• Published 1st Jun 2013
  • 27,267 Views, 1,385 Comments

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.

  • ...

Chapter 5: Live by Magic

Chapter 5: Live by Magic

Waking up after being knocked out is a strange sensation. No matter whether you’ve had it happen before or not, it’s always disorienting. Usually the last thing you remember is standing, and then when you wake up you’re on the floor. If you get physically knocked out, this experience is more often than not accompanied by pain, which allows you to quickly piece together what had happened.

Since being knocked out magically usually causes no pain, the situation is quite a bit more confusing.

I came to on the ground, and the first thing I noticed was that I was again bound by my wrists and ankles. Without even opening my eyes, I could tell that my shirt and pants were missing, though my underwear had been left in place. It went without saying that I felt rather violated, but the familiar scents of the library calmed me...if only slightly.

“You lied to us.” I heard a familiar voice accuse me coldly.

I lifted my head up from the floor and opened my eyes towards the voice to see Twilight standing some ways away in a defensive stance, with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna standing nearby. I blinked my eyes a few times and muttered, “What?”

Twilight frowned and shook her head. “It makes sense now...that’s why you never let me scan your body. You didn’t want me to know the truth, did you?”

I raised my eyebrow in confusion. “What are you talking about? I didn’t lie to you.”

Princess Luna stared at me for a few moments before her eyes widened slightly. I didn’t necessarily have much experience in dealing with the night princess, having only met her once before, but that slight sign of surprise bothered me. “He doesn’t know.”

My confusion very quickly turned to frustration as I asked, “What don’t I know? I’ve had enough guessing games for a lifetime, thank you, so I’d appreciate it if one of you just told me what’s going on.”

“Well first,” Princess Celestia began in a calm, yet commanding tone, “we came across some rather interesting things when doing a preliminary scan of your body. It seems that you have most parts of your body replaced or reinforced with the rare metal titanium. We know that you couldn’t have gotten such a rare mineral here in Equestria, as there is only one known digsite that contains it, and it is under guard by an elite wing of the Equestrian Royal Guard.”

“So the question is,” Twilight continued, clearly eager to learn something about me, “where did you get it and why is it in and on your bones?”

I sighed and slumped a bit as I realized I’d have to reveal something about my personal past, which was not something I had planned on doing, at least not this soon. “Fine. I got it through a series of very painful and lengthy surgeries on Earth, and it was done to keep my bones from breaking. I have a condition that I’ll explain in a moment, but suffice to say I needed the reinforcement to keep from living my life in a hospital bed. It’s spread throughout my whole body along the least dense bones, along with a few plates on my skull.”

Princess Celestia raised her eyebrows slightly. “They placed liquid-hot metal into your body? How did you survive the procedure?”

Again my confusion returned. “What are you talking about? It was already cooled and solidified. Humans are hardly strong enough to be able to live through molten metal being put into their bodies...at least they were when I was living there.”

The three ponies looked at each other before Princess Celestia nodded to her student. “Show him.”

I watched as Twilight’s horn lit up, and I suddenly found what looked like a hologram screen appear to the side of me, where we could all see it. It was an x-ray scan that showed all my bones, but something seemed off...

“Where are all the pins and rods?” I questioned to the empty air, noticing that all the titanium reinforcements had seemingly disappeared.

Suddenly the image shifted and zoomed in on the right femur, where there should have been titanium rods and screws rounding it. Instead, there was nothing. The bones themselves were much more dense as well...far stronger than my bones should have been.

“The titanium didn’t actually go anywhere, Jamie...it’s still there.” Twilight explained. The visual changed once again to what looked like a graph that showed several lines that were labeled. Twilight was “writing” in english, so some of them I recognized, but Twilight explained anyway. “Your bones still contain calcium and hydroxyapatite, as well as large amounts of collagen. This is normal of course, for human or pony.”

I looked over the graph and noticed something strange though.

“I see Ti on there...is that titanium or is it something else?” I had to ask. It wouldn’t make sense, after all...so I had to know what was going on.

