Prologue: Letter from the Queen
Chapter 1: A Long Awaited Arrival
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." -Psalm 23:4
After a week's journey, on the ground, the day had finally come. The day I had been anticipating for 7 whole days. It was morning, and we were fast approaching Canterlot. … Even the newfound heart of flesh that replaced my hole-filled heart of stone was uneasy and unsettled, leaping within me as my whole body palpitated. The Equestrian Princess Celestia was aware of my coming, and though I was aware of her mercy and compassion, for all I knew, today could be my last day of life. But I have spent long nights in prayer before this day that I may be able to tell others my story… or His story rather, even if by living it.
The five fared much better than I, but not without proper concern.
"What if they reject you and us? Do you really think we should go in as we are?" Dannel asked.
"You may change if you wish, but I said in my letter that I would come as myself. But if you do change, don't take the form of another. Make a new identity to call your own, but don't hide who you are. … And that goes for each of you. We must not act deceptively as we did in the past or we'll never be counted trustworthy."
Dannel was my loyalest of minions. But now, as with the others, we are one on the same level. We are friends. He was my chef of physical food and I always criticized him until I learned what a true blessing he was on the journey. I had eaten the choicest of greens, oats, hay, barley,… grains, flowers and fruits of all kinds in the country I now flee, the country I ruled, and countries I conquered. Seeing me content with his food lifts his spirits, and I must say, the feeling is mutual.
"I think we should wait outside where it's safe. If you don't come out, then I don't want to go in." Firemay made a good point.
"Are you really sure you want to do this? I mean actually live here? It's so far away." Shratney asked.
"You're right Firemay, I think that's a good idea. And it is far away Shratney, but I still have a lot to learn, and I can't think of a better place to be than Equestria."
Firemay was right. I didn't know what to expect and didn't want them to suffer for crimes they didn't commit. Besides that, her small, frail body had suffered enough from my own hoof. I once considered her a disloyal minion. She never liked my plans and even tried to stop me on occasion until I locked her away. … I'll never forget the day I released her, and the joy she brought me after hearing what I had discovered. Giving love rather than feeding on it has been easier ever since. But that's also why I wanted to be so far away. It was easier to fight the temptation that would ensnare me, that of rising back to power, which would be far easier than my current path. I admit that some part of me still wanted to oppress, even now, but I must fight it, and Firemay is here to help me. It's not easy being content knowing most would probably prefer you be locked away.
Shratney served as one of my chief officers. She was brilliant, cunning, and spiteful, everything I could ask. She wanted to lead the attack against Canterlot with me, but I insisted she guard our home because I knew she could handle the task best. Living far away meant being away from her former friends, most of them probably caring less about her now. I'm not really certain why she decided to follow my path. But she was with me and observed my demeanor change as I began to break down after my discovery. Perhaps she had always been determined to follow me regardless of what path I took. This places both a burden and a blessing on me to be the better example I need to be.
There it was, Canterlot. It was just as I had remembered it, yet different this time. I was out in the open, exposed, vulnerable, and felt… naked. I approached the gate while the five hidden yards away among the trees. My body began to tremble as before. But there was something I didn't understand. The gate was open but I couldn't see a guard in sight. Perhaps an invisibility spell?
"Halt!" A guard shouted out of nowhere.
I turned back to see a wall of guards begin to surround me on the ground and in the air. Then I saw the princess flying down toward me. Crouching down to the ground, I bowed my head and hailed her.
"Your majesty, Princess Celestia, I come as I am."
She approached me, but I could only see her cast shadow on the ground.
"Arise, Queen Chrysalis."
"Please, just Chrysalis. I am a queen no more."
"Where are your wings?" Celestia asked as she slowly walked around me.
"…They tore them off. But, it's nothing. They'll grow back soon enough."
I kept my eyes toward the ground out of respect. I could feel her eyes searching me, and the eyes of her sneering guards piercing through me as my body still carried a few trembles. I couldn't help but think that she thought I was lying. Potentially, I could've hidden them with ease, even my horn, but they really were gone.
"Where are the rest?" Celestia questioned. I looked at her in my response.
"You mean the five? They've hidden themselves to determine whether it will be safe for them, to see whether I come out."
A moment or so passed. Her expression was uncertain to me. It wasn't disdain, joyous, angered, contentment, or wrathful. Perhaps it was that of curiosity.
"Everypony return to your post." Celestia announced.
All the guards immediately went their own way and left us. There she stood in front of me, and I in front of her as her countenance changed. She smiled.
"Can you change into a pegasus to fly with me?" She asked.
"I'm not sure."
I hadn't even thought of that. Changing into somepony with no horn or wings was possible, but was the opposite really possible? I tried to simply change myself into a pegasus. …Apparently I could!
"Huh. That was totally unexpected." I said aloud. She gave a slightly audible giggle.
"Come, fly with me and we'll discuss your terms of pardon and residence."
We rose to the air and flew around Canterlot. Our discussion had begun.
"It's not possible for me to see your true motives, so I must ask, what is your purpose here? Why Ponyville?" Celestia rightfully questioned.
