The Human Pet

by RushyFiction

Chapter 28

You twitch as you hear the peculiar, yet familiar buzzing sound emanate from somewhere within the pegasus-driven carriage. Again and again it buzzes and you give a passing glance to your pony friends, yet they seem utterly oblivious to the sound. Listening closely, you realise the sound is coming from Lavender Lady's saddlebag and start rummaging through it, which finally attracts everyone's attention. With curious expressions on their faces, they watch as you pull out your heavily modified smartphone, the screen glowing a message at you.


A million questions whirl through your mind, but you force them to the back of your mind and simply press on the green image and hold the phone up to your ear. "... hello?" you whisper, not believing.
"Hi?" An uncertain voice says back to you. You nearly drop the phone out of shock.

"Hello!" You repeat. "Can you hear me?!"

"I... I can! Fucking hell, I'm talking to you!" The voice on the other end gushes. It's a feminine voice, and a young, cheerful one at that. "You've no idea how long I've been waiting to do that! Do I sound good?"

You frown in confusion. "What? Who are you, where are you??"

The voice giggles. "I'm your best friend! Can't tell you where I am though. Not yet. Shh! You'd be mindblown! Say, you do like my voice, do you? Tell me you do!"

"I don't understand." You mumble, utterly dumbfounded.
The voice didn't seem deterred though. "Of course you don't! You've still got that nasty Mother Earth stink all over ya. That's why anything magic - like me - cannot touch you. Unless of course it's magic that's already inside you. Hint. Hint."

You rub your temples at the voice's riddles and try to focus on the important things. "How are you talking to me? There are no satellites in Equestria, no way this phone could work."
"Magic." The voice playfully replied. "I mean, come on, what did you think was the answer? Now be a smart boy, and ask us something you really want to know."

"... Why are you talking to me?"
One could practically hear her smile widen on the other end. "Mmm. Well, to be 100% honest, I'm talking to you because I've always wanted to. But, more importantly because I need your help. I'm a little... stuck, and I need a brave, gallant knight to get me out of my prison. You'll... suffice. Once we clean you up, that is."

You shake your head. "Clean me up?"
The voice on the phone hardened a little. "Ever since you came here, you've been a note of disharmony in this realm. You don't belong here, and until you do, you're no use to anyone. So here's the deal: I'll tell you how you can change yourself to fit in Equestria, to be part of its magic, and then you can get me outta jail. Interested?"

For a few moments, you simply sit there, thinking. You don't like the cut of this creature's jib, whoever she is. Nobody decent would be locked someplace where they have to call upon the actually least qualified person to get them out. But you're also craving for a chance to belong, and to talk and sing alongside the happy ponies in their rustic town. Even without being able to talk with them, you were able to defeat evil when you kicked that bug pony's flank. You could only imagine what you accomplish with them actually on your side.

"Alright. I promise. If you can give me a way to talk to my friends, I will set you free." You say.

The voice on the other side cheers. "Woo-hoo! Team! Okay, now listen very carefully, I will say this only once... do you remember where you first landed, in the forest, the Everfree Forest?"
"Uh... yeah. I think so. I've been meaning to go back there, but I have no supplies yet. I've got no money."

"Well, get on with it, cause that's where you're going! There's something in the forest, I'm not exactly sure what myself, but it's something veeeery powerful, something that could shatter the barrier between you and magic forever. You'll know it when you see it."
You nod slowly and breathe in. "Just... go to the forest. Okay. Okay, I can do this."
"I know you can." the voice says reassuringly. "I'll see you on the other side, Anon." The phone hangs up.

You shiver as the icy wind goes through you, and pull up the collar of your abused tuxedo jacket. In retrospect, it seems like a mistake not to have the Goddess fix you up a couple of regular old coats before this impromptu trek into the forest, but you really wanted to avoid arousing the ponies' suspicions and making them think you were wanting to go somewhere. So now you find yourself marching through the mucky swamp with a cardigan and a tux coat. Not exactly ideal clothes for a long walk.

Because of the closely intertwined tree branches and the moss hanging from them, the sun only reaches down here as occasional golden rays of light, signifying the oncoming dawn. You know that by now, Sweetheart will have definitely awoken. She's always up early to make breakfast for everyone. A pang of guilt and homesickness go through you.

You force those thoughts away, justifying to yourself that leaving just like that was the right thing to do. They'd never have let me risk my life again after that wolf nearly mauled me the last time.
In your mind, you're certain that you're right, but as you trudge through the miserable dank woods, you feel a sense of loneliness incomparable to all the times before. You've been distracted, misled and even downright toppled off someone's back, but this is the first time you feel like you've turned your back on the ponies. Ironic, given that you came here to find a way to talk to them.

