• Published 29th Aug 2013
  • 8,093 Views, 378 Comments

A Skitch in Time (Revised) - GreyGuardPony



When a transgender Brony in denial is turned into a mare and dragged to Equestria she is forced to deal with issues long buried. To make matters worse, whatever force caused her change has darker plans for the world. Can Equestria be saved in time?

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Investigations

Applejack rolled over in bed, her eyes fluttering open as the morning sun began to creep over the horizon. A slight smile crossed her muzzle as she slid out of bed, instinctively reaching for the hook next to the headboard that she kept her hat on.

Her hoof clacked against the wall, no hat to be found. Blinking, Applejack looked at where her stetson should have been and where she remembered hanging it the night before.

“What in tarnation?”

A search of the rest of the room also revealed no stetson. Frowning, she walked out into the hallway, almost bumping into Apple Bloom as she came trotting out of her own bedroom, a grin spread across her own muzzle.

“Mornin' sis!” She happily chirped.

“Mornin'.” Applejack nodded back, “Did ya happen ta borrow my hat? Ah can't seem to find it.”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “Nah. Ah didn't borrow yer hat. Did ya try retracin' your steps?”

Applejack chuckled, ruffling her little sister's mane. “Na. Not yet. But I hung it on the hook last night. Not sure how many steps there are to retrace.”

“Well, you were at Rarity's yesterday. Can't hurt ta at least look there.”

“I reckon' it can't.” Applejack agreed with a smile, “I'll head on over after breakfast.”

- - - -

A few hours later, after food and the very early morning chores that she couldn't ignore, Applejack was quickly trotting across Ponyville towards Carousel Boutique. It was an odd friendship that had developed between the farm girl and the fashionista, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

She was surprised to see Rarity closing the door to her shop behind her as she arrived. Applejack had come to know the daily routines of her friends, and it was a little on the odd side to see Rarity out of the boutique this early on a weekday. Usually she was doodling designs and doing other dress work.

“Mornin' Rare!” She called out as she approached the unicorn, “Where are you off to?”

Rarity tilted her head Applejack's direction, smiling warmly as she finished closing the door.

“Good morning darling. I was just off to Skitch-Sketch's. I need to speak with her about her Gala dress.”

“Ah hope she ain't pullin' a repeat performance of what we pulled on you the first time.”

Rarity waved a dismissive hoof. “Oh no, of course not. Just a minor issue about the payment. Nothing that the two of us can't work out.”

“She ain't refusin' to pay or something? That doesn't sound like the pony I know.”

Rarity bit her lip as she shook her head. “No. It's just...something strange that's bothering me is all.”

Applejack poked her friend in the side. “Come on Rare. We're friends. If it's somethin' that I can help with, don't hold back on me.”

Rarity sighed, pushing her door back open and motioning for Applejack to follow. She obliged, trotting into the boutique and following Rarity across the display floor. She glanced around for her hat as she walked, seeing completed dresses and bolts of multicolored fabric, but no hat.

“When neither Skitch or I could remember what was done in terms of payment for the dress, I checked my records.”

“What did ya find?”

“A line about “services rendered” and an invoice for a bolt of black fabric.”

Blinking, Applejack looked back at the bolts of fabric resting in their storage rack.

“Ah don't see anything black in this place.”

“Yes, darling. Which is problematic, since there is no way I used enough of the fabric for there not to be anything left over.”

Rarity sighed, as she sunk into one of her couches.

“I'm worried, Applejack. I mean...this may be something innocent, but I can not shake this feeling deep in my gut that it's something worse. That a friend of mine is in trouble.” Huffing, she shook her head, “Maybe I'm just overthinking this, but I need to find out. I was just about to go over and see what else she knew.”

Applejack frowned, but nodded. She couldn't find fault in Rarity's logic.

“How about ah come on over with ya, just for a bit of support.”

“Oh, thank you darling!” Rarity beamed, jumping off her couch and pulling her friend into a hug, “I don't want it to seem like I'm attacking her. Hopefully you'll keep me honest.”

