The Human Pet

by RushyFiction

Chapter 26


The way you see it, success depends on two things: originality and consistent production. As an alien to Equestria, you are the embodiment of the first. And as a dependent leech, you're pretty much the second too. Win-win!

After a few funny charades and illustrations explaining your plan, you manage to convince Sweetheart to help you sell your drawings and buy you painting supplies. You don't really consider yourself talented by any measure of the word - but with a bit of marketing, you don't doubt you'll have all the little ponies from here to Cloud City eating out of your hands. After all, who wouldn't want a drawing made by a bona fide alien hanging on their wall?

The very next day, when Applebutt drags her cart over to the cottage, you and Sweetheart are already waiting, your burlap sack full of finished paintings, empty canvases and the supplies you'll need to make a few on the spot. The farmer has her usual stuff on the cart - several bags of big, ripe, delicious-looking apples ready for customers, and a rickety wooden stand attached to the whole thing by rope, presumably meant for you two. You see Applebee waving at you from atop the bags on the cart, her mane tied up in a neat bow as usual. It induces a genuine smile out of you and you wave back before putting your sack amongst the others on the cart.

As you do that, Applebee mischievously jumps off of the cart and pounces onto your back. "Whoah!" You exclaim, nearly falling over. "Jesus!" Turning your head around, you reach over to scratch her soft yellow neck, making the filly hum at the attention she's receiving. "Heh, love ya too." After adjusting Applebee's position on your back a little, you follow the farmer mare as she pulls the cart away from the cottage and towards the town. Sweetheart follows you, giggling behind her hoof.

"One of these days I'll find something I'm actually good at." You sigh, squirming a little as you look at the paintings you've made thus far and just put up for sale. "And then keep drawing because what I'm good at probably ain't worth a penny."

It's a slow trickle at first - a few curious ponies, possibly tourists, who want something neat to put on their wall. The lack of attention for the first few hours (especially compared to Applebutt, whose applebags are emptying faster than your stomach after spicy wings) sours your mood a little and you're left kicking stones around until a hoof taps on your back. "Hm?"

You turn around to find a small grey mare with a golden lazy eye and a grumpy pout glaring back at you. She's out of uniform and without a mailbag, but you recognise her instantly. "Oh, hey, Bubbles. Listen, I'm really sorry I missed all those morning scritches." You reach out to ruffle her blonde mane, but she takes a step back and humphs loudly, turning pointedly away from you.
"Bubbles!" you whine.

"M-km!" The pony grumbles and flops down onto her rump, crossing her front hooves.

Well, if she's already here... you sit on one of the bags of apples, cross your legs and put your canvas on your knees to draw. As your pencil forms shapes, you start noticing Bubbles stealing glances in your direction, clearly curious about what you were going to come up with. As your gaze matches her eye, the pegasus whistles conspicuously, pretending her other eye is the good one. You smile and shake your head.

Not wishing to keep her waiting for too long since this one's on the house, you don't make the picture too elaborate. A little dash of paint is all it needs and you turn it around, revealing a cartoonish image of a biped and a grey pegasus sitting together on top of a giant dark brown muffin, with more muffins raining around them. "Right, this is your very own Muffin Planet. There's the Spring Of Black Tea, take note of the sugarcube boulder. And that's me... and that's you. And it's definitely chocolate. Now then, may I?" You extend a hand.

Bubbles giggles light-heartedly and closes the distance between the two of you. You gently rake your nails across her velvety grey cheek, retreading the same paths again and again, resulting in a slightly dopey-looking grin as a result of her criss-crossed eyes. It's funny. You muse. They think just like me, yet all of them are so open, almost needy for affection.

She stays your hand with her hooves and takes the initiative, smushing her snout inside your palm and then resting her chin on it, looking up at you with a carefree, trusting gaze. Or maybe I'm the needy one and they can all sense it like dogs back on Earth. Heh.

