Chapter Three: So a Man, a Mare, and a Baby Dragon Flew Into Ponyville ...
Editors: 00Lizard and Meliron
Well, hello there again, friend! So good of you to stop by for another visit. Just to let you know, I really do enjoy these moments with you. It's something to actually look forward to; a bit of normality in an otherwise abnormal day ... life … existence ...
How am I doing you ask? Well, I'm doing ... wait, what's that? You didn't ask? Oh, I'm sure you did. I wouldn't just hear things like that, would I? You're right, of course not, Shaun!
Anyway, back to the question at hand, I'd love to assure you that I am in fact NOT doing alright at the moment. After we left off last time I mentally prepared myself for possibly having my life screwed over on a daily basis. It was fairly easy, a three step process even!
The first step involved me having a small breakdown once again. After that, the next step involved ice cream ... lots and lots of damned delicious ice cream. The final step involved me looking into a mirror and telling myself that, no, life is in fact not okay anymore and I will just have to man up and deal with it like a boss. That final bit instilled the confidence I needed in order to face the trials ahead.
Bring it on, ponies. I'm ready for any damn thing you throw at me now!
And so I was ...
… Or at least I thought I was ...
Then I find myself in a situation like this one. But before I go into details, just for the record, I am not afraid of heights. I have never had a problem with flying on an airplane. I love riding roller coasters and have no problem with the feeling of free-fall. I just wanted to establish that fact before you think I'm some sort of scared little baby.
You'll remember that, yes? Not think any less of me, right? Won't revoke my man-card, will you?
… I heard that, jerk …
Well, whatever …
So, after possibly being trolled by the ruler of a nation of ponies, I now find myself flying in a chariot pulled by two pegasi guards headed to some town named Ponyville. Yeah, that's right. I'm on a flying chariot to Ponyville! And I can say that without needing some kind of medication ... or therapist.
Actually, I probably do still need both, just ... for different reasons...
You would think flying on a chariot would be an interesting experience. However, I am glad that I am here to educate you on just how wrong you are. Oh, I'm sure this could be more enjoyable if there were more safety devices holding me in here. I mean, my white knuckle death grip seems to have sufficed thus far, but I would feel better if I had a rope or something to tie me in ...
… Or perhaps we could have just taken the pony train I’ve heard about ...
Well, of course that would have been too easy, I suppose ...
On the upside of this little adventure, Sparky seems to be too busy being mad at life and the universe to actually talk, opting instead to hang her head over the side and growl every so often. She was still somewhat emotionally, okay, very emotionally compromised due to the whole situation. Or what I mean to say ... she is pissed off. Perhaps a little sad as well, but pissed off first and foremost.
The little dragon wasn’t helping things, either. He kept talking, and even though I wasn’t paying attention, Sparky kept glancing at him, then at the ground in frustration. It was obvious ...
Wait, what's that? You want to know why I’m not listening to what Spike is talking about? Yeah, um, if I haven't made it abundantly clear, I have more pressing issues of concern at this moment. Like, oh ... falling to my death? So ... in other words, I don't know, nor do I give a damn about what is being said.
Shaun is once again all out of fucks to give. Please try again later.
I saw what I believed was the town we were heading to finally coming into view. Like everything else in this world, it looked like the product of the imagination of a seven year old girl. Yet, at this point in time I don’t really give a damn ... I just want this chariot to land. Then again, this might not be our destination and we in fact might just have another hour to go ...
Remember, the universe has me on its shit list at the moment. And Murphy is its hitman ...
When we started to descend, out of instinct I immediately began to look for the nearest floatation device ... but there was only Sparky or Spike. Hell, Sparky was more of a lead weight than a useful lifesaver if our interactions were any indication to go on.
… What's that? Why am I looking for a floatation device, you ask? That’s ... actually a good question ... I’ll get back to you when I can find an acceptable answer.
Anyway, thankfully for my nerves and the stomach ulcer I was tenderly nurturing, I realized that this was indeed our destination. Seems the natural order was either feeling merciful, looking the other way, or too busy screwing someone or something else over at the moment. Don’t know, don’t care ... I just caught a break!
’Welcome to Pony-freaking-ville, Shaun! Population? Who the hell cares?! You can walk on solid ground again!’
So ... in my mind when we landed, I was going to keep my cool, step off the chariot, and take a deep breath. I perhaps might even wave and great the citizens in a refined and cheerful manner. And everything would be fine again for a few moments, at least.
… Sadly, what Shaun thinks and what Shaun does seldom match up ...
Shaking badly, I stumbled out of the chariot. My legs finally gave out and I landed on the cobblestone street on my hands and knees. I proceeded to try and hug the ground beneath me while screaming, “Land! Sweet, sweet, delicious land! I love you so much!”
Not as much as beer or bacon of course, but land ... you can be my mistress on the side.
My compatriots, as well as a number of ponies in the immediate area, gave me strange looks for the outburst. However, I ignored the small crowd that kept its distance because, as I said earlier, Shaun just doesn’t give a damn at the moment. I have ground, my life is complete.
Sparky shook her head and disembarked from the chariot, followed closely by her trusty sidekick. She looked at the two pegasi with a smile, "Thank you, sirs." They snorted with pride at the appreciation.
As the unicorn and dragon began to walk off, the two guards then turned to me and stared for a moment before one of them addressed me. "Excuse me ... Shaun ... but I'd just like to remind you of the talk you had with the captain of the guard before you left," said one of the pegasi to me.
Oh yeah, about that ... apparently Twilight's older brother is the captain of the Canterlot Royal Guard ... and a BIT overprotective of his younger sister. My luck may suck, but hell if it isn’t consistent. He had approached me before we left to offer a word of advice. It went something along the lines of, "She's Celestia's student and my younger sister ... just keep that in mind." Short, sweet, to the point, and not the least bit threatening ...
I stood up, dusted myself off, turned back to the pegasi, and gave them a smile along with the one fingered salute. I thought that was the best way to let them know that I understood the message perfectly before picking up my saddlebag.
… Yes, my saddlebag. They’ve had a human in this world for all of two weeks. So no, I don’t have a regular bag. I needed a place to stash our stuff and an extra set of clothes. And barring the name, I’m just thankful it doesn’t look like a European man bag ... or as I like to call them, the man purse.
The pegasi snorted in annoyance, before taking off once again. The guards had caught on that the gesture meant something rude thus far ... though I still had not elaborated on its actual meaning.
Which, by the way, I won't do because contrary to what you might believe, I'm not that stupid ...
As the guards flew off I looked around to take in our surroundings before I noticed a pink pony trotting towards us. Aside from the fact that she looked like her mane and tail came from a cotton candy machine, she looked rather happy and normal, at least to me. Hence, that meant my instincts were setting off alarm bells in my head.
’Beware the unassuming ones, Shaun!’
"Ah, come on Twilight, at least try! Maybe the ponies in Ponyville have interesting things to talk about?" Spike practically begged the unicorn. Seems he really wanted Sparky to heed the princess’ advice.
She sighed, but forced a smile as the pink mare came closer and timidly asked, "Uh … hello?"
Turns out my instincts seem damn good. Instead of responding like one would assume a rational and thinking being would, the pony jumped into the air and gasped. She quickly found the earth again, before bounding off in apparent fright.
’… What the hell just happened?’
Sparky looked incredibly confused for a moment, before she frowned in exasperation. "Well, that was interesting, alright..." ’She meant hilarious, of course, but I won’t fault her for mixing up words.’
I regarded the fleeting figure of the excitable pony, "I like Pinks, she seems fairly intelligent." Sparky looked at me, the expression on her face conveying both mild confusion and irritation, and clearly indicating for me to elaborate. "What I mean to say, is that she's probably got a sense for these sorts of things."
"What sorts of things?"
"Spotting lunatics, of course."
Sparky opened her mouth to say something, but instead just rubbed her forehead while looking at me in annoyance. "I hope you know that before I started dealing with you, I seldom had any headaches. Now I have headaches every day, Shaun! Why do you think I get so many headaches lately?"
I looked at her thoughtfully for a moment before responding. "Brain cancer?"
She opened her mouth, clearly ready for a retort, but then she blinked in confusion, "What's cancer?" ’Annnnnd there goes my joke ...’
I sighed, “It’s not funny if I have to explain. ..” ’Well ... technically not funny either way, I suppose.’
Sparky looked at me, but before she could speak, Spike finally decided to chime in again, "Can you two at least try to enjoy this trip and not continue to act like a merlion and a mane of war?" '... A what the hell now?'
I looked at Spike with a raised eyebrow. "Umm, please forgive me for not getting the reference ... but what are those?"
