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"I am not who everypony thinks I am...What they see is an impersonation. It is a mask that I am bound to wear out of duty and out of fear, for what they would do if they found out...The time draws near for me to reveal myself to them, to drop my mask.I only hope I will have the courage to do so. I pray that they will understand. I hope that they can forgive me for my deception."

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At the Royal Wedding, Chrysalis and the Changelings were revealed to all of Equestria.

But another mask was torn away that day. A mask born for a thousand years. A mask created on one promise. A mask, that has become synonymous, fused, to its bearer.

A mask that when ripped off, causes Twilight, her friends and Luna to question everything they ever knew about the one pony, one very important pony.

At the Royal Wedding, the meaning of the phrase "Princess Celestia" changes forever.


Princess Celestia: The Changeling Queen is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic written by vren55. It was completed on July 21, 2015, with 30 chapters, a prologue and a bonus chapter of a separate fic, Infinite Horizons. It can be read here. It has a companion story, Princess Celestia The Changeling Queen: Stories Behind the Mask, and a sequel, Equestrias Changeling Queen And The Abyssal Empress.

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This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Fic provides examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: Equestria First holds Fantastic Racism towards all non-ponies.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Lamia lost a leg and an eye to a group of racist ponies, which led to Chrysalis' invasion of Canterlot.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • It is implied that Celestia instigated this in her meeting with Alternia right after sealing Nightmare Moon, betting that transferring her memories to Alternia would lead her along a set of outcomes that would lead the changeling queen to freeing Luna and reassembling the Element Bearers for that purpose.
    • Alternia makes a plan in Chapter 21 so that Chrysalis would forgive her daughter Cyndra for betraying her hive via spilling their infiltration methods to “Celestia”. Alternia had judged that Chrysalis was torn between her love for her daughter and her anger plus changeling law about traitors, so she sent Prince Blueblood to deliver the formal request for forgiveness on behalf of the pony sisters as well as have him relay his story about his wanting anything to see his parents one more time; that led to a face-to-face meeting with Cyndra, where Chrysalis realizes that banishing her daughter never to see her again, even though she had betrayed her hive, was something she ultimately couldn’t do.
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  • Beneath the Mask: Literally for Alternia, who has had to wear the mask of Celestia for over a thousand years. While it’s not a total personality overhaul once she takes off her disguise, she's definitely a different character when she can show her true form.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Alternia has mentioning her sister Chrysalis.
    • Chrysalis seethes with rage at the thought of what those ponies did to her daughter Lamia.
  • Big Bad: The leader of Equestria First turns out to be Major Golden Star, a relatively minor character among several that appear early in the story during the Equestrian chief of staff meeting only to return for the climax.
  • Brain Bleach: Alternia needs it after Twilight asks an innocent question on whether changeling queens give birth to their drones.
  • Cassandra Truth: No matter how many times she tells everypony that she is actually Celestia, it took Luna and Twilight invading the changeling's mind to figure out that Alternia was telling the truth.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Alternia's rather fond of, and very good at, using changeling portal magic. This is very useful when she has to save Twilight from a falling altar, as well as being able to rush to trouble spots as soon as she realizes something bad is happening there.
    • An Inverted example with Alternia's constant problems separating Celestia's memories from her own. The mix-up slip-ups happen enough that Chrysalis is able to deduce from careful observation that "Celestia" is a changeling queen.
  • Cooldown Hug: After Lamia told her sister Cyndra how much damage she could've done by betraying the hive, Cyndra stated that she should be dead and didn't deserve to live. Lamia broke down in tears and said that despite how hurtful her betrayal was, she doesn't want to lose her sister again, and grabs her in a hug.
  • Cool House: During the Inception-like intrusion of Luna and Twilight into "Celestia's" mind, they come across a house based on Canterlot Castle.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Blueblood has his chance to interrogate some of Chrysalis's captured changelings, the prince starts talking. What? Yes, Blueblood starts talking:
    Blueblood: Alright, if you won’t tell me anything about yourself, then I shall. I am Prince Blueblood the Fifteenth, Royal Prince of Equestria, Duke of Canterlot, Lord of the —
    A long, long, long, long, long, long, long, while later...
    Blueblood: And that’s how the Blueblood family is related to the line of Princess Platinum.
