Carapace of Lavender

by Dark0592

Chapter 1: Prologue: The Proposal

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Changelings. What do we know about them? Well, for starters they’re a strange insectoid-human hybrid race that feeds off of love. And, ever since the royal wedding, have been an enemy to Equestria.

Now, the thing about that was changelings weren’t really ravenous creatures. They weren’t usually full of holes and looking like drones or copies. They lived as a hive mind, yes, but they weren’t a bunch of bees scrambling around aimlessly. They were a civilized and intelligent race. Starvation changes things, though.

Chrysalis, the queen of the changeling hive, went mad as her subjects starved and faded into the ghastly creatures they had become. That madness drove her to invade Canterlot and the rest of the story is history.

Only it isn’t, every story has a before and after, and that after had only begun.

“Yes?” Celestia called when she heard a knock on her chamber doors. She had finally recovered in full from the Changeling attack and was currently amidst a pile of books. Said books were on the more ancient races of the world, she and her student were trying to learn more about the insectoid assailants.

“Princess, there is a foreign minister here to see you.” Her guard replied, cracking the door open so he didn’t need to yell too loud.

“Griffon…? Tribal…? Talk to me.” Celestia replied.

“She won’t say, though she had produced official documents and passports to be here.” The guard answered.

“Oh fine send them in, we’ve had enough research for now.” Celestia said rather lightheartedly. With such a vague description combined with the most recent dilemma they had to face Celestia wasn’t the most trusting, but even if this girl who looked to be Twilight’s age was a changeling she did have official papers and permission. Better safe than sorry, though. Celestia scanned the girl with an intense spell that did just that and found a few oddities.

“Tell me, minister, why you are hiding something on your back?” Celestia asked, turning to look at the girl. She looked a bit pale and weak.

“So as to give me the best chance of seeing you.” The girl said with a weak smile. She tossed her papers onto a table and insectoid wings appeared on her back, though they weren’t quite changeling. It looked more as if you had taken a dragon’s wing and insectified it, somehow…

“Technically those papers are fake, but they’re authentic. I wish to convey no threat or alarm, just a message.” The girl explained. Celestia went rigid and Twilight nearly knocked over her chair, rushing to her princess’ side.

“And what message would a changeling have that is so important that you need to go through all this work just to see me directly?” Celestia asked. The only reason she hadn’t called the guard or done something to this creature herself was two very distinct reasons. First was what she mentioned, all the work just to see her. Second, though, was how human she looked compared to before. No identical black carapace, no blank eyes. She wasn’t changed either, the scan would have sensed it. Before the girl could answer, she suddenly seemed to black out and her eyes faded into a single color like they were before.

“One directly from me, coupled with a sincere apology and explanation.” Chrysalis’ voice came from the girl’s lips. Celestia felt Twilight gather up her magic for an attack, but against her better judgement she put her hand in front of the element of magic.

“While I highly doubt anything you could say would lessen the futility of apologizing for such an event, the fact that there is an explanation behind it intrigues me. Go on.” Celestia said.

“Thank you. You have obviously noted this one’s appearance. She was the luckiest of all of my brood. What little love I managed to siphon was spread out through my hive connections and she was the least degenerated, so she was the most restored by that little bit. Celestia, have you ever had the responsibility of trying to save your entire race from starvation when you have nothing to give them?” Chrysalis asked. Celestia’s look darkened a bit in understanding.

“Yes, I have… But that is no excuse to invade, a simple diplomatic request for aid would have sufficed.” She replied.

“Yes, Yes it would have. But you do not understand, not in full. Imagine if you could feel everything each and every one of your subjects feels, pain and suffering and emotions. And hunger, ravenous hunger. Millions of instances of all of these bombarding your conscious mind simultaneously for years. My mind didn’t just slip, it degenerated along with me and my people. I didn’t even know what Diplomacy was.” Chrysalis explained.

“Wait, what degeneration?” Twilight asked, her curiosity overwhelming her caution.

“Love technically isn’t our food source, it is almost like a life force. Imagine if you couldn’t generate your magical energy on your own, Twilight Sparkle, like you had to siphon it from somewhere. But that fountain of magic dried up, what would happen to you then, Twilight Sparkle? For your race, your mind would cripple and your skin would fade and your magic you are so proud of would use your life force as a reserve. I have seen it happen more than once.” Chrysalis answered.

“Wait, so if you don’t get enough love then you turn into those things that attacked us?” Twilight asked.

“Correct. That is our most basic state, a true hive. Independence and intelligence fades and is eventually lost, even to the queen. That is why my degenerated mind was so desperate as to invade. I don’t ever want me and my kind to be lowered to such a state again, which is currently inevitable.” Chrysalis replied. Twilight looked deep in thought, mulling over all of this information. Celestia had a hunch, though.

“Something tells me you’re going to propose something to fix that.” She said. Chrysalis grinned and nodded.

“It is a simple proposition, really. We wish for you to see us as what we are, instead of the creatures we were. All I ask is to be able to retrieve gathered love from my collectors scattered about your nation. This will allow us to better mingle with your kind, which I hope will eventually lead to peace.” Chrysalis proposed.

“Collectors?” Celestia and Twilight asked at the same time. Chrysalis nodded.

