• Published 9th Aug 2014
  • 19,556 Views, 911 Comments

All Butlers are Gentlemen, But... - Pen Mightier

I'm a Butler. My friends call me Butler. Looking after m'lady can be...challenging, but rewarding. Lately the job's become harder, with m'lady's sister back from the moon. So I decided to hire some help.

  • ...

One Small Stop for Gentlemen, One Large Stop for...

They say life is a journey. Like any journey, taking the train has so far proven faster. Much too fast, perhaps, for my preference. But I often find that my preference doesn’t really matter much on Mondays. This was particularly the case on this particular Monday.

"Hurry." I waved a hand for haste as we practically leapt over the coal wagon. The coal threatened to shift treacherously beneath my feet. The ponies, however, with their light hooves and sure steps made surprisingly short work of it. I was too busy worrying for Ditzy and Garnet to think of my own safety. I quickly paid for it as the loose coal betrayed my feet, sending me flying onto the driver cab's shuddering floor, though I took great care to land in as graceful a heap as possible.

Having just survived an evil demonic herb intruding upon my very sanity, I would not be undone by a piece of coal. Satisfied that this was the case, I cast an eye around. Being a pony engine, the cab was conveniently spacious enough to allow me to land without hitting anything more deadly than the floor. Of which there were a lot of, considering how the cab looked like the bastard child of a sauna and judgement day. Everything within was letting off more steam than Shining Armour at his bachelor party. The wiser half of the group decided to remain behind in the relative safety of the treacherous mound of coal.

We found Lightning Dust cornering a scared-looking Ditzy into one corner of the driver's cab. The gray pegasus mare was cradling what looked like a broken brake lever in her hooves. Gilda had Garnet hemmed up close to the engine's firebox where a ferocious unearthly violet fire burned angrily against the grate, spitting cinders and ash out into the driver's cab. There was a lot of yelling and crying, and Spitfire was trying to bark over it all to no avail.

"They can't hear us, Butler. Everypony's shouting over everypony." Octavia shouted to my side. "Do something!"

"I like that plan, Ms. Melody." I got to my feet and found the cab's fire alert switch. I neatly smashed the glass protecting the big red button with a very gentlemanly elbow.

"Ooh! Ooh! Big red button! Mine!" Dark Side popped up over my shoulder, bursting with excitement.

"You seem mighty excited by the big red button," Sunrise remarked, dubiously.

"Do you even read my Hearthswarming wish-list?!" Dark Side demanded as she ran up my arm and kindly jump-kicked the big red button for me. A set of water talisman sprinklers in the cab's ceiling came to life, showering the cab with soberingly cold water. "Why didn't you warn me that was going to happen?!" A suddenly sodden Dark Side cried out as she leapt inside my vest for cover. And that is the entirety of the reason why a very inconspicuous but far-reaching royal decree banned the use of big red buttons all across Canterlot shortly after Luna's return.

With a flourish I pulled out a smart black umbrella from the recesses of my jacket, quickly deploying it to avoid most of the deluge. A massive plume of steam burst forth from the firebox's grates and a set of exhaust vents in the engine's sides, suggesting the water sprinklers had flooded the inside of the firebox as well. However, the dark violet fire within continued to crackle menacingly despite being smothered in water, confirming my suspicions. It was an enchanted flame, likely dragon in origin.

At least the sprinklers indiscriminately put out the flaming row inside the cab. I turned my attention to my dripping wet audience. "Since we're all together, I thought I'd put the water to boil and make some tea so you can all get acquainted over a nice cup. Ms. Lightning, Ms. Gilda, meet Ms. Garnet and Ms. Ditzy." I said, cheerfully, as I folded my umbrella and tucked it away safely. "And you shall all be friends," I added, allowing no room for even an illusion of choice. For Lightning and Gilda's sake, mainly. You can simply be the friends of the fire breathing dragon and the avatar of destruction, or you can simply not be.

"Ara, hello, Master and fellow followers!" Garnet suddenly turned cheerful as she greeted us with a toothy smile. "I was beginning to think you all lost your way in the train. I see you have bred quite successfully during our time apart," she said, eyeing the bulge on my front as well as our new additions.

"Fire nor water nor runaway trains shall stop me from doing my part in preserving the species," I said primly, allowing Dark Side to wiggle out of my vest. "Speaking of preservation, how are we doing?"

"You tried to blow out the fire, didn't you?" Octavia gave the small dragon an accusing look.

"That's not the only thing she blew!" Dark Side cried, cradling the molten mass that was once the train's horn. "I wanted to blow it! Unblow it! Unblow it now, I say!"

"Ah, yes, I couldn't resist. Hauwau." She gave Dark Side an apologetic smile before turning to Octavia. "And yes, I did." Her expression turning grave. "I tried to use a counter-spell dovah breath on the dovah fire already burning there when we arrived." She waved a claw at the violet flame burning in the firebox. "But the enchantment on this dovah fire is strong, stronger than even my own. Nanoyo."

"It's enchanted... to do what?" Red Heart asked, squinting into the flames.

