"Doc, is there somethin' wrong with ma sister?" Ah heard Applejack's voice asks from the hall.
Ma head felt so heavy, ah could barely lift it. Ah felt hot, feverish, and tired through the whole night, and Ah desperately wanted to call out to ma sister and ask her for a glass of water, but even ma throat hurt too much to talk. Instead Ah just wanted to sleep.
Moments later Ah finally felt sleep coming to me. Ma eyes closed, and Ah passed out.
Fer a moment Ah woke up out in the apple orchard, but Ah was walking on my hind legs, grabbing the apples off of the apple trees with claws instead of bucking ‘em like ma sis. It was purty strange, and while strange things happened in and around Ponyville, this was downright frightening. It came to me after a few minutes though that Ah was dreaming.
Ma eyes opened and Ah turned over, only to flop off of the bed and fell onto ma stomach. My barrel hurt when I landed, but it didn’t feel right. It felt weird and off. Ah pushed maself up and ah could barely stand. Everything seemed so off, and Ah wasn’t sure what was going on. Ah trotted, kind of funny like, towards the door and opened it. That's when Ah noticed that ma muzzle was gone.
Ah felt so scared, and that scary feeling was building up inside of me and Ah looked around for something to help me. Ah spotted ma nightstand and moved toward it. Ah leaned up to touch it with ma forehoves and instead Ah saw the same claws that had been in ma dream!
Ma eyes widened, and Ah felt ma breath coming fast and hard. Ah decided to stand on up on ma hind legs, and noticed that they were so much longer than before.
Ah looked in the mirror and saw some weird looking thing staring back at me. It had ma bow, hair, and eyes, but everything else was different. Ma nose was small, and ma mouth was a little bigger. Ah touched ma face to feel it and realized Ah was hairless! Ma coat was gone, and in its place was just pinkish skin, almost like a pig's but much softer. The only hair I had left was ma mane.
Ah’d like to think that Ah handled everything as good as Ah could. Ah’d really like ta think that, but Ah know better. Ah screamed for ma sister and passed out. When Ah finally came to Applejack, Big Mac, and Granny Smith were all in ma bedroom with me. Granny Smith was looking over me real careful like, and Applejack looked like someone had Discord change all of the Apples into Oranges.
“Well, it seems to me that somepony has been messin’ with somethin’ they ain’t otta. I swear it’s always the same old thing,” Granny Smith said.
“Well, what is it Granny?” Applejack asked as she danced around being completely worried.
“Well it’s gotta be magic what dun it, and Ah got half a notion of telling off which ever unicorn was throwin’ spells around all willy nilly!” Granny smith nearly shouted.
“What's going on?” Ah finally said.
Ah felt the fear from earlier coming back, and it was digging into me. Ah ain’t never been this scared in ma life. Even when Ah tried to deliver all of those pies by maself I wasn’t this scared. But right now, everything felt like it was going to come crashing down around me. I felt like there wasn’t a thing that Ah could do, and what made it worse was that Ah wasn’t sure this was ever gonna change.
“It’s alright Bloom, dun worry nun now,” Applejack said as she pulled me up against her.
I had felt some of Applejack’s hugs before, and they always felt warm, strong, and at times they might even make yer bones creak a little, but this time it felt like she was gonna crush me!
“AppleJack, yer hurtin’ me!” Ah cried.
Applejack let me go and she looked plum ashamed of herself. Ah didn’t want to make her upset. She was ma sister, even if at times she tried to act like my mama, and I didn’t want to make her cry. Instead Ah saw her eyes getting watery.
“Oh Bloom Ah’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt cha!” she cried.
“It’s alright sis, Ah just got scared. Ah never felt yer hugs like that before. Ah really want one though… Ah’m just really scared right now,” Ah said.
She wrapped her forelegs around me and gave me a gentle squeeze. It wasn’t as strong as her hug before, but it still felt warm, and Ah could feel how much she loved me through it. Ah put my forelegs around her and hugged her back. It felt odd because Ah could grab her.
“It’ll be okay ‘Bloom,” Big Mac said.
“Think that maybe we otta ask the doctor ‘bout this?,” AppleJack asked.
“Ah dun’t know, but it ain’t so bad now. Ah feel better than Ah did,” Ah said.
The four of us sat on the floor, huddled together, and Ah felt ma bond with ma family. Ah wasn’t sure what had happened, but Ah remembered that my sister had always told me that it was what was inside of an Apple that counts.
“Sis, Ah’m still an Apple right?” Ah asked.
“Yer an Apple through and through ‘Bloom. Ain’t nothing gonna change that,” Applejack said.
“Do ya really think that the Doctor might really know somethin’ that’ll help?” Ah asked.
