Total Eclipse of the Sun
Chapter 3 : Encounter of the moon kind
With my rendezvous with John almost seven hours away, that left me with more than enough time to think. Oh, I should probably warn Michael about the changes too. I just wished that it would be easy to convince him... Considering my history, I wouldn't be surprised if he would think that it is only an elaborated prank. Hey, I am not sure I would believe it either if someone else would have told me they were turning into ponies. Well, at least I wouldn't have before the whole tattoos incident.
Then again, there is this pinkish color in my eyes and the sudden growth of my hair; that should be proof enough that something wrong is going on. That reminded me that I forgot to ask John how quickly his hair had changed. If it was quick, then it might become a little embarrassing to go out. Thankfully, my jacket has a hood that I'll be able to use should the need present itself.
The eyes on the other hand...
A knock on the open door broke my train of thought. Michael was standing in the door frame looking at me and he seemed tense. Suddenly it seemed like a very bad idea to try explain him my situation. What could have put him into that mood?
Thankfully, my friend answered that question quickly.
“Do you mind if the girls spend a few days here with us?” He asked uncertainly.
I wasn't expecting that question. If I'm truly turning into a pony, I would prefer to stay away from little girls, especially Fiona. On the other hand, why did he seems to be so bothered by the question? He did not know yet about what was happening to me. Unless...
“Why do I feel like you didn't have much of a choice in the matter?” The extreme irritation in my voice made it clear that I had a good idea of what was going on.
His grunt was the only answer that I needed. His parents dared to leave for one of their impromptu vacations the day before the birthday of all their children. I can't understand why they couldn't have the decency to wait a few more days. Personally, I think that they are exploiting Michael's unusual closeness with his younger sisters too much. They know that he would never refuse to spend time with them.
“Don't worry, I'll be more than happy to spend time with them. The more like fools we are, the more we laugh.” I tried to sound happy, but I had just lied to him. I had learned a long time ago that leaving a girl with a pony was a very bad idea. I'm not certain how much fun I would have in that situation.
Michael's facepalm was a rather unexpected reaction to my answer.
“I think what you wanted to say was, "The more the merrier."” He sounded a little exasperated by my error, but I simply shrugged. My conversations with him were the reason my English was as good as it was, but it was still far from being perfect. I had considered writing letters at first, but it seemed counterproductive with the internet. Emails, on the other hoof.
“I knew you would understand.” His answer resonated with his relief. My friend's stature became much more relaxed with this problem dealt with. His trust made me feel uneasy as I had finally settled on waiting until after I meet with the possible Luna before telling him of the ponification process.
His sudden question did not help with the guilt.
“By the way, what happened to your eyes? I thought you hated pink.”
He had to notice my eyes of course. While that color isn't known to be manly, I had a rather bad experience with it when I was younger. To be exact, it started on the day of Halloween while I was in first grade. Somehow, I had the brilliant idea to disguise myself as Princess Peach. After all, Halloween is the day where you can be whatever you want, right? My parents tried to make me change my crazy idea, but I was too stubborn at the time. Eventually, they yielded. Let just say that on that day, I found out that everyone else wasn't as open minded as I thought.
On the weeks that followed, the other children continued to make fun of me. At first, it was about the whole costume, but they quickly reduced it to the color pink. Eventually, I couldn't take it and I got in a fight with boy a year older than me. The poor boy had no chances. He had been overconfident and discovered that I was stronger than I looked and that I could handle his strikes easily.
Unfortunately, that fight solved nothing. The others students still continued to act the same despite what had happened. To be honest, I have no idea what would have happened if that weird gravelly voice hadn't spoken to me. It gave me advices that allowed me handle the whole situation a bit better. Eventually, most lost their interest about me and the color pink, but the wound never fully healed.
“This wasn't my idea... My eyes were like this when I woke up.” Some of my anxiety was visible through my voice. He probably attributed it to how I felt about the color.
I'm sorry Michael, I hope you'll understand why I didn't tell you everything now.
