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Changing Lanes 36

By AutoPony
Created: 18th December 2020 10:53:12 AM

  1. >The sound of your slippers upon cobblestone rings out throughout the dungeon.
  2. >There is no other sound besides your hoofsteps, making the eerie hall even more unsettling.
  3. >Your sister said the dungeon had not been in use for at least a couple centuries, and with the amount of dust and cobwebs in the corners, it certainly shows.
  4. >Perhaps a cleaning detail is in order to keep this place neat.
  5. >Finally, rounding another corner, you reach the cell you seek.
  6. >The shiny black hide of your prisoner seems to gleam, despite the lack of light aside for a few torches.
  7. >It seems to be sleeping at this point in time.
  8. >You bang a hoof upon one of the bars of the cell door, startling the creature.
  9. >The changeling you captured the day Chrysalis escaped has found itself useful as a test subject for ways to reveal an imposter.
  10. >So far, in the weeks that have followed, there has been very little progress made.
  11. >Among the few items you have taken note is the  hue of their magic aura does not change despite the change in form.
  12. >Their magic seems to always be green, if this creature and Chrysalis's magic are a pattern to be believed.
  13. "Wake up, you have had enough rest."
  14. >The changeling swivels its head, still lying among the pile of straw and burlap it considers a bed.
  15. >Its luminous blue eyes narrow, as it reveals its sickening, sharp teeth, letting out what sounds to be a combination of a growl and hiss.
  16. >You narrow your own eyes, pinning your ears back.
  17. "The attitude is not needed, prisoner. Heed my advice and cooperate this evening, if you wish to be fed."
  18. >While the prospect of spending an hour down here after a full day of presiding over the castle does not thrill you in the slightest, the thought that one of these vile beasts could be anywhere, waiting for the opportunity to strike is much worse.
  19. >Unbeknownst to Anon, you have been essentially sleeping with one eye open since finding out he is a wanted pon- er, man.
  20. >It has driven you to ensure that you spend at least an hour a day trying different things down here on the test subject.
  21. >You seat yourself on a cushion you have left down here previously, about a foot away from the cell door.
  22. >Slowly, the changeling rises to its hooves, stretching before shuffling towards you, also a foot away from the door.
  23. "Now then, shall we begin?"
  24. >It scowls at you in response, before relenting and beginning to change.
  25. >You close your eyes, keeping your mind clear.
  26. >After a brief moment, you open your eyes again.
  27. >The changeling that was in the cell has been replaced with a mirror image of you, also sitting on its haunches.
  28. >Already you begin to feel frustrated.
  29. "I just don't understand how she sense it."
  30. >The sound of your own voice spoken by another being snaps you to attention.
  31. >"What is the point of all this? I assume you are not doing this for your own entertainment."
  32. "My reasons for these trials do not concern you, creature."
  33. >Your twin rolls her eyes.
  34. >"Well, clearly they do concern me, seeing as how I have to take part in these 'trials,' or risk starvation. Eventually you're going to have to prove your threat, otherwise it will just get stale."
  35. >You say nothing as you study its form, looking for any minor imperfection, any minute flaw in its disguise.
  36. >"This is about your little ape friend, isn't it? Mother is eagerly awaiting his capture, you know."
  37. >A smirk crosses its face as you focus on your doppelganger's words.
  38. "How could you possibly know about that? You have been here since your queen has escaped?"
  39. >Its smirk grows even wider, making you uncomfortable.
  40. >"Mother is with us all. Her words reach us beyond what our ears can sense."
  41. >These things are telepathic, too?
  42. >While you have not let your tongue wander during these experiments, you make a mental note to keep talk to a minimum from now on.
  43. >But something else the creature has said catches your attention.
  44. "I thought Chrysalis wanted Anon dead. At least, according our sources."
  45. >Your duplicate smirks.
  46. >"You need to get better sources, it seems. No, Mother has explicitly stated she wants him alive and well."
  47. >You aren't sure whether this information is a relief or even more troubling.
  48. "But why? What in Equestria does she want with him?"
  49. >"Well, even if I knew, I wouldn't exactly be obliged to explain it to you."
  50. >Narrowing your eyes, you focus on its face, trying to find any hint of the creature lying to you.
  51. >"How is it going, sister?"
