• 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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In the Aftermath of Insanity
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One Week Since Chrysalis/Cadence Fight

Celestia was doing a brisk trot down one of the many grand hallways of Canterlot Castle, deep in contemplation over the last few months’ events. She still wondered what could have been done differently so that the madness that had ensued would have been avoided. Unfortunately for her, the knowledge she had procured over the many, many, many years she had been in power offered her more solutions than you could count. It only made the wound burn more, knowing she could have easily stopped this had she had any sense to her. She sighed heavily to herself, rather distraught over the whole thing.

“Princess Celestia? Is something the matter?”

The ivory Princess turned to see her Guard Captain Lieutenant, Morning Radiance, looking at her in that concerned expression the mare got whenever her charge was upset. Celestia smiled weakly. “Of course Radiance, just a little tired from all the work that I’ve been doing.”

“You mean for Princess Cadence?” The Captain asked.

Celestia nodded. Cadence had been subdued, barely, and was even now in high security therapy in Canterlot. The young Alicorn was no longer offering any resistance to the therapy and instead had fallen into a deep melancholy. Her doctors were unsure if her sadness was due to regret over her actions or anger over her failed plans. Celestia hoped, prayed, it was the former. She wanted her niece back, and she wanted this all behind them.

Discord had uncharacteristically offered up some rather sound ideas to the Princess. Most suggestions were precision mind magic, memory erase spells and such. Celestia had told him no, not while other options existed. The Draconequus had shrugged at her and sighed, telling her if she wanted to do things the hard way than that was her business. Though she refused, the suggestions did not fall on deaf ears. But that was only if all else failed.

A buzzing sound drew the attention of the Princess and her guard and they were met with the little Changeling Shape Shift. The insectoid equine bowed to the Solar Diarch and offered her two letters, which she promptly took with her magic. Thanking him, the Changeling bowed to Celestia once more and sped off, most likely to return to Cadence’s side.

“Are those from Cadence?” Radiance asked.

“No.” Celestia replied, shaking her head slightly. “They’re from Carapace and Chrysalis.” Opening the letters carefully, Celestia read the one from Carapace first. “Hmm… It seems that the reconstruction effort in the Crystal Empire is nearing completion.”

“So quickly?” Radiance questioned. “It hasn’t even been a month, and the Empire was heavily damaged from both the Changeling assault and Cadence’s outburst.”

Celestia chuckled. “Leave it to Changelings to be busy little bees and get things done quick and without complaint.” Celestia read through more of the letter. “And it appears that Carapace will take up my offer of better Changeling/Alliance diplomatic relations. She’ll vouch for it next time it comes up in the Collective Council’s meetings.”

“Why would she do that?” The guard lieutenant asked.

“Politics.” Celestia replied plainly. “It’s always politics unfortunately.” Rounding a corner, the Princess and her guard stopped at the front double door of the throne. It was time for Celestia to hold court and despite the craziness of the last week; the Solar Alicorn would not slack in her duty to the nation. Taking a look at the letter from Chrysalis, still unopened, Celestia resolved to read it later and so stuffed it into her golden necklace.

“Ready Princess?”

“Of course.”

