• Published 3rd Jan 2016
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Inter-Dimensional Crusaders! - Infinite Affection



When Apple Bloom finds a mysterious anomaly, she comes face to face with the strangest thing possible, herself as a pony! Combined with her fellow crusaders, they embark on a journey of discovery of the human world and Equestria.

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Two Worlds, One Family

CHAPTER 3 – TWO WORLDS, ONE FAMILY

Apple Bloom gazed at the familiar hole in the rock, confident in her decision. Just moments ago, she had witnessed her new friend Apple Bloom, her human equivalent in every way possible, come through the exact same hole and embrace her as a pony. The feeling of finding…yourself was something that Apple Bloom had never understood before, let alone even contemplated. It had been the most joyous emotion she had ever experienced. And now she was back where she had been not five minutes ago, looking at her fellow human crusaders through the hole; seconds before the tumble of human Scootaloo.

The three friends beamed at the ponies with encouraging eyes, beckoning them onwards. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo needed no nudges; eyes narrowed and confident smiles on their faces. Sweetie Belle on the other hand - being Sweetie Belle - looked a bit uneasy. As the most cautious of the three crusaders, she rarely took new challenges head on and would usually think about the consequences before taking action. Of course, the fact that her human-self was able to go through with it did give her some confidence. Still she remained on edge.

“Ya ready, girls?” asked Apple Bloom eagerly, scratching the ground with her hoof as if ready to charge. She glanced at Scootaloo who gave her a keen and ready expression and then to Sweetie Belle, her face turning concerned at the sight of Sweetie Belle’s uneasy posture.

“Y’alright, Sweets?” Apple Bloom asked as she raised an eyebrow at her.

“Huh?” Sweetie Belle had been caught off guard. Breaking off from her trance of thought she said, “Yeah, I guess I just feel a bit nervous.” More like very nervous, she thought to herself. To make matters worse, everyone was now looking at her.

“If it helps,” her counterpart started, causing Sweetie Belle to look up at her, “I was scared to go through it at first as well, but AB was so certain we’d be alright. Plus, I thought that if I didn’t go then I’d be stuck on this end while you all had fun.” Sweetie Belle raised her fists. “And I certainly wasn’t going to let that happen.”

Unsurprisingly, her counterpart’s experience is precisely what she had been considering. And she was right, Sweetie Belle wasn’t about to miss out on this exciting opportunity.

Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo. “Maybe we-”

“Woah!” exclaimed Scootaloo, pointing a hoof at the now in-motion Sweetie Belle. Apple Bloom turned to see where she had pointed but saw nothing but ripples as the hole became water-like once more. And an absent Sweetie Belle! She could hardly believe it! The most nervous pony had been the first to go through! She darted her head back to Scootaloo, her eyes not finding the orange Pegasus but instead a burst of more ripples and the last of her hind legs disappearing. Apple Bloom smirked and rolled her eyes before narrowing them and charging at the hole.

A white light enveloped Apple Bloom’s vision causing her to flinch but before long she found herself looking down at a mix of twigs and dirt. She didn’t feel much different; she could still tell that all her legs were on the ground. That was until she noticed that the tips of her forelegs had changed dramatically. Her once round hooves had somehow had five bulky lines added to them. She also could no longer see her snout but rather saw something in the corner of her eyes, not quite being able to make it out. Pushing her head further down, Apple Bloom observed that she had suddenly acquired clothes, knowing full well that she had been unclothed before entering the hole. She also spied her hind legs which seemed rather normal except they felt a lot different.

“Aren’t ya gonna stand up?” she heard a voice say. Lifting her head, the funny hoof with the five lines appeared again although it looked to belong to her human-self, who was just coming into focus.

“Thought ya could use a hand!” Apple Bloom stated happily.

“Hand?” she replied, puzzlement evident in her tone.

“Ya know, a hand?” Human Apple Bloom began waving her hand up and down frequently to get the human pony’s attention. She then chuckled awkwardly, remembering who she was talking to, “Hehe…ah guess ya wouldn’t!”

Although it still was slightly unclear, Apple Bloom had deduced that the motion she made on her funny hoof indicated that is what she meant by hand.

“Ya mean, that thing with five lines comin’ out in is called a hand?” she asked.

