Chapter IV - Living Arrangements
Celestia blinked, her cheeks burned red from a heavy blush as Archimedes groaned as he lay on the ground, a nice column of smoke rising from his chest. Luna huffed as the magic around her horn faded out, a snarl on her lips.
“Luna?!” Celestia gasped. “What on earth was that for?!”
“What?!” Luna asked. “The metal beast dared ask you for a kiss!”
“And?” Celestia replied.
“I-It’s unheard of!” Luna protested.
Celestia rolled her eyes, “Luna, that doesn't excuse you blasting Archimedes in the chest with your magic.”
“It’s quite alright, my love,” Archimedes chuckled as he pushed himself up. “I should have remembered the protocol for addressing royalty and such.”
Celestia sighed as Luna huffed and looked away. It would seem that her little sister still had a lot to learn.
“Are you okay?!” Moon Dancer asked with a gasp as she flew up to Archimedes, Pinkie following shortly and sitting on the metal man’s chest.
“I’m fine, my little bat friend,” Archimedes chuckled.
“Would you like a nice big cupcake to cheer you up?” Pinkie asked as she nuzzled his chest where he was struck.
“I… suppose so, yes. I’m not even sure I can actually eat, though…” Archimedes replied.
Pinkie pouted at his reply and he quickly coughed, “B-but that doesn't mean I can’t try, does it?”
Archimedes mentally sighed in relief as Pinkie beamed up at him, seemingly happy with his words. He picked the pink mare up and gave her a friendly pat on the head before placing her on the ground as Moon landed on his head, turning to look down at the glaring alicorn.
“My apologies, Princess Luna,” Archimedes said.
“I should think so to!” Luna snorted before being bopped on the back of her head by Celestia’s wing.
“Luna…” Celestia deadpanned.
Luna glared at her sister but sighed in defeat, “Fine. I apologise as well, Archimedes.”
“Apology accepted,” Archimedes chuckled.
Celestia smiled with a soft nod of her head, “Now that has been settled, perhaps we should move onto other things?”
“Like what, Princess?” Twilight asked.
“Namely, where Archimedes will live,” Celestia replied.
“Oh! Oh!” Pinkie cried jumping up and down on the spot. “Archy can live with me!”
“Archy?” Archimedes asked, tilting his head making Moon squeak as she nearly fell from his head.
“Uhuh! All my friends have nicknames!” Pinkie replied with a massive grin.
As Archimedes petted her head in appreciation, Applejack coughed into her hoof.
“Ya’ll sure?” Applejack snickered. “Ah doubt he’d fit in your home, let alone not scare the poor Cakes.”
“Oh yeah…” Pinkie pouted.
“Not to worry, my pink friend. It’s the thought that counts,” Archimedes reassured her.
“Hey, Princess,” Moon said. “Why not keep him in the palace for the time being? He could fit in there.”
“But what about the nobles and staff?” Rarity countered. “Not to mention getting him there, dear.”
“Oh yeah… good point,” Moon pouted.
“Actually… that could work,” Twilight smiled.
“How?” Rainbow asked.
“Simple, me and the other Princesses can use our combined magic to teleport him to the old wing in the palace. The one that Starswirl used as a laboratory.”
Celestia blinked, “That’s… actually a good idea, Twilight. Well done.”
Twilight beamed up at the older alicorn as Celestia smiled back at her. Archimedes scratched his chin as his gears whirred, seemingly lost in thought.
“But, Tia!” Luna protested. “What of the nobles?”
“We’ll come to that block when we come to it,” Celestia replied. “Nopony goes to the old wing as it is sealed off from the general public, so Archimedes will be safe in there whilst we figure out a proper way of revealing him to the public.”
Luna snorted and rolled her eyes, “Very well. I suppose we could do that.”
“Then it’s settled,” Celestia said with a nod. “Archimedes will come to live in the palace for the time being, whilst we—”
Celestia stopped as she saw Archimedes looking forward, lost in thought. She grew a little concerned when steam started to escape from under his helmet.
“Archimedes?” She asked. “Are you alright?”
“Hmm?” He replied, his eyes blinking as he snapped out of his thoughts, the steam fading away almost immediately. “Sorry, my dear. Was lost in thought, your plan sounds wonderful!”
“Tia,” Luna whispered. “Are you sure about this? He could still be—”
“I’m perfectly sure, Luna,” Celestia interrupted. “Now, if you would be so kind as to help Twilight and me?”
Luna sighed but nodded, the three alicorn’s horns charging up before covering the area in a bright flash and teleporting the group. Leaving nothing but the shackles that held the giant robot on the ground.
