Honey Pie II: The Wrath of Chrysalis

by SPark

Chapter 1: You are Driving Me Frantic

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I spun and tumbled away from the changeling drone's lashing hooves. My horn was already glowing, and as soon as I'd rolled clear of the creature's attack, a beam of power shot out at her, pushing her back. She hissed at me; I rolled my eyes. "So much melodrama."

She charged at me again, teeth bared, head lowered. I put up a glowing green shield that easily blocked her. I didn't want to let her touch me, that was the only handicap I had in this fight. Otherwise, things were hopelessly one-sided. She was just an ordinary drone. I didn't even know why Chrysalis kept bothering. Perhaps she thought that one of them would eventually get lucky.

This one wasn't going to be the lucky one. As she slammed into the shield a second time, I inverted it—a little trick that Twilight had taught me—so that now it enclosed the changeling instead of me. Her horn flickered to life, sending a pathetically weak spell bouncing off the inside of the shield, leaving it completely untouched.

She hissed again. I chuckled. "You're not impressing me. I really don't know why you keep trying. You have to know by now it's not going to work."

The changeling suddenly vanished in a flash of green fire. An instant later Pinkie Pie was standing there. "Let me out! Please let me out!"

"Oh for..." I glared at the changeling, feeling all the past two months' frustrations boiling up in me. "Are you particularly stupid? Is the queen sending mentally damaged drones out after me now? You know that even if I hadn't just watched you change right in front of my eyes, I could still tell you're not really Pinkie, right?"

"But you couldn't hurt somepony that looks like your special somepony, could you?" She looked at me with big, blue, terrified eyes. I couldn't taste her emotions, of course, but I wondered if she really was afraid. I hadn't killed any of the drones sent against me yet, but did she know that?

"Hey, Sweetcake!" The real Pinkie Pie trotted out of the kitchen into the front room of Sugarcube Corner. Her eyes immediately went to the shield and the trapped clone of her inside it. "Wow. I see why you were feeling so annoyed. Silly changeling, you can't make Sweetcake think you're me! He can feel me in his head, but he can't feel you."

"Not anymore, at least." I sat down and heaved a sigh. "This is getting kind of old." I scuffed one perforated hoof against the floor as I tried to think of some solution.

"I guess we should take this one to Twilight too?"

"Yeah." I picked up the green bubble that held the changeling and floated it towards the door. "Maybe she'll have thought up some idea for how to deal with this mess."

We got a few looks as we walked through town with the captured changeling in tow. Ponyville was fairly used to me by now. I didn't always get a warm reception, but with the Elements of Harmony, not to mention Princess Celestia herself, willing to vouch for me, most of the town had at least accepted that I wasn't dangerous. It didn't hurt that I'd rescued the Mayor and a bunch of other ponies from a changeling invasion a couple of months ago. Still, the sight of Pinkie Pie bouncing along, followed by a changeling carrying a more subdued Pinkie in a magical bubble, was bound to draw a little bit of attention.

When Twilight came to the door she eyed the captive changeling with annoyance. "What, another one?"

"Yep!" said Pinkie. "Chryssie doesn't know when to quit, I guess."

"This one was being Bon Bon," I said. "She came in to buy a cookie, which was my first clue something was off."

"Well, bring her in and I'll put her in stasis for you. Spike can send to Canterlot for another guard escort to take her in for questioning. Not that I expect we'll learn anything new from her."

Twilight ushered us inside. I carried the changeling, which had started kicking and struggling, in with me. "Calm down," I told her. "She won't hurt you, I promise."

"Indeed not. Set her down over here, why don't you?"

I dropped the changeling gently to the floor. Twilight's purple magic closed over mine and I let the green bubble pop. A moment later the drone was out cold, reverting to her natural form as she did so.

"This makes five now," said Twilight with a frown. "I can't help but worry that she'll start sending larger groups soon. In fact, I'm rather surprised she hasn't."

"After two failed invasions, the hive is probably too short on resources to send out any large groups."

"Yes, but doing it this way is shockingly inefficient. She's wasting resources all the same, sending them one at a time. If she had ordered all five of these to wait and attack together they might have gotten you."

I shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. But my old queen doesn't necessarily think in terms of efficiency. Her hive has always been the biggest and most prosperous in Equestria. Before the invasions, she'd never failed at anything, or lacked for anything. It's going to take her time to learn how to use her resources efficiently. She may be thinking in terms of conserving resources now, though, since she hasn't sent an under-queen after me. Efficiency may follow."

"I thought changelings were all about efficiency? You've said that changelings don't play games, or waste time with music or art."

