Jorge whipped around to try and identify the source of the war-cry. He lifted his arm and brought his pistol to bear, ready to make whatever was stupid enough to attack him wish it hadn’t. However, before he was able to identify any attackers, the Spartan felt himself being lifted off the ground and thrown towards the tree line almost a dozen feet away. He landed against a large pine tree, which shattered into a cavalcade of splinters and bark under his weight. His mind immediately kicked into action. Unfazed by his body-slam, the soldier got back on his feet and spun around to face his attacker.
Jorge certainly was having an interesting day. After waking up in the basement of a library, he found out that he was on another planet/universe inhabited entirely by talking horses. That or he was just going insane. After passing out from exhaustion he woke up in some sort of warehouse and escaped into a dense forest. He had then stumbled upon the pony he had heard talk from earlier that day and proceeded to have the most bizarre conversation of his life before being attacked. Yes, interesting was an apt word.
Jorge turned to face his unknown assailant, ready to kill whatever had attacked him. But as the Spartan prepared himself to start firing his gun he got a good look at the aggressors and froze.
What? This can’t be real, thought Jorge in disbelief.
In front of him was a group of six more of the colorful horse-like aliens. Jorge quickly realized that most of them belonged to the group that he had seen outside the barn earlier that day. A couple of them had wings, one of them was a unicorn, and another was a hybrid of the two. Their coloring was also very distinct, their fur ranging from hot pink to cyan blue. One thing they all had in common though, were the aggressive glares they were all giving him. All except for the pink one who looked like she was trying to be angry but couldn’t contain her laughter, and a yellow pony who just seemed like it wanted to be anywhere else but here. Jorge scanned the others. The cyan pegasus had a rainbow mane and was flying over the group, looking like she couldn’t wait to attack him. There was a white unicorn with a purple mane glowered at him but appeared more annoyed than furious. An orange one with a… cowboy hat?
Jorge groaned. I'm probably going to be the only Spartan to ever receive a section eight.
The orange pony glared at him with a look of pure loathing, and seemed ready to charge. And finally the hybrid, who was larger than the others, simply stared at him in contempt. She had an air of authority about her which prompted Jorge to correctly assume that she probably their leader or something akin to one. He noticed that her horn was glowing slightly, while a few stones around her were engulfed in a similar blue aura and were levitating.
What the hell!?! These things can use telekinesis!? I suppose that would explain how I was flung twenty meters without anything touching me…
Just then the hybrid began to speak/yell.
“DO NOT WORRY TWILIGHT SPARKLE. WE WILL PROTECT THOU FROM THE BEAST!!!”
Christ! Do all these horses need to be so loud!?!
Jorge slipped his pistol back in its holster. He was not in the mood to commence a physical confrontation with the aliens. “Look, I think there may have been a misunderst-”
“SILENCE FOUL CREATURE!!! THOU WILL NOT HARM ANY OF THESE PONIES AS LONG AS I DRAW BREATH. NOW, PREPARE FOR BATTLE!!!”
“Wait Princess Luna! You don’t understand; he wasn’t trying to hurt me,” Twilight explained in a desperate attempt to calm the enraged hybrid. “Look I’m fine, he’s harmless.”
Well I wouldn’t say that.
“Twilight this thang destroyed mah barn and yer library,” the orange one snapped. “How can you say it’s harmless!?”
Her barn? No wonder they're so pissed at me. Maybe if I just expla-
Just then the pink one gasped. “The monster must be brain washing her so she says whatever it wants!”
“No one brain washes my friend!” cried the cyan pegasus as she flew straight at the Spartan. Jorge tried to pull his combat knife out but was caught off guard by the velocity at which the pegasus was attacking him so he could do little more than brace himself for the impact. The pegasus smacked into him with tremendous momentum but bounced back when she hit his armor’s shield, while he remained unmoved. Undeterred, she returned and began punching his shields in a vain attempt to harm him.
“Take this and that, and some ‘o this and a little of that,” she grunted while she attacked him.
Jorge didn’t move. He couldn’t feel any of the blows and they were practically less than worthless at taking out his armor. They couldn’t even get through his shields. The pegasus however, did not notice, for she kept attacking him. He stared at the flying horse, tilting his head quizzically.
I wonder how long it’ll take her to get tired, he thought, amused by the pegasus’ antics.
Much to Jorge’s disappointment, the dark blue hybrid used her telekinesis to drag the pegasus back to the group before he could find out.
“RAINBOW DASH!” The hybrid bellowed. “THAT WAS MOST IRRESPONSIBLE. STAY BACK; ‘WE’ SHALL DEFEAT THIS VILE CREATURE.”
“Bloody hell, do you really need to yell?”
“Princess please, Jorge isn’t dangerous,” pleaded Twilight.
“Jorge.” Twilight pointed at the Spartan for emphasis. “You know, the so-called ‘beast’ in in front of you?”
The Princess looked at the human before staring at Twilight in shock “Twilight Sparkle, do mean to tell me that you named it?” she asked in a normal volume.
Jorge had long since decided that none of these ponies posed any real threat to him; not even the so-called ‘Princess’ who had hurled him against a tree. He was, however, getting rather tired of being treated like some sort of animal.
“She didn’t name me. I am Spartan Zero Five Two, aka Jorge. Now will you please stop attacking me?”
The pink pony, who appeared completely terrified, started yelling and running around the clearing.
“Quick, cover your ears. It’s trying to brainwash us just like Twilight!” she said in between screams.
Despite how preposterous the accusation was, the other ponies, save for the Princess and Twilight, all covered their ears and began backing away from Jorge.
“You can’t be serious?” he asked in disbelief.
As soon as those words came out of his mouth the pink pony froze in midair and stayed suspended for a few seconds, not moving a muscle. Jorge was busy trying to explain how the bubble-gum pink mare was successfully defying physics when, to everyone’s surprise, she started giggling. The giggling soon erupted into outright laughter, and before long the pink pony was rolling on the forest floor clutching her sides, tears streaming down her cheeks. The others uncovered their ears and stared at their guffawing companion in bewilderment.
Suddenly, the pink pony materialized right in front of Jorge’s visor out of now where. The mare was stifling a laugh as she stared at him with eyes the size of platters. It made Jorge feel slightly uncomfortable.
“Of course not silly,” she giggled. “Everypony knows that only polka-dotted lampshades can brainwash you.”
“Pinkie!” shouted the orange one. “How many times do we have tah tell you tah stay away from that thang!? It’s dangerous!”
“Oh Applejack, I was just pranking you guys, he’s not dangerous,” replied Pinkie in a bubbly tone. “If he was my knee would be pinching. He’s just an adorable widdle giant meddle monster. Awent you? Yes you is. Yes you is.”
Pinkie began patting Jorge’s head and continued to talk to him as if he were a foal. Jorge recoiled from her touch; the conversation having gotten too surreal for his taste, or at least more than it already was. Trying to get the discussion back on track, he turned to address the Princess.
“Look, I’m not dangerous and I do not plan on attacking anybody. So can you please just calm down before someone is injured.”
Jorge noticed that she appeared taken aback by how he spoke, almost as if she didn’t expect him to be so articulate. This irritated him. He was quickly going from being weary, to being outright pissed at being treated like a mindless monster who wanted to tear everything he sees apart. He already got enough of that crap from other human soldiers, his supposed allies. The last thing he needed was the same treatment from a bunch of annoying talking alien horses. He acknowledged that he destroyed their property and that this must have been shocking for them but still, they were exaggerating just a little bit.
The Princess seemed to calm down considerably at Jorge’s words but still appeared somewhat edgy. “How can we trust you creature? You have cau-”
Jorge raised his hand to interrupt her. “First of all, I’m a human so stop all that ‘creature’ nonsense. Second, if I wanted to harm you or your fellow… ponies, you would all be dead right now.”
When he said this, Luna tensed up, lowered her head to point her horn at him, and got into a defensive stance. The other ponies looked horrified. Even Pinkie appeared a little nervous.
“You dare threaten us?” spat the Princess.
“It’s not a threat, it’s a fact,” Jorge replied with eerie calmness. He found his palm grazing his pistol’s holster as his trigger finger twitched.
The air became chill as both parties stared each other down. Jorge wanted to avoid a fight but these ponies seemed completely convinced that he was trying to cause them harm. All except for Pinkie and Twilight, and even the latter looked like was starting to have her doubts. The sun had long since set and the only light in the clearing radiated from Jorge’s armor, making the Spartan a walking beacon in the darkness. Not even the moonlight could penetrate the overhanging canopy of foliage that covered the clearing. The forest was still completely silent, which only served to make the situation all the more tense. The only sound that could be heard was the whistle of the wind as it flowed through the surrounding trees. Both parties where left staring each other, no one daring to move a muscle, for what felt like hours.
“What do you want?” Jorge asked suddenly.
“Excuse me?” asked Luna, slightly taken aback by the abruptness of Jorge’s inquiry.
“Why have you been following me?” Honestly, the soldier couldn’t care less as to their motivation for tracking him down; all that mattered to him was what was occurring at that moment. However, what was occurring was that both he and the aliens were just staring at each other, which he felt was getting him nowhere. So he hoped that trying to keep a (semi) civilized conversation going would help ease the tension.
Luna was about to speak when she stopped herself. She took a few minutes to think about how to answer him. After much internal deliberation she decided to tell this Jorge the whole truth, seeing as how just glaring at each other was not very productive.
“I, Princess Luna, co-ruler of Equestria, received a letter from my sister’s personal student yesterday, describing a strange machine that fell out of a bright sphere in the sky. Upon my arrival to investigate said machine on my sister’s behalf, I find out that not only is the machine a creature that poses some form of intelligence, but that it destroyed Ponyville library and damaged the barn at Sweet Apple Acres. So I suppose that my original intent was to study you and learn how you arrived to Equestria, but now it appears that I am here to apprehend you before you can cause more harm.”
Luna paused to let all of the information sink in and good thing too; Jorge’s mind was reeling.
Fell out of the sky!? Equestria? Ponyville? Kurva anyád, I am in a new world!
Jorge was suddenly very aware of how tired he was. He obviously wasn’t fully recovered from his less than smooth arrival and he was really feeling its effects. But it wasn’t just physical fatigue the Spartan was suffering. He was completely mentally drained. All this new information, the new species, the fact that he was on an unknown planet, maybe a different universe entirely; it was too much. He had been holding out that maybe everything was one big hallucination, but now he had to face the fact that not only was he not hallucinating, but he was alive and on an alien world.
“Now beast, you shall answer my questions,” said Luna, jerking Jorge out of his reflection.
He hesitated. Should he really tell this mythological being how he got here? Perhaps he should keep it secret?
