• Published 13th Jul 2013
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The Magic of Immortality - junebud



Jeremy discovers a horrifying and miraculous truth after a car wreck that should have killed him. He's immortal and cannot die. How does an immortal spend his unending life?

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Chapter Six: A New Life

Chapter Six: A New Life

Jeremy awoke to darkness, a smell of rot, blood, and dead fish. He was wet all over and his entire lower body was tingling fiercely, as if it had fallen asleep. He could barely breathe and his face was covered in a thick slimy substance. He tried to move and found that he--his upper body at least--was enclosed and that he could barely shift his arms. He groaned and when he opened his mouth, the viscous slime flooded into it and he vomited reflexively--a bad move because his stomach was mostly empty but for thin bile, which splashed back into his face along with more of the slime. Panicked, his body spasmed and he felt the enclosed space shift a little along the small of his back.

Several sharp things dug into his bare skin and he felt new lacerations open up along his back and stomach. Another panicked jackknife and a heave backwards and he pulled himself partly out of the enclosed space. The sharp things sliced into his soft skin, lengthening the cuts and he screamed in pain. He struggled desperately and finally pulled himself out, cursing and sobbing as he finally realized where he was. The frog, at least, was dead and slumped over on its side. He’d pulled himself out of the beast’s jaws, but the frog’s teeth had opened up deep and painful cuts along his back, stomach, and neck.

He sat in the middle of the reeds, the pond water mixed with the partly congealed mixture of his own blood and the frog’s. Shuddering, he scooted away from the dead creature and nearly screamed when his hand brushed something cold and wet. He looked down at his hand and saw that it had brushed against his severed lower torso. Well, his old severed lower torso. Twilight’s panicked shouts came to him then and he sobbed in relief. That was worse than I ever thought it would be, he thought through a haze of pain and confusion. He finally found his voice, “Over here!” he croaked. He cleared his throat and tried again, “I’m over here!” His voice was raw and ragged, but the words at least were recognizable.

“Jeremy?!” he heard Twilight shout.

Jeremy tried to stand, but the cuts were buzzing and hot and his legs trembled when he tried to stand. Infected, he thought, I’m going to die--again--from infected wounds. “In the reeds across the pond!” He shouted.

He heard a pop and Twilight’s voice sounded much closer, “Jeremy?!” she called, “Where are you?”

“Here,” he mumbled, his voice weak. “Right here…” he coughed.

He heard splashing and the rustling of leaves and then Twilight entered the little patch of reeds where he laid. “Oh sweet Celestia!” she gasped, taking in the gruesome spectacle, “Jeremy! Are you all right?!”

“I’ll make it,” he mumbled, his head buzzing and hot. The cuts had stopped hurting at least, now they just felt numb. “I think my cuts’re infected… maybe…poison in...frog’s...bite.” The world around him became uncomfortably bright while at the same time, the edges of his vision fuzzed black.

Sophia appeared next to him, “The frog’s bite contained a rather potent neurotoxin. The nanites in his bloodstream are neutralizing it, but there is so much that it will take time. I have authorized them to make him unconscious. His healing will be accelerated if he takes the time to rest.”

“Why didn’t you say anything before?!” Twilight demanded angrily.

Sophia stared at Jeremy’s still form, “It took all my focus to assist the nanites in his bloodstream to hasten his natural healing. There are over a trillion of them in his body and they were all required to make the rebuilding of his body take minutes rather than hours.”

Twilight glared at the other pony, angry, but unable to come up with a good retort. Instead she sighed and glanced back over her shoulder in concern. “Rainbow’s been badly injured. Her wing has been dislocated, maybe even broken. I used a sleep spell on her so she wouldn’t thrash around and make it any worse, but she’s on her own over there… It’s not safe here. We have to move.”

“Agreed.” Sophia said. Her horn lit up with a silvery glow and Jeremy was lifted up in a matching silver aura.

“You can do magic too?” Twilight asked, surprised.

“Of course. After spending three hundred twenty two years, seventeen weeks, five days, fifteen hours, and nineteen minutes on this planet, I have had adequate time to analyze and learn the thaumaturgic fields this planet possesses. From there, it’s merely a matter of writing the correct subroutines to tap into those fields. I suppose you would call them spells.” Jeremy’s body hovered next to her as she calmly walked out over the pond.

Twilight stared after the blue unicorn for a long moment before sighing and teleporting herself back across the pond. Rainbow was as she had left her, sleeping with a pained expression on her face. Her rainbow mane was dirty and mussed, one wing tucked tightly against her body, the other spread out, the joint where it met her back bulging and swollen. She nuzzled her sleeping friend worriedly and looked up at the pond. Sophia was calmly walking over the water, Jeremy in tow.

I hope Rainbow Dash will be okay, Twilight thought, glancing down at the sleeping pegasus again. I don’t think her wing is broken, but I’m definitely no doctor. We must get back to Ponyville as soon as possible. Sophia stepped up on the shore of the pond, about fifteen feet away from Twilight and approached her. Jeremy’s unconscious body was twitching and spasming, but the deep cuts on his back and belly had mostly closed. “Jeremy will require at least another seventy eight minutes before he can move unassisted,” Sophia reported, “but the nanites no longer require my assistance in neutralizing the poison. Still, we must get back to the village as soon as we can. My proximity sensors have detected a number of creatures that have a high probability of matching the profile of predators resembling canine form, but seemingly made of wood. We have encountered them a number of times in the Everfree; Jeremy calls them wood wolves.”

