HarmOnyRLA

Untitled Trixie Story Part I

Jul 16th, 2014
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  1. >Be Anon.
  2. >Be in Equestria, where you had dreamed of being since you had seen your first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
  3. >Be in the audience as "the Great and Powerful Trixie" finishes her magic show.
  4. >It had actually been pretty impressive, you have to admit. It was hard to tell the real magic from the tricks.
  5. >The pyrotechnics were amazing, although you suspect many of them were actual pyrotechnics and not magic at all.
  6. >Trixie had apparently recently developed a taste for fire magic, as part of her act involved setting the stage, the audience, nearby buildings, and even herself seemingly ablaze with beautiful but terrifying rainbow-colored magical flames.
  7. >A lot of the rest was fairly standard magic, teleportations, vanishings, sawings-in-half, but accompanied by dramatic booms, flashes and, of course, more fire.
  8. >The DJ, Vinyl Scratch, choreographed the musical end with some of the most heavy metal tracks Ponyville had probably ever seen.
  9. >You wonder if somehow, they managed some interdimensional spying on a Rammstein show or something.
  10. >It is actually a surprise to see Trixie back in Ponyville, considering past history, but the show is still packed.
  11. >You would have thought Twilight or the rest of the Elements would have objected, but while they were pointedly absent, the show is still happening.
  12. >A certain young purple dragon, however, glared down from the back row of the proceedings, watching intently with a frown.
  13. >Finally, concluding, Trixie stands up on her back hooves, throws her front hooves in the air and shouts "Let's hear it for the Great and Powerful Trixie!"
  14. >The crowd explodes with applause.
  15. >"I can't hear you!" shouts Trixie, beaming.
  16. >Applause intensifies, finally, slowly, dying down. Before anyone can cry "Encore" or something like that, you steel yourself, and shout over the crowd murmur:
  17. "That was the biggest load of bullshit I ever saw in my life."
  18. >This is just the first of many lies you have in store for tonight.
  19.  
  20. >The crowd gasps and mutters its disapproval as Trixie looks back in your direction.
  21. >"Who said that?" Trixie hisses. "Show yourself!"
  22. >You stand up.
  23. >"You dare challenge the Great and Powerful Trixie?"
  24. "I do. You're a fraud and a humbug."
  25. >You know this is a sore point with her, as it is pretty much true.
  26. >"So, you think you can do better than the Great and Powerful Trixie?" sneers the blue unicorn.
  27. "A retarded Diamond Dog could outdo a puffed-up, no-account swindler like you."
  28. >"You, a human woman. And what kind of magic do you have?"
  29. "Enough to beat the likes of you."
  30. >"I've won a million prizes for my magic!"
  31. "Well, I know none of them were for defeating an Ursa Major."
  32. >The crowd boos its disapproval of this low blow.
  33. >"You're about as fat as an Ursa Major," shouts a young unicorn from the crowd. Snips, or maybe Snails.
  34. >"And you're. . .and you're ugly too!" shouts another. The other one.
  35. "I wouldn't talk about ugly if I were you two. You both look like you had a makeout session with a cheese grater."
  36. >"Silence!" shouts Trixie.
  37. >She is hopping mad. Literally hopping mad.
  38. >She is hopping from one of her back hooves to the other, while her face turns red, her horn glows a brilliant blue, and steam shoots out of her ears.
  39. >Yosemite Sam would be envious of such a conniption.
  40. >"The Great and Powerful Trixie demands satisfaction for this offense to her honor! I challenge you to a duel!" A dramatic crash of thunder serves as her exclamation point.
  41. >She sure knows how to lay it on thick. But she has challenged you to a duel.
  42. >Exactly as you had planned.
  43. "You're on, the Great Big Phony Pony Trixie!"
  44. >She narrows her eyes menacingly, glaring at you. "I will see you in my chambers at midnight to arrange the details."
  45. "I'll be there."
  46. >Then, turning to the crowd again, she announces proudly: "Next week at this time, the Great and Powerful Trixie will trounce this buffoon in a magic duel! Same admission price!"
  47. >The crowd explodes into applause.
  48.  
  49. >You are now on for a magic duel with, well, not the most powerful magic user in Equestria or even in the top five, but certainly in the second half of the top ten.
  50. >You do not have a speck of magic to your name, not even so much as a card trick or a joy buzzer.
  51. >Nevertheless, you are thrilled with the turn of events.
  52. >Everything is going exactly according to plan.
  53. >It is time to throw off that silly diet, and have some cake.
  54. >Sugarcube Corner it is, then.
  55. >Even though it is late, and Sugarcube Corner usually closes early, tonight it was still brightly lit, and a small crowd of people had shown up for an after-show snack.
  56. >That's probably why they're still open.
  57. >While you had sort of hoped to pig out alone, or at least just with Pinkie or the Cakes, you don't really mind in the least.
  58. >As you approach the front door, you hear excited jabbering from within. Spike is telling the story of what just happened.
  59. >"And then Anon called Trixie a fraud and a humbug! Which she totally is! Anyway. . ."
  60. >Spike trails off as you enter.
  61. >"That was amazing, Anon! You're really going to show her, aren't you?"
  62. "I sure am!"
  63. >Pinkie Pie puts down a tray loaded heavily with various pastries, cakes and muffins. She looks directly in your eyes, clearly concerned.
  64. >"But don't you need magic to win a magic duel? This could really go badly for you! I can help you run away, you know. I'm sure Zecora would hide you."
  65. >You hug the pink party pony.