What’s the point? It’s not like they could use anything against me, and I doubt I’ll be seeing any other human anytime soon, he thought bitterly. Then again, they did see how I got here in the first place. Maybe if I tell them how I arrived they’ll know how to send me back.
The hope was completely far-fetched, delusional even. The odds of returning were slim at best but, despite this, Jorge latched on to that hope with all his will, silencing the more rational parts of his mind. What other choice did he have? Besides, if he was able to continue the conversation there was a chance that the ponies’ hostile attitudes towards him could be diffused. He straightened himself and prepared to explain his situation to the ponies when he stopped himself. He paused, then lifted his arms and placed his hands on his head. In one swift motion Jorge took his helmet off. The pony’s eyes widened considerably as he revealed his face to them. His voice no longer muffled, the Spartan began explaining himself.
“My name is Jorge Zero Fifty-Two. I am a human, formally known as Homo Sapien. Roughly three weeks ago the Winter Contingency was declared and Reach… my planet, was invaded by Covenant forces. I was sent on operation to destroy an enemy suppercarrier with the aid of a modified slipspace drive. Long story short, the resulting black hole must have created a wormhole which deposited me here in… Equestria.”
“I woke up inside the basement of an archive, which I presume is the library that you spoke of, and escaped only to be confronted by your species. I was exhausted from the physical trauma I endured from my arrival, causing me to pass out because next thing I knew I awoke inside some sort of warehouse, which I suppose was the orange one’s barn. Not knowing whether your species was hostile or not I choice to avoid a frontal assault and broke out the back wall. After walking through a bog and this forest for several hours I came across your purple companion. Shortly after that you attacked me and now here we are.”
The group of ponies gave Jorge blank stares. Even the Princess, who Jorge was hoping was the most intelligent of the group, just blinked in confusion. Jorge sighed and was about to tell an even more abbreviated version of his tale when Luna spoke up.
“I thought your species was a myth?” she asked, noticeably calmer than earlier.
Okay, I’m going to have to inquire about that whole myth thing.
“Well this is news to me. I didn’t know that we were all legends for a bunch of unicorns and pegasai.”
“And Earth Ponies?” asked Twilight, not catching Jorge’s irony.
“Nevermind,” he muttered. “So what now?”
“Ya’ll need to pay for mah barn!” exclaimed Applejack in frustration.
“I apologize, but I seem to be lacking the proper funds to repay you for your damages,” Jorge replied dryly.
“Ah don’t care. You can’t just walk inta our town and start wreckin’ our property!”
“It’s not like I ended up here on my own accord. Personally, I would rather have just been killed in that blast along with everything on that supercarrier.”
Jorge waited for a response that never came. Instead the orange pony looked at Jorge in disgust and… pity? It was brief and it flashed in her eyes for only half a second but Jorge had noticed it. He had not been expecting that.
The Princess appeared like she was about to speak when she was interrupted by a low, menacing growl emanating from somewhere in the forest. Everyone suddenly remembered that they were standing in a hostile forest, miles away from any civilization, in the middle of the night. The ponies all instinctively huddled together while Jorge placed his right hand on the handle of his sheathed combat knife and lowered his stance, getting into a more defensive position.
“Perhaps we should continue this conversation elsewhere,” said Luna.
“Agreed,” replied the Spartan. “But I’ve been walking through these woods for hours so I don’t think we’ll be getting out soon.”
Jorge wasn’t nervous by any means. He was trained his whole life and genetically altered to be the most efficient killing machine known to man. That being said, he still acknowledged that he was in a new world with new rules. He might no longer be on the top of the food chain so he didn’t want to stay in the creepy forest for longer than was necessary.
“Do not worry human, we shall all be back in Ponyville in a matter of moments.”
They have air travel here? That’s strange, most of the architecture looked like it came from Victorian England or something. But then again, alien world. Shouldn’t judge things by human standards, or even Covenant standards.
“Now human, come here and we will be on our way.”
All the ponies, minus Twilight and Pinkie, tensed up and looked at the Princess as if she had suggested that he give them a pony-back ride.
Jorge was confused. Why would he need to be near the Princess to ride an aircraft? Remembering that it was pointless to question their logic, he slowly made his way towards them. He was fairly certain that Princess Luna was not deceiving him but he put his helmet back on just to be safe. As he neared, the ponies, again, minus Twilight and Pinkie, backed away from him nervously but still stayed near the Princess.
He was only a few feet away and was about to ask why she had requested for him to come closer, when suddenly her horn began to glow and he was blinded by a dark blue light.
What the fu-!?
And they were gone.
This is not good. This is NOT good!
Spike was nervous. He was anxious. He was edgy. He was scared. Screw it! He was FREAKING OUT! Twilight had been gone for the entire day, despite telling him that she was going to return in an hour or two. Spike was pacing so much that he had put a groove in the floor worthy of his foster sister. After returning from the barn, the purple dragon immediately started fixing up the library. While most would say this was uncharacteristic of him, seeing as how he always whined about having to organize the books and cleaning his room, this was different. The library was as much his home as it was Twilight’s and it pained him to see in such a chaotic state.
As soon as he had arrived he began re-shelving the books that been knocked down when the monster broke through the wall. Speaking of the wall, the purple dragon put a large, white blanket over the massive hole to try to give him some privacy from the rest of the town, which could easily see everything that was going on inside. Originally he had tried to repair the wall by re-attaching the debris but this quickly proved futile seeing as how the beast had completely splintered the timber beyond repair.
Instead he simply organized the debris into a group of neat piles right outside the building. He had categorized the rubble depending on whether it belonged to a door or not, what kind of wood it was, the size of the piece in question, etc. Spike was crestfallen after he was done, realizing that he had definitely been spending too much time with Twilight and her draconian organization habits. It was also disappointing that he couldn't do anything more for the doors but he still held hope that Twilight could fix them with magic when she came back… if she came back.
Spike shuddered. He picked up a feather duster and began dusting the spotless bookshelves, hoping to push those thoughts out of his head.
Of course Twi’s coming back. She can handle anything that’s thrown at her. Some dumb monster’s not gonna stop her.
But as much as Spike tried, he couldn’t avoid thinking of what might’ve happened to his big sister. Images of Twilight lying injured in a ditch in the middle of the Everfree, about to be mauled by a pack of timber-wolves flooded his mind and before long he was on the verge of tears, unable to handle the stress.
“I-it’s f-f-fine” the purple dragon stuttered to himself. “S-she was w-with the Princess and the others. They’ll keep her safe.” Spike slumped on the library floor and held his face in his claws.
“I should have gone with them.”
His eyes glazed over as he imaged himself, taller, more muscular, with a deeper voice, completely dressed in armor while holding a shield in one claw and a lance in the other; charging at the pack of timber-wolves that had surrounded Twilight and Rarity. One by one, he knocked them out until none remained. When he untied the two mares (how did they get tied up? Who cares, it’s a fantasy) he was rewarded with a big smooch from the now scantily clad Rarity and flattering praise from Twilight.
Feeling a little better thanks to his day-dreaming, Spike stood up with a sigh and looked around the library to make sure there wasn’t anything else he needed to organize or fix. Having decided that he had completed all his chores and much more, he started making his way towards the stairs and up to bed.
Spike yelped and jumped five feet in the air. He spun around to face his assailant and came face-to-face with Twilight’s number two assistant.
“Oh. Hey Owlowiscious,” he said, his voice dripping with venom. Needless to say, he was not a big fan of the owl. “What do you want?”
Spike groaned. He was too tired and stressed for this.
“Look Owlowiscious, I’m going to bed. So can you tell Twilight I’m up in our room if she… when she comes back.”
“You know. The mare who runs this place?”
“The purple unicorn who loves to… you know what? I’m not in the mood for this. Goodnight you stupid bird.”
“Hey! Screw you too buddy.”
Spike snapped his head around towards Owlowiscious. The owl was staring at Spike blankly, not saying anything.
“D-did you just…?”
Owlowiscious didn’t respond. He just continued to gaze at the purple dragon with his empty, piercing eyes. Spike slowly backed away from the owl.
I really need to rest.
He slowly massaged his temples as he climbed the stairs. Before long he found himself in bed, tossing and turning as he tried in vain to get some sleep. He was aware of how pointless it was to try and rest, seeing as how he could not stop thinking about Twilight, Rarity, or the others, but what else could he do? He had already cleaned the library and done all his chores three times over. Waiting downstairs doing his best not to cry wasn’t going to accomplish anything. After a few minutes of this Spike just gave up, and hopped off his bed.
I’ll probably just have nightmare anyways.
He entered the bathroom, turned on the sink, and cleared some of the dry tears by splashing water on his face. He was about to leave when his eyes lingered on the mirror in front of him. He saw the face of a purple baby dragon, with a pair of green eyes and a couple of spikes of the same color on his head. The dragon’s eyes were red from crying and his toothy grin was replaced by a miserable frown.
What was I thinking? I could never go into the forest with Twi and the others. I’m just a weak, pathetic excuse for a dragon. An overgrown lizard. I’ll neve-
Spike’s train of thought was cut off by a loud zapping noise coming from the ground floor of the library. He instantly recognized the zap as a teleportation spell. There was only one unicorn he knew that could perform that kind of spell.
The bright flash of blue light subsided and Luna was quickly able to confirm that she had performed the teleportation spell successfully. She found herself surrounded by shelves stocked with hundreds of books and there was a strong, musty smell of paper in the air. She also took the time to inspect the damage done to the building and decided that the girls had exaggerated somewhat. The edifice was not destroyed but was only damaged slightly. Well, perhaps not exactly ‘slightly’, there was a large hole in the wall; but Luna concluded that the girls had been overreacting and that it was fairly understandable that Jorge would react the way he did if his story was true. Perhaps despite his ‘fact,’ he was not as dangerous as he seemed.
This hope was soon shattered as Luna felt something constrict her throat tightly, effectively blocking the passage of air to her lungs. Before she could process what was happening, she felt her back being slammed into a bookshelf. The force of the blow blurred her vision as pain shot through her spine. She slowly regained her sight while books tumbled out of the shelves around her and was able to distinguish what had attacked her.
Jorge was holding her by the neck and was easily lifting her entire body a few feet in the air, thus demonstrating the Spartan’s herculean strength. Luna was confused. What had caused this violent outburst? As far as she could tell she did nothing wrong. The Princess of the night tried in vain to use her magic to defend herself, but as soon as her horn began to glow Jorge pulled her back and once again crashed her against the shelf, knocking out what little air she had in her lungs. After that she stopped trying to use magic and simply squirmed in the Spartan’s grip.
