"Well, if it isn't my favorite assistant bartender slash entertainer?" Cherry Limeade greeted a certain colt walking through the door of the bar.
"Hey, Cherry!" replied Connor.
"Here you go!" The lime-green mare slid a tall glass filled with a pinkish liquid. "Something to boost your morale in the morning."
The colt blushed in modesty. "No, really, I'm fine. You don't have to..."
"Oh, shut up with the modesty! You deserve it! I owe you one for saving my business and my flank from falling into the gutter. You really swept them off of their hooves with that Mar... Marga...Mar... Marty...Mar..."
"Yes, Margaroo...erm, what you just said! You really do know how to play the guitar, after all. Boy, am I glad I hired you! Hay, with that kind of playing, why the hay should you work here? You should start a band!"
"A band?" Connor nearly choked on his drink.
"Yeah, a band! You could travel and tour all over Equestria! The world even! You would become a star! Heck, you could promote my bar!"
"As cool as that sounds, I'll have to pass. I only see guitar-playing as a hobby. It's not like I'm going to make a living out of it. Besides, I am already content with my job here."
Cherry Limeade smiled. "You're pretty humble for a celebrity. You don't see that everyday."
The colt laughed. "I'm just being myself."
"So, anyway..." She bent over for her cleaning rag. "How are your friends doing?"
"They're doing great. Right now, they are having a picnic somewhere out in the fields."
"Aww, how come they didn't invite you?"
"They had free time on their hooves. I don't. That is why I'm here."
"Well, you don't necessarily have to come during the morning. I might need you for big events and night hours. To put it simply, I'll call you when I need you to come and help. That's all there is to it."
"Well, if you say so. However, I still enjoy coming here." Just before he took another sip of his cherry limeade, he stopped himself. "Oh, speaking of coming here, I got some design ideas for you."
"Design ideas?" Cherry Limeade twisted her face in confusion.
Connor pulled out some sheets of paper from his saddlebag. (Rarity made that saddlebag for him. Damn, was she fast at making it.) He slid them in front of the bartender for her to see. Her eyes clunked open.
"Oh, wow!" she exclaimed. "Are these...?"
"Yup!" the colt beamed. "T-shirt designs."
"But, we don't normally wear clothes."
"(Huh, that's what Applejack said.) Yes, I know, but it's not for the customers, it's for us! To wear during business," he stated before correcting himself. "Well, it could be for the customers, too, if they want one."
"Ohhhh! Right! But, what's wrong with our old uniforms?"
"Do you even notice yourself tugging at your collar like that? Or scratching? Or shifting your flank like your getting flirtatious with some stallion?"
"Hey, I got a wedgie back then! Bite your tongue!"
"And getting snappy because of discomfort?"
"See? The bar is a comfort zone, and like how the customers get comfortable, the workers should get comfortable, too. Comfortable with nice, cotton, pre-shrunk, fashionable, and customer-alluring t-shirts resting on our backs."
"Again with the philosophies! You're making my brain melt! Bleahhh!" Cherry Limeade playfully moaned.
After a warm chuckle, Connor asked, "So what do you think? You like 'em?"
"I do! They have that retro diner look, yet it looks so modern. I'd definitely go for this!"
"I didn't even know you could draw! What more are you hiding from me? Plus, how did you even draw these? I mean, no offense, you aren't even a unicorn. You must have quite the mouth for drawing."
"Actually, I drew it with my hoof."
"No, really, I did!" He lifted a foreleg up for Cherry Limeade to see. There was a small band with an open, round claw on it. "When I was a human, I drew using my arm, and I hold the pencil using my hand. Even though I'm a pony now, my human way of drawing still stuck to me. That's why I made this. With this, I could just snap on a pencil or whatever tool I wish to use. No fingers? No problem."
Suddenly, the door opened wide, revealing a huffing and puffing dragon. Cherry Limeade jumped in fright.
"HOLY BUCK!! A dragon! Connor, duck behind the bar and a get a hose! We'll drench this thing so badly, it would not even make a spark of fire! COME ON, DRAGON! DO YOUR WORST!"
"Cherry! Shut up!" the colt threw a peanut at her. "It's okay! It's only Spike."
"You know this dragon??"
"Yeah! He's Ponyville's dragon, as well as Twilight Sparkle's number one assistant."
"Who's Twilight?" (She did not meet the rest of the gang.)
Spike ran up to the bar in front of Connor, panting and breathing heavily. Connor was about to say something until the young dragon interrupted him, lifting his claw in the air.
"Wait...wait...any second now... hwooomph! BURRP!!" Spike belched out a green flame and a scroll fell at Connor's barstool.
Connor picked up the scroll and unrolled it.
"Connor, Equestria's First and Last Human,
You are cordially invited to participate the Royal Wedding between Shining Armor, captain of the Royal Guard, and Princess Mi Amore Cadenza in Canterlot.
RSVP at Canterlot, April 21st."
"Royal Wedding?" Cherry Limeade's eyes widened in utter surprise.
"Wait, that's not all," Spike said before belching out another scroll.
Connor read the second scroll.
Like Twilight and the others, you will help with the upcoming wedding. I would like for you to assist Pinkie Pie with the wedding reception and play one of your metal songs for the bride and groom. Just make sure it suits the overall mood. Nothing too brutal. Maybe that 'Nothing Else Matters' song or something else like that.
I hope you are excited for this event as I am. I am looking forward to seeing you there.
Cherry Limeade whistled in surprise.
"April 21st... That's tomorrow!" Connor spoke.
"I know! We've got to hurry! Twilight and others are packing and heading to the station right now!" Spike urged the colt to hurry up.
"Cherry? Are you...?" the colt turned to the lime-green mare.
"No, it's okay! You can go. I got it all covered from here," the bartender smiled. "Tall Glass should be coming soon to help me."
Connor nodded. "Okay, then. I'll see you later!" He scooped Spike onto his back and dashed outside to Rarity's boutique.
"Later! Have fun at the wedding! Tell the bride and groom that I wish them good luck!"
WHOOT WHOOOOOOOT! The train whistle blew. Steam curtained the wheels, making them hardly visible.
"Come on, girls! Train's leavin'!" Applejack proclaimed.
"Oh, goodness! Has anyone seen Spike?" Rarity asked.
"He'd better hurry up! I'm not going to miss a chance to perform a Sonic Rainboom at the wedding," Rainbow Dash growled, frustrated.
"What's his deal anyway? Ah mean, just when Twilight read the letter, Spike took off again without another word. Kinda rude, if ya ask me," Applejack pointed out.
"Well, whatever he's doing, I hope he's putting his rear in gear to get here. Ooh, Shining Armor is going to get it!" Twilight snorted in frustration.
The others glanced at each other, still concerned about the bookworm's rotten attitude about her brother.
"ALLLLL ABOOOOOAAARD!" the conductor hollered.
"Gah! There's no time! We gotta get on board, or we'll be left behind like a cart full of rotten apples!" Applejack jumped.
"OOH! OOH! I found him! I found Spike!" Pinkie Pie hopped excitedly, pointing into the distance. Then, she gasped in utter glee. "And Connor, too!"
Fluttershy's head popped up over the crowd. Her face was full of joy. "Connor's coming?? Yay! Oh, this wedding is going to be so much fun, now that he is coming!" The little's pegasus' cheeks were blushing a bright pink.
"He got an invitation, too?" Twilight's raised an eyebrow. "Huh, so I guess that explains Spike's behavior from earlier."
A hiss escaped from the locomotive.
"Aw, horseapples! C'mon, Connor! Hurry up! Pump those legs!" Applejack called.
"Ugh! Not fast enough!" Rainbow Dash groaned before darting toward the running colt.
"Hey, Rainbow Dash!" Connor attempted to strike up a conversation.
"Don't say another word and grab my tail!"
"Your tail? But, isn't that a little...?"
"Just grab it!"
The colt gingerly gripped the multi-color-maned pegasus' mane between his jaws and clenched down hard on it.
"Hold on tight!"
Before Connor could even blink, all of his legs were blown back by the speed he was traveling, courtesy of Rainbow Dash. Tears were dripping from his eyes, either from the wind or Spike digging his claws into Connor's flanks. It took a manner of seconds to realize that they were already in the passenger car of the train. Damn, was she fast.
"Whoo! We made it! Just in time," Spike wiped his brow.
Connor was still shocked by the sudden speed. His legs trembled as he slowly pushed himself up from the ground. Just when he stood straight up, he was tackled by an adorable yellow pegasus.
"Hi, Connor!" Fluttershy softly exclaimed, nuzzling into the colt's fur.
"Hey, beautiful! So, you're invited to the wedding, too?"
"Oh, yes! I've been asked to provide the music for the wedding with songbirds. Hee hee! Isn't that wonderful?"
"That's an honor!"
"And ah've been asked to be charge of the catering. Ah'll give 'em all the real taste of Sweet Apple Acres with my special apple fritters!" Applejack joined in.
"Ooh! I've been asked to help with the reception! The activities, too! EEEEEE! This is going to be so great!" Pinkie Pie squealed as she hopped around the cabin.
"And I have been asked to make the wedding dress for the bride," Rarity puffed her chest out in pride. "I must say, Princess Celestia definitely has good taste in choosing talented fashion designers like moi."
"Two words: Sonic Rainboom! That's right, I'll be performing it at the wedding! Aww, yeah!" Rainbow Dash spoke.
