• Published 5th Aug 2013
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The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters

Callum lives a sad, violent life in the human world... But that is soon to change as he meet some unexpected visitors that will change his life.

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Chapter Thirteen - Are We There Yet?

After a few relaxing hours of music and daydreaming, I turned off my phone and sat up to find Applejack and Rainbow Dash asleep again, Twilight had also drifted off to sleep as well. Rarity was calmly watching the spinning light at one side of the cargo hold; looking across from that I noticed Pinkie was also staring at the light, just not as calmly, her head was rotating around and around to follow where the light went. I looked around to see Fluttershy writing into a little book, I shuffled over to her with curiosity.

“What’s that you got there?” I asked.

She yelped and threw the book in the air. Twilight heard the scream and woke up, jumped to her hooves and aimed her now glowing horn at me, growling like a rabid wolf.

“Caught you! Murderer!” She yelled.

Applejack and Dash woke up at this point and looked around frantically in a state of confusion. Twilight ran up to me and glared, her teeth bared into a violent snarl.

“You sick twisted creature! Trying to kill Fluttershy!” She screeched.

He tried WHAT!?” Applejack and Rainbow Dash yelped at once.

Applejack glared at me, and gave me a look as if she were about to kill me.

“I did not try anything like that! What the hell is wrong with you Twilight? Why would you even think to accuse me of such a thing!?” I shouted at Twilight.

“Liar! You attacked her and she screamed! You crept up on her in attempt to shut her mouth before you kill her!” Twilight yelled.

Applejack and Dash looked from me to Twilight unsure of who to trust. I glared back to Twilight, I was now livid with her. I was curious about Fluttershy’s book, and here she was accusing me of trying to kill her!
From the base of a pile of suitcases came somepony clearing her throat. We all looked around to find Rarity standing up.

“I’ll have you all know that I witnessed the entire situation.” She said calmly.

Everyone looked to face her, and I sighed a breath of relief that Rarity had seen.

“Twilight dear, I know you do not trust Callum, but there is really no need to overreact, he was merely curious about Fluttershy’s diary, and came over to have a look, there was no ill intent. He simply caught Fluttershy unaware and made her jump.” She explained with a warm smile.
Twilight whipped around to face her, with a face of bewilderment.

“How blind are you!? He was clearly trying to attack her!” She yelled.

My face, too, became contorted with bewilderment, I then decided to speak my mind.

“You know what Twilight…? You sound, insane… You need to be medicated.” I spoke.

“Fuck you Callum!” She spat back.

The cargo hold went quiet, I looked around to see the others’ faces to find each and every one of them were horrified, besides Pinkie, who tilted her head on one side. The ponies looked from me to her repeatedly, Rarity and Applejack also looked to Pinkie with a look of fear, hoping their innocent friend wouldn’t become tainted with Twilight’s sudden swearing. Everypony then looked to me, to see how I was going to react to Twilight, waiting for me to lash back at her.

“Well… At least you had the common courtesy to say my name.” I replied, dipping my head in respect.

Twilight let out a loud growl and stormed off to the other side of the bubble again, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed Rainbow Dash grinning at my comment.

“I’ll go try to calm her down, I think there’s been a very big misunderstanding here…” Applejack sighed.

“You think? AJ, Rarity saw the whole thing, whatever the problem is, it’s with Twilight, so while you’re calming her down, do your best to find out what’s making her be like this.” Rainbow responded.

The ponies dispersed, Applejack went to Twilight, Rainbow Dash went to find a comfy seat, Fluttershy went to pick up her diary, and thankfully Pinkie had shrugged off the swear word and wandered around aimlessly.

Without warning I felt a hoof prodding my arm. I turned around to find Rarity looking up at me.

“Thank you…” She said quietly, nodding slightly as she said it.

“What for?” I asked.

“For not rising to Twilight’s antics and helping to diffuse the situation, I wish to spare Pinkie and Fluttershy from this sort of conflict, we’re all stressed and those two are very fragile. I want to keep them as happy and as calm as possible.” She answered, dipping her head with respect.

“Anytime.” I replied with a shrug.

