Fan Fic / The Changeling of the Guard
Not your ordinary Changeling.

"I have always been… different. Special. Aberrant. I possess less of the ability to control my emotions. Curiosity compels me, and not merely towards outside of the hive. Amongst our kind, lack of fine emotional control is embarrassing, but tolerated in some respects. Hunters are allowed more leeway with anger, as it bolsters offensive capability. Nursemaids to the hatchlings are encouraged to be affectionate, to ensure that the young are well fed. Scouts are driven by curiosity, the urge to see more. Gatherers… Well. Much is presumed about the gatherers. But rarely do they spend much time within the hive. My curiosity, however, was for how things work. This may seem like no crime. However, the hive runs like the gears of a clock. Our tasks are completed in the manner they were explained, and no more. One does not simply alter the schedule. And the hive has little tolerance for unimportant questions. Curiosity does not warrant concern from a drone, especially one tasked to expansion of the nest, as I was..."
Idol Hooves

The Changeling of the Guard is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by VDrake77. It is the story of Idol Hooves, a very unusual changeling.

After being exiled from the hive by Queen Chrysalis for the crime of questioning the rigid protocol of changeling society, Rogue Drone Idol travels Equestria in search of his own identity, meeting other ponies along the way and attempting to satisfy the curiosity that got him exiled in the first place. The problem is, drone changelings like Idol aren't exactly equipped to blend in for long periods of time... and of course, his natural form would be most unwelcome among ponyfolk. Is there any place in Equestria that Idol can truly call his own?

Yes there is: in Princess Celestia's Royal Guard.

Initially set a number of years before Luna's redemption, the author promises that the story will eventually catch up to the events of A Canterlot Wedding and beyond.

A sequel called "There's Something About Merry" is now in progress.

Idol and Topaz have a Character Blog, "Out of Idol Curiosity", which can be found here.

Featured on Equestria Daily.

As of September 2015, The Changeling of the Guard is #1 on Fimfiction.Net!

This story contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Because Idol's character is wrapped up in just how astoundingly ignorant of the world outside of the Changeling Hive he is, and the naivety that ensues from that, he sometimes manages to achieve incredible feats without even realizing the enormity of what he's doing.