  • The Coup: A thousand years prior, Chrysalis seized control of her mother Chamlia's hive this way. It is how Alternia was wounded to the edge of death fighting — in futility, as it turn out — trying to protect Chamlia.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While "Celestia" is one of the Changeling species, her care for her subjects, especially Twilight, is genuine, and not driven by the need to feed off love.
  • Evil Counterpart: Chrysalis to Alternia, who is Chrysalis's younger sister. The former came into power of a changeling hive as the last one standing via force by deposing her mother and believed force was the only way to survive; the latter became pretend-Princess of Equestria with the blessings of Celestia and would much rather prefer diplomacy to battle.
  • The Exile: Alternia, after Chrysalis launches her coup against their mother and is believed dead. The desire to show her older sister that she was not some runt anymore drives her through all the years of pretending to be Celestia
  • Eye Poke: Alternia and Twilight simultaneously, after they make up and screw up the Pinkie Promise to be friends.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: At the end of Alternia's and Twilight's duel in a gravity-inverted wedding hall, the altar from the now-ceiling drops onto Twilight's head — or it would have had Alternia not teleported to shield Twilight at the last moment.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Equestria First is composed of ponies that are against non-ponies living in or even interacting with Equestria. Alternia is furious; Chrysalis is downright murderous.
    • Changelings themselves hold ponies in suspicion as well, at least those who haven’t spent extensive amounts of time disguised among them. Chrysalis, for instance, cites the Royal Pony Sisters' defeat of King Sombra, Discord, and the Windigoes as to their power and threat to changelings.
  • Forceful Kiss: What the real Celestia does to Alternia to save the changeling's life (with a transfer of love energy to go along with it).
  • Freudian Trio: Ultimately Invoked in the final chapters of the story, after Celestia reawakens from her very, very long slumber and Alternia from her not-quite-so-long-but-still-lengthy coma. Celestia (superego) and Luna (id) both conclude that the Nightmare Moon incident had stemmed at least partially because the two sisters were unable to work out an agreement, and so ask Alternia (ego) to become a third Princess of Equestria to mediate disagreements between them. Alternia accepts the offer.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Equestria's investigative and intelligence agency is the Royal Equestrian Intelligence and Naval Services, or REINS.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The real Celestia doesn't, but Alternia relies on all ponies' love and admiration to perform the godly task of moving the sun and moon.
  • Good All Along: Everypony thinks at first that Alternia replaced Celestia recently and that the real one is missing while the changeling is evil. But she's actually the Celestia they've known all along. Luna is the partial exception to this since this is not the same Celestia who had banished her a thousand years ago. Blueblood knew from years before, however, and supports his dear aunt.
  • Group Hug: After Twilight's friends, Spike and Shining Armor apologize for the Idiot Ball at the Royal Wedding.
  • Guile Hero: Alternia falls into this type the most, as running Equestria as “Princess Celestia” means she has had and continues to rely on her political acumen and her ability to read others to maintain the facade and run the Equestrian government. She is no physical pushover and fights well, but her goals are better served with words and dealmaking.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Alternia's mother, Chamelia throws herself to catch Chrysalis's spear, saving Alternia, but taking a mortal wound in the process. A few of her loyal chevaliers also do so to prevent Chrysalis from delivering the finishing blow, allowing Alternia to escape via teleportation.
    • Her daughter, Alternia would end up doing the same thing, saving Chrysalis from a deadly fire spell at the formal treaty signing, but nearly dying in the process.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Alternia thinks that this might have been Celestia's reasoning for shoving all her memories into her. At the time, Alternia isn’t happy with what Celestia had done and swore to punish Celestia when she had the chance again — Celestia’s last lines before going into a deep sleep is to let her, reasoning that in such case there would at least be an Equestria to return to.
    • Equestria First ponies think that they are doing this in order to protect Equestria. They are so very, very wrong.
  • I Knew There Was Something About You: More than one character knows that Celestia was hiding something, but Chrysalis is the only one to correctly deduce that Celestia is a changeling queen without anyone explicitly telling her. However, she didn’t expect that she would be Alternia in disguise until Chrysalis confronts her about it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Chrysalis realizes who "Celestia" really is when Alternia lets slip that she knows exactly how Alternia was near-mortally wounded (a spear through the midsection) during Chrysalis' coup of the Everfree Hive, something which only those who were there would know.
