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On a Cross and Arrow

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On a Cross and Arrow
Dash v Dash Flutter vs Flutter by CapnChryssalid

The coverart on Equestria Daily


Writer(s) Conner Cogwork, inspired by Trotsworth
Words 86,836
Status Complete
Type/genre Adventure
Drama
Romance
Featuring The mane six
Story link(s)
|Equestria Daily logo square.png| |FIMFiction logo square.png| |Fanfictionnet logo square.png|

On a Cross and Arrow is a fan fiction written by Conner Cogwork, based off of and inspired by the Genderswap works of Trotsworth.

Synopsis

While trying to cast a long distance teleportation spell for a trip, Twilight Sparkle accidentally sends herself and her friends to another dimension where everypony is the opposite gender of the ponies back in their own dimension. The girls try desperately to get back home while trying to avoid their male-counterparts.

Plot

Click "Expand" to view full chapter summary.

Part 1: On a Word Misheard

     
At the Ponyville Library, Twilight Sparkle asks Spike to get 'Rules of Thermodynamics 101'. While reading 'Exploring the Aether for Fun and Profit', she learns of a compass spell, a food sanitizer, a dimension-viewing spell, and a teleportation spell that can transport up to ten ponies anywhere in the world. When Spike comes back with the book, Twilight learns about leylines for the teleportation spell. She then asks the dragon to pack her bags for a trip and take care of the library while she's away.

Twilight tells her friends about the spell and they all agree to go on the trip with her. Applejack suggests they all should go to Manehatten. The spell requires a ritual, so Twilight asks her friends to gather the items they will need. On the outskirts of town, they're all packed and ready for the trip, so Twilight starts the ritual: "a vessel of white, to hold the down (a white vase from Fluttershy); a feather of blue, to match the sky 'round (Rainbow Dash's feathers); a stone of fire, from which light grows (rubies from Rarity); and the essence of flower, for which the sun glows (sunflower oil from Pinkie Pie)". Upon putting the items into the vase, everypony huddles around it while Twilight pours her magic into it, trying to tune in to the leyline that leads to the Clydesler Building. Unfortunately, the ritual takes more magic out of Twilight than she'd planned to give, and a pillar of light surrounds the ponies, sucking them in.

When the ponies wake up, it appears they haven't moved at all. At first, they assume the spell didn't work, but it's discovered that both the vase and Twilight's travel book have disappeared. Twilight knew something wasn't right: she believes that they did move, but the spell took so much magic out of her to do anything about it. Fluttershy believes that they moved in other ways, like she reads in Neighponese comics (Nann-ga) that Scootaloo lends her. Twilight understands Fluttershy meant that the other kinds of travel could be a form of time-travel. To figure this out, the six mares decide to go into town and see if there's anything different. As they leave, a unicorn stallion shows up at the spot they were in to investigate the source of the magical disturbance.

When the mares enter Ponyville, they notice there are ponies there they don't recognize. They truly believe they've traveled through time at first, but Rarity notices that nothing there is fresh or aged. Then they think, with the abundance of ponies around, there must be a holiday going on, like the upcoming Clover Derby. They soon start noticing that none of the ponies they know are anywhere to be seen. As they look around, they find Lyra and BonBon, only to realize they're stallions named Harpsy and Babar. Something was indeed wrong. When asked who they are, the girls say they're passing through Ponyville on their way to Fillydelphia. The two stallions welcome them, and as they leave, the six mares come to realize that all the ponies in town are gender-swapped versions of the ponies they know. They're in an alternate universe! At the thought of their "other selves" being in their world, the six head to the library.

Twilight and the others arrive at the library, unchanged in appearance from the one they left behind, and they start to wonder what would happen if the six of them were to meet "themselves"—the same pony existing twice in the same place and time could cause both of them to cease to exist. Before they can dwell on this, they hear Spike's voice (albeit female-sounding) call out from upstairs and start to panic. They dress up Fluttershy in Applejack's hat and a scarf and retreat out the front door. When the female-sounding Spike enters, she greets Fluttershy, calling her Butterscotch. Playing off her feminine voice as the result of a cold, Fluttershy asks the female Spike, called Spines, for 'Supernaturals', and she goes to get it. The five other ponies watching from outside sigh in relief. When they hear somepony approaching, they duck back in the bushes. Twilight peeks out and sees...himself.

Fluttershy comes face to face with a gender-swapped Twilight, named Dusk Shine, who also picks up on "Butterscotch's" voice. Immediately upon receiving 'Supernaturals' from Spines (and a blush-inducing nuzzle from Dusk), the disguised Fluttershy races out of the library.

Part 2: Out of the Mouths of Babes

     
Twilight and Fluttershy are left feeling awkward over Fluttershy's encounter with Dusk Shine, but they move past it after a little encouragement from their friends. In any case, with their theory of having traded places with their male doubles debunked, the six mares start to worry about Twilight's paradox theory from earlier—if one of them meets their other self face-to-face, will they cease to exist? They decide to stay out of Ponyville as much as possible for Twilight to recover her magic and cast the teleportation spell again. Rainbow Dash grumbles over losing practicing time over this, and had hoped to try and pull off a double rainboom. Just then, there's a twin explosion in the sky; somepony had just performed the double rainboom that Rainbow Dash was talking about. Twilight and her friends quickly deduce this pony to be Rainbow's male self. Before any more complications arise, the six decide they need a place to hide—somewhere none of them know about, because any hiding spot they think of, their male selves will think of too.

The six of them are then discovered (or rather, nearly crashed into) by the colt counterparts of the Cutie Mark Crusaders: Applebuck, Silver Bell, and Scooteroll. Applejack and Rarity are rendered somewhat speechless when the male versions of their sisters address them, but the three colts are just as friendly as their originals. They're on their way to try for their cutie marks in high-diving, but Rainbow Dash comes up with an idea. She convinces the Crusaders that she and her friends are Mares in Black tracking down a group of suspicious ponies, and that they need a hiding place that nopony else knows about. Eagerly accepting their "spy mission", the Cutie Mark Crusaders lead the six mares to a place on the edge of the Everfree Forest called the Hedge.