    • Early on, Idol manages to find his way into a lost temple right before Daring Do and Ahuizotl show up - and marvels at the imagery on the walls, grows annoyed when loose stones cause spikes, darts and arrows to try to impale him, and eventually just passes by all the (undoubtedly trapped) loot within to grab a mysteriously enchanted gob-er, chalice. He then escapes without qualm or concern, completely and utterly failing to realize what he's just done.
    • After moving to Canterlot, he ends up joining the Royal Guard simply because he was told to do so by one of the recruiters. Those recruiters lampshade this in the next chapter by commenting on just how unlikely that spiel was to actually work.
    • On his first patrol, he apprehends a thief... by walking off the bridge and dropping onto them, having failed to realize that ponies aren't supposed to just jump off of high places like that.
    • Upon a visit to Manehatten, he fails to realize that the apple souvenirs are actually made of wood and not supposed to be eaten... even after taking bite out of one and finding it thoroughly inedible.
    • In a non-Idol example, Topaz tries to give Idol a present in the form of a cured hydra chop. Unfortunately, having misunderstood the instructions from the griffon she bought it from, she stored it in exactly the wrong place, causing it to basically rot instead of curing. However, by doing so, she created what was effectively a changeling delicacy.
  • Adorkable: Topaz, when it comes to insects. See Nerdgasm below.
  • Alien Catnip / I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Changelings have interesting reactions to honey or anything with a lot of sugar in it. They are insects, after all...
  • Almighty Janitor: By the time we catch up to canon, Idol has served in the royal guards for almost 10 years but is still only ranked at the very bottom. Celestia makes it clear that he's long been overqualified for a rise in rank.
  • Audio Adaptation: Beginning in November 2017, the youtube channel Fanfiction Reader began featuring this story as read by a computer voice. Begin listening here.
    • The author has expressed amusement at some of the effects caused by having a computer read the story.
  • Bee People: Changeling society and hive structure is expanded upon in great detail, though very little of the story actually takes place in The Hive itself.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Wasta Matter's name, as mentioned below, refers to an Arabian word about, essentially, nepotism. Also, it's only slightly different to "Watsa Matter", a very coarse/lowbrow English pronunciation of "what's the matter?".
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Idol Hooves has quite some difficulties in understanding Pony mentality and morality, due to his own cultural teachings.
  • Bury Your Gays: The eventually outed as gay-stallion-turned-mare Merry Meadows is seemingly killed off in the same chapter his sexuality is revealed... only to be averted in the sequel fic, "There's Something About Merry",
  • Call-Back: In chapter 41, there is mention of a Daring Do book featuring Ahuizotl and a figure on the cover that looks suspiciously like Idol.
  • The Cameo: Idol accidentally runs into Daring Do and Ahuizotl in the middle of a confrontation, causing a hell of a lot of confusion for both of them.
  • Character Blog: Out of Idol Curiosity
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: To be fair, Idol hasn't exactly had a whole lot of experience outside of the hive, but some of the things he does are... strange. Such as filling his saddlebags with cement mixture after his first encounter with it, and mistaking a prison cell for comfortable lodging space.
  • Crazy Awesome: In chapter 24, Idol comes up with a suggestion for dealing with a Timber Wolf that falls squarely into this: to stop it constantly reassembling itself, he and Shining Armor smash it to pieces and eat its heart. In-Universe, everyone can't believe Idol actually managed to think up something like this.
  • Declining Promotion: Idol has, during his 10 years as a guard, repeatedly been offered and turned down promotion to the point that Cadance and Topaz eventually make a bet over it. It's implied that his natural instincts as a worker drone causes him to shy away from roles that involve having authority, seeing himself as unworthy of the position.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Idol Hooves's reaction to his first encounter with Cadance. Ironically, he didn't have this same sort of reaction to meeting Celestia, though for justifiable reason; because Cadance has a unique affinity for love magic, her presence is vastly magnified in Idol's senses, making him read her as being far more powerful than Celestia. Consequently, he's literally awestruck the moment he meets her, and can hardly comprehend how Shining Armor is not overcome by the same mind-scrambling urge to obey her.
    I am incapable of expressing what I saw, what I experienced. This was no simple being, no sentient creature of mere physical flesh and bone. Celestia, praise her, is many things, powerful, beautiful, and wise, but even at her strongest, I am able to look upon her.
    When Princess Cadance first stood before me and was introduced, I knew the truth of how insignificant I truly am. This was no mere sunny warmth from Celestia, it was a molten inferno of raw, unimaginable might. Power poured forth from her like a tsunami, and it was all I could do to weather the storm that was she. My body hurt from the pressure around it, and none of the others so much as noticed. When I was told she would be performing this surprise inspection to allow her to choose two ponies to have the privilege of escorting her around Canterlot for the day, I knew terror. I would be found wanting, must be found wanting, and had never had any right to stand in her presence. I was no warrior drone, no defender of the realm by blood, and-
