You awaken again, and find the world hadn’t changed much in twenty four hours, since you’d last awoken. Well, not quite twenty four hours, since the sun outside looked to be much lower than before. It was probably just before nine, if your sense of time was to be believed, rather than getting close to noon. As such, you made yourself a quick breakfast of toast and waffles, before setting out once again, stepping out onto the balcony to look at all the ponies milling around.
It was actually rather pleasant, right there, looking down on them. It was almost like you could leap down, and join them, just milling about, rather than having to watch where everypony else stepped, lest they get a little stain on the bottom of their hoof. Sighing a little at that thought, you went back inside, not having seen anypony you recognized, unless one of the guards outside had been the Captain.
Going to the inward facing door of your apartment, you step out into the hall, only to jump back as one of those hooves falls from the sky, landing right in front of your door. The hoof, black as midnight, belonged to one of the ponies in unicorn armor, who turns to his partner, one of the white colored pegasi guards, who then bolts off, as the returns to his post beside your door.
“Please remain where you are, the Captain would like a word with you,” he says in that rather gruff tone you’d heard from guards in movies. An action hero would have taken the bull by the horns, and used every resource at his disposal to escape such an unjust captivity, and then to bring down the organization that spawned such civil rights violations.
Not being an action hero of any sort, you wave him off, and go back into your apartment, pulling down a cup, and then running some water into it. A thought and a small application of power later, and you’re holding a steaming cup of coffee, some off brand, but at least it tasted rich, with the proper amount of sugar in it to counteract the bitterness. With cup in hand, you walk out of your room, and then lean against the wall, sipping on it, while wishing you had a paper.
Luckily, it’s not too long before the Captain arrives with the guard, who’s holding his head a bit lower, motioning for his counterpart, who looks at him quizzically, to follow. The two both turn, salute their Captain, and then trot off, their hooves clacking on the hard floor. You watch them go, finishing off the last few dredges of coffee before setting the cup in your room next to the door and shutting it.
“I apologize for their behavior. I told them to come get me the moment you were awake, and apparently they took it a bit more seriously than I would have liked,” he tells you, and you float upwards easily, landing on the table nearby and look him in the eye.
“It’s not a big deal. Though you might want to tell that unicorn one to watch where he’d putting his hoof. One more inch out the door, and I’d have been a smear,” you tell him. He looks like he’s about to rush off after them for a moment and yell at them, but then he notices you’re smirking, and just sighs.
“I’ll be sure and tell them that. For now, I’m assigning them as Luna’s personal guards. She’ll loosen them up a bit. They almost always come out of basic a bit more uptight than needed,” he explains, and then grabs you with his magic, setting you down on his back.
“Now, to business. I wanted to be the first of the guards to thank you for your lovely gift this morning,” he starts, and you tilt your head in puzzlement.
“What gift? I’ve been asleep since last night. Heck, I actually went to sleep early,” you admit.
“Indeed, but that was only after enchanting a field to grow Sage Blossoms, many of which were…’donated’ by a certain pony we both know, to help smooth over some ruffled manes,” he explained.
“Sage Blossoms…those were those flowers that DawnChaser was growing. The glowy things,” you say after a few seconds of thinking about it.
“Indeed, rarest of the rare, and almost impossible to grow even for the most talented farmpony. Said to triple a stallion’s strength, or a mare’s magic, and allow them to go for days without eating,” he tells you, and you could swear you’d heard that somewhere before, but it involved fruit and a pair of orges in a place for losers. You couldn’t put your finger on it though, and just shook your head.
“So, you guys got some of those from the field yesterday?” you ask.
“’Some’ is an understatement. I got enough that I could give one to every member of the Guard for a month, and still have some left over. How many did you grow?” he questioned, and you shake your head.
“I have no idea. I did the blessing, and then Luna got me out of there after being too close to a few being bloomed caused me to go blind for a while. I’d assume they had eight hours of good growing though, and with just flowers, they could have gotten several hundred,” you say, trying to do the math.
“They got more than that, though I hear they’re still debating about price for them. Normally a single blossom is one thousand bits and up, but with so many on the market now, they’re selling for much less,” he explained to you, and you can’t help but whistle.
“Sound like I should have asked for some. I could have made a killing,” you tell him, and he nods.
“It’s the talk of all of Canterlot right now. We’ve actually had at least a dozen farmers come asking for you, and one attempted illicit entry, likely with the intent of ponynapping you,” he admitted, and you think about that for a moment.
“So, an idiot than? Or did this guy not see me fly against the Wonderbolts?” you ask, and the Captain chuckles.
“He seemed to have no plan at all, and was shooed out of the city. Still, I have been asked to provide you with an escort from now on, to make sure such supplicants don’t fill up all your time,” he informs you as you turn a corner.
