Events from around an Equestria where half of the population are now tatzlponies.
Equestria is still recovering from the effects of Discord's tainted tea. The air of calm determination from the princesses has prevented chaos in their panicky pony population. Now is the time to move forward and adapt to these changes, either one's own or those of family, friends and neighbors.
Mostly a bunch of small ideas packed together. Don't expect a solid and compelling storyline. It's not necessary but helps if you read 'And Thus, I Became the Tatzlprincess' or at least know what a tatzlpony is. Tagged sex for a few small jokes.
Princess Luna glided down to the ground. A mostly flat area with a few trees and shrubs scattered about. Her hooves were dampened by the morning dew on the grass. After looking around for a moment, she frowned at not finding what she was there for.
From behind her came the noise of grass ripping and dirt flying. Before she could react, tentacles wrapped around her and dragged her towards the creature. She looked back to see the tentacles coming out of an open mouth with three jaws. Then a pair of legs graped her and she was enveloped in a set of large wings.
"Really, sister. Must you do such things?" She used a bit of magic to pry one of the tentacles off and the other two let go of her.
Celestia pulled her tongues back down her throat and nuzzled Luna. "I'm not allowed to hug my little sister?" She gave another squeeze with her legs and wings before letting go.
"While your affections are appreciated, your means of displaying them have become... unusual." She stepped away, giving Celestia room to shake the dirt out of her coat. "Another aspect of your change that I must grow accustomed to I suppose." She looked over at the hole in the ground as Celestia stepped onto the grass, her long thick tail topped by a row of short hair being the last to leave. "It is fascinating how tatzlponies are able to move through the ground with such ease." She looked into Celestia's eyes. Eyes that she had knows since she was a filly, but now had jagged markings in the fur behind them. "But won't the grounds keeper be most upset about this?"
Celestia Smiled and shook her head. "As long as I don't make a habit of it, it will be fine." One of her tongues stuck out of the side of her mouth. "Coffee?"
They made their way over to a cart, setup under a tree, where Luna prepared a cup for herself. "What, pray tell, were you doing underground to begin with?" After a moment's hesitation she added. "If you don't mind my asking."
"I saw you heading this way and simply felt like having a bit of fun." She said with a smirk. "Now, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company this morning?"
"Some issues were brought before us last night that I felt you should be involved in."
Celestia's ears went back. "Has the nobility already gotten up the nerve to try something against tatzlponies?"
"Yes but I struck those down as soon as it became clear what their intentions were." Luna finished with a sharp nod.
"I've had to deal with the ones who were converted, suggesting that we require the rest of Equestria to become tatzlponies as well." She sighed but after a moment smiled at Luna again. "Since we both seem to be dealing with that annoyance on our own, what is it you want to talk about?"
"Most of what I wish to discuss can wait until latter and are simply things that normally you would bring to me in a similar manner so that we may examine them together. There are two items however. The first is that I have received the scouting report concerning Perfection Valley. It seems it was another case of near total conversion."
Celestia hummed to herself and looked in the direction of the statue garden. "It seems odd that Discord would waste his efforts on such a small settlement."
"The report indicates that they were in attendance at a city's festivities." She started to giggle. "And that those who stayed behind thought that their town was being attacked by monsters when their neighborers returned in their new forms. Going so far as to hide on the roofs of their homes and businesses to avoid being near the ground." They both glanced over at the hole Celestia had made. Luna composed herself a little better before continuing. "The important information is that the reason for the lack of activity in the area is that the citizens have taken to living underground in order to avoid the intense heat in the valley."
She perked up at this. "All of them? Even the ones who haven't been tatzlfied?"
She nodded. "According to the report, they already have a series of tunnels they are using, and are working on making them more permanent."
Celestia smiled. "It's good to see our little ponies adapting so quickly and working together to make things better for everypony."
"The other issue is something I wish to discuss with you before moving forward, because it involves breaking what is essentially law."
Her smile was replaced with a more serious look. "I trust you to have a good reason for this but I still have to ask. What law are we talking about and why do you feel the need to break it?"
Luna's face was just a serious. "It involves your latest proclamation. The banning of tea."
Princess Twilight was busy writing notes. Two of her tongues were holding quills while the third held her place in a book. She was interrupted by a loud thump from the door. She lowered the parchment held in her magic in time to see Spike answer the door.
"Mail's here." He opened the door to see Derpy give her head a shake before looking at him with a smile. She turned to her mail bags and then, as if she had been born a tatzlpony, quickly and easily used one tongue to open the bag while the other two pulled out the letters and passed them to Spike. "Um, thanks." He said with a forced smile. He hesitantly took them from her and stepped back, just in time to avoid being hit by her tail as she turned around.
He checked for important ones as he made his way across the library's main room. Once he was done, a dark purple tentacle was in front of his face as it wrapped around the letters. "Gah!" He looked up to see Twilight pulling them towards herself. "Do you have to do that?"
She looked at him in confusion for a moment before realizing what he meant. "THory, THike. It feel' nat'ural." She let her magic take over. "Besides, you've used your tongue to grab stuff before."
"Ya. But I only have one." He emphasized his point by holding up a claw. "And I've only used it like that a few times when I had to."
"I don't know what to tell you Spike. This is the way things are now. All of Ponyville got converted. It's just something you will have to get used to, along with the rest of us."
He groaned "I guess." He watched as Twilight went back to work. This time using her magic. "So how are the notes coming?"
"As excited as Pinkie is about all of this, her interest is in..." Her ears went back as she looked to the side. "Personal reasons." There was a moment of awkward silence before she continued. "Applejack is next. And while more useful to the general public, I think I'm going to adopt her accent if I review any more of her notes right now. So I'm going over what Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash gave me"
He took a quick look at what was written down. "So this is really going to be sent all over Equestria when you're done?"
