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Changing Lanes 32

By AutoPony
Created: 18th December 2020 10:46:37 AM

  1. "What else do you desire in return for Twilight Sparkle's release?"
  2. >A laugh greets your question.
  3. >"You're joking, right? If you want me to return Twilight back to normal, the ONLY thing I desire is my freedom."
  4. >Chrysalis smirks, while you scowl in frustration.
  5. >She has already caused enough trouble in the past, she will certainly try to undermine Equestria again.
  6. >But it looks like you really have no choice at this point.
  7. >You growl.
  8. "Fine. We go to Twilight Sparkle now."
  9. >Chrysalis's eyes light up.
  10. >"Of course, the sooner the better."
  11. >"I don't like this, Luna."
  12. "Neither do I Anon. But what else can we do?"
  13. >The hybrid rises to her hooves, while you use your magic to take down Celestia's barrier.
  14. >Grabbing a pair of iron shackles off of the wall nearby, you pass them to Cadence, while you grab the key to the cell door proper and begin to unlock it.
  15. >"What, may I ask, do you plan to do with those bindings?"
  16. >Cadence turns them over within her magical grasp, showing off a series of intricate engravings on each clasp.
  17. "The sigils etched into them will prevent you from using any magic, until we get to Twilight."
  18. >"Interesting."
  19. >As the lock clicks, you turn to Cadence, nodding to her.
  20. >Her serious expression suddenly turns to one of a fiendish grin.
  21. >Before you can react, she snaps the shackles to your forehooves.
  22. "Princess Cadence, what are you doing?"
  23. >As you watch, the sigils light up with a bluish glow the same hue of your own magic, as a wave of cold air seems to wash over you.
  24. >You can practically feel your energy being sucked from you.
  25. >Chrysalis laughs as she kicks the cell door open, throwing you and Anonymous to the ground.
  26. >She turns to Cadence, raising a hoof to pat her on the head.
  27. >"Princess Cadence is not exactly.... herself today. You really should talk to your sister more, as it seems the real Princess Cadence left for the Crystal Empire this morning."
  28. >You growl as Chrysalis turns away.
  29. >"Like I said, I have scouts everywhere. Have fun, you two. I have places to be."
  30. >The Changeling Queen gallops off, the phony princess in tow.
  31. >You clumsily begin rising to your hooves, the bindings not allowing for excessive maneuvering.
  32. >Anonymous helps you up the rest of the way, seeing as how you landed on top of him.
  33. "Grab the keys out of the cell lock and get these cursed things off me!"
  34. >He obliges, plucking the keychain out of the door, and rummaging through them.
  35. >"Seems stupid for her to just leave us the keys and leave me free."
  36. >You say nothing as he tries several keys, before finding the right one.
  37. >In the distance, you hear what sounds like the creak of a cell door opening.
  38. >"What was that?"
  39. >As the shackles fall to the ground, you feel a surge of energy rush through you.
  40. "I have a feeling I know."
  41. >Sure enough, you hear the sound of hoofsteps as a purple figure rounds the corner.
  42. >"Uh, Twilight?"
  43. >The purple alicorn looks at the two of you, eyes glowing green and ears pinned back.
  44. >This isn't Twilight.
  45. >She stands there unblinking, her eyes showing no sense of thought.
  46. >Just blind devotion to a queen's orders.
  47. [Anonymous, when I make a move, get the hay out of here. Find Celestia.]
  48. >[Okay, but what are yo-]
  49. >You don't give him time to ask questions as you charge at Twilight.
  50. >The last thing you want to do is harm her, as you hope to keep magic out of the equation to subdue her.
  51. >She tries to sidestep, but you turn your head and catch her with your horn, flinging her into the nearest wall.
  52. "Twilight Sparkle, if you can hear me, you need to fight this!"
  53. >You stand your ground as she rises back to her hooves, silent.
  54. >Her horn begins to glow as she sneers, firing off a beam of magical energy.
  55. >You manage to duck as her spell whizzes overhead, the air crackling.
  56. >As you raise your head back up, a hoof strikes you in the jaw.
  57.  
  58. * * * *
  59.  
  60. >Panting for breath, you reach the top of the stairs, catching sight of Chrysalis rounding a corner.
