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Episode The Times They Are A Changeling
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[train puffing]
Twilight Sparkle: I hope Shining Armor and Princess Cadance don't think it's too soon for me to come back to the Crystal Empire for a visit. But I just know Flurry Heart's grown so much already. I wonder if I'll even recognize her.
Starlight Glimmer: She's the only baby they have, Twilight. I think it'll be pretty easy to figure out who she is.
Twilight Sparkle: [annoyed grunt]
Starlight Glimmer: Sorry. I know you want to visit your niece as much as possible, and I'm excited to see Sunburst again. I just don't wanna fall behind on my friendship lessons back home.
Twilight Sparkle: Starlight, your work in Ponyville isn't going anywhere. Besides, I think we all know you can learn about friendship anywhere. Right, Spike?
Spike: [deep voice] "Spike?" Who's "Spike"?
Starlight Glimmer: Pfft. Uh, you're Spike, Spike. And why are you dressed like that?
Spike: [groans] [normal voice] Guys, you're blowing my cover! How'd you even know it was me?
Starlight Glimmer: Because you're you... in a coat, hat and glasses. Also, we're the only ones here.
Spike: Right.
Twilight Sparkle: Spike, why do you need a disguise?
Spike: Last time we came to the Crystal Empire, there was a lot goin' on with the new baby and the Crystalling, but I still got mobbed in the street.
Starlight Glimmer: I wouldn't say mobbed.
Spike: And this is just a family visit. I wouldn't want the presence of Spike the Brave and Glorious to turn it into some kind of circus.
Starlight Glimmer: We get it. The Crystal Ponies adore you.
Twilight Sparkle: He did save the Empire. Twice. But still, I don't think your presence will turn our visit into a circus.
Spike: Not if I find the right disguise, it won't.
[theme song]
Starlight Glimmer: Uh, disguise or not, Spike, I don't think you need to worry about being mobbed. Nopony's here.
[wind whistling]
[tumbleweed drifting]
[bird cries]
Spike: It's like a ghost town.
Twilight Sparkle: I've got a bad feeling about this.
Starlight Glimmer: Yeah, this is weird.
Spike: I guess I don't need the disguise after all.
[Crystal Ponies cheering]
Honeysparkle: It's Spike the Brave and Glorious!
Sapphire Joy: He's come to save us yet again!
Crystal Ponies: Spike! Spike! Spike! Spike!
Spike: Save you from what?
Starlight Glimmer: Yeah, what's going on?
Twilight Sparkle: Why was everypony hiding?
"Amber Laurel": Oh, it sure looks like Princess Twilight and her pupil.
"Scarlet Heart": But how can we be sure?
"Golden Väs": We can't! Either one of them could be the... you know!
"Amber Laurel": [gasps] What if this... [gasps] isn't... [gasps] the real Spike?!
"Scarlet Heart": Everypony, run!
Twilight Sparkle: Okay. Something strange is definitely going on.
Spike: [groans] Ya think?
Royal guard 1: Who goes there?
Starlight Glimmer: Um, you don't recognize the Princess of Friendship?
Royal guard 1: Of course we recognize her.
Royal guard 2: But that doesn't mean it's really her.
Spike: It's okay, guys. They're with me. And any friend of Spike the Brave and Glorious is a friend of the Crystal Empire, am I right?
Royal guard 2: Huh. It does look like him.
Royal guard 1: Well, it would, wouldn't it? I'm sorry, but we'll need to see some proof of identification.
Princess Cadance: We'll take care of things from here.
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, Cadance, thank goodness! What's going on?
Shining Armor: We can explain, Twily... if it really is you.
Princess Cadance: Sunshine, sunshine...
Princess Cadance and Twilight Sparkle: ...ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake! Mmm!
Shining Armor: It's okay, everypony. It's her.
Starlight Glimmer: Of course it's her! What's all this about?
Sunburst: A changeling's been spotted nearby.
Twilight Sparkle: A changeling?!
Spike: That's not good.
Princess Cadance: No, it's not. After Queen Chrysalis took my place at our wedding and invaded Canterlot with her army of minions, we're not taking any chances.
