Rainbow Dash knew of it. A hole in the cobbled home and workplace of Dominic. Something overlooked and unchecked. It didn’t even exist to anypony else but her. She could visualize the loose venting shutter even as she was quietly zooming towards the apothecarium. Since Dominic’s work produced potentially harmful fumes that could be fatal if they built up, he naturally installed a simple ventilation system that he could easily open and close to keep pests and intruders out. Yet, there was one shutter that never completely locked. One in the far corner of his lab, where it was too high and too awkwardly placed to conveniently maintain. Dash first noticed this compromise drifting by on a cloud overhead one day. She did not have an innate attention to detail like Rarity, quite the opposite, in fact, so the discovery was purely incidental. She had meant to tell Dominic about it, but due to her tendency to procrastinate, and sometimes forget altogether, it had never reached his ears. Now, she was using the information against her aged friend.
Dash felt sick. She felt low. She felt like a dirty, grimy, guilty scumbag for betraying her friend’s trust.
But she had to. She had to because she wanted it. She wanted it bad, and she was sure Dommy had a potion that could do it.
The mentally-warring pegasus found the shutter and, ever so slowly, shifted it’s hinges upwards. There was a faint metal slide as the latch bypassed the lock. Dash cringed as the shutter creaked open. She floated into the chemical-heavy air of the lab. Faint sounds could be heard: The dense groan of the ever-running distillery, tiny bubbling of slow boiling flasks, soft snores emanating from upstairs. Rainbow Dash paced her hovering, converging slowly to the basement door, where a plethora of concoctions were stored. A sign on the door depicted a head of a unicorn with a cross through it, the captions stating “NO MAGIC ALLOWED” in bold Equestrian lettering. She carefully gripped the door handle and pulled in tiny, agonizing squeaks. When the entrance was parted enough, she sucked in a breath and squeezed through the crack, sighing as she emerged on the dimly-lit staircase.
Dash descended down the steps, her heart beating sporadically. Sweat clumped her cyan fur together. She concentrated to control her heavy breathing. ”This is wrong.” She thought. “I can’t do this to the old-timer. He’d kill me if he found out!” Her standing with the ebon earth-pony was only mutual at worst, but she’s seen first-hand just how angry and crazy he got at times. She wouldn’t wish it on anypony.
Her descent came to and end as she beheld a truly grand sight. Hundreds of glass containers lined the dozens of shelves in the cool room, all organized and labels to a degree. It wasn’t as tidy as Twilight’s library, but it made sense. Dominic had a habit of using pictures and sketches just about as much as text, a habit even he couldn’t fully explain. He never got confused, though. Dash started at the very beginning, browsing flask after flask of colored fluids, finding things like “Enhanced Mentality”, “Dermal Strengthening”, “Stallionhood Enlar-
She hurriedly skipped over the next few shelves with a blush. That was definitely not where she would find it. She passed by the more magically potent potions. These were the right ones. She kept her concentration on the labels, scanning them all thoroughly. Finally, she came upon a small icon. An icon of a human torso, arms outstretched, face non-detailed, tagged upon a large, spherical flask filled with dark-purple, slightly luminescent liquid. “Score!” She reached out her hoof, intending to grab it, pour a sample, and leave. Then, she would sate her stupid fetish and be done with this whole charade.
Her hoof tapped with another. A sea-foam green one. Both necks snapped around to meet each other's eyes.
“You!” Dash and Lyra said in unison.
“What are you doing here?” The unicorn glared.
“I could ask you the same thing! You here to steals something of Dominic’s, thief?”
“Pots and kettles, Rainbow Dash!” Lyra haughtily retorted. “You’re here to do the exact same thing!”
Dash started to break into a sweat yet again. She was a mediocre dissembler at best. “Uh... no... I’m just... uh... taking inventory and stuff.”
Lyra’s glare intensified. She wasn’t convinced for a moment. “What do you even want with this potion?”
“It’s none of your business!” She raised her voice to a yell. The unicorn did likewise.
“Well you’re not getting it!”
Both Lyra and Dash halted their bickering when a pair of dark hooves shot out of the shadows, wrapped around their necks, and heaved them upwards. They were man-handled backwards on their hind hooves and slammed onto the cold, stony wall. The mares flanked their captor, dazed by the impact, overwhelmed by the stench of putrid body odor.
“Well, well, well...” Tsked Dominic, holding the frightened ponies in his forelegs. “If it isn’t my dear friend Rainbow Dash and her companion, come to this old stallion’s homestead for a midnight rendezvous. I’m humbled... you two truly are the epitome of thoughtfulness.”
Ignominy became visible on the rainbow pegasus’s face. “D-Dommy-”
Dominic suddenly became very serious, his head rearing around to give an angry glare. Dash’s heart nearly stopped. “Not a word from you! I’m incredulously disappointed in your actions, resorting to ferreting your way in here to purloin my hard work for your selfish desires! Twilight shall hear of this turpitude.”
Her guilt compounded onto itself as his words stabbed her heart. Tears ran freely from her dark-pink eyes. “I-I-I’m s-s-orr-” She half-choked. Dominic softened a bit, his own deep-blue eyes sighing away.
“Rainbow... this isn’t you. You shouldn't allow these obsessions to undermine you.” As much as he loathed thievery, he hated to see anypony in tears, especially his friend. Whatever came over the pegasus was certainly strong enough to drive her to espionage. Dominic wondered who else the human may have affected.
The thought was cut short as Lyra wrested herself from the stallion’s grip. She galloped back to her desired flask, swiping it off the shelf and cradling it in her forearms as she balanced on her hind legs with obviously practiced control. Dominic let Dash go to trail the unicorn, the sniffling pony following close after him.