  • Indy Ploy: Celestia decides to have Alternia take over as Celestia when both of them are at death’s doorstep, after the former is badly wounded after the Nightmare Moon incident and the latter just escaped being killed in a coup attempt, lest the nascent Equestria be left completely leaderless and the whole land be left in The Night That Never Ends.
  • Living Lie Detector: Becuase changelings can sense emotions they can also tell whenever someone is lying or not. Alternia and Chrysalis make heavy use of this, often towards each other when they talk.
  • Mama Bear: Chrysalis flies into a murderous rage whenever she perceives a danger towards her daughter; too bad that she's so easy to set off, and quite quick to jump to conclusions that are often wrong. Alternia has shades of this towards her student Twilight as well.
  • Meaningful Name: On several occasions confirmed by Wordof God:
    • Alternia is a portmanteau of the words “alternate” and “Celestia”.
    • Alternia's second changeling sister Simulacris is an adaptation of the word 'simulacrum' which means likeness/similarity. Simulacris is the most adept of the sisters at actual shape-shifting. It makes the revelation that her Shade Stalkers’ hive is already inside Equestrian territory near Baltimare more explainable.
    • Alternia's youngest changeling sister Belladonna is another name for the plant 'deadly nightshade'. Belladonna, although the youngest, is very good at combat. She ends up leading the Shadow Empire hive, tenacious warriors who viciously attack Chrysalis’ hive after receiving news of Chrysalis slaying their mother and Alternia.
    • Alternia's mother's name is Chamelia, adapted from the animal 'chameleon'. She had been planning to reveal the existence of changelings to the pony princess sisters and sought to establish peaceful diplomatic relations with them; when Chrysalis vetoed the idea by force, Chamelia's last words to Chrysalis was a warning to Chrysalis that she had to adapt to the world changing around them, lest the whole hive fails.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Luna and Twilight, in an attempt to determine where the original Celestia is, invades Alternia’s mind to inspect her memories without her permission, something she is furious about when she learns about it.
    • This is also the original Celestia's choice to forcibly implant her vast memories into Alternia's mind is portrayed as. Alternia has chronic problems keeping her own memories separate from those given by Celestia.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Twilight has this reaction after she realize that Alternia was telling the truth all along. Princess Luna has a similar reaction, compounded by the knowledge that she nearly killed her sister a thousands years ago and has indirectly forced Alternia to rule Equestria as Celestia.
    • Cyndra has this realization after her sister reveals how much damaged she could've down by giving away vital information about the hive, even if it was for the greater good.
    • Queen Chrysalis reveals that she actually regrets killing her mother and her sister, Alternia. It also eventually dawns on her just how much damage her attack on Canterlot has done not just to her own hive but to all the changelings, as Equestria First is revitalized and attacking any changeling hive they find.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Custard and the 'Equestria First' ponies attacked a changeling delegation led by Chrysalis's daughter Lamia, ultimately causing the changeling invasion. And it wasn't even the first time they screwed up like that. And while their attempt to take Chrysalis's life at the peace talks fails and exposes the group, it puts Chrysalis into hyper-paranoid mode and makes Alternia’s job that much harder.
  • Not Quite Dead: In-Universe, Chrysalis and her sisters are shocked once they realize that Alternia is still alive.
  • Oh, Crap!: The magic of Shining and Cadance's love blasts all the Changelings out of Canterlot except for “Celestia”, exposing her true form and leading to a brief imprisonment by Twilight, Luna, Shining and Cadence. Alternia only had a couple seconds to realize what Shining Armor’s and Cadance’s love blast was going to do to her disguise, and could only get out one small telepathic plea: "I’m sorry, Twilight!"
  • Parental Favoritism: Chamelia seemed to favor Alternia the most when the changeling sisters were little and had been grooming her to be her successor, something which Chrysalis noted all too well.
  • Peace Conference: Much of the second half of the story takes place at one in Camp Draco, as Equestria and Chrysalis' hive come to try to hammer out an agreement in order to avoid war.
  • Physical Goddess: The original Celestia. Alternia, while still powerful in her own right, needs the love of all Equestria in order to approach the original Celestia's capabilities.
  • Primal Fear: Alternia has intense hatred and fear of her sister, Chrysalis. Chrysalis notice this while Alternia is in her Celestia's form.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Celestia" tells Custard exactly what his group's actions have led to and how they have betrayed Harmony after he is imprisoned following the attempted assassination of Chrysalis at Camp Draco but still refuses to renounce his racist views.
