In the aftermath of the Canterlot Wedding and the changeling invasion, Fluttershy poses a question to Twilight: what if she, all along, had secretly been a changeling? What follows is a philosophical and ethical debate in the vein of Fantastic Racism and What Measure Is a Non-Human?, as Fluttershy brings up the possibility that not all changelings are bad, and discusses if her secretly being a benevolent changeling would influence her friendship with Twilight.
The fic became very popular upon its posting and inspired a lot of Recursive Fanfiction, each with their own take on the titular question. A group collecting all the spin-offs exists: including the original story, it hosts around 25 stories.
This fanfic contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: A lot of comedic takes on the fic were done.
- Ambiguous Situation: Is Fluttershy a changeling, or is she asking the question because she is worried about what might happen if other changelings are caught? Did Fluttershy use the stare on Twilight? Would Twilight have attacked Fluttershy if Fluttershy hadn't?
- Armor-Piercing Question: It's in the title.
- Beast Master: Fluttershy surrounding herself with animals that love her would be consistent with her feeding off of their love as a changeling.
- Fantastic Racism: Fluttershy points out that while changelings did attack Canterlot, they don't know if they represent the bulk of the changeling race, or were a small group. Either way, it's not fair to instantly condemn all changelings because of what Chrysalis did.
- Fridge Horror: Part of the story — as Twilight begins to list off Fluttershy's character traits, she realizes she could be a changeling.
- Left Hanging: The original fic leaves it ambiguous if Fluttershy is a changeling or not, as the whole theme of the story is talking Twilight into the realization that it shouldn't matter if she is or not.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Twilight realizes that Fluttershy's stare ability might actually be changeling magic. The story also implies that Fluttershy might have used them on Twilight to get her to back off.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Fluttershy points out that, even if she was a changeling, she's still an intelligent, independent being who has forged lasting relationships with other ponies and lived in peace among them for a long time. So does being a changeling compromise the value of that life?