  61. >Damn, where are all the guards at today, playing hooky?
  62. >You have second thoughts of what Luna asked you to do in favor of tailing the changeling queen.
  63. >Even if you manage to find Princess Celestia quickly, Chrysalis could be long gone by that point.
  64. >Your mind made up, you quickly run down the hall to the corner the queen made just moments ago.
  65. >The black bughorse quickly strides down the hallway, quickly approaching the main foyer and the entrance as she makes another turn.
  66. >You sprint as best you can, your arm in a sling somewhat impeding your pace.
  67. >You hear shouting and what sounds like a struggle up ahead as you slow your pace, not wanting to let Chrysalis know she is being tailed.
  68. >As you peak around the corner, several guards are laying on the ground in the foyer, with another in front of Chrysalis.
  69. >"Unless you want to end up like your buddies here, I'd suggest you let me be on my way."
  70. >The guard grunts as he charges at Chrysalis, who wastes no time in grabbing him with her magic.
  71. >As you watch in horror, the guard's head snaps around with an audible crunch.
  72. >"Idiot."
  73. >Dropping his body to the ground, she walks out into the daylight, while you slowly make your way to the door after a moment and peek past the threshold.
  74. >At this point, the changeling queen takes to the air, fluttering in an almost leisurely fashion.
  75. >You sprint outside, hanging a hard right to where your Superbird sits.
  76. >Climbing in, you hit the key, the engine coming to life with a deep rumble.
  77. >You can see Chrysalis turn her head, spotting you.
  78. >Shit, what were you thinking?
  79. >Her speed noticeably quickens at this point, quickly becoming smaller in the distance.
  80. >Jamming the shifter into first, you mat it, the sound of gravel pinging off the rear quarters only outmatched by the thunder under the hood.
  81. >Even with her increase in pace, you close in rapidly, rowing through the gears until you get to fourth.
  82. >Changelings must not be quick fliers.
  83. >Or she's toying with you.
  84. >You don't close in much further once you get within two hundred feet of her, your speedometer reading a mere 60 mph.
  85. >The realization of how pointless this chase is dawns on you.
  86. >There's no way she is going to lead you to her lair knowing you're behind her.
  87. >Nor are you willing to confront the queen.
  88. >A lanky figure stepping into your path grabs your attention as your reflexes kick in.
  89. >Dropping from fourth to second gear while standing on the brakes, you slide sideways in a cloud of dust.
  90. >The engine stalls as you finally come to a stop, your heart racing.
  91. >When you manage to calm your nerves and look up to the sky, Chrysalis is nowhere to be seen.
  92. >"Dear me, what is the rush?! You could have killed me!"
  93. >Wait a minute...
  94. >Peering out from under a bonnet, the snout of a smirking chimaerical creature stoops down to your driver's window.
  95. "Discord! You dumbass, what are you doing?!"
  96. >He seems flabbergasted by your tone.
  97. >"Why, I was just enjoying this lovely day until you nearly ran me down! Crazy driver."
  98. >His rather playful demeanor irks you further.
  99. "Screw you! Thanks to your idiocy, I've lost Chrysalis and any hope of saving Twilight!"
  100. >You bang your fist on the steering wheel, instantly regretting it as pain envelops your hand.
  101. >"Twilight? Right, I forgot that was on my to-do list today."
  102. "What?"
  103. >Discord tosses away the bonnet on his head, a mischievous grin coming across his face.
  104. >With a snap of his talons, he disappears.
  105. "Come back here, you prick!"
  106. >Only the sounds of birds answer back as you look around.
  107. >With a sigh, you crank over the engine, and head back to the castle, your focus back to how Luna is faring.
  108.  
  109. * * * *
  110.  
  111. >Undaunted, Twilight rises to her hooves yet again, albeit slowly.
  112. >You don't know how much more either of you can take this, as Twilight again leaps at you.
  113. >Unable to avoid her in the tight confines of the dungeon, the two of you topple end over end, with Twilight ending up on top of you, with you on your back.
  114. >As the purple alicorn's horn begins to light up again, you muster up as much strength as you can.
  115. >With all of your might, you kick your hind legs, hitting her in the stomach and throwing her off.
  116. >You rise to your hooves quickly, finding Twilight stunned, the wind knocked out of her.
