• 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 17: Coronation/Confrontation

Chapter 17: Coronation/Confrontation

As Saiian and I walked to the place we were supposed to meet Luna, I thought deeply about just how much my life had changed since leaving Earth, and subtly worried about just how much stranger things would be before the end...whatever that may be. I couldn’t discount anything anymore, since probably the last thing I thought possible had happened with Saiian being a powerful elemental in my head, so instead of following my normal habits of ignoring the issues, I began to try and run through a few scenarios in my head. The only problem was, besides the consistent imaginary visions of me, smiling, with a wedding ring on my finger and a lovely house behind me, I couldn’t seem to mock up anything else. The rest of the possibilities available were hazy or unclear, and I couldn’t think of why.

“It’s because you’re still unsure of what you want.” Saiian’s voice answered, causing me to glance out of the corner of my eye at her. She smiled and added, “Until you become resolute in what you really want out of this life, the possibilities are endless, so you’ll be unable to even force yourself to imagine them. Too much inner turmoil and all.”

“Inner turmoil?” I whispered, not wanting to seem like a crazy person as I walked down the guarded hallway.

She rolled her eyes. “When you’re speaking to me, you’re actually just using that voice everyone has inside their head; you don’t need to whisper. And yes, turmoil. You’ve found at least two ponies on this world that are attracted to you, but you can’t return their feelings. You feel bad for that reason, because deep down, you wish you could.” She sighed and hugged my arm a little tighter, and I’ll admit that it felt nice. “You have friends, but you’re more lonely than you let on, because you don’t want to burden them anymore than you already think you do. You wonder from time to time if you should just bite the bullet and just take one of them on a date, simply to give them what you believe they want.”

I breathed out through my nose. “I don’t know what to do, Saiian. I do care about them ‒ they’re my friends, after all ‒ and so I hate denying them what they want simply because I’m against it. It’s not fair to them, and I do wonder what it would be like from time to time.”

She shook her head resolutely. “No, don’t do that. Giving them a ‘pity date’ wouldn’t be fair to them either, and you would damage a friendship in the process. Besides, even if you think about what a romance with a pony would be like, in your heart, you still aren’t ready. You would just end up feeling incredibly awkward the whole time, and anything you do or say in such a situation would be forced. That would be more painful to them than a simple ‘no’.”

I shrugged helplessly. “So what do I do then?”

Saiian turned her eyes toward the ceiling for a moment before answering, “Well, from what I can tell from your thoughts and feelings, only something incredibly jarring or traumatic could change the way you feel without you being more open with all of them about who and what you really are.”

Thoughts of my childhood flooded forth, and I shuddered. “I would really rather prefer to leave that part of my life buried.”

“Revealing something so personal and damaging to them is the only thing that would make you feel comfortable enough to take that last plunge.” she explained quietly. “Trust is the key here, and until you allow yourself to trust them enough to know all of you, you’ll just keep closing yourself off.”

I shook my head, eyeing the large double doors in front of me. “But I don’t mean to do that…”

“You do it anyway.” Saiian advised with a sad smile. “That is the only answer I can see to this problem, so work toward that.”

I sighed and nodded. “Alright...but later. Right now, I have to be there for Twilight and the others.” With a few deep breaths to prepare myself, I pushed open the doors and entered the dining hall.

A few guards were present, as well as the princesses, both of which were dressed in luxurious gowns. Princess Celestia offered me a warm smile and a nod, while the younger princess blushed and looked away. It was a cute response, especially on such a regal pony, but for the sake of her pride, I stifled my bubbling laughter.

Princess Celestia stepped toward me, and I felt Saiian release my arm as she did so. The white alicorn looked over me for a moment before smiling and nodding. “Luna has done fabulous work, as always. Well done, sister.” Princess Luna muttered her thanks, but said nothing else.

Deciding to broach the subject on all our minds, I cleared my throat. “How is Twilight doing?”

