My girls, so competitive. A form war is a game played between two or more changelings, in which the competing parties take on a series of different forms from memory or imagination. The first to repeat a form loses.
Changeling fun fact: Due to their diet and constant hunger, changelings have a natural love of cuddling. It is not uncommon to find a pair of changelings holding one another in their sleep, feeding off of one another’s love and affection to ease their own sleep and help to stave off pain.
Because changeling nymphs are still growing, they cannot always fully digest the love that they take in. Young nymphs will release excess energy as heat and light by emitting a soft, warm glow from their bellies when overly full and asleep.
(I fixed the tablet, so things will continue as planned for the time being. Also, if you’ve submitted a character, be sure to scour the crowd to find them, I think I got just about everyone, give or take.)
Papillon sat tall before the gathering, looking to each changeling in turn be they disguised or in their own skin.
"To begin, I would like to thank you all for coming today and hearing my gambit, mad as some of you may come to think it. While I am glad that some have decided to take to their old forms, out of familiarity or preparation, I am afraid that it is unnecessary. As you all know, the Summer Sun Celebration is almost upon us, and it is then that this hive shall make itself known to Equestria, and most notably to Canterlot and Celestia above us. We shall do so without disguise."
Good Will raised a hoof in concern, a pile of parchment at his side. “Papillon, I know I am only a guest here, but you have treated me as an ambassador of sorts, and I feel that I must advise against such an action.”
"Duly noted, Good Will, but my decision was made long ago. The ponies bear a hatred towards we changelings, one that is much much older than Chrysalis. That is why I refuse to hide any longer, in general and especially when we are to show the ponies that we mean no harm. Among changelings the greatest show of trust that can be shown between strangers is an open approach. No disguises, no trickery. Though the ponies do not know or understand our ways, we will put our best hoof forwards when calling for peace.”
Mean Streak nudged the helmet upon his head, settling it into place against fur long since abandoned for chitin. “As much as I hate to admit it, my Queen, Good Will is right. A frontal assault on Canterlot would be a very bad idea. As your military adviser I must-“
"This is not an assault I am ordering Streak! We go in peace, not in war. This is a march, not an invasion. The hive shall walk into Canterlot in the open. We shall show our numbers, and our strength, but not out of aggression. We must show that we want peace, not that we need it in order to be taken seriously by the ponies above us. We shall offer the rose, but show the ponies that they must be wary of thorns. That is my goal, as it has always been.” Papillon’s horn flickered with ethereal green light and tongues of fire. "I swear to you all, I will do all that I can to protect us while we march peacefully through the streets of Canterlot. Barrier magic is not beyond me, and I am not the only Queen that shall be with us, Streak. Celestia could not overpower Chrysalis when she was still half starved. She will be hard pressed to break a barrier made by three Queens and two Princesses."
Libellule looked up confusedly, casting a glance at her sisters, and her mother. “Momma, there are four Queens here, if you count Abi and me. Aren’t we all going?”
Before Papillon could answer, Vaspira cut her off. “You shall not. Papillon’s gambit is bold, and could work if everything goes well, but the odds favor failure. If that happens then there must be at least one Queen left that Celestia does not know of.”
"But why me?"
"Libellule, do not question me, please." Papillon looked to her daughter, sorrow poorly masked beneath a furrowed brow. "Among all of my daughters, you are the eldest, and the most familiar with ponies. You lived among them once, as I did. Vespa and Abeille cannot make that claim. You know their happiness, and their fears better than your sisters, and should we fail then you are the most suited to carry on this goal." Papillon choked down a silent sob and looked away, unable to look into Libellule’s pleading eyes any longer. “I want you to leave the hive as soon as you can. Your companion Static has already volunteered to go with you, and I have already arranged for an escort to join you. Go to Ponyville, Libi. Start a hive of your own, and hope for the best for us.”
Fancy Pants rested a hoof upon her neck. “Listen to your mother, your Highness. She knows what she’s talking about, and she only wants what’s best for all of us.”
"Our Queen is wise, Libi. If she thinks keeping your plot safe and away from the danger is the right thing to do, then it is. Protect that booty girl." Fickle Aura smiled, hiding away the seriousness that had lined her face since the Council’s summons.
Papillon wiped away a stray tear when Libellule nodded and silently stalked away, an excited “BYE LIBI” trailing after her before Holly could hold Buzz Buzz’s muzzle shut.
"Hush dear, the Queen isn’t done yet."
"Yes, Holly, I am. The plan is simple, I shall not deny that. I asked for you all to come and here it so that I could hear alternatives and ideas. I want this gambit to succeed, desperately, and for the sake of our race it must. So, what have you all to say?"
Abeille and Vespa nuzzled Papillon silently, and Cicala gave her a curt nod. While the drones, and Good Will, bowed before her without a word Queen Vaspira locked her wicked horn with Papillon’s.
"Your idea is cocksure, foolish and likely to get us all killed. If it had come from any one else, then I would label them mad and not worth my time. However, if you believe it the best course of action for our race, then you have my trust, my love. We shall follow you."
(Happy birthaversary to Papillon’s Hive, and thank you all for following! This update is long overdue, and should have been done much sooner, but thank you for waiting. I don’t plan on doing many updates like this one, with a wall of text beneath a few pictures, but thank you for supporting the idea.
Next stop, Canterlot.
This update brought to you by Vaeyla and her support on Patreon)
Changeling fun fact: Though nuzzling and kissing are common means of expressing affection among many races, including changelings, the greatest show of public affection for changelings is the interlocking of horns.
Because changelings are a race naturally inclined towards fleeing over fighting, the interlocking of horns shows intense trust as it not only prevents the changeling from fleeing, but effectively disables its best means of defense.
This gesture is especially poignant among Queens, not only because they are the means of reproduction and survival for their race and are much more wary of outsiders and potential threats, but because the wicked curve of their horns developed in order to ensnare and break the horns of their most populous natural adversary, the unicorn.