"That's awesome!" Connor exclaimed. "I've been asked to help Pinkie Pie with the reception. Hey, what about you, Twilight?"
He turned to see a purple unicorn sulking, sitting in the window seat. Her sad eyes were brushing past passing trees and bushes.
Connor's eyebrows bunched together in concern. "Twilight?"
"She was asked to keep track of everything for the wedding, darling," Rarity spoke for her unicorn friend.
"Okay, but why is she acting like that? Does she like weddings?"
"It's not that... it's because my brother didn't have the guts to tell me in person that he was getting married to a pony I don't even know..." Twilight answered under one breath.
"Brother?.... Wait... Shining Armor's your brother?"
"Eeyup," Applejack answered for Twilight.
"You never told me you had a brother! Geez, more than two months I've spent with you and you didn't even tell me that you had a brother! Oy veh, Twilight..."
An exasperated grunt escaped from the bookworm's snout. Maybe it was not a good time to act all naggy.
Connor raised an apologetic hoof in the air. "Okay, so you didn't tell me about your brother. It's no biggie! I'm sorry."
"No, it's Shining Armor who should be sorry! I'm his sister! Why didn't he tell me in person, instead of sending me a crummy invitation? Don't I matter to him anymore?"
"Ssssibling love?" Connor guessed.
Bad guess. Twilight gave the colt an unpleased glare.
"I'll just shut up now..." he meekly spoke, backing away.
After they arrived in Canterlot and Twilight stormed off to chide her older brother, the other six stood awkwardly in the midst of the guards, staring down at them like panthers.
"Sooooo," Connor said slowly. "Where are we staying?"
One of the guards nodded to another guard standing next to him. Nodding in response, the guard stepped forward and lifted all of the luggage in one huge aura of magic he summoned.
"This way," he said in a throaty voice.
The six ponies and dragon walked gingerly behind the guard as he marched vigilantly through the streets of Canterlot. Applejack's head scanned the surroundings. Everywhere she looked, guards were omnipresent.
"Shoot, this town's fulla guards like a cookie is with chocolate chips!" she exclaimed. "Uh, beg pardon, sir, but may we ask what's goin' on here?"
After two seconds of silence, the guard answered. "A threat has been made from an unknown source. Seeing this as a huge royal event, that source is most likely going to attack then. We do not know who we are up against yet, but whatever the cost, we will be ready to take them down if they try anything drastic. The more security, the better."
Connor tilted his head. A threat? Could it be those Dragonfire ponies again? No, that was impossible. Without Hellfire leading them, they were as lost as sheep without a shepherd. Plus, they dispersed and died shortly after Hellfire's... well, whatever it was what happened to him.
This wedding just got a little more serious than I thought... the colt thought.
Then, something else caught his eye. He noticed some ponies staring towards his direction. From the look of it, they were eyeing Connor's cutie mark, which was an image of Equestria's Sun with a human figure in the middle of it. Then, he noticed their faces beaming in excitement. Some were whispering to each other. He even noticed a group of unicorn mares giggle and wave at him. Cherry Limeade sure was not joking when she said Connor was "Angelina Ponie famous". One pony was coincidentally reading an article about him in a newspaper before he laid eyes on him. He pulled off a major double-take, which was very amusing to the ponified human.
A few minutes later, they approached a large, castle-like hotel. It was white with clean marble, complete with purple roofs and golden flourishes. The windows were skinny and tall with a pointed arch over each of them. They walked inside, getting a slight but polite bow from the clerk. Obviously, the guard gave away the fact that the six ponies and dragon were the expected and important guests to the clerk. After a long flight of stairs, they approached a vast and wide hall on the top floor. the walls were decorated with paintings made by master artists. Candle lamps were placed between each painting. The air smelled thick with scented candles. The carpet was spotless.
"This is the royal suites floor. You will be staying here, courtesy of the Two Sisters," the guard said. Then, in an eye blink, he used his magic to quickly distribute the luggage into their appropriate rooms. Classy...
"An announcement, the breakfast buffet will be open from seven-thirty to nine-thirty in the morning. Enjoy your stay!" the guard said in a more welcoming and caring tone. He turned and descended down the stairs.
The ponies and Spike peeked into their rooms to find their luggage. That way, they would know which room they are sleeping in.
"Well, I guess I'll be sleeping in Twilight's room," Spike spoke as he walked in. "I was really hoping I would get my own room. Oh boy, would that be cool! Guess not..."
Connor chuckled warmly as he walked in his room, which was directly in front of Twilight's room. Inside, he saw a queen-sized bed, complete with a tall canopy lined with a purple garment. The room was oval-shaped and spacious. A desk sat in front of a big and tall window, which had a view of the palace in the distance. It was about ten football fields away from the hotel.
"Nice view," Connor said to himself.
His limbs were stiff as dried clay as he looked upon the vast mattress of the bed. The covers looked they were puffed out by the loosely stuffed feathers. Boy, did it look like heaven...
He could not resist the urge to jump high into the air and land directly in the middle of the mattress.
SLAP! He landed flat on the bed. He did not even bounce. The skin under his fur burned like fire, and he felt something jiggle underneath him. Whooshing and splashing sounds resonated underneath him.
"A water mattress??"
A small stream of water rocketed out from the top of the mattress and sprinkled on top of Connor's baffled head.
"Aw, CRAP!" He launched himself off of his bed and dashed over to the desk. He yanked open drawers to find some sort of adhesive. After opening every single drawer, he finally found a roll of masking tape. He tore off a piece with his teeth and ran over to the mattress, only to find out that the tape had wrapped itself around his tooth. He tried pushing it off with tongue. He got it off, spat it out, and went back for another piece. He tore off another section and raced back to the mattress . Slapping his hoof on the mattress, he stuck the tape on top of the hole.
"Whew..." He wiped his forehead.
"Aw, son of a--!"
He quickly placed the tape back onto the hole. It popped off. He slapped it on again. And again... and again... and again... What the hell was wrong with the freaking tape?? He looked at the label placed on the inside of the tape roll.
The Bit Store... That explained it all...
RIP! PHISSSSSSSSS!!! The hole got wider...
Connor quickly placed a hoof over the hole, covering it. Another hole popped open on another part of the bed. He used his other hoof. Another hole... he used his hind hoof. Another freaking hole! He used his other hind hoof. Another hole popped open right by his head. He pressed his cheek on it. One popped open by his belly and he pressed on it using his belly.
Nothing else... He had gotten every single one, and nothing else seemed to appear.
"SURPRISE BED JUMP!!!" cheered a flying Pinkie Pie, who stormed through the door without even realizing what kind of predicament Connor was in. Her pink flank was zeroing down on the mattress.
A maid mare knocked on the door.
"Housekeeping..." she drearily called through the door. She tossed back her frazzled mane and chewed her gum rather noisily. Her nose was one inch in front of the door as she stared at it blankly like a zombie.
Then, she felt water gush by her hooves. A lot of water... like a river...
Shocked, she swung open the door to find an unimpressed, soaking wet colt sitting next to drenched pink mare, who was smiling childishly and innocently. The walls were spattered with water and the carpet just became a shade darker. Even the canopy was dripping.
Great, more work...
"Whee-hee-heee! That was fun! Let's do that again! Pleasepleaseplease pleeeeeeeeze?"
"Can I have a feather mattress, please?" Connor asked the flabbergasted maid. "And some more towels?"
Pinkie Pie "squee"d as she smiled beamingly.
"Hey-y-y-y-y-y! Thi-i-i-i-i-is ma-a-a-a-akes my-y-y-y-y voi-oi-oi-oi-oice sou-ou-ou-ound si-i-i-i-illy-y-y-y-y!" Pinkie Pie giggled as she spoke through a spinning fan.
Many fans were spinning and whirring inside Connor's suite, drying out the contents of the water from his crappy water mattress. The colt was scrubbing the carpet with a towel, soaking up excess water.
"Yes, it does, Pinkie..." he mumbled. "You had to jump on my bed, didn't you?"
"Yuppers! I just wanted to try out other mattresses just to see how comfy-womfy they were, and I have to say, yours was so much fun! Whoo! I wish I had a waterbed! Imagine, I wouldn't have to go to a water park ever AGAIN! It's like having a water park at home, and that saves a lot of time from traveling! Whoo!"
"Oy veh..." He could not be mad at the party pony. She was just so optimistic.
Then, the door opened, revealing a guard.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry that this happened! I'll pay the bill, but just don't throw me into the slammer!" Connor instantly begged.
As surprised as guard was to see the room in such a condition, that was not the reason why he came.
"The captain, Shining Armor wishes to speak with you," the guard simply stated.
"Really?" The colt was surprised.
"Come..." he said as he turned around and started trotting away.
"Okay, Pinkie. You're still the cause of this accident, so you are going to have to clean all of this up while I'm away, okay?"
"WhOO-OO-OO-OO-OO-oo-oo-oo-oo-OO-OO-OO-OO-OO-oo-oo-oo!" She was still fiddling with the fan.
"I'll take that as a 'yes'."
With that, he followed behind the guard, making sure he was a good distance from his, so he would not run into him whenever the guard stopped. He followed him out of the hotel and into the streets. Everywhere he looked, there was a mixture of guards and civilians. He kind of cringed at the thought of everypony staring at him as he walked. Sure, he was famous, he was still shy about all of the attention. He did not want to feel like he was some walking god.
He felt a tap on his flank. He turned with a start, surprised that somepony would touch him somewhere as private as his flank. He turned to see a unicorn stallion with a young colt standing next to him.
