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Fanfic / Maternal Instinct (MLP)

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Maternal Instinct is a Friendship is Magic fanfic written by MagicMan, revolving around Queen Chrysalis and her sole, physically disabled and mentally impaired daughter, Crown Princess Pupa.

Chrysalis has never been what many would call the 'maternal type', even towards Pupa, whose adoration of her mother has no bounds. Preferring to swamp herself in the dire affairs of state, Chrysalis lets her crippled daughter be raised by her affectionate nanny. But one day, as the Changeling Kingdom's problems reach boiling point, the Queen's already short temper erupts and she must deal with the heartbreaking consequences...

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Maternal Instinct is a Hurt/Comfort Fic at heart which also explores changeling society and culture.

Has a prequel, Pupa-Chan, dealing with Pupa and Chrysalis' first moment of bonding.

Not to be confused with the popular Kim Possible fanfic of the same name.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Chrysalis' father, King Thorax, considered her too worthless to even strike—until she botched her first military command, whereupon he informed her of how he thought and broke her nose.
    • Chrysalis herself, although she didn't mean to be. She loves Pupa with all her heart, but she can't find the time to be with her daughter—and then she freaks out from stress and nearly kills the poor thing with her bare hooves.
  • The Ace: Chrysalis rather bitterly regards Celestia as one, for ruling over an idyllic kingdom filled with happy, well-fed subjects who universally adore her. Especially compared to Chrysalis herself, who is leading a crumbling nation facing disease, famine, crime, poverty, a massive wave of emigration due to poor living conditions, and an incoming Succession Crisis, due to centuries of Royal Inbreeding resulting in sickly heirs who probably won't live long enough to produce another generation, let alone inherit the throne. Chrysalis lampshades it herself:
    Chrysalis: My family has spent centuries building this land up from a civil war, and what a surprise, I’ve singlehoofedly managed to ruin everything, not just for me, but for my daughter and all my little changelings. What’s happened with Pupa has finally opened my eyes to what an unworthy, incompetent fool I truly am!
    Celestia: Oh, that’s not melodramatic in the slightest, is it?
    Chrysalis: Funny you can lay there and say that with your perfect kingdom and all your loyal little not starving subjects not abandoning you.
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  • A God Am I: Downplayed, but Chrysalis's people refer to her as a 'kami', the Japanese term for all objects of reverence in the Shinto religion. This seems to be more of a general honorific reserved for the royal family than the Queen's own idea, though.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Chrysalis drinks a lot, due to the stress of her royal duties.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. Most changelings in the story are shown to be ordinary citizens going about their lives, with little thought given to sucking the love out of others.
    • The story describes the changelings as having many different eye and mane colours, while Chrysalis's royal guard are distinguished by their arctic blue eyes, just like the changelings seen on the show. Turns out that the invasion of Canterlot involved only the changelings' military forces, not their entire race.
  • Anti-Villain: Queen Chrysalis.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Princess Pupa, all the time.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Despite the weight Chrysalis has gained, it doesn't stop her from turning on the charm when she wants to tease her guards, however.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Princess Celestia attempts to invoke this.
  • Bad Boss: Chrysalis drives her fangs into a groomer's hooves for accidentally cutting off a lock of her mane.
    • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: This trope's aversion is one factor which pushes Chrysalis to be so touchy about her appearance, as she's starting to get on in years.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Chrysalis hates being reminded that she's getting older. And failed to take over Canterlot. The former is irritating, the second throws her into a rage so powerful her own family doesn't bring it up.
    • Princess Celestia proves to have near-infinite patience when trying to convince a belligerent Chrysalis to listen to her. The one thing that really sets her off? Chrysalis making an offhand comment implying that she sends her subjects to the moon whenever she feels like it.
  • Break the Haughty: Oddly enough, this happens as a result of the Haughty trying to Kill the Cutie in a fit of rage.
  • The Cameo: Princesses Luna and Twilight Sparkle briefly interact with Celestia during her scenes back in Canterlot, but they're not essential to the story.
    • Fluttershy appears in Discord's first scene so he can have someone to exposit to.
  • Character Tics: Princess Pupa, heir to the changeling throne, has an unfortunate habit of drooling.
    • It's probably an overactive salivary gland. Her poor bed.
  • Cheerful Child: For the most part, Pupa is very upbeat. And that's likely the reason why her nanny Cerci is willing to put up with so much for her.
  • Creepy Child: Pupa briefly undergoes this when she hears voices telling her she's a useless burden to her mother.
    • Let's not forget the dream Chrysalis has of all her dead children...
  • Cute Mute: Due to her disabilities, Pupa is unable to speak and can only express herself by laughing, crying, etc., but she can understand most of what is being said to her.
  • The Cutie: Cerci treats Pupa like one. It's hard to disagree.
  • Darker and Edgier: One of the more morose stories of Queen Chrysalis on a personal level.
  • Dark Action Mom / Mama Bear: Best demonstrated in Chrysalis's rematch with Celestia, triggered after the pony sovereign makes an ill-timed arrival at the hospital where Pupa is being treated.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The changelings may feed on love, and they look creepier than the pastel-coloured ponies, but that doesn't make them all inherently malicious.
    • Many of the changeling people have been emigrating to Equestria in search of a better life, much to the Queen's fury.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Changeling Kingdom is a society of love-sucking insectoids with elements of Feudal Japan, so this is a given.
    • Most notably, indentured servitude is seen as an acceptable, even preferable alternative to a prison sentence.
    • One of Chrysalis' hoofmaidens thinks it better to blame her shiner on her husband not liking her dress, rather than Pupa kicking her in the face when said hoofmaiden tied the princess' obi too tight.
