A Novel Tale

Novel Tale is an author that's been living in Canterlot for about ten years now. That's a pretty good track record for a changeling. He's even included a changeling character in his latest book, and his fans have been loving his take on such an obscure mythological creature, especially his biggest fan, Twilight Sparkle. Things are looking up!
Then an army of changelings from another hive attacks Canterlot.
Now all of ponykind knows that changelings are real, and his readers are sure to realize that the changeling in his book was too similar to the real thing to have just been based on a myth...



2. Chapter 1: The Invasion

Two weeks later...

Novel Tale was having some lunch at home, another sandwich with that green gel. He looked out his window. On a typical day, he’d be able to see a number of ponies moving about the street outside, but today was much more quiet. No doubt it had to do with that big event going on at the castle, a wedding for a Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, or something like that. He always tried not to concern himself with such high class affairs since he didn’t care for the kinds of snobby ponies that were typically found at such events, or the emotions that usually came with them. Finally some ponies did pass by his window: a pair of royal guards. He had been wondering about the heightened security of the city lately, and he knew he wasn’t the only one. Princess Celestia had made a formal announcement about the changes a few days ago, but remained vague as to why exactly it was being done. He assumed it had something to do with the wedding and hoped things would go back to normal soon. At any rate, he was intent on just having a nice, quiet day. He was planning on getting some work done on his next book, and then maybe go to a local restaurant for dinner.

Of course, things wouldn’t go so smoothly.

He nearly spit out the bite of sandwich he had when his lunch was suddenly interrupted by a tremendous shattering sound that seemed to come from everywhere at once. He nearly fell out of his seat in his rush to go look out his window and immediately noticed that the purplish barrier that had been surrounding the city since Celestia had increased security wasn’t there anymore. He thought on this for a few moments, wondering if the shattering noise and the missing barrier might be related, when he began hearing deep thumping noises, like something impacting the ground at high speeds, and ponies screaming. He darted out the front door as fast as he could to find out what was going on.

He spent an entire minute completely dumbstruck while his mind tried to process the scene before him. Changelings, in their natural form, were falling from the sky enveloped in magic and attacking ponies! This was insanity! This was... This was simply impossible. His mind refused to accept what he was seeing. Changelings would never do something like this. This had to be some kind of nightmare...

He quickly spun around to go back inside and slammed face first into the door jamb of his house. The resulting pain dispelled any hopes that this was all just a dream.

He shook off the hit and continued inside, his mind still playing catch up on the situation he now found himself in. The changelings that were attacking had teal eyes and a dark blue carapace plate. He didn’t recognize what hive those colors were from, but they had to be completely crazy to pull something like this, and he wanted to be as far away from it as possible. He needed to get some essential supplies and get out of Canterlot.

Just as he entered his living room, something smashed through the ceiling and crashed into the floor right in front of him. The force of the impact put a small crater in his floor, knocked him back on his flank, and made a general mess of his living room. As the dust settled, the cause of the destruction became apparent. One of those crazy changelings had dive-bombed into his house! The changeling stood up from the crater it had made and looked around for a moment before his eyes fell upon Novel. It got a sadistic look on its face as it took a step towards Novel, but then stopped as its expression flashed from confusion to a sort of disgusted disappointment. The crazed changeling fluttered back up into the air and left through the hole it had smashed in the ceiling.

Novel let out the breath he had been holding, though his heart was still hammering in his chest a mile a minute. These changelings may be completely insane, but at least they could still recognize another changeling when they saw one. This hopefully meant that he wouldn’t have to worry too much about being attacked as he tried to get out of the pit of insanity that Canterlot had become. He grabbed his saddlebags, packed a few jars of the green gel and some other essentials, and quickly made his way outside.

