Chrysalis Condemned

Nov 24th, 2013
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  1. >It's been a month since you were banished from the home of the thrice damned princess'
  2. >Undone by the very thing that you needed to sustain yourself and your brood
  3. >And now you wandered the wastes with your few remaining children, the ones that lived after a month of no emotions to feed on but hate
  4. >But hate had never gone too far for you, except to sustain your will to fight
  5. >You are starving, but your children suffer more for their sympathetic link to you
  6. >You are tired, but all your hate for who put you here and killed nearly all your children is the only thing that keeps you trudging on
  7. >You are Chrysalis, the queen of what remains of your brood, your children
  8. >You are their ruler, but in the same breath you are their mother
  9. >You are willing to sacrifice them as a means to an end, but their memories will still haunt you
  10. >You lift your head and look up at the horizon
  11. >The sun is descending, taking its baleful heat with it
  12. >The desert stretches ever onward, though, and you know you and your children are in for a cold night
  13. >But as the moon rises, you see a glow in the distance
  14. >A glow not unlike that of a setting sun
  15. >Fires
  16. >Your children perk up as your hope floods their connection to you
  17. >Maybe you've just found your next meal
  18. ------------------------------------------------------------
  19. "Arista."
  20. >A rather small changeling comes forward when you call his name
  21. >An oddity in your brood, he is smaller than many of your children, and far leaner as well
  22. >"Yes, my queen?"
  23. >You frown at the way he addresses you, like a ruler instead of as a mother
  24. >But you can't lose focus on why you called him forward
  25. >It seems, as an adaptation for being scrawnier than most of his brothers and sisters, he was far more adept at shapeshifting
  26. >Not only that, but he could even blend with his surroundings, much like a chameleon
  27. "I need you to go and scout those fires on the horizon. We need to know if it is a potential feeding ground, or a threat to be avoided."
  28. >Your child nods
  29. >"Of course, my queen. I will return as soon as I can."
  30. >With that, he slinked away into the darkness, his carapace already shifting colours to blend with the dust and scrub of the desert
  31. >And once again, you are alone in the dry land
  32. >You give the rest of your hatch the order to relax and doze
  33. >It gave you some time to think
  34. --------------------------------------------------------------------------
  35. >You look up at the stars
  36. >It had been a long time since you had looked up at them without thinking about how they came to show in the sky
  37. >You think back to when you were just a child, like your own here, learning under the previous queen, your mother
  38. >Queen Thoraxia had taught you how to care for her brood, soon to be yours
  39. >But you hadn't laid your first clutch yet
  40. >She told you about the bond you would share with your offspring when you produced them
  41. >You had never even thought seriously about rearing a hive, yet
  42. >But most important was the lesson she had imprinted on you every day, without missing a beat
  43. >That you must do everything you possible can to protect, to feed, to care for your children
  44. >Then she had passed on
  45. >You still remember how you had found her
  46. >That day, when you awoke, you felt a strange absence of your mothers presence in your mind
  47. >You noticed, on your walk to her chambers to find out the reason behind it, the subdued nature of the swarm
  48. >Most slunk around, wings low and loose instead of folded, looking depressed
  49. >When you reached the queens chambers, you knocked as you had been taught
  50. >There was no answer
  51. >You knocked again, perhaps your mother was sleeping very deeply
  52. >Once again, only silence answered you
  53. >You pushed open the door to the room, fearful of what you would find on the other side
  54. >The smell was the first thing to hit you
  55. >You had breathed this scent numerous times before, of course
  56. >Drones died on occasion, in accidents, battles, or sometimes just from time
  57. >But in any case, they always released that pheromone
  58. >The same one that you detected as soon as you entered the room
  59. >It was then that the reality of the situation hit you
  60. >Your mother was dead
  61. ------------------------------------------------
  62. >You approached the nest of your late parent
  63. >Her eyes were closed, her face and body relaxed
  64. >She had died peacefully, as she slept
  65. >And even though you were a grown queen in your own right, you couldn't hold back the reaction to seeing your mother like this
  66. >You held her body and wept for hours, and the entire hive ached in concert
  67. >When you had finally regained control of yourself, you had a new sense of purpose
