• Published 22nd Feb 2012
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My Little Alicorn - InsertAuthorHere



A magical prank backfires, leaving Celestia stuck as a filly and Luna having to take her place.

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Chapter Two: The Best Laid Plans...

Chapter Two

Twilight Sparkle was not having a good day.

Princess Luna’s request couldn’t have come at a worse time. Sweet Apple Acres had just had one of the biggest harvests in Ponyville history, and Sugar Cube Corner had celebrated with a huge bake-off of apple-themed goods. In other words, there was quite the sale on baked goods, including those apple fritters Twilight loved so much. And just as she’s gearing up to go to market, Spike belches out a letter from Luna herself, requesting a little get-together. So, in the name of serving royalty, she had to take a bath, brush her mane and tail, whiten her teeth, and do everything else that comes with being presentable. And what happens when she makes a quick run to town? All the fritters are gone. She only managed to grab a small apple pie to split with the princess.

And now she was stuck in the castle foyer, while two of the most stubborn pegasi to ever guard a princess blocked any further access to the palace. The pie was getting cold, but Twilight’s nerves were heating up. “Excuse me, sirs, but I have been standing here for thirty minutes! I have business with Princess Luna, and I must see her immediately!”

“We understand, Ms. Sparkle.”

They weren’t catching on. “It was a long flight from Ponyville to Canterlot. That obviously means it will be a long flight back. If I don’t get a move on right now, I won’t make it back before dark.”

“We understand, Ms. Sparkle.”

These two are as stubborn as a mule. “May I speak with Princess Celestia, then? Maybe she can let me through.”

“Sorry, miss, but Princess Celestia is not receiving any visitors today.”

“But I’m her personal student!”

“No visitors.”

The argument would have continued from there, had a clock not suddenly chimed three times. The two guards nodded to each other before turning their gaze back on Twilight. “Miss Sparkle, we thank you for your patience. We will take you to Princess Luna now.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, her front temple suddenly hurting something fierce. “What’s with the sudden change of heart?”

“Please follow us, Ms. Sparkle.”

A part of Twilight wanted to let out the biggest groan she had ever made since she learned of The Egghead’s Guide to the Egghead’s Guides’ existence, but wisely decided to keep her mouth shut and just follow the two.

-----------

Celestia’s eyes slowly opened, her body gradually loosening up from the supposed near-death encounter. Luna was staring at her, no longer showing the grim superiority of just a few moments ago. In its place was the same warm, motherly smile she herself had given Luna many times in their youth. “‘Gotcha?’ Luna, if this is some kind of trick…”

“Isn’t it obvious, little sister? This isn’t a real coup, it’s a joke!”

Celestia climbed back on all four hooves, her body still a little numb but otherwise unharmed. Her eyes were still stinging, while her mind was begging to just let out a scream. Only her very willpower kept her from acting like how she currently looked. “A joke? You think doing this to your sister is a joke?”

“Oh, don’t act so surprised. It’s not that different from the little gags you throw when you’re bored. Remember three weeks ago, when you dumped itching powder in my sock drawer?”

Celestia’s eyes jumped wide open.

“Or two days after that, when you turned off the hot water while I was in the shower?”

The filly’s eyes were as wide as saucer plates by now.

“Oh, and how can we forget a week later, when you pasted those fake boils on me and told me I had the Alicorn Plague?!”

“You mean…this was all about those little things?! Those were jokes, Luna. I was just trying to have a little fun with you!”

“That’s right, they were jokes.” Luna smiled. “And that’s what this is, Celly. Just a little joke.”

“Very funny,” Celestia grumbled. She looked a little more relaxed than a few minutes ago, but her face was still locked in a perpetual grimace.

The blue alicorn recognized Celestia’s concern almost immediately. “I’m not going to keep you like this, if that’s what you’re worried about. The spell wears off pretty quickly. In about an hour or so, you will be right back to normal, none the worse for wear.” A shining light emerged from Luna’s horn, followed by the dragonhide book gliding from under her bed. “I’ve been planning this for a while now, and every bit of research I did said the spell only existed in this book. I even had to translate the whole thing from Middle Equestrian. Now that took a while, let me tell you... ”

Celestia’s face was flushed a deep crimson, both from her seething frustration and her embarrassment. “You mean, you went through all this trouble…just for a joke?!