Fortunately, it doesn't take you too long to find the little hollow between trees where you woke up, relatively close to the Apples' lands. You're not really sure what you expected to see, but to your dismay, there's nothing out of the ordinary around. Not even a cool black spot on the ground to signify your arrival from another dimension. Well, this is embarrassing. You think. The hell am I supposed to do now?

Looking around, you notice the ground is slightly tilted. Maybe if I got to higher ground, I could see something useful? It's not much, but you refuse to return empty-handed after going through all this trouble. Just as you set forth, however, your right foot trips on something and you unexpectedly find yourself kissing the mossy ground. "Damn it!" You kick whatever it was in a fit, expecting it to be a vine or something, only to find a recognisably hand(or hoof)made strap lying on your leg.

Your curiosity piqued, you throw it away from your leg and pull at the strap. Soon enough, something bigger comes loose out of the muddy spring muck and you take it to one of the slivers of light for a better look. It's a pony's saddlebag, and once you've wiped off the sticky leaves and grit, you see the light blue sheen of it. The bag is clasped with a metal purple star with a white outline around it. You recognise it immediately. This is Lavender Lady's. But what's it doing here?

It's identical to the pair of bags you saw her carry during your trip to Cloud City, the kind she housed your phone in. This one is torn, though... there's only one bag. And from the decay, it's obvious to you that it's been here for months. You open the bag up, only to recoil from the smell and general ickiness of rotten fruit, mixed with soggy parchment and a few dreary feathers that might've been quills at some point. It seems to have been left behind in a hurry.

You empty the filth onto the forest ground and stuff the bag into your own backpack. At the very least you can return it later. Despite the interesting discovery, however, you're still very much at square one, and proceed up the hill for a better vantage point.

Thankfully, the chilling doomladen atmosphere of the forest disperses somewhat as you trudged upwards. The woods become thinner and the sun's warm glaze more prevalent. It ain't winter yet!

You reach the highest point of the hill and stand there, observing the misty, murky forest around you. In the distance, the ruins of a once-elegant castle jut out of the otherwise miserable jungle. A wide grin forms on your face. That has got to be it. And the princess better not be in another castle...

Seeing the Castle in the distance is one thing. Getting to it is quite another. Once more, you're hit by just how much more gruelling adventuring is when you're the one doing it, and not a movie star hunk with a six-pack. The terrain of the Everfree Forest is incredibly treacherous - with swampy mud pits that swallow your entire leg in a second, sharp-edged rocks that leave horrible gashes and camouflaged vines that snake around your feet and trip you up no matter how cautiously you walk.

In addition to that, you also end up sweating like a pig from both the journey as well as the apparent greenhouse effect caused by all the thick, interwoven branches of the trees sealing in the warmth in the valley. It's as if you'd entered a completely different season. As a result, you soon discover that your supply of water is decreasing much faster than anticipated. Despite not having gotten much further, you sit down against the trunk of a tree and rest.
There has to be an easier path up to that castle. I should just- Your thoughts are interrupted as your feet sink into a pool, mercilessly filling your boots with icy, mucky liquid and ruining your second-to-last pair of socks. You giggle at the absurdity of all as you pull them out. "What the fuck am I doing? I should be at home eating ice cream with my pony, not fucking around in a swamp. Oh, bloody hell. Stupid, stupid, stupid..." you mutter.

Having replaced your socks, you pull on the straps of your saddlebags to temporarily ease the pain on your shoulders and keep on climbing downhill. It's a steep drop and you're forced to cling onto roots. As you ease yourself downwards, a strange slithering noise reaches your ears and you pause.
What the fuck was that?

A memory of the wooden wolf you fought here once flashes through your mind and fear grips you. Probably just the wind. Big forest, lots of leaves making noise-


Oh shit, something's there.

You breathe out in small, nervous bursts, your ears piqued for any more errant noise. Suddenly, a bird streaks past you, shocking you enough for your sweaty palms to lose their grip. You scream as you drop twenty feet into the lake below. Panicking, and with no air in your lungs, you struggle underwater until you see the light shine above you and instinctively swim towards it, leading you to the surface where you gasp for air.

After getting your bearings straight, you try to make it to the shore, only for it to sink underneath you. Another mudpit! Fortunately, a loose vine extends into the water and you manage to drag yourself out through the soft bank of liquid earth, crawling onto solid ground at last. You breathe heavily, the adrenaline still flowing through your system and stare at your ruined clothes, horrified.
"Fuck this."

In a fit of rage, you throw your sopping wet saddle bags on the ground and then pull everything out to check the damage - of course everything is wet. You put all the non-canned food aside, not desperate enough yet to eat something contaminated by the lake's dirty water. The lantern is cracked. Brilliant. The matches... where are the matches?? Gone, that's where.
"So much for campfire." You mutter as you leave the tent, sleeping bag and all your clothes hanging on a huge gnarled tree standing next to the lake. Fortunately for you, the forest is warm enough to be nude in, but who knows what'll happen when the sun goes down...