Twilight rolled her eyes at the both of us before looking at me to explain. "A merlion is a rather annoying, and at times, mildly dangerous sea creature, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Their chief rivals over territory are the mane of war ... it's a jellyfish with a mane."
"... seriously?" I questioned. That just sounded entirely made up.
"Of course I'm being serious. Why wouldn't I be?"
I looked at her flatly, looking for any hint of insincerity on her face, but there was none. Slowly I began to ask, "So ... basically a freaky fish and a jellyfish with hair, that fight each other over territory?" I looked at Spike, "That doesn't seem anything like us. Well ... maybe a little, but only remotely."
Before Spike could say anything, Sparky let out an annoyed breath and began to elaborate, "They don't physically fight each other. Instead, they release a prolonged series of high pitched noises in an attempt to irritate their opponents into submission ... though generally, it seldom works.”
I thought about that statement for a moment before hesitantly asking, "So ... they scream and bicker at one another until one side gives up?"
The unicorn nodded, "Essentially."
"Oh, okay then," I paused to think before I looked at Spike and smiled, "An apt observation on your part I suppose, Mr. Dragon."
Apparently he didn’t expect that sort of response; however, after briefly looking at me strangely, he just shrugged his shoulders. "Thanks!" he exclaimed with a smirk, before quickly looking confused. "What does 'apt' mean?"
"Ugh," huffed Twilight, who then turned and began to walk off. "Let's just move on and get everything over with already ..."
I gave her a mock salute, “Will do, Miss Grumpy-corn.” Instinctively, I believe Sparky understood that this was going to be a long day ... for her, at least.
As for myself? Well, when life gives you ponies ... actually ... screw you, life! That is all.
The walk through town was strange, to say the least. Every pony stopped to look at me as we made our way to our first destination, though thankfully none of them ran away screaming about the monster that is Shaun. Not saying that the stares bother me ... actually, yes they do. Apparently the ponies didn’t understand it was rude to give someone the impression they were probably best at home at a sideshow.
Thankfully, none of the onlookers attempted to talk to us; though I noticed one mare in particular, a mint green one with a lyre for a cutie mark, stopped to gawk at me for an exceptionally long time. For some reason she unnerved me the most ...
We continued walking along the road that led outside the town in relative silence. Which meant that ultimately I was bored. And cranky still. Getting a bit hungry, too ...
My stomach growled at that realization and I had to ask, “Hey, do we actually know where we’re going? I’m getting kind of hungry here ...”
“Of course we do, Shaun,” replied Sparky matter-of-factly. “Did you think the Princess would send me here without telling me what we needed to do?”
“Need I remind you that she sent me with you? That doesn’t constitute sound planning, if you ask me.”
Sparky continued to trot away, not bothering to look at me as she flatly questioned, “Well, did we ask you?”
“Umm, no … ” ’That’s actually becoming a common theme in this world …’
She looked over her shoulders and narrowed her eyes at me, “There’s a reason for that.”
“Ouch, Sparky. That cut me deep …”
She said nothing in return, and continued on in silence until we found ourselves nearing a farm. Now, I’m just going to take a stab in the dark here … but with all the apple trees around I’m going to guess this is an apple orchard. Therefore, they probably make their living off the growing and selling of apples! Never let it be said that I wasn’t a bright and observant one!
… Actually, it would be my luck they make their living off the growing and selling of carrots ...
The unrolling of a parchment brought me back to reality. "Summer Sun Celebration's Official Overseer's Checklist,” said Spike as he looked at a parchment in his claws, “Number one, banquet preparations, Sweet Apple Acres.”
“Yeehaw!” cried out a voice off to our right. Turning towards the newcomer, I saw a blonde maned orange earth pony wearing a Stetson hat charging at a tree. As the pony neared it, she quickly spun around and bucked the trunk, knocking all the apples off the tree and neatly into awaiting baskets on the ground before striking a smug looking pose ...
… Yup, seems legit to me ...
Oh, and her cutie mark is three apples. Guess that means she works with apples then, right?
’I’m batting a thousand on the observations today!’
Twilight sighed, “Let’s get this over with ...”
She walked up to the pony and with an air of importance began, “Good afternoon. My name is Twilight Sparkle and-”
Sparky didn’t get a chance to continue as the pony in question quickly came up to her and began to shake hooves vigorously. “Well howdy do, Ms. Twilight! A pleasure makin’ your acquaintance! I’m Applejack. We here at Sweet Apple Acres sure do like makin’ new friends!”
“Friends?” questioned Sparky.
I looked at the comical display, briefly amused before I realized that was probably me next. Yeeeeaaaaahhh ... that looks like it might hurt some. Not letting that happen to me ...
Time for some good old fashioned human logic!
The farm pony finally turned to me with a questioning look, but still offered me her hoof as well. “Nice to meet ya as well, Mr ...”
“Davis, Shaun Davis. And I must apologize, but the shaking of limbs in such a vigorous fashion as a greeting is a sign of sexual promiscuity among my people." I coughed and nodded my head at her, “A simple nod will suffice.”
Sparky looked at me wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and dumbfounded. Spike was scratching his head, a look of confusion adorning his face once again. Seriously, is she teaching this young mind any advanced vocabulary? Apparently not ... poor kid.
As for Applejack ... she just looked lost and confused, “Sexual promi-what now?”
“Don’t mind him!” quickly exclaimed the unicorn with a strained smile as she pushed me to the side. ’Hey ... if she wants to do the talking, I’ll be more than happy to step aside ...’
I nodded in agreement, “I can say from personal experience that’s probably the best advice she’ll ever give you.”
“Err, alrigh’ I suppose,” she hesitantly said as she looked at the both of us with a confused expression. “So ... what can I do ya for?”
Twilight cleared her throat, “Well, I am in fact here to supervise preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration. And you’re in charge of the food?”
“We sure as sugar are!” replied Applejack enthusiastically. “Would y'all care to sample some?”
Ohhhhh yes! Food! Food, food, food, food!
“Well, as long as it doesn’t-”
I interrupted Sparky’s game of crush-my-hope. “Ma’am, we would be delighted to partake of any dishes you wish to present to us!”
“Err, what he means to say-” Sparky, once again, never got the chance to finish her statement as the farm pony had already run off. You would think that by now she would know ponies just don’t care to listen to her ...
The country mare began to ring an old fashioned chuck house triangular bell and yelled, “Sooouuups on, everypony!” Immediately I felt the ground beneath the three of us begin to shake. Let me warn you, that is never a good sign. Though, at least it gave me a indication of what was coming next. Ponies ... lots and lots of freaking ponies ...
’... Mother of god ...’
I quickly turned around to look at the approaching storm, and must admit that sadly I suck at guesstimating. It wasn’t just a lot of ponies ... it seems the Apple family fielded a small battalion. At least one thing was for certain, the Apple family was good at growing more than just apples.
… Perhaps I wasn’t too far off about that promiscuity? Seems it really is all in the handshakes.
We quickly found ourselves swarmed by the regiment of ponies, and were somehow seated at a large round table in under five seconds. I have no damn clue how that worked out. Also, for some reason Applejack saw fit to introduce the whole family to us. That’s right ... every ... last ... damn ... one of them.
Well, at least they were throwing plates of food on the table that corresponded to each pony's name. Cute ...
I grabbed one of the apple strudels that wasn’t buried underneath something, and watched the show continue. Got to admit, I almost spit my food out in a fit of laughter as Applejack shoved an apple in Sparky’s mouth. That had to be one of the more interesting ways I’ve seen her get shut up!
As soon as the farm pony finished her introductions, my unicorn sidekick spit out the apple in her mouth. “Okay … well …” She smiled, “I can see the food situation is handled. So, we’ll be on our way!”
All the ponies around us let out sounds of disappointment. I could sympathize; Sparky excelled at dashing my hopes as well ...
This time, however, life had seen fit to throw her another curve ball as a small voice spoke up, “Aren’t y’all gonna stay for brunch?”
I looked down and saw a small filly, Apple Bloom if I remember correctly. She was giving my poor companion the most pleadingly adorable eyes I’ve ever seen. Only a cold hearted S.O.B. … or Bill O’Reilly, could look at those huge orbs of barely contained sadness and not succumb to them.
Sparky also looked at her, clearly unable to bring herself to say no to those pleading eyes. Hence, why she probably looked to me at that moment; clearly she wanted me to be the asshole for the team. ’Oh, so now you want me to be the negotiator. Not too smart there Sparky ...’
I sighed and knelt down in front of the pouting filly and said, “We have a lot to do today, and we really should be going.” I saw Sparky visibly relax while the little mare looked like I’d just kicked a puppy in front of her.
I smiled before exclaiming, “But all three of us would love to stay since an awesome little filly such as yourself asked so kindly!”
