The Queen of Hearts

by Pumpernickel Rye

First published

Chrysalis attempts getting her crown and her revenge by running a dating service.

Sequel is now live!

Revenge. It has been the only thing on Chrysalis’s mind during the months of her exile. What should have been her greatest triumph turned out to be her ultimate downfall. After months of waiting, she has at last developed a plot to win back the support of the changelings and take over Equestria: Run a dating service.

Disguised as the lovely unicorn Cherub, she starts up her business, ready to reclaim what she had lost. However, she soon discovers that the dating world is not as simple as it appears. Realizing that she cannot do this alone, she is forced to seek help from the most unlikely of sources.

Cover image created and permitted by FeliXao.

A New Scheme

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A New Scheme

“Ms. Pincher! There are some customers waiting for you!”

“On it, Mr. Dovey!” Penny Pincher grumbled to herself as she made her way to the table. Penny Pincher was a copper colored unicorn in her twenties with an orange mane and a cutie mark of two bits. At least, that was how she appeared to everypony else. In reality, she was not even a pony. She was actually the queen of changelings, or she was until almost three months ago. After she returned home from a humiliating defeat at Canterlot, she was immediately stripped of her title and then sentenced into exile. She had hidden herself among the citizens of Manehattan, hearing that it was a romantic town for honeymooners, and had taken employment in a small restaurant called Lovey Dovey’s Love Café. It paid less than other venues and all the customers didn’t carry enough love to sustain her hunger. It felt like a dead end for her.

She expected herself to tolerate the new lifestyle, but she couldn’t even bring herself to. She was royalty and longed to return home, but the atmosphere of the changeling kingdom had become incredibly hostile, wanting her head. If she were to set even one hoof into the kingdom, they would imprison her and send her straight to Celestia in hopes that she would forgive them for their former queen’s actions. The only reasons she still worked here were it gave something to do while she figured out what she was going to do for the future and because it was great for testing her own patience and personality so she wouldn’t make any more mistakes like the ones at the wedding. However, her own patience and attempts of feigned kindness were running thin at her workplace.

Penny Pincher, or Chrysalis, approached a table where a couple was waiting for her. She forced herself to smile and took out a pencil and notepad. “Welcome to Lovey Dovey’s Love Café, the most romantic place in Equestria!” Every time she said that, she died more inside. It was an awful and redundant name yet it still somehow attracted enough ponies to stay in business. “What can I get for you two lovers?”

The stallion at the table spoke in a quiet voice, sounding slightly embarrassed. “I will take the heart herbal tea and my wife will have the make-out mocha.” These names made Chrysalis want to gag.

“Of course, sir. I will be right back.” She went over to the counter and prepared their drinks, trying to act cheery in hopes that no pony would suspect that she was a changeling. Since the attack on the royal wedding, all of Equestria had become incredibly paranoid about her species. Occasionally, she had seen a pony accused of being one and sent away for trial. They of course never caught an actual changeling, but the fear was still persistent. Even Lovey Dovey, the owner of the café, often checked on customers for suspicious behavior. Any tic or sign of nervousness could spell misfortune. Fortunately for Chrysalis, she had been in the acting business for many years and could withstand the pressure.

While she was working on the customers’ drinks, a voice bloomed behind her. “Hey, Penny! Busy day, huh?”

Chrysalis recognized the voice and turned around. It was Sunshine, one of the other waitresses there. She was an earth pony with a bright yellow coat and a brown mane. Ever since she obtained employment here, Sunshine had been trying to befriend her. Chrysalis pretended to be friends with her, but refused to hang out with her outside of work. She hated Sunshine, but in fairness, she hated everypony. They were nothing more than food to her. She always conjured a rational excuse whenever asked to meet up after work so she wouldn't be stuck with her. A few times already Sunshine had become suspicious of her and as a last resort, Chrysalis used her magic when they were alone to wipe her memory of any suspicion. “Hey, Sunny. Yeah, I’m just working on an order right now.”

“Well I just wanted you to know that Mr. Dovey is expecting you to pick up the pace. He feels that you’re not working your hardest.”

Chrysalis turned back to the drinks, gritting her teeth. “Is that so? Well tell him I will consider his advice.” Her boss was always on her case, trying to make everything as perfect as possible, and that often involved him telling her how to do things right. She received one of these lectures almost every day and she hated them more every time.

“Great! So Penny, I was thinking after work, we could-”

“Sorry, can’t talk now,” Chrysalis said hastily as she quickly put the drinks on a tray. “I’m really busy with customers right now, so we have to talk another time. Okay?” She then made her way across the restaurant, trying to distance herself from Mr. Dovey’s personal flank kisser. As she approached the couple, she overheared their conversation.

“Honey, I really think you should talk to our daughter. I don’t like that boy she’s been hanging out with,” said the wife.

The stallion sighed. “I know how you feel, but I don’t see what I can do. She never listens to me anymore.”

“But I’m starting to think she really likes him. And if she were to marry that hick from Appleloosa, what would the neighbors think?” his wife complained while Chrysalis rolled her eyes. Rich ponies cared way too much about how everypony saw them.

The husband looked distraught. “I agree. But how should we get rid of him? Do you think he would accept a bribe to leave her?”

Chrysalis stepped in and placed their drinks down, startling the both of them. “Personally, if I was in your position, I would use a little ‘parental enforcement’ and tell him I’d break his legs if he came near her again. And if my daughter didn’t like it, I’d show her the door.”

The wife was absolutely appalled by her suggestion, but then noticed her husband smiling. “O-or maybe we could just find somepony else for her! You know, someone who is actually respectable in this town.”

“Yes, but she seems to be really into that cowboy. It’s a shame we can’t just make her fall in love with somepony else.”

Chrysalis stood there, his words echoing in her mind. “Make her fall in love,” she said quietly enough that the couple didn’t hear her. “Make ponies fall in love...” She felt the cogs in her head begin to quiver. Before they could really begin to turn, she heard the shrill voice of her boss disrupt her.

“Penny, darling! Please stop bothering the customers and get back to work!” Lovey Dovey, the fat, pink pegasus who owned this restaurant, was staring at her angrily. She ignored him and tried to think some more. Changelings always had to use methods of direct feeding to survive, which was much more difficult now with the heightened security. Maybe if there was much more love somewhere…

“Ms. Pincher! Are you listening to me!?”

One thing Chrysalis really loathed was being interrupted, but she had made up her mind. “Shove it, you fat flank!” Everypony in the restaurant looked at her in complete shock. “I’m sick of taking orders from you, I’m sick of Sunshine, and I’m sick of this stupid café! I quit!”

“What!? But you can’t just quit!”

Chrysalis ignored him as she made her way to door as she had much bigger plans in mind. She tore off her uniform and threw it behind her. Once she reached the door, she opened it and just stood there. She thought of how she could make her goodbye much more memorable, so she turned back and shouted, “Oh, and to get that extra kick of flavor, we mix dragon snot into the drinks!”

She immediately went out the door as everypony spat out their drinks. The café became an immediate cacophony of screams, breaking glass, and falling tables. As she walked away, she turned her head around and witnessed a stampede of ponies fleeing out the door with one even jumping through a glass window. Mr. Dovey then came out of the café and followed them, shouting at them to come back. It was likely he would call the authorities on her, but that soon wouldn’t matter. It was time to get out of dodge.


Celestial Suites was one of the largest, most expensive hotels in the city and it was where the former changeling queen had taken residence ever since her exile. While she hated how it had the name of the all-powerful alicorn ruler who she had clashed with at the wedding, it was considered fit enough for royalty and she was most definitely royalty. She wasn't at all worried about somepony here recognizing her from the café as ponies never took the time to remember faces and she did well to keep a low profile. She strolled through the lobby while humming to herself, thinking over her idea as she walked.

She reached her room and started to pack immediately, eager to begin her plot. She didn’t need to pack much as all she had besides the essentials were several dresses which she had “purchased” from several stores. Often at night she would wear one, take the form of a random mare, and make her way to several bars in the city to hit on many ponies. With her talented charm, every one of her hunts ended in success with a passed out stallion or mare and herself full of renewed energy. It was very easy for her to feed off a pony’s love, and sometimes their wallets, despite the increased awareness.

Once she had packed her dresses away, she brought out several large bags she hid in her closet that were filled with a large amount of bits she had obtained from some very love-struck ponies. She only used the cash to pay for her stay since mind control made paying for other things unneeded, but another reason she took money along with other things was that during her time living as a pony, she discovered a sudden thrill that came with stealing. She stashed them all together into a bigger suitcase, thinking it would be a good idea to have some actual cash on her. With everything put away, she took her luggage and made her way out the door.

She returned to the lobby, approached the front desk, and rung the bell. One of the workers that she grew to know and loathe, Belle Hop, appeared. “Hello, Ms. Pincher! How can I help you today?”

“Hello, Belle,” she responded with feigned friendliness. “I am here to check out of this hotel and return home.”

“I’m happy to hear that! You must be very homesick after being on vacation for so long.”

“You have no idea,” Chrysalis responded bitterly, wishing she could return home from her “vacation".

“Allow me to pull up your bill before you go.” She went over to one of the desks in the back and pulled out a file and a calculator. After several moments, Belle returned with a small piece of paper and handed it to her.

Chrysalis merely glanced over it. She could easily pay it off with the money she had, but she hated Belle as well as everypony in this town. They didn’t deserve a single bit from her. She looked around the lobby, making sure that no pony was looking in their direction, and then turned her attention back onto Belle, grinning maliciously. “Of course. Allow me to pay you fully.” Her horn glowed green and then it shot a bolt of magic at her. Belle’s eyes turned green and spun around for a moment. After she regained her focus, she looked back at Chrysalis.

“Thank you for staying at Celestial Suites. We hope to see you again!” she said while waving goodbye to her.

“I most certainly hope I don’t,” she muttered under her breath as she walked out. While she admitted it was sort of a nice place to stay, especially since she spoiled herself with massages and wine, it didn’t even come close to feeling of being back home. She walked the streets of Manehatten, filled with excitement at the thought of possibly reclaiming her throne. She looked around her and saw the rich folk that she despised of Manehatten. She was so glad to be finally away from their snobby elitism. The thought that any of these wretched ponies thought themselves to be above her was sickening.

However, there was something she needed to do first before her departure. She crept her way into an alley and when the coast was clear, her horn glowed. She no longer needed this body and needed a new guise. Her whole body was engulfed in green magic and after a few seconds, it faded. She was now a tall, slender, rose red unicorn with a bright pink mane in her early thirties and on her flank were two hearts that were pierced by an arrow. It was the perfect disguise for what she had planned. She also didn’t want to take the chance of running into any law enforcement before she departed.

Chrysalis left the alley and continued on her way. She had at last reached the train station and took a map from the ticket counter, looking at all possible cities that she could go. During her stay, she had learned much about Equestria’s cities from visitors who had come to the cafe. She just needed to go somewhere that had a large enough population of ponies who weren’t stuck up like the ones here, where the ponies were simple. After several minutes of scanning the map, she saw the perfect place. She placed the map in her bag and went up to the counter, where a stallion was busy reading a book. He just glanced at her.

“Where to, ma’am?”

Chrysalis grinned. “One ticket to Ponyville, please.”


She went to the back of a nearly empty car, trying to be alone, and took a seat, sketching her plan in her mind. It was simple. She would arrive in Ponyville and make as many ponies as possible to fall in love. In order to do that, she would set up a dating service in order to help them find the one. It might take some time, but she knew how work with ponies. Once that was accomplished, she would return to her kingdom in order to tell her subjects that she had created a place filled with an enormous amount of love and then the next phase would begin. Large groups of changelings could go there and sustain their hunger by merely being there and no pony would notice. With the difficulty they now faced of taking the form of another pony and feeding off someone due to Equestria’s awareness, they would have no choice but to accept. She would then kick her younger sister Nymph off the throne, reclaim her rightful place, and send her into exile to see how she liked it. Once that was done, she would let her soldiers feed and grow stronger for a while and once they were strong enough, she would go for a second invasion. This time, she would make no mistakes.

Her mood immediately soured by the thought of her sister. When she returned after the invasion, many of her subjects were waiting for her, furious. She could not resist their assault on her because she was physically and mentally weakened from the barrier that had thrown her and her army out of Canterlot and she was imprisoned. Since Nymph was the only other heir to the throne and was considered to be less “tyrannical", they made her into their queen. Nymph was three years younger than Chrysalis and had always claimed to know better about ruling the kingdom than her. She even told her that her attempt of an invasion was very foolish and thought they were better off to remain in hiding and reap the resource of love in secret instead of an all-out assault.

After her forced abdication and imprisonment, Chrysalis was held on trial for her failures to the kingdom. The council and the public were outraged at her for failing in her plan as it not only exposed their existence to the world, but now they were at risk of going to war. Many of them wanted her imprisoned for life and some even suggested execution due to some of the casualties, but the decision was given to solely Nymph. Chrysalis felt incredible fear as she awaited her fate. She had not treated Nymph well for the last several years and was convinced that she would take vengeance on her at the first chance she got. However, this was not the case. The queen instead took “mercy” on her and had her banished. At least if she had been imprisoned she would still be home. It felt like Nymph did it in order to carry out her humiliation. Let her suffer without a kingdom or even a home.

Just to further add salt to the wound, she had heard about her sister’s activity in most of the pony newspapers. Nymph was having several diplomatic meetings with Princess Celestia and the Canterlot political elite, asking for forgiveness and even the chance to live side-by-side with ponies with some sort of compromise. What was worse was that she was using her own sister as a scapegoat. Chrysalis was disgusted by this. Changelings were meant to feed off the love of ponies. Ponies were prey and changelings were predators and thus the superior species. They shouldn’t have to ask them for anything. Chrysalis had the right idea of taking rule of them.

After several hours, the train came to a stop at her destination. She grabbed her bags and stepped outside. It was certainly a small town like she imagined. The first thing she needed to do was to find somewhere where she could start up her business. As she walked, she took notice of her surroundings. It was much greener and cleaner than Manehatten and the ponies were going about their day, mindlessly greeting each other with smiles and acting polite. Despite them being much friendlier, she hated them just as much as the citizens of Manehatten. She could never stand ponykind.

She kept her cool as she introduced herself to ponies, asking for directions for new housing, and eventually came across what she was looking for. It was a business district right in the vein of a street busy with ponies walking through. It was the perfect place to start as its location would surely attract many potential customers and one building just happened to be for sale. It was a two story building that was much smaller than what she considered to be ideal.

Chrysalis sighed in defeat. “From my palace, to a hotel, and now this. Can I possibly sink any lower?” She was really reluctant in taking it, but it could be weeks or months before anywhere else would become available. As she approached the door, she saw a white earth pony mare inside. Chrysalis tapped on the glass of the door and got her attention. The mare went to the door and opened it.

“Hello, Miss,” she said in a friendly tone, “my name is Short Sale. Are you interested in purchasing this estate?”

Chrysalis faked a smile. “Why yes. I most certainly am.” In truth, she would rather be dead than live here. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to take a look at first.”

Short Sale smiled at her. “Of course! Allow me to give you the tour, Miss…”

“Cherub.”

“Alright, Ms. Cherub, please come with me.” She returned inside and Chrysalis followed her. “This is the main room here and the kitchen is right over there. There is a small closet just on the left here and a bathroom in the back. Now please follow me upstairs.” Chrysalis followed her up. “Up here is the master bedroom as well as a second bathroom. I know it’s small, but I guarantee this is a comfortable place to live and even run a business.”

“I’m sure it is,” Chrysalis said while looking around. She knew the agent was full of it. Whoever thought a building of this size was good for living in and working in was an idiot, which was probably why it was the only building for sale in the first place. Even the smallest shops she had been in had more room than this.

“Well that concludes our exciting tour,” said the salesmare, laughing at her own joke. Chrysalis didn’t even smirk. “So do you still feel like buying? It’s a great deal!”

Chrysalis bit her lip. She didn’t like the idea of living somewhere so small, but she was desperate to get started as soon as she could. She had no choice but to accept. “Yes! I most certainly would like to buy!”

Short’s expression lit up. “Excellent! Now let’s go downstairs and you can fill out the paperwork.”

Chrysalis suddenly burst out laughing. “I don’t think that’s necessary, seeing how that’s your job!” Before Short Sale could respond, Chrysalis shot her with a bolt of magic. Short’s eyes glowed green and she made her way downstairs with the changeling following. She took a stack of paper from her bag and set them on the table, beginning to scribble on them with a pen. Chrysalis chuckled as she watched her work. “And I do believe I have paid for this wretched place fully!

After several minutes, the possessed pony finished and put away the papers. She then handed Chrysalis the keys as well as the deed. Chrysalis decided to reduce the amount of magic she was using, which allowed Short Sale to regain some of her free will so it was less obvious that she had been controlled as the pony made her way to the door. Chrysalis made sure there was enough magic left in her that the unicorn would think everything was done and would not consider double checking anything. When she stepped outside, Short Sale turned around and spoke. “Thank you for buying! I hope that you enjoy your new home. Oh, and I should warn you about the s-”

Chrysalis slammed the door on her and made her way upstairs. She dropped her bags and laid on the wooden floor, completely exhausted from her traveling. She was going to have to fill the place with furniture and other things before she got started, but she really didn’t feel like getting started today. She laid there and fatigue eventually took over, causing her to drift asleep.


An hour later, Chrysalis woke up, startled. She heard weird noises and voices coming from the room below. “Who could be possibly down there?” she thought as she stood. She had enough magic to take on any intruder, but maybe it was just Short Sale coming back because she forgot something.

That’s when a frightful thought appeared in her mind. What if somepony caught on to the mind control she had left on her? Ponies still jumped at the word of changelings, so they could be much more aware of such things. She then started to think that somepony caught on to her and reported her to the royal guards. They would take her back to Canterlot and she would face the wrath of Celestia. These thoughts kept playing over and over in her head as she slowly made her way down the stairs. “H-hello? Is somepony down th-“

“SURPRISE!”

Chrysalis shrieked and lost her footing, tumbling down the stairs and landing on the floor with a loud thud. She laid on the floor, head spinning and sore all over from her fall. She then looked back up and her eyes went wide. Not only were there many ponies in her home, but the place was filled to the brim with balloons. One of the living room tables was covered with cake, treats, punch, and a record player and hanging right above her was a large banner which said, “Welcome to Ponyville!”

“Oh my gosh! Are you okay!? I’m super-duper sorry! I guess that surprise had a little too much surprise!” Chrysalis felt her blood boil as she immediately recognized the voice. She looked up and saw a pink pony with a large curly mane. It was the same annoying pony who had planned on making the wedding party something for little fillies. She hadn’t even bothered to remember her name. Chrysalis, burning with fury, stood up.

“WHO ARE YOU AND HOW DID YOU GET INSIDE MY HOME!?” Everypony in the room immediately cowered at the sound of her booming voice.

“I’m-I’m sorry! I j-just wanted you to feel w-welcome on your first day in Ponyville! Short Sale gives m-me the keys to all the homes so I-I can welcome all the new ponies,” replied the terrified mare, now at the verge of tears.

Chrysalis snarled at her, but then caught herself. She looked around and saw everypony staring at her in complete terror. This kind of first impression would probably kill her business before it even got off the ground and she needed to fix it quickly. “O-oh, I had no idea! I was just taken off guard by the fact that a bunch of strangers were inside my home. Please forgive me.” She struggled to make herself smile, waiting for a response.

The pink pony’s expression instantly returned back to a giant grin. “Well these strangers are now your friends! My name is Pinkie Pie, and I will be your bestest friend in the whole wide world!” She grabbed Chrysalis’s hoof and shook it violently.

Chrysalis wanted nothing more than to throw all these ponies out, but now was a good time to mingle and advertise. The sooner she could make a positive introduction, the better. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Cherub. I’ve just come from Manehattan looking for something new and rural.”

Pinkie then jumped onto the table. “Well Cherub, now it’s time to PAR-TY!” She turned on the record player and music blasted out of it. Everypony cheered and proceeded to enjoy the party. The sound of the music and the other ponies cheering was deafening to Chrysalis. Pinkie grabbed her hoof. “Come on! Let me introduce to everypony!”

Pinkie dragged her all over the room, introducing her to everypony she could find. Chrysalis was not really paying attention to what Pinkie told her and focused more on spreading the news of her soon-to-come business. Eventually, she was brought to a group of ponies who were very familiar to her. “And here are my bestest friends ever! There’s Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, and…”

Before Pinkie finished, Chrysalis looked at the pony she was going to introduce next and felt a surge of scorn flow through her body. It was the one who had put her into this awful position in the first place by foiling her plans. “Twilight Sparkle,” she spoke in a vile tone.

Pinkie and her friends stared at her, confused. “You know who I am?” the purple unicorn questioned.

“Yes, I...” She realized what she was doing and panicked. It was her personality which gave her away before when she was disguised as Princess Cadance. She could not make that mistake again. She spoke again, this time in a much friendlier voice. “I mean…yes, I do! Aren’t you the sister of Shining Armor?”

Twilight’s expression lit up. “You know my brother?”

“No, it’s just that I read about the wedding and I believe you were mentioned. It’s very nice to meet you.” She remembered from when she'd taken Cadance’s place that Shining Armor had mentioned Twilight at times and told her where she lived. She really wished she actually paid attention to anything he said, because now she was living in the same town as her mortal enemy. She couldn’t believe that she had overlooked this very important fact and now she was stuck with her breathing down her neck. She extended her hoof towards Twilight, hoping that she would shake it and forget what had just happened.

Twilight reached out and took her hoof, her eyes showing no sign of concern or curiosity. “It’s nice to meet you, too!”

Rarity, the white unicorn, spoke up. “So tell us, Cherub, what brings you all the way to Ponyville?”

Chrysalis was reluctant to have any of them know what she was doing in order to reduce any possible interference, but telling them to mind their own business would only draw suspicion onto her. “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing. I was sort of hoping for a chance to start a business here.”

“What kind of business?” the mare asked with sparked interest.

The changeling took a deep breath before admitting to them what her life had become. “A dating business. I’m a matchmaker.”

Pinkie suddenly became really excited, standing on her hind legs while flapping her forelegs. “Oh, so you make matches? That sounds fun! I’d buy from you, but the Cakes don’t let me handle matches anymore.”

All of her friends burst out laughing and Pinkie seemed confused. “Not that kind of matchmaking,” Chrysalis said in an annoyed tone as she placed a hoof on her own face. “I mean that ponies come to me and I help them find a special somepony. You know, romance?”

“That sounds nice,” said Fluttershy. She suddenly looked nervous. “S-so if any of us asked f-for a special somepony…”

Applejack cut her off. “Not me. Ah believe that findin’ somepony that ya want to spend the rest of your life with is just somethin’ that happens naturally. Not by having somepony else tellin’ ya who they think you should date. No offense to ya, Cherub.”

“I hear that!” said Rainbow Dash. “Take me for example. I just spend my time being awesome, because I am, and now I’m dating the best Wonderbolt ever, Soarin! Did I mention he’s a Wonderbolt?”

Rarity groaned with her other friends rolling their eyes. “Yes dear, it’s very nice and all, but I wish you would stop trying to bring it up at every chance you got.”

“You’re just jealous because the pony of your dreams was a jerk,” teased Rainbow Dash, only to receive a harsh glare in response.

Chrysalis spoke up, trying to get the conversation back on track. “Anyway, it will take me some time before I get started. I still need to furnish my home first and I’m afraid I am not at all familiar with anypony here.”

Pinkie tightly placed a foreleg around Chrysalis's neck, heavily intruding into her personal space. “Don’t worry, Cherub! I know everypony in Ponyville so I can introduce you to them and then you can make them fall in love!”

Twilight looked at Pinkie, her eyes beaming. “Hey Pinkie, that’s a great idea!”

Chrysalis suddenly felt herself worry. “W-What idea?”

“You should hire Pinkie Pie,” she responded happily while pointing a hoof at her friend.

Pinkie gasped loudly as well as strengthened her grip. “Oh my gosh, Twilight! That is a great idea!”

Chrysalis felt the color drain from her face while the others were excitedly agreeing with Twilight. Of course Twilight would make things worse for her. She had already found the party pony to be probably the most irritating person she ever met, and that was only from meeting her for a few minutes. The thought of being stuck with her for several hours almost every day of the week did not appeal to her in any way. She noticed they were all looking at her, expecting an answer, and she just smiled. “I’ll be sure to think about it.”

Pinkie looked a little disappointed as her ears flopped against her head. “Okay…” She suddenly became hyper again. “You ever play pin the tail on the pony!?”


The party went on for several hours as Chrysalis forced herself to eat some of the food and play several of the party games. She felt that she had spoken with enough ponies to get a nice jump start in customers for when she finally got started, so her time was not completely wasted. It was then late night and the party had finally come to an end. Thankfully, Pinkie and her friends stayed and helped clean up for her, giving her much less work to do. Once they had finished, they said their goodbyes and left. Right before Chrysalis closed the door, Pinkie suddenly ran back up to her. “So you promise to think about hiring me? I can be a really busy bee! Except I don’t buzz and I’m pink, but I really love honey!”

“Yes. Now please go away.” Chrysalis then pushed her away, closed the door, and locked it.

“Okie-dokie-lokie! Bye, Cherub!” Pinkie then bounced out of sight, finally out of the former queen's hair.

Chrysalis sighed with exhaustion and made her way up the stairs. She entered the bedroom and slumped on the floor while using her softer bag as a pillow. With her magic, she closed the door and made sure that all of the window shades were down. She then reverted back to her original changeling form.

“It feels so good to be me again.” She wished she didn’t need to be Cherub and could just return to being Queen Chrysalis, but right now she was only Chrysalis, former ruler and current outcast. Her only chance of reclaiming her title was to go through with her plan and succeed. Failure was not an option.

“It will be so nice to sleep in my bedchamber back home,” Chrysalis said happily as she stretched, “and all it will take is to make these stupid ponies to fall in love with each other.” She was a changeling, so she did have a lot of experience with love and even her ability to sense emotions. She closed her eyes and chuckled. “How hard could it be?”

The Price of Failure

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The Price of Failure

Chrysalis had spent the first week settling into Ponyville before going forward with her operation. She had been busy with purchasing furniture and decorations for her house as well as getting props for her upcoming dating business. The main room downstairs now had a large desk for her, two couches that were both to the left and right of her against the walls with a table in between them, and a large, red carpet in the center of the room that was in the shape of a heart. She also now had a sign over her building which read, “Cupid’s Arrow.” It was a long and grueling task, but she needed it to be done as soon as possible if she wanted to go home. To keep on the safe side, she decided to actually pay for things with money since mind controlling so many ponies would just drain her too much and even be suspicious.

Had Chrysalis known that Twilight and her friends were in town, she would have never gone to Ponyville. It was too late to ditch now since she had just purchased the house and suddenly leaving town after just paying for it would not play well with the changeling paranoia gripping Equestria’s ponies. She convinced herself not to fear Twilight, understanding that the only reason she was caught at the wedding was because she took the place of a pony that Twilight knew for years and did not do a very good job imitating her. Now she had a completely original identity and she could act however she wanted without anypony giving her a second thought. However, she felt that living here would serve as a tactical advantage as she would learn all she could about her enemies, especially since they were known as the Elements of Harmony, whatever that meant. She also couldn’t resist seeing the look on Twilight’s face when she would discover that Chrysalis had outsmarted her.

She had “befriended” Twilight and her friends and received certain favors from them. Twilight gave her any book she asked for with a discount included, Pinkie and Applejack were more than willing to offer her free food, and Rarity had even taken her to the spa once as a show of good will. It was dangerous to make constant contact with them, but she just loved taking advantage of others. Although they were her greatest enemies, they had not a clue about her true identity. She had gained their trust.

Sadly, the good times came to an immediate end. She had finally gotten her dating business started and had been working for almost two weeks. Her idea was to have ponies come in and submit a profile, which would describe them and saying what kind of special somepony they were looking for. It seemed so simple to her at first. She would just find one profile that matched what another pony was looking for. But there were problems. Often when she got them to meet, one pony would consider the other to be ideal but the other wouldn’t. Another common problem was that ponies would make up stuff for their profile and when the other pony found out, they would barge in and scream for a refund. She never took off. Her batting average so far was a fat zero. Her business had taken an impact and she was now receiving fewer customers by the day due to her null success rate. Chrysalis’s scheme was failing and she was becoming very frustrated that the plan wasn’t working.

At the moment, she was talking with one of the customers, one who came in every day since she opened. For some reason Chrysalis couldn’t put her hoof on, he gave her the creeps. “For the last time, no jam making mare has submitted a profile here! I told you if one ever did so, I would inform you. Now please get out!”

The stallion stood up and left, unsatisfied. From the group of the three other ponies in the room, a dark blue earth pony stallion made his way over to the chair and sat right in front of her desk. Chrysalis rubbed her temples. She didn’t want to deal with anymore customers for today, but this was something she had to do. She would strike gold at any time now. “Hello, sir. Have you submitted a profile yet?”

“I don’t believe I have, beautiful.” The way he spoke and looked at her was making her temples throb. She didn’t like having any pony hitting on her, which was often. Even though this would be something she would obviously need to survive, she only did this sort of thing in other forms. She didn’t want to risk blowing her cover by hitting on many stallions as Cherub.

Chrysalis reached into a drawer and pulled out a piece of paper, which she placed in front of him. “Take this and fill in all the blanks and return to me when you have done so. Now please have a seat on one of the couches.” The earth pony made his way to the couch and quickly began filling out his form. “Next!” A pegasus mare stood from one of the seats and approached her. “Hello, ma’am, have you-”

The stallion suddenly rushed over and took the seat before she could sit. “Finished!”

“Oh! I’m sorry, but I need to deal with him first,” Chrysalis objected to the mare who had just come over. The mare became very agitated and sat back on the couch without saying a word. Chrysalis then turned her attention onto the very eager stallion, pulling the paper up to her face. “Alright, let’s see what you have written...Soul Mate?” She couldn’t believe that the name was real. “Your occupation says you’re a…lady killer…”

“What can I say?” he said with incredible smug. “It’s what I do for a living.”

“I see. Now for your preferences, you said you want a red unicorn that runs a dating ser…wait a minute.” Chrysalis had caught on to what he was trying to do and became annoyed. “Sir, I’m sorry, but I am not available.”

Soul Mate was still smiling at her. “Are you sure about that? Why don’t you look under hobbies?”

She reluctantly did so as she was curious of what he was up to. “For hobbies, you said you enjoy spending your time…what!?” Her face started burning and was now even redder than normal. “Sir, this is highly inappropriate!” The other ponies were now staring at them.

He chuckled amusingly. “What’s wrong with inappropriate? Can’t we just act like adults?” His voice began to play upon seduction and he was leaning across the desk. “You really need to loosen up, babe.”

“Babe!?” Enraged, she stood up and pointed a hoof outwards. “Sir, I demand that you leave right now before I call the authorities!”

Soul’s smug grin didn’t even shrink, which just ticked her off even more. “Well why don’t you leave first so I can admire your nice, big flank?”

“ALRIGHT, THAT’S IT!” Chrysalis’s patience had just run out. “WE’RE CLOSING EARLY! ALL OF YOU GET OUT!” With her magic, she grabbed every pony in the room and tossed them out the door. She closed her eyes and sighed, completely stressed that she had just driven out the little amount of costumers she was receiving. Her moment of silence was quickly over as there was a knock on the door. She stomped over and threw it open, only to find Soul Mate standing there. “What do you want now!?”

His expression hadn’t even changed in the slightest as he was not getting the hint. “Oh come on, don’t be like that. Don’t I at least get a goodbye kiss?”

Chrysalis was angry enough to huff smoke from her nostrils. She took a deep breath and suddenly gave him a modest grin. “Very well. Close your eyes and pucker up, pretty boy!” The pony then closed his eyes and leaned in, expecting his reward. She took a step back and with all over her magical might, she slammed the door right on his face. She heard him scream in pain and after a few moments it turned into a wailing cry that quickly faded away. Chrysalis would need to remember to clean the blood off the door later. She walked over back to her desk, sat down, and slammed her head on it.

“It’s official: I’m going to die as an outcast.”

Every following day became more and more stressful. These ponies were much more stubborn than she imagined. It seemed to her that she didn’t understand love as much as she assumed, despite constantly feeding off of it. She wanted to give up on what seemed like a pointless plan, but this was the only plan she had to return to her kingdom. She wished that she actually took her time and figured out how she was going to do things before actually starting.

She was glad that no changeling was around to see how big of a failure she had become. If Nymph were to ever find out, Chrysalis would never forgive herself. It was already sad enough that she took her throne and had her banished. Maybe she knew this would happen when she gave her this punishment. She must have known that Chrysalis would spend the rest of her life making futile efforts of trying to win back her people’s favor. It was certainly a fate worse than death.

If any of this was true, it wouldn’t be a big surprise considering how miserable Chrysalis made her. She guessed Nymph had some sympathy for her because of the earlier times in their lives. When they were younger, they were very close. She had considered herself to be Nymph’s mentor and they were best friends. They did almost everything together. They played in the courtyard, snuck out of the palace at night, raised parasprites, and even played pranks on some of the nobles. They even did these things as adults. These thoughts made her give a small smile of nostalgia.

Chrysalis immediately sat up and shook her head to shake out those thoughts. It was all in the past and right now only the present mattered. She would not give up as long as Nymph was queen. She would get her crown back or die trying. She thought hard about what she was going to do next. What she needed to do was to get a better idea of how to actually run a dating service. She knew where she could go to do research, but dreaded the idea of going because of who she would have to see. However, it was either that or fail and remain in exile. She grabbed a bag and went out, heading towards Ponyville’s library.


Chrysalis soon arrived outside of Golden Oaks Library, which was built into a tree. She always wondered how the place hadn’t burned down yet from a lightning storm, Twilight’s pet, or something similar. She then found herself chuckling at the thought of Twilight being trapped in a burning building. She went to the door and knocked loudly. After several seconds, the unicorn she hated more than any other opened the top half of the door. The way she smiled at her always made her feel bitter. “Hello, Cherub! Are you here to check out some books?”

“Indeed I am,” Chrysalis said in her friendliest tone while she attempted to avoid eye contact. She found Twilight to be hardest to act friendly around because of their history. “I need some books on love and dating. It’s a little embarrassing, but I’m afraid I’ve been getting a little rusty in the business.”

Twilight giggled. “There’s no need to feel embarrassed. Please come inside!” Chrysalis stepped inside the tree and started to look through the massive shelves, unsure of where to even start looking. “There’s no need to do that. Spike!”

Twilight’s pet dragon descended the stairs. “Yes, Twilight?”

“Cherub wants to check out any book we have about love. Could you get some for her?”

“Your number one assistant is on it!” Chrysalis watched as the little dragon pushed a ladder around and started scanning through the shelves. While she never gave much thought to him, she had always found it strange that he was a dragon who was living among ponies, let alone being an assistant to one.

She leaned towards Twilight and whispered into her ear, “If you don’t mind me asking, how did you ever find him? I’ve never seen a dragon in person.”

Twilight was still watching Spike as he worked. “He was a gift to me from Princess Celestia when I still lived in Canterlot. We’ve been together for so long that he’s kind of like a brother to me.”

The changeling gave Spike a perplexed look. “Aren’t dragons supposed to be dangerous? I’m surprised no pony has run him out of town yet.”

Twilight chuckled as she shook her head. “I don’t think that will ever happen. Spike is the sweetest, most polite dragon ever and he’s never done anything wrong. Well, except that time he turned into a giant dragon and started demolishing the town, but other than that, he's great.” Chrysalis really wished she was there when that occurred. Watching a bunch of ponies fleeing while being at the mercy of a giant monster would have been incredibly entertaining. Still, she thought it was a shame that Princess Celestia and Twilight could take a vicious creature like a dragon and make it lovable.

“Okay, I think I got them all.” Spike placed a stack of five books on the table and looked at Chrysalis. “Why do you even need these books anyway, Cherub? Aren’t you already good at this kind of thing?”

She laughed weakly. “Well yes, but these past few days I’ve been having some difficulties and need a refresher.”

“Like what?” Spiked asked, sounding obviously curious.

Biting her lip, Chrysalis spoke while avoiding eye contact. “Let’s just say I haven’t been in my prime lately and I’ve been making small errors.”

Spike snickered at her. “So in other words, you have no idea what you’re doing.”

“Be quiet, child.” she immediately replied, causing the small dragon to shrink. She let out a large sigh, feeling that she couldn’t be herself without freaking out somebody. “I’m sorry, but yes, it's true. I’ve been screwing up lately. I actually haven’t done anything like this in quite some time. I’m just having trouble finding the right match for each pony and while my dating advice could be a little better, I feel that it would be much easier if I was much more familiar with the ponies in this town or at least had more of them coming in so I could try making more matches.”

“Well we do have somepony who knows everypony well,” Twilight went up to her and placed a hoof her shoulder, “and you can find her right over at Sugarcube Corner,” she finished while pointing out the window.

“You mean that girl, Pinkie Pie.” Chrysalis remembered Pinkie’s eagerness to work with her, but she didn’t know if she was desperate enough to actually hire her.

“Yep! I know she seems like a hoofful, but I think she could be a really big help. She knows a lot about everypony is this town, so I’m sure she would know which ponies would be good for each other.”

She had told herself she would never consider having Pinkie work for her, but at this point she was willing enough to break her own promise. She just couldn’t find good matches for her clients as she was barely getting any. If Pinkie really had such an amazing memory, it could help her plan pull through. Pinkie could easily find anypony in the entire town who would satisfy the preferences of her customers and Chrysalis would be finished in no time. “I think you’re right, Twilight. I feel that I really could use her assistance.”

“That’s great! I’m sure Pinkie will be really excited when you tell her.”

Spike started to laugh again. “Hey Cherub, you sure you want to do that? I think being stuck in a room alone with Pinkie is considered to be a major health hazard.”

Chrysalis placed the bits on the table and stashed the books into her bag. “Thanks for your concern,” she said sarcastically. She looked at the library’s owner. “I appreciate your help, Twilight. You have been so good to me ever since I arrived.”

“I’m always happy to help. And you can keep those books for as long as you want. I just hope you find them helpful.”

“Me too. Now if you don’t mind, I must go to Sugarcube Corner.” After they said their goodbyes, she exited the tree.

Spike and Twilight stood in the doorway, watching her walk off into the distance. Spike looked at Twilight with a smile. “I give her a week before they send her into the mental hospital.”

The unicorn looked back at him, slightly angry. “Spike, that’s not a nice thing to say about somepony behind their back.” Her scowl suddenly became a smile. “She seems like the type of pony who could last two weeks.”


“Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! How may-“

“Pinkie Pie. Now,” Chrysalis demanded, interrupting Mrs. Cake.

The Cakes were surprised by her cold tone. “Uh…sure. Give me a moment.” Mr. Cake left the counter and stood at the bottom of the stairs. “Pinkie Pie,” he called, “you have a visitor!”

They could hear hoofsteps rapidly approaching as the party pony flew down the stairs and bounced right in front of him. “A visitor? For me? Who could it be? Is it one of my friends? Is it a customer? Is it the mail mare? Is it the police again?” She suddenly let out a gasp. “It’s not the ponies from last week, is it? Just because it’s somepony’s funeral doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate his birthday too!” She finally took notice of Chrysalis and let out a second gasp before sprinting in front of her. “Oh my gosh, it’s Cherub! It’s so great to see you! Did you want to see me about something?”

“Yes I do.” Every passing second she felt a knot in her stomach tighten. “You see, I wanted to talk to you about that job offer we discussed earlier.” Pinkie’s eyes became gigantic and she was grinning. “I have thought about it for some time…” Her eyes and grin grew more as she slowly leaned forward. Chrysalis was suddenly finding it difficult to speak as she looked back at her. “And I have decided that I would like to…” Pinkie’s face was now pressed against hers. She could feel her body shaking with excitement. “Hire…you…”

Pinkie suddenly let out a deafening scream and then started bouncing around her. “Yay! Now I can make ponies fall in love with sweets and each other! Can we start now? Please, please, please, please, please?” Chrysalis was worried that if she were to become any more excited, her head would explode.

Thankfully, Chrysalis had no intention of reopening for a few days. “Sorry, but there’s some things I need to take care of first.” The look on Pinkie’s face was as if she just had her heart broken. “Don’t worry, I promise that I’ll be ready by Monday. Is that okay?”

Pinkie started bouncing again. “Of course that’s okay!”

“Great! I’m going to go now. Just be sure to come by nine o’clock Monday morning.”

“Now just hold on a minute.” Mrs. Cake interrupted. Chrysalis huffed as she was just about to make her way out, not pleased that things weren’t going to be as simple as she planned. “Pinkie, what’s this about you taking another job?”

Pinkie started jumping in front of the couple. “I’m going to help ponies fall in love! Isn’t that great?”

“But what about you working here in Sugarcube Corner? We need you,” said Mr. Cake.

Chrysalis was ready to blow her lid since they were trying to take away the only one who could help her, but she managed to approach the situation professionally. “I’m sorry if this is so sudden, but this is something we have discussed a while ago. Pinkie has agreed to help me with my dating service.”

“But Pinkie works here as part of her agreement on living with us. She is a very valuable employee and babysitter and we don’t want to lose her.” Mr. Cake objected.

“She will only be working for me on the weekdays from nine to five. You can have her the rest of the week. Would that be okay?” Chrysalis bartered.

“I don’t know. We wouldn’t have her around as much and I’m sure she would want to spend the weekend with her friends,” said Mrs. Cake with worry in her voice.

“Please, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, I really want to do this,” pleaded Pinkie Pie. “I’ll work extra hard to make up for my absence.”

Chrysalis could see that they were still unsure about letting Pinkie go, so she decided to play the guilt card as her next trick. “Please, you two, I need her. If I don’t get any help, I will have no choice but to close.” she said in a depressing tone. “I spent my entire life savings coming here and I will be flat broke if I go out of business.” She looked at the Cakes with pleading eyes. “You wouldn’t want me to go homeless, would you?” She was happy to see that her acting was working on them as they exchanged uncomfortable looks.

“No, not at all. We will let you have her if she’s that important to you. It’s just that our business may be affected if she leaves. Pinkie is one of the best bakers around,” Mrs. Cake complemented.

Chrysalis thought for a moment. If money was their only concern, then the solution would be simple. “Perhaps we can make a compromise. I will gladly pay for some of these baked goods and provide them at my work area. I will give you a large split of the profits as well as advertise your store. Does that work for you two?”

The Cakes huddled together and began whispering to each other. Pinkie leaned in to try to hear what they were discussing, but Chrysalis pulled her away by her tail. After almost a minute, the Cakes turned back towards them. “Alright, you can have her. Just try not to cause too much trouble, Pinkie,” Mr. Cake ordered.

Chrysalis shook both their hooves. “You have my deepest thanks.” For once, she was actually sincere. She had just nearly considered mind controlling them into giving her up, which was risky.

Pinkie began to once again run around and cheer. “We are going to have so much fun together, Cherub!”

Chrysalis was already heading towards the exit. “We’ll see what happens. See you Monday, Pinkie.” She dreaded to think what would happen Monday morning.


Over the weekend, Chrysalis spent most of her time going through Twilight’s books. They couldn’t have possibly been any more boring, but she felt like she gained a fair amount of knowledge. She learned better questions to ask, more advice she could give ponies, and even reformed her profile sheets to carry a better mix of general and specific desires. She felt sure that things would now take a turn for the better for her.

Monday eventually rolled in and the changeling wasn’t sure if she was looking forward to this day. She needed Pinkie, but to be stuck with her felt like the negatives were outweighing the positives. The moment her clock struck nine, somepony knocked on her door. She didn’t even have to guess who it was. She knew this day was coming, but nothing she did could prepare her for it. Pinkie would be great help with her memory, but Chrysalis wasn’t sure if her sanity could withstand her constant presence. She stood up, went to the door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Pinkie was bouncing up and down with a lunchbox in her mouth and a tray of sweets on her back. “Hello, Pinkie. Are you ready for your first day?”

“I most certainly am!” She made her way inside and sat at a desk that Chrysalis had bought for her, which was to the right of her desk and was facing to the left.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Chrysalis took the tray off of her and placed in onto the table between the two couches. When she got back to her desk, she gave Pinkie a smile, trying to think positively about the situation. “Now your job will to be to greet the customers and once we’re ready, we will use your amazing knowledge to find them that special somepony. Got it?”

Pinkie nodded. “Got it!”

“Good.” Chrysalis resumed reading her book, which was a horror novel that she had purchased from Twilight. Before she even finished one page, she heard the bell on her door ring, meaning that a customer had entered. She looked up and saw a unicorn stallion entering. Before she could even open her mouth, Pinkie jumped right in front of him.

“Hi, mister! Are you looking for a marefriend!?” She was confused when he screamed and dashed out the door. “That was weird. Do you think he’s afraid of girls?” She went out the door and yelled, “Wait! Come back! Cooties don’t exist, I promise!”

“Pinkie!” Chrysalis called back. First pony and there was already a screw-up. Pinkie stepped back inside and saw that Chrysalis was not pleased at all. “That is not how you greet a customer! This is a place of romance. Understand?”

Pinkie was already back at her desk and nodding eagerly. “I think so, Cherub.”

“That’s Ms. Cherub to you. During work hours, you will only address me as Ms., boss, or ma’am, got it?” It wasn’t a kingdom, but at least she was going to have respect and authority somewhere.

“Yes, Ms. Bosserma’am!”

Chrysalis stared at her, dumbfounded. “Excuse me while I get a drink.” She went into the kitchen and got out a glass. It wasn’t even noon and she was craving hard apple cider. It certainly didn’t help as much as wine did, but she needed it now more than ever. Right as she started drinking, she heard the bell over the front door ring.

“Welcome to Cupid’s Arrow. How may I help you, handsome?”

Chrysalis spat her drink out when she heard Pinkie’s very seductive tone.

“W-what? How old are you, kid!?” the newcomer questioned.

“Old enough to stay up past my bedtime,” Pinkie cooed.

“PINKIE PIE!”

Chrysalis stormed out to the main room, only to find Pinkie sitting on the edge of her desk with her hind legs crossed and the client nowhere in sight. She stared at Pinkie, eyes filled with fury, and Pinkie laughed nervously. “From now on, I will greet the customers and you will not say a word unless I tell you to. Am I clear?” She didn’t even bother to wait for her to respond as she sat back at her desk. With her magic, she took one of her books and placed it on Pinkie’s desk. “I suggest you read this chapter right now so you can learn.”

Pinkie looked up at her. “Learn about what?”

“Sexual harassment.”

Rather than to continue reading herself, she just put her head down. It had only been five minutes and the insanely hyperactive pony had somehow made things much worse. At this point, she wondered if she returned to the changeling kingdom, they would be kind enough to reconsider execution.

The day became what she feared: a dry period. Chrysalis could tell the outcome of her workday based on the number of ponies coming inside within the first couple hours. Not a single pony had followed in. Chrysalis became bored of her books, taking upon the light comfort of her desk for a nap. Pinkie just sat in her chair, humming songs to herself while she read. Eventually, the former queen was awakened by the sound of the bell on her door. “Hello, welcome to…oh. It’s you.” Chrysalis trailed off, her hopes dashed again.

“Howdy, Cherub! How’s business?” Pinkie Pie’s friend, Applejack, had come in.

“It couldn’t be better.” She laid her head back down. “I’m guessing you’re here to see Pinkie, Applejack?”

The farmer hadn’t taken notice of the changeling’s anguish as she went to her friend. “Yep! Ah heard she got a job from ya and Ah just had to come by to see how she was doin’.”

Pinkie became really excited. “It’s been great, Applejack! We already had two customers!”

“One is who is going to have nightmares for a while and one who might sue us.” Chrysalis didn’t bother to raise her head and every time she spoke, her voice was filled with more dread.

Applejack seemed a little confused by her comments. “That’s…uh…great to hear.” Her eyes darted around the room. “So Cherub, you do matchmakin’, right?”

“What do you think?” Chrysalis groaned.

Applejack nervously laughed. “Sorry, bad question. So…are ya busy right now?”

Chrysalis lifted her head. “Does it look like I’m busy!?”

“Ah guess not.” She was now speaking nervously. “Ya see, Ah was kinda wonderin’, if it isn’t too much trouble, Ah could try your services. For fun, Ah mean.”

This got Chrysalis’s attention. She sat up, leaning towards Applejack with interest in her eyes. “Are you saying that you want me to find you a coltfriend?”

Applejack was now visibly nervous. “N-no! Not at all. Ah just wanted to try it and see what it’s like, that’s all.”

“There’s no need to be shy. Everypony needs a little help sometimes.” Chrysalis grinned, trying to nudge her with some assurance. Then a dirty plan hatched in her mind, wanting to take out some stress on Applejack to make up for the bad day. “But I find it strange that you now want my help after what you said about how relationships needed to be ‘natural.’ It didn’t seem like your mind would ever…change.”

The farmer stared back at her. “What are ya sayin’?”

Chrysalis looked at her intensely. “Are you a changeling?”

Applejack was surprised by her accusation. “Beg your pardon?”

Pinkie immediately became panicked. “Applejack’s a changeling!? Quick, call the guards! Call the princess! Call the other princess!”

Chrysalis chuckled as she was actually amused by her sudden freak out. “Calm down, Pinkie. It’s easy to see if anypony’s a changeling. All you need to do is ask them a question that only the real pony can answer.”

“That does sound easy!” Pinkie grabbed her chair and placed it in front of Applejack. She then took her desk lamp and started shining it in her friend’s eyes. “Okay, if you’re really Applejack, then tell me, what color am I?”

“You’re pink, Pinkie,” responded Applejack, unimpressed.

Pinkie looked at Chrysalis, smiling. “Don’t worry, Ms. Bosserma’am. I am one-hundred percent sure she’s the real Applejack!”

The red unicorn put a hoof on her own face in complete disbelief. “Let me try.” She focused her gaze at the confused cowgirl. “Every time I go to you in the market, I buy the same things. Name them.”

Applejack laughed. “That’s easy. Ya buy a small bag of apples and a bottle of hard cider.”

She leaned back in her seat, faking a satisfied expression. “Well there you have it, Pinkie. It’s really her.” One of the many things she did keep suspicion off of her was to pretend to be very paranoid of customers being changelings and sometimes questioned them. It brought a little life in the typically dull workplace and no pony would suspect a pony making accusations of somepony being a changeling to be one themself. “So Applejack, why the sudden change of heart?” Chrysalis asked.

Applejack let out a sigh. “Remember the welcoming party we threw for ya and how Rainbow mentioned she was datin’ somepony?”

“Yes, I do believe I recall something like that.”

“Rainbow Dash is so lucky to have a special somepony! Did you know he is a Wonderbolt?” Pinkie bounced in her seat as she spoke.

Applejack continued. “Well lately when the two of us get together, it’s all she talks about. We both like to compete and havin’ a coltfriend is something that she has me beat in. So Ah tried findin’ one myself, but it hasn’t been going so well. Some ponies think Ah’m dumb because Ah live on a farm, some are intimidated just cause Ah’m stronger than them, the list goes on.”

Chrysalis stared at her and she was not amused. “So you want me to just find you a colt just so you can get Rainbow to shut up?” She had grown to know about Dash’s ego and would have loved to do anything to damage it. However, she needed to focus on creating some actual love, not helping somepony getting even.

Applejack shook her head. “No, that’s not it. Well, maybe a little. Ah mean, yes Ah’m tired of her rubbin’ it in, but after a while the thought of havin’ a coltfriend just seemed quite nice. Ah want to be serious about this.” Chrysalis could see her slightly blushing.

Pinkie couldn’t contain herself. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! It’s my first day and I get to find a special somepony for my friend, Applejack!”

“How lucky for you,” Chrysalis said in an annoyed tone. She cleared her throat, trying to at least look appealing to Applejack by putting a little more cheer in her voice “Well then, would you like to start right now?”

“If it isn’t too much trouble.” Applejack’s voice was now lacking some confidence.

Chrysalis just grinned back at her. “Oh, it will be no trouble at all. Now I already know who you are so a profile will not be necessary. I just need you to tell me what you’re looking for in a special somepony and we will do the rest.”

Applejack sat in the chair on the other side of her desk. “Well my family is all about apples, so it has to be somepony who would be willin’ to live and work on a farm as apples are extremely important to us. He also needs to be kind and honest like me. That's Ah can think of, really.”

“That seems to be pretty simple.” She turned over to Pinkie. “Now it’s your turn. Can you think of anypony that fits this description?”

Pinkie put her hoof on her chin and started to think. After a moment, she began writing on a piece of paper, making a list of every name she could come up with. Chrysalis and Applejack sat in silence, watching in wonder as she did her thing. After several moments, she put the pencil down and picked up the list. “All done!”

“Excellent. Now please tell us what you wrote.” Chrysalis was actually curious about Pinkie’s memory and was about to experience it first hoof. She was sure at least one of the names would be suitable for the earth pony.

“Well, first there’s this family I know in Ponyville who love apples just as much as you do. They own this place called Sweet Apple Acres…”

“Pinkie, that’s my family.”

“Oh, oopsie!” All of Chrysalis’s hope had been drained. “Okay, next one! His name is Seedy Appletree, and he…”

“Pinkie, that’s the mythical apple farmer from several hundred years ago,” Applejack informed.

Pinkie gasped. “You’re right! How silly of me to forget!” Chrysalis left the two ponies and walked into the kitchen without saying a word. She then took out the cider and decided to drink straight from the bottle.

For the next five minutes, Pinkie kept reading names off her list and Applejack kept rejecting them. Some of them were mares, some she knew wouldn’t dare set foot on her farm, and some that she just had no interest in. Chrysalis decided to resume reading her books, figuring that investing any hope into the party mare’s memory was pointless. She needed to decide on how she was going to handle her brainless employee once Applejack left. Once they ran out of names, Pinkie had become very upset. “I’m sorry, Applejack, but that’s all the names I can come up with.”

“It’s okay, Pinkie. Ah really appreciate ya tryin’ to help me.”

“No, it’s not okay! Here.” Pinkie pulled out her lunchbox and opened it. To no pony’s surprise, it was filled entirely with sweets. She pulled out some candy and gave it to Applejack. “I hope you can forgive me.”

“Ah do. Thanks, Pinkie.” She stood up and was ready to leave. “Ah need to get goin’ and set up the apple cart.”

“That reminds me! Do you have an apple? I’m craving caramel apples!” She pulled out a jar which was filled with caramel.

Applejack reached into her bag, pulled out two apples, and gave them to her friend. ”Make one for me as well.” Pinkie nodded and began coating the apples. “So did he give you some of his left over caramel for free again?”

“Yep! I asked him if he was going to get in trouble with Bon-Bon and he said I was cute enough to make that risk worth it. He even called me Cutie Pie!” Pinkie giggled loudly.

“Boy, that Caramel sure does have a way with the ladies. Ah guess that comes with his good looks. Maybe that’s why they get so much business. Ah have to admit, it’s that charm of his that keeps bringin’ me back.” Chrysalis shifted her eyes over to them.

Pinkie finished dunking the apples into the jar and gave one to her friend. “All done! One super delicious apology caramel apple for you and one for me!”

Applejack happily took the apple. “Thanks, Pinkie. That really does look good.”

Chrysalis put her book down. “Applejack, who is this Caramel?”

Applejack was busy staring at her candy-coated treat. “He’s the pony that works at Bon-Bon’s sweet shop and he keeps her supplied with some of his famous caramel.”

“I believe you said something about him getting really friendly with female customers.”

Applejack took a bite out of her treat. “It’s kind of what he does. Bon-Bon lets him do it all the time since it gets them good business.”

Pinkie took a huge bite out of her own apple. “Except sometimes he gives away free candy and she gets really mad at him. She uses the funniest words when she’s angry!”

“Does she get mad because she’s jealous?” Chrysalis asked.

Applejack shook her head. “Ah doubt it, seein’ how she’s with a mare named Lyra, if ya know what Ah mean.”

Chrysalis nodded to show that she understood. Pinkie didn’t. “Well just because she’s roommates with her doesn’t mean she doesn’t like him!” Pinkie then suddenly gasped. “What if they both like him? That could ruin their friendship forever!”

“And is he single?” Chrysalis questioned as she ignored her.

Applejack shrugged at her. “Ah guess so. Ah’ve seen him hang out with girls outside of work, but never really seen him get close to any of them. Ah think he just likes the company.”

“Do you know him well at all?”

“Known him since we were kids. He usually stops by my cart when he’s gettin’ apples. We say hi to each other sometimes and we just talk about stuff. Sometimes he tries usin’ that charm on me and Ah have to admit it’s rather flatterin’.”

“And what do you think of him?” She was starting to think that Pinkie wasn’t completely worthless after all.

“In my opinion, he’s a hard workin’ pony who knows how to make a girl’s day.”

Chrysalis grinned at her. “And I do believe I heard you called him good looking.”

Applejack stopped eating, stalled by Chrysalis’s comment. “What are ya gettin’ at?”

The changeling leaned on her desk. “Applejack, I think you should make a move on this Caramel.”

Applejack was taken aback. “Well…Ah…ya see…Ah’m not sure. Ah mean he’s sweet and all but…”

Pinkie saw her slightly blushing and jumped in the air, flailing excitedly. “Applejack likes Caramel! Applejack likes Caramel! Applej-” She was immediately cut off when the jar of caramel was magically thrown onto her head. She was now struggling desperately, trying to take it off.

The orange earth pony turned away from her friend. “Ah-Ah do not! He’s nice and all, but Ah’m not sure if he would like livin’ on a farm.”

Chrysalis wasn’t happy with her protest. “Let me stop you right there. I think that you care more about your apples than actually finding somepony you actually want to be with.” Applejack opened her mouth to respond, but Chrysalis saw that she couldn’t come up with anything. “Caramel sounds like a winner in all of the other categories. You said it yourself: He’s hard working, attractive, and honest. Well, maybe not completely honest, but close enough. You even said that he was quite the charmer.” Pinkie popped the jar off her head and took deep breaths. She suddenly used her tongue to clean her head of the gooey goodness.

Applejack’s face was now as red as her apples. “Ah’ll think about it.” Her eyes were bouncing all over until they landed on the clock in the room. “Well would you look at the time!” she said incredibly fast. “Ah’m going to be late for my…thing! Yeah! So Ah better go now. Catch ya two later!” She jumped off the chair and quickly walked to the door. She tried turning the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. She noticed that it was glowing green and turned around to see the older mare standing behind her.

“Listen. I think you should go over to Caramel right now and see if you can get something started between you two. You both already know each other, so that’ll make things much easier. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t.” Chrysalis kept trying to push her, hoping the little pony would break.

“Ah said Ah’ll do it later. You can’t rush these things.” She turned and tried turning a doorknob again, only to end up unsuccessful in doing so.

“I suppose you’re right.” Chrysalis made a feigned sigh. “Oh, what was that thing you said? About how he likes to flirt with all the female customers and they always come back for more?” Her face shifted into a stern look. “Look, if you don’t make a move soon, I promise you somepony else will and he’s going to be gone. And what would Rainbow Dash say if she found out that you waited too long?”

Applejack looked at the floor, feeling cornered. “Do ya really think we’re good for each other?”

Pinkie, who had finally managed to catch her breath, opened her mouth and took a deep breath, ready to say something. Chrysalis immediately took one of the apples with her magic and shoved it into her mouth to prevent her from ruining the moment. Chrysalis then took the second caramel-coated apple and levitated it right in front of Applejack’s face. “I think you two will go great together.”

Applejack watched the apple as it dangled in the air. After a moment, she felt her confidence resurface. She took the apple and stashed it in her bag. “Ya’re right! Ah’m gonna go over there right now. Thanks, Cherub!”

“My pleasure.” Chrysalis suddenly thought of something. She couldn’t take the gamble of waiting for Applejack to possibly get together with Caramel. She got very embarrassed by just talking about him and would likely not have the courage to ask him out. Since they were barely getting customers anyway, she felt now would be a good time for a hooves-on approach. “Let us get going.”

“What do ya mean ‘us’?” Applejack asked, confused.

Chrysalis gave her a small smile as she went past her. “Pinkie and I shall accompany you in order to ensure success between the both of you. It is our job to ensure that love blooms for everypony who comes to us.”

Pinkie Pie had finally managed to get the apple out of her mouth by swallowing it whole. “Yay! First day of work and we get a field trip!” She ran right past them and flew out the door.

Applejack shook her head. “Sorry, but Ah’m going to have to pass on that. Ah don’t need any help.”

“Why? Because you were doing so well before?” Applejack lowered her head slightly, feeling embarrassed. “Don’t worry. We will do our best to stay out of your way. We will just be there to provide you with guidance, nothing more.”

Applejack was quite for a moment, and then nodded. “Well alright. Let’s go!” They took Pinkie’s lead and followed her. The pink pony skipped with every step, singing out loud all of the candy she was going to buy when they got there.


The trio had made their way across town to a large candy store. They stopped outside and went around to the side. They found some bushes to hide in, went to the window, and peered inside. It was filled with about ten ponies, most of them mares, and over on the cash register was Caramel himself, flirting with one of them, as well as Bon-Bon, who was standing behind him and watching him intensely as she was making more candy.

Chrysalis pulled away from the window to look at her client. “Well there he is, Applejack. Pinkie and I will wait outside if you need us. Are you ready?”

“There sure are a lot of ponies in there,” Applejack said with concern. “Ah’d like to be alone with him. Ah can’t help it but Ah’d feel embarrassed with all those ponies around.”

“If you want some alone time, we might have to wait until they close.” She really hoped they wouldn’t have to do that. She had much better things to do than hide in bushes with two of the six ponies she hated most in this town for several hours.

“But we can’t wait! Ah’m supposed to run the apple stand today,” Applejack objected.

Chrysalis became angry, becoming ultimately sick of her reluctance. “How about when he goes on break? Would that work for you?” she muttered, trying to keep her voice relaxed.

Applejack shook her head. “No, it wouldn’t. Bon-Bon doesn’t let him out of her sight anymore cause of all the givin’ away he does.”

Pinkie pulled away from the window, still smiling despite the situation. “Yeah! She said if she ever caught him doing it again, she would turn him into caramel with her own hooves!” She licked her lips. “Mmm, caramel-flavored Caramel!”

Chrysalis was about to scream and turn Applejack into caramel herself. She was so close to creating her first successful relationship, but the cowgirl was being incredibly stubborn. “Well unless you can make all those ponies just magically disappear, you’re just going to have to hit on him in public, so stop being a coward and get in there already!”

While she and Applejack were arguing, Pinkie started to think of what they could do. After a moment, she jumped up excitedly. “Oh! Oh! I have an idea!” Both of them watched as she ran toward the entrance of the shop, curious of what she had in mind. She threw the door open and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Hey everypony! I just saw Photo Finish at the far other side of town and she said she’s looking for a new model right here in Ponyville and she also said that she’s desperate enough to take anypony due to a recent swimsuit photo scandal!” She immediately jumped out of the way as a horde of mares rushed out the door, screaming with joy as they disappeared into the distance. Caramel stood there, completely surprised by what had just happened. She went back to where Chrysalis and Applejack were hiding with a large grin on her face.

“Wow, Pinkie,” Chrysalis said in amazement. “That was actually really clever of you.” She couldn’t believe that after everything she had done before, Pinkie would actually do something of some intelligence. Maybe there truly was more to the pony than what she saw.

“And now Applejack has Caramel all to herself! Are you ready?”

Applejack blushed again. “Ah guess Ah don't have excuses now, do Ah?”

Chrysalis got behind Applejack and started rubbing her shoulders. “Just relax and take a deep breath. You’re not trying to get him to propose to you or anything like that. You’re just going to go in there and talk. Try to let him know that you’re really interested in him and ask him out for a date. And just so you know, stallions can be stubborn, so don’t take no for an answer. You got to take control of the situation. Understand?” Chrysalis really hoped that she did. She needed to improve her success rate and was now depending on the farmer.

Applejack gulped and nodded. She walked as slowly as possible to the door and entered. Chrysalis and Pinkie waited by the window and watched from outside. Applejack finally approached the counter and spoke. “Hey there, Caramel!”

Caramel suddenly realized that she was there and smiled. “Oh hi, Applejack! You just missed the craziest thing! Your friend Pinkie just came in and yelled something about Photo Finish being in town and the next thing I know, everypony just runs out the door. I think Bon-Bon was with them, too.”

Applejack chuckled. “Boy, that sure does sound like somethin’. Ah can only imagine Photo’s face when she sees a flood of mares chargin’ at her. She’s gonna run for the hills!”

They both laughed out loud for a bit. After they stopped, Caramel resumed the conversation. “So what can I do for you today, Applejack?”

“Ah just came in to say hi and get some bonbons before Ah started work today. Figured Ah could use a treat before gettin' started.”

“Sure thing.” He went under the counter and started bagging some bonbons.

Applejack took a deep breath before she spoke. “So how’s business, Caramel?”

“Well it’s been going great until about a minute ago,” he said optimistically. “How about you?”

“It’s been goin’ fine. Sales have dipped a little, but Ah’m doin’ alright.”

“Well that’s good to hear.” Caramel was almost finished collecting the bonbons.

The mare straightened her posture and cleared her throat. “Personally, Ah wish Ah had a way with the customers like you do. Could clear the whole farm in a week if Ah wanted.”

Caramel came back up with a bag full of bonbons. Back outside, Pinkie was drooling on the glass while Chrysalis just sat there, watching impatiently as she waited for Applejack to make her move. “You certainly have the looks. You just got to talk the talk and everypony will be eating out of your hooves.”

Applejack blushed as she laughed. “Thanks for the complement. So how much do Ah owe ya?”

Caramel rang up the register. “That’ll be eight bits. I slipped in a little extra just for you.”

“Aw, you’re sweet. But Ah don’t think Bon-Bon would like that too much. She might actually fire ya if she finds out about this.”

Caramel leaned over the counter and got closer to her. “Well that old hag is not here right now, so I don’t think she would mind. She’s out looking for Photo Finish.” A faint smile began to appear on his lips. “Now that I think about it, I think you should go find her as well. You would make a great model.”

Applejack took her eyes away from him. “T-that’s not really my t-thing, to be honest. Ah’m n-not really that p-pretty like those other mares.”

Caramel looked at her in a way that made her heart pound. “Don’t say that. You have a lot of natural beauty. You may not know it, but you always give your friend Rarity a run for her money.”

She was now starting to sweat and she hid her face behind her hat. “Y-ya really think s-so?”

He leaned in even closer to whisper, “I know so.”

Chrysalis could actually see Applejack physically trembling. She knew that the cowgirl had lost her nerve and was ready to bail, which she could not afford to let happen. She pulled away from the window and started making her way toward the front. Pinkie took notice of this and asked, “Where are you going, Ms. Bosserma’am?”

The changeling didn’t even look at her as she kept walking. “I feel that direct intervention is now necessary.”

Right before she reached the door, she saw Applejack take several steps away from the counter. “T-thanks for the bonbons, Caramel. Ah’ll catch you later. Bye!” She walked towards the door and was stopped when she bumped into the changeling.

Chrysalis acted like she was completely surprised as she looked down at her. “Applejack! I didn’t expect seeing you here of all places!”

Applejack got off the floor and brushed herself off. “Oh, hi, Cherub.”

Chrysalis leaned around her. “And who is that handsome stallion you were talking to?”

“What!?” both Pinkie and Applejack shouted.

Caramel looked at her with a slight grin on his face. “My name is Caramel.” His tone was making Applejack start to worry. “My boss, Bon-Bon, isn’t here right now, so I’d be more than willing to share some of these delicious treats with you for free, beautiful.”

Chrysalis walked towards the counter while swaying her hips. “How very generous of you. Just give me a little, I wouldn’t want to ruin my gorgeous figure,” she said seductively.

Applejack had gotten over the shock and had started to become agitated. “Excuse me, Cherub…”

Caramel didn’t notice her talking, scanning his eyes across Chrysalis's body. “Yes, that would be shame. You have a really nice figure, especially for a mare of your age.”

Chrysalis let out of a fake giggle. She saw the anger on Applejack’s face and knew that her plan was working. “That’s really sweet of you to say. You make me feel so young.”

“In my opinion, I think mares like you age like fine wine.”

Pinkie was now devouring a bucket of popcorn while she watched and Applejack was grinding her teeth while she looked at the disguised changeling. Chrysalis saw this and decided that it was the perfect time to push the farm girl over the edge. She got up close to Caramel’s face and whispered loudly, “You know what? Forget the candy. Why don’t you just give me some sugar?”

Applejack stomped the ground with enough force to leave cracks. “Oh no ya don’t! Ah won’t let ya have him! He’s mine!” She realized what she had just said and fell silent.

The sweet shop had become dead quiet. Applejack stared at the floor and Caramel was staring at her, completely surprised by her outburst. Chrysalis, on the other hoof, was feeling proud of herself. “Well then! I think you two have a lot of to talk about.” Right as she walked by Applejack on her way to the exit, she whispered in her ear, “It’s all up you now, cowgirl. Don’t let him slip away.” Once she had gotten outside, she returned to Pinkie, whose mouth was hanging open and probably did not even notice her there.

Back inside, Applejack and Caramel sat in awkward silence. Caramel was the first to break it. “Applejack, is there something you want to tell me?”

Applejack nodded. “Ah’m gonna be honest with ya. The truth is Ah’ve been lookin’ for a coltfriend because my friend Rainbow kept botherin’ me about hers. Ah couldn’t find anypony so Ah went to Cherub for help. Ah kind of mentioned ya while Ah was there and she said that ya would be perfect for me.”

“So you just want me to be your coltfriend so your friend can leave you alone?”

Applejack quickly shook her head. She went up to the counter, her faced filled with seriousness. “Ah’m doin’ this because Ah really do want a special somepony.” Caramel did not seem completely convinced. “Look, Ah really do think you’re sweet. We’ve known each other for so long, and now Ah was kind of hoping we could try being more than friends. Ah know it’s sudden, but Ah would really like to see if anythin’ could happen between us.”

Caramel looked at her with surprise, mildly blushing. “Applejack, are you asking me out?”

She looked him in the eyes. “Yes. Yes Ah am.”

It felt like a long time had passed as the three mares waited for him to finally give his answer. “I really appreciate the offer, but I’m not sure if I ready for a serious relationship. This is going to sound awful of me, but I really like just having mares swoon over me. I’m really sorry, Applejack. Please don’t be upset.”

Pinkie gasped, unable to grasp what had happened. Chrysalis could feel her blood boiling within her as all that effort she put into it was for nothing. She wondered if using a little mind control would go unnoticed. “Ah see. Sorry to bother ya,” Applejack said disappointingly. She turned and slowly made her way to the door. “Ah guess Ah’m goin’ to have to find Bon-Bon now.”

Caramel’s heart jumped. “Wait, what?”

Applejack didn’t stop walking. “Yeah, Ah’m goin’ to have to tell her about what you were doin’ while she was out. What do ya think will make her angrier, ya givin’ away more free stuff or you callin’ her an old hag?” she teased.

Chrysalis and Pinkie stood there in complete disbelief. Chrysalis didn’t think Applejack had this kind of side to her, but she liked it. Caramel was visibly sweating “Y-you can’t do that! I’ll get fired, or worse!”

“Alright, Ah won’t under one condition.” She turned around and faced him. “We will have a date. One date. Ah’m not trying to pressure ya, Caramel. Just one date and we’ll see if anythin’ happens. Deal?”

Caramel hastily nodded. “Sure, one date! No problem!”

Applejack smiled and went up to the counter. “Good. Come by the farm on Saturday.”

“Okay, I will. Just please don’t tell Bon-Bon!”

“Ah won’t, Ah promise.” Suddenly, she leaned across the counter and got right up to his face. “By the way, ya still sellin’ some of that sugar?” She grabbed Caramel, pulled him in, and kissed him on the mouth, causing Pinkie and Chrysalis to gasp. After several seconds, Applejack pulled away and walked out the door, leaving behind a wide-eyed Caramel. “Oh, if you try any of that cute stuff with any mare but me, Bon-Bon will be the second scariest pony you’ll ever know.”

Applejack went outside and Pinkie and Chrysalis ran up to her. Pinkie was bouncing wildly and practically screaming. “You did it, Applejack! That was totally amazing! I thought it was gonna be super sad, but now you made it super happy!”

Chrysalis clapped her hooves. “I must admit that I am very impressed by how you got him to agree. Blackmail and seduction; I couldn’t have done it better myself.”

Applejack blushed. “Ah wouldn’t call it that. Think of it more like persuasion and a little taste of what he’s missin’ out on. Do ya think it left an impression?”

Chrysalis turned towards the sweet shop, sensing a fair amount of love emanating from inside. “I think with that little taste, he’s eager for seconds.”

“Well Ah should be thankin’ ya for that. Ah don’t think Ah would’ve ever tried anythin’ like that if it weren’t for ya two. Ah can’t wait to tell Rainbow about this!” Applejack started digging through her bag. “So how much do Ah owe ya, Cherub?”

“I’ll mail you the bill, seeing how you are so desperate to go sell your apples.” Because she was Twilight’s friend, she was going to charge her extra.

Applejack hit herself with her hoof. “Oh shoot, almost forgot! Ah better get movin’. Thanks again for everythin’!”

“Goodbye, Applejack. Tell your friends about me!” Chrysalis and Pinkie waved as Applejack left.

Pinkie then looked at her boss, filled with excitement. “We did it! Applejack now has a special somepony! I can’t wait for our next customer so we can go to another field trip!”

“Calm down, Pinkie,” she said while rolling her eyes. “This isn’t something we’ll be doing every time. Just for those ponies who need that little extra help. If we kept going with everypony, we’d never get anything done. Now let’s get back to the office and wait for the next one.”

Chrysalis walked while Pinkie jumped alongside her. “So how did I do, Ms. Bosserma’am? I did really super great, right!?”

The red unicorn halted. She was going to have to be honest with Pinkie; no holdbacks. “Well Pinkie, the only reason I even considered hiring you in the first place was because you were supposed to have an amazing memory that you would use to find somepony good enough for the customers, yet it was I who had come up with Caramel while you listed a bunch of idiotic ideas.” Pinkie stopped bouncing and stood there, looking at her with incredibly sad eyes. But then, Chrysalis let out a sigh. “However, I suppose I was only able to make that conclusion because you happened to bring him up. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, what you did when you got rid of those ponies was actually really smart.”

Pinkie’s face lit up with hope. “So does that mean you’re not going to fire me?”

Chrysalis couldn’t even look her in the eyes. As much as she hated her, she needed her. This was their first job together, not counting the first two who Pinkie had driven off, and they had created a successful relationship. She was just going to have to help Pinkie with coming up with a good special somepony candidates and if they did things just as well as they did today, she would be out of here soon. “Yes, I want you to keep working for me. Just promise me you’ll work harder next time.”

Pinkie suddenly sprung into the air and let out a loud cheer. Right as she landed, she ran to her boss and gave her a hug. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I promise I’ll do better!”

Chrysalis managed to push Pinkie off her and onto the ground. She got up close into face and said threateningly, “We don’t hug. Ever.” She turned around and continued back on her way to where she worked.

Pinkie got up and immediately followed her. “Oops. Sorry, Ms. Bosserma’am!”

The changeling groaned. “One more thing. Please just call me Ms. Cherub.” As they walked, she noticed a large clock tower. After all they had done today, it wasn’t even noon. It felt like an eternity to her, being stuck with the obnoxious pony and she would continue being stuck with her every day until the weekend, which was when she was closed. She hoped she wouldn’t have to stay in Ponyville with her for too long.

There was a kingdom waiting for her.

A Special Visitor

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A Special Visitor

Chrysalis sighed as she tossed the book onto the floor. It was the one time of the week she could relax and do whatever she wanted, but she was completely bored out of her mind. Normally she would read something she borrowed from Twilight’s library, but after several weeks of doing so, she was too used to it. She was going stir crazy and she needed to get herself out of the house. The only problem was that she had no idea what could she do in this town. It was filled with ponies that were too friendly and too boring to ever have anything interesting happen. The Changeling Kingdom at least always had something going on. She got off the bed and headed for the front door, thinking that at least she could get some fresh air.

She quietly groaned as she aimlessly wandered through the town, realizing that walking was just as dreadfully boring as just staying at home. Ponyville, despite the spirit in its citizens, was just dull. She had heard of a lot of crazy things that had happened in the past, but she was now having doubts that any of those stories were true. The Running of the Leaves was at least something eventful, but it made her feel out of shape because of all the ponies she couldn’t keep up with. Chrysalis decided she was going to need to go to a gym as physical strength was just as important as magic for when she was going to get revenge. There was also the fact she would eventually be surrounded by so much love to consume and she would need to keep her figure.

She was happy that her business was at least doing decently, which was all that mattered. Much to her dismay, the amount of work she had done so far barely had any impact on the amount of love in the town. It didn’t help that her poor first impression gave her little customers to work with. It was going to be some time until Ponyville would be ready to feed her people, so she just needed to be patient. Chrysalis just wanted the weekend to be done so she could resume her plan.

Right as she was about to turn around and head back home, she heard a familiar voice singing. Once she had realized who it was, she wanted nothing more than to get as far away as possible. When she took the first step to flee, it was too late. “Hi, Cherub!”

Chrysalis remained motionless with the exception of her gritting her teeth. Once she took a deep breath, she turned around to face the pony intruding her personal space with a forced smile. “Hello, Pinkie, I didn’t see you there. Are you enjoying your time off?”

“I most certainly am,” she said happily while carrying several boxes and trays of sweets. She and Pinkie were making good progress in the dating business so far. Pinkie had gotten better at deciding on which ponies were the most suitable for their costumers and their amount of successes was steadily climbing. However, the cost of her success came with her daily annoyances. Pinkie would always run her mouth about the crazy stuff she and her friends had gotten into in the past or would try come up with jokes to make Chrysalis smile, which never worked. Pinkie also missed her friends since she was busy, so she had brought in little toy models of them that she would talk and play with. The worst thing she ever did was pull pranks in the office, which often resulted in Chrysalis throwing a fit at her. “I’d love to stay and talk, but I’m in a big hurry so I’ll see you Monday.” Pinkie waved goodbye and began to trot away.

Chrysalis felt relieved that she was only going to have to deal with her for only a minute, but for some reason unknown to her, she asked, “In a hurry for what?”

Pinkie turned around and began jumping in place, somehow not losing balance of the various items she carried. “I’m going to bring these sweets to Twilight’s. It’s going to be super fun because all my friends will be there and she’s even having a special visitor coming!”

Chrysalis’s curiosity was sparked. “And who’s this special visitor?”

Pinkie shook her head. “Sorry, but I made a Pinkie promise not to say who it is to anypony.”

Chrysalis pondered her current situation. On one hoof, she could just leave right now and she wouldn’t need to see her again until Monday, which was plenty of time for some peace and quiet. But on the other hoof, the peace and quiet she desired was the reason she was out here in the first place. Her time with Pinkie was often interesting, but mostly just frustrating. There was also the fact that she would be surrounded by the Elements, so it would be incredibly risky. She reluctantly picked the latter as she really had nothing else to do. “Would you be able to show me who it is instead?”

Pinkie rubbed her chin. “Well, Twilight technically said I couldn’t say who it was, not show who it was, so I guess it’s okay.” She gave her a huge grin. “Come on, Cherub, let me show you her!” said Pinkie as she skipped away. Chrysalis followed and wondered to herself what sort of mess she had just got herself into.


Pinkie threw the door to the library open. “Twilight, I brought the goodies! And I brought my own special guest!”

Twilight came out from one of the rooms and was confused by the unicorn’s presence. “Cherub? What brings you here?”

“Pinkie mentioned you were having a little get together with your friends and that you even had a special guest coming by. I hope it isn’t too much trouble if I come to see what all the fuss is about.”

Twilight turned to Pinkie, annoyed. “Pinkie, you Pinkie promised not to say anything!”

“No, you said I couldn’t say who it was, not that you were having somepony coming,” Pinkie argued.

“Yes, but-” Twilight trailed off for a moment before sighing. “I guess it’s okay if only one pony knows. You won’t say anything about this, will you, Cherub?”

“You have my word.”

Twilight nodded and motioned them towards her. “Alright, she’s in the back with the others.” Chrysalis was very curious about who could have possibly been such a big deal. It couldn’t have been Princess Celestia as she had already visited before, everypony in town always knew about it, and she always brought her guards. Also, who would want their visit to be a secret and why?

Pinkie ran ahead to the room with Twilight right behind her. “Hey girls and Spike, I’m back!”

“Wow, Pinkie! That sure is a lot of boxes.” Chrysalis recognized the voice to be Spike’s.

“She doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to a good time. Can we have some candy now?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Yes, I believe now is a good time for the consumption of many treats!”

Chrysalis stopped dead in her tracks, eyes wide. She knew whose voice she had just heard and felt terror wash over her body. The only thing going through her mind was to get out as fast as she possibly could. Before she could turn, Pinkie ran out to her. “Why are you just standing there? Everypony is in here, silly.” She got behind Chrysalis and pushed her forward. Once she entered the room, her worst fears were confirmed.

“Hello there! Have you come to join us?” asked Princess Luna with delight.

Pinkie led Chrysalis to a seat around the table and the terrified changeling slowly sat down, never taking her eyes off the princess. She tried to form words and only achieved in producing babble. “There’s no need to be nervous,” said Rarity with a chuckle. “She may be royalty, but she is very friendly with us common folk.”

“H-h-hello.” Chrysalis was ready to faint. While she had fooled the alicorn before, she now doubted herself. Luna was the head of Canterlot’s anti-changeling group and they were always on the lookout for her kind. What was worse was that she was trying to find Chrysalis specifically, wanting to severely punish the one who had attacked her sister and took her niece. If there was anypony who could catch onto her, it was the Princess of the Night. The word “escape” kept echoing in her mind. “Well, i-it was n-nice meeting you, but I just remembered I have something important that I need to do right now, so I’ll be leaving.” She got up and walked quickly towards the entrance. “See you Monday, Pinkie.”

“But you didn’t get any candy!” her employee called out from behind her.

Chrysalis made it to the door, ready to bolt the second she got outside. “Why are you so desperate to get away from me?”

She whirled around to see Luna somehow right behind her. This greatly startled Chrysalis, causing her to fall on the floor. She was in complete panic while the others were staring at her. Her fear only grew as Luna was giving her a suspicious look. “You feeling alright, Cherub?” asked Twilight. “You seemed to be really freaked.”

“You’re acting like she’s still Nightmare Moon,” Spike taunted.

Chrysalis went still, surprised that she was given a way out. She was familiar with the tale of Nightmare Moon and her return and had even heard from gossip a few ponies in town still being nervous about her. She decided to play along with it and acted as scared as possible. “W-well how do you know she still isn’t? A thousand years alone could have done wonders to her mind!”

Luna was taken aback as well as everyone else. “But I’m not like that anymore! I have been long cleansed of the darkness! Give me a chance to show you that I’ve changed!”

Chrysalis got up from the floor and took a few steps away from her. “No thanks. The only thing I want to do now is make as much distance between you and I as possible, so goodbye, Nightmare Moon.” She got back to the door and reached for the knob, not wanting to look back.

“I see. Goodbye then,” she heard Luna say gloomily.

Luna’s suddenly change in tone made her curious, so she took a quick look behind her. She saw that Luna was walking back to the other room with her head down, clearly hurt by her words. The princess’s woe gave a stroke of euphoria within Chrysalis. Not only did she throw off her suspicion, but she had also greatly offended Luna. Today turned out to be a lot of fun after all.

At least, it would have been, had Pinkie not run in front of the door, blocking the only exit. “How could you do that to her, Cherub? You were being a total jerky-jerk!”

Twilight went to her and tried to pull her away. “Let her go, Pinkie. You can’t make her stay if she doesn’t want to.”

Pinkie shook her head. “No! Everypony should know that she’s not Nightmare Moon anymore, including her!”

The others joined in as they tried to pry her from the doorway. “You can’t tell other ponies what to think, so please stop making a scene and let her go already,” insisted Rarity.

After a moment of being pulled by her friends, Pinkie gave in. “Fine,” she said angrily. She walked back to the room where Luna was, not even looking at Chrysalis.

Fluttershy looked into the room. “Wow, she’s mad. Maybe you should go apologize to both her and Luna.”

Chrysalis let out a loud groan, having just turned the knob when Fluttershy butted in. “I really just want to go home right now. I’m sure they’re both fine.” She saw they were all looking in her with various levels of disapproval, but it wasn’t like she ever cared about their opinions in the first place.

“Well it was nice seeing you, Cherub,” Twilight said blandly. “Come on, girls. Let’s see how they’re doing.” They all left her behind and walked back into the room. Rainbow Dash turned her head and blew a raspberry at Chrysalis before disappearing.

The changeling wiped the sweat off her forehead, thankful that she was done with them and she could just leave. She put her hoof on the doorknob, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn it. She started to think that maybe what she did was actually a bad thing. If the ponies really did get past the whole Nightmare Moon thing, then she just looked like a very ignorant jerk. Even worse, if Pinkie and the rest had spread the word about her through gossip, it could potentially be very damaging to her business. There was also the fact that Pinkie was clearly mad at her and she couldn’t afford to lose her or any of her effort no matter what. She had to fix the mess she made to get away and to do that, she had to go back to the presence of her enemies.

Chrysalis hit herself multiple times in the face with her hoof, very angry for getting herself in the mess in the first place. “I will never agree to do anything with Pinkie ever again, even if it is her dying wish.” She headed back into the room while slowly taking one step at a time, preparing for the inevitable. Once she had re-entered the room, she saw Pinkie in the middle of hugging Luna. Pinkie then saw her standing there and broke away.

“What are you still doing here?”

Everyone immediately looked at Chrysalis. “Did you forget something, Cherub?” queried Twilight.

Chrysalis took a deep breath. “I’m here because I think I might have acted very foolishly and I want to apologize.” She turned to Luna, who was looking at her expectantly. “Princess Luna, I am greatly sorry for offending you earlier and I hope you find it within your heart to forgive me. I’m sure you are not Nightmare Moon anymore and that you’re a nice princess like Celestia.” She wondered if she was going to be punished for insulting the princess. Chrysalis would have definitely given a beating to any changeling who had insulted her like that when she was queen.

To her surprise, Luna only smiled warmly at her, giving her immense relief. “It’s alright, Cherub. Many ponies still feel intimidated around me and I can’t blame them for it. I’m just glad you are willing to try to see me for who I am. And please, just call me Luna.”

Applejack pointed at a spot next to her. “Why don’t ya stick around for a while? Luna’s great company.”

Despite it being a risk to hang around with the alicorn, Chrysalis nodded. Perhaps befriending Celestia’s sister could prove beneficial to her in the future. As she walked around the table, Pinkie got up in her face. “Not so fast! You need to do a little more than just say you’re sorry.”

“Like what exactly?” asked Fluttershy.

Pinkie grew a huge grin as she pointed at Luna. “She should give her an apology hug for making her all saddy-waddy!”

Chrysalis felt her heart jump. “I don’t know…” She saw they were all looking at her with pleading eyes and knew there was no way out. “Alright, I’ll do it.” When she was queen again, the first thing she would do would be to make Pinkie regret everything she had ever done in her life.

She approached the princess, who had her forelegs stretched out for the hug. Chrysalis took a deep breath, went to her, and embraced her. She heard them cheering as she hugged Luna and pulled away after a few seconds. Suddenly, Pinkie jumped on her, giving her a hug herself. “I knew you could do it, Cherub!”

Pushed to her limit, Chrysalis pried her off, held her over her head, and launched across the room into a shelf of books. Pinkie slammed against it and was covered by an avalanche of literature. “You and I still don’t hug!”

To her relief, everypony was laughing about what happened. Pinkie popped her head of the pile with a book in her mouth, which she spat out. “Well at least I tried,” she said happily as she trotted back to the group.

Chrysalis sat down between Applejack and Fluttershy. “So Luna, what are you doing here anyway? Don’t you have royal duties to attend to or something?”

Luna put a box of chocolate cupcakes in front of her and started eating one. “I just wanted a break from everything that is going on in Canterlot. It’s just been constant arguing and protesting these last few months. It hasn’t been the same in a long time.”

“It’s because of those dreadful changelings,” stated Rarity. “Ever since they have showed their repulsive faces at the wedding, nopony can get a good night’s rest, always worrying about them. Even I sometimes fear running into one.”

“Yeah, and after everythin’ they did, now they want to make peace and live with us?” Applejack bit into a doughnut. “Ah tell ya, Ah don’t trust them at all. Ah mean they attack us and now they want to be our friends? Ah ain’t buyin’ it.”

Twilight nodded in agreement. “I’m with you, Applejack. After what they and their queen had put me, my brother, and Cadance through, I wouldn’t mind so much if I never saw any of them ever again in my life.”

Surprisingly, Fluttershy thought differently. “But wasn’t Queen Chrysalis the reason they did it in the first place? They don’t seem to like her too much anymore. They got a new queen and she might be better. Maybe we should give them a chance.” Chrysalis snarled as she started digging through the cookies.

“The new queen seems nice,” said Pinkie. “She’s the one who wants to be our friend!”

Dash leaned across the table towards her friend. “But changelings are all about being sneaky, so they could just be saying that to fool us. Chrysalis could just be back at their kingdom, plotting with Nymph as they wait for us to put our guard down.”

Spike trembled slightly. “And Nymph’s her sister, so she could be just as bad or even worse. She’s definitely just as ugly.”

Chrysalis flared on the inside, listening them insulting her and her people. She couldn’t believe Nymph would tolerate such insolence from the lesser race. There was going to be serious retribution when she was ruler again.

“Cherub?”

She snapped out of train of thought. “Yes, Twilight?”

“What do you think about all of this?”

Chrysalis bit her lip. Given the fear of changelings in Ponyville, it would be more of the norm to be against the changelings than it would be to support them. “I think they shouldn’t be granted citizenship. They are a race of tricksters who want nothing more than to feed from us. As for that Nymph, I don’t trust her one bit. I also don’t really believe she would send her own sister into exile and it is most likely that they are conspiring against us together.”

Luna nodded as she took another cupcake for herself. “You speak the truth, Cherub. They should not be trusted. I have said something like this before, but it is a shame that my sister cannot see otherwise.”

“How can she be so trusting? They ponynapped her own niece and tried to take over Equestria,” Spike pointed out.

Luna sighed loudly as she rubbed her temples. “I really don’t know. Sometimes I think her good nature clouds her judgment.” She put her hooves down and looked at everypony. “As much as I understand their predicament, that in no way excuses what they had done. Even if they could be trusted, I will withhold my support as long as most of the nation opposes them. Having them come in at a time like this would result in something that would make Discord proud.”

“Well you just need to convince her otherwise. Just let them go back and stay in whatever hole they came out of,” Dash said aggressively as she leaned on the table. “They can just stay underground where they belong.”

“They seemed to have been doin’ fine without us, so it should just stay that way. Plus can ya imagine how confusin’ it would be since they could look like any pony? Ponies would start getting’ framed for their crimes left and right!” complained Applejack.

Luna swallowed the rest of her treat. “That is indeed another good point that has been brought up before. Although we now have magic to disrupt their disguises, it would still be chaotic. They just need to stay out of Equestria and everything will be just fine.”

“But if we don’t let them live with us, won’t they starve?” asked Fluttershy, full of concern.

The room became uncomfortably silent. Chrysalis was worried that they would change their opinions, which would’ve ruined everything. If the changelings were to be granted citizenship, not only would they be able to feed freely and not need Chrysalis anymore, ruining her chance of reclaiming her title, but they would be at the mercy of the ponies, forever robbed of their glory. Twilight broke the silence. “No, I don’t want them to. It’s just so hard to trust them. They’re capable of anything.”

Applejack was next to speak. “Maybe we could give them a chance and see how it goes. And if it doesn’t work out, we can just drive them out like we did before.”

“I don’t know, I think they kinda deserve it,” Spike admitted in a quiet voice.

“Spike! That’s a horrible thing to say!” Spike looked away while rubbing his tail, feeling ashamed that Rarity had shouted at him. “As much as I don’t like them, I believe we should be of some assistance to their dilemma. We can’t just leave them to suffer because of one bad apple. I’m sure we could form some sort of compromise that will keep us all satisfied.”

“But isn’t Celestia having ponies give them love so they could eat?” asked Pinkie.

“Yes, but it is not enough," Luna answered. "We’re having enough trouble getting ponies to give some up and their population is slightly too large to be fully sustained with what we’re giving them. It has certainly eased things for them, but the problem persists.” The princess stood up. “I do think you all have brought up a good point, however. I feel that I may have not thought things through entirely. Perhaps I should speak with Celestia and-“

“No.”

They looked at Chrysalis, who had a very serious look on her face. “No?” asked Pinkie.

“No,” she said again. Chrysalis stood up as Luna sat back down. “They are a menace to us all and we cannot allow them to come here freely. I do not truly believe that they are truly sorry for what they have done and are simply taking advantage of us. If they actually wanted to be allies, they would have tried peaceful methods instead of an invasion. Giving them access to Equestria would make them too dangerous.”

“But if that’s true, then why would they be so desperate for citizenship now?” asked Twilight.

“It’s obvious: they plan on ruling over us, wanting to take our land for themselves. Think about it. They have lived underground their entire lives and they blame the other races of the world for it. The changelings are just getting payback by taking what is ours. Chrysalis alone was powerful enough to defeat Celestia herself. Can you imagine how dangerous they would be if a whole army was able to gain that much power?” She felt pleased with herself as she watched them exchange worried looks with each other. “And don’t forget, Twilight, they left Cadance in the mines to die.” This wasn’t actually part of her plan, but she found it to be really helpful with the argument. Killing off a pony who was essentially the Princess of Food to the hungry changelings would have been incredibly stupid and she was surprised none of the ponies had caught on to that. “Not one of them took pity on her and came to her aid. Not one. Do you really want such heartless beasts living in this town, using you as a way to grow stronger?”

Fluttershy hid under the table. “Please make them go away, Luna. They’re too scary!”

Pinkie developed a large frown. “Yeah, changelings don’t sound like fun anymore. I think I like living with just other ponies.”

“I take it you all feel the same?” Luna saw that they all nodded. “Very well, I will stick to my position. I don’t care anymore of what my sister thinks. They can just stay out for all I care. They are a problem I do not wish to deal with.”

“You’ll still feed them, right?”

They looked at Chrysalis in confusion as they heard the mild desperation in her voice. “But I thought you said they couldn’t be trusted,” said Rarity.

“Well yes, but they still need love to survive. I don’t think I can sleep well while knowing that there is a nation that is starving.”

“We will continue to try,” informed Luna. “I’m certain with enough volunteers, we can keep their hunger in check. They will certainly grow stronger, but we can keep a close eye on them. I am sure they wouldn’t dare bite the hoof that feeds them.”

Chrysalis sighed with relief. “That’s good to hear.”

“Now Cherub, since you are so caring about the changelings, would you like to help feed them?” Luna offered in a friendly voice.

“I would, but I’m afraid I don’t have much love to give,” she admitted.

“No argument here.” Chrysalis magically took a large cupcake and shoved it in Spike’s mouth, causing a chuckle from the other ponies.

“You have certainly proven your case,” commented Luna, “but I think that’s enough about that. I came here to get away from this sort of discussion.”

“Let’s talk about something else. How is the lovely couple doing?” asked Rarity with interest.

“They are doing very well,” Luna answered happily. “However, I’ve been working Shining Armor fulltime because of the security needed in Canterlot. I’m really sorry, Twilight.”

Twilight giggled. “It’s okay. I’m sure he’s happy to do his duty. Although, I wish they would visit me more often.”

“As for Cadance, she’s been attending several public events while under heavy protection. I believe she is now over what had happened and it’s good to see her so happy again. They still do not like being apart after the incident and I tend to let Shining Armor to have a lot of time off so he can be with his wife. He will do anything to keep the princess happy and I think it is very sweet.” Luna faintly blushed. “Sometimes I can’t help but feel jealous of her, having such a loving pony like him.”

“Has the stork come yet?” asked Pinkie.

Luna blushed even deeper. “Excuse me?”

“The stork, silly. Did he bring them a baby yet? If he did, can I babysit for them!? I’m really good at that kind of stuff!”

All of the ponies cracked up, which confused her. Even Chrysalis joined along, finding it amusing that Pinkie could be so dense. “Pinkie, I don’t think the ‘stork’ may be coming for a long time,” said Twilight as she tried to control herself.

Pinkie frowned from her response. “But why not? Don’t you want to be an aunt, Twilight?”

Twilight’s face flushed as the laughter redirected towards her. “I do, but it might be a while until that happens. They might not be ready for one yet.”

“How come? He should give them one right now!” demanded Pinkie.

“I’m sure the ‘stork’ will eventually want a foal and will work Shining Armor over harder than Luna is right now in more ways you can imagine.” While everypony but Pinkie, Twilight, and Spike burst out in hysterics, Chrysalis shuddered. She immediately regretted saying that as she now had the image in her head of the couple doing some baby making.

Twilight was now completely flustered and could feel her face burning. “I-I think we’ve said enough about that!” she stammered. “Any of you girls got something you want to share? Please!”

Eventually, Luna managed to contain herself. “I think I have something,” she said as she looked at their latest guest. “Cherub.”

Chrysalis slightly jumped when Luna said her name. “Yes, Luna?”

To her relief, Luna was giving her a friendly look. “This is our first time meeting, so I’d like to know more about you.”

Chrysalis cleared her throat and spoke in a friendly tone. “I moved here a while ago from Manehatten in order to set up my dating service. I help lonely ponies find true love as it is a part of my talent.” She stood up and showed off her cutie mark.

“That sounds very nice. I take it that is why you feel strongly about the changelings?”

“You are indeed a sharp one, Princess,” Chrysalis complemented as she sat back down. “Love is something that should be felt between lovers, not used as a source of power.”

“And from what I understand, you have employed Pinkie Pie,” Luna said while looking at the party pony.

“Regrettably, yes.” She groaned as they all giggled at her. “While her knowledge has certainly been of great help, she can be quite a burden.”

Pinkie stood up. “I’m not that bad!” she protested. “In fact, I think I’m getting better.”

Chrysalis leaned across the table and glared at her. “Does that include putting a whoopee-cushion on my seat while dealing with a client?”

“But he thought it was pretty funny!” Pinkie countered.

Rainbow Dash smirked at Chrysalis. “Everypony loves a good Pinkie prank. You just need to loosen up.”

Chrysalis ignored her and resumed her charm. “Anyway, business has been rather slow, but with all my recent success, I think that should be ending soon. With enough time, I guarantee that this town will be just flooding with romance.”

Applejack grabbed her and pulled her towards her. “Take it from me; she’s really good at what she does.”

“Thank you for the complement. How has it been going with you and Caramel? I heard he’s been dropping by Sweet Apple Acres a lot. Getting that friendly with him already?”

Applejack blushed. “No, but he’s a real sweetheart. After that first date, he can’t get enough of me and we see each other all the time. I just wish Granny would come around. She thinks he’s no good and she keeps hitting him with her cane. Oh, and the weird thing is after Caramel and I started officially datin’, Bonbon came by to personally thank me and even gave me money.”

“I believe it’s because he hasn’t been giving away anymore candy.” Rarity let out a sigh. “It’s a shame he also stopped his sweet talk. He really knows how to make a girl feel great about herself.”

“Well I can do that, Rarity.” Spike stammered for a moment. “You’re the most beautiful pony in all of Equestria.”

She giggled while blushing. “That was a little corny, but I really appreciate it.” She brought him in for a hug, causing Spike to have hearts in his eyes.

Pinkie gasped happily and jumped onto the table. “Oh! Why don’t you girls come down sometime? Cherub can find you the best special somepony ever!”

The former queen took deep breathes, trying to keep her cool. However, as much as she wanted to say no, she realized that there was no real harm in helping the ones she hated. The more love she could produce, the better. “I think that is a splendid idea, Pinkie,” she said cheerfully. “What would you say if we were to start Monday?” She then noticed something odd. The three single mares did not look very excited with the idea. She saw Spike was just about to say something, but then he noticed Twilight looking at him, which caused him to remain quiet.

“It’s a really lovely idea but…” Rarity fidgeted nervously, but then became happy. “…but I’m just too busy! Yes, with all my business trips to Canterlot, so perhaps another time.” She put on an innocent grin, which Chrysalis immediately saw right through as bullmanure. However, she decided not to push the issue any further as she was not that interested.

“I’d like to find one, but I haven’t done much research on dating, so maybe later.”

“Oh come on, Twilight,” complained Rainbow Dash. “I didn’t know all that much about dating either, but I’m doing great now. You totally have to try it.”

“She’s right, Twilight. You should really get out of those books of yours and get into the dating world.” While Chrysalis hated her more than anything, she would have liked for her to accept her offer so she could leave Ponyville sooner. Maybe she could even put Twilight through a bad breakup as a goodbye present.

