It's been awhile since I've posted a new chapter to this story, and for that, I apologize. However, things are starting to pick up between our two protagonists, and you'll find more of a fuzzy feeling to things in this chapter in particular, as well as some backstory in Twilight's love life. Anyhow, please R&R and let me know what you think.
To Guest - I know, and thank the stars I had some universal support beams, otherwise we'd all be dead. You're welcome.
To wg12290 - Well I thank you for your kind words and joy in my work. I do hope I continue to bring a smile to your face, and I hope you continue to enjoy my work. More to come, so stay tuned.
To Guest - Most MLP stories I've seen are rather one-dimensional and cliche. As a rule, I tend to go against the norm, if simply because I enjoy branching out and discovering new avenues that have previously been unexplored. You'll find a lot of new ideas in my work, as well as quite a few unique spins on the characters and the way they relate to each other.
To The Unknown Twinkie - Just wait for this chapter's ending. :)
To Bloodshot111 - Request granted; story has been continued.
To MarkBloodDove - You wished for more, so you may have more. Enjoy.
To Link-Girl Yuri fan - I'm pleased you enjoy. Plenty more to come, so I pray you smile lots.
To Saminat - All of my stories that are marked "INCOMPLETE" will be finished at some point. With college and other things happening, I often struggle to find both the inspiration and time to write some of my stories.
To Dracorex16 - Here's more. Read.
To Rayen Autumn King - So you have spoken, so it shall be. Here is the next update. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters associated with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, nor the original story.
Chapter 7: A New Journey
Life as a whole began to settle again, now that all of my friends had begun to come to terms with who I really was. It was a liberating feeling, and I sought to be more and more honest with them all about my past, my present, and my dreams for the future. I hoped that in some way, the unabashed honesty would in some way make up for the deceit I'd wrought upon them.
It still bothered me a bit that I had to disguise myself in public, but it was now bearable. All of my friends knew who I really was, and while most of them felt as if they were getting to know me again for the first time, they all allowed me the opportunity to prove myself worthy of their friendship. It would be a daunting task, but one I was more than ready to work towards accomplishing, as the payoff definitely overshadowed the work required to be sure everything turned out alright.
On a much more positive note, my relationship with Twilight had increased tenfold in just over a week or so, now that I was beginning to allow myself to open up to her in a romantic way. With my self-reservations, we were taking things slowly, having not even kissed yet, but it was now not uncommon to see us together most of the times we weren't working. Even though Spike would make fun of us for being "connected at the flank", I could tell he wasn't truly bothered by it. It was obvious he was still worried about her because of who and what I was, but like the others, he allowed me the chance to prove myself worthy of his trust and respect.
Rarity and I still kept our tea times, I still worked with Rainbow Dash, and I would still meet with Fluttershy when she would journey to the Everfree Forest or Whitetail Wood, though all of them knew who I truly was now, and often referred to me in private by Chrysalis (or Chryssie, in Pinkie's case).
At the end of the week, however, I was summoned by the princesses.
As Twilight and I trotted up to the large golden gates that led to the palace, she did her best to reassure me. I wasn't afraid of the princesses per se, but for anypony but Twilight Sparkle to be called to a personal meeting with them it had to be important. That was what worried me, as well as how this all would pertain to me.
"Chryssie, I'm sure it's fine." Twilight assured as she nodded to the two gate guards, and they waved us through. "Princess Celestia simply said they need to speak with you. She didn't say it was urgent, or that we should 'leave right away'. She just said, 'Come to the palace. We have things to discuss.'"
I sighed as I followed Twilight. She apparently knew where she was going. "I know that, but you must remember that not everypony is as comfortable around the princesses as you are."
Twilight glanced back at me and said, "Perhaps there's a reason for that. Do you ever think that maybe ponies aren't as comfortable around the princesses because they won't let themselves be? For example, did you know that Princess Celestia hates cinnamon? Or that Princess Luna loses all forms of regal composure around puppies?"
I raised my eyebrow (I was currently disguised as Mist Ray). "I'm not sure why you're telling me this."
