Rainbow Dash stood on a cloud and stared out at the night before her. Her two magenta eyes gazed at the moon. Life was busy working three jobs, so she worked in a little extra time for herself at nights if she could. Such was the idea tonight. Her jobs included the easy one of managing Ponyville’s weather, the dream one of being a Wonderbolt, and the recently new one of helping out Twilight Sparkle for her School of Friendship. The school had a rocky start, and Rainbow was certainly no fan of listening to classroom lectures, let alone giving them. Despite that outlook, she and Twilight recently struck a fine balance of figuring that teamwork through sports was a simple enough way to teach and show loyalty. Coaching was something Rainbow herself understood, enjoyed, and already had experience with. Students still called her “Professor Dash” all the same.
Tonight, there would be none of that. Tonight, it would be her, her wings, the wind, and the sheer joy of flight. She lifted off into the night air and flew swiftly in solitude for a few minutes, at one point closing her eyes with a soft, contented smile. When she opened them, something caught her eye. She saw a strange column of white light, pinkish around its vertical edges. Rainbow had seen many magical and strange things living in Equestria and going on adventures with her friends. She couldn’t remember ever seeing anything quite like this.
She approached it out of curiosity, surprised to see no other ponies on the ground or in the air. Most ponies were asleep or preparing for a day’s end toward that sleep. Rainbow circled the column. It seemed to be shooting up from the ground, and she could not see where it ended in the sky either. She flew up several feet before stopping and deciding if it had an end, it was too high, even for her. Again, she circled the column, descending several of the feet she’d just risen before she eventually halted. “Hello?” she called as if it would answer back.
Sparks of lightning shot out and nearly shocked her though she was fast enough to dodge clear. She flew back several feet to see if the light would do anything else and saw the entire column slowly inch to follow her. It had not responded with words, but it certainly seemed aware of her presence. She flew backward some more, again steadily and only a little bit, and it followed her again. Curious all the more, she dashed a significant distance as if to flee it and saw the light flat out teleport in front of her, such that Rainbow flew right into it before being able to reach a quick stop while still in the air. She felt a surge of power enter in her body, filling her with both familiar electric shocks and new ones. When all was done, she stared at a now empty space. The column of light was gone. On instinct, she landed on the ground.
Rainbow glanced around to see she was still alone, now standing on a small grassy hill surrounded by other small grassy hills. She opened her mouth upon a strange sensation as she felt two of her teeth elongate and curve into fangs. Her memory reached back to the time when there was a night, just one night, where she had seen her friend Fluttershy turned into a pony vampire bat with fangs, bat-like wings, and a penchant for consuming apples. Rainbow touched the newly formed fangs with her right hoof, then with her left wing to further confirm their presence. She certainly felt hungry at the moment but not for apples. It was something she never ate before, whatever it was. She sat on her haunches and stared down at her forelimbs. They looked as they always did, sky blue like the rest of her coat.
She stood back up, uncoiled her wings and examined them. Still feathered, not like a bat, but just as the thought crossed her mind, they did become bat-like. Startled, Rainbow Dash gasped, pacing in a small circle as if to chase her own tail. “Change back!” she told her body in a hurried and whispered hush. The wings obeyed and became feathered again. With widened red eyes, she thought of changing the wings again to the bat form. They did. And back to normal they went after she decided that’s how she wanted them. She glanced around yet again, side to side to see if she was still standing alone at night, and she was.
Next, Rainbow examined her cutie mark. It remained unchanged. She stared at it, trying to see if it would turn into a bat or something by just thinking of the possibility. It didn’t. She sighed in relief. She didn’t really want that to ever change.
