There are very few times in recorded history where the Princess of the Moon (informally known as Luna) has ever put the life of one of her subjects at risk. Some of the more notable examples of these moments include:
Her transformation into Nightmare Moon, and threatening to plunge the Kingdom and the rest of the world into eternal night.
The first confrontation with Discord, in which the battle between him and the Princesses caused large amounts of collateral damage resulting in dozens of ponies being injured (although none were killed).
And finally, the last time she tried cooking; where six of the castle’s staff were given food poisoning and had to have their stomachs pumped, lest they be slain by the Princess’ cuisine.
As stated before however, these events were extremely uncommon. But as rare as the moments were, Luna was currently finding herself in such a situation. For you see, had the Princess not had a more important matter to address she would have been, at that moment, strangling the bearer of the Element of Laughter (informally known as Pinkie Pie) with the intent of snuffing all the life out of her. But, as stated previously, Luna was somewhat busy.
The party guests, who had jumped out in order to surprise what they had assumed would be a pony, were now all standing slack jawed, staring at Jorge. The giant alien biped for his part was looking back at the group with an equally surprised expression. In fact, the only ones who weren’t in a state of shock appeared to be Pinkie Pie, who was standing in the middle of the room looking expectantly at Jorge, and Twilight; who, despite having given herself a very nasty bruise, was continuously face-hoofing with the intent of killing herself out of frustration.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you asked) the moment of shock was quite brief, and before long ponies were slowly backing away from the Spartan and mumbling nervously among themselves. Luna could even see that some of the more skittish party guests were actually trembling and hyperventilating in fear. Realizing that it was only a matter of time before a full blown panic ensued, the Princess approached the nervous townsfolk with the hopes of calming them down.
“Fear not my little ponies,” she began in the most motherly tone she could muster, in an attempt to imitate her sister’s benevolence. But no matter how much she tried she could never do it just right. “Everypony just stay calm and I will explain. The situation is under control. There is no need to panic-”
“SHE SAID PANIC! EVERYPONY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!” screeched a random, dark green earth pony.
What then occurred was probably one of the most bizarre things to ever happen in Ponyville’s library (and considering its history and its current residents, that’s really saying a lot). Some of the ponies in the library began screaming as they ran around flailing their forelegs like lunatics, while most simply retreated away from the human in a futile attempt to escape his supposed wrath. Luna was momentarily stunned by the green mare’s outburst and was left blinking in confusion for a few seconds, trying to process what was happening. Once she got over her stupor she proceeded to try and regain control of the situation by bellowing in the ‘Royal Canterlot Voice.’ Unfortunately, what she was actually saying was lost in the panic and all that could be heard was her unintelligible yelling; which only served to make everypony even more frightened and to make an already confusing situation all the more chaotic.
Applejack was trying to calm everypony down along with the Princess. The cowpony was shortly joined by Rarity and Rainbow Dash, both of whom had been a part of the welcoming committee but were now aiding the orange mare in trying to pacify the mob. Spike shrugged and joined the other ponies in the panic. Fluttershy, who had accompanied Rarity to the party, was so overwhelmed by all the noise that she rushed into the kitchen to try and find a place to hide. Twilight continued trying to give herself brain damage via excess face-hoofing. Pinkie Pie, who was oblivious to all the chaos around her, broke out into a song and dance routine welcoming Jorge to Ponyville. And all the while, the aforementioned human stood motionless in the center of all the chaos, just staring at the commotion that surrounded him. It was then that the Spartan came to a life altering conclusion. He was shocked that he hadn’t thought of it before, but now this realization hit him like a freight train. It was the kind of deep, philosophical discovery that one makes very few times in their life:
These ponies are fucking insane.
The ruckus continued for quite some time. Once Pinkie had finished her introduction for Jorge she joined the rest of the ponies in their irrational panic, thinking it was some sort of game. Luna continued shouting for everyone to calm down but it was no use. Just when she was about to give up, a loud *crack* of what sounded like thunder echoed throughout the library. It wasn’t much louder than everypony’s shouting, but the foreign sound was distinct enough to grab their attention and to get them to shut up. Everyone froze and stared at the source of the noise.
Jorge was standing right in front of the entrance like he had been before, except his arm raised and his ‘gun’ was in his hand. Luna could see that it was pointed towards the ceiling and that, strangest of all, a thin trail of white smoke was rising from it. The Spartan turned to face her.
“Your turn,” he grunted.
It took Luna a second to understand what he was saying, but she quickly realized that Jorge had made the library completely silent. Deciding that she should seize the opportunity before it passed, the alicorn began addressing the jumpy party guests again.
“*Ahem* as I was saying before I was interrupted…um…” What the heck was I saying? How am I supposed to explain this!? Luna’s mind was utterly blank. How was she supposed to explain the presence of a mythological beast to these ponies? Everything had fallen apart. Jorge was supposed to be revealed to the public via an official press conference, not through a surprise party! Nonetheless, she did the best she could. “Well… er… you see this is… uh… Jorge,” she muttered lamely as she waved her hoof towards the human, who was trying his hardest not to groan at Luna’s pathetic explanation.
Why can’t Celestia be here? thought Luna frantically. She was always better at this sort of thing. “He’s a human…and um…a royal guest to Equestria…or something. He’s going to be staying here in Ponyville until further notice.”
One of the guests, a gray pegasus stallion with a low cut mane, raised his hoof.
“Uh…yes?” asked Luna.
“He’s a human?”
“You mean those fictional creatures from children’s books? Those demons that burn down villages, attack ponies, and kidnap foals to eat them?”
Twilight’s eyes widened. Oh now I remember…uh oh. Applejack glanced uncertainly at Jorge while Spike backed away from the Spartan nervously. The human’s nostrils flared in anger. Luna had told him about ponies’ perceptions of humans earlier that day and he had felt deeply insulted by them.
Luna for her part had absolutely no idea how to respond to the stallion’s question without restarting the panic. She decided to just bite the bullet and hope for the best. “Uh…yes?”
As soon as the word left her mouth, the party guests all began freaking out again before being silenced a second time by Jorge’s gun.
That’s a second round I’ve had to piss away, he thought bitterly. The Spartan looked at Luna again, silently telling her to get her act together and resolve the situation. Despite the human’s helmet, she got the message.
“Alright let me start over,” she began again, this time with renewed confidence and vigor. “My little ponies, citizens of Ponyville, please remain calm. Allow me to introduce you to Jorge, the human I was mentioning. As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted…again, he is my personal guest to Equestria and will not harm you. I expect you to treat him like any other citizen: with kindness and the utmost respect.” Fat chance of that. “The crown will make an official statement on the matter tomorrow, so please, go home. Tonight’s festivities are hereby cancelled.”
“OH NO YOU DON’T!!!”
Luna faced the source of the outburst. Standing at an advanced looking turntable in the back of the room, surrounded by a couple of speakers and a dozen bright lights, was an upset white unicorn with a blue mane and large purple sunglasses.
“Whatshisface…” began the white mare as she pointed accusingly at Jorge, “…already ruined a perfectly awesome party, and destroyed all my gear. I’m not gonna let him wreck another one. I’m gonna stay here, test my new equipment out, and party, EVEN IF IT KILLS ME!”