Unsurprisingly, Rainbow Dash reacted quickly and flew straight towards Jorge in a futile attempt to save the Princess. Jorge, however, was prepared this time. When the cyan pegasus was right next to the Spartan, he quickly lashed out his free arm and struck the pony with the back of his hand. Rainbow flew to the other side of the library’s foyer and collided with an undamaged portion of the wall with dangerous force. Dazed, Rainbow slumped onto the ground and tried to get her eyes straight again, which had become crossed from the force of the blow. Once he was satisfied that his assailant was temporarily incapacitated, Jorge turned his attention to the pony in his grip.
“WHAT DID YOU DO!?!” he bellowed furiously.
Jorge had lost what little trust he had in the ponies. The Princess had obviously done something to him, some sort of biotic attack. Unfortunately, he was unsure of what its effects were and could not determine what kind of damage it had done. Was it incendiary? Projectile based? Chemical? Whatever it was, it appeared as though it had no effect on him, but Jorge had no way to be certain.
“What. Just. Happened?” he seethed through gritted teeth. He punctuated each word by adding pressure to her throat.
The girls could do little more than stare at Jorge in horror. They had never seen their Princess so powerless before and watching her now, at the Spartan's mercy, was more terrifying than the largest, most vicious hydra. Twilight in particular was shocked by the violent display. Apart from Pinkie, she was the only one pony in their group who had believed that he wasn’t dangerous. Now he was standing in the middle of her library, suffocating one of Equestria’s rulers.
Luna continued to struggle in the soldiers iron grip but to no avail. Darkness was beginning to creep into her vision as she did her best clutch onto consciousness.
“Tele…port” she choked.
Jorge froze. He took a moment to steal a glance at his surroundings. He was no longer in the forest, as evidenced by the lack of foliage and the new presence of artificial illumination, but was now standing in the middle of the library that he had woken up in earlier that day. Jorge couldn’t comprehend how the hell she had done it, but somehow the Princess had teleported them all back to their town in the blink of an eye. But wait, that can’t be possible. Granted, he had teleported the other night but that had been completely different. That had been so much more violent, more painful. Plus that had been the product of a slipspace drive, the most expensive and technologically advanced thing in all of humanity. This horse… pony had done it on her own. That wasn’t…
New world, new rules…
This was going to be difficult to get used to that was for sure. Now that he had gotten over the initial surprise of being teleported by a talking unicorn/pegasus, Jorge rapidly appreciated the gravity of his situation. To painfully understate the severity of his actions: he had caused a bit of a diplomatic snafu. He had attacked, and was currently strangling, the leader of a new sentient race with untold biotic and telekinetic abilities for the sole reason that he had been startled. Snafu indeed.
Well, in all fairness any rational human being would have been slightly startled/pants-shitingly terrified by being suddenly teleported without warning, but Jorge didn’t see it like that. He was ashamed by the way he had behaved. Because of his crass behavior he had jumped to conclusions and attacked an innocent perso- pony. He was better than this damn it!
Get a grip on yourself Jorge.
Jorge let go of the Princess and took a step back. Luna collapsed onto the floor, clutching her neck while panting in as much precious air as she could. The Spartan just stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, while Luna continued trying to burst her lungs from excess oxygen. After a few moments the Spartan began trying to address the fallen Princess.
“Look, I would like to apoligi-”
His apology was cut short when, to no one’s surprise (not even his own in all honesty), Luna shot him with as much raw magical force as she could muster. Jorge flew across the room, tearing through the kitchen door effectively destroying it (and the surrounding wall) in a similar fashion to that of the front entrance. Luna got up and slowly made her way towards the Spartan, who was now lying on a recently flattened oven, being sprinkled by water which was spewing from a broken sink.
“Okay… I deserved that,” he muttered to no one in particular.
“SILENCE! THOU HAST NO RIGHT TO SPEAK AFTER ATTACKING US!!!”
Luna was through playing around. She had foolishly chosen to trust a dangerous alien creature from mythology and was rewarded by being attacked and nearly strangled to death. When Jorge tried standing up she pinned him to the floor with her magic, making sure he wouldn’t be getting up any time soon.
“SEND A LETTER TO MY SISTER INFORMING HER OF WHAT HATH OCCURRED. TELL HER TO BRING A TROOP OF ROYAL GUARDS TO ESCORT THIS EVIL MONSTER TO CANTERLOT!!!”
“O-okay your h-highness. P-lease don’t yell.”
Twilight shakily made her way back into the foyer and up the stairs to find Spike; meanwhile the other elements were trying to regain their composure after having almost watched their ruler choke to death. Rainbow shakily got back on her hooves, uninjured but slightly dazed from Jorge’s blow.
“Ah knew that rotten monster was no good,” spat Applejack. “Ah kept tryin’ to tell you after it ruined mah barn.”
“Forget about your silly barn Applejack!” chided Rarity. “Look at Twilight’s library, it’s a complete mess.”
“First it wrecks the library and your barn, then it attacks Twilight, now it almost takes out the Princess and punches me!” cried Rainbow Dash furiously, who was now sporting a rather unpleasant black eye. “You should have just let me pound his back in the forest.”
“Rainbow Dash, I don’t mean tah state the painfully obvious, but ya’ll didn’t even scratch that thang’s armor. I don’t think that thang woulda noticed ya’ll were touchin’ him if you hadn’t been right up his face.”
“Nice comeback genius,” said Applejack as she rolled her eyes.
“Real mature there Rainbow.”
“Your face is real mature!”
While her friends continued to bicker and trying to regain their composure, Fluttershy tentatively entered the kitchen to check on Luna. She was worried that the Princess of the night may have gotten hurt from the attack and wanted to examine her for any injuries. When she walked in Fluttershy saw the Princess standing over the now immobile Jorge with a solemn look on her face.
“Um, excuse me Princess.”
Luna was so engrossed in her thoughts that the timid voice behind her gave her a slight start.
“FLUTTERS-” *ahem* “Fluttershy what are you still doing here?” Luna asked without turning her attention away from her captive. “The situation is under control, you and the other elements may go home.”
“Oh, I um… was just wondering, if you wouldn’t mind that is, if you would… um let me check you for uh… injuries…”
“That is… very generous of you Fluttershy, but you need not worry, I am fine.”
“But you may be hurt! Please let me just make sure.” The yellow mare insisted as loudly as she dared, which is to say barely over a whisper.
“Well…” Luna was unsure. To be honest she was still a little wary of the little pegasus ever since the incident at the bog. But she did not want to hurt Fluttershy’s feelings: One, because she was adorable and two because Luna also remembered from the gala that Fluttershy could be quite… terrifying. Besides her throat was still sore and it stung whenever she swallowed.
Perhaps it would be wise to get it checked.
“Very well,” she conceded, somewhat reluctantly.
Beaming, Fluttershy flapped over towards the alicorn and began examining her neck. Luna had to muster all of her will power to avoid giggling at the ticklish jabs and prods Fluttershy was preforming. She was very gentle, almost freakishly so, Luna noted. The Princess had expected to feel sharp stabs of pain at the pokes she was receiving but instead it was almost as if Fluttershy was able to alleviate her soreness with nothing more than her touch.
“There isn’t any tissue damage, just some bruising, so you should be fine. Try to eat only soft foods or liquids for the next couple of days though.”
How Fluttershy was able to make out any kind of bruise against her dark blue coat Luna will never know, she was just relived that there was no severe damage done.
Upon hearing Jorge’s voice, Luna strengthened his binds and applied more pressure against him. Fluttershy, on the other hand, immediately jumped behind Luna and cowered away from the immobilized Spartan.
“I told you not to speak creature.”
“And I told you that my name is Jorge.”
Luna sent a wave of magical energy against Jorge, pushing him against the ground with enough force to shatter the kitchen tiles beneath him. She was applying sufficient pressure to break most ponies’ bones yet, much to her displeasure it appeared as though Jorge barely felt it.
“I do not care what your name is. You have no right to speak.”
“Um… excuse me?”
Fluttershy stepped in front of Luna, standing in between Jorge and the Princess. Jorge slowly lifted his head to face the yellow mare but as he did so she took a step back and hid her face behind her pink mane.
“Fluttershy stay away from it! You already checked on me and I am fine, please go home.”
Taking a deep breath, Fluttershy turned towards the Princess. “I j-just have a q-question I want to ask it.”
Luna wanted to refuse Fluttershy’s request but ultimately conceded. She had Jorge subdued so there would be no danger; and besides, who could say no to those eyes?
“All right, but do not approach it.”
Turning back to face Jorge, Fluttershy was suddenly struck with a case of cold-hooves. While he was much less threatening when being pinned to the floor by a magic, he was still scary.
Confidence Fluttershy, you can do this, she thought to herself.
“Um, Mister Monst- Jorge… I-I was just w-wondering um… did y-you k-k-k-ki…hurt the hydra in Froggy Bottom Bog?”
Oh god those eyes. There was something about her eyes. Jorge couldn’t quite tell what it was. There was kindness, no doubt about that, but there was also something more, something he couldn’t place his finger on. Then it hit him.
It had been a long time since Jorge had seen such a thing and that’s why it had taken him so long to figure it out. It was the kind of innocence only a child could have. Jorge rarely saw children on the front. Whenever he did they were usually survivors from an attacked colony or residents of a refugee camp. Tired, cold, desperate, and above all else hopeless. They had the dull, hollow eyes of old men who had seen unspeakable horrors and had lost any and all joy in their now miserable existence. But this creature standing in front of him… Jorge could see that she was so full of life.
The weary soldier suddenly began experiencing a flashback from a battle a few years prior. He was on one of the UNSC’s outer colonies, he couldn’t remember which one however, after a while they all blurred together into the same mess of fire and blood. He was leading a squad of marines with the objective of defending a… village? Factory? He couldn’t Jorge really remember that either.
It was snowing. Crystals of ice slowly descended from the dark sky, softly touching down and piling up on the ground beneath him. Jorge removed his helmet and basked in the icy wind as snowflakes gently landed and melted on his face. He looked at the landscape surrounding him. The world had a kind of stillness to it that could best be described as hauntingly beautiful. Snow carpeted rolling hills all around him and long, jagged icicles hung from tree branches, glittering in the sun. He slowly closed his eyes and raised his face to the sky as the ice cold wind caressed him gently. It was all so… pure.
By the end of that day, the sky was full of smoke. Fire raged around Jorge in a massive inferno destroying everything its path. Mutilated corpses, both covenant and human, littered the countryside. The air reeked with the smell of death and the once beautiful landscape had become a veritable hell. The snow, which was had been a thing of beauty, was now stained with blood and ash. Ugly and twisted, it had become perverted like all things the war touched, a reminder of the horrors that humanity faced daily.
But this pegasus in front of him… her eyes were untainted by the sorrows that had ravaged his species for decades.
