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The London streets were swarming with people. Some were wearing Guy Fawkes masks while others held up signs. Many of the signs read, “We are the 99%!” while others called for lower tuition. Students from various schools made up a good majority of the crowd.
David was among the group of protesters. He didn’t really hate the government, he just had more important issues to deal with: friends, family, work. Work. That was what had driven him to the protest today. He shivered a little; it was a cold Thursday morning.
Mum, god bless her soul, can’t afford this. That was what David had thought when he’d first heard about the tuition hike. If only dad were still around. David’s father had passed away when he was just a lad. But he and his mum had worked hard to earn a living and put David through school. But now? Mum can’t work that hard, no human can.
David reassured himself that he was at the protest for her, not to protest the government. He just didn’t want them to raise the tuition. He raised his crudely constructed sign that read, “Don’t raise tuition!” It was simple, but David thought it got the message out. His sign was met by others in the air, all of them shook violently in opposition to the government.
Then the signs near the front of the line wavered and fell. A voice came over a loudspeaker. “Attention protesters, we respect your right to protest, but we will not allow violence in Her Majesty’s city! Cease and desist immediately!
Bloody bastards! First they raise tuition and then say we can’t protest!? Damn the lot of them! What violence have we- A gunshot broke David’s thoughts. It hadn’t come from the front of the line though. It had come from the back of the line. “My god!” David fearfully turned to a protester next to him. “Someone brought a gun! I thought this was just a peaceful protest!”
“Peaceful until the pigs show up!” The protester responded. “Wish I’d brought my own weapon now!” As he said that, he took the cardboard off his protest sign and looked at the sharp end of the stick. “Think this’ll hurt?”
Mad, they’ve all gone mad! The police! They think I’m one of these loonies! I gotta get out of this mess! David started to dart out of the protest line and towards the back-alleys. As he moved, he saw the police in their riot gear moving about the chaotic crowd. Some were tasering the protesters while others were launching tear gas grenades. The grenades were the worst. David was even near any of the launched grenades, but his throat and eyes were starting to sting. Just as his vision began to blur, he caught sight of a back alley. Almost there, next time I’ll just send a le-
He felt something hit him in the side. He looked down and saw a hole in his shirt. There was a rapidly growing red stain on his shirt now as well. “Bloody hell.” The police never used legitimate firearms, only tasers or tear gas, or rubber bullets. But never real bullets, the shot could have only come from one of the protesters. David clutched his side and stumbled into the alley. “Damn! Damn, damn, damn!” He slumped against a trashcan. He was losing blood too fast.
“Can’t let mum see me like this. Gotta get to a hospital.” He stumbled forward but his foot slipped and he fell down some stairs. They only led to an abandoned building. No help was coming for David. “Oh god,” he prayed, “please help me.”
There was a bright flash and then there was a pint and a shot glass by David. The pint was filled with a purple liquid that seemed to move on its own. There was also a letter next to it. David looked in curiosity at the parchment as he picked it up and tried reading it. Death must want to play a joke on me.
“Young one,” the letter began.
“Heh,” a dribble of blood ran down David’s chin, “I’ve been watching too many cartoons.” One of David’s mates had gotten him into My Little Pony. At first he thought how silly it was for grown men to be watching cute little ponies, but then he’d watched more and more. It was a better alternative than drinking, he had done plenty of that. He’d made Lesson Zero his go-to episode whenever he felt over-stressed. Somehow seeing Twilight Sparkle freak out made him feel a little better.
“Well it’s definitely a nice way for Death to greet me,” he said as he poured himself a shot. “Mum’s gonna be pissed. Cheers!” He downed the shot of purple.
It was dark at first, but then the darkness gave way to the concept of a vast grassy field. “Huh, no pearly gates?” He looked around at the field. The concept of grass below him felt warm and soft.
Then a voice in the sky called out. “Child?”
“Y-yes Lord?” Huh, didn’t expect god to have such a feminine voice, but then again god is god, he can do whatever he wants. He looked up and saw a multi-colored sphere in the sky.
“Sister, he thinks you’re his deity,” came another voice, its source was a dark moon-like sphere.
