• Published 2nd Dec 2012
  • 19,522 Views, 726 Comments

Hybrids - Blarghalt

After an accident, Rarity and Twilight are thrown in a race against time to stop their transformation into changelings before they become part of Chrysalis' swarm forever.

  • ...

Stage 1: Fusion

The ornate streets of Canterlot buzzed with activity as Twilight and Rarity trotted between the fairytale buildings of Equestria’s capital. By complete chance, the both of them had been visiting Canterlot on the same day; Twilight had been in town to see her parents, and Rarity had a meeting with an important client. When they almost bumped into each other earlier, the two decided that the best way to spend of the rest of the afternoon would be to look around the city; one of them excelled at that task far more than the other.

"I swear, every time I come here I find a new reason to be amazed!" Rarity breathed. "The culture, the architecture, the wealth! I almost never have the time to actually go sightseeing when I'm here. I thought Hoity Toity was going to keep talking to me all day!"

"It is interesting, isn't it?" Twilight agreed, much less impressed by the commercial district of the town she had lived in the majority of her life; she was more into information about Canterlot than the real thing.

Rarity stopped and almost looked offended. "It's more than interesting, Twilight! This is Canterlot we're talking about here; most ponies never even step hoof on this mountain, let alone tour the city."

"What about that time you stayed in the castle? You had plenty of time to look around the city there."

"Yes, I suppose, but they were never places I wanted to go. Every morning I had a mountain of invitations, and I never was able to go anywhere I wanted to. "

Rarity leaned in a bit. "Twilight, you grew up here. What are some really good places to see? I've seen the race tracks and art galleries, but if I really want to show I'm the deluxe designer of Equestria, I need ponies to believe I'm a Canterlotian at heart. What's someplace in this city that only the natives know about?"

Twilight thought about it for a moment before her eyes lit up, "Don't worry, Rarity! I know the perfect place! The very soul of Canterlot is in—"

"The Canterlot Library?"

"Isn't it great?" Twilight squealed, "They have all the greatest writers from all across Equestria. Some of these books are hundreds of years old! Did you know that? I bet you knew that. Everypony knows that. There's literally tons of information on every shelf!"

Rarity laughed nervously; several of the scholarly ponies around them looked up from their books and shushed Twilight.

"Yes, well, why don't you show me around? I've never been in here before."

"Well there's no way we can cover it all in one day. C'mon, I'll show you the basics. There's the nonfiction section, and there's the catalog..."

Twilight pointed out the largest and most helpful sections, along with the best obscure corners to read large tomes. After they had wandered through the library for several hours, Rarity noticed it had become deathly silent; it was unlikely that anybody except Twilight or the princesses themselves ever came back this far, but that didn't deter Twilight. The few sparse guards in the deeper recesses of the building would sometimes stop them, only to let them continue when they saw Twilight.

"—and that's Star Swirl the Bearded wing! Some of the rarest books in Equestria are kept in there. Once my parents thought I had been kidnapped but nope, just spent four days in there reading the entire history of Saddle Arabia. That's not weird, is it? "

Rarity had tuned out of Twilight's speech, and absently agreed to travel into the wing when her friend asked if she wanted to see it. Twilight practically dragged Rarity behind her while they made their way to the door. She waved at the guard, who eyed them with caution.

"Hey Ms. Sparkle. Who's that behind ya?"

"This is my friend, Rarity. Can we go into the Star Swirl wing?"

"Sure thing, Miss Sparkle. Not too sure about your friend, though."

"C'mon Gold Plum. Please?" Twilight asked, putting on her best puppy eyes.

The gruff guard rolled his eyes and sighed, "Fine. But don't make me regret it. And if you even think about takin' something out of there, they'll be Tartarus to pay. Understand, lady?"

Rarity nodded and Gold Plum took a key ring from the side of his armor. He used his magic to unlock the heavy door; a dull clank sounded throughout the hall and the ancient lock released its hold to reveal the room inside. Twilight happily trotted her way through; Rarity hesitated.

"Whadya waitin' for? Get in there or don't!" he grunted. Rarity quickly complied and scrambled inside.

Twilight busily delved into the nature of the many books that lined the shelves. "Neat, huh?"

Rarity jumped slightly when the heavy door behind them closed, and laughed weakly, "Yes, that is very enchanting."

Twilight launched herself into a lecture; she treated Rarity to a long history on the construction of the library, how it was funded, and how valuable the books that sat in the Star Swirl section were.

The white unicorn, for her part, ignored her friend; she toured the room on her own to find something that wasn't covered in dust. She stopped at one of the heaver books with green, elaborate binding and carefully pulled it from its shelf. She was unprepared for the sheer weight of it as it nearly hit the floor before she summoned enough strength to hold it.

"Twilight? What's this?" Rarity said while Twilight explained the history of the printing press.

Twilight ceased her one-sided discussion, turning around to see Rarity halfway blocked by the sheer volume of the cover. "Hmmm. Let me see. Oh! This must be the a floor plan of the entire library."

Rarity looked at her friend with bewilderment. "Twilight?"

"I've never read all the books in here. This looks like the architect's original draft. See the notes?" Twilight said. Her hoof skimmed through the pages. "Wait a minute. This room isn't in the library."

