• Published 1st Jun 2013
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Legend - Radiant Dawn

He was an average man in nearly every sense of the term, but his entire life is flipped upside-down when a push for a paycheck turns into something unexpected...something much more.

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Chapter 16: Real is Relative

Chapter 16: Real is Relative

For probably the fifth time in the last hour, I stared at myself in the vanity mirror in front of me, trying to see if maybe I would still look like myself anymore. Things were changing so radically and quickly for me that I worried the next time I looked at my reflection, I wouldn’t recognize it.

Perfect example: I forgave the princesses ‒ both of them ‒ within minutes.

On Earth ‒ which for some reason seemed like a lifetime ago ‒ I was the kind of guy that held grudges. My past with people dictated our future together, because if they had done something bad to me, I remembered it forever. I was spiteful and cold to those who had committed past wrongs to me, and took apologies with a grain of salt. I just didn’t trust anyone, though perhaps that had a lot to do with my past, including my family.

So what about these ponies made them special? Had someone on Earth confined me for months and said it was for my own good, I would never speak to them again. Yet from the moment I saw the shame-filled faces of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, I knew I couldn’t not forgive them. It wasn’t because ponies as a whole were adorable (though that did make it hard to resist hugging them) and nor was it because the princesses were royalty; I didn’t give a damn about any of that. It was because somewhere inside, I could understand why they had done what they had. That was what confused me ‒ I never before saw things beyond the obvious, nor did I have any desire to. Be it my very practical way of thinking or my innate desire to keep things simple in life, I didn’t want words or actions to mean more than they seemed...but it seemed something within me had changed, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. I seemed to be losing who I was and becoming something else, and I wasn’t very partial to the fact that it seemed to be happening without my consent or desire to do so.

“What am I becoming?” I groaned to the empty bedroom, glaring at my reflection.

“You’re becoming what you must to achieve happiness, which is what you want.”

“It is what I want.” I spoke aloud to myself in response to the thought-that-wasn’t. “I’m just not sure I want to lose who I am.” I then growled in frustration. “Great, now I’m a crazy person talking to myself. Just fucking awesome.”

“You’re not talking to yourself.”

That time I quite clearly heard a voice within my head.

With a yelp of surprise I stumbled away from the mirror, falling onto the bed behind me as my knees hit it. I gulped down air as adrenaline caused my heart to beat madly and my fingers to quiver in a classic fight-or-flight response...to something that wasn’t there.

After taking a moment to calm myself I mumbled, “Great job Jamie, you’ve finally lost it. It only took a little under a year in a magical planet of talking ponies, but you’ve finally broken the wall into bat-shit crazy. Well done; your mother would be proud of you.”

“Would she,” the silky feminine voice snarked, “or would she scold you for talking badly about yourself?”

I took more deep breaths to calm myself before asking, “What does it matter? She’s dead, and I’m not going to see her again. I don’t think having some chick talking to me in my head would be at the top of the list of ‘crazy shit in Jamie’s life’ if she knew where I was.” I sighed and groaned. “Aaaand I’m readily talking to myself now. Fan-fucking-tastic.”

“I believe I already said that you’re not talking to yourself.” it...she replied.

I groaned loudly, placing my hands over my face. “And now the little voice in my head is referring to itself in the first person. I wonder if this is what dissociative identity disorder is like for everyone who has it…”

I thought...heard...something’ed a sigh as the voice replied, “If I can prove I am not simply a figment of your imagination, will that put your mind at ease?”

I sighed and nodded...to an empty room. “Yes, it will. Frankly I’m not sure how you’re going to do that, but-”

The feeling of something trailing down the side of my neck halted my words, more so because of what I recognized the texture as rather than touch itself. It was soft, small, hairless, and warm. It could only be a finger; someone’s finger was touching me in a world of ponies.

I cracked open my eye and looked to my left to see something I never thought I’d see again: a human.

A female human.

A naked female human.

A very attractive naked female human.

And she was laying right next to me, caressing my throat with her fingers as if we were lovers.