I can be a jerk, but I’m not one to make a child ... filly ... whatever ... sad on purpose. Shaun also doesn’t play by no pony’s rules and expectations! And this brief display of kindness was in no way due in large part to the fact I still got to annoy Sparky in the process.
Nope, only one hundred percent altruism here, folks!
A collective cheer rose from the Apple family, and Apple Bloom herself was hopping up and down with a wide smile on her face. Sparky for the most part kept her cool, but when she stared at me, I knew that an auditory nuclear bomb was in store for me in the near future. Oh well, at least Spike looked happy about the turn of events.
As for myself? I had more food … and right now, that’s all that Shaun cares about!
For the next twenty minutes or so we continued to sample dish after dish, and I fielded a number of questions from the more curious of the ponies. The questions weren't too bad, though Applejack looked a little squeamish when I mentioned my dietary needs; didn't help when I explained what qualified as food was anything dumber than us generally. As for the food, it wasn't half bad; unfortunately though, all of it was made with apples. That’s fine for a time on an empty stomach, but after a while … you just get tired of everything being freaking apple based.
Although, I could go for a bacon wrapped apple at the moment …
… What? Don’t you dare judge me! It would be healthily unhealthy and delicious at the same time and you know it ...
Glancing over at my personal jailer, I couldn’t help but notice how angry she looked. The way she destroyed that last piece of pie … well, all I can say is that I’ve seen documentaries of lions that acted kinder to their prey than she did when using that fork.
And I’ll admit, a little part of me started to feel bad for her … cause I know I was to blame and thus would have to deal with another lecture. The lecture part is what really bothered me the most. I suppose I should try to cheer her up, if only for my sake ...
Leaning close to her ear I asked, “You okay?”
“Shaun, I don’t want to hear those words from you, directed at me,” she seethed in a whisper. "You do know that we have more pressing issues, and you somehow got us stuck here … right?”
’Ah yes … the prophecies of doom and gloom. I forgot all about that very serious issue. Seems Shaun has doomed every pony. Oh no!'
I shrugged and looked at her curiously, "Here’s an idea … why don't we just leave?"
"You were the one that refused to get us out of here in the first place! And now I don't want to be rude!" she hissed back firmly. "We'll just wait and slip out at the best-" ’Too complicated …’
I grinned at her. "Leave it to me since you are in such a hurry."
"What are you doing?" she hurriedly questioned under her breath. ’She has some serious trust issues …’
"Trust me, I'm a pro at handling this sort of dilemma." I turned to the orange earth pony on my right before Sparky had a chance to protest my overstated qualifications and said, "So Applejack, you seemed slightly curious about the human world earlier if I remember correctly, right?"
"Ah reckon ah am a bit."
"Yes, of course, who wouldn't be? Strange 'critter' from another world and all. Though, I must admit I find YOUR world extremely curious as well," I raised my voice slightly in hopes that more of the Apple family would listen in on our little chat.
"Oh, yeah?" she questioned curiously. "Why's that?"
"Well aside from sentient talking ponies, I've just been taking notice of all the species my world has in common with yours. I see the farms around here share some of those animals. In fact, people in my country raise many chickens, cows, and pigs on farms and ranches as well, every year."
"Ya don' say?" I noticed that most of the chatter had died down and the better part of the Apple family were now focused on our conversation. ’Guess they never heard that curiosity killed the cat?’
I scratched my chin and feigned curiosity, “Yeah, I was wondering why you keep them around though ...”
Applejack gave me a strange look, and for some reason I couldn’t help but wonder if she suspected the sincerity behind my words. Either way she answer my question, “Milk from the cows, others for company ... some of them are pets, even.” She looked at me suspiciously, raising an eyebrow. “So why d'y’all keep ‘em around?”
I gave her the widest grin I possibly could, making sure the canines in my mouth were clearly visible. "Yeah, where I come from those are just some of the species I mentioned that aren't smart and don't talk!" ’Okay, in all fairness to Sparky, I admit those trust issues are probably warranted around me.’
A few moments later, and I find it amazing that even though we are standing outdoors in the middle of the entire Apple family, it's so quiet I could hear a pin drop. Actually ... I think I can hear a strange noise. I looked around, but couldn’t seem to make out where it is coming from. I look to my faithful unicorn companion and Spike to see if they notice the sound as well.
… Oh, wait. That's Sparky's left eyebrow twitching.
It's got a nice ring to it at least!
I was always told that doing a good deed brought about a certain amount of fulfillment in one’s life. Well, I had just helped out Sparky in an uncomfortable situation ... and I had no sense of satisfaction whatsoever. In fact, right now the only sensation I could feel was loathing ...
Why, you ask? Well, there is only so much lecturing one can take ... before one cannot take it anymore ...
"I cannot believe you just did that," ground out the irritated little pony as we made our way from the Apple Family's farm. You do someone … err ... somepony a favor, and this is how they repay you ...
"Oh, lighten up, Sparky. I got us out of there, didn't I?" At least Spike looked amused as he continued to walk next to us, though he was clearly distancing himself from me. Either he feared for his safety because of me, or he feared for his safety while close to me, as I had annoyed his big sister figure. Either way, I could only admire his sense of self-preservation; it was a skill I found myself sorely lacking.
"I wanted to get out of there as discreetly and politely as possible. Do you even know what those two words mean?!"
I looked up at the sky and rubbed my chin, feigning ignorance. "Hmmm, must not have read about those particular lessons yet in any of those foals books you gave me."
She looked at me, her expression devoid of any humor. "Don't play dumb with me, Shaun." Hey, you ask a stupid question, you get a smartass answer. It's another cosmic law. I'll fill her in on that one later though … it's best not to tempt fate at the moment.
"I'm just saying, you're responsible for my moral upbringing, apparently, and you seem to be doing a bad job so far if I don't know such important words and values yet ..."
"Why, I shudder to think what your own foal may behave like when you finally settle down ..."
"Shaun!" screamed Ms. Angry-corn.
Spike cringed, and for a moment I swear I thought I saw her mane begin to smolder. Me thinks it's best to stop now ...
"Alright, alright," I brought my hands up in a placating gesture, "of course I know what those words mean, Sparky. But knowing about and acting upon information are two distinctly different concepts." ’Especially for me.’
"Besides,” I tried to smooth things over with a shrug, “it's not like they kicked us out. They just ... didn't object when I mentioned we had other places to be. That counts for something, right?"
The purple unicorn just looked at me in frustration, but refused to answer.
"And didn't you tell me that unless I said I ate ponies, no one would really care about my cravings for the flesh of lesser beings?"
Sparky sighed in irritation, "No, I did not say that. After that incident with the Equestrian Zoology Society, I, in fact, told you not to mention what bacon is or where it comes from again. I thought you understood that meant you basically shouldn’t admit to eating your world’s version of ponies’ companions and pets altogether ..."
"Well, I think you learned a valuable lesson today on dealing with Shaun." I looked at Spike and smiled. "Wouldn't you agree she did?"
He looked between the two of us nervously, "Oh no, don’t drag me into this. I don't have an opinion either way!"
What did I say, great sense of self preservation!
The mare looked at me. "Perhaps it would be best that you did as little talking as possible at our next stop? I’d recommend for you to just say hello, but I’m extremely worried you’ll somehow mess that up as well …” ’Hey … that’s a bit mean, don’t you think?’
"Where's the trust, Sparky?" I bemoaned in mock pain, adding a few fake sniffles for flare.
She narrowed her eyes and gave me another no-nonsense look. "I'd say we left that on the Apple Family's property, torn and tattered to pieces. Wouldn’t you agree?" ’We had trust there? When am I going to be informed about those sorts of things?’
I crossed my arms, "Oh come on … don't you think it's time to let that one go?"
"It was only ten minutes ago!" she practically yelled.
"Exactly!” I cried out in an overly dramatic fashion. “Life is too short to worry about something for that long ..."
She looked at me incredulously, “You … you …”
“Twilight, how about we get back to the list?” Spike hesitantly asked.
It took a moment, but Sparky visibly calmed down at this suggestion. “Of course. Good idea, Spike. What’s next?”
“Well, since food’s all taken care of, next is the weather...” he trailed off as he glanced at the sky. “Hmm … there’s supposed to be a pegasus pony named Rainbow Dash clearing the clouds.”
We all looked to the sky, to see a number of clouds drifting about. I had already been briefed on the whole pegasi and weather thing. Though I found it hard to believe at first, nothing would surprise me at this point.
Oh, well except if things went back to normal for me. I probably wouldn’t survive the shock, though...
“Well, she’s not doing a very good job, is she?” said Sparky sarcastically.
