Breaking Standards

by TheGlitchInTheMatrix

Discussions, Repercussions, and Sitting Cushions

Step 1: Put Your Best Foot More Forward.

"And that's why, girls, that investing into real estate early can be easily the most beneficial thing done whereas investing later can only be immediately gratifying," Rick collapsed his telescopic pointer and stood in front of the presentation board that proudly displayed graphs, tables, and notes.
Sweetie Belle, Applebloom, and Scootaloo all sat before him, notepads and pencils in hoof. Scootaloo murmured the last line Rick dictated while writing it down and then stuck her hoof in the air once finished, "Yes, Scootaloo?"
"Going back to the Constitutional Amendments, particularly Article P dash One, why is there no reason to the ban on Fruit Cake, where bans on other cakes are thoroughly explained?"
"Ah, excellent question that can actually be answered with a question: Have you three ever had Fruit Cake?" The three girls looked at each other, shrugging respectively before turning back to Rick and shaking their heads, "And you're damned lucky to never be fouled by such a vile and foul tasting abomination of confectionaries."
Sweetie Belle stared at her notepad for a few seconds, scratching the side of her head with a deep look of contemplation on her face, "Sweetie Belle? Any questions, comments, or concerns?"
"Yeah, about the Nachos Delegation and the Geneva Convention?"
"What about them in particular," Rick went back through his own cards, just in case he needed reinforcement.
"The Nachos Delegation, when Jalapeños are added mid-process, why can that be grounds for Party Demerit where there's an absence for penalty for misappropriating the Guacamole?"
"There's actually two standing theories for that, both of which remain in heated discussion, to this day. I'm very happy you caught that," Rick smiled and nodded at Sweetie, who smiled proudly in return, "The most popular belief is that Jalapeños, particularly used in this scenario, are a proud garnish, meant to be enjoyed both visually and orally. To put them on the dish anytime before the last step, would be to bury their purpose, thus worthy of penalty. The Guacamole, having no real shape being a semi-liquid, is forgiven its travels along the dish. Keeping that in mind, since the guacamole can't remain in its set place, there is no penalty for placing it at any time, or in any place, as the condiment itself, remains shapeless and not easily tamed."
"I get it now. And the Geneva Convention?"
"The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the treatment of war. In short, it was an agreement to prohibit misconduct and intentional harm of non-combatants and Prisoners of War.
Now, I know you're bringing this up in reference to a later statement that claims that 'all's fair in Love and War', am I right?" Sweetie Belle nodded, concentration evident in her expression, "Even though there are rules established, trying to tame war is like trying to tame the wind, making it blow when and where you want to. And trying to predict love is just as impossible a feat."
Rick inhaled, staring at his three students with a proud posture, "This brings up the point that while there are official rules, there are no real restraints from doing what you want, no matter who says what; there are dishonorable people out there who only care for their own end goal, willing to do anything to get it."
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle both let out long ooooh's, nodding slowly as their minds finally put the pieces together.
All throughout the lecture, however, Rick noticed that Applebloom never once put anything down on her notepad, it being empty could testify to that, and a look of pure, unbridled, intense confusion present for the entire time.
"Applebloom? You've been awfully quiet the whole time and you haven’t taken any notes. Is there something bothering you?" Rick asked, mildly concerned for the wellbeing of his student.
Applebloom cocked her head to the side, her confused scowl deepening. She glanced down at her notepad, pencil in her teeth, then over to Sweetie and Scootaloo. Her eyes darted between the two, who looked back at her with concern as well, before she looked back to Rick.
For a few seconds, no sounds could be heard until Applebloom inhaled massively, "WHAT IN SAM HELL DID I MISS AND WHAT IS GOIN' ON HERE!!??"
Rick, Sweetie, and Scootaloo all jumped at her holler, surprised at the sudden volume.
"Wait a sec," Scootaloo murmured, tapping her chin, "What were we talking about again?"
"I think it was something about Watergate?" Sweetie Belle offered.
Applebloom groaned loudly, slapping herself in her face with her hoof, dragging it down slowly, "We asked him about how he could talk. Or did y'all decide to take a one-way trip to LaLa Land?"
The disdain spoke loudly in Applebloom's tone, clearly not amused. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo looked at each other, blushing after a second when they realized the ludicrous situation they were in.
When they turned to look back at Rick, they found him idly playing with the gum-covered pot, acting as if he had no part to play in this, "You girls planning on cleaning this up?" Rick asked, trying to avoid the filly’s glares.
"Alright, Whaddya hiding," Applebloom deadpanned.
Rick sighed and looked back at the trio, "I can tell you how I can talk, but I think you'll be highly disappointed."
"Tell us!" Scootaloo chirped, seeming eager to learn the answer, despite Rick's disclaimer.
"In a nutshell: I learned!" Rick smiled happily.
As to be expected, none of the fillies were happy—not in the least bit—with that answer. Rick kept up his smile, "I did declare beforehand that you would not like the answer."
"So how long you plannin' on playin' with us?" Applebloom muttered dispassionately. Somehow, she didn't really seem pleased. Rick had no idea why, but surely it couldn't be about his totally awesome and captivating answer.
"Oh, come on! There has to be some kind of story to go with this! Maybe, you fell into some radioactive goo? A magical experiment gone wrong? Or—or what about an alien!?" Scootaloo began shooting off many a suggestion as to how Rick came to be, buzzing in her place with a large smile on her face.
"Uh, Scootaloo, I don't think any of those things are what happened," Sweetie Belle spoke up. Scootaloo stopped her antics, looking slightly defeated and shooting her friend a small stink eye. Applebloom put her hoof on her shoulder, giving her a consolatory pat, "I reckon it'd be smart just to ask him for the whole story."
Sharp, this one is, Rick muttered inside his head, giving a subtle sage nod, "Fine, you girls really wanna know?"
The fillies nodded.
"You really wanna know? It's a little… dark, and… uncomfortable," Rick warned.
"Are you really an alien? Coming to see if our planet's good enough or if the ponies here are good enough to eat?" Scootaloo asked, eyes wide and slightly quivering in her place. Sweetie Belle groaned loudly, rolling her eyes before smacking her in the back of the head, "Knock it off, Scootaloo!"
"Alright, alright, just having some fun. Didn't have to hit me," Scootaloo chuckled.
"I guess you can say that I technically am an alien," Rick began then quickly spoke again when the girls gasped, "in the sense that this world isn't my own and that I have no idea about anything here!"
"Then where'd you come from?" Sweetie asked.
"I'm not entirely sure how to answer that. I was on a planet called Earth just yesterday, but I wound up here when I let my mind out of my body," Rick answered.
