The Enchanted Forest, Present Day
The night was silent as moonlight poured down through the holes and cracks in the forest's canopy. Everything was calm. Suddenly, powerful gusts of wind broke the silence. A swirling, green portal appeared in the center of a small clearing. The portal was only open for a few seconds before a black figure burst forth and hit the ground hard several feet away from it. The portal closed as quickly as it had opened, the winds stopped, and silence returned.
Queen Chrysalis licked her lips and a wide smile grew upon her face when she realized that her goal had been met. She had left that wretched Equestria far behind. Cora was close by. She could sense her. Her revenge was so close to being accomplished that she could taste it dripping from her fangs.
She groaned as she pulled herself off the ground. Her body still ached from the wounds of battle and her journey through the portal had been no kinder to her injuries. But she was alive, able to walk, and still had a few sparks of magic left inside her. That's all she needed. It only took her a few seconds of looking around and using her changeling sense of smell to realize that she was not in Wonderland, the place she had hoped to see one last time before running straight into the belly of the beast.
"The Enchanted Forest," she stated calmly. She began to slowly make her way through the forest. "It's been many years. Heh. I still remember all the trips I took here with Rabbit." The Ex-Queen of the Changelings fell silent. More painful memories began to resurface. "Oh, Rabbit."
She heard the snapping of twigs nearby and a powerful scent attacked her nostrils. She was here. Cora was here.
Chrysalis hastily pressed herself against a tree and looked around the side, which gave her a clear view of another small clearing. Chrysalis held her breath in anticipation. Several seconds of silence rolled by. Then...she appeared.
Cora looked different from how Chrysalis remembered her. Her hair was still in a bun but she appeared a little bit older and was dressed in a dark blue and black dress and cloak. She strode into the clearing like a ghost, her head casually turning from side to side. She appeared to be looking for someone. Was she looking for Chrysalis. Had she somehow learned about the changeling's inter-dimensional plot? Impossible.
Thankfully, the appearance of a man in dark clothing with messy, black hair and a metal hook replacing his left hand quelled Chrysalis's temporary fears. Oh how she wanted to have the element of surprise right now.
"Hook," Cora said with a nod.
"Time has been moving forward for several months now, Cora," stated the man known as Hook. "How long are we going to waste our time dabbling about this place before-"
"I've been patient for over twenty-eight years."
"Last time I checked, you've been waiting far longer than that." Cora chuckled. Several chills coursed down Chrysalis's spine. "The time is close, Hook. I can feel it. Soon, we'll have what we both want."
"Good." Hook adjusted his vest. "The others still don't suspect anything?"
"Not at all. They have no idea I've replaced him. Fools, they are." Suddenly, Cora moved her head in a way that looked as if something had shocked her. "I'm afraid we're going to have to cut this conversation a little short, Hook."
"And why is that?" Hook asked with a raised eyebrow.
Cora turned in Chrysalis's direction. "Because we're no longer alone," Cora replied.
"Damn it!" Chrysalis hissed under her breath.
Hook reached for the sword strapped to his belt but Cora stopped him. She raised her arm and pointed it at the tree concealing Chrysalis from view. "It would be wise for you to come out before I burn that tree to ashes and you along with it," Cora ordered.
Chrysalis groaned as she stood up. She adjusted her bandages slightly before taking a deep breath and stepping into the clearing. Upon seeing her, both Cora and Hook gave surprised expressions. Chrysalis smiled with satisfaction upon seeing this. Sure, Chrysalis hadn't been able to pounce on Cora and catch her off guard but she was happy to know that she had surprised the Queen of Hearts in some aspect.
Her heart was beating at insane speeds as she approached Cora. The changeling had spent many years dreaming about this moment. The second she confronted the very woman who had ruined her life. The woman who had damned her to a life as a changeling in Equestria.
"What the hell is that?" Hook asked.
Chrysalis glared at Cora. "Hello, Cora," she hissed.
Hook rolled his eyes. "And it speaks. Of course."
Cora gave an amused smile. "I'm sorry but I don't believe we've met," she stated with a chuckle.
"Oh yes we have," Chrysalis spat with venom infecting her every word. "Though I shouldn't be surprised that an old hag such as yourself wouldn't remember me after all these years."
Hook smirked at Cora. "Looks like someone's gotten on the swarm's bad side," he said.
Chrysalis turned her glaring eyes to Hook. "Shut up, pirate." Her attention drifted back to Cora. "This is between me and the Queen of Hearts."
"You know of me from Wonderland then?" Cora asked with a curious smile. "So who are you?"
"I am Chrysalis, now former Queen of the Changelings. But I wasn't always like this," Chrysalis hissed as she took a few steps towards Cora. "I used to be a normal, innocent woman in Wonderland. I had a home. I had a future. I had love. And then you took it all away!" Chrysalis's sadistic smile returned. "I told you I'd come back...and now I have."
Cora suddenly gave a look of remembrance. "Ah. Now I remember," she said. "The foolish girl caught in love's chains."
"Can somebody bloody explain to me what the hell is happening here?" Hook asked.
"I think it's time you took your leave, Hook," said Cora as she faced Hook. "I have a few old issues to discuss with Chrissie here."
Cora waved her hand and Hook disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke.
Silence reigned over the forest once again. The Queen of the Changelings and the Queen of Hearts stared each other down as the world around them waited in anticipation for the first move.
Wonderland, Some Years Ago
Chrissie looked around the edge of the hedge and instantly focused on the large, white vault situated in the center of the clearing. It was a fair-sized marble building with columns and a golden dome. It was guarded by four heavily armed soldiers and Chrissie had spent the last few hours memorizing their walking pattern. How long they stood looking in one direction. How long it took for them to turn around. How long it took for them to walk around the vault as a whole.
Now, she was ready.
