• Published 12th Oct 2015
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A Pony Displaced: Another Path - NoLongerSober

Legend has it that on the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape. There once was a stallion who faced Nightmare Moon and was sealed away with her. Now he returns in the modern age, hoping to find a new path.

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A Week in Tartarus [Bonus Chapter 1]

Verdant let loose a series of muted swears as he landed face-first, having gone head-over-hooves in the gust of wind that swept through their camp. Glancing around for his would be attacker, his eyes shrunk to pinpricks when he realized that the world was much bigger than he recalled it being. Poison joke.

He thought back to the warning he had given his Captain and how it had been ignored in the older stallion’s irritation. His ears pinned themselves to his skull as the familiar call of an owl cut the night. “I must awaken the captain.” Verdant took off at a sprint… and arrived nearly three minutes later, having had to climb or circumvent various sticks or rocks between the two.

“Captain!” Verdant raised his voice but still managed little more than a squeak. “Faust above…” the stallion muttered several more swears and leapt towards his Captain’s’ mane, only to slowly slide back down regardless of how he tried to adjust his grip. The mane was simply too slick with grease and sweat to get a good grasp.

Barrier muttered something, but otherwise didn’t react.

Verdant narrowed his gaze and stared at the greasy mane before him. “Thou desperately needs to wash thy mane, captain.” Verdant moved along the unicorn’s side, trailing a hoof behind him, looking for a place to start his ascent to reach the captain’s ear. It wasn’t until he reached the unicorn’s flank that two realizations dawned on him. The first was that his captain kept an incredibly short coat. Just enough fur to not appear bald. Secondly, his captain was now a mare.

Barrier’s tail flicked, sending the miniscule stallion stumbling backwards in surprise.

He growled slightly and stalked forward once more, his hard face slowly changing to something more distraught. “Sweet Faust, I never wanted to be this close to my Captain’s flank…” He gave the hair of Barrier’s tail a sharp tug, mentally noting how much dirtier it was than her mane, and how that afforded more grip.

“Captain!” He strained his lungs once more and waited with an empty hope before, with a sigh, he took the tail in hoof and began the arduous journey upward.

Fifteen minutes later…

Verdant could see the curve of the tail. “So close…” the stallion muttered with a tired breath. “Just…”

Barrier’s tail flicked again, forcing Verdant to hold on for dear life.

“Captain!” Verdant strained his lungs once more as the giant’s tail batted him against the mare’s still-muscled thighs and flank. “Cease thy flicking! I do not want…” The stallion’s lungs were emptied of air and his grip broken when the unicorn shifted and flicked him right in between her buttcheeks. “To be trapped in thy flank or newly-acquired foal-hole…” Verdant let a sigh escape him, the same sleepiness he’d awoken with starting to fall on him again. Straining his tired muscles, the stallion thought back to training. Specifically, he thought back to one the first things Barrier had started them on. He and the others had been forced to scale a cliff-face without rope or traditional climbing tools. Crack-climbing. Verdant’s mind mocked inwardly, remembering what Barrier had called one of the methods. How appropriate. With a grunt, the stallion wedged one hoof against the side of Barrier’s flank flesh and hefted himself upwards.

“Almost… there…” Verdant grunted as he hefted himself another few centimeters up and utterly froze as a feminine voice reached his ears.

“Faust dammit…” Barrier shifted back and forth before finally hefting herself upright, resting on her flank.

Verdant felt his breath leave him for the second time that morning as his world went black.

Barrier licked her dry lips and hefted herself upwards, making for the river that ran parallel to their camp, completely unaware of her tiny passenger.

Verdant took in several desperate lungfuls of air and held on for dear life once more, now realizing how substantial of a fall lay below him.

“Ah…” Barrier let out a groan of relief as she wet her parched throat and glanced down at the water and her distorted reflection. For nearly thirty seconds the stallion-turned-mare stared at herself… and then screamed.


The cadets were more than used to waking up to yelling and swearing by this point, so all of them shot up on reflex as soon as the scream and subsequent statement left Barrier’s’ mouth.

“Oh gods dammit!”

Bolting upright was not in the best interest of most of the ponies.

Swiftsword, in her haste to get to attention and locate the scream, bashed her horn into a low-hanging tree-branch, sending her head spinning. “Ow, son of a bitch! What the hell…”

Hat Trick almost immediately began to panic and yelp. “My feathers!” The feathers in question were missing in their entirety. “All of my fe-” Hat Trick was cut off by the same voice that had screamed them into wakefulness.

“Cadets, at attention!” Barrier roared as loud as she could with her newfound voice.

Though they didn’t recognize the voice, they recognized an order when they heard it.

“Roll call!” The voice repeated.

“Swiftsword here!” The mare called loudly as she tried to salute but found her new horn throwing her balance off.