    • Nobody thinks twice about expressing displeasure by way of a slap across the face.
  • Disappeared Dad: No explanation is given as to who fathered Pupa or her deceased siblings.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Something of a regular occurrence for Chrysalis...
    • Taken to the extreme after Pupa, looking for something to drink after dropping off a picture she drew as an apology, accidentally spills ink all over her mother's office. When Chrysalis, stressed out after a trying day, walks in and sees what happened, her response is to literally beat Pupa to within an inch of her life.
  • Doting Parent: Danauria, Chrysalis's sister, is her polar opposite in the relationship with her son, Morphin.
  • Easily Forgiven: Cerci smacks Chrysalis in the face after the Queen nearly beats Pupa to death. This should be a capital crime, however, Chrysalis knows what she did and feels that a punch in the face is the least she deserves. Rather than having Cerci killed, she gives her a Royal Pardon and promotes her to Head Nanny when all is said-and-done.
  • Education Mama: Inverted by Chrysalis, who'd rather ignore the problem of her daughter's learning disability by not bothering with her education at all.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Chrysalis does genuinely care for Pupa. Too bad she has little idea how to go about it properly.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Deconstructed. Though not by her own fault, Pupa is no ideal fairy-tale princess.
    • Played straight with Celestia. Queen Chrysalis takes time to lampshade the fact, bitterly calling her "the perfect pretty pony princess".
  • Evil Overlord: Being one isn't always an easy job for Queen Chrysalis, whose attention is frequently taken up by the day-to-day business of simply running a kingdom.
  • Explosive Breeder: As part of their insect-like natures, changelings produce large broods. One of Chrysalis' servants has eighteen children. Unusually, Chrysalis herself has only one living child because her others died of illness.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The changeling society in this story is based on early twentieth-century Imperial Japan, possibly in reference to Friendship is Magic's character designer Rebecca Dart's statement that she based Chrysalis's appearance on the works of manga artists Junko Mizuno and Hideshi Hino.
    • The Griffon kingdom is apparently Germany, going by their language and love of Zombie Apocalypse movies. Their leader's title is also "Kaiser".
  • Fat and Skinny:
    • Chrysalis has gained a lot of weight since the attempted invasion of Canterlot, while her sister Danauria is skeletally thin.
    • Apamea and Silkworm, two changeling aristocrats who have the misfortune to be in the path of Chrysalis and Celestia's fight while bathing in an onsen (hot spring).
  • Fat Bastard: Chrysalis is said to have put on a lot of weight since the invasion of Canterlot. She's, to be frank, a bitch in this story (not that she wasn't one in the original show, of course).
  • Friendly Enemy: It's one-sided, but Celestia is very polite and personable while interacting with Chrysalis... when they're not levelling city blocks in a fistfight between two superbeings, that is.
  • Fish Eyes: Pupa and Morphin have strabismus on top of their eyes being perpetually goggled.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Chrysalis' sister Princess Danauria loves anything to do with foreign high-class culture, wearing imported perfumes from Equestria and the Griffon Kingdom and playing croquet (an Equestrian game) with the other nobles in her free time. The perfumes appear to be a fashion trend among the changeling aristocracy.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!!: Does this one need to be explained?
  • Good Is Not Soft: Celestia doesn't pull any punches during the fight with Chrysalis, although she gives her a chance to stand down before they brawl.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Many lower-ranking servants of the palace are envious of Cerci's position as nanny to the crown princess. Chrysalis sometimes insults Cerci in front of them because she thinks it's funny to watch them grovel at the idea of getting the position.
  • The Grim Reaper: The changelings frequently reference a figure called the "White Changeling of Death", who seems to be their equivalent.
  • The Grotesque: The Queen's sister, Danauria is said to look like a skeleton. Their children are inbred to the point of mutation, with Pupa supposedly being a female Quasimodo and Morphin looking decidedly nasty even without the fish eyes, underbite, snaggleteeth, and one too-small leg.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: One of Chrysalis's various flaws...
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "Changeling" takes the place of body/one in nebulous pronouns.
  • Hurt/Comfort Fic
  • Ill Girl: Due to being born from a long line of royal changelings that practiced Royal Inbreeding, Pupa has a long list of health problems that includes scoliosis, low white blood cell count, malformed limbs, underdeveloped wings, mental retardation, and possible mental illness due to hearing voices in her head. Many other members of the royal family have deformities or disabilities for the same reasons, though none as severe as Pupa's.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Pupa just isn't fit to be the next in line to rule a country. Unlike most examples of the trope, Chrysalis's approach mainly seems to consist of ignoring the problem in the hopes it will go away.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Averted. Pupa is quite a sweet child, but her disabilities are definitely the source of a lot of trouble.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Love can be converted into a liquid form and used as a food ingredient in changeling dishes such as love juice or love soup. Pupa is fed love through an intravenous drip to keep her alive while she is at the hospital.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Chrysalis used to be a lot thinner and have better hair back in the day.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Pupa, but it's more endearing than disgusting. She can't eat without getting her meal all over her muzzle and clothes.
  • Jerkass: Chrysalis is the most obvious example.
    • Morphin, Pupa's cousin and groom-to-be.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Chrysalis thinks that Cerci coddles Pupa too much and isn't hard enough on her. Although Cerci certainly loves Pupa and takes excellent care of her, she sometimes gives in to Pupa's wants more often than she probably should. For example, when Pupa wants to pick flowers from the royal garden and Cerci tells her no, Pupa's response is to cry loudly until her nanny gives her what she wants.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: For once, averted. When Celestia hears that Chrysalis' young daughter is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, instead of making Twilight solve the problem like she usually does, she hauls her own flanks down to the Changeling Kingdom, bringing her pet phoenix with her for her valuable healing tears. Lampshaded by Chrysalis during the brawl that ensues when she assumes Celestia's there to take over her kingdom:
    Chrysalis: Maybe old age hasn’t hampered you just yet! You can actually hold yourself in a fight without your precious student and her band of flunkies doing your dirty work for you!
  • Maternally Challenged: Yeah, Chrysalis isn't a very good mother, and it doesn't help that her child is mentally challenged.
  • Mommy's Girl: Little Pupa loves her mother. The feeling is... actually, quite mutual. For the most part.
  • Morality Pet: Pupa to Chrysalis.
  • Mr. Exposition: Discord fills in Celestia on the events going down in the Changeling Kingdom, with all his usual Troll glory.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Queen Chrysalis clearly expresses remorse after nearly killing Pupa.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The guilt Chrysalis feels at beating her own daughter leads her to dream of all the grubs she miscarried. She imagines them as walking corpses... who then proceed to eat her alive.
  • N-Word Privileges: Zigzagged. Chrysalis outright calls her developmentally-handicapped daughter by the r-word at some points, but internally winces since she could have phrased it nicer.
  • Offing the Offspring: In Chapter Five, Queen Chrysalis, temper worn to the absolute limit at the end of a long day, finally snaps and attempts to do this... but she quickly regrets it.
  • Only Sane Man: Cerci, Pupa's long-suffering yet affectionate nanny.
    • Princess Celestia, to no one's surprise.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Before Pupa, all of Chrysalis' children were stillborn or died at young ages due to illness caused or exacerbated by inbreeding-related birth defects.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Cerci is more of a mother to Pupa than Chrysalis, most of the time. Chrysalis acknowledges as much.
    • Prince Pincer, Chrysalis' uncle and probably her most competent advisor, appears to be one for her. At the very least, he is more fatherly to her than her own father, King Thorax.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: A lot of the changeling servants tend to behave this way, though given Chrysalis' Bad Boss tendencies, they're probably doing it to stay alive more than anything else.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Prince Pincer, Queen Chrysalis's uncle and one of her closest advisors.
    • Again, Celestia. Despite her personal feelings, she hears out Pincer's explanation that the ponies working in the Roachanov palace are in indentured servitude for criminal offences against the Changeling Kingdom.
  • Reality Ensues: Members of the changeling royal family are expected to hold military positions, even if they have no actual military experience. Chrysalis recounts when her father made her a Major General during a war at the age of eighteen, and because she had no experience, she lost her first battle so badly that most of her army was wiped out.
  • Royal Brat: Morphin, to whom Pupa is betrothed.
    • Pupa herself has shades of this at times, though to be fair, she doesn't really know any better.
  • Royal Inbreeding: To the point that most changeling aristocrats are at least ugly. Their children are outright deformed, and mentally disabled on top of it.
    • Chrysalis' children all died from massive infection due to the fact that their immune systems didn't work properly. Pupa is kept from becoming sick by being bundled up in several layers of clothing every time the weather turns less-than-perfect.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Pupa's physical and mental deficiencies are the result of generations of inbreeding within the Roachanov family.
    • Chrysalis herself is physically healthy (its stated by a doctor in a flashback she lucked out), but it's hinted that her violent temper and overall instability can be traced back to similar origins.
  • The Scapegoat: Part of Cerci's job is to serve as the whipping-girl for Pupa's misdemeanours.
  • Shout-Out: A feared ruler savagely beating their child in a fit of unbridled rage? That's a reference to Ivan the Terrible.
  • Slice of Life: The first five chapters show what changelings get up to when not invading other countries, comitting such nefarious deeds as... taking walks in the garden and playing croquet.
    • It isn't exactly Villains Out Shopping, since a lot of Chrysalis's daily routine involves trying to administrate her kingdom. Not to mention that most of the changelings here aren't villains, except arguably for the Queen herself.
  • Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction: Type III.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Celestia towards Chrysalis.
  • There Are No Therapists: Justified in that Pupa is the baby of a rather screwed-up royal family.
    • Celestia later comes to correct the situation, providing an exhausted Chrysalis with some much-needed pep talk (and soup).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Prince Morphin, at the end of the fic, acts the perfect gentlecolt towards Pupa. They eat rice balls together and hug in the penultimate and final scene.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: The changelings' food of choice is love soup.
  • The Unsmile: Chrysalis has a smile she uses when she's angry enough to kill, and uses it for executions. she gives it to Pupa when she is about to kill her.
  • Villain Protagonist: Chrysalis is still a nasty piece of work in this story. Word of God states that while the reader is invited to sympathize with her, she shouldn't be regarded as a full-on misunderstood Woobie.
    • Sure, there are signs of her being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, trying to keep her country fed and supplied for. Doesn't change the fact that she does some thoroughly heinous things, such as serving live ponies for breakfast, continuously neglecting her daughter's needs, and finally almost killing Pupa.
  • Villainous BSoD: Happens to Chrysalis after she almost kills Pupa.
  • The Voiceless: Princess Pupa. Although she has a string of noises she uses to convey information, such as apologies and affirmatives. Cerci considers it a Starfish Language that only she and her charge understand.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter Five.
  • Your Favourite: Celestia tries to cheer Chrysalis up with some miso soup, saying this word-for-word. Chrysalis retorts that Celestia doesn't know what her favorite is.
  • You're Not Her Mother: Cerci screams this at Chrysalis after Pupa winds up in hospital from the severe beating. Chrysalis thinks she's right, and not in the "I Have No Daughter!" sense, either.

