Books and scrolls littered the floor of Ponyville’s library, leaving only a small path for Twilight to walk through. At the epicenter of the organized chaos was the unicorn herself, glancing between a large, old book and a partially finished chalk drawing on the ground. Occasionally she moved to a large stack of books detailing old languages and flipped through them, mumbling to herself as she cross-referenced symbols and details to a piece of parchment. After several more walks between her references and the near crumbling book she was so focused on, she grinned and took a piece of chalk with her magic.
“Now... I need to draw these runes just right...” Twilight said to herself, tracing an intricate pattern into the floor of the library. Beads of sweat were starting to form on her brow, from the concentration she was putting into the small piece of chalk scraping along the floor. Just a little more... she thought, finishing a sixth circle with a complex rune in the center. She brought the chalk back to the beginning of the main circle, and as it connected, she took a deep breath and stopped focusing. “Finally, it’s done.”
The purple mare stepped out of her home and took a breath. It had been a while since she got some fresh air, and it was a nice change from the musky basement. As she closed the door behind her, the town’s grey-coated and blonde-maned mailpony paid her a visit.
“Greetings, Twilight!” Derpy chirped. She opened her satchel and brought out the usual mail. Bills, advertisements, and the monthly check from Princess Celestia arrived.
“On time as usual,” Twilight replied with a smile. She took the letters in her mouth and set them next to her door.
“I haven’t missed a day yet!”
Twilight thought for a moment, then asked “Derpy, could you do me a favor?”
“Sure thing, Twilight!”
“While you’re making your rounds today, could you tell Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy to meet at the library around three?”
“Not a problem,” Derpy said, turning to leave.
“Thank you!” Twilight yelled out as the mail pony flew off to her next destination. She then picked up her mail and went back inside. It was time to give the library a good cleaning.
- - -
Three o’clock arrived faster than Twilight had anticipated - she was still picking up books when she heard the first knock at her door. She opened the door to find Fluttershy - a light yellow pegasus with a long, pink mane - standing there.
“Hello Twilight,” Fluttershy said, in a soft voice. “Is there something you needed?”
“It’s more of an announcement,” Twilight replied, letting Fluttershy in. “You’ll know when everypony gets here.”
The pegasus gave a warm smile as she walked in. “Oh, how exciting.”
One by one, the other ponies arrived. Applejack tipped her hat as she walked in, followed several minutes later by Rarity. Pinkie Pie bounced through the door, licking the remains of some dessert off her face. Lastly, when everypony was settled, Rainbow Dash arrived.
“Sorry about that, everypony!” Dash said as she rushed into the library. “My uh... alarm didn’t go off.”
Applejack looked to Dash with a less than convinced expression. “So what ya meant ta say is that ya overslept.”
“Eh... I guess you could say that,” The rainbow-maned pegasus replied, her cheeks growing red.
“Well, that’s okay,” Twilight said, stepping before the rest of her friends. “Now that you’re all here, I have a very important announcement to make!” She motioned behind herself. “If you’ll notice, there are six circles written on the floor behind me. They are all contained in a larger circle. This is called a ‘rune circle’, and I’ve been working very hard on it.”
“Well what’s it do, Twi?” Applejack asked.
“You see, it’s all part of a complicated spell which I put together. It uses ancient, shape shifting magic and runes to alter a ponies physical composition and body structure. Every single rune serves a purpose and acts as a different component in the-”
“Equestrian, please,” Rainbow Dash interrupted, with visible irritation on her face.
“It changes the type of pony you are,” Twilight replied, deadpan.
At this, Pinkie Pie’s face lit up. “Ooh, so you mean that Fluttershy could be an earth pony, or Applejack could be a unicorn, or I could be pegasus pony?!”
Rainbow Dash’s face turned to dread at the thought of Pinkie Pie with wings. She had to say something. “Are you sure that’s safe, Twilight?”
“I’m absolutely sure it’s safe. I’ve double and triple checked everything about this spell. Besides, it should only be temporary. At most it’ll last one or two hours.”