  52. >You jump a bit, as you turn your head to see Celestia approaching.
  53. >It seems you have been so involved, you failed to hear her hoofsteps.
  54. >The changeling jumps up in excitement.
  55. >"Sister! I have been tricked, the being before you is not me, it's the ch-"
  56. >You slam a hoof on the bar nearest its face, silencing it.
  57. "It has not worked before, you may as well give that old routine a rest, heathen."
  58. >You turn back to Tia.
  59. "Let's talk somewhere more private."
  60. >Both of you teleport back to Celestia's private study.
  61. >Philomena, Tia's pet phoenix, squawks in response to your sudden presence.
  62. "It seems that changelings are telepathic, like we are, sister. I do not know if they can all speak with each other, but it is certain the queen can speak with each drone."
  63. >"How do you know this?"
  64. "Our prisoner downstairs knows of the bounty placed upon Anonymous."
  65. >Your sister seems somewhat troubled by the news.
  66. >"Well, that certainly makes it more important than ever to keep tight-lipped when in the dungeon."
  67. "My thoughts exactly. But other than that bit of trivial information, we are no closer to understanding or detecting these creatures than we were weeks ago."
  68. >Celestia steps over to her desk, picking up a quill with her magic and scribbling in an opened book.
  69. "What are you doing?"
  70. >She looks up at you, as if you have spoken to her in a foreign tongue.
  71. >"Taking notes of this, of course. What else would I be doing?"
  72. "You are writing a book on what we have learned of these things?"
  73. >"Not necessarily. But it is good to have this information for a later date rather than rely on memory alone."
  74. >You smirk.
  75. "You always were the teacher's pet in school."
  76. >She returns your sly grin as she finishes her notes.
  77. >"And as I recall, you were eager to use my notes rather frequently, as you used class to catch up on sleep."
  78. >You mock her words, then stick your tongue out at her.
  79. >"And you still haven't grown up."
  80. "That's quite funny, coming from you."
  81. >The two of you laugh at each other as you both find a few cushions and take a seat, relaxing.
  82. >As the chuckles die down, Tia's face resumes a more serious expression.
  83. >"Is there any other information you managed to extract from our..... guest?"
  84. "Not anything about changelings, but about Anonymous. It seems we were wrong, Chrysalis does not want him dead. She has demanded he be captured, alive."
  85. >Your sister seems to be as troubled as you.
  86. >"That doesn't make any sense. Her plan already failed, so he already will not fall for her spell. what does he have that makes him valuable to her?"
  87. "I don't know, sister. Whatever her plan is, she has not told any of her drones, from what I can tell."
  88. >An abrupt knock at the door causes you both to turn.
  89. >"Come in."
  90. >Twilight Sparkle trots in, followed by Anonymous.
  91. >"Princess Celestia! Princess Luna! It is good to see both of you."
  92. >"Hello Twilight. And welcome back, Anon."
  93. >Anonymous spent most of the day in Ponyville, catching up with Twilight and Rainbow Dash.
  94. >In addition, he planned on collecting some of his personal belongings from his home, since it seems more unlikely he will be able to return to life in Ponyville anytime soon.
  95. >Anon takes a seat next to you on the floor, as you drape a wing behind his back.
  96. "Well, did you get what you needed?"
  97. >"I think so. Twilight already helped me bring most of my crap into your room. Now you just need to figure out how to make electricity and we can watch movies."
  98. >You cannot help but giggle.
  99. >He seems somewhat excited about the prospect.
  100. "I told you Anon, there are no guarantees I can get your electronic devices to work here. I do not even understand how they still worked in your home."
  101. >He scratches the back of his head.
  102. >"That makes two of us, I suppose."
  103. >You turn to Twilight.
  104. "You are free to join us in the castle tonight if you desire, Twilight."
  105. >She smiles upon your invitation.
  106. >"Thanks, but I really need to get home. We've been all over the place today, and I'm exhausted."
  107. >"Thank you for helping me out, Twily. Hopefully we can spend time together again soon."
  108. >With a smile and a big wave, Twilight heads out the door for home.
  109. >Once she is out of earshot, Anon speaks up.
  110. >"I hate to say it, but I think Twilight still feels a bit uncomfortable around me since the whole clusterfuck with the changelings."
  111. >While he is the first to say it, you and Celestia have noticed her change as well.
