• 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 8: Preparing for a New Dawn

Chapter 8: Preparing for a New Dawn

“Um princess,” I said, trying to keep a blush from rushing to my cheeks, “not that I’m not thankful for your help, but shouldn’t a seamstress or something be- *GASP* that’s cold! Watch those hooves, sister!”

When Princess Luna had said I was going to get fitted for a suit of some sort, I had expected to be tended to by a professional seamstress who would custom-make a suit for me. It would make sense of course, seeing as how I am the only one of my kind in this world of ponies. What I actually got was Princess Luna herself measuring, posing, and embarrassing me.

Pretty though those crystalline horseshoes were, they were cold.

That was besides the fact that one of the princesses of Equestria was running all manner of measuring tapes along my body, and being extremely thorough about it. After the first few minutes of it, she had foregone asking me to pose certain ways, instead simply using her hooves to do as she needed. Luckily for me, when she measured my inseam, she used her magic to move the tape. This, of course, didn’t change the fact that the measuring tape itself felt like a cold nylon snake slithering around my thigh.

“Princess Luna!” I shouted, finally causing her to snap her head up in surprise as she looked at me. I was wrapped up in three measuring tapes and an array of different fabrics as I said, “Look, I appreciate this, but wouldn’t it be seen as indecent for someone like me to be dressed by a princess? Let’s not forget the fact that I’m practically naked, here.” It was true. Save for a pair of boxer-briefs, I was nude. While I could understand ponies didn’t hold the same nudity taboo that humans did, my understanding could only go so far.

The princess, by her token, actually looked a little put-off by my words. “Jamison Smith-”

I shook my head and raised a hand in the air. “For fuck’s sake Luna, I’m in my skivvies here. Just call me Jamie and leave it at that.”

She nodded. “Very well. Jamie, I do not mean to offend or embarrass, but I have become quite an accomplished clothier since my return. Tia recommended I pick up some sort of hobby, and I found making clothing for some of the more rare breeds out there in the world is quite enjoyable. Namely the bipeds, such as you.”

I raised my eyebrow as she continued her work, albeit at a much gentler pace. “I’m not the only bipedal thing around here?”

Princess Luna laughed lightly. “Heavens no. There are minotaurs, some species of dragons, dryads, and most elementals, to name a few.”

I nodded with a click of my tongue. “Aha. You see, all of what you’ve just named lives in only myth and legend on Earth. And what are elementals?”

“Stay still a moment, please.” she ordered as she began pinning up a few fabrics around me. After doing so, she sat back with a small smile at her work and nodded as she lifted the pseudo-clothing off of me. “Elementals are beings that take after one of the elements of the world, given life by magic. More often than not they live in peace, but some ambitious magicians or unicorns have sometimes summoned and enslaved them to do their bidding.”

“How many are there?” I asked without thinking.

She rolled her eyes to the vaulted ceiling as she set the clothing and designs beside her. “Oh my, more than I can imagine, I suspect. There are four different forms for each ‘breed’ of elemental, and these breeds coincide with a certain element. This element can be anything from water, to fire, to dreams, to even magic itself. The first ‒ and most common ‒ elemental form is that of a wisp. More often than not you could walk right by one and not even know it, as they so often look exactly like particles of their element. The second form is reserved for those who have gained strength through absorbing more ambient magic as their ‘lives’ go on, and they are known as warders. The warders are capable of basic thought, and while they cannot speak or think as we do, they have their own memories and can learn. The third type of elemental is what’s known as a greater warden, and they live only to protect their inborn element from all who would defile it. They are extremely aggressive, and have been known to attack with little or no provocation to any who wander too near to their homes.” The princess then went silent for a moment before saying, “The fourth, and rarest form of elemental, is that of the colossus. They are the only elementals truly capable of rational thought, speech, and emotions. I…” she swallowed hard as she seemed to remember something painful, “I do not know if any of them exist any longer.”

It took me all of a few seconds to understand what she was thinking of. “You knew them...didn’t you?”

