• Published 12th Feb 2012
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So, You've Grown Wings - Steel Resolve



The mane six woke up a little different one morning. Madness ensues.

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A Unicorn's Guide to Becoming an Alicorn

Author's Note:

This fic was written in its entirety prior to A Canterlot Wedding. (The final chapter being published three days before the wedding even aired.) It predates Cadance, and canonical Princess Twilight.

Also, this was the very first story I ever committed to a page that could be read by others. As such, the editing is spotty at best. I have left it as it was because I like having an example I can look back on to see how much my writing has changed, and remarkably, how solid it was even then. I hope you enjoy the silliness.

Twilight sneezed. Something was tickling her nose. Huh, it’s a purple feather. That’s weird. Sunlight was streaming through the window, and clouds were overhead. Apparently Rainbow was sleeping in again. Birds were singing. It was going to be one of those mornings again. Twilight Sparkle glared at it all through her picture window with bloodshot eyes. She rolled out of bed.

She winced a bit as one of her wings got pinched between the floor and her side. She yawned and glanced at them briefly; they looked droopy.

She stumbled over to her dresser and looked in the mirror. Her eyes looked puffy and red. Her hair was mussed. At least her horn looked presentable - that damn poison joke, she kept expecting it to be floppy again every morning. She yawned again, and glanced at her hairbrush. She picked it up with her magic and watched in bemusement as it exploded in a quiet flash. She yawned again. “Note to self: self, you need a new hairbrush.”

Abandoning her grooming attempts, she felt her stomach grumbling. She glanced about, dearly wishing the sun would kindly explode so it would stop making her head pound. She then thought better of it, and wished instead Nightmare Moon would return for a while so she could get some decent rest. She stretched. “Sorry Princess Celestia, I didn't mean it. Much.”

No help for it then, off to get some food in her belly. She made her way cautiously down the stairs, taking care not to snag her feathers on anything. They kept dragging everywhere this morning.

After what seemed like an eternity she finally made her way to the kitchen, where the pleasant smells of coffee and hay fritters wafted back to her like a dear old friend giving her nostrils a hug. She yawned again. Seeing a place setting for her already set up with coffee and a steaming stack of hay fritters, she sat down gratefully. “Good morning, Spike! I have no idea what I would do without you!”

Spike chuckled without turning, “I told you to go to bed Twi, you never listen when you're wrapped up in study. Just because you have Owlicious to help you at night is no excuse for never getting any sleep. Princess Celestia would not be happy.” Twilight nodded, not really noticing her number one assistant could not see it. They'd had this argument before, but she couldn't help herself. She began to reach for the coffee with her magic and was eying the fritters with interest.

A clatter on the floor shook her from her reverie. “Spike, are you okay?” She glanced down and saw the pan with a fresh set of fritters on the ground. She looked up and saw a look of shock on Spike's face. “Spike?”

Spike spoke slowly, “Your wings...”

Twilight looked annoyed. “Yes, they've been droopy all morning. I couldn't do anything about it, not catching them on the furniture was a pain-” The remaining logic sectors Twilight had at her disposal this morning finally clicked on. She bolted to the library, calling behind her, “Spike, you check in section A, I'll begin with U. Somewhere in this library there has to be a book on spontaneous wing growth!”

A frantic search ensued, peppered by conversation detailing events up to that moment. Some time later, Spike held up a slim volume, “This looks... oddly specific.”

So, You've Grown Wings:

A Unicorn's Guide to Becoming an Alicorn

By Howe Cann (PHD Magical studies)

Co-authored by Hugh B. Thissdens (PHD Pegasus Studies)

Twilight was more interested in the author. “Professor Cann wrote this? Sweet Celestia, his class was brutal! He used to mess with me every time he saw me alone in the library by calling for an impromptu pop quiz! What a sadist! Pretty brilliant though.”

Faithful reader, if you are reading this you are no doubt quite concerned with certain changes in your overall appearance. You may have noted a marked difference to your overall body structure. Perhaps you have discovered your very organs shifting in place. This guide will help you to understand the changes that you have undergone, and prepare you for still more to come.

Section one: Identification

The first step is determining what exactly has happened, a pair of wings does not necessarily mean you have joined one of the most exclusive clubs in Equestria. First you should determine what it is that has happened to you.