"Earth? Sound's like earth ponies! Is it a planet where all the humans talk and there's only Earth ponies?" Applebloom asked.
"Yes to the humans talking, but the ponies on my planet are not like the ponies here. But to clarify something first, my kind are called Nords. To you, we look human, but we're not. Compared to this planet, we're a lot more… chaotic I guess is the best word I can think of," Rick finished.
"But how'd you get your mind out of your body if you're right here?" Scootaloo asked.
"That one's a bit trickier to answer. My mind is here, with an avatar of sorts, but my body is still back on Earth."
"Hold on, now I'm really lost," Sweetie Belle said, eyebrows furrowed as she tried to make sense of what Rick was telling them.
"How about I just tell you everything from the beginning, but again, I need you all to swear to me that you WILL NOT tell any living soul, pony, creature, whatever can talk and think on its own, about absolutely ANYTHING I'm about to tell you," Rick put on a very serious face, a glare very dominate across his features.
The girls swallowed then straightened their backs, sitting taller before speaking simultaneously, "Cross our hearts and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in our eyes."
Rick sat there, watching each of the three intensely, scanning their eyes for any possible hints of weakness that could make them blab. He was very surprised to see a very mature and steely resolve in each of the foal's eyes, dedicated to keeping his secrets.
With a heavy sigh, Rick allowed his shoulders to slouch as he leaned forward at a more relaxed posture, "It starts with an accident that happened to me, about two and a half years ago. Now, if you have any questions about anything, just ask me. Okay?"
The girls muttered their agreements, leaning forward to better hear Rick's tale. Rick opened his mouth and began the tale of his happiness to downfall, from revival to relocation and what he now planned to do…
Rick delved into his past, and explained just how exactly he was disfigured. They asked, of course, what a car was and what a semi-truck was, and he broke it down to simplistic and objective answers. He told them how he was in his own car, on his way to work, when a semi-truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, and hit him. Because he was on the opposite side of the perpendicular collision, he didn't die, but his hands were broken, his face was burned, his back broken, and his throat ripped open.
He tried as much as he can to leave some of the more graphic parts out of the story, but there was only so much he could do for a tale that was already fundamentally gruesome.
With a shaky breath, he had to pause and tell them about Stacy, and how she was the reason for him coming back to who he used to be. He explained the plan he used, and he explained how he was there now.

A sore ass was definitely worth this, Rick thought smugly to himself. Before him were three little fillies, sitting stock still as their little brains tried to take in the mental load he put on them. Applebloom managed to go the longest in maintaining her mental psyche strong enough to absorb the info. Scootaloo had been the first to give up, smoke leaking from her ears as her mind started to reboot.
All in all, however, their young minds held up far better than he predicted. Their attention spans held up for a lot longer than normal and their ability to keep the questions relevant and concise to the point where minimal explanation was needed to relay exactly what they needed.
Very impressive to Rick's standards. Perhaps, he can forge this world's first child prodigy like how Stacy wound up being. Only this time, this would be on purpose rather than accidental… or maybe Stacy was naturally just as curious as he was. It ran in the family, after all.
"Applebloom? Y'all in there?" Speaking of family, there comes Applejack now, Rick began to panic, seeing as there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Applejack's voice also managed to reach the foals in their state of nirvana… or paralysis, either seems plausible at this point.
"Girls! We gotta hide Rick!" Applebloom started, whipping her hair back and forth.
"Where the heck can we hide a full-grown Nord!?" Sweetie Belle yelped, jumping to the door and watching Applejack getting closer to the club house.
"Guys! I got this," Scootaloo chirped before turning to Rick. "What are you—wha!?" Rick began than shouted as he was rocked backward by a surprisingly forceful head butt to the stomach. Scootaloo planted her head firmly against his abdomen forcing him against the far wall where a black board hung.
"Scoots, what are you doing?" Rick hissed silently, not wanting Applejack to know he was there.
"Applejack's right outside!" Sweetie hissed back, frantically waving her hoof for them to hurry.
"Don't move, alright?" Applebloom muttered quickly before tugging a cord that hung off the ceiling. Rick opened his mouth to retort only to be cut off by a heavy canvass unfurling above him and falling to the floor like a big screen.
From his side, it was pitch black, but he could hear the girls still scrambling about still, "Alright! The Club-Still-Clean set is covering him," Scootaloo called to Sweetie. Sweetie nodded in acknowledgement and nodded to Applebloom, giving her the all clear.
Applebloom nodded before turning to the door, "We're all here, AJ. What didja need?"
From Rick could tell, the door was cracked open to allow the sisters to talk to each other; he could hear Applejack very clearly and she sounded still slightly pissed, "What are y'all doin' in here!?"
Rick could only guess that the gum mess was a surprise to see. "Um," Applebloom began, "We tried to make gum."
"How on earth did ya manage to cover everything in this?" Applejack stepped inside, easily forcing Applebloom and Scootaloo out of the way when they tried to deny her entry, "It's all over the roof for Pete's sake!"
"And that's why we're trying to clean it up!" Applebloom tried once again to push her sister out, "But it took us a long time to get out of the stuff and we don't want have to pull your hide out of it too!"
Applejack stepped back and gave her sister a blank stare, "Are you callin' me fat?"
Rick chuckled softly, making sure not to make noise that would give him away.
"No! It's just that you're bigger than a foal! We were easy to get out, but you? No way!" Scootaloo added, quickly catching onto Applebloom's game.
"Ah, I getcha," Applebloom sagely nodded. The girls grinned and nodded, "Y'all are calling me fat!" The girls deadpanned.
"Applejack, you literally work yourself to the bone practically everyday with your trees; how could you be fat?" Sweetie Belle logically retorted.
Applejack froze for a moment, "Oh."
Really? That didn't click until it was pointed out? Definitely not the mediator Pinkie was talking about, Rick thought to himself with a sour grimace.
"Anywho," Applejack shook herself as she remembered why she came out here in the first place, "I reckon you girls should all come with me to the house. Twilight ran amuck with a wild human wondering around the orchard who likes to beat ponies over the head with tree branches."
Scootaloo giggled, Applebloom scoffed, and Sweetie Belle gasped.
"Heh, Human with a club," Scootaloo giggled.
"I don't think humans can do that," Applebloom muttered.
"He didn't hurt anyone, did he?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Twilight has a little bump on the back of her head and Rainbow—Hold up," Applejack stopped mid-sentence and narrowed her eyes at the fillies, "How'd you know it was a 'he'?"
Sweetie Belle's eyes widened, Applebloom twitched, and Scootaloo's ear's turned toward where Rick was hidden.
Oh shit, Rick thought to himself, Dammit, Sweetie! It's not entirely your fault, but still!