"To be inextinguishable," Garnet said, grimly. "Destruction is our nature. To make something enduring goes against it, making this very very hiiiigh level dovah magic. This was the work of somedrake powerful, likely an incredible elder dovah or, worse..." Her expression turned a shade darker. "...a dovahkin."

"Bless you," Lyra quipped.

"A dragon-soul stealer," Garnet repeated, her translator talisman triggering properly this time.

"Killer canaries, dragons and runaway trains, whatever; but I draw the line at soul pickpocketing. Flock this, I give up. Game Over." Lightning Dust threw her hooves up in the air.

"Shoe-stealing aside, that fire's too big for us to stop the train." Ditzy said, eyeing the quivering pressure gauges worriedly. Steam hissed menacingly out of cracks in the dial. "The engine might explode when we crash. Or even before if we're unlucky."

"Lucky we've been having really good fortune all day." Octavia said. Who said simple sarcasm was a lost art?

"Mom..." Dinky gave a little sigh as she trotted up to her mother's side, eyeing the broken brake lever in her mother's hooves. "Did you break something again?" She asked with all the manner of a mother finding her daughter's report card hidden underneath her bed.

"Uh..." Ditzy gave a nervous little pony squee. "Sorry, my bad, muffin." She said sheepishly, before looking up at the rest of us. "Somepony sabotaged the brakes. I freed it and turned the lever. The brakes did their best... then snapped. I shouldn't have tried it without putting out the fire first. So sorry, everypony." She said, apologetically.

"So that jolt that sent us all flying earlier was the brakes snapping?" Lightning asked. "Gee, how many ways is this guy trying to kill us?"

"Well, there was no chance of putting out that fire anyway. At least you tried," I said, reassuringly.

"We have every flavour of magic here from griffin to Butler loin-magic. You're telling me we have no chance?" Lyra frowned.

"Perhaps there's no chance with the magic the rest of you have, dears," Red Heart said.

"You're saying there's any other?" Spitfire raised an eyebrow, skeptically.

"That... depends," Red Heart said, seeming to hesitate a little. She gave us an appraising look as if considering us carefully. She finally gave a resigned little sigh. Her eyes, on the contrary, twinkled with mischief befitting a lord of chaos or a tax pony. "Can you all be a darling and promise to help guard my little secret?" She asked, placing the tips of her hooves together while giving us all the most beseeching smile I had ever seen on a pony other than my princesses.

"Secret is Iron Will's middle name. It's so secret nobull knows what it is, not even Iron Will," Iron Will said, helpfully.

"I am sure we can all pretend for a moment that our lives depend upon guarding this little secret," I said, eyeing everyone gathered. There was a smattering of nods and murmurs along the lines of 'yeah', 'promise' and even one 'Pinkie Promise'.

I sincerely hope we would have no cause to break that Pinkie Promise. I am not entirely sure how I would handle Pinkie magically appearing here on top of everything else.

"I was going to show you all my little party trick either way. But the promise helps." Seemingly satisfied that everyone had given their word, the nurse sat back on her haunches before the firebox and lifted both her forehooves towards the fire as if warming her hooves.

Unfortunately the best description for what happened next was Lyra's own. "Uh... your hooves just vomited all over the fire," Lyra observed, quite graphically. The nurse pony's hooves sprayed an expansive net of what looked like shiny green spider webs inside the firebox. Whatever it was, it quickly smothered the enchanted dragon fire, spewing greenish black smoke in its wake. "Hey, Tavy, is that green slimy stuff some sort of funky earth pony thing?" Lyra whispered aside to Octavia, eyeing her hooves suspiciously.

"Yes," Octavia sighed. "It's what we use to shut up terminally annoying unicorns."

"I can't do that..." Coco murmured quietly, looking down at her own forehooves, looking as if she had missed out on her share of cider on cider day.

"Nice jooob, nurse." Ditzy said, ears perking up as she eyed the pressure gauges with approval. "Steam pressure's dropping already."

"Yeah, nice job, changeling!" Gilda barked, feathers bristling as she pointed an accusing claw at Red Heart. "C'mon! I know loserville's missing all its town fools but this is ridiculous! Can't you dweebs see she's a changeling?! That's changeling cocoon magic!"

“Changeling magic... can resist dovah fire?” Garnet blinked in disbelief.

“Changeling cocoons are inert to most forms of magic,” Lyra said, darkly.

"And it’s working.” Octavia pointed out. “I do not care if she’s using Butler loin-magic, as long as it works.”

Dark Side gave a little frown but nothing more. Sunrise seemed impassive, looking more thoughtful than concerned. Surprising, considering her last encounter with the changelings at the royal wedding.

“Who cares about all that? What part of changeling did you dweebs not understand?!” Gilda demanded, heatedly.

From the dark look on her face, Lyra seemed to share Gilda's apprehension. Considering she was Cadence's student for a while, I suppose it was to be expected. "As clear as day. What did you do with the real Red Heart?" Lyra demanded.

Red Heart visibly winced at her words. "Nothing, darling. I am the real Red Heart. Or Change'A'Heart if you prefer, but I find that name such a muzzlefull, don't you?"