  • Dork Knight: In a Mythology Gag to the comics, it's revealed that Shining Armor still plays the setting's Dungeons & Dragons expy. Amusingly, Cadance herself also plays, to the point that part of their flirtations in chapter involve quipping about their respective characters. Shining plays The Paladin, while Cadance plays a ranger.
  • Emotion Eater: This applies to all of the changelings, but Idol explains that emotions of all kinds, not just love, can serve as nourishment for changelings. Different emotions can have different effects on the one who's feeding. And it can be taken too far... see Empty Shell below.
  • Empty Shell: What happens when a Changeling feeds on somepony's emotions too much. Idol does this to poor Topaz by accident, just by feeding on her interest. She can barely walk, speak, or eat until he manages to snap her out of it. He also mentions that this has happened on occasion to the parents of hatchlings in The Hive... their own children can consume them if they feed them too much love.
  • The Exile: Queen Chrysalis banishes Idol from The Hive for going against the established order.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Idol Hooves naturally. Besides the fact that he feeds on emotions he has no problem eating meat as well as vegetation and he's not picky about the meat either, whether it be snakes, scorpions or insects. During his guard training he eats six MREs and asked for more, to the sheer disbelief of his commanding officers and fellow trainees. Later still he eats a stew that Topaz made for him that had crushed egg shells in it by mistake without seeing any problems with it and in the morning is shown to have no problem drinking said stew while it was boiling hot (Topaz, on the other hoof...). Then of course there's him suggesting that he and Shining Armor eat a timber woof's "heart" to keep it from regenerating (noted to taste almost like meat with the texture of wood). When he's questioned on the subject by Topaz he admits that his only standard for food is that it's edible and doesn't make him ill.
    • In chapter 34, in a double-doozy, he reveals he took a bite out of a wooden apple paperweight, and reveals that Topaz's unwittingly-rotted hydra chop is essentially a changeling gourmet delicacy.
  • The Face: Silver Tongue is this for the caravan. Idol describes her as knowing when to "lay it on thick", though he doesn't quite understand the meaning of the expression.
  • Freak Out!: The Dentist that examined Idol ends up having one when he realizes that all of Idol's teeth have vastly different ages from 26 years old to a baby tooth. He subsequently learns to extend his disguise to his teeth afterwards.
  • Gender Bender: Merry Meadows, one of the guards in the Everfree outpost, gets switched from male to female when exposed to Poison Joke. It's explained as being one part an Incredibly Lame Pun based on his/her name (Merry = Mare-ey), and one part ironic; the stallion in question is gay and suffers from repressive parents, but being a mare means his sexuality no longer makes him a "colt cuddler".
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Chrysalis banishes Idol from The Hive simply for questioning its structure. And poor Idol, not knowing any better, doesn't blame her in the least for this...
  • Gory Discretion Shot: All that's ever found of Merry Meadows is their blood-spattered chestplate in the rogue timber wolf's den. This becomes Never Found the Body as of the sequel.
  • Hero of Another Story: If Word of God is to be believed, when the story catches up to A Canterlot Wedding, we'll see what happens in that episode from Idol's perspective. He might even visible in the episode as one of the background Royal Guards...
  • The Hive: It's the story of a changeling being exiled from his hive, and what happens afterward.
  • The Ingenue: Idol is a male, but he otherwise fits this to a tee. Seeing as he's recounting his first time exploring the world outside The Hive, his naivety is understandable.
  • Interspecies Romance: There are subtle hints that Topaz is sexually/romantically attracted to Idol, even though she knows he's a changeling. Come chapter 29, this turns into a case of Everyone Can See It, where her crush is so obvious that one of their friends, Wispy, tries to add a helping hoof by setting Topaz up to accidentally kiss Idol after pushing her into him.
    • It's not entirely one-sided, either; though he doesn't realize what he's feeling, Idol Hooves does enjoy the kiss, finds himself very distracted by Topaz's lips whilst apologizing to her afterwards, and feels upset (much to his confusion) at the idea of Topaz looking to find a pony to date.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: "Manticore attack".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The rogue Timber Wolf that apparently killed and ate at least one pony gets killed and eaten by two ponies — well, a pony and a changeling.
  • Literal-Minded: Sort of like a Changeling version of Drax, Idol tends to have trouble understanding metaphors and figures of speech. There are quite a few Expospeak Gags relating to phrases he finds confusing, some of which are very subtle.