On the way to the Hedge, Rarity talks with Silver Bell, whose resemblance to Sweetie Belle is uncanny, and Rainbow Dash learns the name of her own male self: Rainbow Blitz, who Scooteroll is naturally a big fan of. In addition, Applejack and her other self apparently share the same name. Noticing her cutie mark and learning that Applejack is family, Applebuck is pleased to have found a new cousin. When he asks her for her name, Applejack tells him to call her "JayJay". As much as she doesn't want to, the orange cowpony starts getting attached to Applebuck.

The nine ponies soon arrive at the Hedge, the entrance to which is concealed by bushes. The Crusaders leave the six mares to their "spy work", but not before Silver Bell comments to Rarity about how much she reminds him of his older brother Elusive. The touched Rarity tells Silver to take good care of his brother, and the little pony leaves. Twilight and her friends are finally able to breathe easy and discuss their next course of action. The six of them are anxious to return home to their universe, but Twilight needs time to get her energy back (at least three days). They also need to gather the items needed to cast the spell. There's no choice for them except to make the best of it.

Part 3: Of a Fruit Forbidden

     
Back at the library, Dusk Shine asks Spines to get 'Rules of Causality 101' for him. As he reads through 'Exploring the Aether for Fun and Profit' and learns of a teleportation spell, he entertains the idea of taking his friends on a trip. His mind then drifts toward thoughts of Butterscotch's visit that day. When Spines comes back with the book, Dusk asks her if she noticed anything odd about Butterscotch. Spines says she didn't, and the two decide to pay their Pegasus friend a visit.

Meanwhile, Fluttershy, having volunteered to go shopping for food and supplies, enters Ponyville. In her brief absentmindedness, she bumps into another pony, causing her to drop and spill everything she bought. The two of them exchange apologies, and the other pony helps Fluttershy pick up her things. When they finally make eye contact, Fluttershy sees a Pegasus stallion who looks almost exactly like her. Blushing madly, the mirror-image ponies introduce themselves, the stallion as Butterscotch, whose name Fluttershy immediately remembers as belonging to her male self. She thanks Butterscotch for his help and ends up talking with him a little, learning that he shares her love of taking care of animals. A love-struck Butterscotch asks Fluttershy out for a bite to eat. Fluttershy reluctantly declines, saying she had friends waiting for her, but agrees to take a rain check. She nuzzles and bids her other self goodbye before heading back toward the forest.

Butterscotch watches Fluttershy leave before Rainbow Blitz finds and joins him. Blitz picks up on his behavior, and Butterscotch reveals to his fellow Pegasus that he's found the mare of his dreams.

Fluttershy returns to the Hedge, which had been decorated in her absence to make it more livable. As their friends dig into the food Fluttershy bought, Twilight prods her about her distracted look. The five of them find out that not only did she meet Butterscotch, but she also had a crush on him. This news sends Twilight into a panic—her dimensional paradox theory may have been disproven, but now the danger of them developing feelings for their male selves was present. She forbids Fluttershy from doing the shopping anymore and warns the rest of her friends to avoid their other selves, no matter how much she didn't want to keep Fluttershy inside and deny her a chance at romance.

Rainbow Blitz visits Dusk Shine at the library to tell him the news about Butterscotch. Before he could, however, Dusk relays his own information about the yellow Pegasus. He tells Blitz about Butterscotch's visit to the library earlier and the cold he claimed he had, but when he and Spines visited him at his cottage, he was perfectly healthy and hadn't been to the library all day. The strangeness of this pales in comparison to Blitz's news though: Butterscotch has a girlfriend! Dusk is prideful at first, but then learns that she's also an animal lover, even shyer than Butterscotch, and is a Pegasus. And her name? Fluttershy. Dusk realizes the similarity in their names almost instantly. He tells Rainbow Blitz to let him know if he sees any ponies in Ponyville that he doesn't recognize, and starts to keep a record of names.

Part 4: Upon a Wing and a Prayer

     
It's now day 2 of Twilight and her friends' time in the gender-swapped dimension, and Rainbow Dash is getting restless; hours on end spent in the Hedge is making her stir-crazy. Twilight is firm on making the six of them stay inside the Hedge unless absolutely necessary, but by this time they've exhausted all of their food. The unicorn apologizes to her friends for the living conditions she enforced, and it's settled that Applejack head into town to do more shopping that evening.

As noon rolls around, Rainbow Dash is still incredibly bored and decides to take a nap. Suddenly, an idea comes to her: if this is around the time she usually takes a nap, Rainbow Blitz will be taking a nap as well, giving her the opportunity to stretch her wings out in the open. She pleads with Twilight to allow this, and after a minute of consideration, Twilight finally (yet hesitantly) relents. Rainbow Dash speeds out of the Hedge and takes off, relishing the joy of flight after going for so long without it. After a bit of flying, the Pegasus decides to assume her spy persona and "do a little reconnaissance" on her male self.

Rainbow Dash sneaks into Rainbow Blitz's cloud house and finds many of the same knickknacks, medals, and decorations that were on display in her own home (including some suggestive personal items in the bedroom that only she knew the hiding place of). Suddenly, she hears Blitz's voice call out from downstairs; he knew somepony was in his house. Rainbow Dash hides inside an air duct, a position she could see Blitz from without getting caught. The Pegasus mare felt physically ill at the sight of him; she didn't know why, but she was afraid of her own male self. To make matters worse, he (as well as Dusk Shine) knew Fluttershy's name. He generates a vortex inside the house to flush Dash out of hiding, and her efforts to slow the vortex down give her away. The two rainbow Pegasi stare at each other shocked...before the mare flies off. The stallion gives chase shortly after.

Elsewhere, a slightly disguised and hatless Applejack makes her way to the Ponyville marketplace. After stopping off for some coffee and muffins at Sugarcube Corner (and meeting the gender-swapped Mr. and Mrs. Cake), she buys a number of goods and meets with Applebuck again. As they talk, Applejack gets knots in her stomach again over his resemblance to Apple Bloom. The colt gives his "cousin" some apples free of charge before Butterscotch walks up to greet them. Learning that Applejack is new in town, he asks her if she knows Fluttershy. Applejack says yes and, seeing how anxious he was to see her again, agrees to pass along a message for him: even if they never see each other again, he'll always keep her in his thoughts.