  117. >Using your magic, you fling her into an open cell nearby, slamming the door.
  118. >She finally regains her wits and leaps at the bars with a shriek.
  119. >As she gnaws at her cage with razor sharp teeth, you realize this is not Twilight.
  120. >You feel gutted.
  121. >This was all a ruse.
  122. >Frustrated and sore, you turn away, just as something grabs you from behind.
  123. >As you are about to buck, whatever is behind you speaks.
  124. >"Princess Luna! I'm so glad to see you!"
  125. >That voice..
  126. >You crane your neck to see... Twilight?
  127. >A mix of confusion, suspicion, and joy floods you as you try to understand what is going on.
  128. >She seems to understand your apprehension, as she backs up.
  129. >"Perhaps I should stop being such a fly on the wall, hm?"
  130. >A buzzing sound reaches your ear as you look around for the sound of yet another voice.
  131. >A miniaturized draconequus lands on your muzzle.
  132. "Discord?!"
  133. >He smiles his trademark mischievous grin, growing back to fullsize with a snap of his fingers and stepping off your muzzle as if weightless.
  134. >"At your service."
  135. >He bows gracefully.
  136. >Your mind cannot handle much more nonsense that has already taken place in the last several days.
  137. "Forgive me for being cross, but I have no time for fun and games, Discord. WHAT is going on?"
  138. >He waves a taloned hand, as if to blow you off.
  139. >"Oh calm down now. I just happened to be idly passing by when I heard the commotion between you and Chryssy. She seemed to be rather unwilling to keep to her end of the deal, so I figured I should step in."
  140. >He walks over to Twilight, waving his hands around her as Twilight looks at him, already tired of his jokes.
  141. >"So here is your Twilight Sparkle, refreshed and good as new!"
  142. "So you....stopped Chrysalis before she could escape?"
  143. >He laughs, as if you told him the best joke he has ever heard.
  144. >"Stopped her? Princess Luna, I may be reformed, but I will still always be the master of chaos. Locking up ponies isn't exactly helpful in that respect."
  145. >You sizzle in anger as you take a step toward the chimeric prankster.
  146. "YOU LET HER GO?!"
  147. >"You seem to miss the point that I saved Twilight Sparkle.
  148. >"Somepony still needs to explain to me what is going on. I'm completely lost."
  149. "In due time, Twilight Sparkle."
  150. >You focus back on Discord, softening your stern tone.
  151. "How? How did you manage to free Twilight?"
  152. >He puffs out his chest, brushing his talons across his chest in an expression of pride.
  153. >"Well, I may know a thing or two about hypnosis spells."
  154. >You feel rather silly not thinking about acquiring assistance from him in the very beginning.
  155. "While I may not be pleased with you allowing our prisoner to go free, I thank you dearly for returning Twilight back to her former self, Discord."
  156. >He waves you off again.
  157. >"Not a problem, my dear night princess. It feels good to face you past and move on, doesn't it?"
  158. >He winks at you.
  159. >Your eyes go wide.
  160. >So he did know what he was doing when he cast whatever spell he did when meeting him with Anonymous.
  161. >But how?
  162. >Instead of asking a question you know will not be answered, you solemnly nod.
  163. "Yes. It is a feeling unlike any other to face your past and learn from it. Sometimes it just takes more than one event to understand where you have strayed along your path."
  164. >"Well put, Princess Luna."
  165. "Discord?"
  166. >"Hm?"
  167. >You take a step toward him.
  168. "If you ever pull anything like this again, I will end you."
  169. >He chuckles, stopping abruptly when you continue to stare coldly towards him.
  170. >"I uh.. *ahem* must get back to my place, it's movie night!"
  171. >He snaps his fingers, disappearing in a shower of colors and.... popcorn?
  172. >You and Twilight stare at each other for a moment, before embracing.
  173. "I am so glad to see you are alright, Twilight Sparkle."
  174. >You step away, as she still seems eager to understand the events of today.
  175. "What do you remember of the past few days, Twilight?"
  176. >She shakes her head in a frenzy.
  177. >"That's just it, Luna. The last thing I remember is Anon coming over to visit me, and then waking up down here with Discord opening a cell in which I had been placed! What is going on?!"
