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dC/dt≠0 is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by I Thought I Was Toast, initially published in 2015.

It's presented as an In-Universe book about the integration of the changelings, authored by Changing Times, as described by Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria and Prince Morpheus of the Hive of the First Father, beginning with Morpheus approaching the Princesses of Equestria (with a little help from Discord) with a Magically Binding Contract that ransoms the lives of the entire changeling population against their good behaviour. After some discussion, it is decided that, to see if integration is viable, Morpheus will stay with Twilight in Ponyville.

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Things quickly go off the rails, with Spike's distrust and meetings with the other Bearers resulting in ever more paranoia. Oh, and Twilight's castle is alive, and also doesn't trust Morpheus. Despite Twilight's planning, first encounters with the rest of the Bearers go off the rails. And then things get even more complicated.

Dormant; last updated February 2018


This FanFic contains examples of:

  • Abdicate the Throne: After Chrysalis' failed attack on the ponies, and after failing to discover why it was failed, she abdicated in favour of Morpheus. Third Eye is highly sceptical that she actually did this, whatever Morpheus thinks, given that she didn't tell him some stuff she should have if she actually surrendered the throne.
  • Absurdly Long Stairway: Castle does this on occasion, like when there's a risk of Twilight and Morpheus walking in on Shining and Cadance paying homage to Sleipnir.
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  • Adorkable: Both Twilight and Morpheus have their moments.
  • Adult Fear: Webber telling Twilight to take Errant to face a Powder Keg Crowd. It makes a good outcome more likely, but it's clear he doesn't want his son in danger. Both sides of his prediction are realised when Errant is threatened by Chrysalis, but the entire town rallies in defence of Errant, unified by this trope.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Morpheus becomes "Mo" to Twilight, possibly picked up from Errant, who calls him "Uncle Mo Mo".
  • Alcohol Hic: Morpheus, while drunk on Pinkie Pie.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Morpheus is prone to this in proximity to Pinkie Pie, including, at one point, cooking as Dusk Shinenote  because she suggested it'd be easier to cook with both wings and horn, and being unable to stay female due to intoxication.
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  • Alien Blood: Changelings have green blood, and thus blush green, something Morpheus carefully doesn't mention for a while.
  • Alien Catnip: Meets Emotion Eater with Pinkie Pie, unfiltered exposure renders Morpheus very drunk. Notably, that shouldn't happen, a Lords' metabolism is too fast.
  • Alien Geometries: One of the rides at the park is a Ferris wheel that runs through seven dimensions.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Morpheus briefly considers it early on, but discards the idea as the Princesses (particularly Cadance) wouldn't accept the idea of a purely political marriage in time, if at all. Later on, Rarity suggests this as part of her Shipper on Deck tendencies.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Twilight spends portions of "Home and Hearth" studiously ignoring her Dad. Of course, it doesn't help when the photo album comes out.
  • Anti-Magic: Discord places an antimagic bubble on the room where Morpheus is waiting for Twilight, at Morpheus' request. While Twilight initially thinks it an act of good faith, Discord claims that Morpheus requested for his own benefit to avoid being attacked on sight.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Morpheus deals with General Carapace's assassination attempt due to a fortuitous end to his Chrysalling.
  • Author Appeal: The frequent computing jokes.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Morpheus makes good use of the information and processing capacity of the Hive Mind.
  • Badass Boast: Morpheus, while very angry and in quite a lot of pain, attempts this on Rainbow Dash. Fortunately, he's slipped into Chitri, so all it gets him is laughed at and (badly) imitated due to sounding like a chipmunk.
  • Bad Dreams: Spike's been having them since Nightmare Moon, of being unable to help his friends. After this comes out he goes to Canterlot for a few weeks so that Luna can help him.
  • Beat: After Morpheus asks why he would demand anything from Equestria in a Magically Binding Contract.
  • Becoming the Mask: While changelings spend almost all their time in one form of disguise or another, the disguise tends to bleed back into their true selves, and vice-versa. Later on, Rarity and Cadance fully expect this to happen to Morpheus and Twilight in their fake romance. They're completely correct.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Rarity, after realising she's run out of time to sort a costume for Nightmare Night, resorts to this.
    Rarity: I died of shame from my lack of a good costume.
  • Berserk Button: Hera becomes very agitated when Morpheus is hurt or attacked, or appears to be hurt or attacked. Fortunately, she keeps a lid on it most of the time. Also, when Shining calls Morpheus a liar, Morpheus snaps, in a case of Culture Clash, as while Shining intendednote  only mild teasing, accusing a changeling of lying is a serious insult, and the particular subject matter was one that Morpheus has, for very good reason, had to offer assurance on regularly.
  • The Bet: Morpheus horns in on a previous one that he couldn't last a day on Applejack's farm, with his victory meaning they have to give him a fair chance. It's rendered moot when Rainbow gives Morpheus a concussion.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The sensory overload effect shows up several times, due to its utility as a surprise combat technique against those unprepared for it.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The pirate-themed General? Is General Carapace, one of the changelings actively working against Morpheus. He's also vulnerable to needling about it.
  • Big Damn Kiss: One wins Morpheus and Twilight the costume competition in Night of the Living Changelings, despite being fake (they were going as Snow White and Prince Charming, hence the winning, but Morpheus carefully made sure their lips never touched). Shortly afterwards, they have a real one that triggers Morpheus's Chrysalling.
  • Big Entrance: Rarity is very good at this, a skill that Morpheus admires her for. The occasion that spurs the comment is her crashing through the door into a steam-filled room and yelling "J'accuse!".
