• Published 27th Mar 2019
  • 1,327 Views, 195 Comments

Five Score – A Prench Tale Vol.1 - Alsey



Getting a cutie mark for my birthday was already strange enough, but what will I do now that my body has suddenly decided to take a Prench leave..?

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4 – Four on the Floor

Ambre's View

The buzz of my phone pulls me awake.

Ugh... Forgot to disable it yesterday, stupid me... At least it's on 'vibrate' and I didn't wake the whole house.

I reach for the phone, but fumble.

And fumble.

And fumble still.

I could keep at this for a long time; looking at my hand in the dim light, I can see I just don't have fingers anymore. Calling it a 'hand' would be pretty generous too... Nothing especially surprising, of course, considering the direction of the changes, but...

Well first off, how to stop this alarm?

My new forehoof is too large and its tip too cornified to unlock the device the usual way, unfortunately. So with both furry 'hands' I drag the flashing and buzzing phone to my face, and gently lower my nose towards the screen. I make contact faster than expected, and with my lips rather than with my nose, but it still serves my purpose: a little sweep right and the alarm finally stops.

Bringing a forehoof to my face, I can sense how during my sleep nose and mouth have pushed together into a muzzle. Again, not surprising. Moving my lengthened tongue through my bigger mouth and my inhuman denture, somehow I feel like these changes aren't even complete yet...

Can't do anything about it anyway, except waiting on them... It's still curious how, the closer the physical changes are to completion, the less I find myself disturbed by my new ponyness. It's like the feeling of being stranded in-between was more uncomfortable than anything else. Or maybe I just got used to the idea, after the initial shock...

I suppose I could try going back to sleep... But, one, my sleeping bag isn't that comfy that I'd like to extend my stay; two, if it's for just another serving of nebulous nightmares, no thanks no; and three... Gosh Sarah snores like a train engine, and not the modern kind! No wonder my phone alarm didn't wake her..!

Eh... The morning I've no risk of sleeping in, it's also the one I don't have to worry about not showing up at work.

Anyway, let's try getting up.

I extricate myself from the sleeping bag with some difficulty; my shoulders do not sit the same way against my body anymore, and I wouldn't call using a zipper with hooves 'easy'... The reward is worth the effort though: it feels really good to get out and stretch back, neck, tail, and all four limbs!

*sigh*

... And yes... I'm standing on all fours now, and pretty comfortably at that. It's not as disorienting as I could've feared, but even with my outstretched neck I don't think my new eye level reaches much higher than my groin while standing up... Well, standing up as a human, that is. My general proportions are clearly different, with my sweatpants bizarrely stretched by my hind legs and doing a poor job of hiding my panties-clad butt, and my sweater feeling tight around my back and neck but loose everywhere else... With these ill-fitting clothes the temptation to just go au naturel is strong, but I'm no animal, dang it!

So, next order of business: walking!

That's, er... a tall order...

No reason to be hasty here Amber, so let's take things one itsy-bitsy step after the other – literally... Let's begin with left forele— hey hey hey, what are you doing right hindleg!? I didn't call for you, get back down! So, where was I again? Ah yes, left foreleg...

It's funny, it does feel like using a leg, and yet the limb itself bends more or less like my arm did... Same as the rest of my body, it's mainly a question of proportions: arms and forearms are shorter, but what was the palm of my hands is now just as long as my forearm, and that's not even counting what has become of my fingers. I can report pretty much the same thing as for my former toes: the sides and front of my hooves feel like my nails did, now very thick yet still slightly flexible, and the softer, sensitive middle is in contact with the cold floor.

Left forehoof firmly on the tile, I bring forth the right... and barely stop myself from sliding forward. I drag my hindhooves to stand straight again and stabilize my stance, but clearly this is going to be a chore.

Well never mind, I need my morning coffee, and nothing will stand in my way!

The walk is slow and grueling through the living room then the corridor, more than once I barely escape an embarrassing faceplant, but ah! Still made it! The kitchen opens its door to me, coffee is at hoof!

I'm really tempted to recoil after my first few steps inside though; there's this lingering smell of blood permeating the room... Well, all the more reason to brew something nice! I just need to...

Er...

That kitchen counter looks really high right now...

Oh come on, I vanquished the traitorous four-legged walk, I can overcome a simple kitchen counter! At three!

One...

Two..!

Three!

I rear up and manage to land my forehooves on the counter, on my first try even! Good thing the light switch is within reach; once my eyes get used to the luminosity, I wobble along the counter towards the electric kettle. This is a little bit harder, it's almost against the back wall. I pull myself forward with my forelegs and baaarely manage to seize the kettle's handle with my mouth, dragging it closer to the edge! Ah, and there should be enough water in there, still a success! While I let the kettle do its work, I spy the can of instant coffee, and... This is going to be even harder; it's completely against the wall!

Mmh, how to solve this..?

Ah, yes, the utensil racks are at comfortable pony-height! With this spatula, if I reach far enough, maybe...

But even with the wooden spatula held between my teeth, I can only just touch the can!

Oh come on, I can't fail now!!

I strain my neck, and the can does move a little!

Juuuust a little more..! Aaaaand..!

Ah! You're MINE! I spit the spatula and take hold of the can between my hooves, slowly working the threaded lid with a firm hold of my teeth, and at last it opens, the divine smell washing over my nose like a tidal wave of caffeinated goodness!

... I may have gotten slightly carried away here... But come on, coffee!!

