Before Twilight could understand what was going on, Wub was all over her, cheering and crying.
“It’s juicy! It’s fresh! I love it! I love salad!” Those and other statements confused the mare even more.
She herself felt strange. A smell invaded her nostrils, something she never experienced before – it was sweet, mouth-watering and… It came from Chip. His whole body had a scent of cotton candy. While the changeling was jumping up and down, crushing her neck in a tight hug, she was drooling like she never had before, an urge to inhale the scent overpowering her…
No, she didn’t want to simply smell it. She wanted to taste it. Something, a vague memory perhaps, told her that she would be ecstatic about the taste of this… What was it? Why did she remember this? What the hay was going on?!
The mare stopped Chip and looked him in the eyes. Her stern face and slightly widened pupils alerted the changeling.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, his tongue dancing along his teeth, searching for whatever leftovers there were of the delicious vegetable.
“You tell me! I feel… I can smell… Something, something strange. From you. This will sound totally insane, but I think I can… I can… Taste that you’re happy.”
Chip’s face went from squinting, to surprise, finally ending up on deadpan. He yanked the mare out of the kitchen and into the laboratory, making sure the doors behind him are closed.
“You can smell me? My happiness? Are you sure?”
“I… I don’t know. This is crazy… Really… B-But that is what… That is what I believe I feel. I mean smell. I mean… Ugh!”
“Calm down Twilight… Calm down…” said Chip. He himself was beginning to worry – try as he might, but the air smelled of dust and dampness. There was no confusion that surely was all around Twilight. Nothing. Not even his own feelings…
There was silence in which the pony and changeling tried to understand what was happening to them – it didn’t take a genius to understand thought.
“The spell,” they murmured at the same time.
“I… We… We switched traits?!” yelped Twilight.
“I can taste food, you can taste emotions… I can see no other explanation.”
“I-Is it permanent?! Ohmygosh,” groaned Twilight, stepping away from Chip. “This is frustrating. I feel like I could… I just want to… I want to taste you, bleh. We have to fix this, and fix this soon!”
“Well, if you say so,” shrugged Chip. He didn’t have anything to actually complain about – not having to keep his guard up all the time and being able to taste food was fantastic!
“Hey, this is serious! Have you any idea how… Just how frustrated I feel now?! I want to have you, but I don’t know how!”
“I think I understand perfectly clear,” grinned Chip, stepping away nonetheless. The looks Twilight was giving him were disturbing, to put it lightly – who knew what a pony afflicted with changeling lusts could do.
“We, we have to cast this spell again. Put it right, unmeld or… Whatever! Just take this stupid smell away from me!”
“Just calm down,” repeated Chip, changing into his changeling form. It felt a bit off, but he was still a large colt with a curvy horn and leather wings, all wrapped up in shining chitin.
“Let’s do this,” he murmured, bringing his head close to hers.
They became one entity again, in that same place that consisted of overlapping images of sounds, crushed into a zero dimensional place somewhere in another plane of existence. Twilight/Chip was panicked to say the least. Only now it occurred to him/her that it could get worse. What they did was touch with elements they didn’t understand; with something that ponykind would call souls – the uncharted territory where science doesn’t dare thread.
There was no time to waste, as the feeling of pain was creeping slowly but surely to the melded changeling-pony. They remembered and sought out the empty space they felt before and tried to move there. It was a hard thing to do – there were no barriers or matter to move around in, and the place that was their destination felt like it existed in another universe altogether. It felt like being trapped in a glass box and looking at another glass box barely a hoof away. But there was no exit.
Twilight/Chip was straining to separate his/her thoughts – their identities no longer knew any physical bounds, combining like water from two different sources.
But we are not water, they thought. One of us is from a totally different world. One of us is a pony. One of us is a changeling. These two cannot be one and the same. There has to be a way to…
Maybe there was. That dark path Twilight/Chip felt, the one that felt threatening and was disregarded. They needed to try and meld again.