Inside a dark and quite dusty abandoned room deep within the palace, there was a bright flash as the group suddenly appeared and landed with a soft thud. Save for Archimedes who landed with a loud boom. The three alicorns kept their horns glowing to allow the others to see in the pitch black.
“Here we are,” Celestia smiled. “Starswirl’s old laboratory.”
Rarity grimaced as she noticed all the dust and cobwebs, “Why is it so filthy in here?”
Rainbow and Applejack simply rolled their eyes as Twilight giggled softly, “Because, Rarity. When Starswirl was still living in the palace, he decided to one day move his experiments into the Everfree. In order to not cause anypony bother should something go amiss.”
Celestia nodded, “He was insistent on it for some reason, I still don’t know why. He did seem awfully sketchy about it now that I think about it...”
As they talked, Archimedes looked around, squinting his eyes as he scanned the room. Something about the room was bothering him but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Each time he tried to focus on what it could be his gears would heat up ever so slightly causing steam to escape from his joints. This received a light bop on his head from Moon Dancer.
“Hey, you okay, Archy?” She asked.
“I’m fine, just… this room seems familiar. Not sure why…” Archimedes replied with a mutter.
Moon shrugged it off as Luna and Celestia turned to address her.
“Private Moon Dancer?” Luna began. “I am putting you in charge of the guards that we will assign to… keep the metal beast ‘company’.”
“So… you want me to be his personal guard, Princess?” Moon asked.
Luna nodded, “In a sense, yes.”
Moon flashed her a toothy grin and saluted, “I’d be delighted to, your highness!”
Celestia again rolled her eyes but smiled, “We will brief a few of our finest guards soon about their new post. You don’t mind, do you, Archimedes?”
“Of course not,” he chuckled. “The more the merrier!”
Celestia giggled softly and smiled, “Very well then. We shall have some maids clean the place up as well as—”
Archimedes interrupted her by raising up a hand and shaking his head, “No need, my love. Just hand this ol’ bot a broom and dust pan and I’ll soon have the place ship-shape.”
“Are you sure? It wouldn’t be—”
“I insist, you have already done so much for me, my dear,” Archimedes bowed lowly.
Celestia giggled, bringing a hoof to her mouth as Luna glared at the robot, “Very well, Archimedes. Would you like anything else?”
“Well… just one thing—”
“Don’t. Start. That. Again,” Luna glared as her horn flared threateningly.
Archimedes brought his hands up in defense and nervously chuckled, “I jest, Princess. My apologies.”
Celestia glared at her sister, making a mental note to have words with her later on.
“Princess?” Twilight asked, “Can I stay here for a bit and ask Archimedes some questions?”
Celestia looked at the young alicorn, trying to resist the large puppy eyes she was giving her but sighed and shook her head with a soft titter, “Very well, Twilight. But this time try to be more careful, okay?”
Twilight nodded sheepishly as Rainbow trotted over and wrapped a foreleg over her shoulder and smirked, “Don’t worry, Princess. We’ll stay here and make sure she doesn't go overboard.”
The white alicorn smirked as Twilight blushed and glared at the now snickering pegasus and nodded.
“Very well. Come on, Luna. We should go and brief the guards.”
“In a moment, Tia,” Luna replied with a wave of her hoof. “I would also very much like to ask the metal beast—”
“Archimedes,” Celestia interrupted.
“Yes… Archimedes,” Luna said through gritted teeth. “A few questions.”
Celestia raised her brow suspiciously at her sister. Archimedes and the others saw this and looked at one another before the robot spoke up.
“It’s alright, Princess,” he said. “I don’t mind if Princess Luna wishes to interrogate me.”
“Hey!” Luna protested with an offended gasp. “I wasn’t going to interrogate you!”
Archimedes simply gave her a deadpan look along with the others. The alicorn shifted her eyes between the others and sighed.
“Okay, maybe I was. Happy?”
“There we go!” Archimedes chuckled patting Luna on her head, much to her annoyance. “Isn’t it better when you tell your friends the truth?”
“We are not friends!” Luna huffed, stomping her hoof.
“Oh? Is that so?” Archimedes said as he leant his hand down and started to scratch behind Luna’s ear.
Luna gasped and was about to blast the robot with her magic, but the second his metal fingers began to scratch she felt her body shiver and her legs nearly turn into jelly. It wasn’t until she heard the sounds of the others giggling that she realised she had been kicking her back leg and had her tongue lolling out of her mouth.
“W-we still aren’t friends!” Luna blushed and huffed, sitting on the floor on her rump and grumbling.
“Sure you’re not,” Celestia teased.
Luna glared at her sister before the older alicorn turned to the others, “Well then. I shall leave you all to it, I shall see you later, Archimedes.”