  • Big Fancy Castle: Twilight's castle is huge, with facilities to house hundreds of ponies. It's inhabited by less than a dozen. Including itself.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Changelings get a lot of this to support their Voluntary Shapeshifting, but a particular standout is Chrysalling: as a changeling develops they undergo several periods of metamorphosis. The Zeroth Chrysalling occurs in the egg, and is triggered by the Breeders to create a true changeling, rather than a feral thing. The First Chrysalling occurs shortly after the larvae hatch and develop a connection to the Hive Mind as well as sentience. After the resulting nymph realises what they want to do for the hive, they undergo the Second Chrysalling, differentiating into the specific castes. The Third and subsequent Chrysallings are legendary, and the triggers are basically unknown in the Hive of the First Father. Not so in the Everfree Hive, where most undergo the Third Chrysalling (which confers a tribal identity) quickly after an extended stay in Equestria, and some undergo the Fourth (essentially becoming changeling Alicorns). The founder of the hive underwent the Fifth to depart from changeling society in the way he did, essentially becoming a new hive.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: It's not been entirely elaborated on, but is both complex and (apparently) somewhat ickynote . Word Of God is that changeling reproduction shouldn't work like that, it's a response to the Hive of the First Father being essentially made up of immature changelings. Once they undergo the Third Chrysalling, they can reproduce in a much more normal manner.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses:
    • Rainbow Dash is able to tell something is wrong with how Snow Flurrynote  does her weather manipulation because of her own weather sense.
    Rainbow Dash: Normal wind doesn’t sound like a mob of ponies talking all at once.
    As later explained by Morpheus, the wind talks to pegasi, granting them the reaction speed necessary to do what they do. It's not always reliable though, as the wind is both fickle and loves a joke.
    Curiously, weather sense in this story is remarkably similar to Earth Pony magic in the older fic Triptych Continuum
    • Earth ponies have a tremorsense ability.
  • Blatant Lies: Aloe and Lotus excuse their lateness by claiming "an important staff meeting". They were eavesdropping at the door for juicy gossip. Also, the section title "In which, nothing of note happens". Of course, given it's Morpheus, he could genuinely have missed the significance. Twilight didn't.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Discussed. Morpheus reckons that any guard Twilight has will be more for keeping everyone else safe while she deals with the problem. Also, Hera comes to Ponyville and ends up bodyguarding Morpheus. Later on, Twilight does end up with a bodyguard, Bulwark.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Luna's tendencies in this direction were a great relief to the griffon ambassadors.
  • Brain Bleach: Twilight generally has this response to thinking about her brother's sexuality. Unfortunately, this happens rather often, either due to stumbling into Cadance's dreams, or deliberately played to by Chrysalis.
  • Brains and Bondage: Chrysalis (much to Morpheus' mortification) and Shining Armor and Cadance.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Morpheus really hopes that when Zecora says she learned off a "malpractitioner", there was no capital letter. There was.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Twilight exploited the mirror portal to ethically source meat for the carnivores in Equestria (and her own tastes, after the visit).
  • Catch a Falling Star: Rainbow Dash saves two foals forced to dive out of a fourth-floor window.
  • Ceiling Cling: At one point, Twilight awakens to the sight of Morpheus hanging onto her ceiling. There's an actual reason for this.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Morpheus has some serious problems, being responsible for the survival (or extinction) of his entire race, and having had most of his childhood friends drift away due to protocol problems with him being a Lord.
  • The Chessmaster: Discord. He's playing both sides, probably to Morpheus' benefit, though maybe not, is trusted by Chrysalis and manipulated Rainbow into trusting Morpheus with a Batman Gambit.
  • Chess Motifs: Lady Antiquity explains her delightfully cynical worldview using this.
  • Children Are Innocent: Errant is used to help calm a Powder Keg Crowd, much to Webber's concern. In general, Errant's interactions with the foals of Ponyville help the integration.
  • Christmas Episode: "Home and Hearth".
  • Colony Drop: The true ending to the Love Poison story is when Ichorous "reached to the stars and pulled".
  • Complexity Addiction: A consequence of changelings' mental resources is that they tend to overcomplicate things.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Morpheus punishes Blueblood by arranging for every meal he orders for a month to have a fly in it.
  • Cooldown Hug: Fluttershy does this more than once when Morpheus is getting overwhelmed.
  • The Corruption: Love Poisons, combined with a catalyst, believed to be true love, is one for changelings, leading to the Fall of Ichorous. This is somewhat concerning, given that the Hive of the First Father has been using Love Poisons for generations as a quick-and-dirtynote  substitute for love in a pinch. Perhaps it's fortunate that they also thought they couldn't feel true love...
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rarity has prepacked saddlebags for any adventure she could think of. Although the project was originally called "Around the World in 80 Dresses", it has apparently far exceeded that number since.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe, Morpheus bases the coat colour of his first disguise off a research paper debunked literally centuries earlier.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Malpractitioners are notorious for it. When Morpheus complains, Applejack takes some amusement.
  • Curse: The price of accepting Malpractice's aid is to take one, despite what Twilight may say. They're not always bad, it's just that they tend to be subtler about the upsides.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Twilight threatens to turn Discord's vocal chords to stone when he's being annoying.
  • The Cynic: Morpheus. He's unusually optimistic for a changeling, most of them are worse.
  • The Dark Arts: The Unbreakable Contract. There's a reason that most records of how to do it were destroyed (and, after memorising them, the last were destroyed by Morpheus). It's horribly abusable, and can lock people into contracts that override their free will or kill them if they break them. His using it even as much as he does is only because it's that or extinction. Even Malpractice has a better reputation than the Unbreakable Contract.