It filled Jorge with a kind of warmth that he hadn’t felt in ages, a kind of perseverance that went beyond following orders or wanting vengeance for fallen comrades. It was genuine. It was a feeling that reminded Jorge that there was more to life than the war; and on the frontlines that rare feeling was something precious.
How could I ever think that these creatures were dangerous? He stole a quick glance in the Princess's direction. Oh… right.
He continued to stare into those large teal eyes for a few seconds. He began feeling a pang of guilt in his chest, knowing full well what the answer to her question was. Despite this, Jorge decided to answer the fragile pony truthfully.
“Yes,” he whispered in an uncharacteristically gentle voice.
“B-b-but… w-why!?” demanded the yellow pegasus, who was on the verge of tears. It only served to tighten the knot in Jorge’s chest.
Before Jorge could answer Luna snorted in the derision. “What would you expect from such a violent beast?” she said in disgust.
Jorge’s jaw tightened in anger. A part of his mind couldn’t help but feel that he should have squeezed the Princess’ neck tighter. “It attacked me, so I retaliated. I only slew the creature in self-defense,” he said to Fluttershy. He then turned his attention to the Princess who was still glaring at him. “Not unlike why I assaulted you.”
“You expect me to believe that you attacked and almost strangled me because you were acting in self-defense!?” asked Luna, skepticism evident in her voice.
Jorge nodded. “I thought you had used your telekinesis to attack me, so I retaliated.”
“That’s preposterous! I was simply teleporting you back to the safety of Ponyville.”
“I didn’t exactly know that at the time, as I am not exactly familiar with your species and its capabilities. But then I realized that I had misunderstood the situation and let you go. The same way you ceased to attack me in the woods after I assured you I would not cause you any harm.”
“And that turned out swimmingly,” sneered Luna.
“Again, it was in self-defense.”
Luna eyed Jorge suspiciously. Could he be telling the truth? Could this all just be some wacky misunderstanding? His voice sounded earnest enough, and Luna liked to think of herself as a pony who could easily tell when somepony was lying. She was starting to have doubts on whether Jorge was trying to cause them harm. Like he said, he did let her go when he easily could have ended her life with a mere squeeze. Unfortunately, she wasn’t certain and the doubt was nagging her. She didn’t want to be holding an innocent creature captive, and in the end she came out of the whole affair relatively unharmed. She could understand Jorge’s reasons for doing so if he did feel genuinely threatened. But still, she couldn't be sure. She didn’t want to release Jorge only to have him go on a rampage, especially around Ponyville.
If only there was a way I could know if he was telling the truth. Like some sort of spe-
Luna then preformed a face-hoof that would make Twilight proud.
“All right Jorge. I am not sure if you are being honest but there is a quick way to find out… as long as you are willing of course. But if you are not then you will have to remain in captivity.”
Jorge nodded. He didn’t really care what it would entail as long as it freed him from the telekinetic force that was pinning him to the ground.
“Very well. I am going to ask you a series of short questions, all you have to do is answer truthfully. If you lie I will know, understood?”
That’s it? thought Jorge in bewilderment. What’s the catch? How can she tell when I’m lying? Can she use her biotics to measure my heart rate or something?
He couldn’t see any other way Luna would be able to tell if he was lying. If this was the case then Jorge could lie as he very damn well pleased. Spartan’s were trained to remain calm and collective during firefights and interrogation in the case of capture. However, not wanting to risk it with a species of unknown abilities, he ultimately decided to continue being honest with the Princess and hope it will earn him his freedom. He nodded to Luna again.
“Let us begin then,” said Luna as her horn began to glow with more intensity. “First question: What is your full name?”
Jorge didn’t understand why he needed to go through this whole shtick again, but he was in no real position to complain.
“I am Chief Warrant Officer Jorge zero five two.”
So far so good, thought Luna
“Second question: Where are you from?”
“Okay, third question: How did you come to Equestria?”
Jorge sighed. “Nothing. I activated a bomb which created some sort of portal or black hole or whatever that deposited me here.”
Luna frowned. Could he be any vaguer?
“What is your purpose here in Equestria?”
“I have no purpose here. I just want to find a way back to my home.”
“Final question: Do you have any intentions of harming any pony or any other citizen of Equestria during your stay?”
“I swear not to harm any of your citizens…”
Luna smiled; he was telling the truth. I’m glad we finally got over thi-
“…Unless I am provoked or am acting in self-defense”
Her smile wavered for a fraction of a second but Jorge didn’t notice. Fair enough I suppose. These rules do apply to any other pony so it is only fair…
Jorge felt the pressure on his chest and arms subside as Luna dissipated his magical binds. Free to move around as he wished, the Spartan stood up and stretched his sore muscles, which had become stiff from the constant force being exerted on them. He looked at Luna expectantly, waiting for her to make the next move.
Taking the hint, she stepped forward standing barely a foot away from the flattened oven and Jorge.
“Let’s start over.” Luna cleared her throat and gave the warmest smile she could muster. Sadly said sentiment bounced off Jorge’s cool, faceless demeanor. Undeterred, she pressed on with the hopes that both parties’ past mistakes could be forgotten. “Hello Jorge, my name is Princess Luna, Co-ruler of Equestria and raiser of the moon. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
One of Jorge’s eyebrows rose quizzically.
Raiser of the moon?
Not concerning himself with the odd title, he stretched out his arm and opened his hand. Now it was the Princess’ turn to stare curiously at Jorge. She did not know what to make of the gesture. His hand hovered there invitingly, almost coursing her to interact.
Tentatively, she stretched out her right front leg in a similar manner and reached out to Jorge. Luna almost jumped back when the Spartan’s digits unexpectedly wrapped around her hoof, trapping it in his firm grip. She readied her magic, ready to subdue Jorge before he could attack; before she could get the chance however, the human rose his arm up and back down before releasing his hold. Luna brought her hoof to her eyes and inspected it for a few seconds shifted her gaze between it and Jorge.
What was that about? Some sort of greeting perhaps…
“So what now?” asked the human, ignoring the odd glances from the Princess.
Luna was caught off guard by the question; she hadn’t actually thought that far ahead.
What now indeed, pondered Luna. Jorge clearly has no idea how he got here so I suppose sending him back is not an option. He would have to stay in Equestria under our supervision; I don’t think that a mythological being appearing out of the blue will be taken lightly by the population. I mean, a Human! What’s next, platypuses turn out to be real as well? This is preposterous!
Granted, she was relieved that they were able to solve this confrontation peacefully. It was apparent that both parties were utterly lost in this whole affair and Luna could only imagine what was going on through the human's head; but she was still unsure at how to approach this whole situation.
She began pacing through the room, lost in her thoughts. Jorge did nothing; he just stared at Luna from behind his faceless helmet.
Where to even begin? The amount of paperwork that is going to be involved just to acknowledge his species existence, not to mention how long it would take just to grant him citizenship. And where would he reside? The property laws have gotten so much more complicated over the last thousand years; and if gets married here the- Luna stopped herself and took a deep breath. Okay I’m getting little ahead of myself. I’ll make a list: Step one, find proper accommodations for him. Step two, reveal his existence. Step three, umm… something. Step four, profit?
“Uh… Yer highness is everythang okay in there?” Applejack called out from the foyer, her argument with Dash long since over. “It sounded like you were… Ah’m askin’ her Dash, calm down! It sounded like you were talkin’ to somepony. Is Fluttershy with you?”
“Fear not Applejack. Everything is under control,” replied the Princess. Wait, they still think Jorge is my captive. Okay new plan: Step one; convince the elements that Jorge is no longer a threat. Step two, figure out the rest later.
Now with a (semi) clear plan of progression Luna turned to address the soldier standing a few feet away from her.
“Jorge, I am sorry to say that I have no idea how to proceed, I’ve never been in this kind of situation before.” The Spartan said nothing. Luna took that as a cue to continue. “So for now I think we should address the mares in the other room. I believe you should apologize for frightening them, and assure them that you are not a danger; Applejack in particular, since you damaged her barn.”
“Very well, but first…” Jorge slipped his helmet off and approached Fluttershy, who had spent most of the time there trying to remain inconspicuous. The Spartan kneeled down to get face-to-face with the yellow pegasus. Fluttershy squeaked in fear when she realized that Jorge was crouching right in front of her.
“Fluttershy, is it?” he asked in the softest voice he could manage.
Fluttershy nodded weakly and Jorge gave her a small smile in response.
“Allow me to introduce myself formally. My name is Jorge, and it is a pleasure to meet you.” He extended his right hand. “I would also like to apologize for upsetting you… with the hydra incident.”
Fluttershy eyed the humans hand warily before extending her hoof and shakily touching his fingers. “I-i-it’s f-f-fine,” she muttered before hiding behind her pink mane.
Jorge sighed. I suppose that’s the most I’m going to get for now.
“Alright, let’s go.” He stood up and, with the somber look that seemed to be permanently carved on his face more often than not, followed the alien Princess through the kitchen door.
“Ha! Check mate Applejack” declared Pinkie Pie enthusiastically. Applejack wasn’t listening however much to the pink pony’s annoyance, who prompted to poke her daydreaming friend in order to get her attention.
“Helllllllooooooo, Equestria to Applejack.”
“Huh what, ah uh… king me.”
Pinkie Pie giggled at her confused friend. “Silly Applejack, we’re playing chess not checkers, unless…” the party pony gasped in shock at her sudden, startling realization. “You’re playing a new game you invented combining checkers and chess! Applejack that’s genius, what’s the game called? How do you play? Is there strip version of it? Isn’t it kinda weird how ponies play strip poker even though they don’t usually wear clothes? Come to think of it I don’t know what strip poker is. Hey Applejack, what’s strip poker? Is it similar to strip checker-chess? *Gasp* is that what your new game is called?”
Applejack paused for a second in order to make sense of the rant that Pinkie had just barraged her with. Once the cowpony realized the pointlessness of the endeavor she chose to simply answer the energetic mare’s last question.
“What game Pinkie?”
“The game you invented, duh.”
“Um… ah didn’t invent uh game.”
“Oh. Then why were you playing checkers on a chess board?”
Applejack looked down at the board set up in front of her. Her king was quite literally completely surrounded by every single one of Pinkie’s pieces. Next to her friend lay a small pile of all her pieces, each one conquered and claimed by the pink mare.
Applejack sighed. “Ah’m sorry sugarcube, ah’ve just had mah mind on somethin’ else lately.”
Applejack hesitated. She wasn’t sure she wanted to tell Pinkie what she had been thinking about. In truth she couldn’t stop thinking about Jorge. The orange cowpony was still furious about her barn. It had been brand new and after all the effort of having it destroyed and then rebuilding it, knowing that part of that hard work had gone to waste made her blood boil. As far as she was concerned Jorge was a no good monster that deserved whatever punishment the Princess had in store for him.