"Yeth! That'th him, Dad! The rockthtar!" The colt had a heavy lisp.
The stallion cleared his throat. He looked really enthusiastic about meeting Connor, too.
"Hello, sir! We were just in Ponyville yesterday and saw your performance at the Guzzling Gallop. You were fantastic!"
"Thanks," Connor humbly spoke.
"Tell me, did you write that song yourself?"
"Oh, no. No, somepony... I mean, someone else did."
"'Someone'? Is that how you say that on your world?"
"Yes. Anyhoo, that song was by a guy named Jimmy Buffett. The song was called, 'Margaritaville'."
"Well, whether or not it's written by you, that was a good song you played. It really cured my stress. In fact, it inspired me to go to the beach for our next vacation."
"I'm glad!" Connor smiled.
"Anyway, my son would like to have an autograph. Do you mind?"
"Well, you see, the thing is that I'm not really a rockstar. It's only a hobby, so..." he trailed off as he saw the little colt. Oh God, the eyes! They looked so eager and youthful. Plus, from the look of his stature as slightly nerdy and lonely, it may one of the few times he crossed paths with someone as big as himself. (He never considered himself better than anyone. He saw himself as equal as any other pony, but it was not faring well.) If he gave him an autograph, then he would have a better chance at attracting other colts and fillies to be his friends.
"Equestria's First Human," the guard addressed. "We must move on."
Connor turned to the guard. "Hold on." Then, he turned back to the colt. "Oh, what am I talking about? Of course, I'll give you one!"
The colt immediately hoofed a small book over to him. A bright smile cracked across his face, revealing a pair of large front teeth.
"Got a--?" A pen was thrusted right in front of the ponified human's face. "Oop, there it is!" He snapped the pen onto his hoof band and started writing his name into it.
Geez, he did not even practice writing a signature. He never thought he would use it. A signature was pretty much like a fancy scribble, right? Eh, what the hell...
I guess that'll work, he thought.
He hoofed the book back to the little colt, whose smile just got a whole lot wider.
"Wow! Thank you, thir! I'll tcherish thith forever! Oh, thweet, thweet dayth! Thith ith tho awethome!"
"Glad you like it!" Connor smiled, subtly wiping the saliva off of his face.
"Thank you so much, Equestria's First Human!" the stallion said.
"Just call me 'Connor'" yours truly said.
"Erm, Connor..." the guard said, trying to get used to the name. "We must go now."
Before Connor could answer, colts and mares were starting to flood him with requests for autographs and photos. Great... just great... Connor did not desire that kind of attention. The guard rolled his eyes. Shutting his eyes tight, his horn glowed. After a few seconds of charging up he suddenly disappeared and reappeared in front of Connor, blocking off the fans.
"Place a hoof on my back," he ordered.
Once Connor did so, they both disappeared in a metallic flash of magic, leaving everypony flabbergasted and disappointed.
They reappeared in front of the palace doors to the main castle. The guard stood steadfast, while Connor was flailing about, dizzy from the teleportation.
"This way," the guard simply stated.
After the colt shook himself out of his nauseous trance, he followed after. They plowed through the doors and walked down the grand foyer of the castle. Connor chuckled inside. This was the path he walked through before he became a pony, courtesy of Celestia. It all looked as it did before, but instead, it was decorated with numerous bouquets of all kinds of white flowers. White silken ribbons hung from the pillars, making a chain around the foyer. He noticed some classy ponies chatting with each other.
The guard and the new pony walking down the path was enough to draw almost every pony's attention. They exchanged quiet conversations and whispers with each other. Either they were surprised to see Equestria's First Human or they were nit-picking his apparel. That was, if he was wearing clothes. Did everypony in Canterlot wear clothes? He thought of that until he saw a tall, white mare with a smooth strawberry-yogurt-colored mane and tail. Her cutie mark composed of three fleur-de-lis. She did not wear anything squat (but, maybe lots of makeup and mascara instead). Okay, so not everypony was dressed in Canterlot. Guess Applejack was wrong about ponies not normally wearing clothes, because everywhere he looked, ponies were wearing clothes.
They exited the foyer and entered into a much smaller room, which was more cylindrical. The room had a few mannequins, dressed with dapper tuxedos. It also had a desk and a tall bed. The room smelled of cologne. Connor pushed out his bottom lip and nodded. It was not a bad scent. It smelled much like his Old Spice products back on his world, only it smelled more musty and thick. Suddenly a buff foreleg ran into the colt's chest, stopping him in his tracks. Then, the guard took a step forward and snapped a hoof up by his horn.
"Sir! I have brought Equestria's First Human," he said.
"Very good, Lieutenant. You may leave. Dismissed," said a voice coming from outside on the balcony.
The guard turned and left. Connor stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, itching his forelegs. Then, a white unicorn stallion walked inside from the balcony. His mane and tail were long and blue. His hooves were unshorn, thus revealing dark-gray hooves. He was wearing a royal purple and gray chestpiece. His cutie mark was a shield with three small stars flying over it. In the middle of the shield was a purple, six-pointed star, which looked like Twilight's cutie mark. No doubt that the stallion was legitimately Twilight's older brother. Captain of the Royal Guard? Holy crap! Since when did Twilight sound so royal?
"Ah! Equestria's First Human! It's an honor to finally meet you," the unicorn smiled. "I'm Shining Armor, captain of the Royal Guard and Twilight's brother. Again, it is an honor to meet you!"
"Pleasure's all mine, erm...Captain. I'm Connor," the colt said as he smiled humbly.
"'Connor'. Huh, interesting name! And speaking of names, you can just call me Shining Armor now. No need to hurt yourself in addressing me as 'Captain' all the time." He grinned.
"But, it's polite, isn't it? To address the person no matter what?"
"Yes, yes it is. However, for now, just address me by my name. It's polite to me! I suppose you are wondering why I summoned you here?"
"Wondering I am."
"Twilight has mentioned to me about you some time ago. Even the princess mentioned you. I heard from both of them that you saved Equestria from a big threat of tyranny. Also, I heard you were a pretty good guy, so I thought I would meet you personally and give you a personal thank you."
"Great! Also, I also thought we could just chat and get to know each other better."
"Please, take a seat." He used his magic to slide a chair directly underneath Connor's flank. Then, he pulled his own chair up and sat down on it.
"So, tell me about yourself. Where are you from?"
"Earth? That's our planet name, too."
"Yeah, that's what I thought, too."
"Interesting... What is it like there?"
"Pretty much like yours... only... a little more complex than you could imagine."
"Well, firstly, we eat meat. Cows, pigs, chickens,rabbits, the works! We even eat fish, too."
"Really? You guys eat them?"
"Yeah, but not everybody. We have got vegetarians, people who only day vegetables or anything that does not involve meat."
"'Everybody'? Is that how you say 'everypony' on your world?"
"Mm-hmm. Also, everyone, anyone, someone, et cetera. It's just replacing 'pony' with 'body' or 'one'."
"Also, we have cars..."
"Let's just say it is like pony-drawn carriages, but instead of using ponies, you use a motor to push you where you want."
"Yup. No ponies. Just a motor."
"That's interesting. We've always had problems with weary carriage-pullers."
"We also have planes, jets, helicopters... They are pretty much like cars, but instead of traveling on land, they travel through the air and in the sky."
"In fact, get this! Rainbow Dash... You know her, right?"
"Yes, she is one of Twilight's friends. The air jockey one, right?"
"Yes, that's the one. Anyhoo, Rainbow Dash wanted me to bring back a jet, just so she could race me! I say that was pretty nutty idea. Those jets are a lot harder to operate than you think. It might take a long time just to master it."
"Just how long?"
"Meh, about half a year to two years... Heck, I don't even know!" Connor laughed. "Besides, even if I could go back to my world... I... still couldn't."
"What do you mean?"
"My world is gone..."
Shining Armor was silent as a statue, shocked.
"It has been wiped out by a plague that covered every single inch of the world. I don't even know how it was possible, but it happened. Now, everyone is gone... my friend... my family... everything..."
"Princess Celestia... never mentioned that to me," the captain said slowly in disbelief. "I'm so sorry about that!"
Connor sighed. "Thank you for your concern, Shining Armor, but I made a goal to never dwell in the past. I have a new home now, and I have to embrace it like it my last home. I can't allow these tragic memories to ruin my friendship here. Life goes forward and nowhere else. I have to face it. However, that does not mean I should forget Earth completely. It was my home, where I grew up. Everything I do here will be in honor for Earth. See, I was weak and helpless back then, but after a couple of days, I realized that I could not rely fully on my friends to help me make more friends. I needed to get my head out of the gutter and do some of that myself. It was all part of growing up. If I stayed with my previous self, then I would never grow up. After I earned Ponyville's friendship, after two months of living there, I had finally gotten the courage to return home and change my life... that was, until I realized Earth was dead..."
He grew silent before he spoke again.
"So, I returned here, because I could not live on Earth alone. I could have died there... alone. Alone was the last thing I needed after I had busted my ass to not be alone. Later, I decided to become like this, and live the rest of my life as an equine being. Everything I do now here will be in memory of Earth. Everything I do now here will be for Earth. Earth is still inside me. You can take a human out of Earth, but you can't take Earth out of a human."
Shining Armor's head was leaned towards the colt from being lost inside Connor's words.
"You have been through so much..." he spoke, stunned by the colt's autobiography.
