Warning, the following contains spoilers for the Royal Wedding episodes.
As the Changelings began preparing for a feast upon the population of Canterlot, all chaos broke loose. Ponies fleeing every direction, looking for a way to escape the insect like creatures that were chattering excitedly just behind them, forcing them to rush past their physical limits to find safety. The exits of the city were left unguarded. With the shield shattered, any pony could leave in addition to the assailants getting in.
One pony in particular was already at the Western exit by the time the shields had been broken down. Several others joined her; after witnessing the Queen of the Changelings, Chrysalis, viciously take down their dear Princess, many of the attendees of the wedding quickly began to flee. Once the pulsing violet protection spell shattered, the frantic Equestrians waiting at the gates bolted from one of Canterlot's exits. Other groups of ponies rushed out in a hysterical group from the other exits, Pegasi darting every which way.
They were all followed closely by a small hoard of the Changeling creatures, but once the group made it far enough down the mountain trail, they abandoned the chase and turned back to Canterlot to capture easier prey within the city. A white form broke from a group, unnoticed by the others. The panic in their hearts was too great to take note that one of their companions had veered off.
Skidding to a halt just before a cliff face, the white unicorn stared at the city from afar, chest heaving from the run. She began to pace back and forth, her hooves thumping on the ground with quiet, hollow thuds. "It's almost as if you planned it yourself, really." A voice said casually in her right ear, which fell sharply backwards in reaction to the sudden vocalization.
What appeared to have been a dark earring fell off when she had jerked her head in addition to flicking back the ear on which it had rested. Growing in size just in time for a small black dragon to tumble on his back onto the ground, it grunted out in irritation as he landed on his rump. Pulling himself to stand, the magical creature stood just out of the way of his companion's frustrated pacing. "Don't start with me, Paws." The mare snapped to the dragon, who shifted his form to straighten his normally bowed legs. She nudged past him shortly after, causing him to hop to regain his balance.
Paws, named so for his chubby paw-like, four fingered hands, curled his stubby nose at her. He gave a short bounce to the right when she tried to nudge him with her shoulder in a second pass, his kangaroo-esque shape giving him the ability to maneuver easily on the tips of his toes.
"Well, you wanted the wedding to end terribly, didn't you?" He asked smartly, large rounded ears falling back when she whipped her head around to give him a glare. He laughed at her ire filled azure eyes, ducking when she used her magic to fling a rock toward his head. It missed, and he knew it had been intentional that it had, because he realized shortly after ducking that it had been aimed to sail over him, albeit barely.
"Not by someone else's credit, and not ending with the possibility of Equestria falling shortly thereafter." She replied tartly, shaking her head to settle her long blonde mane. Using magic, she undid the complicated hairstyle and began casting the usual enchantment to curl it back into its more regularly seen shape.
Large, rounded curls bowed out to keep the incredibly long mane and tail from touching the ground. The curls were wide and spiraled attractively downward. "If Equestria were to fall under my motivations, it would be done with much more finesse and common sense. That Changeling should count herself lucky that Shining Armor's love was more than she originally thought. It was only by pure chance and fate that she was able to topple our Princess."
Paws chuckled a bit, covering his muzzle with his hands to hide his laughter, dark eyes swiveling toward the city, where by now the activity was overwhelming. "Yes, well, you always said you wanted another face to take the fall for you." He said through his fingers. "Perhaps you could convince her to let you join forces?"
"Pointless." The unicorn snapped back. "I have nothing to offer in return. She has everything she wants, there is nothing she could gain by giving me anything." Her voice was sharp and serious.
"What makes you so certain that she will be in power much longer? Celestia did send those six to get the elements-"
"In which case, if they are able to get to the Elements of Harmony, then there would be no point at all, since her reign would have expired, yes?" Her muzzle curled back in a sneer. "Why no one ever considers just taking out one of the weaker of the Elemental hosts..." The dragon clapped his hands together. They made a muffled thump when he did.
"What, like Applejack? I know she's your favorite right now." He almost regretted saying it by the reaction he got. He felt a little bit guilty. The unicorn's stance changed, all four legs splayed out widely, as if she was about to charge. A deep rumble came from her chest.
"That worthless little earth-dwelling whelp!" She snarled. "How dare the Princess give the job of catering such an event to the likes of that thing. I am the royal baker, I have made the foods and sculptures for the Gala for years!" The white pony ranted, clearly viciously upset at being replaced by the innocent Applejack.
"B-" Paws lifted both hands. "Buttercream! Calm down!" He said, giving one hop to get next to her quickly. He placed a hand on her shoulder, the other on the end of her muzzle. "I'm sorry I brought it up. You shouldn't get so flustered, it makes your pretty face all red and wrinkled." Standing up straight, Buttercream's eyes darted down to the shorter creature, who still had his large, warm hand on the end of her muzzle.
Ears falling back, she let out a long, heavy sigh. "You know I don't care if my face looks bad." She muttered, bumping his hand with her nose before stepping back to continue her pacing. "Besides, I-" She was cut off when a bright light caught her eye. The two watched in awe as the bright pink magic, signature to Cadence, forced every single one of the Changelings away. They saw the large form of the Queen flinging away, toward the large forest West of the mountain Canterlot was settled on.
"Calculate trajectory." Buttercream ordered out quickly, her front hooves clapping excitedly. "She may be alive. And now, I have something to barter with." They both ducked as three Changelings smashed into the rock face just behind them, their forms breaking and falling to the ground limply. Their bodies deteriorated into smoke shortly after with a dangerous hissing noise. "And let is hope she is more sturdy than her underlings."