“Stressed.” Princess Celestia answered blandly.

I chuckled and shook my head. “I may not know her as well as you do, but I think she’s far beyond stressed right now.” I motioned my hand nonspecifically to a random door and asked, “Should I go see her?”

Princess Luna finally collected herself and shook her head as she walked over to us. “Twilight will be fine, Jamie. Right now she has her other friends to take care of her, so we must quickly inspect the throne room and courtyard to be sure all is prepared for the event.” Opening one of her wings and jerking her head toward where I remembered the throne room to be she asked, “Will you accompany me for a moment?”

Glancing to the elder sister and receiving a nod, I smiled at Princess Luna. “Sure thing, princess. Lead the way.”

As I followed Princess Luna down the hallway, Saiian was once again at my side, looping her arm in mine. Yet again, I can admit it felt nice to have her there, even if I was the only one that knew it.

“You appear to be in much better spirits compared to when you originally arrived, Jamie.” Princess Luna commented, glancing back at me.

I shrugged. “I’ve had some time to come to terms with some things and do a bit of soul-searching, and I think I have a direction I want to take my life now.”

“Soul-searching?” she queried with a smirk. “Is that what they call it now?”

I rolled my eyes with a sigh, quickly thinking up an excuse for our “altercation” a short bit ago. “I was naked and you caught me off guard, so I shouted out the first thing I could think of to get you to leave.”

As the princess kept walking, Saiian decided to say, “You should have some fun with her. Make a lewd comment or something; she’ll laugh, I promise.”

Deciding to trust Saiian for the moment I turned my attention to the princess and added, “Although if you still want to ‘help’ me, that’s cool too.”

I watched as a blush lit up Princess Luna’s face, crawling all the way to her ears and turning her head nearly maroon in the process. True to Saiian’s word, she laughed and replied, “Simply because I am over two millennia old does not mean I cannot be put off-balance by a well-placed comment or remark, so well done on that.” Once again she looked back at me, but now I could see a very warm tone to her expression and eyes. “I see the beginning of a beautiful friendship here, Jamie. Thank you for treating me as a pony, and not constantly as a princess.”

I decided this time to go with complete honesty, so I took a deep breath as I prepared to make my feelings about us known. “Princess, I didn’t take kindly to you basically imprisoning me for months, as well as the fact that I’ve felt more than a little abused on a few occasions because of my ‘uniqueness’. While it’s true that I’ve forgiven both you and your sister, I can’t say I trust the two of you all that much now, so if you really meant it when you said you wanted a friend and confidant in me, then you’re going to have to earn that trust by treating me like a friend instead of a toy to play with.” Before she could respond I added, “And while I appreciate you both having my best interests in mind, I ask that you please respect me enough to talk to me first instead of just taking action on your own.”

Princess Luna stopped in front of me, turning fully to look upon me with a sorrowful expression. Dipping her head low she said, “Truthfully, I knew from the beginning that doing what I did would earn your ire, but I must do what I feel is right.”

I nodded. “And I understand that, but perhaps your definition of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ needs updating. For example: exerting full control like that over someone you want to be a friend to is considered very wrong, so don’t ever do that again.” Princess Luna’s head lowered further in what I recognized a pony did when embarrassed or ashamed, so I gently ran my palm and fingers over her cheek and smiled at her. “Don’t make that mistake again, please. You’re a very likeable pony when it comes right down to it, so I’d hate to come to dislike you simply because you made the mistake of asserting control when it isn’t needed. Also, since the bearers of the Elements of Harmony seem to be so protective of me, you can expect to lose their trust and friendship as well.” Realizing I’d forgotten to tell her and her sister of what I was going to do, I added, “Speaking of, they’ve been asking about my behavior and just what I did when I was last here in Canterlot, and I’m telling them all the truth after the ceremony.”