Luna stared at the blue-haired disc jockey in disbelief. Is she being serious? The Princess asked herself incredulously. Unfortunately for her, the mare appeared to be very serious.
“Yeah!” chipped in Pinkie Pie from behind a table of snacks. “I spent hours trying to make sure this was the most stupendously aweswomerific party since last week’s most stupendously aweswomerific party. We can’t just cancel it. Do you want to be the biggest party-pooper in the history of Ponyville?”
Luna sighed and rubbed her eyes tiredly. “Fine, as long as you willingly want to continue your festivities I suppose I can permit all those who wish to stay to resume the party. Everypony else, you may leave.”
“Wait! Don’t I get a say in thi-?”
Before Twilight could finish speaking, a surge of bodies began flooding out of the library. Not one of the party guests failed to glance nervously at Jorge before exiting. Once everypony who decided to leave was no longer in the building, Luna looked at those who remained. While there were less than half the original number of party guests, the Princess was shocked by how many had actually chosen to stay. Still, those brave enough to remain continued to stare nervously at Jorge, almost unsure as to whether they wanted to leave or not. Sensing everyone’s trepidation, Pinkie Pie hopped into the middle of the room.
“Alright everypony,” she exclaimed happily. “Let’s get this party started!”
And just like that, everybody loosened up and started moving around the room to socialize with the other guests. DJ Pon-3 also helped ease the tension by playing some music and turning on a few of her strobe lights. Before long, part of the library’s foyer had become a small, makeshift dance-floor. Luna apologized to Twilight and her companions, explaining that she had to leave and discuss the new turn of events with her sister. After she departed, the girls all dispersed around the room and began having a good time at the party. The only person in the room who was not enjoying himself was Jorge. Despite the eased tension all the ponies opted to maintain some distance from the Spartan, who was more than happy to oblige by staying away from them as well.
The soldier grumbled to himself as he made his way towards the basement in the hopes that he could get away from the loud noise and all the irritating ‘horses.’ He was about to walk through the doorway of the sublevel, when he was stopped by Pinkie Pie materializing in front of him.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she asked him without breaking her grin.
“Downstairs,” he answered gruffly.
“But you can’t go downstairs. This is your party.”
Jorge looked over his shoulder. There was a considerably large space between him and any of the guests, who were happily ignoring his presence. “Yes, I can see that,” he replied dryly.
“Oh come on. Don’t be so grumpy. Do you want to dance?”
“I don’t dance.”
“Play pin the tail on the pony?”
“Talk to anypony?”
“Bob some apples?”
“Go downstairs into the dark basement so that you could be all alone?”
“No. Wait… I mean, yes” Shit.
Pinkie smiled mischievously at Jorge. “You said no first, so that means that you want to stay here!”
Jorge groaned. He could feel a headache creeping into his skull. He prayed that it was that hemorrhage he had been thinking about earlier. Maybe if I’m lucky it’ll kill me. “Goodnight Pinkie.” Jorge pushed past the party pony and began making his way downstairs again. Pinkie latched on to his right leg and started being dragged by the Spartan.
“But you can’t leave!” she pleaded. “You’re the guest of honor! You have to stay! Please! Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplea-”
“ALRIGHT!” bellowed the Spartan. “If I stay, will you shut up and stop bothering me?”
Pinkie Pie nodded enthusiastically.
The Spartan sighed. “Fine.”
“But, I’m not going to dance or play any games… or interact with anyone in any way for that matter. I just want to be left alone. Understood?”
“That’s not very fun,” said Pinkie with a frown.
“Take it or leave it.”
Pinkie continued to frown at Jorge before sighing. “Okie dokie,” she murmured without any enthusiasm. With that, the pink pony hopped off to another part of the room, leaving the Spartan on his own. Jorge made his way to the quietest corner of the library. He sat down and removed his helmet, which elicited a few more nervous glances from the party quests. The human just frowned and brooded over whether or not pink would become his new least favorite color. If he continued to spend time around Pinkie Pie, it would soon be a looming possibility.
Jorge just sat there, staring at the scene in front of him. He scoffed to himself. These ponies were undoubtedly a pain in the ass. They were loud, hysterical, somewhat xenophobic, brightly colored, and above all else, too damn cheerful. And yet, there something refreshing about them. Perhaps it was their naiveté. After spending so much time surrounded by death and destruction, Jorge found something cathartic in their childlike innocence. Before he could ponder on the subject any further, he was interrupted by a voice from his right.
“Excuse me Mr. Jorge. May I join you, or am I intruding?”
Jorge turned his head and was surprised to see a certain white unicorn smiling politely at him. “Suit yourself,” he grunted, not too happy about being bothered.
Rarity gave a small nod and sat down next to him. “I would simply like to apologize to you for yesterday’s events. Even though you destroyed the library, we were being quite rude.”
Jorge said nothing. He just continued to stare straight ahead, ignoring the dressmaker in the hopes that she would get the message and go away. She did not.
“I mean, yes you are a frightening sight, yes you unabashedly caused thousands of bits worth of property damage, yes you slapped Rainbow Dash in the face, yes you brutally attacked our beloved Princesses without any regards for-”
“Do you have a bloody point?”
Rarity flinched at Jorge’s language. “But, in retrospect you were probably just scared and acting out of instinct. We were completely at fault.”
Yeah, I was real scared of a group of colorful talking ponies, thought Jorge sarcastically. Végtig megrémült.
“I also apologize for this little situation we caused here,” explained the dressmaker as she waved her hoof towards the party in front of them. “The girls and I were given to understand that Twilight and the Princess had known about the whole affair. We had also assumed that the town had been informed about your presence.”
“What about the banner?” asked Jorge. “’Please don’t eat us?’”
Rarity chuckled nervously. “Pinkie has a… eccentric sense of humor. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
I hope that, for the sake of my sanity, I’m not stuck here for that long, thought Jorge. “Do you want something?”
Again, Rarity cringed at Jorge’s bluntness. “Actually there was something I wanted to ask you about…”
Of course there is.
“…I wanted to ask you about your attire.”
My armor? “My armor?”
“Oh yes!” stated Rarity enthusiastically. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.” Rarity moved in closer to the human and began inspecting his suit. “It’s quite fascinating really. You see, I’m a dressmaker. A ‘fashionista’ if you will. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of my work.”
“I can’t say I have. Besides, I don’t think you’d be too interested in it. It’s just armor, not a fashion statement.”
Rarity gasped in shock. “Just because it’s not a conventional article of clothing, doesn’t mean it can’t be fashionable. After all, one must strive to look their very best at all times.” As she said this, Rarity shook her hair back, fluttered her eyelashes, and struck a fashionable pose. “Look at your color for example.”
“Yes, your color. What possessed you to choose orange for you armor?” Rarity couldn’t help but be a little disgusted at the suit’s color palate.
Jorge’s jaw tightened. “I don’t know. I guess I liked it.”
“But orange darling?” drawled the unicorn. “It’s so… kitsch. Believe me, I know about these sorts of things. You know what would look simply divine instead? A nice, light shade of purple; perhaps violet.”
Jorge gritted his teeth. “I hadn’t thought of that,” he growled.
Rarity nodded sagely. “You’ll have to come down to my boutique tomorrow to get that fixed, I insist. But in any case, I was wondering if you could tell me anything about it.”