For a moment, she pulled out and examined the White Rabbit's gift to her. She had considered the thought of using his portal abilities to help her steal Aaron's heart back. But she had decided against it due to wanting to avoid the risk of bringing her friend back into the clutches of the Queen. So, she had decided to pull an Alice and go the old fashioned route.
"You can do this, Chrissie," she said under her breath. "You can do this. For Aaron." She placed the Rabbit's gift back in her pocket and turned her attention back to the guards.
Once the guards began to walk to the other side of the vault, Chrissie silently dashed towards a large, potted plant and hid behind it. She glanced back at the vault entrance and sighed. She wished she could just walk in but she needed to obtain the key from one of the guards first.
To herself, she counted down the minute-long wait for the guards to return to her side of the vault. When they finally made their return, Chrissie sidled against the side of the potted plant to the side facing away from the vault. She glanced around just in time to see the two pairs of guards walking towards each other in a straight line. Chrissie could see a key hanging from the belt of the guard closest to her. It was time for her to make her move.
In a quick yet stealthy motion, she slid away from the potted plant and walked behind the guard, thus blocking her from the view of the two guards walking in her direction. The two pairs of guards came to a halt and Chrissie hastily grabbed the key and lifted it off the guard's belt. She clutched the key close to her heart and counted down. "Three, two, one," she mouthed to herself. As the soldiers turned to face away from the vault door, Chrissie slid behind one of the columns situated next to the door. Two of the soldiers backed up against columns, blocking Chrissie's path to the door. "Three, two, one." The two soldiers stepped forward. Chrissie quickly and carefully passed behind the backs of the guards and reached the door. As she did so, the two outermost guards stepped forward and prepared to turn around. Chrissie slid the key into the lock and thanked the heavens that it didn't make a sound. Her heart was beating at what felt like a million beats a minute as she turned the lock and pushed the door open. She slid through the open door, removed the key from the lock, and shut the door behind her just before the guards turned around.
She was in.
Inside the vault was a massive wall of golden drawers. Chrissie stared at the wall for several seconds before blowing raspberries and rubbing her forehead. "Great," she sighed as she approached the drawers. Each drawer was labeled with what Chrissie assumed were card labels from a deck of cards. Aaron's heart was in one of the drawers a few inches from her. She was so excruciatingly close to Aaron's heart and yet, still, she was oh so far away. "Tell me where to find you, Aaron."
Chrissie stared at the wall in silence for what seemed like ages. Eventually, an idea popped into her head. It was a long shot but it was the best thing she could think of.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and focused. If you love me, Aaron, call out to me, she thought. Tell me where to find you. Let me know where you're being kept. Then, as if on cue, a soft scream began to pierce Chrissie's eardrums. It was close. Oh so terribly close.
While still focusing and keeping her eyes shut tight, Chrissie blindly followed the noise. She followed it towards the right edge of the wall. When she stepped towards the wall, she could hear the soft scream emanating from above her. Still keeping her eyes closed, she pressed her hand against the wall of drawers. It felt oddly cold but she could also feel a source of warmth emanating from above her hand. Slowly, she moved her hand in the direction of the heat. Once her hand was pressed against a drawer about as hot as a pie fresh from the oven, she knew she had found it.
Chrissie opened her eyes and opened the drawer that was two rows above her head. She reached inside and found a wooden box. Once she had pulled the box out, she closed the drawer and examined the it.
She could feel a lovely warmth emanating from within the box. Taking a deep breath, she opened the lid. Inside was a glowing red heart. Waves of red and white light spread out from it and Chrissie couldn't help but smile when she saw it.
"I've found you, Aaron," she said with a quiet laugh. "I did it. You're free again."
She closed the lid and began to walk towards the doors to see if it was safe to leave. Suddenly, the doors to the vault flew inward and Chrissie froze with horror when she saw who was standing in the threshold.
"Going somewhere?" asked the Queen of Hearts with her usual chuckle.
Chrissie was shell-shocked. "How...how the hell-"
"Did I know you were in here?" The Queen took a step towards Chrissie. "I learned from the last time someone stole a heart from me. I placed a silent alarm spell over this vault. If someone's in here who shouldn't be, I know." Chrissie took a step back. "You know what happens to people who steal from me. Right, Chrissie?" Chrissie tightened her grip on the box holding Aaron's heart and simultaneously placed her free hand over her own heart. "It's such a shame, really. You're such a young, pretty thing. Probably had your whole life ahead of you. All you had to do was leave well enough alone and continue on your way." The Queen began to approach Chrissie.
"Wait!" Chrissie cried. She backed up and slammed hard into the wall of drawers. The force of her impact knocked something about of her pocket: the Rabbit's gift to her.
The Queen stopped when she noticed the white rabbit whistle. "What do we have here?" she asked. She waved her hand and the whistle flew off the ground and landed in her hand. She examined the gift closely before turning back to Chrissie. "A white rabbit?"
"It's nothing," Chrissie replied quickly.
"Oh I don't believe that." The Queen chuckled. "Tell me what this is." Chrissie remained silent. The Queen rolled her eyes and waved her hand.
Suddenly, a powerful force overcame Chrissie and she couldn't stop herself from spilling out the truth. "It's a whistle I got from my friend, the White Rabbit, as a gift. He told me that if I needed him to come to my aid all I'd have to do is blow on it." Chrissie let out a pained gasp and clutched her throat.
"I see." A wide smile appeared on the Queen's face. "Guards!" Two guards appeared in the doorway. "Take the girl to the castle." The Queen walked up to Chrissie and grabbed her face, forcing Chrissie to look straight into her cold eyes. "I may have found a use for her in order to make everybody happy."