Connor sadly nodded in response. "Yeah..."
"Wow... I mean... wow!" the unicorn stammered, struggling to find any more words to say.
"Yup... Oh, and sorry about the 'ass' part. That was kind of rude of me."
"Oh no! No, you're fine. I've heard worse. You know... military atmosphere," the captain chuckled sheepishly.
"So, why did you become equine, if you don't mind my asking?" Shining Armor asked.
"I did this because I wanted my friendship with Ponyville to last for generations. I may look like a pony now, but I'm still human in blood...or soul, heart, whatever. I plan to bequeath my human essence to my kin, so that it would stretch for generations, thus keeping our friendship alive. Plus... I'm in love."
"Oh, really?" Shining Armor's ears perked up in enthusiasm. "With who?... Or is it private?"
"Her name is Fluttershy. She's one of Twilight's friends as well. She's kind, sweet, adorable, lovable, and, dear GOD, is she adorable!"
"You just said that," the captain of the Royal Guard chuckled.
"I know. I'm saying it again because she is! She's very shy, too, but in a really cute way."
"That's right. Besides, if I stayed as a human, then my relationship with her would be... pretty awkward, seeing that I can't reallyyyyy..." He trailed off in mumbles.
"Oh, yes! That's right. I perfectly understand. So you're not into..." He waved his hooves, having them cross each other.
"Ah, I figured not. I mean, you seem like a rational pony, so you wouldn't go as far as to..." He circled his hoof in the air and flung it loosely up before setting it back down again.
"Yeah, yeah... Whoo, that would be weird!"
"I know, right? Haha, ew!"
They both laughed airily before falling silent.
That was an awkward way to end a trail of conversation.
"Oh, Connor!" Shining Armor spoke. "Princess Celestia told me something about this... 'metal' you play. What is 'metal'?"
"Have you heard of rock?"
"Well, metal is a lot deeper and heavier than rock. The guitar sounds more guttural and rough. Plus, there is a darker theme to it. There's metal, heavy metal, and death metal."
"What's the difference?"
"Do you have a speaker here?"
"No, but I have a volume enhancement spell."
"That's good enough! Here, use it on my iPhone!"
"iPhone. Here, check it out." He flicked it on. Shining Armor nearly pressed his muzzle onto the screen, he was so mesmerized by it.
"Whoaaaa! What's THAT for?"
"It's for communication. I can talk to any pony I want with this thing, as long as they have something like this. However, as years went by, they were actually able to make phones with music players."
"Music players? In that tiny thing? How is that even possible??"
"It's possible on my world, all right."
"But where do you even stick the vinyl records?"
"Don't need one. Just hit the play button! Oh, and check this out! Twilight actually made me this portable charger! She actually got a solar stone, and stuck it in this slit here. That way, the stone would capture the sun's energy and transfer its energy into my iPhone, thus keeping it fully charged and running. Cool, huh?"
"Yes, I guess." Shining Armor was lost.
"Would you mind...?"
"Oh, right!" The unicorn zapped the iPhone with his volume-enhancement spell.
"First, here's metal!"
He played Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" for a few seconds.
"Hm!" the captain grunted in interest.
"Next, here is heavy metal."
He played Judas Priest's "Painkiller".
"Interesting voice the singer's got there!" the unicorn exclaimed.
"He was famous for it, after all. And, finally, here is death metal. You ready?"
"Ready for what?"
As soon as Connor hit "play", Amon Amarth's "Death in Fire" blasted out of the iPhone, blowing incessantly against Shining Armor's face.
When he stopped, the captain's mane was sticking straight out behind his head.
"And, that's death metal. So, what do you think?"
He did not look too happy. Connor braced himself.
"AWESOME!!" the captain shouted. "Whoo! That really gave me a boost in energy! I... I feel alive! I would definitely wake up to this in the morning!"
"Glad you like it!" the metalhead colt smiled.
"Oh, but one thing... It may not suit the wedding reception, though. You're in charge of the wedding reception, right?"
"Yes, with Pinkie Pie."
"If you are going to play anything, it can't be like that. It would not really match the mood. Don't get me wrong! I still think it's awesome!"
"No, I completely understand. The song Celestia heard was more in the gentle and slow category. It goes a little like this..."
However, before he was about to play, a pink alicorn slammed open the doors, looking pretty put off.
"Shining Armor! What on earth was that noise? Celestia, I nearly had a heart attack!!" she exclaimed.
"Cadence!" Shining Armor zipped up to her in an eye blink. "WhooOOOoo, you just missed the best thing in your life!"
"Metal! Wow, is it awesome! I have never felt so alive in my life!"
"I don't understand..."
"But, what makes you feel even more alive is death metal!"
"Okay, now what is 'death metal'??" the pink alicorn's voice got higher in utter confusion.
"The best music EVER!" Shining Armor looked slightly insane.
"Music? Wait, that noise was music??" she asked as she twisted her nose in disbelief.
"What you need, my darling, is a little enlightenment! Hit it, Connor!"
Her loud voice echoed in the room. Hell, it was too small of a room, but how the hell did she make an echo?? The room became silent after the echo had vanished into the cologne-scented air. Connor and Shining Armor sat in the middle of the room, stunned.
"No! You will not 'enlighten' me with that disheveled noise of 'music'! If I hear that dreck again, then I would not be able to hear your wedding vows for Celestia's sake!"
Disheveled? Noise? Dreck?
"I'm sorry..." Connor spoke meekly. However, inside, he was affronted. WHOA, whoa, whoa! Easy, toots...
"Oh, right!" Shining Armor spoke before he cleared his throat and shook his mane back to normal. He trotted up to the alicorn. "Connor, this is my bride, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. I call her 'Cadence,' though, because it's cute and easier to say."
He nuzzled his wife, who was nuzzling him back.
Something inside the ponified human snapped. So, this was the captain's bride. Even though he was starting to hate her for dissing metal, he immediately snapped back into liking her, just to show manners and enthusiasm.
"Ohhh! Cool! Man, you're one lucky stallion! She's definitely a beautiful one!" He smiled warmly and politely.
"Mm-hmm," Cadence hummed, unamused.
Uhhh, you're welcome!
"Cadence," the captain spoke. "Connor is going to help with the wedding reception along with Pinkie Pie. He just wants to ask you if this was good enough."
"You haven't heard it yet, but here goes."
He played a short section of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters." He looked up from his guitar to soak in Cadence's reaction. She rubbed her chin, raising an inspecting brow.
"No. It's too ethereal. I don't want to fall asleep on the dance floor from it's dreariness. Play something with more energy."
"Oh, yes! Of course, princess Mi Am-- Mi Amah--- Mi A Man... Of course, princess! AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long" coming right up!"
TWANG! Her hoof pressed against the fret board, stopping Connor before he even started.
"It'ssss not metal. It's hard rock."
"No 'hard rock', either. Play pop rock. It's definitely more in than whatever noise you are into."
She turned to Shining Armor. "Anyway, I had better get going. I need to make sure everything in our wedding is more... suitable to my, I mean, our tastes."
"Of course, darling," the unicorn stallion grinned. "Take all the time you need to make this wedding absolutely perfect!"
"Believe me, darling," she said before finished with a evil look in her eye. "It will..."
Then, she pulled the captain of the Royal Guard in for a rather lewd kiss. Connor did not know whether to feel slightly turned on or slightly embarrassed... maybe slightly sickened... There was something about this Cadence that was bothering him. Did Shining Armor really want to marry a rather rude alicorn like her?
Meh, it was probably from all the work and organization for the wedding. Those were tough to handle. Plus, this was a royal wedding, so the stress would come in doubles. Plus, two lovebirds tend to act snappy during the arrangement. It was only fair, right? Oh, God, were they still kissing?
Any second now...
Any... second... now...
Okay, any ten seconds now...
She was cocking her head forward as she emphasized her kiss. Damn, she must really love kissing.
She pulled away, staring seductively into her groom-to-be's eyes.
"Can't wait, can you?" Shining Armor raised an enthusiastic eyebrow.
"No, I can't" she winked.
Awwwwwkwaaaaaarrrd! Connor thought, blushing.
"Better not waste any time, darling," the captain opened the door.
Playfully flicking her groom-to-be's cheek with her tail, she walked out. He turned to see a rather stunned colt, holding his guitar blankly.
"Soooo... she's pretty excited, I mean, thrilled about this wedding!" Connor smiled.
"Oops," the unicorn rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "Sorry you had to sit through all of that."
"No, it's fine! It's a ... sure sign that you two... love... each other very much." The colt was trying his best to not think dirty thoughts.
"Thank you! Anyway, I guess you will have to play something else tonight. I'm sorry about that..."
"No, no! It's whatever you guys want! Plus, who could argue with a royal couple?"
Shining Armor chuckled. "Anyway, I'd best meet with my bachelors. They need to know about their tuxedos. Plus, a tailor will come shortly to measure you, so you can have a tuxedo, too. You can stay in here until he's finished."
"Thank you, captain," Connor bowed his head.
Soon, he was all alone in the groom's room. He sighed heavily as he sat down and placed his guitar on his thigh.
Then, something pink from outside the window caught his eye. Just on a small bridge was Cadence walking. After a few more steps, she stopped in her tracks. She whipped her head around, looking behind her with a disgusted grimace on her face. She pointed a hoof into her mouth and slid her tongue out, making muffled retching sounds. She walked away shortly afterwards.