Princess Luna continued with organizing everything in the room as she nodded slightly. “I did. Before my banishment, I knew of only one remaining. She was quite possibly as old as Equis herself, and she was one of my closest friends.”

“Do you think she might still be around?” I asked as I set about picking up my clothes and putting them on.

She sighed and stopped what she was doing to look out a window that overlooked the entire city. “If she is, she would be far away from civilization. She never liked the noise of the cities. I fear, however, that her time passed when I was exiled.”

I finished putting my shorts on before walking over to stand next to the princess, not bothering with a shirt at the moment. I enjoyed the fact that when standing, she actually had to look up at me a bit. Perhaps it was just the fact that Princess Celestia was a giant compared to me, but Princess Luna’s six-foot height allowed me to actually not feel weak and helpless for once in the presence of an alicorn. Besides, when she was being thoughtful, she actually was kind of cute. I kinda wanted to just sit and pet her. Yep, I’m officially having cravings for petting ponies. It’s all downhill now…

I raised my hand above the princess’ withers and hovered it there for a moment as I contemplated what I was about to do. Finally, after nearly a minute, I rested my palm at the base of her neck and kneaded the muscles there lightly as I stood next to her, looking out the window.

“I can’t pretend to know what it’s like for you to lose friends you’ve known for many times my own lifetime.” I said, making a feeble attempt at a pep talk. It was then that I decided to make an honest connection with her, so I added, “But I know what it’s like to feel isolated, and I know what it feels like to be lonely. I…” I gulped as I prepared to talk about the past again, “on Earth, I was never what you’d call a ‘social butterfly’. I pretty much kept to myself because it was easier and less stressful to just deal with myself. The loneliness was the only downside, but I was unwilling to trade that isolation for having to deal with another person’s life. The most I ever spoke to someone was when I would go to the store and buy food.”

The princess leaned a little closer to me, but didn’t make eye contact as she asked, “What changed?”

I chuckled and gestured with my free hand to the air. “This place. My trip here started out as a way to make a quick paycheck, and well...here I am. Truth be told, I probably would have lived another few years by myself before I finally got lonely enough to reach out to someone.”

She was silent for a long few moments before speaking again in a solemn tone. “Jamie, I’m sorry for what has happened to you. You were stolen from your home and family, and have been forced to live in a world you do not understand for quite possibly the rest of your days.”

I sighed and shook my head as I rubbed my hand up through the translucent mane of the night princess. “It’s not your fault, Princess Luna. Equis chose to keep me here for a reason, and if I’m going to be stuck here, I’m going to make it a point to make this life worth living.” I then caught her eye and smirked. “Even if I’m good for little more than being the friend of two princesses of Equestria”

I felt as one of Princess Luna’s large blue wings unfolded and draped across my shoulders, and she offered me a gentle smile. “You act as if this the end of your life. Dear Jamie, this is only the beginning. You began as a mere human, only to became something else, and are now seeing a world that most of your kind could only dream of. Where you might begin as a confidant to the princesses of Equestria, you may end up the general of an army, or a politician that will rewrite laws to benefit everypony.” She then went silent for a moment and added, “Or perhaps a quiet life with a wife and foal would be more your choice.”

I sighed and shook my head. “No wife and no children, princess. I’m the only human here, remember?”

“And why should that keep you from having a family?” she asked in confusion, clearly not understanding how I felt on the matter.

I turned my eyes back to the city spread around the palace. “It’s nothing against ponies, highness. I’m just not attracted to your kind is all. Twilight told me that Equestria’s pretty open when it comes to interspecies dating and marriages, but for humans it’s very strict. It’s so ingrained in my mind from a lifetime on Earth that it might as well be a behavioral gene. So the fact stands that if by some crazy chance I would one day want to settle down with somebody here, I just can’t. No matter how I would try to see things, the fact remains that in my eyes, we’ll always just be too different.”