“I couldn’t settle for some run-of-the-mill ‘fake out the tea service’’ gag, could I? Besides, you’ve been on the prankster warpath far longer than I have, haven’t you? Even a thousand years ago, you were pulling the same stunts. But you never targeted me. You never made me the butt of your cruelty. For the last three weeks, it’s just been one prank after another, and all of them on me, your sister. The one you apparently missed so very much these thousand years? The one who missed you, even when she was inside Nightmare Moon? The one who doesn’t need to wake up thinking she’s got less than six hours to live?”

Celestia’s face stayed red, but not from anger. Everything Luna had just said was right. The last three weeks had been some of the worst in centuries, just one crisis after another, and the stress was bearing down on her from all sides. All the jokes she pulled weren’t out of malice; she just wanted something to ease the tension. She never meant to really hurt anypony…and had driven one of the only two ponies whose opinions she cared about to turning her into a very little pony as a prank.

Even worse, she knew that, had she learned of the spell first, she would have used it on Luna at the first opportunity. She was just so darn cute as a filly. And less emo, come to think of it.

She looked at Luna, unwittingly unleashing the saddest puppy dog eyes ever seen outside of a certain yellow pegasus in Ponyville. “You’re right. I’ve been a horrible sister this last little while. It’s just been so stressful lately that I needed a release. I guess I didn’t think how it would hurt you.”

For the first time in her long life, the moon princess had been hit with the most powerful double whammy possible: the puppy dog eyes of a younger sibling. Luna’s heart threatened to melt in her chest, travel up her esophagus, and puke itself on the floor. So great was the assault that Luna actually felt a warm, happy tear slide down her face. “Listen, let’s call this my payback. Just promise me you won’t get me with anything else for a good while.” She reached a hoof out. “Truce?”

Celestia slapped her hoof down on top, trying hard not to acknowledge just how much bigger Luna’s was right now. “Truce.” The two hooves returned to under their respective owners. “So, what do we do now? Talk over the last bits of business before your night begins? Trade stories until the spell wears off? Just sit perfectly still and have a long talk about stealing illegal books from royal libraries?”

Luna’s smile returned, resembling a murderer just before they gutted their next victim. “Do you really want things that boring, little sister? I have sooo much planned for today. The fun is just beginning!”

Celestia chuckled nervously, a renewed sense of raw fear coursing through every fiber of her being. Luna walked over to the nearby trunk and popped the lid. Inside were dozens of the most humiliating outfits and costumes she could scrounge up on such short notice. Everything from frou-frou party dresses to those checkered scarves from the ‘80s could be clearly seen, even from Celestia’s low-angle position.

The filly gave a relieved sigh at the sight. “I get it now. You’re getting back for all those times I made you pose like a mannequin for the royals.”

“That is…a part of it, yes.” Luna’s grin was threatening to consume her whole face by this point.

“I suppose there’s no harm in that.” Might as well get a little fun out of this. It can’t get any worse, anyway.

Luna very slowly cocked her head back towards Celestia. Her hooves were already buried deep in the chest, stopping only when the two heard them clank against something hard. The clothing dispersed as Luna pulled out a large box with a single glass lens. Celestia knew what it was. It was the one thing she had wished they had invented back when she would make Luna do this.

A camera.

“Ready to do a little modeling?”

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When Twilight started following the guards, she had assumed they would take her directly to wherever Luna was. Instead, they seemed to be doing everything in their power to accomplish the exact opposite. The guards took her around the east castle courtyard, pointing out such sights as “Celestia’s Statue,” “Celestia’s Other Statue,” and “The Fountain with Celestia’s Statue.” None of it was new. Everypony who had ever grown up in Canterlot spent their whole foalhood around these things.

After that came the tidbits of Canterlot history. All of it was the touristy stuff, like how Canterlot was founded by unicorns only a few years before Nightmare Moon’s defeat, how it became the capital of Equestria once the Everfree Forest devoured the old palace, and why the water always tasted so foul on the south side of town. (Not a thing most ponies would ever be comfortable learning.)

And then it happened. Once all the history was gone, the guards shifted to talking about the local baseball team, the Canterlot Comets. It was right there, when the two were swapping batting averages and Manehatten’s cheating ways, that Twilight Sparkle knew she had been had. The twitchiness in her right eye returned, threatening to push the whole eyeball right out of her socket. Her teeth were clasped so tight she could have shattered them without a moment’s hesitation.

“LISTEN, GENTLECOLTS! I have had a very long day, and you showing me a bunch of things I already know isn’t helping! I have business with Princess Luna, and if you don’t take me to her this instant, I promise you both she and Celestia will know what you’ve been up to. And by the time they’re done with you, the two of you won’t be able to find a job shoveling fertilizer in this kingdom!”

