by Cackling Moron

Chapter 1: Under the weather

Under the weather

I was/am doing something longer but, eh, I don't know.

So I just decided to throw my hands up and write schlocky stupid fluffy bollocks.

It's probably completely wrong but I don't even care.

Under the weather

“Sabotage! Betrayal! An underhoofed attempt to delay my terrible and inevitable revenge! A-”

Chrysalis would have no-doubt got further with this particular line of ranting had she not sneezed so suddenly and so violently that she was propelled back into the veritable Eiger of pillows and cushions that had been set up around and behind her, disappearing from view in an avalanche of softness.

“You’re just ill,” Richard said, entering, bearing a tray.

“A Queen does not get ill!” Came an angry, regal voice from somewhere amidst all the cushions, followed shortly by an annoyed looking Chrysalis digging herself to freedom. She’d likely have stormed across the room to properly explain how a Queen does not get ill but the sheer amount of duvets and blankets that had been laid over her precluded this.

So, really, her staying in the bed was just practical. That was all.

She did continue to glare at Richard though as he busied himself about the room, which was not as dilapidated as it had once been. He fussed with this, he fussed with that, he singularly failed to fuss over the most important thing present though, and that was her.

Idiot. He was lucky she put up with him.

“Where are my soldiers?!” She yelled, throwing a cushion at him and missing, not because of illness - because she wasn’t ill! - but because the cushion was aerodynamically flawed. Had it been a proper cushion of the sort actually intended for use by a Queen she would have hit her target. Which had been Richard’s head.

Still got his attention though, and got him to pick up the tray from where he’d set it and finish carrying it over to her bed and lay it in front of her.

“All present and correct, your majesty,” he said, indicating the serried ranks of neatly cut toast that was accompanying her boiled egg. Chrysalis didn’t look at these though, and kept her narrowed eyes on Richard. Paid to remind him who was boss.

“I take it you remembered the remove the crusts this time?” She asked. The last time he had failed to do this and it had put him on thin ice indeed. His pathetic excuses that ‘She hadn’t asked for that’ and ‘How was he supposed to know’ had cut no mustard whatsoever. He should have known!

Richard, for his part, just kept on smiling that infuriatingly indulgent smile at her. As though he was somehow enjoying this. As though his very life was not on the line!

“Of course. Only the best for the Queen,” he said.

Chrysalis kept glaring - not pouting, a Queen did not pout - and allowed herself a single glance down at the tray, to verify. In this glance she saw that he had indeed removed the crusts. What’s more, he’d also lined the toast up precisely the way she liked it done. How he’d managed to guess that was unclear.

...but good! He should!

“You shall live another day,” she said, pointing a warning hoof at him before floufing back into the pillows and dragging the tray in closer to herself. Richard gave a bow that he had previously assured Chrysalis was not a mocking one, it was just the human style, honest.

“That’s good to know. Do you need any help?” He asked. Chrysalis bristled.

“Help? Help?! A Queen gives commands and those commands are obeyed without question, a Queen does not ask for help! Certainly not the most fiendish, brilliant - uh...actually…”

She’d been attempting to levitate and use the knife that had been provided to take the top off the egg but using her magic was, for whatever reason, causing the most aggravating tickle in her nose which was proving something of a distraction. Anytime she got close, the tickle would rise up to levels that threatened a sneeze, and she kept having to pull back, concentration slipping and meaning she had to readjust her grip.


“You made this egg too difficult to open. Crack. Take the top off. Whatever! J-just do it for me!” She said, thrusting the knife in Richard’s direction and folding her legs in a huff. Richard took the knife (which had been offered to him blade-first, but that wasn’t a huge surprise) and swiftly, deftly, cut the top off the egg.

It was, as ever, perfectly runny. But then she would have expected nothing less, and he had to be good for something, she supposed.

“There you go. Anything else? Help with dunking?”

Briefly, very briefly, she did actually consider it, given that with her magic acting up (for some reason! Sabotage! Plots!) it might be easier with him and his hands to handle the soldiers and the egg, but then she realised what it was she was considering and the mere thought shook her to her core.

“No!” She borderline-shrieked, pulling the tray in even closer still, all-but wrapping herself around it. Or at least as much as she could, tucked in and snuggled up as he was. Richard just nodded.