“Sure thing sugarcube. Let's get on over there!”

Moving for the front door, Applejack was interrupted by a light cough from Rarity. “Actually, before we go...what happened to your hat? I never see you go anywhere without it!”

“Well...ah don't rightly know. It was gone when I woke up this mornin'. I actually came over to see if I somehow left it here.” She laughed nervously, “Ah feel kind of incomplete without it.”

The wide grin that split Rarity's muzzle immediately made Applejack regret admitting that particular fact. She regretted it all the more as Rarity stalked for a hat rack, complete with her battlecry of fashion.

“Ideeeeaaaaaa!!”

- - - -

A full glower marked Applejack's muzzle as she and Rarity trotted towards Skitch's place. The hat situation had been temporarily resolved, but not quite in the way that she would have preferred.

“Ah feel silly in this thing.” She muttered to her friend.

Rarity, in contrast, was trotting along with her head held high.

“Nonsense! It's from my personal collection! You look absolutely smashing my dear!”

Applejack glanced at the expressions that were writ on the faces of the ponies they passed on the street. As they were a mix of shock and trying not to laugh for the most part, she had her doubts on just how “smashing” the overall look was, at least by her own standards.

She just hoped that Skitch wouldn't lose it when they turned up at her place.

- - - -

Applejack's hat rested on the kitchen table as Jake continued to stare at the offending headgear. Last night, he had almost run away from the hat, just tossing it onto the table and throwing himself into bed, wanting to put some distance between the dream and himself.

But in the warm morning sun, Applejack's property was still there, and now Jake was stuck trying to work out exactly what had happened.

“I was drinking...” He ranted, pacing back and forth as he stared at the hat, “Then I got way drunker than I was expecting. Stupid lower alcohol tolerance of this body! I bet if I was an earth pony I wouldn't have gotten that drunk!”

Pausing in his pacing, he squeezed his eyes closed and took a calming breath. Panicking wouldn't help. He needed to approach it like a programmer. To be calm and logical and sort the problem out instead of running off half cocked.

“Right...then I dreamed. That bit from Suited for Success, but I was actually part of the story and then...”

Wincing, he didn't finish that sentence, the following events still seared into his mind like an angry wound. Two voices, one claiming that the memory was a lie, the other shutting that one down. The question was...

“Which was one telling the truth, if either. And where did they come from?”

Confusing the issue was the fact that the in the cold light of day, the memories of working with the other members of the mane six felt as vivid and as real as any memory from his own life. And that dragged concerns from yesterday to the forefront. Was he the human being replaced by a pony, or a pony remembering her actual life?

Further mental investigation was interrupted by the sound of the little bell above the front door chiming.

“Crap...must have forgotten to lock the door.”

Stepping out into the main room, Jake froze as he took in the forms of Rarity and Applejack. Having met the former yesterday, Rarity still cut the figure that he was used to seeing. Applejack, however...

Still the same orange coat, blonde mane and striking green eyes. But she looked rougher and tougher. Two scar lines ran from the right side of her snout, across its bridge, and then down to her left cheek. Another set of three scars ran diagonally from her croup to the mid point of her left flank.

To Jake, the positioning of the scars hinted at Applejack being hit from the side by some creature that tried to drag her to the ground. Almost like a lion would hunt, really. He wondered if her mane was hiding other battle wounds.

But the tough girl look was almost completely ruined by what was perched atop her head. For Applejack was currently wearing one of the biggest, floppiest, pinkest sunhats that Jake had ever seen in his life. The brim of the hat was so wide that it was completely covering her ears as it drooped towards the floor, the crown so pink that it looked like it had been made from Pinkie Pie, all topped with a deep purple bow that was in turn topped by a yellow flower.

The contrast between rough and tumble Applejack and the girly hat to end all girly hats was so great that Jake couldn't stop the corners of his mouth from twitching into a smile. Applejack notched this, the frown that was already on her muzzle growing deeper.

“Come on Skitch. It ain't that funny.”

Jake's smile grew wider in spite of himself. “Oh yes. You're right. Not funny at all.”