"You girls aren't hiding something from me, are you?" Applejack sat down, careful to avoid planting her plot in a plot of gum.
"Er, uh, N-no! Why would we be hiding something?" Sweetie Belle nervously stammered, a huge and obvious fake smile spreading across her face.
"Uh huh, and how come y'all wanted me to leave instead of helping to clean up like y'all usually do," Applejack asked.
Round Two of super fun chasing time is about to begin, the announcer in Rick's head declared. He grit his teeth and tensed his muscles, preparing for another chase.
"W-well, just look at this mess! I mean, It took forever for us to get pulled out and if you got stuck too…" Scootaloo started than withered back to silence when she realized their argument from before came out again.
"I get that; y'all told me that already," Applejack crossed her arms and eyed the three, noting their shifty stares and twitching ears. For sure signs that the girls were nervous about something and keeping something from her. This wasn't her first rodeo with these three. Then, her glance fell to the wall behind them, the only wall that seemed to be clean, and she noticed an area of the wall where the pink abruptly stopped and the wall seemed to… wrinkle a little.
Applejack's glare deepened, "So how long did it take for him to pull you out?"
Applebloom's ears fell flat against her head. Uh oh! Rick inhaled slightly, hoping no one would fall for that trap in Applejack's sentence.
Now, from where he was, he could only get the audio cues of the conversation. He couldn't see the physical nuances of the conversation so he didn't know the trap was already sprung from the physical slouch the girls all displayed. They knew they had been found out… Rick didn't.
"Alright, girls," Applejack sighed, moving aside so that the three could easily get to the door, "Let's go get this gunk off of you."
The young girls gave each other confused glances, thinking that, somehow, they got out of their crisis. Deciding that was what had, indeed, taken place, they shrugged and began walking out.
"Y'all are gonna look real funny with patches of fur missing from your coat," Applejack chuckled out loud, but even though she was eyeing the girls, her years of watching the foals have sharpened her Big Sister senses, allowing her to focus on the fake wall of the club house even though she was staring straight at the three girls.
"That's what I was afraid of," Applebloom groaned, hanging her head as she thought of the impending embarrassment.
Just as the last of their hooves left the threshold of the club house's doorway, Applejack slammed it shut, closing herself inside with the girls locked out. The girls all yelped in surprise and began trying to force their way back in, calling out to Applejack to unlock the door and to leave the back wall alone.
Ignoring the protests, Applejack walked over to where she thought there was a hiding human.
Rick, at first mentally celebrating the apparent victory the girls claimed when Applejack offered to just leave, suddenly found himself frantically looking for an out.
Door's locked, girls are all outside, heavier hoof falls indicate Applejack is inside still and full aware of where I am. Window is to her right: out of reach. Door behind Applejack: Out of reach. No hand hold or crawl spaces in the ceiling or wall: No covert relocation. Last resort is going to be—
Applejack yanked the canvass façade down, revealing Rick, crouched and blinking rapidly at the sudden light when his night vision had just started to fade in.
"There you are, ya filthy varmint," Applejack growled.
Rick just sat there, staring unblinking at Applejack, arms curled into his lap idly as if he were simply waiting for something.
"Ya know, I don't very much appreciate when ponies—or humans in this case—beat up on my friends," Applejack huffed, the heat from her breath washing over Rick's face and exposed part of his chest.
Rick jerked his head away, imitating an animal that was annoyed by their pesky owner blowing in their faces.
Applejack suddenly seemed confused by the gesture, "Wai—What? Wild humans don't do that," Applejack mused, leaning in slightly to better examine Rick.
Rick turned slightly to face her, confronting her like a stray dog carefully sniffs out a treat being handed to him. He may have seemed completely calm and lame from the outside, but if his bladder control was any weaker, even by a little smidge, Applejack would currently be standing in a puddle.
"You're a strange looking one," Applejack noted. She saw that his eyes were much brighter and less beady than a normal human’s, his skin was a lot less tanned than normal, his hair was short by human standards, and the colors on him seemed more like something you would find on either a pony… or prized human! After all, noble ponies liked to keep their humans in clothes to show off the amount of extra money they had to clothe their pets.
"Have never seen a human like you before, you're wearing clothes instead of just a collar, and very well groomed… You're a prize human, ain'cha?" Applejack scoffed, "Well I'll be. I think Twilight may have done something to scare ya and that's why you knocked her silly."
Rick internally sighed with relief, thankful that his bladder control held out, but now, he seriously had to piss. But he thought about Applejack's assessment of him and thought over his image.
According to the few who do know me, I'm apparently a lot better looking than the humans here and not typical colored. Usually rare breeds are showcased in any kind of animal show. I am wearing a robe instead of a collar and those crazy gringos at home loved to spend stupid money on stupid dressings for their pets. As for the grooming part, I personally think I could use a little TLC, but looking at the state of the other butt-ugly mo-fo's around here, I guess I am a little better off.
"You trained, fella?" Applejack asked, raising her hoof to pat Rick's knee. He jumped at the sudden contact, still trying to imitate a native human. Applejack chuckled, "Easy there, boy, I ain't gonna hurt ya, but you should come with me," Applejack gently took the hem of Rick's robe in her teeth and pulled slightly, urging Rick to follow.
Slowly, Rick stood up and allowed himself to be pulled along, "No idea how you got separated from your owner, but I'll bet they're all in a scramble lookin' for you," Applejack said.
She turned to walk back outside, releasing his robe from her teeth, but stopped when she noticed a lack of human following her. Rick hadn't made any motions to follow her after she let go.
"Heel, boy," Applejack called out.
I think I just died a little on the inside, Rick internally whined, obediently following the command and stepping close to Applejack's, ahem, backside. She doesn't have heels, so that command is a little weird.
"Just as I thought; you're trained. I'm starting to think that Twilight was just overacting like she usually does. I'm wondering what she did," Applejack muttered to herself.
With a twist of her hoof, Applejack opened the clubhouse door, unleashing the three fillies waiting outside upon herself.
"No, Applejack! Don't hurt him!" Applebloom wailed.
"He didn't do anything wrong!" Scootaloo yelled.
"He's harmless, we promise!" Sweetie Belle added.
Laughing aloud, Applejack shrugged the girls off, comforting them with small strokes through their manes.
"Now, now, I ain't upset. It's weird you found him and managed to get him to follow y'all around, and all that, but I think you girls should come and talk to me before you try and rope up a stray human. I think he already belongs to somepony, and he's probably a prized human too, judging by how well trained he is," Applejack explained to them.
"So… What are you gonna do to him?" Scootaloo asked.
"Gotta take him back to Ponyville. ‘Ccordin’ to Twilight, that’s where she had the most trouble with him. Gotta be around there he got lost,” Applejack said.