"That's the drones. The workers and infiltrators and everyday hive members prize efficiency. We exist to serve the hive and the queen. Wasting time would be failing in our purpose. Chrysalis though, she does whatever she wants. Even if it is sloppy and stupid."


"She did everything exactly wrong when she invaded Canterlot. No infiltrator with any training at all would replace a pony without studying their mannerisms and habits. She didn't bother, she just took Cadance's place while knowing almost nothing about her. No infiltrator would merely trap the ponies they'd replaced in a cave, they'd be certain they were secured in a nest, properly cocooned. If I'd pulled anything like that on any of my infiltration missions I'd have been sent back down to tend the fungus gardens. But she was the queen, no one was going to tell her she was being an idiot. At the time it never even crossed my mind that she might be doing anything wrong."

"Oh." Twilight looked rather startled. "So if she'd done it right..."

"You might never have noticed. She still would have seemed oddly forgetful, perhaps, but she wouldn't have seemed like a completely different pony."

"How come that makes you so angry, Sweetcake?" asked Pinkie.

I shrugged. "She just... I don't know. I used to think she was the most wonderful thing in the world. But she betrayed her whole hive by failing like that. Maybe even by trying it in the first place! We were prosperous enough without needing to rule Canterlot. She risked everything, acted like an idiot, exposed our existence to the world, and for what? Something she wanted, not something the hive needed. Then she did it again, trying to get revenge on you here in Ponyville. And now she's doing it again, trying to get revenge on me! Even though I'm not part of the hive any more, I still don't wish them ill. They deserve better than her."


The crisis over for now, Pinkie and I went back to Sugarcube Corner. Mrs. Cake greeted us with concern; she was one of those who didn't hate me for being a changeling, much to my relief.

"You're still a Cake to me, dearie. I know you're not related, but neither are the Snack Cakes. Those other changelings though, they worry me. One of them might hurt you."

"That's sweet of you, ma'am, but I can manage them." I smiled. "None of them have Pinkie's love to power them; with that, I could take on half the hive."

"If you say so, dear."

"Can you take on a birthday cake?" That was Mr. Cake, emerging from the kitchen. "It needs the base layer of frosting, and I think you can do the decorating on this one too. You've been getting much better at that lately."

I grinned. "I think I can handle that, sir."

"Ooo! Can I help! Can I, can I, can I?" said Pinkie.

"Well... Daisy ordered this for Lily's birthday, and you know how fussy Lily is. It has to be just perfect, and your hoof isn't quite as steady as Sweetcake's."

"Aww." Pinkie's face fell.

"Only because it's not my hoof I'm using." I tapped my horn with a smile. "Why don't you mix the frosting for me? You're good with colors, you can decide on the decorating scheme."

"Yay!" Pinkie bounced. "Sugar! Butter! Here I come!" She bounced into the kitchen, and immediately a cloud of white burst out the door as she managed to drop a bag of powdered sugar. "Oops!"

I laughed and went to help her clean up.


Several hours later the kitchen had been cleaned, the cake had been decorated and delivered, and Pinkie and I were getting ready to close the shop down for the evening. I was back in the kitchen, cleaning. I generally let Pinkie take the register. Sales tended to be lower when I was there. However much the Elements and Celestia vouching for me had helped, there were still many ponies in town who found me off-putting.

The front door suddenly flew open with a bang. I couldn't see the door from where I was, but I could easily hear a high-pitched, panicky voice shouting, "Is that thing working today? I need to know if it touched my cake! It's here, isn't it? Isn't it?!"

I could feel the shock running through Pinkie as she stared at the hysterical pony. I stayed put in the kitchen. Going out there right now seemed like a very bad idea. "Lily? What's wrong?"

"Pinkie, please tell me that you baked my cake. I need you to tell me that you baked my cake. Or Ms. Cake. Or Mr. Cake. And not..."

Pinkie's voice was flat and full of anger, which I could taste as well as feel. "Not my special somepony? Mr. Cake baked your cake, but Sweetcake decorated it."

"I knew it! The horror! The horror! I think I might faint!" The door banged again as Lily left, trailing a wail of overwrought terror behind her. When I walked out into the kitchen, a hint of her fear lingered there, showing that it wasn't entirely an act. I sighed as I tasted it.

Pinkie echoed my sigh. "That was not very nice of her."

"No. Maybe I should go back to looking like a pony after all. Everypony would still know what I was, I wouldn't be lying, but it might help some of them stop being so afraid of me."

"Maybe." Pinkie leaned against me, and I put one filmy wing over her. I blinked as I realized that somehow I didn't have to reach up to do that, not even a little. Her back fit under my wing perfectly. We were exactly the same height, when I wasn't taking some other form. Except now it seemed that we weren't.

