Something's happened to the children of Ponyville. What it is, no one is sure. One thing that is certain is that they don't look like ponies anymore.
Created in response to a prompt from Lordfrieza on the Humanized Ponies forum.
One usually looks like a real mess when they first get up in the morning. But what about waking up and nothing about yourself looks familiar? You're certain you're still the same pony you were when you went to sleep, but now, can you even call yourself a pony?
Kids are waking up all over Ponyville in strange looking bodies. What effect will this have on them? Their families? Their lives?
I have to say, I love the summer. No school, and that meant all the time in the world to catch up on my backlog of games. All the time in the world to stay up and play them, and best of all, to get to sleep in just a couple extra hours. Mom gets it, so she doesn't bother me about staying up too late.
That said, I love summer, but the way the sun shines so brightly into whatever little cracks in my curtains it can? Not so lovely. Ugh. Can't Celestia hold off on raising the sun for just a little longer? Maybe just bring it up about halfway? Other people needed it, so I guess that's too much to ask for. I sighed to myself and decided that I wasn't gonna get back to sleep anytime soon so I should get up. Maybe Mom would still make me breakfast.
The first thing I noticed was that my front hoof touched the floor sooner than I thought it would. I almost fell over because I lost my balance. I thought I was still sleepy and my mind hadn't woken up yet. I looked down to make sure I hadn't stepped on something, when I saw something really weird.
Instead of my front hoof, there was...I don't know what it was, but it sure wasn't a hoof. I jumped, and the thing where my hoof was reacted, which told me that this definitely belonged to me. It almost looked like a griffon's talon: The claws were dull, and there were five of them, all different sizes, the one on the end shorter and stumpier than the others.
I wanted to scream, but this was so weird, I didn't know if screaming would do it justice. I looked at my left hoof, and sure enough, it was the same thing as my right, dull claws and all. As I stared at these...things, half-excited and half-scared-out-of-my-mind, the claws curled, making me jump again, until I realized that I was the one doing that without even thinking. It felt like I never had hooves before. I was able to make them move just by thinking about it. They gripped my pillowcase so easily, I was amazed. I decided I needed a better look at these things, so I moved to get off the bed so I could get a look in the mirror. Practicing how a griffon walked, I carefully placed the claws down on the floor and got myself out of bed.
The second thing I noticed was when I got off the bed. I clearly felt my knees touch the floor rather than my rear hooves. I looked back, and what I saw absolutely shocked me! My tail was gone! I didn't even think about it because it was always there, but now it wasn't! Not only was my tail gone, but I noticed that I didn't have my brown coat, either! I was totally hairless! I didn't have my cutie mark yet, but if I did, would I still have it? Too many things going on, I had to calm down and focus.
I looked down at my hind legs and noticed they had gotten much longer than my front legs. That explains why I was walking on my knees. At the end of my hind legs weren't talons, like my front. The claws were much, much shorter than my front claws. It felt more like a cat's paw, the part before the claws being just a little longer. I don't know what's happened to me, but I needed to find out more.
Walking as awkwardly as having to drag your hind legs will do, I approached the mirror in the corner of my room. I took a deep breath and braced myself for what I might see. 'Try not to freak out,' I told myself. 'Can't be as bad as we think.'
Staring back at me was a...face? It had to be a face: There were two eyes (same color), a nose (my snout was all small and rounded), and a mouth (but my muzzle was gone). My ears were at the side of my head, and my neck was much shorter now. My coat may be gone, but I still had my orange mane, thank Celestia. Felt the same too, though feeling my mane between my claws was just weird. Despite me being able to walk, this just didn't feel right walking on my knees. Whatever this creature I had become was, it didn't walk on all fours. My bed was behind me, so I thought I should try getting up on my hind legs, as weird as it was. I carefully put my front legs on the bed to prop myself up, and was surprised to see that my hind legs moved like they were supposed to. I didn't think about it too hard, and yet the hind claws...paws...whatever they were, planted themselves firmly on the floor. Soon enough, I managed to get myself up onto my hind legs, still holding on to the bed so I wouldn't fall over.
I felt tall standing on my hind legs. Really tall. The ceiling never looked closer. If I wasn't afraid of falling over, I'd try to touch it, though I probably still couldn't. I was afraid that if I looked down, I'd start getting that weird feeling when you're up at high places. I remembered then that I got up like this for a reason. Hugging the wall so I wouldn't fall over, I brought my hind legs to walk one in front of the other back to the mirror.
"Woah..." I said out loud as I looked at the creature staring back at me. Like a mishmash of different animals, but not in that "stitched together" sort of way. Everything seemed to fit together somehow, all in this peach color where my coat used to be. I felt my chest and arms with my talons. It felt really smooth, like nothing I had ever felt before. So this what it feels like to be hairless. I clung onto the wall so I could turn around. My back still seemed the same (just hairless, obviously), and it was really weird looking at my flank with no tail attached. Even still, save for my tail, everything else felt like it was still there, looking up and down my new body. I still had my head, my mane, my front legs, my hind legs, my belly button-
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!
"Button? It's 10:30! Are you up yet?"
Oh, pancakes! I totally forgot Mom! What would she think if she saw her son like this? I certainly didn't have a problem running back into bed and pulling the sheets over to cover myself. That might have been harder as a pony, but I didn't have time to think about it as I heard my door swing open. I bunched up my body as much as possible to look smaller.
"Still in bed?" I heard my mom say. "I know it's summer, Button, but you're gonna regret it if you end up sleeping the whole time..."
"Ah...sorry, Mom," I answered through the sheet. "I just don't feel that good right now." I did my best cough.
"I'll bet you were up all night and now you've gotten yourself sick," Mom said. "Barely a week into summer, and you're already practicing bad habits." I couldn't see her, but I knew she was just shaking her head.
"Yeah. Guilty as charged," I chuckled. "Guess I gotta stay in bed today."
I didn't hear anything from Mom for a few seconds, which made me extremely nervous. Finally, she said, "Alright. Real shame for you to get sick like this, but I should let you get your rest. I can get some soup up to you later, okay?"
"That sounds great. Thanks, Mom," I answered. I heard her hooves leave my bedside and out the door. After the I heard the door click shut, I threw the blanket off myself and allowed my body to uncoil. That was uncomfortable, in more ways than one, but at least she's out of my mane.
I turned onto my back and stared up at the ceiling. Just what happened to me to get a body like this? I wasn't messing around with any spell books. I was home all day yesterday. Maybe somepony went and cast a spell on me in my sleep. But why? What's the point of turning me into this? I hardly leave my room, and I don't have anything anypony would want. This isn't that much of a curse either. Once I get used to it, I'll probably be able to get around just fine. Speaking of which...
I got off my bed and tried standing on my hind legs again, this time without trying to prop myself up. It almost looked like my legs bent backwards, but I've seen other creatures that walk like this just fine. That little dragon that lives in the library walks on two legs. How hard can it be?
Okay, putting the whole of my hind paws (I'm calling them paws for now but I don't know what these are) seems to work just fine. How does this body even stay up on two legs? I tried not to think about it too hard and took my first step. Slowly, I raised my right hind leg and put it forward, then got it back on the ground. Easy. Now, if I can do that for the other one, the rest should be done just as easily. Raise it, bring it in front of you, put it down. It worked! Sure, I had to put my front legs up to keep myself balanced, but at least I'm walking. Now to do it again and again. Do something enough times and you get better at it. That's what Mom taught me through games.
It felt really weird, not walking on four legs. Whatever my front legs have become, it looks like they're meant to grab things now. The way these claws curl around objects like some kind of tentacle looks strange, but it helps a lot. Much better than using my mouth, since I don't have magic. I could get used to it.
Wait...what if I have to get used to it? What if I'm like this for the rest of my life?! I can't go to school like this! I can't even leave the house! How am I supposed to do anything if I look like something nopony's seen before?! What about...?
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Shoot! No time to panic! Back under the sheets I go. Panic later.
"Door's open!" I heard the door open and the sound of hooves walking towards the bed.
"Button, I made you some soup just in case you really are sick," I heard Mom say. "A little broth and potato should fix you right up."
"Oh, thank you," I said. "I can take it from here..."
A small silence followed. I hate when she does that. "Why don't you let me feed you? If you're so weak you can't get out of bed, at least let me feed you."
"I'm not so bad I can't feed myself, Mom..." I sounded pathetic, but the sooner I can get her out of the room, the better.
"Then at the very least, let me have a look at you, take your temperature, see if you need a doctor."
No! That would be the worst! "Ah...you don't need to do that...it's not that bad..."
"Still, let your mother have some peace of mind." I felt her mouth grip the sheet. "Why do you have this so high up, anyway?"
This body could grip the sheets just fine, but it meant nothing in the face of my mom. I tried to pull back, but it was no use. I was forced to sit up as she threw the blanket off of me. Once she saw me, she gasped and stepped back. I don't think I've ever seen Mom so scared.
"Wha...wha..!" She couldn't seem to get any words out. Maybe I could talk her down.
"Mom..." I said, my claws in front of me. "Please...don't panic..."
"Button?" She asked, regaining herself and approaching the bed again. "That is you, isn't it?"
"Yeah...it's me." I looked around and found my hat on my nightstand. I put it on my head and tried my best to smile, though it was hard with her looking at me while being afraid. "See?"
She took a hard look at me, her head tilting from side to side. Since this whole thing started, I don't think my heart's beat this fast. For your own mother to not recognize you would be the scariest thing. Finally, she looked like she calmed down. "It is you. But...what happened?"
"I have no idea," I replied. "I just...woke up this way..."
"What did you even turn into?" She looked up and down my new body with a look of confusion.
"I don't know that either..." I answered, looking at my claw open and close. "I'm like...some sort of chimera or something. I got these really short claws and these stubby paws on my hind legs. And I'm all hairless, too! Feel it!"
She came up close to me and nuzzled my cheek with her own. I started to feel better when she did that. It was one of the few things that felt familiar since I woke up like this. I could tell she was calming down herself.
"You're so soft," she commented after pulling her head back. "Do you feel sick at all? Are you in pain?"
"No. Not at all," I answered. "Other than the fact I don't have a tail, I feel perfectly fine! It's just...all these new parts I have to get used to." I curled my claws and paws in front of me over and over.
"Well, hopefully, this isn't permanent..." she said, looking worried again. "Maybe we should take you to a doctor, get you checked out."
"What are the chances the doctor's gonna know what to do?" A frightening thought crossed my mind. "What if I get taken in for experiments and I'm never seen by anypony ever again?"
"Don't be ridiculous. They wouldn't do that," Mom retorted. "But you're right. I doubt anypony's going to know what to do with you or even what you've turned into."
"Maybe some unicorn was casting a spell and it just went haywire, or there's something in the water that made me like this?" I said, to which Mom gave me a look that said, 'Are you serious?' "I'm just coming up with ideas here."
"I'm sorry," Mom sighed. "This whole thing has just...gotten me worried. Just me being a mother, you know?"
"I know," I replied and got off the bed. "We'll find something to do with this. I'm sure of it." I wanted her to feel better, so I gave her a big hug. Didn't seem all that different being this thing and being a pony.
"Bless your heart, Button," Mom said returning the hug. "It's good to see you so calm about this. You're such a little trooper." She rubbed my mane with her hoof.
"Mom!!" I groaned, but then I heard something else groan. My stomach.
Mom giggled. Even if it was at something I did, it was still good to hear it. "Why don't you have your soup, then we can talk some more about what to do?"
"Yeah. We can do that," I said, slightly embarrassed. I sat back on the bed and an idea came to mind. Since I was able to grab my hairbrush just fine with these claws, could I do the same with a spoon?
I curled each little talon on my right claw around the handle of the spoon, much like I did for my brush. Easy enough. I had to be incredibly careful getting a spoonful of soup out of the bowl so that it didn't spill. After a few seconds of getting it to stay still, I was able to get the spoon in my mouth. It felt like I hadn't eaten Mom's soup in forever, it was so good. Thank Celestia my tongue still works the same.
"That's amazing," Mom said, watching me eat. "It works perfectly with the spoon."
"I know. Weird, right?" I commented. "I tried the same with my brush, and it's like it was made to be held that way."
After a minute or two of watching me eat her soup, Mom pondered aloud, "I wonder if anypony else here had the same thing happen to them?"
"Who knows? If I were them, I'd probably stay home," I answered. "They're probably freaking out without the kind of practice and know-how I've learned from gaming so much." I put my claw to my chest proudly.
Mom laughed again. "Well, you get yourself comfortable. I'm going to go out and see if there's anypony who can help if this is caused by magic. Probably going to get a ton of questions why, but it'll be worth it. Please stay here if you can. I'll try to be back as soon as possible."
"You don't have to tell me twice. I ain't going anywhere looking like this," I told her.
"Good. I'll be on my way out, then." Mom gave me a kiss on the cheek. I usually hated when she did that, but she deserved to do whatever she wanted right now, given the situation.
By the time she left the house, my soup was finished. It felt much easier carrying the bowl to the kitchen not having to use my mouth. I had gotten so used to walking on two legs, I worried about what might happen when I changed back. I really hope this isn't a change for good. Missing school wouldn't be such a big deal (though Mom would have different ideas), but not being able to go to the arcade or the sweets shop or hang with my friends would just be terrible. Worst of all, I don't know how Sweetie Belle would react to seeing me like this. She might never want to see me again...
I shook the thought out of my mind before I could get too depressed about it. I gotta keep hope that there's some way to fix this. If not for my own sake, then for Mom. It's a really good thing she didn't freak out too much when she saw me. I should stop letting Scootaloo make me read those creepy stories. 'Build up your bravery,' my flank!
I should do something to keep my mind off this whole thing. I should play some games! I walked back to my room, sat down in front of the TV and put on a good old platformer. I noticed that the controller actually worked better with these claws. The buttons are supposed to be big enough to hit with your hooves, so they looked really big with my talons on them. Everything else came easy, though.
This body doesn't seem to have that many drawbacks. Maybe I can make this work. I just hope everypony else will accept me looking like this like Mom has. I hope she gets back soon with some answers...
Well, that just won the contest for weirdest dream ever. I was almost trampled by these tall creatures that walked on two legs. I couldn't see faces or anything else, just long legs walking dangerously close to me. I woke up with a start. I don't know if I screamed or not. Rarity lecturing me about making noise while she worked was the last thing I needed.
I hate how my bed faces the window, since it means the sun's in my face as it rises. I squinted as the light hit my eyes and tried to shield them with my hoof. Except I wasn't using a hoof. It was like...some sort of claw, almost like Spike's, but this had five instead of four. It wasn't scaly, either, but soft, even though it was hairless. I started freaking out. I looked all around this body that was supposed to be mine, but it wasn't the one I had when I went to bed. I screamed at the top of my lungs.
Right after I screamed, I heard the sound of hooves galloping towards my room. The door swung open and Rarity practically leaped into my room. At least she looks the same, white coat and all. So is it just me that's different?
"Sweetie Belle? Is everything all right? I heard-" Rarity stopped talking the moment she looked at me.
"Rarity..." I squeaked out, since I felt like I was gonna cry. "What's wrong with me?"
"Well, I would presume nothing, but..." Rarity came closer to get a better look at me. "What happened to you?"
"I don't know..." I weakly answered. "I went to bed, and I was still a pony. I wake up, and I'm...this." I spread my forelegs out.
"That's it? You weren't messing around with anything you shouldn't have, right?" She asked. "You didn't take anything out of Twilight's library, did you? She keeps those books for a reason, you know."
"Nuh-uh!" I shook my head. "I didn't take anything out! She keeps the dangerous stuff in the basement. At least that's what she said."
"Sorry. Just looking for an easy answer, that's all," Rarity said with a nervous smile. "Still...this could only be magic at work here. We should have Twilight look at you and see if there's something that can be done."
"Okay..." I really couldn't argue that. If there was anypony in Ponyville that knew what might be wrong with me, that somepony would be Twilight.
I pushed the blanket off of me and saw that my hind legs had gotten much longer and were more straight than they were before. Instead of hooves, there were other claws that were more long in the middle and had stumpy little talons at the end of them. I didn't know what to make of them, but before I could focus any more on them, I noticed Rarity staring at my hind legs as well.
"Hmm..." Rarity had her hoof to her chin, looking all over my new body. She squinted her eyes and pursed her lips. I wasn't sure what she was doing. "Mmmhmm."
"Rarity?" I was starting to get nervous.
"This body of yours...it isn't hurting you, is it?" She asked.
"Um...no," I replied.
"Is there any need to rush to Twilight's? I mean...it's so early. She might still be asleep." A smile was coming across her face. Why?
"Maybe, but why is that-" I started, but Rarity cut me off.
"Then...we should take advantage of this!" Rarity pointed her hoof at me, startling me.
"Take advantage? How?" I was getting really nervous.
"Oh, Sweetie Belle, just think! This has so much potential! Think of the things I could make for this body!" Rarity had stars in her eyes. I haven't seen her this excited since the last time she had a job in Canterlot.
"That's what you're thinking about?!" Here I am, in this weird body of Celestia-knows-what, and she's thinking about dresses?!
"Oh, but this opportunity might never come again!" She was practically whining. "We'll go to Twilight's later, I promise! Just PLEASE! Let me make something for you. As your caring sister? Please?"
It was the same as any time Rarity would ask me for a favor. If I told her no, she'd give me a guilt trip like nopony else. I really didn't have the time for it. "Fine..." I grumbled.
Rarity immediately started giggling and hopping. She was excited, all right. "Come, then! We should get started right away!" Her horn started glowing and I was lifted up off the bed and onto her back. I clutched on to her neck as she raced out of my room and down the stairs.
"Rarity! Slow down!" I screamed. The difference between having a coat and not having it was very clear to me then. The air didn't bristle, it glided. It felt so much more sensitive. I shivered a little. If I ever get to change back, I'm never losing my coat, cutie mark chance or not.
"Sorry! I'm just so excited," she replied. She stopped at the platform in front of the mirrors and lifted me to the platform. "Let's get your measurements first! No doubt this new body of yours has new dimensions we need to account for!"
"Okay..." I tried standing, but with my hind legs now being longer than my forelegs, I had to rest them on my knees so I wouldn't look silly.
"Hmm...that doesn't look quite right," Rarity said. "Try standing on your hind hooves...if you can still call those hooves..."