Sunburst: Changelings feed off of love. And ever since Flurry Heart's Crystalling, the Empire is filled with more love than anywhere in Equestria. It's possible they've come for the baby.
Shining Armor: That's why we posted the extra guards, and why we're—
Twilight Sparkle: Checking everypony's identity.
Princess Cadance: I'm sorry for all of this. Flurry Heart's really been looking forward to seeing you.
Flurry Heart: [coos]
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, she's gotten so big! Starlight and I will do whatever we can to help protect her.
Princess Cadance: To be honest, having you here is already a big relief.
Royal guard 2: [whispers indistinctly]
Shining Armor: Hmm. The royal guards were wondering if Spike the Brave and Glorious would like to join in the search for the changeling.
Spike: Really?
Twilight Sparkle: Uh, I don't know if that's such a good idea, Spike. It sounds dangerous.
Spike: Come on, Twilight, this is Spike the Brave and Glorious you're talking to. Have you ever known me to run from danger?
Twilight Sparkle: Um...
Shining Armor: He'll be safe with our guards.
Spike: Or will your guards be safe with me?
Twilight Sparkle: [sighs]
Royal guard 1: Spike the Brave and Glorious, you've faced the evil changelings before. What can you tell us?
Spike: Oh, uh, well, they are changelings, so they can... change.
Royal guard 1: [to other guards] You hear that? These monsters can look like any of us, so be on guard, guards! Even more than normal.
Spike: And they could be anywhere.
Royal guards: [affirming snort]
Spike: So we should cover as much ground as possible. You, search that way!
Spike: And you, search that way!
Spike: And... I'll... just search... here, I guess. Not many places to hide. Unless that rock is a changeling. Okay, rock. How do I know you're really a rock? Hmm. Not talkin', huh? Well, you can't fool me! Uhh! Ow! [screams]
Spike: Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Help! Oh! Uhh!
[boulder thuds]
Spike: Phew! [kisses] Okay. Maybe it's time Spike the Brave and Glorious went back to, uh, protect those guards. Gah! [sighs] Just my reflection. Huh? Ha! Ha-ha! Hmm. Just my imagination, I guess.
[transformation noise]
Spike: [screams]
Spike: Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changeling! [stutters]
Thorax: No, wait! Come back!
Spike: [screaming]
Spike: [screaming] This is unexpected.
Thorax: The ice is pretty slippery. I wouldn't want you to get hurt because of me.
Spike: You... saved me?
Thorax: It's okay. I know you don't wanna be friends.
Spike: Wait! I don't understand. Changelings are supposed to be evil... right?
Thorax: Evil? Oh, not me. All I've ever wanted is a friend.
Thorax: [narrating] From the moment I first split my egg in the nursery hive...
[changeling larva hissing]
Baby Thorax: [whimpering]
Thorax: [narrating] I was part of the attack on Canterlot during the royal wedding, but I'd never seen true friendship like that! And I couldn't just steal it and feed on its love. I wanted to share it!
Thorax: After that, I knew I couldn't live with my kind anymore. I set off looking for love to share, but...
Spike: But... what?
Thorax: I'm starving! And there's so much love in the Crystal Empire right now. It's what drew me here! But it's drivin' me crazy!
Spike: That would be from the royal Crystalling. It's pretty much a giant outpouring of light and love for a new baby.
Thorax: [hisses] Oh, sorry! I'm just so hungry! If I had a friend, maybe the love we shared could sustain me, but I don't think the Crystal Ponies want to be friends.
Spike: What if I told you there was somepony they respect and admire so much, he could convince them to give it a try?
Thorax: If only that were true.
Spike: It is! I mean, I am! It's me, Spike! Spike the Brave and Glorious? I'm sure you've heard of me.
Thorax: Nope. But I was raised by an evil queen. I'm Thorax. I can't believe you want to help me.
Spike: Why? Hasn't anypony ever just been nice to you?
Thorax: [hisses] Uh! S-Sorry! Kindness like that kind of brings it out. Do you still wanna be my friend?
