• Published 19th Nov 2013
  • 9,776 Views, 90 Comments

Soft Diplomacy - Bastinator

After arriving in Equestria, Anon was at the mercy of life. He has a crap job, a boring life and he can't even speak up for himself if his life depended on it, but books have always been there for him. What if they got the attention of royalty?

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Chapter 1: Beta as Balls

You set down the book and slide it across the counter. The mare picks it up with her hooves and looks at you over her reading glasses. You put your hands behind your back and avert your eyes, a nervous sweat fast approaching. It’s not that she scared you… Ok maybe she does scare you, but is that wrong? Everyone’s scary in their own way. At least that’s how you’ll rationalize it. Your breathing quickens as you rock back and forth with a nervous twitch to your foot. The librarian sighs and flips open the book as she silently inspects the pages thoroughly. ”Returning or extending?”

You’re caught unaware, your mouth a babbling mess of what can barely be considered words. She waits until your finished spilling all of your proverbial spaghetti, all the while judging you. ”Are you quite finished with your nonsense?” You nod meekly, your gaze further stretching to the floor as you mentally slap yourself. The mare can only shake her head before stamping the book. ”You’ve been coming here too long to still act like this sonny.”

“I- I know…” you grumble quietly.

You move back to your seat and sit down, idly stuffing a stray noodle back into your pocket. The librarian looks back to her book and adjusts the candle at her side. It’s been a few months since you first arrived and you never quite fit in around here. Sure they say you’re just another guy, but it’s not that simple. Among the smaller equines that inhabit this land you’re akin to a giant or Bigfoot. Still, at least they don’t treat you like a freak of nature, at least the adults don’t. You reach for one of your selected books and rub the outside cover. ’Eye of the Hurricane: An Analysis of the Deteriorating Relations Between Equestria and the Gryphon Kingdoms.’

You hastily open to the front page and delve nose deep into the pages until only the scent of ink filled your nostrils. Yes, you were quite the bookworm. Both before you came here and during your stay, though you can’t remember much from your own world. It’s a haze that comes and goes, but the books have always been there for you. They help pass the time, so to speak.

Fascinating history this land has. Between the diplomatic struggles of the eastern kingdoms of Gryphonnia and the newly presented Crystal Empire in the Crystal Mountains this place is bustling. You’ve been getting yourself acquainted with as much of Equestria as you can, and the best way to have a clear reference point is by examining both sides. The only problem with these books is the bias, damn if you can’t find one where it simply reports the facts.

You had hoped to find a book written by a member of the Gryphon Kingdoms, but there don’t appear to be any in the Canterlot Library. Then again, from their history they deal less with books and more with arms. And by arms, you mean weapons, military. They’re a very Spartan-esque society if their recent affairs are any indication. You wonder how they’re going to deal with the border dispute in lower Pranceylvania. Wow… You really are boring.

You rub your eyelids and look out the arched windows to spy the sun beginning to set behind the castle walls. Has it really been so long? Well you did just rub your eyes after all. But you’re not quite through with the book yet, you’ve still got a good three chapters left. They had some real in-depth coverage on this stuff. But now… your eyes look back to the librarian who nearly reads your mind and looks your way. Shit shit shit, you look back down. You have to go and talk to her again. Surely she’ll leave first. That’s it, you can just outlast her. She’ll lock up for the night and you’ll be left with all the books at your disposal. It’ll be like Christmas- No it’ll be better than Christmas. It’ll be its own holiday, BOOK DAY.

The tap of her hoof rips your mind away from such thrills and you venture a peek at her. ”I can wait here all night.” Those hardened green orbs don’t try to deceive you. She’s telling the truth.

The room’s utterly empty except for the two of you as you look around. The walls of bookcases are the only others left standing. She looks to the clock ticking away at the end of the hall. ”Look sonny, I’ll check those books out for you, but can you at least pick up the pace?” You pull the books under your arm and sulk over to her desk where she stamps them for you.

“T-thank you.”

She slides the last book over, “You sure have an interesting choice in books.” Interesting, that’s not how most others would describe it. ”Have you read any of Thump West’s work? I hear he’s releasing a new book this month.”

“I uh- Can’t say I have.” She rolls out of her seat and walks with you to the door, the hall leading in two different directions.

”You know, you’ve been coming here for weeks and I still don’t know your name.”

“It’s Anon…” you mutter walking down the hall.

”See you tomorrow then,” she calls after you, your arms tightly clenched around your books.