The prequel, Pupa-Chan provides examples of:

  • Early Installment Weirdness: A few things are different than in the main story.
    • In Pupa-chan, Cerci is a middle-aged mare who resembles Chrysalis. In Maternal Instinct, she is instead a young, pretty mare with a lavender mane.
    • Pupa is unable to walk, needs to be pushed around in a wheelchair, and has difficulty holding things with her hooves. In the main story, she's usually carried by Cerci, but can crawl (but not walk) to get around, as well as use her hooves and horn magic to handle objects, albeit clumsily.
  • Foreshadowing: Pupa is terrified Chrysalis will hurt her, until she gets used to her mothers presence.
  • Japanese Honorifics: The suffix "-chan" is used to denote how adorable Cerci finds the princess, and how deeply they love each other.
  • Series Continuity Error: Maternal Instinct states that Changelings don't feed on each others Love unless freely given. Here, it's presented as perfectly normal that a parent would absorb the love from their child.
  • Title Drop: The instance under Japanese Honorifics.
  • So Proud of You: Upon hearing that Chrysalis actually hates the Koi pond, Pupa drops a magic missile in it, killing some of the fish. Chrysalis' response is to pat her on the back and declare; "That's my girl!"
  • Voice of the Legion: Pupa's internal monologue describes her mother speaking in "a strange shaky voice that sounded like two changelings were speaking at the same time".
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