by hawthornbunny

Chapter 1: Twilight

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The first thing she noticed was the mane.

Even before Twilight opened her eyes, she could feel it was wrong. A cushion of fluffy, curled hair sandwiched between her upper back and the mattress. That certainly wasn't hers. Not to mention that the mattress was too large and the blankets too heavy. Her legs had far too much room to kick underneath them.

Opening her eyes presented her with more problems, not the least of which was the fact that they weren't working properly. There was a ceiling above her, and it was a pleasant shade of cream, but that was about all she could say about it. Her vision was completely out of focus; she could barely make out her hoof in front of her face, although it was at least good enough for her to notice that her coat had turned from lavender to a pale vanilla.

Okay, let's not panic. Different bed, different body. There's obviously some weird magic at play here. A basic sensing spell will give you an idea what you're dealing with. Then you can -

She clapped a hoof to her forehead. It sat flat against her skull.

No horn.

Okay... now panic.

She leapt out of bed and instantly fell flat on her face, cushioned only minimally by a garish bedside rug. The dimensions of everyday objects had changed. And her limbs. Her legs hadn't been this short since...

Since I was a filly, she realised. No horn, a filly's body, impaired eyesight, and I don't know where I am.

She spotted a mirror on the side of a wardrobe and rushed toward it, desperate for information. Upon her approach, a blurred filly presented its reflection to her. Cream-coloured coat, frizzy vermilion mane and tail, and - she squinted and pushed her nose up against the mirror - pink eyes. No horn, no wings, just a plain earth pony.

She looked around the room. While she couldn't make out a lot of detail, she could see this was a bedroom - a filly's bedroom. There was a bed with red-and-white striped blankets, underneath which sat various dusty looking boxes and a few discarded sweet wrappers. Beside the bed was a desk, currently piled high with books that undoubtedly hadn't been correctly replaced in the bookshelf behind her. A sugary sweet smell lingered in the air. An overflowing box of stuffed animals was propping up a hockey stick next to the wall.

Okay, that was confusing. She'd woken up in the form of an unfamiliar filly, in an unfamiliar filly's bedroom. It wasn't much of a stretch to assume that the filly was the same in both cases - which meant that she, Twilight, was now inhabiting somepony else's body. The pony to whom this bedroom belonged.

Okay, that makes a lot more sense, thought Twilight. Bodyswapping was not an unfamiliar topic to her; she had in fact read several books on transmigrational magic, and could in theory even perform such a spell to allow ponies to exchange bodies. Doing so had never occurred to her, however; she couldn't think of any situation where it would be useful.

Even if that was what had happened, however, it didn't explain why this had happened. Being able to bodyswap two ponies was one thing; being able to do it without their knowledge, over a large distance, was quite something else. Celestia could do it, maybe Luna too, but why would they?

In any case, if it was true, then a filly... was now inhabiting her... powerfully magical... unicorn body. A filly who had never used magic in her life.

Oh, horseapples. This is bad.

More information. That was what she needed. She opened the door of the room and found herself on an upstairs landing. As quickly and carefully as she could, she ran down the carpeted stairs, morning light blurring into her eyes as she swept through the lounge and pulled open the front door.

"Where do you think you're going, young mare?"

Twilight jumped at the sudden voice, backing against a wall. A pink mare trotted out from what smelt like the house's kitchen. "What's wrong, sweetie?" she said in a concerned voice. "Did you have a nightmare?"

Twilight gulped. "Look," she began, wondering how to explain this in a way that wouldn't freak anypony out, "thith might thound a little thtrange, but... buth..."

What... what's wrong with my mouth? Twilight thought, her eyes widening. I can't speak properly!

"Yes?" said the mare encouragingly.

"I... I need to athk a few quethtionth," said Twilight. "Pleathe, try not to be contherned."

This must be the filly's mother. She's going to freak if she finds out her daughter is... well... not her daughter. But I can't hide this from her - the sooner she knows what's going on, the sooner we can get this fixed.

The mare's expression changed - Twilight guessed she was smiling, but it was very hard to tell. I can't believe anypony can have eyesight this bad. Surely she must own a pair of spectacles? I didn't see any in her room... oh. Duh.