She nodded a few times before planting her rump on the floor and turning to face me. “What I am about to say will be one of those things you may not wish to hear, but I pray that you will listen anyway, for it is important.” I felt a little nervous about how she introduced what was to come, but nodded anyway, so she continued. “Jamie, I have lived already many times longer than your kind lives in one life. I have seen things that most ponies would think are mere imagination or legend, and I have done things that most ponies would never believe.” She tightened her wing around me slightly as she said, “If that time has taught me anything, it is that all things change with time. Who you are now is not who you will be a week from now. Small things about us change every day as we grow, learn, and adapt to life. You may find that when you look back on this moment, you will laugh at this memory, as well as how hopeless you seemed.” Princess Luna brought a hoof up and pressed it against my bare chest. “At the current time, you see the lack of humans as the reason for why you cannot find a love in your life, whether now or in the future. I however think that the problem is not the lack of humans here, but the inflexibility of your own mind, and I agree with you that it is not something you can control.” She then smiled gently and nuzzled my face fleetingly. “But, I also believe that if you wish to change that at some point, it will change. Be not a prisoner of your own mind, Jamie. It is both your greatest weapon and greatest downfall.”

I snorted in annoyance and rolled my eyes. “A person can’t just change their mind about something that’s been subconsciously ingrained into their mind their entire life.”

She pursed her lips before nodding. “Perhaps you’re right...unless he or she wishes to think differently. I believe you vastly underestimate the power of one’s own willpower. Perhaps when you have found a reason to see a pony as something besides just that, you will have found your mental salvation.”

I rolled my eyes again, but was unwilling to pull away from her warm, feathered embrace. “You make it sound like I’m crazy or something.”

She shrugged before finally removing her wing and pulling away slightly. “None can considered completely sane, having gone through what you have and surviving.” Her expression then turned pensive as she mused, “Although, I’ve always found the term ‘insane’ rather provocative. Many of those deemed insane simply see the world differently than the majority. Is that such a horrible thing?” She then looked to me again with a smile. “I think not. The word ‘normal’ is overrated, as is the state of being it describes. I have always tended to gravitate towards the more eccentric, myself.” Princess Luna then nudged me away gently. “Now, you must groom yourself while I put together your new suit. I expect you back here promptly when you are finished. Shudder will lead you to the guest quarters, where you can take care of your needs.”

Before I could speak, one of the night guards stepped forward and nodded to me, her bat-like wings quivering slightly. “I am First Lieutenant Shudder. You will follow me.”

Her statement was a command instead of a request, and with how intimidating her and the other guards could be, I thought it better to keep my mouth shut and do as I was told. So, not really knowing where I was going just yet, I opted to follow the guard silently as she led me through the winding halls of the palace.

When the two of us arrived at a different part of the palace ‒ which was much less “royal”-looking ‒ Shudder opened a rather unremarkable wooden door to reveal a room that was larger than any bedroom I’d ever stayed in. I bet the princess’ was larger, but it was still a sight to see.

“I assume you can handle everything yourself, yes?” the guard asked as we walked in the room.

I turned to her and nodded. “Yeah. I don’t need help bathing, if that’s what you’re asking.”

She nodded. “Good. I’ll wait here while you groom yourself. When you’re finished, we’ll make our way to Princess Luna’s study again, where I predict she will have finished by then.”

I nodded and retreated to the bathroom, which again was larger than any I had used before. I decided that ogling the sheer size of the palace and its rooms could wait. Princess Luna had asked me to return as soon as I was done, and I wasn’t one to refuse a request from a princess.

As I looked over the different soaps and shampoos scattered about, I sighed ruefully. “Looks like you’re gonna smell like a girl again, Jamie.”

As a guy secure in his own masculinity, I could admit a few things to myself. Glitter and rainbows were pretty. Flowers were nice, and the smell of feminine-scented care products were awesome. But, be it an innate instinct or a cultural thing, I loved the smell of the cucumber, melon, and lavender soap. I didn’t, however, want to make a habit of smelling like that. I suppose I couldn't complain though. The soaps and towels were provided to me and Princess Luna herself was working to make me a suit of some sort for some big thing that was going to happen.

Beggars can’t be choosers, after all.