A suitable glass is quickly located, secured in the crook of one of my 'hands', and put on the floor next to the opened can. Now for the most delicate steps... With a spoon held between my lips, I manage to extract a decent amount of powder from the can, with minimal spilling I might add, then balancing on my hindlegs, I lift the kettle from its base and— ouch that's hot!! Quick quick quick I put the kettle on the floor before I splash myself with the steaming water! Darn clumsy hooves..! Finally, I'm sitting on my rump in front of the glass, pouring the hot water with as much care as I can manage, holding the kettle's handle between my two forehooves, aaaaaand tada!!

Pff, and I thought waiting for the Dejean's coffeemaker was tedious!?

Anyway, that's done! I lay down on my belly with the warming glass between my hooves, clothes and fur doing a good job of isolating me from the cold tiles, slowly stirring the dark liquid with my reddish spoon...

... And now I'm thinking about Mr. and Mrs. Dejean...

What would they say, seeing me like that..?

Eh... Knowing them, they'd probably tell me not to worry, and just be patient until they can have someone come to install pony-friendly appliances... If we can't find a way to reverse this transformation in a timely fashion, I'll have to ask Sébastien to bring them back their key. That'll make them sad...

Come on Ambre, you shouldn't be so negative! We will find a way to change back! Maybe if we went to the hospital they could concoct some kind of medicine or—

Oh drat! With everything I completely forgot to take my meds!

Though...

Do I still need them..?

I mean... If this transformation is as thorough as it looks to be, do I now have a full female-typical urogenital system..? With ovaries, even pony ovaries, I would have my own in-built source of estrogen, and without testicles to produce testosterone, I wouldn't need my anti-androgen either...

That's...

I'm not sure how to feel about that.

On the one hoof, this change would free me from life-long medication, and it has already gifted me with something that would require extensive and costly surgery, if I had wanted it done in the first place. But on the other... It wasn't my choice. This transformation has robbed me of any choice I could've made concerning my body, or my life... I'm already lucky enough that it seems to recognize my gender, instead of blindly going with what my chromosomes would say... Even if the raw emotions aren't here, maybe as a side-effect of the changes themselves, I still understand why Laurence can be so distraught.

The very fact that I'm not screaming my lungs out in terror and/or anguish is a testament to the incredible power of whatever is causing this transformation. I... Should I envy Laurence's clarity of mind, or pity her..?

I suppose I'll only get an answer to that through future hindsight... Let's focus on the present.

... Though I wish the present coffee was of higher quality... Well, better than nothing, right?

I take my time, sipping the dark liquid and enjoying the moment, until I'm left with an empty glass, and something that feels quite a bit fuller... I'm careful in grasping the rim of the glass with my lips, and only once I'm sure I have a firm grip do I lift it from the floor and put it down on the edge of the counter, next to the sink. I don't think anybody would scold me for passing on the washing-up in my current condition...

Turning off the lights as I leave, I stagger along the corridor until I reach the bathroom's door. It's a good thing I haven't turned so small as to not being able to reach easily for the door handle... It's already unwieldy enough to maintain a good enough grip when pulling the door open, I'm not using my mouth to try to close it properly, drawing it back will have to suffice!

Anyway... I lean against the wall to flip the light switch on then turn towards the toilet, but the mirror over the washbasin catches my eye.

What do I even look like now..?

Rearing up and resting my forehooves on the washbasin's ceramic, I am confronted with my new reflection... or at least the part higher than my shoulders. The reddish brown fur covers my longer neck, though there are still patches of hairless skin on my face. My luxurious and cumbersome golden mane offers a nice contrast, and falls far more naturally now that the rest of me is catching up. I didn't expect my horn to be so long, considering that I can't see it while looking up... But maybe that will change, if my red eyes keep on growing larger? My snout is more pronounced than what I expected on the basis of the design of the cartoon ponies, but still dainty in a way. I look youthful and yet almost elegant, which I suppose would befit a unicorn, and my smooth features have an undeniable feminine quality to them.

No-one would ever mistake me for a guy.

Eh...

I'm looking like a horse, and somehow I've never been so conventionally pretty...

Maybe...

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, if we couldn't change back..?

...

... How can I even think that, seriously!? There's so many consequences, so many unknowns! I can't work, I can't even get out on the street!

Though is it that much different from what happened at the beginning of my transition..? Looks that didn't match my ID papers, so many stares and worse as soon as I went out anywhere... It's not on the same scale, sure, but...

I guess I'll deal with things as they come.

Like...

... How am I supposed to use the bathroom now..?

Sarah's View

I galloped through the fancy hallways...

Running and running, the clatter of my hooves, all those whitish walls that look the same...

... the thing was like a maze!

Wait... Isn't that Canterlot castle..?

But then the smell of something burning...

The diamond-shaped beignets laid forgotten on the worktop...

Their shape is perfect, except for those still in the process of being folded by expert hooves... I can almost taste them. Why does this feel so bittersweet..?

“Hey, look at me, please look at me!”

This beautiful mare is filling my vision, with her dazzling light blue eyes and soft features, but she looks so terrified..!

Now we're running again, I don't know why... “This way, to the gardens!”, she yells... It's funny – just as dream-me's thoughts, it sounds like Englishesque gibberish, but here too I somehow understand well enough what she means: 'the gardens'...

Yes, I recognize those lush gardens, with flowers and statues... They're the same as in this episode with Discord...

Discord...

