• Published 1st Mar 2013
  • 4,645 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?

  • ...

2 - Miasma


No matter the size of the unit, time always passes every creature at the same rate, whether they perceive it or not. It passes many at the same time, caring not for the happenings of any.

The failed attack on Canterlot was something that took many days to plan and few to execute; the Chrysalis hive operates on very militaristic principles. Scouts were sent in before any others to identify the most ideal targets for replacement, both for love collection and those that would aid in overall mission success. When sufficient information had been gathered, the second stage could begin. With frightening efficiency, a small group of Canterlot guards were unknowingly assumed to facilitate the planting of the queen. When the switch had been made, all members of the insertion team withdrew to the hive to "milk" the assumed ponies in preparation for the final assault.

The efficacy of the Chrysalis hive is legendary among changelings and the assumptions, planting, and withdrawals were completed within a mere two weeks, leaving the queen plenty of time to farm food for her children.

Whilst this endeavor was underway, time marched on. Time in which other plans for conquest sought paths to fruition. Each plan operated on the same passing time, paid no heed to the other, and marched closer to victory.

But, for all its swiftness, the Canterlot attack could not have been planned at a worse time.

The most important lessons are the ones learned the hardest. Timing is everything. This is that story...


"All right, night crowd; the bar's closed! Y've got five minutes t'finish yer drinks or dump 'em down the sink!"

Of the five ponies seated at the bar, all but one did as was bidden. Instead, he did quite the opposite. "'Ay! Bartenner! How shabout shoo pour meh 'nother one!"

The unicorn bartender looked up from gathering the discarded mugs, leveling a tired eye at his stubborn patron. "Y've got two choices, Jack. Ya can pay yer tab, or ya can leave."

Even with as drunk as this "Jack" was, he still understood the monetary threat. Drunken, sloppy hiccups interrupted his slurred speech at regular intervals. "C'mon! Yoo knowsh assswell as I do that-hic!-I don ge'paid 'til t'morrow!"

"Then y've got two more choices. You can walk out that door yerself or I can put a hoof t'yer flank t'help out. What's it gonna be?"

No violence between the ponies was necessary. Jack stumbled from the bar onto the Manehattan sidewalk. He stared blankly at the neon sign until it was turned off. Finally, he hiccupped and unsteadily started down the street. Every washed-out puddle of streetlight, every wobbly step, every sidewalk slab; he had walked this path home many times, often inebriated beyond what would be considered socially acceptable.

However, society was asleep for the night, so nopony was present to bear witness to his drunken stumbling.

Or so he thought.

Another funny thing about timing is that when it is bad for one pony, it is usually good for another. For a lone changeling back from an important mission, this was one of those times. His low flight carried him across the tops of the many Manehattan buildings, nearly invisible against the black sky. It was by chance that he glanced down just as Jack was passing through the wan glow of a streetlight, obviously drunk. The opportunity was too great. The changeling quickly landed in a long-dried spillway which ran under a bridge directly in his prey's path.

The space under the bridge was dark, littered with all sorts of discarded papers, bottles, and general garbage. Not a shining example of the Manehattan environment, but it was perfect for what he was about to do.

"Help! Somepony! Help me!"

"Wha..." After coming to a wobbly stop, nearly tripping over himself in the process, Jack looked around inconfusion. "Who-hic!-whoshe there?" Fog from the ocean had started rolling inland, bathing the bridge he was standing on in an eerie blanket.

"Who was that!? Is somepony there? You have to help me! Please!"

The stallion remained silent. What part of his mind that hadn't been completely soaked in liquor was having a hard time deciding whether or not this female voice was real. It...wasn't working very fast.

"Please! If you're still there, you have to help me!"

With that, the tiny and overworked sober part of his Jack's brain finally went ahead and made a guess. It sent him wobbling to the stone-crafted railing of the old bridge. Hiccups still pockmarked his speech, but he managed to cooperate with his tongue long enough to babble out a response. "H-hic!-hullo?"

"Down here! Help me!"

Between the fog and his drunken stupor, it was a chore for the bridge-bound pony to spot his addressor. Through a brilliant stroke of dumb luck, he was at last able to find the owner of the distressed voice. Below him, in the disused spillway, a pegasus mare stood just under the edge of the bridge. "Hol'on!" Jack called down. Exhibiting a display of eye-hoof coordination not often seen in your average intoxicated pony, he successfully, if slowly, traversed the slope down into the spillway.

"Oh, thank goddess! I didn't think anypony would hear me! Can you help?"

Jack was about to ask with what when he took one step too close. His hoof landed in something warm and sticky. Closer inspection revealed it to be magenta in color and...glowing softly. A much larger amount of the same gooey substance was piled about the captive mare's hooves. He looked back up at the white pegasus in wonder, as if questioning where it had come from.

