A more or less typical HiE-story with a Brony waking up in Equestria as a Changeling and trying to make the most of it.
This is a simple HiE-story with a Brony waking up in Equestria and trying to make the most of it. As a Changeling. Let me rephrase that: As a creature that is a natural predator to all beings capable of feeling emotions, especially our pastel colored skittle-ponies.
Oh well, it can't be that bad, right? Right?
This is my first story, so I hope of a lot of constructive criticism (grammatical or otherwise). I don't know much about age-groups or tags (even after reading the FAQ), so I'm just gonna start with what I know is gonna happen and go from there. Oh, and one thing: In this fic, all races are capitalized. I may change that later on.
Darkness was everything I could see. Scared about my current blindness, I made the first mistake of many, by which I mean shooting straight up and hitting my head on something, resulting in me assuming a sitting position while my head pulsed with pain. Great, just great. My first act of the day is to hurt myself, of course it is, just another day in my life. With these thoughts in mind, I now wanted to commit an act that was hopefully not going to end in great pain, and decided to do something against the darkness. Namely, I opened my eyes.
What I saw was not what I expected: Instead of my room in all its chaotic glory, I got to stare at a tree. A tree that, if my knowledge of trees is to be trusted, had seen better days: It, or at least the small part of it I can currently see, was black, scorched and burned to the point where I couldn't even see if the bark was still on it, with a claw mark on it that was... uncomfortably big. Note to self: Whatever made this mark is nothing I want to encounter. After this example of my truly amazing judgement, I decide that I should expand my horizons and look around a bit. By which I mean sitting on my ass and turning my head a bit. Turns out I was in what I was able to identify as a forest, which was far less surprising because that's where trees normally reside. Who knew? At least it's not my first time waking up naked in the woods, likely miles away from home, given that's the kind of loving family I had, so I knew not to panic immediately.
With a groan, I looked down at my body's state of undress. Lo and behold, this day was the gift that kept giving when it came to surprises. I blinked. I blinked again. Honestly, I would have screamed like the little bitch I am if it weren't for the fact that, eyes aside, I was frozen in a state of disbelief. It appeared I was related to that tree over there: I was black. Not that there's anything wrong with being black, mind you, it was just really strange to wake up with another ethnicity. Then again, I also didn't have hands, so a different ethnicity was likely not even the half of it.
Oh. Oh no.
Now my body finally allowed my to scream, and scream I did. Well, it was more of an irritated buzzing than anything else, which is not much more pleasant to hear or do, especially if it means that you can't speak. I'll just gonna consider this a good thing for now, because otherwise everything in a decent radius would have heard a slew of curses that would make a sailor proud and not a lot of people talk to me anyway. Also, it was not as loud, which, given that there might be a load of predators around, was clearly on the blessing side of things on the blessing/curse scale. After taking a deep breath using a technique I may or may not have copied from a well-know character, I calmed down a bit.
So... a Changeling, huh?
Getting a better look at myself was unnecessary, but I did so anyway. Holes were a given. I could buzz my wings if I concentrated on it, so that was good too. I had a horn, and now that I'm not that out of it, I realized already had its entrance when I hit my head. Ouch. I was easily able to confirm my fangs with my tongue. Now, the final criteria I had to check for basic Changeling abilities would be the shapeshifting capability, but, untrained as I was, there was no reason I could possibly manage t-*FWOOOSH* ... ... Neeeeeeevermind then, it appeared that I am a natural at that, for whatever that's worth. Looking at my changed appendage, I...
Minutes passed. Minutes where I could only look at my hand. Yes, you got that right. HAND. I changed into a human. Not me, at least not as far as I could tell, given that this body had bigger hands than I used to have, but a human nonetheless. My eyes shot wide open as the change reverted and I was back to my buggy self.
I... can change just like that?
As everyone who suddenly found a lot of abuseable power in his... relevant appendages, I suddenly had a big smile on my face. Dire situation where I will probably never see my family again, will probably be executed in a foreign prison and never being in the embrace of another human being ever again or not, I could do things now! Like an excited child I was unable to sit still.
Ok, ok, what do I do first?
After a look at my hole-riddled legs, the answer was clear as day.
First, I'll stop looking like cheese!
And with a flash of green fire, it became so. Excited, I got up and tried to walk around... Only to realize moments later that I didn't know how to properly execute quadrupedal movement and promptly fall on my bugbutt™. Grumpy, I tried again. Over and over, until I was tired of bashing my face in. I angrily buzzed my wings, thinking about how else I could possibly move from my location. "Hmm... How can I move other than using my fe-I mean hooves", I wondered, with my wings having calmed do-
Oh yeah, Changeling.
Flying was very complicated though, so I really didn't bet on it to work. So I tried to fly... and I did.
What? I can shapechange and fly, but I can't goddamn walk? You've got to be kidding me!
Makes one wonder, was flying simply more instinctual than walking to a Changeling? I just assumed it was, because that way I had an explanation, and I prefered that to having no clue at all.
Wait, if I can do that on instinct...
