Dear Shining Armor,
How are you bbbff? It feels like forever since the last time I saw you (I think it’s been at least since my coronation ceremony). That’s why I was wondering if you and Cadence would like to come and visit Ponyville, just for a week or so. Mom and dad stayed with me last summer, so I think it’s about time that my big brother best friend forever and his wife did the same. I understand that you two are busy ruling the Crystal Empire, so I understand if you can’t come, but it would really mean a lot to me if you two could to see where I’ve been living. Please let me know what your decision is as soon as possible so I know whether or not I should make up the guest room for you two. I look forward to hearing back from you.
With love from your favorite little sister,
Shining Armor reread the letter his little sister had sent to him weeks ago; he had been feeling bad that he and Cadence had yet to make it out to Ponyville, so when the letter came, he made plans with his wife, and quickly wrote back saying that they would both love to visit her and would be arriving in three weeks for a two-week-long vacation.
Unfortunately, a few of days before they were to leave, Cadence had fallen ill; each morning, Cadence had been suffering from stomach pains and waves of nausea that made it almost impossible for her to move. Shining Armor had offered many times to stay and care for his wife, but Cadence just smiled and told him that he needed to go and spend time with his little sister, and that all she needed was a little bed rest. To reassure her husband, she told him that if she was feeling better before he returned to the Crystal Empire, she would join him in Ponyville for the remainder of their planned stay.
The prince sighed as he stared at the empty seat beside him.
“Oh Cadence,” he thought aloud, “I hate leaving you at home like this.”
Shining Armor leaned his head against the window and absentmindedly watched the scenery pass by so quickly that it was hard to distinguish anything as the train sped down the tracks.
“Your attention please,” came a voice over a loud speaker, “We will be arriving in Ponyville in fifteen minutes. Please make sure that any carry on items are out of the overhead compartments. The attendants will unload all other luggage once we come to a stop at Ponyville station. Thank you for choosing the Equestrian Express; we hope you enjoyed your travels.”
When the announcement ended, Shining Armor rose from his seat and stretched his legs; he hadn’t moved much since the train had departed from the Crystal Empire, so his muscles had tightened up and were very sore. After pacing around the empty train car for a few minutes, he used his magic to levitate his saddlebag from the overhead compartment and strapped it around his torso. As soon as he heard the sharp sound of a whistle coming from the front of the train, Shining Armor sat back down in his seat, awaiting the moment when the train would slow to a halt.
The sun was bright and the air was warm as Shining Armor stepped onto the platform of Ponyville station. It wasn’t as large or as crowded as the station back home, in fact, he was one of five ponies who was getting off at this stop, but he enjoyed not being swamped by ponies bustling about from one place to another.
“Shining Armor!” called a voice from further down the platform. The unicorn prince turned to see a small purple alicorn trotting his way, her wings outstretched and glimmering in the afternoon sunlight. “It’s so good to see you again bbbff.”
Shining Armor smiled and wrapped his forelegs around the purple pony.
“Twily,” he said, “how’ve you been sis?”
“Good; busy, but good.”
“Glad to hear you’re doing well, sis. What’s kept you so bus-”
“Prince Shining Armor,” Called a trembling voice from behind, “Is his majesty here?”
Shining Armor turned to see a slender, trembling Earth pony stallion dressed in a blue uniform and hat, standing beside two white suitcases which bore the unicorn prince’s cutie mark.
“Oh, sorry, I’ll be right back; just gotta get my luggage.” Shining Armor walked over to the luggage attendant (who bowed deeply in the presence of royalty), and levitated his bags onto a cart.
“OK Twily, I think I’m all set here,” he said as he returned with the cart to his waiting sister, “I can’t wait to see your home.”
“Alrighty then,” Twilight said with a cheery smile. “Follow me bbbff.”
It wasn’t a very long walk between the train station and Golden Oaks Library, the building that Twilight Sparkle had called home for the past three years. Shining Armor enjoyed seeing all the ponies going about their business as they passed by, either on their way to or from work, or, in the case of a group of three young fillies, running around excitedly at having just been let out of school.