“You mean that someone came in again? This is getting ridiculous! I should probably change the locks.” He was irritated. I facepalmed mentally at my stupidity. I should have thought that he would probably continue on with his conclusion from yesterday.
“There is no need to do that.” I think I might have answered a little fast, considering that Michael was looking at me suspiciously. “There are other ways to catch the culprit.” I added a smirk for good measure.
“It's your body. Don't complain to me if you wake up with your hair dyed pink tomorrow.” He added a smirk of his own.
I had to facepalm yet again at that one. Please Michael, don't give any idea to whatever is responsible for the changes...
“Anyway, I need to go out to retrieve the two pests and their belongings. I should be back for supper. Will you be fine alone?” He seemed to be worried about me. Why would h-. Oh, right I did shout at him yesterday for no reason.
“Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.” He didn't seem to be convinced by my poor attempt to reassure him. I might as well tell him what I planned to do. “Actually, I learned that an old friend was living here this morning. We decided to meet each other at around four o'clock.”
Okay, I just met John, but old is a rather subjective term anyway.
“I see. Don't come back too late then.” He was giving me a knowing smile.
Wait, what! It isn't that kind of friend... A chuckle from my actual friend revealed he had his fun from my embarrassment. That was very mature Michael...
My friend was about to leave me, when he seemed to remember something he wanted to ask.
“You do remember where I keep my spare key for the house, right?”
“Yes, yes. Just go on.”
I wanted to be alone at the moment, as the embarrassment from before hadn't died yet...
The next few hours went by quickly.
I first checked my usual places on the net, but there was nothing worthwhile going on. Next, I decided to look for the local news. One article in particular caught my eye. Apparently, a girl that had been missing for a week had been found. The girl in question claimed it was a certain Princess Luna that helped her find the way back home. Apparently, she also sang very well.
Luna? The girl could have imagined the encounter, but it could also be John that helped her. I'll need to ask him when I see him. If it was truly his doing, then the man earned my respect. I wonder why he didn't make himself known though. Maybe he was too shy. Or, it could have been because of his blue hair. The most important question of all is : Does he truly sing well?
From what I could understand from our little chat, that guy seemed to be easily angered if you push the wrong button. He also have no problem with striking back with some wits of his own. He doesn't seem to restrain his attacks though... Why do I have the feeling that our encounter will test my patience?
There was nothing else interesting in the news, so I decided to pick up my laptop and travel to the living room to plug it into an HDMI port on the television. Looking at a nearby clock, I noticed that it was already noon. I should probably eat something to appease my tyrannical stomach. I also wanted to see if the changes had progressed since this morning.
I first stopped in the kitchen, my stomach's bestial growls had made it a priority. I had forgotten to eat breakfast with all that had happened this morning so I quickly looked through the fridge. Hmm, those apples look much more appealing than usual. In the end, I took both an apple and one of the coffee yogurt that I bought yesterday. It wasn't a proper meal, but I didn't care at the moment. Besides, there was a form of coffee included. I quickly devoured the apple, which seemed tastier than those back home, and the yogurt.
With my belly mostly full, I traveled to the bathroom. I started by looking in the mirror. To say that I didn't like what I saw would have been a major understatement. The pink in my eyes was now more prominent, leaving little brown visible. The change to my hair was even more radical.
Unfortunately, Michael had been right about it earlier. It was now undoubtedly a dark shade of pink. Even worse, my hair now went just past my shoulders and was at mid-level with my shoulder blades. I thought about cutting them it at first, but in the end, I decided not to waste my time until it had stopped to grow. Or, at the very least, until I prepare myself for my rendezvous at the Starbuck. After a full body check, I noticed nothing else worth mentioning. I was actually surprised that the cutie mark did not have any other change. I was expecting fur or at least something like that.
It was almost half past twelve when I reached the living room again. That left me with three hours to kill, so I decided to watch again the Star Trek: Voyager pilot. That seemed to be fitting considering my situation. After all, I was thrown away into the unknown with no certitude that I'll ever see my home again. Like the crew of the Voyager, I shall do everything I can to return to normality. But there is nothing preventing me from exploring the new capacities that I'll gain. “For science!” as a certain potato would say.