Let me spare you the details for the first two and cut straight to the point: Minor energy bolts and telekinesis were, after a bit of practice, a huge success. Well, telekinesis was more of a pebble success, one with multiple pebbles at the same time even, but you get my point. Now, here is the interesting part though: A success were, to my utter surprise, portals. They weren't color coded like they were in Portal, sadly, but apparently you extend your magic to two surfaces until you coat two areas of nearly equal sizes and then connect them, thus gaining a 'shortcut' of sorts. After a bit of experimentation with hoof-sized portals, I came to the following conclusions: 1. You can 'bend' your portals a bit, to the point where I could hae them warp around a tree branch. This does not warp whatever goes through. 2. You don't need perfectly flat surfaces, evident due to my ability to project them on bark. There is a limit of a few centimetres tolerance, but I can't tell exactly how much it is. 3. You don't need to see the surfaces, but you need to have a clue where they are and if they are there. It appears that Changeling-magic is incredibly fast to confirm if there is a suitable surface and even kinda allows you to take the next best fitting area if your original target is denied. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it personally, but it's some kind of... pull.
My final two tries were goo-spitting, on which I found myself to be an incredible aim, and feeding. ...For which would be an incredible time, because I was hungry. And when I say hungry, I mean I could eat a horse! ... Yes, I mean that.
After hours, way after I lost the energy to maintain the transformation that kept my legs solid, salvation came in the form of two voices. Part of me wanted to object to consuming emotions (and their owners, depending on how things work out, I have fangs after all), but I felt like I was dying, for which the blame is totally not on me overextending myself, and being the egoist I was I'd rather it be them than me.
"You really should get that idea out of your head, Lyra. Humans don't exist, and even the most powerful Unicorn can't change that!" I tensed up.
That couldn't be good. That meant I was close to the Elements, which in turn means I am close to things that won't just accept their place in the food chain and instead fight back.
"The proof is there! Why would our tools have such handles if they were designed for hooves? You can't deny the facts, Bonny." And of course Bon Bon is there too. Of course my first encounter with the enemy would be with a monster hunter.
'Screw my life!' Is what I would have said if... If there wouldn't have been the fact that when they got closer, I could feel them. I could feel them getting closer to my location. Could feel them pulsating with a strange energy.
"Well what if our tools originated from Diamond Dogs? What then? Then you chased that dream for nothing!" The voice belonging to Bon Bon told her... partner?
No... What Bon Bon felt was love, that I was sure of... somehow. Lyra, on the other hand did not display it love in any significant amount, rather... Frustration? Sadness?
"Even if that might be the case", Lyra said, her... everything dripping with sadness, from my point of view. "I just want to believe, you know? Even if they aren't real, it's something that gives me hope, you know? Meeting those that we can thank for our wrenches and doorknobs one day... it's something to wake up for, and..."
They set down on a bench on the opposite side of the bush currently giving me cover. Lyra talked and talked and talked her heart out. After her first few sentences I just kinda zoned her voice out. After all, I was excited, given I was able to finally confirm: I can feed! As the conversation changed, the emotions followed, and I consumed to the point where I couldn't taste what I actually ate. Interestingly enough, I was able to feed on both of them, apparently regardless of the actual emotion: On Lyra's sadness-turned-happiness and on Bon Bons...
"GROW UP ALREADY!" Shouted Bon Bon, my current unsuspecting victim.
Snapping back to reality from my happy food-time, I set my Changeling-sense on Bon Bon... and ho boy, she was angry. Now that I thought about it... yeah, she actually endured Lyra going on and on about humans. I felt kinda bad for both of them, really. Not enough to not feed on them, but I felt bad for them. ... Not gonna lie, I'm an emotion-glutton, this stuff is the shit!
Now I fed on anger, a truly negative emotion, and... yeah, love is better, but it's actually ok. Not as filling, but it works and tastes rather spicy, which I can appreciate. I expected me vomiting or some such, but none of the like happened. With Bon Bons love now in my belly, she gives Lyra a verbal beat down, now lacking the tolerance to put up with her. Not gonna lie, that was probably my fault for nearly exclusively trying to gulp down her love, but hey, I didn't know how this would end!
I may have expected it though... I had to admit to myself.
It was sad when the Unicorn ran away in tears, her sadness taking over immediately and probably overriding her ability to talk it out with her 'friend'. Part of me felt I had to make this up somehow, so I decided to do what I do best: Consuming emotions, apparently. When Bon Bons anger faded, her love reared its head, and so did her sadness. Now the Earth Pony started crying too. It appears I'm quite the heartbreaker! Get it, because I broke their rela-... nevermind.
"Why did I do that? What came over me? I had everything planned: I was gonna tell her at the Summer Sun millenia anniversary, I had a table booked and everything!"