“Yup! And the lines are known as fingers!”

Hands and fingers. As much as Apple Bloom was glad to know what these things were, she still had no clue how they were used. So she did what anypony would do; find out! She began by attempting to move her right “hand” as she would her hooves. To her amazement, not only was she able to move her hand off the prickly ground but found that she also had free movement of the five “fingers” she had been given too. She replicated her movements with her left hand and the same result occurred. Apple Bloom smiled in satisfaction.

“Now are ya gonna get up?” her human-self asked again.

Apple Bloom had recalled her asking the question before but having been confused with the hand thing she didn’t pay any heed to it. With that out of the way, she still didn’t understand what she meant.

“But I am standing!” Apple Bloom declared.

“Oh right… in ar world, we stand on two legs; not four.”

That made a lot of sense, thought Apple Bloom. It hadn’t occurred to her that now that she was human she should be equal in size to human Apple Bloom but she still had to look up to meet her eyes. Still she failed to see how tall she would stand with her hind legs as small as they were.

“Come on, ah’ll help ya up!” encouraged the familiar crusader. “Grab my hand,” gesturing to her outstretched hand.

Grabbing? Apple Bloom was used to grabbing stuff with her hooves but grabbing with hands was another matter entirely. Nonetheless, she reached out to the point where her hand lay clasped on the helper’s hand and, as if natural to her, closed her fingers around the whole of it. She felt herself bring lifted up as human Apple Bloom tugged her hand to her eye level. To her astonishment, Apple Bloom found that her hind legs were indeed much bigger now almost doubling in size with the addition of a round edge jutting out from the very bottom of each leg; in a way quite similar to her hands. Bringing her gaze back up, she now saw eye to eye with herself and felt satisfied about having done just that.

When her counterpart let go, Apple Bloom began to waver. “Woah!” she exclaimed, trying to keep her balance.

“This is harder than it looks!” said a nearby Sweetie Belle, toppling a bit that she clung on to Apple Bloom’s left shoulder to keep herself up. She glanced at Sweetie Belle in surprise, for she had temporarily forgotten that her friends were right beside her. She gasped as she noticed something was amiss.

“Yar horn is gone, Sweets!” she told Sweetie Belle.

Sweetie Belle’s attention was quickly diverted to her forehead and her now missing horn. She shrieked in realisation that her concentration on her balance failed and she fell to the ground quite hard. It hadn’t hurt her too bad; most of it being numbed out by the thought of her horn being gone. She raised her hands to her forehead and began to feel around but to no avail.

“This keeps getting weirder!” Sweetie Belle cried, somewhat afraid.

“My wings are gone too!”

Both Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked towards the sound of Scootaloo before recoiling in shock of the human Pegasus’ bare back.

“Well duh!” Scootaloo’s human equivalent stated, with an obvious tone. “Humans don’t have wings or horns.”

The fact that they were humans now still hadn’t settled into the minds of the crusaders; their worried expressions becoming a bit embarrassed at the evident fact.

“Oh…right,” said Sweetie Belle nervously, pushing herself to her feet with some difficulty.

“It makes sense, right? Cuz when we went through, Sweetie Belle got a horn and Scoots got wings and now we don’t again,” explained Apple Bloom confidently.

“Ah guess yar right,” her pony-self agreed.

“I really like these new threads,” said Sweetie Belle, admiring her new outfit.

“But we weren’t wearing them before,” retorted Scootaloo.

“And we lost our clothes when we travelled through to your world,” continued human Sweetie Belle. “Are you normally naked?”

“Most of the time, yes!”

“Hmmm, ah guess the portal takes into account that humans are normally clothed and ponies aren’t,” summed up human Apple Bloom.

“Portal? What do you mean?” her human friend Scootaloo asked her.

“Ah think that’s what that thing is.” Apple Bloom pointed at the strange hole where the other world was still visible. “Ah’ve heard Sunset talk about it before; she said it was like a bridge between worlds or summin’.”

All of them turned to face the portal and took a long look at it. The nature of the world that the pony crusaders had just left remained unchanged. It seemed to everyone else that what Apple Bloom said might in fact be true and that it may just as be easily traversed the next time it was used. A smile began to form on the filly Apple Bloom’s lips as an idea came into her head that she half expected her human-self to have already thought of.

