• Published 13th Oct 2014
  • 3,622 Views, 119 Comments

Trans-Cosmic - Radiant Dawn

When two universes collide in a not-so-hypothetical scenario, what will happen to the people within them? Will mankind perish, or will new friends and allies emerge amongst the chaos?

  • ...

Chapter 4

Author's Note:

Okay for this story, be ready for a very large change of personality traditionally portrayed for a character. Just read, don't complain.

The recuperation I received from my short nap was much-needed, and I felt magnitudes better. True that I wasn't feeling as exhausted as the dimension-traveled ponies probably did, but rest was good for me all the same. The adrenaline crash had hit me extra hard once we arrived at the cabin, and it was all I could do to not collapse as soon as I opened the door. Still, I was pleased I managed to save yet another life. At this rate, I should have become a doctor.

Of course, with the way the world is headed at the moment, the pay probably isn't that great.

I stretched as I woke, groaning deeply and popping a few joints. My right foot met Bailey's warm body and I opened my eyes to quickly survey the room. Vinyl and Octavia were settled on the floor, with the former wide awake and the latter comfortably laying her head in the other's lap, while Celestia still slept to recover. I was pleased to see that the alicorn had stopped shivering, but reminded myself that the danger was not necessarily over yet. We would need to keep an eye on her for any possible complications, as I was unsure just how differently a pony's body would react to trauma.

Vinyl glanced to me as I woke up, and smiled. "Welcome back, Alex. Feel any better?"

I stood and arched my back before nodding with a yawn. "Much, thank you. How about you?"

Vinyl looked to her partner and smiled. "I'm okay at the moment. Tavi was exhausted, so I told her I'd take first watch." She shrugged before looking back to me. "I was a DJ back in Equestria, so I'm used to late nights."

I nodded, finding it pretty cool that I knew a real-life DJ. "That's alright I guess. Still, don't push yourself. You're still healing after all, and it won't do any good to let your health decline just because you're trying to be nice."

Vinyl shook her head, still smiling. "You don't know Tavi all that well yet, but she's a worrier. She's been wound tight the entire time we've been here, and probably for the previous few years as well. It seems only with our safety secured and finding Princess Celestia that she's finally allowed herself to relax a little."

I nodded absently, thinking about some of the things I'd heard the ponies say. It was then that I realized now would be a great time to get some questions answered, and Vinyl hadn't exactly seemed all that secretive.

"Do you mind if I ask you a few questions, Vinyl?" I questioned softly, taking care not to wake the other two sleeping occupants. "I realize that I don't exactly know much about what's going on or about ponies in general, and as they say, 'knowledge is power'."

Vinyl smirked at the silly phrase. "And who are 'they'?"

I shrugged, returning the smirk. "Schoolhouse Rock." Vinyl nodded briefly before raising her hand for me to continue, so I did. "Well, you all seemed rather well-prepared for all this, so-"

"We've known this was going to happen for about five years now." Vinyl interrupted, answering my unfinished question. She glanced to the sleeping alicorn and sighed. "Each of the princesses have special abilities granted to them upon birth -- or ascension, in Princess Twilight's case -- that allows them to further guide Equestria to become prosperous; that's why all alicorns are automatically royalty, because honestly, it's like they were created to rule." She raised a finger to point at Celestia, whose nose wiggled briefly as she sneezed in her sleep. "Celestia is a weapon master that's able to use any weapon, no matter its origin or design, with amazing efficiency. Beyond that, she has the ability to evoke a calm feeling in others simply by being in the same room." Vinyl chuckled softly and shook her head. "And I know the two abilities seem to contradict each other, but think about it: if she can't maintain peace by diplomatic means, she's able to fight for her people's safety."

I nodded in understanding, despite how insane it all sounded. "That's...useful."

Vinyl nodded back to me before turning her attention to the pony resting in her lap and stroking her hair again. "Princess Luna has the advantage of what she calls 'dual sight', which allows her to simultaneously view a situation or problem two different ways, to literally have another point of view on hand at any time. It makes her a brilliant strategist, and it's that ability that allowed Equestria to stay at peace with itself and the other nations, since she's capable of not only seeing the obvious, but everything that's possible or veiled. She also has a natural aptitude for any magic that heals or helps others, allowing her to teach our doctors and nurses to better assist the ill." Vinyl sighed briefly, a pained expression crossing her face. "The only downside is that along with having another voice in her head, she's extremely empathetic, meaning that she's more strongly affected by the pain her people experience."

"Princess Luna sound like a good person, though." I commented, already liking the other princess.

Vinyl smiled to me before continuing her explanation. "Next is Princess Cadence of the Crystal Empire, and she's known far and wide as the undisputed Princess of Love. Her powers are focused not on warfare or saving lives, but rather in allowing others to find love, or rekindle love that's begun to fade. Families have come back together because of her, and more instances of 'true love' have happened with her assistance than anypony can count. Also," she began, chuckling once, "I don't know if it counts, but she's a really good fiction writer, too."