"To let you see that under all the regality, they're just regular ponies." she explained.
I rolled my eyes. "Yes, regular ponies with a horn and wings. And they can raise and lower the sun and moon, and they are nigh immortal-"
"You know what I mean, Chryssie." she interrupted with annoyance.
I huffed and nodded. "Alright fine, I understand what you're trying to say. However, you need to keep in mind that I've gone from an enemy of the crown, to an unknown variable, and now a tenuous acquaintance. The social progression I've had with the princesses is far from typical." I sighed and locked my gaze with Twilight's. "Just...don't leave me alone."
She dropped back a bit until we were walking even with each other, and brushed against me as she moved closer. Twilight offered me a soft smile as she replied, "Never again."
"Twilight Sparkle and guest," the guard near the throne room (which I hadn't realized we'd approached) greeted, "the princess is expecting you. Please, enter." The guard eyed me curiously as we passed, but didn't move to stop me as I entered the throne room.
With an echoing noise, the massive doors closed behind us. I couldn't help but think of how ominous the sound was, considering my current predicament. While to Twilight it likely just sounded like a large door closing, to me it sounded like a death knell.
Twilight must have noticed my anxiety, because I felt her press her side against mine as she forcefully swatted my rump with her tail. Oddly, I found the latter action rather…pleasing. For the time being, however, I passed the thought from my mind. I had more important things to worry about at the moment. Daydreaming about Twilight could come later.
I was almost afraid to look at the thrones themselves, as waiting in front of me were two ponies that could squash me like a bug if they wished to. True that my time around Twilight kept me strong, but nowhere near strong enough to take on two alicorns at the same time. That was besides the fact that I would be perfectly fine never doing battle again for the rest of my life...however long that was. I had fought more than enough for several lifetimes, and I was simply done fighting. Pride be damned.
Thankfully, if the princesses noticed my apprehension, they didn't comment as they stood and approached us.
I greeted them both with a bow as they made their way to us, which caused Princess Celestia to giggle like a young filly. "Come now Chrysalis, there's no need for that. Please rise." I did as she asked and found myself nose to nose with the solar princess before she raised her head to look at me. "Now I won't mince words, as I am sure you both likely would wish to have time to spend together, so I will be quick. I need the two of you to participate in a bit of an expedition."
I raised my brow in confusion and asked, "Why us? I mean I can understand Twilight, but I'm a deposed queen and a changeling."
The night princess nodded. "That you are, but you have experience in many things that Twilight does not. Battle, subversion, subtlety, deception, and resourcefulness; these are but a few of the attributes that will be needed to successfully complete this task."
"Okay, but surely the other Elements…" I suggested.
Princess Celestia shook her head. "First of all, greater numbers means greater visibility, and while it is true the Element-bearers work well as a team, we need somepony with experience with less than ideal circumstances."
I understood that perfectly. As a species, changelings had evolved to make due with whatever they had available, even if the odds were stacked in their favor. It was because of this that we evolved to be stronger, faster, and more hardy than ponies. That went without mentioning our shape-changing abilities, but all our strengths came at a price. In a predominantly herbivorous world, we were carnivores and love parasites, not to mention our unnerving appearance. This branded us as outcasts among most living in the world, and gave rose to the many legends and myths regarding my race.
"You are free to refuse our request." Princess Celestia added. "We could assign a guard to watch over Twilight instead, if you wish."
"If you could simply hire a guard," I began, my confusion growing more by the second, "then why ask me? A guard would be just as useful in a combat situation, if not more so."
The night princess nodded, a soft smile gracing her lips. "True, but Twilight trusts you. We have found that trust between operatives is paramount in any covert situation. It allows them to coordinate better, and creates a higher rate of success for all involved."
I looked to Twilight to see her eyes bright and her smile loving. "You trust me that much?"
She nodded gently. "Of course. You've proven yourself trustworthy to all of us. You didn't have to explain to the rest of the girls the truth of who you are, but you did. That just strengthened the trust between us, and I'm sure I've earned my share of trust from you as well."
