A Filly called Pet

by Templar22

First published

My name is Pet, and I am a changeling. But the stallions in gold armor say that's not true.

Uhmm… so I just talk into this? Oh, ok. Well, I’m in a room with a few soldiers. They seem nice enough, and they want me to talk about my mother. They say she’s not my mother but I know that’s not true. I am eight years old and I am a changeling named Pet. But they say that’s also not true.
They want me to talk about growing up in the hive.

Editing done by phlamingsoul and Spacecommie
Coverart by Ayemel

The Interview

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They want me to start from the beginning. I was born in the hive just like any other chang-… what’s with the funny look? Anyways, I was always a little bit different than other changelings. I had been born without wings or a horn. Mommy always said that I was just special. So special, that I got to stay with her in her own chambers. It was lonely. I didn’t ever leave her rooms without guards, and even then I didn’t get to go out very often. Mommy was so scared of something bad happening to her “special Pet”. There was one time I left all by myself, but that didn’t end well.

The foragers were returning as usual, but this time was different. They actually brought a pony back from the outside! I knew because a drone ran in to tell Mommy about it. Mommy told me to stay in the room and she ran off with the drone. I was going to stay put like a good changeling, but then I heard the pony scream and shout. It was very scary. But her voice sounded just like mine. Mommy always told me my voice was different from the other changelings because of something called an “im-impediment”? So I guess this mare had the same impediment I had, and I decided to go and see her. Maybe she could tell me why I so different than everybody else. I didn’t even get close enough to see her.

As soon as I left the room, I was stopped by drones. Their horns were glowing, and I saw the hungry look in their eyes. At the time I didn’t know what they wanted, but I learned they had wanted to feed off me. I screamed for Mommy to come save me, I was so scared. By some miracle, one of the drones was actually one of Mother’s guards, and he quickly tossed me back into the room while shouting at the other changelings to buzz off. He came in a moment later; I was so happy, I couldn’t wait to thank my rescuer. I didn’t expect him to hit me.

Yes, right across the face… Of course it hurt! But it was for my own good; it taught me never to leave Mommy’s rooms without an escort. There were a lot of desperate changelings; Mommy said food was scarce in the hive. I wasn’t sure if that was true, though, because I always had plenty of hay. Mommy said part of the reason I was so special was because I would be able to help with that problem. It wasn’t until about a year later that Mommy decided I was old enough for “feeding”.

At first I didn’t know what she meant. I was already being fed twice a day. That night I learned what she meant. It was very painful, and I hated it at first. Mommy said she was very hungry. Her horn glowed and she enveloped me in her magic. Then my stomach felt like it was getting pulled apart. She was feeding off of me. My insides really hurt, and so did my head. It was like the happiness in me was being yanked out, one drop at a time.

I begged her to please stop; I couldn’t believe Mommy was hurting me like this. I hadn’t done anything wrong; I had been a “perfect little Pet”. She said she had never had so much fresh “love” in one feeding before. She left me feeling like I had just thrown up, which I think I did soon after that first terrible feeding. I had nightmares about it. But it wouldn’t be the last. But one night, Mommy made it all better.

She had been feeding off of me about two or three times a week for about a year when things in the hive went from bad to worse. The foragers were bringing in less and less food. Which meant the hive was getting hungrier and hungrier. I was still getting my two meals a day, and when I tried to offer some to Mother she told me that only “special” changelings like me could have real food. She was in such a good mood that morning, I-I don’t know if it was something I said or if things in the hive were worse off than she told me but, that night, she… she hit me.

It was during her feeding session with me. I had become fairly used to the hurt now, and I knew it was my duty to the hive. But that night, she seemed almost starving. It had never hurt so much. Soon I had nothing left to give, but she was still hungry, and that made her very, very mad. She shouted at me, called me stupid and ugly. She demanded to know why I was holding back. But I wasn’t holding back, I had given her everything. I felt like a rag after it’s wrung out. All I could do was lie there and listen to her tirade; I was so exhausted I couldn’t even try to defend myself as the first blow came down. I couldn’t believe it at first. Mommy was hitting me. Hard. For what felt like forever she sat there, beating me with her forehoofs. When she finished, I could barely move.

She sat back on her haunches and regarded her hoofwork. A bruised, bloodied, and sobbing me. Then she talked to me, her voice sounded funny.

“Do you want the hurt to go away?”

“Yes, please Mommy… why did y-“

“Do not question your queen. You were withholding love. You must learn to give it all.”

“I’m so sorry Mother, I-I didn’t mean to-“

“Hush now, my pet.” Her horn began to glow again; I thought she was going to try to feed.

“Mother will make you all better.” She enveloped me in her magic and immediately everything was ok. I couldn’t feel any of the hurt, and I loved Mommy even more than before. I had never felt so happy.

I fell in love with the green magic. Now, no matter how much Mommy fed, no matter how much it hurt, I always felt happy after. It filled my mind with happy things and I loved Mommy even more. She was so nice with the magic, she let me have some everyday after feeding and she fed more and more. When I didn’t have the green magic, I felt worse than ever before, but none of it mattered. She always gave me the magic. And everything was happy.