She nodded at that. "And we'll be getting notes from areas with balanced populations as well."
He thought about it for a minute. "What about the Crystal Empire? It happened there too didn't it? Are they going to get these notes?"
She smiled at his concern for the land he helped protect. "Yes, Spike. They'll be getting copies of the information as well."
"You said Cadance drank the tea too. Do you think her and Shining are doing ok?"
Meanwhile in the Crystal Empire
Princess Cadance smiled, with her eyes half lidded, as she stalked towards Shining Armor. Her lower jaws opened up and her tongues slid out.
Shining watched his wife's tongues twist and squirm, causing him to blush and press his hind legs together. "I-I need an adult."
"I am an adult." She crouched down and prepared to pounce.
Back at the libary
"I'm sure they're fine." Twilight said with a smile. "Shining has probably been tending to her every need while she tests and learns her new body."
Twilight was expecting the mail to be more notes from around town, but the first one was marked with a red cross. She quickly opened it and started reading.
Spike watched her face go from a look of confusion to one of worry. "Twilight? What's wrong?"
"Hopefully nothing to worry about." She checked the clock. "But I'll still need to discuss it with Princess Celestia latter."
After rereading the letter, she gave her head a small shake and smiled at Spike. "Well I've still got other work to do. Lets see what the rest of Ponyville has to say."
There was a knock on Octavia's door. "Go away Vinyl." The knocking continued. "I'm not coming out."
"Come on, Tavi. It can't be that bad."
"I'm a laughing stock. I can't show my face in Canterlot again!" She wailed. "You should have seen them. Staring at me like I'm some kind of freak!"
"It can't be worse then any of the looks I've ever gotten." She laughed a little. "Besides, you kind of are."
The door was thrown open and Vinyl suddenly found herself pulled snout to snout with an angry Octavia. But whatever Octavia tried to say was ignored as Vinyl looked down at the tentacles wrapped around her own neck and body.
"So that's what's wrong." A coy smile made it's way to her face. "You're feeling frisky but not getting any."
Octavia stopped trying to talk and turned red. After a moment she sighed and let go. "You're infuriating." She walked out of her bedroom but without a destination just started slowly wandering around the house.
Vinyl recovered from her giggling fit and started following. "Seriously though. How bad is it?"
"They misplaced my bag. Fortunately I took care of my cello myself so I didn't lose that." She idly gestured to the instrument in the corner of the room. "But I didn't have a single thread of clothing to wear."
After a moment of silence she grumbled. "Do I need to explain to you what a formal event is? Again?"
"Ya ya, a bunch of snobs trying to pretend they're better then each other." She turned her nose up in a mock impression.
Octavia rolled her eyes. "Yes. Well those 'snobs' as you put it, are the ones who pay me to play. And they specifically requested formal attire." She tapped a hoof against the floor to accentuate the last two words.
Vinyl laughed it off. "You're worrying too much about this. They probably had their noses so high in the air they couldn't tell if your coat was gray or on fire."
"Not the most settling of thoughts." Was her deadpan response.
"Trust me, it will be fine." She started pushing Octavia towards the corner. "Now go play something relaxing while I reheat breakfast."
After taking a minute to calm down, she got her cello out of its case and used her tail for balance as she stood up on her hind legs. She grabbed her bow out of the case and was about to start when there was an interruption from the kitchen.
"ow. OW. hothothot."
She looked in to see Vinyl running a tongue under cold water. "Need I remind you that you still have a horn attached to your forehead?"
"It's not as fun."
She shook her head. "Incorrigible."
The Cutie Mark Crusaders shook the dirt out of their coats and checked themselves for cutie marks but again were disappointed.
Apple Bloom walked over to their wagon and looked down at the list they had made. "I guess just being able to dig doesn't mean we can be miners." After a moment of chasing a rolling crayon, she managed to grab it with a tongue and cross another item off the list.
Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo gathered the few gems they found into a small pile.
Scootaloo looked up at Sweetie belle. "Doesn't your sister have a spell that helps her find gems?" She reached out and poked her friend's horn.
"Well. Ya she does have a spell like that." She went cross eyed trying to look at her own horn. "But I can't use that spell. I have enough trouble just trying to lift stuff."
"Oh." She looked around for a moment then back at the gems. "So what do we do with these now?"
"We can still ask Rarity about them. It's her cutie mark and she's always working with them so she must know if they're any good."
"Sounds good to me." Apple Bloom called out.
"Then lets go." Scootaloo dumped the gems in Apple Blooms saddlebags and passed them their helmets. She got on her scooter while they got in the wagon and with the buzz of her wings, they were off. Their larger tails gave them more control over the wagon and made for a smoother ride then they were used to.
Soon enough they were in the main room of Carousel Boutique.
Rarity finished examining a gem with an eyepiece. "Sorry girls but this is the only one I can really use." She saw their dejected look while she levitated a coin purse over. "That's still very good for a first try. And I do know of someone who I'm sure would like the others you found." She smiled when they looked back at her. "A certain young dragon living at the library."
"Oh ya. Spike eats gems." Apple Bloom stated.
"Since the three of you are going there, can you give this note to Twilight?" She levitated a paper and a few bits into Apple Bloom's saddlebags. "Then afterwards you can treat yourselves at Sugar Cube Corner or something."
"Awesome" "Thanks" "Thanks, Sis"
The three of them galloped out the door and moments latter a buzzing started up.
A groan and some shifting fabric drew Rarity's attention back to Rainbow Dash. "How much longer do I have to stand here like this? Can't you just use those things over there?" She looked over and pointed a tongue at the dress forms off to the side.
Rarity walked up to her friend and helper for the day. "I'm sorry, Darling, but those just won't work for our new uh... style." She went back to work using her magic. "Until I can get some new ones in, I'll need somepony's help with making new designs."