Twilight nodded as she pointed to the visual aid. “Yes, it is. Your body has assimilated titanium into its working processes, molding it in and around your bones. Titanium is a part of you now...your bone marrow has even started producing an alloy of bone and titanium instead of simple bone.”

I shook my head. “N-no, that’s impossible. The human body can’t just spontaneously begin producing titanium...it doesn’t make any sense.”

“As you once mentioned ever-so-eloquently, things that humans deem impossible happen every day in Equestria.” Princess Celestia commented slyly.

I shook my head again, more forcefully. “Yeah, but your world is different from mine. See when something weird happens here, I can just say it’s because this is a different world with different physics and different rules to reality. When stuff starts happening to me though, that’s where I draw the line.” I then snorted derisively. “Besides, how can you even prove any of that?”

Without warning, a chair was floated into the air and rushed at me. I reflexively brought my bound arms up to shield me, but was still worried. Even though Equestrian furniture was smaller than what would fit a normal human, it was much more solid...and heavy. The chair impacted with a loud crack, and I felt the shock run through my arms and shoulders along with a sharp stinging that now burned across my inner forearms, but nothing else.

I opened my eyes and looked to the three ponies, knowing that one of them had just thrown a chair at me. “What the fuck, man? That’s gonna bruise!”

Princess Luna smirked...I knew it was her. “Perhaps, but I just threw a wooden chair that weighs half as much as you. With the sheer velocity, it would have killed a normal human.”

My mouth dropped open at the implication. “So wait, you just chucked a chair at me for a demonstration? How did you know I wouldn’t die?”

Princess Celestia’s face showed that she clearly didn’t approve of Luna’s action, but she sighed and gestured to her sister. “We have lived far too long to simply leave something to chance. We conducted a pressure stress test while you were incapacitated and confirmed that such a test as the one Luna so readily administered upon you would not break any bones.” She then pointed a glare at her younger sister. “Although we are going to have a little talk later. Though under investigation he may be, that does not condone assault.”

I brought my bound arms up and shouted, “Um can we move along to why I’m being ‘investigated’ please? I thought you all trusted me enough not to tie me up again.”

“Well that goes back to the fact that you aren’t human.” Princess Celestia stated plainly, as if it were the simplest thing in the world. “If you were not honest about that, what else have you lied about?”

I raised my eyebrow in confusion. “Um, I’m pretty sure I am human. How do you figure I’m not?”

Twilight stepped forward and said, “Well you said that humans can’t use magic...that your world doesn’t even harness it at all.”

I nodded. “That’s right.”

Twilight nodded and sat down in front of me. “Well therein lies the problem then. You see, magic is not universal. For different spells, different types of magic are used, and some types of magic cannot be used by all ponies.” She cleared her throat as she prepared to go into her “lecture mode” and lit up her horn with an unknown spell. “You see, the first and most abundant type of magic is arcane magic, and it deals with manipulation of the physical world. Earth ponies use it passively for strength, stamina, and their ability to work the land for their benefit. Pegasi use it to fly, as I’m sure it’s been bothering you that their wings are so small in comparison with their body. It’s true, scientifically speaking, they shouldn’t be able to fly, but their passive use of arcane magic allows it. It also allows pegasi to walk on clouds and manipulate the weather. As you can guess, unicorns possess the greatest control over arcane magic, as we can shape it to nearly whatever we wish, be it creating temporary wings, creating light, or even teleportation.”

“The second type of magic is elemental magic.” Princess Luna explained. “Elemental magic deals with the four basic elements of the world which are fire, water, wind, and earth. Such magic is beyond most unicorns, as it deals with the power of the world itself, but those with enough willpower and magical fortitude can bend the elements to their will.”

Twilight continued with, “The third form of magic is harmonic magic, and its sole purpose is to bring harmony by combating chaos magic, the fourth type of magic. We know harmonic magic as the Elements of Harmony, and chaos magic is manifested as Discord, the God of Chaos and Disorder. These two forms of magic are always combating one another in equal forces, creating balance in Equestria.”