But not too long after she started giving me the magic, Mommy left. She took one last feeding, the most she had ever taken. She praised me for the amount I had given her without passing out, but she didn’t give me her magic. She said she was “preparing for something big.” She said that after this, she would never have to feed off of me ever again. And then she left me, and I never saw her or her magic again. I was all alone. Again.

I think she left with most of the hive because I never saw anypony besides the guard’s outside. They still brought me food, but it wasn’t as good as before. Sometimes I would hurt, and I wanted Mommy’s magic really badly, especially at night. The nightmares came back and I needed the magic. But the guards couldn’t give it to me. So I went on hurting. But then my whole world changed again.

I heard a bunch of noises one day. Shouting and explosions. My guards were no longer outside, and I stuck my head out the door. There were dozens of white and gold demons running around. Some of them were firing magic at we few remaining changelings, while others were herding them into a corner. Then one saw me.

I closed the door as fast as I could but the monster simply bucked it down. I had never been so scared. But I was ready to die for the hive, as was my duty. But instead, he took off part of his head and dropped down to about my height. He asked me who I was and how I had gotten here. I tried to hit him. He seemed confused as to why I did that. So he took me with him and the other demons and brought me here, where I sit at a small table across from several very sad and angry looking demons.

Do any of you know where my Mommy is?


Sergeant Silver Spears almost staggered out of the interviewing room, his normally impassable face stuck somewhere between shock and disgust.

She actually believes the lies that monster told her. He took notice of the two guards looking at him curiously.

“Private Swift, a message to the princess! Tell her this filly’s had it in a bad way.”

“Yes SAH!” The pegasus made as if to take off before pausing for a moment. “Is that all sarge?”

“No, tell her this filly needs a friend. She needs help.” He looked through the one-way glass at the helmetless soldier putting a comforting foreleg around the shaking young one. “And I think I know just the pony.”

Heading Home

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Ever since he had seen that flash of a green mane behind that door, Chivalry had wanted to help. It was in his nature, his name, and forever upon his flank that he would want to help others. It would be an insult to himself if he didn’t. Sure she had slammed the door on him, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. No simple door could keep him from helping sompony in need.

After breaking the door down, the last thing he expected to find was a filly little older than his own daughter shaking in the darkness. Unsure of whether or not it was some kind of changeling trick, he removed his helmet and dropped down to a half crouch, bringing him closer to the little one.

“It’s ok, you don’t need to be scared. Tell me, how did you get to this place?”

As a response she squeaked “For the hive!” in a voice about as loud and threatening as a butterfly before she “charged” him. Upon impact, she did about as much harm as afore mentioned insect. Chivalry was suitably confused. Thankfully, he’d ignored the instinct to lash out at the foal. Standard guard doctrine dictated that when in a changeling hive expect everything, but his gut had told him otherwise.

“Please, let me help you.” He said softly, trying to reach out to her.

“Go away… please…” she tried to back herself further into the shadows, but Chivalry wouldn’t have it.

“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you.” He set his helmet down with a soft clank. “Tell me, what’s your name?”

She sniffed once before replying.

“Pet… my name is Pet.”

* * *

And now she sat, right in front of him silently sobbing as she asked him where her mother was. It broke his heart to see one so young so hurt. The fact that she didn’t know was even more gut wrenching.

Chivalry stepped around the table, and placed a comforting foreleg around her.

“I’m truly sorry… Pet, your mother is…” He thought for a moment, knowing he needed to choose his words very carefully. “Your mother is gone.”

She started crying. She practically threw herself into Chivalry’s armor and cried into it, embracing him. Chivalry in turn returned the hug, and gently stroked her mane while making attempts to comfort her.

“W-what happened to her? Why did she leave me? Where is she?”

Chivalry desperately glanced at the panel of one way glass. He mouthed the words “What do I say” at the glass as if expecting an answer. The one he received was most… unexpected.

“Thou shall tell her the truth soldier.”

It was none other than Luna, Princess of the Night, who had walked in with a flabbergasted sergeant trailing behind.

“The truth milady?” Now, Chivalry was no expert, but he was fairly certain that telling somepony as young as Pet that her… “mother” was a monster would be a bad idea.

“Yes, the truth.” Princess Luna said as she approached the table. Pet hid herself behind Chivalry as the alicorn approached.

“Do not be frightened little one. I only wish to speak.”

“Stay away!” said a small voice from behind Chivalry who gave the Princess an apologetic smile.

“Would th- you prefer it if I stayed over here?”

“ Y-yes.”

“Thy mother has gone far away, and we are doing our best to find her.”

The filly peeked around her gold clad barrier.

“You don’t know that!” When all Luna did was look away, a note of fear crept into her voice. “What happens to me now?”

Corporal Chivalry, you have foals of your own correct?

It took a moment for Chivalry to realize it was Princess Luna speaking within his mind. He could only think of one reason for her to ask such a question. He nodded his head slowly, coming to a decision.