Twilight found herself again at the crossroads where Chip’s mind was divided – to her astral left was the crawling, snickering dark path of thorns. To the right, the light and familiar plains that she so wanted to go into again. But she couldn’t. No, she shouldn’t. She still remembered the terror when she woke up, feeling even stronger than before the scent of Chip. And the urge to sink her teeth into his neck.
With her thoughts shaking heavily, she pushed herself into the dark and damp part of Chip’s mind. She felt there was a gate there – one that was chained down and locked. The doors were huge, wooden, and old. The shackles around them felt daunting, forged from black steel and locked with an enormous lock that was… Staring at her. There was an eye in the keyhole – a green iris, cut in half with a cat-like pupil. It felt ancient, malicious and most of all, cold.
This way was closed by a will far stronger than that of Chip – Twilight could feel a faint smell from behind the doors – a smell that brought to mind images of thousands of rustling wings, a cloudless night over a dark landscape, a green chamber that was empty…
What to do now? Terminate the spell? Return to the torture of drooling her mouth out at the tempting smell she felt from Chip? No, no way!
With determination the mare threw herself at the chains, tugging and biting, bucking and striking. Metallic clanging echoed in the nothingness around. The green eye traced Twilight’s feeble attempts…
Stop looking at me! yelled the mare, digging her hooves into the keyhole. She felt something slimy and slick envelop her hooves before she was bathed in something sticky and warm. A terrible shriek followed, something that chilled the pony to the very core.
For a brief moment, the shackles fell apart and the doors swung open, revealing the image of thousands, maybe millions of changelings, all piled up on each other, their blue eyes focusing on Twilight. It looked like a solid wall of chitin bodies, sickly leathery wings, and those sky blue orbs…
The shackles reassembled themselves swiftly, knocking Twilight away. Before she lost control of her spell she managed to see the lock return to its place, a new eye glaring at her with unrestrained hate.
The spell was no longer working. Twilight was sure of that. Yet, she didn’t feel anything. After the backlash from the gate she just flew and flew… Maybe through space, maybe through time, she couldn’t tell – it was all so unworldly. She weighted nothing, she was nothing – just a spark in the dark. A spark that desperately needed a home. A warm place to stay at.
Such a place came into view quite soon, and Twilight dove for it. The home, that particular spot, it was comfortable. She knew and liked it. Yes, she would stay here.
“Hey, you guys! Wake up! Stop scaring me like that!” yelled a distressed Spike.
Chip opened his eyes to the sight of the little baby dragon bowing over him.
“Are you alright?” asked Twilight’s assistant with a worried face.
“Yes, I’m fine… Go… Go check up on Twilight… I think… I think something was different this time…”
“Huh?” Spike seemed confused, putting a paw to his forehead. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yeah… I just… Got knocked out or something… I flew… And then found my home… My spark… Ugh, my head… Why does it hurt so much?”
“Just settle down, Twilight. It's fine now. I heard you guys screaming like mad and when you didn’t answer, I had to force the doors down…”
Indeed, the heavy wooden doors were broken out of their hinges. Their outer side was charred, full of scratches and bent metal pieces. It must have taken a lot of effort to open them…
“Spike, go check if Twilight is okay…”
“But… Twi, are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m Chip,” hissed the changeling, trying to gather himself up from the floor but failing miserably. “Now stop fooling around and go to Twilight!”
“… You are Twilight! For Pete’s sake… Chip! I mean, Wub! Wake up, I think something is wrong with Twilight!”
The dragon was clearly confused. The colt was going to say something when his eyes finally looked at the pony that lay before him… A silver coated mare with white hair, who was coming to now, blinked rapidly with her yellow eyes.
Slowly, the changeling looked at his own hoof. It was purple. He looked up. Something purple that looked like hair was hovering over him. A mane. He looked at his back. A flank the color of grapes, with several stars on the hind leg. And a tail. A long, purple tail.
Chip looked again at the pony who now came to and was staring at the colt.
“Spike, since when do we have a mirror here?... Oww, my head!”
“Wub… Uh, we don’t… Guys? What’s going on? You’re acting weird. Should I call a doctor or something?”