Finally, Princess Celestia stepped forward. “The fifth and most powerful form of magic is astral magic. It is the magic that my sister and I wield to bring about the passing of days, and it is also the only school of magic that cannot be used by a lone unicorn, no matter how powerful. Long ago, before my sister and I ascended to alicornhood, large groups of unicorns would work together to channel the spell needed to raise and set the moon and sun.”

My confusion reached new heights as I asked, “Wait, you two haven’t always been like you are now?”

Princess Celestia shook her head. “No. Many thousands of years ago, the unicorn high council deemed it necessary that two of our most gifted should be given more power than the others, so that those two could steward the sun and moon on their own, freeing up the others to research other magicks. By using ancient magic that has long since been forbidden because of the consequences, they poured vast amounts of magic into us. Our feeble unicorn bodies couldn’t handle the magic they were given, so we began to change into something new. We became the first alicorns.”

I frowned and narrowed my eyes. “Well thanks for that little lesson there, but what exactly were you trying to explain that pertains to me?”

“Your body is generating magic.” Twilight explained simply.

The words seemed to hit me in the chest like a sledgehammer, knocking my breath out of my lungs for a few moments. After I had come back to reality, I chuckled at the hilarity of it all. “I must be mishearing you, because it sounded like you just said I’m making magic.”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “I did...and you are.”

I blinked once.

Then twice.

Then three times.

Rage overtook me as I slammed my bound hands down on the floor, shouting, “That doesn’t make any fucking sense! Humans don’t have magic! Earth doesn’t have magic!”

“Precisely,” Princess Celestia calmly stated, “and since humans do not have magic and neither does their world, then by definition, you are no longer human. Think of what’s happened to the titanium that kept your bones safe. No spell could have done that, and neither could the latent magic of the planet...your body’s own magic changed you at a base level.”

I felt my eye twitch as the puzzle began to come together, but this was accompanied by a lightheadedness and my vision tunneling.

‘Oh for fuck’s sake, don’t faint, don’t faint, don’t-’

I cracked my eyes open and licked my lips as the waking world came back to me, and I swore under my breath as I rose.

“Welcome back, Jamison Smith.” greeted Princess Celestia’s voice from my right.

I sighed and looked to the solar diarch. “Sorry for passing out like that. Apparently I faint when I get overwhelmed.”

Twilight nodded with a grin. “Yeah, Rarity does that too sometimes.”

I rolled my eyes at her. “Great, so I’m just like the girliest girl around here. Righteous.” I then looked back to the three ponies and asked, “So I have to ask, how exactly did you know what was happening to me?”

“Your behavior.” Twilight answered plainly. “I noticed your personality has been rather chaotic lately, changing from one emotion to the another very quickly, or sometimes not at all. The spell I cast on you before I was forced to incapacitate you scanned your living aura, and that’s when I found large amounts of chaos magic swirling around inside of you, along with copious amounts of elemental magic.”

I nodded as the new information was assimilated. “Okay. That’s kinda weird, but I guess I’ll just take things as they come at me. So what now? Are you going to throw me in the dungeons or something?”

Princess Luna gasped at this. “The dungeons? By the moon, no! Why would we do that?”

I shrugged. “I figured with you having tied me up, I’ve been deemed a danger to society, yadda, yadda, yadda. The bottom line I believe being that I can’t stay around here anymore, and since I guess chaos magic would be...well, chaotic, I figure you’re going to lock me up until you can figure out what to do with me.”

Princess Celestia smiled gently and shook her head. “No. You seem to be completely innocent of all of this, so while we will monitor you for safety reasons, the best place for you to be is actually right here, with Twilight. She can study the effects the magic is having upon you, and may be able to find a way to normalize it, so that your personality is less sporadic. The fact remains that for some reason, your body is generating two very powerful forms of magic, and we know not why or how this has happened. It would be in everypony’s best interests if you were to allow Twilight to study the effects in an attempt to plot the course of what may or may not happen because of this.”

A wisp of magic sliced through my bonds, and I rubbed my wrists as the ropes came loose. I stood slowly to keep from getting dizzy, and asked, “Okay, so what do I do for now?”

