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“Once again, thank you for your help, Princess,” said Twilight, bowing to her teacher.
Chip did something of a curt himself, almost touching his sore face against the wooden floor.
“You are welcome Twilight, Wub,” replied the Princess, nodding.
“What should we do now? Wait for Wub to heal up and continue? I promise this is the last time something like this has happened.”
“I believe you my faithful student. Still, I would like our friend to take a look at his, uh, former kinsmare. Preferably as soon as possible. I’m not sure if she’ll be able in that state-”
Chip raised a hoof, causing Celestia to go silent. He then proceeded to wave his legs about, regrettably with little to no effect. All he got was blank stares. Chip had no clue how to show something, say that he is ready here and now. Save for the tender face, he felt mostly fine.
“Maybe you could write what you want to say, Wub?” proposed Twilight, furrowing a brow and still trying to guess what the disguised colt wanted to say. In a way, his flailing around reminded her of Pinkie Pie – the mare not once tried to relay a message that was very complex using only a few simple motions that didn’t make any sense.
The changeling was hoofed a piece of paper and quill. Slowly, he wrapped his hoof around the feather. And fumbled it. The piece of paper wasn’t any simpler to handle. Even when held down with one hoof, it fidgeted.
“Maybe you can try-” started Twilight, but was hushed by yet another extended forehoof.
“Fi fot fis,” spat the changeling, straightening the quill between his hooves. He attempted to grab it in his teeth, and that was yet another no-no. The pain that went through exactly the muscles he needed to move his jaw caused him to chomp down on the writing device, severing it in two. Involuntarily, the colt swallowed the part of the feather, feeling it get stuck somewhere in his throat.
He coughed and spat, the damn thing dancing up and down his windpipe. After a moment of hesitation, Twilight jumped in and begun patting the colt on the back.
“Are you alright? Celestia, you’re a walking disaster… Oh, sorry, Princess,” added the mare apologetically towards the regal pony.
With some more effort the offending feather was coughed up, covered in drool and something green. It was all gooey and sticky, encasing the piece tightly in a fidgeting, jelly like mass.
“Eww,” yelped Celestia and Twilight in unison. For it truly was ‘eww’. So ‘eww’ that the two ponies backed away just in case.
“Spike will clean that, I’m not touching it,” groaned the librarian, again trying to address Chip. “Listen, why don’t you just use magic to operate the quill and paper, hmm? Wouldn’t that be easier?”
A tiny light bulb lit in the depths of Chip’s mind. Of course, it was so obvious.
“So you say you are ready?” asked the Princess, hoofing Chip back the piece of paper he was writing on. So far she learned that the changeling felt fine, save for the swelling, and he was willing and eager to accompany her back to Canterlot. He was also sorry for what happened. One and a half pages of sorry. Very elaborate sorry.
Chip simply nodded in response, eyeing his forehoof that wished nothing more than to dive into the itching jelly of its master’s face.
“Perfect. Is there anything you need to pack?”
The changeling shook his head slightly, putting the shaking hoof away. Celestia, it wanted to scratch so badly.
“Princess! What about me?” asked Twilight.
“I’m sorry Twilight, you must stay here. It would be suspicious if you vanished all of a sudden.”
“Oh…yes, that makes sense. But will Wub be back? I mean, we have our mission and-”
“We shall see what the future yields, Twilight. Maybe our friend here will find out something very important, and there will be no further need for this research. In the meanwhile, please, stay out of trouble.”
“Yes, your highness,” replied the mare, sagging visibly. She couldn’t decide if she felt so let down because her research would get postponed, with the possibility of never being resumed again, or…or will she simply miss Chip these few days.
Yes, he was scary. Sometimes, even very much. He wasn’t a pony, even if he sometimes looked like one. But at heart, she could feel he was gentle and kind. And that he wanted so much to fit in. Just a year or so ago Twilight wouldn’t understand that urge to be accepted. But now, now that she had her friends with whom she went through so much with…she wouldn’t trade with anypony.
“We shall be off then, Twilight Sparkle,” said Celestia, spreading her wings and nodding at Wub. The disguised colt approached the Princess, glancing briefly at Twilight.
As a gold aura enveloped him and the sun-goddess, the changeling again picked up the paper and quill and scribbled something hastily on it. The utensils were still in the air when both he and the royal mare disappeared in a flash of light, transported miles away, in the direction of Canterlot.