  66. "Don't worry, Pinkie. I have a cunning plan."
  67. >You notice all the ponies other than Pinkie have backed to the far corners of the wall, as if simply being near you will get them turned into newts.
  68. >Pinkie continues delivering sweets to the various ponies while Spike sits at a table with you eating cupcakes. He puts a gem on each one before eating it in a single bite.
  69. >In between crunches, he says: "Pinkie has a point, you know. Are you sure you can really beat her in a duel? A magic duel?"
  70. "Absolutely."
  71.  
  72. >You think back on how you, a middle-aged overweight woman from Earth, are now about to have a magic duel with a blue unicorn in Equestria.
  73. >There is absolutely no chance of victory, as you have no magical skills whatsoever.
  74. >Yet you deliberately provoked this, and it is according to plan.
  75. >It started a couple years ago. You haven't kept close track of the dates since then, as there is no real reason to bother.
  76. >It appalls you, looking back on your life, just how much of it had been determined, at least in part, just by being fat.
  77. >Or even not that, but your own attitude about it.
  78. >You had never been a fat kid, but you had never been very active either, just sitting around reading books or playing games.
  79. >That sedentary tendency and a sweet tooth and just a general attitude of not giving much of a fuck had caught up with you.
  80. >It was a perverse self-reinforcing cycle. Your social isolation decreased your reasons for caring. Who would even notice anything you did anyway?
  81. >So you let yourself go. And then, your appearance itself was an excuse to isolate yourself even more.
  82. >You sank into your academic work and excelled at it, eventually graduating near the top of your class and going on to a Ph.D. in chemistry.
  83. >Your dream job? Anything isolated. So you ended up, without really trying, as a lab rat in a major pharmaceutical company.
  84. >It paid well. Your work was interesting. That was good, because it was basically the only thing in your life.
  85. >One of the projects you were most proud of was one of the new generation of acid reducers. You used that yourself.
  86. >How glorious. People eating themselves to death and inventing a pill to stop the heartburn. God bless America.
  87. >Everyone was always willing to take a pill to deal with today's problem, and the long term impacts were future me's problem.
  88. >You were still proud of your work, and your workgroup won numerous industry awards.
  89. >But there was something missing in your life.
  90.  
  91. >What was missing in your life was, you would suppose, friendship.
  92. >You had plenty of pleasant professional relationships with colleagues, even kept up with some old friends.
  93. >It wasn't even sex, although you always felt men who were interested in you were fatty chasers.
  94. >Like that old Groucho Marx joke about how he wouldn't want to be in any club that would have you for a member.
  95. >So you dismissed anyone who did have any interest in you as a fetishist. It both guaranteed your continued loneliness and gave you reason to think you actually liked it.
  96. >Another lie you told yourself was that if you had a serious relationship with someone who only liked you for a fetishized characteristic you hated about yourself, it would just reinforce it.
  97. >And you'd never get to the weight loss and fitness you told yourself you would every year. Until you found yourself 40 and gave up even telling yourself this.
  98. >Every day was the same, work in the morning until it was done, and depending on looming deadlines or lack of any ongoing project, this could involve doing nearly no work to working 70 hour weeks.
  99. >This was not a problem. All more work really interrupted was endless Internet sessions when you were off work. It wasn't as if you had a social life to interrupt.
  100. >Also, you were the world's most unlikely metal fan, even though you would never have the guts to show your face at a concert.
  101. >You convinced yourself this was all you needed.
  102. >So it came as a huge surprise to you when this card-house of self-deception collapsed because of a child's television show.
  103.  
  104. >Idly flipping through channels one night, you came across My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You were aware of the earlier incarnations of this show and had despised it even as a child.
  105. >You thought this should be good for a few laughs. And indeed, laugh at it you did, though you made a note to watch it again. Slowly, though, you found yourself becoming obsessed by these brightly colored ponies.
  106. >Eventually, you began frequenting Internet fora, reading fan fiction obsessively, and even writing fairly atrocious fiction of your own. Even the kind they called clop.
  107. >You kept all this entirely separate from the other parts of your life. It was too silly and embarrassing. You only used the name Anonymous.
  108. >But it was one of the few parts of your day where you felt genuinely happy.
  109. >This, by itself, wore on you. Self-aware enough to realize that this said something pretty terrible about your life, you began consciously comparing the show's world to yours.
  110. >In nearly every respect, your real world looked terrible by comparison.
  111. >Still, the science got done and the pills got patented, and life went on. And on and on.
  112. >Until one night when you arrived at the door to your apartment, well after dark, and found, on your doorknob, a necklace with a gold medallion on it.
  113. >The gold medallion had an emblem of the sun stamped on it, with eight stylized swirling arms.
  114. >You wondered why it looked familiar, and then you felt a chill as it suddenly struck you. It was Princess Celestia's cutie mark.
  115. >Shocked, you quickly went into your apartment, and slammed and locked the door behind you. How could anyone know of your secret hobby?
  116.  
  117. >Was this some kind of a threat to embarrass you or something? You considered and dismissed this. First, the necklace was obviously quite valuable.
  118. >Examining it, it was actually gold chain, and the medallion was solid gold, with tiny diamonds inset. This would be a very expensive prank.
  119. >Also, why would anyone care to blackmail you about this? So you liked a kid's TV show.
  120. >While you wondered who had done this and why, there didn't appear to be anything overtly menacing about it.
  121. >Maybe you had a secret admirer of some sort, or maybe a creepy stalker. You resolved to keep your eyes open but decided to react reasonably.