Princess Luna tilted her head slightly. “Go about life as normal. Twilight has told us that the two of you may have found some form of work for you to do around here to earn your own money, so I would recommend proceeding with that. In the meantime, we will send letters back and forth with Twilight in an attempt to keep you up-to-date with anything and everything that will be happening with you. One thing I would recommend doing is learning our written word...it would make things exponentially easier for you. Twilight informs me that it is much simpler than your written word.”

I shrugged. “Yeah...english is a pretty complex language, I suppose. I guess it couldn’t be any worse.”

The two princesses then stood next to each other before Princess Celestia announced, “We will be in touch, Jamison Smith. We do hope the next time we meet, it is under the banner of a celebration, not suspicion.”

Princess Luna nodded as well with a smile. “Indeed. Be well, Jamison Smith. We will meet again soon.”

And with a flash of light and a crackle of magic, the two princesses disappeared into thin air, presumably back to Canterlot.

I opened my eyes and looked to Twilight, who was staring at me intently. I realized that I was still only dressed in my underpants, so I shifted a little uneasily under her gaze. “Um, Twilight? Can I please have my clothes now?”

She merely kept staring at me for a moment before asking, “Can I study you like this?”

“No.” I replied immediately, shooting the idea down.

She stuck her bottom lip out in a pout and splayed her ears cutely, looking the same way a dog looks when it’s begging for food...irresistible. “Please?”

She asked me at least once a week about this, and since I was already de-clothed, I sighed in defeat. “Fine...just this once.” I then brought my hand to just above my hips. “But here,” my hand then moved to my mid-thigh, “to here is off-limits, front and back. That means no touching, capiche?”

She tilted her head in confusion. “Capiche?”

“It means, ‘do you understand?’” I explained.

She nodded. “Yes, I understand. No touching your private areas.”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I’m not going to make a habit of this, so go ahead and get it out of your system.”

Twilight sat back on her haunches and clapped her front hooves together excitedly. “Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”

By all that’s holy, what have I gotten myself into?

A little over two hours later Twilight and I were sipping some of that lovely peppermint tea as we talked about what was to come. She had taken blood samples, skin scrapings, and hair samples to keep tabs on the changes that may or may not be coming. Twilight assured me that nothing too crazy could be expected to happen ‒ like me turning into a pony or something ‒ but still advised me she wanted to keep an eye on things. Personality changes aside, she had no idea how magic would affect a human.

As we sat and sipped our tea, I had been gathering the courage to bring up a rather awkward conversation about the body language of ponies and such. Something told me I was going to find out more about ponies than I wanted to know right now, but I wanted to be informed, so I forced myself to soldier on.

“Hey Twilight?” I began, trying to sound as neutral as possible.

She took another sip of her tea and perked her ears. “Yes Jamie?”

I reached back and scratched my neck nervously. “Um, I need to know some things about ponies. More specifically, I need to know about common pony body language. Dash said you’d probably be the best to ask.”

She tilted her head in that cute way that almost always brought a smile to my face. “Um, okay. What exactly did you need to know in that regard?”

I shrugged. “Whatever you can tell me, really. I need to know what a male should expect in day-to-day events, as well as some more subtle cues that a human like me wouldn’t pick up on. Dash already told me what that tail-tap on the behind means, but I need to know more if I’m going to know what’s going on around me, because you ponies are a lot more subtle than humans are.”

Twilight blushed a bit when I mentioned the tail thing, but swallowed and nodded. “Okay, I’ll try and tell you what I can.” She thought for a moment before walking over to me. “I’m just going to show you, as they’re difficult to explain in words. I just want you to know that these are for demonstration only...they don’t mean anything intimate in this context.”

I nodded a little nervously. “Okay.”

She smiled. “Alright then. Now first of all is the common pony nuzzle.” She demonstrated by rubbing her cheek against my forearm in a way not unlike a cat would. Twilight then pulled away and said, “Depending on who does it and how long the contact is held, it can mean any number of things. The way I just demonstrated is common between good friends. Since you obviously are a little tall to reciprocate should it happen to you, I would recommend just rubbing the inside of your hand in the same way along the pony’s cheek.”