You set your books down and take a quick shower. There’s no excuse for bad hygiene after all. Afterwards you lie back on your bed and pick up, did you guess it? A book. Sure you’re a one trick p0ny, but at least you enjoy what you do. People and ponies alike go through their entire life without really knowing what they want. Thankfully you’re not one of those people. You’re perfectly content with what you do. Sit back and read books all day, now that’s a job.

If only… No, there’s no such dream job available to you. No matter how hard you sought it out there weren’t any paying jobs that would hire… well you. It was bit difficult to learn the language, that’s true, but even afterwards you still had a hard time getting a job. So you got work where you could, nothing to fantastic mind you. Real bottom of the barrel type of work...

The wet slop of the mop hits the floor soaking the bottom of your shoes. ”That’s right boy, nice and deep like,” a guard chortles at you. You ignore his teases and work the mop across the floor, making sure to get as much as you could. The guard prattles over in his fancy armor, “You missed a spot.” You’re about to ask where as you’re concerned about your work, but then he steps on through your freshly cleaned floor, his hoofprints leaving small murky pools of grey. ”Might want to work on that,” he chuckles and continues on his way.

You sigh and double back to fix the smudges, your mind cursing him. He’s just a dick, they’re a dime a dozen. You take a moment and look out the window to the courtyard below. The tulips in the garden are blossoming in wonderful shades of red and purple, small hints of yellow and white in the mix. They’re actually fairly gorgeous now that you take the time to look at them.
Maybe you should read down there sometime. ”Oi!” a guard yells down the hall, “You’re paid to clean not stand around.”

“Sorry sir, I didn’t mean to-“

”Get back to work; I don’t have time for your excuses!” You keep your head down and continue your mopping. Dip, press, plop, stroke, dip, press, plop, stroke… You manage to get at least two hallways done before you’re tasked to… ugh, janitorial duty is a bitch.

You whisk out the plunger and do your best, the sick sloshing of stool and some sort of orange sludge makes you want to keel over. Your head lowers an inch and you immediately regret it when a pair of vicious fumes penetrate your nostrils and begin humping your brain. Pushing yourself up using the toilet seat your hands feel the gentle squish of a foreign substance. Vomit time, you think rushing out of the room. ”Clean up on Aisle 5.”

You wound up having to clean up not only that mess, but your own after you upchucked all over the diplomatic quarters of the Buffalo’s representative. Worst part was, you wasted a good half hour working on the toilet and another hour on the room itself only to find out the problem couldn’t be fixed on that end. No, your supervisor said you had to take the maintenance hatch down to the sewers where you had to separate the mains directly and unclog that bitch. And of course, you went along with this because he’s your boss… and you’re a beta bitch. All those years of people telling you and you just chalked it up to nonsense.

But here you are in the dank dump sewers because you lacked the cajones to tell him no. Fuck it, you’re almost done here anyways, just gotta unscrew this here pipe, turn the valve… The pipe rumbles violently and you can see the timer counting down before total destruction. 3,2,1- *screech* So much brown… Bonus Round.

You shut the hatch, your grimy hands having a hard time holding onto the wheel as you seal it shut. You stopped smelling, things would be best if you kept it that way. Everything’s a tinge of brown, the walls, floor even the sun. Each step you take only reminds you of your weighted clothes soaked in a week’s worth of fermented filth. The wet shlick of your shoes on the floor makes your stomach wrench. You look down recognizing this as one of the hall’s you’d cleaned today. Guess who’ll be cleaning this section again before their shift is done. You walk back to the locker room to get showered before you continue, but of course as luck would have it, your boss shows up.

He’s a hardass if you’ve ever seen one, always has a cup of coffee, speaks to you like you’re a retard, a real tool. Not that you’ll ever say that to his face. ”Had a little mess did we?”

“Yes sir,” you head dejectedly towards the showers.

”I take it the pipes didn’t hold on too well did they?” You shake your head, each second worse than the last. “Did you pull the safety latch?”

“Yes sir,” you say with a hint of fire in your voice. “I took all the necessary precautions like you said.”

”Then you wouldn’t be in such a mess now would you?” There’s no arguing so you turn your back to him and agree. Your fellow employees snicker past you as they go on to their own jobs. ”You know we’re going to have to deduct any damages from your pay correct?”

“I understand sir.”

You’re about to take your shower when he stops you once more. ”You didn’t happen to drag that gunk through those nice clean halls did you?” Your silence is all he needs as an answer. ”Yeah…”

No amount of water or deep cleansing acidic compound will ever make you feel clean again. You can still feel it crusted onto your flesh and all your nails do is dig it deeper into your skin. Ugh it’s so fucking nasty! You have to toss the clothes and by have to, you mean that you’d never wear them again. You’d have to be sent to Satan’s doorstep and threatened with an eternity of riding his thorny cock to even consider the latter. You take the last spare order of clothes you had and finish up your work, remopping an entire day’s work over again. And to think that they don’t even have overtime here.

