• Published 25th Feb 2013
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Winds of Change - Masterweaver


Rainbow Dash is a changeling. Who knew?

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Prologue: SONIC RAINBOOM!

It wasn't easy, being an advance scout. So far from the swarm, having to rely on a manufactured personality for sustenance... true, if a drone was really lucky, they could get into a relationship and have endless love to feast upon, but there was also the risk that they'd go rogue. Add to that the sheer loneliness of the position...

Sometimes, changeling 802802 wished she was still a nymph, unpupated.

Still, she had a job to do. Today, more so than any other day. She was in the process of carrying a cocoon between her wings, all the way back to her home base in Ponyville. It was, to be honest, still some distance away, and she wasn't exactly sure she could hide it from the locals, but orders were orders were orders.

"Well, at least I've got you to keep me company.... for now." The drone chuckled, patting her payload reassuringly. "So, how are things back in the swarm? Queen Chrysalis still going on about her unending reign? Don't tell anyling I told you this, but that girl needs to relax. She takes herself waaaaay too seriously--"

Her ears perked and she dived into the bushes, scaring a flock--swarm--a heck of a lot of butterflies out into the open. Somepony was screaming nearby! She couldn't be seen like this.... the screaming seemed to be getting closer. And... coming from the sky?

802802 could only stare as the very butterflies she had scared out of hiding caught a flailing pegasus filly just before she hit the ground. It was.... bizarre, weird, and just plain strange. Even for ponies.

How the hay did the butterflies even hold that lanky girl up?! Freaky pegasus magic...

And then the filly began singing some nonsense about the world being wonderful. Just like a pony, really... Anyling that did that would be considered daft by the swarm.

The changeling took the moment to make her escape, hoping that the filly would be to distracted with her melody to notice the rustling in the bushes. Well, she couldn't go straight back to Ponyville now, not without being seen. She could just shapeshift, of course, if it weren't for this stupid cocoon she was carrying all the way from the stupid swarm on the orders of that stupid queen with her stupid superiority complex...

And then all of the sudden this loud booming noise! What was WITH today, it was like the world WANTED her to get caught or something! AND WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT THING IN THE SKY?! A rainbow... ripply... THING!

Intellectually she realized she should probably get away.

But... she was a scout. And scouts were chosen for their curiosity.

"....by the Hive, I swear if I get caught I'm going to tell these ponies everything."

Grumbling under her breath, the changeling adjusted her package and trotted toward the source of the rainbow ripply thing. Soon enough, she stumbled across a crater, fresh if the dirt clods all around it were any indication. What could cause something like this?

"...uuunnnnghaaa...."

HOLY SILK IT WAS ALIVE.

Cautiously, 802802 peered into the impact zone. Anything that could survive that had to be dangerous...

...oooooor maybe it was just another pegasus filly. What, did the weather crew schedule a foal rain?

The changeling peered at the mangled pony, somewhat surprised that she was still alive at all. There was a heck of a lot of blood, and she knew that most ponies couldn't survive being bent in some of those ways. The fact was, this girl was dying--

Wait.

She glanced at the cocoon on her back, and then looked at the filly again.

The girl was dying.

This.... THIS WAS PERFECT!

The changeling giggled to herself as she danced down into the crater. She could accomplish her mission, sneak back into Ponyville, and hey, she didn't even have to kill anypony! Cause, well, the girl was already dead (practically speaking). Heck, she might even get the girl to go along willingly, now there was an idea. 802802 took a moment to brush the filly's surface thoughts, picking a form and shifting into it. Then she turned the pegasus over, scrunching up her face at a few of the squelching noises.

The filly looked up at the changeling with bleary eyes. "...M...Mom?"

Oh. Oooooh. Well, it was difficult enough to construct a persona, so... "Nah kid. I'm a shapeshifter, I just took this form off your mind." Better to be truthful than caught in a lie.

"Oh." The filly covered her mouth, coughing up some blood. After a moment, she brought it to her eyes. "Heh... looks like I'm kinda messed up."

"Yeah, you're pretty much screwed." The changeling shrugged. "Broken bones, cranial damage, I think that over there is your... yeah. You'll be dead in, I don't know, seven minutes? I'm guessing here."

"Dead? As in--" She coughed again.

"As in rotting, gone to meet your maker, joined the hive, whole shebang." 802802 grinned. "But hey, you went out great! You did that whole... ripply rainbow explosion thing, that's neat!"

"...I did a sonic rainboom?"

"Is that what it's called?" She shrugged. "Sure. Let's go with that, kid."

"Wow..." The filly managed to smirk. "And I don't even have my cutie mark yet--FLUTTERSHY!"

The changeling tilted her head. "Who?"

"Fluttershy, a, a yellow pegasus, she--" Another coughing fit interrupted the filly, a bit of bile joining the blood.

"Wait. Lanky, pink mane?"

The filly, unable to reply because of her coughing, nodded.

"Small world! I just saved her life, got some butterflies to carry her." Technically true...

"Oh." The dying pony took in a deep breath. "Thanks."

"No prob."

They stood there in silence.

"...so. I'm dying."

"Yep."

