Trading Places, Hooves and All - Chapter 1
"It was very nice of you to invite us on this picnic, Twilight," Fluttershy said as she took a bite out of her sunflower sandwich.
"Yes, thank you!" Rarity sighed, "My work schedule has been simply dreadful with all those specialty back-orders. Not to mention, those three little fillies constantly running in and out of the shop. Oh, why does Sweetie Belle always have to use my things without asking?"
"So that's where they were! Apple Bloom had run off, leaving me with two extra baskets to carry," Applejack remarked, "Still, at least they weren't causing too much trouble."
"Oh, it's no problem," Twilight smirked, thinking about the Crusaders antics and mishaps, "Spike has been pushing me to get some fresh air lately, and we had some extra food lying around, so I figured, Why not?"
Pinkie giggled, "I know what you mean; I can't throw all the parties in town!"
It had been a pretty peaceful day in Ponyville, aside from the schoolhouse letting out early, at noon. The day was cloudy, although the weather team had done a great job at leaving the sun enough room to shine. Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Twilight Sparkle enjoyed their food and company, while talking about various things, for a good part of the afternoon. Their talking seized when a rainbow blur came flying towards them at top speed.
"Hey Rainbow, what's got you in such a tizzy?" Applejack asked, as Rainbow Dash screeched to a halt right above their cloth spread.
"I hate to say it, but there's a huge storm rolling in from the Everfree Forest and it's coming in fast! I came to warn everypony to get inside. You’re the last ones still out," Rainbow Dash said, slightly stumbling over her words.
"Well, it's a good thing we were just finishing up," Twilight said, as everpony was rapidly packing all their things in their bags and baskets, " Since my house is the closest, we should probably all head there."
"What about Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle?" Rarity worried.
"It's okay, they're with Scootaloo and Spike at the Library. I saw them when I stopped by to check for you," Dash said rousingly, "They mentioned about a rocket jet pack or something..."
As they reached halfway through their trot to Twilight's house, the grey sky had turned black and proceeded to downpour on the six fillies. When they finally arrived inside, they were thoroughly soaked and chilled to the bone.
"That rain must have come from the mountains 'cause I'm freezing!" Pinkie Pie chattered through her teeth.
"That's not necessarily how it works Pinkie," Twilight corrected, "Let me go find some towels to dry us all off."
As Twilight was busy rummaging through several chests, the others tried to help by looking through drawers around the room. Eventually, they all came out fruitless and regrouped in the middle of the room, leaving a generous amount of water on the floor.
"Well, I'm not sure where all the towels went, but I can try a quick little spell to dry us right up. Just hold on for one second!" Twilight said, while she concentrated on each of the ponies manes and tails.
From the back room, Spike came out saying, "Hey Twilight, I didn't hear you come in! The fillies are in the back cleaning the towels from an accident earlier. Also, Zecora sent over that potion you wanted to see. She said to be very caref-" Suddenly, Spike slipped from the puddle of water, sending the declared potion flying through the air, finally breaking on top of Twilight's head. Her horn, which had been neatly fixing the others hair, burst into a white glowing flame. The rush in the air intensified a hundredfold, and her eyes began to glow with an aura. She lifted into the air a few feet, and then...... blackness.
Twilight's eyes fluttered open and darted in all directions only to be greeted by complete whiteness. She started to panic from the lack of substance, until she looked down and, to her relief, saw two violet hooves and a swishing tail. After making sure her body was all in one piece, she began trotting in a random direction to try and find a point of reference. After traveling what seemed like ages with no luck in finding anything, she finally gave up and flopped down onto her stomach with a heavy sigh.
'Where did everything go?' Twilight thought frustratedly 'I just wish I knew where my friends where, at least, then I wouldn't be so lonely.'
As she lay there, a faint noise came from off in the distance. Twilight's ears and spirit perked up at this new sign of life. Finding her second wind, she raced off in the noise's direction. Something resembling words started to form from the noise as she grew closer.
"Pinkie, if you know so much about this place, why won't you tell us? Can you, at least, tell us where we are?"
"I told you, Dash, we need to find Twilight first, then I explain everything!"
Drawing closer, Twilight saw her five friends traveling to the far right of her. She called out to them, but they kept on walking. She looked at them confused and tried a few more times before realizing that no sound was being emitted. With a last desperate attempt, she ran towards them at full speed to try and catch their attention.
Applejack was the first to notice the purple blur, "If ah'm not mistaken, here she comes now!"
Twilight screeched to a halt frantically waving her front hooves. Pinkie Pie quickly hopped up and down giggling, "Ooh ooh, I love this game! Let's see... your a tree! No! A Bee?" Twilight quickly pointed at her mouth. "Oooohh, I see... Your a bird!" Twilight looked at her in amazement before sighing with her face in her hoof.
"Um, Pinkie Pie, I think she's trying to say she can't talk," Fluttershy said calmly.
"That's a good one, Fluttershy! OK, my turn. You'll never guess this one!" Pinkie said as she began to make random gestures in the air. Twilight gave a slightly demeaning look at her, until she responded, "Of course you can't talk in here, silly, we're in your head! You have to think it."
Everypony waited for Twilight to regain her composure after this piece of information. Her face went from shocked to confused to a close-eyed calm.
"T-TESTING! OH, sorrY, Too loud! Can everypony hear me?" After Rarity and Fluttershy relieved their ears of their hooves, Twilight continued, "Pinkie, are you sure this is my head?"
"Absolutely! It looks just like mine, only mine's a bit more colorful. It's got streamers and balloons and lots of sugary things, like cupcakes, and it looks like Sugarcube Corner when I throw a party. But you can't throw a party, usually, because it's only me and nopony likes a boring party of one. Besides, we all tried to think up things, but nothing happened, so it has to be your head."
Dumbfounded from Pinkie Pie's usually chatter, Twilight focused her thoughts on what she had said. With a heavy sigh of relief, the empty whiteness blended into colors everywhere. The sound of wooden boards and tiles mixed with the lush rush of wind through grass and trees. A large room with a glass dome ceiling and large wooden door, filled with shelves of books, paintings, carpets, and beds, appeared all around them. Through the windows and ceiling, the moon and stars could be seen shining over a vast meadow of grass, trees, and various plants. All the ponies stared in amazement at this new wonder of a home.
Applejack was the first to speak up, "By golly, I haven't seen a building this pretty since the gala!"
"I must agree with Applejack, this is quite beautiful!" Rarity chimed in.
"And there's tons of room...!" Rainbow Dash did a few backflips before opening a couple windows.
"I'm glad you like it," Twilight grinned, "I figured, if you had to stay in my head, you might as well be comfortable. Now, Pinkie, how are we supposed to get out of here?"
Pinkie took a moment to ponder this with a hoof under her jaw, "Oh, yeah... I usually just wake up!"
Twilight leapt up from her bed with a gasp. Looking around and outside her window, which showed starry view, she thought, "Was it all a dream?"
"Hey Spike, she's up!" came a voice from behind her. She looked to the back of her room to see Scootaloo laying on a pillow, keeping herself entertained with a short stack of story books. Spike rushed in, "Twilight, I was so worried about you. After you all passed out, I didn't know what to do. I was so scared that you wouldn't wake up, and it would all be my fault." Tears began to well up in his eyes.
"I'm okay, Spike!" Twilight said reassuring him, "How long was I out?"
Spike wiped his eyes with his arm, "Three days, your the first to wake up. The Crusaders have been helping me watch over you all. Also, I sent a message to Princess Celestia, soon after we put you all in beds. She said to be patient, and she would come as soon as one of you woke up-
*tap tap* Spike ran to open the balcony door, and Princess Celestia walked in, ducking past the doorway because of her height. Scootaloo nudged herself and her books onto her scooter and rolled over to the bed with everyone else to get a better view.
"I'm so glad your alright. Luna and I were worried about you all. You were out for a long time," Celestia said to Twilight with a peaceful voice. Then, in a surprised tone, "And it looks like you've picked up a few passengers."
"Oh, so that part wasn't a dream..." Twilight moaned, lowering her head. She looked up when a bright light appeared from the alicorn's horn. Slowly the spark faded, and Celestia said, "I've tried all I can to correct it, but I am afraid that only you can make things right."
"How am I going to do that?! I don't know of any mind transference spells, and, even if there are any, that will take weeks of practice! And meanwhile, my friends will be stuck in here..." Twilight pointed a trembling hoof at her forehead, "Very comfortably, I might add, but that's beside the point! There's no way, in all of Equestria, that I'll get that right!" She was on the verge of crying her eyes out.
"PIPE DOWN ALREADY!" came a stern young voice from beyond the bedroom doorway, as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle waltzed in to sit by Scootaloo. Apple Bloom continued, "You know better than to start doubting yourself now, I mean, how many times have you proved yourself wrong?"
"Exactly! We don't even have our cutie marks yet, and we can tell you can do it. You just have to calm down," Sweetie Belle reassured.
"What they said!" Scootaloo chirruped, doing a quick air somersault. They all cheered in chorus like the Crusaders they were. Twilight's confidence rose from the support of the small cheering squad, as she looked back over towards Princess Celestia.
Celestia bowed her head, "now just concentrate, think of your friends minds..." Twilight closed her eyes and thought of honest Applejack, kind Fluttershy, generous Rarity, loyal Rainbow Dash, and joyful Pinkie Pie. She thought of them sleeping peacefully in their beds, waiting for the freedom of the next morning. "And....
Trading Places, Hooves and All - Chapter 2
Princess Celestia walked out onto the balcony. The night was serene in comparison to the events of earlier, but she knew it was time. A dark mist appeared before her and took on a form with which she was most familiar.
"How are you this night, dear sister?" she addressed to the shadowy figure.
"I am well, although, my worries are not for myself. Are the six of them alright? It has been so long since there has been an incident like this," Luna questioned. After an affirmative nod from Celestia, she continued with a smile, "Of course, this generation has been full of surprises for us."
Celestia smiled as well, "They may be in need of your assistance soon, but until then I bid you good day." The two sisters embraced, "I love you, rest well."
And with that, Luna vanished. Celestia looked up as the moon began to disappear over the horizon. She stepped forward, and the first rays of sunlight rose in splendor. The gentle calm of the night was met with the graceful joy of the morning. Steadily, she raised her wings and flew high into the sky. As she did, the sun rose to meet her, until all that could be seen of the alicorn was a fiery silhouette. Softly returning to the balcony, she breathed in the sweet morning air, letting it run through her mane.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" She was greeted with in chorus, almost causing her to choke. She gently laughed and thought, while grinning, "Yes, many, many surprises!"
She slowly walked over to Twilight's bed and nuzzled the filly. The lavender unicorn's eyes fluttered open, while she turned onto her stomach, "Oh, Princess Celestia, how did you fit in my room?"
Celestia smirked slightly, as she said, "Miss Pie, I think you might want to take a second look."
Pinkie Pie looked around the room, "That's funny! Why am I in Twilight's room?" And then it hit her; reaching up to her forehead, she felt a horn. A distinctly unicorn-type horn, "Well... that's new!"
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, NOT THAT BAD?!" came a scream and a tumbling from downstairs. Celestia's horn began to glow, and five ponies appeared in the room. Three were clearly in mid-fight with each other, as a blue one looked on at the scene and an orange one cowered against the wall.
Celestia looked at them with stern eyes, "Will you please stand up and stop acting like little fillies!"
The three ponies picked themselves up and the white unicorn proceeded to talk, "Ah beg your pardon, Princess, but it seems that we've, um, switched bodies."
"I know, Applejack, I can sense you all," She glanced over at the frightened orange pony, "It's alright, Fluttershy. You need to be strong." Fluttershy gulped and slowly limped over to the group.
The fake Pinkie Pie, with her mane straight and colors faded, chimed in, "Okay, this is all too confusing! You've got Applejack, who is now Rarity, Rarity is Rainbow Dash, Dash is Fluttershy, and Fluttershy is Applejack. Then, Pinkie Pie and I have switched, leaving her with no magical talent and me with no ability to reverse everything," Twilight looked around quickly, "And to put icing and a cherry on the proverbial cake, we've all lost our cutie marks!"
*whump* Everypony looked over at the now blue and rainbow Rarity. She slowly got back up an her hooves, "Sorry, I am afraid that I fainted for a second there."
"It looks even funnier when you do that in my body!" Dash mumbled in Fluttershy's tiny voice.
Celestia wisely said, "Girls, I know this is a bit much, but you are going to need to work together on this, as you always do. I have seen a mind transference spell before, but it can't be reversed until the mind is able to regain the cutie mark of that body."
"So your saying I just have to get my cutie mark back! That should be easy, seeing as I still have wings," Rainbow Dash cheered.
"No, silly, she saying you need to find the other person's cutie mark. So you need to learn Fluttershy's love for animals and I need to learn magic," Pinkie Pie said while trying to levitate a pillow, which ended up hitting her in the head and causing her to get dizzy, "...more or less."
Princess Celestia turned to leave, "I'm sorry I can't stay longer, but I must attend to other matters back at Canterlot. I will be sending Princess Luna to aid you all soon. In the meantime, please be kind to one another and talk things out." And with that, she took off into the sky.
"Well, at least, it can't get worse..." Fluttershy peeped, "Right?" Everypony cringed.
When Luna did finally arrive in ponyville the next day, the town seemed peaceful, even though she knew this wasn't the case. She was rather fond of the place and all the excitement it generated. How could this village have so much power?
She remembered back to that night, where all her sadness and rage, all the bitterness that had manifested itself, was unleashed, turning on others as well as herself. But, when the darkness had almost overtaken her, there came a light. Somehow, someway, through her prison of a black hole, an insignificant spark had appeared in the sky. She had thought nothing of it, believing it to be a trick of her mind, until it floated down in front of her. Looking at the small fiery ember, she hoped, no, prayed for this second chance. Using a lock of her mane, she tried to convince the spark to grow, but the effort only caused it to die down until it was very faint. That was when she gave up hope.
~HOPE. Funny, that word. It has more meaning, than it seems. Two things are required, not just belief, but action, the will to make it exist. And sometimes, what happens after is far from expected.~
Her eyes welled up to a flood of tears, but only one slipped through. As it rolled down her cheek, it fell directly on the dwindling spark. For a moment, Princess Luna just simply stopped existing as the last trace of life went out. But then, Life, more than she had seen in a millennia, danced in a blaze of red fire, encircling her. More colors joined in, which caused the fire to rise and begin to spin. Through the wall of color, came a single hoof that beckoned her to grab hold. She did so and was pulled through, revealing the light of the morning.
A couple ponies stopped to make sure the stone-still lifelike statue was alive or not. Luna shook her head to wake up from her day dream. She smiled; the six had saved her that day, but now was the time to return the favor. She made her way towards the local library to find her escort. Just as she was about to knock, Spike quickly opened and shut the door behind him. A loud thud could be heard on the other side.
"I am sooo glad you got here when you did! I've been looking for an excuse to get away from Pinkie Pie and her magic all day," There was another thud as a sharp object appeared above his head, "She's dangerous!"
"Now, Twilight's been taking the situation rather hard. I'm really hoping you can cheer her up," Spike said, when they were approaching Sugarcube Corner.
Luna began running when she heard a scream come from inside. What met her when she entered the kitchen was a disastrous mess of flour, eggs, batter, dishes, and charcoal. In the midst of it all was Twilight, on the verge of tears and banging her head against a cabinet.
"AHHHH, what is wrong with me? First, I change myself into Pinkie Pie, most likely permanently, and because of that, I feel sad all the time. So then, I figure, since Pinkie loves cupcakes so much, I'll make some to cheer myself up. But, NO, I can't even get that right, and now I feel worse than when I started! And now, I can't even control myself when I realize my two friends are here watching me," Twilight looked behind her with a frown, exaggerated by her still straight mane and faded color.
Luna looked for a good way to approach her, before Twilight ended up slipping and falling face first. Unfortunately, Twilight proceeded to do so, and Spike pushed Luna towards her. Luna managed to catch her and gave her a big comforting hug. Twilight hugged her back even tighter and wept until the stressful tears ran out.
When she was able to push Twilight back slightly, Luna said, "Let's clean up and try baking them again, but this time, we'll also make some for our friends. Then, we will go and see how they are coming along, okay?" She was relieved when Twilight nodded and a smile returned to her face, as well as a bit of color.
Trading Places, Hooves and All - Chapter 3
"Ah have no idea how yer sister keeps her mane so nice!" Applejack walked into the small dining room, located near the back of the shop. A small hairbrush floated next to her and fussed with her mane as she walked, trying to get it less crumpled. She walked over to the table, where Sweetie Belle was lightly munching on her breakfast of carrots and celery. Applejack finally gave up with a sigh as she sat down, letting the brush fall to the table.
"What's the use of having magic, if Ah can't even hold somethin' straight? And how am Ah supposed to keep the store open? Ah mean, Ah can keep her stuff nice and tidy and maybe try my hoof at a few projects, but Ah don't know much about this frou-frou stuff since Manehattan. It's only been a day or so, and Ah already miss my job, my bed, my family..." She attempted to move a part of her mane that had fallen down out of the way, "my own mane!"
Sweetie Belle giggled a little at seeing her 'sister' acting so sporadic. "Well, I don't think Rarity would appreciate me 'helping' you when she's not here," Sweetie Belle said as she cleared the table, "But Apple Bloom told me she was going to visit you later. Maybe she can help you around the shop." She was about to slip out, when she remembered, "Oh yeah, Scootaloo and I will be at Fluttershy's cottage, if you need us. See ya!"
Almost tripping on Opalescence, Rarity's cat, Sweetie belle zoomed out the door. Opal jumped onto the table and sat down in front of Applejack, giving her a begrudging look.
"What? Are you hungry or somethin'?" Opal kept on staring and flicking her tail. Applejack joined the staring contest for a minute, before getting up and heading towards the cupboard, "Okay, let's find you some food." Opal jumped off the table purring.
Rarity looked down over the edge of the branch she was standing on, "Are you quite sure about this, Rainbow?"
"Of course, I'm sure about it! I am, err, was the best flyer in Equestria! I think I'm more then qualified to teach somepony how to fly. Besides, your not flying, your gliding. Just keep those wings open and let the wind guide you," Rainbow Dash yelled from below.
Rarity gulped, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She imagined that the tree was much shorter with soft hay all around it. She took a step back before leaping forward and spreading her wings. Her mind wandered as she felt the warm air carry her out and down. Her mind snapped back, when she heard a soft voice say, "Hey sis, what are you standing out here for?"
She opened her eyes to see that she had already landed, in front of Sweetie Belle riding in Scootaloo's wagon. She felt awkward with Scootaloo staring at her excitedly.
"Oh, um, Rainbow Dash and I were just finishing up with my gliding lesson. I must have gotten caught up in the moment," Rarity's face flushed, "May I have a lift over to the cottage?"
"Of course, you can, Rainb- I mean, Rarity!" Scootaloo quickly pushed Sweetie Belle to the back, "By the way, I thought you looked AWESOME!"
When they pulled up to the house, Rainbow Dash came out and said, "Hey Rarity, you were gone for a while; I wasn't sure if you were coming back." Rarity wondered how long she was out there.
"Yes, sorry about that, my first time with flight and all," Rarity smiled.
Fluttershy couldn't shake this feeling she had.
She didn't feel comfortable living in a different house. The Apple family were happy to have her, and that made her feel much better. When they had heard the news, they welcomed and treated her as well as they would Applejack.
She had woken up late in the night in search of herbal tea to calm herself down. Looking in every crevice of the kitchen, she came out fruitless. Heading back to her room, she heard a rustling noise in the cabinet behind her. As she turned to examine it, the door swung open and Apple Bloom stepped out carrying a can, "Were ya lookin' for this? I keep it in the back."
Apple Bloom prepared a cup of tea for each of them and brought them to the table. "Thank you, very much," Fluttershy said blowing over the hot cup. Taking a sip, a slightly sweet sensation filled her senses as the warm water melted away her stress, "This is very good."
"It's apple tea! I made it with the tea leaves and herbs you gave me a few months ago. I try to always have some around, especially for times like these. Applejack isn't away very often, but, when she is, I can't sleep," Apple Bloom said, ending with a sigh, "She's too much like a mom to me."
After their drinks were finished, they returned to their bedroom and read a couple stories together. The first was about a brave young dragon and the second was about a silly toad, but, unfortunately, they fell asleep before they could finish it.
That morning, even though Fluttershy was used to being up early due to other critters, they had let her sleep in longer than necessary. Apple Bloom had run off to spend time with Applejack, and Big Macintosh was out in the orchard. Fluttershy went to the freshen up and looked at herself in the mirror. She felt stronger and more confident ever since she became Applejack.
And it showed, as she set to work with the apple trees. She was strong, she was accurate, and she could never feel better. Her confidence was never this high, even when she had faced down that dragon.
But, even so, that feeling kept nagging at her. The feeling that something bad was about to happen. She looked up in shock when a bright flash lit up the sky.
Pinkie Pie covered her eyes from the blinding light emanating from the small firecracker. "That last one had way too much magnesium!" she chuckled to herself, "I'm surprised Twilight doesn't do this more often. Making fireworks with magic is fun!"
She was sprawled over on one of the second floor beds overhanging the library. Her head and front legs dangling as she hung over the edge upside down. A blue flare appeared and burst into violet sparkles, after a bit of concentration.
The whole day had been spent on practicing her magic. When she had woken up that morning, she had determined herself to, at least, get the telekinesis spell right by the end of the day. Admittedly, her first few hours of attempting were a bit rocky, which resulted in Spike overreacting and running for his life. Once Spike had left, Pinkie had no more distractions to keep her from practicing, and, soon, she had mastered her first spell, being able to push a thread though the eye of a needle with ease.
She had quickly moved on to more difficult spells, searching the library for books on the subject. Her skills had improved rapidly with each new spell, even going as far as conquering short distance teleportation. The only reason her fervor had died down was because she had accidentally hit herself with a sleep spell, only having enough time to reach a soft bed before she crash landed.
Another firework went off, but this time, a green flash with dust and smoke. Pinkie smiled slightly as her boredom began to set in, "We should have fireworks at the next party." She stopped in mid-thought and flipped over on the bed, looking around the room at books thrown into random crevices and random other bits and pieces strewn across the floor, "I should probably clean this place up before Spike gets back. As Granny Pie said, 'A clean home is a happy home.'"
As she hopped off the bed and bounded down the stairs, Pinkie paused when she saw herself in a mirror. Twilight's mane was beyond messy and had come to a point where even Rainbow Dash would have begged her to use a hairbrush. "Heehee, Twilight has some really funky bed head!" Pinkie laughed as she stored that info for later use, pulled out a brush, and began fixing her mane, "I have to remember that I'm keeping rent. Twilight would be taking care of me twice as well as I am. Although, she did seem really upset last time I saw her. I know! I'll find something to cheer her up, but what?"
Once again, the mostly indigo locks were straight, and Pinkie put the brush back in the drawer she found it. She walked towards the middle of the room while carefully stepping over piles of books. Her horn started to glow making book after book fly towards her. She read each title quickly and put each one in its accustomed place. As she did so, a broom and dustpan accompanied each other around the room in a circular motion sweeping up dirt and char, almost as if they were dancing formally.
When all the books were in their rightful places and the dustpan emptied, it and the broom floated back to their closet. The door closed, but didn't shut all the way. Pinkie Pie waltzed over to peek at what could be caught, where she found a medium sized notebook, titled "Twilight Sparkle's notes and theories of magical spells." Pinkie's curiosity grew, but held off long enough to double check the front and back for any sign that she shouldn't read it. "I need to make sure that it's not personal, or I might lose her trust." She cracked open the book and ruffled through the pages, until she saw a particularly sweet looking spell. She spoke out loud, "This is perfect! It'll cheer Twilight up and get me my cutie mark; we would be two steps closer to getting back to normal!"
"Are the cupcakes done yet?" Twilight yelled to Luna from upstairs. Feeling better, she had excused herself from the kitchen to go freshen up. Spike yelled back, "Not yet, they still need a few more minutes. Are we going to visit the others afterwards? I hope there not having as much trouble, especially Rarity."
Twilight chuckled to herself about Spike's crush on Rarity as she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. The color of her tail, mane and body had almost completely returned, although the hair still refused to curl back to normal. Once again, she tried to work her mane with the curler. "I didn't think being Pinkie would be this hard. True, I lost my horn, but at least I would not be torn up about it. How wrong was I? The instant I was alone I broke down into a quiver wreck. Her mind must be in a million places at once just to keep her happy and sane," Twilight choked on her last thought, staring at herself, "That would explain a lot!"
She continued to use the curler, when a small shiver developed in her back right hoof. It remained unnoticed until it had reached her midsection. The involuntary movement finally slithered up her front legs, causing her to drop the hair utensil into the sink. Twilight trotted out of the bathroom, down the stairs, and into the kitchen, where she saw Luna, her tongue sticking out to the side slightly, and Spike decorating cupcakes. Twilight spoke in a panic, "Quickweneedtogettothelibrarysomethin-" Spike interrupted, "Twi, slow down, we can't understand you."
She snapped a look at him but complied, "We have to get to the library, something bad is about to happen!"
"Are you sure?" Spike said critically, not wanting to go back there "I'm sure Pinkie Pie can handle herself."
"Look, I don't know how I know, but I just know, you know?!" Luna and Spike both looked at her quizzically and bug-eyed, "We're talking Pinkie Sense here!!!" At the mention of the dreaded Pinkie Sense, they immediately jumped out of their seat and joined Twilight in running out the front door.
About halfway to the library, they saw a strange aura collecting around it's base. Streams of colors from gold to green to magenta flowed towards the tree and condensed around it. It continued doing this until it grew taut like a blown up balloon and popped releasing a massive amount of energy and light, which promptly threw the three backwards. Quickly picking each other up, they reached the library doorway and slammed the door open.
The room was perfectly normal except for a small pile of books covering an unconscious Pinkie Pie. She looked like she had been thrown into the bookcase by the magical blast. Twilight stood there in shock, as Luna took action, "Spike, go get Applebloom and have her help you find Zecora!" Spike saluted and ran off down the road towards the Carousel Boutique. "Twilight, help me get her to a bed!" Luna ran over to Pinkie and used her horn to move all the books.
"Twilight!" Still staring, Twilight snapped back to reality and managed to help carry Pinkie up to the bed in the overhanging nook. They tucked her in, and Twilight stayed by her side as Luna walked back downstairs. She looked over at the pedestal holding a journal and read the page it was turned to, which said, "Theory on how to make a miniature star."
Luna couldn't believe it, only Celestia and her had enough power to accomplish this, let alone a novice attempting it. "Dear sister, what has she done?"
Trading Places, Hooves and All - Chapter 4
The sunshine from the window grew dimmer as the drapes were closed halfway. A shadowy figure appeared over the bed of an unconscious lavender unicorn. The figure took out a small container and applied a dark green salve over the small cuts and bruises of the pony. After covering her with a soft blanket, the figure walked down to the bottom floor of the tree house to meet with the large group, composed of Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Luna, Applebloom, and Spike.
"The salve I gave should help Pinkie heal, but that does not fix the worry I feel," Zecora said sternly.
"But... will she be alright?" Twilight said concerned, "I need to know for both our sakes." Her pink color had all but vanished from her man and coat.
"It seems that spell she performed was not a joke. I can not confirm her health until she has woke," Zecora said as she dropped her saddlebags on the floor out of the way.
"How could she act so rash? Even Rainbow Dash would not have done something like this." Rarity choked a bit as she remembered who was in the room, "No offense!"
"None taken," Dash said, as she smirked and waved the topic away, "Anyway, what do we do now?"
Luna chimed in, "Well, I need to head to Canterlot to do some research and talk with my sister. Spells of that magnitude don't just disappear into thin air. While I'm gone, I want you all to try your hardest to get back to normal. Spike, and Twilight will stay here and tend to Pinkie. Zecora will keep a look out for you all, as well."
"What about me?" Applebloom asked, squeezing herself past her big sister, "What can I do?"
"You know what you can do? You can take care of your friends..." Luna crouched down with her front hooves extended, coming to eye level with the young filly, "And you can find who you are right along with them." Applebloom just stood there with her mouth slightly open, as Luna got up to leave. Luna opened the front door with a smile on her face, "Oh, and Twilight." Twilight looked up from her drooping mane. "I want you to understand this wasn't your fault. Don't change who you are because of an accident. I know this better than anypony." With that, Luna flew off towards Canterlot, with the setting sun waiting for her.
A slight breeze blew through the streets of Ponyville of the vibrant morning. Birds soared across the sky singing their tunes. The sun's rays shone across the town unobscured by clouds. Twilight sat contently in a small park, consumed with one of her more interesting books. Very few ponies wondered through this area, so it was the perfect spot to get some peace and quiet. Her concentration didn't break until a gust of wind began to sweep the pages over, causing her to lose her place. Slightly annoyed, Twilight decided to pack up and return home. "I should probably check in with Spike to see what he's up to," she thought.
As Twilight walked down the small road, the wind began to pick up, getting cooler and more powerful. Dark clouds began to roll in from above as she made her way back home. "That's unusual! Dash didn't tell me there was a storm scheduled. I better get home quick before I get soaked," Twilight thought as she hastened her pace. She made her way back to the library just ahead of the rain to be met by a dark house.
"Hey, Spike, it's really dark in here. Would you turn on a light, please?" Twilight said as she entered. She turned to put down her saddlebags next to her desk and started to unpack. "Spike! Spike? Are you awake?" She lit a candle and turned to walk upstairs, when she came face to face with a frowning pink pony.
Twilight jumped back in surprise, "Wah, Pinkie, you scared me! What are you doing here?" To say Pinkie Pie looked unhappy would have been an understatement. Her mane and tail were both straight, her color had faded and gone dark, and she had a permeating scowl on her face.
"I think the better question is, what are you doing here?" Pinkie asked. Twilight looked at her in confusion, trying to scan her face for any sign of this being a prank.
"What do you mean? This is my home. I live here," Twilight said sincerely.
"No, you don't! This is where I live! You live somewhere else!" Pinkie said taking a step forward.
"Um... no, I'm pretty sure you live in Sugarcube Corner. You know with Mr. and Mrs. Cake," Twilight said nervously, backing away slightly.
Pinkie Pie's face twitched at this statement, "I don't mean the dumb house! I mean in here!" She leaned over Twilight with a hoof pointed at her forehead, causing Twilight to fall over backwards. The memories of the recent events started to come back to her.
"I don't know what to do! I can't do anything without magic, and you're unconscious! What do you want me to do?!" Twilight exclaimed.
Pinkie suddenly began to grow bigger as the room became darker. What light was left seemed to be sucked into Pinkie's growing figure, her eyes focused on Twilight.
"Just! Get! OUT!"
Twilight cringed at the sight of the endless glaring eyes. "I'm sorry, I can't get out! Tell me what to do!" she screamed.
"Okay, I will, once you stop shaking me." Twilight's eyes flew open, looking side to side. Her eyes met Spike's, who was hanging in the air between her hooves above her bed. "Thank you! Now, first, put me down. Then, you take one hoof and move it to the floor..." Spike didn't get to finish what he was saying, as Twilight hugged the air out of him.
"Well, of course, I am not doing it right! I've never flown before!" Rarity yelled at Rainbow Dash. She was barely hovering off the ground. Gliding was one thing, but her confidence disappeared if she got higher than a few stories.
"All I'm saying is that, if your going to be me, you need to go higher and fly faster. I have a reputation to uphold," Dash said a bit smugly. Her attitude had gone out of control since she had started teaching Rarity how to fly. It didn't help that she was the only one somewhat familiar with her body, seeing as she still had wings.
"You could, at least, be a tiny bit nicer about it," Rarity sighed, setting down next the table set up with food. The garden next to Fluttershy's cottage was peaceful, even with all the animals. Angel was on the table tossing his signature salad. "By the way, thank you, Angel, for preparing the food." Angel gave Rarity a small smile, then looked towards Dash.
"Yeah, yeah. What she said," Dash said as she rolled her eyes. Angel cross his arms at this.
After their meal, the three of them returned to the clearing they had been using for flight training. The first two attempts, Rarity got above the tree line, but then she gradually got worse the more she tried. At last, she was ready to give up for the day and rest.