Ok, ok, wait, hold on. Millenia? So does this mean Nightmare Moons return hadn't happened yet? I nearly hadn't felt that the mare ran after her crush, it didn't matter. What mattered was that the invasion didn't happen yet. Which means that if a new pony were to appear, they wouldn't immediately suspect something was up. I had a smile on my face which I would consider happy and others would call disturbing, with the fangs not being the main factor why. I imagined a Unicorn. Time Turner's statue, Night Light's hair and tail, Luna's eyes and Moondancer's color. It didn't have to look good, it only had to work. I looked down on me, and I saw that it was good!... Ok, I might be a bit of a megalomanic when it comes to shapeshifting, but oh well, I'm not perfect, I'll be the first to admit that.
With a goal in mind, I decided to set foot out of Whitetail Woods... Only to remember that I was unable to walk and fall on my ass. I sighed. It appeared I had a painful training session ahead of me...
It was a beautiful day outside. Birds were singing... I sighed. No. No, they weren't singing. Now, I'm not Fluttershy, but if I had to guess, these little pests were laughing their avian behinds off... And really? Can't fault them. A bit of advice, should you ever find yourself in my situation: Do not, and I repeat, do not attempt to just alternate left and right like a biped to move around. It looks stupid, you fall on your face more often than you'd like and don't even get me started on turning.
Knowing that most of my previous knowledge when it came to walking would be utterly useless, I realized I would have utilize most unconventional means to achieve my dreams of quadrupedal movement, by which I mean I'd have to actually sit down and think about what I'm doing for a change. I could probably brute force my way through and learn by falling on my face for another couple of hours. Alternatively, I could try to abuse the fact that Whitetail Woods was far more traveled by ponies than the Everfree and learn by observing my fellow four-legged sentients. Luckily, I didn't have to wait too long: Only a few minutes after I've laid down in my new hiding spot (which, given my inability to relocate myself easily, wasn't that far away from my original spot), what I guessed were a mother and her filly decided to go to a place near my location. I had to move around a bit, given that they choose to go to a nearby flower field rather than actually walking the road in the forest I had line of sight to, and it was a real pain to do so, but I had a feeling that it would be worth it, even if me moving meant that the birds got a good laugh again. I wasn't sure if it was just my sanity playing tricks on me, but the birds caws sounded more and more like malicious laughter with my every move.
The two ponies were doing typical family stuff: Playing in the flowers, picking some, sticking them in each others manes and being all around happy. The foal had a lot of energy. I could have sworn I saw her on the show before, but I just couldn't place my fi-I mean my hoof on it.
The pony puns are something I really gotta get used to.
After a short while after watching the filly's every move, I decided to try it out myself, retreating a bit back into the forest. This was the moment of truth, the moment to see what I had learned from watching... whatever her name was. Conjuring up a mental image of the filly walking around, I, slowly but surely, imitated her moves. Setting one hoof after the other, I started to get a feel for it after a while and before I even realized it I was capable of moving full speed! Well... not full speed, but fast enough that it wouldn't take half of my lifespan to get to Ponyville and back. That was probably due to me being a Changeling, at least I that's what I assumed. I mean, what would fit more to a species that is as flexible as the bugponies than heightened learning capabilities? Still, there was one thing that left me confused: Why?
I mean, ok, I couldn't remember how I got here, but the fact that I was here was only a small part of what was weird. You can trust me when I'm telling you that I've ended up in a lot weirder places after a good drink, but when I did, I always was in the same old, and in most cases very hung over, body. This time, however, I wasn't. And as much as I'd have loved to act though in the face of this fact, it was kinda scary when you think about it. I mean, with me being a Changeling, I kinda got a free pass on the whole hormone changes and whatever was involved with a complete body swap, simply because my first transformation set most of my subconscious factors to a more or less human standard, bar the absolutely vital Changeling-instincts. What would have happened if I had become a pony? Would I have had to deal with loads and loads of feelings I don't understand?
...Or I could have arrived as a mare in estrus...
I shivered at the thought. That was nothing I wanted to deal with if I could avoid it! Just after I got this rather uncomfortable thought out of my head space, I found a smile on my face and decided to lie down for a bit. Why was I complaining? Sure, a lot of things could have gone better... Yet, that was just it: My situation could have been better, but also far worse than it is now, but it wasn't. Was that what it felt like to have luck on one's side? If yes... well, that was definitely something I could get used to. Just like that, I tempted fate. Fate, being what it was, was quick to respond, because it just so happened that I came to lie down below a bird's path of flight... And it had blueberries today.
It took me a good while to get the result of the birds biology out of my face. It took me far less to take revenge for it.
Hehehe... Burn! You hellish Fiend!
...I didn't actually torch the bird. Reason for that was less a noble heart and more my inability to burn things to the ground with green flames of fury! Oh well, I suppose it wasn't all bad, because when I came down to a little puddle to see and remove the damage done by that flying rats admirable ability to do what it did with quite the good accuracy, I noticed a rather stupid mistake on my part: When I said I made my new form have 'Luna's eyes' I got exactly that. Eyes looking perfectly like those of Luna... Eyelashes and all. Needless to say, if I had really gone to town looking like that, that oddity would probably have been noticed by many ponies, given that there probably weren't a lot of stallions with eyelashes carefully tended to. And being noticed was the kinda thing I'd really want to avoid as an emotion-eating shapechanger. Even if I had the bad feeling that Pinkie Pie would not make that easy, given that she's easily... excited by the idea of a new pony. Still, the bird had to pay, and pay it did. By the way, Equestrian Birds didn't taste that good, at least not raw. Especially if it makes you vomit because you are just enough of an idiot to forget that you are currently a herbivore. Oh well... Too long, didn't read: I am now capable of walking! Yay me, build me a monument as a reminder to the world, telling every one of my marvelous achievements... achievements every child was capable of when they were about three years old... It really tells a lot about me when that's something I was actually was proud of for a second there.