The guards led Chrissie up to one of the highest floors of the castle. The hallway she soon found herself being forced to walk through was a massive passageway filled with large openings that gave her a wide view of the land beyond the castle. Everything was, as Chrissie had expected, either red, black, or white in color. Several statues and paintings scattered about were dedicated to the suits of cards, but most of them focused on hearts. Again, Chrissie found no surprise there.
Chrissie's trek through the castle came to an end in an open laboratory of sorts. Like the hallway she had just walked through, the room she was now in had a massive opening that gave a spectacular view of the Queen's maze and the land beyond. There were several tables scattered about the room. Each of the tables was covered in a variety of potions, liquids, and substances that Chrissie hoped remained within their containers.
Just then, there was a purple cloud of smoke and the Queen of Hearts appeared. Plastered on her face was a small smile of satisfaction that gave Chrissie an overwhelming urge to slap her.
"Did you enjoy your walk up here?" the Queen asked in a teasing manner. Chrissie remained silent. "You should feel honored, Chrissie. Not many people get to see this part of the castle."
Not like anyone wants to anyway, Chrissie retorted in thought.
"Now then," the Queen continued. "I believe we're missing somebody. Let's bring him in, shall we?"
The Queen waved her hand and another cloud of purple smoke appeared. Chrissie's eyes widened as she saw Aaron emerge from the cloud.
Aaron gave a look of confusion before noticing the Queen and giving a quick bow. "My queen!" he exclaimed. "What may I do for you?" The Queen tilted her head in Chrissie's direction and Aaron turned towards Chrissie. All color appeared to drain out of his already pale enough skin. "Chrissie?!"
"I'm sorry, Aaron!" Chrissie cried.
"What the...what the hell are you-"
"She's been a foolish girl," stated the Queen simply. "So caught up in the control of love that she attempted to steal from my vault." The Queen then presented to Aaron the wooden box containing his heart. "And she almost ran away with my property."
"It's not your property!" Chrissie blurted out angrily.
"Chrissie!" Aaron hissed as he beckoned her to be silent.
"It's his heart!"
Chrissie was forced to endure another one of the Queen's egotistical chuckles. "I am well aware that it's his heart, child," the Queen replied as she tapped the box. "But it is also my property." The Queen stepped in between Chrissie and Aaron. Aaron appeared to still be in shock over the situation. "I was extremely close to ripping out her heart and crushing it for her crime. But then she provided me with something incredibly useful."
The Queen took out Chrissie's white rabbit whistle and presented it to Aaron.
"A rabbit whistle, your majesty?" Aaron asked.
"Not just any rabbit whistle. A white rabbit whistle." The Queen turned around to face Chrissie. "One that can bring the White Rabbit into my clutches with only one blow from Chrissie herself." The Queen strolled over towards the opening and gazed out upon her maze. "I've spent quite some time trying to catch that White Rabbit; and now I have the means to bring him right to me." The Queen smiled as she turned back towards Chrissie and Aaron. "It's because of this that I've decided to offer a deal for you, Chrissie."
"A deal?" Chrissie asked.
"Yes." The Queen began to approach Chrissie. She came to a stop in front of her and dangled the white rabbit whistle in front of her face. "Summon the White Rabbit. Bring him to me and I'll return Aaron's heart. You two will be free to leave here together."
"Chrissie, you can't!" Aaron blurted out suddenly. "He's your f-"
The Queen tightened her hold on the wooden box and Aaron fell silent. "Be quiet, soldier. The women our discussing business."
Chrissie glanced over at Aaron. His eyes were wide and Chrissie was sure that he'd be yelling at her at the top of his lungs if he weren't being controlled by the Queen. Chrissie then returned her gaze to the Queen's dark eyes. "Why do you want the White Rabbit so badly?" she found herself asking. "What did he do to make you want to kill him?"
"Kill him?" the Queen asked before breaking out into a short fit of amused laughter. "Foolish girl. I don't intend to kill the White Rabbit. I intend to use him."
Chrissie gulped. "Use him?"
"Yes. I'm sure you're aware of his special talent, correct? His talent for digging very unique rabbit holes." Chrissie gave a nervous nod. "I only wish for him to take me on a trip and that's it."
"You've sure gone through a lot of trouble hunting him down in order for him to take you on this trip."
"The place I wish to travel to is a destination I'm desperately seeking. I'd travel there myself if I could but traveling between worlds is a tricky affair." The Queen pointed at a nearby table. "I've created many spells and potions in my many attempts to get to my destination." She approached the table and picked up a bottle of black powder. "This is my most recent creation. Sadly, it can only teleport someone anywhere they wish throughout Wonderland and that's it." The Queen placed the bottle down and turned back to Chrissie. "That's why I need the White Rabbit, Chrissie. All you have to do is summon him and we'll both have what we want. I'll have my trip and you'll have your lover's heart." The Queen dangled the white rabbit whistle in front of Chrissie once more. "Do we have a deal?"
Chrissie stared at the whistle. "I summon the White Rabbit and you'll give Aaron's heart back?" she asked.
"You have my word as a queen," the Queen replied as she tapped the wooden box.
The Queen handed the whistle to Chrissie and she carefully accepted it. She stared at it for a few seconds then looked at Aaron. "Chrissie," he managed to utter in a hoarse whisper.
Chrissie could feel the world closing in around her. Was she about to lead her friend into mortal danger? But if she refused, the Queen would probably kill them both. It couldn't be that bad, could it? The Queen just wanted the Rabbit to take her somewhere. That wasn't so horrible. The Queen would have her trip, the Rabbit would finally have the Queen off his back, and she would have Aaron. Everybody wins.
After several long seconds of thought, Chrissie pressed her lips against the mouthpiece and blew. A lovely, whimsical melody came forth and echoed throughout the room. Throughout the time the melody spent bouncing off Chrissie's eardrums, she felt relaxed and hopeful. Everything was going to be okay.
