• Published 17th Dec 2011
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Twist in the Tail: Community Service - Midnightshadow



Spinoff to "A Twist in the Tail" - here we follow Edge as she is sentenced for her crimes...

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The Talk

A Twist in the Tail
Community Service

Part 2

The Talk

An MLP:FiM Fanfiction by Midnight Shadow set in the Conversion Bureau Alternate Universe, originally by Blaze


Edge looked around herself. She’d not really got much of a chance to see Equestria until now. She’d been bundled through an immigration check-up and more or less deposited into Canterlot for her audience with Celestia and Luna.

This... pretty much added up to what she’d been told. Houses straight out of old fairy tales. Greenery everywhere. Everything hand made - hoof made, she guessed... did they still call it ‘hoof made’ when it was made by a unicorn? Was it, in fact, ‘hoof made’ at all? - Edge shook her head.

That was another thing which was bugging her. Her head. Her tail. Her everything. Her. She... was a she. She was a pony, with a burning kind of itch that was begging to be scratched, and that scared her more than anything. She understood, now, why Celestia had kept her female. Or at least she thought she did. Firstly, the rest of the gang were also girls. As much as Celestia wanted to punish Edge, she guessed that the princess didn’t want to create any long-term suffering. Unwanted pregnancies were hard, even in a gregarious, herd-based society.

Such big words, Edge thought to herself, since when did I get so practical, so thoughtful?

Secondly, Edge suspected that the princess just liked watching her squirm.

“Hey dweeb,” called back the griffon, Grilda or something, “Simone here says you’re a guy.”

“I was.” Edge answered as the four of them walked slowly along a hard-packed dirt track towards what appeared to be civilisation.

“So... what? You’re telling me you’re a filly now? Bullshit.” called Simone. Bedlam the draconequus just sniggered.

“Fuck you Simone.”

“Prove it.”

“Alright I will! I’m a girl, okay! I took the wrong stuff and I came out a girl! Happy?” Edge spun around and spread her back legs wide. She lifted her tail up and to the right and glared over her shoulder. There was a sound not unlike pomf as two sets of wings shot out straight.

Gilda swallowed, hard. “I, uh, yeah. You’re a filly.”

“Me likey.” echoed Bedlam, licking her lips. The strange creature’s forked tongue flicked out, like a snake’s. Echo, seeing the move, felt something twitch. She stiffened.
Edge had very little to go by, with female anatomy, but she knew which part of herself had just done something, and she knew what it felt like had happened. Did... did ponies do that? Why did she..? Edge forcefully lowered her tail as she saw the crest on Gilda’s head extend upwards visibly.

“Y-yeah, you’re a filly alright.”

Simone, for her part, burst out laughing.

“Fuck you, Simone.” repeated Edge. That just made Simone laugh all the harder. Edge stormed past the unicorn, who by now was rolling around on the grass in mirth, and snorted, lifting her head high. In tandem, her tail also flicked up officiously.

Pomf!

Edge glowered at the path as her hooves kicked up dust.

“So... a guy? Sounds like something my uncle would pull.” said Bedlam, sidling up to Edge.

“Your uncle sounds like he’s somebody... important, or something.” Edge replied, sullenly.

“Kinda, he used to rule Equestria.”

Edge blinked, was she talking to royalty? “Used to?”

“Celestia and Luna turned him to stone.”

Edge stopped, “Wait, they can really do that? Oh man, I’m dead. I’m totally dead.”

“More like undead. I don’t think it kills you, and besides if they’d wanted you stoned they’d have done it already. Uncle Discord came back recently, but the princess’ pet unicorn turned him to stone again. Some say he was the one who opened the gateway to your world.”

“What’s the deal with him then? And with you? I mean, you’re not a... a pony.”

“Yes, yes, I’m a draconequus. Woooo, flee in fear.”

Edge carried on walking a few steps, silently.

“You don’t know, do you? You don’t know what a draconequus is? Oh this is rich. Don’t they teach you anything?”

“I wasn’t exactly enrolled. I kinda stole the potion.”

Bedlam burst out laughing, “I like you, kid, I really do.”

“So what’s a draconequus then.”

“Dragons mate with anything.” replied Bedlam, as if that answered it.

“And?”