  • Loophole Abuse: Idol, somewhat unintentionally, does this when he's ordered to take at least two days off every month in order to work off some of his accumulated personal days. Specifically, when Nightmare Moon returns and the sun doesn't rise he decides he can go to work because he was ordered to take the day off. Celestia doesn't buy it and promotes him to Corporal on the spot when she finds out.
  • Nerdgasm: Topaz, an entomologist, has one upon discovering Idol's true nature.
  • No Sense of Humor: Idol completely misses most of Wasta's humor at first, though he comes to find it fascinating... to the point that in a later chapter, he horrifies Topaz with an ill-timed joke about changeling drones typically eating other drones that have been injured. Topaz is not amused.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Topaz ends up adopting this look when she becomes a professor during the Time Skip. Idol is rather uncomfortable with the change and prefers her original look.
  • Pungeon Master: Wasta Matter, fitting given his name.
  • Punny Name: Wasta Matter's name is a two-fold one. Firstly, "Wasta" is a concept in Arabian cultures that refers to getting things done through favoritism instead of merit using one's connections (basically Nepotism). Secondly, it sounds pretty close to "Watsa Matter" (a lowbrow English pronunciation of "What's the matter?"), which fits his laidback, easy-going, borderline irresponsible personality.
    • Idol Hooves himself — it sounds like "idle hooves", a ponyfication of "idle hands" (distracted or lazy).
  • Quest for Identity: It forms the crux of Idol's journey, though it takes him a while to realize. This includes choosing a name for himself... Topaz shoots down several of his suggestions before he settles on "Idol Hooves".
  • Rogue Drone: Idol Hooves himself; exiled for unwittingly angering Queen Chrysalis by being too independent, the story covers how he becomes so enamored with Equestria that he becomes thoroughly nativized.
  • Shape Shifters: The changelings, obviously. Idol explains the mechanics and technical aspects of shapeshifting quite thoroughly. He can even take on the form of an alicorn, though not without rather serious consequences... see With Great Power Comes Great Insanity below.
  • Shipper on Deck: Cadance, rather fittingly for the Alicorn of love, becomes downright predatory when Idol lets slip that he's planning on buying Topaz a gift from Manehattan before returning to Canterlot.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Rough Shod, as befitting his Grumpy Old Stallion archetype. He drops quite a few Cluster B-Bombs when talking to Idol.
    • Later, the Drill Sergeant Nasty who welcomes Idol and Shining Armor to the Guard also fits the bill.
  • Spotting the Thread: It's a Running Gag that Idol's ignorance of what ponies can and can't do leads to him unknowingly endangering his disguise by acting in ways that changelings can, but ponies can't.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Idol doesn't seem to quite understand the concept of swimming. During training, when the trainees were ordered to jump into a pool of water and swim to the end, he sinks to the bottom and trots to the end and sits there when he realizes he couldn't get back up, until it's implied that he ends up passing out from lack of oxygen.
  • Super Toughness: Nothing much seems to hurt Idol, demonstrated when he explores a crypt and is only mildly annoyed by the constant booby-traps... the booby-traps he even notices, anyway. He later demonstrates this to a very alarmed Topaz by jumping off a very high roof and landing in front of her without a scratch while wearing his unicorn disguise. His exoskeleton does have its limits, however, such as when he catches Shining Armor after he falls from a climbing exercise, and the impact ends up cracking his carapace fairly severely.
  • Time Skip: Once Idol returns to Canterlot from Manehattan, the next few chapters cover various duties and shenanigans that Idol gets involved in during his tenure as a guard before eventually jumping forward to the day before Nightmare Moon's escape, about 10 years In-Universe.
  • Trans Equals Gay: An inversion is Invoked with Merry, a gay stallion who becomes a mare when exposed to Poison Joke and eventually decided he was happier as a mare. It's implied that the disdain of his homophobic parents may have played a part in it.
  • Wandering Equestria: Though Idol stays for quite some time in a Saddle Arabian caravan, he eventually leaves to wander on his own.
  • Wham Line: “Not supposed to be moving around while at ease, you know. But you can call me Shining.”
  • Why Did It Have To Be Trains
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: When Idol takes on the shape of an alicorn to intimidate an attacking manticore, he gets far more than he bargained for... His very personality changes, and he gets completely burnt out afterwards.
  • Workaholic: In the ten years Idol Hooves has served in the royal guard he has never once used one of his vacation days and has accumulated enough vacation days that he could take almost half a year off of paid leave if he wanted to. Eventually Celestia intervenes and has to practically threaten him into using some of his vacation days.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: While Idol was exploring a temple, he ends up wandering into a treasure vault. He's more interested in the architecture of the room and regards the piles of gold as being too soft, and the gemstones to be too small, to use as building material and is confused why anyone would bother stockpiling it. Justified in that changelings don't have an economy or, really, any sort of trading system.