“With me” He said to the foal behind him. “You will stay with me.”

“Then it is agreed, you will stay with Corporal Chivalry until further notice. We shall in the meantime continue the search for thy mother.” She turned to the still slightly confused guard behind her. “Sergeant, see that Corporal Chivalry is given temporarily relief of duties.”

With that, the Princess of the Night left the two guards and the still trembling filly.

“Well then Chivalry looks like you’ve just adopted. Congratulations.”


“I wonder, what’ll your wife say?”

* * *

After dispatching a pegasus to tell his wife to set another place setting at the table, Chivalry carefully placed his new charge on his back and headed down to the guard’s mess. From what the initial glance over the doctor’s report told him, he knew that “malnourishment” was on there. A bite of something to eat before heading home couldn’t hurt. The mess hall was practically empty save a few pegasi trying to sneak in a late night snack. Pet looked around wide eyed as she took everything in.

“Stew! Stewpot!” Chivalry said in a loud stage whisper.

A somewhat greasy earth pony appeared at the counter with surprising speed for such a considerable girth.

“What can I get ya Chiv?”

“Actually it’s not for me, it’s for uh, Pet here.” He turned to reveal Pet who was at the moment trying to hide from the large pony’s curios gaze.

“And what might I get the little lady?” He said leaning over the counter. Pet drew back, and almost managed to fall off Chivalry. “Shy one ain’t she?”

”I believe some hay fries and a glass of milk will suffice.” Chivalry said as he staggered slightly to keep the little one from falling off. As Stewpot walked back into his kitchen Pet leaned over and whispered to Chivalry.

“Can we please go back to your hive?” she pleaded.

“Right after we get some food in you, we wouldn’t want Mint to think you’ve been starving all day.” Chivalry replied as he found them a deserted corner table.

“Who is Mint?”

“Oh she’s my wife. I’m sure she’ll just love you. Trust me, you’ll like her. She’s a very nice pony.” Chivalry replied. While wondering just what would his wife say to him?

A small silence began to grow as they waited for Stewpot to heat up the hayfries.

I wonder what’s taking him. Chivalry thought to himself. Lost in his musings he almost didn’t hear Pet’s next question.

“ What do you want me to call you?” She spoke so quietly that Chivalry had a hard time hearing her question. Which truth be told, had not been one he had considered.

“Well I suppose you can call me Chivalry… what shall I call you?”

“Pet, it’s my name.” she replied, sounding just little bit confused.

Chivalry was about to reply with something along the lines of “that’s not a name” but decided that might be taken offensively. As he tried to think of a suitable way to explain it to her, Stewpot swaggered over with a small tray on his back.

“Here ya go! Hayfries and a glass of chocolate milk I uh, ‘borrowed’ from the kitchens.” He said the steaming fries down in a small paper with a smiley face hastily drawn on it along with the glass of chocolate milk. He performed what he hoped was an elegant leg before retreating behind his counter once again.

Pet didn’t say anything, she was too busy staring at the hay fries. Her eyes somehow managing to get wider.

Of course. She’s never even seen hay fries… or milk for that matter. Chivalry thought to himself with a small chuckle as Pet tore ravenously into the food. He paused when he asked himself what she might do when she saw dinner…

* * *

The carriage ride was a short one, yet Pet had managed to fall asleep leaning against Chivalry. He sat there with her head in his lap gently stroking her mane. At least she trusted him enough to fall asleep. Or perhaps she had just been exhausted after stuffing herself with hayfries. He’d told she’d ruin her dinner, but he was confident that with her appetite she could still put away whatever his wife had cooked.

Yes…. His wife. In hindsight perhaps he should have talked it over with her whether or not to take Pet in, but in his defense one of the diarchs had practically asked him to.

Liar, you know she didn’t. You volunteered. Okay, so perhaps he had volunteered. He still didn’t regret his decision. He had been the one to find her after all. That and he couldn’t bear the thought of her being sent off to some orphanage, or worse, an asylum. He mentally shuddered at the thought.

The shrinks would have a field day with her. Being raised by changelings. Only then did he think about the possible implications. He didn’t know what exactly had happened to her in the hive. If the initial doctor’s report was anything to go by, she would most likely be needing some therapy. What qualified him to do so?

Well Luna seems to trust you. And so does Pet. That last thought came as Pet shifted in her sleep, a small smile playing across her face. Of course this only brought up another question. He couldn’t go on calling her Pet. It still felt… wrong. That wasn’t a name, it was more of a cruel joke by Chrysalis.

If I ever meet that scum, I’ll make her pay for that. He sat there thinking of all the terrible things that’d he’d do to the queen if ever got the chance until the carriage came to a stop outside a small multicolored town house.

“Pet, wake up. We’re home… actually wait here just a moment.” Chivalry ran up the front steps and quickly knocked on the door.

A young unicorn opened the door, her face lighting up when she saw who it was.

“Daddy! You're home early!” Chivalry quickly scooped her up in a hug.

“Hey, there’s my big girl! Could you go grab Mom for a minute?”

