Chapter 5: Canterlot
"Her Majesty will be here in a few minutes," a guard posted in the chamber said while looking at Twilight. She nodded as she, James, and the two guards escorting him entered the room and walked down a red carpet in the center. Then they stopped, leaving James standing in the middle alone as Twilight and the guards took up positions along the sides, several feet away from him.
Since Princess Celestia wasn't there yet, James had some time to glance around the room they had entered. He hadn't been prepared for the magnificence of it all. At the front of of the room, was a large throne that appeared to be made from solid gold, with the front portion covered in crimson velvet. At the foot of the throne, on either side of it, small waterfalls drained into a pool as clear as crystal—unicorn guards standing on either side. On the walls behind the throne were beautifully woven tapestries that he assumed must be a coat of arms representing Celestia's dynasty. Marble pillars, exquisitely carved and engraved, held up the high ceilings. He also noticed tall etched windows, which had the sun shining down on an image of their world, along with other planets that appeared in the sky. So ... They have at least some knowledge of astronomy... And they are aware that their world is round and not flat, he thought to himself.
He didn't have any more time to think about it as a door he hadn't even realized existed at first opened at the other end of the room. A white unicorn with wings—larger than any of the ones he had met so far—with a long flowing mane of pastel colors and a tail to match started walking through the door. Even from this distance, her presence inspired a sense of awe in him greater than any he had ever experienced in his life. He dared not look directly at her, averting his eyes downward in reverence. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the ponies in the room bowing as she approached. He felt compelled to do so as well and sank down onto one knee, bowing his head respectfully as she approached him.
Princess Celestia continued walking towards him, stopping when she was right in front of him. She stood still for a moment as James kept his head bowed. Then she started to slowly walk a tight circle around him. He felt rather unnerved by that, having to use all of the discipline he could muster to keep looking forward with his head bowed, rather than turn his head to try and follow her movement. After she had made a complete circle around him, which to James seemed like it took forever, but in reality, had probably only taken about five seconds or so, she stopped directly in front of him again and paused for a few seconds, once again, seeming like an eternity to James. Then she spoke.
"Let me see your face."
She spoke with a gentle, but firm voice. One that was reassuring, but at the same time, commanded authority and demanded respect. James was as awe inspired by her voice as he had been by her appearance when he first saw her. He slowly raised his head and looked at her so she could see his face. As he did so, she looked into his eyes. His sense of awe about her increased exponentially. It was as if light, air, life and all existence itself emanated from her, and that without her, all would simply cease to exist. It required all of his discipline to avoid averting his eyes from her regal appearance. James wasn't a religious man by any stretch of the word. But if ever in his life he had felt any compulsion at all to worship something, it was the majestic winged unicorn standing in front of him right now. She looked at him for a few seconds before speaking again.
"I bid you welcome, to Equestria. I do apologize for the fact that your welcome up to this point has maybe been a little bit ... awkward. But please understand, we had to be cautious."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," he said, bowing his head in respect again. "I am honored to be here, and I understand the necessity of caution," Your Majesty. That was correct wasn't it? Or was it Your Highness? Or Your Grace? Or could you use all three interchangeably? He found himself wishing he had actually taken that European history elective during his undergraduate studies now.
She started walking around him again in that tight circle. "My student has told me about you, and how you arrived here. What little even you know about how you arrived here that is. Is there anything you would like to add at this point? Anything you may have thought of after Twilight left you to report back to me?"
James thought for a moment, trying to see if he could remember anything else. But nothing came to him. "No, Your Majesty. Unfortunately, I have not been able to remember anything more than what I have already told Twilight."
"Very well," Princess Celestia responded and nodded her head. "Then we may proceed. To begin with, I do not believe that you are a threat to any of us."
He breathed an inaudible sigh of relief when she said that, feeling at least some of the stress he had been under lifting away from him. Then she continued.
"Twilight has spoken to me about what happened with Fluttershy, and also when she tried to take you into custody. I understand that fear made you react the way you did with Fluttershy. And my student admitted that she may have been a little ... how shall I put it ... over-zealous ... in apprehending you. Of course, there was fear and uncertainty on both sides. So, please forgive her zeal."
