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’m told I have, quite possibly, the strangest sleep schedule ever. I don’t keep myself adjusted to the position of hands on a clock; I just stay up until I feel like sleeping and then go to bed. This usually results in somewhere between eighteen and twenty-two hours of life followed by five to nine hours of rest. That has a lot of advantages. Enough that I’m not going to bother listing them all, anyway. One severe disadvantage that does come with it is when you are woken up by outside influences, your day is wrecked. Plain and simple. It’s like an ill omen prophesying your inevitable doom. The reason I am telling you this is because it applies to this day in particular.
So there I was, sleeping on Twilight’s balcony - Twilight’s house has NO AIR CONDITIONING AND IS STUFFY AS HELL - without a care in the world. I had an awesome dream about Super Smash Ponies and I didn’t want to wake up because I was still trying to figure out how to use the Sonic Rainboom. Much to my dismay, I wasn’t able to figure it out before that very awakening took place. The harbinger of unrest wasn’t even being that loud, oddly enough. I’m weird like that. I can sometimes be woken up by two people whispering two doors down, but if my roommates start blasting heavy metal, I won’t even twitch. I wish I could find a consistency as to what actually causes the disturbing of my slumber.
“There you are,” I heard Spike mutter, “What are you doing out here?”
“Blergh,” I blerghed before rolling over, slowly opening an eye and swiveling it around in an attempt to spot my disturber.
“He’s out here, Twilight!” he called back inside.
“I don’t want it~!” I whined, mustering the effort to scoot away from the source of sound. Thank Celestia that Twilight had a very well sanded balcony.
A few seconds later, Twilight added her disruption multiplier to Spike’s sleep-combo-breaker and I was forced to slip further into undesired consciousness. This resulted in more scooting until I eventually bumped into Twilight’s telescope. I guess I really should have been looking where I was going, but I was fortunate enough to have it fall over onto me instead of it breaking on the wood balcony. Rather than whine about being struck by a Telescope, however, I just sorta pulled it close and used it as a surrogate teddy-bear.
“Why are you sleeping outside?” I heard Twilight ask me in a puzzled voice.
“Your house has no ventilation,” I replied quite truthfully, snuggling up to the telescope and shutting my eyes again.
There was a heavy pause in there, and I could surmise that it originated from Twilight and Spike’s confusion on what I talking about.
“I’m tellin’ you, Twilight, there is no way he isn’t an alien,” Spike reasoned, “I’m gonna go make some breakfast.”
“I don’t g-… Actually, no, I’m not going to waste time trying to understand you.” Twilight was apparently frustrated with me. Still, she brought herself back to a reasonable level of calm and spoke very politely. “Now, Princess Celestia’s Envoy will be here soon to pick you up and you don’t need to keep them waiting. You’ll need to clean up a little, seeing as you’ll be appearing in Canterlot. Also, we sh-...”
“Them?” I questioned lazily.
“You said them,” I explained before letting out a long yawn. “Implying that there will be multiple envoys.”
The sigh she let out told me that I was starting to work a purple nerve. “Please, No-Name…”
“That’s another thing…” I interjected again.
Y’know, I never actually realize how much of an ass I’m being until I look back on my actions. Because I was definitely being one right here. But while I was living in the moment, interrupting Twilight for a second time... I dunno, it just didn’t feel like I was being one at the time.
“What’s the difference between calling me Anon-Pony and No-Name?” I opened my eyes and glanced Twilight’s way, “I mean they’re both pretty… Well, you know. They’re lacking in identity. I think that makes you a hypocrite.”
“Look, I’m trying to help you, so… please stop being difficult?” she begged.
“One condition,” I offered.
“Anything!” (Note: This was one big pile of bullshit…)
“I want to be Anon-Pony.”
That’s where things went downhill.
“Spiiike!” Twilight shouted back inside in a rather saccharine, yet threatening tone.
I risked opening an eye, half-curious as to see where this was about to go.
“Uh oh,” I heard him reply from within. This helped to foster growing sense growing unease.
“What’s ‘Uh oh’?” I tried to make my voice sound even and nonchalant. Might have failed in that endeavor.
“Please bring me the ‘Ponypedia Equestria,’ the ‘Unabridged Trotster’s Dictionary,’ and a copy of ‘Magic 402: Pandimensional-Subradiation Applications’ if you please,” she called back inside.
Did you know that books are a viable weapon? Maybe not in your hands or mine, but when left in the magical sway of a librarian unicorn? Yeah, it’s not pretty. Basically when held tightly, the book is almost no different than a piece of wood of roughly the same size. And that can hurt when beaten about the head and shoulders. I have learned that one does not test Twilight when she has access to three-hundred plus pages. Also, she took her stupid telescope back because she’s a plot face.
Long story short, I was beaten with books, had my teddy-scope ripped from my grasp, beaten with more books, chased inside where I was beaten with a few more books, and finally corralled into the bathroom by way of being beaten with books. Also, I tripped over Spike. Collateral damage, Tony!
“THAT’S NOT VERY FRIENDSHIPFUL!” I shouted from behind the sanctity of the washroom door.
Her response was to beat on the door with books, which terrified me. Seriously, I developed a complex that was triggered by the sight of airborne books. It’s up there with spiders. Still, I played nice from thereon, cleaning up and making myself halfway decent. Just a note here, using magic to do everything actually requires a modicum of patience. Sure, I eventually got it all worked out, but damn it, if I’m going to have a fluffy tail then it will be brushed properly!
One thing that perplexed me: A toilet. It was there. It was a toilet used for what I assume is toilet-based activities. And yet, having been here for what was around twenty-four hours, I had not heard the alluring call of nature. Not once. I decided not to dwell on it. Not because I wasn’t curious, but that line of thinking was leading to the visualizing of ponies doing that very act. Which was unsettling, to say the least.
I was finished long before I bothered leaving the safety of the blessed water closet. Eventually, though, I poked my head out of the bathroom and quickly snatched it back inside on the off chance Twilight had not yet satisfied her desire to damage my person. When no books came flying at me, I peeked out once more and made sure the coast was clear before opening the door. I checked the library after stepping out and found Spike and Twilight tidying up like a pair of purple maids. It wasn’t until I spotted the telescope lying on the farthest bench that I was overcome with petty, impulsive desire. I would get Twilight back for abusing me with such impunity!
Without giving them any warning whatsoever, I dashed out of the bathroom and snagged the telescope with a bit of magic. Pure survival instinct drove me to sprint for the door as I screamed in triumph.
“FOR THE EMPRAH!!” I roared.
Now that I consider it, I think that may have been less about survival and more about causing as much of a ruckus as I possibly could. Still, for the sake of making me sound sane, we’re just going to go with survival instinct.
That’s not the important part, though. The important part was about my awesome magic; specifically my first ever successful magic multi-task. It was awesome, like I already told you. Brace yourselves for awesome: I yoinked the telescope, leapt over Spike, snatched a cigarette out of nothingness, put it in my mouth, threw open the threshold to liberty whilst lighting the Mareboro and told the police to go buck themselves all at the same time. All whilst in a full-on sprint. With a furious draw on my smoke and a maniacal laugh on my lips, I dashed out of the library with Twilight hot on my heels.
Boo. Yah. I’m awesome.
“What could have made that more awesome?” you might ask yourself. Quite frankly, making it ten steps out the door would have been lovely, but whatever. And no, Twilight didn’t catch me. The Princess’ little envoy did, as it turns out. And by catch me, I mean clip my flank with her flying sled-like car thingy to send me flying like a pegasus. It had to be going, like, a million miles per hour; ‘Cause I totally got some air. Enough of it that the driver had to jump out of the vehicle and tackle me mid-flight to catch me. I have no doubt that it looked utterly amazing to anypony fortunate enough to bear witness. For me, however, it was just awful. I mean, this day was off to one hell of schizophrenic start with how amazingly awesome it got before taking the worst of dives.
Cigarette lost? Check. Added bruising? Check. Tackled by a flying green pony that twisted my hoof behind my back and LITERALLY crammed my face into the ground upon impact. Check. No bullshit: She used… my face… as a brake. My face. It skidded along the grass and dirt. As she used it to create friction. To stop our momentum. Do you understand me? She was grinding my face into the ground! The very concept makes my skin crawl! What the French Canadian hell did I do deserve that?!
“In the name of Celestia, you are under arrest!” my assailant shouted at me in the most unthreatening squeak she could manage.
Great. Stuffing my eyes, nose, and mouth into the terrain wasn’t enough. I also get to go to pony prison and meet some deranged criminal pony named Love Sponge the Tickler… Did I mention that I occasionally will creep even myself out? Still, I didn’t cry. Mostly because it hurt too much to cry, but that’s beside the point.
“Oh goodness!” I heard Twilight cry out as I started to lift my head up.
My squeaky assailant shoved it right back into the dirt. Seems legit.
“Everything is alright, Miss Twilight. I caught the thief,” replied the face-grinding envoy from Hell.
Everything was most certainly not alright. Everything was filled with pain. I could see the pain. I could smell the pain. I could taste the pain. And it looked like, smelled like, and even tasted just like dirty grass. Or it could have just been dirty grass I was experiencing. Whatever the case was, all my brain knew was that dirty grass was equal to or greater than pain.
“No, you don’t understand!” Finally, someone else was getting some of that at purple pony perturbedfulness. “That’s the pony you’re to be escorting to Canterlot!”
“W-… What?” Dat voice. She sounded like Pinkie Pie after sucking in a tank of helium. Okay, maybe not that squeaky, but I promise that I’m not stretching the truth here by much.
The grip on my hoof lessened a bit, despite there being no fingers to actually hold onto me.
“That’s Princess Celestia’s guest!” Twilight shouted.
I found the strength to whimper right about here.
“But he… He was... He was running away with your telescope. And you were chasing…” the pony stammered in response.
I could hear the oddly familiar sound of Twilight slapping a hoof over her face as she sighed. Note, my face was still in the dirt and my hoof was still being twisted behind my back while this was all going on. But other than that, it was totally fine that they had this out before seeing to me.
“I… admit, the situation may have looked rather bad, but it was just… Well, we were both being rather silly,” Twilight clarified haltingly.
“S-Silly?” Face-Grinder echoed.
Silly was not the word I would have used.
“Yes, silly. Now, if you would be so kind as to release him?”
I coughed as I extracted my countenance from the trench that it had been used to carve out of Twilight’s front lawn. I immediately broke away from the green terror and scampered over behind Twilight to put something living between myself and it.