The tall monster stood before me, with that evil, confident smile of his...

No! Get away from us!!

“For Five Score!”

Discord and the garden fade into a blinding white, and I fall, I fall!

Arr—wha—Uh!?

I leap from my lying position, landing on my hooves and looking all around me – but there's no castle gardens, no Discord, no beautiful mare... Just Laurence's boring living room.

Oh gosh, that was just another one of these nightmares..!

It's never been clearer, but... Maybe that's because good chunks of the dream seem to be directly lifted from what I watched before going to sleep? That would explain the pony stuff, and freakin' Discord... I can't even remember what it was like before the My Little Pony filter grafted itself!

“Sarah..? Are you all right?”

I almost jump a second time at Ambre's voice! With only a little streetlight coming through the closed shutters, I hadn't noticed her sitting awkwardly over on the computer chair. From what I can see, there's nothing really human about her anymore.

“Uh yeah, yeah, sorry, it's just—”

“Nightmares, right?”

“Yeah, nightmares... You've been up for a while?”

“About... an hour and a half, more or less. I've been trying to re-learn how to use my phone, but with these things that's not easy...”, she says while waving a forehoof with disdain.

“Well you're a full unicorn now, can't you magic it or something?”

She stares at me for a couple seconds like I've grown a second head, then she turns thoughtful and tries to glance at the bony spire jutting from her skull. She must be trying something, considering her adorable little frown of concentration, but no sparkling for Ambricorn yet. I'll leave her to her experimentation, 'cause I have my own to take care of.

For now balance's all good, even standing on the couch's soft material, so that's a great start! Now to get on the floor... Mmh...

Well, as they say, quand faut y aller, faut y aller!

I jump from couch to floor, using my hindlegs like springs and readying the forelegs for the impact with the ground. The hard parts of my forehooves skid on the smooth tiles at first, but once the soft parts are in contact I get some traction and can stop my forward momentum. My right hindhoof touches the floor just after, but my left hindleg didn't come all the way!

Looking back, it's just that I didn't account for how long my body is now: I jumped too close to the couch, one of my legs didn't have enough space to get clear...

Hey, three out of four, that's still a win! I dislodge fully from the couch and venture forward. It's very tempting to think about each single step, to try to analyze how my changed limbs bend and pull, but something tells me that's not the way to go. After all, lots of newborn animals get on their feet and walk just fine in little more than a couple minutes, and in a way I've just been reborn, right?

Practice turns out... slightly trickier than theory. I try to simply walk, but after a little less than twenty-five years of walking with my legs vertically aligned with my eyes, it's like my brain doesn't yet compute that we need to move twice as many limbs now!

I think back to the cartoon, to how the ponies walked, all four legs working together in perfect rhythm... Holding this image in my mind, I will myself towards the other side of the room.

The first steps are a bit clumsy, but quickly my hooves find that ideal cadence, and my gait grows more automatic as I start circling the couch again and again. With the fear of tripping lessened I can relax more easily, and that four-legged walk works even better once I let the rest of my body do as it wants to – head bobbing lightly, shoulders and hips swaying a bit, it feels even more natural and balanced!

As I keep training and complete another turn, hooves batting the tiles rhythmically, I catch Ambre gawking at me. Maybe she had a harder time re-learning how to get around? Or, uh... It could also be that I've been parading before her buck-naked for the past few minutes..?

“Like what you see..?”, I tease when my last turn brings me back in front of her.

This gets her to almost drop her phone in surprise: “I– I was just studying the way you walk, th– that's all!!”, she squawks, her dark cheeks visibly reddening, somehow. “I'm not even attracted to guys!!”

Hehe, still too easy to make her all flustered... “You're kinda cute when you blush, you know?”

Wasn't sure it was even possible, yet she manages to look even more like an over-ripe tomato! Though I guess I pushed a little too far, too fast this time: the poor girl is curling up on herself with a decidedly not-amused expression, ears folded back, and giving me the stink eye...

Aww..! That just won't do! I walk to her chair, looking as contrite as I can, and give her the softest, friendliest headbutt to her right shoulder. “Sorry, sorry, just joking with you...”

As I'm standing so close to her, I can't help but catch what must be her new pony scent, mingled with the human one still clinging to her clothes. For some reason it reminds me of firecrackers, though strangely more the idea of firecrackers than the smell I would normally associate with them.

“Yeah, well,” she retorts, huffing a bit, “I, er, you caught me off-guard, that's all! I'll let it pass, this once..!”

“Then I'll try to not make an ass of myself any more in the future, milady.”, I reply with a mock bow.

“Wouldn't that expression be considered racist towards donkeys..?”, she asks with the hint of a smile.

Ah, that's more like it! I shrug more with my neck than my shoulders: “Eh, maybe. I'll have to ask one I guess.”, I conclude with a wink.

“Say, Sarah...”

“Hmm..?”

“I... I wanted to ask you... Do you feel... Well, good? I mean, are you okay with your body?”

Mmh. Thinking about it, without all the stress of the change and its other consequences... “More than good actually, I feel great!”, I grin. “It's still a bit early to be sure, but seriously I don't think I've ever felt better! Like, it's like I could gallop in circles for hours right now!”

“Well please don't..!”, Laurence's tired voice comes from the bedroom's door. “You'd ruin my floor, and we don't need any more suspect noises for the neighbors to worry about...”

