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I dream happy dreams, y’know. They’re pretty fun. Lots of action and randomness that usually involves motorcycles and dinosaurs. Not this time, though. My mind was just wide open thinking of… positively nothing. Entirely dreamless sleep. Not really used to that, but hey, if it was a wild ride every time, then it would just get boring, right?
Well, I finally woke up sometime that year, head pounding as though it had been shoved into a juicer. I’m sure there’s a medical name for that, actually. Anyway, the point was that I was in pain and damn it, I was not happy about it. I felt around my face and winced as I came into contact with a bump on my head just under my temple.
“Judas on a ho,” I grunted, giving it a few more testing pokes for good measure. “Could that possibly hurt any worse?”
I’m not sure why my face decided it would be a good idea to take the fall for the rest of my body. Selfless bastard needed to be a bit more self preserving, in my opinion. Above all, though, my horn hurt the most. I’m going to suppress the urge to tell you what that’s like, actually. There’s really no possible way to describe the sort of painful sensation that was resonating approximately three inches away from my forehead other than it was a painful sensation resonating approximately three inches away from my forehead.
“Hi there,” A soft voice spoke up from behind me.
“CHRISTCHEX!” I squealed as I spun around. I’m known to be a little high strung at times.
Just a little.
Anyway, I expected a pony. Hell, I preferred a pony, even. What I got, though, was not a pony. It was a bird. Not just any bird. The same fowl (so clever) beast that woke me up that morning.
The filthy little bastard resembled a blue jay with black tips at the end of its wings and tail. The eyes, however, were what gave away its intelligence (y’know, aside from the talking part) being that they were almost human in appearance with bright blue irises.
Now, most people would be amazed. Amagad, talking bird! It’s so cool!
I, however, was pissed at the fact that it wasn’t leaving me alone.
“Oh great. Even Stupid Bird is here,” I muttered angrily to myself.
“I’m not just a bird,” it insisted in an unreasonably regal voice. The soft feminine tone was unexpected to say the least, but I was in the magical land of ponies. Anything can happen, right? Still, it was a tad bizarre. I mean, it was up there with Celestia and Galadriel in terms of poshiness.
I trotted over and stared down at it askance. This bird was talking to me. That did not gel with my ‘acceptable parameters of Equestria,’ I’m not ashamed to say. Ponies can talk all they like, but birds are feathered jerks that insist upon ruining my life with their white poo and irritating twittering.
“Stupid Bird is speaking perfect English,” I muttered aloud to myself, “It must be Satan.”
The bird facepalmed with its wing (Wingpalmed? Facewinged? Wingfacepalmed?) and let out a somewhat impatient sigh, “No, I’m not Satan. However, if it pleases you, I suppose I could take that form.”
I glared at it stubbornly for a few more seconds. “Stupid Bird is threatening to turn into Satan. It must be Satan.”
“Clearly, your powers of deduction are unrivaled amongst your species. I am…”
“Nope,” I prevented it from finishing that sentence, “Don’t tell me.”
The bird blinked before cocking its head to one side.
“I don’t want to know. Leave me alone,” I stated quite firmly before waving a hoof at it. “Shoo. Go away. Nobody likes you anyway. You smell funny.”
“W… What have I done to you?” It asked incredulously. Apparently, it was unhappy with my treatment.
“Well, nothing. And I want to keep it that way,” I answered, still poking the hoof at it in an attempt to scare it away, “I don’t want a Navi. Go lay eggs or preen or something.”
“You are being quite rude.” It snapped angrily, pecking at my hoof in contempt.
“You are being an overused cliché!” I snapped back, jerking my hoof away from the attacking beak, “I don’t want whatever it is you’re selling. Get lost!”
“Cli… How dare you!”
“Holy shit, you took it to the next level!” I cried out before shaking my head and taking an honest swing at the stupid fowl. “Go away, seriously. I’m about to get a book and turn you into a feathered pancake if you don’t get out of my sight! Seriously, you’re making me feel like Harry Dresden by being all snarky to an obviously powerful being.”
It took flight and stayed out of my reach, squawking furiously as it did so. After reaching this stalemate, it glared down at me it’s composure somewhat regained.
“How could you have possi-…”
“Oh my GOD, YOU ARE MAKING IT WORSE!” I slumped down to the ground and covered my ears, yelling at the top of my lungs, “I DON’T WANT STUPID BIRD! MAKE IT GO AWAY!”
“SHUT UP, YOU FATHEAD!” it snapped angrily, having lost its self-important demeanor and replaced it with ill temperament.
I frowned up at the bird.
“My head is not fat,” I remarked defensively, narrowing my eyes at the insulting little cuss.
The bird perched on nothing as it shoved an indignant wing in my direction. Dr. Professor Physicist would have a cow if he saw this. I was having a little trouble digesting it as well, but the constant reminder of pony world saved my mind from dwelling on the matter for too long.
“Shut up! I am here to do a job and you are going to be silent! You are going to hear me out! And if you fail in either of those endeavors I will see to it that you regret it!”
“Alright, alright,” I sighed, sitting up and glaring at Stupid Bird with a pout. “Stupid bird.”
“Ah, ah!” It waved a warning wing at me as it continued to mock gravity, “Silence.”
I was gonna smart off to it again; I really was. However, I couldn’t move. At all. That made me very despondent and served to further my suspicions. I couldn’t even lift a hoof to scratch my nose. Thank Celestia it didn’t begin itching or anything. That would have been a nightmare.
“Good!” said Stupid Bird in a satisfied tone. “Now, I need to awaken the latent…”
And then I stopped paying attention. You might be wondering why I’m acting like such an ass here. Well, there is a legitimate reason, I assure you. No, seriously, let me lay this out for you so that you can understand where I’m coming from.
Stupid Bird was the same stupid bird that woke me up at the crater. So it probably had something to do with my presence in Equestria (squee!), even if it was not directly responsible. Stupid Bird was likely not from Equestria or at least was able to observe other worlds if not straight up go to them. How do I know this? Because Stupid Bird understood the reference to Satan. Why is that important? Because that’s a concept understood by those on Earth, not Equestria. So here’s what we know so far: Stupid Bird is related to my presence in Equestria and has otherworldly knowledge at its disposal.
“You are the last line of defense in-…”
Ugh… Right, I forgot just how long this went on. What was going through my head at the time was pretty irrelevant, so I’ll not bore you with that. Mostly the usual junk of wondering whether or not I left the gas on.
Anyway, I’ll try to sum this up as best I can. Anyway, Stupid Bird wants something out of me. I have no reason to trust Stupid Bird. For all I know, Stupid Bird is the villain from the second season of the show (I can’t wait for it!) and is trying to use me against the ponies. Or it could just be a sandbox god that wants to screw around with stuff. Who knows? I don’t. What I do know is that it has a proposal and wants me to do something that it, for whatever reason, cannot do.
Wait, hold on, I think this is where it started wrapping things up.
“… know you are up to the task…”
Holy hand grenade; it’s still going.