Rarity looked where Twilight's hoof had stopped. The books displayed the outline of a large, circular room adjoined by a smaller, square one. "This this the room we're in right here. And this is..." She looked up, staring at the brick wall beyond them. "According to the map, it's right there."

The academic journeyed over to the wall to check it for any signs of a door or recent masonry. Rarity stuck right behind; she gave magical control of the book over to the bookworm as they neared brick and mortar.

Twilight traced the stone. "You know, there's a lot of rooms in here that I know aren't in the library. This one was probably never built." When her leg pressed over one otherwise normal stone, it suddenly gave way and pushed into the wall. The entire room seemed to shake, and the wall suddenly gave way before the two.

The smoke had only started to clear when Gold Plum ran in, his teeth gritted.

"What happened!?" he demanded. He saw the rubble first; his attention then turned to the two mares on the floor with hooves over their heads. "What did you two do!?"

Twilight rose. "It just collapsed!"

Gold Plum prepared to yell at them again, but stopped when the dust from the wall's death cleared to reveal an empty chasm behind it. He looked back to the mares and pointed at the floor. "Both of you, stay here. I'll check this out."

He walked past them and climbed over the rubble, into the hole. He crawled out a few seconds later, and called to Twilight. "Hey! Did you know this room was here?"

"We were reading that book over there and found it on the map. Then I touched a stone where you're standing, and the whole thing just fell down around us. What's in there?"

"Weird stuff. What did that book say this room was?"

Twilight directed her attention to the book and brought it up to her nose once more. She read out the tiny text written next to the outline of the room that she missed on the first read. "It says 'Specimen Room', I think."

"Huh. Well, you two keep there. I'm going to see if this room is stable and then go get some soldiers."

Gold Plum descended into the dark room, forced to feel his way about the darkness until he came upon something that felt like a knob. He gave it a twist, and light filled the room with a warm, orange glow. The source of the light was a large lamp that hung in the middle of the room, fed by some sort of fuel that was controlled by the knob. Pipes crisscrossed the roof and walls of the room; all of them ultimately attached to the lamp.

The name 'specimen room' fit the place quite nicely. The shelves were lined with all sorts of macabre creatures and Celestia knew what else, all bottled and preserved in various jars.

He slowly walked the rows, and his thoughts escaped his lips. "What kind of fresh discord is this?"

At the end of the hallway, he discovered something that really piqued his interest...an ornate display case. When he came closer, the case's contents became clear: a very old, very shriveled changeling wing was clearly visible in the glow of the lamp. He quickly opened the case, lifted the wing, and held it to the light to get a better look. It was then that he noticed two blurry shapes at the bottom of his vision, and he jerked.

"Bwah! I thought I told you to to stay still!"

Rarity looked around the room with apprehension. "I think that if it were going to collapse by now, it would have. Would be an improvement, if you ask me."

"What's that?" Twilight asked, her hoof pointed at Gold Plum's levitated wing.

"You two aren't gonna listen to me, huh? Fine. Call me crazy, but I think this is a changeling wing."

Twilight walked forward until she was directly under the wing to lend her own eyes to the piece. "Wow. I think you're right. How do you think it got here?"

"This library's nearly as old as Canterlot, and this library's been redone I don't know how many times. Maybe this used to be the office of some old curator way back when. There's a desk over there, and that wall over there is lined with books."

"You mean like those Daring Do novels?" Rarity asked.

Gold Plum sighed. "Well, reality usually isn't as exciting as all that."

The rubble at the entrance of the room shifted; one of the larger rocks at the top of the tumbled down and Rarity turned to see it as it rolled towards her. She doged in the direction of the other two, and hit a shelf in the process. Gold Plum and Twilight’s eyes became glued to the shelf while the inevitable played out.

Soon the laws of gravity caught up with the shelf, causing it to tilt backwards; it crashed into a table behind it, and split it in twain. A book that had rested upon the table was sent upwards and into the bright lamp with a loud tink! The crack it left behind began to spread rapidly, and before the ponies could blink twice the cracks had covered the entire glass lining.

The trio hoped against hope that the contents inside the lamp were somehow nonflammable, but no dice; the lamp’s glass shell gave way to a torrent of flaming orange liquid.

When the blazing hot fuel rained down, the world seemed to slow down all around Rarity. She dove toward Twilight, who had already readied a spell with her horn. Gold Plum had dropped in wing in shock, his muscles tense and prepared for the the onslaught of fire.

The wing itself floated by Rarity's face when Twilight unleashed her teleportation magic. The world became white, then black, and colors again filled her vision; they were all at once outside the now-burning room.

Twilight turned around and yelled inside. "Gold Plum!"

She called again, and a figure leaped out of the inferno and landed in front of her. Gold Plum quickly patted himself down; a small flame on the tip of his helmet's plume was the last thing to be extinguished.

"Both of you, get out of here while I go get help!" he barked, pushing the two mares out the door before he bounded down the hallway and called every guard to get a bucket of water.