  68. >Your mother wouldn't want you to weep over her body, or to be broken by loss
  69. >She would expect you to take care of her children, and rear your own hatchlings
  70. >And so you did
  71. >You consolidated your rule over the hive
  72. >You established your connection within the hive to include all of the changelings
  73. >You bred your own clutches of eggs, and raised your own children to maturity
  74. >They took after their mother, as they well should have
  75. >They were smaller than Queen Thoraxia's broodlings, and took longer to pupate
  76. >But they were also more clever, and far more adept at changing shape than their grandmother and her children
  77. >And slowly, gradually, they took their place as the dominant kind in the hive
  78. >The brood of your mother slowly faded away, replaced by your own
  79. >But you never allowed them to forget about her
  80. >Many years passed, numberless hatchlings grew to maturity and eventually died
  81. >You expanded the tunnels of your hive, as your children also had longevity far surpassing the norm
  82. >The ponies built a village above the tunnels of your hive, providing a near limitless food source
  83. >Your feeders, specially bred changelings for long-term shapeshifting, intermingled with the species above your home
  84. >They fed on the love they garnered on the surface, and sequestered away much of the excess to later bring back to the hive
  85. >Eventually, the village grew into a city, and the city into the metropolis known as Canterlot
  86. >Your hive flourished under increased intake of emotion
  87. >The feeders only needed to take to the surface when you were swollen with eggs and needed the extra nutrition
  88. >Such was the strength of the ponies love that you could feed on it even here in these caverns
  89. >But never can such golden times last forever, and neither did this one
  90. ---------------------------------------------------------------
  91. >You are brought back to the present by a pressure on your underbelly
  92. >You look down and see the youngest of your remaining children nuzzling your belly
  93. >Nygma had taken the longest to pupate out of his brothers, and just happened to be a runt as well
  94. >And yet, somehow, he was one of only two remaining from his entire clutch
  95. >Arista was the other
  96. >Nygma curls against your belly and you nuzzle him with a great deal of affection
  97. >You had grown much since your first contact with the ponies
  98. >You lower your wings over the slumbering drone as you remember that fateful time
  99. >There had been an increase in the number of cave-ins over the past few months
  100. >Your tunnelers had stopped making new passages and had focused on shoring up the current ones
  101. >This most recent one was particularly horrifying, however
  102. >A birthing chamber with three nests of eggs had collapsed, crushing all of the unbirthed children
  103. >This impacted heavily on you and you personally oversaw the clearing of the rubble, helping as much as you could
  104. >A breeze carrying a strange smell came down from the top of the collapsed wall
  105. >You took two of your warriors and went to investigate
  106. >Clearing the rubble from the top of the chamber, you had found a breach into another tunnel
  107. >This was odd, given that the egg chambers were always placed at the top of the hive, in the unlikely event of an emergency exodus, so that they would be taken on the way out without risking the lives of too many drones
  108. >You followed the breeze from the tunnel further along
  109. >There were strange metal and wood structures laid along the ground here
  110. >Rails, that's what they were
  111. >You remember one of your feeders relaying the information that the ponies were building a massive structure like it across their entire domain
  112. >You hadn't cared at the time, whatever those ponies did on the surface didn't matter, so long as they didn't interfere with your children
  113. >A righteous fury had begun building in your chest
  114. >You would make whatever was responsible for this tragedy pay dearly for causing it
  115. >You could hear voices coming up from further along the tunnel
  116. >And they were getting closer
  117. --------------------------------------------------------
  118. >Your guards shifted into the form of two different ponies on pure instinct
  119. >You, however, controlled yourself and kept true to your body
  120. >It was time to show the Equestrians that they weren't the first inhabitants of this land
  121. >A large group of equines came racing down the tunnel
  122. >They nearly ran into you, since your dark chitin blended well with the rocks of your home, as it should
  123. >When they saw you, however, they froze
  124. >You could not say whether it was in fear or surprise, but it didn't matter to you
  125. "You, ponies. You are trespassing on the tunnels of Hive Gaster. Your burrowing has caused the collapse of a birthing chamber containing three nests of my eggs. Do you understand the enormity of your crime?"
