Schadenfreude Two: Schadenfreude Harder
The greatest thing about having a talent such as mine paired with my cutie mark is dealing with OCD ponies. They’re everywhere in Canterlot. All of the stuck-up, self-absorbed, detail oriented business types that make up this town are my bread and butter.
It’s even better when they’re royalty. There are just moments in life that you will remember for the rest of your days as the greatest in your life, you know?
Having Princess Twilight Sparkle trying to correct my Cutie Mark is one of those. In fact, it’s such a fantastic story that I’ve got it written down somewhere...
Here it is. Ok, gimme a sec. Ahem....
The Sun was high in the sky that day. It was two or so weeks after Twilight’s coronation, and I’d only had my job for about a week. I had been hired, as you know, to deal with Prince Blueblood’s self-entitlement issues. Apparently him harassing his aunts about the fact that he wasn’t an Alicorn Prince was the last straw.
So, of course, they called in the heavy artillery: moi.
My first week had been the most interesting by far. Watching ponies get used to me is one of the many things that amuses me. I spend most of my life in a perpetual state of happiness, as it were. Which just annoys the ever-flying fuck out of other ponies. Which just amuses me more. I’m a perpetual fuck-you machine.
Prince Blueblood still hadn’t figured out how to properly deal with me. And I still don’t think he has, to be honest. But at least he’s learning, now. back then? Not a chance. So the first opportunity he had to get rid of me for even a small increment of time, he took.
It was a Friday, a day where he didn’t have anything to do. No appointments, no scheduled times to be dragged kicking and screaming anywhere. Aside from his usual 6 A.M. wake-up, I really had nothing to do except follow him around. So, he exercised what authority he did have over making me go away.
Twilight, who at the time was still getting used to the castle, as was I, had asked for some extra hooves to sort some books in the Royal Archives. Apparently this was something she enjoyed doing. But, given how freakin-ass huge the place is compared to her library in Ponyville, I wasn’t surprised when she said she might need some more help than usual. I was going to ask what the ‘than usual’ was, but that’s when she introduced Spike.
Spike also doesn’t like me. Mainly because I keep making more work for him.
So, Blueblood, the Spirit of Generosity and Self-Sacrifice that he was, and is, offered up his one and only loyal butler up for the day to assist with some of the more menial tasks. I was so proud of him. Were I not busy snickering behind his back the whole time. You see, I’d snuck a piece of lettuce into his mane at breakfast, and he hadn’t noticed yet. Just the thought of him walking around like that all day could easily have been enough to keep me going all day. But oh, no.
He had to pair me up with Lady OCD herself. The absolutely chaotic-neurotic mother of all bookworms, Princess Twilight ‘That Doesn’t Go There’ Sparkle.
I greeted her with a smile. “A pleasure to meet you, your Highness. My name is Schadenfreude,” I addressed her appropriately, bowing. I straightened back up to see a rather curious look on her face.
“Why would anypony name their foal that?” she asked me.
So I told her about how my father had the rights to naming me, and did so after spending four hours reading porn and smoking in the waiting room while my mother was in labor. And the subsequent divorce. “Being... crude has an unfortunate tendency to run in our family,” I say, as earnestly as possible.
She quirked an eyebrow. “So... what is your special talent?” she asked, obviously hesitant.
“Happiness at the misfortune of others,” I declare, proudly puffing my chest out. I could have been a pegasus, I was so proud.
Oh come on, you’ve met them.
Twilight seemed even less pleased at the prospect of working with me after that. But, beggars can’t be choosers, and, given how efficiently this castle runs, I was literally one of the only free sets of hooves she could get without filling out paperwork. She was obviously displeased.
The day was starting out great.
We started off sorting books, a rather simple process. Every once in a while, though, I would look out of the corner of my eye and see her staring at me, eyelid twitching. It wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t happen often. But it was there.