And yet… something about what Jorge had said in the forest bothered her. ‘Personally, I rather have just been killed.’ Applejack could not help feeling a little sad for the human despite how much she hated him at the moment. She couldn’t comprehend why anypony would want to be dead; it was just something she assumed was not possible. The orange mare had thought it was just a lie, and a very stupid lie at that, but she was the element of honesty and no matter how much she didn’t want to believe it she knew Jorge was telling the truth.
The more she thought about it the more conflicted she felt about her feelings towards Jorge. If everything he had said was true (and Applejack knew it was) then not everything that happened was his fault. He was just a victim of circumstance…
Applejack snorted. No, he’s just a monster. Nopony who attacks the Princess like that can be anything but evil. This thought did not quell her inner-turmoil however. Eager to think about something else she looked around the room for something to distract herself with. Pinkie Pie must have gotten bored waiting for a response from Applejack because she was blowing up balloons with a helium tank that Applejack assumed she must have pulled from her hair. The cowpony still found it hard to believe that Pinkie could be so chipper after Jorge had attacked the Princess. She didn’t even seem fazed by it.
Continuing her examination of the room, Applejack forced herself to focus on the library’s book shelves and endless supply of reading material.
Let’s see what we've got here. ‘Egghead’s guide to gardening’, ‘egghead’s guide to dragon training’, Spike musta really liked that one. 'Beginner's guide to apple farming'... yeah right. Transwotamationa-somthan; probably somethin’ ‘bout magic.
Applejack sighed. Nothing here really caught her interest. She turned towards her two remaining friends hoping to strike a conversation but was rendered speechless by what she saw.
Rarity and Rainbow Dash were both locked in a passionate embrace doing what experts may describe as ‘the transfusion of bodily fluids via the oral orifices’… they were making-out, is what I’m sayin’.
Applejack’s heart sank. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She felt like she had just been punched in the gut, and a part of her could hear a loud shattering sound as she watched her friends continue their lewd behavior.
“What the heck are ya’ll doin’!?” she yelled, unable to keep the hurt tone out of her voice. The response was not exactly what she was expecting.
“Quick Applejack, get her off me!”
“Darling, if you don’t stop moving you’ll ruin your new curls. Besides, little makeup will… uh…hide that black eye,” grunted Rarity as she tried to get the now bucking pegasus under control. “Oh this is preposterous. Applejack, be a dear and help me pin Rainbow down will you?”
Applejack was soon able to get a better view of the two and couldn’t help but stand slack-jawed at what she was witnessing. Much to her great relief Rarity and Rainbow Dash weren’t smooching like there was no tomorrow, but what was occurring was no less bizarre.
Rarity was pinning a finely dressed Rainbow Dash while applying mascara and eyeliner to the struggling mare with the aid of her magic. Dash for her part was sporting a marvelously stylized mane with flowing curls that helped accentuate each one of her hairs individual hues quite nicely. At this point, anyone viewing this might start wondering what events could have led to this strange occurrence; well, that is a story for another day.
Let us just say for now that Applejack began laughing so hard it was a wonder nobody in the adjacent rooms heard her. She continued laughing, both out of relief and from her cyan friend’s appearance, for another full minute before gaining control. When she settled down she was disappointed to find that Rainbow had managed to get Rarity of her and was now removing all of the makeup and doing her best to straighten her hair.
“Aw that’s a shame sugercube. You sure looked mighty purty with all that fru fru junk,” the cowpony snickered. “Ain’t that right Fluttershy?”
“Oh yeah? Laugh it up now Applejack cuz you’re gonna get so pranked tomorrow it won’t even be funny! I mean it is gonna be funny but for me… not for you. What I’m saying is-”
Rainbow’s awkward rant was thankfully interrupted by a now worried Applejack, who had just realized that Fluttershy was absent from the room.
“Hey Rainbow… where’s Fluttershy?”
“Huh? I don’t know it’s not like I, uh… keep… dammit… er tabs on her all the… time,” grunted Rainbow as she tried yanking Rarity’s dress off.
After a few moments, once they were no longer preoccupied with their own individual dilemmas, the four remaining elements of harmony were able to hear voices coming from the kitchen.
“I think that may have been the Princess.”
“No duh Rarity,” retorted Dash, who was still angry at the dress maker. “Maybe somepony should make sure she’s okay, you know, to make sure she’s not going crazy and talking to herself.”
“Has it ever occurred to you darling, that she may be talking to Fluttershy?” Despite her effort, Rarity was unable to keep the contempt out of her voice, as she was still upset at the loss of her dress.
“Are you kidding? Jo, or whatever that freak’s name is, is in there. Do you really think Fluttershy would go in there with him? Fluttershy?”
“Don’t be so worried Dashie, I’m sure the princess is fine,” assured Pinkie.
“Maybe somepony should ask her, just tah make sure everythang’s okay with Jorge,” Applejack emphasized the human’s name to Rainbow Dash, who rolled her eyes and muttered an apathetic ‘whatever’ under her breath in response.
Seeing nopony step forward to volunteer, Applejack sighed and cantered forward to the kitchen. She stopped when she was only a few meters away, less than thrilled about going in. She would never admit this to anypony, least of all Dash, but Jorge scared her. Rainbow had one heck of a right hook (Applejack knew this from personal experience) and to see Jorge just stand there and take them like it was nothing… it was quite jarring. Oh and there was that whole almost strangled the immortal moon goddess in less than a minute thing.
Applejack was torn. Either look like a wimp in front of Rainbow, which was not an option, or go into the room with the rampaging monster from space. Fortunately, she was struck with inspiration and immediately thought of a way to know what was going on and save face in front of her friends.
“Uh… Yer highness is everythang okay in there? It sounded like you were-“
“What are you waiting for, are you going in or not?”
Ah’m askin’ her Dash, calm down!” hissed Applejack. “It sounded like you were talkin’ ta somepony. Is Fluttershy with you?”
“Fear not Applejack. Everything is under control.”
The Princess’ voice was strained. She sounded somewhat uncertain. This didn’t sit well with the orange cowpony. Applejack frowned. She was about to call out a second time when, much to her relief, the Princess walked through what was left of the kitchen followed by Fluttershy and…
“Princess look out, it’s right behind you!!!”
Her fear and conflicting feelings forgotten, Applejack charged at the human who was standing right behind Fluttershy. Applejack barged past both the yellow mare and Luna, spun around, planted both front hooves firmly on the floor and bucked the armored human as hard as she could. It felt like she was bucking a brick wall. In her haste Applejack had failed to take into account the mass a metal surrounding the human that she was attempting to harm.
Speaking of which, had the human in question not been wearing any armor he would have become the proud (and sterile) owner of two imploded testicles. Instead he was simply the not so proud (and annoyed) recipient of a powerful buck to the groin, which he had barely felt under his armor.
Applejack turned around expecting to find the Spartan sprawled on the ground, reeling from her powerful attack. Much to her dismay this was far from the case and she instead saw Jorge looking down at her with an eyebrow raised and a bemused expression on his face, while a strange yellow light glowed around his body.
The orange mare paled. Determined to protect her friends she valiantly continued to uselessly buck Jorge, undeterred by her own fear or the fact that each buck was only marginally more effective than trying to paper-cut her way through his shields. She simply continued kicking him again…
Applejack yelped as she was gently, but unexpectedly lifted off the ground right as she was about to kick Jorge a fifth time. She soon found herself staring into Jorge’s brown eyes. The human was holding Applejack by the skin of her withers with ease.
“Please stop that,” Jorge said calmly, in a slightly irritated tone.
He unceremoniously dropped Applejack, who landed on her hindquarters with a loud *thump*.
“Princess what the hay!?!” cried Rainbow Dash. “Why isn’t that thing in a cage?”
Luna but her lip and nervously glanced at Jorge, afraid that he might retaliate at Rainbow Dash’s comment. Jorge just stared at the cyan Pegasus bearing the same expressionless, yet still grim, face.
“Rainbow Dash, it is rude to insult a guest in such a manner,” scolded the Princess in a voice not unlike Rarity’s. “We have agreed that all previous hostilities were simply misunderstandings produced by mutual ignorance.”
“Excuse me Princes, but I would hardly call what that ruffian did a simple ‘misunderstanding’,” huffed Rarity.
“That’s an understatement. It freaking choked you!”
“Thank you Rainbow Dash, I had not noticed that,” replied Luna, her eyes rolling as she did so. “Despite this we have reached an understanding; in fact, I believe Jorge has something to tell you.”
Jorge did not enjoy being treated like a child. He would actually prefer being treated like a monster in all honesty. At least that was threatening. He gave Luna a look that said as much and was pleased to see that she had understood… or at least it looked like she did. Sighing inwardly he turned to the four multi-colored, talking horses in front of him (he was still having trouble getting over that).
“I apologize for frightening you earlier this evening,” he said in the most polite tone he could muster. “As you’re… Princess has mentioned it was misunderstanding which unfortunately led to an excessively violent outcome for which I take full responsibility. I hope we can move past it.”
Jorge was somewhat proud of his apology. It was quite eloquent, which would hopefully help shed the misconception of him being a monster. More importantly though: It was sincere. The more he thought about it the more he realized that he had acted brashly and that he was to blame for all the misfortune that had befallen him and the ponies that day. He truly meant what he said and was confident that they would see this and accept his apology…
“You wrecked Twilight’s house and Applejack’s barn! Plus you attacked Princess Luna! But worst of all you freaking punched me! You think you can make it all better by saying you’re sorry? You’re lucky I don’t pound you right now.”
I can tell I’m going to get along with the rainbow haired one swimmingly, he thought.
“Rainbow Dash! While I do understand your anger there is no need for that kind of language,” Rarity reprimanded. “Besides I personally believe that Mr. Jorge’s apology was both sincere and articulate.”
“Oh come on you gotta be kidding me! What about all he did?”
“Don’t be silly Dashie. I’m sure Jorgie really really really reeeaaallly means it. Besides now we can have a welcome to Ponyville Mr. Alien party yay!”
Watching the Pinkie Pie left Jorge with so many questions. Is she always this happy? What party? Where did that cannon come from? Did that cannon just shoot confetti? And, most important of all:
Did she really just call me ‘Jorgie?’
“Are you serious Pinkie? He strangled the Princess, he’s dangerous.”
“Silly Dashie. I told you in the Everfree forest that my knee wasn’t pinching. My knee always pinches when there’s something dangerous nearby… or when Twilight face-hoofs, which has actually been happening a lot lately. Oh, also when the readers post a comment about armor lock, which may seem like something really specific but lately my knee’s been pinching like crazy!”