  126. >One of the ponies, a unicorn, stepped forward
  127. >He had a ruddy coat and a pickaxe symbol, a cutie mark she remembered off hand, on his flank
  128. >You guessed that he was their leader, or took on the role at least
  129. >"W-we apologize for the damage and will help you repair. But these tunnels are the mines of Canterlot. This is sovereign pony territory."
  130. >He gulped as your eyes narrowed at him
  131. >"We could h-help you relocate, if need be. I'm sure Princess Celestia wi--."
  132. >His speaking was cut off as you used your magic to turn his brain into liquid that leaked out his ears and stained the floor
  133. >You step over the corpse and stare down the other equines, spreading your wings and making yourself appear larger
  134. "You will speak to me with respect, mules! You have killed many of my brood with your reckless tunneling, and for that there will be retribution. Who among you will take me to this 'princess' of yours?"
  135. >A pink coated pegasus raised a hoof as she prostrated herself
  136. >"I-I can bring you to the princess."
  137. >You look down at the pony with practiced distate
  138. "Fine. You will bring me there immediately. The rest of you will stay here under guard, just in case something happens on the surface."
  139. >You send a pulse in the hive mind for several more guards and a behemoth to come to keep the remainder under guard.
  140. >Ah, the behemoth. Such a rare strain of changeling
  141. >You only had a few, rearing such clutches took copious amounts of food to bring to adulthood
  142. >But the result was always spectacular
  143. >They were massive, easily four times larger than you, and they were extremely powerful
  144. >And you figured that a little bit of intimidation was worth the price of showing them off
  145. >An hour later, you were on the surface
  146. >While it wasn't your first time seeing it for yourself, it had been a long time since you had personally visited
  147. >Though near the bottom of the city, the mines still offered a view of the surrounding countryside
  148. "You ponies spread like a disease and marr this land with your structures. How can you live with yourselves?"
  149. >The pegasus leading you says nothing, but her shaking increases noticeably
  150. >"S-so you c-c-can fly right? F-follow me, I'll take you r-right to the princess."
  151. >You spread your wings as your escort does and follow her flight into the sky
  152. >You had forgotten how good it was to fly, to simply twirl in the sky to your hearts content
  153. >But the joy of being airborne was soured by the reason you had come
  154. >A battlement loomed ahead of you
  155. >The pegasus dipped and landed in front of a portcullis, but you flew over the wall instead
  156. >The guards, a mixture of unicorns and pegasi, were too shocked by your appearence to do anything
  157. >You spied a minaret that towered over the other spires of the castle
  158. >That would be it, the royal chambers
  159. >You swooped in and landed on the balcony, folding your wings to your side
  160. "Where are you, princess? Come forward and answer for your crimes!"
  161. >A pony, much larger than any of her other subjects, rose from a sizeable bed
  162. >She was almost larger than yourself, and combined the horn of a unicorn and the wings of a pegasi
  163. >She was stark white with a rainbow mane that flowed without a breeze
  164. >On her flank was the symbol of a sun
  165. >This was, without a doubt, the 'Princess Celestia' the foreman had mentioned before he had been executed
  166. "You are the princess I was told of?"
  167. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  168. >The hybrid pony stood taller and spread her wings, in the same way Chrysalis would to cow a rival
  169. >"I am. Why have you invaded my home."
  170. >You were shocked by the audacity of this equine
  171. >Royalty or no, no being should be addressed in such an abrupt manner, unless it was deserved
  172. >Your own wings spread in an answer to her challenging tone
  173. "I, an invader? Fool, you have collapsed areas of my hive that have lain within this mountain before this city ever came to rest on it!"