I didn’t really think what I said was in need of thanks, I naturally liked to calm situations like that, but I guess Rarity did have a very valid point.

“And I must say, you really do know how to put a smile on one’s face when needed, you could have diffused that in so many different ways, and you went and made a joke to do so, and your Catherine Tate thing you did earlier… You really are quite the comedian.” She giggled.

I chuckled in return, rather flattered at her statement.

“What are you two lovebirds talking about?” Rainbow Dash said as she squeezed in between us, causing us both to jump a little.

“I beg your-”

“I’m kidding Rare, stop getting so blushy over it.” Rainbow teased, cutting Rarity off.

“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘flustered’.” I informed Dash.

“Egghead.” She jibed.

“Bovvered?” I said back dryly in Catherine Tate's voice.

“Don’t you dare…” Dashie growled playfully.

“Don’t tempt me then.” I retorted, flexing my eyebrows at her.

Rarity chuckled slightly at the scene, before giving off a yawn.

“Tired?” I asked.

“A little, I didn’t sleep very well with Rainbow Dash snoring back in the tents last night.” She explained.

“Hey! I don’t snore!” Rainbow said defensively.

“Please, if you don’t snore, then pigs have wings.” Rarity giggled.

“They did when Discord broke free and took over the place.” Dash retorted.

“Touché…” Rarity hummed, “Either way, you snore, very loudly.”

“Shut up!” Rainbow Dash whined.

I joined in on the banter by lying on my back and making a really loud snoring noise, which caused Pinkie Pie to jump into the air and shout “No! It can’t end like this!” and then she went back to reading all the labels on each suitcase.

After a good ten seconds of staring at Pinkie with the utmost confusion, we looked back to one another.

“Is she…?” I said slowly.

“She’s fine.” Dash replied, rolling her eyes, and walked over to her.

Rarity yawned a second time, which caused the effect that I like to call the Mexican Yawn. Where someone yawns and if someone notices, for some unknown reason, they yawn as well; I opened my mouth wide and yawned, which created a high pitched whine sound, Rarity looked at me in confusion.

“What?” I asked.

“Your yawn, it’s very… Well… Dog like.” She chuckled.

“Oh get lost… If I had a pound for every time I’ve been told I sound like a dog when I yawn…” I sighed.

“A pound?” Rarity repeated with curiosity.

“It’s England’s form of currency, it’s like a bit, basically.” I explained.

“Aaahh…” She replied with understanding.

“Right, I’m going to have a brief chat with Fluttershy, and then I’m going to try to get some sleep.” I said, standing up.

“Very well.” Rarity said with a smile.

I turned around and headed to Fluttershy, who was trying to stuff her diary into a small pocket in her bag, and was struggling.

“Hey.” I said quietly.

She flinched and turned around.

“Oh, um, hi.” She said.

“Look, I just want to say sorry for making you jump earlier, I didn’t mean it.” I apologised.

“No, I’m sorry, it wasn’t your fault, I was just unaware.” Fluttershy replied.

“You don’t have to be, I know that you dislike being crept up on. I’m the one who’s sorry.” I said.

“No, really, I’m really timid and I don’t mean to be, I’m sorry.” Fluttershy murmured.

“Honestly Fluttershy, you don’t need to be sorry, it was my bad.” I told her.

“Sorry.” She squeaked.

“Don’t be.” I repeated.

“Ok…” She whispered, then paused for a few seconds, before looking at me.


I facepalmed; as I did so, I saw the corners of Fluttershy’s lips raise up into a tiny little grin, and it was by far the cutest thing I had seen out of these six so far; I decided to hold in another ‘hnng’ in case Pinkie tried to break my ribs again. I smirked back and we had a little giggle together.

“Would you like me to help you with that?” I asked, pointing to her diary, which she still couldn’t quite fit in the tight pocket of her saddlebag.

“Um, um…”

“I won’t look, I promise, you just look like you’re having some trouble with it.” I said with a warm smile.

My smile got to her, and she smiled back and happily nodded.

“Um, ok. Thank you.”