Rainbow started trotting to nowhere in particular as she began to reflect on the situation. Having fangs and being able to change her own wings at will was weird, but it was something she could live with. It could even be cool, except that this strange gnawing hunger bothered her. It wasn’t for blood like she’d heard about in other vampire stories. Magic. Rainbow came to a halt and turned her head around as if the answer was behind her. Magic? She wanted to eat magic? She looked ahead again and put a hoof up to her mouth in thought. Like Tirek? Not exactly like him, Rainbow sensed that much and set her hoof down. She doubted she could just open her mouth and suck magic at a distance from any nearby trapped unicorn. She ran her tongue across her top lip in contemplation. The fangs she had now were probably needed. She also doubted she’d get bigger if she did eat it. What did magic taste like? It sounded awfully delicious to her right now. Rainbow thought back to the lost magic of what Tirek did to everypony she knew. They only got it back thanks to her group of friends using a special power, they had not seen since. What if Rainbow ate another pony’s magic, and it was gone for good? She shuddered at the thought.
Rainbow decided she needed to tell her friend Twilight Sparkle right away and lifted herself back into the air to start heading to the castle. She smacked herself on the forehead and stopped. Bad idea. If she was hungry for magic, and Twilight had a lot of magic to eat, she could be putting her friend in danger. Every type of pony had at least a little bit of magic of their own, pegasi and earth ponies included, but Rainbow Dash knew what she craved most right now was unicorn magic. No doubt alicorn magic would be even better. She shook her head. “Snap out of it!” she told herself, still hovering in place. “I need to talk to one of my friends who’s not a unicorn.” Rarity and Starlight Glimmer were not options. She thought of Fluttershy again. Maybe it wouldn’t be scary for Fluttershy to see Rainbow Dash because of actually being a vampire that one night. It’s not like Rainbow herself even looked that different so long as she kept her feathered wings on, which she fully intended to do. Applejack was a decent option. Pinkie Pie was too much of a wild card. Rainbow briefly thought of Scootaloo but decided children should be avoided.
She hovered in place as she thought about who to approach before finally settling on seeing Fluttershy. They were long-time friends, even casual girlfriends with no one watching and longing for a touch of affection between the two. It wasn’t completely unheard of for Rainbow to approach Fluttershy’s house at odd hours. She flew to the cottage and knocked at the window of Fluttershy’s bedroom, waiting a few minutes for her friend to open it.
The window opened, revealing her canary-colored pegasus friend of many years. “Rainbow Dash, what are you doing here?” Fluttershy asked. “We have no plans for a night date anytime soon.” The resident of the cottage paused upon a realization. “What happened to your eyes?”
“My eyes too?” Rainbow asked, flapping her wings, steadily keeping her in place, as she held her hooves up to the sides of her cheeks, tugging at her coat. “What’s different about them? I haven’t looked in the mirror.”
Fluttershy gasped, having caught sight of Rainbow’s changed teeth. “Rainbow, you have fangs! Oh, and your eyes are red instead of magenta. I’ll show you, just a minute.” Fluttershy grabbed a sizable mirror and held it to show Rainbow Dash.
Sure enough, the irises were red. “Red? I like my magenta eyes,” Rainbow noted regrettably.
“Wow, they just changed back as you said that,” Fluttershy informed her friend. Indeed, the eye color switched on command to Rainbow’s own realization.
“Oh, whew,” Rainbow wiped her forehead, “looks like I can change that too.” She tested it in the mirror a couple of times, so she could sense the difference from within her body. The red eyes seemed to tap into the power she’d just absorbed earlier.
Fluttershy blinked, not fully understanding. “Too?”
“Uh…maybe it’s not such a good idea to do it while I’m flying, but I was able to change my wings earlier. Like how yours were when you became a vampire bat.”
“Oh my. Are you a vampire?” Fluttershy asked. “It’s a lot different.”
“I know. I don’t want to eat apples at all. I want magic, like unicorn magic,” the fanged pegasus admitted.
“Well, I don’t have any of that,” Fluttershy noted, shaking her head as if in regret she could not offer any.
“Yes, exactly!” Rainbow emphasized with her voice and her forelimbs. “I can’t go and ask Twilight because I’m afraid of what I might do. I’m hungry.”
Fluttershy nodded. That made sense of course. “So, you want me to ask her for you?”
“Yeah and ask you if you have any advice or something since you were a vampire that one night,” Rainbow said.