"Fine." She huffed in reluctant acceptance. "But how much longer?"
"Oh just think of it as a chance to rest your wings after the work you did earlier."
"I don't want to rest my wings. I want to be out there practicing." She flexed her wings and gave her tail a flick. "I still need to get used to this thing."
"Is it really all that different?" She stopped for a moment, legitimately curious about the answer.
She huffed and shrugged. "Most of it is basically the same, but this tail is throwing off my balance on some of the harder stuff."
A light pat on the shoulder with a tongue. "Well if anypony can make it work, I'm sure it's you, Darling."
She smirked and straightened up a bit. "Thanks."
The two friends continued to work, with their conversation occasionally interrupted by bouts of laughter from Rainbow Dash when Rarity would subconsciously grab things with a tongue instead of her magic and then try to talk.
The CMC walked into Sugar Cube Corner. It was empty of customers but the noise of them entering drew Pinkie's attention and she poked her head out from the back room.
"Hi girls. Oh, you're just in time." In one hop, she landed with her forehooves on the counter and looked down at them with a smile so wide she shouldn't have been able to keep her jaws together. "I'm coming up with new ideas for ice cream! Do you want to be the first to try some?"
They looked at each other for a moment before Apple Bloom stepped forward. "Um, sure. What do you have?"
"Pinkie?" Apple Bloom interrupted. "You aren't actually putting dirt and stuff in your ice cream are you?"
She just giggled. "Of course not silly. It's just ground up cookies with some gummy worms and rock candy."
"Oh, ok." After a moment's thought she made up her mind. "I'll try the last one. A Mudpie?"
"I want a banana split." Scootaloo called out.
"What's the tongue twister thing?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Three scoops of ice cream. You wrap your tongues around all of them at once and get a bunch of different flavors. It's neat."
"I'll try that. The snap one."
"I'll be back in a jiffy." She spun around, somehow without her tail hitting anything, and hopped back into the kitchen.
They walked over to a table but any conversation was preemptively cut off by the sounds from the other room. Including what sounded like the use of power tools. They looked at each other and silently agreed not to question it.
As promised, Pinkie soon returned. An Ice cream cone in a holder was set in front of Sweetie Belle, with blueberry, bubblegum and strawberry stacked on top of each other. Apple Bloom got a bowl lined with broken waffle cones and filled with chocolate ice cream and cookie crumbs as well as a gummy worm and small 'gem' sticking out. Scootaloo got a mostly normal banana split but the banana was cut in half lengthwise to make a top and bottom with the bottom being cut in half again to make the sides, and three pieces of licorice were sticking out from in between.
"Let me know what you girls think."
Pinkie returned to the kitchen to continue her work while the three of them took a moment to look at what they got. With nothing left to do they started to eat.
Scootaloo was about to take a bite out of her banana split when she stopped and looked at it for a moment. "Hmm... I bet I can eat it all at once!"
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle quickly looked over at her.
"Why would you even want to do that?" Apple Bloom asked.
It was too late. Her tongues were already wrapped around it and pulling it into her wide open mouth.
"Scootaloo, NO!" Was Sweetie Belle's futile plea.
They watched in morbid fascination as the frozen treat disappeared down their friend's gullet. Some of the ice cream didn't fit and dribbled out of all three corners of her mouth.
Once it was pulled all the way down her throat, she smiled at them in triumph. "Didn't think I could do it did you?"
They glanced at each other for a moment.
Scootaloo suddenly clutched her head in her hooves. "AAAAAAAAAAAAA." She fell to the floor writhing in pain as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle could only watch.
She felt things wrap around her and lift her into a sitting position then something hard was pressed to her lips.
She recognized Pinkie's voice and did as she was told.
By the time the glass was empty she was able to sit up on her own and open her eyes. "Thanks. What was that?"
"You' welcome." Pinkie patted her on the head with a tongue while another still held the glass. "Jus' a cup a warm wa'er." With that taken care of she bounced away, back behind the counter.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle quietly ate theirs at a more reasonable pace to give Scootaloo some time to recover.
Once they were finished they went back to Pinkie and told her what they though of her creations. With Scootaloo delivering the sage advice of 'Don't swallow things just because you can' and Sweetie Belle's excitement about how the poprocks tickled her tongues and her frustration at having trouble blowing bubblegum bubbles.
They were back outside when Scootaloo turned to the other two. "So what do we do now?"
Apple Bloom looked around as she thought about it. "I don't know but we need to make the most of it. We got school tomorrow."
"What do you think miss Cheerilee is up to?" Sweetie Belle asked.
Cheerilee finished writing tomorrow's lesson on the black board (a long discussion about everypony's changes.) and stepped back to check it over.
Well, that was easier then it used to be. She thought to herself.
Her eyes focused on the piece of chalk she was holding in front of herself. Maybe I've gotten too used to the taste of chalk over the years. Her tongue responded by giving the stick a light squeeze before she went back to checking her work.
Twilight finished reading one of the notes she received. "That's test number three. It will need some official testing in a controlled environment but I'm adding it for now."
She switched her attention to a scroll full of notes and managed to keep using her magic as she wrote. "High speed burrowing causes a loss of breath, resulting in a large gasp for air upon breaching the surface. This gasp includes the mouth being opened wide and the tongues being fully expelled from the throat in order to maximize air intake."
She stopped to think for a moment. "I guess it would be hard to breath under those circumstances. I wounder if this behavior could startle ponies. ...I wounder how badly this behavior will startle ponies." She looked outside. "But it's not like tatzlponies are digging holes at random."
Any further thoughts were cut off by a loud belch and burst of fire. Spike walked down the stairs and saw Twilight looking at him.