She took the diary in one hoof and tried to give it to me, as she did so it fell out of her hoof and the pages flipped open. She squeaked in fear and dived over the diary to hide its contents; as she did this, a small slip of paper flew up and flew around.

“No!” Fluttershy squealed and dived at the slip, and missed.

It spun around and around before it hit the ground, revealing itself as a photo, of a blue pony.
Fluttershy pounced on it before I could take a good look, and stuffed it back in her diary, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing, that picture just means a lot to me.” She whispered.

{So, Rainbow Dash was telling the truth about this, ‘Midnight’ pony…} I thought to myself.

“I understand.” I replied, before taking the diary and inserting it into the pocket of her saddlebag for her.

“Thank you.” She smiled, dipping her head gracefully.

“Don’t mention it.” I chuckled.

“Like when I thanked you last night?” She giggled back.

“No.” I said dully, shuddering at the memory of helping someone a year older than me go to the toilet in the middle of the night.

The both of us giggled again, before I sat next to her and sighed.

“Is something wrong?” Flutters asked nervously.

“No. Well, I don’t think so anyway.” I replied.

“What do you mean?” She quizzed with a head on one side.

I sat there and thought about it, I wasn’t so sure myself. I was happy that the six were real, and that I was travelling with them, and I was doing something extremely important which gave my life a severe purpose. But like all positives, they came with a few servings of negatives on the side.
I was giving up a normal life, I had given up all forms of electronic leisure, no TV, no video games, all of it, gone. All my friends on Skype, gone.
A lot of my life would be on the move, getting from location to location in search of these orb shards. I’ve given up Chilli, who meant a lot to me. I’ve also given up something I really wanted, which was a girlfriend. This way of life with the six would mean that I’d meet nobody else, let alone stay with them even if I did meet them. I wasn't thinking about getting with any of the ponies either, clopping wasn’t really my thing, I’d sooner be seen dead than have a real life pony waifu.

“Callum?” Fluttershy said, poking my wrist gently.

I shook my head to clear the thought clouds a little.

“Sorry, I was just thinking.” I replied.

“Are you sure you’re ok?” She asked quietly.

“Yeah, I’m just thinking about the stuff I’ve left behind, that’s all.” I answered.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up anything personal…” She whispered, looking at the floor.

“Honestly Fluttershy, it’s fine, I was only thinking about a few things.” I said, rubbing my wrist where she had poked me.

“Okay.” She replied quietly.

I turned my head, to find I was being glared at by the purple menace. I rolled my eyes and looked back to Fluttershy.

“So what’s the deal with the purple one? Why’s she acting up like this? Surely there is some reason behind it which you guys know about.” I questioned.

“Um, well, I don’t really know…” She whispered. “She’s been like it since we came here; she scares me a little bit…”

“You’re telling me that none of you know what’s gotten into her?” I asked.

“Well, Applejack was the last one to be teleported here, along with Twilight, so you would have a better chance asking her, but I don’t think she likes you as well as me, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie, or Rarity. I think you should wait a while and bond with her more before you try that.” She suggested.

I simply nodded in understanding, as I made a mental note that I needed to do a lot of ass kissing when it came to Applejack, she seemed to be very close to Twilight, so the slap I gave her earlier probably went down a lot worse than I thought.

“Thank you.” I said fondly, looking her in the eyes.

“What for?” She asked.

“For trusting me, I expected you all to be as mistrustful as Twilight when I first met you guys.” I replied.

“Why would you think that?” She quizzed.

“Well this is a new world, and it isn't a perfect one at that. Twilight is right in some sense, my race is not the best. I thought it would take a while for you all to get used to hanging out with me.” I explained.

“Oh, I understand, but remember where we come from. We try to make friends as quickly as possible, as long as you give us no reason to be afraid of you, why should we doubt you? You just threw away your whole life to help us, if that’s not a reason to trust you, I don’t know what is.” Fluttershy said in return.

This caused me to take a moment of thought, she was right, and it really made me feel quite good about myself, to know that Fluttershy had warmed up to me so quickly.

“That’s really nice Fluttershy, thank you.” I smiled.