“Don’t come any closer!” She warned frantically, her body twitching slightly.
The alchemist set her in his hard gaze, unfazed. “Lyra... place the flask back where it was before you do something you’ll regret.” He stepped closer.
“I’ll use my magic!”
Dominic stopped in his tracks, knowing very well the full weight of the threat. A vast majority of his potions are extremely magically sensitive. A single arcane spark could agitate his entire stock. Hundreds upon hundreds of chemical reactions all at once... it could turn everything within a mile radius of his home into a smoking crater. That’s why no magic was allowed in his storeroom. A unicorn was a living weapon in here.
He remembered her, the one who came in his apothecarium a few weeks back. She was silent, unsure of what she was doing. Timid. Reserved. In the end she bought nothing and left, but this pony couldn’t be the same one... This pony’s eyes were bloodshot, pupils contracted in a taunt state of mind, ready to snap at any moment. This was a pony driven by a single, all-powerful desire, one that she would even think about killing for. This was a pony that dreamt of being more than what she was... to be... human. Everyday, she cursed her form, she hated its imperfections, its equine limitations. She wished and she pleaded to be rid of it. Dominic met her eyes. They were the eyes of a madmare.
He carefully stepped away, coming to the side of Rainbow Dash, who was equally terrified. “Lyra, please, just calm down. You don’t mean that. You’ll kill all of us in an instant! Is that what you want? Is it?!” Dash gasped, unsure just how far Lyra was willing to go. Their fate was in her hooves now.
She panted heavily, sweat beading the sides of her neck. “I don’t care! This is what I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember! This is my dream! This is my destiny! You won’t take that away from me!” Dominic recognized it. Obsession turned into madness. He knew it all too well. She had convinced herself for years that this is what she needed. Reason did not exist within her thoughts.
Before anypony could react, the psychopathic unicorn ripped off the cork with her teeth and put the bitter brew to her lips.
“Wait!” Dominic rasped helplessly. “You don’t know what you’re doing! Don’t drink it!” Too late. Lyra tipped the bottom up.
“N-not all of it...”
The disgusting-tasting liquid sloshed down her throat past her gag reflex, which she suppressed through sheer force of will. The glowing concoction, countless temporary doses, was consumed in a matter of seconds. Dominic knew full well that such an intake could possibly kill her in the most painful manner imaginable: death by magical inundation.
The glassware slipped from her hooves and shattered on the floor as Lyra doubled over, clutching her sides and groaning in agony. She felt like she was going to explode. Searing hot pain seeped through her stomach lining and lanced through her circulatory system. Raw, seething magic bled into her very bones as she writhed and twisted. Her entire body transitioned from molten hot to icy cold, then hot again, then cold, each time getting faster until temperature held no meaning anymore. Her brain felt like it was on fire, and somepony was trying to douse it with acid. She furiously kicked her legs, wordlessly begging for it to stop.
Meanwhile, all Rainbow Dash and Dominic could do was watch. The chemist knew that there was nothing that could be done now. Her blood was already dangerously saturated with the formula and it was only a matter of time before the natural magic kicked in. As if on cue, the green unicorn’s fur started to glow incandescently, slowly becoming more intense as the seconds passed. They both gasped and shielded their eyes when it became too bright to bear. Lyra screamed. The pain was so intense. It was all over her body, down to her very core. She was sure she would die. She felt her body begin to shift and stretch, bend and change. She felt her hooves reshape themselves, her face getting flatter, her neck getting shorter. She felt her torso broaden, her bones growing spontaneously, her mammary glands moving up to her chest. She felt her fur disappear and her mane growing longer as her skull was reshaped. The agony was unbearable. Finally, the glowing abruptly faded.
Dash and Dominic peeked to look at what had happened to Lyra. They gawked at what they saw.
“Dear Celestia...” Rainbow started.
“Sweet mother of Discord...” Dominic swore.
Lyra opened her eyes. She was standing. Her body felt tingly and numb, but she was alive.
She raised her limbs in front of her face to see.
Hands... Droplets of joy welled up in her eyes. They were hands. Her hands.
They were beautiful.
They were perfect.
They were exactly the way she had imagined them.
Slender, long, dexterous, Lyra slowly turned her trembling palms over, absorbing their detail, admiring the soft, fleshy color of her new skin. She brought them down to her torso, feeling the sensation of bare skin touching her toned abdomen. She rubbed her belly, electric bliss tingled through her now upright spine. Her hands moved up the smooth flesh to the small, but soft mounds of her naked bosom. They continued upward, greedily caressing her shoulders and collarbone. Finally, she placed her palms on her face. It felt angelic. Her eyes, her brow, her cheeks, her nose, her mouth, her chin, her ears... perfect perfect perfect! Fingers ran through her cool, green and white hair, the sliding strands tickling the skin between her digits. Her hooves involuntarily clopped on the ground in excitement. She began to wrap the limbs around herself to feel her ba-
Lyra’s eyes cracked wide open. She craned her neck downwards to her lower torso. She gasped. Right at her hip, her pinkish flesh ended, tapering off to a V shaped point. Beyond that was her familiar sea-foam green fur. Her gazed trailed lower to find long equine legs ending in hooves. She turned around, finding and equine back, an equine tail and equine hind legs with an equine flank bearing her lyre cutie mark! She hadn’t been turned into a human...
She had been turned into a centaur.
She turned to the incredibly dumbfounded Dominic and Rainbow Dash, her lips quivering.