Twilight shook her head. “Nope. I’d rather maximize my chances of a successful relationship. I’ve seen what rejection has done to ponies and I would rather avoid such an experience.”

Dash crossed her forelegs and huffed. “Whatever, egghead.”

Pinkie ran onto the table and stood over Fluttershy. “What about you? Don’t you want a special somepony?”

Fluttershy was clearly flustered and she hid her face behind her hair. “Oh, um, that’s sounds really nice, but I’m not sure if I’m ready yet. I’m sorry, please don’t be mad.”

“What’s wrong, Fluttershy? Don’t you like boys?” Dash said mockingly.

“O-of course I do! It’s just that…I…um…err…”

Chrysalis decided to cut in, feeling some pity for the yellow pegasus. “It’s alright, Fluttershy. There’s no need to feel pressured.” For some reason, she was unsure why she disliked the shy pony. She never did anything that ever got on her nerves and was usually quiet and friendly. Dash was a bragger, Rarity was a drama queen, Applejack was all about honesty and pride, and she hated Pinkie and Twilight for obvious reasons. She assumed she didn’t like her by default for being a friend of Twilight.

Pinkie sat back in her seat, clearly disappointed by none of her friends agreeing to her offer. She suddenly jumped back up. “I almost forgot!” Spike smiled. “Luna!” Spike slumped his shoulders and stared at the floor. “Do you want a special somepony?”

Luna shook her head. “I thank you for the offer, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. I would rather find one on my own and I’m not sure if I’m ready to start dating again. I hope I don’t offend you, Cherub.”

“Not at all, I’m perfectly fine with you decision.” She was actually disappointed that the Princess of the Night said no. Had Luna accepted and she managed to find a good match for her, her business would have skyrocketed and she’d be queen again in no time.

“What about you, Pinkie?” asked Dash. “Haven’t you been looking for one at all?”

“I am, but there are just too many stallions to choose from.” She pulled on her own hair. “I like them all and that makes it really difficult for me. I don’t know who to choose!”

“What a shock,” stated the changeling blandly, causing the others to laugh.

“How about you, Cherub?” questioned Twilight. “Surely a pony with your talent would be interested in one.”

Chrysalis sighed, thinking about how her false relationship with Shining Armor had led her to where she was now. Perhaps she could somehow spin a similar story to help explain why she got upset when ponies hit on her. It already looked strange that a pony who was all about finding love for others would not be interested in finding it for herself. “Not exactly, Twilight. My last ‘relationship’ was a rather painful one and I don’t think I will be finding myself in another for quite a while.”

All of the laughter from earlier ceased and they looked at her with concern. “Was it really that bad?” Fluttershy asked with empathy.

Chrysalis laid her head on the table. “I was practically at the altar when everything fell apart.” She heard some of them gasp. “In the end, things just didn’t work out the way I had planned.”

Pinkie pulled on her hair more while her eyes became moist. “That’s just so horrible!”

“I agree. You have my deepest condolences,” said Rarity sympathetically.

“Is that why you are such a grouch?” asked Rainbow Dash, followed by a grunt as Applejack elbowed her in the stomach.

“Sadly, that is partially true. It was a rather bad break up and has really turned my world around. I think I can easily say it is the worst thing to have ever happened in my life.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before!?” Pinkie cried.

“Because I felt like it was none of your business,” she responded, slightly annoyed.

“But if you told me, I would have thrown you a party to help make you feel better!”

The changeling merely rolled her eyes. “I would have probably passed on that. It’s going to take more than a party to fix anything that has gone wrong for me.”

“So what happened between you two?” asked Luna.

Chrysalis raised her head back up and just rested it on a hoof as she looked at Luna. “I don’t like talking about it. I prefer to just get things back together in my life and just move on. And if it’s alright with all of you, I would like to drop this subject. It's just too painful for me to discuss.”

The princess nodded. “Very well. Do any of you have anything else you want to discuss?”

Pinkie shot up. “I do! My parents sent me a letter about the annual boulder migration!” She pulled out several sheets of paper, cleared her throat, and began reading. “Dear Pinkamena Diane Pie…”


After the long and thrilling tale of the rock farm family, the meetup became something Chrysalis absolutely dreaded: a party. Remembering how much she had “enjoyed” the last one she took part in, she thought the smart thing to do was to avoid it all together. She told Twilight that she had a bad headache and went to go lie down in Twilight’s bed upstairs. She laid on the bed with a smirk on her face, loving how easy it was to enter Twilight’s home without that girl suspecting a single thing.

While she was alone in the unicorn’s bedroom, gears began to turn in her head. Chrysalis got off the bed and began looking around the room. She was curious about whether or not Twilight had kept a diary around. She was not expecting anything too juicy from the unicorn who loved studying more than anything, but she decided to check anyway. Any embarrassing secrets would help make her feel better about her life. She looked in drawers, the closet, and even the shelves, but she was so far unsuccessful. As she lifted the mattress to look under, she heard somepony come up the stairs. “I see you’re feeling better, Cherub.”

The false unicorn dropped the mattress and looked behind her, finding Luna on the lower level. Chrysalis laughed nervously, worried about why Luna was coming to her alone. “Yeah, I just suddenly felt better. I’ll go down to the party right now.”

Luna smirked as she stepped in. “That’s a shame. I just brought some medicine for you.” She took out a bottle of brandy and two glasses from her bag with magic.

Chrysalis looked at her with surprise and then placed the back of her hoof on her forehead. “Actually, I think it’s coming back. Do you think you can help me, Dr. Luna?”

The pony found humor in her joke. “I think I can. Have a seat.” They sat the table in the room and Luna poured her a glass. “You are quite a clever one, aren’t you?”

The changeling shifted her eyes around. “I don’t know what you mean.”

The princess’s quiet chuckling made her gulp. “I know you were lying. I’ve been taught to read ponies since the invasion. You seemed to have been rather annoyed when Pinkie said it was time to party.”

Chrysalis was relieved she was only interested in that. She let out a sigh and decided to tell her something that was actually true. Lying anymore to Luna could lead her to trouble. “Fine, you caught me. I just think I’m a little too old for some childish party, but I didn’t want to say anything. I’m pretty sure Pinkie Pie would have hounded me until I gave in.”

Luna took a sip of her drink. “I sort of feel the same way.”

“You do?” asked Chrysalis with slight surprise and confusion.

The pony gave a light but firm nod. “Yes. I admit they can be fun at times, but sometimes I just feel a little embarrassed in taking part in these sorts of parties. It is usually little filly stuff and I am a grown adult. It’s fun to let loose once in a while, but I do not wish to make it a habit.”

Chrysalis’s interest in the princess suddenly rose. “Is that why you wanted your visit to be a big secret?”

Luna gave out a hearty laugh as she shook her head. “No, I just wanted some alone time with my friends and not be bothered by the other citizens. They have taken a much larger interest in politics since the invasion and they are restless to learn anything new. Poor Celestia is often harassed by journalists who want to get the latest on the negotiations and I just want to avoid going through that.”

Chrysalis chuckled. “I see your point. Why did you even come here if you don’t want to participate in their little party?”

“Because they are all my friends. They are certainly a fun group and I do like to keep a close eye on the Bearers of Harmony. It’s just they like to do things that I sometimes have no interest in. I enjoyed our discussions and jokes from earlier and I was a little disappointed when they wanted to party.”

“I completely understand. I take it that is why you came to see me?” asked Chrysalis as she stared at her glass.

“That and I wanted to get to know you better. You certainly stick out from the bunch.”

The changeling smirked. “Because I’m older?”

“I meant your sour personality,” Luna jested.

Annoyance appeared on Chrysalis’s face. “Wow. Thanks, Princess.”

Luna put a hoof over her mouth to cover her smile. “Sorry. I just happened to notice you were nowhere as cheery as any of us.”

Chrysalis finished her drink and wiped her mouth. “I think you already know why that is.”

“I understand. I can tell you are going through some difficult things and I just wanted to see if I could be any help.”

“Of course you can help.” She raised her empty glass towards the alicorn.

The princess chuckled as she understood what she was referring to and refilled it. “I don’t think more alcohol will solve anything.”

“Works for me pretty well,” commented the changeling right before drinking some of it.

Faint chuckling could be heard from the princess. Once she stopped, she said, “So tell me more about yourself, Cherub.”

Chrysalis merely shrugged. “Not much to say; I’m just your average pony. I’m sure Twilight and her friends go through more interesting things in a week than I have in my life.”

“I suppose that’s true, but what about that dating service of yours?”

“It’s doing pretty well and I guess it’s all thanks to Pinkie.”

“She certainly saved you from closing,” Luna added.

“No kidding. I’m glad that…” Chrysalis looked at her with surprise. “How do you know about that?”

“Pinkie told me through a letter,” said Luna as she poured herself another round. “She was so happy to get a job from you and she seems to be really into what you do.”

“I honestly wish I only had to deal with Pinkie through letters. Her presence can be rather overwhelming,” said Chrysalis with slight annoyance.

“You’ll warm up to her, given how you’ve already lasted this long.” She gave out a sigh. “Shame I lost twenty bits.”

“What do you mean?”

“I should have mentioned since I am often awake during the night, the ponies and I communicate mostly through letters and they usually tell me anything of interest. When I heard a pony actually hired Pinkie Pie for helping ponies find love, I wagered with Celestia that it would take a week before she got fired or drove the pony into insanity.”

Chrysalis was surprised by how Luna also thought that Pinkie would one day drive somepony over the edge, which made her more comfortable with her. “Well I’ve certainly proved you wrong. I have to admit, I had never expected you to say such mean things about Pinkie, or any of the other ponies for that matter.”

Luna blushed. “I’m not trying to be mean; I just like to poke fun. Celestia and I like to gossip too, you know.”

“Now that I think about it, why aren’t you spending time with her? I’m sure you would much rather be with her than be here.”

Luna rested her head on her hoof and sighed deeply. “I am afraid she is much too busy as of late. The issues with the changelings are still around and she tries tirelessly to resolve them. We barely have time for each other anymore.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Much to Chrysalis's surprise, she sort of meant it.

“It’s all right. I still have a few other friends that I can spend time with in the night. Of course, it eventually becomes too late for them to stay up and I am left by myself.”

“How do you handle being alone in the night?”

“A lot better than you think.” Luna answered in a more upbeat tone. “I have many ways I can take up my time.” She looked around and motioned Chrysalis closer. “There’s also a benefit to being the Princess of the Night,” she whispered.

“Oh yeah?” she asked with great interest. “What’s that?”

“Almost nopony ever comes to night court, so every day is almost like a day off.” They both laughed.

“I suppose that is a plus to leave your sister to do all that boring stuff.”

“I still lend a hoof in certain matters. As a princess, I have many duties that I must attend to.” Luna decided to put her glass aside. “Enough about me, let’s get back to you.”

The outcast just shrugged again. “Not much to really say about me.” She did not take much time developing a background for herself as she felt it was unneeded. If she gave away too much information, ponies would become suspicious if they found something in her fabricated life that didn’t hold water.

“Well about your fiancé?” asked Luna.

Chrysalis placed a hoof on her face and groaned loudly, actually upset. “No, I really don’t want to talk about that at all.” She slightly regretted saying that she had a poor relationship before, but it would at least give her an excuse to be more like herself. Being nice and friendly all the time was definitely not her thing.

“I take it he did something horrible to you?”

She sipped her glass. “Yes, everything is his fault. I hope to get back at him someday for all the trouble he has put me through.” She could feel her anger rising as she thought about her defeat by the hooves of Shining Armor and his wife.

Luna reached over and patted her hoof sympathetically, which helped calm her down. “Don’t be so hung up about it. He must be a fool to lose a beautiful mare like yourself.”

Chrysalis smirked. “Thanks. Speaking of marriage, you sure you don’t want a special somepony?”

The alicorn gave a devious smile. “Oh, I see how it is. You just want to help me so you can boost your own reputation,” Luna teased.

Chrysalis gave an innocent grin. “So is that a yes?”

“I’m afraid not.”

It wasn’t the answer she had hoped for, but Chrysalis was still in a good mood. “That’s a shame. I’m sure I could find you a real boy toy who could satisfy you in many ways.”

Luna tilted her head. “Oh? I thought you wanted to help me find love.”

“Well who doesn’t love sex?” asked Chrysalis playfully.

They both laughed once again. “You have a point, but I think it would be unfitting of me to just take in a stallion like that.”

“You’re a princess. You can do whatever you want.”

“But I would rather do it with somepony I have feelings for.”

“I think it’s very silly to save yourself for such a thing. You shouldn’t bother waiting to get married before having fun with him,” commented the changeling.

“It’s not silly,” Luna protested with mild anger. “I waited for my first marriage before getting intimate and it was well worth the wait.”

“Wow, you actually saved yourself for the honeymoon? That was a terrible idea.” She laughed a little when she saw Luna frowning at her. Chrysalis took the bottle and began pouring herself more alcohol. “I don’t get what the big deal is. It is very natural for us to have urges. We don’t need some holy ceremony to permit us to do it.” Chrysalis emptied her glass and rolled her eyes up as she thought some more. “Now that I think about it, marriage might be a little overrated.”

“Well at least I got married,” Luna countered in a non-serious tone.

Chrysalis slammed the glass onto the table, causing Luna to jump. The changeling looked into Luna’s eyes with a cold glare. “That was a low blow, Luna.”

“Sorry,” said the princess with guilt in her voice, “I should have never said that.”

“No, you shouldn’t have.” She immediately lost all her respect for Luna. She had the nerve to rub in her massive failure and she felt worse than she had in a long time. She just could not bear being around the alicorn anymore.

Chrysalis stood up and walked past her. “Where are you going?”

“Home. I think I’ve had enough for the day and I’ll be sure to mention our conversation to Twilight on the way out. See you later, Princess.”

Luna ran in front of the stairway. “Wait! I’m really sorry about what I said, please don’t go.”

“I don’t care. I’m done with you,” she spat.

As she tried to leave, Luna placed a hoof on her shoulder. “Please stay. I really like spending time with you and I don’t want you to be upset. Just stay,” she begged.

As Chrysalis looked into her pleading eyes, she thought about how fun it would be to just go home and leave the princess to her misery. However, she decided against it. She already had Pinkie make her give one apology hug already and she was in no mood for another. There was also the fun they had prior to her comment, which there was plenty of. If she just stayed mad at Luna, she would be back to only having Pinkie and her little friends to socialize with, which was already sad enough. She sighed loudly, knowing that she was going to have to stay with her. “Fine.”

Luna faintly smiled. “Thank you, Cherub. I hope you can forgive me for upsetting you.”

Chrysalis just turned away and walked towards her seat. “Just never say such a thing to my face again.”

“It’s a deal.”

Chrysalis sat herself back down and just turned herself away from Luna. She was very angry about how Luna had killed the mood with her comment. She was actually having a good time until then. She knew that she was going to have to say that she forgave her, but she just couldn’t bring herself to. Thinking about her failure left her bitter. She couldn’t wait for the day where she would kick her flank like she had done with her sister.

“Are you still mad at me?” asked Luna worriedly.

“Yes,” Chrysalis replied harshly.

The princess’s ears flopped. “I’m really sorry, I just thought it would have been funny, but I clearly wasn’t thinking straight. I did not mean any offense, Cherub.” Chrysalis just remained silent. “Is there any way I can make it up to you?”

“Nope.” Security plans and potential weaknesses of the alicorns did come to mind, but now was not the best time to attempt in extracting such information.

Luna sighed gloomily. “I am really sorry about what I said and I am also sorry about what happened between you two. I do hope you find another that you will enjoy the rest of your life with.”

“Me too. That jerk hurt me in more ways you can imagine.”

“How are you doing now with your life?”

“Horrible,” Chrysalis answered with complete honesty. “I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom and I am trying to dig my way out. If anypony dares get in my way, I will drag them down with me.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Luna got up from her seat and sat next to her. “Are you sure there isn’t any way I can help? I’m sure there must be something.”

Chrysalis merely shook her head while still not looking at her. “No, not really. It is something that I have to deal with alone. It will be a while until I fix all the damage he has caused. After that, I’m getting payback on him.”

“That sounds like a good plan. You should let me know when you’re ready as I would like to join you.”

Chrysalis faced her with a raised eyebrow. “Oh?”

“He sounds like a terrible stallion for breaking your heart like that and I do not wish to see such an act go unpunished,” the alicorn commented deviously.

The outcast smirked. “How very noble of you, I will gladly take you on my conquest for vengeance. I’m just a little surprised you would be up for such a thing.”

“I just feel that sometimes if you want something done right, you have to get your hooves dirty.” Luna rubbed her hooves together, grinning.

Chrysalis smiled mischievously. “I think I’m beginning to like you, Luna.”

They heard hoofsteps approaching and saw Pinkie standing there. “Hey, you’re all better now, Cherub! Come on down and party with us! We're having a blast!” Pinkie then hopped away towards the source of the loud music.

The red unicorn groaned as she slowly stood up. “Looks like I don’t have much of a choice.”

“At least I will be there with you, and trust me when I say her parties are a little better when you’re tipsy.”

Chrysalis cocked her head. “Are you saying you’ve intoxicated yourself before because of these parties?”

Luna blushed. “Maybe.”

“Is that why you had brandy in the first place?” The princess gave an innocent grin as she shrugged, causing Chrysalis to crack up. “Now that I think about it, I wonder what these parties will be like when Pinkie becomes old enough to drink.”

“Now that would be a sight to behold.”

They broke into a fit of laughter as they descended the stairway.


Chrysalis stayed in Twilight’s home until it was nightfall. Despite being forced to participate in some of the games they played, she actually felt that it was nice to have a change of things, rather than sitting at home and reading. Even though she was surrounded by those who she despised, she didn’t have that bad of a time, except for whenever Pinkie tried to bring up her non-existent lover. Once it was time to leave, she said her goodbyes and thanked Twilight and Pinkie for having her over while actually being sincere. Luna was leaving as well, so they both walked out together.

“This has certainly been a wonderful day,” Luna said cheerfully as she looked at her stars above.

“Surprisingly, I have to agree. Normally I only find misfortune whenever I’m with Pinkie, but I think you helped in preventing that.”

“Glad I could help, but Pinkie Pie is not that bad. She’s a really sweet pony if you get to know her. Everypony likes her and I am sure you will too.”

“I suppose, but I think I really need to work on telling Pinkie that I don’t want to be a part of any of her parties.” Chrysalis turned her head to examine her hind legs. “I swear that cake has already gone to my thighs.”

They stopped walking and faced each other. “It’s been nice meeting you, Cherub.”

“Likewise. It’s not every day I get to spend time with a princess. You’re a lot different than I expected. I never thought you would be so fun.” She still found it strange that Luna was the highest of royalty and could just act like how she did.

Luna giggled. “Just because I’m royalty doesn’t mean I can’t be both fun and friendly.”

Chrysalis smiled and nodded. However, there was something she was very curious about and wanted to ask in private. “Hey, can I ask you something personal?”

“You can ask me anything.”

“Let me first just say that I’m once again sorry about how I acted earlier, thinking you were Nightmare Moon.” Chrysalis stuck a hoof out. She thought this would be a good idea before going through with her question in order to put any hard feelings behind them.

Luna took her hoof and firmly shook it. “Apology accepted. It’s amusing how you were so much like Fluttershy when she thought the same thing now that I think about it.”

“Gee, thanks,” said Chrysalis while rolling her eyes.

Luna chuckled at her. “Sorry. So what is it you wanted to ask?”

Chrysalis was hesitant. “After you came back from the moon and got defeated, how did you get your sister and everypony else to forgive you for what you did?”

Luna’s smile disappeared and was replaced with an uncomfortable look. “When I first returned to Canterlot after my long imprisonment, the only thing I wanted to do was lock myself away from it all. I couldn’t bear to face anypony because I just felt so ashamed of what I did. After a day, my sister managed to get inside and I just wanted to hide.”

“Was she mad at you?”

Luna shook her head. “I thought she was, but she was actually worried about me. She told me that I needed to get out, but I just didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t even look at her. Every time I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had done. She knew what I was thinking and just held me, telling me I shouldn’t worry about the past and that she would always love me. I’m so lucky to have a sister like her.”

“So what did you do after?”

“Once I had returned to my original form, I started raising the moon like I used to back then. And when Celestia had given me a brief lesson about the history I was not present for, I was allowed to do other things like creating treaties and laws.”

Chrysalis quietly huffed as Luna wasn’t answering the question that she was interested in. “What about your subjects? How did they feel about you?” she tried asking politely.

“At first, they were terrified of me, thinking I was still the evil Nightmare Moon, but thanks to Twilight, she helped me change that. Now I am looked at as highly as my sister.”

“They accepted you? Just like that?” she questioned in disbelief.

“When I was Nightmare Moon, all I felt was jealousy and anger, but after I had been restored, all I wanted was forgiveness. I was able to be forgiven because I had changed. I wasn’t the pony they all feared anymore as I was one who was kind, friendly, and understanding. They eventually learned that I no longer had evil intentions and they felt safe around me. There are still many who feel like I am still the same from before and I hope to prove them wrong.”

Chrysalis nodded. “I see. Thank you for allowing me to take your time, Princess Luna.”

“It’s no problem. It has always been a difficult subject for me to talk about, but I appreciate that you are willing to listen.”

“I’m sorry for bringing it up. I was just curious.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Chrysalis could see a mischievous look on her face and became worried. “But now you have to do something for me.”

“Like what exactly?”

“You now have to tell me about your last relationship.”

Chrysalis stared at her, mouth agape. She wasn’t sure how she was going to come up with a convincing story on the spot and she didn’t think she could turn down her demand after what she asked. “Well, it’s a long story, and, well, you see…”

Luna started laughing. “I was merely pulling your leg. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“Oh, well that’s a relief.” She couldn’t believe the alicorn princess had just pulled a fast one on her.

“I need to get going now. It has been fun talking with you and I hope we see each other soon.”

Chrysalis nodded in agreement. “I would like that. Goodbye, Luna.”

“Goodbye, Cherub. Have a good night.”

She watched as Luna flew off the ground. Her horn glowed brightly and after several seconds, she completely vanished. Once she was gone, Chrysalis started heading home. She wasn’t sure why, but she had found a lot of enjoyment in her company. She was much more interesting than she had thought and wouldn’t mind having her as a friend. Luna had even given her some advice that she thought about following for her return to her kingdom.

Chrysalis suddenly stopped and gagged loudly. She couldn’t believe what she was thinking. Being in this town was making her soft, actually considering making friends with her enemy. She didn’t need to change herself in any way. She was fine the way she was. It was just a setback that had put her in this position in the first place. She wasn’t even sure why she was even listening to Luna, who only tried to take over Equestria because of a temper tantrum. Chrysalis’s determination and vision would lead her people into the golden age they deserved and she would never get there by playing nice. She saw it as her sworn duty to stop Nymph from leading the changelings into losing their superiority in the world. They needed Chrysalis and she would not rest until it was done.

A Canterlot Couple

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A Canterlot Couple

She wasn’t sure how it happened, but it was all over for her in a flash. Somepony had caught onto her and had her reported to the guards. Shining Armor and some of his men came for her in the middle of the night and had dragged her out in cuffs, taking her down without the changeling putting up much of a fight. She was powerless and scared out of her mind of what may be done upon her. The guards had her restrained like a captured animal within a carriage as they flew through the night sky. Any attempt to fight back would only cause Shining Armor to jump in and threaten her silently with his glowing horn.

They had taken Chrysalis to Canterlot’s royal court, where she was put on immediate trial for her attack against the ponies. In front of her was Princess Celestia, looming over her like the sun that she controlled every day. It was Celestia that would become her judge, jury, and likely executioner. Princess Luna, Cadance, Shining Armor, and Twilight with all of her friends were at the ends of the throne room, looking disgusted along with the many other ponies who were attending.

“Chrysalis,” Celestia’s voice bellowed as she looked down at her, “on the charges of ponynapping, assault on royalty, and conspiring to overthrow of the nation of Equestria, I find you guilty on all counts!” The room roared with the cheers of the ponies witnessing her trial. Once they quieted down, the princess spoke again. “And now, I sentence you to the worst possible punishment imaginable.”

Chrysalis trembled before the alicorn. “W-what punishment? Banishment to the moon? Imprisonment in stone?”

The Sun Princess smiled evilly at her. “Oh no, my little changeling, I have something far worse in store for you.” She raised her gavel over her head and struck it down on the armrest of her throne. A flash of light appeared and it blinded the criminal.

When her vision restored, Chrysalis looked around. She was now in the chapel where the royal wedding had happened several months before. All the ponies from the courtroom were there, quietly laughing. Before she could ask what they thought was so amusing, she noticed that she was wearing something. To her horror, she was in a bride’s outfit. Next to her was another pony in a bride’s dress, only that her face was covered in a wedding veil, and in front of her was Celestia, behind an altar. It didn’t take Chrysalis long to put together what was happening.

“By the power invested in me,” said Celestia, who was trying to contain her laughter, “I now pronounce you victim and wife!” The ponies exploded into laughter and cheers. “You may kiss the bride!”

Chrysalis turned towards the mysterious pony taking off the veil. Once it had come off, the changeling released a scream of pure terror.

“Give me a kissy, Chrysie-Wissie!”


Chrysalis’s eyes shot open and she frantically took a look around. To her relief, she was still in her bedroom in Cupid’s Arrow. After she managed to calm down, she got out of her bed and reverted back into her disguise. While she went downstairs and prepared her breakfast, she couldn’t stop thinking about her nightmare. This was the fourth time she had a similar dream and it was by far the worst. She always had to reassure herself that she was perfectly safe and no pony would discover her secret this time. Her strong opposition towards the changelings and her refusal to date had placed her off the radar. There was also the fact that since she was an entirely new pony and not taking another’s place, no pony paid too much attention to her personality. They accepted her for being a very mean pony, especially now since she sort of made up that story of her almost marriage. Even the intelligent unicorn Twilight, who caught onto her before, and Princess Luna, who led the ponies in unmasking her people, had completely bought her act.

During midday, work was progressing casually for both her and Pinkie. Chrysalis was still receiving a below decent amount of customers, but she was just glad she was at least getting activity. She was busy talking with one of them about dating advice while Pinkie was trying to find potential love interests for another. Recently, Pinkie had questioned her about why some ponies wanted to find another of the same gender. Chrysalis could easily tell that she didn’t know anything about gay ponies and rather than getting into that discussion with her, she just said that dating could be something between ponies who were just friends and Pinkie believed her.

Right after she sent the pony to go talk with Pinkie, Chrysalis noticed a familiar figure enter her home. “Hello, Spike. What are you doing here?” she asked in a friendly voice. She really didn’t mind the little dragon too much, even if he was kind of Twilight’s brother. She actually thought about finding one to raise herself in the future and she even wanted to ride it when it was large enough to fly, which would have been a great painting to hang in her throne room.

“Hi, Cherub. I just came by to drop off some of those books you asked for.” For some odd reason, Spike seemed to be nervous as he placed the books onto her desk.

She took them and placed them in one of the drawers. “That’s very kind of you, Spike. I didn’t think you made personal deliveries.”

He rubbed the back of his head while looking away. “W-well, you know, I was just walking by so I decided to drop them off.”

Chrysalis looked at him with fatal curiosity, knowing that something was up. “Was there something else you wanted from me?”

He jumped at her question before looking around. He motioned her closer and muttered in her ear, “C-could we t-talk in private?”

Chrysalis looked around the room. The other customers were busy talking with each other and Pinkie, so she was sure it would be fine to step out for only a moment. “Very well. Follow me into the kitchen.” They both moved to her kitchen and she sat on the floor. “So what do you want?” She watched as he took out a small sack from his bag and handed it to her. She took it and opened it up, seeing the many bits it carried. “What’s this for?”

Spike was still looking away with his face now dark red. “I want to hire you,” he said quietly.

The changeling was caught off guard by his statement. “Excuse me?”

“I want your help with getting a certain pony to like me,” he confessed while twiddling his fingers.

Chrysalis shoved the sack back into his arms. “Sorry, but I don’t help children. If you’re having girl problems, you should talk with Twilight. But then again, she might be just as hopeless as you!” She laughed out loudly, enjoying her personal jab at the unicorn.

She turned around and was about to leave, but Spike ran in front of her. “No, wait! Please hear me out.” She sighed and sat back on the floor, already impatient. “You see, I kind of...have a crush on...one of Twilight’s friends.”

“Rarity.”

His heart jumped when she said her name. “How did you know!?”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. I’ve known about your crush for a long time.” It wasn’t hard for her to notice since she could sense him generating a bit of love every time the white unicorn was near. Even if she wasn’t a changeling, the way he acted around her was a dead giveaway.

“So anyway, I’ve been trying to put the moves on her like I always do, but she hasn’t been paying much attention to me for a while. What’s worse is that she always wants to go to Canterlot. She’s been going there a lot for the last few months and I’m starting to worry.”

“Worry that what?”

Spike was reluctant to speak what he was thinking. “That she’s seeing somepony,” he said quietly.

“What would give you that idea?” she asked with some interest.

“Because she’s always excited to leave and she is always really happy when she comes back. She also never says what she did, just that it’s business.” Spike’s worry was really starting to show.

“And what exactly does all this have to do with me?”

“Rarity is going back tomorrow and I want you to go with her to see if it’s true. I need to know if Rarity is in love with somepony else.”

“Why don’t you do it?” she asked while pointing at him. “You don’t exactly need me to help you with that. I am much too busy to be bothered with such trivial tasks.” She wasn’t sure why Spike was bothering her about this. It always seemed like that the both of them were already very close and sometimes Rarity even seemed to be a little flirty with him.

“But if she really does have a coltfriend, I don’t think I can handle it.”

“And what if it is true, Spike? What do you want me to do, break them up?”

Spike’s face now matched her coat color. “Don’t say it like that.”

Chrysalis let out an amused gasp. “My goodness, Spike, I didn’t think you would ever go that far. I guess Twilight didn’t do that good of a job raising you after all.”

Spike stared at the floor, ashamed. “I know it’s wrong. It’s just that the last time she got with somepony in Canterlot, he was a real jerk and he made her upset. I don’t want that to happen again.”

“How sweet,” Chrysalis complemented. “You really must care about her.”

Spike placed his hands on his chest and smiled. “She is the most beautiful, sweetest, loveliest pony in all of Equestria. I’d give up everything I had to be with her. And she says I’m her Spike-Wikey, which I love. She even…why are you looking at me like that?”

Chrysalis stared at him with her eyes wide open and her mouth hanging open while slightly drooling. She was completely overwhelmed by the love the little dragon was giving off, which was a lot more than what he usually had. It was almost as much as the amount of love Shining Armor had in him for his fiancée. If she could successfully help him win Rarity’s heart, it would be an extraordinary boost to the amount of love in Ponyville or she could at least use him as a personal feeder. She was broken out of her trance by Spike snapping his fingers in front of her.

“Are you all right?”

Chrysalis quickly wiped the spit off her lip. “Sorry. I got distracted by something.” She quickly cleared her throat. “Anyway, I’ve considered what you have said and I’ve decided to help you.”

He smiled with extreme joy. “Really? Thank you, Cherub!” He rushed over and hugged one of her forelegs.

“Think nothing of it.” She then greedily swiped the bag of bits from him. “Now run along home and wait until the day after tomorrow. We will then figure out how to make you two more than just friends.”

The dragon eagerly nodded. “I can’t wait! Oh, and can you not tell anypony about this? I think Twilight might get mad if she knew I was doing this.”

She grinned at him. “It will be our little secret.”

“Great! See you later and thanks again!” Spike ran out and left the building.

Chrysalis walked back into the main room, where she saw Pinkie doing a dance on the table while the two ponies cheered her on, and wondered what she could have possibly missed in the few minutes she was away. Pinkie noticed her staring at her and stopped. “Hi, Ms. Cherub. Am I a great dancer or what?”

“Pinkie, come here.” The pink pony seemed to be worried about why her boss wanted to see her as she walked over. “First of all, I’m not even going to ask what you were doing, so don’t think you’re in trouble.” Pinkie gave a huge grin. “Second, we’re taking the day off tomorrow.”

“But why? It’s not the weekend yet.”

Chrysalis motioned her to come closer so they could whisper. “Spike came to me and needs me to help him with getting Rarity to like him. It seems he has a little crush on her.”

Pinkie became excited. “You’re going to help him get Rarity? I’ve been waiting so long for something like this to happen so I could throw a party!”

The outcast looked at her in mild surprise. “You mean you knew about this?”

“He told me about it one time.” Pinkie placed her hooves on her cheeks. “I think it’s the cutest thing ever!”

“I see. So I’ll be in Canterlot tomorrow and you can take the time to do whatever you want.”

“Can I come? Please?”

“Sorry, but I need to do this alone.” There were two reasons as to why Chrysalis didn’t want to bring her. The first reason was that she was Pinkie Pie. The second reason was that if Rarity was in fact seeing somepony, she was going to have them split up and Pinkie would have only gotten in the way.

Pinkie was disappointed by her response. “But why? Why don’t you want me to come?” She then gasped. “Are you going to look for a new coltfriend!?”

Chrysalis grabbed her by the head and looked her straight in the eyes, furious. “For the last time, I don’t need a coltfriend. I am perfectly fine with being single.” Her only regret with the phony backstory was that Pinkie was asking her about it almost every day. For a few days, Pinkie had brought her up as possible matches to every stallion that had come in and Chrysalis was not happy at all. The pony was very determined to help her get into a new relationship as she thought that doing so would help her stop being angry. Sadly, her problems couldn’t be solved so easily.

“Well let me know if you change your mind! I know plenty of stallions that you will just love! Oh, and I might have told that other pony that you were available,” she confessed nervously.

Chrysalis frowned at her. “I see, but enough about that. We’ve got customers to attend to.” She got back at her desk and waved to the stallion who had just recently entered. “Welcome to Cupid’s Arrow, where true love blooms. And if you even dare try using a pick up line on me, you will be picking up your teeth off the floor.”


The next day, Chrysalis arrived at the train station as part of her deal with the dragon. She decided to take one of her dresses that she had kept in order to fit in with the crowd in Canterlot, which was somewhere she wasn’t looking forward going to as it reminded her of her downfall. She didn’t want to stand out too much, so she had chosen a simple orange dress. She looked through the crowd of ponies, trying to find her target. She soon found Rarity in the crowd, who was wearing a dark blue outfit and looking excited, and she had a bad feeling of why the girl was all dressed up. Chrysalis decided to not approach her yet, trying to make her appearance not too suspicious. Eventually, the train had arrived and she boarded on a separate car from Rarity.

She scouted each of the cars until she found the white unicorn, sitting alone. “Rarity!” she exclaimed while acting completely surprised.

The pony looked up at her. “Cherub? What a surprise! What are you doing here?"

“I’m just having a little vacation time. Work has been simply tiring and I’ve always wanted to see Canterlot.” She motioned a hoof at the bench in front of her. “Do you mind if I sit here?”

“Please do.” Chrysalis sat across from her. “You will absolutely love it. It’s simply the most beautiful city in Equestria and it holds some of the most respectable ponies.”

“I bet it does.” She remembered during her time disguised as Princess Cadance that all these wonderful ponies that Rarity spoke of were very rude and dreadfully boring, kind of like some changelings back home. Now that she thought about it, it was bizarre how two very different species could be so alike. Still, she couldn’t understand why Rarity would be so obsessed with the place.

“And trust me; your dress is simply marvelous. I designed it myself,” she proclaimed proudly.

“You don’t say.” Chrysalis was going to burn it when she got home. “So Rarity, why are you going to Canterlot, anyway?”

Rarity tried to contain her excitement. “Oh you know. I’m just doing some business deals with Hoity Toity, nothing special.”

Chrysalis smiled wickedly. “If it’s nothing special, then why do you seem so happy about it?

Rarity seemed flustered. “Well because it’s Canterlot and you know, it’s great and all.”

The false unicorn leaned in. “Come on, Rarity. There’s no need for secrets between us girls. I know you’re lying.”

Rarity was unable to look into her eyes. After half a minute of enduring Chrysalis’s gaze, she gave in. “Do you promise not to tell anypony?”

The changeling leaned back, satisfied from exposing her. “You have my word.”

The seamstress gulped and said in a hushed voice, “I’m romantically involved with somepony.”

“Oh my. I never would have known!” She tried not to show that she was very annoyed. If Spike had been wrong, the job would have been much easier and she could have just gone home, but at least breaking them up and probably causing Rarity to cry was a bonus. The only problem was that it would likely be very difficult for her to break them up without it seeming like she planned it. “Who is he? Tell me all about him!”

Rarity was no longer nervous and was eager to talk. “His name is Fancy Pants and he is simply the most handsome and charming unicorn I have ever met. I’ve known him for a while, but when he asked me for a dance at the royal wedding, I just knew it was meant to be! We’ve been seeing each other for months now.”

“I’m so happy for you, Rarity,” she said with feigned friendless. “So is it…serious?”

“I would think so. We’ve been out on multiple dates and he’s just so interested in me.” Rarity continued to blush the more she spoke.

The way she talked about him was sappy enough to make Chrysalis barf. She was curious about one thing, however. “But why all the secrecy? I’m sure your friends would be thrilled if you told them about having a lover.”

Rarity sighed and rested her head on a hoof, looking out at the area outside the train. “I do plan on telling them. It’s just that I want it to be a surprise. Fancy and I are in a long distance relationship, so I wanted us to figure that out first. We don’t see as much of each other as we would hope.”

“It must be difficult for you two. It’s a shame that you couldn’t find somepony sweet in Ponyville,” she hinted.

“Yes, but Fancy Pants certainly stands out among the other ponies I know.” She began giggling. “I think he might be my soul mate!”

“How nice for you,” Chrysalis said sarcastically. It was obvious to her that Rarity was seriously into this Fancy Pants, given the amount of love she had been producing while talking about him. Compared to Spike, however, it was incredibly inferior. If only it was stronger would she have told the dragon to find a new girl, but Spike’s show unfortunately still had to go on. She then noticed that Rarity was still talking and started to listen to her. She needed to know everything about her coltfriend if she was going to do this successfully.


Both unicorns strolled through the busy streets of Canterlot after departing from the train. While Rarity was humming and admiring the surrounding city, Chrysalis was busy scheming. She was trying to devise a plan to somehow get Rarity and Fancy Pants to split. Rarity seemed to be obsessed with him and from what she had told her, he had a way with mares. Getting them apart would be very difficult, but she needed Spike’s love badly.

She broke away from her plotting and looked around. There were much more guards patrolling and the walls were littered with posters about anti-changeling propaganda. She began to imitate Rarity’s cheery mood, hoping that it would throw off suspicion. She looked towards the direction of the palace and saw a group of ponies angrily shouting while holding signs in front of the gates. It was likely Nymph was in there at the moment and the group was protesting her presence. She was actually happy that there was so much public opposition because it only hindered Nymph’s progress. She wasn’t sure what was so appealing about ponies to her sister that she would consider making deals with them.

“Canterlot is a lot different than I expected,” she said while looking over at the mob.

Rarity looked at the protesters along with her. “It’s been like this for months. I think until the negotiations end, the protesters will keep making a fuss and the guards will always be on the lookout for the changelings.”

“Have they actually found any?” she asked with concern. She would hate to think any of her subjects were being currently held against their will.

“Only a very few, but Celestia always releases them back to their kingdom. She’s quite forgiving. Rumor is Queen Nymph is trying to prohibit any of them from staying in Equestria in order to prevent a crisis, but since they need our love to live, I have my doubts they will listen.”

She doubted it as well, knowing that the changelings had to feed somehow. “Any idea about how they feel about living with us?”

Rarity gave a shrug. “She seems to be having not as much trouble as Celestia does with her people, but there are still enough changelings who oppose the idea. They still think that we are planning to do something to them to get even for their invasion and they do not seem fond of any other species in the world.”

Chrysalis figured that most of the changelings would be for the idea of living together, given that the other options were to either starve or expect a counterattack. Were things so bad that they would consider being at the ponies’ mercy? Did they actually want to become allies? “How come Ponyville isn’t like this? You’d think that Celestia would provide some protection for the town with her student.”

“Twilight can handle herself. I think it’s probably because Nymph keeps coming here, so they would need all the guards they can get if anything were to go wrong.”

“Shining Armor must be working them hard.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me, seeing how Chrysalis kidnapped his wife and he almost ended up marrying her instead. Just thinking about him marrying such a vile creature makes me sick.” Rarity spat her tongue out to show her disgust. The red unicorn remained silent as she felt that she was only going to be insulted more if she continued the conversation.

Eventually, both of them entered a fancy restaurant several blocks from the crowd, where Rarity said they would be meeting her dream stallion. Once they were seated, the seamstress kept checking herself in a small compact mirror. “So how do I look? There’s nothing out of place, right?” she asked nervously.

“You look fine. I’m sure Fancy Pants will be thrilled to see you, no matter how you look.” While Rarity kept checking herself, Chrysalis decided to brainstorm. Mind control was obviously out of the question with all of the security around her and it was more of a short term solution. Trying to seduce the stallion away would probably end up having Pinkie finding out and walk out for hurting her friend. She just needed one of them to dump the other; preferably Fancy dumping her so Rarity would want to take Spike in to fill the void.

She noticed a blue haired stallion wearing a suit and a monocle walk over towards Rarity, who she assumed to be Fancy Pants. “Hello, Ms. Rarity. It is always a pleasure to see you again.” He grabbed her hoof and kissed it, which caused her to giggle.

“Same to you, Fancy Pants.” She pointed across the table. “This is my friend, Cherub. She’s from Ponyville as well.”

He took a seat next to Rarity and gave a charming smile to the former queen. “It’s nice to meet you, Cherub.”

Chrysalis faked her own smile. “The pleasure’s all mine. Rarity has told me much about you.” It wasn’t like she could get Rarity to stop during their ride.

“All good things, I hope.” He turned towards Rarity and they started speaking. Chrysalis had blocked them out so she could resume her plot.

While she kept thinking, she took notice of something highly intriguing. While Rarity was producing a high amount of love, Fancy Pants was completely devoid of it. Was he not into her after all? That would have made this so much simpler. Rarity, however, would be the difficult part as she was seriously attached to him and was probably living in a fantasy world whenever she was around him. If what Chrysalis assumed was true, then all she needed to do was make Rarity realize the truth. This was likely going to be her most difficult job yet. She just hoped that he was gay, which would make the whole thing futile for Rarity. She decided for her next step she would try to gain some insight on their relationship from his point of view, hoping she could find something to expose him. “I must say, you two make a really great couple.”

Fancy Pants tilted his head. “Excuse me?”

Rarity leaned right next to him. “Thank you, Cherub. Isn’t he just the sweetest?”

The stallion gently pulled away. “Now wait just a minute. Ms. Rarity, having you been telling ponies that you and I are an item?”

Rarity was stunned by his words and she steadily became distraught. “W-well yes, we are t-together.” She gulped. “Aren’t we?”

Fancy Pants took her hooves and sighed. “Rarity, I’m afraid that you have been misled. We are not dating.” Chrysalis put her hooves over her mouth, pretending to act shocked while she was actually trying to hide her huge smile. With just one compliment, she had already lit the fuse. She wished she had some popcorn on her for the upcoming boom.

Rarity looked like she was about cry. “B-but what about that dance and everything else we’ve done together? I thought those were special!”

“Those were just things we were doing as friends. I’m sorry if you have thought otherwise. Had I known this was going on, I would have told you sooner.”

“But can’t we just start now? You and I get along so well!” she pleaded desperately.

He slowly shook his head. “While I do think we both get along quite well, I believe I’m a little too old for you.”

“But it’s only by a few years. I don’t think anypony will mind!” Chrysalis wondered how much the poor pony could take before she had a complete meltdown.

“Rarity, how old do you think I am?”

She trembled violently. “Um…twenty-seven?”

“I’m forty-six,” Fancy Pants corrected.

“WHAT!?” Several ponies were now looking at them. Chrysalis was trying extremely hard not to laugh. The fact that Rarity was dating a pony old enough to be her father was just too much.

“It’s true. I’m sorry, but you and I can’t be together in a relationship.”

Chrysalis watched as Rarity bolted out crying as Fancy Pants called out after to her, which attracted the attention of every pony inside. The sight had made her day and she just wanted to break out into applause for such a wonderful display. She couldn’t believe how simple it was to bring them apart, but now her duty was done and she could now leave the paranoid city. “Well that was unexpected,” she said in high spirits.

Fancy Pants returned to the table, confused yet upset by what had transpired. “I hope she can forgive me for giving her the idea. I really do enjoy her company, but I had no idea I was leading her on like that.”

She shrugged at him. “It’s just your natural charm. It’s certainly intoxicating.”

He looked at her. “Would you believe me if I told you this wasn’t the first time this has happened?”

She laughed. “I would. What I actually have a hard time believing is that a stallion with your looks would remain single. From what she had told me, you are quite a big deal around here.”

The stallion rested his head in his hooves. “It’s just that there’s only one mare that I’m honestly interested in. We had a fling once, but that’s ancient history now. I have yet to bring myself to love another mare.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Chrysalis couldn’t care less about his love life. While helping him could really bring in some customers since he was practically famous, that would require remaining in the city where everypony was on the lookout for her kind, so it wouldn’t be worth the risk.

“Well I suppose I should let you go. I’m sure Rarity will need your comfort,” he said as he started to stand.

Alarms went off in her head as she hastily pulled him back down. “Not so fast. I happen to be a specialist in love and I think I can help you with your problem.” Getting caught suddenly seemed nowhere as bad as dealing with the drama of the unicorn of generosity. Rarity right now was only amusing to watch but terrible to talk with. If anything, she would really not like to meet up with her as long as she could while she went through her crying.

“But what about Rarity? You haven’t been too concerned about her at all.”

She just laughed and waved a hoof. “She’ll be fine. This happens more often than you think and she does better alone.”

Fancy Pants looked at her, completely unconvinced. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely,” she spat out quickly.

The stallion knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere with her, so he decided to take her word for it. “I see. Well then, shall we depart?” Right as he stood, Chrysalis pulled him down again.

“We’re not going anywhere. As the first part of your payment, you’re buying me lunch. I’m starving.”


During their meal, the changeling socialized with the infamous Fancy Pants. It didn’t take long for her to figure out why he was so popular. There was something about his personality and the way he spoke that was just alluring. What also made him so well liked was how he ran charities for many foundations and was extremely friendly and understanding. She was surprised that Celestia herself had not tried making a move on him as even Chrysalis took a moderate liking to him. She thought it was an absolute shame that she had never met a changeling that could even come close to his charm. Out of all the ponies she knew besides Princess Luna, Fancy Pants was alright in her book.

After she had her fill, Chrysalis followed the stallion through Canterlot until he led her to a large building. The inside was filled with many well-dressed ponies going about their business. A slender, white unicorn with a pink mane approached them. “Welcome back, Fancy. The boss has been looking for you.”

He gave her a nod. “Thank you, Fleur. I hope I haven’t been keeping her waiting for too long.”

Chrysalis watched her as she walked away. “She seems pretty cute. Is that her?”

Fancy Pants chuckled. “Not quite. Fleur is just one of my assistants as well as a close friend. It’s actually her boss that I am interested in.” They went into a large hallway with many photos of various models hanging on the walls. “This is all of her work. We’ve been in business together for a long time and we make quite the team. I provide her with the models and she turns them into a star.”

Chrysalis looked around at the pictures. There were many attractive ponies of all types displayed, each in a different pose while wearing a different outfit. There was even one portrait of a griffon, which she found to be really strange. “You must make an awful lot of bits,” she said while she examined the portraits.

“That’s not why I do it. These ponies all desire one thing, and that is to be famous. We just help them realize their potential and enter the Canterlot high life. They are turned from being a simple pony into a one that is loved and respected by many.” He began to look at her. “Now that I think about it, have you ever considered modeling, Cherub? I honestly believe you have the looks.”

The changeling laughed. “Not really, but I’ll be sure to think about it.” She actually liked the idea of posing and having thousands of ponies drooling over her. Or at least her disguised form. They would just scream or vomit if they saw how she really looked. She realized what she had just thought and immediately hated herself for it. “What about Rarity? Why haven’t you asked her to do any modeling? I’m sure she would have accepted without thinking twice.”

“She tried, but my friend didn’t like her. I believe she chose her friend Fluttershy instead.” Chrysalis’s mood was instantly restored.

Fancy Pants turned towards one of the doors and opened it. Inside was a studio with various ponies setting up a photo shoot while various mares were either walking around or had their photos taken. A pegasus mare was surrounded by various make-up artists as a blue earth pony ordered them what to do. “No, less eye liner. More. Perfect! She iz ready now. It iz now time to make…da magics!” she exclaimed while sticking a hoof out.

“Hard at work as usual I see, Photo.”

She turned and looked at him, pleased with his arrival. “Zere you are! I need you to review our contracts with da publishing company in Trottiningham.” She then took notice of his company. “And who is zis? Another model?”

Chrysalis, who figured out who Fancy’s mystery lover was, saw a moment of opportunity and took it. “Yes I am. Fancy Pants was an acquaintance of one of my friends and she's always telling me that I should be a model. I just met him today and I decided to give it a try, if it isn’t too much trouble.”

Photo Finish circled around her, carefully examining her figure. She got behind her and stopped to stare at her flank. “Zis cutie mark. What iz it?”

“I sort of help ponies fall in love. It’s not really that special,” she answered while pretending to be shy.

Photo laughed loudly. “I think it iz an excellent talent. Love iz the greatest zing a pony could feel.” Her expression then turned into scorn. “Shame zat not all poniez realize zis and would rather mess around.” She saw the way Chrysalis was looking at her and resumed her regular self. “I zink you have what it takes. What iz your name, by the way?”

“Cherub,” she said proudly.

“Alright, Cherub, please wait here while I prepare a room for you.” She went to one of the doors in the back of the room and disappeared.

The changeling turned towards the stallion. “You’re telling me that out of all the mares you get, she’s the one you want?"

He nodded. “That is correct. She and I have known each other for a very long time and I have taken a liking to her. And what you are even doing accepting her offer? I thought you were supposed to be helping me.”

“I’m doing it because I want to for myself and that it will help me with my job. I won’t stand out as much if I look like I work here. Playing matchmaker in the field requires a bit of subtlety.”

He smiled. “I see. That is very clever.”

“Anyway, why don’t you ask her out or something? It should be easy enough if you’re good friends.”

Fancy Pants let out a sigh. “I’m afraid it’s not so simple. Did you see how mad she got when she talked about ponies messing around?”

It took her a moment to realize what he was implying. “Was she talking about you?”

“Yes. You see, many years ago, I was not the gentlecolt I am now. I was wild young thing who loved nothing more than spending money and chasing girls. One of those girls was Photo herself. There was just something about her that just kept bringing me back to her. Perhaps it was her fiery passion for art, or maybe it was her accent. Whatever it was, it was the first time I had fallen in love.”

“So we kept seeing each other and eventually she gave me a job here. She was originally just a simple photographer, but I helped her turn into something much more. I financed her and provided her with many beautiful mares. We later on grew close and began dating. Sadly, the charm I used to convince the models to join tended to stick, sort of like with Rarity, and being surrounded by so many gorgeous mares who wanted a piece of me brought me to my old ways.”

The changeling gasped. “How scandalous!”

“Indeed. I had started becoming distant with Photo as I was much more interested in all of the other girls. After several months, she had caught me having a rather private photo session with one of them and had figured out everything. I confronted her in her home and she was furious. I tried to calm her down, but I was only met with heavy objects being flung towards me.”

Chrysalis was actually surprised from his story. After everything she had seen from him, she did not expect him to have done anything like that. Releasing the story to the media would have made things interesting for a while, but she thought it was a little too mean for somepony she didn’t hate as much. “So why are you two still working together if she hates your guts? I would have fired you if I was her.”

“As much as she wanted me out of her life, I was one of the reasons why she had become a big success in the first place. She decided to keep me and it was over a month before she had said a word to me. Right now we are just business partners and nothing more. I should have told you of all this before, but I was just so ashamed. Do you think you can help me, Cherub?”

Chrysalis rubbed her chin, pondering everything he told her. “I’m not going to lie: if she’s held on to a grudge this long, it would be very hard to have her let go in a day. I may help ponies find love, but you might need a miracle worker to help you with this.”

Fancy became slightly afraid. “Please try your best,” he pleaded. “I would greatly appreciate any effort you make.”

“Cherub!” a voice called. They looked and saw Photo waving to her. “We are ready for you now.”

“Coming, Ms. Finish.” She left the stallion behind and entered the other room. She was seated in front of a large mirror and then immediately surrounded by several make-up artists, bombarding her with powder, lipstick, and other things. When they were finished, she looked into the mirror. She hated how she looked, but she decided to keep her thoughts to herself. Chrysalis was taken out of her seat and was given a dress, which she put on.

Photo examined her all over, making sure everything was in place. “Oh, it looks perfect on you. Now we go! Let’s see you make…da magics!”

They returned to the room with the set and Chrysalis stood in front of the cameras. She wasn’t nervous at all since she was only doing this temporarily and using a false identity, but while she was doing this, she was going to have fun with it. “So what do I do?”

“Just go stand over there and do what I tell you to do. Now, show me what you got!” Chrysalis decided to strike a pose and the next thing she knew, she was being blinded by many flashes. “Good! Now give me something else. Yes! Nice! Keep going! More! More! Oh, zis iz beautiful. Okay, enough!” The crew departed from the set as Photo started dragging her back into the changing room. Inside, she tossed her another dress. “Put zis on,” she ordered.

While Chrysalis was dressing, she decided to get to work. “So Fancy Pants has told me a lot about you, Ms. Finish.”

“Oh really?” She noticed that’s Photo’s tone had changed into something aggressive. Clearly she was just as mad as she was all that time ago. “What waz it zat he had to say?”

“He just told me about you two help ponies reach stardom.”

The earth pony scoffed. “We do so much more than zat. We create art! Culture! Lifestyle! Being famous simply pales to what is created by my talent. Of course he wouldn’t share my vision. All he sees is bits and beautiful girls.”

Chrysalis was very annoyed by how Photo twisted her words. “I’m pretty sure that’s not what he meant.”

“Are you finished yet? Good. Let us resume in da picture making.” They went back out to the studio. Photo left her on the set and brought over a yellow unicorn. “Now, I want you to do a few pictures with Honey Dew. You zink you can handle that?”

“I think I can,” she lied.

“Excellent. Now you two wait here while I get my good camera.” Photo turned and left the two mares behind.

While the former queen was hostile, the model was more than friendly. “Are you new here? It’s so nice to meet you! I can’t wait to get to know you.”

Chrysalis didn’t like the idea of having anyone trying to steal her spotlight, especially a lowly pony. “I just hope Photo’s good camera is a magic one that drops ten pounds instead of adding, seeing your condition.”

Honey Dew looked at her, appalled. “M-my condition?”

“You know.” She got up to her ear and whispered, “Your weight issue.”

“I-I don’t have one!” the model shouted defiantly.

The changeling giggled and leaned around the mare. “I noticed your butt jiggling when you were walking.”

Honey gasped and looked at her flank. “It’s not that big, is it!?”

“It was bouncing all over place like jello. Do they call you Honey Dew because you like to stick your hoof in the honey jar and get nice and fat?”

Honey shrieked and bolted to the restroom, likely trying to lose her imaginary weight through the fastest way possible. Photo Finish returned, but had not noticed what happened. “Where iz Ms. Honey Dew?” she asked while looking around the room.

“I don’t know,” Chrysalis replied innocently.

Photo sighed. “I guess it will be just you again, Cherub. Just do what you did last time.” This time, Chrysalis was more eager to show off her body. For these pictures, she decided to crank up the sex appeal. If this didn’t put her on the cover of any magazine, then nothing would have.

“Celestia, eat your heart out,” she said under her breath as she continued to pose.

After several more pictures, the camera crew left to go to another set. The photographer began heading towards the dressing room again. “Alright, five more of dese and zen you can take your break, Cherub.”

The changeling quickly trotted up to her. “Ms. Finish, about Fancy Pants.”

Photo Finish growled. “What about him now?”

Chrysalis thought there was no point to beat around the bush any longer. “He kind of told me about you two having a relationship in the past.”

The earth pony stopped and stared at her. “And did he tell you why it ended?” she asked coldly.

“Yeah, and he feels really bad about what he did.”

“Seeing how he didn’t care about my feelings back then, I don’t so much care about hiz now!” Photo Finish continued heading back to the back room, her mood completely soured.

Leaving her in a foul mood because of the past was not going to help her in the slightest. “You don’t miss him at all? I thought you two were very close.”

Photo didn’t bother to look at her. “I’m not sure what I could possibly mizz about zat deviant.”

Chrysalis increased her pace and stood in front of her. “Come on. You sure there’s nothing you like about him? There must be something if you kept him around this long. Just try to think of one good moment the two of you shared. Anything.”

Photo decided to recollect her time with the stallion. A few seconds later, a smile appeared over her scowl. “Well, for a first date, he waz kind enough to bring me to…it doesn’t matter! I did the smart thing and left hiz sorry flank behind while I moved ahead in life. I will not make the same mistake again. There’s much more magic to create, so less talking and more working.” After Chrysalis got dressed up again, the pony went behind her camera as Chrysalis got back onto the set. The changeling was happy that she managed to chip away a piece of the brick wall that was Photo Finish. Maybe her job wasn’t a complete lost cause if she remained persistent.

“Now, bring more me more beauty! Good. Excellent! Superb!” Photo suddenly gasped. “Stop zat right now! We are making art, not pictures for Playcolt! Cut!”


Chrysalis spent over four hours modeling and as much as she enjoyed doing it, her current assignment took a higher priority. Whenever she had the chance, she would go to Photo and try to bring up Fancy Pants as much as she could in hopes of convincing her to drop all her hatred of him. She managed to get her to talk a little about her past with the stallion, but she was still determined on blowing him off. But now whenever they spoke, she would only think of the good times, so she was getting somewhere.

It was the end of the work day and she was certain she would give in at any moment. Since she would not be there tomorrow, now would have been the best time to make her final push. “Alright, dat’s a wrap!” called out Photo to her entire staff.

To the changeling’s surprise, posing for several hours was actually very exhausting. “So how did I do?”

Photo’s eyes were gleaming and she clapped her hooves together. “You were absolutely marvelous! Have you done something like zis before?”

Chrysalis loved her praise. “No, I just went with what felt natural.” She had actually done a bit of posing during her hunts, but she had mostly done it in private and in front of a mirror.

The earth pony threw a hoof around her and pointed outward. “You have such grace, Cherub. If you stay with me, I will take you as high as the starz themselvez and make you a symbol of Equestrian culture!”

Chrysalis smiled, desiring what she was being promised. “I’ll be sure to thank Fancy Pants for giving me such an amazing opportunity.”

Photo became agitated by her comment. “If you want to make it big, you better stay away from him. He iz no good.”

“I really think you need to forgive him for that one mistake.”

Photo Finish groaned. “Must you bring dis up again? I have my reasons for breaking up with him. I don’t trust him. He may seem all charming, but there’s a reason he works in a modeling agency.”

“Does it bother you when he’s with other mares?”

Photo Finish was flustered. “Of course it does. No mare should fall for his charade. At first he makes you feel like you’re special and you’re the only one he has his eyes on. And before you know it, you catch him saying zat exact same thing to another mare. If you cannot zee him for what he iz, zen zis conversation is over.”

Right as she turned around, Chrysalis grabbed her and turned her back. “Believe me when I say Fancy Pants is definitely not like that anymore. I think you should go and just give him a chance.” She didn’t notice the other models were now looking at them.

“Why? Just to have my heart broken again? After what he did, I could never bring myself to love another,” barked Photo.

“I thought you said love was the most important thing a pony could feel,” Chrysalis reminded.

“I guess it’s just something not for me,” replied the stubborn mare.

“So what then? Do you want to grow old and live alone as you go senile and talk to your photos as if they were really alive?” The earth pony stared her down from behind her large glasses. “Look, it’s obvious you are still attached to him, but you’re scared of getting hurt again. I can sympathize with what happened, but you just need to give him another chance. It’s better than just living in spite for the rest of your life. He’s not the same pony he was back then. He’s a true gentlecolt.”

Photo was steadily becoming angrier with her. “And why should I take your word for it? Why do you keep insisting on talking about him when it’s clear dat I don’t want to be with him?”

“Because my talent is to help ponies fall in love, remember?” She pointed a hoof at her cutie mark, hoping she would get the hint.

Something clicked in the head of the blue mare and her hatred of Fancy Pants began to sway. “Yes, I see. Maybe you do know what you’re saying after all. But how do you know he even thinks of me that way?”

“While we were coming here, he wouldn’t stop talking about you. He went on about you being good at taking pictures and stuff like that and feels completely ashamed about what happened. Hasn’t he ever tried apologizing to you for it?”

Photo eyed the floor. “Yes, but I always told him off. I just can’t bring myself into forgiving him. He was such a jerk.”

“Trust me when I say that he is a completely different pony from all that time ago. There is a reason he is now one of the most respected ponies in all of Equestria. He is polite, charismatic, and he always runs those charity events. Does that sound like the Fancy Pants who took advantage of you all those years ago?”

Photo slowly smiled. “I zink you bring up a good point. I really do want to be with him. He was so dreamy back zen and he still iz now, maybe even a little more after you described him.” She looked up at Chrysalis. “You’re da expert. What should I do?”

Chrysalis threw a hoof around her and pulled her close. “It’s simple. Just go to dinner with him tonight and talk. It doesn’t need to be romantic, just you two spending some quality time together as friends. I’m sure you can ignite an old spark. Even if you don’t, at least let go of what happened. I promise you that he wants things to be back to the way they were and it would be better than holding a grudge. And if things just don’t work out romantically, I promise I will help find another stallion for you.” The models were now grouping together, murmuring to each other.

Photo was becoming very excited over thinking that she could actually live happily ever after. “Very well. You go tell him zat I will meet him in an hour. He’ll know where I want to go. I must make some preparationz before coming.” Photo finish walked out with a skip in her step, humming happily.

Chrysalis was smiling as well, believing that her attempt was successful. She couldn’t wait to tell Fancy Pants the news and be done with this incredibly long job. If things ended well tonight, her business would be booming. However, as she tried to leave the studio, she was blocked off by a mare. “Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing?” she asked the changeling.

“I’m trying to leave, so get out of my way.” Chrysalis tried to walk past her, but was shoved back. “Watch it, girl,” she said threateningly. She then noticed that all of the other models had surrounded her, all of them angry. “Why are you all looking at me like that?”

“It’s because you want Fancy Pants to marry that old crone!” the mare yelled at her.

“And why is that any of your concern?” she asked hatefully.

“Don’t you get it?” barked another model. “Fancy Pants is one of the wealthiest and most popular bachelors in Equestria.”

Chrysalis gave out an annoyed sigh. “And let me guess, you want to marry him.”

“Exactly.”

“So you want to deny him and Photo Finish true happiness just so you can get rich and have your picture shown in a few magazines?” Chrysalis would have easily done the same thing, but now wasn’t the time.

“Hardly. I think he would be much happier with a young girl like us.”

Chrysalis became very worried. Her plan was going to go up in smoke if a dozen mares barged in on their date and demanded his hoof in marriage and she probably couldn’t take them all on by herself. But like she did as a queen, she could just have others solve her problems for her. “So which one of you will be the lucky bride?” she asked the mob.

“Me!” they all said at once. They then looked at each other, actually surprised that another mare wanted him.

Chrysalis chuckled loudly, annoying her captors. “Now you see the problem. He can’t possibly marry all of you. He would probably pick the most beautiful mare. Now which one of you is that?”

“Well that’s easy,” said one mare. “It’s me. I’m the best looking.”

“Oh please, you’re so last month. I’m the one who’s hot right now!”

“Yeah, but that’s only because you got wing implants,” another hissed.

“Liar!”

Chrysalis could feel the rising tension in the room. They were currently yelling at each other and had forgotten about her. She slowly inched her way to the door, hoping that none of them would notice her. It was good that they had turned on each other, but she decided to play it safe and make sure none of them would interfere at all. “Hey!” All of the models became silent. “You know what Fancy Pants doesn’t find attractive? Black eyes and bruises.”

All of the other mares looked at her, confused. When they realized what she was getting at, they turned towards each other with malicious smiles on their faces. They yelled as they all piled on each other and started fighting. They were all bucking, biting, and even pulling on each others hair. Chrysalis saw three mares charging towards her and rushed out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her. She grabbed a nearby chair and lodged it against the door. The door was being pounded with tremendous force as a bunch of ponies slammed against it.

“What is going on!?” Chrysalis looked and saw Fleur dashing over.

“Fleur, help me hold the door!” she ordered.

“But-”

“Just do it!”

Fleur obeyed and took hold of the chair. “What is going on in there? Why are they all fighting?”

“No time to explain. For Celestia’s sake, you need to keep that door closed. Also, where is Fancy Pants?”

“He is currently in his office, on the third floor.” Chrysalis bolted down the hall, leaving her behind. “Wait! How long am I supposed to stay here!?”

The red unicorn dashed up the flight of stairs and threw the door to the office open. Fancy Pants was sitting at a desk, going through several documents and was not expecting her entrance as some of the papers fell onto the floor. “Cherub?” he asked in surprise. “Whatever is the matter?”

“Great news,” Chrysalis panted. “Photo Finish wants to go to dinner with you in about an hour.”

The stallion quickly stood up, completely overjoyed. “Really? That’s fantastic!”

She ran over and started dragging him by the hoof. “Yeah, but we need to get going right now.”

He took a pocket watch out of his suit. “But what’s the rush? There’s still plenty of time.”

“We need to get out of here as soon as possible. Your life depends on it.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Let’s go already!”

He decided not to ask anymore and followed her out. When they returned to the lobby, they saw several security guards rushing towards the studio. “What is going on over there?”

“Nothing. Just keep walking.”


It was dusk as both of the unicorns waited nearby the entrance of the restaurant. For the past fifteen minutes, Fancy Pants kept rechecking himself in the window. “For the last time, you have nothing in your teeth and your hair doesn’t look like you’re wearing a toupee, so stop worrying so much and just act natural.”

He pulled away from the glass and nodded. “Sorry, it’s just that I’m a bit nervous.”

Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “You don’t say.”

“I can’t believe she’s given me another chance,” he said excitedly. “I’ve tried convincing her myself, but she wouldn’t have any of it. How in Equestria did you get her to change her mind?”

She shrugged. “What can I say? I have a way with words. Just make sure you do your part and maybe we’ll be hearing wedding bells in the near future.”

He suddenly took her hoof. “I can never thank you enough for what you have done. You are a truly remarkable pony and you have changed my life forever.” He then proceeded to kiss her hoof, which Chrysalis didn’t mind.

“FANCY PANTZ!”

Both of them jumped and saw a very angry Photo Finish approaching. “Photo!” Fancy Pants gasped.

She furiously stomped over to them and got right in the changeling’s face. “So is this how it is, Cherub? You try so hard to tell me what a wonderful guy he is and den proceed to make moves on him!? How dare you toy with me like zis!” Photo began to walk away. “Enough of zese games! You can keep your tramp, Fancy! And don’t bother coming to work tomorrow, Cherub!”

He quickly ran to her. “Now just wait a minute. I was just properly thanking Ms. Cherub for helping me in convincing you. There is nothing going on between us,” he assured.

She scoffed. “Sure, and you probably just happen to have several pictures of her for your cutie mark collage!”

Chrysalis felt weird by what she had just said, but she decided to ignore it. “Ms. Finish, if you would just listen for a minute.”

Photo faced her and the changeling could somehow see the rage from behind her glasses. “I don’t need to listen to anything! I can clearly see what iz going on, you trollop.”

“Ms. Finish…” she said with rising anger.

“You obviously are in cahootz with him. You were to try to make me think that Fancy Pantz had changed in order to get my hopez up. And when I arrive, you would show that it waz a lie, crushing my spiritz.”

Chrysalis absolutely despised being ignored, especially now as she was so close to complete a task that would greatly benefit her needs. “Photo…”

“And when I run home and cry myself to sleep, you would come and finish me off, making it look like it waz my own doing. And then you would change my will to have it say I left all my money to you two. Well I will not stand for dis!” She got on her hind legs and raised her front hooves, giving off jabs in the air. “Dis old girl still has fight in her. Your magic cannot compare to my kung-hoof training!”

“Will you just shut up for a minute and listen!?” Both ponies stared at her, surprised by her outburst. “You want the truth? Well here it is! I actually do have a job in matchmaking and Fancy Pants is my client!”

Photo took a quick step back. “What!?”

“Yes. I met him through a friend and when he heard about my profession, he told me about his situation and hired me. He even got on his knees and begged for my help because he is so in love with you.”

“No, I-” He saw the look Chrysalis was giving him and knew what she was trying to do. “I mean, yes I did. I know it seems silly, but I was just so desperate for you.”

“Fancy…” the mare said in shock.

“I couldn’t get the guy to leave me alone. He kept going on and on about how he couldn’t live without you and how no girl ever caught his eye like you did. Trust me, Photo, he is really into you. You-”

Photo Finish raised a hoof in front of Chrysalis’s face. “You stop speaking, now!” The way she interrupted the changeling was almost enough for her to take the hoof and sink her fangs into it in rage, but Chrysalis restrained herself. Photo Finish turned towards Fancy Pants. She took off her large sunglasses, showing her violet eyes. “I want to hear everything from him.”

Fancy Pants looked deeply into her eyes. “Everything she has said is true. I hired her because I knew I could never convince you myself, no matter how hard I try. I know what I did to you hurt more than anything else in your life and I can never forgive myself. You are the most important pony to me, Photo. You are the reason I changed my ways into becoming the stallion I am today. I want to show you how much you have changed me and make you happy. So what do you say? Will you allow me to show you?”

“Oh Fancy Pantz…” Both of them stared at each other in silence, smiling. Suddenly, Photo Finish slapped him across the face. “You should have said dis to me sooner!”

“But I’ve tried!” he complained while rubbing his cheek.

“You should have tried harder!” She then let out a sigh. “Maybe I’ve been too angry at you. Fifteen years iz a long time to stay mad about something. I suppose I should have given you a second chance before, or maybe at least gone lighter on you. I was just so angry for how you betrayed my feelings. But now, I feel dat things will actually end happily between us. I want to try to make this work this time.” She looked up at him with moist eyes. “I want you in my life, Fancy.”

Fancy felt bliss from her words. “I am so joyed to hear that. Now we should-”

“Don’t zink you’re off da hook!” she snapped. “You are going to walk me home and cook dinner for me. And tomorrow, you are going to pay for the damages and apologize to my staff for having that unicorn of yours start that brawl!”

“What? What damages? What brawl?” He looked at Chrysalis, who was looking away and whistling innocently. “O-of course. I will get right on it.”

“Good, and there will be much more to be expected. Now let us depart. I tire of the night air.”

“Just give me a moment. I need to speak with her for just a minute.” Fancy Pants ran over to Chrysalis. “I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me. I am in your debt.”

“She still seems to hate you, though,” noted the changeling.

He took a glance at Photo. “She does, but at least she has given me the chance for me to redeem myself. That is more than I could ever ask for.” He reached into his suit and pulled out a large bag. “Here is the rest of your payment. It has been worth every bit.”

Chrysalis accepted his very generous offer. It was likely he was paying her more than the actual price of her services, but she decided not to say anything. “It’s been a pleasure. If things do work out between you two, be sure to tell everypony that I was responsible for it.”

He nodded. “I promise. And when you see Rarity, please tell her that I am sorry for what happened and give her my best regards.”

“Fancy, hurry up!” called out the mare. “I am having da cravings!”

“Coming, Photo!” He ran to her side and they disappeared into the distance.

Chrysalis turned and started heading towards the train station. She was relieved to be finally able to leave Canterlot and return to the less dangerous Ponyville. She couldn’t help but smile. She made a good amount of money, possibly increased her reputation by about tenfold, was able to strut her stuff, start a fight, and best of all, she made one of Twilight’s closest friends cry, all in one day. At least now that Rarity was single again, Spike would be able to get with her and generate some love for the town. It seemed like things were finally going her way.

She looked around the city once more. It bothered her to see all of the posters demonizing her kind. Now that she thought about it, she hadn’t even spoken with a changeling in several months. She was still trapped in Ponyville with nowhere else to go. She looked up at the castle and began to think about the one back at her home. She had never been away from her home for this long before. Chrysalis missed the beautiful sight that was her kingdom, wondering whether or not she would ever be able to return home. The thought of failure began to weigh down on her as she hung her head. She missed it all: Her throne, her subjects, the atmosphere, everything from the Changeling Kingdom.

Everything except Nymph.

Dating Damsels in Distress for Dragon Dummies

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Dating Damsels in Distress for Dragon Dummies

Celestia’s sun pierced through the window of Cupid’s Arrow and soon awakened the slumbering changeling. The morning was much different for her because instead of resting in her bed as she normally did, she was currently hanging from the ceiling. Her longing for home had gotten the best of her the night before and she decided to create a cocoon to sleep in. Changeling cocoons were created by weaving slime they produced from a sac in their throats. The fluid was not just ordinary slime, however. It was mostly produced by converting the love they absorbed into a physical form with their magic, giving it magical properties. It was used to catch and imprison prey and could heal injuries on a changeling. She felt odd about sleeping in one, but it certainly made her feel better.

The former queen began wiggling around to free herself from her chrysalis. She broke free by cutting it open with her horn and gently lowered herself onto the floor. The slime covered her entire body, so Chrysalis headed into the bathroom to wash herself off with a hot shower. When she was done cleaning herself, she went downstairs to acquire the mop and bucket she kept in the storage closet. She cleaned the mess she made by dumping the goo into the bucket and then pouring it down the bathtub drain. Once she was finished, she stashed the cleaning tools back into the closet.

In the kitchen, she hummed to herself as she prepared herself toast and coffee. She was not too fond of pony food, but they really knew how to make some good coffee. She was in a very good mood as she knew that the news of the Fancy Pants' and Photo Finish’s relationship would come up one day and she would attract many customers. Another bonus was now that Rarity was officially single and likely an emotional wreck, Spike should have no problem winning her over.

She picked up the newspaper from outside her front door and sat at her desk. The front article informed her that the protesters she noticed yesterday grew out of control when Nymph was leaving and bombarded her with rotten vegetables. The picture of the article showed the queen hiding behind her guards as a tomato struck her in the face. Chrysalis laughed at the sight of it and tore out the paper so she could frame it. She was glad that things weren’t going so well as it would be a good reason why her people would want her back.

Once the clock struck nine, she spoke aloud, “I hope you enjoyed your day off, Pinkie, because today we’re going to work much harder to make up for lost time.” She was only met with silence. “What’s the matter? Does it bother you to put in extra effort?” She looked up and was met with an unusual sight. “Pinkie?” she asked while looking around. For the first time, she was not exactly on time. She shrugged and resumed reading. “I guess there’s a first time for everything.”

Time passed and Chrysalis was becoming both more curious about her whereabouts and more agitated. Five minutes had passed and nothing. The curiosity shifted to annoyance. Twenty minutes went by and still no sign. Her annoyance evaporated to anger. Eventually, she tossed the paper aside in a fit of rage. Pinkie was now over an hour late and she had no idea why. She couldn’t afford to waste any more time. She leapt from her seat and stormed out the door. Many ponies were frightened by the pure fury she expressed on her face as she went past them. One pony was foolish enough to try to talk to her and was picked up by her telekinesis, only to be hurled an incredibly long distance. She had one destination in mind and nothing was going to get in her way.


Mr. Cake pulled the brownies out of the oven and stored them in the box. He and his wife were having a busy day with many orders and Pinkie’s absence meant there was much more work for them to try to make up. He was glad she was at least still around for the weekend to lend a hoof. He heard the door open and greeted the new customer. “Hello, Cherub! How can-” He fell silent as the furious mare slowly stomped her way over to the counter. He and his wife grabbed each other and fell to the floor, fearing their guest. She leaned over the counter and looked at them with intense anger. Her eyes were glowing intensely green and she was snarling at them. “W-what do you want from us!?”

“WHERE. IS. PINKIE PIE?”


Pinkie handed her friend a box of tissue. “Here, Rarity.”

Rarity blew her nose and tossed the tissue into the trash. “Thank you.”

“You’re a wreck, Rarity. Are you sure there’s nothing we can do for you?” asked Twilight with concern.

“No, but thank you for offering. I’m just glad you are all here for me.”

Pinkie felt almost as sad as she did. Before she left Sugarcube Corner, Fluttershy came and informed her about Rarity’s state. She immediately hurried over and the rest of her friends joined her there later on. It turned out that Rarity secretly had a coltfriend. At least, she thought she did. She was still upset over the whole ordeal and Pinkie was sure Cherub would understand why she didn’t come today.

“So how come ya never mentioned ya were involved with Fancy Pants?” questioned Applejack.

Rarity rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. “I’m sorry, girls. I was just waiting for the right time before telling you all. I was even going to have a party planned to announce our love.”

“I don’t get why you’re so upset about him,” said Spike. “Can’t you just find somepony else?”

“But I wanted him!” Rarity bawled. “He was gentle, intelligent, and charismatic. He was perfect in every way!”

“Except for being really old,” Rainbow Dash pointed out mockingly.

Rarity cried louder while Twilight looked at her friend with a look that showed she wasn’t happy with what she did and Dash gave a nervous grin in return. Suddenly, they heard the door being thrown open downstairs, startling all of them. “Pinkie Pie, get your flank down here right now!”

“Uh-oh!” Pinkie ran out of the room and dashed down the stairs to meet with her boss. “Hi, Cherub. Are you here to see Rarity?”

“I’m here because you suddenly decided to not bother showing up to work. Instead, I find you just playing with your friends,” Chrysalis spat bitterly. She felt that they were not needed to help Rarity and would be better off working with other ponies. If the unicorn was doing as badly as the Cakes told her, she would have taken Spike in a heartbeat.

“But I’m not playing!” Pinkie protested. “Rarity’s really upset about something and I want to be with her until she’s happy again.”

“I’m sorry to hear about her, but it’s going to have to wait until we’re done today. You and I have work to do,” she reminded.

“But, but…” The earth pony was only met with a disgruntled look and sighed. “Can I just stay for a few more minutes?”

Chrysalis wanted to refuse, but she couldn’t bring herself to saying no as she stared in her pleading eyes. “Just make it quick.”

“Thank you, Cherub.”

The former queen watched as she quickly returned upstairs. A few seconds later, Spike came downstairs and headed straight towards her. “Hello, Spike. Having any luck catching Rarity on the rebound?”

“What did you do!?” he angrily shouted at her. “She’s practically in pieces!” He charged her, ready to attack, but was stopped when she held him back with a hoof on his forehead as he wailed his fists at the air.

“Calm down and stop yelling at me. I didn’t do anything. Her so called ‘lover’ found out that she thought they were more than friends and let her down.”

He pulled himself away from her as he lost all of his fury and sat against on the steps. “She seems so devastated. Did she like him that much?”

“She wouldn’t shut up about him almost the entire time I was with her. I’m pretty sure she was expecting him to propose someday.” She could see the upset look on his face, so she smiled and patted him on the head. “But hey, now that she’s single again, you can finally get with your dream girl. Now get up there and make a move, lover boy,” she suggested encouragingly.

Spike looked down onto the ground. “But I don’t want to make a move on her like this. I caused this to happen. It doesn’t feel right for me to ask anything from her.”

“Why not? She’s desperate for a lover and you seem to fit that category pretty well, Spike. Besides, you did absolutely nothing wrong. Her fantasy was doomed from the start.”

“But she really liked Fancy Pants and he wasn’t even trying to get her to like him. She’ll never love me that much. I’m just a kid.” He then slumped his shoulders, devoid of any hope.

Chrysalis groaned as she listened to him talk. It was clear her end of the whole thing wasn’t over just yet. She lied on the floor in front of him and lifted his head by his chin. “Spike, you just have to try. I honestly think you have a shot.”

“Really?”

“Sure. You’re the only one I know who she gives a pet name to, Spikey-Wikey.” Spike blushed. “You’re a real nice guy and you could be just like Fancy Pants if you try. It’s just that I will have to help Rarity see that.”

Hope ignited in the dragon’s eyes. “You mean you’re going to help me?”

She rubbed his head. “Of course. True love must always prosper.” So she and her people could feed on it later.

They then noticed Pinkie coming down the stairs with a large frown on her face. “I’m ready to go now,” she said depressingly.

“Excellent, because we just happen to have a job right now. Right, Spike?” she said while winking at him.

Pinkie tilted her head. “What?”

“We’re going to get Rarity to love Spike.” Pinkie took in a deep breath, ready to let out a scream of joy, and Chrysalis charged to stick a hoof over her mouth. “Don’t do that. Ever.”

“But how do we do it?” she asked, muffled under Chrysalis’s hoof.

The outcast released her and wiped her hoof on herself to get the slobber off. “For starters, we need her to get over Fancy Pants, which shouldn’t be too hard. Once that’s done, we’ll help our little dragon take her heart.”

“But she needs that to live!” Pinkie cried frantically.

“Metaphorically, you idiot.”

Pinkie immediately calmed down. “Oh.”

Spike was next to panic. “But if she sees you hanging around, she might get suspicious!”

“I will be there as a concerned friend, nothing more. When she’s all better, I will instruct you on how to handle her. I am afraid I cannot be around as much as I would like, so you are going to have to do most of the work yourself.”

The pony stood on her hind legs and waved her forelegs. “And I know how to make Rarity feel better!”

“I doubt a party would help.” Pinkie sat down, but then raised a hoof to say something else. “Cake won’t either.” She put her hoof down. “There’s no need for anything complicated. Let’s just go upstairs and see her. We can figure out what to do from there.”

They ascended the stairway and entered the unicorn’s room, finding her on the bed while wearing a robe. Her hair was a rat’s nest and her eye liner was leaking onto her face. She and the other ponies took notice of them entering. “Aren’t you supposed to be going to work, Pinkie?” questioned Rarity.

The latest guest of the boutique stepped in front of Pinkie and approached her. “When I heard about your current state, I decided to let her take the day off. I had not realized how much of a mess you were.”

Rarity looked at her angrily and sat up. “How could you have not noticed!? You were there at the restaurant!”

Chrysalis darted her eyes around, unable of creating a credible excuse on the spot. “I…wasn’t paying attention.”

“I bet you weren’t since you were too busy with your real intention of coming to Canterlot!” She pointed a hoof at the red unicorn. “I know all about your plot!”

Both Chrysalis and Spike became worried. “You do?”

Rarity reached under her pillow and pulled something out. “It wasn’t hard to figure out, since it was published this morning!”

She threw a magazine at her, which Chrysalis picked it up and examined. The rest of the ponies gathered around her to see what she was talking about. On the cover was one of the various pictures of Chrysalis from the modeling she had done the day before. She was surprised by how fast Photo Finish had it ready for print. “Even if the camera adds ten pounds, I still got it,” she said, admiring the picture.

“It couldn’t have been a coincidence that you wanted to come to Canterlot on the same day as I did," Rarity spoke, regrabbing everyone's attention. "You must have known I was close to Fancy Pants. You just wanted to use me so you could become a model!”

All of her friends gasped except for Spike. “Cherub, how could you!?” yelled Pinkie.

Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “You’re overreacting. I only did that modeling one time while providing my service to Fancy Pants.”

“What service? Taking advantage of your friend?” Rarity shouted accusingly.

“Matchmaking,” she replied proudly.

Everypony looked at her in complete surprise. “He…hired you?” asked Rarity in shock as her voice shook.

“Yes he did, and I’m sure he and Photo Finish will be very happy together.” Rarity fell back onto the bed. The whole room remained silent for a moment until she started bawling again, causing the changeling to groan. “What’s wrong with you now?”

“I’m going to grow old and die alone!” she whined. “Why can’t I find a good stallion? Is there something wrong with me? Am I…ugly!?” She dug her face into her pillow and sobbed loudly.

“Don’t cry, Rarity. I’m sure you will find somepony who will love you,” said Fluttershy in an attempt to calm her friend down. "You just need to give it time."

Chrysalis pushed Spike towards her and he climbed onto the edge of the bed, stroking her hair. “You’re not ugly, Rarity. Your beauty is unmatched across all of Equestria. What happened with Fancy Pants wasn’t your fault, so please stop crying. Everything’s going to be all right." He then took her hoof. "I promise it will be okay.”

Her sobbing eventually faded and she smiled at him, causing the drake’s heart to flutter. “Thank you, Spike. I miss Fancy Pants so much, but I guess it was not meant to be." She rolled onto her back and loudly sighed. "Twice now I've fallen in love with somepony that didn't feel the same about me. I just wish there was an easier way to find a pony that was suitable for me.”

Before Spike could say something to take advantage of the moment, Twilight got an idea. “Rarity, isn’t an obvious? Why don’t you hire Cherub and Pinkie? They could help you find a coltfriend!”

Rarity gasped and sprung up. “Of course! Why haven’t I thought about that before?” She looked at the older mare, whose eye was twitching slightly. “Please forgive me for my earlier accusations. I’m afraid I acted in haste. If it's not too much trouble, could you perhaps help me with my little problem?”

Chrysalis was ready to tackle Twilight, but she managed to maintain her composure. “Don’t worry about it. I will gladly help you find somepony perfect for you. Why don’t you get some rest first? You will want to look your best for your possible future husband.”

The seamstress nodded. “You’re absolutely right. I’ll catch up on my beauty sleep and see you when I’m ready.”

“We’ll be on our way then,” said Applejack. “Ah wish ya the best of luck, Rarity.”

All of her friends said their goodbyes as they left the unicorn to her slumber. Once they were outside the boutique, Twilight looked at Chrysalis with worry. “So do you think you can help her? Rarity does not deal with stress very well and I’m not sure what else to do. You’re kind of her only hope.”

Chrysalis gritted her teeth and shot her a hateful glare. “Well I had everything figured out until you opened your big mouth, Twilight.”

Twilight and the other ponies paused. “What?”

She spun around and looked at the group. “I was hired by a certain someone to help have Rarity like him, but now all she’s going to want is for me to find her some other rich and famous stallion to get disappointed by. You must feel so proud, Sparkle.”

“Who could have possibly hired you to get Rarity to like him?” asked Rainbow Dash. "I mean, she's my friend and all, but you see how crazy she got over Fancy Pants? Who would want to deal with that drama?"

With a smirk on her face, the matchmaking queen pointed at the dragon. “Him.”

Twilight’s friends gasped and Spike blushed furiously. “You were supposed to keep it a secret!”

Rainbow Dash laughed hard, causing Spike to hide his face behind his claws. “You’re in love with Ms. Drama Queen!? I didn’t take you for the type!”

“Now be nice, Rainbow,” Applejack said sternly. “Ah should have known though, the way ya always keep starin’ at her and whatnot.”

“I think it’s really sweet,” said Fluttershy. “You’re really nice and Rarity likes you a lot. You would make a great coltfriend for her. Well, if you were a little older that is.”

Twilight walked over to the Chrysalis, unhappy. “Cherub, you cannot seriously be helping him. As Fluttershy said, he’s a little too young for her.”

The changeling shrugged. “Nothing a few years can’t fix. In my personal experience, I feel that Spike is the best choice for her. He’s polite, sensitive, caring, charming, and Rarity thinks he’s adorable. They're already good friends, so why not get them a little closer?”

“But-”

“Before you even say another word, tell me right now how much you know about love that you didn’t learn from a book.” Twilight blushed and lowered her head while Rainbow Dash laughed at her, giving the changeling immense satisfaction. “That’s what I thought. And don’t worry, I know exactly what I’m doing, so I want the rest of you to go home while Pinkie and I handle this.”

Twilight stuttered as she tried to think of something to argue against what Chrysalis was doing, but sighed when she came up with nothing. “Fine.” She walked over to her assistant, trying to smile. “Spike, I know I’ve said I didn’t think Rarity would ever return the same feelings, but for once I hope I’m wrong. I hope everything works out.” She reached out and hugged him tightly. "And if it doesn't, just remember I'll always be here for you, no matter what."

He couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks, Twilight. I really appreciate it.”

“And if it does work out, I will make the wedding cake!” shouted Pinkie excitedly.

“I think you’re thinking a little too far ahead,” remarked Fluttershy shyly.

“We’ll see what happens, but right now we have work to do. Come on, you two.” Pinkie and Spike followed Chrysalis as they headed towards Cupid’s Arrow.

Twilight and her friends watched as they left and then walked together in the opposite direction. “Do you think she can really get Rarity to love Spike?” asked Fluttershy with worry.

The unicorn felt as uneasy as her, having doubts about any good coming out of the situation. “I’m not sure, but I just hope this doesn’t end badly for him. He’s been so obsessed with her that I worry of how hurt he would be if she turned him down.”

“Trust me, Twi, Cherub is a professional at what she does. She will make them into an item without a doubt. Ah’m sure with how Rarity is feelin’, she will handle the situation with great care.”


“Are you sure this will work?”

“Trust me, it will.” Chrysalis didn’t even look at him since she was reading another book. She had recently grown bored of horror stories and had moved onto murder mysteries.

Spike still felt doubtful despite her reassurance. “But don’t you think it’s a little…extreme?”

“No. It’s exactly what she needs.”

Pinkie ran over and rubbed Spike’s head comfortingly. “Quit worrying, Spike. Cherub is totally good at this stuff!”

“Does that include telling Twilight’s friends about my crush on her?” he asked in an annoyed tone.

Chrysalis placed the book down and looked at him. “I’m really sorry about that, but I just wanted to make sure they didn’t get in the way. And they were all fine with your secret, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed.”

“I guess.”

She studied his body language. “Are you nervous?”

“I’ve never been out on a date before.”

“You’re not going on a date,” she corrected sternly. “You are here to bring her comfort during her time of need. Mares really appreciate a shoulder to cry on and this will take you far. Now stop fretting and act like you’re busy. We wouldn’t want Rarity to catch on.”

Spike and Pinkie worked on sorting files in the filing cabinet as they waited for the seamstress to appear. Eventually, Rarity came in and Chrysalis felt Spike's nervousness increasing sharply. She was back to her beautiful, cheery self, had makeup on her face, and even one of her favorite hats, which was large, pink in color, and carried a pink and while flower on the side. “Hello, darlings, I’m here!” she announced as she entered Cupid’s Arrow. As she approached the front desk, she noticed Spike near the filing cabinets along with Pinkie. “What is little Spikey doing here?”

“He’s assisting me today since I’m a little behind on some things because of my day off. I can see now why Twilight likes having him around. He’s just so reliable and sweet. I wouldn’t mind having a stallion like him in my life,” Chrysalis emphasized. The red unicorn pointed at the chair in front of her desk and Rarity sat down excitedly. “Let’s get down to business. Just tell me what you desire in a stallion and Pinkie and I will try to find the perfect match for you.”

Rarity didn’t even need to think about what she wanted. “I’m looking for a proper gentlecolt, one who is highly respected. He should be able to have high standards of the high life and love me for the beautiful and loving pony that I am.”

Chrysalis stared her down, which Rarity didn’t notice. Her guess of what she wanted was pretty spot on and this was good for what she had in store for her. “You really aim for the top, don’t you?” she asked, pretending to be happy.

Rarity gave out a giggle. “I’m just a girl who knows what she wants.”

She chuckled under her breath. “Well Pinkie and I will be upstairs for a moment. I keep some celebrity magazines which we could look through since there aren’t any single ponies here like what you have described.”

Rarity became more excited. “A celebrity? Can I join you two?”

“No. Stay down here and let us do our job. Spike should be good company while we’re working.” Chrysalis got up and motioned Pinkie to follow her. She looked over at Spike and winked at him, which made him smile. The duo got on top of the stairs and tried to listen to what was happening below. “I really hope he knows what he’s doing.”

“What could possibly go wrong?” asked Pinkie optimistically.

“He confesses to her too soon and she friend zones him.”

They heard Spike talking and they became quiet. “How are you feeling, Rarity?”

“I’m doing much better now,” she responded cheerily. “I just hope Cherub and Pinkie can find somepony for me.”

“Yeah, me too,” he lied.

“So how did you end up working here?”

Spike was glad that he was given an excuse beforehand. “Pinkie asked me to help because she said Cherub was working her overtime.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. A dating service like this must be a lot of work for those two.”

“Well it’s definitely less work than what I do with Twilight. Working here wouldn’t be so bad if Cherub pays well.”

“I guess not, but then you would be stuck with Cherub,” she said jokingly. Chrysalis noticed Pinkie giggling and smacked her on the back of the head. “Even if she doesn't really show it, she must enjoy having this for a career. She seems to be really good at what she does and what could be better than bringing ponies together romantically?”

“I think she just scares them into loving each other with her temper.” Both of them laughed, making Chrysalis grind her hoof against the floor. “But I guess it would be easy since only desperate ponies would come here.”

Rarity’s smile immediately vanished. “Is that what you think I am? Some sort of desperate damsel?” she asked sternly. Chrysalis and Pinkie looked at each other with worry.

Spike realized what he had just implied and panicked. “I-I didn’t mean it like that, Rarity!”

“Well how did you mean it, hmm?”

The little dragon was sweating bullets. “I…well…you see…”

Chrysalis and Pinkie ran down the stairs, startling them. “We got one!” Pinkie shouted excitedly.

Rarity instantly forgot about being angry and clapped her hooves. “You did? That’s fabulous!”

The false unicorn sat at her desk while holding a magazine. “It was difficult, but we managed to find only one pony available that is perfect for you. Let me describe him to you before I do the grand reveal.” Pinkie reached under her desk and pulled out some drums, doing a drum roll as Chrysalis spoke. “He’s one of the richest and most well-known ponies in Equestria.”

Rarity, grinning widely, leaned forward in her seat. “Yes?”

“He is the most sought out bachelor in the city of Canterlot, if not Equestria.”

“Yes!?” Rarity asked with more enthusiasm

“And he is even royalty!”

“Tell me who he is already!” Spike watched anxiously, bracing himself for the impact.

“Rarity, I give you,” Chrysalis slid a torn out page to her, “Prince Blueblood!”

“NO!” Rarity grabbed the paper and tore it into hundreds of tiny pieces, which she threw onto the ground and began stomping on.

Pinkie had to drag her away from kicking the destroyed photo. “Rarity, calm down!” she cried as her friend was struggling to do more damage to the little that remained.

“You’re telling me the only pony you could find is that self-centered loser!?” the unicorn screeched.

“Uh…yes?” Chrysalis wasn’t expecting such an explosive reaction from her. What happened between them must have been much worse than what Pinkie had described to her.

Rarity huffed furiously, but once she calmed down, her waterworks began once again. “It’s true! I am going to die alone!” She ran over to one of the couches and began sobbing loudly.

Chrysalis rubbed her temples, annoyed that she would have to deal with her loud crying again. On the bright side, this was the second day she made Rarity cry in a row, so she was on a roll. She looked over at the Spike and motioned her head towards the crying pony. Spike got the message and ran to Rarity. “Don’t be upset, Rarity! You are not going to die alone. I’m sure you’ll find somepony someday.”

“But I want one now!”

Chrysalis came over and faked a sigh. “I’m sorry, Rarity, but it looks like there’s no other pony available at this time. Pinkie and I need to continue working, so Spike will be sure to escort you home. We'll just have to try again another time.”

Rarity nodded and got up from the couch. “Very well. Sorry for wasting your time.” She held her head down as she left Cupid’s Arrow.

Spike ran to the door, but stopped before opening it. He turned back at Chrysalis and asked, “Are you positive this is going to work?”

“It will. Just remember, she needs a friend right now, not a coltfriend, so try not making moves on her for now. Now go and comfort her. We will be right behind you.”

Spike left and walked alongside Rarity. As soon as they were almost out of sight, Chrysalis stepped outside. “Come on, Pinkie. We have to make sure that it all works out in the end. I’ve invested too much time in this already.”

Rather than her normal bouncing, Pinkie only walked, weighed down by guilt. “I feel so bad for Rarity. She was so dependent on us and we had to let her down.”

“We didn’t let her down. We’re just using alternative methods for giving her a lover. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s kind of spoiled.”

The pony gasped and ran in front of her. “No, she’s not!”

“Is it true that before the Gala, she was actually expecting Prince Blueblood to propose to her on the spot?” Pinkie’s silence made Chrysalis smile. “Exactly. She’s just so focused on the high life that had I even suggested Spike, I’m sure she would have broken his little heart.”

Pinkie frowned and looked at her friend in the distance. “You make Rarity sound terrible.”

“I wouldn’t say she’s terrible, just that she wants things she doesn’t need. Now stay quiet. We can’t let her hear us.” Once they were close enough, they hid behind various carts, trees, and ponies as they tried to overhear the conversation between the two.

“I can’t imagine what you’re going through, Rarity,” said Spike sympathetically.

Rarity still had tears in her eyes and she was using her hat to hide her face from the other ponies around. “It’s absolutely awful to not be able to find any love, especially after going through a breakup. I can’t stop thinking about Fancy Pants, either. I feel so embarrassed by what happened that I don’t think I can ever show my face to him again.”

“It could be worse. You could’ve actually tried giving Blueblood a second chance,” he joked in attempt to better her mood.

Rarity chuckled at the thought. “I suppose that’s true. I was at least smart enough to realize he was no good for me. Too bad I couldn’t see things for what they really were with Fancy Pants. He was a friend and nothing more.”

“I don’t get why you’re still hung on him. He sounds like a real jerk for leading you on like that.”

“Excuse me!?” Rarity looked at him intensely. “How dare you even say something like that about him!” she yelled, attracting the attention of the various citizens in the area. “He is one of the most respectable ponies I have ever met in my entire life! You have a lot of nerve to insult him like that, Spike!”

“Uh-oh,” said Chrysalis, who was currently standing behind a tree. “He’s really done it now.”

“What do we do, Ms. Cherub? She’s going to clobber him!”

Chrysalis looked around, trying to quickly come up with an idea. She would just need to create a distraction in order to have Rarity forget about what he said. She saw a nearby food stand and got an idea. “Pinkie, hide.” Pinkie hid behind the tree while she magically levitated one of the items.

Spike was on the ground with his hands in front of him, guarding himself from her wrath. “I’m sorry, Rarity. Just please stop yelling!”

“I don’t appreciate having you bad mouthing my friend like that. Maybe I should take you to Twilight so she can teach you-” Rarity was startled when a large tomato flew from nowhere and struck the dragon on the head. She gasped loudly and ran to his side. “Oh my goodness! Are you okay, Spikey?”

Spike was busy cleaning himself. “I think so. Where did that come from?”

Chrysalis tossed another one, which hit the ground in front of them. “Go back to where you came from, dragon! You don’t belong here!” she yelled in a disguised voice.

Rarity placed him on her back and galloped towards the boutique as Chrysalis and Pinkie came out of hiding to give chase. “Why did you do that!?” shouted Pinkie.

“Because the kid was in some serious hot water. It was either that or watch all of my hard work fall apart.”

They arrived outside Carousel Boutique and hid near one of the open windows. Inside, they could see Spike on the couch while Rarity cleaned him off with a towel. “There, is that any better?”

Spike felt relieved from the much kinder voice she was using. “A lot better. Who threw that, anyway?”

“I don’t know, but I swear if I ever find the pony responsible, I will break all of their legs!” Chrysalis made a mental note to have Pinkie swear she would never mention to anypony what she did. Rarity quickly calmed down and sighed. “I’m sorry, but I just need some alone time. Today has just been too much for me and I just need to think things over. Stay here and I will fetch you some gem stones for being such a good friend.”

As soon as she left the room, Spike noticed Chrysalis and Pinkie at the window, calling him over, and he approached them. “I’m glad you’re here. We’ve got a problem!”

Chrysalis gave him an irritated stare. “You bet we have a problem. You really need to watch what you say, kid. Getting her mad at you won’t help you at all.”

Spike shifted his eyes away, embarrassed that they had both seen the spectacle. “I know it won’t. It just sort of slipped out. Now she wants to be alone and she’s still upset. What should I do?”

“First, you apologize for what you said about Fancy Pants. Second, you’re here to make sure she’s doing alright and seeing how she was doing back in Cupid’s Arrow, I have my doubts. What you need to do is try to be supportive of her and make sure she’s happy.”

“But how do I do that? She seems so volatile.”

“Well duh,” said Pinkie while pointing a hoof at her own head. “You’re her friend. Just do what you always do when you’re over here.”

Spike thought about it and could only think of two things. “Help find gems and make dresses?” he asked, feeling unsure about his answer.

“Whatever takes her mind off of things. When she starts feeling better, you need to carefully push the issue and talk it out with her. Just try not to upset her again, or the next tomato will be a rock. A big rock.”

“Is somepony there?” Rarity called.

Chrysalis and Pinkie immediately ducked while Spike went over to the unicorn who just entered. “No. I was just talking to myself.”

Rarity gave him a basket full of various gems. “I want you to have this, Spike. I hope this will make up for everything I’ve put you through today. You are such a sweet friend for putting up with me today.”