What the hell was her problem? Shining Armor sure had a weird taste for mares. But then again, Shining Armor's breath did seem a little rank during his conversation with Connor. To be frank, Connor would not blame her. He leaned over his guitar and sighed.
Oh, God... Pop rock... Why did it have to be pop rock??
"Better start practicing..." he said as he rolled his eyes.
He strummed the same chord nonstop. That was what pop rock sounded like anyway...
"You're all just too caught up in your wedding planning to even notice that there shouldn't evenbe a wedding!" Twilight slammed her hooves on the table, knocking over everypony's drinks. She stormed off in frustration as the rest looked at each other in worry.
Connor walked up to the table soon afterward.
"Yo, girls," he said.
"Oh! Uh, howdy, Connor," Applejack said as she was mopping up her punch with a napkin.
"Awwww, Applejaaaack..." the colt scolded playfully. "Come onnnnn! Why'd you spill your drink?"
"Ah didn't spill it," she replied, not in the mood for jokes.
"Geez, Rainbow Dash," Connor continued to joke. "Come on!"
"No, I didn't."
"Nah, I'm pretty sure you did it."
"No, I didn't!"
"You have that guilty look in your eye! I can smell LIES!"
"Are ya feelin' okay, sugarcube? Ya don't seem like yerself right now," Applejack twisted her face.
"I'm doing great! Just great!" His eye twitched slightly.
"Yer not doing okay..."
"Sure I am! Sure a punch I am!"
WHAP! The colt earned an upward slap on the back of his scalp from Rainbow Dash.
"Thank you, Rainbow Dash. I needed that..."
"Ugh, is everypony going to be crazy by wedding? First Twilight, now you!" the multi-hued maned pegasus complained.
"I'm sorry..." Connor was nearly on the verge of tears. "I played 'Nothing Else Matters' for Cadence..."
"And?" Rarity asked.
"And she said I had to play... play..."
"Yes?" everypony asked.
"Oh, well that's not so bad!" Pinkie Pie said.
"No so bad??" The colt's face cocked up right in front of hers. "NOT SO BAD?? It's REALLY BAD!!"
"Whaddaya mean?" Applejack asked. "It's simple!"
"Exactly! It's wayyyy to simple for my own taste! I mean that..." He held up his hooves like he was holding a guitar. He crossed his eyes and started "strumming" in a dopey fashion. "Drun-drun-drun-drun-drun-drun-drun on the same chord! Nonstop!! It felt like my arm was going to be forever trapped in muscle memory! Pop and rock should NOT go together! Period! It's driving me CRAZY!!"
"It's okay, Connor! It's okay. Jus' calm down! Besides, it's prob'ly for the best. Maybe metal would be too strong for a wedding, dontcha think?"
"But 'Nothing Else Matters' is suitable for a wedding! Even if it is metal! Besides, Celestia said I should play it for them at the reception."
"But it ain't her wedding, is it? Sometimes the bride and groom have to choose for their wedding, 'cuz it's their wedding, after all. Ya know what ah'm sayin'?"
"Yeah," Connor sadly said. "I still think that song would be a better choice than... pop rock," he said, shivering at the last words.
"Ah do, too, sugarcube. Ya jus' gotta go with the flow, even if it means sacrificin' what ya love the most. To be honest, ah still think it's a plumb-tootin' tune! We all do."
"You think so?"
"Darn-tootin'!" the cowmare grinned.
"Indeed, darling! Rarity smiled.
"Oh, yes!" Fluttershy nodded. "I love it!"
"Yup!" Rainbow Dash yipped in approval.
"Kiss me, darling!" Pinkie Pie said.
What the hell?!
Connor snapped his head to the pink party pony, stunned by her request. Then, he sighed in relief when he saw what she actually meant.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Pinkie! I though you actually wanted me toooo..."
Again, what the hell?
Spike and Pinkie Pie were playing with miniature figurines of Shining Armor and Cadence. They were clicking their muzzles together, making kissing sounds from their puckered lips.
"Mwahmwahmwahmwahmwah! Now, to our honeymoon, my loverly husband!" Spike spoke in a higher tone, mimicking on what seemed to be Cadence's voice.
"Spike, what the..." Connor trailed off in disturbance.
Spike froze. He slowly turned to the colt. He set his figurine gently down and blushed, laughing nervously.
Awkward silence followed.
"So, what do you mean by Twilight acting crazy?" Connor broke the silence.
"She believes that Cadence is 'the worst bride-to-be ever'," Rainbow Dash said as she waved her hooves in the air, making quotation marks.
"The worst? Isn't that a little harsh?"
"Why, yes, indeed! I mean, sure she acted a smidgen bossy and rude at some times, but it's all part in preparing for a wedding. It's inevitable. Somehow, Twilight seems to not fully realize that."
"She's a smart mare! Why couldn't she realize this?"
"We think she's being a little too possessive of her brother." Fluttershy spoke. "It's really sad... I know how hard it is to not let go of something that meant so much to you. Truth is, you have to. It hurts so badly and awfully, I know, but, if you keep them in your hooves for too long, then that special somepony will never grow. I raised a baby bird ever since it was abandoned by its mother, and we were such good friends from then on. However, when the time came for him to leave, it broke my heart so. Oh, did it hurt ever so much! But, I knew from the bottom of my heart, that it was for the best. It was all part of life, growing up. You may not keep that special somepony with you literally, but you are inseparable in your heart."
Everypony stared at the little pegasus, stunned. She was a pony of few words, yet she said all of that? Seeing everypony staring at her, Fluttershy sank in her chair.
"That is, if you, um... don't mind my saying so..."
"I sure don't mind," Connor said. "That was beautiful!"
The pegasus blushed. "Oh, it was nothing, really. I just thought I should speak my mind. Squeeeee..."
That got him every single time. It never got old.
"Perhaps Twilight is just a little tired from all the work done today," Rarity stated, setting her glass back up. "Just a good night's sleep and she will feel as refreshed as a flower in bloom."
"Eeyup! That's prob'ly the main reason she actin' all cranky tonight. Ah can't think of anything else..." Applejack said.
Then, a guard walked up to them. His face was likewise emotionless, but stern.
"Howdy, sir! What's the scoop?" the cowpony greeted him in a friendly manner.
"To the mares: all of you have been summoned by Princess Mi Amore Cadenza to report to her room immediately," the guard replied.
"Why? Did something happen?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"No, she just wants you all to fill in a certain position for the wedding."
"What kind of position?" Fluttershy tilted her head.
"She didn't say. I figure she might tell you once you get there."
The ponies looked at each other, surprised by the sudden request. What position did the bride-to-be have in mind for them? Was it some kind of surprise? There was only one way to find out.
"Very well then. Come along, girls. Let's see what Mi Amore Cadenza has in store for us," Rarity gestured to the others to follow her.
They whispered amongst each other.
"What do you think she wants us to do?"
"I have no idea. Well, it's definitely not being her bridesmaids. She's already got those."
"Unless they somehow disappeared, then we won't be..."
The five mares were out of sight. The guard, then, turned to Connor and Spike.
"And you two report to Captain Shining Armor's room. Your tuxedos are ready for fitting."
"Cool! Thanks!" the colt said before the guard turned and left.
There was nothing but silence. They were alone... Alone...
Connor nudged gently at Spike's ribs.
"Hey, can I play with those figurines, too?"
"Perfect, girls! No need to rush!" Princess Celestia commented on the five new bridesmaids, who were all walking in a formation up to the altar.
She looked around to make sure everything else was in order. So far, everything looked pretty good. Everypony was in place.
"Um, Connor," the princess whispered to the colt, who was standing at her left on the altar. "You need to move more to the right, if you will."
"Oh, right! Sorry," he chuckled.
The alicorn scratched her chin. Not enough...
"Maybe a little more..."
"A liiiiittle bit..."
"But, Princess, isn't that a little too close?"
"Whatever do you mean, Shining Armor?"
"He's two feet away from you..."
She looked at Connor, who was indeed standing two feet away from her. Then, she turned to Rarity, who was standing on the top step of the altar. She was about ten feet away.
"Oops! I'm so sorry about that! You can move back a little more, Connor," she smiled sheepishly. Shoot! she thought in disappointment.
"And, of course, Cadence will enter," Celestia resumed.
The two royal guards standing by the doors opened them, revealing a "graceful" alicorn, shimmering like a daisy with drops of dew on its petals. Shinng Armor's eye's grew at the sight of her beauty, along with the fact that the sight foreshadowed on what his future will be in just a few hours. Cadence walked gracefully down the red carpet path, hardly making any sounds with her hooves.
"I'll say a few words, and then we will begin with the vows," the princess stated the next step. "Shining Armor, you will get the ring from your best mare."
The captain turned to face the best mare, but instead found nothing. The only thing he found was Spike, sitting just few feet away and playing with his toy figurines.
"Do you?" he mimicked Shining Armor. "I do!" he mimicked Cadence.
"Hey, has anypony seen Twilight?" the captain asked, concerned about his little sister.
The doors swung open revealing a purple unicorn, standing vigilantly.
"I'm here! I am not going to stand next to her! And neither should you!"
"Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and comfort my bride," Shining Armor stormed to the doors. "And you can forget about being my best mare! In fact, if I were you... I wouldn't show up to the wedding at all."
Twilight slumped on the ground onto her haunches, hanging her head in shame. She turned her head to look at her friends, Spike, and Connor who were all shooting disappointed looks at her.
