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How Chrysalis Got Her Groove Back I

Sep 26th, 2016
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  1. >Mirrors are wondrous things
  2. >The material that they are made of is one of the harder minerals known to civilized creatures
  3. >It is only through an exacting process, both industrial and magical, that one is able to create one
  4. >One may see themselves in a river or stream, but the picture is easily and constantly warped
  5. >They may also see it in some metals, but the picture is often distorted
  6. >Only with a mirror can one see oneself clearly, and with every little detail
  7. >Out of any object, none are more so used in magic than a mirror
  8. >Whether it be to peer into the future, travel to other lands, or communicate with undead spirits, the mirror is a steadfast tool for all spellcasters and magi
  9. >The greatest magical minds known have, in some way, at some point of their lives, dabbled with magical mirrors
  10. >Many, desensitized by the the luxuries of the modern era, cannot comprehend the significance of a mirror
  11. >The significance of seeing oneself as they are plainly
  12. >But, while mirrors are wonderful and --sometimes-- magical things, the effect that they have on a creature might not always be positive
  13. >There is no lying or cheating a mirror unless one is made for that sole purpose
  14. >For a plain, run-of-the-mill mirror, cannot fabricate the image that it shows you
  15. >Every imperfection, every bump, wrinkle, and wart will be shown to you as clear as day, no matter how many mirrors you use or how much you beg and plea
  16. "No, no, no, no, no, no..."
  17. >Mirrors stood on all sides of Queen Chrysalis, First of her Name, Lady of a Thousand Faces, and Leader of the Southernmost Hive
  18. >They were of different sizes, shapes, models, and makes
  19. >Some were tinted, some had frames of gold leaf and seemed to glow in the low light, some were even chipped and cracked and warped
  20. >These mirrors had come from all over the world, collected by the centuries-old queen for some reason or another
  21. >There must have been a dozen in all surrounding her, reflecting every inch of her form
  22.  
  23. >But something was amiss
  24. >The face that stared back at her was not her own
  25. >The body that she gazed upon was foreign
  26. >No matter what mirror she looked into, no matter what direction she moved in or how close she stood, the ling staring back at her was not her
  27. >The face was rounder and smoother
  28. >The fangs seemed duller, smaller, less threatening
  29. >The eyes seemed rounder-- and while they still held the gaze of a predator it was far less intense than it had been
  30. >Whenever she turned her head she could see no holes in her mane
  31. >The hair was a lighter green, and felt softer against her thickened neck
  32. >Her entire body looked thicker, fuller, healthier
  33. >She stood taller, straighter
  34. >The chitin that covered her body from nuzzle to hoof felt smoother, softer; more like leather than the hardened armor that it was supposed to be
  35. >The queen brought a hoof to her face and touched her cheek
  36. >Her legs were thicker as well, and the holes that had adorned them since she had hatched had shrunk to nothingness
  37. >Even her horn, the pride of a changeling queen, looked thicker and straighter, with barely a hole in it
  38. >This was not the form of a ruthless, powerful, indomitable queen
  39. >This body was too soft, to gentle
  40. >Feeling faint, the queen spread her wings
  41. >Not a hole in them could be seen
  42. >In fact, they now looked like wings that belonged on the back of some butterfly
  43. >This was not her
  44. >She did not look like this
  45. >This was... something else
  46. >Something so different yet with just a hint of familiarity
  47. >It was her but not her
  48. >Chrysalis, First of her Name, Lady of a Thousand Faces, and the Leader of the Southernmost Hive, stared back at her reflection in both fascination and horror, touching every part of her body that she could, as she had been doing for hours
  49. "Something happened while I was molting," she muttered to herself. "I did not look like this... THING before."
  50. >Her mind raced
  51. >What could have done this?
  52. >WHO could have done this?
  53. >Was it the work of some rival hive?
  54.  
  55. >Perhaps it was the doing of some Zebrican witch doctor whose husband that she had taken A lifetime ago?
  56. >The queen gritted her teeth and, for a moment, the softness in her eyes and face disappeared
  57. "I swear to the thousand-faced god that I will come to know who did this to be," she growled. "I will know them and I shall do EVERYTHING in my power to destroy them."