"So she can spit snot out of her hooves. So what?! I do that when I beat faces! Besides, she's helping us! Which is more than you're doing!" Lightning Dust was quick to leap to Red Heart’s defense. "You gave your word you'll guard her secret! Or was that just the diaper rash on your face?" She demanded.

"I did," Lyra conceded. "I don't like putting the 'lie' in 'Lyra'. But I'd never leave the 'heart' out of 'Heartstrings'. I'm not going to stand by if ponies are in danger!"

"The only ponies in danger is us, dear. And I'm not standing by either. I promise you that," Red Heart said, keeping her eyes on the fire she was fighting. "All it takes is one royal screw up. Long live the queen," she sighed under her breath.

"Blanks, say something!" Lyra turned to me for help.

"Something," I stated helpfully, earning me a look of absolute annoyance from my minty green unicorn friend. "I’m afraid speech eludes me. Her actions speak louder than anything I could hope to say," I said in response to Lyra's glare.

"Thank you, Mr. Butler dear." Red Heart gave me a look of gratitude as she put out the last of the flames. Satisfied that the fire was thoroughly cocooned and smothered, she turned around and shut the firebox grate with a hindhoof kick. She wiped some sweat off her brow with a forehoof, panting a little from the heat and exertion. "So that's the frying pan and the fire. Can somepony please be a darling and tell me what's next?"

"The ground, or six feet under," Octavia grumbled, helpfully. "We're not slowing down at all." She said, looking over Ditzy's shoulder at the speed gauge.

"I would presume putting the fire out alone won't stop the train." I nodded, grimly, as I turned to our resident engineer. "What's the next step, Ms. Ditzy?"

"Who, me?" Ditzy's eyes began to wander apart, her ears drooping; something I gathered was a sign of anxiety on the young mare's part. "I'd only make things worse. I mean, I designed this train. That's probably why it...." She faltered, eyes downcast.

"Mom." Little Dinky hopped atop her mother's back to place a reassuring hoof on her withers. "Everypony's counting on us, so there's no way we can fail," she said encouragingly. "And if anything goes wrong, Dinky will fix it for you like always. Imagine, Dinky can use Dinky's super scotch tape to glue the train to the sky, or...."

"Glue... the sky..." Ditzy murmured, seemingly struck by inspiration. Her eyes slowly drew back together as a plan came together in her mind. "That's it! The air brakes!" She turned towards us, eyes gleaming with newfound hope. "All the carriages have fail-safe air brakes. They're all fed with air from the engine through lots and lots of pipes that run all the way from the engine to the last carriage. The brakes switch on if the air stops flowing in the pipes, for example if the engine stops or if the carriages are separated."

"Oh, I see. So it helps the carriages stop when the engine is slowing down or stops runaway carriages." Coco nodded in understanding. "But we can't stop the engine, right?" She realized.

"And the coupling levers on the carriages are all broken. There's no way to separate the carriages," Spitfire pointed out.

A thought occurred to me. "Can we break the pipes feeding the air?" I suggested.

"Yes, but every carriage has its own air tank, so we have to break the pipes in between every carriage to turn on all the brakes," Ditzy said. "They're cheap, flimsy things. A good buck should do the trick."

"Can you please lend her your translator talisman, Ms. Dragon?" Lyra asked. "I don't speak nerdese."

"Break pipes. Train stops. We don't die. Understand?" Octavia snapped. "Now can we please go break some pipes before I break something else by mistake on purpose?"

"I vote we let the lady break her pipes. Fliers, please fly to the back of the train and start working on the pipes there," I instructed. "Everyone else, move backwards through the train and start breaking the pipes one by one. Warn any passengers you see that it’s going to get rather rambunctious."

"If we're going to crash, we might as well be as far back as possible. Let's go, everypony," Octavia said, waving a hoof at the others.

"To love, friendship and epic pawnage! To infinity....and beyond!" Lyra declared excitedly as she leapt into step behind the bassist.

"To shut up," Octavia muttered as she led Iron Will, the grounded Spitfire and a rather hesitant Coco back inside the first carriage. Red Heart, meanwhile, had released a tattered pair of pale blue wings from her back. They buzzed to life, raising her into the fierce headwind. Lightning Dust didn't hesitate to follow the nurse, albeit on somewhat unsteady wings. Gilda paused only to give me one last sour look before spreading her own majestic eagle wings and taking off after the two.

Garnet, however, paused. She seemed to have noticed my hesitation, casting a questioning look my way. "You smell worried," she murmured, cocking her head to one side curiously. If there is a smell for worry, I must be the most flagrant gentleman outside Dodge Junction.

"Why, thank you. I am more than happy to share my cologne with you later," I said with a smile, before turning to Ditzy. "Ms. Ditzy, I would appreciate some candour on your part. Will that really be enough to stop the train in time?" I asked the pegasus mare as she was spreading her wings to take off.

She looked back at me, her eyes slowly drifting apart again, betraying her uncertainty. After a moment of hesitation she finally spoke up. "Um, maybe not. But maybe perhaps it might help ease the damage a little, maybe?" She said, looking sheepish. "Sorry, my bad. It was the best I could think up." Her ears drooped with the rest of her head.