The drake happily took the basket, thinking over the many foods he could create with the stones. “Thanks.” As he stared into his own reflection in each of the gems, he remembered what he was supposed to do and looked up. “Rarity, I just wanted to say I’m really sorry about what I said earlier.”

She gave him a heartwarming smile. “It’s alright, Spike. I know you’re trying to be supportive and I shouldn’t have reacted like that, but next time be careful about what you say.”

“I promise. So how are you feeling now?”

She got onto the couch and rested her head on a pillow. “I don’t know, to be honest. It’s been a rough couple of days. I think I just need some time off from everything.”

He went to Rarity’s side and held her hoof. “Is there anything I can do for you? We could make dresses if you want. That always makes you happy.”

Rarity smiled at him and he smiled back. “You’re very sweet, Spike, always looking out for me." The mare sat up and hopped off her seat. "Very well, I suppose I could use a hand with some of these dresses.” She went into her closet and brought out an unfinished dress, which she placed by her sewing machine. Rarity turned it on and proceeded to work. “I don’t need you to do anything yet, so you can just keep me company.”

“Alright.” He stood around, trying to think of what to talk about. “You know what’s funny? I heard that Queen Nymph was also hit by a tomato recently.” That brought out a smile from Chrysalis.

Rarity chuckled. “That is certainly amusing. While I can see why somepony might do that to her, I can’t imagine why somepony would do that to your cute little head.”

“Me neither. Speaking of changelings, did you see any yesterday while at Canterlot while Nymph was there?”

“Fortunately not. Cherub and I only saw the protesters outside the palace.” After a few seconds, Rarity suddenly stopped her sewing.

It was a moment before Spike took notice of her not working. “What’s up, Rarity?”

“Something just occurred to me about her.” Chrysalis didn’t like where this was going.

“Cherub? What about her?”

Rarity got up from her table and paced around. “She said she was there for vacation because she needed a break from her job and yet she was willing enough to help Fancy Pants.”

Spike looked around frantically, sweating. “M-maybe he offered her a lot of money. He is rich, after all.”

“I suppose. But I can’t help but think there’s a little more to it than that. I mean, it’s one thing that she comes on the same day as me, but then she leaves me and goes with him instead. And on the train before we arrived, she immediately started getting into my love life and wanted to know everything about us.” Rarity bit her lip as she continued to think intensely.

The dragon's teeth were chattering as sweat covered his body. “R-Rarity, I know you've had a rough few days, but you might be overthinking things a little. It’s not like somepony told her about you and him and wanted her to break you up.” Pinkie and Chrysalis face-hoofed.

Rarity gasped loudly, enraged. “You know what? I think you’re on to something! It’s all just a little too suspicious to me. I should go over there right now and demand answers! I will not be made a fool! Cherub will regret the day she-” The doorbell suddenly rang, interrupting her. “Oh! It seems I have a visitor. Excuse me for a moment.” She got up and left the room.

Chrysalis and Pinkie came to the window and called Spike over. When he came, Chrysalis grabbed him and lifted him up to her face. “Spike, is it possible for you to go for five minutes without saying something stupid!? If you keep this up, you are going to be on your own, love or no love.”

“I’m sorry! I didn’t think she would react like that. Please don’t go!” he begged.

She dropped him and stuck a hoof in his face. “Well you better do something before she breaks down my door and makes accusations that could damage my reputation.”

“Like what? I don’t know what to do with her! She just seems really angry and I keep thinking if I say anything, she’s just going to flip out again.”

“Do what I always do when I’m grumpy, fill up my tummy!” Pinkie rubbed her stomach. “Take her to a nice restaurant and I’m sure she will forget all about it.”

Spike smiled for a moment as he liked the idea, but he still had a problem. “But what should I say to her? I’m worried I’m going to upset her again.”

“Don’t worry! I’ll find a way to let you know what to say!” Pinkie promised.

Chrysalis dropped him and they got away from the window as Rarity returned to the room. “So who was it?” asked Spike.

She sat at her table and huffed angrily. “No pony. What pony goes around doing doorbell pranks?”

“Uh…Rainbow Dash?” he guessed.

Rarity let out a quiet smirk. “That does seem like her, but I doubt it was her just now.”

Spike watched as she worked with a look of disdain on her face. He felt a little nervous about saying anything to her. “Rarity?” he asked shyly.

“What?” she yelled in a very annoyed tone. She took notice of Spike looking hurt and sighed. “I’m sorry, Spikey. I’m just feeling really stressed out today.”

“I was going to say that I think we should go out somewhere. Working might not be the best thing for you today.”

Rarity moved away from her table. “I suppose you’re right. No point in trying to make anything if I can’t focus.” She took the dress and placed it back into the closet. She turned towards her friend with a smile on her face. “So what did you have in mind?”

“I was thinking we could go to a restaurant together for some lunch. As friends, I mean. It will be my treat.”

“Oh Spike, that’s so kind of you. I will gladly take you up on your offer.”

Chrysalis and Pinkie watched as they left Carousel Boutique and followed. “Well great,” said Chrysalis. “There’s no way we can get close to them now. It would be impossible to be sneaking around like this in a public area. I don't think we can bail him out of trouble now.”

“Sure we can. We just need a disguise! I left my kit at Cupid’s Arrow, so I’ll be right back!” Pinkie then ran off, leaving the changeling behind to keep watch of her targets on her own.


Spike and Rarity arrived at a small restaurant and were seated at one of the outside tables. Once they received their menus and the waiter left, Rarity addressed her friend. “It’s really nice of you to bring me here, Spike.”

He hid his face behind the menu. “W-well, you know, you’re my friend and I just want to help you.”

Rarity pulled it out of his hands, revealing his blushing face. “I don’t think you would have ever done something like this for Rainbow Dash or Applejack,” she cooed.

“I would too,” he objected. “It’s just that I don’t think they have ever been through something like you have.”

“I suppose that’s true.” Rarity sat silently and pondered as her friend looked for what he wanted to eat. “Spike?”

“Yes, Rarity?”

“Do you think I’ve been over dramatic about all this?” she asked, slightly ashamed.

He could see she was looking at him expectantly, making him a bit nervous. “Well, you have been acting a little too crazy and ow!” Spike felt something pull roughly on his tail.

“Are you all right?” Rarity questioned.

“I’m fine, just a cramp.” He looked around, trying to find what had done that. He then noticed a familiar pony at the table behind Rarity staring at him. He recognized her to be Cherub, but she was wearing a trench coat and sunglasses. Spike figured he was about to say something wrong and she was warning him with magic. “What I meant to say was I think you’re being reasonable. It must be hard to go through such a breakup with somepony you love very much.” He was glad that she bailed him out once again, but he wondered where Pinkie was since she said she was going to help him.

“It is. I think the worst part is how I actually thought we were dating. I feel like a complete idiot for thinking we were together.”

“Well you said Fancy Pants was unintentionally leading you on, so it’s not your fault.”

Rarity, however, just rested her head on the table. “I guess you’re right.”

They stopped talking as their waiter came over to them. “Hello! My name is Pin…I mean Stinkie and I will be your waiter today! What can I do for you?”

“Just give me a salad,” said Rarity without looking at her.

“And I will have the…” Spike looked up the waiter and nearly gasped. It was Pinkie wearing a uniform as well as her trusty mustache. “…The apple pie with a side of gem stones.”

“Excellent choices.” Pinkie held out a napkin to Spike. “Take this extra napkin.”

“Why?”

I said take the napkin.” Spike gulped and nervously took it. “Good boy.” She then pulled on his cheek. “I’ll be right back with your food, you little cutie!” She ran from them and went inside the building.

Both Spike and Rarity watched as she left. “She was certainly friendly.”

“No kidding,” the dragon said while rubbing his cheek. Pinkie seemed to be acting odd. Why did she want him to take the napkin and why did she pull on his cheek? He looked at the napkin to see what was special about it. He noticed there was some writing on the underside of it. While Rarity wasn’t looking, he brought it under the table to read. On it was writing in marker that said, “Ask about Fancy Pants, tell jokes, tell her she’s pretty.” He put it aside and cleared his throat. “So what are you going to do about Fancy Pants now?”

Rarity rested her head on her hoof and sighed. “I suppose I could talk with him and have him try to forget what happened. I would still like to have him as at least a friend as I do love his company.”

“He sounds like a reasonable guy, so I’m sure he will just forget about the whole thing.”

The unicorn gave him a bit of a smile. “I think so, too. It will just be all water under the bridge and we might just laugh about the whole thing in the future.”

“Maybe you could bring him over sometime. I would like to meet him.”

Rarity became enthusiastic. “You will just love him. He is so interesting and delightful. I’m sure he would be very interested in meeting a dragon.”

“As the only dragon in Ponyville, I guess that makes me a celebrity like him.”

“But I’m sure all the mares will want his autograph more.” They both laughed.

“You might have a point. I’m surprised no pony has ever mistaken you for a celebrity, considering how beautiful and talented you are, Rarity.”

Rarity blushed. “That is very kind of you to say. It’s a shame that I don’t really think that will help with my situation. I may be the ideal mare, but I still need to find my ideal lover.”

The dragon shrugged at her. “Look on the bright side, your love life could be like Twilight’s.”

Rarity became very intrigued. “Oh really? What is it like for her? I didn't take her as the dating type.”

“Alright, let me tell you everything about it.” He motioned her to come closer and she leaned in. Spike remained completely silent until he said, “And that is everything about her love life!”

Rarity laughed. “Spike, that’s terrible!” Chrysalis chuckled from the nearby table. “But I suppose you have a point. I wish she would get out more and socialize with some boys. Princess Celestia should have made her write her reports about love, but maybe she would get a little too scientific.”

“Actually, she did have a relationship once.” The changeling took immediate interest in the subject.

Rarity gasped and leaned across the table. “She did!? She never told me about it! You have to tell me everything!

“Oh, I remember all of it. She couldn’t get enough of him. She spent every moment with him, day and night. I think it was the first time she fell in love. I even remember her talking about how much she wanted to kiss him.”

“Whatever happened to him?”

“You really want to know?” he asked in a serious tone.

Rarity gulped. “I do.”

“She finished the book series and couldn't read about him anymore!” Both of them burst out laughing and Chrysalis joined along while banging her hoof on the table in hysterics. She would be sure to use that when she got her revenge on Twilight.

“Spikey,” Rarity said in between laughs, “that is just awful!”

“I know. They really should have made a few more books. Poor Twilight was just so upset that I'm surprised she didn't start writing her own books about him.”

The unicorn couldn't help but snicker. “You have quite the sense of humor.”

“Thanks, but don’t tell Twilight. I can’t imagine what she would do to me if she found out. Probably kick me out.”

“She would never do that. She loves you. But if that were to ever happen, you are more than welcome to stay with me, Spike. Just as long as you don’t make jokes like that about me.”

Spike felt really warm and nodded. “It’s a promise.”

Pinkie came back with their food. “Here you go! One salad for the pretty unicorn and one super delicious apple pie with a side of the best gem stones I could find!”

Spike licked his lips as the plate was placed in front of him. “Wow. Thank you so much!”

“No problem! Let me know if you need anything else, you little cute dragon.” Pinkie then smooched him on the cheek and ran off.

Spike and Rarity sat silently as they watched her leave. “Wow. Am I really that cute?” he asked in surprise as he rubbed his cheek.

She slowly nodded without looking at him. “You are, but that mustached mare seemed to be a little too friendly with you.”

Chrysalis pulled hard on her own mane, desperately trying to figure out what just happened. She could not believe that Pinkie had just kissed Spike like that in front of Rarity. She saw her employee coming by and grabbed her to sit her down to ask hostilely, “Pinkie, what in the name of Celestia was that!?”

“I’m sorry! I just suddenly noticed how cute he looked and I couldn’t help it!” She looked over towards Spike. “I just want to hug him and squeeze him and keep him all to myself! Why does he like Rarity and not me?”

Chrysalis felt confused as she listened to her talk. “Are you feeling okay? You seem to be acting way more unusual than usual.”

“I don’t know. I just suddenly noticed how attractive he is and I want him for myself!” She got up. “I’m going to see how they’re doing!”

Before she could take one step, Pinkie was pulled back down. “Oh, no you don’t. I am not letting you near them again until I figure out what is wrong with you.”

“Stinkie!” a voice called. They looked and saw another waiter standing nearby. “What are you doing? You need to get back to work!”

“Yes sir!” shouted Pinkie as she stood up and bolted.

Chrysalis tried to grab her again, but she was too quick. She loudly groaned as she watched Pinkie continuing to pretend to be a waiter, pounding a hoof on the table. “Why can’t things ever be simple?”


The two friends remained at the restaraunt for over an hour, talking about various subjects of interest. Chrysalis was bored out of her skull as she had to listen in to everything they said. She was glad Rarity looked a lot better than she did earlier, but she couldn't stop thinking that Spike would make another foolish choice and undo everything in an instant. She also kept an eye on Pinkie, still trying to think of a rationale explanation for her behavior and making sure she didn't do another stunt like that again. Once they were ready to leave, Spike paid for the meal and walked along Rarity. “Spike?” she asked once they were a good distance from the restaurant.

“Yeah?” His heart jumped when he saw that she had a faint tint of red on her face.

“Would you mind escorting me to the park? I don’t think I’m ready to go back yet and I would truly appreciate your company.”

“S-sure.” They walked side by side and found one of Ponyville’s parks, where they walked along the path and spoke with each other. So far, Spike thought the day was going very well with Rarity. It wasn’t as romantic as he thought it was going to be, but he would take it. He wished he thought about asking the red unicorn earlier, but like most of his friends, he thought she was kind of an unlikeable jerk. Ever since Applejack told him how she got together with Caramel, he decided to save up his allowance for a chance with the mare of his dreams.

Chrysalis and Pinkie arrived at the park and laid low in some bushes. Pinkie had started to settle down with her obsession with Spike, but Chrysalis was still uneasy about bringing her, still trying to find an explanation for Pinkie’s strange behavior. “Did you see how Rarity asked him to do something? I think it’s working!”

“I hope so. There’s no way she can turn down a guy like that, but he still might need some help, so we better stay close.” They watched as they sat at a nearby bench. She couldn’t make out what they were saying, but she was relieved to see Rarity smiling. “They actually seem to get along really well.”

“I know, right? Spike’s a really nice dragon and he really cares about Rarity. I wish I had a pony like that.”

“I agree. I wouldn’t mind having a personal flank-kisser like him.” She almost did have somepony like Spike, one who would obey her beck and call, until Twilight ruined it.

“It is really lovely out here,” said Rarity.

“Yeah. I could just sit here forever,” he said while looking at her.

“After what I have been through, I have to agree. It feels so good to unwind after everything.”

Spike was enjoying his quality time with his dream girl. He was glad that she was happy and loved this moment, but he knew that Rarity’s problem wasn’t going to go away anytime soon, so he would have to push the difficult question. “Rarity, can I ask you something?”

“You can ask me anything.”

He gulped, preparing for the worst. “Why do you want a coltfriend so bad?”

Rarity sat up and sighed. “I think it was because of the wedding. To see such a wonderful event made me want to have one for myself and my desire for it was only enforced when Fancy and I danced. I would do anything for a wedding exactly like Shining’s and Cadance’s.”

“Including the changelings?” he asked jokingly.

Rarity laughed. “Maybe not exactly like theirs, but something as romantic. I had even pictured Fancy Pants as my husband.”

Spike visibly cringed. “Are you at least happy for him now that he’s with Photo Finish?”

“I suppose I should be as it was never going to work out between us anyway. I’m just surprised he was that interested in her since he never brought her up before.”

“I bet he likes her because she has…da magics!” he said while imitating the mare.

Rarity giggled. “I can see it like that. I don’t think she’ll be too happy to see me since I helped convince Fluttershy to quit modeling.”

“She’ll come around. But don’t you think you’re rushing to get married? You’re still so young and have so many things you could still do.”

“Maybe. I guess I was just so focused on just getting married and only saw what I wanted to see. Maybe I just need to slow down and enjoy what I have now." She then gently wrapped her forelegs around her friend. "Like you, Spike.”

“So do you feel any better?”

“I actually feel a lot better and it’s all thanks to you.” She leaned and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “You’re my hero.”

Pinkie jumped up and down behind the bush. “Oh my gosh, she kissed him! Well technically she’s done it before, but still!”

“I think he’s got the hang of it now, but we should still keep an eye on them in case something goes wrong.” Chrysalis looked off in the distance and something caught her eye. “I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?”

“The…ladies’ room. Yeah, that’s it.” She got up and walked away, hoping that Pinkie would not do anything like before while she was gone.

Rarity got up from the bench. “I suppose I should be heading back, but there are still some errands I need to get around to. Would you mind coming with me?”

“It’d be my pleasure.” They walked along the trail of the park and were soon approached by a mare pushing a flower cart.

“Hello there. Would either of you like some flowers?” she asked them.

“Hi, Roseluck. How are you doing today?” greeted Rarity.

The flower pony gulped. “Y-yes, it is I, Roseluck. And I’m doing quite well. I might do better if one of you bought from my floral collection,” she hinted while moving a hoof over her items. “After all, what beautiful mare doesn’t like flowers?”

“I’ll take one,” said Spike. He looked over the many selections, carefully considering his options. “What are these ones?” he asked while pointed at the orange, star-shaped flowers.

“I don’t know,” Roseluck answered, uninterested.

“But isn’t knowing flowers your special talent?”

Roseluck’s eye began to twitch. “I haven’t got all day. Are you going to buy something or not, kid?”

He was surprised by her cold tone. “Just give me a rose,” he requested timidly.

The mare smiled. “Excellent choice.” She handed him the flower and Spike gave her the bits to pay for it. “Goodbye, you two. Have a nice day” She then ran off in a hurry, leaving them in the dust.

The unicorn turned towards her friend and asked, “Why did you buy a rose, Spike?”

“Because I wanted you to have it.” He held it out towards her.

Rarity smiled. “You really are sweet.” She took the flower and put it in her hair. “Remind me to reward you properly for this.”

Pinkie was giddy as she went from bush to bush. Suddenly, Chrysalis ran to her, completely out of breath. “Did I miss anything?”

“Spike bought Rarity a rose and she took it!” she exclaimed through a whisper.

“Aw, that’s sweet. Now let’s pray they leave this park quickly.”

“Why?”

“No reason.”


Spike and Rarity had spent hours shopping in the market district and fortunately Chrysalis and Pinkie didn’t need to step in anymore, but they still felt the need to keep an eye on things. It eventually became sunset and they were both exhausted from following them around. Once the errands were finished, Spike and Rarity headed back to her home, where the changeling would see how her efforts pay off.

Spike walked Rarity to the door and opened it for her. “Here we are, milady.”

“You’re too kind.” She disappeared into her home and exited without any of the shopping bags she was carrying. “I cannot thank you enough for what you have done. I feel so refreshed and uplifted and it’s all thanks to you.”

The dragon grinned. “I just wanted to make sure you were feeling good. Maybe tomorrow I can come by again, if you want.”

Rarity’s smile began to fade. “Spike.”

“And then we could go bowling or maybe fly kites.”

“Spikey.”

“Sorry, what were you saying?”

Rarity pulled him towards her and kissed him on the forehead. Pinkie became hysterical as she watched and Chrysalis felt glad that all of her hard work was about to payoff.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t do this to you anymore.”

He felt a heavy weight fall in his chest. “What do you mean?”

“I know why you’re here, Spike. Why you have been by my side all this time, doing every little thing you can to make me happy.”

He looked away from her. “No, it’s not like that, Rarity.”

“Yes it is, Spike. I should have said something so long ago, but I didn’t and I feel so terrible.” She lifted Spike’s chin and looked him in the eyes. “Spike, you and I cannot be together romantically. We are just too different. I’m sorry I waited on telling you this, but I never had the heart to break it to you. Please forgive me for doing this to you.”

Spike eyes watered and he loudly sniffed. “But Rarity…”

Rarity hugged him, her eyes wet as well. “Please don’t cry. I hate seeing you so upset, but do you understand what I’m saying?”

He slowly nodded. “Yeah.”

Rarity let him go. “Go home, Spike. I’m sure Twilight is wondering where you are. We can talk about this later.”

“Not later, now!”

They were both surprised by the angry voice and looked at where it originated from. Chrysalis and Pinkie came out of hiding from around the building. “Cherub!?” exclaimed Rarity.

“In the flesh,” Chrysalis answered bitterly.

“Why are you…” Rarity became speechless and looked at the dragon. “Spike, did you hire her?”

“I…uh…”

“He did,” the changeling answered.

Rarity gasped. “So what happened at Cupid’s Arrow…”

“Was all a stunt,” she admitted.

Rarity bolted over and pressed her face against the changeling’s. “You tricked me!?”

“We’re sorry, Rarity,” spoke Pinkie. “We thought you would be much happier with Spike.”

The seamstress focused her anger towards her friend next. “But you lied to me! What kind of friend does that!?”

Chrysalis stood in front of Pinkie. “I will take the blame for that. I forced her to do it.”

“But what about yesterday with Fancy Pants? Were you going to break us up!?”

“Of course not!” Chrysalis lied. “I was merely there to observe and that was it. What happened at the restaurant was not intentional. But let’s get back to the main problem. Why is Spike so upset?”

“I told him that we couldn’t be together. It just wouldn’t work.”

“But why not, Rarity? He loves you!”

Rarity slowly turned from angry to depressed. “I know he does, but it’s just-”

“Wait a minute. You knew?” Chrysalis slowly approached Rarity, furious. “YOU KNEW!?”

“Of course I knew! It wasn’t hard to figure out by how he was always around and kept complementing me.” She looked at the sad dragon, now feeling even guiltier of hurting him. “I’m so sorry I never said anything before. It was truly awful of me to keep your hopes up for so long, but I just didn't want to hurt you.”

“Then why turn him down? Why get rid of the only guy that has ever loved you back?” questioned Chrysalis.

“Because I couldn’t go on getting his hopes up like that. We could never form a successful long term relationship.”

“But why not, Rarity?” asked Spike, ready to cry. “I love you. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

The white unicorn knelt down and gently wiped away his tears with her hooves. “Of course it does. It means so much to me, but there are some other issues. One that you should’ve known is that you’re too young for me.”

“Time can fix that,” Chrysalis quickly added.

“But the biggest reason is that I am a pony and you are a dragon.” She looked at Chrysalis. “Don’t you think he would be better off with a girl of his own species instead of a pony?”

“Well yeah, but…” For once, Chrysalis was stumped. She wasn’t sure what she could say to convince Rarity, or even herself for that matter. Even she thought it was a little bizarre that the little dragon was in love with a unicorn and she only wanted them to be together for her own personal gain. As hard as she tried, she could not find an answer. “I guess you’re right,” she reluctantly admitted.

“What!?” Pinkie shouted.

Rarity gave a firm nod. “Now you see why I did what I did. I just couldn’t let him get his hopes so high up just to crush him.”

Chrysalis wanted to argue, but she had nothing to offer. She realized now that this job was now a lost cause and it had all been for nothing. She was very angry with what happened, but she didn’t know what else she could do. “You’re right, Rarity. It was ridiculous of me to think I could have you two date.”

“It’s not ridiculous!” argued Pinkie, defiant of her friends’ answer. “You need to give him a chance! You just have to try!”

“Please try to understand, Pinkie. He would be better off with another dragon, not me.”

The party pony scratched her head. “But I’m confused. He went to go to live with the dragons and then you, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash wanted him back. ”

Chrysalis looked at her with an eyebrow raised. “What are you talking about?”

“One time, Spike went to go visit the dragons while they were migrating and then my friends went to go rescue him.”

“Of course we had to rescue him!” Rarity interjected. “They were so cruel and barbaric. I couldn’t possibly let him stay with such bad influences!”

Chrysalis grinned evilly, knowing that there was still some hope. She would be sure to greatly reward Pinkie later. “And now you want him to go back to them.”

Spike gasped and clinged to her leg. “Don’t make me go back, Rarity! Please! I’ll do anything!”

She quickly hugged him. “I would never do such a thing to you!”

“Oh, I wonder what would happen if he were to go back to look for a girl. I bet they would like him better as a kickball since he’s so tiny,” the false unicorn said tauntingly.

Rarity’s grip on the dragon tightened. “No!”

Pinkie got excited despite the topic. “That sounds like a fun game, but what would they call it? Spike ball?”

Chrysalis tapped her chin. “How about ‘Punt the Dragon’ or ‘Dragon Dunk’?”

Rarity put her hooves over her ears. “Stop it!”

The changeling looked at her wickedly, knowing that Rarity would give in at any moment. “If Spike were to miraculously find a girl, do you think she would be gentle and sweet like Rarity, or mean and nasty?”

Pinkie waved a hoof around. “Oh! Oh! Is it the second one?”

Rarity’s sorrow was replaced by rage. “If any dragon lays a claw on him, I will rip off their scales and make them into a dress they can wear!”

“Do you still think he would be better off with a dragon?”

The white unicorn gave out a heavy sigh. “I suppose you do have a point, Cherub. Spike is too gentle and sweet to be with such brutes.”

Chrysalis wore a satisfied smile. “So that only leaves you as a potential love interest.”

The mare looked at the dragon and then back at her. “Even if I am the best match for him, how are you so certain he’s the best for me? Would I...truly be happy with him?”

The changeling took notice of how quiet Spike was and had an idea. “I think you should be asking him that.”

He jumped, not expecting to be called upon. He slowly faced Rarity, trembling on the spot as he looked into the eyes of the mare of his dreams. Spike took a moment to get a hold of himself and then held her hoof. “Rarity, I know I may not be the richest, handsomest, or smartest dragon, but I love you more than anything. My heart feels light whenever I’m around you and you’re the only thing I can think about. When I saw how sad you were today, the only thing I could think about was how I could make you smile no matter what. All I want is to be at your side, making you happy in any way I can. Please give me a chance to do so.”

Tears were trickling down Rarity’s eyes. “That was beautiful, Spike. I never knew you had such a way with words.”

“Me neither. I guess you just sort of inspired me, just like every time we’re together.”

“Spike, I will admit that I have taken a strong liking to you before, but I never felt certain if it was the right thing to do. Would we even be accepted if we were seen together?”

“If I may,” said Chrysalis. “Love is a wonderful thing to explore, Rarity. It may seem strange to be with someone of a very different species, but why should that stop you? If you both love each other, then everypony should just accept it. If you truly love him, than the opinions of others should not stop you. Just do it and see where fate takes you. I mean, how could you possibly pass up a sweet little guy like him after all he has done for you?”

Rarity thought hard about what she said and everypony awaited for her to say something. “Wait here a moment.” She turned towards the door, entered her boutique, and returned moments later with something around her neck, which Pinkie recognized as the fire ruby Spike gave her. “This is my most treasured possession, given to me by him.”

Chrysalis stared at it with fascination, admiring its beauty. She was definitely going to make it her own before she left Ponyville. “He gave you that and you still had doubts about him?”

“It’s selfish, I know. I was just sort of more focused on more sophisticated stallions instead of little Spikey.”

“You mean rich stallions you could get your hooves around,” added Chrysalis insultingly.

The unicorn gave her a cold stare and the changeling just smirked at her. “I hate to admit it, but pretty much. Being in the high life was all I could think about, neglecting the wonderful treasure I already possessed.” She stared deeply into the ruby, then at the drake. “You have always been so kind and considerate to me. The one thing I treasure more than this gem is the friends I have, especially you.”

Spike gasped. “Really?”

The unicorn kissed his cheek. “Really.” Spike quickly hugged her and refused to let go, happy that she saw him as the loving dragon he was.

Once he let her go, he looked up at her. “Does this mean we’re dating now?”

“That’s the other thing. I’m afraid we cannot officially date for quite some time."

“But why not?”

“Like I said, you are simply too young for me right now. The other thing is I think I need some time before I go back into relationships. My previous ones have ended in some of the worst ways possible and I think I just need some time as a single mare. During that time, we should get to know each other better. Do you think you can wait a few years?”

Spike went over to her and kissed her on the cheek, surprising her as well as Pinkie and Chrysalis. “Anything for you, Rarity.”

As they looked into each other's eyes, Pinkie hopped around them excitedly. The changeling, on the other hoof, was currently feeding from the love that was coming out of the new couple. There was easily enough for her to have her fill and not have any side effects on either of the lovers. The love she was feasting on was incredibly delicious to her, filled with passion. She had to admit that the sight of the two lovers was pretty sweet too, considering she made it happen.

“You know what we should do?” asked Pinkie as she hugged both her friends. “We should have a party!”

“That’s a great idea, Pinkie!” said Spike excitedly.

“It will be an ‘Almost Dating’ party! Don’t you think that’s a good idea, Cherub?”

“I guess.” She knew this was going to be another kiddie party that she was going to be forced to attend. At least they didn’t feel as dreadful and now just felt tedious. “But it needs to be on the weekend. We are seriously behind on work.”

“Can do!”

“I can’t wait to tell Twilight about this.”

“I bet she will be overjoyed. Anyway, I need to retire for the day and think some things over, so I will see you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Rarity!” said Pinkie and Spike together.

Rarity blew a kiss to Spike and closed the door. The drake then rushed over and hugged Chrysalis’s leg again with more strength than last time. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Chrysalis smiled as she always loved receiving praise. “You’re very welcome, but don’t forget Pinkie. She had played a part in this as well.”

Spike immediately transitioned to the pony. “I’m so happy, Spike! We get to have a party and everything!”

“How can I ever repay you both for helping me?”

“Just keep loving her and make sure she always loves you. Your love is enough for me.” Chrysalis quickly licked her lips, craving more.

“You got it! I really need to go home now. I can’t wait to tell Twilight and Princess Celestia!”

“I’m sure they will be thrilled. Goodbye, Spike.” They waved at Spike as he ran off home. Once he was gone, Chrysalis and Pinkie walked together. “I’m so glad everything worked out. More than once I was certain I would fail.”

Pinkie laughed. “You can never fail! You’re the bestest matchmaking pony ever!”

Chrysalis giggled. “I suppose I am for making such an unusual romance work. Even if they aren’t officially together, I’m happy with how things turned out.” She thought Pinkie’s comment was especially amusing for she herself did not care for love and yet she was so good at creating it for others.

“And wait until Saturday for my awesome party! I promise you that this party will be jamming!”

The changeling smirked. “Whatever you say, Pinkie.”

Pinkie was disappointed by her reaction. “I bet anypony who doesn’t come will be really jelly.”

Chrysalis looked at her. “What is up with you?”

“I know about your jelly!” she said excitedly.

“Excuse me?”

“The jelly in the bucket in the closet in Cupid’s Arrow!”

Chrysalis thought her heart exploded as she knew what Pinkie was talking about. She realized that she completely forgot about cleaning the mop and bucket after she cleaned her room of the slime. Pinkie discovering it was a huge risk towards having her being exposed. “D-do you now…”

“Yep! And I was wondering if you could make more for the party!”

“M-more?” She couldn’t possibly think of a reason why Pinkie would want it at all. “Why?”

“Because it’s super tasty!” Pinkie ran her tongue over her lips.

Chrysalis jaw dropped as she looked at her in horror. “You ate it!?” She was just about ready to vomit, which might have made more slime and force her to vomit some more.

Pinkie took no notice of her boss’s reaction. “I sure did! It was so good that I brought some to the Cakes and they said it was really good too. They were wondering if you could give them some so they could make jelly doughnuts!”

Chrysalis thought she was going to faint. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined something like this to ever happen. It was no shock that the first thing Pinkie would do upon discovering an unknown substance would be to put it in her mouth. The obvious solution was to say no and never bring it up again, but something else occurred to her. “Pinkie, when exactly did you eat it?”

“While I was looking for my disguise kit today.”

Her suspicions began to rise. “And then what happened?”

“I quickly went to Sugarcube Corner and gave some to the Cakes. After they ate it, they began to make out for some reason and they told me to leave. After that, I met with you at the restaurant.”

Chrysalis managed to put the pieces together and knew why Pinkie acted so strangely earlier. It seemed that upon consumption, changeling goo made ponies more likely to fall in love for a short period. The slime was produced from love in the first place, so that made sense to her. This would be exactly the method she needed to really get the ball rolling. She could sell some slime to the Cakes and hope that the jelly doughnuts that were consumed would help produce more love in Ponyville. It would require a good deal of her magic to create enough for a cocoon of her size, so she would only give them little for now. Once there was much more love, she would create much more in hopes of creating a surge in love large enough for her to show her people.

There was, of course, the risk of somepony figuring out what it was, but since there were not so many changeling sightings in months and Nymph restricted giving out information on changeling biology in fear of it being used against them, she felt that it would be safe enough to go forward with it. The most important factor was that she was a royal changeling, meaning she produced a much more different kind of slime. The chances of anypony finding out what it really was would be really low.

However, despite her hatred towards all of ponykind, even she thought this was going too far. The idea of selling her own vomit for ponies to eat made her stomach churn. But she pushed the thought aside. She needed to create a lot of love quickly to secure her place as queen. Chrysalis smiled at Pinkie. “Tell them I agree to their offer. However, it is part of a secret family recipe, so I cannot go around telling ponies. It is also difficult to make, so I can only produce so much at a time. I will make some and give it to them whenever I can.”

Pinkie sprung up. “Thank you, Cherub! They’re going to be so happy! I’ll be sure to bring you some during work too!”

Chrysalis put a hoof over her mouth. “No thanks. I’m on a diet.” She really hoped that this plan worked. The thought of what she was about to do in attempts of being queen again was really bothering her. She just hoped she would return home before something even worse happened.

Sweet Candy and Bitter Memories

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Sweet Candy and Bitter Memories

Tonight was the holiday which honored one of the two alicorn rulers, Princess Luna, or at least Nightmare Moon, Luna’s envy given life. Chrysalis didn’t understand why the ponies would want to celebrate a holiday about a monster which stripped them of one of their beloved rulers for a thousand years. However, she really did like the idea of having a holiday all about herself, but she wasn’t sure what she would call it. Chrysalis Day was just far too simple. Maybe Chrysapalooza or Chrysmas would work better. She decided she would think about it later.

Work for her had lightened up since most ponies became more focused with the coming holiday and lessened their romantic priorities. Chrysalis actually felt relieved for a smaller workload, what with the stressful assignments and the ‘jelly’. So far, the slime that she had been providing for the Cakes was beginning to work out for her. They filled their pastries with it and even established a new kind of ice cream milkshake from the stuff. It certainly caused a small flux of love whenever they were sold and she couldn’t wait to see how it would do in the long term. She wanted to see the potential results, but she still could not accept how disgusting the whole concept was and wished Pinkie would stop eating them so much around her. The sight and even the sound of her consumption of the goo were just unbearable.

Chrysalis decided to participate in Nightmare Night since it involved scaring others, which was something she loved doing. For a costume, she decided that she would go as the scariest thing she could think of: herself. Of course, she wasn’t foolish enough to go parading around town as her real self since she would easily draw attention to herself with her huge height and the obvious holes in her legs. Instead, as her form of the unicorn Cherub, she painted herself black, dyed her hair and tail greenish blue, wore fake wings that were attached to her midsection that was wrapped in green paper wrap, and covered her horn with a fake one. She looked herself over in the mirror, thinking to herself about how good she looked. Chrysalis then realized that she was pretending to be a pony who was now pretending to be her and she tried to stop thinking about it as it made her head hurt.

She exited from Cupid’s Arrow and headed towards Sugarcube Corner as Pinkie wanted to show her how the holiday was celebrated in Ponyville. Chrysalis hoped she would do something interesting tonight and at least learn some more about Nightmare Night. By some miracle, she had grown somewhat tolerant of Pinkie’s shenanigans. Chrysalis still saw her as an annoyance, but she never got as agitated by her as she did since they first met and even began to value her as worthy. She hated to think about it, but the pony was slightly growing on her. She also felt odd that she was hanging out with ponies who were much younger than her, especially ones that are her mortal enemies. Given her age, she was basically going to hang out with children and she preferred older ponies to be friends with. But then again, the fewer ponies she got involved with, the better.

She entered the sweet shop, which was appropriately decorated for the holiday. She saw Pinkie’s friends, minus Fluttershy, standing by the stairs and wearing their costumes. Rarity was a witch, Rainbow Dash looked like an explorer, Applejack was a timber wolf, Twilight was dressed in some fancy robes, and Spike was something she couldn’t possibly describe. “Goodness, Cherub,” gasped Rarity. “I almost thought you were really Chrysalis for a moment.”

“Thanks,” Chrysalis laughed, “I worked real hard on it. Your costume’s nice too, but I think witches are supposed to be ugly.”

Rarity stroked her mane. “I’m a fabulous witch.”

The changeling rolled her eyes. “Where is Fluttershy?”

“She hates Nightmare Night,” answered the lavender mare. “She just locks herself in her house and doesn’t answer the door for anypony.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Chrysalis had been looking forward to seeing if it was possible to scare a pony to death for a while and was disappointed that the pegasus didn’t show up. The next thing that caught her attention was the dragon on Rarity’s back as his costume was a bizarre mix of different animal parts. “And what about you? Did you shove a bunch of costumes into a blender?” The ponies laughed at the comment.

“I’m supposed to be Discord, Ruler of Chaos!” Spike complained.

“Ah yes, Pinkie has told me a lot about him.” She wondered what Discord was up to since his apparent reformation, but after hearing everything he can do, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to know. A deity with such power and a mind of a child was a dangerous combination. “If that’s how he looks, then it’s a pretty impressive costume.”

“I really like it. Rarity worked really hard on this just for me.”

Rarity nuzzled his cheek. “Anything for my little Spikey-Wikey. Doesn’t it look great on him?”

“He’s as threatening as a teddy bear,” remarked Chrysalis and the ponies all laughed again, causing Spike to blush.

“Well what about my costume?” Pinkie Pie’s voice called from upstairs.

They all looked upstairs and saw her coming down. When she came into clear view, all of her friends were in stitches, except for Chrysalis, who stood in complete disbelief. Pinkie was dragging a large cardboard box with her and she was dressed as a changeling.

“Wow, Pinkie, you look pretty good,” commented Rainbow Dash.

“I know! It’s the best costume idea ever because now, I can change into other costumes!” She jumped into the box and popped back out several seconds later. “Look! With my amazing changeling powers, I’m a princess.” She went back in and came right back out. “Now I’m an alien from space.” She jumped in a third time and came out wearing both costumes. “Now I’m the Princess of Space! Your puny Equestrian weapons will have no effect on me!”

Besides Chrysalis, everypony was rolling on the floor in laughter. She was taking deep breaths, ready to explode in fury. Pinkie had done things to tick her off before, but this was easily her greatest sin against both her and her people. Just as she had begun to tolerate her shenanigans, the pony went and offended her kind. Now she wasn’t sure if Twilight was the one she hated the most.

“That really is a hoot, Pinkie Pie!” said Applejack as she clutched her sides.

Pinkie then noticed Chrysalis dressed as Chrysalis and ran right up to her. “Wow! We both had the same idea!” She kneeled in front of her. “I am at your command, my queen.”

“I’m sure you will be a valuable contribution to my kingdom,” she said sarcastically, fighting the temptation to ram the pony’s head through the floor.

“Alright. That’s enough fooling around, girls,” Twilight interjected after she controlled herself. “The night won’t last forever and there’s a lot to do.”

“So what are we doing tonight?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“We’re going to play some of the games in town and see if we can win any candy. Princess Luna will also be dropping by, so we should go see her. Hopefully this year will go better than the last.” Chrysalis’s ears perked up upon hearing about the princess. She recognized Luna as being much more interesting to be around then the other ponies. She hadn’t had company with her in a while and figured it would be much more fun to be with her than these little kids. If she really worked on it, she could possibly retrieve inner knowledge of the alicorns that could help her take Equestria.

“Sorry, Twilight,” said Spike, “but I’m going Trick-or-Treating with the Crusaders this year.”

Twilight gave her assistant a worried look. “I don’t think it’s wise to leave you alone with those three. You had nightmares for weeks about the Cutie Mark Crusader Taxidermists the last time I left you in their care.”

The dragon shuddered as he recalled the repressed memory and Rarity calmed him down by wrapping him in a hug. “Not to worry, dear. I will be sure to look after him while they’re together and we’ll be done before Luna arrives.”

“I’m only going to stay for a little bit, but then I’ll be busy scaring the daylights out of ponies for the night,” said Dash as she rubbed her hooves together deviously.

For once, Chrysalis agreed with the pegasus. “That does sound like fun. Mind if I join you?”

She shook her head. “Sorry, but this girl is a one pony show.”

“Alright girls, let’s get going,” Twilight spoke.

As they all exited the shop, Pinkie was next to Chrysalis, bouncing as she moved. “Are you excited for your first Nightmare Night in Ponyville, Cherub?”

“Every day is a nightmare when I’m with you, Pinkie Pie.”

“Hey!” shouted Pinkie as her boss and her friends laughed.


For a holiday that was all about scaring, Chrysalis didn't see much of that and she was not surprised in the least. Ponyville mostly had corny things like fake spiders, fog machines, and other things that were far from scary. Of course the puny ponies would have more kiddie fun than some actual horror. She tried playing some of their games to get into the holiday spirit, but it was to no avail. When she returned to her kingdom, she was going to give this holiday the scare it deserved. She just stood nearby, feeling bored while the rest of the ponies were out having fun. Pinkie took noticed of her and ran over. "Aren’t you having fun?” she asked with concern.

“Sure.” This was the fifth time Pinkie had asked her in the night, obviously noticing her disdain. Chrysalis wished that Dash had taken her for the pony scaring because it sounded much more fun, but she had a better idea. She didn’t need her, she was already scary and she could just do it herself. Unfortunately, Pinkie hadn’t left her alone all night, so she had no choice but to let her in on the fun. “Pinkie, my royal subject, I have an assignment for you.”

The pony dressed as a changeling bowed before her. “I am at your command, your highness.”

That time, the real changeling actually smiled, nostalgic of her days as a ruler. She leaned towards Pinkie and whispered, “You and I are going to scare some ponies.”

“That sounds like fun! Everypony loves a good scare.”

Chrysalis felt moderate satisfaction that she was up to the idea. “Excellent. Follow me.” They both left the fairgrounds and hid behind some bushes in the outskirts of town. “Now, ponies are still terrified of changelings, so scaring them shouldn’t be too difficult. Just act like one and they will be running for the hills.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got this whole changeling thing down.” Pinkie smiled and brought her box next to her, ready for use.

“I hope you do.” She looked out from the bushes and noticed some children approaching, who would have made great practice. “Here come some now. Just stay quiet and wait for my cue.” They both waited silently, with the exception of Pinkie giggling. When the group was close enough, Chrysalis jumped out and towered over them. “It is I, Queen Chrysalis! Give me all of your love!” The children screamed in terror and cowered in front of her.

Pinkie was next, leaping out of the bushes. “Be afraid by our amazing changeling powers as we turn into something completely different! Now I’m a changeling,” she jumped into her cardboard box and reappeared, wearing a clown costume, “and now I’m a clown!” She honked her clown horn. The children stopped screaming and were now laughing.

“Wow, Pinkie,” one of them said, “you really scared us!” They all stood up and walked past them. “Happy Nightmare Night, Pinkie Pie!” he called while waving to her.

“You too!” she said, waving back. When she turned back, she could see that Chrysalis was very annoyed.

“A clown?” she asked in extreme frustration. “That’s your idea of scary?”

“Hey, clowns can be scary,” the pony argued. “Like how do they all fit in that tiny car?”

Chrysalis tore the wig off her head and tossed it into the box. “Take off that ridiculous outfit and hide.” They both returned to their hiding spot and sat in silence while waiting for their next victims until Pinkie spoke.

“Cherub?”

“What?”

“Are you unhappy?” she asked, sounding uneasy.

Chrysalis just shrugged. “Because you messed up one scare? A little, but not really. Just try harder next time.”

“No, I mean are you unhappy about everything?”

Her boss gave her a confused look. “What are you talking about?”

“Are you still upset about your fiancé?”

Chrysalis let out a loud, annoyed sigh. The made up backstory was a great excuse for her behavior, but Pinkie could never mind her own business. “I am. Why are you bringing this up now?”

“Well I was wondering if you would be interested in finding another one now. I know plenty of ponies you might like!”

Chrysalis turned away from her. “No thanks.”

“But-”

“Are you done bothering me?”

Pinkie frowned. “I just want to help.”

“If you want to help me, then you need to just keep helping me find other ponies that need help with love. I promise you that will make me happy.”

“You got it!” Silence had fallen over them until Pinkie broke it once again. “Cherub?”

“What now?”

“I just want you to know that I will always try to make you happy.”

Chrysalis looked at her funny. “Yeah…thanks.”

They remained perched behind the bushes as they continued waiting. Chrysalis began wondering how long Pinkie would be concerned about her wellbeing. The thought of actually talking to her about her issues was tempting as she kept so many problems and fears to herself, but it was Pinkie Pie, so her advice wouldn’t exactly be the greatest. She was also curious why she was bringing this up so suddenly. She just hoped Pinkie wouldn’t end up setting her up with a blind date.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Pinkie tapped her and pointed towards an approaching group. Chrysalis could see that it was Rarity, Spike, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders coming towards them. She was looking forward to scaring the little trio since they broke her window two weeks ago trying to earn their demolition cutie marks. Sweetie Belle was dressed like her sister, Scootaloo was a skeleton, and Apple Bloom was a devil, which she found to be very appropriate after what they did. Once they were close enough, Chrysalis jumped out and caused the four children to fall onto their backs. “Give me your love or suffer my wrath!”

The four screamed loudly from her sudden appearance. “Please don’t eat us!” Apple Bloom pleaded.

Sweetie Belle took cover under her sister and put her hooves over her eyes. “Make her go away, Rarity!”

Pinkie appeared from behind the changeling. “You cannot fight us! Especially when we can turn into…” she went back into the bushes and came out, “a dragon!” She then did a fake roar.

Chrysalis smiled as she stared down at them, until they burst out laughing. She had a feeling of what had gone wrong and turned around. While Pinkie was dressed as a dragon, which was an improvement, she was wearing the dumbest looking costume she had ever seen. “Pinkie, what is that supposed to be?” she asked, agitated.

“I’m supposed to be a dragon, silly!”

“So that’s where my old costume went,” said Spike as he picked himself up.

Sweetie Belle came out from her hiding place. “You two were really scary. I almost thought you were actually changelings!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“Yeah, until Pinkie came out,” remarked Scootaloo. All of the crusaders giggled at them and Chrysalis could feel the burning shame wash all over her.

“Now come on. Let’s leave them to their fun. We need to get back to town,” addressed Rarity. Spike and the Crusaders waved goodbye as they ran ahead. “Don’t stay out here too long. There’s much more to this holiday than trying to scare ponies like Rainbow Dash does.” She then walked ahead to the busier part of Ponyville.

Once she was out of sight, Chrysalis looked over at Pinkie. “Is that costume supposed to be scary?” she questioned with one of her eyes visibly twitching.

“I think so. Have you ever seen a dragon as goofy looking as this?”

“Take it off. Now.” Pinkie complied with her demand. “No more stupid costumes. You will just simply be a changeling, which is something all ponies should fear. Now get behind the bushes and try not to screw up again.”

For over half an hour, they both continued trying to scare any pony that had come by. Pinkie eventually got the hang of things, ceasing her costume changes and spooking the ponies with her changeling appearance. They scared off a few groups before Chrysalis thought she had enough fun and began heading back.

“That was so much fun, Cherub!” Pinkie cheered.

Chrysalis gave a light smile, satisfied that Pinkie took into her taste. “It could have went better, but I suppose you did a decent job. I find that surprising since you’re probably the least scariest pony I know besides Fluttershy.”

“I can be scary!” Pinkie looked around and saw a young colt with a white coat and brown spots dressed as a royal night guard. “Watch!” She ran ahead and jumped in front of him. “Blarg! Give me your love and stuff!”

The colt laughed at her feeble attempt. “That is a nice costume,” he said through his thick accent, “but I don’t think changelings are scary.”

Chrysalis couldn’t believe her ears and approached the little pony. “Oh really? So what do you think is scary, child?”

“Nightmare Moon, of course! She’s the scariest pony ever! Neither the changelings or Chrysalis come close.”

The former changeling queen scoffed at his words. “Oh please. Chrysalis is far scarier than stupid Nightmare Moon.”

“DO YOU WANT TO SAY THAT TO MY FACE!?”

Chrysalis and Pinkie jumped and whirled around, finding Nightmare Moon herself right behind them with her eyes glowing brightly and staring angrily at them. They both screamed at the sight of her and Pinkie jumped into Chrysalis’s forelegs, shaking in fright as they looked at the alicorn. Pinkie saw how Nightmare Moon was growling at them, showing her sharp teeth. “She’s going to gobble us up!” she shrieked.

“I’m too beautiful to die!” Chrysalis cried.

Suddenly, Nightmare Moon dissolved into mist and in her place was Princess Luna, who was laughing hysterically. “Gotcha!”

“P-Princess Luna.” Chrysalis realized who she was holding and dropped her onto the ground. “I hate to admit it, but that was the best scare of all night. Better than my attempts.”

Pinkie got up from the ground and started bouncing in front of the princess. “When did you get here? I wanted to show you how scary I was!”

“I have been in town for some time. Twilight didn’t know where you had run off to and I figured you would turn up eventually.” She turned her head towards the colt. “I was accompanying young Pipsqueak here until you two came. Your costumes are quite impressive.”

Pipsqueak looked at Luna excitedly. “Did you see how brave I was, Princess? I wasn’t scared at all!”

She smiled at the child and rubbed his head. “You were indeed very brave. Maybe I should enlist you into the royal guard when you’re older.” She then looked back at them while Pip was jumping around. “So have you two been out here scaring ponies this whole time?”

“I know it seems childish, but yeah. I think we’ve done a decent job, though.”

“Well I’m going to spend a little more time with Pipsqueak. If you’re still in the mood after, I can show you how to really scare.”

Chrysalis gave a small grin. “Please do.”

Pinkie brought out her candy bucket from her box. “I want to scare too, but I’m far behind on my candy collecting and I need to catch up!”

“Very well, Pinkie. I hope you enjoy this wondrous night.”

“I will! Bye, Luna and Cherub!” shouted Pinkie as she ran into Ponyville.

“Walk with me, Cherub,” Luna requested. Chrysalis followed Luna and Pip as they headed into town. “I hope you are enjoying tonight as much as she is.”

“I think so. It’s definitely gotten better when you arrived and Pinkie left. She just isn’t really the type to strike fear into the heart of anypony.”

Luna gave a light giggle. “So I saw.”

“It should be a lot more fun with you around. That scare you just did is what I’ve been aiming for all night. But if you don’t mind me asking, why are you hanging out with a young child?”

“I try to spend as much time as possible with all of my subjects. Pipsqueak here is a very sweet colt I met last year and I wanted to see him again.”

The earth pony hopped onto the alicorn’s back and hugged her neck. “I love Nightmare Night and Princess Luna is the best princess ever! Don’t you think so too?”

Chrysalis gave off a quick laugh. “She indeed is, but don’t let her sister know you said that.”

Pipsqueak felt nervous by what she told him and Luna could feel him shake. “W-why? Am I going to get arrested?”

Both of the mares began laughing uncontrollably.


Chrysalis and Luna spent hours scaring ponies together and the changeling was surprised by how much fun she was having with one of her biggest enemies. After Luna received her candy tribute from the children, something which Chrysalis thought about doing for her own holiday, they rested nearby the Nightmare Moon statue and began splitting the pile, admiring their large amounts of treats. “Thank you for spending time with me, Cherub. I think you’ve helped make this night much scarier than last year.”

Chrysalis laughed as she sorted through the mountain of sweets. “I do believe I do a good impression of the former changeling queen.”

“A few times I was convinced you were really her, and that would have actually been scary.”

They both gave out a giggle. Chrysalis found it amusing that Luna was completely unaware who she was talking to. The irony was just delicious. However, she was a little curious about something. “Speaking of changelings, how is it going with Nymph and her people?”

Luna just shrugged. “Same as usual. It’s just a stalemate between Celestia and I when it comes to Nymph. As for the rest of the ponies, their opinions just keep changing. Nymph is certainly a persuasive changeling.”

Chrysalis scoffed as she grabbed some chocolate. “Of course she is. Her kind is all about lies. You’re the only one who is keeping Equestria from falling into their hooves.”

“Not all changelings are bad, Cherub. I’ve seen them for myself and I don’t see them as much as a threat. I truly wish to help them.”

“You keep telling yourself that,” muttered the false unicorn under her breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. If you ‘care’ for the changelings, then why are you still having conflicting opinions with Celestia?”

“It’s only because I’m concerned about Nymph. She does not seem entirely trustworthy and I’m even more suspicious now that she has been asking about her sister.”

The sister mentioned looked up at her. “She has?”

“Yes. She has claimed that neither she nor the changelings are aware of her current whereabouts since her banishment.”

“And why would she even want to find her? She was the one who had banished her in the first place.”

“I don’t know, but she seems to be really worried about her. It’s hard for me to imagine that Chrysalis would have completely disappeared without a trace and not try to make some contact with her.”

Chrysalis thought deeply about what she had told her. It was weird how Nymph would show her the door and then want to know where she was, especially after their rough history. Had she found her, the only thing that would happen would be her being sent to the moon or something similar. She then realized something. “I know what she’s doing. She wants to use her as a bargaining chip.”

The alicorn tilted her head. “Bargaining chip?”

“She wants to find her sister so she can trade her in for changeling citizenship.”

The princess gasped. “That’s horrible! Chrysalis may be a fugitive, but I can’t believe her own sister would do that to her.”

The changeling shrugged as she kept taking more candy. “Well what do you expect from Nymph? She’s no different from her sister.”

“Did you know that Queen Nymph actually said she hoped that we found her first?”

Chrysalis became confused. “Huh? Why?”

“She said that if we were to find Chrysalis first, we were permitted to punish her under reasonable means.”

Her mouth hung open. “She said what!?

“That was both Celestia’s and my reaction. We asked if she was sure and she was. Nymph even said that we should let Cadance and Shining Armor decide what to do with her, just as long as it wasn’t something like torture or execution. She felt that some justice would be necessary to ease the tension between ponies and changelings.”

Chrysalis could not believe what she had just heard. It was one thing to have her banished, but to hope that the ponies would punish her was going too far. She was going to make Nymph suffer the next time they met. “That is just horrible of her.”

The alicorn firmly nodded. “Indeed, and I’ll be very sure to inform Celestia about this ‘bargaining chip’ business. I think even she would be disgusted by this. Though, sometimes she can be just insufferable and doesn’t listen to me about that queen.”

“I know what that’s like. Sisters can be such a pain,” she said gloomily.

She had unintentionally caught Luna’s curiosity. “I did not even realize you had one, Cherub.”

Chrysalis became very mad at herself as she realized that she had let it slip. “I do. It’s just we don’t get along anymore.”

“Why is that?”

She looked away from her, actually feeling uncomfortable. “I don’t want to talk about it. We had a falling out and we haven’t even seen each other in months.”

The princess moved a little closer to her. “Have you tried to patch things up with her?”

“I think I prefer never seeing her again for the rest of my life. I hate her,” she said coldly.

Luna was shocked. “That’s an awful thing to say, Cherub.”

“Sorry, but we all can’t have an amazing sister like you do.”

“What is she like?”

“I don’t want to talk about her anymore. She’s no longer in my life and it’s going to stay that way.” She hoped Luna would drop the subject since she could not think of a story about her alter ego so suddenly. There was also the fact that it would bring up a lot of bitter memories.

Both of them sat in silence. Luna looked at the unicorn, who was currently flicking a tall blade of grass in annoyance. “Cherub, I’m beginning to worry about you.”

Chrysalis loudly groaned. “Why?”

“Pinkie often speaks about you through her letters,” she informed the outcast.

Chrysalis suddenly glared at her. “And what does she say?”

Luna slightly shrunk. “Try not to get mad at her.”

“What does she say about me?” she asked angrily. She never liked the thought of ponies talking about her behind her back, whether it about Chrysalis or Cherub.

The alicorn took a deep breath before speaking. “She says that you tend to get mad very easily, like right now for instance.”

The changeling dressed as a changeling rolled her eyes. “I have a temper, so what?”

“Being angry all the time isn’t a good thing. I know you are still upset about your previous fiancé and apparently your sister, but you need to try to move on. Another thing is that Pinkie Pie knows a lot about everypony in this town, even if she hasn’t met with them often, and yet you two almost spend every day together and she knows next to nothing about you.”

Chrysalis huffed. “I like to keep things to myself. Pinkie just needs to mind her own business.”

“You really shouldn’t bottle yourself up. It isn’t healthy.”

The false unicorn growled with annoyance. “I don’t get why you’re lecturing me, Luna. What do you want from me?”

“You’re a friend of mine as well as Pinkie’s. I just want to make sure you’re alright.”

“I don’t recall me being friends with that idiot,” she quickly responded in a harsh tone.

Luna slightly flinched. “Then who are your friends, Cherub? Pinkie and her friends have never seen you with anypony else.”

Chrysalis remained silent. Nymph was actually her only real friend when she was a child. As she grew, she managed to associate herself with other changelings. She did actually befriend many and was very well loved like her sister. But of course, that changed. And when she returned from her failed invasion, the little friends she had left turned against her as she endangered them all. For the moment, she was truly alone.

“Cherub?” Chrysalis was brought back to reality. “Do you not have any friends?”

“No,” she answered hesitantly. She felt the weight of the world pushing down on her now that she had said it out loud. She never gave it much consideration before, but being left without friends was awful.

Luna could see her gloom and got even closer to her. “You just need to open yourself up more. I’m sure you will find some if you do.”

Chrysalis rested her head on the grass. “I wish it was that easy.”

“It is easy,” said the alicorn encouragingly. “You just have to try.”

“I can’t do it, Luna.”

“Why not? Just try telling me more about yourself and we’ll figure something out.”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” she responded through clenched fangs.

“Please talk to me. I just want to know you better,” Luna pleaded. “Maybe it will help you stop from being such a grouch all the time,” she added with a smile.

Being made fun of by the princess pushed her over the edge. Chrysalis shot up, furious. “You want to know more about me? Fine! I’m a pony who tried to do something great for others and ended up becoming a complete failure! Everypony I have ever known now hates me and I went here to get away from it all and hopefully make something of myself! I have no friends and the only family I have is a sister who I cannot stand! There! Are you satisfied, princess!?” She took rapid deep breathes as she stared down her company.

Luna looked at her in surprise. “There’s no need to be so hard on yourself. I really doubt that they all hate you.”

“Trust me, they do. They will likely never forgive me for what I did.” Saying that had immediately filled her with dread. She at least knew that her people couldn’t resist having an entire town filled with love to themselves, so she wasn’t completely hopeless.

“Cherub, sit down and take a breather.” The changeling reluctantly obeyed and got back down. “You need to stop worrying about the past so much. You just need to focus on the present.”

“That’s all I have been doing. I really need them to get over my mistake. It means more to me than anything but sometimes I worry that they never will,” she confessed.

“They will. No pony can stay mad forever, so just relax.” Luna placed a hoof on hers. “Just tell me what you did and we can talk about it.”

Chrysalis quickly pulled her hoof away. “That is none of your business, Princess!”

The princess’s patience was beginning to run short. “You really need to calm down. I’m sure whatever it is that you have done can easily be forgiven and forgotten.”

“I hope you’re right. Oh, and thanks for being such a 'good' friend. I don’t think I have ever felt this awful before in my life,” she spat.

Luna briefly flinched. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to help you.”

Chrysalis still felt angry, but deep down, she actually felt a little touched that both her and Pinkie were so concerned about her. She wished she could confide with them and tell them everything in hopes for some actual reassurance, but that would have been a death sentence. What also surprised her was how Luna was being tolerant of her rude behavior and she felt a little thankful that the princess had not punished her for anything she did as she was more focused on trying to help her. One thing she had said to her earlier was however bugging her. “Luna?” she asked shyly.

“Yes, Cherub?”

“Are you really my…friend?” She didn’t know why, but she felt slightly embarrassed for asking.

Luna smiled at her. “Of course I am. Did you think otherwise?”

Chrysalis swore she could feel her face warm up. “Well I didn’t think you would consider me being your friend because I’ve been a jerk to you on more than one occasion and we have only met once.”

“And you were sorry every time you were rude and that one time was a lot of fun. I enjoy your company and I wish to know you better. I want us to be good friends, Cherub.”

The changeling smiled. “I will gladly accept your offer for your friendship.”

“And you may have it under one condition.”

“Which is?”

Luna cleared her throat and used a more authoritative tone. “I want you to try to act nicer from now on. I know you have problems, but lashing out at others will not bring you any comfort. If you truly wish to make friends or even attract ponies to your business, you must try to be a more likable pony.”

Chrysalis decided not to argue with her and sighed. “Very well, I will try.”

“And I think you should become actual friends with Pinkie,” the alicorn added.

“Hey now, one step at a time.” They both chuckled. “But I guess I am a little hard on her. Her heart’s in the right place, but sometimes she can really test my patience. The girl tries so very hard to impress and she certainly delivers. I will try my hardest to be her friend.”

“It’s not difficult to be friends with Pinkie. She already admires you greatly and desires your friendship badly,” informed Luna.

“I've noticed. Also, I just wanted to apologize for me snapping at you. My personal problems have really soured my mood as you can tell.”

The princess nodded in agreement. “I understand what it’s like to have your past affect you so much. I just want you to know that if you ever need anything, you can always ask me. I will try to be as supportive as I can.”

“That’s the other thing I want to talk about. While I get why you like Twilight or Pinkie, why are you interested in me? I’m just a moody mare.”

“As I’ve said before: I try to spend time with all of my subjects. I guess you stand out since you’re well associated with Pinkie. There’s also the fact that you thought I was still Nightmare Moon and I just wanted you to see that it was no longer the case.”

“You’ve certainly proved me wrong.”

“Good," Luna said happily. "You are also very fun to talk with, Cherub. We can relate to about anything and we mostly have a good time.”

“I apologize for ruining the good moments before. I know you didn’t mean any harm during those times.”

“And I as well. When we talk to each other, it’s like we’re equals, rather than princess and subject. And while I do enjoy Twilight’s and her friends’ company, I also want friends who are a little more…mature.”

“Are you calling them childish?” she teased.

“N-no!” Luna shot a slightly angry look as Chrysalis laughed at her. “They are fun to be with, but they always want to do things like parties or studying or other activities I am not interested in. I just want friends who I can get into serious discussions with or do something more grown up with once in a while.”

“How funny, but I think I see your point. I guess I should come visit sometimes to keep you company.” Having Luna as somepony to socialize with would likely make her feel overall better. Even if she couldn’t retrieve any vital information from her, she would at least have an adult pony to speak with instead of the company of herself.

“It might be better if I come here as Canterlot has lost its charm for a while.”

“I see.” Since things were going so well, she decided to push her luck. “By the way, do you want me to find a pony for you to date? I’m sure Pinkie and I can find you a very likeable stallion.”

The princess laughed and shook her head. “I appreciate the offer, but I must once again decline. I need more time. But when the time comes, I will leave everything to your hooves. I trust your judgment.”

Chrysalis felt a tingle of excitement. The moment Luna was ready was the moment she really made things happen for her business. “Thanks. I think this might be my favorite Nightmare Night yet.” It was her only Nightmare Night. “It must be so nice to have a holiday dedicated to you, or at least something that was you. I’d love to have a day when all ponies are supposed to respect me.”

Luna chuckled as she ate part of a caramel apple she found in the pile. “This night isn’t about forcing them to respect me. It’s about fun.”

“And we’ve definitely had some of that,” she said, recalling how she and Luna brought terror onto the public. “But does it bother you how it’s more about Nightmare Moon than you?”

Luna waved a hoof as she resumed her search through the candy pile. “She was a part of me, but it’s ancient history now. I’m just regular Luna again.”

“You’re very lucky that everypony has forgiven you after what happened,” Chrysalis said with a hint of envy in her voice.

“The reason I have been forgiven is because what had happened was not completely my fault. My body was consumed by some sort of force that fed on my jealousy. I was not in control of my actions.”

“And yet you were still sent up to the moon for a thousand years,” Chrysalis added.

“It was necessary,” Luna stated in a serious tone. “Nightmare Moon’s eternal night would have been the death of everything.”

Chrysalis looked up at the moon, which was currently full for the night. “What was it like, being isolated up there for a millennium?”

The princess joined her at looking up at the night sky. “The entire time I was imprisoned, I was in a slumber. I hadn’t even noticed such a long time had passed, but I still knew what had occurred. The banishment was actually much harder for my sister.”

“I still can’t believe she sent you up there. It must have been heartbreaking for her to lose you like that.”

Luna nodded while maintaining her gaze on the moon. “It was. She had apparently fallen into severe depression for a long time. I worry that the incident may have scarred her deeply for life. I don’t like to think about it, either. A thousand years of being with my sister and watching our world grow was taken from me and nothing I can do will ever change that.”

Her words stung Chrysalis. “I’m sorry to hear that. How are things between you two now?”

The princess finally broke away from the object in the sky and looked at her friend. “Things are going very well. Although we are awake during different times of the day, we still make time for each other. Sometimes she stays up the whole night just to be with me, despite me telling her not to.” A warm smile grew on her lips. “She’s not very productive during the day after.”

“She sounds a little clingy.”

“Not the word I would use. She feels partially responsible for what happened and is scared of losing me again. She just wants to make up for lost time, which there is a lot of, and we cherish every second.”

“So what do the royal princesses do when they bond?” she asked curiously.

“Nothing that special, I’m afraid. We like to play chess, do each other’s hair, or hike through any of the beautiful forests in Equestria. Mostly we just talk about stuff while relaxing in our rooms.”

Chrysalis felt slightly disappointed. “That’s all? I was expecting something a lot more exciting from you two since you’re both powerful alicorns.”

From seeing her expression, Luna decided to have some fun. “Also in our spare time, we go fly into space where we meet alien life forms or go create galaxies for fun, but we only do this when we’re not busy with time traveling,” she said jokingly.

They both shared a laugh. “Somehow I think I would have believed you if you told me that in a serious tone.”

A grin appeared on the blue pony’s face. “Really? Maybe I should tell other ponies this and see if they buy it. I could even change history books and make up amazing things we’ve done in the past to shock the nation. I’m sure Celestia wouldn’t approve, but it would be certainly amusing. I bet I could even have Twilight believe all of it and blow her mind. We may even have to give her therapy for making her think she was wrong about so many things.”

Chrysalis laughed hard and kicked her hooves against the ground. “I am just having the time of my life! I wish this night would never end!” As she continued laughing, she took notice of Luna’s hurt look. She wondered what was wrong with her until she realized that she had unintentionally referenced Nightmare Moon. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to say it like that.”

“It’s all right,” she said with extreme discomfort. “I know you didn’t mean to say it like that, but those words still fill me with guilt. They will be burned into my mind forever.”

“Why? Those were Nightmare Moon’s words, not yours. She took advantage of you by possessing you when you were vulnerable. It’s not like you wanted to become her on purpose.” Luna flinched and quickly looked away from her. Chrysalis could feel chill run down her spine as she realized what the alicorn was implying. “Did…did you want to become her?”

There was a tense silence between them and the changeling actually feared what her answer would be. Finally, Luna looked back into her eyes and opened her mouth. “Y…yes.”

Chrysalis was taken aback by what she heard. “Goodness, Luna. Why would you ever do a thing like that?”

“I was just so angry. My night was something of beauty and no pony appreciated it back then. I just wanted them all to love it like I did. I wanted to become strong enough to overpower my sister, so I agreed to let her have my body. At first I was happy, but when she wanted to make the night last forever, I knew things were going too far. I just wanted to demand respect from Celestia and the ponies, not hurt them. I was so scared of thinking that I couldn’t be stopped, especially when I returned. I am so grateful Twilight and her friends succeeded in preventing the nightmare from coming true. If they hadn’t, I…I…”

If there was one thing Chrysalis never thought she would ever live to see, it was to see one of the mighty alicorn sisters cry. While this would have normally pleased her, she actually felt upset to see her like this as they were getting along so well. She never really had to comfort any pony or changeling before, aside from Nymph, but she thought it would have been better than sitting there and looking uncaring as Luna quietly wept. She actually wished Pinkie was around since she was more of the supporting kind. Chrysalis sighed as she got up and laid next to Luna. “I’m sorry, Luna. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please stop crying.”

“It’s all my fault. I am to blame for everything.” Luna didn’t even notice her talking.

While she could see ponies telling her that it wasn’t her fault and how everything was going to be okay, Chrysalis was a little more realistic. “Not entirely, just mostly.”

Luna looked at her with moist eyes. “What?”

“I know you don’t want to hear this, but I do think you are at fault for the whole incident and you should feel bad for what you did.”

A surprised gasp came out of the alicorn’s mouth. “Why would you say that to me!? You’re supposed to be my friend!”

“Just hear me out! You yourself admitted that you let her become one with you, so there’s no excuse for that. You did it because you worried for your own selfish needs, but I want you to listen to me. You think you’re terrible because of what happened, but the truth is you’re not. If you were, you would feel no remorse for your actions and would probably still try to rid of Celestia.”

Luna sniffed. “I suppose.”

“My point is that you were terrible in the past, but you’re not anymore. You are now a very loving princess who loves her subjects and will do anything for the good of her country. Why should anypony define you because you made one mistake? I mean, sure it didn’t go as planned, but why can’t they appreciate the hard work their ruler has given them before? Why suddenly shun her for when she fails at doing something right just one time? Your subjects are just ungrateful for forgetting about everything else you have done for them before.”

The princess slowly nodded. “I think you’re right. There are still many ponies who think otherwise and I’m not sure how to change their opinions. I just want them to see who I am now so I can put this all behind me.”

“Well you know what? Buck ‘em.”

Luna gasped. “Cherub!”

“I’m serious, Luna. Why should you care about their opinions? They don’t know you like I do. The only pony whose opinion you should care about is Celestia, seeing how she was the one most affected by what happened as well as being your sister. Well, I guess there are also Cadance and Twilight, but you get my point. And if Celestia forgives you and loves you, what more do you need? Why care about ponies who won’t give you a chance? They’re just lesser peons you can just ignore. It’s not like they can ever do anything to you.”

It took a moment for Luna to stop herself from crying. “You’re absolutely right. I was guilty for allowing such a thing to occur, but I can’t change that now. What I can do instead is good deeds now and in the future. As long as my sister is at my side, I feel whole. And if ponies still wish to not accept that I have changed, then they are no concern of mine.”

“That’s the spirit. Do you feel better now?”

“Much. I actually feel much more relieved about the whole thing than before I came here tonight. You’ve actually helped me more than anypony and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Really? What about Celestia?”

“I’ve tried bringing up the past with her before, but it is something she tends to avoid. It was all very painful for her too and she just wants to move on. Twilight and the others also brush aside the issue, unfortunately. You, however, are different. I’m really glad I’ve met you, Cherub.”

“Me too. I haven’t enjoyed myself like this in a long time.”

“I’m happy to hear that.” Luna stood up. “As much as I would love to stay, I’m afraid that I must be going now. It is getting late and I have a busy day tomorrow.”

“I see.” Chrysalis was surprised she felt unhappy that she was leaving. “When will you come visit again?”

“I don’t know. I may not come by for a while as I have a lot of political duties that must be dealt with.” She could see the disappointment on the red unicorn’s face. “Do not feel sad, we can still communicate. I will have a magic mailbox made just for you. Just place a letter inside and it will be magically sent to me and vice versa.”

A smile appeared on Chrysalis’s lips. “Thank you, Luna. For everything.”

“And thank you as well. It is always a pleasure speaking with you. Twilight and her friends should also be able to provide you with emotional support if you need it.” She knew this was something she would never consider doing, but Chrysalis nodded anyway. “Now I must say goodbye to the people and be on my way.” She levitated her portion of the candy and made it disappear with magic, sending it somewhere else. “Just remember what we’ve talked about and I guarantee things will get better for you.”

“I will. Happy Nightmare Night, Luna.”

“Happy Nightmare Night, Cherub.” Luna then turned and left the changeling behind.

Chrysalis watched the princess walk towards town until she was out of sight. She gathered her candy and began her long walk home. Her mind was all over the place. The one thing she was sure about was that she was glad to be friends with Luna. She wasn’t sure what, but there was just something appealing to her about the alicorn. While this could be a tactical advantage in the future, she was just glad to find some comfort with her. Being isolated from her kind for such a long time and pretending to be somepony else was certainly very stressful on her. She constantly had days where she would develop doubts about her plan, worrying that it wouldn’t be good enough for them to accept her once again or that something would end up ruining it. She dealt with constant stress on a daily basis and could not open up to anypony about her real problems because of who she was, which often made her resort to turning toward the bottle. Chrysalis supposed that she could somehow try to make up similar problems to talk about with Luna.

Luna also seemed to know what she was talking about since she was still co-ruler of Equestria and not still on the moon, but being nice wasn’t how Chrysalis became queen in the first place. But she wasn’t queen anymore, just a fugitive in hiding after her catastrophic failure. Despite her trying to hunt her down and being a pony, she was actually happy to be around the Princess of the Night. She felt that Luna would help her give insight on what she should do when she returned to the changeling kingdom. Maybe things would go better if she didn’t control everything with an iron hoof. She was even wondering if the invasion during the royal wedding was a big mistake from the start like Nymph had tried to warn her.

Chrysalis wasn’t sure of what she was going to do with her sister. She was curious of why she was so desperate to locate her, especially after exiling her. She didn’t really think Nymph as the type who would give her up to Celestia, but after what Luna had told her, she just wasn’t sure anymore. She wondered if Nymph would have done the same thing had they made amends upon her return. Nymph had tried before but after all that had happened between them, Chrysalis would have none of it. Nymph might no longer be as easily forgiving like her employee, Pinkie.

She then remembered Pinkie and grinned evilly. The future was going to have to wait since for the moment, she was only going to focus on the present.


Pinkie Pie was exhausted from her many activities. She played many games, ate tons of candy, and even screamed a lot from being scared. She was happy that she was able to reach her candy quota and had a feeling that Cherub had a lot of fun with Luna. Right as she reached the door of Sugarcube Corner, something caught her eye. There was a piece of candy on the ground, which she picked up. “Ooo, free candy!” She then noticed there was a second piece of candy and gasped. “Wow, another one! How lucky is that?” She looked at the ground ahead of her and discovered there was a trail of candy. Pinkie got excited and followed it, taking every piece she saw.

She had followed the trail for several minutes and it had led her into the Everfree Forest. She wondered how much more there was, but then she got her answer. In a clearing, there was a bucket of candy sitting there, unguarded. “Oh my gosh! This is the best Nightmare Night ever!” She ran over and claimed her prize, hugging it lovingly.

Her moment of joy was cut short when she noticed something moving through the trees and couldn’t help but feel afraid. “H-hello? Is somepony there?” She slowly walked towards the entrance of the forest, but was suddenly surrounded by green fire. Pinkie looked around, panicking. “W-what’s going on!?”

A shadow fell over her and she could feel her blood turn to ice. She slowly turned around, scared of what was there. When she looked, her worst fears came true. Standing there was a menacing and familiar figure. “C-Cherub?” She hoped that it was only a prank, but she noticed something. This Chrysalis had glowing green eyes and actually had holes in her legs. She then realized that this was the real one standing before her. Pinkie’s body flooded with terror as she looked into the monster’s eyes.

“PINKIE PIE,” her voice boomed, “FOR YOUR GREAT INSULT AGAINST THE CHANGELINGS, I WILL COMPLETELY DRAIN YOU OF YOUR LOVE AND DEVOUR YOUR SOUL.”

The pink pony dropped her candy, screamed at the top of her lungs, and ran faster than she had ever had in her life. She bolted out of the forest and ran towards the safest place she knew, crying in fright and praying that the monster wouldn’t catch her.

Chrysalis was on the ground, trying to catch her breath as she laughed incredibly hard. She decided that Luna wasn’t completely right about everything. Being mean got things done and was a lot more fun. She gathered all the candy that Pinkie had dropped and made her way home with a skip in her step, happy that she had easily outperformed Luna on her own holiday. She took one of the lollipops and put it in her mouth.

Revenge had never tasted so sweet.


“And then she said she was going to devour my soul! It was the scariest thing ever!”

Fluttershy trembled while hiding her eyes with her hooves. “T-t-that’s really s-scary, Pinkie. Y-you sure she didn’t f-follow you here?”

Pinkie gulped and got closer to her friend. “I don’t know, but I’m too scared to look.”

Both of them were huddled together under Fluttershy’s bed. This was the closest building Pinkie could run to and she hoped that she had ditched the changeling back in the woods. “What should we do?” asked Fluttershy. “Should we get Twilight or Princess Celestia?”

“You’re right! We have to tell them immediately!” Pinkie sprang from under the bed, but then immediately went back under. “W-well, I’m sure it can wait until tomorrow, when it’s not so dark.”

Both of them laid silently under the bed. The room was dark like the rest of the house with the exception of moonlight coming through the crack of the closed window curtain and they hoped that Chrysalis would think no pony was home. Even the animals knew not to make a sound as they were told of what was lurking in the forest. “Pinkie?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m really scared. What if she comes here? Is she going to eat my soul, too?”

Pinkie could see in the faint moonlight that Fluttershy was absolutely terrified to the point of tears. She reached her hoof over her friend and brought her closer to her. “Don’t worry. I’ll protect you from Queenie Meanie. She will never lay a hoof on you as long as I’m around.”

“Promise?”

The earth pony nuzzled against her friend. “Promise.”

Fluttershy smiled and gave Pinkie a peck on the cheek. “Thank you, Pinkie. I’m really happy that you’re here.”

Pinkie laid against her while stroking her mane. “I am too.”

While she ran her hoof through her friend’s hair, Pinkie had a weird feeling within her. For some reason, she felt very happy being with Fluttershy. While she was always happy and was happier when she was with her friends, she somehow felt really happy being with Fluttershy. She took another look at the peagsus, who was now sleeping soundly while breathing softly. Pinkie could feel her heart go light as she looked into Fluttershy's peaceful expression. She even felt warm when she got next to her, feeling her soft coat and taking in the light scent of her mane. Right now, she wanted nothing more than to be with her friend and protect her. She had done so many fun things that night, but somehow, this was her favorite moment.

The Greatest Discovery Ever

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The Greatest Discovery Ever

It took several days for their friends to convince Pinkie and Fluttershy that they weren’t being hunted by Chrysalis as they believed it was only a Nightmare Night prank, which was only half the truth. While Chrysalis found amusement in their renowned fear of her, she began to regret it when Pinkie stopped showing up to work for a while. She was glad to have her working again, but she noticed something was off with the girl. She figured that she was still nervous about her encounter during Nightmare Night, so she didn’t ask her about it.

Chrysalis decided to follow Luna’s advice and tried acting nicer towards Pinkie. However, the problem was that Pinkie liked Cherub, not Chrysalis, so their friendship wasn't exactly real. Pinkie kept trying to dig into her fake personal life, so Chrysalis made up a few things about it while keeping as vague as possible. Besides this occasional annoyance, she took some satisfaction in the pony’s company, which was something she had never thought would happen in her lifetime. Pinkie knew how to make things lively and sometimes the pranks she performed on the local ponies were something that Chrysalis had found to be funny. She sometimes even went out for dinner with her after work so they could talk and hang out, which she preferred over her nights alone.

Chrysalis decided to take her social activity further by communicating with Luna. Every night after closing, she would write to the princess. When they weren’t discussing the current issues with the changelings, they talked about their personal lives along with other topics of interest. Whenever Luna wasn’t busy with politics, she tried to learn more about the modern world, taking a great interest in history and modern technology. As much as Chrysalis enjoyed talking to her, she had to avoid anything concerning her false backstory and would only talk about anything interesting that happened during work. She even discovered about Luna’s ability to enter dreams, which caused her to absolutely panic and force Luna into promising that she would stay out of her mind for personal reasons. Just a couple weeks after Nightmare Night, the princess came for a visit and they talked over a cup of tea at Chrysalis’s workplace. As much as she enjoyed her company, like Pinkie, Luna was only interested in Cherub, not Chrysalis. Still, she did enjoy having her around as she tried to learn more about Luna’s life after the Nightmare Moon incident in interest of seeing how she managed to keep her title despite what happened.

As far as her master plan was going, progress was finally beginning to show. The love channeling from the town reached a point where she could simply feed from the comfort of her own bed, which was a luxury that she wished she could bestow upon all her subjects. Chrysalis even noticed that she was a little curvier in appearance from being around the fuel constantly and was glad she didn’t look like she was carapace and bone anymore, admiring her fuller figure. She made a serious mental note to ensure she didn’t gain any more weight when the love further increased.

Today, the changeling was busy violating the privacy of her lone employee’s desk. She had a few minutes to spare and became curious of what Pinkie had kept in there. She opened one of the drawers and found a large stash of candy inside, which she took a hoofful for herself before she closed it. She opened the drawer under it and was greeted by loud party streamers and confetti shooting out, nearly causing her to fall out of her chair. Pinkie seemed to be ready for a party wherever and whenever.

She looked into the large bottom drawer and saw another stash. Inside were small model toys of Pinkie, her friends, the princesses, and one that reminded her of Spike’s Nightmare Night costume, which she assumed to be Discord. Chrysalis wasn’t sure whether Pinkie had made these or had bought them. The pony would usually play with the ones that looked like her friends and sometimes even talk to them as if there were really there. She rummaged through the toys, wondering where or how Pinkie acquired all of them. There seemed to have a great amount of effort put into them and captured every detail precisely.

Then she saw something on the bottom and pulled it out, gasping when she held it. In her hoof was a model of herself as Queen Chrysalis. She examined it in fascination, admiring how it was almost exactly like her. It even had the holes in her legs placed correctly. She was so tempted to keep it for herself, but she was sure Pinkie would notice it missing.

Chrysalis then had an idea. She looked over at the windows and made sure the blinds were closed. She reached back into the drawer and pulled out the Celestia and Twilight models. “Hi, I’m big butt Celestia,” she said in a mocking voice as she held the Sun Princess, “and I am the stupid princess who runs the land filled with stupid ponies!”

She brought over the Twilight model. “And I’m her favorite flank kissing student, Toilet Sprinkle!” She brought the Twilight model’s face towards and away from Celestia’s butt, imitating kissing sounds. “By my calculations, your butt is big enough to cause a total solar eclipse! I know this because I is smart!”

Chrysalis then laughed evilly as she brought her own toy over. “Tremble, puny ponies, for I have returned!”

“Oh no!” cried Celestia in Chrysalis’s voice. “Twilight, go get the elements of whatever, for I am too weak and useless to defeat the almighty Queen Chrysalis by myself!”

“Do not even bother, Twilight. Your friends have realized how much of a loser you really are and have left you. As for me, I actually made a new friend!” She then brought out the Nightmare Moon model.

“Luna, why?” Twilight cried pathetically.

“Fools! Chrysalis helped me realize my true potential and I don’t need either of you anymore! Now bow before our might!”

She made a zapping sound as she knocked over Celestia and Twilight. “I now claim Equestria in the name of the changelings!” she said as she held her figure over them. The real Chrysalis squealed in delight from all the fun she was having and wished this was actually happening.

Twilight got back up. “I’m not done yet, not while I still have my kung-hoof skills!”

Chrysalis laughed. “Try all you want! Resistance is…wait a minute.” She realized that she had neither picked the Twilight toy back up or had said what she had heard. She saw that the model was being held by somepony else and when she looked at the face of the pony, she flew out of the chair. “Pinkie, what are you doing here!?”

Pinkie giggled loudly. “I work here, silly! Do you want to keep playing? This is so much fun!”

“No thanks, I’m done.” Chrysalis quickly walked back to her desk, trying to cover her face with her hair as she was completely embarrassed. She wasn’t sure what was worse: the fact she was caught playing with children’s toys or the fact she was actually enjoying it.

Pinkie sat at her desk and resumed the fight, making fighting sound effects while Chrysalis watched. “It seems we are evenly matched,” said Pinkie imitating Chrysalis.

“Yeah, we need a tie breaker or something,” said Twilight.

Pinkie then brought out Discord. “Greetings, everypony! I have returned to do good stuff like making it rain chocolate milk and…say. What’s your name, pretty lady?”

She faked a giggle. “My name is Chrysalis and all I want is love.” The real Chrysalis stared daggers at the pony.

“Don’t worry. I can give you all the love you want!” Pinkie proceeded to bring the two figures together, making kissing sounds as she rubbed their faces together.

“Pinkie, it’s time to put your toys away,” Chrysalis commanded in a friendly voice.

The pony stopped and looked up at her. “But Ms. Cherub, I still have to do their wedding!”

“PUT THEM AWAY BEFORE I BREAK THEM!”

Pinkie hastily grabbed the toys and shoved them back into their drawer. When she finished, she gave Chrysalis an innocent grin, which only caused her boss to groan. They sat quietly for a minute until Pinkie spoke. “Ms. Cherub?”

Chrysalis let out a sigh. “Yes, Pinkie?”

“Can I ask you something?”

“What’s on your mind?” She worried that Pinkie had listened to too much while she was playing and was getting suspicious. But then again, the pony was not very sharp.

“I’ve been feeling weird around one of my friends.” Pinkie seemed to be both embarrassed and unsure.

Chrysalis arched an eyebrow at her. “Which one and how weird?”

“Fluttershy. It’s just whenever I’m around her, sometimes I feel really warm and sometimes I get nervous."

Chrysalis gave it some thought as even this seemed strange of Pinkie. “You have? When did this start happening?”

Pinkie thought intensely. “It started on Nightmare Night when I ran to Fluttershy’s house after I ran into Chrysalis.”

“For the last time, that was probably somepony pulling your leg,” Chrysalis huffed.

“No, it really was her! And she stole all of my candy!” She could see that her boss was not persuaded. “Anyway, so when I hid with Fluttershy, we kind of cuddled and I liked it and now I keep thinking about her all the time and one of the reasons I didn’t leave her home for a few days was that I just wanted to be with her and the last two weeks I just wanted to keep hanging out with her more and more and I keep thinking of how cute she is!” Pinkie took a few breaths after having just emptying her lungs. “I’m so confused! Why do I like her so much more now!?”

Chrysalis had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but she needed to be sure as she wasn’t getting a clear reading. “How much do you like her exactly?”

“More than my other friends. Please don’t tell them! They might get jealous!”

“I won’t,” Chrysalis promised. “Now Pinkie, we’re going to do a quick exercise.”

“You mean like gymnastics?”

The changeling laughed, loving moments like these with Pinkie. “No, nothing like that. I want you to close your eyes and imagine everything I tell you is happening.”

“That sounds like fun!” Pinkie closed her eyes and excitedly awaited to play along.

Chrysalis cleared her throat and spoke in a soothing voice, “You are in your bedroom and you are lying on your bed, enjoying some peace and quiet after a long day at work. The door opens and there stands Fluttershy.”

“Hi, Fluttershy!” greeted Pinkie while waving her hoof with her eyes remaining closed.

"How do you think she looks?”

The pony shrugged. “She looks normal to me.”

“Does she have a certain attraction on you?” There was no answer. “Pinkie?”

“Yes.”

A certain emotion was being produced from the mare and Chrysalis was very pleased with the fact she was right. She continued to speak as she fed. “She closes the door and approaches you with a seductive look in her eyes.”

“What does seductive mean?”

“Focus. She climbs on top of you and gives you a hug. How do you feel?”

“I like it! Hugs are great!”

Chrysalis chuckled as it was clear the pony had no idea what was coming next. “Now she pulls back a bit and then she does something very surprising.”

“What does she do?" She wiggled around in her chair while keeping her eyes closed. "Give me a birthday present!?”

“She kisses you on the mouth.”

Pinkie stopped moving and crimson appeared on her face. “W-wha?”

“She rubs against your body as she puts her tongue in your mouth to play with yours and you both lay there for quite some time. Do you like this?” She could see the pony biting her lip. “Do you like this?”

“Y-yes.”

“Do you want to be with Fluttershy?”

“Yes.”

“How badly?”

“More than anything.”

“Open your eyes.” Pinkie opened her eyes and Chrysalis clapped her hooves. “Congratulations, Pinkie. You’re in love!” The Element of Laughter produced a very long gasp and then grew a gigantic smile. Chrysalis knew that this might have been very strange for the pony to have these feelings for the pegasus, but Pinkie could handle this easily. Pinkie already was very close to Fluttershy and she would let nature take its course, reaping the reward in the end all for herself.

“With who?”

Chrysalis immediately froze. “I-I’m sorry?” she asked through clenched teeth.

“Who am I in love with, Cherub? I need to know!”

“Isn’t it obvious!?”

Pinkie shook her head. “Which stallion is it? I can’t think of who it is!”

“Maybe it’s a girl you should be thinking about.”

The pony scratched the back of her head with a confused look on her face. “Why would it be a girl? That doesn’t make any sense at all!”

Chrysalis dug her face into her hooves, knowing exactly what was wrong. With her magic, she turned the sign on the window to “Closed.”

“Pinkie, we’re going to have a talk.”

Pinkie looked worried. “I didn’t do anything wrong, did I?”

The false unicorn just smiled and shook her head. “No, Pinkie. I’m just going to teach you about something important.” She pointed to the seat in front of her, which Pinkie eagerly sat in. “But while we’re on the subject, you seriously need to stop going around and telling ponies that for our jobs, you and I like to make love.”

“But isn’t that what we do?”

“Technically yes, but pick a better choice of words. Anyway, we’re going to talk about homosexuality.”

Pinkie looked at her with extreme curiosity. “What’s that?”

“It’s when one pony of one gender is physically attracted to another pony of the same gender.” She noticed Pinkie had stopped bouncing, likely trying to process the information. “You see, I think you are a lesbian.”

“Lesbian?” the pony asked while tilting her head.

“It means that you are a mare who falls in love with other mares. The reason you've been feeling strange around your friend is that you’re in love with Fluttershy.” Chrysalis watched Pinkie sitting there, completely still. She was wondering if she broke her brain or something as she wasn’t doing anything. Suddenly, Pinkie started laughing. “Is there something funny?”

“Yeah, mares can’t love other mares! That’s just silly!”

“Yes they can. Remember when we had those costumers that wanted a special somepony that was the same gender as them? I lied when I said they just wanted to be friends. They’re actually gay.”

The pony suddenly ceased. “But-”

“Pinkie, Lyra and Bon-Bon are actually lovers. I’m surprised you haven’t caught on after all this time.”

“No, they’re just kissing friends!” she protested.

Chrysalis chuckled at her, amused by how dumb she could be sometimes. “Believe me when I say that they do a lot more together than just kiss. I heard they’re getting married in a couple of months.”

Pinkie was dumbfounded. “So I like…girls?”

“Yes, Pinkie. You do.”

“And stallions can like stallions?”

“That is also correct.” She saw Pinkie once again remain still, wondering what could have possibly been going through the pony’s mind for her to not react at all. Suddenly, Pinkie’s entire body started to quake and Chrysalis took cover under the desk, expecting the worst.

“This. Is.” Pinkie launched herself into the air. “The greatest discovery ever!”

Chrysalis came out and sighed with relief, grateful that she didn’t have to take her to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. “I’m glad to see that you are so accepting of the news.”

Pinkie was jumping across the entire room, shrieking with joy. “This is amazing! I always thought stallions and mares always had to be together. Why haven’t I heard about this before!?”

The changeling let out a friendly laugh. “You probably weren’t paying as much attention as you should have. But now that we’re done, why don’t you-"

“This is the most exciting news ever! I need to tell everypony that I’m a lesbian!” She immediately dashed towards the door.

“What!? No, Pinkie, you can’t-” She had already disappeared. “…leave.” Chrysalis shrugged and decided to get to work while she waited for her to return, wondering what she had just unleashed onto Ponyville.


Twilight placed a massive stack of papers on the table and wiped the sweat off her brow. “Okay, Spike, I think that’s the last of it.”

“Great. Now excuse me while I go catch up on sleep.” He yawned as he reached for his bed, but was pulled away by Twilight’s magic.

“Not so fast. I need you to write a quick letter.”

“But Twilight, that report took all night and I’m really tired,” the dragon whined.

“Just one quick letter, Spike, and then you can go to bed.”

Spike huffed, knowing he had no choice. “Fine.” He took out a piece of paper and a quill. “Let’s hear it.”

Twilight cleared her throat. “Dear Mom and Dad, I-”

She was interrupted by the sound of the library’s front door being flung open. Pinkie barged in and yelled, “Guess what? I’m a lesbian, Twilight!” She then vanished as quickly as she came.

Twilight stood in silence, completely bewildered by what had just happened. “That was…interesting. Anyway, back to the letter.” She noticed Spike’s hands were empty while he was walking away. “Where’s the letter?”

“I sent it. I made sure I got the lesbian thing down, too.” He didn’t look at her when he spoke, desperate to go count sheep.

Before he reached his destination, Twilight pinned him to the floor in complete panic. “Why did you do that!?”

“I-I thought you were finished! Did you want to say something else? And what’s a lesbian anyway?”

“Spike, get another letter. NOW.


“And that’s how glue is made, children,” Cheerilee said cheerfully. “Now please open your books to page-”

She was cut off by Pinkie’s sudden entrance, which caught everypony by surprise. “I just found out I’m a lesbian! Isn’t that great!?” Pinkie then ran out, heading to her next destination.

Cheerilee stood in complete confusion, unsure by what had just happened. She then saw one of her students raising her hoof. “Yes, Sweetie Belle?”

The unicorn filly looked completely confused as well as the rest of the class. “Ms. Cheerilee, what’s a lesbian?” The whole class murmured in agreement with her, all curious of the meaning of the word. Cheerilee laughed nervously, knowing that she might be getting a few interesting letters from their parents.


Bon-Bon laid on the grass next to Lyra. She had her eyes closed and was enjoying the pleasant music that the unicorn played from her harp. They had been making many preparations for their upcoming wedding and right now she wanted to some time off of work to relax with her fiancée. With Caramel in a relationship with Applejack, she now trusted him enough to run the store and not give away anything like before.

She swore she could hear hoof steps rapidly coming towards them. Her eyes shot open when a pony screamed at her, “Guess what? I just found I’m a lesbian like you girls! Maybe later we could do lesbian things together! Won’t that be fun!?” Pinkie ran off from the confused couple and then shouted, “By the way, congratulations on the wedding!”

Lyra and Bon-Bon just stared in silence as the pink pony vanished. After a minute of trying to understand what had just occurred, Lyra asked, “Do you think we should still invite her to the wedding?”

“No.”


“Do you think a box of chocolates will work?”

Chrysalis stared at him in total disbelief. “You think candy is going to make up you ditching her play just so you can go bowling?”

The earth pony stallion thought some more. “What about flowers and candy?”

“If that’s your idea of an apology after sending your twin brother to your marefriend’s play just so you can hang out with your friends, then I think she should dump your sorry flank and get somepony better.” Chrysalis looked behind him when the bell above the door rang as her employee returned. Pinkie had been gone for about an hour and she had been just dispensing dating advice to the customers who came in. “If you want to keep her, apologize, do whatever she asks, and never pull a stunt like that again. Otherwise, I’ll be expecting you here again very soon.” She followed Pinkie into the kitchen, who was drinking water as she was completely exhausted. “Welcome back. Are you done now?” she asked while hiding her annoyance.

Pinkie crawled to the kitchen table and sat, panting heavily. “Yep. Everypony I know now knows about me being a lesbian. Thank you for telling me all about this, Ms. Cherub.”

“No problem. Do you have any more questions about being gay?” She thought that now was as good as any other time to satisfy any of her remaining curiosity as Pinkie would not be too useful if her mind was elsewhere.

She pondered for a moment. “Can gay ponies have babies?”

Chrysalis smirked, amused by her lack of biological knowledge. “No. Well, except for lesbian couples, and that’s only if one is a unicorn since, you know, magic.”

Pinkie cocked her head. “Why does one have to be a unicorn for the stork to come?”

The red unicorn stared in disbelief, realizing that she was probably going to have to give her another talk. How was the pony this old and knew none of the things she was learning today? “Do you honestly believe that’s where baby ponies come from?”

Pinkie nodded. “Well duh! Where else do they come from?”

“Do you really think that ponies come from eggs that are laid by a mythical bird?”

“Spike came from an egg,” she argued.

“He’s a dragon, that’s different. And besides, weren’t you there when Mrs. Cake had her kids?”

“Yes, but I didn’t get to see the stork.”

“You’re saying he goes to the hospital?” Chrysalis could never understand the pony’s logic for anything.

“Of course. Why do you think all those babies are there? He has to drop them off somewhere!”

Chrysalis sat at the table, frustrated, and dug her face into her hooves again. “Why don’t you tell me how you think babies are made?”

Pinkie ran into the main room and returned with the Discord and Chrysalis models. “When a mommy and daddy want a baby, they-” She was startled as a bolt of magic shot by her head and left a smoldering crater on the wall behind her.

“Try again without the toys,” the changeling requested threateningly.

Pinkie placed them on the floor, freaked by her threat. “When a mommy and daddy want a baby, they make a wish. They keep wishing until the stork hears their wish and prepares them a beautiful baby, which takes around eleven months. When the ponies find out the stork is making them a baby, the mare eats a lot of food.”

The royal changeling was already lost. “Now why in the world would she do that?”

“I’m getting to that part! So after eleven months, the stork lays an egg and it hatches into the baby pony. When the couple hears about it, they rush to the hospital and meet the stork. He’s supposed to give them the baby, but he wants to be given food in return for all his hard work. So like a momma bird, the mare throws up the food she had been storing into his mouth to feed him and then they have a new addition to the family. The end!” concluded the party pony with a large grin on her face.

Chrysalis’s mouth was hung open as she tried to understand the words that came out of her employee. “Pinkie, that is absolutely the most disgusting and dumbest thing I have ever heard! Where did you even come up with this?”

Pinkie shrugged. “Well no pony said baby making was pretty. Plus it makes so much sense. Mrs. Cake got really fat and when she had her babies, she was thin again!”

The fugitive gave up. “You know what? Why don’t you go see Twilight for a book on how babies are made? I’m sure you will be surprised. Anyway, let’s get back to the task at hand. Fluttershy is one of your closet friends, but-”

Pinkie sprung up. “Oh no, I forgot about her! I need to tell her right now!” Pinkie rushed out of the kitchen and went towards the open door, but Chrysalis anticipated this and slammed it shut with her magic, causing her to collide into it. The five ponies in the main room watched as Chrysalis dragged her back into the kitchen.

“That’s not a good idea,” said Chrysalis when they went back in. “If she were to know, she would catch on much faster to you making moves on her and would probably get scared off. Besides, we don’t even know if she likes mares the way you do.”

Pinkie rubbed her sore nose. “So what should I do?”

“Since you two are already so close, this should be much easier. But just so you know, Pinkie, it is very possible she will never feel the same way about you.” Pinkie’s face shattered into an incredibly sad look. “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Maybe we could give her a change in opinion since she already likes you so much.” That made Pinkie smile and Chrysalis couldn’t help but do the same. “Now, what you want to do is spend some quality time with her. It will be much better if it is only the two of you so you can connect more. Just do what she likes doing and try to make her happy whenever you can. Flirt a little if you get the chance, but try not to look too obvious. If we’re lucky, she’ll love you too. Now I need to know, how close are you two?”

“We’re the bestest of friends!”

“Does she think you as one too?”

Pinkie happily nodded. “She sure does! We always love doing stuff together since we’ve been friends forever. Even though she’s shy, she always loves coming to my parties and I always love to play with her animals.”

“Sounds like you two are as close as you can be, but tell me about what you both did for the few days you two hid together.”

“It was so scary! We kept thinking that Chrysalis was trying to get us and our friends kept trying to make us leave. Fluttershy was so terrified the entire time and she always wanted to be near me. She even wanted me to sleep in her bed.”

“So she felt safe around you.”

“Of course! I promised that I would protect her and she even kissed me on the cheek once.”

“My, my, Pinkie Pie. You are quite a ladies’ mare,” Chrysalis complemented. “If she really clung onto you like that, then I really have a feeling you might be successful in winning her love.”

“Well what are we waiting for? Let’s go right now!” She was ready to leave, but Chrysalis had grabbed her by the back of her neck.

“We’re not going anywhere. We are still on the job,” she reminded her sternly.

“But…but…”

Chrysalis looked at Pinkie’s face and could see the incredible sadness on it. Surprisingly, it hurt her to see it. “Look, I know you’re so eager to run over to her and do whatever, but you want to be subtle, right?”

Pinkie nodded. “Right!”

“And wouldn’t she be suspicious if you were to turn up today when you’re supposed to be working for me?”

The pony gasped. “You’re right, she would totally get suspicious! Gosh, Ms. Cherub, you’re so smart!”

Chrysalis laughed at the comment. “Thank you. Now if you want to do this right, you have to follow my instructions very carefully. But until then, let’s focus on helping these other ponies.”