When I emerged clean, dry, and dressed from the bathroom, it was to come upon Shudder, the night guard, in the same spot she had been in when I had left. These guards were likely to stay still as statues for their entire shifts, unless ordered to do otherwise. It amazed me just how diligent they were, as well as how they could stand stock-still for hours on end, rarely even blinking.

Shudder’s catlike golden eyes landed on me as I approached, and she jerked her head towards the door. “If there’s nothing else, we must meet Princess Luna in her study. She will be expecting you.”

I nodded and followed the pony as she trotted out the door and again through the winding halls of the palace.

This time, I paid attention to where we were going. By the positive reaction I’d gotten from the princesses, I had a feeling that knowing my way around the palace would work to my advantage. So I attempted to memorize the route we took to get to our destination...and failed miserably.

“How do you find your way around here?” I muttered under my breath.

Shudder heard me, and snorted a short laugh. “A lot of practice, that’s how. By air, it’s easy to get anywhere you might need. By hoof, it’s a maze in here. I’m still not sure what the original architects were thinking, but then it isn't my place to question the layout of the royal palace.”

“Maybe it should be,” I grumbled loudly, “this place is a nightmare to navigate.”

She hummed another soft laugh through her nose as we continued our journey, and I couldn’t help but notice just how different this part of the palace was from the area where the guest quarters were. It was almost as if…

“This is new, isn’t it?” I asked. When Shudder looked back at me, I gestured to the walls and ceiling. “All of this. It’s newer than the rest of the place.”

Shudder turned her eyes skyward as she looked over the white marble arches that made up the ceiling. “It was rebuilt after the changeling invasion. I was still in training when it happened, but I heard all about it. It was for that reason that all unicorns guarding the palace were taught spells to detect changeling magic, so that we could never be infiltrated by changelings again.”

The mention of changelings sparked a bit of history Twilight had introduced me to. “Changelings are shape-shifters, right?”

Shudder nodded, but kept her eyes facing forward. “They are. They can mimic the form of any creature of similar size to themselves, which mostly counts as ponies. They use this ability to hide among the common populace, replacing unsuspecting ponies in their everyday lives and soaking up the positive emotions ‒ mostly love ‒ that would be directed towards the target pony. In that capacity, they are parasites, and they need us to survive.” She then sighed as her ears flopped down and her head lowered a bit. “A part of me understands why they do what they do, but another part of me can’t help but think that there must be another way to do it ‒ a way that would work for them without being detrimental to the host.”

I nodded as I rolled the thought around. “Sounds like something you should think on and maybe bring it before the princess when you have something more concrete.”

She nodded curtly. “My life is for Equestria and its princesses. Anything I can do to assist them in making sure our home is kept safe and strong is a welcome task.” Without my knowledge, we had already arrived at the large oaken doors that led to Princess Luna’s study, and Shudder motioned me inside. “Here we are. Best not to keep the princess waiting.”

I nodded and pushed the doors open, stepping inside the room to see the night princess levitating a few dozen different pieces of cloth, needles, thread, yarn, and the notes she had taken earlier as she squinted through the black glasses that sat on her muzzle. She looked up at me and nodded, using her wing to wave me over, and I stepped gingerly around the different objects floating about, taking particular care around the needles.

I took a look around, still somewhat awed at the sheer power of magic itself, and smiled. “You’ve been pretty busy.”

Princess Luna nodded with a smile as she looked back to her work. “If I know my sister, the ceremony will not be for a few days at least, but ‘tis better to be prepared ahead of time, so as to account for any unknown variables. Hence, I wish to finish this as soon as possible, for both our sakes.”

I nodded and sat down on one of the sitting cushions around, and thought for a moment before asking, “So what’s going to happen with Twilight? I assume that she’s going to become an alicorn again now. So what, is she going to be a princess too?”

Princess Luna nodded with a smile. “Yes. My sister has been grooming her to be a princess since the day she was born, and the time has come for her to take up her responsibilities. We need her assistance, and we feel she is finally ready to be what she was meant to be.”

I nodded once before asking, “And do you think your sister will tell her everything?”