Princess Luna made herself comfortable on a large round sofa. It was dawn, and she had finished attending to her duties. Well, almost. Every now and again, the nightmares of a few partygoers who were just now settling down pricked rudely at her consciousness, like crumbs in the tea after she dipped a biscuit in it.

Her intention was to enjoy a private hour or two reading a book, before retiring to her own dreams. Not a good, hearty, layered novel of gripping drama that she might display herself with in front of an ambassador nor a tome of Starswirl's to drape herself in mystery whenever Twilight Sparkle came by.
Luna was actually busy poring over a collection of the Power Ponies, specifically the arc in which Humdrum was split into five(well, it should have been six, fitting with the number of Ponies, but fortunately, Luna had pre-empted that decision by politely reminding the company that 5409 issues ago, six was established as a cursed number to Humdrum and splitting him into that number would likely result in the re-awakening of the Great Drake. Clever Luna!) and became a successful superhero team on his own.

Trashy, serialized feel-good pulp fiction - in other words, entertainment fit for a princess. She'd just gotten to her favourite bit(where the Mane-iac reveals her scheme to mine the Moon itself hollow and drive it around like a rocket) when her chamber doors blew open without announcement, revealing the stressed-looking figure of her sister.

"Manners, Tia." Luna chastised her without looking up. "We might've mistaken thou for an assassin and... zapped."

Celestia ignored the quip, and instead levitated a piece of paper onto Luna's lap. "I've received a letter from Twilight." Her voice hardened. "About Anon."

Luna bookmarked her comic and skimmed the letter thrust in front of her. "Dear Princess Celestia... ladi-dadi-daa... found Skinny missing... Everfree Forest... request further instructions. Well, it appears to be perfectly straightforward, sister. We recommend thou tell Twilight to post a few guards to the edge of the forest to await his return and go back to slumber."

The sun princess rolled her eyes. "She does not sleep during the day."
"Quite right; they haven't released the new Daring Do yet, have they?"

"Argh!" Celestia exclaimed in frustration. "Do you really think I'm here on a whim? Lest you've forgotten, the Everfree Forest is brimming with dangerous creatures that he could not possibly be prepared for. An immunity to magic does not protect one from sharp teeth!"
"But a Lunar Guard does." Luna retorted. "Lest thou hast forgotten Crimson Star."

A huff. "Indeed not. Had I sent my own entourage, the human would never have disappeared like that!"
"Whining isn't very becoming of thee, sister." Luna said, not appreciating the jab at her choice of guard. Their little ponies would've been appalled if they heard their private arguments, but she liked to ground her more popular sister and had no doubt Celestia liked to do much the same for her. "We made the decision together."

Unfortunately, it seemed her sister was only now bringing out the heavy artillery in this particular confrontation. "Look into his mind."

Luna scowled. "No."

"We shall not!" The night princess shouted, and blushed. Her attempt to force Anon to dream so they could communicate had been... frightening, and one of the most strange experiences she'd ever had. Had she not known he was an alien and clearly lucid, she would've thought him to be insane. A simple, ordinary pony dreams of whatever's on their mind. But him... his dreams were mad and wild, filled with glass towers and metal birds, swords of light and... clowns. It was all there, all at once, and none of it made any sense. But when she slipped out, somehow she knew things about him and his place of origin as if she'd been given a Powerpoint presentation on his life.
"We've nearly killed him twice doing so!"

Celestia was not deterred and rammed a hoof onto the floor, making a loud clang as the metal shoe hit the marble. "We must know what is happening in the Forest! I cannot ask Twilight to blindly lead a search party into those woods, but you could find out where they are, and if they are in need of assistance!"

"Sister, if they truly be in need of assistance then it is likely not a good idea to incapacitate one of them. We will simply have to rely on Crimson Star's judgment on this matter, and wait." Luna savored the last words, knowing that Celestia was used to being the one keeping ponies waiting.

As expected, the day princess stewed a little and sat on one of the armchairs next Luna's sofa. Finally, she spoke up again, looking Luna in the eye: "I am still not convinced that sending Crimson Star to Ponyville was the right choice, regardless of whether we can trust him or not."
She matched her sister's gaze. "If thou art referring to his family..."
"I am."
Luna frowned. "It is not like thou to have concerns over someone based on where they come from."

The day princess sighed. "No, it is not. I have learned never to judge someone based on their appearance. And if you are confident in Crimson Star's loyalty, then so am I. But Anon is a wild card in Equestria right now. He, and everything around him, is unpredictable to me. I've only felt this way once before. It's troubling."

Luna knew exactly what she was talking about. As sisters, their minds often travelled along the same route. "Discord had a habit of making clear things seem unclear, that is true. But e'en the most conniving creature such as him cannot plot withal a brain made of stone."
"Discord's brain, stone or otherwise, has never frightened me. It's what happens to my little ponies whenever he appears." Celestia lowered her head mournfully. "Greed, fear and anger are part of the chaos he spreads. Those I fear the most. Especially from the ones most open to their influence... like Crimson Star's family. If Anon truly has some connection with Discord that we do not understand, then I fear Crystal Star would attempt to use it against us."

"And I fear she would not succeed." Without Celestia noticing, Luna had risen from her sofa and was now nuzzling her comfortingly. "As thou hast told me, sister - do not allow dark thoughts to overtake thy mind. Trust us when we say Crimson Star is the right choice to protect Anon. He may not be the most capable or the most convenient pony, but thou could not ask for a more steadfast guard."

Gradually, Celestia's breathing calmed and the usual serene 'throw anything at me Blueblood' expression returned. "Yes, you are so very right. I must return to my duties. And you must sleep. I will inform you if Spike sends anything else of importance my way."

Luna nodded, with a wry grin and said: "Please keep an eye open for mentions of the new Daring Doo book. Thither are many mental preparations to be made for such an occasion."
The day princess raised an eyebrow. "Aren't you one of the readers?"
"Not since I caught miss Doo dreaming about... carrots..." Luna's irises drew into pinpricks and her eyes glazed over. "So many... carrots... hehehe..."

Celestia blinked twice and backed out, magically opening and closing the doors behind her.

Having made a proper examination of your belongings as you set up camp, you're beyond frustrated to realise that in your eagerness to leave town, you accidentally bought a pony-sized tent without either you or Sweetheart noticing. So rather than put it up properly, you simply stretch it open wide and tie the ends to the trees around you to make a cover to protect you from the rain, at least.
On the other end of the spectrum, your sleeping bag's three times too big for you, so you curl up in there as the forest gradually descends into darkness around you. Sleep does not come to you easily, as the alien forest is full of strange sounds; creaks, cracks and hisses. Though you suspect the wind is at play here, you can't help but pull the large hunting knife from your saddlebags and grip it ever tighter as the noises continue to bother you evermore.

Wish I managed to get a fire going, that'd scare of any freak creatures... or maybe that's a bad idea, maybe that would draw them in. If they're not drawing in already. Hey, fresh meat on the menu! you try to quiet your own heavy breathing as paranoia starts to seep in and the memory of the wild wooden wolf that nearly killed you starts flashing before your eyes.
There could be a whole pack of them, and one knife, no matter how big, wasn't gonna do jack on a living pile of wood. Well, unless I get it down its throat...
For a brief moment, you are childishly confused as to why a magic pile of wood would need to breath anyway, when your train of thought is interrupted by a loud stomp.

That shit was real. You think in despair, your body drenched in cold sweat by this point. You slowly zip the sleeping bag open, holding the knife and ready to fight for your life at a moment's notice. Because of the foliage covering everything, the jungle is nearly pitch black, preventing you from seeing much. But you can certainly hear...




What the fuck is it??? What do you want?! Go away, go away, go away!! You think and crawl back into the sleeping bag for safety, deciding you'd much rather hide than fight something alone in the dark. Please, I don't want to die here, please, please...

You freeze as the stomping sound of feet against the crackle of dried up-leaves and grass reaches your tent. It's there. It's real. It's come for you. A surge of adrenaline erases the crippling fear and you feel ready to jump out and... !!

A horse whinny.

Without further ado, you crawl out of the bag in utter disbelief and are faced with two glowing red orbs right next to you. Sheer relief overwhelms you completely and you burst into mad laughter. "Shaggy!!" Tossing the knife aside, you lunge at the furred bat pony and pull him into a tight hug. "Man, I am so, so, so glad to see you!!!" Sensing your distress, Shaggy hugs you right back, his front hooves wrapping around your midsection and patting your backside. Having had no company since sneaking out of Sweetheart's cottage, you hold the pony close to you for a while, needy for reassurance that things are going to be okay.

You feel a little tugging on your collar and turn your head instinctively, which brings you into contact with another soft, furry thing, which slaps you for ramming into it with your head. It's Sweetheart's bunny! It's Bunnystorm the... whichever!! "Hey, man! You're here too?"

The three of you decide in unison to get into your huge sleeping bag and leave all decisions for tomorrow. Shaggy zips up the bag, presumably with his teeth and settles down next to you, the bunny sleeping over both of your heads' in the hood. As Shaggy's cold, wet nose accidentally pokes underneath your jaw, you giggle out loud, your emotions being all over the place right now. You pull the bat pony close again, inadvertently making him the little spoon and finally drift off to sleep to the calming sound of his breathing and the warmth he generates next to you.