Jorge hesitated. Anything regarding a Spartan’s MJOLNIR was strictly classified. He was quite reluctant to share any information with the self-proclaimed dressmaker. It’s not like they’re going to use any of this knowledge though, Jorge reasoned. What are they going to do, recreate their own Mark Fives? This thought brought up images of ponies clad in their own version of Jorge’s battle armor. The idea struck Jorge as hilarious, and he almost grinned at the thought.
The Spartan looked down at the unicorn in front of him. He was surprised to see she was looking at him with an expression akin to that of a begging puppy. This strategy may have worked with a weaker willed human, but not with the battle-hardened super-soldier. Still, Jorge decided to concede. Perhaps if he satisfied her curiosity she would go away and leave him alone. He was still going to be quite selective of the information he would share with the pony though, just in case.
“Alright. But I’m warning you that I don’t know much about the technical aspects of my armor; just the basics.” This was a lie, and rather blatant one at that. While it was true that most Spartans didn’t have very extensive knowledge of the most detailed mechanical and robotic aspects of their armor, every Spartan knew their MJOLNIR like the back of their hands, more so even. Their armor was like a second skin, and as such Spartans needed to know almost every minute detail about it. But feigning ignorance would help avoid some questions that Jorge would rather not answer.
“Oh it’s perfectly all right,” said the unicorn. “I’m not much of a blacksmith myself. I’m just rather curious, is all. I enjoy learning about all kinds of clothing.”
“Alright. My armor is called a MJOLINIR Mark Five. It is the fifth, and latest, in the MJOLINIR series of armor, or exoskeletons to be precise. It’s a very advanced piece of equipment. It is both versatile and almost impossible to penetrate. The armor is composed of multiple layers, including an outer alloy shell with a refractive coating. Under this first layer is a coat of a reactive liquid metal which is woven into a super dense optical computer memory… Am I going too fast for you?”
Rarity frowned; she had absolutely no idea what Jorge was talking about. Regardless, she continued to listen politely to Jorge’s explanation. “It’s…alright.”
“I suppose I could just skip the technobabble and explain some of the more prominent features.”
“What sort of features?”
“The Mark Five has a special port in the back which allows a module to be stored,” explained Jorge. “These modules give the armor added features and abilities.”
“How interesting. What kind of abilities?”
“All sorts. One module gives the wearer the ability to create a temporary shield. Another allows the wearer to create a decoy…”
“Do you have one of these ‘modules?’” asked Rarity.
“Well what does it do?”
“My armor ability allows me to-”
“Uh, ‘scuse me for interuptin’, but can ah talk tah Rarity fer a minute?”
Both Jorge and the white unicorn turned to see a nervous looking Applejack standing in front of them. The cowpony refused to make eye contact with Rarity, and instead opted to stare at the ground and paw it shyly. A light blush tinted her cheeks and she was biting her lip nervously.
“Why of course Applejack,” replied the dressmaker with a smile. “What do you need?”
Applejack glanced nervously at Jorge. “Actually I was… uh… hopin’ that we could talk in… p-p-private.” Her voice cracked slightly at the last word.
Rarity was a little confused at her friend’s behavior but agreed nonetheless. “Sure darling, it won’t be a problem.” She turned to face the human. “I ‘m sorry Jorge, but it appears that you will have to tell me some other time.”
The Spartan said nothing. He remained motionless as he watched the two mares wander off to another part of the room. He didn’t mind being interrupted, in fact, he welcomed it. Jorge let out a tired sigh. He really didn’t want to be at this party, and he really didn't want to be in Equestria. He was supposed to be on Reach, fighting the war. That was his duty.
Jorge was about to stand up and head downstairs, Pinkie Pie be damned, when he began to hear a very heavy breathing next to his right ear. It was a shallow, erratic panting. The kind one gets after exhausting one’s self. The human slowly turned his head and came face to face with a mint green unicorn. The pony’s eyes were wide with excitement, and her pupils had shrunk to the point where they were nearly invisible. She was smiling a grin that was normally reserved for mentally unbalanced serial-killers when they spotted their prey, and her crazed look suggested that she wasn’t the most stable of individuals. It was here that Jorge came to his second life altering realization:
These ponies can be fucking creepy.
“Can I help you?”
Upon hearing Jorge’s voice, the unicorn shook excitedly. This only served to put him even more on edge.
“You can talk?” she squeaked
Jorge didn’t answer. He just continued eyeing the mysterious unicorn with apprehension.
“I knew you were real,” she whispered to herself. “I told them, but they didn’t believe me. They said I was crazy. But who’s crazy now huh? WHO’S CRAZY NOW!?!” The mare began cackling hysterically and, just like at the market earlier, all eyes in the room turned towards her. Jorge said nothing throughout her little triad. When she was finally done she resumed gawking at the human.
“I’ve been studying your species for as long as I can remember,” she breathed. “I have so many questions.”
“Okay…” responded Jorge slowly. “Like…?”
The unicorn froze. Her eyes widened and her mouth lowered somewhat. Despite having spent her entire life studying his species, Lyra really couldn’t think of a single thing to ask Jorge now that the opportunity presented itself. She continued to look at Jorge dumbly. It was a moment worthy of a Twilight face-hoof and Jorge was tempted to perform a face-palm himself. Lyra just continued to stare at the human in shock, almost as if she couldn’t believe that she couldn’t think of even one question to ask the very subject of her lifelong obsession “Um… so… what’s it like to be… er human?” she finally mumbled pathetically.
Jorge rubbed his eyes in frustration. “What’s your name?”
“Right then, ‘Lyra’. How about leave, think of some questions, and then come back.” Just go away and leave me alone, te kis idegesitő seggfej.
Lyra immediately perked up. “Great idea! I’ll head back home and ask my marefriend Bon-Bon. She came to the party with me but decided to leave after you showed up for some reason. Oh I know! I’ll go get my notebook that I made about you guys. That’s sure to have something.”
Lyra rushed out the front door and hurried back to her home as fast as her legs could carry her.
Jorge was left gaping at the doorway, dread quickly lurking into his mind. Notebook? This is going to bite me in the arse later isn’t it? He put his helmet back on and prepared to go downstairs again. Well, at least I don’t have anybody bothering me anymore…
“So you’re the dick who wrecked my sound system.”
…son of a bitch!
The white disc jockey known as DJ Pon-3 was standing a few feet from Jorge, glaring at him. Or at least he thought she was glaring. It was hard to tell because of the purple glasses she was wearing. Holy hell, these ponies have more purple than the Covenant! The Spartan’s jaw clenched instinctively at the sight of the color.
“Who the buck do you think you are?” demanded the unicorn. “Coming inta my town and destroying my stuff.”
“I’m sorry,” grunted Jorge. Another blatant lie.
“Yeah? Well ‘sorry’ ain’t gonna pay for my new sound system.”
Jorge scowled at the unicorn. He had reached his daily quota of shit he was willing to take from these ponies, and was getting rather tired of them and all their unwanted attention. He stood up, revealing his true height in the hopes of intimidating the unicorn. The white mare just stood her ground and returned his glower with equal intensity. The human lowered himself to eyelevel with her, leaned in close, and brought his face mere centimeters away from hers. “Well then,” he snarled. “What are you going to do about it?”