“Ah dun’t know ‘Bloom. He might, but even if’n he dun’t yer still an Apple, and yer still ma sister,” AppleJack said.
“Applejack’s right Applebloom. Yer still an Apple, and that won’t ever change. Why, we all love ya,” Granny Smith said.
Ah wasn’t sure what had happened. Maybe it was someone who was casting magic all willy nilly like Granny said. What Ah was sure of was that Ah really didn’t want to stay like this. Ah wanted to find my cutie mark, and Ah wanted to be around Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. They’re ma friends, and Ah also wanted to be around Rumble. Ah… Ah kinda gotten to liking him a little.
Ah looked at ma family, and I realized that they accepted me, and maybe ma friends would to. If they did then Ah had hoped that Rumble would. Course, Ah still didn’t want to tell Applejack about liking Rumble. If’n I did she’d tease me until the cows came home. Ah dun’t want to sign up for that! Ah get enough teasing from Scoots about liking Rumble as it is. The last thing I need is gettin even more teasing from ma sis.
"Fer right now, why duntchu try to relax? You been out since last night, but it looks like yer fever finally broke," Applejack said with a grin. Ah totally forgot that Ah was feeling sick last night. Maybe this wasn't a spell that hit me, but some kind of affliction? "You feelin' up to walking?" She asked.
"Yeah. Ah think so," Ah said with only half the confidence Ah could muster. Ah slid off the bed on to mah hind legs. If that dream was any sorta clue, Ah should be able to stand just fine on just my hind legs alone. It felt really different, with my hind hooves being so long, and no tail to keep me balanced. Everypony got closer when Ah started leaning like Ah was gonna fall over. Ah finally got to stay still after telling myself to think with two legs. How in the hay does Spike do this all the time?
"Alright. You seem to be standing just fine," Applejack said. "You sure that's how you do it?"
"Ah think so," Ah gave in reply. "Before Ah woke up like this, Ah had a dream where Ah was on two legs like this. And Ah walked like this." Ah carefully put one leg forward and took one full step. Everypony looked like they just seen a new machine that peeled apples for you.
"With you standing like that, you're almost as tall as me!" Applejack laughed. "We thought it'd be another ten years before that happened!"
"Eeyup," Big Mac said. Even if Ah was a little taller like this, ma brother still towered over me.
"Don't get too used to it now," Granny said. "Scrawny legs like these ain't no good for buckin' apples." She poked one of mah hind legs with her hoof. That tickled a little.
"Maybe Ah can grab them off the tree with these!" Ah put my claws in front of me, curling the little talons. "Ah saw that in my dream, too!"
"Ahh!" Granny jumped back. "Don't scare me like that!"
"Hmm...we'll think about it, but let's not start talkin' like we can't fix this," Applejack said sternly. "If this is the fault of some spell, then Twilight just might be able to undo it."
"Ah hope so. Ah don't want to be stuck this way for the rest of ma life," Ah said.
"You won't. We'll do everything we can to change you back. By nightfall, you'll be back to your old pony self, just you wait and see!" Applejack stomped the floor. "Now, why don't we head downstairs? Ah'm sure you're hungry."
"Yeah. Ah have been out since last night..."
"There you go," Applejack smiled. "Big Mac will help you if you still have trouble walking. Won't you, Big Mac?"
"Eeyup." Big Mac lowered himself down so Ah could climb on his back. Ah held on to his collar so Ah wouldn't fall off. It felt weird gripping on with this claw of mine, but it felt right at the same time. If Ah wanted to get through the day, Ah had to get used to this body. Ah think Ah'd go plum crazy if Ah just stayed in ma room all day, so getting around seemed like a good idea.
Downstairs, everypony gathered at the table and Big Mac let me down just as Winona walked into the room. Seeing something like me musta spooked her, because she started barking at me right away. Ah didn't think about what she might think of me.
"Winona! Stop that right now!" Applejack shouted. "That's Apple Bloom! You know her!"
It didn't work since she kept on barking. Ah was about to try and run, when ah remembered something. When I was introducing Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to Winona, she barked at them too. Applejack said that's because to Winona, my two friends were strangers, so we had to let her sniff them before she could calm down. Ah bent down and put out ma front claw. If Ah wasn't so big, she could come to me. Winona slowly started to walk towards me. She sniffed my claw a few times while Ah was hoping she wouldn't bite me. Soon enough, her tail started wagging and she licked my paw.
"See? Even Winona knows you're you, Apple Bloom," Applejack said reassuringly. "Quit yer worryin' and eat something, okay?"
Eating with these claws was definitely something new, but if Spike could do it so easily, why can't Ah? Though the stares from everypony didn't exactly help. Applejack said they were just interested in seeing me adapt, but it still felt weird.