"Okay, but it's gonna look stupid..." Trying to keep my balance, I tried putting my hooves on the ground. That just made my flank rise up in the air above my head.
"Oh, dear. That looks worse..."
"Toldja!" I'm sure I was blushing.
Rarity rubbed her chin. "Call me crazy, but why don't we try standing on only your hind hooves? Like Spike does?"
"Won't I fall over?" I asked.
"I'll help you so you don't." Rarity trotted in front of me and stood there, ready to support me. "Go ahead."
"Right!" Slowly, I placed one foreleg on Rarity's back before putting the other one on. I took a deep breath and pushed off her back, freeing my forelegs and leaving me standing on my hind legs. "Woah!" I nearly fell over backward, but Rarity grabbed me with her magic. That was scary, but at least I felt better. And what a view.
Seeing the boutique from this high was weird, but really neat. Is this what it's like to be a pegasus? My new hooves were long enough so that I didn't have to use my forelegs. Standing up straight like this felt much better, at least in this body. It felt...like I'm supposed to stand like this.
"There. That looks much better," Rarity said with a smile. "How do you feel?"
"Scared. But kind of excited, too," I answered.
"Excellent," my sister giggled. "You stay right there. I'll go get the measuring tape." She trotted off towards the stairs, a slight spring to her steps.
With myself alone in the room, I decided to look up and take in the new view. Without even thinking about it, I was using the claws on my hind legs to turn around. A "Wow..." escaped my lips, just seeing how different everything looked being this tall. This had to be how Rarity saw things.
I looked back down and saw that I was now facing the mirror, but what I saw in it was so unbelievable, I jumped a little. I finally had a good look at my new body. I've never seen anything like this before. My eyes and mane were still the same colors as before. That must be how Rarity recognized me. My nose was so tiny, I had to cross my eyes just to see it! My ears were now at the side of my head and completely round. Instead of my white coat, everything from my face to the claws on my hind legs was this weird peach-ish color. I've never seen a pony without their coat before, so I wonder if this it looks like underneath. I should tell Applebloom and Scootaloo and see if they want to find out.
Ahh! That's right! I forgot about them in all this craziness! What would they think if they saw me like this?! I hope they won't be too freaked out, but I'm too scared to go outside looking like some freaky thing! Looking at the mirror, I wondered if a cutie mark would still appear on my flank if I got it. That's when I realized my tail was gone! A thought came to mind, and I parted my mane to see if my horn was still there. It wasn't. Everything that made me a unicorn, a pony, was gone. I tried not to be too upset about it. It's not like I could use magic that well anyway. Still, I really felt like I wanted to cry.
"Got it!" Rarity's sing-song voice caught my attention. The roll of tape floated above her head as she skipped into the room. She stopped when she saw me. I must have looked upset. "Everything okay, Sweetie Belle?"
"Um...yeah," I said meekly. "I'm okay."
"Oh...I'm sorry. You must be so scared..." Rarity came up to me and nuzzled her face into my chest. It felt soft and made me remember the good feeling whenever her or Mom would nuzzle me like that.
"It's just...I don't look at all like a pony," I said. "My horn's gone, my tail's gone, I can't stand on four legs anymore, and I'm still a blank flank..."
"But you're still Sweetie Belle, my adorable little sister," Rarity replied. "Even looking like this, you still look as cute as ever."
"Really? You think so?" I looked back at the mirror.
"Of course! I know so!"
"You think...you think Button Mash would still like me like this?" I asked, holding myself nervously.
"Are you kidding? He'd be the envy of every colt in school to have a girl like you at his side!" Rarity smirked and nudged me with her hoof.
"I am...still a girl, aren't I?" That idea didn't hit me until now. What if a pony isn't all I stopped being?!
"Now you're sounding silly," Rarity scoffed, looking at the mirror along with me. "You may not be the same species, but your age and gender are still very apparent. And it'll look even better with a nice dress! Now, hold still, if you would."
The tape unraveled itself and started moving around my barrel. I could feel it even more without my coat, but she didn't pull it too tight, thankfully. Along with the tape, Rarity also had a pencil and a notepad held up with her magic. She nodded and scribbled numbers down. She did the same with my forelegs, my hind legs, my head, and around my flank.
"Are we done yet?" I asked. "I'm getting hungry..." My body looked different, but my stomach was still in the same place. It still worked, too, since I could feel it rumbling.
"Almost, dear," Rarity said. "I believe I have all the measurements. I would just like to get a sketch of your new shape down, since I don't have any mannequins for this kind of body...yet."
"I wish you'd stop talking like this is permanent..." It really wasn't helping.
"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, darling," she replied. "I'm trying to make the most out of this situation. If you're stuck like this for even a few days, it would be a good idea for you to at least look nice."
"I think wearing one of your dresses would just make me stand out more," I said. "I'm weird-looking enough as it is..."
"Oh, hush. Even if you don't like it, I see it as a chance to branch out. Challenge myself. If I can make this work, I just might start doing commissions for not just ponies, but to the other denizens of Equestria as well!" Rarity spoke with such determination, I couldn't really say anything bad about it.
"If you say so..." I looked down at my bottom claws as they moved close together. Rarity put a hoof to my chest, and I looked up to see an honest smile on her face.
"You're being a big help to me, Sweetie Belle," she said softly. "No matter what you look like, you're still my sister, and I still love you." She gave me a kiss on my forehead, which seemed strange without her having to bend her head down to do it. "Now, if you would..."
After having to stand still for a minute or two while Rarity sketched me, she walked over to the kitchen and lifted an apple from the bowl on the table. She threw it over to me, and I caught it in my claws like it was nothing. They were really good at gripping stuff.
"Woah..." I could only say that at what I just did.
"See? You're adjusting already," Rarity said. "I'm going to see what I can make with these dimensions. You can stay with me in my room if the company would make you feel better."
"I'd like that..." I said and followed her up the stairs, holding onto her back so I wouldn't fall over.
Holding onto the apple with these claws felt so different. I could hold it in one of them, rather than trying to keep it on one hoof or holding it between two hooves. My mouth still worked the same, except I had to bring the apple closer to take a bite. Things still tasted the same too, which was a huge relief to me. If I couldn't eat the same things in this body, I'd go crazy.
"Interesting," I heard Rarity say from her desk.
"What's interesting?" I asked, mouth full of apple.
"Well, I thought I'd take a look at your measurements as a pony to compare," she explained, "and the proportions are actually not far off from the measurements that I took just now."
"What's that mean?"
"It means that you're still you, just as I thought. All that's changed is what creature you are. I think Twilight would be interested to see this." She turned back towards me and reared her head back in surprise. "Ah! I know you're still adjusting, Sweetie Belle, but you can at least try to eat with a little more decorum."
I didn't notice, but I was eating pretty messily. Guess I was hungrier than I thought. "Oh. Sorry."
"Let me get that for you," Rarity said and lifted a tissue from the box on her nightstand. She always said it was important to keep clean. "There. That was actually much easier to clean than usual. This body may be different but it has its advantages."
After I was done eating, I laid on Rarity's bed while she worked. I don't really care about wearing a dress, but she looks so happy about making one for me, I can't really say no. Maybe a cloak would be better. Something to cover my whole body, and I could just bend down and pretend I was sick. I felt so scared of what other ponies might say if they saw me. They might be so afraid of me, I couldn't live in Ponyville anymore. I'd hate to make Rarity leave town if it came to that. Before any more sad thoughts could come to mind, the phone ringing made me jump and sit straight up.
"Relax. It's only the phone." Rarity walked over to the phone on her nightstand and lifted it with her horn. "Hello, Carousel Boutique....oh, hello, Rainbow Dash. Strange of you to call me. Normally, you'd just fly over here...Slow down, darling. I can't make out what you're saying...
Apple Bloom (written by Lordfrieza, edited by TiberiusPonificus)
"Doc, is there somethin' wrong with ma sister?" Ah heard Applejack's voice asks from the hall.
Ma head felt so heavy, ah could barely lift it. Ah felt hot, feverish, and tired through the whole night, and Ah desperately wanted to call out to ma sister and ask her for a glass of water, but even ma throat hurt too much to talk. Instead Ah just wanted to sleep.
Moments later Ah finally felt sleep coming to me. Ma eyes closed, and Ah passed out.
Fer a moment Ah woke up out in the apple orchard, but Ah was walking on my hind legs, grabbing the apples off of the apple trees with claws instead of bucking ‘em like ma sis. It was purty strange, and while strange things happened in and around Ponyville, this was downright frightening. It came to me after a few minutes though that Ah was dreaming.
Ma eyes opened and Ah turned over, only to flop off of the bed and fell onto ma stomach. My barrel hurt when I landed, but it didn’t feel right. It felt weird and off. Ah pushed maself up and ah could barely stand. Everything seemed so off, and Ah wasn’t sure what was going on. Ah trotted, kind of funny like, towards the door and opened it. That's when Ah noticed that ma muzzle was gone.
Ah felt so scared, and that scary feeling was building up inside of me and Ah looked around for something to help me. Ah spotted ma nightstand and moved toward it. Ah leaned up to touch it with ma forehoves and instead Ah saw the same claws that had been in ma dream!
Ma eyes widened, and Ah felt ma breath coming fast and hard. Ah decided to stand on up on ma hind legs, and noticed that they were so much longer than before.
Ah looked in the mirror and saw some weird looking thing staring back at me. It had ma bow, hair, and eyes, but everything else was different. Ma nose was small, and ma mouth was a little bigger. Ah touched ma face to feel it and realized Ah was hairless! Ma coat was gone, and in its place was just pinkish skin, almost like a pig's but much softer. The only hair I had left was ma mane.
Ah’d like to think that Ah handled everything as good as Ah could. Ah’d really like ta think that, but Ah know better. Ah screamed for ma sister and passed out. When Ah finally came to Applejack, Big Mac, and Granny Smith were all in ma bedroom with me. Granny Smith was looking over me real careful like, and Applejack looked like someone had Discord change all of the Apples into Oranges.
“Well, it seems to me that somepony has been messin’ with somethin’ they ain’t otta. I swear it’s always the same old thing,” Granny Smith said.
“Well, what is it Granny?” Applejack asked as she danced around being completely worried.
“Well it’s gotta be magic what dun it, and Ah got half a notion of telling off which ever unicorn was throwin’ spells around all willy nilly!” Granny smith nearly shouted.
“What's going on?” Ah finally said.
Ah felt the fear from earlier coming back, and it was digging into me. Ah ain’t never been this scared in ma life. Even when Ah tried to deliver all of those pies by maself I wasn’t this scared. But right now, everything felt like it was going to come crashing down around me. I felt like there wasn’t a thing that Ah could do, and what made it worse was that Ah wasn’t sure this was ever gonna change.
“It’s alright Bloom, dun worry nun now,” Applejack said as she pulled me up against her.
I had felt some of Applejack’s hugs before, and they always felt warm, strong, and at times they might even make yer bones creak a little, but this time it felt like she was gonna crush me!
“AppleJack, yer hurtin’ me!” Ah cried.
Applejack let me go and she looked plum ashamed of herself. Ah didn’t want to make her upset. She was ma sister, even if at times she tried to act like my mama, and I didn’t want to make her cry. Instead Ah saw her eyes getting watery.
“Oh Bloom Ah’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt cha!” she cried.
“It’s alright sis, Ah just got scared. Ah never felt yer hugs like that before. Ah really want one though… Ah’m just really scared right now,” Ah said.
She wrapped her forelegs around me and gave me a gentle squeeze. It wasn’t as strong as her hug before, but it still felt warm, and Ah could feel how much she loved me through it. Ah put my forelegs around her and hugged her back. It felt odd because Ah could grab her.
“It’ll be okay ‘Bloom,” Big Mac said.
“Think that maybe we otta ask the doctor ‘bout this?,” AppleJack asked.
“Ah dun’t know, but it ain’t so bad now. Ah feel better than Ah did,” Ah said.
The four of us sat on the floor, huddled together, and Ah felt ma bond with ma family. Ah wasn’t sure what had happened, but Ah remembered that my sister had always told me that it was what was inside of an Apple that counts.
“Sis, Ah’m still an Apple right?” Ah asked.
“Yer an Apple through and through ‘Bloom. Ain’t nothing gonna change that,” Applejack said.
“Do ya really think that the Doctor might really know somethin’ that’ll help?” Ah asked.
“Ah dun’t know ‘Bloom. He might, but even if’n he dun’t yer still an Apple, and yer still ma sister,” AppleJack said.
“Applejack’s right Applebloom. Yer still an Apple, and that won’t ever change. Why, we all love ya,” Granny Smith said.
Ah wasn’t sure what had happened. Maybe it was someone who was casting magic all willy nilly like Granny said. What Ah was sure of was that Ah really didn’t want to stay like this. Ah wanted to find my cutie mark, and Ah wanted to be around Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. They’re ma friends, and Ah also wanted to be around Rumble. Ah… Ah kinda gotten to liking him a little.
Ah looked at ma family, and I realized that they accepted me, and maybe ma friends would to. If they did then Ah had hoped that Rumble would. Course, Ah still didn’t want to tell Applejack about liking Rumble. If’n I did she’d tease me until the cows came home. Ah dun’t want to sign up for that! Ah get enough teasing from Scoots about liking Rumble as it is. The last thing I need is gettin even more teasing from ma sis.
"Fer right now, why duntchu try to relax? You been out since last night, but it looks like yer fever finally broke," Applejack said with a grin. Ah totally forgot that Ah was feeling sick last night. Maybe this wasn't a spell that hit me, but some kind of affliction? "You feelin' up to walking?" She asked.
"Yeah. Ah think so," Ah said with only half the confidence Ah could muster. Ah slid off the bed on to mah hind legs. If that dream was any sorta clue, Ah should be able to stand just fine on just my hind legs alone. It felt really different, with my hind hooves being so long, and no tail to keep me balanced. Everypony got closer when Ah started leaning like Ah was gonna fall over. Ah finally got to stay still after telling myself to think with two legs. How in the hay does Spike do this all the time?
"Alright. You seem to be standing just fine," Applejack said. "You sure that's how you do it?"
"Ah think so," Ah gave in reply. "Before Ah woke up like this, Ah had a dream where Ah was on two legs like this. And Ah walked like this." Ah carefully put one leg forward and took one full step. Everypony looked like they just seen a new machine that peeled apples for you.
"With you standing like that, you're almost as tall as me!" Applejack laughed. "We thought it'd be another ten years before that happened!"
"Eeyup," Big Mac said. Even if Ah was a little taller like this, ma brother still towered over me.
"Don't get too used to it now," Granny said. "Scrawny legs like these ain't no good for buckin' apples." She poked one of mah hind legs with her hoof. That tickled a little.
"Maybe Ah can grab them off the tree with these!" Ah put my claws in front of me, curling the little talons. "Ah saw that in my dream, too!"
"Ahh!" Granny jumped back. "Don't scare me like that!"
"Hmm...we'll think about it, but let's not start talkin' like we can't fix this," Applejack said sternly. "If this is the fault of some spell, then Twilight just might be able to undo it."
"Ah hope so. Ah don't want to be stuck this way for the rest of ma life," Ah said.
"You won't. We'll do everything we can to change you back. By nightfall, you'll be back to your old pony self, just you wait and see!" Applejack stomped the floor. "Now, why don't we head downstairs? Ah'm sure you're hungry."
"Yeah. Ah have been out since last night..."
"There you go," Applejack smiled. "Big Mac will help you if you still have trouble walking. Won't you, Big Mac?"
"Eeyup." Big Mac lowered himself down so Ah could climb on his back. Ah held on to his collar so Ah wouldn't fall off. It felt weird gripping on with this claw of mine, but it felt right at the same time. If Ah wanted to get through the day, Ah had to get used to this body. Ah think Ah'd go plum crazy if Ah just stayed in ma room all day, so getting around seemed like a good idea.
Downstairs, everypony gathered at the table and Big Mac let me down just as Winona walked into the room. Seeing something like me musta spooked her, because she started barking at me right away. Ah didn't think about what she might think of me.
"Winona! Stop that right now!" Applejack shouted. "That's Apple Bloom! You know her!"
It didn't work since she kept on barking. Ah was about to try and run, when ah remembered something. When I was introducing Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to Winona, she barked at them too. Applejack said that's because to Winona, my two friends were strangers, so we had to let her sniff them before she could calm down. Ah bent down and put out ma front claw. If Ah wasn't so big, she could come to me. Winona slowly started to walk towards me. She sniffed my claw a few times while Ah was hoping she wouldn't bite me. Soon enough, her tail started wagging and she licked my paw.
"See? Even Winona knows you're you, Apple Bloom," Applejack said reassuringly. "Quit yer worryin' and eat something, okay?"
Eating with these claws was definitely something new, but if Spike could do it so easily, why can't Ah? Though the stares from everypony didn't exactly help. Applejack said they were just interested in seeing me adapt, but it still felt weird.
After finishing ma meal, we came outside to see if there was some way I could help. We stuck to the inner orchard so I wouldn't be seen by some random passerby. The grass felt different on these hind claws. It was like I could feel every little blade, they almost tickled.
"Just outta the curiosity," Granny started, "let's see just what this new body can do for you, Apple Bloom."
"You really think Ah can help with apple bucking like this?" Ah asked, looking down at mahself. Ah was happy that they wanted me to help, but what the hay was Ah gonna do?
"Maybe not with bucking." Granny looked down at my hind claws and lifted one of them. "Not with these hooves. Them's way too soft." She poked the bottom, which really tickled!
"Hahaha! Stop that!" Ah laughed. Ah noticed the others smiling after Ah laughed. That's right. Ever since Ah woke up like this, it's the first time they heard me laugh.
"Granny's right," Applejack continued, stepping up to me. "If you tried bucking trees with those legs, you'd just end up hurtin' yourself!"
"Eeyup!" Big Mac agreed.
"So...got any ideas?" Applejack asked me. "You've always been a clever pony, Apple Bloom. Just because you ain't a pony no more doesn't mean your brain can't work the same."
"Hmm..." Ah walked up to the closest tree and looked at the apples dangling just above me. If Ah couldn't buck them off, then...wait! Of course! Ah grabbed onto the tree and gripped whatever Ah could to climb up.
"A-Apple Bloom!" Ah heard Applejack shout and come up to the tree. "What are you doing?"