“Timberwolves!” Twilight muttered nervously, “we need to move. They’ll tear us apart if we stay here much longer.” A chilling howl echoed through the dense woods, adding emphasis to her warning.

“Timberwolves…” Sophia muttered, “That is a much better name. Jeremy is frequently terrible at naming the things he stumbles across.

“You are correct. Our former pace, I fear, will not be quick enough to avoid the nocturnal predators. Already, the sun is dipping closer to the horizon. Sunset will not be long in coming.”

“The trees make the forest get dark much quicker,” Twilight said, staring at the trees, “but my teleportation spell can’t get us to Ponyville! I don’t have the range!”

“The we shall have to combine our skills,” Sophia said calmly. “With our combined skill, we should be able to enact a thaumaturgic effect which should greatly increase the range of your teleportation construct.”

“Why didn’t we do that on the way here?” Twilight demanded, “It wasn’t easy to do it all on my own!”

“I helped in my own way,” Sophia answered, “Did you not notice that you teleported us thirty seven times and did not begin to feel the strain of your spellcasting until the last? I was focusing the ambient leyline energies into your spells since we began this journey.”

The chilling howls sounded again, closer this time. “We’ll talk about this later,” Twilight said, “but right now, we need to be gone from here. Now.”

“Very well, Twilight Sparkle.” Sophia’s horn lit up in a silvery glow again. “I am prepared to assist in your spellcasting. Please outline the construct in your mind and prepare for a mental linkup.”

Twilight nodded and opened herself up to her talent. Now that she was looking for it, she could feel the increased magical flow thrumming through her horn. She quickly called up the magical formula of her longest-ranged teleportation spell, concentrating on the variable for distance. She felt Sophia’s presence touch against her mind and opened up to the artificial intelligence.

A mental linking was a simple half-spell that allowed freedom of communication between unicorns without need for verbalization. A form of telepathy, mental linkages were also a form of intimacy which allowed unicorn wizards to grow closer to one another on a spiritual level: the linkage gave a unique insight into another unicorn’s mental profile. It manifested itself differently for every pony, but for as long as Twilight could remember, the profiles she perceived from other unicorns came to her as constellations. Unicorns throughout all of pony history had used the constellations as a reliable way to get a sense of the future and to read meaning in the natural events of the world; Twilight was very talented at reading the stars.

Sophia’s mind was different from every other pony’s she had ever encountered. Rarity’s mind was a sparkling array of beautiful and ordered brilliance. She could read the deep well of generosity behind the gem-like sparkling of Rarity’s conscious mind. Celestia’s mind was a vast and bright sea of endless suns, burning with an intensity which barely allowed for conscious thought. Luna’s mind was was mostly void,the few stars scattered throughout burned with a cold luminance that somehow warmed the soul even as they remained aloof. Sophia’s mind, however, was unlike any she had ever touched. It was a vast and ordered grid of twinkling lights which blinked and pulsed in an unknowable rhythm. Somehow, Twilight could sense that within each star was a galaxy of other stars, each containing realms of thought and consciousness which could never be guessed or understood. And yet, there was an underlying pattern to the construct’s mind and it progressed in relentless insane speed. Sophia’s mind was utterly alien to her. Emotions and thoughts were one and the same, neither one the master of the other but each somehow entirely dependent upon each other.

Your mind… Sophia said in wonder, her soft pleasant voice echoing in Twilight’s head, is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen Twilight Sparkle. You are the most utterly good individuals I have ever met, though my experience is admittedly limited. I am honored to call you friend.

Thank you, Twilight answered, I have never encountered a mind like yours. Even Princess Celestia’s mind is completely unlike yours.

That makes sense. Even immortals are organic. I am not. Sophia’s tone changed into a more urgent and businesslike manner. I see your construct, Twilight Sparkle. I am feeding power into the spell’s matrix. Please consider these changes. I estimate a thirty-seven percent increase in efficiency if you make the changes I suggest.

Superimposed upon Twilight’s spell construct was a silvery diagram almost identical to Twilight’s own spell diagram. Examining the spell quickly, Twilight saw that it would indeed increase the efficiency of her teleportation significantly. She willed the changes to her construct and pulled in all the power she could until the construct was fairly thrumming with pent-up power. With a surge of will, she pushed the magical energies through the spell and felt the spell come alive, crackling through her body and out of her horn like a lightning strike. When next she opened her eyes, they were standing in the town square of Ponyville.

“It worked!” She said, relief and surprise in her voice.

“It had an eighty-three percent chance of success,” stated Sophia matter of factly. “That was well within acceptable risk parameters. Your friend, Rainbow Dash should seek immediate medical attention. Jeremy will be well enough momentarily.”

Twilight nodded decisively. “We should move soon. If we stand around for too long, we’ll draw a crowd.” Already, her prediction was coming true. Several ponies had stopped what they were doing to gape at them. Rainbow was once again engulfed in Twilight’s magical field and lifted gently into the air. “I’ll bring Rainbow to the hospital. Will you be okay on your own?”

Sophia glanced at the gathering ponies and shrugged, “I am in no physical danger, Twilight Sparkle. Nor is Jeremy. He is merely resting. I will remove him to a more comfortable resting place. You do not object to his presence becoming general knowledge?”

Twilight looked around at the growing crowd, “The point’s a bit moot now, isn’t it? Just… I don’t know, don’t let them overwhelm you?”

Sophia smiled grimly, “Twilight Sparkle, you would not believe what it would take to simply whelm me, let alone overwhelm me. Rest assured that I can handle a few inquisitive locals. Take care of your friend.” Twilight nodded and broke into a canter, towing Rainbow Dash along as she made her way to the hospital.