  174. >Your body shook with barely contained anger, your wings twitching sympathetically
  175. "Hundreds of my children have been murdered because of the greed of your kind, and you dare call me an INVADER?"
  176. >You slammed a hoof into a pillar next to the balcony, causing a series of cracks to spread throughout its structure
  177. >You advanced on the royal mare, your horn glowing in baleful green
  178. "Do not take me for a weakling that will bend a knee to you, murderess. You will bring every pony that toiled in the mines since their beginning to my tunnels within day and a night. Afterwards you will seal the mines, never to be opened under pain of death."
  179. >You hold your head high, setting the banners portraying Celestia's heraldry alight in emerald fire
  180. >You hold the stare of the equine princess, letting the absolute hatred shine through your gaze
  181. "You will do these things, or we shall have a war. And on the blood of my mother, and the blood of my children, I will exterminate this entire city."
  182. >As you turn to the balcony, the alicorn speaks up
  183. >"You understand that I cannot do any of the things you ask."
  184. >You chuckle coldly, tossing your mane over your withers
  185. "I know. You have a day to prepare, weakling. Then your city will burn."
  186. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  187. >Nygma shifts at your midsection and makes a chittering coo
  188. >He curls into a tight ball, pushing up tighter to his mother
  189. >You nuzzle the hatchling gently, he hadn't even undergone his first molt yet
  190. >And at the rate of your journey, he may never reach it
  191. >No, you can't give into despair
  192. >Your mother wouldn't and neither will you
  193. >The ponies may have bested you all those years ago, and even just a month ago
  194. >But you would come back
  195. >You always had
  196. >That fateful day, all that time past, you had walked back to the tunnels
  197. >No pony dared to try and stop you
  198. >When you reached the mouth of the mines, you found a heavy guard of Celestia's own
  199. >They parted before you, as water does for land
  200. >When you reached the team of ponies, now nineteen from their original 20
  201. >That foolish foreman, had he been more respectful you might have spared him
  202. >Oh well, hindsight was always perfect
  203. >You turned to the warrior brood, addressing the senior changeling among them
  204. "Bring the ponies to our hive. They may provide food in the coming weeks. And rouse our behemoths and leviathans."
  205. >The leviathans, your own personal creation, just as the behemoths had been from your mother
  206. >A breed made to tunnel through rock with ease, and they could carry warriors as well, making them doubly useful
  207. >You hadn't used them since the Great Expansion a century ago
  208. >Your lead warrior looked concerned at the order to rouse the great beasts
  209. >"My queen, how many shall we bring to wakefulness?"
  210. >You gave him a look that was half pity, and half condescension
  211. "Why all of them, warrior. Rouse every last one of them."
  212. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  213. >The hive was a flurry of activity
  214. >Hundreds of drones, warriors, and other varieties of your children bustled to and fro, preparing for war
  215. >And you waded through them, ensuring everything went smoothly
  216. >The mining ponies were cocooned in a feeding chamber for exploitation, should it come down to a seige
  217. >But you knew it would never come to that
  218. >You were far better prepared for this than that snobbish 'princess' on the surface
  219. >And so, when the allotted hour had passed by, the war was on
  220. >You held you forces back though, waiting for your enemy to make the first move
  221. >And predictably, she obliged you
  222. >A platoon of guardsmen ventured into the mines
  223. >They were pathfinders, elite among their peers and second to none in their training
  224. >They reached the area where the mining ponies had been captured and brought to your hive
  225. >They found the body of the unicorn that had challenged you and paid for his insolence
  226. >And ten seconds later, they were all dead
  227. >A leviathan tore through the tunnel they were in and collapsed it on top of them
  228. >The ones that weren't torn apart by the beasts massive claws were crushed under the earth
  229. >And just like that, you made your move
  230. >A dozen leviathans, each carrying numerous warriors burrowed into the city, under streets, through walls, into houses
  231. >The warriors were released and the leviathans stayed where they were, ready to whisk them back into the hive, should there be need