“You’re welcome…” She giggled, blushing, and rather confused at my sudden gratitude.

I turned around to find Twilight was still glaring at me. In response I pulled a duck face, causing her snort and look away.

“So Callum, I was wondering… Could I ask you some questions?” Fluttershy asked.

I turned to face her again, she was looking at the ground and prodding the floor with a hoof.

“Um, sure; what sort of questions?” I quizzed.

“Well, just more general ones, your world, your race, that sort of thing.” She answered.

“By all means.” I replied happily.

I had it figured that if I bonded really well with somepony as timid as Fluttershy, perhaps Applejack and Twilight would trust me more. Along with the fact that I really liked Fluttershy in general, she appeared to be really smart and thoughtful under all the shyness.

“So what did you want to ask me?” I said.

“Well… I was just a bit curious about a few things…” She replied.

“Such as?”

“Um, well, I was wondering about things like your wildlife and a few other things, like, why are all the animals here wild, like they are back home in the Everfree forest?” She asked.

I scratched my chin, it was a good question, and it sort of reminded me back in the day when I wondered about if animals could talk and act like humans, like the old story my dad used to tell me, of how all the pets in the home could talk on Christmas eve when everyone had gone to bed.

“Well, I’m no scientist, so I can’t quite explain that with evidence. Your world’s quite different to this one, you have dragons and magical beings and all that, so my guess is that the majority of creatures in your world are more sentient, a little more intelligence, to say it in more basic terms.” I suggested.

“That does make a lot more sense…” She hummed. “Do you have any other sentient races besides humans?”

“Nope, we are the only ones.” I answered.

“Oh…” She said.

“Although, that being said, elephants and dolphins are extremely social. Dolphins even have names for one another and work together; but I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re sentient.” I explained.

“That’s interesting, I’d love to see dolphins and elephants. I’ve heard about them, but I’ve never travelled to places where I could meet them, it would be amazing to see them in your world.” She said with a smile.

“Me too, I’ve never been on holiday, never had the money.” I replied.

“Oh you poor thing…” Fluttershy said as she shuffled closer to me to touch my arm with her hoof.

“It’s fine, really, it doesn’t bother me.” I said reassuringly.

“If you say so, but I think everyone deserves a holiday in their childhood, to experience new places and lifestyles is a very important part of growing up.” She sighed.

“You seem to be quite the parent.” I teased.

“Well, I used to foalsit a lot.” She replied.

“Fair enough.”

After a few seconds of silence, I raised my shoulders and gave my back a little stretch.

“So, Flutters, is there anything else you want to ask me?” I questioned.

She blushed and giggled upon me calling her ‘Flutters’, and then took a little stretch of her own.

“Well, um… I was also wondering a little bit about you personally.” She said quietly.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Um, well, I mean, we watched you for two weeks and know who you are a little, and what you do in general, but is it okay if I could get to know you a little more personally?” She asked.

“Sure.” I replied with a smile, “What did you want to know?"

“Just, well, um… Everything really.” She squeaked.

“Well, what’s ‘everything’?”

“Just highlights of your life, a bit like Pinkie with her life story, just, well, not so you talk about each passing day, just the interesting ones.” She said, giggling slightly.

I chuckled at that, spending three hours of Pinkie’s life was pretty intense.

“Where to begin…” I mumbled.

“Take all the time you need.” Fluttershy beamed.

After a minute or two of thinking, I began to tell Fluttershy about my life…

I told her how I was raised in a town called Redhill, how I didn’t have any primary school, this because I was severely bullied during my first year of school, so I ended up running away, a lot; the staff and my mother had no idea of the bullying and thought I was just mentally unbalanced, so I was taken into a children’s mental home.

I told her about my dog, Inca.
Inca was a Cocker Spaniel, like Chilli, but was black, and had longer ears and fur. When I was sad, Inca would come to me and lick the tips of my fingers; it was like she knew I was unhappy, and would come to comfort me.