She shrugged as she continued stitching the clothing up, which was slowly taking shape into something a little more recognizable to me. “I am unsure. While I believe it would be best for her to be completely honest with Twilight, it is also not my place to reveal that information. It is personal to both of them, so I will wait until Tia decides it is time...whenever that may be.”

I smirked a bit. “So you’re going to be ‘Auntie Luna’ then.”

The princess giggled lightly as she replied, “Yes. I will admit, that title will take some getting used to. It has been far too long since I have been given such an informal title, but I admit that it is quite an attractive idea.”

I stared at the princess for a moment before grumbling and shaking my head. “See, this is what’s bothering me. My brain is telling me that you and your sister are thousands of years old, but when I talk to either of you, it’s like you’re younger than me sometimes. Not that it’s a problem of course, it’s just an odd feeling for me. I have to remind myself that the both of you are older than I’ll ever be.”

She smiled as she continued working. “I shall take that as a compliment then.” After a moment, she pulled the pins and needles away from the suit that was taking shape, and held it up in front of me. “Now, let us see how this is coming together.”

I spread out my arms as she draped the jacket over me, and snaked my arms through the sleeves. Princess Luna used her magic and wingtips to adjust the jacket on my frame as I stood still, and watched as she squinted her eyes and looked over how it fit me. After a moment she levitated a quill to jot something down on a scroll before gently pulling the jacket off of me and setting it aside.

By now I wasn’t all that nervous about being in my underwear in front of the princess, as it was clear there were no innuendos I was missing out on, and neither did feel I had to worry about embarrassing myself or her as I kicked off my shoes and shorts before stepping into and pulling up the silver dress slacks. I took note of just how smooth the fabric was as it caressed my skin, and smiled as Princess Luna looked me over.

“I must say, it has turned out quite well for an evening project.” she commented with a wide grin. The princess took a short walk around me with an appraising eye before smiling and nodding to herself. “I may be only a novice when making clothing for ponies, but I must say that I am quite adept at creating clothing for non-ponies.”

“Careful princess, a fat head wouldn’t look too good with your body style.” I commented with a smirk.

She snorted and held her head high in a haughty manner. “I am allowed to be proud of something other than the night, thank you very much. Even a princess must have her vices, after all.” She then grinned mischievously at me and added, “But if you are so keen to continue your verbal assault, I must warn you that I have my own ammunition.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Like what? Are you going to make fun of the fact I wear clothes or that I snore or something?”

Princess Luna’s smile remained, which worried me.

“Oh not that,” she began ominously, “but there is the fact that a certain mutual friend of ours has told me that you enjoy singing in the shower. Loudly, I might add...in falsetto.”

My mouth snapped shut at that new piece of information, and I eyed her nervously for a few moments. “Okay, truce. I promise to stop ragging on you if you promise to never tell another soul about my shower activities.”

She extended her hoof, which I took and shook firmly before releasing. The princess then waited until I slipped the slacks off before levitating them away and folding them, quickly jotting down a few more notes before placing the quill in the inkwell and rolling up the scroll. I quickly dressed myself in my normal clothes before noticing she was looking out the window with a smile.

“My sister has returned, it seems.” she stated with a tinge of excitement.

I turned my eyes toward the window to see that indeed, a large white figure was flying towards us from the sky over Ponyville, her form easily distinguishable from the darkness of evening. As I watched, she flared her wings just outside the window before folding them and shooting inside, causing me to have to dive out of the way to avoid her.

“She is herself again, Luna! She’s back!” the solar princess exclaimed giddily. As I rolled over to stand up, I saw her prancing in place with a wide smile on her face like a filly who just found out she was going out for ice cream. It was oddly entertaining to say the least, and I had to fight to keep from laughing aloud. Princess Celestia then looked over at me and her eyes widened as she nearly tripped over herself trying to scurry over to me. “Oh, I am so sorry Jamie! Are you injured?”

I chuckled and waved her away as I stood. “My arm’s a little sore from landing on it, but a bruise isn’t going to kill me. I’m fine, princess. Besides, it’s not everyday I get to see royalty act like a little kid.”

She blushed slightly as she attempted to regain her regal demeanor. “Apologies. This is simply one of the most important things that has happened in my life since Luna’s return.”