  58. >Chrysalis, still baring her fangs, began to pace back and forth like a lioness
  59. >Her image followed her, mocking her with its strangeness
  60. >She noticed that her gait was different now
  61. >It was smoother, more open, more graceful; nothing like the sly, guarded, fox-like stride that she had spent her whole life mastering
  62. >She growled under her breath as rage warmed her belly
  63. "I will have their businesses destroyed, I will have their friends and family taken, I will take everything from them until they are nothing but a shriveled husk of--"
  64. >The Queen of the Changelings froze as the door to her personal chambers began to open
  65. >Eyes blazing, she picked her head up and bared her fangs
  66. "Who DARES enter--"
  67. >The moment the door cracked open, a warmth filled the room
  68. >Warmer than any fire, more wholesome and nourishing than any food that she had ever known
  69. >It was love; pure, unyielding, powerful love
  70. >The queen's anger drained from her as this love filled the room and washed over her like a wave
  71. >She took a step back , her mouth partially opened and her eyes becoming half-lidded
  72. >"Chrysalis? Are you in there hon?" a voice called
  73. >It was a lovely voice; soft yet strong, with a baritone that seemed to ring in one's ears long after the words were spoken
  74. >Though she didn't notice, a smile came to Chrysalis' face
  75. >It was the voice of an angel
  76. >It was the voice of her king
  77. "I am here, my love," she called back
  78. >The door swung open, revealing an odd figure
  79. >At first glance, he didn't appear like all that much
  80.  
  81. >He had a mousey or bookish air about him, though, upon closer inspection, one might have noticed an almost noble quality to the way that he carried himself
  82. >Tall and thin, the figure wore a thick sweater, a durable pair of khakis, and a pair of thick, fuzzy slippers
  83. >His hands were large and thick, his face broad
  84. >The beginnings of a beard could be seen on his chin and cheeks
  85. >His was an honest face, one full of joy and merriment and love
  86. >Chrysalis looked over this strange creature-- looked over every inch of him-- until her gaze settled upon his right hand
  87. >There, on the finger second to last finger, was a ring
  88. >It was a simple thing; a thin band of plain metal
  89. >But, as she looked at it, a warmth filled her
  90. >Sitting upon her horn was a ring very much like it
  91. >Standing before her wasn't just any creature
  92. >He was the one that had saved both her and her children
  93. >He was the one that had tempered her rage, anger, and desire to rule all
  94. >He was the one that so saturated the room with love
  95. >This being, this creature, was none other than her husband, the light of her life, the one who made her whole
  96. >Her angel
  97. >Her knight
  98. >Her love
  99. >Her king
  100. >"...What in the Sam hill is going on in here?"
  101. >Anon Y. Mous, Third of his Name, Lord of a Quiet Sunday and a Good Book, and King of the Changelings, looked around the bedroom in confusion
  102. >Though their chambers were never the neatest of places, today it looked particularly bad
  103. >The sheets on their bed looked like they had been torn
  104. >The nightstand sitting next to their bed had been broken into a million pieces
  105. >He could see broken glass on the floor and bits of glass lodged in the wall
  106. >The young king tapped the book that he was holding against his side as he continued to look around
  107. >His brow furrowed, and his lips became a thin line
  108. >Chrysalis looked around the room, feeling her stomach drop when she finally noticed the state that it was in
  109.  
  110. >Worry began to mix with the love in the air, making her loudly gulp
  111. >"...Chrysalis."
  112. >Chrysalis, the mighty Queen of the Changelings, found the floor suddenly interesting as her husband stepped into the room
  113. >She could hear his footsteps as he navigated around the broken glass and bits of broken wood
  114. >Like always, his footsteps were slow, careful, and measured
  115. >She expected him to start yelling, to start demanding what she had done, but to her surprise he said nothing
  116. >If not for his footsteps, his breathing, and the love in the room, she would have thought that he had left
  117. >She opened her mouth to say something, to explain herself, but found that the words would not come
  118. >Her king came ever closer, his slippers patting against the brick-colored rug that covered their stone floor
  119. >She began to squirm, her wings buzzing
  120. >She wanted him to say something, anything
  121. >This silence was going to--
  122. >She gasped as she felt his hands on her cheeks
  123. >Soft and warm, they carried with them all of the tenderness of a stallion's touch
  124. >She found herself sighing, nuzzling into those hands as her love crouched down until the two were eye level
  125. >"Chrysalis, honey, what's wrong?" he asked, picking her head up so that she was looking up into his face
  126. >He looked beautiful up close, so much so that he nearly took her breath away
  127. >Her wings buzzed yet again, both in nervousness and affection
  128. "I... it's nothing, my king," she found herself saying, drowning in those green pools that were his eyes
  129. >A ghost of a smile came to Anonymous' face
  130. >"If this is nothing then I don't want to see what our room would look like if something was wrong," he said
  131. >Though there was a hint of amusement in his voice, Chrysalis flinched
  132. "I... I forgot myself for a few moments, my king, nothing more," she said, her eyes drifting back to the floor. "I will have some of the lings come in to clean our chambers."