One day, Inca changed, for the worse, she became violent and twitchy, as if she had rabies.
It turned out that she had developed a brain tumour and it was causing the behaviour. So she was put down.
This caused me to go into a small depression, Inca was my companion; due to being at the children’s mental place I had no friends, so Inca was all I had.
Losing her seriously broke me down, and I sank into a minor depression as I began to stop eating food entirely.
Later on, I went the other way and began comfort eating constantly, until I'd put on a LOT of weight.
Upon telling her this, Fluttershy gasped in emotion and hugged me, before letting me continue with my story.

Just when life seemed to be at rock bottom, my father lost the family treasury in poker, he ended up having to pay a lot of debt when he lost the game, and he was forced to use all our holiday money and funds for things such as TV.
He was kicked out, and my brother, Oliver took over as “man of the house”.
Due to the lack of money, we had to stop paying for TV, Internet, and other luxuries. We had nothing to watch besides BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, and Channel Four, so at least we had The Simpsons to watch at six o’clock, which were our dinner times.
By the time it was my last year of primary school in the youth loony bin, I had shown everyone that I was clearly not mad, and was put back into a normal school for my secondary education.
Upon being moved back into a proper school, I decided that I needed to get my life back on track, so I started eating properly, and finally moved on from Inca’s untimely end.

Even though I had been given no proper education, I caught on very quickly at school, a lot of teachers said I was ‘gifted’, as I was answering maths questions faster than the teacher could write them out.
I soon went on to become one of the top pupils, but that was only academically speaking; I was no teacher’s pet, that’s for sure...
I told Fluttershy how much of a cheeky sod I was at times, causing her to giggle.
For my first two years at my secondary school, I still had no friends, as my ability to socialise had been hindered by the Youngling Asylum, as I liked to call it…

At the end of Year Eight, however, I made two friends. Harry, and Jacob; through being friends with them, I became more sociable, and made friends with everyone.

I then explained to Fluttershy how my mother decided that she didn’t like the urban life, there were too many people, she wasn’t a neighbourly person, and wanted a quiet, private place, so we moved south to the outskirts of a large town called Crawley, where we found a house with a lovely, four acre garden, just within our price range.
With the new land, we soon decided to have livestock, and took in some chickens, luckily we got them for free; I had to get up at five thirty in the mornings to tend to them, which was difficult at first, but I soon got used to it.
As for my school, still up near where I used to live, I had to get a taxi every morning, and vice versa to get home; luckily these taxis were funded by the local council.

I told Fluttershy how things started to brighten up for me from there, and then it only got so much better, when I discovered one of the most important things to me, My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.
The show brought me to a whole new world, it taught me that not everything in the world has to be doom and gloom. Upon watching Fluttershy and the others in their world, it brought me small life morals that I could live by. I wasn’t dependant on them, but they were nice to follow nonetheless.
Upon telling Harry about being a brony, he went around telling everyone, for the sake of getting a laugh out of it; I soon became the school’s laughing stock, and lost my reputation for being a "cool kid".

For the next year of secondary school, I kept myself to myself, and cracked down on working for my GCSE exams.
I finished my long, stressful exams, with reasonable results. Seven C’s, and a D. It was nothing special, but it was enough to get me into college; personally I think I had done very well, in regards to my lack of education beforehand in the nuthouse.

The first month of the summer holiday went by in the blink of an eye, July came along, where I was confronted by none other than the six ponies I was sitting in an aeroplane cargo hold with as I spoke.

“Well, that’s it, the end; sixteen years of my life, been and gone.” I said, copying Pinkie word for word.

Fluttershy said nothing, she was clearly in deep thought.

“Fluttershy, are you o-kay!?” I yelped in surprise as she suddenly latched onto me.

“Oh Callum… I can’t believe you’ve been through so much, I’m so sorry… You poor, poor thing… Yet, you’ve stayed so strong through it all, I don’t know how you’ve done it, but you have.” She whimpered.

“Hey… It’s ok…” I said, before gently hushing her.

"B-But it's not..." She muffled into my chest.

She pulled back and I could see that she was crying. Tears were slowly slithering across her cheeks as she looked up at me, her lower lip trembling slightly, it almost caused me to cry as well. I may have still been a bit sceptical about touching the ponies still, but this moment was an exception, I leaned forward and hugged her properly.