Princess Luna pulled away from my hand and closed her eyes with a sigh. “I understand. They are all close to you and deserve to know the truth, so I will advise Tia of what you plan to do as well. Truthfully, I think it would be best to have everything between us all in the open, as secrets can quickly cause a degradation in any relationship.”

I nodded again, with a smile this time. “Sounds good. Now, let’s go see how the preparations are going.”

The coronation was great, but I won’t really bore with details. Basically, Twilight was announced and crowned in the throne room amidst some song that everyone seemed to know except for me, then she addressed a crowd of probably a thousand or so ponies gathered in the massive courtyard, crying as she did so. Princesses Celestia and Luna looked on with pride as Twilight became known as the princess she was meant to be, and finding myself on the receiving end of quite a few glares and stares from strangers, I decided to sit back away from the action and just watch.

Once the after party began (I’ll give you one guess as to which pink party pony planned it), I blended into the crowd the best that a tall alien could. I received quite a few praises on my choice of clothing, to which I pointed out the princess who had been so kind as to put it together for me. This in turn caused the night princess to become the target of quite a few classy nobles who wished to know just why she had decided to create such an elegant ensemble for an alien, and a male no less. While I wasn’t privy to any of the conversations directly, I’m not stupid, and I knew by now how the world outside of Ponyville saw me.

“Quite the party she put together.” commented a familiar boy-like voice from beside me.

I nodded, smiling as I looked to see Vinyl standing beside me while I sipped on my punch and watched the party from afar. “It is indeed. I’m glad she was able to put one together on such short notice too.”

Vinyl nodded and levitated her own glass to her lips to take a sip, smacking her lips with an “ah” of satisfaction. “Yeah, Pinks has always been good at pulling parties out of nowhere. Not that she really needs a reason for a party though, but you know what I mean.”

Taking another sip of the tart alcoholic drink I asked, “Where’s ‘Tavi?”

Vinyl pointed to the stage behind the crowd of ponies, where Octavia was playing with her quartet, showing a passion in her movements that I had become quite accustomed to. It seemed that the ponies of Equestria all had something they were truly passionate about, and it nearly always coincided with their cutie marks. It made me wish from time to time that humans got cutie marks, since at least then I would be able to know what I was truly born to do in my life.

“How’ve things been since yesterday?” Vinyl asked nonchalantly.

I shrugged, downing more of the drink in my tall glass. “Hectic. There was no way I wasn’t coming to this thing with Twilight, so I’ve had to deal with all the craziness involved. That’s not to say I’m not happy for her, because I am, but I’m not really the type of guy that likes huge events like this.”

“You came to my show last night,” Vinyl pointed out, “and if I’m mistaken, you told me that you enjoyed my music.”

I nodded. “I did on both counts, but I came there to see you, not the show. I could perfectly well enjoy your music chilling out with just a few friends instead of a bunch of sweaty, drunk ponies that are dry-humping on the dance floor.”

Vinyl chuckled and quipped, “If I recall, you did your own share of ‘dry-humping’ with Rainbow Dash.”

I felt my neck and cheeks heat up with blood as I coughed and sputtered on my drink, remembering my drunken actions that night. After pulling myself together I retorted, “I was drunk, so that doesn’t count.” I sighed and relaxed a bit as I felt Vinyl shift to press herself against my side, and turned to smile at her. “I’m glad you’re here, Vinyl. With Twilight and her friends being all caught up in this whole meet-and-greet thing, I’ve been having to sit off to the side.” Glancing around I added, “Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I’m around them, these Canterlot ponies are giving me these weird looks, as if to say, ‘How dare you’. It’s aggravating.”

Vinyl shook her head. “Gotta remember that these ponies don’t know you, and you’re a male. If they see you up there with all these national heroines and a princess, they’re going to look at you like that; to them, it’s an insult for a male to think he has the right to be around ponies as important as them.”

“Well I happen to be important to those important ponies, so these nobles and such can fuck off for all I care.” I growled, lowering my now-empty glass to the table next to me. “Still, I’m here to support Twilight, not start a fight.”