She's standing upright, human-style, though leaning heavily against the door's frame, with a bleary-eyed, yawning Sébastien on her other side. I didn't notice it all that much 'til now, with Ambre being curled up on her chair, but human-cut clothes on a pony body? Yeah, it looks pretty ridiculous, and darn uncomf—

“S– Sarah! Can't you cover yourself!?”, Laurence screeches, looking everywhere but at me. Guess she stared back, though we clearly reached different conclusions on the 'clothed pony' issue!

“Do I really have to..?”, I ask, eyeing the crumpled blanket on the couch.

"“Wh– Of course you have to! What is wrong with you!?”

“You know,” Sébastien begins after another yawn, “technically speaking, it seems that for ponies clothing is considered to be optio—”

“Don't you start too!”, she exclaims, jabbing a hoof at her friend. “And you!”, she now hisses at me, “Put something on already! My house isn't a fucking nudist camp!”

Pff, ponying-up certainly didn't improve her personality... I nip the blanket with my teeth and cast it over my back by a flick of the neck, while Sébastien guides Laurence to the couch. Seeing her sitting like a human looks even more silly than Ambre on her chair, but to each their own I guess – haunches on the floor is good enough for me.

“Can't you at least lay down!?” ... Buuut not for everypony, clearly... “It doesn't even hide anything like this!”, Laurence keeps complaining.

Well I guess she's not completely wrong, so with a sigh I fold my forelegs and get my chest on the ground. “Happy now..?”

For a moment she actually seems to realizes the pointlessness of her latest rant, with the way she frowns and avoid my eyes, so there's always that. Oh, and from my lower position I catch sight of my poor snapped bracelet on the floor... Forgot to take it off in the end, it must've broke during the night. I draw it to me with a hoof, I'll stow it away later.

“I'm going to brew us tea.”, Sébastien says. “Would you like some coffee, Ambre, Sarah?”

“Yes please!”

“Already got mine, thanks.”, the blonde unicorn replies.

As Sébastien goes to the kitchen, Laurence gives Ambre a bewildered stare, holding one hoof up: “How... How did you manage to make yourself coffee with these things..?”

“Oh it wasn't easy, and I had to use my mouth as much as my hooves, but all things considered it could have been worse! Phones with touch screens are still a no-go for now, though...”

“Hey, after all earth ponies on the show seem to be doing just fine with just their hooves too, so I guess it's not that surprising that we can still get things done.”, I add.

My innocent and completely legitimate observation raises Laurence's hackles back up, however: “You can't use a cartoon for little girls as if it were a technical manual, dammit!”

“Uh, why not? We all agreed that our transformation is directly based on the show. It's only logical that it came with the perks as much as the downsides, no?”

“Even if – and that's a big 'IF' – we suppose that magic and cartoon logic could be directly translated into reality, just looking at you and your basic body proportions, whoever did this to us already took some liberties with their template! For example,” she keeps on lecturing, pointing at my face, “your eyes look big, certainly bigger in relation to body size than for most mammals, but not as freakishly so as in the cartoon's style. And that's pretty fortunate considering the size of these ponies' eyes – that wouldn't leave much space for our brains otherwise...”

“Yeah, yeah, so we're like cartoons drawn in a more realistic style, that still doesn't change the basic principle, does it? Like, how much would you care to bet that Ambre here is gonna shoot magic from her horn any minute now?”

“Hey, don't drag me into this!”

“Excuse me if I fail to see how a lump of bone and keratin would suddenly make Ambre better at defying the laws of physics...”

Ugh! Is she playing devil's advocate or is she just that boneheaded..?

Sébastien comes back before I can find a good retort, laying down Laurence's mug and two filled glasses on the coffee table. “Didn't we also pretty much agree that, considering the extent of these transformations, magic could very well be a force at play here?”, he remarks while taking his place on the couch.

Ah! Take that, Laurence!

To my surprise, she doesn't scowl or glower all that much: “I... I guess, considering the circumstances, we can't judge a priori what is or is not possible anymore, huh..?”

You got that right... I crawl to the table and push myself back into a sitting position to grab my coffee. I'm careful as can be, putting the rim of my large hooves against the glass and slooooowly bringing it up to my mouth. It's still a little hot, and still instant coffee, but I don't think I'm doing too badly! Not like Laurence at least, who has to get Sébastien to help her not spilling tea all over her precious floor...

“So, Sarah, how do you like being on the other side of the fence?”, Sébastien asks as I put my glass back on the coffee table.

What does he mea– Oh! “Well, uh, it's... Well it's different, that's, uh, that's for sure... Physically, I mean, though that's pretty obvious, right? And I'm full of energy, but I'm not sure yet if it's the guy-body or just the pony-body...”

“Testosterone can give a big energy boost to your system, so I suppose that could very well be a 'guy-body' thing.”, Ambre suggests.

“As for other aspects... I don't know, I feel great, and not that much different, actually?”

Laurence raises an eyebrow at that: “Whatever's causing these changes has a tendency to obfuscate its effects, mental ones included. It could be worth it to go a little deeper than that, don't you think?”

“Well sorry, maybe it's a bit too soon to be absolutely certain, but I really don't think there's that much to say! Come on, it's not because I've gained an outie instead of an innie that I'm suddenly a whole other person or that I shouldn't feel good about it!”

“Sarah, it's a little bit more complex than that...”, Ambre begins. “I agree wholeheartedly that your genitalia should not dictate who you are, that's not what we're claiming, just... You're a woman, and you seemed quite comfortable in your, hmm, let's say female body. So the question is, is the change forcing you to be alright with a male body, like it seems to be doing for our pony bodies, or... Or maybe the changes went this way because in some way you wanted a male body, and thus it doesn't feel that strange to be in one..?”