“Okay!” With that the filly disappeared back into the house, only to reappear seemingly moments later practically dragging a light green mare behind her.

“Waffle, I said I was comi- oh Honey you’re home early. I made up the extra plate like you asked, who’s our special guest.”

Oh boy.

“Well Mint… I uh, want you to meet Pet. I think we may have another filly.” He said this with the biggest smile he could muster while pointing a hoof at the carriage.

Minty Green simply stood there mouth hanging slightly open as the barest trace of a green mane peeked around the carriage door.

The semi awkward silence was only broken by Waffle’s sudden exclamation.

“YAAAAAY! A new sister!”

Meet the Family

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Judging from Pet’s reaction to first meeting Stew Pot, Chivalry figured getting her to leave the apparent safety of the carriage would prove difficult. Unfortunately, he was right.

“Come on Pet, I promise nopony’s going to hurt you. Just come out of there.”

Her face briefly appeared in the window of the carriage. She quickly shook her head and disappeared again.

“Her name is Pet?” Chivalry hadn’t noticed his wife coming up behind him.

“Long story,” he replied distractedly as a pair of green eyes showed themselves in the door’s window again.

“It sounds like one I would very much like to hear…” she trailed off as Pet looked out the window at them again.

“Daddy is she nice?” an excited voice called over. “Can I meet her yet?”

“Just a minute, sweetie!” Chivalry turned back to the carriage. “Pet, come on out of there,” he took several steps towards the carriage door.

“No! I want to go back to the hive!” Chivalry face-hoofed; he’d had a long shift and his patience was wearing thin.

“What do I say to her?”

Minty muttered something under her breath about “stallions” and walked to the carriage. As she passed her husband she whispered angrily at him.

“Later, you explain to me why she just said ‘hive.”

“Hey, Pet? Would you mind coming out of there? Please? We have dinner almost ready and I think Waffle Cone really wants to meet you.”

From within the carriage, a small voice could be heard.

“What’s a ‘waffle’?”

“Well Pet, the Waffle I’m talking about is a very nice filly who just wants to be your friend.”

“What’s a ‘friend?”

Minty threw an inquiring glance at Chivalry, who mouthed “later”.

“A friend is somepony who is nice to you and cares about you. You should come inside, and meet her. I think she’d be a great friend. Would you like that? Would you like to have a friend?”

After a few moments of silence, the carriage door opened and Pet stepped out still trying to hide behind her mane.

“I think having a friend would be nice.”

“I think so too. Than why don’t you meet her? Waffle!” No sooner had she looked at her daughter than she ran over in a pink blur.

A very excited Waffle Cone led a very nervous filly into the house. Minty pulled her husband aside.

“We’ll talk later, but for now, just one question. Am I right in guessing she needs our help?”

“Yes, most definitely.” Chivalry replied.

“Well, then… come inside. Dinner’s waiting.”

With that, Minty Green followed the two fillies back into the house. The smell of freshly baked bread greeted them. A young mare with a bright smile was stirring a pot on the stove, a small bundle lay on her back wrapped in her wings.

“Waffle, who’s dad’s frie- oh, hello there.” She turned to look at Pet, who was busy staring wide eyed around the room, as if the humble kitchen and dining room was the most impressive thing she had ever seen.

“Laurel, this is Pet! She’s going to be our new sister!”

“Well, I wouldn’t quite say that.” said Chivalry as he crossed the threshold into his house.

“Honey, why don’t you go get out of your armor while me and the girls set the table?”

“Sure thing, Minty, I’ve been in this thing for almost a whole day.” He turned and made for the stairs. As he did so he whispered quietly to his wife.

“Just make Pet feel welcome and don’t mention changelings. I’ll explain everything later.”

Leaving his wife with more questions than she had before, he began a tactical retreat up the stairs.

“Actually dear, let me help you out of your harness. You look exhausted.” As she pulled closer to him she whispered-

“You’re not getting away that easily.” Then in a louder voice, she called back over her shoulder to her oldest daughter.

“Laurel, can you help our guest with her things? She may be staying with us for a while.” With that, she disappeared up the stairs after her husband.

“Okay!” Laurel turned to Waffle and gently handed her the small bundle from her back. “Waffle, could you hold Crème for a bit?” She then turned quickly back to Pet and the front door. “Let’s go grab your things from the carri-” she cracked open the door to an empty street. “That’s odd, where did it go? How are we supposed to grab your stuff if it’s not there?”

“I don’t have anything.” Pet spoke up for the first time since abandoning the carriage. She said it like it was the most natural thing in the world to have literally no possessions.

“Oh…” Laurel replied sounding somewhat deflated before brightening back up. “Traveling light, I see. I normally don’t bring too much with me when I go places either. Let’s go back inside. I need to get the bread out of the oven.” They re-entered the small home with Laurel’s curiosity suitably piqued surrounding the origins of the strange filly. She would be sure to ask her father about it.

