I'm a Changeling?!

by Orcus

Chapter 1: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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Chauffeur awoke from the inky blackness he was once consumed in with a sluggish start. A hurting, throbbing pain was the first thing he felt, coming from his head, and when he lifted it all that met his opening eyes was darkness they were not yet used to. He noticed his body felt quite odd as well. Not that kind of sore feeling you get from being sick, but similar. Different, too.

"I-is anybody there?" he called out to the void surrounding him, weakly.

"Shh... it's okay," a voice, clearly female, light as a feather and soothingly gentle, came through the darkness. "You're safe. Just lie down. You've been through quite a bit, you know."

"Who're... you?" Chauffeur inquired, his curiosity longing to be sated, if only to give him reassurance that all was well.

"Oh, uh... my name's Lacewing," she replied. "I've really been wanting to know what your name is, too. You've been out for quite a while."

"Sure, it's... oh, my head..." he tried to reply before moaning from the pain he felt. He could still remember all of his unfortunate life, but the invasion of Canterlot, where a huge swarm of changelings invaded like a plague of horrible, giant locusts on what he was told was the day an alicorn princess named Cadence was to be married, was still very much a blur. "My name's Chauffeur," he finally breathed.

"Sha... fur? 'Chafer'? Like... a chafer beetle?" queried Lacewing in a positive voice. "That's a nice name."

"No, it's Chauffeur. I work as a carriage driver. Well, 'worked', anyway..." Chauffeur explained in a sigh as his eyesight finally began to finish adjusting to the low light in what looked to be a medium-sized, smooth-walled, tunnel-like chamber. Like what his body felt like, his vision seemed very... off, for lack of a better word. Taking a gander at his surroundings, he could see it truly was a short tunnel of sorts. The sheetless berth-bed he lied upon, sticking from the rock wall, was stony and rough upon further notice, but smooth and somewhat comfortable. Another like it loomed above his body like a bunk bed, also budding from the wall. His eyes were soon inevitably drawn to where the voice of his caretaker originated from, and his jaw hung agape in shock at just what befell his sight.

What stood in front of him was a changeling. The type of love-devouring creature all ponies feared. She was around his own size, covered in a dark carapace, and looked no different than the thousands of other ones he witnessed at the invasion. Her eyes glowing rather intimidatingly in the dark, Chauffeur reacted accordingly.

"Ahhh... AHHHHH!" he began to scream, backing up on his bed as much as he could until his back hit against the cool, stone wall. Before his shouting had the chance to alert anyone, Lacewing put on a worried face and shot her hole-filled hoof onto his mouth, muffling his cry into a dull whimper.

"Do you want to wake the entire hive?!" she rasped. "Shush it! You should be thankful that I chose to save your life!"

A good few minutes passed by before Chauffeur had visibly calmed down enough for Lacewing to remove her appendage. "S-saved my... life?" he asked, perplexed and scared; both emotions of which were not a healthy combination. "H-how? In what way? I was being attacked by you things, now I'm... in a cave! With you!"

"Technically, it's a cell in our hive," she corrected. "There are countless hundreds like it all around here. It's where we go to sleep at night."

"I'm in a hive?" sputtered the confused Chauffeur. "A changeling hive?"

"Yes," bluntly replied Lacewing. "Just stay still and I can explain everything to you."

Chauffeur puffed in disbelief. "How is it physically and mentally possible for me to keep still?!"

"Hey! Keep it down in there!" a new voice went out from somewhere outside the cell. It instantly shut Chauffeur up, and it only caused Lacewing to slowly spin around and huff in an irritated fashion.

"Yeah! Lacewing, there are some of us who are actually tryin' to sleep! It's been a long and disappointing day, you know!" another agreed, also provoking her ire and Chauffeur's blatant fright.

"Don't worry fellas! I'll stop!" she shouted back, before turning back to Chauffeur with a small glare. "I told you!" she hissed angrily.

Chauffeur took a deep (or as deep as he could intake) breath and tried to make himself feel relaxed. "Fine, fine... I'm calm, I'm calm..." he spoke softly. "So now tell me, why is it that I shouldn't be seething with terror at the situation I'm in?"

"Listen pal, you better thank whatever princess you worship that you found me and not one of the others," Lacewing sternly mumbled, before her visage mollified to what it once was. "Because of what I did, you are safe now, that much I'll tell you."

"I'm in a changeling hive, surrounded by more changelings than I can probably handle seeing for a lifetime. I'm even talking to one," he argued. "How, exactly, am I safe?"

Lacewing tapped her hooves together uneasily and looked away briefly. "You're a pony, first off. Our main prey. So I kind of had to... do something a teeny-tiny bit... drastic. Before my brothers and sisters could sniff you out and get you, anyhow." She reached down under the berth and pulled out a flat rock with a mirror-like surface. "Please, I beg of you, do not be alarmed by what you see."

She put it up to Chauffeur, and what reflected off the mirror was no earth pony of plain brown-and-white fur as he expected to see. It was a... changeling. He moved his startled head around to vainly prove that this was merely a cruel illusion, but what he was looking at was indeed himself, but as another creature entirely. A small, curved horn rested atop his head, his ears and mane were webbed like a serpent's, a pair of fangs lined the tip of his snout, and his eyes... they were monochromatic, blue, and compound - like a bug's! Seeing this image sparked a flare of terror in his brain and a shocked visage over his face, but it there was just barely enough clarity within his shattered mind to notice that a necklace of some sort was wrapped around his neck by a thin thread. What it bore, bouncing upon his chest as his breathing became rapid and panicked, was a small, jagged rock of sorts matching the tone of his skinless, chitinous carapace.

"Wh..." his voice gave out when he tried to speak, prompting him to swallow a gulp of stale saliva as he placed a hole-riddled forehoof to his now vaguely equine head. "Wh-what the- What have you... done to me? What have you done to me?!" he cried out in anguish, pushing the mirror away and staring at Lacewing.

"Please, stay calm!" she spoke aloud, pressing her hooves down firmly onto his shoulders in an effort to keep him where he was.

"What is this? What is this?!" he instead continued to scream as Lacewing tried frantically to calm him and keep his seated in his bed. His transparent, insectile wings buzzed behind his shelled back as he desperately sought to escape. "What happened to me?! I'm not... I..."

And then Chauffeur, far too caught up in this moment for him to bear, suddenly passed out cold. His wings stopped beating, his body fell limply upon the bed, and his eyes closed. Lacewing, alarmed and fearful that this dreadful surprise had killed him, pressed a hoof to his neck, but found to her relief that he was still alive after sensing his pulse. Sighing despondently at his terrible reaction, she looked to him in a more refined way.

"Poor thing," she whispered to his unconscious body, touching the necklace she had placed around his neck in a careful manner. "Don't worry. Come morning, I'll try to explain it all to you. But till then, I guess..."

Buzzing up to her own bed with her wings, Lacewing laid down upon it. Her eyes quickly closing after a few minutes, the changeling fell asleep.

Author's Notes:

Based off a weird dream I had last night. Sorry if you think this chapter's a bit short, fellas. Next ones will be much longer.

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