“Can we go with you?” Applebloom asked, following along with Applejack as we walked through the orchard.
“Don’t y’all have a mess you need to clean up? I know I ain’t gonna do it,” Applejack eyed Applebloom sternly.
The filly trio gulped and smiled nervously, Scootaloo chuckling nervously, Sweetie clearing her throat awkwardly, and Applebloom muttering an agreement reluctantly. The girls all turned tail and moped back to the gum covered treehouse, glancing over at Rick curiously as they walked away from each other.
Rick chanced a glance backwards, catching the filly’s stares, and gave them a small, confident grin and a wink before turning back around.
He saw a smile creep on their faces just as he faced back forward, silently shuffling along the orange cowpony through the orchard.
He had no idea how she knew where she was going when it all looked the same to him, but he supposed that since she worked here her whole life, she should kinda know how to navigate the area.
“So, Twilight’s been all worked up about you for a couple hours now. Lucky you were still here when we were lookin’ for you,” Applejack started talking to Rick, breaking the monotony of the silent walk, “She say’s you were doin’ things humans can’t do, says she accidentally got in your head and saw a human smiling at her,” Rick remembered the painful flare in his head when Twilight did something to him with her magic. He had remembered an instant with Stacy, smiling up at him, “Funny how she thought that was cause enough for panic. Bit of a stick in the mud, that girl. I swear, that mare needs to find herself a nice stallion, don’tcha think?” Applejack glanced at Rick over her shoulder, almost expectantly, like she was waiting for him to answer.
Deciding to test the waters slightly, Rick huffed, still sounding like a typical human, but clearly acknowledging that Applejack was indeed talking to him.
"Heh, yeah that's what I thought," Applejack chuckled.
Rick continued watching her, smirking to himself as a thought came to his head. He was supposed to be playing like a human of this world right? And supposedly, he was not too normal considering what's already here. What's a little monkey business around here other than typical human behavior?
"I have to say that: If Twi was bothering you, could you avoid actually hurting her? I don't appreciate you beating her over the head with a—Hey!" Applejack said then yelped. Her Stetson was lifted off her head, prompting her to look back and try to catch it with her hoof before it completely abandoned ship.
She saw Rick with the hat on his head, now, staring at her with that same lame expression other humans had. The hat, ironically, was on correctly and actually looked good on him.
"Give that back, boy, that's mine—Hey!" Applejack made to take her hat back when he moved back and out of her way, "Come on, you, give it back," Applejack made another quick grab, only to be dodged again by the reflexive human.
Inside, Rick smiled to himself, enjoying his antics. With quick steps and weaves, Rick darted to and fro, deftly dodging that deceptively agile cowpoke of a pony. All the while, she swore at him, threatened him, and promised dire retribution should she get her hooves on him.
Unfortunately, Rick had too much fun prancing about that he didn't pay attention to his footing. A bastard tree thought it was funny to stick his root out under Rick's foot, tripping him up. "Gotcha now, ya rascal!"
Applejack jumped up in his moment of unsure footing, finally grabbing hold of her hat, planting her back hooves in his lap to better raise herself to make the grab. Rick wind-milled his arms, desperate to regain proper horizon lock in his equilibrium, but Applejack adding her own mass to his precariously balanced position was too much. They both fell backward to the ground.
Rick hit on his back, head bouncing off the dirt and splattering floaters and stars in his vision. When his sight came back un-obscured, there was a substantial amount of orange fur and blushing, red skin underneath.
He blinked, trying to take in the scene above him. Applejack laid upon Rick's body, hind legs on either side of his waist with her front hooves around his neck. Rather intimate…
"Uhm, ahem, sorry 'bout that, partner," Applejack chuckled nervously. She planted her hooves against the ground and made to push herself up before Rick sat up abruptly and embraced her as tight as he could, rubbing his face vigorously in the crook of her neck. Holy crap, she's ridiculously soft!
"Uh—Um, Hey, cut that out," Applejack squirmed, trying to push her way out of Rick's grasp.
Rick kept up the snuggling for a bit longer before letting his grip slacken. Applejack took advantage of the lapse and hopped away, "That sure was strange," she whispered, eyeing him nervously.
What? Humans don't snuggle against soft things here? Man, this world! Esta Loco, Rick mentally shook his head, but didn’t stand up.
"Well, uh," Applejack started, but her embarrassment from the strange affection made her fumble over her words, "Let's, uh, get you on back to, ahem, Twilight."
Rick huffed slightly, but stood up regardless. Again, though, he didn't move from his spot until Applejack gave him a command, This little death that racks my soul, every time I belittle myself to a miniature horse, Rick lamented his fate, but didn't vocalize any of it.
For a few minutes, the two padded along—well, half the group padded, the other noisily clip-clopped—until Princess Purple It came into view. Rick whimpered and tucked himself closer to Applejack, crouching severely to make himself as small as possible.
"Hey, Twi, I got the rascal," Applejack called out to her friend.
Twilight looked over, and then glared at Rick. He whimpered again, avoiding eye contact very obviously. Mierda, this is so humiliating, Rick grumbled, If I get back home, never am I belittling an animal again.
"He didn't cause any trouble, did her?" Twilight grumbled, caution and hostility hung heavy on her tones. Then, to make matters worse, Rainbow Smash dropped from the sky and thumped down viciously, clearly not happy.
"Nah, he's actually very well trained. Now, I wanna know what he did to you that you terrified him so much," Applejack asked, voice inquisitive.
"Nothing! He started talking, and no human can do that! He's not human Applejack, and he won't identify himself," Twilight huffed, irritated that her friends was taking this imposter's side.
"Alright, Twilight, what exactly happened?" Applejack asked, noting that Rick had started trembling against her flank, making her hind leg tremble with him.
"Spike came in and told him to speak and he spoke," Twilight explained.
"Like a human command?" Applejack asked.
"Yes," Twilight affirmed, her horn glowing with magical energy. At that, Rick yelped and took several steps backward, startling everyone around, I didn't even need to pretend to be an animal, that legitimately scares me!
"I don't think that's all there is to it, Twi," Applejack pondered aloud, then walked back to Rick, "Shush, now, big guy; it's alright," Applejack cooed softly, trying to calm Rick down.
Twilight and Rainbow both seemed very confused, "Uh, Twilight? I thought you said he was dangerous," Rainbow deadpanned, "I mean, he made me slam into a few things, but that could be my fault if you look at it a certain way. But now? He makes it seem like you're the dangerous one."
"Grr, Watch! Just tell him to speak, Applejack. You'll see," Twilight let the magic go in her horn, but remained tense, ready to act if the human should suddenly… do something.