"Pinkie... is it just me, or have I gotten taller recently?"

Pinkie stepped away from me and started to look me over, but the door suddenly banged open again. I half expected Rose, Lily's close friend and fellow hysteric, to be there, but instead Twilight Sparkle was standing in the doorway. "Ah, good, you're both here. Princess Celestia has summoned you two to Canterlot."

I stared at her, feeling Pinkie's sharp surprise mix with my own.

"How come?" asked Pinkie.

"She didn't say. She sent a message with the guards who came to escort that captured changeling back to Canterlot, asking me to bring you both with me to see her. The guards are waiting for us with a chariot now."

"Okie dokie. Just let us close up the shop first."

That took only a few moments more, and then we were on our way across town, once again walking a course between Sugarcube Corner and the library. This time, however, the scene that greeted us when we arrived was a bit different. There were half a dozen armored guards-pegasi standing in front of the library. Four of them were hitched to two sky chariots, one of which contained the changeling we'd caught earlier, chained in place by a set of hoof-cuffs and wearing a restraint ring on her horn. She looked terrified.

Twilight jumped up into the other chariot. Pinkie Pie followed, but I hesitated, looking at the shivering changeling. If she had been a pony, the fear would have been chokingly strong on my tongue. I jumped up next to her. I didn't touch her, that would connect me to her hive bond, and to my old queen, which I quite definitely did not want to deal with again. "They won't hurt you, I promise."

"They will," she whimpered. "They'll kill me, like they killed the others."

"What?" I looked at her in confusion. "They haven't killed the other changelings!"

"Yes they have. We've all felt it. They were snuffed out, just gone."

"Did you feel them suffer? Did you actually feel them die? The ponies may have cut their bonds with the hive, but..."

"They were gone! They're all dead!" She was practically hysterical. I wanted to reach out to touch her, to offer her physical comfort, but couldn't.

"They're not dead, I promise you. Please, it'll be okay. You'll see."

She just hunched up, huddling in her corner of the chariot. A moment later the guards pulling it started forward, becoming airborne in a matter of seconds. I sighed, giving up on reassuring her, and instead just watched as Ponyville dwindled below me. We passed through a cloud—cold mist flying past, making me shiver—then came out into bright sunlight above. It was a fairly cloudy day, so now there wasn't much to see, the ground was obscured by a fluffy white blanket. The only things in sight were the two chariots and the pegasi escorting them. Growing bored, I closed my eyes and concentrated on my bond with Pinkie. Soon I could see what she was seeing and hear what she was hearing.

She and Twilight were speculating on why Celestia had called for us. Twilight was certain it had something to do with the continuing attacks on me, and I had to agree. As the hours-long flight continued, however, their conversation wandered to topics that interested me less and I let my attention drift away from Pinkie's senses. Ahead I saw Canterlot Mountain looming above the clouds, the bright spires of the palace clearly visible from its upper slopes.

The changeling next to me suddenly spoke. "One of us will succeed eventually, you know. The queen never fails to get what she wants."

"If that were true, Chrysalis would be ruling there right now," I said, gesturing at Canterlot.

The changeling snarled and lunged at me, the ties holding her cuffed hooves down preventing her from actually moving, but I recoiled all the same. "That was merely a temporary setback! Once you are dead and that horrible Twilight Sparkle is out of the way, I will...!" She stopped suddenly, and fell silent.

"Hello, Chrysalis," I said, with another little chuckle. I suppose I should have been upset, or afraid, or feeling some kind of turmoil at realizing that my former queen was speaking through the drone, but mostly I just felt sorry for the poor drone. "I'd say it's nice to talk to you again, but it isn't, really."

The drone let out a screech of anger and began shouting, "You sniveling worm of a drone! You dare address your queen so? You are not worthy to kiss the ground my hooves have touched! You will regret your disrespect, I promise!"

I flinched back from the rant, glad that the drone was restrained so that she couldn't reach me. She just kept screaming, seeming to have an endless supply of angry insults.

Thankfully, as soon as we landed in the palace grounds, the stream of obscenities cut out and the drone went back to huddling in terror, which probably meant Chrysalis was no longer gracing us with her presence The guards escorted us through the palace's broad corridors, two walking close on either side of the captive changeling, the rest bracketing Pinkie and I more loosely. Even so, I was quite aware of the wary tension, bitter and chalky, that radiated from them when they looked at me. To their eyes I was nearly identical to the prisoner in every way. Only the cutie mark on my flanks marked me as different from other changelings.

Soon we were no longer walking in the broad corridors of the palace proper, but in the narrow halls carved out of the mountain's flank. Here, among other things, lay the palace dungeons.