Vinyl then finally looked to me. "Last but certainly not least is Princess Twilight Sparkle, who was ascended from a unicorn to an alicorn only six or so years ago. She's not just talented, but gifted in all forms of magic and spellcraft, and many of the modern spells we have today were either written or improved by her." Her smile fell away as she looked back to the pony sleeping on her. "Princess Twilight has another ability though -- the ability of enhanced sight. I don't mean that in the normal sense, but rather she's able to catch glimpses of the past, possible futures, and even other realities."

I nodded in understanding as the pieces began to come together. "So it was because of this Princess Twilight that you ponies were able to see what was coming."

Vinyl nodded, sighing sadly as she did so. "Yeah. The first time she saw it, she was convinced her vision was a false premonition...but then she had it again, and again, and again..." She shook her head, glancing to me with sad eyes. "It was rough on her to say the least, but upon catching a glimpse of your world for the first time, her fears were confirmed. While the other princesses tried to convince her this whole event was only a possibility, Princess Twilight was adamant that it was an eventuality instead -- that it would happen. So, much to many ponies' worry, she spent the next four years preparing us for what was to come. We strengthened our bodies, our minds, and our hearts to be able to better survive in an unknown world."

"I doubt it was easy knowing what was coming, though." I muttered, the full enormity of the situation hitting me for the first time. "I'm sure there were mass panics, and ponies probably didn't take to well to being told they might never see their friends and family again."

Vinyl nodded, taking a deep, shaky breath to steady herself as the memories seemed to overcome her for a moment. "It was...it was really hard, I'm not gonna lie. The worst part was that we had no idea who would be sent here and who would be staying, so Princess Twilight's advice was to say our goodbyes as if we weren't going to see each other again. Besides the obvious shock of the transition alone, a lot of ponies could have ended up in the middle of a desert or at the bottom of the ocean. Also," she pointed to her spiraled, white horn, "magic won't work for us for at least a few weeks, and then, only weak spells."

I snorted a laugh dryly and shook my head. "Still having some trouble grasping the whole 'magic' thing, but I guess that'll come with time."

"So you're not planning on kicking us out when we're all better?" Vinyl asked, and though it was clearly meant to be joking, I could detect a hint of worry in her voice.

I shook my head with a smile. "Of course not. We have to stick together in this, so you all are welcome to stay as long as you need or want to." I then glanced to the position of the two ponies and pointed to Octavia. "So how did you two meet?"

"Oh stars," Vinyl breathed out, rolling her crimson eyes to the ceiling as she thought, "I can't remember a time when I didn't know her. We grew up together as fillies, and we stayed friends all throughout our school years. When we moved away from home to pursue our music careers, we became roommates." My look of confusion prompted Vinyl to add, "Oh, Tavi's the first chair cellist of the Royal Symphony, and yes, that's just as important as it sounds."

I nodded, finding it oddly satisfying that the two seemed so close. "And you?"

Vinyl grinned. "I'm just your average DJ/nerd/gamer pony, nothing more." Her smile diminished as she looked to Octavia. "Tavi pulled me out of a really dark place in my life; I owe her everything." I didn't push further into personal questions, as I still didn't know my new guests all that well yet, so it would be impolite to ask. Still, it seemed the two ponies had bonded quite strongly over the years because of shared experiences, which was something I could definitely relate to.

Moaning off to the side caught our attention, and we looked to see Celestia shuffling underneath the blankets as a few beads of sweat began to appear on her forehead.

"I had a feeling she had caught an infection, but her fever's breaking, which is good." Vinyl whispered, gesturing with a hand to Celestia. "Get those blankets off of her; it's warm enough in here now that the fire should be enough."

I nodded before stepping over the extended legs of Octavia and pulling all the blankets off of the slumbering alicorn. Upon removal of the last covering, Celestia stopped fidgeting, and her face relaxed into a more peaceful expression. I did my best not to stare at the half-naked torso that was physically a very similar match for a human woman's, and tossed the blankets onto the chair I had slept in before making my way over to the equipment we had brought with us and beginning to unpack it.

The sun had risen, and I was pleased to find the solar panels on the roof of the cabin was still functional, which meant we had enough electricity to power a few minor things until the batteries charged, specifically, the coffee-maker.

I stood with a hot cup of black coffee out in front of the cabin, looking to the right to see the forest spread out before me over the cliffside a few hundred feet away. It was a truly beautiful sight, and it worked to all but eliminate the tension in my mind, body, and soul. There was still the stress about the fact I didn't know what to do other than the abstract idea of "survive", but I knew a stress-free life was impossible at this point. Things could have turned out much worse though, so I counted my blessings.