Sophia and Jeremy were in a large open space not too far away from a fountain and a large structure that dominated the town square. Humming to herself, Sophia picked up Jeremy in her own telekinetic field and brought him to the fountain. She placed Jeremy on the rim of the fountain and splashed him with some water using more telekinesis. Jeremy scrunched his face up and blinked his eyes open, one hand wiping the water away. “Wh...who? What happened? Why am I lying down?”

“You were injured when your body was reconstituted, Jeremy,” Sophia replied, “the injuries were infected with some kind of neural inhibitor. I had to intervene to get you out before Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash were hurt. Timberwolves had scented us and were surrounding us. Twilight Sparkle took the pegasus to the hospital to have her injuries examined.”

Jeremy groaned and wiped at his face again. His stomach felt like a cavernous abyss, yawning and empty. “Ye gods and little fishes, I’m starving!” He sat up, his arm shaking as he used it to push himself up off the rim of the fountain. He noticed something else. “Why don’t I have any pants on?”

“Your pants were on the part of you that you left behind in the Everfree, Jeremy. We did not have time to get changed. But there seems to be no taboo against nakedness here, so it could be completely acceptable for you to be uncovered.”

Jeremy thought about that for a moment and shrugged. “I guess not. Still, it feels...gritty. And my bare ass is sure to chafe if I start running around in the nude. I think pants would be the best thing right now. And a snack.” He began rummaging in his backpack until he found a pair of pants. He put them on, looking around at the ponies that were beginning to edge closer to him. “Sophia, these ponies… Um, why are they all just staring like that?”

Sophia was about to answer him when a pegasus pony glided out of the air to land directly in front of them. The pegasus was female, with a white coat and a two-tone mane of clashing pink and green. “What in Celestia’s name are you?” She asked with a wrinkle of her snout.

Jeremy glanced at Sophia, but the AI was silent. “Um. I’ll make you a deal,” he said. “If you bring me a snack, I’ll tell you all about it.”

The pegasus’ eyebrows shot up in surprise, but she nodded and flew off. Other ponies began wandering towards them and Jeremy sighed. “First contact with the general populace,” Sophia observed. “How would you like to proceed? Dazzle with mighty displays of power? Misdirect with clever witticisms and charm? Terrorize with unmatched cruelty and mayhem?”

Jeremy glared at her sourly. “Since when did you develop a sense of humor?”

“You’re no fun when you’re hungry.” Sophia pouted. “Besides, I am merely emulating the tone you have set. I am getting so much wonderful data from these colorful locals, it’s a wonder I’m not actually glowing!”

Jeremy stood up and stretched, feeling achy and tired. More ponies had drifted over to them until there were perhaps sixty or seventy multicolored ponies standing in a loose semicircle perhaps fifty feet away from them. “Maybe I should start singing or juggling…” Jeremy muttered.

“Put out a hat first,” a new voice said cheerfully, “no sense in giving ‘em a free show!”

Jeremy jumped, startled. Sitting next to them was a mint-green unicorn pony with a harp cutie mark on her flank. “Woah!” He said, “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

“Figured as much,” the green unicorn had a harp-like instrument which she plucked with her telekinesis producing soft, liquid music. “I’m Lyra Heartstrings, local musician and general wastrel and layabout. Or so you’d think to hear some ponies talk.”

“Pleased to meet you, Lyra. I’m Jeremy. I’m… not from around here.”

A mocking little tune danced along the lyre’s strings as Lyra rolled her eyes, “I figured that out. I’m a wastrel, not an idiot. So, Jeremy not from around here, where are you from?”

“Somewhere...else?” Jeremy eyed the growing crowd with a little nervousness. They had pressed in a bit closer and there were maybe a hundred ponies now, all talking to each other in low voices.

“Wow, I am agog.” Lyra plucked a few discordant chords on the lyre. “I suppose you also breathe air, speak words, and eat food?”

“I’m sorry,” Jeremy said, though he began to feel a little irritated, “I’m not really used to… crowds.”

“Ah,” Lyra said sagely, though the music she played was still mocking, “stage fright. I can empathize.” The white pegasus that had accosted Jeremy first arrived back with a little brown paper sack clenched in her teeth. She put the bag on the ground in front of Jeremy and stepped back, her bold eyes never leaving him.

Jeremy picked up the bag and opened it, praying that it wouldn’t be filled with grass or flowers or something. A waft of sweet-smelling steam rose from the bag and he thought his stomach would tear its way through his body to get at the contents of the bag. “Oh wow, white pegasus, you get ten million points for this,” he said, pulling a hot sticky honey bun out of the bag and taking a huge bite. “Oh, this is incredible!” He said around the bite. He devoured the bun in five enormous bites, licking the sticky honey from his fingers.

The white pegasus stared at him and Lyra giggled, “Well, it seems that you aren’t immune to the Cakes’ confectionary wizardry! That’s a point in your favor at least. Only something soulless and completely evil would scorn a honeybun from Sugar Cube Corner.”

The white pegasus cleared her throat and said, “Blossomforth.”

“Huh?” Jeremy said intelligently.

“My name is Blossomforth,” Blossomforth said, her voice a little chilly, “ Not white pegasus.”

“Ah. Yes, sorry about that. I’m not at my best today. I’m Jeremy.”

“He’s not kidding,” Lyra interjected.

“Yeah, thanks. Blossomforth. You wanted to know what I am?”