"Ah saw something like this in that dream Ah had," Ah told her, still climbing. Ah managed to get myself on one of the bigger branches and stood on it. Carefully, Ah crawled to the closest apple on the branch, reached out, and grabbed it with one of ma front claws. It snapped off the branch without a hitch.
"Hey! Way to go, Apple Bloom!" Applejack reared back in glee. "See? Apples come naturally to you!"
"Heads up!" Ah let the apple drop, and watched Applejack catch it and balance it on her head. She bounced it off her head, off her flank and whapped it with her tail, sending it flying towards Big Mac, who caught it with his mouth. Ah hope Ah get ma old body back soon. Ah miss being able to do that already.
"We'll get some buckets set up under the tree. You think you can keep this up?" Applejack asked me.
"Ah can try!" Ah shouted from above.
"Great!" Applejack grinned. "Ah'm gonna go see if Ah can find Twilight and let her know the situation. Granny and Big Mac are here if you need help. Ah'll be back in two shakes!" With that, she trotted off after telling the others to make sure Ah didn't hurt maself too much. Ah tried to tell maself that she was just scared for me, but she could have told me that.
After she left, Big Mac set up a couple of big buckets under the apple tree Ah was on, and Ah had another idea. Bucking the trees shook the apples off of them. Maybe Ah could do the same from here. Ah slowly walked along the branch, putting my forearms out to keep my balance, and clung on to the center. Then, with all my might, Ah started shaking the tree. Only the branches moved, but that was enough. Ah heard the stems snap and the apples fall into that familiar "THUNK!" of the buckets below. A couple of apples stayed on, but Ah got those easily.
"Big Mac! Look!" Ah shouted from the treetop. Big Mac came over and stared at the buckets with shock on his face. Guess he thought Ah wouldn't get the apples down that quickly. "Awesome, right?"
"Yup!" Big Mac replied. He looked so happy that Ah still managed to keep up the apple gathering even in this body.
"Heehee! Look out below!" That was only my warning to Big Mac before Ah jumped off and landed on his back. He was taken by surprise just a little bit.
"Oof!" He grunted. "Please be careful, Apple Bloom. You're not an earth pony, so we don't know how much you can take."
"Don't worry! Ah'm fine!" Ah told him. "Ah feel like ah could do this all day!" Ah ran over to the next closest tree that Big Mac hadn't bucked yet and climbed it up to the branches. Ah repeated the same trick to the same great results. This was much easier for me than kicking the trees! Ah got to about five trees down when Granny Smith came up to me and Big Mac with some water glasses.
"Climbing those trees like a squirrel works wonders for you, Apple Bloom," she said, "but it sure leaves you dirty!"
"Really?" Ah looked down at maself and noticed that even without a coat, Ah still had dirt clinging to ma skin.
"Eeyup!" Big Mac concurred, taking a drink of water.
"Why don't we run you a bath and you can get yourself washed up?" Granny asked.
"Ohh...but I can still keep going...Ah don't need a bath right now," Ah whined. Just then, Ah heard somepony coming. "Oh! You're back so soon, Applejack?"
"Did you find out what's wrong with Apple Bloom?" Granny asked.
"Ehh...kinda," Applejack said nervously. "See, Ah got some good news...and some bad news..."
How do I keep forgetting to shut this stupid thing off? It's summer. I don't need an alarm to wake me up early. Especially when I didn't sleep very well. I could tell I was tossing and turning all night. Why, I can't remember. Too tired to think at the moment. Had to turn off this stupid alarm first.
I reached my hoof out to hit the snooze button. Stopping the noise will at least give me the chance to think. I kept moving it around, but I couldn't feel the clock anywhere. Where was that thing? I kept inching myself further away from the center of the bed, but I still couldn't hit the clock. Where in the hay was it? My eyes hadn't completely opened yet, so I didn't think about how far away I was. I managed to hit the snooze button, but victory was cut short when my face hit the floor right after.
Ow. At least I was out of bed now.
Weird. It felt like my nose hit the floor later than it should have. It didn't feel broken, but maybe I oughtta check the mirror first. You can be hurt without realizing it for a while. Had that happen way too many times to not know that fact. I hope I didn't smash in my face. I don't wanna be stuck with a messed up nose for the whole summer.
My energy was slowly returning. Just enough to crawl over to the mirror on my desk. I didn't think about the fact that my hooves felt softer on the floor or the fact that I was using the knees on my hind legs. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't bleeding. Mom said she'd be out by the time I woke up, so I'd have to go to the doctor by myself if that was the case. I pulled myself up to my chair and looked at the mirror.
The fall from my bed woke me up, so I couldn't possibly be dreaming. How I wish I was. It wasn't me that I saw in the mirror. Well, it kinda was, but it kinda wasn't at the same time. My mane and eyes were still the same color, but my face was all flat and my nose was smaller. I jumped at the sight of it, causing my chair to lean back...and fall over with me on it.
Ow. Falling on the floor twice in the first ten minutes of waking up. Great way to start the day, Scootaloo.
But what the heck was that? I had to look again. I went over to the mirror and looked closely. Definitely not dreaming and definitely not crazy. At least, I hope not. I reached out to the mirror and noticed my hoof wasn't a hoof anymore. Now, it was like some sort of claw. It had the shape of a claw (more like a bear's than a griffin), and moved like a claw, but the nails were too short to cut anything and the ends felt soft and squishy. Not quite claws but I didn't know what else to call them.
Next was my face. I felt it to see if it was real, and I didn't feel my coat. I should have guessed I was hairless by the fact I wasn't orange anymore, but I was this very light brown color, like toasted bread. This color was all over my body, so I guess my whole body was hairless, except for my purple mane. I felt my mane and realized my ears were now round and at the sides of my head instead of on top. My neck was shorter than it used to be, and my shoulders came out to a point where you could see them. This whole body felt freaky, but everything felt like it belonged where it should. But what about...I turned my barrel to get a look at my back and-
MY WINGS! MY WINGS WERE GONE! So was my tail! It was just a smooth slide all the way down to my hind legs. I stopped thinking about that when I realized something else important. I was standing on my hind legs this whole time! The bottoms looked almost like a griffin's hind paws, but these were flat on the ground rather than just on the the tips. I set the chair back up and sat down on it so I could take a closer look at these things.
I brought one up as much as I could, which wasn't easy, seeing as how my hind legs were longer than they were before. Just like my claws, the bottom was squishy and the nails were dull and short. I could move them just a little bit, but not much. I put it back down and looked at the mirror.
Just what was I now? Everything familiar was still where it should've been, but it didn't look like anything I had seen before. What was thing even called? I had claws and paws like a griffin, but I didn't have wings or a tail or fur, so I wasn't a griffin. I wasn't a bear or anything I might have seen in the forest, so that was out. I didn't even know how I got like this! I wasn't messing around with any magic and we've been told to stay away from Discord just in case he had something planned. So what was the deal? It was too early to be dealing with all this, but even if I went back to bed, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. Not like this.
I didn't really think about it, heading into the kitchen, but it was actually really easy to walk on my hind legs. Maybe it's because I've seen Spike do it so many times that I learned how just by being around him? Either way, it's neat to have this view. I supported myself with the wall so I wouldn't fall over, and managed to make it into the kitchen.
"Hello?" I called out. No answer. Yup, Mom's out already. In this case, I'm thankful. I'd hate to think what would happen if she saw me like this. I noticed a note on the counter, weighed down by an apple.
Gone to work a little earlier today since someone called out sick. I won't be out until sundown. We'll go out to eat for dinner, I promise!
That's been a once-a-week thing for a while, Mom. Why do you keep needing to tell me? Oh, well. At least this gives me some time to figure out what happened to me and maybe how I might be able to change back. Maybe I can convince Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle to come over and help me figure this out. I just they don't freak out too much over...wait, there's more on the note.
P.S.: I called over a friend to keep you company while I'm gone. I told them to be over before noon. Behave yourself now!
A friend? Just who is she talking about? This puts a dent in my plans. How are they gonna react if they see me? It was still early, so maybe I could come up with some sort of disguise and pretend I'm sick for the day. I won't be able to call the girls here, but at least I'll have the time to-
Shoot! No time for that! I hid behind the counter and watched the door as it opened. Of course Mom gave them a key. I've been sleeping in a lot lately since it's summer, so she probably didn't want them waiting at the door for a long time. But who did she invite? I looked and my eyes turned wide as I saw a mane of different colors.
Rainbow Dash?! Mom invited Rainbow Dash to look after me? How'd she even do that? That's so cool, Mom! I could- No! Wait! This is bad! This is worse! Of all the ponies to come here and see me like this, it had to be my hero. I kept out of sight. Maybe I can get around her, grab a blanket and pull my sick act.
"Huh. Guess the tyke's still in bed," I heard Rainbow Dash say and start trotting to the hallway. Darn, right where I needed to go, too! Okay, plan B: The laundry room ought to have something to disguise me, but it's on the other end of the living room. If I can just sneak my way there, I can do this. I stepped carefully, paying attention to Rainbow Dash's movements, but not to the stool I bumped into and knocked over.
KA-KLACK! I swear, everything sounds louder when you're trying to be sneaky.
"Who's there?" Rainbow Dash turned around, quick as a flash. Well, that was it. Game Over. I stood up with my claws in the air, because she sounded like she would have attacked me if I didn't show myself.
"Wait, Rainbow Dash! It's me!" I shouted.
"What the...?" She walked closer to me and took a long look at my face. "Scootaloo?"
"Yeah...it's me," I answered, putting my claws down. "I'm freaky, aren't I? You can say it."
"Are you kidding me?" Rainbow Dash laughed. "You look...AWESOME!" She flapped the tips of her wings in excitement.
She started looking all over my new body. "This looks so cool! Are these claws? You're so tall! You think I can do this? How'd you do it?"
"I don't know," I answered the last question she asked. "I woke up in this body. I was racking my brain trying to figure out how this happened when you came in."
"Really? Weird." She rubbed her chin. "Well, there has to be something. Ponies don't just turn into...whatever this is...for no reason. This never happened to me, and I've been in pretty weird situations."
"So you don't have a clue, either," I sighed and sat down on the couch. "What if there's no way to turn back, and I'm stuck this way forever? I can't go outside like this. Everypony who sees me would run scared."
"Come on, Scoot! There's no reason to start thinking the worst," she said. "I'm sure there's an explanation for this somewhere...I'm just no good at this myself. But you know who is?"
"Twilight, of course!" Rainbow Dash smiled. "If there's anything to be known about magic, and I know magic's gotta be at the bottom of this, then that egghead will know it."
"You really think so?" I asked.
"Hey, there hasn't been a problem that's come along that she hasn't been able to solve," she boasted. "We'll have you back to normal by sundown. Just watch."
I still wasn't totally sure. But if Dash says that Twilight will be able to help, then I should believe her. "Alright," I nodded.
"Good. I'm gonna make you some breakfast, and then I wanna see what you can do with this body of yours," she said as she walked to the kitchen.
After eating, (Rainbow Dash is surprisingly good at cooking) we came out to the backyard of the house. There were walls, so most ponies couldn't see us. I worried more about any pegasi that might be passing by, but Dash assured me that most pegasi pay more attention to where they're going than what's on the ground.
"So what are we going to do?" I asked her.
"Well...while you're like this, maybe you'd like to see just what you can do with it." Rainbow Dash picked up the red rubber ball I like to play with and held it in her hoof. "Even if you can't fly, there's gotta be something you can do that nopony else can."
"If you say so," I replied.
"That's the spirit!" She smiled. "Heads up!" With that, she tossed the ball up in the air towards me. Without even thinking about it, I jumped and knocked it back with my head. Well, that still felt the same, at least.
"How's that? That didn't hurt at all!"
"Good!" Dash said after she caught the ball. "Now let's see you use those new limbs of yours. Try catching the ball!" She bounced the ball off her head and sent it in my direction. I held my claws out and thought about how Spike grabbed on to things. Before I knew it, I caught the ball and was holding with every talon spread out across it.
"Okay!" I looked down at my hind legs. It felt so...different to see them bend the way they did it, but the basic idea should still be the same, shouldn't it? I let the ball bounce a couple of times off the floor before finally swinging my leg forward and hitting the ball with the paw. I think I might've hit it a little too hard, since Dash jumped out of the way.
"Woah!" She dodged the ball and let it hit the wall behind her. "I didn't think it would go that fast. At least we know your kicks are just as powerful."
"Thanks, Rainbow Dash!" I smiled.
"Okay! Let's see what else you can do!"
We spent time passing the ball to each other, with me hitting it back in different ways. I tried swinging at it with my foreleg, hitting it off my knee, my chest, and my flank. She tested how fast I could run by throwing it in a different direction. I haven't had this body for more than a couple of hours, but it already felt like I was always like this. I wasn't thinking about how to move in this compared to how I moved as a pony. Maybe Rainbow Dash was trying to get me used to it by playing with me. I'd say it worked.
"See, Scoot?" Rainbow Dash said as we came back into the house. "Having this body isn't all bad. You can still do a lot of things. So long as you're not having trouble moving around, things will be just fine."
"Thanks," I replied. "But what about..." I looked at my back at where my wings should have been. It still felt weird not to have them or my tail. I know I can't fly yet, but I would have liked to fly eventually.
"Just hang tight, okay?" Rainbow Dash put her hoof on my shoulder. It was still something to be almost at eye-level with her. "We'll get Twilight, and we'll work on this all day if we have to."
"Right. I'd hate to go out looking like this, though," I said looking down at myself. I might be fine with it now, and I know Rainbow Dash and her friends will be okay with I, but what about the rest of the town? The panic this would cause would probably be worse than the parasprites! "Think we can find a disguise or something?"
"Hmmm...I don't think anything you have is gonna fit." Dash rubbed her chin. "How about Rarity? I'm sure she'd be excited to try to make something for you. Celestia knows she's just itching to try something new."
"Sounds like a plan," I agreed. "Maybe I can talk with Sweetie Belle, too."
"Okay, let me get her on the horn," Dash snickered at her own joke and grabbed the phone. After a couple of rings, Dash smiled. "Hey, Rares, it's Dash! There's a bit of an emergency and I need your help! You see, I...oh, sorry...I was asked by Scootaloo's mom to look after the kid. But when I got here, she looked...different. Like...walking on two legs, hairless and-"
I heard a great "WHAT?!" come from the phone, making me jump. After jerking the phone back, Dash brought it back to her ear.
"I know it sounds weird, but she actually doesn't look...huh?...Seriously?!...Yeah, me too. Okay, I'll tell her and we'll be there right away." After that, she hung up the phone.
"Tell me what? What's going on?" I asked, trying my best not to panic.
"Okay, get on my back and I'll tell you on the way."
I hopped on Rainbow Dash's back and clung onto her neck. After stepping outside and with a great flap of her wings, we were up in the air. The wind whipping past me was very chilly, and without my coat, I noticed.
"Do we have to fly so high?" I asked Dash.
"Sorry, Scoot, but we can't risk anyone on the ground seeing you," she explained. "It's a short trip to Rarity's through the air, so we won't be long."
"Alright, so are you gonna tell me what happened?"
"Right. Sorry. When I told Rarity what happened to you, she said that the same thing had happened to Sweetie Belle!"
"Really?!" I was utterly shocked. I'm not the only one?
"Wake up, kids! I got blueberry pancakes with your names on 'em!"
To hear that first thing in the morning is such a lovely thing. Especially after sleeping on the floor all night. It was in a sleeping bag, but still. Dinky wanted to sleep on the floor with me, but I pushed that she sleep in her bed. It was there after all.
I was simply happy that her mum and dad let me stay the night here. My own mum agreed that I needed to spend time with other ponies, and this was a good way to do it. After spending so much time playing games and talking, I was able to sleep with a smile on my face. And breakfast sounds really good right now.
I managed to get myself off the floor and stretch, when I noticed something odd. I felt something at the end of my hooves curl when I stretched. I looked down, hoping it wasn't a spider, then wishing it was. My hooves...weren't hooves anymore! They were these...peach-colored...things like little tentacles on the end of where my hooves used to be. I could move them, which felt so strange as I've never had something like this before. I needed to tell Dinky.
I shuffled the blanket off of me as I sat up, and I felt like my shoulders were bigger, or at least wider. I looked down and saw that it wasn't just my hooves that were different. My whole body had changed! Everything had the same peach color as my hooves, from my chest to my hind legs, which now bent backwards. The little tentacles at the end of my hind legs were short and stumpy and not as mobile.
I went over to Dinky's bed as best I could on these new hind legs of mine. I could see her blonde mane poking out from under the sheets facing away from me. I reached out and shook her with my...claw, I suppose I'll call it for now.
"Dinky! Dinky, wake up!" I said in a hushed tone. "Something weird's happened!"
She turned over to my face me, but what I saw wasn't a pony's face. It was flat, with her muzzle gone and a small nose where it used to be. She had the same peach coloring as me, just slightly lighter. The sight of it made me jump back and let out a yelp in shock.
"Mmn...what's with the screaming?" Dinky groaned. She groggily opened her eyes and blinked a couple of times. As soon as her eyes were fully open, she must have seen what I looked like now, because she shot straight up on the bed and screamed. "Aaah!"
"Oh no...you too?" I asked. With the blanket down, I saw that her body was the same as mine, down to the claws at the end of where her hooves were.
"What?" Dinky looked down at herself and saw her changed body. She patted her chest and hind legs, telling her that this was all real. "What happened to me? What happened to us?"
"I don't know..." I answered. I really had no idea what happened to me and Dinky. "When we went to bed, we were ponies, right?"
"Right...I'm sure of it," Dinky replied. "So how did we...?" She looked straight at me with that flat face of hers. "You didn't mess with anything of Dad's, did you?"
"I didn't touch any of your dad's things, I swear!" I said, raising my forelegs up. "I was with you all night!"
"Oh yeah. Sorry." Dinky crawled off the bed and almost fell over having to put her knees on the floor. "Woah!"
"I got ya!" I held her up as she got the rest of herself down.
"Thanks," she replied and sat down next to me. I didn't think about it until I caught her, but neither Dinky nor I had our coats anymore. Since we were about the same color, I wondered if this was what it was like to be coatless, and the layer underneath was what we were wearing now. "This body's all sorts of weird."
"You can say that again!" I took another look at both her body and mine. We were definitely the same strange creature. We had similar claws at both our forelegs and hind legs. Our hind legs were longer, too, so we probably couldn't walk on all our legs.