I nodded with a smile. "You have. Thank you for having faith in me, Twilight." For a moment the two of us gazed into each other's eyes before a polite throat clearing brought my attention back to the princesses. I smiled sheepishly and muttered an apology.
Both princesses offered me soft smiles before Princess Celestia asked, "So, do you accept? I apologize, but I cannot divulge the information unless you accept the task we have for you."
I looked to Twilight, wordlessly asking how she felt. She nodded to me, and I turned my eyes back to the princesses. "We accept, your highnesses."
Princess Celestia smiled before levitating a scroll from behind her over to Twilight. "You two will be travelling to Crane's Nest, which is a kitsune settlement within the Brood's End caldera."
"Kitsune?" Twilight questioned curiously as she looked over the scroll. "I thought their kind was just a myth."
Princess Celestia shook her head. "Not at all, my student. The fox-people of Esper are an ancient and mysterious race, but they are very real, I assure you. We have recently reestablished contact with them and have begun diplomatic talks in an attempt to strengthen our bond and forge forth to a future of mutual prosperity." The princess then looked to her sister and said, "Luna, please go over the specifics with Twilight. I must have a private word with Chrysalis."
I gulped at the princess' statement, but followed her as she trotted away from Twilight and Princess Luna. Once we were safely out of range, she turned to face me with a worried frown.
She sighed and said, "Chrysalis, I do hope we can put the past behind us. We have both made mistakes that wrought suffering upon the other, and I pray that one day the two of us can be allies, or perhaps friends. For now though, I must ask you to do something for me."
I nodded with a determined expression. "What would you ask of me?"
The princess looked to Twilight, who was speaking animatedly to Princess Luna, before looking back to me. "Please protect her, Chrysalis. She means the world to both Luna and I, and I could not bear the thought of harm coming to her." Again the sun princess gazed at the young unicorn, and she sighed wistfully as her eyes glistened with unshed tears. "I pray that you can give her the love that I would not."
I frowned and queried, "I'm not sure what you mean, Princess Celestia."
She turned her glassy eyes back to me as she smiled sadly. "I think you do. You are not the only one Twilight has given her heart to, but you are the one who reciprocated. For that I thank you. She has endured enough heartbreak in her life already." The princess then slumped a bit as she added, "She did not understand why I couldn't return her affections. Truthfully, I think she still doesn't understand." Princess Celestia nudged me gently, a single tear falling from her eye. "But do not think that she has chosen to care for you simply because she could not have me. The bond between you two is real...don't ever doubt that. So please, be better to her than I have been."
It seemed that I was not the only one who understood the shackles of royalty, and how the crown could restrict one from their true desires.
"Would it have been different if you were not bound by your title?" I asked, though I was fairly positive I already knew the answer.
Princess Celestia smiled gently, her gaze becoming focused as she seemed to imagine an alternate life for herself. "There is much I would allow myself if it were possible. A true home, a family," she shifted her eyes to Twilight for but a moment, "a mate. Sadly, I am married to Equestria. I cannot afford to be selfish when so many ponies depend on me. I love Equestria too much to allow her to fall simply because I wish for that which I do not have. Equestria is my partner in life, and I will see her kept strong, peaceful, and filled with love."
My steadfastness was strengthened, with the unrequited love of a princess. I nodded resolutely to Princess Celestia, stating, "I will keep her safe and make sure she feels loved every day of our time together, until she wishes otherwise or death takes me."
The princess nodded gratefully. "Thank you, Chrysalis. Now, I believe we've left Twilight waiting long enough. The two of you return to Ponyville and prepare. You leave tomorrow. I have arranged for Spike to stay here, and I will send personal letters to all of the other Elements to advise them all of your time away."
I nodded before following Princess Celestia back to Twilight and Princess Luna, determined to be sure Twilight wanted for nothing.