Rainbow Dash remarked, "Your just going to stop now? We barely even started! Even Pinkie Pie could have flown better than that, and she's never had wings." At that, Rarity was fed up with it. "Did you bring the rope?" She said.
"What rope?!" Dash said in surprise as her hooves were pulled out from under her and hogtied together. "Hey, what's going on?"
Rarity chuckled sinisterly, "Oh, nothing much. Angel and I just thought you should learn a little humility, that's all."
Sweet Apple Acres was very peaceful that afternoon. The sun was warm and high in the sky. A small breeze blew through the branches of the large apple trees and the mane of an orange earth pony as she rested against one. She was slumped down against the trunk with her large Stetson down over her eyes and her front hooves crossed. She was soundly asleep and gently snoring, when a loud thumping awoke her.
Fluttershy sat up startled, pushed her hat back, and looked around the field. When she could find nothing wrong, she decided to continue her nap. She stretched out flat and laid her head down on the grass, looking up into the tree branches. Her eyes didn't catch it at first, but as they began to adjust, they focused on a single white hoof sticking out of the green leaves.
"Um, hello? Who's up there?" Fluttershy said sitting back up.
"Shhh, don't let 'em find me," came a familiar voice as the white hoof disappeared out of sight. Fluttershy was about to ask who, when the answer presented itself as three young fillies wearing red capes.
Scootaloo spoke up first, "Hey, Fluttershy, have you seen Rarity? I mean, Sweetie Belle's sister. I mean, my sister. No, wait..."
"What she means is have you seen my sister?" Apple Bloom interrupted, "We wanted her help with a few things."
Fluttershy didn't miss a single beat and came up with a quick lie. "Actually, I saw her run that way towards the west side of town. I bet you can still catch her."
"Thanks, Fluttershy, we'll see you later!" Sweetie Belle said as they started to run off into town. Scootaloo berated Apple Bloom, "I was going to say that. It's confusing trying to keep track of who is in who's body."
"Okay, you can come down now," Fluttershy said to the tree pony. There was rustling and a loud crack, and the violet and white filly was out of the tree and on her back.
"Ow, that smarts! And Ah just got clean, too," Applejack said with a moan, "But thank you for hidin' me. They've been on my tail since Ah left the house. Ah just wanted some time away from the town."
"I know what you mean. It's such a nice day, and I needed a break from working. I know I didn't do as much as yesterday, but I'll make up for it later. Anyway, you're welcome to stay here, if you want," Fluttershy said as she scooted over a bit and laid back down.
Applejack spun herself around so that her head was facing the tree's trunk. "Ah guess there is a first time for everything."
"What do you mean?" Fluttershy asked.
"Well, first, Rarity would kill me, if she saw me on the ground right now. And Ah don't think Ah've ever heard myself snore before..." The two of them started cracking up at the thought.
Back at the library, the sun was beginning to set again, and Spike had nodded off while watching Pinkie. His head was supported by the side of the bed as he sat on the small stool. Twilight had found him there after returning from a visit to the bakery and the park, where she had gone to relax and unwind with some reading, one thing she still enjoyed. She normally would have giggled at her little assistant's antics, but things were a bit different this time. She leaned next to the stool and slowly tipped it over, causing Spike to keel over onto her back with all his limbs hanging.
After depositing him downstairs at his bed and tucking him in, Twilight's stomach decided to remind her of how she had skipped lunch, and it was a fight not easily won. Rushing to the kitchen with her new found energy, she began searching the fridge. What she found was two items right in the open, a peanut butter and lilac sandwich and small bowl of various gems, each with a note attached to it. The first note read, "For Twilight, I knew you would be hungry, Spike." The second one read, "For Spike, don't touch!"
"He really does loves those things," she thought, "I wonder if the taste any good? Maybe, one lick won't hurt..." Twilight leaned in closer to one of the gems, when she noticed some smaller writing that read, "Don't even think about it, Twilight." Staying her tongue nervously, she grabbed the sandwich offered, closed the door, and turned to return to the main room. She jumped when she came face to face with her doppelganger.
"AHHH! Pinkie Pie you scared me!" Then she remember just who she was talking to, dropped the plate on the counter, and hugged the raggedy mare, "Oh, Pinkie, you're alright! I was so worried about you. What were you thinking?"
"Well, I woke up when you left the room and it was dark and I was really hungry, so I decided to follow you to get a midnight snack. It sounds like you were hungry, too. Did you skip lunch again?"
"Pinkie, that's not what I meant, but...... wait, did you say midnight?"
"Of course, that's why it's so dark out, silly!" Pinkie giggled, "It's a good thing I've been staying in the library lately. I know this place blindfolded!" Twilight quickly wished she hadn't used that phrase.