On Saturday, Pinkie bounced her way to the end of Ponyville, ready to spend another day with a certain pegasus. Cherub had been advising her on how to spend the day with her after work. Pinkie was to take Fluttershy out, do anything fun that would make them both happy, and when the mood felt right, confess her feelings. She wished she had Cherub with her to provide addition help, but she was busy meeting with Luna today. Soon she was at the outskirts of town and the cottage was in sight. She became really excited upon seeing her destination and sprinted all the way there. She was about to pound on the door in frenzy, but she caught herself. She remembered that Cherub told her not to look too desperate to spend time with her, otherwise Fluttershy would catch on to her and that could be a problem. She lightly knocked on the door instead.

The pegasus soon opened it and smiled at her presence. “Hi, Pinkie! How are you doing today?”

The way she spoke always made her heart flutter. “I’m doing super!” Pinkie immediately panicked as she gave out too much emotion. “I mean, I’m doing fine,” she said as she played it off cool.

Fluttershy giggled as she noticed what Pinkie did. “That’s nice. Was there something you wanted?”

“I just came by to see if you wanted to do something fun today!”

“That sounds lovely, Pinkie. I always like it when you come over.” She moved from the doorway to allow her friend entry. Once she closed the front door, she asked, “So what do you want to do?”

“Well what do you want to do? Play checkers? Bake a cake? Invite Discord and play rabbit astronaut again?” They could hear Angel let out a high pitched scream as he ran away.

The yellow mare was indecisive. “I…uh…I want to do whatever you want to do, Pinkie.”

“But I want to do you want to do!”

Fluttershy was slightly confused by her loud response. “…Why?”

Pinkie started stammering. “Because…uh…everypony else is busy and you’re the only one available. Plus you’re my friend and I just want you to have fun! Now let’s see.” She continued thinking about what they could possibly do. She was actually hoping that Fluttershy would come up with something first since she would have a lot of interest in it.

After several minutes of silence, the pegasus asked, “Why don’t we go to town and think of something together?”

“Okay!” They left the house and walked along the path to town. Every now and then Pinkie took a quick glance at her. It was still strange to her that she was actually in love with one of her own friends and she still needed to figure out how she was going to get Fluttershy to love her. She wanted to tell her how she felt so badly, but she just needed to wait for the right moment.

She noticed her friend being silent during their entire walk and knew it was time to get to work. “So…what’s new, Fluttershy?” she asked in hopes of starting a conversation.

“Umm…Soarin was here yesterday.”

Pinkie gasped. “He was? Dashie didn’t tell me!”

“It was only for a short bit. He’s just so busy training all of those ponies in becoming Wonderbolts and Spitfire’s got him on a short leash. I feel bad that he and Rainbow Dash have such a long distance relationship.”

“I know. Maybe it’ll be better when she becomes a Wonderbolt.”

“Maybe, but that means she might go live with him,” Fluttershy added with some sorrow.

“No! She is too loyal to leave Ponyville. She’ll make Soarin live here and we’ll all be friends forever!”

“That would be nice, but that’s so long from now. She still has a few more years until she becomes an official Wonderbolt. It must be so much work for her.”

“At least she has Soarin with her,” added Pinkie.

The pegasus nodded with a smile on her face. “She just gets so excited whenever he comes by or when she gets a letter. They always like to fly around doing stunts or prank ponies. Anything they do brings them so much joy. They are so…perfect together.”

“I know, right? I’m so glad they’re dating, even if Spitfire got mad at them when she found out. They’re totally meant to be!”

“A perfect couple,” murmured Fluttershy, no longer aware of her friend.

“Fluttershy?”

She noticed Pinkie addressing her and lightly blushed. “Sorry, I just feel a little jealous. I want a perfect relation like that, but I get really nervous about meeting ponies.”

Pinkie then had an idea. “You do? Then you should come visit Cupid’s Arrow sometime! We could totally help you out!” she suggested with extreme excitement.

Fluttershy’s smile immediately died. “Oh, I would love to. I’m sure you two are great and everything, but it’s just…you know…” She moved her hair in front of her face and whimpered.

“What?”

“Cherub,” Fluttershy squeaked shyly.

Pinkie tilted her head. “What’s wrong with her?”

“She’s really scary. She likes to yell a lot and I saw what she did to those poor ponies who asked her out. I’m sorry, but I don’t like her at all.”

Pinkie thought that bringing Fluttershy to a pony she was scared of was now a very bad idea, regretting ever mentioning the things Cherub had done in the past to her friends. “I see your point. I try helping her find a new coltfriend, but she just keeps refusing. Whatever happened with her old one must have been really bad.”

“Is she still just as mean?”

“She’s been a lot nicer lately. I don’t know what got her in a better mood, but I hope it stays that way. She actually laughs at some of my pranks now!”

“I’m glad to hear that. I just hope I never get mean like her if I ever get dumped by a…special somepony…” Fluttershy hid her face again to hide her blushing.

Pinkie was slightly upset by hearing that and through a supportive hoof around her. “Don’t worry. I’m sure nothing like that will ever happen to you. You’re so sweet and pretty, no pony would want to hurt you.”

Her words clearly cheered her up from her expression and the blush she was producing. Her friend let her go and they continued down the busy street. “Pinkie, can I ask you something?”

“Yes?”

“Since you’ve been working in Cupid’s Arrow for a long time, I was wondering…”

The pink pony’s heart rate began to increase. “Yes?”

“Do you know any ponies that are perfect for me?”

The truth was she actually did know some stallions. In her spare time, she had curiously matched her single friends to possible stallion candidates and recently each other when she found out about homosexuality. Fluttershy did have some possible matches, but she didn’t want to lose her to a stranger. Fluttershy looked at her with pleading eyes, which made Pinkie hurt more because of the only choice she had left. She had to lie. “No, I can’t say I have.”

The pegasus looked very upset by what she heard. “O-oh. I see. I guess I’m just not meant to be in a relationship.”

“Now don’t say that. You just have to give it time. And who knows? Love can always come from the unlikeliest places,” she hinted. “So cheer up, I promise you one day you will find a pony that will love you with all their heart.”

Fluttershy hugged her, which made Pinkie blush. “Thanks, Pinkie. I feel so much better now.”

While Pinkie patted her on the back, she noticed one of the nearby buildings and got an idea. “Hey, there’s a pet store over there! Why don’t we go check it out and look at the cute animals?”

Fluttershy broke away and bolted inside. Pinkie entered the store after her and saw her friend examining all of the animals. Fluttershy went over to a pen that housed several puppies of various breeds. “Oh look how cute they are! I just want to adopt them all!”

Pinkie smiled as she watched her play with the young animals. “I don’t think Angel will like you putting all your attention on them.”

“I know, but just look at them,” she emphasized.

Pinkie looked down into the pen. All of the puppies were pawing on the side, eager to be played with. She bent down and stuck a hoof in, causing them to crowd around it to sniff and lick her. “Aw, they’re so cute. But don’t you have enough animals already?” She did not receive an answer and looked around. “Fluttershy?”

The pegasus was over at the front counter. “Excuse me, but how much they cost all together?”

Pinkie panicked and grabbed Fluttershy, dragging her outside. Her friend already had enough animals and didn’t want her to spend so much money to get more. “No, I can’t let you take all of them.”

Fluttershy tried to break free from her grip and return to the shop. “But why not? They’re so cute!”

Pinkie almost couldn’t resist the incredibly sad eyes she received. “But it wouldn’t be fair to the ponies who want to adopt them, right?”

The pegasus sighed. “You’re right. It would be selfish. I’m sure they will all find good owners,” she said, smiling.

“That’s the spirit! Now let’s go find something else to do. I think your house has enough cute animals.” They continued wandering through Ponyville. Since Fluttershy was in a good mood, Pinkie decided to take a little risk. “They were really adorable, weren’t they?”

The pegasus happily nodded. “They were. I just love puppies so much.”

“You know what’s also adorable?”

“What?”

Pinkie grabbed her by the cheek and pulled on it. “You are!”

Fluttershy put her hair over her face to hide all the red that had appeared. “T-t-t-thanks, Pinkie.”

As they continued on their trek through the town, Pinkie could see that her friend was lost in thought about something and even she could guess what it was. Her thoughts were interrupted by the growling that came from her stomach. “Hey, Fluttershy?” The pegasus didn’t take notice of her. “Flutters?”

Fluttershy looked at her. “Oh. Yes, Pinkie?”

“Can we get some food? I’m really hungry!”

“I am too, but where should we go?”

Pinkie jumped up. “We should get the best food there is for lunch!”

“A well balanced meal?” suggested the yellow pony.

“Pff, no. I don’t even know what that means. I meant ice cream!”

“Ice cream? For lunch?”

“Of course! I’ll pay for it, too!”

Fluttershy smiled at her. “You’re a really funny pony sometimes, Pinkie.”

Pinkie led her to an ice cream parlor across town while they spoke some more. After buying, they sat outside at a table while enjoying their cold treats. While Fluttershy had only a cone of mint ice cream, Pinkie had a towering pile of ice cream as she wanted one scoop of all their twenty-three flavors. “Hey, Fluttershy, where does ice cream come from?”

The yellow mare shrugged. “There’s milk and that’s all I know.”

“Milk? But then why is it called ice cream?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s false advertisement! Now I know why it came out yucky when I tried making it from ice cubes and cream.”

“You’re so silly.” Fluttershy licked her ice cream while looking at Pinkie’s pile. The way it overshadowed her was incredibly intimidating and she feared it would fall on her. “Um…how can you possibly eat that much, Pinkie?”

“Like this!” She stuck her tongue out and swiped the bottom scoop, bringing the stack down one level. Fluttershy giggled and her friend joined her. As they continued eating, Pinkie tried to think up of something else they could discuss. “Hey, Fluttershy, do you think Cherub would want a pet?”

The shy pony shrugged at her. “I guess that would make her happy. Any idea what kind of animal she wants?”

“No, not really.” Pinkie leaned back and thought some more. “Come to think of it, I don’t know that much about her. She doesn’t like to talk about herself much and she gets mad if I ask too much.”

“Why do you like her? She seems to be really mean.”

“You know why she’s like that. I can’t stand seeing her angry all the time and I just want her to feel better. I wonder what her fiancé did to her to make her so angry all the time.”

“He must have broken her heart,” Fluttershy suggested.

“Probably, but that doesn’t explain why she never says anything about herself. Did you know she had a sister?”

“She does? Is she scary like her?”

“I don’t know. Luna told me that the only thing she said was that they got into a fight and haven’t seen each other in a long time.”

A look of horror appeared on the pegasus’s face. “Oh goodness.”

“What?”

“What if…her fiancé cheated on her with her sister?”

Pinkie gasped. “That would be horrible! It’d be no wonder why she’s so upset.”

Fluttershy nodded. “I would be upset, too. She must have been so hurt by them.”

“Now do you see why I stay? Cherub needs a friend more than anything. I don’t care how long it takes; I’m going to stay by her side until she’s all smiles!”

“But it doesn’t seem to be working. You’ve tried everything but she just gets mad. Maybe you should give up.”

Pinkie banged her free hoof on the table, scaring her friend. “No! I will never give up on her! No pony deserves to be sad. I can’t just ignore her if she is in pain. As her friend, it is my duty to bring her joy. She’s already been acting much nicer to me and has even been writing to Luna, so she is getting better. Eventually, she will open up and we will be true friends forever!”

Fluttershy was frightened by her outburst, but then smiled warmly. “All you want to do is bring happiness to everypony, no matter what. That’s what I like about you, Pinkie.”

“Really?” Pinkie got up and sat right next to her. “Well how much do you like me?” she asked while leaning in close.

The pegasus’s cheeks grew a tint of pink. “A lot,” she said incredibly quietly.

“Aw, you’re sweet.” Pinkie threw her free foreleg around her. “I like you a lot too, Flutters. You’re always so kind and gentle and caring and attractive.”

Fluttershy’s body temperature shot up and her ice cream suddenly melted. “W-w-what was that last one?”

“Caring, like how you care for all of your animal friends and us,” she said playfully, enjoying her friend’s reaction.

“Oh. Well thanks for the complements.”

“You’re welcome!” Pinkie could feel how warm she was and she was happy. Cherub told her that making her blush like that was usually a good sign and Pinkie just wanted to do it more as Fluttershy looked extremely cute when embarrassed. She even noticed her looking back a few times.

After Pinkie quickly finished her treat because it started melting, they remained seated and shared some more laughs. After sitting for almost an hour, they decided to head elsewhere. “Any idea what you wanna do now?” asked Pinkie.

“If it’s all right with you, can we go somewhere nice and private? I just feel like talking more.”

Pinkie had to resist the urge to let out a huge gasp. “You got it, Flutters.” A party was starting in her head. Several Pinkies were jumping around, throwing confetti and placing a banner that said, “Congratulations!” The party would not officially start until she and Fluttershy were together, which could be very soon if she did everything right.

From the parlor, they traversed the busy streets and soon exited the busier parts of town. After about ten minutes, the two mares were at the outskirts of town and lied on the grass, looking up at the clouds with no other pony around. “Hey, that one looks like a butterfly,” said Pinkie.

“Aw, how cute.”

The earth pony kept pointing at more. “And that looks like a boot. And a candy cane and four-leaf clover.”

“I guess Rainbow Dash is really busy today.”

“Remember that one time when Dash made all those naughty words in the clouds?”

Fluttershy started laughing. “That was pretty funny. I’m surprised they never caught her for that.”

“I know! And then all of the kids in town started saying them and all the adults started freaking out! I can’t believe they had to call in Princess Celestia!”

Both of the ponies were in stitches. “What about that song you made that day?”

“Hey! How was I supposed to know you weren’t supposed to say those words? Twilight went a little too far when she washed my mouth with a bar of soap,” complained the pink mare.

“Remember the newspaper article about that? They called it the Saturday of Swearing!”

They both rolled in the grass as they were laughing hard, recalling every hilarious moment of that day. “Oh those were good times,” said Pinkie as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “Too bad no pony has ever told Cherub about how bad those words are.”

Once they calmed down, they resumed gazing at the blue sky above. “Hey, Pinkie?”

The mare quickly turned towards her. “Yeah?”

“Do you think the changelings are going to be allowed in Equestria?” she asked worriedly.

Pinkie sighed and rolled onto her back, staring at the sky. “I guess. Princess Celestia and Luna have been working on it for a long time and they usually get what they want.”

Fluttershy turned her head towards her and Pinkie could see she seemed worried. “Are we going to be safe? Remember what Cherub said about them. I don’t think I can trust them at all.”

She scooted closer to her friend. “I’m scared too, but maybe they deserve a chance. I’m sure the princesses know what they’re doing. They would never do this if they thought they were evil.”

“But what are we going to do if they are evil? They were so scary last time and they tried to hurt us. And then you saw Chrysalis in the forest. Why hasn’t the princess sent anypony to investigate?”

“Because they thought it was just a prank because it was during Nightmare Night, but I am one hundred percent sure that was the real Chrysalis.”

Fluttershy whimpered. “I’m so scared, Pinkie. If she’s in the forest, then that means she’s going to do something to Ponyville! She might hurt somepony!”

Pinkie went over and held her friend, who buried her face into her chest. “Don’t be scared, Flutters. I’ll just convince Twilight to have Celestia send some ponies to go investigate.”

“I don’t know if I want to go home. She could be right outside my house.”

“Don’t be scared, Fluttershy. That was a long time ago, so she should be long gone. But if you’re still scared, you can always stay with me if you want. I will make sure that you are safe.”

“Thank you, Pinkie.” Fluttershy nuzzled against her, causing the earth pony to warm up. They laid in silence until she asked, “Can I ask you something personal, if that’s okay?”

“What is it?”

“I just kind of noticed something, but I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“Yes?”

Fluttershy looked away for a moment, but then returned her gaze. “We’ve been hanging out an awfully lot lately, haven’t we?”

Pinkie gulped as she was sure she was onto her. “Well what’s wrong with that? That’s what friends do.”

“I didn’t say there was, it’s just something I noticed. We’ve been together almost every day ever since Nightmare Night.”

Pinkie started to sweat heavily. “But our other friends were there! Like remember when we went to the spa with Spike and Rarity? It wasn’t just us!”

“I guess. But now that I think about it, every time you want to hang out with us, you want me to be there.”

Pinkie’s heart pounded like a thunder storm. “F-Fluttershy, you're really overthinking things!”

The pegasus noticed how she was acting. “No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are!”

Fluttershy immediately shrunk. “Oh. Nevermind then.”

Pinkie immediately hated herself for snapping at her as she could feel her shaking. Fluttershy was a delicate flower and raising her voice clearly intimidated the poor thing. “I’m sorry for yelling, but you’re right,” she admitted.

Fluttershy lifted her head, completely surprised. “I am?”

“Yeah…” The pony trailed off with her eyes looking all over. She knew this was going to happen, but never realized how difficult it truly was. She wished that her friends or at least Cherub were around to support her. “The thing is, Fluttershy,” she began slowly, “it’s because…”

The pegasus's eyes grew with wonder. “What?”

As Pinkie looked into her eyes, she could feel herself sweat more. Given how well everything had gone so far, it seemed like this would be the perfect moment to tell her the truth.

“Pinkie?”

She finally opened her mouth, with her confession on the tip of her tongue.

“You’re my best friend.”

“Oh...” Fluttershy replied. “I already knew that. I thought it was something else important.”

“No, I mean you’re my best friend,” Pinkie said calmly, which contradicted with the screaming agony the Pinkies in her brain were going through. “Don’t tell the others, but I kind of like you better than them.”

“I won’t." She gave out a heavy sigh. "So why do you like me so much?”

“How can anypony not like you, Flutters? You’re a really great pony. You’re always so kind and caring, not to mention really good looking. There’s nothing about you that a pony wouldn’t like. You’re just so perfect.” The inner Pinkies were ballistic. The party was destroyed as all the balloons deflated and the cake was knocked onto the ground. There was even a patch of fire, which most of the Pinkies were desperately trying to put off while one was sitting and crying in a corner.

The yellow mare had a small smile on her face. “Well thanks, Pinkie, but you didn’t need to be so secretive about it. I’m sure our friends won’t mind.”

The earth pony gave out a forced but nervous laugh. “You’re absolutely right. What was I thinking?”

“I mean, it’s okay to care about their feelings. And maybe we don’t need to tell them since it’s not a big deal. We don’t want to risk giving them the wrong idea about how you feel.” Fluttershy stood up. “Do you mind if we go back now? I sort of feel like sitting at home, if you don’t mind.”

“S-sure. No problem.” While she followed her friend, the subconscious Pinkies had finally cleaned up the destruction she had brought upon them. They were all looking angrily at her and the banner now said, “YOU BLEW IT!” Pinkie sighed as she realized they were completely right. She had the perfect moment and she chickened out at the very last moment. She wasn’t sure how she was going to tell her now, but at least Fluttershy was completely comfortable with her and had not caught on to her lie, so not all hope was lost. Pinkie couldn’t stand thinking how badly she handled the opportunity, wondering if she was ever going to win her heart.


While Pinkie’s day took a turn for the worse, Chrysalis was enjoying herself very much. She was currently in Canterlot along with Luna and they had been spending the day in the shopping district. Most of the day Chrysalis thought about how she was going to redesign the city after her second invasion pulled through. She decided to make it her secondary capital with her home being the primary as she did not plan on relocating because she held many cherished memories of her birthplace. As she thought about using the mines for where she would keep the slumbering ponies, Luna looked into an electronic store through the window.

“You know you can just buy whatever has you so interested,” said Chrysalis.

Luna pulled away. “I’m sorry. I just get so fascinated by all the things ponies have invented over the years.”

“It must have been a whole other world for you when you came back from the moon.”

“It truly was. I simply find new discoveries almost every day and I’m always just as surprised. I guess you can say electronics are kind of my weakness.”

“Seeing how drawn you were, I’d have to agree,” Chrysalis said with a smirk. After some consideration, she decided to try something. “So what would you say is Celestia’s weakness?”

That caused Luna to laugh. “I’d say cake.”

“Cake?” Chrysalis asked with some surprise. “Go on...”

“She sometimes has urges and simply cannot control herself. There was even a story about it in the newspaper in Ponyville many months ago, much to her embarrassment. I have noticed that her backside has increased in size in recent months. Promise me you won’t tell anypony about this.”

“My lips are sealed.” It wasn’t exactly the answer she wanted, but she still found great amusement in it. Once she defeated Celestia, she would remove her self-control with her magic and leave her in a room filled with many pastries. She knew that no pony or changeling would ever again dare say the Princess of the Sun was more beautiful than the Queen of the Changelings when Celestia was as big as her own sun.

Luna noticed her friend giggling to herself. “What’s so funny, Cherub?”

“Oh nothing,” she teased.

“Come on. Tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”

“I find it funny that you have been constantly looking at your sister’s butt. You should have told me you held such taboo feelings for her.”

That was enough to fluster Luna to the point where she kept fumbling her words and the changeling just giggled some more. But Chrysalis’s fun was cut short when something flashed in her mind and she suddenly felt incredibly annoyed. “Cherub, I want you to know that I do not think of my sister like that!” She noticed that Chrysalis did not answer as she was suddenly looking off into space. “Cherub?”

Chrysalis broke out of it. “Oh, y-yes, I believe you. Why don’t we head over there? There’s something I need that I can’t get legally in Ponyville.” As they resumed their trek, the changeling couldn’t help but think something bad happened.

If she didn’t know any better, she believed that Pinkie just did something stupid.


The long walk back to Fluttershy’s home was an uncomfortable one for Pinkie. She didn’t try to make any conversation with her friend as she just kept thinking over her mistake. All she wanted to do was lie in her bed and sulk, lacking any of her usual enthusiasm. Her only hope was that Cherub would help her undo her wrong tomorrow. They reached the pegasus’ home and Pinkie felt slightly relieved that their time together was going to end for the day. “That was a really fun day,” said Pinkie with little joy.

“It was. Thank you for coming over and taking me out. I enjoyed it so very much.”

Pinke smiled weakly. “Anything for you, Fluttershy. I always love spending time with you.”

“Me too.” Fluttershy stood by her door and looked around for a bit. “You know, I’ve never had a good friend like you before.”

Pinkie’s ears perked up. “What about our other friends? Don’t you like them?”

“I don’t mean that they are bad friends, I mean that you are a really good friend. You really care for how I feel and know how to make me smile. I know I can be difficult sometimes, but that never stops you. I think I can say with all honesty that you are…”

Pinkie’s eyes grew wide. “Yes?”

“My best friend, too.” Fluttershy leaned over and gave her a peck on a cheek.

Pinkie’s entire body warmed. “Fluttershy…” she said in amazement.

“Goodbye, Pinkie.”

Pinkie watched as she closed the door. She was remained still for about a minute before she started walking home. But after taking several steps, she couldn’t contain herself any longer. She began to hop at an incredible height, only thinking about the kiss that she had received. Even though it was only a friend kiss, she just felt great. Tomorrow, she would tell Cherub the good news so she could ask her what to do next. At last, things were looking up for her.


The next day, Pinkie ran to Cupid’s Arrow to tell her boss what happened and Chrysalis was impressed. However, Pinkie was still completely devastated by the fact she had chickened out during the perfect moment, despite being kissed later on. While Chrysalis would have normally fallen onto the floor and laughed at her or yelled at her for messing up, she strangely felt very sympathetic to her. Since the outcast had nothing better to do and knew Pinkie would be no good if she was distracted, she decided to spend the day helping Pinkie in setting everything right.

They strolled together through the streets of Ponyville. As Pinkie bounced around, she noticed her boss was actually smiling. “Hey, you’re smiling, Cherub!”

“Oh, I’m just in a good mood today.”

“Well you should smile more. You look really pretty when you do.”

Chrysalis mildly blushed. “Maybe I should then if you think so.”

“So what are you happy about?”

“Well, Luna came by yesterday and we went to Canterlot for some shopping and even a quick stop at the spa. She really knows how to treat royalty.”

“You’re royalty?”

The changeling quickly panicked. “N-n-no! Don’t be ridiculous! I meant that as a figure of speech. I'm saying that she treated me very well and we had so much fun. I can easily say that I am happy to have met her.”

“I think it’s great you both get along so well. You’ve been less grumpy lately.”

Chrysalis briefly glared at her. “I’ll let that slide. I will admit that spending time with her has relieved much of my stress, as well as being with you. Luna was really curious about your situation with Fluttershy and wished she was there when you confessed.”

The pony immediately faced the dirt road beneath her. “But I didn’t…”

“It’s not the end of the world, Pinkie. That kiss means there’s still a good chance of things ending the way we want them to. Just take her out for more fun and just give it another go when you’re ready. And I won’t let you leave her until you say it.”

“Okie-dokie-lokie! I’ll be sure to do it this time.”

“Somehow, I don’t believe you,” Chrysalis remarked.

“Oh yeah? Well I’ll Pinkie promise to do it today!” she stated.

“You’ll what?”

“I’ll Pinkie promise!”

“I remember you said something like this before. What is it exactly?”

“It’s like a promise, but a Pinkie promise means that you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever break it, no matter what.”

“Really? How interesting,” spoke Chrysalis with devious intentions behind her smile.

“So I Pinkie promise that I will tell Fluttershy how I feel today! Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” Chrysalis thought it was cute how Pinkie had thought that up and liked the rhyming. She wondered what sort of absurd things she could trick the pony into promising in the future. Chrysalis and Pinkie soon arrived at the lone cottage. As Chrysalis hid around the side of the house, the pony excitedly banged on the door and began jumping as she waited for the reply. While she was waiting, Chrysalis noticed that something was wrong.

The door slowly creaked open as the shy pony appeared. “Oh…hi, Pinkie…” She didn’t show any joy about seeing her friend.

“Hi, Fluttershy!” Pinkie yelled, completely oblivious of her friend’s dread. “Are you ready for another day of super exciting fun!?”

The yellow pony slowly backed into her house. “Um…that sounds really fun…but…I…am really busy today…”

Pinkie stopped jumping. “Oh. Want to do something next week?”

Chrysalis noticed that Fluttershy seemed to be more distraught. “I’m sorry, but I’m really busy with stuff for about…a while. Bye, Pinkie.” She slammed the door on her face and locked it.

Pinkie stood silently, completely confused. “But how long is a while!?”

“Pinkie, come here.” She reluctantly went over to where Chrysalis was hiding. “I think there’s something going on with her.”

“What?”

“I’m not sure, but she seems to be really upset about something. I think we should keep an eye on her and see if we can find out.”

“You mean,” she gulped, “spy on her?”

“Exactly. I have the feeling that she is hiding something from us and we have to find out what.” The both of them hid behind some bushes outside the house as they waited for her. Chrysalis thought more about the strange encounter. She knew something was amiss because of her gift to sense the emotions of others. For some reason, Fluttershy seemed to be incredibly distressed. But what could have been troubling that girl? Was she unhappy with Pinkie Pie? Pinkie said things went incredibly well the day before, not counting that one moment. Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard the front door open. Fluttershy looked around before exiting and began trotting towards town.

They gave chase while trying to remain unseen. Chrysalis and Pinkie had been doing a lot of this kind of thing with their jobs and the changeling always felt like a creepy stalker. They followed her for some time, wondering of where she was going. Fluttershy’s destination turned out to be one of the most unexpected places they thought she would go.

“Pinkie,” the outcast asked in complete confusion, “why is she outside my home?”

“Um…I don’t know.” Fluttershy knocked on the door. “Aren’t you going to go see her?”

“If she is looking for somepony to talk about her problems with, it’s probably better if she doesn’t see me. I know that girl is terrified of me and I really can’t think of any reasons why she’d want my input in anything. Besides, if she has a problem, she should be telling you about it since you’re her friend.”

Fluttershy knocked again and still no response. Knowing she wasn’t home, the pegasus hung her head and left. “Where is she going now? Her house is the other way,” Pinkie pointed out.

“Let’s find out.” Chrysalis could feel the overwhelming sorrow within Fluttershy. Why was she so desperate to see her? Fluttershy was afraid of her as far as she knew. And why would she want to distance herself from Pinkie? She was doing the completely opposite of what was considered normal for her.

They followed Fluttershy for a while and ended up at Twilight’s home. She knocked on the door and Twilight answered while the other two hid nearby. “Hi, Fluttershy! How are you doing?”

“I’m fine,” she responded quietly. “Do you mind if I stay here for a while?”

“Sure, but why?”

“No reason. You haven’t seen Pinkie around, have you?”

“I can’t say that I have,” said Twilight as she eyed her friend.

“That’s good.” Twilight stepped aside and gave entry to her friend. As soon as she entered, Fluttershy closed the door. “And if it’s alright…if she does come by, please don’t tell her I’m here.” Pinkie’s jaw dropped.

The purple unicorn became incredibly concerned. “Why? Is something going on?”

Fluttershy was now nervous and avoided eye contact. “Well…I…um…”

“Oh, I get it! You’re playing hide and seek, aren’t you?”

“Y-yes! That’s what I’m doing.” Pinkie pulled on her own mane and Chrysalis had to put a hoof over her mouth so they couldn’t hear her screaming. “So is Spike here?”

“He’s right upstairs,” she answered while motioning a hoof behind her. “Was there something you needed from him?”

“N-no. I just needed a certain book, that’s all.”

Chrysalis and Pinkie watched through the window as she went into the other room. “I don’t believe it!” Pinkie cried. “Fluttershy is being a total Fibberlie!”

“It’s really troubling to see that she’s trying to avoid you.”

“But why!? I’m her friend!” The pony rapidly poured tears from her eyes. “I just wanted her to like me! Why does she suddenly hate me!?” Suddenly, Pinkie’s hair started to lose its curl as her body darkened in color. The changeling was taken by surprise by her transformation.

Pinkie rushed in and hugged her, mildly sobbing. As much as Chrysalis hated her invading her personal space, she decided to let it go since the poor pony was going through a tough time and did not want to make the problem worse. “I don’t know, but we will get to the bottom of this, I promise. She said she wanted to see Spike. Do you have any idea why?” Pinkie shook her head. “I guess we better go find out.” They made their way to the other window and saw them. Fluttershy was helping Spike organize books and they were talking. The window was closed, so they couldn’t hear what they were speaking about.

Pinkie was taking deep breaths as she watched, changing from sad to angry. “Why does she want to hang out with him instead of me? Is she in love with him!?”

“I don’t think so. Let’s just see what happens.” Chrysalis couldn’t sense any love in her, just mild relief. What was going on in the head of that girl? Spike and Fluttershy were talking for a moment and then the pegasus was suddenly blushing, causing their worry to grow. Chrysalis saw Pinkie become extremely angry while grinding her teeth “Time for a new plan. I think we should just calmly ask her what is-” The party pony suddenly bolted towards the front door of the tree. “Pinkie, get back here!”

Inside the room of the tree, the door flew open, startling Spike and Fluttershy. “You!” Pinkie called out while pointing a hoof at the yellow pony.

Fluttershy’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest. “P-P-Pinkie!? W-what are y-you-“

She slowly stomped towards her and the pegasus backed away. “Why are you avoiding me? Why did you lie to Twilight about what you’re doing? Why is seeing you and Spike together suddenly adorable? I want answers!” Pinkie pressed her face against hers while angrily huffing.

Fluttershy trembled on the spot as she looked into her eyes. “W-well…I…” She suddenly ran towards one of the windows. She stopped in front of it, gently opened it, and escaped from the library.

“Get back here!” Pinkie commanded as she charged towards the front door.

“Pinkie, you need to stop and-” Chrysalis was thrown by the speeding mare and crashed into a shelf, causing several books to fall on her.

Twilight and Spike ran over to her. “Cherub, are you all right?” asked Spike as he began pulling books off of her.

She stood up while rubbing her head. “I’m fine, but I’m going strangle Pinkie for that.”

“What’s going on? I’ve never seen Pinkie get mad like that before!” said Twilight in distress.

“It’s a long story, but we better follow them before she does something she regrets.” Chrysalis sprinted out the door while Twilight ran with her assistant on her back.

Fluttershy galloped across town with Pinkie hot on her tail. She kept politely brushing ponies aside while Pinkie just knocked over anyone who came too close. Seeing that her pursuer was gaining, she flapped her wings and took off into the sky, hoping that her natural ability would allow her to escape pursuit. She set herself onto a nearby cloud and tried to catch her breath. Her break was over when she suddenly heard a strange sound from below. A few seconds later, Pinkie Pie appeared in a strange helicopter. Fluttershy gasped and took off once again. She could hear the whirling propellers behind her and headed back towards her home. Once she landed, she bolted inside and slammed the door shut. She closed all the blinds on her windows and hid under her bed. She could hear loud pounding on her front door and whimpered, praying Pinkie would just go away.

“Come on out, Fluttershy!” Pinkie ordered as she kicked against the door.

Pinkie heard voices and looked behind her. Twilight, Spike, and Chrysalis appeared and the pony and changeling were exhausted from trying to catch up. “Pinkie, you need to calm down!” Twilight pleaded.

“I am calm! I just really want to know what her problem is!” She gave the door another hard kick.

“Maybe she realized how much of a lunatic you are. It’s no wonder she’s so scared of you,” remarked Chrysalis.

Pinkie gave the door another kick and broke it off its hinges. She stomped her way up the stairs while her friends called her, telling her to stop. She threw the door to the bedroom open and looked around. She didn’t even need to guess where Fluttershy was. She grabbed onto the bed and flipped it over, slamming it against the wall. Underneath was a terrified Fluttershy, laying on the floor while trembling.

“I got you now!” Pinkie leapt into the air in an attempt to tackle her as Fluttershy screamed and covered her eyes. Pinkie was then pulled back by both unicorns and began struggling. “Let me go!”

“Pinkie, you have to stop!” Twilight ordered. “You’re scaring her!”

“No! I want her to tell the truth!”

“I…I…I…” stuttered Fluttershy.

“I know she’s been a bad friend, but you need to cut it out! You are seriously out of control!” shouted Chrysalis.

“You hear that, Fluttershy? Cherub also thinks you’re a bad friend!”

“I’m sorry, Pinkie! It’s just…it’s just…”

“What!? You don’t like me? You like Spike better than me? Tell me the truth! Why are you avoiding me!?”

“Because I love you!”

Pinkie stopped moving and the room was filled with dead silence. Twilight and Chrysalis let go of her as they stared at Fluttershy in shock. “You…love me?”

Fluttershy slowly stood up and faced Pinkie with a face as red as a tomato. “I know it’s sudden, but it’s true,” she spoke in a very quiet and nervous voice. “You’ve been a better friend to me than anypony I have ever met. The truth is I never really had a…thing for boys. When you started spending a lot more time with me and always trying to make me smile, I began falling in love with you. I didn’t want you to find out because I wasn’t sure how you would react. You see, I actually used to have a crush on…Rainbow Dash.”

Her friends gasped. “You did?” asked Pinkie.

She nodded. “She is such a great friend and is always so courageous and charismatic. I just felt like I could do more with her around because she was always giving me her support. It’s just that I was never sure how to tell her how I felt. I waited for a long time trying to find a way, but then she got together with Soarin. I was so upset, but I thought of something. What if I told her before? How would she feel about me after? I even thought she would stop being my friend if she knew, so I never told her or anypony else.

“And then yesterday, I began to have the idea that you actually liked me like that. But when you said you just liked me as a friend, I just felt let down as I was so wrong about you, but you had still left an impression on me. I wanted to avoid you until I knew what to do with my feelings. I wanted to ask Cherub about what to do about my problem, but she wasn’t home. I even tried going to the library to find some books about this sort of stuff. I’m sorry for everything, but I can’t control how I feel about you, Pinkie.”

Pinkie ran over to her and embraced her. “It’s okay, Fluttershy! I actually like girls too!”

“You…you do?”

“I found out a few days ago. I told everypony I knew except you.”

“But why not?”

Pinkie’s hair and color suddenly restored. “Because I love you too!” Pinkie then brought her friend towards her and kissed her. Fluttershy’s eyes were wide with shock but then closed as she returned the kiss. When they broke, they looked at each other. “Do you feel any better?”

Fluttershy’s face was red as she smiled. “A lot better.”

“I’m sorry I got all mad earlier. I thought you hated me and you were in love with Spike.”

“Oh Pinkie, I could never hate you. And I’m not in love with Spike. He’s cute, but not my type.” She looked over at her three other friends, all of whom were staring at them with surprise. “Oh! I forgot you were all here.”

Twilight smiled warmly. “I’m so happy for you both. I’m sure you two will make a wonderful couple. And just so you know, I’m pretty sure Dash will be flattered by how you feel about her.”

Spike was still stunned by what he witnessed. “That was…awesome.” Twilight gave him a quick whack on the head.

Fluttershy smiled from the fact her friends were accepting. “I’m so glad you fell the same way about me, Pinkie,” she said as she nuzzled her. “I just wish you told me this sooner.”

“You hear that, Cherub? If I didn’t forget to tell her, we would’ve not needed to do any of this! That is just so funny!” They all laughed out loud until they heard a thump. “Cherub?”


“I wish I was there to have seen that spectacle. I never imagined Pinkie could harbor such rage.”

“I wish I wasn’t,” the changeling complained. “I’m still sore from her rushing me.”

Luna chuckled and massaged Chrysalis’s back. “Well at least it worked out. She and Fluttershy get along so well and I think it’s adorable now that they’re dating. Young love is so sweet.”

“Yeah, but I really wish Pinkie didn’t forget about telling the one pony she had feelings for that she was gay.” She wanted to blame Pinkie for not telling her so they could have avoided all of the work, but she had also instructed Pinkie to not tell her, so she was also at fault. She was at least glad that it was over and could just move on.

“True, but you really helped Pinkie win her over. You should feel proud.”

“I suppose, but I should’ve helped her figure out on how she should have confessed. I never thought she was going to have that much trouble.”

Luna moved up to her shoulders. “You know, I just realized you’ve helped four of the Elements find love.”

“I’m surprised at that as well. I didn’t think they would ever need my assistance with such a thing. And what a surprise, Twilight is the only one left,” she added with incredible amusement. She decided that she would try to avoid helping the unicorn and try to rub this in whenever she could.

“Oh haha. And because of your efforts, Cadance and my sister have become very interested in meeting you.”

Chrysalis’s eye twitched in annoyance. “I look forward to it.”

“Young Cadance has been very happy to hear of how you helped Twilight’s friends, but she asks that you let her find somepony for Twilight.”

A smirk could be heard from the outcast. “Is she jealous that I’ve been doing a better job than the Princess of Love?”

Luna giggled. “I think she just wants to do it since they’re both so close. I imagine she has been thinking about this for some time. I just hope she has an idea of how to get Twilight interested in the subject.”

Chrysalis gave out a quiet moan as the alicorn moved lower on her body. “You have no idea how good this feels right now.”

“Glad to see you’re enjoying yourself. I’m sure many stallions would give up everything to experience something like this with me or my sister.”

“I feel so lucky to have you all to myself. Where did you learn to do this, anyway?”

“Celestia taught me,” Luna answered.

“Oh?”

“She learned a long time ago so she could relax previous lovers. They were always so tense around her because of her royal status.”

“She must be a good teacher like Twilight says. This feels divine.”

Luna chuckled as she continued. “Am I the best you’ve ever had?”

“Only if you give happy endings like the spa ponies here,” the fugitive joked.

The alicorn slowed down as she searched her memory. “I don’t think I’ve heard of that technique. Maybe I should ask my sister about it.”

Chrysalis laughed loudly, confusing Luna. “It might be better if I teach you myself, but maybe another time. I need to focus on work today.”

While Luna continued to relieve her pain, they saw Pinkie and Fluttershy outside. They talked for a bit, kissed, and then the pegasus left while Pinkie came in. Everypony who knew Pinkie, which was everypony in town, noticed that the party pony was filled with much more cheer since her new relationship. The party she threw to announce it was definitely one of the biggest they have ever seen. “Hello, Pinkie,” the princess greeted. “How are you doing with your new marefriend?”

“I’m doing super, Luna! Me and Flutters do all kinds of stuff like hug and kiss! She even lets me sleep over sometimes!”

“I’m glad to hear things are going so well between you two,” said Chrysalis. Surprisingly, she meant it. Chrysalis actually felt happy for Pinkie finding love, though she wasn’t sure why she suddenly had taken an interest in her happiness, but a happy Pinkie was better than an unhappy one.

The pink pony sat at her desk. “So what are you doing here, Luna? Are you looking for a coltfriend now?”

Luna stopped rubbing the changeling’s back and sat on her haunches. “No, I’m just visiting my friend again. I wish to see her do business myself as I would need an idea of what kind of service I may hire in the future.”

“She should visit more often,” purred the changeling.

“I didn’t know you liked Luna that much, Cherub.”

“Of course I do. She’s free advertisement with her presence alone and makes a better masseuse than princess.” Luna punched her shoulder, causing her to grunt in pain.

“I’d tell you more about me and Flutters, but right now I need to write my letter.” She took out paper from a drawer in her desk and began writing.

The two older mares looked at each other. “A letter to whom about what?” asked the alicorn.

“A letter to Celestia about what I’ve learned about myself and some ideas I just had about love. I was so caught up with everything, I forgot to write her one. And won’t she be excited when she hears I’m a lesbian? I’m going to tell her all the great things about it!”

Chrysalis and Luna put their hooves over their mouths, trying to hide their snickering. “I’m sure it will be totally unexpected,” remarked Chrysalis.

While Pinkie started writing, Chrysalis and her friend whispered to each other while trying very hard to contain their own laughter. “I think we should help Pinkie write this letter,” Luna suggested playfully.

“Maybe she should give some explicit details and make it a letter Celestia will never forget.” Both of them giggled like little fillies. Chrysalis thought over what to have Pinkie write that would shock Celestia the most. She no longer felt bitter about what happened earlier with Pinkie and Fluttershy, enjoying her moment of fun with her friends.

Chrysalis just realized what she had thought and became extremely alarmed. What was she thinking? Why should she even consider either of these ponies to be her friends? Granted that she did find plenty of amusement with them, they were still ponies: her prey. The main reason she did not consider herself to be really their friends despite the amount of time they spent together, was that they were friends of Cherub, not Chrysalis. The things they did together were of no real significance. Pinkie was also a friend of Twilight Sparkle, her nemesis, and Luna was a ruler of Equestria, which she wanted to rule. Because of these reasons, they were her enemies…right?

They then noticed Pinkie waving at them. “Is there something else you needed?” asked Chrysalis.

“How do you spell polygamy?”

A Change in Opinion

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A Change of Opinion

Pinkie jumped nonstop, causing the carriage to bounce as it flew through the air. “Are we there yet? Are we!? Are we!?”

Princess Celestia found amusement in her excitement. “Patience, Pinkie Pie. We will be there in a moment.”

Applejack looked out the window and saw they were heading straight towards a large mountain with smoke coming from the top. “Ya tellin’ me they live at that volcano?”

“It only appears to be one. And yes, they live within it.”

As the group came closer, they noticed a small settlement on the ground below. There were several buildings under construction by several changelings and there was also a group of children playing while being monitored by several guards. “Then what about down there?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“They live there, too. Now that their existence has become known, they have no reason to stay underground and many wish to live outside. They are beginning to establish some settlements on the surface within their territory. There are still some who will remain underground as they do not think it is safe until they are granted Equestrian citizenship.”

Earlier that week, Celestia finally got a day off and went to go visit her favorite student, Twilight. When they began discussing changelings, she discovered something very troubling. Twilight and her friends all had extreme resentment of the changeling race and were reluctant to allow them to live in Equestria. She understood that they had reasons to have doubts and concerns, but they had heard some rather horrible lies about them, making it even harder for them to accept them. She had tried before to have them give the changelings a chance and assumed their trust would gradually come, but this was not the case. As a desperate attempt to help them understand them better, she requested them all to accompany her during her visit so they could learn about the changelings. They were shocked and outraged by her suggestion, but she managed to convince them that they were safe.

They saw a large cave opening at the base of the mountain and the carriage entered. They went through a long tunnel that was filled with changelings passing through, who were all looking and waving at them. They then entered an opening and the ponies awed at the sight.

“Welcome,” said Celestia, “to Bugartha, capital city of the Changeling Kingdom.”

They stared at the city in wonder. Bugartha was built inside of a large opening in the hollow mountain where fungi and moss covered most of the walls, which many changelings were currently gathering for food. They could see some other large tunnels below, likely leading deeper underground toward other colonies. There were many buildings built against the walls high above and some small buildings also cluttered the ground below, with changelings walking and flying through the streets.

The city was illuminated by both torches and some of the large fungi that glowed with greenish light. Some light came from the opening above, allowing ventilation for the smoke. Right under the opening was the castle itself, which was built with glimmering black and green stone and towards the back of the cavern. It wasn’t as large as Celestia’s palace, but it still overshadowed the other buildings.

“Now girls,” started the alicorn, “I expect you all to be on your best behavior while we are here. The changelings are just as nervous as you are by our visit and I do not wish to cause any trouble.”

Twilight was still slightly shaken for being in the enemy territory. “Do we have to meet the queen?”

“Yes, but you will not have much time to see her today as she is incredibly busy. We will be able to sit down with her tomorrow for breakfast and you can get to know her then. Now here are a few rules you all need to follow. You must be respectful to the changeling culture, you must try not to talk about the wedding, and do not cause any trouble. These negotiations are delicate and I want them to feel welcomed by our kind. They have never trusted another race before, so they are very nervous about coming to Equestria.”

“Okay, Celestia,” said Twilight.

“One last thing and this is the most important. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT mention Chrysalis in the presence of Nymph. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Princess,” they all said at once.

The carriage descended into the castle’s courtyard, where many changeling guards stood. Once it came to a complete stop, a pony guard came around and opened the door, allowing Celestia and the rest to exit. Twilight and her friends looked in wonder and fear of the large castle. “Come on, the queen is expecting us,” said Celestia.

As Celestia walked ahead, the others trailed behind and whispered amongst each other. “This place is really scary. Are we going to be okay?” Fluttershy asked while quaking with fear.

“Princess Celestia would never have brought us here if she didn’t think it was safe. I already checked her for mind control twelve times before we left,” Twilight reassured.

“So what do ya think Nymph is like?” asked Applejack.

“Celestia speaks highly of her, but Luna, Cadance, and Shining Armor have their doubts about her. I don’t blame them as nothing good could come out of anyone related to Chrysalis.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice. I remember perfectly well how evil Chrysalis was. Nymph is probably just like her.” Rarity shuddered at the memory of their first encounter with the changelings.

“I still don’t trust this whole citizenship thing one bit,” spoke Spike “It’s just too shady how they attack us one day and then ask for help the next. I bet they’re all up to something.”

Twilight nodded at him. “Just be ready for whatever Nymph has in store for us. I doubt she’s going to be happy to see any of us.”

Rainbow Dash pounded her hooves together. “We’ve got your back, Twilight. Queen Nymph might want payback for foiling Chrysalis’s plot, but we’ll stop whatever she has planned.”

They stopped walking as the large doors of the palace opened and a figure approached them, who all of the guards saluted. She was slightly taller than Luna and just as slim as Celestia. Her horn was long and jagged, intimidating the ponies who stood before her. Her tattered hair was a jade color and it had an incredibly long length, hanging only a few inches from the ground. It was smooth in appearance and it shined from the sunlight that fell upon it. On her front legs were two golden bracers, each with an emerald embedded into them. On each of her hooves, she wore emerald footwear that resembled Celestia’s. She wore a green robe on her back, matching the color of her mane and it was covered in golden stitches. On top of her head was a small, black crown that they were very familiar with. The expression on her face, however, was not what the ponies were expecting.

“Princess Celestia, I'm so glad you could come!” Nymph took her hoof and kissed it.

“Hello again, Nymph. You seem to be doing well,” the alicorn replied warmly.

“Only because you’re here now; you certainly liven up the place.” She finally took notice of the ponies behind her. “Are these the ones you have told me about?”

“Yes. I have brought them here so they could learn about the changeling civilization and possibly speed things up with the negotiations. As the Elements of Harmony, their opinions on this issue can affect the opinions of other ponies and help them accept the changelings.”

“How delightful.” She scanned her eyes across the group and fixated on one of them, gasping. “You hair is magnificent!”

Rarity smiled and ran a hoof threw her mane. “Why thank you. I spent all morning-”

Nymph walked past her and approached Rainbow Dash. “I have never seen a mane as unique looking as yours aside from Celestia and Luna. It’s so colorful!”

The pegasus was surprised that she immediately went up to her and not Twilight. When she saw Rarity’s horrified expression, she couldn’t help but play along. “Impressed? It’s totally my thing.”

“And now mine too!” Nymph’s hair flashed green and was now a rainbow color like Dash’s.

“Hey!”

The queen flicked her hair. “I think I might keep this. Maybe I can turn even more heads now.” She looked back at the pegasus. “I assume you’re Rainbow Dash.”

“You got it! Top Equestrian flyer and future Wonderbolt!”

“That sounds wonderful.” Her smile shifted into an expression of confusion. “What’s a Wonderbolt?”

“They are the best fliers in the world. They do all sorts of stunts for their shows and go on dangerous missions! It’s been my life’s dream to become one. They’re going to be better than ever with me and my sonic rainboom on their team.”

“How nice. I’m sure you will be the best there is. Maybe I’ll even see one of your shows in the future.” She turned towards Rarity, but her attention was immediately set on the dragon she was carrying. “Hmm, I didn’t think you would have brought your pet dragon.”

“I’m not a pet! I’m Twilight’s friend and assistant!” shouted Spike.

Nymph gave him a sheepish smile. “I’m sorry. You must be Spike. I apologize for my earlier comment. I am still amazed that Celestia had managed to make you so civilized. All of the dragons I have encountered have been rather nasty.”

“They were nasty to me, too. I don’t like dragons either and I just prefer being with ponies, who are much friendlier.”

“Good to hear. Celestia has always told me of what a nice dragon you are and I have been interested in meeting you for some time.” Nymph then started blushing. “Do you mind if I…pet you?” she requested shyly.

Spike expected many things from the sister of Chrysalis, but this was not one of them. “W-what?”

“Well you are kind of adorable.” The dragon blushed as the ponies and even some of the changelings snickered at him.

“I-I am not!” he protested. “I’m handsome and tough!”

The queen loudly giggled, completely emasculating him. “Of course you are. So can I?”

He wasn’t sure how to answer her, so he shot a look to Celestia, who gave him a nod. Knowing what he had to do, he gulped. “I guess.”

As Nymph began to reach over towards him, Rarity got in front of her face. “I swear if you harm one scale on the head of my Spikey-Wikey…”

“Spikey-Wikey!?” Nymph and her guards broke into hysterics. Spike’s face turned red and he looked angrily at Rarity, but then the queen pulled on his cheeks. “Well he is certainly a wittle adorwable cutie, isn’t he?” She gave him a quick hug before talking to Rarity. He felt total embarrassment and it only became worse when he saw Celestia put a hoof over her mouth to hide her chuckling.

“Now what is your name, unicorn? I am ever so curious to know more about you as I can sense a certain emotion between you and Spike.”

“My name is Rarity. Spike and I are not in a relationship right now as he is too young, but I still love him to death.”

“Ah yes. You are the dress making pony of generosity. You are as beautiful as Celestia told me.”

Rarity gasped, mood brightened by the compliment. “Really?”

“Yes, you’re the fifth most beautiful person I know!”

The seamstress's smile immediately became an expression of horror. “F-F-FIFTH!?”

“Well there’s you, then Luna, then Cadance, then Celestia, and then the best one of all, me!” Rarity’s eye twitched as Nymph looked at her strangely. Not knowing what was wrong, the changeling shrugged and moved on to the next pony.

Applejack was next of the six ponies and she felt pretty good about speaking with her after seeing how she played around with Spike and unintentionally offended Rarity, finding it pretty funny that she took it so seriously. “Now what is your name?” asked the queen.

“Name’s Applejack. Ah’m a farm pony and apples are my specialty.”

“Of course. I should have known that from you cutie mark. I don’t think I have had apples before. Fruits are a bit rare here since we barely have any fruit crops within the kingdom.”

“Well Ah happen to have some on me, so help yarself.” She took an apple from her bag and held it out towards her.

“Why thank you. That is very kind.” Nymph took the fruit and bit into it, but then she scrunched her face upon tasting its contents and spat it out. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I do not find them to be as appealing as you ponies do.”

If there was one thing anypony in Applejack’s family did not tolerate, it was having their family crop insulted. “At least Chrysalis tried to be polite,” she sneered.

The apple fell onto the ground and was instantly obliterated under the hoof of the queen, causing a thunderclap that made everyone else in the area jump. As Nymph approached Fluttershy, the other ponies examined the spot where the fruit fell. All that remained was several chunks of the apple and even cracks on the stone ground. Applejack looked at the alicorn and she was as nervous as they were.

Fluttershy was ready to faint, completely afraid that she was going have to speak to Queen Nymph right after her flash of anger. The royal changeling stood in front of her and Fluttershy hid her face behind her hair, whimpering. She found her to be extremely intimidating from her large height and how she bore strong resemblance to Chrysalis. “Is there something wrong?” the queen asked her.

“N-n-n-n-no, nothing at all.”

“You’re shaking an awful lot.”

“Nymph," Celestia intervened, "this is Fluttershy. She gets nervous around strangers, so please be gentle.”

“Oh, that’s right. I remember you mentioning her now.” Nymph leaned around and looked at her cutie mark. “Ooooh. Fluttershy is like butterfly and she’s even shy! That’s just cute!”

Fluttershy was beginning to calm down, but she still could not look her in the eyes. “Thanks.”

Nymph noticed how uncomfortable she was by how quietly she spoke. “Are you frightened of me?”

“N-n-n-no! Not at all.” Nymph just stared at her and she quickly caved in. “Maybe a little,” she squeaked, making all of her friends gulp.

The royal changeling knelt down in front of her. “There’s no need to be afraid of me, Fluttershy. I don’t bite.”

Fluttershy slowly looked at her. “O-ok.”

“Can you give me a smile?”

“Huh?”

“Come on. Just a nice little smile for me,” requested Nymph as she batted her eyelashes.

The pony felt more comfortable and produced one. “Like this?”

Nymph happily nodded. “Yes. Do you feel any better?”

“I do, actually.”

“Excellent. Just keep smiling and everything will be fine. You are safe here, Fluttershy.” Nymph stood and approached the next pony as Fluttershy produced a relieved sigh.

Pinkie was hoping in place as the changeling queen moved to her. “Hi! My name is-”

“Wait, let me guess!” The queen put a hoof on her chin and examined her. “Is it Redie?”

Pinkie shook her head. “No.”

“Blueie?”

“No!”

Nymph pondered for a moment. “I got it! You’re Purplie!”

“No! No! No!” Pinkie shouted with some anger. She wanted Nymph to guess her name and not think she was somepony else.

The changeling thought some more, but then shrugged. “I’m sorry, but I cannot possibly think of what your name is. I guess you just won’t have one!”

Pinkie’s jaw dropped. Not having a name would have been horrible, much worse than being mistaken for somepony else. With incredible rage, she screamed, “MY NAME IS-”

Nymph put a hoof over her mouth and was laughing hard. “I’m only messing with you. I know your name is Pinkie.”

“Ooooh.” Pinkie started laughing along. “You really had me going.”

“Celestia told me that you loved jokes, so I thought you wouldn’t have minded if I played one on you.” Nymph took a look at her cutie mark. “I like the design of your cutie mark. I have heard that your parties are like no other.”

“You bet! Speaking of parties, can we have a party now? We can throw ourselves our own welcoming party!”

She sighed and shook her head. “Another day. I cannot afford to stray from my duties and I do not feel like partying at the moment.”

“Aw.” Pinkie examined her and held some of her mane, admiring it. “Wow, I really like how long your hair is!”

Nymph smiled at the complement. “Thank you. You can only imagine the styles that are possible. I just have to keep track of the length, otherwise I might trip over it again.”

The pony looked up at her head. “And I like how big your horn is!”

“It is big, isn’t it? The crooked appearance makes ponies uneasy, I’m afraid.”

“And Nymph, what huge eyes you have!”

Nymph was taken aback. “D-d-do you really think they’re that big?”

“They’re totally ginormous! They’re bigger than my hoof! Is that where the term ‘bug-eyed’ comes from?”

Nymph placed her own hoof close to her eye. When she saw that there was truth to her statement, green flashed on her face and she turned away. “Pinkie, I think you might be making her uncomfortable,” addressed Celestia.

“Speaking of uncomfortable, does it hurt to have those holes in your legs? But then again, why do you have such goofy looking legs in the first place?” Every changeling guard was now looking at their own hooves, feeling insecure of their own appearance.

The queen quickly left Pinkie, only to go from one uncomfortable situation to another. “And you must be…”

“Twilight Sparkle,” she responded harshly.

Nymph visibly winced, knowing full well of who she was. Even her guards knew her and just looked away or whistled innocently. “Yes…the princess has always spoken of you. Glad we could meet.” She extended a hoof towards her and Twilight reluctantly took it. “I can clearly tell that you are not happy to be here.”

“You’re absolutely right. I am not happy to be here at all.”

“Twilight!” snapped Celestia.

“No, it’s all right.” Nymph looked Twilight in the eyes. “I know everything that Chrysalis has put you through and I wish I could have stopped her back then. Just the thought of her stealing your brother and turning him and your friends against you is just sickening. I am so glad you had exposed her before it was too late.”

All of the ponies were confused. “You…are?” asked Twilight.

“Of course. Chrysalis would have conquered all of Equestria and imprisoned everypony were it not for you. Such a horrifying event should never come to pass. There would also be the other races, who would become afraid by Equestria’s fall and wage a war on us that we could not win. Because of you, we have avoided such a conflict. You are a hero in my eyes, Twilight.”

“…Thanks?”

“I know you still have your doubts about our kind, but I hope that your stay here will change that. We are not the monsters you saw us as on that fateful day. A lot of ponies in Equestria still fear us and continue to spread lies, reducing any chances of us becoming accepted into the world above. They must learn that the changelings are just like any other race in the world, only that we were given a rather unique method of survival.

“As such influential individuals, I hope you all can see and accept us for who we are and to spread the word across Equestria. As long as the ponies and the other races fear us, we have to remain here in order to prevent conflicts. For many generations, we have been isolated here, living in the dark, but as soon as all these fears are put to rest, we plan on exploring the world. I always did want to go see Prance.”

“We’ll do the best we can,” Twilight replied, unsure of her own words.

Celestia stepped forward and looked at her student with a reassuring smile. “I am confident you will succeed. Now, Queen Nymph and I have important political and economic matters to attend to, so you may all explore Bugartha by yourselves.”

“But one thing before you go,” added Nymph. She pointed at Spike and Rarity. “You two,” she then pointed at Pinkie and Fluttershy, “and you two should remain separated.”

“Huh? Why?” Pinkie asked as she suddenly hugged Fluttershy tightly.

“I can sense the love between you, so all the other changelings will as well. Food is a little scarce right now, so I’m sure that they will want a little of it, but when twenty or so changelings want to try just a little of your love, you’re going to be tuckered out rather fast.”

“Oh. Thanks for the warning,” said Spike.

“Just remember to return by six for supper,” the queen reminded. Celestia and Nymph turned and headed back towards her palace with their guards following. “Bye, girls! Enjoy the town!”

Before they were out of sight, they could hear Celestia talking. “I think your eyes are fine, Nymph. No, I’m not just saying that to make you feel better.”

The group just stood there as they were left alone in the courtyard. From their encounter, the whole group was left entirely confused. “Are ya tellin’ me that’s Chrysalis’s sister?” asked Applejack.

“Are they even sisters? They seem like total opposites!” remarked Dash.

“She seems really nice. What do you think, Rarity?” Fluttershy saw that her friend was whimpering. “Rarity?”

“I’m not as pretty as her? I’m not as pretty as a bug!?” Rarity then wailed with sorrow as she fell onto the floor.

Spike tried comforting her by holding her hoof. “I don’t like her either. She completely embarrassed me in front of everyone!”

“But she’s so apologetic and friendly!” said Pinkie. “She is totally not like Chrysalis at all!”

“It’s just a load of bunk.”

All of her friends looked at her. “Twilight?” asked Pinkie.

The purple unicorn stood in front of her friends with a stern look on her face. “She may act all nice and friendly, but don’t forget that she is Chrysalis’s sister, so she is probably just as bad. Not to mention she's a changeling: a race who grew up learning how to trick others.”

“There’s no way that’s true. It seems so unlike her,” argued the pink mare.

“Just remember that Chrysalis fooled you all before. Nymph is probably much craftier to have Celestia fooled for this long. We cannot let our guard down for even a second while we’re here. She could be planning anything.”

“So what should we do?” asked Applejack. “Princess Celestia wants us to go explore the city.”

“And that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll split up and study the changeling culture. Know your enemy, right? But while we’re out there, we should ask the locals of what they know of the royal sisters. Somehow, I don’t think Nymph really sent Chrysalis packing.”

Fluttershy began to tremble and hid under Pinkie. “Y-y-y-you mean she could still be here?”

This was a question that made them all afraid, filling the air with tense silence. “It is very possible,” answered Twilight. “Just remember to stick together and to stay on the lookout. Come back before six and we’ll see if we find anything. Pinkie, Spike, you two will be with me while the rest of you go elsewhere.”

“But I don’t wanna leave Fluttershy!” cried Pinkie as she tightly hugged her once more.

Twilight went over to pry the pony off Fluttershy. “We don’t have a choice. Nymph’s warning is something we need to consider and we cannot afford any mistakes. It will only be for a few hours.”

Pinkie reluctantly let go. “Promise you’ll protect her.”

Applejack nodded. “Course we will. Ya just keep an eye on yarselves since it’d be Twi they want.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’ve been practicing magic for a moment like this for a long time. I am prepared for anything.”

“Ah hope ya are. Come on, girls.” Applejack led her group towards the gates.

Rarity stopped for a moment and ran back to the others so she could plant a kiss on Spike’s forehead. “Please be careful, Spikey.” She then ran to catch up with her friends.


Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Fluttershy explored the busy streets of Bugartha. As they moved through the crowds, many changelings stared at them and muttered between themselves. “Why are they all staring?” Fluttershy asked nervously.

“Well we do sort of stand out,” answered Rarity. “We are certainly much more colorful than any of them, not to mention probably the only ponies ever allowed to see their city.”

“Ah keep feelin’ like they’re gonna jump us at any moment,” Applejack said while keeping her eyes on them. As they continued, more changelings continued to stare and their voices became louder.

“Those are the ponies with Princess Celestia?”

“Look at that one. She’s gorgeous!”

“I have never seen anypony like her.”

“Do you think she’ll let me take a picture with her?”

Rarity stopped walking and her friends noticed. “You are all so very sweet. I work so hard to-” She was shocked when all the changelings suddenly gathered around Rainbow Dash.

“It’s like a rainbow!”

“What does her cutie mark mean?”

“Rainbow colored lightning? Does that even exist?”

Rainbow Dash felt her ego swell by the sudden praise she was receiving from the crowd and was smirking as Rarity glared at her. “Come on, we’ve got more of the city to look at,” said Applejack as she dragged Dash away.

After moving from the crowd, they took notice of many changelings going in and out of a tunnel and most were accompanied by infants. A small changeling girl took notice of them and tapped on her father. “Daddy, what are those?”

“Those are ponies, sweetie. They are here along with Princess Celestia.”

“They’re so pretty and colorful!” She looked up at him. “I want a pony, Daddy!”

“I don’t think you can own one.”

“DADDY, I WANT A PONY RIGHT NOW!”

They watched as the father dragged away his screaming child, clearly embarrassed as many changelings stared. “What a little cutie,” said Applejack with a smirk on her face. “Might as well see what’s over here.”

They entered the cave and were hit by a slightly cold draft. “Awfully chilly in here, isn’t it?” commented Rarity.

Rainbow Dash mildly shivered. “No kidding. What’s down here?”

They entered a large cavern filled with the sound of chirping. The area was cluttered with many changelings, most of them handling infants or eggs. There were several green eggs covered in slime against the walls and they could hear a female scream that sounded as if she was going into labor. “I think this is a hatchery,” said Fluttershy in awe.

“That is correct, pony.” They turned around to see a female changeling approach them. “Changelings bring their eggs here and we care for them until they hatch.”

“Why is it so cold in here?” questioned Dash, lightly shivering.

“This area is constantly kept at the optimal temperature for the eggs. We are used to the cold after living here for so very long.”

They looked over the many hatchlings in the area. The infant changelings were very small and had not grown in their wings yet. They did not give off any intimidation like the ones they met a long time ago and watching them play was adorable to them. “They’re so cute. Can I see one?” pleaded Fluttershy.

“Of course. I have one whose parents are currently not here, so they shouldn’t mind as long as I keep an eye on him. Just mind your hooves.” The nurse brought over an infant in a bundle. The baby looked at the ponies and began giggling happily. He moved his hooves out of the bundle and reached out for them. “It seems he has taken a liking to you pony folk.”

Fluttershy took the bundle and gently rocked him. “Hi there, baby! You’re so adorable!” The baby took some of her hair and began playing with it, enthralled by it.

“I thought that the queen had all the children,” spoke Rainbow Dash. "Isn't that how it works with all bugs?"

The nurse looked at her with annoyance. “Of course not. Where did you even hear of such a stupid thing?”

Dash blushed and chuckled nervously. “Never mind. So does Queen Nymph have any children at all?”

“No, she doesn’t. With everything going on, I’m sure it will be some time until she wishes to expand the royal family. I really hope I live to see it. The birth of a royal changeling is always such a historic moment. The entire kingdom celebrates every birth for a week.”

“When was the last one?” asked Rarity.

“Over three-hundred and fifty years ago, when Queen Nymph herself was hatched.”

“That long ago?” asked Applejack with surprise.

“Strange, right? There are actually not many royal changelings as our ancient history tells about how larger families competed for the throne, so the amount of royal changelings is kept small to prevent conflict.”

“So what do you think of the queen?” questioned the white unicorn.

“Seeing how we aren’t starving so much and not at war with Equestria, Queen Nymph has my full support. She even comes by here sometimes and it is always a blessing to see her.”

“Why does she come here?” queried Dash.

“Queen Nymph absolutely adores children and they adore her. She is such a sweet, motherly queen. She wants some of her own, but she simply does not have the time to go out and find a mate. I’m sure she will make a better parent than Chrysalis would have.”

“So ya don’t like Chrysalis?” asked the farmer.

“Not at all. Other than some of the controversial things she has done during her reign, her plan ended in disaster and we were all scared of war. I don’t understand how she could have possibly failed after beating Celestia. It should have been a sure thing.”

Dash got in front of her, confronting the nurse. “So you’re saying you would have been happy if she won?”

The changeling felt annoyed by the tone she was using. “Don’t talk to me like that. Before Celestia came and helped, acquiring love was a long and difficult process and it only fed some of us. I was just glad Chrysalis was doing something to help us.”

“But what about all the ponies that would be drained?” asked Fluttershy.

“They would have been hypnotized into believing they were with the love of their life. Not that bad of a fate, in my opinion.”

“But it’s wrong!” Rarity covered her mouth when she heard some of the infants becoming upset from her shouting.

“I’m sorry, but we were desperate. Our minds were more focused on our stomachs rather than right and wrong. I didn’t want us to starve.” The nurse looked at the infant that was being held by Fluttershy. “I want you to imagine that this child here is hungry and screaming for food, but you have none to give. Even worse, there are many more like him in the kingdom. It is one of the most horrible experiences I have ever been through and we all just wanted it to end.”

They looked back to the child, who giggled as he was being nuzzled by Fluttershy. Imagining such a thing was very hard for them to do. “I guess I can see where you’re coming from,” said Rarity. “Are you at least glad about how things are now?”

“I am. I really do wish to see the world and meet ponies, which is something I never thought I’d be saying. My husband and I have been saving up money for months so we can go on a long vacation.”

Fluttershy turned toward her friends. “Do any of you want to hold him? He's really friendly.”

“I might as well.” Rarity took the bundle and hugged him. “It’s hard to think that changelings start out so adorable. I’m sure Pinkie would have loved to see them.”

She then handed him to Applejack. “Quite a happy little fella. Ya want him, Rainbow?”

“No thanks. I don’t like babies.” The child whimpered as it reached out for her, desperate for her attention. Dash sighed and scratched his chin. “But maybe they’re not that bad. He is pretty cute for a big bug.”

The changeling took her hoof and put it in his mouth, causing Rainbow Dash to yelp and pull away. “What’s wrong? Afraid of a little slobber?” taunted the farmer.

“He bit me!”

“That’s why I said to mind your hooves. Changelings get their fangs really early and they tend to chew on things. I’ll go get some bandages.” The nurse left them behind. The baby, unaware of what he had just done, laughed and smiled, showing the only four sharp teeth in his mouth.

Dash rubbed her hoof while grumbling. “Aw, do you want me to kiss it and make it all better, Dashie?” teased Rarity while Applejack and Fluttershy laughed.

The assaulted pegasus groaned. “I hate kids.”


The rest of the group had been exploring the far side of the city. While Twilight and Spike kept to themselves, Pinkie was going around introducing herself to any changeling they came across. Twilight was not sure of what she could do as she felt unsafe around them. Another thing she had noticed was that several of them were wearing jewelry with green gems, wondering if they were of any significance. After walking for twenty minutes, something caught her eye and her mood took a turn for the better. “Hey, there’s a library over there. Let’s go check it out,” she said happily. Learning about the species through a book instead of directly dealing with them was much more pleasing to her.

As she made her way to the building, she could feel someone tugging on her tail. “But didn’t Princess Celestia say for us to explore rather than just read?” reminded Spike.

The mare brushed him off. “We’ll just be in there for a quick bit. It’ll be fine.”

They left the street and entered the library. The shelves were cluttered with many books and the unicorn wondered what kind of knowledge she would obtain from here, eager to start with their history. The librarian looked up from her book and saw them entering. “Twilight Sparkle!” she greeted. “I have been expecting you!”

The group looked at each other in confusion. “You have?” she asked nervously.

“Yes. I have been ordered to give you this.” The librarian reached into her desk and pulled out an envelope addressed to her. “Please read this as soon as you can.”

Twilight was now very afraid. The fact she knew who she was and was even waiting for her made her worry of a trap. After taking it, she scanned it with her magic, checking for any curses. Once she finished and found nothing, she slowly opened the fold and emptied its contents. What was inside was not what any of them had expected. The item inside was a large photo of Queen Nymph herself, blowing a kiss to the camera. On the back, there was some writing.

You need to stay out of the library, Twilight Sparkle. There are some things in life that you need to experience instead of just reading about.

XOXO

Queen Nymph

Twilight placed the photo down in total disbelief that she had somehow known she would be at that library. “I’m not that predictable, am I?” The changeling librarian reached inside her desk and pulled out a second envelope. “Oh Celestia no.” Twilight took it and slowly pulled out another photo. When Twilight looked at it, they all gasped.

“What the!?”

It was Nymph again, who was winking while sticking out her rear towards them. She turned it over to read the message.

Yes you are predictable, you silly filly. Princess Celestia has told me much about you and it wasn’t hard to guess the first place you would go. Now go out there and learn. If you don’t, I can have Celestia force you to write a fifty page essay about changelings.

XOXO

Queen Nymph

Twilight stomped her way towards the exit of the library, scowling as Pinkie, Spike, and the librarian laughed at her. Pinkie ran after her and Spike followed after collecting the two photos. On her way out, the unicorn glanced at one of the shelves near the entrance and halted. “Hey, I know these books. What are they doing here?”

“Oh, changelings usually bring back things from your people as we are always curious of the other races. Those are just some we snatched over the years”

Twilight turned and marched back to the desk. “So changelings steal from us?” she asked in an accusing tone.

“We prefer to call it scavenging. The other civilizations have so much to offer and we would never get enough for the kingdom if we tried buying everything using their currency.”

“So what else do changelings ‘scavenge?’” questioned the unicorn aggressively.

“Food, films, clothes, any new technology, whatever we can get our hooves on.”

“Can’t you just make your own stuff?” asked Spike.

“A little difficult, considering we are mostly underground and worry about our survival more than anything else. At least Princess Chrysalis helped speed things along during her rule.”

“What do you mean?” asked Pinkie.

“Shortly after her crowning, she sent masses of changelings to do scavenging and technology research of races all over the world. Our technology rapidly expanded in a short number of years.”

Twilight remembered there were some books that were yet to be returned to her and wondered if this had something to do with it. “So she made you all steal?”

“For the greater good, Twilight. Our people became more intelligent because of it. We had more books to read, new ways of running schools and hospitals, and even a stronger military to protect our homes. We just discovered radio a few years ago and that has helped boost morale during the harder times.”

“Do changelings still take stuff?” asked Pinkie.

“No, Queen Nymph had to ban that after negotiations started to keep positive relationships. She believed that the other races would not think kindly if we continued to collect things that do not belong to us. She has been recently investing in technology to make up for the loss of scavenging and I am curious to see what our species can create when food is not longer such a vital issue.”

“Well thanks for talking with us, but we need to get going now.” Twilight still felt uncomfortable with the idea of Nymph knowing where she was and just wanted to leave.

“Very well. Enjoy your stay.”

The trio exited the building and returned to the street. “See how much we learned by going to the library?” asked Twilight with delight.

“I think we could have just as easily learned that from asking Nymph,” remarked Spike.

“Do you want to talk to her?”

He gulped. “On second thought, maybe not.”

“Great. Now let’s try to find another library.” Both of her friends groaned. “Oh come on. We’re here to learn and where else is better than the library? It’s not like Nymph could have possibly predicted I would go to more than one.”

“Can’t we just talk to the other changelings? They seem nice!” pleaded Pinkie.

“You can go do that, Pinkie,” groaned Twilight.

As Pinkie proceeded to introduce herself to more changelings, Spike tapped his friend. “Twilight, I’m hungry. Can we get some food now?”

The unicorn sighed. “I guess we could grab a bite, but what do changelings even eat besides love?”

After having Pinkie ask directions for them for about ten minutes, they entered a market area and browsed the stands, finding moss, mushrooms, and some other vegetables on display by various vendors. As they continued searching, they picked up a strange smell. “Something smells good,” said Spike.

“It’s coming from over here!” Pinkie hopped over to the stand where many changelings were standing.

“Can you see what they’re serving?” asked Twilight as she attempted to poke her head over the crowd.

“Let me check!” Pinkie disappeared into the crowd to check on the food being made. Several seconds later, she returned and her face was completely white. “Let’s go somewhere else,” muttered Pinkie as she walked right past them. Twilight and Spike decided not to ask what she saw as they were sure they didn’t want to know. After they left, a changeling left the stand and sat at a table, ready to dine on his centipede spaghetti.

After distancing themselves from the stand, they decided to check the vegetables again as they were sure there might have been things of the changeling diet they were better off not knowing about. Twilight went up to a stand selling mushrooms and examined them. “Twilight, I don’t really like that kind of stuff,” addressed Spike.

“Unless it’s on a pizza!” added Pinkie.

She didn’t look at either of them. “Oh, I’m not eating them. I’m going to buy them so I can study them later.”

“But Twilight, I want to eat now,” complained her assistant.

“Just give me a minute.”

The dragon crossed his arms and grumbled, knowing that she was going to take her sweet time while he starved to death. But as he waited, Spike’s nose picked up something else. He turned away from his friends and followed the trail. He found a stand that had something that made his stomach growl. The merchant was selling green crystals, most in the form of jewelry. What really caught his eye was how cheap they were. He grabbed a large crystal and went to the merchant. “I’ll take this, please.”

The changeling just eyed him. “Now what would you want to do with that?”

“Eat it. It looks so good!” Spike licked his lips.

The merchant gasped and swiped it. “You will do no such thing! These crystals are too vital!”

“But they are just gems,” said Spike.

“They are not! These are magical storage crystals.”

“They’re what?”

“Storage crystals, an essential part of changeling society. They are used to store the emotions we extract from the other races. Each changeling has their own in order to keep themselves sustained without the need to always hunt. A crystal of this size could keep an adult changeling satisfied for a month.”

“A whole month? If such a little thing can hold that much, then why are you all starving?” asked the dragon.

“Because that’s a lot of love. Normally, it takes two very affectionate ponies to fill one. However, if a pony has powerful enough feelings for somepony, then they could fill one by themselves, maybe even more.”

“Wow. So how long do you think Shining Armor’s love would have lasted? You know, the groom from the royal wedding?”

“According to the previous queen, there was enough in him to keep her hunger away for months. That one pony had enough to fill up half a crate of crystals. I can only imagine what his honeymoon must have been like,” he said with a perverted grin.

Spike suddenly remembered about the changeling they were on the lookout for. “So…what do you think about Chrysalis and Nymph?”

The merchant sat on his stool, looking displeased with the subject. “Probably the most vicious of mortal enemies. I always expected a bloodbath to happen between them.”

“They hated each other?”

“Hate is not a strong enough word to describe the bad blood between them. You couldn’t believe the things that Chrysalis did to poor Nymph. Perhaps it was for the best she did not succeed in her invasion if she was truly as horrible as they say she was.”

“Chrysalis bullied her own sister?”

“It was dreadful. It was so hard to believe too, considering how they used to be so friendly to each other.”

“Why did they stop being friends?”

The merchant shrugged. “I have my suspicions, but I’m afraid I do not have the answer. Politics is not really my thing and I’d rather not talk about such issues. I'm here for business, not chit-chat.”

“Oh, okay then.” Spike looked backed at the counter. “So can I have the crystal now?”

The changeling grabbed it and put it away. “Go away. You’re scaring the customers.”

“Fine,” Spike huffed. He turned back toward where Twilight and Pinkie were. When he got back, he noticed that they were missing, causing him to panic. He looked around the area, but neither of them was there. He was completely alone and helpless in a large street filled with changelings. He ran around and looked for them, hoping they weren’t captured or something while he was gone.

“Twilight!? Pinkie!? Where are you!?” He kept calling out their names while running, attracting the attention of the many changelings around him. He continued searching for minutes until he heard a voice of distress.

“Look out! There’s a dragon in the street!” Spike stopped and saw all of them panic and distancing themselves from him.

“Why is there one here? Where are the guards!?”

“I saw him with Princess Celestia! Why is he running around without anyone watching him? He could be dangerous!”

Spike could clearly see that they were all terrified of him, which he found to be very strange as he had always feared them since the invasion. He held up his hands in attempts to reassure them. “Let’s all calm down. I’m just looking for my friends. I have no intention of-” Spike was cut off as he suddenly belched out a scroll.

The changelings saw the fire and broke into panic. They were all screaming and trying to get away by flying or running. “Run for your lives! He’s attacking!”

“The wrath of the Princess is upon us! This is the end of us all!”

“This stuff never happened when Chrysalis was the queen!”

Within a minute, the entire street was deserted and Spike just stood there in surprise. He was sure that both Celestia and Nymph were going to be very mad at him for starting a panic, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. He looked at the scroll in his hand and unrolled it, learning that it was from Luna and it was addressed to her sister. It seemed that she was worried about Cherub, who had recently cut off contact with her and declined her offer of visiting. The alicorn seemed to be very distraught about what was going on with her friend and reading her letter made Spike feel bad for her.

“Spike!” He quickly turned around, only to be tackled by Twilight. The unicorn held him in a very tight hug and had a few tears in her eyes. “Where did you go? I was so worried!”

Spike returned her embrace, thankful they found each other. “I’m sorry, I just left for a minute and I couldn’t find you.”

Twilight lifted her head and noticed the empty street. “I heard screaming from here. Where is everyone?”

“Uh…there was a misunderstanding.” Spike held up the letter to her. “I got this from Luna and I think we should give it to Celestia right now.”

“Is it about Chrysalis?” she queried, hoping that she had been finally caught.

“No, it’s about Cherub.”

“Cherub?” Twilight asked, disappointed. “What about her?”

Spike handed her the letter, which she and Pinkie quickly read. “Oh no!” exclaimed Pinkie. “Why is she avoiding Luna?”

Twilight rolled it up and stashed it into her bag. “Why are you asking us? You’re the one who works for her.”

Pinkie sat on the ground and sighed dejectedly. “She’s been acting weird lately. She’s totally not herself. She’s being mean again, but now she is also really sad.”

Spike and Twilight gave each other worried looks. “She is? About what?” questioned the dragon.

“I don’t know! She doesn’t like talking to me anymore and she just seems sadder every day! We have to go back right now!”

“We can’t. We have important things to do here and we can’t go home until tomorrow,” reminded the unicorn.

“But Cherub needs me!”

“She can wait a day. Maybe we can give the princess this letter. I’m sure Celestia will help Luna in dealing with her.”

Pinkie swiped the letter. “You’re right! Let’s go right now!” She was ready to bolt, but Twilight stood in front of her.

“Celestia’s busy until six, so we have to stay here and learn more about the changelings. I know you care about Cherub and Luna like we do, but we can’t do anything until later.”

“Okay…” After several seconds, Pinkie sprung up. “That means there’s more time to meet changelings!”

She hurried off while her friends followed. When she was out of earshot, Twilight looked at the dragon. “Do not ever run off like that. You had me scared to death.”

He looked away, ashamed. “I’m sorry, Twilight. I just wanted to get some food while you were busy.”

“Well we’ll go look for something for you to eat. Just promise you won’t do something like that again. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

“I promise I won’t.” When Pinkie wasn’t looking, Twilight lowered her head and kissed him on the cheek, causing both of them to blush.


The other group of ponies was strolling through a shopping district, wanting to take a break from research and see what was being sold. So far, they haven’t learned anything too interesting about Nymph or Chrysalis and had been barely asking any changelings since it would look suspicious if they asked too many about them. As for the changelings themselves, they were very polite and some were even nervous about meeting them. They certainly did not resemble any of the changelings they fought against during the wedding. The ponies kept looking through the windows and browsed the various shops. Rarity was going on a spending spree as the changelings carried many rare materials for her craft at a low price and she was eager to try some new designs. Even though the incident occurred hours before, Rainbow Dash kept looking at her bandaged hoof. “Ya need to let it go, Rainbow,” spoke Applejack, amused by how worried her friend was.

“I know, I know. But do you think changelings are like vampires?”

“What do ya mean?”

“Like a bite could turn me into…” she gulped, “a changeling?”

Fluttershy gasped fearfully. “Maybe we should get Celestia!”

“Now just hold yar horses. Ah don’t think ya’re gonna turn into a changelin’ on account of ya bein’ bit by one.”

“But they’re so like vampires! They have sharp fangs and they drain ponies by sucking the life out of them!” argued Rainbow Dash. “They even remind me of bats since they live in caves.”

“They’re more like big bugs,” countered Applejack.

“Same thing.” Dash took a look behind herself to see several changelings still following her, which she was sick of. Her brutal encounter with the infant gave her a negative opinion about the race as well as the fear of becoming one. All she wanted was to be alone and not get harassed.

“I’m going to ask for her autograph!”

“I wonder if she’s single.”

Dash turned around, having enough of them. “Look, guys, do you mind just leaving me alone? I’m not having a good day.” Much to her surprise, that caused the crowd to come even closer, all of them eager to please her. She tried flying above them for some room, but they all flew up with her. “Seriously, back off!” she demanded to no avail. She was scared that they knew of her bite and they wanted to make her one of them. She looked at her friends, who were trying to fight through the crowd and help.

A loud whistle was heard, silencing the mob. “Alright, that’s enough! All of you maggots quit bothering these ponies and scram!” ordered another changeling. The crowd slowly dispersed, all of them intimidated by him.

Once they were gone, the pegasus landed. “Thanks a lot,” said Dash, relieved.

“No problem, pony,” said the changeling. “You must be the ones that Queen Nymph was supposed to meet.”

“That’s us,” Applejack replied.

“Is everything going well with her?” he asked, sounding concerned.

“Yes. She seemed very happy to see us, much to our surprise,” said Rarity.

“That’s a relief. She has been fretting over this visit for a few days.”

“How do you know that?” questioned Fluttershy.

“Oh, I have yet to introduce myself." He briefly bowed in front of them. "I am Hornet, one of her personal guards.”

Rarity shook his hoof. “Pleasure to meet you. So why was Nymph so worried about us coming?”

“She knows a lot about you, Elements of Harmony. You all hold a grudge against our kind because of Chrysalis’s invasion and she was hoping she could convince you all that she wasn’t like her sister.”

Rainbow Dash then realized something and got in his face. “Wait a minute. If you’re part of the guards, does that mean you were there during the invasion?”

Hornet gave a faint smile. “I was one of the changelings that captured you.”

She became furious and raised a hoof threateningly. “You little…”

“Save it, pegasus. I was only following orders. I am loyal to my queen as you are loyal to your princesses.”

“If you actually had a heart, you would have refused them!” shouted Rarity.

“Trust me when I say no one says no to Queen Chrysalis. Defying her is scarier than being locked in a room with a starving hydra. Whether or not you want to, you always end up giving her what she wants.”

“So you didn’t want to invade?” asked Fluttershy, who was hiding behind Applejack.

“Well…the thought of free food was nice.” He could see the looks of anger and even fright he was getting from them. “But at any rate, that was in the past. Queen Nymph's plan will pull through and food will never be of concern again, meaning no more incidents like that one.”

They still felt slightly unnerved by him, but Applejack knew they still had a job to do. “Since ya worked for Chrysalis, what can ya tell us about her?”

“Let me start with the good things. Chrysalis was a darn good queen. She had a sharp wit, a silver tongue, and a heart of gold. Before she came into power, we were a struggling and slightly uneducated race. After the mass scavenging started, she put into place so many programs to get changelings working. She made teachers, construction workers, researchers, and even more soldiers. The best thing she did in my opinion was update our security. We do not exactly have the best military in the world, which you might have noticed since we had no weapons and barely any organization during the invasion, but we did better at home where we could drive off any invader with little to no casualties. Things certainly got better when we started using those handy defense crystals.”

“Defense crystals?” asked Fluttershy.

“Probably one of our best inventions yet. You see, us changelings struggle to use magic, besides Nymph and Chrysalis. We can usually only change our form and can barely use simple magic such as telekinesis or shooting beams. So anyway, these crystals are a massive pile of changeling magic and they play with the mind of any other creature that comes close. Whenever a diamond dog or even a dragon wanders too close to our homes, the crystals do their trick. The intruder’s mind would be altered, giving thoughts like they have something else to do that was urgent or that their worst fear lurks within the cave. We never had any more problems after that.”

“Wow. Chrysalis actually sounds like a great queen,” said Rainbow Dash.

Hornet’s expression then turned into scorn, surprising the ponies. “Now let me tell you why I hate her. Chrysalis was an absolute monster. What a lot of us at the castle knew but could not share with anyone outside was the things Chrysalis did to Nymph.”

The ponies looked at each other, confused by his words. “What things?” questioned Applejack uneasily.

“Horrible things. Chrysalis liked to torment her in every way she could at any moment she could. Insult her, create rumors, and even give her the most demeaning tasks. Nymph tried on more than one occasion to stand up to her sister, but that’s like sending a bunny to fight a manticore: It’s quickly over and often very messy.”

Rarity couldn't help but feel horrible. She didn’t like Nymph, but she had no idea the queen had been through so much from Chrysalis herself. “How could she do that to her own sister?”

“Because Chrysalis has no soul.”

“But I thought you said she had a heart of gold,” reminded Dash, suspicious of any lies.

“Let me rephrase what I said earlier: She had a heart of gold if you didn’t oppose her, you were a changeling, and you weren’t Nymph. I have heard otherwise about her and I find it completely unbelievable.”

“Like what?” questioned the yellow pony.

“One day some years ago, I happened to come across Nymph in a study at the castle, crying her eyes out. I went to her and asked what was wrong and she just said, 'Chrysalis.' I sat with her for a while and we talked for a bit when she calmed down. Eventually, she brought up their past together. Unbelievably, Chrysalis used to love her more than anything.”

Rarity remembered how she used to neglect her own little sister and was glad things never got that bad. When she returned home, she would allow Sweetie Belle to come over with her friends more often. “Why doesn’t she anymore?”

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors, but I really don’t know the absolute truth. Nymph keeps avoiding that topic and whenever she and Chrysalis argued, they did it in private. What I can say with absolute certainty is that Chrysalis turning against her like that was what hurt her the most in her life. She is her only family left and she just wants her back. Even though she had many friends who supported and cared for her like myself, it wasn’t enough to fill the void in her heart.”

Fluttershy wiped some tears from her eyes. “That poor thing.”

“And after Chrysalis returned from the failed invasion, Nymph got even. She pardoned everyone involved in the attack except her, making her carry all of the blame for endangering us. Much of the kingdom still thought Chrysalis would have done a better job in bailing them out of their time of crisis, but Nymph was prepared. The first thing she did was expose to the entire kingdom the cruel things that her sister had done to her and how she treated those who opposed her, painting the image in everyone’s mind of the tyrant that was her sister. A lot of changelings were appalled, but it was not enough to convince them to let Nymph handle things.

“She then started telling them about how much danger there was since Chrysalis failed and convinced us all how her plan was doomed from the start. She went on about how the only way we were going to get through this was to make peace and convince the ponies that we were no threat. She told us that we were too few in strength and in power to stand against Equestria’s forces, maybe even more if the other races got scared enough. Chrysalis tried making her own arguments, but Nymph managed to turn the tables on her, winning over her people’s favor. Once all of the changelings supported Nymph, the decision for punishment came.”

“After hearing all that, I am still surprised she merely threw her out,” stated Dash.

“I was honestly expecting a life sentence or even execution, but like the rest of the kingdom, I was shocked by her decision. I was there when Chrysalis left. None of us made a sound as we watched her go up to the surface and disappear. While most of us felt relieved as tossing her out would help have Celestia forgive us, Nymph was very sad. It must have been very painful to have to make such a decision.”

“Oh goodness. That is just a sad story,” said Rarity.

“So have any of you seen Chrysalis since then?” asked Hornet. “I am very curious of what she’s been up to.”

“We haven’t seen her at all, actually,” answered Rarity.

“A good thing, in my opinion. The less we see of her, the better. With Chrysalis gone, Nymph is doing much better now. After negotiations began, she just felt so alive and optimistic with Celestia’s mercy and without Chrysalis’s bullying. It’s so heartwarming to see her like that after all she had been through. ”

“So is she a good queen?” questioned Applejack.

“She is, but she feels like she is living in Chrysalis’s shadow. A lot of programs and laws that her sister had placed are still in effect, but at least Nymph’s likable. Chrysalis tended to use rather controversial methods to get what she wanted, like intimidation. As for Nymph right now, her approach on foreign policy has really put her up there. If she pulls it off, it will be probably the most historical event in our entire history and Nymph’s name will be forever remembered. Of course, she actually needs to succeed first.”

“Well, I wouldn’t mind if changelings lived with us. You all seem nice enough,” said Fluttershy, who worked up the courage to leave her hiding spot.

Hornet smiled warmly. “Thank you, pony. I won’t lie: it’s going to be a rocky start for us all. Ponies will be wary of us because we invaded and changelings have never really trusted another race before. ”

“I’m sure everything will work out in the end and you changelings will never have to worry about starving again,” said Rarity.

“I really hope so. I’m going to go and enjoy the rest of my day off at the bar. Maybe we’ll see each other again someday, but before I go, I want you all to know that we are not your enemies. The invasion was an act of desperation and fear and we are often a peaceful, neutral nation. You can trust Nymph too, so don’t feel afraid by her.”

The orange mare nodded. “Goodbye, Hornet, and thanks for everythin’.”

“Take care.” He turned around and left them behind. Before he was out of sight, Rainbow Dash flew to him.

“Quick question: If a changeling were to bite a pony, does that pony turn into a changeling?”

“Aren’t those vampires or wereponies?”

“Oh. Y-yeah.”

His eyes caught the bandage on her hoof. “You’re not going to change, kid. That’s just a myth.”

She wiped the sweat off her forehead. “Okay, thanks.”

“Don’t mention it.” Once Dash flew back to her friends and was far enough, Hornet muttered, “Idiot.”

Once Rainbow Dash returned, Rarity looked at a nearby clock. “It’s about time we start heading back.”

“Good, cause my hooves are just sore from walkin’,” said Applejack.

“I just hope the others are okay,” said Fluttershy.

“I’m sure they are,” Rarity replied. “I truly believe that the changelings do not intend any harm. They seem to be much different than our previous assumptions.”

“Let’s not forget about Nymph,” added Dash. “If she really wants peace, then we should be safe. I don’t think any changeling would be dumb enough to lay a hoof on us with Nymph trying to make peace. As for Chrysalis, I really don’t think Nymph would want her to keep around if what Hornet said is true.”

“I hope so. I still feel a little scared by her because how mad she got,” added Fluttershy.

“Yeah, but you know what would totally make up for that? Some delicious grub!” said Dash as her mouth moistened.

“Food sounds really good right now,” agreed Rarity. “I just wonder what sort of food she eats, besides our emotions.”

“Might as well find out,” answered the earth pony. “Ah just hope Twilight is stayin’ out of trouble.”


Twilight’s group decided to head back after examining the rest of the city and learning more about the changeling civilization and even about the queens. At the moment, Twilight grew fond of the species and even approached some herself, feeling trustful of them. From learning about their history, she was beginning to see how the invasion came about. As for her other topic of interest, Twilight never expected what she heard about Chrysalis and Nymph from Spike. She had asked several changelings about this and all backed up the claim of Chrysalis abusing Nymph. As for opinions of her reign, they were mixed. A lot did think Chrysalis was good at ruling but were disgusted by how she treated others at times. Most were very satisfied by Nymph’s plan to have them accepted into the world above, bringing a new age to the changeling civilization. However, Twilight held strong disdain for Nymph for another reason. She hoped that Celestia would have some more answers as it would help determine whether or not the queen was worthy of trust.

Back at the courtyard where they first arrived, Twilight, Spike, and Pinkie noticed a cave entrance guarded by two changelings over at the side. They decided to take a quick look since they still had some time before their other friends came back. As they tried to approach, the guards got in front of them. “Sorry, but no one is allowed this way.”

“But we’re special guests of Queen Nymph,” said Twilight.

One of the changelings shook his head. “Even so, none are allowed through here.”

“What’s in there, anyway?” questioned Spike.

“This tunnel leads to the Royal Changeling Garden and no one is allowed in except the queen. Not even Princess Celestia has been granted access.”

“So why is no one allowed through?” queried the unicorn.

“The Royal Garden is property of the royal family, which is just Queen Nymph and Princess Chrysalis at the moment. Only Nymph is allowed in unless she says otherwise. As for why she chooses to keep it closed, I do not have the answer.”

“What’s it like in there?” asked Pinkie.

“It’s a beautiful place filled with many flowers and trees. It has been part of the royal family probably for our entire history, making it such an important part of our kingdom. I’ve seen it before and it is truly a sight to behold.”

Twilight suddenly became extremely interested as she wanted to see some of the history of the changeling race. “When does Nymph usually allow changelings in? I would love to see it.”

“The last time anyone was granted access was over a year ago, when Chrysalis was the queen. Queen Nymph has not yet allowed entrance during her current reign.”

A worried thought began to grow in Twilight’s head. “Why not?”

“Who can say for sure? I never know what goes on in that head of hers. She always does come here most of the days whenever she has time.”

Her fear was steadily rising. “And how often does she go there?”

“About every other day and she’s up there for hours. I can’t imagine what she does in that garden all by herself.”

“I see. Well thanks for everything.” They moved away from the guards and huddled in a circle. “Are you two thinking what I’m thinking?”

Pinkie began to bounce. “What are you thinking, Twilight?”

The unicorn gulped as she shifted her eyes towards the cave. “I think…Chrysalis might be hiding out in the garden.”

Spike panicked. “What do we do!?”

“I’m not sure. I just wish I had more evidence to prove this theory.”

“I know! Let’s ask the guards.” Pinkie shot her head up. “Excuse me, is Chrysalis in there?”

“Pinkie!”

The guards looked confused. “What? No, of course not. Why would you think such a thing?”

“Because you said Nymph has not allowed anyone in during her reign and the fact that Chrysalis hasn’t been seen in months,” the party pony answered happily.

One of the guards rolled his eyes. “That’s the stupidest thing I have ever…hmm.”

The other guard looked at him. “Are you seriously considering that Queen Nymph has her sister here in the kingdom?”

“Well think about it. Chrysalis has not been seen for months and Nymph has yet to allow anyone in. She always comes and goes through here and she just seems so distant from everyone else, not to mention they were so close before. I know that they came here all the time together as children and adults.”

The guard gulped and looked into the tunnel. “Do you really think Princess Chrysalis is in there?”

The five looked at each other, each carrying fear of what was waiting in there. “Do you think we should look?” asked Twilight.

“I’m sorry, pony, but our orders remain. None are allowed through here.”

“But Chrysalis could be back there!” she protested.

“Let me put it this way: If she is indeed back there, then the best thing to do is stay away. I am confident that the queen will handle her with her best judgment.”

“I hope you’re right.” Twilight turned and headed back towards the courtyard with her friends catching up to her.

“What are we going to do, Twilight?” asked the worried dragon. “Should we get the princess?”

“No. Celestia completely trusts Nymph and we would need more evidence to have her investigate. I need you two to not mention this at all for now.”

Pinkie started whispering to ensure no one else heard her. “Why would Nymph keep Chrysalis in a garden if she was mean? Is she like a bee and plays with flowers to make honey?”

“I don’t know. I need to think about this.” When they returned to the front entrance of the palace, they saw their other friends returning.

Spike and Pinkie sprinted to their special someponies. The dragon leapt in the air and Rarity caught him. “I’m glad to see you’re all safe,” she said as she embraced him.

A brief flash of purple washed over them as Twilight checked to ensure none of them were changelings. “Likewise,” she responded with relief.

“So how’s everything going, Twilight? Get anything good?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Maybe. I will have to do some serious thinking first.”

That caused her other friends some concern. “What do you mean?” asked Fluttershy, who was nervous.

“We’ll talk later. Let’s go find the princess and have dinner.”

They entered the palace and maneuvered their way to where Celestia and Nymph were residing with the aid of guards who pointed them in the right direction. The hallways were in a much lighter color than the exterior of the palace. The walls and floor were colored white and green with purple carpet along the floor. Windows filled much of the walls and they could see much of the city from where they were. As they entered deeper into the home of the queen, they found a hall which contained many portraits. Each picture showed a royal changeling and they were surprised by how few there were. As they neared the end, they saw some particular portraits. There was Queen Widow, her daughter Queen Rhopa Locera, who was the mother of Chrysalis and Nymph, and Chrysalis herself. The way she smiled was devious and Twilight shuddered from the sight of her. The next portrait was the current queen, whose smile was much friendlier.

Finally, they found the room where the royals were discussing their issues and the ponies waited for them to finish. After some minutes, the doors opened. The first to come out were five older changelings in robes, who Twilight assumed to be the Changeling Council that she heard about from Celestia. “Waiting for Princess Celestia, I assume?” asked one.

“Is she in there?” asked Fluttershy.

“Yes, she and Queen Nymph are just putting the finishing touches on a few things and will be out shortly.” He studied each of them. “I never expected the Elements of Harmony to be so young.”

“Well I never expected the Council to be so old,” countered Rainbow Dash.

“Touché. I am Councilman Termite, and these are Mantis, Moth, Locust, and Bumble. We are the Changeling Council, elected to represent the interests of the people. We ensure that everything that the queen does is for the better of our kingdom.”

Locust, a rather short changeling, came to Twilight and rapidly shook her hoof. “It is so nice to meet you all! Thank you for gracing us with your presence.”

Feeling trustful of the changeling race, she produced a pleasant smile. “Nice to meet you, too.”

Locust did not stop shaking her hoof. “I mean, you are all so beautiful and smart and talented.”

“Uh…”

“And so kind for sparing our miserable, worthless lives!”

Termite quickly pushed him aside before he could kiss her hoof. “What he meant to say is that we thank you all for giving our kind a chance. We expected the worst when Queen Nymph first left to Canterlot and we’ve been doing our best to keep peace. We’ve never had the luxury of receiving kindness from other species and we do not dare to do anything that would have us lose that.”

Bumble, a very old looking changeling with large glasses and a cane, approached Spike. “Hey look, everyone!” he exclaimed as he picked him up. “My grandson Skipper came to visit me on my birthday!”

Mantis, a female changeling who looked ready to bite his head off, took Spike from him and placed him on the floor. “Bumble, that’s not your grandson, that’s a dragon. And today isn’t your birthday.”

“He sure is a dragon. That young lad has some fire in him.” As the delusional changeling looked at Spike, he suddenly broke into panic. “W-what!? A dragon!? Where’s my grandson, you beast!?”

He charged Spike with his cane raised, but the other changelings held him back. “Bumble, it’s time for supper with a nutritious side of medication,” angrily reminded Locust.

As they carried him away, Bumble yelled, “Someone help me! I’m being taken by changelings!”

“You’re a changeling, you idiot!” shouted Mantis.

Once they were out of sight, Dash went over to Moth, a taller, female changeling who had remained behind. “Why does that geezer work for the council? He should be in a home.”