"Why would I be concerned, sweetie?"

Twilight sighed. "I know it lookth like it, but I am not your daughter. My name ith Twilight Thparkle. I think there'th been thome kind of magical mithhap which hath cauthed uth to thwitch bodieth."

The mare giggled. "I see! So you're a librarian now, are you?"

"Yeth," said Twilight. "Wait, you know me?" she said, suddenly optimistic. If the mare knew that she was a librarian, then that meant she was still in Ponyville! All she had to do was get back to her home, where her bodyswapped counterpart would be, and she'd be able to find a solution! She might not even need to bother Princess Celestia about this one.

"But of course!" said the mare. "Why, Miss Sparkle provides me with all the finest recipes and cookbooks from all over Equestria! Although, you know," she said, her voice turning sly, "I bet Miss Sparkle also keeps her bedroom nice and tidy."

Twilight frowned. Something told her that the mare wasn't taking her entirely at her word.

"I'm theriouth." she stressed. "Pleathe, I need to go and fixth thith."

"Without having your breakfast?" smiled the mare.

"There'th no time!"

The mare's expression changed again, but Twilight got the sudden impression that the mare was not smiling this time. "Twist? Are you okay, sweetie?"

Twist? Weird name. She frowned, trying to place it. It wasn't familiar to her, so it wasn't much help. "I told you, I'm not... Twitht. I really am Twilight Thparkle, and I'm thorry, but I have to go."

She swung the front door open and ran out into the cold morning air.

"Twist!" yelled her mother. Twilight ignored her, trying not to feel guilty about it - there wasn't time to make her understand. She galloped to the front gate, and nudged it open, squinting at the street to figure out where she was. Her abysmal eyesight was making it difficult, but she recognised the trees and housing style on the road, which allowed her to deduce that she wasn't far from Sugarcube Corner. Perfect! It was a short run from there to the library.

Unfortunately, the run was cut even shorter than that, as Twilight hadn't counted on the filly's body being exceptionally ill-suited to running. While her legs were slightly longer than the average filly's, any advantage that provided was swallowed by the pain in her chest that Twilight experienced after only fifteen seconds of galloping. Her throat felt raw as she began hobbling to ease the stitch in her side, and by that time, the pink mare had easily caught up to her and was dragging her home by the tail.

"Pleathe!" Twilight begged, clinging to the sidewalk, which dragged beneath her hooves as her 'mother' tugged her back to the house. "I have to go! You have to believe me!"

"Come and have your breakfast and we can talk about it, sweetie," said the mare.

Twilight panted as she was unceremoniously hauled back into the house and sat at the lounge table. Her stomach was rumbling, but there was no time for food!

"Pleathe lithen to me!" Twilight moaned, as the mother brought out a bowl of honeyed oatmeal for her. "What can I do to make you believe me?"

"Enough silliness, Twist! Just eat your breakfast and get ready for school." snapped the mare, before returning to the kitchen.

School! Twilight's heart leapt - not just because, well - school! - but also because that afforded her an escape from this annoying mare. As soon as she was out of the house, she could go straight to her library. With that plan, she wolfed down her oatmeal, which was in fact far better than anything she or Spike could cook up. Ah, earth ponies, where would we be without you?

She burped and wiped her muzzle. Okay, school, school... I need a schoolbag. She squinted again, finding her impaired vision quite frustrating. Wait... I can do something about that!

"M-Mooooom..." she called out, feeling a little strange in doing so.

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Where are my glatheth?"

"Well, where did you leave them last?"

Twilight rolled her eyes. Mothers are all the same. "I don't know! Where do I... usually leave them?"

"Did you look behind your bedside cabinet? Maybe they've fallen down the back."

Perfect! Twilight got to her hooves and bolted upstairs, a little slower on her full stomach, returning to the bedroom. She scrambled up onto her bed and found her prize - a large pair of spectacles with a thick purple plastic frame. She picked them up and slipped them on, the clarity of the world rushing back to her like the breath of life as the lenses shielded her eyes.