  133. >Her husband tsked, shaking his head
  134.  
  135. >"I could care less about the room, love," he said. "You're the one that I'm worried about."
  136. >The way that he said it, the honesty, the genuine concern, the love in his voice, made her heart ache
  137. >It made her want to wrap her hooves around his neck and hold him close until the sun grew dim and the stars died
  138. >Anonymous leaned forward until his forehead was touching hers
  139. >Those green eyes were all she could see now, and they were all that she wanted to see
  140. >With each breath she took she could smell old paper, ink, flowers, dirt
  141. >His smell
  142. >A frightened, frustrated, and confused sound escaped her throat as she leaned forward, pressing herself into him
  143. >Anonymous wrapped his hands around her neck, pulling her against him, smothering her in his scent and warmth and love
  144. >Chrysalis sighed contently, feeling the tension in her body draining away
  145. >Here, alone with her love, she didn't need to be the all-powerful, terrible queen
  146. >She didn't need to be the pinnacle of might and power amongst the Changelings
  147. >She could just be Chrysalis, the ling that needed to feel her husband's warmth against her chitin
  148. "Hmm..."
  149. >For a long while neither of them said a thing
  150. >They rocked back and forth amongst the mirrors and the broken glass in the silence of the room
  151. >Finally, though she was hesitant to do so, the Changeling queen pulled away from her king
  152. "I..."
  153. >She gestured down to herself
  154. "Something has happened to my form, beloved. I am no longer the ling that took you to the alter..."
  155. >Anonymous raised an eyebrow
  156. >"I recall you being a yellow earth pony with a pink mane and green tail on our wedding day, so I suppose that you're right."
  157. >Chrysalis opened her mouth to say something but immediately closed it
  158. >Her expression grew confused, then thoughtful, before she frowned
  159. >Nose scrunching up, she glared up at him
  160. "Don't you twist my words!" she growled, stomping a hoof
  161.  
  162. >"My lady, I don't recall twisting any words of any kind," Anonymous cheekily replied. "I remember specifically there being a yellow earth pony standing at the altar right next to that one-eyed jenny with the buck--"
  163. "I was referring to MY form!" Chrysalis interrupted, gesturing to herself
  164. >Blinking, Anonymous leaned back and took a good look at her
  165. >A small frown began to worm its way onto his face the longer that he looked
  166. >"What? You don't seem all that different," he murmured, scratching his chin. "Actually, now that I look at you, you seem a little... fuller perhaps?"
  167. >The queen gawked at him
  168. "FULLER?! Look at my mane! Look at me tail! LOOK AT MY--"
  169. >Anonymous raised an eyebrow as her voice grew louder and louder
  170. >A ripple ran through the love in the air, one so small and insignificant that most lings wouldn't have even noticed it
  171. >But Chrysalis did, and because of it her rant died in her throat
  172. "You know how I feel about yelling, hon," Anonymous said calmly
  173. >What could have been a sound of protest escaped the queen's throat but, wisely, she closed her mouth
  174. "...Sorry dear."
  175. >Her husband stared at her for a few moments before his smile came back to his face
  176. >"I don't know what you're getting so worked up for," he said, rubbing his thumb against her cheek. "You said that you always end up looking a little different after a molt."
  177. "No, this is different, my love," the queen insisted with a shake of her head. "At most I'm supposed to get a little bit bigger when I molt. The changes aren't supposed to be anywhere near this drastic."
  178. >She looked down at herself, a twinge of disgust on her face
  179. "I barely look like a ling anymore..."
  180. >"Oh don't be like that hon, you look cute!"
  181. >Chrysalis reeled back as if she had been struck
  182. "Cute?! A changeling queen isn't supposed to be CUTE! We're supposed to strike awe in all that behold us. We're supposed to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies!"
  183.  
  184. >She stomped a hoof again, and the sound echoed off the stone walls
  185. "We're not supposed to look like some damned hybrid between a ling and some weakling pony!"
  186. >She looked away from her husband and at the mirrors
  187. >A dozen not-her's looked back, their eyes angry and their teeth bared
  188. >She growled under her breath
  189. "How are we of the Southernmost Hive supposed to garner the respect that we deserve if I look like THIS?"
  190. >"The better question is why you would care what the other ling queens think about you and yours," Anonymous said eveningly
  191. "If we are to thrive--"
  192. "Our hive is the biggest this side of the world. Our people are happy and their bellies are full, and everyday the hive only grows."
  193. >Anonymous traced Chrysalis' jawline with his middle and ring finger
  194. >As he did that she could feel his wedding ring brush against her chitin
  195. >A purr escaped her throat, and her wings buzzed
  196.  