By the end of the day you’ll have worked twice as long as you should’ve and you’ll still be a hundred bits down the shitter. You don’t even have the energy to laugh at your own joke right now. If you wanted to laugh you’d just think of the poor bastard who has to clean up that sewer. Oh wait… That’d be you… Fuck your life sucks.

You sit down at your usual spot, flipping open your book and getting right into it. You get about half a page in when you’re hit with- you don’t know. Some sort of wall. An invisible obstacle that just makes you put the book down. There’s just too much shit. You can’t even enjoy the simple necessity of reading anymore. The books stare right back at you in a battle of the wills… and you look away. Can’t even beat a pile of fucking books.

You rest your head on the smooth wooden tabletop, finger gliding across the surface. ”Oh Twilight, I wasn’t expecting you so soon. Did you come for the journals?” Twilight… The only other mare you’ve ever seen in here. So busy with her damn affairs. She never had to dig through a mountain of fecal matter to find the ladder to freedom. Born into fucking wealth and… Why do you do this to yourself Anon? This doesn’t help anyone, much less you. More rationale. Wonderful… You spy at the two of them converse, jealousy hitting you right in the gut. Why’s it so easy for her? Why can’t you be more like her? You’d give anything to have what she has.

You open your book back up and continue reading, the rush of anger dissipating that barrier. The hum of classical music lifts the air as you go through line by line, devouring the text like the bounty it is. You don’t even notice that the librarian had slipped to the side of the table and was watching you. When you do notice- Let’s say you’re not exactly subtle. Your cheeks blush, you slam your book closed and sit back like you’re about to be gassed. ”I didn’t mean to scare you,” she reassures, “You didn’t come in yesterday.”

“Work,” you nod settling down a little away from her.

”It can be a real bummer for sure. Where do you work anyways? I don’t see you around the castle much.” She sure talks a lot for a librarian.


”Oh,” she replies almost feeling sorry for you, “Well, someone has to do it right?” Just wish it wasn’t you.

She watches as you continue reading and you’re starting to get crept out honestly. How to tell her without being rude though? What if she yells at you to get out? You like coming here, but she wouldn’t do that right? She’s not rude. Anything could happen though. You ended up in pastel pony land after all. “So, I never-“

”Petal Peach,” she extends a hoof, “We never really met properly.” You look at the hoof and then to her.

“Pleasure,” you shake weakly. The two of you sit there quietly, each unsure of what to do until she whips out a bundle from nowhere.

”I almost forgot, I thought you’d like to read these.”

“Equestria’s Greats: A Book by Thump West. Thanks.”

”Don’t mention it. The old girls could use a dusting off. Most of them haven’t been used in a long while. You’re the only one who ever seems to read them.” It’s actually quite a thoughtful gift. You’ve wanted to begin learning more about famous historical figures after all.

“How can I repay you? I don’t have much, but-“

She cuts you off with a laugh, “What’re you going on about? I don’t need you to repay me.” You look back to the book. “The best gift you could give is to keep coming by and keeping me company.”

“We- I mean, I don’t talk much.”

She smiles and walks back over to her desk, sitting back down and going over her papers. ”Silent company is better than none. Wouldn’t you agree?” You nod, attention moving back to the books. Chapter 1: Fangle Tooth. Might as well start there then. Time slugs by as you work into this monster of a book until that time finally comes when you have to leave. You set your books down, Peach stamping them and sending you on your way. ”See you tomorrow.” Not likely, tomorrow’s sewer day.

You take a breath of fresh air as you open up the hatch, the gaseous stench of the underground racing outwards to freedom, you on its coat tails. You’d gotten the pipe repaired with some soldering equipment you requisitioned, but your clothes were not quite as lucky. A mess that big was sure to cause some problems and you smell like one big fudge popsicle, corn included. You came prepared though, wrapping your feet and legs with a bag as you hit the showers. You come out, still smelling like a shat sock but not quite looking the part, when your supervisor meets you at the door. ”The sewer’s nice and clean now?” You nod, “Good. Look, there’s been a spill in one of the conference rooms in session and they need that cleaned up pronto. You got me?”

“Yes sir, north wing?”

”Yeah, and Anon be sure to work fast you smell worse than my Aunt Flora.” Because you had me working in the sewers and someone didn’t stock the soap. Asshole. You get your assortment of cleaning supplies in your trolley and head on to the conference sections.

