• Published 7th Feb 2012
  • 18,433 Views, 657 Comments

Displaced - Seven Fates

A unicorn colt has an accident, and nopony knows him. His wild claims go widely ignored until...

  • ...

Chapter 11

If somepony had told Twilight Sparkle that the draconequus, Morrigan, would attack Goldenrod at the end of the party, she might not have had too much difficulty believing it. However, if that same pony told her that Discord would make them watch, instead of simply going on a rampage of chaos across Equestria, she would probably have inferred that pony was crazy. If nothing less, she thought Discord would have wanted to stretch his legs after being sealed back up in stone, so to speak.

What Discord showed her and the others was an utterly horrifying sight. When they were taken to the room, they were just in time to witness Morrigan cast a terrible sort of transmogrification spell on Goldenrod. Twilight watched impotently as flesh began to peel off of the colt's skeleton, him screaming all the while. Bones stretched and deformed before her eyes, as his flesh began to creep back up his skeletal form. The analytical part of her mind was in overdrive trying to fight off revulsion as his skull compressed, becoming more oval-shaped, and his hooves branched into clawed structures not unlike Spike's hands. The colt’s unicorn horn remained unchanged, as though to spite the new form he was taking.

Even now, she remembered the shock that washed over her when he stopped screaming, and seemingly regained consciousness. There was a look of agonized terror on his face as he rose up on his hind legs and stumbled across the room while the Draconequus siblings bickered. The look in Goldenrod's eyes said more than his hoarse voice ever could. They both knew that they needed to be far away from that place.

Twilight cast her teleportation spell with the safest place she could think of in all of the land in mind. The group found themselves in the dead center of the luxurious Canterlot market district. She'd been hoping for somewhere a lot less public. The citizens in the market square only took one look at the unconscious human and erupted in panic.

It was a foregone conclusion that the Royal Guard would respond quickly to the chaos. Had her beloved elder brother, Shining Armor, not been chief among the first responders, she doubted the guards would have been so quick to listen to her, even as Princess Celestia's student. It had been pure luck that Goldenrod was not simply hauled off to the castle dungeon.

So here they all were, now, in Twilight's old chambers in the castle, awaiting an audience with Princess Celestia. Everypony else had fallen asleep on whatever furniture they could find. Twilight hadn't slept a wink, though, having spent most of the night attempting to pacify a traumatized Fluttershy. Even now, said pegasus mare occasionally sobbed or squealed in terror while she slept.

Staring at the sleeping giant that lay before her, Twilight Sparkle still couldn't believe that this was Goldenrod's true form. There was no piece of furniture large enough to lay him on, so they ultimately chose to pile cushions in the center of the room and gave him a blanket. She knew that he was in agony as he transformed so, at the very least, he would be comfortable while he slept.

The unicorn mare knew that she should get some sleep as well. Princess Celestia would probably find out rather soon about what had happened in the market square, and there wasn't a doubt in Twilight's mind that the Princess would summon her to report on what had happened. She only hoped Princess Celestia's wisdom could help the situation at hand.

Just as Twilight thought she might get some sleep, though, a sharp hiss caused her eyes to snap open. She looked back to Goldenrod's prone form; his pale rose eyes were wide open and lips drawn taut across his teeth in a grimace. With a groan and a disoriented shake of his head, he sat up.

“Wh-where am I?” His voice was a hoarse whisper. Rubbing at his eyes, he groaned again before he attempted to evaluate the chamber. “Hello?”

Twilight realized he still couldn't see clearly. From a nearby table, she levitated his glasses across to the center of the room until they were right in front of his face. “Here,” she offered as she crept across the floor.

“Twilight?” Goldenrod asked, unsure as he took the glasses from her telekinetic grip. A look of simultaneous astonishment and appreciation played across his face as he closed his fingers around the frame of the glasses. Putting them on, he allowed himself a moment to stare at his hands, repeatedly flexing his fingers. “I-I'm human again! Did you do this?”

She was shocked by his proclamation almost as much as the barely contained glee in his croaking voice. “You mean... You don't remember what happened to you?”

