• Published 1st May 2012
  • 2,216 Views, 143 Comments

Setting the Rules - fic Write Off

  • ...


Our story begins in a young town brimming with thoroughbred equines—well, as thoroughbred as you might expect from a place so ever populated with mares. Perhaps in earlier times—times where they kept to their earthly heritage—the statement could be said to be more true. O' I've seen some knackering about between horns and wings that would shy away even those most deviant, play even the most amorous of eyes would deem unfit for such creatures. But the lineage of our populace is not so important as to assign more time towards, so instead we continue to the declaration of our day’s happenings.

In a hollowed out tree trunk lay a delightful middle-aged mare, koshered up by her study with lamp overhead. Twilight Sparkle, ever the studious pony, maintained herself deep in analysis. But as all good things must come to an end, so did her reading, and it was at this point that the events of the day could transpire. It would be of no surprise that the story being read pertained to magic—though merely a story it be, for no nonsense of spells or incantations or rituals to be experimented with lay within—but some things are better left said than not.

The interruption which had so offensively made its way into the learned mare’s quarters bore itself in bright pink colours. “Twilight!” the colours yelled, “come quick!” And with nary a protest—well, as nary a protest as could be made by a bookworm being dragged from its haven—they set off.

A hospital set the scene, and the duo entered without a second glance from the clinic’s staff. (By Luna, those nurses need to take some security courses.) Twilight was wont to have more knowledge of the situation, but her companion was too busy between her guiding and bobbing and bouncing to lend such details. The bouncing continued into a room where a strapped down mummy of rainbows sat paralysed on an infirmary bed.

“My goodness, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said. “What happened to you?”

“Well,” she replied with a cough, “I kinda, uh, basically broke everything.”

Twilight made a few ramblings and musings whilst she examined her friend. “Are your wings made of paper or something?”

Pinkie Pie, bustling with excitement, interjected, “Rainbow sent me to get you because she said she found a spell that could make her all better and get her flying again!”

“Oh?” Twilight said, plot-device senses tingling.

Rainbow Dash indicated to a book on her bedhead. “Page twenty-seven.”

Needless to say, after a quick breeze through, Twilight was run mute in awe by the spell which lay on page twenty-seven. Yes, this spell was very naughty indeed, and Twilight was going to have none of it. “I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash, but this spell is too complicated. Who knows what could happen if I were to mess something up?”

“The footnote, egghead.”

Twilight checked the footnote and read aloud, “There are no possible repercussions to the casting of Instant Wing Repair. Any observed side effects are most certainly not a result of a misfired Instant Wing Repair.” Twilight placed a hoof to her chin and thought for a moment. “I'm convinced,” she said. “If it's in a book, it must be true!” So say we all.

Needing not to bore with the details, it should be known that the spell produced ever so great a bright set of lights. But as lights are not too well able to repair broken wings, Rainbow Dash remained in her state of injury. “Is that it?” she said, profusely disappointed in Twilight's failings.

Twilight blushed and dropped her head down sheepishly. “I—I guess so.”

“Twilight,” Pinkie said, her voice becoming incredulous and her eyes becoming larger and larger. “Did you mess the spell up? Be honest.”

“How the heck should I know?” she said. “I just cast a completely new spell from a book I've never seen before without any prior practice planning or preparation. What were you expecting?”

“Uh, duh? Dashie's wings to be fixed? For a smart pony, you're not so smart sometimes, Twilight.”

Twilight shirked at the ever-growing pink stare. “Where'd you get this book from, anyway?”

Pinkie perked up, returning to her usual gaiety, and shot towards the window. Her eyes bounced against it and her hoof tapped it three times as she said, “This girl sold it to me. See, she's still—” Of course, the girl was long gone. “Hmm, I guess she's gone!”

Having no other method at her disposal to express her disappointment in Pinkie's naiveté, Twilight let out an exacerbated sigh and collapsed together her hoof and countenance. Then, having recovered from the grandeur of such an expression, she said, “Pinkie, you obviously bought a bogus spell-book.”