Both the pony and the human were left glaring at each other. Each could see their reflection on the other’s head wear. The DJ saw her purple shades reflected in an orange tint on the Spartan’s visor, while he could see his helmet reflected in purple on her glasses. Neither moved nor dared to breath. After some time, the white unicorn tilted her head quizzically and Jorge imitated the motion at almost the exact same time. For some reason, the DJ found this hysterical, for it caused her to suddenly burst out laughing which caught the human off guard.
“I like you,” she laughed as she punched Jorge’s shoulder. “You’re alright. What’s your name?”
“Well Jo I’m-”
“Ah same difference,” said the pony with a dismissive wave of her hoof. “The names Vinyl Scratch, just call me Vinyl. Anyways, I guess I’ll be seeing you around. Welcome to Ponyville and all that jazz.”
Vinyl sauntered back towards her equipment, ready to start playing another song, when she stopped and turned around to face Jorge one last time. “Oh, and you still owe me for my new gear.” And with that, the DJ headed back to the turntables to liven up the party. Jorge was left staring at where Vinyl had been standing. It was here that Jorge had his third and final life changing conclusion of the night:
These ponies are fucking strange.
Jorge looked around the room. The night was still young, and ponies of all colors were dancing and socializing all throughout the library. The soldier was surprised to see that a couple of the quadrupeds appeared to be drunk. These ponies were swaying around the room, laughing loudly and holding large mugs of some sort of beer in their hooves. Yesterday Jorge may have questioned how they were possibly doing that without the aid of fingers; but, as stated earlier, it was not the strangest thing he had seen that day. That dubious honor went to a store he had seen on his tour of the town which only sold quills and sofas (Jorge was still confused as to how a species that had to ability to change matter with nothing but their minds had yet to invent something as simple as pens).
He inspected his immediate surroundings to make sure that no one else was going to bother him and was relieved to see that this was not the case. Well that’s enough excitement for one night.
The human made his way back to the basement and this time managed to arrive without interruptions. Lying down in the same place as the night before, he played some music to try and block out the noise coming from upstairs. With the help of the music gently playing in his ears, Jorge was able to drift off to sleep much easier than he had the previous evening. But, once again, dreams of violence and death were all that greeted him that night.
The doors of the town hall burst open and out poured a stream of ponies, all making their way out of the building. It was early Wednesday morning, and the town was just as lively as ever. Perhaps more so thanks to recent days' events. These ponies leaving the government building were all reporters heading off to their respective news outlets, ready to print what was widely considered to be the story of the century. Meanwhile, inside the hall, two alicorns were standing behind a pair of podiums, wearily watching the last of these ponies leave the building. Once they were sure that the last of the reporters had left, the older one of the two, a white pony with a rainbow colored mane, turned to face her younger sister. “Well…that could have gone better.”
The younger sister gave a tired huff. “That’s an understatement. I can’t believe we had to spend two hours, two WHOLE hours, assuring them that Equestria wasn’t being invaded by aliens! Seriously Tia, how do you stand these things?”
Celestia gave a tired chuckle. “You get used to them. Besides, it wasn’t as bad as in some of the other cities. I’m never doing a press conference in Manehatten ever again,” she muttered to herself.
“I just don’t understand why you had to drag me along,” whined her younger sibling.
“Luna, you are my sister and a ruler of a nation,” explained Celestia in a lecturing tone. As such, it is your duty to address the population on such matters.” The white alicorn gave her sister a playful smirk. “Besides, I needed some way to get back at you for that dominatrix comment from last night.”
“I knew it!”
Celestia chuckled heartily at her sister’s reaction. It was just what she needed after such a stressful morning. “You are right though. Our ponies were being a little… excited.”
Luna snorted. “That’s one way to put it.”
“How is our guest by the way?”
“I don’t know,” sighed Luna. “I haven’t seen him since last night. I hope he had a pleasant time at the party. Although, judging from his attitude, that’s not very likely.”
“He is rather introverted,” stated Celestia ponderously.
“He was also upset at some of the myths regarding his people.”
“I’m not surprised. Anyways, I suppose I will be seeing you in a few days. Help him establish himself and then come back to Canterlot to help finding a way to send him back.”
“Excuse me!? What are you talking about?”
“Didn’t I tell you the plan?” asked Celestia.
“It must not have crossed your mind,” replied Luna accusingly, her voice laced with suspicion.
“I am going back to Canterlot to settle some affairs there while you stay here and help Jorge get acclimatized.”
“Why do I have to stay?”
“I thought you wanted to learn more about him?” inquired Celestia, quite puzzled at her sister’s reaction.
“Well…it’s just…he makes me a little nervous,” admitted Luna. “Besides, what is it that you have to do in Canterlot that is so important?”
“Luna, we’re talking about a human,” explained her older sister. “A living, breathing myth. This concerns the rest of the world and most of its races. Think about how prominent they are in Zebra and Griffin mythology. And do I even need to mention the minotaurs? Honestly, I think the only people that don’t feature them in a part of their lore are the buffalo, and even they’ve heard of them to some degree. I will have to inform the other nations about this immediately. Do you really want to deal with that?”
Luna frowned. The other nations still resented her for almost bringing about eternal night. Some had even accused Celestia of fabricating the nightmare as a way to protect her sibling, and this made visiting embassies rather awkward. The only nation that had truly forgiven her had been the Zebras. “Very well,” she sighed. “But how am I supposed to learn more about him if he’s barely even willing to talk.”
“Take him out to lunch.”
Luna gave her sister her best ‘are you serious?’ look.
Celestia shrugged. “Who knows, it might be good for you. When was the last time you went on a date with a stallion?”
Luna blushed slightly. “This is for that whole ‘kiss already’ thing, isn’t it?”
The white alicorn gave her sister a sly wink. “I don’t know what you’re talking about~” she sang as she skipped out of the hall.
“Oh yeah? Two can play at this game, Trollestia.
The Princess of the sun froze. She slowly turned around to face her sister. Her eyes narrowed an ice cold expression. “For your sake, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
“Just as well. I remember that you didn’t like that one nearly as much as that other nickname. What was it again?”
“You know the one. It began with an ‘M…’”
“I’m warning you Luna.”
“…it was started by that really pleasant guard a few thousand years back; the one who claimed he had slept with you…”
“Luna, you’re skating on thin ice here.”
“Oh, now I remember. Molesti-”
“DAMMIT LUNA! I swear by Tartarus that if you utter even one more syllable you will not leave this room alive!” hissed the sun Princess in a voice that could freeze stars. If looks could kill then Luna would have been the second pony in the history of Equestria to be caught in the epicenter of a thermonuclear blast.
“Oh Tia, you’re so easy,” giggled Luna as she nuzzled her sister’s neck. “I missed this,” she murmured happily.
Celestia tried to keep her angry expression but it quickly proved futile. She sighed and returned her sister’s affection. “I did too,” she replied quietly with a small smile.
“Whatever happened to that guard by the way?”
“Let’s just say, that he spent his last few years of service in the place that would make the moon look pleasant. I can’t believe you still remember that though. It happened more than one thousand years ago.”
“One does not forget these things, dear sister.”
Both Princesses walked out of the town hall and were relieved to find that most of the reporters had left already. As expected, Celestia’s guards were as punctual as ever and they were already waiting outside with a carriage to take the Princess back to Canterlot.