Step one: Unless you are reading this for entertainment, education, or simple curiosity, we will assume for the purposes of this text you are in fact a unicorn who has inexplicably sprouted wings. First, you should check, do you still have a horn? Spells exist which are capable of changing a pony's basic physiology, have you in fact become a Pegasus? If you retain your horn, proceed to step two.

Twilight snorted. “As if I wouldn't have noticed my horn was missing!”

Spike deadpanned. “You just now told me while we were looking for books: you tried brushing your mane, looked down at your wings; thought they were droopy, and stumbled down to breakfast. All well before realizing something was probably a little weird about wings coming from nowhere in the first place. Can you blame the professor for assuming someone who needs a book to figure things like this out might need a little more detail?”

“Not helping, Spike!”

Step two: Examine your wings, are they smaller than Pegasus wings? Smaller wings may mean they are nonfunctional, you should begin examining your family line for Pegasus family members. You may, in fact, simply be a Pegacorn which finally sprouted the nascent non-functional wings that Pegacorns are known for. If you were a functional unicorn prior to this incident, count yourself lucky. The majority of Pegacorns studied by medical science were not capable of true flight or magic, both being stunted by the lack of correct genes to bolster the traits of magical flight or casting. Unless you are capable of spells that can allow the use of your stunted wings you may wish to have them surgically removed for aesthetic purposes. If your wings are normal Pegasus size or larger, proceed to step three.

“Really? Stunted wings due to genetic abnormalities? Spike, doesn't Scootaloo have an earth pony grandparent? I wonder if it's something that could be fixed with gene therapy from a healthy Pegasus, do you think Rainbow could be persuaded to give some blood samples? Maybe if-”

“Twilight, you're getting off on a tangent again. Stop it.”

“Right, right, sorry.” Twilight blushed.

Step three: So your wings are larger or equal to Pegasus size, the next thing to check is: have you been using a teleportation spell with any of your Pegasus friends? If so, are your friends missing their wings? Botched spells have been known to cause body part swapping in very rare instances, did you wake up with a hangover and a sudden pair of wings? If the wings do not belong to somepony else; proceed to step four, if they do you should of course attempt to fix your horrible blunder.

She glared at the page. “Granted I had a rough night; but I don't drink, well that much, anymore... Spike stop looking at me like that! I apologized to Dash and Applejack the following morning. Princess Celestia found me just fine! I don't quite remember what happened but I fixed it okay?”

“They had to call the Royal Pegasus Guards to get you down from the roof of the palace Twilight.”

Step four: Examine the wings closely, are they truly Pegasus wing shape? Spells exist to give a Unicorn and/or Earth Pony a temporary pair of wings made from aether and mist, they most resemble translucent butterfly wings. If not, proceed to the next section.

Twilight snorted in annoyance "Professor, I know the difference. I've cast that spell! You can't mistake those giant translucent butterfly wings for anything else but magical constructs. These are clearly a part of me!"

Spike sighed, "Twilight, it's a book. It's bad enough you talk to yourself at times, do you really want to yell at a book?"

Section two: What to expect.

So by this point we've ruled out all other possibilities. The wings fluttering nervously on your back are large, beautiful, alicorn wings. Unless you happen to be friends with one or both of the known alicorns in the world you will likely want to go over this checklist to see how far along you are. If you are in fact a friend or protege of one or more of them, by all means seek information directly from the source.

“There it goes again, it's like Cann had me in mind when this was published. When was this written again? … No, the date was a good two years before I was even born. What an odd coincidence.”

Subsection one:

Magical strength:

Pick up an object, do you find the task far easier than you have previously found it? Have you, in fact, just shattered or crushed the teacup/piano/best friend in your attempts?

“That reminds me, Spike I need a new brush.”

Alicorns are known for their prodigious magical strength. The two known subjects at the time of this publication are able to move respectively the sun, moon, and stars however they wish. Simple tasks require far more focus to perform. Imagine, if you will, lifting a single hay bale with the basic telekinesis. Now imagine linking with 1.4 billion other unicorns and directing that force on the same hay bale. (Mind, the standard we refer to here is an ordinary unicorn. Magical talent unicorns can and have sprung up which are merely dwarfed by a factor of hundreds when compared to alicorns.) This is slight exaggeration of course as the true strength of an alicorn is quite immeasurable by normal terms, and can only really be done against another alicorn. As such you will need to relearn how to perform basic delicate tasks, lest you reduce all of your belongings/friends/race to smoldering ash. It's probably for the best if you begin as soon as possible.

