Chapter Five: Euphrosyne
Royal Equestrian carriage tilted as it was pulled into a shallow
dive to port. The four expert pegasai pulling the carriage were well
practiced as a team, and did not need the human-tech transceivers in
their helmets to coordinate the maneuver. Instinctively, as one, they
leveled out, their wings working furiously to keep the carriage as
steady as possible, under the circumstances.
ahead, the glowing tail of the poorly aimed anti-air missile shrank
into the distance ahead, a horizon dominated by the impossibly vast
curve of the great Barrier that separated the impossible, magical
realm of Equestria from the cold, hardened world of Man. The Barrier
split the sky, a bright, opalescent half-sphere thousands of miles
across, reaching above the atmosphere, touching space itself.
was cold and roared past the grand carriage with its pegasai, the
stars gleaming in the early evening. Ahead, inside the surreal dome
that protected Equestria, shone day, bright and green and warm. The
brilliant light from that land, from the world within the barrier,
illuminated the sea, thousands of feet below, painting the grey,
poisoned Pacific with shimmering sparkles which faded with the miles
into black night, far behind.
struggled to extricate her haunches from the pile of unconscious
ponies, supplies, and human doctor that had all slid to the left of
the car-sized open-air carriage during the sudden dive. When the
polished, wooden floorboards had begun to tilt, Alyssa had tried to
reach out with her hands to grab something, realizing almost
immediately that she no longer had hands, but hooves. Her new limbs
scraped uselessly on the smooth carriage floor, and she found herself
sliding with her two former roommates, the still-unconscious Chloe
and Ella, into poor Dr. Pastern. They had piled up against the left
wall of the carriage, but thankfully, nopony had been lost.
SHOOTING at us?" Alyssa screamed against the constant wail of
the bitter wind "What WAS that? What are we going to DO? What
are we going to DO?" Her hooves beat uselessly against the
Pastern struggled to get her wind back, the impact of one of Alyssa's
hooves having caught her in the diaphragm. Breathing again, she
automatically checked to make sure that her medical kit and the
'Potion' storage unit were safe. She shifted around the unconscious
bodies of Ella-the-Pegasus and Chloe-The-Earth-Pony, and thought
silently that perhaps sedating them had been a good idea after all.
She briefly imagined having being kicked in the head by three
panicking equinoids, rather than merely in the diaphragm by one.
ALYSSA!" Dr. Pastern finally managed to get the poor newfoal
settled enough to lay still. Pastern put her head close to Alyssa's
so that she wouldn't have to shout. "Listen, listen... we're
going to be alright. Those pegasai up there are Celestia's very, very
best. They can outfly the wind itself. It's going to be OK. You need
to remain calm, alright Alyssa?"
didn't really believe all of her own words, but she needed to get the
situation under control, any way she could.
tried to calm down. The carriage was flying steadily now, level, and
she could no longer hear whatever it was (rocket? missile?) that had
shrieked past them. Something in her, something new, powerfully
compelled her to trust, and she found herself involuntarily relaxing
against the legs of Dr. Pastern, and the piled bodies of Chloe and
Ella. That was strange. She would never have been capable of such a
thing back when she was an ape. The way she phrased that made her
giggle. Ook-Ook. Hee!
Pastern noted the sudden change in newfoal Alyssa. She had seen such
things before, in the past years of assisting Conversions. Newfoals
seemed to universally be able to let go of fear and pain much better
than human beings could. She always envied that, when she saw it
happen. She wondered what it felt like.
I need your help." Dr. Pastern was very serious now, and
Alyssa's ears swiveled to follow her immediate attention.
"Alyssa, this carriage is going to be passing through the
Barrier soon, at full speed." Pastern paused to see if the
you're not... you're [i]human[/i]. Nothing human can pass the
barrier. You'll be..." an image of a tomato hitting a windshield
passed briefly through Alyssa's pony mind, the closest it could now
come to the image it would have generated for her but half a day ago
"Can't we land, let you off, isn't..." her voice trailed off.
over the ocean, Alyssa. A thousand feet up. There's a chopper
chasing us." Pastern said, softly. "There is only one thing
I can do. But..." Pastern seemed worried "It isn't going to
What can we do? I'll help you. Whatever you need me to do!"
Alyssa felt a rush of empathy, of compassion, the like of which she
had never experienced before. It shocked some deep, buried part of
her. In this moment, she would willingly die for Dr. Pastern, a woman
she had known all of three days. She was sure that she would not have
felt quite so keenly for the life of a stranger... before.
can become a pony." Pastern wrestled with the bright red storage
unit "This contains the ponification serum. But there's a
problem. No anesthesia. We add it according to body weight and
allergic history for each patient. I can't do that for myself."
your medical kit! Surely there's some..."
Nothing that would do the job. I'll have to do this awake, and I have
to do it now. It may already be too late. I waited too long."
Alyssa was incredulous "Why? You said it had been five hours
since we left? Why didn't you..."
Pastern held out her hands in front of her, fingers splayed wide.