“Because the queen thinks he’s hilarious to keep around. While he does have his moments of brilliance, it’s mostly like this. We do plan on retiring him very soon, but we’re just waiting for the election. I better make sure he doesn’t do anything extreme.”

“Wait,” called Twilight. “What can you tell us about Chrysalis?”

Moth gulped and looked into the room she just came from. She motioned them closer and whispered, “Good queen, nasty individual. She performed well in her duties and could be sweet like Nymph, but it was her rage that usually got her what she wanted when all else failed, demanding that her subjects respected her royal desires. This only escalated when she was crowned. While a lot of things she has done have helped us, it usually felt like none of us had a say in it. And before you ask, no she did not force us to agree on letting her invade Equestria. We were all on board with her idea at the time and we are very, very, very, very, very sorry.”

“It’s all right,” said Twilight, much to her own surprise. “I’ve learned enough of changeling history to understand your desperation. So what about Nymph?”

“Nicer, but I wish she had the drive Chrysalis possessed. Chrysalis would have had this negotiating all done a long time ago, but I think I prefer having her sister around. She always listens to her people’s concerns and really knows how to compromise. She is doing her best to make her own policies to improve our lives, but she is much too focused on these negotiations. I will also warn you that while Nymph may be friendly, never ever make her angry.”

The farmer gulped. “Too late.”

“Scary, isn’t it? She can get just as mad as her sister, but she has a lot more patience. Just do not ever try her, or else not even Celestia can save you.” Once she finished, she quickly trotted away to meet with the other councilors.

Once the Changeling Council was gone, the princess and the queen appeared. “Hello again, Twilight,” greeted Celestia. “I hope you and your friends found everything well in the city.”

“We have certainly learned a lot,” answered Twilight.

Nymph smiled warmly. “Excellent. You must all be hungry from all of that walking. Come join us in the dining hall and we can discuss what you have learned.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Rainbow Dash as she rubbed her stomach.

While they were walking, Pinkie remembered the letter. “Princess Celestia, I have an urgent letter for you!”

“Urgent?” Celestia took the letter and began reading it while Nymph was peeking over her shoulder. “Oh dear.”

“Is everything alright, Princess?” asked Nymph with worry.

“My sister is just worried about one of her friends. I have noticed Luna’s been a bit down lately, but I did not think it was this serious.”

“Aren’t you going to write back? You have to help Cherub!”

“Calm yourself, Pinkie. I will write to her as soon as I can. I just need to think about what I should do about this.” Pinkie bit her lip, not wanting to wait so long, but reluctantly nodded.

As they approached the dining hall, Nymph asked, “So who is this Cherub?”

“Cherub is a pony that young Pinkie Pie works for,” answered the alicorn. “She runs a dating service and has helped many find love. She is also a very good friend of Luna and they tend to get along very well.”

“My, that sounds interesting. I think the extra love will be very beneficial to my people when they receive citizenship.”

“Cherub doesn’t like changelings at all and I’m sure that she’s not doing this to feed them” added Twilight.

“I’m sorry to hear that. Still, more love would benefit us all, yes?”

“I guess.”

“Speaking of love,” Nymph said as she turned her gaze onto the dragon and the pony he was riding, “I simply must know about this love I am sensing between you both, Spike and Rarity. I never thought ponies and dragons ever got together.”

They all sat at a large table in the dining hall as Spike told the story to her and Pinkie was very eager to go next. Once he finished, Pinkie was about to speak, but was interrupted by Twilight. “So I heard you have a really nice garden, Queen Nymph.”

The changeling happily nodded. “You have heard right. My garden is one of the most beautiful places you can find in the world. Maybe I’m slightly exaggerating since I have yet to see much of the world, but I think I’ve read enough.”

“Can I go see it?”

“No,” she answered bluntly.

Twilight’s suspicion of the queen began to grow. “And why not?”

“Because it is my private garden and I do not wish for it to be disturbed.”

“I won’t disturb it, I promise.”

“I’m sorry, you are not allowed in there. Please just stay out. And that goes for the rest of you ponies.” Before Twilight could ask another question, the pegasi guards came over and brought the food that they had brought from Ponyville. “I see your dinner has arrived,” said Nymph as she stood. “I will leave you to enjoy your meals. We can speak about what you learned after.”

The ponies watched as the queen went over to the council, who were seated at the far end of the table. Suddenly, Dash let out a loud growl. “So wait a minute. Queen Nymph invites us here and then she expects us to sit over here and eat our own food? What kind of host is she?”

“Trust me, Rainbow Dash, it’s better we eat this way. Changeling food is rather…unique,” warned Celestia.

“Well I still want some,” Dash complained as she stared down the changelings.

“If you really want to, you can go over there and ask for some. I just hope your stomach can handle it.”

“Sounds good to me.” Dash left her seat and went towards the changelings.

Rarity got up as well. “I think I shall join her. I am ever so curious to see the royal changeling cuisine.”

“You may go if you wish. Just keep in mind you are entering risky territory.” Rarity left and followed the pegasus. “I think you should all turn you seats this way,” suggested the princess as she magically turned her subjects' seats towards her.

The changelings took notice of the ponies approaching. “Was there something you needed?” asked Nymph.

“We wish to sample some of your delicacies,” requested Rarity. “I am ever so curious of what food royalty such as yourselves dine on.”

“I’m glad to hear that. Bring our honorary guests their dinner.” The servants bowed and left the dining room. “Food is an excellent way of experiencing another culture and I hope you two find everything well.” The servants returned with their dinner platters. Once all were set on the table, the tops were removed. “You may begin.”

While the changelings began eating their food, Rainbow Dash and Rarity exchanged glances. The food was mostly what they had expected. There was a bowl of fresh cave moss and grilled mushrooms, but the soup really stood out. Dash raised a hoof. “Uh, your highness? There are parasprites in our soups.”

Nymph lifted her spoon, holding some soup and a yellow parasprite that smiled and buzzed at her. “Indeed there are.”

“Aren’t you worried, Queen Nymph?” asked Rarity. “Parasprites are known for-”

CHOMP!

Rarity’s ear piercing shriek echoed throughout most of the castle.

The Queen and Twi (and her Friends)

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The Queen and Twi (and her Friends)

After the chaotic dinner, Rarity and Rainbow Dash were brought to the guest room so they could calm down as they were completely hysterical from what happened. It didn’t help that the rest of their friends felt the same way when they discovered what was being served to the changelings. While eating emotions from other species was one thing, parasprites was a whole other story. “H-how could she just do such a thing!?” shouted Rarity frantically. “She just ate the thing alive!”

Celestia was seated on the edge of the bed next to the unicorn, holding Rarity’s hoof in attempt to calm her down while Spike held the other one. “Well changelings are omnivores,” she pointed out.

“You should have told us about the food!” yelled Dash as she pointed a hoof in the alicorn’s face.

“I tried to, but you two ignored my warnings.”

Rarity grabbed and shook the princess. “You didn’t say anything about eating parasprites!”

“I didn’t know about that. I was just thinking about my first visit, where they had-”

“I don’t want to know!” screamed Rarity as she threw her hooves over her ears and jumped back onto the bed.

“At any rate, I knew you would think badly of them if you knew too much of their eating habits, which is why I never said anything specific.”

“They eat cute little animals!” cried Fluttershy.

Celestia wrapped a wing around her. “It’s all a part of nature, Fluttershy. I know it is quite gruesome, but I hope this doesn’t change how you feel about them.”

“Ah’m mad at Nymph cause she was laughin’ at poor Rarity and Dash,” said Applejack.

“Don’t take it too hard. I think she was expecting them to react like that. I am so sorry I didn’t try harder to stop you two. I did not think things would get out of hoof as much as they did.”

“I guess we should’ve tried listening,” admitted the blue pegasus.

Celestia stood up. “It is getting late and I need to do some reading before I retire for the night. I will be in my room if you need anything from me. Goodnight, girls.”

“Goodnight, Princess,” they all said at once. Celestia left the room and right before she closed the door, Twilight appeared.

“Celestia, can we talk?”

“What is it, my faithful student? Is everything alright?”

Twilight entered the hall and closed the door. “Everything’s fine. I just want to ask you a few things.”

“Ask away.”

Twilight took a moment before asking, “What happened between Nymph and Chrysalis?”

Celestia’s smile faded and her expression turned into gloom. “So you know about their relationship.”

“Yes.”

The alicorn sat against the wall and her student joined her. “Poor Nymph. I don’t know how she could have possibly endured the torment Chrysalis inflicted upon her.”

“What did she do?”

“Chrysalis at one point became incredibly hostile to her and was emotionally abusive to her to such an extreme. It was so bad that Nymph was sometimes reduced to tears by her and gained the title, ‘The Weeping Princess.’”

Twilight could feel her chest ache. She could easily see Chrysalis being cruel to ponies, but to her own sister? “How could Chrysalis do that to her?”

“There was an incident that happened between them and it made Chrysalis vile towards her.”

“What happened?”

“If you want to know, ask Nymph, but I strongly doubt she will wish to share that information as she has yet to tell me, so please do not try. I fear of what will happen if you bring up such a delicate subject.”

“I won’t. I’m sure she just wants to never see Chrysalis again and move on.”

The alicorn took a deep breath and sighed. “Not exactly, Twilight.”

“Huh?”

“Nymph has become restless trying to locate her, worrying that something has happened to her since that has yet to be any sign of her after all these months.”

Twilight’s theory of the garden really seemed to hold water now. “Why would she want to do that? Chrysalis was horrible to her!”

“I’m afraid the poor girl is going through severe denial.”

“Denial?”

“Even after everything she has been through, she wants to believe that Chrysalis can be redeemed. She clings onto the memories of their close bond that had lasted for over three hundred years. She refuses to accept that her sister cannot be turned and has even asked a lot of questions about Luna and me.”

The unicorn stared at the floor, feeling sorry for Nymph. “I see.”

“Is that all, Twilight?”

“Just one more question. What do you think of Chrysalis?”

Celestia just looked up at the ceiling. “That is a tricky question. I am still very bitter about her invasion, but I am trying to see her the way Nymph does since she knows her better than I. I understand what it is like to have your sister turn against you and I would hate to think Chrysalis is beyond any hope. While Chrysalis had good intentions in trying to aid her kind, she did not care for us in any way and has proven to be very sinister and uncaring and that was without a nightmarish force.”

“So do you think she can be made good?”

The alicorn merely sighed. “Maybe. I would not worry about that until the time comes. Don’t worry about her too much, Twilight. I am keeping a very close eye out for her.”

“Okay, Celestia.”

Celestia stood up. “You should get some rest. Remember that you will be speaking to Nymph tomorrow.”

“I know. I just feel really nervous.”

“It’ll be fine, Twilight. I would have never brought you here if I thought otherwise. Just enjoy the night with your friends and forget your worries. Goodnight, Twilight.” Celestia then walked away, heading to her own bedroom. Twilight reentered hers and saw that her friends had calmed from the dinner earlier, now making themselves comfortable and making small talk with one another. She laid on her bed as she began thinking over everything from today. At this point, she was more than convinced that Nymph could not possibly be siding with Chrysalis and she began to believe that Nymph was not as evil as she originally believed. She still had some fears about the changeling race because they did want to invade Equestria before, but she was sure Celestia would know how to handle things.

Although she felt sorry for Nymph, Twilight still held contempt for her. The one thing about her that drove her up a wall was what she decided to do with Chrysalis. She could never wrap her head around why Nymph would think it was a good idea to not punish her. Chrysalis was powerful, clever, and extremely manipulative. The fact Nymph let her go free as a bird to plot her revenge bothered her to no end, even more now that she knew about how Chrysalis mistreated her sister. She even had night terrors about her return that often resulted in Spike being used as a teddy bear.

She remembered when Celestia first informed her about Nymph’s arrival in Canterlot, she completely freaked and demanded that Celestia arrested her before another invasion occurred. Once Celestia calmed her down, she explained to her what had happened. While she and Luna were in the throne room, busy creating laws and security plans in the case of another attack, several guards sprinted to them, informing that the changeling queen was in Canterlot and wished to speak with them about an important issue. Luna wanted to just arrest her, but Celestia wanted to hear her out before deciding anything. Reluctantly, the guards brought the queen and her guards to them.

The first thing that caught Celestia’s attention was that this queen was definitely not Chrysalis. Before she could ask anything, Luna took action. She flew in front of the changeling and with the belief she was Chrysalis, exploded at her in her Canterlot voice, threatening that there was going to be serious retribution for her attack. Celestia worried how this other queen would react, remembering that Chrysalis had overpowered her, but her response took everyone by surprise.

The queen simply fainted.

The changeling guards immediately flew into panic and formed a protective stance around their unconscious ruler, begging to be spared as they knew they could not possibly fight either alicorn. While Luna was completely baffled, Celestia rushed over to help the queen by carrying her to the infirmary. Once she was in a bed, Celestia questioned the guards about their visit. They told her that Queen Nymph was the sister of Chrysalis and she wanted to make peace, wishing to save the changelings from war. While the news of her identity surprised both princesses, being informed of the previous queen’s fate was a complete shock.They were disappointed that she was still running free and both had a suspicion that her being banished wasn’t true as neither of them trusted Nymph.

Once Nymph woke up, Celestia thought it would have been best to let her changeling guards see her first to help relax her. Since Luna left a wonderful first impression, she was made to bring Shining Armor and Cadance from Ponyville, where they were visiting Twilight. She was also made sure to not tell them what was going on until they were in the palace in order to prevent the news from spreading and causing a panic. Once Nymph was calm, Celestia decided to go see her alone. Nymph was very shy and it took some effort to get her to say anything.

They talked about the invasion and Nymph told her that it was only carried out because the status of her kingdom, where famine was taking toll. Celestia remembered Chrysalis saying it was her duty as queen to provide food for her subjects, but did not consider the idea of the changelings suffering. That was when Nymph asked her for help. Now that the changelings’ existence was known across the world, feeding became much more difficult and hunger was on the rise. Nymph wanted Celestia to help tell the ponies and other races they were no threat so they wouldn’t be persecuted and that they needed to start feeding off the large population in Equestria to stay alive.

Celestia was extremely surprised by her request after what she and her city had been through and when she slightly raised her voice to protest this idea, the queen immediately trembled before her and apologized nonstop. The alicorn noticed during their entire conversation that the changeling seemed to be very nervous and had difficulty maintaining eye contact. At first, Nymph denied that anything was wrong, but after constant pressure, she admitted she was scared for her life. She knew that Celestia was extremely powerful and feared that she would punish the changelings for the attack led by her sister. Celestia reassured her that she just wanted to talk and was not thinking of any punishment for the moment.

The white alicorn felt unsure about believing the queen, still mad at herself for not noticing the false Cadance’s behavior, so she asked about her and Chrysalis. Nymph simply said she hated her and left it at that. With a little pushing, they talked for a while about their previous relationship and Celestia began to believe more and more that Nymph did not share the former queen’s ambitions.

Whether or not Nymph was deceiving her, there was still an issue she knew must be dealt with. She could not bear to think that there was an entire race suffering and knew something had to be done. She asked many questions about the process of draining as Shining Armor suffered from fatigue and headaches for a few days and the changeling told her that those effects were only temporary and only occurred if a changeling took in a lot of their love. Celestia also asked Nymph about how to feed so many changelings, worried that their effects could really damage things in her nation. She was told that if the changelings simply stayed in Equestria, it would be enough to sustain them all because how much the land carried. Love could be stored into crystals and distributed to other locations, so not all changelings needed to move. The changeling population was much lower than what Celestia had estimated as there was barely enough food to create a population boom in their history, which might have happened if they started doing this solution. However, Nymph was sure she would find a way to deal with this when the time came.

Celestia had another idea to help with Nymph’s plan, but she knew this would be very difficult to pull off. Cadance was powerful in magic and could easily sustain many changelings if she tried. Of course, there was the obvious reason why she would refuse. When Luna returned later with the royal couple, Celestia briefly told them what was going on and, not to her surprise, Cadance started to have a panic attack. Once they calmed her down, Celestia begged her and her husband to give aid to the starving race. It took almost an hour before they decided to help and they took their time filling the crystals Nymph brought with her.

After much discussion with her sister and niece, they came to an agreement. As long as the changelings’ problem existed, they would be a potential danger to other races as fear and desperation could make them do desperate things. They decided to help the changelings in hopes of saving them and turning their enemies into allies. Celestia returned to the queen and informed her that they would not attack the changelings and would give aid to them. Nymph was overjoyed to hear this and swore her absolute loyalty to her and Luna. Since then, they both had continuously visited each other to help the changelings integrate into Equestria. While Nymph was having much trouble convincing the ponies to aid their plight, there were still other issues that would arise from a large population suddenly showing up. Twilight hated the changelings before, but she was beginning to let go what happened months before.

But her mind had sprouted another plausible scenario. Nymph was desperate to get her sister back and Chrysalis was an evil and deceitful creature. This combination could lead to something disastrous. Chrysalis, aware of her sister’s woes, could pretend that she is sorry for what she did and act like she wanted to make amends so Nymph’s desire for them to reunite would not allow her to see the truth. Chrysalis would take advantage of her sister and somehow use her and her subjects to gain vengeance. Twilight could not allow this to happen, no matter what.

Pinkie brought over her large suitcase to her friends. “Well since this is technically one big slumber party, what games do you girls want to play!?” Upon opening it, a bunch of sleeping bags, pillows, bags of candy, and board games flew out.

Twilight took the items with her magic and stuffed them back into the suitcase, which she slid under the bed. “We don’t have time for games, Pinkie. We’ve got work to do.”

All of her friends became confused. “Huh? What work?” asked Fluttershy.

“Important work. I want you girls to give me a status report on what you have learned about Chrysalis and Nymph.”

Rainbow Dash flew straight up, pounding her hooves together. “I’ll tell you what we learned! Chrysalis is a real piece of-”

“Ahem!” interrupted Rarity. “What she meant to say is that Chrysalis is too dreadful to possibly convince Queen Nymph in helping her.”

“I think the same thing,” Twilight admitted. “Besides the abuse, Nymph has worked too hard for peace to give it up. All of the changelings seemed happy about living with us and I don’t think she would want to change that.”

“So does that mean Nymph isn’t evil?” asked Fluttershy.

“After thinking over the evidence, I can conclude that she is most certainly not evil,” Twilight answered happily.

All of the ponies gave out a sigh of relief. “So does mean we can have a slumber party now?” asked Pinkie.

“No. We need to investigate the royal garden.”

Her friends were now even more perplexed. “Royal garden? Why do we need to go there?” questioned Fluttershy.

“Because I have a gut feeling of what we will find there.”

“Twilight, what is goin’ on in that head of yars?” asked Applejack.

“I think there’s something going on with Nymph and I need to know the truth.”

“Ya don’t trust her?”

“I do, but I’m worried about something else right now.”

Her friends looked at each other, understanding her concerns. “So what are you thinking?” asked Dash.

Twilight began pacing back and forth in front of them. “All the changelings claim to have not seen Chrysalis for months, but I cannot accept the idea that Queen Nymph would let her go so easily. I think Chrysalis is being kept hidden somewhere in the kingdom and there is only one possible place she could be hiding.”

“The garden,” answered Rarity.

“Correct. No changeling has been allowed there during Nymph’s reign, making it a great place to hide someone.”

“You think Chrysalis has been hiding out in the garden the whole time?” asked Rarity.

“She has to be. I can’t think of where else she could possibly be. No pony has sighted her even once and it seems like a long time for her to not try anything.”

“Are we really going to sneak in there? I think we could get in a lot of trouble,” said Spike.

Twilight firmly nodded. “If that monster is hiding there, then we’ll have a lot more to worry about than getting caught.”

Rarity came over and placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “Twilight, I understand you’re worried, but don’t you trust Celestia’s judgment?”

“I do, but I’m not sure about Nymph. Celestia has told me herself that Nymph misses Chrysalis dearly, despite everything that happened. She thinks that like Luna or even Discord, she too can be fixed. I think she might be keeping her there in futile events of reforming her while Chrysalis is plotting something. Besides, can we really trust someone who just releases Chrysalis after everything she has done? Nymph may not be evil, but I don’t think she’s smart either.”

Pinkie rubbed her hoof on the carpet, feeling slightly ashamed. “I don’t know. This doesn’t feel right. Queen Nymph has been so kind to us and we’re betraying her trust now that she specifically asked us to keep out.”

“We have to go. If Chrysalis is there, Celestia needs to know this immediately,” argued Twilight.

Applejack nodded and faced the group. “She’s got a point. We need to take the chance. We were takin' by surprise last time. Ah don't want that to happen to us again.”

Twilight watched as all of her friends exchanged worried glances before looking at her with the same determination as Applejack, bringing a smile out of her. “The fate of our home could rest on what we do tonight. If she is there and we do nothing, I dread to think of what will happen.” She stuck her hoof out. “I cannot do this alone. I will need all of you if we are to take her down and protect Equestria. Are you all with me?” One by one, her friends placed their hooves and claw onto hers. “Great. Let’s go when it’s dark.”

“So until then…” Pinkie rushed to her suitcase and opened it, releasing its contents once more. “It’s party time!”


After over an hour of board games and a very memorable truth or dare session, the group arrived outside the entrance of the garden and hid nearby around the wall. Twilight peeked at their destination and saw that it was still guarded by two armored guards. “So how are we going to get past the guards?” asked Spike.

“I’ve got it figured out. Just don’t make a sound.” Twilight’s horn glowed and flashed a bright purple light, teleporting them deep into the mouth of the cave. They looked behind them and saw the guards had not taken notice of them. They quickly and quietly went deeper into the tunnel.

The gang traversed the passage without saying a single word, worrying that their voices would alarm someone if there was in fact someone ahead. The silence only increased their tension, all afraid of what was lurking in the dark. After about a minute, they saw faint moonlight in the distance. They dashed on ahead and exited the underground, wanting to escape the creeping darkness. They were now in a large meadow that was surrounded by large walls of rock from the mountain, isolating it from the outside world. The meadow was decorated with many types of flowers and trees. The glowing floral illuminated the area and they could see some butterflies flying around the flowers. A small pond was against one of the walls, reflecting the night sky. There was also a transparent barrier above it all, keeping the outside elements from disturbing the garden.

“It’s so gorgeous,” spoke Fluttershy in absolute awe.

Twilight shushed her. “Keep it down. Chrysalis could be here.”

“So now what?” asked Pinkie.

“We stay low and look around. We should stay together or she will pick us off one by one.”

The group quietly explored the area. While some of them were admiring its beauty, the rest were keeping an eye out for the former queen. The area being so silent made it much scarier to them. Their only comfort was the light provided from the flowers in the garden and Luna’s moon. They also came across many glowing roses that outlined the shape of a heart and Rarity was tempted to take one, but was stopped by the other unicorn. Twilight was surprised that the changelings held something so beautiful and thought it was a shame Nymph was keeping out any visitors, but she remained focused on her mission. After about ten minutes of scouting, they returned to where they came from.

“Guess she isn’t here,” said Spike with a hint of relief in his voice.

Twilight gritted her teeth as she glanced back into the garden. “She has to be here. We just need to look again.”

She tried to go look a second time, but was stopped by Applejack, who placed a hoof in front of her. “We’ve already checked the whole thing and nothin’. Chrysalis just ain’t here.”

The unicorn bit her lip. While not finding her should have been a good thing, she was very afraid of being wrong. “I was so certain she would be.”

“Let it go, Twilight. We looked all over and there has been no sign of her. She must really be out of the kingdom,” suggested Dash.

After some consideration, she gave a defeated sigh. “I guess. We better head back before they notice we’re missing. I wouldn't want to make Celestia worry about us.”

Right as they approached the mouth of the cave, a giant ring of green fire immediately surrounded them. All of the ponies screamed and huddled together. “W-what’s happening!?” cried Pinkie with fright.

“See!? She really is here!” screamed Twilight.

The emerald flame fully surrounded them, obscuring their view of the outside. After some seconds, it disappeared, revealing that they were now in a much different area. It was a large room that was mostly dark, only receiving light from the open window and the lit fireplace. The room was well decorated with a massive bed and a carpet that showed pictures of changelings and flowers. There were several shelves of books near the bed and a work desk by the window. The window showed the city down below, meaning that they were back in the castle.

“I hope you all enjoyed your stroll through my private garden.”

The ponies jumped and looked towards the source of the voice. Lying next to the fireplace was Queen Nymph, naked of any of her royal clothing and holding a glass of wine in a hole in her hoof. Her dark appearance had camouflaged her in the shadows. “How did you know?” asked Twilight.

Nymph levitated a green crystal towards the group. In the glass, they could see the garden that they were just in. “A queen must always be vigilante of her own kingdom.”

“You were spying on us?” questioned Twilight, shocked.

“I was actually just looking at my garden to see where I wanted to plant the apple seeds later. I just happened to notice you all walking around and I was very surprised.” She placed it aside and looked back at them. They couldn't help but feel afraid as they were not used to seeing her stern look. “So which one of you wants to tell me why you were all trespassing?” The ponies gulped and shifted their eyes around. The changeling got angry with their silence and decided to make things happen. “Twilight.”

“W-we just wanted a look.”

“And so you did, but I know there’s more to it since you went through the effort of sneaking pass my guards.” Nymph sipped her glass and placed it on the floor. “Princess Celestia wants there to be trust between us and that cannot be done if you lie to me. Just tell me why you went there and I’ll forget the whole thing.”

“I don’t get why you’re so upset. It’s just a garden,” said Dash while trying to hide her nervousness.

“It is the garden that my family has kept for thousands of years. It is our sanctuary and I would rather keep it to myself for now. The only reason I am mad is because I ordered you all to stay out and yet you all disobeyed. It makes me feel like that you don’t care about what I say and I find it to be extremely disrespectful.”

Twilight knew there was no way out. “We were looking for someone.”

“Is that so?” she replied in an unbelieving tone. “Now who could you have possibly hoped to find there?”

“Chrysalis.”

Nymph poured herself another glass. “My sister? I thought that you were more than aware than I had banished her months ago.”

“I just wanted to make sure.”

The queen glanced at her from behind her glass. “Are you implying that I would withhold a criminal here and keep it a secret from Celestia?”

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Twilight answered in an unfriendly tone.

Nymph’s eyes narrowed as she stared down the unicorn. “Now what is that supposed to mean?”

“Chrysalis had us all fooled before. As her sister, I’m sure you are just as capable.”

The queen just rolled her eyes. “Trust me. I do not share her ideas of ruling your kind.” She looked at the group. “I can tell by the looks on your faces that you do not believe me.”

“The changelings did not seem to care about us too much when they were invading Canterlot,” reminded Spike.

“And I apologize on their behalf. I hope you do not let the past affect how you see us today. The only reason the people agreed to do such a thing was because they were desperate and Chrysalis was charismatic.”

“Where is Chrysalis, anyway?” asked Pinkie.

Nymph gave a quick shrug. “The truth is that I do not know. The last time I have heard from her was the day I forced her out of the kingdom. I honestly find it surprising she has not returned with some sort of scheme or something.”

“What do you think she’s up to?” asked Fluttershy timidly.

Nymph sighed. “Most likely trying to overthrow me. I sometimes do hope she would hurry up if that were the case. I am prepared for anything she might try; I just want to make sure she’s still all right. I would hate to think she has gotten hurt or worse.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice,” muttered Twilight loudly.

Nymph threw her glass into the fireplace, causing a loud shatter and the fire to erupt briefly, turning green in the process. Everypony cowered from her with the exception of Twilight, who held her ground. All of the friendliness that was on Nymph’s face from earlier that day had vanished and now resembled the elder sister. “You have a lot of guts to say such a thing to my face, Twilight Sparkle.”

“I don’t get why you would care, Nymph. She is a horrible changeling.”

“She is my sister, I will always care.”

Celestia’s student gritted her teeth. “You should have just given her up, that way we wouldn’t have to worry about her turning up and hurting somepony!”

“Had I done that back then, you would have punished her very severely. I just wanted to keep her safe.”

“Well who’s keeping us safe from her? She is too dangerous to be left running around!” Twilight countered.

“She will not be much of a threat to any of you. She is nowhere as powerful without an army behind her and she knows better than to lay a hoof on any of you. Doing so would bring the wrath of two kingdoms down on her head.”

“You seemed to have everything figured out.”

“I thought long and hard before banishing her. I guarantee she is not as big of a threat as she was during her invasion.”

“If you thought the invasion was so horrible, then why didn’t you stop her?” asked Twilight aggressively.

“I tried, Twilight. It is extremely difficult to convince the public to oppose the word of the queen, especially when there was so much food to get out of it. She eventually had me jailed and I wasn’t released until the news of her failure came a week later.”

“You must have been pretty happy to hear that she lost.”

Nymph’s anger diminished and she seemed to be slightly sorrowful. “I was actually scared out of my mind. We received word that a few of the changelings did not survive the impact and I was scared the same had happened to her. I was going mad with fear until she appeared two days later.”

“Well you know what? I think it would have been a good thing if she didn’t return at all!”

All of Twilight’s friends gasped. “Twilight!” yelled Rarity with shock.

The queen stood up, towering over them. “Don’t you dare say such a thing about Chrysalis!”

“Well why not? She is an evil changeling who treats everyone horribly, especially you!” Nymph’s face immediately paled. “We know what she did to you, Nymph. How could you possibly stand up for a heartless monster?”

The queen started to tremble. “S-shut up.”

“While you’re off living in some stupid delusional world, everyone else is living in reality. Chrysalis is a horrible, cruel, unloving changeling and that will never change, no matter how hard you try! You said it yourself! She’s probably working on some sort of plan to get revenge on all of us and it’s all because you allowed her to! What you did was foolish, you knew it was foolish, and yet you did it anyway! You need to grow a brain and see her for what she really is! You’re not going to be a very good queen if you’re this stupid!”

The green flames intensified as Nymph got right up in her face. “SHUT UP, TWILIGHT!”

“Please stop, Twilight!” begged Pinkie. "I know you're upset, but you need to calm down!"

Twilight ignored her, still feeling furious. “What could you possibly see in her? She nearly tore my family as well as my country apart and never once did she feel remorse. She never took pity on you either, so there’s no reason for you to protect her. There is no way that fiend could ever be the changeling you want her to be. She is the absolute worst person I have ever met in my life and because of you, I have to spend every day worrying that monster is going to hurt my friends or worse! I hate Chrysalis more than anything and you know what? I wish she died that day!”

Faster than any of them can react, Nymph lunged her hoof and grabbed Twilight by the throat. She held her above her head and slammed her onto the floor. All of the unicorn’s friends screamed in absolute terror and Twilight lost all of her courage as she looked into the enraged queen’s glowing eyes and her razor sharp teeth. After several seconds, the fire restored into its original color as Nymph slowly released Twilight and walked back to where she originally sat. She lied on the carpet and just looked at the floor in front of her. “I’m sorry.”

They all gathered around Twilight as she tried to catch her breath. “You…you attacked me!”

“I know and I am sorry. I just lost control back there.” She looked up with moist eyes. “Why would you ever say such a horrible thing, Twilight? Why would you wish for the death of another?”

Twilight felt her rage subside as she looked into her eyes, leaving only guilt. “I was angry and I just said it without thinking. I’m sorry, Queen Nymph. I never meant what I said. I just can’t accept her in any way.”

Nymph sighed. “I understand why you feel so strongly about her. She had no right to do such monstrous things to you ponies. I know she meant well in regards of helping the changelings, but it went way too far.”

“How come you didn’t just imprison her instead of having her run free?” questioned the unicorn.

“I was afraid of two things. The first thing was that the ponies would demand I hand her over for punishment. I knew that I could never bring myself to doing that and that would make it much more difficult between our two nations. If I did manage to surrender her, I thought it might have been the last time I would have seen her. The second thing I was afraid of was her. Despite me saying how hard it is to convince the changelings to oppose the queen, Chrysalis is charismatic enough to actually make such a thing happen. I worried that she would speak out from her prison and somehow make things worse than they already are.”

“And you thought it was a good idea to let her go?” questioned Dash.

“As I’ve said: Without her kingdom, she won’t do anything against you. I promise you that she wants revenge on me first before she sets her sights on any of you.”

“What are you going to do if she does show up?” asked Fluttershy.

“I will imprison her this time, and after much discussion, she will be left in the hooves of Princess Celestia. I trust her in handling Chrysalis and I think some justice will be needed to set her straight. I will also personally see to it that I fix her. I don’t care what you think, Sparkle. I will never give up on her.” Nymph looked at the clock in her room. “I think I have kept you all here long enough. You may all return to your rooms. Goodnight, ponies and Spike, and I think it would be best if none of us mentioned to anyone of what happened here tonight.”

The group got up and left the bedroom after saying goodnight to her. When they were outside, they huddled together. “Now that was scary,” said Spike.

Applejack shuttered as she looked at the door. “No kiddin’. Let’s get out of here.” As they were about to go down the hall, somepony spoke.

“Wait.”

The ponies stopped and turned. “Pinkie?” asked Twilight.

“I think we should stay. We were totally wrong about her and you hurt her feelings, Twilight. You went way too far with what you said about Chrysalis. We’re here to make friends, not enemies!”

Twilight lowered her head, sighing. “You’re right.”

“Twilight?” Fluttershy asked with surprise.

“Princess Celestia brought us here so we could learn and understand the changelings, which also includes her. I do not think we have left a good impression on her and Celestia may not be happy about it. And also…I feel really terrible about what I said.”

Spike clung to Rarity’s leg. “Are you sure it’s safe?”

“She could have done whatever she wanted but she’s letting us go. I’m sure it will be fine,” Twilight assured. They broke from their huddle and opened the door to Nymph’s chambers. “Queen Nymph?”

She was slightly startled as she had not noticed them enter. “Yes?”

“Can we stay a little longer?”

“Stay? Whatever for?”

“We just want to get to know you better. We feel bad for not trusting you and we were kind of hoping that we could clear the air.”

When Nymph looked at each of them, she could tell that they were sorry for what they did. Relieved that they were going to give her a chance, she smiled and nodded. “Very well. Lay by the fire.”

They all sat in a circle as the changeling clapped her hooves, bringing on the other lights in her room. “I’m sorry I didn’t trust you, Queen Nymph,” said the purple unicorn. “I was just scared of thinking you and Chrysalis were up to something. I just had to be sure.”

“It is quite alright. I know it must be hard to trust the sister of Chrysalis, but I intend to prove you wrong.”

“So you forgive us?”

“I do, but promise that you will never do anything hurtful to Chrysalis. She still means a lot to me.”

Twilight nodded. “We promise.”

“Why do you stick up for her?” asked Dash. “I thought you two hated each other, especially since she kept hurting you.”

“I know it’s hard to believe, but Chrysalis was much different before. You’d think she was an imposter had you seen her about thirty years ago.”

“So what was the ‘good’ Chrysalis like?” asked the dragon.

“Chrysalis was a very bold changeling who loved her family more than life itself. She always took good care of me and I always admired her. Chrysalis loved both our parents to death as I did and she did whatever she could to please them. She was kind of like me in a way, only with a bad temper. That temper of hers had gotten her into trouble many times, even as an adult. Still, beneath that tough exterior was a very caring changeling, as long as you don’t make her mad. Oh, how I miss the old Chrysie.”

The ponies giggled loudly. “Chrysie?” asked Pinkie.

“That was a nickname I gave her as a child. I always loved calling her that and she never minded. When she got older, she hated it when I called her that in public, but that never stopped me. The only thing that ticked her off more was when someone outside the family called her that.”

“Sounds kind of like her,” commented Rarity.

“I know it does. She was kind of a spoiled child and felt entitled to everything. She stepped on a few hooves with her attitude, even after I helped her readjust to some extent, but around me and our parents, she was the sweetest little thing imaginable.”

“I just cannot picture her like that,” said Twilight.

“Perhaps this will help.” Nymph stood and went to her desk, pulling out a large book. “Before cameras were brought to us, we simply painted our pictures. There are many paintings of my family, but there is simply not enough room to hang them all. I had this book made to keep them in a more organized and condensed version for easier access and to allow my people to view them.” She flipped through the pages until she found what she was looking for. She levitated the art book to the center of the circle for them to see. It was a painted picture of two young changeling girls and one was hugging the other. They could immediately tell the one with the short green hair was Nymph while the changeling hugging her sister was Chrysalis herself. They were both sitting right next to each other and wearing pink dresses. While Nymph was giving a cute smile, Chrysalis was giving an excited grin.

Twilight could not believe that was Chrysalis she was seeing. “Is…is this real?”

“Yes it is. I want you to see this one also.” The pages magically turned until another picture appeared.

“Whoa,” they all said at once.

It was a painting of Chrysalis as an adult. What had surprised them was the peaceful expression she carried. Without anything sinister or vile they saw from her during the wedding, they thought she was beautiful and even gave off a motherly appearance.

“She looks so graceful,” said Fluttershy in awe.

“I hope she does. It took me forever to have it come out the way I wanted.”

They all looked up at her. “Wait. You painted this?” asked Dash.

“I most certainly did. I made this for her as a gift for her hundredth birthday. When you live as long as I do, you tend to learn many skills. Painting is just one that I enjoy deeply.”

“What was Chrysalis talented in?” asked Pinkie.

Nymph placed the book on her desk and sat down. “If I could name one thing, it would have to be singing.”

“She sang?” questioned Fluttershy.

“We both did, actually. Mother taught us for many years and we were both masters. Sometimes, changelings from all over the kingdom would come to hear us whenever we held performances. Of course, neither of us could ever outperform Mother.”

“Wow. Can you sing something to us right now?” asked Spike.

Nymph blushed. “I’m afraid it’s been a while as I have not really been in the singing mood lately. We used to do it together all the time for the children.”

“Aw, that’s so cute,” commented Rarity.

“Does Chrysalis even like kids?” asked Spike.

Since he was close enough, Nymph reached over and pulled on his cheek, causing him to blush while the others giggled. “We both adore children very much. They are ever so precious and I suppose who we are also plays a factor as to why we care so much.”

“Huh?”

“One title that the queen carries is The Mother of All Changelings. I believe this is because since the queen is always much older than any of her subjects and cares so much about them, she is essentially their mother. I’m surprised Celestia has never thought herself as one for her own subjects.”

“I don’t think it’s possible to put motherly and Chrysalis in the same sentence,” pointed out Twilight.

Nymph chuckled. “Oh believe me, she was. The only reason she never had any children of her own was that she could never find any changeling that could make her happy enough for her to consider marrying.”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Shocking.”

The changeling grinned. “I did say she was spoiled.”

“Then why aren’t you married?” asked Spike.

She briefly blushed. “It’s much more difficult than you think to find someone I want to make my king.”

“But you’re the queen. I’m sure everyone would want you,” said Rarity.

“That is exactly why it is difficult. I get marriage requests every day, always more than Chrysalis, but I want you to guess why they want to marry me.”

“Because ya are of the highest authority and technically the most beautiful changeling around?” guessed the farmer.

“Exactly. I want someone who I can bond with and who will love me with all their heart, not use me as a stepping stone or see me as a trophy. I will admit that I can be a bit spoiled as well. I’ve dated many changelings who I really liked, but I kept turning them down because they were not exactly the changeling of my fantasy. I want my husband to be perfect in every way I want him to be. It is tradition that despite our long life span, royal changelings are to only marry once because if we are to have children with different fathers, the two families would most likely compete for the throne and that could get bloody.”

“That’s dreadful,” Rarity said sympathetically.

“Not really. I still have a lot of time to look for the one. It’s just that with Chrysalis and I being the last of the royal changelings, the family feels very small, especially now that she’s gone. We do have some very distant relatives, but I do not know them very well. I would love to know how Celestia handled this for a thousand years.”

“She didn’t,” said Twilight gloomily.

“Poor thing. It’s hard for me to imagine she was the only alicorn around for so long. A similar fate…” She looked away, lip quivering. “…could have happened to me had things gone differently.”

“Are you okay?” asked the party mare worriedly.

The queen looked back at them. “Yes. I just worry about my sister, which is why I plan on possibly breaking the tradition. Had Chrysalis died that day, I would have been the last royal changeling and if anything happened to me before I had a child, we royal changelings would become extinct. Without our leadership, I’m sure the royals would start a civil war to claim the throne, or even worse, my people would choose a government that runs on…” the queen shuddered, “democracy,” she hissed hatefully. “If all goes well with Celestia, Luna, and Cadance, I plan on expanding the royal changeling population as much as I can, meaning I will marry more than once. With their lessons on friendship, love, and tolerance, I’m sure they can keep any future royal changelings from fighting amongst themselves and hopefully create a peaceful existence. I probably should be careful about how many of us there are since we do live for about a thousand years.”

“That sounds like a lot of work with you pumping out so many kids,” remarked Dash.

Nymph laughed as she blushed. “It will be, especially since I can only produce one every seven months, but I am more than willing to try. I just wish Chrysalis was here to possibly help, but she might not exactly be the best role model.”

“So tell us more about Chrysalis,” said Twilight.

The changeling only shrugged at them. “What else can I really say about her that you don’t know?”

“How about some embarrassing stories?” suggested the cyan pegasus deviously.

Twilight laughed and shook her head. “Dash, I don’t think she would-”

“Okay!” said Nymph happily, which took them by surprise. “Let me think for a moment.” She was silent until her expression brightened. “Here’s one! One time when we were little girls, Chrysie asked Father to teach her how to fight. She always did admire him for being a soldier and she wanted to be tough like him. He agreed, thinking she was old enough. The first thing they did was practice some physical fighting by doing boxing. She was sloppy at first, but she got the hang of it eventually. I was there watching them, but I never participated because I was too soft to fight. So after an hour, Chrysalis felt like she could take on the world. She thought fighting was so great, that she wanted me to practice too. I was reluctant at first, but she managed to talk me into it. So she tells me, ‘Just try hitting me, I can block it!’ My first swing got her right on the nose, not even that hard, mind you, and the next thing I know, Chrysalis is screaming bloody murder on the top of her lungs.”

All of the ponies laughed. “Oh the poor thing,” said Rarity in between breaths.

“She was absolutely hysterical while Father tried to calm her down. After about a minute, Mother comes flying in, asking what was going on. Chrysie points at me and says that I was trying to kill her.”

That caused them all to laugh even harder. “She doesn’t seem like the type to overreact,” said Twilight.

“Well you should have seen me. I was in tears as well, feeling so bad about what I had done and also believing that I could have killed her. I kept apologizing, but she didn’t believe me. Our parents kept us separated so Chrysalis could calm down. Once she did, we made up. Sometimes when she acts all tough, I remind her about that incident and she just gets so embarrassed.”

“What a cute story,” said Pinkie once she got a hold of herself.

“Here’s another one. It was Chrysalis’s seventh birthday and she had a huge party as she does every year. I was only four the time, so I barely remember much. I happen to know this story because Father told me, much to Mother’s dismay.”

“Her dismay?” asked Fluttershy.

“You’ll see. Anyway, so after they all sang her the birthday song, Mother tells her to make a wish. Chrysalis didn’t have to even think of what she wanted.”

“So what did little Chrysalis wish for?” asked Spike.

“She blows out the candles and says, ‘I wish for a brother!’” The entire room roared in laughter once again. “I can only imagine the look on our parents’ faces when she said that. I heard that all of the nobles there were cracking up and making rather crude jokes toward them. Now of course, they had to tell her it was not possible, which was true since Mother could only produce more royal changelings, which are only of the female sex. Chrysalis was disappointed by their answer, but they told her to make another wish. She thought hard, but she didn’t know what she wanted. But then, one of the nobles suggests that she should wish that everyday should be her birthday so she could have more parties.”

“I would totally wish for that!” said Pinkie excitedly.

“Maybe you would, but then Chrysie said, ‘But I don’t want to be an old lady like my mom!’” The ponies continued throwing fits of laughter. “Oh, poor Mother. I only wish I could see the look on her face as her own daughter said that right in front of so many people. I am sure all of her friends called her that for weeks. Because of that, she didn’t allow any more birthday wishes.”

“Wow, Chrysalis was such a darlin’ little thing,” commented Applejack.

“I suppose that story was a little more embarrassing for Mother than Chrysalis, but I just thought it was cute. Now here’s one from when she was an adult. Chrysalis always believed she was talented, even if in fields where she clearly wasn’t, and one night she decided to make us all dinner without telling us as a surprise, just something for all of us to enjoy. Finally, dinner arrived and we were allowed to start. Not even one minute passes and something went horribly wrong. The moment the potatoes touched my tongue, I started gagging nonstop. I remember that I was starting to break out in sweats while some of the other changelings were tossing their food aside.”

Dash was clutching her sides. “That’s so awesome!”

“I am afraid it gets much worse. So after Chrysalis sees how disgusted we all were with her meal, Mother immediately calls for a doctor and an investigator, believing that someone was trying to poison us. Father had all of the cooks brought in for questioning. When they asked what was going on, Father said that the food tasted like a diamond dog’s butt and Mother was sure it was fatal for anyone to eat. So after we and the others angrily shouted our complaints, my sister slams on the table, silencing us. Chrysalis, in tears, stands up and says that she made dinner that night as a surprise.”

The laughter had died down as the ponies and dragon felt bad for making fun of the incident. “Oh my,” said Fluttershy, feeling very sympathetic.

“We immediately felt even worse, which was apparently possible after eating her ‘food.’ That moment was beyond a shadow of a doubt the most awkward event I have ever been through in my long life. The poor girl storms out of the dining hall, completely crushed. She just wanted to treat us all with her talent, but it turned out she had none for cooking. We all felt so guilty about what we said, and Chrysalis never dared cook anything beyond a simple meal again.”

“Maybe that’s going to be her revenge plan: to force us to eat her cooking,” jested Celestia’s student.

Nymph cracked up. “It would certainly be a fate worse than death. Some of the nobles had food poisoning for days and we had to stop one from surgically removing his tongue. Later that night, I went to my sister’s room and the poor thing was just lying there, tired from crying.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” interrupted the blue pegasus. “Chrysalis was crying? What a big baby.”

Nymph gave a hateful stare to Dash. “There is nothing wrong with crying, Rainbow Dash, especially after what happened. Chrysalis has emotions just like everyone else. I did believe she was slightly overreacting, but maybe we went too far with what we said. She may be a very stoic changeling, but if there is one thing she cannot tolerate at all, it is failure. She toiled for hours, trying to gives us something nice to enjoy, and we just spat it out and said the worst kind of things. We talked for a while and then she felt much better as we laughed about it. Just because she was a failure in that field didn’t mean she was a failure at everything. But I do remember one other thing that happened that we all swore never to tell her.”

“What?” asked Applejack.

“When one of the chefs went to put out the garbage, he found many rat bodies around the garbage can that carried her dinner. I think it is safe to say they were all victims of her cooking.”

“Those poor things,” said Fluttershy.

“So I guess she has a talent for being an exterminator,” Dash joked.

This caused them to break into laughter once more. “Now that is funny.” Nymph took a moment to catch her breath. “I think I’ve said enough about her for now, but speaking of Chrysalis, there's something I need to ask you all. What gave you the idea that she was in the garden?”

All of Twilight’s friends looked at the unicorn, who just grinned nervously. “The guards outside said you had yet to let anyone in during your time as queen and Celestia said you really missed her. I kinda thought you kept her around.”

“I see. I suppose my answer from earlier only made me seem more suspicious.”

“Your garden is very beautiful, by the way,” complimented Rarity.

“Thank you. I personally tend to it.”

“Really? You take care of that whole thing by yourself?” asked Pinkie.

“It’s how I take my mind off things. With my current access to Equestria, I have been planting more flowers and fruit trees. Shame the garden isn’t as large as I want it to be. It’s still a lot of work to manage, however, but that’s what magic is for. It’s usually nice and warm there and after some hard work, I just relax my beautiful body in the water and let go of any worries.”

“So why do you always keep your people out?” queried Twilight.

“Most of the time, royalty like myself need a place of escape; somewhere we can relax and do whatever we please without anyone knowing. Sometimes we allow some of the citizens to enter and admire it. I also like to give out the fruit whenever they are grown. I don’t often allow them in as I like the idea of it being all mine.” Nymph giggled. “I guess that makes me a little spoiled as I am hording one of the Kingdom’s treasures for myself.”

“I certainly envy it. It is so peaceful and beautiful,” said the orange pony.

“That’s the idea. It is considered to be the most sought out place to hold weddings in the whole kingdom and we occasionally allow a few. I’m sure some are not too happy I have been preventing this opportunity from them, but I’ve only kept them out because I need to go there a lot since my time as queen. Asides from the negotiations, the kingdom still has other issues that I must oversee that take up a lot of my time. Being a queen is not as fun as you would think.”

“I loved that heart you made from the roses. It felt so romantic,” complimented Fluttershy.

“You like it? I thought it up myself. It might be a while until I put it to use.”

“Put to use?” asked Applejack.

Nymph giggled uncontrollably while blushing furiously. “What’s so funny?” asked Pinkie.

“I’ll tell you if you promise not to ever repeat what I say to a soul, not even the Princess.”

All of the ponies and Spike exchanged curious looks. “Okay. So what’s the big secret?” asked Dash.

“It is sort of tradition that whenever a royal changeling gets married, they go into the garden with their spouse to make love.” All of the ponies felt their faces heat up. “Can you imagine how romantic it is? The first night of your marriage, you go to a private sanctuary and it is only you and your lover, where you perform the ultimate act of passion out in the open and under the stars. You can do whatever you want and no one can hear you scream in pleasure. I just thought the little rose bed would enhance the mood for the love making.”

An awkward silence filled the room as the queen swooned over her thoughts, which only made them feel more awkward. “So wait,” Spike said suddenly, “if you can make love, then why do you need to drain it from ponies?”

Everyone slowly turned their heads at the dragon with expressions filled with surprise. The silence was broken when Nymph burst out laughing. “It appears I have forgotten how young you were, Spike. I was sure you would have learned by now after living with Twilight for so long. Surely she would have a book on it.”

“Maybe I’ll go find it when we go back to the library.”

“NO!” shouted Twilight. “You are not old enough to learn about such a thing!”

“But she said it’s the ultimate act of love. I just want to try it with Rarity.”

Rarity was next to blush as everyone was snickering at her. “D-darling, I think you should listen to Twilight!”

“Fine.” He took a moment before turning towards the blue pegasus. “Hey, Rainbow Dash.”

“So Nymph, how are things with Princess Celestia?” Dash asked in hopes that Spike would immediately forget the subject entirely.

“They are going great. I always love having her here. I am glad she is still working with me on the many issues that the ponies have with my people. They’ve been deadlocked for some time, but I’m sure that will change soon, she just needs to work on her charm.”

“Have you met Luna?” asked Fluttershy.

“I have. She was rather unhappy with my presence at first, but she came around. She also supports my people and for that I am thankful. It is a shame they can’t force Equestria into accepting us, but this might be for the better.”

“What about Princess Cadance?” questioned Applejack.

Nymph shifted around uncomfortably. “Along with her husband, we still have some issues to work out. They refuse to come here and see me and I understand their choice.”

“They’re still willing to let the changelings come to Equestria,” said Twilight.

“I know, but they still have doubts. It might be best if we don’t integrate into the Crystal Empire for some time. Speaking of the empire, what is it like? I am dying to see it for myself.”

“It is simply marvelous,” stated Rarity. “The buildings and even the palace are made entirely of crystal and there’s green as far as the eye can see. The citizens there have bodies that shine like actual crystals.”

“It sounds wonderful. Twilight, you really need to convince them to let us go there. I want to see it with my own eyes.”

“I’ll try. Did you know Spike actually helped save the Crystal Empire?”

“Oh really?” She looked at the timid dragon. “Come closer. I want to take a good look at you, little hero.”

Spike gulped. “Uh…”

When she tried reaching for him, he recoiled behind Rarity. “You seem to be afraid. Is everything all right?” asked the queen.

“M-me? Afraid? Why would that be? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

She was now watching him very carefully. “I never said you did.”

Spike began to shake as he worried that she would find out about the scare he gave the citizens and seeing how she attacked Twilight made him fear the royal changeling much more. “Well I didn’t, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“Then why are you trembling?”

“Because…” His eyes shifted around until his stomach growled. “Because I haven’t eaten much all day and I’m starving.”

“Oh, Spikey, did I not pack enough gems for you?” asked the seamstress.

“I know! Why don’t we have some candy?” Pinkie suggested.

Dash couldn’t help but grin. “That sounds really good right now. Want any, your highness?”

“Of course.” Nymph suddenly grinned as well. “Spike, would you kindly go fetch Pinkie’s candy? I would like to try some.”

“Alright.” Spike got up and quickly left the room. He made his way back into the guestroom they were staying in and found Pinkie’s large bag of sweets in her suitcase, carrying it over his shoulder as he left.

On his way back, he was met with a friendly face. “Good evening, Spike,” greeted Celestia, who was wet with a towel around her waist. “The bath here is amazing. You have to try it for yourself.” She then noticed the bag he was dragging. “What are you up to?”

“I’m just bringing some candy to the girls.”

“The girls? Where are they exactly?”

“In Nymph’s room.”

Celestia was surprised. “Really? I hope everything is going well.”

“It is. We’re just getting to know each other.”

“I am happy to hear that.” Celestia took a pile of candy from the bag with her magic. “Well just come to me if you need anything, Spike. I'm always available for you.”

“Okay I will,” said Spike as he continued down the hall. When Spike returned to the royal bedchamber, he saw the mares looking at him with anticipation. “I’m back. Did I miss anything?”

“No, not really,” said Fluttershy.

“Bring the candy over, I’m starving!” demanded his soon-to-be marefriend.

“Uh…sure, Rarity.” Spike dumped the stash in the center of the circle. The mares began taking some, while Rarity and Twilight were wolfing down whatever they could grab. “Are you girls alright?”

“Sure,” answered Rarity, hardly taking any notice of anything besides the treats.

“I’m doing super amazingly super now!” said Twilight as she devoured a chocolate bar.

Spike scratched his head. “You girls are acting weird.”

The farmer shook her head while eating. “Boy howdy, Spike. You should just eat some candy, I tell you what. Nothing weird here, no siree bob.”

Believing her, Spike just shrugged and started taking from the pile. “So Spike, I have yet to hear of how you feel about changelings,” said Nymph.

“They’re all right, I guess.”

“Poor Rainbow Dash had a nasty encounter with one and was viciously attacked,” Fluttershy informed.

The drake gasped. “She did!? Are you okay, Dash?”

“I am perfectly fine,” she answered while eating a chocolate bar.

“Her ego isn’t since she was attacked by a baby,” added Fluttershy.

The room filled with laughter as the pegasus blushed. “It wasn’t just one, it was a whole group of the little guys!” stated the blue pony.

“Are you saying you were attacked by an army of babies?” asked Spike.

“That happens much more often than you think,” said Nymph. “Our young are trained to be lethal fighting machines. Why, even I have personal baby brigade that carries out secret missions for me.” The whole room roared in laughter except for Spike, who just stared in confusion.

“The way Dash took the pain was so heroic. You should have been there, Spike,” commented Rarity. “There’s just something about Rainbow Dash that brings out my wild side.” All of the ponies’ snickering became louder.

“So what did you three do today in Bugartha?” asked Nymph.

“We went to the library and saw all of the books that had!” answered Twilight.

“I’m sorry, but you need to stop reading so much, Twilight. You’re the only one who has yet to have a special somepony because of your nerdiness. Maybe you should think about hiring Cherub to help with your serious problem,” said Rarity.

The other unicorn happily nodded. “Maybe you’re right. Perhaps I should ask her and Pinkie for some dating help. I get to even hang out with Pinkie Pie!”

“Now just hold a minute,” said Applejack. “You are perfectly fine the way you are. I’m sure there’s somepony who will love you for you.” The whole room smirked while Applejack huffed under her breath.

“Speaking of which, how is Caramel doing?” asked Fluttershy mischievously.

The farmer suddenly had red on her cheeks. “Oh, he’s fine. We like to kiss and stuff.”

“So what base are you on now, Applejack?” asked Nymph with a dirty look on her face.

“I don’t remember playing baseball with him.”

The entire room fell dead quiet. After a few seconds, everypony but the cowgirl and Spike exploded in laughter. Rainbow rolled onto her back and kicked her legs in the air. “Looks like Applejack needs to borrow some of Twilight’s books!”

“Hey, I don’t need to read any more books! I know exactly what I’m doing. Giddy up, yeehaw!” They all stopped and just looked at her. “Um…yar?” Applejack buried her face into her hooves as the laughter resumed.

“So Nymph,” asked Pinkie once they quieted down, “do you have anyone you’re interested in?”

The queen tapped her chin, thinking. “To be honest, I think I like Princess Celestia!”

All of the girls gasped. “You…do?” asked Pinkie.

“Of course I do. Princess Celestia is the most elegant and beautiful pony I have ever met, besides Rarity, and she is so very kind. I think I…love her.”

The whole room fell dead quiet. “Congratulations?” said Spike with uncertainty.

She smiled widely and clapped her hooves. “You know what? I think I should go tell her how I feel right now!”

Nymph stood, but Twilight stood up as well. “Not so fast, Queenie! I can’t let you have Celestia!”

“Is it because of what my sister did? I promise you that my love for her is sincere.”

“No, because I love her too!”

The whole room gasped. “Oh wow,” said Fluttershy.

At first, Nymph looked shocked, but then she laughed. “She would never pick you over me. I am a queen while you are just a lowly student.”

Twilight got up to her face. “Well I’ve got news for you! I’m…pregnant!” The whole room let out a louder gasp.

“What!?” exclaimed Spike.

“HUH!?” screamed Applejack.

“I think it’s cute,” said Pinkie warmly.

“That’s right, I am carrying her child! It will be the symbol of our love!”

“Twilight, your parents are going to kill you!” exclaimed Spike as he clutched the sides of his own head.

“The power of love will shine through!” countered Celestia’s student and apparently lover.

Nymph scowled than lowered her head to get it in front of Twilight's. “Well guess what, Sparkle. I’m carrying Princess Celestia’s hatchlings!” The whole room produced another gasp. “In fact, I’m carrying a hundred eggs!”

“SERIOUSLY!?” yelled Dash in shock.

“Well I’m going to marry Celestia!” argued Twilight.

“Not if I propose first!”

The two mares glared at each other. “Here’s an idea,” said Fluttershy, causing everypony to look at her, “why don’t you both marry her?”

The two thought about it for a moment. “I’m fine with that,” said Nymph calmly.

Twilight happily nodded and hugged the changeling. “Me too! Looks like it will be a double royal wedding!”

The whole room filled with cheer and laughter with the exception of Spike, who still had not gotten over the shock of Twilight's pregnancy. “Spike, in light of recent news, we have a very special responsibility for you,” said Nymph with a smile on her face.

Spike gulped. “Uh-oh.”

“You see, I am much too busy to raise all one hundred of my children as I am a queen, so I will need you to take care of them for me.”

“WHAT!?” shouted Spike as the ponies laughed.

“Hope you know how to change a diaper,” said Dash.

Everything was going insane for the young dragon. In five minutes, Twilight and Nymph admitted to being in love with the princess and were having her children, which he would be forced to take care of. He slowly curled himself into a ball and rocked back and forth. “You okay there, Spike?” asked Dash.

“I’m in a happy place. I’m in a happy place.” He was cut off from the world around him.

“Spike!” Rarity snapped.

He broke from his trance. “Huh?”

“My back needs a good rubbing. Get to it, lover boy.”

“Sure, Rarity.”

He hoped on her back and began to massage her. Rarity let out a sigh of pleasure while her hind leg twitched. “Oh yeah, that’s good.” She noticed Nymph giving her a deathly glare and stuck her tongue out in response. “So Spike, I’ve been thinking about us.”

Spike cringed, worrying of what other surprises awaited. “What do you mean?”

“I think it’s time we have an open relationship.”

He paused his massaging. “A what?”

“It means you can now date other ponies along with Rarity,” said Applejack.

“Really? Is that legal?”

Rarity laughed. “Of course it is. Just try not to like your other marefriend too much.”

“But I don’t know who I like besides you, Rarity.”

Twilight waved her hoof excitedly. “Pick me! Pick me!”

“But you’re almost my sister!” Spike protested as he backed away from her.

“I think that just makes it so much hotter,” said Rainbow Dash in a dirty manner.

Spike was visibly sweating while they laughed. Totally bizarre things were happening and none of them paid any heed. All they did was laugh. “You girls are acting really crazy!”

Pinkie was trying to contain herself. “I think I know somepony who would like you.”

“But aren’t you dating Fluttershy, Pinkie?” questioned Spike.

“I don’t think she was talking about her,” said Applejack as she was snickering.

Before Spike could ask what she had meant, he was suddenly covered in a blue aura. He was lifted off the ground and placed into the forelegs of Nymph. “I’ve always had taken a liking to dragons,” she said playfully.

Spike was struggling desperately as the changeling smothered his face with kisses. “W-what are you doing!?”

“Relax, Spike. I will take good care of you,” she cooed lovingly.

“Come on, Spike. Isn’t Queen Nymph the loveliest creature you have ever laid your eyes on?” teased Rainbow Dash.

Spike looked into the warming smile of the changeling with his shrunken pupils. “You’re just so adorable.” She ran her tongue across her fangs. “I could just eat you up!”

That was the last straw for the drake. He immediately started struggling like mad and was screaming at the top of his lungs. “HELP! PRINCESS CELESTIA, WHERE ARE YOU!? SAVE ME!”

All of the ponies were rolling on the floor laughing and Nymph ceased her actions. “I think we’ve traumatized the poor thing long enough,” said Dash. Her forehead glowed green and light engulfed the entire room. When Spike’s vision came to, he saw that they were all sitting in different spots. He was no longer being held by the queen, but by Rarity instead.

“Huh…wha…who?” he babbled.

Rarity hugged him tightly and gave another kiss. “Relax, Spikey. We were just having fun with you.”

“But how?”

“I have the power to disguise others,” explained the real queen. “I’m surprised you did not catch on by how we acted.”

“That was the best prank ever!” exclaimed Pinkie. “Don’t you think so, Spike?”

The dragon did not reply and just stared into space. Rarity waved a hoof in front of him, but received no response. “Oh dear, I think we’ve blown his little mind.”

“Serves him right for scaring my people." The changeling looked at her. “And Rarity, seriously? Me carrying a hundred hatchlings? My figure could never handle that.”

The seamstress blushed. “I’m sorry, but I felt that I needed to one up Pinkie. It certainly made things more entertaining.”

“Making me sound like I have romantic feelings for the princess was certainly odd, but it all worked out much better than I expected,” commented Nymph.

“Aw, you don’t like her?” asked Pinkie as she pouted.

“I do, but not in that way. I’m not into females like my sister is.”

“Oh, she’s a lesbian?” questioned Pinkie with increased interest.

“Bisexual, to be accurate.”

Pinkie scratched the back of her head. “Bisexual? If being straight means liking boys and being gay means liking girls, what’s bisexual!?”

“She likes both.”

Everything in Pinkie’s mind came to a complete stop. Her mouth fell to the floor and her pupils shrunk. “B-b-b-b-b-both?”

“Yes, Pinkie. Chrysalis likes males and females.”

They all noticed Pinkie convulsing. “Ya okay there?” asked Applejack.

The pony only babbled as foam formed around her mouth. After several seconds, her eyes rolled up and she fainted. Nymph gasped and ran to her side. “Is she okay!? What happened!?”

Twilight laughed as she got Pinkie onto her back. “She’ll be just fine. She just had a brain overload. This has actually happened a few times. She just needs some rest and she’ll be back to her old self.”

Rarity placed Spike on her back. “Speaking of rest, I think it might be getting late.”

Nymph looked at her clock. “Oh, how the time flies. I was having so much fun, too.”

“Well we better get going to bed. It’s been fun, Nymph,” said Twilight.

“I suppose I shall turn in for the night as well. Goodnight, ponies. I look forward to seeing you all in the morning.”

The ponies left the room and began walking back to their room, each talking about their fun moments with the queen. When they weren’t looking, Applejack went up to Rarity. “Hey, Rares?”

“What is it, Applejack?”

She leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Third.”

The earth pony walked ahead with a smug expression as Rarity stopped dead in her tracks, eyes wide and mouth agape. After she got a hold of herself, she ran ahead to catch up with her friends.


Morning arrived and Celestia awakened all of her subjects staying in the Changeling Kingdom. Once they prepared themselves, they followed her to the dining hall, where Nymph awaited them. Not wanting to repeat the previous disaster, she had her chefs prepare cinnamon rolls.

“I hope you all slept well,” said Nymph as the ponies seated themselves.

“Most of us did,” remarked Twilight as she looked at Spike, who just crossed his arms and looked away.

“So was everything all right last night?” asked Celestia.

“Everything was fine, Princess. They are a lot more fun than you have described,” answered Nymph

“I didn’t think you were even going to meet them until today.”

“I wasn’t, but then I caught them sneaking around in my garden, so I brought them to me,” said Nymph as she bit into her breakfast.

Celestia slowly turned her head to the ponies, causing them to shrink. “They did what?”

Nymph swallowed. “Twilight was convinced that I was hiding Chrysalis there and she and her friends decided to take a quick peek.”

“Twilight!” scolded the princess, causing her student to cringe.

“Now, now,” said the changeling calmly. “She was just making sure you weren’t all in danger. I think it was rather noble of her to take risks to protect the ones she loves.”

“I suppose.”

“And let us not forget, it was her that discovered my sister, not you.”

Celestia's face flushed. “R-right. Um…good job, Twilight.”

Nymph patted her on the shoulder. “I’m glad she went, Celestia, otherwise we would not have bonded. We got to know each other very well last night.”

“Hey, Nymph, we didn’t really get to talk much about you,” informed Twilight.

She set her breakfast down. “I think you’re right. Why don’t you all ask me something?”

“Did you always want to make peace with ponies?” queried Pinkie.

Nymph hesitated for a moment and then spoke in a slightly serious tone. “The honest truth is I did not. Like everyone else here, I did not trust your kind or any other for that matter. I was content with living in secrecy, despite wanting to see the world for myself. You have no idea how terrified I was when I went to Canterlot to meet with Celestia for the first time.”

“I did notice you hyperventilating when I first saw you,” teased Celestia.

“Well what did you expect? I heard stories about you as a child, so I knew how powerful you were and when I heard what you did to those like Sombra or even Luna, I feared a similar fate would befall me. But in the end, you treated me with great kindness and every day I am thankful for that.”

“And I am grateful that Chrysalis had such a reasonable sister to take over.”

“Indeed. Chrysalis, on the other hoof, has always been very…racist. As a child, she had dreamed of taking Equestria by force. We both blamed ponies and other races for isolating us underground because they would fear us and even attack us if we were discovered. She thought it was wrong for us to be pushed around by our prey and always desired setting things right. As for myself, I didn’t want conflict, just for us to survive. I won’t lie to you. I sometimes supported Chrysalis’s dreams when I was younger, but when she actually wanted to go through with it, I decided to step in. But…I will admit that when she left for Canterlot, a small part of me wanted her to win. Not only would her success have brought in a new age for us, but I dared not think of our fate if she failed. Anyway, do any of you have a question of a different subject?”

“So besides gardening, what do you do for fun?” asked Fluttershy.

“Let’s see. I visit my friends, visit the people of the city, paint, make dresses, and read.”

“Oh, you read? What kind of books?” Twilight asked with immediate interest.

“Adult romance novels,” answered Celestia.

Fluttershy choked on her breakfast as the other ponies mocked the changeling. “W-well what’s wrong with that? I am an adult, after all!”

“It might not be healthy to have an entire stash. Why, I remember you telling me that you one day wanted to meet a changeling prince who was so strong and handsome like one of the characters from your stories, who would lovingly hold you every night and told you how much he loved you,” teased Celestia as she sipped her drink while the laughter increased in volume.

“Well you thought they were pretty good, too!”

The alicorn rejected her drink from her mouth as the laughter shifted onto her. “I wasn’t doing anything with them! I-I was just doing research!”

The queen gave her a dirty smile. “There’s no need to be ashamed, Celestia. If you’re that lonely, then maybe you should work on your sex appeal.”

“Don’t judge me. I don’t make it a habit to spend some nights reading a dirty book by the fireplace while drinking wine. And let’s not forget what happened at that social gathering last month.”

Nymph’s smile bent downward. “You promised never to speak of it again!”

“Oh, I have got to hear this,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Last month, Nymph attended a little party during one of our meetings in Canterlot. She was still not used to how the nobles treated her, so she decided to cope with it by drinking. Of course, Equestrian wine might be a little too much for the changeling queen.” Nymph dug her face into her hooves. “So while intoxicated, she heard that there was a certain nephew of mine attending.”

Rarity gave a loud gasp. “Oh…my…alicorns.”

“That’s right. She tracked down my nephew Blueblood and tried to seduce him in a drunken manner.”

Nymph’s face burned as the ponies laughed. “My life is over.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“He was screaming for help, saying that I was going to drain him.”

“Like he has any love in him,” retorted Rarity.

“It wasn’t love he thought she was after,” corrected the princess.

“Then what?”

Celestia turned her head toward the royal changeling. “You want to tell them?”

Nymph lifted her head to show her scowl. “The idiot thought I was seducing him so I could have him impregnate me with his ‘perfect children’ and create some sort of super army to conquer Equestria with.”

Everypony was laughing again. “That’s a scary thought,” commented the seamstress.

Nymph crossed her forelegs and rolled her eyes. “As if I would ever do a thing.”

“I meant the thought of Blueblood reproducing.”

“What about that other time you got flirty, Nymph?” chimed in Celestia.

The changeling gave her the stink eye. “Celestia, why are you telling them these things? These were supposed to be secrets!”

“Relax. There’s no need to be embarrassed. You were drunk that one time and it was more embarrassing for my nephew, not you. Besides, it might be better if you tell this story before somepony else does.”

“Which story?” The alicorn leaned in and whispered to her, generating a look of agony on Nymph, who just planted her face on the table. “Right. That one.”

“Which one?” asked Applejack.

The changeling sat up and cleared her throat. “During my first visit to Canterlot, I met a very attractive stallion." Everypony immediately gained interest. "I tried introducing myself to him, but he kept giving me the cold shoulder. He kept asking me many questions about me and my sister like he was interrogating me. I didn’t wish for him to hate me and thought he was cute, so I worked my magic on him. I began to come on to him and it took him some time to realize what I was doing. Upon this discovery, his personality completely changed. He was just babbling in protest, but I told him to just relax. All I wanted was for him to give me a chance. But then, the worst part happened.”

“What happened?” asked Spike.

“His wife came in.” All of the ponies laughed uncontrollably. “She was furious, yelling at me to stay away and that she would have me arrested for trying to steal him while I kept telling her that I had no idea he was taken. I felt even dumber when she pointed at the ring on his horn, which I stupidly failed to notice as my eyes were lost on his body.”

“Wow, Nymph. I’m sorry to hear that happened. Maybe that stallion should have said something earlier. I mean, wasn’t it obvious what you were doing?” questioned Twilight.

“I thought it was, but I guess not. I’m pretty sure they’re both still mad about the incident.”

“They are,” Celestia added, “but they’re getting over it. They just need time. I just find it funny they never told Twilight after all this time.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Huh? Why would they tell me about that?”

“Because,” Nymph started, “the stallion was your brother.”

Everypony but Celestia became completely still. “W-what?” stammered the violet unicorn.

“I was hitting on Shining Armor.” All of Twilight’s friends put their hooves over their mouths to cover their snickering. “I’m sorry it happened, but I had no idea at the time. I only knew the groom’s name, not what he looked like. And I’m sure Cadance was not happy to see the sister of Chrysalis making moves on her husband.”

“She wasn’t,” commented Celestia.

“But that’s enough about me. My dignity needs time to heal. Can we talk about something that doesn’t involve me being laughed at?”

Pinkie jumped on the table. “I wanna talk about how me and Fluttershy became special someponies!” The yellow pegasus just blushed as Pinkie through a foreleg around her and pulled her close.

“I would love to hear that. You two seem very adorable together. And afterwards, we should discuss what you have learned about the changeling civilization. After all, that is the reason you all came over here in the first place.”


After breakfast, the ponies packed the little luggage they had and had Celestia’s guard’s collect them. As the group was traveling down the hallway, a pair of changeling guards approached them. “Twilight Sparkle,” one of them said.

“Yes?”

“Queen Nymph wishes to speak with you in her garden.”

The unicorn gulped. “She wants to speak with me? Alone?”

“Yes. Please go to her as soon as you can. She eagerly awaits you.”

Once the guards left, the ponies and dragon looked nervously at each other. Spike then clung to her leg. “Please don’t go! It could be a trap!”

She just laughed as Rarity pulled him off. “I’ll be fine. I completely trust her.”

“What do ya think she wants?” asked the orange mare.

“I’ll go find out. You girls finish packing and wait by the carriage with the princess while I see her.”

Outside the palace, they parted ways. When Twilight saw the cave entrance, the guards saluted and allowed her entry. She walked past them and entered the tunnel from the night before. Twilight approached the garden with a knot in her gut. While she was sure that Nymph was nothing like Chrysalis, being asked to speak with her alone in an isolated area just made her feel nervous. She decided the best option would be to keep her guard up. As she stepped into the sunlight, she could hear a beautiful voice singing. When the garden finally came into view, she saw Nymph wearing a sunhat and singing a cheery tune while watering her flowers with a watering can. At last, the changeling took notice of Twilight and stopped singing. She approached the unicorn with a friendly smile on her face. “Twilight! I’m so glad you’re here.”

“You wanted to see me?”

“Yes I do. Come lie with me in the shade.” Twilight went under a pear tree and lied on the soft grass as the queen joined her. “I will not keep you long. I know you are eager to return home.”

“What did you want to talk about?”

Nymph took in a deep breath. “First, I want to apologize for how I acted last night. I should not have attacked you like that, but please watch your words more carefully.”

“Apology accepted. I shouldn’t have said those things to you and I feel so awful thinking about it now.”

“It’s all right, we all make mistakes. Now I brought you here because I just wanted us to talk. I know you have more reason than any other to feel negatively about my kind and I want to change that.”

“That’s not necessary. I’ve learned enough from yesterday and I now realize I was wrong about the changelings. You are such a unique species and I hope everypony can see you like I do.”

The changeling lightly blushed. “That means a lot to me, Twilight.”

“Queen Nymph, I also want to apologize again for not trusting you yesterday and for saying those things.”

“Do not blame yourself. I understand fully what Chrysalis had put you all through and I completely understand why you would feel that way about her. She had no right to do any of those horrible things to you.”

“I’m also sorry to hear about what she did to you. I’m glad to see you are usually in high spirits after everything you’ve been through.”

The changeling sighed. “It’s partly an act, Twilight. The mood of the ruler affects the mood of the people. Times are very tough on them, but as long as they see me smiling, they have hope.”

“So you’re not happy?”

“Not completely. Being the queen of the changelings was not something I had completely prepared myself for. I had always seen it as more of the role of Chrysalis and yet here I am.”

“But you’re doing a good job.”

Nymph looked towards the sunny sky. “Yes, but it is only because of Celestia. She is so kind to forgive us for our actions. Had she been more like the other ponies, my race would have been in trouble. I am very thankful for her mercy and her friendship.”

“Friendship?”

“Yes. She was really curious about the changelings since we were asking for citizenship right after the invasion and we got to know each other from our discussions. She could tell that I was mildly struggling as a queen and she began helping me in becoming a better ruler. Later on, we became close friends.”

“She never told me that.”

Nymph chuckled. “Probably because you would have been upset at her, but being the queen during a time like this is only the lesser reason of my misery. I don’t think I need to tell you the other cause.”

“Chrysalis.”

The queen slowly nodded. “When she turned against me, it felt like someone reached inside me and tore out a piece of my soul. She was my very closest friend for over three-hundred years. Banishing her was easily the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Can you imagine, Twilight, Shining Armor doing something wrong and you have to send him away, with your last memory of him is him telling how much he hates you?”

Twilight flinched. “I don’t want to think about it.”

“I don’t blame you. I always wonder where she is and the more time passes, the more I worry. The only thing I can do until she is found is fix all of the damage she has caused. It pains me to see how everyone despises her. When these negotiations are done, I will go out to find her. I will bring her home and try to help her. I do not want to think that my hopes for her are misplaced and that she will stop her nonsense.”

Twilight nodded, but there was something she really wanted to know. “Why does Chrysalis hate you?”

Nymph fell silent and it was almost a minute before she spoke again. “I do not wish to speak of it right now. You already think ill of her and the memories are very painful for me.”

“It’s hard to believe she was once like how you described her.”

“Trust me, that is the Chrysalis I remember and cherish. I would give up everything to see her once more. You might think it is foolish of me to have any hope for my sister, but it is hope I refuse to let go of. The true reason I kept everyone out of here is because I like to sit here and recollect the memories of her and I. We used to come here all the time when we were younger and even worked together on the garden with Mother when we got older. I cannot go on believing that the evil Chrysalis that you and I know cannot be changed. She is family, and that will never change.”

“I really hope you’re right.”

“I do too.” She sighed and laid her head on the grass. “Many of my friends think I am fool for putting any faith in her and sometimes I wonder if they are right. Even you think there is no hope for her.”

“I never said that.”

“I can see it in your eyes, Twilight. It may look like a fool’s errand to try to bring the good out of her, but I need this more than anything. I would throw away everything to get my beloved sister back. If Nightmare Moon or Discord can be reformed, surely she can. I know you hate her and you are even scared of her, but I do not want you to worry. Knowing her, she is attempting some sort of plot to reclaim the crown, but if you happen to somehow run into her, I want you to tell her that she needs to turn herself in. I don’t care if you have to beat her and drag her all the way to Celestia, Twilight. I want her to be somewhere where I know she is safe.”

Twilight nodded. “I’ll be sure to do that and I think I should seriously consider the beating part.”

The queen cracked up. “You have my deepest gratitude. Speaking of my sister, I also want you to know that I am no idiot.”

“Huh?”

“You thought I would have blindly taken in Chrysalis after her saying sorry without considering she was tricking me, did you not?”

Twilight nervously gulped. “H-how?”

“When you went to the bathroom during breakfast, I asked your friends some more about why you thought I would have possibly kept her around despite what you knew about us.”

The unicorn turned her head away. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay, but just know that I am smarter than I look. I would have brought her in, yes, but I would have been ready for her to stab me in the back. I know better than put blind faith in someone with so much risk involved. And just so you know, if you ever need help with defeating a powerful enemy like my sister, come to me and I will help you. My mind is a very dangerous weapon.”

“And so is mine.”

Nymph just chuckled and waved a dismissive hoof. “Says the pony who needs a teacher to learn about friendship. Besides, I am much older, so I am also much more intelligent than you.

“Oh yeah? What’s the molecular mass of titanium?”

“Ha! Trick question! Titanium is a metal, not a molecule!” The queen smiled proudly from her answer, but then Twilight burst out laughing. The changeling blushed at the realization of how stupid she looked. “Okay, I will admit there may be some areas where you are superior in intellect. Speaking of knowledge, I am happy to see you have acquired so much while you were here.”

Twilight wiped a tear from her eye from laughing so hard. “My whole stay here has been very enlightening. I am glad Princess Celestia had brought us here.”

“I am too. I was never sure if I wanted to meet you for obvious reasons, but now I am happy to have met you.”

“I guess this means we’re friends now?”

Nymph gave a look of surprise. “You want to be friends with me? Really?”

“Yes, and my friends as well. We have learned that-” Her speech was over when Nymph suddenly wrapped Twilight in a very tight hug. Even though she had a frail appearance, she had a large amount of physical strength.

“Oh thank you so much, Twilight Sparkle!” Twilight struggled desperately, wondering if she was going to die from suffocation or a crushed spine. She then teleported a few feet away from her and was trying to regain her air. “Twilight, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she wheezed. “You might want to give lighter hugs from now on.”

Nymph blushed as she helped Twilight up. “Sorry. I forget my own strength sometimes. I’m glad we are now friends, Twilight. This is certainly good progress towards the acceptance of changelings.” Nymph began heading towards the entrance of the garden. “Come on. I wouldn’t want your friends to think I’m doing something horrible to you.”

Twilight giggled as she caught up. “No, we wouldn’t want that.”

The changeling smiled back at her. “By the way, do you have any brothers besides Shining Armor?”

“Spike is actually kind of like a brother to me,” Twilight replied.

“So I have heard and I think it’s cute, but do you have any brothers who are ponies like Shining Armor?”

“I don’t. Shining is my only real sibling.”

Nymph pouted her lip. “That’s a shame. He’s a real hunk.”

Twilight immediately felt herself flare on the inside. “H-HUH!?”

“Well he is. It’s nice that he married that lovely Princess Cadance, but I sort of wish he was single so I could show him what a queen can do. He’s a brave and handsome prince who holds more love for his wife than any pony I have ever met, not to mention he’s got that nice, muscular butt." She happily sighed. "Oh well. I’m sure I will find a nice changeling like him someday.” Twilight was completely unsure how to respond, so she just kept quiet. By the entrance, Nymph took off her hat and approached a neatly placed pile of her clothing. After putting on her royal attire, they continued walking on and returned to the courtyard where the other ponies awaited. “Sorry to keep you all waiting.”

“Is everything all right?” asked Celestia.

“Everything’s fine, Princess,” replied Twilight. “I’m ready to go home now.” She turned towards the queen. “Thank you for everything, Nymph.”

“And thank you as well, Twilight. It will be a while until we see each other again, but I look forward to it.”

“Me too. Goodbye, Nymph, and good luck with the kingdom.” Twilight entered the carriage and her friends followed after saying their goodbyes to the queen.

Celestia approached the royal changeling. “I am glad to see that young Twilight and her friends have gained wisdom and trust from this trip.”

“They are such a fun little bunch. I always thought avoiding Twilight would be best, but I can see I was wrong. It’s a shame Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor are not so forgiving.”

“Give them time. I promise you that they will be your friends as well in the future.”

Nymph nodded. “I hope so. And Celestia?”

“Yes?”

“Keep looking for Chrysalis.”

The princess approached the queen and hugged her. “I haven’t stopped.”

“Your kindness inspires us all. If you were a prince, I would ask for your hoof in marriage.”

“You make me blush.” They stopped hugging. “Take care, Nymph.”

“You too, Celestia. I look forward to our next meeting. And say hi to Luna for me.”

Celestia entered the carriage and closed the door. The pegasi in front pulled on it and brought it into the air. Once she was comfortably seated, she addressed her student. “Is everything okay with Nymph, Twilight? I still find it strange she wanted to see you alone.”

“Everything’s great, Princess. She just wanted a few last words about us before we left and I completely trust her. She’s a little too affectionate, though.”

The princess looked at the other riders of her carriage. “I hope this trip has changed all of your opinions on the changeling race as well.”

Fluttershy was first to speak. “It has, Princess. I am more than willing to allow them to come. As for Nymph, she’s definitely not like Chrysalis in any way. She’s too nice and caring.”

Dash put her hooves behind her head and relaxed her seat. “They’re not so bad, I guess.”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “Ya only like them because ya got all of that attention. As for me, Ah will gladly welcome them with open hooves.”

“I think Nymph’s a jerk,” muttered Spike, causing everypony but Celestia to laugh.

“You’re just mad because you fell for it,” Pinkie pointed out.

“Fell for what?” Celestia asked.

“Nymph played a little prank on the poor guy and he’s still sour,” answered her student.

“Oh? What did she do?”

“Gave me nightmares.” Everypony laughed at him as he grumbled.

“Don’t ya mean Rarity gave ya nightmares?” asked Applejack.

He put his hands on his head. “This is giving me a headache.”

“But at least you had Rarity cuddle with you,” Twilight reminded.

The dragon rolled his eyes. “Not worth it after what you all put me through.”

Rarity began to look worried. “Oh darling, are you still mad at us?”

He folded his arms and stared out the window. “Yes. I’m especially mad at you, Rarity.”

Hurt by his words and attitude, she pulled him onto her lap. “Is there anything I can do to make you forgive me?”

Spike thought for a moment. “Well…there is one thing.”

“Just say what it is and I’ll do it, Spikey-Wikey.”

He looked up at her. “You have to tell me what it means to make love.”

All of the ponies said, “ooooh,” while Rarity become flustered. “S-Spike, that’s quite a tall order.”

The dragon harrumphed at her. “Either tell me now or I won’t forgive you.”

Rarity became totally panicked when she saw the eager expressions from her friends. “Right now!? In front of everypony!?”

“Now this is going to be funny,” said Dash as she watched with great anticipation.


After a few hours of traveling, Celestia’s carriage landed right outside of Ponyville. The door was opened and the ponies and the ill dragon stepped out. “Come on, Spike, let’s get you home,” said Twilight as she placed him on his back.

Spike only groaned, causing Rarity to rub a hoof against his head. “You poor thing. Did I give away too much information?”

“Ah think any amount would have been too much for him,” teased the orange pony.

The ponies laughed at the ill drake. Once they settled, Twilight addressed her mentor. “Thank you for taking us, Princess Celestia. It was a really amazing experience.”

“I’m glad you all enjoyed it. The changelings are such an interesting race and I would like all of you to do your part in helping them. We must all ensure that we can give them a bright future they can look forward to.”

Twilight nodded. “We will.”

“Excellent. You may all go now. Have a nice day.” After they said their goodbyes, they headed into town. “Pinkie.” The pink pony looked at the princess. “Could you come over here for a moment?”

Pinkie bounced over to her. “Yes, Princess Celestia?”

“Is there something wrong with your friend Cherub?”

The Element of Laughter’s eager attitude diminished and she stared sadly at the ground. “Yes, but I don’t know what. She was so happy earlier and now she’s all gloomy and she’s beginning to yell a lot again.”

Celestia sat next to her and put a wing around her. “Have you tried asking her what is wrong?”

“She won’t tell me. She barely even speaks to me anymore!”

“Something must be deeply troubling her to cause her to act like this. Luna feels that she has done something wrong and it’s really bothering her. Tell me, what do you know of Cherub?”

“Well, she runs a dating service, she has a sister that she doesn’t like, and she almost got married one time.”

Celestia was visibly concerned. “You do not know anymore of her?”

“Nope. She really hates talking about herself.”

“That is troubling. Even Luna knows little of her, despite them being so close." Celestia stood and took a few steps forward, staring into the distance. She then turned back to the earth pony. "Pinkie, I have a very important task for you.”

“What is it?”

“My sister has taken a real liking to Cherub and she is very upset that she is cutting her off. It is clear that Cherub is incredibly depressed about something and if she does not receive any help with this problem she is dealing with soon, things will undoubtedly take a turn for the worse. She has already rejected you and Luna, so it is only a matter of time before she goes even farther, only to end up hurting herself in the end.”

Pinkie became very alarmed. “Oh no! What do we do!?”

“I want you to try to help her in any way you can. You are the pony I trust the most for when it comes to bringing smiles onto others. You need to find out what it is that eats her from the inside and help her in any way you can. Do not expect her to open up in a day and please try not to push too much. Just let her know you are worried and wish to lend an ear. It is very important you do this for her own good, Pinkie.”

“You can count on me!” She stood on her hind legs and placed a hoof on her chest. “I swear from this moment on, I will work on finding a way to make Cherub happy and I will not fail!”

Lessons in Love and Pain

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Lessons in Love and Pain

Chrysalis had spent almost two weeks thinking about her plan’s current progress. She had become bothered upon realizing a major problem and it had been tormenting her mind almost nonstop. As much as she hated to admit it, she now saw Pinkie as a friend. She could not believe such a feat was possible for her. She still remembered the times where Pinkie just ticked her off by simply doing anything. She took Luna’s advice of trying to act nicer towards the girl and she actually started to get to know the earth pony better. Instead of seeing her as hyperactive loudmouth, Chrysalis now saw Pinkie as a pony that tried her best to make others feel better and could be very reliable. She actually felt slightly alone whenever they closed shop as she only had the company of herself. Pinkie provided energy to her private atmosphere and it was better for her psyche to talk to somepony rather than cycle in her own pessimistic thoughts.

And then there was something that was going to inevitably arise. If Chrysalis was to carry out her plot to become queen of the changelings again and conquer Equestria, she would have to do something with her pony friend. A nice private and cozy prison might work, but she couldn’t help but picture Pinkie going ballistic and screaming at her, wanting no more to do with her. There was mind control which would provide no fuss from her, but it just wouldn’t be the same. She couldn’t bear to make Pinkie an obedient zombie. The thought of losing her sort of best friend nearly made her change her mind about the invasion. But with no invasion, how were the changelings going to be fed and earn their superior status among the other races? She would have done all this work for nothing. Her original plan would still have to continue. There was to be no holding back or even attempting to compromise. The idea of living among ponies still left a bad taste in her mouth and she most certainly did not trust Celestia or even Luna.

These worrying thoughts left her in a constant sour mood that only got worse whenever she had to work with her clients. Getting even a short coffee or bathroom break would only leave her mind to retreat to her worries again. Her bedroom desk drawer steadily became filled with letters from Princess Luna that she couldn’t will herself to read or reply to. She could not bring herself to make contact with her as she had the same problem with the princess as she did with her employee. She supposed she could see her taking a liking to Pinkie, but Luna of all ponies? She was the one who was currently trying to hunt Chrysalis down and even ran that changeling lookout group, which was thankfully gone now. As with Pinkie, she did not want to see her get hurt. Chrysalis believed that this feeling had generated from their several encounters and she wanted to know more about her past so she could help herself in the present. She also deeply appreciated how Luna was always so concerned about her and she thought it was nice there was somepony who cared about her, unlike back home. Often after closing for the day, she would sit by the mailbox and debate whether or not to write to her, missing her company deeply.

Another thing that was really bothering her was her alternative ego, Cherub. She spent so much time playing as her that she felt like that Cherub was real while Chrysalis barely existed. Changelings were not meant to live a secret life for such a long time out of the risk of becoming too submerged in a personal relationship and choosing to abandon their original kind. Changelings at most spent a month in the pony realm before abandoning their disguise and returning home. She just wanted to be Queen Chrysalis again. Even though both identities practically acted the same personality-wise, she just missed being herself and having what used to belong to her.

Everything started to become monotonous clockwork to the changeling, slowly counting the days of her banishment and dreading her time away from home. She would wake up, greet Pinkie, work for eight hours, shove Pinkie out of her house, and then just lie on her bed. Her weekends were even less exciting. She had found herself lacking motivation to do anything, not knowing what to do about her situation. Pinkie had obviously noticed her change in mood and had been trying to make her happy, but Chrysalis’s harsh words often put her to a stop. She did want to feel better, but not from that girl’s help. Pinkie provided occasional chuckle worthy antics, but she needed more serious personal guidance.

She could not downplay Pinkie’s efforts in the business, however. She alerted Chrysalis about the magazines talking of Fancy Pants and Photo Finish, who were now officially together in a relationship and the stallion even mentioned her business like he promised. This caused ponies from various magazines to come to Chrysalis, all wanting interviews of her success. She gladly accepted them, knowing that this would bring a surge in her business and have her come home sooner. Pinkie wanted to talk to the ponies as well, but the changeling prohibited her from doing so as she wanted all the credit to herself and because she didn’t have much public relations management skills should Pinkie blurt something absurd in an interview.

Requests stacked and overflowed Chrysalis’s inbox. She and Pinkie had been working overtime to deal with all of their eager customers, who were more than willing to just throw money at her. Chrysalis figured that the huge flux would only last shortly, so she was going to take as much advantage of it as she could. Her mood actually lightened up from her business improving, but she was still very irritable towards others, especially Pinkie Pie.

Her building was currently flooding with ponies and she was doing her best to deal with them. She had to make sure that she and Pinkie wouldn’t be forced to go with a costumer for some additional help too often as she could not let so many rowdy ponies hang near her home while they were gone for possibly hours. Luckily, months of experience allowed her to do plenty of work from home and she could finish helping a pony in short time. What normally took half a day for a client could be done in sixty minutes or less with some exceptions. “Thank you for coming. Next!” A bunch of ponies started calling and waving at her, all wanting her. “One at a time! And get your filthy hooves off my couches!”

Her joy in booming business did not last as she realized she was actually getting too many customers. By the sixth day of her sudden influx of customers, the line to her house stretched for blocks. She had to keep dating profiles archived in multiple filing cabinets and filing away those who already started dating. She eventually took the risk to make Pinkie work overtime to organize their clients and their possible ponies of interest, but it was becoming too overwhelming. She was just one changeling in a house-operated business. All her magic and past experience of listening to citizen requests back at the kingdom weren’t enough to handle what she was given. At lease she had chancellors and several associates back home to help her through busy times like this. She needed a better way of doing her job, but nothing came to mind. What could she do? It seemed like there was an obvious answer, clear as the eager eyes of a client sitting across her desk, but she was too frustrated to find it. She needed to relax when work was over and find it herself to prevent her sanity from running out. It wasn’t like the answer to her problems would suddenly show up at her door.

But then, as Pinkie was trying to control the crowd that infested her home, they were all silenced by a loud horn that came from outside. Chrysalis noticed something appear outside the front window. It was a large mechanical contraption that had stopped right outside her building and was carrying two ponies, who were approaching her door. “Pinkie, what in Equestria is that thing?”

Pinkie took a look and gasped. “I know what that is and I know who they are!”

“Who?”

Suddenly, the door flung open as two twin unicorns entered. “Ta-da!”

The pink earth pony flailed her legs around. “It’s the Flamflim brothers!”

“That’s Flimflam to you!” corrected Flim.

Everypony stared in amazement by their entrance as they walked across the room, greeting everypony they met. Once finished with the crowd, they stood in front of Chrysalis. “Greetings to you, Cherub! I am Flim!”

“And I am Flam!”

“And we have a deal for you!” they said simultaneously.

Chrysalis was still caught by surprise of their appearance. She shook her head and resumed her focus. “Nice to meet you both.” She was honestly unsure how she felt about them having just stormed in all of a sudden, but she felt that she should hear them out. “Pinkie, would you be a dear and go handle the customers while I deal with these two?”

Pinkie saluted her. “You can count on me, Ms. Cherub.”

Once the pony went over to the crowd, she turned back to the brothers. “So what’s this deal you are so eager to share with me?”

The brothers took a seat in front of her. “Word in town is you’re quite the popular girl,” complemented Flam.

“And we know about the recent news with the Canterlot Couple, but that’s not why we’re here. We did some research on you and found something very interesting.” Flim reached into his shirt pocket and brought out a jar, which he placed in front of her. “This is your handy work, is it not?”

Chrysalis recognized the contents of the jar to be her brand of “jelly”. “Ah yes, that…” She started to wish it didn’t get as popular as it did and sometimes regretted marketing it. It was a truly disgusting scientific breakthrough and an even more disgusting treat. “What about it?”

“Well we have a fabulous deal proposition for you; one that will make plenty of bits.”

“More bits than this business!” remarked Flam.

“All you need to do is teach us the secret ingredient to your delicious jelly and you’ll be set for life!”

They both leaned towards her. “So what do you say?” they asked at the same time.

Chrysalis didn’t even need to think of her answer. “No.”

Her answer didn’t even sway them. “Now let’s not be hasty, sweet cheeks,” said Flim. “The profit would be split fairly, twenty-eighty!”

Chrysalis glared at them. “Even if I was the eighty, and I know I’m not, my answer still stands. I have no interest in money.”

The brothers burst out laughing. “That’s rich of you to say you don’t want to be rich!” mocked Flam.

“Tell me, Cherub, what are you interested in if not cash?”

“Creating love, and that’s it,” she answered calmly.

The two unicorns huddled and began whispering to each other. After a moment, they broke away. “So running your business successfully is all you desire?” asked Flim.

“That is correct.”

“Now tell me, do you really think you’re doing a satisfactory job like this?” He pointed to the mob of ponies that Pinkie was trying to control. “A room and a few street blocks cramped with ponies, waiting to be served one at a time in the bright sun? This is simply unacceptable!”

The former queen did not enjoy their criticism. “What’s your point?”

Flam leaned on her desk, grinning. “Think about it: If you had more bits, you could do better! And we can help you pull it off!”

The unicorns had hooked the changeling’s attention. “I’m listening.”

Flim spoke first, eager at the chance of striking a deal with her. “Why use this tiny room with only one pony for such a big job? What you need to do is get bigger!”

“Bigger?”

“Bigger! Bigger building, bigger work force, bigger advertisement, bigger results! And all this can be accomplished with money! If you choose to agree to our deal, you’ll have the money to accomplish all of this, provided you split the profit with us, of course. But in the end, you will be able to create all the love you want. So what do you think about our deal now?”

Chrysalis reconsidered their offer. With the recent news, her workload was starting to overwhelm her. However, this type of popularity was exactly what she needed. They also provided a good point about increasing her employment. She couldn’t simply leave all the costumers alone while she and Pinkie were out on a job, which often took hours. Her business was hitting the ceiling and she needed to expand. Having more ponies working for her and possibly even larger methods of advertisement could really help her out. It should have been obvious to her to have considered something like this earlier, but she was not too good at scheming when she was stressed. However, she faced two problems. The first was that she knew they were obviously trying to rip her off. Something in their voices and their glances were telling her that their co-operation would help them way more than her. However, that could be easily fixed with persuasion and intimidation or maybe some charm if she was desperate enough. The second problem was what concerned her most. There was no way she could tell them her secret and she wasn’t even sure if she could create a suitable substitute that would pass a taste test. But she could not let a deal like this pass. She needed to see where it would go. “I have thought it over and I’ve decided I want to accept.”

The Flimflam brothers clapped. “Oh how splendid!” said Flam happily. “I knew you would come around. Now we-”

“Not so fast,” interrupted the changeling. “I’ve got some conditions I want to lay out. First of all, I will not give you the recipe.”

They both gasped. “But we can’t make money without it!” remarked Flim.

“I will still provide you with the jelly, but you will only receive sixty percent of the production.”

“Sixty percent!?” Flam was just about ready to faint. “Why not all?”

“The other forty percent goes towards the Cakes, who I’ve been dealing with for a long time and I know I can trust them,” she replied coldly.

“You’re saying you don’t trust us?” asked Flim.

“I think you’re both full of manure, but that’s beside the point. Lastly, the profit will be seventy-thirty, with the majority going to me.”

Flim and Flam huddled again and then broke away after some whispering. “Sixty-forty, while giving us all of the produced jelly,” offered Flam.

“No.”

“Now don’t be unreasonable, Cherub!” laughed Flim.

Chrysalis got angry and stood up, no longer able to deal with their smug attitudes. “Me? Unreasonable? Your first offer was to rob me blind!”

“I have an idea!” Pinkie called.

“Well what do you expect? While you sit in the kitchen and cook, we will be out there trying to sell, sell, sell!” exclaimed Flam.

“I have an idea!” Pinkie called out again.

“And what makes you think I need either of you? The Cakes do a fine job selling it.”

“But that’s only in Ponyville. We could have it distributed all over Equestria, where you can grab many more customers!” informed Flim.

“But it wouldn’t do me any good if I don’t make any money from it!” yelled Chrysalis.

“I HAVE AN IDEA!”

The three were heavily startled by Pinkie shouting through a megaphone. “Was that really necessary?” asked Chrysalis as she rubbed her ears.

Pinkie tossed it aside. “Yes, because I have an idea. Why don’t you split the profits fifty-fifty and give them half of your jelly? That’s fair, right?”

Chrysalis shrugged. “Sure, but I don’t think they’re willing to accept.”

The stallions both nodded. “And she’s right. We simply won’t allow it,” said Flim.

“What if we included Cherub’s super special bonus?” asked Pinkie.

Flim and Flam looked at her. “What super special bonus?” they asked at the same time.

“Well isn’t it obvious? Cherub is super good at finding ponies love, so maybe she could help both of you find love! Isn’t that better than making money? You should hire us to find you special someponies and then give her a fair share. Deal?”

The two stallions rubbed their chins, clearly interested in what she was suggesting. Once again, Chrysalis saw why Pinkie was a worthy pony. She was surprised the young mare could think straight under all the pressure they were going through. “I am quite a talented pony when it comes to matchmaking as you can clearly see and I am more than qualified in finding a good pony that you will both want to spend the rest of your lives with. You may not be able to buy love, but you could pay somepony to do it for you, right? So if I find you two love, how about we do fifty-fifty? Not only that, but if you help me pay for the new building, I will give you a good percentage of the profit I make. Also, if you do a good job of selling as you claim, I may consider giving you a larger amount of the product. Does that work for both of you?”

The brothers quickly huddled again and whispered loudly to each other. Pinkie and Chrysalis waited for them to give a response, both hoping they would come to reason. They eventually broke the huddle, smiled, and extended a hoof towards her. “It’s a deal!”

“Excellent!” She took both of their hooves and shook them. “Now I think I can already think of a good match for the both of you. In the spa, there are these twin sisters and I’m sure they would love-” She was cut off when they both laughed. “Was it something I said?”

“We may look the same and even finish each other’s sentences, but some of our interests are completely different,” said Flim. “For example, I want a sweet, simple mare…”

“And I want a nice, rich stallion!” said his brother.