  122. >Despite being small and intricate, the clasp on the back operated easily and you put it on. While you never wore anything pony-related anywhere, nobody would notice this.
  123. >After a while, you forgot you even had it on most of the times, although sometimes, you would look at it and wonder why you had it.
  124. >Then, one day, you were informed at work that your workgroup had been eliminated overnight. You hadn't had a major project in some time, so it wasn't a huge shock in this economy, but you hadn't expected it now.
  125. >You suppose you hadn't really been paying much attention. Your generous severance package left you no reason to be concerned, at least in the short term.
  126. >Without even considering your next step, you spent the next week on a pony marathon, watching the entire series beginning to end. At the end, you realized you had no more to watch.
  127. >With an empty feeling, you climbed into bed and, on a strange whim, grasped the medallion and stared into it.
  128. "Princess Celestia, please take me out of this world and to Equestria."
  129. >You felt utterly ridiculous at this, and of course, nothing happened. Then you surprised yourself by suddenly bursting into tears.
  130. >Cursing yourself for a fool, you put on the white noise generator and closed your eyes, forcing yourself to sleep.
  131.  
  132. >You had a dream that night. It was Celestia, looking down on you benevolently. It was much more vivid than any dream you had before, and looking at her, you wanted to say something.
  133. >She simply smiled at you, and a brightness arose behind her, eventually turning to a bright white glow, then fading to a bright red.
  134. >Awaking suddenly, you opened your eyes to bright sunlight.
  135. >This was confusing, as you always had the curtains to your bedroom drawn tightly.
  136. >You were not, however, in your bedroom at all.
  137. >In fact, you appeared to be lying on the ground. You sat up and looked around, to see a yellow pegasus mare with a long, pink mane staring at you through blue eyes.
  138. >She jumped backwards like a cat and landed, crouching.
  139. >"I'm sorry."
  140. >Fluttershy!
  141. >You assumed this was a false awakening, but were a bit sorry to startle Fluttershy even in a dream.
  142. "Don't worry. I didn't mean to startle you."
  143. >Fluttershy squeaked.
  144. >"I didn't mean to stare, but you didn't look very comfortable lying there on the ground like that."
  145. >You were suddenly glad that you had worn a nightgown. Waking up naked would have been embarrassing.
  146. >Well, more embarrassing than this, anyway.
  147. >You checked for the necklace. It was still there.
  148. "Do you know where I am?"
  149. >Obviously, you already expected the answer.
  150. >"Ponyville, of course."
  151. >It was a little early to reveal your power level here, so you decided not to let on that you knew anything. You pinched yourself, but it did nothing.
  152. >In lucid dreams, generally, it is possible to identify the fact that one is dreaming, or to wake up at will, not that you want to wake up.
  153. >None of those feelings are here, though. Despite appearing more or less like the show, but in 3-D, the bright, vivid colors weren't the vividness of a dream, lucid or otherwise, but of reality.
  154. >Could you really be in Equestria? A growing excitement and hope filled you at that thought.
  155.  
  156. >It had been a couple years ago, more or less, since you woke up without any real explanation in Equestria.
  157. >It was the greatest thing of your life and you would never consider going back, but just as back on Earth, there is still something missing.
  158. >The ponies had been welcoming, certainly. Fluttershy, realizing you had nothing but the clothes on her back, had immediately taken you in, but you couldn't just live on charity forever.
  159. >Besides, while you liked animals for the most part, you didn't care much for snakes, chickens, bears, or living in an enormous menagerie.
  160. >For a while, you did odd jobs where your hands with opposable thumbs were particularly useful. You suspected the ponies paid you more than you were really worth.
  161. >Things were not perfect, though. You still remember the first time a young filly saw you, neighed in terror, and ran away. Or the startled look the first time you met the residents of Ponyville.
  162. >Even though the adults tried to conceal it, and you assume had told their foals that it was rude to stare, you could tell it took a bit of effort, at least until they got over your appearance.
  163. >In a strange way, it was a relief that it wasn't that you were fat, or that you thought you were ugly, or at least homely, but just the mere fact that you were human at all.
  164. >In another way, though, you felt like even more of a freak, like the kid from Mask. It was nice that they took the effort to try to get over your appearance.
  165. >However, that was exactly what was inescapable. You took some getting used to. They had to look past your appearance because it was something in the way.
  166. >Still, it didn't take long to settle in and become an accepted part of Ponyville, and soon, everyone knew your name. You found a good friend in Zecora, someone else who had trouble being accepted at first.
  167. >Additionally, she knew a lot about what, here, was the equivalent of what you had done back on Earth, and didn't mind sharing her knowledge.
  168.  
  169. >You finally settled into a niche as a sort of local apothecary, after studying some of the common local remedies, referring more difficult cases to Zecora.
  170. >Headaches, colds, slight burns, and especially bellyaches when some pony had too much cake at Sugarcube Corner. Later, you might work up to your previous level of expertise, but here, you were a newbie.
  171. >Apparently, while there were something like medical schools, especially in Canterlot and Manehattan and similar places, most of what at home you'd call general practice was learned by apprenticeship.
  172. >There really weren't any terrible pathogens here, and cancer seemed nonexistent, at least for ponies. You weren't sure about yourself.
  173. >However, you had to admit even you felt healthier since arriving here. You even appeared to be slowly losing weight, without really trying, perhaps just from walking everywhere.
  174. >You earned a modest income, and at one point, the Apple family had, in a day, built you a small cottage without charging you a bit. For that, you decided never to charge them a bit for any services, either.