“Goodbye Lulu,” whispered Celestia as she gave her sister a final nuzzle. “Please be careful. I still don’t trust this human.”
“Don’t worry sister, I will. Have fun with all the ambassadors.”
Celestia entered her carriage. As the vehicle began ascending the white alicorn stuck her head out of the window to call out to Luna. “Good luck sister! I’ll see you soon.”
Luna gave her older sibling a wave. “Thanks Tia.” As she watched the carriage fly off towards Equestria’s capital, Luna sighed and lowered her gaze. I’m going to need all the luck I can get.
The walls of the hangar were dripping with blood. All around the docking bay the entrails of slain soldiers were strewn about in a macabre tapestry, detailing the events that had unfolded within the room’s confines. The corpses of dozens of human troops, all clad in their own MJOLNIR armor, were lying still among the ship’s equipment. Some of the bodies were whole, but most were torn apart, shredded by some unknown force. Amid all the carnage stood a single solider, gazing sleepily upon the scene in front of him. Before him stood a Pelican with a large white device attached to its rear. Said device was devoid of any writing or electronics save for a large crimson button protruding from its side.
To his right was a large window which revealed a black expanse of nothingness. Thousands of small white dots punctuated the darkness, and in the center of it all there floated a massive, turquoise sphere. This planet hung delicately in the void. Its waters mirroring the white clouds and hurricanes that floated over its surface, while its lush vegetation carpeted its continents entirely.
The soldier turned his head and saw the planet for what felt like the first time. He wanted to be still, staring at its beauty for all of eternity; refusing to tear his eyes away until he withered away and became dust in the wind. Yet he knew that could not be. With great difficulty, the soldier looked back at the machine in front of him, his duty. He slowly raised his hand and extended his finger. All the while, his heart was thumping rhythmically in his chest.
But the closer his finger got to the button, the heavier his arm felt. Gradually, the sound of the soldier’s heart thumping was replaced by a voice whispering in his ear. It was soft and sweet, like the gentle murmurs of a lover in the early morning. Yet, for reasons unbeknownst to him, the soldier found it deeply haunting.
“Ollyolly oxen free,” the voice whispered over and over.
The soldier had no idea what the phrase meant. It sounded familiar though. Like a distant memory, perhaps from his youth. Still, he ignored the soft voice and concentrated at the task at hand. He attempted to move his arm but it had frozen in place. No matter how much he tried it would not budge. And all the while the voice continued to whisper those four words, slowly getting louder. Sweat poured down the soldier’s brow as he tried to force himself to push the button while the voice screamed in his ear.
“Ollyolly oxen free.”
“Ollyolly oxen free.”
“Ollyolly oxen free!”
The solder jerked back his arm and spun around. That was when he first really noticed the butchery that surrounded him. His eyes widened in horror as he realized that the piles of lifeless flesh that were haphazardly thrown around the hangar had the faces of people he knew. Friends, family, brothers and sisters were all staring at him with lifeless eyes. The soldier whipped his body around towards the mirror. The planet, which had once been beautiful, had become a ball of charred rock and ash. Fires raged all along its surface, turning it into glass.
“Ollyolly oxen free, all out in the free, we’re all free.”
The soldier screamed.
Jorge bolted upward. He looked around the room frantically, his eyes darting around in his skull in an attempt to examine every inch of his surroundings. When he finally discerned that he was still in the basement of the library he managed to calm himself. He was still panting however, and his body was covered in sweat. Oh god, what the hell was that?
After a moment, he was able to regain control of his breathing. The Spartan sighed heavily and rubbed his eyes. “That was new,” he groaned to himself. He stood up to stretch a few minutes later, and by then his nightmare had become a distant blur. But while the details of his dream had been forgotten, the feeling of terror had not. To try and push these thoughts out of his head the Spartan began inspecting his arsenal.
His knife was as sharp as ever and the pistol was working smoothly. Jorge had almost already gone through one of his four magazines so he steeled himself to use what little ammunition that remained more sparingly. He removed the last bullet in his nearly empty magazine, placed it in one of his suit’s pockets, and loaded his pistol with a fresh clip. His two frag grenades appeared fine. The real problem came when he was inspecting the plasma grenade.
There was a small, hairline fracture on the blue sphere. The crack was on what seemed to be the grenade’s timer. While it wasn't very long, Jorge could tell it went deep. “Hát ez egy probléma,” he muttered in his native tongue. “Must’ve happened during the scuffle with the Princesses.” Jorge was Noble Team’s heavy weapons expert, and while more familiar with human weaponry he probably had more knowledge on Covenant arms than almost any other human alive. But for all his expertise, he had no idea how the damage might affect the grenade. Not wanting to risk carrying an explosive that could spontaneously go off on his person, he did the best thing he could think of: he hid it deep in the darkest, oldest, dustiest, most secluded bookshelf of the library.
Just until I figure out to deal with you effectively, he thought as he placed the plasma grenade on the shelf.
With that business concluded Jorge climbed up the stairs, all the while thinking about his nightmare. However, these thoughts were completely shattered when he saw the state of the library. To put it bluntly: It was a mess. To put it realistically: It appeared as though Pinkie had been given a mixture of coffee and some sort of energy drink (by a very evil person obviously) and had shot a least a couple hundred party cannons within the span of a few minutes. All after a tornado and a hurricane had hot, rough sex in the middle of the kitchen. After an all-night rave composing solely of dragons (and fueled by alcohol and bad decisions) had been organized.
Jorge could only marvel at the state of the room. Empty plastic cups and glasses littered every surface of the floor. Streamers still hung from the ceiling, as did a various flowers, some horseshoes, a saddle, a pineapple, what appeared to be a toilet seat, and…
Lingerie? I thought these horses didn’t wear clothes.
The snack table was covered in chips, sodas and pastries. The walls were splattered with cake and not a single piece of furniture was left un-flipped. Someone had left the sink in the kitchen on and water was spewing all over the floor. A few inflatable toys and balloon animals were even floating around the hall. Jorge correctly assumed that Pinkie must’ve had something to do with the latter.
Okay, so apparently ponies party hard…that sentence sounded strange.
“Hey! Where… where did all the nice ponies go?”
Jorge turned towards the kitchen just as a purple pony with a mug of that strange beer from last night stumbled through the doorway.
“It was…like…FULL of ponies a second ago…” slurred the mare. Without looking at where she was going, the mysterious drunk tripped over one of the empty cups on the floor and careened into the Spartan. “W-who… who put this here?” she muttered as she rubbed her nose. After doing a bit of incoherent grumbling, the purple pony looked up to find a large human staring down at her in amusement from behind his helmet.
“Hey, your that human type thing from earlier aren’t you!?” exclaimed the mare merrily. “Wanna *hic* drink.”
“Suit yourself, more for me.” The purple earth pony took a swig of her drink and emptied the nearly full mug immediately. “So what’s yer name sexy.”
Jorge shook his head and grinned. He didn’t know why, but he found the whole concept of these supposedly innocent ponies getting drunk wholly amusing. “Jorge.”
“Well, the name’s Berry Punch… I make wine!” she shouted suddenly.
“Course, don’t you *hic* don’t you see my cutie mark?” Berry Punch pointed to her the grapes on her flank.