“FUCK!” I shouted in obvious surprise, scrambling to put distance between the two of us...only to be reminded that the bed was finite, and thus had an edge leading to a rather unforgiving stone floor. The back of my head collided with the ground, causing me to see stars for a few moments as I gathered my bearings. For a few moments I believed I had just had a sexually pent-up hallucination, but that was until a soft (and decidedly attractive) voice once again made itself known.

“Are you alright Jamie?” she asked with what I believed to be concern.

My eyelids burst open, and I quickly sat up and again scrambled to get away from whatever was on the bed. After all, there was clearly something very odd going on here, as I was quite sure that not only was I the only human on the planet (at least from what the others had told me), but I was also sure that I had just a few seconds ago been the only one in the room. Magic was the only explanation I could readily think of to explain the situation, even though it felt like a bit of a cop-out, but I wasn’t entirely ready to deal with the fact that there was now a veritable human wet dream sitting on the bed, grinning at me. I was actually a little happy that I was currently the only one in the room at the moment though, as if anyone else were to-

“Jamie? It’s Luna, are you alright in there? I heard shouting.”

Fuck me in the ass dry…

I momentarily broke my focus with the woman on the bed to answer, “Y-yeah, I’m fine!”

“Don’t come in, I’m masturbating.” the woman suggested.

“Don’t come in, I’m masturbating!” I responded without a thought, only to gasp in shock and grimace in what I’m sure was quite the entertaining way. “I-I mean…”

There was complete silence from the other side of the door before Princess Luna replied, “Um...a-alright then. Just um...let me know if you need help.” A gasp sounded from the other side of the door followed by, “I mean, I’ll be in my room if you need me.” A choked breath then came from the night princess. “Just meet me in the banquet hall when you are finished!” A furious clopping of galloping hooves raced away from the door, followed by muffled curses all the way down the hall.

As soon as Princess Luna left the hall outside the room, I turned with utter shock to the being that sat on the bed. “Okay, what the fuck just happened? I know damn well that I would never have told the princess I was beating it, even if I was! That was you, wasn’t it?”

The woman (I keep wanting to call her a girl, but there was nothing “girl” about her; that was all woman, man) smiled coyly before darting her eyes away innocently. “Moi? Oh surely you don’t think little ol’ me had anything to do with it. After all, I’m not real, right?”

As I glanced over the real-ness of her form, I noticed a few things. First of all, her sun-touched skin was covered in what looked like tattoos, except they were moving around her flesh as if they were alive. Her long wavy hair was a brilliant fiery red at the roots, fading into a golden orange near the middle, and finally blending into a platinum blonde near the tips. Her irises were bright orange, and her lips just barely concealed bright white teeth, accompanied by two elongated canines...like mine, really. Lastly, her hair was waving slightly as if there were a gentle breeze blowing through it, though not enough to lift it into the air like the solar and lunar alicorns.

I furrowed my brow and strode to the bed, throwing the comforter over her nude form as I replied, “Well you certainly look real…” I then realized that the blanket hadn’t simply fallen upon the bed, “and things react to you like you’re real too.” I closed my eyes for a moment and took a few deep breaths before opening my eyes and asking, “Who and what are you?”

She hugged the comforter to conceal herself as she smiled. “My name is Saiian.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Cyan like the color?”

She shook her head. “Like my name. In english it’s spelled S-A-I-I-A-N, so don’t screw it up.” She then shrugged softly. “As for what I am, that’s quite simple; I’m an elemental.”

I nodded slowly. “Uh huh...and where did you come from?”

Saiian tittered gently before answering, “From inside of you, Jamie.” At my look of incomprehension, she broadened her explanation. “Twilight was wondering how your magic was reacting in such specific ways; well, I’m the reason why. I’m your magic.”

I raised my eyebrow again. “Twilight and the princesses said that my magic came from Equis.”

She nodded. “I did. Mother gave me to you to protect you and keep you safe, and to help mold you into who you need to become, as well as who you want to be.”

I kept silent for a moment before I queried, “And who do I want to be?”

Saiian smiled and shook her head. “That’s for you to decide, not me. Whatever you decide, I’m going to help you get there.”

I pursed my lips and nodded. “I see. What kind of an elemental are you, exactly? Princess Luna told me that elementals tend to look like their element.”