I should really get my ego in check, shouldn't I?
After moving back to my hiding spot, it appeared the two were still there. Made me wonder what was so interesting in that flower field that they were able to spend... I guess about two hours in there? I didn't exactly have a watch, so this was the best guesswork I had. While watching them, I simply decided after a while to shut off and consume a bit of their overall happiness. Not in excessive amounts like I drained Bon Bons love, but rather in small amounts they wouldn't miss... At least that's what I hoped. With that in mind, I shut down a bit, only moving my eyes to follow the foals movements and scanning the emotions around me.
What could possibly go wrong?
Let me tell you what can go wrong: Imagine you are a guardian, legal or otherwise, watching over a little girl playing in a field of flowers. You have seen her grow up and could never bear the thought of seeing her get hurt. And at the exact moment that thought goes through your head, you see, out of the corner of your eye, a man trying to hide in the bushes, with him watching your charge's moves with far more interest than a random, shady guy should ever have in a little girl. What would you do? If your answer is to deck the stranger in the face, well, congratulations, you have chosen the same action as the mare I had the pleasure of dealing with. I had this coming, I really did. Had I checked more frequently what her emotional state was, I probably would have noticed the surprise when she first spotted me, then the confusion when she wondered why I was there, and then the anger when she came to a conclusion why I could possibly be there. Which... probably wouldn't have changed the outcome at all, given that other than me this mare had a lifetime of experience in moving around the place with four legs.
The resulting conversation between her and me was rather awkward to me. Not because she was really angry or anything, the opposite in fact: Back home, the only thing that would have happened would be me spending at least a night with the police. However, when I told her that I had never seen someone so happy as the little filly was and how rare it was for me to see someone give a smile that was not bitter or sad (which was a lie, but hey, she didn't know that), she was rather sympatric, seemed to actually be sorry for hitting me and even introduced herself and her charge to me.
Hopefully all ponies are so gullible by default. Would make my job easier.
As soon as she told me the names, I had the urge to facehoof. How could I forget Amethyst and Dinky? So for the rest of the day, Dinky played in the flower field near us while me and Amethyst had a conversation about the most trivial of things. I'm not kidding: You haven't had small talk until you had Equestrian small talk. The things they can talk about for hours on end, it would have been impressive if the topics wouldn't be so boring. Oh well, at least I got some things out of it: For one, the Summer Sun Celebration was in exactly a week. Which was nice to know, if only because I don't have to ask around in town for it, which would have been pretty weird, given how much of an event it was. Secondly, there were no inns or hotels in Ponyville. Amethyst told me that if I wanted a place to sleep, my absolute best bet would be asking Applejack, since you apparently could always count on the Apple-family to provide a bit of hospitality for their fellow ponies if they weren't afraid of a bit of dirt.
There's no way around meeting her, is there?
Finally, there was a new librarian coming to town. Now, I knew this, given that I watched the show, but what I didn't know was that the previous owner had left since quite some time. And that meant that a lot of knowledge was now freely available to me, along with a sleeping place for a bit if Applejack turned me away. On that note, I should probably learn some mind-magic if I get the chance to ensure that a slip-up doesn't entirely doom me.
As Celestia lowered the sun and raised the moon up high, the two left. Dinky was apparently trying to ask me something, but Amethyst insisted that they absolutely had to go home this instant.
"Gah, why did I get distracted like this? Mom and dad are gonna be worried sick if we don't come home in time!" We? So, they were siblings? Who knew? I waited until they were out of sight and checked around, to make sure I wasn't seen.
Now then, for my final trick of the day...
One portal of green fire here and one in the library! It left me speechless how my magic seemed to know the place I wanted a portal to better than I did. What also left me speechless, this time in the physical sense of I was unable to even open my mouth, was the immense power it took me to make said shortcut! That's when I learned that the more surface your portals cover, the more energy they cost. And let me tell you, pony-sized portals cost a lot of it. Ever wondered why the other Changelings didn't abuse portals like hell during the invasion? Mares and Gentlecolts, the energy-consumption was the answer. As soon as I managed to force myself through, my poor body was drained and tired out to a point where I couldn't move if I put all my energy into it. With a final act of willpower, I managed to sever the connection, closing both portals. And then, everything, from the moon shining through the windows to the books on the shelves and the wooden floor, went black.