The changeling rolled her eyes, not surprised by the fact things could never be easy for her. “I see. At any rate, we are completely swamped for the week, but since you two are such important ponies, I will be willing to help you on Saturday if that is all right.”

“Very well. Flam and I shall be off until then! We will visit you Saturday in the morning.” They both exited Cupid’s Arrow and got into their car.

“See you Saturday!” called Flam as they drove away.

Once they were gone, Pinkie and Chrysalis looked at each other, both of them grinning. “I can’t believe it! Are we really going to have a bigger building with more ponies?” asked Pinkie.

“Indeed we are,” the changeling replied happily.

“Hooray!”

“Don’t cheer just yet. We still have to help them first before we can get started. If it’s possible, can you come by on Saturday? It would mean so much if you did.”

“You bet!” Pinkie answered excitedly. “I always love helping you!”

“I’m glad to see you’re so reliable. I should make you employee of the month.” While Pinkie acted giddy, Chrysalis got up onto her desk and whistled loudly. “Listen up, everypony!” The crowd of ponies in her home looked at her, falling silent. “I know that this is not the best way of dealing with a crowd of this size and I’m sorry, but I have an announcement. Soon, I will acquire the necessary funds to move to a much larger building. I promise you that when this happens, everything will move along much faster. But until then, this is the best I can do, so please do not make this any more difficult than it already is. So, who’s next?” The crowd immediately uproared as they all tried to get her attention. Chrysalis sat back down, defeated. “For once, I want the weekend to happen already.”


After a long week of hard work, Saturday had arrived. Chrysalis would have loved to take the day off because of all of her excessive workload, but today was way too important. Once she was finished with those slime ball brothers, she would be rolling in the bits and be able to expand her business. Chrysalis felt hopeful as her plan was evolving more towards its goal, currently neglecting the problems that she had earlier. She had noticed a decent of a rise in the love within Ponyville, but there was still much work to be done before it would be ready for her people.

Thankfully, Pinkie was more than willing to come to work today and help. The pony arrived at her usual time and was very excited, which wasn’t new of her. She flew through the door and could not contain herself. “Are they here yet? Are they? Are they?” She bounced around the house and looked in every room and closet.

Chrysalis actually chuckled from her excitement as she felt the same. “Settle down, Pinkie. I’m sure they will be here soon.”

The pony sat at her desk, eager. “This is so great! So what exactly are we going to do with all the money when we finish?”

“Buy a bigger building, of course. I’ve actually been looking for one for quite some time and I managed to find an available building that’s approximately the size of Sugarcube Corner.”

“Wow, your house is gonna be huge!”

The former queen happily nodded. “No kidding. I'm sick of living in this dump. I deserve so much better.”

“You don’t like living here?”

“Goodness no. I need so much more room than this. At any rate, the building I reserved from Short Sale has a little room in the back, which is where you and I will deal with customers in…privacy.” Chrysalis licked her lips. “As for everything else, I am still working out the details. I just hope those two will keep their word. I have also been saving up bits for a while so I could move out and it will certainly help when the Flimflam Brothers give me some money.” She regretted using the clever mind control trick on Short Sale since it would have been better to use it for a more expensive place and she thought it wouldn’t be wise to do it twice. “If they do as good of a job as I hope, I should be able to take a mortgage out on the building and we can get started sooner.”

“I can’t wait!”

The changeling spent the rest of her time waiting by coming up with ideas of how to make her business more efficient with Pinkie. Eventually, they heard the motor of the brothers’ car as they arrived. They turned off the engine and made their way in. “Here we are, the Flimflam Brothers!” announced Flim as he opened the door.

Their entrance always impressed Chrysalis. “Glad you’re here. Now let’s not waste any time. There’s love to be made.” She pointed to the two chairs in front of her and they sat down. “So which one of you is first?”

“Me!” they both said at the same time.

The changeling put a hoof on her face. “Lovely.”

“I know!” Pinkie pulled out a bit. “Heads or tails?”

“Heads!” shouted Flam.

“Tails!” yelled Flim.

Pinkie flipped the bit and caught it as it came down. “It’s tails!”

“Darn.” Flam crossed his forelegs and pouted.

“Oh, splendid! So how do we do this?” asked his brother.

“Take these.” Chrysalis handed them both a sheet. “Just fill these out and we’ll do the rest. And no lying.” The two unicorns took them and began filling them out. Chrysalis and Pinkie waited as the stallions kept looking at each other’s paper and whispering to each other. When they were done, Chrysalis collected them. “Alright, Flim, let’s see what it says. Your occupation says you’re both an inventor and a business stallion.”

“Indeed. That contraption of ours back there is something we built with our own hooves.” Flim pointed behind himself. “Just you wait. One day, everypony will be driving around in cars like this all over Equestria.”

Chrysalis stared at the machine. She had no idea what it was, but it still fascinated her. “That’s very impressive. How successful are you two in the business?”

“We are quite decent. We make our own products and sell them to the public. We’ve hit a bit of hard luck since the cider incident, but I think you will help us out of that.”

The former queen knew all about the incident. She had a bad feeling about these two and recalled that Pinkie said she knew who they were, so she had the pony tell her everything that had happened when they last visited Ponyville. “I hope so. I’m putting a lot of investment in you two. Now, for a mare, you want one that is sweet, simple, loving, and understanding. I can easily help you with a mare like that, though it seems a little generic.”

“Just find me the girl and you can bet she will be drooling all over me! You probably won’t even need to lift a hoof when you see my speaking skills. And as for her being generic, sweet and simple is the best. What more would I ever need?”

“Good point. Ponies usually expect too much from their significant other these days.” The false unicorn was glad his ideal mare was easy. However, there was something about his personality that had her worried. “Alright, Pinkie, we got anypony like that who would be interested in him?”

Pinkie put her hoof on her chin and bit her lip, thinking hard. It was half a minute before she suddenly jumped up. “I know a pony! Carrot Top was looking for a pony like that. She said she wanted a handsome stallion who was nice and had a high paying job.”

“Where can I meet Ms. Top?” asked Flim, already interested.

“She’s Ponyville’s carrot farmer and she tends to work at home, so that’s where we’ll probably find her,” answered the party mare. “We can take you to her right now and make you two fall in love!”

“How kind of you. Very well, let’s make somepony’s dream come true!” The brothers and Pinkie went out the door, heading towards the home of Carrot Top.

“Or make her worst nightmare come to life,” Chrysalis quietly muttered as she followed.


Walking through town wasn’t like it was before for Chrysalis. Ever since her recent fame, everypony on the street wanted to meet with her. If she wasn’t so occupied with the brothers, she would have spent time meeting with them and getting the familiar feeling from the time where all of her subjects loved her. After following Pinkie for almost a half hour, the group saw Carrot Top in her backyard, watering her garden. They hid themselves behind some trees and bushes across the street so she wouldn’t notice them. “Well there she is, Flim. Do you like her?” asked the former queen.

Flim looked at her and whistled. “Hubba hubba! That is quite the gal! She and I must be meant to be!”

Chrysalis groaned from his childish response. “Alright, so let’s plan how we’ll get you two together.”

The stallion walked ahead, laughing at her. “No need to worry. I have this all under control.”

“Get back here!” Chrysalis ordered furiously.

“Go get her, Flim!” shouted his brother with support.

Carrot was watering the flowers around her carrot patch while loudly humming. As she worked, she noticed a shadow being cast over her. She looked up to see the cuase, only to find Flim leaning against the fence while eating a carrot. “Eh, what’s up, Top?” the unicorn greeted.

She saw what he was eating and became agitated. “That wouldn’t happen to be from my garden, would it?” she asked in an unfriendly tone.

“It is, and it is the most delicious carrot I have ever tasted. I think you have quite the green hoof.”

“I’d be happy if it weren’t for the fact you stole it,” she snapped.

“My deepest apologies.” He pulled out some bits and gave them to her. “I hope this will cover it.”

“It will.” She continued working on her garden, but noticed that he was still there and staring at her. “Is there something I can help you with?” she asked aggressively.

Flim cleared his throat. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name-”

“I remember who you are,” she interrupted. “You and your brother had that cider machine by Sweet Apple Acres a while back.”

“What an amazing memory you have there. I’m glad to see you remember me.”

“Kind of hard to forget, especially when you almost had my friend Applejack and her family kicked off their land,” she informed sternly.

His confidence began to sway. “All in the spirit of competition, I’m afraid.”

“There was also the fact your cider tasted absolutely awful. Took me days to get the taste out of my mouth and I don’t think I can drink cider again.”

He wiped the sweat off his forehead while maintaining his smile. “That was simply bad luck. All of the cider the ponies had before tasted just as good as theirs, probably even better!” he argued confidently.

She just glared hatefully at him. “So why are you here? Don’t tell me you invented some sort of carrot juicer and want to run me out of business.”

“No, but I will gladly build you one if you want me to, Ms. Top.”

Carrot Top placed her gardening tools on the ground. “Why are you here, you scoundrel?”

“I’m just trying to make conversation,” he answered innocently.

“Okay, why?”

“Well why not?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re up to something, aren’t you?”

Flim gave her a sly grin. “I might be.”

“Well you better give up whatever you are doing. I am not interested in the least.”

“But do you even know what I am doing?”

“Trying to sell another invention?” she guessed.

“No.”

“Trying to drive me off my home?”

“Not at all.”

Carrot Top sighed in absolute annoyance. “I give up. What’s your big plan?”

“Well why would I stop here and continue speaking with a beautiful mare such as yourself?” he hinted.

“Well obviously since you used the word beautiful, you’re trying to…” Carrot Top trailed off and grew a look of disgust on her face. “Oh Celestia no.”

“Oh yes!” he responded happily. “I just happened to notice you and I can’t pull my eyes away. You have a lovely appearance and an angelic voice.”

She felt an overwhelming sensation to puke from the way he was making moves onto her. “And what would make you think I would be interested in a weasel like you?”

“Because I am a stallion that rolls in the bits, kind of like what you are interested in, Ms. Top.”

She picked up her gardening tools as she was done listening to him and just wanted to get back to work. “I would never even…wait. How do you know what kind of stallion I’m in to? And how do you even know my name?”

Flim gulped and tugged on his shirt collar. “Well…I…”

She held the pointed end of her spade in front of his face in a threatening manner. “You have one minute to get as far away from my house as fast as possible before I contact the authorities.” The mare left behind the frightened stallion and went into the house, slamming the door upon entering.

Once she was gone, Flim hung his head in defeat and returned to where the others were waiting. They didn’t hear what was said, but judging from Carrot Top’s exit, they knew it went badly. “What happened, Flim?” asked Flam.

“She was a friend of the Apple Family and she is still upset at us for winning the competition. Also, I might have accidentally left an impression that I am stalking her,” he admitted.

Chrysalis face-hoofed hard enough to make her think that she may have left a print. It was already obvious to her that he did something wrong, but she did not expect it to be this bad. “There’s a reason I came, you moron. You should have let me tell you what to do instead of winging it. At any rate, Carrot Top is a bust because of that impression you left on her. Pinkie, please tell me there’s another pony we can try that may not be mad at them for the whole cider thing.”

Pinkie thought hard. “Maybe we could go see-”

“Ah-ha!”

The four looked at the source of the voice, only to find Carrot Top approaching. “So you are spying on me! I can’t wait to have you and your brother thrown in jail for-” She suddenly gasped and ran through the brothers, knocking both of them over. Her eyes had grown gigantic as she looked in awe at Chrysalis. “Y-y-y-y-you’re C-C-C-Cherub!”

Chrysalis smiled smugly, always enjoying praise no matter who it came from. “Yes I am.”

“You’re a total celebrity! You were the one who got Fancy Pants and Photo Finish together! I’ve read every article they had about you!” She then pulled something out. “C-can I have your autograph?”

“Of course you can.” Carrot handed her the pen and paper, which Chrysalis signed with her fake name. It had been months since Chrysalis received such respect and she was loving every moment of it.

When she returned it to her, the mare squealed in delight. “My friends are going to be so jealous! Cherub was actually near my house and she even spoke to me!” Carrot Top then realized something, causing her to lose her enthusiasm. “Wait, why are you hiding here with those two?”

Chrysalis gulped, caught off guard from her question. “Well, funny story actually…”

Carrot interrupted her by gasping. “You were trying to hook me up with Flim, weren’t you!?”

She had a nervous grin, worried that her reputation was going to take a hit. “Um…maybe?”

Carrot Top turned away from her and approached the brother who lacked facial hair. She studied him for a moment, but then smiled. “So Flim, I believe you called me beautiful?” she said seductively.

The brothers looked at each other as they were very confused by her sudden change in mood, but Flim decided to go with it. “Why yes! I meant it when I said it.”

She giggled in a friendly manner. “How very kind of you. Flim, since Cherub wants you to get with me, I’ve suddenly taken an interest in you, so how about dinner later? Maybe we could get to know each other.”

He jumped at the chance. “Dinner? Sure!”

“Great. Come by at six. I’ll be waiting.” She turned to Chrysalis and shook her hoof rapidly. “Thank you so very much! I promise I won’t let you down!”

Chrysalis forced herself to smile. “Just doing my job. I hope you enjoy your evening, Carrot Top.”

“Oh, I will! Bye, Cherub! Come visit sometime!” Carrot Top trotted away happily back to her home.

The ponies were at first baffled by her sudden change in attitude, but then they were excited as Flim’s mistakes were undone in an instant. “Did you see that? She’s totally into me now!” exclaimed Flim.

“Good work, Flim! You’re going to really knock her socks off tonight!” complemented Flam.

“But she’s not wearing socks,” Pinkie corrected.

“No matter! This date is going to be spectacular! I must thank you for introducing us, Pinkie and Cherub. You two indeed do a good service to the world,” spoke Flim.

“This is great! One down, one to go! What next, Cherub?” asked Pinkie. “Should we find Flam a date now? It could be a double date!”

Chrysalis hesitated before answering. “Let’s go back and prepare Flim for tonight. I want to make sure everything goes perfectly.”

“Sounds good to us! We can discuss our deal while we’re there,” said Flim.

As they began heading back, Chrysalis addressed the love struck brother. “So Flim, doesn’t it seem odd to you that she suddenly found herself interested in you after driving you away?”

“Nope.”

She gave him an expression of defeat. “So you think you’ve won her over by yourself and not by some other reason all together?”

“Are you blind?” asked Flam. “He totally left an impression on her!”

She could feel serious disdain for both the brothers growing inside her. “Oh, he left an impression alright. And you did as well, Flam,” the changeling sneered.

“How so?”

“I’ll tell you in Cupid’s Arrow. It’s something that we can only discuss in private.” She wanted to make sure they were in private for the nasty surprise she had in store for them. There was a problem with them that required her immediate attention and she was going to remedy it at any costs.


After a long walk with the three ponies happily chatting about what was going to happen tonight, they were back at Cupid’s Arrow. Once they entered, Flam asked, “So what’s the big deal, Cherub? Everything turned out as expected, but you seem bothered by something.” Chrysalis turned around and grabbed both of their heads, which she rammed together. The brothers yelped and rubbed their skulls. “What was that for!?”

“You two are IDIOTS!” she shouted furiously.

“How are we idiots? Everything was a success!” Flim pointed out.

“It is for now, but you still have zero chance with her because you are a stupid fool.”

“Zero chance? Clearly you didn’t see how she was all over me. I bet you that tonight I’m going to plant my carrot in her garden, know what I’m saying?” He held out his hoof and Flam high-hoofed it.

She growled loudly, which caused Pinkie to back away. “And why was she doing that? Was it because of something you did or something I did?”

He just rolled his eyes at her. “What’s your point?”

Chrysalis sat at her desk and the stallions sat in front of her. “There is a point to this and I want you both to listen to me. The only reason Carrot Top has even the slightest interest in you is because she found out I was involved and she worships the ground I walk on.”

“So?”

“So I promise you that when she sees the real you, her interest is going to drop like an anchor and you will be back at square one. The fact is that you are completely unlikable and no mare will ever love you for you.”

He just waved a hoof at her, not taking her seriously. “Pfft, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Let me guess what your big plan is: You’re going to take her out, compliment her a bunch and maybe wow her with some stories about yourself, and then give her dessert in the bedroom.”

His smug expression immediately vanished. “W-well yes, but what’s your point?”

She stared intently at him. “This would be a good plan if you planned on sneaking out in the morning, but you are actually trying to get in a serious relationship and I don’t think you’re ready for one.”

“Of course he is!” jumped in Flam. “Once he swoons her, everything will be golden! For such a great expert, you don’t seem to know what you are talking about. Maybe you wouldn’t be so uptight if you actually had a stallion to give you a good lay once in a while.”

Chrysalis blasted them both with a bolt of magic, knocking them out of the chairs. “Cherub!” yelled Pinkie, surprised by her violent outburst.

The changeling ignored her and walked to where Flim and Flam fell. “You two are hopeless. You don’t win a pony’s heart by just screwing them. You actually need to do much more and commit to it.”

“Well like what exactly?” asked Flim while rubbing his head.

“For starters, you need to talk to them better, since you left an awful impression in less than five minutes. If that’s all you got, your best friend tonight is going to be a sock.”

“For sock puppets?” asked Pinkie.

“Shut up, Pinkie,” Chrysalis snapped, causing her to whimper. “We have plenty of time to educate you two in acting like proper stallions and that is what we’re going to do.”

“But I think we’re charming enough,” argued Flim.

“And as the expert, I say you aren’t. If you really want to get together with her, then we will have to make you into a presentable gentlecolt. You need to provide more than compliments or money if you really care for a lasting relationship. I know you both think I’m overreacting about this, but I need to keep my good reputation when I do business with you two. If you screw up dates and have ponies find out you two are losers who like to play grab-flank with mares and have unlikable personalities or whatever that will cause a public stir like your little cider stunt, not only is your business going to tank, but since I’m now involved with you both, my business might take quite a hit. And if my business suffers, you will suffer.”

They both gulped from her threatening tone and slightly pushed their chairs away. “W-we’re not that bad,” Flam argued weakly.

“Oh yes you are. Pinkie informed me about your previous visit to Ponyville and it is no wonder why Carrot told you to leave her alone. The Apple family is widely known in this town, so many ponies here already know of that stunt you tried to pull. Not only are you both losers in dating, but you are losers in business as well." She brushed the hair that hung in front of her face. "Fortunately for you two, this is where I come in. I can help you both succeed in both worlds. I need you two to succeed as you are both important to helping me expand my business. And before you dismiss me, just remember which one of us is the celebrity who built their business from scratch. I assure you I know exactly what I am talking about.”

While the stallions didn’t like how she was insulting them, they did think she had somewhat of a point.There was also the fact they were scared by her icy tone and did not wish to stay on her bad side, especially after getting blasted. Flim just sighed and waved a hoof. “Fine. We’ll do it your way.”

Chrysalis smirked at them. “Glad you came around. Since the date is tonight, we shall help you two in learning about succeeding in the dating scene. Business lectures will come later. Pinkie, you work with Flam while I do Flim. Be sure to let me know if you need anything.”

“Okie-dokie-lokie!” Pinkie bounced over to the kitchen with Flam following her.

Flim leaned in towards her with a dirty grin. “Oh, so you’re going to do me, eh?” Chrysalis blasted him immediately, knocking him onto the floor.

“No, just no. Sex jokes need to take a backseat when it comes to serious conversations, especially when you already come off as a pervert. It’s okay to do them when you two are closer, but just leave them out for now.” She she held her hoof out, which he grabbed, and helped him off the floor. “Let’s start with greetings first. I will pretend to be Carrot Top and I want you to take this exercise seriously.”

“Bring it on!”

“Very well.” Chrysalis cleared her throat. “Hello, Flim. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Hiya, babe! You ready for a fun night and the amazing after party?” Chrysalis once again zapped him.

“Wow. First thing that comes out of your mouth and you sound like a total slime ball. Are you even trying, Flim? Out of the many ponies I have encountered in this business, you have to be the most hopeless pony of them all.”

“Well what’s wrong with flirting?” he complained, sore from her assault.

“Nothing. You are just pushing things too far too fast. If the first thing you try to do to a girl is get between her legs with no interest in getting to know them, the relationship is doomed from the start. That’s not love, it’s lust.”

“So what do you think I should do, Ms. Expert?”

She gritted her teeth, but then took a deep breath. “You’re going to have to drop any attempts for sex as you two are practically meeting for the first time and the fact that you are a jerk. If you want some fun, you either wait for her to ask you or you go out on several dates and ask when you know things are going well between you two. Besides, we’re not trying to get you in bed with her. We are trying to develop at least a good friendship with her so it can evolve to something more. Relationships take time and commitment before it can fully bloom. Understand?”

“I suppose I do.”

“Good. Now let’s try again and this time, you will talk to me with respect. Remember: Love, not lust.” Chrysalis cleared her throat. “Hello, Flim. It’s so nice to see you again.”

“Hello, Carrot.” He paused as he thought what he was going to say next. “You look beautiful tonight.”

Chrysalis faked a giggle. “You’re so sweet. Are you ready to go?” She motioned her tail towards him.

Flim slowly wrapped his around hers, worrying that he was going to do something that would result in more pain. “I sure am.”

The changeling pulled her tail away. “Well done. You actually acted like a decent gentlecolt for once.”

“This isn’t too hard.”

“We’ve only done the first fifteen seconds of a date that can take hours. We need to be sure you don’t screw up at all in that period of time.”

“Look, I know you don’t like me, but don’t you think you’re being a little harsh on me?” he complained.

“Maybe, but I have a good reason.” Chrysalis sat at her couch and pointed at the one across from her, which he sat on. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, Flim. You would not believe all of the mistakes I have seen done. An infant could do a better job than some of these ponies. The only reason I am lecturing you is because you were a complete flop with your first impression, much worse than most I’ve seen, and I do not want you to make any more mistakes. Besides, if I can help you here, it will help you in your business since first impressions are the most important. I really need you two to get your acts together. As part of our deal, I am stuck helping both of you until you find love and I want it out of the way as soon as possible.”

“Point taken. I promise I will listen to what you say if you act a little nicer.”

Chrysalis huffed as she pictured Luna telling her something similar some time ago. “Very well. Now, let’s try the restaurant scene. Where would you take her?”

“The most expensive one in town.”

She lightly nodded in agreement. “Not a bad idea, but there’s no need to go all out for a first date. Any fancy restaurant will do just fine.”

“But I don’t know any here.”

“Then you should ask her,” Chrysalis suggested. “That way she will be guaranteed to like wherever you go. Now let’s see what you can talk to her about.”

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the two ponies were going through their own methods of education. “Okay, so you be you while I’ll be a pretty mare!” said Pinkie.

“But I like stallions,” Flam corrected.

“Oh yeah.” Pinkie thought for a moment. She then smiled and grabbed her hair, which she pulled it over her face and pretended it was a beard. “Is that better?” she asked in a gruff voice.

“This is really weird, Pinkie.”

Pinkie lifted a hoof towards his face. “Silence! For this class, you will refer to me as Hunkie Pie!”

Flam tilted his head, mildly disturbed. “Hunkie…Pie?”

“That’s right. I will pretend to be the stallion of your dreams and we will pretend that you want to ask me out on a date.”

He sighed in defeat. “Well as long as it’s only pretend. It might actually be better for you to do this than Ice Queen Cherub.”

“Good! Now let’s pretend we just met and you want to know me better.” Pinkie placed on a monocle and held a pipe which produced bubbles when she blew into it.

“What’s that for?”

“I have to pretend that I’m rich, just like what you want.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Hello,” she said in her deep voice, “I am Hunkie Pie, richest stallion ever. Who you might be, old chap?”

Her rich stallion impression still struck him as odd, but he played along. “Erm…I’m Flam! I just wanted to meet you.”

“And you have. Was there something you needed, dear boy?”

Flam pondered where he was going to go with this. “Well I wanted you to know that you I really like your beard.”

Pinkie began stroking it. “Thank you. I spend a hundred hours a day grooming it.”

“And it looks great. But have you ever been on a mustache ride?”

Pinkie stared at him with a perplexed look on her face. “Cherub?” Pinkie called, immediately sending Flam into a state of fear.

“What?” an annoyed voice called back.

“What’s a mustache ride?”

There was a brief moment of silence. “Just get the you-know-what.”

“If you say so.” Pinkie went back into the main room via bouncing.

Flam scratched his head as she left. “Now what is she up to?” Pinkie returned with something in her mouth. “Pinkie, what exactly is that you have there?”

Pinkie placed it in her hoof, pushed a button, and then touched him with it. Thousands of volts flowed through the unicorn’s body, causing him to fall on the floor while occasionally twitching. Pinkie smiled and looked at Flam, whose hair was sticking straight up. “You look so funny!”

“I-is that a bloody taser!?” he shouted as he quickly crawled backwards away from her.

“Yep! Cherub bought this from Canterlot and she’s used it on many stallions who hit on her. Their hair looks so funny when she does it!”

“That thing hurts like the dickens! Why did you even shock me!?”

“Because you said something wrong and Cherub said I needed to punish you.”

“Can we do this without any pain involved!?” he pleaded.

“Fine.” Pinkie placed it on the counter. “So let’s try again.” Pinkie got her hair around her face. “I spend a hundred hours a day grooming it.”

Flam picked himself up and thought hard about what he should say. “Uh…that’s great. So…what do you do for fun?”

“I like to throw parties for all of my rich friends,” she answered while blowing her pipe.

“That sounds fun and not painful in any way at all. Could I possibly get an invitation to your next one?”

Pinkie nodded at him. “You seem like a fine fellow. Very well, I will have the butler of my butler’s butler send you one in the mail. I look forward to seeing you there.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Pinkie clapped her hooves. “Yay, you did it! That was great!”

Flam sighed with relief. “Good for me.” He went over to the fridge and poured himself a glass of hard cider, not caring that he was stealing from the scary mare. “So are we done yet?”

“Nope! We still have several hours to go.”

Flam threw back his drink. “This is going to be a long day.”


After several hours of lessons and some pain, Celestia’s sun began to set. They all rested in the main room with tea as they wrapped up their lessons and went over what Flim was to do for his date tonight. The Flimflam Brothers managed to get the hang of things and were now acting a lot better than earlier, much to the changeling’s relief. Chrysalis also gave Flim some pointers on selling to ensure that he would be successful in raking up the bits when they started selling her slime, hoping he would consider it.

“I certainly hope we’ve influenced your ways when it comes to romance,” said Chrysalis as she sipped her tea.

Flim drank from his cup. “As much as I hate to admit it, I would think so. I feel like I have a real edge now with Ms. Top or any other mare for that matter. Even worse, I feel like an idiot when I think about earlier today. I’ve even thought about some other girls from my life and it’s no surprise why they never stuck around.”

Chrysalis chuckled to herself, finding amusing it took him this long to figure out what was wrong. “Trust me when I say your chances with her are much higher now. Just stick with everything we’ve taught and you will be just fine. If all goes well, we can get started with your brother tomorrow and maybe even be done by then.”

“I would thank you, but I still feel a little tingly from your shocking,” pointed out Flam as he gave the evil eye to Pinkie.

Chrysalis smirked. “All for the greater good, I’m afraid.”

Once he finished his drink, Flim put his cup down. “You know, I’m a little curious about you, Cherub.”

“Oh?”

“You run this dating service, know so much about love, and are practically a celebrity, and yet you are a single mare who refuses to date anypony.”

The changeling just shrugged. “I just don’t feel ready to settle down yet.”

“Oh, so you’re just waiting for Mr. Right, eh?”

Chrysalis chuckled. “I guess. But until them, I can have any stallion I want,” she said with slight seduction in her tone.

The unicorns took notice of the way she spoke. “You have them often?” questioned Flam.

Chrysalis grew a smile as she recalled previous experiences with several changelings. “Mhm. I often need some time to relieve stress and it’s easy for me to get what I want.”

Flim stood up. “Hey, wait a minute. Why do you make us sound like jerks when we want to seduce somepony and yet you act like it’s completely normal for you to do it?”

The false unicorn chuckled as she lied on the couch on her side. “There are so many differences between you two and I. You two are a bunch of cheats who have yet to contribute to society. When you seduce somepony, you only do it for your own pleasure like a bunch of animals.”

“And what about you?” asked Flam, slightly insulted.

The changeling stretched on the couch as she stared at the ceiling. “When I wish to give myself to a stallion, I admit I do it for fun, but I do a little more. As you can clearly tell, I am something to be desired,” she commented as she slowly rubbed a hoof up and down her body. “I turn quite a bit of heads wherever I go, all entranced by my beauty. As for who I pick, there are so many factors in terms of my decision. Obviously they need to be handsome and charming, but there are other things. If a pony is only interested in my body, I lose my interest in him.”

“I like a guy who takes me seriously. I want them to hear what I say and to appreciate me for who I am. Often I like a guy with confidence and experience as they know exactly what I want and they can give it to me, leaving me almost no work to do. However, I think I love a shy pony more. Some just want to catch a glimpse while maintaining their distance while others make feeble attempts in winning me over and it is just cute to see them fumble. Either way, I usually invite them for a little…spirit lifting.”

“They always blush so much and stutter their words when they find themselves in a bed with me. I just let them lie on their back while I fulfill their deepest desires. Eventually, they grow the courage to take charge and I let them have their fun. I even like to teach them a few of my tricks to keep things interesting. And in the morning after a fun night, it’s as if I’m lying next to a totally new stallion. They are so full of life and confidence, as if I broke the restraints holding them back. Because of me, they feel like they can take on the world. I’m sure they no longer have trouble in wooing any girl that catches their eye after being with a goddess like me. And that, you two, is why I seduce.”

The three ponies stared at her in shock, all speechless from what she said. The only sound that was heard was the quite sipping as the changeling drank her tea, smiling from the sight of their expressions. “I think I need a cold shower,” Flim said suddenly.

Chrysalis laughed at him. “Have I really made you that uncomfortable?”

“Yes. I must wash of this unclean feeling before seeing Carrot Top tonight. You not only fill me with absolute terror, but you also turn me on and I think getting involved with you is a death sentence.”

She couldn’t help but smile evilly at him. “It truly would be. The shower is right upstairs and you are free to use it.”

“Thank you.” Flim ran up the stairs and slammed the door behind him.

Once he was gone, Chrysalis faced the other ponies. “So what about you two? Do I amaze you as well?”

“Um…you certainly have a way with ponies,” complemented a surprised Flam. “I’m sure ponies thank you for your…services."

The changeling smirked at him. “How about you, Pinkie?”

“No comment,” she responded blankly.

“That's a first from you." Chrysalis finished her drink and set the cup on the table. "Anyway, we need to start finding another girl for Flim. No time to fool around.”

Both ponies were immediately confused. “What? But I thought he was going to go out with Carrot Top,” said Pinkie.

She sighed and shook her head. “Yes, but it can’t possibly end well. He’s already left a sour first impression and that really counts in the long run. Besides, he’s probably so confident about himself that he won’t realize it when he makes a mistake. He may act like he knows what he’s doing, but he has yet to apply this knowledge in the field.”

The mustached stallion looked angrily at her. “Are you calling my brother an idiot?”

“That’s not very nice,” informed Pinkie, mildly upset at her.

“I’m sorry, but I am. You saw how he did the first time with Carrot Top. What makes you think he won’t do something like that again? It will be some time before my lessons get thought that thick skull of his. Hopefully you’ll learn from his mistakes and do better when we find you a date, Flam.”

Flam stood up, not willing to have Chrysalis bad mouth his twin. “Oh yeah? Well my brother is far smarter than you give him credit for. I’m so confident in him that I’ll bet fifty bits that he’ll do everything just right!”

Chrysalis laughed mockingly at his offer. “Well I do love things being handed to me for free, so I accept. I should let you know that you are entering a bet you cannot win.”

“Flim is my brother and we stick together like glue. Maybe he isn’t perfect, but he’s my best friend and I will always be on his side. Maybe if you had a sibling, you’d know what it’s like to have somepony you can always depend on.”

That caused something to set off in Chrysalis. Her mood quickly shifted into boiling rage and she slammed her hooves on the table, shouting, “Make it a hundred bits!”

“Fine!” The stallion and the changeling shook on it. “You are going to be in for quite a surprise, Cherub,” said Flam.

“And you are about to learn how siblings are not exactly how you see them,” stated Chrysalis. As they stared each other down, Pinkie just felt sad. She could tell the red unicorn was very upset, but she would have to wait until after the date before trying anything to help cheer her up.


Before taking him to his date, they made a quick stop to the brothers’ motel room. Flim got out his trusty tuxedo and threw it on, trying to look his best for the night. Once he was set, they met up in front of the mare of interest’s house. “Well this is it,” said Flam as he looked at his brother’s destination. “Go and win her over, Flim.”

“We’ll be nearby, so if the night gets really out of hoof, find us and we’ll do our best to help,” advised Chrysalis. “Remember, if things start going to Tartarus, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Leave it to the professionals."

“You got it. Wish me luck!” Flam, Chrysalis, and Pinkie ran into nearby bushes as he knocked on the door. After a minute, the door opened, revealing Carrot Top, who had her hair done and wore earrings along with an orange dress. Flim was stunned by how she looked. “You look so beautiful, Ms. Top,” he complimented in awe.

The mare blushed and giggled from his comment. “Please, just call me Carrot, and thank you. You look quite charming yourself, Flim.” She stepped outside and closed the door to her home. “So where will we be going tonight?”

Flim gulped. “I actually don’t know Ponyville all that well, so I was hoping that you could choose a place. Think of it as a way to make it up to you for how I acted earlier. We’ll go wherever you want and it’s all on me.”

Carrot squealed with excitement. “I know exactly where I want to go!”

While they spoke, the others watched from a safe distance. “Can’t you just feel the magic between them?” Pinkie swooned.

“I can’t feel much of anything since you zapped me,” stated Flam as he checked his pulse.

“At least she’s still talking to him, so that’s a start,” noted Chrysalis.

They saw the couple walking down the street, so they followed them secretly. “You honestly think tonight won’t end well?” Flam asked.

The changeling sighed. “Personally, I hope he pulls through and we can just get this done. I still have high doubts about your brother, but if he does good, I am willing to swallow my pride.”

“Well just you wait. I guarantee he will surprise you.”

“I’m sure he will. Anyway, while we sit around and wait, we should discuss a business contract for our deal.”

Flam nodded. “Quite right. We need to get this all sorted out before we start any selling or consider giving you money for your business.”

“Can I help?” asked Pinkie eagerly.

The changeling just shrugged. “Whatever. You can help, just don’t do anything to upset me.”

“Yay! I get to help! So how about this for a slogan?”


Flim and Carrot strolled through Ponyville while trying to get to know each other. As they spoke, Flim frequently looked behind him to see if the others were keeping up. Eventually, they arrived at a fancy looking restaurant. “Oh I have always wanted to go here,” squealed the mare happily.

From the look of the outside, the stallion could tell the place was very high class. “Looks pretty nice. Very well, let us dine here for our first night out.”

They entered the restaurant and took a look around. The room was dimly lit, with a lit candle placed at the center of every table, which had red cloths on top of each of them. There was some pleasant music being played by a pony at a piano, whose tip jar held quite a high amount of bits. They were seated at a table and given menus. Flim could see how delighted Carrot looked and felt relieved everything was going well so far. He then opened his menu and examined his options. “Whoa!”

“Is everything alright?” asked his date.

He quickly forced a grin. “O-oh yes. Everything is absolute fine. I’m just surprised that they have…that one thing on the menu. It’s my favorite.” What really caught him by surprise were the prices. It was only their first date and the mare had suggested what was probably the most expensive restaurant in town, which was something he originally considered.

“I bet you go to places like this all the time,” said Carrot Top.

He shook his head as he drank his water. “Not really. Flam and I are often traveling and we usually do this sort of thing after we strike a good deal. Can’t really afford to just throw around money.”

“I see. You must be really special for Cherub to be helping you on a weekend.”

“It’s part of our business agreement.”

“Oh?”

“Cherub has this strange jelly that’s very popular here and we will help distribute that wonderful jelly of hers across the country if she helps us. With her recent fame, I bet we can have it sold out in markets across Equestria.”

Carrot giggled. “I absolutely love that stuff. There are rumors that it helps ponies fall in love if you eat enough of it.”

He nodded at her. “I’ve heard that as well, which is why we are so eager to sell it. I am really curious of what she makes the stuff out of to have such a powerful effect.”

“She hasn’t told you?” Carrot asked.

He shook his head. “Nope. It seems to be a part of some super-secret family recipe and she refuses to give, no matter how much we offer. I shouldn’t be surprised she’s that protective of it. It’s delicious and possibly even magical.”

“That’s a shame. I heard Twilight Sparkle tried analyzing the stuff, but she couldn’t figure it out. It’s been driving her nuts for a while.”

He knew who Twilight was as she was Celestia’s student and knew her to be extremely intelligent. “Wow. Now I’m really curious of what she puts in that stuff if even that girl can’t understand it.”

“I think it’s better if we don’t know. It makes it so much more mysterious and fun. Maybe you could use the mystery to sell more of it.”

He smiled at her. “Perhaps we should.” The waiter approached their table and they gave him their orders. Once he left, Flim began remembering some of the things Cherub forced into his mind. Since Carrot Top was a pony he could end up seriously dating, he should get to know her better before proceeding. “So Carrot, tell me about your little business.”

She only shrugged at him. “It’s nothing special. I just grow carrots and sell them. I’m like every other farmer in town, only that I sell carrots.”

“At least you’re cuter than all of them.” Carrot blushed from the compliment. “How about we talk about-”

“Cherub?” she interrupted happily. “You must be so excited to be working for such an interesting mare. I heard she did modeling for Photo Finish once. Do you know if that’s true?”

Flim sighed, not wishing to speak of the mare who enjoyed giving out pain as a method of teaching. “I don’t know. I guess she did.”

“Well it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true. She is so beautiful. I actually went to her welcoming party, you know,” she informed with glee.

“How interesting,” said Flim in an uncaring voice.

“She kind of flipped out at Pinkie, but then later she shook my hoof!” Carrot became giddy and kicked her hind legs. “I should have known how special she was back then!”

He noticed the way she was acting and raised an eyebrow, recalling what Cherub mentioned about why Carrot suddenly wanted to give him a chance. “You seem to be really obsessed with her.”

The mare laughed. “Well who wouldn’t be? I mean, she’s a celebrity right here in Ponyville! And she’s not some stuck up jerk like Filthy Rich or Prince Blueblood.”

It was obvious to him that she didn’t know Cherub as much as she thought she did. “Doesn’t Twilight Sparkle live here? The student of Celestia who saved Equestria like four times already? Shouldn’t you be excited like this over her too?”

“Yes, but she’s kind of…ahem…boring. I really do appreciate everything she has done, but she just loves to read books and she can be a bore to talk to. But Cherub is so much different. She goes out and creates love! Love is what makes the world go round, you know?”

“So I take it you’ve tried her services?” he questioned curiously.

“I tried. So many ponies wanted her after the news came out and I was in a long line. I was supposed to have an appointment with her next week. There’s also her fee, which is incredibly expensive and I had to save up for a while.”

“Why would any sane pony pay for her? Believe me when I say she can be quite scary.”

“Because she is so successful! Almost every pony that goes to her returns with satisfied results. It’s not just a onetime thing, Flim. She finds a pony their soul mate! She and Pinkie are a dream team!”

The waiter came and placed their food on the table. Flim had a salad while Carrot Top had a crab. The unicorn took one bite into his meal and his expression brightened. “This is really good. I wish my brother was here to try this stuff.”

She nodded as she took a bite of the crab. “I know. I’ve always wanted to come here, but being a carrot farmer does not make me rich. I can’t grow them in large amounts like apples and make stuff like apple pies, cider, etcetera.”

“Perhaps I can come up with some of food for ponies to enjoy, or maybe even invent something that will grow more carrots faster.”

“I forgot you two were inventors. What have you made besides the cider thing?”

“A few things here and there. Nothing that really flew off the shelves, I’m afraid.”

“That cider machine might have sold well if you didn’t try swindling the Apple Family,” she informed rather sternly.

The unicorn laughed nervously and tugged on his collar. “True, but the Apple Family in Appleloosa bought three. Of course, they kind of already knew who we were and we had to sell at a much lower price, but it provided us with heavy pockets.”

“So you’re filthy rich?” she asked curiously.

“Well funded is the term I would use. We still need to come up with something to put some serious bits in our hooves. With Cherub’s jelly and celebrity status, I think this might be our lucky break.”

“Well I wish you the best of luck. You don’t seem like the jerk we all saw before and I actually hope you succeed. You seem more like a true gentlecolt now and I thank you for taking me out.” Before Flim could respond, the mare suddenly grinned. “Speaking of Cherub, do you have any idea why she’s still single?”

Flim gave her a deadpan look for switching the topic back to the aggressive mare. “No, I don’t.”

“It’s just so strange to me. I heard rumors that she turns down any stallion that comes on to her. I wonder why that is,” she pondered.

“Maybe she doesn’t swing that way,” Flim joked.

“Maybe. If that were true and I were a lesbian too, I would totally marry her!”

“You don’t say,” said Flim with extreme agitation. “So anyway, tell me about-”

“A funny thing that me and friends have brought up is how Cherub is much more active in creating love than the Princess of Love herself! Can you believe that?”

Flim was stabbing his food with his fork. “Shocking. Can we please-”

“Wouldn’t it be funny if Celestia made her the Princess of Love instead? I think she should if she could get ponies like Fancy Pants and Photo Finish together.”

“It would be a real riot. So let’s talk-”

“And she’s so smart! I mean, I wouldn’t have given you a chance before, but thanks to her, here we enjoying ourselves in this nice little restaurant. She has really affected our lives. Why maybe I should write her a thank you letter and-”

While Carrot continued talking, Flim just tuned her out. It was clear to him what was going on with his date and could not believe Cherub was completely right. Carrot was only interested in him because she was helping, but he had no idea how much of it was true. The earth pony was clearly obsessed enough to worship Cherub like a goddess. The only reason Carrot was here was because Cherub wanted it to happen. He was certain that if Cherub told her to marry him, she would accept without a second thought. The waiter came back and handed him the bill. He was already too annoyed by the mare to let the price bother him. He wondered if there was such a thing as karma and this was his punishment for all of his misdeeds.


For over an hour, Chrysalis and the two ponies discussed their business deal as they waited for Flim and his date to return. So far, they managed to settle on the profit split and how much jelly Chrysalis would supply to the brothers. She could easily make enough with all the love around her, but she would have to drink more liquids to compensate. It would all be worth it in the end with the money she would receive and the business she would expand. They also discussed how they were going to market it and Pinkie proved to be a big help. Since Pinkie knew a lot about ponies, she was able to come up with good advertisement ideas that would surely attract many ponies to the mysterious jelly and Chrysalis wondered if she should use her to help advertise her own business.

“I think that covers just about everything,” said Flam, satisfied. “We can get started whenever you’re ready and bits will just fall into our laps!”

“I can’t wait,” Chrysalis said deviously.

“I’m so happy for you, Ms. Cherub! You’re going to be the most famous matchmaker ever!” exclaimed Pinkie with total excitement.

“It’s hard to think I’d ever get this far ahead, but life is just full of wonders.” She rubbed the top of the pony’s head. “And I will admit, you have been a big help.”

“As soon as Flim is done with his date, I’ll talk everything over with him and we can print out a contract before tomorrow,” informed the stallion.

Pinkie pointed to the distance. “We should ask him now!” Chrysalis and Flam looked to where she was pointing. Leaving the restaurant was Carrot Top and Flim and when they looked at the mare, they could see how happy she was. “Do you see that? Carrot Top is smiling! Their date must have been super fun!"

Chrysalis couldn’t believe her eyes. The mare looked like she had the time of her life, which she was not expecting at all. This pleased her greatly, knowing that she was done with one brother. “I guess he really pulled through after all. I suppose I have lost the wager, but I’m still satisfied since everything has ended in complete success.”

Flam tapped her shoulder and pointed. “I wouldn’t say that.”

Before Chrysalis could ask him what he meant, she noticed Flim, who seemed to be very sour. “What’s wrong with him?”

He shrugged at her. “I don’t know, but we should follow them just in case. I have a bad feeling about this.”

The rest of dinner went exactly as Flim expected. Occasionally, they would start talking about themselves and get to know each other’s interests, but then his date would derail and start gabbing on and on about Cherub, idolizing her. Flim did have some interest in her and wanted to see her more, but he worried that she was only doing this because of the love mare. After a long and uncomfortable walk, Flim and Carrot returned to her house. “Thank you for taking me out. I had such a wonderful time with you, Flim.”

He cleared his throat and spoke in a voice that made it obvious he was troubled by something. “I’m glad you had fun, Carrot. The night was…enjoyable.”

The mare became aware something was wrong. “Are you ok, Flim? You seem upset about something.”

He turned away from her. “Me? I am quite fine. Nothing wrong here at all. Everything is just tip-top.”

Carrot Top slowly approached him, very concerned about him. “Flim? What’s wrong? Talk to me, please.”

He took a pause. “Did you only go out with me because Cherub wanted you to?” he asked in a sad voice.

“What?”

Flim made a sniffle. “It’s true, isn’t it? You thought I was a loser and you suddenly changed your mind when you saw her. You don’t like me at all. All you wanted to talk about was her, not wanting to get to know me.”

“No! I…” Before Carrot could think of what to say, his words slowly sank in. She realized that what he was saying held some truth. She honestly didn’t think that much about him until Cherub appeared and she did recall talking about her a lot tonight. “Oh Flim…”

“I see how it is. You still think I’m a jerk from before and you don’t like me.”

The mare gasped. “No! That’s not true!”

“Yes it is! You still remembered about the cider incident and you didn’t give me a chance earlier today.” He sighed loudly and looked towards the sky. “How long must I carry this burden? I try to be a better stallion, but everypony still sees me as the same old Flim. I’m changed, but you didn’t seem to notice. I guess I have been just getting my hopes up for nothing.” He then started sobbing.

Pinkie was devastated by what she was seeing. After everything they did today, if it was all for nothing. Flim’s night was ruined and he was clearly heartbroken. The sight of everything made the mare cry herself. “This is awful! Carrot didn’t like him very much and now Flim’s sad! We have to do something!”

“No.”

Pinkie gasped and looked up at Chrysalis. “What do you mean no!? Why would you just sit there and let Flim’s heart get broken like that?”

The changeling just smirked as she watched the display being shown from the couple. “Isn’t it obvious?”

The sad mare shook her head and then grabbed her and shook her rapidly. “No! Why are you letting this happen, Cherub!? WHY!?”

The former queen looked at Flam with an amused look on her face. “You want to tell her?”

“Why certainly. You see, Pinkie, what you are witnessing is quality acting.”

Pinkie slowly stopped sobbing. “A-acting?”

“Acting! We do it all the time for our business. Flim’s pretty good to have you fooled since he has years of experience.”

“But why? Why would he pretend to cry?” the pink pony asked in confusion.

“If I were to venture a guess,” began Chrysalis, “it seems he is trying to guilt Carrot Top for ignoring him during their date and get something out of it.”

“It would seem so.” The stallion looked at her. “I’m surprised you could see through him, Cherub."

Chrysalis shrugged with a smile on her face. “What can I say? I have an eye for these things.” The changeling could easily tell he was faking from her natural ability to sense emotions of ponies. Even without her gift, she would have figured it out eventually. If Flim didn’t find himself in tears after being left with Chrysalis for several hours, nothing could break him. “I am ever so curious how he is faking those tears. It is quite convincing.”

“It’s very easy,” Flam answered happily. “You just got to put something in your eyes and make them sting, like that salt he used earlier. We use that trick all the time, whether we’re selling, running charities, or on trial.”

Carrot Top looked up at the stallion. “I’m so sorry for everything, Flim. You were trying so hard to impress me and I didn’t consider it. I was just so enthralled by the fact Cherub was involved that I didn’t even notice you during our date. I feel so awful about everything now. I can see now how different you are and how much of a sensitive gentlecolt you are. You were really trying, Flim, and I made a mess of things. Is there anything I could do to have you forgive me?”

He had to repress the urge to grin, knowing he had her wrapped around his hoof. “Well, there is one way.”

“Name it.”

Flim looked at Carrot Top. “How about some time later, we have a second date and hopefully do things a little better this time. Let’s just talk about ourselves and no pony else.”

She blushed. “After everything I did, you still want to give me a chance?”

“I do. I find you quite interesting and beautiful, so I would love to see more of you.”

The mare nodded at him. “It’s a date.”

Flim put on a smile. “Great! I’m afraid I will be busy for a while, so it might be a while before we will see each other again.”

“Okay. Take care of yourself.”

“You too. Have a good night.” As he turned away, the mare pulled him back.

“I almost forgot.” She leaned in a kissed him passionately on the lips. She pulled away some seconds later. “Goodnight, Flim. See you next time.” The mare then walked into her house and closed the door behind her.

Flim strolled proudly down the street, satisfied with the final results of his date. He heard hoofsteps behind him and saw the three ponies approach him. “Whoa nelly! You really scored on that one!” shouted Flam.

Chrysalis sat down and clapped. “I am not going to lie: you pulled that off amazingly. It was one thing to realize that Carrot Top was no good, but to call her out on it and get a second date with her? You are a real inspiration. Your little act had me at the edge of my seat.”

The stallion couldn’t help but grin. “Well I suppose you deserve some credit, seeing how you set my head straight. It’s hard to believe that we worry so hard about me that in the end, it was Carrot Top who killed the mood.”

“I honestly never expected that, either,” admitted the former queen. “Well, Flim did a good job, but the date was a mess, which I suppose means neither of us win the bet.”

Flam laughed. “It’s strange, but apparently you’re right.”

“Huh? What bet?” asked Flim.

Chrysalis waved a hoof. “Oh, it’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“This is so great! Are we going to find a pony for Flam tomorrow?” Pinkie asked eagerly.

The changeling nodded. “Indeed. I am sure he can handle things as well as his twin did, so there will be nothing to worry about.”

“You bet I can. After Pinkie’s pointers, I feel ready for anything! Well…except sudden shocks,” he muttered.

Chrysalis chuckled evilly at him. “Good. I expect a hundred percent from you.”

“So you just find my brother a pony just as good and our deal will be official!” stated Flim.

“I can’t wait. I am confident we can find you your perfect stallion,” Chrysalis said with cheer in her voice.

“I have faith in you. Flim and I shall discuss our deal and have everything ready tomorrow, so we’ll be going now. Goodbye, you two,” said Flam as he and his brother walked away.

“Bye, guys!” shouted Pinkie as she waved to them. Once they were gone, she walked aside Chrysalis. “You see that? You were totally wrong about Flim, Cherub!”

The changeling nodded. “I suppose I was. For once, I am glad to be wrong. I actually feel that Flam will do just as well tomorrow and we can start selling for some serious profit.” Chrysalis couldn’t help but smile. She was going to be home sooner in the Changeling Kingdom than she thought. Despite worrying about her plans recently, she was just happy with the fact she was going to be home.

“We’re going to have more employees, too! Aren’t you excited?”

“I already have enough headaches,” muttered the changeling to herself. She seriously wondered who in the world she was going to hire and how exactly they could help her. At least they couldn’t possibly be as bothersome as Pinkie, so it shouldn’t be too bad as long as she didn’t try to befriend them.

Pinkie noticed the annoyed look on her face, so she felt nervous. “So…I was wondering if you want to do something fun to celebrate.”

The changeling just looked at her. Chrysalis did feel like going out for some fun, but her mind said no as doing such activities with Pinkie would only add to her problem. “I’m sorry, but I’ll pass. I’m going home and getting beauty sleep.”

Pinkie ran faster to get in front of her. “Aw, come on. We can do whatever you want. Just say the word and we’ll do it.”

“I said no,” the changeling answered, steadily getting irritated by her persistence.

“Pretty please?” she begged. “We don’t hang out anymore.”

“No!” she suddenly snapped.

Pinkie flinched. “Why are you mad at me?” she asked nervously.

“Because you can’t take a hint! I said no, and that’s the way it’s going to be! I don’t want to do anything with you, Pinkie!”

“But…”

“But nothing! I’m going home and that’s that. Do you have a problem with that?” The pony remained silent. “Good!” Chrysalis began heading home, but Pinkie finally spoke.

“Why are you sad?”

Chrysalis stopped and just stood there, surprised by the question. The pony couldn’t have possibly noticed that, could she? “What…what makes you think that I am? I am perfectly fine.”

“No, you’re not. You haven’t been yourself for a while. You hate doing fun things and you’re being really mean again.”

The former queen turned and narrowed her eyes at the party mare. “Why don’t you butt out of my business?” she asked in her most unfriendly voice.

“Because I am your friend and I care about you. Just tell me what’s wrong and we’ll figure out what to do!”

Chrysalis got in her face. “You are a nosey brat! I didn’t ask for your help and I won’t start now! They are my problems and mine alone! If you keep bothering me with your nonsense, I will fire you! Get it?”

Pinkie was stunned by her threat. “G-got it.”

“I’m glad you understand. Now go home and leave me be. And remember, no more of this garbage.” As Chrysalis tried to leave a second time, she heard Pinkie say something quietly.

“I’m sorry…”

She looked at Pinkie, who was walking away with her head hung low. The sight actually made her feel bad for snapping at her and she knew she was going to feel guilty about it all night. “Pinkie,” she called.

The pony looked back. “Yeah?”

Chrysalis sighed and looked away from her. “I apologize for getting angry. I know you have good intentions, but please, just stop worrying about me. I promise I’ll be fine and let us not bring this up again, okay?”

Pinkie sighed. “Okay.”

“And Pinkie?”

“Yeah?”

Chrysalis faintly smiled. “Thank you for watching out for me.”

The pony smiled back at her. “Nighty-night, Cherub.”

“Goodnight, Pinkie. See you tomorrow.” Once Pinkie left, Chrysalis finally made her way home. She truly appreciated Pinkie caring about her, but she knew why she could not accept her help. It was a shame Pinkie would not be so courteous to the real Cherub. She thought that maybe she could play with some mind altering spells, allowing her to both receive advice and retain her secret. She wasn’t sure how Pinkie would help her in taking down Nymph, but she was willing to take any advice at this point. But for tonight, she decided that she was going to prepare a hot bath, light some scented candles, and just unwind for the rest of the night to relieve her stress before her next job.

Mare vs. Machine

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Mare vs. Machine

Pinkie Pie slowly stirred from her slumber as she was awoken by the birds singing in the house. She found their voices to be much more soothing than her alarm clock back home and wished her marefriend would lend her some, but that would require taking care of them. She wasn’t ready to get up just yet, so she remained on the comfy bed and began thinking. Today, she would help Cherub with Flam and then she would be able to expand her business, allowing her to create more love. Pinkie prayed that this would be enough to bring the unicorn out of her grouchiness. She wondered for a while what brought her back to that in the first place, but maybe she would find out soon if everything went well.

She rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling, thinking about Cherub in general. She recalled talking with Celestia about how she knew so little of her. Why did she hate telling others about herself? She always got angry when Pinkie tried to obtain further details about her since day one. She had never even given the names of her ex-fiancé or her sister. She was actually improving her personality before, but something undid all of the progress and it was her mission to find out what.

Her friends, however, were not that much concerned about her. They have all known her for being unfriendly and it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see her act this way, but Pinkie knew there was more to Cherub. She used to laugh at Pinkie’s jokes, find joy in her or Luna’s company, and even smile in such a happy way. She actually worked hard to ensure that Pinkie ended up winning Fluttershy’s heart, which Pinkie wished to repay her for.

She looked at the empty side of the bed. Things between her and Fluttershy have been great ever since they got together. Pinkie occasionally slept over with her and they would talk, play, and even kiss when her animals were asleep. Their relationship was a powerful one and it was all thanks to Cherub. The pegasus was the only one of her friends who encouraged her to help the matchmaker. Fluttershy was personally afraid of her, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t concerned about her. Whenever Pinkie felt down about not being able to make Cherub happy, she could always depend on Fluttershy to make her feel better.

The Element of Laughter sat up and stretched, finally ready to start the day. She got out of the bed and left the bedroom, finding the pegasus in the hallway doing some house work. The shy pony took notice of her and went to her marefriend. “Good morning, Pinkie,” Fluttershy greeted warmly.

Pinkie smiled and kissed her on the lips. “Morning, Flutters. You’re up early.”

“I got up to make you breakfast today. Come down and eat it.”

“Thanks.” Pinkie went downstairs into the kitchen and sat at the table, eager for some food. Fluttershy placed on the table in front of her some waffles and a glass of milk, which Pinkie proceeded to devour. “This is good,” she said through a stuffed mouth.

Fluttershy giggled from the sight of her sloppy eating. “I’m glad you like it. You’re going to need all your strength today and I just want to make sure you’re ready.”

Pinkie swallowed her food. “I’m totally ready! We’re going to help Flam find a special somepony and after that, everything is going to be better! Cherub will be happy and so will Luna once they start talking again!”

“I hope so. How do you think Cherub feels right now?”

The earth pony halted her eating, recalling how furious she had made her the night before. “Fine...”

“Still angry?” she asked worriedly.

Pinkie placed her silverware on the table and let out a defeated sigh. “Angry and sad.”

Fluttershy stood behind her and wrapped her forelegs around her. “What are you going to do, Pinkie?”

“I have everything figured out. We just need to succeed and then everything will be fine! All she wants to do is make Cupid’s Arrow bigger, so that’s what I’m going to do, no matter what.” Pinkie finished and pushed the dish in front of her. “Thanks for breakfast, but I need to get going now. I promise to tell you how it goes when I’m done.”

“Alright then.” The pegasus followed her to the front door and they kissed each other. “Good luck, Pinkie. I know it’s been tough for you, but I know you can do it. You’ve never given up on anypony and I am sure you can help Cherub be happy.” The mare blushed heavily. “I have more faith in you than anypony.”

“Aw, you’re so sweet.” She gave her another kiss. “Bye, Fluttershy! See you later!” Pinkie then skipped her way to Ponyville, having absolute confidence that everything was going to be fine.

As Fluttershy stood by the doorway, one of her hens ran to her and jumped around. “Is something wrong?” The chicken continued to cluck frantically, waving her wings around and motioning towards the henhouse. “You’re missing some eggs? Don’t worry, little hen, I’m sure we’ll find them. I’ll look for them right now.”


The kitchen was filled with the sound of sizzling as Chrysalis poured the yolk onto the frying pan. The day before was thankfully not too difficult for her, though incredibly stressful. All she needed to do was help the other idiot brother and then the money would come rolling in. With that, her business would produce more love faster, she’d be home where she belonged, and then crush Equestria under her hoof.

She wasn’t excited with the idea as much as she used to be. The changelings were apparently now really fond of ponies, so she couldn’t go forward with her invasion scheme unless she could show them Celestia’s true intentions. But even before their new opinions, she still had second thoughts. Luna and Pinkie were certainly likeable and she wasn’t sure she would want to hurt them. But when she overthrew Nymph, what was she going to do? Proceed with the negotiations like her sister was doing? It was pointless and they wouldn’t let her rule again. She had no clue about what she was going to do.

She sat at her table with her breakfast and a glass of hard cider for her drink. She felt she was going to need some alcohol in her system just to get through the day with the thoughts currently plaguing her mind. She at least felt more relaxed from her alone time last night. Once she finished, she just sat at her desk, trying to think about today rather than later on. Soon Pinkie entered and Chrysalis felt slightly relieved for the distraction. “Hi, Ms. Cherub!” the earth pony greeted in her cheerful voice. “Are you excited for today?”

“I suppose,” she answered without much enthusiasm.

Pinkie took her seat without looking away from her. “Something wrong?”

“I’m just feeling a little anxious, that’s all.”

“Don’t worry. Everything will work out. You always know what to do because you’re so smart!”

Chrysalis actually smiled by the compliment. “I am smart, aren’t I?”

“Yep!” She could still see some sadness in her boss. “Is there something else wrong?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Were you thinking about your sister?” the pony guessed.

Chrysalis physically winced. “Kind of.”

Concerned, Pinkie got up and sat in the seat in front of her desk. “Do you want to talk about it? I’m a great listener!”

“No,” muttered the false unicorn as she moved her eyes away. “I thought I made that clear last time.”

Despite her hostile tone, Pinkie still continued her supportive tone. “Well I’ll be here if you need me, Cherub. You can always talk to me about anything.”

“Thanks.” She flinched upon hearing the name. Cherub was a disguise that she had held longer than any other and she worried that if she didn’t figure out what to do soon, the name would be a permanent part of her life. Still, she was somewhat glad Pinkie was around for her, even if she couldn’t really ask for her help. Their time together was spent only in silence. Chrysalis was in no mood to make conversation and Pinkie knew she would not get anywhere from asking. The false unicorn pondered what topics they could talk about during their wait that didn’t involve her, but talking could only strengthen her bond with her. Eventually, they saw the car pull up in front of Cupid’s Arrow. Even though Chrysalis had been waiting for this moment, she was dreading it. “Get ready, Pinkie.”

The door flew open as the twins jumped in, creating quite an entrance like before. “Ta-da!”

“It’s the Flapjack brothers!” Pinkie yelled excitedly.

“That’s Flimflam to you!” corrected Flim.

The changeling just sighed, actually not impressed by them this time. “Hello again, you two. Let’s just get this out of the way and then make some bits.” While they sat in front of her, Chrysalis pulled out a file from her drawer. “Alright Flam, you’re profile is exactly like your brother’s with an exception.”

He happily nodded. “That’s right! I want you to find me a good looking stallion with deep pockets and lots of charm. That shouldn’t be too hard for you, right?”

The matchmaker just stared at him as he reminded her of somepony else. “Have you ever met a unicorn named Rarity?”

He tapped his chin and thought for a few seconds. “Can’t say I have.”

“I’m sure you two will get along fine. Speaking of which, these kinds of ponies are much more common in Canterlot and Rarity is the kind to know a lot about them, so we’re going to have to ask her to see if she knows one we could get you with.”

“Sounds like a plan,” said Flim. The brothers stood up and Pinkie ran to the door.

“Follow me! I’ll show you one of my bestest friends!” exclaimed Pinkie happily. The three ponies walked and talked together while Chrysalis dragged behind, weighed down by misery.


They arrived outside Carousel Boutique and Chrysalis knocked on the door. The door opened and Rarity appeared, surprised to see her and Pinkie visiting during a weekend. “Oh. Hello, you two. What can I do for you both today?”

“We need your help.” Chrysalis stepped aside and pointed at the stallions behind her.

Rarity quickly recognized them and gasped. “You two! You almost drove Applejack and her family off Sweet Apple Acres!”

The stallions just smiled at her. “Don’t get upset with us. It’s the nature of business. Plus she won, so I don’t know why you’re angry,” remarked Flim.

Rather than argue, she just looked back at the mare. “Why did you bring them here?” she questioned hostility.

“Stache-face here wants a rich stallion as a coltfriend and I thought this would be more of your field of expertise since you’ve spent quite some time in Canterlot and have plenty of connections,” answered Chrysalis. “If it isn’t too much trouble, could you perhaps help us in finding him true love?”

The seamstress just eyed the two stallions behind them. “I don’t know. I don’t trust him or his brother. They simply reek of trouble.”

“Please, Rarity. We’re doing this in the name of love!” begged Pinkie.

“And money,” her boss added.

The seamstress bit her lip, thinking over what she wanted to do. As much as she wanted to say no to helping Flim and Flam, she did feel that she owed the mare for helping her with Spike. She also noticed that Pinkie had a very desperate look on her face, signaling to her that she needed her help. Knowing Pinkie was trying to help her boss feel better about whatever was troubling her, Rarity decided to lend a hoof. “Very well. As it so happens, I do know a stallion who has been looking for a special somepony for a while, but I’m not sure getting him together with Flam is a wise choice.”

“I’ll handle the situation with delicate care,” Chrysalis reassured. “You have nothing to worry about. I will take the blame for whatever may possibly go wrong.”

“So who is he?” asked Flam with great interest.

“The one and only Hoity Toity!”

Flam became excited, knowing who he was. “Oh boy! A celebrity! You really are a wonder, Cherub! I couldn’t have asked for a better choice!”

Chrysalis was glad she was right about Rarity. Finding a stallion that matched Flam’s desire would have been tricky without her help. However, she had a feeling she was going to need some more assistance from the unicorn. “Would you mind introducing us to him? It would make things much easier for us if Flam was seen as an acquaintance of yours.”

The white unicorn rubbed her head with her hoof, laughing nervously. “I don’t know. I’m awfully busy today and if something goes wrong, I don’t want him to know I was involved. I could lose his business if something goes horribly wrong, which I am expecting from the likes of them.”

Out of complete desperation, Chrysalis got on her knees. She just wanted this done and to move on, no matter what. “Please, Rarity. I need this badly. I promise to make it worth your time if you help. Just help us out.”

Rarity was surprised by how she was pleading to her. Knowing she couldn’t just leave the poor thing, she decided to help. “As it so happens, he is attending a social gathering that is being hosted by Fancy Pants and Photo Finish today. They’ve been doing a lot of those since they became an item and he almost always attends. I can introduce him to you there and you can do what you need to do.”

“Don’t worry, Rarity. He will be so happy when he realizes you helped him get with me” commented Flam.

Rarity stormed past her friends and approached the brothers. “Let me make it clear: If one of you does anything that results in me losing his business, I will dedicate my life in making sure you two never succeed in anything. Do you understand?” the mare threatened.

They both gulped as their bodies stiffened. “I think we do,” whimpered Flim weakly.

“Good.” Rarity turned back to her home and walked inside. “If we’re going to a Canterlot party and meet Hoity Toity, then we’re going to need the proper clothing, so come on in and pick something out.”


Once they were dressed for the event, they headed to the train station to ride their way to Canterlot. When it arrived, the four ponies and the changeling seated themselves on the train. They attracted some attention from how they were dressed and from the fact Chrysalis was there in her form as Cherub. It took a while for her fans to settle down and when they did, the group began to talk. “Oh, he is going to be so thrilled to see you!” exclaimed Rarity with delight to Chrysalis.

Flam ran a hoof through his hair. “I know, right? He can’t possibly resist me and my charm. I’ll be the guy that every guy should know!”

Rarity gave him a deadpan stare. “I was talking about Cherub.”

“Oh.”

Chrysalis barely looked at any of them, focusing her attention to the world outside the train. She wasn’t too thrilled to be going to Canterlot since it was where Luna was as well as where she was defeated, but she would have to do this for her own sake. “Now Flam, just do what we taught you yesterday and we’ll be golden. No lying or acting like a big shot.”

“But I do have to make myself sound like a big shot. He’s a Canterlot elite, you know.”

The changeling just rested her head against the window. “I suppose, just watch what you say at least. So Rarity, tell us everything about Hoity Toity.”

“He is a high class pony in Canterlot with lots of connections and practically runs the entire fashion industry in Equestria,” the white unicorn informed.

“I need to know his interests.”

She only shrugged. “Pretty much anything of high class. He has incredibly high standards and I don’t think I’ve seen him with anypony. I am really curious of how you could possibly get him to like somepony like Flam.”

“I am too,” Chrysalis admitted. “Flam is an inventor, so that has to be worth something.”

“That would depend on what he has invented,” addressed Rarity. “Tell us, what have you two made besides that cider machine?”

Flam thought for a quick moment. “Let’s see, there was the manecut helmet.”

“Always caused injuries,” noted Flim.

“The Hoof-Shiner-4000.”

“Worked a little too well.”

“The Robotic Pool Cleaner.”

“Too many house fires.”

“And there was our short lived brand of My Little Stoney toys.” Flam held up a rock with a happy face drawn on it with marker.

The changeling raised an eyebrow, disbelieving they thought selling something like that would actually work. “What idiot would be stupid enough to ever buy that?” mocked Chrysalis.

Pinkie jumped up and reached for it, fascinated by his face. “Oh, he’s so cute! Can I keep him?”

“Fifteen bits,” offered Flam.

“Deal!” Pinkie paid him and held the rock lovingly when it was given to her. “I’ll name you Woody and love you forever!”

“Figures,” muttered the former queen as she rolled her eyes. “Have you two made anything worthwhile that isn’t completely stupid? You’re not exactly helping your image.”

“Yes, but I’m afraid they’re not as popular as we’d hope. Ponies are often picky of the products they buy,” answered Flam.

“Have you guys ever done something else besides inventing stuff?” questioned Pinkie as she put Woody away.

“The only thing we’ve done was a quartet with our twin cousins, Flip and Flop,” informed the stallion with facial hair. “We could sing so well that Celestia herself would swoon over us had she heard us. Of course, we developed our own interests and parted ways, but our careers often have us crossing paths.”

“What do Flip and Flop do now?” Chrysalis asked, feeling very curious for some reason unknown to herself.

“They’ve taken up careers as lawyers and they’ve bailed us out more times than I can remember,” answered the stallion without a mustache. “They may not be like those Canterlot lawyers, but they help us whenever we need them and that’s good enough for us. If you ever find yourself in a pinch, I suggest hiring them. You won’t be disappointed.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. As for your current job, maybe we could work with that,” said Chrysalis as an idea slowly formed in her head. “What if instead of an invention that makes you famous, you make one that makes Hoity’s life easier? Sort of like those cousins of yours making your lives simpler with all that trouble you probably get into?”

“Like what?” asked Flam as he moved to the edge of his seat, anticipating what she was getting at.

Chrysalis sat up, feeling a little more motivated now that she had an idea. “Rarity said he is pretty much the head of the fashion industry, so he must be in charge of production. Where there’s production, there must be machines. What if you could invent something that could help him make more dresses faster? He probably loves money and will be thrilled when you help him make more of it. We could use that so you two can get to know each other and go from there.”

The stallion grinned. “Sounds like a plan! I gotta say, Cherub, you’ve got bigger brains than Celestia’s student.”

“It really does sound like a brilliant idea. You are a clever mare,” complimented Rarity.

The changeling smiled and waved a hoof. “You’re all too kind. You go ahead and work on that plan while I will be elsewhere at the party as it would be suspicious if I was hanging around. Carrot Top was already enough of a hassle.”

“Don’t worry, you can count on me to make sure it all works out!” exclaimed her employee. “I’ll do my absolute bestest just for you, Ms. Cherub!”

Pinkie’s eagerness to please her annoyed her greatly, but Chrysalis maintained a false smile. “I know you will. Now, Rarity, they’re serving alcohol at this party, right?”


After their train ride and stroll through the streets, the group arrived at a garden right outside the Canterlot palace, where the social gathering was taking place. Chrysalis prayed that Luna or Celestia would not drop by as she was in no mood to deal with either. Upon entering the party, she felt some nostalgia wash over her as memories of her time as royalty filled her thoughts. It had familiar music like she remembered, an artistic theme, and even ponies pleasantly dressed like royalty. It reminded her of her days back home, where she took part in these parties and was the center of every conversation going on in the room. It was a shame that she was with her prey rather than her own kind, but she was sure she could get over that just for today for her own sake. However, there was a familiar face that she did feel very relieved seeing.

The stallion and his company were completely surprised from her appearance. “Cherub, is that you?” asked Fancy Pants in disbelief.

“Surprised to see me?”

He and Photo approached her and shook her hoof. “It’s simply been too long. I was expecting a visit from you with all the news about us and I am glad you are doing well. I see you are here as well, Ms. Rarity.”

“Hello again, Fancy. I know I said I was too busy, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take one day off to see an old friend. And hello to you, Ms. Finish.”

“Hello, Rarity. I zee you are here with Cherub az well az your friend, Pinkie, but who are zese two?” asked Photo as she pointed at Flim and Flam.

The brothers immediately rushed over and began shaking their hooves. “Salutations, you two! We are the Flimflam brothers!” began Flim.

“World class inventors!” added Flam.

“If you two are world class, zen why haven’t I heard about either of you?” The stallions immediately frowned from the fact she caught them so fast. “Maybe you should work on inventing better lies. Ha! I crack myself up sometimes.”

“We’re just getting there,” Flam muttered while pouting his lip.

Fancy Pants gave a stern look to his lover and then looked back to Chrysalis. “I’m guessing you didn’t drop by just to say hi, Cherub. Knowing you, you’re here on business and these two have something to do with that.”

Chrysalis was surprised by what he said. “How did you know?”

“I know quite a bit about you from Rarity and from our first encounter. If I were to venture a guess, you are here trying to get these two with some special ponies?”

She couldn’t believe how smart this guy was. Maybe it was for the best that he lived out of town, otherwise he might discover who she really was. “Wow, you are good. The truth is that I am trying to get Flam together with Hoity Toity romantically.”

The photographer fell onto the floor in a fit of hysterics. “I did not realize da entertainment would show up so soon! Who should I make a check to? Dis iz high class comedy!”

“Photo, be nice,” scolded Fancy. He looked at the brothers. “Which one of you is Flam?”

“I am,” he answered.

“It’s nice to meet you. You seem like a nice fellow.”

“Why thank you, Mr. Pants. You seem like a nice fellow as well.”

“Please, call me Fancy.”

“Careful. They’re a mischievous bunch,” muttered Rarity quietly to him. “They’ll rob you of you bits before you know it.”

“So where is Hoity right now?” asked Pinkie as she rapidly scanned around the area.

“I zink he is on the other side of the garden,” answered Photo. “Oh how I wish I had my camera for this! I wish to cherish this moment forever. Maybe the tabloid company would pay me millions for such a picture!”

Flam frowned from her taunts, but the blue haired stallion gave him an encouraging nudge. “Chin up, old boy. With Cherub on your side, you are not helpless. I too thought my situation was a complete lost, but she has shown me otherwise. You are very fortunate to have her with you.”

“Yeah! She’s the best! This is totally going to work!” added Pinkie. “It’s not like anything could possibly go wrong this time! She has it all figured out!”

Chrysalis giggled. “You all make me blush. As much as I would love to stay to help, it might be better if my involvement was not made known considering last time. I need to go and mingle for some business opportunities. As for the rest of you, just chat him up and see what you can get started. Come to me if you need anything.” She took a glass of champagne from the table and disappeared into the crowd of the elites as she swung her hips.

Once she was gone, Rarity began walking to where Photo said the stallion was. “Follow me. I will need to introduce you to him if you wish to make a good impression. Remember that if one of you gives him a bad impression of me, you die.”

“We shall accompany as well,” said Fancy Pants. “It would be wrong for me to just stand by and watch as a gentlecolt attempts to win somepony’s heart without providing assistance.”

They went across the garden and found the stallion, standing alone as he sipped his drink. “Yoo-hoo! Mr. Toity!” called Rarity.

The stallion himself looked towards Rarity, happy from her appearance. “Ms. Rarity, how wonderful to see you. I did not realize you would be here. This party is absolutely fabulous and I am glad you decided not to miss it.”

“I just thought that taking a day off would do me so good and maybe give me some inspiration. Besides, when do we ever get to meet up like this?”

His attention was caught by her company and he only recognized three of them, with them being Fancy Pants, Photo Finish, and Pinkie, who he remembered from the fashion show. “And who are these two?”

“These are two acquaintances of hers,” answered Fancy Pants. “Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourselves?”

Flam was getting cold hooves now that he was actually speaking to him until he noticed Pinkie waving to him. When he looked, she pulled her hair over her face like a beard, giving him the confidence needed. “Greetings, Mr. Toity. My name is Flam and this is my brother, Flim. We are infamous inventors who travel across Equestria, trying to sell our amazing products to the people.”

“I do not think I have heard of either of you,” Hoity said in an uninterested tone.

“That is because we are from out of town and still on the up and up,” he added. “Success is something you can’t simply find overnight.”

“I see. So why are you two here? You don’t exactly strike me as rich folk.”

“Well why not? It’s a fancy party with ponies that are defiantly more interesting than the lower class folks. How could anypony not want to be here, regardless of wealth?”

He smiled from his statement. “Excellent point. These ponies are simply much more preferable than the poorer riff-raff. But tell me, how do you expect to fit in with this crowd if you aren’t even high class like ourselves?”

Flam was eager, ready to make his move. “It’s simple really. One basic rule of acquiring rich success is meeting the right pony. I just need to find one who requires my skill.” he hinted.

“Quite right you are. Hard work is one thing, but connections are really how you get on top. You may have a chance in this world if you have already realized this important detail.”

He laughed. “Thank you. Of course, knowing is one thing while accomplishing it is another. I plan on finding somepony who fits the bill here, and I wonder if he might be you.”

Hoity raised an eyebrow. “And why would you think that?” he asked with heightened interest.

“Because you are a pony who has vision. Your work inspires the lives of everypony in Equestria. Clothing is often seen as just a way from being warm or whatever ponies do with it, but your designs are art that is recognized by the whole nation. Your work can really affect somepony. Take me, for example. You could easily tell I am not a rich stallion by how I look or talk, but thanks to this suit of your brand, nopony else has noticed and I get to have a taste of the high life.”

Rarity was honestly surprised that the unicorn had such a way of words. She even forgot for a moment about what he did back in Ponyville as she was lost by how he spoke. Her boss couldn’t help but smile. “You flatter me, but what could you do for me? Don’t expect me to just randomly throw money away without receiving anything in return.”

“Why it’s simple. Do you use machines for your production?” he asked.

“Why of course. Everypony does.”

“And I am somepony who specializes in machines as well as my brother, as I have mentioned,” he flaunted proudly.

Hoity Toity raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“So perhaps you could use that to your advantage.”

The business stallion finished his drink and set it on a nearby table. “Enlighten me.”

He rubbed his hooves together. “Well I could simply improve your business. You use machines and I build and enhance them. My intellect is one of a kind, besides from my brother, so I could build something that would create clothes within minutes.”

“Minutes? That’s impossible!” he argued.

“Nothing is impossible, Mr. Toity! Technology is the way of the future! If you take me to you factory, I can show you what I am capable of. Don’t think of me as a simpleton because I don’t possess as much wealth as most ponies here. After all, success stories all start somewhere, don’t they? So why don’t we start ours today?”

The rich stallion gave it some thought, but his expression showed uncertainty. “Hoity,” said Fancy Pants, “perhaps you should give him a chance. Rarity and even Cherub surely can vouch for their skills. These two wouldn’t be here if they weren’t worth your time.”

Hoity looked at the seamstress. “Well, Rarity, is he as good as he says? I would like your opinion.”

Rarity forced a smile. “Y-yes. He might be the best inventor I have ever met. You should really see what he is capable of.” She technically wasn’t lying as he and Flim were the only inventors she knew, but she hoped that meant they were good at what they did.

He stared at her and she feared he would know she was lying through her teeth. “It’s totally true!” Pinkie shouted, breaking his focus from Rarity. “One time, they had this big machine that made a whole bunch of apple cider really quick! And look!” She suddenly pulled out Woody from nowhere. “They even sold me this adorable little pet! They totally changed my life!”

The head of the fashion industry leaned towards Flam and whispered, “Did she really spend money on that?”

“Fifteen bits,” he answered, surprising him. “I know a sucker when I see one.”

Hoity Toity thought over what he wanted to do. He looked at the brothers then at Rarity for confirmation. The mare forced another smile and hastily nodded, praying he wouldn’t see through her. After staring at her for several long seconds, he then just smiled. “Well I am convinced. Let’s head out of this party and see what you can do, but you better not be wasting my time, Mr. Flam, or I assure you that you will regret it.”

Flam rapidly shook his hoof. “Thank you so much! I promise you won’t regret this! Of course, I will need Flim to help as we are partners.”

“Yes, yes, of course. I shall take you to my factory and you’ll show me what you can do.”

“I will catch up in a moment, so you two go on ahead,” spoke Flim as his brother and Hoity walked away. Once they were gone, he looked at the other ponies. “Hook, line, and sinker! Got him good in less than ten minutes!”

“That was pretty easy,” said Pinkie happily. “I thought we were going to have another super crazy adventure like we usually do!”

Fancy Pants drank from his glass. “He seemed to have everything handled by himself. I guess you didn’t need Cherub’s help after all,” he complemented.

“Actually, she had been helping us a lot before we came here,” Flim admitted. “It could have been a disaster if she didn’t help set us straight. She truly is a miracle worker.”

“And she haz sadly succeeded and now I am bored,” addressed Photo before drinking her champagne. “Life iz cruel.”

Pinkie started bouncing towards the main area. “We better let Cherub know how great it went. She’s going to be so proud of me!” The ponies found the changeling speaking in front of a crowd and she was the highlight of the party. She appeared to have been telling some story that had grasped the attention of everypony around her. Once she was finished and the crowd applauded her, Pinkie tapped on her back and she turned to look at them.

Knowing what it was about, she looked back at the other party attenders. “Well it has been fun, but duty calls,” she said to the crowd. Once the other ponies left, she turned towards her company. “I hope everything is going well.”

The party mare rapidly nodded. “It was a success! Flam is with Hoity Toity right now and he’s going to build him something good and they’ll totally get together!”

“I’m glad to see it was all so simple.” Chrysalis sipped from her glass of champagne. “I guess that means we are done?” she asked Flim. “I would love to get started on our deal today.”

The inventor shook his head. “Not exactly. They haven’t done anything romantic yet and it might be until tomorrow for us to get results since building something takes time, so try not to leave town.”

The false unicorn frowned and her eyes became unfriendly. “Tomorrow? I have to stay here for the night? Can’t I just go home and you give me an update later?”

He nervously backed away, waiting for another explosion of fury. “I’m sorry, but we need you here in case something goes wrong. We have faith in you for bailing us out of any mess we may come across.”

She stared coldly at him. “And where do you expect me to sleep, on the street? I don’t exactly have that much bits on me, you know.” She loudly groaned. “I should have known something like this would happen.”

Pinkie jumped at the chance. “I know where we can go! Let’s go to the palace and see Lu-” Chrysalis put a hoof on her mouth without looking at her, clearly not happy with her idea.

“Like I said, nowhere to go.”

“I can help you,” said Fancy Pants as he approached them. “I own a few hotels here and I can manage to spare you a room since you helped me out before. Would that be acceptable?”

Chrysalis’s mood switch was flipped and she was smiling again. “How very kind of you. I will gladly accept your offer, Fancy. Until then, I want to stay here and speak more with these ponies. The day is young and I am simply having fun for once.”


The party lasted until sunset and Chrysalis managed to tell many of the elites about her business in hopes it would bring in more ponies in the future. Speaking to so many important individuals while being the center of attention gave her nostalgia of home and she couldn’t wait to be finished with Flam, where her plan to redeem herself and go home would move forward. She was certainly glad Luna or Celestia decided not to suddenly drop by as it was the last thing she needed. More than likely word would reach their ears of her visit, so she wanted to get far away from the palace. Since it was time to retire, she took up Fancy Pants’s offer for getting a room at a hotel. In secret, Pinkie told Rarity to go to the palace and give Luna an update about Cherub since her plan to have them meet failed.

The stallion lead Chrysalis and Pinkie to a hotel that reminded the former queen of where she stayed for the first few months of her exile and hoped it was just as good. “Well here we are,” he said. “I hope you find it to your liking.”

She scanned her eyes across the lobby, remembering her long stay in Celestial Suite. “Very nice place. I can’t believe you actually own it.”

“All it takes is some wit and charm, and he has got plenty of that.” Photo kissed his cheek.

“Thank you, dear.” He held up a key to the unicorn, which she took. “Here is the key to your room. It is up on the third floor.”

She shook his hoof in thanks. “Thank you once again for doing this, Fancy. You are so very kind and it is been a pleasure seeing you both again.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed our company. Hopefully you will consider visiting us more often. Until then, have a goodnight, you two,” said Photo as she left with her lover.

“Bye, guys!” shouted Pinkie as she waved at them. She followed Chrysalis across the lobby, where they rode up the elevator and traversed the hallway in order to find their room.

“Okay, Pinkie, since we are sharing a room for the night, I expect you to act on your best behavior. I simply wish to relax and get some sleep while we are here and not deal with your usual annoyances. The rules are use your inside voice, no jumping on the bed, only I get to call for room service, and I will use the bath first. If you do anything else that annoys me, I will make more rules that will make you miserable.”

“Okie-dokie-lokie!” Chrysalis found their room and opened it with the key she got from Fancy Pants. Upon opening the door, Pinkie ran in and began examining everything. “Wow! Look how nice it is! The carpet’s all soft, you can see Canterlot below, and it comes with free chocolate on the pillows!” She looked in the bathroom. “Even the toilet looks fancy! And look how big the tub is!” She re-entered the main room. “This place is great! Aren’t you excited, Cherub?” Chrysalis was silent as she was looking at something. “What?”

“There’s only one bed.”

When Pinkie re-examined their room, she realized that she was right. “Well we can share it!”

Chrysalis loudly sighed as she walked in and went to the closet. She stripped herself of the dress she borrowed from Rarity and stored it away. Afterwards, she threw herself on the bed. “That’s what I’m annoyed about. I will complain to Fancy Pants about this the next time I see him. I need my personal space when I sleep.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t take much up at all. I share a bed with my friends all the time!” Pinkie laid on the edge of the double bed. “So what should we do tonight? Play cards? Eye spy? Make overs? Ghost stories? Toast stories?”

“Go to bed,” the matchmaker replied as she got up.

Pinkie laughed as she rolled around the large bed. “That’s boring. We should do something fun! Wanna jump on the bed?”

“Do that and you’ll be jumping out the window.” Chrysalis went over to the radio and turned it on. She shuffled around the channels until she found one that played music similar to what they heard at the party. She turned up the volume and went to the bathroom to get the water running.

“Oh come on. I want to listen to something else!” complained her employee. “We’ve been hearing that stuff all day and I’m kind of tired of listening to it!”

“I am the adult and what I want goes. You’ll just have to live with it.” After a few minutes, Chrysalis turned off the water and closed the bathroom door. Pinkie could hear the movement of water and a relieved sigh as Chrysalis submerged herself in the tub. With her out of the room, it was time for fun. Pinkie got on the bed and started jumping on it. She quietly giggled to herself as she went up and down on the mattress. “Pinkie, get off the bed!” Chrysalis’s voice shouted at her. Pinkie stopped and got back on the floor. She tried to think of what else she wanted to do and then she looked back at the radio. She was tired of listening to fancy Canterlot music and wanted to listen to something fun. Pinkie turned down the volume and changed to her favorite station.

While listening to some quiet rock music, she heard a loud splash from the bathroom. The bathroom door flew open and a wet, naked, and very angry Cherub stood before her. “Turn it back NOW!” Pinkie quickly switched it back to what Chrysalis was listening to. When Chrysalis went back in, the pink pony didn’t move from her spot, realizing that her boss made this room a no-fun zone.


After about half an hour, both of them were ready to go to bed. Chrysalis took the side closest to the window so she could get a look at the moon and stars while Pinkie took the other side and tucked herself in. “Goodnight, Cherub.”

“Goodnight.” Chrysalis turned off the lamp and tried to sleep. However, her mind was buzzing with her problems. She tried to think of something happier, but she didn’t know what. Her life wasn’t exactly in its prime for the past few months. She was always around these wretched ponies and had to unwillingly pretend she was one of them while Nymph made a mess of things with her own species.

“Hey, Cherub?”

And to make it all worse, Pinkie was still awake. “Yes?” she groaned.

“Why didn’t you want to go see Luna? She has plenty of rooms in her home.”

That was a question that made the changeling cringe in frustration. She was also not too fond of the hotel room as she was sharing it with Pinkie, but it was better than having a private room in the palace. Other than dealing with Luna, the sight of her and Celestia being so friendly with each other would make her heart ache, remembering when a certain someone took their friendship and stomped all over it. “That’s none of your business. Go to sleep.”

“Why not? I just want to know what’s going on with you.”

“Nothing,” the false unicorn snapped.

Pinkie turned towards her. “Did you two get in a fight?”

“No.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

The changeling sat up and looked down at her bunkmate. “Pinkie, I am trying to get some sleep, so please stop asking your stupid questions and leave me in peace.”

“Okay.” Pinkie pulled the blanket over herself and faced away from her. Satisfied, Chrysalis got back down and closed her eyes until she heard, “Cherub?”

The former queen’s eyes shot open and she was most certainly not pleased. If Pinkie didn’t stop soon, she’d be sleeping in the hall. “What now?”

Pinkie became nervous from her hostile tone. “Are you going to feel better when Cupid’s Arrow is bigger?”

Chrysalis rolled onto her back and looked at the ceiling. This question actually made her think of things. “I hope so, Pinkie. I really do.”

“And what if it doesn’t?”

The changeling wondered that as well. What if this changed nothing? What if her long scheme ultimately failed? What was going to happen to her or her subjects? If she didn’t figure out a concrete plan, her species was doomed. “I…don’t know. We’ll worry about that later. Now let’s get some sleep.” The changeling princess rested on her side and tried to escape into the land of slumber once more. However, Pinkie’s questions had softened her up and she decided to ask something that was on her mind and assumed she wouldn’t be able to sleep unless she gained some clarity. “Pinkie?”

“Yeah?”

Chrysalis hesitated for a moment, pondering over if she wanted to really ask Pinkie this. “Do you believe in destiny?”

The pony happily nodded. “Yep! Me and my friends are the Elements of Harmony that beat Nightmare Moon, just like what Twilight’s book said.”

“Right.” There was another pause between the two. “Do you believe that somepony can have a destiny where they only fail?”

This caught Pinkie’s attention and she sat up. “What?”

Chrysalis looked towards the window and wrapped herself with her forelegs. “A life where no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you want to help people you care about, you only find yourself kicked down over and over again, being remembered and mocked as somepony worthless.”

The mare gasped and quickly shook her head. “No! That’s super horrible!”

“Maybe it is, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. There’s always suffering in the world.”

“Cherub, no pony is meant to be miserable. Sure it gets tough at times, but you can never give up. You just got to keep trying,” she said encouragingly.

“It feels like I’m going nowhere,” she admitted gloomily.

“You are going somewhere. We’re making Cupid’s Arrow better so that we can make more ponies fall in love, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So you just need to keep going. I know it will be hard, but don’t give up, Cherub,” the mare insisted in her most upbeat voice. “I believe in you.”

“Thanks.” They both laid in silence until Chrysalis spoke once again. “Pinkie?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think destiny can be stolen from you?”

“Stolen? I don’t think so.”

Chrysalis sighed, expecting that as her answer. “Alright.”

Pinkie stared curiously at the back of Chrysalis’s head. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason.” That was the end of their conversation for the night. Chrysalis once more attempted to sleep, but she still found difficulty in doing so. She wondered if Luna cursed her to remain awake, which Chrysalis assumed she could do since she ruled over the sleeping ponies. But after some effort, she was finally out.


Daylight broke through the window of the room where the pony and changeling were sleeping and Pinkie was awoken by the sound of somepony knocking on their door. She slowly got out of bed, yawning as she stretched her limbs. She looked over at Chrysalis, who was still sound asleep, much to her relief. The red unicorn was almost unbearable the night before, so the longer she was asleep, the better. The knocking came again, louder. Pinkie went to open the door, finding the brothers standing there. “Hi, guys! How did it go?” she asked excitedly.

Both stallions wore very nervous smiles, which she didn’t notice. “Well…good news and bad news,” answered Flim.

“The good news is Hoity Toity was very pleased with what I gave him and I think I really have a chance now of winning him over,” spoke Flam. “I can definitely say that this situation…didn’t turn out like I expected.”

Pinkie gasped and began bouncing in place. “That’s great! I knew you could do it! So what’s the bad news?”

They stood away from each other, showing what was behind them. “Help…” whimpered the stallion with facial hair.

Pinkie’s eyes were wide from the sight and she gulped. She slowly stepped back and looked at her boss. “Uh…Cherub?” she called with a shaky voice. No response. “Cherub?”

“What, Pinkie?” an annoyed and tired voice answered. “I need my beauty sleep.”

“There’s something you need to see.”

She could hear Chrysalis groan. “I’ll do it later. I want to just keep lying on this nice bed.”

“It can’t wait.”

Chrysalis growled and forced herself out of bed. She rubbed her eyes tiredly as she went up to Pinkie. “Pinkie, what is so important that you had to…” She was suddenly not tired anymore when she saw the angry mob standing behind Flim and Flam. “Uh…can I help you?”

Rarity appeared from the crowd. “Cherub, have you heard what has happened?”

Chrysalis stretched herself as she yawned loudly. “Obviously not. I’ve been here all night and you’ve just woke me up.”

She looked at the unicorn brothers. “You know how these two invented some machines to help Hoity with his business?”

“Which was her idea!” quickly shouted Flim as he pointed at the changeling.

Chrysalis had a bad feeling of where this was going. “Yeah? Did they work?”

“Well…they worked too well,” Flim admitted.

She tilted her head. “Too well? How is that even possible?”

A mare from the crowd stepped forward. “Mr. Toity fired us all to replace us with their stupid machines!”

Pinkie and Chrysalis gasped loudly. “Oh my gosh! That’s awful!” cried the earth pony.

Chrysalis put together that these other ponies were employees of Hoity that were recently laid off and they were taking their rage out on the two stallions. “He did?” she asked in disbelief.

“Yes, and it’s these two ponies’ fault!” said a stallion. The mob started yelling in agreement as two buffer stallions held the brothers. “You’re going to pay for costing us our jobs!”

“But we told you it was Cherub’s idea!” shouted a panicked Flam.

The former queen whistled over them, which silenced them. “Look, I know you all are royally ticked at them for the right reasons, but I need them alive. They still need to make me some money.”

“Well you better convince Mr. Toity to rehire them, otherwise I don’t know what they’ll do,” spoke Rarity worriedly. “They’re quiet testy.”

“Can’t you talk to him?” asked the changeling. “I thought he was your friend.”

“I tried! He won’t give them up since his production rates are higher and he doesn’t need to pay anypony. He’s not listening to reason. The only reason he still needs me is because I create new designs, which thankfully their machines can’t do,” she answered while glaring at the brothers.

“Fantastic,” groaned Chrysalis. Somehow, her brilliance led the two into danger and she had no choice but to bail them out, otherwise all of this hard work would have been for nothing. “Alright, I’ll see what I can do, but I want Flam to come with me since I have not personally met Hoity Toity.”

“We will release him,” said one of the mares, “but know this, Cherub. If you can’t get us our jobs back, we will go to every newspaper there is and have everypony know this was all your fault.” The mob all muttered in agreement. “You will be shunned wherever you go and no pony will even look at you, making it as if you are a pony who doesn’t exist.”

Chrysalis gulped, knowing that they were serious. If she couldn’t solve this problem, her reputation as well as her business would tank and she could kiss her hopes of going home goodbye. “I won’t let you down.” The ponies released Flam and he scrambled over to her. “Come on, lover boy. We better fix this quick before they lose their patience.”

“Can I come too?” asked Pinkie. “I want to help!”

The false unicorn was already in a very sour mood and did not need that child making things worse. “No. Stay here and make sure Flim doesn’t die while I’m gone.” She exited into one of the elevators with one of the brothers following her.

The brother who remained gulped nervously. “Maybe this deal with Cherub wasn’t such a good idea after all.”


Chrysalis was just about ready to rip somepony’s head off. Not only was she ticked by her current problem, but she just felt incredibly cranky. She was tired, didn’t get her coffee, hadn’t eaten any physical food in some time, and she didn’t have time to put on any make-up. Her expression was a signal to the other ponies on the street that she was in absolutely no mood for conversation. Flam took Chrysalis to where they had met up with Hoity Toity after leaving the party the day before. It was a large factory that specialized in making clothes with sewing machines and conveyer belts. Upon entering, something immediately caught her eye. There were machines along the assembly line that looked like ponies with sewing machines attached to them and several other mechanical appendages. “Flam…what in Equestria are those hideous things?” she asked in horror.

“These are the machines we made for him. I’d say they’re one of our best works if it weren’t for the fact they might get us killed.” They watch some spools of thread and buttons came down one line. The machines picked them up and began designing a dress. Within a few seconds, part of a dress was made and was passed down to the next mechanical pony. After a few minutes of being passed from one machine to the next, a completed dress reached the end and was picked up by a hanger, being placed with the others that hung near the wall.

Chrysalis realized that all of these dresses that normally took a very long time to make were being finished in less than ten minutes. “I must say they are impressive, despite being creepy. It’s no wonder he fired all those ponies. Speaking of which, why do they look like ponies?”

“It gives them a friendlier look when they look like a pony rather than a machine.”

The red pony shuttered. “I find it unsettling. Anyway, let’s go see Hoity and be done with this. I want to go home.”

“Just show him some of the charm you showed us before and I’m sure he’ll do whatever you want.” The changeling actually smiled at his joke. Mind control would have been the easiest solution, but Flam was with her and her control could only last so long without her around. Short Sale was easy as she would have filed the paperwork away and would not have a reason to look at them as she would be distracted by other sales. Flam and Chrysalis went up the stairs in the back. In the middle of the hallway they entered were two large double doors with H on one and T on the other, which Flam knocked on. “Mr. Toity? It’s Flam. Can I come in please?”

“Yes, of course,” answered his voice from the other side.

They entered the office and saw him sitting at his large desk, which was covered with bags of bits. Chrysalis guessed that right after he fired his workers, he ran to the bank to cash in their checks and grab a bunch of bits for that rich feeling. “Hello, Flam. It’s so very good to see you. And Ms. Cherub, this is a pleasant surprise. Are you interested in buying a dress? Mine are of the absolute highest quality in all the land.”

When Chrysalis was the queen of the Changeling Kingdom, one of her largest priorities was to find her people jobs. Seeing this rich elitist throwing out workers to increase his already massive amount of money made her insides flare. Once she suppressed the urge to murder him on the spot, she began to work. “Mr. Toity, did you just fire all of your workers for some creepy machines?” Chrysalis asked in her harshest tone.

“Did you see all the robots Flam built for me?” he asked as he spun a coin on her desk.

“Yeah, and your former workers are not too pleased,” she snapped

“If you already knew I fired them, then why did you ask such a pointless question?” he asked, only to laugh mockingly afterwards.

The changeling was glaring from his smug attitude. “You little leech. Those ponies need jobs and you cast them out just so you could fatten your own wallet!”

“And? Isn’t that what business is all about?”

She stood on her hind legs and planted her hooves on his desk while leaning towards him. “I thought I could be heartless, but you disgust me.”

“Say what you will. It changes nothing. My brand will be number one in Equestria and I will create a legacy with all this wealth. I could probably retire in a few months, but how could I give up all of this money I’m making?”

“Why would you need even more bits? Aren’t you already loaded?” the false unicorn asked harshly.

“I am, but more bits couldn’t hurt,” he replied as he placed another bag on his desk.

“It could hurt the economy when more bits are going to one greedy pony. Not to mention those ponies you laid off, seeing how they aren’t going to make money with no work,” she spat.

He laughed once more, pushing Chrysalis towards the edge. “The world is filled with many job opportunities, so they should just look instead of complaining. Now I have had enough of this. Flam, would you be a dear and show her the door?”

“I’m not going anywhere, you little-”

“Ahem!” interrupted Flam. “I’m sorry, but you must be going, Cherub. Hoity is a busy stallion and cannot be distracted by the likes of you.”

He picked her up and carried her out while she was flailing like mad. “Put me down! You are not worthy of touching me! I’m not finished with him!” Flam took her down the hallway where Chrysalis finally broke free. She charged the stallion and pinned him against the wall. “Flam, what in the buck are you doing!?”

“Keep your voice down!” he pleaded. “We can’t let him hear us!”

Chrysalis released him from her grasp. “Why not? Why do you care of what he thinks?”

“Because…you know.”

After some seconds, the changeling got what he was implying. “You’re demented. How could you possibly like the guy after this?”

He smiled and waved a hoof. “Hey, this is just a phase. Before this, he was all cool and charming and we really hit it off. We got pretty chatty last night and he said he wanted to keep me around because how successful everything is right now. We were really making a connection! Trust me, Cherub, with his business and my genius, we go great together. We’re like peanut butter and jelly!” he said as he clapped his hooves together and looked towards the sky.

“I was thinking more orange juice and toothpaste,” she stated crossly.

He frowned at her. “I just want to keep a good impression and trust me when I say you yelling at him won’t change his mind. He’s really into those things and we’ll have to take a different approach.”

Chrysalis just covered her face with her hoof. “Lovely. Just bucking lovely. Alright, we’ll head back and try to come up with a new plan.”

When they returned to the work area, they saw somepony looking at one of the machines. “Hi, Mr. Robot! How are you doing today?” No response. “Do you only speak robot? I can do that too! Beep beep boop beep.”

“Pinkie, what are you doing here!? I thought I told you to stay with Flim!”

She at last took notice of them. “Hi, Ms. Cherub! They said they promised not to hurt Flim, so I wanted to come and see the robots! They’re so cool!”

“They’re not actually robots. They’re just lifeless machines that look like ponies,” corrected Flam.

“Really? So they don’t talk or anything? That’s boring. They should walk and talk and even dance!” Pinkie started dancing around them, only amusing the stallion.

“I would have a heart attack if they did something like that,” said Chrysalis as she stared hatefully at one.

“Why? It would be so amazing!”