He broke the seal on the scroll he was holding and cleared his throat. "Dear, Princess Twilight. Yes I have also received a copy of the report. Not to worry as I have already sent a team to contain and analyses the situation. Your friend, Princess Celestia."
Spike scratched the back of his head for a moment. "What's that all about?"
"An outpost has been infected with some strange illness and asked for help. But it looks like the situation has already been taken care of, or will be soon."
A young stallion was roughly shoved forward. "Go on. Go talk to her."
He frowned at his antagonist for a moment before refocusing his attention forward. He bit his lip as he took a few steps forward. "Sugar?"
The young mare in question stood up straight and her tail went stiff. Her head slowly turned as she looked behind herself. Her ears went back and she glared at him. "Oh, it's you."
He took another hesitant step forward. "I just wanted to apologize for what happened the other day."
"APOLOGIZE?" She spun around and yelled at him.
He backed up a couple steps and his eyes briefly looked at the strange mouth gaping at him.
Her anger melted into sadness. "I needed you and you left me."
"I-I know and I'm sorry." He looked at the ground. "I was scared. We all were."
She pulled in on herself as she looked away and hid her face behind her mane.
He moved closer. "Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?"
After an uncomfortable silence, a tiny smirk pulled at the corner of her mouth for a moment. She looked at him and their eyes met. "Kiss me!"
"I uh... what?" He tilted his head to the side.
"Kiss me." She stepped closer. "If you can do that without running away screaming- we'll talk."
He smiled at her. He moved in closer but stopped at the last moment. "How exactly does this-"
Two of her tongues shot out and wrapped around his head, drawing him in the rest of the way. After a moment of shock wore off, he leaned into it. That's when something pushed past his lips and made it's way down his throat. He jumped and his eyes shot open, but she held onto him. Once he calmed down from the intrusion he got back into the kiss, and replied in kind. One tongue was placed on the back of her head just before her eyes opened in surprise.
"Dude. That is creepy!" Was heard not too far away and immediately followed by fading hoofsteps.
They ended their kiss and took another moment to completely separate.
She looked at one of her tongues for a moment before pulling it back down her throat. "You need to stop putting so much spice on your hayburgers."
"Hey, you know how I like them." He bit his lip. "So, are we good now?"
"I said we would talk. So lets go talk." She tilted her head to the side and started walking away. The end of her tail twisted around his neck for a moment and he followed after her.
Shining Armor stood on the edge of the training field (to avoid explaining why he would be limping across the field) and watched some sparing matches.
The tatzlponies had the advantage of surprise but the disadvantage of still getting used to their new bodies. One stumbled over their own tail while another spun around and used their tail to sweep the hooves out from under their opponent. One tried to dodge an attack by jumping forward and was halfway into the ground when the practice spear came down. A more heated fight looked to be about to end when the tatzlpony lost their spear. The normal crystalpony got cocky and went to finish it only to find themselves unarmed and off balance against a tatzlpony that now held a spear in it's tongues.
He sipped his coffee and gave a nod at the ponies trying to improve their abilities.
Somepony came up behind him. "Looks like you already had a sparing match against a tatzlpony, Sir. I trust you got in a few good jabs with your spear."
Dr. Petri walked through the main entrance of the Canterlot train station. It only took a moment for her to find three guards who weren't actually guarding anything. In front of them was a large bag similar the one hitched to her, and sitting down next to it was a pony reading the news paper.
"Dr. Scope?" She asked as she approached the floating paper.
The top of the paper folded down to reveal the stallion behind it. "Dr. Petri, it's good to-"
"AAA!" She jumped back when she saw the alien mouth of the pony getting up to greet her, but being still hitched to the bag caused her to fall to the side. She shook her head and looked up to see a tentacle coming towards her. She tried to shuffle away but ended up going in a circle around her luggage. She looked back but only saw Dr. Scope's unamused face looking down at her.
"Really now? I was hoping to be working with somepony a little more professional."
"I just-" She took a deep breath to calm down. "I just got back from a family reunion. I haven't had, well any, interaction with um, tatzlponies."
He stepped around and offered a hoof to pull her up. "Well you'll have plenty of time for that on this trip. Not only is there myself but one of the guards being sent with us as relief is as well."
She dusted herself off and looked over at the guards. She couldn't see their tails and the enchantments on the armour hid any markings, but after a moment she noticed that one of them seemed to have a split in his lower jaw. She unhitched herself and sat down across from Dr. Scope. "Sorry about that." She watched him smile and nod. "So what's it like?" Her eyes shot open as she clamped a hoof over her mouth.
He chuckled a little. "It's ok. I honestly expected as much from you. After all, a pony doesn't become a researcher of any kind if they aren't curious about the world around them. As I said, there will be plenty of time to satisfy your curiosity on this trip."
Rainbow Dash glided down to Fluttershy's cottage. As she touched down, there was an odd rapid thumping noise coming from inside. When she got close to the door she heard moaning. Quietly trotting over to a window, she looked inside. A table was in the way but she could see Fluttershy's head and back. She was clearly stretched out on the floor and her eyes were partly glazed over.
Fluttershy smiled. "Thas the s'ot, A'gle. Righ' there."
Dash's eyes shot open as she started backing away.
"No, don' stob. Jus' a little loger."
Dash turned around and jumped into the air. "Maybe I'll come back latter."
Fluttershy looked down at her tongue stretched out in front of her and the bunny hammering away at it. "Ok, A'gle. Thas' enough."
His foot slammed down on the sore spot a few more times before he finally stopped. And was promptly grabbed by it and pulled in to be nuzzled by Fluttershy. He rolled his eyes but took a quick look around before hugging her muzzle.