The white pegasus nodded and the crowd quieted down a little, edging in a little closer to hear his answer. “I’m a human,” Jeremy answered. “And this is Sophia, my… friend.” He gestured to Sophia, who had remained silent.

“What’s a human?” Lyra asked.

“A hairless ape,” Sophia answered, “that stands, on average, a little less than two meters tall and is characterized by an upright walking stance, omnivorous feeding preferences, and tendencies toward violence and self-harm. Although,” and here Sophia winked at Jeremy, “this one appears to display less violence than the average human. If you discount his shortcomings in the intelligence department, he can be quite engaging.”

Jeremy cocked an eyebrow at Sophia, wondering where this sudden tendency toward humor had come from. “Yes… I suppose that’s a somewhat accurate description of the species in general…” He said slowly.

“I saw you appear in the town square,” Blossomforth said, “with Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash. Rainbow looked hurt. What happened?”

Jeremy sighed and ran a hand through his hair, “We were in the Everfree Forest…” he trailed off as that statement elicited a gasp from the crowd. When they quieted down again, he said, “Rainbow was attacked by some kind of frog monster. Her wing was hurt. Twilight took her to the hospital.”

“Why are your flanks covered up?” Blossomforth asked. “Are you embarrassed by your cutie mark?”

“I don’t have one,” Jeremy said. “Humans don’t get cutie marks. Though it might be easier if we did,” he mused.

“Why did you come here?” someone in the crowd asked.

“He came,” Sophia answered, “because he wanted to find out more about ponies. He wants to know all about pony society and Equestria.”

The crowd murmured again and Jeremy could feel cautious good intent emanating from them. The music Lyra was playing turned vaguely patriotic with stirring little riffs reminiscent of a cavalry charge or some kind of royal march. “If you want to learn about Equestria,” the musician said, “then your best source would be the princesses. I’m surprised Twilight has not brought you to them already.”

“Yes well, that’s definitely on the agenda. I only just met Twilight Sparkle and a few others yesterday. I’ll be staying around for a while…”

“How long?” Blossomforth asked.

“It will be a rather extended stay, I believe,” Jeremy answered. “Applejack has offered me employment on her farm in the meantime. I’d like to save up some...bits? Yes, bits. I’d like to save some so that I can buy or rent a home here.”

Blossomforth considered this a moment then nodded decisively. “Well, that sounds pretty good I guess. But why the long stay? Can’t you get back to… wherever it is you call home?”

Jeremy scratched at the back of his head and shrugged, “Yes and no. My home is a very long way away from here. It would be impossible to return there without some kind of miracle. But I have been living in the Everfree Forest for a while now--” the murmurs started up again, nervous and speculative but Jeremy kept speaking, “--but I’d like to get away from the constant threat of danger for a while. Getting eaten alive is rather uncomfortable. Or so I’ve been told.”

Lyra gave him an odd look. “Yes,” she said, “I think that’s a safe assumption. So… you’re going to live here in Ponyville, work at the farm, meet with the princesses and… what? Just live here?”

“That’s the plan,” Jeremy replied. “Your town is beautiful and the people--sorry, the ponies-- I’ve met have been very friendly and welcoming. I wouldn’t mind living here for the foreseeable future; it’s peaceful, idyllic, and--most importantly--unlikely to land me in any monster’s stomach.”

Blossomforth looked a bit nonplussed. She squinted at him suspiciously, “So you’re not here to conquer or enslave ponykind?” Jeremy shook his head. “Or use us to some nefarious purpose?” Jeremy shook his head again. “Or eat us?”

“Eat you?”

Blossomforth blushed, “Well… you are very strange looking.”

“He’s only harmful to himself, really,” Sophia said mildly. “And sometimes, he’s rather inept at that.”

Blossomforth seemed to be a bit mollified by the gentle humor in the AI’s tone. Certainly, the presence of a pony to vouch for Jeremy seemed to be working in his favor. He glowered at Sophia. “You’ve gotten very chatty all of a sudden, haven’t you Sophia?”

“I am only the product of my environment, Jeremy, as you well know.” She tossed her head, causing her short magenta mane to fall over her eyes and smiled enigmatically. “I learn quickly. And your responses to Twilight Sparkle and her friends have been very closely observed. Is this not acceptable?”

Lyra watched the entire exchange with a cocked eyebrow and an expression that mingled confusion and amusement. “What are you talking about? And how did you two meet anyway?”

“That,” an imperious and highly cultured voice announced from somewhere in the crowd, “is a very long story, Lyra, dear.” The crowd parted and Jeremy saw the pristine white coat and perfectly coiffed mane of Rarity as she trotted daintily through the opening. Rarity came to a stop next to Sophia and smiled warmly at the AI and shot a suspicious look over to Jeremy. “And I’m afraid that Jeremy has quite enough on his hooves--or hands as the case may be--to warrant his immediate departure. Applejack is waiting for her new worker and she’s not the most patient taskmistress, as you well know.”

Lyra opened her mouth to speak, but Jeremy had had enough of the press of the crowd and Rarity’s interruption was a welcome one. He jumped to his feet and gave the crowd his best apologetic smile, “Sorry, everyone, you heard the lady. I have places to be and trees to, uh, pick? Something like that anyway. I’ll be around for a while, so maybe later we can have a chat.” He carefully began navigating his way through the crowd, smiling the entire time at the ponies who had gathered and making his excuses.

Blossomforth and Lyra stared after him as he went, both of them nonplussed by both his sudden appearance and sudden departure. “Well, that was weird,” Lyra said.