So many books. It appeared I really had a lot to learn, catching up with the world and whatnot. It's been about half an hour since I've awoken from my fatigue-induced sleep, and I'd awoken with what I came to call a 'magical hangover'. Pretty sure I won't be doing that ever again... At least not if I can help it or are properly prepared. Talking about my awakening, I also apparently didn't revert to Changeling upon arrival. Which was pretty awesome, because that meant that if anyone had found me during my 'downtime', I would not reveal the entire Changeling species right then and there. Talking about not having been found... Why hadn't I been found?
I mean, not that I'm complaining. Heck, I should be happy that I wasn't discovered, and normally shouldn't have counted on being discovered anyway, given that the library was said to have been abandoned since a few weeks. However, there was one factor that immediately sprang to my mind the moment I opened my eyes here that I forgot about when I made the rash decision to crash here for the night: Pinkie Pie. I mean, I was a new pony, so why didn't her sense allow her to track me down immediately? After thinking about that for a bit, I figured it was probably because she didn't want to break into somewhere. Yet, that didn't make sense! I mean, it would be weird, with her throwing surprise parties and all, that she would just not enter if she wasn't allowed to! Then again... Most places where we have seen her throw parties, while doubling as houses, were shops where you were free to enter. At least, that's how I thought it worked. So maybe she really didn't enter places she wasn't supposed to if she didn't absolutely have to? On the other hoof, a new pony seems like something she'd consider a reason where she'd just have to throw a party, given how she'd always been portrayed in the show.
...Maybe it's because I'm not actually a pony?
I sighed. Why was I even trying to understand how Pinkie works? Twilight tried that, and it didn't work for her, so what chances did I have? A more valid concern, at least to me, were all the books I'd have to read through. I mean, how was I supposed to blend in if I didn't have any basic understanding of pony culture, magic and all the other pony-related things that were considered common knowledge over here? With that in mind, I began to read...
Equestrian culture was... strange, to say the least. Granted, I should have expected it, and yet it was surreal how the history of a country could be so boring. Where were the wars and the bloodshed? Where were the political intrigues and the stages of scientific advancement? Nowhere to be found! And while we are at scientific, let me tell you something about science and magic in Equestria: Everything, one way or another, is related to Star Swirl the Bearded. Now you are probably thinking that that's only logical, given that he was such a big shot in Equestrian history, but I think you are misunderstanding a bit there, and that's kinda my fault for wording it that way: When I say everything is related to Star Swirl, I mean that Equestria, the whole country, has made nearly no scientific, social or magical progress since his death. You remember the 'over 200 spells' he created? There are, according to every book in the relevant section this library, about 280 spell in existence. The implications of that? The entire population of Equestria since and before his time, including Star Swirl's student Clover, the princesses, you name it, were only able to create 80 spells, which is less than half of the spells he was able to create. Of course, there are probably spells locked away or generally unavailable, but imagine how high that number must be if creating spells really was as easy as Star Swirl made it out to be! Even if I were to go only by that and say that ponies are so sadistic that they create about fifty harmful spells each, that was shattered directly by the book stating that 'even the most genius and magical of Unicorns' were only able to create one or two spells during their lifetime, if they created any at all. It made my head spin. If that was true, then just how far out there must Star Swirl's mental abilities have been if he'd been able to create 200 of those? On that note, maybe there were only so many things you could do with magic. I mean, what if Star Swirl just found most possible applications in his time? It seemed like a possibility. Heck, I sure as all hell didn't know enough about magic to refute it. Magic, however, was only half as shocking a topic as science. Magic? Ok, don't know anything about it, maybe that was just the way things worked. It was science that really caught me off-guard.
Do you remember the episode where Twilight traveled through time? Not the Starlight one, the one with the two Twilights? On her chalkboard, there was an equation about time dilation. Guess what? That equation, the theory et cetera were all made by your one and only Star Swirl the Bearded. They had such advanced scientific knowledge for what appeared to be a millennia, and nothing new came out of it during that time period? Things only got weirder the more I delved in: Information on solar energy, on mathematical theorems, on genetics... All just sprang into being during Star Swirl's time and then was never touched again, one of the few exceptions being steam engines who came online after about 950 years silence. 950 years, with what, at least according to the book, were 'lackluster descriptions' and 'much guesswork on the developers part', by which they referred to a good 50 pages of information on that exact topic. After reading said pages from the relevant book, I, personally, kinda felt like I could build one on the spot if given the necessary materials. It was worse with genetics, where the entire idea was scrapped because 'leading scientists found no way to prove it'. On the other hoof, it made sense they wouldn't, given how many colors the skittles-species that was ponykind sported, but still...
What in the world is going on here?
It was at that point I realized that I had gone overboard with my studies. Looking outside, it was already dark, Celestia having apparently made the decision to grant her ponies their rest quite some time ago. Deciding to come back to that topic at a later date, I took my leave, taking a few books o magic with me so I could learn the mind-magic I found in there. The door was closed and I didn't want to fall unconscious, so I escaped through the window in what would soon be Twilight's bedroom... Which resulted into me falling on my behind because it's not on ground level.
