• Published 2nd Jun 2013
  • 9,291 Views, 504 Comments

Role Reversal - Trials

Sometimes, we all need company. Big Mac found his in the form of a doll — a filly's mere toy. She provided companionship as an inanimate object, but now, it's not enough.

  • ...

In the Flesh

Role Reversal

Today was the day. Big Mac had held the moment off for way too long. If it failed, well, then that would be it. No more trying. No more time wasted on mere hopes and wishes. It was a ridiculous proposition, anyway. He didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of tempting Discord, despite the amount of apples in his saddlebags. He'd heard that Discord had been reformed, and was currently living with Fluttershy, no matter how much he doubted it. Big Mac had never forgiven him for turning Equestria into his personal playground, so the thought of him suddenly being redeemed was almost unthinkable.

It wasn't just that, though. He remembered the things he did to him... Discord had turned him into a dog, which turned out to be a very ruff situation. Big Mac shook his head. It didn't matter. In the end, it had to be Discord to help him. Discord was the only one available — every other powerful pony had more important tasks to do. Big Mac had considered Twilight Sparkle, but the newly-appointed princess must've had some work to do. No, he needed someone who had the time and availability to do what he wanted. Someone like Discord; a lazy, powerful good-fer-nothin', who was able to do anything at any time. He would just have to put away his revenge for later.

Big Mac made his way up the garden path to Fluttershy's home. He paused for a moment, checking that none of the apples had fallen from their baskets, and making sure his darling was still with him. He smiled, boosting her confidence with a soft tap of his hoof. Once sure, he trotted up to the door. Big Mac knocked and waited. “H-hello?” a quiet voice said from behind the door. “Big Mac? What are you doing here?”

“Oh, hi, Fluttershy,” he said, blushing. His eyes tried to focus on her face — he really did try — but he felt them slip towards Fluttershy's... Big Mac shook his head. He definitely had more important things to do, he decided as he rubbed his chin. “Is Discord home? Ah wanna talk ta him.”

Fluttershy's eyes grew wide. “Oh, no! He hasn't got into trouble again, has he?”

“Not that Ah know of,” Big Mac admitted. 'Again'? He knew it was too good to be true.

“Good,” she said, sighing in relief. “Um, I don't really know where he is at the moment. I could leave a message if you want—”

“No, that's fine,” Big Mac interrupted. “Didn't he tell you anythin'?”

“I think he said he wanted something sweet. Does that help?”

“A lot. Thanks,” he said, turning away. “See ya later.” Big Mac waited for the door to click shut before moving. There weren't a lot of sweet things in Ponyville. According to legend, Discord had always owned a sweet tooth, so there weren't many places he could've gone. It had to be Sugarcube Corner; it was the only sweet shop in Ponyville. Big Mac started walking once more, in the direction of town. He never really liked going to the main part of Ponyville — he was much too shy to strike up a conversation — but if he got what he wanted, it would all be worth it.

The path to town from Fluttershy's place was a short one, but beautiful, nonetheless. Overhanging branches provided Big Mac with shade as he looked around. Countless flowers of countless colours layered the ground around him, almost begging for him to sniff. Bushes, heathers and hedges shaded the squirrels and rabbits as they played under the afternoon sun. Insects and birds fluttered around the stallion as he walked. Some ponies basked in the warmth on the grass, simply soaking in the sun.

It was a beautiful day. Fitting.

“Look, Smarty Pants. Look how pretty it is today,” Big Mac whispered to his companion. Even though there was no response, he knew there soon could be. He didn't even know if it was possible, but it would be worth the try, no matter how much Discord may laugh at him. Well, Discord laughed at anything. Even on his dying day, you could be sure of one thing: Discord would be laughing his head off.

Town came into view. Big Mac could see the bustling town simply buzzing with energy. It looked so... awkward. He didn't like large crowds, but, then again, he didn't like any kind of crowd. He had obviously visited on the wrong day. Mares, colts and fillies all filled the streets, obviously shopping in the market or simply enjoying the day. It didn't matter to Big Mac. Whatever the reason was they were around, he didn't like it. Too many eyes. Too much attention. It didn't suit him at all, but he pushed on, knowing that his dream may come true.