Chrissie took her mouth away from the mouthpiece and the last remnants of the melody dissipated into nothing. A fair amount of silence followed as Chrissie and the Queen waited in anticipation for the Rabbit's arrival.
Then, suddenly, a geyser of dust spewed up from the center of the room. The White Rabbit climbed out of the rabbit hole and dusted off his suit and trousers. "Chrissie!" he coughed through the dust. "I came as soon as I-" Before he could finish his sentence, the Queen snapped her fingers and the two guards holding Chrissie released her, ran over to the Rabbit, and picked him up by his ears. "What?! Let go!" The Rabbit swatted his arms and legs back and forth to no avail.
The Queen chuckled and smiled at Chrissie. She tossed the box containing Aaron's heart at her and Chrissie nearly dived forward to catch it.
"Hello, Rabbit," said the Queen as she approached the dangling White Rabbit. "How nice to finally have your company."
"What...your majesty?!" gasped the Rabbit. "How?! What?!" He looked around frantically in order to take in the situation. Eventually, his eyes focused on Chrissie. "Chrissie...did you-"
"Yes, she did. She summoned you here," the Queen answered.
Chrissie began to feel an overwhelming amount of guilt within her. Based on the Queen's words, she wasn't condemning him to death. Yet she still felt like she had betrayed her friend's trust. There was no other way. Besides, everything's going to be okay. Everybody wins here. Everybody wins, thought Chrissie as pained tears began to streak down her face. Aaron noticed this and, now being free from the Queen's control, walked over to her. He wrapped his arms around her and Chrissie shook as a familiar warmth coursed through her. She had her love again. She was in his arms and his heart was in her hands.
"She attempted to steal back her lover's heart from me and I was ready to kill them both," the Queen continued with a chuckle. "Then she provided me with the means to bring you to me." The Queen pointed at the whistle in Chrissie's hands. "But, fear not, Rabbit. I don't intend to kill you."
"You...don't?" asked the Rabbit.
"I never did. As I explained to Chrissie here, I just want you to use that special talent of yours to take me somewhere."
"That's all." The Queen nodded and smiled at the Rabbit. "You do that and I'll stop hunting you and these two lovers will be free to walk out of here, both hearts intact."
Chrissie looked into Aaron's eyes and he looked right back. The two of them then turned to the Rabbit, who, while hurt, appeared relieved. "Well, if that's all you want and the reward will be the freedom of me and my...friends, I suppose that won't be a problem."
"Excellent!" The Queen snapped her fingers and the soldiers dropped him. Once the Rabbit had gotten himself back up, the Queen led him over to the wall opposite to the open view of outside.
"Where do you wish to go?" the Rabbit asked as he walked.
"The Enchanted Forest," the Queen replied. She came to a stop by the wall and turned to Chrissie and Aaron. "You two are free to go. Go enjoy your life far away from my kingdom."
"Thank you, your majesty," said Aaron. Chrissie allowed Aaron begin slowly leading her away but she couldn't resist listening to the conversation going on behind her as she walked.
"Why the Enchanted Forest, if you don't mind me asking?" she heard the Rabbit ask.
"There's somebody there who desperately needs my guidance...and a lesson," she heard the Queen reply.
"Okay then. The Enchanted Forest, coming up!"
"Excellent. Once this is done, I hope you'll enjoy your promotion from being one of my most wanted."
Chrissie and Aaron froze with terror and turned around. The Rabbit had dug one of his paws into the wall and was beginning to open the rabbit hole. The Queen was behind him. Her arm was extended and her hand was prepared for grabbing.
"Oh no. What have I done?!" Chrissie asked in horror. She looked at Aaron. "I can't let this happen." Chrissie shoved the wooden box into Aaron's arms. "Get out of here with your heart. I'll save Rabbit."
Aaron gasped, "But-"
Chrissie hastily grabbed Aaron's face and pulled him into a passionate kiss that seemed to last forever. Eventually, she managed to gain the strength to separate her from him. "I love you, Aaron."
"And I love you, Chrissie."
"Now get the hell out of here!"
In that moment, Chrissie and Aaron took off in opposite directions; Aaron down the long hallway and Chrissie back towards the lab.
The Rabbit was almost done opening the rabbit hole and the Queen appeared to be a second away from taking his heart. A million different scenarios passed through Chrissie's mind as she ran towards the lab. None of them were good.
Chrissie's eyes turned away from the Queen and focused on the lab table. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the bottle of black teleportation powder the Queen had mentioned earlier. That's it! exclaimed Chrissie in thought as she lunged for the table. She grabbed the bottle of black powder and tore the lid off. She turned her attention back to the Rabbit, the Queen, and the guards. Miraculously, none of them had noticed her yet.
Chrissie hastily sidestepped until she had a clean shot at the Rabbit. The Queen flexed her arm back as the Rabbit was about to finish producing the rabbit hole, a blue outline now etched into the wall. Chrissie only had one shot at this. She had to make this count.
"RABBIT!" she shouted. The Rabbit, the Queen, and the guards all turned towards her, all of them taken completely off guard. "GO HOME!" Chrissie pushed the bottle forward, spraying the black powder all over the Rabbit.
"NO!" yelled the Queen angrily as she reached for the Rabbit. However, in a split second, the black teleportation powder wrapped around the Rabbit and he disappeared in a flash of orange light. The Queen shook with fury when she saw her hand go through air instead of the Rabbit's body. She turned towards Chrissie and pointed at her. "I gave you a second chance...and now you've gone and blown it."
Chrissie dodged behind the lab table as soon as she saw the Queen raise her arm. The guards charged towards the table. Chrissie threw a random bottle of orange liquid at them. The bottle shattered on the guards' spears and splashed over them. A second later, the guards disappeared in a fiery orange and yellow flash.