By mutual unspoken agreement, you pull each other into a tight, reassuring hug. And at that moment, it doesn't really matter that you can't speak or even really know or understand one another on a mental level - you are just two living beings clinging to this wild universe, reminding each other that whatever this madness all is, you're in it together. And you're both just a little less afraid.

One of the ponies who wanders into the town square is the Goddess of fashionistas, in the middle of a shopping spree. Seeing your ignominious little stand, she tuts to herself and trots over to the three of you. After an exchange with Sweetheart, the unicorn drops her two saddlebags to the ground and uses magic to pull out a large roll of paper and some scissors. She also levitates your largest brush and your can of purple paint over to you, pointing at the stand.

You glance towards Sweetheart for a second, and get to work after she gives you the affirming nod. It's makeover time! Painstakingly, you color the entire stand a glorious, attractive, deep royal purple as the mares work on an eye-catching sign. By the time you're all finished, the three of you start getting dirty looks from Applebutt, standing right next to you in front of her trusty, but comparatively unimpressive cart.

Entirely warranted too, as the Goddess, generous as all hell, also goes the extra mile by promoting your products. You watch as the white unicorn mare excitedly converses with the unsuspecting potential customers in the square, her cerulean blue eyes lidded enticingly in a brilliant use of feminine charm, her muzzle permanently crooked in an approachable, benevolent smile and her hooves emphasising every word she says. Oh yes, the Goddess knows how to sell. And what's more, she loves it. From every street attached to the square, curious ponies pop out, following her lead as if she's heading a procession and, with slightly dopey expressions, come to check your merchandise.

The strangest thing of all are the noises they all make as they join her lead. It's all horse sounds to you as per usual, but it sounds oddly... unified. More of a choir than a ruckus. You're also taken slightly aback by the absolute lack of scuffling and cutting in line in what's an increasingly larger crowd. Sure, they're ponies and you don't doubt there's a bit of that herd spirit in them, but your customers seemed extraordinarily well... choreographed.

Oh well. You shrug and whistle to a random tune in your head as you hand out your paintings like a well-oiled factory machine and observe the pile of shiny gold bits behind the counter only grow and grow as every cute mini-horse happily goes along with one, or two, or five paintings on his or her back, only to find themselves right at Applebutt's cart where the little yellow filly, sitting on a pile of cash, gleefully stuffs an apple in each and every passing pony's mouth as her older relative collects the money.

By God, we're gonna be richer than McDuck. You giggle inwardly and catch the Goddess's eye as she orchestrates the mob from the very center. The white unicorn mischievously winks at you and you wink straight back.

The entire operation comes to a screeching halt at a loud, extremely high-pitched whinny. The crowd stalls, making way for a most unusual sight: two fillies approaching your stand, one dragging an expensive-looking carved wooden table behind her. The poor, working spectacled filly looks rich enough - she has blue pearls around her neck and her glasses look expensive and chic - but the image is ruined by her need to wear an old oversized brown saddle, attached to the table she's dragging behind her with all the force she could muster in her underdeveloped muscles.

You aren't concerned with her at all though, no... you're worried about the bright pink filly with a familiar toothpaste-styled mane and tiara next to her. Last you'd seen her, she was sad and lonely. But now her eyes blazed again, fixed on you as if nothing else existed in the world. In her mouth is a red, silky sheet. Once the two stop in front of your stand, the exhausted grey filly collapses on the ground, heaving. Completely ignoring her, Toothpaste rears up in front of the table, motioning for you to help her on the table. Curious now, you get off the ground and move beyond the counter to grab the pink filly's sides and lift her up.

On the table, the filly gives you a thankful look and pets your hand a little before spitting out her silky sheet. She lays down onto the table, draping the sheet over the bottom half of her body and propping herself up with an elbow, her head resting against her hoof. As for the filly's other hoof, it drifts down onto her fluffy chest and side, caressing the contours of her body in a remarkably calculated fashion for her age.