I shrugged. “You’re allowed to be excited. And I’m not hurt, so it’s all good.”

Princess Celestia smiled before looking to her sister. “So, how was your day?”

Princess Luna motioned to me with her head. “I fitted him for the ceremony, which I assume is in a few days time.”

The elder sister nodded with a smile. “On Sunday, actually. Twilight has a few things to take care of beforehand, and I wish to give us all time to truly come to terms with such a large change.”

I nodded with a smile before a thought came to mind that made me frown. “Wait, if she’s going to be royalty now, does that mean she’s moving away?”

Princess Celestia looked over at me curiously. “That’s up to her, actually. Are you worried you won’t have a place to stay anymore?”

I shook my head. “No. If I need to, I can figure something out. It’s just...she and I have become pretty close since I’ve been living with her. She’s quirky, but she’s a friend. I don’t want to have to travel all the way to Canterlot just to see her is all, and I’m sure the rest of her friends would agree.”

The elder princess smiled and nodded. “I understand that, and as I said, it’s up to her. The duties I have in mind for Twilight can be done from wherever she wishes. There is no law or rule stating she must move to Canterlot simply because she is royalty. In fact, I think it would be better for everypony ‒ herself included ‒ if she stayed in Ponyville. Since making friends, she has become a pony for the people. She thinks of others before herself, and has never used her standing as my protege for personal gain. I believe it would work to her benefit to stay around the ponies she has come to care for, and the town she now calls home. She needs them as much as they need her, and so taking her away from her friends and home would be a mistake.”

I raised my eyebrow at the very thought. “But won’t your ponies think it’s weird that a princess is living in Ponyville instead of Canterlot?”

Princess Celestia smiled and just barely stifled a giggle behind her hoof. “You let me worry about them. You just worry about making sure Twilight is well taken care of. Brilliant though she may be, I am sure you can agree that she can be rather naive at times.”

I barked a laugh and nodded. “Yeah. It’s that innocence that I kinda like about her though. She hasn’t seen a lot of the things I’ve seen, and so her view of the world as a whole is largely uncorrupted. Being as cynical as I am, it’s nice to be able to be around someone who isn’t so jaded that nothing surprises them anymore.”

“And just what have you seen, Jamie?” Princess Luna asked as she stood beside her sister. “We know so little of your past...it is as if you are a ghost. All we know it that you come from a land known as the United States, you are known as a human, and you were born with a condition that caused fragile bones. We know much about your world, but so little about you personally.”

The mention of my personal past made me a little nervous, and in an attempt to shield myself from the anxiety, I grabbed my shirt off the floor and quickly put it on. “Um...w-what do you want to know?”

“Let us start with something simple.” Princess Celestia stated gently, slowly plodding over before seating herself beside me. “Tell us why you are so reticent towards us concerning your personal life. While it is true that everypony deserves privacy, you seem so walled-off from anypony who tries to get close to you. Why is that?”

This was definitely not what I wanted to be talking about...ever...with anyone.

“Ask about something else.” I muttered coldly, unwilling to speak anything on the matter. Had I not been distracted by my own inner turmoil, I would have been shocked at the fact I had blatantly ‒ and rudely ‒ refused the princesses without explanation.

“Very well.” Princess Luna replied as her smile fell away. “Tell us of the one thing you wish to have of this life of yours.”

I grit my teeth at the answer that was to come. “To go home to my family and friends...who no longer exist anyway.”

Princess Luna walked to stand beside me, and both her and her sister’s wings draped over my back as she said, “You must find a way to move past this, Jamie. Unfair though your fate may have been, this unhealthy longing for that which has passed will eventually destroy you.”

I closed my eyes and shook my head with a frown. “Neither of you have been stolen from your home, so you wouldn’t understand. It’s something you can’t just get over. It’ll always hurt, and I’ll always miss it.”

“I was banished for a thousand years,” Princess Luna retorted, “and returned to a world changed, and all of my friends passed away.”

