Alterations Chapter 1
"Good morning everypony! Octavia here for the early morning Scratch N Tavi radio show, with my co-host Scratch."
"Ugh, I had to get up early for this show. It's like way earlier than usual."
"Well, good news is that you can just sit there and play music. We will have the news later."
"Great!" What followed was the sound of a record scratching against a needle.
"- I've been waiting, for the taking, of my-"
Spike let his hand slink down from the cold, metallic snooze button of his alarm clock as he sat up. He stretched his arms out wide, and let out a big dragon sized yawn. Well, for a dragon as big as Spike anyway. He was awake, fully alert, and ready for the morning chores. He turned his head, expecting to start on his first chore of the day; which was to wake up Twilight. But she was already awake. In fact she was sitting on the floor with a big yellow blanket wrapped around her, staring out the window towards Canterlot Castle.
"Good morning, Twilight," he said to her smiling and cheerful.
"Oh, hey," she said as she slowly broke her gaze from the castle. She looked at him with half-open bloodshot eyes. Big, dark circles were easily visible under them. "Good morning."
"How long have you been awake?" He noticed how ragged she looked, she could hardly keep her eyes open.
"I don't know," she sighed as she turned her head back to the window.
"Oh, well I'll get started on today's chores."
"You do that. I'll be down in just a minute."
She knew that today was an important day, that this could be one of the most important days of her life. She was going over and over in her head just what she needed to do to make this perfect. She walked over to the mirror and inspected herself very closely.
"I hope I'm ready for this," she said to herself, her voice quivered the smallest bit.
With her mind racing about the day's upcoming event, she wasn't fully focused on the stairs. She descended them hesitantly, looking down and contemplating each step. She kept her eyes trained on them, and only looked up when she reached the bottom. As she did, she noticed the dragon cooking a foul smelling meal. She grew nauseous at the thought of having to stomach another of these.
"I'm making your favorite Twilight, so you won't feel as nervous today," said Spike as he finished glazing the last daffodil for the sandwich.
"Oh, well thank you, it looks....delicious." She fought hard not to wrinkle her nose.
"Is something wrong? You've been acting a little strange since your brothers wedding, and that was two weeks ago."
"No, I'm fine. Let's eat," she stated wearing her biggest and most convincing fake smile. Spike mulled this over for a minute.
"OK but we need to hurry," he said as he turned to place the sandwich on a plate. He walked over and set it down on the table where she would sit. "We're supposed to meet the girls at Sugarcube Corner in an hour," he said quickly.
"Alright." Twilight agreed and began to choke down the sickly looking flowers.
"Thanks Applejack!" cried all three of the Cutie Mark Crusaders as arrived home from the park. They were all very grateful for her help even though none of them had gotten their cutie marks.
"No problem girls, any time." She smiled cheerfully to the three young fillies as she turned to head for Sugarcube Corner. Today was a big day and she was very excited. She just couldn't stop her steady walk from turning into a sort of trotting skip. She stopped as she sped past Fluttershy's cottage.
"Maybe Ah should go in an' get the poor girl," she mumbled to herself. After all, Fluttershy could be a tad forgetful at times when she was nervous or scared. Applejack walked up to the door and knocked a few times.
"Hey Fluttershy! C'mon, we're gonna be late!"
She could hear crashing coming from inside the house as a sweet voice called, "Just a minute," A few moments passed and the door opened. The impatient cowpony peered inside to see dishes and food all over the floor. Angel was laying in the middle of it all eating a carrot.
"Oh hey Applejack, I was just getting ready to leave," said the yellow mare softly. She was glad to know she had a friend to walk with. The small quiver in her voice was enough to tell how she felt about today.
"Well let's get on then," replied Applejack trying to hold back a chuckle, as Fluttershy had some lettuce in her mane. "By the way, Ah like the new manestyle ya got goin' on there."
Fluttershy reached up to feel around in her mane, and pulled out a big piece of lettuce. Her cheeks immediately turned red and she quickly threw it inside. She closed the door and off they went.
Applejack noticed that her timid friend was a bit shaky and nervous looking.
"Don't worry sugarcube, there ain't nothin' to be worried about." She pat her timid friend on the shoulder.