    Celestia: Harmony demands of it, you say? Let me tell you what you and the rest of your organization has done for "harmony". You broke your oaths of loyalty to the Equestrian military, which were to protect and serve innocents of all species. You were selfish and never gave the changeling delegation any generosity. Instead, you selfishly chose to follow your own goals instead of considering the wishes of others. You failed to show kindness to those whose only crime is that they were born different from you. You provoked the Invasion of Canterlot. Yes, your attack on Chrysalis’s daughter provoked her attack on Canterlot. Thus, your organization inadvertently ended the laughter of so many ponies in a time of celebration. You lied to yourselves. Feeding and creating a false dream of a supposedly better, pony-only Equestria, when for more than five hundred years, we’ve been accepting immigrants into our society and have seen no ill-effects. Finally, you rejected friendship without considering its magic and instead, abused magic to inflict heinous crimes. Crimes, whose only result, was to create an almost irreparable rift between ponies and changelings ever co-existing, never mind co-operating. You nearly caused a war! Have our military academies taught you nothing about the destructiveness of what conflict brings? Have you not attended the Hearth's Warming Eve celebrations? You were never getting rid of discord, Corporal Custard. You’ve been causing it.
  • The Reveal:
    • Zecora introduces herself formally to “Celestia” and Chrysalis at Camp Draco, whereupon she reveals herself to be Belladonna and publicly accuses Chrysalis of killing Alternia and Chamelia.
    • Alternia's Heroic Sacrifice ends up revealing that Celestia was a changeling queen all along in front of a crowd of ponies, exposing the truth to all of Equestria. Blueblood and Candace manage to avert chaos by convincing the populance that she's indeed the benevolent princess that rule Equestria for a thousands years, while Shining Armor also convince the generals of the same thing.
  • Secret Keeper: After "Celestia" reveals her true nature, the Mane Six plus Blueblood, Shining Armor, Luna, and Cadance keep it a secret. It holds for most of the story. Alternia's sisters Belladonna and Simulacris are told as well in order to convince them to drop their blood feud against Chrysalis, Chrysalis eventually puzzles it out and Alternia admits to it at the formal agreement to the peace treaty, and Equestria eventually finds out after Equestria First launches its attack at the signing ceremony and Alternia takes the shot meant for Chrysalis.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Prince Blueblood and Philomena actually discovered "Celestia's" true identity before she reveals it in the story, the former after "Celestia" rescued him from a fire when he was a young colt. They kept it secret because they still love her as his aunt and her master.
  • Secret Test of Character: Alternia, while attempting to prove that she is the Celestia they had known all along, lets loose to Shining Armor the fact that Shining actually failed the officer academy’s entrance exam (which he had never told Twilight Sparkle or their parents about) and the reason why: it wasn’t meant to be passed, it was designed to see if the test taker would cheat.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the Equestrian Joint Chiefs of Staff are named after military leaders both real and fictional, including Iron Duke, Lieutenant Sharpe, Meringue Le Fay, Hanna Belle, Colonel Stonewall, Ermane Rommel, and Vlad Pikehead.
  • Something Only They Would Say: With changelings known to be running about, ponies resort to telling secrets about each other in order to prove that they’re not imposters. Ironically, in Chapter 4 Alternia telling secrets that only the “real” Celestia would know about those interrogating her helps start to germinate the idea in their heads that this changeling is, in fact, the Celestia they have known all along.
  • Spider-Sense: Changeling queens that haven't ascended (i.e., started a hive of their own) have an instinctive sense that alerts them when other ascended changeling queens are nearby so that they don't inadvertently compete over the same love resources. As Alternia had spent the past thousand years pretending to be Celestia and thus is not ascended, she gets early warning that her sister Chrysalis is attempting to infiltrate Equestria. However, she could not pinpoint the exact nature of the threat and is limited to only having Shining Armor step up security via the magic shield around Canterlot and Blueblood review official paperwork for anomalies before the changeling attack.
  • Spoiler Opening: See the title and coverart. Much of the fic is devoted to the fallout of the revelations that stem from the outing of "Celestia" as a changeling queen.