  197. >"I might not be the sharpest knife in the kitchen, but I think we're doing fine. Very fine."
  198. >The sinking feeling in Chrysalis' gut grew as her husband smiled
  199. >He was right of course
  200. >For nearly two years they had been growing and expanding
  201. >The only hive that came close to her's in size was in the west, and she still had double their number
  202. >And not only that but they were WELL FED
  203. >Not a single drone or worker or soldier went to bed hungry
  204. >Her husband was an endless well of emotion; with him they would have more than enough love for a very, very long time
  205. >They didn't need to kidnap ponies or gryphons or donkeys
  206. >She didn't need to send extraction teams on dangerous missions so that the hive wouldn't starve or be too weak to defend themselves
  207. >She didn't need to invade neighboring kingdoms
  208. >She didn't have to gather intel or send out spies or kidnap princes
  209. >Her Changelings no longer needed to be parasites, thieves, or murderers
  210. >The hive was entirely self-sufficient
  211. >For the first time in her long, long life, Chrysalis, the Queen of the Changelings, could love in peace with her neighbors
  212. >She didn't need to be the bad guy
  213. >She didn't need to be the monster that everyone knew her as
  214. >A sigh escaped her throat
  215. "You're right, my love," she said, weakly smiling. "Forgive me, I was being foolish."
  216. >Leaning up, she placed a kiss on her husband's lips and turned away
  217. "I'm sure that you're also right about my molting. This new form must simply be another stage that we queen lings go through."
  218. >Anonymous frowned as his wife sat down in the middle of the mirrors, her head down and her tail curled around her body
  219. >"Chrysii..."
  220. "Could you please check to see if four-five-six and two-seven-four have completed their work on the turbines?"
  221. >The tip of her horn glowed
  222. >All around her, bits of broken glass and wood were levitated into the air
  223. "I shall clean our chambers before joining you."
  224. >Anonymous opened his mouth to say something, but just as quickly closed it
  225.  
  226. >He bit his lip, looking at his wife in concern
  227. >"...You know that I'll always be here if you want to talk about anything, dear," he said
  228. >Through the mirror, he could see her smiling, even though she still refused to look at him
  229. "I know love. Thank you."
  230. >Anonymous stared at his wife for a few moments as she began to clean the mess that she had made
  231. >Shaking his head, he made his way to the door, careful not to step on any glass or broken wood
  232. >He said nothing as he stepped through his bedroom door and closed it, but there was a frown on his face and his brow was furrowed contemplatively
  233. >As always, there were a pair of guards standing on either side of the door
  234. >These were the personal guard of the queen and king; Changelings who had been specifically bred to be the toughest, strongest, and most resilient among their kind
  235. >As Anonymous exited the room, these lings snapped to attention, their hooves clicking and their spears tapping against the ground
  236. >This caused Anonymous to turn to them
  237. >The King of the Changelings stood in the middle of the hallway, staring at these soldiers, his brow still furrowed
  238. >"Eight-six-two, Seven-nine-zero?"
  239. >The Changelings stood up a little straighter
  240. >"Yes, lord?" they both said in unison
  241. >Anonymous looked back at his door, his frown deepening
  242. >"Methinks that our dear queen fancies herself a soldier without a battle to fight," he said, stroking his stubble as best as he could. "She thinks herself useless-- that there is no more purpose to her existence, even though she has done more for her people without a sword than she ever could with one..."
  243. >The lings looked at each other
  244. >"...Sir?" one of them said
  245. >"Momma misses being a bad guy now that she doesn't need to be one," the king clarified, reaching over and patting the one of the guards on his helmeted-head
  246. >Suddenly, a flash of inspiration flashed across his face
  247. >"And you know what? I think I might have an idea how to get her out of this funk!"
  248.  
  249. >Now smiling, he crouched down and placed his hands on Eight-six-two's withers
  250. >"There's no time to waste, my boy. I need you to find me a messenger, along with some paper and a quill."
  251. >The ling guard's brow furrowed
  252. >"But my lord, I have to--"
  253. >"Your brother will be more than capable of watching this door for an hour or two," he said, looking over to Seven-nine-zero. "Isn't that right, my little ling?"
  254. >"I will guard our queen with my life, my king," he said, tapping his spear against the ground
  255. >"Excellent!" the king cried
  256. >There was a smile on his face as he turned back to the other ling
  257. >"Now off with you, my boy," he said, giving him a little push. "If you're quick I'll have it sent out within the day."
  258. >Eight-six-two's head cocked to the side
  259. >"Have what sent out, my lord?"
  260. >The king's smile turned into a grin
  261. >"Why, a letter of course."
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