I mumbled, “I’ve been thinking that all day …”
The unicorn looked at me strangely. “How could you possibly be thinking that all day when we just now got to this part of the checklist?”
“You’re assuming I was talking about the weather pony, Sparky.”
“Shaun … need I remind you about the whole talking subject we discu-”
Sparky was cut off once again as a multicolored figure crashed into her, which knocked her into me … with both of us ending up in a huge puddle of mud. So far today all the interruptions have been Shaun suffering-free. Was it so much to ask for that trend to continue?
As I slowly got up, I heard a noise and turned to see a cyan pegasus with a mane more colorful than a bag of Skittles chuckling at us.
“Hehe … uh, ‘scuse me,” said our pony assailant. “Here, let me help you two” she said as she flew off.
Sparky let out a low growl. ’You said it, sister …’
I looked down at the offending mud puddle, and how conveniently inconvenient it was placed. I hadn’t noticed a single puddle elsewhere today, and no indication of rain at all except for right here …
A dark shadow passed over my head, cutting off my musing. I looked up to see a tiny rain cloud overhead, which was then followed by a brief downpour. A head poked out to look over the edge of the cloud; looking down on us and chuckling again was that damn rainbow pegasus.
Oh, that’s right. A random mud puddle makes perfect sense when I remember that the weather of this world doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.
Thank you, mare of colorful pride, for reminding me about why I hate this world so much ...
“Oops, I guess I overdid it.” She began to pat a hoof on her chin, “Um, uh … how ‘bout this!” She took off, and then started flying in circles around us, creating a rainbow cyclone. “My very own patented rain-blow dry!”
Okay … if there was such a thing as intelligent design in this world, the pony god must be high. No, not high in the sky, high. I mean hhhhiiiiiiggggghhhh.
Skittles the annoying pegasus pony slowly floated down to the ground in front of us. “No, no, don’t thank me-”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about getting a thanks out of us, I can assure you,” I cut her off in a mildly annoyed tone of voice.
I looked down at myself to notice that not only had the rain not cleaned off all the mud, but I was now entirely drenched from head to toe. Looking over to Sparky, I almost laughed at the sight before my eyes; her mane and tail looked like she had stuck a hoof in a light socket. That left me wondering exactly how bad my hair must have looked at the moment.
The pegasus looked at the the two of us and fell to the ground laughing. Our faithful and loyal companion Spike quickly followed suit. On that note, perhaps I could talk Sparky into getting a dog instead ...
“Let me guess,” Sparky spoke up in a tone usually reserved for me, “you’re Rainbow Dash?”
“The one and only!” she exclaimed with pride as she struck a pose. “Why? Have you heard of me?”
“I’m actually starting to wish I had never heard about any ponies at all …” I grumbled.
“What’s that supposed to mean, you …” the polychromatic mare paused, pointing a hoof at me while raising an eyebrow, before asking, "What the hay are you supposed to be, anyway?"
"Me?” I questioned in a mockingly haughty tone. “Oh, I'm nothing much really. Just your common everyday human that has been displaced by some as of yet unknown means into another world and or dimension … perhaps by a higher power with a sick sense of humor."
Skittles tilted her head to the side in confusion, “Huh?”
“Ignore him,” quickly interjected Sparky before I could say another word. “As for how I heard about you, well, I heard that you were supposed to be keeping the sky clear.” She sighed, but then tried to sound less hostile as she introduced us. “I’m Twilight Sparkle and I was sent by the Princess to check on the weather. This is my assistant, Spike,” she pointed a hoof at the dragon who waved in return, “and you’ve already met Shaun so nothing else needs to be said there.”
That actually hurt a bit … wait, no it didn’t. I opened my mouth to say something, but Sparky sent me a glare. Unlike her other ones, this one seemed to promise death … or tough friendship. Either way, I thought it best for the second time today to keep quiet.
Skittles looked unimpressed with Sparky’s introduction, opting instead to hover away and lay on her cloud to laze around. “Yeah, yeah, that’ll be a snap!” She waved the subject off with a hoof, “I’ll do it in a jiffy … just as soon as I’m done practicing.”
Once again I went to say something, and once again destruct-a-corn invoked images of pain and suffering with a mere glare. Shaun, therefore, shall remain quiet once again.
Sparky looked back at the lazy mare with a quizzical expression. “Practicing for what?”
“The Wonderbolts!” she exclaimed in a mildly fangirl-ish manner while pointing to a poster of three blue-clad pegasi on the side of a nearby building. “They’re going to perform at the celebration tomorrow and I’m going to show them my stuff!” Skittles emphasized her point as she did a few flying back flips in the air.
“The Wonderbolts?” Sparky asked smugly.
“Yup!” replied Skittles.
Sparky rolled her eyes. “The most talented flyers in all of Equestria?”
“That’s them!” agreed the cyan mare.
“The ones dressed in these funny looking clown suits?” I questioned as I scrutinized the poster in front of me.
“Ye- heeeey, no!” the pegasus yelled out in annoyance as she turned to stare at me, looking ready to start a fight.
The purple unicorn sighed and pointed a hoof at me, “Shaun. Talking. No. Bad.”
I held up my hands defensively under their whithering glares. “Okay, okay, I was just thinking out loud here … apparently that’s dangerous ...”
Sparky glanced back at Skittles, “Can I just point out before he speaks again that the Wonderbolts would never accept a pegasus that can’t even keep the skies clear for one day …”
Skittles looked to Sparky, then to my grinning face that was nodding in agreement. “Hey,” she said indignantly, “I could clear this sky in ten seconds flat!”
I coughed, and strangely enough, a serious of noises followed that vaguely sounded like the word ‘bullshit.’
Sparky didn’t seem to notice, or didn’t care; but the pegasus looked at me, eyes narrowed and a determined expression on her face. I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear my taunt, but I was also pretty sure she understood that I had in fact challenged her. In a split second she took off from her perch, searching for her first victim.
What followed was the most awesome display of cloud murdering I had ever seen before; although bear in mind this is my first time watching a pegasus pony at work. Skittles flew from cloud to cloud, bucking each out of existence with a single strike every time. It was beautiful, in a way. It was … a cloud-tastrophe!
… Yeah, I’ll hit myself for that one since you can’t.
After the last cloud met its untimely demise, the cyan mare flew back down to us and boasted, "What’d I say? Ten seconds flat! I'd never leave Ponyville hanging!"
In the words of a great man … god damn it, Bill fucking Murray!
Actually, perhaps I should clarify. Though not quite on the level of Bill Murray, Tallahassee would have been just as impressed in this situation, nonetheless - all challenges to his manliness aside due to Skittle's … err ... rainbow self.
Annoyingly enough, though … I now miss Twinkies as well.
I looked to Sparky, who still seemed to be amazed, with her jaw hanging open at the pegasus' display of speed. I slowly began to clap and let out a low whistle before turning back to look at Dash. "Wow, I honestly don’t know what is more impressive ... the fact that you actually cleared the sky in ten seconds, or the fact that you shut Sparky up for ten seconds. Both of them are equally impressive and worthy of praise in my opinion."
Rainbow looked at me strangely for a moment, before she shrugged and smiled. "Uh, sure. Thanks! You know, you’re alright! I can’t wait to hang out with the both of you more."
“Wish I could say the same for you!” I exclaimed with a smile; hell, I even partially believed those words!
Skittles laughed at that for some reason, probably thinking I was joking, before she simply flew off.
“Wow! She’s amazing!” gushed Spike.
“Sadly, I’ll have to agree on that point,” I said with a hint of annoyance. Looking over at Sparky, I noticed she still had not moved from her spot … and that her mouth was still slightly agape. “Hey Spike, find out where we have to go next, then pick up Sparky’s jaw from the ground, will you?”
It turned out that the town hall was our next stop. Luckily for us, that was within unicorn throwing distance. As in, the distance I could hypothetically throw Sparky if she didn’t stop nagging me today. Luckily for her, though, that urge was kept in check by three simple facts: I can’t harm a female, that would be violently mean, and she can throw me much farther with her magic than I could ever hope to throw her physically.
That last fact was actually of some concern at times.
As we came up to the building’s entrance, Sparky turned to me, and in a surprisingly calm voice said, “Shaun, please wait out here while Spike and I handle this one.”
“Still no trust for me?”
“Not even the slightest,” she flatly replied as she disappeared into the doorway, followed quickly by her number one assistant.
Sighing, I leaned up against a wall and proceeded to wait. And wait I did!
I waited a few minutes … then a few more minutes … then a few more damn minutes. I had to admit, this was now officially our longest stop yet … and I had no part in the delay! The one time I don’t go in with her, and she can’t even keep to her own rushed schedule.