  • Date Peepers: Rainbow Dash spies on Twilight and "Wicked Smooth"'s "First Date".
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Changeling nobility can get vicious. Part of the reason Morpheus wrote the contract the way he did was to try and keep them in check.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several characters have their moments, including Twilight and Morpheus, as well as Castle (despite being mostly mute), Lyra and Third Eye.
  • Death Glare: Shining's default expression around Morpheus.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Lord of what would become the Everfree Hive 1000 years ago was exiled from changeling society when he proposed making peace with the ponies, which means that when Morpheus comes along attempting to cause just that, his successor is very on board.
  • Delayed Reaction: Rarity takes a little while to react after Twilight tells her that she and "Wicked Smooth"note  are dating, leading to the Big Entrance described above. (It's a fake relationship, specifically to get the Shippers On Deck, of whom Rarity is an example, off Twilight's back).
  • Destructo-Nookie: According to Castle, Rainbow and Applejack have wrecked at least one kitchen.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The more he learns about ponies and friendship, the more Morpheus realises this about his mother's invasion.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Errant interrupts Chrysalis mid-speech by bouncing a beach ball off her head. It helps turn the crowd she's trying to intimidate against her because her response, threatening a child, is something both ponies and changelings disapprove of.
  • Dope Slap: Twilight gets into a round of this, slapping both Shining and Morpheus when they won't lay off each other. It doesn't help, and quickly escalates through squirt bottles to encyclopaedias.
  • Dream Walker: Twilight learns oneiromancy from Luna so that she can visit Spike while he's away.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Drill Sergeant Sunshine has this reputation.
  • Editorial Synaesthesia: In-Universe, because pony brains aren't designed to process the changeling Hive Mind or emotion senses, Morpheus has to link the inputs to the pony's normal sensory inputs.
  • Emotion Bomb: Morpheus uses a variant, manipulating the wind and his own body to trip every danger instinct in a horde of bunnies.
  • Emotion Eater: Changelings, as in canon. It's elaborated on somewhat, with different emotions having different tastesnote . They can feed off ambient emotion, or off specific creatures, but taking too much or too rashly can cause damage. Morpheus accidentally causes serious damage to Applejack's love, precipitating a major quarrel with Rainbow Dash, her lover. The damage can be repaired, though it's near-impossible if you aren't a changeling, tipping off Morpheus to Lyra's hive, as he doesn't have chance to fix it before she does. The diet can also affect the changeling, joy gets them drunk, too much love can cause cardiac arrestnote , and negative emotions produce a delightful array of unpleasant health effects.
    • Changelings aren't the only ones, with another creature being described, a Malpractitioner. They feed off curiousity, usually by taking an apprentice and being an endless font of Cryptically Unhelpful Answers.
    The price of knowing is not to know.
  • The Empath: Changelings, due to being Emotion Eaters. It's how Morpheus realises that Castle is actually sentient. Cadance also is, at least somewhat, which is why Celestia told her about Morpheus as early as she did, as Cadance would be able to sense the changeling nature of any disguise he used. Interestingly, it appears to be limited to the Hive of the First Father, as Lyra passed undetected.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Discord is this, despite his apparent randomness. He might be working with Chrysalis. He might be manipulating Chrysalis. He's certainly got some stake in helping Morpheus and Twilight, but what is yet to be seen. Somewhat interestingly, it's entirely possible the readers (and Morpheus) have been told exactly what's going on, it's just been modulated with so much nonsense, double-talk and Half Truths to make it near-impossible to see before it happens.
  • Epic Fail: Morpheus' attempt to brute-force snowcone making as a cutie mark talent. Explosions ensue.
  • Erotic Dream: While practising oneiromancy, Twilight accidentally wanders into Cadance's dream, and then leaves very quickly.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Changelings that kill love are executed. After all, it's not like they can afford to do it too much.
  • Everyone Can See It: Twilight and Morpheus. Seriously, everyone. It takes less than a full day for his old friends to see it once they arrive in Ponyville, despite his protestations. Interestingly, this also happened on a meta level. They weren't originally planned to fall in love, but after writing the interactions for a while, it happened naturally.
  • Evil Gloating: Morpheus does this accidentally after challenging Castle to Swindler's Chess. When he realises, he panics that this will cause Twilight and Spike to distrust him more, it actually has the opposite effect on Twilight, who bursts out laughing due to the similarity to Rainbow Dash. Spike, unfortunately, freaks completely.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: While the Unbreakable Contract is no laughing matter, the opportunity to drop in a few jabs is taken.
  • Exact Words: While Morpheus does need to have the Princesses' trust, so mostly negotiates honestly, he's not above a little of this with the Magically Binding Contract, specifically retaining access to the Hive Mind (it's a biological, not magical, function) despite most of his power being sharply limited. Also, Discord deals with threats before they happen, but let both Morpheus and Chrysalis through.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A second-hand example, via Morpheus
    "Webber and I are actually talking now, but it’s just going through the numbers as always. You know, right now he says there’s a thirty-two point three percent chance that telling you I can even partially communicate with others through the Hivemind will do more harm than good? Does that even count as a conversation?"
    The last analyst paused as he finally caught up to where we were in the conversation. He had been so busy with worst case scenarios that he had only just reached my most plausible response now.
  • Exposition Beam: How Twilight and the others learn the history of the Everfree Hive, directly plugging into the Hive Mind archives.