"You lying hag!" Chrissie snapped from behind the table. "You said that all you wanted was a trip!"
"And I did want that trip! But the chance of having the White Rabbit's heart under my control was too good an opportunity to pass up. But now I have neither! The portal is incomplete and the Rabbit's gone! Because you couldn't leave well enough alone!" A chill coursed down Chrissie's spine as the Queen gave her now infamous chuckle. "We had a deal...and you broke it, Chrissie."
Chrissie glanced under the table and saw the Queen wave her hand. There were two clouds of purple smoke. Aaron appeared in the center of the room while the wooden box containing his heart appeared in the Queen's hands.
Chrissie jumped up. "NO!" she cried as she grabbed a random bottle containing a blue liquid. She threw it at the Queen. The Queen dodged the attack and the bottle shattered on the ground in front of the Rabbit's incomplete rabbit hole, spilling the contents all over the floor by the wall.
The Queen tore open the wooden box and pulled Aaron's heart out. Both Chrissie and Aaron gave horrified looks while the Queen gave a sadistic half smile. "We had a deal," the Queen stated. "And you broke it. You took the Rabbit and my trip away from me and now I take your love away from you."
"NO!" Chrissie screamed as tears began to pour down her face. Time seemed to slow down as the Queen crushed Aaron's heart to dust in her hand. Aaron clutched his chest and gave a pained groan before falling to the floor. Chrissie ran around the table and dashed to Aaron's aid. She knelt down next to him and held his head in her arms. "AARON!"
The quickly dying Aaron looked up at Chrissie and smiled. "It's okay, Chrissie," he stated as the life hastily drained out of him. "You...did...the...right...thing...in...the...end." Aaron gave one last breath and his eyes closed forever.
"Aaron! AARON!" Chrissie began to sob over her lover's body. "I love you...goodbye."
"Foolish girl," stated the Queen bluntly. Chrissie looked up to see a sadistic smirk on her face. "Love is weakness. Look at what it's brought you. Nothing but pain and suffering."
Chrissie could feel her face contorting with anger. "No," she stated furiously.
The Queen looked amused. "No?"
"Love didn't bring me this. You did! You brought this upon me, Cora!"
"Oh I dare! I swear on my life that you'll pay for this! You'll get yours, bitch!" Chrissie reached into Aaron's sheath and grabbed his sword. She jumped up and aimed the sword at Cora.
Cora laughed. "You honestly think you can hurt me with that thing?!"
"I'll show you what love can make a person do!" Chrissie lunged for Cora but the Queen disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke. Chrissie turned around to see Cora appear by the lab tables.
Cora smiled as she grabbed a bottle of green liquid. "I think I know just the type of punishment someone like you deserves."
Chrissie charged at Cora, the sword at the ready. Cora threw the bottle of green liquid at her. In moment of instinct, Chrissie swung the sword forward and smashed it into the oncoming bottle. The bottle shattered upon impact and Chrissie's eyes widened as the green contents splashed all over her. Almost instantly, her entire body felt as if a million hot swords had punctured deep into her skin. A loud scream of pain emanated from Chrissie's lips as she, due to reflex, tossed the sword back into the puddle of blue liquid on the floor. The blue liquid simultaneously splashed up onto the Rabbit's incomplete rabbit hole and caused the sword to rust over.
"WHAT DID YOU DO?!" Chrissie shrieked as her entire body writhed with pain. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!"
"What you deserve," Cora replied with a satisfied smirk on the other side of the table. "You're a slave to love. Ruining your life over such a pathetic weakness. I think it's only fitting that your outside reflects what you truly are."
Chrissie's pained screams began to turn into hisses and roars. Strange holes began to appear all over her body. Her fingers and toes started to stick together. Her teeth slowly grew sharp. Her caramel skin started to gray over. Strange appendages began to protrude from her back.
Just as Chrissie thought she was going to die from the pain, an unexpected explosion emanated behind her. Chrissie slammed against the edge of the lab table while the surprised Cora was knocked back a few inches.
"What the hell?!" Cora asked in shock.
The pained Chrissie turned around to see that the Rabbit's rabbit hole had opened. However, this one was different from all the others she had seen. Instead of just being blue, it was a whole array of colors. Bolts of lighting shot out of the edges and the portal started to produce a powerful suction, dragging everything in the room towards it. Cora appeared to use a spell to keep her remained in place but Chrissie could feel herself sliding towards the portal.
NO! SHE HAS TO PAY! SHE MUST PAY! Chrissie screamed in thought. As the lab table in front of her tipped over from the portal's strength, Chrissie jumped up and practically flew over towards the still surprised Cora. To Chrissie's satisfaction, Cora was caught off guard and she managed to grab a thick handful of her hair.
"Let go!" Cora ordered.
"NO! YOU'RE GOING TO PAY! I SWEAR THAT YOU'RE GOING TO PAY!" Chrissie shouted as the portal's strength grew. Her entire body was soon levitating in the air and being pulled in the direction in the portal. The only thing keeping her from being pulled in was her grip on Cora's hair.
Cora reached up and dug her nails into Chrissie's transforming arm. "You got what you deserved, you foolish girl! Now let go and accept your fate!"
Chrissie could feel her grip loosening. "I WILL GET YOU FOR THIS, CORA! I DON'T CARE IF IT TAKES A DAY, A MONTH, A YEAR, OR SEVERAL DECADES! WE WILL MEET AGAIN AND YOU WILL PAY FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME! I SWEAR IT!" Chrissie could feel putrid venom infecting every word spewed from her furious mouth; and, strangely, she swore she could feel actual venom dripping from her sharpening teeth.