Walking through the streets, still struggling to comprehend how my recent discoveries could be possible (and maybe trying to ignore the literal pain in my ass), I saw something closing in on the streets. Something orange and purple that really made me want to go to KFC. Needless to say, that something was called Scootaloo, apparently in a hurry, not even watching her surroundings as she went by them. In what I assumed to be the middle of the night. My protective instinct kicked in. How could I possibly let her go alone in this darkness? Who knows what creep might be lurking around, waiting for an opportunity to... well, you probably know what. So, with purest intentions, I stepped up in front of her way. She... actually managed to stop. Which kinda surprised me, since I was somewhat expecting that I needed to catch her in my magic, given that kid's normally aren't that quick to react. A lesson I learned when a classmate of mine wasn't able to react to a car and well, I never talked to him about that accident later on. 'Cause you know, he died. Then again, the show also had Scootaloo perform incredibly on her little scooter, so I probably should have had more faith in her abilities.
Feeling like it was the best to start the conversation on my end, I gave her my best smile and started talking. "Why, hello there, Sc-"
Wait, I can't let her know that I know her name!
"...little filly. How comes you are all alone, out here, so late at night?"
What, you think I should have flat-out used her name? Wouldn't it be weird for a random stranger to know it? ...You don't think so? ... Well, I thought it would, hence my decision not to! In her emotions, I saw a good amount of fear. Understandable. When I was her age, I didn't like it outside in the dark either. When you are young, you always think that there are monsters out there, trying to get you. It's when you are older that you realize that humans are the most dangerous thing in that dark, and that you are one of them. Well, back home at least.
"Uhm... I... I was just i-in Whitetail with my scooter and..." She started to tell, her voice shaking. I'd like this moment to point out that Scootaloo was simply adorable! It took a lot of willpower not to 'Dawww...' at her. It really wasn't easy, what with her big eyes and her tiny, adorable hooves and her tiny, adorable wings... Sure, Dinky was cute too, but she was mostly at distance at the time and Amethyst's small talk took a lot of effort out of me. Scootaloo, however, I was able to see up close, and I was pretty sure being this cute could actually be weaponized. I really ought to find a way to defend myself against that!
After she's told her little tale of riding her scooter through Whitetail and how she forgot the time, I decided to waste no time on trivialities.
"Say, kid, how about I go with you for a bit, huh?" I asked her, stepping closer to her. The closer I came to her, the more I could feel the fear coming from her. Or did it suddenly become more? I must be imagining things. Bringing my head down so I she could see my face at her eye-level. "You wouldn't want to walk all the way home alone, now would you?"
Scootaloo gulped for some reason, and then answered me: "W-why wouldn't I? I-I know my way home!"
I chuckled at that. Sure, I probably shouldn't, given that her even asking this meant that whoever was in charge of her (if there was someone in charge of her... this is Scootaloo we're talking about), missed out on telling her how dangerous it could be in the dark, but her naivety was just so adorable! My chuckle gave an interesting reaction though: Scootaloos fear became more and more. How weird. Carefully, I siphoned a bit away from her, so she wouldn't panic and possibly run right into some perverts waiting hooves. Fear... Tasted kinda like dark chocolate. I liked dark chocolate! Still, I knew that I had to stay strong. After all, fear was a good emotion at its core, as it told us to watch out, and if she'd be abducted or worse because she wasn't cautious, it would be my fault if I drained too much of it!
Putting on my smile after chuckling, I gave her an answer: "Because, kid, there are some bad ponies out there!"
Scootaloo... took a step back? Why did she do that? Her emotional response didn't display that much surprise...
"B-bad ponies?" She asked with wide eyes.
I slowly closed in the distance between us, her fear still being siphoned away to ensure she doesn't do anything stupid. Well, that and because it filled my reserves, if slowly.
"Yes... Bad ponies." I replied and looked around a bit, ever leaving her out of my sights, to ensure no such bad pony was, in fact, sneaking up on us. When I saw the coast was clear, I continued. "There really would be no telling what they'd do if they find a filly alone at this hour, especially if they are such a..." I involuntarily licked my lips at the delicious fear I forbade myself from consuming. "...young and cute thing as you are."
Tears formed in Scootaloo's eyes.
I scared her with that...
I didn't even need my Changeling-senses to figure that out. After all, I just told her that she was in a dangerous situation, being out here. I was such an idiot! I wanted to get her back home as safe as possible, not to make her cry! Ugh, how could I fix that?
"I need an adult!" There was it, my chance!
"I am an adult." I told her, smiling. Without another word, her fear spiked beyond belief and she bolted away. After the initial shock of her just going off like that, I tried to pursue, but even with my ability to sense emotions, I lost her pretty quickly in the background of sleeping ponies.
I just hope she'll be alright...
If she got caught now, it would be my fault... Oh well, nothing I could do against that now, could I? Since the answer to that question was obviously 'no', I moved on back to Whitetail Woods, deciding to learn there for the time being, on the off-chance that the Pinkie-sense had a malfunction that day and she'd find me later if I were to stay within town-limits. Of course, I would normally be at a big disadvantage, trying to read in the dark. fortunately, I was a Changeling, which means I was able to cheat like a Unicorn by using my horn as a light source. Not a really good one, but better than nothing.