... Did I ever want to be a guy? That's not really the kind of question you ask yourself that often... I mean, yeah, for some things being a woman can be a real hassle, but apart from periods, it's mainly because of other people's jerkiness, not womanhood itself. Thinking about it now, though... It's true I like feeling stronger, and bigger, and now I wouldn't be shamed for being unfeminine just because I like a good rough an' tumble!

“I don't have a clear answer,” I finally say, “maybe? Is it really that important if I feel good right now?”

“How can you be so flippant about something as essential as your own gender!?”, Laurence shrieks, her shirt ballooning strangely on the sides.

Pff, 'flippant'... “So what? I'm like I am right now, it's not gonna help me to start combing through my brain just to satisfy your standards! Maybe I'm now a woman in a guy's body, or before I was a man in a woman's body, but what difference does it make if I don't care? Right now I feel good. If that changes, I'll deal with it then. End of discussion.”

Ambre takes the lead before Laurence can try to annoy me any further: “Don't worry Sarah, we don't want to tell you how you should feel. Take as much time as necessary to sort yourself out.”

Patronizing much, eh..? Whatever. “Yeah, yeah... So anyways, what's the plan for today?”

Sébastien raises his hand: “Well, I for one have to get to work sooner or later.”

Laurence puts a hoof on his shoulder: “We're a way from the tram, you should take my car. It wouldn't be of much use for us right now anyway...”

“Thanks. Do you want me to come back for lunch?”

“Nah, don't bother.”, I say. “You'd spend half your lunch time stuck in traffic at this hour. I'm sure we can take care of ourselves for a full day, right girls?”

The only positive answer is Ambre's timid smile, but that's enough for me.

“Okay, then... I'll stop by for more supplies on the way back this evening, just text me... or call me, or whatever you can manage with hooves, if you want something specific. I'm gonna hit the shower right now, so, uh, try not to kill each others in the meantime, okay?”

No need to be so dramatic... It's not my fault Laurence's always so grumpy!

Though now I'm really curious as to what's happening under her shirt... Is it big blue feathers I see poking out..?

Laurence's View

I haven't moved from the couch since Séb left this morning... It's my little island of sanity in this sea of equine madness, even if it's far from impregnable. Most notably, it cannot protect me fully from the pony cartoon still playing on my television – it's an exercise in futility to keep it completely out of my mind, though I still try my best. I'm pretty sure it's this thing that is giving me those horrid nightmares! Anyway... Sainfoin is at my side, ever faithful, enduring my clumsy attempts at petting him with my deformed right hand while I hold my book open with the left...

... And I think I've read that same paragraph at least thrice by now...

Glancing toward Ambre, she certainly doesn't look like focusing is an issue for her. I wish my own readings would prove just as engrossing, but I'm clearly out of luck... Or is it actually fortunate, that this curse hasn't fried my brain to the point of blind acceptance? I mean she looks so... so calm and relaxed, like nothing changed, that this is just a normal day for her. If only I were half as strong as she is...

No, no! It's not strength, it's weakness! It's playing right into the hands of this sick transformation! I'm the one with the normal reaction here! Even she herself agrees!

But...

At least she seems... peaceful...

Maybe it's the pony features that make her appear so young and innocent, with those large eyes, cute ears, and fluffy mane? In a way, she does look like as if she'd just walked out of a cartoon – just one with photo-realistic textures. But thinking about it, this is a being of flesh and blood I'm observing right now, with working organs, muscles and bones – a whole creature that shouldn't even exist, disconnected from the known evolutionary history of our world, yet alive and breathing here in my living room, reading a fantasy novel... It's all too easy to forget that she isn't a real unicorn, but a human drastically altered through means and reasons unknown to look like one...

Just as...

Just as I'm not...

Ugh... I really didn't need to be reminded of that..!

Ever since Sarah had to pester me for taking a peek at those insufferable feathered things on my back, I've had these maddening crawling sensations, these urges to work articulations that have no business being connected to me!

If only I hadn't promised Séb to not try to tear them off!

And you, you big dumb green horse, why did yo—

Uh..?

He's– I mean, she's just... slowly looking around, I guess..? It's as if she were watching some invisible things hovering through my living room. I was so lost in my own thoughts, I didn't even notice she put her cartoon on pause.

“Sarah? What are you staring at?”

I hope it's not another mental change...

She blinks, her neck bending so she can face me – damn those pony necks are flexible... I'm not sure how to read her expression though:

“... It's like I've spent my whole life seeing the world through an old cathodic telly, and I suddenly transitioned to a big widescreen. It's... It's a little overwhelming, to be honest.”

What..?

“Mmh? Oh, you're talking about your visual field?”, Ambre clarifies. “Well I suppose that's what you get with larger eyes, but yes it feels weird for a little while after you notice it for the first time.”

...

Why did they have to point that out!? It feels like my eyes have been pulled out of my skull, dammit!

“... Thank you so much for pointing that out..!” I grumble, already sensing the headache to come.

“It helps if you focus on something specific, like when you're reading. Don't worry, it'll pass soon enough.”

Yeah easy for you to say..! I can't focus on anything with this body always doing its best to remind me how much it's not my body! Maybe something like blinkers would help? Like I could—

URGH! Case in fucking point!! Why did these blasted wings try to go up when I was thinking about using my hands!?

Sainfoin jumps away, probably spooked by my latest tension spike. I think I could really do with a cig right now, but finding how to light and hold it would likely defeat the purpose... Maybe some pregabalin instead? Though I probably took far too many pills these past few days... Who knows what it would do to me know, if this transformation has affected my brain chemistry?

I must busy my mind with something... Reading is out, clearly. Games? Yeah, good luck using a controller or a mouse with my hands in this state! What else? I'm not going to start boxing against the walls... Not again, at least. Oh, I could write some code! I did send myself some work projects before all this nonsense started! Maybe if I strapped some pens to my hands..?

My planning is interrupted by a loud rumbling coming from Sarah. It also finally puts an end to her spacing out: “Uh, maybe we could have an early lunch, girls..?”, he – no, she, dammit! – chuckles.

Hunger does begin to creep up... Until I can try coding, fixing a little something could be an adequate distraction? “You know what? I think that's a good idea, Sarah. I will cook some rice, if that's all right?”

“Fine by me.”

“Same!”, chirps Ambre. “Need any help?”

Do I..? Yes, probably, but... “I should be able to manage, thank you.”

I pull myself forward with some difficulty, enough for my feet to touch the floor. Urgh, it's– nope nope nope, no thinking, just doing! I've held off the moment I'd have to get back up for too long! I push with my arms and rise off the couch. I go slowly, because of the wobbling, my socks don't afford a good grip on the tiles either, and it really doesn't help that the wings on my back find this is the ideal moment to try to spread! Maybe it'd be easier if I could lay the full length of my feet on the floor instead of only walking on my tiptoes, but I already tried that when getting out of bed, and I doubt these awful pony heels have gotten any sturdier since then... It doesn't matter, I'll make it!

I'm not even a quarter of the way, staggering past the couch toward the kitchen, when Ambre gets down on all four and comes to my side:

“You can lean against me, if it helps..?”

“I...” I want to do things by myself, I shouldn't need help for something so basic..!

“It's okay, you don't have to. But I'll walk with you, just in case, all right?”

“... Thank you, Ambre.”

Somehow, it does help a little bit for my balance, to know that she's here to catch me if I stumble, but I'm still so tense, we're barely half-way and the strain in my lower back and my joints is getting too much..! I stop, but it still hurts. I try to sit down for a bit, but one of my feet slips away!

“Oof..!”, Ambre huffs as she takes the brunt of my fall, then helps me sit back on my rump. The poor girl, I think I somehow grew bigger than her.

“Sorry Ambre...”

“It's okay, I know it's not easy.”, she answers with a smile I'm sure is at least a little forced.

And you say that, yet you certainly make it look easy... It's degrading, but maybe I could try to get around on my hands and knees? Shifting forward, I put my stretched palms against the floor, but not only my upper arm mobility is restrained, my knees are far too high, and I'm basically dragging my abdomen against the ground! How am I supposed to go around when my legs' proportions are all wrong!?

“Laurence, I... I know this is not something you want to hear, but maybe you could try to walk like we do, for now..?”

“How would that be any easier!?”, I growl. “You're asking me to go around standing on my toenails!”

“Yes, technically,” she admits, “but you need to put that aside for the moment. Those hooves are your feet, everything above is your legs. It requires a little mental gymnastic at first, but your brain will soon catch up, trust me.”

“How can my brain 'catch up' with this!? Don't you realize that our feet basically represent half the length of our legs now!?”

“Foreleg or hindleg?”, comes from Sarah as she trots toward us, that insufferable smirk on her face! Here to gloat, are you!?

“Both!”, I hiss at her. “But I was talking about our legs, otherwise I'd have said 'arms'!”

She tilts her head slightly: “Arms? Sorry, no arms here.”, she replies with mock-seriousness, wiggling her forele– her arm at me! You're damn lucky I can't stand on my feet right now!!

Ambre stomps a forehoof against the tiles: “Sarah! Stop being so mean, that's really not something we need right now!”

Sarah's ears fold back. “It's not 'mean', that's just a bit of humor, sheesh...”

“Do I look like I'm laughing..?”, I grumble.

“Hey, I'm only trying to lighten the mood, it's not my fault you can't take a joke.”

... How I wish I still had fingers just so I could strangle you, you dumb horse!! And could those stupid wings stop trying to get out of my shirt for a second!?

“Please Sarah, do not add any more fuel to this mess...”, pleads Ambre. “If you feel the need to contribute in some way, then I'm sure it would be more productive if it was by actually helping us...”

The green-maned idiot has the insolence of looking offended at that! She snorts loudly and avoids our reproving gazes, but to her credit, after a little while her annoyed expression progressively turns repentant: “I, well... Sorry girls, I guess... I guess it was dumb of me to push that particular button...”

You think..?

“Right, we're all in this together, and I know it can be hard on our nerves from time to time, so we need to at least, er... be nice to each other..?”

“Yeah, yeah... So, we're getting to that kitchen or what?”

Oh, yes, this was all about fixing us some lunch... Well I said I'd take care of it, and so I will! I push myself upright, or as much as I can with arms and legs of the same length, but now comes the hard part... I shove the ground away and rear myself upward. I manage to stay on my feet a couple seconds, but I'm still too front-heavy and when I try to step forward gravity reclaims me – at least this time I didn't crumble miserably...

“Maybe that would work better without the socks..?”, Sarah observes oh-so helpfully...

“The socks stay where they are for now, thank you...”

“Then why... Uh, never mind.”

I try getting up once more, but the results are pretty much the same... This is getting tedious!

“Laurence..?”

“What is it, Ambre?”, I answer a bit more curtly than intended.

“Er... I know you won't like it, but...” I'm tempted to just tune her out past this point, but, well, she's proven herself friendly and sensible enough to be listened to. “... I'm afraid going on all fours is still the most practical way to get around for us...”

“I'm not going to scamper around like an animal!”, I spit.

“Tell me... Am I an animal?”, she then asks me.

I admit this stumps me for an instant. “... Well, not in the colloquial sense, no, though technically we're just animals of the human species, so objectively yes..?”

“So according to this technical, objective definition, I cannot be considered any more of an animal than last week, right..?” Oh, I see where you're going... “Therefore, the way I walk doesn't have any bearing on my status as an animal or as a sentient being, and that would be the same for you.”

“... You're not wrong.” Even if it pains me to admit it. “Yes... Yes, okay... That's the pragmatic thing to do, I guess... This is all getting really unproductive anyway.”

“All right, let's give this a try! Sarah will be on your left, and me on your right. Right Sarah?”

“Uh? Oh uh, yes, of course!”

Sarah thus ranks to my left, while Ambre takes back her place on my right. This is the first time we're all standing side-by-side since the transformation completed, and some of my previous impressions can be confronted to the facts: Ambre did lose a lot of height, at least relative to me – the eyes of the tall black girl now only reach about my jaw. Meanwhile, Sarah, while significantly bulkier than us, must only be a couple centimeters taller than I am, at most.

It's... unusual, to end up as one of the tallest people in a room... Not in a bad way, though.

“Great. Now Laurence,” Ambre resumes, “we will all walk together. It's normal to feel a little unsteady at first, before you find your rhythm, so don't hesitate to lean against Sarah or myself. From what I found, and I'm sure Sarah will agree, the secret to pony walking is that at least one foot is always off the ground, but never more than two.”

“Not sure I'd have described it that way...”, remarks Sarah.

“Well we'll try your way if mine doesn't work. So, let's say you begin with your left forelimb. Before you put it back down, you lift your right hindlimb. Then, you need to lift the right forelimb, you put the right hind more or less were it was, then before the right fore touches ground you lift the left hind, and so on!”

Uh.

I try to replay the pattern in my head. “So, if I got it right, from left to right, this is one, four, two, three, then back to one, that's it?”

“Er... oh yes, yes, that's it! See, not too difficult, right?”

Well, only one way to find out... “Okay, let's try this.”

One... So far so good!

Four – still good!

One lands, then tw— ah!!

I topple to the right, with hand and foot of the same side raised, but Ambre is here and has braced herself to hold me steady.

Sarah chuckles at my blunder: “Yeah, what she didn't tell you, is you need to work your whole body to maintain balance during these phases, and a slightly quicker rhythm helps too. Good start though, you'll get it!”

You better believe I'll get it! Come on Laurence, back from the beginning...

– — –

Well, fixing lunch proved at once more difficult than usual, because hooves, but less so than I feared, thanks to our combined efforts. Sarah actually had the decent idea of getting the coffee table to act as a stool – granted, it would've been grating to move my furniture and leave hoofprints on its surface, but the concept was sound. Good thing I keep a stepstool in the back of my closet, in case I need to reach one of my seldom-used higher shelves, it was definitely a big help here. Ambre did most of the cooking though, simply because Sarah was certainly too massive for my poor old stepstool, and my lack of dexterity was becoming a dangerous liability... Knowing myself, there must be a part of me that relishes in my inability to adapt to my current bodily circumstances, if only because it would represent a refusal to conform to this new reality, pragmatic decisions be damned...

But I have to be pragmatic here. Walking is already proving to be challenging even when I'm willing to give it a try, so if I want to have other choices than laying all day either on the bed or on the couch, I must stop fighting against myself without reason!

All the same, I won't start acting like this is normal, or playing the pony! For example, they declined to mix in some of my tuna salads with their servings of rice in favor of various fried vegetables, for no good reason at all! I will acknowledge that the taste is indeed slightly different, just like with my sausages yesterday, but to the point of developing an aversion..? Even now, as we're sharing our meal around the coffee table kept in its rightful place, Sainfoin at my side, it seems the smell of microwaved tuna doesn't sit so well with their equine nostrils.

Their loss, for sure...

Putting something in my stomach has the added benefit of soothing my mind somewhat, enough that I can concentrate on things other than my own situation. In this case, I find myself observing more closely what has become of my companions in misfortune.

It's quite evident that, contrary to the cartoon's standardized models, there is significant variation in body shape, proportions, and patterns – even if my sample is, admittedly, quite small. I'm not sure yet if Sarah's build is due more to her maleness, or, uh, to her 'breed', so to speak, but she certainly looks the part of a draft horse – thick limbs, large chest, strong neck, even her face is convex in profile. This impression is probably furthered by the fact that the fur on her muzzle and the feathering around her hooves are slightly lighter in color than the yellow-beige of the rest of her body.