“Ah just got a brilliant idea!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“What is it?” inquired both Scootaloos in unison, turning to each other and then giggling.

Apple Bloom had spotted the look on her counterpart’s face and gave her a nod as to signal her to continue.

“If ar worlds are exactly the same, minus the racial difference and the horns and wings o’ course, wouldn’t it be totally fun if we-”

“SWAPPED PLACES?” the two of them said together enthusiastically.


“Swap places?” considered the non-winged Pegasus, throwing an unsure look at both Apple Blooms.

Human Apple Bloom let out a deep breath and elaborated. “Well, since we all have the same relations; y’all both have Rainbow Dash as yar sisters and,” pointing at the two Sweetie Belles, “y’all both have Rarity and,” gesturing to herself and Apple Bloom, “we have AJ, Big Mac and Granny Smith, wouldn’t it be fun if we swapped places ta see if they’d notice any difference?!”

“Hey! That COULD be fun actually!” agreed pony Scootaloo, glancing to her counterpart who mirrored her excitement in repeated nods.
Almost on cue, both Sweetie Belles voiced their concerns about it.

“I don’t know…”

“It seems risky to me. I mean, what happens if our sisters do find out?”

“How are they gonna?” replied Apple Bloom. “We look exactly the same!”

Both of them knew that she had a point. It would be fun to play a practical joke on Rarity that she was unaware of; it had been some time since the last time the two attempted to outsmart their sisters only it had failed miserably. Half determined to successfully dupe her sister and half scared of the consequences, Sweetie Belle felt torn. However, she also relished the chance to explore the other world and listening to the eager chatter between the four certain crusaders made her even more wanting.

“I guess we could,” human Sweetie Belle, her voice picking up at the end of the sentence.

“Yeah, I agree!” said pony Sweetie Belle brightly, enthused by the confidence of her human counterpart.

“Great!” exclaimed Scootaloo.

“But I’ll bet that you’ll get found out and we won’t!” her human-self stated smugly.

“Oh yeah? I’ll bet that YOU’LL get found out and WE won’t!” Scootaloo replied competitively.

The orange skinned humans clashed with narrowed eyes and assertive grins. They stared each other down until one of them broke the silence.

“Fine. Ponies vs Humans. Whichever team goes one week without being figured as an impostor wins!”
“You’re on!”

Human Scootaloo spat in her right hand and offered it to pony Scootaloo who by the look of her changed expression was unsure how to respond.

“It’s a spit-shake, means you’ll swear on it,” explained Scootaloo.

Scootaloo shrugged. She then raised her right hand and spat into it like her counterpart had done and reached out to grab her hand. The two hands met and both scrunched hard against the other. Pony Scootaloo couldn’t help thinking how gross it felt as the spit transferred between hands leaving it with a moist feel to it. Afterwards, she quickly wiped her moist hand on her shirt.

The Apple Blooms replicated the spit-shake, both with grim determination in their eyes.

“Do you mind if we just shake? I’d rather not spit,” Sweetie Belle asked her pony-self.

Pony Sweetie Belle didn’t need to be told twice. She didn’t like the idea nor was she familiar with it. She nodded in response and two shared a nice handshake without the spitting or the scrunching but did so with focused eyes.

“We’ve got a deal then! May the best pony win!” Apple Bloom chuckled, her comment met with a acknowledging smile from her human-self.

“But first, can we get some more lessons on how to be human?” said Sweetie Belle, trying to take a step without falling over.

“Hehe…sure,” assured human Apple Bloom.


Scootaloo studied her hooves diligently. She still couldn’t place the feeling that just a half hour ago she could have been doing the same with her hands. Thoughts about what had transpired since then went in and out of her head as she felt the softness of her orange fur. It seemed like a dream; it might well have been since Scootaloo never remembered being this close to the ground while standing. Nor was she born with a pair of cute wings that while unable to get her off the ground still made her question everything she knew about the world to date. Even if it was a dream, Scootaloo didn’t want it to end; it was the coolest thing she’d ever experienced. Even cooler than…Rainbow Dash? Yes. This was more awesome than even her idol.