  178. >The sound of approaching hoofsteps puts you on edge again, calming down when you see Celestia and Anonymous appear from around the corner.
  179. "We have much to discuss."
  180.  
  181. * * * *
  182.  
  183. >"You're telling me I thought Chrysalis was Anonymous?!"
  184. >"Yes."
  185. >Twilight gags in response.
  186. >"I'm taking at least an hour long bubble bath when I get home."
  187. >You can't help but laugh, as does Luna and Celestia.
  188. >The four of you sit in Celestia's private chambers, as the sun already begins to make a slow retreat past the horizon.
  189. >Twilight turns to you, her face lit up in excitement.
  190. >"But wow, you really used magic?! That's incredible!"
  191. >You wring your hand, thinking about the aftermath.
  192. "Honestly, I hope I never do again. That stuff hurts."
  193. >She cocks her head.
  194. >"What do you mean by that, Anonymous?"
  195. >Celestia's voice draws your attention.
  196. "When I did.... whatever the hell it was to Chrysalis, I felt like I was being roasted from the inside out. I thought I was dying, to be honest."
  197. >The white alicorn turns to her sister who responds with her own look of befuddlement.
  198. >"I can not say I have ever heard of such a thing. Luna and I had assumed the injury to your shoulder had been the reason for your blackout, but perhaps that was not the case."
  199. >Twilight frowns, looking up at you.
  200. >"I'm sorry about your shoulder, Anon."
  201. >Her big, sad eyes cause your heart to skip a beat.
  202. "Wasn't your fault, Twily. But at the same time, sorry your library looks like a warzone."
  203. >Celestia chimes in.
  204. >"I wouldn't say that. Spike's been a very busy little dragon since you were gone."
  205. >Twilight gasps.
  206. >"Oh my gosh, Spike! He must be worried sick!"
  207. >Luna puts a hoof up to cut off Twilight.
  208. >"We did not wish for him to be worried for your safety. All he knows is you are here in Canterlot on business for a few days. What you tell him is up to you."
  209. >"Thank you all so much, I must get going!"
  210. >Twilight quickly rises from the floor, giving everyone in the room a hug, then leaping off the balcony, into the night sky.
  211. >Celestia's focus turns to her sister beside her.
  212. >"Well, with Twilight safe and sound, my main concern is you. Are you alright, Luna?"
  213. >"I am fine sister,  but I thank you for the concern."
  214. >She seems calm and collected, but you also know she is good at hiding her emotions.
  215. >You wonder if she really is handling everything well inside.
  216. >"I do request that you and I talk about... what you know about the past. Soon."
  217. >Luna solemnly nods, as she rises to her hooves.
  218. >You rise to your feet likewise, following Luna as she walks out of the room.
  219. >"Goodnight, sister."
  220. >"Goodnight Luna. And Anonymous?"
  221. >You turn around.
  222. "Hm?"
  223. >Celestia smiles warmly.
  224. >"Please do try to stay out of trouble."
  225. "I'll try. G'night."
  226. >You catch up to Luna, who has continued her trot towards her room in the meantime.
  227. "So, now what?"
  228. >The night princess looks over at you inquisitively.
  229. >"Pardon?"
  230. "Anything going to be done to find Chrysalis again?"
  231. >She sighs.
  232. >"No. It is not worth the effort, for it is near impossible to find a creature that can take the form of whatever she wishes. She will likely be back, someday."
  233. "Hopefully later rather than sooner."
  234. >"Yes."
  235. >You carefully tread with your next question as the two of you enter her room.
  236. "So, how are you really feeling?"
  237. >She flops onto her bed, looking slightly irritated.
  238. >"Tired and sore. You try reliving the past one thousand years of your existence in a dream, then fighting what turns out to be a changeling in a defensive fight."
  239. >You walk over to her bed, sitting beside her.
  240. "Sorry."
  241. >Luna's gaze turns out to the balcony, as the sun finally disappears past the horizon, the stars of the night sky taking center stage.
  242. >Her face softens, a slight grin creeping up as she pulls you in close.
  243. >"More than anything, I am relieved everything is back to normal."
  244. "As normal as it can be."
  245. >She giggles as the two of you just enjoy the view of the night sky.
  246.  
  247.  
  248.  
  249.  
  250. [Originally posted 8 May 2015]
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