Dash sighed with relief. She didn’t have to worry about a certain pink pony with wings for too long.
“Well, I suppose we could all use a change, could we not?” Rarity asked the group. “I mean, I’ve always fancied being able to fly, especially since the competition in Cloudsdale.”
“And all that fancy unicorn magic would really help out with my apple buckin’. I s’pose I could try it for an hour or two,” Applejack added.
“So, what would everypony like to be? You can choose whatever you like!” Twilight asked, grinning to each of her friends. This would be a great chance to test her strength, and how much she’d learned.
“Um, if it’s okay Twilight, I’d like to be an earth pony. Maybe I can be closer to my animals friends that way,” Fluttershy explained.
“Ah’d like to be a unicorn then, Twilight. We’ll see if Ah can wrangle that magic,” Applejack said.
“I want to be a pegasus pony! Then I can hang decorations and streamers really easily, and deliver treats and sweets really fast!” Pinkie Pie added, bouncing up and down.
“If you could be so kind as to make me a pegasus as well, I would be appreciative? It’s been so long since I’ve flapped a pair of gorgeous wings!” Rarity sighed, her eyes looking to the distance.
“I’m just gonna stick with being a pegasus,” Dash said, flapping her wings a few times. “I like flying way too much to give up these bad boys.”
“Okay, that settles it then! Everypony, except Dash, stand in one of the outside circles. I’ll go into the middle and begin the spell,” Twilight announced.
The others complied, and stood in one of the outer rings. Twilight stepped into the middle. Her horn began to glow, soft at first, but then increasing in brightness. The spirals shone as bright pink magic coursed the horn. She gritted her teeth and shut her eyes, recalling how to proceed with the spell. Below her, the rune began to glow a bright purple. Its energy flowed into the outer rim, then began to seep into the rest of the complicated inscription. Luminescent purple light filled every bit of chalk on the ground, drenching the room in a lavender glow. Rainbow Dash did nothing but watch as Twilight strained with the spell.
The magical energy built up in Twilight’s horn made it glow bright white, and it began to hum with energy. The runes and circles on the ground sparked and hissed, overflowing with power. Just then, Twilight’s knees began to shake, threatening to buckle under exertion. No, I can’t give up! I need to finish this! Her thoughts began to get panicked, as she felt the magic slipping with every passing second. It’s too strong! I can’t control it! The magic began to surge out of control, violent bolts shooting out and hitting bookcases and walls alike. Just a little longer...
It was over. She couldn’t maintain it any longer. With nothing restraining it anymore, the raw magic exploded with power, sending a rippling shock wave throughout the library. With her magic drained and on the brink of exhaustion, Twilight slipped into unconsciousness.
- - -
Twilight felt different... somehow. She opened her eyes partway and found her vision to be blurry. She looked around for her friends, and found them lying in their respective circles, with Rainbow Dash behind a couch. At least, she could see the colors of their coats and manes. Twilight made an attempt to stand up, but found her legs feeling like jelly. After a brief fight with gravity, she managed to steady herself, then cautiously went up the stairs and into her room. She needed to find her book, and find out why she couldn’t pull that spell off. By all means, it shouldn’t have taken that much energy and magic to successfully cast, so what had gone wrong? “Ugh, where is it?” she groaned. It was at this point that she noticed something was very out of the ordinary. “Hello.” she said, listening. It was deeper, and had a more masculine tone. Oh no... oh no... she panicked, her mind already going through the possibilities. She had to see herself. Twilight rushed over to her dresser and looked into the mirror.
“What have I done?”
Her once long mane was now shortened on the top of her head and the back of her neck, and it was styled in different length locks. Her pink and light purple highlights stuck out slightly farther than the rest, making them more noticeable. She looked towards her flank and noticed her legs had grown longer and bulkier; her tail shorter. She took notice of her larger snout as well.
He was now a stallion, and all of his friends were as well.
Moments after this realization hit him, he heard loud hoofsteps and muffled shouting from below. The others had awoken by now, and they didn’t sound happy. He rushed downstairs to find the rest of the group looking over themselves, some angry and some confused.