“Hat Trick here!” The second pony called, saluting and awkwardly folding his bare wings to his side.

“Winter gem here!” The blonde-maned mare sounded… heavier than usual, but it was still most certainly her.”

“Irn Frge hrre!” Another pony called out, though it sounded like he was gargling fur as he spoke. He then spat and called out more clearly, “Iron Forge here!”

“Verdant Range here!” The earth pony called from where he desperately clung to his captain’s gargantuan glutes.

Barrier counted out fifteen seconds and then yelled again, even louder. “Cadet Range, I said ‘sound off’!”

“I’m right here dammit! I already sounded off!” Verdant ‘yelled’ once more.

When no reply was forthcoming, Barrier swore to herself and flared her horn, sending a small orb of light to the center of clearing where it brightly flared and illuminated the clearing.

The light had revealed the state of the everyone.

Swiftsword’s horn had grown to an obscene and unwieldy length, nearly ten times longer than it was supposed to be.

Hat Trick had shed his feathers, leaving him as the first-ever fully-plucked pegasus Barrier had witnessed.

Iron Forge was a literal mass of fluff, only the absolute tip of his horn clearing the mass of fur.

Winter Gem was now an absolute mass of thick, corded muscle, to the point of having to awkwardly spread her limbs to stand. She put any stallion Barrier had ever seen to absolute shame.

“Alright, we must have wandered through something…” Barrier thought back to the previous day and groaned. “Probably poison joke. I guess I should have listened to that colt when he brought it up,.” Barrier fell back onto her flanks, unaware she was nearly crushing her missing cadet.

“I do not care if I get court-martialed for this!” Verdant Range spat out. “I’m getting out of this nightmare!” Opening his jaws wide...

“Cadets,” Barrier stood back up yet again. “Swiftsword, I want you to b~” Barrier let loose an uncharacteristically high squeal and gave several wild bucks on reflex. “Something’s biting me in the flank! Grab it! Kill it!” The unicorn forced herself to stand still as Hat Trick approached and carefully inspected her flank.

“Found Verdant.” Hat Trick held up a hoof, a small, pea-sized Verdant Range resting on the edge of his frog.

“Oh thank you, Hat Trick.” Verdant desperately called. “This was not an experience I wish to relive.”

“Uh, Hat Trick?” Winter Gem called out with a nervous chuckle.

The pegasus craned his head around. “What’s wrong?”

Winter Gem motioned towards his tail which had flopped into the embers of their campfire and began to smolder.

Hat Trick formed an ‘o’ with his mouth before he began to buck wildly, Verdant Range completely forgotten in his panic.

“Oh sweet Celestia’s teats, put it out!” The stallion flailed.

“Oh, gods dammit!” Barrier swore once more as he lunged forward, grabbing Hat Trick out of a buck and heaving hard, chucking him overhead and into the previously calm river. “Right,” Barrier disregarded the sputtering Hat Trick. “Now where’s Verdant?” Everyone looked around for a moment. “Try not to move. It wouldn’t do for us to step on him. Verdant, if you can hear us, I want you to call out as loudly as you can.”

The clearing fell deathly silent, even Hat Trick falling silent in the river for the moment.

Iron Forge was the first to speak up. “I think I hear him somewhere in my fur…”

“Hat Trick, thou imbecilic swiver of thy dam!” Verdant swore loudly from wherever he had ended up.

“He’s saying something about Hat Trick’s mother and his intelligence, I believe.” Iron Forge offered.

“That sounds about right.” Barrier snorted. “Alright Verdant, perch yourself on Iron Forge’s…” Barrier scanned the stallion, trying to find something that wasn’t buried in fur. “try to reach the tip of his horn.”

Barrier sat down once more. “Alright, Swiftsword, ga…” Barrier winced when he saw the length of her horn again. “Just sit tight and try not to gore anypony with your horn for the time being. Verdant, try to reach the tip of Iron Forge’s horn. Winter Gem, Hat Trick, gather firewood and get our fire going strong once more. Iron Forge, stay here with Swiftsword. Faust knows what you’ll get caught in with that much fur.”

Winter Gem and Hat Trick both saluted and moved to follow the order. Barrier eyed the tip of Iron Forge’s horn and the hair surrounding it, gaze narrowing at the tiny speck of green. Reaching out with his hoof, he spoke. “Verdant Range, you’re with me.” She transferred the stallion from her hoof to her head. “We’re going to go gather the ingredients to cure poison joke. I just hope we can find the damn honey. Can’t usually find it this time of year….” Barrier’s horn lit with light once more as she dove into the forest, vaguely aware of the earth-pony making his way down the bridge of her forehead and to her muzzle.


Their quest for the ingredients to the cure had been woefully unsuccessful. Specifically, the honey they needed was nowhere to be found. Without said honey, they would be stuck in their cursed forms.