Not taking the accusation of being a gullible goose lying down, Pinkie responded, “Well obviously you messed the spell up.” Satisfied with her counterpoint, she trotted back to Rainbow Dash's side and pretended to nurse her.

While Twilight would ever love to continue such a heated debate, their deliberations were cut short by screams in the street. Everypony ran out to investigate—everypony except Rainbow Dash, who lay immobile in her bed. In her lonely reverie, she wept and dreamt of flying again. She turned to the Wonderbolts poster she had had pinned to the infirmary wall, looking on with hopeful eyes. Oh how she wished to be a Wonderbolt, so badly she wanted it. But, being paralysed, her goal ever so slowly dripped away, her dream painfully slipping by with each tick of the old grandfather clock. Fate be a harsh mistress.

In the town's centre stood a young, fiery biped. Her hair was long and thick and orange and draped around her head in a cool, natural coil. Her bawdy proportions were some thought not possible on such a creature—where did her organs lie?—but she appeared to be a perfectly functioning organism, for she spoke up and said coyly to the gawking crowd, “Um, hello.”

Twilight stood ahead of the crowd and said, “Great. Another one. Another human.” She sighed. “At least this one's local. Let's just get this over with quick.” Her horn lit with lavender greatness and brought from afar a quill and clipboard-bound list, which she grasped with simple autonomy and began reading through. “World of origin.”

The girl looked at her inquisitively and said, “Huh? Talking ponies?”

“Where do you come from?” Twilight said in a now annoyed tone.

“Oh! Earth, of course. Say, what is this—”

“Do you or do you not identify as a ‘brony’?”

“Sorry, what's a brony?”

Twilight ticked the “No” box and continued. “Do you or do you not claim to have heard of a franchise called ‘My Little Pony’?”

“No. I, er—I do not.”

Realising that Twilight had the situation under control, the crowd dispersed and went about their daily business.

“Do you or do you not wish to be turned into a pony?”

“What? Not really. I mean, I like ponies, but I wouldn't want to be one.”

Twilight sighed. “You're stuck here, just so you know. Wherever you're from? Gone. You'll probably go insane in a few weeks. Your best bet at not going insane is to become a pony and integrate into pony society.”

The girl looked at the pony like she was mad. “Sorry, what?”

Deciding that enough time had passed since her last facehoof, Twilight did as such, then continued, “Let's leave that one for later. Name?”

Finally letting Twilight's previous words set in, the girl became a tad irate. “Hey! I'm not insane!”

Twilight lowered her clipboard and looked at the girl through disinterested eyes. “Look, the same thing happened with all the other humans that have come here. For a few days it's all glamour and sunshines and rainbows, but then it wears off. Then they start trying to figure out a way to go home. Then they go insane because they can't find a way to go home. And before you ask, no, you're not dreaming. The persons who thought they were dreaming went mad a lot quicker, too, so get that one out of your head.” Twilight tapped her clipboard a few times and lifted it back up. “So I'll ask again: What's your name?”

“My name's Bloom, but—”


“Can you stop interrupting me? It's really rude, you know.”

“Sorry. It's just that we need to get this information and I've had this exact same conversation a few times more than I'd like to. I can answer all of your questions after the survey. So, again, age?”

“Seventeen.” So close.


“Uh, I guess I'm a girl?”

Twilight arched an eyebrow. “I'll just put down human. And I guess that answers gender.” She ticked a few more boxes before again lowering the clipboard. “All right, that's everything—everything about you, anyway. We're going to need you to go through all the previous visitors to see if you recognise any of them.” At that, Twilight coalesced all of the surrounding lights into an enrapturing ball of energy, enveloping the two in a great pool of light. In an instant, the light vanished, and the two were gone.

In an equally great flash, the two reappeared in a dank waiting room. An old mare, who sat behind a nearby desk in a white lab coat, hardly flinched as the lights banged about. She wearily lifted her eyes up over her newspaper to get a brief look at her visitors, then licked her hoof and flipped the page.

“Visitors?” Bloom said.

Twilight continued about her routine. “You might feel some side effects from the teleportation. Don't worry. It's only temporary.” She walked up to the desk and accosted the mare behind it.