  • Spotting the Thread: While cobbling together various sources to make a pamphlet, Twilight consults with Zecora about Zebra folklore regarding changelings, with whom the zebras seem to have had a relatively cordial past; Zecora relays one story about a changeling that joined a zebra village and helped them when they were attacked. Twilight had already learned about that story from other books but the oral tradition of folklore means the details can change depending on who's telling the story, so it isn't until Twilight gets back to Golden Oaks Library that she realizes that Zecora's telling was the first version she heard where the story continued to follow the changeling rather than the zebras. From this, Twilight considers the possibility that Zecora is a changeling. Her theory is proven correct when the Mane Six go back to the Everfree and witness an undisguised changeling bowing to Zecora, revealing her to be not just a changeling but a changeling queen. It isn't until Zecora goes to the Camp Draco peace conference, though, that she reveals herself to be Belladonna.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Reprisals by pony mobs, including those instigated by Equestria First, against suspected changelings in the wake of the Canterlot wedding attack pop around Equestria, though in the story these are mainly second-hand accounts that filter through to Canterlot via the Equestrian press and whatever is reported to the Equestrian government. At least until Simulacris' hive near Baltimare is under imminent threat by an EQF-led militia unit, requring Alternia-disguised-as-Celestia as well as pony reinfocements to teleport there posthaste to help stop them via force.
  • Tranquil Fury: Alternia is notable for suppressing her anger very well.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk:
    • Subverted when Luna discovers Alternia’s true identity, as she immediately demands to know where Celestia is and threatens to torture her to get the information. This horrifies Twilight and Fluttershy, who desperately try to talk Luna down as torture had been outlawed for several centuries, only for a confused Luna to reveal that she wasn't going to torture Alternia at all, she only wanted to intimidate her.
    • Played straight when Alternia, Luna, and Blueblood later interrogate several of Chrysalis's changelings. They use various tactics to make the changelings talk, but it’s Zig-Zagged, with Luna again in the same changeling interrogation scene. She frightens the changeling, then proceeds to act rather very friendly with her and insinuating that Equestria might surrender, consequently getting the changeling to slip up and give the location of Chrysalis's hive in the Badlands
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: At least part of Chrysalis' animosity towards her sister stems from jealousy at clearly not being the favored successor of their mother, as well as part of why Chrysalis launched the coup against Chamilia.
    Chrysalis: Of course I want her throne. I want to show her that I can lead this hive better than her. I want her to be proud of me!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Part of the reason Chrysalis launches her coup against her mother is because Chamilia had been planning to establish diplomatic relations with the ponies and reveal the changelings' existence. To Chrysalis, that is suicidaly stupid since changelings live on deception and secrecy. Chrysalis' attack on Canterlot is also driven by desperation, as her hive had been harassed by a rival hive (the Shadow Empire, led by her vengeful sister Belladonna) to the point where they couldn't collect love in the usual quiet manner.
    • 'Equestria First' is full of ponies that think they are this. In reality, they are simply racist.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask:
    • Alternia has worn and literally continues to wear Celestia's appearance in public. The main story is from her point of view, so the reader follows along her inner thoughts even as she must continue to present herself as Celestia. It is implied that “Celestia’s” more puckish sense of humor that her closest confidants like Cadance and Twilight see is more from Alternia herself.
    • We also get brief glimpses of Chrysalis in her private chambers in Chapter 13 following the failed attack on Canterlot. Chrysalis had forced herself to hide her emotions until she got back, where the fact that ultimate victory had been so close for her until one moment's letdown of her defenses ruined it all finally caught up to her.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Alternia seems to have some form of Heroic Self-Deprecation, notably when Real Celestia reveals to Alternia that all of Equestria knows about her at the end of the story. Alternia instantly assumes that there are riots and chaos all over Equestria but Celestia states that's not the case.
  • You Killed My Father: For several centuries after the coup that killed their mother, Alternia's desire for revenge against Chrysalis was what mainly drove her on with the long, complicated charade of pretending to be Celestia. And as it turns out, she wasn't the only sister who wanted revenge — Belladonna of the Shadow Empire, after taking in the surviving loyalists who managed to escape and learning about Chrysalis' treachery and the deaths of her mother Chamelia and (it was assumed) sister Alternia, began viciously attacking Chrysalis' hive to the point where Chrysalis hatched a desperate attack on Canterlot to get the love needed to feed her hive. It took Alternia, who eventually changed her mind about revenge after seeing how much more suffering would ensue among both ponies and changelings if she continues to pursue it, revealing herself to Belladonna and Simulacris to convince them to drop their blood feud against Chrysalis.


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