“What in the hay is this, Twilight?!” Applejack shouted, walking to Twilight. The accent was there, but it was more gruff now. His hair was still long and in a ponytail, but that was the only thing the same about Applejack.
“I don’t know what went wrong, Applejack, and I’m really sorry about this!” Twilight said, trying to calm the farmpony down. He looked to the others. Rainbow Dash was missing, Fluttershy was sitting in a corner, Pinkie Pie was unsurprisingly as happy as ever, and Rarity was coming close to a panic attack. “Is anyone hurt?”
“I’m just fine Twilight, except my voice, which sounds really funny now! I’m like a stallion!” Pinkie Pie said, jumping around the library.
Fluttershy only looked at Twilight and shook his head.
“Fluttershy? How’s your voice?” Twilight asked. What came from Fluttershy wasn’t deep like she expected, but very gentle and sweet.
“I feel okay, Twilight... nothing hurts. I’m just... like this,” he answered.
“That’s a relief. Rarity, how about you?” Twilight asked, looking at Rarity.
“How about me? How about me?!” Rarity said, storming over to Twilight. “Just look at this mess! My fabulous mane, although still stunningly beautiful, is far too short now! And just listen to me! I sound like... like... him.”
“Who?” Twilight inquired, trying to recognize the voice.
“...Blueblood,” Rarity hissed. “This simply will not do at all! Not only do I need to completely change how to get ready for outings, but now I need to design an entirely new wardrobe! I can’t be walking around in dresses like this!”
“So... you aren’t hurt?” Twilight asked.
“My pride maybe, but I’m not. I am quite alright. Oh, it’s going to take forever to sew suits...”
With everypony in the library accounted for, only one needed to be checked on - Rainbow Dash. “Did anyone see Dash?” Twilight asked, looking at his friends.
“I think she mentioned something about flying,” Pinkie said, pointing a hoof at the door. With this, Twilight poked his head outside to see Rainbow Dash high in the sky. He was flying down with incredible speed. Twilight could make out a thin barrier of resistance pushing against Dash, and as expected, he couldn’t push through it and it snapped back, hurtling Dash through the sky.
“Dash! Come back down! We need to talk!” Twilight yelled. Rainbow Dash heard this and soared to the entrance of the library, landing on his hooves with a resounding thud. His brows were creased with anger and his teeth were clenched. “Rainbow, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t fly fast enough!” Rainbow Dash yelled. Twilight could make out small tears forming in his eyes. “I’m too big now! I can’t go fast enough to do a Sonic Rainboom.”
“I’m sorry Rainbow Dash, but-”
“That was all I had, Twilight! Speed! I was the greatest flier in Equestria! Now... now I can’t even pull off my best stunt!” Rainbow yelled. He pushed past Twilight and into the library.
It makes sense... Twilight thought, recalling what he knew of physics.
He went back intro the library. Now that everypony was healthy and here, he could figure out what went wrong. He levitated the ancient book over and looked through it, desperately trying to pinpoint the issue. Looking over the chalk, he scrutinized the the details of the circle for a moment before exclaiming “Ah ha! Here’s our problem.”
“What’s up, Twi?” Applejack asked.
“Come look at this.” The unicorn motioned for everypony to join him, then turned the book so they had a better view of it. “If you’ll notice, there are one hundred runes that need to be written precisely in order for the spell to work.” He waved a hoof in a circular pattern around the diagram, then continued. “However, this particular rune was damaged at some point before I started the spell.” Twilight pointed at a rune in the book, then lowered it and pointed at the corresponding one on the floor. Where it should have been inscribed and untouched, it remained smudged and nearly indistinguishable.
“I went and counted. That one is the sixty third rune, and I highly suspect it’s the reason we’ve changed.” Twilight then closed the book, levitating it to the stand it had been on earlier. “I’m not sure how it happened, as it could have been error on my part or an accident from one of you. Either way, what’s done is done. Fortunately, we should just be able to wait it out. Then, we can all get on with our lives, okay?”