“What about you Fluttershy?” asked Rainbow, deciding to ignore Pinkie’s ‘nonsenses.’
“Oh um… I-I uh…” Fluttershy stammered, nervous at suddenly being the center of attention. After a moment she regained what little of her composure she could muster and addressed Rainbow. “I-I don’t t-think he’s t-that bad. It was j-just a mistake…”
“I don’t believe this!” Dash flew straight towards Jorge’s face, leaving her at eye level with him, and gave him the best death-glare she could muster. Jorge returned the gesture ten-fold. “You may have everypony else fooled, but me and Applejack know that you’re just a big, ugly-”
Dash gasped as she felt herself being dragged down to the ground by her tail.
“That’s enough Dash.”
“Applejack, what the hay!”
“Sorry sugercube, but you’re on your own on this.”
Rainbow Dash gaped at her friend, unable to believe what she had just heard. “Are you serious? Applejack, your barn! Twilight’s library! The Prince-”
“Ah know ah know, I also know that he’s tellin’ the truth.” Applejack looked up to Jorge. “Right?”
Jorge responded with a curt nod.
“Oh yeah? How do you know he’s not lying?”
Applejack stared at Dash with her best ‘are you serious?’ look, and gave Rainbow a few seconds to figure it out. Much to her disappointment, her rainbow maned friend still continued to stare at Applejack expectantly, waiting for an answer.
Applejack sighed and face-hoofed.
“Element uh honesty Dash. Sides, the Princess seems pretty sure that he’s okay.”
“You know, I am right here. There is no need to talk like I’m not.”
Rainbow ignored Jorge as she glared at Applejack. She turned to face each one of her friends hoping to find a modicum of support among them. All she got in return were disapproving looks.
“AAAAUUUGGHHH, fine!” she huffed. Dash flew to a corner in order to pout and mutter under her breath, occasionally glaring at Jorge.
The rest of the ponies just stood awkwardly refusing to look at Jorge, who had put his helmet back on.
"I told you Spike it’s perfectly safe."
All heads turned towards the now creaking staircase. Before long a pair of purple hooves could be seen at the top, beginning their decent.
"If you want to stay up there for now fine, but you'll have to come down eventually,” yelled Twilight towards the top floor of the library. “Sorry about that,” she said to the group downstairs. “Spike saw Jorge attack the Princess and now he’s refusing…to…come…down….” The lavender unicorn trailed off when she realized that a certain princess strangling human was in the room as well.
Sensing trouble brewing, Luna hastily explained to Twilight that everything was okay. “It was just a misunderstanding Twilight. I have forgiven Jorge and so have most of the girls.” Rainbow snorted. Well, most of them anyways.
“Oh. T-that’s…great!” said Twilight uncertainly. How long was I upstairs? “I’m glad that everything’s worked ou-” Uh oh.
The unicorn smiled nervously at Luna. “Uh Princess? I think we may have a problem.”
“What do you mean?”
“Um… remember that letter you told me to send to your sister. She’s on her wa-”
Before Twilight could finish a bright, white light flashed in the room, effectively blinding everyone. When Jorge regained his vision he saw that there were at least a dozen spears pointed directly at his face, each held by a pony clad in a golden centurion outfit. Behind the line of soldiers there stood another hybrid, completely white and wearing her own golden armor. She was radiating light throughout the entire room and her eyes burnt with fierce intensity.
“THOU SHALT NOT HARM MY SISTER!!!” she bellowed.
Jorge just stared, frozen, at the soldiers in front of him. Well… this is unexpected.
She was not having a good day. The Princess had been stressed ever since she read Twilight’s letter early that morning. The stress was not a result of the machine that her student described (although that was quite a bizarre tale) but was brought on by the fact that her sister was visiting another community outside of Canterlot for the first time since Nightmare Night; and while that had been a great success, Celestia knew that there were still some ponies who were apprehensive of Luna’s return, almost xenophobic-ly so. As much as it upset her, the Princess of the Sun couldn’t blame them. All those myths and tales about Luna’s fall from grace had become ingrained in the public’s psyche, so much so that many young foals were still convinced that Nightmare Moon was going to return eat them, or whatever nonsense children believed in these days.
Celestia had tried desperately to suppress these tales when they first began to surface all those years ago. Sadly that quickly proved futile, due to the shocking popularity of the stories. Because of this, Celestia was afraid that Luna’s arrival would be met with some hostility, even though it appeared as though she had been accepted by the town. As such, Celestia had told Twilight to try and keep the meeting subtle, and she was certain her student would go through great lengths to accomplish this. Even so, this didn’t help improve her dampened mood.
Her patience had only deteriorated further as she arrived to the city of Baltimare. The entire affair was a commemoration ceremony for a new statue of her that they were constructing in the city’s financial district. Now admittedly, while the Princess did find it quite flattering the first dozen times her ponies had constructed a statue in her honor, after a few thousand years and a million bucking statues later she was absolutely sick of them. They never got her flanks right. They were always obscenely big. While Celestia was proud of her *ahem*, let’s say voluptuous posterior, the sculptors always went too far. Unfortunately, this particular statue was no different.
The day only got worse from there. The official ceremony was dull and took an hour longer than predicted while the reception was full of pompous politicians who had all kissed her ass so much she was afraid their lips would chafe. Speaking of asses, the mayor seemed to be particularly fond of hers as he had spent most of the night gawking at it and boldly (yet stupidly) hitting on her. The food was meager and the Princess was left starving. The weather was appalling, as it rained all day. Worst of all she was forced to wear a fake smile throughout the entire ordeal and by the end of the day her cheeks had started cramping. All this stress was not helped by the fact that one of her guards had started attacking a waiter who had offered him beverage. The other guards had managed to subdue the crazed pony and as they dragged him out of the hall he started screaming something about a lampshade making him do it. Celestia had just chalked it up to a nervous breakdown but was forced to take responsibility for his actions nonetheless.
Then there was the tea. Holy Tartarus so much tea! The white alicorn liked tea as much as the next pony, maybe more so (to even suggest that she didn’t was ludicrous!), but even she had her limits. After tea with the head of the committee that had requisitioned the statue, tea with the sculptor, tea with the head of transportation in the city, tea with the mayor (that had been particularly awkward), and tea with the head of the sanitation department she was ready to banish all the bucking tea in Equestria to the moon.
Finally, after a last meeting with the head of the Balitmare Royal Guard Department (where there was, of course, more tea), she made it back to her hotel room. Lacking in all the grace she had been forced to fake that entire day, Celestia flopped on the white sheets of her princess sized bed.
“Why couldn’t it be Las Pegasus?” she grumbled into her pillow. “I could have had fun there at least.” The only consolation that the Princess had was that her hotel room was at least nice. Of course, that was to be expected for someone in her position. The bed she was on was a four poster bed with scarlet curtains made of silk. The mattress was actually a modified cloud and the pillows were enchanted so as to not have them fall through it. The room had a beautiful balcony with various ferns and flowers of every color running along the rails. Being on the top floor of the hotel also provided a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, and by night the urban landscape became filled with thousands of glittering yellow lights, which shone in a similar fashion as the crystal chandelier that hung from the ceiling in the center of the room. But even if she had been staying in the nicest hotel room on the planet, the Princess would still have found herself grumbling into her pillow in frustration.
Celestia was interrupted from wallowing in her own self-pity (or whatever it is ponies wallowed in) by a loud popping noise next to her head. She immediately recognized the sound and couldn’t help but smile. After what a nightmare the day had been, she could use a letter from her student to make her feel better. Maybe there was even news about Luna. Celestia lazily rolled onto her back and propped herself against the wooden backboard of her bed. She casually levitated her reading glasses onto her nose and brought the letter up to her face. She was surprised to find that the writing was shaky and full of scratched out letters, which was quite uncharacteristic of her protégé, who sometimes went to hilariously exaggerated lengths to ensure that everything came out perfect.
As she read the letter her smile rapidly turned into a deep frown as worry and, most of all, shock claimed her. By the time she was done, Celestia was left starring at the parchment in front of her with her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide. Her shock quickly turned to fury, and in her blind rage she failed to notice that the letter had burst into flame. All her previous grievances forgotten, the Princess leapt off her bed and began yelling in the Royal Canterlot Voice for the first time in almost half a dozen centuries.
Almost instantly, a black pony clad in golden armor and wearing a helmet with a red crest burst into the room and saluted the Princess. Chain Mail was head of Princess’ royal guard for the trip and, as such, had to be at her beck and call twenty-four/seven. While normally not the one to lead her highness’ guards on long trips like this, Chain Mail was the most experienced guard in Canterlot available at the time of their departure and, as dictated by tradition (and much to his chagrin), was forced to accompany the Princess on her trip. Being on Celestia’s detachment of personal guards was a notoriously dull experience. Infamous for never going beyond just looking over receptions, cocktail parties, or anything with tea involved. Needless to say, Chain Mail yearned for excitement.
And that was exactly what he got, for when he entered the Princess’ quarters and got a good look at her highness he was rendered speechless. To say that Celestia looked furious would be akin to describing the sun as ‘kinda warm.’ She was seething. As a matter a fact, the amount of heat she was radiating from pure rage was enough to melt the previously mentioned chandelier above her, and leave a large scorch mark on the floor where she stood. This sight turned the hardened soldier into a stuttering mess.
“CHAIN MAIL, ROUND UP A TROOP OF YOUR MOST EXPERIENCED GUARDS AND BRING THEM HERE AT ONCE!!!”
Before the guard could say anything Celestia vanished in a flash of white light, leaving the soldier all alone in the room. The Princess found herself outside the hotel in front of her royal carriage. Without saying anything to the confused ponies next to her, she made her way inside the golden vehicle and found what she had been looking for. Inside a glass case, tucked discreetly away in a corner of the carriage, was her old armor. The Princess always took her armor wherever she went, another tradition derived from a more chaotic time, when attacks from an enemy race were always a looming possibility. Of course, it had been almost a thousand years since last she wore the golden plates and she never thought she’d have to garb them again, but here she was.
Celestia quickly shattered the glass surrounding the vestment and started putting in on. She was crestfallen to find that it was much tighter than she remembered, and resolved herself to stop eating so much cake before going to bed every night. After much grunting and swearing, Celestia finally managed to don her armor. The plates where a luminescent gold that shone naturally whenever she wore them and on her breast was a larger version of her cutie-mark. Despite its disuse the armor was well maintained and, therefore, was in fantastic condition.
Once Celestia was fully clad in her protective clothing, she rapidly teleported back to her room and was relieved to find that Chain Mail had gathered ten other guards. All of their jaws hit the ground when they got a good look at their Princess. They had never seen her in her battle armor before, or this upset for that matter. Celestia ignored the looks and turned to address Chain Mail.