Vinyl again pressed her side against my leg. “Well if something does happen, I’ve got your back.”

“And so do I.” added another familiar voice.

Widening my eyes I answered, “Shudder?”

The named pegasus fluttered around my face until I could see her, and nodded with a smile. “Yep! It’s good to see you, lanky.” She then surprised me with a hug. I say “surprised” because while it was true we often shared a bed while I was under her command in that weird chamber, I hadn’t expected such behavior to continue outside. Still, it was nice to know that I’d made a friend with someone in such a high position in the country, so I returned it as I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and ran my fingers through her mane.

“Jamie, who’s this?” Vinyl asked, and I could nearly taste the jealousy in her tone.

I released Shudder and smiled at Vinyl. “This is First Lieutenant Shudder, leader of Princess Luna’s wing of royal guards. She watched over me when I was here the last time, since some ponies didn’t take too kindly to my being so close to the princesses.”

Gasping, Vinyl asked, “Somepony tried to hurt you?”

“They tried to kill him, actually.” Shudder answered with a frown. “After that, Princess Luna asked me to watch out for him.”

“They probably don’t like the fact that some male alien is so popular with those in such high positions in the world, like the princesses and Elements of Harmony.” I explained dryly. “Some of those ponies decided to take extreme measures to eliminate what they see as a blatant insult to all that your culture currently stands for.”

For a few moments, Vinyl simply stared with her mouth working much like that of a fish. After shaking her head vigorously she said, “I mean I’ve always thought it was weird how you didn’t act like a stallion, but none of us in Ponyville would ever want to hurt you for it. Hay, I’d say we’d even protect you from ponies like that!”

Shudder nodded, landing on a chair next to me. “We think that’s why he was never attacked in Ponyville, because he’s so well-known and accepted there. The princesses think that whoever put out the hit believed that they could spin it as just a casualty of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time, since Canterlot can be pretty dangerous after dark.”

After a few more moments of Vinyl’s silence she growled, “That’s so messed up.”

I nodded. “And I’m glad you think that, but the fact of the matter is that some ponies are never going to accept who and what I am. I’ve come to terms with that, and I’m okay with it because I have you and my other friends to be the ones that do accept me.”

“B-but,” Vinyl sputtered, lowering her voice before hissing, “ponies tried to kill you, Jamie! You’re acting like that’s no big deal!”

I shrugged, looking to Shudder briefly. “It is a big deal, and I know it is, but what am I going to do about it? The most I can do is keep alert and stay away from areas of this country where I’m obviously not welcome, and hope that if someone does come after me at home, one of you are around to help me handle it. I’m not going to sit around worrying about it all the time, since it’s just going to stress me out without changing anything.” Narrowing my eyes and gazing out over the crowd of ponies gathered, I knew deep down that at least one of them were likely one of the types of ponies that hated me. “At the very least, they want me afraid, so sitting around and being scared will only give them their victory. I might not be a royal guard like Shudder or an athlete like Rainbow Dash, but I’m not going to be intimidated by some coward that’s too much of a pussy to face me in public.”

“Well like I said,” Vinyl stated firmly, patting her hoof on my leg, “I’ve got your back ‒ we all do. No pony’s going to get to you without going through us first.”

I nodded and offered the DJ a smile. “Thanks Vinyl. I knew I liked you for a reason.” Vinyl blushed faintly and grinned as I turned my attention to Shudder. “So, how’s security tonight?”

“Actually,” the guardpony began with a smirk, “I’ve been assigned to look over you directly, so general security isn’t my job tonight.” She motioned to the seven or so batponies in the rafters of the open-roof assembly chamber. “That’s their job, so I get to sit here, drink, and make sure you don’t do anything absurdly stupid.”

For the first time recognizing she looked different than the others of the night guard, I blurted, “Why don’t you have wings like them?”