“And my mom had a dalliance with a dragon. I found out when my powers came through how much trouble that meant. When your father is a wanted criminal, your mother doesn’t know what to do with you and your only other known living relative in the realm got turned to stone, it’s not exactly easy.”

“So... what? You’re like a unicorn?”

“No, not really.” Bedlam flapped her wings, “I got these, for starters. I can fly, a little. The other foals used to tease me, until I gained my magic.” The draconequus seethed, “I made the little bastards pay after that. That’s kinda why I’m here.”

“Wrong side of the tracks, huh?”

“What?”

“You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s a saying. You lacked a strong role-model, blah blah blah.”

“Sounds like your Earth isn’t too different from Equestria, really.”

“Well, I couldn’t turn houses into cheese. So... they took your magic away?”

“You and Gilda, you two got it good. You two can still fly like you’re supposed to. Simone, me - we use magic for everything. Well I did. Simone’s like you, it’s easy to tell.”

“B-but you don’t have a band around your horns...”

“What, these things?” Bedlam asked, peering at the two stag-like horns emerging from her forehead, “Vestigial, draconic heritage. My magic’s in my hooves. A unicorn needs to cast spells, unless it’s their natural talent. With a dragon, it’s all in the mind. With a draconequus, we’re somewhere between. Me, it’s in my hooves. Except with this damned inhibitor band, I can’t do anything. These ponies are no fun.”

“It doesn’t sound too bad...”

Bedlam slapped Edge with her wings, “You try walking about with one leg cut off, see how well you fare. I have to go back to being... just a winged monster.”

“I think you look pretty cool.” said Edge, then she blushed.

Bedlam stared at her for a moment, then looked away, “Yeah well, sez you. Don’t get to thinking this means I like you.”

“But you said you did...” said Edge to herself as the strange creature trotted on ahead.

The path came to an end as it widened into dusty streets. There was a sign next to the road, Edge stared at it in dismay. She couldn’t read.

“Ponyville. I hate this town.” grumbled the griffon

“Looks like a dump.” agreed Simone.

“If I had my powers we could liven the place up a little.”

“Are we... are we allowed to just... walk in?”

“Didn’t madame whats-her-mane tell you anything? You’re such a dweeb. We’re prisoners,” Gilda held up her forepaw, clenching her eagle’s paw, “just try to misbehave. Go on. Knock that sign down.”

Edge glared at the sign. She was a tough guy... well, a tough mare. She lifted up a forehoof and slammed it into the sign.

clop.

“Wow, woo, run for the hills. We got a wild one here.”

“Back legs, dufus. Buck it.”

Edge glared at the sign. She turned around and sized it up. She wriggled her butt, ignoring how Gilda’s wings shot out as the griffon kept both beady eyes on her behind, and took aim. She bunched up and let fly...

Edge fell over.

Her muscles had locked up, just at the moment when she’d be aiming for the sign, leaving her two legged and off-balance.

“Bwaahahaa!” laughed Simone, braying like a donkey.

“Ow.” said Edge, getting to her hooves, “Not funny, guys. Girls. Whatever.”

“Come on dweeb, lesson’s over. Let’s get something to eat.”

“Hay fries? Is that all you ponies ever eat?” exclaimed Gilda, “Can’t get a good meal in this dump.” She ate her apples with bad grace. She’d tried to steal one, snagging it with her lion-like tail, but her legs had locked up the second she’d tried to sneak off with it. Simone had just pointed to a plate and said “that”. She’d dug about for a few unfamiliar coins and they’d rolled onto the floor as she slammed them on the counter of the cafe in disgust. Bedlam’s eyes had narrowed, the waiter had had to pick them up. Edge wondered just what that meant, but she knew it was nothing good.

Bedlam ate her meal of coal noisily. She said she preferred gems, but rocks - preferably igneous or metamorphic, but coal was acceptable - were good enough. She could even eat hay and oats, other ‘pony stuff’ as she called it, but it seemed she liked to make a scene as much as get fed.

Edge was learning. Simone was, for all intents and purposes, a sullen pony-shaped human. She’d been so quick and smart last time Edge had seen her, the pegasus reasoned that the unicorn had been poorly prepared for ponydom.

Gilda had a chip on her shoulder, she kept glancing around like she was looking for somepony. Edge idly wondered who or what it was. The griffon kept looking up whenever a pegasus swooped low enough, so Edge had her suspicions.

Finally was Bedlam. For all her name implied chaos and disorder, she was a fussy, meticulous creature most of the time. Edge guessed that having her powers more or less taken away hadn’t suited the strange creature’s plans.

It was at the cafe that Misses Providence found them. With her glasses pinned primly to the tip of her muzzle, her shawl wrapped around her neatly, she’d clip-clopped up to the table they were at and beamed happily. “Hello, girls! How nice, did you enjoy your lunch?”

There had been a general grumble of acceptance, and the unicorn had harrumphed.

“Yes, Misses Providence.” the four replied sullenly.

“That’s better. Now, we’ve got a presentation to do at the local school house, it’s for the newfoals. Which one of you two wants to go first?”

Edge was staring sullenly at the ground when something pinched her flank. She leaped forwards.

“Ah! Great! That’s what I like to see, some community spirit! Come on Edge, dear, let’s get you ready. The rest of you three can stand at the back with me.”

***

The schoolhouse was, unsurprisingly, made of wood. The steps creaked as she walked up them and nosed open the door.

“Alright, children, settle down, settle down. We’ve got a special guest today by the name of Edge. She’s a newfoal, can anypony tell me what that means?” said a voice

“Mith Cheerilee,” somepony lisped, “that meanth they’re throm earthth and they uthed to be human.”

“Very good, Twist. Can anypony tell me what means? Twist? No? Well, that’s why we have our special guest. Come on in, Edge. Misses Providence tells me there’s four of you, invite them in, please.”

Edge gulped nervously. Approximately twenty pairs of eyes turned her way and burned into her with the fury of a thousand suns. She spun around and jerked her head. Gilda rolled her eyes and barged past, followed by Bedlam and Simone.

“Hold the door, dear, that’s a sweetie.” said Misses Providence. Edge did so and the older unicorn trotted in smartly. She nodded to the teacher, a fuschia earth pony with three little smiley-faced flowers as a cutie-mark, and addressed the class. “Today we’ll be talking to Edge, she may talk a little funny, but she’s ever so friendly and just dying to answer your questions. One at a time, hold your hooves yup and we’ll pick you, okay? Come now, dear, stand right here next to me. That’s it, come, come.”

At Providence’s urging, Edge stepped out in front of the ravenous, slathering beasts of Miss Cheerilee’s class.

“Introduce yourself, where you come from, why you’re here.”

Edge blinked, trembling. “I...” she squeaked. She cleared her throat, “Hello, my name is Edge and I used to be a human, I’m from Manhatten in New York... and now I’m a pony.”

“Any questions?” asked Providence.

“Ummm, we have a unicorn newfoal and his name’s Midnight, and he’s a student here, and, uh... are you gonna be a student too?”

Edge blinked, they already knew what newfoals were? And one was a student, in this class? She looked helplessly at Misses Providence, who rather selflessly urged Edge to Just Answer with an indicative flick of her forehoof.

“I, er, no? I-I’m just passing through.”

“Is it true that humans eat ponies?” came one question.

“Do I really have to answer that?” complained Edge

“How many ponies have you eaten? Today?”

“That’s hardly even fa-”

“Do you still eat ponies?”

“No!”

“My papa says newfoals are dumb and smell bad.”

“That’s not even a question!”

Misses Providence shook her head, harrumphing in that quiet way she had. “Now, now, children. Settle down. Sensible questions, please.”

Edge was shaking. There’s nothing quite so scary as a room full of foals...

“You, child, in front. Yes you.”

“What’s it like, being a pony? Do you miss being human?”

Edge opened and shut her mouth several times before answering. “It’s... different. I had hands, fingers. Like a griffon, or, or a dragon. You have those, right?”

Misses Providence nodded.

“So I did everything with them. Now I have to walk on four legs instead of two, and use my mouth to hold stuff. I can’t fly yet, and... and there are some other differences.” like being a girl, for one.

“Are you really a pony?”

“I think so,” said Edge, looking up at Simone, “if we look like you, and eat like you and live like you, and we can do magic and fly like you - with training - and e-even marry you, we are you, aren’t we?”

“What’s that band on your hoof?” asked one small, white unicorn, innocently.

Edge blushed and looked at Misses Providence. The older unicorn nodded. Be honest, she’d said, be honest and tell your whole story.

Edge sat down on her haunches, swishing her tail to move it out of the way. “I... used to be a human, a man in fact. Life on Earth isn’t as easy for us as it is for you. We don’t have a princess to raise the sun and moon, we don’t have pegasi to move the clouds and make the weather. It just happens.”

There were gasps all around.”

Edge continued, “Our world... is an old one. billions of years old. That’s like... a really long time. Eventually, humans evolved. They say we evolved in a world that doesn’t care about us, and often we don’t care about each other. Our world has been difficult to live in for a long time. We can’t just eat grass, like you, we grow cold in the winter and wet in the rain. We get sick, much easier than you.”

“That must be awful.” said some foal.

“It’s not fun. Less fun is having to work for a living like that. We don’t get cutie-marks like you, most of us never know what we’re good at. I didn’t. I was stupid. I broke into a Conversion Bureau, the Hackensack. I think they make potion there or something. I thought... I thought you ponies were scooping out our brains and replacing us with pony doubles. I took the wrong potion... it turns you into a girl-pony.”

“You’re a stallion? Does that mean you’re a colt-cuddler cos my dad says that if-”

“Ahem!” said Misses Providence, “That sort of question doesn’t have to be answered, not if-”

“It’s alright, Misses Providence.” said Edge, softly, “I can answer. I mean I can’t, because I don’t know. I like girls, or I used to, when I was human. I guess that means I like wo- I mean mares now.”

There were sniggering whispers of filly-fooler and the teacher, Miss Cheerilee scowled, “That’s quite enough of that!”

“I’m a stallion,” said Edge, defiantly, “I just... currently look like a mare. This hoof-band is because I did wrong. I was naughty. This band means I get detention every day for five hundred days. I have to come and stand in front of kids like you, and show you that newfoals aren’t so different from you. A-and I can see we’re not.” Edge glared, “I come from a world bigger and more complex than you can imagine, where we didn’t get sunshine just by asking nicely, where we don’t nearly always know what we want from life, where we’ve had to fight nature and each other just to survive. And now I come here, to this... this. And I have to explain why I wanted to give that all up to be like you, but I can’t. I just can’t. You wouldn’t understand. You can’t.”

Edge looked up, at the open-mouthed expressions, and fled as tears fell from her muzzle.

Edge sniffed, loudly, staring at herself in the fountain. She wiped a hoof across her muzzle and made a face. As she was wiping it off on the grass, a shadow fell across her vision.

“Are you alright, dear?”

Edge looked away, shaking her head, “I was an idiot. I thought this place was supposed to be all candy clouds and gumdrop rain.”

“Foals are direct anywhere, sweetie. They’ve never known a world like yours. They laugh, play, fight, learn and live... much like your children used to do before the factory schools. Don’t look so surprised,” Misses Providence smiled softly, “Celestia and Luna made sure our education was as complete as they could. Our little ones could do with a little more compassion, but that only comes with understanding. You look like us, now. You are us. Your children will be our children, and the world of man will pass away into history, and then legend, and then be forgotten. It is our solemn duty, yours and mine, to help that happen.”

Edge looked pained, “If Barney could hear you now...”

“Barney?”

“A friend of mine, joined the HLF. He’s convinced you’re trying to conquer us.”

Misses Providence smiled, sadly, “I heard about the shield expansion. I used to work in Celestia’s School for the Gifted. In a few years, I don’t know how many, we will have. I’m quite sure. The projected equilibrium point is beyond any hope of salvaging a planet for your old species.”

“And all that we were will be gone.”

“No, no dear. Not gone. Your own scientists, scholars and teachers work at the same tasks ours do - to preserve. I, in my own way, seek to preserve man, albeit it as pony. Others work around the clock to take record of everything produced by mankind. For as long as we can, ponies like you will be teaching our foals about your foals. You’re very special to us, to Celestia and Luna. Do you know why?”

Edge shook her head.

“You came to us of your own free will.” Misses Providence dropped her horn to the band around Edge’s leg, and it opened with a click. It fell onto the floor.

“Why?”

“Are you going to run away? Dare you run the risk of being turned into a lawn ornament?”

Edge shook her head, again.

“Then you don’t need that. Keep it, though. It will open and close at will, now. Call it an offering of trust.”

“Thank you. I-I don’t know what to say.”

“Now, let’s get back to the classroom. I’m not quite sure what Gilda, Simone and Bedlam will have gotten up to in the meanwhile.”