Eventually, the stallion entered the maw of the crowd. He instantly flinched, his eyes suddenly moving of their own accord. Big Mac checked his saddlebags once more. With a gulp, he pressed on into the town. The thing about the stallion was: he liked his comfort zone. When his precious comfort zone was invaded, it felt like a true invasion, not simply one of harmless intentions. He couldn't bear it. His space was his very own, and that's the way he liked it.

Then, with a happy sigh, he remembered why he was here, and it all seemed to go away, the noise, the bustle — everything but Smarty Pants and himself — seemingly vanished into thin air. Sugarcube Corner was just down the street. Big Mac felt his pace increase, and he began trotting through the town. His dream was so close now, he could almost see it. He tried to imagine what she looked like.

The stallion pushed the door wide open, and came face to face with the Spirit of Chaos. Big Mac stood smiling at Discord, blocking his path with his large shoulders. For the first time, he was happy to see Discord. He felt his breath return, even though he didn't realise it was missing. The draconequus looked to Pinkie Pie, and then back again. He shrugged. “Uh, I'll be on my way, thank you,” he said, teleporting behind Big Mac. He opened the door, but the pony got in his way again.

“Wait, hold on a second. Ya can't go.” the stallion mumbled.

“What is it, dear boy?” Discord replied, shaking his fist, “are the pesky humans trying their hands at shipping again?”

Big Mac shook his head. Sometimes, even he couldn't understand what Discord was on about. He'd heard him give a speech with mention to 'hands' or something or other, but it didn't make sense then. Pointless thoughts aside, the stallion had more things to worry about. “Ah've come ta ask you a favour.”

“Oh?” Discord asked, raising an eyebrow, “and what makes you think I'll give you it?”

“Uh, could we talk somewhere more private?” Big Mac said, nodding towards Pinkie Pie. The mare grinned before disappearing behind the counter. A waving hoof appeared from the desk, and Discord waved back with a hearty chuckle.

“Very well.” The draconequus clicked his fingers, and the pair appeared in a white space. Big Mac looked around. All he could see was white, as if it was a canvas. Oddly enough, he had the sensation of floating. He looked down at his hooves, and, sure enough, he wasn't on the ground. With the manliest scream Big Mac could manage, he flailed his limbs in all directions, attempting to find purchase on any form of ground. “Okay, that's enough,” Discord said, appearing alongside him with a poof. The screaming continued. “Seriously, it's starting to get rather annoying.” Big Mac couldn't control himself. “All right! Fine!” the draconequus shouted.

With a swish of Discord's claw, Big Mac fell to the blank floor with a crash. His eyes opened wide as he finally found the ground. He eventually got to his hooves, sighing. Big Mac looked down at the white nothing that was the ground, and decided it was probably best not to — it made him feel rather queasy. “Where... where are we?” he asked, eyeing the swimming Discord.

“Does that matter? You wanted peace, you got it,” he said, switching to backstroke. “Now, what was that favour you wanted?”

“Don't you wanna know what Ah can offer?” the stallion asked, cocking his head.

“Well, it depends on the favour, of course!” Discord said with a laugh, “I need to know what I'm dealing with before talking prices.” He began an erratic breaststroke through the white space.

This was the moment. The moment Big Mac had waited so long for. He retrieved Smarty Pants from his saddlebags. Closing his eyes, he presented the doll in front of him almost like he was offering a gift. Discord blinked. “Well, what do you want from me? It's just a run-down, dirty toy. I don't understand,” he said.

“Run-down?! Dirty? Don't you listen ta him, Smarty Pants. He don't know nothi—” The stallion was interrupted by a chorus of laughter. Discord stopped his swimming, as his laughter was rather obviously too much to handle with. After what seemed an eternity, the draconequus still hadn't stopped. Big Mac's cheeks flushed furiously. Discord began wiping away actual tears from his eyes before speaking.