Applejack turned to Rick, eyeing him curiously before clearing her throat and speaking clearly and with authority, "Speak!"
Rick whined and shrank away, keeping his eyes on Twilight, making it very clear that he was not going to be following that command in her presence. "Twilight!" Applejack suddenly gasped.
"What?" Twilight started slightly, not expecting the sudden volume.
"He's traumatized!"
"How is that my fault!?"
"Speak!" Rick barked, immediately shutting everyone up.
The three present ponies stared, flabbergasted. Rick shuffled nervously from side to side, feet lifting up slightly like he was prepared to run.
"Awesome," Rainbow breathed with an open maw of shock.
"What in Sam Hell," Applejack muttered, removing her hat.
"I told you. And not only that: for some reason, I can't grab him with my magic," Twilight said smugly.
"Magic! No!" Rick barked, still staring straight at Twilight. Now, all three ponies lost their jaws, and Rick took advantage of this to sprint off.
No one made a move until after Rick had gained a well enough distance.
If I'm smart about this… which I'm technically not supposed to be… I can completely assimilate myself as just a passive anomaly! I just need to get there fast enough, Rick thought as his legs pumped as hard and as fast as he could. New adrenaline flowed through his body, urging even more speed and heightening his reflexes as he exited Sweet Apple Acres and into Ponyville proper.
With deft sidesteps and hops, quick-footed redirects and shuffles, Rick cunningly maneuvered through the market until he reached the far end of Ponyville, the Everfree Forest in his view. Once he completely cleared Ponyville, he chanced a looked backward only to shout in surprise.
Applejack wasn't too far off, and Rainbow was flying just above her. Princess Purple It wasn't anywhere to be seen. Putting on even more speed, Rick made a mad dash to the Forest's edge, hoping the foliage of the natural canopies and floor would slow down Applejack and Rainbow. As a biped, he had a slight speed advantage when running through clutter.
He heard Applejack calling the 'Heel' command multiple times, but he didn't pay it any attention. Right now, he was a fleeing human, not a trained one… well, still trained, just not—you know what I mean; it was better to run than listen to her.
Finally breaking the tree line, he skidded to a halt turning back around to see if they would follow. According to Zecora, most ponies think twice before coming into here. True to her word, Applejack and Rainbow slowed to a stop, "Come on, boy! It's dangerous in there unless your on the path!"
Rick noted that there wasn't a path anywhere near him and mentally let out a sigh of relief that his luck continued to hold out. Without one, they wouldn't pursue—"I'm gonna get him outta there!"
…wut? Rick thought.
Rainbow followed after Rick, but on her face was an expression of concern rather than contempt.
"Rainbow! You're gonna get hurt in there!" Rick heard Applejack scream, but he turned and ran when he saw Rainbow follow him.
At least, the trees made it harder for her to get him… that is, until he heard something roaring and howling in the distance. He halted in his tracks, listening intently.
Rainbow fluttered next to him, slightly curled up in fright, but one of her hooves went to his shoulder firmly, "Come on, let's get out of here! There's a pack of Timberwolves nearby!"
Ignoring her for a moment and reviewing a mental map of the immediate area, he realized that he was actually much further from Zecora's hut than he thought. But there was no way he was going back to Purple It dissecting him…
He swallowed thickly and continued running forward, keeping note of where he was headed to avoid the wolves, but keeping as straight as possible to get to Zecora's quickly.
"Hey! Stop! We're gonna get really hurt if we stay out here!" Rainbow pleaded. Despite her warning and obvious need for self-preservation, she kept following him, sticking close to his side.
Ears keen and eyes sharp, Rick kept moving, listening to Rainbow try and persuade him out and whimper whenever a howl sounded like it was getting closer. They didn't seem interested in them, or they just didn't catch their scent, either way, Rick made sure to adjust course accordingly.
"U-um, do you know where you're even going?" Rainbow asked, eyes darting back and forth.
Rick huffed an affirmative, much to Rainbow's shock, "Can you… can you understand me?"
I can, but that's for me to know, and you to find out… never, Rick mentally thought with a smug smile. But he was sure to make sure she couldn't see it.
A rustle in the bush across from them caused the duo to jump in fright and freeze in their tracks, eyes resolutely fixed on the trembling foliage. Rainbow latched onto Rick's arm, shuddering slightly, while Rick crouched and spread his arms in a ready combat stance.
But who should be the one to cause their fear? Why, none other than Zecora herself! She emerged from the bush, leaves clinging to her coat and a set of saddlebags she was wearing. Her head was down and she had a deep scowl on her face, muttering something or another angrily.
"Zecora!" Rainbow happily shouted.
Zecora jumped high into the air, yelling something that Rick was both glad to hear and amused to hear as well. She had screamed in Swahili! And what she screamed was along the lines of "Motherfucker".
"Rainbow Dash! Don't be so loud and brash!" Zecora said, holding a hoof over her heart and breathing quickly.
"Sorry about that, we just thought you were a timberwolf or something," Rainbow said with a nervous scratch to her hair.
"I am not, although, they are a rather bothersome lot," Zecora said, then turned to Rick, "Ricardo? What are you doing here? And that robe you're wearing is quite queer."
"I need to talk to you, but act like I'm just being a human still," Rick told her in Swahili.
Much to Zecora's credit, she had minimal reaction at hearing him speak her language, but Rainbow was less composed, "YOU CAN TALK!!!"
"Calm yourself, Rainbow, it's merely him mimicking for a show. He does that when he needs something, stat," Zecora turned and motioned for them to follow her, "My hut isn't too far, but please be careful, lest you earn a scar."
The trio began moving along when Rainbow spoke up, "So what were you doing out here anyway, Zecora?"
"I received a letter from my homeland. There was a council to be held for me and other nomads. Unfortunately, the fee was too high for an air barge, and my coin purse isn't quite large. There are no ships ready for the sea, so here I am, at quite a quandary," Zecora explained.
Lucky me, Rick thought with a mental sigh of relief, I wasn't ready to take on these ponies alone.
"That stinks," Rainbow agreed, "and how come the Timberwolves didn't bother you? It sounded like they were right behind you where we ran into each other."
"A simple repellant, something the wolves find repugnant," Zecora grinned proudly.
"Cool," Rainbow said approvingly.
The next few minutes were spent silently, the company of three just moving along jovially… and this rhyming thing kinda infected me. Please, pay me no heed…
…that was the last one.
At long last, a minute later, they arrived safely at Zecora's hut. As soon as it came into sight, Rick rushed forward and within, leaving the two behind, walking at a more mundane pace.
As quick as he could, Rick wrote out a very quick and short handed note for Zecora to read to Rainbow and for something for himself to present to Purple It, should she try to rape him again… or just try very hard to bug him.