“I, for one, think she wears it very well.” Rarity chipped in, “It projects an aura of class and Sunday best sophistication!”

Blinking, Jake looked from the hat, to Rarity, back to the hat and then to the glower on Applejack's face. His smile twitched again before an explosion of raucous laughter escaped his lips, despite his best efforts to bite it back.

“BWA HA HA HA!” He cackled, falling back onto his haunches as Applejack glared right back at him.

“Ah said it ain't that funny!”

“Hehehe...I...I'm sorry Applejack! It's just that you looked so grumpy and the hat was just so super girly and...”

The explanation trailed off as Jake fell back into another bout of giggling, Applejack yanking the hat off her head and slapping it onto Rarity's with an annoyed huff. The cognitive dissonance resolved, Jake was able to calm down and get back to his hooves.

“So girls, what brings you over this morning?”

“Well darling, I wanted to talk to you some more about the gala dress payment.” She tilted her head slightly as she moved onto a question, “Are you sure you don't remember what we agreed to? I just can't work it out.”

“...Well...”

“Hey!” Applejack interrupted, pointing a hoof towards the open kitchen door, “Is that my hat?”

Jake winced. He had failed to realize that the little dining table in the kitchen was visible from the main room when the door was open.

“Umm...yes. Yes it is.”

“You wanna tell me why my hat is in your kitchen?”

Jake winced again, quickly searching his head for some kind of plausible explanation. Which was difficult, as he didn't even have one of those for herself yet.

“I drank way, way to much last night.” He offered, lamely, “Applejack's a hell of a kind of booze.”

Applejack and Rarity exchanged glances, AJ nodding slightly. “Big Mac did mention that he helped ya home from Berry's last night. Ya decided to steal my hat?”

“....It seemed like a good prank at the time?” Jake muttered, rubbing the back of his head, “I'm still dealing with the hangover.”

Trotting into the kitchen, Applejack neatly flipped her hat back into place.

“Much better.” She grinned, as she returned to the main room, “Do me a favor Skitch. Next time don't drink so much booze that stealin' from ponies seems like a decent prank.”

A nervous laugh escaped Jake's lips as he nodded. “I really am sorry AJ. I...wasn't trying to hurt you or anything...”

“Ah know Skitch.” She smiled, patting his withers, “Just don't do it again, all right.”

“Back to my questions.” Rarity cut in, “I didn't happen to give you a bolt of black fabric for any kind of art projects or the like did I?”

“Uhh...” Jake blinked, “No. I don't think you did.”

“Hmmm. Oh well, I must have misplaced it somewhere else then.”

She motioned to the door with her head. “Shall we go Applejack? We both have plenty to do today, after all.”

“Ah reckon you're right Rare. Apples won't buck themselves.”

Excusing themselves, the pair trotted out the front door, leaving Jake alone with his thoughts.

- - - -

“So, I am guessing that you noticed the same things I did?”

Applejack nodded, her jaw set in a concerned scowl. “Ah sure did. For a pony who was out drinkin' all night, she sure as punch wasn't hung over.”

“Speaking from experience?” Rarity teased.

“Ah, like you've never been drunk yourself.” Applejack poked back, “But somethin' weird is going on here. She was all nervous and confused and was lyin' about how she got my hat.”

“It doesn't make any sense though!” Rarity frowned, “We've known her for two years, ever since she moved into town.”

“Ah remember. You were so excited at the idea of havin' another artist in town ta maybe make friends with.”

Rarity frowned as she glanced back at the shop. “What should we do?”

“Let's round up the girls. Somethin’ strange is going on here.”

- - - -

Jake watched Rarity and Applejack cross the town square and disappear down another street.

“Well...that went well I suppose.”

A rumble from his stomach reminded him that between the hat and the visit from those two, that he hadn't eaten since he woke up. Walking back into the kitchen, he cracked open the fridge of the house for the first time.

“Vegetables, vegetables, flowers, fruit....well, when in Rome.”