“In few moments I shall teleport us to Ponyville. Are you ready commander?” The Princess knew that teleporting so many ponies to such a great distance would leave her physically drained, but time was of the essence.
“Y-yes y-y-your highness,” stammered the royal guard. “um… may I ask what we’re doing first.”
Celestia sighed. “I recently received a letter from my personal student informing me that my sister, Princess Luna, was recently attacked by a monster in the Ponyville library. She requested that I come to their assistance with a troop of royal guards in order to apprehend the beast.”
At the mention of the Luna being attacked, every guard in the room tensed and Chain Mail managed to shed his nervous demeanor.
“Anything we should expect from this creature your highness?” he asked in a more commanding voice. “His appearance for example?”
“Sadly no. Both letters where quite vague,” admitted Celestia. “All I know is that it is supposedly made of metal.”
Chain Mail’s eyebrows rose in surprise but he said nothing. He gave the Princess a quick nod.
“Very well, we are ready your highness.”
Celestia nodded back. Her horn started to glow and before any of the guards could react they found themselves standing in the middle of Ponyville’s library. The Princess slumped forward briefly after having used up so much energy, but quickly composed herself. She began looking around the room frantically and was relieved to see that her sister and all the elements were unharmed. She was about to greet them when she noticed Jorge standing right next to Luna. Her guards noticed him as well, for they immediately got into a defensive ring around the Spartan and pointed their weapons at him. It wasn’t too difficult to figure out he was the aforementioned beast. He was a seven foot tall metal biped after all. Not exactly subtle.
Celestia flared her wings and put herself right behind her line of royal guards. “THOU SHALT NOT HARM MY SISTER!!!” she bellowed.
Jorge looked down at the spears in front of him and then raised his head towards the Princess. He didn’t know what to make of this new situation. He assumed that this was Luna’s sister, who else could she be? The Spartan tried to say something to calm the enraged pony before him, but he was so caught off guard by the suddenness of her appearance that he honestly could not think of anything useful to say.
“Spears, really?” he finally asked in an amused tone. “That’s cute.”
Before the Princess could respond she felt herself being blindsided and subject into a crushing hug by Luna, who couldn’t help but squee in excitement.
“Sister!” she shouted enthusiastically, completely forgetting about the confrontation that was occurring in front of her. “Did you just use the Royal Canterlot Voice!? Oh I haven’t heard you use it in ages.”
“It’s good to see you too Luna,” wheezed Celestia. She turned to face her sister and gasped when she got a good look at her neck.
“Luna, your throat! What happened to it? How did it get so bruised?” she asked, her voice thick with concern.
Luna’s eyes widened. Seriously!? Not even I can tell when I get bruised, how the hell can everypony else?
“Oh this? Well… uh… you see… Jorge may have accidentally...um… strangled me.” Luna stressed the word ‘accidentally’ as much as possible. Jorge said nothing throughout the whole conversation. He just continued to stare at the two sisters in bewilderment, ignoring the spears and menacing glares from the soldiers in front of him.
“Who?” asked Celestia.
“You know, the…*ahem*… ‘beast’ your currently attacking.” The Princess of the Night smiled sheepishly at Jorge. Was I this hysterical when I attacked him? she asked herself.
“So let me see if I understand,” began Celestia slowly and deliberately. “This creature… this ‘Jorge’… he attacked and strangled you?”
“Yes, but everything’s fine it was just an acciden-”
Before Luna could finish she found herself being covered in a shower of wood and debris that seemed to be falling from the ceiling. The Princess shielded herself with her forelegs instinctively and, once rubble stopped cascading on top of her, got a good look at what had happened. The library was a mess (well, more than it already was anyways). Splintered wood lay strewn about the entire floor and not a single book remained in its shelf. Most of the guards and the girls were covered in debris and were helping each other up. Celestia was gone and so was Jorge, but what really caught Luna’s attention was a giant hole in the ceiling right above where he had just been standing. Uh oh.
Jorge for his part was lying on a bed, which had been crushed under his weight, after being launched through the ceiling by Celestia.
“Okay, now that’s just getting irritating,” the Spartan mumbled to himself. As he slowly got up he failed to notice a certain purple dragon who had passed out from the shock of having a giant metal being burst through the floor like a jack-in-the-box. Jorge dusted himself off as best he could and was about to make his way downstairs to try and calm the enraged Princess, when he felt an all too familiar sensation take hold of his body. Before he could react, he felt himself get pushed back onto the ground as pressure began being exerting on his chest. He looked up and saw Celestia towering over him, her eyes burning with rage and hate.
Luna rushed upstairs and saw the entire scene. “Sister please you don’t underst-”
“Stay back Luna,” snapped Celestia.
Luna’s eyes narrowed. “No, you cannot just-”
“I SAID STAY BACK!!!” Celestia’s voice was so loud that it shattered every window in the building. Had Jorge not been wearing his helmet, he was confident that his eardrums would have burst. Luna cowered under her sister’s fiery gaze. She had never before seen her this upset.
“YOU WILL PAY, YOU HEINOUS CREATURE!!!”
Now it was Jorge’s turn to get angry. He had been subjected to enough shit by these ponies and was getting absolutely sick of it. Everything he did was a product of his own ignorance and yet these creatures treated him with nothing but anger and condescension, even in the few cases where he did absolutely nothing wrong. He was sick of these aliens, sick of their insults, sick of their yelling, and, most of all, sick of being attacked and pinned to the ground by their telekinesis.
“ENOUGH!!!” roared the Spartan in rage. Using all strength he had left, Jorge pushed himself off the ground and unto his feet. Celestia was momentarily stunned by the fact that he was getting up, but quickly collected herself and sent another way of energy towards the human. Jorge staggered and almost fell backwards, but he managed to regain his footing and take a step forward. Then another, and another.
The Princess could not believe what she was seeing. This creature shouldn’t even be able to stand much less walk. She sent another ripple of energy, stronger than of the others, towards the human. Jorge’s shield glowed in protest but he marched on undeterred. Celestia continued sending wave after wave of raw magical force, each one stronger than the last. The walls of the library began cracking and Luna could swear she felt the second story floor shift slightly but the Princess of the Sun did not notice. Astoundingly enough, not only did the Spartan seem to shrug off each wave, but he actually started picking up the pace.
Finally, when he was only a few feet away from Celestia, Jorge surged forward in a massive burst of speed. Before the Princess could back up, the human kicked her legs from under her and wrapped his right arm around her neck, putting her in a tight headlock. Celestia desperately tried to use more magic to defend herself but before she could warm up another spell, Jorge grabbed her horn with his left hand and jerked her head downward. When she tried to use her magic a second time he repeated the motion, bending the horn even more.
“Turn it off or I break it off!” he threatened.
Celestia immediately stopped channeling her magic and remained perfectly still under the soldier’s control. Tears slowly began welling in her eyes, both from the pain in her horn and out of fear of being at the monster’s mercy.
“Now, I’m going to let go,” explained Jorge in a much calmer voice. “Then you and I are going to have a nice civil discussion on what occurred. Understand?”
As soon as Celestia nodded, Jorge released her and took a step back. The Princess immediately jumped back and lowered her head, aiming her horn at the Spartan as it began to glow again. Expecting as much, Jorge instantly whipped his pistol out of his holster and aimed it at the mare's head. Both were left standing, aiming at each other with their respective weapons, neither daring to move. Jorge’s trigger finger started itching again and this time he was very tempted to give it a good scratching. He had just given the alicorn a chance to end the confrontation and she foolishly chose to take advantage of that by threatening him again. As far as he was concerned if this creature was stupid enough to do that then it deserved to die. But, exerting as much self-control as he could manage, Jorge managed to prevent himself from firing and instead turned his head slightly towards Luna.
“Luna, do you see this metal thing in my hand?” he asked with unnerving coolness.
“Right, it’s called a gun. Do you know what it does?”
Luna shook her head weakly.
“It’s what I used to take down that hydra in the swamp,” explained the human. “So tell your sister to calm the fuck down, before I splatter her brains across the wall.”
Luna’s eyes widened in shock. “Tia…p-please,” she whispered pleadingly.
Celestia’s eyes shifted between Jorge and her sister. Finally, growling at the human one last time, she lifted her horn away from him. Jorge kept the firearm trained on the Princess for a few extra seconds before placing it back in its holster. Everyone was left standing in the room as an awkwardly silence descended upon them.
“Well… that sure was exciting,” laughed Luna in a desperate attempt to ease the tension. Needless to say, it did not work and all she got in response were two glares.
“Luna, can I talk to you for a moment?” asked Celestia curtly. Without waiting for a response the Princess led her sister to the entrance of the stairs and took a deep breath.
Luna sighed. “This is Jorg-”
Celestia raised her hoof to silence her sister. “Yes I gathered that,” she replied harshly. “What I want to know is why does he look like a human? Why did he attack you? And most importantly, why aren’t you letting me banish him to the bucking moon!?”
“Alright, to answer your first question, he is a human!”
“Please Luna, now’s not the time for jokes,” Celestia answered irritably.
“He is! That’s what he calls himself anyways. Besides, I saw him without that helmet of his and he looks remarkably similar to ancient images of them,” Luna explained excitedly, her eyes sparkling with glee. “Tia, you’re looking at a living, breathing myth.”
Celestia’s eyes widened. She took a quick glance at the aforementioned human and saw that he was twirling an obscenely large knife in his fingers. She turned her attention back to Luna. “Really?”
Her sister nodded enthusiastically in response. Celestia was suddenly filled with the desire to charge at the ‘human’ and barrage him with hundreds of questions, as the very implications of his existence were monumental. A living myth! She suppressed this urge and took another deep breath to calm herself. “Okay, fill me in on the details later, now what about my other questions?”
“Tia, it wasn’t his fault.”
Celestia snorted. “Yes, and I suppose he just tripped and accidently strangled you.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “I attacked first Tia, he was just defending himself.”
“Why in the holy name of Tartarus would you attack him!?”
Luna grinned sheepishly at her sister. “I may have assumed he was harming Twilight.”
“Well was he?”
“Hehe… uh no,” muttered Luna, blushing in embarrassment.
Celestia face-hoofed. “Oh Lulu…”
“Look, the point is, we managed to calm everything down and start a civil discussion with how to proceed with his situation, when you attacked him for no reason.”
“Twilight’s letter said you needed my help to subdue him!” accused Celestia indignantly.
Luna waved her hoof dismissively. “Regardless, I believe you owe him an apology. So get over there and say you’re sorry young lady.”
“Luna, I’m older than you.”