"C'mon, y'all. Let's go check on the princess," Applejack broke the uneasy silence.
Holding their heads up high, they all marched past the guilty bookworm, who reached a sorry hoof to them. Twilight heard Celestia walking toward her. She was about to speak, until she was cut off.
"You have a lot to think about..." the alicorn spoke grimly.
The door was shut behind them, concealing a teary-eyed, purple unicorn behind it with a "slam!".
The ponies walked silently through the halls of the palace. From behind, Connor could hear Celestia huff through her nose in utter disappointment. Other than that, nothing else was heard, except for the "clop clop clop"ing of walking hooves.
Rainbow Dash broke the silence.
"So much for that 'good night's sleep to make her feel better in the morning'," she huffed.
"Ah,ve never seen such rudeness in mah life. And from Twilight, out of everypony ah know! The nerve..." Applejack scoffed.
"You'd think a smart mare like her would be wise enough than to spout such unfair accusations!" Rarity said, pouting at the end.
"That's just so rude, that... that I can't think of anything else to describe it! Poor princess," Fluttershy said.
"That's cold," Spike said. "And I should know, since I have cold blood, but I would never do such a thing. I thought she would know better than that."
"I'll need a cupcake soon. I don't want to be in a bad mood during the wedding," Pinkie Pie said.
"You said it... I didn't even think it was possible, but I did not even eat breakfast this morning," Connor said with his stomach growling. "I'll need one, too."
He turned to Celestia, who was still trotting silently behind him. Her brows were furrowed in disappointment as she looked onward into the distance. He wanted to speak, but then he thought it would be best not to. For a loving deity, she really did know how to look really pissed off. Besides, who knows what kind of fury that she was locking behind her poker face? She lived for more than a thousand freaking years. She might have experienced some great pony war back in the day, and she kicked some serious ass with that slender, royal, beautiful form of hers. She was like St. Joan of Arc: she might be a female, but she could still kick some serious ass. In short, it was best to leave her be.
Where was Cadence anyway? She could not have run that far in that short time. Damn, she was a fast galloper. Maybe she flew away? She did have wings, after all.
Whoosh! The sound made him jump, startled. Then, he heard pitiful sniffles and stifled sobs.
Cadence was hiding in the shadows of the halls, crying her heart out. Celestia carefully and quietly approached her and blanketed the crying alicorn with her massive wing.
"There, there, Mi Amore Cadenza. I'm very sorry about my student's behavior. I just do not know what has gotten into her."
Cadence levitated a hoofkerchief up to her eyes and brushed away the tears... Somehow, there were hardly any. How was that possible? She sure cried up a storm just a few minutes ago.
"No, your Highness, she was right..."
"Right? You mean all of those things Twilight said were true?"
"She was right about how I have been acting so rude to all of you," Cadence said as she looked at the rest of the ponies.
"Oh, well I..." Celestia stammered.
The pink alicorn continued with her 'confession' to everypony. "I'm so sorry, everypony! What she said about me being too bossy and rude to all of you was true. I was just so stressed about the preparations that I could not push myself to act kinder and more positive," she choked on a sob. "Will you all forgive me?"
"Of course, we can, Princess," Rarity smiled.
"Yuppers!" yipped Pinkie Pie, bouncing.
"Eeyup!" Applejack nodded.
"You bet," Rainbow Dash said.
"Mm-hmm," Fluttershy hummed, nodding enthusiastically.
"You can count on that!" Spike swung his arm.
"Sure we do!" Connor smiled.
Cadence started to smile through her tears. She sniffled before she spoke. "I promise that I will be more positive and kind to you from now on! I won't let stress get the best of me ever again. What about Twilight?"
"I will have a talk with her later. Once that is over, I will guarantee you that it won't ever happen again."
"Oh, thank you, Princess!" she smiled brightly.
Connor's eyebrows bunched in concern. He could have sworn he saw a somewhat evil and ironic grin escape the pink alicorn's lips when Celestia mentioned "it won't ever happen again". The pink alicorn happened to notice the colt's expression.
Oh, crap! He was starting to suspect her! She had to weasel out of his suspicions. But how?
She pointed to him. "You still have to play pop rock, though."
Dammit! Connor shouted inside.
"Mares and gentlecolts, we are gathered here today to witness the union of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza and Shining Armor," Princess Celestia announced to the congregation.
The wedding started. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor were standing on the altar, facing the white alicorn. The bride looked happy and pretty as a daisy. The groom stood tall and... somewhat with his knees buckling inward. Plus, he had a strange green film over his eyes as he obliviously stared into space like a zombie. Meh, he still looked good in his outfit.
Connor was standing with the bachelors on the altar's steps. He could not help but smile. Weddings were such good and happy occasions, unless something totally unexpected and terrible happened at any time. The brides always looked so pretty. The grooms always look so dapper. It would be a shame to not enjoy weddings. There were some flukes in weddings that would ruin it for others, though. The biggest problem would be the bride and groom's choice of cake, especially if it was coconut. Connor shivered at the thought. He just did not enjoy coconut all that well. Scented sunscreen, however, was an exception.
He shifted his eyes to look at his favorite little yellow pegasus. Wow, did she look adorable! Her mane was bobbed and she had a cute, decorative headpiece lined with wee flowers. It did not take long for Fluttershy to notice him looking at her. Once she did, she lifted a coy shoulder up to her cheek, blushing. Connor gave her a wink. Fluttershy fluttered her eyelashes at him. The colt lifted his hoof and beat his chest near his heart signaling "I love you". After their little bodily banter, they focused on the wedding.
"Princess Cadence and Shining Armor, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you--."
"STOP!!" cried a familiar voice.
Gasps and surprised exclamations escaped the congregation as they looked upon a purple unicorn, standing in the doorway. The five ponies of Ponyville and Spike were exasperated by her stubbornness. Did she not learn anything??
"Aw, crap..." Connor hid his face behind his foreleg. "Not again..."
Cadence stomped her hoof. "Ugh! Why does she have to be so possessive of her brother?"
Seeing the surprised look in Celestia's eye, the pink alicorn knew she made a small mistake.
She feigned tears. "Why does she have to ruin my special day?"
"Because it's not your special day, it's mine!" said... Cadence??
Everypony in the congregation was utterly surprised. Connor's head zipped back and forth towards the two identical alicorns. What the fff---?
"What?" gasped Cadence... the one wearing the dress. The other Cadence was standing in the doorway, looking ruffled and dirty like she had been through a crystal mine.
"But how did you escape my bridesmaids?" said the bride.
After Twilight and other Cadence explained it, the bride huffed.
"Clever, but you're still too late!"
"Ah... Ah don't understand. How kin there be two of 'em?" Applejack asked, pointing a hoof.
"Well, my brain is bucked..." Connor stated.
"She's a Changeling! She takes the form of somepony you love and gains power by feeding off your love for him!" the ruffled Cadence pointed.
"Huh, kinda sounds like my old high school crush..." the ponified human mumbled.
Suddenly, a pillar of free flames shot up into the air with great force, enveloping the bride Cadence. Inside, the lovely, pink alicorn became a tall, green, haggard, insect-like alicorn. Her mane and tail were thin and a sickly teal. Her wings were like an insect's wings. Her eyes were slit and green and her horn was jagged like a blade. A cat-like cackle escaped from her lungs.
"rIght yOu aRe, pRincess! aNd aS qUeen oF tHe cHangelings, iT iS uP tO mE tO fInd fOod fOr mY sUbjects," the Queen said in a slight duo-toned voice.
She continued as she descended the steps. "eQuestria hAs mOre lOve tHan aNy oTher pLace i'Ve eNcountered. mY fEllow cHanglelings wIll bE aBle tO dEvour sO mUch oF iT, tHat wE wIll gAin mOre pOwer tHan wE eVer dReamed oF!"...
"hE mAy nOt bE mY husband, bUt hE iS uNder mY tOtal cOntrol nOw!" the Queen purred in content.
Connor could not withhold what he was about to say.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! So you... you... and he..." he stammered as he clapped his hooves together. Sweet mother of...
"EWWWWW!!! Oh my gosh, that is disgusting! You! You kissed... UGGHHH! Oh, I'm gonna be sick! Nughhh..."
Everypony was silent at first, but then they started to catch on. Come to think of it, that was disgusting. They had never seen it, but now that they knew it, the image just burned into their minds. Gasps of disgust and offense escaped the crowd, except for the Queen of the Changelings. She glared grimly at the colt like a tiger in vengeance. She did not care for Shining Armor at all, but nopony would insult her like that...
Dammit... Why couldn't he keep his large mouth shut? Now, he just got himself a date with the Queen.
lAter... lAter... the Queen controlled her anger. She shook it off and continued.
"aND, i'M sOrry tO sAy, uNable tO pErform hIs dUties aS cAptain oF tHe rOyal gUard!"
"The Elements of Harmony... You must get to them... And use their power to defeat the queen!" grunted an injured Princess Celestia.
The six ponies nodded and darted outside the chapel. The Queen cackled.
"nAhahahahaha! yOu cAn rUn, bUt yOu cAn't hIde!"
Behind her, Connor was lying next to Celestia. He was in panic. He did not know how to tend to this kind of injury. He whipped his head around, finding somepony to help him. Then, a white hoof rested on top of his. Looking down, he saw the princess looking at him with her eyes nearing blackout. She shot a smile before she said, "I'll be fine... just don't fail me..."
