• Published 8th Feb 2013
  • 14,699 Views, 753 Comments

I Wasn't Prepared for This - canonkiller



When a last-minute hug from her assistant interrupts Twilight's coronation, the spell goes horribly wrong.

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Outcast

Twilight landed in a small grove of trees, black flooding her vision as her head ached. Magic spurted awkwardly from her horn, lighting the dark area with flashes of purple. She could almost picture the demons shrinking from her light, redoubling their efforts to reach her with shadowed claws...

She screamed as something brushed her neck, only to find it was her mane, having grown longer during her transformation. She took a few deep breaths, struggling to overcome her fear.

Everything was alright. She was just weak and alone in some uncharted forest in the middle of nowhere.

Twilight scanned the area, taking into account the patches of Poison Joke and the glowing bulbs of the Magicwort above her, the texture of the soil and the consistency of the leaf litter. The air was heavy, probably close to fifty percent humidity, and a strange tang to the air that tasted like that one time she tried to create lightning in her basement.

She grinned. Not just any forest, the Everfree Forest!

She knew every square inch of this forest - months of exploration with Zecora had proven that - and she knew the basic map of the place by heart. Once she found one of the marker stones she had placed, it would be easy travels back into Ponyville, where she could find her friends and try to fix...

Her wings flapped as she thought about them, the leathery skin having hardened even in the short time she had had them. She could see the small glimmers of the dim light on each scale, felt the wind blow softly against them, but she still refused the thought they were hers.

Spike'll be so upset when he realizes I have wings before him.

No, she had to focus. She was still hungry, and nothing edible was in the immediate area. So, with her wings sagging with all the grace of a lumbering walrus, she set off to find some safe grass.

Even a few steps out of her arrival zone - regrettably charred with magical fire - she started to feel unequine eyes watching her every move. Twilight summoned her dignity and pride into her stance, her chest pushing out in a blatant threat display. Her wings spread open, their dark flesh gleaming.

Something growled in the bushes beside her, and she went to charge a magical blast. Nausea and pain surged through her, her horn flaring brightly before going out. She collapsed to her knees, biting back a scream.

A chilling howl filled the humid air, and a dark shape pushed free from the bush. Knotted bark made up its' face and shoulders, leaves running down its' back and tail. It growled, teeth like jagged thorns shining as the filtered light hit them. A Timberwolf.

Two more appeared on her left and right, distant howls proceeding the arrival of others. Twilight hissed in a breath, staggering to her feet. No magic, to weak to fight by hoof... she had only one other option.

She flapped her wings, feeling a little bit of lift. "Most Pegasi," she remembered telling Mrs. Cake, "take over a year to learn to fly, and an adult Pegasi who's never flown before, or hasn't in a while, can take months to regain that skill. It's really uncommon for your son to be flying this well."

Time to put all those studies of aerodynamics and pony anatomy to work.

She flapped her wings again, stronger than before, and managed to deflect a swiping paw from one of her captors. She hissed in fury, abandoning words for her primal voice. With a loud snort, she jumped over the closest Timberwolf's muzzle, leaping once off its' back, and landed heavily behind it, wings extending to carry her further. She plunged into the dark undergrowth, her horn beginning to spark again.

FLASH

The ground blurred beneath her, Poison Joke on either side but never skimming her hooves. Dirt clouding in her wake.

FLASH

Timberwolves on either side, leaping and howling, the hunt lighting their eyes with golden fire, teeth flashing as they barked to each other and to her.

FLASH

A markstone, with the swirled sun that marked Zecora's flank engraved into its' surface, gone before she could see just where they were.

FLASH

The wolves broke away from their chase, turning as one to run to her left. Twilight continued running, panic hindering her judgement.

FLASH

The ground disappeared from below her feet, the dizzying plunge to the shallow pool below the falls all she could see.

Her wings flared, air billowing into their sails. She struggled to angle herself upwards, the water below churning with rocks and silt. The rushing air stung her eyes, and she closed them, her ears pinning as she imagined herself flying past the rocks instead of her sure death.