  • Expospeak Gag: How Twilight and Morpheus exchange information on enzyme transfer without Twilight dying of embarrassment. Unfortunately, Rarity has encountered the phrasingnote  before.
  • Faking the Dead: Third Eye lived in Canterlot for a while, but did this during Chrysalis' attack in order to avoid the subsequent crackdown on changelings.
  • Fantastic Nuke: "Bug Bombs" are implied to be this. Fortunately, Spi made sure that noling thinks they're a viable weapon.
  • First Kiss: Morpheus kisses Twilight while she's asleep to test his reaction and try and work out if he's actually in love. It doesn't have quite the effect he's after, and he immediately remonstrates himself for doing it. Later on, their actual first kiss triggers his Third Chrysalling.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Ichorous and Radiant Dawn.
  • The Fog of Ages: Third Eye/Father Arachne is subject to this, being over a thousand years old.
  • Forced Sleep: Looming Slumber is a carnivorous Everfree plant that induces sleep and then digests those caught by it. Twilight crashes into a bed of it during a Wild Storm.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The nature of the story guarantees that Twilight and Morpheus survive and that the changeling integration is at least partially successful.
  • Foreign Queasine: Meat is this to most of Equestria, but Twilight publicly eating it (with Morpheus' encouragement)note  helps to change that. She also teases Rarity by eating some real-world Stock Yucks (snails and squid).
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Cadance uses this on Shining Adamantine Armor.
  • The Gadfly: Discord, as in canon. Also, the very wind itself, as Rainbow learns while learning how to use her Bizarre Alien Senses.
  • Gender Bender: Changelings have no problem using their shapeshifting for this.
  • Genghis Gambit: Chrysalis' plan, to help the integration. Probably.
  • Genius Loci: The Friendship Castle is sentient and capable of an awful lot within its walls. So long as no-one sees certain changes directly. Of course, given it also has control over the lighting, this isn't much of a problem.
  • Geometric Magic: The Unbreakable Contract takes the form of this, with many, many layers of sigils.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Discord claims that the butterfly collection is not his, but belongs to a Caneighdian friend. In this case, it's a form of Suspiciously Specific Denial. But not the form you think. The butterflies belong to Chrysalis.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Morpheus does what he does because there is simply no other option. He must convince Equestria to permit 5000 harvesters to enter inside a month, or they will cross the point of no return.
  • Grammar Nazi: Played With, Twilight isn't one (knowing the history of grammar and how arbitrary much of it is), but Morpheus manages to (apparently, he's actually right) go wrong enough that she gets annoyednote .
    • Unfortunately, the chapter was rewritten; this was downplayed in the rewrite.
  • Groin Attack: Rainbow does it to Morpheus. Fortunately he's not in a form where this matters overmuch. It still hurts, due to him having previously redistributed his chitin to counter a headbutt.
  • Halloween Episode: "Night of the Living Changelings"
  • Head Desk: Twilight and Morpheus, several times, when discussing her encounter with Queen Chrysalis, out of embarrassment. Later on, this is Morpheus' initial response to Zecora, who knows more than he does, knows it, and won't stop rhyming, though he suppresses the urge.
  • Heroic Lineage: In this 'verse, Twilight is apparently descended from Luna.
  • Heroic RRoD: Twilight suffers acute mana exhaustion after the Manehattan riots. While the hospital has mana reserves for this kind of case, she takes up all of them, plus Rarity's, to just stabilise, and a long effort from Morpheus to revive hernote .
  • Hero Secret Service: Despite her protests, after the Manehattan riots Twilight is assigned a bodyguard from Celestia's guard until she can select her own cadre.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Chrysalis. Her actions are apparently contradictory and self-defeating, but it's implied that she's actually up to something with her Xanatos Speed Chess. Discord might know what's going on, but isn't telling. Yet. Morpheus thinks it might be a Genghis Gambit to help the integration.
  • Hive Mind: Changelings have one, but are also individuals. It acts as a form of racial memory and allows them to run simulations to inform their actions.
  • Hope Is Scary: Morpheus' successes scare the changelings, making them suspicious because it's going better than they dared think it might.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Gender Flipped, Twilight gets a brief one from Hera after her Relationship Upgrade with Morpheus.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: A young Twilight Sparkle apparently once did this with a Hound of Tindalos.
  • Inept Mage: Cadance had to learn magic as an adult, and her many Magic Misfires apparently were even worse than the tribulations of raising Flurry Heart (according to Morpheus, she single-handedly induced a population boom in Istallia). She's outgrown it by now, though.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: Some Equestrians argue for this after changelings are revealed. Fortunately, this doesn't go over well with the ponies actually in charge.
  • Insistent Terminology: Antiquity isn't a "Widowmaker", she's a "Corruptional Enthusiast".
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: When Rainbow, asking for details about Morpheus and Twilight's sex life, is told that she's as bad as Rarity, Rarity objects, claiming that she has no interest in their private life, just the dramatic romance.
  • I Think You Broke Her: After Twilight gets a look inside a changeling hive.
  • I Want Grandkids: Princess Celestia, of all people, asks this of Ichorous when he is believed to be courting their daughter. In the present day, Night Light and Twilight Velvet are also very keen, and thorougly unsubtle about it.
  • Just the First Citizen: The Lords are an inversion. The changeling word for the caste is closer to "clerk", and they're meant to manage, not rule. That is the role of the Shaepherds. The Hive of the First Father, lacking them, is not just incomplete, but wounded by the Fall of Ichorous and the corruption of the Love Poison.