Progress was a lot slower than he had hoped. Novel knew these strange changelings could recognize him for what he really was, but he still wanted to avoid them if he could help it. If they were crazy enough to attack Canterlot like this, then there was no guarantee that they’d leave him alone just because he was another changeling. As a result, he was forced to take some rather roundabout routes. It was during one of these detours that he came out of an alleyway and saw something unexpected.

It was Twilight Sparkle and five other mares, tearing down the street like their lives depended on it. Which, given the circumstances, was rather likely. The changelings falling from the sky were gunning particularly hard for them, but the mares were surprisingly agile and were managing to avoid being hit. He noticed one thing that worried him, however. There was a changeling perched on the roof across the street, preparing to leap down on Twilight as she passed. He couldn’t let them hurt Twilight; she was one of his best food sources, not to mention his biggest fan! He prepared to take action.

Twilight and her friends were galloping as fast as they could. The unicorn was barely able to spare enough attention to avoid the changelings diving at them from above, dodging the attacks more on instinct than any conscious effort. She was in the back of the group, with Rainbow Dash taking the lead and Applejack bringing up the rear.

She suddenly heard a victorious screech from right above her. She looked towards the noise and her heart nearly stopped at what she saw. There was a changeling leaping right at her, and there was no way for her to avoid it! However, before she could even cry out, a light grey bolt of magic came out of nowhere and knocked the changeling right out of the air.

“Twilight!” Applejack rushed to her side. “Hoowee, that was a close one! You alright, sugarcube?”

“Yeah, I-I think so,” Twilight shakily responded as she tried to catch her breath. That changeling almost landing on her has shaken her up more than she wanted to admit. “But who...” Twilight looked to where the bolt of magic had come from to see one of the last ponies she would have expected trotting up to them. “Novel Tale? What are you—”

“There’s no time to talk!” Novel interrupted. “You’ve got to keep moving!”

Applejack nodded in agreement. “He’s right, Twilight, we gotta skedaddle! Let’s move!”

“Right. You’re right,” Twilight said, still trying to catch her breath. “Thanks, Novel, I won’t forget this!” Applejack also expressed her thanks with a quick tilt of her hat, and they were on their way again. Twilight spared a quick glance behind her to see Novel duck into an alleyway. She started wondering what he could possibly be doing, but quickly stopped herself. She had more important things to worry about right now!

Novel was making his way down another alley a short time after his encounter with Twilight. He was glad he was able to divert any questions. He knew that Twilight was a curious and highly intelligent mare. There was a good chance that she would realize how accurate his story portrayal of changelings was to the real thing, and would start asking questions. Questions that would turn out badly for him. And with her having a direct line to the Princess, there was no doubt that things would quickly escalate from there. In fact, now that he thought about it, he came to the distressing realization that Twilight wasn’t the only one of his readers who would probably start to wonder about that. He tried his best to push such worries into a corner of his mind; he’d worry about that when it happened. Right now, priority number one was getting out of Canterlot. He was already in the outer districts, so he was sure it wouldn’t be too much longer before he was out.

He froze in place when he suddenly detected a massive spike of emotional energy behind him. He turned around to see the most amazing sight, a solid purple globe of energy spreading outwards from Canterlot Castle. With a shock, Novel realized it was actually pure love energy! He would have thought that such a thing would be fantastic for a changeling, a tidal wave of food, but all the changelings he saw where getting blasted clear out of Canterlot by it. He began running in the other direction, but he knew he wasn't going to be able to outrun it. It looked like he was going to be leaving Canterlot sooner than he thought...

The wave hit him. It picked him up off the ground, but surprisingly, didn’t blast him clear out of Canterlot like it did the other changelings. The edge of the barrier lifted him up out of the alley, just over the rooftops of the surrounding buildings, before it lost its grasp on him and he passed through it. It still left him with enough momentum to fly down the rest of the alley, across the street, and right through the wall of a building on the other side.