She shrugged with that same maddeningly calm smile. “Well I’m two types actually; chaos magic and elemental magic. Those two types of magic represent what humans are in Equestria, so I guess you could say that I’m a human elemental.”

“Which is why you look like…” I suggested, motioning nonspecifically to her.

She nodded, still smiling. “Yes.”

I thought for a moment before continuing. “Princess Luna told me that there are different types of elementals, like the wisps and the warders; with you being capable of rational thought and speech, I think it’s safe to assume you’re not either of those, though. What kind are you, exactly?”

Her face scrunched up in thought for a moment, and at the same time I felt a little tickle from what felt like inside my head. After that moment she smiled and replied, “I’m a colossus.”

I furrowed my brow in skepticism. “But Princess Luna said they were all gone...well, she actually said she only knew of one remaining when she was banished a thousand years ago.”

Saiian nodded encouragingly. “Keep going.”

“Are you the only one left?” I asked.

She nodded.

“And how old are you?”

She placed a finger to her lips for a moment before answering, “Oh as old as the planet is, I think.”

One by one the pieces began to fall into place, and my mouth dropped open in disbelief as I breathed out, “No…”

Saiian just grinned toothily. “How is little Luna doing these days?”

I turned slightly before collapsing onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Princess Luna’s closest friend before her banishment is inside of me. What in the actual fuck.” I turned to glance at Saiian as I asked, “Shouldn’t we go and see her? I know she’d love to hear from you.”

Saiian sighed while still smiling, but shook her head. “She won’t be able to see or hear me.”

I frowned. “But I can see you and hear you.”

She nodded before placing a finger on my forehead. “Because I’m up here Jamie,” she then placed the same hand’s palm over my heart, “and here. You feel me when I touch you because I’m made real through you, and the blanket and other things react to me because you believe it will; it’s not real.”

I frowned again. “So none of this is real?”

“It’s real to you.” she insisted, but then gestured around the room. “All that you’re hearing, seeing and feeling in regards to me is not though. In reality, this comforter is just laying on the bed, and you’re sitting on the bed silently, looking off into space.”

I shrugged. “I can still tell her though.”

Saiian shook her head, her smile finally dropping as she sighed heavily. “She wouldn’t believe you; in fact, she might think you’re playing a cruel joke on her.” Her smile returned with a mischievous vengeance as she added, “There is one way she could hear me though, but you wouldn’t like it.”

“How?” I asked curiously.

Saiian cleared her throat nervously and said, “You um...you have to kiss her.”

My eyes widened as I worked my jaw for a moment. “Kiss the princess.”

“Yes.” Saiian replied with a nod.

I rolled my shoulders and sighed. “I don’t think I’m down with kissing a pony, Saiian. Sorry.”

She smiled again, but the smile seemed just a little forced now. “It’s alright; perhaps another time.”

I swallowed and nodded. “Perhaps another time.” Seeing her happy facade cracked caused me to feel more than a little sorry for her though, so without thinking about it, I scooted closer and wrapped her in a hug. She tensed for just a second before leaning her head against my shoulder, wrapping her own arms around me and holding me tightly.

After a bit she released me, smiling broadly as she did so. “Thank you, Jamie. I’d forgotten what it’s like to feel.”

I stared at her in confusion. “You were stroking my neck only a few minutes ago; you didn’t feel that?”

She shook her head. “I am a part of you, Jamie; I can only feel what you want me to feel. That hug was for me, so I felt it. Yet again, thank you.”

I nodded with a smile. “You’re welcome.”

She then stood, causing the comforter to fall from her shoulders. “Now, you need to get ready. You’ve only got another hour until you’re due in the banquet hall to see Luna, so you need to be completely dressed in your suit.”

I closed my eyes and sighed to keep from staring at Saiian. “For fuck’s sake, can you at least magic some clothes on or something?”

Saiian’s playful streak was back as she sauntered over to me, swinging her hips as she did so. “Why, see something you like?”

I squeezed my eyes closed and placed my hands on her shoulders, holding her at bay. “Please...this is too much to deal with right now.”

