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How Chrysalis Got Her Groove Back II

Sep 27th, 2016
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  1. >All things considered, it was a very lovely day in Canterlot
  2. >The local weather team had brought in a chilly gale from the north, giving the city a recess from the fierce summer heat
  3. >There were a few clouds in the sky, but not so many that they were overwhelming
  4. >The night before, the Canterlot Cleavers had beaten out the Cloudsdale Cavaliers ten-to-three in a much anticipated hoofball game, and the whole city was still riding high from the victory
  5. >The weekend was just around the corner, so the city's usually hustle and bustle of the capital had quieted down somewhat
  6. >It was a happy day, a lazy day
  7. >A day to relax, sit with friends, and chat one's throat was hoarse
  8. >In Canterlot Castle, however, things were a very different story
  9. >"Now, Luna, I know your feelings, but that does not mean that we--"
  10. >"It strutted through the castle as if it owned the place, sister! We cannot allow such ARROGANCE to stand."
  11. >"The Changeling came unarmed and undisguised."
  12. >"Which only shows just how bold our enemy has become! I say that we slay the beast and send its head back to its master before scattering her and her entire foul race to the four corners of the globe!"
  13. >Canterlot Castle, since that morning, had been a buzz of activity
  14. >The guard had been doubled and doubled again in a span of a few hours
  15. >The castle had been closed to all, without exception
  16. >The entirety royal guard were dressed for war and patrolling the castle grounds as if an attack was not only feared but expected
  17. >Except for these guards, the entire castle was deserted
  18. >All other of the castle's inhabitants, from cooks to maids to janitors, had been ushered to their chambers and told to stay there until told otherwise, with little to no explanation as to why
  19. >There was a tension in the air; an unspoken wariness that could be seen on the few that walked along the halls and walls of the castle
  20. >This tension was felt by all-- from the lowly maid to Princess Celestia herself-- except for a single guest
  21.  
  22. >A very, very, VERY unwelcomed guest
  23. >"I swear by our lady, if you make a SINGLE move, monster, there won't be enough of you left to fill a THIMBLE."
  24. >A changeling, no different in appearance than any of his brothers or sisters, did not so much as blink as a spear was jabbed in his face
  25. >Near a hundred guards stood in a circle around this lone ling, their spears at the ready
  26. >Behind the guards stood Princess Luna, Princess Celestia, Princess Twilight, Princess Cadence, and Prince-Consort Shining Armor
  27. >Like the guards, none of the alicorns looked particularly happy to see the changeling in their halls
  28. >Luna, in fact, looked furious beyond words by its presence
  29. >The Prince-Consort looked far less so, his expression a mixture between guarded intrigue and upset bemusement
  30. >"Yeah! If you THINK about moving we'll poke you with so many holes they'll make you look like SWISS CHEESE."
  31. >Most would have been more than a little fearful in such a situation, with so many unfriendly faces staring back at him, but the little ling looked almost bored as he stood there, rocking back and forth as he stared at the glass above the royal thrones
  32. >This was not the first time that the changeling had received a less than warm welcome
  33. >It also wasn't the first time that he had tasted the fear coming from the ponies around him
  34. >It was a bitter, salty taste, and it was STRONG
  35. >The ponies must be worried that there were more changelings running around
  36. >No doubt that they were looking at each other, silently wondering if the pony staring back at them was really who they said they were
  37. >The young ling grimaced, sticking his tongue out
  38. >He did not like the taste of fear very much
  39. >It didn't settle well in his the stomach, and no matter what he did it ALWAYS left the worst aftertaste in his mouth
  40. >If the little ling could, he would have simply left, but he couldn't
  41. >Not before he completed his mission
  42.  
  43. >"--We need to check the entire castle for any infiltrators--"
  44. >"I have some of the guards combing through the castle as we--"
  45. >"They knew that we all were going to be at the castle at the same time. That means that--"
  46. >"If need be, Shining and I could easily--"
  47. >The changeling yawned hugely
  48. >Since he was a polite ling, he made sure to cover his mouth with a hoof, which caused the guards around him to jump and brandish their spears
  49. >The royals' collective snapped to the Changeling as the fear in the room grew more concentrated
  50. "Excuse me? Princess Twilight?"