The innuendo was clear to everyone: Draw me like one of your Earth fillies.

You gulp, staring down the wicked filly as she takes obvious enjoyment from blatantly flirting with you in front of the entire town. Terrific. First person to ever have a crush on me is a tiny pony. That's one for the grandkids.

Still, the customer's always right, so you pick up your last empty canvas, place it on the counter and draw a sketch of the coquettish filly, doing your best to ignore the wave of snickering passing over the ponies as they all stick around to spectate. Because of course they do. Feeling a little spiteful, you resolve not to just throw out any old drawing - the pretty filly wants a fancy portrait? Then the pretty filly will just have to lie there and be a good little model as long as you say. That's right.

Four hooves and a long, long, long tail and some wings - no, wait. No wings. But a paw? Surely there was a paw... you feel beads of sweat gathering on your forehead as your frustration with Toothpaste's antics and the tension from your unwanted audience causes your concentration to lapse. Memory and routine take a hold of your hand, and they have a different picture in mind. Draw the filly, not the princesses' statue. You think to yourself. Maybe I can compensate by drawing her as a feline. I already made the paw.

Alright then, it'll be a bit surrealistic, but whatever. Oh, but the tail! You hadn't drawn a proper pony tail at all, but the elongated snake form of the bizarro creature! And you were out of canvas now! Oh, what a cruel and unforeseeable fate! Defeated by the rather magnificent madness of the monarch of mischief- shut up, brain! What the fuck are you on about?! Behind you, you can hear Applebee snickering to herself as she sees what you've made of her enemy.

Feeling feverish, you hurriedly add a few background details to the painting and hand it over to the filly, and push her off as she tries to kiss your cheek in return, the lips only touching your palm.

Lightheaded and weak, you gulp down several tall glasses of iced tea in Cutie Pie's candy shop as Sweetheart rubs your back in obvious concern.

Damn, that was weird. I never go mental like that. How long were we out there selling? Sun probably fried my head like an egg.

Applebutt seems to agree with your thought process, as she plops down on a chair next to you and tosses her stetson on your head, letting her own golden straw mane loose and wiping her forehead. You tap at the large sack of gold on the table and she smirks victoriously and holds up her glass. You, Sweetheart, Applebee and the Goddess oblige, all enjoying the victory in spite of what you're now certain was a simple case of overheating. I've got the money now. With that pile, I should be able to buy what I need to do... what has to be done.

You pull out your worn notebook and re-examine your To-Do List.

*Get Scooter a new scooter.

*Return to forest for new clues.

*Breach linguistic barrier.

*Find a permanent job(?)

*Return favors to Goddess, Lavi, Sweetheart, Nurse and Bunny(extra carrots?).

"I can do this." You smile to yourself, the sack of gold on the table being almost a physical representation of your confidence at that moment. You pull the stetson off your head and stuff it on Applebee on your lap, whose small head practically disappears into it. As you both laugh heartily, Applebutt snags the hat off of her and firmly plants it back on you with a warning look. "Alrighty." You say submissively and tip the hat like a proper cowboy. The farmer finally cracks a grin of her own and mushes your cheek playfully. Your mood improving already, you boop her on the nose as revenge, only to quickly pull back as she snaps at it. "Whoa! Damn, remind me to never piss you off."

You turn away, only to quickly find yourself in Applebutt's chokehold as her hoof of steel noogies you on the head. "Ow-ow-ow-ow-okay, okay STOP!" you whine, flailing around as the table erupts into laughter. She finally stops when Applebee straight up slaps her off. You pout at the orange pony, who sticks her tongue out dismissively, and reward the loyal filly by scratching her slightly pudgy belly, causing her to melt onto your chest, idly poking at your chin with her hoof.

Early next morning, during school hours, you and Sweetheart(still unwilling to let you out of her sight) head to the trio's treehouse on the Apple family's grounds, with you carrying a large, brand new, flashy red scooter. Having wrecked Scooter's previous one defending the fillies from the magical wooden wolf in the forest, you hope this one would work for her and make up for the time she spent without having one.

