• 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.

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Chapter 9: The Shadows Gather

Chapter 9: The Shadows Gather

I woke early in the morning, in time to see the sun rise up over the eastern mountains from the bedroom window. It was the first time in longer than I could clearly remember that I had seen the sunrise in person. Sure, there had always been the internet and television documentaries that could show me what I wanted, but it was an entirely different experience to see it in real life, raw and unobstructed.

“Good morning.” greeted a voice from the far corner of the room.

A few months ago, waking up to someone I didn’t know in my bedroom would have freaked me out. After becoming accustomed to the fact that ponies were very open with themselves, however, I quickly found it within myself to accommodate such an act. Save for the princesses, it was commonplace for a friend or acquaintance to disregard privacy, as for most ponies, they didn’t see the need to have any. It was an odd concept, but one I was thankfully adapting to.

It still weirded me out a bit that there was clearly someone in the bedroom with me, and I wouldn’t have known they were there had they not spoken up.

I cleared my throat and wiped the sleep from my eyes as I replied, “Good morning.”

Stepping away from the glare of the open window, a golden-armored pegasus with white fur stepped forward, her piercing blue eyes seeming to stare into my very soul. As she removed the crested gold helmet, all of her fur changed to a dark gray, and her wings changed from feathered to bat-like. Along with this change, her eyes morphed to gold and slitted.

I raised my eyebrow. “First Lieutenant Shudder?”

Her eyes widened a bit as she asked, “You knew it was me?”

I shrugged. “I do now. The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t place it until you...well, looked like you again.” I pointed to the helmet and asked, “So does that thing have magic in it or something?”

The guard nodded. “It does. The solar guard helmets are enchanted so that all guards look alike, so as to give them anonymity.”

I nodded slowly as I worked my jaw around. I then became confused again. “Wait, I thought you were a night guard.”

She sighed and shook her head. “I am Princess Luna’s personal guard. Technically, that makes me both. I take whatever mantle I must in order to protect her in the way I need to. The exterior doesn’t make the pony.”

I was about to nod in agreement when I noticed the many bandages and bald patches of fur. I stood and quickly made my way over to her. “Jesus...what happened to you?”

The guardspony narrowed her eyes and replied, “Assassins. They weren’t prepared for me, but I still took a few licks anyway.”

I tilted my head as I looked at her, concern likely clear on my face. “I’m glad you’re okay. It would’ve sucked if one of the few speaking guards were killed. How about the princesses? Are they alright?”

Shudder’s posture tensed just a bit, and she blew a soft breath out her nose. “The assassins weren’t after the princesses, Jamsion. They were after you.”

All comfort was lost when she said this. “What?”

She nodded as she looked up at me. “Yes. It’s why I’m here, actually. The princesses asked me to continue watching over you, and to train you in self-defense.”

I took a deep breath and settled myself into the situation as well as I could. “Fuck me. Wait, if you’re going to be around, why do I need training?”

“What happens if I’m not around for some reason?” she asked rhetorically.

I chuckled nervously and nodded. “Right, I didn’t think about that.”

She pointed to the restroom and ordered, “So get cleaned up and dressed quickly. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. If I had my guess, another assassination attempt will happen during the coronation, as the chaos of the event would be the perfect cover. We need you to be able to defend yourself somewhat when the time comes.”

I moved as if I were in a dream. It all seemed so surreal all of the sudden, and I became acutely aware of the fact that this world was not as peaceful as I thought.

As I stepped out of the washroom with a towel wrapped around my waist, I found Shudder pointing to the bed, which had a belt and four other bands upon it. “Put those on and meet me in the hallway when you’re ready. And hurry up, we need to fit in as much training time as possible.”

I waited for the guard to leave before putting my clothes back on and fitting the gear on my body. The belt was pretty self-explanatory, as I knew where the belt went, and the four other bands could only be for my wrists and ankles. The fabric itself was very light and reminded me of silk, but with a subtle tingly sensation seemingly added to them.

After dressing, I stepped out into the hallway to see Shudder waiting for me, and she tossed her head towards the end of the corridor. “Come, we need to get going.”