Numerous murmurs of agreement came from the rest of them. All they could do now was wait.
One hour passed. Pinkie tried to get them all to play a game, but only Rarity would bite. A second hour came. Dash was flipping through some Daring Do books that he had already read, deciding to get to the exciting parts. Rarity and Pinkie Pie’s game of checkers had long since ended, with Pinkie coming out with 33 wins to two losses, and the party pony opted to go into the kitchen for a snack. Then, the third hour came around. Twilight looked at the time and began to worry. The spell should have worn off an hour ago, so why were they still stallions?
“What’s the deal, Twilight? I thought we’d be back to normal by now,” Dash said, also looking at the time. The others were frequently shifting in place and tapping their hooves against the floor, along with the occasional groan.
“I don’t know Dash, this should have worn off. Maybe I should recheck the rune circle to see if something else-”
“Um, I don’t mean to interrupt Twilight, but, uh... Pinkie Pie isn’t here anymore,” Fluttershy said.
“What!?” Twilight exclaimed, eyes growing wide. Somehow, nopony noticed when the party pony left the building, and he could have been anywhere by now. Twilight knew that none of them would want to leave the library though, for fear of what the town would think of them. It was then that Dash answered Twilight’s silent prayer.
“I’ll look for her. Him. Whatever.” With that, Dash opened the door and cautiously walked outside. He looked around, making sure that nopony was in the near vicinity. Taking a few steps and checking again for good measure, the pegasus fully left the library.
“Now, if I were Pinkie Pie, where would I go? Oh, duh. Sugarcube Corner!” he said to himself. He began trotting towards the sweet shop in search of Pinkie. The town square was approaching, and Dash gulped. It was now or never. As he walked into the town, ponies began to happily look at him. One called out from the crowd.
“Good afternoon, Rainbow Blitz!” she greeted. Rainbow recognized this as Bon-Bon, but they had never really talked before.
“Uh... Hi, Bon-Bon,” Rainbow said, with a forced smile.
“Oh gosh, he talked to me!” Bon-Bon exclaimed to Lyra, who was standing next to her.
“You are so lucky, Bon-Bon,” Lyra replied, waving to Dash.
As Dash walked through town, he continued being greeted and talked to by other ponies, some of which she had never met before. “What in Equestria is going on here?” he mumbled. Finally, he had made it to Sugarcube Corner. When he opened the door, he was warmly greeted by Mrs. Cake.
“Oh, hello dear! Are you here for Bubble Berry? He’s upstairs right now,” she said, while ringing up a customer.
“Uh, yeah. I’m here to pick up... Bubble Berry,” Dash replied.
“Go right ahead and get him,” Mrs. Cake said.
Dash walked up the stairs and opened the door to Pinkie’s room, and found him looking in a mirror. “Pinkie, why did you leave?” he asked.
“Oh, I was getting bored of that stuffy old library, so I decided to go outside and try out this funny voice! In fact it’s so different that everypony is calling me Bubble Berry! Don’t those silly fillies know that it’s me?” Pinkie said, smiling the whole time.
“That was happening to me too. Random girls kept talking to me and calling me ‘Rainbow Blitz’.”
“Ooh, Blitz. That sounds neat! It kinda suits you when you look like that, doesn’t it? I mean stallions aren’t really types to ‘dash’, they’d do something cooler like ‘blitz’, and lucky for you you’re a stallion now, so everything works out right?”
“Not really Pinkie... it doesn’t work out. I don’t exactly want to be a stallion. Now come on, we need to go back to Twilight’s and see what we can do about this.”
“Aww, if you say so Dashie. I really like how I look like now. I’m all bigger and taller and my mane isn’t as long, but that’s okay because it fits me this way!”
It was going to be a long walk to the library for Dash, filled with Pinkie ranting about his new look.
The two of them finally arrived, which took longer than Dash had hoped, due to more of his ‘fans’ popping up.
“Thank goodness you got back okay. What happened out there?” Twilight said, closing the door as they walked in.
“Just the usual. A lot of ponies coming up to me and calling me awesome, asking for autographs, needing pictures with the incredible Rainbow Dash... normal stuff. Well... except for the part where they called me Rainbow Blitz... and a lot of them were... uh... I think they were hitting on me,” Dash explained, his cheeks growing slightly red.
“And they called me Bubble Berry!” Pinkie chimed in, with a little hop. “It was really weird at first, but I got used to it.”
“Wait, what? Everypony acted completely normal?” He then looked to Dash. “Mostly normal, at least. No one wondered why you two were stallions?” Twilight asked, puzzled.
“Exactly. It was like we’ve always been this way,” Dash said.
Always been this way... Twilight thought. A situation suddenly occurred to her.
“What if this isn’t all the spell did?” he said, motioning to their bodies. “What if it changed memories too?”
“Can a spell be that powerful?” Applejack questioned.
“I don’t see why not,” Twilight replied. “That would explain why I couldn’t control it - it took too much magic to use.”
“So, this spell backfired so badly that it turned us into stallions, changed the memories of Ponyville and who knows how much farther, and it doesn’t reverse either?” Dash said, eyeing Twilight with disappointment.
“You could say that...” Twilight sheepishly said.
“How could you be so wrong, Twilight?” a voice came from upstairs. A very [i]feminine[/i] voice.
“Who is that?” Twilight called out. It was then that Spike appeared, wrapped up from head to toe in his blanket.
“It’s me,” Spike answered, his voice higher pitched. Through the blanket, one would notice eyelashes and down facing green tufts on her cheeks.
“Spike... are you...?” Twilight started.
“Yes, I am. And yes, it’s your fault. You better fix this, Twilight,” Spike threatened, pointing a claw at Twilight. The six ponies downstairs weren’t the only ones affected by the gender change, apparently.
“Okay, I can figure this out. Spike, take a message for the Princess.”
Dear Princess Celestia
I’m in need of your help. Over the past few days I’ve been experimenting with an ancient magic that I found in the library. I needed to learn old Equestrian to understand it, and I overestimated my magical abilities when attempting to cast it. The spell was merely supposed to change what type of pony somepony was, but something went terribly wrong.
After failing to cast the spell, I awoke to find myself... as a stallion. My friends have all become stallions as well, and poor Spike has become female. It also seems that the ponies of Ponyville have had their memories changed, and they all recognize us this way. I don’t know how to reverse this, and I’m requesting your assistance. Please reply as soon as you can!
Your faithful student,
“That should do for now. Thank you, Spike.” Twilight said.
In what seemed like an impossibly short amount of time, Spike produced a scroll from Princess Celestia in a puff of green fire. Sparing his companion the embarrassment of speaking any more, Twilight levitated the scroll to himself and read it.
To My Faithful Student,
The spell you had casted was indeed of ancient origins, and I’m afraid the only way to help you is to meet you in person and assess your situation. Please travel to Canterlot as soon as you can. You and your friends will be admitted entrance into the castle with no problem. I will do everything I can to assist you. Don’t forget to bring the book that you took the spell from as well. I hope to see you soon.
“Well, everypony, it seems we have no choice. We need to travel to Canterlot.” Twilight said, levitating his satchel over.
“You mean, we need to go out like this? Out in public?” Rarity asked.
“Nuts, Twilight. There ain’t anything else we can do?” Applejack chimed in.
“I’m afraid not. We have to go to Canterlot and get help from the Princess herself,” Twilight responded.
“If we need to... then I’ll go,” Fluttershy said, standing up.
“Whee, an adventure! And since Canterlot is far I can use my funny voice as much as I want!” Pinkie Pie said, hopping around.
“I suppose... showing off my ‘new’ look couldn’t hurt. I mean, I am still Rarity after all,” the white unicorn said, rubbing a hoof through his curled purple hair.
“Ah s’pose I can work with this for the time bein’,” Applejack added, tipping his hat up.
“As long as we can fix this, I’m ready,” Dash said, with a slight smile.
“Then it’s settled. Let’s pack our things and head to Canterlot!” Twilight exclaimed.