Night had fallen as Twilight and I finished packing our modest supplies, as the princesses had assured us a contact within the settlement would provide food and lodging for us. The fact that everything seemed to be falling into place so nicely made me a little wary at just how easy this seemed, which the princesses had advised me privately was exactly what I needed to be aware of. They explained to both Twilight and I that unseen dangers waited around every corner, and we would need to be alert to stay safe during our travels.
The night ended as usual for Twilight and I, which entailed tea, a good book, and the warmth of close physical contact. Yet again I was struck with just how much I felt at home when next to her, and realized that I may have found a place I truly belonged as something more than a conditional leader. Twilight wanted me for me, not for what I could do.
As was commonplace whenever we were secluded in the safety of her study, I took my natural form. I had become more comfortable with myself as time had passed, and it was in no small way thanks to the care and compassion that Twilight extended to me. It was yet again clear to me just how much I owed to her, and I thanked her often for it.
It was after the sun had set that I prepared to return home, only to be stopped by Twilight. She smiled gently and said, "You can stay if you would like to, you know. Spike's in Canterlot by now, so I don't think he'd oppose to us being all 'mushy'."
Though I had fallen asleep once or twice at the library, this would be the first time Twilight had actually asked me to stay the night. The latter part of her statement made it clear to me that she was likely as nervous as I was. While it wouldn't be the first time I had slept at someone's home with them, it would be the first time it actually mattered as something besides business.
I timidly nodded. "That sounds nice, Twilight."
Instantly she brightened. "Great! Just...stay here for a minute while clean up my bedroom."
I nodded again and watched as she bounded up the stairs, leaving me to my own thoughts. Nervousness once again crept into me, and I began worrying. While this would be the first real romantic relationship I'd ever been a part of as myself, I knew how courting typically progressed. Usually said couple would date before even sharing their first kiss. Also, an invitation for one to stay at the other's residence usually meant…
I felt the blood rush to my cheeks as thoughts of what Twilight could have in mind ran rampant through my head. I had tried to assume innocence of Twilight on quite a few occasions, only to be surprised by her maturity in matters. This may be no different, and I was unsure of how I would react to any advances.
'She could want that, you know.'
I shook the thought away with a gasp of anticipation. The more I thought of it though, it didn't make sense. After all, we had not even shared a kiss together. Not that I would be opposed to something of a physical nature, but…
"Chryssie? It's all set. Turn off the lights and come on up." Twilight called down to me.
I took a deep breath in an attempt to settle my nerves as I flicked the lightswitch off and climbed the staircase toward Twilight's bedroom ‒ the only place within the library I had yet to see. My heart was beating quickly within my chest, threatening to leap out of my chest, and I was certain I would be sweating if changelings had sweat glands.
As I rounded the top of the stairs and approached the bedroom door, I stopped in my tracks. I was unsure what I was so afraid of, but suddenly I found a creeping dread clutching at my heart. I suppose it was the common emotions anyone would feel when sharing a bed (for whatever reason) with another they care deeply for, and my thoughts bounced around frantically. Would I disgust her? Would I do something wrong or inappropriate? I knew not the answer to these questions, but a part of me was too afraid to want an answer.
Finally, after a few seconds of eternity, I pushed through the open door and gazed at Twilight's personal quarters.
I was unsure what I expected. Other than the placement of a bed adjacent to a window, the bedroom was the same as the rest of the library: full of books. The fact that there wasn't anything embarrassing within did wonders to calm me, and I trotted inside before kicking the door closed with my back hoof. The bed was located upon a second level that could be accessed from a small staircase for ponies lacking wings, but I simply spread my wings and gave one flap, landing next to the bed and next to Twilight.
"Took you long enough." she stated with a playful smile.
I smiled sheepishly and lowered my head shyly. "I was a little nervous is all." I then looked to the bed itself, and furrowed my brow. "Where am I supposed to sleep?"
Twilight patted the empty space next to her, flicking her tail away at the same time. "Right here."
My nerves once again overtook me, and I stuttered a few moments before squeaking out, "B-b-but...I mean, we…" The bed was simply too small for two ponies. Though I was quite a bit slimmer than Princess Celestia, I was as tall as her, which meant that I would have to practically sleep on top of Twilight if…
Oh...oh my goodness.