Pet was still visibly nervous around her so Laurel sat her down at the table and went about getting dinner ready to serve. Waffle sat down next to Pet and showed her the small yellow baby filly. Crème had had some health problems in the first few months, but now she smiled and gurgled like any other baby. Laurel was content to finish dinner and let her sisters work their charming magic on Pet. Waffle Cone and Crème could make a rock smile if they tried.

Sure enough, after Waffle handed her the foal, Pet smiled. It looked like an expression she didn’t make often. As Laurel opened the oven, she found herself wondering what it was her parents were discussing on the floor above. Whatever it was, they were discussing it loudly.

* * *


“Yes Changelings, we conducted a r-”

“The same monsters that attacked during the wedding?!”

Chivalry took a breath and removed his chest plate before replying.

“Yes, Minty, the same. We stormed their hive to make su-”

“Oh, Gods… that’s why you said that when you left. You said goodbye.”

“Honey, I always say goodbye.” It sounded fake even to Chivalry. “Minty, I knew it would only worry you mo-”

“Worry? WORRY!?”

Ah scrap. Chivalry thought to himself.

“Was I worried when I heard the princess disappeared in Ponyville? You were there, and so was Nightmare Moon! We heard that guardponies had engaged her, should I have worried then?!”

“Minty, you know that it was the pegasi that tried to stop her. I wasn’t anywhere near when that happened. She was long gone by the time I was on scene. Nopony was inj-”

“What about the wedding?! Do you think I was worried then?! Thank the gods Laurel was sick and had to stay home! What she had been out in the street with her friends? She could have- she could’ve- sh-she”

“Mint don’t even think that. We can’t do that to ourselves.” He put a hoof on her shoulder to comfort her and balance himself as he slid the segmented barding off. “Let’s just be thankful that we all were sa-”

“Don’t even get me started on you, mister! Where were you? Oh right, at the palace! Safe in sound, wrapped in a drekken cocoon! We didn’t even know what was happening, nopony knew! All we could do was stay inside and pray. We thought you-”

Chivalry didn’t let his wife go any further. He embraced her in a warm hug, stifling the sobs he knew could easily come.

“Mint. Listen to me. I’m not going anywhere. I will always come home for you and the girls. Always.”

Minty just nodded her head and took few moments to compose herself while Chivalry placed the armor on its proud mannequin.

“It’s good to see you with your normal coloring.”

Chivalry turned to watch as the enchantments slowly left with the armor, changing to his normal muddy brown. His crimson helmet cutie mark shimmered back into view upon his flank.

“I do prefer this to that bright white. Though I fear the blue hair and most of the white will stick around until about after dinner.”

“So you found her during the raid and decided to take her home with you?”

“Well, yes and no. Princess Luna just about asked me to watch her. So I volunteered. Besides, she also gave me fully paid leave and I get to spend more time at home, so everypony wins.”

They heard Laurel calling them down so they made their way to the stairs. As they closed their room door behind them, a thought struck Chivalry.

“Any word from Praiseworthy?”

“Yes, he was supposed to be home last night.” Seeing her husband’s shocked face, she continued. “It was supposed to be a surprise, but a friend told me his train was delayed.”

“Maybe it’s for the better. As you might’ve noticed, Pet is still very nervous around new ponies.”

The sound of laughter greeted them as they reached the first floor.

“Well you could hardly tell from that.”

Waffle, Laurel, and Pet all sat round Crème, who was happily laughing and gurgling as they took turns rubbing her soft belly. They were laughing and smiling as if they had known each other their whole lives. It made Chivalry smile too see Pet laugh and smile. She looked up and saw him.

Then screamed and fell from her seat.

“Pet, are you ok?” Chivalry hurried over to her, concern written on his face.


Suddenly, the front door banged back on its hinges and a cloaked stallion stormed into the room, horn aglow.

“Royal Guard!” Both Chivalry and the strange stallion shouted at the same time, both dropping into low fighting stances. Pet screamed again, Crème started crying, Laurel threw herself in front of her sisters, and Minty struck up her own horn aiming for the stallion.

Needless to say, it was a tense situation. Or, at least it was until Minty, Laurel, and the cloaked unicorn started laughing.

“No place quite like home,” said Praiseworthy, dropping his fighting stance and traveling cloak.

Dinnertime and Bedtime

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Should I be happy? Chivalry has been the nicest pony to me since Mommy so why shouldn’t he be a changeling? It makes perfect sense! He was different than a lot of those other guards, and he had been nice to me. He had even taken me home with him.

But I just feel so angry. He had a family, a real family. Changelings couldn’t have families and now the stupid guard was here to take them away. Changelings couldn’t have families because nopony could love them.

But they could steal love. That’s what bad changelings did. They stole love. Not like Mommy who only took love that was freely given. Mommy always said that her changelings were better than that. Or at least that’s what she told me after I left the room the first time. She said the changelings who had tried to steal my love would be punished.

I think that deep down; I wanted him to be real. Maybe that’s why I’m hiding here under the table. I don’t want to have my love stolen by a bad changeling like Chivalry. I’m just going to stay here, under the table, no matter what Chivalry or his “family” says. At least until the royal guard arrests h-

Are they laughing?