Morning Radiance nodded and opened the double doors for her Princess. Celestia placed her expression in her default motherly smile and walked regally into the throne room to hold court.

~~~~

“That still doesn’t answer the question Cadence. I need you to answer to the best of your ability in order to help you.”

Cadence looked away from the row of bookcases to her therapist, sitting across from her large couch in a regular pony sized chair. “I am answering to the best of my ability.” The Alicorn offered weakly.

The therapist, a young yellow stallion called Two Sense, removed his half moon glasses and rubbed his eyes with a hoof. Placing the spectacles on once more and stroking a hoof through his orange mane, the Pegasus smiled to the Alicorn in a fatherly manner. “Cadence, I may be young, but I’m not new to therapy. I can tell when a pony, even an Alicorn, isn’t telling me everything. Now I’ll ask again, why?”

Such a simple question, Cadence thought. Why was always a simple question, and yet it proved to be history’s most difficult question to answer. Last week, a month ago, the answer seemed so simple. She hated Changelings; they had tried to ruin everything for her and for Equestria. But now, the act of hating somepony didn’t really justify the things she had done. Looking around the office she and the therapist (along with Shape Shift) resided in, Cadence snorted.

“I hate Changelings… so I wanted to get rid of them.” Cadence chuckled to herself. She hated them, so that totally justified the crimes she did and the genocide she was most likely going to commit if allowed to continue. So childish, the Alicorn reasoned.

Two Sense ignored her chuckling and continued with his examination. “But you have a Changeling companion, one that I am quite confident is very close to you. Why is Shape Shift the exception to your hatred?” The stallion gestured to the Changeling in particular.

“I don’t know…” Cadence admitted. “He was different, he wasn’t like the others…”

“Did you know that he participated in the attack on Canterlot?” Two Sense asked. “He was right there with the other Changelings attacking the capital. Had Chrysalis succeeded, he’d be with the other Changelings sucking you and I dry of love.” Giving a look to Shape Shift, the Changeling nodded at the therapist to confirm his words.

“I know…” Cadence replied. “I just, he seemed the one exception…”

Two Sense sighed. “Well Cadence, when one is surrounded by only plain rocks then even the simplest quartz looks like gold.” Cadence looked at the stallion with a confused eye. “What I mean is that if when you judge a species by only the bad examples you’ve experienced then the good ones you find seem like a one in a million chance. You believe Shape Shift is the exception because he is the only Changeling you’ve come into continued contact with that is nice to you.”

Cadence mulled over the therapist’s words. Two Sense could see it in her eyes, she really wanted to change… or at least try to. The stallion still couldn’t pin down the reason for her sift from murderous to pacified. Cadence avoided questioning on that and the detailed reports offered hundreds of reasons. The therapist was willing to let it go though; he’d rather have Cadence healed then know how she started to heal. Didn’t mean he’d stop trying though…

“Doctor Two Sense…” Cadence began. “What should I do? I… I want all this to be over.”

The stallion leaned back into his chair, sighing. “You’ve many options I suppose. One is just to take a long vacation and mull over yourself and find inner peace and all that mumbo jumbo. Two is medication, which I don’t recommend due to the simple fact that one should only take drugs when truly necessary. I could go on, but I might just write them down and let you look at them later.”

Cadence nodded. “Yeah… I’d like that. I want help. I want to fix whatever’s wrong with me.”

Two Sense nodded, though he bit his lip. He so very much disliked it when ponies thought they were broken. Sure it made them more receptive to treatment, but still he hated the thought. Problems like this were a common part of the psyche, especially Cadence’s issue. Anger and hatred were normal emotions that everypony felt, not some bacteria to be killed. In fact, if someone didn’t feel anger or hate at all, then Two Sense would be worried.

Regardless of his personal beliefs, Two Sense went to his desk and dipping the tip of his wing into an inkbottle, began writing down options for Cadence. The Alicorn watched the Pegasus with interest; she’d never in all her life seen a Pegasus write with its wing before.

It took about ten whole minutes to write down the options Two Sense believed could help Cadence. He double checked his work and handed it off to her. The Alicorn thanked him and left, her Changeling companion quickly in toe. Two Sense followed them to the door and waved goodbye as they traveled down the hallway. Once they were gone and well out of earshot he turned to the nearest guard.

“Please get Princess Celestia for me, we should talk.”

~~~~

Two Sense would have to wait an entire six hours before Celestia could meet him. When the Alicorn arrived he bowed and shook her regal hoof. Offering up his Alicorn sized couch to her, he asked if she would live anything to eat or drink.

Celestia politely declined and instead went straight to business. “How is she Doctor Two Sense? Cooperative I hope, because despite allowing Cadence to heal herself I do have other methods in which to pull her from the dark place she currently resides in.”

“She is very cooperative.” Two Sense admitted. “She’s just in a state of melancholy is all. I believe she truly wants to get over her bigotry… or she really, really hates losing.”

“You can chalk that up to her nature, Doctor. She is the Alicorn of love… and truthfully she has always been a loving pony, even before earning that title. Asking her to hate outright is like asking The Bearer of Laughter to become a misanthrope.” Celestia chuckled at her own comparison, Pinkie Pie in a misanthrope? Not even if pigs fly. “But I digress, what is her status?”