Had I not been thoroughly terrified of ‘it,’ I would have instead marveled at the fiend. She was a good bit taller than your average mare; right around my size, in fact. Her eyes were bright yellow, and her hooves were like that of a Clydesdale’s: Huge and fuzzy. Even while I was busy cowering behind Twilight, I was still loving her emerald green coat. As a matter of fact, green is my favorite color! Well, not when my eyes are scraped across green grass, but just about all other times. She even had a chartreuse mane and tail that both sported a pair of forest green streaks that followed her straight, long hair all the way down. I don’t know where Rarity gets off hating green hair, but she obviously never met this pegasus. Her armor looked like the typical guard armor with the exception of being trimmed with red instead of blue.
“Oh my gosh, you’re a mess,” Twilight whined at me LIKE IT WAS MY FAULT.
“I am so sorry!” the large pega-mare squeaked, holding out a desperate hoof.
I spat out some dirt and roots in response.
“A-Are you okay?” she asked, fumbling over her words in horror.
Twilight started to reply on my behalf, but I totally had it under control.
“Well, my front leg hurts, my back aches like it’s been stepped on by a huge pegasus, my face…” I paused here to hock up a few twigs. “My face feels like it’s been used to sandpaper a whole pine tree and my vision has yet to clear up. But other than THAT? Yeah! We’re just %&#*ing peachy!”
When I look at a large-and-in-charge guard wrapped in gold armor with feral-yellow eyes, I expect that guard to kick my flank when I am dumb enough to yell at them. Which is why I picked up Twilight and held her in front of me the moment I finished my rant (she was much too surprised to actually stop me). Twilight had earned some beatings by this point anyway. However, I did not get what I was expecting. Instead of said guard reaching over and beating me senseless, she decided she would rather fall down in a fit of tears.
“P-P-Please don’t tell the Princess!” she wailed whilst clapping her hooves over her eyes.
Suffice it to say, Twilight and I were at a loss. A big loss. This was not what I was ready for. I was ready for violence. And a lot of it. This wishy-washy guard thingy was straight up bizarre.
“Captain S-S-S-Storm Wing’s g-gonna throw me out of the Archons!” she bawled miserably, curling up a bit more as she shrilly sobbed into her hooves.
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but it bothers the shit out of me when people cry in front of me. Like, I don’t know why. I can watch a movie with people crying, I can watch a show with ponies crying, and I will never blink to reading a book’s saddest scene. That said, the moment someone breaks out into tears right in front of me, I am faced with two options. The first is cheer them up before I start crying. The second is to start crying with them. I’m a freak, okay?
So I opted to try and save my dignity by creating a distracting scene.
“Good going, Twilight!” I hollered loudly to prevent my voice from cracking as I gave her a shove from behind. “Now this guard is fired and it’s all your fault!”
“W-What?!” Sorry, Twilight. If you ever read this, you were just a convenient target.
“Gosh, you should have just let me have the telescope!” I sat my plot down, crossed my hooves, and whipped out a cigarette before glaring off into the distance. “But nooo! You have to be selfish and make a complete plotface of yourself!”
“A… A what-face?!” Her bewilderment was like a fine, aged wine for a troll like me.
Face-Grinder the Green was starting to knock it off as she realized the blame was apparently being shifted away from her. I admit that she was pretty frick’n cute when she wasn’t digging ditches with my face or falling over in a slobbery, weeping mess.
“Hey, why don’t you go back inside before you ruin something else? And here’s your freaking telescope!” I magicked it over and floated it her way before giving her a knowing wink. “Gosh!”
I just have to say, Twilight’s brilliant and I am thankful for that. It took her all of two seconds to get what was going on and roll her eyes in amusement. She proved to be twice as cool when she actually went along with it.
“Uh-huh.” She wasn’t going to great efforts to sound convincing, but whatever, right? It got the job done.
With that, she conjured up a large, wet towel and took her telescope back, “Just… clean up a little and get going, already. I’ll ‘work on my attitude’ in the meantime. Okay?”
I caught the towel and blinked a few times as I stared at her. Nobody ever goes along with my half-baked plans. I’m sure if I had thought it through, I wouldn’t have tried it in a million years, but I’m stuck with an impulsive inner half that refuses to be bothered with the complexities of contemplation. All that besides, I still don’t expect anyone to play ball the way Twilight did and… Well, that got me all excited in and of itself.
“You’re, like, the best pony ever!” I squealed before initiating the choke-hug from hell.
“What… What is happening?” Greenie the Crusher of Faces was so confused. I don’t blame her.
“Wagh!” Twilight shrieked as I crushed her in my embrace. “No-Name, you’re filthy! Oh! You’re getting dirt in my mane!”
Some ponies just can’t appreciate being appreciated. Sigh.
So after the madness tapered off and both Twilight and I cleaned up, it was time for my daily dosage of awesome. Greenflank, Face-Destroyer Extraordinaire, remained dismally silent the entire time but she wasn’t crying, which was the important part. I was actually still trying not to wince in pain from her initial abuse, but I did my best to not show it so as to keep the waterworks away. Which wasn’t to say I was being super friendly to her; I was still a little irritated, after all. But as long as I had my cigarettes and my world full of ponies, I wasn’t going to fuss.
All my inner upsetness, however, was single-hoofedly dispelled when I beheld it.
“What is it?” I stared at the large sled-like contraption before me. It was silver and ivory with Celestia’s Cutie Mark emblazoned on its sides with gold trim. There also happened to be a dent in the passenger side that somewhat bore the resemblance of a certain pony that will forever remain a mystery.
“It’s the Royal Sky Carriage,” explained my surprisingly demure escort as we stepped aboard the strange craft.
“Sky Carriage?” I gasped, “You mean… it…”
It flies. Yes, it does. Yes, it flies when Anon-Ponies (He’s not Anon-Pony – ‘You Know Who’) jump on to ride it. I began to feel the elation and panic well up as it lifted higher and higher in the sky. When it finally began to move forward, I felt my fascination hit what I thought was my peak. It wasn’t until it started reaching speeds that were illegal in Germany that I finally panicked and grabbed hold of Miss Viridian Facebreaker. I felt not the slightest shame as a delighted, yet terrified shriek escaped me.
“GREENIE, WE’RE FLYING!” I’m not sure why I was yelling at a pony that I was attached to, but she was at least kind enough to yell back.
“OF COURSE WE ARE!” She blasted right into my left ear. “AND MY NAME IS LUCKY! NOT GREENIE!”
Having been on the receiving end of close-proximity roaring, I decided it was silly and that we should stop that nonsense.
“Jesus, I’m right here. Stop shouting,” I huffed before breaking away from her and peeking over the edge. “Oh wow. Greenie, look at this!”
“My name’s not Jesus and it’s not Greenie!” she whined at me.
I ignored the poor thing as I gazed down at what was unmistakably the Everfree Forest. I spotted what I think was a hydra from my elevated perch and felt the urge to hop in glee. Fortunately, Stoic grabbed control of the reigns in time to remind me how stupid that would be and that I needed to get a grip. Lafter agreed, but decided to simply distract me with something equally ridiculous, even if it was considerably safer.
“Greenie, we’re changing the name of this vehicle.” I can be a jerk sometimes.
“Can you call it Greenie instead of me?” she moped.
I glanced back at her as though she were turning into a Dalek.
“That makes no sense, Greenie. It’s not even kinda green. No, that won’t do at all. It shall be henceforth known as… ‘The Awesome Sky Carriage of Awesomeness!™’” I proclaimed before turning back to face her with a wince.
Yeah, I couldn’t even make sharp turns without feeling a nasty stab of pain in my neck thanks to the Killer of Countenances here. I was too filled with wonder to care though. At least I was before realizing that she saw through my act. It didn’t take me long to find out that Greenie had an awfully guilty conscience and a patch on her sleeve where she wore her heart. Talk about a mood killer.
“I’m very sorry, I really shouldn’t have acted so rashly,” she remarked with a pitiful sigh.
I failed my will-save versus guilt trip and immediately submitted to my baser urges. The urge to console.
“Hey, G-… Lucky? No sweat, okay?” I cantered over to her with a smile. “You’re a big girl, you can handle making a few mistakes. I do it all the time. Like running off with Twilight’s telescope. And tricking guards into thinking that I’m a thief. That was pretty stupid, eh?”
She gave me a reluctant smile, perking up a skosh.
“Still… I’m sorry,” she murmured, blushing as she went about scuffing her hoof. It wasn’t Flutteradorable, but it was close. And landing in the same neighborhood as Fluttershy was an accomplishment all on its own.
I blinked at the pegasus before narrowing my eyes at her. “You keep that up and you’ll be even sorrier when I hug you into submission. I’m like… the adorable police. And you’re dangerously close to a violation.”
I snapped my head forward (which hurt a lot), glaring off into the distance as we continued to sail through the air. All it did was confuse Lucky further. That was fine with me. She would live. I, on the other hoof, might not survive much more cuteness on a day-to-day basis.
“I don’t… understand,” she replied, staring at me worriedly.
I began to elaborate further on the matter, only to be distracted at the upcoming sight on the horizon. It was a mountain… It was a city… It was a mountain impaled on a city! Or something! It was Canterlot. Poor Stoic didn’t even bother trying to stop Lafter from taking control. This resulted in me grabbing poor Lucky and shaking her like a rag doll as I hyperventilated for a few seconds.
“LUCKY GREENHOOF, LOOK!” I hissed. My wide eyes fixed on the beautiful Minas-Tirith inspired castle. “IT’S CANTERLOT.”
“I s-s-s-see it-t-t-t,” she chattered through my impulsive assault.
I had forgotten how close Ponyville was to Canterlot. It was just a hop, skip, and a jump away as long as one was able to leap over the Everfree Forest that was inconveniently placed between the two. I tried to stop wheezing as we approached and had to light up a cigarette just to keep my blood pressure down to what most people consider a survivable level. I was stupid giddy, as you might have guessed. There was just no possible way for me to not enjoy the hell out of myself in the pony capital of Equestria! As we flew closer, I got an idea of just how incredibly huge Canterlot really was. It was seriously as big as the mountain that it was protruding out of. So much pony!
“Wow, I knew you were new to Equestria but…” Lucky let the rest of the implication go unspoken as I continued to squee all over the place.
“Lucky! Lucky, there’s a Wonderbolt… THERE’S THREE WONDERBOLTS OVER THERE!” And there totally was. I swear I saw the usual trio blitzing about in the sky and all I could do was continue losing my mind. “GIIIIRL, SHIT HAS OFFICIALLY GOTTEN CRAY-CRAY!”
“‘C… Cray cray?’” she echoed uncertainly.
“CRAY CRAY!” I repeated, spinning about face and showing her my best impression of the Cheshire cat.
I think that broke her daily insanity limit or something because the expression on her face was mostly a combination fear and worry. “Could… Um… Could you please stop… talking… or doing anything, really?”
I rapidly deflated. When you’re as excitable as me you find that rapid, controllable mood swings are not only easy, but rather fun. I sat my pony bottom down on the A.S.C.A.™ and stared at her quite plainly before letting out a sigh that was somewhere between happy and relaxed.