Oh no… the guard came for me! That’s why he’s here! That’s why they’re laughing; they were in on it all along. They know I’m a child of Chrysalis! Well if he’s going to take me, I won’t go quietly.

“You aren’t taking me!” Instantly the laughing and talking stopped. What were they going to do to me? Were they going to drag me out?

I watched as Chivalry’s head came into view. Or at least I was pretty sure it was him. His face was the same but he had changed colors completely. Instead of the clean gray I saw before, it was a sort of dirty brown color. Like mud.

“Pet I-”

“Don’t talk to me!” I said angrily. I wasn’t going to let him trick me with any of his lies. He looked like he was going to try say something else but he stood back up, leaving me alone in my sanctuary.

“Pet please, you’re scaring Crème.” I could hear Laurel pleading with me through the tablecloth. I didn’t want to come out, but I didn’t want Crème to be upset.

“How can I be sure the guard won’t take me?!”

I could hear them talking to each other. The loud one, the guard I think, sounded confused. But then, he was the one that spoke to me.

“Nopony’s taking anypony anywhere.”

“How can I know for sure?!” How could I know for sure?

“I promise. I’m not here to take you, or Chivalry or anyone away. Ok?”


“I swear.”

“Swear it on your mother’s egg!” There was no way he could break that oath.

“I was most certainly NOT hatched from an egg!” That was Minty.

“I swear on my mum’s egg.” The guard said with a chuckle. But it wasn’t the type of chuckle Mommy always used, this one sounded different. Like he actually thought something was funny. I decided to come out from under the table. I wanted to see if he would make that sound again.

* * *

There was almost a collective sigh of relief from the occupants of the room as the small filly crawled out from the table cloth. She glanced around nervously, at them. Almost as if she were afraid any one of them would pounce on her at any moment.

“Pet, why don’t you have a seat? The food is getting cold.” Minty Green used her magic to pull out several plates with food from the kitchen. She glanced around the rest of her family prompting them with a nod. The rest of the family joined her at the table, quickly making an extra setting for Praiseworthy at the table end farthest from Pet.

Laurel gestured to a seat between herself and Waffle Cone.

“Pet, would you like to sit here?”

She simply nodded and sat down, still clearly on edge. After saying a short grace a pall of silence settled over the dinner table, no one eating save Chivalry.

“So Praiseworthy, how is the academy treating you?”
The young stallion jerked up in surprise as his mother broke the silence.

“Things have been good, mum.” Judging from her look of disapproval he figured this was not the answer she was looking for.

“Well I’m doing good in my classes, though right now most of it’s on change-” He glanced down the table at Pet. “-on uh, channeling! Yeah… channeling positive energy.”

Chivalry didn’t look up from his plate of food as he industriously shoveled it into his mouth. After all, he was a stallion of priorities.

“Nice save there, son. Tell me though, how gos it with Blossom?” Chivalry shot him a glance that gave Praiseworthy the impression that he knew exactly how things were going.

“Who’s Blossom?” Pet asked, speaking up for the first time since abandoning her refuge under the table.

“Oh she’s Praiseworthy’s marefriend.” Laurel said conspiringly.

She and Waffle Cone laughed together at Praiseworthy’s rapidly reddening face. Pet joined in as well, though she wasn’t quite sure what a ‘marefriend’ was.

“She’s not my m-

“Blossom? She’s that nice pony we met at that gala correct?” Minty interrupted.

“Yes but she’s not my- wow this salad is good.” He suddenly became very interested in his food. The sudden change of topic was lost on no one (except Pet and Crème) but they decided to let it slide.

“Speaking of salads, Waffle you’ve hardly touched your celery shreds.”

“But I don’t like them! They’re yucky! Right Pet?” she whined turning to her neighbor.
Pet looked down at her own celery shreds on her plate. She hadn’t known what they were until then and she had quite liked them.

“Actually Waffle, I think I like the taste of ‘yucky’.” For reasons unknown to her, the rest of the table found this statement very funny.

“Well Waffle, if you want dessert you have to eat them like Pet. Why even Crème is eating her celery.” Minty said trying to hide a smile.

“What’s dessert?”

Before anypony could say anything Waffle Cone interceded.

“Oh dessert’s one of the most wonderful things in the whole world! It’s so good I’ll even eat my yucky celery to get some.”

“Well, that sounds nice.” Pet still had no idea what dessert was but Waffle Cone was excited and that was enough for her.

As it turned out dessert was a leftover half of a double chocolate cake. To her surprise, Pet found that she quite liked the taste of the rich dark chocolate. In fact, were it not for the intervention of Chivalry, she would have eaten herself under the table.

“Now it’s off to bed with you. And make sure you brush your teeth. Laurel, grab one of the spare brushes from the cabinet for Pet. I’ll see about getting her a bed for tonight.” Chivalry turned to his son, shooting him an unspoken question.