She passed out. Connor slowly turned to the Changeling. A vein popped in his head. She would not get away with this... He was going to slip by and help the others until the Queen landed right in front of him with a ground-shaking thud, blocking the entrance. Her eye was twitching in anger.
Connor shrugged mockingly. "What? It's the truth."
STOMP! "yOu, iNsolent sTallion, hAve qUite tHe nErve tO iNsult mE, Chrysalis, tHe qUeen oF tHe cHangelings! wHat yOu sAw wAs oNly aN aTtempt tO qUell aNy suspicion hE hAs oF mE. dId yOu aCtually tHink i cAred fOr tHat lOon? hOw nAive oF yOu tO aSsume tHat! oTher tHan hIs rOle aS cAptain oF tHe rOyal gUard, hE mEans nOthing tO mE!" Then, a devilish look coated her green, slitted eyes. "hOwever... hE wOuld mAke aN eXcellent aDdition tO mY cOllection. hE wOuld bE tHe bIggest tRophy oUt oF tHe mAny tRophies i aCquired oF tHose i hAve tAken dOwn... lIke YOU!!"
In an eyeblink, a green bullet of energy shot out from her horn directly at the colt. He flinched just in time to dodge it. The bullet of energy just nicked across his cheek, causing it to burn. He was very lucky he dodged that. However, the Queen was not finished.
SHING! SHING, SHING! She shot more bullets of energy at the colt, who was scrambling around the room, barely dodging them. He sprinted behind a column, nearly falling on his front as he stopped. Then, in an eye blink, the pillar dissipated into smithereens. Chrysalis cackled as she tortured the running colt with a barrage of shot energy.
"kEep rUnning, fOal! nO mAtter hOw mUch yOu dO, yOu wIll bE sTruck bY mY wRath!" she taunted.
Connor hid behind a much thicker column, which was enough to withhold against the changeling's bullets. He panted heavily, and his throat felt cramped from tensity. He ran pretty fast to dodge those bullets. In fact, that was the fastest he had ever run before. After his breathing calmed, he craned his neck to look at the Queen.
SHOOOOM! A bullet nearly took his head out. In the reflection of a knocked-over shield, he saw some changeling drones lifting Celestia's limp body from the ground. Then, more drones began to circle madly around her in circles. When they cleared, the princess was upside down and enveloped in a slimy, sickly green cocoon.
He felt stupid that he did not bring his slingshot gun. Sleeping darts would have been useful then. He reached with his back hoof to fish in a loose spear. After pricking himself with the head of it, he knew that the spear was sharp enough.
"wHat's wRong, cOlt? tOo cOwardly tO fAce mE? cOme! fAce mE... iF yOu're sTallionly eNough," the Queen taunted again.
Of course he was...
He took a deep breath. Then, he whirled around from behind the pillar and charged at her, holding the spear's head directly in front of him. The spear was gripped between his teeth. He galloped toward her like a cheetah chasing an impala.
"tHere yOu aRe! nOw, sUffer!!" roared Chrysalis as she fired a merciless barrage of magic at him.
JWIP! JING! FWOOP! ZING! Bullets of magic zipped by his head and ears as he veered left and right to dodge them. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he thought he was crazy for doing this. However, in the front of his mind, he thought it was for Equestria's sake.
The Queen of the Changelings began to panic. Connor was flying in towards her, dodging every single bullet she threw at him.
The colt was in position. Leaping into the air and diving toward the queen, he mightily swung his head, slashing at her with his spear. He felt a small vibration travel through the shaft of the spear. He hit her! The queen leapt back, getting away from the colt. Strands of her mane trickled down to the ground. She hissed in anger and disappeared in a waft of green flame.
"Oh, who's a coward now? Who's a coward now?? Come on! Where are you?!"
Connor felt a pair of hooves buck him from behind, sending him sliding on his front.
"HA!" She kicked him on the chin, making him flip in air before crashing down again.
"aRen't yOu gOing tO fIght bAck, lIttle cOlt?" she cackled.
CHANG!! He thrust his spear mightily into the ground, catching one of her legs through one of her hallow holes. She tried to yank her leg out, but it would not budge. She looked up to find a pair of hooves land directly in her face. Her head flew back from the bound of the force. Then, Connor whirled around to snatch the spear with his teeth, yank it out, twirl around again, and hack mightily at her with the spear head. He definitely had hit something that time. Speckles of orange blood sprinkled his nose.
Yelping, Chrysalis cupped her cheek and thrashed about, flapping her wings madly and twisting her torso in pain. Her head hid behind her arched back. Her painful groans became snarls of rage and anger. Her head whipped around to reveal a rage-infected face with a deep, orange blood soaked wound across its cheek.
As awesome as Connor's small victory was, he got himself in even more deep trouble with the Queen.
"hOw dAre yOu!!" she shrieked. Then, throwing back her head, she used her magic to deploy a large blast of energy, blowing the colt through the window with a crash. Connor was falling in the air, surrounded by floating shards of stained glass. The sight of a laughing Chrysalis standing at the window shrank as he fell.
Dear God... was this the end? He twisted himself around in the air to see a merciless concrete floor close in on him as he fell.
Yes... this was the end...
But... but, why?
He was just about to adjust his life in Ponyville.
He was just about to live with his new friends for the rest of his life.
He was just about to love...
His mind cringed painfully in despair. He would never be able to see Fluttershy again... Specifically, he would still be able to see her, but she would not be able to see him. Such cruel irony...
The concrete floor looked like it just took a huge step nearer to him.
He was able to exhale a small laugh.
Hopefully, it would not hurt too much...
"OOF!" he landed hard on top of something smaller. He... he was still alive?? But how?
He craned his neck to see a cyan pegasus with a multi-hued mane and tail underneath him.
"Rainbow Dash! Thank God youWHOA!!" The pegasus suddenly did a barrel roll, causing him to lose balance and fall. He fell a few more feet before landing roughly on his haunches.
"OW! Rainbow Dash, what the hay?? You could have at least told me when you were going to do that! What went through... Rainbow Dash? Are... are you all...?"
The pegasus glared at him and stepped menacingly towards him like a wolf about to catch a rabbit. Connor was stepping carefully backwards.
"Rainbow, it's me! Connor! What's the deal here? Why are you acting so weird? Come on!"
She did not listen. She continued to close in on him. Seriously, what the hell was going on? Seeing that she was displaying no sign of response or confirmation, Connor had no choice but to...
CRASH! A pegasus crashed into Rainbow Dash, sending her sprawling on the ground. Wait...
TWO Rainbow Dashes??
The Rainbow Dash sprawling on the ground suddenly turned into a black, insect-like pony as she lied motionlessly on the ground, unconscious.
The real Rainbow Dash staggered as she got up. After shaking her head, she turned to Connor.
"Connor! What are you doing here? I thought you were..."
"I got bested by the Queen up there and she bucked me out with her magic. What's going on down here?"
"Changeling drones everywhere! Come on! We might need your help here!"
The colt followed the pegasus.
Fluttershy wandered aimlessly through the brawling crowd of confused changelings, hoping to not be seen as the real one. She was lucky that she was able to escape the groups of phony Fluttershys and Rainbow Dashes, but she was not sure if she was ready to face another group of phonies. It was more action than she could handle. She scanned her surroundings nervously for signs of authenticity. Where were her real friends? There were just so many of them! It would take her forever to find her real friends. Plus, since the drones have mistaken other drones for real ponies, it made her even more confused as to which one was the real one.
Then, something had caught her eye in the middle of all the commotion.
"Connor! Over here! Help!" the yellow pegasus called to him.
She grabbed his attention and the colt started to run towards her. She started to run towards him until she saw a look in his eye that did not make him look like... himself. This colt's eyes were full of rage and anger as he huffed and ran furiously at her. Fluttershy's eyes were wide open and full of dripping tears. Her love was going to attack her. No, it had to be a drone, right? But, it looked exactly like him! So do all the other drones. He was only one visible in the crowd. It had to be him. Then again, changelings could change into whomever they wish in a snap. If that was possible, then that means Connor had to be around somewhere, but where? What if this raging colt was him? Hell, she did not even know anymore. She did not feel like fighting him. She did not feel like being attacked by her love, even if it was the real Connor. Her mind kept her in place. She did not move a muscle. She collapsed to the ground and hid her head under her forelegs as she heard the furiously approaching hoofsteps clack on top of the concrete ground.
"Don't you ever lay a hoof on my girl, you fraud!!"
Fluttershy unshielded herself from her forelegs and looked up to see Connor towering over her, furiously huffing through his snout. She then noticed another Fluttershy sprawling on the ground behind her.
Thank Celestia! So he was not actually going to attack her, he was just defending her from another fake Fluttershy.
"Hey," the colt huffed as he tried to regain his breath. "You okay?"
"I am now," Fluttershy smiled as she grabbed onto his hoof, lifting her up from the ground.
"Stay close to me," he stated seriously. "Never leave my side."
"I never will..."
The two fought together until they were hopelessly outnumbered.
"Meh, I've seen better," Pinkie Pie waved an unimpressed hoof at a Changeling who tried to mimic her.
Then, she grabbed Twilight, tipped her head down, so her horn was facing the Changelings, and cranked rapidly at her tail. Rapid and upbeat bursts of magic shot from the unicorns horn and pelted the false ponies into oblivion.
Connor noticed this from afar.
Daaaaaayum! He needed to try that!
"Rarity! Come here for a second!"
With that he snatched Rarity, tipped her head down, and cranked at her tail.