The male Applejack suddenly enters, and the two Applejacks meet properly. They get into a light argument over whether or not she's a member of the Apple family, which female Applejack takes some offense to, but are cut short when Rainbow Dash and Rainbow Blitz zoom overhead.

Dash makes every effort to lose Blitz, but he manages to keep up with her—not even having insults thrown at her slows her down for very long. As the two dive out of the sky, the mare's desperate attempts to get away result in her successfully pulling off the double rainboom. This catches the attention of nearly everypony in Ponyville, and as Butterscotch, Applejack, and Applebuck wonder about the sight of what looked like two Rainbow Blitzes, "Cousin JayJay" sneaks away.

As Rainbow Blitz recovers from being thrown by his double's spectacular stunt, he expresses concern over the fact that there was a filly who looked just like him, could fly just as fast as him, and was even able to perform the sonic rainboom. He decides to go see Dusk Shine.

Applejack returns to the Hedge to deliver the food and tell the others of her various encounters in Ponyville. She passes along Butterscotch's message for Fluttershy, which makes Fluttershy's heart melt and Rarity squeal with girly delight, and talks about meeting her own male self—unlike Fluttershy's case, it was far from being love at first sight. Moments later, Rainbow Dash arrives, and Applejack immediately chews her out over the spectacle she made. Twilight once again voices her frustration at her friends' actions, to the point of raising her voice to them in anger. Realizing what she's done, she quickly apologizes to the other five, and they meet in the middle for a group hug. The other five admit to not understanding the gravity of their situation as well as Twilight does and agree to follow her judgment from here on.

Unfortunately, the situation may be even more serious than they thought. According to Rainbow Dash, Rainbow Blitz knows Fluttershy's name, and that Dusk Shine told him to keep an eye out for "weird ponies". Dusk and his friends are already aware of their presence...

Part 5: With a Finger Crossed

     
Rainbow Blitz bursts into the library to see Dusk Shine. Seeing the bruise on Blitz's face, Dusk nurses it with magic and first aid and asks him what happened. The Pegasus confirms his friend's suspicions about there being weird ponies in Ponyville, having just had a run-in with a "filly-faker" who looked exactly like him and bucked him twice. While the thought of Blitz being outdone by a girl momentarily amuses Dusk, hearing that Blitz's female lookalike performed the double rainboom confirms his suspicions even more. He asks Blitz what he knows about alternate dimensions.

The next day, Rarity wails over having run out of her favorite hair conditioner. Twilight feels sorry for Rarity, but tells her to hang in there; her power is almost completely restored, and with any luck, they'll all be back home by the end of the day. Rarity decides to go into town. As the others protest, she explains her reasoning: they have all the items needed for Twilight to cast the teleportation spell except one—sunflower oil. Rarity's friends apologize to her for assuming the worst, and allow her to venture out for the oil and shampoo. She puts on a disguise and magically conceals her cutie mark before heading out.

The five ponies in the Hedge commend Rarity for her quick thinking. Pinkie mentions that she might run into Butterscotch (the thought of which makes Fluttershy blush). When the conversation shifts to romance and relationships, Applejack comes to a chilling realization: only two stores in Ponyville sell shampoo—the spa, and Carousel Boutique—and the spa was closed that day. Realizing that Rarity's gone to meet her male self, they go to try and stop her, but are cut off when they're alerted to the presence of someone outside the Hedge. Dusk Shine and Spines had arrived to investigate.

Rarity makes her way through Ponyville with thoughts of love flooding her mind. Envisioning a fairytale romance with her "better half", she knocks on the front door of Carousel Boutique. It opens, and Rarity meets her gender-flipped lookalike Elusive. Introducing herself as Rarity Umbrelle, she enters the boutique under the pretense of having a dress made for her. Much to Rarity's delight, the two of them hit it off instantly, sharing many traits, interests, taste in pets, and traumatic Grand Galloping Gala experiences.

As Elusive takes Rarity's measurements for her dress, she shares her life story with him—a false, well-rehearsed story of being from Fillydelphia and getting her cutie mark in making umbrellas and weather-wear. Unfortunately, Elusive catches her in her lies when the makeup covering her real cutie mark runs. He isn't upset by it though; her "aura of mystery" only makes her more attractive to him. Overcome by emotion, the mirror-image ponies profess their love for one another (in only the way two Raritys in the same room can). Their theatrics grab the attention of Rainbow Blitz, who comes over and sees the resemblance between them right away (and is somewhat put off by it).

Elusive declares Rarity to be his soul mate—going so far as to protect her from being given away because of her cutie mark. Blitz wasn't buying it; he knew Rarity was one of the weird ponies Dusk warned him about. Regardless, he plays along, apologizing for his rudeness and congratulating the two for finding happiness. In fact, this was such good news, he decides to go and fetch Dusk Shine, the very idea of which fills Rarity with dread. As the blue Pegasus leaves, Elusive picks up on Rarity's unease. She comments on how this was all happening so fast, but Elusive implores her to stay with him that night. Rarity, unable to say no to herself, agrees to stay, and Elusive kisses her.

Part 6: Through a Stitch in Time

     
Dusk Shine and Spines investigate the forest area around the Hedge for hours, but find nothing, much to Spines (and Rainbow Dash's) irritation. Even though their search turns up no results, Dusk finds himself drawn toward the Hedge for some reason. For a moment, they consider the possibility of them hiding behind the Hedge's cover of bushes (despite it being too thick to fit through) and decide to have Butterscotch and his animal friends examine it. Just as they're about to leave, Rainbow Blitz appears—while Dash is less than thrilled about his arrival, the sight of him makes Applejack's heart go "pitty-pat". Blitz informs Dusk about Rarity, whose budding relationship with Elusive enrages Spines, and the three of them race back toward Ponyville.