The three crusaders were sitting in an open patch of grass near to where the portal was. They had been discussing what they should do first and went about practicing the basic motions such as walking and (if they were able) running.

“Alright, here’s how it goes. Front left, back right, front right, back left,” explained Apple Bloom, walking out the steps for herself doing her best not to tangle up her hooves.

“It’s not so bad once you get the hang of…iiiiiiiiiiittttt!” Scootaloo tumbled onto her rear end, grumbling in frustrating.

“What was that, Scootaloo?” asked Sweetie Belle trying hard to conceal her laughter.

“Yeah, like you could do any better!” challenged Scootaloo.

She was right. How could she do any better? Nonetheless, Sweetie Belle decided to try her best to copy the pattern that their pony-selves had taught them. Concentrating very hard, she began a small trek not seeing that her mass of concentration was causing something else to happen also.

“Woah! That’s so cool!” said Scootaloo.

“Wow, I must be better than I thought,” replied Sweetie Belle proudly.

“No, not yar walking! Yar horn!” stated Apple Bloom, pointing at Sweetie Belle’s forehead.

“Huh?” Sweetie Belle looked up to see that a strange greenish glow was encircling her horn. It soon evaporated however as the mass of concentration that she had been building in her head had vanished as soon as she took her attention off her walking. She was sad to see it go. “Aww, come back!”

Apple Bloom walked up behind Sweetie Belle, her walking rhythm beginning to improve.

“Don’ worry, Sweets! It’ll come back. Remember yar a unicorn now; ah’ll bet ya can do all sorts of magic tricks and stuff!” Apple Bloom then shifted her gaze to the symbol on Sweetie Belle’s white flank and remembering her own she studied hers intently. “Ah still can’t believe that cutie marks are real things! I was so sure that we made it up ourselves!”

Apple Bloom recalled fondly when the three of them first met at one of Diamond Tiara’s birthday party. She hadn’t been a friend of hers at the time but Diamond normally invited everyone just to show off how rich and privileged she was, along with her friend Silver Spoon. She didn’t remember as fondly the way the two had teased her for not having yet discovered anything that she was particularly good at, that was until her fellow soon to be crusaders stood up for her. They sat discussing between themselves after the festivities that they should team up to find what they were all good at. The name came to them when they asked Apple Bloom’s sister, Applejack for advice. They had said to her that they wished to find ways of aiming their mark in the world to which Applejack replied, “Aww, y’all are cuties for doing that! Hope y’all have fun on yar crusade to find them!” And then like a shot the name came to them, the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Only now she was absolutely dumbfounded to realise that they were something real.

Looking at her own, she noticed that her cutie mark resembled a shield with an apple on it. She had previously seen both Scootaloo’s and Sweetie Belle’s too. They both shared the same shield with a lightning bolt and a musical note respectively. The shield did indeed look a lot like their own symbol of the CMC - almost scarily so. She reflected on how accurate Sunset Shimmer now had been concerning their special talents since the three of them looked to have a talent in common as well as have individual talents. For instance, hers appeared to be apples which wasn’t surprising since she loved working the farm with her big brother and sister. She assumed Sweetie Belle’s was singing; again not a shock as she was perhaps the most talented singer at Canterlot High and Scootaloo’s might be her daredevil attitude like when she’s on her scooter.

“Yeah, it’s quite weird yet interesting how alike our two worlds are,” lamented Sweetie Belle, taking a glance at her own cutie mark. “Except for the fact we are…you know…ponies and all.”

Scootaloo had been looking at her cutie mark too before her eyes drifted towards her wings. “I’d really like to be able to fly if these wings could work properly!” said Scootaloo eagerly.

“Ya mean like that?”

The two of them looked up to where Apple Bloom was pointing and saw a blue pony racing across the sky as fast as an aeroplane perhaps even faster; their eyes could barely catch up with it as it darted from one edge of the sky to the other, kicking clouds as it went causing them to vanish into thin air, this time literally. The three crusaders watched in awe and gasped in unison as the blue Pegasus began a dive; plummeting it to the ground as fast as gravity could take it that its body began to glow fiery hot before emitting a huge explosion of a multi-coloured variety. It was almost as if a rainbow had been painted across the sky at that very instant. The Pegasus then shot up out of the dive and proceeded to execute some loop de loops.