Spike: Of course! And I am one hundred percent sure I can get the whole Crystal Empire to be your friend too.
Thorax: [hisses]
Spike: But... maybe I should just, uh, talk to them first.
Thorax: [muffled grunting]
Royal guard 1: What do you mean? Did you see the changeling?
Royal guard 2: Did you defeat the evil creature?
Spike: Defeating a changeling would be brave, but do you know what would be glorious?
Royal guard 1: Defeating two changelings?
Royal guard 2: Defeating all the changelings?
Spike: Not having to fight the changeling at all! Because I made friends with him.
[guards laughing]
Royal guard 1: Oh, wow! For a second I thought you were serious!
Royal guard 2: [laughing] Could you imagine? Friends with a changeling?
Spike: I am serious. He wants to be friends!
[guards laughing]
Royal guard 2: Right!
Royal guard 1: Not only are you Spike the Brave and Glorious, you're also Spike the Hilarious!
Royal guard 2: [laughing]
Spike: I'm not joking! The changeling is nice!
[guards laughing harder]
Shining Armor: I'm sorry, but I don't think it's funny. The Changeling Queen Chrysalis kidnapped Cadance and cast a spell on me.
Shining Armor: There's no such thing as a nice changeling.
Spike: You're right, Shining Armor. Sorry. That was a... bad joke.
Thorax: So? So? Uh, what did they say? How many new friends do I have?
Spike: Well, it didn't go exactly the way I thought.
Thorax: [groans] I understand. Well, thanks for trying. I-I guess it's not surprising. How can you expect ponies who looks like this... [transformation noise] to trust something that looks like this? [transformation noise]
Spike: I think I might know!
[door opens]
Twilight Sparkle: Spike, if you're done searching for the changeling, Starlight and I could use your help. We're working on a protection spell for Flurry Heart, and nopony takes notes like you.
Spike: Uh, actually, Twilight, I, uh, wanted to introduce you to my friend, uh... Uh, Crystal, uh... Hoof! Crystal Hoof! [chuckles] My good friend, Crystal Hoof.
Thorax: Nice to meet you.
Twilight Sparkle: Oh. Well, it's, uh, nice to meet you, too. How do you know Spike?
Thorax: Oh, uh, Spike and I go way back.
Spike: To the Equestria Games! That's when we met. We've been pen pals ever since.
Twilight Sparkle: Pen pals? Spike! You could have been using my pen pal quill set! Why didn't you tell me?
Spike: Well, I... I pretty much only write to him when you and Starlight are... studying.
Thorax: I like to brag to all my friends about my letters from Spike the Brave and Glorious.
Spike: Yeah. [laughs nervously]
Thorax and Spike: [laugh nervously]
Twilight Sparkle: Well, I'm sure Starlight and I can manage, if you want to spend time with your friend.
Spike: Great! Crystal Hoof promised to take me around the city.
Thorax: Oh, that was amazing!
Spike: I told ya.
[montage music]
Royal guard 1: [hushed] Crystal Hoof is nearly as entertaining as Spike himself.
Thorax: [gasps] This place is everything I've ever dreamed of! [hushed] But I can't keep pretending to be a Crystal Pony forever, can I?
Spike: Relax. You're winning them over. Pretty soon, nopony will care that you're a changeling.
Princess Cadance: Spike! Twilight told me you were off with a friend.
Spike: [nervous laugh]
Princess Cadance: And any friend of Spike the Brave and Glorious is a friend of mine.
Flurry Heart: [coos]
Thorax: Oh, she's so beautiful! There's so much l-love around her...! I... I...!
[transformation noise]
Thorax: [hisses]
Princess Cadance: [gasps]
Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer: [gasps]
Thorax: I... [hisses] I'm so... [hisses] ...sorry...! I can't... Can't [hisses] ...stop!
Twilight Sparkle: Spike! Get away from the changeling!
Spike: Wait, no! You don't understand!
Sunburst: This changeling replaced your friend to get close to the baby! What other explanation could there be?!
Spike: I...
Thorax: [hisses]
Spike: ...I don't know.