“Ah, come on dad. I had a long trip, and you still haven’t told me what the drek is going on…”

His father didn’t seem to hear him, he just kept staring at him impassively.

“Well looks like I’ve got the couch. Pet can use my mattress for tonight. She looks like she could use a good sleep.” Praiseworthy said grudgingly. Just because he was morally obligated to surrender his comfortable mattress for the night didn’t mean he had to like it. After using his magic to haul the mattress (the comfortable one) into the girls’ room, he retreated downstairs for a night of tossing and turning on a hard couch. Yet strangely enough, he would still get a better sleep than his (comfortable) mattress’s occupant.

* * *

“And that is how you brush your teeth!” Waffle Cone stepped back admiring her hoof work. It had taken some doing, but Waffle had finally managed to help Pet brush her teeth. It had proven to be very difficult for the filly who had never done so in her life. (not that she had ever truly needed to until that evening)

“Okay girls let’s hit the hay.” Laurel showed Pet to the “spare” mattress on the floor next to Waffle’s bed.

“I’m sorry you have to sleep on the floor.”

“No it’s okay, I’m used to it.”

“Goodnight Pet. Sweet dreams.”

Waffle Cone flicked off the light and darkness descended on the room. After about five minutes of sitting in the dark, the silence was broken by a question.

“What’s a Marefriend?”

Waffle Cone stifled a giggle, allowing Laurel to answer.

“A marefriend is a very special somepony. Like a very special friend that you really like.”

Pet thought about this for a few moments.

“Are we marefriends?” She didn’t know why but this also caused Laurel and Waffle to laugh. Pet joined in, though she didn’t know why.

“Kind of. But the marefriend that Praiseworthy has is a special kind of marefriend.”

“Oh… okay then.”

“Goodnight Pet.” Within a few short minutes, Laurel’s less than ladylike snores could be heard. The stillness stretched on and Waffle had almost fallen asleep when Pet spoke up for the second time.

“Waffle, are you awake?”

“Yes.” Came the sleepy reply.

“Your mother said that friends are ponies that are nice to you and care about you… are we friends?”

Waffle took a moment to consider her answer.

“Of course we are.”

“I think having a friend is nice.”

“Me too Pet… me too.” Waffle allowed the welcoming folds of sleep take her, and she drifted off to her usual dreams of giant ice cream pies.

* * *

Something woke Waffle Cone in the middle of the night. She sat up in bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes trying to identify what had woken her up. It sounded like somepony sniffling and mumbling. Her hooves fumbled with the light by the side of her bed. As it slowly flickered to life she could make out Pet shaking in her blanket in her bed on the floor.

“Pet? Are you okay?”

“Mommy… Mommy please… don’t…”

“Pet! Pet, wake up!” Waffle was at her side in an instant, she was terrified. Pet was her friend, and it scared her to see her friend like that. She did the natural thing any filly in her position would do.

“Laurel! There’s something wrong with Pet!” She hit her with a pillow for good measure.

The older pony’s eyes opened and took in the scene in seconds.

“Pet! Wake up! PET!”

Pet’s eyes finally flickered open, her mouth opened getting ready to scream. Laurel didn’t give her the chance, instead embracing her in a hug, stifling the screams.

Laurel then turned to her wide eyed sister.

“Waffle! Get Mom and Dad! Now!” She watched her sister rush out of the room in a pink blur.

“It’s okay Pet, everything’s going to fine. It was just a dream, nothing but a dream.” They sat there for some time. Pet watering Laurel’s chest with her eyes while Laurel tried to comfort the sobbing filly, running her hooves through her hair and holding her close.

“It was only a dream.” Laurel held her and looked into her eyes.

“Nothing but a bad dream okay?”

“I-I saw Mommy.”

The door opened, Chivalry walking in. Both girls turned to him.

“I was with Mommy.”

Restless Dream

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Pet couldn’t remember the last time she had ever been so happy. She was with Mommy again, and she was happy.

They were together again, just like they should have always been. Mommy’s horn was glowing, and Pet could feel the wonderfully warm tingling of Mommy’s magic. It always made her feel better. It let her forget all the hurt.

They were playing together and helping themselves to boxes of chocolates, like the kind Chivalry had given her after he first found her. She mentioned this to her mommy and she laughed. Pet loved it when Mommy laughed like that. It was the kind of happy sound she had heard at the dinner table with Chivalry’s family.

But dinner now felt like it had been a dream, this was real and Pet couldn’t have been happier. Well, except if maybe Laurel and Waffle Cone were with her and Mommy.

“Oh come now Pet. Surely you don’t need them. After all...” She leaned in and playfully nuzzled her daughter. “You have me. Since when did you ever need more than that?”

Pet didn’t have an answer to that. It made her think when Mommy had said something similar and gotten angry at her. As she did so, the bright colors of the pastel clouds melted away to reveal her old room in the hive. Mommy was still with her, but her magic wasn’t. It was the second day Mommy had been home after long trip.

“Oh, I remember this day, my Pet,” Mommy said as she walked to the small carpet in one corner that served as Pet’s bed. Besides the royal bed that Mommy only used when she wanted a late night “snack”, the room was completely bare save the carpet.