I rubbed the back of my neck with a nervous laugh. “Sorry, Lucky. I’m losing it. I know this doesn’t look good, but trust me when I say this: You just have no idea just how euphorically surreal this is to me.”
“No. No, I’m not letting my guard down. You’re insane. Just sit there and… and be good.” I can’t really say I blame her.
I pouted at her but she was having none of it. She stared at me as though I was about to jump and tear out her throat at any given second. My response was to pout harder. That seemed reasonable, if you ask me. So when she started to ignore me and stare straight ahead, I kinda wiggled over into her peripheral vision. Her willingness to ignore was measured, weighed, and ultimately found wanting.
“Stop it,” she urged, glancing at me as I continued to burn my puppy-dog face into her retina.
One day, folks, I would grow up to be a mature, decent respectable. That day was not this day.
“Stop!” Her pleas fell upon my deaf, merciless ears.
That’s when she hit the brakes and sent me flying right over the edge. I assume she did, anyway. It’s not like there was a gas pedal or something, the stupid thing just seemed to obey the thoughts of the driver. I think. Anyway, I let out the manliest scream a pony could make, flailing helplessly as I fell all of two feet over the edge. On one hand, I was happy that I wasn’t falling to my doom, but on the other, I was greatly put out that I landed on my back right where the green brute had stepped on me earlier and proceeded to tumble right into a statue, smacking my head upon it with a great fury.
As I was losing consciousness, I looked up in time to see this awesome-as-hell statue of one bigass pegasus stallion staring down at me. I proceeded to inquire as to why Equestria was so hellbent on beating me to death, hoping Mister Statue could shed some light on the matter. He didn’t answer me, sadly. At least, not before I fell asleep on his pillow-like dais. Mmmmm. Stone cold stone is stone cold.
Some undetermined amount of time later, I woke up in a bed, which was a first for Equestria. I couldn’t actually see the bed I was in. At least, not clearly enough to describe it. I tried to blink but my poor vision just didn’t feel like working at that particular moment so I was stuck with trying to decipher what the different colored shapes around me were.
“You’re in luck, Lucky. He’s waking up.”
That was definitely Celestia’s voice. She has a very unique voice that I’ve never heard anyone perfectly replicate.
“Your Majesty, I am so sorry!” The squeaking could only be Fluttershy or Lucky. Considering I’d yet to meet Fluttershy (much to my displeasure), I felt it was a safe bet that my attacker had followed me in hopes of finishing what it had started. I could only pray that Celestia would save me in time.
“Tears of Night, Lucky, how did you manage to wreck the Princess’ guest on the Sky Carriage?” This was a new voice. She sounded like one of those hot warrior chicks that you see in anime or DC Amazon Isles. “All you had to do was fly the thing there and back!”
“It wasn’t so simple with him, I assure you!” She lied like a rug. “J-Just… Please, Starlight, don’t tell the Captain!”
“She lies,” I truth’d, still not fully conscious. “Tell the Captain. She beat me. I cried and told her to stop but she just kept beating me. She’s a monster.”
“W… What?! I did no such thing!” her voice cracked as though she were hitting puberty or something. “Don’t believe him, Your Majesty!”
I took a guess at which blurry dark shape was Lucky and lazily pointed at it. “That’s the one, Celestia. She did this to me. Arrest that pony.”
Right as I said that, though, my vision decided it was the perfect comedic time to finally clear up. At least enough to realize that I was pointing at a dark royal blue pony and not a dark emerald green one. I blinked a few more times, finally bringing a bit of definition to my hazy world and I found myself staring at a frightening mare. She was right around Lucky’s height, which put her just a head and a half under Celestia’s towering frame. That, however, wasn’t what made her scary. No, it was the black bob haircut with a single white stripe in the center covering her right eye coupled with the exposed eye burning a hole into me with its blood red stare. Also her wings were bigger than mine, so I felt exceptionally unendowed before her. Yes, I’m aware I don’t actually have any wings, and that does not help my feelings of inadequacy.
“Show some respect before the princess before I show you some of the consequences,” the blue pegasus growled threateningly.
“That’s enough, Commander Starlight; you will do no such thing. You know I expect better self-control out of my Archons,” Celestia sighed, obviously unhappy with the way things were currently devolving. “I have no doubt that our guest was exceptionally difficult to put up with. I’ve only met him once and I’ve something of a grasp for just how… bizarre he can be.”
“I take objection to that, Celestia.” I turned my head her way whilst still pointing in the Archon’s face. “You should learn to be more considerate. I’m, like, right here and stuff.”
I gave a big, genuine smile to the princess who happily smiled back with a mirthful snort and a roll of her eyes. I started to further make a hammy ass of myself but Starlight distracted me by slapping the hoof out of her face. I let out a whine and rubbed the offended appendage with my other hoof.
“And you should learn to not harass every last pony you come across.” Celestia let out a laugh before shaking her head as though she were helpless to stop me. “How are you feeling?”
“Fantastic, actually, considering everything that’s happened to me just this morning.” I replied before sticking my tongue out at Starlight. “Who’s this you’ve brought with you? Does she bite? I’m not going to lie, she looks dangerous. Dangerous enough t-…”
“Have a care for whom you’re speaking to!” Starlight snapped at me, having raised her voice just enough to startle me.
“Woah! Down girl! Easy!” I leaned away from the vicious animal in an attempt to avoid getting my face eaten off.
“Oh, I’ll take it real easy after I give y-…”
Celestia cut that nonsense off with a vengeance! “Commander Starlight, apologize to our guest.”
“Pbbbhht~!” Raspberry of maturity, right here. Now, you probably assumed Celestia was the one to act like such an infant, but as amazing as this sounds, that was actually me.
“And you apologize as well,” the princess continued.
“But…” I started to protest until Celestia gave me this look. I don’t know if it was a super power or magic was involved, all I know is that I froze up like the chickens in that one episode with Fluttershy. It was stressful, being on the receiving end of that visionary assault, but I composed myself enough to do as I was told. (I wasn’t interested in finding out what would happen if I said, ‘No’ which is rather unusual for me!) “Woah… … … Hello, Archon Commander Starlight. My name is Anon-Pony. I am terribly sorry for being an inconsiderate jerk and ask your forgiveness for not showing the proper respect. Also, when I comment on just how frightening you look, I do so with the utmost of admiration. You’re exactly what I would expect a veteran guard of Equestria to look like. And yes, I really do mean this and I’m not just saying it to avoid angering the princess.”
Heavy silence was heavy. I don’t think any of them expected me to actually play ball. But Celestia has one scary glare and if there’s one thing that will help me be a little more self-aware of my actions, it’s fear of being stamped out of existence by a pony princess. Try explaining THAT one to St. Peter. Anyway, I got kinda fidgety with everyone being all shocked and stuff.
“What? Good lord, you ponies haven’t known me for more than a day! Why are you staring at me like that!?” I offered, throwing my hooves up into the air.
“See!” Lucky cried as though I had just proven some point she was trying to make. “Difficult!”
“‘See’ nothing! You dug a ditch with my face, you monster!” I snarled in return before slapping my hooves over my mouth in shock.
Starlight was the first to react, “Y… You did what, Lucky!?”
“I thought he was a thief!” she squeaked in defense.
“We can, should, and even need to just forget I said anything right then!” I hollered, throwing my hooves around madly to help capture attention. Pretty sure I just looked either stupid, amusing, or some amalgamation of the two.
“You attacked the Princess’ guest?!” Starlight was at a loss. It just didn’t make sense to her.
“It’s alright; I totally looked like a thief! She was well within her rights to smash my face into the ground!” Man, I can really say some stupid things when I’m panicking.
Celestia blinked, having not yet recovered entirely, “Smash your face…?”
Starlight was not pleased. “Archon! Explain yourself!”
“He was running away from Miss Twilight!” she whined.
“She saved the telescope!” I pointed out.
Starlight ignored the hell out of me. “What is wrong with you?!”
“No, it’s okay! Getting hit by the carriage was much worse! I’m fine, really!” Sigh… Why, self? Why must you/I do these things?
“You hit him with the Carriage?!” Go figure. She heard THAT.
Lucky looked my way, horror splayed uponst her countenance. “S-Stop! You’re making it worse!!”
“I’m just going to shut up now.” It seemed like a good idea. If only I came up with that more often.
“Archon, I will have you mixing storm clouds until the sight of rain makes you sick!” Starlight bellowed.
Lucky started to cry, to which I tried to stop her, but things were out of hoof already and I fell apart almost as quickly as she did. I grabbed the pillow closest to me and stuffed my face into it to cover my shame. Much to my surprise, everything went silent shortly thereafter. The curiosity and confusion quickly proved to be too much for me to handle and I dared a misty-eyed glance over the top of the pillow. They were all staring at me. Even Lucky, who was thankfully letting her lack of understanding override her need to blubber. AGAIN!
“What?!” I coughed out, all sorts of flustered.
“Why are you…?”
“IT’S NOT IMPORTANT!” I yelled before stuffing my face back into the pillow. “YOU’RE ALL JERKS!”
“Ladies, I think it best if the two of you left,” Celestia gently ordered, “and Starlight, spare Lucky any punishment for her actions. This is a very odd set of circumstances, after all.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Starlight replied before letting out a helpless chuckle, “come along then, Lucky. Only you could get away with attacking one of Celestia’s personal guests.”
“Sorry,” she whimpered pitifully in response.
I heard their hoofsteps clack against the marble floors of wherever I was. They continued to exchange words, but they quickly became so distant that discerning the conversation was pretty much impossible through the echoes. Celestia and I were alone at last and ironically enough, all I could do was blush in shame with my face stuffed into a pillow.
“They’re gone now,” she pointed out tactfully, “You can come out. Unless one ‘jerk’ is too much to face.”
I called Celestia a jerk. That realization was not a pleasant one.
I dropped the pillow and hastily spouted my apology, “No! You’re not a jerk, Celestia! I’m just stupid and have no self-control!”
“I deduced that much,” she replied with a smile, “Do not worry, Stranger. I can relate to the difficulty of suppressing impulses. I take it watching others cry is difficult for you?”
I let out an embarrassed sigh before giving her an answer by way of nodding.
“Do you w-“ she started to ask but I was pretty quick with the responding.
“No thanks, Celestia. I know you’re a nice pony princess and that I could totally confide in you, but digging up bad memories is what humans consider a faux pas.” I felt a little bad about interrupting the princess, but really, we’ve all got stuff that we don’t want brought up, right? I simply happen to be a little trigger happy when it comes to the shutting down of such pursuits. It helps to discourage the ‘fixers’ from messing with you, at least.
“Very well. I won’t pretend to understand, but I will respect your boundaries.” And that, people, is why Celestia is the best pony princess.