“As you wish. I’ll leave you to it then, your majesty,” he said, before leaving her to it and getting back to fussing about with the room.

Fussing about was more-or-less Richard’s sole purpose in life. He said it was just his job and something he did because he felt like it was the nice thing to do, but Chrysalis knew better. He’d been put here to fuss, and specifically put here to fuss for her benefit.

He handled all the mundane, dull, minor, trifling tasks that a Queen had no business dirtying herself with. Like preparing eggs and soldiers, for example. And dusting. And sweeping up rubble into neater piles. And all those other things that somehow always needed doing.

With him fulfilling his purpose, Chrysalis herself was free to fulfil hers: being sublime. And, in this instance, plotting revenge, of course. Though that could wait until after breakfast, at least. No sense in planning on an empty stomach.

Though, eggs wasn’t all that would be needed for that to be the case. Strictly speaking it was unlikely that they were even needed at all. She just liked them, and Richard seemed happy to provide.

It was not the only thing he was curiously happy to provide, either…

“~Richard~” she trilled, having just polished off the first soldier (the colonel, always take out the leadership first) and licking away what few remnants she might have missed. Richard, mid-fuss, turned.


“Come here.”

He did as he was told. One of his few redeeming features, that habit.

“Yes?” He asked from the beside.

“Come closer.”

Richard knew better than to roll his eyes. It was important that, even if he did know what was going on (and he did) he acted as though he didn’t. It was just part of the process. The process was expert manipulation. It didn’t carry quite the same satisfaction if you knew the other side was just playing along.

Leaning on the bed he drew in closer to where Chrysalis had settled, using some of that freakish height to get himself into whispering distance.

“Yes?” He asked again, ear cocked.

Chrysalis cleared her throat - having to deal with a brief, minor coughing fit on account of all that lowly sabotage! - and then leaned in so that her mouth was basically right by his ear and then:

“Your breakfast was...adequate, Richard,” she said, which seemed about the highest level of acceptable praise.

And there came from Richard that sickly, inexplicable little lurch of affection that was always just lying in wait beneath the surface. It was like wringing out a sponge. Just took a little effort and it all came out.

It wasn’t love per se and, honestly, Chrysalis had no idea how to even attempt to cultivate and extract love from a creature as bizarrely singular as Richard, not did she really want any idea (the mere thought made her flesh crawl beneath her carapace), but it did the job well enough for now. Filled a hole, as it were.

Never took much, either, which was lucky - human emotions were...unusual. It was one of those things where, after having had some, you were never quite sure whether you actually enjoyed the flavour or not, and the more you thought about it the more you felt you’d need just a touch to refresh your memory, only you never got any closer to a proper conclusion.

Moreish, but not because you actively enjoyed it, or maybe you did, or maybe you didn’t and just weren’t sure yet. It was, like him, infuriating.

But, as said, it filled a hole, and that was all that mattered, and the moment that hole was filled she pushed him away.

“Stop crowding me, Richard!”

Grinning like the idiot he was he stood back up from the bed and gave another, even more curt bow.

“My apologies, your majesty,” he said.

“Don’t you have something to dust?” Chrysalis asked, mouth full of another soldier, reaching for the next.

“As you wish.”

And a-dusting he went, mixed in with some general tidying that also took him out of the room. Not that Chrysalis cared about that, obviously.

The only part of it she cared about was that, with him out of the way, when she finished the eggs and soldiers she had to move the tray off the bed herself, and with her magic being unduly weakened (BY SABOTAGE, NOT BY ILLNESS!) she had to do by hoof, and it was inelegant and thoroughly unbecoming of a Queen.

He’d pay for that, later. He’d probably arranged it that way on purpose.

With that done she was left sitting in bed on her own, a situation that quickly become utterly intolerable. She couldn’t afford to just sit around! She had things to do! Schemes to perfect! Plots to hatch! Horrible fates to properly plan out for each and every enemy she had (which was, at last count, everyone on the face of the planet barring herself).

Richard was at the end of the list, because she’d need him for tasks until his turn came around. She hadn’t quite worked out what his fate should be, yet, but she was sure she’d get onto it in time. And she had time.

“Richard! Richard! Get back here at once!” She yelled, to be no immediate response. Casting about for something to throw that would break in a satisfying manner she found, annoyingly, everything out of reach and when she tried to magic something a little closer it just set off more sneezes, resulting in her getting lost in the bedclothes again.

By the time she’d clawed herself free Richard was again standing by the bed, looking smug.

Chrysalis wasn’t going to let that ruffle her.

“Where is my revenge journal?!” She snapped.

Richard frowned, concerned, moving in to better adjust her cushions and pillows.

“I don’t think you should be plotting revenge in your condition, your majesty. You should be resting. I am sure you can resume plotting tomorrow when you feel a bit better,” he said.

“You dare presume to tell a Queen what to do?! You dare to- ooh, that’s warm, what’s that?” She asked, derailed as something that Richard did or was doing led to the most wonderful sensation of warmth suddenly becoming apparent.

“That would be a hot water bottle,” he said, continuing to adjust.

Eyes now lidded, Chrysalis felt herself sinking into the bedding.

“Ooh...I mean, uh - what was I saying?” She asked.

All that sabotage had left her a little thick in the head, and was now combining with the warmth of this ‘hot water bottle’ to leave her unexpectedly snoozy.

“You were berating me, your majesty,” Richard said.

That did sound right, she had to admit,

“I was? About what?” She asked, cracking one eye to peer up at him.

At which point she noticed - belatedly, never usually seeing much point in paying attention to him - that he had put his coat on. This made her immediately sit bolt upright. Putting his coat on meant going outside, meant leaving!

“Where are you going? Are you leaving?! Why would you leave me?!” She asked, getting shrill enough at the end to catch her own attention. That needed quick addressing: “Not that it matters! I don’t need you or anything else! I alone am sufficient! More than sufficient!”

Richard, gently, eased her back down into a more comfortable position. She allowed him to do this and did not bite his hand off. Because she was feeling particularly magnanimous that day, and because his eggs had been adequate.

“Oh, undoubtedly, your majesty,” he said, smiling that damn idiot smile of his.

“Don’t you remember who I am?!”

“How could I forget?” He asked in turn, tucking the duvet up around her so that it was just the right level of snug. Bewildered and cocooned, Chrysalis could only just about muster:

“Then...so why are you…”

Richard did not force her to flounder further.

“Just going for a walk. Not leaving. Just stretching my legs and checking all is as it should be in the surroundings. Then I’ll come back,” he said.

Still smiling the idiot smile. Chrysalis found herself smiling too, just a little bit. Relieved. Well, not relieved, because to be relieved you’d have to be worried, and she hadn’t been worried. So just a smile of...something. Satisfaction, probably. She did have a lot to be satisfied about, after all. So that would make the most sense.

“Oh. Okay. I mean - yes, good! As you should! In fact, you should already be out there! Stop dawdling, Richard!” She said, and she would have pointed imperiously at him but her legs were all tucked in too snugly to allow for that.

He gave another bow.

“As you wish,” he said. “There’s some water for you, there. I put it in reaching distance. It’s important you keep drinking, your majesty.”

“Okay, Richard…” Chrysalis said with a yawn, eyes fluttering shut as she rolled over.

Seeing this, Richard smiled again, and again some of that weird, cloying, alien affection just rolled over her, and Chrysalis smiled again, too.

He’d made it all the way to the door before she piped up once more:


“Yes, your majesty?” He asked.

“...come here…”

He did as he was told, leaning in, getting closer, cocking an ear.


“...you’re...performing marginally better than I might have expected...during this period of...sabotage-induced weakness…” Chrysalis mumbled, unable to look at him as she spoke the words, lapping up that affection, again trying to work out whether she actually liked it or not. She really couldn’t pin it down.

“I try, your majesty. Will that be all?” He asked.

She thought about that. All snug. Fed. With her hot water bottle. Comfy.

“...yes. But you are coming back?” She asked.

Just so she could factor it into her plans, of course.

“Yes,” he said.

Factored in. He wouldn’t lie to her, after all. He was too stupid to lie to her. And he always did come back.

“...good. Go away, Richard,” she said, yawning more deeply this time and burrowing down into the pillows.

“As you wish.”

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