These sections have been sure spruced up often, your own work taking place away from here. A unicorn can do your job better and faster without so much as a sweat while you break your balls over it. Must be why they get moved up to be your damn supervisor so they can sip coffee and talk down on you. You find the door your boss told you and knock, the door gently swinging open for you. The room stands ornate, an oval table centered in the room while the sides have been decorated with floral pots and works of art. Very classy, but what attracts you most is not the room, but the actual residents who’ve been staring at you for the last minute.

Gryphons with military grade steel armor, their keepsake and across from them are two ponies. One you recognize as Twilight Sparkle and the other you can’t help but feel suffocated by in her presence. The Princess herself, Celestia.

So many eyes, cowardice rising, bladder filling… You lower your gaze and roll on in, finding the mess around center stage where one of the representatives spilled their wine. The princess smiles and looks back to her guests, “You were saying Sir Rivot?” Even her voice is divine- And this is how you meet her!? Oh god this is awful, just awful. You move next to the spill and prep your bucket.

”Well, before we were rudely interrupted,” you cringe, “The Gryphon Kingdoms have claims to the lands of Pranceylvania going as far back as the fourth age.”

The princess keeps a calm demeanor as you’d expect, “Truly? Would you mind if we saw the documentation you have confirming this?” The leader looks to his partner who slides the parcel across the table, Celestia hovering it over. By your lucky stars, you get to listen to an actual diplomatic meeting firsthand. This is so much better than the books.

”Twilight, what is your opinion on this matter?” Twilight inspects the parcel carefully as she goes over the document.

Sir Rivot nudges his partner, “Wonder who took the dump.”

”I wonder how it’s walking around,” he chuckles as you continue your job. It’s not your fault they ran out of damn shampoo and soap.

Twilight sighs, “It seems that Sir Rivot has evidence proving his claim. There’s- not much I can say about it.”

The gryphon nods with a smug grin, “Of course. If we knew it’d be this easy we’d have brought this forth a while back.”

A while back? You dab at the rug and soak up the spill, the gryphons still high over their victory. ”Now I assume you’ll have your citizens evacuated so we can begin resettling our land.”

The princess nods, “It shall be.”

”But princess-“ Celestia silences her.

”Twilight, sometimes one must give in order to receive. I hope that this will in the end bring our two nations closer, Sir Rivot.”

He takes back the parcel and grins, “Of course. We’re neighbors after all.”

You catch a glimpse at the document, one two… “It’s not valid.”

The gryphon shoots daggers at you, “You have something to say sewer breath?”

“N-nothing sir, I’m sorry.”

His partner nods and gives Rivot a nudge, “Damn right nothing.” You can still feel someone’s gaze on you as you continue your work.

Her gentle voice whisks you away, “What is it that you said?” The princess’s eyes meet you and you keep both head and eyes down.

“It was nothing princess, I just- It’s nothing.” You can’t clean with her watching, not with them all watching.

”What is it you said? Would you have me ask again?” No, you don’t want to be moved to the chopping block this time.

“I- It’s just that when I glimpsed at the paper-“

The gryphon nearly blows a gasket, “Why I oughta-“

”Sir Rivot sit down,” she states powerfully, “Yes?”

“It’s not a valid document.”

”Interesting…” she continues to look at you, “And just why is that?”

What have you gotten yourself into this time? Standing before the princess smelling like you’ve been working in a sewer… well… “It uh- uhm…” the gryphons are staring at you, those claws look sharp, “the seals… There were only- two.”

”If we may,” Celestia coos as she hovers the paper over to you. “And what is wrong with them?”

“N-nothing your majesty. It’s just… A document of this type requires three.”

”Go on...”

“I don’t mean to cause trouble ma’am if I could just finish my work I’d be more than happy-“

”I insist. Why three?” You sigh, setting the paper flat, finger tracing the border. “Fangle Tooth. He was a Pegasus born in the gryphon city of Aviaris. He was raised by his kin before moving back to Equestria, his true home. He worked as a negotiator between both sides during the Skirmishes of Brimstone. At the end-“

”We do not have time for history lessons princess,” Sir Rivot states.

Celestia merely ignores him, ”Continue.”

“The gryphon government was changing drastically and to prevent any sort of law or claim such as this to be finalized between the two nations Fangle Tooth required all succeeding document to enclose three seals of approval. One from the current King, one from the Vice General and one from the Senate Overseer. This contains the King’s and the Vice General’s, not the Senate Overseer’s.”

”This is nonsense Princess,” he attempts to sway her; “He is but a janitor, a lowly servant of the castle. What would he know of such matters?”

