• Published 1st Mar 2013
  • 4,640 Views, 110 Comments

Love Lost - Eeveexpert

Everypony knows that a Changeling Queen is fiercely protective of every member of her brood, but what happens when that brood refuses her their loyalty?

  • ...

9 - Last Child to the Queen


"Anypony still awake in here?"

No sooner had the words been spoken than their speaker noticed the light at the end of the hallway. A voice came drifting out from the lit room. "In the kitchen, honey."

A pair of saddlebags thudded to the wooden floor. "They kept us late at the sawmill."

"Again? Really?"

"Unfortunately, yes." The clicking of hooves upon wood replaced the stallion's voice as he strode down the hallway. With each stride, an unmistakable aroma wafted stronger and stronger against his nostrils. In rounding the corner, a mint green pegasus mare was swift to greet him with a quick kiss on the cheek.

"I'm just glad you're back." The mare turned away to move a kettle from the stove to the counter. "You know I don't like it when you have to walk home after dark. These aren't the friendliest of woods. Timberwolves like to hunt this time of night."

"I know, I know." the stallion laughed. "They must've been hunting earlier today. Heard them howling something fierce. They must've got something. Poor creature..." He watched as the pegasus worked about the kitchen: opening doors, fetching mugs and pouring drinks.

"I assume you'd like some tea, hun'?"

"You know I'd love some."

In response, the mare presented a softly steaming mug to the stallion. "Here, two sugars. Just the way you like it." She lightly touched her muzzle to the unicorn's cheek. "Love you, hun'."

"Love you too." The stallion returned the gesture with a kiss upon the mare's lips. When he withdrew his mouth a thin wisp of bright green mist followed, leaking from that of the female pegasus. "What's say we get ready for bed so we can enjoy this chamomile properly?"

"Sounds great."


In the space of thirty minutes, the two ponies had finished their tea and were huddled close under a set of downy bedsheets. Chamomile is well-known among many to quickly and effectively place anypony that drinks it into a deep relaxing sleep. However, for a creature that subsists entirely off of love and affection, drinking tea is just as useless and unnecessary as drinking water. The disguised Chrysalis centurion slowly slid from the bed and trotted around to face its other occupant.

A soft green glow emanated from the stallion's horn to light up the dark bedroom. His magic called forth another cloud of identically-colored mist from the sleeping mare's mouth. The changeling guided this haze between his teeth and down his throat. With every wisp of this cloud that he consumed, Sylph felt that much more of his strength return. It had been far too long since the centurion had had a proper meal. The taste of this affection was ecstasy-inducing and Sylph drank it up with no signs of stopping.

"Get away from my wife, demon!"

Sylph spun from his meal to find the four needle-sharp points of the house owner's pitchfork leveled directly at his head. A hiss spilled from the changeling's borrowed throat. He didn't doubt for a minute that the pony at the other end would be skewering him upon its tines at the first opportunity he had. Still, Sylph noted the way his adversary held the weapon. The tool trembled and shook from the fear of the pony wielding it. The centurion could get out of this, but he would need some sort of distraction.

Roused by the unicorn's shout, the sleeping pegasus slowly came to, her vision swimming before her tired eyes. Even so, she knew that the two identical unicorns standing at her bedside were not an illusion of her sleepy mind. "Honey? What's going on?"

The pony wielding the tool-turned-weapon looked away from his doppelganger for a split second.

That was the distraction Sylph needed. In less time than it took the pegasus mare to scream, Sylph ducked under the business end of the pitchfork and slammed his shoulder into his adversary's chest, wresting the weapon away in the same motion..


One solid blow from the tool's solid wooden handle dropped the unicorn into a heap. Victorious, the centurion turned to face his prey once again. For an instant, his eyes flashed their true appearance to the confused pegasus.

She cowered up against the headboard, her frantic kicking working the linens into a knot. "D-don't hurt me... P-please! Take w-whatever you w-want! Wh-whatever you are, just leave!"