  232. >And, like a good leader, you were at the front of your forces
  233. >The leviathan that had carried you brought your personal guard and a pair of behemoths with it
  234. >You had deployed in the heart of the city, and immediately started towards the castle
  235. >There was no way that any guards could stop you
  236. >You would have your vengeance
  237. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  238. >The city was burning around you
  239. >Ponies were fleeing into the streets from their homes only to be crushed by behemoths or cut down by warriors
  240. >The guard was putting up a valiant defence, but they were no battle ready force
  241. >They may have been fighting for their home, but your brood was fighting for their mother
  242. >Where the guards broke and ran, your forces only retreated to spring traps
  243. >The walls to the great castle were torn apart, and you walked over the rubble
  244. >Your guard was bruised and battered from the heavy fighting, but they all still lived
  245. >Another squad had joined you as you had requested
  246. >They were drones especially adept at changing shape, and were used as spies, or assassins
  247. >The perfect distraction when you would be fighting the alicorn princess
  248. >Your group, minus the behemoths, took flight to the balcony
  249. >You knew their ruler would be here, sequestered away from the fighting
  250. >Your meeting had given you no doubt to that
  251. >And so, there she was, standing above a large layout of the city with several elderly pegasi and unicorns
  252. >Commanders, you figured
  253. >It did not matter, your elite group made short work of them
  254. >But they left the princess alone
  255. >She was yours to end
  256. >After the commanders were all dead, you squared yourself off against their ruler
  257. "A pity you didn't accept my generous terms at our meeting, princess. All this bloodshed could have been avoided if you'd just given up the guilty."
  258. >You laughed coldly, but Celestia weathered your mockery without so much as a twitch
  259. >"I could not order my subject to their deaths. They meant you no harm. We could have paid you reparations for the lives of your subjects that were killed."
  260. >Your lip curled in untold hatred, revealing your predatory fangs, your eyes glowing an eldritch green
  261. "Do not speak of them as though they were just lackeys or servants! These 'subjects' of mine are my children! You dare suggest that any amount of money could replace their lost lives?"
  262. >Celestia bowed her head to you and turned towards a jeweled orrey
  263. >"I did not mean to suggest such a thing, merely that we could have sought a peaceful solution, instead of seeking blood."
  264. >The jewels, six in all, were lifted up by Celetia's magic and they formed a floating circle that spun ever faster
  265. >"I cannot allow you to harm any more of my subjects. For the little that it is worth, I am sorry it had to come to this."
  266. >You cackled at the haughtiness of the alicorn
  267. "What can your trinkets possibly do to harm me? You have lost, pony, and I will have my retri--"
  268. >You were cut off as a massive blast of energy threw you from the room
  269. >You flew through a wall and off into the distance
  270. >Canterlot shrank behind you, the fires growing dim, the plumes of smoke turning to threads
  271. >At the time, you didn't know it, but she had used the Elements of Harmony against you and blasted you and your guard far away
  272. >You gathered later, during your second invasion of the city, after slowly sneaking forces in over decades, your remaining children had seemed to lose sense after you were banished
  273. >The Elements had effectively cut you off from them, and they were aimless from the sudden disconnect
  274. >And they were slaughtered entirely
  275. >Afterwards, the ponies had gone into the hive and killed all the guard remaining, along with the eggs, pupae, and unmolted
  276. >It was genocide
  277. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  278. >You shudder at the memory of the massacre
  279. >The images you had pulled from a number of guards that had participated in the horrendus act
  280. >They had been, of course, dealt with severely
  281. >But it didn't ease your pain
  282. >And it certainly didn't quench the furnace of hatred that burned where your heart should have been
  283. >But again you had failed, again you were cast out with only a few of your children left
  284. >A number that was shrinking all the time
  285. >Nygma twitched in his sleep, from a dream or just a spasm