He finished the scroll just as the two walked in, presenting it to Zecora, "Master," he growled out.
"And you're sure he can't talk?" Rainbow asked skeptically.
"Very sure," Zecora replied, taking the scroll and opening it read it.
This is that better alibi we were talking about, the note started in Swahili, don't tell Rainbow what this means. And I'll need this back to help me out in Ponyville when you are gone.
"Ah! It is a note from Rick's master!" Zecora said with feigned cheer.
"His master? I thought he belonged to you?" Rainbow asked.
"No, me owning a human would be a disaster!" Zecora laughed.
"Well, what does the note say?" Rainbow hovered closer, trying to read the note over Zecora's shoulder.
"It says, 'Zecora,'" Rick was suddenly very attentive, wondering how Zecora would read the letter since it wasn't in rhyme, "'I hope Ricardo isn't giving you too much trouble. Sadly, I won't be able to make it back anytime soon,'" for some reason, Rick was kind of disappointed to hear her not speaking in rhymes and that it seemed so normal coming from her, "But I'm going to go ahead and let you know that Ricardo will be allowed to roam freely; you don't need to house him anymore. Go ahead and leave this message with Ricardo to give to the resident Princess, just in case she becomes curious about his… behavior."
"Is that it?" Rainbow asked. She had sat down next to Rick, opting to listen instead of reading with her.
"There is a bit more, mostly personal lore, but the other message is for Twilight's patronage," Zecora responded, still looking over the note.
"Well, what does that say?" Rainbow asked, bouncing slightly in her place. Rick watched her with amusement, but he didn't show it.
"'To whomever else reads this note: Please, treat this human with care and delicacy. He is a very valuable research subject. He has advanced motor functions and has the ability to understand some of our language. It's rocky, but he also appears to be able to mimic speech when wanting to express pain, hunger, sadness, concern, or kindness."
Rick let out a breath he forgot he was holding, glad that Zecora had added filling and transitional words to his short hand.
"For the moment, he also seems to be immune to some magic. I haven't tested it yet as it causes him a bit of pain and possibly a shared memory moment. I wouldn't recommend even using magic in his presence; you could very well startle him.
He isn't dangerous, not in the slightest, but he will not hesitate to defend himself and even others with excessive force. He is still an animal, after all," man, that part hurt to write down, Rick thought to himself.
"Please, Ricardo is a gentle, loving, and highly respectful human; do not treat him ill. It helps that he also understands authority. If Princess Twilight, Celestia, or Luna happen to come across this note, you'll notice that he'll bow to you after initially meeting you,'" Zecora read out.
"Wow! You're pretty smart!" Rainbow chirped at Rick. Rick turned to look at her to acknowledge her speaking to him, but he made no further action.
"There is another quick note here. Something that we all should hear," Zecora announced.
Rhyming "here" with "hear", huh? Interesting rules you have, Rick noted with a mental smirk.
"'Ricardo is also very well versed in medicine and handywork. Should you need any help, you can employ his services with an "Assist Me!" command. He'll listen to most anything you'll need," at that, Zecora gave Rick a curious look, silently asking him what his plans were.
He simply winked, offering a sign that told her to trust him. She gave a slight, disbelieving shake of her head, but kept to herself.
"Now that seems way too smart for a human," Rainbow said skeptically, crossing her arms and looking over to Rick who returned her stare with an expressionless one.
"Excuse me a moment," Zecora said aloud, "let me put these bags in my closet and grant my aching back content." With that, Zecora walked by the two and into the door by her bed.
Seizing the opportunity, Rainbow turned to Rick and glared at him, "Making me slam into the wall and tree like that really hurt," then she butt her head against Rick's forehead, pressing it there and preventing him from looking anywhere else but into her eyes, "but you beating up my friends? Oh no, you do not go there! You wanna crash me? Fine, but Twilight? You touch her again, or any other pony, you'll have me to answer to," Rainbow was growling, and her eyes spoke of murder.
Rick swallowed thickly, whimpering slightly and wanting to move away from this murderous mare. "You got that!?" Rainbow barked!
Rick yelped and nodded vigorously, I got it, loca! Ay Dìos mìo, you're scary, Rick thought.
Rainbow scoffed and moved away, scowling at him from the sides of her eyes, "You better; I've thrashed bigger humans than you before." Then she floated over to where a cushion sat on the floor and sat on it.
"I have to hand it to you, though," Rainbow said quietly, "You're probably the fastest human I've ever seen."
Rick stared at her, not sure how a normal animal would react, so he did the best thing possible… nothing. He stood there awkwardly, in the middle of Zecora's tree, fidgeting slightly as he watched Rainbow stare at him and then watched Zecora's hind quarters sticking out of the closet.
"That note says you know how to defend yourself, does that mean you're a Guard Human?" Rainbow asked.
Rick returned his attention to her, but still did nothing "I wonder why somepony would train a Guard Human to do so much. Sounds kinda lame, if you ask me."
Deciding that he didn't wanna stand much longer, Rick sat down where he stood, crossing his legs and sitting straight.
"Is your master sure you don't know how to talk? That sounded like you were talking to Zecora earlier," Rainbow asked.
"Most of it was gibberish," Zecora called from the closet, "nothing more than syllabic mush."
"If you say so," Rainbow said skeptically, but never took her eyes off Rick.
Once her trip to Narnia was over, Zecora withdrew from the closet, now without her saddlebags, and walked over to Rick. A scroll in her mouth that she deposited on the floor in front of him, "Your masters note. You should keep it in tote."
Rick grabbed the note and tucked it into his toga/robe, making sure it was secure, "And I need you to Assist Me," Zecora said, making sure those words stuck out. Rick quirked up, looking straight at Zecora, "Please, take this note to Princess Twilight and clear up any calamity."
Rick cocked his head to the side, displaying his genuine confusion. "If what Rainbow said about you injuring Twilight is correct, then good relations, you must elect."
Rick nodded and stood back up, making straight for the door. "Hey wait!" Rainbow cried out.
Rick and Zecora looked back at her nervously shuffling from hoof to hoof, "You, uh, you have anymore of that Timberwolf Repellant?"
Zecora looked confused for a second before she started laughing. It was gentle and not at all mocking, "The wolves will simply abandon their stead if you are playing dead!"
Ah, that's why she was covered in all those leaves, Rick mentally 'ah-ha'd.
"Oh," Rainbow said dumbly, "Well, then I'll guess we'll see you later Zecora." Rainbow fluttered out of the door and Rick took a step after her before stopping. He stared after her until he was certain she wasn't trying to hide by door sill when she noticed he wasn't following anymore.