Thorax: [whimpers]
Royal guard 1: After it! Don't let the changeling escape!
Princess Cadance: I hope your friend is okay.
Spike: Yeah... Me, too.
Royal guard 1: Spike, you should go find Crystal Hoof while we hunt down the changeling.
Spike: I'm pretty sure he doesn't wanna see me.
Shining Armor: Spread out! The changeling is probably still nearby!
Spike: Actually, I'm pretty sure he ran as far away from here as possible.... But I bet I know where!
Spike: Thorax! Hello? I just want to apologize! I should have stood up for you... Aw, come on, Thorax! I know you're in here!
[transformation noise]
Thorax: Leave me alone! [hisses]
Spike: [yelps] [panting] Little help?
Thorax: Why do you think I would help you? I'm an "evil changeling"!
Spike: Because you're my friend. I just wish I had been one to you. [yelps]
Thorax: It's okay, I know it's hard. Everyone in the Crystal Empire loves you. I couldn't ask you to give that up for me.
Spike: You don't have to ask.
Thorax: What are you gonna do?
Spike: What I should've done in the first place.
Royal guards: Let's move! Move! Move! This way! This way! Let's go! Check there? Okay. Over here! Over here! [etc.]
[guards shouting]
Royal guard: Look around that corner! Over there! Over there! [etc.]
Starlight Glimmer: I know it's bad that there's a changeling around, but is all this really necessary?
Princess Cadance: If there's one changeling, there may well be a whole army on the way.
Twilight Sparkle: True. But Starlight has a point. This is getting a little out of hand.
Princess Cadance: [sighs] I understand, but I don't know what else we can do.
Spike: I do!
[ponies gasp]
Shining Armor: Spike! What are you doing?! Get away from that thing!
Spike: No. He's not a "thing"! His name is Thorax, and he's my friend!
Royal guards and Shining Armor: [gasp]
Princess Cadance and Sunburst: [gasp]
Starlight Glimmer: [gasp]
Would you say I'm a hero
Glorious and brave
If I told you something you wouldn't believe?
That sometimes I'm scared
And I can make mistakes
And I'm not so heroic, it seems
But if day can turn to night
And the darkness turn to light
Then why can't we imagine a changeling can change?
No two ponies are exactly the same
No two snowflakes ever match their design
And I thought I was strong
But I was nothing but wrong
When I forgot to be friendly and kind
But if day can turn to night
And the darkness turn to light
Then why can't we imagine a changeling can change?
Would you say I'm a hero
Glorious and brave
If I told you something you wouldn't believe?
This changeling, it seems
Knows the real me
And would stay by my side 'til the end
So if day can turn to night
And the darkness turn to light
Then why can't we imagine
Just why can't we imagine
Then why can't we imagine a changeling can change?
[long beat]
Twilight Sparkle: Spike, I'm so proud of you.
Spike: You are?
Twilight Sparkle: Of course! You're a celebrity here in the Crystal Empire, and you just risked all of it for a friend! I can't imagine anything more brave than that. [to others] As the Princess of Friendship, I try to set an example for all of Equestria. But today, it was Spike who taught me that a new friend can come from anywhere. I guess everypony still has things to learn about friendship. Even me! And if Spike says Thorax is his friend, then he's my friend too.
Thorax: Thank you.
Princess Cadance: On behalf of the Crystal Empire, I would like to extend my hoof in friendship, and I'm sure all of my subjects are eager to do the same.
[guards cheering]
Flurry Heart: [coos]
Shining Armor: Welcome to the Crystal Empire, Thorax. I'm sorry we didn't take the time to get to know you. Maybe we can change that now.
Thorax: That'd be so amazing! I want to know all about friendship, and maybe one day I can take that knowledge back to the Changeling Kingdom! If my kind learned how to create love for one another, maybe they wouldn't have to take it from others!
Royal guard 1: To Spike the Brave and Glorious!
Starlight Glimmer: Looks like you were right after all.
Twilight Sparkle: Right about what?
Starlight Glimmer: Friendship lessons can happen anywhere.