"Did you cast a spell in your sleep, maybe?" I asked her.
"I don't think so," Dinky replied. "I certainly don't know any spells like...Ahh!" She felt her forehead and panic struck her face. "My horn! Where's my horn?"
"It's gone!" I told her. She moved her mane back, and her horn definitely wasn't there anymore.
"But if I can't use magic, how am I supposed to change us back?!" She asked.
"I don't know...maybe you didn't cast this spell, then," I answered, crossing my forelegs in thought. "But then how did this happen?" Suddenly, the door opened.
"Everything okay, muffinnnAAHH!" Dinky's mother Derpy walked into the door and saw us. Her gray wings spread high in shock.
"Mom! Please don't freak out!" Dinky shouted, holding out her foreleg.
"Um...Honey Muffin? You might wanna take a look at this!" Derpy called out for Dinky's father Time Turner.
"Is something wrong, Derpy? I'm hearing an awful lot of screaming!" I heard from the hall, alongside the sound of hooves. Soon, the familiar brown mane and coat that was her father walked into the doorway and jumped back. "Waah! Kids?"
Dinky nodded. "Mmhmm. It's us."
"We woke up like this," I explained. "We didn't touch any of your things, professor! Honest, we didn't!"
"You sure? Now would be a terrible time to lie, you two," he sneered.
"Dad, which one of your inventions could possibly do something like this?" Dinky asked, spreading out her forearms. "You've shown me every invention you've made, and I don't think any of them could change the body like this!"
Time Turner drew his head back and cleared his throat. "That's true, isn't it? Sorry for snapping like that. Just got a little scared is all."
"Do you know what happened to us?" I asked nervously to her father.
"No, but I can certainly find out. Sit tight, and I'll go get the scanner." He turned and left towards his lab, the sound of his hooves disappearing into the hall.
Derpy walked into the room and sat next to us. "This is actually quite the complete transformation!" She took Dinky's claw in her hoof to take a closer look. "No hooves, no horn, no coat. Your mane stayed the same, along with your pretty eyes." She nuzzled Dinky's nose with her snout.
Dinky giggled. "You're not mad at us?"
"What's there to be mad about?" Derpy asked. "It's clear you didn't do this on purpose. We'll see what your father can find out and move on from there. That's how we handle a problem, right?"
"Right. One step at a time!" Dinky said. This was a saying said amongst her family. Not surprising with her dad being a tinker on the side.
"Good!" Derpy smiled and flapped her wings in glee. "Seeing as how your hind legs are longer, let's see if we can get you to stand on them. I'll help you get up." She lowered her head and let Dinky hold onto it as she brought it back up. Standing on her hind legs, Dinky was almost as tall as her mother!
"Woah..." Dinky uttered as she teetered on her hind legs, careful not to fall. She steadied herself quickly and let out a deep breath, sure that she wouldn't topple.
"There we go! Your turn, Pipsqueak." Derpy turned to me and let me hold on to her neck as she helped me up. It was rather odd, to be so much taller than you remember being yesterday. I simply let myself stand up, bottom claws firmly on the floor.
"Wow. The only time I see things from this high is when I'm on Dad's back!" I commented.
"Don't get too used to it," Derpy said. "We'll find a way to return the both of you to normal."
"You think we can?" Dinky asked.
"I'm sure of it! Let's get some data down first." Derpy pulled out a pencil and notepad and started writing. "Face: Absence of snout, decreased nose size, ears moved to sides of head, smaller lips. Hair color of mane and color of eyes remain unchanged."
"Is this important?" I asked. I didn't like standing so still when I wasn't sure of what was going on.
"Sure, it is!" Derpy answered. "Gotta know every little point of data to work off of. Moving on, we have the body. Shorter neck, wider shoulders, absence of coat, replacement of hooves by...5-digit claws, absence of tail..."
"What?" I looked behind myself and felt my flank. There was no tail to be found anywhere. I hadn't realized it was gone until Derpy said so. I guess I always took it for granted. I miss it already.
"Hmm...it's too bad neither of you have your cutie marks, so we could tell whether or not they stayed around," Derpy commented. "Finally...aside from identifiable gender, that's all we can tell from looking on the outside. We can run this through a database and see just what you two turned into."
"And this..." Time Turner finally came back in the room carrying a strange looking pen in his mouth, "...will tell us the source! Hold still, please." The end of his pen began to glow with a blue light as he pointed it at me and Dinky, moving it up and down our bodies. After a few seconds, he stopped and took a look at the pen with his hoof.
"Did you find anything?" Dinky asked her father.
"Well, it's definitely magic of some sort," he answered. "And it didn't come from you, so that's a relief."
"I could've told you that!" Dinky crossed her forelegs and pouted.
"Yes, but now I have evidence!" Time Turner looked back to his pen. "This magic's powerful. Quite powerful. But it's also faint, like it's being stretched out. Whatever spell did this, it was a potent one that had a large area of effect. If I run this against our database, we can see just how far. Follow me!"
He trotted out of the room with Derpy following suit. I held on to her back so I wouldn't fall over walking on my hind legs. It was actually easier than I thought it would be, the flatness of my hind claws being enough to support me. The feeling would still take some getting used to, but I was already doing well, so I don't think that'll take long.
Through one of the doors, we walked into Time Turner's lab. It was a room that was so far apart from the rest of the house, you'd swear you walked into another world as soon as you opened the door. It also looks bigger on the inside, as you'd never be able to tell this place exists looking at this house from the outside. Walls of bronze with lights placed everywhere, different cords going this way and that, and in the center, a large console with different sized screens dominated your sight. You could hear the hum of the machines working constantly in the background alongside steam coming out from various places. I've been here before, but every time I come here, it's always an amazing sight.
"I'm gonna put in the data on their physical appearance and run it through an animal database while you check the scanner," Derpy said as she walked to one side of the large console.
"Thank you, dear!" Time Turner went over to another part of the console and stuck the pen into a small hole. The end glowed blue again as one of the screens began showing a whole bunch of numbers and meters that were beyond anything I could read. "First, it's identifying the magic it read off of you. And then, it's going to show us similar signatures so we can see just how far this goes..."
"You don't think we're the only ones this happened to, do you, Dad?" Dinky asked.
"More than likely not," he answered. "My current theory is that magic this powerful had to affect an area larger than just this house and affected more than just two ponies. In fact, I find it quite fascinating that only you two were changed. Amethyst looked normal as ever before she took off for work, and your mother and I feel just fine. Maybe the number of ponies affected won't be that high..."
"I hope we can figure out a way to change us back..." Dinky looked down and shuffled her rear claw.
"We will, Dinky. I promise." Suddenly, the machine beeped and the screen showed a new image of different shapes across the screen.
"What's this?" I asked.
"This is a map of the immediate area," Time Turner explained. "It's the whole of Ponyville. Now, it's going to show us how many of its residents are giving off the same magic signature." He pointed with his hoof to one of the shapes. "This is our house, and those two little dots are the both of you. Once it reads the signature, more dots should show up, and...oh...oh my."
My eyes went wide as I saw what was happening on the screen. There weren't just a few dots showing up. There were many. Almost every house in the area we were in had at least one dot on it. Every one of those dots meant another poor pony that was transformed.
"There are so many of them..." Dinky said.
"This is bigger than I thought," Time Turner stared at the screen. "I'm going to need to collect more data." Suddenly, a loud buzzing noise came from the other side of the console, causing all three of us to jump.
"Grr! Stupid thing!" It was Derpy, and she seemed to be having some trouble.
"Dearie, what have I said about insulting the machines?" Time Turner walked over to her side, with Dinky and I following. The screen she was looking at simply had the word "ERROR" in big red letters.
"I keep searching using different words, but every time, it comes up with no results!" Derpy angrily pointed at the screen. "The database keeps giving me things like 'bear' and 'dragon', but nothing that matches the exact description of the kids!"
"That is troubling. You two don't look like bears, and you're certainly not dragons either," he said, looking at the two of us. "What's more, there are many more affected, Derpy. We're gonna need to go out and investigate for ourselves."
"But what about the kids?" Derpy asked. "We can't leave them alone in the house."
"True. Hmm...we could use my cloaking hat," Time Turner suggested.
"But that thing only works so long as no pony disrupts it. What if somepony bumps into you?"
"Then we'll just have to be careful then, won't we? I don't like this either, Derpy, but you're absolutely right. We can't leave them alone here." He turned towards us. "For now, you should eat up, you two. I'm sure all this excitement so far has made you hungry."
My stomach grumbled. "Now that you mention it...I don't suppose those pancakes are still good?"
After eating, which proved to be a bit of a challenge for us, since we weren't sure how to eat with our new limbs at first, Time Turner came into the kitchen wearing a funny looking hat. It was just a small umbrella fixed to his head with a strap. It was a deep blue color and had a couple of lights on the sides. I blinked a few times before asking what that was.
"This is my cloaking hat, Pip," he answered. "This will render me invisible to others outside a certain distance."
"The idea was to come up with a hat so ridiculous, you'd have to be invisible to wear it in public," Dinky explained.
"Says you. And your mother," Time Turner said before clearing his throat. "If you stay close to me, children, no pony will be able to see you. A panic in town is the last thing we need."
"Don't forget these!" Derpy came in holding what looked like a large white shirt and a...pink dress?
"Mom, why did you bring one of Dad's shirts and my Nightmare Night costume?" Dinky asked.
"Well, I just thought that without your coats, you might get cold out there," Derpy replied.
"Mom, it's summer!"
"So? What if a breeze blows by? I don't want you getting a cold in the summer..." Derpy put on her best worried face.
"That makes absolutely no sense," Dinky put her claws at her hips. "But you're not gonna let me say no on this, are you?"
"Nope!" Derpy flashed a big smile. "Now, hurry! We want to spend as much as we can today looking into this."
"Wait!" I just realized something. "What about my parents? I haven't called Mum yet!"
"Don't worry about that, Pipsqueak," Time Turner spoke up. "I've already contacted your mother and told her you'd be spending the day with us. Far as she knows, you'll be back with her by sundown. For better or worse."
"Okay..." I nodded and started to put the shirt on. It reached down long and covered my flank. Just as well, as not having my tail felt embarrassing for some reason.
"We'll get us back to normal by then, Pip! You'll see!" Dinky said. She had just finished putting on the dress, which looked a little snug up top and reached down halfway to her knees.
"Is that an old costume?" I asked.
"No, but this body's a little bigger than I was as a pony," she answered while tugging at different points, trying to make it comfortable.
"If we're all ready to go, I'd like you to stay close, children," Time Turner pressed a button on the strap once we got close to him. An invisible barrier came down around us, only causing a small ripple to show it was there. "Lead the way, Derpy!"
"Aye aye!" Derpy saluted with her hoof and opened the front door. One way or another, we were going to sort this out. I hope Mum doesn't mind me like this if we don't...
"What do you mean, you can't find anything wrong?!" I've never heard something so outrageous! Don't these ponies use their eyes at all?
"Exactly what that means, sweetheart," my father pleaded. "All the doctors say you're perfectly fine!"
"Just how is this fine, Daddy?!" I stood up, giving everypony else reason to step back. It's still strange to stand up on two legs, but I was much too angry to care.
"We're still looking for the reason this happened, sugar lump. If you would just be patient and let the doctors keep running their magic on you, maybe we can find the cause..."
"These unicorns have had their horns glowing in my face for a whole hour!" I pointed out to him. "If they can't find the reason I look like this, then they're useless! You should have their degrees taken away!"
"Now now, Diamond. Let's not be harsh. These doctors came all the way from the other edge of town to take a look at you," Daddy explained. "And they're working as hard as they can!" He turned to one of the doctors, a dark yellow unicorn with a brown mane. "Aren't you?"
"Of course, Mr. Rich," the doctor replied. "But we've never seen anything like this before. For your daughter to just find herself like this when she woke up is nothing short of a mystery."
"She can't be the only one like this, can she?"
"We're not sure of that, either," the doctor answered. "We don't know the conditions that your daughter was in when this happened. None of the children in sick beds at the hospital have experienced any change, and neither has the maternity ward. If this is a condition that's affecting others, it's only affecting a certain area of Ponyville. That is, if she's not the only one that's like this."
"I better not be! I don't wanna be stuck like this!" I stomped my hind hoof and marched over to the mirror next to my bed.
"And I promise, we're gonna find the cause and find a way to change you back! Just please, let the doctors do their work!" Daddy kept whining, but I wasn't listening.
"Why did this have to happen to me just when summer vacation was starting?" I sighed, staring at my new form in the mirror. "My finely groomed hooves have been replaced by these...things that look like spider's legs! My beautiful face has been smooshed in, my slender neck has been cut short! My pretty pink coat that takes forever to groom is now this hairless abomination I can't even run a comb through! My gorgeous tail has vanished! But most heinous of all...MY CUTIE MARK IS GONE!! I'M A BLANK FLANK AGAIN!!" I broke down crying at this reminder.
"There, there, my sweet little angel," Daddy came up to me. "You've still got your sublime mane and your soulful eyes." He reached up to my chin so I'd look at him.
"But those are the only things I have left! What if they disappear or turn into something else? No one would recognize me! Not even Silver Spoon would want to be around me!" I wiped the tears from my eyes and stood up straight. "I'm going to go see her."
"What? You shouldn't! Not looking like you do right now!" Daddy stepped in front of me.
"I want to see her before this gets any worse!" I yelled. I had to admit, it was much easier to talk to him when I was just this much taller.
"But what if somepony sees you?"
"For crying out loud, Daddy! Silver Spoon's right next door! And I'm going to see her while I still mostly look like me!" I started to walk out of the room to leave the house.
"Young lady, I can't let you leave here without knowing just what it was that changed you into this!" Daddy stood in front of the doorway. I scrunched up my face and was about to let him have it, when a noise broke the tension.
"Now who could that be?" Daddy turned around and walked to the foyer. I followed him, even though he told me not to. "Randolph, who is it?"
"Miss Silver Spoon has arrived, Master Filthy," Randolph stated. A figure, draped in what looked like a large bed sheet, stood next our butler. Out from the top was a familiar head of hair, which was the only thing that told me it was her. Everything else was covered. "She states she's ill and thus will not let herself be seen, but she still wished to see Diamond Tiara."
"Silver Spoon!" I ran towards her, careful not to fall down the stairs...again. I gave her the biggest hug I could, taking her by surprise. She tensed up and wound up dropping the sheet.
When the sheet fell, I took a step back to take a look at my friend. I should have known something was wrong when she was the same size as me. But, whatever had happened to me happened to her as well. She had only light skin instead of her coat. She stood on two legs, with claws at the ends the same shape as mine. Her snout had been smushed into her face, making it flat. Her tail was missing as was her cutie mark.
"Oh no," I said. "Not you too!"
"This is terrible, isn't it?" Silver Spoon asked. "We look like freaks! Cutie mark-less freaks!"
"Calm down," I said and placed my claws on her shoulders. "We'll find whoever did this to us, make them change us back, and run them out of town!"
"But who could ever do this to us?" Silver Spoon inquired. "Could it have been those blank flanks? Maybe they were so flankhurt over not having cutie marks that they did something to take them away from us! And then some!"
"Don't be ridiculous!" I shouted. "How could those girls possibly have enough power to do something like this? Sweetie Belle can't even use magic, remember?"
"Then, if it wasn't them, then who?"
"Sugar lump!" I heard my father coming down the stairs. "Please, you should..." He reared back when he saw Silver Spoon.
"So this isn't happening to just one pony," the doctor said, following Daddy. "Miss Silver Spoon, would you allow us to take a look at you? Run some diagnostic spells so we can see what's happened to you and Miss Tiara?"
"If you think it'll help..." Silver Spoon answered.
"I'm sure it will, Silver Spoon," Daddy told her. "We need to do whatever we can to find out how this happened."
"And we'll make whoever did this pay, right, Daddy?" I asked.
"We-We'll see..." was his only answer.
I had to hold Silver Spoon's claw with my own to make sure she'd get up the stairs without much trouble. I had always been used to using my hooves, so using these strange things that looked like spider's legs should have been an exercise in frustration. But I was able to use them just fine without thinking about it. This was just too strange. I needed to change back before I got used to this weird body.
"Please. Lay down," the doctor instructed once we got back to my room. We both lay on our backs on the bed and waited for him to start. Silver Spoon lay her glasses on the table next to the bed.
"What are you going to do?" Silver Spoon asked.
"We just need to take a look every structure in your body and compare the two of you and see if we can find what's common and what's different," the doctor explained. "This won't take long, I promise."
"Okay." With that, the doctor and his two unicorn nurses began. Their horns glowed, and all around me and Silver Spoon, little screens started appearing. I could see one that told me how fast my heart was beating, as well as another with a weird squiggly line. Before I could ask what that was, a large green rectangle appeared above me and Silver Spoon and lowered itself, covering the both of us. I closed my eyes for a little bit until I felt it was safe. When I opened them, though, I screamed at what I saw in front of me.
"Diamond, hush!" Daddy snapped at me. He turned toward the doctor. "Doctor, is this...?"
"Their skeletal structure, yes," the doctor replied. Right above me and Silver Spoon were pictures of the bones the both of us had in these bodies. A warning would have been nice.
"How bizarre..." Daddy said quietly.
"It's fascinating, really," the doctor said. "I've never seen a body like this in any of my textbooks. It's fully functional and sound as far as its structure goes. And take a look at this." He waved his hoof, and the skeleton disappeared. In its place, an outlined image of our organs showed up. I had to look away to keep from getting sick.
"These are their organs?" I heard Daddy ask.
"Yes, they are," the doctor answered. "Even though they're in different bodies, they still have all the same vital pieces. Heart, lungs, brain, muscles, intestines and ovaries. This at the very least tells us they're still mammals."
"That's fine and everything, but how does this help us?" Daddy started getting impatient. I heard the images blink out and could look over at Daddy again. He looked like he was starting to get mad.
"If we know everything about what they turned into, we can figure out a magical algorithm to possibly change them back," the doctor explained. "Look right here," he brought up a screen showing a line that wiggled and squiggled in a pattern. "Everypony has a unique magic signature that's used to identify them. When you called me over, I brought Diamond Tiara's records with me, which includes her signature. What you see here doesn't match what I have on file."
"And? What does that mean?"