The coast was clear, but Twilight and the others were now on a severely tight timetable. The five elect Fluttershy once more to approach the gender-swapped Mane Six in disguise—with no makeup on hoof, they use food coloring supplied by Pinkie Pie.

Back at the boutique, Rarity is preparing dinner for herself and Elusive. She's uneasy over her predicament, and the thought of being interrogated by Dusk and the rest and being stuck in this dimension forever plagues her. She would consider it worth it, however, if it meant staying with Elusive. He sees her preparing one of her (and therefore his) favorite dishes and is drawn to her even more. Their displays of affection are suddenly interrupted when Silver Bell comes in. Elusive introduces them to each other, believing this to be their first meeting. Silver Bell is confused at first, but Rarity quickly wins him over with the enticement of maple-glazed carrots. As an excited Silver Bell leaves the room to wash up, Rarity remembers Sweetie Belle, and Elusive consoles her. When Silver Bell returns and, discovering that the two are in love, asks if Rarity is going to become his big sister, she freezes, remembering Sweetie Belle again. Just then, there's a knock at the front door; Elusive opens it to meet a green Pegasus named Grassy Graze (a disguised Fluttershy). She manages to pull Rarity away from the stallion of her dreams, and the mirror-image ponies say goodbye for the evening.

Before Elusive and Silver Bell can sit down and enjoy the meal Rarity helped prepare, there's another knock at the door. Dusk Shine and Rainbow Blitz storm into the boutique and ask about Rarity, but she's already left with a friend. Elusive describes this friend of Rarity's, and Dusk identifies her as Fluttershy. The purple unicorn sends Rainbow Blitz out to find them. Detecting residue of the spell Rarity used to conceal her cutie mark, Dusk deduces that Elusive is covering for her. As the white stallion defends himself and his love, Dusk explains what's going on. He tells Elusive of his and Butterscotch's encounters with a yellow Pegasus with a pink mane and of Rainbow Blitz's encounter with a blue Pegasus with the same mane color and cutie mark as him. And then there was Rarity, a white unicorn mare who shared many features with Elusive. Elusive is skeptical, and before Dusk can go on, Blitz returns to the boutique, having failed to track down Rarity and Fluttershy. Dusk is exhausted from having searched the Everfree Forest all day, and Elusive is still doubtful of the idea that they're being invaded by duplicates. Defeated for the day, Dusk and Blitz accept Elusive's invite to eat dinner with him and Silver Bell.

Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash return to the Hedge, and while the others scold her for her actions, Rarity could never regret having met her "better half". Besides, she hadn't forgotten the main reason she went out in the first place; she presents to them the sunflower oil needed for the teleportation spell. With the last item finally obtained, Twilight begins the spell ritual and tries to find the leyline that led back to their home dimension. Unfortunately, she finds that casting the spell is more difficult the second time around, and her efforts blow up in her face. Applejack fears the spell didn't work. Twilight says the spell is working, but she needs more energy to cast it successfully. She tells her friends she needs just one more day. Fluttershy says that there's one other option: seek out Dusk Shine for help. Twilight quickly rejects this idea, in spite of her friends' encouragement. She assures them that she can perform the spell on her own and asks them to have faith in her. With nothing else to do, the six ponies turn in for the night. Everypony is able to sleep except for Twilight. She knew deep down it was a good idea, but for some unexplainable reason, she was afraid of Dusk Shine.

Twilight was afraid of herself.

Part 7: In my Beautiful Balloon

     
The next morning, Twilight and friends assign Rainbow Dash to guard duty in case Dusk Shine comes back to try and find them. Her assigned post is boring and uneventful at first, but she soon sees something approaching. Its coat wasn't lavender like Dusk's, but pink. And it was bouncing.

Rainbow Dash rushes into the Hedge to warn her friends of the danger approaching. They're afraid it's Dusk Shine again, but Dash says it's much worse.

"What's bouncy, bubbly, makes cupcakes for a living, more than likely has a pet alligator, is at least six kinds of pink, is known for being COMPLETELY unpredictable, and hasn't met his female self yet?"
— Rainbow Dash

As Pinkie Pie naps, the other five go cold with dread as Pinkie's male self bounces his way into the Everfree Forest. He passes by the entrance to the Hedge, but before Twilight and company could relax, he suffers a series of involuntary muscle spasms and motions. At that moment, Pinkie jerks awake and suffers the exact same twitching and convulsing—it's her Pinkie Sense. (And what a doozy of a doozy it is!) When the twitching finally stops, Pinkie's male self returns to the Hedge's entrance. He calls out to whoever is inside, if anyone was inside to begin with, and introduces himself as Berry Bubble. He asks them to come out and say hi, offering to throw them a party upon realizing they were new to Ponyville. He entices them with sweets and party games, and Pinkie Pie finds it harder and harder to stay quiet and still, to her friends' sheer terror. As soon as Berry mentions 'Pin the Tail on the Pony', Pinkie speeds out of the Hedge in the blink of an eye.

Rainbow Dash makes an attempt to drag her back inside, but Applejack stops her, commenting that they don't want to make things worse—although Dash can think of very few things worse than having two Pinkie Pies on the same plane of existence.

Outside, Pinkie and Berry examine one another closely, noticing the resemblance in their cutie marks, tails, and manes, before introducing themselves properly. Realizing their mutual love for parties, Berry asks Pinkie if she wants to go have one. Pinkie eagerly accepts, and the two pink ponies bounce toward Sugarcube Corner.

Everypony in the Hedge goes into an utter panic as they wonder what two Pinkie Pies could do to an unsuspecting Equestria. Rainbow Dash offers to retrieve her, but Twilight fears an incident similar to two days before, and nopony trusts Rarity to leave the Hedge on her own after yesterday. To make matters worse, Angel's female counterpart Angela had apparently snuck in during the confusion. Afraid she'd go and tell Butterscotch, Twilight unceremoniously locks her in a cage. The purple unicorn assigns Fluttershy to guard duty and charges Applejack with retrieving Pinkie Pie (but not before some quick disguise work courtesy of Rarity).