  175. >Rarity had also designed you a small wardrobe of bespoke clothing, something you never had on Earth. She too refused payment.
  176. >As much as a human could, you looked, acted and even, most of the time, felt like a true Equestrian.
  177. >You settled into a routine, much as you had on Earth, but unlike on Earth, you no longer sunk into work solely to avoid reality. You liked your time off.
  178. >You liked just sitting in Sugarcube Corner, although you tried not to eat too much. Spike was particularly interested in Earth, and you would often swap stories.
  179. >One day, you were talking about Earth and how you had never felt as much at home there as you did here. You felt as at home here as you had anywhere.
  180. >But you realized, thinking about it, that you still didn't feel completely at home. Without thinking about it, you suddenly said out loud, to nobody in particular:
  181.  
  182. "I want to be a pony."
  183.  
  184. >Spike looked up and so did Pinkie Pie, who was tending an oven full of apple pies.
  185. >"Why would you want to be a pony?" asked Spike with a look of incredulity. "Why not a dragon?"
  186. >"What's wrong with being you?" asked Pinkie. "There are a lot of good things about being a human!"
  187. "Like what?"
  188. >"Well, you're big! That's a thing, isn't it?"
  189. "But I feel like an ogre. I still remember all the fillies and colts running away from me when they first saw me."
  190. >"They were just being silly billies. They had never seen anything like you before."
  191. "That's their first response, though. As soon as a pony sees me the first time, they are afraid. Just because of my size. I look dangerous."
  192. >"We all learned you aren't, though! Don't you know we all love you for what's inside you, not what you look like on the outside? You don't need to change for us!"
  193. "I need to change for me, though. And to belong."
  194. >Spike said: "Aren't you kind of contradicting yourself there a little?"
  195. "Well, what I mean is I'm an outsider at least partly because I decided to be. Not just here. How can I say better that I am one of you than, well, by actually being one of you."
  196. >"But you already are one of us!" said Pinkie.
  197. >What Pinkie said was nice and even, at least partly, right.
  198. >However, at the same time, you realized you wanted this, like you had previously wanted all kinds of other things.
  199. >To lose weight. To make friends. To get married. Even to have kids. To be a better person.
  200. >To be a pony.
  201. >You had spent your entire life wanting things, and they hadn't even been impossible or crazy things, just things that would have required some effort, some going out of your way.
  202. >Yet, you let them slide. You put them off another year, and then another year a year after that. Until you had no chance of ever getting them.
  203. >Not this time, you decided. You wanted this. You were going to get it.
  204. >Even if it was hard.
  205.  
  206. >It turned out turning into a pony actually was going to be hard.
  207. >Your first idea, which was pretty obvious, was to ask Twilight, who you knew was capable of this kind of magic if she wanted to do it. If anyone could do this, other than Celestia or Luna themselves, it was Twilight.
  208. >So you asked Spike to tell her to visit you next time she was in town to talk about this whole ponification idea, or just to visit Sugarcube Corner around lunchtime.
  209. >It was no surprise when Twilight came through the door at around noon one day and walked over to you.
  210. >You hated to be impatient or seem desperate, but you kind of were.
  211. "Can you do it?" you asked.
  212. >The purple alicorn looked up at you with a somewhat sad expression you didn't like, and you knew you weren't going to like the answer either.
  213. >"Yes, I am capable of doing that kind of magic," she said. "However, I am prohibited from doing it."
  214. >You are sure your face fell, because Twilight winced and looked apologetic before you even spoke.
  215. "Why not?"
  216. >"After some nearly catastrophic mistakes, it was decided that alicorns are prohibited from using transformational magic without dire necessity, such as a threat to the Kingdom."
  217. >It sounded as if she were reading from an official proclamation.
  218. "Decided by whom?"
  219. >"The Princesses."
  220. "Can I ask for an exception?"
  221. >"Yes. And I will take it up with Celestia and the others. I promise."
  222. "Is there some specific reason for this rule?"
  223. >"A unicorn, well, I did it actually, was experimenting with an ancient Starswirl spell, and I accidentally switched everyone's cutie marks."
  224. "That's all fixed now, though, isn't it? In fact, it turned out pretty well."
  225. >"Yes, but it could very well not have. That kind of magic, cast by an alicorn, could unleash total chaos if it went wrong."
  226. >You didn't feel good about your prospects.
  227. "When can I expect to hear back from you?"
  228. >"I promise in a couple days at most."
  229. >You guessed you'd have to wait.
  230.  
  231. >Twilight, true to her word, was quick to return with a disappointing but unsurprising answer.
  232. >Just from her expression, you already knew what it was.
  233. "I'm sorry, Anon. We talked it over, and considered it, but it's just too dangerous for an alicorn to use that kind of magic."
  234. >"Well, thank you. I'm glad you put in a good word for me."
  235. >At this, Twilight looked even more sad.
  236. >"The decision was unanimous."
  237. >You knew she is one of the four princesses.
  238. >Twilight suddenly threw her forehooves around you and hugged you tightly. You returned the hug.
  239. >Sniffling a bit, she said: "I have to admit something. That policy was my idea. And it's really for the protection of everyone."
  240. "I understand. I don't blame you, Twilight. You have to think about more people than just me."
  241. >"It's just that no alicorn can risk it. Our magic is too powerful. An alicorn could accidentally transform a lot more than just what was intended."
  242. >You suddenly realized what she was saying. No alicorn.
  243. "Thank you for that explanation," you said, suddenly brightening a bit.
  244. >Twilight pretended not to notice, and apologized again that she has other business in town.
  245. >There were only four alicorns you knew of. That left basically every other spellcaster in Equestria capable of the task.
  246. >That would be, well, unicorns at the very least. Probably dragons. Maybe even some griffons. You actually didn't know whether they could do magic.
  247. >Dragons were probably out. Not only are dragons dangerous themselves, Spike excepted, but even getting to where they live is dangerous.
  248. >Surely there was another unicorn capable of it.
  249.  
  250. >You ruled out Canterlot, because even if the prohibition was just against alicorns, nobody would be likely even to risk annoying the Princesses.
  251. >The fact that Twilight didn't outright tell you you could seek out a unicorn indicated she felt, for whatever reason, that she couldn't herself circumvent the rule.
  252. >The fact that she implied it, though, seemed to indicate she had no problem with you going ahead and doing it. You thought for a while about the implications if you were wrong.
  253. >Banished, dungeon, banished then dungeon. You didn't believe it, though. Twilight wouldn't lead you into a trap like that.
  254. >You were pretty sure there was no unicorn in Ponyville capable of the task, and for that matter, none who knew anyone they thought both could and would do it.
  255. >So it was a quest! Well, not much of a quest, you supposed, but since you hadn't left Ponyville since you got here, except for a few brief daytime picnics just a little bit into the Everfree Forest, it would have to do.
  256. >You couldn't really call it much of a quest to go somewhere you could get to by train.
  257. >The most likely place to find such a unicorn would be the big city. Manehattan!
  258. >Rarity didn't know of any particularly magical unicorns, but she did at least have good advice on where to take in shows and get your hair done, so if you didn't find what you were seeking, it wouldn't be a complete bust.
  259. >She pointed out that as a unique human, you would probably be interesting enough at least to get a hearing with anyone you did encounter who might help.
  260. >She said this, obviously, aware of your social awkwardness.
  261. >"Just walk right up to them and introduce yourself! If you think it will help, feel free to mention that you're a friend of mine!"
  262. >You weren't sure whether this would be of any help with wizards, but you kept it in mind.
  263. >Spike and Rarity saw you off at the train station, packed light with a bundle of bits.
  264.  
  265. >The trip went surprisingly quickly, and you soon found yourself at the train station in Manehattan.
  266. >Now what? Considering it was evening, you checked into one of the hotels Rarity recommended. Cheap, but close to everything and not appalling.
  267. >All the furnishings were for ponies, but "princess size" for ponies was apparently good enough for a human.
  268. >Having set up a base of operations, you decided you might as well head out and maybe catch some music.
  269. >It's not like you had done that recently, and you weren't going to find any powerful unicorns tonight.
  270. >You just headed out into the night streets, getting a few mildly startled looks, but nothing like the pure panic you got your first couple days in Ponyville.
  271. >In fact, even the ponies who gave you a startled look quickly composed themselves and put on studiously bored expressions, as if they saw humans every day.
  272. >Not having any particular grasp on Equestrian music, you simply turned into the first place where you heard music. If it had a name, you didn't see it.
  273. >It just had a horseshoe and a bass clef on the door.
  274. >True to the sign, you could hear thumping bass coming from within. You paid a rather steep cover charge to get in, and noticed they also had a two drink minimum.
  275. >You didn't mind. It wasn't like you were saving up bits for anything important anyway.
  276. >Luckily, there appeared to be a dark area where ponies were mostly sitting, somewhat far away from the stage in the dark, because near the stage, there was a pretty active dance floor.
  277. >Ponies were doing what looked like moshing.
  278. >The music was very loud close to the stage, but somehow, quiet back at the tables. Since there were no unoccupied tables, you asked if you could sit at a half-full table.
  279. >The ponies there looked rather surprised, but gestured welcomingly to sit down. You quickly got your drink order out of the way by pointing to what one of them had and ordering two.
  280. >Again, a hefty price.
  281.  
  282. >You turned to the stage, and realized suddenly what a small world Equestria really is.
  283. >Even behind a keyboard rather than turntables, you would recognize that blue-maned white unicorn with the purple shades anywhere. Vinyl Scratch.
  284. >You realized that for once, paying attention to the background ponies might just pay off. You remembered, in fact, that Vinyl had even done the music for one of Rarity's shows.
  285. >Of course, that show didn't turn out terribly well, but everything ended up fine. Maybe this was going to be easier than you imagined.
  286. >And despite the fact you had been doubtful dropping Rarity's name would be much use, the first unicorn you meet knows her.
  287. >While the music isn't exactly your type, in fact, it sounds like dubstep, the light show is excellent, and as far as you can tell, is mostly magical.
  288. >Similarly, the keyboard doesn't have any wires coming into it or going out of it. Maybe Vinyl Scratch herself could do this.
  289. >You struck up a conversation with the ponies at your table, a group of mostly unicorns and an earth pony, mostly young. One of the unicorns quickly flashed his horn and established a silence spell in the vicinity.
  290. >It was mostly small talk, but fun. They asked where exactly you were from and you explained Earth, very briefly, and that you were here in Manehattan on a quest, specifically, you wanted to turn into a pony.
  291. >They didn't seem surprised by that, as if it were something anyone sensible would want to do. They asked why you were here in particular at this club.
  292. >You explained you just happened to be walking by, and were surprised that Vinyl is actually a friend of a friend, and might know who could help you.
  293. >"Hey, I can help you get backstage afterward," said a red unicorn who had introduced himself as Firebrand. He had a spiky black mane and a punk looking collar. "I sometimes play here, they know me."
  294. "Thanks!"
  295.  
  296. >"But so you know, I've done a little magic here and there myself. Transformation is heavy. But hey, Vinyl knows everyone. I bet she can drop you a couple names at least."
  297. >Trust these ponies that even a punk in their equivalent of New York would be enthusiastically friendly and helpful.
  298. >You already felt a little dizzy after quickly downing your two obligatory drinks. Even as watered down as city bar drinks were likely to be, they went to your head.
  299. >The strongest alcohol you had since you arrived was Applejack's, well, applejack, a fermented cider. Tasty, but barely alcoholic.
  300. >The ponies were whispering between themselves, and suddenly Firebrand said "I don't suppose you humans do anything like this?"
  301. >A semi-opaque dome suddenly formed over the table, as a small white object hovered in front of Firebrand. A joint?
  302. >You decided to go with the flow. Why not? Firebrand put his lips to the joint and with another brief flash of magic, the tip began to glow. He inhaled, then passed it on to you.
  303. >You hadn't really done this much, but you knew enough to take a quick hit, though not using your hands was a new one. Even a small drag set off a coughing fit.
  304. >After it did a couple rounds, your head was reeling and you actually started even enjoying the music. Those seeming lasers looked really awesome.
  305. >"Gig's about over," said Firebrand. "Let's get ahead of the crowd. Follow me."
  306. >You're glad he was blazing the trail, because people gave him room as he shoved past them, yelling "Excuse me!" and "Hey, I'm walking here!" and similar things.
  307. >"She's with me," he said, jerking a hoof back in your direction, speaking to two intimidatingly large solid black earth ponies who were flanking a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."
  308. >You followed him in, and waited briefly while the crowd filtered out and then, you saw Vinyl Scratch come in the same door.
  309. >"Hey babe," said Firebrand. "Look what came in on the Ponyville train."
  310.  
  311. >"A human being from Earth?" said Vinyl, visibly astonished. You wondered how she knew about Earth, but then, maybe you weren't the only one who knew things.
  312. "Yes! Rarity told me to say hi."
  313. >Not quite a lie.
  314. >"You know Rarara? Cool. So you got any particular reason for being here?"
  315. "I want to turn into a pony and I'm looking for a unicorn who can do it."
  316. >"Why not just Princess Twilight? She's in Ponyville and I know she can do it."
  317. >You kind of wanted to say she had an utterly bullshit excuse for not doing it, but decide better.
  318. "There's apparently some kind of rule against alicorns doing that kind of magic."
  319. >"Hmm. Isn't it alicorns who make those rules anyway?"
  320. "But can you do it?"
  321. >"Well, I probably could. Probably isn't something you really want when you're doing something as complicated as a transformation, though. I mean, like, say I turn you into a bat or something."
  322. >Sensing your disappointment, she said "But I know someone who definitely can."
  323. "Who?"
  324. >"Well, I hate to send anyone into this particular set of jaws, but a magician called Trixie."
  325. "Trixie?"
  326. >"Oh, you've heard of her. Well, let me tell you about Trixie. She can do it, but if she knows you really want something, she'll screw you. Trust me, I know her. Hell, I work for her."
  327. "Well, what do you suggest?"
  328. >"What do I suggest? I suggest not letting her get her claws into you. I'm not going to say she's what you Earthlings call a sociopath, but well, she kind of is. Has been since I met her at Celestia's school for unicorns."
  329. "So where is Trixie anyway? How do I get a hold of her?"
  330. >"I kind of hate to break this to you, but she's on tour right now."
  331. "Where next?"
  332. >"Her next show is in Ponyville. Tomorrow night. Be there or be square." Vinyl snickered at her own joke.
  333. >You guessed it was back to Ponyville. Your trip hadn't been a total waste, though. Without this brief conversation, you would never have considered approaching a charlatan like Trixie.
  334.  
  335. >Suddenly, it occurred to your half-wasted mind that was exactly how you are going to do this.
  336. >She still had to be really sensitive about the whole charlatan, fraud, con artist thing. This was going to be fun.
  337. >If she knew you wanted it, she'd rip you off mercilessly. Suppose, though, that she thought you didn't.
  338.  
  339. >That is why you are now preparing for a magical duel you know you are going to lose.
  340. >The details have been hammered out and agreed upon. The duel will involve transformation magic.
  341. >For your end of the competition, you will turn a mare into a stallion.
  342. >For her end, if you fail, she will turn you into a pony.
  343. >And if she fails, you will turn her into a newt.
  344. >Needless to say, none of this is going to happen.
  345. >However, professing mistrust that she will maliciously turn you into some nasty looking thing like Snips or Snails, you have given her a detailed description of what she has to do.
  346. >A light pink unicorn mare, three feet high at the withers, with an appaloosa pattern marginally darker, and a striped mane in various shades of green, as well as sea green eyes.
  347. >You worried a bit you were laying it on a bit thick there, but a few more insults about rock farms and serving hay fries managed to distract her enough to agree to these terms.
  348. >Anything other than that, and she loses and leaves Ponyville forever.
  349. >She had driven a hard bargain herself, though.
  350. >You had agreed to admit she was truly great and powerful if she won, but she demanded instead that you admit it and praise her before every one of her shows for a year if you lost.
  351. >A training montage of your preparation for the duel would not make for good film. You ate cake. Lots of cake. And pie. Lots of pie. Cue theme from Rocky.