"Allow me to finish," the doctor said calmly. "We found an odd flucuation in your daughter's pattern. We also found this same flucuation in Miss Silver Spoon's pattern as well. Whatever kind of magic that was able to do this is the same magic."
"So it is some manner of spell," Daddy rubbed his chin. "So what happens now? What do you recommend?"
"I recommend staying at home until I come back after analyzing all of this data." The doctor finished writing in his pad and put everything in his saddle bag. The nurses had also started packing their things.
"You're leaving?!" Daddy shouted.
"I have to, Mr. Rich," the doctor replied. "The proper equipment to analyze all this is still back at the hospital. If I can't find anything there, I'll have to request assistance in Canterlot."
"Canterlot?" Daddy asked. "But won't that take you another day?"
"I'm afraid so," the doctor answered.
"Another day?!" I sprang up out of bed and walked over to the doctor grabbing his face. "I cant stand being in this body for another hour! You're a doctor, aren't you? So fix this!"
"Sugar plum, please let go of the doctor," Daddy pleaded.
"You're not in any danger while in this body," the doctor said through a squished muzzle. He lifted me up so I would let go. "Which means we can take our time figuring this out. If there is anything, we will let you know as soon as possible. For now, have this." He set me down and took a lollipop out of his saddle bag. I sat down with it in my claw while he left the room, accompanied by Randolph.
"Uh...thank you for your help!" Daddy shouted after him. "Let us be the first to know when you find something!"
"Just what does that quack expect me to do? Stay cooped up in this house?!" I threw the lollipop behind me. How dare he patronize me? It wasn't even a good flavor!
"We'll die of boredom before he finds a cure!" Silver Spoon buried her face in the pillow. "This is the worst!"
"I'm sorry, girls," Daddy said. "But it would be best if you stayed here until the doctor gets back to us."
"But who knows when that will be, Daddy!" I stood and shouted. "All the other fillies and colts are out there enjoying their summer while we're stuck here looking like freaks!"
"Don't think of yourselves as freaks," Daddy said. "Think of yourselves as...unique creatures of beauty."
I stared at him in disbelief. "That's gotta be the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say, Daddy."
Daddy sighed. "What I'm trying to tell you is that you should make the most of it. This is only a temporary setback! I didn't make the bits we enjoy today by complaining!"
"No, you got the bits we enjoy getting the business from Grandpa!" I reminded him.
"Well," Daddy cleared his throat, "I certainly didn't let it go to waste..." He stammered on, but his words were already lost on me.
I walked up to the mirror and took a good long look at it. Even if it wasn't my beautiful pink coat, I couldn't say that this skin was necessarily ugly. I have to admit, I have seen worse looking ponies than this. It's almost the middle of the day and I still...mostly...look like myself. If this is as bad as it gets...
"You know what, Daddy?" I said aloud. "You're right!"
"I should make the most of this!" I told him. "Right now, Silver Spoon and I have been blessed with a gracious new form!"
"We have?" Silver Spoon asked, getting off the bed.
"Of course!" I shouted. I brought her over to the mirror so she could take a look at herself. "Standing on two legs, we stand far above any filly our age! With these claws, we can grab all sorts of things without needing a horn or magic! Even if this beauty isn't understood in our time, if we do this right, we can be known as pioneers in new bodies!"
"You think so?" She asked.
"I know it for a fact!" I said with my claw at my chest. "Daddy! Call the seamstress! We're going out for the day!"
"Out?!" Daddy exclaimed. "What if somepony sees you two?"
"I want them to see us!" I answered proudly. "Whether we're in these bodies for a few days or for good, I don't wanna be stuck in this house anymore! Never allow yourself to be afraid; Isn't that what you taught me, Daddy?"
"But nothing!" I interrupted him. "We're gonna flaunt these new looks and show this town the latest trend, started by us!"
Daddy remained silent. After a moment, he sighed and said, "Okay, just so long as you stay in town. But...why do you need the seamstress?"
"To make us outfits to fit this new body, duh!" I replied and looked back to the mirror. "Nothing looks too bad with this body, but even without any blemishes, we still look embarrassingly plain. Don't you agree, Silver Spoon?"
Silver Spoon looked at the mirror and smiled. "I think I would like to wear something other than my glasses."
"There, you see? Now, come on!" I told Daddy. "I wanna get out of here as soon as possible!"
It took a couple hours, (including some of the time spent trying to wake up the seamstress after she fainted) but Silver Spoon and I were finally ready to hit the town. We had dresses that reached to our knees, both the same color as our former coats. Made us easier to identify, you see. They were rather simple, but we wanted to leave and there was no time for added frills.
"I can't wait to see the looks on those chumps' faces when we stroll into town looking this amazing!" I told Silver Spoon walking towards the main square.
"This was scary at first," she said, "but these bodies and these clothes are going to launch us miles ahead of the competition!"
"Now you're talking! It's our turn to set the trend!" I shouted triumphantly. "Our popularity will soar like nothing we've ever seen! Fillies will beg to know our secret to how we did it!"
"But..." Silver Spoon slowed down slightly. "How did we do it?"
"Details, details," I replied. "We'll have that figured out later. Not like we're gonna tell them, anyway," I giggled. "Right now, what's important is..."
We reached the town square, and what the both of us saw there completely blew our minds.
I woke up to the feeling of the wind blowing past me that told me I wasn't flying. The ground was getting closer, and I knew it wasn’t forgiving. The sight of it must have caused my wings to lock up. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get my wings to work. I closed my eyes and prepared for the worst, when I felt a couple of forelegs around my barrel. I breathed out a sigh of relief as I slowed and touched down safely. I looked behind me to see the familiar blue and white mane of my brother Thunderlane.
“Thank you!” I cried out, grabbing my big brother and buried my face in his neck. "I don't know what happened. I..."
“Rumble…is that you?” he asked.
I started to ask him what he meant when I looked at my right forehoof and saw a claw there. The talons weren't sharp enough, but I don't know what else to call it. I gasped, looked down at myself to find I had stubby little claws at the end of my hind legs as well. Not only that...
“Wh…what happened?” I shouted, patting my barrel and stomach. "My coat's gone! I'm bald!"
"Not completely," Thunderlane said. "You still got your mane." He rubbed the top of my head, and I could feel my hair being ruffled. I felt it with my claws to check myself.
"That's great, but...what am I?" I asked. "And how did this happen?"
“I don’t know…but maybe we can ask Zecora,” he said.
I rolled my eyes. Really? Thunderlane had been using any excuse he could, and now here I was, changed into something that neither of us know, and he wants to spend time with her? I guess that she was okay, but I didn’t like sharing my big brother with her. He touched my forehead and smiled.
“I think at the very least she could offer you a bed for the rest of the night, squirt,” he said.
“What’s wrong with my bed?” I asked.
“You mean the bed you just fell through and almost wound up becoming as flat as an Oat Burger?” he asked, pointing upward.
“Oh, right,” I said. "I wonder why that happened..." He chuckled and walked over to me. I tried to get on all fours, but it felt weird, and I kind of looked silly with my flank in the air like that.
“It looks like your hind legs are longer than your front now. Maybe you should try standing on them,” he suggested. I did, and I found that I could stand on them fairly easily. I tried to walk, and instantly fell on my flank.
“OW!” I rubbed my flank, only to discover something.
“You’re fine. You’ve taken worse spills than that before,” he said, but I wasn't paying attention. I looked behind myself because I couldn't feel my tail anymore. My eyes turned wide when I saw that it wasn't just my tail that was gone.
“Thunderlane… My wings…” I said sniffling. He looked behind me and had a look of shock on his face when he saw that they were gone too.
“It’s going to be okay, Rumble," Thunderlane said, trying to comfort me. We’ll get this fixed, I promise. If Zecora doesn’t know, then maybe she’ll know somepony who does."
“Okay…” I nodded, trying my best not to cry. I felt scared. I was more scared right now than I had ever been before. I was even more scared than when I told my brother I kind of liked Applebloom. That was a mistake too. Thunderlane teased me about liking her that entire day, and then into the next one, and well… he still teases me about it.
“Here, climb on my back, Squirt,” he said, lowering himself to let me on. I sat down on his back and clung on as he lifted himself back up. I knew that I was most likely making it too hard for him to fly, but he ran and tried to anyway. We lifted off of the ground for about two seconds before he landed and shook his head.
“Well, that didn't work. How do you feel about a walk?” He asked with a nervous smile on his face.
“Through the Everfree?” Was he crazy?
“It’s just to Zecora’s,” he replied. "Her hut's not too deep into the forest, and I know the way to it by heart."
"Okay..." I didn't like it, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it.
The forest was as creepy in the night as it was during the daytime. I stayed quiet as I listened to the sounds of the forest around us. It was loud tonight. It sounded like everything was trying to get angry all at once, and I had enough to be scared about. Without my coat, the night was even colder than usual. I clung on tighter to Thunderlane and clutched one of his wings with my claw.
"Ow! Careful, buddy," he said. "Everything okay?"
"It's just a little cold..." I said, but I couldn't hide my worry for long. “Thunderlane...I’m still your brother right?”
“Of course you are, Squirt! It's me and you to the end,” he said.
That made me feel better. In the distance I could see a single light, which Thunderlane ran towards, with me trying not to fall off. He knocked on the door and a moment later it opened revealing Zecora, who studied us both before moving out of the way to let us in.
“Had I known you were coming, I'd have prepared some tea, but it is for a different reason you have come to see me?" She asked. How does she come up with these rhymes on the fly?
I slowly got down and he motioned toward me. “This is Rumble. Something happened to him, Zecora, and I was wondering if you might know what it is?” He asked.
She studied me for a moment before she walked over to a table and began mixing a few herbs together. I watched as she dropped a glowing flower into the mixture, mashed it down, and let it glow for a moment before she walked back over and held out the bowl to me on her head.
“Eat this paste, but make haste, for it has a terrible taste,” she warned.
I licked it, and instantly I wished I had listened and tried to eat it all at once. I put my claw into the bowl and scooped out as much as I could. I shoved it into my mouth and swallowed. For a moment nothing happened, and then my entire body glowed blue for a second. I held out my foreleg and saw both the claw and a bluish faint vision of my hoof appear over it. I had never been so glad to see it until the vision of my hoof disappeared completely.
Zecora shook her head. “I hoped this was simply poison joke's doing, but it seems this change is from another's fooling,” she said.
“So you think it might be magic?” Thunderlane asked.
“Yes I do, and those who know what may have happened are few. Perhaps we should talk to dear Twilight. If anypony knows what happened, she might,” she said.
Thunderlane looked at her and smiled brightly. “Have I told you how pretty you are?” he asked. Ugh. Flirting already?
“Thunderlane, complimenting me is a simple task, but if there is something you need, you need only ask,” she replied.
He shuffled his front hooves for a moment before looking at her.
“Well, Rumble needs somewhere to sleep. He can’t stay on the clouds without his wings, and I wouldn’t mind keeping you company while you research,” he said.
She raised an eyebrow at him and I covered my mouth with one of my claws to keep from laughing. After a moment, I uncovered my mouth when Zecora looked at me.
“Rumble, tell me true, is sleeping here something you want to do?” She asked.
“I want to sleep on my bed, but I can’t sleep on the clouds anymore, and Thunderlane trusts you, so I do too,” I answered.
“Very well, then sleep you shall. Rest your head and heart, and tomorrow we shall see if we can take this curse apart,” she replied.
I was lead to a stone slab with large leaves resting on it. Laying on it was very tough, especially after laying on soft clouds for most of my life. How does she sleep on this?
"I know it's an adjustment, Rumble," Thunderlane said to me. "But this is just for now until we can change you back. We'll have you back to flying in no time! Try to get some rest in the meantime, okay?"
"I don't even know how I'm gonna get back to sleep after all this," I said. Without my coat, the leaves felt very odd against me, like plastic, but not quite. At least they didn't itch. That would've been the last thing I needed. I finally found a comfortable enough position, laying on my side facing away from them. I just closed my eyes and hoped my body would allow me to sleep.
"This whole thing has got me worried," I heard Thunderlane say. "I mean, what did he even turn into? Have you ever seen anything like it?"
"There is more to the world than what we see. Perhaps it's something not yet revealed to you and me," Zecora replied.
"So, you don't know, either," Thunderlane sighed. I heard his hoofsteps come closer to me. "Just how do you go from a pegasus to something that doesn't even look like a pony? The only way I can tell it's still him is his mane and the fact he's a boy. And that's not saying much..."
"Bro?" I called out to him quietly.
"Yeah, Squirt?" Thunderlane answered.
I turned over to face him. "What if I can't change back? What if I never get to fly again?"
"We can't start thinking like that, Rumble," he said. "You can't tell yourself you're going to lose before you've even started the race!"
I sat up. "Yeah, but..."
He put his hoof to my chest. "No buts, baby brother. You let Zecora and I do all the hoofwork while you rest. It's way too late for a little colt to be awake."
"If anxiety and fear stays your rest," Zecora came up to us with a cup of tea balanced on her nose. "Perhaps some herbal tea would help you best."
I carefully grasped the cup with my claws and took in a whiff of the tea. Already, it felt soothing and I was beginning to calm down. I took in a few sips to check that it wasn't too hot, then gulped it down bit by bit. By the time the cup was finished, my eyelids felt extremely heavy, and my whole body just wanted to lay down. As I laid down and started to drift off to sleep, I felt an old quilt being laid across me. I drew it close to me and closed my eyes.
"Applebloom?" I called out to her from behind a tree, trying to stay hidden.
"What is it, Rumble?" I heard her say as she came closer.
"I wanted to tell you something for a long time, Applebloom..." I swallowed hard and came out from behind the tree. "Applebloom, I...I really like you!"
The look of horror on her face as she slowly stepped back didn't hurt as much as what she screamed.
"GET AWAY FROM ME! MONSTER!"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
I woke up with a start, sitting straight up and gasping for air. That was just a dream, but it was still the second worst night's sleep I ever got. I looked down at myself. I still wasn't a pony, so last night wasn't a dream either.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Who the hay can that be?" Thunderlane said groggily as he got up right next to me. I guess he stayed up with Zecora looking up cures.
"A moment if you will, dear guests of mine," Zecora shouted towards her door as she sat up at the other side of me. "I am not used to so many visitors at this time."
"Rumble, hide. Quickly," Thunderlane whispered to me.
"We don't want to cause a panic if somepony else sees you," he answered. "We'll do our best to get them to leave quickly. Just hide for now, okay?" After the dream last night, I was willing to believe him. I quickly covered myself with the quilt, just allowing myself to look at what was going on.
As soon as Zecora opened the door, two blue pegasi practically flew into the hut. Zecora was mainly ignored, and they went straight to Thunderlane, who was doing his best to hid me. Through the quilt, I could make out one mane of light blue hair and another with teal hair and a bow. Wait a second! That's...
"Cloudchaser! Flitter!" Thunderlane greeted them nervously. "What are you two doing here?"
"Cut the chatter, Thunderlane," Cloudchaser stomped her hoof.
"Where is he? Where's Rumble?" Flitter asked, a little more calmly than her sister.
"Well, good morning to you too, girls!" Thunderlane said, slightly indignant. "How do you even know he's here?"
"Your neighbor said he heard Rumble screaming in the middle of the night," Cloudchaser explained. "When we came over to check in, neither of you were home!"
"We're just worried about him, that's all," Flitter said. "And everypony in the neighborhood knows that if you aren't at home or work or training, you'll be coming here."
"Everypony knows it?!" Thunderlane shouted, but after a moment of awkward silence, he cleared his throat. "Anyway, Rumble's fine, girls! You don't need to worry!"
"Then where is he? And why was he screaming last night?" Cloudchaser was getting closer to Thunderlane.
"He just had a really bad dream," he tried to explain. "I dropped him off at a friend's house to calm down. Like you need to. Zecora?"
"So much tea made as of late," Zecora chuckled. "I'll need to go back for herbs at this rate." She trotted off to make more tea.
"Could you tell us who you left him with?" Flitter asked. "Was it Button Mash? Featherweight? Shady Daze?"
"How do you even know all..." Thunderlane shook his head. "Nevermind that. I told you, he's fine! Why do you need to know so badly?"
"It's our duty as his foalsitters to know if something's wrong with him!" Cloudchaser answered. "And if you're hiding him for whatever stupid reason..."
They went on talking, but I was distracted by this itchy feeling in my nose. It's smaller, but it still works the same. Like catching dust being kicked up by all the commotion. Oh no. Not now!
"A-ha!" Cloudchaser shouted, pushing Thunderlane out of the way. "I knew you were hiding him!"
"Girls, wait! You don't know what you're..." Thunderlane pleaded, but it was too late.
Cloudchaser grabbed the quilt with her teeth and yanked it away from me before I had a chance to catch it. I was left exposed and frightened as they both gasped at the sight of me. This was it. My life was over. I just braced myself for their screaming. No, screaming is the wrong word for it. More like...squealing?
"He's so cute!!" They both shouted as they grabbed and hugged me. That took me by surprise.
"Cute?" Thunderlane could only say. "Really?"
"Look at him, Flitter!" Cloudchaser held my claw between her hooves. "It's like a griffon's claw, but it's all stubby!"
"And his little face!" Flitter pushed my cheeks together. "His nose is so tiny! He feels so soft, even without a coat!"
"You girls aren't scared at all?" Thunderlane asked, genuinely confused.
"Are you kidding?" Cloudchaser exclaimed. "He may look a little different, but he's still the same Rumble we know and love."
"Thanks, you two," I said. "That means a lot."
"Don't tell me you were scared of him, Thunderlane," Flitter teased.
"Of course, I wasn't scared!" He replied. "I was just worried that you would be, and Rumble's had a hard enough time already. We found out the hard way he can't walk on clouds like this. And he doesn't have his wings anymore, either. I'd like to get him back to normal as soon as possible."
"Hmm...that is a problem, isn't it, Flitter?" Cloudchaser asked her sister.
"If he can't fly or stay in the clouds, he can't come over to our house and play with us anymore," Flitter lamented, her ears bending downward. "What do we do?"
"We can invest in a house on the surface," Cloudchaser suggested. "Then, it won't matter that he can't fly!"
"Or..." Thunderlane interrupted, "we can find out what happened to him and look for a way to turn him back."
"Isn't that why you came here?" Cloudchaser asked. "Have you found out anything?"
"All we've been able to find out is what he's not," Thunderlane sighed. "Zecora said that there were rituals back in her land that could change one's shape, but she doesn't know any that could make this happen."