  286. >You nuzzle him, grateful for the distraction from your brooding
  287. >There was no need for hatred anymore
  288. >Nor for emptiness from loss
  289. >All you had left was your children, nothing else mattered
  290. >The mountains to the East were beginning to glow red from the forthcoming dawn
  291. >You hadn't yet slept, but it did not matter
  292. >Arista wasn't back yet, focus on that
  293. >You roused your hive with a thought
  294. >It was time to go to wherever you had sent your son, and retrieve him
  295. >Whatever the cost
  296. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  297. >An hour later, with the sun now full risen, you come within sight of the source of the fires
  298. >Strange conical tents, each with a smoke rising from a hole in the top, sit arranged in a rough circle
  299. >Their occupants go to and from different tents at regular intervals
  300. >Massive, shaggy beasts with a pair of horns on the top of their heads
  301. >Not unicorn-like horns though, more like cattle
  302. >And some wear strange headdresses, looking quite ceremonial
  303. >You decide there isn't a moment to waste, these creatures look quite savage
  304. >You give the order through your antenna, and your brood forms up behind you
  305. >And then you walk into the camp as though you own the place
  306. >A smallish beast catches sight of you and runs into the largest of the structures
  307. >When she comes out, she is in the company of a gigantic bull
  308. >He's nearly the size of one of your behemoths
  309. >But there's a strangely noble feeling about him, and he moves towards you calmly
  310. >"Changeling. The princess sent word of your kind moving through our lands. If you leave in peace, we will not visit harm on you or your kin."
  311. >His voice is an odd combination of regal and animalistic, and deep as a canyon
  312. >You meet his stare and square up against him
  313. "One of my children came here last night. We will not leave without him."
  314. >The leader of the creatures bows his head to you
  315. >"Of course. We would expect no less from a hive mother. Please, your child is this way."
  316. >With that, he starts walking towards a tent at the outermost part of the circle.
  317. >The chieftan speaks as he walks
  318. >"Please understand, he was an intruder in our home. And though we tried to do him no harm, even the best intentions sometimes go awry."
  319. >Your stomach turns at the statement
  320. >As you reach the front of the tent, the bull steps aside to allow you entry
  321. >With a touch of apprehension, you pull aside the flap and enter the small structure
  322. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  323. >Arista is tied to a crosspost at the center of the tent
  324. >He looks up at you with pleading eyes
  325. >One of which is nearly swollen shut
  326. >He is battered, bruised marring his otherwise glistening carapace
  327. >One of his wings is missing a third of its length
  328. >Two teeth are missing and the left fang is snapped off near the base
  329. >And he has a large number of scabbed over cuts
  330. >But he is alive
  331. >Your magic tears the ropes into shreds and you rush forward to catch your collapsing child
  332. >You cradle him in your forelimbs, nuzzling his broken body
  333. >He chitters contentedly and falls into a deep sleep, partially from his injuries, partly from your magic
  334. >You levitate him onto your back and retreat from the tent
  335. >You stop before the chieftan and glare at him
  336. "Who of your warriors is responsible for this?"
  337. >The chieftan meets your gaze evenly
  338. >"My best warrior, Shatterhorn and..."
  339. >He trails off and turns from your gaze
  340. "And?"
  341. >He sighs, his honour overcoming his aprehension
  342. >"My son, Desert Wind."
  343. >You nod, sympathizing with him
  344. "Bring them before me."
  345. >He whirls on you, anger written over his features
  346. >"You DARE demand me submit my own son to you, changeling?"
  347. >You maintain your wits, your lip curling ever so slightly to show your fangs
  348. >You turn your body so that the bison has a clear view of Arista
  349. "Your people injured my child without provocation. They must be punished. I swear on my brood that they will not be killed."
  350. >The chieftan sighs and he slumps before you
  351. >"We have heard tell of what you did to the ponies many winters ago, when their mining accidentaly collapsed parts of your hive and killed many of your children."
  352. >He looks towards his tent, eyes distant
  353. >"I know I would demand the same of anyone that dared harm a member of my tribe, much less my child. I will do as you say."