I reached out and placed my open palm against her cheek and rubbed it softly for a moment before pulling away. “Like that?”

She nodded. “Yes, and that’s just fine. Like I said, if you do it longer or more sensually, it can mean something else, but the way you reciprocated right there is perfectly normal and common among friends. The only thing you need to be careful of is the throat right below the jawline. That’s a very intimate gesture to touch there, and is only done between a parent and foal, or lovers.”

“Don’t touch the throat. Got it.” I replied with a smile, glad to be gaining new knowledge.

Twilight smiled and nodded. “Good. Now as you’ve noticed, ponies are very tactile. It’s very common for us to touch each other in one way or another, and by what you’ve told me about humans, that’s a little strange for you.”

I chuckled lightly. “Yeah, humans don’t really touch each other much compared to ponies.”

Twilight answered, “And that’s perfectly fine because some ponies are like that too, for one reason or another. So, even though it would be better for you to simply ‘go with it’, I know it’s going to take you time to adjust, so if for some reason a certain pony touching you bothers you, just politely let them know you don’t really like to be touched, and that should be all there is to it. Ponies are fine accommodating such a thing so long as you let them know ahead of time.” She then reached up and pressed her forehoof to her chin. “Now, there was something else...aha!” She turned her gaze back to me and pointed to her flank, where the cutie mark was. “As you already know, this is a cutie mark. It is the visual representation of our special talent in life, as well as our passion. Much like a human, the rump of a pony is off-limits to touch, unless by a doctor or a lover. The cutie mark especially is extremely intimate. It doesn’t have much more sensation than the rest, but the mental and emotional connection behind touching what is basically who we are is something only reserved for ponies we trust the most in life. Basically, if a pony were to ask you to touch her cutie mark, it would either mean she trusts you very much, or is a whorse.”

The derivative of “whore” that ponies used always made me giggle a bit.

“Next,” she began before turning to the side, “is the tail twitch. Now depending on how its done, it can mean two different things. If it happens like this,” she demonstrated by twitching her tail jerkily from side to side, “it means that a pony is agitated or nervous.” Twilight then blushed a bit before turning to face me again. “I’m not going to show you the other, but if it’s vertically twitching, it means the mare is aroused. You won’t see too much of that second one in public. Both actions are subconscious, meaning that ponies have no control over it.”

“What about when a pegasus’ wings pop out, kinda like they were spring-loaded?” I asked curiously, remembering a few times it had happened with Rainbow Dash.

Twilight giggled and blushed slightly. “If a pegasus feels threatened, it’s a fight-or-flight response that’s combined with the release of adrenaline, readying the pegasus to defend itself or flee from a dangerous situation. If not, it’s called ‘popping’, and it happens if the pegasus is excited in a sexual manner.”

I thought on her explanation and mentally played back exactly how many times I’d seen the few pegasi that lived in Ponyville doing that. I quickly realized that either they were startled very easily, or often had raunchy thoughts, although I supposed depending on the pony, either was possible. Fluttershy for example could quite literally be startled by her own shadow. Rainbow Dash on the other hand...

I sighed and nodded. “Anything else I should know?”

Twilight tapped her chin again with her hoof before saying, “Not that I can think of off the top of my head. From what you’ve told me about humans, most of the rest should be self-explanatory. I’ll be sure and tell you if I can think of anything else though.” She then brought her gaze back to me. “Although there is one more thing you should keep in mind.”

I raised my eyebrow and prepared for anything weird...at least as much as I could prepare for the unknown. “Yeah?”

“I’m sure you know by now just how our society works as far as gender roles.” she stated. I nodded, and she continued. “Well, with you working at the spa and being exposed to the public more, you need to prepare for a few things. First of all, since you don’t act like a stallion from Equestria, you can expect to be talked down to or even bullied a bit by some of the more dominant mares around here.”

I snorted derisively. “I’m not afraid of most ponies anymore. I mean Rainbow Dash still scares me a little, and so does Vinyl...and Octavia...”