Mentally making a note to tell her of that fact, and groaned and decided to just sit down against the side of the building. I wasn’t seated for long, however, before something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.
“Is … anyone there?” I asked out loud; I wasn’t too sure I had seen anything at all, really. However, just a few seconds later I watched as a mint green pony with a saddle bag slowly approached me. She was the mint green one with the lyre cutie mark I had seen watching me earlier.
I really wish she would keep to the Shaun rule of pony and human interactions: ponies are meant to be seen, not heard …
The pony stopped a few feet away from me and just stared. I waited for her to initiate first contact ...
She continued to stare.
I looked at her with a single raised eyebrow.
The pony called my eyebrow, and raised me one of her own.
I touched my nose with my index finger.
Small, green, and stranger touched her snout with a hoof.
I scratched my head, somewhat confused, “Can I … help you?”
“Mhmm,” she murmured with a smile and a nod, “what are you exactly?”
I closed my eyes and mentally counted to five; this crap had gotten old by now; can’t they at least ask my name first? “I’m a human,” I said, somehow sounding less annoyed than I actually was.
“Huuu-man?” She took her time to pronounce the foreign word before she looked me up and down quizzically. “Uh, are you male or female?”
My brain halted for a moment before the little hamster wheel started turning again. “... Is it that hard for you ponies to see that I’m male?”
The mare shrugged. “Well, I don’t know about other ponies, but I’ve never seen or heard of a hu-man before … so yeah, it kind of is.”
I frowned at her, completely unamused. “The deep voice doesn’t give it away?”
“Well, female minotaurs have voices deeper than any pony does,” she replied innocently; completely oblivious to my completely obvious indignation.
“… I’m happy to say that I am not a female minotaur ... and that I also feel sorry for male minotaurs ...” I trailed off as I noticed she wasn’t paying attention to my words anymore; instead she kept moving her head around, taking in my features from different angles. “You find something interesting, miss … ?”
“Lyra,” she replied with a smile. “Lyra Heartstrings. How about you, Mr. Human?”
“My name’s Shaun.”
“That’s your name?” she asked skeptically.
“Well, what did you expect?”
“I dunno,” she replied with a shrug. “Something a bit more normal, I suppose?” ’Damn ponies and their strange names … makes them think I’m the abnormal one here!’
“Ah … alright, you got me,” I muttered exasperatedly. “My full name is Shaun Andrew Jenkins Farnsworth Bartholomew Tucker Davis the seventh.”
Lyra looked at me disbelievingly. “That’s your name?” ’As far as you’re concerned.’
I crossed my arms at her. “I’ll have you know, that the longer the name, the more important you are in my world!”
“Well, how important are you then?”
“Let’s just say …” I paused for dramatic effect before haughtily finishing, “well, I’m very important!”
“As important as a princess?” she asked sweetly, and with far too much innocence to make me believe she did that on purpose.
I narrowed my eyes at her. “... No, not as important as a princess … you know what? Let’s just move on. I think I recall asking you earlier if you found something interesting about me. Well, do you?”
“Oh, yeah! It’s just,” she looked at me hesitantly, “you! I mean, I don’t think any pony has seen something like you around here. And you look so … weird? Especially those things at the ends of you forelegs! They look like claws … only not so claw … ish.”
’Weird, huh? Well, time for some payback, little miss Mintyfresh.’
“Well, my dear little pony, these things are hands. At the end of them are fingers,” I held my hands up and wriggled my fingers so she could see them, “and I find them very useful. I can do a lot of neat things with them, in fact.” I looked around, before I leaned down and whispered to her, “For two bits, I’ll show you a trick with these hands. It’s freaking awesome!”
The little pony's eyes lit up as she quickly responded with an, “Okay!” She levitated two coins out of her saddlebag and placed them in my outstretched hand.
“Ah, thank you very much, Ms. Heartstrings.”
Lyra gazed at me enthusiastically while slightly hopping up and down. “So what’s the trick?”
“I now have two more bits in my hand, and you have two less in your bags. Neat trick, huh?” I responded wryly, a smirk adorning my face.
The mint green unicorn stopped hopping up and down and looked at me with a mix of sadness and betrayal. “That’s not a very good trick!” she whined at me.
I chuckled. “A trick is a trick! Although … I suppose you are right. Here,” I held out the hand with the coins, “you can have them back. I’m not a con artist.”
She peered at the coins, then back at me, and frowned. “No,” she exclaimed indignantly. “I paid for you to show me a trick with your hands! So … perhaps you can just do something interesting with them?” ’Well … yeah, but not to a pony … or in public, for that matter.’
“Err …” I scratched the back of my head, trying to think of something that would satisfy her curiosity. I really hadn’t planned this out beforehand. “Well, I dunno what to do?”
Lyra rubbed a hoof to her chin before an idea apparently popped into her head, “Can I see them?”
“Umm … you aren’t looking at them right now?” I questioned as I held up my hands.
“No! I mean can I touch your hands?” she asked curiously.
I blinked. Mother never taught me how to handle a random talking unicorn asking to hold my hands ...
“Uhh, well … sure … I guess?” I really didn’t know how to respond here, instead just opting to hold out my hands for the mare.
Lyra took my left hand and lifted it up to her eye level with a hoof. She quickly placed my index finger between her two hooves, a curious twinkle in her eyes. “They look so flexible!” She bent it forward … then quickly bent it back at an almost impossible angle.
I wasn’t sure if I heard and felt the finger pop … or crack.
“Nnnghh,” I managed to not scream out while quickly pulling my hand away in the process. “Not that flexible … not nearly that flexible!”
“Oh, sorry!” she cried out in worry. “You aren’t hurt, are you?”
Flexing my finger, I was relieved that though sore, no mind numbing pain was emanating from the digit; in case you were wondering, that’s a good thing. “Nah, just bent it back too far … but not far enough to break it luckily.”
I looked at her cautiously for a moment, before suggesting, “How about you just keep to asking questions?”
She looked disappointed, but luckily acquiesced to my suggestion. That made me breathe a sigh of relief; I don’t really want to risk a broken finger … or wrist … hell, with my luck she might find a way to break the arm.
We sat there and spoke for a while; a nice casual conversation. I’ll admit, even though she was curious, it seemed like a more innocent type of curiosity that I could deal with. Not the “I will study you while you sleep and write a book on it” type that I had become accustomed to with Sparky.
Lyra asked me a few more questions about humans, of course. I had come to expect that from every being with the ability to speak in this world, so that wasn’t really a surprise. This in turn made me think of simply having number of pamphlets made that I could hand out to any curious pony next time. I even had a great name for what to to title it.
The Shaun and You: How to Handle your First Contact with an Omnivorous Human!
But the topics quickly changed to more personal ones. How old was I, did I have a family, what’s my favorite color, where did I hide my cutie mark.
That last one I tried to explain as best I could, but short of stripping I don’t think she believed that I didn’t have a cutie mark … Oh well, I’ll let her continue to be a non-believer in that case.
Lyra was about to ask me another question when a blur of purple shot between the two of us. Turning to see what it was, I saw my companions making a hasty escape from the Town Hall for reasons I probably did not want to comprehend.
Sparky was beckoning me with a hoof. “Come on, Shaun, we’ve got to get out of here, now!”
I looked at her for a second, somewhat lost at the slight fear in her voice, before simply shrugging. “Well Lyra, that’s my cue to get out of here. I’ll admit, you weren’t the worst-” I was cut off as a heard a long gasp coming from behind me.
I turned around to see a white unicorn, with three gemstones for a cutie mark, as well as a styled purple mane and tail. She was staring at me in almost abject horror. Okay, what about me is so scary to these pony folk?
"H-how could you even be seen in such ... filthy ... things?!" the mare cried out in disgust while sticking her tongue out in a mock gag.
Apparently, it’s my clothing this time ...
"Well, my kind always wears clothes except in a few situations so ... I kind of need to? I just haven’t had a chance to change into a clean outfit since I was knocked into the mud by Skittles the clutzy rainbow."
That didn't sit well with the white mare. “I will not, no, I cannot simply let this stand!”
“I don’t think I should go … my mom always told me not to follow strange mares. I don’t even know your name.”
“Rarity, my dear. Charmed,” she hurriedly said as a pale blue light engulfed both her horn and myself, lifting me into the air in the process.
My eyes widened a bit, and I struggled to gain some sort of leverage in mid-air. Just in case you are wondering if that will ever work out … no, no it won’t, apparently. I glanced at Lyra. “Um, some help here?”
She looked at Rarity, then back to me, then with a smile and a wave said, “Bye, Mr. Human the seventh!”
Yeeeeeaaaaahhhh, should have seen that one coming.
