• Published 13th Feb 2012
  • 37,935 Views, 3,005 Comments

The Ballad of Echo the Diamond Dog - Rust



A human finds himself in Equestria... He decides to forsake Ponyville and see the world instead.

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(1) Never Trust a Man in a Matching Tracksuit

CHAPTER THE FIRST


NEVER TRUST A MAN IN A MATCHING TRACKSUIT

"I don't believe you."

The old man sitting across the table from me leaned back in his armchair and gave me a toothy grin, which quite frankly looked absolutely demented, as one of his canines was much larger than the other. He was wearing a tannish-grey tracksuit, with golden stripes running up the sides. His eyes seemed to be mismatched, as if they were different sizes. To complete his ridiculous appearance, he had a scraggly white fu-manchu going on that makes my pubic hair look like silk.

"What's not to believe?" he purred, in a velvety voice that somehow reminded me of Q, from Star Trek. "I'm offering you the chance to live out your dream. Haven't you always wanted to leave behind this frothing ball of filth for greener pastures? Have we not been discussing this for the past hour, or did I leave a beehive in my ear again... It's so hard to keep track of those things, you know. One would think the constant buzzing would give it away."

His demeanor was relaxed, yet strangley giddy, like a kid who goes into a toy store with his mom and thinks, "Okay, just play it cool." He was probably insane. I should have known better than to take him up on his offer for a cup of coffee to discuss My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He'd seen me watching the newest episode on my laptop while I was riding home on the bus. Stupid public transportation. Why couldn't you have just thrown me a rapist or something? You know what those guys are about. Him? No freaking way.

Admittedly, the man knew his ponies pretty well. He seemed particularly learned in all the hypothetical stuff, like the founding of Equestria, the origins of the Princesses, and even some of the theories behind the Elements of Harmony. We spent the better part of twenty minutes just debating the concept of magic. To be honest, I'd never thought that a somewhat intellectual man like myself would ever end up in a run down coffee shop, discussing the theoretical physics of an imaginary land of adorable ponies. And then, simply out of the blue, he'd asked me if I wanted to go to Equestria.

Of course, my response was something along the lines of "Aw hell yeah!" Of course I wanted to go there. What kind of question is that? Any brony worth his salt would love to go there. And I am a very, very salty brony.

He said that he could send me there, and he was deadly serious. And now, here we are.

"Well, for one, Equestria isn't real, man. It's just a cartoon. That should have tipped you off from the start." There I go again, using my logical logic logically.

He laughed at this, and for some reason it echoed mysteriously around the coffee shop we were sitting in. "Ah, but who are you to decide what is real? Perhaps none of this is real, maybe it never existed! Maybe Equestria is the reality, and we're nothing but the cartoon?"

"Who are you to decide that it isn't real?" I shot back.

He only seemed to get smug at this. "Who aren't I to decide? Who am I? Who are you? Life's great mystery, I suppose. And yet, a rolling stone gathers no moss, but instead runs over the helpless woodland creatures in its path."

Whatever the hell this guy is on right now, I want some.

He continued, "But no rolling stone is created rolling. No, they all need just one little kick to send them on their merry way. That's what I'm offering you here."

"So, what, you want to kick me?" I deadpanned.

"More precisely, I want to punt you straight out of the universe!" He cackled then, and it reminded me of when my grandma used to make the dreaded "Mystery Meat" soup; she'd laugh like a witch boiling a foul brew. Which was kind of what she acted like, bless her dead heart.

I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. Maybe I should just humor this guy. It's not like I've got anything else to do today; I finished all my classes at the university, and all I have to look forward to now is enjoying some microwaved ramen noodles in my shabby little apartment in the Chinese district. I took a glance outside, and sure enough, it was raining again. It's always raining here. Unwilling to soak myself to the bone, I decided to play along.

"All right, let's say you could do this. Let's say, hypothetically, that you can actually boot me straight to Equestria. Why? Why would you do this?"

He scratched his beard, stroking it like it was a prize pumpkin at the county fair. "Why not?"

I was puzzled by this. "What do you mean, 'why not'?"

"Think of one good reason why I shouldn't. After all, based on what you've told me about yourself, it's not like you have much going for you here. Mix things up a little, my friend! Why not be an adorable animated equine for a while! Throw a little..." he waved his hand around as he searched for a word. "Throw a little chaos into the mix."

"You know what? Fine. Have your fun. Send me to Equestria. I don't care how you do it, or what I am when I get there. Surprise me. I don't know what you get out of this, and frankly, I'm not sure I want to. Deal?" I raised my hand for him across the table.

I would later regret ever saying those words.

"Deal," he smirked. His wizened old hand snaked out and shook mine firmly. There was a strange source of heat that rose from in-between our palms, but before I could react to it, the old coot let go and jumped up onto the table, surprisingly spry for someone who looked so old.

"Sayonara!" he cried, and wound his left foot back as if preparing for a penalty kick.

I tired to get up then. "Whoa, man, easy there-"

But I didn't have time to finish. His foot lit up with this weird light, and he whipped it toward me with unnatural speed. I barely had time to process the motion before his running sneaker collided with my face.

I felt the strangest sensation of falling, but not in any particular direction, as the world suddenly went dark.

My thoughts slowly spiraled down to blankness. Did I just get kicked in the face by an old man? Why was his foot glowing like that?

More importantly... I hope he hasn't stepped in any dog shit recently.

And then...

...nothing.