“Aww, you’re no fun.” Saiian replied as I felt her bare skin suddenly change texture to something else.

Opening my eyes, I noticed she was now wearing a simple tee-shirt and jeans, which was good enough. “Thanks. It’s been too long since I’ve been laid, and I can’t even really touch you, so it’s not fair to do that to me.”

She pouted. “Oh, so you can go to a strip club on Earth, but you don’t want to look at me? I’m hurt.”

My jaw dropped open in disbelief. “H-how did you-”

She grinned, pointing to her head. “I’m in your mind, remember.”

I blinked before smiling sheepishly. “R-right, memories.” I then shrugged, moving toward the suit that was hung up on the door near the washroom. “Anyway, there’s a reason I never went to another strip club again; I can’t touch. I don’t like not being able to touch ‒ it’s torture.”

“Some guys like the tease though.” Saiian replied from behind me.

I pulled the suit down and looked at the star-studded fabric, which was as amazing as it was comfortable. “Well, they’re masochists.”

Even though parts of Saiian made me a little uncomfortable ‒ namely the fact she likely knew my deepest, darkest secrets ‒ it was indescribably nice to just sit and have a chat with another human, even if it was an illusion. The fact that she was drop-dead gorgeous helped too.

Hey, I’m still a guy. Don’t judge me.

However, just as I was about to begin dressing myself, I came across a very interesting situation.

“Um…” I began uncertainly, “can you see everything I see?”

“Yes.” Saiian replied brightly.

I nodded. “Uh huh...so even if I can’t see you, you will still be able to see me when I’m changing.”

“Correct.” she responded.

I turned to face her, locking my eyes on hers for a few moments as I thought. Finally, I sighed and shook my head. “I guess you already know what I look like naked then, so it doesn’t really matter at this point, does it?”

Saiian nodded with a grin. “I know everything you know...everything. For example: I know about that tiny little birthmark on the inside of your right thigh ‒ the one that looks like a little teddy bear.”

I supposed I should have been embarrassed, but I think at that point my mind was desensitized to crazy shit. So, instead of blushing in embarrassment and stuttering like a fool, I just shrugged and took off my shirt, throwing it toward the bed before unclasping my belt and removing my pants.

“Woo! Take it off!” Saiian encouraged, causing me to just roll my eyes as I kicked off my socks and grabbed the dress socks provided to me.

As I dressed, I pondered the fact that with me normally being as private as I was around ponies, I was oddly unconcerned with the fact that I had undressed in front of a beautiful woman that just happened to be made of magic. I suppose realizing the magic within me was sapient could be counted as by far the strangest thing that had happened to me so far in life, so I guess I was a bit jaded by everything else. Of course I didn’t want to think up the deadly words of challenge to the universe, lest creation deem it necessary I be reminded of just how insignificant I was in the grand scheme of things.

As I continued dressing, I busied my mind and mouth by asking questions of the ancient being in front of me.

The first of which could be the most important. “How long are we going to be bonded together?”

Saiian shrugged, kicking her legs idly. “I’m a gift to you from Mother Equis; I’m yours until death.”

I furrowed my brow as I buttoned up my shirt. “Earlier you made me say something to Princess Luna I would never have normally said; how did you do that?”

Saiian grinned with a chuckle. “It’s not something I’m technically supposed to do, though I will admit it was quite amusing. Simply speaking, now that you’re aware of me, I can’t do anything unless you let me. Beyond interacting with you, I have no control over your body or the physical world.”

“No offense, but that’s a relief.” I replied with a mirthless laugh. “The last thing I want is for all these ponies to think I’m a liability.” I then raised my eyebrow. “If you were with me since the second I stepped on this planet, how are you just now able to talk to me?”

Saiian shrugged. “You’re just now comfortable enough with your magic and Equis that you’ve been able to hear me. For your information, I’ve been trying to speak to you for months now, but you’re a stubborn ass when you want to be.” She then frowned. “Speaking of being a stubborn ass, when are you going to tell your friends about your childhood?”