“So, are we talking a guard or two, or a group of them?” you ask, not sure you’d be able to have any fun with a whole contingent of guard ponies milling about wherever you are.
“I had originally been going to assign a full wing of five, however, the Princess said that only one would be needed, and ask that I pick the one I felt most suited to the task,” he explained.
“Oh, just one sounds good. Who’d you pick?” you ask him.
“Myself. I’ve already gotten to know you, and this will allow me to keep an eye on the Professor, and make sure he doesn’t get up to any trouble while in the Royal City,” he states matter-of-factly.
“And allow you to arrest him if he sets one hoof out of line,” you say, filling in the blanks.
“That is one way to look at it, yes. Still, it does mean you can call upon my services at any time. As for the moment though, I believe there are two mares in the entryway waiting to make your acquaintance.,” he admits, while turning a corner, taking you to the large staircase room you remember from the show. Various ponies of the three types are milling about, some outside the large doors at the top of the stairs that lead to the throne slash court room, while others seem to just be sitting around, here to just talk with each other.
“There!” shouts somepony, and you find yourself suddenly in a sea of camera flashes almost as bad as those of the flowers the other day, forcing you to close your eyes. Luckily, these aren’t quite that bright, and the Captain soon forces everypony back.
“Clear the way, you paparazzi,” he tells them, shoving some with his magic, and using good old hoof power on others. One he even punches, which gets you smiling again, even as you’re blinking away the last few spots.
“Over here! This way! Hurry!” cries a familiar voice, and you look over to see a white unicorn you know well bouncing out of the crowd and waving.
“Hold on, Little One!” orders the Captain, and you comply, grabbing onto his mane, and then just watching as the world around you moves.
The Captain, as soon as he felt you grab on, galloped through the crowd that was pressing on you, still snapping pictures, as well as a few trying to grab at you. Rather than go through them and risk getting caught, the Captain ran for the wall, and then leapt onto it, sort of walking on it as he makes his way from the second down to the first, jumping from one wall, and towards a nearby one, and then back again, before his hooves clatter onto the hard floor, and he makes a break for Vinyl, who just gapes at him.
“Don’t just stand there with your mouth open, run!” he commands as he passes her by, and you see several of the crowd breaking away to finally give chase. Vinyl, with one look back towards them, follows swiftly, seeming to become winded after only a few gallops, but still going as the Captain passes through the open gates of the castle.
“Make sure they don’t follow us!” he commands his guards, as Vinyl rushes after him, and you feel magic being woven, which manifests itself as a barrier that keeps the ponies in the palace from pursuing the three of you any farther.
“Th-wheeze-at wa-gasp-s-cough-cough-“ said Vinyl before giving up, and just breathing for several steps as the two ponies make their way into the park around the palace. Luckily, it’s not too far until you see where you’re going, specifically, towards bench where Octavia’s laying, just looking at a pair of birds in a tree.
“Oh, there you are. I was beginning to wor-Vinyl! What did you do?,” she said as she noticed your group, switching from a relieved tone to an enraged one in midsentence, and eyeing the pop pony deva.
“Me? I didn’t do anything,” she protested as Octavia got closer.
“Then why is a member of the Royal Guard escorting you. I’m sorry sir, if she’s done something horrible, I apologize for it,” says the gray mare, bowing to the guard, and speaking in a way that just told you she’d done something like this a lot.
“It’s alright ma’am. Truth be told, I’m not here for your friend, I’m here for the Little One,” he said, turning so she could now see you, and for a brief moment, you think you see her eyes light up, but then she just smiles.
“Hello there,” was all she said, nodding her head towards you, and you return the greeting and gesture.
“So, what took so long to find him Vinyl?” she asked, and the white pony shook her head.
“Finding him was easy, just look for the raving mob trying to grab him,” she answered.
“Raving mob? What?” was all Octavia got out, before the Captain got her attention.
“It has come to the attention of several local power brokers that the Little One has an ability to make plants grow better than even the best earth pony. Some would like such an ability for themselves, which is why he’ll have my escort from now on. Or at least, until this has passed,” he tells her, and she looks at you with pity in her eyes.
“Heh, I’m the center of attention, but for all the wrong reasons. I mean, does no one around here find that ability to make a veritech useful?” you ask.
“Useful? Yes, in certain situations, very much so. Profitable? Not so much. The growth ability though, that could be used to make many bits, and they’re probably imaging all the other things you might be able to do for them,” he explains.
“I suppose. The veritech is still cooler though, right?” you ask, and Vinyl nods at you.
“Totally cooler. I mean, that thing beat Spitcup at her own game,” she assures you, and you smile at her in thanks.