"And it’s the best we have." I said, reassuringly. "Still, shouldn't you take your daughter and run then?" I asked, nodding at the little unicorn filly perched on her back. Ditzy bit her lip, the kind mare seemingly torn between saving the ponies on the train and protecting her own daughter.

"You don't have to choose, monah fahdon." Garnet stepped up, wearing a determined gaze I had yet to see on her till then. "Do what you can. Leave the rest to me. Nanoyo." She gave the mother a reassuring smile. "Go, now."

Ditzy gave the dragon a thankful smile before turning to me. "Mr. Butler, uh, would you like me to, um, take your daughters with me?" She asked, uncomfortably.

"And miss out the fun?" Dark Side huffed before I could say anything. "There may be coffee before the end. I have faith."

"That's kind of you, but we'll be fine. Thank you," Sunrise agreed.

"I shall have them fly for safety if things turn pear-shaped. Well, pear-shaped-er," I said, knowing full well there was no point arguing with my ladies. "Go, Ms. Ditzy. Hurry."

Ditzy gave me, Dark Side and Sunrise one last worried look before reluctantly turning away, spreading her wings wide. "Hold on tight, Muffin," she said to her daughter before bounding off into the air. Her wings quickly caught on the strong headwind, propelling her skywards.

"You have a plan then, Ms. Garnet?" I turned to the dragon, eyebrow cocked and ready. "Hopefully one that doesn't involve blowing the train out?"

"That depends." She gave me a wry smile. "Tell me, Master, how many bowls of courage did you have for breakfast?"

"Courage? Ma'am, I take refuge in bunkers built from my leftover audacity," I stated with what little courage I had left. "What are you planning, Ms. Garnet?"

"Plans are for sophisticated drakes." Garnet shrugged with her withers. "I'm just going to stop the train. With my bare claws. Oh, and with you too."

"I am a man of many skills, but I'm afraid my aptitude as an implement of train-stopping has yet to be tested." I was starting to wonder absently if my insurance covered trains, or, for that matter, dragons. Knowing my luck, likely not. "Besides, I am quite certain the phrase 'size doesn't matter' was not invented on a runaway train. No offense meant," I said, carefully pointing out the obvious flaw in her plan, or lack thereof.

"I'm sure the train won't take offense, Master. Not many things take offense at a full size dragon. Nanoyo," Garnet grinned.

But just where are we going to get a full size dragon at such short notice? As I pondered this, the train jolted abruptly, almost sending us both stumbling to the floor. I flung an arm out to hold onto a guard rail, another to catch Dark Side and Sunrise and hold them securely against me. A loud, ear-splitting screech filled the air. It would appear the others had managed to set off the first set of brakes and the train was quick to take offense. Still, it stubbornly showed no signs of slowing down.

"Come now, Master, don't make a girl ask for it," Garnet said, her face all mischief and nothing else.

Oh dollymops. Understanding dawned upon me like an ill-omened star. Her plan was as mad as it was big. Another loud screech filled the air as yet another carriage's brakes triggered. The train only shuddered violently in reply without losing an inch of speed, as if taunting us all.

"What do you plan on hoarding? Other than all the optimism, that is." I asked, stumbling backwards away from her, hoping against hope it wasn't what I thought it was. "I'm not sure we have the luxury of waiting for these coals to become diamonds." I said, waving a hand at the coal wagon.

"Incredible, Master! It is as you say, even coals can be precious diamonds. It is all in the mind. Awumai." She beamed with approval. "It helps if it's good-looking though." If she were to insinuate any harder, she'd be probably be proposing.

Why, thank you, but taking refuge in flattery won't get us anywhere, at least no faster than this train. The train jolted once more to yet another loud screech. Now it was just ridiculing us.

"Very well, I shall ask if I must. Would you be my hoard, Master?" Garnet asked sweetly, her big wide draconic doe eyes gazing pleadingly up at me.

"Excuse me?" Sunrise demanded, looking all flavours of disbelief. "I found him first. Please get your own," she pouted, very persuasively.

Giving in to Luna once in a while is one thing, but I am a gentleman of unwavering will. I would not simply be talked into a complete stranger's rather crazy and certainly very personal plan. A dragon's no less. And certainly not because she is threatening me with terminal diabetes.

"Pweaaaaaaase?" Garnet added, tilting her head to one side for extra measure.

But I am not so simple a man so as to give in to such cheap wiles. I finally opened my mouth to give my resolute rejection. "Alright."

"You didn't even try,” Dark Side hissed in my ear.

"She's very persuasive," I argued vehemently in my defence.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Garnet cheered, hopping around behind me. Before I could say anything more, she had slithered under me from behind, pushing herself right in between my legs, forcing me into the natural saddle in the small of her back. "Right, you, me, hugs, now!" She ordered.

"Pardon me?" I blinked, numbly. She gave me no real choice in the matter, for she suddenly rose upwards, slapping my succession against her back. It was all I could do to grab hold of my two little fillies with one hand and hang onto Garnet's withers with another. With two powerful bounds she had leapt clear of the cab and onto the coal wagon despite her ridiculously oversized passenger on her back.