She dropped Angle on her back and took a moment to stretch and flex the over used and recently massaged tentacle. "As scary as all of this has been, they really are quite useful. I guess I just need to slow down on how much I use them when helping all the animals."
Angle made some noises.
"Of course I'll make you a special treat for helping me." She walked into the kitchen as her mouth opened up and her tongues started to slide out. Then she pulled them back in. "But I think I'll make it like I used to."
Princess Luna appeared in a flash of light. She took a moment to observe her odd surroundings before knocking on the seemingly normal wooden door.
A minute latter a lion paw and eagle talon pierced the middle of the door and pulled it apart as if made from two pieces of hanging fabric. Discord poked his head out to see who his visitor was. "Luna! So good to see you. I must say I wasn't expecting company this evening. Please come in come in."
As she followed him through the door she noted that the arms holding it open for her weren't the ones attached to his body. A quick look around the interior showed a house that was surprisingly less chaotic then expected. She had no doubt that it was a facade hiding the true nature of the place. She chose to remain standing instead of taking a seat on the couch across from him.
He stretched out and folded his hands behind his head. "So what brings you to my little piece of chaos?"
"We require a cup of your 'tatzl tea'."
"Oh? Eager to join your sister and the other princesses are you?" He snapped his fingers at her.
She felt a sudden weight on her tail and an odd sensation in her mouth. Actually opening her mouth was even stranger and she looked down at the three tentacles that slipped out before pulling them back in. "The others may be adjusting well but I would prefer to remain in my natural form."
He just closed his eyes and shrugged as he snapped his fingers at her again, returning her to normal. "If it's not for yourself then what do you need a cup of tea for?"
"We- I have learned of an individual who has valid reason for wanting to become a tatzlpony."
He stroked his beard. "Only one pony in all of Equestria?"
"If there are any others, then I have yet to find them. It is my understanding that those few who wished to become tatzlponies were quick to secure a cup upon learning what was happening. This individual was somehow detained from doing so."
"I see." He leaned forward and rested his chin on his hand. "So what's in it for me?"
She regarded him for a moment with a raised eyebrow. "Was it not your desire to turn all of Equestria into tatzlponies?"
He gave her a dismissive waved and looked away. "I had my fun. There's enough running around for what I wanted. One more won't make a difference."
She sighed. "Very well. What do you desire in exchange for your assistance in this matter?"
He tapped his chin a few times before his eyes opened wide. He turned to her fully and started to grin. "Well Dreamy. There's something you are going to need help with, and something you are going to have to do afterwards. I'm going to help with the first and be there to watch the second."
Applejack looked at the apple filled baskets sitting in a cart and surveyed the empty trees around her. She walked over to one of the trees and gave it a solid kick. No apples fell out but after a moment she heard a noise coming out of a large hole in the ground next to it. Next out was a tentacle filled mouth as Big Mac yawned while he stepped out.
"Enjoy your nap?"
She looked back at the trees. "Well, you earned it."
He hooked up to the cart and started pulling it towards the barn.
She caught up and trotted beside him. "Once we get this put away, Granny should have supper about ready."
After a minute of silence between them she turned to her brother. "You never said nothing, but I was wondering. What do you think of this here tatzlpony stuff? You ok with what all happened?"
She nodded at that. "I'm surprised Granny Smith is taking it so well." She chuckled a little. "I guess living next to that forest for so long, a pony gets used to strange things." She noticed the sideways look he gave her. "Well not everypony gets sent out to do things for the princess."
He smiled and looked back at the barn they were approaching.
She sighed. "I hope Granny ain't making soup again." She frowned at the sudden laughter beside her. "Hey now, it wasn't that funny." She licked the lips between her lower jaws as she remembered what happened.
She rolled her eyes at him as they walked into the barn. "Lets just get this put away for the night."
An earth pony stallion cantered through the dimly lit back streets of Vanhoover. He took an occasional glance around to see if anypony was watching him. He arrived at his destination only to find a run down shop. A single working bulb was just enough to illuminate the sign 'Drocdis emporium' and an open sign flashed long enough to show that it was still open.
Inside wasn't any brighter then the night outside, leaving just enough light to navigate the narrow path from the door to the counter. Skulls seemed to turn towards him when unobserved, while other items vanished or appeared in a previously open space. He reached for the bell on the counter but jumped back when a gray unicorn was suddenly in front of him.
His white goatee was a strange contrast to his black mane that almost blended into the shadows. But his most striking feature was his bright red eyes as he looked at his customer. "Something I can help you with?"
It took a moment to compose himself before he could respond. "I um. I heard from..." He scratched the back of his head. "Somewhere? That you might have some unusual stuff here."
"Oh I have many such items." He waved a hoof to the side and looked around the shop. "You're going to have to be much more specific about what you are looking for."
He took a nervous look around to see if anypony else was in the shop. "I was hoping for a cup of tea."
The owner stroked his goatee. "I see. We're not supposed to have that in Equestria anymore. Don't you know what happens to ponies when they drink that?"
"Yes, and that's why I want some."
"And you aren't worried about getting in trouble when somepony finds out?" He turned to the side and looked as if he was getting bored. "Such an affliction will be difficult to hide and it won't take long to figure out what happened."
He stood up straighter and shifted to the side to get the unicorn's attention. "I'm moving to a new town. Nopony will find out."
The red eyes and wicked grin were unnerving when the owner looked at him again. "Since you seem to have thought this out so well, perhaps I can help you after all. ...for sayyy, twenty bits."
He winced but started getting the coins out. "This better work." He put the bits on the counter and pushed them forward only to have a steaming paper cup pushed towards him.
"You'll forgive me for not wanting such an item to leave the premises in it's current form."
He grabbed the cup in his hooves and started to drink. Fortunately it wasn't scalding hot, so the only distraction was the shop keeper watching him. When he went to put the empty cup down it was instead pulled from his grasp, crumpled up and incinerated.