“You’re awesome, Princess. It must be hard being so amazing. Such a responsibility to live up to.” I looked up at her with a soft smile before finally taking in my surroundings. It looked like a medical ward, only extra decorative. Leave it to girly ponies to doll up a place of sickness and pain, I guess?
“Oh, I manage.” She winked, smiling back. “It’s not as difficult as it you might think.”
“Naw, you’re just that good at it,” I gushed back, happy to pull the conversation back to silliness. I hopped out of the bed and performed my best full-body cat stretch. “Ggghhnnn!! Oh, but damn do I feel great!”
“I would hope so. Princess Luna healed you after having witnessed your fall,” Celestia made mention, tilting her head just slightly to the left. “She brought you here to make sure you were alright, but was too tired to stay up for much longer.”
I dropped my jaw as I stood up straight. “Luna? She met me? And I missed it?!”
“Indeed,” she said with a nod, “Also, she made mention that you’ve quite a lovely singing voice.”
“She… She did?” For once, I was the flabbergasted pony.
“You’ll have to ask her about it tonight,” Celestia offered, giving me a helpless, if slightly amused, shrug of the wings.
I know; I already mentioned this once, but I swear, every time I see a pony shrug their wings at me, I just want to get offended. Now, I can’t rightly get on Celestia’s case for doing it, but that doesn’t mean that the urge is cancelled in return.
“Y-Yeah.” I was blushing. There was just no telling what song I was singing in my sleep. I’ve been known to do a teensy bit of sleep talking, but ever since I joined the Choir back in High School, I’d found out from multiple sources that I sometimes mumbled lyrics in my sleep.
… Y’know, I never really realize how weird I actually am until I start talking about my oddities.
“Anyway, please make yourself home here in Canterlot. If you need anything, any of the Royal Guard, Sky Archons, or palace staff will be happy to help you. I must get back to work, but I’ll be seeing you again before nightfall.”
“‘Work’?” I repeated. “You mean being a princess is not as simple as raising the sun, kicking back, and being awesome?”
She actually snorted a tad, bringing a hoof to cover her face before giggling. “Oh, if only that were the case. Take care of yourself and try to stay out of trouble.”
“My dear princess, you will not see a finer example of behavioral perfection in all the millennia to come!” I proclaimed with a goofy grin.
Oh yeah, that was so gonna happen.
Shit. Well, at least I tried. Hell, I made it until nightfall, if that tells you anything.
Seriously, this wasn’t my fault as much as it just looked like it was my fault. An everlasting victim of circumstance, I am. Still, I will concede that if I had not acted as reasonably furious as I had been, then this would not be a problem. But ‘reasonable’ was the operative word here. I had every right to become infuriated.
After all, this was pizza we were talking about.
“What do you mean you don’t know what cheese pizza is?!”
“Exactly what I meant, sir!” the cook pony replied helplessly. “What is a pizza!?”
“A MISERABLE PILE OF DELICIOUSNESS!” I bellowed in his face.
It just... Flames... Fla-Fl… Flames! On the side of my face. Heaving… breathless… heaving breaths.
“I don’t understand!” he replied, cowering from me somewhat.
“This can’t be true!” I seethed.
I almost exploded right there, which would have been a shame. Cleanup alone would have taken hours, and that’s only if they happened to have a load of bleach and wire brushes on hand. Luckily that was not the case. Instead, I turned around, sucked in a deep breath, increased my chi, and pivoted again to face the poor frightened chef pony. He had a slightly nervous air about him that I was undoubtedly doing wonders for with my uncharacteristically aggressive outburst.
He looked a little strange, having a rather peculiar color scheme going on. His coat was a bright yellow, almost like a Twinkie or something. Coincidentally, his mane and tail were as white as the cream filling inside of one, as well. And I had a little trouble believing he was both a stallion and a chef because A) He was not sweating at all. Cooking is hot. You sweat. No exceptions. B) His hair was long, luxurious, and shiny. He was like the bishounen of stallions, I kid you not. C) I had just walked into his kitchen and started making demands without getting my flank pummeled. You try that on Iron Chef and see how long you last. Those chefs will carve a plate of sashimi out of your ass and EAT IT, TOO.
“Okay. No, this is not your fault,” I said calmly, running a hoof through my mane to help remind myself that I had to keep a metaphorical level of chill maintained. “We can fix this. We can fix this. Alright. Okay. Sorry for the outburst.”
“I… I… It’s… okay?” he replied, confused as hell. He sounded British. Seriously. That made picking on him funnier. British Bishounen Pony is best pony?
“Thanks. That’s big of you. You’re a cool guy,” I pointed out before running a hoof over my face to help complete the combo of cool. “Alright, Cookie. We can fix this. But we should probably do this properly. First things first: What’s your name?”
“C-Cookie is my name,” he stammered, now so shocked that he wasn’t processing his brain stuff properly. “How… How did you know?”
Well, peeps, I’m not going to lie. I was definitely more than a little shocked that I had tripped over his name by pure chance. So shocked that, for a few seconds, I simply did not react as the realization began to sink in. That didn’t last long; I quickly put everything together and formed the fastest troll response ever. And thus, with the utmost of precision, I responded.
I looked to the left, then to the right. Then back to the left. And finally, I motioned for him to lean a little closer as I whispered, “Would you believe that it was… Magic?”
Well, he didn’t think it was funny, but I sure as hell did! I fell over cackling like a hyena and continued to do so for several seconds. Until “Cookie’s” assistant returned to interrupt my fun with some guards. I would say some people just can’t take a joke, but there’s this ever growing list of things you just don’t joke about. Pizza is one of them. So is chocolate, spiders, and a person’s past. Oh, and flying books, too (like I said, ever-growing).
So yeah. Now I was running from guards. All because I had an entirely reasonable outburst. Whatever. Fluttershy gets to chase a bunch of animals into the Equestria’s most noteworthy social event, but if you want to flip your shit over a pie of pizza then you’re going to JAIL! ‘Love and Tolerate’ my ass!
So I led them on a merry chase all throughout the castle, yelling obscenities back at them whenever they did that… that thing… You know the one. Where they demand you ‘stop’ or ‘freeze’ or something? Yeah, I’m running my ass away from you, but if you’re going to extend the effort to ask me to not flee, then let me be an Exemplar of Etiquette by actually obeying! Shall I also cuff my hooves together and fill out the report for you as well? Screw you, ponies! Work for your damn prisoner!
This lasted a while. Long enough for me to make the mistake of making a right turn that went straight into one of the spires. Meaning I was going in circles, up a staircase, to a place where I wouldn’t be able to get away. So… Rather than give up or something sensible like that, I decided to use their cartoon physics against them. Oh, I know that sounds like an incredibly bad idea. And it was, to be sure. But I was running out of options, and quite frankly, I was behind on my Sheer Stupidity Quota. Please, please, please keep in mind that this was a world of cartoon ponies and hopefully this won’t sound as… Well, no, let’s just be honest about it: There was no justifying this line of thought. At all.
The following line of logic is why they only let me write with crayons and not a dangerous pen (or God forbid, a pencil that’s been sharpened recently):
Brilliance #1: Oh man, I am so bucked sideways from Tuesday! These guys are relentless!
Brilliance #2: They know the layout way better than I do! Where the hell am I even going? Oh hell, I’m going up a tower. Now it’s just a matter of time before I get trapped!
Brilliance #3: Wait. This is a cartoon world! I can (Sigh…) jump off this tower and live! It’ll hurt, but I’ll escape! I’m so brilliant! And awesome!
That was it. I had signed up for the infamous Darwin Award and I was going to take the gold. I mean, there are just times you look back in life and you just cringe at what you did or what was going through your head. This one makes me want to beat my head against the wall. Like, really hard. I will never, in my many zany years, get over this single line of idiocy.
Side note: When life throws you a set of circumstances that requires you to run your sorry butt up two-hundred plus stairs, your life officially sucks. Not that your life is permanently ruined or anything, but damn. If Hell ever needs to get a headstart on making someone’s day miserable, it will involve a ridiculous amount of stairs.
Anyway, after triumphantly tackling the task of tedious tower ascension (see also: Buttload O’ Stairs), I approached a large wooden door. With four very shaky knees and a brain chock full of stupid ideas, I shoved it open and stumbled inside before slamming the damn thing shut. I turned around to take in my surroundings and locate a window, but I got distracted by the contents of the incredibly huge tower pinnacle. This had to be the royal library. The books gave it away. And when I say books, I mean this place had more shelves than my hometown’s library had individual books. I had not realized how bloody huge this spire was.
“Holy written page things, Batman!” I wheezed, somewhat flabbergasted by my surroundings. The immense room was of a circular variety with what had to be half a dozen levels, each lined with a tapering number of black curved shelves that broke apart regularly to allow freedom of movement. The floor was an indigo shag carpet, which was particularly strange. Every other square inch of the castle had been white or black marble up until this point (not to mention this was the first carpet I had seen since coming to Equestria), but the library was special, it seemed. What I eventually realized, much to my glee, was that I was not alone. In the center of this wondrous archive of literary treasure sat a pony that was too busy scribbling away to take note of my presence. This pony was the biggest reason I had not immediately begun scouring for windows to make a cartoony retreat. Because this pony was an alicorn.
I inhaled to commence my distracted freak out squee, but the sound of angry clopping royal guards was ever nearing. Also, get your mind out of the gutter.
“Crap!” I whined before turning for the door and praying for a lock. Fortune was on my side and there I found a simple sliding bar lock on the door. I slapped that sucker into place before rearing back on two hooves and cheering with my fore-hooves cast in the air.
“WOO! BEHOLD THE POWER OF PHYSICS!” I crowed loudly.
The angry hooves continued to near until making their inevitable impact with the locked barrier. It didn’t even shake from their heartfelt effort. That was one hell of a door.
“OPEN THIS DOOR!” a voice on the other side bellowed.
“KISS MY CUTIE-MARK, FLANK FACE!” I can make a pretty sweet pony insult on the fly.
“Excuse me,” said the alicorn in the center of the room.
I looked back at her and felt the urge to squee starting to boil over. The alicorn in question was none other than Princess Luna. She was right around my height with a matching corn-blue mane and tail. She stared at me with sea-green eyes that told me she just didn’t know what to make of my presence. Sitting at a table in front of a book, quill, and bottle of ink. And she was talking to me! Granted, she didn’t look amazingly pleased to see me, but that’s beside the point! I started to respond, but it did not take long for the guards to continue hollering and making an awful lot of ruckus.
“HEY!” I kicked back at the sealed threshold and snarled, “The Princess is trying to speak to me! You are being insolent by interrupting her! So shut up!”
“By Celestia’s sun! He has the princess hostage!” I heard one of them cry out in fear.