"That is where Twilight and her friends reside. …"
"… Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure what my purpose is anymore. All I know is that I don't want to be who I was. I want to learn more about what friendship really means. I know what it means to take love that belongs to another and make enemies, but what does it take to give love and make friends?"
Celestia looked deep into my eyes. I felt very uneasy again. I wanted to close them, but I didn't want to loose her trust. … She looked away.
"What will become of your remaining minions? Will they seek vengeance?" she asked.
"I… I hadn't thought of that. They will likely find a new leader, but rest assured I did not reveal my desires to them. … Though I suppose it's possible they might suspect me here."
"… How do you plan to present yourself?"
"Well, I would like to present myself as I am, but I realize that everyone in Canterlot are aware of us. But Ponyville… I don't know. I suppose my hope is perhaps they could accept us if we conduct ourselves properly."
"I see. … Well, here are your terms of stay. You will take up residence with one of the Elements of Harmony who has reluctantly agreed to your stay and company. I chose her and her family alone for the time to test your honesty and the honesty of your company. She will write an assessment letter to me nearly every week as necessary. You will work for her family and they will provide for you. If at any time you wish to contact me, you are free to do so through her. If you gain their trust, then you gain my trust and permission to reveal yourself to the other elements and the entire town of Ponyville at your discretion. You and your company also have my permission to purchase your own residence at that time. The terms of your official pardon require that you gain the trust of her friends also, which is to say each pony representing the Elements of Harmony. … Chrysalis, do you accept these terms?"
I had to think about this. I won't deny that my hope was to have my own place to stay, but who was I to argue? I believe they could've rightfully taken my life at the mere sight of me, but they didn't. But the more I thought, the more I understood her plan as brilliant. If we lived among ourselves, how would we learn to interact with other ponies? After all the deception, being trustworthy is now what I yearn to be. The choice was obvious, no bickering, no complaints.
"Queen-err… Princess Celestia, I will gladly accept your terms." I replied and she smiled.
"Thank you Chrysalis for your generous cooperation and acceptance. I truly hope you and the others will enjoy your stay. Now fetch them and meet her at the gate with me. She is waiting for us there."
"I will be right there."
I took off toward the five and returned to my original form. That was a bad mistake! But before I fell to the ground I changed back into a pegasus. I landed in front of the trees and took my true form once more.
"Please come out and meet me. We have already discussed terms of stay. Come with me to the gate. Tonight we will be staying in Ponyville."
They came out. Dannel was assisting Firemay. It looked as though she had been crying. They gathered with me and we continued toward the gate.
"Firemay, are you alright?" I asked.
"Heheh, yeah. I guess I let my imagination get a little carried away." Firemay answered.
"I told her not to worry since you're more powerful than the princess anyway." Shratney teased.
But was that true? Did I still retain the power I had stole from Shining Armor? … I tried not to think about it least I be tempted to try something foolish. I want to build trust, not destroy it. Besides that, I'm sure Celestia had well planned for any such attempt I could have made.
"I can't believe she will actually let us stay. This is wonderful!" Ursma Timesail delighted.
"What are the terms of stay? Will their be guards watching our every move?" Charsol Timesail questioned.
The Timesails are an interesting couple. Of the crowd that came to hear the explanation for my actions, they were of the handful who wanted to know more. Of that handful however, they were the only two that decided to investigate and obey it for themselves as far as I know. They told me that it was indeed possible for us changelings to love one another, because that is what they had done. That is why they saw no reason to attack nations full of love, they provided love for each other. Ursma is quite uplifting as she always seizes the best of moments. I consider Charsol her complement to some degree. He tends to fret on occasion, but he is very cautions. Even I couldn't give a full answer to his questions.
As we were arriving at the gate, both excited and scared, happy yet uncertain, there stood Celestia, and next to her, an orange mare with a yellow mane. I recognized her …Applejack! I threw away her apple fritters as Cadence! I thought Celestia was talking about the pink mare, or the yellow mare. But I was thankful it wasn't Twilight. I wasn't at all ready to face her after what I had done.
"Well hello there miss, um, queen of the changelings." Applejack said with what nerve she could muster.
"Oh-uh, please, just call me Chrysalis. …Applejack is it?" I replied, feeling as awkward as I could remember.
"Yup, that's it. Woah, Nelly. … Ah must've done lost my mind."
"Can you handle this Applejack? I can try to find someone else if you want." Celestia offered.
Applejack thought silently, head bent, looking away. What was I supposed to do? I was also nervous about the situation. … I decided to speak.
"Applejack, if it's any consolation at all, I want to personally apologize for the havoc and grief I've caused you and your friends. …And also for throwing away your apple fritters."
She looked toward me, and then at me. After a moment, she put on an awkward smile as I did the same.
"Princess, if Chrysalis is up to the challenge, then my family and I are also up to the challenge."
"Excellent. Then I'll leave her in your capable hooves Applejack. Farewell and good luck to you all." Celestia had spoken.
She then took to the air and flew back to the castle. Applejack took the lead.
"Well, I reckon it's time to show y'all to yer new home."