I would take care to put every fifth, and once in a while, sixth, book in either upside-down, out of order with the one next to it, or just a little too far in on the shelf, so that it didn’t sit level with the rest, and you had to reach in to grab it and pull it out to fix it, which would inevitably move the ones next to it, which you’d have to then move.... I’m sorry. Just talking about it makes my spine shiver.
It wasn’t until we got halfway through that process did she say anything. “That’s it!” she exclaimed, marching right up to me. I figured she’d watched me sort books and was tired of me mucking things up.
As it turns out, she wasn’t. “What seems to be the matter, Your Highness?” I asked, honestly curious.
“Your... your flank! That Cutie Mark! I can’t stand it!” she screamed, pointing a hoof at my hind end.
Spike poked his head around the side of a bookshelf. “Twilight...” he started, but she cut him off.
“Not now, Spike!” she bellowed. She knelt down, and her horn hummed with energy. I felt a tingle about my hind end.
“What are you...” I asked, then I felt a weird sense of warmth about my aft end. I looked back, and saw that she had straightened the painting.
For all of half a second. I chuckled to myself as the magic inherent in all Cutie Marks corrected itself, and the painting re-tilted. I returned my attention to the Princess, saying, “Well, I guess that’s not gonna happen.”
But she wasn’t done yet. She was already charging another magic spell. Again, I felt the warmth on my posterior. And again, it went away. I saw her huff, and puff, and try again. And again. And again...
It was approximately four hours later. Twilight was surrounded by books. Lots of them. Some floated in the air, some laid out on the floor around her. Some leaned on stacks of other books. And she was reading them all, pieces at a time. Her hair was frazzled, her jaw set at an awkward angle. And don’t get me started on her eyes.
I, in my infinite wisdom, was bunkered down against the side of a bookshelf, trying not to fall over from laughing. My aft end now tingled slightly from all the magic she’d attempted.
This was when Princess Celestia walked in, with Prince Blueblood in tow. Somehow, amidst the grand display of floating books and Twilight’s ranting, she saw me first. I have no idea. “Schadenfreude. While I understand that he does have basic authority of you, my mandate that you not leave his side takes... precedence...” she trailed off, worry crossing her face as she studied her student.
Now, I’m not a totally cruel-hearted pony. I’m only really amused at small misfortunes. Minor annoyances. Ponies going OCD apeshit over little things. Watching someone truly worried? Nah, that’s not funny. You just don’t laugh at some things. So I took a step back while Princess Celestia approached Twilight cautiously, asking in a hushed and measured tone, “Twilight? Twilight, are you alright?”
Twilight looked up, and, seeing her mentor and friend, deflated. All of the manic obsession was replaced with exasperated defeat. “It’s his Cutie Mark, Celestia! I can’t... it won’t... fix it! Please!” she asked, all of the books around her dropping like flies.
Celestia looked from Twilight, to me, back to Twilight. “Dear, it’s best just to... not think about it. Believe me.”
“But...” the purple alicorn started. Her mentor hushed her with a gentle hoof to the muzzle.
“Just... leave it alone. He’s Blueblood’s problem now,” she said pointedly, gesturing for my boss and I to leave the room. Together.
Blueblood and I got about halfway down the hall leading from the archives to the throne room, you know, that really long one? Before we heard it. That scream. I knew that scream all to well. Frustration. Pointless rage. Absolute breaking point.
It appeared Twilight had found all the books I’d shelved incorrectly.
Have you ever tried to run from a screaming mad alicorn Princess while laughing your Mark off? No. No you have not. And you haven’t lived, either.
“So that’s how I was thrown in the dungeons for the very first time,” I finished. I looked over at my cellmate, who at this point seemed to have just given up and let me talk.
He looked up, sensing a gap in my speech. “Ok, that... wasn’t a bad story. You actually jacked with all those books and she didn’t notice?”
“Have you ever seen her sort books? It’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I could have put post-it notes in all of her feathers and she wouldn’t know,” I rolled my eyes at the thought. More at the fact that I didn’t think to do so.
“Ok, so now will you-”
“Ooh! How about the story of when Princess Celestia asked me to help train the new butler? It’s a doozy!”