“What… I do?” I looked back at Luna, lifting an eyebrow askance. “Princess Luna, do you feel particularly threatened, withheld against your will, and-or possibly be of the opinion that your rights have been infringed upon?”
She blinked at me before tilting her head a bit and letting the slightest of smirks creep up one side of her face.
“Well, in all technicality, you have robbed me of a degree of freedom by locking us in. That could quite possibly be construed as a robbing of my rights to liberty.” I smell sarcasm.
“Right, but you have yet to try and open said door,” I pointed out in a matter-of-fact tone. “You can’t be certain that you are locked in here. Indeed, if I didn’t bother stopping you and you simply slid the lock aside, then it would be obvious that the seemingly apparent imprisonment was nothing but a misunderstanding and an assumption. And it’s very unbecoming of a princess to be so assuming!”
Her smirk. It was getting bigger. That should have been a sign. “I see. So, while you may appear to be a kidnapper, in reality you are just a friend?”
“Yes. Because friendship is magic?” I responded somewhat askance. I didn’t know where she was going with this, but she had not fed me to her stooges on the other side of the door, so I wasn’t complaining!
“Then why don’t you be a friend and open it for me, then?”
Uh-huh. Two can play this silly game.
“Because this isn’t real, your highness! Your self-perceived lack of liberties is nothing but a mental illness and this is just all in your head!” Yeah, I was going with the insanity defense. What of it?! Plausible deniability is best deniability!
“Princess Luna! Are you alright?” the ‘spokesguard’ cried out from behind the door.
Luna set down her quill and pulled herself out of the chair before cantering over my way. I could tell she wasn’t upset at the intrusion. Whatever she had been working on, it was either tedious and an interruption was welcome, or Luna really is crazy and she likes to be silly. At the time I was pretty sure it was the former but I’m going to spoil things just a little right now. Luna is crazy, okay? Absolutely bonkers. The girl just isn’t rolling with a full set of dice, if you know what I mean. If you ever see her, run in the other direction and don’t stop until her deranged giggling can no longer be heard.
“I’m not sure just yet,” she called out to the guards on the other side, “I’m locked inside the library with a stranger that claims he won’t try to stop me if I go to unlock the door. Also, I believe he insinuated that I might be crazy.”
“That’s just the insanity talking,” I shook my hoof at her, wishing I could ball it into a fist, “Those aren’t guards! They are figments of your imagination! As am I! This is a dream! Wake up, Luna!”
“Is he serious?” I heard a different pony ask on the other side of the door.
Luna just gave me a half-amused stare as she continued to approach the door. She was getting dangerously close, so I had to try one last time.
“If you open that door, you are telling your mind that it’s okay to let the madness in!” I half-pleaded, half-accused. “Don’t be weak, Luna! Oh wait… NO, LUNA, YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED!”
Damn it, Lafter. Of all the ponies to try this on. Why doesn’t Stoic ever enter the equation where ponies are concerned!?
I didn’t expect her to fall for it when I pointed at them in horror, but I shit you not, she actually paused and looked down. Well, it only took point-four seconds of time for her to realize that her sparkly loafers had no strings. The cross look she gave me was pretty much the end of my charade as I simply could not hold it in any longer.
“YOU TOTALLY LOOKED!” I shouted before erupting into laughter. A lot of times I fall over whilst laughing just to be dramatic and silly. This time I was caught so unawares by my own audacity that I couldn’t help but laugh until I could no longer stand. For a solid minute I was doing nothing but crying, laughing, and clenching my gut in hopes that it wouldn’t give out on me.
She was patient. She waited through the entire thing, her visage a mix of shame, mirth, and annoyance. I eventually ran out of breath and had to resort to breathless giggling before finally surrendering to silence from sheer lack of breath. When I finally did give out, I wiped my eyes, tittered a little more, and smiled back up at the indigo alicorn.
“You enjoy that?” she asked sardonically.
“Oh man, you…” I snickered a bit more, still struggling to accept the amount of ham I was exuding. “… You have no idea.”
“Good, because I think I’m going to enjoy this just as much.” Her reply was sweet, sarcastic, and involved the oh-so-rude gesture of her sticking her tongue out at me.
And then she opened the door.
See, I should have had some reaction time in there to use for escaping, but those guards have some crazy reaction time of their own. Luna opened that door and they blasted through there like a pressurized hydraulic hose burst. Not that I was in any shape to run away after almost laughing myself into a coma. Coincidentally, pony beatings are not best beatings. Even if you do manage to giggle like a maniac as you are dragged to the dungeon.
“This guy’s some kind of whacko. He’s probably pretty dangerous.”
“I dunno, he’s kinda nutty, but I don’t think he’d actually try to hurt anyone.”
The guards made small talk about me as they hauled my sorry butt to the dungeon and tossed me in. I would have given my input but they had me gagged as well as fully bound. My cell was nothing spectacular. It was a lovely ten by ten with the same decorative marble floors that the ballroom sported. So either Celestia loves black and white marble and wants to share with the prisoners, or this wasn’t always a prison cell.
It wasn’t until they locked the door that the unicorn amongst them untied me from the safety of the barred window. Not that I was particularly bothered by that. After all, I still had my cell phone and cigarettes. Between those two things, I was able to whittle away a couple of hours. Angry Birds, Sangband, and Youtube are amazing time killers like that.
“Comfy?” I heard the voice of Princess Luna pop in from behind the window in the door.
“Hello, Luna!” I waved at her without ever looking away from the phone. “Are you here to bring more guards to hurt me?”
“Yes, that’s him.” I could hear Celestia’s voice from behind Luna. “I won’t bother asking how this happened. I’m almost certain I won’t like the answer and I’m even more convinced he brought it upon himself.”
“And that, Celestia, is just unfair!” I called out, still keeping my eyes fixed on the screen.
If you’re wondering why the phone was so damn important, it was because I had just mastered getting my hoof to manipulate the damn thing with a reasonable amount of consistency.
“Ugh! What is that smell? Is that you!?” Luna cried out in disgust.
“No, it’s that paper roll of his. The one in his mouth.”
“Yeah, the cigarette smells pretty damn awful,” I agreed, still happily puffing away as I began to google how to pick archaic locks. “Hey, so uh… Are you guys going to let me out or is harassing the royal pony chef a felony punishable by death and-or life in prison?”
“Harassing the… No, you’re in there because you tried to kidnap my sister,” said Celestia.
I finally looked up at the two princesses peering in at me.
“But I didn’t…” I started to say before glancing at Luna who had that look on her face that told me everything. It was the way she was pursing her lips and just barely shaking from the effort to not laugh. And then it all made sense.
“Oh… Wow, I totally didn’t see that coming,” I said with a giggle, “and I totally let you open that door, too.”
I stared right at Luna who was going out of her way to not laugh right along with me. Celestia’s eyebrow arched a bit as she considered me before glancing at her sister and realizing the situation for what it was. Huffing in frustration, Celestia threw open the cell door and (not making this up) gently bopped her sister upside the head with a wing.
“Of all the… Luna!” she cried out in anger as both myself and the younger alicorn began to cackle like idiots. “Framing my guest for kidnapping and throwing him in prison is not a harmless prank!”
Luna threw her wings up around herself defensively and proceeded to laugh as though this was the last day she had to enjoy such shenanigans. Celestia tried to apologize to me over and over on her sister’s behalf, but I had to admit, that was an awesome prank. It’s only something royalty could get away with, too! Why wouldn’t you abuse that? Still, all was good and Celestia was actually very relieved to find out that I did not try to kidnap her little sister. She even chuckled a bit when I told her about the untied shoes. We slowly made our way to what I can assume was the Canterlot castle gardens. Now, I’m sure everyone is really, extra, super excited to find out what Luna is like. Well, I’m going to be honest, peeps: You aren’t missing much.
Seriously, I can totally believe that she had a hissy fit and turned into Nightmare Moon. Hell, the only two differences now areher physical appearance and rather than inflict emotional agony on the entire populace, she limits it to just a few ponies at a time.
“So, what’s so special about this guest? Are you hiring him as a court jester?” Luna asked with a knowing smile in my direction.
I snorted with a roll of my eyes as I flopped down onto the nearest bench, lighting up a new cigarette.
“Actually, I was hoping to aim his abrasive tendencies towards you,” Celestia admitted with a smirk before yawning gracefully. Don’t ask how it was graceful, it just was. In fact, any time Celestia is mentioned, just imagine gracefulness. It almost makes me want to trip her just to see if she’ll break the laws of reality by falling over gracefully.
“Well, he’s going to have to try a lot harder,” she replied with a dark smirk. “And that’s just if he wants to keep up.”
“Oh hell, I’m being intimidated!” I cried out, sitting up and stiffening with wide eyes.
After a second of silence, I flopped back down against the bench and shut my eyes. “No, wait. That’s just gas. Carry on.”
“Dramatic little foal, isn’t he?” Luna offered.
“It gets worse.” Celestia promised with a chuckle. “Anyway, before this gets further sidetracked by immature sniping, I would make introductions…”
“Wait, let me guess. That’s Princess Luna. Damn, I’m good,” I said with a smoky chuckle.
Luna playfully swooned against her sister. “Woe betide us, Tia! We stand before a master.”
“Children. Focus, please. Thank you,”
“Yes, mother,” I sing-songed in response before sitting up and running a hoof through my mane, “Eh… Serious stuff, then.”
“Oh?” Luna looked at the two of us with a lack of understanding splayed on her face.
I tilted my head, somewhat surprised, “I take it you weren’t informed that The Nightmare is back in town?”
Luna’s eyes widened before narrowing as they honed in on Celestia. “I was not. It must not be that important.”
Celestia shook her head, “Stop it, Luna, the previous day and night preceding that were both very eventful and all I wanted to do was sleep.”
“Oh no, by all means. Beauty rest before Equestrian security. It’s just The Nightmare, no reason to bother me with such trivial matters.” Luna rolled her eyes before sighing helplessly. “Whatever, it’s in the past already.”
Celestia’s expression and body language in general told me that she was about to serve it right back to Luna, but I intervened. I see enough familial drama back on Earth. I wasn’t exactly eager to witness more of it.
“Time-out there, ladies!” I felt a little silly throwing up that symbol with my hooves, but it was a good silly. “Now, before we go get Dr. Phil involved, let us instead enjoy a reasonable session of Q&A! I’ll go first. First pony to answer gets to ask the next question! What is The Nightmare? I’ve never heard of the damn thing.”
Luna, as one would expect, had that answer. The way she answered it, though… I’m not going to say it was robotic, but it was certainly… I dunno. It almost sounded like she was reading a script. “The Nightmare is a metaphysical manifestation of my darker nature. A thousand years ago, I became consumed by my anger and jealousy and it took form before me. When I embraced The Nightmare, it changed me into what everyone knows as Nightmare Moon. By the time I realized the error of my ways, it was already in control and twice attempted to shroud Equestria in a shroud of eternal night.”