Twilight giggled again and patted me on the shoulder gently. “I get it, Jamie. What I was going to say is that you don’t ever have to worry about any of the mares actually attacking you. It’s kind of an unspoken rule around here...you don’t hit stallions. Any mare that would do such a thing knows she’d have the entire town bearing down on her for it, so don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself in a firm, but respectful manner.”

I raised my eyebrow. “Why don’t you or your friends treat me like a stallion?”

Twilight smiled up at me as she replied, “Because you’re like one of the girls, really.”

“I’m...not quite sure how I feel about that answer.” I commented dryly, my inner masculinity becoming a little more soggy.

She sighed. “If you’re really going to try and integrate yourself fully into society, you’ll get used to it. All I can say is don’t try and change yourself to fit in. You’ll just end up miserable, and you’ll probably lose friends in the process. I’ll be the first to tell you that me and the other girls like you the way you are. So please, don’t change.”

A comforting warmth spread within me, and I couldn’t help but smile at her words. “Well I wasn’t planning on it, but thanks. That makes me feel better.”

Again Twilight patted my shoulder as she said, “Well I don’t know about the other girls, but another reason I don’t treat you like a stallion is because I can imagine what it’s like for you for things to feel so backward. I know it’s natural for you to feel it’s strange for females to be the more dominant gender, and I don’t hold it against you. Maybe one day you’ll come to fully accept it, or maybe not. What I do know is that I’m not going to judge you for the way you think when you can’t help it. I’ll be patient and understanding with you so long as you can promise the same to me.”

I nodded. “I think I can promise that.”

Twilight nodded and stood. “Good. Now, I’m going to go and pick up Spike from Rarity’s. There’s a fruit salad in the cold box that Spike made earlier. Unless you want to wait for me to get back, you can help yourself, as I’m sure you’re hungry. I’ll be back in about an hour or so with Spike.”

I nodded again. “Some fruit salad actually sounds awesome, especially if you have any of that whipped cream left over.”

She nodded. “We should. Help yourself. I’ll be back soon.”

As Twilight left, I licked my lips in anticipation of the tasty food I’d soon be consuming. One of the many things that was different about Equis was that hardly any of their food was prepackaged ‒ most of their food was fresh. Something so simple as whipped cream was amazingly good when compared to the stuff on Earth, as the whipped topping had quite literally been made that very morning. Sure, the portions that food was bought in were much smaller, but the market was also just down the street with fresh food every day.

I rummaged through the kitchen for a few minutes before leaving it with a bowl in hand, filled with watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, and a dollop of whipped cream. Normally such a sweet treat would be considered a dessert, but the fact that the food I ate was often very nutritious meant I could afford to eat a cold dinner like this without cheating myself out of nourishment.

As I took my first bite of the fruit, I winced in pain as something stabbed my tongue.

“The fuck was that?” I asked aloud to the air.

I reached in my mouth and moved my finger around trying to find the source, only to come across something long and hard where my canine should be. I ran my finger over it, finding it as smooth as a tooth, but far too long, even for me.

I set the bowl of fruit down at the dining table and rushed to the washroom that was on the ground floor, quickly flicking on the magical light and looking in the mirror as I pulled my top lip up. Sure enough, there was a tooth where a tooth should be, but it couldn’t be real. It was double the length it should have been, and it now sat over my bottom row of teeth when I closed my mouth. This didn’t make sense...it wasn’t like that the day before.

What the fuck was happening to me?

I filed this particular development away for now, opting to keep an eye on it myself. Twilight already had enough to worry about with me, so I didn’t need to make her think I was going to become a monster and eat her and her friends in their sleep. Besides, my body had started producing titanium as part of my bones now, something that should be impossible. I guess longer teeth isn’t so strange after that.

Whatever...eat now, think later.

After finishing my meal and saying a friendly goodnight to Twilight and Spike, I found myself in my bedroom, wondering what was going to happen now. I knew of the two big things that were coming up, which were my job interview Saturday morning and my attempt at an apology to Vinyl Saturday night, but nothing else was really set in stone. That meant I had three days to fill up with something to keep me busy and somewhat productive. I decided it would probably work in my best interests to visit Rarity and Fluttershy tomorrow to see what they were up to, and maybe Pinkie Pie, if I was in a calm enough mood to handle her. True that she could be fun to be around, but the pink pony could also get rather intense.