His comrade whispers, “If we can get back to the capital we can get the Senate-“

“It requires the seals of those elected at the time of the document’s signing. It is still, thus, a void document.” What is this feeling? Power, pride, guts? It feels good. “And as for how I know? Thump West, maybe you should read more instead of sticking your head in the clouds.”

”You dare!” he shouts rising to his paws, “I demand this man be fired for such insolence and for him to be submitted into my custody for immediate reprimanding!” Okay, feeling’s gone.

You finish pulling the last of your stuff from the locker, your supervisor slurping down coffee almost just to piss you off. ”One simple job and you didn’t even do it right. There’s going to be a stain there now you know.”

“Yes sir.”

”Pissed off the representatives of the Gryphon empire. You should really keep your mouth shut kid.”

“Yes sir.”

”Can’t say we’re gonna miss you. Hope you can land another job after this incident.” The locker clicks shuts and you press the cold metal against your forehead. ”Times are tough. Good luck kid.”

“Yes sir.” Douchebag.

You hold the sign just outside your door, ripping it off in a fit of anger and tossing it in the trash. Being evicted is just what you needed right now. Working your ass off, get fired, smell like shit, get evicted, barely enough money to last the week and no one with a working heartbeat will hire you. You just have life made don’t you? At least you have your damn books, they’ll never fire you. Oh wait, they got you into this shit in the first place! You punch your bed in an emotional rage, swinging wildly with no sense of direction. “Fucking damn books cock sucking limp dick ink filled smegma inducing butt pirates! GAH!” You keep your fist pressed against the bed as a breeze of fresh air comes from your back. “Okay who is it I don’t have time for- Oh…”

You kneel down, legs trembling and face flushed with embarrassment at the princess of Equestria catching you acting like a tantrum throwing child. ”Why does everyone always do that?” She shuts the door and walks inside, taking a look around.

”So this is your chamber?” she looks to you, “Oh do stand up, I get quite enough formality during the day.”

“I apologize princess.”

”Apologies are part of formality are they not?”

“Yes ma’am, sorry ma’am.”

”You’re still doing it.”

“Sorry princess.”

Her deadpan stare takes the breathe right out of your lungs. She continues to browse until she comes upon your books, “Equestria’s Greats. Is this the book you spoke of?” You nod slowly as she looks it over, “Do you visit the Canterlot Library often?” Another nod, “You understand I only wished for you to stop apologizing, not speaking.”

“Sorry, gah…”

She giggles, “Do you go to the Library often?”

“Anytime I can.”

”Then why not now?” she spots the note in the trash, “That’ll do it.” You take a seat in your chair while she pokes about. ”It is an oddity how one in your line of work would have such a fascination with literature. Why is that?” She senses your hesitation quickly, “Try not to think of me as a princess, but instead as just another p0ny.”

“That doesn’t make it any easier,” you try and joke though she doesn’t laugh. You clear your throat, “I always liked reading.”

”I know others with the same fascination, yet they are not- What the term? Rustic? Down to earth?”

“Either of those would be correct I assume.”

”But why are you? It makes me curious.” Questioned by royalty, you should be honored.

“Books are simple. They speak to me, but don’t need words back. Simple.”

”And that fiasco today… That was simple?”

You knew this was coming sooner or later. “It was fresh in my mind.”

”You do understand that Twilight, my personal student who I confide in for the most intimate of matters was flummoxed by this document, yet you identified the flaw with nothing but a glance?”

“If you put it that way,” you go along with it.

”I hope you understand as well that it was for the better of the nation that I had to terminate your employment.”

“That I do understand. I am but a pawn on the chessboard so to speak.”

She walks a little closer, your back glued to the seat, “How would you like to be more than a pawn?”


”Formality. I get enough of that during the day.”

“I’m sorry.”

”If I have to tell you to stop apologizing I’m going to lock you in the dungeon.”

“Shutting up…”

”So how about it? Would you like to be something more than an ex-janitor? A ‘man’ of your talents would come quite handy in my current affairs. One you already helped solve for me.”

“I- I- There’s so many other jobs I can take-“

”Gardener? Cook? Are those the jobs you’re aching to get into?” There’s nothing to say to that, besides you can’t just talk back to the princess.

“If it were my choice-“

”So you refuse?”

“I never said that.”

She smiles, “Good. You’ll start tomorrow. I’ll arrange a new room for you.”

“Wait, I never-“

Her gaze turns you to stone as she turns in the doorway, “Are you refusing my offer?” Shit Anon what’re you getting yourself into?


”Good,” she stops, “And I never did catch your name.”

“Anon. My name is Anon.”

”Well then Anon, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

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