  • Kiss of Life: Chrysalis rejuvenates Twilight by feeding her crystallised love and then transferring the enzymes needed to digest it. There are simpler ways of doing it, but she enjoys making Twilight struggle with the taboo undertones of feeding her her own brother's love. For bonus points, she's wearing Twilight's form at the time. Later on, Morpheus has to do this to revive Twilight after he accidentally overfeeds on her.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Changeling venom has a similar effect.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Lady Antiquity Antipathy.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Initially Averted. Despite his instincts on the matter, Shining knows that Twilight can handle herself. He does send Flash Sentry to discreetly guard her, though. It doesn't last, unfortunately, as he becomes increasingly wary of Morpheus' closeness to Twilight.
  • The Lady's Favour: A variant is an old pegasus tradition, gifting a flight feather to their beloved. Rainbow does it to Applejack, on the advice of Rarity, who's advice she'd sought on how to show affection without "ruining her reputation". Morpheus considers this a rather devious prank, given just what it actually impliesnote .
  • Large and in Charge: The true form of Third Eye/Father Arachne, much to Rainbow's delight.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Morpheus has a brief bout after rebuilding his body during the Third Chrysalling.
  • Loss of Identity: Pony methods of memory transference have this risk. The changeling version is much less dangerous and what merging does occur is temporary (although it does have a tendency to result in using changeling pronouns when referring to the memories).
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: The results of the fourth and subsequent Chrysallings is a Subversion; despite the aesthetic, it's a natural part of the changeling life cycle and achieving it is made much easier by friendly contact with ponies, making the Defector From Decadence-originating Everfree Hive the only changelings have achieved it within recent history.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Briefly Discussed when Twilight tells Rarity to not say anything on Morpheus' innuendo-ladennote  relationship with Rainbow Dash.
  • Love Goddess: Princess Cadance knows how this sort of thing works, so knows well in advance that Morpheus and Twilight's fake relationship will grow into true romance.
  • Love Potion: The love poison from canon and its origin story is important. The "Prince" was a changeling, Ichorous, and the princess was Radiant Dawn, the daughter of Princess Celestia. To save Radiant from the poison, Ichorous drank the tainted love, an action that triggered his Chrysalling, but also tainted it, driving him mad. Later, after she tried to save him, he was forced to save her from the swarm. He did so. Comprehensively. Given that the Hive of the First Father has been using Love Potions as quick pick-me-ups for generations, this is somewhat concerning.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Changelings, occasionally, due to their Hive Mind-enhanced processing capacity.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Morpheus' opening offer is an Unbreakable Contract that locks him and the entire changeling race into good behaviour, and kills them (all of them) if it broken. Celestia, furiousnote , reforges the contract so that the only changeling signatory is Morpheus, with some added clauses to prevent further use of the Unbreakable Contract.
  • Master Poisoner: House Antipathy has this reputation.
  • The Matchmaker: Harvester caste changelings are notorious for this. Of course, given their duties, it's not too surprising.
  • Meet the In-Laws: Much of "Home and Hearth", where Morpheus meets Twilight's parents.
  • Mercy Kill: The reason Morpheus was willing to build a kill switch into the Unbreakable Contract. If the negotiations failed, then there would be no hope for the changelings.
  • Motor Mouth: Twilight is in possession of one that kicks in when she's in Squee! mode, a particularly notable example being her first time inside a hive, when her mouth outruns her brain.
  • Munchkin: According to Spike, Morpheus is this when playing Ogres and Oubliettes, Min-Maxing diplomacy to redeem the villains.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Apparently Twilight shouldn't drink coffee after two in the morning due to the strange dreams she gets. This doesn't always stop her. Morpheus is slightly less manic about it, but not much.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Morpheus, after he discovers that there are hives outside the Hive of the First Father, making his kill-switch in the Unbreakable Contract unnecessary.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Twilight is one to the Princesses, as demonstrated when she asks what "genocide" means.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Morpheus filters out Spike's extensive (and a little ancient) profanity. He also does it for himself, not even relying on Pardon My Klingon (although interestingly, he doesn't censor "lies", a profanity in Chitri, translating it to Equestrian in the account, Inverting Pardon My Klingon).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Forcing only Morpheus to be bound by the Unbreakable Contract seriously messes with Morpheus' plans, as he has to divert resources to keeping the other Lords under control.
  • The Nicknamer: Lyra.
  • No Biological Sex: Changeling nymphs, including Errant.
  • Noodle Incident: The Night of Broken Baths, which resulted in six new intimate relationships (five couples and a herd of five. The only one surviving longer than three months was Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Also, exactly what Angel and Discord did to Bulk.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The lords believe the founders of the Everfree hive long dead from starvation.
  • No-Sell: Discord is completely unfazed by Twilight's attempt at a "To The Sun" voice, comparing her unfavourably to Celestia, who apparently honed the technique on Discord.
  • No Social Skills: Twilight's attempts at romance have a habit of failing due to her approaching them like a science project, much to Rarity's dismay.
  • Not a Morning Person: Both Twilight and Morpheus, much to the rest of the Bearers' amusement.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Twilight Velvet chastises Cadance for discussing sex (admittedly hidden behind innuendo) in front of Flurrynote , and says the discussion should be continued after Flurry has gone to bednote .
  • Not So Above It All: Hera joins in the ribbing of Morpheus during the training sessions with Rainbow and Applejack. She also ends up Laughing Herself Sick after she learns that Rarity planned Morpheus and Twilight's romance basically step-by-step.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Morpheus' introduction to Shining.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: One of Morpheus' agents in Canterlot is Celestia's least-favourite taxpony. Given that this is a department with rules on improper pronking, and headed up by a pony that could get a petition that all of Canterlot hates him, this is rather impressive. It's because he was used as a distraction by trapping Celestia in incredibly boring meetings.