Novel slowly regained consciousness. He was laying back first on a cold stone floor somewhere, and he groggily tried to remember what had happened. His eyes shot open as his memory rushed back to him. He looked around and found himself in some kind of storage room with a door at one end and a number of crates stacked along the walls. Sunlight was streaming in through a hole he had made in one wall, illuminating a pile of wooden scrap that must have been empty boxes before he crashed through them. Most importantly, the trauma from being hit by that wave of love energy and then smashed through a wall had caused his disguise to break, leaving him in his natural form. He looked at some of the shards of wood laying on the ground around him, and was very glad that he had a hard carapace instead of soft skin.

He began wondering why the blast hadn’t affected him as strongly as the other changelings when he was interrupted by a voice from outside.

“I think somepony crashed into here!”

He quickly shifted back into his pony form just in time for an earth pony mare with a pale green coat and orange mane to stick her head through the door.

“Oh, thank Celestia!” She exclaimed when she saw him. She walked through the door and approached him. “Are you okay? Those... things out there didn’t hurt you, did they?”

“N-no, I’m a bit banged up but I think I’ll be fine...” Novel said as he got back on his hooves. He noticed she called the changelings things. Did they not know what they were? Maybe this was only going to be mostly a complete disaster.

The mare saw the rubble on the floor then looked at the hole in the wall. “However did you crash through the wall like that?”

Novel froze for a moment as his mind raced to come up with a plausible story.

“Uh, o-one of those creatures were... were carrying me through the air right before that wave of energy hit! I-it must have dropped me and sent me flying through the wall!”

“Oh, you poor thing,” the mare said as she helped Novel back to his hooves. “You’re very lucky to be okay after such a—” Her eyes widened in fear and she pointed a hoof at Novel. “What is that!?”

Novel looked to where the mare was pointing. There was a green gel leaking out of his saddlebags, the same gel he had packed into jars before leaving. The jars must have broken in the crash! He wished he could salvage it, but not while other ponies were looking.

“Gah!” he shouted as he used his magic to fling his saddle bags off his back as quickly as he could. “I don’t know what that is! It must have been something from that creature that was carrying me!”

The mare carefully approached his saddlebags to get a closer look. “I think you’re right, dear. I saw some other ponies outside trapped in this dreadful stuff before that wave of energy freed them. That monster was probably getting ready to wrap you up in it too!”

Just then a dark blue pegasus stallion poked his head through the door. “That pony you found wasn’t hurt by the changelings, was he, Wreath?”

So they did know what changelings were. So much for that.

“No, he’s okay,” she said to the stallion. She placed a comforting hoof around Novel’s neck. “Those monsters are all gone, so it’s safe now. Come on, we’re already organizing to help those hurt in the attack.” She began leading him towards the door.

He stole a longing glance back at his saddlebags. There was weeks worth of emotional energy in that gel! Oh well, nothing to be done for it. As he walked with the mare, his mind turned back to what he was thinking of before he was interrupted by the rescue party. Why didn’t the wave of energy hit him as hard as it had the others? He had never seen emotions weaponized like that before, so it took him awhile to think about it. The answer, when it came to him, was surprisingly simple.

It must have been because it was pure love energy. Novel figured that love must have been the primary emotion for the hive of changelings that had attacked, so they got hit with the full force of the love wave. On the other hoof, his primary emotions were respect and admiration, so the majority of the love energy must have simply passed over him.

With that mystery solved, his mind turned back to his current situation. The crazy changelings were gone, but things were still not looking very good for him. His house had a hole in the ceiling and a crater in the floor and he had lost the majority of his food supply. Even worse, he was still worried about his fans getting suspicious about how accurately detailed the changeling character in his story was. The fact that his biggest fan was the personal student of Princess Celestia and could probably have him investigated with but a word didn’t help matters. Most importantly, he needed to check in with his hive to make sure they knew what had happened and to find out what he should do now. He was sure this was going to have ramifications for changelings everywhere, and that nothing was going to be quite the same once everything was said and done.

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