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It's Your Funeral · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Power of Love
The sounds of shouting and heavy hooffalls upon stone interrupted Chrysalis in mid-sentence. She looked past the gathering of her wiser drones as the chitinous door at the end of the chamber burst open, admitting a knot of guards clutching an ill-kempt unicorn.

“My queen!” The prisoner shouted, nearly leaping despite the sticky green substance that was hobbling his legs.

Chrysalis stood. “What in Tartarus is the meaning of this?”

One of the guards stepped away from the unicorn and bowed. “Your majesty, we found him crossing the great swamp around our borders. We would not bring a prisoner directly to you, but…”

The prisoner shoved several of the guards in one swift motion, breaking free and staggering toward her as quickly as his bonds would allow. The drones at Chrysalis’ table tensed.

“My queen,” the unicorn said, his lips pulling back into a beatific smile. “I could not let them drain me, for my love is yours alone!”

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes and looked at the guards. “He would not ‘let’ you drain him? Why should I keep guards that won’t subdue a trespasser who says ‘no?’”

The nearest guard swallowed. “Please, your majesty, his strength…”

“Is yours!” The prisoner roared, throwing himself down at her hooves, which he began to kiss. Chrysalis recoiled. “Please, my queen, I ask only that you take my love yourself. Grant me this one request!”

Chrysalis sniffed. “Your scent is… fulsome, but this must be treachery. Nopony in their right mind would ask to be drained.”

He gazed through her with wide, bloodshot eyes. “Please… the common rabble did not see the beauty of your conquest over Canterlot, but to me your inspiration was like none other. You are my muse and my avenging angel; beautiful and terrible in equal measure.” He shook, and curled his parched lips into a rictus. “Please. I love you. Finish for me what you started on that day of judgment!”

She frowned, and looked from guard to guard. Many wouldn’t meet her eyes, but those who did either shrugged or bowed in deference.

Eventually she looked back down at him.

“Very well. I see no harm in draining you myself before you go to rot down in the dungeon…”

“Your highness, he still calls for you.”

Chrysalis turned away from the large, serious-looking drone. Waves of hunger broke against her.

“And you’re certain that he… cannot be moved?”

“I’m sorry, your highness. Your choice of prisoners to feed on is, of course, your prerogative. But if I may speak frankly, this one wasn’t well in either body or mind when he arrived in my dungeons, and he’s only deteriorated since you made him your exclusive food source.”

“You cannot know the sweetness of his love,” she breathed. “He doesn’t see me with revulsion, but with reverence. He…” She found herself blushing like a fool. “I… held him, the last time I fed from him. He asked me to, and I… the love was so much sweeter, more than ever before.”

The drone cleared his throat. “Your highness, with respect… he might have been at Canterlot when we invaded, but I don’t think the pony who he was survived our invasion.”

“So what?” Chrysalis spat. “The love I feel from him is genuine.”

“Highness, you’ve said that nopony in full command of their own faculties wishes to be taken by us.”

She snarled. “And you think that he is not? How could I be feeling what I feel from him, were that the case?”

The drone bowed. “I beg forgiveness; I have spoken out of turn.”

Chrysalis inclined her head. Her features softened. “I... wish to see him.”

“Of course, your majesty.”

They stopped at the end of a dank, despondent line of barred doors. The guard opened a lock, and Chrysalis stepped in.

Her heart leapt as she spotted him lying on the floor, but she frowned as she watched his ragged breathing for a moment, and studied his emaciated frame.

She turned her gaze toward the cell walls, and froze. Portrait after portrait of herself stared back at her, looking regal, or fearsome, and sometimes both. Hardly a hoof-span of the walls were bare.

“What does he draw with?”

The drone coughed. “Anything at hoof, your majesty.”

“They’re beautiful,” she whispered, looking away.


She shook her head. “Break his legs, badly. Take his tongue as well. Then dump him in the nearest pony village.”

The drone bowed. “As you wish.”
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#1 ·
The Power of Love
Is a curious thing
Makin' one mare weep
Make another mare sing
Crystal Heart
On a pink pony's flank
Not quite relevant
Take this fic to the bank

That's enough of that. ^_^

I dig this fic, Writer. Love is indeed a form of madness, whereby self-preservation falls by the wayside and only the object of your affection holds any real worth or meaning. Of course, this poor fool takes it well beyond that, as a few of the guards point out.

I like the arc the story follows, and the way the story ends is fitting. It's interesting how Chrysalis allows herself to give in to pity and send the prisoner away, and makes it so that he won't (easily) be able to come back, presumably for his own good (in the most backhanded way possible).

This story has an interesting idea and is well-written and competently executed, Writer. Color me a fan.

Final Thought: Love Hurts, Love Scars, Love Wounds, Love Mars, Love This
#2 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
Waves of hunger broke against her.