"So, do you think you could help me out?" Despite the apparent gravity of her situation, the mare coyly fluttered her blue eyes.

Jack nodded vigorously, a motion exaggerated by the copious amounts of alcohol swimming through his veins. "Oyah! I'd love to!" After all, how could he refuse that blonde mane and blue eyes?

Love... At this, the pegasi's eyes flashed a bright purple for the smallest of instants, dosing the drunken stallion with a quick hypnosis spell. She took a deep breath and smiled as a thin purple mist floated from the stallion's mouth and disappeared into her own.

The process had begun... Another had fallen to the Miasma hive...

The sight of this odd pair ambling down the street would have indeed been one that would turn heads. That is, it would have been, had they been traveling in such a manner. The disguised changeling led his prey through the seemingly endless spillway. Their path was littered with just about every manner of refuse, one particular piece of which looked quite familiar.

Reclined in a pile of rusted tin cans and greasy rags, a gaunt white pegasus mare breathed no more. Much of her blonde mane had been removed by malnutrition and her coat was forever stained a dull brown. As he passed, the changeling borrowing her body couldn't help but let a smirk cross her stolen mouth.

She had escaped, but fate had stilled her body mere steps from the entrance to her hellish place of confinement. Like the maw of some great beast, a moldy sewer tunnel was the last journey before the Miasma hive presented itself.

With no eyes to bear witness, the changeling removed his assumed appearance upon entering the tunnel, revealing the changeling centurion's typical carapace armor. His hypnosis spell would be more than enough to fool his drunken follower anyway.

Were it even possible, the descending passage became filthier with every step down, before finally opening to a wide ledge overlooking the hive's cavernous heart. Activity bustled on every level of the multi-tiered chamber; changelings flitted about, some making repairs to the hive walls and others supervising one of the many processions of mindless ponies trudging along.

One such procession plodded past the centurion, unthinking minds focused upon their given task. Their hooves were cracked and bloodied from endless walking and their collective stench would instantly and forcibly empty any pony's stomach with a single whiff. The arriving changeling paid them absolutely no heed, not even at the unmistakable crack of a leg snapping itself in two. But then, it was not his job to worry about that. He continued along toward his queen's chambers; he bore important information. Someone else would take care of the little things.

The changeling observing the sluggish parade let out an exasperated sigh. "For Miasma's sake... Not again..." If the nature of his sigh was any indication, one could assume that the collapsing of these husks was very commonplace and be entirely correct. He took the now three-legged pony by the scruff of the neck and began dragging him away, against his weak struggles. His struggles were not from fear of his destination; there was not room enough in his hypnotized mind for such thinkings. His struggle was a pathetic attempt to return to the menial task assigned to him by the hypnosis spells of his changeling masters. Three barely usable legs and very little muscle mass gave him little traction and he was lugged away into the darkness.

At the end of the line of ponies, another changeling followed, urging them on. Without breaking step, the centurion gave him an order. "Here's a fresh replacement for you. Put him to work."

"Yes sir, Arnyx, sir." He grabbed Jack's head and flashed another dose of hypnosis into his eyes before shoving him into the moving line.

Arnyx spread his wings and took flight, now free from his land-locked follower. His flight to his queen's chambers took but minutes. The chamber held the usual in stolen accouterments: a once-exquisite wooden vanity, complete with mirror, now warped from the disgusting moisture of its sewer home, the same tattered, grimy silks that hung from every inch of the stone walls, everything was there. Even the oppressingly perfumed atmosphere courtesy of the two changelings wielding incense burners that flanked the entrance.

What little ambient light from the hive there was quickly faded away, leaving the far side of the chamber painted in shadow. Arnyx respectfully took a bow, for he knew what lived within that darkness. His ears heard the rustling of movement from the depths of the chamber, but he dared not look up. Not until he was bidden.

"You may rise, Arnyx..."

The centurion rose from his knee to face Queen Miasma as she melted from the darkness. The last few steps she took to reach him were slowed by an air of regality, perhaps a little too much for an audience of one. Though her movements were calm and deliberate, her magenta eyes held a wild flame within them.

"You have not been away two weeks and already you have returned, Arnyx. Has Chrysalis become so desperate as to move with such haste?"

"Indeed, your Majesty. The switch has been made, which means her hive is without a head. If we are to make an attack, it is in our best interests to move now."

"Canterlot has finally been taken... And this attack was launched from a new hive, yes?"

"It would appear so; established within the last ten days."

"Very good. Chrysalis' haste shall be her downfall! You have done well, my child. You shall march with us upon the hive. Begin readying the ranks; we shall march before the dawn. You are dismissed, Arnyx. There are two tasks I must see to before our departure." The queen waved off her centurion with a dismissive hoof.