Sylph kept his eyes fixated upon the frightened pony. He said nothing, nor did his gaze falter in the slightest. Not even the impact from the pitchfork handle that reduced the mare to an unconscious heap could break his stoic expression. "Your fear makes you useless to me now." The illusion masking his insect-like body burnt away in a brilliant green flash as his queen's words marched through his mind.

Be intelligent with your hunt, Sylph. Should you be discovered, I want you to return to me at once.

"Dammit..." He jammed the tines of the pitchfork into the wooden floor and turned to storm from the room, but not before spying a second structure outside through the window. His sight floated back to the pegasus, ideas rapidly beginning to form.


"Honey! Honey, wake up! Please!"

"Unnnh..." It was more the frantic shaking than the pleading cries that brought the stallion back to the realm of the conscious. It took all of two seconds for the pain from his headache to catch up with his senses. He clapped a hoof to the side of his head. "Ah! What...what happened?"

A hoof made unsteady from the terrifying ordeal pressed a damp cloth to the stallion's forehead. "I-I still don't know... Just tell me you're all right.Please."

"I'm fine." the stallion breathed. "Just tell me you are too."

"I-I am. Here, sit up."

"What was that thing? What in Equestria was it doing to you?"

"I-I don't know. I don't feel sick, so I don't know what it was doing either. I'm just relieved you're okay!" The mare flung her forelegs around her husband's neck and hung there, sobbing.

A gentle hoof smoothed out the mare's ruffled brown mane. "Shhhhh... It'll be all right, Mint. Don't worry. Whatever that...thing was it looks like it's gone now. Just try and get some more sleep. I'll stay awake and keep watch."

The mare's brown eyes went as wide as the full moon outside the window. "No, no, no! Please! Come to bed with me!"

Not one to argue with his wife, the stallion agreed and followed the pale green pony back to the disheveled bed. A satisfied gleam lit her eyes as he kissed her forehead.


When one is suffering from an impact induced headache, even the smallest of sensory stimuli can be incredibly painful. The light from a full moon certainly would qualify as such. To the half-conscious mare, awaking to find your eyes bathed in this pale light might as well have been the equivalent of looking straight into the sun.

The improvised gag tied tightly across her mouth turned the mare's instinctual gasp of pain into a pathetic whimper. She went to stand up, only to find her legs and wings bound with even more bedsheets. It was already difficult to breathe and her fruitless squirming only served to dampen her brow and set her hyperventilating. .

The creak of hinges long overdue for an oiling turned the mare's head to the one door in and out of the dirty shed. Within the moonlit portal stood a silhouette. It took one step into the shed and then remained still.

"Mmmmmphmmmh!" The captive mare began writhing furiously in an attempt to put even the slightest additional amount of space between her and the newly arrived changeling.

"Hush." The centurion's voice was frighteningly calm. "Never once have I killed my food. But then, my food has always been quiet."

The ever so slight change in tone instantly silenced the mare. That was no threat; that had been a promise. The only sounds heard within the shed were those of the ragged breaths taken around her gag..

"I'd ask if you understood me, but that would be pointless. The look in your eyes tells me everything. Now keep it that way."

Silence reigned over the dusty toolshed for some time before a laugh broke the awkward tension.

"Your kind never ceases to amuse me. Look at you, tied, gagged and lying on the filthy ground, completely at my mercy, yet you have a single desire upon your simple mind. Your undying loyalty drives you to return to your beloved. You would follow any order I could give you and all I would have to do is promise you passage back to your husband, just to see him safe."

The mare swallowed loudly, tasting the cotton sheets tied across her mouth. Every word from this strange creature's mouth had been unnervingly accurate. Her wide eyes followed the changeling as he slowly paced circles about her, words falling from his mouth with the same coolness.