The guards quickly shut their traps, trying to shuffle away from the enraged unicorn as quickly as possible…

-----------

The camera’s shutter snapped yet again, barely covering Luna’s incessant giggling. “Oh, you are just so adorable, Celly!”

“Um, yeah, cute.” Screw the truce. Tomorrow morning, you’re getting hot sauce in your oatmeal. And not the wimpy kind, either. I mean the kind Spike used to use on his rubies.

Celestia was on her fourth outfit: a pink princess costume with matching pointed hat. It was only slightly less denigrating than the baby bonnet and bib from the last picture. She did look rather cute, but there was no way Celestia was going to give Luna the satisfaction. She just wanted to this nightmare to be over with.

Despite her best efforts, the filly’s apprehension was obvious to her tormentor. Luna literally leaped to her sister’s side, grabbing her in the same running tackle the sun goddess had used many a time. Celestia yelped in protest, trying to break free from Luna’s patented kung fu grip, but nothing doing. “Oh, don’t take it so hard, Celly. There’s nothing wrong with a little practical joke, right?”

“Yeah, of course there’s nothing wrong with this,” she lied. Her thoughts turned to the camera, still sitting on the side of the bed. “Say, what are the pictures for, anyway?”

“Oh, you mean the blackmail photos?” Celestia began to mouth the word “blackmail,” but was far too frustrated by this point to care. Luna finally released Celestia and gave a friendly punch to her shoulder. “I'm kidding, sister. I figured you would at least look passable as a filly, so I wanted some pictures for posterity sake. I mean, I doubt you would be willing to do this again.”

You’re absolutely right we’ll never do this again! Celestia still managed to give a small, incredibly obviously fake smile. “Well…if it makes you happy. At least nopony else is here.”

Luna started on her way back to the chest, still grinning like a maniac. Everything was going according to plan. “Now take that costume off. We still have so many things to try on.”

-----------

Finally, finally, the two deposited her at Luna’s door. The pie, which had survived the entire trip on Twilight’s back, was now far too cold to really enjoy, and the unicorn’s temper was far too heated for a civil discourse. The two guards quickly bowed their heads and hurried back to their posts.

Twilight took a moment to regain her composure before knocking…

-----------

Celestia pulled the ridiculous costume off, tossing it aside like a used rag. Luna was reaching into the chest for a new outfit when she heard a knock on the door. The filly’s fur practically stood on end. Luna, on the other hand, knew exactly who it was. “Drat, she’s late.”

Celestia felt a cold shiver run down her spine. “Who’s late?”

“Well, I thought you might be a bit uncomfortable like this, so I invited one of your favorite people for a nice, little visit. I’m sure your faithful student won’t think less of you after seeing you like this. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Celestia’s entire body locked up, her jaw dropping halfway to the floor, eyes shaking in blind terror. Faithful student…Twilight Sparkle…No…Can’t….No….

“You didn’t think I was just going to keep a little beauty like you to myself, did you? I bet she can’t wait to see your new makeover!”

There was another knock. Luna was as giddy as a schoolfilly by now, happily skipping to the door. “I’ll be right there!”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Celestia threw herself in front of the door, pushing against it with all her tiny weight. All Luna had to do was telekinetically scoot her aside and, as gracefully as possible, pull it open. On the other side stood Twilight Sparkle, personal protégé to Princess Celestia and one of the most powerful non-goddess ponies in Equestria. The purple unicorn bowed before Luna, her flustered expression quickly relaxing into one of refined serenity. Celestia decided to go the opposite direction, planting herself against the wall and trying to be as tiny as possible. It was working, too. Twilight didn’t even seem to notice her ruler and teacher was even in the room.

“Princess Luna, I apologize for my delay. I had some trouble with the guards.”

Luna put on her best princess face, while Celestia finished her transformation into a white, furry ball. “No, don’t worry about it. Security can be a little overzealous sometimes. If they had their way, Celestia and I would only walk around in full plate. Please, come in.”

Twilight rose on all fours and walked inside, the door closing behind her. Luna levitated the pie off her back, setting it on a nearby dresser. The mere smell was enough to delight the princess; it reminded her of that party in Ponyville, on her first day as a free mare in a thousand years. It was almost enough to make her forget her evil scheming, if only for a few brief moments. “I do thank you for coming. I know it’s quite a trip here from Ponyville, but Celestia talks about you so much, I just knew I needed to know you better.”