“Child, I am not your deity. But I feel you should know who I am.”
“Lord, why are you acting like Celestia and Luna? I wasn’t committing idol worship with them I swear!” Oh Lord, what if he sends me to the pit with all the sinners?! Oh crap, what if he can hear me think?!
“Child, calm yourself,” came Luna’s voice, “you are neither being judged nor are you dead... in a sense. But you have been called to a higher purpose.”
“What is it Lord?”
“Please,” Celestia interjected, “just call us Celestia and Luna, or Princesses if you feel formal.”
“Yes, your highness... but are... are you really the Princesses from the show?” He knew it wasn’t proper to question the Lord, but he had to find out why he had assumed such odd forms and voices.
“Neigh child,” Luna replied, “we... all of Equestria is much grander than any show could ever describe.”
“But I must admit,” Celestia took over, “you humans finally came very close to representing Equestria with your ‘show.’”
“‘Finally?’” David asked.
“Yes,” Celestia continued, “for eons we’ve tried to prepare you for our coming, but results have been mixed.” Celestia’s sphere seemed to darken a little.
“What do you mean?”
“Our initial exposure to your world was a disaster,” Luna said.
“Sister, please don’t be so rough, it wasn’t your fault.”
“Regardless, it was still a failure.” Luna turned her attention back to David, “Tell me child, are you familiar with a land called Atlantis?”
“Yes, your highness, but it was just a tale I heard when I was little.”
“It is no tale,” Luna continued, “it was our first attempt to directly try to coexist with humans. We thought we could live side by side...” Luna stopped for a moment.
“Sister, you don’t need to continue,” Celestia’s voice was now filled with concern.
“No I must, he must know so that he doesn’t repeat our mistakes!” Luna’s voice was harsh now. “Child, do you know what happens when you stay underwater too long?”
“You have to come up for air,” David replied. What an odd question to ask, I was expecting more “what sins have you committed?”
“Imagine not being able to come up for air though? That is the death sentence we... I gave to the ponies who came to Earth with me.” The concept of the sky above Luna’s sphere darkened and began to rain. “I went with them into this world. I wanted to make sure my little ponies were safe and I didn’t want sister to disregard her own duties. At first things went well, almost too well. People back then, like you, thought we were gods. They offered us food, drinks, even their women to us. I quickly put a stop to the latter sacrifice, but other than that things seemed fine. For a while we lived in harmony, our slowly growing land a utopia to both man and pony.”
“Then my ponies started to get sick. At first they couldn’t utilize magic, or fly, or grow things. But then it got worse, they became pale and lost their color. Then...” the rain over Luna’s sphere grew into a torrent, “then they would just disappear into the air! I still remember the first one I saw, a unicorn who had wanted to see a new world. She came to me asking to go back to Equestria. I was about to send her when...when...”
“Sister, please! It wasn’t your fault!” Celestia’s sphere pulsated faster as it seemed to inch closer to Luna’s sphere.
“It was! And I’ll have to live with it!” The rain over Luna’s sphere calmed down a bit. “But I have to carry on.” Luna turned her attention to back to David again. He didn’t know how to respond anymore. “Then the humans started getting sick as well. Just as we couldn’t live without magic, they couldn’t live with it. Just being around us was poison to them. They fell even faster than the ponies. No one came to the new land then, they said it was cursed. I sunk it and returned home. But even I hadn’t escaped unscratched. I so desperately wanted control of the situation that I... I raise my hoof against my own blood. Sister had every right to banish me.”
“Sister,” now Celestia’s sphere darkened a little, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what else to do.”
“It is all right, we are here now. That is what matters. My voyage may have been a disaster, but it had a silver lining. Child, I may have left your world in disgrace, but at least a connection between our world and your world was established. After my incident, we decided to prepare the world for Equestria through ideas first. Mythology, oral traditions, written books; they all contained hints of our world. Then in most recent times, we have poured more effort into sending images of our world to yours.”
“The show?” David asked.
“Yes, the show was Equestria’s and Earth’s first united effort. After centuries of rough guessing, the closest version to Equestria was obtained.”
“Wait! So does that mean Discord is real as well?” The thought of the daconequss being real sent a twinge of fear down David’s spine.
“Neigh child, he was merely our greater fear given a form you humans found suitable,” Celestia responded this time.
“Greater fear?” David was nervous now. What could be worse than a god of chaos?
“The creators of that show,” Celestia continued, “were very meticulous in expressing our fears for your world. Discord and the wendigos almost perfectly expressed the danger your world is in. If magic is not restored soon, then your world, your universe will come apart, reduced to the primordial chaos from whence it spawned.”
“Oh my god.”
“But do not fret my little pony,” Celestia’s voice was motherly now, “you have taken the first step in saving both our worlds. With every new pony, every use of magic, you bring more magic into your realm.”
“But don’t ponies need magic to survive?” David didn’t want to survive a gunshot only to die from lack of magic.
“Child,” Luna spoke, “my stay in your realm lasted over ten years. It was not until the eighth year that the devastation began. It is both a blessing and a curse that there is not that much time available to us.”
“What do y- ugh!” David felt the conceptual grass shake under him.
“Darn! Sister!” Luna called out to Celestia, “We have wasted too much time! He is about to awaken!”
“Child!” Celestia called out to David, “You are about to awaken as a pony. Warn and convert others and find the other seeds, the ke-”
In place of his side bleeding, now David’s whole body felt a little sore. “Ugh, what? What happened?” He looked around and saw he was in an alley. “Christ, did I get wrecked a...ga...in...” The shot glass and the pint were still sitting next to him. “The hell? I thought...” he got up on his legs... all four of them. “Oh Lord, that wasn’t a dream!” He slowly looked down at his feet and saw hooves. “Bloody Hell!! I’m a bleeding horse!” He stumbled backwards and tripped on a pile of his clothes. They were torn and what was left of his shirt was covered in blood.
“My god, I get shot and then reality goes loony on me! And these stupid clothes!” The clothes were repulsive to touch. The shirt was only 25% genuine cotton, while the jeans weren’t much better: they were 35% genuine cotton. Both had low quality cotton though, it had been grown from genetically modified seeds. The soil quality for the cotton was also abys-
How do I know this? A stream of information was flowing into David’s brain about the clothes. The shirt’s cotton had been grown in Bangladesh, while the jeans’ cotton had come from Mexico. Both crops of cotton had been harvested using automated ma- Stop it! David backed away from the clothes. As soon as his hooves left the clothing, the information stream stopped. “What in god’s name was that?” He focused and lifted up his right forehoof. “It’s like the Earth was ta-” He craned his neck back to look at his body: no wings. He brought his hoof to his forehead and moved it around: no horn.
“Earth pony... yeah that makes sense.” David had always thought unicorns and pegasi in the show were neat, but not really relatable. But Earth Ponies were, they had to work hard to uphold their part of Equestria, or at least Ponyville. Winter Wrap Up showed that, minus a little help from the pegasi, Earth Ponies could and had wrapped up winter on their own (albeit a little late according to the show). Jesus, what am I thinking? I’m probably still bleeding out in this alley and I’m just having a delusion before I finally die.
“Ok Death! I’m ready whenever you are!” He called out and got no reply. “Um, is there something I need to do? Am I a ghost now?” A ghost and a pony apparently. Jeez, and I thought that Burton bloke’s afterlife was strange. “Um, do you want me to say my goodbyes or something?” Still no answer. David looked back at his new body again. It was red with a white tail that had a black stripe running through it. His hair was probably a similar color. Well god, Celestia or whoever isn’t responding anymore, guess I better go say goodbye to mum.
He began to stumble over to the stairs but then looked back at the potion. “Well, they did say it was important. He went to grab the pint but realized he didn’t have hands anymore. “Shoot, whoever is out there must have a funny way of testing the dead. Carry a magic potion without any hands. Next thing you know, I’ll be asked to pull a sword out of stone!” David’s complaining wasn’t moving the potion.