I followed her as she trotted away, asking, “What exactly are these things? And why didn’t I hear anything about the assassins until this morning? And most of all, why does anyone want to kill me?”

She chuckled darkly as she replied, “A few loaded questions there, eh? Well to answer your first question, you’ll find out later. Second, my job is to operate unseen from the shadows, so if you had known about them, then I wasn’t doing my job right. Lastly, you’re an unknown and have caught the favor of the princesses of Equestria, the Elements of Harmony, and many others. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for a group to attempt an assassination.”

The fact that someone wanted to kill me simply because of who I was unnerved me.

“Alright,” Shudder announced as we rounded a bend and came upon an open door with guards posted in front of it, “here we are. Follow me inside and close the door behind you.”

I did as she asked and followed her through the open doors, grabbing and closing them behind us. Once I did so, I turned to look at the room itself. It reminded me of an old-style observatory, being completely circular in construction. The ceiling was decorated with strange glowing crystals of red, yellow, and blue, and strange symbols were drawn along the floors and walls. In the center of the room, where Shudder stood staring at me, was a slightly raised platform with what looked like a base of pure emerald.

She beckoned me with a hoof and said, “Well come on, don’t be shy. I’m not gonna bite you or anything.”

I did as she asked and walked over until I was standing right next to her on the platform.

“Close your eyes and take a deep breath.” she warned before the world seemed to fall away around us.

A prodding at my side brought me back to reality, along with a soft calling of my name. I took a few deep breaths and tried to open my eyes, only to find that I couldn’t. My hearing, however, cleared up a bit, allowing me to better identify the voice speaking to me.

“C’mon Jamison, you need to get up. This is exactly why I told you to close your eyes and hold your breath.” chastised Shudder from my side. I felt her nudging me, so I rolled over and stood. “That’s it. Up and at ‘em, big guy.”

I groaned as my knees threatened to buckle, but stood my ground as I continued to breathe deeply. The more I breathed, the quicker my strength seemed to return until I was standing steadily, looking around the room. The room ‒ if one could call it that ‒ was a void of white that seemingly went on forever in every direction. The only landmark was the small structure behind us, which held only a refrigerator, two beds, an enclosed space that I assumed was a restroom, and a few knobs on a wall.

I cleared my throat as I continued to take in the scenery, asking, “Where are we?”

“This is the guard’s training area, Jamison. It is where you will receive your training, and is where you will eat, sleep, and even bathe for the next three years.” she explained.

I turned to Shudder and raised my eyebrow. “Say what now?”

She chuckled and shook her head before gazing at me with a grin. “Perhaps I should explain.” She motioned to the open area as she said, “This place is what’s known as a ‘pocket dimension’, and it is a construct of magic. In the ‘real world’, this entire place exists in the small area that we stood on before we came here. Physics work differently here, and time passes differently as well. Though three years’ time will pass for us, only three days will pass in Equestria. Gravity can also be modified as we see fit, allowing us to accelerate your training to get the most out of this time.”

I just stood stock still for a few moments before shaking my head as my mind rebooted. “Wait wait wait, I’m going to be stuck in here with you for three years?” She nodded. “Why?”

“Because you are in danger, Jamison. The assassins that I had to deal with will not be the last...not by a long shot. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of Equisians who don’t like you for one reason or another, and so it’s my job to make sure that should you be attacked again, you can defend yourself.” she explained blandly. “I can’t protect my princess if she has charged me to protect you, so I’m going to make sure you can fight your own battles.”

I frowned as I tried to find a way to avoid this. I mean, three years of my life gone? That was bullshit, and I wasn’t going to give in without a fight.

“But I’m not a damn warrior or anything! And when did any of you ask for my opinion about this? I think I should have a say in how I spend the next three years of my life!” I shouted in anger. I whipped away from her and strode towards the structure. “Where the hell is the door? Let me out of here.”

“You’re not going anywhere, Jamison.” Shudder responded sternly.

I slowly turned to face her again and growled, “Let. Me. Out.”

She shook her head, never once breaking her eyes away from my own. “The spell is in place for three years. There isn’t a way out.”

I stared at her unflinching gaze for a moment before snorting derisively and plopping down on one of the beds. “Well then, you’re going to get sick of me sooner or later, so I’ll just chill out here until you do.”

