Hey everypony! Novi, here! :D This story idea popped into my head one night. Actually, I was dreaming and this is what I was dreaming about. A Braeburn X Queen Chrysalis shipping. The wonders of my mind. ;)

Enjoy!

XXX

Braeburn surveyed the apple orchards around him, giving a sharp nod. "Sheriff Silverstar, ever since our treaty with the buffalo, this land is finer than a country hog's backside!" the cowpony exclaimed.

The sheriff of Appaloosa nodded, secretly wondering about Braeburn's analogy. "Maybe not the backside…" Silverstar murmured with a chuckle.

"What's that?" Braeburn asked. He hadn't heard Sheriff Silverstar; he was too busy basking in the glory of his town. When Silverstar didn't respond, Braeburn gave a lazy grin and said, "Well, Mr. Silverstar, I can see yer as entranced as i am!" With that, the stallion trotted off to his job: Head Apple Bucker. He took a deep breath through his nose, smiled, and gave an apple tree a hard kick. The apples rained down into a bucket and he moved on, kicking more trees.

XXX

A pair of narrowed green eyes watched the sandy-yellow Earth pony from afar. The eyes were attached to an inky black face. A horribly disfigured hoof lifted in a gesture that could have been longing or spite. Finally, the figure rose to all of her glory and trotted daintily over to the Earth pony. "Hello, pony," the figure said, her voice echoing around the apple orchards.

The pony took a look at the magnificent figure and cowered back against one of the trees, whimpering. "Go away," it sniveled. "G-get away from me!"

The figure's eyes widened with sadness, and then narrowed with anger and accusation. "Why should I?" the being snapped, her voice lowering to a quiet loathing.

The pony stopped cowering and peered at her. "Yer… Queen Chrysalis, ain't you, ma'am?" he asked.

Queen Chrysalis nodded her head. "That I am," she said quietly. "How did you know, Earth pony?"

"Mah cousin Applejack told me about you. Said you were pure evil. What brings you to Appaloosa, ma'am?"

The regal Queen settled herself down in front of the apple trees and sighed. "I am an exile."

"Huh?"

"An exile," Chrysalis repeated. "My subjects did not want me. I have roamed from town to city to town to city. Everywhere I go, I observe. I change into a pony and observe. They way they talk about me… as if I am a heartless beast. You cousin Applejack, for example. I have searched far and wide for a place where I could be in my true form; I have yet to find one. I will go now." Her torn wings buzzed and she rose into the air.

Braeburn watched the magnificent Queen rise into the air and fly away. He bit his lip, lifted his Stetson hat, growled, and tossed the hat into the dirt in frustration, calling, "Miss Queen! Don't leave just yet! I've got a proposition for ya!"

The Queen hovered in the air, a question on her eyes. She flew back down to the ground, landing softy on her mangled hooves. "Yes, Earth pony?"

"Mah name is Braeburn, ma'am. Ah don't think ya could stay in Appaloosa fer long, but if ya wanna stay with me that'd be… alright."

Queen Chrysalis felt her eyes widen. Her eyebrows rose. "That would be… adequate. Thank you." She lowered her head and smiled. "Braeburn."

Braeburn felt his cheeks flush, even though he wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because he was in the presence of a royal. Even if she was an exile, she was still a royal. That's it, he decided. It's 'cause she's a royal. That's all. He let the confusing thoughts exit his mind and smiled. "Ya might wanna do yer… change-y… thing now. I won't look if you don't want me to."

The Queen laughed softly. "Do not worry, Braeburn." A green fire burned in her eyes and her distorted body distorted some more.

It was the most horrifying thing Braeburn had ever seen.

Her jagged, crooked horn shot back into her head like a backwards rocket takeoff. Her wings, ripped and ragged as they were, but still beautiful in a way, fell right off like dry paper. Her hooves smoothed over and her legs shrunk in. Her pelt turned a yellow-green, her mane turned a soft red, and a big white cowpony hat with green designs on it popped up on her head. Her hooves were clothed in white cowpony boots with green trim.

She was completely changed.

The only part of her that wasn't changed was her magnificent green eyes. As a last touch, a green plaid bow appeared at the end of her mane. "Ah'm Peachy Sweet," the pony that Chrysalis had turned into squealed. She galloped over to Braeburn, her cowpony boots creating a soft tink-tink-tink as she ran. Lifting a boot, she put a foreleg around Braeburn and said in her squealy voice, "It's so nice to meet y'all!"

Braeburn threw "Peachy Sweet" away from him and scuttled backwards. The pony that used to be the Queen stumbled backwards and fell on her rear. "Yer… yer… yer not Peachy Sweet!" he stammered. "She's mah neighbor! And you ain't her!" He cowered against his apple tree again.

"Peachy Sweet" rolled her eyes and said in Queen Chrysalis's voice, "I was trying to impress you, foolish Braeburn." Her eyes flashed with a dangerous shine.