This line confused me more than a little. Do you mean Chrysalis has the ability to empathically detect the hunger of her drones? Why in Equestria would she? I can smell food when I'm hungry, but that certainly doesn't give me the ability to smell hunger in others. You need to qualify this if you want it to make sense.

To be clear, I'm not actually sure it means what I just implied. I'm still left wondering if it was Chrysalis's hunger, or her drone's, or something else entirely.
#3 ·
First off, this has nothing to do with the Power of Love. I mean, I can't flip any additional cards!

More seriously, I loved this. I was cackling the whole time. The only part I didn't quite get is Chryssy's decision at the end but, um, I don't think I ever could get it and something tells me it totally does make sense, just in a way I can't perceive.

I really don't have much more to say beyond the fact that this was amazing. Well doner!

Verdict: Astounding.
#4 ·
Good to see Chrysalis views her fanbase with as much incredulity as I do. ;)

In all seriousness, very nice work. Chryssy comes off believably, not besotted with this improbable paramour, but still moved. Her heart’s made of ooze, not stone. I don’t know what to make of the “waves of hunger” line, though; I thought she might be suffering from some sort of malnutrition or diminishing returns, but it wasn’t clear. Still, great work.
#5 ·
Wow, this was surprisingly complete as a story for a shortfic that leans on its multiple scene breaks. The title works on multiple levels, too. We've got a pretty good total package here!

Others have noted the one really unclear line. It's kind of hard to ignore considering that the rest is so strong, and then you've got this dud smack in the middle of it. But it's not so bad as to spoil the rest of the presentation.
#6 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I have to echo the confusion of the others as to why waves of hunger were crashing against her partway through. Was she trying to spare him from being drained too much? If so, it might be best to make that clear.

This was a weird story, but weird in a good way. That said, Chrysalis’s decision at the end feels like it could have been a bit better explained – as-is, it is kind of ambiguous as to whether she is being cruel and throwing him away, or trying to be “kind” in her own messed up, twisted way. I think it is the latter, with her heart having as many holes as her legs, but I suspect some people will interpret it the other way.
#7 ·
You know what, that would make the "waves" line make a lot more sense.
#8 ·
Oh, man. I was about to call bullsh** on this one because Chrysalis? Love? Ha! And then the ending slapped me in the mouth. Loved that ending! I kinda do want to know what the heck is/was up with the prisoner pony, but I guess it doesn't matter??
#9 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
Unmarked spoilers ahead. It's been a week, and since there's no spoiler button I'm feeling too lazy to type them in manually.

Several readers have suggested that the ending is Chrysalis giving in to love and/or pity and sending the stallion back to ponykind in a way that prevents him from easily coming back. I don't think that's the case. If so, why did she cut out his tongue? That seems both gratuitous and oddly specific if her goal is to keep him from returning. The only reason I can think to do so is that there's something she doesn't want him telling ponies. (And also assumes that there aren't trivial alternate methods of communication, e.g. magical writing.) It's definitely not to keep him from the drawings that appeared to spawn her decision, because he's explicitly a unicorn.

The more I think about that, the more I feel like there's some missing fact here without which the story doesn't come together. I simply don't understand the rationale behind her decision, or the timing of it. It seems clearly prompted by the pictures he was painting, but they don't seem to provide any new information which might have prompted a revelation on her part: I mean, we already know that he was uniquely obsessed with her and in love, so him thinking her beautiful is hardly news, and the fact that he's artistically inclined hardly seems like it should provoke any reaction that strong. Is Chrysalis uncomfortable with falling back in love with him? But we've already seen her snuggling with him; being arted at seems an unlikely catalyst for that. Is she offended in some way by being thought of as beautiful? ... But again we come back to the tongue; if that's the trigger then what's her goal with that?

This has a juicy setup, but it's all building toward something that doesn't square for me. Right now this is getting the same sort of "I don't get it" shrug as Somepony #2.

Tier: Almost There
#10 ·
· · >>horizon
My impression is that she wanted to make sure he was as crippled as possible so he wouldn't be able to return or profess his love for her ever again (it's hard for a non-unicorn to write or draw with no tongue and broken legs). In addition to her concern for him, she had concerns that somepony else might be "infected" by his madness. From that perspective, the tongue makes perfect sense. I read her actions as extremely cruel, to fit stereotype, but performed out of a strange sort of love for him and hatred of herself.

Of course, I suspect you already know this because this is another one of your stories. :trollestia:

I had ranked this story third, but with Flutterporn no longer in the running it comes in second after the canonically flawed but creative and touching Pie to Pie.
#11 ·
· · >>horizon >>CoffeeMinion
Of course, I suspect you already know this because this is another one of your stories. :trollestia:

Don't be silly, I wouldn't break my Writeoff silence on a round I promised not to enter just to write gratuitous changelings!