"Zecora," Rick began, "Thanks. You've been a big help to me and I promise I'll repay you."
"I don’t need any commemoration, but a visit from you every now and then will bring much elation!" She stepped forward and hopped up on her hind legs to hug him. He returned the hug with a firm squeeze.
"Then expect to see me every day! But would you mind if we spoke your language? The rhymes are kinda hard to keep up with," Rick asked.
"But of course! However, you'll need to explain how you know that tongue aside from yours," Zecora said, stepping back down from the hug.
"Hey! Where'd you go, boy?" Rainbow called out from the distance, sounding almost panicked.
Rick looked back down to Zecora and gave her another wink, before simply walking off with a goodbye wave.
As quick as could, he darted to where Rainbow was heard and found her hovering over a trail on the forest floor, her ears and eyes swiveling about in search for him. Once his footsteps got closer, she turned to him and sighed with relief, dropping back to her hooves, "You scared me, big guy. Don't run off like that, okay? Especially in the Everfree."
Huh, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you have feelings for me… Praise the Sun! Rick mentally laughed. But his face betrayed nothing of his actual emotions.
For the remainder of the trip, the two prodded along silently. Along the way, Rick had taken out the scroll and examined it briefly. It was the same exact note he gave to Zecora, but written with much nicer penmanship, not short handed, and with the proper transitional words and phrases to make it sound much less like a retard wrote it…and yes, I just thought of my self as a retard, Rick thought with a scowl of realization.
What also tickled Rick's fancy was that the note in Swahili was also there still, but the pronouns and point of view changed to sound and look like a more informal note to Zecora from "The Master" that they talked about.
It made them seem very familiar… almost romantically… it made Rick nervous for some inexplicable reason.
From the edge of the Everfree tree line, the two emerged, blinking away the night vision that settled into their retinas after the dark of the forest.
And who should be there waiting for them? But Princess Purple It, Apple-Fakk, Pinklock Polmes, and two others that he wasn't familiar with. He wanted to identify the two unfamiliars when a sudden cold pressed all around Rick's neck and around his midsection, binding his arms to his body causing him to yelp loudly.
"Twilight, it's alright!" Rainbow tried to cut in, waving off a long string of rope that was heading for Rick's neck.
A fuckin' noose!? Are you kidding me!? I thought the sixties were done and dealt with! … Definitely burning in hell for that one, Rick mentally shouted then lamented.
"Regardless, all owned humans need a collar to roam around and need to be in the presence of their handler at all times," Twilight explained, trying to get the rope past her agile, blue, flying friend.
"Did you really need to get a collar made out of metal? The poor thing looks really uncomfortable," the new yellow one whispered…said… hard to tell with how soft her voice was. She was a pegasus, like Rainbow, but she remained on the ground, "And that body brace has to be so cold!"
I like her already, Rick thought, she knows that the struggle is real.
"He attacked me and made Rainbow hurt herself… twice!" Twilight explained.
You already know why I don't like you, Sparkle Butt, Rick growled.
"And I told you already, Twi, that you did something to scare the fella. He's obviously trained to defend himself and to listen to commands, even if they're from another pony," Apple-Fakk pointed out.
By this point, Purple It stopped all further attempts at lynching Rick.
"Honestly, darling, the very thought of somepony training one of these horrid brutes and training it to defend itself is warrant enough for caution. Not to mention his apparent resistance to magic," the new white, one-horn said. A haughty flair of her hair and a snooty upturned nose told Rick everything he needed to know about her.
Uptight, well-mannered, stone cold bitch who probably has a slave worker trying to earn her affections… and she won't even acknowledge his feelings for her at all. Target Acquired. Commence Troll-ilization, Rick grinned evilly within his mind. In his experience back on Earth, before the accident, people like her wound up being a lot of fun once you broke them out of their shell.
"Master! Note! Prince Spark!" Rick barked out, intentionally shortening the vowels and syllable count to sound like he had a lot of difficulty working the words out.
Every pony jumped at the strange sounds and the realization that a mute creature was speaking. Luckily, Rainbow saved him from impending dissection from Purple It, who looked ready to dive for a scalpel and bone saw.
"Cool it! He can't really talk. He just mimics words! Zecora told me all about it! He has a note that he was supposed to give to you Twilight," Rainbow said.
"That's more than simple mimicry, Rainbow Dash! He had a cohesive message behind that phrase! He meant to relay a message, which is speaking!" Twilight explained.
"Will you just read the stupid note and stop acting like a silly filly who's scared of the boogeymare!?" Rainbow dash was now, very clearly, irritated at her paranoia.
You and me both, sister, Rick agreed with a very subtle roll of his eyes. With firm, but subtle wiggles throughout that exchange, Rick had completely come free of the metal band binding his arms.
Just before a blushing Twilight could offer a retort that looked like she was about to defend herself, the metal band clicked against the ground, eliciting a gasp from the other ponies.
Both the yellow and white ones jumped behind Purple it and Apple-Fakk, Pinklock leaning in much closer with a joyful and awed expression, "Ooh! Ooh! He's an escape artist human! Do it again, do it again!"
Before that could escalate as well as the pony panic getting ready to happen, Rick withdrew the note and approached Purple It. He maintained a stoic posture and composure and seemed to not hold any fear of her anymore. The same couldn't be said for Purple It who looked like she was about to confront Satan himself.
Rick huffed, urging her to take the note, pressing it closer to her without actually touching. Cautiously, Twilight took the note in her magic and unfurled it slowly, holding it away from herself to avoid setting off the nuclear bomb that was oh-so-obviously hidden inside of it… or anthrax.
She scanned it over, making numerous facial expressions that ranged from clearly skeptical to outright disbelief.
"Well, what's it say?" Applejack asked, leaning over Twilight's shoulder.
Twilight cleared her throat before reciting the message for everyone present, "'I hope Ricardo isn't giving you too much trouble, Zecora. Sadly, I won't be able to make it back from Stalliongrad anytime soon, but I'm going to go ahead and let you know that Ricardo will be allowed to roam freely; you don't need to house him anymore.
It's become a little tough to send you money for his food and any troubles he may add to your schedule. I know you're a busy mare, so I'll give you the command to tell him that he must take care of himself. It will be at the end of my letter.
Go ahead and leave this message with Ricardo to give to the resident Princess, just in case she becomes curious about his behavior. I trust, her being the Princess of Friendship, that she will not have him impounded and that she could direct him to a place to stay.
To whomever else reads this note: Please, treat this human with care and delicacy. He is a very valuable research subject. He has advanced motor functions and has the ability to understand some of our language. It's rocky, but he also appears to be able to mimic speech when wanting to express pain, hunger, sadness, concern, or kindness. He has very minimal communication skills vocally, but his body language is much more pronounced than normal humans.