"A shifting ritual involves many a piece, none of which are seen in places such as this," Zecora said, carrying a plate with cups full of tea. "If further confusion is your plight, then why not take young Rumble to see Twilight?"
"Twilight?" Cloudchaser cocked her head. "Oh! That unicorn who helped getting the water to Cloudsdale!"
"She lives in that big tree near the center of town, the Golden Oak Library," Flitter continued. "Let's hope she's not out and about today..."
"Right!" Her sister nodded, and immediately picked me up by the barrel and put me on Flitter's back.
"Wait! What do you think you're doing?!" Thunderlane asked, stepping in front of them.
"Taking him to Twilight's, of course!" Cloudchaser answered.
"But what if somepony sees him? It'll cause a panic for sure!" He argued.
"Pfft! Please..." Cloudchaser scoffed. "Anypony that would faint at the sight of somepony as harmless and sweet as Rumble would probably faint at anything!"
"You seem really stressed, Thunderlane," Flitter said. "You probably didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night with all this happening. Maybe you should wait here and let us handle things."
"But..." Thunderlane grumbled, then looked to me. "Rumble, what do you want to do?"
I clung onto Flitter's neck. "Anything's better than waiting here. And Zecora said Twilight might have an answer, so..."
"Okay," Thunderlane sighed. "I'll let you two take him to Twilight's. But do your best to keep him out of sight until you get there. Also, he's a little heavy, so be careful."
"We'll hoof it if we have to!" Cloudchaser said full of confidence. "Anything for our Rumble!"
"I'll be fine with these two, Thunderlane," I told him. Anything to get him to stop worrying.
"Besides," Cloudchaser stepped beside him, "this is the perfect opportunity to get some alone time with Zecora."
Thunderlane blushed madly. "That's...!" That just made everypony giggle. "Just get out of here."
We left Zecora's hut, with Thunderlane waving to me until he was out of sight. Cloudchaser kept close to me and reassured me everything would be fine. I hope so, otherwise my life is over!
“Ruby, are you okay?” I could hear my sister ask from the other side of the door. "You haven't come down to breakfast. Are you sick?"
I stood up once I heard her, but all I could do was cry. I heard her knock on the door again, and finally she opened it. I looked at her, still the same plum-colored coat and purple mane. She was still a pony, so why...?
“Sis, what’s wrong with me?!” I cried.
I felt her hooves wrap around me within a moment and she pulled me against her barrel. She cooed softly as I cried into her neck. I knew that I looked like something out of the EverFree, my mirror showed me as much. Like some sort of hairless thing with just my eyes and mane looking close to what I originally was. I sniffed back a few tears as she rubbed my back.
“I wish that Mama was here,” I whimpered.
“I know, but it’s okay. You’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna get you over to the doctor’s and he’s gonna fix you up,” Berry Punch said.
“But I don’t wanna get a shot,” I muttered.
“Shush. Come on, now.”
I tried to walk, but everything felt off balance. These hind legs are hard to stay on. After a moment, Berry just helped me up onto her back and she trotted down the stairs and into the living room. She stopped when there was a knock at the front door.
“Hello?” she asked.
“Berry, it’s Sound. I wanted to know if you wanted to grab a bite to eat,” he said. She opened the door to reveal her friend, a lunar Pegasus named Sound Ray. If his yellow eyes and silver hair weren't enough of a sign, his bat-like wings certainly were. He looked back and forth between me and my sister with a look that showed he understood.
“So, it wasn’t just dreams,” he finally said.
“What do you mean?” My sister asked.
“Princess Luna has been busy with several of the colts and fillies in Ponyville," Sound explained. "She’s informed some of us that there have been strange dreams that she could barely get into, and even then she couldn’t connect with the children."
“Does she know what’s going on?”
“No, but the last I heard, she had made an inquiry of one Twilight Sparkle. Perhaps it would be best if we went to see her, hmm?” he motioned to the outside with a small smirk on his face.
“Do you…do you think that the other ponies are gonna be scared of me?” I asked him myself.
“Well, no more than they are of me,” he answered. "But with you in this state, I wonder if this has affected every child in town. If that's the case, everypony must be scared."
"You really think every foal in Ponyville has been changed?" Berry Punch asked.
"It would explain everypony's hesitance to come outside," Sound answered. "I noticed when flying over here that there weren't as many ponies out running errands. I could also hear the sounds of panic coming from some of the houses. Given that, I'd say it would be good to guess that this is what's happened."
"What do we do, then?" My sister asked.
"Best thing to do right now would be to see if any other foals have been affected this way. This isn't normally in the job description," Sound let out a big yawn, "especially at these unholy hours. But this is a huge concern, and I know Princess Luna would appreciate any information on this situation."
"Thank you for your help, Sound," Berry Punch smiled. "How about I serve us some breakfast and I get you some coffee?"
"That would be wonderful."
Having to hold things without a horn was really tough. The little feelies at the end of my hooves (or what were my hooves) made things a little easier. I'll never make fun of my sister for not having a horn again. At least sitting was still the same, and eating was easy too.
"So, Ruby, can you think of any of your friends that we can try and visit?" Sound asked me. "We need to see that it isn't just you that's like this."
"Hmm..." I thought about it for a bit. "I've got plenty of friends. We can start with Twist. She lives the closest to me and Berry."
"But what if she's just as scared as you were, Ruby?" Berry asked. "I don't think she's gonna want visitors."
"Then we'll just have to make a more direct visit then, won't we?" Sound said with a smirk.
Once breakfast was done, Sound got me on his back while we flew to Twist's house, just a couple of homes down from mine. I knew there were other kids in the houses nearby, but I knew Twist better than the others. If I wasn't the only one who was changed like this, I could at least try to talk to her.
We flew over to one of the windows on the second floor of her house, the one I knew was her room. The curtains were drawn in the room, so we couldn't tell if she was in the room or not. Sound reassured me to try to get her attention if she was inside, and got me as close as possible to the window, just close enough that I could reach out and knock on it. I curled up my claw and gave a few short knocks.
"Go away!" We heard from behind the curtain. It was Twist. "I'm not acthepting vithitors!"
I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Twist, it's me! I wanted to talk to you!" I shouted to the window.
"Pinchy?" The windows swung open, and there was Twist. At least, I was sure that was Twist. She had the same messy red mane and glasses, and no one could copy that weird thing with her voice that she does, so I knew it was her. Sure enough, though, she wasn't a pony anymore, just like me. Her hairless coat was a little lighter than mine, but we were definitely the same kind of creature. She was about to say something, but her eyes went wide when she caught sight of Sound Ray.
"AAAAAHHH! Bloodthucker!" She screamed as she fell back.
"Sound Ray's not dangerous, Twist! He's my friend!" I shouted. With the window open, Sound Ray was able to get in her room. He carefully swooped his way inside and landed right in the middle. I jumped off his back and came up to Twist to help her up. "Well, he's actually my sister's friend, but I know him well enough."
"Pinchy...you too?" Twist said once she got a good look at me. We had the same claws at the end of our forelegs and hind legs, the same wide barrel and shoulders, and even the same face with our noses smushed into it.
"You woke up like this too, didn't you?" I asked.
"Oh, thith ith terrible, Pinchy!" She cried. "Thummer's only just tharted, and we look like freaks!"
"Calm down, Twist! There's gotta be a reason for this!" I put my claws on her shoulders. "It's not that scary, is it?"
"Mmm...I gueth not..." Twist looked to the side. "It just feelth weird. I'm not uthed to being thith tall, or walking on two legth. And look!" She turned to the side and showed me her flank. "My tail and cutie mark have dithappeared!"
"Think that's bad?" I told her and pulled my hair back. "My horn's gone, too!"
"Oh, Pinchy!" She looked ready to cry and hugged me tight. Still a drama queen, this girl. "What do we do? We can't go outthide like thith!"
"Well, Sound Ray here works for Princess Luna," I started to explain, "and she said that the kids in Ponyville have been in some trouble she can't help with, so he was gonna go find Twilight Sparkle to see if she can find some way to help us. Right, Sound?"
"Right. If there's anypony nearby who can help when there's trouble, it usually falls to her," he answered. "There has to be something that can tell us what you've turned into, and how to change you back."
"Really?" Twist asked.
"Anything's better than staying here," I answered. "Come with us, Twist. We'll go to the library and figure this out together!"
"Hey!" We heard someone shouting from outside. "Can we come too?!"
Twist, Sound Ray and I looked out the window to find another creature like us clinging onto a tree branch. I recognized his voice from school, but getting to see him, I saw a familiar light-brown bowl haircut and a pair of buck teeth sticking out of his mouth. He was also noticeably scrawny, even for whatever we were. I know this colt.
"Featherweight!" I called out. "What are you doing there?"
"Hey, Ruby Pinch! I live next door!" Featherweight explained as he did his best to stay steady. "I saw you and the bat pony coming to Twist's window, and wanted to see what you were doing, so I climbed up this tree to take a look!" He looked down and whimpered. "I didn't think about how I was gonna get down, though..."
"I told him it was a bad idea without his wings..." We heard from below. We looked down to find another boy standing at the bottom of the tree. This one had a navy blue mane with light blue eyes. Blue mane who knows Featherweight. Hold on, isn't he...?
"Shady Daze?" I shouted from the window.
"Hey, girls!" Shady Daze waved to us. "You headed somewhere?"
Once Sound Ray managed to get Featherweight down, we met up in front of Twist's house and explained what we knew, which wasn't much. They knew about as much as we did, but Sound Ray stayed positive and said it proved that this was something affecting quite a few children in town. Seeing him remain so calm in the middle of all this helped me stay calm.
"All right. So we've got a plan," Shady Daze said. "Go to Golden Oaks Library and see if Twilight Sparkle can find anything."
"But how are we thuppothed to get there?" Twist piped up. "We can't go around looking like thith!"
"That's right," I sighed. "The ponies in town will freak out if something looking like us came through it. Celestia knows they've freaked out over less scary things."
"On the contrary, children," Sound Ray spoke up, "maybe you should try walking around town a bit."
"Walk around town? Looking like this?" Featherweight spread his forelegs wide. "Are you insane?"
"Well, just think about it," Sound began to explain. "If every foal in Ponyville has been transformed this way, that would affect their parents, too."
"Yeah. So...?" I wasn't sure where he was going with this.
"So if they see a bunch of transformed foals acting like nothing's wrong at all in the middle of town, perhaps it would put their hearts at ease just enough to avert disaster," Sound finished.
"You really think that'll work?" I asked. That plan sounded stupid, but he seemed so sure of himself.
"The sounds of panic I heard earlier this morning have quieted down considerably," he replied. "I'm willing to bet that the families of those affected by this change have been trying their best to keep their children calm. That's why I think walking around and playing as children do would really help."
"I don't know," Shady Daze scratched the back of his head. "What if that just makes things worse?"
"It's a risk we'll have to take eventually," Sound answered. "Whether or not this is a change we can't reverse, I'm afraid we won't be able to remain quiet about this for much longer. Especially if every foal has been changed."
I didn't even wanna think about what would happen if we couldn't change back. It wasn't that bad of a difference; Walking on two legs has been getting easier and easier the more we do it, and these claw things were good for grabbing just about anything. But I missed being able to use magic, and I'm sure Featherweight misses flying already. If doing this will at least put everypony at ease...
"Let's try it," I finally stated.
"Pinchy?" Twist looked at me like I was sick.
"I mean, it's worth a shot," I continued. "I don't wanna keep sneaking around and hiding for the rest of the day. Or however long we're like this. I'm sure none of you want to, either."
"I was looking forward to playing all summer and finally getting some muscles on these babies," Featherweight said as he flexed his scrawny foreleg. We did our best not to burst out laughing, but he didn't notice. "I'll give up my camera before I have to stay cooped up indoors!"
"I wanted to hang out with Button Mash," Shady Daze said. "He still owes me a rematch. If I stay at home, I'll never get the chance to rub my victory in his face."
"And didn't you want to help out Pinkie Pie at Sugar Cube Corner, Twist?" I asked her.
"I did," Twist answered, her face in a worried frown at first, but quickly turned into one of determination. "Right! I'm not gonna let thith thtop me!"
"That's the spirit, children!" Sound Ray cheered. "Gather up whatever you can! We're going to play!"
The plaza in the center of town made for a perfect spot to play. It's where we usually played on the weekends, after all. If Sound Ray's plan worked, we could keep panic and chaos at bay until a way to change us back. Playing with our toys never felt so important, but I guess there's a first time for everything.
"Hahaha! Look at this!" Shady Daze was holding his Wonderbolts figure above his head. "I can run and hold this at the same time now! It's like he's really flying!" He ran around the fountain making whooshing sounds, with Featherweight close behind him.
"You're doing great, guys! Keep it up!" I shouted at them. I was passing a ball between me and Twist. Bouncing it around while in this body was like playing it for the first time all over again. Twist, however, was having a little trouble.
"Pinchy...everypony'th thtaring..." she said, trying not to let on that she was scared. It was hard to ignore the looks the townsfolk were giving. I couldn't tell if they were scared or just curious of what we were.
"Just a little longer, Twist," I reassured her. "It's already been five minutes, and nopony's started panicking yet. That's already a good sign! And Sound Ray's up above and ready to act if things get nasty."
"If you thay tho..." she relented. I had to admit, this plan was looking less and less like it was going to work. Like, if we made one little slip-up, the whole town would be spooked and running faster than you can blink. Just as I was about to suggest something, different, I heard somepony shouting.
"Hey, Mom! Look!"
Looking in the direction of the voice, I saw a mare with a light brown mane and a peach-colored coat. Sitting on her back was somepony wearing a big blue rain poncho. It's not set to rain for a while, and it's way too hot to be wearing one of those. Could they be...?
"I don't believe it..." the mother said, looking on in surprise.
"Can I go play with them, Mom? Please?" The colt begged his mother.
"Uh...I guess, if there's nothing wrong with it..." the mother answered, still unsure of what to make of what she was seeing.
"Alright! I was baking in this thing!" The colt hopped off his mother's back, and landed on two legs. The claws at the end of those hind legs were exactly like ours. He threw off the poncho, revealing that he indeed had a body like ours, too. He mane was brown with a bit of orange, with matching eyes. Shady Daze stopped when he saw him.
"Button Mash!" He shouted and ran towards him. "There you are! I thought you were gonna run on our rematch!"
"You kidding?" Button Mash grinned. "I've been practicing with these babies all morning!" He wiggled his claws around to show off. They continued talking while heading to the fountain, Shady explaining what we were doing in the middle of town.
"What's going on here?" Button's mother stared in disbelief at all of us. I shrugged nervously, careful not to do anything that might spook her. That's when another voice came up.
"A rather peculiar phenomenon, that's what," said this new voice, seemingly out of nowhere. The space next to Button's mother appeared to flicker, before a white bubble appeared and quickly disappeared, a group showing up in its place.
There was a brown stallion with a tie and a weird-looking hat that was part umbrella. Next to him was a gray pegasus mare with a blonde mane and wayward eyes. Standing in front of them were two transformed foals, one with a short brown mane and wearing a large white dress shirt, the other with a short blonde mane and wearing a pink princess dress. It took me a second to recognize the two kids.
"Pipsqueak! Dinky!" I cried out to them.
"We knew there were others changed," Dinky said as she and Pip walked towards Twist and me. "I didn't think you'd be out in the open, though."
"You sure this is okay, Ruby?" Pip asked. "Being out here like nothing's wrong?"
"Yes, because nothing is wrong!" I answered him. "This change isn't hurting us, and it shouldn't matter what we look like! We're still us, right?"
"I quite agree!" Dinky's father, Time Turner, said. "A bold move, attempting to normalize the change by acting casually. I'm surprised I didn't think of it myself!"
"You two go ahead and play with the others," her mother, Derpy, told them. "Your father and I will keep looking for the source."
"Okay, Mom!" Dinky nodded, then took Pip's foreleg and dragged him towards the fountain to play, while her parents talked more with Button's mom. We practiced tossing the ball with our new claws for a while, when we heard a familiar voice scream.
"I DON'T BELIEVE THIS!"
I looked over and saw two changed fillies, one with light purple and white hair and a familiar looking crown, the other with sliver braided hair and glasses. They were both wearing dresses that matched the coats they had as ponies. Because of that, and the attitude they showed, it wasn't hard to figure out that these two were Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.
"Are you telling me that the gift bestowed onto us as our mark of prestige was given to you common foals?!" Diamond Tiara said as she stomped towards us.
"This must be some sort of joke," Silver Spoon chimed in. Even looking like this, they still act the same. Oh, brother.
"No joke here, girls! We woke up like this, same as you!" I said, tossing the ball up and down. "You gonna play or just complain as usual?"
"Listen, you..." Diamond Tiara started, but was interrupted by a flash from Featherweight's camera, causing her and Silver Spoon to jump back and stumble, falling right on their flanks.
"Looks like you still need work on walking on two legs, your highness," Dinky laughed.
"Just you wait," Diamond said as she struggled to stand back up. "When we find the way to change back, we're not sharing it with any of you! Then you can stay as coat-less cutie-mark-less freaks for the rest of your lives!" Didn't she just say these bodies were a mark of prestige? I don't understand these girls sometimes.
"Speaking of blank flanks, where are those puny mark crusaders?" Silver Spoon asked, looking around.
"Hey, that's right!" I realized. "I haven't seen Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo at all today! They'd be all over this!"
"Did they get to the library before uth?" Twist asked.
"Maybe," I replied. "I heard that Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle's sisters are good friends of Twilight. They probably headed there first."
"Then, should we get going?" She asked.
"Nah," I answered, bouncing the ball off my hind legs. "If those three are on it, they'll find something. Besides, I'm having too much fun!"
"Pinchy!" I heard a familiar voice shout out. It was Berry Punch, coming back from her stand. "Sound Ray said you'd be here. He told me I should come here so he could rest."
"Oh, he left already?" I asked, looking up in the sky. "I forgot to tell him bye."
"All of you look like you're having fun," Berry said, looking over the plaza square.
"Uh-huh!" I answered with a big smile. "And I bet some of your homemade juice would make things better!"
"Okay, you don't need to drop that big a hint," she laughed. "I'll make some and bring it up right away!"
"AAAAHHH!! What?! What is it?! Are we under attack?"