As I closed my eyes, I heard her hooves clopping against the stone-esque floor until they stopped right beside me. “I said we’re training, Jamison. Get up. You can lay down in the bed when I’ve decided you’re finished.”

I shook my head with a dry laugh. “No thanks. I think I’ll just wait things out. You’d be surprised exactly how long a person like me can sit around doing absolutely nothing.” The next thing I knew, I was laying face-down on the floor, with the bed having been flipped over on top of me. I pushed myself up quickly and glared at the pegasus mare before growling out, “Do that again, and you’ll regret it.” I then started to lift the mattress back to the bedframe, but only succeeding in lifting one corner before a hoof stepped onto it, keeping me from lifting it further. I narrowed my eyes and looked up, seeing Shudder staring unflinchingly at me as she stood on the mattress. “Move.”

She shook her head. “I said we’re training. We can do this the easy way or the hard way, and I can tell you right now that disobeying my orders is not the easy way.”

I didn’t break my gaze with her this time, and instead stared directly back into her blue eyes. “I never said I was doing anything your way anyway. This is my way, so step off.”

She glared at me for a few moments before narrowing her eyes and smirking. “I’ll make you a deal. We spar, and if you beat me, I’ll leave you alone. Lose, and you do exactly what I say, when I say it.”

I thought about her offer for a moment. True that when I had first arrived in Equestria, I was nowhere near fit, but after living here for awhile, I was a little more confident in my own physique. Besides, she was only half my height. How bad could it be?

I smirked and released the corner of the mattress. “Deal.”

She nodded and motioned away from the structure. “Come on then, colt. Don’t keep me waiting.”

I couldn’t help but pick up on the condescending way she’d said “colt”, and decided to make my feelings known. “Don’t call me colt, feather duster.”

She only flinched for a moment before continuing her strides toward the open area, and I allowed myself a grin at the fact I had clearly gotten to her.

When we arrived at where she had motioned to, she quickly removed her armor before turning to look back at me, revealing her true, yellow reptilian eyes, along with her bat-like wings flared in an aggressive posture. She then stated, “You apparently forget that here, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. You’re not a guard, a pony, or a female. Currently, I see nothing to change my expectations about you, which is next to nothing. So if you want me to stop calling you ‘colt’, you’re going to have to make me.”

Maybe it was the fact that Twilight and the others treated me as an equal, or maybe it was just the fact that I was already pissed off, but whatever the reason, her words stung a lot more than I thought they would. It was the first time since coming to Equestria that my status as a male, a non-pony, and a civilian were spoken of in a negative way.

I grit my teeth and took a basic stance, waiting for her to charge. I knew enough about fighting to know that it was a dumb idea to charge headlong into a fight with someone you knew nothing about, so I waited for her to make the first move.

Perhaps that was even more of a mistake.

A powerful flap of her wings was all it took for her to cover the twenty feet between us in less than a second, and I was slammed face-down to the ground as she bent my arms up behind my head and sat on my legs, preventing me from moving.

She applied pressure to my arms, causing them to overextend, and the pain in my shoulders became quite a bit more apparent as I felt the joint threatening to dislocate on both shoulders.

“Give up.” she hissed into my ear. I growled in defiance and rolled my body in an attempt to dislodge her, but her hooves were planted on either side of my body, keeping me from moving. Again I felt her lips just next to my ear as she growled, “I said give up, colt.” With those words, she pressed her weight against my right arm, forcing out a loud pop as my shoulder dislocated. I let out a loud growl of pain, and at this she released me and hopped away, but as I rolled over, I found her only a few feet away. “First lesson, colt: don’t piss of an enemy you can’t beat.” As I stood to walk away, she flew until she was floating in front of me. “Where do you think you’re going?”

I rolled my eyes and pointed to my useless arm. “I’m going to try and get this fixed and sleep it off.”

She shook her head before grasping my arm in both of her front hooves and yanking hard, causing another pop to sound but also fixing it. Her actions nearly caused me to cry from the pain alone, but she fluttered back and said, “Now prepare yourself, because we’ve got a lot of work to do. You’re weaker, slower, and less perceptive than I am, and we’re going to fix all of that by the time we’re done in here.”