“Amazing!” exasperated Scootaloo, her eyes filled with endless awe. The elegance of the blue Pegasus as it flew across the open sky was just the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, getting closer and closer all the time.

“Scoots! Watch out!” warned Sweetie Belle, backing away quite rapidly.

Waking up out of her trance, Scootaloo had only just begun to take heed of the blue Pegasus flying as if about to crash and more importantly coming right at her. She turned and started to run but felt a hard smack against her rear that sent her flying for a few metres to land on the luckily soft grass with a small thud.

Scootaloo opened her eyes to see the blue Pegasus looking down upon her with a worried expression. She had a rainbow coloured mane and tail which looked awfully familiar to Scootaloo.

“Oh my gosh Scoots, are you OK?” she asked for her sister’s wellbeing.

“R-R-Rainbow Dash?” answered Scootaloo, instantly recognizing the sound of her idol’s voice. Her eyes lit up at the sight of Pegasus’s smile and almost without knowing it she rushed up to embrace her awesome pony of a sister.

Rainbow Dash was taken a bit by surprise but simply rolled her eyes and lowered her head to nuzzle the orange filly before gently pushing her no.1 fan away.

“Don’t get too mushy on me, squirt!” she laughed a little awkwardly.

“Sorry Rainbow Dash, I’m just so glad to see you!” Scootaloo said happily.

“Yeah why wouldn’t you be? This is me we’re talking about after all!” Rainbow Dash poised confidently at the three crusaders before recalling something and returning to her normal stance. “By the way Scootaloo, Twilight asked me to remind you that you left your scooter at her castle.”

“Twilight? Who’s Twilight?”

Rainbow Dash laughed in reply. “Good one, squirt!” she said, catching her breath. Her outburst ceased when she realised the young Pegasus’s expression hadn’t changed. “Twilight Sparkle? My best friend and Princess of Friendship?”

Scootaloo’s memory clicked at the mention of the second name. “Oh Twilight Sparkle…I remember!” She didn’t know the name well enough to recognise it right off the bat. Twilight wasn’t exactly important in the crusaders’ lives as she was hardly around since she enrolled at Canterlot at the start of the year when she and Sunset had their explosive showdown. After that the crusaders hardly saw her as she kept going and mysteriously reappearing at certain events but only recently had she been spending more time at Canterlot High that they had started to take notice of her more often.

“I must have hit you harder than I thought, squirt,” the rainbow Pegasus declared with a chuckle, still slightly confused why the filly’s response hadn’t been quicker. “Come on, I’ll take you to Twilight’s Castle in case you’ve forgotten where that is too!”

Rainbow Dash began walking in the direction of Ponyville, compelling the fillies to follow. They huddled together as they walked.

“Seems like Twilight’s a bigger deal round these parts,” suggested Apple Bloom.

“Didn’t Rainbow mention she was a princess? Didn’t Twilight contest against Sunset for a crown or something?” continued Sweetie Belle, recollecting what Rarity told her about their victory over Sunset Shimmer.

Scootaloo leaned in closer. “Wait, you don’t think that Twilight could be from here, do you?”

The thought stayed with the three of them as they followed Rainbow into the nearby town.


Sweetie Belle walked precariously around the school. She hadn’t got the knack of balancing herself on two legs yet and she wasn’t alone; her fellow crusaders had also been finding walking like a biped to be tricky. Luckily, there didn’t seem to be anyone around to see them fail. Before their parting, their human-selves had given them a little more tuition about their new appearances. For instance, Sweetie Belle had been avoiding the tendency to say forelegs when referring to her arms and constantly moved her digits on her hands in order to learn how to get the most out of it. Since she was a unicorn in Equestria, she was able to use her magic to do everyday tasks and rarely used her bare hooves for anything. But with her useful horn now gone, Sweetie Belle thought as if she were a baby again; having to learn everything that should come naturally to her, but didn’t.

The three girls treaded around what looked to be a courtyard outside the main doors to the school. As their human friends had explained, it was the summer holidays and no-one would be wanting to hang around the school at this time. The three of them thought it would be the ideal place to practice walking some more before they headed on out to explore.