The brown paper gently flew down, landing a hoof or two away from Twilight. She picked it up and read the last sentence. It made her smile.
In an untidy writing, one reminding her of a kindergarten foal, the letters read:
‘I’ll be back Twi’
Chip could still feel the quill in his telekinetic grasp when he arrived in a brightly lit room. He didn’t manage to finish his last one. Hopefully, the mare would somehow understand that he meant to write ‘I’ll be back Twilight, you still owe me some pony research.’
Dismissing the thought quickly, the changeling took in the chamber he was in right now. It looked something like his Canterlot quite, but it was a bit smaller and consisted of a giant bed, one with fancy red veils around the edge, some drawers and wardrobes as well as what seemed like a balcony. There were lots of flowers there, so it was probably some kind of outdoor buffet. Chip would have to ask Celestia about that in the near future, when he could finally speak.
“This is my bedroom,” explained Celestia, approaching one of the many furniture pieces and looking through the contents. “Since it is still light outside, you will have to wait until I’m done with my duties before we can safely descend to my, um, field laboratory.”
The mare threw a few colorful cloaks and rags onto the bed, her face growing sourer by the second.
“We will have to disguise you as somepony else…but for the life of me, I don’t have any clothes that would be your size!”
Chip shrugged. It wasn’t a problem at all, he would just shift his form into something bigger, after all, colts could get bigger and-
Shape shifting was a process that required the skin to be altered. Chip didn’t fully understand it. That was the main reason behind the pain in his face right now. As green flames washed over his body, a sensation of pressure and pain filled his muzzle. It felt like it would explode at any minute.
Without thinking his situation through, the colt reverted to his original form. A form that had thick chitin carapace over almost every part of his body. An armor that now pressed hard against the tender skin of his face, igniting flames and causing the changeling to howl in pain.
“Chip! What’s the matter?!” jumped Celestia, looking away to see the tear-filled muzzle of the colt.
He tried to change, one last time. He focused hard on allowing his broken face as much space as possible. The green light went over him, coloring his coat a deep read, extending his rugged tail into a beautifully groomed blond masterpiece and his muzzle…well, it didn’t hurt. He kind of knew what to expect, especially after Celestia’s features twisted into something between disgust and surprise.
“Oh my, are you alright?” asked the Princess, sitting in front of the colt. “Does it still hurt?”
She gently raised a hoof to his face, backing away immediately as she saw Chip cringe.
“Poor thing,” she whispered, leaning in to inspect his muzzle. It wouldn’t do at all. He could not go around Canterlot looking like that…he would have to stay here….
“Is everything alright, Princess? I heard a scream an-”
Chip and Celestia turned to meet the stunned face of a royal guard. His expression gained more depth when he saw the diabolical face of what looked to be Celestia’s…
“I’m sorry to interrupt!” yelped the Pegasus, closing the door and trotting off.
Nonono, that was impossible. thought the pony, slowing down around a corner. But…but. Princess Celestia gone for some time, late for an appointment with her guests from Fillydelphia? Check. Lots and lots of clothes on a messy bed? Can’t deny it. Celestia’s hooves around something that unmistakably was a colt? Can bet both my eyes I saw it. But his face? What the buck happened to his face? Was she into that kind of stuff? Dear Ce-… Dear Luna save me. I gotta tell the guys!
Meanwhile, in the library, Twilight was looking through the notes and drawings she made of Chip. She took the time to correct some errors that somehow made their way into her tidy writing. Not that there are that many, mentally shrugged the mare.
Her eyes were drawn to a book, stuffed between some unused equipment.
“I think I told that pervert to return it!” shouted Twilight, bringing the title to her face with mild disgust. “Oh. This is something else? Huh…’Forbidden Gardens’? Never heard that one before…huh. Seems like a love story of sorts. Passionate love story of two colts? You mean, like, two pairs of colts and mares, right? Curious. Chip was reading romance? Or is this some kind of…oh well. Don’t judge the book by its cover, Twilight. You learned that a long time ago.”
The mare looked around. There wasn’t anything much to do here anyway. She could go and meet her friends. She wasn’t outside to properly relax in days as well. A picnic would sound about right.
“Nah, who am I kidding, books rule,” chirped the satisfied librarian, curling up her forehooves and lying down. She spread the tome in front of her and begun reading.
“Anon and Melel, two good foal-hood friends, were sitting side by side in a cinema. Their beautiful wives by their sides, the four watched a movie called…hm, this doesn’t sound too bad.”