Extending her feathered wings and fluttering them once, Shudder smiled. “Top rank has its perks. Unless we’re in formation at a public event outside of Canterlot, I’m allowed to go without the wing enchantment on my armor. While it’s true that the whole bat-wing thing is just an illusion, I work hard on my wings, and I want ponies to see the work I put into them.”

I nodded with understanding. “Yeah. Rainbow Dash has told me just how tedious preening and wing care can be, so I understand how difficult it must be.”

“Unicorns have it easy.” Vinyl commented with a grin, sipping the last of her punch from the glass.

“Earth ponies too.” Shudder added with a perturbed look. “You ponies just have to take a bath once a day or every other day and you’re set. Pegasi have to preen every day, or more if they fly a lot.”

I chuckled and raised my hand in the air. “I probably got it the easiest seeing as how I only use like half the soap that you do, and I can be in and out of the washroom in, like, five minutes if I hurry.”

Shudder glanced at me with a challenging twinkle in her eyes. “We don’t have to wear clothes.”

“I don’t have to brush my entire body.” I retorted, a smirk adorning my face.

“I can fly.” Shudder shot back.

I shrugged. “I can hold two things at once, bend in ways you can’t, and can see farther than you can.”

Scrambling to stay in the “game”, Shudder countered, “We can hear better and are stronger!”

I chuckled and shook my head. “I think I’ve proven that strength isn’t everything, and without hooves, I can be far quieter than any pony could even dream of being.”

Twisting up her face into a grimace, Shudder finally admitted defeat as her ears flopped back and she lowered her head. “Alright fine, you win...for now.”

I chuckled and shrugged. “I’m just holding onto what little I have that ponies don’t, seeing as how in a fair fight, I’m fairly sure most of you would be able to take me if I wasn’t ready. I mean, your hooves are as hard as stone, and they really hurt to get hit with.”

“But you think we’re cute.” Shudder countered with a flat look.

I nodded. “I do, and you are.” I pointed to Vinyl first. “Like when you hop on your hooves when something really cool happens and you get all excited ‒ cute as hell.” I then pointed to Shudder. “And when you try and hold in a laugh because you’re trying to be serious, but your cheeks bulge out and you snort a little in the process; that is also quite adorable.”

While Vinyl didn’t seem too miffed about being called cute, Shudder sat on her haunches and crossed her arms with a pout. “I’m a royal guard; I am not cute.”

I extended a finger and tickled her cheek, which she promptly slapped away with one of her wings. I just chuckled and said, “You’re really not helping your case right now.”

Shudder rolled her eyes but smiled. “Whatever. I’m going to get another drink, so you two don’t get into any trouble. See you later.”

I nodded to her and waved as she flew away, sitting in the chair she had vacated. Glancing to Vinyl I commented, “I figured that you would also be upset about being called ‘cute’, Vinyl.”

She chuckled and shook her head, sitting on the floor right beside me. “I play shows to a bunch of drunk, horny ponies. Being called cute is by far the most tame thing I’ve heard.”

I silently nodded in agreement and brought my hand to rest on her neck, stroking the fur gently as we continued to watch the afterparty of Princess Twilight Sparkle unfold.

The party ended, as all good things do, and I found myself sitting in a room with Twilight and the others as we waited for the other two princesses to arrive. Vinyl and Octavia had spoken to me briefly before leaving, and since the cleanup crews needed to be closely monitored to make sure they did their jobs right, Shudder stayed behind as well. I tried my best to relax as I waited for Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to arrive, but while the Element-bearers simply thought they were going to speak to us in private about Twilight, I knew this was to be a confrontation between us all about what was done to me.

I should have felt bad I suppose, but I was just glad that not only was I not the one that was going to be yelled at but also that the truth was finally going to be out in the open.

Saiian kept me company ‒ having decided that in my high-stress state jokes and teasing weren’t appropriate, she instead held my hand firmly yet comfortably as I stood in Princess Celestia’s study, listening to the Element-bearers talk about their nights at the party and coronation. Twilight of course was the focus of most of the conversations, though Rainbow Dash’s supersonic, rainbow-trailed flyby was praised as well.