When the two siblings reached the library, Shining Armor unloaded the cart and levitated his bags through the door, and placed them on the floor against the wall so they were out of the way; he would take care of them later once Twilight showed him where he would be sleeping.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” Twilight asked as she trotted into a small kitchenette located in an adjacent room, “I put on a pot before I left so it would be ready for when we got back.”
“I’d love some,” Shining Armor said as he took a seat at the room’s large central table. “The train didn’t serve anything, so I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since we left the Crystal Empire.”
Twilight reappeared moments later with the teapot and two teacups floating behind, enveloped in a magical aura.
“So what have you been so busy with Twily?” Shining Armor asked as his sister served the tea. “Have you been doing work for Princess Celestia?”
“Actually,” Twilight said as she poured her own tea, “I’ve just been researching the spells that were in the book she gave me; the one that had the spell that transformed me into an alicorn. Did you know that Starswirl the Bearded created over a thousand spells before he died?”
“Come on Twily, you know I was never the reader as you were.” He gave a light laugh remembering all the times in school when he had chosen to play outside with his friends instead of reading from his unicorn history text book. “But yeah, that’s really interesting.”
“That’s not even the best part,” the purple pony continued happily, “This book contains some of the most advanced magic that he ever created, and most of it is incomplete.”
“Let me guess, you’re trying to complete them.”
“Well, yes. Actually, I’ve succeeded in finishing a few of the more simple spells. Would you like to see them?”
From a very young age, Twilight had been a bit of a magical prodigy. During her first few years of attending Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, she would come home and show off the new spells that she had learned, sending paper airplanes flying through the air, or, on one occasion, lifting the coach a few inches off the floor while the whole family had been sitting on it. Shining Armor had to admit that he had been a bit jealous of his little sister’s natural talent, but even more than that, he was very proud of her.
“Let me see,” Twilight said as she levitated an old, black leather bound book over to the table and began flipping through the pages. “Ahh, how about a duplication spell.”
“Sounds good, Twily,”
“OK,” she said, focusing on her teacup, “here goes nothing.”
The alicorn’s horn began to glow with a purple aura, and, with a bright flash, where there had been a single teacup in front of Shining Armor, sat two teacups, identical down to the very last detail, including the steam that rose from the piping hot tea.
“That’s amazing Twi,” Shining Armor said as he clapped his hooves together.
“Thanks. It isn’t much though; it really only works about half the time, so I haven’t dared to try it on anything larger than a book or a lamp.”
“Still, I’m amazed you’ve learned to do something like that so quickly. That’s really cool Twily.”
Twilight blushed at her brother’s praise.
“Would you like to see another one?”
“Yeah, what else have you got?”
Twilight began flipping through the pages again
“Hmmm, time spell, too complicated, invisibility spell, again, too complicated…Ah hah! What about an age spell?”
“Age spell,” said Shining Armor, feeling a bit uneasy. “What, are you gonna turn me into a colt or something?”
“More or less.”
“I don’t know Twily; you said that last spell only worked half the time. Not only that, but I thought age spells were supposed to be really advanced magic. I don’t want to be want you to accidently turn me into a chair or something.”
“Oh come on, Shining Armor look who you’re talking to; when I became an alicorn, my magical abilities were enhanced, so I’m quite capable at handling spells like this.
“Oh please big brother, it’s really a straightforward spell, so nothing should go wrong; it’ll be safe, I promise.” Twilight gave her big brother a reassuring smile.
Shining Armor still felt a bit hesitant, but finally gave into his sister’s request.
“Fine,” he sighed, “I suppose I’m in safe hooves if it’s you casting the spell.”
Twilight beamed at her brother.
“Alright, just hold still and focus on what you looked like as a colt. Now close your eyes and hold that image in your mind. Ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be I guess.”
“OK, here I go.”
Shining Armor felt his body tingle as magic coursed through it. Then, as quickly as the tingling started, it was gone. The stallion opened his eyes; everything seemed a lot…bigger. He careened his head to look over the tabletop, then he looked down at his hooves and forelegs, which held no trace of their previous strength.
“Wow Twily, that’s…” He heard himself speak, but the voice wasn’t his own; it was a high-pitched, prepubescent colt’s voice. “Amazing.”
Shining Armor began running around the room, enjoying feel of his smaller body.
“You really are the greatest when it comes to magic little sis.”