"Just in time. I think we just ran out of rail." Garnet said, her expansive draconic wings extending out beneath me.

"Is that all we’ve run out of?" I barely managed before a violent lurch ran through the entire train. A thunderous crash drowned out the rest of the chaos. The sudden jolt sent both Garnet and I flying high up into the air above the engine. I managed to get one last good look at the train as it flew off a tight curve in the tracks, propelled by sheer speed, wheels spinning wildly on air as it sailed towards what looked like a busy market street and a school just beyond. "I think I've also run out of sheer 'what'," I said, blankly.

Ponies are a vivacious folk. Breaking into song and dance is as natural to them as double parking is to us. It was a particularly uplifting tune that struck the ponies thronging Fillydelphia's Market Way that Monday afternoon.

"It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~!" They sang as they pranced down the white cobblestone street. "Here in our little town by the bay, where the sun's brighter and the hay sweeter!"

"Join the sway down Market Way, join the herd and bring your purse!" The street vendors sang from behind their colourful market stalls. "It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"Fresh out of my oven; hay bread, golden brown with a crispy crust!" An earth pony baker offered. "It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"The repast you've yearned, alfalfa salad, all day served!" The green grocer called out. "It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"Every Fillydelphia day starts with a Saddle Bucks Coffee First~" Mr. Saddle Bucks, proprietor of the local Trot-Through coffee shop, sang. "With coffee cream and donut glaze, nopony walks away in thirst. It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"Howdy there, Mr. Saddle Bucks! Coffee please, my throat's parched as dust." the local constable sang as he trotted by the coffee shop.

"Law or outlaw, big or small, anypony all, I sell coffee to all who trots through our stall~" Mr. Saddle Bucks replied. "It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"Anypony, all, you say?" The constable raised an eyebrow. "Surely that's a stretch?"

"I say neigh. Send them all my way! A whole train, a dragon, even one of them humans! I will sell them all coffee, anypony who passes our Market Way!" Mr. Saddle Bucks boasted with a flourish. "It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~"

"It's always a good day the Fillydelphia way~!" The ponies sang. "Here in Fillydelphia where wind sings in the bay, on high a dragon flies our way, and the 12 o'clock runaway train ricochets down Market Way, just in time to slay-...." The singing came to an abrupt halt, punctuated by a resounding crash.

The ponies stared, transfixed, at the shadow blotting out the afternoon sun. A massive behemoth of steel and fire flew off a nearby hillock, sailing right for Market Way. The very earth beneath their hooves shook as the behemoth's mighty wheels smashed into the street. Sparks flew wildly about as the steel wheels spun against tortured cobblestone. The song and dance was quickly replaced by screams and running dives. Chaos had arrived on the 12 o'clock train.

Up in the air above the metal monstrosity, trailing steam and dust, a minuscule serpentine shadow shot forth into the sky like a bullet. Astride its back, like a limpet strapped to a moon rocket, was a gentleman of a rather pusillanimous persuasion.

"I do prefer collecting frequent flyer miles a little slower. Safer too," I said, a little more tight-lipped than usual as I hung onto my dragon companion for dear-oh-dear life with one arm. My other clutched two little fillies, one cheering at the top of the world, the other frozen with very sudden altitude sickness.

"Come now, Master; live a little!" Garnet laughed merrily.

"I plan to live a lot, thank you," I replied. "And you, young lady, can grow up a little."

"I plan to grow up a lot, Master!" Garnet's wild laughter suddenly turned a booming baritone. I looked down and found the dragon's soft, silky scales shimmering as they multiplied before my very eyes. The wings on either side of us erupted forth into the sky, catching air like magnificent crimson sails. An expanding spine spike missed my inheritance by thankful inches, shooting up to chest height.

“Please watch where you put that. You might poke somebody in the… everything,” I whimpered. My lady mirrored my wide-eyed gaze with her own.

"This is the last stop!" Garnet's magnificent voice boomed across the sky. I felt my stomach lurch as she abruptly dove earthwards. I tried to look down at what exactly but found that the ground below was almost entirely hidden by the massive bulk that I suddenly realized was Garnet's gigantic body.

Instant giant dragon. Just add Butler.

It is Monday afternoon and I am riding a giant dragon. I wonder if anyone at the gentleman's club, other than possibly Ms. Pinkie Pie, would ever believe me? After all, all I had to show for it are a pair of spoiled briefs.

What's left of my breakfast almost eluded me as a gut-wrenching reel lurched me from my reverie. Despite her massive bulk the mighty dragon managed a midair whirl to face the train. An explosive crash shook the world as the magnificent dragon hit the ground. Her rear claws dug troughs through the street as her monstrous foreclaws became intimately acquainted with the locomotive. A soul-rending screech filled the air as tortured metal struggled against draconic claws. The mighty locomotive's steel frame bent like foil beneath the dragon's might. A part of my mind still capable of rational thought was thankful we had put out the fire first, lest we receive a faceful of exploding steam engine.