"I had to keep a certain pony breathing, remember?"
it struck Alyssa. Dr. Pastern wasn't supposed to be here. She had
leapt onto the carriage, probably as it was leaving, because she
couldn't abandon a critical patient. She'd been forced to sedate the
three newfoals, even though it was dangerous to do so. "Why...
why did you wait until I finally woke up?"
had to be sure that you would." The matter of fact answer hit
Alyssa like a stone.
it! Take it now!" Alyssa was almost yelling "Hurry up! Do
It! I'll be here for you! Just tell me what to do!"
going to hurt, Alyssa." Dr. Pastern seemed pale "I will
probably make a bit of a... fuss." The doctor looked away as she
spoke "I really need you to stay calm and in control, even if we
are shot at again. I need you to keep me from falling out, if you
can, if there is any... turbulence. And... I need you to be very
brave, whatever happens. Can you do that for me?" The doctor
turned her head back and looked deeply into Alyssa's huge, wide eyes.
will." Alyssa heard a confidence and resolve in her own voice
that quite astonished her.
you, Alyssa." Pastern opened the red case, inside was the
stoppered Erlenmeyer, only a quarter filled with the swirling, purple
goo. The carriage rocked suddenly, and for a moment the doctor and
Alyssa shared worried eyes, but then relaxed when nothing further happened.
watched as Dr. Pastern carefully opened the flask. She barely heard
the faint prayer from the doctor's lips
"please....Celestia.." Then Pastern took a swig from the
flask, and instantly closed it, scrambling to secure the bottle
within the red case before...
reared back, smacking her head against the carriage wall, her spine
curving away from Alyssa. The doctor gasped, trying to breath, a
faint cry coming from her agonized throat. Her body slid to the side
until she was lying on the carriage floor. Alyssa could smell her
grape-tinged breath as Pastern briefly choked.
pressed close to Dr. Pastern, squeezing in close to her, to hold her
still while she thrashed. Pastern's eyes rolled wildly, in opposite
directions, as they swelled within her enlarging cranium. Her
fingers, so recently splayed, had already fused together, melting
like hot wax into squirming blobs.
the carriage sharply banked to the right. Ponies, cases and the thing
that was Dr. Pastern slid across the polished wood to slam into the
opposite wall. Something bright and infinitely loud streaked by
overhead and to the left. The brief flash of its passing temporarily
blinded Alyssa, and she could hear nothing for some time from the roar.
could see clearly again, Dr. Pastern had changed shape radically, and
her pulsing, oozing mass was beginning to rip her clothing
"That's why they have us undress!" Alyssa suddenly realized
that human clothing could strangle a pony, the neck was simply too
small, the arms and legs too thin. She squirmed over Pastern's
contorting form and began savagely biting at the doctor's neckline.
The material was artificial, and very strong.
braced a hoof and pulled and shook with all of her might. The fabric
finally tore, and she continued to shred it until the neckline was a
ragged, open space. As she did so, the forming neck of a pony filled
that space even as she made it wider.
legs and arms were another matter. She couldn't get the right angle
to tear the fabric. She couldn't figure out how to tear open the
pants. Dr. Pastern's pony legs were inflating around the cuffs formed
by the limits of human fashion, and the waxy, wriggling flesh began
to rapidly turn purple where it could be seen.
terrible! Fear overwhelmed Alyssa's mind. She had to help. She had to
save Dr. Pastern. She bit and pulled and shook her head like a dog
worrying a bone, but the fabric wouldn't tear.
Alyssa screamed into the wind, half crazed with her own helplessness
"WHY WON'T THIS COME OFF?"
feeling transfixed her, like a spear through her forehead. It felt
like all of her will had somehow coalesced into solidity, and she saw
the struggling shape of what once was Dr. Pastern illuminated in the
night by a strange, blue-green light. Inside, Alyssa felt like she
was holding some kind of... storm... in her mind, and in anger she
spat that feeling into those damned artificial fabric clothes.
Pastern's pants exploded. The material shredded like a burst balloon.
With it was the last of the doctor's blouse and coat. Her shoes,
stifling her forming, blobby hooves, detonated with an burst audible
over the shrieking wind. The increasingly healthy looking,
pony-shaped lump squirmed as it drew itself together, golden hairs
bursting out from the skin.
strands of brown mane and tail spooled out onto the wood planks as
the mysterious turquoise light faded. Alyssa collapsed, her head flat
on the boards, inches from Pony-Pastern's flank. It was then, for the
first time, that Alyssa finally noticed the short horn right in the
middle of her forehead, as it unintentionally prodded Pastern's
quivering leg. "Sorry." Alyssa mumbled as she scooted back,
as best she could. She was too grateful to fuss.
was hissing and barking from a ragged piece of white cloth to
Alyssa's left. It was one of the pockets from Dr. Pastern's lab coat.
Inside, something square and flat was making the noise. Alyssa bit at
the cloth and the set fell out. She swiveled her neck and tried to
take the device with her lips. It slipped out, onto the boards, but
something she had done had triggered it. The voice was new, and
sounded as if it were yelling against a great wind "...said
penetration imminent! Any minute now! Doctor Pastern, respond!"