“Goodbye, my love. Until the next lovely encounter!” he replied with a wave of his hand
Celestia giggled as she watched his other hand wiggle its fingers at Luna who eyed them with a mixture of annoyance and want. She bid farewell to the others and made her way out of the old laboratory, making her way down the old corridor that was illuminated by her horn. Celestia came to the entrance to the corridor that led to the laboratory which was simply a dead end. No door, no curtain just a simple brick wall and cast a spell over her body, allowing herself to phase through the wall and appear on the other side.
She looked left and right to see if anyone was in the corridor and let a soft sigh of relief out seeing there was no-one. Celestia turned her head to look at where she had just come from. Instead of a door, there was a large painting on the wall that reached from the top to the bottom displaying rather fittingly a painting of Starswirl himself.
Turning to her left, she began to make her way towards the guard barracks in order to select some guards for Archimedes. As the solar princess walked on, she passed by a black unicorn maid with a grey mane and spectacles.
“Good afternoon, your highness!”
“And good afternoon to you, Blackberry,” Celestia replied.
She turned a corner, humming as little tune to herself. As she walked, she suddenly yelped as she vanished and appeared in a large garden outside the palace, blinking as she tried to process what just happened. She shook her head and sighed as she heard a familiar laugh coming from behind her.
“Discord, please don’t teleport me like that!” Celestia glared.
“Oh come now, Celly bean,” the draconequus chuckled. “I just wanted a chat.”
“About?” the alicorn asked as Discord appeared before her.
“Why, anything my dear! It has been so long since we spoke I just couldn’t bear it no more!”
Discord pulled out a handkerchief and blew into it making a loud and wet sound echo around the garden, before tossing the spoilt cloth behind him where it exploded into sombrero wearing confetti.
“We spoke this morning,” Celestia deadpanned.
“Details, details,” Discord replied with a wave of his claw.
“No offense, Discord. But could you make this quick? I’m… rather busy.”
“Busy? busy with what?” he asked her.
Celestia paused, wondering whether or not to tell Discord now about Archimedes or to wait a bit longer. She went with the latter.
“Uhm... nothing much, just an inspection of the guards,” Celestia replied, putting on her best fake smile she could muster.
Celestia felt a few drops of sweat form on her brow as Discord’s mouth slowly began to form into a twisted and mischievous grin.
“Oh? Is that so?”
“Tia, you have the worst poker face of anypony, ever. Well, maybe save for Applejack,” Discord chuckled as he snapped his talons and teleported onto Celestia’s back.
“So… are you gunna tell me? Or do we have to do this the… hard way?” Discord purred into her ear as he wiggled his talons.
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m just going to see the guards, that is all!” Celestia insisted.
“So be it…” Discord whispered with a grin.
Celestia screamed loudly and giggled as Discord suddenly tackled her to the ground and his fingers and talons went to work, tickling the alicorn without mercy.
“So… you’re the Princess of friendship?” Archimedes asked.
“That’s right.” Twilight smiled.
“And Luna is the night Princess?” he asked again.
“Correct-a-roonie!” Pinkie giggled.
“I see, I see…” Archimedes muttered.
Luna let out a sound equivalent to a purr as the robot continued to scratch her ear. She had long given up on being suspicious of Archimedes or on caring when the others giggled at her, just as long as she could enjoy the sensation of the scratching even more. It didn’t help that she was practically curled up in the robot’s lap.
“I’ve missed more than I thought, it seems. Tell me more about this… who was it again, Turok?”
“Tirek, darling,” Rarity corrected.
“Right, of course. Tirek.”
“Well, from what the Princess’ told us—”
Twilight was interrupted as Archimedes suddenly shot his head upright, nearly launching Moon from his head in the process and quickly looked left then right like an alert meerkat.
“What’s wrong, Archy?” Luna asked, a little peeved that the scratching had stopped.
“Didn’t you hear that?!” he asked alarmingly. “That sounded like a scream!”
“Scream?” Fluttershy asked. “I didn’t hear a scream.”
Everyone looked at one another and all confirmed that they all hadn’t heard it.
“It was my beloved screaming!” Archimedes panicked.
“You are hearing things my metal friend, continue with the scratching!” Luna declared with a smile.
“She warmed up quickly…” Rainbow snickered to Applejack.
But before Applejack could say anything, Luna squeaked as she was thrown off Archimedes's lap and landed on top of the girls. There was a loud boom as Archimedes ran through the closed door at speed, pounding down the corridor with a screaming bat pony clinging for dear life on his head.
“Don’t worry, my love! I’ll save you!” Archimedes shouted as he ran through the wall at the end of the corridor.
The group blinked as they stared through the two Archimedes shaped holes in the wall before looking at each other.
“Well…” Rainbow began. “Shit…”