  • Odd Couple: Rainbow and Applejack confuses Morpheus, but there's no doubt they're devoted to each other.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Twilight dealing with a Pisces-infested Aquariai and an Ursa Major while travelling in the Everfree occurs offscreen.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several times, but Played for Laughs when Morpheus learns that there are more than three Cutie Mark Crusaders now.
  • Omniscient Database: The changeling Hive Mind is a Subversion, as while it's very good, it's still essentially a Wiki editable by the entire hive, leading to a few Critical Research Failures or cases of deliberate interference.
  • One True Love: Rarity's something of a sceptic of the traditional formulation, despite her choice of reading material, but firmly believes it is a thing, it's just that "True Love" is what you make it.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Twilight knows for certain to take the piece of Geometric Magicnote  in front of her seriously when Discord takes it seriously.
  • Oral Tradition: The changeling commoners have been maintaining one to keep information too dangerous to let the higher-ups know, so it can't be stored in the Hive Mind, including information about the later Chrysallings.
  • Organic Technology: Changeling hives work on this.
  • Paparazzi: They become a lot less of a problem once Hera shows up.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Morpheus becomes incredible embarrassed whenever Chrysalis' sexuality comes up, particularly given her predilections, and Twilight is not keen on discussion of her father's solution to more grandfoals not being likely in the near future.
  • Polyamory: Apparently more common and accepted in Equestria than in reality. The newspapers periodically print (false) suggestions that Twilight is part of a herd.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: One forms outside Castle when the negotiations with the changelings are formally announced. Later on, Twilight teleports into another one in Manehattan. The first is calmed, but the second is deliberately ignited by Lady Antiquity.
  • Power at a Price: Malpractice always extracts a price, a curse on the one helped. In the case of Morpheus, the price is "A song, a dance, an unnamed favor". He's apparently unusually lucky, as the price inherently contains a boon, not always a guarantee.
  • Power Nullifier: Mage's Bane disrupts a spellcaster's ability to magic, and can't be detected by antipoison spells, as well as masking any other poisons, making it extremely useful to Lady Antiquity when she needs to disable Twilight, allowing her to feed Twilight a low-power paralytic.
  • The Power of Love: An important part of changeling life-cycles, somewhat obviously. As Third Eye theorises, all the Chrysallings are the result of this. The zeroth is love of life. The love of another sparks the first. Love of the Hive sparks the second. Love for another life (friendship) sparks the third. Love for another, the other half, causes the fourth. Complete self-sacrifice in dire extremity, love for the Hive and being willing to die for it, sparks the fifth.
  • Primal Scene: Shining apparently got The Talk when he walked in on his parents making Twilight.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Changelings use singular pronouns to refer to their own experiences, and plural ("ve") when discussing experiences and feelings derived from Hive knowledge.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Discussed, as Flurry doesn't understand why Twilight doesn't use them, after all, they always work for her, and Momma uses them on Daddy! Errant also makes use of them, with the advantages of Voluntary Shapeshifting.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: While changelings don't exactly dream, some of Morpheus' resting simulations have their momentsnote .
  • Really 700 Years Old: Third Eye/Father Arachne.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Twilight uses one to try and calm the riots in Manehattan.
  • Record Scratch: Twilight accidentally causes one by interrupting Morpheus while he's under the influence of the Malpractice Curse.
  • Redshirt Army: According to Discord, the Equestrian Royal Guard.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Twilight and Morpheus, triggering his Chrysalling at the end of Night Of the Living Changelings part 2.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Zecora, as in canon. She also inflicts it on Morpheus, as part of the price for using Malpractice to help him heal. It's not as bad though, it's nowhere near constant, but does mean that certain phrases result in song.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Castle, during Nightmare Night, writes "Ick k're-t'ched", all over his own walls to add to the ambience, much to Morpheus' embarrassmentnote .
  • Royal Harem: It's apparently still legal in Equestria, but none of the princesses have one.
  • Rule of Three: While looking through the post, there are three times the danger of kitchens comes up, an ad for insurance, a Cosmarepolitan cover article and the horoscopes. Somewhat hilariously, upon entering the kitchen, Morpheus is put in danger, though not of the type meant, but instead because Shining and Cadance have come for a surprise visit.
  • Sadistic Choice: Lady Antiquity inflicts one on Twilight, forcing her to choose between saving Morpheus from assassins or calm riots blazing through Manehattan that could kill many more innocents. Fortunately, the choice is made for her when Morpheus breaks out of Chrysalling in time to defeat the assassins, allowing her to remain to deal with the riots.
  • Security Cling: Cadance claims to once have Invoked it to help one of her guards get started with a maid he had his eye on, because of course she did.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Antiquity entered her second Chrysalling when she fed her mother a cyanide apple.
  • Sensory Overload: There's a reason that changelings learn filters. Also, when Morpheus is trying to teach Rainbow and Applejack to use their wind sense and tremorsense their vast raw power compared to a changeling causes thisnote . In Applejack's case, in everyone nearby with earth pony magic, something she realises she can weaponise. Later on, Downplayed when Morpheus emerges from the Third Chrysalling with a massively increased bandwidth connection to the Hive Mind and has problems parsing the data for a bit.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Changelings occasionally do it, although Morpheus' attempts onscreen (he doesn't actually want a weapon, just a can-opener) are stymied by the Contract.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: The Echo Triplets set up a kissing booth at the carnival, becoming whoever their customers want them to be, so long as they aren't real. After some pressure though, they begin turning into real people. Fortunately, they only went as far as kissing by the time Twilight found out. Morpheus also does this accidentally with "Quick Wit", who turns out far hunkier than anticipated, and also Shiny-er than expected.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: The usual response of a pony when getting a good look at changelings mid-shapeshift (with the exception of Fluttershy).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Although not initially presented as unattractive, Twilight dressing up for Nightmare Night leaves quite the impression on Morpheus.