The voice kept repeating variations on this as Alyssa stared at it.
getting surprisingly light out. The stars were still overhead, but
daylight was shining off the back of the carriage. The Barrier! The
great Shield of Equestria! That must have been Nimbus, the lead
pegasus of the crew pulling them through the sky. They were nearly home!
Equestria was home. Alyssa savored the feeling. Home.
turned to look at doctor Pastern. She was nearly complete. Her
eyelids still hadn't unsealed from the skin of her head, but her
golden hide shone in the increasing light, and her soft brown mane
fluttered in the breeze. Surely she was pony enough now to survive
passage through the barrier. Alyssa saw, in the brightening light,
wings, beautiful and golden like the doctor's flanks. Alyssa didn't
feel jealous, only happy. Pony Pastern's wings and body shone like
morning, and Alyssa found herself laughing with delight. It was just
like gravel rapidly hitting the wood rear of the chariot.
PAK-PAK-TAK-PAK Alyssa scrambled up, hooves skittering on the
floorboards. She knew that sound, from countless media, the sound of
bullets impacting. Alyssa threw herself over the now blissfully
insensate golden pegasus, trying to cover as much of it with her own
body as she could. Pressed close behind Pastern, crushed into the
corner, Ella and Chloe remained oblivious, a pile of unconscious hoof
behind, in the dark to the rear, the 'angry bird', almost certainly a
stolen military chopper, had reached a range where mechanized guns
were worth using. The light from the front of the chariot was so
bright, and glancing back at it, Alyssa saw an impossible, shimmering
wall that stretched from one infinity to another, a dome as large as
a continent, within which full daylight argued with the night beyond.
swung her head back towards the rear, as if by looking, she could
somehow defy the chasing threat. The light was very bright inside the
chariot now, as she saw the black and gray shape of an Americorp
Backstabber MKIII Assault Copter rise up above the brass-railed
wooden lip. Inside, she could almost see, with her new, better eyes,
the shape of a lone pilot. Did she imagine him grimacing as he took aim?
pleasurable shiver rippled over her, and instantly the bitter air was
springtime. A shimmering wall fell away, gleaming as it receded
behind the chariot. In the full, warm sunlight of open day the
Assault Copter burst through the wall, the tail end shattering as a
pink mist appeared behind it, on the other side of the opalescent shield.
descending, rapidly, and Alyssa watched the broken copter fall, the
pieces tumbling, end over end. As they fell, they began to change,
affected by some strange magic, separating into shards, the shards
turning from black and gray to brilliant colors, and Alyssa was
astonished to see that they had become flower petals, drifting and
fluttering in the sky like delicious confetti.
couldn't help but laugh, it was so absurd, so whimsical, and such a
relief. The danger was gone - all danger was gone, forever, for the
rest of her days. Her laughing turned to giggles, somewhat hysteric,
and then to sobs. That poor man. That poor, poor man.
* * * * *
Confetti trotted merrily down the soft, dirt path that ran through
the middle of her small village. Clydesdale was a farming community
that specialized in hay, alfalfa, and -of all things- basil. The town
had recently won an award for 'Most Flavorful Feed', which had been
presented by the great stallion chef Al Dente himself, and the plaque
had been hung over the oat barrels at the general store.
This was a
matter of great excitement in such a small village, and Petal knew
exactly what needed to be done. She swung her bright pink tail across
her aquamarine flanks, keeping time to her own rhythmic gait. Across
her back were slung two large saddlebags, filled to bursting with
balloons, streamers, boxes of candies, little cakes and other treats,
and of course, a great heavy jug of her own special punch.
many friends in Clydesdale, and they greeted her as she passed. She
tossed her curly pink mane at Flapjack, a stallion that she knew had
an eye on her. She paused to compliment Sweetpastry's new straw hat.
The bow had become undone on it, so she used her horn and willed the
ribbon to tie itself neatly. Petal loved helping with little things
smiled at her, and brushed against her flank in thanks, as Petal
doctor was flying overhead, golden and magnificent. She was still
called doctor Pastern, the name just didn't seem to need to be
changed. Petal smiled up at her longtime friend. They shared a
special bond, begun in strife, perhaps, but grown strong over time
through mutual kindness. She would see her later, when everyone would
come together, thanks to her special gift.
In all of
Clydesdale, no one put on a party like the ever-so-giggily Petal Confetti.
1 2 3 4 5
To TCB Story Index
Lost In The Herd Series:
Four: Teacup, Down On The Farm
Conversion Bureau Novels:
Ounces: A story of eight and one half ponies
Conversion Bureau: Code Majeste
Conversion Bureau: The 800 Year Promise
Conversion Bureau: Going Pony
Michelson and Morely
Reasonably Adamant Down With Celestia Newfoal Society!
Her Last Possession
Conversion Bureau: PER Equitum
Conversion Bureau: Brand New Universe
Non-Conversion Bureau Fanfics:
Cream Pony Summer
Around The Bend