  352.  
  353. >Now, tonight is the night of the duel. The town has been filling up all day with people from all around. This is the most interesting thing in Ponyville this year, easily.
  354.  
  355.  
  356. >The crowd is relentlessly pro-Trixie, and at least the out of towners make faces at you when they see you in town.
  357. >You don't care. This thing is going to be about as real as professional wrestling back on Earth, so I guess this would make you the heel.
  358. >Taking that in mind, you snarl back at them and lunge at them making monster faces. You love it when they whinny and rear back in fear.
  359. >Childish, you suppose, but when are you ever going to get another chance to throw your weight around?
  360. >You suppose if these people are paying good money, you may as well give them a show.
  361. >Time flies. Turns out, you really enjoy show business, and your heel act is getting the crowd good and riled up for what is to come.
  362. >And now, it is time to report to the duel.
  363. >You're surprised to find no butterflies in your stomach. You wonder why. Maybe because flop sweat is from fear of failure. Tonight is going to be all about failure.
  364. >Tonight is going to fail so hard it wins.
  365. >You enter the backstage, such as it is, and get ready to enter, while the announcer unicorn blares in a magically enhanced shout, sounding for all the world like Vince McMahon.
  366. >"Fillies and gentlecolts! It is my pleasure to announce! That tonight, we have the greatest magical duel of all time!"
  367. >Trixie enters and takes her corner with a shower of fireballs and lightning bolts, while Vinyl plays what you assume is her dueling theme.
  368. >"In the blue corner, as beautiful as she is powerful, the one, the only, the incomparable Great and Powerful Trixie!"
  369. >As the crowd goes wild with applause, Trixie takes a bow. And another. And another. Finally, feigning modesty, she gestures for silence.
  370. >As you enter and swagger to your corner, Vinyl plays a bass heavy, ugly piece of metal sounding music. It's absolutely perfect villain music, and you play the role.
  371.  
  372.  
  373. >While crossing to your corner, you throw a glass of water in Trixie's face and sneer, then turn to the audience and fist-pump.
  374. >The audience goes berserk, booing and clopping their hooves on the bleachers loudly. You make a few obscene Earth gestures in their direction and bellow incoherently as you take your time going to your corner.
  375. >The booing and clopping dies down a bit, and the introducer adopts a calmer tone, explaining what is going on.
  376. >"Now, as the challenged party, the monster, Anon, gets to try her magic first. As her task, she will turn a mare into a stallion. Or attempt to do that. If she can do this, she wins."
  377. >The audience boos again.
  378. >"Now, everyone in the crowd, remain quiet. Disrupting the duel will end it."
  379. >The audience hushes.
  380. >You gesture to the sidelines, and your test subject approaches. She is a yellowish unicorn mare with a striped red and white mane and tail, in a blue and white striped dress. She modestly curtseys.
  381. "Now, fools, watch as I do what few have even dreamed of doing!"
  382. >You again gesture elaborately, and two assistants roll a modified clothes cabinet you borrowed from Rarity to a spot in the ring you marked previously.
  383. >The unicorn curtseys again, and enters the cabinet.
  384. >From your props, you produce a large red cloth and, with an elaborate flourish, cover the cabinet. Waving your arms elaborately, you chant.
  385. "Doo-wah-diddy diddy-dum-diddy doo. Shazam, Shazam, Alakazam! Hong Kong Phooey! Huey, Dewey and Louie! Ravioli, ravioli, give me the formuoli! AND THE MOME RATHS OUTGRABE!"
  386. >Finally satisfied, you again flip the cloth off the cabinet and open it, to reveal a unicorn basically identical to the mare who went in, but a stallion!
  387. >The crowd begins murmuring, and Trixie, who has been eyeing the proceedings suspiciously, suddenly gets up and begins scrutinizing the situation.
  388. >On cue, Applejack leaps up in the audience and shouts: "It's that no-good cheating, thieving, sidewinding varmint Flim!"
  389.  
  390. >"Why I have no idea what that crazy mare is talking about" says Flim.
  391. >"The Great and Powerful Trixie demands to examine this stage!"
  392. >You interpose yourself between the cabinet and Trixie, yelling "No! Stay away you bitch!"
  393. >The crowd watches, murmuring angrily, as you continue blocking the blue unicorn.
  394. >"You see what's going on here," cries Trixie. "I demand a referee!"
  395. >A referee unicorn appears on the stage, in a black and white striped jacket.
  396. >"I will examine the stage," he says.
  397. >Grumbling, you step aside, and the unicorn pushes aside the rolling cabinet. He taps the floor underneath it, and it makes a hollow sound.
  398. >His horn glows white, and the cover to a trap door levitates up in a field of magic, revealing a hidden compartment below the stage, wherein there is the mare who you "transformed."
  399. >Trixie shouts triumphantly, "She cheated! This ruffian thought she could pull one over on the Wise and Observant Trixie!"
  400. >The crowd explodes into rage. One faction shouts "Banish her!" Another "Throw her in a dungeon!" One pony yells "Banish her and then throw her in a dungeon in --"
  401. >A shower of apples silence him.
  402. >During the kerfuffle, both Flim and his twin sister manage to make a sneaky departure.
  403. >"Silence!" shouts Trixie. "No, I could disqualify her, but the Just and Merciful Trixie is better than that. Despite this scoundrel's cheating, I will not cheat this paying audience out of what they paid to see."
  404. >"They paid to see a monster reformed by being turned into a pony, and that is what they will see."