"Run along now. You don't have much time and it wouldn't be good to be in the middle of the street when it kicks in."
He took a couple steps back before quickly heading for the door and galloped away once outside.
A minute latter the shop keeper stepped outside. He grabbed the bottom edge of the store with a hoof and pulled it down, somehow without pushing it into the ground. When he let go, the store rolled up into a small cylinder that spun in the air a few times before disappearing.
He held the coins in his hoof and tossed them in the air lightly before catching them. "Maybe I actually should open up a business of some kind. Could be fun." He gave his other foreleg a flick, causing the hoof to make a snapping sound and he vanished.
The earthpony finally reached his apartment and quickly got inside before stopping to catch his breath. A shuffling noise drew his attention further in and he navigated the boxes until he saw a tatzlpony mare with an open box.
She turned to him and they nuzzled. "So, how did it go?"
"It was there. Now we'll just have to wait and see." He shifted to the side and looked down at the box. "And what have you been doing?"
She sighed and shook her head. "I'm fine, I'm not an invalid. I can pack a few boxes." He took a step forward and nuzzled the bump in her belly, causing her to smirk and roll her eyes before grabbing his head with her tongues and pulling him into an awkward kiss. When she let him go they stayed looking at each other. "Yes. We are fine." Her gaze shifted to the corner of his eye. "Lets get you on the couch."
His ears went back "Hu?"
"This isn't going to be pleasant but it will be over soon." She guided him over while his face and tail started to itch. "Then we can leave, bright and early in the morning."
Princess Luna stared down at the earth pony before her. The look on her face made it clear that she wasn't amused.
She waited until the mare took a nervous glance at the door behind herself before she started. "You fully admit that my sister has experience in dealing with this situation. It's clear to me that you are concerned about how I will deal with it. And I can tell simply by looking upon you that this is not a more convenient hour." She lifted the papers up and took a glance at them. "Are you certain you wish to proceed?"
"Um. M-maybe I should- come back during the day." She replied with a forced smile.
"I believe it would be for the best." She levitated the papers back into the mare's saddlebag and watched her leave.
A unicorn walked through the door and the sight of him immediately made Luna grumble.
"Your Highness. I've revised my recommendation and I think that now you will understand why the tatz-"
Anything else he had to say was cut off as he was picked up in her magic and thrown back out the door. Gently of course. Although doing worse may have been worth another berating from Celestia regarding her behavior in court.
"Why can't more of them be like that young couple who simply needed special approval for an addition to their home? Or that Fancy fellow whom I have not seen recently? He accepts when there is an issue with a proposition." She didn't expect an answer and didn't receive one.
Oddly enough it was a tatzlpony that stepped through the door. They seemed to prefer her sister just as the others have gained a preference of waiting for her night court.
The former unicorn's electric blue coat and fiery red mane and tail certainly drew attention to her as she walked towards Luna. "Hello, Your Highness." She stopped and gave a bow. "So... This notice arrived at the club this evening." She levitated a few papers forward a little ways and Luna took them in her own magic. "The office already filed the papers for an appeal. But tonight is our big 'amateur night' finals. If we're not allowed to make some noise then there are going to be a lot of disappointed ponies from all over Equestria."
Luna checked the address and pulled over a map of the city. "This establishment is in the entertainment district. Correct?"
"Yes Ma'am." Her lower jaws had started to nervously chew on a tongue.
After finding the location on the map, Luna frowned at it for a moment. "This is clearly well within the boundaries and should not be subject to any 'noise ordinance' violation." She wrote something on the papers and sent them back. "This is my personal approval for your 'amateur night'."
A tongue shot out in excitement but stopped short of the papers before being pulled back in. "Thank you, Princess. You're the best." Her horn sparked up as she took the papers back. She looked around for a moment. "We're done here, right?"
"Yes. Although I do intend to find out how this got approved to begin with and who is trying to disrupts this city's night life." She heard the tatzlpony mumble something. "Pardon me?"
"N-nothing, Your Highness." But the princess just kept staring at her. Her ears went back. "Well, the fancy place across the street has been giving us a hard time for awhile. It's only gotten worse since-" She glanced down at her tail as it wrapped around her forelegs. "-the changes."
"I see. I'll have to look into that as well. Regardless of what the actual situation is, your appeal is in process and you have permission for tonight. Go enjoy your 'amateur night.'"
"Yes Ma'am." The tatzlpony smiled at her and left.
A servant with a clip board stepped in and shook her head, signaling the end of night court.
Luna got off the throne and stepped down. "If that's all of them, then I have something to tend to."
A tatzlpony stallion started to realize that there was something wrong with his world. Things seemed out of place and were having trouble maintaining a place. Words didn't make any sense. There was a large blue mare, standing off to the side, watching him. After a minute he realized that there was a large, dark blue, mare, off the the side, and that she was watching him.
"Princess Luna!" He fell into a bow once he was able to figure out who she was.
He got up enough courage to look around. "Is this a dream? Or are you really here?"
She stepped forward and things seemed to make more sense. "Yes this is a dream and yes I truly am here."
"Oh." He remained prostrate before her. "I-is there something I can do for you?"
"Perhaps." She looked him over a couple more times. "The last few nights I have been helping alleviate the fears of a young stallion. Tonight I was unable to sense those fears. In my efforts to track him down and learn what transpired I thought I had located him. Instead I find a tatzlpony who otherwise looks very similar. Tell me, my little pony, has something been causing you distress?"
"Um..." He shuffled around on the floor a little. "W-we've got a foal on the way. And I've been a little worried about moving."
"Hmm. And in the waking world, what breed of pony are you?"
"Earth, er aaa tatzl... Earth-tatzl-pony. I guess."