With a knowing smile, Mommy used her magic to toss the threadbare thing away revealing Pet’s labors of several weeks. The perhaps four square feet area was completely covered in drawings. Scratches and doodles etched into the stone floor using what must have been the broken tips of several stalagmites. They were a child’s drawings. There were several ponies and changelings, all with large smiles, and what must have been her and Pet. The largest drawing however, featured in the center, was what appeared to be Pet being embraced by another pony as they watched a large white ball in what must have been clouds.

It took Chrysalis a moment to realize this must have been what Pet imagined the sun looked like. The drawing was actually a fairly close approximation, considering the fact that Pet had never seen the sun. The changeling queen’s eyes flickered over the equine shape next to her pet in the drawing.

“Who is this?”

And why is this picture in the center? Why are you watching the sun set? She did not however voice these thoughts out loud. If she bombarded the simple minded earth pony with questions she would simply cower before her.

“Oh she’s like me, Mommy! Special, like you’ve always said I was.” Pet said excitedly. She was overjoyed, she had thought Mommy would be angry, or maybe try and stop her from drawing. “Do you like it? We’re watching the sunrise, I heard one of the guards outside say that’s what ponies that like each other do sometimes.”

“Pet… why isn’t this me?” Chrysalis was unsure as to why she cared. Pet was nothing but a food source. Wasn’t she? Surely she, the queen of the changelings, wasn’t jealous of a lonely filly’s drawing! Pet had never seen another pony, let alone met one. But she could see the way Pet looked at her drawings, the small shine in her eyes. She loved drawing, and Chrysalis resolved that her love was her’s alone.

Pet was still talking about her drawings when Chrysalis stamped on the first one, dragging her hoof across it.

“What?! Why?”

Mommy took her time, destroying Pet’s hope. Growing more and more furious as she did so.

“Mommy! Mommy please! Don’t!”

She didn’t stop until there was but one picture remaining. It was of Pet and a distinctly changeling-esque figure holding hooves. After a moments hesitation, and heedless of Pet’s cries, she destroyed that one as well. She then turned to Pet, a veritable fire in her eyes.

Pet backed away slowly; she had been “punished” by Mommy before.

“Can we go back to eating chocolates now?”

“Oh? Now you wish for my company? Perhaps you would prefer your friend Chivalry? Or your ‘new mother’!”

A loud banging could be heard against the door along with a heavily distorted voice.

“I saw one, lads!” Whatever monster was outside the door threw itself against it again, the sturdy reinforced door giving slightly.

In a flash of green fire, Mommy was replaced by some cruel parody of Minty Green. Her horn long and pitted like Chrysalis’s, and her eyes alight with fire.

“Come here my Pet!” She smiled, revealing rows of jagged teeth.

Pet was cornered; she hadn’t even realized she was in a corner. The door was the only way out.. She scrambled for it, slipping between the legs of the crazed Minty. Then the door practically fell down as whatever was outside it gave it a solid kick.

In stormed a golden-clad monster, spikes studded its changeling blood smeared armor, fire flying from its mouth. It and the Minty monster pounced on Pet, who screamed as she was about to die. Just before the monsters hit, a dark blue hoof tore through the wall and yanked her from the room, still screaming. Before she could see whose hoof it was, Pet became fully conscious to Laurel’s terrified face, mere inches from her own.

“Waffle! Get Mom and Dad now!”

“It’s okay Pet, everything is going to be fine. It was just a dream, nothing but a dream.”

Laurel held her close, and Pet cried into her soft chest. She didn’t want to tell her what she had seen.

“It was only a dream.”

Pet hoped she was right, but it had felt so real. She looked into Laurel’s eyes, so full of concern, and took several deep breaths.

“Nothing but a bad dream, okay?”

The door opened, the dark form of Chivalry in the hallway.

“I-I saw Mommy.” Pet managed to stammer out. Saying it out loud didn’t help. It was like now that it was out in the open, everyone would feel bad and not just her. She didn’t want them to feel bad.

“You saw your mother?” A soft voice asked from the now lit hallway. Framed within it was Minty and Chivalry, with Waffle Cone close behind.

Pet stifled a gasp by seeking refuge in Laurel’s embrace. She didn't want them to see, she didn't want them to know how scared she was. Her sleep addled brain still swam with the images of that… that thing that looked like Minty from her dream.

“Please don’t…. stay away.” She mumbled into Laurel’s fur.

“Pet, please let us help you.” Chivalry came forward and placed a comforting hoof on Pet’s shoulder. “You need to talk to us, tell us what’s wrong.”

“You… I-I can’t.” She tried to hide her face, trying to hide her tears. She could really have used some of Mommy’s magic right about then.

“Then until you can, we’re here.” He hugged her, and she struggled. After a few moments she found herself surrounded by almost the entire family in one giant hug, resistance was futile. All of them giving small words of comfort, and for perhaps the first time since leaving the hive the painful sensation in her stomach lessened.