In life, sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you are the bug. And sometimes you are the dragon. And, occasionally, you’re that gentleman atop the dragon.

"Iron Will versus train!" I heard Iron Will roar from somewhere around the back of the train. I just about spotted the almighty minotaur as he leapt out of the rearmost carriage and grabbed hold of it, presumably intent on pulling it to a stop. "Finally, a real challenge!" He bellowed as his hooves hit the ground, kicking up a massive cloud of dust that engulfed him whole.

There was a sag, perhaps even a give. Dare we believe? The train was slowing! The entire train let out a long, loud screech of tortured metal as it slowly, ponderously grinded to a halt. Deep silence fell as the dust slowly settled, punctuated only by the hiss of leftover steam and the occasional plink of a loose rivet. Obeying some universal law of dramatics, an errant wheel rolled off to come to rest against the remains of a stall that once sold horseapples.

No gentlemanly competition would be complete without an eloquent comment from the victor. Thusly in my giddy relief I felt compelled to say, “Consummate upon that, fruitcake.”

The smoke finally cleared to reveal the school house behind us, just within poking distance. In fact, we had an entire audience of curious little colts and fillies poking their heads out from the school's windows despite their teacher's frantic efforts.

By jove, have I just exposed young impressionable ears to the horrors of eloquent speech? How would I ever live this down?

"This isn't the school cart. Be good now and go back inside," I said, though it came out a little more shakily than I would have liked. "And don't forget to write a letter to your princess about what you learned today. It was likely something very important," I quickly added.

"Yes. Dear me, today I have learned that trains are deadly," Sunrise whispered from where she was curled up inside my vest, clutching the lapel of my jacket for dear life.

"What ho! How many points doth We receive?!" Dark Side demanded with a triumphant cackle as she leapt atop my head. "Can we do that again?" She asked, leaning down my forehead to peer into my eyes.

"On the moon, after I banish all trains there," Sunrise said with grim resolution.

It was good to see Dark Side had enjoyed her train ride. Sunrise, however, didn’t seem to have weathered it half as well. "Are you alright, Sunrise?" I asked.

"I am most definitely walking next time," Sunrise decided. "It would be so much healthier."

Garnet finally released the locomotive to do a rather animated victory dance. "Vis mu dreh toy einzuk?! Nanoyo!" She declared, sounding much like a cannon, a very talkative one.

"Are you alright, Ms. Garnet?" I asked. "You didn't swallow any part of the train, did you? I am no dragon physician but I suspect that may cause you some rather fiery heartburn."

"Tinvaak meda aanda, In?" The dragon turned her head around to peer at me, curiously. That's when I noticed the shattered shard dangling precariously from her neck; all that was left of Garnet's translator talisman. She must have noticed my look as she followed my gaze down. "Hauwau. Pruzah, tolro ni pruzaaaah." She growled, rolling her eyes at the remains of her talisman.

"I agree." I nodded sagely. "I think runaway trains definitely void the warranty."

Ahst suk nii ken pruzah. Nanoyo.” She shrugged, plucking what was left of the talisman’s gem and popping it into her mouth. “Hmm. Vust nuft osos zal.” She smacked her lips, thoughtfully.

“Indeed," I said, absently. I looked down and quietly assessed how much abuse my trousers and my succession would have to tolerate for me to somehow dismount without impaling myself upon her spikes. "A stepladder would also be nice. But, failing that, might I suggest a wonderful new diet regime, Ms. Garnet?"

Author's Note:

As usual, hope you all enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Special thanks to Dumbgamer for slaving away at that chapter like there was no tomorrow.

Next chapter is undergoing...err...more rewriting (in other words, testing the editor's abuse tolerance).

Comments ( 109 )

Again with the pissing oneself jokes.

Stop that. It's not funny.

"Do you even read my Hearthswarming wish-list?!" You sly bastard you I see what you did there

I really wish they'd get off the train. It's getting a little old. :/


On the contrary, I think people as a whole enjoy the eloquence of how it's said to the point where they always find it humorous. Granted, at its base it's a "you pissed yourself" joke, but it's spoken like a true Gentleman. Or something to that effect. Either way, I don't think Pen will change his ways unless a massive influx of commentators say they want it gone.


...You do realize they are now off the train, right?

In other news, I probably missed things this chapter (I blame SAT/ACT two weeks in a row, coupled with finals). You can blame someone for that, and it'll probably be fixed eventually. I will also likely break under Pen's future editor-abuse tolerance test (a.k.a. Chapter 11), but hopefully I'll last long enough that Pen can launch. We'll see.

P.S.: also trying to force Pen to write more Virgin Mares. Success is variable.

Obeying some universal law of dramatics, an errant wheel rolled off to come to rest against the remains of a stall that once sold horseapples.

Wheelduck says, Why Biff, what a suprise to see you here. :pinkiegasp:

If Butler is beng the Instant Dragon Additive, then who is the little toerag who thinks hes Marvin?Well, hopefully they are now serioulsy paranoid.