"Ow!" Connor yelped.
"nAhahahaha! What a lovely but absolutely ridiculous sentiment!" Chrysalis cackled as she gazed out of the window to look upon her prize, a captured kingdom.
Shining Armor glared at the Queen of the Changelings. He had to stop her. However, his magic was too fatigued to cast another spell. Still, he had to try. He shut his eyes tightly and strained his horn to cast a perfect spell. Cadence leveled her horn to his and a small band of electricity zapped between the two tips. Suddenly, Shining Armor felt a whole new wave of energy surge into his body as his muscles relaxed in relief. Wafts of energy spun around the bride and groom at high speed as their power began to grow.
Then, the whole room was flooded with a bright white light, enveloping two silhouettes floating in the air.
It was time to launch the magic.
A, expanding, gargantuan, magenta shield of energy shot from the spot where the bride and groom's horns touched, thus blasting the Queen and her subjects completely out of Canterlot.
The magic began to weaken as it gracefully set Cadence and Shining Armor back on their hooves. Seeing that they were victorious, they nuzzled each other.
Twilight ran up to Princess Celestia, who was blasted free from her hanging cocoon.
"Don't worry about me. I'm fine," the princess said as she smiled lightly.
She leaned in closer to Twilight before saying, "You have a real wedding to put together."
Twilight smiled in approval.
Suddenly, the silence was broken by Connor, who was poking his head out the window, shouting.
"YEAH, CHRYSALIS! OVERCONFIDENCE SUCKS, DOESN'T IT?! ENJOY YOUR TRIP TO HUMBLETOWN, YOU HAG!!"
Once he finished, he whirled around and puffed his chest out. However, a feeling of awkwardness loomed in the air. Everypony was staring at him, eyes wide open. The colt shrank back and scratched the back of his head.
"Was that a little too much?" he meekly asked.
After glancing at each other, all shook their heads.
"Nnope!" Applejack was the first to speak.
"You said it," Rainbow Dash pointed at him, nodding.
Everypony shared warm laughter.
Ugh, it all sounded so boring!
Connor was strumming his guitar, practicing for the pop rock song he was about to play for the reception. He would kill to play some metal. However, maybe Applejack was right; metal might be a little too strong for a wedding. He hated to admit it.
He heard the door to his room open and standing in the doorway was Cadence, looking as fresh as a bloomed rose. Twilight was beside her carrying a clipboard and a quill. Connor blushed a little to see the real Cadence looking so beautiful.
"Hello, Connor!" the pink alicorn said.
God, how he loved the sound of her voice. It definitely sounded a lot more pleasant than the fake Cadence.
"Hello," Connor said politely.
The princess walked up and sat herself on a chair in front of him.
"I'm really sorry that my fake self had put you in the wrong direction about me. So, I figured we would start over and introduce ourselves again."
"I know that your name's Mi Amore Cadenza and that I should call you Cadence for short," the colt smiled. "What does 'Mi Amore Cadenza' mean anyway?"
"It's nothing much. It just means 'I love Cadence'. Kind of simple, if you ask me."
"It's not for me. I think it's a deep, pretty name! It suits you."
"Aw, thank you, kindly! Anyway, Shining Armor has told me all about you."
"From the time you first arrived to the point where... your world..."
"That much, huh?"
"Yes. I'm really sorry about what happened to..."
"No, it's okay. It was not your fault. It wasn't anypony's. It wasn't anybody's fault, either," he referred to his humankind. "I'm living by something, and that is moving forward. It's inevitable. Time never goes back, as much as you wish it could. It's a no-win. Besides, I've got everything I need right here: friends, a home, a beautiful mare..." He reclined in his seat, sliding his front hooves behind his head.
"I'm glad you enjoy it here," Cadence smiled. "Although, Earth is still your home, and... you still miss it dearly?"
Connor nodded slowly and somberly.
Cadence involuntarily patted his foreleg, which was very comforting and kind of her. Shining Armor sure did have a good taste in mares.
"So! Anyway, I heard Shining Armor mention something about this 'metal' music you play, and he sure was really enthusiastic about it," she giggled as she thought of Shining Armor acting like a colt in Heart's Warming when he talked about it. She thought he was so cute when he acted like that.
"O-oh! Oh! Right. Well, it's kind of like a tougher version of rock."
"So I guess that's where it got it's name, 'metal', because it's tougher?"
"That pretty much sums it up!" Connor chuckled.
After sharing giggles, the pink alicorn leaned forward in her chair. "Here, play me an example!"
"Okay, then," he said as he nodded. He shifted his guitar on top of his thigh, setting it comfortably. He cleared his throat before he spoke. "This was what I was originally going to play for you two during the reception. It's metal, but it sounds much gentler than idealistic metal songs. One of my favorite bands, Metallica, does this song."
"'Metallica'? Pretty alluring name," Cadence commented politely.
He played a short section of "Nothing Else Matters" for her. Once he finished, her eyes were closed like she was meditating. Her eyes opened at the hiatus.
"So, what do you think, princess?"
"W...what did my false self ask you to play?"
"Pop-rock. Wanna hear what I got?"
Drun-drun-drun-drun-drun-drun-drun TWANG! Her hoof immediately held the strings.
"That settles it. Play metal."
If Connor could cry tears of joy, now was the good time. "R-really??"
"Yes. I just love, love, love that last song you played! It was beautiful! Forget pop-rock. This wedding needs authentic music. Play all the metal you want!"
Connor hugged her in an eyeblink.
"Thank you... You have no... idea... how much this means to me..."
Twilight marked a check on her checklist.
The vows were made.
The rings were exchanged.
The wedding was over.
Now, it was the reception.
Just a few minute into the reception, after the ponies danced, Connor went up onto the stage and tapped the microphone.
"Hey, everypony! I just want to ask you all to clear the dance floor. It's about time for the husband and wife's first official dance."
The guests whooped, hooted, whistled, and cheered as the two newlyweds walked onto the dance floor together.
"This song goes out to the lovely couple. I'm sure some of you may have heard this before, but now, you are going to hear it again. This songs fits the occasion because as long as they are one, nothing else matters anymore. Only love matters now. Mares and gentlecolts, here is Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters'."
Once he finished, everypony cheered. Some fanfillies in the audience screeched in glee.
"Thank you very much, but that's not all! Here is another from my favorite band, the Who!"
"The who??" somepony in the audience asked.
"Exaclty! This one goes out to the lovely bride. Shining Armor, you can sing this to her whenever you wish."
Everypony laughed warmly.
"Haha, sounds more like 'last minute wedding present from Connor'."
Everypony laughed harder.
"Anyhoo, here is 'Shakin' All Over'!"
Everypony cheered much louder as they thanked him for a splendid show.
"Good luck, Shining Armor and Princess Cadence! May your love last until world's end!"
The orchestra behind him began to play a slow song. The newlyweds began to slow dance, until...
"Let's get this party started!!" Pinkie Pie shouted from behind the mixing table.
The newlyweds left in their regal carriage. The horseshoes fastened to it rang as they were dragged across the ground. Twilight and the others watched as the carriage rolled away.
"Now this... was a great wedding!" Twilight said.
"Oh yeah?" Spike deviously added in. "Just wait until you see what I have planned for the bachelor party!"
Everypony laughed in harmony.
Meanwhile, Connor walked up to them while they were still laughing.
"Whoo! What a night! From fighting off evil Changelings to playing awesome songs to signing autographs to psycho fanfillies to helping with an awesome wedding, it was a day well spent."
"Indeed it was, darling!" Rarity smiled.
"Huh! After all that excitement, I had forgotten to have a slice of that wedding cake. I wonder if there is still some left..."
"Nope, it's all gone! And, wow, was it delish!!" Pinkie Pie said before she let out a large belch.
"I still haven't eaten my slice yet," Fluttershy said as she pulled out a plastic plate with a sizable slice of cake on top of it. "I'm not hungry anyway, so you can have it, Connor."
Wow... that cake looked delicious! Plus, thank God that they did not choose coconut. It was all vanilla. The icing looked light and fluffy, and the cake looked moist like a damp sponge. Plus, it was offered by Fluttershy. Bonus!
"Are you sure?" Connor asked, making sure he did not act too greedy.
"I'm sure. You can have it," she smiled.
"Wow! Thank you ver--!"
Fluttershy slapped the cake against his face and smeared it all over. Connor's face was covered with icing and smaller bits of cake. He was stunned as to what just happened. Fluttershy was laughing.
"Hee hee hee! Got you, Connor! I can't believe you fell for that! Now you are... caked! Hee hee!"
"Oh, really? Well, look who's talking now?" Connor smiled cheekily as he slung his foreleg around her. He was smearing his icing-coated face into her neck.
"Eek! Stop! Stop it! Sto-ho-hop! You're getting me all dirty now!" she tried to stifle a giggle.
"Om nom nom nom nom!"
"Ackpth! Connor! You meanie!" she laughed as she was being attacked by her favorite colt. She screeched playfully as Connor began to peck her face. She was getting bits of cake and frosting all over her cheeks.
"There! Look who's caked now? Look who's caked now?"
"I guess I am now!"
To finish, Connor kissed her on the lips, leaving a bit of frosting resting on her lips.
"You taste good," Fluttershy winked.
"You're better," the colt winked back.
The others smiled warmly as the two enjoyed their small food fight.
Like Twilight said before, that was a great wedding...
Stay tuned for more fics!