A thoughtful gleam shone in his eyes, which at this distance she could see were now flecked with green. “I don't thi-” Goldenrod slapped a hand over half of his face and groaned in pain. “Ooh... That wasn't a dream then...” She shook her head sympathetically. “Care to bring me up to speed? Where am I? What have I missed while I was out?”

- - -

Warren stared with dumbfounded wonder at the sheer size of the open-air bath Twilight Sparkle had directed him toward after expressing his desire to clean. It had been just behind the tower that woke up in. Even by human standards, this open-air bath was extravagant. Did she really have this all to herself when she lived here? He couldn't help but ruminate on the similarity between this bath and those hot-spring baths that he'd heard so much about from a friend who had traveled to Japan.

Luckily for him, nopony seemed to be around. It had been awkward enough simply being naked in front of Twilight and the others, even though they had probably already seen everything his form had to offer. Something about his transformation back into a human had instilled that missing sense of shame. The mere act of going outside stark naked felt tantamount to lunacy.

It pleased him to see there were shelves, off to one side of the bath, stocked with towels and soaps. Upon closer inspection, the soaps had that same girly nature of the one he'd been assailed with by Rarity, but it beat smelling of sweat and fear by miles. With towels, he'd at least be able to cover his nakedness until he could do something about clothes.

Sliding into the hot-spring, he couldn't help but stare at the early-morning sky and reflect on just how badly his life had spun out of control. It seemed like years had passed since his brothers and sisters had tried to coax him into getting them back on their father's good graces, though it had only been weeks. As much as Warren wanted to, he couldn't feel angry about it any more. His time in Equestria had taught him jut how much importance family actually held.

What about that insane Draconequus? What is her issue? He scrubbed himself as he thought. What could I have possibly taken from her? I never even met her until the Roc attack. Whatever I took must be of some importance, but if it is, why can't I remember?

Finally, there was the Canterlot situation. He didn't blame Twilight for landing him in this latest batch of hot water. There was no real choice besides fleeing, and she'd simply gone to the first place she believed would be safe. Too bad I’ll stick out like a sore thumb wherever I go. He couldn't help but think that God was angry with him. At the very least, a creature who claimed to be God was certainly out to get him.

A surprised squeak broke him from his solemn reflections. He snapped his head around to look for the source of the sound, he saw Fluttershy framed in the entrance to the bath area. There was a panicked - almost pained - look about her, as though she were reliving some horrible moment. Poor thing probably is probably reliving what happened last night.

“Good morning, Fluttershy! Did you come to bathe too?” he called softly, painfully aware how different his voice must sound to her. The steam of the bath had done a lot to sooth his throat. It was still plenty sore from all of the screaming last night, but at least now he had a voice. “It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm still roughly the same as I was yesterday morning, only in a different shape and a different voice.”

Warren's voice caused her to wince, but she didn't shy away. “Oh, um, I know...” she softly mumbled. She ambled over to an edge of the bath a fair distance from him, and stared down at her reflection. “It's just...” Fluttershy cast her gaze towards the sky, away from the water.

He knew immediately what she was thinking about. “Yeah, I'm sorry you had to see that.” he apologized. “I can't imagine how bad that looked. Nobody should have had to see that, least of all you. You're too nice for that sort of thing.”

The pale yellow mare continued to avert her gaze. It wasn't easy for him to imagine what was going through her head. ‘If you want to talk about it, I'm here.’ That's what he wanted to tell her, but he found the words simply stuck in his throat. It was one thing to offer to discuss the loss of a parent with a child, he realized; at least there he had a common ground. There was no way he could really discuss what she saw without comparing it to what he felt and coming off self-centered.

With a groan, he rose out of the water and began to towel off. Warren wanted to console her, but decided this was something Fluttershy had to sort out on her own. Traversing the interlocked stone tiles of the floor, he made his way on the wall opposite of the shelves. Towel around his waist, he knelt in front of a mirror. He'd always been rather skinny as a human, but the reflection before him was too skinny, almost emaciated. It was as though all the flesh that had been on his body had been stretched thin to cover him. He couldn't help but shudder at how weak he probably was now.