  354. >You bow your head to him
  355. >You certainly hadn't expected compliance from this beast
  356. >Perhaps, just maybe, creatures besides you and your brood, knew honour
  357. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  358. >You had moved on when the sun was setting
  359. >The chieftan hadn't exactly welcomed you after what you did to his son and the warrior that had beaten Arista
  360. >You'd heldtrue to your word that you wouldn't kill them, of course
  361. >You weren't a monster, after all
  362. >You had taken careful accrument of the wounds and injuries on your child
  363. >You had then divided them into two even group
  364. >After that, you did precisely what the pair of bison had done to Arista
  365. >Down to the depth of the cuts, the force behind the bruises, and the relevant anatomical area
  366. >Both would recover
  367. >And much faster than Arista, given his lack of nutrition, and the severity of his injuries
  368. >So you carried him away, when it was time to go
  369. >Now, the moon had risen, the desert heat had given way to a bitter cold
  370. >And still you and your family walked onwards
  371. >It made more sense for you to travel at night, than in the day
  372. >You wouldn't get dehydrated as quickly, and your vision at night was better than other desert inhabitants
  373. >Unfortunately, your focus was not near good enough to maintain constant awareness of your surroundings
  374. >Not eating for weeks on end did that to your body
  375. >Any love you harvested immediately went to your children
  376. >They needed it more than you
  377. >The sun was near rising, just barely lighting the horizon, when one of your brood collapsed
  378. >It was Mentum, a birthing nest attendant
  379. >You immediately stopped the march and ran over to him
  380. >He was already struggling to his feet when you reached him
  381. >Besides being a little dusty he was alright
  382. >His exoskeleton flexed in a way that could only be interpreted as embaressment
  383. >You told the others to rest with a signal though the hive mind
  384. >And you glared pointedly at Mentum
  385. "You need to let me know when you need rest, Mentum."
  386. >His ears pressed against his skull
  387. >"I did not want to slow our march, my queen."
  388. >You sighed and your shoulders sank
  389. "Two things, my child. First I would rather slow or stop a march than have any one of you die. Second, stop refering to me as your queen. We have no kingdom anymore. I am just your mother."
  390. >He raises a leg and hides a half of his face
  391. >"Y-yes, I understand...mother."
  392. >You stroke his cheek with a forelimb and smile
  393. "Don't worry, my son. We'll be fine. I will make sure of it."
  394. >He nods and slinks away to join the rest of his brothers
  395. >A piercing shriek brought you out of your fitful slumber
  396. >"The changelings! The changelings are here!"
  397. >But this was a ghost town, who in Tartarus was screaming?
  398. >Your eyes snapped open and you saw a yellow earth pony in a ridiculous looking cowboy hat and vest
  399. >He appeared to be holding back a large crowd of other ponies from charging at you
  400. >You stand slowly, retaining what little regality your gaunt form had left
  401. >Two of your warriors stand between you and the massive crowd of ponies
  402. >You push them aside and approach the yellow one
  403. >He seemed to be some kind of leader, or at least someone influential, if he was managing to hold back all of his kin
  404. >In the crowd behind him, you saw the ponies' eyes grow wide and several fell over
  405. >You ignore them and stare into the eyes of the vested pony in front of you
  406. "You are the leader of this town?"
  407. >The pony in question stood on all fours as best he could, pulling himself up to appear taller
  408. >He still barely reached your withers
  409. >"Y-yes ah am. Mah name's Braeburn. This is our town, called Appleloosa. Yer not gonna, d-drain us of our love an' life there. We don't got much else 'sides that in this desert here."
  410. >You scoff at the statement
  411. "Of course not. We haven't drained an entire city since our war with Hive Tymbal in the time of Queen Siphon. That was over a thousand years ago, for you short-lived ponies."
  412. >This didn't seem to calm Braeburn at all
  413. >If anything, his shaking and stuttering got worse, quite an annoying attribute
  414. >"W-well, y'all ain't welcome in this here town. We don't want nothin' ta do with no changeling hives!"