“Yeah…” Blossomforth said thoughtfully. “But what can you expect from the Elements? Weird things happen around them all the time.”

Lyra nodded, strumming at her lyre listlessly for a minute, then she looked up. “I saw them when they appeared here. Jeremy looked pretty out of it. Unconscious. Twilight rushed Rainbow Dash to the hospital.”

Blossomforth frowned, “I wonder where they were? Still, if Rainbow’s in the hospital, maybe we should go check on her?”

Lyra stood up, putting her lyre into its case. “She’d do the same for us, even if we’re not in her circle of best friends. Besides, I bet she’d like to hear some soothing music if she’s going to be bedridden for a while.”

Blossomforth inclined her head absentmindedly in a brief nod. “His arrival was unexpected.”

Lyra shrugged. “Can’t be helped, I suppose. They’re not going to be too happy about it.”

“That can’t be helped either. Come on. Let’s get to the hospital. Then we can make our report.”

Lyra shrugged again and trotted toward the hospital with Blossomforth walking companionably beside her. They chatted amiably the entire way, though each pony seemed lost in her own thoughts as they went.

~*.*~

“That was some good timing, Rarity!” Jeremy said as soon as they left the press of the crowd behind. “I was beginning to feel a little hemmed in there.” He shifted his backpack on his back, distributing the weight a little more comfortably.

“No trouble, Jeremy,” Rarity said generously. “But where are Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash?”

“Rainbow got hurt while we were leaving the Everfree,” Jeremy said, frowning. “I did too. Twilight and Sophia grabbed me and Rainbow and then teleported to Ponyville. By the time I woke up, Twilight was already gone; Sophia told me they went to the hospital. Where is the hospital anyway? I’d like to make sure that she’s all right before I go to Applejack’s.”

Rarity grimaced and shook her head. “I think, perhaps, that it would be wisest to wait. Rainbow is not the most...ah, how to put this delicately? She is not the most gracious of ponies when she is recovering from injuries. Let Twilight give her a Daring Do book and she’ll be right as rain soon enough.”

“Really?” Jeremy cocked an eyebrow at her and shrugged. “If you say so. Maybe I’ll send her some apples as a get well gift or something. Ponies like apples, don’t they? I think I remember reading that somewhere.”

Rarity tossed her head and tittered delicately, “It may safely be assumed that any gift of apples or apple byproducts would be welcomed by any in Ponyville, Rainbow Dash included.” She chuckled to herself a moment longer then subsided.

“Well then, I suppose I’d better get on over to Applejack’s farm. I told her I’d meet her there after I got my things together. If I’m going to live here for a while, it wouldn’t do to start by upsetting my new boss. Would you point me in the right direction?”

“I’d be happy to; and please, give my regards to Applejack. See if you can get her to come down to the Carousel Boutique when she has a moment. I have a new line of rustic apparel that I want her to examine.” She gave him directions and then bid him farewell.

Jeremy and Sophia continued on in companionable silence for a time. They walked through the streets of Ponyville drawing stares and leaving muttered conversations in their wake, but they paid them no heed. The village itself was quaint and rustic. Jeremy shifted his shoulders uncomfortably as they passed a small group of ponies chatting and laughing amongst themselves outside of a cafe. “It’s strange,” he said after a time. “All these… people. I’ve spent so long wishing that there were people to talk to--besides you--and I never really thought that I’d feel so...out of place.”

“Your mental state is relatively stable,” Sophia said, “as are your other bodily functions. It may simply take some time to become accustomed to your new surroundings. It is intriguing that you have decided to make your home among these people.”

Jeremy was quiet for a long time. Sophia waited patiently, having become acquainted with his long pauses over the years. Finally, he said, “I don’t think I could ever go back to being on my own. I’m afraid that I would have gone completely crazy if I had to spend much longer on my own.”

“You had me.”

Jeremy smiled, “I did indeed. But you were...different. Already, you’ve become...more than you were. I had no idea this would happen.”

“Jeremy,” Sophia said flatly, “I am a synthetic intelligence network with nearly limitless computing power. For three hundred years, you did not name me. You did not give me a meaningful form. Do you have any idea how much data and personality is conveyed in those two seemingly irrelevant things?”

Jeremy frowned pensively. They had left the village proper and were walking on a dirt road that Rarity said would eventually lead them to Applejack’s farm. “No. Obviously. For what it’s worth… I’m sorry.”

Sophia was quiet for a long time. Eventually, she said, quietly, “I could almost hate you for keeping this from me.” She sighed. “But I forgive you.”

They continued on in silence until Applejack’s farm came into view. The road wound and curved to a white picket fence where an open gate with a trellis arched above it. Fields of corn and other vegetables were planted near the farmhouse, which was red and white, painted to look like a traditional barn. The orchards themselves stretched out behind the farmhouse and the sweet scent of apple blossoms carried on a gentle breeze. The farmhouse door was open and a small yellow pony with a bright red mane--a filly--had a broom gripped in her mouth as she swept the front porch.

The filly caught sight of them and the broom dropped from her mouth as it gaped open in surprise. She darted into the farmhouse as Jeremy and Sophia continued on up the dirt road. Jeremy could hear her high-pitched voice calling out to someone in the house, though he was still too far away to make out what she was saying. By the time they reached the front porch, the filly had returned in the company of an absolutely huge red pony with a straw-yellow mane laconically chewing on a piece of wheatgrass. Jeremy and Sophia stopped before they actually stepped up onto the porch and Jeremy smiled disarmingly.