I swallowed hard as I tried to keep from wincing from the ache in my shoulder. “I was just settling into life here, and now you have to go and do all this to me? What the hell do you have against me?”

Again, she surprised me with her speed, and was face-to-face with me with the time it took me to blink. Shudder pressed her forehead against mine forcefully and said, “You’re some snot-nosed colt who’s whining about being in Equestria even after almost everypony around has tried to help you, even the princesses. You’re not worthy of their help, and until you are, you’re going to have to deal with me. I’ve worked too hard for too long to get where I am to see some ungrateful colt waltz up and garner the attention of some of the most important ponies in the world.” She drew back a bit before poking me in the chest firmly. “So if you ever want to live a peaceful life here, you’re going to have to prove to me that you deserve it. You’re going to get stronger, faster, and smarter before you’re out of here, and I will break you at least once before we’re done. I’m not here to be your friend, and I’m not here to coddle you. You’re in a world with unseen enemies everywhere, so for your safety and that of those around you, you’re going to need to be able to fight for yourself instead of relying on others to do it for you.”

I growled in annoyance before closing my eyes and shaking my head. “You know, if your job is to make me stronger and all that, then eventually we’re going to come to a time when you’re not going to be able to bully me around like this anymore.”

When I opened my eyes again to look at Shudder, she was smiling softly. “Well then, when that time comes, my job will be complete and we can go our separate lives.” She then narrowed her eyes and said, “But until that time, I own your ass.”

I shook my head and chuckled dryly. “This is exactly why I never joined the military.”

“Like I said,” she replied smugly, “if you want me to stop, make me.”

Our eyes locked on each other intensely for a few moments before I looked away and sighed. “Whatever. I’m not dumb enough to fight against someone that I’m clearly outclassed by, so I guess we’ll do this your way. For now.”

I brought my eyes back to her, and she nodded. “Works for me. Now, I’m not going to mess with your shoulder, because regardless of what you might think, my intentions aren’t to injure you. So in the meantime, we’re going to let that heal and do some cardio. Keep up with me, because if you fall behind, I’m just going to be harder on you tomorrow.”

I grumbled quietly to myself and followed her as she took off at a canter, which was a medium jog for me. Just from our short bout alone (if you could even call it that), I knew I wouldn’t be able to make her do much of anything at the moment. So, for the time being at least, I’d keep my frustration and anger to myself. After all, I was completely alone for the first few weeks I was on Equis, along with starving and trying to find shelter for myself. This wouldn’t be too bad, would it?

Perspective Shift ‒ Third Person

For the next two weeks, Jamie trained with the no-nonsense guard, Shudder. He moaned, complained, and even tried to fight a few more times, but ultimately resigned himself to his fate.

Luckily for him, Jamie learned rather quickly, and picked up on the fact that there was currently no way he was going to defeat Shudder in a fair fight. She was stronger than him, more experienced, and faster. It was an unfair battle if ever there was one, but the more he thought about it, he realized she was right about him needing to be able to defend himself. Compared to ponies, he was flimsy. Jamie soon realized he would need to put in the time to mold his body into something more powerful, and understood Shudder’s attitude on the matter. She probably didn’t want to be there any more than he did, but also took her job very seriously, and would follow the orders of her princess, no matter what they may be.

After a particularly taxing day of training, the human and pony found themselves silently eating an “evening” meal before sleeping. Jamie’s muscles and joints ached from the training Shudder was putting him through, but from what he had come to understand, it was a “good” ache.

Shudder, by her token, was pleasantly surprised by the human. Sure, he had fought her at first, but then again most guard trainees did. Hell, even she defied her drill instructor. That had been the point, though. She knew that every good soldier had to be “broken” first, and had to be shown that as good as they thought they were, they were, in fact, nothing. She knew that his limits had to be pushed, and he had to be shown that he was not “just fine” as he was. He needed to be stronger if he was going to survive in a world with physically-superior beings.

All that having been said though, both were surprised just how well they were working together when Jamie had finally chosen to stop resisting the training. True that genetically speaking, ponies were superior in both strength and stamina. However, both Shudder and Jamie found that humans were far more agile, dexterous, and had a greater range of motion and flexibility. This allowed Jamie to execute movements that Shudder couldn’t attempt even on her best days, and he could use multiple weapons at once.