“Hold on a moment,” he said in between chuckles and giggles. “Let me guess: you want that toy to come to life as a real pony? Someone to call your friend after being so lonely and desperate?” The laughing paused. An almighty silence fell upon the two.

Big Mac gulped. “Eeyup.”

The stallion was blasted back from the wave of laughter. His eyes grew wide in panic. Big Mac tried to hold onto the white ground, but couldn't find anything to grab onto. It seemed to be slpping away from him. The laughing pushed him along the ground like a ragdoll and away from Discord. He couldn't give in that easily. Big Mac dug his front hooves into the ground, forming his own hold. Even though his back legs flailed uselessly in the powerful winds of laughter, at least he had grip with his front. Once the hole had been made, he began to relax. That was when the laughter stopped, and he fell back on his stomach with an audible groan.

“Oh, this is too rich! You want your very own Pinocchio, don't you?! Someone to hold you through the cold, lonely nights!” the draconequus said, slapping his thighs.

“Ya heard what Ah want, Discord,” the stallion said, “so, can ya do it?”

“Of course! I am the now reformed Element of Chaos after all!” Discord exclaimed with a wry smile.

“What do ya want from me in return?” Big Mac asked, narrowing his eyes. “Ah've got plenty of apples Ah can give ya.” He looked back at his saddlebags to find his worst nightmare. No apples. Darn. They must've disappeared into the void of whiteness.

“Nothing,” Discord said, chewing on a very familiar apple, “I say again: I'm now reformed!”

Big Mac leapt up with joy. “Yup!” he bellowed to the blank canvas around him, before turning to Smarty Pants. “Ya gonna be a real mare now, just like Ah said! We gonna have so much fun, Smarty! First, we gotta get ourselves a drink, cool down in the heat, and then we'll go and talk ta mah family and all! This is gonna be great!”

“But, there is one consequence,” Discord added, “and, to be honest, it's rather steep.”

“And what's that?” Big Mac asked, raising an eyebrow.

“You have to take its place,” the draconequus said.

“And what's that supposed ta mean?”

“Exactly what you think,” Discord said solemnly. “If I turn ol' Smarty Pants here into a pony, you have to take its place as the doll. It's part of my magic system. All a bit of give and take, you see, and someone's got to give for someone to take.”

A silence fell between them. “Ya mean... if Smarty Pants comes ta life, Ah become the doll?” Discord nodded. “Ya sure there's no other way?” Discord nodded again.

Big Mac felt his legs buckle underneath him. Well, that was it: the final ultimatum. The stallion frowned. Would he ever see his family again? What was it like to be a doll? Would he feel anything or absolutely nothing? Questions flooded the stallion's mind, and he didn't have the answer to any of them. He looked back at Discord, who looked about as clueless as Big Mac felt. A tear rolled off his cheek, despite how much he tried to stop it. It had been months, if not, years since he last cried, and if he agreed to become the doll, it would be the last time. It wasn't fair. Discord had all the power in the world. Surely, he could make Smarty Pants a pony whilst keeping him the same.

More tears joined the lone droplet on the ground. For the first time, Big Mac had had a purpose in life, other than picking apples. He had made a friend, Smarty Pants; a little filly's toy, which anyone in the right mind would mock and tease, but it all made sense to him. That's all that mattered. She spoke to him on levels no-one else would or could understand, and he didn't care, because it was only between Smarty Pants and him. No one else was involved. No one else had to get involved.

He treated her with the same respect he gave to his family, even though she couldn't possibly do the same. If only it was easier to make his doll actually speak to him, he would've jumped at the chance. But, as with any great gift, it had a great price tag: himself. Big Mac looked at the doll on his back. He stroked her chin with a gentle hoof, looking into her eyes. They weren't real, of course, but he could've sworn he felt them staring right back at him. Big Mac smiled at her.

He loved her.