She stood there, silently staring at him for a minute. "Perhaps you are the one I was seeking tonight but simply still thought of yourself as you were before, until now." She started to turn to leave. "If I am no longer needed here then I shall leave you to your slumber citizen. Farewell."
"F-farewell." He waved as she walked out of existence.
Once she was back in her hallway of dreams she peeked inside again to watch him nearly collapse. Laughter drew her attention to Discord behind her.
He offered her some popcorn. "Ah. The look on his face as you stood over him. That's why I agreed to this." He put an arm around her. "You know Lulu, you and I could have a lot of fun in this place."
She stepped away from him. "I believe I shall pass. I shudder to think what your presence will do to the dreamscape from this one incursion."
"Bah. You're no fun." He followed her as she started walking. "I got a laugh. You don't have to chase away nightmares about foals getting lost in holes or whatever. And now that he knows you've seen him and let him go, he won't worry about any princess coming down on him for drinking tea."
She looked back at him but didn't stop. "As helpful as you have been tonight, I would still prefer to avoid unleashing monsters into ponies dreams."
"Hmm..." He tapped his chin. "I'm sure that with a little looking, we could find somepony who would actually enjoy a good fight in a place they can't get hurt." He leaned in close. "You sure you don't want to make any nightmare monster to fight?"
By the time the train arrived at their stop, Dr. Petri was comfortable enough with tatzlponies that she didn't flinch when a guard used a tongue to help hitch up her luggage. She even giggled a little when she saw a small filly sneeze hard enough to fall on her tail, despite all the little tentacles that came shooting out.
They quickly went through town, gathering any last minute supplies, and left on one of the less used roads, until they came across a path going uphill.
Dr. Scope passed out the hazmat gear to the other 4 ponies before putting on his own. "The outpost is just up ahead. There should be space outside to set up the tents. We'll have to stay there for now."
Dr. Petri turned to the guards with them. "I know you have a job to do, but try to minimize contact until I have identified the means of infection."
They nodded to her and the group continued on. The outpost was just a short, wide tower on top of a hill overlooking the area. Five members of the local militia and a doctor, had quarantined themselves to the area once the doctor realized it was something new and she couldn't treat it.
As they approached, a pony standing at the door stood up a bit straighter and gave a weak salute. "It's good to see you fellas. Myself and Point are the only ones still standing. Even the Doc has trouble getting out of bed, and nothing gets her down."
One of the royal guards stepped forward. "I'll be taking over outpost operations from here." He pointed at the other two. "You two, go assist with the set up while I assess the situation."
Dr. Scope unhitched himself and got out a small bag of supplies. "I'll go talk to the local doctor and find out what she knows."
"Wait." Dr. Petri called out from a flat open area off to the side. She got out a case and tossed it on her back before making her way over. "See if you can get some samples. I'll have my lab set up soon enough."
To the Canterlot Medical Research Association - Pathogen Devision
Containment has failed. The team sent to investigate appears to have been infected before arrival. Before being incapacitated, Dr. Petri was able to determine that the pathogen is airborne and highly contagious with a short incubation period. She also found signs of magical properties but was unable to perform a detailed analysis. Although debilitating, none of the patients conditions have deteriorated.
Accompanying this message is a sealed case containing samples for study. The outside was heavily sanitized, but I caution that our clean room may have been compromised.
As a final note. Although the sample size is too small, I feel the need to mention that of the eleven ponies here, the two tatzlponies have remained in reasonable health. We have been tending to those who are having difficulty on their own.
Princess Celestia finished reading her copy of the field report and took a calming breath. The team must have been infected in town before going to the outpost. Between the local mine and adventurers seeking fame and fortune in the uninhabited wasteland, that town saw it's share of traffic. She pulled out a map and started looking over the train routs and major roads.
Princess Celestia sniffled as she looked at the map. Every major settlement had been infected. Some smaller areas had, so far, remained clear, but all it took was a sick bird landing in a town to set things off there as well. The good news was that the outpost that was first to be infected had shown signs of recovering, and that tatzlponies did indeed have a resistance to the illness.
Princess Luna had barricaded herself in her room, surviving off her stockpile of snacks, leaving Celestia to run things in her current state. Fortunately she was only suffering from being tired, and a bad case of the sniffles. She finished signing off on recommendations for sending supplies and tatzlpony volunteers to where they were needed. She then ate half a cake in what could be called one large, messy, bite.
Princess Twilight sniffled as she triple checked the list of Ponyville volunteers. A knock at the door broke her train of thought. "Spike, can you get that?"
He got out of the fire and dusted off the ash as best he could before running across the stones that stopped his feet from scorching the wood. Opening the door, he found a very tired looking Rainbow Dash with a scroll in her mouth.
She spit the scroll out at his feet and groaned. "Express delivery."
He picked it up with a pair of tongs and brought it to Twilight who started reading it. "I'll make arrangements for the Ponyville volunteers and they should be on the train by tomorrow."
Dash huffed. "How did I end up the mailmare?"
Twilight pulled out a stack of papers and began filling in information. "Because communication is important and with the others being pulled away to take over other places, we need somepony who's fast and knows the area."
She shuffled over next to Twilight, her tail dragging on the floor. "Come on, Twilight. Haven't they found a way to fix this yet? Everypony is miserable."
She watched Spike throw another log on the fire and stretch out on it. She sniffled and turned to her friend. "I'm sorry Dash but they're still working on it." She smiled a little. "At least being tatzlpony means you have some resistance to it. That's a good thing, right?"
"Tell me about it." She glanced off to the side. "I took a run to Cloudsdale yesterday. Half the normal ponies I saw couldn't even hold their wings out straight. Forget trying to fly." She gave out a weak laugh. "Even Fluttershy can still fly." She leaned in close and opened her tired eyes as wide as she could. "By the way, if you visit her, stay away from the bear." She grimaced. "I saw him sneeze on her... Not pretty."