  112. >While not drastic, she does seem to be not as close to Anonymous, in terms of intimacy.
  113. "I'm sorry, Anonymous. Perhaps in time she will adjust."
  114. >He smiles, waving a hand.
  115. >"It's alright. I mean, we're still friends. I have to imagine going through all of that would make it feel weird to be with me in any sort of relationship."
  116. >You lean in for a quick kiss, which he gladly accepts.
  117. "Well, I suppose that's just more for me then."
  118.  
  119. >"What were you two arguing about earlier, anyways?"
  120. >Your concentration on the spell you were working on is broken by Anon's question.
  121. >As you lie on the floor, Anon is sprawled out on your bed, tossing the remote control to his television device in the air and catching it repeatedly.
  122. "Oh, were you eavesdropping on our private conversation earlier?"
  123. >He shakes his head.
  124. >"No, your voices carry a lot further than you think they do. Twilight and I could hear you in the hall, but neither of us could make out any words."
  125. "Yes, my sister does have a big mouth."
  126. >"Speak for yourself, it took you nearly a year to cut it out with the royal Canterlot voice."
  127. >Tia pipes up from across the room, where she sits with a stack of manuscripts.
  128. "Thank you, Tia. Anon, go ahead and try the power."
  129. >He stops tossing the remote, pressing one of the buttons to hopefully turn on the device sitting in front of your bed.
  130. >After a few moments of waiting in silence, the screen is still black and lifeless.
  131. >You groan in frustration.
  132. "This is much more difficult than I had imagined it would be. How exactly do these work in your home, seeing as how it is not hooked up to any sort of electric power generating device?"
  133. >Anon just shrugs, trying not to smile.
  134. >"Beats me. Magic, I guess."
  135. >You would really like to wipe that smirk off his face.
  136. >"Luna, let me see if I can come up with something."
  137. >Tia's magic grasps onto the end of the power cord you are holding, as you relinquish it to her.
  138. "Knock yourself out. This may end up being a science project for Twilight Sparkle, I'm afraid."
  139. >"You never did answer my question, by the way."
  140. >Anonymous focuses intently on you, arms crossed.
  141. >You rise up off the floor and stretch.
  142. "It is just trivial matters, Anon. Normal sisterly bickering."
  143. >He doesn't answer, but his gaze softens somewhat.
  144. >"If you say so. How's everything else going?"
  145. >You stare at him, confused.
  146. "Everything else, as in..... what, exactly?"
  147. >"The changelings, the target on my back. You know, that happy stuff."
  148. >You pause a moment, deciding what to say.
  149. "It's.... complicated. My sister and I have been doing what we can to find any information."
  150. >[I don't believe that was a convincing as you had hoped, Lulu.]
  151. [Hush, sister.]
  152. >Before he can respond, you continue.
  153. "I know feeling like you are constantly having to watch over your shoulder is tough Anon, but you must understand, this will take some time to solve this mess."
  154. >He rolls his eyes, unamused by your pep talk.
  155. >"Patience isn't one of my virtues, Moonbutt, you should know that by now."
  156. >"The way you drive sums that up pretty well."
  157. >Both you and Anon look over to Celestia, who is trying to keep a straight face.
  158. >"What?"
  159. >You just shake your head, smiling.
  160. >"So, is there anything you've learned that can be helpful to me? At all?"
  161. >Jumping up onto your bed beside Anon, you take a seat.
  162. "My word, your curiosity is insatiable tonight. Let's see.... as far as either of us can tell, all changelings seem to use a magic whose aura is green. As you found out the hard way, their hide seems to be extremely resistant to physical force."
  163. >"Any luck with being able to sense them like Nightmare mentioned?"
  164. >Your ears droop.
  165. "I'm afraid not. But I am still trying."
  166. >His gaze turns to one of confusion.
  167. >"What do you mean by 'still trying?' You have a changeling, here?"
  168. >You bite your lip, feeling uneasy.
  169. >While not fond of keeping information from him, you also weren't keen on Anon knowing you still had that changeling imprisoned in the dungeon.
  170. "Yes. It is the same one I had to fend off before, the one masquerading as Twilight."
  171. >"Oooh, interrogation. why didn't you tell me? I can help."
  172. "I am sorry Anonymous, but this is the responsibility of my sister and I."