“Ok... hmm, maybe if I grasp it with my mouth?” He inched forward and was about to bite into the pint’s handle when he stopped and backed away. “No, if I grab it that way, when I turn my head it’ll spill. Ok I just need to think!” But nothing came to his mind. “Darn it!” He stomped at the ground. Only he didn’t feel any of his hooves resound with the cement. Rather, he felt something lightly bounce off the ground behind him. “The hell?” He looked back and repeated the same thought he had of stomping the ground. His tail whipped the ground in response. “Yep, if I’m not dead then I’m going to the loony bin.” He focused more and got his tail to swish left and right. It felt like an additional limb.
“Hmm, ok, if I can hold up that shot glass then I can hold up the pint.” He trotted over to the small shot glass and focused on moving his tail. It bent forward and knocked the cup down. “No, it needs to curl around it.” He brought his tail by the fallen glass but it kept slipping. “Err, screw that damn thing!” he smacked the cup against the wall but it didn’t break. He didn’t care, he just wanted to master using his tail. There was one other thing he could test it on: his clothes. He turned back around and focused on picking them up.
As soon as his tail touched his clothes, the stream of information came back to his head. He retracted his tail back. “Darn it! Come on David, push past it.” He tried again. He heard the information in his head, but this time he pushed it back and focused on the picking of the clothes. He could feel every stitch in the shredded shirt and where the cotton had been spun. Focus! Just gotta... yes! I did it! The shredded shirt was now firmly in his tail’s grasp, a little bit of blood dripped from it.
“Ok step one complete.” He turned back over to the potion. “Now I just have to...” He realized he should probably try walking up the stairs first. “Ok,” he looked at the stairs with determination, “left hoof,” he brought his left forehoof up to the first step, “right hoof,” he did the same with his right forehoof. Ok, so far so good. Now just to- “Oof!” His attempt to move his left hindleg had instead moved his foreleg. He tripped himself up and hit the cement. But the pain quickly faded. “Ok, let’s try that again.”
David’s body hurt now. He’d hit the stairs many times. Oddly, he wasn’t bleeding and he didn’t feel any broken bones. He was still covered in bruises though. “Crap! This afterlife sucks! It may not be hell, but damn!” He’d managed to make it up almost all the stairs, only to trip on the second to last one and tumble back down to the bottom again. “Heaven better give me a medal or something for climbing these bloody things!” He made one more attempt. He slowly put one leg in front of the other. Front left, front right, back left, back right. He repeated the mantra in his head as slowly climbed the stairs. Then he was back in the alley.
“Ha-ha! Yes! Take that stairs!” He did a little victory trot. “My god, this is so much easier than those stairs!” On a level street, he could move his legs in unison, instead of the rhythm game stairs turned walking into. “Oh!” he stopped, “the potion can’t forget that.” He trotted back over to the stairs and looked down. “Ok, you can climb up stairs, now you just need to cl-” David tumbled down the stairs. “Level ground Lord! That’s what I want in heaven please!” He got up and rubbed his sore flank with his tail. “Ok, lets get out of this pit and say goodbye to mum.”
He slid his tail through the pint’s handle and firmly curled it. The pint was much lighter than he thought it would be. “Ok, you climbed the stairs before, just gotta do it again.” All the way up the stairs, he clenched the pint as hard as possible.
“Phew!” He let out a deep breath when he finally made it out of the stairs. “Never again.” But at least now he was free of that torture. “Now to go find mum.” He walked out from the dark alley and into the streets. Between being knocked out (killed?) and climbing the stairs, David had spent the entire day in the alley. The high walls had blocked out a good majority of the sun. But he had noticed that things looked different, more colorful and vivid.
The street confirmed that the world looked very different now. All the colors of the world were vastly enhanced. The lights from cars and shops was also enhanced, it gave David a slight headache. He started to trot in the direction of his family’s home. He knew the London streets well and the house was only a few blocks east of Piccadilly Circus. He kept trotting in that direction until he passed a man on the streets.
“Hell, I only had a drink, darn must have eaten something strange,” the man looked in puzzlement at David.
Oh come on, he’s dead, but he gets to stay human? Wait, maybe he knows something about this. “You dead too?”