  415. >You sigh and send the signal to prepare to leave to your brood
  416. "Then we will leave. Come, my children, it seems that no species will welcome us. Perhaps we can find sustenance in another land."
  417. >You lead your children in a procession through the town
  418. >On your way, ponies shouted obscenities at you, some even throwing rotted fruit at you
  419. >Several of the items hit you, which you didn't mind
  420. >But then a pony threw a stone from a window of one of the buildings
  421. >It hit Nygma in the eye, and the changeling runt fell over, unconscious
  422. >You whipped your head around to where the stone had come from and fired a blast of magic at it
  423. >The building in question burst into brilliant emerald flame, the wood catching like tinder after so long in the desert sun
  424. >The occupants screamed as their home burned around them
  425. >But after lifting Nygma onto your back, you carried on as though it had never happened
  426. >No one threw anything after that
  427. >Eventually, you reached the hills overlooking the town
  428. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  429. >You look back at the desert town, now bathed in the glow of the setting sun
  430. >Deep in your heart you felt you would never be accepted by any species in any land
  431. >There was a time when changelings had ruled much of the earth that the ponies and other creatures laid claim to
  432. >But then the creature the ponies called Discord had come
  433. >The ponies, of course, thought themselves the only victims, as they were wont to do
  434. >But the changelings hadn't always had holes in their legs
  435. >And there had been dozens of different hives across the land
  436. >Now, as far as you knew, yours was the only one left
  437. >What a strange feeling, to know that your species was soon to be gone from the face of Equestria
  438. >So you paused at the top of that hill, staring back at the town that had pushed you out, just like the rest
  439. >The building you had set alight had long since burned to the ground
  440. >As for its dwellers, you didn't know what had become of them
  441. >Then again, you didn't care
  442. >"Y'know, you'd make more friends if ya didn't kill ponies and destroy their things."
  443. >You whirl to face whatever was speaking to you, and your warriors lept in front of you, baring their fangs
  444. >The old unicorn, owner of that voice, chuckled with a dusty hack
  445. >"Oh come now, you don't need to worry about one old pony. I doubt I could threaten you even if that is what I wanted to do."
  446. >You place a hoof on one of your warriors to calm him
  447. >You approach the elderly unicorn, noting some things that marked him out from the rest of ponydom
  448. >He wore a strange collar-like thing about his neck, black with a white square in the center of it
  449. >He had a pair of spectacles perched on the end of his nose, though he didn't seem to need them, instead staring directly into your eyes
  450. >And his horn
  451. >His horn was broken, two thirds of it missing
  452. >He laughs again, that same dry cackle
  453. >"You see? I could hardly threaten you or your hive, Queen Chrysalis."
  454. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  455. >You narrow your eyes at him
  456. "And just how do you know who I am, unicorn?"
  457. >The old pony smiles at you and replies in a tone devoid of any malice, more playful sounding than anything
  458. >"I just listen, hive mother. It's something so few ponies do these days."
  459. >Well, the elderly equine didn't seem to be a threat at least
  460. >It couldn't hurt to entertain this kind of courtesy, especially from a pony after all
  461. "What is your name, colt?"
  462. >He inclines his head to you as a show of respect
  463. >"I have the pleasure to be named Sigurd, Queen Chrysalis."
  464. "Well, Sigurd, as you can see, my children are...ill at ease with your presence. If you would please move, we'll be on our way and not cause anymore trouble in this area."
  465. >Sigurd places a hoof on your forelimb to stop you
  466. >You can't believe the audacity of this unicorn, he dared to touch you
  467. >Your guards evidently had a similar mindset and hissed at the old pony
  468. >"I must insist that you wait. You and your children are starving, are you not? Please, come to my home. I shall feed you. And I'm certain you'll find my abode a sight more comfortable than the open flats."
  469. >You look back at your emaciated children and sigh
  470. "I accept your offer of hospitality. Lead the way."
  471. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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