Luna just pointed towards the Spartan and put on her best ‘disappointed mother’ face. Celestia glared at her sister briefly before groaning and making her way towards Jorge. When he saw the Princess approach him, the human immediately gripped his knife tightly in his hand. Celestia ignored this and looked at the human bashfully. I suppose Luna is right, I am the one at fault here.
Clearing her throat, the Princess began apologizing to the Spartan. “Human, I would like to apologize for my brash behavior. This confrontation between us was entirely my doing.”
Jorge just grunted in response. Celestia was disappointed and somewhat insulted by his dismissive answer, but she continued nonetheless.
“Allow me to introduce myself officially. My name is Princess Celestia. Co-ruler of Equestria, raiser of the sun, and Princess Luna’s elder sister.”
Raiser of the sun? thought Jorge in confusion. What’s up with the weird titles?
He continued to examine the Princess suspiciously for a few minutes. He saw that behind Celestia, Luna was giving him an encouraging nod.
“A nevem Jorge,” he finally said.
“My name is Jorge.”
As if on cue, the awkward silence from earlier descended over the room again as both the human and the Princess refused to look at each other.
“Oh for goodness sakes, kiss already!” cried Luna.
Both Jorge and the Princess snapped their heads towards the blue alicorn and looked at her in shock.
“Just kidding,” said the mischievous mare, trying her hardest to stifle her laughter. “B-but all joking aside, we should probably tell the others that everything has been resolved.”
Celestia and the Spartan nodded. The three of them made their way down the stairs and into the library’s foyer. Everypony appeared to be fine, and the rest of the guards were helping their last companion out of a particularly tall pile of rubble. When they saw the human, the soldiers immediately got into position to attack him but the both Princesses managed to calm them down. After some coaxing, they managed to assure everypony that Jorge was no longer a threat and that both parties had agreed to work with each other to try and solve his strange… situation. Rainbow Dash was crestfallen; as she had been hoping that Celestia would ‘pound’ him (she was still a tad touchy about the whole black eye thing). Once the hostilities were completely diffused, Jorge quietly sat down in a corner of the library and began inspecting his weapons. The girls and royal guards all started clearing up the library as best they could, while both Celestia and Luna made their way through the blanket covering the front entrance and out of the building. Once they were out of earshot from everypony inside, Luna turned to face her sister.
“So Tia… your old armor huh?”
Celestia chuckled. “Yes. It did seem rather appropriate at the time.”
“You should wear it more often. You look good in it. Quite sexy.”
“I’m serious,” laughed Luna. “You got this whole dominatrix thing going. If you just put that on at banquets or the Gala then the stallions would be throwing themselves all over you.”
Celestia blushed furiously to which Luna laughed even harder.
“Um… y-your h-h-highnesses?”
Both the Princess’ heads snapped towards the source of the voice and their eyes widened to the size of platters at what they saw. The entire town was right in front of them and, somehow, the two alicorns had been too preoccupied to notice. At least a hundred ponies where staring slack-jawed at the Princesses. Celestia’s blush intensified further. How long have they been standing there?
The Princess of the sun coughed uncomfortably and approached the crowd. “G-gre-t *ahem* Greetings my little ponies. May I help you?”
A pony she recognized as Mr. Cake stepped forward. The stallion in question was about to speak but overhearing the alicorns’ conversation had put some lewd images in his head (and in every other stallion’s head present for that matter). Before he could speak the poor pastry maker became distracted by a particularly interesting fantasy that bore into his mind. Celestia was standing over him, holding a whip and clad in a skimpier version of her battle armor, while he was tied up to a large bed with a ball gag in his mouth. The Princess stepped over him, raised her whip, and-
Mr. Cake started coughing violently and managed to focus again. “Uh… w-we just wanted t-to know i-if everyt-t-thing i-is okay,” he stuttered. “There was quite a lot of uh commotion.” He nervously looked back to his wife in fear, as if she had managed to read his mind. Mrs. Cake simply glared back at him with a look that said ‘I know, and there’ll be hell to pay for it later.’ The yellow stallion gulped audibly.
Celestia for her part was absolutely mortified that the town had overheard her conversation with Luna, but still managed to maintain a steady voice. “Everything is fine. Please, everypony, go home. The situation is under control.”
The crowd reluctantly dispersed and returned home, save for a few of the more curious townsfolk, who lingered around the property. Fearing that her more stubborn subjects would attempt to enter the library, Celestia called Chain Mail and ordered him to form a perimeter around the building to make sure that nopony entered. Once the rest of the towns ponies were gone, and her guards where posted around the premises, the Princess sighed again.
“I’ve had a long day.”
“You’ve had a long day!?” cried Luna. “I’ve had a long day! I had to march through the Everfree forest for hours, look for your personal student after she somehow got lost, keep Rainbow Dash killing herself by attacking Jorge; then, after being strangled, I had to keep him from killing you! My sister, you do not know the meaning of having a long day.”
“Oh yeah? I had a meeting with the mayor of Baltimare today.”
Luna couldn’t help but shudder. “Okay, you win.”
Both burst in laughter, relieving any and all tension that remained from that night’s events.
“How that pig got elected into office I’ll never know,” chuckled Celestia as she wiped a tear from her eye.
“Me neither,” laughed Luna. “So what should we do now sister?”
Celestia pondered the question. After much internal deliberation she decided that she was much too tired to come up with a proper decision that night.
“I believe that, for now at least, we should just get some rest and try to organize this tomorrow, seeing as it will probably take a long while. I mean, a human!”
“I know right!” squealed Luna excitedly. “I can’t wait to study him.”
“Luna, I don’t think that would be a good idea,” said Celestia wearily. She felt horn start to throb at the memory of the Spartan holding it in his grip. “We should just take it easy around Jorge for now.”
“Right, of course. Only one tiny little autopsy to start with.” Luna winked at her sister. “I get it.”
“I’m just kidding Tia,” laughed the blue alicorn. “Geez, with how serious you’re being you’d think you’ve just been in a fight with a giant biped clad in metal…or something.”
Celestia sighed irritably but couldn’t help but give her sister a small smile. “Where should he stay for now though?”
Luna hummed pensively. “How about the library?”
“Twilight’s not going to like that, but I guess it will serve for the time being. I suppose it would be best to keep him secret… for now at least.”
“Very well,” agreed Luna. “I’ll go tell him. What will you do?”
“I shall stay here in Ponyville tonight. I have to raise the sun in a few hours anyways and I’m feeling too exhausted to return to Canterlot. Besides, it would be best if I stayed in the town until we figure this,” she waved her hoof towards the library, “...out. I’ll see you later, okay Luna?”
“Goodnight Tia.” With that, blue alicorn turned around and headed back into the library. The elements were still there but were huddled on one side of the room, as far away from Jorge as possible, who was sitting in the same corner as before, sharpening his knife against his armor rather menacingly. Luna told the elements they could go home, but they insisted on staying to help clean up the library. After much discussion, the Princess had to practically order the girls to leave. Eventually, the five mares all reluctantly made their way out of the library, Rainbow stopping briefly to glare at Jorge one last time before taking flight and heading back to her cloud home.
“All right then. Twilight?”
“Jorge will be staying at the library for the time being.” Or what’s left of it thought Luna as she looked at the damaged walls that surrounded them. “Understood?”
“Oh, um… that’s uh… fantastic,” Twilight said nervously as she put on a fake smile and glanced at Jorge. “But I don’t think I have an extra room large enough for him. There is the basement but th-”
“That’s fine,” said Jorge, brusquely.
“Are you sure?” asked Twilight. “There isn’t a mattress and it is awfully messy down there.” Although, it isn’t much better up here come to think of it.
The Spartan shrugged. “I’ve slept in worse places. Besides I already spent the night there once before.”
“Very well, I shall see you both tomorrow,” said Luna, nodding at both the unicorn and the human. “But first. Jorge, my sister and I have decided that for now it would be best to keep your presence a secret. Revealing you to the public now would just make this already confusing situation all the more complicated.”
“If the rest of your population would react to me the same way you and your sister did I believe that’s a good idea,” snorted Jorge.
Ignoring the jab, Luna excused herself and left the library for the last time that night. Once the Princess was gone, Twilight looked nervously at Jorge.
“W-well, goodnight,” she said with forced cheerfulness. Jorge just stared coolly at the unicorn.
“Yeah, I better go upstairs and check on Spike… my assistant. Sooooo… the basement’s that way goodnight!” Twilight rushed up the stairs and into as fast as she could and locked the door her. Ever since she watched him attack the Princess, Twilight was nervous around the human, despite their chat in the woods.
Jorge sighed and made his way down the stairs into the dark subfloor. Now that he wasn’t exhausted from the slipsace jump, he was able to get a good look at the room for the first time. Old machinery was scattered all over the place and cables hung casually from the ceiling. There were some old books lining the walls but not nearly to the degree as the first floor upstairs. Everything was covered with dust and grime, which revealed just how long it had been since someone other than him had been here. Jorge found what he recognized as the corner that he had woken up in that morning and, deciding that it was a good place as any, sat down and leaned against an old computer behind him.
The day’s events replayed in Jorge’s head. Waking up in the library, bursting out of the barn, wandering around the forest, the conversation the Twilight and the Princess, fighting both of the alicorns… it all still felt so surreal. Jorge pushed these thoughts out of his head. He was extremely tired and knew that if he didn’t stop thinking about all of this new information he would never get to sleep. He had a nagging sensation that he would need all the energy he could get for tomorrows events.
Who know, maybe it’ll involve being thrown around like a ragdoll some more, he thought cynically.
The Spartan started going through the audio files on his helmet and eventually found what he was looking for. Jazz started playing through the speakers within his helmet. While more of a fan of classical music, Jorge had always loved jazz. The rhythmic beats and base never failed to calm him, and he always tried to play it whenever he had trouble sleeping. But, despite listening to the smooth music, the Spartan found sleep to be evasive.
He couldn’t stop thinking of Reach and how it might be fairing after the Covenant’s attack. Had they manage to get their defenses up again? Would the aliens attempt another assault? Had they even cleared what was left of the enemy forces to begin with? The lack of information was nagging Jorge and making him anxious. The only consolation he had was the knowledge that, for the time being, he had been able to save the planet. That was all that mattered. Anything that happened to him now was inconsequential. He had given his home more time; the thought of this was enough to put a small smile on his face. With this thought, Jorge drifted off into a deep sleep.
That night, the Spartan dreamt of fire and blood…
In the words of the great George R.R. Martin: "This one was a bitch."
I would once again like to thank Varocity and BassTheBrony for helping me edit this chapter and for making me laugh in their edit notes.
Thanks for reading.
P.S: I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to it but there will be no shipping involving Jorge.