With one last pull from the portal, the clump of hair on Cora's head within Chrissie's grasp broke away. Cora, to Chrissie's joy, let out a yell of pain in response to the wad of hair being pulled from her head. Chrissie continued to writhe, contort, and scream with pain as she was pulled into the rainbow colored portal.
Equestria, Some Years Ago
The barn was empty aside from a few mountains of hay. The only light was that of the moonlight outside and the lantern lights emanating from the farmhouse a few yards away, both of which entered the barn's interior through the cracked barn doors.
Suddenly, the sound of a small explosion rocked the silence and a cloud of dirt and hay shot into the air. A weak, groaning figure pulled itself out of the new hole in the barn's floor and collapsed onto a nearby mound of hay.
Chrissie was relieved to feel the physical pain slowly fading away, but the emotional pain still ran deep. He was gone. Aaron was gone. And now she wasn't even in Wonderland anymore. But that wasn't all.
Chrissie picked herself up. She could feel that her body had changed. She didn't know what she was. All she could tell was that she probably wasn't human anymore. Still in a bit of pain from the transformation and the trip, she trudged across the barn towards an old mirror dangling from a wooden post. What she saw in the dusty glass nearly made her burst into another wave of tears.
A horse-insect hybrid of sorts stared back at her from the reflective glass. Her caramel skin was replaced by that of an incredibly dark gray coat. Her teeth were now sharp fangs and a jagged horn of sorts protruded from her forehead. The only traits that seemed to stick from her original form were her green eyes and dark cerulean hair. Things only got worse for her when she looked back to examine her bug-like wings and hole-filled legs.
"What am I?" Chrissie asked, her voice now raspy and, fittingly, almost insect in nature. "What did that bitch turn me into?!" Suddenly, a terrible wave of weakness overcame her. She couldn't explain why but now she was incredibly hungry. But it wasn't food she desired, not normal food anyway. She desired something far more valuable. Something of greater worth. "Love." Her already raspy voice seemed to grow even hoarser. "I need love. Must find love."
This new desire for love was different from what she had previously had with Aaron. She longed to see Aaron again and be with him but that type of love isn't what she was craving right now. She wasn't craving love as emotional satisfaction. She was longing for it as a food source. She needed to absorb it into her. How? Why? She wasn't sure but she had a feeling it had something to do with the new form she had been cursed with.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps caught her attention. I can't be seen! Not like this! she thought in panic as she made her way over towards a tall mountain of hay. She quickly hid behind it and watched as a new figure entered the barn.
It was a horse, from what Chrissie could see. It appeared to be a mare with a short brown mane, rusty red coat, and a spatula tattoo of sorts on its rump. "Hello? Is anypony in here?" asked the mare as she entered.
Pony? Great. I must be in that Equestria place Rabbit took me to, Chrissie groaned in thought. Guilty pains coursed through her mind when she thought of the White Rabbit. The mare quickly noticed the crater in the center of the barn and approached it. Maybe she can help me. I mean, she's a talking pony. I'm sure something like me won't be that shocking to her.
"Hello?" Chrissie asked nervously as she stood up. The mare jumped and turned in Chrissie's direction. Chrissie remained hidden in the shadows.
"Who's there?!" asked the mare in a panicked tone.
"I'm not going to hurt you. My name's Chrissie. I'm...a bit hurt and I could use some help."
"Well I can't really help somepony who's hiding in the dark."
Chrissie giggled. "Right." Chrissie slowly emerged from the shadows and, almost instantly, the mare let out a terrified scream upon seeing her.
"What the hay are you?!"
Chrissie carefully approached the mare. "I'm not going to-"
The mare grabbed a nearby pitchfork and pointed it at her. "Stay back!"
"Are you kidding me?! You're a talking pony for Heaven's sake! How do you find something like me that weird?!"
"Stay back! STAY BACK!" The mare began to prod the pitchfork at Chrissie.
"I'm not looking for any trouble, okay?! I just need some help!" The mare continued to prod Chrissie with the weapon. Chrissie was quickly getting annoyed. It wasn't until the pitchfork grazed her still pained body that she snapped. "Okay! I have had enough of this!" Chrissie grabbed the pitchfork. For what seemed like forever, Chrissie and the mare struggled to hold onto the weapon. Chrissie was ready to take the pitchfork and just toss it off into the corner of the barn so she could talk sense into the frightened pony. However, due to the mare slipping at an odd angle, Chrissie ended up twisting the pitchfork back and stabbing it straight through the mare's neck. "Oh no! No, no, no, no, no!"
The mare's eyes went wide as she registered what had just happened. A shrill, pained, gurgling shriek passed through her lips as she fell back onto one of the many hay piles. A terrible chill shook throughout Chrissie's body as she watched the mare writhe weakly in the hay before finally falling still, the weapon constantly sticking out of her like a massive dinner fork.
Chrissie felt cold sweat roll down her face. She had underestimated the strength of her new body. She had killed this innocent creature.
No! she stated in thought. I didn't do this. This was her fault! If she hadn't overreacted, this could have been avoided! Stupid pony.
"Patty?!" called an alarmed, masculine voice from outside. "Patty Flip?! What's wrong?! Are you okay?!"
"Oh no," gasped Chrissie under her breath. With a swift motion, she pulled the pitchfork from the body and tossed it into a dark corner. She then hastily covered the mare's body in hay, concealing it and the forming puddle of blood from view. She then turned towards the barn doors and could see the shadow of a masculine pony approaching. She was about to go off and hide in the darkness when a new instinct came over her.
Cover. I need cover, she thought. She glanced over at the spot where she had hidden the mare's body. In that instant, she got a picture of the mare known as Patty Flip in her mind and focused on it. Suddenly, a flash of green fire enveloped her. By the time Chrissie's eyes had adjusted from the unexpected flash of light, the head of a stallion was peering through the doors at her.