An hour later, the fire had been largely put under control. Thankfully, the fire was contained to the small room, and did nothing but turn the walls immediately around the entrance black. Everything inside the Specimen Room had been completely obliterated and reduced to ash.

Both of the mares watched the guards attempt to fan out the remaining smoke from the end of the hall along with almost every other pony in the library.

"Really, Twilight, it was an accident."

Twilight eye's seemed to pop out of her head. "Accident!? You'll probably be banned from library for life, at least!"

Gold Plum emerged from the rare books section and walked towards Twilight and Rarity, his face none too pleased. He only spoke when he was a short distance away. "You two, come with me."

After they nodded, he escorted them to the library's entrance; only when they were directly in front of the huge doors did he speak again. "Good news is, the blaze got contained. Bad news is that the whole darn wing is closed until we can see if the fire did any structural damage."

"What about us?" Twilight fearfully asked.

"Just go home. I'll write this off as an accident if your friend stays away from this library for, uh, ever. Arresting Celestia's student's best friend is not on my to-do list."

The two complied with Gold Plum's orders and immediately made their way toward the train station. Twilight had calmed down significantly, now confident that being handed over to Celestia for immediate banishment wasn't her fate.

The train to take them back to Ponyville finally pulled into the station, and Rarity turned to Twilight while steam rose from the engine.

"Do you really think that was a changeling wing, Twilight?"

"Looked like one. It was so old, though. Shame it got burned in the fire."

"Burned? But I thought it—"


"Nevermind. It's nothing."

When the two of them disembarked the train at Ponyville's train station, Applejack awaited them on the platform.

"Applejack!" Twilight greeted, "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, Granny Smith's visitin' relatives. She's supposed to be on the next train here. How was your trip to Canterlot?"

Rarity laughed, "Well, we did technically burn down a library while we were there."

"Beg ya pardon?"

Rarity explained what happened and how the two had almost been burned to a crisp.

"Trouble just follows us wherever we go, huh?" Applejack said when Rarity had finished her story. Winona happily rounded the corner, proud that she had spent her time to chase down a squirrel. She walked up to Applejack in a typical doggy strut until she came within a short distance of Rarity and Twilight and froze at the sight of them.

The happy-go-lucky dog immediately bared her teeth and snarled.

"Winona!" Applejack shouted, "Quit that, Winona!"

Applejack attempted to bribe her dog with promises of treats and threats of sleeping on the porch to no avail; Winona thought something was definitely wrong. “Sorry girls, Winona's never been like this.”

Twilight's logical brain had already come up with an explanation, “There was a lot of jars filled with preservatives in that fire. Some of it must have evaporated and settled into our hair somehow. Winona probably smells it."

Applejack grunted.“That'll probably do it. Why don't ya'll go home and take a bath? I know I would.”

The two unicorns looked at each other and shrugged. They parted ways, and AJ's dog continued to growl well after they were gone.

Rarity announced her arrival when the door to her home flew open. “Opal! Mama’s home!”

Opal was in the middle of a nap on the head of a mannequin when she was woken from her master’s return. She took one look at Rarity, hissed, and leaped off her napping spot and into the kitchen.

Rarity called after her, but only received another angry hiss in reply.

"Hmph! Why must every animal be so rude today?" she said to herself.

She walked to the bathroom to take a relaxing bath, and catch up on some reading. Some trashy romance novel would do it; they were her guilty pleasure.

She read the whole thing, and couldn't help but feel like one more bad romance book wouldn't kill her. She considered a read of that vampire one before she looked outside. A low timberwolf howl in the distance complimented the moon against the night sky quite nicely.

"Oh dear. Is it that late already?"

Rarity pulled herself out of the bath and dried off. She found it odd that she had not in any way developed pruned skin, but shrugged it off as a side-effect of her amazing complexion. She prepared for sleep, and when she was ready, snuggled into bed with a contented sigh. Opal would often spend nights on the bed with her, but if she wanted to be little miss attitude, then she could sleep on the floor.

She eventually drifted into a fitful sleep, aggravated by a dull pain that had developed in her back and hooves.

Twilight had received almost exactly the same treatment as Rarity when she arrived back at the library; Owlowiscious saw her and immediately flew out the window in a panic, hooting all the way. Twilight Sparkle simply chalked it up to what was left of the formaldehyde in her fur and took a quick bath to quench the smell.

Spike was asleep by the time she was ready for bed; he had exhausted all his energy while she was gone to keep the library perfect. She took him up to his bed to tuck him in, and yawned when she was finished.

She made one last mental note to write a letter to Celestia asking about that changeling wing (and to apologize profusely for the fire) before she slipped into her own dreams.

Nightmares, actually. Very bad ones.

Most of them involved an escape from some kind of gigantic pest control pony in a massive house. The dream would change every so often, but the focus was always about being unwanted. She stirred in her sleep with mumbles and groans throughout the night.

Rarity fared little better. Her dreams of being hunted by giant spiders eventually caused her jump from her sleep in a cold sweat. She couldn't fall back into any kind of meaningful slumber after a dream like that, and headed to her bathroom to splash some cold water on her face in hopes that it would clear her mind.

She walked into the bathroom, turned on the lights, and looked in the mirror.

And then she screamed.