• Published 1st Oct 2014
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Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything


Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

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Reasonable Doubt

(A/N: This story takes place soon after "Wedding Bells of Velis Vel.")

Some couples woke up together, sharing loving looks as they started the day. Some had very different sleeping habits and only saw one another after at least one had already had some coffee, which hardly seemed fair. And then there were Lyra and Bonbon...

"Good morning, Lyra."

"Are you a changeling?"

Bonbon groaned and buried her face in her forehooves. "No, Lyra. I'm not a changeling. I wasn't a changeling yesterday, or the day before, or any time this week."

Lyra just glared at her. "That's exactly—"

"What a changeling would say," Bonbon groaned. "Yes. I know."

Lyra squirmed a bit. "I'm sorry, Bonnie, but I have to be sure. You don't know what it was like."

"No, I don't." Bonbon shivered. Lyra hadn't been able to remember much when under the changeling queen's thrall, but what she'd been able to recall painted a haunting image. "I can only imagine how bad it must have been for you. I'm not expecting you to get better immediately, but we need some way to welcome the day with something other than accusations."

"Hmm..." Bonbon smiled. Lyra had an idea to chew on. This could keep her content for hours, if not days. "Well, we could do a sort of call-and-response password."

"Something out of one of your spy novels?"

"Basically. I say 'the duck quacks at midnight,' you say 'the moon rice cakes were sticky,' that sort of thing." Lyra scowled. "Of course, that relies on you actually not being a changeling."

"Lyra!"

"I'm just saying, it defeats the purpose of the password if some bug bypassed it before we even put it into place! This is basic logic, Bonnie."

Bonbon flipped over and plopped her face into her pillow. She tilted her head a bit and asked, "At what point did logic ever get involved here?"

"We can't proceed until we have faith in the initial axiom that you're not a changeling. All conclusions proceed from that point." Lyra nodded, clearly very pleased with her intellectual skills.

Bonbon took a deep breath. At least it isn't humans, she told herself. "I can't prove I'm not a changeling, honey. Why don't you go see Twilight Sparkle? She was the one who sussed out the changeling queen."

Lyra gave a delighted gasp. "You're a genius!" She smooched Bonbon, leapt out of bed, and pranced out of the room, crying, "I married a genius!"

"And I married a lunatic," Bonbon muttered. "Why are the cute ones always crazy?"


"And that's why I'm here!"

Twilight nodded slowly. Sudden movement always seemed unwise when Lyra was that cheerful. "I... see."

Lyra reared up and rubbed her hooves together. "So!"

Twilight glanced about the library. "...So?"

"So, I'm sure you must already have a good dozen changeling detection spells! I mean, you're Twilight Sparkle, after all."

Twilight shook her head. "I'm afraid not."

Lyra blinked at that. She went back on all fours and just stared at Twilight for a bit. "Huh?"

"Well, after Chrysalis's capture, most of the changelings in Canterlot surrendered. We know so little about changelings that nopony could prove that they weren't coerced, much as you were. By the time they told us about the army gathering under a massive field of disguise magic on the other side of the Canterhorn, that army had already dispersed."

Lyra wilted. "So... no test subjects?"

Twilight scowled. "Lyra! These are sapient beings we're talking about! They may be different from you or me, but they still have thoughts, feelings, and rights!"

"That didn't stop them from magically enslaving me!"

Spike looked over the second floor landing. "What are you two—" He cut himself off, backing away from the angered unicorns. Both were just silently glaring now, their heads down and horns pointed at one another. Twilight's mane and tail were starting to smoulder, and Lyra's were an oscillating blur. On the edge of Spike's hearing were a hiss and a hum, and neither sounded particularly good for the library.

He charged downstairs, got between the two mares, and put a hand in front of each. "Okay, okay, you both need to calm down!"

Both blinked and bashfully backed off. "You're right, Spike," said Twilight.

"Sorry. To both of you." Lyra took a deep breath. "I... I just need to know that Bonnie isn't... isn't one of them."

Twilight nodded. "I understand. I may not be able to help, but I can at least point you in the right direction. You see, I had help in exposing Chrysalis..."


"And that's why I'm here!"

Ditzy Doo sighed. "Got it." She leaned close and whispered, "My wings are so pretty."

Lyra blinked, thought for a moment, and facehooved. "Wow. I have been a complete rear end lately."

Benjamin, Ponyville's lone maildonkey, gave her an appreciative nod as he went out on his deliveries.

"You kind of have been," said Ditzy. "Come on, let's go to my office."

Once there, Lyra sat and looked to the ceiling. "Okay, I at least understand why I've been obsessing over this. I was active for pretty much the whole time I was a bridesmaid."

"You were?" gasped Ditzy.

"Oh yeah. That kind of insidious mind whammy is just the sort of thing that's supposed to trigger me." Lyra scowled. "Of course, a mentalist on Chrysalis's level is a bit out of my league, so pretty much all I could do was observe and try not to tip her off. But, after spending so much time as an active agent, that meant that my sleeper self would have virtually no memory of the incident, and thus I assumed I was under complete and total mental domination." She shook her head. "I really don't like other ponies messing with my thoughts."

"Uh..."

"The ETSAB security measures don't count. That's me messing with my own thoughts."

Ditzy wingshrugged. "If you say so. In any case, you'll be pleased to hear that Bonbon isn't a changeling."

Lyra nodded. "Well, yeah, you'd know. How many are in Ponyville?"

Ditzy waved her head from side to side. "Well, I'm actually not sure. See, changeling disguises are really subtle. Chrysalis was so powerful that it leaked out, but for most changelings, it's a lot more subtle, even to me. Unless I'm a few inches from them, disguised changelings just look bluer to me than to other ponies. Not glowing or anything, just blue."

"Shouldn't that be a tipoff?"

"Only if they've replaced somepony I know."

"Huh. That could be problematic," said Lyra. "Have you found any?"

"Four, but none of them seem to be feeding on a specific target like Chrysalis was." Ditzy shrugged again. "They didn't seem to be doing any harm, so I didn't bother them."

Lyra was quiet for several moments, nodding to herself now and again. "Well, I'm not completely happy with that, but I can't really argue with the policy. Still, probably best to tell Minuette and the Doctor, keep everypony in the loop."

Ditzy nodded. "Will do. Now, how about you?"

Lyra smiled. "Well, knowing myself, I know exactly how to solve this situation. Here's what you'll need to do..."


"And that's why I'm here!"

Bonbon rolled her eyes. "You live here, Lyra."

"Well, that too. But look!" Lyra unrolled the paper she held in her magic and presented it.

CERTIFICATE OF EQUINITY

This document certifies that Bonbon Dulcinea___ is not a changeling, as of this day, the twenty-eighth of April_______, the Celestial Year 5873.

Ditzy Doo
Authorized Changeling Detector

Bonbon processed this for a moment. "What."

Lyra beamed. "I'm gonna go put it on the fridge!"

Author's Note:

Sadly, Fimfiction doesn't offer both headnotes and footnotes in the same chapter. Had to provide context somehow.

In any case, when is a changeling story not a changeling story? When a certain Lyra gets an idea in her poor, heavily magicked head.