Learning spells was not as fun as I imagined. And after flying over it in the library, I didn't imagine it to be much fun in the first place. After sitting down in the Whitetail Woods park on one of the available benches and reading about two chapters, I made the choice to only learn metaspells and not even bother with specific single-purpose spells. Now you are probably wondering: What the hell are metaspells? Metaspells are not actually spells, but rather spell templates. A metaspell doesn't create any sort of actual result on its own, given that it lacks the variables to produce any sort of actual result. Wouldn't recommend trying to cast them as they are. To anyone ever. Gives you what is described, in Star Swirl's words, a cerebral pseudoaneurysm. Now, I'm not a doctor, but that sounds like it hurts, so I'm just gonna refrain from doing that, since Star Swirl seems to be one of the few Unicorns in pony-history who knows what he's doing. Makes you wonder how he knew what exactly the consequences were. I mean, sure, you could always say that he used a scanning spell, but how did he knew that his scanning spell was correct? Wouldn't he need to know how ponies look from the inside for this? ... Would explain the few hundred recorded ponies missing during his lifetime, wouldn't it?
Where was I? Oh yes, metaspells. You know how the royal guards all look the same? That's an illusion-enchantment on their armor. Now imagine Celestia goes goth during a midlife-crisis and now wants all guards to be black. How would she go about this? That's were the fact that the illusion was made via a metaspell comes in: She makes a mental note of how she wants her guards to look like and then creates an instance of the metaspell with these variables, making it a full-blown spell. So I focused on learning those before I went into the more specific and complex spells. Which, in the long run, didn't even matter because I found a spell that grants photographic memory after trying, and failing, to learn about two books of spells. Way to waste my time on something, really. And I mean actual photographic memory, not just a little enhancer that makes sure you remember a few more details. That was a different spell, and by that I mean an entirely different spell, since it only enhances the way the brain works normally instead of physically modifying it. The only problem with the 'True photographic memory'-spell was that the transmutation only lasts a few hours before it expires, reason being that 'harmonious' magic was total crap at transmutation, which covers about anything Discord does, for example. No wonder he turned to chaos magic. That is, if he had a say in the matter...
The... the only thing I can try to do is to make it permanent via...
I wasn't a fan of this idea, if I'm gonna be perfectly honest here. I'd rather not have magic that near my brain if I could help it, especially if it was going to be something permanent.
It's this or having to actually learn spells...
Ok, nope, screw that. After thirteen years in a system that relies on nothing but memorizing things, I've had about enough of that! I'd rather become a vegetable than going through that cycle of learning and forgetting again! Now, with my mind-set on the goal of having memory beyond a goldfish's capabilities (I've never had a good memory to begin with... so yeah, you can see why it sucked for me to have been stuck in a system relying solely on that), I prepared for my first time consciously and permanently modifying my Changeling body. How bad can it be?
It hurt, and it hurt badly. It felt like a tiny shrapnel exploded in my brain, the metal balls ripping through my head and blood filling the holes they left. Or, you know, I imagined that what it felt like. 'Cause if I actually knew how it would feel like, there's a good chance I wouldn't be alive and kicking. Of course, I'd really like to say that I soldiered through this like a man, not a single tear falling from my eyes, but I think we all know that I bawled my eyes out at the pain like the little bitch I am. Now I could say that it was alright for me to cry at the immense pain, but if I'm given the choice between not being tough or dragging the definition of being tough down to this level, I'd rather not be tough and leave that word for people who deserve it. From the transformations start until the transformations end, I wished I'd never have gotten this idea. However, the second it was over, I wouldn't ever give it back. It was, by far, the best long-term investment I've ever made. To read the books would have taken me days, and now I was done within a few hours! Knowledge was power, after all, and now I obtained a good way, no, THE way of obtaining it.
With thoughts like these in mind, whose existence probably meant nothing good for the health of me or those around me, I drift off into sleep. Sleep... I wonder how Changelings managed to stay hidden from Luna for nearly two seasons. Maybe they had some sort of mental protection, if they dreamed at all. I would know in a few seconds, wouldn't I? And wouldn't you know it, I got a front row seat to experience a Changeling's dream. That is, if there were a dream to experience. There wasn't. My subconsciousness was nothing but pure, black emptiness. Not that I should have assumed there to be much, I suppose.
This is gonna be boring...
Waking up the next morning was amazing. Why, you ask? I... I couldn't really describe it. It was just... the feeling to be fully in control of your memories was simply astounding! Do you have any idea how much you forget during you average day? Can you really remember every single step you take during the day? No, you probably can't. Wouldn't you consider this frightening? Your experiences, gone from your mind without a trace? I sure did, at least now that this wasn't the case for me anymore. I never noticed how much of our life get's lost on a daily basis that way until I woke up this morning. Talking about waking up this morning, today was the day I would finally go meet Applejack. Whether I liked it or not. It's not that I didn't like Applejack, quite the opposite in fact. She was one of the few ponies whose demise I wouldn't cherish. Rarity on the other hoof should count her lucky stars that her continued existence is an unfortunate necessity... What? Am I not allowed to have favorites?
