• Published 25th Feb 2013
  • 19,572 Views, 1,503 Comments

Winds of Change - Masterweaver


Rainbow Dash is a changeling. Who knew?

  • ...
66
 1,503
 19,572

Chapter Thirteen: Confrontation and Coercion

Chrysalis licked her fangs, staring into the blue sky as she flicked orders through the hive mind. True, the pure had been revealed before she had a chance to contact Rainbow Dash, and the presence of a rogue--and a traitor at that--complicated matters. Still, the basic plan could be salvaged easily, now that the princesses were no doubt scouring the land for her and the hostages.

Keep a lookout for the guards as you patrol. Do not engage.

"You're never going to get away with this!" Scootaloo shouted, glaring from behind the changelings guarding her. "They're going to figure out what you did to Sweetie and then Rainbow Dash will KICK YOUR SORRY FLANK!"

"Rainbow Dash? Hmmm." Chrysalis smiled. "I would assume that Rarity would be far more eager to inflict pain on me, it being her sister and all..."

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes. "Scoots has a bit o' hero worship."

"And wasn't Rainbow Dash in the hospital?" Chrysalis added brightly. "Even if she wanted to save you all--oh, something I won't deny, after all, element of Loyalty and all that--to see her come to the hive in bandages and bleeding... perhaps with a catheter!" Her eyes slid back to the fillies. "Such a beating I gave to that poor pegasus--"

Scootaloo shouted in incoherent rage, her lunge halted by chitinous limbs.

Chrysalis shook her head. "Never let your emotions control you, young filly. Or, well, you'll fall prey to them. Emotion is the mind's feedback system, nothing more, and nothing... less. Don't ignore it, but don't let it control you."

She smiled at the fillies. "And always listen to your queen."

"You're not my queen," Scootaloo snarled.

"Hmmm, true. Not yet. There's still some legalities." Chrysalis tapped her chin thoughtfully. "You know, I think I went about this invasion all wrong. Admitting mistakes, that's another important lesson."

"Sooooo.... yer gonna negotiate a peace treaty with Celestia and find a way fer yer changelins ta feed without causing too much damage?" Apple Bloom suggested.

Chrysalis looked back to the sky. "Negotiations... yes. There will be negotiations."

"And as part of the negotiations yer gonna release Sweetie Belle from tha hive mind in a show o' good faith?" the filly pressed.

A few moments passed.

"You're going to keep pestering me until I do, aren't you."

"Ah prefer tha term negotiation." Apple Bloom grinned. "Think o' it as practice!"

"You really think pestering me is a form of negotiation."

"Ah want Sweetie Belle free. You want me to stop pestering you. Ah am proposing a trade. Ergo, negotiation."

Chrysalis raised a brow. "Surprisingly astute. Although it does rely on the assumption that I will not take what I want by force."

"Even assuming ya have some trick fer tha princesses, killing fillies would give ya a bad reputation and probably cause resistance. Thus, Ah am protected from force."

"I could gag you," Chrysalis pointed out.

"But then Ah'd starve, and ya'd be back to tha whole killing fillies thang. Also!" Apple Bloom pointed out quickly. "Afor you think of removing mah vocal cords, invasive surgery without permission would also cause resistance from tha masses."

"You're making this up as you go."

"If it works, it works."

Queen and filly locked gazes.

And Chrysalis grinned. "Ruthless and efficient. A good beginning, for any ending. Very well."

Sweetie Belle screamed, clutching her head suddenly as she collapsed. Instantly her friends were beside her, nuzzling her and holding her up. Scootaloo glared at the queen. "You said you weren't unnecessarily cruel!"

"Removing her from the hive mind was painful. For both of us. But now she's free." Chrysalis turned back to watching the sky. "You got what you wanted. Consider it a gift."

"A gift?! What kind of gift is torture?!"

Chrysalis didn't reply, her mind already on other concerns. This would need to be perfectly executed. There could be no room for error, every illusion slotted into place perfectly, every trick performed with utmost sincerity--

"HEY! I'm talking to you!"

....with utmost sincerity, and--

"HEY YOU UGLY BUG THING!"

"You do know you're only making your situation worse, young pegasus." Perhaps a little discouragement was in order. "It isn't as though your beloved Rainbow Dash really cares about you."

"Oh come on, that's the most pathetic jab ever!"

"She cares about Scootaloo the orphan," Chrysalis continued calmly. "She cares about Scootaloo the fan. She cares about Scootaloo the crippled pegasus. She cares about protecting her charges, keeping little fillies safe." She flicked her tail dismissively. "She's loyalty incarnate. She will always protect you. Because you are alone, clingy, and broken. But she will never care about just Scootaloo. You're just another victim to be rescued. Another heroic deed. Another foal, rolling off a cliff."

"You're...." Scootaloo blinked back tears, glaring at her. "You're really good at that, but I don't believe it."

"Tell me then, young Scootaloo..." Chrysalis glanced over her shoulder. "Has she ever spent time with you? Just you?"

The pegasus was silent.

"...Truly, no fault of hers." The queen of changelings returned her gaze elsewhere. "Or yours, really. Just fate and lies. Don't worry, though, when I am Queen, I'll give you a Rainbow Dash worth loving."

"You said... you weren't unnecessarily cruel."