  173. >"Come on, I should have a hand in this. It's my life in danger."
  174. >Before you can respond, a blue light envelops the room, Anon's picture device coming to life.
  175. >Celestia chuckles with delight.
  176. >"Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
  177. >As if on cue, the screen instantly cuts to black, dead.
  178. "You were saying, sister?"
  179. >You can't help but smirk as she blushes in embarrassment.
  180. >"Maybe this would be a good project for Twilight after all."
  181.  
  182. >Gingerly, you slide out from underneath Luna's foreleg draped across your chest and climb out of bed.
  183. >As you tiptoe your way to the bedroom door and crack it open, you hear her stir.
  184. >"Nnngh. Anon?"
  185. >Dammit.
  186. "Sorry, did I wake you?"
  187. >In the dim light, you see her sit up in bed.
  188. >"What are you doing?"
  189. "My stomach woke me up. I'm just going to head to the kitchen and get something to eat."
  190. >She doesn't respond, her eyes drooping with fatigue.
  191. >Finally, the silence is broken by a yawn.
  192. >"Alright, just don't get lost. I can't sleep anywhere near as well without you."
  193. "Aww, the princess needs her teddy bear to sleep."
  194. >"Oh hush."
  195. >You slide on your slippers before heading out.
  196. >As you walk out into the hall, you hear the covers shift as she lays back down and rolls over.
  197. >Walking down the cavernous, dim hall, you take a turn and head down the main staircase to the ground floor.
  198. >The few guards on patrol acknowledge your presence with a nod.
  199. >Before you reach the dining room, you stop and look around to see if anyone has eyes on you.
  200. >You feel a twinge of regret as you instead keep going, before reaching a narrow staircase.
  201. >As you head down the stairs, an intense headache begins to take hold of you.
  202. "What?"
  203. >"So, you feel like heading down here to the dungeon is wrong, and you are doing it anyways?"
  204. >The familiar black alicorn appears beside you, a look of disapproval upon her face.
  205. "You worrying about what is right and wrong? Didn't know trying to bring eternal darkness to the world was a good thing."
  206. >With a scowl, Nightmare Moon disappears again.
  207. >Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, your memory kicks in, as you take a left.
  208. >Much like the rest of the castle, there is nothing but dead silence.
  209. >However, the claustrophobic halls make this place much more uncomfortable.
  210. >The few sporadic torches left on the walls do little to improve your vision.
  211. >Something from behind you spins you around, causing you to lose your balance and fall on your ass in surprise.
  212. >You look around in shock, as there is nothing there.
  213. >"Odd, this does not look like the kitchen to me."
  214. >You jump as a voice behind you cause you to face the other way again.
  215. "L-Luna?!"
  216. >She stands before you, her gaze one of disappointment.
  217. "You scared the shit out of me."
  218. >"Yes, that was the point. Tell me, what were you planning to do down here?"
  219. >The shame of being caught red-handed causes you to hang your head.
  220. "I don't know, I hadn't really thought of what I'd do."
  221. >Your head rises back up at the insistence of Luna's magic.
  222. >Her face has softened somewhat.
  223. >"Anon, I understand you wish to help, I understand your impatience as well. But you need to keep your emotions in check and trust we are doing all we can to keep you safe. There is only so much I can do in one day, extracting any useful information from our prisoner is going to take time."
  224. >She helps you back up onto your feet as you begin walking back to the staircase.
  225. >In silence, both of you make your way back to her room, and crawl back into bed.
  226. >Your heart has finally slowed its pace from Luna's scare, but you still don't exactly feel sleepy.
  227. >"Anon, I want you to promise me that you will let me handle this. Please, for your sake and mine."
  228. >She locks her eyes on yours, waiting for an answer.
  229. >You sigh.
  230. "Alright. But you gotta promise me, if there is anything I can help with, you'll allow it. This is my ass we're trying to save, after all."
  231. >She smiles, a look of relief upon her face.
  232. >"Of course. Now, can we please get some sleep? Your princess requires snuggles."
  233. "Damn, you're needy."
  234. >She giggles as the two of you get comfortable.
  235.  
  236.  
  237.  
  238.  
  239. [Originally posted 9 October 2015]
Anonymous Princess Luna Nightmare Moon romance drama AIE

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