"I know what you're thinking. You're wondering how I know exactly what's going through your tiny mind. Simple. I am the same way, driven by my loyalty to another. You are loyal because it is your love that makes you so. I do not have that as an option. I cannot love. I am loyal through respect. But where has that respect gotten me? I have no home, I have seen my brothers dead before me for orders given out of this loyalty. And still I follow these orders because I desire to see the return to our home a reality." Sylph's lengthy exposition drew to a close as his pacing came to a halt in front of the pegasus. He gave her one disgusted glance and sniffed disdainfully. "I could never expect a pathetic creature such as yourself to understand my plight. Enjoy the rest of your worthless life." The centurion finally turned and strode from the shed. His eyes met those of the bound and frightened pegasus as he shut the door. In that brief instant, a realization within the centurion's mind clicked.

"To continue down this path as you have will earn me nothing but pain and death." he murmured.


When Sylph next opened his wings, the cool night air filled their translucent membranes. The night's feeding had restored much of his strength. Certainly more than enough to allow for a low flight above the treetops. Walking amongst the trees was out of the question. In light of the morning's timberwolf attack, his queen had given him explicit orders to travel by wing. They were also nearing the area of Ambrosia's territory she suspected Miasma's soldiers to be occupying and she would be taking no chances.

It was for this reason that Her Majesty had disguised all of her pheromone trails, leaving her centurion to navigate by landmarks. The barren branches of the long-dead tree chosen as their shelter were easily identifiable, especially from flight. Sylph's alighting upon the old branches caused them to creak slightly. A pair of glowing green eyes greeted him as he entered the dark tree trunk.

"You are later than I would have expected for such a small hunt. There were...complications with your feeding, weren't there?

A barely distinguishable sigh slipped from between Sylph's fangs. "I...was discovered before I had my fill."

"So you stayed and risked your life further? Sylph, I gave you direct orders to stay no longer than-"

"I thought I had properly detained my target!" he snapped in a largely uncharacteristic response.

"Sylph! Be mindful of your tone!"

"My...apologies, your Majesty. My hunger betrayed me."

"I understand. These are times I would not wish upon any child of mine. It is not the same, but if you still hunger..." A soft green glow lit the close space as Chrysalis lay out a small spread of nectar before her centurion. "Then eat to your fill." The intonation of her every word was that of a mother, soft, yet unwavering in its authority.

Sylph nodded in thanks and set his tongue to the sweet nectar.

Chrysalis remained silent, watching her child consume the proffered meal. Sylph, it is I who should be apologizing to you. There was no acceptable reason for you to have followed me from the hive. And yet...you still chose to accompany me. That is why I chose you as my centurion.


The eight hours of the moon's reign is a strange thing, When one is not awake to bear witness to it, it progresses by with all manner of speed. For Chrysalis, it was significantly less so. Upon the threshold of another queen's territory, seeking refuge in the shell of what was once a great tree. Every creak of every branch, every grunt, squeak, or chirp brought her back to full awareness. The changeling resting within the curve of her body kept her mother's instinct constantly on edge. She was too far from home. She could not let her guard down. The orange light of the early morning sun seeping into the makeshift shelter was a silent relief to the tired queen.

Taking the utmost care not to wake her slumbering child, Chrysalis stood to depart from the tree trunk. The forest floor was not well-stocked with vantage points and thus it was that the hum of Her Majesty's wings carried her to the highest branches of last night's shelter. A crook in the tree provided a perfect location from which to survey the surrounding territory.

There it was, standing out like a massive blemish upon the landscape. The tower of solid stone that stretched from the earth as if trying to claw the sky. Stuck to its side by a magnificent feat of architecture was the royal city of Canterlot, gleaming in the bright morning sunlight. All her pent-up fury at the sight of its marbled towers and the memory of the failure within its walls that had led to exile from her own hive slid from her mouth in a livid hiss.


"Rouse yourself, Sylph." Chrysalis issued a few knocks upon the hollow trunk to ensure her message was recieved.