Meanwhile, Elusive is on his way to the Ponyville spa, lamenting that Rarity was now gone, when Berry Bubble passes him by. Just moments later, Pinkie Pie passes him by too, causing him to do a double take and faint.

The two pink ponies enter Sugarcube Corner, where Pinkie meets the gender-swapped Mrs. Cake. Pinkie and Berry discuss their party plans—Pinkie now realizing that she's never had a 'Welcome to Ponyville' party thrown for her—and decide to combine their signature party styles into a single massive celebration fit for all of Equestria. They bounce out of the bakery as quickly as they entered to go shopping for party supplies, Mrs. Cake watching them closely and frightfully the entire time. Just a few moments after they leave, Applejack arrives wearing a yellow sundress. She asks if anyone's seen Pinkie Pie, and a male Derpy points her in the direction of the party store.

Mrs. Cake comes to grips with the beast that's just been unleashed upon Ponyville and declares today 'Free Muffins Doomsday', to Derpy Doo's delight.

Part 8: Over the Hills

     
Applejack's search for Pinkie Pie takes her all over Ponyville, and the presence of two Berry Bubbles was attracting quite a bit of attention. After completely cleaning out the party supply store, Pinkie and Berry Bubble stop for some slushies, allowing Applejack to finally catch up. As she asks Pinkie Pie what she's doing, male Applejack enters, curious about what the commotion around Ponyville was about. Pinkie and Berry are too engrossed in their party plans to focus on anything else, and the two Applejacks are forced to rein them in. Male Applejack finally notices the dress "Cousin JayJay" is wearing and compliments her. He then takes this opportunity to apologize for being suspicious about her when they first met. He asks her if they can start over, and she no longer feels as uncomfortable around him as she was before. Feeling accepted, the female Applejack accepts her male self's apology. With that, she attempts to drag Pinkie away, but Pinkie is too excited about her and Berry's hybrid party to want to leave. Applejack convinces Pinkie that a party of such magnitude would be too much for everypony to handle. The other Applejack offers the farm to host a smaller party, but "JayJay" is desperate to back out of the conversation. She unintentionally earns her male double's suspicions again before Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Sense acts up again. She catches Dusk Shine's eye from down the road, grabs Pinkie by the tail, and gallops away.

As Berry waves goodbye to his new friend Pinkie, Dusk trots up and tells the male Applejack to go after them—which he does without a second thought. Berry Bubble follows behind at a bouncy, easygoing pace.

With one Applejack in hot pursuit of the other, the stallion calls out to his cousin ahead, asking if they can talk things out. The mare refuses, giving vague reasons for doing so. Male Applejack, unsatisfied by this, attempts to wrangle in his fleeing cousin and Pinkie with his lasso. She manages to evade his lassoing, much to his surprise, but if his stamina was anything like Big McIntosh's back home, she knew it wouldn't take long for him to catch up. The stallion tries appealing to the mare again, but she still refuses to slow down. As the chase enters a field familiar to Applejack, she comes up with a plan. Using Pinkie as a lasso, she manages to swing herself over a wide dried-up creek bed. Male Applejack attempts the same, but his different center of balance from his cousin's causes him to slam into a tree trunk, allowing "JayJay" and Pinkie to escape.

As the orange stallion recovers, Dusk catches up, aggravated that the fillies escaped after they'd gotten so close. When Applejack finally asks what's going on, Dusk points out to him the similarities between him and his 'cousin', as well as the similarities between Pinkie Pie and Berry Bubble. Applejack does acknowledge the strangeness of there being two Berries. Dusk asks Berry where he met Pinkie, and he says she "hopped out of a bush". Berry goes into great detail about his encounter with Pinkie, but Dusk gets the picture: he ran into her on the edge of the Everfree Forest. Hysterical, the purple unicorn asks Berry where the bush is. Unfortunately, the pink colt doesn't remember, causing Dusk Shine to briefly erupt in fiery anger and frustration. Defeated yet again, he gathers Spines and heads for home. Applejack collects his hat and wonders out loud just who (or what) Cousin JayJay really is.

Female Applejack and Pinkie Pie return to the Hedge, the orange cowpony feeling rather proud about giving her male self the slip. Naturally, Twilight is concerned that she met her other self again, but considering the attention Pinkie and Berry Bubble were attracting, avoiding Male AJ and Dusk Shine was impossible. Twilight loses herself to panic once again before Fluttershy talks her down. The yellow Pegasus asks her friends if any of them felt strange when their other selves was nearby. The rest of them all attest to feeling strange in different ways when they first met or were close to their male doubles, and a couple of the gender-swapped Mane Six were apparently experiencing the same thing. With this knowledge, Twilight tells her friends that the Hedge isn't going to cut it anymore, and that if they can't get home by the next day, they're going to have to find another place to hide—somewhere away from Ponyville and their male selves.

Fluttershy questions the point in the six of them hiding anymore, which a couple of the others agree with. With all the waves their presence has thus far made, any future attempts at hiding would be useless. Applejack suggests they reveal themselves and ask for help in returning home. Twilight will hear none of it, convinced that they're invaders in the eyes of their male counterparts. The other five see how scared Twilight is of meeting Dusk Shine face-to-face, but they nevertheless place their trust in her and leave the final decision in her hooves. Fluttershy is equally devoted to her unicorn friend, but is unable to hide her ever-growing worry.

Part 9: Under a Midnight Star

     
Everypony in the Hedge sleeps soundly, except Twilight. She feels guilty over her inability to get herself and her friends back home. There was still that one option—one she couldn't bring herself to do, one she desperately didn't want to do. Despite her hesitation, however, she finds herself standing up, leaving the Hedge, and walking toward Ponyville.

When Twilight finally reaches the library, the knot in her throat returns. As much as she wanted to turn back, she thinks about her friends and how unfair it would be of her to make them wait any longer to return home. There was no guarantee she'd be able to cast the teleportation spell successfully on her own. She needed help. And before Twilight knew it, she was at the front door. When she knocks on it, Owlowiscious answers, and she enters to find the library a complete mess. She finds Dusk Shine hard at work studying; he hadn't even heard her come in. As Dusk reads Aristrotle's Rules of Causality to himself, Twilight reads along, revealing her presence to him. With his back still turned to his filly self, Dusk asks Twilight what she wants. Twilight struggles to find the right words to say before telling Dusk that all she and her friends want is to go home.