  51. >Princess Twilight Sparkle, who, though her face as an emotionless mask, still tasted as nervous and fearful as everypony else in the room, jumped at calling of her name
  52. >"Yes?" she said reflexively. Can I hel--"
  53. >Before she could finish, Luna, her ethereal mane coiling around her head like an angry snake, growled
  54. >"SILENCE! CRETIN!" she boomed, so loudly that she nearly knocked the guards in front of her off their hooves. "WE WILL HAVE NO DESIRE TO HEAR THY CURSED TONGUE!"
  55. >The Changeling grimaced, resisting the urge to shake the ringing out of his ears
  56. "I'm sorry if I caused a bit of a ruckus," he said, with a apologetic dip of the head. "But I really have to have to give Princess Twilight a--"
  57. >"How did you know that we all would be at the castle at once?" Luna demanded. "Where are the rest of your accursed kind?!"
  58. >The sea of guards quickly parted as the Princess of the Night strode forward
  59. >The air began to grow cold
  60. >The room seemed to grow darker
  61. >Princess Luna's wings began to slowly extend, and her blue eyes slowly but surely began to lost their pupils
  62. >"Didst thou think to use thyself as a distraction whilst the rest of your brothers were up to mischief? Where is thy queen? Dost she stalk our halls as we speak, ready to spring some trap?"
  63. >Each hoofstep that she took seemed to grow louder and louder until it drowned out all other sound
  64.  
  65. >The Princess herself seemed to grow in size and stature, growing angrier and angrier with each step, until her mane and tail were whipping back and forth as if caught up in a hurricane
  66. >For the first time since the ling had wandered into the castle, he could feel nervousness welling up inside of him
  67. >"WELL? ART THOU A COCK-EYED SIMPLETON? CAN THOU NOT FIND THY TONGUE TO ANSWER US?"
  68. >As the princess neared him, the changeling tried to retreat
  69. >There was no longer just fear and suspicion coming from the princess
  70. >There was angry, hate; the type of emotions that made ponies lash out
  71. >And, with the Lunar Princesses... reputation, the ling decided that he did not want to be on the receiving of any emotional outburst
  72. >He managed to make it back two steps before he felt half a dozen spears prodding his backside
  73. >The ling yelped in surprise and a bit of pain
  74. >He quickly scrambling forward, right into Princess Luna's peytral
  75. >"PERHAPS A TRIP TO THE DUNGEON IS IN ORDER TO LOOSEN THY TONGUE," she growled.
  76. >The ling tried to scramble away but found that he couldn't
  77. >No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried to move his hooves, they simply wouldn't budge
  78. >It was as if he was rooted to the ground
  79. "P-Please, I'm j-jus--"
  80. >His head was jerked upward, forcing him to look up into the princess's white, terrible eyes
  81. >The room felt postively frigid, and no light seemed to pierce the darkness surrounding the dark blue alicorn and himself
  82. >His strained every muscle in his body, tried to will his body to move, to retreat to run, but he may as well have been trying to make the world spun the other way
  83. >A whimper escaped his throat as an animalistic growl escaped the princess's throat
  84. >"YES!" Luna said, her voice louder than thunder. "A--"
  85. >"Now, now Luna, you're going to give the poor dear a heart attack."
  86. >From beside him, the sound of magic being cast could be heard
  87. >There was a pop, and in the blink of an eye the void of nothingness was gone
  88.  
  89. >Shining Armor was now standing next to the Princess of the Night, the tip of his horn glowing
  90. >The ling, shaking like a leaf, blearily noticed that the entirety of the guard had moved as far away from Princess Luna as they physically could
  91. >Princess Celestia and Princess Cadence looked exasperated, while Princess Twilight looked confused
  92. >Shining Armor--who towered over him, the Changeling couldn't but notice-- was staring at him with a raised eyebrow
  93. >"I see that you're wearing a saddlebag there. Would you mind telling us what's inside of it?" the Prince-Consort asked with a surprising amount of tact
  94. >The ling, very much shaken up by Princess Luna's display, jumped before quickly looking at his saddlebag
  95. "I-I have a letter for P-Princess Twilight," he quickly said, his gaze nervously darting from Luna to Shining
  96. >Luna opened her mouth to say something, but Shining raised a hoof
  97. >"Luna, I understand that you're trying to get answers, but why don't you let me try to talk to him for a little while, hmm?"
  98. >"Luna," Celestia called, beckoning her sister with a hoof. "Please. Let Shining talk to the Changeling before you give it a heart attack."