After finishing ma meal, we came outside to see if there was some way I could help. We stuck to the inner orchard so I wouldn't be seen by some random passerby. The grass felt different on these hind claws. It was like I could feel every little blade, they almost tickled.
"Just outta the curiosity," Granny started, "let's see just what this new body can do for you, Apple Bloom."
"You really think Ah can help with apple bucking like this?" Ah asked, looking down at mahself. Ah was happy that they wanted me to help, but what the hay was Ah gonna do?
"Maybe not with bucking." Granny looked down at my hind claws and lifted one of them. "Not with these hooves. Them's way too soft." She poked the bottom, which really tickled!
"Hahaha! Stop that!" Ah laughed. Ah noticed the others smiling after Ah laughed. That's right. Ever since Ah woke up like this, it's the first time they heard me laugh.
"Granny's right," Applejack continued, stepping up to me. "If you tried bucking trees with those legs, you'd just end up hurtin' yourself!"
"Eeyup!" Big Mac agreed.
"So...got any ideas?" Applejack asked me. "You've always been a clever pony, Apple Bloom. Just because you ain't a pony no more doesn't mean your brain can't work the same."
"Hmm..." Ah walked up to the closest tree and looked at the apples dangling just above me. If Ah couldn't buck them off, then...wait! Of course! Ah grabbed onto the tree and gripped whatever Ah could to climb up.
"A-Apple Bloom!" Ah heard Applejack shout and come up to the tree. "What are you doing?"
"Ah saw something like this in that dream Ah had," Ah told her, still climbing. Ah managed to get myself on one of the bigger branches and stood on it. Carefully, Ah crawled to the closest apple on the branch, reached out, and grabbed it with one of ma front claws. It snapped off the branch without a hitch.
"Hey! Way to go, Apple Bloom!" Applejack reared back in glee. "See? Apples come naturally to you!"
"Heads up!" Ah let the apple drop, and watched Applejack catch it and balance it on her head. She bounced it off her head, off her flank and whapped it with her tail, sending it flying towards Big Mac, who caught it with his mouth. Ah hope Ah get ma old body back soon. Ah miss being able to do that already.
"We'll get some buckets set up under the tree. You think you can keep this up?" Applejack asked me.
"Ah can try!" Ah shouted from above.
"Great!" Applejack grinned. "Ah'm gonna go see if Ah can find Twilight and let her know the situation. Granny and Big Mac are here if you need help. Ah'll be back in two shakes!" With that, she trotted off after telling the others to make sure Ah didn't hurt maself too much. Ah tried to tell maself that she was just scared for me, but she could have told me that.
After she left, Big Mac set up a couple of big buckets under the apple tree Ah was on, and Ah had another idea. Bucking the trees shook the apples off of them. Maybe Ah could do the same from here. Ah slowly walked along the branch, putting my forearms out to keep my balance, and clung on to the center. Then, with all my might, Ah started shaking the tree. Only the branches moved, but that was enough. Ah heard the stems snap and the apples fall into that familiar "THUNK!" of the buckets below. A couple of apples stayed on, but Ah got those easily.
"Big Mac! Look!" Ah shouted from the treetop. Big Mac came over and stared at the buckets with shock on his face. Guess he thought Ah wouldn't get the apples down that quickly. "Awesome, right?"
"Yup!" Big Mac replied. He looked so happy that Ah still managed to keep up the apple gathering even in this body.
"Heehee! Look out below!" That was only my warning to Big Mac before Ah jumped off and landed on his back. He was taken by surprise just a little bit.
"Oof!" He grunted. "Please be careful, Apple Bloom. You're not an earth pony, so we don't know how much you can take."
"Don't worry! Ah'm fine!" Ah told him. "Ah feel like ah could do this all day!" Ah ran over to the next closest tree that Big Mac hadn't bucked yet and climbed it up to the branches. Ah repeated the same trick to the same great results. This was much easier for me than kicking the trees! Ah got to about five trees down when Granny Smith came up to me and Big Mac with some water glasses.
"Climbing those trees like a squirrel works wonders for you, Apple Bloom," she said, "but it sure leaves you dirty!"
"Really?" Ah looked down at maself and noticed that even without a coat, Ah still had dirt clinging to ma skin.
"Eeyup!" Big Mac concurred, taking a drink of water.
"Why don't we run you a bath and you can get yourself washed up?" Granny asked.
"Ohh...but I can still keep going...Ah don't need a bath right now," Ah whined. Just then, Ah heard somepony coming. "Oh! You're back so soon, Applejack?"
"Did you find out what's wrong with Apple Bloom?" Granny asked.
"Ehh...kinda," Applejack said nervously. "See, Ah got some good news...and some bad news..."