Twilight gave a quick bow, trying her best not to show her frayed nerves. Luna might not be powerful enough to send her into orbit by herself, but finding herself teleported a few thousand feet off the ground was a scary enough thought. “It’s no problem at all, princess. I mean, we didn’t get much of a chance to talk at the Summer Sun Celebration, and I didn’t see you at the Gala, either.”

Of course not. You were taking my place. “No, I suppose we haven’t had much of a chance to be acquainted, you being in Ponyville and me in Canterlot and all. Still, you are my sister’s student, and as co-ruler of Equestria, it is my duty to assist you in whatever matters, academic or not, you request my help with.”

“Thank you kindly, Princess Luna, but I’m sure your sister is all the help I need.” She immediately caught her slip-up. “I didn’t mean to say she was better than you, or anything. I just meant, eh, she’s been my teacher for so long. I don’t think anypony really knows you- CRAPTHAT’SNOTWHATIMEANT!”

Right now, Twilight’s chances of survival were sinking faster than raft carrying a thousand grand pianos. Luna facehoofed at her sister’s protégé’s stammering. “Don’t worry so much. I won’t banish you for a few little mistakes.”

Twilight was still breathing like a leaking air pump, but seemed to calm down at least a little. “Th-Thank you, your Highness. I’m just a little worried about Princess Celestia. The guards at the front said she wasn’t taking any visitors, and she usually has enough time to at least let me say hello when I come by. Will she be joining us today?”

The blue alicorn did her best not to seem upset at Twilight’s unwitting insult. Doesn’t matter the millennia, all they ever care about is her. “Oh, you know my sister. Sometimes she gets a…little too involved in her work. And then sometimes, she procrastinates like a foal until the deadline. You know, like those fillies in school.”

If Twilight was getting any of Luna’s puns, she sure wasn’t showing it. Her expression was more of concern for the former Nightmare Moon’s sanity than anything else. She was getting ready to say something else when her hoof got caught on the discarded princess costume. “Where’d this come from?”

Luna let out a small sigh. Better now than never; the spell’s going to wear off soon, anyway. “That? It’s just part of a little fun I was having on my sister.” She reached over for the discarded camera. “Speaking of which, I have a few pictures I’d like you to see…”

“LUNA, STOP!”

Just as planned.

Possible humiliation at the hooves of her own student was enough to break Celestia out of her fetal position and into action. She galloped from her side of the room, jumped onto Luna’s bed, and charged for the camera. Sadly, she wasn’t used to running so fast with such small legs; she tripped on a fold in the bedspread, flew over the side of the bed, and crashed headfirst into the dresser. The impact knocked the pie over the edge, sending it crashing upside-down onto the alicorn’s face.

Twilight leaped to the filly’s side, pulling the pie pan off her face. Beneath the sugary, gooey remains of the dessert was a white filly with a rainbow mane. She didn’t even have to see the little pony’s sun-shaped cutie mark to know who this was. She turned back to Luna. The other alicorn was making her way to Celestia’s other side, her bemused expression having shifted to one of pure horror. “Pr-Pr-Princess Luna, is…is this…?”

Screw decorum. She wasn’t supposed to get hurt...like this, anyway. “You mean my sister, your teacher, the one you all adore so very much?” said Luna. “Yes, of course it is. How many other goddesses do you know?” She crouched on all fours and brought her face right next to Celestia’s. “Are you all right, sister?”

Celestia didn’t respond at first. She was still dizzy from the concussion, but that wasn’t what was troubling her. The mere fact she had a concussion was the problem. She had faced her fair share of emotional torments over the years, but real, physical pain? The last time was a lucky shot from Nightmare Moon, and that only stung a little. Now her head felt like a thousand tiny hammers were chipping away at the inside of her skull. Even worse, she was covered in apple pie, in front of the same unicorn she had once been a mentor to, the only pony besides Luna whose opinion mattered to her.

Why is she doing this? I tried to be a good sister. I…I just wanted Luna to have some fun. Does she hate me? Does Twilight think I’m a joke, too? I…I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE…

Any sense of her former maturity, the countless millennia spent inventing court protocol and royal etiquette, finally collapsed under the torrent of emotions attacking from every corner of her being. The alicorn filly burst into a wailing, sobbing mess, burying her face in her hooves and trying to look as small as possible.

Twilight was stunned at first, still trying to come to grips with what she was seeing. Princess Celestia, the most kindhearted ruler anypony could ask for, the very pony she had idolized her entire youth, was right now crying louder than any filly she had ever heard before. She couldn’t even imagine either of the goddesses as anything other than their current, seemingly eternal forms.