Now, for Thursday I guess I could spend the day with Rainbow Dash, exercising and messing around. Besides Vinyl, she was the pony I enjoyed spending time with the most, because she liked to play hoofball (the pony version of American football), had a good sense of humor, and was quick to forgive me if I did something stupid.

That still left Friday wide open though, and I didn’t like having idle time.

My thoughts were beginning to sag a bit as the stress of the day caught up with me, and in an uncommon occurrence, I found myself putting aside my Friday plans for tomorrow. I knew I wouldn’t be able to think clearly enough to come up with a good schedule with how exhausted I was, so I decided to think on it tomorrow, with a cup of coffee.

My attempts to sleep were interrupted however, as when I closed my eyes, a tapping at my window got my attention.

I groaned and stood off the bed, knowing that I was likely about to cuss at whoever was bothering me right now, which depending on who it was, could damage a budding friendship. I made my way over to the window and pushed it open with a quiet, “This better be important.” A certain cyan pegasus floated up to the window, and I quirked my eyebrow in surprise. “Dash? It’s late, what are you doing here?”

Without an invitation, she flew through the window and landed silently on the floor behind me, looking at me with concern. “I caught up with Twilight on her way to Rarity’s. She told me what happened.”

I sighed and closed the window before sitting down on the edge of my bed. “Yeah...it’s been pretty intense. I come to find out in just a day that I’m not even a human anymore, and that some weird magic is being made by my body.” I then looked up at her as she cantered over to me. “Can you keep quiet about something though?” She nodded, so I continued with, “That’s not the only thing that’s changed.”

She raised her eyebrow. “What, are you changing into a pony or something?”

I rolled my eyes. “No offense, but thank God, no.”

Her expression became a little more relaxed as she nodded. “Okay, what is it then?”

I took a steadying breath before lifting the corner of my top lip, showing off my lengthened canines. Almost immediately, I heard a gasp from Dash, as well as the sound of her hooves on the floor retreating. Even though I told myself that it was because I now looked the part of a predator, it did hurt a bit that she was afraid of me.

To my relief, she stepped back over to me, and placed her hooves on my knees as she pulled herself up so she could look me in the eye easily. As I was sitting down, she was actually a little taller than me, but it didn’t really bother me that much. The talk with Octavia seemed to have broken my barrier that was against ponies touching me, so I was comfortable with a few of them doing so. Dash was one of them, and the fact that she didn’t seem to mind doing so made me feel a little better.

Her face was mere inches away from mine as she asked, “W-what...?”

I shrugged, releasing my lip and looking back into her rose-colored eyes. “I’m not sure. They weren’t like this a few days ago, but nothing else seems to be changing at the moment.”

She giggled (a sound she rarely made) and said, “You’d make a great vampony for Nightmare Night.”

I shrugged as I ran my tongue over the one-and-a-half-inch meat-tearing teeth. “For humans, the correct term is ‘vampire’. All the same, I think that’d be a good idea. This Nightmare Night celebration sounds like a hoot, and I’d like to go.” I then looked back to her and asked, “Not that I’m ungrateful, but why are you here? I mean, I was just about to fall asleep when you tapped on the window.”

Dash let go of my knees and dropped back to the ground with a soft *CLOP*, looking at me with concern again. “I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking that if something like this had happened to me, I would be feeling pretty freaked-out. I figured you probably felt the same and...I was worried about you.” She then glared at me. “Tell anypony I said that and I’ll give you a black eye.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Don’t worry, Miss Dash. Your soft side is safe with me.”

She rolled her eyes before flapping her wings once and alighting on the bed beside me. “Anyway, I knew that if I was going through what you are, I wouldn’t want to be alone. I know you got Twilight, but she’s not the best when it comes to thinking with her heart instead of her head.”

I raised my eyebrow skeptically. “And you are? The way I remember it, you always complain when things get too ‘mushy’.”