“Twilight,” whispered Chip.
The body that should have been his opened its eyes wide.
“Chip…?” whispered Twilight.
The body that should have been hers opened its mouth wide.
Spike gasped as the two ponies closed their eyes and fell to the floor with the most unpleasant of thumps.
The clock in the library announced it was ten. Spike was nervously pacing around the room, looking at the two unconscious ponies lying on the sofa. What should he do? Call a doctor? No, he would make things more complicated, especially with the monster. Call Celestia? He wasn’t allowed to send messages to the Princess regarding the creature. What to do? What to do!?
Finally Twilight budged, followed by a twitch from Wub’s hoof. They both groaned, coughing viciously as they tried to get up onto their shaking legs. Their eyes met – it was terror at first sight. None of them could utter even a single word. Everything was racing in their heads.
Something went wrong. The spell, something that Twilight did, it caused their bodies to switch. Chip was inside Twilight. Twilight was inside Chip. This dire predicament would be an exciting event to research, but having to experience it was absolute terror. The sheer volume of thoughts each of them had was spilling from their minds, choking them, taking away their breath.
“Twilight,” stated Chip, sitting down helplessly.
The mare who was now in an alien body did the same, fighting for breath.
“You guys, what the hay is going on!” yelled Spike, trying to shake them out of this worrying state.
The two slowly turned to face the baby dragon, still unable to talk. There were no words to describe their emotions, their thoughts – even if there were, they would all be synonymous to fear or terror.
They switched bodies. Celestia knew why, how and for how long. They managed to dislodge their minds, their souls, from the places they should be in and put them somewhere else. Would that hurt them? Did that mean they lost connection to the material realm? What was the material realm now? A place when one can just pop out of their shell and wear another one?
Scary, scary, scary, terrifying…
“TWILIGHT! WUB! ANSWER ME!” shouted Spike at the top of his lungs, violently shaking the absent minded ponies. This physical stimulus, the feeling of the baby dragon’s claws on their skin and fur jotted them to life.
“Spike,” stared Twilight who was now Wub. “Switched bodies.”
“Huh? What does that mean?!” yelled the assistant, focusing on the changeling body.
“I am Twilight. He is Chip. I am him. He is me. We switched bodies.” The voice that came out from the pony’s mouth was totally washed of emotions.
“Uhum,” nodded the body of Twilight, now controlled by Chip. “Ghosts in shells…”
“You aren’t making any sense!” snarled the angry dragon, sitting down. “How can you switch bodies?! There is no such spell! This is ridiculous! If this is some kind of joke, it’s not funny at all. Just stop it, okay?”
“This is no joke, Spike. I am now in Chip’s body. Hehe.” That was not a cheerful laugh.
“Yeah. I am now Twilight Sparkle. Yay.” Neither was that a cheer.
The two sat there, on the cold floor, observed by Spike who had no idea what to do.
It took nearly an hour of silence, interrupted by some meaningless statements, before Chip and Twilight were ready to face the facts – they somehow managed to switch bodies. They didn’t accept it, and hoped this was all just a bad dream… But it obviously wasn’t. The pinching test proved that.
“What do we do now?” asked Twilight, rubbing her sore cheek. She forced Spike to use all his might to twist it and now the pain, which was connected to this new body, assured her this was not a nightmare – just a nightmarish reality.
“We have to tell Celestia, or Luna,” replied Chip, holding an ice bag to not his own face.
“We… We can’t. We shouldn’t.”
“Why?! This is major. Nopony else did this before… And we’re in deep trouble if we stay like this...”
“We can handle this, okay?”
“I can handle this,” said Chip, pointing to his body. “But in no way can you handle this,” he continued, placing a hoof on the still disguised changeling body. “You remember the smell you wanted so badly to go away?”
“Y-Yes… Oh no…” Twilight covered her nose, but it was no use. Now that she started paying attention to it, her new body flooded her with scents and memories of tastes of emotions. Her mouth filled with drool and she had to swallow time and time again, the crazy smell of Spike and Chip flooding her with a desire that she knew could be fulfilled with ease.