  99. >Luna's brow furrowed
  100. >She stared at Shining Armor, then over at her sister, before her gaze once again settled upon the ling
  101. >Seconds turned to hours as the Changeling felt her anger, her disgust, her hate, coming off her in waves
  102. >It was overwhelming, nearly choking him with its potency
  103. >Her gaze itself was piercing
  104. >It was as if she were looking into his very soul, and didn't very much care for what she saw
  105. >"...Very well," the Lunar Princess said, freeing the ling from her withering gaze. "If you believe that a stallion's touch is needed here then I shan't protest."
  106. >She turned away and made her way back toward the gaggle of princesses
  107. >It took very once of the Changeling's willpower not to crumple to the floor
  108. >He was about to sigh in relief when the tip of the princess's horn glowed
  109.  
  110. >A slight pressure appeared around his neck, not enough to cut off his air supply or cause him any pain, but enough to make him twitch
  111. >"I need not tell you what would become of you if it crossed your mind to hurt my dear, sweet nephew, do I, beast?" Luna quietly asked, not turning around
  112. >The Changeling gulped before shaking his head as rigorous as he could
  113. "N-No, ma'am."
  114. >"Very good. Shining? You may speak to this... demon."
  115. >Both Shining and the Changeling watched as the guard, many of whom were eyeing Princess Luna nervously, once again surrounded the ling in armored bodies and sharp spears
  116. >While they hadn't seemed all that threatening before, now, as shaken up as he was, the ling found himself shrinking down into himself, trying to appear as small and non-threatening as possible
  117. >"What's your name, Changeling?" the ex-captain asked, staring at him out of the corner of his eye
  118. "I-I'm Fifteen-three-eight, s-sir," the ling mumbled, not looking the unicorn in the eye
  119. >Shining nodded slowly
  120. >"I see. So you said something about having a letter for my little sister, yes?"
  121. "Yes sir. I was o-ordered to bring it to h-her."
  122. >The ling must been a piteous sight, because some pity began to ebb from the prince-consort
  123. >"Is it alright if I ask why the letter is for Twilight specifically?" he gently asked, his voice barely above a whisper
  124. "It's for a-all of the p-princesses," the ling replied, finally daring to look up at the unicorn. "I w-was just ordered t-to hoof it to Princess T-Twilight."
  125. >"And why were you ordered to do that?"
  126. >The Changeling took a few deep breaths, trying to get his body to stop shaking, with only minimal success
  127. "Out of any o-of the princesses, Princess Twilight would be t-the least likely to rip the l-letter up or burn it," the ling said, remembering what he had been told
  128. >A murmur began to sweep across the guards
  129.  
  130. >The fear, anger, disgust, and suspicion that so plagued the room began to lessen somewhat, and in its wake confusion and curiosity began to build
  131. >The princesses looked at each other as Shining, his head cocked to the side, raised his eyebrow even further
  132. >"And where would you get an idea like that?" the prince asked
  133. "Princess Cadence wouldn't have anything to do with the letter because of... what happened to the both of you" the Changeling began, standing up a little straighter when he noticed that he wasn't--at the moment at least--in fear of being blow to smithereens. "Princess Celestia might look at it, but there's a very high possibility that she would dismiss the letter's contents outhoof. Princess Luna..."
  134. >The Changeling dared to look up at the princesses for a moment before looking down
  135. >A shiver ran up his body
  136. "Princess Luna... wouldn't want anything to do with Changelings after what happened with Princess Celestia..."
  137. >"And Twilight?" Shining prodded encouragingly
  138. "Princess Twilight has been shown to be the most lenient out of the princesses when it comes to... those that have tried to take over or destroy Equestria. That, along with her natural curiosity, desire to learn new things, and openingly accepting nature make her the most likely to not only look at the letter that I was sent to give but to take its contents seriously."
  139. >"My lil' sis IS the Princess of Friendship," Shining mused, looking over at his sister with a small smile
  140. >The ling nodded, keeping his gaze to the floor
  141. >"Do you mind taking the letter out of your saddlebag so that we can see it?"
  142. >The ling nodded again, reaching back to open his bag
  143. >"SLOWLY," one of the guards growled, tapping the ling's rump with the flat of his spear, causing him to freeze
  144. >SLOWLY, the ling unclasped the button and opened his bag
  145. >With more than a hundred eyes--and spears-- trained on him, he reached in the bag and pulled out an envelope
  146.  