“I think you mean big sis.” Twilight said with a chuckle. “Here, check yourself out.” Twilight summoned a mirror from across the room and brought it to a rest in front of her brother who stared wide-eyed at his reflection.
Shining Armor’s jaw dropped as he stared at the blue maned colt that was reflected back at him. He turned around slowly, checking out his new body from every angle. Gone were the muscles he had gained from his years of training in the royal guard, instead replaced by short, stocky legs of a growing foal. What Shining Armor found most surprising was that his flank no longer bore his shield cutie mark; he was once again a blank flank.
“This is so cool,” Shining Armor said as he beamed at his sister.
Twilight couldn’t help but chuckle; it was funny seeing her brother like this. The alicorn had been only a baby the last time Shining Armor had looked this way, so it was a bit of a novelty for her to see him running around little a little school foal. Unfortunately it couldn’t last forever.
“OK, OK,” Twilight said, trying to get her brother to calm down. “I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, but I think it’s time to get you back to the way you were. Now hold still so I can change you back.”
Colt Shining Armor sat on the floor and closed his eyes ready to be turned back into a stallion. Suddenly he felt the tingling sensation course through his body as he was once again absorbed by a blinding light. However, unlike with his first transformation, this one was followed by a second, then a third, then a fourth flash of light.
“Uh oh,” said Twilight. There was a nervous quiver in her voice. “Shining Armor, promise you won’t be mad.”
“Why would I…” he paused; he was speaking in the same foal like voice. He opened his eyes again and saw that he was still sitting on the floor with his sister towering over him. “Twi, am I still a colt?”
“OK, and why am I still a colt?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” she said as she ran over to the table and began furiously scanning the book for a solution. “For some reason the reversal spell doesn’t seem to be working.”
Shining Armor felt waves of panic course through his little colt body.
“Oh, no,” he said, “This isn’t good, Twi; I can’t let anyone see me like this. I’m a prince, one of the rulers of an empire. It could lead to political unrest if a member of the royal family was unable to perform his royal duties because he was suddenly turned into a foal.”
“I know, I know, just give me a second, I’m trying to think of something.”
Suddenly a light went on in Twilight’s head. “I’ve got it, why don’t I use a transfiguration spell.”
“Transfiguration!? That sounds like a bigger risk than the age spell! Thanks Twi, but I think I’ll just wait until the affects of the spell wear off.”
“Well, yes, that would be a good idea if the spell wasn’t…permanent.”
“Permanent!? What do you mean permanent!?”
“Well…the spell is designed to last until somepony casts a reversal spell. But the reversal spell doesn’t work, so that means-”
“It means I’m stuck like this. Great! Just great; I knew this was a bad idea.” Then he thought for a moment. “Maybe Celestia can-”
“No!” Twilight exclaimed in a panic. “We cannot tell her; do you know what Princess Celestia will do if she finds out I botched a spell like this?”
“Neither do I, but I know it can’t be good. Oh I bet she’ll revoke my wings or something.” Twilight closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. “Please, Shining Armor just let me try the transfiguration spell.”
The stallion sighed.
“There’s really no other way?”
Twilight shook her head.
“None that I can think of.”
“Then I guess I don’t really have much of a choice then do I?”
Shining Armor sat on the floor and looked up at his sister.
“Is there anything you need me to do?”
“Yes: in order for this spell to work, we both need to concentrate on the shape that you’re supposed to take. Spike’s over at Carousel Boutique helping Rarity with something, so we shouldn’t have any distractions. Are you ready?”
Shining Armor nodded gloomily.
“I guess.” He said as he closed his eyes and started concentrating on his usual full-grown body.
Twilight stepped back and took another calming breath. Then she closed her eyes and began casting the spell.
Twilight’s concentration was broken momentarily as she quickly looked out her window instinctively to see the cause of the noise; Scootaloo, who had been pulling her two friends in a cart attached the back of her scooter had crashed into Rose Luck’s flower stall, sending bouquets flying all over the place. Twilight closed her eyes again, trying to push the image of the little fillies to the back of her mind before she continued with the spell, but it was too late; her horn began to glow, filling the room with a spectacular, blinding light. The spell had been cast.