  405. >The crowd explodes into applause.
  406. >You make a weak attempt to run away, and were blocked by the audience swarming toward the ring, throwing apples at you.
  407. >You catch a few and throw them back, but before long, give up and go back to the center of the ring.
  408. >Trixie looks at you, her eyes narrowed. "Are you ready to meet your fate, you buffoon?"
  409. "Do your worst, you blue blithering idiot."
  410.  
  411. >"You better believe it," hisses Trixie. Vinyl goes into a new piece of music, you suppose this would be Trixie's fight theme. Something like hard trance, you suppose.
  412. >Trixie begins with her usual shower of fireballs, though this time, they are all various shades of pink or green. Then, she sets the landscape ablaze in illusory flames, eventually moving it over the audience and the stage.
  413. >She contracts the circle of flames, until they are entirely focused on you, and turns them into a spinning pillar like a small tornado. At the same time, she picks you up in her magic and spins you around as well.
  414. >Spinning in a tornado of actual force and illusory flames, you soon become disoriented, and rise above the stage.
  415. >At least the audience is getting a good show, but you're getting nauseated.
  416. >You regret those last few slices of cake, as you empty the contents of your stomach. At the speed you are spinning, about an entire chocolate cake and a half spews over the audience as it flies in all directions.
  417. >At this point, Trixie introduces the transformation magic. You suspect she could have done this instantly, but you can't really blame her for wanting some revenge.
  418. >The first thing you notice is a glow over your hands and feet, which Trixie lights up in brilliant light to make them more visible. Your toes and fingers are the first to go, melting and merging together into one mass.
  419. >The fingernails also merge together into one giant fingernail, and with a painful pop, your thumb crushes together into the rest of what used to be your hand.
  420. >At the same time, you feel your nose and jaw cracking and popping with incredible pain. You howl in pain, still noticing that Trixie has considerately amplified your voice, so the audience can appreciate it all the more.
  421. >Your clothes rip off now, too, not from the transformation, but by Trixie's magic. Luckily, you expected this and didn't wear any of Rarity's designs.
  422.  
  423. >Your hands now are almost entirely transformed into hooves, and the process moves up your arms and legs.
  424. >As painful as this is, you are ecstatic to notice that the new coat sprouting up your wrists is, in fact, the pink pattern you requested, and your new hooves are a lighter pink.
  425. >A new wave of pain kicks in as your wrists suddenly alter, with loud cracking sounds the audience can hear, amplified, echoing across the landscape.
  426. >The spinning slows to a tolerable level, as Trixie wants the good part of the show visible to the audience.
  427. >You scream again as your elbows crunch and twist into their new shapes. You try to concentrate on names of the new parts of your forelimbs.
  428. >Was this where your wrist was a fetlock? A pastern? You studied some of this, but all you knew now was this hurt a lot.
  429. >Finally, it seems like almost everything is transforming at once, and you nearly lose consciousness. You would scream, but it seems like your vocal cords themselves are in a process of alteration.
  430. >You just squeak pitiably, though even that is loud when amplified. You really wish you had lost consciousness for this, and expect Trixie cast a keep awake spell, too.
  431. >Now, you truly regret that you laid it on too thick trying to make her mad. You made her mad, all right.
  432. >You can only hang your head down, staring at your chest, as your pendulous breasts slowly are sucked into your chest by an unseen force, leaving only nipples, which then slide down your chest.
  433. >While this was happening, your hips and shoulders start twisting with almost explosive sounds, like firecrackers going off.
  434.  
  435. >So much was going on, and all of it excruciatingly painful, that you could barely keep track of it. At least one thing couldn't hurt too much, because as soon as it did, you were distracted by another ghastly pain.
  436. >Now, it was your forehead, as your skull literally shattered and, at this point, you believe you are hallucinating, because it was your brain changing shape, freed from the constricts of your skull, now a doughy mass of agony.
  437. >As you spun, you see Celestia ahead of you, but she stays at exactly the same place in your field of vision.
  438. >Suddenly, the pain no longer seems to matter. It is as if your body is some completely separate thing, even though you are looking out its eyes, and the only solid ground is Celestia.
  439. >She looks on you with pity, and simply says: "Sometimes, something is only worth what you pay for it."
  440. >The spinning is slowing down even further, as your new skull hardens and you come back to full consciousness, to look down and see an absolutely lovely body, exactly as you described.
  441. >Finally able to pay attention to something other than what is happening to your body, you note Vinyl is playing something reminiscent of an electronic version of "Also Sprach Zarathustra."
  442. >Your new coat is still coming in in patches, and nearly painlessly, at least compared to what came before, a tail pushes at and then exits your hindquarters almost all at once.
  443. >You take a deep breath, as if you have not been able to breathe in minutes, and then exhale just as deeply.
  444. >Then there is one final moment of agony, but you are too tired to do more than moan. An excruciating pain strikes you right on your new forehead, as if an icepick is coming out from the inside.
  445. >For a brief moment, the pressure builds until you can't stand it, and then, with an almost ecstatic pop, a horn literally shoots from your forehead, fully formed.
  446.  
  447. >The spinning slowly stops as Trixie lowers you to the stage, where she has placed a large, soft pillow.
  448. >Seeing you are unable to stand, she lowers you, now almost tenderly, onto the pillow.
  449. >"Let's hear it for the Great and Powerful Trixie!" she shouts. "The greatest spellcaster in all of Equestria!"
  450. >As the crowd explodes into ecstatic applause, you lose consciousness entirely, absolutely satisfied.
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