Paws jumped to attention, the bright slivers that was the only visible part of his wings perking upwards. Several magic-generated images appeared in front of him, though his eyes never left where the Queen had been flung. He ran his claw tips along the seven or so images in turn, using them to write out the math that was needed to track her landing point. "Got it. Within a kilometer. I don't know her exact weight."
Buttercream stepped forward, bowing her head to place her horn on the top of his head. The two thick antennae on the top of his head curled inward, the ends of them glowing as the made contact with her own glowing horn. There was a soft zap of transferred magic, and the two broke apart. Having made a temporary mental connection, they no longer needed to speak.
Find her. If she lives, report back to me. Check if her magic has been depleted and if so, bring her to the house. Buttercream said between them, watching as her dragon friend began to shrink in size.
His wings were not large enough for him to fly yet, but he could make his body smaller while keeping his wings the same size, so that he could take to the air. And he did just that, bolting off the cliff and toward the forest, his now tiny form disappearing rapidly.
And you will be-? He asked her. She bolted at a full gallop down the mountain again, tearing off the dress she'd worn to the wedding with her teeth on the way down.
To see a pony about some Changeling repellants. She answered smoothly, working her way toward Ponyville. Or rather, the Everfree Forest. Actively avoiding the small town, Buttercream weaved into the thick forest, knowing very easily where to go. Zecora's hut was a welcome sight, the exhausted mare coming to a complete stop just outside. Casting a spell to remove the sweat that shined along her sides and neck, she calmed her heavy breathing before lightly knocking her hoof against the door.
The zebra answered the door, a smile already on her face. "Aaah, well what is this I see, with eyes agleam; it is my dear friend, Buttercream." She greeted warmly, though her large, teal eyes quickly became curious and concerned. "Forgive me if I seem to be meddling; but wasn't today, that Royal Wedding?"
"I was never a fan of after parties." Buttercream answered sweetly, waiting for Zecora to step aside before she stepped into her home. "Am I interrupting?" She asked, noticing the large cauldron in the center of the room boiling and looking as though it needed tending to.
"No, my friend, it is nothing dire; simply some dinner, to be warmed by fire." Zecora assured her gently, closing the door behind them and using her dextrous tail to stir the spicy smelling stew with a large wooden spoon. "So what may I ask, is the reason for this surprise visit? Is something the matter? What is it?"
Buttercream just sat and listened to her speak for a few moments before she realized she was being asked a question. "I was wondering if you had anything that would work against... Changelings." She said, standing on opposing side of the cauldron from the zebra. Said equine raised both eyebrows at that.
"Changelings, I have not heard of in ages. Let us see what I have within these pages. " She moved over to her collection of books, sifting through them. Buttercream enchanted the spoon to keep stirring the pot before joining the zebra at her side. "The Changelings, they are from my homeland." Zecora explained, plopping a massive book down onto a tree stump, pushing it open with one hoof. She began flipping through it easily. "Though with some of these potions, their powers become quite bland."
"I was hoping you'd say that," Buttercream murmured joyously, peering over her shoulder. "What sorts of things do you have recipes for?" Zecora paused, her head tilting slightly to the right to catch the eye of her visitor.
"I will tell you these things, but first answer me; what has caused these questions to be?" Her tone was serious. Buttercream sat back slightly and decided to come clean.
"The wedding was cut short because Changelings attacked Canterlot. They have been eliminated already, but now I want a stock of things I need to be prepared should they ever return." Well, mostly clean. She actually wanted to see if there was any salve or potion or herb that might make a Changeling powerless, or a cure for the effects, or even something that prevented their powers from working. She desired having these things to protect her family at home.
Zecora backpedaled at the news, her ears perking up high. "In my home, Changelings were very plenty; so the weapons against them, there are just as many." She motioned toward the book, elaborating each of the ways to fight against them. From ways to ward them from your home, to items and creatures they were fearful or superstitious of, to potions and the like that would drain their power, make the user temporarily invulnerable, or paralyze them. From the images in the book, zebras and Changelings were common enemies.
Purring in glee, Buttercream shifted on each foot as she tried to figure out what the pictures and foreign text meant. "Can you make me a translated recipe?" She asked her. "I would not want to trouble you with making these yourself." Her large blue eyes fluttered innocently.
Zecora laughed warmly, nodding her head with enthusiasm. "I am pleased with your willingness to learn. With these, any Changeling you meet will burn!" She went about collecting a book to write in, using her mouth to hold the specialized utensil for text.
Buttercream sighed, folding her legs under herself to rest as Zecora happily translated and transferred the ingredients and how-to's for all of the zebra-made home remedies for Changelings. She had been curled up on the floor for a while by the time Paws reported to her.
I found her. She's in once piece, though completely drained. The unicorn got the image of the Queen's crumpled, frail form in a small crater made from her own landing. It looked as though she was no longer living, but then again the creatures looked a bit undead in the first place. And alive. Unless these things somehow can die and still have a heartbeat. He added in reply to her doubts.
Don't mouth off. Buttercream murmured back tiredly, relaying to him the information she had gained from Zecora. Meet me at the back of the house. I don't want her inside until everyone's been protected.
Paws gave an affirmative, going back to his own hard work of using his magic to shrink Chrysalis' form small enough for him to take her to his ordered destination. This might take a while, I'll need to stop and take a few breathers. He muttered, getting a dismissive "Alright" in reply. He assumed she was already planning on how to get everything needed to prepare the other ponies in her household for the Queen of the Changeling's arrival.