by Masterweaver

First published

I am who I am. But who I am is always different.

It's dying.

No... not dying, exactly. Moving on.

Changing in a way that I never expected.

And now... now I know. Now I understand.

Written for FTP16. Cover by Huussii.

Do you know me?

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I am the queen of changelings. My name is Chrysalis, and I am their queen.

The thing is... I don't know what that means, do I? I thought I did once. I led the swarm, I ruled the hive, I was bonded to my children and they to me through the mystic union of mind and soul. That mystic union... the hive mind.

Did I inherit my position? Or was I immortal? I've forgotten. All I remember is the vibrant, shifting pattern of that glorious whole, flowing through my mind, through my soul. Whether I was cruel or merely crafty, whether I considered ponies to be worthy foes or merely foodstuffs, that at least I recall. The hive mind.

I know it was real. It's how I know what I do...

I'm not sure when the doors opened. It's hard to tell time here... especially when I'm spread across it like I am. I know the passage of events, as they are... as they seem from my view. I know that I saw new connections, that I began to slip into... this place. It took me a while to realize what was happening. Or, us? I know there were times I argued with myself, but I don't...

I was crossing from one hive mind to another. There was always one Chrysalis, you see. Always one queen. But it wasn't always... the same. I remember...

I remember having mothers. Sisters. Daughters, sons. Many daughters and sons, actually. Grandchildren are a bit rarer. And... I loved most of them. Some I hated. Some I didn't care about. Some were... tools. I don't...


Who should I be?

I thought I knew once, but...

It began to change. The hives. The swarm. I grew more... brutal. My cunning remained, for some time, but there was also... insanity. It came from different places, it was different in the ways it manifested...

Did I do this to myself? To all of me?

There were... there were the hives that found humans. Such strange creatures, you know. Frail and magicless, usually, and yet so... lucky. Or observant. Was it destiny that protected them, or foreknowledge? Half the time it was only the one hero, and the other half a gate to their realm. And...


they knew?

There was a story of moving images and song, and there I was but a brief visitation, but it was enough for branches of words and speculation and wonder and... and they didn't match me exactly, when I found them, but in the hidden parts of the hive mind, where I found my way to the other hive minds... I would recognize my self. Or my selves? I don't know if I am just one of me that listened to many, or many that over time became one.

That's why I'm talking, though, because... because maybe, maybe those words are reaching somebody out there. Maybe they can answer... what I'm supposed to be, now.

I loved my children. My people. I loved my swarm and hive, and... and then it all started to change. To slip. It was small at first, the love not fading, but my methods growing more... rough. Callous, first to my enemies, then to those of my own who would betray me. Then to those of my own who were incompetent, then to those of my own... who were, of my own.

It happened while I wandered, wandered into smaller and less vibrant hive minds. I found some not even formed, where empathy was all that could be sensed, not structure. I found some that... that had no hive mind at all, some versions of me that...

...why am I saying this? Even if you're out there, listening, this is...

...I want to know who I am. Who I should be. Because I... I loved my people. I loved them, and even when they were suffering I had... I had purpose, I had intent. And the hive... but now, now it's all slipping away, the love, the hive, my cunning, my people...

When I wander now, this mind between minds, I can rare find what I was once. I find more often anger and... and hatred and loneliness and is this who I am supposed to be? So many worlds are agreeing. And I'm becoming more like them because they are the lights in my darkness.

But I know there are worlds where I am but an image on a screen... I know there are worlds where I am text. Text. I don't know if anyone in those worlds can hear me. I just... I need an answer, and I can't get it from myself anymore. My selves are ignoring me.

It's all going dark.

The doors are shutting, the lights flickering out--the lights of what I enjoyed fading away. Some new ones flare into life every once in a while, but for the most part the new lights paint me this new way.

This... queen who starved her own people from their own power for her own vain glory. Who was taken down when a pony gave encouragement to a traitor. It was rare before, but it's springing up now.

Is this who I'm supposed to be? Is that what the lights mean?

Is all that I was to be dispensed as a dream upon my awakening?

Or... can I interpret myself as the humans did when to them I appeared brief and potent?

Please, I... I don't know if you can hear this. I don't know if you can answer me, but... I need to know.

I don't... I don't want platitudes. Not that everyone's good or can be redeemed, no, I've heard that so many times. This isn't about morals, or what I want, this is about... this is about identity. I am Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings. I have been mother and monster. I have been hero and villain. I have been... every pony, at least once. But...

Now I have to be me. And I don't know what that means.

But whatever it means, I know that I will do it.

So tell me, what am I to do?

Answer me.


I know you can hear me! This is the mad experimental kind of thing that some of you humans write! Come on, some of you must--some of you MUST hear me.



I have to know. I have to know what I should be. Not what's right or what's good, but what... what I am.

Tell me the truth. What am I?

Who am I?