Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 60

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Chapter 60

We’ve taken out some tables and lined them up to form a makeshift conference table. The seven Changelings and the nymph on one side, facing the Elements, Spike and I on the other. The princesses are on the ends of the table. I guess it’s supposed to be a way of stating that they have no bias.

“I still think we should kill them now and get it over with.”

Celestia responds before any of the changelings can. “Why do you think that? What could we gain from doing such a thing.”

I scoff. “You have to ask? They’re dangerous! They’re an infection!” both princesses quirk an eyebrow at me. Guess I have to clarify. “Seriously, even if they’ve done nothing wrong yet, doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to do so. If we kill them, then the problem is over and we don’t even need to have this discussion.”

“That’s barbaric!” Rarity shouts in disgust.

“It’s a solution. All we do is get rid of them for good and that ensures that there’s no chance of them causing trouble. Or we could just let them go and hope we can trust them.”

Twilight stands up to protest. “Th- that’s not fair!”

“Fair? Fair? You think what they did to me was fair!?”

“We don’t even know what happened to you! Besides, that was a different hive, right?”

The changelings nod quickly.

“Bullshit!” I yell. “A changeling is a changeling! They’re about as trustworthy as thieving rats.”

“That’s very human of you, Anthony.” Those words and Twilight’s cold tone caught me off guard.

“What? Of course-”

“But not what you say you are. You say you aren’t like the humans you described, but here you are acting like the unforgiving warmongers you say you aren’t.”

“That’s different!”

“Is it? You say that these changelings should be killed just because of what they are! You see violence as the first and best solution!”

“Death doesn’t have to be violent, you know.”

“And now you’re defending your actions, as if killing a sentient being is perfectly acceptable!”

“It is if doing so makes the world a better place!” At this point, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are holding back Twilight and I. “Settle down there, partner. Just give them a chance.”

“He won’t, because he’s a human!” Twilight yelled, struggling against Rainbow Dash who was holding her by the tail to keep her seated.

“You think that’s why? Well how about I tell you what they did!” I push Applejack’s hooves away. She’s strong, but doesn’t have the weight or size advantage I do.

I sit back in my chair, arms folded. “Alright. Here’s what happened.”

“Wait!” Rainbow Dash interrupted. “How do we know you won’t lie?”

I grit my teeth, ignoring her, and begin my story, starting with my first encounter with Cotton Cloudy’s mom before I blacked out. I detailed my fight in the hive and meeting Chrysalis, and the offer she made to me.

I continued from the point when I met the changeling in the forest after my visit with Fluttershy, then I tell them about the vision, but not going into detail about what I saw. That will wait for later. I then moved to when I did my investigation of Thunder Bolt. Twilight had to vouch for me that my conversation with her did occur. I then told of my decision to not wait for help and the fight with the changelings at the house, but Twilight interrupted.

“But... that’s not right! I remember getting surrounded, but you didn’t save me, you were barely conscious when I showed up! Then-”

“I’m getting to that.”

I detail what happened, what Chrysalis wanted to see. I decide not to spare the romantic encounter with the fake disguised Chrysalis, and I can see Twilight turn a bright red, fidgeting uncomfortably in her seat at the table. I hastily bring up Chrysalis’ mistake, her defeat, and my freeing of Twilight from the cocoon.

Once more, Twilight vouched for me, remembering me getting her out, requesting that she not take us to the library, and then waking up in the hospital.

“And that’s the whole story.”

“Wait.” Rainbow Dash spoke up. “You said something about a vision. What did you see?”

I think for a moment. “I’d rather not say as much as I’d like to just show you.” I turn to the princesses. ”Is there a way you can use some magic spell to give an image of my memory?”

“Technically mind magic is illegal...”

“Well I’d rather not tell it myself, it’s not something I’m proud of.”

Luna speaks up. “What could really be this bad? Aren’t you exaggerating a bit?”

“Luna, you saw part of it.” At this, she looked down at the table, remembering what I showed her while she was in my dream.

“But why show us? Can’t you just tell it?” Twilight asked.

“No. I really don’t want you to know what I saw... but you should know anyway.”

The debate over the legalities of mind magic on others and such continued until eventually Celestia vetoed it completely.

I sigh heavily. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I close my eyes and focus on the vision, recounting every detail. I hear them. I don’t bother looking, but I can tell their reactions by the gasps of shock and fear at various parts of the memory. The barrier being broken, the guards I killed, Luna’s stabbing and beheading, me destroying the Elements, breaking off Twilight’s horn and decapitating them all, and then my flaming ‘gift’ to Celestia. And then, I finish it with my last words of the vision.

“Welcome to Hell, princess...”

Once it's over, I look around. Luna is cringing, Celestia seems to be on the verge of silent tears, Fluttershy has fainted, Twilight has her hoof up to her horn as if making sure it's still there, Spike is curled up in a ball and holding himself. Rarity is trying to wake up Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Applejack are completely speechless, and Pinkie Pie is just looking at me. I can’t really tell what she’s thinking.

"A- Anthony..." Celestia addresses me, her voice wavering a bit.

I shift my gaze away from her, saying nothing. I want to just get up and leave, but I feel doing so would just make things worse. They’ve seen the dark part of me, the evil me, the one that exists in the back of my head, no matter how much I wish I could be rid of it.

Suddenly, I feel something holding me. I open my eyes and I see the nymph has gotten up on the table and is hugging me. Not feeding, but... comforting me...

The ‘mother’ changeling is almost hovering from sheer worry, it’s evident that she/it is scared of me. And probably for good reason, I did kill a changeling queen, but given how easy it was, I don’t really understand their shock, but their fear I do understand. I suppose me beating a queen is impressive. Oh, and I was threatening to kill them all less than ten minutes ago. Why isn’t the nymph scared of me?

The nymph, apparently oblivious, nuzzles my shoulder. It looks up, orangey eyes shiny, a darker patch running vertically through the middle. It reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on it. The stubby little horn on its head twists slightly to one side, and in the light and closeness, I can see a tiny tuft of some kind growing from behind the horn.

“Uh... do changelings... shed?”

The matron, looking like it wants to pick up the nymph, but holding back, nods its head. “nymphs molt twice to reach full growth. Four if they’re a young queen.” I can tell that the keeper isn’t really wanting the nymph near me, but I’m still a little incensed that Pinkie brought them here. I’m not as pissed at the nymph as before but I still don’t like being considered a resource, no matter what.

Next Chapter: Chapter 61 Estimated time remaining: 26 Hours, 52 Minutes

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