As much as they both tried to resist, they found themselves growing closer as time passed. With Jamie just realizing how much he wanted social interaction, and Shudder being a pony (and thus, a very social creature), they found their desire for companionship in each other. It began with a softening of their demeanor towards each other, and then slowly graduated to gentle banter back and forth after their days of training. Today was no different, as while they slowly ate their meals, the two found themselves exchanging friendly conversation.

“So what did you originally want to do?” Jamie asked curiously. “I mean no offense, but I can’t help but think that being a guard was a second choice in your life, not the first.”

Shudder shrugged nonchalantly. “I don’t think anypony chooses being a guard as their first choice. For most, it’s a last resort when their other plans fall through. It’s also a good place to start for those who have been in trouble with the law.”

Jamie nodded slowly. “Well, what about you? Why did you join?”

Again, she shrugged. “I was arrested as a young filly for assaulting a guard.”

Jamie raised his eyebrow as he took a bite of the tomato soup they were eating. “Do I even want to know why someone would do that?”

Shudder chuckled and rolled her eyes. “It was a dare from a friend of mine. She bet me ten bits I wouldn’t spit on a guard. Well, I won ten bits...and then went to the juvenile detention center for two months.”

Jamie’s eyes widened and he nearly spit out the mouthful of soup he was swallowing. He composed himself before asking, “Two months? Just for spitting on a guard?” Shudder nodded, and he sighed in frustration. “Jesus. I don’t even want to know what happens if you were to actually hit a guard.”

“A month in the royal dungeons pending an investigation, and one year of community service.” she answered blandly. She looked over to him and smiled gently. “Our princesses do not tolerate crime, and that’s how they’ve kept things as peaceful as they are. Still, they’re also fair. They’re not going to just throw a pony into the dungeon without investigating exactly what happened. If there’s no proof or legitimate witnesses, the charges of such a crime would be dropped.”

Jamie thought for a moment before nodding, realizing this was not much different than the government of most of the civilized areas of Earth. “I guess that makes sense. So what did you want to do besides this?”

Shudder then turned slightly in her chair, pointing to her rump where a cutie mark of a blue ball of flame sat within a slim crescent moon. “I’m not really sure. I mean, cutie marks are supposed to appear when we’ve realized what our special talent is, but I don’t even remember when I got mine. I just remember a pony remarking one day about it, and I realized I had gotten it without even knowing it.” She chuckled darkly and said, “What use is a cutie mark if I don’t even know what it means?”

Jamie raised his eyebrow skeptically. “Why should a silly mark decide what you do in life, or what you’re good at? Humans don’t have those, and most of us get along just fine.”

The guard’s eyes widened a bit as she asked, “Humans don’t have cutie marks? How do you know what you want to do in life then?”

He shrugged. “We pretty much just figure it out for ourselves. Some people never figure it out.”

“What did you want to do then?” she asked with genuine curiosity.

Jamie shrugged. “Well, I was close to finishing college to be an engineer…”

“But?” Shudder interjected.

He sighed and shrugged as well. “I wanted to be a biologist.”

She had finished her meal some time ago, but still sat with rapt attention as she asked, “And what’s that?”

“A person that studies living things.” Jamie replied as he finished his drink and set the cup down on the table. “The only problem is that they would have forced me to live on the space colonies, and I wasn’t having that.”

“Humans live in space?” Shudder asked in utter shock confusion.

Jamie shrugged. “They were starting to back when I lived on Earth. I guess by now, they’ve probably even moved on to different planets altogether.”

Shudder shook her head in disbelief. “I can only imagine how many people lived on Earth for humans to have to leave it and find more room.”

“Twelve billion, last time I was there.” he answered. “It was overcrowded as hell too. That planet wasn’t meant to comfortably support that many people.”

“How big is Earth?” Shudder asked curiously.

Jamie shrugged. “I think it’s about twenty-five thousand miles around at the equator, if that gives you any idea.”

The pony’s eyes widened a bit more as she gasped. “Wow...no wonder it was crowded.”