“We’re getting places.” Two Sense said. “And I just gave her a bunch of options for to look over. Until she picks one and rolls with it we’ll have to just wait and hold our breaths.” The Pegasus poured himself some coffee and began taking a large gulp.

Celestia rubbed her chin with her wing. “Hmm… I see, well she’ll certainly have all the time in the world to think it over. After all, I stripped her of her Princess title until further notice and disallowed her from owning any lands with the authority as a member of the royal family. I even had to send Prince Blueblood to the Crystal Empire to make control there, considering Shining Armor has no steadfast claim to the throne.”

At the mere mention of Blueblood commanding the Crystal Empire Two Sense spit out his coffee and near choked to death. Luckily for him, Celestia was deep in explanation and didn’t see his mouth become a log flume. The stallion righted himself immediately and nodded at his Princess. “Oh I see… I see. Well, that’s my report. Uh… that’s it, so if there’s nothing else you need to hear then I bid you farewell Princess.”

“Oh, one last thing Doctor.” Celestia bade. The stallion smiled and nodded, announcing he was all ears. Celestia smiled sheepishly, her turned down and her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I was simply wondering if… Well, if I could get a session with you, sometime. After all this I feel as if I could use a professional to talk to, about some things.”

Two Sense blinked at his Princess for a couple of seconds before registering her request. Finally understanding, the stallion made an innocent ‘o’ shape with his mouth. Smiling, he nodded. “Of course Princess! I’d be happy to listen, though I might suggest you do this with your lover, Lady Chrysalis. She…”

Celestia placed a hoof up. “There are some things I wish to speak of that… I would not wish for her to hear. Things I would be ashamed of her to know…”

Two Sense cocked his head at his Princess, but offered up no words. Even Princesses had secrets they wanted left alone. He simply nodded and asked what time the Princess would like to meet.

~~~~

Cadence lay on her back on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Her life in shambles, her plans of revenge gone, the Alicorn was beside herself. A clear head (and an inhibitor ring) had allowed her to see her magic was driving her paranoia and hate for Changelings beyond obsessive. She surrendered to her aunt without any defiance and readied for whatever punishment was coming for her.

As of yet, her punishment had amounted to house arrest under constant guard, the use of an inhibitor ring at all times, required therapy, and the stripping of her Princess status and all her lands. She wasn’t dead or in a dungeon though so she couldn’t complain.

Looking around her room she spied Shape Shift sleeping in a Changeling sized basket, much like a dog. The Changeling had made it for himself and had taken it as his main residence while following Cadence. The Alicorn smiled at her little Changeling. It felt both good and bad to call him that. She loved the little bug (in a platonic way of course). But it reminded her a lot of her own blind bigotry to his species, and that stung a bit to remember.

Sighing to herself, Cadence rolled over to reach for a bedside table. Grabbing the contents, Cadence looked over the suggestions given to her by Doctor Two Sense. She read down the list meticulously, reading then rereading every option. Some seemed doable, others looked like they would cost Cadence a wing and a leg. Two Sense had placed his own personal thoughts on the paper, and counseled Cadence against such options.

Finally reaching towards the bottom, one option caught Cadence’s eye. She read it, reread it, contemplated it, and then read it again. The Alicorn of Love sighed and nodded to herself, this was the best option. She knew what she had to do; she had to treat this situation like one those new bandages with the adhesive edges. What were they called? Aid-Bands? Well it didn’t matter, she knew what she had to do. She had to rip this problem off quick. It might hurt a lot in the short term, but it would be over soon enough.

“Oh Shape Shift.” Cadence sing-sung to the Changeling, who instantly shot up and dashed over to her. “Go find Aunt Celestia and Doctor Two Sense. Tell them I want to take one of Two Sense’s suggestions.”

Shape Shift nodded and sped out the door, intent on finding the two named ponies and delivering Cadence’s message. The Changeling twitched a bit though. He felt like this wasn't finished. In fact, he feared it was just the beginning.

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