Ambre, meanwhile, offers a clear contrast. Compared to Sarah's stoutness, she's all legs and lithe. I still can't shake this impression that she looks younger, but it could just be a question of proportions, as compared to Sarah, besides the legs-by-total height ratio, her ears and her eyes appear to be proportionally larger, and her facial feature are more delicate. Again, this could be a unicorn or a female thing, and her baggy, oversized clothes certainly don't help. Like Sarah, her coat is not made of only one single solid color, her muzzle, the tip of her ears, and the fur around her hooves being of a slightly darker reddish brown. Oh, and of course, it's difficult to forget her mane... The poor girl has to regularly push the mass of wavy golden hair out of her plate, and from what I saw earlier, her tail is long enough to drag on the floor when she's standing...

“Laurence..?”

“Uh? Oh, sorry Amber, I wasn't paying attention. What were you saying?”

“I was suggesting that after lunch we could try to see on the net if there's any news of ponies?”

“Yeah, if there's others like us, maybe they waited until the change completed to make themselves known?”, Sarah adds before taking a large bite out of an apple that she... somehow... holds with a hoof.

“It's certainly worth a shot.”, I confirm. “That, or other transformed could've been less fortunate than us and been sighted. But if that were the case, it evidently didn't make the national news yet.” This I'm pretty sure of, as we put one of the news channels on the television for some background noise other than more cartoon episodes.

Sarah lets out an amused snort: “Well, let's be honest here, would you believe anyone claiming to have seen ponies like us, even with photos or videos to prove it..?”

“If there's enough good quality data coming from multiple sources, maybe they would?”, I counter.

“Nah, I'm sure they would see it as fakes news, or some sort of publicity stunt at best. Hey, in fact maybe that's what's happening? My Little Pony producers could want to start a reality show? Or maybe a fan of the old show is also a wizard and wanted to bring it back to life one way or another?”, she quips playfully.

I prefer to take another bite of my rice salad rather than to dignify this with an answer. Good thing the knuckle joint is still flexible enough to hold a spoon...

Ambre seems somewhat amused though. “Eh, well, maybe you're right, but if somebody had this kind of magic I'm not sure their first idea would be to turn random people into ponies!”

“Who knows? Maybe that's actually an unwanted side effect, that some human found, like, an old grimoire of true pony magic and every time they do a spell it transforms someone at random?”

I hope she's still joking here...

“That could make some measure of sense,” says Ambre between two mouthfuls of rice, “from the angle of 'pony magical contamination' at least, I suppose?”

Not you too! “Please, I really don't think we should start throwing baseless ideas like this, especially if they always involve some form of bogus warlockry...”

“Come on Laurence,” huffs Sarah, “didn't we already have this discussion this very morning..?”

“It's just a question of parsimony. I agree we shouldn't reject magic outright, yes, but that should still be our very last option, as the existence of magic hasn't been confirmed yet – contrary to nanotechnology or gene editing for example.”

“Yeah, yeah, we get it, Mrs. Skeptic, we shouldn't put the cart before the unicorn...”

This elicit a giggle from Ambre, and—

“Hey, are you alright?” She's coughing – her last bite must've gone down the wrong way!

“I–” *cough* “It's all right, sorry, just...” She coughs a couple more times, patting her chest with a hoof, and taking a good gulp of water.

From the glass.

That was on the table.

And is now hovering close to her face, surrounded by a halo of reddish light.

“There, all better...”, she sighs. Her horn is actually shining too, but... she didn't even notice what she's doing!?

“Ambre, don't move..!”, Sarah whispers.

“W– what, what is it!?”

That's enough to break the charm though – the horn light sputters out, and in its wake the glass falters right into Ambre's plate, the halo gone. Good thing the glass didn't break, at least.

“What happened..?”, Ambre asks, apparently quite mystified to find a glass in the middle of her rice salad.

I... I don't know what to say!

Turning to Sarah, I find her looking right at me with the biggest shit-eating grin I've ever seen: “Soooo, my dear Laurence... We were talking about the likeliness of magic, weren't we..?”

“That's– that could be a fluke!!”, I exclaim without even believing in my own words!

“Oh really..?”

“Wait, what are you talking about? Girls..?”

Still grinning like a loon, Sarah turns to the confused blonde pony: “Okay Ambre, could we try something? Here, take this,” she says while giving her the roll of paper towels, “and hold it between your hooves.”

“Like this..?”

“Yes, perfect. Now, I want you to relax, not think about anything...”

“Right..? What are yo—”

Without warning Sarah lobs an apple right at Ambre's surprised face!

But it doesn't hit.

Just like the glass, the apple stays suspended in the air, seemingly oblivious to how it is supposed to behave, held in the same red glow as the one surrounding Ambre's horn. This time our physics-defying companion can't miss it, and she's staring at the apple just as much as I am, mouth agape.

“I rest my case...”, Sarah chuckles.

Ambre slowly, carefully brings her hoof toward the apple. When her hooftip makes contact, the fruit bobs slightly, the undulating red field around it losing a bit of cohesion for an instant. “This... this is amazing..!”, she breathes. “Am I really doing this..?”

I crawl around the table, bringing myself closer, and confirming that there's no strings, no transparent holder, just a levitating apple... An impossibly levitating apple.

“Wait, maybe I can...”, begins Ambre. The apple starts moving slightly on the horizontal plane, but the red field weakens and the fruit falls back on the table. “Please can we try again!?”, the excited unicorn asks Sarah.

“Yeah, sure! Just try not to change it into a carriage, or make it explode.”

Sarah reclaims the apple, Ambre gets ready, and soon enough there's once again a food item hovering above my table, as if by magic.

Or rather, by magic.

...

I need to investigate this!!