For the moment, he also seems to be immune to some magic. I haven't tested it yet as it causes him a bit of pain and possibly a shared memory moment. I wouldn't recommend even using magic in his presence; you could very well startle him.
He isn't dangerous, not in the slightest, but he will not hesitate to defend himself and even others with excessive force. He is still an animal, after all," Applejack cut in, "I told you Twilight!"
Twilight gave her a stern glare, "This note could be entirely fabricated by him," Twilight gestured to Rick, "For all we know."
"I don't think that's the case," Pinkie cut in as well.
Twilight gave her an irritated huff, "And why not, Pinkie?"
"Look at his hands! There's no ink smudges on the sides!"
Twilight looked back to Rick and stepped closer to look at his hands, finding that Pinkie was right. The ink would have at least left some proof that his hand rested against it before it fully cured. Thank God I don't rub my hand over the paper when I write!
"Was there anymore in that letter, Twilight dear?" the white horny one asked.
Twilight stepped back from Rick, slightly less skeptical now, before clearing her throat once more and continuing her progress in the letter, "'Please, Ricardo is a gentle, loving, and highly respectful human; do not treat him ill. It helps that he also understands authority. If Princess Twilight, Celestia, or Luna happen to come across this note, you'll notice that he'll bow to you after initially meeting you.
Ricardo is also very well versed in medicine and handywork. Should you need any help, you can employ his services with an "Assist Me!" command. He'll listen to most anything you'll need, best wishes from Xenith. P.s. That command for him to care of himself? Say "Bure!" three times. Hope to see you soon, my friend.'"
Rick smiled in his mind with an approving nod. I definitely need to repay Zecora somehow.
"He'll bow to you!? Absurd! Ruffians like him wouldn't know proper etiquette in the face of royalty!" the white, horny mare said.
"I'm gonna have to go with Rarity on this one," Applejack agreed.
"Well, don't knock it 'til you try it," Pinkie chirped before literally bouncing to where Rick stood, "Now girls, you all have to play along to see if it this works."
The others looked at her strangely, but didn't object. Rick already knew precisely how to do this show.
"All hail, Princess Twilight Sparkle!" Pinkie cheered and gave a very respectful bow to Twilight.
Twilight made an embarrassed noise and turned red in the face. The others quickly caught on and bowed to her as well. Rick waited the heartbeat when he was the only one standing to make it known to the others that he was learning… although he already knew. It was all part of the show.
With a very graceful, smooth motion, Rick put his left hand behind his back, placed his right hand across his abdomen, and knelt down on his right knee, in a very exaggerated but well-mannered bow.
"Hey, he really did it," Rainbow Dash said.
The girls all stood back up and looked at Rick with mixed expressions of pleasant surprise and shock. Even though everyone had stopped bowing. Rick hadn't moved, keeping his head low. He was aware that they stopped, but there was a part of the ritual that hadn't been announced. All animals are trained with cues, after all. Unless he gets it, he won't budge.
"Um, why didn't he stand back up?" the yellow shy asked.
"You can get up now, boy!" Pinkie yelled out.
Still, Rick didn't move, and made no indication he was going to.
Seriously, you call me the animal and you don't even know the proper routine? Tsk tsk you savages, Rick thought.
"Please make him stop, you know I hate it when ponies treat me like this," Twilight muttered indignantly. Clearly, she was uncomfortable.
"Oh wait! If he's trained, he needs to understand that we're not bowing anymore!" Thank you Apple-Fakk! "Please rise!"
With that, Rick stood up, just as gracefully, and resumed complete stoicism.
"Well," Twilight began, "I'm still gonna be cautious around him, especially when we don't know who this Xenith character is and because of his magical resistance. But he still needs a handler!" …fuck. "I don't care if he can take care of himself; it's the rules."
"Oh, oh! I'll do it! I'll do it!" Pinkie cheered, hoof raised high into the air.
"Pinkie, darling, you can't possibly take care of him as the Cakes have a very strict 'No Human' policy," Rarity pointed out.
"Oh, the Cakes already know about him and they wouldn't mind him at all!" Pinkie waved her hoof dismissively.
Pinkie for the save! Rick grinned.
"Do you even know how to take care of a human, Pinkie?" yellow shy asked in her super quiet voice.
…don't make me add you to my shit-list, Rick mentally scowled.
"Well… no, but I think—"
"Then I'll take care of him," yellow shy cut Pinkie off, with just a tad of assertiveness.
Say what?
"Say what?" Rainbow unconsciously echoed.
"Fluttershy, sugarcube, I don't think that would be a good idea. Not after what happened with the last human," Apple-Fakk said. Concern heavy in her voice.
Okay, this is a live wasp nest ready to burst. Better take the initiative before I get stung by more contempt and suspicion, with a very low huff, Rick walked over to where Pinkie stood, urging Rarity, who had been standing by her side, to move away from him, a look of fear and disgust clear on her face.
Just keep it up, Creamcake, it just makes it more fun for me to break you, Rick thought with an evil sneer…in his mind, anyway. Can't have ponies actually seeing that..
With a resolute motion, Rick plopped down into a sit, shoulder pressed against Pinkie's barrel. "Aw! See? He wants to go with me!" Pinkie said.
"Are you sure, Pinkie? What if he causes trouble?" Twilight asked. Keep it up, Sparkly, Rick narrowed his eyes.
"The note said he was fine, Twilight! Lay off the poor guy, sheesh," Rainbow rolled her eyes.
Twilight sighed deeply, "Alright, alright, I'm sorry. There's just too many unknowns about him! I'd need to study him before I'm fully comfortable with him."
"Then go ahead and do that!" Pinkie said.
Twilight gave her a confused look, complete with the questioning eyebrow raise. "Xenith said he was a research subject, right? Shouldn't that mean he's used to being poked and prodded? Also, he's supposed to be completely harmless unless you try to hurt him or somepony else.
We can take him to your place where you can study him, Fluttershy could come over to help since she knows humans, Rainbow and Applejack can be there for comfort reasons, and I can go because I'm me!"
"What about Rarity?" Rainbow Dash pointed out. At which Rarity desperately waved her off, "Please! Anywhere but near that brute! I wouldn't mind missing that party."
"Plus, Rarity doesn't know much about humans. I didn't think she'd appreciate being cooped up with a human anyway," Fluttershy added.
"Thank you, Fluttershy," Rarity nodded to her.
"Slumber party at Twilight's house!" Rainbow Dash cheered then darted off like a speeding bullet.
Welp! Looks like I get to sink my meat hooks into a few books after all! Rick thought happily.

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