The pony I am turning into had both wings and a horn after all. Who hasn't dreamed of flying at least once in his life? The horn, well I think it was used for magic. In the worst case, I'm certain that it would make for a good improvised spear. Somehow, that should make up for the dreadful hair color. When I think about it, shouldn't my hair be more colored than just pink? I guess that make another question for later.
Now that I think about it, I have no idea what triggered the change in the first place. So far, I could only come with two ideas : DNA re-sequencing and magic.
It would be weird if it would actually be DNA re-sequencing. That would raise a question; Why ponies? I mean, if the technology had been developed, I could see it being used to create super soldiers. Unless it was meant as weapon from another country. Then, why did they bother with the cutie mark? The last option I could think of was a mad scientist but I would prefer to ignore that option for now.
Magic, on the other hoof, could explain everything. If it would exist that is. But at this point, I think that impossibility kind of lost its meaning for me. Now that I think about it, that could explain the kind of mental changes I noticed far better than my other idea. But, if magic truly does exist, does that mean we have a particular blond cheerleader to thank for preventing the apocalypse several times?
Okay, I should probably stop my reflections there... It is never a good sign when you start to think that a television might actually be true. Besides, the current episode just ended. Actually, wasn't it the episode with the midget Doctor? Two hours had already flown by... Oh well, let's watch the next one, then I'll be going.
At the end of the episode, I noticed that I had unconsciously played with my hair during the whole time I was in the living room. That had an odd calming effect on me. Considering the stress that the upcoming events will certainly bring, I should probably keep them as they are. Enough thinking about my hair, I should do a final inspection before I leave for the coffee shop.
Back in my new favorite room of the house, I looked at the undesired reflective surface. My eyes were now fully turned into this evil color. To be honest, the color was actually a mix of pink and purple. My hair on the other hand... it was now of a light pink shade. I couldn't resist the urge to wave at the mirror. Hello, Momo! Those mystic powers did bring a miracle...
Otherwise, it had grown again; it now reached the middle of my back. If anyone would see me from behind, they would probably wrongly guess that I'm a woman. The worst part was that my hair was a mess at the moment. I must have entangled them while watching the episodes. I didn't have the time to try to rectify the situation. To be honest, I don't think that Michael even has a brush that I could borrow.
The rest of the inspection went like last one. With that done, I went back to my room to collect my jacket and the bag for my laptop. I might as well bring it with me, since you never know when it could be useful.
With my laptop secured and my hair hidden with the hood of my jacket, I picked the spare key to Michael's house and left for the Starbucks. It was half past three. I have more than enough time to reach the place.
Buck the god of traffic lights! I got all the bucking red light on the way to the Starbucks.
After a few lights, I had accidentally ponified one of my curses. That had been a little weird considering that I was swearing in french at the moment. Apparently, the ponification of words ignored the language barrier... After a few slips, I decided to adopt the new swear.
It was exactly four o'clock when I finally arrived at the Starbucks. Once out of my car, I looked around to see if I couldn't see someone with blue hair around. I had no such luck. Maybe he got lost on the way. That wouldn't be the first time that my rendezvous found itself at the wrong place. Oh well, I might as well buy something while I wait for him.
As I headed toward the door, I noticed that I caught the attention of a few persons. Great, just what I wanted... I sincerely hope that no one will notice the weird color of my eyes or hair. I have absolutely no reason to be nervous after all. To make the matters worse, my shins had started to really hurt ever since I took off from Michael's home.
Thankfully, there weren't many people inside the coffee shop. While reaching the waitress, I managed catch a few words of interest. Apparently there was someone with a hood that had dyed his hair light blue. Way to go John! You had to hide the only way you gave me to recognize you, didn't you?
I quickly gave my order of Earl Gray tea to the waitress. Coffee would have been a very bad idea considering the state I was in. Lucky me, I could tell that the waitress had noticed my weird colors by the face she made. At least, she had the decency not to say anything about it. Setting our meeting in a public place had been a bad idea after all. Why didn't I think more about that possibility before offering that stupid idea...
With my tea in my possession, I quickly moved toward the door as I did not see anyone with a hood inside. I hoped that the waitress wouldn't tell anyone about me. I really did not need the extra attention at the moment.
Once I was back outside, I quickly noticed a few blue hairs sticking out of a hood. Wait, wasn't that one of the persons that was looking at me since I got out of my car? Couldn't you have tried to call my name? This whole meeting is just getting better by the minute...
As I neared the table, I decided to call him out about his hair.
“You know, I may not have been able to find you if your blue hair wasn't down in your face.” I had managed to keep my frustration from earlier from seeping in my voice.
The possible John reaction wasn't exactly what I had in mind as he quickly shoved the blue sticking out hair back into his hood. Really? At worse, people might considered as an anime fan that went too far. Or a Final Fantasy cosplayer. I chuckled when I remembered that I had briefly thought wrongly that one of the character with blue hair in the thirteenth installment had been female.
“So, you must be Jo...na?”
Wait, what just happened? Did I just swap the name I wanted to say half-way through? I should probably expla-
“Then I take it you're Alexia.” His answer took me by surprise. John just made it clear that that he would leave no opportunity to use his wits go. Great, excluding the pony changes, could this day get any worse?
Beside did he have to feminize my name? I know that pink seemed to have invaded every part of me, but that was uncalled for. Can't she consider how I feel about the whole thing?
Wait, wasn't the pony I'm turning named Celestia? I vented my recent frustration. John had only answered back to my slip by merging my name with my pony's name too. I really need to calm down, it is unlike me to come to that kind conclusions so quickly.
The next idea that came to me made me smirk. That would surely put us on equal ground.
“I kind of wish that name wasn't going to become more fitting soon.” I was fairly certain that he would understand the hidden meaning of my message. I'm not the only one who is turning into a mare.
After a moment, a smirk appeared on my interlocutor face. Please, Luna don't say anything you'll regret. His next response showed that he had actually reconsidered.
“Look, as much as I would like to argue with thee, I don't believe it would be wise.” John's choice of words surprised me. Isn't thee a very old English word? I was wondering if it was intended until I noticed a reaction in him that I had a few time today. The ponification was already bad enough, but at least it was easy to understand the original meaning. Now, if our whole language goes back in time, we might need a translator...
So his proposition for a truce was sincere. As long as he respects it, I shall reciprocate. I should probably also apologize to him for earlier.
“I agree, I could easily do this all day if I wanted. However, I didn't mean to merge both names. It just kind of slipped out...”
That remind me, those slips seem to be increasing in frequency. The worst part is that I probably didn't notice a couple of them. I wonder if John had it as bad as me.
“Hey it's alright, I know the feeling. Anyways, how much do you know about the show?” His question made me remember what had happened yesterday. Unfortunately for her, that was a very sensitive topic for me. That dream had always bothered me and the fact that there was a possible link between it and the changes just made my blood boil.
“Actually, I didn't know it was a show. I found myself on a page from a wiki that told me much more then I wanted to at that time.” My answer was much colder than intended. At least, it should make it clear that I didn't want to talk about that subject any further.
“Hey, would you mind if we took this conversation back to my apartment? It'll be a little more easy to explain things to you there.” This is a good point that John just brought up. If we want to go into details about the changes, it might be better not to have too many ears nearby. I didn't need the additional attention. Looking around, I'm certain that I saw a few people looking at me before swiftly looking elsewhere when they noticed that I was looking in their direction. Great, it seems that I have already succeeded in grabbing the attention of other people. Returning my attention to the man in front of me, I finally replied.
“You might be right, but I worry about further transformations. My hair almost stopped me from going out. You know, pink isn't exactly the most popular color men.”
After a moment, I received a rather unpleasing answer. John burst out laughing and her next answer didn't make it any better.
“You have most certainly got that right!”
So this is how you truly want to play it? You propose a truce so you stab me in the back when it please you? Laugh now while you can Luna, I'll get you back later.
”Anyways, maybe you shouldn't worry about the transformations. I mean, as far as we know, there is no way to stop this, so you might as well just accept this instead of worrying over single little thing.”
How can he be so calm about this? It might another mental change or she might have wanted that change. I'm not sure which of the two is worst at the moment. I know that I am curious about the changes, but I plan to try to reverse this as soon as possible.
This is beside the point I wanted to make anyway.
“I was more thinking about needing to go in public. I'm not sure how easy it would be to conceal further changes, KOS-MOS.”
What was I thinking, this was actually a poor attempt of a joke. Or not, if I consider her confused look. Revenge is sweet and his indignation just make the whole thing better. I do need to remember not to go too far this time.
"So, what? Do you not expect me to have very much food? It would just so happen that a couple of days ago, on my birthday, I bought enough food to feed a small army."
That is a lot of food! John is much more farsighted then I gave him credit for so far.
“Sorry, it's just that I usually only buy enough food for me to last a week."
In my case, I should be able to convince Michael to shelter me once I reveal to him what is happening. His home is on the edge of the town and his backyard is hidden from the eyes of his neighbors thanks to the trees he planted. Hopefully, he won't be too angry by the fact that I didn't tell him earlier that I knew what was going on. Now that I think about it, I hope that what is causing those changes isn't contagious. We would have an epidemic on our hooves thank to me and John.
So food is good. What about accessories? I'll be fine with any touchscreen thanks to my special stylus I carry with me. However, I don't think that I'll be able to use the keyboard properly with hooves. Great...
"Do you think there could be any accessories that could be useful later on?"
"No, everything we have now is made specifically for humans, so it would be hard for us to even use them. I also don't think we'll need any equine medications, because just because we may be turning into horses, that doesn't mean our immune system changes. We'll probably still be resistant to most viruses." She shook her head to illustrate her point.
Well, they might not have been made for pony use, but I am sure that it is nothing that a few magnets can't solve. Otherwise, she had a good point about the medication. Considering that bacteria in general can only contaminate organisms having a certain DNA, you would think that a magic pony with a horn and wings would be sufficiently different to be protected. To be honest, it was probably only wishful thinking. I really didn't want to see the needles for those.
"Or our DNA could become too different for them to even affect us. Thanks, by the way, for this beautiful image of a syringe." The mention of the syringe seemed to amuse him.
"Well, it is what I am here for." And the teasing only confirmed it... Soon after, he left his chair and threw his cup away in the nearby trash can. "I'm thinking we should head back to my apartment; it'll be a bit more comfortable."
"It would also be less likely for someone to overhear something weird." I told him while nodding.
As soon as she placed back her chair, John noticed my own cup and decided to get rid of it.
I was more than happy to be able to finally leave this place. But, when I started to return to my car, John called out to me. "Hey, are you standing on your toes?" This stopped me in my tracks.
"What are you talking abou-" At first, I had looked at her to see if it was another one of her tricks. Considering the surprise on her face, I decided to look down at my feet. This is when I stopped to speak. "Ok, that's new." I was on my toes just like he mentioned.
I tried to drop my heels back on the floor, but the pain in my shins made it clear it was a bad idea. Just what I needed. Now I just need some tights and a tutu and I would probably look like a perfect ballerina. Fiona would have a dancing partner... I shouldn't give her that idea, as she would so do it even if I'm a pony. It was at this moment that I noticed that John was talking to me.
“As I said earlier, we should just accept this because there is nothing we can do to change it.” I had missed the rest, but I could guess what it was about.
Seriously, I don't think she can speak so far, seeing as I had the worst of the changes between the two of us.
"Says the guy who's hair isn't all that girly."
I quickly regretted saying this aloud. I looked around to be sure that no one had heard anything. I didn't notice anypony looking at me. That had been a close one. "We might want to wait until we're at your apartment to continue this conversation."
"Alright, hold on." For some unknown reason, John decided to go back inside the Starbucks. I decided to wait for her at my car. Thankfully, she quickly came back.
"Alright Alex, follow me in your car." John entered the green rover next to my car and pulled out of the parking lot.
I started to follow him through the roads of Muscatine. The worst part was behind us now.