Even so, a hurt little filly was a hurt little filly. She reached over a hoof, stroking her teacher’s shoulder in an attempt to reassure her. “Don’t worry, princess. It’s okay. We’re all here for you.” All her condescending words accomplished was making Celestia sob even harder.

Luna’s sense of victory, the warming mirth of a prank done well, crumbled around her as reality set in. “Sister, I didn’t mean for it to go this far.”

The frank admission of guilt snapped Twilight’s face towards the moon princess. Her face was twisted into something almost completely unponylike. “You mean you did this?”

“It was supposed to be a little prank! I make her a filly, dress her up in some costumes, and invite you over for a visit! We share some laughs, she turns back to normal, and we all put this behind us!”

“So THAT’S why you dragged me here?! So I could help you humiliate your sister?! I lost my whole day so you could pull a mean-spirited joke?!” The edges of Twilight’s mane and tail began to flicker and smoke, the same way Celestia’s did when she was well and truly angry. Right now, she didn’t care that said princess could probably grind her into paste at a moment’s notice.

She leaned back over to the still-crying Celestia and started to nuzzle her softly. Her eyes were still locked on Luna, giving her a stare that would have made Fluttershy proud. The blue alicorn was busy making herself as small as possible, feeling less like an immortal goddess and more like a foal about to receive a time out. “There there, it’s going to be all right. I’m sure that big meanie Luna’s very sorry. She’s going to make everything better. Just you wait.”

Luna limped back to the Arcanus E Draconus, feeling about two inches tall. The book was still opened to the spell’s page, its text still from a period of history she had skipped. Reaching out with her horn’s power, she pulled a small notebook from under the bed, containing the translated text. She had already rote memorized the spell, but at least this would help her translate a counter spell out.

It was that moment she noticed something she had missed before. On the very bottom of the page was a small footnote, half-faded but still legible. Luna quickly went to work, flipping between the various pages of notes and the tiny footnote.

-----------

Several minutes passed, and Celestia was finally starting to calm down. Her eyes were still red and puffy, but she wasn’t throwing fits or trying to fight off Twilight’s advances anymore. Instead, she was just looking at her student. If anything positive could have come from this, it was proof that alicorn were still larger even as foals; she was maybe a head or a head-and-a-half shorter than the full-grown Twilight.

The unicorn gave a reassuring grin, one that Celestia slowly flashed back in return. She was busy levitating a towel around Celestia’s body, wiping up as much of the pie mess as she could. The rest of the stains would come off in the bath, at any rate. “Feel better?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Celestia sniffled. That sense of royal refinement was gradually returning to her voice at least. “I apologize. You shouldn’t have to see me like this. I understand if you are a bit puzzled by my recent behavior.”

Twilight barely contained a giggle. Any attempt at sounding authoritative and regal just sounded ridiculous with her high-pitched voice. Celestia’s face fell for about the twelfth time that day. Not even my own student takes me seriously anymore.

“OH NO!”

The two turned back to Luna. The princess was frantically switching between reading the book’s pages and her own little notebook. She glanced back at the still upset duo, her face betraying her “I’m so dead” mentality. “Um…Celestia? Do you remember when I said the spell wore off?”

“Yeah?”

“I… may have mistranslated that part of the spell.”

Both ponies were back on their hooves and next to Luna in an instant. Neither seemed particularly happy with this turn of events, either. “What do you mean, mistranslated?!” shouted Celestia.

“Well…it’s not two hours like I thought it was.”

“How long?” asked Twilight.

“Um, this footnote says, ‘Do not cast this spell on Princess Celestia or any other alicorn. Their divine biology will resist the magic’s natural ebbing effect. Any casting of this spell on such a being can only be dispelled or destroyed by a counterspell.’”

Celestia’s jaw went slack, mumbling some of the most unladylike curses imaginable. Twilight was seething, but at the very least somewhat calm. “What’s the problem, then? Just use the counterspell!”

“THERE IS NO COUNTERSPELL!” gasped Luna. “At least, there is not one in this book! It’ll take forever to find one to undue a spell this powerful! I… I think we’re stuck.” She gathered her courage and looked back at Celestia. The filly was gritting her teeth, her right hoof pawing the floor. As for Twilight, she would probably let her go ahead and charge if she wanted. Another trip to the moon was probably the best case scenario right now.

“Um… gotcha?”

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