She gave him company when he maintained the orchard for hours upon hours. He would talk away to her, about whatever he felt like at the time. No matter how many times he talked, she would never reply. You could say that she was a great listener, but Big Mac didn't need a listener anymore. He wanted someone to speak back to him, to talk about the things he talked about. Instead of picking apples alone, he wanted actual company, instead of just a pair of button eyes watching him. Of course, his family were there for him, but it wasn't the same.

Big Mac never really had any friends, excluding his family. He was way too shy to try for new friends, but the doll already knew him. Smarty Pants had heard him speak his mind on numerous occasions, whether it be him simply talking about the day, or the hard choices to make in his life — she would listen. For all the time he knew Smarty Pants, which, admittedly, hadn't been such a long time, she had always listened to him. And now, it was time to listen to her.

With a sad smile on his face, the stallion stood up. He nodded at the Element of Chaos. “Are you completely sure?” Discord asked, raising a claw to his chin. “You realise I cannot turn you back until... Smarty Pants, or whatever it's called, gives its consent?” Big Mac nodded firmly. “Very well,” the draconequus said with a sigh, “but I'm not explaining this one to your sister.” Discord closed his eyes, and brought Smarty Pants and Big Mac floating into the air with a flick of his paw. The stallion resisted the urge to scream out again — Smarty was watching now.

“What has been brought together by fabrication now faces a new form of modification,” Discord said rhythmically, almost as if he had said the words many times over. “Turn he of flesh into cotton, lest he be fresh, but forgotten. Turn she of cotton into flesh, lest she be forgotten, but fresh.” Big Mac felt energy course through his body, through his very veins. It became uncomfortable, to the point where he nearly cried out, but he restrained himself. It was for the greater cause. “Allow these bodies to be switched across, for I am the Element of Chaos!” Discord yelled at the top of his voice.

Big Mac screamed as his body was broken apart by the magic. His great legs decreased in size. After seconds, he could no longer move them. After what seemed an eternity, he couldn't move anything. As his body made the penultimate step of becoming a doll, he looked across at his beloved. She looked so beautiful — everything he imagined her to be. Her eyes were shut tight, and it looked as if her hair had gone through a tornado, but it didn't matter; she was alive. Big Mac smiled, and for the first time since meeting Smarty Pants, he felt truly happy.

And then, Big Mac turned into a doll with a poof of dust.

The mare woke with a groan. Her body was sore, and her head was spinning. She rubbed her eyes with a yawn. She stretched her tired legs, reaching for the sky of... white? Why was everything white? Her eyes finally adjusted to the brightness of the place. Surely enough, it was just a room of blankness. Nothing. “Hello?” she called out in a gritty voice. The mare had a lump in her throat. “Am I in purgatory or something?” she said.

“Yes, my dear,” came a deep, booming voice. “I am your God. Bow before me.”

“My God?” she asked, cocking her head. “I wasn't aware I had one.”

“Of course you do. I am your living proof,” came the loud voice once more.

“Well, I can't exactly see you...”

“No, but you can hear me.”

The mare sighed. “Show yourself.”

“But, you know what they say! Hearing is believing!”

“That's not what they say at all! Show yourself!” she shouted angrily.

A laugh erupted her as a shape appeared from above. It seemed to be getting larger and larger. The mare squinted her eyes. Was that a... dragon? Whatever it was, it was descending from the blank sky at a rather alarming speed. It would probably be a good time to run. The mare began galloping away as fast as she possibly could, but the laughing only increased in volume. The thing was coming after her, and the maniacal laughter didn't exactly aid in her escape. She looked up one final time before it landed mere inches from her head. A wave of air hit the mare, blowing her mane into her eyes.

The thing cocked its strange head at her. It looked like some sick Pick 'n' Mix creation of monster parts. With a head similar to a horse, an antler from a goat, another from a reindeer and a big, bushy beard, it wasn't exactly the epitome of beauty. The mare looked at the rest of the thing's body, but there simply wasn't enough time in the day to describe it. She couldn't even recognise some of the other body parts. “What are you?” she said, backing away.