After a few moments, she realized she was not, in fact, dead, and opened her eyes.

The ground rushed past below her, branches wove above her, and she was flying! She laughed, dodging an extended branch with instinctual muscles. Spotting a break in the canopy - and, to a lesser extent, the awaiting maw of a Timberwolf ahead - she soared up through the thick leaves into the open air, the ambiance of night blanketing her in shadow and starlight. Scant clouds marked the brilliant sky above her, the pure, unfiltered light of the heavens shining down on her and her alone.

Now that she was out of danger, she found herself appreciating the serene forest, the animals calling out into the still air, the calm breeze blowing the scent of stunning Moonflowers into the air. Twilight sighed, her wings feeling heavy with guilt.

"I let everyone down." She muttered o herself, drifting in lazy circles over the subdued forest. "I was supposed to be Princess Twilight, but now I'm just... a monster."

She turned, winging her way over to Fluttershy's cottage. The animals outside were asleep, but the lights inside the cottage shone bright. She landed softly outside, sneaking around to the back of the house to see her friend.

Fluttershy was hunched over on the couch, staring into nothing. Her wings hung lazily, draped over the couch cushions. Beside her, Angel consoled her with a gentle pat, every so often, but she hadn't moved over than to wipe her face.

"I-I just miss her, Angel." Her voice drifted through the window. "I c-can't believe she's... gone..."

Twilight backed away from the house, spotting Fluttershy's feed shed in the dark. Her stomach growled, and she could smell the vegetables inside.

She won't mind. She thought, pushing away her guilt. If she thinks some animal got it, then she'll be alright. After all... I am an animal now.

Dropping her belly to the dirt, she stalked across the sleeping yard, the animals sleeping in their dens, no eyes bright in the dark but hers. The shed was unlocked, and she nosed it open, the moonlight shining down on the caring pony's organized stores. Daisies, freshly picked, hung to dry on nets strung overhead, various drawers smelling of every food imaginable. Twilight's hunger returned, full force, and the ruined Alicorn quickly set to gorging on whatever was closest.

A few bites in, she recognized it as a cabbage, no doubt for Angel's salads. She felt guilty, a bit, but there were many others in the shed. The stupid rabbit wouldn't miss one. Or two. Or five.

Apples rolled onto the floor as Twilight shifted, and she snapped them up as well, their sweet juice lost through her speed. She just wanted to eat, and eat, and-

"Don't worry, Angel, I-I'm sure one of the animals just got hungry."

Fluttershy! Twilight scanned the debris, half-eaten vegetables scattered on the floor, shelves broken, jars upturned, and guilt filled what little space hunger hadn't filled. Fluttershy couldn't see her like this!

With a burst of energy, she pushed through the shelves, digging her way into the very back of the shed. A small window cast a beam of moonlight onto the older stores, and herb-filled fumes wafted from every hoof-fall.

Twilight only heard a soft "oh my," before she shoved herself through the window, crashed to the dirt outside, and blundered away, only taking to the air as an afterthought.

-----

Twilight's strength faltered as she landed outside a small cave, one she had checked and found completely empty while exploring with her zebra companion.

It had once been home to a young Draco, a cousin of the great Ursa, judging by the starstones speckled around the walls, but the starbeasts often flew back to their homes in the heavens long before the Ursa pair who lived in the Everfree had.

Nonetheless, the cave was warm, and comforting. A few discarded bones remained from the Draco's time there, and on some draconian urge, she collected them into a makeshift nest. Using her wings as both mattress and blanket, she curled up and fell into a dreamless, fitful sleep.

-----

The next night brought a gentle rain, the small cave that Twilight inhabited remaining mostly dry. Not that she was there to notice.

She soared over Ponyville, circling slowly as the lights below her dimmed and went out, the calm of Ponyville overpowered by the solemn night air. She had found a torn tunic in the cave - perhaps, in the past, a knight had fought the star-born dragon within? - and it protected her from the slight cold quite nicely, not to mention the hood hid her face if she was confronted.

She was, tonight, expecting confrontation.