  • Shipper on Deck: Much of Ponyville wants Twilight to find someone. Rarity in particular is rather...persistent. Twilight herself is rather pleased to hear that Lyra proposed to Bon-Bon. Twilight and Morpheus end up in a fake relationship in an attempt to appease the more enthusiastic of them Rarity sees through it in seconds, much to Morpheus' surprise. She doesn't mind; after all, that's how some of the best Adorkable romances get started. She's right, of course.
  • Shower of Love: Rainbow and Applejack having these apparently distracts the Echo Triplets, to Big Mac's annoyance.
  • Silent Snarker: Castle.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Downplayed, but Rainbow transfers her hatred of Chrysalis to Morpheus.
  • Sleep Cute: Twilight, Morpheus and Errant at the end of Night of the Living Changelings. Later, after Twilight falls asleep while snuggling with Morpheus, it's enough to cause Celestia's wrath to be delayed to the next day.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Morpheus and Castle play chess. While normally changelings are very good at normal chessnote , he rapidly loses to Castle. He proposes a variant, Swindler's Chess, much more fitting to the changeling's mindset, where each player is allowed to break five rules, chosen before the game, and neither player knows the other's cheats until they're used. Later, Twilight also plays.
  • Smug Snake: Lady Antiquity Antipathy.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Twilight is able to identify Wyrman, disguised as a reporter trying to rile up a Powder Keg Crowd when he gives a very changeling answer and Twilight only becomes certain Morpheus has emerged from his Third Chrysalling when she receives a message saying that she needs to make up for a broken Pinkie Promise with lots of orange flowers.
  • Speed Echoes: The suddenly-leaves version is parodied in chapter 11:
    The Pinkie-shaped cloud of dust she left behind continued to dance with Fluttershy. “Umm… I know you’re supposed to be Pinkie, Mister Cloud, but could you not step on my hooves as much… if you don’t mind, that is….”
  • Spit Take: Twilight, not infrequently, a particularly notable example being after she discovers Rarity knew her relationship with Morpheus was fake, at least until earlier that night.
  • Spot of Tea: Lady Antiquity's recipe is to die for. Literally.
  • Squee!: Twilight's response to fascinating new research projects.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Prior to the story, Twilight had an attempt at romancing Flash Sentry. Of course, being Twilight, she approached it like a scientific study, and began by collecting data without tainting the subject. It took a while for the jokes to die down.
  • Starfish Language: Chitri, the changeling language, has its moments, as while it is primarily audio, it's very different from the pony tongue, and emotional transmissions play an important role in changeling communication, as well as noises ponies find extremely difficult to emulate without the right anatomy.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Morpheus introduces himself to Twilight this way. It gets him kicked in the face. Discord put him up to it as a requirement of his help.
  • Stealth Pun: The changeling afterlife, the Azure Veil, is a play on the Blue Screen of Death.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Due to being somewhat desperate, Morpheus drops into this when subjected to Twilight's questioning during their first meeting.
  • Super Strength: Part of being an earth pony. Morpheus is glad Twilight doesn't have access to her earth pony magic on their first meeting.
  • Supreme Chef: Spike has long since surpassed his teachers in the art.
  • Surprise Party: Pinkie throws one for Morpheus, not a good plan given his usual state is Properly Paranoid. The presence of changelings from the Hive of the First Father doesn't help.
  • Swan Boats: Subverted, despite Morpheus' initial impressions, the boats for the Summer's End Carnival Tunnel of Love are carved to approximate Princess Cadance.
  • The Talk: The changeling version is apparently so complicated and embarrassing that standard procedure is to give the nymphs Hive Mind coordinates to appropriate bits of the archives and just leave them to it. Shining himself defers giving it to Flurry by promising her a week's worth of pancakes if she doesn't ask certain questions until she's older.
  • Teleportation Sickness: Third Eye is not particularly good at portals. It shows.
  • There Is Only One Bed: After the Manehattan riots, Celestia teleports Twilight and Morpheus to her suite in the Nickerbocker Hotel and gives them strict orders to stay there and recover. Morpheus resolves the obvious problem by pointing out that the floor is still in the top-ten best beds he's slept in. Not that they stay there anyway, shifting down the hall to Twilight's suite. Which has the same problem.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Rarity, to Twilight's annoyance.
  • Think Unsexy Thoughts: Morpheus switches from warming the lake he's bathing in to cooling it after Rainbow Dash starts preening.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Morpheus knows this, and likely wouldn't try it inside Castle anyway.
  • Tracking Device: Morpheus leaves a magical one on Pinkie Pie, due to wanting some warning if The Unsolvable Puzzle is in the vicinity. It doesn't help.
  • Tranquil Fury: Celestia very carefully modulates her tone while angry. "Cold Fusion #2" allows the person she's addressing the luxury of believing she's not mad at them. "Cold Fusion #1" offers no such option. The tranquillity breaks when she discovers that the Unbreakable Contract will kill all the changelings if broken.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Cultural disagreement on what counts as this causes some friction with the Ponyville parents' reaction to Errant's understanding of romance and sexuality.