Jorge leaned in to get a better look. Cutie mark?
“You can stare at it fer as long as you like,” she whispered seductively. “SO! Waddaya think?”
“What do I think of what?”
“Of me. You like what you see? Am I hot?”
“Ah yer too kind,” said Berry Punch with a wave of her hoof. “You ain’t so bad yerself. Not like that jerk…whatshis face again? Thunderlane! That’s it. You know what he said to me? I’m gonna tell you what he said to me.”
“Actually I’m not interest-”
“He said I was fat!!!” screeched the mare indignantly. “Can you believe it? Then he had the nerve to ask me to suck his…”
Jorge sighed as Berry Punch continued to ramble about her failed courtship. I should have realized that a drunk pony would probably enjoy talking as much as a drunk trooper. He looked down to see that the purple pony had gotten really engrossed in her tale.
“…and then he kept insisting that that t-that I lick his ice-cream cone. I mean, where did he even get ice-cream at that time!?! So then I says…”
Jorge groaned. This is going to take a while.
Twilight groaned. That took a while.
The lavender unicorn’s head was pounding. Her muscles were sore and her throat was so dry it hurt. In short, she felt like death.
I’m never drinking with Applejack or Rainbow Dash again. The night before, both Applejack and Rainbow Dash decided to introduce their hermit of a friend to alcohol the best way they knew how: by challenging her to a drinking contest.
It took her half an hour to sum up enough energy to get out of bed and make it to the bathroom. As she stared at the mirror in front of her, what looked back was a creature that may or may not have been a monster from a popular children’s book.
Twilight’s eyes were completely bloodshot. Her hair was disheveled into an unrecognizable mess, while her coat was wild and crusted with try sweat. With much effort and moaning, the unicorn dragged her sorry flank into the shower and was greeted by a torrent of ice cold water. After a brief bout of swearing, Twilight changed the water to a more acceptable temperature, finished showering, dried off, and stumbled back into her room. Next to her night stand laid a scroll bearing the royal seal and a small note. Twilight levitated the piece of paper up to her eyes.
The Princess sent you a late night letter…again. Couldn’t wake you.
The lavender mare looked over to Spike’s basket to find the small dragon tucked away within its sheets, snoring contently. Well, at least he didn’t wake me up.
Twilight moaned yet again and massaged her temples. Coffee…need coffee.
She made her way down the stairs and walked into her foyer to find Jorge, sitting on the floor, reading and calmly sipping something from a teacup, while talking to a purple pony who Twilight recognized as Berry Punch.
“So then I says: well then, why don’t be just build an ice-ream maker!” slurred the purple pony. “Then he says…”
Twilight could not comprehend what was happening at that moment. She didn’t know what shocked her more, Jorge and Berry Punch, or the state of the library. Overwhelmed what she was witnessing before her, the purple unicorn could do little more than just stand and gaze upon the scene with an unhinged jaw. After a few minutes the drunken pony rambling off to Jorge noticed Twilight standing at the top of the stairs.
“Hey! It’s sparkle butt,” she hiccupped happily. “How you doin’? I was just talking to ol’ Jorge here. Ain’t that right Jorge?” The human said nothing. He simply continued to read the book in his hands, ignoring everything around him.
“Anyways Sparky, do you know where I could find a giant tub of chocolate syrup? Cuz I need to-”
Thankfully for Twilight, Berry Punch chose that moment to fall flat on her face, blacked out from the copious amounts of alcohol she had consumed. Jorge looked down from his book towards the unconscious pony. “I thought she’d never stop talking.” The human then turned his attention to the still flabbergasted unicorn in the room. “Good morning,” he said before taking a sip of his drink.
“How…what…huh?” stuttered Twilight.
Jorge ignored the unicorns stammers “Do you know her?” he asked pointing to Berry.
Twilight sighed. “Yes. Pretty much everypony in town knows Berry Punch. She’s fairly notorious for her antics.”
“What do we do with her?”
“I’ll just tell her roommate Colgate to come pick her up. She’s pretty used to it by now. What are you drinking?”
Jorge took another sip from the cup. “Mint tea. I saw you had some in your cupboards and thought I’d make some. Do you mind?”
Twilight stared at Jorge in disbelief. “I…not at all. How did you warm the water?”
“Your gas still works,” explained Jorge. “I just rigged the pipes to be able to get the pilot light working.” Jorge finished his tea and stared at his cup. “I prefer jasmine, but this’ll do.”
“What’re you reading?”
Jorge looked down at the book and scowled. “Some more of your myths about us,” he muttered.
“I’m sorry,” whispered Twilight. After last night she had remembered a few of the stories about humans. Just as she suspected, they were not complimentary.
Jorge’s face softened. “It’s alright. It’s not like you wrote them or anything.”
The unicorn perked up after hearing Jorge say that. “Alright then, I’m going to get ready and then we’re going to go.” As soon as those words passed her lips, Twilight’s previous headache resurged with force, and she weakly stumbled into the kitchen, trying to keep from vomiting.
“Go? Go where?” Twilight didn’t answer. She just ignored the Spartan and she kept muttering something about coffee to herself.
After a roughly ten minutes, both were standing right outside the library. Jorge had donned his helmet once more and Twilight was feeling much better thanks to the two mugs of caffeine in her system. The air was humid, but not unpleasantly so. The few clouds that drifted aimlessly through the sky provided a nice shade for anypony in town that morning. The village was alive with ponies, all strolling around their community or working at the various shops. Fortunately for the two creatures outside the library, they were currently in the more residential area of the town; and thus, there were less townsfolk wandering around that part of the village at that hour.
“Where are we going?” asked Jorge.
“Luna invited us to have brunch with her and the other elements, so we need to get you presentable.”
Elements, what Elements? Wait, presentable?
“Excuse me, what do you mean presentable?”
“Well we can’t have you going to meet the Princess without getting ready,” explained Twilight as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “I mean, have you showered since you got here? Did you even get out of that armor of yours?”
“First off: I don’t take off my armor. Second: I doubt I’d fit in your shower. Lastly: I saw your precious Princess yesterday in my armor just fine.”
“This was different!” insisted the unicorn. “This isn’t some silly tour. This is a formal meal.”
“I may not be familiar with your culture, but where I come from brunch is pretty informal.”
“But she’s royalty.”
“Well I don’t recall having to wear a damn tuxedo when I was strangling ‘royalty,’” snorted the Spartan.
“Ugh! Fine,” huffed Twilight. As much as she hated it, she could tell that it was a lost cause. She could teleport Jorge to the Carousel Boutique but that would probably cause more problems than was worth. Besides, they were already running short on time.
“Let’s just get to the restaurant,” muttered Twilight.
“What about your home?”
“Spike will take care of it,” answered the unicorn as she waved her hoof dismissively. He needs to make up for yesterday’s skipped chores anyways.
“Before we go I need to ask, how often do you go into the basement?”
“Umm, not that often really. Why?”
Jorge didn’t answer right away. “Because I had to hide a small, blue ball down there…which also happens to be a potentially unstable explosive that is very dangerous.”
“WHAT!” screeched Twilight. “Why would you leave a thing that could explode in my basement!?”
“Because the walls there are thick enough to prevent any serious damage to the structure,” answered Jorge coolly. “I’m just telling you because I don’t want you finding it and playing around with it.”