... Wait, no, that's exactly the sort of stupid stunt I'd pull. :V I wish I *had* written this instead of my entry.

#12 ·
· · >>RogerDodger
Well, this is interesting. Roger, is there some sort of display bug affecting the post I wrote? It doesn't look like there's any unusual BBCode in it, just a single quote tag with some content in.
#13 ·
Woops. :twilightblush:
#14 ·
I dunno, I remember what happened the last time you said that... :-P
#15 ·
This one's pretty cool.

About the ending, though... the author will soon be able to tell us, but the way I read it initally was that Chrysalis realized she loved herself and the prisoner was just a husk that let her expierence that (hence the empty stomach of hers), and once she realizes with the pictures, she just dumps him. Upon closer observation though, that hypothesis doesn't really cut it. Why dump him in a village and not the swamp? Why take his tongue? Hmmm...
#16 ·
The waves of hunger thing seemed natural enough to me. Even if Changelings don't have a true hive mind, it doesn't seem unreasonable that Chrysalis has a mental connection to her hive.

Other than that, a very interesting story, I just don't have much to comment about it. The cutting out the tongue seems a little odd in hindsight, him being a unicorn, but is a reasonable enough precaution for her to take. Maybe changelings don't have writing and so she didn't think about it?
#17 ·
It's retrospective time!!!

Thanks to everyone who helped The Power Of Love place sixth! Thank you also for your comments. IMO this was a lot of story to try to get across in 750 words or less, and I'm thrilled that it worked as well as it did. Now with that said, let me take a moment to address the story's biggest issue right off the bat:

He shouldn't have been a unicorn.

This was what we call a pure and unadulterated screw-up on the author's part. There was nothing in the story that required him to be one, and many have pointed out that it made the conclusion make less sense. Because of course he can still communicate effectively, and perhaps even still move himself around, if he has access to magic. All those issues go away if he's an earth pony instead. :facehoof:

His being a unicorn was a holdover from the initial rough idea I had for this story ~6 months ago (yes, seriously, I'm sitting on a great moldy pile of dubious ideas that may not ever turn into anything). Originally, his unicorn-ness was going to present Chrysalis with a ticking time bomb scenario, where their shared love kept leaving him weaker in body but stronger in magic (somehow related to his artistic proclivities). She was going to have to decide whether to keep him around and risk having him accidentally destroy the hive (recall Twilight's uncontrolled bursts of super-charged magic following the Rainboom), or get rid of him at the cost of losing their love. But I could never quite figure out how to get that subplot to work, so I tossed it when I decided to use the basic idea for this Writeoff.

Onto the thought process for the fic:

Chrysalis is something of a love-vampire. Ponies are a happy and loving bunch for the most part. So one possible headcanon I can get into is the thought that changelings might capture and keep ponies as prisoners, feeding off their residual love-energy until their spirits either become so broken that they're useless as food, or they die.

I wanted to take that whole structure and invert it; give Chrysalis a sudden encounter with what seems to be real, freely-given love, and let that lead her through the realization that actual love means caring about the well-being of your beloved, rather than just what they can offer you.

That brings us to big issue #2, the "waves of hunger" line. That was intended as just one of several lines that were thrown-in as a way of trying to convey (in a desperately small number of words!) that Chrysalis had started feeding exclusively on the prisoner due to the sweetness of his love, but that she had also started to hold herself back from feeding on him because she was at risk of draining him to death--because she had grown to actually love him. To me, this was the make-or-break moment for the story; I needed to persuade you that a canon character had fallen for my random OC, which is of course one of the greatest hallmarks of bad fanfiction. :-P Fortunately, it seemed like you were willing to go with it! :pinkiesmile:

Once I established Chrysalis as feeling something akin to love for him, I got to start twisting the knife. Her thoughts about his well-being lead her to realize that he isn't quite right in the head... he may seem to love her, but deep down she begins to realize he's not truly able to give his consent for what's happening. She's bad for him and she knows it, and she cares enough to send him away... but he's strong and tenacious. He would do anything to get back to her. So she also has to prevent him from returning.

And that's where I wanted to anchor this in Chrysalis still being Chrysalis, rather than just a cutesy bug-waifu whose heart had been stolen. She isn't going to just suddenly turn sweet and gentle even though she's learned something material about the nature of love; she's going to filter her expression of that "love" through a twisted heart, hence why she leaves him too broken to return, and unable to even tell anyone what happened to him. (Which would have worked, of course, if he hadn't been a unicorn.)

Thank you guys again for reading, commenting, and validating that I could get all of that across in such a compact format! IMO, this should clean up pretty well for release to FimFiction... if anyone is interested in pre-reading subsequent drafts, please let me know.
#18 ·
Wow... I mean... Wow.