He nodded. “Yeah.” He then noticed the opportunity to learn something new about his new home and asked, “Why, how big is Equis?”

Shudder put a hoof to her chin as she thought for a moment. “Umm...I think it’s a hundred thousand miles around. Something like that.”

Jamie’s jaw nearly dropped off of his head as he took in this new information. This meant that Equis was four times the size of Earth, and was anywhere from 30%-60% richer in resources per square mile. It was no wonder that science team had wanted to get a look at this place. The entire planet was a literal gold mine.

“A-and how many people live on the planet?” he questioned Shudder in shock.

Again he eyes swung towards the non-existent ceiling before she answered, “About two billion, last time we checked. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but you have to keep in mind that about seventy-five percent of the planet is water.”

Jamie shook his head as his mouth refused to close. It was amazing just how much space was available on this world, and it had about as much land as Earth did.

“Jamison...you alright?” Shudder asked with mild concern.

He violently shook his head, trying to gather his bearings before speaking. “Y-yeah, it’s just that Earth has about the same amount of water covering its surface too.”

The guardspony’s mouth dropped open for a moment before she sat back in her chair. “Wow. How did you even move with that many people around?”

Jamie shook his head as he blinked a few times. “Honestly, I don’t know.” He then yawned and stretched a bit, realizing he’d been sitting at the table talking to Shudder for the better part of two hours ‒ longer than he’d ever done so before. “Well, I guess it’s probably time we get to bed. I don’t want to fall asleep again during PT.”

Shudder’s demeanor again turned snarky as she said, “Yeah, because I’d make you run another six miles if you did. And there’s not a damn thing you could do about it.”

Jamie threw back his own smirk as he took their dishes to the sink and washed them. “Not yet. Just you wait: one day, you’re going to be staring up at me from the flat of your back, wondering how the hell I beat you. It’s comin’, make no mistake.”

With that final bit of banter, the two separated to bathe and prepare for bed.

He couldn’t sleep.

Jamie had always fancied himself a bit of a night-owl, but the truth of the matter was that he had just never been exhausted enough by his daily activities to actually fall asleep at a reasonable hour. That had changed after his forced training with Shudder, but this night was different.

His thoughts kept him awake as he analyzed and re-analyzed things over and over again. The most prominent question that came to mind was: “What is going on with Shudder?”

He didn’t necessarily dislike the pony. Sure, she had practically kidnapped him and made him her training bitch for the next three years, but once he had calmed down and understood her intentions, he realized why she had done things as she had. If she had asked, he would have resisted, causing one or both of them to be injured. He came to understand that he had become a target for fanatics across the continents, and any close to him would be in danger if he couldn’t protect himself. That wasn’t to say that he liked the fact that he was to become an honorary soldier, but he understood the reason for the training.

What bothered him was her demeanor lately.

He came to know Shudder to be aloof and very business-oriented. More often than not, she would speak very little to him if it didn’t involve training or asking for him to pass the salt. Slowly, her stance toward him began to change. It started off as simple niceties, such as asking him how he was doing or asking if he was particularly sore anywhere. From there, he noticed her going out of her way to talk to him, just barely avoiding invading his personal space and privacy sometimes. He could tell that the isolation from her friends on the outside was beginning to get to her, because she hadn’t shown any sort of interest in him beforehand. That and she had made it perfectly clear what she thought of him at the beginning: that he was weak, “lower” than her, and slow.

He did his best to be polite and friendly, but still found it strange that her behavior had done almost a complete one-eighty since they had first entered the chamber.

Jamie was broken from his thoughts by the sound of Shudder tossing and turning in her bed, which was only a few feet away from his own. She seemed to be having increasing difficulty sleeping at night over the past few days, and it became even more noticeable as time went on.

She couldn’t sleep.

Never before had she slept alone in a bed for so long, and never before had she gone without seeing her sister for more than a day. She thought she could handle it by setting her focus and powering through, as she did with everything else. This issue, it seemed, was not to be solved by her power of will, however.

‘This is fucking ridiculous!’ she bellowed within her mind. Shudder was far from used to being unable to solve a problem with hard work and willpower, but it seemed that for the first time, she had found an issue that was beyond her abilities. It went without saying that she was frustrated beyond belief, and was just barely restraining herself from screaming aloud as she writhed in her bed, trying to find a comfortable position.

