Gwaeron kept an eye on her transformed companion as the two of them passed through the gate leading into what the sign identified as Equestria. She knew all too well what could happen if she ignored her for even a few seconds.
It felt like only hours ago that Kathalia had been turned into the mantis-lizard thing she currently was. The words written by the mysterious assassin "D" were burned into her mind; they had to find a cure for the transformation before someone decided to claim the bounty on the green monster's head.
WHAM! Gwae crashed into someone else, having been too focused on Kathalia to watch where she was going. As she pulled herself to her feet, she made eye contact with the other party in the collision, who was also just standing up.
The sorceress had bumped into a rainbow-haired woman dressed like a rogue, with a green cape, a red-and-white striped top, and brown leather pants and boots. Somewhat more striking were the pastel blue wings on her back, and the matching horse ears poking through the green bandanna on her head.
"I'M SORRY! IT WAS MY FAULT! I DIDN'T WATCH WHERE I WAS GOING!" Gwae and the stranger blurted out simultaneously.
After an awkward silence, Gwae introduced herself and explained her situation to the winged stranger, who shook her head in disbelief.
"I didn't think you two looked like native Equestrians, although your pal there does look like something that popped out of the Everfree Forest," the rogue replied. "My name's Rainbow Dash, and I think I know the girl you're looking for. Follow me."
As she turned to lead the way, Gwae caught a glimpse of a horse's tail poking out of Rainbow Dash's behind, rainbow-striped just like her hair. She decided not to comment on it.
"Hey, Twilight! Someone's here to see you!"
Rainbow Dash banged the library door open with seemingly no respect for library etiquette. Both Kathalia and Gwaeron had just about run out of breath, since Rainbow had decided to run half the way.
A small explosion, a flash of white light, and a frustrated groan came from somewhere within the library, after which another woman stomped into view. She was dressed like a wizard, complete with a magic staff topped with a purple six-pointed star. She had horse ears and wings like Rainbow Dash did, only hers were light purple, and she also bore a horn of the same color poking through her straight, purple streaked hair.
"Rainbow Dash, I hope you're happy knowing that you're directly responsible for screwing up my 'dragon spirit' spell. This had better be important."
"My name is Gwaeron," Gwae introduced herself. "I assume you are the 'knowledgeable wizard and scholar' we were told about. We wanted to enlist your assistance in undoing my companion's transformation; her physical state should speak for itself."
The wizard examined Kathalia's body up and down. "Alright. I'll see what I can come up with. I've already got a hunch. Rainbow Dash, go wait outside."
After a pause, she added something else: "Oh, and if anyone sees a tiny white flying thing zipping around, don't let it fly into you-- and if it does, get outside and into a wide open space as quickly as possible."
"Ah! Here we go!"
The wizard-- who had introduced herself as Twilight Sparkle-- put her finger on a recipe in one of her books. Kathalia and Gwaeron watched from either side.
"All we need to do is brew up this potion and Kathalia will be back to normal. Just let me get the ingredients together..."
Twilight rushed into another room, and Kathalia and Gwae followed. This room was set up like an alchemy lab, with glass tubes, beakers and so forth all over. Without delay, the winged wizard opened up one of several cabinets and searched through it, then checked the next, and the next.
"Nothing of use there... nothing of use there... oh, for the love of Celestia! Why is nothing ever easy?"
"I'm short a few ingredients," Twilight explained. "I need three samples of werewolf fur, each from a different werewolf... a vial of rattlesnake venom... a scale pried from a shark's tail... and a tiger's claw. The recipe says that for maximum quality, all these ingredients should be harvested from the recently transformed, whatever that means."
As she spoke, she copied this information onto a sheet of paper, then passed it to Gwae.
"I can't leave Equestria; I've got too much to do here. I don't suppose I can ask you two to track down the missing ingredients? I think they can all be acquired in areas not far from here."
Gwae let out a small sigh. "Alright. I suppose there's no helping it. We'll get what you need." Kathalia nodded affirmatively.
Twilight Sparkle was about to thank Gwae when a frantic yell in a familiar voice caught their attention.
"I've got a pretty good idea of what that is," Twilight muttered as she, Kathalia, and Gwae rushed outside.
"Twilight! Some white thing flew out of nowhere and vanished into my chest, and then... and then...!"
Rainbow Dash looked genuinely worried. She'd waited outside the library the entire time, but something was clearly wrong. The fact that bits of smoke were escaping her mouth as she spoke was a good clue of that. Kathalia and Gwae stood on either side of Twilight Sparkle at the door, watching in bewilderment.
Twilight shook her head. "I was afraid of this. Rainbow Dash, that 'white thing' was the soulless essence of a dragon I conjured up by accident when you startled me earlier. It wasn't supposed to exist naturally; it fled in a panic and had to seek out a soul to apply itself to. And it chose you."
"Meaning you'd better step away from the library; the effects have already begun to take hold."
Rainbow Dash practically ran out into the open, only to stumble and fall. As the other three got close, they saw why: her feet were changing shape and sprouting claws.
Gwae blinked. "Um... Twilight... what exactly...?"
"That'll be apparent in a moment."
As Rainbow tried to push herself into her feet, a sharp pain came from her jaw. Instinctively she felt it, discovering that her face was changing shape. She was developing a reptilian snout, and her ears and hair seemed to be receding.
Seconds later, something happened to Rainbow's wings. The feathers seemed to fall out, revealing a membraned framework underneath of the same blue color. Having apparently felt it too, the rogue reached back and grabbed the end of one wing, staring at it in disbelief.
Come to think of it, Rainbow's skin looked different now. She was turning blue all over, the same shade as her wings and ears. She examined the back of her hands as they changed shape and tore through her gloves.
WHOOSH! A burst of flame escaped Rainbow Dash's mouth as she screamed. She reached back as a new, reptilian tail grew out of her behind, her previous horse tail disappearing in its wake.
"Is she turning into... a dragon?"
"Yes, Gwae. She's almost done."
Rainbow was forced to drop down on all fours as her frame grew heavier. As if she hadn't already suffered enough clothing damage by now, she was now growing in size, her clothes quickly falling away in tatters.
At last, it was over. Rainbow Dash stared at confusion at her new form, that of a pastel blue dragon as large as a vehicle. Her ears had mutated into fin-like protrusions on either side of her head, and her underbelly was a slightly lighter shade of blue than the rest of her.
She tried to speak, but more fire escaped her mouth instead. She cleared her throat, then spoke again, this time letting out nothing more dangerous than a bit of smoke.
"This feels... weird... but kind of nice at the same time. Twilight, I'm assuming this is temporary?"
"Yes. But this might be for the better; you'll probably be of a lot of help to Kathalia and Gwae in that form. Perhaps you'd be willing to be their steed?"
Rainbow Dash thought the matter over, then nodded her head.
"Alright! I'll go get Rarity and have her put together some riding equipment for you."