“How y’all doing with the walking?” Apple Bloom asked a few minutes later.

“Getting there…,” replied Sweetie Belle, hanging onto the wall as she trekked on.

“I think I’m starting to get the hang…woaah!” Scootaloo wobbled as she tried to keep herself balanced but ultimately ended up on the ground, cursing as she lifted her head.

Apple Bloom ran up to her, with little difficulty. “Are ya alright, Scoots?” she asked.

“I’m fine,” Scootaloo scowled, frustration evident in her tone. She became neutral again on sight of the outstretched hand that Apple Bloom was offering to her. She reached out her hand in acceptance but was distracted by the sound of a closing door and her gaze soon met a larger dark blue skinned human with darker still blue hair walking out of the main doors at the end of the courtyard.

She spoke with a solemn tone. “Are you girls quite alright?”

Apple Bloom had noticed her too. “Yeah, we’re fine,” Apple Bloom replied. “Our friend just tripped over something.”

“Oh, are you alright Scootaloo?”

The question came a shock to the three crusaders as they were quite unsure who the woman was and how she was familiar with them. Scootaloo didn’t think it mattered though as they would probably learn soon enough.

“I’m ok,” she said in reply, finally grabbing Apple Bloom’s offered hand and being hoisted up. “Thanks, Miss…”

The dark blue woman approached them with an astonished look. “We must say that we are surprised that you have forgotten us so quickly, Scootaloo, after all those many discussions in our office regarding that troublesome scooter of yours?”

Scootaloo couldn’t help but blush. Even if she had no idea who this pony…I mean person was, she did indeed recall how many times Miss Cheerilee had given her warnings about using her scooter on school grounds.

“But if we must remind thee who we are then we shall happily oblige,” the woman continued. “We are-”

“Princess Luna?”

The sudden outburst from Sweetie Belle was a shock to everyone and the words she had spoken made the other girls eyes light up in realisation of the identity of their stranger.

“Child, we are not quite sure where you got the name “Princess” Luna; we are merely your humble Vice Principal Luna, do you not recall?” Luna’s face began to look concerned with a hint of frustration.

“Y-Y-Yeah…of course, I’m sorry,” answered Sweetie Belle, finding it hard to say that with a true face.

“We are surprised to see you girls so early after the break for summer. Are you all that eager to get back to school?”

“Bleh! Of course not!” cried Scootaloo in disgust, remembering immediately after who she was addressing. “I mean…”

Luna chortled. “It is quite alright child. We understand what it is like for kids to enjoy the summer.”

“Lulu?”

The voice came from the doors that Luna had just come out of moments before. Another woman with white skin and streaking shades of green, blue and magenta in her hair was standing just outside.

“We have to be getting back to…oh, I didn’t realise you were already busy,” the woman said, smiling in notice of the three girls.

“Not at all, Tia. We’ll be right there,” replied Vice Principal Luna. She turned to face the girls. “We must get on. It was lovely to see you again. Do enjoy the rest of your summer, will you?”

“We will. Thank you Prin…Vice Principal Luna,” said Sweetie Belle, half-looking at the other woman. She actually had a funny suspicion who the unknown woman was.

Luna turned to join her sister and colleague but did not get very far when she heard another thud and looked back around to find Scootaloo on the ground again.

“Are you sure you girls don’t need any help?” She then beckoned her sister over to help.

“No…uhh…I’m ok,” growled Scootaloo, taking Apple Bloom’s hand for the second time.

“Do you want me to call your sisters, girls?” queried the principal who had come up beside Luna.

Apple Bloom perked up at that question. “Actually, that’d be mighty handy.”

Normally, the nature of that question suggested in Apple Bloom’s mind that people didn’t think that the crusaders could handle themselves. However despite her home-grown stubbornness, Apple Bloom was quite sure that this time they would have to make an exception.

“OK, come inside to my office and I’ll telephone your sisters,” the principal continued, gesturing towards the half-open doors at the school entrance.

“Thank you…Celestia,” said Sweetie Belle, muttering that last part but the subsequent smile on Principal Celestia’s face had told her she had said it too loud.

Author's Note:

Haha, Sweetie Belle has always been a perceptive pony and I'm gonna touch on that in the next chapter.