The guards ushered us into a barren guardroom. They stayed outside as we went in, save for the pair bracketing the captured changeling. The room wasn't terribly large, and contained only a simple desk. Though a door on the far side, I could glimpse a cell-lined corridor beyond. Shining Armor was waiting for us inside. I'd never met him before, but I recognized him easily-but then anyone from my hive would, given the time Chrysalis had spent on him. The changeling's escort deposited her in front of him. The poor thing cringed, obviously expecting something horrible to happen.

"Twilight, Pinkie, Sweetcake. Thanks for coming. Unfortunately, before I can explain what is going on, I need to make certain that we aren't being overheard."

His horn lit with a magenta light, and a moment later a shield snapped into place around the changeling. This was no ordinary shield, though. I recognized it instantly, and winced in sympathy. No sooner had the shield formed over her than the changeling collapsed, letting out a wail of hopeless despair. I knew exactly what she must be feeling. She had just been cut off from the rest of her hive, left alone in her mind for the first time in her life.

"Come on, you'll be all right," said Shining, with more tenderness and sympathy than I'd expected. He gently picked the wailing changeling up in his magic, dispelling the shield as he did so. He carried her down the corridor and slid a cell door open. He set the changeling down inside, out of my line of sight. A moment later the wailing stopped.

"What's going on?" asked Twilight, ever-curious.

"We have discovered something a little strange about the changelings we've captured," said Shining as he trotted back over. "When first captured, they are aggressive, defiant, or, more recently, terrified, but never friendly. They'll be almost suicidal in their attacks, and when they can't attack, they scream and curse violently. Yet as soon as I get them inside my shield and cut their ties with their queen, they change. The immediate result is what you've seen here, they're in a great deal of distress. The very first one we caught was... not good. But we have almost a dozen of them now, between the ones we've caught trying to infiltrate the guard and those who keep attacking Sweetcake here." He nodded at me. "Once you get two of them together they recover fairly well. And they're very different from how they were when we caught them. Come see."

We followed him back down to the cell he'd visited earlier. It was a roomy cell, with plenty of space for the changelings inside to move around. Considering the demeanor of the ones I'd fought, I wouldn't have been surprised to see all of them glaring at us, bristling with menace. But instead they were calm. Several seemed to be napping, and one was grooming another's wings, gently cleaning them with her teeth.

One was also holding the new arrival, nuzzling her reassuringly. That one looked up at us with a faint smile. "I can't exactly thank you, Captain, for doing this to her. But I do thank you for bringing her to me as swiftly as you could."

"I regret the necessity of it, ma'am, but it is necessary."

The changeling nodded. Then her gaze turned to me. "You must be Sweetcake."

"Uhm. Yes?"

"They've started calling me Minder, because I mind the others." She looked down at the new arrival, who was clinging to her tightly. "I've been here the longest, I was caught not long after that idiot's failed invasion."

I blinked. "Chrysalis, you mean?"


I looked over at Shining. "She was here when I was?"


"Then... why... why not put us together? Why have Pinkie watch me, and not just put me in a cell with her?"

"We caught her three days later, and she was not injured. Celestia wouldn't let us put you into a cell until you were healed, and by then you and Pinkie had bonded."

"I was sent back into the city once Chrysalis had recovered, to begin setting up a second invasion," said Minder. "More idiocy. Of course the ponies would be checking for changelings. I was revealed almost immediately."

Shining nodded. "I'd been informed of the intelligence we'd gotten from you, Sweetcake, about losing your hive bond. As we didn't want to have a spy reporting everything she saw directly to Chrysalis, I used my spell to cut her connection. It worked."

Minder shuddered. "Yes. Thankfully I was not alone for long."

"Considering how traumatic it seemed to be, I was actually considering bringing her up to stay with you, to see if that would help. But less than a day later we caught a second changeling trying to infiltrate the royal guard. When we put him in with her, they both calmed considerably. You probably would have ended up with them eventually, but you bonded with Miss Pie instead. Celestia insisted that we couldn't force you and her apart. Since then we have seriously considered releasing Minder and the others. But having them here helps any other changelings we catch. And without a bond to a pony it is a bit harder to trust that none of them will go back to their old hive."

"I wouldn't. Not while Chrysalis is there. The others won't either, if I tell them not to," said Minder. Her expression was firm and determined. Looking at her narrowed eyes I realized that they were blue-green rather than pure blue. Under-queens had green eyes. Was she somehow becoming one? Under-queens were made; the food they were fed, and the will of the queen herself, shaped them as nymphs. But when a hive had no queen, the absence of her pressure on the mind would make the strongest of the under-queens start becoming a queen. In the absence of an under-queen, could an ordinary drone become one?