The man rubbed his forehead, “Those bastards must have spiked my drink, a talking horse... I’m sure I’ll get a laugh out of this once the hangover clears up.”
“Maybe you got poisoned?” Did he not know he was dead?
“Why would my mates poison me? I mean, they definitely slipped something in my drink, but... wait I got it!”
“Yeah, this is one of those ‘trick blokes on film things’ isn’t it? C’mon!” The man yelled out to the street. “Where are the cameras?”
“Hey shut up ya bloody drunk!” came a voice.
“Yeah, the sun just set, piss off!” came another voice. Now heads were turning towards the man and David.
“Hey, what the hell is that?”
“Kinda looks like a horse.”
“Too small to be a horse, a pony maybe?”
“Ponies don’t have red coats and white hair, it’s like something outta the telly.”
Oh shit! All these people... they can’t all be dead! That... that means... “Oh god, I’m a pony!”
“And I’m the king of England!” The man replied. David didn’t listen, he darted for home. Mum, gotta get to mum! Oh Jesus help me! The dream, Celestia, Luna, the apocalypse! It’s all real! He didn’t know where his friends were. They’d come with him to the protest but he’d lost them in the crowd. Then the police had come and then there was the gunshot and... “Ugh! Nothing makes sense anymore! Oh mum, what am I gonna do?!”
He crossed through the West End in almost no time. Then he was in a district of townhouses. His mother occupied one of them. The familiar door was right in front of him. But he was scared to ascend the steps. How? How do I tell her? “Hey mum, ponies are real, I’m a pony now and you need to become one too or else the world will end.” Yeah, that’ll work out. What if she thinks I’m some horrible monster using her son’s voice” The thought almost made David bolt from the house. “No, she’s my mum, she’ll love me not matter what. Please god, Luna, Celestia, someone give me strength."
He slowly climbed the stairs and knocked on the door. “Hello?” came his mum’s voice.
“Mum, it’s David.”
“David!” He heard a lock turn. “Oh, I saw the news, I was so worr-”
“Wait mum! Before you open the door you should know something. Promise me you won’t open the door until I say it’s ok!”
“Did... did something happen?” Her voice was nervous now.
“I...I got hurt, but then I got better, but it cost me a lot.”
“David, if money’s an issue you know I’ll do anything I can to help you.”
“No mum, it’s not that... god, money sounds so trivial now.”
“Then what is it?”
“I got hurt really badly and the only way to fix it was to change.”
“Change into what?”
“Do you still believe I’m your son?”
“Of course I do, I know that serious tone anywhere. It always breaks my heart when you talk like this,” David’s mum sniffled. “I just want to see you happy.”
“Ok, then...then you can open the door.” The light of his house flooded his eyes as his mum stood looking at him. “I’m sorry mum.”
“D-david?” her voice trembled.
“It’s me mum.”
“What... what happened?”
“I got shot... I thought I was dead... but the people, they saw me. I was scared.” He sounded like a little child now, not a twenty year old man. Then his mum hugged him. “Mum?”
“I haven’t seen that look on your face since your father died,” she cried. “Oh David, what’s going on?”
“I think it might be the end of the world and I got picked to stop it.”
“I never told you, but my mates and I, we watched this show up ponies... things like what I look like. Only it wasn’t a show, it was message to us... to be prepared.”
“Oh my god! Who knows about this?”
“I don’t know, but Celestia... the pony’s majesty, she told me there were other ‘seeds’ as well.”
“W-what are you going to do?”
“I don’t want to lose you mum, I don’t want to lose anyone, not after dad.” He set the pint down. “This is the stuff that changed me... I think it may be the only way.”
“Ok, ok, oh David, you must have been so scared.”
“I was mum, I was. I was scared you would be afraid of me, think I was a monster.”
“Never!” Her hug tightened, “No matter what you look like, you’re still my son.”
“Mum,” David cried a little.
“Shh,” his mum petted him, “I know I know, we’ll get through this, like we always have. Just come in and get some rest. We can talk when you’re ready. Do you need any help getting up the stairs?”
“Heh, you have no idea.”