So anyway, the long and short of the bullshit on my end is I don’t feel like being a pawn. No matter the situation, Stupid Bird is not going apprise me of the entire thing because the concept of absolute good and evil don’t exist. If something is threatening something, then it has a good reason. Or at least a good enough reason to satisfy said party. It could not tell me every last detail else, I might be inclined to help the opposing party if it had a good enough reason. Granted, going against Equestria would have to have a damn good reason but meh. Anyway, as I said, being a pawn is not my thing.
So… Long story shorter: Being a pawn is not my thing and the gist I was getting from the damn feathered rodent was - and bear with me on this - that Equestria was in danger and I was the big hero here to save the day from the world beyond~!
“So… Will you help us?” it asked, opening its eyes extra wide as they got all moist with fearful tears.
Whatever was restricting me suddenly turned loose of me. Without further ado, I shoved it right back into Stupid Bird’s face.
“Excellent! I’m glad you…” It started to reply before pausing and executing a dramatic, genuine double-take.
“But hey, maybe the next brony you grab might not see straight through your Disney movie plot,” I said with an over exaggerated wink.
Well, I’ll say the look I got in return was worth waiting through that trite monologue.
“You say that a lot. Anyway, listen up, Featherbrain. I don’t know you. I don’t know your motivations. I don’t know why I got here, or how for that matter. What I do know is that you are more than you appear to be, have enough power of your own to forcibly hold me still and silent, are unbelievably annoying, and that I can apparently do something for you. The only other thing I know is that I’m in the magical land of ponies, and that you’re talking about giving me what I need to fight the Big Bad,” I said before facehoofing and looking up at the ceiling. “I mean, I’ve no clue who wrote this script, but I think I’d rather sit through a marathon of the DarkStalkers cartoon. And to put that into perspective, I think I would honestly rather shoot myself in the foot than put up with that abomination.”
“If you won’t help me then I’ll…”
“Send me back? Kill me? Force me to do it anyway? I’ve seen them all in Cable High-Def and 720p on Youtube.” I looked away from the bird, sticking a hoof out at it. “Do your worst. Otherwise, we’re done here.”
“Insufferable child,” it snapped angrily, “You do not understand what is at stake here!”
Yaaaaaawn! Actually, I really did. I even did so whilst covering my mouth with a hoof. No reason to be impolite, after all.
“Fine! But you will regret this!” And without another moment of my precious time lost to inanity, Stupid Bird vanished with a puff. I don’t think I could have been happier.
I turned back towards the library and stubbornly trotted off to the kitchen. I was shocked to discover that the mess that Spike and I made had been cleaned up already. Luckily, there was some homemade lo mien left for me to snack upon next to the wood stove... Even if it did take me several tries to remember just how one goes about picking up objects with but a single hoof. I took my second bowl of chow to a nearby bench and began to think about the situation.
It didn’t take long for that nagging sensation to set in, I’m sad to say. You know the one. That feeling you get when you did something that you’re not certain you can take back and the consequences that you just bit off might be more than you can chew? Of course you do. And that’s what was happening to me, which is the last thing a smartass like me ever wants to have happening to him.
First it was small stuff like how Stupid Bird was possibly unaware of just how incredibly lame it was being. Then it moved on to how I probably should have just paid a little more attention. Before long I began to wonder just what could possibly threaten Equestria enough to bring in an outsider. Finally I realized that I was questioning the very nature of my being and decided that talking to myself, even internally, was a bad idea.
I figured the quickest way of getting out of this funk was to address my need of pony interaction and fast.
“Hey, Twilight?” I called out, unsurprisingly getting no response. I assumed she and Spike weren’t around if they had not shown up while I had that little debate with Stupid Bird.
Still, I found myself a teensy bit sad. Twilight was no longer within yelling distance and that killed most of the plans I had for the rest of my day.
Bah, I need a cigarette, I finally told myself before tossing my now emptied bowl in the sink. I made it about two steps before looking back at the sink and sighing. Yeah, I know, and I’m a gracious bastard for it as well. I cleaned the bowl and spoon, dried them off, and put them away.
This time I kept myself from panicking when the cigarette lit itself. It was crazy. A little shiny red glowing ball of fire just silently jumped from my horn and floated to the tip and popped into nothingness the moment I inhaled to light it.
“Groovy,” I murmured, pulling out the cigarette and inspecting it.
Oh yeah, magic did not suck. Not in the slightest.
As I put the cylinder back where it belonged (between my succulent lips – no homo), I began to just relax and take in the beautiful sights of Ponyville. The incredibly bright green grass~! The unassumingly identical trees~! Even the beautifully hoof-crafted cobblestone roads~! And then pink.
I know, I know, it’s a little girl’s world. Still, the amount of pink was borderline dangerous. I mean, houses and kiosks would have secondary colors such as navy blue, powder white, and royal purple, but it all came back to pink one way or another. Hot pink, light pink, neon pink, pinkish-red, etc. One Pink, Two Pink, Red Pink, Blue Pink!
Pink, I was prepared for. Pink pony, on the other hand, caught me quite off guard. See, when people approach you, there’s this event where you notice the approaching party and because of this, you don’t fall on your ass sputtering like an idiot. That is normal.
But oh no, that’s not good enough for Pinkie. She’s all about the abnormal! Pinkie Pie does what she wants. Why? How the hell should I know?! All I do know is when Pinkie Pie approaches you, she just might decide that giving you the friendly goddamn courtesy of trotting up like a decent respectable isn’t going to be enough to satisfy her. No! Instead, she just bloody appears two inches from your face. You think I’m kidding? No. I’m not kidding. I’m being as serious as a heart attack, which, coincidentally, was what nearly happened to me. Like I said, I was caught off guard
“OHMAGOD!” I yelled, stumbling back onto my plot and gasping for air as I clutched at my chest with a shaky hoof.
“HI!” she chirped excitedly, “I’m Pinkie Pie!”
“I know!” I yelled at her, embarrassed that I had come just short of wetting myself in shock.
Then her eyes got bigger (if that were somehow possible) as she leaned closer (which seemed equally impossible). She gasped in shock, as though the revelation of me already knowing her was mind-blowing on a level that just didn’t compute.
“Err… What a-…” I started to ask. If I had known better, as I do these days, I wouldn’t have bothered wasting my breath.
“Wow you do that’s amazing you must be psychic even though Twilight said you had fire magic but you must be extra special to be able to have that and fire magic I wonder if you can combine the two like set making ponies feel all warm and toasty in their head that would be so silly especially if you didn’t tell them about it and they suddenly feel all warm for no reason and it makes them feel really funny I bet you even have two Cutie Marks do you have two Cutie Marks that would be so amazing like twice the amazing let’s see!”
No breath, pause, or period entered that barrage of statements, questions and exclamations.
“Uhh,” I blinked before suddenly being yanked off the ground by Pinkie who proceeded to flip and turn me every which way like a rag doll. I tried to resist. Hell, I tried a lot of things. I’m pretty sure I even shrieked in shock a few times as the world about me tumbled like a dryer on Extra Floppy.
“You don’t have two Cutie Marks!”
Twist. I yelled out some profanity.
“You don’t even have one Cutie Mark!”
Flip. I paused here to prevent myself from throwing up.
“Wow, you’re really old to not have a Cutie Mark!”
Turn. Insert the shouting of crude obscenities.