"I wish I were certain I could believe you," said Shining, heaving a sigh. "It would be in all our best interests to work together."

"I have a possible solution," I said, a little hesitantly. I wasn't quite sure about this, but it should work.

"Oh?" Shining tilted his head slightly, his ears pricked forward.

"If I join their bond, I can see if they're telling the truth."

"Is that safe?" asked Twilight.

Pinkie bounced up and down a bit as she nodded. "Yeppers! It'll be fine."

"You won't get... sucked in, or something?"

"Nope!" Pinkie smiled at me. "Sweetcake can break the bond if he needs to. He did it once already." She gave me a little nuzzle, gratitude for the way I'd chosen her over my old hive trickling from her into my mind. I nuzzled her back.

"Well, if you're certain, I guess I won't stop you."

I nodded, then turned to the cell. Shining Armor opened the cell door once again. I stepped inside and went to Minder. "If you will permit me?" I asked her softly. She hesitated, then nodded and held out a hoof to me. I took it with my own. In that instant of physical contact our minds made contact as well. In that moment, my mind filled with the sense of Minder and the ten other changelings in the room.

The contact was quite different from my previous experience with re-establishing my hive bond. Then I had been connected to the whole of Chrysalis Hive, several thousand minds strong, that had welcomed me back as one of their own. The queen herself had reached out to me and shuffled through my mind like a stack of note cards, reading my memories easily.

Now I felt only a few minds, and they did not exactly welcome me. In fact, there was a strange sense of tension. None of the changelings felt any hatred towards me, and I couldn't sense any conscious desire to reject me, but there was a feeling of resistance to my presence. I felt Minder in particular pushing back against me.

Yet she seemed as puzzled by this as I was. I sensed confusion from her, even while some part of her was fighting me, pushing against my mind, alternately trying to shove me away and pull me in.

Acting on some instinct I didn't understand, I pushed back, not exactly pushing her away, but asserting my mind in the bond. For a moment the tension remained, then suddenly it vanished, and her mind was open to me like a book.

Confused but curious I brushed through her memories. They revealed exactly what she had told us, including her resentment of Chrysalis' stupidity and the damage that it was doing to the hive.

We agree on that, then, I said silently to her.

These ponies trust you, she replied. Can you convince them to set us free?

What will you do if I do?

We... she paused, suddenly confused again. I had thought of leaving Equestria, of forming a small hive well away from Chrysalis and the old hive. Now I am not certain. What would you have us do?

Stay, I said. At least for now. Chrysalis is too stubborn to stop sending new changelings, and they will need you. I will see if I can get you let out of this cell, but you can still stay here in Canterlot, and take care of any new prisoners.

If the ponies will let us, that is a good plan.

I nodded to her, then turned back to the ponies. "They haven't been lying to you. They want nothing more than to be allowed to form a hive in peace. They... we, resent Chrysalis, now that we're free of her. They want to stay here, and help the other changelings, but they don't want to stay in this cell."

Shining nodded at me. "I believe you. I'm sure Celestia believes you as well. Convincing the rest of Equestria to allow changelings to live among them though... That is much easier said than done. For their own sake I can't release them right now."

"I understand," I said.

"I promise that they'll be released as soon as I have somewhere to send them where they won't be harmed," said Shining Armor as he once more opened the cell door.

I shook my head. "Before I go, there's something else I need to do." There was one more thing I had sensed from the tiny hive. Hunger. They must have been getting a little bit of sympathy from the ponies around them, but sympathy alone was not much for eleven changelings to live on. Meanwhile I had more love and friendship than I could possibly use. I bent my horn to Minder's and transferred a generous portion of that energy to her. She sighed contentedly as she accepted it from me. I went to each of the others in turn, giving them as much love as I could spare. I realized as I fed the seventh drone that I was drawing my reserves dangerously low, but I couldn't bring myself to be stingy with the love energy. The poor drones needed it so desperately.

Pinkie Pie, thankfully, knew what I was doing, and as I started to flag she concentrated on her feelings for me, letting me draw a steady flow of rich love from her. I fed the last of the little hive and pulled just a thread more from Pinkie so that I wouldn't collapse. Pinkie herself felt a little bit tired, but not overly drained.

Thank you, said Minder when I had finished.

It was the least I could do.

It was far more than Chrysalis would have done in your place, was her reply.

Author's Notes:

Welcome to the next installment of Honey Pie! It will be updating once a week until completed. Feel free to leave your comments below, and don't forget to upvote and +fav before you go if you enjoyed it.

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