“Sparky?” I asked as I looked around for any sign of the purple unicorn and lizard thing. They were nowhere to be seen.
Annnd of course they had apparently already gone into hiding; should have seen that coming as well. Nope, Shaun is on his own, it seems. Damn it.
I noticed that I was now moving away from the Town Hall. Yup, it was official … I was now Equestria’s first case of a human kidnapping. Perhaps it’s time to at least get to know my criminal abductor.
I called out to white unicorn. "I really appreciate this magical lift and all ..." I really didn’t, "but, um ... where are you taking me?"
Rarity looked over her shoulder at me with a prideful smile, "Why, to my studio of course: The Carousel Boutique! I don’t have the materials with me required for such a,” she looked over her shoulders at me, “dire situation.”
Well, that sounded like a place that any man not secure in their masculinity would avoid like the Black Death ...
“I’m sorry, but don’t you have some decorating or something to do?” I sarcastically asked.
Either she didn’t care about the sarcasm, or it was lost on her because she continued to pull me along in the air behind her. “That can wait! This is a fashion emergency! The … worst … possible … thing!”
“You know, this might just be me over thinking things at the moment,” I paused to make sure I had her attention, “but why can’t I just change into my other set of clothes if it bothers you so much?”
… Wait a minute … crap! I just fell into the trap of using logic in an illogical situation! Damn it to hell!
“Oh, I’m sure that you could always use more clothes if you-,” she looked over her shoulders at me. “Oh, please pardon me for not asking sooner, but what is your name and what is your species called?”
“My name is Shaun Davis. I am a human,” I replied dryly.
I was really getting tired of answering those questions; and I bet you are getting tired of reading about it as well.
… Too bad, Stalker McGee, you get to hear about it until I don’t, so just deal with it ...
“Yes, well, as I was saying. If you hu-mans,” her face scrunched up at the strange sounding word, “wear clothes all the time, then it would naturally not hurt to receive a new set. Wouldn’t you agree?”
… Yeah, reasoning with her is out the door ...
“Besides, where did you get these ghastly …” she glanced at my shirt and pants, “apparel from, anyway?”
“I have no clue, actually. They were just made and given to me. Didn’t actually meet the tailor himself.”
She inspected me with a raised eyebrow. “Yes, well, that much is apparent.”
… Bitch ...
I looked around for assistance, and noticed Sparky and Spike had come out of hiding and were now following the two of us at a distance. I was somewhat annoyed that she had yet to step in to stop this alien abduction; the one in which I was playing the role of the alien being abducted. “Twilight! You have the power to end this!”
The mare said nothing, and instead looked at me in a way I had never seen from her: with pity. Why … it almost appeared that she was sorry about my predicament. ’... Now that’s very worrying ...’
I knew that I was quickly running out of time to talk my way out of this situation; we were nearing what I assumed was her shop … since, you know, it looked like a freaking carousel.
There was only one option left for me to try. I swallowed my pride … and started begging random ponies for help.
… Which did jack shit for me. Apparently in Ponyville, the ponies simply walk away from strange creatures being levitated through the air against their will and begging for assistance ...
Maybe they think I’m a noisy pet?
Actually, even though I would be offended at that … I would not be the least bit surprised ...
For her part, Rarity seemed to be largely ignoring my protests and cries for help. I assumed she was lost in thought at this point in time. Really lost in thought, actually … I can be quite loud when being taken against my will.
She opened the door to her shop and dragged me inside without a word. Of important note here, at this moment I feel like a fly caught in a spider’s web … that’s on fire … with a comet about to crash on top of it …
She brought me to a room at the back of the boutique with numerous articles of sewing equipment and fabric, and quickly plopped me down on the floor after closing the door behind us. "Now Darling, we need to get those wretched clothes off so that I can get your measurements."
I looked at her in confusion. I couldn’t have possibly heard what I thought she said, could I? I hesitantly asked, "Err … did you say 'clothes off' and ‘measurements’?"
"Why, of course! How else do you expect me to get accurate measurements for a new ensemble?" As she said that her horn glowed and I began to feel a tug on end of my shirt ... followed by tugging on my other garments of clothing. ’Oh shit, oh shit, run Shaun! Think of something! Get out of here!’
"Uhhhhh, that's reeeeeaaaaalllllyy not necessary!" I tried to back away, but I eventually found myself out of room and boxed into a corner. Damn whoever invented wall corners! They need to die a horrible fiery death!
“Nonsense, my dear! The situation requires it,” she smiled at me, “and it’s no problem for me to help somepony in need!”
The glow around my clothes intensified. My shirt slipped off, and I felt my pants weren’t far behind. I thought hard. I thought fast. I ran every possible plan of action through my mind. That’s when I realized there was only one thing I could do in this situation ...
“The boxers stay on!” I screamed.
The door to the Carousel Boutique opened far slower than I liked; though thankfully that meant my time with Rarity was finally at an end. I took a few slow and deliberate steps, almost unsure of whether this freedom was real. At this point in time, it was far more likely that I had simply cut myself off from the outside world, and was perceiving my release as some form of coping mechanism.
There were just some events in life that you would always remember. Some for good reasons and some for bad reasons. This one … will be remembered for bad reasons if you haven’t already figured it out.
And if by some chance you believed anything in there sounded like something you wanted to happen to you though … please, seek immediate help.
"Alright then,” Rarity called out happily and waved her hoof at me as I continued to walk away, “come back tomorrow evening and I should have a fitting ensemble ready. Now, if you'll excuse me,” she closed the door to her shop, “I must be off once again. I have decorating to finish at the town hall." ’Oh no … not happening, little pony. Not when you just scarred me in ways my ex never could …’
Oh, fun fact everyone: every girl is crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man. And damn, at least I could say that Rarity knew fashion. Hell, she had just created a new pair of khaki looking pants and a stylish blue button up shirt from scratch. Problem was ... I didn’t care about that at the moment!
What I was most concerned about was finding a judge, jury, and a good attorney with a doll ...
I merely stared into the distance, and absentmindedly nodded at the mare as I made my way out the door, any dignity that I may have once had dead and gone. I'll admit though, at this point in time there wasn't much left; but you do come to appreciate things you take for granted as they are cruelly taken from you by malicious ponies, one piece at a time.
Sparky and Spike glanced over to me from their waiting place outside the door. The unicorn was the first to attempt to speak, "Shaun, what took so-"
I cut her off; no way am I in any mood to talk about anything at the moment. "Not a word from either of you. Not a single word. None of this ever happened. None of this will be repeated to others. What happened in the Carousel Boutique, stays in the Carousel Boutique."
"Sparky, I just had a magically powered tape measure slithering up and down my body in ways I found extremely disturbing. I am not comfortable at all with what just happened. In fact, I am not okay at the moment in the slightest. I desperately need a drink, but since that option is off the table, silence is golden for the time being."
I heard a snort come from the overgrown lizard who called himself a dragon. "I don't see what your big deal is, Shaun," Spike chastised me as he dreamily looked back at the retreating form of the unicorn mare. "I wish she had been paying as much attention to me as she was to you. I'm totally jealous!"
Looking down at the little dragon, I was sorely tempted to flick him on the head. However, I decided against that; doing so might hurt me more than him with my luck. Instead, I just reached into one of our bags and pulled out a gem. "Hey, Spike! You like gems, don't you?"
He looked at the gem with wide eyes, a hungry look on his face. "Oh colt, do I!"
"Ah, good, just making sure." I turned around quickly and threw the gem as hard as I could into the air. "Then perhaps seeing your future snack go bye-bye has taught you a valuable lesson today." I turned back around and looked down at Spike with an impassive expression, "Don't mess with me when I've just been violated."
I barely managed to hear a faint "oww" coming from down the street behind us. Seems that gem just made somepony's day.
Spike was surprised at first, but then narrowed his eyes at me. "You can be a jerk sometimes, you know that, right?"
Poor Spike. If only he knew how little I cared at the moment. After all, how did that old saying go again? I think it was, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but it feels like Rarity raped me.' Or something like that, yeah?
Well, that's how I remember it at the moment ...
Turns out my little pony tormentor was not amused at my antics either. "That was mean, Shaun. Spike didn't do anything to you!"
I looked at Sparky who had stopped walking to chastise me. "Uh, I'm pretty sure the whole 'not shutting up' thing counts as something, actually."
"Even so, that was uncalled for. Apologize to Spike."
"Shaaaauuuunnn," she growled out.
She looked at me and dead-panned, "Need I remind you that I control your finances?" ’... Damn it … she's got me by the money bags …’
I sighed in defeat and looked at the tiny lizard thing that tries to pass itself off as a dragon, "Fine. I'm sorry that I taunted you even though you mocked my molestation ..."