After I finished my 10 minutes of internal ranting to get my dislike of a certain white pony out of my system, I left Whitetail Woods... leaving all the books out in the open... I really should have thought this through, shouldn't I? Not like it really mattered to me anyway, given I knew everything contained in them. So for all I cared, they could rot away.
It was incredibly beautiful outside the woods. Last time I was out of the woods I was either in a building or it was already dark outside, which made it kinda hard for me to appreciate the colorful world around me, given that I couldn't see said colors. Coming out of the woods during daytime was an entirely different experience, with colors basically assaulting you from every direction. It nearly stunned me that I currently existed here, my mind trying to wrap around the colorful sight all around me. Equestria was as far away from the grey dystopia I was used to. While walking, I gave my best to drink everything in. The bright blue sky, untainted by the familiar black smoke of heavy industry. The green grass that likely thrived on clean water instead of the acidic rain I knew from back home. It was a nice sight. And that was disturbing. Now you probably wonder why I thought that. The answer is fairly simple: Back home, if you are in the few places that had untainted nature, you don't get to look at the colorful animals and flowers from any angle except for one, and that one is inside, because they'll gobble you up. There is a reason the animals in the zoo are behind bars.
But I'm getting distracted. This wasn't about the way things back home worked, this was about how things here were. And here we had a shining sun, here we had clean air to breathe and here we had rainbows! ...Weirdly enough without any rain in the last few hours... Aiming straight for me.
This is gonna hurt, isn't it?
Sometimes, I hate being right. This was one of those moments. Once more I obtained a very painful experience, this time thanks to a well-known rainbow pony crashing straight into me. It hurt like hell when I lied on the ground after the impact, my limbs bent in unnatural angles and I was leaking a lot of blood. I would have screamed if I weren't paralyzed, shivering as the pain took over any control I had over my body. And I let it. I knew I would die here. Oh, if I only had a means to mend my wounds. You know, a way to change my physical bo- ... ... *FWOSH*
Well, that solved that problem rather nicely. I had to admit to myself, not immediately thinking of what amounts to a Changelings primary ability was probably the most stupid thing I ever did. Well, after shielding her instead of me thanks to the same instinct that had me scare away Scootaloo. Now, let's see how Dash was faring. Probably far worse than the now fully healed me, protection or not, given that she couldn't just mend her body... Or she was totally unharmed, save for a few bruises. Like she was right now. Just... how? I mean, yeah, sure, me shielding her was a factor, then there's the Pegasi's inherit resistance to impacts. Still, if a Pegasus had that high of a physical resistance, then what kind of natural predator would it have? I mean, if cleaning a dirt road with your nose for a good hundred feet at breathtaking speeds can barely rupture your skin, why would a manticore's claws fare any better?
I shook my head. Why was I trying to make sense of this anyway? It's a cartoon world dammit! What I should've tried to do was thinking about my current situation! Why did she crash into me like this? What was I going to do now? Should I take her to the hospital? Should I just run off and change my disguise? Or should...
Alternatively, I did nothing of the above, reason being that my brain decided to turn back into the one of a five-year old under influence of the adorableness that was Rainbow Dash. She was a rainbow pony! It just doesn't get more adorable than that! Except if it were filly Rainbow Dash, but I'm not sure I would survive an encounter with something that adorable, so... Let us just say that it doesn't get more adorable below the level of lethality. Granted, she was a bit bruised right now, but she looked really peaceful. I would be far more concerned about her having seemingly lost consciousness, but she was just too cute! After a little bit of shifting around, I had wittle Wainwow's head lying in my lap. Part of me knew I was probably going to regret it. Hard. However, I really couldn't have cared less at that moment. With another tiny burst of flame, I transformed my hoof into a hand for a while. Why, you ask? For some expert-level scratching, of course!
You wouldn't believe how adorable she can be! When I scratched her under the chin and behind the ears, she, still with closed eyes of course, really started to lean into the scratches. I didn't want to wear the word out, but... it was so adorable! Her hind legs even started kicking uncontrolably! I didn't know why, but her smiling kinda made me happy. I would have continued with this, but sadly, Rainbow put a stop to this. Namely by kicking me in the face!
Reflexively, I sent out another tiny burst of flame, shifting my hand back into a hoof while the impact made me fall backwards. You could really feel that she was an athlete. Seriously, that kick would have sent me flying if it weren't for her oversized head on my lap. Getting myself back into sitting position and rubbing my poor, bleeding muzzle, I saw Rainbow's eyes were still closed, but she was frowning, turning her head around, probably realizing that the scratching is gone now. Maybe I could just leave? Just get my hind legs out under her head while she's in a state of confusion?
It was at that moment she opened her eyes. First, they had a rather dreamy look, then it became realization, and when they focused on my face, anger.