Climbing up the steps to their quaint little base of operations, you smile as you see the interior for the first time without the distraction of three energetic fillies skittering around your feet. What a place! It’s full of old furniture, posters, toys scattered all over the place, crude drawings and posters of unknown pony celebrities. An oil lamp hangs from the ceiling. The place brims with the imagination and enthusiasm of young minds exploring the world around them.

Sweetheart watches with a pleased look as you rest the scooter against the old writing desk in the middle of the room, and leave a construction kit and a music box on it. You wouldn't dare leave your other two pals without presents.

The bell dings as the two of you enter the Goddess's baroque clothes shop with a bright red notepad wrapped in paper. Without turning around, the white unicorn calls back with a melodic voice. Not hearing Sweetheart's response due to her incredibly quiet voice, she simply turns around and smiles, realising it's you. As she trots over, you hold out your hand to scratch her head, but the fashionista holds it back briefly, and then very slowly sinks it into her mane, enjoying the sensation of your nails on her scalp without disturbing her hairdo.

You hand the pony your gift and watch as she eagerly tears off the paper with her magic.

At first, her face sags a little as she thinks you just gave her a notepad. But out of politeness, she opens it up, only to realise the pad's already been used. Every page is covered in your best attempts to draw the various human fashion styles you can recall, from rappers to monks to hipsters to Conan O'Brien. Overwhelmed, the mare summons a lavish red couch with an appropriately soft pillow to faint onto.

As you arrive in the Ponyville hospital estate, you and Sweetheart are rather amused to find the doctors all sleepily lounging about due to the lack of patients. All of them immediately jump onto their hooves at the sight of you and she's forced to spend a good few minutes settling the nervous ponies down and reassuring them that they're not here for their services.

Well, not their services anyway. You search through the entire hospital - offices, wards, closets, everything, until finally stumbling on her napping on a couch in a disused ward. It's an adorable sight - Nurse's ordinarily tidy mane is a mess around her head, her hooves are splayed all over the place and a bit of drool is dripping out of her mouth.

You were going to let Nurse know how much you appreciated all she did to you... but seeing her there at that moment, lazing happily, dreaming beautiful dreams, you cannot bear to wake her up. So even though you feel your heart pulling you back to her, hugging her and telling her what an amazing pony she is, and how sorry you are for ignoring all the wonderful things she did for you, all you do is stroke her mane a bit. "I'll be back soon, I promise." you whisper. "Just keep on being you." You kiss her on the forehead and leave the pony to her slumber.

One last trip, to Lavender Lady's library. You have thought long and hard about what to give a unicorn who seems to have everything, but fortunately, you think you do have something to fill a gap in her pillars of knowledge...

The door is answered by her strange reptilian servant, who hisses loudly to call the charming purple unicorn to see her new guests. Always happy to see Sweetheart, Lavender engages her in lively conversation and sits the two of you down on a comfortable duvet in front of the fireplace. You wait patiently for your caretaker to explain exactly what you'd come here to do.

It's not hard to pinpoint when it happens - Lavender's eyes widen and she holds a hoof up to her lips. But of course she's not opposed to the idea, having been the one who asked for it to begin with on the day you arrived. You didn't trust the ponies then. But by this point, you're willing to trust them.

So just as several empty scrolls and inked quills appear in mid-air next to the purple pony, you finally pull down your pants. "Alright, this is what my dick looks like." You deadpan. "And God help you if I ever find human porn around here."
Lavender’s quills begin to scribble unanimously.

Scribble scribble scribble.

Lots of scribble.

All the scribble.

Night falls on the beautiful land of Equestria, and Sweetheart's household finally goes to bed after a long and weary day. The birds are fed and napping, so are the rodents and the butterflies and the ants and of course Bunnystorm III, his stomach bulging from all the carrots you'd fed him as a reward for saving your life during Chrysalis' takeover.