Twilight seemed to understand my plight, since her horn lit up as she cast a spell. With a groan of wood, the bedframe began to grow, both widening and lengthening considerably until it resembled something more fitting for a pony of my size. The mattress then followed with a much less suspenseful *poof* of size change, which left Twilight's modest bed to be the perfect size for the two of us now. We would still be forced to be in close quarters, but truthfully I wouldn't mind that fact.
Twilight patted the bed again and ordered, "Lay down, Chryssie."
I obliged and hopped up onto the mattress, shivering at the softness and the rush of Twilight's scent that assaulted my nostrils. I let a gentle smile cross my lips as I settled down onto my stomach next to her, and turned my eyes to meet her own. "Okay, I'll admit, that was rather impressive."
"I'm not expecting anything, you know." Twilight whispered carefully. "If that's what you're nervous about, that is."
I felt all my tense muscles relax as worry left me, and I smiled. "I apologize if it sounds as if I do not find you wonderful, but thank goodness for that. I was so nervous that I contemplated flying away."
Twilight giggled. "I'm not that kind of pony, Chrysalis. Truthfully, I expect you'd be more comfortable with something like that than I would."
I nodded before averting my gaze shyly. "Well, there is one thing I would like to do."
I felt as she shifted closer, and felt Twilight's warm breath upon my cheek as she whispered, "And what's that, Chryssie?"
I turned to Twilight and locked my eyes of emerald with hers of amethyst, hesitating only a moment before closing the distance between us and pressing our lips together.
I'd heard of different ponies' experiences with their first kiss. Some described it as a world-altering event, while others made it sound as if I would lose myself to the feeling alone. What I felt at that moment, however, was that if mere ponies without empathy sense felt that way, what I experienced would likely leave them in a coma.
As soon as my lips touched Twilight's, the world seemed to explode. A rush of love flowed forth from her, so strong it made me dizzy. That went without saying that the taste of Twilight's soft lips and the succulent moan of pleasure and surprise was wonderful as well, and simply bolstered the experience. As we continued our oral embrace, I felt her hoof slide over my side and up the back of my neck, pulling me closer, and I released my own murmur of elation at the action. I felt as Twilight's tongue gently darted out to brush against my fangs once or twice, and both felt and heard her heart rate and breathing increase in intensity.
After a minute (or an eternity, I'm unsure) we broke away from each other. Somewhere during the act, I had closed my eyes, but as I opened them I found myself looking into a mirror. Twilight's expression matched mine perfectly: excitement, surprise, and pure, unbridled joy. Her lips slowly creased into a smile as she leaned forward and nuzzled under my chin, giggling softly as she did so.
Once again, words came to my mind, and I spoke them aloud to my company.
"I love you, Twilight."
I can't describe the sheer amount of relief I felt when she didn't freeze at the words, nor did she recoil or gasp in surprise. Instead, the flow of love I felt from her increased even more, leaving me feeling very warm and happy. She moved as close against me as she could without forcibly fusing our bodies together, and sighed dreamily.
"I love you too, Chryssie."
Immediately, I choked out a sob, which caused Twilight to raise her head and gaze at me with worry. I offered her a joyous smile and shook my head, killing her worry. Twilight lowered her head to rest on my withers as we sat close, and I lowered my own head to the pillow in front of me.
For the first time in my life, someone loved me. Everything that could have driven her away from me ‒ my species, my past, my diet ‒ she had taken in stride and encouraged me the entire time. She offered me strength when I had none, and became a friend when I had no one else. She was the first to know Chrysalis, the failed changeling queen, and had somehow grown to love her. She had stood by my side when the demons of my past threatened to drive me over the edge, and had offered a shoulder to cry on when I needed it the most. She truly was the most wonderful being I had ever known, and I did not know how I could hope to live without her now. She was my everything, and I would give all that I am to keep her safe, happy, and loved.
My heart. My Twilight.