Leaning in closer, he inspected his face. If it had been any more gaunt it'd probably be skeletal, he realized. His eyes were what drew most of his attention, though. Ever since he'd looked into that mirror in the hospital so long ago, he'd known his pony eyes to be a pinkish rose color. Now his pupils were flecked with green, a bizarre combination of old and new.

“Your eyes are very pretty, now.” The sound of Fluttershy's voice beside him startled him, causing him to fall backwards. He hadn't heard her fly up beside him, but it hit him that his human ears were nowhere near as strong. “Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. You just seemed troubled by something in the mirror. Are eyes like that a bad thing in your world?”

Turning his head to face her, he smiled. “Not really.” A smile played across his gaunt face. “While they're uncommon, differing pigmentation in eyes is sometimes linked to disease; the eyes aren't bothering me.” Lifting up an arm, he indicated his very visible ribs with a tapping motion. “I'm skinnier than I should be.”

“My goodness!” She brought a hoof up to her mouth in astonishment. “We'll have to see what we can do about that.”

Rising to his feet, Warren let out a weak guffaw. “Another thing I've gotta see to is clothing.” He made a visible effort of cinching the towel around his waist. “Ponies might be proud nudists, but my human dignity has kicked in and I refuse to be naked.”

- - -

“So, Rarity...” Warren began speaking in between bites of pancakes. “I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you.”

The fashionista eyed him hesitantly, put off by the gusto with which the human was eating food. As she moved to speak, though, Rainbow Dash interjected. “I think he’s been taking eating lessons from Pinkie Pie. I don’t see him chewing.”

Not giving Rarity room to speak, Applejack responded, “Now Rainbow Dash, you cut that out. Just look at him!” The blonde pony motioned at his side with her hooves. “He’s skinnier than the stem on an apple! It’s only natural somepony like that’s gonna be mighty peckish.”

Clearing her throat, Rarity glared at her two friends. Once she was certain she wouldn’t be interrupted, she said to him “I’m sorry dear, but whatever for?”

“Well Rarity, it’s like this.” He gulped down a glass of milk. “As a pony, I had no issue with being nude. I accepted that as a part of nature and pony-society. It’s part of the way you’re built. Humans, however, began wearing clothes as an adaptation to varying factors. It became ingrained in our culture that being nude was a private thing. What I’m trying to ask is, ‘Could you make some clothes for me?’”

The indigo-maned seamstress seemed to consider this for a moment. “I’m sorry, dear, I wish I could....” She looked ready to jump out of her skin at the chance. “I just don’t have the materials needed.”

Warren clapped his hands together. “So, if I got you some materials, you could make me some clothes?”

When she stared at him blankly, he continued. “I’ll understand if you’re not up to the challenge after being conned by the girls into dyeing me, Rarity...” He hated himself for what he said next. “You must understand; a naked human is a crime against fabulosity! If you allow me to remain unclothed, that makes you a purveyor of crimes against fabulosity.”

Almost everypony at the table seemed to find this amusing, though whether they were laughing at Warren, or the manner in which he was baiting Rarity, he couldn’t tell. Rainbow Dash in particular was laughing loudly. Rarity only stared in bewilderment at him for the time being. Finally, an expression of seething determination lit on her face.

“Fine!” Rarity exclaimed with a smug expression. “If you can provide a feasible baseline design, and somehow acquire the materials to make some clothes, I will make you the finest attire a gentlecolt may ask for.”

- - -

Warren stared at the sheet of parchment in mild disgust. It occurred to him that he should have been paying attention in Home Ec. all those years ago, as he now found out that he had next to no sense of design. What he had drawn was nothing if not crude. The pant-legs looked far too wide, almost like something from one of his friend’s photographs at a Japanese shrine. The design for a belt was nothing more than doubled over fabric that could be cinched at the waist. At least the shirt didn’t come out looking as badly; it could almost pass for a blouse from the Renaissance.