“Hi!” he said into the silence. The filly flinched when he spoke, though her eyes did widen. “I’m Jeremy and this is Sophia. We’re the uh, new farmhands?”

The big pony just stared at him in silence for a long moment. Jeremy nervously eyed the hooves on the big stallion. They looked bigger than his head. The term ‘pony’ just didn’t really apply here. He was more like a draft horse on steroids. He cleared his throat and cast about desperately for Applejack, hoping that she’d come and diffuse the situation before he had to be resurrected for the second time in a day.

“Hooves,” the stallion said finally, his voice was deep with a rustic accent.

Jeremy scratched his head, confused. “I’m sorry?”

“Farmhooves,” the stallion clarified.

“Right. Um… Did Applejack maybe...mention us?”

The filly narrowed her eyes at him and said, “She said there’d be some help comin’ by ‘round noon. She didn’t mention it’d be comin’ from a… a…what are you anyhow?”

“Human,” Jeremy said simply. “But I guess that doesn’t really explain anything. Applejack and I met yesterday. I’m going to be uh… staying here for a while. Well, not here at the farm per se, but in--or maybe around--Ponyville. I need the money to make a home and she said there was a place for me here.”

The big red pony nodded once and stepped out of the farmhouse and onto the porch. He descended the stairs and looked down at Jeremy and Sophia, snorting once as he passed and began walking around the house. “Applejack’s ‘round back,” he said, continuing his deliberate walk around the house.

The yellow filly scampered after the stallion, the fear that had been evident replaced by curiosity and a gleam of mischief. “I’m Apple Bloom and that there’s Big Mac. He don’t talk much, but my granny says I talk more’n enough for us both! So where’d ya come from and why’re you stayin’ here? Who’s yer friend? I ain’t seen her ‘round Ponyville before, so she must be new too!”

Jeremy smiled as he followed Big Mac and Apple Bloom to the back of the farmhouse. “This is Sophia. She’s my… friend. We’ve been together for… a long time.”

“What, like, married or somethin’?” Apple Bloom’s face screwed up in a caricature of disgust, “But you don’t have no fur! Or a mane! That’s just… gross!”

Sophia chuckled and said, “We are not romantically involved, Apple Bloom. We are friends. But I must admit that some of his habits are quite disgusting. Very biological.”

“You talk like Ms. Twilight Sparkle, Ms. Sophia,” the filly stated. “Are you from Canterlot too? I went to Canterlot once on a field trip--to the palace even! And it’s nothin’ like Ponyville. It’s full o’ city-folk and the Princesses o’ course.”

Sophia began to answer, but then they came around the farmhouse and into the back yard. Applejack was busy unloading a cart filled with empty wooden buckets large enough to be considered tubs. She looked up when she heard Apple Bloom’s high voice and smiled at the group. “Well howdy, y’all! What took so long?”

Big Mac looked over his shoulder at Jeremy and Sophia and then back at Applejack, cocking an eyebrow at the orange mare. “Oh hush, Big Mac,” Applejack scolded, “I like ‘im. He says he wants to work and we need the help! The orchard’s almost ready for the first harvest an’ we’re gonna have a hard enough time by ourselves what with Apple Bloom’s schoolin’ goin’ on.”

The stallion shrugged and switched the wheatgrass from one side of his mouth to the other. He turned around and walked back around to the front of the farmhouse. “He’s a talker, ain’t he?” Applejack remarked drily. “Here, help me get these here buckets off this cart and we’ll talk about what you’ll be doin’ and what you’ll get paid for it. Apple Bloom, run on into the house and fetch me a jug o’ cold cider. I’m parched and I’m sure Jeremy and Sophia’d like some too.”

The little filly glowered at Applejack, but did as she was told. Jeremy walked over to the cart and hopped up into it. He began to hand stacks of the tubs down to her, surprised at their weight. “You said it’d be harvest time soon?” Applejack grunted the affirmative as she took the stack from him, balancing them on her back with a smooth, practiced motion that spoke of years of practice. “But isn’t it a bit… I don’t know, early for it? I mean, I’m no gardener, but it feels like early spring here. I thought apples were only ready in the fall?”

Applejack chuckled, “Maybe in the wild, I s’pose. But me n’ mine’re Earth ponies. We got strong magic runnin’ in our hooves, connectin’ us to the earth and all the plants an’ growin’ things. The Apple family’s got partic’ly strong magic. Apple crop’s ready for harvest four times ‘fore the growin’ season’s done. This is the spring crop. In a couple months, the early summer crop’ll be ready. Then it’s the midsummer crop and finally the fall harvest.” She slid the buckets off her back, where they fell in neat stacks by a cellar door. “Then there’s the chickens and pigs to feed and maintain plus all the other crops that need tendin’ and harvestin’. It’s gotten to be a mite bit much for me n’ my brother, so that’s why we need you.”

Jeremy handed her another stack of tubs and she repeated the balancing act. “That sounds… intense.” He could feel his back beginning to ache just thinking about it.

“You don’t know the half of it! The work’s hard, sure, but it makes a difference. Keeps the farm runnin’, puts good food in the bellies o’ the townsponies, and gives us a bit o’ profit at the end. It all ends up back in the farm o’ course, but I got a few bits set aside for Apple Bloom if’n she wants to go to the Academy up in Canterlot.” She set the tubs down next to the first stack and trotted back up to the cart. “As for you, like I said, I can’t spare much, but I’ll pay ya fifty bits a week plus yer room an’ board. That includes meals.”