Subsection two:

Flight:

Despite the fact you have grown wings you are unlikely to have the muscle strength necessary to perform flight; give your wings a test flap, preferably in a wide open field. You will likely find them to quite weak initially; but it’s important to check. Are they moving correctly? You should go over the basic structure of the wings. Examine your Primaries and Primary coverts first. Check their alignment, preen as necessary. Move onto the Secondaries and Secondary coverts next. (Take proper care of your wings, they will be a part of you for the rest of your life.) Finally go over your Lesser coverts, remembering to preen where appropriate. You may find you have certain instincts for this, once you examine the wing you should know what to do. If you find yourself clueless my colleague and Co author Professor Thissdens has written some excellent texts on the subject. Physical training will be required, this will be discussed in detail in the aforementioned texts.

“I bet Rainbow or Fluttershy could teach me, this really doesn't seem very in depth. Looks like he just sort of tacked it on to justify his co-author.”

Subsection three:

Body Structure:

An alicorn's basic physiology is a bit different from the norm, as you will shortly discover. While only two known cases of Alicornication have presented in known Equestrian history, study of these subjects has yielded some understanding which we will pass on now.

Your body type will become what is best described as swan-like. Your legs will become far longer, and more graceful. Your mane and tail will be the biggest physical change in your appearance. In the cases of the two known alicorns it seems that their manes flow with the energy of the celestial body they control. Celestia's mane and tail whips about in an unseen wind which she has been quoted as saying is in fact the solar wind. My colleague I. T. Burnes has written an excellent text on the subject should you wish to further study the phenomenon. Luna on the other hoof has her mane and tail flowing with stars and moonlight. Being that there are two celestial bodies and only two known alicorns it is unknown if the bodies themselves cause this or if it’s the magical control over the skies.

Twilight nodded. "Yes, Burnes also wrote ‘Astronomical Astronomer's Almanac to All Things Astronomy’. He went blind in one eye. He told his class he had the revolutionary idea of studying the sun instead of the more practiced study of the stars. Personally I think he turned that telescope to peek in Celestia's bedroom one too many times. Still, he gets all the mares now, something about a stallion in an eye-patch who speaks passionately about the night sky... "

What's going to truly baffle you is your sheer physical strength and endurance. Alicorns are gifted with Earth Pony magic, which translates to the ability to take blows that would kill a lesser pony with relative ease. It also means they can go for extended periods of time without rest if needed. Celestia demonstrated this during the one thousand year imprisonment of her sister, keeping both the sun and moon in their correct places and only taking cat naps in between sunrise and moonrise.

Twilight snorted "Apparently you still feel tired though. Just what I need, the ability to push on without sleep for days on end- Sweet Celestia, the research I could get done!"

Section three: Mental Considerations

Alicorns are nigh immortal godlike figures, with enhanced strength in magic, flight and body. Their minds are similarly enhanced by nature... However, this can lead to certain complications, and it has.

Being immortal can lead to a certain degree of detachment from the ephemeral ponies who live and die inside of a single century. This can be avoided to some extent by forming attachments to individuals of each generation, but can and will lead to heartache as your favorite pony leaves you. This tendency to seek out attachment can also lead to madness if you perceive yourself to be unwanted, or unappreciated by your populace. Delusions of grandeur led one sister to war with the other. Power corrupts, and alicorns have a nigh infinite supply of power.

Also to be noted is the ability to compartmentalize multiple tasks. Each of the sisters is capable of perfectly ordinary tasks while dragging the sky along its path, they only need to focus on the rise of their respective celestial body, their magic does the rest throughout the day/night.

Conclusion:

This text, while hardly a complete guide, will give you a basic idea of what to expect having spontaneously ascended to godhood. You should seek further training from the two sisters at this point, unless you have decided to overthrow them, in which case I hereby welcome you, our new overlord.

Twilight closed the volume. "Spike, take a letter."

"Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I woke up with six appendages, I'm going to need to discuss this with you, do you mind if I drop by for tea?

Your faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle.

P.S. Spike here, Twilight is jumping up and down, shouting YESYESYESYES, it's really freaking me out!"