The changeling rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Let’s get out of here. I think we’ve done all that we can here for now.” They left from the factory and Chrysalis felt relieved to be away from those things and around living beings, even if they were ponies.

“So how did it go? Is he going to rehire everypony?” Pinkie asked with hope in her voice.

“No. The stubborn jerk refuses to budge.”

The party mare gasped. “That’s awful! Why would he do such a thing?”

“Because he is very greedy and very stupid.” Chrysalis shot a glare at Flam. “I can’t believe you actually like the guy. He makes me look like a saint in comparison.”

“Well no pony’s perfect, but I will admit this is seriously troubling. I think he’s just blinded by bits right now and is being irrational. He was quite charming before we finished making those things.”

“We have to put a stop to it. It’s great he has taken a lot of interest in you, but those ponies aren’t going to show you and Flim any mercy if we can’t get their jobs back,” she reminded.

“So what’s our next move?” asked the stallion nervously, remembering the ruthless mob.

“We’ll head back and give them an update on the situation and hope they understand. After that, I’ll see if I can come up with something.”


They returned to Chrysalis’s hotel room, where Rarity, Flim, and some of the workers waited. When they saw them enter, they all immediately stood. “So how did it go?” Rarity asked immediately.

Chrysalis scoffed and got on her bed. “How do you think it went? That snob doesn’t give two shakes about his workers. He wants to keep the stupid things.”

“Well we’re going to fix that!” Two large stallions grabbed the brothers. “After we break the machines, let’s break their legs and horns so they don’t make any more!” The mob cheered and the brothers desperately struggled.

“STOP!” They quieted down and looked at the changeling. “I can probably get your jobs back; just give me some time to think of a plan. We do not need to resort to violence, even though it is very tempting.”

“Well you better come up with something, otherwise it’s going to take a machine to put them back together,” a pony threatened as he stared at Flim and Flam.

Chrysalis nodded. “Rarity, please ensure these ponies don’t do something drastic while I’m gone.”

“I’ll do my best, Cherub,” she answered as Chrysalis headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” asked Pinkie.

“Somewhere I can think in peace,” she answered without looking back.

“Can I come?” asked the mare.

“I do better by myself.”

Before Chrysalis was out of the room, she felt the pony clinging to her hind leg. “Please? You know how helpful I am! Let me help.”

The false unicorn turned around and locked eyes with her. “I have no use for your childish ideas.” When the mare got the message and released her, Chrysalis left the room, leaving behind a disappointed Pinkie.


Chrysalis sat at the hotel bar, drinking scotch on the rocks as she thought everything over. Nothing was ever simple for her. Why did she ever agree to a stupid deal with them? She should have just used her magic to control Flim and Flam, but it would have only lasted for so long. Despite her technically completing her side of the bargain, she still had a problem with the laid off workers. She simply could not think of a way to remedy the situation and just wanted to drink it all away. Her life in exile felt like one long nightmare and she just wanted to wake up. It wasn’t even her fault this happened. In reality, every little problem she encountered while living as Cherub was because of Nymph. The stupid girl just couldn’t accept what was meant to be and played dirty and Chrysalis intended to make her suffer even more than before for putting her in this position.

“Ah, there you are, Cherub.” Fancy Pants approached her and was accompanied by Photo Finish. “How was your night? Did you sleep well?”

Chrysalis only grunted at them. “What is da matter with you?” asked the earth pony.

“Mind your own business.” She then finished her glass and ordered another round.

Fancy raised an eyebrow. “Come now, Cherub. Surely talking to us in better than bottling up your troubles. It’s not like we can make things worse.”

The changeling took a sip and looked at her glass. “Hoity Toity got Flam to invent him some machines to increase dress production, but then he laid off all his workers because they work so well and will make more money.”

Both of the ponies gasped. “I don’t believe dis! He has some nerve!” Photo Finish turned around. “I vill go down there myself and convince him otherwise by shoving my hoof up his caboose!” When she tried to leave, her lover pulled her tail and brought her back, shaking his head in disapproval.

“Now they and Rarity are mad at me since it was sort of my idea and I need to think of something to fix this, but I don’t know what. Hoity loves those stupid machines and refuses to give them up, so the ponies are going to tear Flim and Flam a new one and my deal with them will go down the toilet as well as my business.” Chrysalis planted her head on the counter. “I am screwed.”

“Perhaps you are approaching this the wrong way,” the stallion suggested.

“How’s that?”

“You are trying to handle this entire problem alone,” he answered.

“What’s your point?” the changeling snarled.

He put a hoof on her shoulder and lifted her up so she sat upright on her stool. “Why don’t you have Pinkie help you create a plan? Isn’t she your partner? And from what I have heard from Rarity, she has a very unique imagination.”

Chrysalis scoffed at the thought of calling that mare her ‘partner'. It was as ridiculous as calling her a friend. “I don’t need her. I am better than that little headache.”

“And that’s why you are here, drinking in a bar during daytime.” He moved the glass away from her. “Something I have learned is that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and ask for help when you know you need it. Take me for example. I tried to win Photo back by myself with no success, but when I received your aid, look how it all turned out.”

Even though she knew he had a point, she looked away. “I am a strong mare. I don’t need help.”

“Oh but you do,” said Photo. “Your problem iz dat you are trying to carry all of your burdens alone, so it strainz you as time passes. Just go and ask her for help. Stop being stuck up like I waz. You want this over with, don’t you?”

The changeling absolutely did not want to ask Pinkie for help as she was trying to destroy her bond with her, but she was drowning and Pinkie may be the only one who could save her. “I…I don’t know.”

“You must, Cherub,” urged the photographer. “Nothing bad will happen if you do. After all, isn’t it better than getting drunk, which would make it even harder to think of something clever?” Chrysalis said nothing. “We would love to stay longer and help,” spoke Fancy Pants, “but we must catch the next train to Boltimare. Goodbye, Cherub, and good luck.”

“Goodbye, and please consider our advice. You have helped us and we just want to help you,” said Photo as she walked away with her lover.

Chrysalis just stared at the counter in front of her. She hated to admit it, but they were right. She could find nothing in her genius to make this all go away. Despite Pinkie having a mind of a child on an endless sugar rush, the pony was creative in some ways. Maybe she could miraculous come up with a plot, or at least something Chrysalis could build upon. She stood and slowly returned to her room, dreading what would come next on this day.


“Oh, you’re back!” said Flim happily when Chrysalis returned to the room. “I was afraid you ran off on us. Did you come up with something to make everypony happy?”

“No.”

All of the ponies looked worried. “What do you mean no!? Do I need to remind you that these guys are going to kill us!?” yelled Flam as he shook her.

“I mean no as in I can’t think of anything!” she snapped while shoving him off. “Look, I don’t think I can do this alone. I’ve tried and tried but I simply cannot find a solution. Thankfully, Fancy Pants and Photo Finish made me realize that I have a valuable asset that I shouldn’t have ignored.” She slowly turned towards the pink mare. Chrysalis needed to take a deep breath before going forward. “Pinkie, as my partner, I need you to help me come up with a plan to help these ponies get their jobs back.”

Pinkie looked up at her with huge eyes. “Really?”

“Yes. You have a huge imagination, so that has to be worth something. Just try to think of something and please nothing stupid. I know you can do it.” She struggled hard to say the words, “I have faith in you, Pinkie.”

The pony gasped and her eyes were beaming. “You do?”

Chrysalis gulped, having a hard time making herself saying it out loud. “Yes, I do. So please, help us. Hoity Toity only cares about money and refuses to give up those stupid machines. Is there some way we could make him throw them away and rehire these poor ponies?”

The pink pony thought hard of their situation and as more time passed, the more Chrysalis worried. Could she really think of an idea that would bring this nightmare to a close? Pinkie often just babbled like an idiot, but she knew that there was more to her than her hyperactive personality. She could feel herself tremble with anxiety, praying that her investment was going to be worth it. Finally, Pinkie said something. “I have an idea! And it’s a super good one!”

“Well let’s hear it.” Pinkie brought them closer to whisper it to them. As she explained more of it, a smile was growing on Chrysalis’s face. “I see. Huh? Why would…now I get it. That’s a very good point. Okay, that’s possible. Yes. Yes! This is perfect! Pinkie, this is an excellent plan!”

“I know, right? It can’t fail at all!”

“And I could do the make-up!” suggested Rarity giddily.

“Flam, go back to Hoity Toity and try to wow him while you’re there until we have everything ready,” Chrysalis ordered. “Keep him in the office as long as possible while we set it up.”

“This seems like a stretch, but if it works out, it will be one for the ages!” spoke Flam. “And I will surly win his heart from this!”

“Alright, everypony, let’s do this and not have us die!” said Flim. All of the ponies but Chrysalis cheered loudly.


Hoity Toity sat in his office as he reviewed some documents. Now that he no longer had actual ponies working for him, he would see a massive increase in profit. No longer concerned about trivial things like fair wages or safe work places, he would save a fortune, making more bits than in his wildest dreams. He had to admit, Flam was right about success coming from meeting the right pony. He was very glad to have met him and looked forward to doing more projects together. The unicorn had been staying in order to do maintenance checks and occasionally stopped by his office so they could chat. Hoity was certain that he was sometimes hitting on him and he was actually flattered. Normally, he wouldn’t like such behavior from poorer folk, but Flam was quite a pony to have helped him this much. Maybe wealth wasn’t everything when it came to quality of character.

Suddenly, the door barged open and Flam appeared, sweating heavily and completely out of breath. “Mr. Toity!”

“Flam? What is the matter?”

The unicorn paced around the desk. “It’s horrible! It’s awful! They kept telling me it would happen, but I never listened! I am a fool!” He ran over to Hoity and shook him wildly. “Quick, Hoity! Call the army! Call the navy! Call my three year old niece! CALL SOMEPONY!”

Hoity Toity pulled himself away from the terrified stallion. “What are you babbling about? What’s going on!?”

“The robots are uprising!” he yelled in panic.

Hoity gasped and lifted his shades. “THEY’RE WHAT!?”

“They have been calculating amongst themselves and they have concluded that all ponies are obsolete and are going to take over the world! I was always warned by scientists that this was possible, but I was too arrogant to listen!” Flam got on his knees and shouted towards the sky, “Why didn’t I watch more sci-fi movies!?”

“I don’t even know what those are! So what are the robots doing, Flam? How bad is it?” he asked nervously.

Flam got up. “It’s terrible! They’ve upgraded their own bodies, plan on enslaving everyone in the world who isn’t a robot, and are drawing mustaches on your portraits!”

“Oh no! This is worse than I thought! Those portraits were expensive!” He stood up. “This looks like a job for executive meddling!” He stomped through his office door and went to the production area. Upon arriving, he gasped when he saw how many active robots there were, which was more than he remembered being in the factory. They all looked much different than their original appearance and moved like actual ponies. However, he failed to notice that they were all ponies with make-up while wearing robot costumes. “Who is in charge here!?”

“Beep boop. We all are. We are the robot hive mind,” said one pony in a robotic voice. “And we have concluded that ponies are obsolete and we will take the world for ourselves.”

“Obsolete!” said the other robots simultaneously.

“A-and what are you going to do to us ponies?” Hoity asked nervously.

“Various treatments will be given to ponies based on professions and hobbies. You are a pony that likes fashion, so we will use you for fashion.”

He sighed in relief. “That doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe this whole robot thing will go smoothly, especially with my large amount of bribe money.”

“We will use our mighty robot technology to turn you into a mannequin and you will be used to wear our superior clothing.” One robot pony held up a dress that was grey in color and had metal plating sewn onto it.

He gasped in shock and backed away. “No! Not that! Anything but that! I would rather die than wear something that disgusting!”

“So you shall.” The pony pointed at him. “Get him, robots! Beep boop!”

Hoity ran as the mechanical beasts gave chase. He was in absolute terror as he saw the machines gaining on him. He went to hide in his office, but they appeared before he could close the door. He backed into a corner as they slowly approached him. “G-get away from me! I’m famous! I could sue you all!”

That didn’t slow them down in the least. “Prepare to be made into a more fashionable species, beep boop.”

“Help! Somepony help! I have money to reward you with!”

Right before they got to him, a strange sound was heard. The robots froze in place and fell over, showing Flam standing behind them with a strange device being held with his magic. “Are you all right, Hoity?”

The earth pony jump from his spot and hugged him. “Oh, thank heavens you are here! They were about to do something horrible to me!”

“I’m sorry I took so long, but I had to get something.” Held by his magic was a hairdryer without its cord, Robo-Stopper 10000 written on the side, and some lights glued on it. “I completely forgot my one scientist friend gave me this in case of an emergency.”

“What are we going to do!? There’s too many of them!” asked the earth pony as he frantically ran around. “Equestria is doomed as we know it!”

Flam pretended to think of a plan. “I heard that they have a hive mind, so there must be a master computer built nearby. It controls the robots, so if I stop that, it’ll stop them all. I will have to find it and shut it down, which should be located somewhere in this building.”

“But how will we get to it? It’s dangerous out there!”

“I will fight through them while you wait here where it is safe,” he stated as heroically as possible.

“By yourself!? You can’t!”

“I must! If I don’t do something, they will take over the world! Besides, it is my fault this happened, so it is my duty to put this nightmare to an end.”

“But what about you? They could kill you, or worse! They could make you wear their clothes or make you into a toilet cleaning robot or something!” he warned.

Flam brushed his hair back with his hoof and put on a serious expression. “I’ll be fine. Robots are no match for me. If I can put them together, then I can just as easily break them apart.”

Hoity slowly nodded, knowing it was the only way. “Be safe, Flam.”

“I will.” He walked to the door, but then stopped. “One last thing before I go.”

“What is it?”

The unicorn went up to him and kissed him on the mouth, surprising the Canterlot pony. “Just in case I don’t make it back alive,” he said with a smug expression.

The earth pony smiled. “Go get ‘em, tiger.”

Flam ran from the room as Hoity closed the door, pressing his ear against it to hear what was happening. “Have at thee, you metal monsters!” He could hear a lot of noises as the combat occurred out of his view. He bit his hoof worriedly, hoping the inventor would stop the uprising and save the world. After some minutes, everything became quiet. He was now very afraid and could hear hoof steps approaching, so he backed away. “F-Flam?”

He could hear the doorknob turning, so Hoity took cover behind his desk. When it opened, the unicorn appeared, covered in oil. “It’s done,” he panted. “They have all been deactivated and the world is safe once again.”

Hoity clapped his hooves happily. “You did it! You saved us all!”

The tired unicorn sat against the wall and wiped the sweat off his forehead. “Hoity, I am so sorry this happened. It’s all my fault. I did not think they would revolt and I should have taken more precautions before doing something so dangerous.”

Hoity knelt down beside him. “No, do not blame yourself. I was greedy enough to replace all of my hard workers with heartless machines. It is my fault this happened.” He left his office returned to the production area with Flam following him. He looked over the many deactivated robots and sighed. “I guess the world isn’t ready for such a thing. Robots may be superior in tasks, but they lack many important things that real ponies possess, like inspiration, soul…”

“And love?” added Flam.

He looked up at the mustached pony. “That too.” He took his shades off and they looked in each other’s eyes. Slowly, their faces met for a kiss. After a few seconds, they pulled away. “Flam, I honestly cannot believe I am falling for a simple pony.”

“I just created a race of bloodthirsty machines that suddenly got the idea to rule the world and put them to an end, so maybe I’m not that simple,” he joked.

Hoity chuckled. “I guess that is true. Now I need to figure out what to do next. There’s so much that needs to be done before I can open again.”

“I think I might know. First, you go home and rest while my brother and I clean up these robots and dispose of the evidence. Then tomorrow, you will rehire all of your original employees and apologize for what you did. It’s better if the media does not find out what happened here today, so let’s never speak of this again.”

He nodded in agreement. “Yes, that seems like a good idea. Ponies seem to be much more likable as workers after this little incident.” He looked at him. “Flam, thank you for all of your help. You have been a real friend.”

“It’s no problem. And perhaps we could be more than friends,” he suggested with a dirty grin, only to receive another in response. “Come on, let’s get you home. You need rest.” He led him down the stairs and they walk past the various ponies who were trying not to move.

Pfft.

They halted and looked at one of the robots. “What was that noise?” asked Hoity suspiciously.

“Uh…that was just exhaust. Nothing to worry about.” He led him outside of the factory and closed the door behind him. “This place will be spotless tomorrow, so don’t worry one bit.”

“Okay. Flam, I want you to come over tomorrow so we can get to know each other better. Maybe we could invent something without such horrifying consequences.”

He just smiled at him. “Sounds good to me. Goodnight, Hoity.”

“And goodnight to you, hero.” The earth pony walked away and when he was out of sight, Flam re-entered the factory and closed the door behind him.

“And that’s a wrap!” he shouted triumphantly. All of the ponies got off the floor and cheered loudly.

Chrysalis, Pinkie, Rarity, and Flim appeared from another room. “I can’t believe it worked!” exclaimed Rarity.

“Hoity Toity sure is a gullible idiot, but I will admit the costumes and acting weren’t half bad,” said Chrysalis as she took some bits from some money bags she found lying around.

One of the ponies picked up Pinkie and held her above her head. “Three cheers for Pinkie Pie!”

While the crowd was praising her, Chrysalis went to the brothers. “So what about our deal? Am I finally done yet?”

“Since you fulfilled your part, we will do ours! Just give us the supply of jelly and we will do the rest!” Flim said excitedly. “I
pray this will be the last of our adventures together.”

“Excellent. I’ll give you about two barrels every week. It may not seem like much, but I think its rarity and my fame will have it flying off the shelves.”

“And ponies will pay top bit for it,” added Flim happily.

Chrysalis shook their hooves. “Pleasure doing business with you both, and don’t forget about that loan you owe me.”

“We won’t, and thank you so much for what you have done for us,” said Flim. “It has truly been an experience.”

“See you around, Cherub!” said Flam as he waved goodbye.

“Goodbye, Flimflam Brothers. Come on, Pinkie,” she called, “it’s time to go home.” Pinkie got down from the crowd and they waved goodbye as she caught up with her friends outside.

“We did it, Cherub! Now Cupid’s Arrow is going to be better than ever!” Pinkie shrieked while leaping high into the air.

“I still can’t believe you actually made a deal with them, but I’m more surprised that it actually worked out,” spoke Rarity.

“Me too. And now, there will be more love than ever before at a quicker rate. Everything is going to be perfect.” She thought over of what was going to happen next. With all that love, the changelings would support her again and she would dominate Equestria. She was all excited with the thought of getting vengeance on Nymph and thought of horrible things she could do. Maybe she would shave off all of her hair and use a spell to keep it from growing back or use a spell to give Nymph a masculine voice so the males wouldn’t want to go near her. There were so many possibilities for her to consider. Besides, she was justified. Nothing she could do would ever hurt Nymph the way she hurt her.

“Are you happy, Cherub?” asked Pinkie excitedly.

“Indeed I am,” the changeling replied. “You have done a good job and my respect for you has increased. Thank you for assisting me for these past few days. Because of your help, I’m feeling pretty good about everything now.”

Pinkie began to do her usual bouncing. “Great! Everything will be even better soon and then you will be happier and then you, me, and Luna will be best friends forever!”

Chrysalis’s fantasy was shattered as Pinkie’s words forced her back to reality. The red unicorn walked faster, distancing herself from the two ponies. “What’s her problem?” asked Rarity, only to receive a shrug from her friend.


On the way home, Rarity and Pinkie sat together while Chrysalis sat alone. They occasionally looked at her while whispering to each other. The changeling knew they were talking about her, but she simply could not care. The only thing on her mind at the moment was going to bed at her house. Once they arrived in Ponyville, the three ponies got off the train. “It feels so good to be back after so long,” stated Rarity.

“Yep! Nothing beats the feeling of home! Wouldn’t you agree, Cherub?” Pinkie asked.

“Goodnight,” Chrysalis said icily in response as she left them behind.

Once she was gone, the ponies talked to each other. “She seems to be really troubled about something,” commented Rarity.

“Yeah, but I’m about to fix all that!” Pinkie replied excitedly. “I have it all figured out!”

“Just be careful, Pinkie. She seems to be in a fragile state and I would hate for you to push things too far. You need to learn when to give her some personal space.”

“I have it all under control! Bye, Rarity!” The pink pony then ran off, going light speed to get everything set up in time.

Once she was gone, the seamstress sighed. “I pray nothing terrible happens to her.”

Chrysalis’s walk home was a long one. Home. It was something she dreaded calling Cupid’s Arrow. Her only home was in the Changeling Kingdom, but it had also lost its touch for about thirty years. She tried to think about her recent development to make herself feel better, but Pinkie’s words prevented that. It was even worse that Pinkie once again showed how useful and supporting she was. She would have to get over it eventually, or else she would be stuck as an outcast. She didn’t want to be Cherub anymore. She hated the name. She hated how successful she became while Chrysalis had nothing. She wasn’t sure how much more she could take of her double life. All she wanted to do was lie down and just take a break from everything while everything else was being prepared.

She arrived at Cupid’s Arrow, opened the door, and entered. Upon turning on the lights, confetti fell from the ceiling. The setup in her room was very reminiscent of the party held on her first day in this town. “W-what is this!?”

Pinkie sprung from behind the couch. “Surprise, Cherub!”

Of course she would have something to do with this. “Pinkie, what do you think you’re doing?” she asked, annoyed.

“It’s a party just for you!”

“You know I hate parties.” Chrysalis took a look around. “Where are the others?”

“It’s just me! I know you don’t really like to party with other ponies, so I thought it could be just the two of us. We can easily have fun with just us!”

The changeling just went for the stairs. “Pinkie, I really don’t feel like partying. Just take your stuff and go.”

“Nonsense! Just see what I have. I got a congratulatory cake of your favorite flavor.” She placed a vanilla ice cream cake on the table that had, “To Cherub, the best matchmaker ever!” written on it in pink frosting. “And wait until you see this!”

Pinkie pulled on a rope that hung from the ceiling. Upon tugging it, a banner unfolded that read, “Congratulations, Cherub!” Seeing the name caused Chrysalis to snarl. “Pinkie, I seriously want this stuff gone now.”

“Don’t be a party pooper! I even wrote you a song!” Pinkie placed a record on the record player and music began playing as Pinkie sung, “Oh Cherub, she’s so great. She can find anypony a special date! Cherub’s a pony who makes love shine through, and Cherub’s also a really great friend too!”

Chrysalis could feel her restraint breaking as her mind echoed Cherub Cherub Cherub Cherub Cherub Cherub Cherub. “No more, Pinkie. No more or I swear…”

“What’s that? One more? Okay! Oh Cherub, she’s-”

Pinkie was interrupted by a loud scream. She saw the unicorn charge past her and tackle the record player. It fell onto the floor with a loud crash and she began stomping on it with furious force. “I am so sick of everything!”

“Cherub!”

Chrysalis turned her attention onto the cake. She didn’t care how sweet it tasted, the fact it had that name on it was enough to make her vomit. She picked it up and hurled it against the wall, causing the pastry to splatter and the dish to shatter. She ran over there and began trampling the mess. “I am so sick of this job, this town, this life, and of ponies!”

Pinkie was completely horrified by the outburst she was witnessing. “Cherub, stop!” she begged.

Finally, she looked up at the banner. “AND I AM SO SICK OF MY NAME!” With her magic, it erupted in flame and was immediately reduced to ash.

Chrysalis took deep breathes as the ashes rained down on her. Her rage was immediately subsided when she heard faint whimpering. She looked under the table and found Pinkie quaking with fright. Her appearance was even altered like she had seen before, with flat hair and missing color. “Why did you do that, Cherub? I just wanted to help you smile,” the pony sobbed.

The changeling just sighed and stood back up. “Please…don’t call me that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s…not important. Nothing is.”

Chrysalis sat down on the couch and faced the floor. Pinkie slowly got up and sat right next to her. She placed a hoof on her shoulder. “Please talk to me.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Please. We’re so worried about you.”

She looked at her. “We?”

“Me and Luna. You’ve been acting like this for weeks and we’re really worried.”

Chrysalis sighed loudly. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to talk to either of you.”

“Why not? We’re your friends.”

Chrysalis closed her eyes. “I just don’t want to.”

“Then what do you want?” Pinkie asked.

“I want…” For once, Chrysalis could not find the answer. While there was being a queen again, doing so might have not been possible at this point. Nymph was much too loved and she could never convince the changelings to go against the ponies now. Right now, she felt trapped and there was no way out.

“What?”

Chrysalis turned away from the pony. “Go home, Pinkie. We’re taking the week off and I just need to be alone.”

“But I want to help you.”

“Please,” she begged, “just go.” Pinkie slowly headed for the entrance. Right as she stood at the door, she turned her head to look at Chrysalis, who just sat there without making any sound. Pinkie then exited and walked home.

Chrysalis lied on the couch. Despite her success, she didn’t feel any better. She then remembered that she did not read the paper from today as she was occupied with helping the brothers. She picked it up from her front door and got back on the couch. She brought it to her and looked for any news about the changeling negotiations. She didn’t have to look hard as it was on the front page. It seemed that Princess Celestia had actually paid another visit to the Changeling Kingdom and nothing went wrong. The picture for the article was her at the hatchery and she was playing with some of the infants. The gut wrenching sappiness of it was the kind of publicity she did not want as it surely won some ponies over. Out of anger, Chrysalis growled and incinerated the paper, leaving nothing but soot. She did not buy into the alicorn’s act of wishing to feed the changelings. Such a gesture towards an enemy nation would have been political suicide. There was no doubt in her mind that she was up to something in regards to dealing with the changelings. It gave her grievance that Nymph was falling for the charade, dooming her kingdom.

What Chrysalis definitely wanted to do was to get payback on Twilight Sparkle. She was going to make the little pony pay for making her fail. She was going to enslave her as well as her precious teacher along with Nymph, the traitor. Those three would be forced to serve her for the rest of their lives, bowing to Chrysalis’s every wish. Chrysalis kept thinking these thoughts in attempts to make herself feel better, but it only ended up backfiring on her. Twilight and Celestia were both beloved by Pinkie and Luna, so she would only end up hurting them. She tossed and turned on the couch, wondering why she cared so much about their feelings. They were her enemies, not her friends. They believed that she was Cherub, a likable unicorn who just wanted to spread love and at the same time, they hated Chrysalis, calling her a heartless tyrant who needed to be locked away.

She didn’t need them. She only needed the support of her fellow changelings. She would come back with her town of love and then she’d…she’d…

She’d what? Try to conquer a country that could possibly want to help her people? Hurt ponies who the changelings and even she had begun liking? Overthrow the beloved Queen Nymph? And if she were to do so, what then? Continue with the negotiations that her sister had originally started? Try conquest again and be forcibly removed once more? All of her original scheme had gone down the toilet. There was no revenge to be had and no crown to reclaim unless she had evidence that Celestia was plotting something and even she wasn’t entirely convinced that was true. All she could do was continue with the dating service and hope that her people would be satisfied enough to welcome her home or at least listen to her about the alicorn. But even if she did accomplish that, Celestia would find and punish her because stupid Nymph would rat her out.

Chrysalis forced herself up and made herself clean the mess she had made. She couldn’t believe she exploded like that, but that’s what happens when Pinkie can’t take a hint. Once she was finished, she trudged up the stairs, desiring escape from reality through slumber. She entered the bedroom, closed the door, and flopped onto the bed. All she wanted to do was to not think about her situation. What made things worse for her was that she had no one to talk about it with. No one to confide with; no one to support her. The fact of how alone she really was just made her feel even more depressed. She was hated by all, a monster in the eyes of the ponies and even the changelings. Would the changelings even take her back after what she had brought upon them?

She couldn’t remember the last time she actually had a changeling comfort her that wasn’t Nymph, which was probably because she wasn’t exactly the nicest individual. At this point, she took back what she said about not caring for love. A lover would have stayed by her side through thick and thin and help the poor changeling escape from this mess. She wanted them to hold her and tell her how everything was going to work out for her, how she didn’t have to handle things alone. She didn’t care how weak this made her sound. The torment that had been inflicted upon her was too much for Chrysalis to bear. All she wanted was something to make her feel better about everything. But then again, if her sister would abandon her, why wouldn’t anyone else?

She looked towards Luna’s moon through her window. She envied the princess, being so easily forgiven for her sins. Why couldn’t the same happen to her? Why was she suffering like this? Now that she thought about it, the only one that she had recently met who tried to be as supportive as possible of her problems, not counting Pinkie, who tried to make her feel better with stupid parties, was ironically Princess Luna herself and she sort of wished the alicorn was still around. She knew Luna was still very worried about her from the many letters she was receiving and was now tempted to write back to have her come over.

However, that would have only added to the problem of her caring for ponies. Chrysalis really wished Luna still wanted to overthrow her sister, that way she could have revealed herself and listened more to the princess’ comforting words. They would have been a dream team and she’d have this all finished a long time ago. She would even make Luna her co-ruler as a way of thanks and they could take the rest of the world if they wanted to. Maybe she could lend her an ear whenever Chrysalis felt down.

She could fantasize all she wanted, but it would never come true. Luna hated her guts and would have most likely enjoyed pounding her head in more than listen to her woes. Besides, she had much bigger problems than finding someone for her to whine to. It was very possible she would be hiding out as Cherub and even other ponies when Cherub got too old for the rest of her life or until Celestia or Luna found her and did something terrible to her.

She brought her legs to her chest and curled into a ball. She was so lost, so scared. She didn’t know what to do and could not think of how to save herself from her fate. It was almost two hours until her body finally gave in to sleeping.


Pinkie lied on her side as she stared at the wall and had her forelegs wrapped around a pillow. She had been laying there for a while and she felt incredibly miserable about failing her duty. The Cakes immediately noticed something wrong and ran to her when she returned earlier that night. She cried while Mrs. Cake held her, explaining to them what had happened in Cupid’s Arrow. They allowed her to take as much time off as she wanted for her to recover and she had spent it thinking about what happened. Why did Cherub get so angry? All she wanted to do was make her happy.

She just didn’t know what to do. For months she had tried to make her happy but to no avail. She had recently been able to get some smiles from her boss, but it wasn’t enough. Pinkie knew that deep down, something was very wrong with Cherub. She kept telling her that she was just mad about her wedding and her sister, but it felt like there was more. Pinkie always offered to help find her love, but she always immediately rejected it. She never really talked about her past and was incredibly anti-social. Why was Cherub so secretive about herself? Then she remembered some strange things her boss said during her rampage. What did she mean when she was sick of her job? Wasn’t matchmaking her talent? Wasn’t it what they had been trying so hard to do? And how could she be sick of her name? Cherub was a nice name. Why would anypony hate it?

Pinkie pulled the blankets over herself and sighed. She thought about going to her friends about what she should do. She then remembered how Cherub was always so distant from them, barely speaking to them unless she needed something. Pinkie had even noticed her disdain for Twilight. Now that she thought about it, Cherub’s only friends were herself and Princess Luna, who she was now avoiding. She knew she would have to tell Luna about this and worried of what would happen next. After what happened today, she was not looking forward to tomorrow.

Pinkie suddenly sprung up. She had completely forgotten about tomorrow. Perhaps this was her chance to put things right. She leapt out of bed and ran down into the kitchen. She was going to probably be up late, but she thought it would be worth it. Tomorrow, she would go and fix Cherub’s problems.

She was going to go over there and get the truth, no matter what.

Identity Crisis

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Identity Crisis

Hours of work and toil in the night were all made possible by coffee, which Pinkie considered to be one of the greatest inventions in history. Today was going to be a very special day for her friend Cherub. Pinkie wasn’t going to hold back any longer. She could no longer stand the thought of her close friend being so tormented and was going to help repair everything. Pinkie was not going to give up until Cherub was happy again because that’s what a friend should do. She was sure it all had something to do with her secret life, which is why she would find out what it was at all costs.

She opened up the waffle irons and placed a stack of waffles on a plate, which she flooded with syrup and whipped cream. Right as the bread popped out of the toaster, she swiped each piece and put butter on them. She put the waffles and toast on a tray and placed a cover on top. Then she remembered what she left on the counter and grabbed it. It was the most important thing she needed for today and her plan would be incomplete without it. She got the rest of her things and left Sugarcube Corner. Outside it was dark because of all the clouds hanging over Ponyville as there was going to be some rain later in the evening. The mare wished it was sunny as a nice day always made ponies happy, but she pressed on. Pinkie walked with a skip in her step as she carried the tray on her back. She was excited for this day and she wanted to give an amazing surprise for her friend right as she woke up. If all went well, she and Cherub would be best friends and the unicorn would never be upset about anything ever again.

Eventually, Pinkie was outside Cupid’s Arrow and got to the door. It was locked, but she still had the key she acquired from Short Sale, so she managed to get inside. She noticed that all of the window shades were pulled down and the house was very dark, giving the room a creepy atmosphere. Somehow, all of her eager cheer disappeared and was replaced by dread. For some reason, her Pinkie sense was telling her something very bad was coming. She shook her head and pressed onward, not letting anything stop her. She didn’t see or hear Cherub, so Pinkie assumed she was still asleep, which was exactly what she was hoping for.

She tiptoed up the stairs, developing a sense of fear that she simply could not explain. Something in her subconscious was telling her to run and never look back, but she had to ignore it. Pinkie would never abandon her friends, especially when they needed her help. With some determination, she got to the bedroom door. She had never seen Cherub’s bedroom, so this surprise was also exciting for her. She slowly opened the door and went inside. In the darkened bedroom, she could make out a lump in the bed, but she couldn’t see the occupant’s face as it was under a pillow. Pinkie quietly placed the portable table in front of her and placed the tray of breakfast onto it. Once everything was in place, she was ready for her favorite part of surprises. “SURPRISE!”

The figure shrieked, flailed, and flew off the other side of the bed, landing with a loud thud. Pinkie panicked by what she had done and knew she was in trouble. “I’m so sorry, Cherub! I just wanted to-” She fell dead silent as the figure stood up and her mind went blank as she stared into her eyes.

“Pinkie Pie! What have I told you about surprises!? And what are you even-”

Pinkie screamed and kicked the tray at the changeling, striking her in the face. She ran down the stairs as fast as she could, hearing the thundering hoofsteps behind her and the changeling calling for her. In a desperate attempt of escape, Pinkie launched herself at the door. Right before she collided with it, she stopped in midair. She looked and saw a green aura surrounding her. She was dropped onto the floor and pinned down on her back. Chrysalis looked down at her in anger and her horn was glowing intensely. “Please don’t hurt me!”

“Don’t worry. You’re not going to feel a thing!”

Pinkie’s vision was engulfed by a green light and then she lost consciousness.


Chrysalis paced around the room, ready to have a panic attack. Why was Pinkie here so early? How did she even get inside? This was the last thing she needed, given everything that was already on her mind. She just hoped that her mind wipe spell would work and this whole thing would blow over. Of course, with Pinkie’s bizarre mind, Pinkie sense, and other things she couldn’t possibly explain, there was no way to be sure until she woke up.

Soon the moment came. Pinkie started stirring, so Chrysalis, in her disguise, ran to her side. “Pinkie, are you all right? You had a nasty fall down the stairs and bumped your head.”

“I think so,” she responded woozily. Pinkie looked over at her and stared at her. She saw some syrup and whip cream still in her hair, triggering her memory of what happened and causing her to scream. “I remember now! You’re really Chrysalis!” She tried to get away, but was held down by the changeling.

“Pinkie, calm down!” she commanded.

“No! I have to tell Twilight!”

While holding down the struggling pony, Chrysalis’s mind was going a mile a minute. It seemed that trying to control her or erase her memory would work to no avail. If she didn’t figure out what to do soon, it would be all over for her. She then got a very desperate idea. “Pinkie, you have to Pinkie promise to not tell anypony that I’m here!”

“No!”

Chrysalis became enraged and made her horn glow. “Do it or else!”

Pinkie panicked and broke into tears. “I won’t tell anypony! Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” When she finished, Chrysalis let her go. Pinkie didn’t move from the couch and they both sat in silence with the exception of Pinkie sniffling.

Chrysalis went over to her desk and sat in her chair. She knew that Pinkie was scared out of her mind and probably didn’t want to work for her anymore, so she would need to speak with her. Chrysalis took off her disguise, which caused the pony to whimper. “Pinkie,” she called.

She jumped. “Y-yeah?”

Chrysalis let out a sigh. “This must be all very confusing for you and I think now would be a good time for some explanation, so go ahead and ask your questions.”

Pinkie didn’t bother to wait for even a second. “What are you doing here, Chrysalis!? Where is Cherub!? You ponynapped her, didn’t you!? I want my friend back right now! She’s nice and loving and my friend, unlike you! You took her place just so you could steal her job, am I right!?”

“No. I am Cherub.”

Pinkie stared at her in complete silence as her anger melted into confusion and denial. She began to slowly shake her head as tears reemerged from her eyes. “No…no! That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

“It is the truth, Pinkie Pie. I was here from the very beginning. You have been working for me the entire time.”

Pinkie put her hooves over her ears. “N-no! You’re lying! You couldn’t have been her the whole time! You can’t possibly be Cherub!”

“On the first day of my arrival, your surprise caused me to have a nasty fall down the stairs. You put silly string in my tooth paste during your first week here and I made you wash my floors. On Nightmare Night, I lured you into the forest with some candy and gave you quite a fright. Your reaction was absolutely priceless and none of your friends believed you.”

The pony’s mouth hung open. “I…I…”

Chrysalis leaned back in her chair with a satisfied smirk on her face. “I did a good job of hiding myself this time, didn’t I?”

Slowly, Pinkie’s vision began to blur and her head was hurting. She could not accept what she had just heard. There was no way that her friend was the banished changeling queen the entire time and no pony had noticed. Cherub, a pony that she had worked for, hung out with, and even tried to help, was Chrysalis the entire time. Pinkie then started to act aggressive again. “So what are you doing here, Chrysalis!? What’s your scheme!?”

Chrysalis smiled. “To do what we’ve been doing since the start: make ponies fall in love.”

Pinkie put her hooves to face and gasped. “That’s horrible! You won’t get away with this, you…wait. That doesn’t sound so bad.”

“It’s not. It’s completely harmless.”

The mare tilted her head. “But why?”

“You’ve heard that I’ve been stripped of my authority and have been exiled from my home.”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve been trying to find a way for them to take me back ever since. The plan is that once enough ponies are in love, this town will be flooding with it. With that, my people can sneak in and feed by merely being in contact with it instead of finding a pony to take it from and no pony will ever notice. With so much becoming available by yours truly, they will overlook my one mistake and take me back.”

“Why didn’t you just do that instead of pretending to be Cadance?” suggested the pony.

“Because ruling over all of you was a much better idea.”

“But it’s not nice at all!”

The changeling rolled her eyes. “Well excuse me for looking out for my people. We were starting to have a problem with feeding our large population and if I didn’t do something soon, my people would have died of starvation.”

“But they’re not starving now.”

Chrysalis shook her head and gave a look of disgust. “That’s only because Nymph has to beg to Celestia. She really does want us and our prey to live side by side. She’s a weak ruler.”

“That’s not a nice thing to say about your sister.”

“What do I care? I hate her.”

“But sisters are supposed to love each other!” Pinkie argued.

Chrysalis gave a quick laugh. “I have to disagree with that.”

“But why would you hate your own sister, Chrysalis?”

“It’s a long story.” She saw that Pinkie was looking at her expectantly. Chrysalis averted her eyes to somewhere else in the room, but they were drawn back to the pony. “Do...you really want to hear it?”

Pinkie nodded. “I really do want to hear about you and Nymph, Chrysalis. Tell me everything.

Chrysalis stared at her for a bit, thinking over what she wanted to do, and then nodded. “Very well. I better start from the beginning so you can have a better idea about her and me. You see, we were the daughters of the late changeling queen, Rhopa Locera. My sister is younger than I, so I felt it was my duty to take good care of her. We were the greatest of friends and our mother loved us both very much.”

“What about your dad?” asked Pinkie.

“He was there for a while. Normal changelings don’t live as long as we do.”

“What do you mean?”

“My mother, Nymph, and I are royal blooded changelings. We are much larger, more powerful than other changelings, and we live for almost a thousand years. However, royal changelings are only female. This is why the queen has much more authority, since she is much more powerful and only she can continue the bloodline. Fortunately, she could just mate with any other changeling and produce one.”

“As for my father, his name was Scarab and he was a soldier that served by my mother’s side for a long time. He personally saved her life from an assassination attempt and that was how she developed feelings for him. He was a bit of a stern parent, but he loved each of us with all his heart. He even trained me himself in fighting when I was old enough.”

Pinkie had to fight the urge to laugh as she remembered Nymph’s story about Chrysalis getting hit in the face, which Chrysalis didn’t notice. “So what about Nymph?”

“Ah yes. So while we were growing up and as adults, we were inseparable. We did everything together: from tending the royal garden to growing our own parasprite farms. Oh, they were so delicious. We each had our own interests. I was once obsessed by the military might we possessed. We changelings live underground to keep our existence a secret, knowing that we would never be accepted due to our appearance and nature. But every now and then, a bunch of diamond dogs or a dragon or whatever would find our home and would try to take over or threaten to expose us and we would always show them the exit the hard way with a memory wipe included. It was truly a sight to behold. Nymph, however, was more interested in stuff like learning about the world and the other races that inhabited it, so she liked to be in the library with all of the scribes to study maps and cultures. I must admit, as a child, I was also very curious of the outside world.”

“I loved everything about our royal life. When I was a lot younger, I was a princess and I made sure they all knew that. Every changeling answered to my beck and call. Nymph and I were the most precious children in the entire kingdom and I liked rubbing it in the faces of the other noble children. Because of that, we didn’t get along and we often got into fights. It didn’t happen as much when Nymph befriended them. I was never sure why she did that considering she would just outlive them. Eventually, Nymph convinced me to find other friends and it all worked out in the end.”

“But what I loved more than anything was knowing that one day, I would be the queen. It was all I ever dreamed about, knowing that the whole kingdom would belong to me. I wanted to be just like Mother. She was a kind and generous leader that every changeling loved and respected. None dared question her. I always liked to follow her around and watch what she did. For over three hundred years, I did everything I could to prepare myself for the role. Mother always gave us lessons about what she did. Running the military, making laws, bringing joy to the people, everything a good queen does.”

“But of course, only one of us could be the queen. Our mother was always worried that it would create tension between us as it had done before with previous queens, but it was never a problem since I made sure that Nymph understood that it was something meant for me. Surprisingly, Nymph was fine with the idea. She always did look up to me.” Chrysalis giggled. “When I was a child, I said that as the queen, I would allow a dual monarchy, meaning that we could both be queens, kind of like Luna and Celestia. Still, Mother had her take her lessons as she thought it would be important for her to learn.”

Pinkie then pushed the difficult question. “So what happened between you two?”

Chrysalis was hesitant to answer and, to Pinkie’s surprise, looked sad. “Everything was going fine for us all. Father was gone, but we still had each other. Mother was doing excellent as the queen and Nymph and I were living our own lives as princesses. Everything changed forever that one day thirty-three years ago. I was doing some combat training and a messenger came to me, completely panicked. He told me that my mother had collapsed, so I stopped everything I was doing and ran to her side.”

“What was wrong with her?”

“She suffered from a very serious sickness that we did not know about for months as she gave no symptoms until the later stages.” Chrysalis paused for a moment. “It was beyond our doctors’ abilities because our isolation limited our potential medical knowledge and there was…nothing they could do at that point.” Pinkie gasped and put her hooves over her mouth, looking like she was ready to cry. To be fair, Chrysalis almost felt like doing the same. “It didn’t bother her as much as we thought it would. She just carried on like normal, not fearing her impending death. She only had a few months left, but she would soon be too weak to leave her room, so she needed to pick one of us to take her place as the Queen of the Changeling Kingdom. I had always prepared for this day. I knew I would one day be queen, but sometimes I didn’t want to because of what would have to happen first. I learned everything I could about my mother, trained myself to become as powerful as I could be, and was even in charge of some of the army. I was everything I needed to be to become a queen that would lead her people into prosperity. But…”

“But?”

“She chose Nymph.” Chrysalis steadily became very upset, taking deep breathes and her voice was slightly shaking. “All she said was that she felt that Nymph was better suited for the role. Was she disappointed in me? Had I done something wrong? What had Nymph done that was so great? I was older and more experienced, so I deserved the crown!” she shouted as she slammed the desk, causing Pinkie to hide behind a pillow. “Nymph was always weak, needing me to protect her. She didn’t even like fighting. No, all she did was try to talk her way out of things. And look at her now, getting on her worthless knees and kissing Celestia’s big, fat flank without realizing what she is bringing the changelings into. I wouldn’t have surrendered to the inferior species, but rather conquer them! The girl does not have what it takes to be a strong ruler. It was obvious that Nymph had conspired against me, knowing she could never live up to be like me!”

Chrysalis took loud, steady breaths when she finished. After a moment, she sighed deeply. “Things were never the same between us since. I couldn’t stand being around her, knowing that she stole what was rightfully mine. We never let Mother know about what was going on between us, however. We didn’t think she could have taken it in her condition. We even made sure the other changelings didn’t find out about what was going on as we did not want to risk the rumors reaching her and the fact it wasn’t their business. Every day I am grateful that Mother had passed peacefully without ever knowing the truth.”

Pinkie wasn’t sure if she could handle any more of the story, but she pushed forward, needing every piece of information she could get. “So if your mom picked Nymph, then why were you the queen during the wedding?”

“After Mother had died, I had fallen into deep depression. Without her, my sister, or the crown, I had nothing. I just lost the motivation to do anything. I was like this for almost a year and I just told others that I missed my mother and I was in mourning, which was true to some extent. Nymph’s mourning lasted months, so they never asked me too many questions about mine. My sister would always try to convince me that she never did anything against me, but I never bothered listening to her lies.”

“One day, one of the high ranking soldiers I had come to know, Stag Beetle, came to me. He told me that he worried about my health and wanted to check on me. We talked for a while and it was actually nice to tell someone what I was going through. However, there was another reason he came to me. He informed me that Nymph was not interested in ideas of conquest, which is something we both have thought about doing as we and as well as many other changelings were sick of being stuck underground. He needed my help to remove Nymph from power and for me to rule. We both knew that she would have been the downfall of our race. I wasn’t even sure how we could rid of her. That worm had the guts to suggest assassination.” Pinkie gasped. “Don’t worry. As much as I despise my sister, she’s family and I could never bring myself to harm her. I even struck him right then and there.”

“So what did you do?” she asked worriedly.

“We decided we would wait for the right moment before making our move. To my surprise, Nymph was quite loved by the people. Of course, the inevitable happened. The hunger crisis escalated several years back before her crowning and has been an ongoing problem. We could tell the inevitable day was coming and waited.”

“What day?”

“The day that ended changeling secrecy. Basically it was the day where living in secret would no longer sustain our growing population, so we would have to take it in mass, which would eventually reveal our existence. Of course, there were two possibilities of this: one was the world would welcome us and give us all the love we need and the other was that they would drive us away, so we’d have to take our food by force. It was scary for changelings to think about, but we knew it would come one day. The main problem was that changelings always had to remain in secret while we tried to feed, limiting how quickly we could gather resources. Groups of changelings would go around and seduce ponies in order to harvest their love. They would collect love in masses by storing it in crystals and bring it back for the rest of us to feed off of. This method would soon no longer be enough to sustain our needs.”

“So why didn’t you just ask for our love instead of invading?” Pinkie suggested.

The changeling sighed and rolled her eyes. “Well gee, how do you think I should’ve asked Celestia? Hi there! My species of shape shifters need to actually eat one of your emotions in order to survive. This shouldn’t be a problem, especially when you factor in our growing population and the fact feeding off ponies leave them physically weak and loveless for a while. You think that would have worked?”

“It worked for Nymph.”

Chrysalis loudly snarled at her, scaring the pony. “Anyway, so the crisis continued to escalate over the years and unrest had spread throughout the kingdom. Nymph’s plan was to continue using our feeding methods through means of stealth and even suggested population control to delay the inevitable like the stupid changeling she is. Of course, that did not go well and changelings become unsatisfied. After waiting for almost twelve years, we played our hand. We began a campaign against her, convincing the masses that I had a better idea of how to run things. I told them that we should no longer fear the world and claim it for our own! We didn’t need to spend our entire lives living in secrecy or worry about starving any longer. I said that I would launch a military campaign to claim our rightful place in the world. Over time as the crisis continued, we won their favor. Nymph tried to tell them that war was not the answer, but they were smarter than that. After about two years of work, I had enough followers behind me and I made my final move.”

“What did you do?”

“I approached my sister in the throne room. When she asked what I wanted, I simply made her my offer.”

“What offer?”

“Either she made me queen or my followers and I would secede from the kingdom.”

Pinkie gasped. “What!? How could you do that to her!?”

Chrysalis slammed her hoof on her desk with tremendous force, causing Pinkie to cower. “My people were starving! Her ideas of staying hidden and controlling our growing population were stupid and ineffective. We could no longer stand it. The poor girl got on her knees and begged for me to reconsider, saying that she would find another way as she knew full well what I was planning.” She chuckled. “I must admit, it was rather amusing. She tried and she tried, but I didn’t budge. When she saw that we were indeed serious about leaving, she admitted defeat.”

“So after the ceremony where I was crowned, the changelings were happy. I began my plan to start earning our place in the world. I built our armies and we trained ourselves for many years. I even made Stag Beetle my second in command as part of our deal. And like I suspected, he tried to get involved with me so he could be king. I honestly didn’t like him all that much, but I let him have his fun. Every now and then I would need him for some very personal favors.” Chrysalis leaned back in her chair and sighed. “The one downside to being a royal blooded changeling is that all your choices for mates are much smaller than you, so usually they need to be on top, but Stag Beetle really knew how to make things work.”

“I didn’t need to know that!” Pinkie shouted while covering her ears.

“Oh, sorry. As for Nymph, I was very tempting to have her locked away for publicly opposing me, but for some reason, I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I suppose I still had a soft spot for her since she was family, despite feeling nothing but hate whenever I saw her. I simply just made her one of my advisors to appease her remaining supporters. It worked out well too, considering I never listened to a thing she said.” Chrysalis laughed loudly. “Of course, I couldn’t let that wretch get away with what she did. Robbing me of my crown and leading the people to despair? The girl needed to be punished. Washing the floors of the entire palace by herself, making her wear rags, reminding her of the most awful moments of her life, I even spread some nasty little rumors about her like how she couldn’t bear any children. The girl lost her spirit and it was enjoyable to see her bawl like a little baby. If changelings could feed off each other’s misery, we would have had enough food for a lifetime from Nymph alone!” Chrysalis hollered in laughter as she kicked her legs.

Pinkie felt terrible by listening to her. “Why do you enjoy being so cruel to her?”

Chrysalis stopped laughing and got very angry. “What about me? Have you forgotten what she had done behind my back!? I was justified in what I did to her!”

“Why do you keep thinking she went against you?”

“Because it’s the only thing that makes sense! I was the one destined to become queen, not her! She must have done something to make mother think she was better than me! I swear the next time I see her, I will force it out of her!”

Chrysalis heaved heavily as she clenched her fangs together and then realized that she was getting too worked up about the past, so she took a deep breath and continued. “Let me just quickly wrap this up. While we continued to increase our might, we began taking ponies in the midst of night in order to feed ourselves. We could only take so many without drawing suspicion. We would bring them underground and leave them preserved in cocoons. Then I would use my power to hypnotize them into thinking they were with the ponies of their dreams. We would keep them for feeding for about a week or two until we tapped them out. After that, I would erase their memories of being taken and then we would return them to where they came from.”

“So we kept using these methods for many years. The hunger issue was being handled, but still not solved. Our populations grew and that meant we had to steal more ponies. But thankfully, I was prepared. Our armies were now a force to be reckoned with. We just needed a place to set our sights on. And then when we scouted Canterlot and heard about the wedding…” Chrysalis trailed off and sighed. “I don’t think I need to tell you what happened.”

They both sat silently, staring at each other. Chrysalis could not believe she just told so much about herself to one of her greatest enemies, but to her surprise, she felt great relief. Maybe Pinkie discovering her was nowhere as bad as she first thought since after all this time, she finally found someone who could listen to her true self. Since Pinkie was bound by her Pinkie promise, she could maybe talk to her about her woes, while adding a few lies here and there, and possibly get some real advice about her problems. It took her a moment to realize Pinkie had yet to say something. “So what did you think? Sad? Enlightening?”

“Awful!” Pinkie then proceeded to bawl.

The changeling nodded. “Yes, it is indeed an awful story. I am so glad you understand.”

Pinkie shook her head. “No, not the story! You! You’re awful!”

Chrysalis was taken aback by what she heard. “Me?”

“You are so mean to your sister and ponies! How could you be so cruel, Chrysalis!?”

The fugitive stood up. “Why should I love a race who would have shunned us upon discovering us? Let’s face it, you and your kind are disgusted by how we look and fear us by how we feed, which is why we live underground in the first place. As for Nymph, she started it! She plotted against me!”

“How do you know that’s even true about Nymph? You have no proof!”

“Well why else would have Mother picked her over me? I was just like Mother!” she shouted furiously.

“No you’re not! You said your mom was loving and kind, which is exactly the opposite of what you are!” Chrysalis looked down at the desk in front of her. “She was your sister and you wanted to be so mean to Nymph because you didn’t want to accept the truth! And after everything you did to her, she lets you go! She does love you, but you think she’s your enemy because she got to be queen. You’re not a victim, Chrysalis. You’re just a spoiled, rotten, jealous brat! What would your mom say if she knew how badly you treated your little sister?” Pinkie noticed she was completely motionless. “Chrysalis?”

“Get out.”

“But-”

“OUT!”

Pinkie lifted herself off the couch and onto the floor. She slowly walked towards the door and looked behind her, only to be met with an expression of fury. Pinkie turned away and then exited the building. When she was gone, Chrysalis sat back down and sighed.

What really bothered her was how Pinkie said she was nothing like her mother. She just wanted to be as successful and as loved as her so she would be proud of her daughter. She did what she had to do to ensure that her species would survive, even though she went as far as trying to conquer another nation as she felt that it was all done in her people’s interest. But in the end, they became upset with her upon her failure and now were supporting Nymph’s current idea, which would have been the end of them all.

She still could not figure out why Nymph had decided to kick her out in the first place instead of locking her up. Chrysalis treated her like garbage and was at her mercy and yet Nymph just let her go. Did she still care for her? Seeing how she kept asking Celestia for her location she must have, despite saying how they should handle her. Chrysalis hated to admit it, but she did miss the old days, when they were younger and more carefree. Maybe Pinkie was right about Nymph not conspiring against her, but she couldn’t be sure. If it was true, it would mean that Chrysalis let her mother down somehow, which she could not ever bring herself into accepting.

Chrysalis slammed her head against her desk, knowing she had gone a little too far with Pinkie. She wasn’t sure if she could ever convince her to come back now that her secret was out, probably even harder because Pinkie thought she was horrible. At least she was safe from being caught, but that wouldn’t matter if her plan couldn’t succeed. She heard the bell above her door ring and suddenly realized she wasn’t in her disguise, causing her to panic. She lifted her head and met a pair of blue eyes.

“Surprise!”

Chrysalis screamed, flew back, and fell onto the floor. As she tried to catch her breath, she looked up at the smiling pony. “For the love of Luna, stop doing that! And what are you even doing here?”

Pinkie placed a cake on the desk. “Happy birthday, Chrysalis!”

The changeling got back in her chair. “Birthday? What are you…” She then realized that today was indeed her birthday. “How could have I forgotten?”

“Well luckily I remembered, so here you go!” She slid the cake in front of her. It was a birthday cake with several lit candles on it and it read, “Happy 33rd Birthday, Cherub!” in pink frosting. Chrysalis just sat there silently as she looked at it. “What’s wrong?”

“What are you doing, Pinkie?”

“Well duh, I’m giving you your cake.”

“I know that, but I mean why. Why would you want to celebrate my birthday?”

“I always want to celebrate a birthday, even it is for a changeling!”

Chrysalis couldn’t understand what was going on. “Are you really so stupid? You just went on about how awful I was and now you want to have a party?”

Pinkie’s smile slowly bent into a frown. “I just don’t want you to be sad anymore.”

Chrysalis briefly felt breathless. “What?”

Pinkie slid the cake aside. Surprisingly, she looked serious. “After you told me to get out, I wasn’t sure what to think. I thought you were bad, but then you said you did all that stuff for your changelings. I also remembered how upset you’ve been lately and I knew something was wrong.” Chrysalis turned her eyes away. “I don’t like seeing any pony or changeling sad and I thought I could help you feel better. I decided I’m going to stay and help you with your plan.”

The changeling looked at her with disbelief. “You’re going to help me become queen again?”

“No. However, I want you to be able to go home. I bet you miss it a lot.”

Chrysalis sighed loudly. “I do. It’s been so long since I’ve seen its glory.”

“Do you miss Nymph too?” the mare asked.

“Not in the slightest.”

Pinkie shrunk by her answer. “Not at all?”

This time, there was a pause before she answered. “Maybe a little.”

“Don’t you want things between you two to be back to the way it was?”

“I guess.” She could see Pinkie giving her a look, telling her she was unconvinced. Chrysalis sighed. “Yes. There, I admitted it. I do miss my sister, but I can’t bring myself to trust her. Even if I am wrong about her, I don’t think she will forgive me for what I did.”

“Sure she will! You just need to be nice!”

Chrysalis groaned and shook her head. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard.”

“It’s not stupid!” the pony countered. “If you were nice like me, would you even be here right now?”

The changeling thought about it. Had she tried sticking with secretive means of feeding and perhaps what Nymph was currently trying, she would have probably back home while still being in charge. Thinking about her plan at the wedding had recently put her in a foul mood. While she had kept saying it was for means of survival, was it really worth the costs? An entire nation imprisoned in a sleep like state, being drained for the rest of their lives. Had she not been so blind with power and anger towards ponies, she and Nymph would have probably come up with a solution together that would help the changelings thrive in the world.

“I think you may be right,” she gloomily confessed.

“Of course I’m right! No pony likes somepony who’s mean. Just be nice and when you see her again, tell her you’re sorry. And you have to mean it!”

“Even if I could earn her forgiveness, there are still the rest of the changelings. They were pretty happy to see me leave and until I convince them to take me back, there’s no way I’m going home.”

“Say sorry to them too! They will totally forgive you if you just act nice.”

Chrysalis glared at her for moment, but then stopped. Pinkie, surprisingly, had a good point. Luna herself even said that the ponies accepted her again because of her change in personality. But there was no way it was going to be that easy for her. While Luna had the excuse of being possessed by a mysterious force, Chrysalis had no excuse for what happened. The changelings were not only mad at her for being a failure, but for being a bit of tyrant. She always held the belief that since she was the queen, she was always right and any changeling who didn’t support her views was either an idiot or a traitor, making it extremely difficult for anything she opposed to pass. The fact she rallied their anger against the ponies and caused the peaceful, neutral nation to perform an act of war certainly did not help her case.

Speaking of ponies, living among them has certainly given her a different point of view about them. She didn’t mind them so much and was actually starting to enjoy living in Ponyville. Even Pinkie and her friends were growing on her, with the exception of Twilight. She had even made close friends with Luna, who she still considered to be her foe as she knew she was going to do something to her people. She figured that changelings didn’t care for ponies or any other race because they never truly got to know them since they were always secluded. She wondered how differently things would have been for them were they not so xenophobic.

“What’s wrong?” asked Pinkie, concerned by her silence.

Chrysalis rested her head between her hooves. “I’m just not feeling too good right now. It’s awful to be hated by your very own species. Sometimes I wonder if they will turn me down, even if I do offer them a huge food source.”

“Don’t be sad, Chrysalis! You just need to smile!” Pinkie suggested encouragingly.

The matchmaker looked up at her. “Excuse me?”

“Trust me, you will go home and you will be loved! Now turn that frown upside down and give me a smile. You need to be positive if you want your dreams to come true!”

Chrysalis turned her head away from her. “That’s stupid.”

“Come on! Smile! Smile! Smile!”

“No.”

Pinkie frowned. “Why not?”

“Because it won’t change anything.”

“It’ll make you feel better! You don’t want your friends to see you upset when you go home, do you?” Chrysalis immediately turned the rest of her body away from her. “You have friends…right?” Chrysalis said something but she couldn’t hear her. “What?” The changeling spoke again, louder, but she still could not understand what she was saying. “I can’t hear you.”

Chrysalis whirled around. “No, I don’t anymore! There, are you happy!?”

“No! Why don’t you have any friends?”

Chrysalis sighed and rested her head on the desk. “For a long time, I thought it was pointless. They would just die long before I did and I didn’t want to deal with the loss. It was already hard enough with my father. I kept telling myself that Nymph was the only friend I would ever need in my life, which changed. I did eventually come around to meet others and I did develop friendships with them, but after my mother’s decision to crown Nymph, I was not a very kind changeling and most of them did not like to be around me unless they had something in mind. The worst part is that I can’t blame them. Then after the wedding, the remaining parasites threw me under the bus and wanted nothing to do with me. I had brought the threat of war onto them and I was labeled with the worst kinds of names. Not a single changeling in the kingdom had come to my aid.”

“Wasn’t Stag Beetle your friend?”

“Not at all. We were merely changelings who shared the same ideas. We got along, but there were some things about him that made my chitin crawl. The biggest problems I had with him and every other changeling who associated with me later on was always the same, and that was me being royalty. The only reason they wanted to be around me was because the favors I could grant them whenever Nymph wouldn’t and it only happened more when I was crowned. It was always money, laws, political positions, and even sex. I was so sick of it.”

Pinkie scooted closer to her. “What about me or Luna? Aren’t we your friends?”

Chrysalis didn’t even look at her. She could actually feel her heart sting upon the question. “It was only an act, Pinkie. It’s not like you or Luna, or any of your friends would ever want to be friends with the real me. You and I both know that you and all the others hate me for what I did.”

They both remained quiet for a moment. Pinkie was obviously upset about what she heard and Chrysalis actually felt guilty. “Chrysalis?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m really sorry that you don’t have friends anymore. And since you were pretending before, I was wondering if maybe we could be real friends this time.”

Chrysalis looked at her in absolute disbelief. “What?”

“I don’t want you to be alone, Chrysalis. I can tell you’re very hurt and I want to help you in any way I can.”

The changeling was as surprised as she could be. She tried to form words, but she couldn’t. After much effort, she asked, “Why?”

“Because I can’t stand seeing you like this anymore. For so long I have seen you in so much emotional pain and nothing I did fixed it. Now I have chance to help you and I’m going to do it. I’m going to make you happy, Chrysalis!” stated Pinkie.

“I…really don’t know…”

“Do you want me to just leave you like this while you’re all sad?” she asked.

Chrysalis merely sighed. “No…”

“So let’s make a deal! I will become your friend and help you and in exchange, you will stop being all evil and stuff! How does that sound?”

After everything she had done, Pinkie was willing to give her a chance. This pony was doing something that no other had done for her. Chrysalis was willing to throw away all of her thoughts of vengeance to receive her friendship in return. She wasn’t even sure how to respond. “Do you…really mean that?”

“Of course I do!” She extended a hoof towards her. “Friends?”

Chrysalis never thought too highly of employee before, but this moment had given her a new perspective about her. After everything she had been through, she finally found one person who was willing to help her. She reached out her hoof, ready to accept Pinkie’s offer.

Right before they touched, Chrysalis quickly retracted. “No!”

“No!?”

The changeling got off her seat and stormed upstairs. “Just go away, pony!”

Pinkie watched as she disappeared and heard her slam the door shut. Pinkie sat quietly, completely stunned by her reaction. They were about to be friends and she suddenly freaked out. All she wanted to do was help the outcast, but it seemed Chrysalis was not interested. The mare started wondering of what she should do now. She could follow Chrysalis, but she could be in danger if she didn’t want to be friends. The mare made up her mind. Pinkie went upstairs and got to the bedroom door, pressing her ear against it.

“What has gotten into me!?” she heard Chrysalis shout as she paced around her room. “How could have I even consider for a second befriending her? She’s a friend of that wretched Twilight Sparkle! No doubt this is some ploy to have me exposed and imprisoned. Why else would she want to be my ‘friend’? She is going to cost me the crown! I will not let Nymph win! The kingdom is mine! MINE!

Pinkie was compelled by fear, not wanting to enter and confront her after hearing her yelling. However, she wanted to help Chrysalis since she was so close in doing so. Mustering her courage, she opened the door to the bedroom. What immediately caught her attention was the look the changeling was giving her.

It was a look of pure hatred.

“Chrysalis, please listen to me!” she begged. “I just want to help you!”

Chrysalis scoffed and pushed her aside. “You are too nosey for your own good, Pinkie. Because of your caring nature, I actually developed doubts of my second invasion because I started caring back!”

Pinkie gulped. “Your what?”

“But good news: I’ll get over it! You will not sway me from my goal! I will expose Nymph for the thief she is and get my revenge against Twilight! And afterwards, I will be the queen I was meant to be; one that would make the changelings dominate this world!” Chrysalis stared at Pinkie and an evil grin appeared on her lips. She slowly approached her, cornering the terrified pony. “But perhaps this little incident can be useful to me.”

“W-what are you going to do?”

“I’ve been going through with this stupid dating business scheme for far too long. But thanks to you, I have a much better plan in mind!” Chrysalis closed the door to the bedroom and focused intensely on Pinkie. “And you get to play a special part, my little pony!”

She lifted Pinkie off the ground and pinned her against the wall with her magic. “Put me down!” demanded her captive.

“Oh, not just yet. Pinkie, for being an intrusive, obnoxious pest who had the nerve of making me doubt myself, I’m going to drain you!”

Pinkie began to struggle wildly. “Please don’t take my love! I need it!”

Chrysalis cackled loudly as the pony continued her efforts. “Oh, that’s going to be the least of your worries, since I shall use a stage three drain!”

“W-w-what’s that?”

“I’m glad you asked. You see, a changeling’s ability to drain emotions has various effects, each classified into three stages. The first stage is where we take love and leave our prey with headaches and fatigue for up to a week, as you’ve seen with Shining Armor. The second stage is where we take additional positive emotions, leaving the negative ones to fester and grow. The victim is left as a cruel or sad pony for up to a month in the worst case scenario and it is always amusing to witness.”

The mare could feel a feeling of horror rising when she asked, “What’s stage three?”

Chrysalis gave off a very sinister grin. “It’s where we take all of your emotions.”

“That’s horrible!”

“Oh, but it gets worse, because these effects are permanent.” Pinkie gasped loudly and continued in her desperate struggle. “The victim is left in an emotionless state for the rest of their life. No anger or happiness or fear or even love. It is a fate worse than death, to be left as such a husk. Only royal changelings are capable of this and it has been outlawed for almost a thousand years because the effects are so horrible, but I’ve considered using it on Twilight for some time.”

“Please don’t take my emotions! I want to laugh with my friends, smile at parties, and love Fluttershy!”

Chrysalis chuckled and stroked her cheek. “But Pinkie, I need to do this so I can reclaim my title from that traitorous Nymph and save my precious subjects from the evil Celestia.”

“How?” Pinkie sobbed.

The changeling pulled away and paced around in front of her. “I will gladly tell you, seeing how it won’t matter anyway. These peace talks are completely ridiculous. Your kind will always look down on the changelings and treat them like scum. The thought of creatures that we feed from taking charge of our lives is ludicrous. And if you think I buy Celestia’s act of giving a feather about my subjects, especially after I defeated her, you are wrong. So rather than letting Celestia have us treated like trash or whatever she has in store for my changelings, I will simply conquer Equestria and crush the threat once and for all.”

“But Celestia does care about the changelings! She’s trying so hard to help them!”

Chrysalis shook her head as she continued walking. “Spare me your stupid beliefs. No ruler in their right mind would consider helping a nation that just attacked them. There’s nothing for her to gain out of aiding the changelings, so I will strike first before she carries out her retribution.”

“But the changelings don’t want a war! They want peace!”

The fugitive stopped and stomped her hoof. “There can never be peace! We feed off ponies and this will always bring conflict. Nothing will change that. So rather than having your kind walk all over us, I will simply put you ponies in your place. What I will do is drain you of your emotions and leave you near the edge of the Everfree Forest after altering your memories. When your friends ask you what happened, you‘ll tell them you were attacked by changelings under the orders of Nymph.”

Pinkie’s mouth hung open in absolute shock. “What!?”

“But I won’t stop there. I will be sure to get all of your little friends as well and it gets even better. After you are all dealt with, I will write a letter to Luna, telling her that I’m sorry for not talking to her and that I need her protection, feeling scared and vulnerable. That gullible princess won’t see it coming. With all of the love here, I should have more than enough power to keep her down long enough for me to tap her dry of her magic! And with her form, I can get close enough to Celestia and give her the same fate!” Chrysalis greedily licked her fangs. “It will be a feast fit for a queen!”

“No!”

The changeling wore a wicked smile. “And when the ponies learn that Nymph was responsible for draining their beloved rulers and guardians, they will launch a war. The changelings will hear that Nymph was behind the cause of the fighting and imprison her, where I will return and lead my nation to victory with my unmatchable might! Equestria will be ours, our famine will be no more, and I will be a queen of legends!” She then proceeded to laugh evilly.

Pinkie was completely panicking, horrified by what Chrysalis was planning. She then remembered something and grinned. “Oh yeah? Remember Discord? Celestia is making him look out for you and take you down! You’ll be in big trouble when he-”

“With all the magic I will acquire, I will send his worthless hide to the moon the very second I see him. With the powers of the alicorns and the Elements of Harmony, he won't stand a chance.”

All of Pinkie’s confidence died. She had nothing left in her mind that could save her from the changeling. For the first time in life, Pinkie felt completely hopeless. “Don’t do this, Chrysalis! I’m begging you!”

“Beg all you want. I actually enjoy watching you try so hard to save yourself, which will end when I alter your mind.”

“But you couldn’t erase my brain last time.”

“True, which is why I need a little boost to get the job done.” Chrysalis opened her mouth and a green aura appeared, entering her maw. As time passed, her eyes and horn began to glow brighter. “With all the love I have created here, I will be sure to get things right this time. How does it feel to know that you will help bring the fall of your own country?” Pinkie just looked on the floor and cried. “Aw, are you sad that I have finally won? Don’t worry, I promise you that you will never be sad again. I still need some time to prepare my spells, so any last words, Pinkie?”

“You’re…you’re…”

“Yes?”

Pinkie looked up at Chrysalis, tears running down her cheeks. “You’re a horrible queen!”

Chrysalis laughed at her. “Me? A horrible queen? I’m afraid you have been misled. I am one of the best there is. My people have thrived over the years of my ruling, unlike with that worthless sister of mine.”

“But Nymph is-”

The changeling shoved her hoof into Pinkie’s mouth and looked dead into her eyes. “Nymph this and Nymph that! I am so sick of hearing what a saint she is! She is only seen the way she is now because of me!”

“What do you mean?” Pinkie asked while muffled under her hoof.

Chrysalis stepped back from her. “Do you honestly think Nymph is someone out of a fairytale while I’m just some heartless monster? Things never appear as they seem, which you should have learned from us changelings. You think she wanted to do these peace talks? She’s not doing them because she wants to, but because she has to. The only reason she has even considered doing this was because she didn’t know what else to do, just like before. In reality, it was I who got the talks started, despite them being a waste of time. Don’t you see? My invasion created progress! Before me, all she did was nothing but delay the inevitable. How do you think I convinced the people to remove her in the first place?”

Pinkie remembered the queen admitting that she wasn’t too fond of ponies before, but refused to believe Chrysalis was right about everything else. “Well at least she didn’t try invading us like you did, you evil changeling!”

“You still don’t get it, do you? My choice was the best choice, you stupid pony. Let’s say I tried appealing to Celestia instead of crashing the wedding. First, I would have to pray that she took mercy on us and allow us to come and feed. If she was willing to banish Luna for a thousand years, then it wouldn’t be hard to imagine her doing something horrible to a race that dined on her subjects’ emotions. Now if she were to accept us, that would leave the rest of Equestria. You believe ponies only hate us because what I did, but you are wrong. I’ve read your history and you ponies used to hate each other solely on appearance. Just because you had wings, horns, or neither did your kind feel the need to oppress the others. Your hate for each other was so powerful, you turned your kingdoms into icy wastelands. Now if you ponies could hate each other that much, how do you think it would have gone with changelings suddenly coming in?”

“Um…we’d get over it eventually like we did with each other and the other races?” Pinkie guessed.

Chrysalis laughed. “Not even close. There would have been serious prejudice against our kind, like what will happen if these negotiations go through. Changelings would have been shunned by ponies because of our feeding habits and how we look, not to mention our power to take another’s form. Over time, things would get out of hoof as tension grew and push would come to shove. So in the end, my invasion changes nothing. If we just tried being peaceful in the start, it would still bring the inevitable. However, had I succeeded back then, you ponies would have been left in a peaceful slumber while the changelings lived happily, completely eliminating this conflict all together. And that is why my idea of taking over Equestria was a good one.”

Pinkie shook her head. “You’re wrong, Chrysalis! I know it would be hard at first, but we’d all get along at some point. We just have to try.”

Chrysalis scoffed. “It would never work, not in a million years. You need to stop using your imagination and look at the reality. Ponies and changelings won’t get along and they never will.”

The pony thought hard of what to say to her, actually considering her reasoning. Was Chrysalis actually right? Would the changelings and ponies struggle with each other if they were to come to Equestria? She knew that other races had a rough relationship with ponies at first, but that changed over time. Pinkie and her friends promised they would do their best to ensure the same happened with the changelings and Pinkie swore she would never give up helping them until they were loved. As her resolve returned, she then remembered something Chrysalis said earlier and she got an idea. “So you’re saying ponies and changelings can’t learn how to like each other?”

“Correct. Haven’t you noticed how my subjects took pleasure in attacking your city? Their anger towards your kind has always been there. I just helped them bring it out.”

“And you must hate ponies more than any changeling,” she emphasized.

The changeling showed her scowl. “You bet I do. A lesser race driving us into fear and making us living underground in secrecy while we starved? I despise you hay eaters more than any other and I intend to make you all pay.”

“And you hated me, right?” she asked happily.

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes at her. “You and your rotten friends injured quite a number of my changelings and the fact you are friends with Twilight certainly does not help. I despise you, Pinkie.”

“My point exactly,” the pony said triumphantly.

The former queen cocked her head from her change in mood. “Huh?”

Pinkie produced a large grin, annoying her foe. “You have just proven that changelings and ponies can get along! Isn’t that great?”

“How have I done that? I’ve said no such thing!”

“You said you hated me as well as ponies super-duper much.”

“I still don’t follow.”

“But don’t you remember what you said?” the mare hinted.

“Huh?”

“Even though you hate me a lot, you said you were thinking about not invading because you cared about me! Don’t you see? You learned how to like me, a pony! And if you of all changelings can learn to like ponies, then why can’t our people learn to like each other?” Chrysalis’s eyes were as large as dinner plates as she stared off into space and Pinkie could see one twitching. “So aren’t you happy that we’re all going to be friends? Your changelings are going to be just fine. You’ll see!”

Chrysalis slowly looked back at Pinkie and the pony began to grow very fearful. As Chrysalis stared at her, her expressions shifted slowly into one of pure rage. Her eyes pierced through her and she was bearing her fangs. “You little worm!”

“Huh?”

“How dare you speak to me like that, you insignificant wretch!” she screeched. “I am a queen and I will not have my words used against me by filth like you!”

“You’re not a queen anymore. The changelings threw you out!” Pinkie argued angrily.

Chrysalis pressed her face against Pinkie’s and stared directly into her eyes. “It was not my fault! Twilight foiled me and Nymph made me look like a villain!”

“You are a villain!”

“I am a queen who spoke and acted for her people! My changelings wanted to invade your country and I gave them the opportunity! The only reason they hate me now is because my sister told them lies!”

“No! They only wanted to hurt us because you gave them the idea! And because of that, ponies and changelings got hurt! You had them invade us because you wanted to do it for yourself, you selfish bug!”

“At least I was doing more than Nymph had done in her reign! She had no idea what to do about acquiring food and we were beginning to starve! I wasn’t going to sit around and do nothing, nor was I going to gamble our future away!”

That’s when a thought came to Pinkie. “If you care about the changelings, why didn’t you help her?”

Chrysalis no longer looked angry and was now uncertain. “What?”

“Chrysalis,” Pinkie said calmly, “she’s your sister for crying out loud. She needed help and you did nothing but make things worse for her. And because of that, changelings were starving. Why didn’t you help your little sister when she needed you?”

The changeling was at a loss for words, feeling doubtful about herself. “W-why should have I done anything for her? She stole my crown and lied to me for years. She brought it on to herself. B-besides, I did my part in feeding the people, she should have done hers.”

“But you said it was an ongoing problem even before you were crowned. You had all these big ideas that made them happier, so why did you wait until you were queen before doing anything? Why did you want them to get rid of Nymph first before giving your subjects a better future?”

Chrysalis looked away in shame, the truth painfully sinking into her. “I…I…”

“I’ll tell you why, Chrysalis. It’s because you don’t care about the changelings at all. You only care about yourself and your own needs.”

The former queen’s eyes shot open and she looked at her. “Stupid girl. I am doing this all for them! My new invasion will-”

“It’s not what they want, it’s what you want!” Pinkie interrupted. “It’s always been about what you want!”

The changeling took a defensive stance in front of the captive pony. “Oh, what do you know, Pinkie? How would you know what my subjects want? You know nothing of changelings!”

“Because they told me they wanted peace!”

Chrysalis’s stance shifted, feeling unsure. “Excuse me?”

Pinkie was feeling angry at her for what Chrysalis wanted to do, but she spoke calmly. “Celestia took us to Bugartha and they all told us they were so happy that she wanted to help them. They said they wanted to live with ponies and be happy, not to fight them like what you want to do.”

“But there can’t be peace between us!”

“Yes there can!” Pinkie countered. “You just don’t want to believe there can be because you don’t get to be a queen anymore if Nymph succeeds!”

“I’m protecting them from where Nymph is leading them!” she yelled defiantly.

“Protecting them from what? Happiness? Acceptance? You know how you said everypony would fear and hate the changelings? This is their one chance to change that and you are trying to stop it! It’s changelings like you are why everypony thinks they’re monsters and won’t give them a chance! And now you’re going to take their one chance away because you’re jealous, making the changelings live underground again.”

The changeling’s rage shifted into fear. “N-no! I…but they…”

“And do you know what they said about you?” Chrysalis froze, fearful of the answer. “They said they don’t like you. They said Nymph is a better queen than you’ll ever be!”

Loud, steady breathes could be heard from the changeling. “T-they didn’t say that.”

“Yes they did! They were all peaceful and you made them into invaders! They also know what you did to Nymph! They think you’re heartless and terrible!”

“Stop lying,” she threatened.

“And you know what? They’re right! You are going to hurt both ponies and changelings just so you can be a queen again; a queen they don’t want!”

“Stop it!”

“It’s true, Chrysalis! If you were a good ruler, then why did they want to get rid of you?”

“STOP IT!”

“They will find out about your plan and they will overthrow you again! Do you know why they hate you? Do you know why all your friends left you? Do you know why you are so miserable?”

Chrysalis’s eyes glowed green and she got in Pinkie’s face. “SHUT YOUR MOUTH!”

“It's because you’re mean, because you’re selfish, and because you are flat out evil!”

Chrysalis threw a hoof forward, putting a hole in the wall inches from Pinkie’s head. The pony slowly turned her head to look at the hoof, almost wetting herself from the sight. Chrysalis just eyed the floor and didn’t move. “You’re right,” she muttered.

“I am?”

The changeling slowly nodded. “Yes. My changelings could create a peaceful society with the ponies. There will be some difficulties at the start, but I am sure they can be overcome with time and effort. And as for me, you are completely right about who I am. I am selfish. I am uncaring. I am a monster.”

Pinkie sighed with relief. “I’m glad that you-”

Chrysalis looked back up with a deranged look in her eyes. “But I don’t care.”

“WHAT!?”

“Don’t you get it? If I let these negotiations happen and they succeed, where will that leave me? Celestia still wants my head and Nymph must pay for what she has done! I must have my crown to keep my freedom and title, no matter the costs!”

“But Chrysalis-”

The changeling shoved a hoof into her mouth. “I am done listening to you, Pinkie. I will go through with my plan, escape from persecution, and have my revenge and you are not going to stop me!” Chrysalis started draining the love around her at an accelerated rate. “I will not be remembered as a failure! I will not let Nymph be victorious over me! I will not let Twilight get away with foiling my plans for paradise! I WILL NOT LET CELESTIA TURN ME INTO A GARDEN ORNAMENT! I AM CHRYSALIS, QUEEN OF THE CHANGELINGS!” Chrysalis’s horn and eyes glowed intensely bright and she began to conjure the spell.

Pinkie tried once more to free herself from her bindings. If she didn’t do something, things were going to end very badly for her and her friends. Realizing that fighting Chrysalis’s powerful magic was useless, she tried speaking to her. “Chrysalis, please don’t do this! I don’t want ponies or changelings getting hurt!”

“I must do this for survival. This is the only way I can win,” she answered as she kept feeding.

The pony shook her head. “It’s not the only way! You don’t have to do this!”

“Like I care. I think I’ll just stick with this plan and be done with you and your wretched kind, leaving my subjects as the dominate species of this world and me on top.”

Pinkie was panicking, fearful of losing her emotions. The changeling’s survival instinct was preventing her from seeing reason. Pinkie tried to remember what Nymph had said about her sister, but she realized something else from her visit to Bugartha. “But Chrysalis, your plan won’t work.”

The mad changeling rolled her eyes. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“Yes I do! Just because you’re their queen doesn’t mean the changelings will like you. You are cruel and unloving, which is why they took Nymph’s side .You won’t have any friends and you will be lonely, just like right now. They probably hate you so much that they wouldn’t take you back even with a war because they could find someone better!”

Fear made a sudden return within Chrysalis. “T-they will take me back! They will require my leadership to win against the ponies!”

“But would they really believe Nymph did this? Would they believe that she, a kind queen who is friends with Princess Celestia, would suddenly decide to make war after trying to join ponies and changelings together for so long? Would they believe that you just suddenly returned to help them? Or will they know that you, the mean and nasty queen, caused it and imprison you instead? And don’t forget, only royal changelings can take all of a pony’s emotions, so you can’t control us to say her soldiers did it. And you can’t say Nymph did it because she is almost always in Bugartha and Canterlot with so many people watching her. You know what will happen instead? They will know it was you all along and arrest you!”

Pinkie could feel the magic holding her weaken. Chrysalis was visibly panicking, thinking over the words Pinkie had told her. The evil queen realized that her plan was completely flawed. Pinkie was right that the ponies and changelings would never believe Nymph would do such a thing after trying so hard to bring both species together. Her mind was a jumbled mess, trying out of pure desperation to come up with another plan to save herself. “Chrysalis?”

“Shut up and let me think!” the outcast screeched.

The pony could only produce a look of disappointment. “You’re still trying to think of an evil plan? Really?”

“I said be quiet!”

“Don’t you see? There’s nothing you can do to be queen again.”

“Liar!” Chrysalis’s mind increased its pace in its mad pursuit of creating a scheme to help her. Her temples were pounding and she was heavily sweating.

Knowing that Chrysalis was vulnerable, Pinkie made her move. “You were already the queen and you blew it. Do you really think you should do it again when Nymph has done a much better job than you? She may not be the best queen, but she’s actually nice and cares about the changelings more than herself, unlike you! You are the one leading the changelings to their doom, not her!”

Chrysalis put her hooves on her head, fearing that it would burst from the intense pain she was experiencing. “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”

“Give them one reason why they should give up Nymph and take you instead; one reason why they would want a queen who would make war just to help herself in getting a crown she doesn’t deserve!” Chrysalis looked at her defiantly, but her expression immediately shifted into hopelessness as she could not form any words. “You think you can get what you want by being mean, but that’s why you’re so miserable now. You were supposed to be a good queen, but you just took advantage of being one. You forced changelings into giving what you wanted and persuaded them to attack us. If your own sister can’t stand you, why should your subjects? Why should anyone care about you? And if your mother saw you now, after teaching you so much of what it means to be a good queen, she would be so disappointed in you, Chrysalis!”

Pinkie immediately regretted saying her last sentence as Chrysalis’s magic wrapped around her throat. The pony struggled for air and could feel the magic intensifying from the furious changeling strangling her. Although she wasn’t a changeling, the pony could feel the anger being given off by the villain. Right as Pinkie started to lose consciousness, she was suddenly released as Chrysalis’s legs gave out and she collapsed on the floor. Pinkie sat against the wall, gasping for air as she looked at the royal changeling. Chrysalis didn’t stir from her spot, completely motionless with the exception of breathing.

Somehow, Pinkie stood victorious over Chrysalis.

The pony worried about what Chrysalis was going to do next as she slowly inched her way towards her, hoping she was all right. “Chrysalis?” she asked nervously.

She flew back when the changeling stood back up. However, the former queen only hung her head in defeat as she slowly turned away. “I…failed…” she said, her voice heavily quivering. Chrysalis went to her bed and climbed onto it, pressing her face into the pillow. She just laid there without making a sound.

Pinkie got up and went up to her, who turned her back towards her. “Chrysalis?”

“Go away. Just leave me here to rot.”

Pinkie frowned from her gloomy response. She went around the bed and got on the side next to Chrysalis, who turned away from her again. “Can we actually talk now? Please?”

“What’s there to talk about? Do you wish to gloat how you’re right and I’m wrong? Want to kick this pathetic excuse for a changeling while she’s down? Go ahead. I deserve it all. You’d be doing the world a big favor.”

“No. I just want to talk. So can we?”

Chrysalis sighed. “I don’t care anymore.”

Pinkie wanted to start with what had been bothering her for so long. “So why did you start avoiding me and Luna, Chrysalis?”

“You both have been delightful to be around since I didn’t really have anyone to talk to and I didn’t want to hurt either of you. However, without an invasion, I would have no method of obtaining my people’s favor. I kept avoiding you both as much as I could in hopes that I could hate you both again, creating a reason for myself to invade Equestria. But in the end, I now just hate myself.”

“But-”

“So Celestia truly wishes to help the changelings?” Chrysalis interrupted.

The mare nodded, even though Chrysalis wasn’t facing her. “Of course she does. She and Luna and my friends care about them so much. We want to help feed them and be liked by other ponies. They deserve a chance.”

The changeling sighed. “I’m not sure whether to call you all noble or foolish, but I am grateful nonetheless.”

“Why didn’t you believe she cared about them?”

“How could I? After everything I had done, what reason would there be to give us any aid? Even before that day, I feared what she would have done if she learned of our existence. I have heard of what she had done to those she found to be a threat and it seemed obvious she would do the same to a race that feed off her subjects.”

Pinkie could sort of see why Chrysalis thought invading was a better idea. Along with her dream of taking over, the royal changeling seemed to have thought up of many plausible reasons why invading and removing the pony threat was a method of survival. Maybe things would have gone better had Nymph not been removed from the throne. “Chrysalis, why do you care about being the queen so much?”

The changeling remained silent for a moment. “I…don’t know what else to do with my life.”

“What do you mean?”

Chrysalis rolled onto her back and faced the ceiling. “All my life, I dreamed of being a good queen just like Mother. To be loved, to be successful, to be questioned by none. She was my hero. All I ever wanted to do was make her proud. It wasn’t just something I took lightly, Pinkie. I worked myself to the bone to ensure that I would bring happiness to my people. But then, it just disappeared. Seeing Nymph live my dream broke me. I had never prepared for something like that. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the rest of my life.”

“You got mad at Nymph because you didn’t know what you wanted to do? Weren’t you a princess? Why didn’t you just do that?”

“Because it was not enough for me. A queen shapes the future of her kingdom, leads them through hardships. I wanted it more than anything and I could not accept losing it.” The fugitive sighed as she rubbed her eyes. “Let me put it in a way you understand. Imagine that long before you met Twilight, you knew you were going to be the Element of Laughter. You grow up thinking about yourself and the role you would play, dreaming of being Equestria’s hero and making good friends as well. But then, on the night Nightmare Moon returned and when the Elements were awakened, it wasn’t you, but your closest friend or sister who gets the title. They go and have adventures with friends who were supposed to be yours while you get nothing. You would never be able to accept it and you would give blame to your friend. That feeling, Pinkie, was what I felt all those years ago and refused to let go of.”

Pinkie could feel her chest ache. The thought of something like that happening did not sit well with her. “But there is no way Nymph would ever do something like that. She would never hurt you.”

“Then how do you explain it, Pinkie? My Mother had always told me that I would be a great queen for the changelings; that I was a born leader, and when the time finally came, she just suddenly changes her mind.”

Even the party pony found it to be odd, but she didn’t believe what Chrysalis thought. She had met Nymph and she was desperate to find Chrysalis and have her back. There was no way she would have done such a thing to her. “I…I don’t know, but I refuse to believe that’s what happened. Sisters are supposed to love each other!”

“I envy your ignorance.” The princess just turned away and faced the wall in front of her.

Pinkie placed a hoof on her shoulder. “So what are you going to do now, Chrysalis?”

There was a long and uncomfortable pause. “My life is pretty much over at this point. I am a total failure and nothing will change that.”

Pinkie scooted closer to her. “You are not a failure.”

“Yes I am. The crown is no longer within my grasp, I am the most hated thing alive, and I have ultimately lost in my quest. I have nothing left in this world. No one would miss me if I was dead.”

“Nymph would miss you, Chrysalis.”

Chrysalis shook her head. “Have you heard a word I said? She has no reason to like me. I am beyond redemption for causing suffering to both our species. You were completely right. While I did invade for food, I just wanted the glory. I didn’t care about ponies and only saw making myself a legend.”

“But she does care about you. She told us so much about you and she said she misses you.” Chrysalis didn’t bother answering, likely not believing her. “She even attacked Twilight for you.”

This caught the outcast’s attention and she faced her company. “She…what?”

“Twilight said horrible things about you and Nymph got really mad. She cares about you so much and she’s really worried about you. You have to believe me.”

Chrysalis was in total disbelief that Nymph would even consider giving her another chance, but resumed her moping when she turned away again. “Even if she did still love me, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“Why not?”

“Because I am still Equestria’s most wanted. Ponies hate me for attacking them and changelings hate me for being cruel and for endangering our kingdom. And before you even think that saying sorry will help, you are wrong. Celestia will just make me a statue and call it a day.”

Pinkie gently rubbed her cheek. “It will help. It’s just you’re going to have to do more to make up for everything you did. Remember how I said there was another way to help yourself? I think I have an idea of how to make everything better.”

The princess swatted her hoof away. “Don’t bother. It’s over.”

“It is not over. You just have to try.”

“I pity your childish imagination, thinking that everyone gets to live happily ever after. The truth is I won’t. I have done too much unforgivable things and I will never be able to cleanse myself of my sins.”

“It will work!” Pinkie insisted cheerfully. “You just have to trust me. Besides, what else do you got to lose?”

Chrysalis sighed, not caring for any false hope. “And what possible idea could you have, Pinkie?”

“Well first, I have question: what do you want, Chrysalis?”

“My crown and vengeance,” she answered.

The pony was not too pleased by her answer. “Nothing else? Are those the only two things you care about?”

“Twilight exposing me not only had me nearly killed, but I lost everything out of my failure, including being the queen. It was my destiny. It was my entire purpose in life. I was supposed to lead my subjects into prosperity, not despair. I need to be queen again so I can fix this mess and bring a golden age to the changelings.”

Pinkie turned her around and took her hoof. “Are you sure you want to be queen again? You weren’t that good and they all hate you now.” She saw that Chrysalis took great offense to that and quickly continued. “Just because your mom didn’t pick you doesn’t mean she didn’t love you or that Nymph went against you. And you don’t have to be a queen to do anything important. You can just be you and do so many good things. I’m just a pony and you’ve seen how happy I make others.”

“But Twilight…”

“Stop!” she shouted suddenly, startling Chrysalis. “I know you are mad at her, but what else was she supposed to do? You forced her into stopping you because of what you had planned. She was protecting the ones she loved, who were being threatened by you. Wouldn’t you do everything you could to protect your loved ones?”

Once again, Pinkie was right and Chrysalis could feel her self-loathing grow. “I…suppose.”

“So I’ll ask again: what do you want?”

The changeling took her time to find the answer. “I don’t want to suffer anymore.”

Pinkie rubbed the changeling’s hoof. “Go on.”

“I miss my old life. I miss my home, my mother, my…sister. I don’t want to live in hiding anymore. I don’t want to be remembered as a monster. I want to be free, to be myself. I am afraid of being alone again. Being isolated for so long has been absolutely agonizing. I guess I only dealt with it so well before was because I was occupied with ruling the kingdom. But since I’ve been living here, I actually began enjoying the company of you ponies.” She sighed dejectedly. “You are right of how I truly am giving the changelings a bad name. I should have listened to Nymph about the wedding, but my hate for her blinded me from her reasoning. We are only so lucky Celestia did not wish to exterminate us for our assault.” Chrysalis began sniffling. “I just wanted the outside world to be something we owned and not feared. Had I thought things through and actually did research, I would have seen Celestia for the kind soul she is and maybe approach her diplomatically first. But then again, I wouldn’t have cared, being who I was back then. As for what I want, I wish for forgiveness for my mistakes and to return home to live a peaceful and quiet life, dedicating myself to shaping my people’s future for the better.”

“What about Nymph?”

“That is a double-edged sword, Pinkie. If I am right about her stealing the crown, then that says enough. If I am wrong…” Chrysalis closed her eyes. “…then every horrible thing I did to her was for nothing.”

“Chrysalis, I know it’s difficult, but the important thing is you are sorry. Nymph still misses you and she would be so happy if she saw how you learned your lesson. You have to try to make things better between you two. I know you still love her.” Chrysalis slowly nodded. “And wouldn’t your parents want you two to make up instead of fighting?”

“They would.”

“So what if you could get Nymph back, have everyone forgive you, and make new friends? Would that make you happy?” Pinkie asked.

“Yes. Yes, it would.”

“So no more evil stuff?”

The changeling sighed. “No more.”

Pinkie’s expression was beaming. “That’s great! So you know how you’re pretending to be friends with my friends? Well you just need to actually be their friends along with Luna and Celestia and when they see how different you’ve become, they’ll forgive you. It shouldn’t be so hard since Nymph told us how nice you used to be.”

“You’re still forgetting the problem with the citizens of both of our nations. They would rather see me in a jail cell and I’m sure they can pressure Nymph or your princesses into doing so.”

“But we can change that, Chrysalis! You know how you’re super famous as Cherub right now and almost everypony is wondering what you’re up to?”

Chrysalis raised an eyebrow as her curiosity rose. “Yeah?”

“Everypony thinks you’re a totally awesome matchmaker and we can use that to help you since everyone will know about you. You just have to act really nice and help everypony and changeling you can by creating love! If you can help more ponies find special someponies, then more ponies will be happy because they’re in love and the changelings will be happy because there will be more food! And when they see that it was all you and how much of a great friend of the princesses you are, they’ll totally give you a chance. And then you’ll live happily ever after! So what do you think? Is a great idea or what?” Pinkie asked excitedly.

This pony never ceased to surprise her. “That sounds…really clever, to be honest.”

“Great! And after we finish, you can just be a princess that still helps her people. But if they don’t let you be a princess anymore, we can find something you like doing together. It’s going to be a while, but everything’s going to be okay, Chrysalis. I promise.” Despite her excitement, Chrysalis looked very depressed. “What?”

“Pinkie, why are you doing this? The invasion aside, I have told you how horrid I truly am, I have done nothing but insult and demean you ever since I came here, and even threatened your home once again. Why not simply imprison me and be done with it? What could you possibly gain from helping me? What is it that you want from me so badly?”

“A friend.”

Chrysalis gasped, unable to believe her ears. “After everything I did and admitted, you…still want to be my friend?”

“Yes I do. You may think it’s stupid for me to still want to, but it’s even more stupid to have enemies. Why fight when we can just get along? What does hating each other ever do? If we stay mad at each other, then we just keep fighting and somepony is always miserable. I don’t want you to suffer anymore, Chrysalis. You saw what being sad almost made you do. Rather than just keeping you all sad and miserable, I just want you to be happy. So please, Chrysalis,” Pinkie hugged the changeling, pressing her face into her chest, “will you be my friend?”

It took a moment for Chrysalis to believe this was happening. She was so tired of feeling lost and alone and just wished for her torment to end. She no longer desired to be a ruler, but only to be loved and accepted once again. Since Pinkie gave her a chance, Chrysalis would do the same for her. A small smile appeared on her lips as she slowly held Pinkie with her forelegs and hugged her. “Yes, Pinkie,” she whispered. “I want to be your friend.”

They laid there for several minutes, neither making a sound as they enjoyed each other’s embrace. Chrysalis felt her fears and doubts fade away, knowing that there was still hope for her. It wasn’t exactly how she envisioned her future, but she was more than willing to take it. She buried her face in Pinkie’s mane, noticing how it carried the scent of cotton candy. She couldn’t remember the last time she did something like this with anyone, but she missed the feeling so much. “So do you feel better now?” asked the earth pony.

“Yes and thank you. Pinkie, I want you to know that I am sorry for what I did during the wedding and for being such a jerk to you when I posed as Cherub. I’m also very sorry for going mad earlier. What you saw wasn’t me. I would never do such a terrible thing to my people. I just got upset over everything and was thinking irrationally.”

Pinkie looked up at her. “It’s okay. I forgive you. But you know what we should do? We should write a letter to Nymph and tell her you’re ok!”

“No.”

Pinkie immediately frowned. “Why not?”

“Two reasons. The first is if Celestia hears that I have written to her, her guards will be all over it and they will trace it back to us in no time. Even using the mirror for communication would be risky since she could trace the magic.”

“Oh. So what’s the second reason?”

Chrysalis sighed and closed her eyes. “I…just don’t want to speak with Nymph right now.”

“Why not? She misses you.”

The fallen queen tightened her hold on the pony. “I’m afraid I still have some lingering doubts about her and need more time to think things over. Please understand.”

Pinkie wanted to argue with her, but she didn’t want to spoil the mood. “Okay.”

“I will in time, but I just want to focus on helping me right now. I have so much on my mind that I wouldn’t know what to say to her.”

“Then we’ll worry about it later.” Pinkie then pulled away and got off the bed. “Hey, you know what will cheer you up? Celebrating your birthday!”

Chrysalis actually smiled and stood up. “As long as it’s just the two of us.” They exited her bedroom and returned to the main room down the stairs. Chrysalis sat her desk and Pinkie held up the cake to her.

“So do you like it?”

The changeling princess looked down at the treat. It was a small, chocolate cake with pink frosting used for writing. She noticed something was incorrect and laughed. “I do, but I think the age is a little off.”

Pinkie looked at what she wrote and then back at her. “Well how old are you?”

“I’m three hundred and sixty two years old today.”

The mare’s jaw dropped. “Wow, you’re way older than my granny! But I don’t think I can fit that many candles on it.”

Chrysalis chuckled amusingly. “That’s fine, Pinkie. Maybe next year we could make a cake large enough to fit them all.”

Pinkie nodded. “It’s a promise! So are you going to blow them out?”

“I might as well.”

“Don’t forget to make a wish!”

Chrysalis thought that was a bit silly, but she decided to do it anyway. In her mind, she wished that everything would work out for her and she would find happiness. Holding onto that thought, she took a deep breath and blew them out.

Pinkie applauded her and cheered loudly, but she slowly came to a stop. “Oh…”

“What?”

“I kinda remembered it was your birthday last night, so I didn’t get you a present.” Pinkie stared at the floor, completely crushed. “I’m sorry…”

Chrysalis could feel how down she was, so she reached a hoof over to her. “Don’t be. You’ve already given me a present that will last forever.”

The pony looked up. “Really?”

“Your friendship, Pinkie. It is a gift worth more than anything and I’ll treasure it always.” She got up and made her way to Pinkie. “You know, I think you deserve a gift as well for coming to my aid and giving me a second chance. No one else has done that for me since the invasion.”

Pinkie couldn’t hold back her grin. “A gift? For me?”

“Oh yes. It isn’t much, but I hope it expresses my gratitude.”

“What is it?”

“Close your eyes.”

Pinkie giggled excitedly as she closed her eyes, but then something happened that made them shoot open. She felt something press against her face and she could see Chrysalis kissing her on the cheek. “Whoa…”

“Sorry to have surprised you. A kiss from a royal changeling is considered to be one of the highest blessings one can receive in my culture and after all you have done for me, I felt like you deserved it.”

“Well I really liked it. I don’t think Fluttershy will, though.”

Chrysalis giggled. “Good point. When all of this is over with, I promise you that I will reward you with whatever you desire for all your help.”

“Your happiness is all I want, Chrysalis. Speaking of which, it’s cake time!”