Spike looked at me for a minute. "Well," said the baby dragon, clearly debating on whether the apology was sincere or not. It wasn't, but they didn't need to know that. Staring at me a few more seconds, he then nodded in approval. "Apology accepted." He paused to think for a moment, a thoughtful look on his face, before asking, "What's 'molestation', by the way?"
I groaned and Sparky looked extremely flustered and agitated at the same time. "You don't need to know, Spike!" said the unicorn, barely managing to not stammer out her reply.
"No buts!" she exclaimed, cutting him off completely. Spike did not look happy, but he didn't speak up again, at least.
Having stopped Spike from any further inquiries, and making sure any pride I once had was clearly left behind us in a crumpled heap, we continued on our way in silence. I began to think back to what I once thought was the single greatest piece of advice my father had ever given me.
I had just broken up with my first girlfriend ever; well, she had broken up with me because I couldn't be reasoned with. In all fairness though, her definition of reasoning and my definition of reasoning seemed to be based on two entirely different concepts: emotion and logic, respectively. That, in turn, led to a number of … issues ...
Anyway, long story short, my father took me aside that evening and gave me a pep talk. It involved the normal bullshit your parents tell you like, "Oh, there are more fish in the sea," and "You'll get over her, you'll see." Try as I might, I just couldn't at the moment, and I tried to explain how everything had happened.
He had listened carefully to my story. Then, he slowly looked around the yard, clearly looking for my mother to make sure she wouldn't just walk up at that moment. He turned to me and said in the wisest voice I ever heard from him, "Son … when it comes to any woman in your life, friend or more than friend, you can either be right, or you can be happy … but not both. Remember that."
At the time, it made sense and his advice had helped me over the years. But here, at this very moment, there was only one thing I could think ...
… Screw you dad; you didn't tell me that there was the hidden third option of neither.
Well, perhaps that was his way of leaving me some hope in life? A little white lie I wouldn't discover until after finding out what mom did with his body?
I jest, of course! She just took a few swings at him after she found out about the affair … and only managed to knock out one tooth. Nothing serious at least, right? On the bright side, her actions also taught me another valuable lesson: cheating on your spouse only leads to a life of suffering, as well as assault and battery.
He was such a great male role model in my life ...
I was so caught up in my musings that I didn’t hear Sparky calling my name at first. Well … that and I was also trying to ignore her. She didn't take too kindly to this treatment, though, and grumbled for me to keep up the pace.
And that’s when I decided a leisurely and extremely sedate stroll would be the best help for my nerves.
Turns out that earplugs make for a wonderful way of drowning out sounds, even without music. I mean, I knew that before, but I kind of forgot I kept them in loving memory of my iPod. May it rest in pieces.
So, after enjoying a nice relaxing stroll, and tuning out much of Sparky’s complaining, I can say that I feel much better at the moment. Not one hundred percent of course, but in as good of a place as I can be without a beer or human-to-human interaction.
Taking the plugs out of my ears, I decided to see where we were going. “Hey Spike! What’s next on the list?”
“Let’s see here …” he pulled out the piece of parchment to look at it. “Next is … music … and it seems to be the last one!”
Sparky’s demeanor immediately changed at that revelation; she actually looked a bit happy again for the first time today. “Finally, some good news for once!”
I found myself agreeing with her sentiment. “Yeah, I think I’m about ready for the day to be over, as well.”
“You do understand,” she grumbled, “that this day has been … stressful … mainly because you’ve been insistent on being less than helpful, right?”
“I’m basically here against my will and not in a good mood, same as you. You haven’t helped my mood, and I haven’t helped yours in turn,” I said nonchalantly. “Now, I’m willing to set the events of the day aside and accept a minor amount of blame if you are in turn willing to accept both the majority of the blame today, as well as responsibility for what happened to Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Deal?”
She didn’t even grace me with a response.
We continued in silence for a few moments later before I began to hear birds singing; not chirping like the bastards do while you’re trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning. No, these birds were singing in unison like a freaking chorus …
I’m honestly starting to wonder what being on drugs would be like in this world.
Sparky picked up on it too, if the way her ears perked up gave any indication. None of us had to wonder long where the singing birds were coming from. Just a bit further down the road I could make out a pegasus pony hovering near some birds in a tree.
If I didn’t know any better … and that’s entirely possible with the screwed up way this world works … I’d say she was conducting them in song …
“Well, seems that’s our music right there,” I mused out loud with a shrug. “Ah well, let’s go-”
Sparky held my pant leg, forcing me to stop. “Hold it. Shaun, please let me take care of this one again. Don’t approach her. Don’t talk to her. Don’t even look at her if you can help it. Okay?”
I shrugged. “Okay.”
Both of my companions blinked in confusion. “Okay?”
“I … didn’t think you’d agree so easily,” she said, her voice mildly surprised.
Spike scratched the back of his head and looked at me strangely, “I’m as surprised as you are on this one, Twilight.”
“It’s rather simple guys, I don’t want a repeat of my earlier abduction and the … events that followed. The fewer ponies I meet, the better the chances it won’t happen. See, logic!” I exclaimed with a hint of pride.
“Oh,” Spike said innocently, “you mean the mol-”
My mood immediately soured and I pointed at the dragon, cuting him off. “Don’t make me regret teaching you that word!”
“You should regret teaching him something like that anyway!” Sparky reprimanded me, giving me a glare that simply dared me to say something back. When I said nothing, she turned her attention back to her baby brother, “And that’s not a word I want you to repeat, Spike. Ever. Do you understand?”
Spike looked downcast. “I guess, but I still don’t know what it means …”
“And I want it to stay that way!” she remarked forcefully before turning to go. “Shaun, just wait here.”
“So you’re leaving me alone again?” I questioned skeptically. “Yeah, the thing is ... that didn’t work out so well for me last time. How about you leave Spike with me this time?”
She raised an eyebrow at that suggestion. “Why would I leave you alone with Spike after everything that’s happened today?”
“Because I might just innocently wander off and cause you to waste even more time?”
Sparky glared at me, but after a few moments, tersely agreed. “Fine, but if you teach him anything else of questionable moral value … I will be very upset with you, Shaun. So, I suggest you not say much of anything at all while I’m gone.” She turned to her assistant, “Spike, be sure to keep Shaun out of trouble.”
I should probably point out that it felt somewhat demeaning being watched over by a baby dragon. That seemed too much like a baby baby-sitting …
Wait, what the hell! That’s exactly what Sparky is doing! Screw you bit-
Sorry, I’m reigning in my emotions now.
Anyway, instead of standing in silence like Sparky suggested, I thought it would be best to teach Spike something new. Not something that would get me yelled at, of course. Just a simple game of Rock-paper-scissors. I figured that it was harmless and in no way could anything go wrong with that.
So I quickly explained the rules to Spike, who for his part seemed eager to do something other than stand around in silence. Unfortunately though, he was starting to ruin the fun with questions about the logic involved in the game ...
“Paper beats rock … huh?” he wondered aloud. “That’s doesn’t make much sense …”
“Yeah, well, neither does your adopted sister, at times.” I replied smartly.
“Wait,” I looked at him in disbelief. “You not only know what ‘adopted’ is, but you also know what ‘touche’ means?”
“Uh, yeah?” he said while looking at me like I was stupid. ’Look in a mirror first, pal …’
I cocked my head to the side. “I’m … somewhat mystified right now, to be honest. Maybe I haven’t been giving you enough credit when it comes to being versed in more advanced vocabulary.”
“Oooookay? This coming from the monkey thing that can’t read?” Clearly, he took offense somewhat.
“I can read!” I cried out indignantly. “Just, not the alphabet you use, apparently …”
Yeah, that ended rather weakly.
“It’s alright!” he exclaimed with a smile. “I’ll help teach you alongside Twilight if you want!”
“...” I wasn’t sure if he was trolling me at this point or not; the way he said it just seemed too honest and helpful. Still stung somewhat either way. But, at least I didn’t have much pride left to spare today, so it didn’t bother me immensely …
Oh who the hell am I kidding; that pint sized sorry excuse for a gecko is going down.
I was about to reply with some witty comment to salvage my bruised and battered ego when I heard a female voice excitedly exclaim, “A baby dragon!” Turning to the voice, I noticed a yellow pegasus with a pink mane flying rapidly towards us, followed by a less than enthusiastic Sparky on the ground.
The pony stopped to admire Spike like some sort of dragon fan-girl. “I’ve never seen a baby dragon before! He’s so cute!”
Spike was reveling in the new found attention. “Well, well, well!”