Without opening my eyes, I pointed a finger to Princess Celestia. “Yes, but you still had her when you returned. No matter what happens from here on out, I’ll never be able to reach out to a family member again, or know that somewhere in the world, my family line lives strong. It’s just me here.” I opened my eyes and felt them stinging with building tears. “I’ve never thought it was all that important to prove my existence by way of some great act or something, but I still want to be remembered when I’m gone. I don’t want to just be forgotten, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen, isn’t it? There’s no other humans here, and no family to carry on my name. It’s just me...and when I’m gone, that’ll be all she wrote. It’ll be like I never existed.” The mere thought of ceasing to exist in every form caused a little part of my heart to break, and the tears began to fall as I mourned the future loss of my very existence. True that when the time came, I wouldn’t know it was happening, but the thought of such a future alone was enough to cause me pain. So many ponies would remember the weird human thing that knew the fabled Elements of Harmony, but no one would remember Jamie…

“We will keep the memory of you alive, Jamie.” Princess Celestia’s voice spoke in an oddly reverent tone. “And through your memory, you will never die.”

The younger princess nudged me gently and added, “I am sure that Twilight too will never forget you. Regardless of what you believe, you have made quite a large impact on the ponies that have come to know you. Stories of you will be passed down through the ages.” She went silent for a moment before placing her hoof on my cheek and turning me to look at her, and her turquoise eyes were shining brightly in the moonlight. “But if you truly wish to make your stamp on history, make it happen. Make it so that you are such a part of Equestria’s history that history itself cannot be taught without mentioning you.”

I rolled my eyes, albeit it probably looked pretty foolish with tears in them. “I don’t want to be some great hero, princess. I just want ponies to remember that one time, there was a guy named Jamie that meant something to someone somewhere. That’s it...nothing more, nothing less.”

“And instead of one someone, you have eight.” Princess Celestia commented gently.

I wiped the tears away and sniffled to keep from dripping any snot, and turned my eyes to the white alicorn to my right. “Say what now?”

Princess Celestia simply smiled and stepped away from me, looking to her sister. “May I show him, Luna?”

The night princess seemed to consider something for a moment before nodding. “You may.”

Princess Celestia’s horn lit up with a golden glow as she levitated a small, unassuming wooden chest from the corner of the room. The chest was so unassuming in fact, that I had figured it to simply be part of the bookcase next to it. When it clicked open though, I found it to be quite different than the rest of the bookcase.

“Wow,” I breathed in surprise, “that’s a lot of scrolls.”

“It is…and they’re all about you.” the tall white alicorn answered.

I looked at her in confusion and my mouth dropped open a bit. “I beg your pardon, but it sounded like you said there’s a chest full of scrolls written about me.”

One by one the scrolls began to float out. “I did, and there are.” She looked over the scrolls as they levitated out and said, “They are written by the Elements ‒ some more than others.” A scroll wrapped in a light blue ribbon floated in front of her face, and she unwrapped it with a smile. “Ah, this is one of my favorites:

Dear Princess Celestia,

I’ve been hanging around Jamie a lot lately, and he seems really down about something. He won’t tell any of us though, and I thought maybe you might be able to help. Problems with a friend isn’t normally something I’d write to you about, but the rest of the girls are stumped too, and...well, he’s pretty important to all of us, isn’t he? I think that maybe you might be able to send me some advice about what to do or what to say, ‘cause I’m not sure what to do about it, but I want to help him.

Rainbow Dash”

She rolled the scroll back up and wrapped it in the ribbon again before placing it on the floor along with all the others. “There is at least one scroll from every one of the Elements-bearers, with some writing more than others.” She looked at some writing on the outside of the scroll and asked, “This one is dated for the fifth of last month. What had you so troubled during that time?”

I swallowed hard and muttered, “It was my birthday.”

Princess Celestia frowned. “I did not know about this.”

“Because I never told anyone.” I answered softly.

Princess Luna pulled away from me next, and stood beside her sister, also frowning. “And why not? Did you not wish to celebrate your day of birth?”

I shrugged as I sniffled again and wiped the last of the tears away. “I didn’t see the point, really. Without my family there, it would seem hollow. I probably would have just ended up miserable.”