“A few dozen changelings with no need of changing abilities tasked to gather and store massive amounts of love at a time. They were created to be able to hold such an amount with ease and also to be completely independant. The only connection with my hive mind they have is enough to allow me to siphon love from them directly and not harm them, and to know them and where they are. They all live as humans, and don’t even know what they are or that they’re even doing it.” Chrysalis explained.

“Exactly how do you siphon love from others?” Celestia asked.

“The same way you siphon another magic user’s magical energy.” Chrysalis replied.

“If you had these… collectors… already then why haven’t you used them?” Twilight asked.

“Because in order to collect from them I need to be there myself, and it isn’t a very incognito event. With all the love they’ve gathered, we would be able to be free of the curse of love starvation.” Chrysalis answered. The last part was almost a plea. Celestia thought long and hard.

“Forgive me if I’m not brimming with trust, but at the same time I’m not the type to ignore the prospect of a lasting peace… I will allow you to retrieve the love from the collectors in Canterlot, but that’s it for now. Every month there are no attacks from you or your kind and no justified hostilities I will allow you to collect from another city. My only condition is that you tell me where your hive is so border cities can be notified. You will send a messenger every month so we can negotiate the city or the rejection and explain any hostilities to be justified or not.” Celestia explained in a very serious tone.

“... These terms are acceptable, but I promise you we will defend ourselves if need be, there’s a reason our hive has been hidden for so long…The hive is located deep in the scarred forest. There is a mountain pass that serves as the shell of the hive. The nearest cities are Ponyville, Edinspur and Trottingham. The Scarred Forest is full of dangerous flora and fauna, much more dangerous than the Everfree, so tell them that too.” Chrysalis replied, though she didn’t seem happy about it.

“Scarred forest, isn’t that the name for the deep interior of the Everfree?” Twilight asked.

“Mostly, though as you know there are no mountains in the Everfree. That part gets its name from this forest, which is located on the other side of Ponyville and much further away. The trees are all warped and twisted, the bark is black and the leaves varying in dark colors. Timberwolves and Hydras are afraid to even set foot in that place.” Celestia explained.

“This one will regain her independence now, I ask that she is able to return without a fuss and I will return in her place tomorrow at this time to collect. I will be sure to let you know when I arrive and when I leave.” Chrysalis said.

“Very well, I hope you keep to your promises.” Celestia said with an indiscernible tone.

“And I you.” Chrysalis replied, quickly doing a simple bow and the girl returned to normal.

“Thank you for listening, If it means anything I technically am a minister for foreign affairs so if this works I hope to see more of you and this city.” She said after recovering from her loss of consciousness.

“Before you go, what is your name? Do Changelings have names?” Celestia asked.

“We choose our names whenever we want, since our connection to the hive mind lessens the need to be identified by something like a name, but I have chosen ‘Chrys’ for myself.” The girl answered.

“I see. Well, Chrys, farewell until next time.” Celestia said. Chrys bowed and quickly left. Celestia nearly burst into laughter at Twilight’s expression. She looked like she had just discovered some age old tome explaining the universe and everything she could ever want to research.

“I suppose if things go well you should write the first official book regarding Changelings. I know what you’re thinking of doing, but I must implore you to be incredibly careful. If you even set foot in that forest, make sure you bring something to defend yourself and possibly a contingent of guards.” Celestia warned the girl. Twilight seemed surprised by this.

“U-Um… I wasn’t planning on going right this second… but… yeah you can read me like a book can’t you?” Twilight said sheepishly. Celestia gave her a quick smile before getting serious again.

“You know I don’t want you endangering yourself, but at the same time I know you really want to learn more about them. If what information we have already wasn’t so lacking then I wouldn’t let you go but… well… You are the best at collecting information that I can count on 100% of the time.” She explained.

“I’ll take any precautions, I’ll take any guards willing with me and you learn a few things when your brother is the captain of the royal guard. First I’ll go and tell the border cities about it and make sure everything is alright, and then I’ll go in and do my research. I’ll only observe from afar, since I wasn’t invited in or anything, and we can negotiate something with Chrysalis next month or something.” Twilight proposed. Under normal circumstances she wouldn’t dream of getting anywhere near that place for many reasons. But the prospect of publishing information on a race such as the changelings? She couldn’t pass it up.

“Do what you need to and don’t hesitate to ask for help. I’ll inform the towns so that they know it’s true, though I think I can leave your own home to you. I’ll be expecting a report of when you leave and of your observations upon your return. After that we can discuss if it’s a good idea to keep going.” Celestia said reluctantly.

“Thank you, I’ll be as careful as I can possibly be. I need to go and prepare for the trip home and the expedition, I promise I’ll do everything in my power to make things go well.” Twilight said, quickly hugging her mentor. Celestia held her tight and didn’t release her or a good minute.

“I know you will, Twilight… I’m just worried that something could come up that’s not within your power to handle…” Celestia said softly.

“Then I’ll just have to prepare for that as well.” Twilight retorted. Celestia giggled softly and let Twilight go. If there was one thing Twilight was as good at as with magic, it was preparing.

Author's Notes:

well it wasn't exactly inspired by anything or anyone in particular, but thanks to the fan that refreshed the idea in my mind. The dark tag will come in with the actual start of the story. I don't know where this is going, so to be honest expect a bit of a shaky start. Who knows, it might pick up rather well and I'll be able to write it consistently.
who knows? only time will tell.
in the meantime, let me know what you think?

Next Chapter: 1:Chapter 1. Carapace of Lavender Estimated time remaining: 2 Hours, 18 Minutes
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