“It’s ok Fluttershy… It’s ok…” I said gently.

“How? How did you cope?” She choked.

“Ssshh…” I hushed.

I began to pat her on the back to the rhythm of a heartbeat, gently, lovingly. Pat, pat… Pat, pat… Pat, pat…

She took a deep breath and sat back, and wiped her eyes.

“You ok?”

She simply nodded, breathing in shakily.

“I just… I just feel so bad for you… Sure some ponies have rough lives back in Equestria, but it’s always from outside things. You’ve suffered so much, and you're almost my age; someone shouldn't deserve a life like that, it's so... Chaotic…” She sighed.

“I understand…” I murmured, “But how come you feel so emotional about what I’ve been through? We’ve only known each other for a few days. What gives?” I quizzed.

“I just care, there’s nothing secret about it… I just feel really sympathetic towards these things, you’ve thrown away everything for us, you’ve suffered so much and are still willing to give up your future to help us. I respect you for that, I know we haven’t known each other long, but I see you as my friend already; so why should I not care?” She told me.

As though her words were coated in honey, I was warmed from the inside by them. I had a small flashback of the other day when I was on the bus on my way to the leisure centre, how I daydreamed about how kind and happy Equestria was. It was then when I realised, this was it. This was what I was daydreaming about. This sort of kindness, and care.
Right in front of me was the thing I’d be wanting for so long.

I leant forward and gave her another hug.

“Are you ok?” She asked.

“Never better.” I replied quietly, before letting out a small sigh of joy and emotion.

I was friends with Fluttershy; we were actually friends!

WE HIT TURBULENCE!” Pinkie screamed from the middle of the cargo hold.

The plane shook once again and I detached from Fluttershy as I was catapulted into Pinkie. A suitcase fell down and hit Pinkie in the head, much to my relief, her bouncy mane took most of the impact.

“Thanks for the warning Pinkie.” I said when things died down.

“No problem!” She squealed as she pounced on the suitcase like a cat.

I looked around to see the others and found they were all fine, and went back to chatting amongst themselves, I looked back to Fluttershy to see her giggling to herself. I got up and headed back to her, on my way there Pinkie yelled ‘We hit turbulence!’ again, and I was launched back, then hurled to the sideways and landed next to Twilight.

“Hey Purple.” I chuckled, brushing myself off.

She looked at me with a dull expression.

“Our altitude is decreasing, pressure outside is increasing.” She said before looking beyond me.

I turned to see the pressure bubble wobbling a bit, Twilight was right, there was a big change in pressure; the other’s noticed it as well.

“Are we landing?” Rainbow Dash called to me.

“I think so!” I called back.

There was suddenly a loud noise at the front and the back of the cargo hold, the sound of heavy machinery moving, it was the sound of landing gear.

“Hold on to something!” I yelled.

Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity ran to the side and held on to the metal bars there, Pinkie dived headfirst into a pile of suitcases, and Twilight ducked down low to reduce her momentum. Upon checking the others were in position, I ran towards the side of the hold, I was about halfway when the plane touched down and the whole cargo hold shook violently; I was launched into the air and flew forward.

Oh god!” I shouted in mid-air, before smacking into a suitcase pile.

Upon crashing a blunt pain ran across my right arm, which I had put in front of me to break my fall, the wind was knocked right out of me, and I flopped onto my back, only to have a suitcase slide off the pile and fall onto my belly, winding me a second time, and causing me to let out a large ‘Argh!
When the plane stopped shaking, the others all ran to me.

“Dude are you alright?” Rainbow Dash asked, full of alarm.

“Darling! Say something!” Rarity gasped.

“Is he ok?” Fluttershy squealed.

“Give the guy space!” Dashie commanded.

They all took a step back, before Rainbow Dash knelt down next to me.

“Dude? You ok?” She asked.

“Muuurrrrrr…….” I groaned.

I gently sat up and leaned against the cases behind me; Twilight then closed the pressure bubble, and the glow around us all faded away, and I felt slightly cooler.

“We’re here.” Twilight said.

We had reached Brazil.

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