"Patty?" he asked as he entered. He was tall and far more muscular than what Chrissie had originally thought a pony could be. He had an orange coat, a dusty brown mane, and a silver trowel tattoo on his rump. Once inside the barn, he approached Chrissie with a look on concern on his face. "Patty? Is something wrong?"
Is...is he talking to me? Chrissie asked in thought before looking down at herself. When she looked down, she saw that her dark gray coat and hole-filled legs were now replaced by a rusty red coat and set of normal legs devoid of any holes. After examining herself, she quickly glanced at the body's hiding spot. Have I...transformed into that mare?!
The stallion was standing right in front of her now. Looking at him, Chrissie felt that her transformation had resulted in a deduction of height as well. "Patty? You in there?" he asked before lovingly tapping her on the head. Each touch from the stallion's hoof sent a satisfying sensation through Chrissie's body. Each tap was like a sip of hot chocolate on a cold winter's night and her mouth watered for more of what he was giving her.
"I'm fine...darling," Chrissie replied awkwardly with the mare's voice now replacing hers. "Something just scared me. That's all."
The stallion smirked with relief and kissed Chrissie on the cheek, sending another pulse of strength through her body. "You must have scared yourself quite a bit. You've never called me darling before."
Chrissie gave a seductive smile and kissed the stallion back. "Well there's a first time for everything, isn't there?"
"I suppose there is, darling."
Chrissie couldn't help but take note of her mixed feelings about the situation. On one hand, she was feeling extremely guilty. She had just stabbed a pitchfork through who she had assumed to be this stallion's wife and was now impersonating her. But, on the other hand, a part of Chrissie was actually enjoying the suspense of the whole situation and was satisfied with the fact that she was actually fooling this stallion into believing that she was his wife. Chrissie assumed this was another new instinct brought upon by her transformation.
Chrissie began to lovingly caress her hoof across the stallion's chest. "Everything's fine. Why don't you head back inside? I'll be in shortly. There's a few things I want to check out," she stated teasingly.
The stallion bent forward and kissed her dead on the lips. An electrical surge of pleasurable strength coursed through her. The stallion pulled away and gave Chrissie a lustful smile. "Okay then. When you're done out here, meet me in the bedroom. Then we can do some relaxing. We've been far too busy lately," he said back.
"Perfect. See you in a minute, you naughty stallion."
The stallion chuckled and kissed her again before slowly retreating from the barn.
Once Chrissie was alone again, she thought about her new body and was welcomed with another flash of green fire. When she looked down at her body, it was back to the way it was when she had arrived through the rabbit hole.
"It seems I can transform in this new body," Chrissie stated aloud to herself. She thought of the stallion she had just talked to, focused on his image, and, after another flash of green fire, found herself in the body of a muscular, orange stallion. She thought back to the mare and transformed into her. She then thought back to her new body and transformed back into it. After doing this a few times, she pictured her old human form in her mind. Sadly, this was the one time a transformation refused to occur. "Must be a part of whatever curse she inflicted upon me."
She sat down on the barn floor and took a few deep breaths. So much had happened in the past few minutes that she was still taking it all in. Aaron was gone. She was trapped in a new body in a new world. She had killed an innocent pony and that pony's husband was currently waiting inside the house for her to make love to him while impersonating his now dead wife. There was so much wrong with this situation. So much pain. So much horror and sadness. All because of what she did.
Chrissie looked over at the rabbit hole and noticed a wad of dark brown hair lying next to it. She reached over and picked it up with her hooves. That woman had ruined everything. Taken everything from her. Her love. Her body. Her home. All gone.
She will pay, Chrissie thought as she examined the wad of hair. I will find her again and make her pay. Until then, I will need to survive. I will need to do whatever it takes in order to find a way back to her. I will need to do whatever it takes to live as long as I need to in order to accomplish my goal. I will survive in this new world. I will find the means to get back to her. I will make her pay. No matter what it takes. Chrissie glanced over at the hidden body of Patty Flip before once again transforming into the form of the departed mare. No matter what it takes.
The Enchanted Forest, Present Day
Chrysalis and Cora continued to stare each other down as they started to walk in a circle within the forest clearing.
"I must admit, this new form fits you nicely, Chrissie," Cora teased with her usual chuckle.
"Chrissie died a long time ago thanks to you," Chrysalis snapped. "I, Chrysalis, will be happy enough to seek out vengeance in her place."
"It doesn't matter which name you go by. Whether you're Chrissie or Chrysalis, you'll always be that foolish girl from Wonderland suffering from the weakness of love."
"I'm not the same as I was when we last saw each other, Cora. I've done many things in these past few years. Terrible things. Horrible things. All for the sake of my goal of finding you again and giving you what you deserve."
"You couldn't kill me all those years ago when I killed your lover. What makes you think you can kill me now?"
"Like I said, I've changed over the years. Besides, who said anything about me killing you?"
Cora stopped. "What?" she asked with a hint of confusion.
"Don't worry," said Chrysalis as she bared her fangs. "You'll understand soon enough." With that said, in spite of her injuries, Chrysalis extended her wings and leapt into the air.
Cora quickly conjured a fireball and launched it at the changeling. Chrysalis dodged the magical attack and flew straight at Cora. Cora waved her arm and disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke, appearing on the other side of the clearing. Chrysalis flew at her again, dodging fireballs and other various spells sent her way as she went. Once again, when Chrysalis reached her, Cora disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke.
"You're going to have a to do a lot more than flying around if you want to come even a little close to defeating me," Cora laughed on the other side of the clearing.
Chrysalis smiled at her enemy. She was going to end this. Right now. She took a deep breath and spat a wad of green changeling goo onto the ground in front of her. Within seconds, the goo hardened into a crystal-like substance. "Don't worry, Cora," Chrysalis said back. "I promise to not disappoint."