That… mostly fit with everything I knew. Except for The Nightmare actually being a separate entity from Luna. What was really weird, though, was Celestia’s reaction. She was almost grimacing. As though just listening was painful for her.
“My turn.” Luna didn’t even wait for me to approve of her answer. Because she’s a jerk with a horn. “How are you involved in all of this?”
“The Nightmare tried to possess him.” Celestia answered.
I took another drag before nodding. “Yeah. I’m not sure why, though. It totally knew that I was from Earth, though.”
“Not it. She. And Earth? Is there a new kingdom I need to know about?” Luna raised an eyebrow.
I started to shout something inane, but Celestia was quicker than me.
“He’s not from this world, Luna,” she pointed out glancing in my direction. “He’s not even a pony. He’s what is known as a human.”
I don’t think it was unfair of me to expect confusion on Luna’s part. I do think it was unfair that I was suddenly being regarded as a rabid dog.
“A human!?” she shrieked, jumping back a step and casting this nifty blue bubble about me that sparkled and chimed like magic seems to do in Equestria. “Tia, you’re insane! Why are you bringing humans to Canterlot?!”
“Oh goodness, this stuff isn’t radioactive is it?” I asked from within my fabulous new prison, gingerly tapping on the closest surface with a hoof. “That might be bad for my complexion.”
Celestia was not having any of this. “Luna, if this is your idea of a joke, I have been awake for far too long to be asked to laugh.”
Guys. I can’t make this shit up. Luna replied with, “Tia, just trust me! Humans are dangerous! Their ingenuity is only matched by their bloodthirst.”
That took me all of about three seconds to digest. Normally it doesn’t take so long, but that… that was something else entirely.
“Bloodthirst?” I snickered derisively before dousing my cigarette on my tongue and flicking it against my prison. If I had been less distracted, I would have just burned it or something. “Oh Christ, I’ve not had the pleasure of hearing my species described by a non-human, yet. Tell me more, Luna.”
“Luna, let him go. I can assure you, his most dangerous trait is his shamelessness.” Celestia shut her eyes and rubbed just under her horn with a hoof. “How do you know of humans anyway? Have you met any?”
“No. But I’ve seen them before. The Nightmare and I could see them. While on the moon, we saw many worlds but the humans were the only other species we had seen,” she explained, never taking her eyes or bubble off of me, “They’re so completely different than us. Even time moves differently for them. But they have incredible technology. Especially where their weapons are concerned.”
“Woah. Multiverse theory is best theory!” I exclaimed happily. Maybe the Justice League did exist out there after all! “Oh, I can think of a few scientists that are going to scream when they figure that one out. Seriously, though. You don’t honestly think…”
She quite rudely interrupted me, “All I know is what I saw!”
“Well… What did you see?”
I fetched myself a new cigarette. I could tell I was going to need it for the sake of patience. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t anger easily. But misanthropy is one of my pet peeves. I find the truly cynical to be charmingly amusing at best and depressingly annoying at worst. So I steeled myself, not wanting to snap and hurt my chances of staying in Equestria’s good graces.
“Prisons holding hundreds of thousands!” she declared as though that should explain everything.
I gave a mirthful snort before lighting back up. “More like millions but go on.”
Celestia looked back and forth between us. I guess she wanted to get some answers as well. Or maybe she trusted Luna’s judgment enough to give her a say. Either way, I wasn’t worried.
“Images of violence and war being viewed for entertainment!”
Luna didn’t sound as confident this time. Which was good, actually. It meant she wasn’t one of those idiots that assume their first guess is correct no matter what and anyone that says differently is making an attack on them and their reputation. Seriously, you know how many people out there are like that? It’s staggering, and I’m certain I’m just reiterating what you already know.
“You’re either talking about memorials or possibly movies,” I replied with a nod and a one-hoof shrug. “Any other high notes you want to hit before I give my rebuttal?”
“Your leaders dedicate vast sums of currency towards the development of weapons. I can’t imagine why one would invest so heavily in violence.” And the supreme hostility finally tapered out.
“Right; heard enough. Somepony’s been watching a little too much Fox News.” I rolled my eyes before taking another drag and letting it out with a sigh.
“Okay. We’ll start with the top. Millions of people in prison? Yes. But when you take into account that there are seven-billion people on Earth, yes, you heard right… Seven billion. That’s a seven with nine cute, little zeroes chasing after that lucky bastard. Mathematically, you could have fifty-million people in prison and still not hit one percent of the population. I’m not saying we’re saints, but I am saying that you are judging the majority based on the minority.
“Now, your next point could have some merit if it were to be taken at face value. ‘Violent images being viewed for entertainment’? Yeah, that’s something we do. Humans can be pretty aggressive and action really speaks to the majority of us. However, no one goes in and watches just violence. They want the story behind it. Most people don’t even realize that they care more about the character rather than what the character actually does. And that’s just a fact. As cool as action is, we love us a damn good story even more. In fact, a good story can sell just about anything to a human, no matter what the genre. What I’m saying, Luna, is that you’ve taken our tolerance and acceptance of violence as a sign of sadism when really all it is for the most part is a heightened degree of desensitization towards darker topics.
“And now for the fun one: Weapons development! Yeah, sorry, I’ve got to shoot this down. I’m sure to the untrained eye that this is a terrible thing and it makes us look like a bunch of warmongers, but when you have a world full of passionate, ambitious people… Well, let’s just say you have to worry about protecting what you have. And nothing deters the greedy like a little bit of self-protection. A wise man once said, and I’m loosely quoting here: The best kind of weapon is the weapon that never need be used. No one’s going to swing a stick at a guy who’s holding a bigger stick than him. But hey, that argument isn’t for everyone so let me just promise you that I know humans better than you. It’s more necessary than you could possibly imagine. Because while most humans are content with what they have, it’s still wise to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.
“Now, finally, keep this little bit of information in mind. You don’t know me. All you know is some sensationalized B.S. conclusion you’ve drawn on your own. Now I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think you’ve ever met a single human, much less an average one. What you’re doing here is judging me based on limited knowledge. Ask yourself, if you did not know that I was a human, would you feel threatened by me? I can only imagine that you wouldn’t. Why? Because the fact of the matter is that I am no threat to you, Celestia, or even Equestria. And other than annoy a few ponies here and there, I’ve not bothered anyone. So if you would be so kind as to let me go, I’ll happily forget that you found it necessary to judge me guilty until proven innocent.”
Nothing happened for a few seconds. It was kind of a high-stress situation and everyone was trying to stay cool about it. I continued smoking, Luna continued holding me prison, and Celestia stared back and forth at the two of us as though she were having some trouble deciding whether she should take a side or stay out of it.
When the silence continued to stagnate though, Celestia decided to bring it to a close. “Luna. I think it’s obvious by now that you need to release him.”
“And why is that?” she responded, never taking her eyes off me.
Celestia rubbed at her eyes whilst yawning. “Because if you did feel threatened enough to imprison him without just cause, you would have already done it. Therefore you aren’t certain that he’s dangerous; meaning you would be detaining him on nothing but fear and assumption. And it’s very unbecoming of a princess to be so assuming.”
Celestia, you are just so awesome. If you had worded that any other way, it wouldn’t have been as awesome, but unintentionally repeating that line was exactly what was needed to break the situational drama.
“HAH!” I suddenly jumped up and pointed a hoof at Luna. “I TOLD YOU SO!”
“Tia,” Luna groaned, slapping a hoof over face as I began to guffaw like a boss.
Poor Celestia was so confused, but that was okay. It was a small price to pay for recanting the tension that had been growing ever more palpable. “Is there… something I missed?”
Luna sighed as she released me from my sparkly magic cage.
It was smooth sailing from thereon. Luna, while not as charming as before, was able to stop herself from being frigid and foul-tempered for the rest of the night. It didn’t take us long to get back on the subject of The Nightmare, not that that was a great help. To be perfectly honest, Luna didn’t know much more than we did. All she knew was that A) The Nightmare was symbiotic and needed a host for a lot of things, including the capacity to just think properly; B) She (Luna refers to it as a female and I don’t know why) wants to hurt a specific something or somepony but it can’t remember who; and C) The Nightmare is thoroughly convinced that it is a destroyer of civilizations even though it doesn’t have any compelling reason to be. We all concluded that there was only one thing we could deduce from all that: The Nightmare is nucking futs. Which sucks due to the fact that there really aren’t a wide variety of ways to go about handling the violently crazy.
Upon reaching that consensus, we moved to more pleasant topics. Such as Celestia’s change of eye-shadow colors. Which was actually me sticking my hoof in my mouth. I mentioned how it didn’t look that good on her. Only when Luna began to laugh did I realize that was just fatigue starting to show on the sun princess. Celestia was possessed of a great kindness, however, and did not smite my fuzzy grey plot into the ground for my insolence. Rather, she instead excused herself to bed and made mention that morning was going to be a little late. Before taking her leave, she politely suggested that it would be a good idea that Luna and I not kill one another during the night. We made no promises. Then we had that awkward situation where you’re with someone that you’re not sure you want to be around but don’t want to make matters worse by leaving for the sole reason of getting away from them.
Luckily, Luna showed how much of a big girl she was by stepping up to the plate of apologizingness.
“Look, I want to say I’m sorry for that just then.” She didn’t sound incredibly sincere, but then again it’s really hard to just throw off your suspicions all at once. The important thing was that she was making a genuine effort, begrudged as it was.
“Eh. I’ve had worse. No big deal,” I said with a smile before yawning. “Man, what time is it?”
I summoned up my phone and checked the time. I blinked as I realized I had just pushed a finger-sized button on the back of the phone with the same hoof that it was being held with and instantly had to keep myself from wondering how I managed that just to prevent my head from asploding. Still, I got what I wanted and discovered that it was already just past midnight.
“Wow,” I said with a chuckle, trying not to yawn a second time, “Well, we can either continue this conversation with some caffeine or you’re going to have to tuck me into bed.”
“What is that…?” Luna asked fearfully, staring at my Atrix 4G as though I were about to stab her to death with it.
“This? This is a phone. You talk to people with it. It keeps track of time. And the weather. And… Well, it’s called a smartphone, actually, because it does a whole bunch of things.”
“R… Really?” Dat mystified voice.
“Yeah, check this out.”
Seriously, I thought Twilight and Pinkie had been impressed. Luna was just straight up enthralled. And that was where the blessed friendshipping started. In retrospect, if it hadn’t been Luna, I probably would have been annoyed by all the questions. It was like Twilight all over again, except the direction of the conversation was all over the place. Weather prediction would lead into radars, which would quickly segway into recon boats, which would then take a turn towards the airforce, which led towards a classic airships-heavier-than-air-can’t-fly debate. Now, you might be wondering why I was giving Luna all this information after freaking out about telling the other ponies about humanity and everything relevant. My answer is that Luna already had a decent amount of exposure to humans on her own so I was more likely to dispel her fears more than giving her nasty ideas.
