with the patrols around the Crystal Empire’s boundaries had been lost and the Queen was none too happy about it. Unsure how to answer his Queen’s question, the Changeling shrugged adorably.

“Useless!” Carapace yelled as she tossed the Changeling across the room. “What use are you fools if you cannot guard a simple border?!” Carapace sat down onto the throne of the Crystal Palace, rubbing her temples vigorously. “Ugh, this operation is getting worse and worse!”

Shining Armor, who was sitting chained at the knees to the throne, huffed at the Queen. “Well, whose fault is that? You’re the one that attacked us!”

Carapace chuckled. “True, true. But it was a necessity. I need to ensure Chrysalis gives away no information about the Collective.”

“So you attack us?” Shining huffed defiantly.

“Yeah.” Carapace responded blandly. “We’re a species with a mostly one-track mind if you haven’t noticed already.”

“Oh, I’ve noticed.” Shining grumbled angrily.

A Changeling drone burst through the throne room doors and ran to Carapace, screeching something in native Changeling tongue. Carapace listened intently at the drone’s sounds. After it had finished Carapace growled. “What do you mean we lost contact with entire parts of the city?! Are we under attack?!” The Changeling drone shrugged. “USELESS!” Carapace shouted again and tossed the drone away.

“It looks like you don’t have much time left.” Shining Armor gloated smugly.

“I have all the time in the world!” Carapace shouted. “I will defeat whatever has attacked my hive forces and I will beat it back to the hole in came from.”

And so did irony take over, as the floor exploded in front of Carapace and Grizzled Policy jumped out from the hole. The Changeling Queen had time to yelp in surprise before the large Capricorn rammed his armored hoof into her chest and activated the stunner on the end of it. Carapace convulsed sporadically as the extremely powerful electric pulse coursed through her body. After almost an entire minute of being electrocuted, the Queen became unconscious and fell to the floor with a thud.

“Well that was anticlimactic.” Remarked Sombra as he returned from the little colt’s room and stood next to Shining. “Kinda was expecting an awesome, totally epic battle there... I feel jipped.”

Grizzled Policy laugh/snorted. “Unlike you ponies who wait for everything to get screwed up before waiting for six pieces of magic jewelry to save your butts…”

“Hey!” Shining interjected. “We don’t always use the Elements of Harmony.”

“Four outta five times Shining.” Grizzled reminded him. “Unlike you, my species solves its problems quickly and effectively, then goes home and fornicates vigorously with its females.”

“Did I really have to be told that last part?”

“Yes, yes you did.”

“Ugh… Uh…” Carapace placed a hoof on her head and moaned heavily, a splitting headache leftover from the shock. “What happened?”

Grizzled looked down at the Changeling. “You’re awake, so soon… didn’t expect that.” The Capricorn stomped over to her and shackled her legs together. A magic disrupter was the final touch to immobilize Carapace from escaping. “You’re under arrest for attacking a territory of the Alliance. You have the right to shut up and wait patiently as we ship you back to your Collective, ok?”

Carapace looked at the Capricorn lopsidedly. “I demand peanuts!” She shouted.

“She’s insane!” Sombra yelled, the stallion then chuckled. "It's actually kinda funny."

“Makes my job easier.” Grizzled remarked. “Come on Queenie, let’s get you home so you don’t start an international incident.”

"I am the prettiest mare at the harvest ball!"

"Of course you are."

Shining had finally tugged free of the chains holding him thanks to the help of some Alliance soldiers that leapt from the hole made by Grizzled. Walking up to the Capricorn, Shining cocked an eyebrow. “What’s the rush? I mean, I want her gone but you seem rather obsessed with it.”

“No time to explain.” Grizzled said as he hoisted the Changeling onto his back.

“Why not?” Shining inquired. “What’s so terrible that you have to rush so much?”

Sombra gasped. "Is she the chosen one?!"

Grizzled cocked a confused eyebrow. "What? No!"

Shining hardened his expression. "Why do you need to take her so quickly?"

























“Put. The Changeling. Down.”





All eyes in the room turned to the door, where none other than Princess Cadence stood. The mare looked completely fine, if a little bleak. Her bright colors had darkened and had become duller. Her normal cornflower blue colored magic had been almost completely replaced by the sickening black, purple, and green aura. And her eyes, they had only hatred in them.

The mare frowned heavily. “I’ll repeat myself: Put the Changeling down. She’s mine.”

Grizzled sighed deeply and looked to Shining. “Ok, there’s time now. Shining Armor, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your wife’s gone bat shit crazy and wants to probably kill all the Changelings everywhere… huh, that actually didn’t take as long as I thought it would.”

Cadence disliked this stalling tactic. “Leave the Changeling Grizzled Policy, she deserves to die, along with the rest of them.”

Grizzled Policy stomped his hooves to the ground, hardening his position and readying for an attack. “Sorry Princess Cadence, that isn’t going to happen.”

Cadence growled audibly. “How can you defend them and her?! You hate Changelings! You hate them with all your being!”

The Capricorn snorted. “Wrong, dear Princess. I do not hate them with all my being; that would leave absolutely no room for my hatred of other species. As for protecting her? I have my orders, and I am loyal to the Alliance.”

“That’s madness!” Cadence screamed. “Don’t you see?! She’s controlling you! The Changeling’s are trying to control everything!”

“I think you’ve had one too many coffees and have stayed up too many nights reading conspiracy stories.” Grizzled countered.

“You’re blind.” Cadence said as she shook her head and sighed. The Alicorn looked directly at the Capricorn. “But I will make you see.” Cadence’s horn lit up with magic.

“Shining.” Grizzled said as he turned to the stallion. “Take care of this.” The goatfish bucked and sent the Changeling on his back flying at Shining. The stallion fell with a yelp under the weight. Grizzled turned back to Cadence. “I’ve got some crazy to beat out of our dear little Princess.”

Shining dug himself out from under the befuddled mass of organic that was Queen Carapace. “Grizzled! That’s my wife!”

The Capricorn smiled. “And I promise I return her in slightly mint condition.” Grizzled charged Cadence with unthinkable speed. “This ends before it begins!”

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