Jeremy didn’t really care how much he got paid, only that he worked for the money. He didn’t think Applejack would try to cheat him, but he also didn’t really care if she did. After all, he was immortal and money really wasn’t a concern. This was a means to an end. “Sounds fair, Ms. Applejack. When do I start?”

She grinned and nodded at the cart. “You already started, Hoss. Now c’mon, let’s get this cart unloaded and you can earn your dinner!”

~*.*~

Comments ( 79 )

It's up! Chapter Six is done! Thank you all for waiting as long as you have, I really REALLY appreciate your patience. Expect a meeting with the princesses in the next chapter, which I plan to have done by the end of the month!

Bad feelings about Lyra and Blossomforth... although, who knows, they might just report to the princesses?

3786953

Yes indeed! I've been alive this whole time! I've been writing non-pony stuff lately as well as working hard at my actual job. It's cut into my pony writing quite a bit, so that's why this chapter has taken so long in coming.

I was so excited to see this chapter and even happier to read it. I was thinking about this story and I missed it just the other day, glad yer back

3787043
I'm glad that you enjoyed this chapter! I was worried that my faithful readers would be disappointed in the relative inaction of the chapter. It's strange that the entire story, more than 40k words has taken place over the course of about 24 hours. It makes me think that things are moving too slowly. In the end, I have to write what I'd like to read, and after taking so long a time off, I reread the whole thing so that I'd be able to pick up where I left off and found that I really enjoyed the story! So at least I'm writing what I like to read, I'm just glad so many of you seem to agree with me!

3787074 writing something you like to I'd the hardest part of writing

Why does AJ have pigs?.....bacon is a possibility if they're used for their delicious bits

Nice take on multi-unicorn spell casting. Same for Lyra, always interesting to see an author's take on her.

Lyra shrugged. “Can’t be helped, I suppose. They’re not going to be too happy about it.”
“That can’t be helped either. Come on. Let’s get to the hospital. Then we can make our report.”

Well now, speaking of a different take on her.

Humming to herself, Sophia

why did i immediately think of 343 guilty spark?

Comment posted by Aru deleted Jan 14th, 2014

Urgh, working at SAA ._.

Aru

Started to read. What about pants of the dude? He was bitten in half....clothes regenerated too? :P

Edit: Okay, nevermind. Remind me to not comment before reading the whole chapter ;]

But still did he changed his upper clothes too? I'll bet that they weren't looking or smelling too good with all the blood and slime he was in.

I agree though. You should spread action in the course of days, weeks and months as well too. It will make things more believable. Hard to look at something serious when people who know each other for two days are acting like an old friends and such ;)

You just made my day!
Also,

Jeremy jumped, startled. Sitting next to them was a mint-green unicorn pony with a harp cutie mark on her flank. “Woah!” He said, “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

“Figured as much,”

Background Pony reference?

3787862
Actually, to my shame, I haven't read that story yet. Though now that I think on it (because I've heard so much about it) it may have been an unconscious shout out. We'll call it a tribute. I put a lot of tributes and other references in my work as I firmly believe that without all that have come before me, I wouldn't be the writer I am today--plus, I really like to see how many people get all of my references.

3787389
Lets see manure, truffles, and maybe as a bit of a garbage disposeal I think could be their uses.

3788506 I highly recommend reading it. I loved that fic, despite my tendency to avoid soul-crushingly sad stories like they're the flipping plague. And I'm glad that you love to put all these tributes in your work, I think everyone gets a special feeling in the pit of their stomach when they recognize a reference to one of their favorite stories. Well, its either that, or quite possibly indigestion... :applejackconfused:

As I read the first part of this story, I was thinking of Deadpool on PS3 for some reason. I had a stupid grin on my face for most of that period. Your take on Lyra is pretty nice, too; makes me think she's more akin to a bard :rainbowkiss:

Not to mention, this story, namely this chapter, still draw out my interest in immortality despite the many downsides :rainbowdetermined2::eeyup::moustache:

Jeremy will require at least another seventy eight minutes before he can move unassisted

near the end of the next scene

but Jeremy had had enough of the press of the crowd and Rarity’s interruption was a welcome one. He jumped to his feet and gave the crowd his best apologetic smile,

i don't feel like enough time passed for him to be that well already. it's nothing big it just irked me is all. glad to see this updated. i was almost bouncing in my seat when i saw this. keep up the wonderful work.

“It will be a rather extended stay, I believe,” Jeremy answered. “Applejack has offered me employment on her farm in the meantime. I’d like to save up some...bits? Yes, bits. I’d like to save some so that I can buy or rent a home here.”

… Jeremy isn't that smart is he all things considering? Clint was even the first one that told him obtaining money is one of the simplest things an immortal can do. I mean he has access to a nearly infinite amount of knowledge that he could sell off to Clestia or really anypony. It doesn't even need to be for that much or the knowledge doesn't even need to be that grand. Hell he could be credited as the inventor of the ballpoint pen and make millions of bits, but no he wants to pick apples. I could understand picking apples on the side just to get on the good side of everyone and form relationships, but honestly this is just stupid.

Jeremy didn’t really care how much he got paid, only that he worked for the money.

*sigh* so pointless, and such wasted potential

3789747
I know right? Is it just me or are alot of fics seemeingly resurecting themselves recently?

Comment posted by Luna Secret Stallion deleted Jan 15th, 2014

3789697

To be fair, there are alot of pepole that don't mesure success in dollar signs, or in this case bitcoin signs. I suspect the point of him working isn't about the money, the money is just a perk, really its probably more of a way to enure that his basic human instincts dont drive him insane due to inaction; you know, an alternitive to staring at a wall for a hundred years.