Dusk turns around to meet his female duplicate face-to-face, and the two of them finally introduce themselves, Dusk announcing himself as the student of Prince Solaris. Twilight returns 'Supernaturals' to him and apologizes for the trouble they've caused over the past several days. Through their incredibly awkward conversation, Twilight learns that Dusk had also been reading 'Exploring the Aether for Fun and Profit'. Dusk speculates that she had gotten part of the teleportation spell mixed up with the dimension-viewing spell, causing them to be brought to this universe. He explains that he had been reading through several spells when a surge of magic energy outside of Ponyville caught his attention. Soon after that, he'd met a "sick" Butterscotch and found the teleportation spell. He would've used it to take his friends on a trip, but remembered that Butterscotch was sick and moved on to the next spell. It was then that everything started falling into place: Dash invading Blitz's home, Applejack getting into an argument with her "cousin", Rarity meeting and falling in love with Elusive, and Pinkie meeting Berry. Twilight only feels guiltier about making Dusk and his friends' lives miserable, but Dusk thinks their actions actually ended up saving them—if they didn't show up in this dimension when they did, Dusk and the rest would've attempted to teleport to Manehatten, and they'd have wound up in their dimension and gone through the same ordeals that they had.

What Dusk really wants to know, however, is why they hadn't come forward sooner—they would've gladly helped their other selves. Twilight says it's because she was scared of him. Even now, this irrational fear of Dusk had a firm hold over her. She doesn't know how to feel about her other self or how to deal with this kind of situation, and it's that very confusion that has her so scared. At Twilight's display of over-emotion, Dusk gestures for her to quiet down before she wakes up Spines. Twilight realizes how much she misses Spike and how like a little brother he is to her, just as Spines is like a little sister to Dusk. The two unicorns reached a hoof out to one another, each of them overcoming their fear of the other. Twilight asks Dusk Shine to help her and her friends get back home. Dusk agrees to do everything in his power to help, and Twilight feels more relaxed around him than before. She comes to think of Dusk like she thinks of Spike: as her brother. Fatigue finally catches up with Twilight, and Dusk offers to let Twilight stay in the library for the night. When he offers up his own bed for Twilight to sleep in, a guilt-ridden Twilight suggests they share it.

The next morning, Twilight and Dusk Shine go to wake up Twilight's friends in the Hedge. The other five are naturally shocked by Dusk's presence, but Twilight assures them it's fine. She tells them to get packing, and declares that it's time to go home.

During the walk back to the library, Twilight apologizes to her friends for being so scared. She explains she was afraid Dusk wouldn't be understanding or accepting, and would make the six of them into public enemies, because she was certain it's what she would've done if the situation were flipped. She was also unsure how to relate to Dusk, but after she spoke with him, she felt a connection with him stronger than friendship—she'd come to feel the same way about him that she felt about Spike. As the seven ponies draw closer to the library, Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Sense acts up yet again. Dusk reveals to Twilight that he'd left a note for Spines; she'd explained things to him, but the rest of the gender-swapped Mane Six deserve an explanation as well...

Part 10: Across the Horizon

     
Applejack, Elusive, Butterscotch, Rainbow Blitz, and Berry Bubble all stand around in the library wondering why Spines gathered them together. Blitz thinks it has to do with their filly doubles, but Applejack and Elusive still have their doubts. During their conversation, Berry's Berry Sense acts up, indicating Pinkie Pie's presence nearby. The front door opens, and Dusk and the six mares enter. Pinkie and Berry are more than delighted to see each other again—Blitz and Rainbow Dash, not so much. The female Applejack apologizes to her male self for lying about who she was, but declares that she's still part of the Apple family. Butterscotch reunites with Fluttershy and Angela, and Elusive with Rarity. In the middle of all this, Dusk introduces Spines to Twilight. As explanations are traded around the room, Twilight and Dusk prepare to cast the teleportation spell.

After the two purple unicorns go upstairs to fine-tune the spell, each pony pairs off with his or her double (except Dash and Blitz) to engage in small-talk and play games. The two Applejacks talk about their families before the filly catches the colt eyeing Rainbow Dash. Amused by the other Applejack's little crush, the cowpony filly wishes him luck as she herself trots up to Rainbow Blitz.

Rarity and Elusive talk about fashion as they cuddle before Elusive asks about Sweetie Belle. Rarity misses her little sister dearly, but can't imagine being apart from Elusive. He tells her to choose Sweetie Belle and go back to her, and has her promise to never forget him, even if she finds another stallion to love. The two of them carve their names in a pair of rubies, each taking the ruby with the other's name in it, and vow to never forget one another.

Upstairs, Twilight and Dusk use their magic to probe the multiverse for the "thread" leading to Twilight's dimension. Dusk says he's still a little upset that she and her friends took so long to reveal themselves. While he understands why they hid, he wonders what they could've accomplished together and how their respective teachers would react. Twilight asks Dusk what Solaris is like. Dusk has nothing but words of praise for Solaris (and blushes at the thought of his teacher as a mare). Dusk says he's going to miss Twilight when she's gone, calling her the sister he's never had, even though they've only known each other for a few hours. Twilight realizes she's going to miss Dusk too and hugs him. Dusk suddenly comes up with an idea and whispers it in Twilight's ear.

Female Applejack attempts to talk to Rainbow Blitz. She invites him to join in the games their friends are playing, but Blitz knows that as soon as he joins in, Dash is going to join in too. Applejack then offers to give Blitz some company, but he turns her down as politely as he could. As much as a resemblance he sees between her and the other Applejack, Blitz is unable to acknowledge them as being the same pony. When he calls her frail, Applejack takes offense and challenges him to a hoof-wrestling match. Again, Blitz declines, but he quickly changes his tune when he sees Rainbow Dash hoof-wrestling the male Applejack.