Iron Will vs Iron Horse. Dash and Pinkie want to seel tickets? :eeyup:

Chocking the fire, really impressive, I was thinking Derpy might have designed the engine, but not pointing out that the whistle melted, was melted, but otherwise releases boiler pressure, there should be a weighted or sprung safety valve, again either melted and meltable or magically protected, and then theres the steam dome itself, depends on how well built and magically sealed the steam chests are. Or, dump dough or material down the funnel. The fire draught depends on teh steam blast passing by, and its away from the fire. I just wish I couldve remmeberd this several chapters ago, instead of after the fact. It makes me look even dumber than I am. Sorry. :pinkiesad2:

Ok, in that case, I use the quote that shall not be quoted.

At least things cant get any worse now. :trixieshiftleft:

It is Monday afternoon and I am riding a giant dragon. I wonder if anyone at the gentleman's club, other than possibly Ms. Pinkie Pie, would ever believe me?

Pinkie Pie isn't a member of the Junior Ganymede is she? What a stimulating yet terrifying thought.

Anyway, this continues in its marvellous Wodehousian vein, filtered through Ian Fleming as it is.

You know, this story needs some political gaffes to really bring a touch of disbelief to it. Could you arrange a state visit from the Duke of Edinburgh? The man who upon accepting a figurine from a woman in Kenya was recorded as saying "You are a woman aren't you?" I can only imagine the effect his Highness would have on the diarchy.

Edit: even more appropriate was the following quote from his royal Highness:
if it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.
Edit Edit: and doubly so this: to a pony diplomat who has been touring France, just as he said to a British student touring Papa New Guinea, "You managed not to get eaten then?"


Finally! Fillydelphia! Now, onto the mystery of... You know what, to hell with the mystery! STRIKE UP THE BAND AND THE PARADE!


*looks at 1KVM chapter 9*

...uh. I guess hoping it would write itself was a little too much, huh?

*Totally not ditching duties to write an entirely new story. Again. Totally.*

good chapter, is good to see you back. on another note any chance on a new chapter of any of your other fics?

I found the chapter funny. BTW, will we see a chapter of King of the Night soon?

Uh... your hooves just vomited all over the fire,

Probably the best line I have ever seen.

Congratulations, good sir. Now, all we need is for King Sombra to turn out to be Butler's apprentice who turned evil. After all, where else could Sombra have learned all the skills necessary to be able to nearly outwit a genius pony born a thousand years after he was, based only on traps that he had made just in case he was banished from the city.

That would imply that the only reason that Sombra conquered the empire was to get Celestia's attention so that he could demonstrate his skills, flash, and panache in order to secure his own appointment as the royal butler.




"Can we do that again?" She asked, leaning down my forehead to peer into my eyes.

"On the moon, after I banish all trains there,"

Couldn't stop giggling for a while as I got the mental image of the moon covered in train tracks and Luna with a conductor's hat just riding in the font of the train.

5378516 Butler!Sombra

Write this. WRITE THIS NOW.

What, and draw comparisons to your Butler? I think not; despite the subjects I typically write about, I am not, in fact, a fan of setting myself up to disappoint others. And I can guarantee that anyone who reads my depiction of a butler after reading yours will be very much disappointed, Sombra or no Sombra.

Plus, I should really finish some of this other stuff first, before I take on any more projects.

I had put off this story for some time now, but after seeing it featured the third time (I think) I decided to give it a shot. And sweet Celestia did it catch me by surprise with its greatness. I could not stop reading before the reading was stopped by the inevitable end of the story that is still incomplete, so I am now eagerly waiting for continuation for this.

Enough words, more sleep, bai for now. (2am)

I wanna see a picture of Iron Will punching a train. It is too good to pass up.

And he agreed to be a dragons treasure, yup Celly will love having that rubbed in her face.

5379131 or suuplexing, suplexing also works

It's about time the train drama came to an end. Now there's just the issue of all the mares who applied to be part of the maid staff that Sunrise/Celestia oh so loathes. Hopefully we'll get to what happened with Butler's fear of losing the princesses soon too.

Ok, I know this discussion is old but, I'm pretty sure that the Butler is ageless now...
Too many sentences hinting at that.
Also...nice chapter.

For the epicness.

5379131 I'd rather see him suplex a train.:trollestia:


It's not like it's unheard of.

5378427 Well, to be fair, the trap was set to trap anypony who came along looking for the heart in their worst fear.

It's actually quite a good trap, as the overwhelming majority of people would find themselves utterly crippled in a dreamworld consisting entirely of their deepest fears.

What WAS stupid about that whole thing was that the heart was just sitting there atop the castle... where any pegasus could have flown up and gotten it without having to go through the trap in the first place.

Kinda like the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns goes through all the ID scans and codes to get to the shutoff for the power plant, and finds the room has a broken screen door opening directly outside. :rainbowlaugh:

Just one question... they could not disengage the wagon/cart of the train? that or maybe wait as they are alone and let the Princess stop it with the Alicorn Magic before shrink themselves again...

Crap, just realized that the whole 'Flowers that show you your worst fear' would be right up Sombra's alley. He very well could be the villain of this piece :pinkiegasp: .