"Sorry," Braeburn panted, his senses returning. "That's a mite horrifyin'." He offered a weak smile. "Still, though, it's mighty fine. Why're yer eyes the same?"

"Miss Peachy Sweet has green eyes like mine!" the Queen chirped in Peachy Sweet's patent squeal. "So, Braeburn, are we goin' out on the town?"

Braeburn smiled and took her hoof in his. "Lose the boots, sister. She don't wear those, no more."

Chrysalis made the boots disappear into the air and offered a smile. "Thanks honey! You're so sweet!" she cooed in the voice of Peachy Sweet.

Braeburn flinched, flattening his ears. "Whoo, pony. That Peachy Sweet sure does have an annoying voice."

Chrysalis giggled, enjoying the feeling of her – Peachy Sweet's – hoof in Braeburn's. The two trotted out of the apple orchard and into the desert town. A few of the ponies gave them quirked eyebrows and stares, but Chrysalis surmised that it was because they didn't think Braeburn would go for an apparently annoying mare like Peachy Sweet. They finally got to Braeburn's house, a modest cottage with prickly cacti growing all around.

"It's so pretty," Chrysalis said in the voice of the mare whose form she had borrowed.

Braeburn felt his cheeks warm and he smiled. "Thank you, ma'am."

The two ponies trotted inside of the house and Chrysalis transformed back into her natural shape; this time Braeburn knew to look away so he wouldn't be terrified. When she was back in her natural form, she lifted a holey hoof and sighed.

"Ma'am?" Braeburn questioned quietly. "May I ask why yer hooves 'er like that?"

Chrysalis sighed and sank down in Braeburn's rocking chair, shoving the hoof in front of Braeburn's muzzle. It was riddled with jagged black holes and tears. Braeburn took the marred hoof in his own and studied it. "This… this is natural, ain't it?" he asked after a pause.

Chrysalis nodded. "It is… hard to walk sometimes. My hooves are always aching."

"And yer wings," Braeburn murmured in sympathy, taking the paper-thin wings in his hooves and tisk-ing under his breath. "We need to get these fixed up, ma'am," he said. "I'm no doctor, but… I could help a bit. Yer wings could be sewn up until they healed."

Chrysalis felt her face getting hot with rage. "I WAS BORN THIS WAY!" the barked, flying into the air with anger. "What a fool I was! I do not want your concern, your sympathy, your pity! I don't need it!"

Braeburn blanched. "Oh… oh… I'm sorry, ma'am. Please, ma'am. I'm sorry!" he cried as the Queen sped towards the door. "Ma'am!" he called again. "The door is-" He stopped speaking as the Queen smashed straight into his steel-enforced door. The steel was left over from the days of tension with the buffalo. He had been worried that the buffalo would try to ram his house down, so he'd gotten the door coated with a layer of steel. But now, the Queen lay unconscious, bleeding from her ear and jaw. Braeburn muttered out, "Steel," in a numb voice and stumbled over to where the regal being lay. He lifted her upon his back and trotted into his bedroom, laying her out on the bed and cleaning her wounds. As he wiped the blood away from her face, he felt a funny emotion. It felt almost like the first stirrings of love, but he pushed it aside. He brushed her teal mane away from her face and let his hoof linger there. "Hope you're okay," he murmured, and pecked her on the forehead. "I'll stay with you, Miss Chrysalis," the cowpony announced.

XXX

Chrysalis awoke in a wooden-framed bed with a patchwork quilt over her and her head on a foamy pillow. She lifted her head (it ached) and looked across the room to see Braeburn curled up like a colt in an overstuffed chair with a scratchy blanket over him. His head was on his hooves and his cowpony hat was covering his eyes. Chrysalis let loose a small chuckle and looked out of the window; it was night. The blackest night she had ever seen, in fact. Since she spent most of her time in the cities with all of their artificial lights, she was shocked at the night.

But the stars!

All over the sky, spread across it like a great masterpiece. They were coming in swirls and loops and straight lines. The changeling Queen looked to the sky and felt tears pricking at her eyes. Why should she not be able to enjoy the beauty of the sky? She felt somepony's foreleg slide around her shoulders and turned: It was Braeburn, his cheeks pink even in the dark.

Chrysalis didn't move away. In fact, she leaned into the Earth pony and said, "I am sorry for my words."

Braeburn smiled and bumped his muzzle against hers. "It's alright, ma'am. I'd accept you even if you were a pig."

The Queen quirked her eyebrows. "A… pig?" she questioned.

The cowpony flushed and turned away. "Ma'am?"

"Yes?"

"I… have you ever fallen fer somepony you shouldn't have?" Braeburn let the question into the air. Why the sudden change of heart, you may ask? His love for her is too hurried, you may say. But Braeburn had been dreaming of the Queen when he was asleep. He had been dreaming of their wedding. And now he intended it to happen.

"I do believe I have," Chrysalis answered, and pushed her lips against Braeburn's, smiling.

Love Is Blind