With a hesitant hoof, she tested her cloud-walking, the cloud itself having a solid core unlike the spell she had experienced in Cloudsdale. Maybe clouds were different in different parts of Equestria.

Unfazed, she stalked through the wafting tendrils, seeking her destination in the guise of night.

Rainbow Dash could not be heard snoring.

She halted, one hoof brushing against the door. No lights were on, but the pony within was not asleep. Was it safe? Twilight lingered outside the door, before she heard her friend's raucous laugh behind her.

She spun, ready to flee, only to see nothing but clouds and stars. She turned slowly, and yet still, there was nopony around.

Rainbow laughed again, and Twilight noticed it had a faint echo to it, like it had been far away and carried by the wind.

She was in Ponyville!

Twilight rushed into the house, her draconian eye gleaming in the dark. The room was, as she suspected, scarcely decorated. A large painting of Cloudsdale elegantly filled one wall, and the only other detail was the door that Twilight suspected led to the kitchen, and a small table with a dirty dish on it.

Ducking low to avoid a window's line of sight, Twilight snuck up the stairs, cautiously entering Rainbow's bedroom. The walls flourished with colors, hundreds of posters hung over every possible space. A small shelf held a set of Wonderbolts memorabilia, including plushies and autographed figures.

That was not what Twilight was here for, however.

She pushed open the closet door, spotting the five Mare-Do-Well costumes Rainbow had been given so long ago - "I'm just making sure you don't do that again!" - and a few other basic flight suits. She pulled the costumes from the racks and backed away, turning to flee out the window.

"Twilight?"

The pony turned, meeting the gaze of Rainbow Dash. A very tipsy Rainbow Dash.

"H-hey, Twilight. I guess that stuff - hic - Berry Punch gave me really works!" She burst out laughing, and her eyes started to cross.

Taking whatever ignorance she could get, Twilight fled, wings cold against the night. The costumes flapped behind her, full of warmth and material...

-----

Twilight nestled among the capes she had lined her nest with, the jagged edges of the bones dulled suitably. Twilight sighed, her wings draped over the edges of her bed.

"What am I? I'm not a pony anymore, surely. A pony wouldn't steal from her friends, or abandon them. She wouldn't leave her live behind to live in a cave as a thieving hermit." She rolled onto her back, gazing up at the starstones embedded in the ceiling. "I'm not really a dragon, either. A dragon has honor, at least. Most dragons don't steal. But dragons hunt, and kill."

She sighed again, curling up on her side, dragon eye turned to watch the mouth of the cave.

"Maybe," she whispered, "I'm nothing at all."

-----

Despite her heavy guilt, winter was coming, and she was forced to steal again. Ponyville had begun leaving lights on at night, and the few stallions about wore leather armor and wore heavy shoes to protect the streets.

Her cave, however, was beginning to resemble a home.

Rolls of fabric from Carousel Boutique lined the floor around her nest, upgraded into a bed by a few hay bales from Sweet Apple Acres. A small shelf filled with candies and sweets rested against the far wall, unwillingly given by Sugarcube Corner. Her nightstand from the library was returned to her, and it was overflowing with books she had yet to read.

From most of the other houses, she had taken necessities, like food, clothing, a couple unused toothbrushes.

For a distorted shade of an Alicorn, Twilight Sparkle was doing pretty well.

She awoke gently, as she did every day, and checked the curtain she had enchanted - by rune, for her magic was still horrifically painful to use - for holes, absently chewing on a gemstone she had taken from Sparkler during her last 'visit'. She couldn't quite figure out why Spike loved them so much, but then again, he had the teeth to chew them instead of just sucking on them until they diminished.

She checked her mane in Aloe's mirror, combed her mane into place with Lotus's brush, and donned Time Turner's leather jacket for warmth. With a quick shove of her hooves into Big Macintosh's farm-worn shoes, she trotted out into the billowing snow.

She flapped her wings to clear the space around her house, unsure of what to do. For the first time since the coronation, she had nothing to do.

Of course, the judging eye of the pony across the clearing said otherwise.