I had to hold the conversation hostage to get her to stop asking questions long enough to direct us to the kitchen (slightly off tangent – the castle’s kitchen is insanely well-stocked). Much to my dismay, ponies do not have coffee. Much to my delight, however, they have loads and loads of tea ingredients. You see, I’m probably the only American male that knows how to properly blend teas in my region. And with the proper equipment, you can make a blend of Matѐ tea that outshines coffee in flavor, aroma, and even amount of caffeine. Anyway, I couldn’t remember a good mix off the top of my head, so I did what any sensible guy with a smart phone would do: Google it.
Well, that was a mistake. Rather, answering Luna’s curious question as to what I was doing with the phone was where the mistake came into play. The idea of being able to access entire archives of information with a device no bigger than a hoof was tripping her out. I thought the first questionnaire was bad? I thought I was going to have to look up how to acid-etch a circuit board before she would let me make my damn tea! Not that I minded, I was still in the middle of an ongoing geek-out that I was getting to chill with Luna. Even coupled with that enthusiasm though, I still wasn’t able to keep up with her. So yet a second time, I had to hold the conversation hostage just to keep my wits about me. I realize I’m making the poor thing sound incredibly geeky, but let’s be honest here: Technology looks as amazing to the ponies as magic looks to us. If you can keep that in mind, you’ll have an easier time of understanding why it was freaking her out so much.
“Woah, Luna, stop right there,” I begged as I finished fetching the last of the tea’s ingredients, interrupting her spiel on how obsolete divination spells would become if ponies had access to a device such as my smartphone. Seriously, she’s something of a nerd. In a good way, though. She wasn’t being obnoxious as much as she was just being a skosh overwhelming. And I think you all can find it quite believable that I know what it’s like to become hopelessly and uncontrollably excited.
“Sorry!” She half grimaced, half smiled. “I’m just… I don’t think you realize just how incredible…”
“No, I totally realize! It’s nasty cool. And I get that containing so much excitement is damn near impossible. Just ask Twilight and Rainbow Dash. I went crazy when I first met them. Hell, I even lost consciousness,” I countered with a smile of my own. “I just need your help real quick. I need to heat this water up and I metaphorically suck so badly at magic that it’s comparable to a singularity.”
Luna processed that pretty slowly, blinking a bit before snort-laughing. By Celestia’s beard, that was almost too adorable to handle. The stupid mare nearly killed me some cruel mixture of heart failure and diabeetus.
“That was clever,” she snickered, hiding her muzzle behind a hoof as she tried to suppress her snorty snickers. “With the meta… Hee! Metaphorically sucking and black holes. That’s… -snort!-”
“Dude, you are like the least princess-y princess, ever,” I mocked with the most serious face I could muster for a solid three seconds.
Truthfully, I really couldn’t help but start to laugh as well. It was one of those times where you start laughing because someone else is trying not to laugh and failing so badly at it. This in turn causes a laughing feedback which escalates into a cacophony of two or more idiots laughing at one another laughing at one another. Laughception!
It took us awhile to get a hold of ourselves, but not before we’d spent a solid minute or more hooting it up like a pair of dumbasses.
“Oh wow,” she murmured before wiping her eyes and shaking her head at the current level of ludicrousness. “So you really need help with just warming some water? That’s pretty basic stuff, actually.”
“Umm… Yeah, I haven’t been a unicorn for a whole two days yet, so I know next to nothing, really.” I admitted, blushing as I showed her my most apologetic grin.
She jokingly rolled her eyes before letting out a sigh of faux exasperation. “Well, since you were nice enough to answer all my questions, I suppose can be bothered to do the same for you.”
“Awesome.” I floated her the cup of water and nodded eagerly. “Even if you were rude just then.”
She took that as a slight which was actually a perfect setup. “I was not!”
“Oh yeah? What’s my name, Princess of the Night?” I stuck my tongue out at her before pointing at the cup. “And heat the bloody water already.”
The shock on her face was rather entertaining. Crazy how such incredibly large details like that can be overlooked.
“My stars! Celestia never introduced you!”
Heh… ‘My stars,’ indeed!
“Nope,” I responded with a big grin before looking back at the top and frowning, “Hey, don’t forget about the water.”
“I’m sorry, how ru-…” Damn it, she almost said it, too! But unfortunately, she caught herself just before letting the damning word pass her lips and instead just gave me a sly look. “Nice try there, smart guy.”
“It almost worked. And seriously… I would totally be grateful for that water.” I should have just shut up after that. Really, I should have. I mean, her horn started to glow and she looked down at the cup of water in her hoof and I was about to have my hot tea. Instead, I opened my big fat mouth and distracted her again. I’m, like, my own worst enemy! “And on the offchance that you actually care, the name is Anon-Pony.”
She looked at me and the twinkly magic around her horn dissipated. She arched an eyebrow and stared at me as though I were speaking communism or something. “‘A Non Pony’? Really?”
“No, the water!” I cried out before face-hoofing and letting out a helpless sigh. “Anon-pony. As in a portmanteau of ‘anonymous’ and ‘pony’!”
“What…? Why would your parents name you that?”
I think it was on purpose. It had to be. She was just screwing around with me and I was too distracted by being too tired to notice at the time. I mean, she may be a pony, but make no mistake, Luna’s a master troll. I didn’t know this at the time, sadly. All I knew then was that I wanted my caffeinated tea and she wouldn’t give it to me! She wouldn’t give it to me! Why wouldn’t she just give me the damn tea?! Why was I stupid enough to continue answering her stupid questionnaire rather than do as I did before and just hold the conversation hostage?! Why did Rainbow Dash yell at the stupid stack of rocks in Party of One?!
“Luna, please,” I whimpered, sticking out my bottom lip, “The water.”
“Oh!” She was acting innocent, but I swear, I saw her struggling to not smile. Maybe it was all in my head, but I wouldn’t have put money on that being the case! The important thing, though, was that she began to heat the water and I did not speak again until it was good and steamy. “Have some.”
“Wee!” I squealed in delight, taking hold of the piping hot cup and setting it beside the tray of tea ingredients. “Finally. Let it… begin! Let it begin!”
I glanced back at her as I gathered everything in a steeping pouch and set it in the water.
“Sorry about that, I was just… Well, it just doesn’t make any sense.” And then she channeled Twilight… “You don’t lack identity. At worst you merely lack a moniker.”
Oh, that struck a nerve. I felt my bottom left eyelid twitch in fury as I continued to stir the tea bag around.
“What I mean to say is that, technically, you’re not anonymous,” she pointed out as politely as she could.
“This again?!” I lost my temper, flinging my hooves up into the air and unintentionally knocking over my teacup. I gasped in horror and dived to save it, but all I managed to do was smack the tray that held all the ingredients prepared on it and flip it on a fulcrum angled perfectly to fling it all on Luna.
“NOOO, MY BABIES!” I roared in protest despite being unable to stop the madness from happening. On instinct alone, I dived to catch the tray, but all I really managed to do was tackle the poor princess and send us smashing into a cabinet full of what was probably more precious china than the entirety of my apartment’s dish and silverware. I’m not going into details about what was said afterwards, but your hint is that Luna has quite the potty mouth. Also, some pony out there with a china teacup for a Cutie-Mark was able to retire, assuming half the shit we broke got replaced.
Well, it had been an interesting night to say the least. After cleaning up and cooling off my burning ears, - She called me a motherless blank flank! What the hell! That’s probably six times as offensive as it sounds, and it sounds downright hurtful! - I decided I would explore the atrium. I figured Luna would go do her own thing, but instead she elected to continue pestering me. Well, it wasn’t really her pestering me as much as the other way around, but she knew the risks when she chose to continue hanging around me. To be straight with you, I was actually trying to ask her questions to keep her from asking me a bunch of questions. I didn’t mind answering them, I was just afraid that things were going to take an inevitable turn towards the uglier side of humanity. Besides, Stupid Tissy Bird seemed to stay away when I wasn’t alone and I was just dandy with that.
As we walked out into the courtyard, I couldn’t help but spot the statue that I had so gracefully cracked my skull upon. I had not seen it without double vision until just then, so I was kind of shocked by its majesty. Seriously, it was huge and made of petrified wood and marble, with big dazzling sapphires for eyes. The armor was unique, and a bit flared at the edges with the helmet removed. The wings were outspread, proving to be just as large as Celestia’s, if not even moreso. I found myself wondering just who this guy was and I’d been running out of questions anyway. Besides, there were obviously a few differences between the continuity I was familiar with and the actual history of Equestria; so I figured, why the hell not, right?
“So,” I said as we approached the statue. “Who is this big ol’ hunk of pegasus?”
I moved closer to the memorial plaque that was set on the pedestal in front of the statue. It was very simple, surprisingly. No special inlays or anything, just that weird wing-ding language that the ponies have engraved into a plain plate of what was either bronze or gold. Couldn’t be certain in the dim night lighting.
“Oh. Him,” Luna replied. Her voice struggled to break flat, but there was a slight crack in her words.
I faced her somewhat, taking note of the regret that had suddenly stained her demeanor. “Memories much?”
“Bad ones,” she confirmed with a soft sigh, lifting her head a bit to look the statue in the eyes.
“Oh.” Well, shit. I didn’t want to dredge up the rough times; I just wanted to ask a few questions.
“Well uh… I know what it’s like to not want to dig up a rough past. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
Never let it be said that I am a hypocrite, even if I sometimes tend to be one!
“No, it’s fine.” She narrowed her eyes a bit before glancing my way with a sad smirk. “I had plenty of time to think about what I had done. A thousand years, in fact.”
Well, they say time heals all wounds, right?
I let out a soft chuckle. “Yeah, I guess if you aren’t going to get over it with that much time, chances are you just aren’t going to get over it.”
She let out a humorless laugh. “Indeed.”
“Well, if you’re sure it’s okay to talk about it, then who is he?” I looked back at the gibberish engraved onto the plaque. “I can’t read your freaky pictograms here.”
“Sounds like a personal problem to me,” she replied with a snicker before glancing at the pedestal in front of me. “Well, since we don’t we don’t have any six-year olds to translate for you...”
“Oh, we’ve got us a six-year old!” I interrupted her, complimenting my sarcasm with a roll of the eyes. “She just happens to be older than dirt in all actuality.”
Her snicker graduated into a full-on laugh for a few moments. I had to listen to the whole thing, too. Not that it lasted especially long, but damn, it sucks to be the butt of Luna’s humor. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.
“You done yukin’ it up over there, chuckles?” I facehoofed, unable to resist letting a snort of my own.