  • A True Story in My Universe: As noted, the work consists of the First-Person Perspective retelling of events by Twilight and Morpheus to Changing Times, and is presented as being an In-Universe document written to help show there is no reason for the ponies to distrust the changelings.
  • Trust Password: Morpheus, Hera, Rainbow and Applejack set one up. Unfortunately, when he needs it, Morpheus' a couple of passwords out of date and told to get it from Hera. Somewhat fortunately, his exasperated expletive turns out to be accidentally correct (he's also certain there's a story behind it, as Hera isn't that stupid).
  • Unbroken Vigil: Hera tried to pull this off after Morpheus enters the Third Chrysalling but had to take over some of his duties, much to her annoyance.
  • Uncanny Valley: invoked Part of the problem with changelings that aren't actively trying to blend in, they're close enough to ponies to creep everyone out, but not close enough to treat like ponies. Twilight becomes much less afraid of Morpheus once she internalises that he isn't a pony.
  • Underestimating Badassery: While training Applejack and Rainbow, Morpheus becomes increasingly stupefied that Chrysalis used conscripts to try and defeat them during the Wedding.
  • Under the Mistletoe: Some mistletoe mysteriously appears over Mo and Twilight during Home and Hearth. They're too bothered by working out how it got there for the usual traditions to kick in.
  • Un-person: Lyra's hive was erased from the archives by vengeful Lords.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Morpheus frequently swears by the Azure Veil, the changeling afterlife. Also crosses over with Pardon My Klingon, as the Chitri word for "lies" is vulgar.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Fall of Ichorous, and thus the corruption in the Hive of the First Father, is entirely the result of Radiant Dawn's use of a Love Poison on herself.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Castle is told to warn Morpheus about Twilight's relatives visiting unexpectedly. It does so by mail:
    Bill. Bill. A letter from Shining and Cadance. An ad for insurance saying ninety-five percent of household deaths happened in the kitchen. Another bill. A Cosmarepolitan whose main article was on keeping the kitchen stallion-free. Another Hive-forsaken bill. At least twenty fan letters from foals – half of which were in crayon. A very pink and glittery invitation to a Pinkie party. And a copy of this week’s bogus horoscopes telling me to avoid the kitchen at all costs.
  • Verbal Judo: An art form amongst changelings.
  • Verbal Tic: Changelings using "ve" is initially seen as one (see Pronoun Trouble, above), and when connected to the Hive Mind, Twilight slips into it as well.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Morpheus has six legs after Chrysalling into an Imperator.
  • Villainous Rescue: Chrysalis rescues Twilight from the Everfree after Twilight becomes stranded.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Where Morpheus and Rainbow's relationship stabilises. Also Morpheus and Castle. And Morpheus and Shining.
  • Volleying Insults: A round of this is how Morpheus manages to get somewhere with Shining.
  • Walking Spoiler: Lyra, due to being a changeling who's been living in Ponyville for years.
  • Water Wake Up:
    • How Discord gets a reluctant Twilight out of bed, although, being Discord, he does it by transmuting her into a seapony and dumping an ocean's worth of water on her. Twilight comments on the unusual methodology.
    • Later on, Rainbow and Pinkie wake Morpheus by sending him "sleep-surfing" down several flights of stairs into a pool in the basementnote .
    • And even later, Rainbow drags a raincloud into the room to wake Morpheus.
  • Weird Weather: Everfree Wild Storms have thunder precede the lightning.
  • We Need a Distraction: Lady Antiquity sparks riots in Manehattan to stop Twilight interfering with General Carapace's assassination of Morpheus.
  • Wetware CPU: Changelings use their dead to expand the memories and space available to the Hive Mind.
  • Wham Episode: Chapters 30 and 31, with the story of Ichorous and the revelation that the Hive of the First Father is broken as a result of his fall.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Although changelings are aware of the concept of spousal love, the ability to feel it was bred out centuries ago, much to Rarity's displeasure. Lyra's hive, having been separated from the main Changeling society for 1000 years never got the update, fortunately for her and Bon-Bon. It also means that when Morpheus begins falling in love with Twilight, it takes a while for him to realise, as he believes it impossible.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Changelings, due to being an entire species of The Empath, very rarely actually lie (the Chitri equivalent of "lies" is profane). They are, however, very good at not lying.
  • Writer on Board: In-Universe and acknowledged, Changing Times is biased towards the changelings, and admits to deliberately writing to show them in as good a light as he could.
  • Woman Scorned: Lady Antipathy hates Morpheus because he turned her down. She dresses it up in fancy language, but Twilight sees through it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Chrysalis threatens Errant after they (metaphorically) flips her off. Fortunately, it's a Subversion, she respects those who openly stand up to her.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In-Universe, Third Eye took up writing fiction as a way to retain information while cut off from the hive mind.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Morpheus is running a game of this to try and save the changelings and stop the other lords screwing it up. Chrysalis is running a game to do who knows whatnote . The other lords are running games to advance their own interests.
  • Xenofiction: Downplayed for the ponies, though the herding instinct does come up periodically. Changeling culture and mindset play it straight though.
  • You Got Guts: Discord, when the sheer nerve of Morpheus is demonstrated during initial negotiations.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Applejack responds poorly to being told she'd given a changeling-style answer.
  • Your Mom: Discord makes a petulant joke when asked where he learned how to swear in Chitri. Maybe. It's entirely possible he was telling the truth, given the "mom" in question is Chrysalis. Yep, of course it wasn't a crass joke. Or maybe it was as well as being the unvarnished truth. Or instead of: He could even conceivably have learned those words from a completely different changeling.

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