A mare, coat pale gray, watched her approach. She stayed to the relative shelter of the trees, and her dark red mane blew across her eyes as she shifted. Her eyes gleamed red as the light shimmered off of them.

"Who are you?" Twilight yelled, unwilling to get too close to the newcomer. She spread her wings as a threat, having grown into their usefulness despite their design.

"I am Blood Rose." She tilted her head in respect to Twilight's power, an action Twilight had seen among various animals and knew well. "I've been watching you for a while now. Who are you?"

"I'm Twilight Sparkle. Why were you watching me?" She folded her wings, more curious than furious.

"Because you seem to be a vampony, yet you have different eyes and a horn. Why is that?"

Twilight tilted her head. "A vampony?"

"Yes. You have fangs and dragons' wings, you travel into town every night to feed, what else would you be?

"I am not a vampony!" Twilight yelled back, fury filling her. "I'm just... I'm just..."

Blood Rose picked her way across the snow, drawing closer to the deformed Princess. "You don't need to worry about confiding to me."

"I don't feed!" She screeched, glaring daggers at the other mare. "I steal! I don't drink blood, I eat pony food, and gemstones! I was never meant to be like this! I was supposed to be Twilight Sparkle, a Princess of Equestria! You should know that, it's not like anybody doesn't!"

Rose watched as Twilight's horns sparked, small embers burning holes into the snow.

"Well," she muttered, "if you ever come to terms with what you are, come to the Moonlight Ruins. I'll be there."

Twilight hissed furiously, and the second pony backed up into the trees, spreading two draconian wings and vanishing into the dark.

With a gasp, Twilight spread her own wings, dashing after the mysterious pony. "Wait!" She yelled, scanning the darkness, "I need to talk to you!"

Twilight soared through the forest undergrowth, unaware of a single pony hovering above. Her blue magic shone like a beacon, her darker coat blending in with the night.

Luna grit her teeth as her illusion reached it's full extent and the spell fizzled out. She took a few heaving breaths, struggling to stay aloft. She cast a short spell to alert another two ponies in the safety of the Moonlight Ruins.

Twilight Sparkle is on her way.

Two voices chimed back in reply.

Thank you, Luna.

Yes, thank you.

Luna flapped her great wings, blending into the night as her form melted into that of a navy bat-pony, golden eyes gleaming, and she soared down into the forest.

Twilight flitted about awkwardly ahead, crying out for the fictional 'Blood Rose'. Luna watched from the shadows, seeing the lost half-pony gather her wits and set off towards the Moonlight Ruins. Luna kept close behind her, banishing thoughts of attack from the animals around, and awaited the arrival of her sister's student into her sister's trap.

Celestia herself lurked in the dark of the ruin, Cadence held warmly under one wing. The trap below was designed to ensnare thieves and bandits, and it's worth against a crazed, magically unstable dragon-pony had yet to be tested.

It was about to be tested.

Twilight blundered free of the tree cover, soaring over the first wall of the ruins. The trap sprung at Celestia's command, weighed nets flinging from the shadows and wrapping the lost Princess in rope and rocks. She screamed and struggled, beating her rear claws against the rope, trying to tear it, only to fail.

Luna landed behind her, returning to her Alicorn form, and Celestia and Cadence soon appeared on her other side. Twilight stared up at them, eyes wide with fear.

"W-what are you going to do to me?"

Luna looked between the other two, as if she hadn't expected Twilight to be able to speak. Cadence shrunk back from the abomination, and Celestia just sighed. A golden aura lifted the two nets from her student, and Twilight sat up quickly, wings flaring defensively.

"Well, dearest Twilight," Celestia muttered, sitting down as well. "We're going to listen."

"T-to what?"

Your dying screams, Celestia bit back, aware of how seriously the joke could be taken.

"Well, Twilight, we're going to listen to you. So, what have you been doing in the weeks you've been gone?"

Twilight's eyes filled with tears, and she stumbled over to Celestia, collapsing in her embrace. She curled up against her mentor's warm fur, trying her hardest not to look in her eyes.

"I-I've been a bad pony."

Author's Note:

Word boost.

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