“Oh, I’m sorry Rainbow, this is definitely too different. I couldn’t do anything but want and eat those apples in my vampire bat form. You’re still able to talk and recognize me; I couldn’t do anything like that. You can even do that eye color change. I guess that’s a good thing. Maybe you could handle talking to Twilight. But just in case, don’t worry. I’ll help. Tell me what to do. Come on in.”
Rainbow flew into the room through the window, flipping in circles a few times before landing perfectly on the floor.
“Um, Rainbow Dash, can I see the wings change?” Fluttershy asked, trying to minimize her curiosity.
Rainbow looked at them for a moment, back to Fluttershy and again at her wings, spreading them. She played with her thoughts. They shifted into their bat form and back into feathered.
“That’s incredible,” Fluttershy told her, unable to hide her fascination.
“Yeah, it is pretty cool,” Rainbow agreed. “But this being-hungry-for-magic thing could still be a problem.”
After much deliberation and Fluttershy even writing down some notes, the two pegasi agreed that Rainbow should wait at her own house for Fluttershy and do her best not to leave and not eat any magic. With that plan set in motion, Rainbow went home. She checked in on her pet tortoise Tank, who was sleeping this late. She’d have to wait until the next day to see if he had any kind of reaction to the change in her.
She headed back to a large, open staging room where she kept a full-length mirror, longing to take another closer look at herself. She looked remarkably normal. She opened her mouth to see the fangs. Curious, she thought of them retreating into her teeth, just like she had been able to do with her wings and eyes.
The fangs obeyed, but this time, the change felt…undesirable. After all, she was a vampire, probably, or at least something like that, and it was night time. Even if she could and wanted to hide her other features, this one just felt right to keep.
She peered at the mirror as she changed her wings and eyes again. Vampire form. Change again. Pegasus form. She continued to play with it now testing out different facial expressions to appear eagerly smiling wickedly or frowning with menace or licking her lips hungrily and ready to pounce on her prey. What about when Fluttershy was a vampire? There was the wide-mouthed angry hiss. Rainbow Dash tried that and didn’t much care for it. Too mad, not enough fun. She tried a more mischievous version without her mouth as wide, and that felt more appropriate. She chuckled to herself in amusement. Rainbow recalled Fluttershy looking rather clueless in the mirrors right before Twilight was able to change her back. Curious, Rainbow tried it too. She didn’t like this one either. It made her feel like some kind of innocent, lost cat. She went back to her own ideas, such as trying to stand proud with a smirk that led into a teeth-revealing grin.
Once she had her fill of playing with the appearance transforming ability, she chose her mostly pegasus form except for the fangs. Fangs should be on at night, she decided. She hovered in place and then flew a few circles, realizing it all pretty much felt the same there, not any faster or lighter or stronger. She set herself down and switched her wings again to their bat-like counterparts. Lifting off, she did the same. Strangely, she didn’t need any extra help in figuring out the difference. The wings simply obeyed her will. Again, she circled in place a few times and again, she flew as she normally would. She chuckled to herself at the possibility that she was already in such prime condition after years of training and experience, that not even turning into a vampire could improve her physical ability to fly.
At last, she heard a knock on her door. She switched to her feathered wings and approached, opening it to reveal exactly who she wished to see. “Fluttershy!” she hugged her friend and realized Fluttershy had saddlebags.
The canary colored pegasus opened one and hoofed over a book with red binding. “Twilight said you should read this. See if you can make it through the night. The hunger should disappear during the day, so you can go about that as usual. Meet us for breakfast tomorrow at the castle. She’s inviting the girls and sent a letter to Princess Celestia. Even if you do eat magic from a unicorn, the loss is not permanent, but you should still not eat any tonight. You’ll find out more in the book.”
“Thanks so much Fluttershy,” Rainbow told her and gave her friend a brief hug.
“Glad to help,” Fluttershy said. She gently pecked Rainbow on the cheek. Rainbow blinked, paused for a moment with a relieved smile and pecked Fluttershy back. With that, Fluttershy flew upward and waved good-bye.