“As I said: God,” the thing repeated, smiling smugly.

“Knock it off,” the mare said. “Really, what are you?”

“Ah, so we've got a smart cookie, do we?” The dragon let out a hearty laugh. “Very well. I am Discord, Element of Chaos. At your service,” he said, bowing.

“Okay, Discord, where are we?”

“The question is: where are we not? Ponyville, that's for sure.”

“Ponyville?” the mare asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, you know, where all the cool ponies hang out,” Discord said, rolling his eyes. “I was only allowed in a short time ago. Apparently, none of them appreciated me all that much,” he said, pouting.

“Can we go there?” she asked impatiently. “I don't like it here.”

“But it's so peaceful here! Besides, I hafta talk to you about something.” The thing reached behind him, pulling out a doll from seemingly nowhere. “This is your coltfriend: Big Mac. He became a doll so that you could have life, Smarty Pants. I suggest you take good care of him.”

In an instant, Smarty Pants remembered everything: her name, her life, what had happened only moments ago and, of course, Big Mac. She gasped as the knowledge poured back into her head. It wasn't like she didn't want it, but it just seemed too much, almost as if it would overwhelm her mind. For some reason, she guessed, the magic spell must've given her temporary amnesia or something. Otherwise, how could she forget Big Mac, the very stallion who gave her life, replacing his own? It wasn't exactly an easy thing to forget, but she had only moments ago.

“Give him to me?” she asked, extending a hoof.

“With pleasure,” Discord said. “I was only, uh, giving him a tour of the sky up there.” The draconequus laughed before handing the doll over.

Smarty held up him with both hooves. He was quite a big thing, even for a toy. Much larger than she'd been. She poked his precious collar, which was surprisingly soft to touch. Like Big Mac, the wooden thing had turned into plush. Smarty giggled; he looked oddly adorable, especially the tuft of golden hair on the top of his head. His once powerful legs had been transformed into soft, huggable limbs, which only delighted her as she squeezed them. The mare looked into his deep green buttons, smiling. She knew he could see her, too.

“You know he doesn't like heights, right?” Smarty asked with a note of concern.

“You always have to face your fears at some point, dear child,” Discord said jokingly.

“Yes, well—” Smarty paused. Face your fears? “Discord, may I have a mirror?”

The draconequus was taken aback. “Of course,” he said, clicking his fingers... digits... whatever. A mirror suddenly appeared before Smarty with a high-pitch bleep, to which she yelped. She stared daggers at the smirking Discord before turning her attention on herself. Smarty gasped. With a gentle hoof, she touched her cheek. It was warm and smooth — soft, but completely different to plush. She was an earth pony, so nothing extravagant like wings or a horn. Her mane had remained in much the same way: black and white horizontal stripes in a tangled mess. Smarty's tail was the same, but shorter than she imagined. With a swish, she saw it was very similar to Big Mac's — short and stumpy, but efficient.

And then she saw her eyes. She used to have red and blue buttons for sight, and though her new eyes weren't exactly buttons, they had remained the same colour. Her left eye was of the lightest and calmest of blues, but her right eye burnt with the everlasting heat of red. The contrast was stunning; it looked so odd to see two very much different colours for pupils, but she'd have to make do. Smarty looked at her flank, seeing the pair of polka dot trousers tattooed on it. In all honesty... it wasn't exactly the best of Cutie Marks, but she didn't care. It was a true Cutie Mark, and that's what truly mattered.

Discord cleared his throat. “Yes, yes, you're a pretty mare. Hardly inconspicuous, but better than nothing.” The draconequus held out his paw. “Shall we be leaving?”

Smarty harrumphed. Hardly inconspicuous? What did he mean by that? Besides, the only ponies who would recognise her true self were Big Mac and Twilight.

The mare's eyes grew wide.

Twilight Sparkle.

“I don't see why not,” said Smarty, trying to contain her grin. This was going to be fun.