The scraping of chitinous armor plates sliding over one another filled the inside of the tree trunk. The centurion exited soon after. Sunlight falling against his tired eyes shut them tightly. "Nngh."

"Do you feel able enough to resume traveling?"

Wings vibrated as Sylph stretched out his stiff legs. "I do indeed."

"Excellent news. Have you strength enough to sustain a pheromone mask? We are mere hours from the easternmost part of Honeycomb territory. We are dangerously close to Ambrosia's hive. She no doubt knows these forests well. If we do not enter with our guard up, we are immediately at a disadvantage. Ambrosia is not one to be taken lightly."

A good night's sleep does wonders for one's decision-making. Sylph nodded. "I feel better than I have in weeks. A masking spell will be a simple feat."

"Let us be on our way then. Keep your wings still. Flight would draw too much attention. We must capitalize upon every possible advantage before us, no matter how small."

Discarded needles crunched under the pair's carefully chosen hoofsteps - the only sign that marked the passing of the matriarch and her centurion. Chrysalis' head remained on a swivel, senses alert. While reluctantly agreed upon, territories are hotly contested between the more aggressive of the changeling queens. Every hive deals with trespassers according to their own methods. Most of these methods end in with the violator's death. The only thing that differs is how long it takes to get there. Being caught while trespassing in Honeycomb territory leaves you all the more vulnerable to the "games" of its queen. Chrysalis was not about to willingly subject one of her children to such a fate.

Past dealings with the queen of the Honeycomb hive told the exiled queen that Ambrosia preferred traveling from branch to branch. The slightest creak from the surrounding timber immediately drew Chrysalis' attention.

Sylph was nowhere near as focused on surveillance as his queen. He was sure that his choice would be met negatively, but his mind had long been made up. All that remained was the finding of the appropriate time to inform his queen of his ultimate decision.

All senses of the changeling queen were tuned for any change within the immediate environment and thus instantly noticed the absence of noise behind her. "Sylph, keep up. I do not wish for you to fall victim to Ambrosia's insipid curiosity." Without waiting for an answer, Chrysalis' march continued onward. Until the lack of following hoofsteps got her to turn around. "Sylph! I told you to keep up!"

Blue eyes met green for an instant before the centurion blinked and looked away. "No..." he finally responded at length.

"'No?'" The awkward moment became even moreso with the arrival of the expected silence. In the pit of her stomach, Chrysalis knew where this conversation was headed. She knew exactly where and it terrified her. "Sylph! Eye contact!" she barked, forgetting her earlier vow of stealth. "Explain yourself at once!"

"I...no longer wish to accompany you."

Even the smallest of words can leave gaping wounds and Sylph's had torn straight into Chrysalis' heart. She knew she must remain quiet, yet she could not fight the sickened feeling rising in her chest. "Explain this treason!"

"There is nothing to explain, your Majesty. I told you that my allegiance is to the interests of the hive."

"'To the hive!?' Sylph, Miasma still holds power over the hive! You would give that vain bitch the respect you hold for me!?"

"Miasma commands none of my respect. Nor do you. A queen whose orders destroy her hive and starve her soldiers before throwing them onto the blade in an attempt to right her wrongs deserves no respect. The decision made to stay within the hive was most intelligent. While under Miasma, they are safe."

Though there had been no malice in his words, Chrysalis flinched as if she had been struck. She could not admit it to herself, but she knew it was true. Horribly, horribly true.

Her children were safer under another queen.

The very thought set tears burning within the queen's emerald eyes. "Damn it, Sylph!"

Somewhere off in the distance, a scream of pain shattered the morning stillness.


Ambrosia had found her first plaything of the day.

Author's Note:

Fun fact: the pre-reading notes Spiritofthwwolf gave me for this chapter were almost 1,500 words longer than the chapter itself.

Another fun fact: There are some feels coming your way in the next two chapters. Be prepared.

Stay classy and enjoy, readers.

*Approved for your viewing pleasure by Carnifex and Spiritofthwwolf.