Chrysalis sighed, a gentle and perfectly practiced sigh. "She'll come, Scootaloo. But she won't come for you. And I will defeat her, put my plans into motion, and you'll live happily under my spell for the rest of your life. It really is a shame, but you must accept that some ponies are simply... impersonal." She buzzed her wings. "And Rainbow Dash, hero though she may be, is one of them. Tell me, did I miss anything? Is there any sign I'm wrong? A single scrap of evidence?"

A large boom echoed over the forest.

Apple Bloom stared through the branches. "Three."

Chrysalis spotted an odd rainbow disc expanding through the sky.

Sweetie Belle shivered, but finally looked up. "T...Two."

An odd whistling noise passed various drones, flooding the queen with reports.

Scootaloo blinked back tears and gave a broad grin. "One."

Prepare for engagement, primary target! Don't deviate from--!

And suddenly Chrysalis was separated from the ground and slammed up against a tree. She shook her head and rose her gaze to look into her attacker's eyes.

Spectrum mane wreathed in green flames, the fastest flyer in Equestria glared back with a face contorted into coldest rage.

The queen nodded. "Miss Dash."

The flyer sneered. "Chrysalis."

And then the queen braced herself against the tree and shot a leg under the flyer's tail.

Rainbow Dash went spiraling up with a yelp, but the queen had already fallen the long distance to the ground and was weaving through the trees. A bolt of green fire snapped toward the prismatic pony--augh, the leg, Chrysalis winced, that should have healed by now, no matter--and when she looked back the pegasus had regained her aerial traction and was already headed right at her.

Drones!

Rainbow zipped up, down, left, down, twirled through a crowd of drones and Chrysalis jumped against a trunk, a gasp of pain but now she was above Rainbow and down into the dirty leaves they went. She snapped her jaws forward and just missed the pegasus's face who pushed against the ground with her wings and screamed wordlessly in rage as she bucked the queen off of her, slamming through a drone and pinning her opponent. Chrysalis growled and dodged the first hoof, caught the second and twisted it and Rainbow cried out before biting at the fin hidden under her mane eliciting a wincing yelp--

The drones grabbed at the pegasus, pulling her off and already tying her down with the silk stored in their legs. Chrysalis stood, shaking herself off and brushing off a bit of dust. Rainbow Dash glared up at her, a bit of the queen's mane still in her mouth.

"My, my, my. So eager to attack your mother."

"You're not my mother," Rainbow snarled. "You're a--hck!"

Chrysalis raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong?"

"Hggfh. Hrk. Sorry, something went down my throat." Dash shook her head. "It's not important, what I was saying was YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER!"

"I laid your egg," Chrysalis pointed out. "Granted I was only the incubator, none of the genetics actually came from me--the great contradiction of being Queen, I suppose."

"My mother," Rainbow spat, "is a pegasus. She raised me with my father, who is also a pegasus, and they sent me to flight camp--"

"Ah, a Nurture advocate I see." Chrysalis shrugged. "I really did hope you would come back willingly. I do care about your future."

"Is that why your slaves are gooping my hooves to the ground?"

"My children" Chrysalis said coolly, "are restraining a confused drone who is a danger to herself and those around her. Rainbow Dash, you call yourself? You weren't hatched with that name, and you've been away for far too long."

"You're really not helping your case."

"I know," the queen sighed, kneeling down. "I'm not. I've been... such a neglectful mother toward you. I can't begin to make up all those lost years, guiding your path, holding you close..."

"Oh, so you're possessive as Tartarus, is that it?"

"You've been so hurt, and you don't even realize it..." Chrysalis nuzzled her gently. "But I'm here now. Let me link you to the hive so the healing can begin."

"Um, how about no." Rainbow snorted. "I'm never going to join your dumb hive mind."

"Never?"

The pegasus glowered at her. "Nuh-uh, no way no how."

Chrysalis's small smile remained utterly still.

Suddenly, screams could be heard through the trees, three very familiar voices desperately crying out.

Rainbow's eyes widened. "Leave them alone! They're only fillies!"

"Exactly. They are only fillies, only ponies of a young age. What makes them different from older ponies?" Chrysalis tilted her head.

"I'm telling you, if you harm one hair on their body I'll--"

"Their lack of cutie mark? No, other fillies their age have a mark. Hmm. Perhaps their size... no, there are midget ponies..."

The pegasus struggled with her bonds. "Hang on girls! I'm coming! Break, damn you, break!"

"You know, in the end, I can't really see the difference. They're still liabilities." The queen tapped her chin. "I do need to get rid of them..."

"YOU WOULDN'T DARE!"

"Now the unicorn I've already used, and the earth pony has a very large clan." She nodded to herself. "It would anger many ponies if I hurt them, so I suppose I'll just set them up in cocoons. But the pegasus--"

"DON'T YOU EVEN TOUCH SCOOTALOO!"

"Oh, her." She grinned. "An orphan. Do you know, I've never understood that? At least the other two provide companionship to their families. Orphans are, well, a waste of resources. And yet you ponies love on them so much... Scootaloo is actually more useful to me than she is to Equestria."

"Fine! I...." Rainbow lowered her head and finally dropped her morph, revealing her chitin. "I'll let you connect me. Just don't hurt them. Don't..."

Chrysalis lowered her head sympathetically. "I know, I know. You're confused, and you're scared. It's not your fault. You were separated. But now...." her horn glowed. "You're coming home, R412803. You're coming home."

Author's Note:

....and...
...then...
...they...
...kissed...

,,,,actually, no that doesn't work.