“WAIT! Your Cutie Mark could be NOT having a Cutie Mark! You would be, like, SO special! Because everypony, and I mean everypony, has a Cutie Mark! It would SO cool if you never got one! You could be all like…”
When Twilight told me that Earth Ponies were exceptionally heavier and stronger than other ponies, I had no clue just how much stronger we were talking. I might as well have been made of floppy doll parts. None of my struggles even seemed to garner her attention, and I was kicking and screaming something rather fierce by this point for all the good it was doing. Luckily, though, she gave up after a few more seconds and set me down on my feet. I promptly stumbled about before sitting back down. The world seemed to have missed the memo that notified everything that I was no longer spinning. Either that or I was that dizzy. It’s not as though I could really tell the difference. No really. I couldn’t tell the difference.
“Oh well!” she cried brightly before picking up the cigarette that I had dropped. “Oh, what’s this!? You had it like this! This is right, right?!”
She inserted the proper end into her mouth and smiled at me ecstatically.
I might have overreacted.
“NO, PINKIE!” I cried far too late, my hoof stretched out towards her desperately as my jaw hit the ground in shock.
There was a moment of silence followed shortly by, and I’m not making this up, the chirp of a cricket.
“What?” she responded, cigarette still dangling from her mouth. “This isn’t very tasty, you know. It must be one of those acquired tastes. Like turnips!”
I blinked, closed my mouth, and blinked again before picking myself up off the ground. It took a couple of tries; I was still dizzy as a drug addict at the Burning Man event.
“… May I… May I have my cigarette back?” I asked after I finally managed to stand up.
Pinkie just… She just doesn’t think about her actions, guys. I kid you not. She won’t do something the way you expect her to, ever. You ask her for the cigarette back, you expect her to hold it out to you and let you take it. What really happens is she shoves it back into your mouth, which involves a super-strength hoof colliding with your face at energetic Pinkie Pie speeds.
“Hork~!” I stumbled, falling right back on my butt. I don’t know how she didn’t break my nose, but she sure as hell filled the lion’s share of my vision with pretty, pretty stars.
“Whoops!” she commented with a giggle.
‘Whoops’ my fuzzy grey plot.
“So, what’s your name?”
I shook the last of the stars out of my sight before rubbing my nose and blinking at her, “Anon-Pony.”
“I thought you’d say that since Twilight said you would say that but she said that I was to say that you should say something else because she said that that was definitely not your name! I said, ‘Okay, Twilight, whatever you say!’” Pinkie blabbed happily before turning her head sideways, “So! Whaddya say?”
I blinked, having to replay that sentence in my head a couple of times before I understood what Pinkie Pie said. The rough translation was that Twilight was being a stubborn plotface about me being Anon-Pony. Whatever.
“Well, Twilight can go milk a cow!” I grumped as my ears flopped down against my head in irritation.
Man, I thought the tail was awesome. Ears are just downright wiggy. And that’s the scientific term used, mind you. I put everything else on hold as I began to actively flop my ears about. Oh, it was some kind of trippy. It only got worse as Pinkie began to copy me. Before long we were sitting there in utter silence, staring at one another as our ears began to dance the dance of dances.
“That’s silly! Why would Twilight milk cows? That’s the cowses’ job!” Pinkie replied after several seconds of eerie silence, now flapping her ears as though they were tiny wings.
I… Guys, this is about to get weird. Just a heads-up there. I know, it looks bad now. You don’t have to tell me. But I was pretty desensitized to insanity-spurred moments like this a long time ago. Lafter does this kinda crap all the time (and by Lafter, I mean me!) and later on when Stoic takes hold again, I get to feeling incredibly ridiculous. So let me clear this up before you enter the really strange part… I’ve no clue why the word ‘Cowses’ tickled me so, okay? It just did. Apologies.
That said, however, you’re going to have to put up with the entire thing.
“Cowses?” I phonetically mimicked her, chuckling a bit as I did so.
Then her grin stretched impossibly wide.
“… … Cowses.” I repeated in a deeper tone.
“Cowses!” She replied exactly as she had before.
I narrowed my eyes, giving her a sly look (which she imitated immediately) and began to whisper, “Cowse-…”
“What are you two doing?!” Rainbow Dash’s interruption spooked us both.
She was hovering above us. I think I just about died from shame, I’m sad to say. I’m really not that quick to blush, but I’ve got this fascination with Rainbow Dash that just isn’t very healthy in all likelihood. I mean, I’m sure this is how stupid co-eds panic when someone like Leonardo DiCaprio catches them in a chicken costume or something.
“Hi, Dashy!” Pinkie enthusiastically waved at the newcomer, her ears still a’flappin about. “Cowses!”
“How long were you there?!” I asked in shock, my cheeks and ears burning with embarrassment.
“Somewhere between the beginning of the ear duel and ‘Cowses,’” she replied irritably, her hooves on her hips and her eyes narrowed accusingly at me, “Twilight sent Pinkie to come fetch you a while ago; what is keeping you two?!”
“Nothing. Duh!” Pinkie squeaked cheerfully, her ears still motoring about.
“Well, I blame Twilight for being silly enough to think that Pinkie Pie’s attention span was up to the task,” I countered instantly, taking a drag off my cigarette.
Rainbow Dash started to argue, but after taking an extra glance at Pinkie Pie, she slapped a hoof over her face and sighed.
“Can’t argue with you there,” she reluctantly admitted.
“Cowses!” Pinkie cried.
“Cowses,” I muttered gravely before nodding at Rainbow Dash with an incredibly serious look upon my face.
She rolled her eyes with a smirk and sighed, “Look, whatever, okay? You two can ‘Cowses’ all you like…”
She totally did air-quotes with her hooves. What the hell…
“But please hold off on that and… whatever it was you were doing with the ears.”
Aaaand Carramelldansen with my ears... Augh, I know, I was acting like a complete moron. I’m sorry. I have the most incredibly strong urges to act out in front of people who don’t know me. It’s both a gift and a curse.
“Y-Yeah, that!” She was struggling to not laugh at this point. “Just… Stop all of that and f-follow me to the crater. Hehe… I said stop!”
“Stop what, Dashie?” Pinkie asked as she joined in, causing Rainbow Dash to sputter a tad.
“Stop the… Okay, enough of the crazy! We’re going now!” Dash quickly zipped around behind us and grabbed both our tails in her mouth before taking off with us in tow.
Now, flying backwards and upside down is, by itself, an incredibly odd feeling. It gets even weirder when you’re about as heavy as a kite thanks to Rainbow Dash’s pegasus magic. It seems that beggars can’t be choosers, however. Still, just the sensation of flying was pretty amazing, but golly, did my backside feel incredibly strange. I mean, a strong wind blowing across it was kinda unique in and of itself, but it was the tail that was really getting at me. This was the day for new sensations and feelings because I have to say, there is no feeling quite like the feeling of a yanking sensation emanating right above your butt. It was the most awkward feeling I’ve ever physically experienced. Luckily, tails are really strong, so it’s not even painful as much is… Just pull HARD on your hair without hurting yourself and imagine that coming from the base of your spine.
“Oh… Oh, that is some kinda freaky!” I squeaked, squirming about as Dash tugged us along the sky.
“I know, it’s so tickly and pully!” Pinkie cried out with joy. Not sure how, but she somehow knew exactly what I was talking about. “Hehehehe! Oh well! At least we get to go to the crater! It’s so smoky and neat!”
“You guys don’t get a lot of craters do… Oof… My cigarette!!”
That oof? That was Rainbow Dash flying along and smacking me into a low-flying cloud that was indeed solid enough to jar me into dropping my smoke. The damn Equestrian Physics were blowing my mind. I’m fairly certain that wasn’t how it worked in the show.
“Nope! First Ponyville crater!” Pinkie shook her head, still smiling broadly.
I spared a moment of attention to lament my poor falling Mareboro before looking back at Pinkie with a sigh.
“So… What’s up, is there going to be a huge party or something?” I asked sarcastically.
“Yeah!” she answered anyway before poking a hoof at my face. “We were going to name it after you but you don’t have a name, so now we have to call it the No-Name Party!”
“That sounds like an untrustworthy political group. Also known as a political group.” I sighed as I checked over my shoulder impatiently.
Luckily, Rainbow Dash’s speed in the show was not an exaggeration and within the few following moments I could see the crater. There was this rainbow palette of colors surrounding it,and as we approached, I realized that the palette was actually a crowd of candy colored ponies. We touched down just on the edge of the square (and by touched down, I mean dropped a few feet off the ground and landed unceremoniously on our faces). This didn’t seem to bother Pinkie in the slightest. In fact, she kinda just... bounced off the ground and onto her hooves. Now, I’ve got your average amount of agility and a pretty good sense of balance as a human. As a pony, though, I tend to smack into things (sometimes it’s the other way around) and just take it like a champ.
After picking myself up, dusting my coat off, and giving Rainbow Dash an irritable glance, we approached the group. Ponies of so many colors! I had to contain my inner squee as I gazed at them. So many I recognized. Roseluck, Berry Punch, Carrot Top, Daisy, Lyra, Bon Bon... It made me get all fluttery in the gut. I played it cool though and pushed through their numbers with Pinkie and Dash.
“I guess we’re looking for Twilight, right?” I commented as we touched the edge of the crater. It smelled a tad acrid, but wasn’t overpowering as much as it was just annoying.
“Yup,” Dash replied as she swung her head to and fro in search of the magical savant.
“Well, I’m not!” Pinkie cried exuberantly.
Dash and I both looked at each other before glancing at the party pony.
“Because I already spotted her, that’s why!” she explained to us as though we made no sense whatsoever. “Duh!”
Uh-huh. Well, once again, rather than do the expected thing of pointing her out, Pinkie instead had her eyes shut and was bouncing her body side to side to the rhythm of a beat that only she could hear.
“Well, uh... Pinkie, she’s sorta waiting on us,” Dash pointed out impatiently as I nodded.
“Oh!” Pinkie exclaimed, blushing a tad.
That was surprising. I was all, holy crap, did we just get through to Pinkie? As soon as that thought went through my head, she dispelled that illusion with a swift motion. The swift motion consisted of grabbing me and standing on her back two hooves as she lifted me over her head. She must have had amazing upper pony strength or something, because I figure I’m not very light. Males are rather consistently larger than females, and I was no exception, other than the fact that I might even be a little bit bigger than average male as well.
“Gah!” I cried, desperate for something to hold on to as I was swung through the air.
“TWILIGHT!” Pinkie hollered across the crater, “I found the fire pony! The one that caused the crater, right?! He doesn’t have a name so I’ve been calling him No Name! I think that’s what we’re going to call him for now since you said he can’t be Anon-Pony! You said you wanted to see him right?! Also, he’s pretty heavy! I wonder if he eats a lot!”
Well shit, Pinkie, why don’t you give everyone my social and date of birth since we’re in the business of divulging personal information, I thought to myself with a facehoof.
From the higher vantage point, I could spot Twilight standing next to Applejack. Both of them looked rather irritated with the Pinkie PA and I couldn’t blame them. It didn’t take me long to figure out just how bad that was going to sound to the rest of the town. Oh hi, brought the jackass that turned the center of town into a big fat hole in the ground! … Whatever. Since I may as well have been holding a damn sign that said I DID IT AND I’M NOT SORRY, I might as well go all the way.
Okay, maybe not all the way, but I did light a cigarette menacingly. To my amusement, the audible pop scared a couple of nearby fillies. That made it taste better.
“What is that?” Dash asked, her eyebrows lifting curiously.
“That’s his smokey treat!” Pinkie explained happily.
A smokey treat? Meh, close enough.
Twilight and Applejack made their way around the crater as the crowd began to back away from me. At first I was able to explain it away with the cigarette, but before long, I could hear whispers. My gut reaction to that sort of thing was to become offended and indignant, but I swear to God, they started coming up with irrelevant nonsense.
Stuff like, ‘just look at the way he keeps his mane, so uncouth!’ and ‘Look at the (not making this up) sinister way he breathes smoke like a dragon!’ but the best one by far was ‘He doesn’t even have a Cutie Mark, such a poor example for the children!’
I began laughing. These ponies could talk some serious shit! I couldn’t believe my ears. I mean, half of me was insulted and offended as hell, but the other half was marveling at the fact that my mane was so ‘uncouth’ that comments were not only warranted but enthusiastically seconded by those nearby. I was both baffled and entertained. Still, the novelty quickly wore off as the ponies continued to put distance between me and them. I admit, I was starting to get more irritated and less amused as the horribly tame slurs were getting louder and more brazen.
That is... Until there was an intervention.
“Listen to all of ya’ll!” A little voice cried out.
She was tiny with a heart bigger than a mountain and softer than a pillow. Her voice was full of a righteous indignation that belied her diminutive size and her red-gold eyes were as fierce as a gryphon’s. Not to mention that serious pink hairbow.
Applebloom to the applebuckin’ rescue!
Tiny ran out to stand in the center of the gap separating Pinkie, Dash, and I from the rest of the crowd.
“He ain’t been here for but a minute and already I’m hearin’ some of the worst gossip ever!” she cried, glaring at the crowd as her face snapped about to emphasize the fact that she was talking to all the ponies. “Why, he ain’t even had a chance to tell his side of the story!”
The crowd was utterly silent as they regarded the words of the brave little filly. Applejack and Twilight continued to make their way around the crater. Twilight looked a bit worried, but Applejack was practically glowing with pride.
“Haven’t we learned anything?!” Applebloom carried on with fervor, now blushing a little bit from all the attention, “Didn’t we do somethin’ like this to Zecora? And look at how silly we all felt after that! I’m thinkin’ if y’all wanna make a change, now would be a really good time to start!”
Pinkie Pie let out an energetic (technically, I suppose everything Pinkie does is energetic) yell as she continued to stubbornly heft me about in the air. Rainbow Dash trotted over to Applebloom and mussed her hair with a hoof, smirking down at the flustered pony who smiled back up at her.
“S-Sorry,” Applebloom half stammered as both Twilight and her sister approached, “I just...”
“Don’t be, sugarcube,” Applejack immediately replied, lowering her head enough to nuzzle at her sister, “Y’all are right and we all know it.”
Applejack lifted her head and cut her eyes at the crowd, daring them to speak out. “Don’t we!”
An immediate chorus of half-hearted agreements slowly came out of the crowd.
“Hey!” Rainbow Dash yelled out, startling everyone (myself included) with her surprisingly strong lungs, “She said... Don’t we!”
This round of assent was much more audible and sounded less forced this time around. Hell, I was happy with the first one. Dash, apparently, doesn’t settle for second best. Makes sense, in a pony sorta way.
“That’s enough, you guys,” Twilight said with a cough, preventing further heckling of the crowd. She smiled nonetheless, showing them she still approved of their actions regardless of their somewhat tactless methods. I was right there with her on that. I love me some sinus-clearing tactlessness.
“Alright, Stranger, do you...” she started to ask before glancing at my elevated status.
Never one to miss a moment for insanity, I pointed a hoof her way and narrowed my eyes.
“Behold my new method of travel,” I uttered in a grave voice, taking a drag off my cigarette, “Pinkie Schlepping. No longer shall anypony ever have to walk anywhere ever again!”
“I’m an invention!” Pinkie chirped.
“Right,” Twilight said with a half-irritated, half-amused roll of the eyes, “Pinkie Pie?”
“Twilight Sparkle!” Pinkie responded with a bounce, shaking me enough that I nearly dropped my cigarette.
“Please be a dear and drop our new friend,” she said with an innocent smile.
I was just a few seconds from geeking out over Twilight calling me ‘friend’ when I was prevented by way of smacking into the ground. Not sure how I picked up so much speed with such a short distance; possibly something to do with Pinkie Pie’s personal Rule of Funny. Why Twilight didn’t say something more sensible like ‘put down’ or something, I wasn’t quite certain. At least not immediately.
“Oops,” Pinkie laughed hesitantly, amazingly aware of her trigger-response’s consequences.
“Oh my gosh!” Applebloom cried in shock, running over to help me up, “Are you okay?”
Applejack’s sigh landed somewhere between exasperation and mirth. Rainbow Dash did what Rainbow Dash does best when observing the misfortune of others: Laugh her flank off. At me. This here is my heart breaking.
And then Twilight gave herself away.
“It’s alright, Pinkie,” she said with the barest hint of a laugh.
I pulled my head out of a pony-shaped dent in the ground and glared up at the purple mare. “You did that on purpose!”
“Oh, whatever do you mean?” she asked coyly, holding an innocent hoof over her mouth.
“Is this… normal?” said Applebloom as she tilted her head sideways, looking at us as though we were made of cheese and buttons.
“Sadly, it kinda is,” Applejack responded with a sigh before clearing her throat loudly, “Somethin’ everypony might want to keep in mind! We’re sorta the center of attention right now.”
That was when we all looked about at the entire town’s populace staring as though we were a strange circus act. Mmm~Mmm~Mmm~! Awkward situations abound! The ponies all struggled to make a graceful recovery but to be honest, the damage had been done. I, however, simply took a drag of my cigarette and remained awesome. Can’t touch this!
Twilight let out a hesitant laugh and smiled nervously as she whispered, “Well, this is a tad embarrassing."
I began to act natural, dusting myself off with my hooves and tail before glancing back to make certain my flank was semi-clean. That’s when I noticed the smoke from the crater gradually shift from your typical smoky grey to a shimmering violet. I stared at it for a moment before glancing back at the others who were still preoccupied with the town staring at us. I glanced back at the smoke as it began to swirl about, slowly coalescing above us.
I decided I would set up for a dramatic reveal. Y’know… Because my priorities are in the right place.
“Hey Twilight,” I said with a smile, “Would you say you’d do just about anything to get out of this awkward situation?”
She gave me a look that told me she was more curious of why I would ask such a question. After a moment, though, she considered it and submitted her very well thought out response.
“Well, not anything, I suppose,” she replied, staring at me suspiciously, “I agree that this is a little awkward, but everypony here knows one another fairly well. Why?”
Twilight had just bought herself the most disappointed glare I could muster.
“Atta way to ruin it, Twi,” I stated flatly before turning back towards the smoke, “Behold. A distraction.”
As though on cue, a voice began to chuckle. It wasn’t very loud, but it carried with it both a malicious edge and an air of arrogance. I watched in awe as the shimmering violet smoke began to take the form of a pony. Now, this won’t make much sense but the entire thing just reeked of pure evil. Not that I could actually smell the evil coming off of it, but I assure you, this pony shaped sparkling cloud wasn’t here to herald the magic of friendship.
It further reinforced that opinion when it spoke with its deep feminine voice filled with disdain, “Hah! Foalish human! You should have escaped while you had the chance! You will not be given the chance to regret it!”
I blinked in shock. Hokey Smokes here knew I was a human. That was quite interesting. Not as interesting as the dark clouds that swiftly swirled around the skies and quickly blotted out the sun (because that was honestly kinda cool), but still interesting in its own right.
“Ummm, what if I said I’ve no clue what this is all about…?” I asked, tilting my head a tad.
The crowd of ponies began to back away slowly but overall stayed pretty chilled out. The girls, however, were all looking at me as though I had just nominated myself as the chief spokespony. Like I wanted that or something.
“Friend of yours?” Twilight whispered softly.
“I was gonna ask you the same thing,” I replied similarly.
“What?” the misty villain snapped in surprise as she floated to the ground, a good head and a half taller than everypony else, “You don’t remember…”
“Well, I might’ve been drunk.” I bashfully rubbed the back of my neck. “Though I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I took a dame like you home.”
There was this heavy pause while everyone digested my words. I was trying to break the ice with a bit of humor and possibly dissolve a tenuous situation.
Sadly, Cranky Cloud was not amused. “You think to mock ME?!”
It emphasized the final word with a stamp of its hoof which sent a thunderous shockwave throughout the entire town. A sudden wind blew past me, whipping angrily at my mane as the world continued to darken. The crowd ponies proceeded to wet themselves and took off in a blaze of screams and terror.
The rest of us, however, reacted differently. Twilight glared at me for antagonizing the stupid thing, as though it was somehow my fault that it had an attitude problem. Dash and AJ weren’t even slightly shaken. They did, however, respond to the hostility with a pair of fierce war faces that told the Misty Menace that it was going to have to step up its game if it wanted to ruffle their feathers and cowpony hats. Pinkie Pie said something about awfully strange weather and began to squint really hard at the scary purple sparkly pony. Something about trying to look at it a different way. Hell, I’m not going to contemplate it; it’s bloody Pinkie Pie.
“Wh-What is it!?” Applebloom cried out, hiding behind Applejack.
“I dunno, but I think it needs a nap!” I said with a large smile.
Twilight kicked me with a forehoof to let me know that continued aggravation of the Cloud of Crankiness would result in beatings. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. I mean, other than Fluttershy feeding worms and fishes to some animals, I haven’t seen anything die in Equestria. Does that make Fluttershy the most dangerous thing here? Whatever the cause, I wasn’t intimidated by cartoon violence but I didn’t want to spoil it for everypony else. Therefore, I decided to play ball and act scared.
“Whatever,” I muttered under my breath before throwing a hoof to my forehead in a display of false fear. “Don’t hurt me Oh Great One!”
“It is far too late for that, Human!” It snarled as it began to walk towards us, “You have incurred the wrath of The Nightmare!”
With that, a pair of turquoise eyes with draconic pupils formed within the mist followed by a set of ridiculously pointed teeth. It was so… so incredibly cartoony that I couldn’t help myself. The self-important reveal, the 90’s cartoon dialogue, and the very non-scary purple cloud with very a non-scary face all culminated to a lot of silliness in my book.
I snorted before slapping a hoof over my mouth to prevent more of my amusement escaping.
Unfortunately, I was caught. The Nightmare stopped dead in its tracks and sputtered furiously.
“D-Did you just… laugh?! AT ME?!” she roared with righteous indignation poisoning her words.
The other all glared at me as though I was making a bad situation worse. And to be fair, I totally was. I was totally not taking this as seriously as I needed to. At the time, though, I was enjoying the blissfully ignorant ride through a cartoon. Weeeee~!
“Ahem! No, I uh… *cough* … I totally sneezed. Sorry, I… C-Couldn’t help it.” That was me coughing and covering my mouth to try and hide my smile.
“Your impunity will not go unpunished!” She screamed so loudly that it shook the ground before rearing up. “Now… GIVE ME WHAT IS MINE!”
Without so much as a moment’s hesitation, The Nightmare exploded into a mass of violet tendrils that sped towards me with a dark intent. I didn’t know what she had in mind, but I wasn’t betting on it being pleasant. Still, I sorta froze up in shock, not knowing what to do about it and ended up cringing in place with my eyes shut. Yeah. Like all those horrible co-ed slasher films. I imagine there’s an audience somewhere watching me just screaming, ‘MOVE, IDIOT!’
When nothing happened for a second, I opened my eyes and saw Twilight standing in front of me. The purple unicorn had created a wall of violet energy between us and The Nightmare, and our assailant was none too pleased about it. It quickly reformed as a translucent mare and glared at us through the protective barrier.
“RRRRAAAAAAGHHH!” The Nightmare bellowed furiously, “Step aside, Protégé of Celestia!”
“Not a chance!” Twilight snarled back, “Now leave while you still can!”
The Nightmare threw her head back and laughed arrogantly. As she did, a beam of light pierced the tumultuous cloud cover behind her. Canterlot could be seen through the gap, resting radiantly upon the mountainside overlooking Ponyville. From the center of the gap, a tiny beacon in the distance began to move our way. It grew brighter as it neared, but The Nightmare had yet to take notice.
“Hah! And who is going to make me, child? You?!” she sneered before viciously striking the barrier with a hoof. The barrier showed no reaction but Twilight began to sweat as though she had just run a mile. She did, however, grin a bit as the star in the distance began to swell in size upon approach.
Applejack and Rainbow Dash smiled vindictive smiles at one another as Pinkie Pie stopped squinting at The Nightmare to stare in awe at what was behind it instead. Applebloom had yet to see, having stayed hidden behind Applejack, and thus continued to fearfully quake behind her older sister.
“Hey, Applebloom,” I called out, “What’s tall, white, and raises the sun every morning?”
Applebloom fearfully lifted her head above Applejack’s flank and gasped upon seeing the cavalry roll in from the distance.
“Celestia!” she cried out, her fear replaced with hopeful excitement.
The Nightmare’s eyes practically popped out of her head as she looked back at the oncoming princess. The clouds began all around began to give way to the power of light! The lightning and thunder was soon replaced by the melodious ring of magic as the barely discernible form of Celestia continued to blaze towards us like a comet of white light. I couldn’t be certain but it looked as though there was a smaller blue light trailing along with her. Luna, I guess?
I should have realized I wasn’t in a cartoon by that point, really. I mean, Hasbro’s special effects ain’t got shit on this!
“Looks like somepony is about to get dat flank of theirs all kinds of bucked up,” I said with wide eyes and a hoof mockingly covering my mouth. “Eau de snap~!”
The Nightmare turned back to glare at me and I jerked my head side-to-side. If looks could have killed, I would have exploded and then each of the pieces would have been stabbed with ice picks. Fortunately for me, that was impossible. At least, I think it is. One can never be certain when magic is involved.
With that, a long unicorn horn sprung out of The Nightmare’s ‘head’ and with a swing, she stabbed the shield. Amazingly, it not only pierced our protective pinkish-purple shield, but Twilight passed right out on the spot.
And not to go off on a tangent, but I caught Twilight. It wasn’t even difficult. I just sorta stepped over and let her fall into an outstretched hoof. Why they couldn’t have done that for me and saved me the pain and anguish, I’ll never know. But there it is. Ponies are lazy.
“Well,” I said with a blink, staring up at The Nightmare as the shield began to evaporate, “This is awkward.”
“RD, stop!” I heard Applejack cry out as a spectrum colored equine zipped right past my face.
“HEY!” Rainbow Dash soared up to The Nightmare and landed a kick right in her face. “Nopony messes with my friends!”
The hoof-to-the-face caused The Nightmare to dissolve into her Dreaded Cumulus form before swiping back at the brave pegasus with a tendril. “You will have to do!”
Dash dodged back from the attack but her tail got caught in the process. She registered that she was probably in danger and tried to fly away, but The Nightmare wrapped its smoky tendril about her tail and yanked her back.
Out of pure instinct, I jumped forward and caught hold of my idol, dropping Twilight on the ground which was sorta poetic justice.
“It’s got me!” Rainbow Dash hollered fearfully, clinging back at me.
Like we hadn’t noticed or something.
Still, I’m fairly certain losing Rainbow Dash would have resulted in a breakdown on my part so I was more interested in holding on than verbally rebuking her for making obvious observations.
The Nightmare tried to shake me loose, but I held on tight. Rather than play Tug-O-Dashie, she began to lift off with both of us. I made a noise of general panic, but it was quickly followed by a squeak of surprise when I felt something grab hold of my tail. I looked back down to see my tail in Applejack’s mouth. She dug her hooves into the ground and yanked us all back down and I swear, I think I was stretched a foot longer than what was natural. I almost expected me to make an involuntary rubber duck noise or something.
“I wanna come too!” Pinkie declared happily, somehow able to enunciate perfectly with Applejack’s tail in her mouth. “Let’s go, let’s go!”
Just then, a thin beam of light zipped past us all, nicking the edge of Mademoiselle Misty. The Nightmare let out a furious shriek in response and we all looked to see Celestia getting ever closer. One way or another, a resolution was about to arrive to this situation.
“Not yet,” The Nightmare hissed furiously before turning its attention back to us. “Soon, Celestia.”
I gagged on the stereotypical line.
The Nightmare decided to play it smart and simply grabbed hold of our quaint little pony-chain before turning away from Celestia and flying off with us in tow. Unsurprisingly, Pinkie squealed in utter delight as soon as she was airborne, flailing about with zest. I wanted to get on her case about being serious, but not only would that have been hypocritical of me, it would have also been quite pointless.
Poor Applebloom got left behind, having not been quick enough to add herself to the Chain of Equine Conjunction.
“Help! Somepony help them!” the powerless filly shrieked fruitlessly as The Nightmare took flight.
I continued to cling to my Technicolor Donkey as we took off, genuinely afraid for the first time. Smoky the Mare wasn’t moving very quickly, which seemed to scare it senseless. Personally, I blame them weighty Earthy Ponies full of sweets and apples.
“Get off’a me!” Dash hollered at the The Nightmare, kicking at it angrily to no avail.
The Nightmare suddenly enveloped us and all we could see were violet clouds, stars that didn’t exist, and more sparkles than a Twilight movie. I kinda had a panic attack. So many thoughts were going through my head.
Oh my God, is this serious?
Holy shit, I’m hugging Dashy!
AJ can stop tugging on my tail ANY time she likes!
Where the hell is Celestia?!
My train of thought was interrupted by the muffled sounds of a certain orange farmer pony trying to yell at me. It was right about that time Rainbow Dash suddenly went limp and I was way too distracted to think about anything other than panicking. When I didn’t reply, she repeated what she had said and gave my tail an extra hard jerk. She had my attention then, along with my ire and an urge to buck her one upside the head. Whatever it was she was saying, I was only able to discern that she was ordering me to do something. Not sure why, but my tail is all kinds of fluffy for some reason and it did a good job of preventing her from getting me the message.
“What!?” I called back, looking at Applejack in confusion.
She rolled her pretty green eyes and spat out my tail, “Ah said that you had best not let go’a her! And why in tarnation does your tail taste like sweet tea?!”
Awkward~! I felt a blush come to my impassive face and started to respond, but with the chain broken, The Nightmare no longer had any reason to tote around those heavy Earth Ponies. As such, they were tossed away like a pair of Twinkie wrappers. If this situation was any less crazy, I would have laughed at them. As it was, we’ll all have to be content with the knowledge that Pinkie Pie sure enjoyed being tossed. I swear, she would probably cackle her way off a cliff.
I, on the other hand, suddenly felt like my life expectancy had taken to skydiving without a parachute.
“Human!” The Nightmare snarled loudly, “Submit your form or I will take hers!”
“F-Form?” I asked, looking around as The Nightmare picked up speed. “Like a W-2?”
“Your body, foal!” it spat angrily, that same cartoony face appearing inside of my gassy prison, “Submit it!”
“I’m not giving you my body!” I replied without hesitation, my eyes wide with shock.
I felt the sky-blue pony stir as she slowly lifted her head to face me.
“So be it,” Rainbow Dash whispered as her eyes opened up to reveal her beautiful magenta eyes slowly becoming draconian in appearance. “We’ll have it your way then.”
“No!” I cried shaking Dash as the slanted eyes slowly changed back before closing.
“Then submit!” The Nightmare hissed.
I blinked fearfully but I did not hesitate overmuch.
I swallowed with a nod before answering, “F… Fine.”
I could hear The Nightmare chuckling softly into my ear as though she were standing right behind me. I felt a chilling sensation spread throughout my body as though I were losing feeling in every last part of me. I shut my eyes and felt the overwhelming urge to cry out, but by the time I yielded to it, I no longer could move on my own. It was almost like I was going to sleep or being forcibly sedated; only my heart was pounding as though it were going to jump right out of my chest. It was probably the single most terrifying experience I’d ever encountered.
Then a voice softly rung out in my head as the entire world and every sensation seemed to freeze.
~Oh, aren’t we in quite a pickle…~
~Stupid Bird!~ My memory put the voice to the feathers and I was a lot more excited than I should have been. Now, it should be said that there is probably something wrong with me since my first reaction upon hearing a voice in my head was to exclaim enthusiastically.
~You remembered, I’m touched.~
I eventually got around to the sensible question. I’m not entirely stupid. Just mostly. ~How are you in my head!?~
~Is that truly important at the moment?~ it replied with impatience and sarcasm both dripping off its words.
~I… I guess not. Look, I’m sorry for being an asshole earlier!~ I thought desperately, hoping it was here to help me and not rub it into my face that I shouldn’t have been such a douche. I totally would have deserved it, though. Not that I would ever admit that in public.
~You should be.~
~Help me and I’ll find you a worm! Two worms!~
~Your bargaining posture isn’t what I would call outstanding.~
~Fine. You win. Three worms.~ Sometimes, I can be stupid in the face of oblivion. Not everyone would name that as a quality, but I like to call those people haters. Or maybe they’re just intelligent. I can’t be bothered with such trivial details.
~Oh, we’ll be extracting payment, child. I did say I would make you regret it.~
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what those in the entertainment industry like to call foreshadowing. Ugly, ominous, nasty foreshadowing. It... I won’t say it wasn’t worth it, but damn it, I am never blindly scrolling to the bottom and clicking ‘Agree’ ever again!
However, being too stupid at the time, all I did was get all excited as I realized the implications of her words. ~Does that mean…~
I ‘heard’ a contemptuous sigh from Stupid Bird. You know the kind. The part where the other party is letting out that defeated huff where they are resigned to do something that don’t want to do, yet they have to nonetheless. Yeah, that one.
~Yes, I suppose it does mean that I will help you. As long as we’re in agreement, that is...~
~Well, seeing as how my bargaining posture isn’t what you would call outstanding... I guess so!~
~Consider yourself helped then.~
~You have been promoted to Awesome Bird.~
And then she sassed me with sarcasm, which made me a lot happier than what was necessary. ~Your generosity truly knows no bounds. Are you prepared?~
~Totally! How we do?~
~We don’t do anything. You sit there like a slack-jawed moron. I’ll do the rest.~
~You just had to slip that sn-…~
And without any so much as a moment’s notice, time was suddenly back on track and I was back to being entirely helpless. The Nightmare’s dark laughter began to rise in zeal as the edges of my vision began to fade out.
“Your selflessness is admirable, Human,” The Nightmare whispered soothingly, “I may show a modicum of mercy to the Equestrians for your act of sacrifice.”
Just before blacking out, I felt a painful burn sweep throughout me like a rush of flame originating from within. I caught myself on the edge of consciousness and began to struggle in every possible way I could as the incredibly acute pain extended to every part of my being. I do remember it hurting so incredibly much that I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t even draw breath of my own volition at the time. I’m not sure what it was inside me, but it was white-hot and it wanted out something fierce. I didn’t know how to give it what it wanted, though.
“What are you doing?” The Nightmare asked, its voice now uncertain.
I felt the pain ease a bit as I discovered that I could speak again.
“H… Hot,” I croaked, my eyes wide with pain and confusion.
As I spoke, though, I caught sight of a few wisps of flame trickling out of my mouth. The pain slowly drifted out of me, but the fire inside was still there. It burned hot in my chest, but if I had to call it anything other than freaky, I’d have said that it was empowering. What shortly followed was not what I was expecting to happen in the least.
“Stop!” The Nightmare ordered, my entire form shuddering as she tried to exert her will over mine, “I command you!”
“Oh,” I murmured, now in complete control of my body, “Well, since you asked so nicely.”
And I then released that fire within me. I’m not sure I can say how other than it was just what felt natural. I somehow just... knew, I guess... what would happen next. The idea of knowing without actually knowing is crazy, right? Muffins. Regardless of intention, knowledge, or what have you, my captor suddenly caught fire, including everything that had me and Rainbow Dash all wrapped up.
“DECEIVER!” It shrieked in agony as it dropped us on the ground.
Side Note: Flying incredibly fast and then making a full stop just before losing all inertia and momentum was an amazingly bizarre sensation. Not tail-pulling bad, but yeah. It was pretty funky.
Our drop wasn’t long and I really couldn’t even tell where we were. All I knew was that it was about ten feet until pony-to-ground collision, and that The Nightmare was soaring off into the distance, screaming hysterically at me as it continued to put distance between it and Celestia. The only reason I was able to pay it any attention was thanks to the fact that it was on fire, burning as though it were made of butane or something. More Equestrian non-physics at work, if you would.
Out of instinct, I grabbed hold of the unconscious Rainbow Dash and braced for impact. I made a whiny sound of fear as we plummeted. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t going to kill me, but that doesn’t mean I was in a real big hurry to see what it was like to jump off the top of my house and land on my back. Luckily, I didn’t have to find out that day as we were caught just before impact by a tiny whirlwind made of a gentle, glowing white breeze. I looked about frantically at the small white wisps, tantalizingly spinning around me as they gently set me on the ground. When a brilliant radiance shone from behind me, I turned around without even thinking and crouched defensively. I clutched at the still KO’d Rainbow Dash with one forehoof as I prepared myself for another fight. With the adrenaline still pumping in my veins, I nearly lashed out at the source of the light before even pausing to consider my actions.
A soft, easily recognized voice helped me to cool my heels though.
“Easy, My Little Pony,” she said as she approached, her incredibly bright aura dissipating to a gentle, regal glow, “You are safe now.”
“Celestia?” I murmured before smiling up at her.
Before more words could be exchange, a brilliant white-blue streak of light rocketed right past us, carrying enough wind in its wake to knock me over. It swerved upward as it chased after The Nightmare, even though it was barely a flicker in the horizon at that point.
“Storm Wing!” Celestia shouted in an entirely non-comforting tone.
The streak of light came back.
“Yes, Princess!” he acknowledged loudly.
His voice was both incredibly strong and intimidating. I don’t associate intimidating with ponies, typically, so you know it had to be unmistakably intimidating for me to say that. I didn’t get a close look at him due to him having covered at least twenty stories worth of height in that short time. Still, I was able to make out an almost white pegasus up in the sky with a steel-blue mane and tail.
“Get back to Canterlot!” she ordered, “Warn Luna and muster the Sky Archons. I want a pair of Archons at every town and city before nightfall.”
There was a very noticeable moment of hesitation before ‘Storm Wing’ took off a streak of honest-to-God lightning trailing after him. I did as Stupid Bird ordered by standing there like a slack-jawed moron. That pegasus was officially cool. He’s got lightning. Real lightning!
Celestia and I stared at Dash as she stirred awake, still being protectively held in my hoof. Oh, I had such an urge to drop her right then and there out of a childish need for vindication against the time she let me hit the ground. I, however, am a bigger pony than that. She opened her very non-draconian eyes and blinked them a few times lazily before getting her bearings.
“Woah,” she groaned before looking up at Celestia and then at me.
This was it! The moment my favorite pony declared me as awesome for saving her and I would live with a perfectly fulfilled life! Ah, life is grand.
“Are you alright, Rainbow Dash?” Celestia asked as she stepped closer.
“Aww, I was out for the whole thing?” she grumped, glaring down at the ground with a sigh, “I completely missed Celestia saving us.”
And that’s where I ran out of give-a-damn.
“What?!” I gasped, completely floored by the stolen glory.
Celestia let a slight smile creep at the corner of her mouth, “Actually…”
“Pffft!” I huffed before promptly dropping her onto the ground, “Oh, you can go directly to hell, and don’t bother asking to about two hundred dollars!”
From there it got pretty boring. The long and short of it was that Celestia grabbed us and used her sick Alicorn magic to levitate us back to Ponyville, stopping along the way to pick up Pinkie Pie and Applejack. The two of them were fine except for being terrified at the prospect that they nearly lost one of their best friends. Pinkie was insisting on staying near Rainbow Dash in case something tried to take her again. It was sorta subtle, but I take a very real interest in psychology (thanks to my insane family) and I can tell you this: Pinkie’s cheerful demeanor was a mask to her fear. You’d only notice after watching her closely, but yeah, it was there in the way she was looking about. Sure, she made it look silly and random, but she was definitely keeping a vigilant bright blue eye out.
I’m not sure why it took so long to get back; maybe The Nightmare went a lot faster than I had thought in its attempt to outrun Celestia. Whatever the case, even with Celestia’s assistance it took us quite a while, and it was nearing sundown by the time we got there. Celestia did very little talking and was watching me like a hawk the entire time. She wasn’t being hostile, but I guess you don’t live for a thousand or more years without being very cautious. Regardless, small talk was kept to a minimum. Scary things have a tendency to quiet people and the ponies were no exception. I didn’t press for any conversation; rather I just floated in peace.
When we finally got back to Ponyville, Celestia took us to Twilight’s library. We were met by the Applebloom rocket that had fired as soon as the door opened. Poor Applejack never stood a chance against her teary-eyed sister. After the shock wore off and the relief was all spread about, everypony began to filter on into the building. I figured I would stay outside; for the moment at least. Mostly because I needed a cigarette and some time to think. Celestia hesitated entering the library upon noticing my election to chill.
“Are you all right?” she asked, remaining unmoving as she awaited my answer.
I turned her way before pulling out a cigarette and lighting it with a smirk, “Never better.”
She took a moment to digest that but eventually smiled and nodded, “Good. And may I ask your name?”
I blinked at the question before tilting my head and chuckling, “Well, Pinkie has been calling me No-Name for now, so uh… That’ll do for now. Twilight said I can’t be Anon-Pony anyway.”
She seemed a mite confused at first but eventually closed her eyes as she let out a soft laugh. “I see. I won’t press for more at this time, then. After all, were it not for you, Rainbow Dash would have been captured, and as the bearer of the Element of Loyalty, all could have been lost. Thank you.”
She didn’t know The Nightmare was after me. Without even considering my action, I decided to let her keep thinking that for the moment. Hell, it’s not like I knew what that was all about.
“No problem. I’m pretty awesome like that,” I said with a wink, “Not that I had any clue what I was doing.”
Hear that? That’s my self-image going down the toilet and getting clogged up on the rising guilt. I can lie with the best of them, but every time I do… Eh, let’s just say my conscience is pretty hardcore about whipping me into line.
“Still, I thank you,” she said softly before turning to go inside, pausing to ask one last question, “Where are you from? What world, I mean?”
I blinked a few times as I digested the question. I figured one fib was enough and simply played it straight, “Heh, I doubt you’ve heard of it. S’called Earth. How’d you guess, anyway? I figured you couldn’t tell what with calling me your little pony and such.”
She paused just outside the door before glancing back at me. Her face was impassive at first, but she let one last comforting smile show before looking back into the entrance of the library, “That’s because you are, my nameless newcomer. Welcome to Equestria.”
And then I had a fangasm.