Twilight sighed loudly. “No, as soon as we get back you need to find a proper way to dispose of it, got it?”
With that, the couple began walking down the relatively empty street. The moment they rounded a corner and got on to a more crowded part of town however, the temperature dropped at least a couple degrees. It was as if the entire town had decided to gather on that particular street and the entire scene had been paused with a remote control. If a pin were to drop, then pegasi in Cloudsdale would most likely have been able to hear it.
The town stared at Jorge with wide eyes (much like the party guests from last night), while the human and Twilight stared back just as still. Neither had been expecting the streets to be so crowded. But, then again, it was Wednesday.
“Umm…maybe we should go through a different street?” suggested Twilight.
Jorge didn’t listen. He just started walking down the crowded road and completely ignored his companion’s request. Twilight was forced to scramble after him and resumed leading the Spartan. As the couple approached the townsfolk, ponies left and right all backed away from the human and muttered nervously amongst themselves. Most even went as far as to rush inside their homes, bolt their doors, and close the curtains. Twilight noticed that the few that didn’t immediately hide were ponies that attended the party last night. Still, even these avoided making eye contact with either her or Jorge.
“Pssst Jorge, try to look friendlier,” whispered Twilight.
“And how would you suggest I do that?”
“I don’t know, smile or something.”
“I don’t think that will have much of an effect if I’m wearing my helmet,” deadpanned the Spartan.
“Then give them a little wave. Just try not to look so intimidating.”
Jorge sighed. He stopped walking and turned to face the nearest pony to him, a beige mare with a short red mane, who was staring at the human in utter terror. Jorge gave the pony the smallest, friendliest, least threatening wave he could manage. The mare in turn, gasped in fear and immediately passed out.
“Uhhh… on second thought, don’t do anything,” said Twilight.
“Good idea,” muttered the human.
They picked up the pace after that. Everywhere they went Jorge had the same effect on the town, until finally the entire village was completely deserted save for a few ‘brave’ souls. After a few more minutes of walking, the couple made it to the restaurant: a small low built structure with a large terrace. Twilight could see the Princess and her friends were already seated at one of the tables and conversing. When Luna got a glimpse of both Twilight and the Spartan she brightened up.
“Ah Twilight Sparkle, Jorge, I am so glad you could join us!” she called out cheerfully.
“Thank you for inviting us Princess,” replied Twilight enthusiastically while Jorge remained silent. The moment the Spartan sat down at the table, the other patrons all scrambled up to leave. The group looked around at the now empty terrace in bewilderment.
“Well… you sure know how to…leave an impression Jorge,” said Rarity.
Luna sighed. Okay, not the best start. “So how was the party? Did you enjoy yourself Jorge?”
“I went to bed early,” he replied as he removed his helmet.
“Ah.” I’m completely shocked, she thought sarcastically. “Did you have any pleasant dreams at least?”
“Yes,” lied the Spartan. “Really pleasant.” ‘I practically dreamt of rainbows and unicorns,’ he was tempted to say.
“I’m glad,” replied Luna.
“Oh Jorge, I just remembered,” said Rarity suddenly. “What was it that you were saying to me about your armor before Applejack interrupted us?”
At this, the orange cowpony blushed and shifted her eyes away from Rarity. Jorge noticed this and tilted his head quizzically at the earth pony. “What, about my armor ability?” he asked, turning his attention back to the dress maker, who nodded in conformation. “I was just saying that my armor ability is called-”
“OH DEAR CELESTIA! WHAT IS THAT!?!”
Everyone at the table turned to face a terrified looking waiter standing next to the table. The stallion was dressed in a cheap tuxedo and was left quivering in the Spartan’s presence.
“Ah yes, our orders,” said Luna, completely ignoring the waiter’s reaction. “Do you still serve breakfast at this hour?”
The waiter’s eyes shifted between the Spartan and the Princess. “Uh…b-b-but whaaa… t-th-th-the..?” he stuttered incoherently.
“I’m sorry, is there a problem?”
“N-n-no y-y-your highness. Um…yes w-we are still s-s-serving breakfast…”
“Splendid! My companions and I would like to order.” Luna waved her hoof towards the girls and Jorge.
“O-of c-course…um, may I take y-your o-orders?”
The Princess and the Elements all placed their orders, ranging from standard muffins and waffles to a banana split in Pinkie’s case. Once the stallion had shakily written down everypony’s orders he nervously turned his attention towards Jorge. “And f-f-for the…uh…g-g-gentlecolt?
Jorge glanced at the menu in front of him. He leaned down close towards the waiter, who began trembling even more violently.
“Surprise me,” growled the human. Jorge had never seen anybody pale so quickly. He was actually convinced the poor stallion was about to faint, and the Spartan could have sworn the waiter had actually wet himself.
“R-r-right a-a-a-away.” And with that, the waiter rushed back into the restaurant as fast as his hooves could carry him.
Jorge looked back towards the group at the table to see them all giving him disapproving looks. Save for Rainbow Dash, who just looked like she wanted to ‘pound’ him (although, in all fairness, that’s really the only look she’s given him since they met).
“Was that really necessary?” asked Luna.
“I didn’t know what to order.”
The alicorn rubbed her eyes. “Never mind. You’ll be happy to know that that the press conference was this morning and you have now officially revealed to the world.”
“I’m positively thrilled,” muttered the soldier. “Have you found a way to send me home?”
“We’ve only just started searching. You need to give it time.”
“Not good enough!” snapped Jorge suddenly, causing everyone at the table to flinch. He was actually just as surprised at his outburst as everyone else.
“What’s your problem!?!” shouted Rainbow Dash. The cyan pegasus had not forgiven Jorge for giving her a black eye, which she was still sporting, despite her friend’s pleas.
“This does not concern you,” warned Jorge.
“The hay it does! I don’t care what everypony else thinks, I know that you’re a monster. You’re just waiting for the chance to eat us, just like in those stories!”
“RAINBOW DASH THAT IS ENOUGH!!!” bellowed Luna.
Dash stopped talking but continued to glare at Jorge.
“Why is it that you need to get back home so urgently?” asked the alicorn calmly.
“You mean besides the fact that it’s my home, and that I’m a hated creature of myth here in your world?”
“Don’t you think hated is a strong word?” asked Rarity
“I hate him.”
“Shut up before ah buck you inta next week.”
“Oh please, I read your stories,” sneered Jorge. “Humans were always depicted as monsters to be slain by some ‘hero.’ Hell, one of those damn myths even claims that the appearance of a human is supposed to signal the apocalypse or something.”
“Those are just stories,” explained Luna. “I can assure you that nopony takes them seriously. You are not hated.”
“Really now? In that case, how did the press conference go?”
“That’s what I thought,” snorted the human.
“It’s not like that!” insisted Luna. “I can assure you, you are not hated…just feared.”
“I can see that,” grumbled Jorge as he nodded towards the deserted street.
A tense silence descended on the group, with no one really knowing what to say. Fortunately, Pinkie Pie, who is incapable of detected sarcasm, awkwardness, or tension, came to the rescue.
“So when is Jorgie gonna start working at Sweet Apple Acres?”
“Okay, you need to stop calling me ‘Jorgie.’”
“Sure thing Jorgerinno.”