“Moving on from that, how have you been? We didn’t get to hear much yesterday, as I was busy cleaning the house, and Vinyl was busy complaining,” says Octavia, motioning towards a bench. The Captain steps up to it, but rather than setting down, he sets you on it, and then walks a ways off, obviously to allow you to talk to Vinyl and Octavia privately.
“Oh, come on Octy, you know I don’t have your earth pony stamina. I can’t work nearly as long as you can,” complained the pop pony as she tossed herself down, nearly bucking you from the seat of the bench.
“Just five minutes Vinyl, five minutes of work out of you without you collapsing would have been nice,” said the gray to the white.
“Like I said, I don’t have that much stamina,” answered Vinyl with a grin, and Octavia sighed and facehoofed, shaking her head.
“You know what, I’m not going to do this today. Suffice to say, Little One, our home is a bit cleaner than it was, and should be ready for visitors soon,” she continued, only for Vinyl to interrupt by making kissing noises.
“What she means is she’d really like you to come over, maybe for a candle lit dinner, and then into the bedroom, some sensual music, and then..” Vinyl trailed off, doing what you guess might be a lewd gesture with her forehooves.
“VINYL!!!” shouted Octavia, blushing enough to turn her whole face red, while reaching over to smack the DJ hard enough to knock her off the bench. Not that being on the dirt path caused her to stop laughing. Down the path, you can hear the Captain chuckling as well.
“Don’t you start!” you shout at him, and try to cover your own face. This conversation at some point had gotten away from you, and you just try to suppress it, taking a deep breath and calming yourself.
“Anyway, I say we go into town, and try to forget this conversation ever happened,” you offer, and Octavia nods.
“Agreed,” she says simply, opening her mouth, and then scooping you up with her lips, before placing you on her back.
“Heh, does he still taste good, Tavi?” chides Vinyl, and Octavia, scoffing, gets down from the bench and jabs one hoof into Vinyl’s chest as she does, making the white pony grunt, but never losing her grin. She soon gets to her hooves, and your three pony strong group heads into the city.
“So, what were you doing yesterday while Octy and me got the love shack ready to shake?” asked Vinyl, and Octavia pointedly ignores her. You decide to just ignore the comment, and answer the question.
“Well, I did some tests with the Professor. Nothing too hard at first, just a maze, and some blood tests,” you answer.
“Oh, a maze? How’d you do?” asks the pop pony.
“Um, I finished it three times in under a minute while flying, but then he had me walk it. About an hour or so after starting that run, I figured out that he used something to switch the walls around, so I quit. Then I almost blew the roof off when I thought he’d forgotten me inside it,” you explain, and Vinyl just smiles at you.
“Heh, would have served him right, forgetting about you. But why didn’t you just fly out?” she asks.
“Oh, well, the maze had a glass top, I could see through it, and they could see me. Mind, it wasn’t exactly good for my focus to have ponies seemingly standing in thin air on top of me. I don’t mind so much when riding or flying, but just standing underhoof is kind of disturbing,” you admit.
“I would imagine so,” says Octavia, a shudder running through her body as she obviously remembers being shrunk in that hallway the other day.
“Well, after that, he took some blood work. Turns out, if you draw my blood out, it will grow back to normal size, which seems to be on a scale like yours. That’s interesting, but he still can’t tell me why I’m tiny,” you continue.
“Really? At least it’s a step in the right direction though, right?” Octavia says, trying to comfort you, and you chuckle while nodding.
“Yep. A few more steps like that one, and maybe we can fix this. Heck, maybe even find me a way home,” you say.
“Oh, do you still want to go and leave us all alone? You just know that would break Octy’s heart, and she’s only just learned to love again,” chided Vinyl, who shut up when you and Octavia fix your stare at her. They might not have been as bad as Fluttershy’s, but they weren’t exactly pleasant either.
“Despite what she says, I would be happy to see you go home, if that’s what you really want,” Octavia continues, after Vinyl shies away, and begins to have a whispered talk with the guard. From the way she’s speaking, you can tell she’s asking him about that wall run and jump trick he pulled back at the castle.
“I don’t know anymore. I don’t think I can get home, truth to tell, but even if I could, I’m a nobody back home. Here, I’m special, and I have some great friends. Besides, I don’t think DawnChaser would leave well enough alone, and would probably come over himself. That sounds like the making of a disaster, a size changing pony in the middle of downtown,” you say, imagining him walking through the city, big as the skyscrapers around him. You then shake your head to get said image out of it, not wanting to think about it anymore.
“Heh, that doesn’t sound very pleasant now that you mention it,” she says with a laugh and a smile, as the four of you finally leave the castle grounds, and make your way into the city proper.