I do believe that I have yet to finish a chapter of this story without erupting in raucous laughter! :rainbowlaugh:

Tis a mighty power you wield to forge such masterful comedy.

5380105 Or anypony trained in Dark Magic who happens to know that or a similar spell.

Sombra got blowed up good in this story's canon too. There's been nothing in the story to hint that he somehow did a T-1000 and pulled his parts together like liquid evil or something.

Not to mention, this has the hallmarks of a gang of conspirators and Sombra worked alone. Plus, would anyone trust a psychotic snarling maniac enough to work with him. We are dealing with someone or some group very good at strategy as well as magic. Had Butler's group not possessed the magic and skills they did, the train crash WOULD have happened.

Now, the question remains: Did the assassins know the Princesses were on board, or was there another target in mind? Was Butler, in fact, the target? Given the animosity shown him by nobles early on in the story, that is certainly a sensible avenue of theory.

Oh, I totally forgot about this...

*points at Red Heart accusingly* U IZ A CHERNGELERNG!!!! ERMAHGERD!!! :flutterrage:

I'm still wondering what Butler even is, assuming he's not just a seemingly immortal human.

And, just because it was brought up this chapter, maybe he's actually a dovahkin.

Villains are infamous for being able to come back from the dead, especially in children's cartoons where no one ever actually 'dies'.
Besides, if the IDW comics are canon, and the 'Mirror World' Good King Sombra was alive and kicking in spite of Sombra's 'destruction', then there's every possibility that the evil one had a way of escaping death. After all, what happened to one, happened to the other, so one can't die without the other dying. Plus, given his obsession with back up plans and just in cases, it wouldn't have been beyond Sombra to plan even for his absolute defeat.
As for why the change in his way of doing things now, and why anyone would work for him? After his last defeat, his best bet at staying alive would, in fact, to stay 'dead': Manipulating others behind the scenes behind an alias to do his dirty work for him (Such as Prince Blueblood and his cabal) would ensure that, even if things fall through, he'd be in no danger himself, and could simply find another group of patsies, and strike again. And again. In all sincerity, it would in no way surprise me if Blueblood's butler turned out to be King Sombra in disguise. Illusion spells can't be that difficult to manage, right?

5380354 Eh... I think the IDW comics are parallel canon.

In any case, the Mirror World setup was... weird. It was as if the worlds had somehow become quantum-entangled... sort of... but only pertaining to physical harm... despite the fact that they were 'opposites'...

It was just a weird twist on the parallel universe thing and I don't think it worked well, as it seemed to contradict itself on the mere basis that the connection was so severely restricted into a very plot-convenient scope.

If the connection was so strong, why couldn't they have influenced each others minds? Why were only the injuries transmitted?

It didn't make sense within its own framework, which means the entire concept became untenable.

Just realized, we've seen nearly every pony on the cover image, save one: The Great And Powerful Trixie. Can't wait 'til she shows up: If there was ever a pony who could play the tsundere role, it's her.

:rainbowhuh: :rainbowderp:
...that moment when you reinspect the story's cover art and only *just* notice that Red Heart is very clearly a changeling...

Then again, I appreciated the reveal all the more for not noticing.


5381041 I take pride in noticing beforehand. Of course it took a lot of joy out of the reveal.

Being observant has its downsides.

Too many puns....I feel like the story is losing track of itself. Jokes and funny situations should flow naturally, not hit us over the head every paragraph. I think the earlier chapters had better pacing for example.

Hey, I liked this chapter a lot!

Totally not because I love dragons and want to pretend that you're borrowing my dragon headcannon.

Anyways, good the see more chapters showing up on some of my favorite stories!

What I really enjoyed? The big red button and Luna's response. She is friggen adorable as a filly. I friggen swear she is.

Dovahspeak must become the canon language of all dragons.

I'm gonna be blunt. You very nearly dragged this whole train sequence on too long.

Well, there are several more characters sharing the same space at the moment; said space being a runaway train, no less.

I felt like the more frantic pacing of things lent itself well to the immediate peril everypony is in. Helped keep things feeling "hurried", so to speak, through multiple chapters.

"Do you even read my Hearthswarming wish-list?!"

he might just be "one Hell of a butler."

"That... depends," Red Heart said, seeming to hesitate a little. She gave us an appraising look as if considering us carefully. She finally gave a resigned little sigh. Her eyes, on the contrary, twinkled with mischief befitting a lord of chaos or a tax pony. "Can you all be a darling and promise to help guard my little secret?" She asked, placing the tips of her hooves together while giving us all the most beseeching smile I had ever seen on a pony other than my princesses.

She a changeling!

  "Do you even read my Hearthswarming wish-list?!"

Dragon, changeling, minotaur, griffin, and Derpy's destructive rump all working in under the same roof? This is gonna be very, very fun

What did Garnet say when her translator gem broke? Sorry, I don't speak Skyrim...or any Elder Scrolls lingo for that matter...

Oh my... I'm only two chapters in and I've already laughed out loud three or four times.
This is glorious.

I believe that's "one hell of a butler."


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