by Orcus

Chapter 1: Prologue

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"...And you said Quiverpike's final rehearsal just finished, it went perfectly, and they're all completely ready to perform when the real thing starts, correct?" the changeling princess, wearing a small pair of glasses over her nose, asked the smaller female changeling drone in the blue dress in front of her in a rushed voice, as she tried to stand still. The drone, Punica was her name, was busy trying to attach a gem-studded collar necklace with a heart-shaped, pink diamond encrusted in its center, around her leader's neck.

"Yes, that is correct, Odyssia" she grunted in reply, as she finally snapped the pendent together, after some effort.

"And that Clydesdale moving company we hired to move the set are prepared to do so, yes?"

"As I said five minutes ago, yes, they're coming at noon to help move the set and its pieces," she smiled back, as she turned away, before bringing forth a beautiful jade-colored, silky dress.

"Oh... I'm sorry, Punica," Odyssia apologized, just before she felt the dress start to get placed over her head and back, going past her rather long, curved horn, green, curled mane, and vaguely butterfly-like, transparent wings. "I'm just so giddy about all this. We've been planning it for a month-and-a-half, I know, but I just want everything to go as perfectly as possible."

"No need, my lady," the servant replied. "Now, let's have a look at you."

Punica walked back, her hole-less, smooth hooves (as all other changelings in her hive, including the princess seemed to possess) clattering on the wooden ground of the room. She placed a hoof over her monochromatic, greenish eyes, and turned, taking them off, and gasping in awe at what she saw.

"You look just like your mother!" Punica spoke proudly, as she got a clean look at her. Odyssia looked away, and blushed slightly. "Oh... if only your parents could see you now. All grown up, and as beautiful as a blooming orchid. You even have those pretty green eyes of hers."

"If only..." Odyssia sighed, thinking of them. Her mother and the former queen of the small hive she now ruled, Queen Cypria, and father, a common, but well-liked drone named Alcmeonis, both fell to the bladed horn of an assassin before she could come out of her egg, meaning she never had the chance to know them, save for some pictures of the two that had survived until now.

The creaking sound of the door to her room being opened snapped the princess out of her thoughts on the past. She calmly turned her head and saw the shape of an elderly-looking changeling with a crumpled horn enter the room with a large, rectangular, unfolded map floating beside himself. His chitin had long since lost its dark coloring, and now looked a dull, waxy gray, but was still healthy and solid.

"Good morning, Thebaid," Odyssia greeted, warmly.

"And good morning to you too, princess," he replied jovially, as he brought the map up to her. "I just came by to see which location you settled on us arriving at first."

He placed the map in the air front of the changeling princess, and let her look over the entirety of Equestria, before continuing.

"So... where would you like us to make our grand reappearance, my lady?" he asked. "Canterlot is wonderful at this time of year, there's the Crystal Empire, which wasn't around when we last performed... it would take some time to get everything up to Cloudsdale, but I'm sure it would be worth it if you decided to-"


"Apologies my lady, but uh... what was that?"

"Ponyville," she repeated, pointing a hoof to the location on the map, despite how small it looked compared to the other, mentioned places. "I wish for us to head there."

"Are you sure?"

"Absolutely," Odyssia replied, grabbing the map in her hooves, folding it together, and handing it to her servant, her mind made up before he even arrived with it.

"But it's not a very large place, and there doesn't seem to be too many important individuals living within its vicinity, save for a lone princess that I've heard makes her residence there. Are you sure sure, my lady?"

"If the lady says she's sure, then she's sure, you old piker!" a cranky voice went out, speaking in a mild Eqstralian accent. Thebaid and Odyssia looked around, and saw a skinny, humanoid shape enter the room, dressed in a colorful but scruffy, moth-eaten hobo's attire, complete with a hole-filled, purple hat that had a long, grey feather sticking out of its side. His limbs were made of thin sticks of wood, while what was visible of his main body was made of straw. His head consisted of a light brown, woven sack with a torn area near the bottom, representing a mouth, and two holes near its top, where a pair of golden eyes showed through.

"Good morning, swagman," Odyssia greeted, cheerfully. The scarecrow-esque figure took his hat off in respect as he got a better look at the changeling wearing the pendant, old memories flooding into his mind.

"My.. my... my..." the animated construct sighed in awe, the sharp-pointed stick tips that made up his feet making hollow tink sounds as they took several steps forward. "Lumme if I didn't know any better, but I'd say you look like the spitting image of your mother with that pretty little thing on!"

"That's what I said!" Punica sang, from the other side of the room, causing their mistress to chuckle slightly.

"Thank you," Odyssia said to them both, as she readjusted the spectacles on her snout with her magic.

"My dear lady Odyssia Metamorphoses, I just came by to say that that bell-loving sheila, Carol, is at the ready to hand out flyers at... well, wherever it is we're going."

"Excellent," she responded. "Tell her to go to Ponyville as soon as possible."

"As you wish," the swagman replied, as he placed his hat over his head, and quietly left the room. Punica and Thebaid walked up to the Princess, prepared to take their next orders from her.

"Is there anything you need to do before we, well, do this?" Punica inquired. Odyssia gave a contemplative smirk to them both.

"Well, it appears that we're all ready..." she said somewhat ominously, as she was enveloped in a light, green flame, her form shifting into that of a tall, slender, white unicorn with a brown mane when it parted, though keeping her green-irised eyes, but with normal pupils instead of the slits they once were. Her new form bore a cutie mark representing two black-and-white theater masks, and a red ribbon connecting them both together.

"It's time to give Ponyville a performance that will not soon be forgotten..."

Author's Notes:

I told you the sequel would be here shortly. How do you show affection for those apples?

Next Chapter: Chapter 1: Carol of the Bells Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 56 Minutes
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