The sun princess’ frown deepened as she motioned to the scrolls. “Out of all these, many of them belong to Rainbow Dash ‒ even more than Twilight. She was quite worried about you. So forgive me for saying so, but it seems that your decision to attempt to avoid a distressing situation did not work as well as you might have hoped. Rainbow Dash seems closer to you than the others, and I cannot in good conscience tell you some of the things she confided to us in regards to you. Suffice to say she was very worried, and felt helpless that she could do nothing to aid you.”

Though I couldn’t read the language, I looked down at the rolled-up scrolls anyway, as if doing so would reveal their contents to me. “Why is she so worried about me?”

“Loyalty.” answered Princess Luna’s voice. “Her drive to be loyal to those she holds dear to her heart moves her to tend to their wounds, both physical and otherwise. She cares for you more than you might think, Jamie. She has said she sees so much in you that she sees in herself.”

I raised my eyebrow in interest. “Like what?”

Princess Luna shook her head. “That is for her to tell, not us. Perhaps you should ask her, when the coronation of Princess Twilight Sparkle is concluded.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Princess Twilight. That’s going to take some getting used to. To me she’ll still just be a nerdy librarian who has a weakness for red velvet cake.”

Both princesses giggled behind their respective hooves before Princess Celestia said, “And I suspect that is exactly how she would wish to be seen. It is one of the things that will make her a wonderful princess.”

I smiled and nodded gently. “Yeah. How is she taking all this, by the way?”

“As you would expect.” Princess Celestia remarked with a smirk.

I snorted a laugh. “So she’s freaking out?”

“Oh yes, very much so.” she said before giggling madly. “I fear a bit for Spike’s safety, to be honest.”

I shrugged. “Ah, he’ll be fine. You know kids, they’re made of rubber. And he’s a dragon, so he’ll bounce right back...out of fire.” Again both princesses giggled, but were interrupted as I yawned loudly. I looked out the window to see the moon about to set, and I gasped. “Damn, it’s almost morning. I haven’t been up this long since I was in college.”

Princess Luna trotted over to me and nudged my shoulder gently with her nose. “Well then, I will show you to your quarters for the day.”

I offered no resistance as I was ushered out of Princess Luna’s study, and again through the maze of corridors that made up the palace.

Unfortunately, the night had decided to catch up with me, and exhaustion made me a little belligerent...and weird.

“But mooooom, I’m not even tired!” I whined pitifully as I nearly crawled into the room, which was oddly the same one I had showered in earlier.

I couldn’t tell whether the night princess was playing along or being serious when she ordered, “Into bed with you Jamie, or no ice cream tomorrow.”

I pouted and relented, unzipping and kicking off my shorts before removing my shoes, socks, and shirt...in that order. I was too tired to care that I nearly busted my ass trying to hop over to the bed with my shorts around my ankles and my shoes still on, but in the back of my mind I knew that I was going to get hazing from one or both of the princesses because of it.

Too tired...worry about it later.

As I laid into the large circular bed, I couldn’t help but muse over how abnormally large it was...only to remember that it was designed with ponies in mind, not humans. Before I could cover up though, I found myself being gently tucked in by Princess Luna herself. Though in honesty I couldn’t really think of her like a mother or even an aunt or something, the gesture was oddly soothing, and served well to pacify me.

The princess’ face then filled my dimming vision, and she smiled gently. “Sleep now, Jamie. When you wake, we will speak of what is to come, and your place in all of it. I will watch your dreams to be sure they are pleasant.”

Before she could walk away, I stopped her with a simple, “Wait.” Again her face filled my vision, and I asked, “When you said that I meant something to eight ponies around here, who are the other two?”

She smiled gently before nuzzling my face. “A confidant is someone Tia and I can speak to who we trust, and care for.” The princess leaned in close, and I felt a soft, moist warmth on my cheek. The princess then pulled away and softly trotted away, closing the door behind her as she left the room.

Wait a minute...did she just kiss me?

‘Sleep now, think later.’

Right...sleepy time...