Finally. Now, schoolbag, schoolbag... wow, this filly really does need to tidy her room. Twilight hopped off the bed, a little gingerly, as she wasn't exactly sure how her glasses stayed on, or how much she could move about while wearing them. While searching for the schoolbag, she caught sight of herself in the mirror again, and took a few moments to look at herself properly, in particular noticing that this filly already had a cutie mark - a pair of pink-and-white striped candy canes, crossed diagonally as so to form the impression of a heart shape. Awwwww. That's kind of sweet, actually. She's pretty. I really hope she's not freaking out in my body right now. It's dangerous enough when I do that.

She located the school saddlebag on top of a pile of upturned wicker baskets, and strapped it around her middle, before heading downstairs again, stumbling the last few steps. "Okay, mom, I'm ready! I'll thee you, uh, later!"

"Hold on, Twist, I'm nearly ready," said the mother, who was combing her hair in a mirror.

"But I need to... go?" said Twilight. "You're not coming, are you?"

"Of course I'm coming!" said the mare in surprise. "What's got into you this morning, Twist?"

Ugh, no, go away! Can't you see Equestria is in peril? Twilight groaned to herself. "But I'd rather go by mythelf! It'th only five minuteth trot!"

"Well, you'll only have to put up with me for five minutes then, won't you?" smiled the mare.

Twilight facehoofed.


She never thought there would be a day when the sight of a school would make her unhappy, but here it was. Her 'mother' had insisted on walking her right up to the school entrance. Twilight had the distinct impression that she wasn't trusted.

"Have a good day, sweetie!"

"Yeah. You too... mom." Twilight fumed.

Fillies and colts made their way past her to the classroom, as Twilight watched and waited for the parents to leave. She could just slip out -

"Twist?" came a bright, cheery adult voice. "Aren't you coming in?"

I know that voice... Twilight turned around to find herself looking up into the friendly purple face of Cheerilee, the schoolteacher.

Of course! Cheerilee! Twilight thought gleefully. She and Cheerilee were acquaintances, the teacher often visiting the library to obtain resources for her lessons. She'll believe me!

Cheerilee ducked back into her classroom to quieten down the pupils, as Twilight followed, breathing in a heavy air of nostalgia as she entered the classroom. She hadn't been in a classroom in this way for years... it felt so good!

"Is something wrong, Twist?" said Cheerilee, staring at her as she stood in the doorway. The class was staring at her, too.

"There'th thomething I need to dithcuth with you, Cheer- Mith Cheerilee," said Twilight.

"Well, we're about to start our lesson, can't it wait until break?" said Cheerilee with a slightly stern undertone that made Twilight swoon a little inside. Focus, Twilight.

"I'm afraid not, it'th exthremely important."

"Well, we're still waiting for everyone, so very well. What do you want to talk about?" said Cheerilee.

"Can we dithcuth... in private?" said Twilight nervously. She wasn't sure if a classroom full of curious fillies and colts was the best place to drop this bombshell.

Cheerilee's green eyes widened a little, and the teacher suddenly looked a little nervous. "I think... I think it's best if you leave it until break, my dear. We'll sit down in a nice quiet room and you can tell me all about it."

Twilight blinked. "No, really, I'd rather do it now -"

"Class, quieten down please!" said Cheerilee loudly. "Sorry, Twist. At breaktime."

"But... but!" Aaagh! Why won't anypony take me seriously! I'd take me seriously if I was me! Twilight frowned and took one of the four empty seats, before getting some pens and pencils out of her saddlebag.

Cheerilee seemed to be waiting for more pupils to turn up, but after a few minutes, she stood and began writing EARLY EQUESTRIAN HISTORY at the top of the chalkboard. Underneath that she added a subheading: Post-Unification Era. She placed the chalk back on her desk and licked the dust off her lips. "Today we're moving on to a new history topic. Now, before we begin, does anypony have an idea of what the Post-Unification Era is? Yes, Twist?"

"The Potht-Unification Era referth to the period following the ditholution of the ancient pony kingdomth, the thubthequent contholidation of the three pony tribeth, and the founding of Equethtria ath a unified printhipality."