It's not everyday that I wake up to the sound of Twilight screaming. Not to say it happens all that often, but probably more than others we know. I've gotten used to getting my blanket ripped off me to get woken up; I am a pretty heavy sleeper. But when Twilight screaming is the first thing I hear in the morning, I usually take it very seriously. I rubbed the gunk from my eyes and saw her just staring at me like she'd never seen a dragon before.
"Twilight? What's the matter?" I asked her.
"Spike..." she started. "I don't know how to tell you this, but..."
"But what?" I tried getting out of bed, but something was off, and I suddenly felt very uncomfortable. "Ow! What the heck? Did this bed shrink overnight or something?"
I looked down and didn't see my usual purple and green scales. Instead, there was this smooth covering, in a color that reminded me of old pages in the library. My whole body was in this color, which was also bigger than the bed I was in. The bed didn't shrink. I grew!
"Woah! What happened?"
"I...I don't know, Spike," Twilight answered. "I've never seen anything close to what you are."
"What are you talking about?" I said, trying to push myself out of bed. With a little more force, I managed to get my butt out of the bed and got to standing. I immediately started running towards the bathroom downstairs. "What do I look like?"
"Spike, wait!" Twilight cried after me. "You might not be ready for the shock!"
I didn't listen, and ran down the stairs. I wasn't that much taller, but it still made a difference in how I saw things, almost making me lose my balance. My legs weren't so short and stubby anymore, so I could take longer steps and cover more ground. Before I knew it, I made it to the bathroom.
"It doesn't look that bad, does it?" I asked, opening the door and turning on the light. I turned to the mirror and finally got to see what she was freaking out about. "Woah..."
In front of me was something different, all right. Definitely not a pony, but not a dragon, either. I was still on two legs, but each of my limbs were a little longer. My stomach didn't pudge out so much, giving me a more slender figure. I noticed my claws were flat and dull now, with each little talon being a little longer on my upper claws. They still moved the same, even though there were five of them now.
"Spike!" Twilight caught up and found me looking in the mirror. Her ears flattened and she looked like she was prepared for the worst. Typical Twilight. "Spike..."
Weird, I know, but those were the only words that came to mind seeing this new body. I don't know what Twilight was worried about. I look amazing! But then again, what doesn't Twilight worry about?
"Look at me, Twilight! I look so cool! Weird, but cool!" I stretched my limbs out, taking in every inch of my new body.
"I don't know if 'cool' is how I would describe this, Spike," Twilight said, her head tilted, still trying to figure out what happened. "Are you sure you're okay? You're not in any pain?"
"Not at all!" I answered, still paying more attention to my reflection in the mirror. Looking at my face, I saw that it was also colored the same as my body, and my nose wasn't as upturned. Looking at the side of my head, I noticed this little flap with a hole that lead into my head. I pinched it and realized something.
"Hey, I think these are my ears!"
"That's nice, Spike, but we should..."
"Hold on." I noticed something else when I touched my ear. Something soft. I thought my spines were the only thing that hadn't changed, but these weren't my spines, even though they were the same color. They felt soft and changed shape when I ran my talons through them. I know this feeling.
"This is hair. I have hair! I HAVE HAIR!!" I was so happy, I just started shouting.
"Spike!" Twilight finally shouted back. I turned to her and she definitely looked angry. "Could we please act a little more concerned about this?"
"What do we have to be worried about?" I asked and looked back at the mirror. "I look good!" A thought came to mind. "Hey, can I borrow your brush?"
"It's good to see you being so calm about this," she said, "but we don't even know what you've turned into. Much less how you changed or if we can change you back."
"Well, it's not that bad, is it?" I kept feeling my hair. "In fact, I'd call this an improvement! I have a mane now! I'm practically half pony!"
"Except you don't have hooves or a coat." Twilight looked to the back of me. "You don't even have a tail or a cutie mark!"
"Really?" I turned around and tried to look at my back as best I could. Sure enough, there was no tail at the bottom of my back. I guess I should've noticed that sooner, but I was so taken with everything else, I didn't.
"Eh," I shrugged. "Didn't really use it anyway."
"Spike, this is serious!" Twilight pointed her hoof at me. "If this is a complete transformation, that means you can't use your fire to send messages to Canterlot. You can't eat gems anymore, either!"
"I can live with that!" I stated. "Gems aren't the only thing I can eat, you know!"
"What about your dragon breath?" Twilight asked. "Try to use it right now!"
"Fine, but you're making a big deal out of this, as usual." I took a deep breath and tried to blow fire out, but all that came out was air. I tried again, and then a third time. Nothing.
"See? This is a problem! I'll have to find some way to inform Princess Celestia to hold any messages until I can resolve this." She sighed and walked out of the bathroom.
"Could you quit being such a worrywart already?" I asked, even though I knew that was impossible for her. "It's just a couple little changes. This is hardly even the worst thing that's happened to us!"
"Maybe right now it's fine," she started, "but this could easily blow up into something major! We don't know if this is how far the transformation will go, or if this is contagious, or if this is the first stage of some newly discovered disease! We...don't know anything! And you know how much I hate that!"
"Everypony knows how much you hate that," I told her, coming out of the bathroom. "Why don't we just slow down and try to solve this one piece at a time?"
"Right. You're absolutely right," she said, taking in deep breaths. "If you're not panicking, then neither should I. We'll run a few tests and see what kind of magic did this. I know this has to be magi-"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Ahh!" Twilight and I jumped at the sudden sound of knocking at the door. She pointed her glowing horn at me and in a flash, we were back in our room.
"Stay here. Stay hidden. We don't know what kind of reaction your appearance will have, so we need to be careful," she told me very clearly.
"Got it," I complied. "I'll keep quiet as a mouse."
"Excellent." With another flash, she disappeared back into the main room. Not one to like being kept out of the loop, though, I walked over to where the stairs started and listened carefully for Twilight and whoever was at the door. After the door opened, a familiar voice came through.
Pinkie Pie? What's she doing here this early?
"Pinkie!...Good morning..." Twilight was doing her best not to sound suspicious. Not doing good so far, Twilight, but you're lucky this is Pinkie you're talking to. "Is this important? Because if this is an invitation..."
"It's super important, Twilight!" Pinkie spoke up. "I needed to ask you something, and I know nopony smarter than you!"
"Okay," Twilight laughed, still sounding slightly awkward. "What did you need to ask?"
"Do baby foals just randomly lose their coats?"
A few seconds of silence. It's not even ten, and the craziness is already starting. Leave it to Pinkie, but what kind of question was that?
"Uhh...do you mean in little patches, or...?" Twilight was looking for a little more detail. So was I.
"No, I mean, like, completely. Like, as if they didn't have one to start with. Like, totally smooth." She was talking nonsense. Okay, more nonsense than usual. "Oh, also, do they grow little claws at some point? Or lose their tails? Those grow back, right?"
"Pinkie, what in Equestria are you talking about?" Twilight finally spoke up.
"Well, Mrs. Cake went to go wake up the twins this morning while I was brushing my teeth," Pinkie started explaining. "I suddenly heard this scream coming from the twins' room. I hurried over and saw that Pumpkin and Pound looked...different."
"Different?" Twilight asked. "Different, like you said? No coat, no tail, and with little claws?" Wait. This was sounding familiar.
"Right where their hooves used to be," Pinkie replied. "Pound didn't have his wings and Pumpkin didn't have her horn, either. Ooh! They still had their manes, though! That's how I could tell it was them!"
"Uh-huh..." That was usually the sound Twilight made when the gears in her head were turning.
"So that's totally weird, right?" Pinkie asked. "You'd think our own parents would have told us about a phase like this! I know Papa Pie would have been all over that! He loved to tell embarrassing stories! Like about the time I-"
"Pinkie!" Twilight stopped her. "I don't think this is normal. Especially if their mother reacted that way."
"You think?" This is usually something asked sarcastically. Sarcasm's a foreign language to Pinkie, though. "Then what is it?"
"I'm not entirely sure..." Twilight said solemnly.
"Aww, but you're supposed to know everything!"
"I am very knowledgeable, but that doesn't mean..."
They kept talking while I was trying to figure out just what was wrong myself. The twins changed, almost in the same way. Just as I was trying to put everything together, Owilicious started going nuts near the window.
That stupid bird's gonna attract Pinkie's attention! I ran over to the window to calm him down. He seemed to be hovering above the open window, continuously hooting. What the heck was he doing?
"Shoo! Go away! Stupid bird!"
I heard a voice coming from the window. Sounded pretty young, but it wasn't the voice of anypony I knew. Was some little pegasus trying to get in? Why through the window? I shook the questions from my mind and reached out to grab Owlicious so he'd pestering the poor thing. He flapped a few times in my face before I let him go, allowing him to get back on his perch. I looked back to the window to find a peach-colored claw much like the one I had climbing up to the window.
After the claw came the head and body of a creature like me, only this one had purple hair. They toppled over the windowsill and rolled onto the floor before I had a chance to help them. I walked over to them to make sure they weren't hurt too bad. They looked up at me with their light purple eyes and recoiled.
"Oh no! You were changed too?" From the voice, I figured she was a girl. She slowly stood up with a little difficulty, since she's not used to being on two legs, I guess. "This is worse than I thought!"
"What's worse? Do you know something about this?" I asked, claws on her shoulders. She looked especially scared after that, so I let go. "Sorry. Let me start over. I'm Spike, the dragon that helps Twilight. Or, at least, I was a dragon..."
"I'm...Tootsie Flute," she introduced herself. "I'm supposed to be a unicorn, but this morning, I woke up and..."
"You weren't one anymore," I finished her sentence, to which she nodded. "So it's not just dragons that have changed. Any idea how this happened?"
She fidgeted nervously before she answered. "I think I..."
"Maybe the answer's in one of your books up here! This place is pretty old!" Pinkie Pie came bouncing into Twilight's study where Tootsie and I were.
"Pinkie, wait! Stop!" Twilight ran up the stairs after her, trying to keep her from seeing us. But it was too late. When I turned around, Pinkie was already standing there, her mouth hanging open.
"Uh...hey, Pinkie," I said, better words failing me.
"Spike?" Pinkie gasped. "I don't believe this! You've got hair now!" She ruffled my hair with her hoof.
"I guess I should've seen this coming," Twilight sighed, "but you're not scared, Pinkie?"
"Of course not, silly!" Pinkie giggled. "In fact, this is what the twins looked like! Y'know, except they were smaller. And wearing diapers."
"Spike, who is this?" Twilight asked, approaching Tootsie and me.
"Uh, this is Tootsie Flute," I answered, motioning towards Tootsie. "She was a unicorn before today, and..."
"Ooh! I thought you looked familiar!" Pinkie interjected. "You come by Sugar Cube Corner all the time! Your favorite's the pineapple cream cupcake!"
"That's nice, but what's she doing here?" Twilight brought the topic back up.
"I came in through the window," Tootsie started speaking for herself. "I was hoping to find a way to change back before I got found out. But it looks like I won't be able to keep it a secret if it's this bad..."
"Keep what a secret?" I asked.
She took a deep breath, and said, "I think this is my fault..."
Twilight looked very confused. "What do you mean by-"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"I'll get it!" Pinkie started bouncing down the stairs.
"I'll see who that is," Twilight told the both of us. "You stay here and stay quiet."
"Got it. Same procedure as before," I reaffirmed with her. She nodded and galloped after Pinkie as fast as possible. Once she was out of the room, I turned to Tootsie. "We can see who that is through here. Come on."
I led her to Twilight's desk, where a small mirror rested on the edge. This was a mirror that was connected to another one hidden in the front door of the library. It allowed to see who was at the door whenever she was nose-deep in a book. I tapped the surface twice to activate it. A few seconds passed, and an image came up of the front of the library.
It was Rarity, looking gorgeous as ever, but she wasn't by herself. Rainbow Dash was right next to her, and behind them both was Applejack and Big Macintosh. Big Mac was carrying a wagon full of hay, which was probably the weirdest part of this little gathering. I listened for what they were here for.
"Hey, girls! Hey, Big Mac!" Pinkie greeted them.
"Pinkie! A surprise to see you here," Rarity replied. "Is Twilight here?"
"I am," Twilight came up from behind Pinkie. "Was there a problem, because we can try and take care of it as quickly as we can."
"I don't know if this is something that can be solved quickly," Rainbow Dash said.
"What do you mean?" Twilight asked. I'm getting a bad feeling...
"Well, we could tell you," Applejack answered, "but it might just be better to show you. Are we good, Dash?"
"Coast is clear!" Rainbow Dash gave a signal and flew over to the hay in the wagon. "You can come out now, girls."
"Finally!" That was Applebloom's voice. "It's bad enough you're making us wear these things when it's this hot, but stuffing us in a wagon full of hay?" She came out of the wagon, same kind of body as me and Tootsie. Difference was, she was wearing blue jean overalls with an undershirt the same color her coat was.
"Just be happy Rarity made something simple. You wouldn't believe the things she wanted to make me." Next was Sweetie Belle. She had a simple white summer dress with lavender lining that reached past her knees.
"Well, this is only until we can change back. Might as well put up with it until then." Last was Scootaloo. She had an orange top with a pair of black shorts that didn't even reach her knees. And before you ask, yes, I studied different kinds of clothes for Rarity's sake. Get off my tail!
"I worked hard to make clothes for such unfamiliar bodies," Rarity said. "The least you could do is appreciate the effort!"
"These are Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, right?" Twilight asked, to which everyone gave confirmation. "Come on in." Big Mac went home with the wagon while everypony else came inside. At this point, Tootsie and I went over to the stairs to listen in.
"I have to say, Twilight," Rarity commented, "you're acting quite calm about this discovery. Normally, you'd start panicking about this being 'physically impossible' and such."
"Oh! Did we forget to act surprised? Or...should we tell them?" Pinkie asked Twilight.
"Well, now we have to tell them!" Twilight replied, scowling.
"Tell us what?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"This morning, I found the twins with bodies like this!"
"Oh, dear!" Sweetie Belle gasped. "Is everything all right?"
"The Cakes are fine," Pinkie assured them. "Mr. Cake only fainted three times!"
"Wow, three times? He's getting better," Twilight said then shook it off. "Never mind that. But yes, we already know about this. What's more..."
Before anything else was said, I felt myself floating in the air. Next thing I knew, there was a flash and I was back in the main room, landing on my butt.
"Ow! A little warning would be nice!" I stood back up to the sight of everypony staring in shock.
"Spike? Is that you?" Rarity approached me. She's concerned about me! Better play it cool.
"Yeah," I quickly straightened myself up and tried to smooth my hair back. "What do you think?"
"Hmm..." Rarity put her hoof to her chin and looked me over a couple times. "I think I can make a nice little short hoodie set that'll just make you look so cute! Oh, why did I leave my sketchbook at the boutique?"
"Okay, now this is getting weird," Dash commented. "We thought it was only foals that were getting changed into...whatever these are."
"Yes, but with Spike also transformed, my theories have just fizzled out," Twilight sighed and started pacing. "If it was some sort of cosmic event affecting foals, there'd be records. There aren't any spells I know that can make something like this, but I don't know if I can make the trip to Canterlot to access the archives with things as they are here. I have no idea what to do, and it's driving me crazy!"
"Would you relax, sugarcube?" Applejack put a hoof to Twilight's head. "The girls have already been getting used to these new bodies and I'm sure if there's a way they changed, there's a way to change back!"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! Wow, we're getting a lot of visitors today. Hope it's not more bad news.
"I'll get it!" Pinkie started bouncing towards the door again.
"Pinkie, you can't just answer the door in somepony else's house!" Rarity chided her. It was too late for that, as Pinkie had already opened the door.
"Oh, hi, Fluttershy!" Pinkie greeted our shiest friend and let her in. "What are you doing here?"
"I saw Big Mac leaving from here, and wondered what the commotion was abou-" Fluttershy came across me and the fillies and jumped up in shock. "Oh...my...what happened here? Is that you, Spike?"
"Yup, and here are the Cutie Mark Crusaders," I pointed to the others. "We're sure that every foal in Ponyville has been changed like this!"
"Oh, dear! But how...?"
"That's what we're trying to figure out!" Rainbow Dash replied, then looked like she had an idea. "Hey, maybe it was Discord who did this!"
"But Discord's reformed now!" Fluttershy answered quick as a flash. "He wouldn't do something like this!"
"Hmm...there's that," Twilight pondered, "and this doesn't feel like his style. Normally, when he used his power to change things, he'd be going around reveling in his 'art'. He loves the attention."
"That's true, ain't it?" Applejack chimed in. "It's almost noon, and Ah haven't seen his snaggletoothed mug anywhere!"
"SNAGGLETOOTHED?! The nerve...!"
That was Discord's voice! Everypony looked in the direction the voice came from, which seemed to be...Fluttershy?
"That wasn't me..."
"We know that, Shy," Rainbow Dash said. "Although...what's with your tail?"
"What?" Fluttershy turned around and we all saw that it wasn't the usual pink-colored pony tail. It was red and scaly, with a little tuft of fur at the end of it. Wait a second...
"Oh, shoot! I gave myself away, it seems," the tail spoke. In the blink of an eye, the tail turned back into Fluttershy's, and Discored was floating above everypony. He still gives me the creeps.
"Discord!" Applejack shouted and approached Discord. "Ah knew it was you, you yellow-bellied, lily-livered sack a'-"
"Woah, woah. Easy on the language there, Pony Oakley. There are children present." Discord took a second look at me and the girls. "At least, I think they're children..."
"You know dang well what they're supposed to be! Change them back!" Applejack stomped her hoof.
"What? You think I did this?" Discord laughed. "Why, Applejack, I'm flattered!"
"That ain't flattery..."
"Hold up," Dash flew up to him. "Are you trying to tell us you didn't do this? Because I find that hard to believe..."
"Well, believe it or don't, I speak the truth," Discord assured us. "Personally, I'd be proud of something like this! I really have to tip my hat to whoever came up with a way to change a pony's shape like this! It's so imaginative! I'm absolutely jealous!"
"Well, if you didn't do this," Fluttershy said, "can you help us find out who did? Please?"
Discord floating silently for a second, then crossed his arms. "...Well, alright. But only because I'm curious myself. Now, if you'll pardon the intrusion..."
He flew around the girls and I and started inhaling through his nose, rather loudly. Was he...smelling us? Talk about uncomfortable. I'll never understand this guy.