These two tasks the queen spoke of were simple enough, but vital to hive operation. Her first stop was a visit to the hive's hatching chamber to survey the health of the most recent clutch. By changeling standards the Miasma hive is remarkably healthy and well-fed. As such, the hatching chamber was filled with upwards of two hundred eggs. Despite the sheer number of eggs within the room, Miasma paid the time and attention to cast an attentive maternal eye over every single one. These were her children; if anything at all was wrong with these eggs, she would see it immediately. Each egg passed inspection, though, and Miasma was quickly on her way.

As Miasma drew near her second destination, the two changelings behind her wordlessly obeyed, entering the chamber before her, waving their mouth-held incense burners about to spread their fragrant vapors so that any inside would know of her approach.

"Much better..." When she felt that those inside were sufficiently aware of her presence, the female changeling followed her incense bearers inside, finding herself standing amidst piles upon piles of just about every decaying foodstuff one could think of. One of the piles shifted as Miasma strode past it, inserting its slimy, unidentifiable sludge under the queen's hoof. On the far side of the chamber, a single changeling supervised a line of husks as they moved through the room, depositing the rotting contents of their crude cloth sacks into another pile to begin the process of fermantation. "Rutoan! Present yourself!"

A quick glance over his shoulder and the changeling took to the air, landing before his queen seconds later. "To what do I owe this visit, your Majesty?"

"Our move on the Chrysalis hive has come sooner than anticipated. I want to make sure that our reserves are of adequate supply to last in my absence."

"There is nothing here that you should let trouble you, your Majesty." the smaller changeling assured. "New materials come in every day."

As if that very proclamation had summoned it, an agitated voice from without the chamber drew Miasma's attention from her conversation.

"Damn you! Stupid sack of flesh! Quit squirming like that!" Little by little, a changeling appeared around the corner, dragging a severely emaciated stallion along with him. The stupefied pony was little more than an animate skeleton, yet still he struggled to escape the changeling's hold and return to his suggested duties. With one final heave, the changeling tossed the stallion onto a pile of decomposing carcasses. "Finally!" he snorted, turning to leave the chamber. An address from his queen stopped him seconds later.

"Alin! Has Arnyx spoken with you yet?"

"Not as of yet, your Majesty. I was aware that he was still observing the actions of Chrysalis and her hive. Has he returned already?"

"Indeed he has. Find him and he shall brief you of your duties for the assault."

"At once, my queen."

Miasma watched as her child departed from the room with a bow. She was about to take her leave as well, when a light bump against her leg met with her senses. "Oh? What's this then?" A look to the source of the sensation showed the queen the remains of a rotten apple core lying next to her hoof. The sorry excuse for food had been accidentally kicked loose by the useless squirmings of the newest addition to the pile of spent husks. Miasma's magenta eyes watched the stallion with a dark interest. Every time his usable foreleg found some sort of purchase in the grisly mound, the instant he tried to put pressure to it, something would crack or squish and it would be gone, placing him face-down in the pile of cadavers. Finally, one of the shifts moved the pile enough to allow the stallion an unmerciful tumble to Miasma's hooves. Through his hypnosis-fueled will, his body shakily attempted to return to a standing position, but could not move itself past an awkward bow. There he remained, pathetically looking up toward his surrogate ruler.

That dark interest in Miasma's eyes had given way to equally dark amusement. "Your unwavering desire to my majesty and my hive is something most appreciated. As a reward, you shall see your hypnosis removed." The magic that accompanied Miasma's words lifted the glaze from the stallion's eyes.

These same eyes wasted no time in rolling back into the pony's head as he collapsed. When his own mind at long last stepped back into its rightful place, the stallion finally came to. "Wh-where...am I?" His senses were slower in returning than his consciousness, but they still came. Pain was the first to arrive. "What... Agghh! My leg! It...feels like it's broken! What's going on!?" Proper sight had not yet returned to the stallion; everything was still an undiscernable blur. He quickly wished it had stayed that way. "I...I remember...another pony... I remember following her somewhere... That white pegasus... Where is she? Where am I-" The instant his sight righted itself, his mouth froze.

"Good morning." Miasma taunted, the mere act of which set the stallion cringing in fear. She bent over to place her face mere inches from his own.

Naturally, he recoiled from the dark smile. There was only so much space for him to back away and this flinch caused him to fall backwards onto a pony of the heavily decomposed variety. Another scream escaped his mouth, this one born of fear rather than pain. He still was not sure where he was, but he was starting to form ideas. "Celestia help me... I've woken up in Tartarus, haven't I?"