“Taking the tour?” she said in a brass voice.

“Yes, please. She's just arrived. I'll need the list of current patients to see if she recognises any of them.”

The mare dejectedly pointed her hoof to some clipboard-bound papers behind her desk. “Right there, hun. Try not get the monkeys too revved up.”

“Thanks.” Twilight received the papers and handed them to Bloom. “See if you recognise any of these names,” she said, and guided her down the hall.

Bloom's senses were overwhelmed entirely by the uncanny situation. A reactionary, demure squeak came from her as she followed behind Twilight and glanced through the names; she didn't recognise any of them. They were all very weird names, and some of them even sounded made up. Jim Sparkle? Robert Rainbow Dash Jones? Stormchaser? None of those things sounded pretty. They must be boys' names.

“Ringing any bells?”

“Oh?” Bloom looked up in surprise as she was taken out of her daze and realised that Twilight, having reached the end of the hallway, had stopped walking. “No, not really.”

“Figures,” Twilight mumbled. “Anyway,” she said, pushing open the double doors and resuming their walk, “this is where we keep the humans—well, most of them.”

Once they walked inside, a lavender glow slammed the doors shut and Bloom heard a heavy clank. The room was large, square, and drab. With only two small grates acting as windows, most of the room's light was artificially supplied. Its walls were white and shiny, and the room had a very neutral air about it. On opposite sides of the room were two other hallways, one labelled “Humans” and the other labelled “Pony-Humans”. There were three humans in the room. The first lay asleep on an old beach chair, protected by the black, bushy hair fully covering his face. Another sat on the floor with his eyes closed and his legs crossed, focusing intently. Neither reacted to the intruders. The third jumped up from a beanbag as they entered and addressed them ecstatically.

“Twilight! How are you? Who's this? My, isn't she just the sweetest thing! What's your name, dear? Come to visit our little haven in Equestria?”

“Oh, hello!” she replied joyously, glad to finally speak to someone with only two feet. “My name's—”

“Her name's Bloom. She's just come here, and she's only visiting.”

The man's tacky grin flipped upside down into a clowny frown. “Oh, quit being such a stiff, Twi'. I was only being friendly. Yeesh. And you say we're the mad ones.”

Twilight brushed him off and continued through the room, leading Bloom towards the “Humans” hallway. As they exited the room, the man called out, “She already thinks you're mad, honey! May as well start now!” and laughed like a hyena.

“He seemed friendly,” Bloom said.

Twilight stopped walking. “Did you recognise him?”


“Did you recognise the other two?”


She resumed her walk. “That's all we need to know, then. Trust me—you don't want to stick around these people for too long. They can get a bit strange.”

Soon enough they reached the end of the hallway, its exit revealing a large, open grassland. A few houses were pattered about it, but it otherwise looked like a natural Equestrian oasis.

“This is where you keep them?” Bloom said.

“We're not savages. They don't need be locked up in a dungeon or anything. There's a magical barrier that keeps them in. Non-magical creatures can't get through it, so it keeps the ecosystem more-or-less isolated. They're free to frolic about in their lunacy as much as they'd like.”

“Oh!” Bloom perked up. “Just like at Alfea.”

In contrast with all the other things that she had said so far, this knocked Twilight right out of her autonomy. “What? Alfea? Where's that?”

Bloom chuckled. “It's a magic school. In the Magical Realm. It's just next door to—”

“Magical what? You said you were from Earth, right? There's no magical creatures on Earth.” Twilight paced back and forth. “No-no-no-no-no-no-no, this isn't right.” Then a thought came to her and her despair turned to glistening opportunity. “Show me your magic.”

Bloom was taken aback by her sudden change of tone. “Wh-what kind of magic?”

“Anything. Just show me some magic.”

After a short spot of hesitance, she did so. She clasped her hands together and mumbled something under her breath. Then her head transfigured into an enormous turnip.

Twilight giggled in glee. “Yes-yes-yes! Magical humans! The implications of this—the implications are astronomical. Magical Realm? All the rules of natural philosophy, all of physics—everything we know—it changes everything. You said there were others, too, yes? I have to tell Celestia. I have to write all this down. I—You need to come with me.”

Before Bloom could even un-turnip herself, Twilight once again clasped the two together in a giant shell of light.

Twilight rushed about her tree-trunk library, flinging and swinging all kinds of bits and pieces about the place in a frantic gait.

Bloom had her head in a dizzy from the teleportation and was busy trying to return to her regular, beautiful, human, non-turnip self.

Twilight stopped her search with a jerky head manoeuvre. Progress. An idea. She instantly galloped out of the library, returning minutes later with a book clasped firmly in her psychokinesis. She laid it down on the floor beside her vast collection of writing equipment and pointed to Bloom, who had now reversed her metamorphosis, and said, “All right, from the top. What were you doing before you were transported here? Anything out of the ordinary? Were you practising any new magic?”

“Nope. Nothing too special. I was just out shopping with Stella. ...Actually, she's probably wondering where I am right now. Do you guys have inter-dimensional telephones here?”

“Inter-dimensional telephones!” She scribbled some words the nearest piece of parchment. “Fascinating. No, we don't have them. But wow. Yes. I think I know how you got here, then. I cast a spell from this strange book here earlier. Do you recognise it?” She thrust the book into Bloom's vision.

“No, sorry.”

“That's all right. But there's definitely a reason why you're here. Pinkie got the book from some mysterious stranger. It was so obviously planted. Of course—of course it was. How could I ever mess a spell up? I didn't mess the spell up. It did exactly what it was supposed to! It brought you here.” Twilight paused to regain her composure. “So why would someone want me to bring you here? Did you annoy someone so badly that they wanted to send you to another dimension?”

But before Bloom could say, “I don't know,” for the day's nineteenth time, a shrill laugh resounded about the hollowed-out trunk—punctuated by an entire wall collapsing under a raging cacophony. The resulting rubble crashed atop the two inside, consuming them in dusty fumes and precarious rocks.

“Really, Darcy? You didn't need to blow the whole tree down.”

“Well gee, sorry. I didn't realise we were being polite now.”

“Will you two stop your bickering? We're here to get the Dragon Fire, not play little-fairy debate club.” The ringleader of the three wicked and innappropriately-clad women did a listless inspection of the room. “Well, well, well. Look what we have here—the pathetic little fairy, all by herself. Who's going to protect your precious little Dragon Fire now?”

Twilight and Bloom coughed from the motes of dust littering the half-destroyed library. “Wh—Who are they?”

“We're the Trix, and we're here to take what's rightfully ours,” the ringleader said coolly, summoning giant slates of ice around the two.

Twilight tried to conjure a response, but a screeching sound emanating from the darkest witch addled her. “That's so precious,” she said, and scowled.

Twilight struggled and groaned as the surrounding temperature became less and less bearable. “Bloom, do something!”

But she too was addled and paralysed under the weight of their opponents' magic.

“This was even easier than I was expecting,” the ringleader said, and walked up to the now stiff Bloom. She phased through her icy barrier and from behind clutched tight onto Bloom's throat and stomach. She laughed sadistically as magical veins siphoned the energy from her to herself.

“You... you have to do something,” Twilight said before her consciousness failed her.

You have to believe... believe in the heart of the ..., Bloom.

Seeing her not-really-a-friend in such an extreme condition lit a fire inside of her. She cried out with orgasmic anguish as a cutesy tune began to play from nowhere. One transformation sequence later, Bloom's frills became shiny and sparkly and her wings fluttery and potent and her face fierce and determined. But most importantly, she had the Dragon Fire.

The sisters three scrambled about in terror as fire reined in from all directions—scorching skies, palm-strike lava surges, raging coals erupting from the ground. It was hell on Equestria, and Celestia sure isn't paying collateral. The spunky fire spirit gave no quarter, frying the witches to spickley specks of pixie dust.

“What now?” Bloom said, sitting by Twilight's infirmary bed.

“Oh there's so much to do—so much science, so much analysis, so many books to rewrite. I don't know if you're stuck here, Bloom, but this definitely changes everything.”