"Hmm...interesting," he said in between sniffs. "A rather complex magic. Very precise. Very intricate. And quite powerful. It's been quite some time, but I swear this is familiar."
"Just get to the point already!" Applejack shouted. "You're disturbing the young'ins!"
"Patience, please! It's rude to rush art!" Discord retorted. He then sniffed again. "Hold on! I'm getting something! The distinct aroma...of quite an infectious rhythm."
"Rhythm? Like...music?" Rainbow Dash asked. How the heck do you smell music, anyway?
"Correctamundo!" Discord answered. "Whatever spell was used here involved quite a nice piece of music."
"Music...of course!" Twilight stomped her hoof. "That's gotta be it! Magimusic!"
"Just what the heck is Magimusic?" Dash tilted her head.
"It's an esoteric form of magic that unicorns are able to perform," Twilight explained. "It uses music notes in the spell rather than a spoken incantation. It used to be used for much more advanced spells back in the classical period before it fell out of fashion."
"Advanced spells...like changing a pony's shape to something completely unfamiliar?" Rarity asked.
"Exactly!" Twilight pointed. "A normal spell of this caliber would take a ton of work to put together. Magimusic required knowledge of the notes involved and sufficient magical power, of course."
"So if it's so easy to use," Scootaloo chimed in, "why isn't it used anymore?"
"For fear of abuse, if I remember correctly," Twilight answered. "You can tell when a spell's being cast on you, but you wouldn't be able to tell a spell from a song until it was too late. Many feared that it'd be used to brainwash ponies. Or worse."
"Oh! Like the Pied Piper, who took naughty foals away into the night!" Pinkie mentioned, bouncing excitedly.
"The Pied Piper's a fairy tale, Pinkie," Rainbow Dash chided her.
"Nightmare Moon was supposed to be a fairy tale too, remember?" Twilight brought up. "But both the Piper and the magic he used were quite real. Now, the only question that remains is who would have a piece of magimusic in Ponyville?"
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Again?
"I'll get it!" Pinkie volunteered again, bouncing towards the door.
"Pinkie, wait!" Twilight shouted. "Discord and the others still have to hide!"
We should know by now you can't stop Pinkie. She opened the door, and standing there was a unicorn. She had a mint green coat with matching hair, yellow eyes and a harp for a cutie mark. I've seen this mare around town.
"Hi, Lyra!" Pinkie greeted the mare. Lyra Heartstrings! That was her name! "What brings you here?"
"Well, I know that whenever there's a problem in Ponyville, the princess' top pupil is usually there to help," Lyra replied. "And I do have a problem."
Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no! Out of all the places I could try to hide from Mom, why is she here? I came here trying to look for a way to change myself back, and not only have I changed every foal in Ponyville, but now I'm stuck in the worst place with the one pony I'm trying to avoid! I had no choice but to get down the same way I came up. Climbing down the tree can't be nearly as hard as climbing up it, right?
"Your daughter? Is whatever's wrong with the other foals of Ponyville the same as what's wrong with her?"
I could hear Twilight down below talking to my Mom. She just might talk to her long enough to let me escape. The only other problem is that if Mom knows something about this change, and I know she does, how will I hear about it?
Wait! The mirror! Maybe it shows more than just the front door! I quickly grabbed the mirror off Twilight's desk and tapped on it. The image of the front of the library showed up again just as Mom was being let in. Clock's ticking, Tootsie! Figure this thing out before she gets here!
I tapped it again. The image reflected changed to the inside of the room I was in, and I could see myself holding the mirror. Weird, but I'm getting somewhere. I tapped it again and again, the image showing something different each time. Kitchen. Balcony. Bathroom? Finally, it came to the main room down below, where everypony was gathered. Perfect!
"More than likely," Mom said, coming up to the girls and Spike. "Yes, it's definitely the same."
"Same as what, Lyra?" Twilight asked.
Good. They're talking. I can use this time to get out of here. Holding the mirror in my mouth, I ran over to the window and climbed out. It's just like getting down a ladder, I told myself. An uneven wooden ladder. I carefully placed my hind hooves down to the next little place I could put them down. The stubby little talons were just enough to grip on any piece of wood, and the longer talons where my front hooves were gripped much better.
"This is definitely the work of the Song of Metamorphosis," I could hear Mom saying from the mirror.
"Song of Meta-who-what-sis?" That was Rainbow Dash. At this point, I had climbed down completely from the tree. I had to find a new place to hide. Would probably be a good idea to just move from building to building until I can find someplace. I managed to get to a safe spot between two buildings. I sat down at the wall of one and kept watching the mirror.
"Metamorphosis, Dash," Twilight corrected her. "It means change." She turned to face Mom. "Does this mean that this is your piece of Magimusic, Lyra?"
"Well, yes. But I didn't compose it," Mom answered.
"Then, who did?"
"The piece was composed by Harpsichord, my ancestor." That was the name on the sheet music! I'm related to him?
"Harpsichord? That sounds like a funny name," Pinkie Pie commented.
"It sounds funny, but Harpsichord was one of the greatest composers of music about 150 years ago!" Twilight explained. "I had no idea his bloodline was still around!"
"It's...not something we like to advertise..." Mom looked down.
"Oh...right..." Twilight flattened her ears.
"Why wouldn't you want other ponies to know you were related to a great composer?" Rarity asked. "That could open so many doors for you in Canterlot!"
"It would if Harpsichord wasn't historically known...well..." Twilight had trouble saying something. What was wrong with him?
"It's okay, Twilight," Mom spoke up. "My family and I can't deny that, for all of his genius, he was a little..." She made a circle with her hoof near her head and whistled.
"Oh! So he was loco in the coco!" Pinkie exclaimed. He was crazy?
"Not...the most flattering way of putting it," Mom replied, "but certainly not the worst. He was a very isolated stallion, paranoid and delusional. His notebooks were mostly scribbles about strange otherworldly creatures nopony had ever seen before."
"Ah, genius and madness!" Discord said with joy in his voice. "How often do those two meet so beautifully? Not enough, I say!"
"Who asked for your opinion?" Applejack shouted at him.
"Hmph! Well, I know where I'm not wanted." With a snap of his claws, Discord vanished from the room.
"Oh, dear," Fluttershy said. "I'd better go find him before he makes more trouble." She started towards the door.
"Can we help, Fluttershy?" Applebloom piped up.
"Yeah. Miss Cherrilee says we're just magnets for trouble, so who better to go look for him?" Scootaloo added.
"We know now what made us change," Sweetie Belle said. "We don't have to stick around here, do we?"
"I suppose you don't, but..." Twilight started, and was met with cheers from the girls as they pushed Fluttershy out the door. Twilight just sighed and shook her head. "I just hope they keep out of sight."
"Ah'll make sure 'a that!" Applejack galloped after them. I'll have to be careful and keep out of sight.
"So, Harpsichord also composed Magimusic pieces?" Twilight asked, getting back on topic. "But wasn't he...?"
"An earth pony, yes." Mom answered. "But that didn't mean he couldn't compose music that would work as a spell if played by a unicorn. I found that out the hard way."
What did she just say?
"Lyra? Are you saying that this happened to you, too?" Twilight asked, shocked.
"When I was just a filly," Mom started to explain, "I stumbled upon the sheet music in our family's attic. I wanted to find new music to play, and it looked easy enough, so I tried it. It sounded so beautiful, I could hardly believe I was playing it. I felt this rush, and I thought I was just being moved by the music."
The way she talked about it, it was the exact same way I felt when I was playing it. So she played it when she was little, too. Wait. Doesn't that mean...?
"But it was in fact the magic spell you were most likely feeling," Twilight said.
"Yes. Before I knew it, I couldn't play anymore because I didn't have a horn," Mom continued. "Looking at myself, I wasn't a pony anymore either. I felt so scared. I thought I'd never be able to talk to anypony again..."
"Wait a second!" Rainbow Dash interrupted. "If you played this before, and you were changed by it, how did you manage to change back into a pony?"
Hey, that's right! How did she do that? I leaned in close so I would hear her explain, but another voice came in that gave me such a scare, for more than one reason.
"Busted, little lady!" A red eye took up the entire image on the mirror, causing me to scream and throw the mirror away from me.
"Now, now. You know better than to take things that don't belong to you." From out of the mirror slithered Discord, his arms reaching out and grabbing me.
"Lemme go! I have to hear how Mom changed back!" I shouted at him, flailing my limbs as much as possible.
"Oh, that's not so important, is it?" He swished his tail, and the mirror vanished. I stopped moving as I felt my heart sink. Now I had no choice but to come to her and face whatever grounding I got for messing with the stuff in the attic.
"I just..." I said, sniffling, "I just wanted to impress my friends..."
"And, what an impressive display you've made! Couldn't have done a better job, myself!" Discord raised me high. He was proud of me?
"But now, I've made a mess of everything...and everypony in town's gonna be scared, and every kid's gonna hate me!" Tears were in my eyes now.
"You really think so?" He asked. "Because I don't hear any sounds of panic or chaos. In fact, what I'm hearing sounds rather jovial!"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, why don't we find out?" He held me in one arm and snapped his claw. Before I knew it, we were in the center of town, at the fountain plaza. I was, at least. Discord disappeared the moment we got there, but I was more concerned with what was in front of me.
There were a ton of foals in the plaza. They looked just like I did, standing on two legs and everything. None of them looked scared or panicked, though. They were all playing and talking with each other as if nothing was wrong at all.
"Tootsie!" I heard a familiar voice call. I turned to find a girl with raspberry red hair coming toward me. "You finally made it!"
"Ruby Pinch?" I recognized her voice and looks. "What's going on here?"
"Isn't this great?" Ruby asked with a giggle. "I think every foal in Ponyville is here! Don't know why we all look like this, but it doesn't look like anypony really cares!"
"Yeah, really!" She answered just as her sister Berry Punch came up with a tray of glasses full of juice. Ruby grabbed one and handed it to me. "Once you get used to it, it's actually really helpful! I didn't even need magic!"
"You're...okay like this?" I asked, holding the glass with both claws.
"Sure, we are!" Ruby smiled. "I mean, yeah, we'll have to cover up when it starts getting colder, but right now, we're just having fun! Look!"
All over the plaza, there were so many that looked like I did. I even recognized a few of them. Button Mash and Shady Daze were talking to each other. Rumble looked like he was searching somepony with Cloudchaser and Flitter right behind him. Featherweight from the school paper took pictures from the air with the help of his brother Bulk Biceps. Dinky Doo was helping her father Time Turner look over the kids with one of his devices. I even saw Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon sitting at the fountain, pouting while still trying to look important.
"Everypony really is...fine with this..." I found myself saying out loud.
"Are you okay, Tootsie?" Ruby asked me. "It was probably really scary for you this morning, huh? I know I was."
"Yeah, I was..." I answered, and was about to say more, when...
"Woah...look at everypony here!" That was Scootaloo's voice. I quickly reminded myself that her and the other girls didn't know I was in the library before they left and did my best to calm down as they approached.
"Oh, boy," Sweetie Belle said. "If Rarity saw this, she'd have a field day trying to come up with clothes for all of them..."
"Like we need them. Ah can tell everypony apart," Applebloom pointed at each one she named. "Look, there's Truffle Shuffle and Twist and Zipporwhill and..."
"BUTTON!" Sweetie Belle ran towards Button Mash as quickly as her legs could take her. He turned around at his name being called just in time to get hugged by Sweetie Belle.
"Sweetie Belle!" Button replied happily. He looked at the dress she was wearing. "Uh...nice dress..."
"Like it? My sister made it for me!" Sweetie Belle twirled around, showing it off.
"Wow...wish I had something nice to wear..." Button said before quickly adding, "Uh, for boys, of course!"
"Oh, brother! Here!" Applebloom had taken off her shirt and overalls and handed them to Button Mash. "Ah don't want these, so you can have him."
"You sure it's okay, Applebloom?" Button asked while taking her clothes.
"Sure!" Applebloom answered. "Ah don't need no fancy-shmancy getup for any-Oof!" Somepony had bumped into her. Rumble had been walking backwards still looking for somepony and stopped the moment he walked into Applebloom.
"Applebloom! Uh..." Rumble looked especially nervous. And red in the face.
"Rumble...uh..." Applebloom looked just as nervous. Her face was turning as red as her hair, and she held herself with her forelegs.
"I think we should leave them alone..." Scootaloo smiled and took Button and Sweetie Belle by the wrist and walked off to another part of the plaza. Even I giggled a bit at the situation.
"Pretty neat, huh?" Ruby finally spoke up. At this point, I finished my juice and handed it back to Berry Punch. "I'm gonna go see who else wants some. I'll come back!" She walked off with her sister and waved as I waved back.
It was so strange. Last night, I found myself looking like this after I played that song. I spent the whole time beating myself up over it until I convinced myself to sneak out in the morning and find a way to change back. If I had known that the spell had changed everypony in town, I could have...I don't know what I would have done. Maybe tell Mom and Mother about what happened. Maybe then, I wouldn't be so afraid of getting in trouble. What luck I'm in that nopony here is mad at me.
I completely forgot! Mom did this too, but she's still a pony! I have to get back to the library and-
That's Mom's voice! I turned around to find her running towards me. She didn't look mad at all. She looked so...worried.
"Mom!" I ran towards her and gave her a hug. "I'm so sorry!"
"Sorry for what, Toots?"
"I was just looking for music to play for my friends..." I started, the rears welling up in my eyes again. "So I went into the attic to look because I didn't want to play the beginner stuff, and..."
"Oh, Toots..." Mom had tears in her eyes too. She was smiling, though. "If you felt you were ready for harder stuff, you should have told me..."
"I wanted to be a big filly and do it myself. I didn't think this would happen. I'm so sorry..."
"Hey, it's okay. I was just scared when I couldn't find you in bed this morning. Do you know how worried your mother and I were?"
"I was scared, too," I sniffed. "That you wouldn't recognize me and think I was some sort of monster..."
"Tootsie," Mom said as she rubbed my mane gently. "You think I wouldn't recognize my daughter at first sight? A little thing like you, a monster? Get out of here."
"Thanks, Mom..." I smiled. "Um...do you know how to change us back?" I had to know.
"Well, if this is anything like the time I played that song, it should be wearing off about..." She looked at the clock in the plaza. "...now."
"Wear off?" I asked. "You mean..." I suddenly noticed my body start to glow. I looked around, and the other kids' bodies were glowing. A few of them looked panicked and confused.
"Now what's happening?" "Who's casting this spell?" "I feel funny..."
Before I could explain what was happening, a great explosion of light lit up the plaza. I shielded and closed my eyes, it was so bright. I felt my head swimming for just a second before it passed. When the light finally vanished, I opened my eyes, and found myself looking at my hooves.
Hooves? I was a pony again! Looking at the others, everypony had changed back, too. Hooves, coats, tails and all! I saw Dinky and Pipsqueak wiggle out of the clothes they had, as well as Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon tangled in their now too-big dresses. A few of the pegasi did loops in the air, happy to be able to fly again, and Ruby lifted a glass with her horn just to make sure it worked.
I still couldn't believe it. "The spell only changed you for a short time?"
"Magimusic is a strange thing, and Harpsichord was a stranger pony," Mom said. "I wasn't like this for nearly this long, and I don't think I changed any other foals with it either. You must have a lot of magic in you, Tootsie."
"You think so?" I asked.
"Only an incredible amount of magic could have done something like this!" From behind Mom, Twilight and her friends walked up to us. "You've got some talent, Tootsie!"
"Thank you," I said, blushing.
"Aww...I didn't even get to say goodbye..." Spike felt the top of his head, looking quite sullen.
"So many designs, gone to waste now..." Rarity sighed. "Easy come, easy go, I suppose. I should go find the girls and help them out of their outfits."
"Hey, I still walk on two legs!" Spike said, walking after Rarity. "You can practice those designs on me!"
"Well, that was an adventure. Wouldn't you say?" Ruby walked up to me giggling a bit. "I wanted to try more stuff while like that. Too bad we changed back, though."
"Hey, I got plenty of pictures!" Featherweight flew over and said. "I'm totally putting these on the first edition of the Free Foal Press when school starts up again!"
"Well, I would like to know who was responsible for such craziness!" Diamond Tiara came up, Silver Spoon in tow. "The culprit still hasn't answered for this!"
"Hey, that's true. Are they around here somewhere? They had to be to change us back, right?"
Everypony started talking among themselves about who did it, when that culprit was standing right in front of them. It was now or never to fess up. Maybe they won't be mad since they enjoyed it. I opened my mouth to speak, when...
"It was me!" Suddenly, Discord was right above us, looking quite proud of himself. He was also drawing a crowd.
"Discord?" I asked, but Mom put her hoof in front of me and gave me the sign to be quiet.
"I thought I'd give all the fillies and colts a neat little gift to kick off the summer! Did you enjoy it, my littlest of ponies?"
"Hey, how about a little warning before you do that next time?!" Rumble demanded. "I nearly wound up a pancake on the ground!"
"I was too scared to go outthide!" Twist shouted. "You mean thith wath you the whole time?"
"Come now, children," Discord pleaded. "No harm, no foul, right?" But he was met with boos before everypony started walking off in different directions.
"Oh, what a ripoff!" Dinky said. "If that was a spell, I wanted to try it..."
"Well, now the rest of the summer is gonna be disappointing compared to this..." Shady Daze told Featherweight as they walked off.
"I can't sue a spirit of chaos!" Diamond Tiara stomped off. "He doesn't have a bit to his name!"
Once everypony was gone from the plaza, I looked up at him. "I don't get it, Discord. Why'd you take the fall for me?"
"Because it would be easier to believe I did something than one unicorn accidentally casting a spell, wouldn't you agree?" Discord asked. "A feat like this is something worth taking you under my wing for."
"Don't even think about it!" Twilight shouted, but then calmed down. "But thanks..."
"Well, don't go spreading it around," Discord scoffed. "I have a reputation to uphold. Now, if you'll excuse me, I owe Fluttershy an apology." He snapped his claw and vanished.
"Well, that resolved itself nicely," Mom laughed. "Hopefully, an incident like this won't happen again, right?"
"Don't worry. I've learned my lesson," I answered. "Can we go home? I want to practice more."
"Sure thing, Toots," Mom answered and nuzzled me.
"I've been meaning to ask, before you you go, Lyra," Twilight piped up, looking uneasy. "You think I can borrow that sheet music?"