"Great." A vague hoof waved at the sky. "I lost the race, my best friend got saved by a shapeshifter, and by the time they find me--"

"If they find you." The changeling glanced around. "There's a lotta wild animals in these parts. Fresh corpse means fresh meat."

The filly glared at her. "Gee, thanks."

"Hey, just saying how it is."

"...I'm not going to get the chance to say goodbye, am I?"

"Nope."

Silent tears began to crawl down the bruised face. "They're all... all going to be hurt. Mom, dad, my brothers and sisters... Fluttershy... they're all going to be hurt because I didn't get to say goodbye."

The changeling tilted her head. "You know, they don't have to know."

A silent moment followed that.

"...what?"

"They don't have to know you died. I could take your place or, even better!" 802802 slipped the cocoon off her back. "This little guy could."

"...what do you mean?" The filly looked at the green object, uncomprehending. "What... is that another shapeshifter?"

"Yep! All she needs is a form, some memories, and voila! Brand new--um, whatever your name is."

"Rainbow Dash."

"Right! Brand new Rainbow Dash. I just cast a search spell on you, transfer your memories into her, then she shifts and I insert her right back into society. No fuss, no muss. Whaddaya say?"

The pegasus pondered the offer, rubbing her chin weakly. "...this was your plan all along, wasn't it?"

"Well, my original orders were to kill somepony, but you're dying already." The changeling waved a hoof. "Besides, I'm not really the killing type. I mean, if you didn't deserve to live you wouldn't be born, right? Right."

"Huh." Rainbow gave the cocoon a thoughtful look. "You... you're sure nopony will be able to tell?"

"Like I said. Shapeshifter, plus memory, equals New. Rainbow. Dash." 802802 leaned in. "I'm not going to lie, I could just take your memories right now. But if you let me do it, it's a lot easier for me, and a lot less painful for you. Come on, shake on it!"

The filly stared at the proffered hoof. "...show me your real form."

"Alright, dying request. It's not pretty." Green fire melted Rainbow's mother into a black, misshappen locust the size of a pony. "There, see? We look creepy. That's why we need to shapeshift, so ponies can accept us."

"I dunno, you look kinda awesome to me."

"...wow. Um... thanks, kid."

802802 fidgeted a bit.

"...you know what, I don't like being exposed like this." She shifted back into the form of the filly's mom. "So, um, do we have a deal or what?"

"Alright. Not like I could stop you anyway." Rainbow Dash shut her eyes. "Just... tell me when it's over."

The changeling lowered her horn to the filly's forehead, pulling the memories out and copying them into her own mind. The copy she sent to the cocoon, letting it seep deep into the other drone's mind. Conscious, unconscious, ego, supego, id...

The whole process took less than fifteen seconds, but she'd remember that strange feeling forever.

"Right. So!" 802802 tapped the cocoon twice, and grinned at the green glow that appeared in it. "She's shifted, aaaaand... there she goes! Teleported somewhere discreet." She turned to the dying filly. "Doesn't even know she's not the original. Congratulations, kid, you just won the race!"

"She thinks she's... me?"

The changeling laughed awkwardly. "Yeeeeeeah that's... kinda a side effect of the memory spell. But hey! No better disguise than thinking you're real, right? Your family will be happy, your friends will be happy, and... yeah."

"...I guess... that's fair, I guess."

"Well, it's been nice chatting kid. I'm, uh, going to have to hide your body anyway, what would you like me to do with it?"

Rainbow Dash sighed. "I dunno. I just.... look. I know, I mean, I get that you're not... really my mom. But..." She stared at the changeling, eyes watering. "Can you... can you hold me? I'm scared."

802802 blinked. She hadn't even considered stealing love from the dying filly and... here she was, giving her some. "I..." What was she supposed to do here?

The rose colored eyes shed a few red tears.

"...alright." The changeling wrapped her forehooves around the pegasus, stroking her mane gently. "Don't... don't worry, Dash, I'm here."

"It hurts, Mom. It... it hurts a lot."

"I know Dash. I... I know." Mom. Well, this... this was what normal drones did. Right?

"I don't want to die..."

She nodded. "Nopony... nopony wants to die, Dash. But we can't stop it."

"Can... can you sing me to sleep? I know I said it wasn't cool before, but... just this once, I... I think I can handle it."

Sing? 802802 couldn't sing! She didn't know any songs!

"...please, Mom? I'm really... really scared."

Well... maybe just this once.

"...hush now, quiet now, it's time to lay your sleepy head... hush now, q...quiet now, it's time for you to... go to bed..."

802802 looked down at the filly. She wasn't breathing anymore. All that remained of her was a smile on her bloodstained face.

It was quick work, telekineticly digging up a grave in the earth loosened by the impact. It was easy enough to wrap her... all of her, even the bits that fell out, into the now vacated cocoon, and lower her into the ground. Of course, she didn't mark it. It would have been stupid to mark the grave of a filly that nopony knew was dead.

The changeling walked to Ponyville, stopping to rinse her hooves in a nearby stream. She felt a curious sensation on her face, and brushed it gently.

"Huh... my eyes. They're wet...."

Author's Note:

Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie. Applejack. Rarity. And of course Twilight Sparkle. All of these ponies have fics in which they were secretly Changelings all along! *GASP SHOCK HORROR*

I'm merely completing the set.