She knew that to train Jamie...Jamison correctly, she needed to be of sound mind. To be of sound mind, she needed sleep.

‘Besides,’ she mused to herself, ‘I can’t very well talk down to him about falling asleep during training if I do it, now can I?”

Again she rolled over, and frustratingly enough found herself instinctually reaching out for her older sister, who would normally be right beside her. Shudder sighed to herself, realizing that it was unlikely she was going to sleep tonight.

Perspective Shift ‒ Jamie

Shudder was squirming a lot in her bed, and the sheets and comforters were brushing together in such a way that they produced the most sound possible. Needless to say that if she didn’t fall asleep, I wasn’t going to either. So, I weighed my options.

I could always sucker-punch her in the temple, but that would just end up pissing her off in the morning. Or I could choke her out...no, she would just end up reversing it somehow and I’d end up with her pissed off. I could sing her to sleep, but if she didn’t like it, she’d just be pissed off and would have more dirt on me to make fun with.

I couldn’t think of a useful way to handle the situation without pissing her off. Curious.

Well...there was one way I could think of, by what Twilight had told me about ponies. I remembered that ponies didn’t like to sleep alone, so if that was correct, it was likely Shudder often had a bedmate of some sort to sleep next to her. That likely meant that she was feeling increasingly uneasy with the loss of that, and I realized that with us being stuck together for another few years, it was only going to get worse as time went on.

My brain took control of my mouth before I could stop it. “Shudder, do you have a boyfriend?”

The rustling from next to me stopped, and I caught sight of her looking over at me from her bed. “E-excuse me?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” I repeated. I then slapped my palm on my face and corrected, “Coltfriend, sorry. Do you have a coltfriend?”

She stared at me for a moment, her eyes gleaming in the scant bits of light that shined through the curtains. “Um...no. Why?”

I cleared my throat nervously as I pushed forward with my idea. “Well, Twilight-”

Princess Twilight Sparkle.” Shudder corrected firmly.

I glared at her for a moment in silence. “When she tells me she wants to be called princess, then I’ll call her a princess. Until then, she’s just Twilight to me. Now, are you finished interrupting?”

Shudder looked like she wanted to continue, but sighed and nodded. “Yeah, I’m done.”

I nodded. “Alright. Now, I have a bit of a proposition, and I ask that you let me explain before you answer.” She nodded again, so I continued with, “Twilight told me that ponies don’t like sleeping alone, so I take it you probably have someone you normally bed with, right?”

She nodded softly. “My sister.”

I smiled. “I figured as much. So I guess you’re feeling rather out of sorts now, hm?” Again she nodded, which only caused my smile to grow. “I have a possible solution for you, and you can call tonight a trial run. If it doesn’t work, we never have to do it again, but-”

“Out with it already!” she shouted in annoyance, startling me.

“Share my bed with me.” I blurted out.


I quickly broke the silence with, “I’m just saying that neither of us seems to be getting any sleep because of this. You keep tossing and turning because you’re alone in your bed, and all the noise is keeping me up. It’s for mutual benefit, and I think it would work.”

A few moments of silence in the room followed before she asked, “Is that why you asked if I had a coltfriend?”

“Yeah.” I replied softly. “Ponies don’t think much of it, but I thought I’d ask anyway. It would bother me if I was sleeping right next to some other dude’s girl.”

Silence once again surrounded me before I saw her silhouette flutter through the air and land on my bed beside me. As she laid down, she glared at me and said, “We don’t speak a word of this, understand?”

I nodded with my open hand held up. “I swear.”

As I laid down next to her and covered myself, she scooted a little closer. “You’re still a softgut.”

I shrugged as I looked over at her curled-up form. “And you’re still kind of a cunt sometimes, so we’ll call it even.”

Shudder snorted a laugh before scooting just a little closer, until her fur brushed against my bare arm. A few more moments of quiet stretched out between us before she whispered, “Goodnight, Jamsion.”

I smiled and nodded, though she couldn’t see it. “Goodnight, Shudder.”