Knowing that this was the best he was probably going to come up with, he decided to turn his attention to the materials. Leaning back, he stared at the top of the book-shelf behind him, upon which napped Rainbow Dash. Colors weren’t very important; he’d grown accustomed to plain colors while working as a butler. Going out into the city was also out of the question. Even if he had the bits, he doubted he’d be able to just walk into the market district discreetly. Would the vendors even sell anything to me? Or would they flee at the sight of me? Twilight just left for an audience with the Princesses, so who knows what will happen.

It was then that Warren remembered something; despite returning to his human form, his unicorn horn remained firmly on his forehead. Since waking, he hadn’t once tried to use magic. Can I even use magic as a human? That book Twilight lent me said something about the horn being vital in magic use... His mind began to race at the prospect. If I can use magic, maybe I can acquire some materials for clothes.

Focusing his attention on a random book near the top of the shelf, he imagined a hand closing around a book, and gently lifting it down to his outstretched hand. To his shock, the entire row of books slid outwards, and then soared towards him. Two dozen thick tomes crashed into him in an instant, evoking a pained shout of “Ow! Damn it!”

With an amused snort, Rainbow Dash opened one eye-lid. “I’m no expert on magic,” she began with a yawn, “but I don’t think power is a substitute for finesse.”

Warren ignored the jibe and rolled his eyes. He knew what he did wrong. A passage in the instructional book had said, ‘Visualizing the effect of the spell you wish to cast is important, but to exact more precision, one must visualize it as it is happening.’ What he had done wasn’t so much visualize what needed to happen as it happened so much as imagining what he wanted done and making it happen.

Again, he attempted to manipulate the books. Enveloped in a shimmering green aura, the lot of books began to float once more, this time through his intent. Slowly, they flew together into an even horizontal stack, and, albeit shaky, the stack began to levitate back towards the top shelf. Much better, he thought proudly to himself. If I had some plants, I could definitely—

“Hey there!” A shrill, cheerful voice cut his concentration like a hot knife into butter. The stack of books slammed into place on the bookshelf, causing the whole thing to jerk wildly. Rainbow Dash, shaken awake by the rocking bookshelf, took flight. The change in weight nearly caused the shelving unit to tip forward entirely. By some miracle, it stopped rocking, with some books hanging more than an inch over the edge.

Crisis averted, both Warren and Rainbow Dash glared at the source of the loud greeting. Standing before them was Pinkie Pie in her luminous, bubbly glory. She beamed back at him, and then nodded at a basket sitting before her hooves that he hadn’t noticed at first. In it were a variety of flowers, including black roses, bellflowers, and even goldenrods. “I figured you might want some flowers to make clothes out of.”

Warren looked at her in complete confusion. “But how did-” He shut his mouth, not wanting an answer to his uncompleted question. “Wait, did you raid the royal gardens or something?”

Pinkie Pie gave him an innocent grin. “Nopony is going to miss just a few flowers.” She said with a giggle. “You wanted clothes, right?”

Well, folks are always saying to never look a gift horse in the mouth. Given the situation, I’m sure I’d only find cupcakes. Warren couldn’t help but snort at the thought. “Thanks, Pinkie...” he said with a tired smile before grabbing the basket.

He stood up and stretched, looking towards the door. “On the plus side, anything that isn’t used in making clothes can be made into lunch.” Warren chuckled, walking towards the door. “If done right, there will be a lot.” Turning to face Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, he said, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’m just going down to a stream I noticed when I went to the bath.”

Basket in hand, he took off towards the stream. As he arrived, he realized that calling it a stream was stretching it a fair bit. Following the stream with his eyes, he realized it was a run-off ditch for the hot-spring bath. Shrugging, he trudged over to the water and knelt, placing the basket beside him.

From the basket, he withdrew a pale violet bellflower and held the stem in the stream. He closed his eyes, and imagined the petals on the flower elongating and growing in thickness. Warren focused on the petals becoming one and coiling into a bolt of fabric. Opening his eyes, he saw that the flower petals had separated from the stem, and became what looked like a large bolt of cloth. Smiling inwardly as he caressed the material, he thought to himself, This will work just fine.

Author's Note:

Per the new format, please refer to my blog posting on FiMFiction.