"I'll Keep that in mind." She went back to her work. "I might have some good news. There's a chance this won't last too much longer. I can't say for sure yet." She finished writing some letters and gave the stack to Dash with a scroll on top. "Can you run those around town and post that list at the train station, please?"
"I'm on it." She gave a quick salute and left with a little more energy in her step.
Princess Celestia sniffled and stretched out on the balcony. With everypony being sick she had a little more free time to herself and she intended to enjoy it. Even if she wasn't feeling her best.
A tingle of magic and familiar noise drew her attention to the side. So much for enjoying her time. "Hello Discord. You're looking well."
"CELESTIA!" He grabbed her head in his hands and smiled at her for a moment, before looking up a little. "Still under the weather I see."
She looked up as well and saw a small storm cloud above her head. She pulled back and used a tongue to push the cloud away before it had a chance to rain on her. She stood up and looked him over again and saw no signs of illness. "I take it you're not affected by this?"
"Oh I was, but I got over it some time ago."
"I see." After thinking about it for a moment she narrowed her eyes at him. "Discord?"
"Are you responsible for this?" She took a step forward as her mouth split open and her tongues got ready to lash out.
"You know me better then that Celestia." He leaned over the railing. "Despite the little bit of chaos at the start of all of this." He swept an arm across the cityscape. "It has been rather boring." He looked down at the streets and the ponies milling about. Most of them were lethargic tatzlponies but a few did have some energy and a few others were normal ponies, often being helped by a tatzlpony. "Over all, I would say that there has been a disturbing lack of chaos in Equestria since ponies started getting sick."
She relented with a snort and made her way inside. A serving cart had a pitcher of chilled milk and a tray of pastries. She laid down on a cushion and used her magic to pour herself a glass of milk and grab a brownie. "I suppose I should actually thank you."
He started choking on the cookie he had just bitten into. A snap of magic got him his own glass of milk to wash down the crumbs. "Thank me?"
She finished her snack and looked out over the balcony. "The resistance that the tatzlponies have against this illness has allowed Equestria to continue operating at a reasonable level and more importantly, those in critical condition have been able to receive the help they need." A snort caused an ear to twitch in Discords direction.
He started giggling and drew Celestia's attention back to himself. "You seriously want to thank me for this?"
"Yes." She nodded. "Thank you Discord. Whether you-" Anything else she had to say was cut off as he burst out laughing.
"Oh. Oh this is too good." He wiped a tear from his eye as he floated closer to her. "You know what's funny?" All he got for a response was her brow furrowed a little. "Nopony ever asked me why."
"It's ok, Celestia, you can't help it. I don't mind, just as long as I'm upwind." He got an annoyed groan out of her. "But nopony ever thought to ask why I went through so much extra trouble to make them stay tatzlponies."
"Other then your twisted sense of humor and a desire to cause chaos?"
"If that was all I wanted then I simply would have used a bit of magic to make a few and they would turn back once it got boring."
Celestia rolled her eyes and sighed. "Ok, Discord. Why did you put the extra effort into permanently changing some of my little ponies?"
He floated around behind her until their heads were side by side. "Well there's a little bit of a story behind it."
She took a moment to gauge the time and waved a hoof for him to proceed once he was sitting across from her again.
"Well." He started out as he pressed his fingers together and smiled at her. "You remember that little adventure I had with Twilight and Cadance shortly before this whole thing started?"
She nodded. "The one where you got the flower to make that tea."
"That's the one." He pointed at her for emphasis. "And did she tell about how I had gotten sick on that trip?"
"You were pretending to be sick to get attention. Wait..." She tapped her chin with a hoof. "Yes. She also mentioned that you did actually get sick from that wurm."
"Yes well. As I laid there in my little quarantine bubble thinking about things" -He put a fist to his chin and looked at the floor with his brow furrowed as if he was deep in thought.- "it occurred to me. I was sick but that tatzlwurm was acting as if all it had was a bad cold." He jumped up into the air again. "Once I was feeling better I decided to take another trip there. However, before I got there I came across several sick creatures running about. None of them were actually running mind you. Few of them were doing very well in fact." He tipped his head towards the balcony. "As you've already seen."
She glanced at the balcony for a moment. "This disease is the one you got from that wurm?"
"Cadance's sneeze guard may have stopped it from spreading while I was being taken care of, but even with all four of you trying your best, it was going to get here eventually. Now you may not believe that I would have any interest in the sake of Equestria but I think we can agree that there is one pony I do care about." With a wave of his hand, he was holding a plush tatzlpony. A yellow pegasus with a long pink mane.
"Now I could have given the tea to you like I planned." He held up a hand. "Or I could have given it to Fluttershy to keep her safe." He held up his other hand. "But why choose when I have enough for everypony and just see what happens then?" He settled down and looked at her with a smile. "After all, isn't sharing, one of those things you ponies value so much?"
"So you actually were trying to help Equestria?"
"And amuse myself." He reclined in the air with his eyes closed and hands behind his head. "As for why I was laughing earlier. After you declared tea off limits, I was having too much fun watching the panic and decided to try other methods. Until you found out and we made our agreement. I take away the tea and you don't look for a cure." He cracked an eye open and smiled at her. "And since you're a mare of your word, I know you'll never go back on it." He spun around to face her directly. "I turned you into a tatzlpony for the rest of your eternal life, and now, even got you to thank me for it." He moved away from her and started laughing again as he floated half way to the ceiling.
Celestia laid there in stunned silence for a moment. When she recovered she jumped to her hooves and looked for Discord but he was already gone. She slammed her tail into the floor hard enough to make the guards outside her door jump.