"There is nothing to forgive, Your Majesty," James said, almost shaking his head a bit to emphasize it. But then, he caught himself and remained perfectly still, like a soldier being spoken to by a superior officer. He wasn't sure if that's how you were supposed to behave around royalty or not. The closest he'd ever been to royalty, well, at least in the physics community he was royalty, was the time Stephen Hawking had visited FermiLab. But that was different and less formal. In this case, he figured the don't move unless told to move approach was probably best.
Princess Celestia smiled at his quickness to forgive, although James did not see the smile from his position on his knees. Then she lost her smile, knowing what she was about to say next would not be easy on him.
"She also told me of your desire to return to your homeland. Although I fully understand that desire, I have decided that we cannot, and therefore will not attempt to return you to your homeland."
With those words, the weight that been lifted from him was back on him as surely as if a freight train had slammed into him. "But, Your Majesty," he started to protest. She cut him off.
"I have spoken with my top science advisors, as well as my top magic advisors. As you can no doubt imagine, it can sometimes be rather difficult to get them to completely agree on anything. But they are all in agreement that it is beyond our current capabilities in either science or magic to send you home," she stopped in front of him and looked at him before continuing. "You know this to be true James. We don't know where you came from. You don't know how you got here. Neither you nor any of us knows where your homeland is in relation to here. We don't even know if it is in the same universe or dimension. The fact that you arrived here instead of somewhere in the cold interstellar vacuum, or simply disintegrated, is against all odds. It would be foolish, and almost certainly fatal for you if we were to tempt those odds again. I have no desire to disintegrate you or teleport you into the vacuum of space, James."
"Yes, Your Majesty," he responded in an obviously disappointed voice, bowing his head a bit more in deference to her. He knew she was right. He didn't want to accept it, but he knew there was no realistic way, other than the hope he still held that he would wake up from a dream, to return him back to where he came from.
Princess Celestia looked at him sympathetically before continuing. "That being said, since I do not believe you are a threat, I have no desire you keep you imprisoned here. However, I do not believe it would be wise, either for you or us, to simply send you out on your own in a world where you cannot read the alphabet, have no familiarity with our laws and customs, have no local currency, and do not know your way around," another brief pause. "My student, whom you have already met, has offered to let you stay with her in Ponyville for at least the next three months. And that is what I have decided to do."
James caught a glimpse of Twilight out of the corner of his eye and noticed that the child in a candy shop / predatory look had returned to her eyes. That caused him to wince internally. "I greatly appreciate the offer, Your Majesty. But I do not wish to impose."
"You will not be imposing. And besides, I insist, and so does Twilight."
"Again, Your Majesty, I appreciate the offer. But I really do not want to impose."
Princess Celestia rolled her eyes a bit, then spoke in a more authoritative tone. "Dr. Peterson. I INSIST that you stay with my student, Twilight Sparkle at least until you have become somewhat familiar with Equestria and our laws and customs. If this living arrangement is not to your liking, your cell in the dungeon is still available if you would prefer."
He winced at the thought of going back to the dungeon. "Uh ... On second thought, Your Majesty, I graciously accept the hospitality of your student, Twilight Sparkle."
"I am pleased that you changed your mind, ", she chuckled a brief moment to lighten the mood. "Are all of your kind as stubborn as you are?"
"No, Your Majesty. Not all of us. Just the ones that want to succeed in life."
"There is more to success than simply being stubborn, James. And stubbornness can be a serious detriment to success if it prevents you from accepting help when you need it," she admonished him.
"Yes, Your Majesty", he responded, although deep down, part of him was a little annoyed that he had just been rebuked by a talking pony ... even if she was an alicorn that was also royalty.
Her voice became more gentle and soothing again. "I know this is very stressful for you, and is a lot to absorb all at once. But I strongly advise you to do your best to enjoy your time with Twilight. I am sure there is a lot that you both can learn from each other."
"Your Majesty ... I accept the hospitality, but I still do not want to be a burden."
"You won't be. Her normal assistant is away at a summer program for the next few months. You can fill in as her assistant and help her with her research."
"Thank you, Your Majesty. I shall do so to the best of my ability."
"I know you will," she smiled. "Tomorrow morning then, you will travel to Ponyville with Twilight. I imagine you must be exhausted after all you have been through. To make up for the uneasy original welcoming, I have arranged for you to spend the night in one of the castle guest rooms. There are still a couple hours of daylight left. Feel free to have a look around Canterlot with Twilight if you would like," she smiled again.
"Thank you, Your Majesty. I will be honored to stay in your guest room."
She leaned her head down and nuzzled the side of James's face comfortingly and reassuringly. Her gentle touch sent a shiver through his body as once again he was filled with a sense of awe and amazement. Then she touched the tip of her slightly glowing horn to the strange enchanted cuffs he was wearing on his wrists. The locks on them magically opened, the cuffs falling off of his wrists to the ground, finally freeing him from the strange sensation they had been making him feel.
"I know this is hard for you," she continued. But please do not be afraid to ask Twilight for help when you need it, or to share your troubles with her. Everypony will be willing to help you. Goodbye for now James. We will keep in touch through letters and we will see each other again in a few months time,", she said as she took a few steps backwards.
As she started to leave, every pony in in the chamber bowed low again. James followed suit, bowing his head once more, still on his knees. Only after she had left, did he finally rise back to his feet. He rubbed his wrists a little bit where the cuffs had been as Twilight and the two guards he had been with earlier started walking towards him again.
"See James? I told you she would be fair and just, and that you had nothing to worry about. So what do you want to do? Just head to bed? Or take a look around Canterlot for a bit?"
James didn't respond. It was almost like he had not even heard her. He was just staring in the direction of the grand throne and seemed to be off in his own world.
Twilight moved in front of him and looked at his eyes. "Uh James? Are you with me?"
James blinked and shook his head. "What? Oh yeah ... Sorry ..."
"Yeah ... So do you want to just go to bed? Or would you like to take a look around Canterlot for a bit?" she repeated her question.
"We can ... look around for a bit. I'd like to see at least a little bit of it before we leave tomorrow morning," he responded, although his mind still seemed to be somewhere else.
Twilight nodded and smiled as she lead James out the same door they had come in. "Guards, you may leave us now. Thank you for your service, my good sirs."
Both of the guards nodded at her before turning and marching away, disappearing down a corridor in the castle.
He lost track of, although he wasn't really paying attention anyway, to how many corridors they walked down before they finally came to the main castle entrance. The guards unlocked and opened the large doors. Twilight lead James outside as they started to walk down the marble steps and into the courtyard. She moved to the side so that James was walking next to her now as they descended the last step and entered the courtyard. She looked at up at his face a couple of times, but he still seemed to be off in another world as they continued walking across the courtyard.
"What's on your mind, James?" she finally asked.
James hesitated for a few moments before he finally decided to go ahead and say what was on his mind—in a somewhat bewildered sense of tone that suggested what had just happened inside the castle had really messed with his mind. "So ... So ... What is she? Is ... Is she ... a deity? A goddess or something?" he finally asked.
"Do you think she is a deity, James?" Twilight responded in a tone that made him feel like she was a teacher asking a student a question, and expecting to get the correct answer.
"I don't believe in deities. But she's definitely not just your average princess," he responded, coming out of his bewilderment now, almost like a switch had been thrown. It was as if he had forgotten, but suddenly reminded himself that he didn't believe in goddesses or deities.
"And why don't you believe in deities?" she walked in front of him and stopped.
James stopped as well so he didn't run into her. "Because I can't observe them, or study them, or measure them."
"Can you observe a black hole?" she asked?
"No, not directly."
"Then how do you know they exist?"
She was doing it to him again! Responding to his questions by asking him questions. He found it a little annoying. He wasn't annoyed with her really. He was annoyed with himself because he was allowing her to trip him up. Nonetheless, he responded to her question.
"We know they exist by observing the effects they have on objects around them," he finally responded.
"Ah. Now maybe we are getting somewhere. You can't see the actual black hole itself. But you can determine where it is based on observing how gravity affects objects around it," she grinned at him.
"But it's not the same with deities," he shook his head. "There are any number of more likely and more logical scenarios that can explain most natural phenomena without resorting to the idea that a deity is responsible. With black holes, the only logical explanation is an intense gravitational field, that we logically deduce must exist even though we cannot directly observe it."
"That may be true. There are other explanations, some of which may be more logical. So what it really comes down to is that you don't believe deities exist, because you've never seen one. Right?"
"I guess you could put it that way ..."
"And what about your Higgs boson particle? If it exists, how will you know it when you see it? Because you know what a Higgs boson event should look like. So if you see one, you will know that's what it is. Right James?", Twilight questioned.
"Right," James nodded, still amazed at this purple unicorn's grasp on astronomy, physics, and logic, as well as her debating skills.
"Well, do you know what a deity should look like?" she asked rhetorically. "Then how would you know if you have ever seen one or not?"
James hesitated for a moment before responding. "So for the sake of argument, even if she is a deity ... She's not omniscient or omnipotent ... Because she said that she could not send me home, and did not know how to."
"Maybe she can send you home but has chosen not to," the unicorn responded matter-of-factly.
"Why would she do that to me?"
"Well, consider the odds that you're here in the first place, and how astronomically small they are given all of the places you could have ended up. Maybe it is fate that you are here?"
He shook his head. "I don't believe in fate either."
"Well, for the sake of argument, if it is fate. Then maybe she cannot interfere with it. After all, imagine the potential consequences to future events and the fate of others if the fate of one pony ... or human in your case, was interrupted. Given that so many events are intertwined, and have a cause-effect relationship. Even deities may have to play by some Universal rules, James."
He was about to answer her when he was interrupted by the cyan pegasus he had seen earlier suddenly landing directly in front of him, which is to say, almost right on top of him.
"There you two are!", she looked at them, although when she looked at James, it was more like an irate glare. He was somewhat glad she had shown up and interrupted things though. The conversation he had been having with Twilight had been starting to make him uncomfortable.
"Rainbow. Why didn't you go back to Ponyville with the others? There was no reason you had to stick around here," Twilight responded.
"Heh! You didn't think I was gonna leave you here alone with him, did you?", she glared at James again. He couldn't resist the urge to glare back at her.
Twilight rolled her eyes. "He's not a threat, Rainbow. And even if he was, I think I can handle him. You saw what happened in the forest."
James sighed at the reminder of how handily she had taken him down in the forest.
"Only with my help cause I distracted him!" the cyan pegasus responded irritably. "And besides, I could have taken him by myself. If you hadn't cast that spell on him!"
"Right ... Sure you could have ...", James interrupted incredulously—the cyan pegasus getting on his nerves a bit.
Rainbow glared at James again. "Ten seconds flat!"
He blinked at her. "Uh... Ten seconds flat what?"
"That's how long it would take ME, the One and Only Rainbow Dash, to put YOU on the ground. Ten ... seconds ... flat!"
Twilight rolled her eyes while James gave Rainbow an are you serious? look.
"Don't believe me do ya? you want to have a go? Right here? Right now?", Rainbow challenged, glaring at the human again.
Twilight stomped her hoof in frustration now. "Rainbow, that's enough! We are right in the middle of the castle courtyard! You'll end up sharing a dungeon cell with him for the night if you two fight here! Besides, you will have plenty of time to taunt him later. He's coming back to Ponyville with me and he will be staying with me at the library for the next several months."
Rainbow suddenly stopped glaring and blinked a few times. Then she started giggling, which quickly turned into all out laughter, drawing glares from both Twilight and James now.
"He's staying with you? Hah hah! For several months? Hehehe! You two eggheads are gonna fry each other's brains in just the first two or three days! Hah!"
Rainbow continued laughing for a bit longer, before finally getting control of herself. Then she glared at James again. "We will continue this later!" she reared up, shooting off into the sky, faster than James thought it should be possible to accelerate.
"... Well, that was interesting ..." he said, looking back at Twilight now.
Twilight shook her head. "You will have to excuse her James. She's extremely loyal to her friends, and it sometimes causes her to be a little overprotective and aggressive. But there isn't a more loyal pony alive anywhere in Equestria. Once she warms up to you, there isn't anything she won't do for you."
"I certainly hope so. I don't think I could deal with her doing that to me every day," he managed to chuckle a bit and then started walking again. After taking a few more steps, he turned around and looked up at the castle they had left.
Once again, he wasn't prepared for what he saw. It was far larger and more impressive than he had imagined, even from being inside of it. There were at least seven or eight towers, maybe more on the other side that he could not see, rising from the castle. He wasn't sure what they were made of, but they were as white as snow, and glistened in the sun. The spires on top of the towers were covered in what he believed to be solid gold. Not only did this society of ... ponies ... have advanced knowledge of architectural engineering, but they also obviously had access to a great amount of natural resources, and the ability to harvest them. What he had originally assumed was a primitive tribal system of ponies was starting to look more and more like a vast and powerful empire.
He noticed that Twilight had started to get ahead of him a bit, so he turned around and jogged for a second to catch up with her before falling in beside her again.
"Does Equestria control this entire world?" he asked.
"Not all of it. The western border is a town called Appleloosa It's a long ways away from here though and is basically in the middle of nowhere. West of that is frontier country that is controlled by uh ... tribes," she thought it was probably best not to mention the sentient buffalos just yet. He hadn't even fully accepted the idea of sentient ponies, and she didn't want to overload him with too much at once. "There is also Everfree Forest. That used to be part of Equestria, but it was abandoned over a thousand years ago. And to the east, there is ...", she stopped noticing James had turned his head again and was looking at something else.
James was watching another unicorn walk past in the other direction, but it was dressed in a formal uniform. It resembled a cross between a military uniform and an expensive business suit. There were various patches sewn onto the uniform / suit, one of which depicted a unicorn rearing up on its hind legs, a pony in the same pose, and a flying pegasus, arranged in a circle. Around the edge of the circle, words were written in a script he did not recognize. It was obviously some type of official emblem. Another patch sewn on the uniform, he clearly recognized as being Princess Celestia's coat of arms. The same one that he had seen hanging on the banner behind her throne in the castle.
"Is that one military?" he asked Twilight, looking back at her now.
"Him?" she glanced at the unicorn before looking back at James. "No. Not exactly. He's faculty at the Royal Equestria Academy I mentioned to you earlier."
"They have to wear uniforms?" James asked incredulously—a tone indicating he was clearly disgusted by the idea.
"They are representatives of The Princess herself, James. All Academy faculty are nominated personally by her. Then they undergo extensive interviewing and testing. If they make it through that, they are finally personally approved by her. So yes, they have to wear uniforms."
She had noticed his disgusted tone of voice, of course. But she chose to ignore it. She knew it was going to take time before he would adjust to and accept a culture so foreign to him. Some things, he would probably never accept or be comfortable with. She knew that. Other things would take time. And she thought it best to let things happen at their own pace when he was ready for them to happen.
Definitely a military indoctrination style of education system, James thought to himself and frowned. He hated the idea. This Academy was even worse than the first impression he had gotten when she first mentioned it to him. Not only was it based on indoctrination, but The Princess herself personally chose all of the educators that worked there. Obviously, she would only choose those loyal to her and her agenda—those who would indoctrinate the young generation into her way of thinking and the belief that her rule was supreme and in their best interests. It was classic despotism.
"And the students. Do they have to wear uniforms as well?"
"No. Actually the students don't. Only faculty do. Again, they are selected by the Princess herself. So they are required to look their best at all times, and always set a good example in dress and behavior."
"It's too formal for my tastes," James shook his head. "Needlessly formal. At the lab where I worked, you'd be lucky to see anyone who wasn't dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt. Scientists don't have time to worry about things like formal dress codes," he asserted.
"Oh ... So that's why you were dressed like such a slob when we found you," the unicorn smirked as she teased him.
"Hey now! At least I was wearing some clothes. Which is more than can be said for you. You aren't wearing anything at all!" he retorted.
Twilight chuckled. "Don't worry James. You'll find that Ponyville is a lot more laid back and informal when it comes to things like dress code. The ponies of Canterlot really love their aristocratic traditions and formalities in dress and mannerisms. It comes with living in the city that is the center of political power for all of Equestria I suppose. You'll find that most other parts of Equestria are far less formal ... Well, with the possible exception of Manehattan, which is the center of economic power for Equestria."
"That's a relief," he sighed.
"And don't let your blue jeans and t-shirt bother you too much. Applejack would probably find you attractive in blue jeans and a t-shirt. She goes for that rugged cowboy look," she giggled as she continued to tease him mercilessly.
James rolled his eyes at that. "It's a good thing you are talented with magic, Twilight. Because you wouldn't do well as a comedian," he retorted and smirked.
Twilight just giggled again as they continued walking, finally coming to the edge of the courtyard and walking through the gates, leaving the castle proper and entering the grand city of Canterlot that was built up around the castle itself.
Of course, there were a lot of eyes on James and Twilight as they walked down one of the busy Canterlot streets. Word had spread quickly about his arrival, so the residents of Canterlot were not completely surprised to see him. Some simply stared at him. Others came up to great him, which he politely did. Others kept their distance and seemed slightly unsure and frightened. And still others, glanced at him and then paid him no mind at all, as if he were nothing out of the ordinary.
The young fillies and colts, however, were a different story. Their young minds were still untainted by fear and mistrust, and were full of curiosity and desire to learn. Not only did they rush to great him, but many would jockey for position to get closer to him, and intentionally brush up against him. He felt as if he were some kind of celebrity that was being fawned over. James was an introverted scientist, and preferred to avoid social situations as much as possible. All of the celebrity attention he was getting from the curious youngsters was making him rather uncomfortable. He did his best to smile at them, say hi to all of them, and answer their questions. But as the group around him gathered strength in numbers, answering their questions became more and more difficult. He simply couldn't keep up with the rate at which they were being asked anymore. He continued to try to do his best, but he started casting distressed glances at Twilight—glances that pleaded with her please, get me out of here.
Fortunately, Twilight had mercy on him. She closed her eyes in concentration and her horn started to glow.
James wasn't sure what had happened. But suddenly he was no longer circled by the crowd of fillies and colts that had gathered. He and Twilight were now about a hundred feet away from them. He had a very brief headache and a short period of vertigo, but it passed in just a couple of seconds. Twilight gestured back towards the castle courtyard, and James immediately understood what she wanted and followed her.
The gathered fillies and colts looked around for only a few seconds, trying to figure out where he had gone. "There he is!" one of them shouted, and they quickly started following after him and Twilight. Fortunately, Twilight and James were not far from the courtyard now, which they quickly entered.
A collective groan of disappointment arose from the gathered crowd of youngsters. They knew better than to pursue him into the castle courtyard. Some of the bolder ones tried anyway, but the guard ponies at the courtyard entrance kept them at bay with threats of marching them home to their parents if they didn't start maintaining order amongst themselves.
Twilight and James both breathed a sigh of relief now that they were safe in the courtyard. James felt kind of bad that he had taken away the youngsters fun, especially given their curiosity and desire to learn about him, where he was from, and so on. But the crowd had been getting a little large and out of hand, and the questions were becoming impossible to answer because too many were being asked at the same time.
"Sorry about that," Twilight finally said.
"It's alright ... I can understand why they would be curious. I feel kind of bad actually for leaving them like that."
"You don't need to feel bad. It was getting out of control and impossible to deal with. We had to break it up."
James felt a bit better now, knowing that Twilight was on the same page as he was regarding it.
"Come on. I'll show you to your room. I just remembered, you must be famished. You haven't eaten anything since you arrived here. The castle kitchen will be more than happy to deliver a meal to your guest room."
He hadn't thought about it until she brought it up, but yes, he was starving. He followed Twilight back into the castle and through several corridors, as well as up several staircases before coming to a large door. There was a guard pony posted it out in front, wearing the same golden armor he had seen on the guard ponies that he had encountered in the dungeon. The guard pony nodded respectfully to Twilight and then opened the door for the two of them.
James entered the room and stopped, blinking. "Wow! And I thought the Ritz Carlton was high class ..."
"The Ritz what?" Twilight tilted her head.
"The Ritz Carlton. It's a 5-star luxury hotel chain where I am from. But it's nothing compared to this. This is incredible," James said as he looked around. The room was huge and had a very large bed in it. The linens on the bed appeared to be made of fine silk, and the bed posts looked to be carved marble of exquisite craftsmanship. On the walls, there were several tapestries depicting unicorns, and pegasus in majestic poses—poses intended to depict power, such as rearing up on their hind legs, or charging. James also couldn't help but notice the same coat of arms banners hanging on either side of the wall at the head of the bed. The ever present reminders of Princess Celestia's power and rulership were a bit much for him. But he wasn't about to say anything about it. He finally spoke again after looking around.
"So what's with the guard pony outside the door?"
"He's uh ... Your personal assistant in case you need anything," Twilight responded.
"In other words he's here to make sure I don't try to sneak off on my own in the middle of the night," James retorted.
"Uh ... yeah ... Something like that" Twilight sheepishly looked at the floor.
James just chuckled a bit. "It's ok. I understand. It's not like I'd have anywhere to go anyway."
She looked back up and smiled, relieved that he had taken it in stride. "Oh. About dinner. I guess I better help you order, since you won't be able to understand the script used on the menu. Uh ... hay salad? Hay shake?"
He raised an eyebrow. "... Hay?", he questioned.
"Oh ... Not your thing I guess ... Um ... Green salad and oat bran muffin to go with it?"
"Yes, that will be fine. Thank you," He wasn't going to be real picky tonight. He had hoped for some meat, but he thought it best not to ask about it right now. He just wanted to get some kind of food in him and then fall into bed.
"Alright. Salad and bran muffin it is then. Someone will bring them to you shortly. I will leave you for the night now, but I will be back to get you early in the morning. At dawn."
James simply nodded in response.
"Good night, James," she said as she left the room.
"Good night, Twilight."
"Oh, and James?" she stopped.
"Welcome to Equestria," she started walking again.
"Thanks ... I guess," he muttered to himself, too quiet for her to hear.
James looked around the room a bit more. He noticed a large door at the other end, but didn't bother to see what was behind it. He assumed it was just the bathroom. He also noticed an oak desk against one wall. There was no chair at the desk. Just a crimson colored cushion on the floor for sitting on. It had obviously not been designed with humans or other biped species in mind. There was a stack of blank paper on it along with an inkwell, and a quill.
"A quill ... How quaint.", James said to himself.
Then there was a knock at his door.
"It's unlocked ... At least I think it is," James called out.
The guard pony opened the door and a unicorn wearing something that resembled a tuxedo came in, controlling a covered silver tray that was floating above his horn, similar to how Twilight had controlled the glass of water earlier. James made a mental note to himself to talk to Twilight about that whole telekinesis thing again.
"Your meal, sir."
"Thank you ... Uh ... I'd like to tip you, but I'm afraid all I have is a Visa credit card and a few U.S. Dollars," he frowned. For some reason, it dawned on him that his Visa payment would be late soon. He wondered if they would accept the excuse that he was in another world.
"Your money is no good here, sir. In more ways than one," the unicorn said and smiled.
James nodded respectfully. "Thank you, good sir," he felt stupid saying that, and didn't know if it might sound stupid as well. He didn't have any experience with high class aristocratic society. But he was trying to do his best here.
The unicorn nodded back "You are quite welcome," he said before turning and exiting the room, the guard pony closing the door again behind him.
James sat down at the cushion in front of the desk and removed the cover from the silver tray. The food inside was amazingly delicious. Of course, given how long it had been since he had last eaten, just about anything would have tasted good right now. He consumed it quickly and then washed it down with a glass of water that had been included with the meal. Then he yawned, realizing just how exhausted he really was after everything that had happened.
He sat there for a few more moments before finally standing up and going over to the bed and climbing into it. It was, without a doubt, the most comfortable bed he had ever laid in. He tried to go over everything that had happened in his head, but exhaustion and unparalleled comfort of the bed he was in worked against his attempts at thinking. He yawned again. Within minutes, he was sound asleep.