"Er... that's exactly right, Twist, very good," said Cheerilee in surprise. "Yes, the Post-Unification Era marks the very beginning of the nation of Equestria. Now..."

Despite her frustration at being unable to act, Twilight couldn't help but take an interest in the lesson. She knew pretty much everything there was to know about this period of history, but it was interesting to see how it was being taught to youngsters nowadays.

"...and so, after a long trial, Regent Limestone found Star Swirl the Bearded guilty of breaking magical law, and ordered his immediate imprisonment - yes, Twist?"

"That'th not entirely accurate. At the time, magical law wath enforthed by a dithtinct branch of the Regent'th court - the Unith Occulith, a group of learned unicorn nobleth. In fact, they were founded by Thtar Thwirl himthelf, and thuth refuthed to path thententhe, tho the Regent overruled and dithbanded the Occulith."

Ow, my tongue.

Cheerilee stared at her. "I can't teach my lesson if you keep interrupting me, my dear."

Twilight felt her cheeks grow hot. "I... I... thorry, Mith Cheerilee." Somepony behind her giggled, and she glared. But I'm right!

She kept her corrections to herself after that, although she felt that Cheerilee was vastly oversimplifying the rich and complex history of early Equestria. True, this was a first-grade class, but she was sure her classes had been much more challenging than this when she was this age.

She looked around at the other pupils, all of whom were either gazing blankly at the front or sucking on their pens. They didn't seem at all enthralled by the wondrous illumination of their own history, simplified as it may have been. She caught the eye of a pink earth pony wearing an extravagant tiara, who was giving her a curious look.

When I get my body back, first thing I'm going to do is give Cheerilee some advice on how to present her teachings more effectively, Twilight thought. These children clearly don't find the material challenging enough.

"Okay! Now I've marked your Ancient Kingdoms homework - very good from most of you, I might add," said Cheerilee, nudging a stack of papers to a filly sitting in front of her desk. "I'm going to give you a short written test now - Tootsie, would you be a dear and pass those out?"

The class groaned in unison, except Twilight, who tried not to look gleeful at this turn of events. Still got a job to do. Just do the stupid test and then you can be out of here.

She held her test face down with her hooves after she was given it, because that was the rule, and it was the same in any school. No looking at the test questions before being told to start. Otherwise, what was the point in timing the test?

"Okay, everypony ready? Begin!"

Twilight turned her test over, pen in mouth, and began reading. Name the three kingdoms and their corresponding tribe, fill in the import/export triangle, describe the major intertribal conflicts and their resolutions... outline the symbolic importance of the kazoo horn to the earth pony tribe... it looked like the most difficult part of this test was going to be mouthwriting her answers, something she hadn't done for well over a decade. Nonetheless, she still managed to finish well before everypony else, and spent the remaining quarter of an hour watching the clock. This lesson must end soon... come on...

"Okay, pens down, everypony!" said Cheerilee brightly. "If you could pass your tests to the front, please..."

Twilight turned to receive the test papers from the colt behind her, and again found the tiara-wearing filly regarding her curiously. What's with her? Twilight wondered.

Cheerilee collected the papers into a stack. "Well done, everyone! I think you've earned yourself an early break, so go out and enjoy the sunshine!"

Finally! Twilight hopped out of her seat, although she found her escape slowed by pupils who were somehow even more eager to escape than her. She followed them out through the corridor, cautiously checking to make sure Cheerilee wasn't watching before she attempted to escape the schoolgrounds. Coast looks clear. She began a surreptitious stroll out of the building -


Twilight cringed and stopped in mid-trot, one forehoof held off the floor. A filly had shouted at her. She turned around to see a pair of fillies standing behind her; one was the pink tiara filly she'd seen earlier. The other was a grey-coated pony with glasses and a silvery mane.

"Can I help you?" said Twilight, looking around nervously.

"We need to talk," said the pink filly.

She then looked down, shuffling her hoof against the floor nervously.

"I mean, um, if that's okay with you..."

Author's Notes:

This was a totally random idea I had, so I've got almost no plan at all. However, I feel I need to get used to the idea of writing 'on-the-fly', as it were, so here's the first chapter! Let me know what you think. :)

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