“…on second thought, Jorgie is just fine,” deadpanned Jorge.
“Yer gonna start workin’ on the farm tomorrow afternoon,” explained Applejack. “Ah’ve got somethang special planned fer you.”
“I still fail to see how me getting kidnapped and attacked results in me having to work on your farm as compensation.”
“It results as such if you cause thousands of bits worth of property damage and attack the ruler of a sovereign nation,” answered Luna matter-of-factly.
“Again, after being kidnapped and wrongfully accused of harming a pony.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “Quit your fussing. Working on the farm is what’s best. Applejack gets compensation for her barn and it helps pass the time while you wait for us to find a way to send you home. Everybody’s happy!”
“Do I look happy?” asked the Spartan bearing the most neutral expression he could muster.
“Are you ever happy?” retorted the Princess.
Jorge shrugged. “Sometimes.”
Shortly after, the waiter arrived with everyone’s orders, bringing various juices, teas, coffees, and pastries to the table for everyone to enjoy. To the Spartan, he brought a pair of fried eggs, sunny side up, with a stick of celery at the bottom to form the shape of a smiley face; and to drink: a tall glass of pink lemonade. Jorge looked down at the happy face looking at him from the plate. He was not amused.
“Oh, I have great news Jorge!” said Luna in between bites of her muffin. “My sister and I made you an official citizen of Equestria and we’ve also managed to find you proper lodgings in town.”
Jorge was surprised to say the least. I don’t get a say in this? “Why did you make me a citizen? What if I don’t want citizenship?”
Luna waved her hoof dismissively. “It’s just a formality, do not worry. It will not affect you in any way. It was simply done to…smooth over a few of the more bureaucratic aspects of getting you a home.”
“What’s wrong with the library?” asked Twilight.
“Look at him Twi, he’s huge,” said Applejack. “He needs a house that doesn’t need a hole in the wall for him just to get in.”
“Well that’s all well and good, but I don’t suspect you invited us all here to brunch so that you could congratulate me on becoming Equestrian.”
Luna shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Actually, I was hoping we could use this as an opportunity to learn about each other.”
“So… to interrogate me…”
“Of course not,” lied Luna in fake outrage. “I want to learn about all my subjects. It is just a happy coincidence that you were invited… but while we’re here do you mind telling us more about you?”
The blue alicorn gave Jorge a look that reminded him of a certain mint green unicorn from the night before. “Any question in particular?”
“Oh I have one!” cried Twilight enthusiastically just as Luna was about to speak. “Can you speak another language? Because I’ve heard you mutter strange words that I don’t understand and I was curious.”
“Vagyis ez? Amit most beszélek? Magyar nyelvnek hivják, és igen, tudok beszélni más nyelvet is. Ez elég egy válasz neked?”
Everyone at the table stared at Jorge with empty expressions.
“Umm…yes?” murmured Twilight uncertainly.
Jorge chuckled softly which surprised everyone. As far as they could tell, they had never heard the Spartan laugh since they met him.
“Yes, I do speak another language,” answered the Spartan with a small smile. “It’s called Hungarian, and it originates from a country called Hungary.”
“Hungry? What kind of a stupid name for a country is that- OW! WHAT THE HAY APPLEJACK!!!”
“Told you I’d buck you if you didn’t shut it.”
“Wait, then how do you speak Equestrian?” asked Rarity.
“Evidently we share a language,” grumbled Jorge. His smile was gone and his mood was sullied by Rainbow’s outburst. “Except humans call it English.”
“Ah thought y’all spoke Hungarian?”
“We have more than one language.”
“Why would need more than one language?” asked Twilight, confused as to why a species would go through the trouble of developing multiple dialects.
“We have many countries.”
“And you’re from a country called Reach, right?”
“No. Reach is the name of one of humanity’s planets.”
The ponies all looked at Jorge in confusion.
“Um…excuse me Mr. Jorge…but…what do you mean ‘one’ of humanity’s planets?”
“We’ve colonized many planets in the past few centuries,” stated the soldier plainly. “We’ve been doing it ever since the first Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine was developed.”
“I thought you said you couldn’t use magic?” asked Twilight, puzzled by Jorge’s vague explanation.
“And we can’t. We’ve discovered space flight through technology, not magic.”
“That’s not possible,” asserted Luna.
“Oh it is, believe me.” How do you think I got here in the first place? "It would just take too long to properly explain.”
“Oh it’s no problem, we have plenty of time,” chirped Twilight with a tentative smile.
Jorge sighed. So I do. “Fine.” Jorge spent the next hour or so regaling the ponies with tales of humanity’s progress in space travel and space colonization. Despite the very technical explanation and not understanding a few of the things Jorge said, the ponies were fascinated with the discussion; particularly Luna and Twilight, who were completely enthralled with the Spartan’s little lesson on his species. Even Rainbow Dash managed to grudgingly set aside her animosity to listen to the Spartan (she was particularly interested in the concept of space flight, even though she would never openly admit it). The ponies were utterly shocked by how advanced humans were technologically. Jorge’s descriptions of some of his species machines made magic seem trivial, and some of the things he told them were so fantastic they almost seemed far-fetched.
Jorge was also enjoying the lecture. It was rather pleasant to be able to talk about his people without having to mention the war. Unfortunately, much to Luna and Twilight’s disappointment (the latter of whom was taking notes), the waiter soon came by and interrupted the discussion.
“E-excuse me your highness but…we’re going to serve lunch soon and your…guest is…um…discouraging our customers.”
Luna looked around the restaurant’s terrace. The establishment was still devoid of any customers save for her group, and the streets, while not nearly as deserted as before, were still less crowded than usual. The few ponies that were out were keeping a healthy distance from the restaurant.
“Very well,” conceded the Princess reluctantly. “We shall depart.”
“Yup. Ah should be headin’ back tah the farm soon,” groaned Applejack as she crack her back. “Ah’ve taken enough time off this week.”
“I think we all have darling,” drawled Rarity. “You must excuse me Princess. This has been absolutely delightful, but I must return to my shop.”
“Of course, thank you all for coming.”
The mares stood up to leave, all having to return to their duties and responsibilities, and said goodbye to each other before leaving. Rainbow, as always, gave Jorge a mean look before leaving which he returned with his default expressionless demeanor. Once the group had parted ways the only ones who remained were the human, the Princess, Twilight, and Pinkie, who had been given the week off due to her birthday.
“Looks like we’re going to have to continue this later,” sighed Luna, unable to keep the disappointment out of her voice. “What would you like to do Jorge? I hadn’t really planned anything for today.”
“Oh I know, let’s take him to Sugercube Corner!” suggested Pinkie.
Jorge grimaced. “I’d rather just go back to the library.”
Luna tapped her chin pensively before breaking out into a wide smile. “How about we take you to see your new home?”
“That’s a great idea Princess,” praised Twilight. “What do you think Jorge?”
The human hesitated. There was something…foreboding about the concept of visiting his house here in Ponyville. It felt almost as if he would never leave if he did so, and that it would be like officially declaring that this was his new home and that he was giving up on all hopes of returning back. Still, he knew that he had no choice. He was too big to fit in the library and it was probable that he would have to stay here for a while.
“Very well,” he muttered cautiously. “Let’s go.”
and Perception Filter