Wolfing down a carrot, Jake was about to follow up on his decision from yesterday to go visit Twilight Sparkle, when the front door bell chimed again.

“Damn it,” He hissed under his breath as he went to see who had come to visit him this time.

Lyra Heartstrings and her significant other, Bon Bon, were standing side by side. The former looked almost ready to bounce right out of her fur, while the latter was doing her best to rein her friend in.

Jake blinked. “Hi there....Did you need something?”

“We want you to do a painting!” Lyra beamed.

“It's Lyra's birthday this weekend.” Bon Bon explained, “And I wanted to get her a nice piece of art for it. Can you help us?”

Frowning, Jake opened his mouth to say no.

- - - -

Golden Oaks Library had been turned into an impromptu meeting room, once Applejack and Rarity had called the rest of their friends together. Scattered about the ground floor, they listened closely as Applejack explained everything they saw.

“...And that's what it comes down to. Skitch wasn't tellin' the truth about why she took my hat and she's just actin’ weird.”

The rest of the group exchanged unsure glances before Twilight Sparkle spoke up.

“I don't mean to sound insensitive. But maybe you're over-reacting? It could have just been a prank, that she didn't think though. It isn't automatically sinister...and you could have just forgotten what you did with the fabric.”

“Please, Twilight! I wouldn't have lasted in the fashion industry if I was constantly losing track of my supplies! It would be like you completely forgetting where all of the important books in your library are!”

Twilight bit her lip for a moment. “Well, assuming you are right, what do you think it means?”

Now it was Rarity's turn to be unsure. Nervously rubbing a hoof over her right cannon her eyes flicked around the room before shrugging. “The only thing that comes to mind...maybe she's been replaced?”

Rainbow Dash perked up at that. “Replaced? Like a spy?”

Before anypony could stop her, Dash was animatedly flitting about the room, a torrent of possible suspects escaping her mouth.

“Think it's the griffin? Wait! Can't forget about the elk, they signed that treaty too! Ooo! What about the changelings? We've been at war with them since forever and they could totally look just like her! Come on! We gotta go get her!”

Her rush for the door was interrupted by Applejack. Grabbing the pegasus' tail, she pulled Rainbow Dash back to the ground.

“Hold on sugarcube. All we know is that she's actin' a little strange, and that she might not be who she says she is. There's still some distance between that and her being a spy or a changelin'. Ya just go at her like that, no tellin' what might happen.”

“Well, what do you think we should do?” Rainbow snapped back, “Our friend might be in trouble! She could be locked in a griffin prison, or wrapped in a changeling cocoon! She's been by our side since Nightmare Moon. We. Owe. Her.”

“You think we don't know that?” Rarity huffed, puffing her chest out in indignation, “She was my friend first Rainbow Dash! I believe that you were the one who said she had her head stuck up her own paint pots before our little jaunt in the Everfree!”

“Everypony calm down!” Twilight snapped, stomping a hoof to grab their attention, “We aren't going to abandon her. But we are going to approach this logically.”

“What's the plan sugarcube?”

Twilight thought for a moment, tapping her chin with a hoof. “We rule out the simplest explanations first. She lives in this town just like the rest of us, and has her own daily routine and rhythm. So, let's see if there's any holes or discrepancies in what she usually does.”

“How?” Fluttershy asked, her expression nervous.

“Check with our other friends, see if they noticed anything strange as of late. And Rarity,” She nodded to her fashionista friend, “You know her the best, so you should probably check out her usual hang outs. I'll stay here and research possible magical explanations.”

A round of nods swept through the room, Twilight nodding in determination.

“Alright everypony, let's do this!”

- - - -

Pinkie hummed a cheerful tune as she hopped down the dirt road towards one of the many farms that spread across the south and west of Ponyville, of which Sweet Apple Acres was but one of many.

But Pinkie was heading to a different farm. One with fields of cherry trees, their springtime blossoms full of pink and white explosions that reminded her of a tray of fluffy fresh cupcakes. Jumping over the fence, Pinkie began to trot down the rows, glancing up at each tree as she passed.

“Hello! Cher Ber?” She called out, using one of her many affectionate nicknames for her friends, “It's Pinkie! I need to talk to you about something super-dupery important!”

One the the trees rustled, a rose colored blur dropping from the branches, landing before Pinkie with a neat thud. A few twigs were scattered through her blonde mane and tail, the fruit that she tended marked on her flanks.

“Heya Pinkie!” Cherry Berry grinned, “What brings you over? Need some cherries for a baking project?”

“Nopers! I wanted to know if you or Rosey picked up on anything strange or funny in Ponyville lately. Or if you noticed any other...” Pinkie trailed off, quickly glancing around and making a few buzzing noises.

Cherry's pale indigo eyes flashed green for a moment, a frown crossing her muzzle. “No, Pinkie, I haven't noticed anything strange. Or felt anything new either. Why?”

“Just a little bit of strange stuff happening with Skitchy. Twilight suggested we rule some things out.”

Tilting her head slightly, Cherry Berry shrugged. “Sorry that I can’t help you there Pinkie.”

She paused, biting her lip.

“And you won't tell-”

Smiling, Pinkie pulled her friend into a hug.

“Silly filly. I Pinkie Promised to keep your secret. And no one breaks a Pinkie Promise. Especially Pinkie!”

Cherry smiled as she hugged back.

“And that's why you're awesome, Pinkie.”

- - - -

“And yer sure about that?”

Nodding past AJ, Bulwark kept his eyes firmly locked on the town square, maintaining his vigil. “Quite. I've gotten no strange reports, seen nothing strange, or heard about anything else that would hint at some kind of conspiracy in Ponyville.”

“What about the night watch?”

“Night Crescent hasn't given me any strange reports either.”

Applejack frowned. “Well, have ya noticed anything? Her shop's right off the square here.”

Bulwark nodded.

“Yesterday morning she crossed the street to town hall, bought a paper from Rose Wing, then entered town hall. A little while later she left and headed towards the cafe. Didn't see her again that day.”

“Thanks Bulwark.” Applejack nodded, before trotting for town hall.

- - - -

“Yeah, it was weird.” Meadowlark commented, scooping up a few empty plates off their table, “She took her usual- tomato, carrot and rose petal sandwich with a side of hay fries- and when it came to pay, she dumped twenty bits on the table like she had never bought the thing before.”

“You don't say.” Rarity frowned, “Did you notice anything else dear?”

“Well...she was really lost in the newspaper, staring at the headline like she couldn't believe she was reading it or something. Didn't even see me walk up to the table.”

“Umm...did you see where she went after that?” Fluttershy asked.

“Down the road towards the hospital, I think.”

- - - -

“She was worried about some kind of mental trauma.” Doctor Clear Health explained, checking her charts as she talked, “But aside from the goose egg on the back of her head, Doctor Stable and I couldn't find anything wrong. I told her that if the symptoms continued to come back.”

“What symptoms were those?” Fluttershy inquired, her shyness forgotten.

“She spoke about some bad dreams about tall fur less bipeds.”

“Didn't that sound weird to you?”

“A little weird yeah, but I've heard of stranger in my career. Back when I was working in Inj, I once had to deal with a tiger who had been exposed to poison joke at the end of a week long fast.” She winced at the memory, “It...wasn't pretty. But, if there's nothing else, I should get back to my patients.”

“Of course doctor.”

Letting the Doctor go, Fluttershy trotted back over to Rarity.

“Well, that was something at least.” Rarity sighed, “Shall we speak with your friend Thunderlane next?”

“Oh, I'm not sure he could actually add anything.” Fluttershy mumbled, a hint of a blush in her cheeks, “Maybe we should go back to Twilight. See what she and the others have found out...umm...if you think it's a good idea at least.”

Rarity nodded. “Yes dear, you are probably correct. Let's go.”

- - - -

Reality snapped back into place for Jake, the smiling faces of Lyra and Bon Bon greeting her return to the waking world.

“It's perfect Skitch!” Lyra grinned, “You captured Bonnie and I perfectly.”

Blinking, he became more aware of what was going on. A brush and palette were gripped in her magic aura, a completed painting resting upon an easel before her. The subject matter was clear. Lyra and Bon Bon, cuddling together on a hill as the sun set on the horizon.

The painting was wrapped in Lyra's aura as she picked it up, Bon Bon handing over a bag of bits that Jake numbly took.

“Thanks again!” Bon Bon smiled, the pair trotting out of the building, leaving Jake alone with his thoughts.

“Did I...paint that?” She muttered.

Quickly glancing around, she grabbed a sketchbook and pencil from the shelves before plopping down on the floor and testing her new found abilities. Held aloft in her magic aura, the pencil moved and danced across the page like some kind of Olympic skater, following instincts that weren't there before.

Maybe twenty minutes later, an intricate pencil drawing of Princess Celestia was spread out upon the page, good enough for Canterlot’s Medowlark Gallery.

“How do I even know what that is!” Jake shouted stared at the sketch, a churning sensation tearing away in his stomach.

“No...I...I'm a programmer. I have a computer science degree! I'm not an artist.” She moaned, throwing her forearms over his head, sinking completely to the floor, “I'm not a unicorn. I'm not a mare. I can think this out. I can solve it.”

“Lost time and I did a painting” He muttered, “Maybe I was controlled? Just like a...a...remote access….thing.”

She frowned deeply. Why couldn’t she remember the term? He had done it plenty of times when it came to computer repair. She knew about a gallery in Canterlot now, but was forgetting his old profession. And she kept switching pronouns in her head.

The minutes ticked by in agonizing slowness, Jake keeping her muzzle pressed against the floor and hooves on her head as she mentally grappled with these questions and their accompanying uprise of panic.

“No,” He eventually growled, pushing herself back to his hooves, “I will not go quietly. I will find out what's going on!”

Charging out the door, he could see that the sun was high in the sky. Gaining the bits had cost her hours. Ignoring and weaving through the ponies on the street, she made a beeline right for Golden Oaks Library.

A confident smile crossed his face as she drew close to the library. Everything was going to be okay!

Bursting through the doors, she skidded to a halt at the sight of the assembled mane six, and Spike. Twilight stood before them, mid lecture, eyes wide. They all looked at her, Fluttershy quickly looking away while Rainbow glared and Applejack frowned. Rarity affixed him with a cool look, unreadable and aloof. Pinkie waved, and Spike glanced up from the roll of parchment in his claws.

“Hey girls.” She smiled nervously, “Whatcha doing?”

A round of sideways glances shot around the room, before Pinkie spoke up.

“We were talking about you!”

Dash and Applejack facehoofed. Fluttershy winced. Rarity and Twilight rolled their eyes. And Pinkie just plowed straight ahead.

“You were acting all strange, so we tried to figure out what was going on, which was hard because no one saw anything strange, which was soo~oo strange! But if you're in trouble, you need to tell us! So we can help, because we're friends!”

Jake didn't respond right away, having been exposed to a full Pinkie Pie barrage. But them the reality of the situation slammed home again.

“Right!” She nodded, “Now, this is going to sound completely crazy...”

“Skitch,” Rainbow interrupted, raising an eyebrow, “Pinkie is our friend.”

“...Point.” He sighed, “Okay. I am not a pony.”

“Ah ha!” Rainbow grinned, flitting towards the ceiling, “I knew it! You're a changeling, aren't you?”

“Noperoony!” Pinkie chimed in, “She's not.”

“How...?” Twilight blinked.

“Pinkie Sense.”

Jake couldn’t help but smirk slightly at the half scowl, half nervous smile that crossed Twilight’s face. It seemed like she hadn’t completely gotten used to Pinkie’s weirdness yet. She motioned to Jake with a hoof, urging him to continue.

“Okay.” He nodded, “See, I’m actually what’s called a human. We look like...well…” He scratched his chin with the back of a hoof, brow furrowed as he tried to work out how to explain his old apperance, “A furless, hornless minotaur I suppose.”

“And then you got turned into a pony before you moved to Ponyville?” Twilight asked, waving a hoof at Spike take notes on what was being said.

“Well...no. I just woke up in this body yesterday. I’ve never been to Ponyville before.”

“I see.” Twilight commented, one of her eyebrows raising ever so slightly, Spike continuing to scribble away, “So, you’ve never been to Ponyville before, but you know who we are. Paid attention to the papers I’m guessing?”

“Errr….Well,” Jake muttered, shuffling her forehooves, “I watched you girls on TV in my universe. It’s like little a little movie theatre in your own house.” He quickly added at the looks of confusion to the term, “You’re all...fictional, in my world.” He finished lamely, hanging her head.

The expressions that greeted that revelation made her flinch. The disbelief was quite evident on their features, though each pony wore it a different way. Twilight’s expression was the detached disbelief of an analytical mind, her one raised eyebrow now raised even higher. Rarity was biting her lip, brow furrowed. Rainbow had her forearms crossed, eyes narrowed, a facial expression mimicked by by Applejack. Fluttershy was looking at the floor again, face obscured by her pink mane.

Only Pinkie didn’t seem to be upset by the claims, but judging by the wide smile on her muzzle she thought that Jake was joking or something.

“So...how did you come to this conclusion?” Twilight asked, after a few stomach flipping moments of silence.

“Well, trial and error, really. The world is operating under too much underlying logic…fantastical though it may be, for me to be in some kind of dream. I could be in some kind of coma or fugue state, except that things feel too...real I guess?” She frowned, nervously tapping a hoof on the floor, “I don’t think I’m in a coma. Not anymore at least. And that leaves me either being insane, or correct.”

He squeezed his eyes shut, taking a few deep breaths before speaking again. “You’re the group that defeated Nightmare Moon. If anyone can find out which one of those two remaining options is the right one...it’s you.”

Opening her eyes again, he could see that they looked a little less sure than they were before.

“Huddle, everypony.” Twilight frowned.

- - - -

“She’s completely lost her mind.” Rainbow glared over at Skitch, before ducking her head back down, her wings twitching in annoyance, “We need to get her to a hospital.”

“She’s already been to a hospital, darling.” Rarity pointed out, “They didn’t find anything. Besides, she trusts us right now.”

“I am inclined to agree with Rainbow. ” Twilight frowned, nervously rubbing her chin, “I mean...a bipedal hairless minotaur that watched us on a private theatre system from another universe? How can that possibly be true?”

“Does it matter?” Fluttershy softly asked, tilting her head to peer at her friend, “If she’s wrong, she needs to be helped, because she’s our friend. If she’s right, she came to us begging for help and it’s the right thing to do. We can’t just ignore her.”

Twilight perked back up, decisively clapping her hooves together, a grin crossing her muzzle. “You’re right Fluttershy! We can handle this. Let’s tell her.”

- - - -

Jake sat helplessly, watching the impromptu meeting. Occasionally, one of them would peek out of huddle to look at her, before ducking back down and continuing to exchange whispers. After a few minutes, the group broke up, Twilight stepping forward.

“Your story sounds...strange. But don't worry Skitch!” She quickly amended at her friend's crushed look, “You're our friend, and we won't rest till we get to the bottom of this, whatever the cause is.”

It was obvious to him that Twilight still didn’t believe what she had said. But, he didn’t care. Twilight had promised to help. The librarian eeped in shock as she jumped forward, throwing her arms around her in a hug.

“Thank you Twilight! Thank you! Thank you!”

Everything was going to be okay now.

Author's Note:

The chapter where in Applejack is thoroughly embarrassed by her fashionista friend.

Fear Rarity and her hat!

Applejack picked up some scars in this revision as well. Partially because I think it fits her rough and tumble look and partially because it ties into her background in this universe. And Pinkie apparently knows some things about other Ponyville residents. *makes mysterious noises* Woooooo!!

But, other than that, I don't have too many author's notes this time. ^_^;; Sorry!

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