• Published 19th Oct 2021
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Accepting Change - drFraud



Well... it seems I'm a changeling... Decades before the first episode of FiM.

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CH 7 (further learning)

Author's Note:

I wish to apologize to everyone for the delay both now, and for a while yet. Life got in the way and work has significantly increased making me exhausted.
Mind you, the chapters will still come, but they might take some time, and for that I am sorry.
Stay safe and have a pleasant day/night.

Patchwork

Today I get to meet my teachers, Circlet Ball and Quill Swift.

I don’t care much for learning body language (‘to be honest, I can learn that with a book or two’), but verbal language? That I do need.

I have noticed recently that the translation spell has been glitching from time to time. Nothing too interfering, thankfully, but enough where some of the ponies' own language is seeping through. Luckily, my memory has significantly improved, so learning their language should be a breeze. Provided I actually apply myself.

I took a shower and took the time afterward to oil myself up.

Everyone has noticed that, over time, some parts of me seem to lose their luster as well as that some parts gather sweat and grime more easily, such as between my plates and my elytra (shouldn’t even call it that, as those plates are too small and my wings fold in a very ticklish way). So, I need more showers to get rid of the grime, and more showers mean some of my natural oils get washed away.

I try not to shower as often, and only when necessary, but for some parts of my body, oil is necessary. Thankfully, I don’t have to put it on myself often. They didn’t tell me which oil they gave me, but it works, so I don’t care much where it comes from. I should ask them about it though before I leave this place.

After putting oil between my elytra (being careful with my wings) and some movable plates around it, I decided to grab some breakfast.

Using my magic, I slathered some honey on toast, picking a glass of water at the same time, practicing my multitasking.

While some of the more difficult aspects of magic escape me, higher application of easier spells seems to be easy. Sometimes I even surprised my teachers, such as when I used the simple fireball spell to heat up my tea. Apparently, I should not have been able to do that, as it took months of practice for most ponies to learn such a thing. Provided a pony even wants to learn such a thing in the first place. Most ponies tend to not chase after the knowledge that doesn’t correspond to their cutie marks, such as a pony with a special talent in fire spells will probably never look into water spells, thinking that they might never be able to use them in the first place. Oh sure, some of the ponies have a hunger for knowledge, but they won’t actively chase it. Or if they do chase it, they have almost no interest in using it. Very few seem to do so.

So, while some higher aspects of magic give me some difficulties, applying what I already know to other areas is something I actively try to do.

I have also been spending a lot of time trying to figure out shape-changing. We have tried some alternate methods but with almost no success. I swear White Light needs more sleep. I don’t, I have barely been tired over the last few days… I think I slept only once this week.

A knock on my door startled me out of my thoughts, and I finally noticed that I have finished my meal and had just been sitting, contemplating about my ability to change. Maybe I’ll try meditation again, it seems to work with magic. Maybe if I focus on my core I’ll get something out of it…

Another knock made me jump. I got distracted again.

“Coming!” I shouted pushing my magic to quickly clean up the mess on the table.

Opening the door, I was greeted by White Light, and an olive-green earth pony stallion, with a white braided mane and tail, and a turquoise lightning bolt running through them, standing next to him.

“Sorry, doc, I got lost in my thoughts again.” I sheepishly scratched behind my head, looking down.

I heard some muttering coming from the new stallion, but he said nothing. Instead, he opted to clear his throat in White Lights' direction.

“Well, at least we managed to shake you out of them. Truthfully, son, you get distracted way too easily.” There was another cleared throat, and White Light sighed heavily. “Yes, yes, Circlet.”

I lifted my head up and studied the stallion for a moment before his introduction. Tilting my head to the side, I managed to spot the edge of his flank. I was surprised that I spotted no Cutie Mark.

A very loud snort and a throat being cleared for the third time, made me focus on the earth pony.

“Zat iz not ze proper ‘ehaviour for a pony your age.” He said sternly.

I wanted to acknowledge the scolding for what it is, but his accent made me just look in astonishment.

“Vell?” He clearly expected an apology, but all I could was stare.

“Doc,” I started, “what’s with the accent?” I asked, keeping my eyes on Circlet the whole time.

Doctor Light just shook his head, but there was a smirk on his muzzle, reducing any sting from his stern look.

“The translation spell… it’s not perfect,” He scratched his chin with one hoof. I still kept my eyes on the, now squinting, earth pony. “What you hear is an attempt at translating a dialect of Equish.”

“That’s… no!” I now fully turned to Doctor Light. “That has to be fake. Tartarus, even Shield has an accent, but at least it’s fake.”

“Fake! How darez you. I am uzing one of ze ol’est know dialects of our fair Equish.” Circlet said hotly, raising his snout with a proud look on his face. I even sensed some anger coming from him.

“Yes, while our dear captain does ‘fake’ her accent, it is actually a rather young earth pony dialect.” White Light nodded and I looked at him stunned.

Dialects? Since when do ponies have that?’

I heard a ‘hmm’ on my left and turning my head, I found Circlet studying me intently.

“Oh, no, no, my young friend, you continue your little chat. Pay no attention to me.”

I decided to listen to him. Turning to White Light I got my unasked question answered.

“Circlet Ball is our foremost master when it comes to social and body language of us ponies,” he explained while jotting something down in a notebook he held in his magic. How he got it didn’t matter. “He runs a very successful ballet class here in Canterlot.”

“You are like a newborn babe, ar’ you not? Zey told me, you are new to this body, but I did not zhink it was zis dire.” Ball was scratching his chin in thought. Sensing his emotion I got a whole mess of things, but curiosity was the most prominent one.

Keeping eye contact I opened my mouth slightly and inhaled, taking a small sample. There was a fizzy taste on my tongue, and I tried subtly to swallow the shimmering greenish mist. It seemed neither party noticed my small indulgence, but I was wrong.

“You are about az subtle as a brick, my little bug. But worry not, I shall perzonally ensure zat you are ready for ze world.” He stated with a dramatic flourish.

Both I and I assumed White Light were just watching this, overly dramatic stallion. Then I heard a ‘tsk’ from the doctor.

“Well, I’m done here. Good luck Patch.”

“Wait, what?!” turning around I spotted the retreating White Light, and I knew I was doomed. I ran after him.

“You can’t just leave me with him… he has an accent!” I whisper-shouted, raising my claws to stop him.

White Light looked at me like I have grown a second head. “So do you.”

I refused to believe that, and I kept looking pleadingly at him. For a moment I was hoping the unicorn would turn around and return inside so that I have at least one familiar face, but I was again proven wrong.

“Listen, Patch. Accent or not, you need to learn how to use your body like us, or you will have more issues than you might want, and believe me, you don’t need it.” He suddenly sighed, and raised his hoof looking, for all intents and purposes, like he was pinching the bridge of his nose. “Look, kid, treat this as a practice for when you learn how to shape-shift. You will need this in more ways than one, so at least try it. But the Princess really wants you to do this.”

And there it was. The right words. Ever since she saved me from starvation I would have done anything Celestia asked… And Light knew this.

“Fine,” I relented, plodding slowly back to my apartment, “but don’t complain if something happens.”
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“So, let us start this shall ve.” Ball started.

We were sitting in the living room, me on the couch and him on the sofa.

“Why can’t I see your mark?” Was my immediate question. I simply HAD to know.

“You will see my mark when you ar’ ready. No sooner zan zat.” He squinted at me, clearly displeased with my question.

“I’m sorry, but I'm just really, really, curious. I haven’t seen a single pony so far without one, and it’s just stuck in my head.”

He sighed and massaged his temples with both hooves. Even without my sense, I would have known he was annoyed, his tail kept twitching.

“Zere is a cover placed over my mark zat cannot be seen unless you know where to look. But we can start zere, as well.” He shifted a little to hide his flanks completely. Then, he squared his shoulders, puffed his chest, and leveled his eyes with mine. “It iz VERY rude to stare at anozer pony’s flank. Ar’ we clear, little bug?”

I nodded rapidly, unwilling to provoke him further. I did have another question on my mind though.

“But what if they present their flank for me to see the mark.”

“Zat iz different. Zen you ‘ave an invitation to examine ze cutie mark. Otherwize, you may as well look under their tailz, for the faux pas you ar’ making.” Suddenly I realized why it was so bad to just stare… and I felt really stupid I didn’t get to that conclusion myself.

"But it seemz we will be stuck on zis topic for a moment, so let us go over do an’ don’ts of cutie marks.”

The stallion shifted a bit on his seat before looking focusing on me.

“Ze first thing you should know is vat I ‘ave already told you. Do not stare at other pony’s flank. Unless ze pony is your special somepony. Zen do vat you will. And ze second reason is zat you should never try to guess, out loud at least, vat zeir cutie mark iz.”

I suddenly had an idea and rushed over to the kitchen, grabbing two glasses of water and a tray of cookies in my magic. I brought them over and placed the tray of cookies in front of him as well as a glass of water. I got a cheerful ‘thank you’ and I sat down while he emptied the glass and munched on a cookie.

“Ah, zat vas needed. Thank you, again.

Now to continue. For ze first rule ze explanation iz simple: our marks are in a, rather, sensitive area, and openly staring iz rude. You will give ze otherz some questionable motivez. Zere is also ze fact zat some ponies ar’ very self-conscious about zeir mark, and zey will try to draw attention avay from it. Simple, no?”

Ze second rule iz a bit more complicated.”

You see, our marks ‘ave az many meanings az there ar’ ponies. No two markz ar’ ze same. All zat beings said, you guessing ze mark will make a pony uncomfortable at best, and at worst it will be insulting. Many have acquired zeir mark in painful or questionable ways, and zey would rather not ‘ave otherz remind zem more zan it iz needed.”

A friend of mine, for example, acquired ‘er mark by trying to revive ‘er father afzer a fatal accident. She now works in a morgue, and while she iz fantastic at ‘er job, she doez not like to be reminded how she got ‘er mark.”

“I… see…” That last story ground my mind to a halt. The ramifications of what he said, and that last story proving me that not everything is happy and cheerful in this world. Even more so than what I already knew.

“We ‘ave a good life ‘ere. Our land iz rich, our culture iz rich, but all zat light does not hide ze shadows zat come from it. Never forget zat. Some ponies live zeir life in misery because it iz part of who zey ar’.”

The silence lasted for a good few minutes, me processing what he said and him eating cookies with a smile on his face. Just as I was about to break it, he spoke up.

“All zat doom and gloom… It iz not ze reason I am ‘ere. Let us learn how to be ponies, yes?”
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Two sharp knocks shook me out of my task of sorting out the books that Circlet gave me. Not that I could read them, yet, but, in his own words, it’s good to have them when I’m finally able to read.

“Coming!” I shouted down, putting the last book onto the shelf I was provided in the living room.

Opening the front door, I was greeted by an ice blue pegasus mare with a tangerine-colored mane, tied to a bun, and a long flowing tail of the same color. Both had a lighter orange line going through them in a zig-zag pattern, interspaced with streaks of grey showing her age. She wore red-rimmed, half-moon glasses that framed her deep orange eyes (‘I thought they were brown at first’). She is also wearing a black, see-through blouse for some reason. Given the propensity for ponies to go around naked for the most part, this made little sense to me. Anyway.

She looked at me with wide eyes, and I could sense apprehension, curiosity, and a bit of fear. It took only a second, but after a shake of her head only curiosity remained, the rest were gone. I was glad that I was getting better with my empathic senses.

“Mr. Patchwork I presume.” She stated.

“And given that I was told about only two teachers, I would guess Mrs. Quill Swift?” I questioned.

She nodded. “Indeed. I would guess you have already met Circlet?” After my nod, she gave me a tiny smile. “Good, that means we have the rest of the day to go through as much as we can on Equestrian standard.”

I nodded again, studying her all the while. As long as she kept her eyes on me she was fine, but as soon as she looked to the apartment she was tense. Something to ask about later.

“Now as much as I would like to begin; would it be ok with you if we do it here, rather than… indoors?” she questioned apprehensively.

“But we are indoors.” I was starting to see where this might be going. “I don’t mind, though. We can use one of the tables out here.” I moved past her and trotted over to one of the nearest tables.

She released a relieved sigh and with a ‘thank you’ followed after me.

The moment we sat down I decided to sate my curiosity.

“So, are all pegasi claustrophobic or just uncomfortable with closed spaces?” I started.

She hummed thoughtfully while pulling books and notes out of the saddlebags I only now noticed she carried.

“We pegasi prefer open skies and its freedom rather than closed-off spaces. But yes, many are claustrophobic or, like myself, get particularly anxious. And while there are plenty of pegasi that can live in cramped spaces, eventually, after some time, they would get what we call sky-sick.” Quill elaborated.

“I’m guessing sky-sick means they get a need to be in the open skies.”

“Precisely, Mr. Patch.” She confirmed and sat down next to me opening what looked like a coloring book.

“But how do you live in a home, even a cloud home I'm guessing if closed of space makes you anxious?” I continued the questioning. There was always something going on with the research team I work with, and I rarely get time to just fire off questions. Right now, I’m in a questioning mood, and my curiosity would not be so easily sated.

Quill Swift sighed heavily and looked at me over her glasses in a look that brokered no further questions. “We have plenty of space in our homes and plenty of windows. Now,” she pushed the book in front of me with a strange squiggly letter and a picture of a pony, “let us begin with your studies.”

She took out a green-colored cube, placed it on the table, and pressed a small button on its top. I couldn’t understand a single word she said afterward, and I was slightly scared. Until I figured out what she was doing.

I must have zoned out for a second because she looked at me sternly, and I suddenly got the feeling that this won’t be so easy.
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I was sitting in the middle of the living room. Lights were out, and everything was cleared for the day.

Two days ago, we started on the shapeshifting aspect of changelings, and Dr. Light and I have been trying everything possible in ponies repertoire in order to help me. Nothing worked. Now I’m back to basics.

I am slowly using my magic and my inner senses I have acquired with my original transformation (which came naturally with this body) in order to test out the area around my body’s core. I have been at this for over an hour now. It is tedious, but I have so far managed to find several sections I would like to look into… I may be able to modify this body further in order to strengthen it. Kind of like flesh-sculpting.

Anyway, I had no luck so far. But I feel like I am on the right track.

Dr. White Light thinks that it has to do with magic, and we have tried various magic methods to do so, but I think it has a more biological component. Something to do with my changeling core. I have been twisting and pulling the area around it while trying to think of certain ponies. My memory has been extremely helpful, so much so that it's scary how good it is now.

I have been pulling on a particular “string” near my core for almost ten minutes now, getting a strange feeling welling up. But every time I think I pulled it correctly it dissipates.

I was getting sick of not making any progress, and I was tired to boot after spending almost three days without sleep (‘seriously what is up with that'). I decided to try one last thing, and instead of pulling I decided to pluck on the “string”, like an instrument. I thought of a mare researcher I saw once the whole way through.

Nothing happened, but the ‘feeling’ got stronger.

I think I may be on to something.’

I plucked the string harder with my magic and something started to swell from within me. This time, I think I got it.

Letting the string relax I took a deep, steadying breath. I thought of White Light, who has been spending so much time these last three days with me practicing this stuff. With him in mind, I took my magic in my metaphorical claw and pluck on that “string” hard, like I strummed on a guitar.

There was an immediate flash of greenish fire, and for the first time since I became a changeling, I transformed on my own.

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