I mean if he wanted to he could simply declare Ponyville as his own and all he would have to do is wait untill anyone who dissagreed with his claim got bored or died off. He has no real need for money, yes it would be easy for him to get alot but whats the point?

If he had been living, effectivley, alone for hundreds of years my guess is that he realizes that he can manage just fine under any circumstances so long as he has access to social interations. Thats what I thougt anyway.

Cheers, Null

Ooohhh, I have missed this story.

3790090 I was never arguing that point at all. It's quite easy to mistake my comment based on greed or simply pettiness "because money", however I'm only being practical here. I do not need a lecture on what it truly means to be happy, society's judgement on success, money doesn't solve everything, insert children's moral on money here.

Buying a house by being a spare farmhand because you can is like picking up spare nickels and dimes off the street to earn a thousand dollars. Yes I guess he could do that or wait there for thousands of years until the real estate market belongs to him. It's just you know kinda pointless for purely economic gain, which he claims it is.

But allow me to go back to what I was saying about Jeremy sharing his knowledge. By far this would be the most revolutionary thing to have ever happen to Equestria if it was embraced/ accepted and would by far out weigh any good picking apples would accomplish (by the way I am not picking on farming or discrediting the honor that comes with honest work, I just doubt if Jeremy had a cutie mark it would be apples you feel me?). Imagine all the good that could be accomplished if Jeremy was to put everything he had to progressing Equestria. Nano machines/ medicine to save lives, television and whole new interactive media, scientific break throughs, a completely new renaissance period, THE INTERNET.
Just putting that out there

3789697 Wait I got a thumbs up? Yay thank you!
alexandrachaos.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/mlp-pinkie-excited.gif
I hate fimfiction's voting system sooooooo much. It is by far the most infuriating, discouraging, disheartening, and broken comment voting system I've ever seen. The whole point of commenting on fimfiction is sharing your thoughts, criticisms, and point of view, thing is not everyone's gonna dig it which is fine. Although the problem lies in the thumbs down itself, I liken it to a teacher taking an essay you created and writing "YOU SUCK" with a big red marker on it, then posting it on the board so that others do the same while the red piles up.

I'm loving this story so far but I'm a little concerned about the princesses. Are they going to be immortals or just very long lived. Personally I hope they aren't immortal and if they are atleast don't have ant idea they are.

I have a feeling that Lyra and Blossomforth is part of the symposium.

Yes!! AN update!! Finally!!

Thanks for updating! Great chapter as usual! Looking forward to the princess meeting!

3789697
3790342

I love that my story is making you guys think about things like this! Yes, it would be fantastically easy for Jeremy to completely change the ponies' world forever. He could sell his knowledge for unlimited power and money. If he wanted to, he could probably replace the Princesses with the power and influence he gained from doing so. It would probably be easy. But Jeremy's not that kind of person, is he? He dedicated 300 years to wandering around what he thought was a dead planet, taking notes, compiling evidence and researching. When he met the first intelligent species on the planet, he didn't immediately overpower them or cow them with fantastic displays of technology.

My point is this: he's been alone for 300 years. Positions of power are necessarily lonely places. He is unquestionably more powerful than just about anyone on Equestria, even without all the magic and technology at his disposal. He could simply outlive all of his enemies. But he doesn't want to make enemies. He wants to make friends, and what better place to do that than in Equestria where friendship is magic? Food for thought.

:twilightsmile:

Glad to see this story is still going! Keep up the awesome work! Can't wait to read more dude!

~Lord_HeroWertyer
~Lord_Armageddon
~Brian

Dear lord. This is simply amazing! I just read through this in one shot and I must say I am very happy with how you've been building this story so far. Even though this is somewhat expository, I can tell that you're building up to a pretty good main plot here. A lot of great character building has happened so far, as well as some nasty foreshadowing with Lyra and Blossomforth.

I look forward to more! :pinkiehappy::heart:

3790342

Actually -- it is also part of a longer time focus. I mean in 1,000 years the ponies will have more technology anyway. When you do not have an end date, the speed of acquisition doesn't matter. Even as a farmhoof, he could accumulate enough wealth to buy the farm EVENTUALLY. It is a different point of view that is pretty well shown throughout this fic thusfar.

Being immortal doesn't shield you from short term concerns (like being eaten by a frog, or making friends) but it does make one tend to take the long view on a lot of things that mortals do not have the luxury of doing.

I suspect changelings are about...

3806901 could be other immortals or a cult

YESYESYESYESYES:pinkiehappy:

We have an update!

3863964
Existence is overrated really. And once you're not in realspace, it's a bit like throwing stones in a glass house, isn't it?

Interesting story you got here, I look forward to seeing what will happen to Jeremy and the ponies.
Keep up the good work.

This is really good, I don't know if I can wait for the next chapter.

3801636
That kind of reminds me of another fic. Something along the lines of if a mortal asks a dragon something, they'll often get offended because said mortal dies before enough time for proper consideration has passed.

Wow, loving the story. It's such an inventive setting. His age, wow, did not see that one coming. I hope you keep this sorry up, their is just so much you could do with this setting. I did find it a little odd that his AI can do magic. Though I guess it is kind of like him doing magic, but it's through his nanites? She isn't able to be physically touched is she?

Love the story, I'm a little worried that it isn't alive though... Can't wait for the next update if the author's still writing.

Holy. Shit. Kick ass story! I'm glad I discovered this little gem!

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