Finally, after a long half-hour of waiting, the two elder princesses showed themselves as they closed the door behind them, striding into the room and smiling at all gathered. However, after settling their gazes on me, I was positive they both knew what was coming. Before I could speak, they turned toward Twilight with bright smiles on their faces.

“How has today been for you, Twilight?” Princess Celestia asked the new princess.

Twilight released a sigh and planted her rump on the floor, smiling. “Stressful yet wonderful, to say the least. I’ll admit that it’ll probably be a long time before I can accept that this has all really happened, but I don’t regret it.” Her smile widened a bit as she looked to all of us briefly. “This is what I’m meant to be; I can feel it.”

Princess Celestia’s eye twitched briefly as she struggled to hold her emotions in check. She glanced momentarily to me before announcing, “While I am happy things have gone well for you, I cannot in good conscience say that is all I need to speak with you about. There is something very important that needs to be addressed concerning Jamie and all of you ‒ more specifically, what he was doing in Canterlot.”

Rainbow Dash’s ears perked up as she said, “Yeah, what was up with that? Why was he here and what happened?”

Princess Luna looked to all gathered before answering, “To put it bluntly, we have taken an interest in Jamie. In him, we see the possibility for a friend and confidant who can see and understand the world as we do. It is because of that ‒ as well as creating the suit he is currently wearing ‒ that we asked him to come to Canterlot. However, it is because of what happened during his first night here that he was away a day longer than we initially planned.”

“What happened, princess?” Applejack questioned, the subtle tensing of her facial muscles and shoulder speaking of anxiety.

Princess Celestia let out a breath before answering, “There is no easy way to say this, so I will speak plainly: somepony tried to have Jamie killed.”

An exaggerated gasp uttered forth from Rarity’s mouth followed by a shriek of, “WHAT?!”

I nodded in agreement. “Yeah. I don’t know if any of you saw her, but that night guard that was hanging around me tonight was First Lieutenant Shudder of Princess Luna’s personal guard. She was assigned to watch over me after the incident.”

Princess Luna decided to pick it up from there, and I became quite sure things were about to get interesting. “We made a decision that would ensure Jamie’s assimilation into society mentally and emotionally, as well as give him a few personal skills that would allow him to protect himself should he be attacked again.” Taking and closing her eyes for a moment, Princess Luna continued with, “We locked him and First Lieutenant Shudder in the Warped Time chamber for six hours.”

While the rest of them looked confused, Twilight’s widening eyes made it clear she knew what the chamber was, as well as how it worked. I could see her brow furrow as she quickly worked the numbers in her head, then muttered, “Three months…” After bringing her head up and standing with a shifting of her new wings, Twilight growled, “You locked him away for three months?”

Realizing the tone in Twilight’s voice, I attempted to calm her. “Twilight, you have to understand-”

“Leave, Jamie.” Twilight ordered, a note of authority in her tone that I had never heard before. When I didn’t respond, her eyes shot to me, and I could see the irises glowing brightly as she repeated, “Leave. I’m going to speak alone with the princesses, and you don’t want to be here for that.” Glancing to her friends she added, “You all should go to. Keep an eye on Jamie and wait for me in my room; I’ll be there in a little while.”

The tone that Twilight was using was not the kind tone of one of my friends, but the authoritative aura of a powerful princess who was pissed.

Deciding it would be best to let Twilight handle things for now, I quietly ushered out the other girls and closed the door behind me, hearing said door lock on its own as a powerful magical pressure began to emanate from the study. I quickly made my way through the halls and closed the door to Twilight’s room behind us once we were all inside, hoping that by some miracle the slab of wood and metal would protect us from an enraged alicorn.

Though everyone was completely silent, I felt we were all thinking the same thing at the moment: I hoped Twilight didn’t hurt the other princesses in her anger.