“Oh, I suppose,” she said with smile before looking back at the commemorative inscription. “It says ‘Winter Sky – Hero of Equestria – May the worth of your sacrifice be reflected in all our actions’.”
“Sacrifice?” I tilted my head, looking back and forth between her and the statue.
“We did battle a thousand years ago when I let The Nightmare take control. She… We killed him,” she answered, raising her gaze to stare up at the statue and letting out a remorseful sigh. “His sacrifice gave Celestia the time she needed to save Equestria from us using the Elements of Harmony. I… Well, we thought she wouldn’t be able to use them without me. I’m glad that wasn’t the case.”
If you heard the squeal of tires just before a tumultuous explosion, let me assuage your fears by saying that was actually my perception of Equestria’s cartoonyness flying into the jagged rocks of reality whereupon it detonated violently. Seriously. My jaw dropped. Not only was this a memorial to a pony that died, but the pegasus in question actually perished by way of violence. Holy hell. I just wasn’t ready for that! I wasn’t ready for that at all!
“Woah.” My eyes were not wide enough to properly displayed just how floored I was, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t as wide as they could get.
“Mmm,” she commented, still staring at the statue.
I don’t think Luna realized I wasn’t making observations about her and her past, but rather was still trying to adjust myself to the reality that there was honest-to-God tragedy here in this world. I’m serious, the idea of a pony dying to save all of Equestria was mind fragging. I’m sure it was an awesome, noble story and everything but still. Ponies dying. I guess there are some harsh facts about life that one simply does not escape from, no matter how wonderful a society you live in.
I let out a soft whistle before looking back up at the statue.
“Uh-huh.” Luna turned away from the memorial and began to trot away.
I moved to trot alongside her, blinking as I continued to struggle with the acceptance of what I had just learned. “That’s… Wow.”
“It’s a good thing I don’t have a complex related to it or anything, else you might be upsetting me.” The sardonic edge in her voice was more than enough of a hint to realize that I needed to get a grip and stop freaking out.
“Sorry. But… Can you really blame yourself?” I asked, hoping to be helpful in any way possible. “I mean, The Nightmare was the one in control, right?”
“I guess if you were one to argue semantics or were looking to dodge responsibility, then yes. It wasn’t directly my fault,” she mused aloud, keeping her voice level and calm, “But the facts are that I let my petty jealousy consume me enough that I gave myself over willingly. I may have not have swung the sword, but I was the only one that could draw it. It was a… grave mistake. One that I will never repeat within the eternity of my life.”
This was the moment in life where Luna stopped being a half-nerd, half-smartass princess to being a deep, strong-hearted individual with a silly edge and a rough past. For me, that was totally relatable. I don’t think I’m nearly as deep or strong-hearted, personally, but I can definitely say that I know where that kind of thinking comes from.
“Damn, that’s…” I struggled as I contemplated Luna’s desire to accept responsibility. “I… I don’t… Shit, I don’t know a lot of people that would own up to their actions like that. I suppose asking if you’re alright would be a stupid thing to do.”
She smirked a bit, before looking at me out of the corner of my eye. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Alright. Are you sure you’re okay with me knowing all this, though? This is some pretty candid stuff, so… I mean, I know I’d be a lot more hesitant to air out my closet like that,” I murmured, lowering my head. She made it look so easy, but anyone with a tough past can tell you that it’s a hundred times harder than it looks. And that’s with the knowledge that it doesn’t look easy to begin with.
“Well, it’s rather common knowledge. I’m sure you would have stumbled across it one day eventually,” she offered dryly.
We walked in silence for few more minutes. It was a nice break from all the zaniness I was prone to causing. I almost commented that this had to be a hallucination simply for the fact that I had not been painfully injured within the last hour. Though I will admit, that was mostly due to poor, defenseless Luna cushioning my assault on the fine china cabinet. Which was still her fault, by the way.
“Well, you suddenly make a lot more sense, at least,” I said suddenly, surprising even myself.
She arched an eyebrow at me in suspicion as we made our way out of the atrium and up the steps leading into the palace itself. “Oh?”
“Yeah.” I turned right around halfway and gently laid back on the steps, throwing my hooves behind my head and staring up at the moon. It was so much bigger than the one back on Earth. Well, it was likely the same size and just a bit closer instead. Whatever the case, it was pretty mystifying.
“And why’s that?” Luna did that pony sitting thing where they sorta just curl their legs under themselves. And it looks un-freakin’-comfortable to say the least.
“Humor as a coping mechanism,” I pointed out as I conjured myself another ‘Smokey Treat’ and lit up. “I do the same thing. Like… For everything. It takes the edge off of life’s nastier side. Helps to get me through the day. And helps a lot of other people, too.”
“Hmm.” She didn’t deign to sit, but rather conjured herself up a dark cloud to perch herself upon. “Y’know, you aren’t as stupid as you act or look.”
I stuck my tongue out at the moon. It wasn’t actually Luna, but close enough. “Well, unfortunately I can’t say the same about you.”
She snickered a bit. “Okay, okay, I’ll admit, I walked into that one. Are all humans as quick on the retort?”
“Hah!” I snorted, letting one side of my mouth curl up with a bit of arrogance. “They wish. Some are. Not many though. The best ones know how to sing or add rhythm to their comebacks, though. Those are fun. Most humans, though, don’t know how to string together a derogatory slur well enough to agitate a sink full of dishwater.”
“Huh.” She smiled down at me from her cloudy perch upon high. “You know, I’m glad I didn’t go with my gut instinct of imprisoning you without cause. You’re nothing like the humans that The Nightmare showed me. Just as dangerous, though; I’ll be lucky if I don’t have a bruise for the next week!”
“That’s because no two humans are the same.” I took another drag as I looked back up at her. “We’re so freaking diverse and numerous that there are hundreds of countries; dozens of religions; hundreds of thousands, if not millions of towns and cities.”
“I had no idea,” she mused, smiling a bit. “It’s incredible, really.”
“Hah!” I replied dryly before shaking my head. “No, this place is incredible. I mean, do you guys have wars?”
“Not with the aid of magic.”
“And crime, I hear is almost nonexistent.”
She considered that for a moment before giving a helpless wing shrug. I just wanted to punch those feathery attachments. I think you know why by now.
“It does cause quite a stir when it does come up, I suppose,” she admitted.
“Right. I hear about hundreds of crimes every week. Just within my region,” I pointed out with a tired sigh. “This place though? This is a utopia. This is where it’s at.”
Luna began to absently pick at her cloud with her hooves, glaring at it as though it were offending her. She spoke just as I began to take another puff off my cigarette, “It’s boring.”
“Objection!” I tried to croak through the smoke in my throat, causing me to hack up a lung for the next several seconds. After recovering, I defended my statement with watery eyes and a cracked voice, “This place is the shit! It’s an entire society that believes in altruism! How amazing is that?!”
“But humans have such drive and aspirations!” She sat up and directed her glare at me, throwing a hoof out as though to indicate everything around us. “Without magic, ponies would pale in comparison. Look at your technology! It looks more magical than what we use! And we use actual magic!”
If I had thought more on the matter, that would have made more sense. But my initial reaction was to dismiss such a ludicrous notion. “No way.”
“That glass of yours. The one you called a ‘Smart Phone’ earlier,” she said as she hopped off her cloud, casting a second spell to create a breeze to push away my cigarette smoke. “I saw the date, time, and weather! You may not realize how incredibly useful that knowledge could be, especially the last one. Unicorns would exhaust themselves if they tried to cast three divination spells within an hour.”
I started to contemplate the implications that she was getting at. I mean, if you were a farmer and didn’t need to guess the entire week’s weather, it could end up saving you plenty of time and hardship. And that was excluding the more impressive technology that we had access to. But a lot of it could be worked for ponies to use. Such as crop-dusting. Hell, it would cost a lot less for a pegasus to crop dust than some expensive plane with expensive fuel, not to mention you would still have to hire the expensive pilot. Anyway, this was all going through my head so I kinda-sorta forgot to pay attention to the conversation. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally ideas will race through my head so rapidly that I am no longer aware of everything that’s going on around me.
“Hellooo? Stupid human?” Luna waved a hoof in front of my face.
“Wh…?” I blinked before coming back down to Earth… Err… Equestria and looking back at her, “Oh. Hi, Luna. Have you considered pegasus crop dusting?”
“What!?” She’s so cute when she’s frustrated. “What is that and how does that have anything to do with what we were just talking about?!”
“Everything,” I said before taking one final drag off my cigarette and then held it up in my hoof. I began staring at it as hard as I could until it poofed into flame. It was getting easier, but I was still having some difficulty. It wasn’t until I saw Luna on the other side of the ashes that I got an idea. I immediately sat up with my eyes wide and my mouth hanging open.
“Wait! I got it!” I cried with a bubbly sensation welling up from the inside of the happy spot in my brain. “Okay! Get this! Since I’m going to be here in Equestria for a while, why don’t we help each other out? I’ve got the magical know-how to basically flip a pancake and that’s about it. I barely managed to grab three things at once this morning, and that was just a spur of the moment mixed in with a little bit of awesome.”
Luna raised an eyebrow and tilted her head as though she were struggling with the implications. “Wait, you want me to teach you magic? Me. The Princess. Not somepony more professional?”
“Maybe if I wanted to go about it in the most boring way possible.” I’m not going to lie. Learning magic from some stuffy professor sounded about as exciting as a prying off my fingernails with a crowbar. Which, amusingly enough, would get my heart rate up and going, but not in a good way. “And in exchange, I will answer any… Well… Most questions about humans.”
“Why only most!?” she cried with an adorable voice crack. Seriously, it was brutally endearing.
“Because there are some things I don’t want to expose ponies to,” I murmured sheepishly, “Humans can be really freakin’ horrific, Luna. And not even on purpose half the time.”
She cut a glare back at me that let me know she wasn’t satisfied with that argument. “That doesn’t seem like a fair trade.”
“You can always ask some other human… OH WAIT!” I can be a jerk sometimes.
She narrowed her eyes at me. “You’re a jerk.”
See, even Luna agrees.
“C’mon. It’ll be fun.” I got to my hooves and hopped a couple times to emphasize my excitement. “We’ll both learn stuff and if things go well enough… That is, if you can handle some slightly grittier stuff, then maybe… Keep in mind, ‘maybe’ does not mean promise! Maybe… Just maybe we can start going into the darker subjects. Maybe. MAYBE!”
She mulled that over, pursing her lips as she considered the offer with half-lidded eyes aimed off to the side. One smirk later and I knew my fate been sealed.
“One condition,” she said, her eyes meeting mine with sinister intent, “When magic training makes you cry, and it will, you have to do it in front of me so I can laugh.”
AND LIKE A DUMBASS I SAID: “Deal!”
Remember when I said that I read the fine print? Yeah, this is proof that I was full of shit when I said that.