"But I've never even dreamed she would do this."
"Ah don't think any one of us did. Just make sure you show your appreciation. It ain't everyday Princess Celestia comes to town to give us awards for bein' the 'Heroes of Equestria'."
"You're right," she said as she straightened up her posture. "I'll try to look as confident as I can when she gets here."
"Atta girl!" said Applejack with a smile at her friend.
It didn't take long before the two reached the front of Sugarcube Corner. Rainbow and Pinkie were already there. The confident cyan pegasus was practicing her 'Thank you, no autographs please' speech, while Pinkie pretended to be an entire audience, running from place to place shouting, "Yay Rainbow Dash....We knew you were our hero....We love you Dashie!"
"Oh thank you, I'm so glad I could help, and I love you too; I love all the citizens of Ponyville!"
"You know it's just gonna be us six at this little git together, right Dash?" Applejack said as she stopped by where her overly active friend had stopped to rest.
"Well yeah but," she stammered, her cyan face taking on a red hue.
"But it's fun to pretend there will be people there to watch us!" the cheerful pink party-pony butted in, unknowingly saving Rainbow from an embarrassing moment.
"Yeah! That's it!" she said hurriedly.
"Where are Rarity and Twilight?" Fluttershy asked.
"Well, Rarity said that she would be late because she had some fashiony stuff to do, Pinkie answered. "And Twilight?" She peered behind her orange when her eye caught a glimpse of a lumpy purple figure. She focused her eyes and looked closer to see Twilight walking towards them with spike on her back. "There she is right there!" she finished happily.
"Hey Twilight, when is Celestia gonna get here?" asked Rainbow, but it was the little dragon atop her who answered.
"She sent us a letter on our way over here, saying she would be arriving within the hour," he said holding up the parchment. He looked around and noticed a distinct lack of overwhelming beauty in the area. "Hey, where's Rarity?"
Pinkies mouth opened wide, ready to give the very long version of the answer, but Rainbow sensed this and did the only plausible thing. She stuffed her hoof in there before it was too late.
"She's gonna be late," she replied, short and simple.
"Myeahm!" Pinkie agreed in a muffled tone. Rainbow cautiously removed her hoof from the talkative pony's mouth. They stood around for a moment, making small talk with one another. Twilight felt she should say something, as she was getting some rather funny looks from the ponies.
"So how were your mornings, girls?" she asked cheerfully.
Pinkie, her mouth clear of hoof stuffage, was about to explain her morning, and those of the others, but something caught her eye. She looked up and saw something in the sky that made her gasp very loudly.
"It's Princess Celestia! She's here!" The other ponies turned to look up. What they saw was the magnificent sight of the Princess flying very high in the sky. They all smiled instantly at this majestic sight; some for joy, some for excitement, and some for other reasons.
The excited rainbow-maned pegasus, too anxious to wait, soared up into the sky to meet Celestia as she got closer. Her feathers ruffled as she came to a halt in front of the beautiful Alicorn. She bowed mid-air and looked up with a big smile.
"It's very nice to see you today Princess."
"It's very lovely to see you as well Rainbow Dash," replied the Princess elegantly and with poise. "How are you and your friends?"
"Oh, we're great Princess! We're very happy to see you!" she replied excitedly with a very large grin on her face. She and Celestia both looked down at the other ponies. If you looked, it would seem almost as if Pinkie's huge smile was giving off a warm glow of light. Actually, it looked very real. In fact, it was real, but it wasn't coming from the pink pony's awfully joyful grin. No, it was coming from beside her where Twilight stood.
Everypony turned to the purple unicorn as her glow intensified. It got brighter and hotter, growing painful to look at. The ponies closest to her had to shield their eyes. There was something very familiar about this light, and as it faded away, the ponies looked back to see a gray creature with pure diamond blue eyes, and wings that resembled that of a broken fly's. The only movement from the near frozen scene, was when all five of the ponies standing around this creature, almost simultaneously dropped their jaws. The ponies looked as if they had been punched right in the happiness. For sometime within the past two weeks since they had returned home from Canterlot, their dear friend Twilight Sparkle, had been replaced by a changeling.