Berry, Pinkie, Fluttershy, Butterscotch, and Spines play a game of Go Graze (Equestria's version of Go Fish). Spines relishes the girl time; she briefly shoots Rarity the stink eye for taking Elusive from her, but she's otherwise having the time of her life. When Pinkie proposes introducing her to Spike, Spines appears somewhat intrigued. Butterscotch is still fairly shocked by everything that's happened. Fluttershy asks him, even though he knows who she is, if he still likes her. Butterscotch trips over his words, and just as the two yellow Pegasi kiss, Twilight and Dusk Shine return from upstairs and report their success in finding their home dimension. The Mane Six can finally go home.

The colt-filly pairs say their goodbyes. Twilight and her friends gather at one side of the room, their male selves standing across from them. As Twilight and Dusk ready the vase and start casting the spell proper, they hear the buzz of Scooteroll's wings—the Cutie Mark Crusaders were approaching. Fluttershy says that she'd left a note for them in the Hedge, and Applejack pleads for the two purple unicorns to hurry up before they arrive. The magic continues to build as the Crusaders burst into the library. Applebuck trots up to his "Cousin JayJay", but the solidified magic field prevents him from getting closer. He and Silver Bell cry out to their respective cousin and big sister, begging them to stay. Applejack and Rarity, knowing full well that they couldn't, tearfully bid farewell to their "little brothers". Just then, Rainbow Dash and Rainbow Blitz confront each other on opposite sides of the field, promising to have a real race one day and—to the surprise of everypony—professsing their love for one another.

A pillar of light explodes from the vase, and the six mares vanish into thin air.

Part 11: And Back Again

     
It's now been a couple of days since Twilight and her friends' return from the Solaris-ruled universe. As Twilight walks through Ponyville with Spike, she apologizes to him for having spent so much time away from home. Spike forgives her, only upset over not having gotten the pizza Twilight promised him. Twilight makes it up to him by bringing her "li'l bro" to Pizza Cottage. They buy a couple pizza pies, and Twilight shows Spike the way to the Hedge.

In the Hedge of their home dimension, Twilight finds Rarity and Fluttershy sprucing it up just like it had been in the other dimension. Despite their living conditions over the past week, Rarity had grown fond of their "home away from home". Spike wonders if the six friends had spent the entire week living in a cave, and Fluttershy is surprised that Twilight hadn't told him yet. Rarity has yet to tell Sweetie Belle either, but she promises to eventually. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo arrive, shocked to find the Hedge made into a clubhouse, with Applejack entering soon after. The Crusaders and Spike point out how affectionate Twilight and some of her friends have been since their return home. As their get-together turns into a regular pizza party, Pinkie Pie pops in and says she's having a few more pizza pies delivered to the Hedge. The pizzas arrive courtesy of Rainbow Dash, who Scootaloo enthusiastically greets as she enters. Rainbow Dash, remembering Scooteroll's own admiration of Rainbow Blitz, wonders if Scootaloo will be attending Junior Speedsters flight camp. The filly doesn't think she's ready, so Rainbow Dash offers to be her personal trainer, which Scootaloo more than eagerly accepts.

The nine ponies (plus one dragon) dig into the buffet of pizza, and Twilight and her friends wonder if their male selves were inside the Hedge of their world right now. They wish to see their other selves again, but Twilight tells them even if they did try again, there's no guarantee they'd find the same dimension again or, if they did, they'd find their other selves waiting for them there. Dusk and the others might get the same idea and attempt to visit them, which they wouldn't have at all minded. Coming to terms with this, they decide to wait...and hope. Twilight breaks away from the group for a moment and has Spike send a letter to Princess Celestia. Applejack asks her what she wrote about; Twilight says it's just a letter, "from me to myself".

In Canterlot, Princess Celestia reads Twilight's letter as soon as she receives it. Absorbing its words and realizing what happened, she dismisses her guards from the throne room to have a moment in private. She walks up to a large mirror on the wall and projects her magic onto it, causing her reflection to change to that of the other universe's Prince Solaris, who was also holding a scroll. With a window of dimensional communication open, the two alicorns exchange warm pleasantries before exchanging the letters written by their students. Solaris comments on how impressed he was by Twilight's ability to cross dimensions and that Celestia should be proud, which she was. As it approaches sundown, the two alicorns say their farewells (and even engage in a bit of flirting). As the window between dimensions closes, Celestia reads Twilight's letter. It imparts knowledge of events that Celestia already knew happened, as well as the latest lesson about friendship Twilight learned:

Sometimes, a new place can scare you when you see things that are so similar, and yet at the same time, so different from home. But just because the place is different, doesn't mean it's bad. Different can be good and kind, not to mention fun. Just as long as you remember to be yourself.
Knowing yourself is a tricky thing. You think you know exactly how you would react, given a certain situation. But sometimes, you wind up surprising yourself, as you see sides of your own personality that you've never seen or considered before.
...Even when faced with our own selves, we have to recognize that things will never go exactly as how you think they should. And sometimes, that's a good thing. How else can a pony grow, and get to better know themselves than to make a few mistakes along the way?

In the letter's closing, Twilight expresses hope of someday meeting Prince Solaris. In the other dimension, Solaris hopes for the same.

Characters

The following characters are all gender-swapped counterparts to characters in My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, virtually identical to the original with some distinctions.

Dusk Shine

The gender-swapped version of Twilight Sparkle. Like his female counterpart, he has a powerful thirst for knowledge and is shown to be very intuitive and a quick thinker. When he gets to know his filly self better, he comes to think of her as the sister he never had, and vice versa. (It should be noted that On a Cross and Arrow was written before the premiere of A Canterlot Wedding and the introduction of Shining Armor.) It's suggested that Dusk has a crush on Applejack's older sister Red Gala and is equally intrigued by the thought of a female Prince Solaris.

Applejack

The gender-swapped version of the female cowpony of the same name. Not an exact mirror-image of the filly Applejack, he more closely resembles Big McIntosh, even sharing his signature yoke. Like "Cousin JayJay's" tendency to refer to friends as "sugarcube", male Applejack refers to friends as "haystack". He's just as protective of family as his other self, and seems to have developed a crush on Rainbow Dash toward the end of the story.

Rainbow Blitz

The gender-swapped version of Rainbow Dash. True to being Dash's male self, he shares many of her traits and hobbies, including a love of taking afternoon naps and—if issues of Playpony in his bedroom are any indication—secretly being bi-curious. He is, however, shown to be somewhat more athletic (as evidenced by his success at performing a double rainboom before Dash) and impulsive (having no qualms about demolishing his own house to flush Dash out of hiding). Blitz initially expresses interest in the female Applejack, but ultimately confesses his love to Rainbow Dash. Occasionally refers to friends as "brony".

Elusive

The gender-swapped version of Rarity. Ponyville's resident fashion designer, he shares his female counterpart's appreciation of beauty, refined vocabulary, and penchant for the overdramatic. Occasionally called "Lucy" for short by his friends, Elusive is apparently often teased for being "girly" and "frou-frou". His relationship with Rarity is instantly that of romantic—he very well considers her to be the mare of his dreams, even after discovering who she is. Like Rarity's own Opalescence, Elusive has a pet cat named Alexanderite.

Butterscotch

The gender-swapped version of Fluttershy, and is every bit the sensitive, timid animal lover she is. Like Elusive and Rarity, his and Fluttershy's relationship is of a romantic sort—he falls in love with her almost as soon as he meets her. Like Fluttershy's own Angel, Butterscotch's most prominent animal companion is a white bunny named Angela.

Berry Bubble

The gender-swapped version of Pinkie Pie. Full name: Berriswainer DaVinci Bubble. He's just as outgoing, optimistic, and hyperactive as his female counterpart. In true alternate universe fashion, he has his own version of the Pinkie Promise (the Berry Bubble Swear) and the Pinkie Sense (the Berry Sense), though both work the same as their respective originals. Berry has just as much a reputation in his universe as Pinkie has in hers that the mere thought of the two of them sharing one plane of existence utterly terrifies some of their friends.

Spines

The gender-swapped version of Spike, and as such, Dusk Shine's best friend and number-one assistant. As the only female in Dusk's circle of friends, she relishes the brief time spent playing with Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. Spines is shown to have just as deep a crush on Elusive as Spike has on Rarity (thus harboring some jealousy toward the unicorn mare), but the thought of meeting her other self Spike does intrigue her a little. Like Rainbow Blitz, she occasionally refers to her friends as "brony".

Applebuck

The gender-swapped version of Apple Bloom, the stallion Applejack's younger brother, and a member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Instead of a large red bow, he wears a backwards-pointed baseball cap. In the short time he knows the filly Applejack, he grows considerably close to her. In the sequel story On a Whisper of Wind, Applebuck is the main character.

Silver Bell

The gender-swapped version of Sweetie Belle, Elusive's younger brother, and a member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Like Applebuck, he grows close to his older brother's female self—especially after she makes his favorite meal.

Scooteroll

The gender-swapped version of Scootaloo and a member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. He idolizes Rainbow Blitz as much as Scootaloo does Rainbow Dash, even harboring a desire for the stallion to be his teacher.

Prince Solaris

The gender-swapped version of Princess Celestia, and Dusk Shine's mentor. He naturally holds his student in high regard, and seems equally impressed by Twilight Sparkle's magical talent. Dialogue between him and Celestia suggests the two of them have a risqué history.

Prince Artemis

The gender-swapped version of Princess Luna, mentioned by Prince Solaris but not shown. Just like Luna, he too nearly shrouded Equestria in eternal night as "Anarchy Apollo".

Harpsy

The gender-swapped version of Lyra, and one of the first stallions Twilight and her friends meet upon arriving in Dusk Shine's universe. He and Babar appear to be in a relationship.

Babar

The gender-swapped version of BonBon, and one of the first stallions Twilight and her friends meet upon arriving in Dusk Shine's universe. He and Harpsy appear to be in a relationship.

Red Gala

The gender-swapped version of Big McIntosh, mentioned by Applebuck but not shown. According to male Applejack, she bears a bit of a resemblance to female Applejack but is a little taller.

Grampy Smith

The gender-swapped version of Granny Smith, mentioned by Applebuck but not shown.

Princess Bluebell

The gender-swapped version of Prince Blueblood, mentioned by Elusive but not shown. Dialogue suggests she's every bit as pompous and a royal pain as her male counterpart.

Derpy Doo

The gender-swapped version of Derpy Hooves/Ditzy Doo. His appearance is very brief, but it establishes one thing perfectly clear: he loves muffins.

Zircon

The gender-swapped version of Zecora, mentioned by Dusk Shine but not shown.

On a Whisper of Wind

On a Whisper of Wind is the currently-in-progress sequel story to On a Cross and Arrow, with Applebuck as the main character. Out of a desperate desire to be with his "Cousin JayJay", Applebuck, with the help of the Great and Powerful Presto, is transported to the Mane Six's universe, where he meets and befriends the filly Cutie Mark Crusaders.

On a Cross and Arrow: Dual Reality

On a Cross and Arrow: Dual Reality is a audio series created by TheHeolix which focuses on the six main characters and their genderswap versions.

Episodes

Episode 1, On A Word Misheard (Part 1)

Side Stories

Episode 0A, Zomponies?!: Dusk Shine researches zombie ponies, making mention to his friends about Applebuck's story about a village in the Everfree Forest.

Episode 0B, Surprise! Surprise!: Twilight Sparkle, Dusk Shine, and the rest of their friends put together a surprise party for Princess Celestia.

Episode 0D, Peaceful, Peaceful Ponyville: The "Male Six" are enjoying a peaceful day in Ponyville, but somepony interrupts them with his uncontrollable yelling.

Trivia

  • Conner Cogwork has stated that if he is to continue writing about the series, then it will only use the canon of Season 1. Meaning that several important characters introduced in Season 2 and beyond will have never existed. Among those included are Twilight's brother, Shining Armor.

Gallery

On a Cross and Arrow updated by johnkapid

On a Cross and Arrow image gallery
Other gender switch art

External links

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