“Oh my! He talks? I didn’t know dragons could talk!” she exclaimed happily. “That’s just so incredibly wonderful, I just-”
The pony stopped gushing over Spike as she finally noticed my presence as well. Honestly, I don’t see how she could have not seen me from the very beginning. “Wow! What is he? I’ve never seen something like him before!” ’Did she just say he?! She did, right?! Oh happy day, a pony got my gender right without asking!’
I grinned widely at her. “You know, I had come to believe none of you ponies were mentally capable of picking up on the fact that I am a guy without asking first.”
The hovering pony flinched away. “He talks as well?” she asked with somewhat wide eyes as she landed back on the ground.
“Yes, he does talk,” Sparky replied dryly, followed by an almost inaudible muttering of, “Too much at times, if you ask me …”
The pegasus seemed less enthusiastic once she learned I was capable of talking as well. Unlike Spike, I don’t think I had the cuteness factor to work in my favor. That’s okay though, my dashing good looks and unique charm was all I needed to get through life!
I smiled down at her, “Hello, I’m Shaun the grateful ... at least for the moment. What’s your name?”
“I’m Fluttershy …” she trailed off.
“Well … Fluttershy … you are officially the best pony of the day for correctly assuming I was male! Congratulations!”
She looked away, “Thanks …”
“Am I intimidating now that I can talk or something?” I question warily.
The pegasus looked down and started pawing at the ground with a hoof. “Oh … um, well … a little ...”
“Ah, don’t worry about him,” Spike said, nodding in my direction, “he’s pretty cool. Also, he’s completely weak and harmless, too.”
Fluttershy looked somewhat reassured by that statement; after all, being told you are weak and harmless by something that looks like a first stage evolution of a Pokemon doesn’t exactly make you intimidating to others.
But you know what ... that doesn’t hurt me at all. I’m a proud human being. And I know that there are parts of my world that would more than likely enjoy eating baby dragon. As such, one cannot be insulted by possible dinner. The food chain doesn’t work like that.
Still, I need to reply in some form or fashion to satisfy my male mind. “Spike, I’m seriously having a hard time believing you aren’t a troll, you know.”
“Um, but he’s not a troll … he’s a dragon,” Fluttershy chimed in, nervously.
“Shaun, trolls don’t exist,” stated Sparky flatly as she picked up Spike with her magic and levitated him onto her back as she began to walk away. “They are just some old mares tale ponies tell to little foals.”
I shook my head and proceeded to follow my keeper. “It’s a reference in my world and … you know what, never mind. It’s not worth the effort and oxygen use in explaining.”
“Do you two mind if I ask you a few questions?” Fluttershy asked hopefully.
I glanced back to see Fluttershy following us. I looked at Spike, but he just shrugged his shoulders. I turned back to Fluttershy, “Sure, why not? What do you want to know?”
… Damn it ...
A few minutes later and I realized how lucky I was that Spike was there to split her attention between the two of us. The list of questions that Fluttershy had for me was endless … and entirely predictable, as usual; but at least not all questions were directed at me. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again … I am tired of being the new specimen on the block. Even with her demure nature, about halfway through the conversation I really just wanted to tell her to go find a grasshopper or a honey badger to bother.
Hell, chances are the honey badger would be in a better mood than I was. And that’s saying something, ‘cause honey badger just don’t give a shit!
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to do that to the mare. She looked fairly fragile, and as much as I didn’t want to put up with the questioning … I really didn’t want to risk making her cry. Or perhaps get stomped into the ground. After all, It’s the shy quiet ones you got to watch out for …
What? Don’t believe me?
Back in elementary school I used to pick on a girl much like this mare here; made her cry a few times even. She went to a different middle school than me after that, but then we met up in high school again. I tried to pick on her once, and only once when I saw her.
And that was all it took for me to learn not to do that again.
Her parents had apparently enrolled her in martial arts while she was in middle school; meaning that when I picked on her in high school for old times sake … things didn’t end well for me. She waited until I was alone after school one day, and proceeded to engage me in a debate of the fists. It was rather one sided though, I refused to debate back.
But I’m not ashamed to admit I got my ass kicked by a girl while no one was looking!
… Though all I told the school nurse is the black eye and broken nose came from falling down a flight of stairs.
What a wonderful life I’ve-
I was suddenly brought out of my musings as I felt a hoof poking me in the leg. I looked down to see the pegasus looking up at me. She took a step back and looked away as my attention fell on her. “Uh, what?”
“Um, I was asking you a question … if that’s alright with you of course.”
“Oh, yeah sure,” I responded trying to play things smoothly.
Fluttershy beamed at me. “Alright … so do you?”
I blinked, caught in a proverbial head. “Uh, well … I think that …” I paused to actually think. I don’t know the question, so I’m going to do with something safe. “I believe that cake is better than pie?”
Hey, it might not be the answer to the question, but I’ll be damned it if isn’t the truth.
For her part the pegasus just looked at me strangely for a moment. “Um, that’s good … I think. But I asked you if you had any family back home.”
“Oh … yeah … uh, sorry about that! What I meant to say is that my family and I enjoy cake over pie. It’s a family tradition thing.”
No way she’s going to believe that bull-
“Ah, that makes sense!” she happily replied.
… This one is just too innocent and gullible for her own good.
She was about to ask another question when I noticed that Sparky had just stopped in front of a large tree … with a door … and windows …
Oh, you have got to be freaking kidding me … it’s a tree house …
Seriously, is there meth or something in this world? These ponies can’t just think this shit up on their own … can they?
“I am so sorry!” Sparky said as she turned around, a fake grin plastered on her face. “How did we get here this fast? This is where we are staying while in Ponyville, and my poor baby dragon needs his sleep!”
Spike looked at her strangely. “But I’m not-”
Her leg kicked out, knocking Spike off her back … and hitting me hard in the shin as well. Really damn hard.
“Gah!” I yelled out as I fell to one knee and gripped my leg in agony.
The unicorn looked down at her baby brother with false pity. “Awww, wook at that. He’s so sweepy he can’t even keep his wittle balance.” Sparky then looked over at me, “And it seems Shaun’s legs are getting tired too. I think he mentioned something about humans not having great endurance. It’s in his best interest to just sit down for now.”
I looked at the unicorn in frustration. “Sparky, that’s-”
“Oh, you poor things!” Fluttershy cried out, swooping down to pick up Spike. “We simply must get you two some rest!” She opened the door to the tree house and flew inside. ’Damn it … she’s too freaking gullible.’
I didn’t have long to think about things as I suddenly found myself engulfed in Sparky’s purple aura of magic and being dragged into the tree. She set me down on the floor somewhat roughly, and quickly took Spike from Fluttershy before innocently shoving the kind pony back out the door.
“Yes, yes, we’ll get right on that!” she happily agreed. “Well then, good night!” And with that she slammed the door shut in Fluttershy’s face.
Seriously? That’s cold. Hell, that’s even colder than Shaun cold …
“Rude much?” Spike asked, clearly sounding annoyed at his treatment and her behavior.
“Yeah, that was a bit excessive, Sparky,” I said as I picked myself up off the floor and dusted myself off. “I mean, I know I’m mean at times … but I at least try to be more subtle about it. Didn’t Celestia teach you tact?”
I heard the mare sigh. “You know, it’s really bad when you say something that actually makes sense and makes me feel guilty at the same time …”
I shrugged my shoulders and shot her a half-smile in the darkness. “I have my moments.”
“Sorry, you two,” she muttered, “ but I really need time to study alone while I try to convince the Princess about the return of Nightmare Moon! I can’t do that with a bunch of crazy ponies around! I can barely even handle it with Shaun around …”
That got to me a bit. “Hey, I’m right here you know!”
“Can you hit the lights please, Spike?” she asked her assistant, completely ignoring my indignation.
No sooner had she said that than the lights to the library came on, and immediately we were greeted with a chorus of, “Surprise!” And hell yeah that was a surprise, because I immediately stumbled backwards and tripped over something. As I fell, the last thing I saw was an insanely huge grin.
I had just enough time to fear for my soul before the darkness consumed me.
So apparently it’s becoming a habit that I’ll plan for a chapter to be a certain length … then end up writing twice as much. How this went from a planned 7,000 words to its current length of roughly 15,000 is beyond me …
I even moved 1.5k words from this chapter to the next ...
Also, I have to say that this chapter is perhaps one of my least favorite I’ve written to date. To a certain extent I wanted it grounded in the show still, since this fanfic follows the show’s timeline. However, it got … boring to write for in certain sections. Next chapter though, screw that! It’s time for Shaun to shine! (Chapter four tentative title: “Shaun versus Wild: A Case Study in Natural Selection”)
Anyway, as usual, thanks to my pre-readers for their hard work; and as always feel free to leave a comment or PM if you have an issue with anything I’ve written!