Sweetheart, ever vigilant of her animals' needs, walks through the entire cottage one more time, checking on everyone's welfare before nuzzling you goodnight and sniffing you just to make extra sure you washed your teeth. You pat her pink mane and watch as the pony walks up the stairs and disappears into her own room. You lie down onto your cot and wait for a considerable amount of time, distracting yourself with idle thoughts. From the window, you can see Princess Luna's moon slowly drag across the sky. Since your phone is still in Lavender's possession, you have no way of telling how much time has passed when you finally get up again and sneak into the bathroom.

The moonlight shines in through the window and you catch a glimpse of your newly shaved face, making you grin a little. One of the many things you were finally able to buy was an actual razor blade of your own. You take your toothbrush and pilfer Sweetheart's emergency medical kit a little for a few bandages and plasters, just in case.

You return to your cot and pull out two modified saddlebags you bought for yourself, branded with green question marks in place of the usual cutie marks. Inside the bags are your supplies - a lantern, a tent, a sleeping bag, a compass, matches and a knife. Not having bought anything else to avoid drawing suspicion, you're also forced to check Sweetheart's pantry for canned goods, as well as some fruits and veggies. You feel terrible stealing from your own best friend, but you know she'd never let you go back after the disastrous first attempt.

She couldn't understand that this time won't be like last time. Because this time you know where to go. The woman who'd called you had been specific enough.

Holding your breath, you quietly slip out into the night and shut the door behind you before lighting your lantern and heading off into the darkness.

A feeling of misery clung to the carriage as the ponies and their alien friend all rode home after the Wonderbolts' air show. Pinkie Pie of course tried to cheer them all up with promises of free milkshakes when they got home, but with Rainbow Dash having disappeared after nearly dropping Skinny through the clouds, they all felt... incomplete. After all, they were the Elements Of Harmony. They belonged together, as upset as they were with Dash.

Applejack, in her own words, had "half a mind on callin' that cider-sniffin', butter-hooved flyin' crayon box's parents and lettin' 'em know whas' what." so they could at least get the pegasus to make things up with poor Skinny. They weren't even really sure if their beloved giant understood what had happened to him, given that he was perfectly happy to give her one of his warm hugs as soon as he saw her again, but what they could tell was that her inability to be near him had hurt the poor thing, and that was almost worse than dropping him from the clouds. Even Pinkie had fumed a little.

Still, as they all travelled home, physically and emotionally tired from having chased clues on Skinny's whereabouts throughout Cloudsdale all day(not to mention the ground below), everyone eventually tuned out. Pinkie Pie fell asleep, softly snoring in her seat. Applejack stared out of the window as if she could will Dash to reappear. And Twilight was reading one of her history books.

Suddenly, to her surprise, she saw Skinny twitch and look around in confusion as if he'd heard something. The unicorn looked at him for a little while and... he did it again and then reached over to her saddlebag. There was only one thing in there that he'd want, but... why? Unless there was some kind of telepathic connection between him and the Ponyroid?

Skinny picked it up and stared at its screen with a look of utter disbelief, before tapping it and holding it up to his ear.

"Err, Twilight?" Rarity piped up. "What in the name of Celestia is he doing?" They watched as he mouthed something - alien words, certainly, but to whom?

Twilight held a hoof to her chin in thought. "I believe he is talking with someone."

"Buuuut we're th' only ponies 'ere, ain't we?" Applejack asked, confused. "Or does he got a lil' critter in there or somethin'?"

The unicorn shook his head. "I checked that machine thoroughly. Or at least I thought I did. I'm not even sure how he can be doing... anything with it at the moment."

"Why, whatcha mean?"

"Well... I drained its battery recording the Wonderbolts! And so far, it has usually been completely inactive without power."

The ponies could only watch as Skinny finished speaking and hoofed the Ponyroid back to Twilight. True enough, the screen was black, and the machine was dead and quiet.