She shook her head with a frown. “I’ve got a rep around here, and I aim to keep it. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel differently. Let’s just say that if I acted in public the way I normally would in private, a lot of the ponies around here would think I’m some namby-pamby blowhard.” She snorted angrily. “I’ve worked too hard to be the best for ponies to see me as weak or something. They wouldn’t take me seriously.” Dash then looked back to me, that concern once again showing in her expression. “What I mean to say is that I know you’re probably nervous, and maybe even a little scared about what happened today, and what’s still happening.”

I shrugged...there was no need to hide it. “You pretty much hit the nail on the head there, Dash. I am kinda scared, mostly because I have no idea what’s going to happen next, and from what we can tell, there’s no way to stop it. Right now it’s just my teeth and bones that’s changed, but what else? Will I even recognize myself in a year? I mean, where does it stop?” The fear and worry that I’d been avoiding since my meeting with the princesses washed over me, and I found myself trembling with worry. I was so afraid of losing who I was to whatever was happening.

I felt a hoof on my shoulder, and looked to my right to see Dash looking at me with a warm smile. “I’ll stay with you tonight if you want me to.”

I looked to her in shock and stuttered out, “W-what? Dash, I like you, but I’m not sleeping with a pony!”

She looked at me in confusion and a little hurt before her eyes widened. “What? No, no, no. I mean just me being here with you. I’m not asking you to rut me, Jamie. I mean Celestia’s shining ass, we haven’t even been on a date or anything.” I was about to retort the latter comment, but she waved it off. “I’m just saying that maybe you’d feel better if you weren’t alone tonight.”

I calmed down as the reality of what she meant sunk in. I hated to admit it, but the thought of having someone stay with me in case I woke up in the middle of the night freaking out sounded good. So, I nodded. “That actually sounds nice, Dash. I’d appreciate it.” I then looked around, as if I could see a certain lavender unicorn through the walls. “What about Twilight though? Will she be upset that you just stayed over without us asking?”

Dash chuckled heartily and shook her head. “Jamie, Twilight’s door is always open for friends. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve crashed here at night simply because I’m too sore from practicing or too drunk to fly home. She won’t mind, I promise.” With that she grabbed the extra pillow that I never used from the bed, and turned a few circles in place like a dog before sitting down and curling up. “I’ll be right here, Jamie.”

I looked down at her and frowned. True that I wasn’t “feeling it” about any ponies, but I didn’t want her to sleep on the floor either. I wouldn’t do that to a guest in my home, so I wasn’t going to do it to her.

I sighed and said, “Dash, you’re not sleeping on the floor. Get up here. There’s more than enough room for both of us.”

“But you just said...” she answered, trailing off.

I rolled my eyes. “I said I wasn’t going to have sex with you, but by your reaction, you weren’t planning to with me either. I’m not letting you sleep on the ground though.”

She raised her head off the pillow and looked up at me. “But I get a little...cuddly. And if you tell anypony that-”

“You’ll give me a black eye. I got it.” I finished. I then answered, “Well I don’t mind if you don’t.”

She smirked as she stood and tossed the pillow on the bed, following it shortly after. “What, you get huggy too?”

I shrugged. “I used to have stuffed animals when I was a little kid. I guess I never really grew out of it, which is why I usually sleep alone. Humans aren’t keen on sharing a bed unless they’re ‘together’, so me wrapping an arm around a bed partner would have sent the wrong message.”

As I laid down, she took a spot to the left of me, pressing her body up against me as she lay down on her stomach, legs tucked underneath. She then rested her chin on my chest and extended her wing to cover my stomach as she said, “I hope that answers your question.”

Just like with Octavia, the contact felt very nice, and already I felt my eyes beginning to droop. I absentmindedly spread my fingers out in Dash’s mane as I massaged her scalp, and she sighed contentedly as she squirmed a little before settling herself closer against me.

Just before my eyes closed, I smiled down at the cute sight, her actions reminding me of an affectionate dog I used to have. “Goodnight, Dash.”

She smiled as her own eyes closed. “G’night, Jamie. Don’t punch me in the face if you have a nightmare.”

I chuckled before closing my eyes and feeling myself slip away into what I hoped would be a restful sleep.