“The only option left is to attempt to contact Princess Luna in our dreams, otherwise training is going to grind to an absolute halt until our allotted pickup,” Barrier explained to the group.

For Cadet Range, this week had quickly become what he would forever call ‘The Week in Tartarus’ for all the misfortune that fell upon him.

From being lost in the Forest of Forge’s Fur for over four hours, spending far longer than desired stuck up Swiftsword’s nose, only narrowly avoiding Hat Trick urinating on him, had his pea-sized flank ogled by Barrier who had suddenly experience estrus for the first -and hopefully last- time, and an incident that both he and Winter Gem swore to secrecy, coupled with the countless encounters with the suddenly far more dangerous wildlife, the stallion was more than ready to put this week behind him when Princess Luna finally arrived with the cure.

It was not meant to be.


“Thank you for bringing this, Princess. It was foolish of me not to come fully prepared. I had assumed we would be fully able of sustaining ourselves here.” Barrier and the princess both stood on the beach, a short distance away from her chariot. Verdant was perched on the end of Barrier’s snout.

“Everypony hath a slip now and again.”

Barrier started to smile, only for Luna to continue.

“However, this was a major slip, Captain. Poison joke is wildly unpredictable and very well could have cost the lives of thee of thy cadets.”

The charcoal mare’s ears shrunk back, though she kept her gaze affixed on her princess.

“We don’t need to impress upon thee how negligent this was. Thy reprimand will be decided upon thy return. Until then, thou art to continue training thy cadets, but thou art to be far more careful hither forth. Are We understood, Captain?”

“Yes ma’am!” Barrier saluted sharply, jostling the small stallion still perched on her muzzle. The shifting of his fur on her muzzle caused her to take several short breaths.

“Captain?” Luna asked questioningly. “Art thou well-”

“Ah-ah-choo!” Barrier’s head snapped forward with the force of her sneeze. The sneeze sent the miniscule stallion flying forward at a fantastic speed. The world seemed to become a blur as everything zipped by.

Verdant soon felt himself crash into, thankfully, something fairly soft before he started to fall and then feel a crushing force all around him. The pressure was almost unbearable as he felt himself being forced downward. His screams were silenced by the sounds of a massive wind flowing and an explosive beating nearby. He was relieved for an instant when the great pressure ceased, but this was soon followed by him crashing face first into a strange black mush that he unfortunately learned tasted just like the fancy truffles Hat Trick once snuck away for them from the royal kitchens. Verdant tiredly dragged himself out of the foul muck and tried to gather his bearings. To his great horror, he found himself in a pulsating chamber of flesh, steaming juices and the muck he was standing in. He knew exactly where he was.

“No, no, no!” his screams echoed throughout the chamber, “I’m inside Princess Luna’s stomach!” Ignoring the muffled voices from outside that could penetrate the thick meaty walls of flesh, Verdant ran to the closest of the stomach’s edges and began striking for all he was worth, “LET ME OUT! FOR THE LOVE OF FAUST, LET ME OUT!” he screamed as he panickingly punched the princess’ body, tears flowing from his eyes as he continued to launch himself forward until he needed a moment to catch his breath and let out a scream, "This has been a week from Tartarus! How could this possibly get any worse?"

As he finished speaking, he then heard the words of the pony princess he was trapped within echoing louder than her Royal Canterlot Voice, “Guard, We believe We feel the missing stallion a-pounding from within Our belly. Fetch us a laxative from the ship.” Next came words from Barrier that were too muffled to decipher. Though Verdant could not tell what the captain had said, the princess responded in kind, “We have not had a gag reflex for nearly five-hundred years, Captain.” she explained, letting her potable prisoner know that of all the ways he could escape, the one he would be taking would be the most unpleasant one.

Anger reaching his peak, Verdant shouted out before striking with the force of ten mosquitoes once more. “What have I ever done to deserve this horrible fate?!” He let several more blows fly before the top on the stomach opened, covering him in a disgusting smelling laxative potion. His left eye twitched madly as he seethed under the foul brew. "I'd better get some damn good compensation for this."

After his return from the island months later, Cadet Range would be given two options for compensation from Princess Luna. He could have either a small fortune of two-hundred bits, or he may enter the princess in a much more pleasant manner.

The young stallion chose the latter and all was forgiven.

Author's Note:

To start, this isn't an April Fools chapter. Initially, we were going to release a R63 version of the sequel's prologue (yes, it's in the works, see the blog!) but we decided that'd be too lazy, so instead we wrote this: an extension to the flashbacks of Chapter 20. That said, Alticron went through the effort of making a picture of Squad 982 as their genderbent counterparts, so at least we'll have a picture, like the last few chapters.

Updated: Now with a new design for Magical Hat.

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