A second later, Chrysalis brought both of her forehooves down on the hardened goo. A loud bang ran out as a cloud of green gas filled the clearing.
As soon as the gas filled the air, Chrysalis took off. She only had a few seconds to act and didn't have enough energy for a retry. It was now or never. Years of preparation, hatred, and patience had led to this moment. The time for payment had come.
Chrysalis flew as fast as she could. Her wings felt like they could rip off at any second. After about just under three seconds of flying, all of the gas was blown away.
Cora stood just a few feet away from the flying Chrysalis, her arm extended in a swiping motion. She looked up and instantly saw Chrysalis flying towards her. Cora raised her arm up. Whether to teleport or conjure another spell, Chrysalis was not sure. But it didn't matter.
Chrysalis gave one last powerful push in Cora's direction and opened her mouth wide. Then, before Cora had the chance to perform any other feats of dark magic, Chrysalis slammed into her and brought her teeth down on Cora's extended arm.
Chrysalis poured every remaining ounce of her magic into her bite. The taste of Cora's blood on her tongue was more satisfying than any amount of love she had absorbed throughout her entire tenure as a changeling.
Cora let out a surprised, pained gasp in response to Chrysalis's bite and hastily knocked her to the ground. Chrysalis groaned upon hitting the ground but looked on in complete joy as Cora clutched her injured arm. After a few seconds of pain, Cora waved her hand over the wound and it instantly healed itself.
Cora looked up from her healed arm and smirked before walking over towards the weak Chrysalis lying on the ground. "Was that really your plan? A bite?" she asked with a laugh. "I must say that I am disappointed."
"Don't be," said Chrysalis before a thrilled series of laughs escaped her lips.
"What are you laughing about? You failed! That bite of yours was nothing! I healed it with barely an ounce of my magical energy!"
"I told you, Cora. I didn't come here to kill you. I came here to make you pay for your crimes against me, as well as against the many others you've most likely wronged throughout your life."
Cora grabbed the laughing Chrysalis with her magic and lifted her up into the air in front of her. The changeling was still laughing when she and Cora met eye-to-eye. "What is it that you've done then?" Cora asked with a stern, unimpressed expression.
Chrysalis smiled sadistically. "I've cursed you, Cora. I've placed a powerful changeling curse on you that I've spent many years preparing and perfecting. Just for you."
Cora snickered. "Really? A curse?"
"Don't underestimate it, Cora. Changeling magic is very different from and far less predictable than any magic you've probably come across before. I've just poured every last ounce of my changeling magic into placing my curse on you." Chrysalis gave out another laugh. "With my curse, I take away the thing you took away from me."
"And what was that?"
"A happy ending." Cora fell silent and Chrysalis broke into another quick fit of laughter. "No matter what you do or how far you go, you will never obtain what you most desire. Whatever power you seek or goal you have set out for yourself, you are now destined to fail. You will fail, Cora, and I will have the last laugh! I've won, Cora. I've won!" Chrysalis continued to laugh madly, her loud shrieks echoed throughout the forest around them.
Suddenly, Cora reached forward and plunged her hand deep into Chrysalis's chest. Chrysalis gave a pained groan as Cora removed her blackened heart from her body. Cora examined the heart in her hand before smirked at Chrysalis. "My magic is more powerful than yours, insect. Whatever little curse you've attempted to place on me, I will be able to overcome it," Cora stated. "You may think you've won but you've really lost. And now, I think it's time I did what I should have done all those years ago."
Chrysalis smiled madly at Cora and began laughing again. Her laughing was brought to a sudden halt when Cora began to squeeze her heart tightly. The levitation spell faded away and Chrysalis fell to the ground. The changeling could feel the life painfully drifting out of her as Cora slowly crushed her heart to dust within her hand. "It...is...done," Chrysalis stated as she watched her own heart get crushed. Her vision began to blur and every sense of life faded away. Before she was finally released from this plane of existence, one final image passed through her mind. "A...Aaron."
Chrysalis's heart disintegrated into dust and the former Queen of the Changelings was silenced forever.
Cora stared out upon the early morning Sun as she stood at the edge of the forest. The vast expanse of the ocean spread out in front of her. An island was situated just about a quarter mile off shore. She would have to return to the refugee camp there soon and continue her façade as Sir Lancelot.
She looked down and stared at the lifeless body of Chrysalis lying on the ground next to her. She had spent some time thinking about what she wanted to do to the body of the foolish girl from her past.
Thinking she could place a curse on me of all people. Ridiculous, Cora stated in thought as she stared down at the body. Just then, an idea came to Cora and she smiled down at the dead changeling with satisfaction. With a twirl of her finger, the changeling corpse transformed into a small, glass vial.
"Might as well put you to some use," said Cora as she picked the vial up and stared through it, getting a fuzzy view of the shoreline in front of her. "Who knows when I might need a vial to put something in?" Just then, a figure in pink appeared within Cora's view through the vial and, for a split second, the vial glowed bright green. "What's this?" Cora lowered the vial and stared out upon the shoreline.
Four women were making their way along the shore. Two were riding horses while the other two had their hands tied and were being led by the first pair. Cora didn't recognize any of the women aside from the one with short, black hair and dressed in strange, pink and white clothing. It took Cora a second to realize who the woman was. It had been many years since she had last seen her. In fact, the woman had been a little girl when they had last met.
"Snow White," Cora sated with a smile. "The time has come. The chance for me to see my daughter again has finally come at last." Cora looked at the vial that had been Chrysalis's body and smirked. "It looks like you failed, Chrissie. I'll be getting my happy ending after all." With that said, Cora stored the vial away in her cloak and disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke.
I told you I'd have the last laugh, Cora...
Author's Note: Feedback and constructive criticism is welcomed.