The mention of my past caused me to fumble with the belt of my pants before getting it right. “I suppose I really can’t hide anything from you, can I?” I sighed and shook my head. “It’s not relevant, and it would only make them sad; shit, it makes me sad, and I’ve had years to get over it.”

Saiian groaned in frustration. “It’s perfectly relevant! It explains exactly why you’re so reluctant to get close to anyone, as well as why you can’t love anyone here!”

I rolled my eyes, never even raising my voice. “That’s because they’re ponies, not-”

“That’s bullshit.” Saiian cut in, surprising me with her curse. “I know you inside and out, and I can tell you that what’s holding you back isn’t the fact that they’re ponies, it’s because you’re so terrified to let anyone in that you just keep everyone away. You already have adapted how you see them, which is why you can think of them as friends instead of just cute little animals. That’s not the problem. What is the problem is that you’re so afraid to trust anyone that much that you subconsciously push everyone away so that they can’t hurt you.”

I huffed angrily, shoving my shoes on with more force than was necessary. “And yet I’ve still gotten hurt anyway; I’ve been manhandled since I got here, and the princesses decided to lock me away and get my ass kicked for months.”

Saiian shook her head firmly. “That’s not the type of hurt I’m talking about. The kind of hurt I’m talking about is the pain of love ‒ not of friendship, but of romantic love. You’re afraid that if you were to ever trust anyone that much, they would have your heart in their hands. You don’t trust anyone to have that kind of power over you without abusing it, so instead you just ignore it all.”

I sighed as I finished tying my shoes, resting my arms on my knees. “Say that you’re right ‒ say that I have major trust issues, which is what everything stems off of. Well, how would I even fix that?”

A very firm slap to the back of my head brought my eyes to Saiian, and she was glaring at me with an exasperated expression. “You talk to your friends about it, stupid! They can help you, but only if you want them to.” She shook her head sadly. “But I know you’re not ready yet, so I’ll leave it alone for now. Right now though, you know what needs to be done to get to that point, so you need to decide when you’re ready to fully open up to your friends. Once you get over that hump, the rest is easy.” Saiian sighed softly before reaching up and placing her hand on my cheek, the warmth of her skin sinking into me. “And I’ll be here too, so you won’t have to do it alone.”

I chuckled. “You can be sweet when you’re not being...well, you.”

“I have many facets to my personality, just like you.” she retorted with an annoyed expression. “For example: just because you act like a prick sometimes doesn’t meant that’s who you are.”

I nodded with an unamused expression. “Point taken. Now,” I pulled the jacket on and shuffled it into position, smoothing down the lapels and buttoning the front two buttons as I smoothly tied the midnight blue bowtie ‒ a skill I’d picked up that I was sure would never be useful, “I believe I’m ready to go and meet the mortified Princess Luna in the banquet hall.”

Saiian rolled her eyes as she looped her arm in mine ‒ which I’ll admit was nice. “It won’t be that bad.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Not that bad? I told one of the princesses of Equestria that I was having a date with Rosy Palmer and her five sisters.”

Saiian barked a laugh and nodded. “Yeah, that was pretty funny. Still, I promise that it’s going to be fine. Little Lulu isn’t as innocent as you think, Jamie.”

At her words, images rushed through my head and I groaned loudly. “Ugh, I didn’t need to know that.”

“Sure you did.” Saiian replied brightly. “Who knows; it might come in handy later on.”

I shook my head disbelievingly, but allowed Saiian to pull me to the door as we prepared to leave. As soon as the door swung open though, the two guards on post snickered at me, which put me on edge.

“What?” I inquired. “Do I have something on my face?”

The guard on the left (which happened to look identical to the one on the right) shook his head and answered, “Nothing, I just hope you didn’t make much of a mess in there with all the fun you were having.”

I raised my eyebrow in confusion. “Fun?” Suddenly realization dawned on me, and I groaned. “Nothing happened! I have no idea why I said that, and...yeah, I have no idea. I’m crazy, don’t pay attention to me.” With a shake of my head, I continued down the hallway, arm-in-arm with my imaginary friend.

Author's Note:

Music choice for this chapter (i.e. music I was listening to during the creation process). It goes without saying I don't own Jamiroquai or any of their music: