by Strata

Not what I seem

Applejack woke to the sound of the cock crowing, as usual. She got up, woke Applebloom, and gave her a list of chores. She put the most important at the top, for the filly had a habit of doing the first few and then running off to join Sweetie and Scoot. Not that Jack disliked it. Hell, she was so determined to find her mark, she'd get up at five AM every morning to go out and try to find her calling. And, It was apples. She was happy with her idyllic life, but she was getting bored.

That was until a certain purple unicorn came to see if the catering was in order. After that point, her life had become a vortex of excitement, and the farm was never boring. When she wasn't fighting Discord or beating up changelings, she was harvesting apples and watching her little sister grow. She had overcome many evils in her days as the Element of Honesty, but none of them had changed anyone. Except discord. But that was temporary. She knew she would have to face the Pegasi sleeping in the barn.

She had seen them sneak in last night, and she did nothing. Was she uncomfortable about one of her best friends becoming a Changeling? (Or Irid, as miss scientist would say) perhaps she was. Hell, of course she was.

As she trudged down, a reassuring thought came to mind. She may be changed, but she is not alone. She sighed at herself. 'I'm such a sentimental slob.' Pushing the doors open, she walked inside, and hollered at the top of her lungs:

Abut of tired grumbling and the sound of hay rustling and the two got up.
"If y'all want to stay for breakfast, I got some chores fer you two."
She then placed a list at the door and briskly walked out.

The first few minutes were spent getting over the tiredness, and the next thirty was collecting apples. Fluttershy had to feed Angel, so she headed off. An hour of hard work int he field was tiring enough, so when 7 o'clock came, Rainbow was glad to have breakfast. Just as she was about to speed into the house, the orange pony stopped her.

"Hang on, now, sugarcube. Ah know what yer goin through, but mah family don't know yet. Ya may have to-"
She gestured at Dash's general area.
"-look different."
"I don't know how, Jack. If I did, I would've already tried that."
"Well try again, cuz black stands out on a blue sky like a Ursa Major walkin' th' streets a' ponyville."
She raised an eyebrow.
"You're saying?"
"Ya can't fly home, and ya can't show up in mah house all change-like."
"I have another problem. Food doesn't... I dunno, work?"

Applejack frowned at that. It made sense, but it made things more difficult.
"Okay, try to become Rares."
"Well, I don't know, but just start by tryin' to get a white coat."
She tried indeed, and after a bit if effort, waves if green shimmered down the black armour of Dash's body, turning it white and shortly furred.

Spurred on by her success, she tried to replicate the unicorn horn, and then the blue eyes. Next was the purple tail, which was a bit of a problem. She could get the 'rarity-style' mane, but styling it was harder. She couldn't do much with it, so she accepted it as a subtle difference.

With a goodbye to Jack, she set off down the road. It took her a few trips and falls to remind herself that she hadn't any wings. Walking down, it was a surreal experience. In the bustling streets if ponyville, many of Rarity's friends, people Rainbow didn't know, were greeting her. She tried to smile back and wave, but it felt unnatural.



But she had to put it behind her, for she just needed to get to the library and Twilight would fix things. Right?

She sure hoped so.

But, a mere short canter away from the library, she was cut off.
"Hey sis!"
She would recognise that voice anywhere. It was the high, cute, but somewhat incessant voice of Sweetie Belle. This was the absolute worst time. She hadn't got her unicorn friend's speaking patterns right, she had no idea where the real Rarity had got to, and those fillies were going to ask something of her which they were going to use in an extremely dangerous act. They always do.

Sweetie started. "So-"
Applebloom interrupted. "We need to to use your cupboard, miss Rares."
Scootatloo completed the sentence. "And your fainting couch!"

Rainbow stuttered, trying to find something to say.
"Well...of course! Dears..."
"Really? Even when we need to hide the Que-" before Applebloom could finish, Scoot slapped a hoof over her mouth. "She meant we need to hide the... Um.... Queue. There's a big queue of people waiting for the Carousel Boutique and we know you will come and attend to them soon but for now we need to hide them."

There was a moment of silence before the cutie mark crusaders all smiled extremely widely and innocently.

Normally, this situation would be very alarming and she would have to attend to it right away, but for now, she had to get to the library, which was painfully close.
"Yes, dears... You can have- ah, borrow, those things."
Sweetie jumped, smiling widely, for this elaborate scheme they had planned was bound to get them their cutie marks. They had tried everything, anyway.
Sweetie bounded up to Rainbow's face height and gave her a small kiss on the cheek, before galloping off with her friends in the direction of the Boutique.

As they left, there was a nagging sensation, and a sphere of light danced in front of her eyes, like when you stare at the sun without any protection. The light strengthened, and she realised that it was a glowing golden sphere of soft light. She experimentally touched it, but her hoof went right through. A thought occurred to her, and she took a small bit out of it. A warm, converting sensation filled her, and she ate the whole thing. For the first time in months, she had felt fully fed. There was a small cord attached to it, that was jerked away, as Sweetie ran out of sight.

Even though she was full, the act of stealing Sweetie's live for her sister felt alien to her. She couldn't complain, though.

for the first time in what seemed like forever, she felt satisfied.

As she knocked on the door to Twi's house, the small voice at the back of her mind whispered to her again.
'You have to feed, rainbow dash.'