Miasma laughed, a sound like air escaping a leak. "Tartarus? I'm flattered... But no, you're not in Tartarus." she corrected, stretching her mouth wide, giving the terrified stallion a full display of the holes in place of her cheeks and the orange worm-like tongue twitching within. "Tartarus would be a much nicer place..."

"Wh-what in Celestia's name are you..." As revolting as Miasma's three-holed smile was, the stallion could not bring himself to avert his eyes.

The changeling queen took the stallion's chin upon her hoof and raised his face. "What am I? I am the last thing you'll ever see in your pathetic existence."

"Wh-what..." It had definitely taken its sweet time in arriving, but the stallion's sense of smell had finally returned to him. The stomach-turning fetor from the heaps of decaying bodies, rotting fruit, and Miasma's overpowering perfume hit him with all the force of a brick wall. Pure disgust grabbed his stomach and squeezed relentlessly, forcing the bile therein from his mouth.

Right onto Miasma's hoof.

The retching of the stallion slowly transitioned to weak gagging before finally fading to silence. The silence was short-lived though. Miasma's wings began twitching irregularly, sending an angry rasp throughout the chamber. Her eyes narrowed to dangerous slits and her cheekbones crept upward in a snarl of rage. In the pauses between the rasps of the queen's wings, an attentive ear could hear her fangs grinding against one another. "You...dare... To defile my being!?" Miasma's horn flared bright as her temper and the stallion's head spun around one hundred eighty degrees, flinging a small spittle of vomit into the darkness of the chamber. "Filthy whelp!" Her hoof lashed out in fury, kicking the now-dead stallion into the slime covered wall with a sickening crunch. "You would dirty my flawless presence with your vile excrements!? The flames of Tartarus shall enjoy your flesh, damned wretch!"

Behind Miasma, her two incense bearers hardly flinched at the livid display. Outbursts like this were to be expected. In fact, one of them had set his burner upon the ground and was in the middle of a disinterested yawn. He was lightly nudged by his accomplice before too long. Bright flares too often put themselves out just as quickly as they alight and so it was with Miasma's rage. Her wings calmed themselves and her heavy breaths followed the example. The space of time between these mood swings was almost as startling as the outburst itself. "Come, my children. I have spent too much of my time amidst this filth. There are preparations to be made."

The slacking changeling scrambled to retrieve his burner before Miasma could put eye to his laziness. In his hurry to start swinging it about, he succeeded only in whipping the ceramic vessel into the head of his companion, shattering its fragile construction and bathing him in a fragrant mess in one fell swoop.

"Owww! Watch where you're swinging that, dammit!"

"Why don't you watch where you put your fat head instead!?"

"I'll give you a fat head, you useless-"

"Silence!" Miasma rounded on her children, the volume of her voice inadvertently spraying the two changelings with a round of stringy saliva. "Your fat heads will meet each other unless you both still your useless tongues!"

Out of instinct, the pair of changelings remained at perfect attention, enduring the barbed words flying from their queen's mouth like so much projectile spittle. When Miasma had finally given them their earful, or had just run out of insults, she twirled dramatically, mane swishing along behind her and marched from the chamber.


In the meantime, Arnyx had done well his assigned task. He had assembled an impressive mass of changelings, numbering twenty in rank and ten in file. Each and every one of them let out an uproarious cheer when their queen, accompanied with freshly equipped incense bearers, stepped forth onto the ledge outside her chambers. "My children! Tonight is a magnificent night indeed! I stand before you, alongside your centurion to tell you one thing! Arnyx has returned from Canterlot to inform me that the foul hive of the elitist bile that is Chrysalis is without a head! It is a new hive and if we move now, it will fall!!"

In a display surpassing their first mass cheer, the changeling phalanx let out a magnificent thunder that shook the hive's piped ceiling.

"Spread your wings, soldiers!" Arnyx cried. "We fly!"

Thus it was that the horde took to the sky, streaming from the hive entrance.

All save one. A changeling occupying a spot in the last row slunk away to a long disused tunnel. The raucous cheering and beating of wings did an excellent job of masking his flight. No one was witness to his escape. The end of this abandoned passage ran up against a channel of running water. It was a murky greenish-brown and none too appealing, but the changeling knew it ran straight to the ocean. After all, how did this changeling get into the hive in the first place? His purple eyes and iridescent purple elytra of the Miasma hive faded away, each becoming a deep blue hue.

Without a second thought, the changeling dove into the cloudy murk and swam away.

Queen Myxine must hear of this...

Author's Note:

New author's comments, because this might as well be an entirely new chapter. This latest set of revisions came to me straight from Miasma's creator himself. That's right! Carnifex (Siansaar) has graciously accepted the position of "character pre-reader," to make sure that I'm writing the queens correctly.

(Also thanks to Spiritofthwwolf for pre-reading this for the THIRD bloody time.)

Stay classy and enjoy, readers.