  147. >It was a simple thing, something that could have been purchased from a post office
  148. >Neatly folded, and perfectly white, the only thing that caused the envelope to stand out was the seal on the back
  149. >Casted from a dark green wax, the seal was of a cracked heart; the insignia of the Southernmost Hive
  150. >The murmur in the room completely stopped as everyone stared at the envelope
  151. >No one move; for a few seconds no one breathed
  152. >Suddenly, tip of Princess Celestia's horn glowed
  153. >Her golden magic encased the letter, taking it from the Changeling's hoof and slowly floating it over to the royals
  154. >"Hmm... It doesn't appear to be trapped or cursed in any way," the Solar Princess murmured, staring at the letter thoughtfully. "And I cannot detect any magic of any kind on it..."
  155. >Luna snorted
  156. >"This is just some tomfoolery, sister. This... Changeling is nothing more than a decoy sent to distract us for some reason or another," she said dismissively. "I say that we tear up his letter, take this creature to the dungeons, and glean whatever information that we can from it."
  157. >When the envelope came within a few feet of the alicorns it stopped
  158. >Each of the princesses eyed it warily, as if they expected it to jump out of Celestia's magic and bite them
  159. >"This could still be a trap, Celestia," Cadence quietly said. "There might be something in that envelope that magic can't detect. Powder, some plant. There could be something wrong with the paper, or the ink could be poisonous. There might be a spell that's only activated when the seal is broken."
  160. >"I don't know, Pri--Celestia," Twilight said, looking over at the Changeling. "Maybe we should look at what the letter has to say?"
  161. >Celestia said nothing for a few moments, using her magic to turn the envelope over and over again
  162. >Her eyes narrowed, as if she were trying to stare into the envelope to see its contents
  163.  
  164. >She stared at it for a long while, her mouth set in a thin line, before her gaze settled on the envelope's messenger
  165. >"...There is something to be said of this Changeling's bravery, to come here without tricks and deception, farce or not," she finally said. "If nothing else, that is to be recognized. Not many would come to a place where so many are angry and distrustful of them for the sole reason of what they are."
  166. >The little ling couldn't help but puff his chest out in pride at the praise
  167. "I'm just doing my job, your highness," he responded with a small, slightly unsure smile
  168. >Celestia's lips twitched as she turned her attention back to the letter
  169. >"While I understand your concern, Luna and Cadence, I believe that we should give this Changeling the benefit of the doubt."
  170. >Luna, her eyes widening, began to open her mouth to protest, but Celestia stopped her with a hoof
  171. >"That does not mean, however, that we do not take any precautions. Twilight? If you may."
  172. >Nodding, the purple princess took a step forward
  173. >Her horn glowed and, faster than the Changeling could see, she cast a series of spells
  174. >In the blink of an eye, a thick, purple bubble had encased each of the guards, the prince, and the princesses
  175. >He couldn't help but note that there was no bubble around him
  176. >"There," Twilight said with a breath. "Each one of us should be protected from any airborne toxins, curses, magic, or poisons that may or may not be in that envelope."
  177. >"Thank you very much, Twilight dear," Celestia said affectionately, before turning her attention back toward the unprotected ling.
  178.  
  179. >With a flick of her horn, the letter floated back toward the Changeling's still outstretched hoof
  180. >"I would very much like you to open the envelope, please," the Solar Princess asked politely
  181. >The Changeling looked down at the envelope in his hoof before he looked back up at her, a confused look on his face
  182. >"You come here a simple messenger, correct?"
  183. >The ling nodded
  184. "Y-Yes, your highness."
  185. >Celestia nodded in return
  186. >"Then you should have no reason to fear, yes?" she asked, ruffling her feathers
  187. >The ling shook his head
  188. "No-I mean, yes, your highness."
  189. >A pin drop could have been heard as the Changeling flipped over the envelope and carefully broke the seal
  190. >Both Shining and many of the guards stepped away from the ling, readying themselves to leap out of the way in case it was a trap
  191. >Grips on spears were tightened, looks were exchanged, sweat was wiped from brows
  192. >Reaching into the envelope, Fifteen-three-eight pulled out a neatly folded letter.