They spent several hours celebrating Chrysalis’s birthday in her home. Despite it only being the two of them, Chrysalis deeply enjoyed the party. She was actually willing to play some of the party games and felt like a kid again. She never did anything as fun for her birthday since her mother passed and wished she met Pinkie earlier. Once they finished, they just lied on the couches and talked for a long time. Chrysalis felt good from opening up and she could feel a connection growing between her and Pinkie.

Eventually, sunset was approaching and they decided to discuss business, which was going to go through some major changes. “So our new building will be ready later this week and we need to decide what we need to add in order to improve our performance. I’d like something to keep the customers distracted while you and I are out on a job since that is our prime issue.”

The pony immediately had an answer. “I know! Why don’t we have an ice cream stand?”

The changeling rolled her eyes. “Try to be realistic. I’d like them to maybe find some love while we’re out on business. Progress shouldn’t stop while we are away.”

Pinkie rubbed her chin. “We could have them date each other while waiting? Like speed dating?”

Chrysalis happily clapped her hooves. “Yes! That is an excellent idea.” She wrote it down on the paper and held it when she finished. “So we’ll need a secretary to create and organize the profiles and keep the costumers in check, somepony to run the speed dating, and security.”

“Security?”

“With so many ponies in one place, I can promise you something will go wrong. Plus I am done with being harassed by lonely losers,” she spat disdainfully. “Now the question is who I would want to hire for these jobs.”

Pinkie stuck her tongue out as she thought intensely of who would best suit the jobs they were considering. After a minute, she gasped loudly, catching her boss’s attention. “I know who we could get! Spike and Twilight are really smart and are good at organizing, so they could be your secretaries. And I’m sure we could get Rarity or Fluttershy to help run the speed dating and Applejack or Rainbow Dash could be security since they’re really tough!” Pinkie could see her friend giving her a blank stare. “What’s wrong? Don’t you like my friends?”

“Only a little. Well, all but one.”

Pinkie could easily guess who she was referring to. “Twilight? But why?”

“Because she’s the reason I’m in this mess in the first place!”

“Can you blame her? You tried to marry her brother by stealing the bride. What would you do if somepony evil wanted to marry Nymph and take over the Changeling Kingdom? And besides, this is great way for you two to get along.”

Chrysalis crossed her forelegs and huffed. “Fine.”

“That’s the spirit!” Pinkie leapt off the sofa. “I’ll go tell them right now!”

Chrysalis got up and stashed her papers in her desk. “Have them come by tomorrow so I can talk about it with them and be sure to tell them that I won’t be so much of a jerk from this point on. I’m a brand new Cherub.”

“Can do!” Pinkie got to the door and looked at Chrysalis. “So you want to do something fun tomorrow? We still won’t have work for a while.”

The changeling smiled warmly and nodded. “That would be lovely. However, I would prefer if we just sat and talk for some time before actually doing something. I really need someone to listen to me.”

“Okay. Are you going to be okay until then?”

The changeling placed a hoof on her forehead. “I…I don’t know if I want to be left alone again, but I’ll try. I don’t want to make you stay.”

Pinkie really didn’t want to leave her alone, but she was sure Fluttershy and the Cakes would wonder where she was. Then Pinkie remembered the changeling’s other friend. “Don’t be sad. Why don’t you write to Luna? I’m sure she will want to talk to you.”

Chrysalis suddenly remembered the Moon Princess. Even if she didn’t know the real her, her friendship was something she valued highly. “That is a good idea. I shouldn’t have blown her off and I bet she’s wondering what I’ve been up to. I also do miss her company.” She walked over and bent down to get on Pinkie’s level. “Before you go, there’s something I need to say to you.”

“What?”

She sighed. “Pinkie, I am so sorry about everything I did.” She hugged Pinkie, who returned the gesture. “Thank you for everything, Pinkie. I can easily say that you’re my best friend.”

Pinkie produced a very long gasp. “Really?”

“I do, considering you’re my only friend.” Chrysalis released her from the embrace. “Goodbye, Pinkie. I can’t wait to see you again.”

“Me too! Bye, Chrysie!” Pinkie quickly went through the door, now on the search for her closest friends.

Chrysalis locked the door, mildly annoyed. She did not like it when she was called Chrysie, especially since she and Nymph were not on the best of terms. Speaking of Nymph, she wondered if there was any truth to what Pinkie said. If Nymph really didn’t do anything, why did her mother change her mind? Did she know what Chrysalis’s reign would have brought? She shook her head, deciding to worry about such things later. Her bigger concern was to get Nymph to give her a chance, which might be harder to do than having Celestia do the same.

With Pinkie gone, Chrysalis was alone with her thoughts. She began replaying over the wedding in her head, looking at it with a new perspective. She remembered how Cadance cried and begged her to let her go while Chrysalis just taunted her. She was going to use her lover as a personal feeder and destroy her home for her own needs. Chrysalis could feel the guilt growing within her, but she couldn’t stop thinking about it. All those ponies running in terror as her soldiers unleashed havoc on them. And then in the end, she was thrown out of Canterlot by the barrier. Chrysalis shut her eyes and clenched her teeth as she remembered falling. She had never been so scared in her entire life. She remembered counting the moments until she finally landed, wondering if she was going to die. But in the end, she survived, only to be kicked out of her home and labeled as a monster. Chrysalis forced these thoughts out of her mind, feeling incredibly depressed and knowing she would go mad once more if she kept it up.

Chrysalis lied on the couch and stared at her ceiling. It was certainly shocking to hear that Nymph assaulted Twilight as she was not the type to usually lash out like that. Chrysalis believed that the years of torment had affected her sister in some way, which was not too hard to imagine. Most likely Nymph would not simply sweep their history under the rug and would have some sort of payback in store for her, which made her nervous. The queen was willing to give her sister to Celestia for punishment, so obviously she was still mad. It would probably be many years before things would be normal between them.

Speaking of younger sisters, she decided it was time to talk to Luna. She got up from her couch and made her way to her desk. In the bottom drawer was the mailbox that the princess gave her, which she pulled out. She then got a blank sheet of paper and a quill and began to write. She wrote a brief letter apologizing for cutting her off and requesting her to come over as soon as she could. Once she finished, Chrysalis put it inside the mailbox and closed it, sending it to the alicorn. She then remembered she had those letters Luna sent her that she hadn’t read and decided to give them a look, so she went upstairs.

In her bedroom, she rested on the bed as she pulled out the stack from the nightstand drawer. She began in chronological order. The first few letters were like the usual ones, talking about interesting stuff and asking a few questions about her. They made her smile faintly, remembering the good times they had before. Then came the letters when Luna noticed something wrong with her. She asked her what was bothering her and requested to visit so they could talk. Chrysalis could feel a weight in her chest grow as she read more, noticing that Luna was progressively getting more desperate in getting an answer. The last letters made her feel the worst. Luna was asking if she did something wrong that offended her and kept begging for forgiveness. All the letters involved her pleading for Chrysalis to talk with her and for them to be friends again. It was clear Luna was not taking her silent treatment well at all. Once she finished the last one, the former queen placed them on the nightstand and stared at her ceiling.

Now she felt extremely depressed. How could she have done that to the poor girl? The princess was struggling to make friends and she just tossed her aside because she was too busy thinking about her own selfish needs. Not only had she done this to Luna, but to Pinkie and Nymph as well. Her desire to be a hero was so strong that she wanted to push them away. Even worse, it turned her into a monster. All she felt like doing now was lie in her bed, feeling worse than she ever had in a long time. She could feel some tears roll down her face and was glad no one could see her. The sight of a royal changeling such as herself crying was pathetic.

Her mind was clouding with thoughts of her misdeeds. Now she could see how wrong she really was all this time. How could she have lost sight of what was important? She was raised to put her subjects ahead of herself, but when she found her dream threatened, she had completely forgotten this lesson. She thought about what Pinkie said of the changelings’ opinion of her. If everything she said was true, then she was already finished. Pinkie’s plan wasn’t going to work. She would just be arrested, tossed away, and forgotten. There was no hope for her. She should just give up instead of investing in something that was doomed before it even started.

Her thoughts were interrupted by loud knocking on her front door. Knowing who was there, she forced herself up off the bed and headed for the stairway. She could feel herself growing more anxious as she approached the front door. Would Luna be mad at her for treating her like that? What could Chrysalis even say to her? She had no excuse to provide and she most certainly could not tell her the truth. She felt absolutely awful and did not want to see her right now, but she knew this had to be done. She took a deep breath before opening the door. “Hello, Luna.”

“Hello, Cherub,” the alicorn greeted. “It has been far too long. May I come inside?”

“S-sure.” She stepped aside to let the princess in her home. “I wasn’t expecting a visit so soon, to be honest.”

“Well I just want to make sure you’re doing okay. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you.” Luna sat at the couch and while Chrysalis sat across from her. “I don’t mean to be rude, but you look like Tartarus.”

Chrysalis lied on her side and sighed. “I feel like it, too.”

The pony didn’t even crack a smile. “What’s going on, Cherub? You’ve been acting strange for weeks and you wanted nothing to do with me without saying why. I tried to get answers through writing to you, but you never replied. You were my friend and you just decided to leave me in the dark.”

Chrysalis could see that Luna was very mad. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I was busy with things.”

“So busy that you couldn’t even drop by and say hi while attending a party right outside my home?” Chrysalis quickly sat up and looked at her in surprise. “The music woke me up early and I decided to take a look and who do I find there? You. I thought to myself maybe you had come to your senses and wanted to visit, but you just left. My hopes were crushed and I just felt miserable for the night, wondering if I had done something to lose you. Rarity showed up later and when I asked her about you, she said you had a great time and never once asked about me. So you were so busy boosting your own reputation you couldn’t possibly bother to visit your friend? No offense, but that’s a pretty hurtful thing to do.”

Chrysalis looked at the floor in front of her, feeling guilt pushing down hard on her. “I…didn’t know.”

“So would you care to share what had you so busy that you didn’t even bother to talk to me for several weeks? I bet you didn’t even look at my letters,” she accused coldly.

Luna’s aggressive tone was hurting her, even more since she couldn’t tell her the truth. “N-no, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“No? You’re going to keep another secret from me after all this and pretend it never happened? Do you even think of me as a friend, Cherub?”

“O-of course I do, Luna! You’re a great friend!”

Luna crossed her forelegs and looked sternly at her. “Then why are you playing these games with me? I try to be your friend, but you don’t seem to value me so much. What have I ever done to you?”

“Nothing!”

“Then what? Why can’t we talk like adults? Why did you avoid me when I have done nothing?”

Chrysalis was reaching breaking point as she flashed back to the last time she had an argument like this. “I…I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You wanted to be rid of me and you don’t know why? What is it going to take for you to be honest with me? Now that I think about it, are we even friends? Am I just wasting my time with you? I will gladly leave right now if you don’t-” All of sudden, Chrysalis broke out into loud bawling right in front of her. “Cherub?”

“I’m sorry!” the changeling cried. “You’re completely right! I am a horrible, worthless friend! I know that I deserve nothing from you, but please don’t leave me! I…I can’t stand being alone again! I won’t hurt you again, just please don’t cast me aside! Give me another chance!” Chrysalis dug her face into her hooves and wept uncontrollably. It was probably the most embarrassing thing she had ever done, but she was too upset to care. It hit her hard that she treated those who actually cared about her like this to the point they were willing to give up on her. Ever since Nymph was chosen to be the new queen, Chrysalis had been in a spiral of self-destruction. She now thought Pinkie’s plan was absolutely pointless. No one was ever going to forgive her after all she did. She might as well just give up and stop fooling herself into believing there was any hope for her.

As Chrysalis sat there, she suddenly found herself in the warm embrace of Luna. The mare had her wrapped in an embrace with forelegs and wings. Rather than say anything, Chrysalis pressed her face into her shoulder as she sobbed. “It’s okay, Cherub. Just let it all out.” The red unicorn sobbed as Luna stroked her hair. This physical contact with the alicorn brought a sense of comfort to Chrysalis. The false unicorn wept on Luna for about ten minutes until she finally managed to calm herself down. “Better now?”

“Yes.” Chrysalis wiped her eyes and got on the other side of the couch. “I’m so sorry you had to see that.”

“It’s okay, but I would really like to know what’s going on with you. I have never seen you act like this before and I am very concerned.” She placed a hoof on Chrysalis’s. “You know you can talk to me.”

Chrysalis wished she could. She wished she could tell Luna everything and that she would be understanding and friendly like Pinkie was. But instead, she would have to spin another story. “I…suppose you deserve some truth after what I put you through.”

“Your past?” Luna asked, very curious.

“Yeah, but I would rather not get into the details of it right now. I let it affect me too much, actually wanting to push away my friends out of spite.”

“But what about now?” asked the blue pony.

“I’m fine now, at least to some extent. I still have a lot of cleaning up to do, probably years until it’s all behind me. I just hope I can pull it off. If I don’t, I…I’m scared of what will happen.” Chrysalis prayed that Pinkie’s plan would pull through as it was her last chance to be happy. The changeling then thought about what had happened today. She could not believe that she had snapped like that, willing to throw all her changelings into danger simply to avoid her punishment. She was extremely thankful that the pony managed to talk some sense into her and decided to help her after everything that happened. Chrysalis felt a little skeptical about Pinkie’s plan, but she didn’t have any other plan in mind.

“It sounds very serious.”

“It is very serious. Luna, I’ve done…awful things. Hurtful things. I’ve brought pain to others who didn’t deserve it and even took delight in it. I think I may be messed up in the head. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but this needs to be said. You deserve to know more after how I treated you. The truth is I have lied to you about many things.”

The Night Princess gulped, fearful of what she was going to learn. “Like what?”

“First, let’s start with my wedding. My fiancé didn’t do anything bad. It was all me. I just blamed him to make myself feel better. I was out of control and too uncaring and he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, which is why he broke it off. I was a monster and I couldn’t see myself for what I was.”

Luna gasped. “Goodness.”

“It affected my personality to the extent where my relationship with my sister fell apart. I then did something incredibly stupid and afterwards, I ran. I had to get away from it all and start anew, throwing everything I had behind. I was already punished for what I did, but I had to get away. Somehow, my ex-fiancé tracked me down and wanted to bring me home for my sister’s sake, but I would not have it. We got into a loud verbal argument and I threw his flank out. Since then, I just got sick of everypony, including you. I’m so sorry.”

Luna stared at her with wide eyes and with a hoof over her mouth. “I…I can’t believe this.”

“I’m sorry, but it is the truth. This is why I never talk about myself.” Chrysalis sighed. “But then, Pinkie found out a few things about me and I…got mad.”

Luna was now even more surprised. “How mad?”

“V-very. But in the end, she talked me down and we talked for a while. She made me realize how wrong I was. And now, I am working on my own redemption, if that is even possible for me.” She looked at the alicorn. “I need you to tell me something, Luna.”

“What is it?”

Chrysalis just threw herself at her, wrapping her forelegs around the alicorn’s warm body. “Tell me everything is going be okay. Tell me that I don’t need to be scared of what may come. Tell me…you’ll always be my friend.”

Luna smiled at her and held her. “Of course we’ll always be friends, Cherub, and you do not need to be afraid. Life is filled with many difficulties that will push you to your limits, but do not lose hope. You are a mare who is very remorseful of her actions and wishes to be redeemed. You have also shown to be very caring towards others, including me. And remember, I’ll always be here. I forgive you, Cherub, just please don’t do something like that again. I was hurt by what you did.”

The changeling tightened her grip, causing Luna to blush. “Thanks, Luna. I’m really sorry I cut you off like that without saying anything. I know you were worried and I should have said something.” Chrysalis released Luna. “Okay, that’s enough about that. My emotions need some rest, so we will talk about this more another time. It’s time to move on to more positive things. So I actually have a lot of time off from work and I was wondering if we could spend some time together and do some catching up, if you want to. I owe you that much.”

Luna smiled. “I would love to, Cherub. I really do miss your company.”

“I’m glad. And since I haven’t been fair to you, I want you to pick what you want us to do.”

The alicorn produced a grin. “Really?”

“Yes. I will do whatever you want to do. Your wish is my command.”

Luna’s expression reflected her incredible excitement. “I know exactly what I want to do. I’ve been planning to do this with Celestia and the Elements for a while, and I would happily take you with us.”

The changeling could only imagine what sort of activity Luna would be so eager about. Any royal gathering or sports event would be nice for a change, but she wouldn't be too picky as long as she was with her. “Sounds like fun. What do you have in mind?”

“I want us to go clubbing!”

Chrysalis chuckled. “That does sound like…wait. Clubbing!?”

“Oh yes! I have recently heard about these clubs ponies have at night, with bright lights and some great music!” Luna then began imitating some of the techno music with her mouth. “It is so great that ponies hold these fun activities during my night and I wish to try it for myself!”

The fugitive was still in shock. “C-clubbing!?”

“Yes, clubbing. Won’t it be fun?”

Chrysalis crossed her forelegs and looked away. “I won’t do it.”

Luna was shocked by her answer. “What? Why not?”

“Because it’s dumb.” Night clubs were something Chrysalis was very familiar with. It was an extremely popular thing for middle and lower class changelings to do while in Equestria. It provided them with music they had never heard, dancing that was fun to them, and a great way to find food. Chrysalis, however, thought it was stupid and degrading. As royalty, she was not fond of the idea of dancing like a madmare and just going home with some random stranger and heavily preferred her more tame social gatherings at home. Even Nymph, who loved studying the outside world, wanted nothing to do with night clubs.

“Come on, Cherub, it’ll be fun,” Luna pleaded.

“Absolutely not. As a celebrity, I cannot allow myself to partake in such foalish activity. I can’t believe you are even considering this, especially since you’re a princess.”

“But I thought you said you would do anything I wanted,” she reminded.

“Well I take it back. Pick something else.”

Luna lost her smile. “You really don’t want to go with me?”

She shook her head. “Not at all.”

“…Please?”

The way Luna asked made her curious. Chrysalis looked at Luna and could see her pleading eyes. It wasn’t the sad puppy eyes Pinkie liked to use, but it showed that she really wanted her to go. Chrysalis tried to resist, but she was finding it very difficult to turn her down. After some consideration, she gave in. “If you really want me to, I guess I’ll go.”

Luna clapped her hooves, very pleased. “Oh, I’m so happy! I promise you that you will have a good time. I’ve always wanted to sing karaoke and shake my money maker.” She then became lost in thought. “But what is a money maker, I wonder, and why do you shake it?”

Chrysalis burst out laughing, confusing her friend. “You want me to tell you?”

“Please do.”

The changeling got up, stood behind the princess, and pressed a hoof on Luna’s butt. “This is your money maker.”

The alicorn gasped and her face was as red as Chrysalis’s coat in her disguise. “What!? H-how is that a money maker!?”

“Well usually you need a pole, but all you do is wiggle it and stallions will throw bits at you like no tomorrow. So are you going to show those ponies that cute rump of yours?” Chrysalis asked as she continuously poked her rear.

Luna turned around, showing how embarrassed she was. “Stop touching me there and I most certainly will not! I will not let perverts pay me to show them my posterior. I shall be sure to warn Tia and the Elements as well to avoid any embarrassment.”

Chrysalis was ready to burst out laughing again. “That is a good idea. With the size of Celestia’s money maker, it wouldn’t be wise for her to swing around it without thought. Somepony could get hurt.”

The Princess of the Night put her hooves over her mouth and giggled uncontrollably. “You are terrible, Cherub, but I’m relieved that you haven’t lost your sense of humor.” Eventually, she managed to get a hold of herself. “Speaking of my sister, this will be your first time meeting her, won’t it?”

Chrysalis’s smile slowly disappeared, feeling uncomfortable. “Oh. I haven’t thought about that.”

Luna threw a hoof around her in attempts of reassuring her. “Don’t be nervous. She’s a nice pony just like me, not some stuck up snob. Just don’t crack jokes like that about her and you’ll live to see another day.”

They both snickered. “Good advice.”

“So when do you want to go? I’m ready whenever you are.”

The reformed changeling sighed. “Definitely not tonight. I’ve had one heck of a day.”

“Very well. So what do you want to do tonight instead?”

Chrysalis thought for a moment, but she heard her stomach growl. Despite having love available, she still needed physical food and all she ate today was birthday cake. “Eat. I feel absolutely famished.”

“Well how about I take you out for dinner? I’ll pay for it, too.”

The matchmaker was pleased with the idea of getting free food. It was very sweet of Luna to treat her so well and to show her gratitude, she got up to her and nuzzled her cheek against hers. “Oh, Luna, I will gladly go on a date with you,” she cooed.

Luna's cheeks turned crimson from the comment and pulled away. “I-it is not a date!” she stammered loudly.

Chrysalis just laughed at her reaction. “I know, I’m just teasing.” She was actually mildly disappointed. Luna had quite a nice body on her and a very cute personality. “I have to admit it is very kind of you to treat me like this, especially since I haven’t been too good to you lately.”

“You have helped me before, so I want to help you in any way I can.”

“Spending time with you is enough for me, but I will still accept your offer.” Chrysalis stretched her legs. “Might as well go now. It will rain soon and the sooner I get to bed, the better. I need rest.”

Chrysalis and Luna went to the door and the alicorn opened it for her. Outside, they walked together through Ponyville, where many ponies took notice of Luna. On their walk, Chrysalis tried to think about something they could discuss. Convinced that Luna and Celestia were not out to get vengeance on her species, she decided to ask her about that. “So…how is it going with the changelings?”

“Just fine. Peace talks are slow as usual and it doesn’t help with the other races watching, creating so much unneeded pressure.”

“The other races?” Chrysalis asked, now worried.

“Yes, they have been concerned about the changelings for a while and are constantly reminding my sister and me to be careful when dealing with them. I personally do not worry about them. Only their queen can be a potential threat, but she is on our side. It will take some time to convince the other leaders.”

“Pinkie has mentioned she and her friends paid Nymph a visit some time ago.”

“They have and it has helped them see the changelings in a better light. Twilight has actually accompanied Celestia to Bugartha a few times after and even by herself for some research.”

The changeling rolled her eyes, not surprised in the least. “Doesn’t surprise me. It’s all she ever does.”

Luna produced a small smile. “True, but she’s at least making good friends with Nymph.”

“I’m surprised she would even consider befriending her after what happened at her brother’s wedding.”

“She was reluctant at first, but she came around. I’m just surprised it took her a lot less time to trust her than it did for me, considering everything she had been through.” The alicorn sighed. “I do feel foolish for being so doubtful and cold towards her at first, expecting a trick. I have even frightened her at times. Even my sister has scolded me for being an airhead.”

Seeing how bothered her friend was, Chrysalis nudged her. “Well you just wanted to keep your people safe. It’s good that you and Celestia may have different opinions on things as it will allow you to look at both sides of things and give you time to evaluate your options. If Nymph was planning something, you both all of a sudden supporting her would have been bad. Don’t feel bad that you don’t always agree with your sister. If you did always have the same opinions, why would she need you to rule by her side?”

Luna thought about it a moment, and then smiled. “You know, I’ve never thought about it like that. Thanks, Cherub.”

“It is my pleasure. I take it Shining and Cadance have taken a liking to her by now?”

The Princess of the Night smirked. “Yes, but Shining often gets…flustered by her.”

The false unicorn raised her eyebrow. “How’s that?”

“I don’t know, but I think that queen might be a little too friendly with him. Sometimes I hear her call him Shiny and it seems like her eyes are often glued onto him.”

Chrysalis couldn’t help but chuckle. Nymph was always the flirty type and clearly she was drawn to the knight. She knew her sister would respect their marriage and not try something like Chrysalis had, but that wouldn’t stop her from putting them in awkward situations. “Can you blame her? He’s quite a catch.”

“I suppose he is, but she will end up in a cat fight with my niece if she does not control herself. I heard that many mares in the palace cried when they found out he was getting married to Cadance.”

“They’ll get over it. I’m surprised Celestia never fancied him, but I suppose she has seen more attractive stallions in her lifetime.” The changeling then felt a surge of surprise and mild nervousness from the pony. She figured this meant she was on to something. She looked at her and asked, “Luna, did Celestia have a thing for him?”

“W-w-what!? O-of course not! Do not be ridiculous! She was most certainly not upset that Cadance found him first!” she blabbed.

Chrysalis was in hysterics on the inside. “What about you? What was your thoughts on him?”

Luna gulped and began to sweat. She tried walking faster, but Chrysalis caught up, expecting an answer. “Well…he…uh…maybe?”

“Aw, Luna in love. That’s so sweet.”

The alicorn made sure no other pony could hear them. “I’m not in love! I just took a liking to him. The first moments of my life when I returned from the moon were hard and he was one of the only ponies that liked me and treated me well. I will admit he had a certain effect on me, but that’s all I will say about it.”

“I’m surprised Celestia hasn’t tried allowing polygamy,” Chrysalis joked.

“Now you’re starting to sound like Nymph.” Both of them broke into laughter, drawing attention of the other citizens around them. “But speaking of Nymph, the poor thing is exhausting herself trying to convince the ponies into accepting her kind. She hasn’t had a day off in months.”

“I’m surprised she hasn’t finished by now.”

“Well ponies still think the changelings are out to get them and it doesn’t help when a rumor like them eating babies or something comes up. Even if ponies can look past their mistake, there’s always economy issues and their influence on politics. Maybe she would have been finished by now if it wasn’t for Chrysalis.”

The changeling mentioned noticed the harsh voice she used to say her name. She knew Luna didn’t like the real her, but maybe she had a change of heart since the last time she met. Besides, she needed to know Luna’s opinion of her to get an understanding of how difficult finding forgiveness would be. “If you do find Chrysalis, what are you going to do with her?”

“Arrest her,” Luna answered sternly.

The changeling felt an emotional sting from her answer. “Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

“You’re not going to give her a chance?” she asked worriedly.

The alicorn shook her head. “A chance to what? Get revenge? I have to apprehend her before she does something dangerous. If she could overpower my own sister, there is no telling what she is capable of. I must do this for the good of all of us.” Luna looked to the distance. “I wasn’t there when Chrysalis invaded. I was asleep as her army descended onto Canterlot. I was not there to protect my home and I will never make that mistake again. I will take her down and make her understand what she has done.”

The fugitive started to feel afraid of her. “What if she feels remorse?”

Luna eyed her company with interest. “Remorse? Chrysalis? I hardly think that will happen with her.”

“I know it seems unlikely, but she does have a soul, Luna. Do you think it’s possible she has realized the error of her ways and is reflecting her life choices? Don’t forget, you went through this, too.”

Luna looked away and considered her words. “I suppose it is possible. If such a scenario does arise, I will show compassion. Nymph misses her terribly and I would like to see them make amends.”

Chrysalis smiled at her. “Thank you, Luna. You are very sweet.”

“Thanks, but we can only hope that will be the case with her. I am concerned with her trickery and I cannot afford to be deceived. My priority is to protect all that I hold dear: Celestia, the Elements, Equestria,” the alicorn looked at Chrysalis, “and you, Cherub.”

The changeling princess felt her face grow warm. “I really appreciate it, despite not deserving your kindness.”

“That is not true.” Luna extend her wing and wrapped it around the matchmaker, pulling her close. “You are my friend. I know you have been acting very rudely, but I still care about you. I don’t want to lose you again, Cherub. I will guard you with my life.”

Deeply touched by her words, Chrysalis reached up and kissed Luna’s cheek. “I feel safer already.”

Luna was completely surprised by what happened and it took her time to form words. “Did…did you just kiss me?”

“It’s just a little peck on the cheek,” the red unicorn teased.

The pony princess turned her head away. “No pony I have ever met would even dare trying something like that with Celestia or myself.”

“Well you don’t mind if I show how appreciative I am, do you?”

“No, I actually feel flattered,” she admitted. “It is not often I am shown such affection.”

“Well your subjects should appreciate you more. They do not understand how lucky they are to have somepony like you.” Chrysalis sighed. “Even I am guilty of this.”

“Please do not worry yourself about it. You were in a very stressful situation and you needed space. Besides, it is in the past. Let’s just move on and not dwell on past mistakes.”

“I hope we can,” said Chrysalis. “I really do.”


Chrysalis made the most of her free time and felt much better overall about her situation. It was actually now a common occurrence for ponies to see her smiling and her attitude improved to some extent. During the day and even night, she would spend her time with Pinkie, which often involved parties or her listening to Chrysalis’s woes and providing emotional support. In the evening, Luna would come over and they’d go out and do all the fun things Luna wanted to do, which the alicorn could do since night court provided her with a lot of free time. Chrysalis even met Celestia, who was as kind as Luna, but she couldn’t help but feel timid as she was sure the sun alicorn was still bitter about her defeat by her hooves.

Chrysalis’s time off was over when Cupid’s Arrow was relocated to a much larger building. The main room was three times the size of the original and had a back room where they dealt with clients. They decided to go all out with the romantic theme in the main room. The wall paper was in pink and red stripes with little heart decorating it. A few tables were set up in a corner for the speed dating they planned. Jelly doughnuts would be provided for free along with the other usual treats as it would help create romance between ponies who were waiting to be called upon, which the changeling told her friend to stop eating without explaining why. Chrysalis even purchased a record player to play music that would set the mood.

Pinkie and Chrysalis managed to convince Twilight and the rest to come work for her, which would help Chrysalis win their trust in the long run. Mainly she persuaded them with high paychecks, which she could do since she was making good income, but everypony had their own reason for joining her. Since they were also busy with other things in their lives, she had it arranged so they came to work every other day, with three coming in one day and the rest the other day.

So far, everything worked out well. Dash was more than happy to be allowed to inflict pain on ponies whenever she was told to while Chrysalis watched for amusement. Applejack brought her apples with her and made a good profit by selling them to the waiting ponies, who often got hungry. Rarity was able to advertise her clothes for ponies who were ready to start dating and Spike was happy to able to work on the same day as her. Fluttershy was eager to work with Pinkie, but she had trouble controlling the speed daters, thinking if it was too soon or too late to hit the bell since she was nervous about disappointing the customers and needed Dash to help her occasionally. Twilight felt left out for being the only one of her friends to not have a special somepony and came when Chrysalis told her it was a good way to gain research on love. She was still looking for a pony she would consider dating, despite getting many offers. It would be some time for her to develop enough trust for them to give the real her a chance, but she was well on her way.

Today, Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash were working in the other room while Chrysalis and Pinkie could talk to clients and even each other in privacy. The false unicorn pushed a button on her intercom, which allowed her to speak with Twilight. “Next!” The door opened and somepony familiar to her entered. Unfortunately, Chrysalis was not very happy to see this individual. “Mr. Jelly? Is that you?”

“It is.” He sat down in front of her.

Chrysalis sighed loudly. “Believe or not, there are still no profiles for jam making mares after all this time.”

“That’s all right. I have already found the one.”

She looked up at him with some surprise. “You have?” She wondered what sort of mad mare would have possibly taken an interest in this guy.

“Yes. I see a beautiful future for the both of us.”

Pinkie gasped. “That’s so great!”

“Yeah…congratulations. So I take it you’re here for relationship advice?”

“No.” The stallion reached into his bag and brought out a jar. When Chrysalis saw what it was, she just wanted to die. “I know this was made by you, Cherub,” he said, smiling. “It is truly the greatest thing to be ever brought into this world.”

Chrysalis slowly leaned away from him. “Um…thanks? Are you here just to complement my jelly or did you need something?”

“I am here to do something important.” He unscrewed the top of the jar and reached inside. When his hoof came back out, Pinkie shrieked happily while Chrysalis stared at him in absolute horror.

“Cherub, will you marry me?”

“You’re going to get married!? This is the best day ever!”

Chrysalis was actually scared of the creepy pony. However, she was prepared for something like this. She smiled and leaned towards him. “Let me give you my answer.” She placed a hoof on the button.

“SECURITY!”

The door flew open and Rainbow Dash appeared. She entered the room and started dragging him out. “Alright, let’s go, fella.”

Mr. Jelly struggled like mad to get back to Chrysalis. “Wait! You don’t understand! She’s my soul mate!”

“Excessive force has been authorized, Rainbow Dash! Zap him good!” Chrysalis sighed with relief when he disappeared and grew a crooked smile when she heard his yells of agony.

Pinkie frowned when he was gone. “Aw, I wanted to make your wedding cake.” Chrysalis pointed a hoof towards her mouth and made a gagging face.

Back in the main room, Fluttershy was biting her hooves nervously. “Oh, I know the timer says it’s time for them to switch, but those two ponies over there seem really happy.” She looked at another couple. “But then that mare doesn’t look very happy with that stallion. What should I do? I don’t think I have ever made such a tough decision!”

The door behind her rung and she heard familiar voices behind her. When Fluttershy saw who was there, she gasped very loudly. Rainbow saw the new customers and cracked her hooves. “Here comes trouble.”

Twilight was about to send another pony to see Chrysalis, but she saw the intruders heading straight for her office. “Hey, you can’t go in there! There’s a line!” Twilight hit the button on her speaker and said, “Cherub, we’ve got a problem!”

“A problem? What do you…” She fell silent when she heard two voices approaching her door and recognized them in less than a second. “Oh goodie, it’s…”

The door flung open and two familiar unicorns appeared “Ta-da!”

Pinkie waved her legs excitedly. “It’s the Mareio brothers!”

“That’s Flimflam to you!” corrected Flam.

When they took their seats, Dash appeared in the doorway. “Hey, jerk wads! I got a message from my friend Applejack!” She whipped out the tazer and approached them.

When they saw what she was holding, they both panicked and hid behind their chairs. “H-hold on a minute, missy!” pleaded Flim. “Watch where you point that!”

“Oh Celestia, not that thing again! My life is flashing before my eyes!” yelled Flam. “No, Mom, I don’t want to sing the silly sugarplum song again!”

Chrysalis, in a panic, stood up before the pegasus reached them. “Relax, Rainbow! They’re cool!”

She looked at the changeling with confusion. “Seriously? These two?”

“Yes, now put that away and leave us!” Rainbow hesitated for a moment, but then she obeyed, leaving the room and closing the door. With the situation handled, Chrysalis sat down. “I apologize for that. So what are you two doing here? Don’t tell me one of you got dumped already.”

They both let out a sigh of relief as they sat down. “Don’t be silly. We’re here for another business proposition,” said Flim.

Remembering how much work their last deal took, Chrysalis was not very thrilled. “Another? What could you possibly want now?”

“Don’t be so negative. This will bring in lot of bits!” said Flam.

“And lots of love!” added the brother.

Chrysalis immediately became interested. “Go on.”

Flam cleared his throat. “Given your talent and celebrity status, I think we can do something amazing for the ponies of this town.”

“As well as the rest of Equestria!”

Now Chrysalis was hooked. Pinkie’s plan involved using her celebrity status to help achieve forgiveness, so maybe this could help accomplish that. “So what’s this amazing plan of yours?”

“Question: What’s the most romantic day of the year?” asked the one without facial hair.

Pinkie jumped up. “That’s an easy one! It’s Hearts and Hooves day!”

“Correct you are, girlie! Now imagine if we could make it more romantic. A fair with music, dancing, food, and so many ponies determined to find love! And you get to host the whole thing! With your fame, ponies from all over the nation will come!”

Chrysalis was loving what she was hearing. They may have been jerks, but they were possibly some of the smartest guys she had ever met. “That sounds like a brilliant idea!”

“Of course it is, since we thought it up! Now we just need you to help us with some of the funding and we will do the rest!” stated Flam happily.

“That will be no trouble at all. I will go to the mayor and we can have everything sorted out with the reservation. I’ll also have the money ready in a few weeks.”

Flim rubbed his hooves together, picturing the money they were going to make. “Splendid! Just inform us when you have it all done and we will begin coming up with what we’d want.”

“Sounds good to me.”

The stallions stood up. “Glad to hear you’re on board, Cherub. Now I’m afraid we must go as we have business elsewhere,” said Flim.

“That’s fine.” She shook both their hooves. “I wish you luck on whatever it is you are doing.”

“Thank you. And now we’re off,” said Flim. “Enjoy you day!” The two stallions exited the room and closed the door behind them.

Pinkie looked at the changeling, completely excited. “Wow, Chrysalis, this Hearts and Hooves is going to be the best one ever!”

Chrysalis’s face mirrored her friend’s, lowering her voice to a whisper. “I have to agree. If I can make enough ponies fall in love on that day, it will easily be enough to feed my people for a long time. They will take me back for sure. The media will be all over the event, so I could use it to my advantage. After Hearts and Hooves, every magazine and radio station will be talking about me and then I can show all the new Chrysalis.”

“Are you excited?”

“Very. It will be some months before then, but the wait will be more than worth it. I will be home where I belong and all will be forgiven.” She gave out a sigh. “Oh, how I miss my home. When I go back, I will never leave Bugartha again.”

The pony steadily lost her cheer. “You’ll come visit me, right?”

She nodded. “Of course I will. You are too important to me, Pinkie. I’ll always be around for you.”

Pinkie was happy once more. “But are you ever going to tell my friends who you are?”

“Once everything is squared away, I will tell them. However, I just thought of something.”

“What?"

The princess grew a look of concern. “We’ve been thinking how your friends will react to finding me out, but what about you?”

“Huh?”

Chrysalis sat up straight and spoke in a serious voice. “Pinkie, when your friends find out you have known about me and kept me a secret from them, they are not going to take it well at all.”

“Well it doesn’t matter! You are my friend and I have made my decision to help you! They’ll understand!” She suddenly gulped. “I hope.” They both looked at each other, feeling the weight of the situation. It did not occur to either of them that Pinkie would be risking much for helping Chrysalis. She could lose all her friends or even be sent to prison in the worst case. The pony was whimpering, realizing how serious this was.

“Pinkie,” Chrysalis spoke comfortingly, “it’ll be okay. Fluttershy succeeded in helping Discord, so they won’t blame you for trying with me. You understand how Nymph misses me and wish to give her back the sister she lost. We just need to make the most of my time as Cherub to ensure they understand why you did what you did. Fluttershy would be so proud of you if she knew what you were doing.”

Pinkie sprang up out of her seat. “You’re totally right! It’ll all be ok! I can’t wait until we’re all friends!”

“Me too.” Chrysalis looked at the recent addition to her desk, which were two picture frames. The first one was her and Pinkie from her birthday. Pinkie made her get into disguise so they could get a photo and cherish the memory. The photo did provide her with an occasional smile, but it served as a reminder to her of what she did that day and to never make that mistake again. The other was of her and Luna during their night at the night club, each wearing sunglasses and carrying glow sticks. While Luna was a ruler of Equestria, that didn’t stop her from being a free spirit, doing whatever she pleased without giving the opinions of others any thought and knowing how to have a good time, which Chrysalis admired. She just hoped when the time came, Luna would accept her for who she was and they would remain friends.

When Chrysalis was done thinking, she placed a hoof on the button. “Twilight, please send in the next pony.” A unicorn mare entered her room and seated herself before her. “Welcome to Cupid’s Arrow, where true love blooms. How may I help you today?”

Feeling Blue

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Feeling Blue

“Ma’am, are you ready to order yet?”

“I’m still waiting for somepony,” Chrysalis answered. “She’ll be here soon.” When the waiter left her, she looked back out the window, watching the ponies passing by in the cold weather. She wondered how the changelings were doing with the winter and hoped they were keeping warm now that they were living outside. When she was bored with that, she looked around the restaurant. She was seated in a booth inside a cozy dinner where many other ponies were eating. As spoiled as she was, she actually felt comfortable in this place. Chrysalis was always surprised by what the world of the common folk possessed and started feeling like one because of her time away from home. She was deep in thought until she heard a voice call her name. Chrysalis looked and saw Pinkie coming towards her. “There you are. You know it’s not polite to keep a lady waiting.”

Pinkie quickly shook herself to get all the snow off and sat down. “I’m sorry, but Celestia just dropped us off,” she replied as she took off her front boots, earmuffs, and scarf.

After a minute, the waiter came back and they gave him both their orders. He collected their menus and left them alone. “So did you have fun?” the changeling queried.

The mare grinned widely. “We sure did! It was one of the best slumber parties ever! I still feel tingly when I think about it!”

“Did Celestia and Luna actually partake in it?” Chrysalis asked curiously.

“And Nymph, too! We all had so much fun and I wish you were there.”

Chrysalis sighed. “Me too.”

“What about you? Did you do something fun yesterday?”

The false unicorn smirked. “If by fun you mean sit at home all day and read, then yeah, I had fun.”

“Great!” Chrysalis sighed, knowing that Pinkie wasn’t catching on to her sarcasm. “So should we talk about you know what?”

The fugitive looked over her shoulder. “Not yet. Our food is coming and I don’t want to be interrupted. Besides, I can’t think straight on an empty stomach.”

While waiting, Pinkie just told her about what happened at the party and other things of interest when they were in Canterlot. Chrysalis felt a little down she missed out, but it was for the best, especially when her sister was there. After several minutes, the waiter returned while balancing a tray of food on his head. “Okay, so which one of you ordered the Celestia Salad?”

“I did,” answered Chrysalis.

The waiter set down her lunch and then looked at Pinkie. “And you had the holy-alicorns-how-is-this-legal sandwich?”

“That’s me!” she replied while rubbing her hooves and licking her lips.

The pony gave Pinkie a plate with a sandwich that stood over a foot tall, filled with various vegetables and cheeses. “Enjoy.”

With the waiter gone, they began eating their lunch. “How’s your food?” asked Pinkie with a mouth overflowing with sandwich.

“Not bad,” Chrysalis admitted. She didn’t mind eating pony food as much as she did before, but it didn’t come close to the quality of food she had when she was royalty. She looked up from her meal and watched her friend take a bite of her colossal sandwich. “So Pinkie, did you do what I asked?”

The mare just smiled and shrugged innocently. “What are you talking about?”

The changeling narrowed her eyes at her, unsure of what game she was playing. “Your friends. Did you ask them what I wanted you to ask them?”

“Oh, was I on a mission or something?” she teased.

Chrysalis groaned and rubbed her temples. “Are you really going to make me say it?” Pinkie nodded excitedly, so Chrysalis sighed and said, “Secret Agent Pie, how was Operation Girl Gossip?”

Pinkie had to keep herself from shouting from how excited she was. “It went super, Commander Chrysalis! They didn’t suspect me at all! I slipped in, got the goods, and slipped out without them ever knowing that I was an agent!”

The changeling rolled her eyes. While she was used to Pinkie’s shenanigans, she had other pressing matters to deal with and was not in the mood at the moment. “Enough playing around. Tell me about Nymph.”

“She’s fine. She was happy to see us, but she was pretty busy with stuff. All she did was talk to those other ponies by using those big words I don’t understand.”

“Did she mention the status of our kingdom?”

“She said the changelings were fine, but they’re getting grumpy with waiting. They really want to come to Equestria.”

“It’s no surprise they feel that way. They are at the brink of a new future and it is being denied to them because of my mistakes.” Chrysalis sighed. “Did she mention me at all?”

“She didn’t say anything until I brought you up and it wasn’t much,” Pinkie responded.

“I figured as much. I guess she feels there is no sense of worrying about me since she can’t do anything until I show up.”

“Are you going to talk to her yet?” the pony asked, sounding like she was pleading.

The changeling shook her head. “Not for a while, Pinkie. I need more time. Anyway, let’s get to the usual update. What did the others say about me as Cherub?”

Pinkie looked at her sandwich, dying to take another bite, but her friend loudly tapped on the table with her hoof, so Pinkie had to wait. “Well, we only talked about you for a little bit, but they said they like you. Dash thinks you’re super awesome because you let her beat up ponies and pay her too.”

Chrysalis just chuckled while Pinkie lunged for her lunch. “She’s easy to impress, but I think it will take more than that to keep her on my side. What about Twilight?”

Pinkie immediately swallowed and tapped her hooves together nervously. “Oh, she said that she’s happy you gave her a nice job and everything, but…”

Chrysalis paused and looked up from her salad. “But?”

“She sometimes feels like you don’t like her.”

The matchmaker took a bite of her lunch. “Well that’s pretty accurate,” she replied with a mouth partially filled with food.

Pinkie made absolutely sure no pony could hear them when she said, “Chrysalis, when I decided to help you, you were supposed to be nice to my friends, including Twilight.”

Chrysalis swallowed and looked her in the eyes. “I’m trying, but whenever I see or even think about her, I just get irritated. I know it was probably for the better she stopped me, but I can’t help but hold a grudge against her.”

“Well you need to try,” Pinkie ordered. “If you can’t like Twilight, how is she supposed to like you?”

Chrysalis groaned. “I know, I know, but it will take time for me to let go. Now let’s get to the good stuff. I take it you asked them about the real me, yes?”

She rapidly nodded. “Yep! They never expected a thing!”

Before Pinkie left, the changeling taught her how to extract information without drawing too much attention. She couldn’t afford to have the others wondering why she was asking so much about her. “Good work, Secret Agent Pie. So what did you learn?”

“Well, this is what they each had to say.”

“I don’t believe Chrysalis will change her ways, but I thought the same thing about Discord. I wouldn’t mind turning another enemy into an ally, but she is much cleverer and I’m scared of the possibility that she will deceive us. She has every reason to be mad at me for exposing her and we both know she wants revenge. My opinion is to lock her in a tight little cell somewhere far away and then try changing her. Even if she does change, I don’t think I can like her after what she did to my brother and Cadance.”

“That repulsive thing? Chrysalis is not on my mind in the least. With Celestia, Luna, and Nymph ready to apprehend her, we have nothing to worry about. I’m sure Chrysalis will realize she has lost and will turn herself in. I wouldn’t waste my time with her and just worry about helping the other changelings. After all, why should we be nice to her? She made Nymph wear rags! RAGS, PINKIE!”

“Ah don’t like ‘er none, but Ah don’t think we should just lock ‘er up and forget about ‘er. She must have some sense in ‘er head and Ah’d like to take a crack at ‘er. Family’s important and Nymph needs ‘er family.”

“Why are you asking me about her, Pinks? Who cares about her? If she shows up, we’ll just kick her butt. Now give me a water balloon. I see Blueblood coming!”

“Me? Scared? I’m not scared of her! I’m a dragon, and we are born for danger! We don’t even know what fear is! Wait, why are you asking about her all of a sudden? S-she’s not here, is she!?”

“Um…I don’t know. I mean Discord was kind of like her, but he was just a big kid while Chrysalis is an evil, unloving, cruel, scary looking changeling who could look like any pony and has a desire for revenge and Nymph may want me to help reform her and…and…meep!”

“I’ve met many foes in my lifetime, Pinkie, and I don’t think I will ever forget her. She is the first in a long time to defeat me in direct combat and carry out an invasion of my city. Kidnapping my niece and terrorizing my people without a shred of remorse makes me curse her name, but I will try to put these thoughts aside. Chrysalis was a skilled ruler who can still help better her kingdom and a good sister who has lost her way and I would do everything in my power to show her the error of her ways. Of course, Chrysalis’s ego may be too big for her to realize how wrong she is and my patience for her will be thin.”

“My sister still has a spot in my heart and every day I wonder if I should let her go. Your people and my people believe it would be best for us all to imprison her for life, but as much as I hold ill will towards her, making her suffer will not solve anything. However, if she decides not to accept our mercy and still wishes to disrespect me and cause trouble for us, she can kiss my royal rear.”

“What do I think? I wish the stupid girl was never born. Nymph was absolutely miserable around her and Chrysalis was sick enough to take delight in it. We need to find her and make her understand what she has put our queen through. But then again, no punishment will be enough for that worthless, heartless bit-”

“HORNET!”

Chrysalis just played with the lettuce leaves with her fork. “Better than what I was expecting, to be honest. I just might have a chance after all. Of course, you are leaving somepony out for some reason.”

Pinkie gulped and shifted her eyes around. “N-no! That was all-”

“You know better than that,” she interrupted calmly. “I will always know when you are lying to me. I really need to know what Luna said.”

“Um…are you sure?”

Chrysalis put down her silverware and looked at her. “It is important, Pinkie. Please tell me what she said exactly.”

“Well…”

“For months I couldn’t go a day without thinking about her, but any mention of her still gives me rage. It causes me absolute fury to think about what she did to Nymph and even more when I think about her invasion. Poor Cadance was traumatized by her and she still fears for us all, wondering if we are in danger from Chrysalis. But do not be afraid, Pinkie. We have been ready for her for a long time and she will be brought to justice. Nymph deserves better than her. The changelings deserve better than her. I don’t believe in any way she will ever understand how terrible she is. Chrysalis better pray I do not find her first, or I will give her a taste of her own medicine. She will face retribution and nothing will change that.”

Chrysalis placed a hoof on her forehead. “I should have expected something like that from her, but this is interesting. As Cherub, I am one of her closest friends and as Chrysalis, I am her mortal enemy. I just hope the former will overpower the latter.”

“So what’s our next move, Chrysalis? Everypony likes you as Cherub and still mostly dislike you as you, so what now?”

The princess wiped her mouth with a napkin taking a sip of her drink. “Continue as normal. With your friends working for me, it will be easier to win their favor when the time comes, but Twilight is the priority. If she refuses to give me a chance, your friends will most likely do the same. They didn’t listen to her about me before, so they would be scared of making the same mistake. Of course, Twilight is only second to Luna. I’m afraid the girl does not exactly carry restraint like her sister and may do something she will regret if she catches me. Even if I manage to reveal things on my terms, if she feels opposed to me and that justice is necessary, that will be it. I will be locked up for probably longer than your lifetime, Pinkie. Maybe I could show my change of heart with time, but they will see it as a method for me to escape. Besides, I’d rather be outside a cell and enjoy the fresh air.”

“Well Luna’s asleep and probably busy today, so you should see Twilight!” Pinkie suggested. “You two need to be like super friends!”

Chrysalis suddenly felt her eye twitch, so she quickly shook her head. “Not today. I will ask her tomorrow if she wants to do something next weekend. I can only imagine what boring thing she will want to do.” Chrysalis took another sip of her tea. “Besides, I need to focus on winning over Luna. She will have more influence on my fate when the time comes, so she is the key to my redemption.”

“That makes sense. At least you two are good friends now.”

“We are, but it’s not enough. Our friendship will more than likely not survive the strain of discovering my identity, so I need to do something to ensure that doesn’t happen.” Saying out loud that her friendship with Luna could end caused her to feel a tingle of anxiety, which she tried to shake off, but to no avail.

The pony finished off her meal and thought for a moment. After some thinking, Pinkie grew a smile. “Oh, I know! Let’s find her a coltfriend!”

Chrysalis grew a small grin. “That’s the plan.”

“Well what are we waiting for? Let’s go to Cupid’s Arrow and find her one!”

Chrysalis took the final bite of her salad, placed the fork down, and looked at her. “Easier said than done, Pinkie. First, we need to wait until she is ready. I will keep pestering her about her love life and hopefully she’ll give our services a shot. The second thing we would have to do is find a pony that could make her truly happy, which we probably won’t find here in Ponyville. The princess has been through many hardships since her banishment and finding her a pony that can give her the love and support she needs will do us both a lot of good. She will be grateful for my help and will consider showing mercy towards my true self.”

“Okay.” Pinkie quickly drank her soda and held in her burp when she saw Chrysalis stare at her. “Hey, remember when I always tried finding you a coltfriend?”

Chrysalis gave a quick laugh. “I do. You were very persistent and it amuses me whenever I think about it now.”

“Well what about now? Would you like one, Chrysalis? I actually know a few changelings!”

The royal changeling looked out the window, watching ponies pass by through the snow covered streets. “Unless you know an attractive changeling that has a thing for evil queens, no thanks. Besides, living a double life and romantic relationships are two things that should never mix.”

“Oh,” Pinkie said sadly.

Chrysalis saw how downed she looked, so she said, “But thank you anyway.” This caused Pinkie to smile, but then the pony sighed loudly. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

The former queen leaned closer to her. “Hey, you already hear enough about my problems, so let’s hear one of yours. What’s on your mind, Pinkie?”

Pinkie sighed again and said, “I just want to be like you.”

“As in a princess?” she guessed while scratching her head.

“As in a matchmaker.”

“But you already are one the last time I checked.”

The pony looked up and shook her head. “No, I’m just your partner who finds ponies for you to set up. I want to be a super-duper good matchmaker like you! I want to make ponies happy and spread love across Equestria!”

“Where’s this coming from all of a sudden?”

Pinkie’s frown grew. “I just realized that if you go home, you won’t be running Cupid’s Arrow anymore, which means no more matchmaking for us!”

Chrysalis’s eyes grew when she realized she was right. Cherub would be no more and Cupid’s Arrow would shut down unless she found somepony to replace her. The pony was absolutely in love with her job and would be crushed to lose Cupid’s Arrow. Chrysalis got up and sat on the side of the table with Pinkie. “Well Pinkie, I will try to think of something. And if it means that much to you, then maybe I could teach you how to get ponies together.”

Pinkie released an extremely loud gasp. “You will!?”

“Of course. Maybe you can take my place when I leave and help make ponies happy and even more food for my people. I knew from the day I hired you that you would take us far, so I think you should do it.”

Pinkie hugged her tightly. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Chrysalis hugged her back, smiling. “You’re welcome, Pinkie.” Chrysalis loved it when Pinkie was happy. Her happiness was contagious and it usually affected her too. She knew it would hurt to leave her when the time came, but she promised to visit her often. Deep down, Chrysalis wished one of her future daughters would be just like Pinkie.

They separated when they saw the waiter approaching their table with the desert. “Ok, so I got a mint milkshake for…”

“Right here,” answered the fugitive.

He gave her drink and looked at Pinkie. “And you had strawberry?”

“You betcha!” Pinkie received her drink and then he left.

Chrysalis stared at the odd drink before her. “So what exactly is a…milkshake?”

“It’s like ice cream, but you drink it!” Pinkie then sucked heavily on her straw. The changeling gave it a sip, discovering how delicious it was. Satisfied, she began drinking it down and the pony next to her finished first. “Isn’t it great?”

Chrysalis put her drink aside when she emptied it. “Indeed.”

“I’m so glad you liked it! Maybe next ti-” Pinkie suddenly yelled and started rubbing her forehead. “Gah! B-b-b-brain freeze!”

That caused Chrysalis to laugh loudly. “Oh, Pinkie. When will you lear-” She was cut off when she felt her own brain freeze coming and groaned as she rubbed her forehead. Both the pony and the changeling sat there with intense headaches and Chrysalis made a mental note to stay away from the delicious treat from now on.


After they split the bill and shared a hug, Chrysalis and Pinkie parted ways. The only changeling in Ponyville was not used to the constant winter weather as she only experienced the cold when she went up to the surface. It was her favorite time of the year when she was a child since snow was always so mysterious and magical to her and it allowed more opportunities for fun. She and Nymph would just be flooded with excitement whenever their parents took them up for the winter. Chrysalis preferred to play in the private garden since there weren’t other changelings to bother her and the only time she went to see the other children was when she wanted to get into snowball fights. She was glad that Rarity helped make her own warm clothing for the winter that she found to be fashionable. She had a red coat, red boots, a pink cap, and much to the white unicorn’s reluctance, a dark green scarf. Because she didn’t carry a coat like ponies had to keep her warm, she needed to wear extra layers of clothing to keep herself from freezing.

Before heading home, she went to do some quick shopping. She arrived at a book store and browsed the shelves as she needed something to do when she went home. She scanned through the shelves and only found two books she considered buying so far. To her disgust, there were several anti-changeling novels being sold in the store. The propaganda was nowhere as bad as before, but it still made her sick to her stomach. She was disappointed to see there wasn’t anything else she could find and was ready to make her purchase.

As she approached the counter, she noticed something of interest. There was a section of the store she had not looked through and was definitely not included in Twilight’s home: the adult section. She stared at it for a while, wondering if she was really going to go in there and look. It had been a long time since she had been…intimate. She was a little curious and decided that a quick peek wouldn’t hurt. She was very grateful that barely any customers were in the store. Being a celebrity, she couldn’t afford any mistakes that could hurt her reputation.

She quickly entered the section and browsed through. All the books she saw were exactly as she expected. They were just sappy romance books that had cliché stuff like forbidden romance or love triangles. She was about to leave, but then she noticed several particular books. To her surprise and horror, they were about changelings. She looked through each of them, wondering what kind of sick minded ponies would write about them like that. They were stories about loved ones being replaced by changelings and even some stories where a pony and a changeling fall in love, which she found really weird. She hated how they depicted her kind as sexual deviants because of their need for love and how they often posed as lovers.

But nothing could have prepared her for what she found next. “Oh no, no, no, no.” She took the book and re-examined the cover, which was titled “In Service of the Queen.” Chrysalis was hoping her eyes were playing tricks on her, but it was all too real. On the cover was a royal changeling that looked very similar to Chrysalis herself with a very naughty expression on her face. She flipped the book over to see what it was about. It said something about a stallion finding a changeling named ‘Queen Clitoris’ during her banishment and somehow he warms her icy heart and they fall in love. It was almost enough to make her puke. “I swear that if I ever find this author, I’m going to beat him black and blue with this book and make him eat it.”

She couldn’t believe ponies wrote this stuff. Changelings were more creative when it came to erotic writing. Chrysalis just couldn’t let go of what she was seeing. She hated the book as it described her as a heartless monster who only wanted to be loved all along. She thought it was stupid and she wanted nothing more to do with it. She just needed to put it back on the shelf and never come back to this store. It was so simple.

She placed her purchases on the counter. “I would like to buy these two books.” The cashier rung her up and she paid him. She had her books placed in a bag and she exited the store. Almost a minute passed and a green pegasus entered. She immediately entered the adult section and brought over a certain book to the front.


Chrysalis closely guarded her shopping bag as she headed home. With her reputation, she would be a laughing stock if she were to be caught with such a novel. As she walked, she glanced into her bag to look at it, still shocked at herself for even going through with such a thing. She was just very curious about what story they could have possibly written about her and hoped it would provide her some entertainment. Maybe she could file a lawsuit in the future because they were using her without her permission. Since Nymph was the type to read this smut, she wondered if she had found this and could only imagine her laughing her flank off.

Because she was not looking at where she was walking, she bumped into somepony and fell on the ground, causing her to drop her bag and have its contents scatter across the snow. When she noticed what happened, she gasped and jumped onto the book of interest. She immediately threw it back into the bag and then proceeded to grab the rest, relieved that she had reacted quickly enough. “Watch where you’re going!” a voice yelled at her.

She turned towards the pony. “Well maybe you should do the same!” The pony she ran into certainly caught her interest. Despite never meeting her, Chrysalis felt like she knew her because of her outfit. “Have I seen you from somewhere before?”

The unicorn smiled. “You recognize the Great and Powerful Trixie?” she asked excitedly.

“Oh,” she replied disappointedly. She remembered Pinkie mentioning a certain unicorn who loved to showoff, despite being a complete failure. “You’re the unicorn that Twilight had to get rid of for being annoying.”

Trixie’s expression lit up once more upon hearing the name Chrysalis spoke. “Do you know Twilight Sparkle?”

“I’m her boss, as a matter of fact,” she said proudly. It was something she would never grow tired of saying.

“Oh, it’s nice to meet you.” She offered her hoof and Chrysalis shook it. “Would you happen to know where she lives? I’m afraid it’s been so long since I’ve been here that I’ve completely forgotten where she lived.”

Chrysalis shrugged. “Well I am currently not busy with anything, so I’ll just take you over there.”

“Excellent!” Trixie walked along with her as she pulled her massive carriage.

Chrysalis watched in wonder as the smaller pony pulled her home with ease, surprised at her strength. “So why do you want to see Twilight? I thought she embarrassed you both times you came here. Got some sort of revenge scheme in mind?” She noticed she was getting a little excited when she asked that, but she pushed away the feeling.

The magician shook her head. “No, I’m not doing anything like that. She’s the only pony who accepted me as a friend from when I took over Ponyville and I just want to see her and catch up on things. She must be curious of how my career has been doing after all these months.”

“I suppose. Maybe she could teach you a few things while you’re here,” she said as she remembered that Trixie was apparently terrible with hers. “That girl is pretty good with magic.”

“She is! I hear that she is a student of Princess Celestia herself!”

“That’s actually true,” Chrysalis responded without interest. Even though she had been much friendlier with Pinkie’s help, Twilight still rubbed her the wrong way. She knew that she would have to let go of the grudge eventually, but it was a very difficult process for her.

Trixie squealed with delight. “That is so amazing! Maybe she could make me good enough with magic so I could be a student too!”

The changeling smirked. “I would love to see that.”

“You mentioned that Twilight worked for you. What sort of profession does she do? Research? Teaching? Magic shows?” she asked curiously.

“She helps me with my matchmaking business.”

The blue mare blushed, surprised by her answer. “Oh my. I didn’t know she did that sort of thing. I assume she had been already taken for a while?”

Chrysalis suppressed her urge to laugh. Twilight was still doing research on love and seemed to be more interested in learning about relationships than being in one. Many stallions had come onto her, but since the purple mare had yet to pick up on the lingo, she never received any of their signals. “Actually, no. She is just doing it for other interests ad has yet to find a pony that catches her eye.”

“What a shame. She is pretty likable. Speaking of love, I heard that the husband of Princess Cadance is really her brother!”

The changeling sighed deeply. Any mention of the wedding was always a complete downer for her, bringing up memories of being banished and her near death experience. “You heard correctly. Princess Cadance was even her foal sitter when she was younger.”

Trixie gasped excitedly. “No way! That is such a coincidence! I’m so glad those two got married. Twilight is such an amazing pony for exposing that ugly bug, Chrysalis.”

Everything in Chrysalis’s mind came to a screeching halt and she slowly turned her head towards her, eyes filled with spite. “Excuse me?” she asked coldly.

“Well you know, how she found out that the queen was posing as the bride and planning an attack. I’m glad Twilight foiled her, otherwise she would have been related to that disgusting, heartless, repulsive, and unlovable thing. I was disappointed that Chrysalis didn’t get splattered on a side of mountain or something when she got launched out of Canterlot. The world would be so much better off without her. I really hope Celestia tells those big bugs to go bother somepony else. I mean, who seriously wants to let them live here?”

Chrysalis was flaring on the inside. She hadn’t felt this enraged since the day Pinkie found her out and bottling it all up was simply not an option for her. She wanted Trixie to hurt a lot. It didn't help that she was also blabbing about how great Twilight was. While Trixie kept talking, she thought intensely of what she was going to do with Twilight’s little fan. Beating her was certainly tempting, but she needed to be careful since she was friends with Twilight, so the consequences could easily bite her in the flank. Besides, physical pain was only temporary, whereas emotional pain could last a lifetime. All of a sudden, an evil grin spread across her lips. She had an idea. An awful idea. Chrysalis got a wonderful, awful idea. “You must be awfully tired from traveling while carrying your home around,” emphasized Chrysalis deviously.

Trixie just laughed. “Nonsense! I have a lot of energy within me. I’m not as weak as I look.” When she looked away, Chrysalis shot her with some magic. Trixie suddenly felt fatigue spread across her body and yawned. “Now that you mention it, I could use a nap.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and sleep?” the changeling suggested innocently. “I’ll leave directions with you for when you wake up.”

The pony nodded as she made her way into her home. “Good idea. Thank you for all your help, Miss?”

“Cherub, and it’s no trouble at all.” Chrysalis followed her inside, took some paper, and wrote directions to the library, which she gave to the magician. The changeling said goodbye to her and left. Once Trixie closed the door, Chrysalis sprinted across town. She needed to pick something up before she went to see Twilight for her scheme.


After dropping off her books at home to ensure no pony ever found out her dirty secret and purchasing an important item, she went over to see the lavender unicorn. Chrysalis eagerly knocked on the door of Golden Oaks Library, wanting to see her plan in action. She didn’t care how evil it was. Trixie’s words left her sour and she needed release. After several seconds of waiting, the door was opened by Twilight. “Hi, Cherub!” she greeted. “How are you doing today?”

“I’m doing wonderful!” she replied enthusiastically. “I came by because I have the most exciting news for you!”

“Well come on inside.” Chrysalis entered and Twilight closed the door. The changeling didn’t see or hear Spike, so she guessed he wasn’t currently home. “So what did you want to tell me?”

Chrysalis faced her with a very excited smile. “I found a match!”

Twilight was now as excited as her. “A match? For you? Congratulations!”

The former queen shook her head. “No, for you!” she corrected as she pointed a hoof at her.

Twilight was shocked by what she heard, turning from excited to panicked. “Y-you did? Already? But I need more time to research dating. I’m still not even sure what baseball has to do with love!”

Chrysalis released a hearty laugh, finding her argument hilarious. “Now don’t you worry, Twilight. I came by because I want to help you do everything right. It is about time you started dating, after all.”

Twilight paced around the room for a moment, considering whether or not she was ready for this. “So who is this pony?”

“Well here’s the thing. You see, it’s a she.”

Celestia’s student cocked her head in confusion. “A girl? But I don’t think I’m a lesbian.”

Chrysalis faked a chuckle. “Let’s not be so hasty. Pinkie didn’t realize it until she spent some time with Fluttershy. I have a feeling that the same will happen to you.”

The purple unicorn still felt uneasy. “I don’t know…”

Chrysalis could tell she was extremely reluctant, so she needed to word it in a way that would make her more willing. Luckily, it was Twilight, so that wasn’t difficult. “Let me put it this way: you don’t know that you like something until you try it. Just give her a shot and maybe she will grow onto you.” She could see Twilight was not convinced and decided to use a different approach. “Look, just think of it from a scientific point of view. If you want to learn about love, just try going with this mare and see what results you get. Remember to write a few notes here and there and maybe make some sort of conclusion out of all of it.”

Twilight became eager. “You mean like an experiment?”

The princess grinned at her. “Yes, that’s exactly it. You’re experimenting.”

The mare grabbed some blank pieces of paper and placed it on the table to prepare for her experiment. “But what do I even say to her? I’ve never done something like this before.”

“And that is why I came prepared.” Chrysalis reached into her bag and brought out a small box. She opened it up and showed her what was inside.

“Earrings?” Twilight asked in confusion.

“Actually, they’re some cheap communication crystals I got from the store. You just have to wear one of them and I will use the other to tell you what to say.”

“That’s a great idea!”

“It most certainly is.” An evil grin appeared on her face. “Now Twilight, I need to explain to you the concept of playing hard to get.”


Twilight paced around the room as Chrysalis patiently sat at a chair while sipping tea, acting calm. The pony couldn’t stop thinking about what mare she could have possibly found for her. She tried asking, but Chrysalis kept a tight lip about her. Twilight had hoped it was somepony who had as much interest in knowledge as she did. Chrysalis looked out the window once more and became excited, seeing Trixie’s wagon in the distance. “Here she comes, Twilight. Are you ready?”

Twilight averted her gaze. “I’m a little nervous.”

The changeling chuckled. “Don’t be. Just do exactly as I say and everything will be fine.” She then went upstairs to hide herself, ready to spring her trap.

Twilight waited for about a minute until she heard loud knocking on her door. She slowly walked over to it and placed her hoof on the handle. She let out a gulp before turning it and seeing her visitor. And like how she expected, she was not prepared for who was on the other side. “Trixie!?”

“Yes, it is I!” She stood on her hind legs and made fireworks appear behind her, providing a dazzling entrance. “Are you surprised to see me? I bet you are! Did you like my entrance? I bet you did!” Trixie started jumping in place. “Oh, it’s so good to see you, Twilight! We have so much to talk about!”

Twilight stared with her mouth hanging open, trying to process the situation in her head. Out of the mares she could have been set up with, it was Trixie of all ponies? She then heard a voice in her ear, snapping her out of her confusion. Listening to the orders from the changeling, a smug smile grew across her face. “I must admit, I’m surprised to see you come back here.”

The magician giggled. “Do you mind if I come in?”

As Trixie tried making her way inside, Chrysalis ordered Twilight to stop her. The oblivious unicorn put a hoof on the magician’s face and pushed her back outside. “Actually, I do mind. I don’t want you ruining my nice home with your worthlessness.”

Trixie gasped in horror. “Excuse me!?”

“You heard me.” Twilight stood up and leaned against the doorway. She looked at her hoof and pretended to be uninterested in the mare. “So why did you bother showing your face around here? I can’t think of a single pony who would be happy to see you.”

The mare became very confused. “I-I came to see you, Twilight!”

“And you have. Are you going to leave now?” she asked in an uncaring tone.

The magician was incredibly distraught as she fell on her knees and crawled towards her. “B-b-but I thought we were friends!”

Twilight got down from the doorway and looked at her, laughing smugly. “Oh, about that. I only said that so I could look good in front of Princess Celestia. I must admit, I’m a pretty good actress. Speaking of the princess, I heard you wanted to be her student.”

Trixie’s heart jumped and she sprung up onto her feet. “I do!”

“Here, let me help you with that.” Twilight brought to her a quill and a piece of parchment with her magic. She cleared her throat and said aloud as she wrote, “Dear Princess Celestia, I want to tell you about a pony named Trixie. She is the most worthless, annoying, ugly, idiotic, loud mouthed, unlovable, wretched, laughable, and most importantly, talentless pony in all of Equestria. She is so unlikable that if she were to suddenly drop dead, the world would be a better place. If you ever happen to have the misfortune of coming across this poor excuse for a pony, please kindly banish her from Equestria for being such an embarrassment to her species. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.” When she finished, she made the letter disappear with her magic. “How do you like that?”

Tears were falling across Trixie’s face. “Why are you being so cruel to me!?” she sobbed.

Twilight got up in her face, angry. “Because the last two times you came here, you embarrassed my friends and took over the town, so I have no reason to like you, Trixie!”

The destroyed mare grabbed Twilight’s foreleg. “I-I’m sorry, Twilight! Forgive me!”

The purple unicorn pulled away. “Sorry means nothing from you. Now you better take your little, stupid house and get out of Ponyville. And if I ever see you again, I will make the rest of your life a living nightmare!” She stepped back into her home and slammed the door. She could hear Trixie crying from the other side and it fading as she ran away.

Chrysalis then came down the stairs. When she got to the bottom, she slowly clapped her hooves. “Bravo, Twilight. That was astounding. Best I had ever seen. You are a real natural at this.”

Despite her praise, Twilight was filled with doubt and regret. “I don’t feel so good about what I did. I think I really hurt her feelings.”

The changeling just laughed and patted her on the back. “Don’t worry. It’s all just a game in dating. You did exactly as you should. And if for some reason it didn’t work, there are still plenty of other ponies for you.”

“I guess,” she muttered.

“Great! Now I’m going to go home. Enjoy your weekend, Twilight.” As she started leaving, Twilight suddenly got in front of her.

“Cherub, are you sure we didn’t do something wrong? I think Trixie’s really hurt by what I said and I want to talk to her.”

Chrysalis just kept smiling at her. “Twilight, it will be fine. Just take my word for it. Now have a nice day.”

The purple pony sighed. “You too, Cherub.” When the false unicorn left the building, Twilight went upstairs and lied on her bed. She couldn’t stop thinking about what happened between her and Trixie. Even though Cherub had said that she had done everything correctly, she still felt guilty for what she did. Trixie was completely devastated by how she treated her and she really wanted to apologize. What was also bothering her was Trixie being a potential love interest. But she pushed these thoughts away, much more concerned about the mare’s emotional state. Twilight got up, dressed in her winter clothing, and left the library. She was going to need a second opinion.


“Hi, Twi!” greeted Pinkie. “Do you want some delicious gingerbread ponies?”

“Thanks, Pinkie.” Twilight took one and bit into it. “I came because I need to talk to you about something important.”

“Like what?” asked the pink mare.

Twilight sat at the table in the kitchen and her friend joined her. “Earlier today, Cherub came by and told me that she found a pony that would be perfect for me, which turned out to be a girl.”

The earth pony gasped loudly and kicked her legs excitedly. “It was a girl? Are you a lesbian like me!?”

“Pinkie, let me finish. So anyway, finally the pony comes to my house and it turned out to be Trixie!”

Pinkie and her cookies gasped. “What!?”

“I know, right? So she seemed really happy to see me, but then I started saying really mean things to her because Cherub told me to.” Twilight hung her head and closed her eyes. “By the time I was finished, she was crying and she then ran away. Cherub said I did everything correctly, but I still felt like it was wrong. I came by so I could get your thoughts on the situation.”

Pinkie stood up. “Well I think you should go over to apologize. No pony should ever treat another pony like that. Why would you ever do that to Trixie? She’s your friend.”

“Because Cherub made me do it!” she argued. “I trusted her because she’s an expert on dating. It’s not like she would have me hurt somepony on purpose, right?” Pinkie darted her eyes around and was laughing nervously, generating suspicion from Twilight. “Is there something I should know?”

Pinkie jumped. “N-no! I mean, maybe she just made a mistake. That happens sometimes, right?” she suggested hastily.

“I suppose.” Twilight assumed that was the reason for it. Cherub was very serious about creating real romance and held no grudge against her as far as she knew, so a mistake would have been the most likely reason for what happened. The unicorn stood up and sighed. “I better go find Trixie and say I’m sorry.”

Pinkie waved goodbye to her, but then froze. After realizing what the situation was, she gasped extremely loudly and bolted to her friend. “WAIT! I want to help!”

Twilight smiled at her. “Sure. It would be nice to have somepony with me. Come on, Pinkie. Let’s go find Trixie!”

As they ran out the door and onto the snow covered streets of Ponyville, Pinkie said, “We should totally bring the other girls. I’m sure they will want to help as much as I do.”

“Good point. I wonder if Cherub would like to help too.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t,” Pinkie whimpered while slowing down.

Twilight noticed her decrease in pace and came to a stop in front of her. “Huh? Why not, Pinkie?”

The pink pony was shaking and darting her eyes all around. “Because…she…uh…”

Twilight narrowed her eyes at her friend. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“She’s speaking to some super important ponies for her holiday thing,” Pinkie lied. “She’s really nervous because these ponies are like super famous and she really wants them to come.”

That was enough to convince her friend. “Oh. I guess we shouldn’t bother her then.” Twilight walked ahead as Pinkie wiped the sweat off her forehead. Tomorrow, she would be sure to have a talk with Chrysalis.


Over time, they convinced the rest of their friends to lend a hoof in helping Twilight find Trixie. They were very surprised to hear that Trixie had returned once again and were even more surprised to hear about what happened between the two unicorns earlier. Twilight was more focused on repairing their damaged relationship than trying to get into one with her, which was what all of her friends were thinking about as she was the last of the group who was single and Cherub seemed to believe they were good for each other.

The six ponies and dragon wandered the streets, asking ponies for her whereabouts. While following one of their leads, Pinkie stuck her head in the snow and began sniffing the ground as she walked. “Pinkie, just what in the hay are ya up to?” asked Applejack curiously.

Pinkie lifted her head and carried a large pile of snow on top. “I’m trying to get her scent so we can find her!”

Dash rolled her eyes. “Do you even know what she smells like?”

She nodded excitedly, shaking off all of the white fluff. “Of course I do!”

All of her friends became surprised. “Really? What does she smell like?” asked Fluttershy.

“She smells like Trixie!” Her friends groaned as Pinkie kept trying to acquire her scent. “I smell three scents. There’s flowers, wood polish, and somepony who hasn’t take a bath! We need to split and see where they take us.”

“Or we could just follow the wagon tracks,” suggested Rarity while pointing a hoof.

Pinkie looked up. They were currently standing between a pair of wagon tracks. “Oh.”

They followed the trail to the outskirts of Ponyville. They eventually found Trixie’s home sitting alone, but no sign of the mare. Twilight gulped as she approached the door. “Guess I better see her.”

“It’ll be okay. We’ll be right here if ya need us,” reminded the farmer.

Twilight nodded and stood in front of the door. She tapped on the door and called out, “Trixie?” There was no answer. The door was unlocked, so she entered the carriage. “Trixie, are you in here?”

“I am,” the magician responded coldly. She was sitting at a table and was facing away from her.

Twilight closed the door and slowly approached. “Can we talk for a moment?”

“Talk? We did plenty of that already and I am not interested in talking anymore,” she replied in a hostile tone.

“Look, I’m sorry about-“

“Sorry? Oh trust me, you’re going to be sorry!” Trixie leapt from her seat and got in an aggressive stance. “I am done with you, Sparkle. We’re going to settle this once and for all!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “You want another duel?”

“I do! But this time, it’s going to be a fight to the death!”

“What!? Trixie, you are seriously overreacting.”

“I am not! Prepare to die!” Twilight saw her horn glow and a stream of magic coming towards her. Twilight closed her eyes and prepared for the impact. But what happened was what she didn’t expect. All she felt was a few sparks mildly irritating her. She looked and saw Trixie still shooting magic at her with a face filled with rage.

“Uh…what are you doing?” Twilight asked.

“I am making you pay for everything you have done!”

The purple unicorn was completely uninterested by her assault. “Trixie, stop it. This is just embarrassing.”

“Oh, you want me to stop torturing you?” the showmare taunted.

“It feels more like somepony’s rubbing leaves against me.”

“Well how about this?” Trixie shot another bolt of magic at her and Twilight just rolled her eyes.

“Seriously, stop it.”

“Well why don’t you make me, Sparkle?” Twilight shot her own magic at her, throwing Trixie against the wall and she fell onto the floor. “Okay, you win.”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “Can we talk now?”

Trixie got up from the floor. “Have it your way.” They both sat at the table, where the magician crossed her forelegs and looked away. “So what do you want, Twilight? You’re not exactly the pony I want to see.”

Twilight also looked away, feeling very guilty. “I just wanted to talk about what happened earlier and say that I am really sorry about the whole thing and never meant any of it.”

The blue unicorn looked at her angrily. “Well why did you say those things to me? I just wanted to say hi and you treat me like garbage! And worst of all, you sent that letter to Celestia!”

Twilight quickly shook her head. “Actually I didn’t. I just hid it somewhere.”

“I suppose that’s a load off my mind. But back to the point,” Trixie slammed her hoof on the table, looking like she was ready to cry again, “why did you say those things!?”

The Element of Magic closed her eyes and said, “I got some bad advice.”

“What do you mean?”

Twilight looked at her and admitted, “You see, I was told that you were kind of a possible love interest and-”

Trixie held a hoof up, silencing her. Her expression was now filled with absolute shock. “I’m sorry, what?” Twilight flinched, knowing this was going to be a very awkward conversation.

Back outside, Twilight’s friends were listening in, trying to make out what they were saying. They heard Trixie threatening Twilight, but they knew her power was laughable. After the loud slam, they only heard mumbling until Trixie shouted. After that, there was brief silence. “I wonder why it got so quiet,” said Spike.

“Don’t know, but I think we should investigate.” Rainbow Dash went up to the door and quietly opened it enough so she could see inside and then her friends piled around her.

“So that’s the story,” Twilight concluded. “Again, I’m really sorry I put you through all that.”

“So you never meant anything you said? It was all fake?”

“Yeah.” The purple pony sighed. “You’re not still mad, are you?”

Trixie slowly paced around the carriage. “I am still a bit angry, but I think I need to see Cherub and give her a piece of my mind.” She stopped and looked at her company. “Look, I think we should try putting this incident behind us. Every time you and I have met, it got pretty bad and I don’t want to repeat history. Besides, I feel like I should give you another chance as you have done so for me, especially since you didn’t intend to hurt me. I want us to be friends, Twilight.”

Twilight smiled at her and they approached each other for a hug. “Thank you, Trixie. I promise to make it all up to you.”

“And Twilight?”

“Yeah?”

Trixie pulled away from her. “You don’t make a girl like you by being mean.” When Twilight turned her head away, Trixie took it and made her look at her. “You should do something like this.” Trixie leaned forward and kissed her lips, stunning Twilight with intense confusion.

Twilight’s friends all gasped loudly, causing the two mares to stop and Twilight to immediately pull away. “GIRLS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?”

“I think that gives a whole new meaning to kissing and making up!” said Pinkie happily as she jumped inside.

Twilight laughed nervously as well as blushed as her friends held devious smiles. “Trixie sort of caught me by surprise. Speaking of which, why did you do that?”

Trixie chuckled at her. “I was just giving you some friendly advice. Besides, I thought you said you were trying to get me to like you.”

“H-h-hang on a second!” Twilight stammered as all her friends became giddy. “I didn’t say that! I just said my friend suggested that I tried to get in a relationship with you. I’m not even sure I like girls.”

“Well…I kind of like you,” Trixie admitted while blushing.

Everypony looked at her with wide eyes. “You…do?” Twilight asked in shock.

“Yes. You have given me forgiveness for my previous actions and were the only one who was willing enough to accept me as a friend. I have also learned much about you and you are sort of my inspiration.” Trixie stroked her cheek. “There’s also the fact you’re pretty cute.”

Twilight could not believe what she was hearing. Trixie was a pony she barely knew as they only met three times, yet here she was calling her cute. “W-well, I’m glad we can be friends again?”

The white unicorn pushed her forward. “Don’t you want to be more than friends?” she asked suggestively.

“Rarity!”

Rainbow also pushed her. “Come on, Twilight! You should totally go out with her!”

Twilight immediately shoved them both away. “Hold on a minute! This is just too much for me. I mean, one minute we were fighting and now we’re going out on a date? That really doesn't sound right at all.”

“Love is strange, isn’t it?” asked Pinkie.

The purple mare immediately turned towards her. “That’s the other thing. As far as I know, I do not like girls.”

“I didn’t know either, Twilight. You just sort of find out, like a surprise party!” She hopped on Fluttershy’s back and hugged her. “And ever since, I’ve been happy with the best pony ever!”

“Just do it, Twi. You’re the only one of us who has yet to have a date,” Spike informed.

“Twilight, I really think you should try. You don’t want to be lonely for Hearts and Hooves, do you?” Fluttershy asked. “That would be so horrible!”

“Come on, Twilight. I totally promise you will like her too!” added the pony on the pegasus’ back.

Twilight was getting annoyed by all of her friends’ constant insisting. She just wanted to take things at her own pace, but her friends were having none of it. She then looked at Trixie. The blue pony had a look of hope in her eyes, expecting her to accept. Twilight didn’t want to hurt her anymore, but she still felt skeptical about going out with her. However, she wondered if they were all onto something. Cherub, Pinkie, and the rest thought it was a good idea for her to get romantically involved with Trixie and she thought more about what Pinkie said about her coming out. After much debate with herself, Twilight decided to run with it and see where it took her. She cleared her throat. “Alright, Trixie, I’ll do it.”

Trixie squealed and hugged Twilight’s neck to the point her air supply was being cut off. “Oh splendid! We’re going to have so much fun!”

“What are ya going to do?” asked Applejack, pleased that Twilight was actually doing it.

Twilight got Trixie off of her to catch her breath. “We’ll just stroll through town and I’ll show her around, maybe go to my place. I kind of want to know Trixie better and make up for what happened.”

“Alright, have fun, you lovebirds!” shouted Pinkie, which annoyed her friend. They exited the carriage and waved goodbye to the two unicorns and when they were out of sight, Pinkie suddenly jumped in the air and expelled a shriek of joy, startling her friends.

“What in the world is with ya?” asked Applejack while covering her ears.

Pinkie didn’t hear her, jumping around and repeatedly yelling, “This is my chance!”

“Chance to do what?” asked Spike in annoyance.

Pinkie landed in front of them. “I’ve always wanted to do matchmaking without being an assistant! Even better, my first chance is to help Twilight! I’m going to make sure they fall in love and you all get to help me!” All of her friends gasped excitedly and she motioned a hoof. “Come on, everypony! Let’s go make some love!”

“Please don’t ever say that again,” said Rarity with a frown.

“How exactly are we going to help?” asked Spike while walking with the others.

Pinkie happily rubbed the top of his head. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know exactly what to do!”


A certain changeling was most certainly not pleased with her current activity. This had to be the absolute worst book she had ever read in her life. She admitted she liked stories with some spice, but this story was childish. The sex scenes just made her want to gag and they happened often since it barely had a plot, which she should have expected. What made it all so much worse that the book used similar names to ponies she knew. The story involved Clitoris’s life after being banished by her sister Queen Nymphomaniac. While living in secret in the land of Estrusria, she has to keep away from the watchful eyes of Princess Celustia and Princess Poona. Chrysalis couldn’t stand it anymore and threw the book down onto the floor. Maybe she shouldn’t have picked a book of this genre that involved ponies she knew. But then again, she remembered sneaking a peak at Nymph’s stash and still felt her stomach churn.

Suddenly, she heard somepony knocking on her door. Chrysalis assumed it was another one of her fans coming to take pictures or ask for an autograph, which wasn’t uncommon. As she walked from her couch, she remembered she left the book on the floor. The fugitive panicked, knowing she had to hide it to ensure she didn’t face public embarrassment. She grabbed the book and shoved it under the couch cushions. Satisfied, she answered the door, only to find no pony in sight. “Stupid kids.” She turned around and was about to walk back in.

“Boo!”

Chrysalis gasped loudly and flew back, only to fall into the snow. She quickly got back on her feet and looked angrily at the pony laughing at her. “Oh, you’re too easy, Cherub!” taunted Luna.

The changeling reentered her building and grabbed a blanket off the couch to wrap herself in. If she got a cold from this, she would pretend it was much worse and make Luna her servant until she was better, taking advantage of her as much as she could. “Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise,” she muttered bitterly.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist pulling a fast one on you. Your reactions are always entertaining,” Luna said while maintaining her grin.

Chrysalis sat herself down on the couch. As she got comfortable, something dawned on her. “Luna, what are doing up so early? Shouldn’t you be asleep this time of day?”

Luna nodded as she sat on the other end. “Normally I would be, but Celestia’s workload has increased quite a bit recently, so I offered to stay up and help.”

“And here you are goofing off.”

Luna feigned a gasp. “Not true! Celestia is with Nymph and they’re dealing with the ponies while I deal with the paperwork. I just thought you could keep me company as I did it. The only ponies who see me today are those who complain about Nymph and her guards over some stupid reason.”

When Chrysalis realized that Luna was staying for a long visit, she couldn't help but feel happy. The more time she had with her, the more it would help her future. There was also the fact Luna was such a good friend to her and being with her was always a highlight of her day. “Well, I’m not doing anything, so sure. You can use my office to work in.”

“Excellent.” Luna followed her to the backroom and placed her bag on the desk Chrysalis used. “I’m afraid it will be quite some time until I finish, so any fun we can have will have to wait.”

Chrysalis sat at Pinkie’s desk and put her hooves up on it. “I understand. At least paperwork is easier than ponies coming at you nonstop with their requests, right?”

Luna smirked at her and opened her bag. Chrysalis immediately realized it was a magic bag when a tower of papers that nearly touched the ceiling came out. “You were saying?”

She slowly looked down from the tower and at Luna. “You’re a brave pony for volunteering to do this.”

“Thank you.” Luna pulled one from the top and began reading it thoroughly.

As the alicorn worked, Chrysalis whistled to herself while scanning the room. She tried to think of what exactly she could do to give herself a better image in Luna’s eyes. Since Nymph was in town, changelings were on everypony’s mind, so that would be a good place to start. “How is Nymph doing?”

“Good. She’s with my sister in another attempt of convincing the people of letting her kind in. I can’t wait until this is all over with. All these ponies complaining about changelings when they know nothing about them annoys me. I just want the changelings to be happy and ignorance and fear is preventing that.”

“I see. It is inevitable that changelings will be coming to Equestria, isn’t it?”

Luna tore a document in half and threw it into the trash, clearly dissatisfied with it. “Of course, so you better get used to them soon. With your business, they will practically be breaking your door down for love.”

Chrysalis laughed, imagining that happening in the future. However, this joke suddenly gave her a big idea. “So…I was wondering if I could perhaps…help them.”

Luna signed a bill, placed it down, and looked at her. “What’s this? Cherub actually wishes to help the changelings? Clearly this is the work of Discord,” she teased.

Chrysalis rolled her eyes while smiling. “Well, I know they have been through a lot and food has always been an issue for them and since they’re coming, I thought that maybe I could let them feed here in Cupid’s Arrow,” she offered. “Maybe even get to know them.”

Luna gave one of her heartwarming smiles. “Well that’s very thoughtful of you, Cherub. I’m so glad you are willing to give them a chance.”

“What can I say? I’m a bleeding heart. I just think it would be best if I were to help them in any way I can.”

“If you wish to do more, then I could take you to see Nymph and we could-”

“NO!” Chrysalis shouted, startling the alicorn. “I-I-I mean that it sounds nice, but I’m sure she has more important things to worry about.”

Luna sighed. “Oh, Cherub, must you always be so nervous about meeting royalty? You’ve met me and my sister and yet nothing has changed.”

Chrysalis sighed as she recalled her embarrassing display when she first met Luna. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I will need some time to get used to the idea of changelings, but I could perhaps give Nymph a gift to congratulate her for all her efforts and to help ease things up for her.”

“What kind of gift?” Luna asked.

The matchmaker grinned, finally realizing something that she had that would create a powerful impact on Luna’s and even the changeling’s opinion of her. “My Hearts and Hooves event is meant to be for charity by donating some of the money we make, but perhaps I could take it a step further. Since there will be so much love there that no pony will be using, maybe Nymph could get her people to collect it for food.”

Luna, gasping, stood up and quickly went to Chrysalis to hug her. “Oh, that is a wonderful idea, Cherub! I’m so glad you wish to help them! You are a saint!”

Chrysalis felt her face become warm from the close contact. “Like I said, I’m a bleeding heart. I have been selfish before, so it’s now time for me to start giving. I’m a new Cherub, remember?”

The alicorn got off of her. “And I’m very fond of her. Speaking of your holiday event, you must be excited to be actually doing something like this. Not everypony gets to do something like this.”

“You have no idea. I’m going to have a holiday about me, just like you!”

Luna laughed and tussled her hair. “Don’t let it get into your head. Cadance is the Princess of Love and I am sure she wouldn’t let anypony else take charge of Hearts and Hooves. Besides, I think my holiday is better.”

“Only because you gorge yourself on treats,” teased Chrysalis as she poked Luna’s belly.

The pony squealed as she covered her midsection defensively. “Stop that! You can’t touch me like that, I’m a princess!”

“Sometimes I forget you are, fatty,” she jested while making a second attempt.

Luna backed away and became angry. “I am not fat! Continue to tease me and I shall make you sorry!”

Chrysalis just scoffed at her and poked her again. “Oh, what are you going to do about it, tubby? Eat me?”

One minute later, Chrysalis was grumbling as she lied on the floor with Luna sitting on her. “Are you going to get off? You’re heavier than you look.”

“Only when you take everything you said back,” she answered.

“Tempting, but your weight is reinforcing my argument and your butt actually feels nice,” Chrysalis taunted. While she laughed, Luna rolled up a magazine with her magic and began smacking her in the face. The changeling struggled as much as she could while stuck in her place. “Hey, knock it off!” Luna just laughed as she read through another document while continuing her assault.


For the entire time they were together, Twilight and Trixie barely spoke, each feeling slightly embarrassed from their date. What they didn’t know was that a few certain ponies and a certain dragon were keeping watch of them from afar. “What gives? They just gonna not say anythin’?” asked Applejack.

“Do they not like each other? Are they going to fight again?” Fluttershy started to absolutely panic. “What should we do, Pinkie!? Everything is a mess!”

“Don’t worry,” said Pinkie while patting her marefriend on the back. “I have an idea.”

Twilight wasn’t sure of what to talk about with Trixie. If they were just friends, it would’ve been much easier for her to make conversation, but the truth was she knew almost nothing about her. She thought about asking her, but she felt nervous since Trixie was attracted to her. Suddenly, Rainbow Dash flew past them from behind at top speed, creating a sudden gust of wind. The wind blew against the mares and caused Trixie’s hat to take flight. “My hat!”

The lavender mare saw what happened and quickly grabbed it with her magic. She brought it back down and gave it to her friend. “Here, Trixie.”

Trixie took it and rested it on her head. “Thank you. This hat is an important part of my act. It’s one of a kind and I’d be so devastated if something happened to it.”

“I really like the design. It looks cute on you,” Twilight complimented, feeling shy from the fact she called her cute.

“I’m sure it looks good on you, too.”

“Probably not,” Twilight admitted. Just then, she saw Trixie put her trademark hat on her head.

“You’re right, it doesn’t,” said the blue mare, smirking.

Twilight frowned angrily. “Gee thanks.” After a moment, they just cracked up and Trixie took it back. “You know, I wished you visited me sooner, Trixie. I really wondered what happened to you the last time we met.”

Trixie sighed. “I know I should have visited, but I was embarrassed about what happened. News had already spread what happened in Ponyville and I was having a tough time making business. I was hoping to make a more positive image for myself before I saw you. I didn’t want to bring your reputation down from hanging around me.”

“It’s okay, Trixie,” she said in attempt of comfort. “I don’t care what ponies would think. I would never abandon my friends.”

The magician blushed. “Really?”

“Of course. Besides, I’m pretty sure no pony remembers-” A large patch of snow suddenly flew from behind and covered Trixie in an instant.

Twilight gasped and began digging through the mound of snow. As she tried to free Trixie, two colts came up to them. “Oops! We’re sorry, Twilight,” said Snips. “Snails accidentally launched our snow catapult the wrong way.” He looked at the other unicorn. “I said to fire it east!”

“No, I’m pretty sure you said weast,” argued Snails.

“Weast? That’s not…never mind. Is your friend okay, Twilight? It was totally an accident and-” Finally, Trixie was freed for her prison. The sight of her caused both of the boys to yell in terror. “Holy Celestia, Trixie’s back again!” They both got on their knees and began bowing to the blue mare. “Please, your omnipotence! Have mercy!”

“Wheels are our friends! You have to believe us!” cried Snails.

Trixie was becoming incredibly uncomfortable with what was going on and Twilight took action. “Relax, you two. She’s not doing anything evil.”

They both stopped and looked up at her. “She’s not?” asked Snips.

“No. She’s completely harmless. She’s an all new mare as well as my friend, so there’s no need to be afraid of her.”

Snips and Snails got up from the ground. “Phew! I’m glad that I don’t have to drag anything heavy again.” He looked at Trixie. “So what are you doing in Ponyville? Doing another magic show or something?”

Trixie suddenly wrapped her forelegs around Twilight. “I’m having a romantic date with Twilight!”

“T-Trixie!”

Both colts stared at them with wide eyes and opened mouths. “Y-you two are both girls and you’re on a date?” asked Snips.

“Is that legal?” quarried Snails.

With a blush on her face, Twilight cleared her throat while pushing Trixie off her. “We’re not on a date. We are simply spending the day together as friends and nothing more.”

“But Trixie said you were on a date,” countered the taller colt.

“Dude, we should tell everypony in school about this!”

“H-hang on!” Twilight shouted in a panic. “Guys, I would prefer you two to not tell anypony about this, so how about I give you both mustaches in exchange for your silence?”

Snips and Snails gasped and their eyes were gleaming. “R-really?” asked Snails.

“Yep. Just remember your end of the deal.”

“Could we have ones that are long and pointy?” asked Snips. “We want to sword fight with them!”

Twilight just rolled her eyes as her horn glowed. A few seconds later, long, pointed facial hair grew on the faces of the two colts. “There.”

They both gasped happily at their new possessions. Snips looked at his friend and said, “Awesome! Let’s go show all the other kids and fight with them!” They both ran off. “Thanks Twilight and bye Trixie!”

“I get to be Mustache-Beard the pirate!” called Snails.

When they were gone, Twilight sighed with relief. “Glad that’s done with. Let’s get back to what we were doing.”

Trixie was still staring in the direction that Snips and Snails ran off. “I see they’re doing well.”

“Yeah. Pretty surprised we ran into them of all ponies.”

She looked at Twilight, mildly annoyed. “And you bribed them to keep silent about us?”

Twilight averted her gaze. “I-it’s not like I’m ashamed of being with you, Trixie. I just don’t want anypony to get the wrong idea about us when I’m not even sure what the truth is.”

Trixie sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “I guess. And Twilight?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for standing up for me,” she cooed. She then pecked her on the cheek.

Twilight gulped as she warmed up. “J-just doing what I’d do for any of my friends.”

When they were out of sight, the two colts carrying facial hair went up to Pinkie and the crew. “Okay, we did it like you asked,” said Snips.

“That was great, guys! Everything is going according to plan!” exclaimed Pinkie. She pulled out a few bits and gave them to Snips and Snails. “Thanks for the help, guys. And you can keep the snow catapult!”

“Bye, Pinkie!” they both said as they ran off.

Once they were gone, the party mare and her friends pursued the couple. “That worked out totally great! Twilight totally stuck up for her and then Trixie kissed her!”

“She was like a knight in shining armor that jumped in to save her poor damsel.” Rarity sighed happily. “Who knew Twilight could ever be like that?”

Applejack tossed a patch of snow at Rarity’s face, bringing her out of her daydreaming. The farmer just smirked while her victim looked angrily at her. “We ain’t finished yet, so let’s keep after ‘em.”

Once they found the two ponies again, something occurred to Spike. “So do any of you girls feel weird that we’re kinda forcing Twilight and Trixie to get together despite the both of them barely knowing each other and even having a rough patch in their friendship?”

The ponies looked at him and thought about what he asked for a moment. “No,” they answered at the same time.

Spike smiled and hopped on Rarity’s back. “Alright, awesome. I was just making sure.”

Several citizens of Ponyville noticed who was accompanying Twilight and either stared or just walked away quickly. As much as Trixie liked being with Twilight, she wanted to do something to keep her mind off the ponies remembering her. “So Twilight, what’s there to do around here in Ponyville?”

“Not too much because it’s winter, but I’m sure we can find something."

“Well what do you usually like to do?” asked Trixie.

“I always love to read,” Twilight stated proudly.

“I should have guessed from the fact you live in a library. But what else do you do exactly?”

Twilight’s confidence swayed when she tried thinking of another hobby. “I…uh…read?”

Trixie snickered at her. “I should have known you were a real book worm, but what’s all this about you working in a dating service? I never expected something like that from you."

Twilight blushed a little. “I’m just a secretary, really. I never get involved with clients.”

“So you don’t actually help ponies find the one?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s all Pinkie and Cherub. They do that while I keep everything tidy.”

“So how in the world did you end up there?”

Twilight found a nearby bench and seated herself and Trixie sat next to her. “I’ve known Cherub for a long time and Pinkie has worked for her almost as long. One day, Cherub made some money and was able to hire some ponies and Pinkie wanted me to work there since I’m her friend. I get paid pretty well and it’s a simple job. But enough about me. I want to know more about you, Trixie. What happened to you after you left Ponyville? I heard almost nothing about you and I got a little worried.”

Trixie sighed and leaned against her seat, looking up towards the cloudless sky. “The truth is I sort of put my show on hiatus. I knew every newspaper in Equestria would talk about what I did and I didn’t want my face to be seen,” she said gloomily. “So I bought a train ticket and headed to the open country to make bits. I’ve been working on a cherry ranch all this time, making an honest living while also practicing my magic. Sadly, I haven’t really improved.”

“So why did you come visit today?” Twilight questioned curiously.

“I’ve been meaning to see you again for a while, but I wanted the news to die down first. There’s also the fact the ranch is closed for the winter season, so I’m not working there anymore. It’s been a while since the whole incident and I thought maybe it was time to get my show up and running again, but I still need to work on my act. I then remembered how you were very talented in magic and decided to pay you a visit.”

Twilight put a hoof on her own forehead. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better greeting.”

Trixie rolled her eyes. “Let’s not worry about that now. I just want to enjoy our time together right now.”

While they spoke, a bird flew off a nearby tree branch and descended onto the shoulder of Fluttershy, whispering into her ear. “What’s he saying?” Rainbow asked.

Fluttershy shushed her and continued listening. After a moment, she turned towards her and said, “He says they’re just talking right now.”

“We know that, but about what?” asked Spike.

“He doesn’t know. He couldn’t hear them.”

Pinkie pulled on her mane. “Well we need to know. It is super important! They could be talking about boys for all we know!”

“Well what can we really do, Pinkie?” asked Applejack. “Ah don’t think we can just ask them.”

Pinkie grew a devious smile on her face and rubbed her hooves together. “Or can we?”

While Twilight and Trixie were talking, they were interrupted by a voice calling, “Hey there, ya two!”

The two unicorns looked at the direction of the voice, finding Applejack and Caramel approaching them. “Hey, Applejack and Caramel. What are you doing here?” Twilight asked, sounding slightly suspicious from their sudden appearance.

The farmer scrunched her face and shifted her eyes away. “We was just walkin’ by and we just happened to notice the both of ya and wanted to say hi. Ain’t that right, hun?” she asked while nudging her coltfriend.

“Yeah, we were just walking by,” he answered quickly. He looked at Trixie and said, “Hey, aren’t you that crazy magician who-” Applejack shoved a hoofful of snow into his mouth.

Both unicorns stared at her, causing her to laugh sheepishly. “Don’t mind him none. He’s just bein’ a dolt.”

Trixie groaned as she already heard enough of what he was trying to ask. “For your information, yes, I am that magician, but I am not trying anything.”

The stallion got the last of the snow out of his mouth. “That’s good. So what are you doing then?”

“Not much,” answered the magician. “I’m just spending the day with Twilight and catching up on things.”

“So what were ya both talkin’ about?” asked Applejack. “Everythin’ goin’ well? No problems or nuti