“We have to write to Celestia as soon as possible. About this. And we have to lock you up somewhere, Twilight.” Chip sounded very serious. His body wafted with fear, encased in determination. The mare could just simply fill her horn with magic, it was so easy, and then just… A little bit…
“Twilight!” screamed Chip, jumping away from a green bolt that nearly hit him.
The librarian blinked away the thoughts that sieged her barely sane mind, looking with disbelief at the mark left by the spell she unwillingly cast.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to! I… I’m scared!” wept Twilight, slumping to the floor.
Spike tried to rush to her side but was tackled by Wub.
“Don’t come near her. She can’t control it. Stay, away,” murmured the stallion. He knew the pain she felt now, the hunger that was drilling her guts in all directions. He got used to it, being around ponies for a very long time – but there was no way Twilight could withstand this kind of torture.
Slowly, the pony and dragon backed away. Twilight noticed that and through sobs and tears reached out to them.
“Please, don’t leave me alone like this. I don’t want to be alone! I don’t want to be like this! Help me!”
Gently, Chip shoved Spike upstairs towards the bedroom. He made his mind up about what he was going to do.
“Twilight, I will need you to trust me now, okay? Can you do that? Can you focus and listen to me?”
“U-Uhum,” wept the librarian, trying to crawl her way to Chip who kept a distance from her at all times. Soon they danced along the walls of the library.
“I will now write a letter to Celestia and leave it where it was supposed to be. A simple report telling her that we don’t have anything interesting to show just yet, but are on our way towards a breakthrough. As such, I’ll be gone for literally just a few moments okay?”
“G-Gone?” gasped Twilight, following Chip around with bloodshot eyes. They were now entering the laboratory and slowly descending the stairs.
“Yes, but I promise it is just for a short while, okay? Just to drop the letter. You’ll have to stay here and focus. Focus really hard. Not on the hunger, not on the pain – focus on your own thoughts. Think about yourself, who you are, who you want to be.”
“Who I want to be?” she repeated mindlessly.
“Yes, exactly. Think happy thoughts. I’ll be back in just a few moments and help you out, okay? You won’t be alone. Now I just…”
Chip managed to dodge another bolt of green energy and run up the stairs, closing the doors behind himself. The key clicked just in time to stop Twilight. The colt had no idea how much the doors would hold out, being broken and all, but for now they stood strong against the wailing and scratching of the mare inside.
As fast as he could, the changeling ran up to the bedroom. Spike tried to say something, but was hushed by Chip who started hastily writing something.
“Listen, Spike. Whatever happens, don’t go down until I return. Put a pillow on your head, perhaps two, and just go to sleep. Don’t come down. This is important, very important for Twilight, okay?”
The baby dragon nodded. What else could he do? He watched as the body of Twilight lay down a quill and vanished. He did as he was told. One pillow. Another one. The thumps from below were still haunting him…
“Twilight!” called Chip, appearing at the bottom of the laboratory. His head hurt – he knew how to use magic, but a pony horn was different from his usual one, and he probably overstrained it with teleportation. It was hard to adjust to this new body… And now he would have to do something even more daunting.
The mare who was now reduced to a ravaging, crying creature turned away from the doors which were close to falling by now. She nearly leapt down, insanity mixed with lust in her eyes.
“Twilight, I know it hurts. But it will go away. I promise. You can trust me, right?”
She didn’t answer, looking at him with those crazy eyes. Her horn was growing a green, eerie light.
Chip inhaled and exhaled deeply, remembering a certain scene from his past. There was a time he believed he did something horrible to another pony. He then believed there was no absolution for such a crime. What he intended to do now wasn’t an attempt at erasing that sin – he wanted to try his own medicine. Underneath the fear he felt, there was a tiny bit of fascination; what would it be like?
Twilight came really close to Chip, her silver horn a brilliant green torch, pointed straight at him.
Time to find out, he thought with a smile…