  193. >For a few seconds after, ponies tensed
  194. >The Changeling ignored them best as he could, holding the letter high for all to see
  195. >A few seconds more ticked by before there was a collective sigh of relief
  196. >"Very good. Now if you would be so kind to open the letter and read it?" Celestia asked
  197. >"SLOWLY," Luna growled
  198. >Fifteen-three-eight nodded, doing as he was told and unfolding the letter as slowly as he could
  199. >He brought the letter close to his muzzle and, clearing his throat, began to slowly and carefully read
  200. "Ahem. Dear Princess Cadence, Celestia, Luna, and Twilight, rulers of their own respective lands and holdings. I hope this letter finds you, your friends, and family in good health.--"
  201. >Luna snorted
  202. >"I VERY much doubt that," she muttered pointedly
  203. "--If you are reading this letter, and you hadn't just burned it when it was given to you, you have all of the thanks that this lowly king can provide."
  204. >That garnered some raised eyebrows
  205. >"King?" Twilight whispered. "What king?"
  206.  
  207. "For many, many years Changelings have been at odds with the ponies of Equestria and, admittedly, there is very good reason for--"
  208. >A purple aura surrounded the letter
  209. >Before Fifteen-three-eight could finish his sentence it was gone with a pop
  210. >Not a second later, it appeared in front of Twilight Sparkle, who began to read it in earnest
  211. >"I wish to do something about our troubles... there are many things that our peoples can learn from each other... Changelings are not the monsters that you believe..."
  212. >Twilight's eyes darted to and fro, absorbing all that was written on the paper with startling efficiency
  213. >The letter was a long one--it spanned both sides of the page and the handwriting was rather small-- but in less than a minute the Princess of Friendship had finished it
  214. >No one said a word as Twilight pulled away from the letter, frowning, before she read it again, and again, and another time
  215. >"What the holy horse seed..." she muttered to herself
  216. >The Cadence and Celestia exchanged glances
  217. >Luna gave the messenger a dirty look, as if Twilight's stupification was his fault
  218. >"Care to tell us what's gotten you into such a tizzy?" Celestia asked
  219. >"What stallion in his right mind... I mean, it LOOKS like a stallion's hoofwriting, but why in Equestria...?"
  220. >Ignoring her old mentor's question, Twilight looked up from the letter
  221. >"Did your Queen do something to the stallion that wrote? Used her magic to control his mind, forced him to write this, anything?"
  222. >In the span of half a second, Fifteen-three-eight when from quiet and meek to furious
  223. "Momm--My Queen would never do something to our king!" he shouted, causing everyone around him to jump in surprise
  224. >The Changeling's eyes narrowed and he bared his fangs
  225. >With an angry buzz of his wings, he took an angry step toward the alicorns, only to be stopped by a barrage of spears
  226. >Instead of dissuade him however, the act only seemed to make him angrier
  227.  
  228. "She loves him! WE love him!" he growled, his green eyes blazing. "No ling would do anything to hurt him!"
  229. >He looked about ready to leap over the soldiers to get at the princesses, and he might have too, if not for Shining Armor
  230. >Before Fifteen-three-eight could so much as twitch an eye, the ex-captain had encased him with his magic and lifted him bodily into the air
  231. >The Changeling hissed and began to thrash about, staring angrily at an incredulous Twilight
  232. "We would never hurt daddy! NEVER!"
  233. >"Love?" Cadence muttered, her brow furrowed in confusion
  234. >"Daddy?" Celestia mused, eyebrow quirked
  235. >She quickly snatched the letter from Twilight's magic and began to read it herself
  236. >Though she read at a snail's pace compared to Twilight, the Princess of the Sun managed to work her way through the letter relatively quickly
  237. >"It appears that this new KING wishes to parley with us," she muttered. "He wished to speak to us about something of great importance. It also seems that he'll even allow us to choose the location if we wish."
  238. >She looked over the letter carefully
  239. >"The letter APPEARS to be written in a stallion's hoof, if I'm not mistaken..."
  240. >"This is nothing but a farce," Luna grumbled irritably. "That she-beast does not have a king. NO stallion would be stupid enough to love a thing like her. This is just a trick, as I said before."
  241. >"I don't know about that, princess," Twilight said, eying the still thrashing ling. "I know that Changelings are masters of disguise and treachery but he genuinely seems angry that I would even suggest that the queen forced this... king in any way..."
  242. >Shining looked up at Fifteen-three-eight for a few moments, loudly humming as he did so
  243. >"...I think that I'd like to meet this mystery stallion," he said to no one in particular, before looking over at Celestia. "Does it say how we can contact him?"
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