Bailey was barking and chasing some of the birds that were foraging in the morning, which I couldn't help but smile at. I suppose the small things were what was going to keep me going through all this. I just hoped that I wouldn't be the only one of my family or friends to show up at the cabin.

"Hey Alex, Octavia's awake now so...whoa." I heard Vinyl speak from behind me.

I remained looking out over the snowy landscape, smiling softly. "There's a whole lot that's going to be difficult in the coming months and years, but it's nice to know there still natural beauty out there." I turned to face the unicorn, nodding to her. "So what's up?"

Vinyl stared blankly for another moment or two before shaking her head and looking to me. "Um, r-right. Anyway, Octavia's awake now, so she's going to take watch over the princess while I shower and get some shuteye."

I nodded, but pointed to the dark-colored clothes I had found her in, which she was still wearing. "Do you have any other clothes though? Forgive me being direct, but those can't still be clean after you wearing them for two days straight."

Vinyl frowned and looked down at the stained clothing. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I created it before the merge began using magic, and I only had a choice between white or black." She shrugged, looking back to me. "Tavi brought a subbie with her, so I'll just get some of my clothes out so-"

"Subbie?" I snarked with a grin. "Look, I'm all for open expressions of love, but maybe you might want to keep some stuff private."

Vinyl mouthed the last word in my sentence before her eyes widened and her face began to flush. "N-no no, not like that! A 'subbie' is a subspace bag that's created using magic and spider's silk." She then shoved me and chuckled. "Perv."

I laughed for a few more moments before calling Bailey over and heading with Vinyl back inside. "So subspace, hm? I've seen that kind of stuff in movies; never imagined I'd live long enough to see it exist." I then shrugged. "Then again I never expected something like a reality-merge happening either."

"Life's crazy like that, yeah?" Vinyl quipped with a grin.

I nodded, closing the door behind me as the warmth of the cabin suffused me. I took another sip of my coffee before making my way to the kitchen...only to find a certain gray pony already there.

Octavia turned to me from the electric range (which was thankfully receiving enough power to work). "Good morning Vinyl, Alex. Would the two of you like some breakfast?"

I sniffed the air and raised an eyebrow. "Okay...I know I had some corned beef hash in the cupboard, but," I glanced at the pan on the stove, "why are yo cooking so much of it?"

Vinyl looked to me with a deadpan expression. "To eat it; what else?"

"Ponies are vegetarians." I pointed out, still not quite understanding.

Vinyl's eyebrow climbed up her face. "Says who?" Vinyl then opened her mouth extra wide, and for the first time, I saw very clearly that her dental structure -- while including a few extra rear teeth for her larger jaw structure -- was nearly an exact match for a human's, including canines. She then closed her mouth and smirked at me. "We're not from Earth, Alex. We might have evolved from herbivores, but we became omnivorous through time to allow us to better survive. After all, it's easier to find food to eat if you aren't limited to just plants." Vinyl shrugged, taking a seat at the table to one side of the kitchen area. "That said, we can't eat things like grass or hay, but then again we don't really need to, do we?"

"Any inherent biological allergies?" I asked, curious as to just how similar Equestrian ponies were to humans.

Vinyl cradled her chin in her hand for a moment. "Umm...not that I can think of off the top of my head. If it comes to a point where something that's edible to you is inedible to us, I'll let you know."

I still thought it was pretty strange that ponies -- an herbivorous race, at least on Earth -- were able to eat meat, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it was a minor issue. Besides, I had a feeling things were going to get a lot weirder before any sense of normality would settle in.

I took my seat at the other end of the small table just as Octavia began dishing up and waited patiently as the breakfast was brought to the table. I was pleased to see a nice meal of corned beef hash, powdered eggs (no longer dried, of course), and some toast. Although I hadn't thought to bring the loaf of bread I'd had in my pantry, it appeared one of the ponies had, which I was now thankful for.

"So," Octavia began as she took her own place beside Vinyl, "what are the plans for today?"

I took a few bites of the steaming breakfast before clearing my mouth and answering, "Well, we're going to need more wood to keep this place warm, and the food we have isn't going to last forever either, so we'll have to set up traps and hunt if we want to survive the winter. I'll show you both how to do that since there isn't much we're going to be able to grow for at least another few months." I glanced at the cupboards, which were now full with food brought from my home. "If we're careful the food we have could last the entire winter, but I don't want to rely on that."

"So what are we gonna do then?" Vinyl asked, her ears perking (that's going to take some getting used to).

I pointed toward the back door, which neither of them had been curious enough to explore yet. "Out back is an insulated greenhouse that'll allow me to grow us food. I have seeds stowed away in my bag, so we'll start growing after I'm sure our injured friend is better. If we do things right, we can continue to grow some small plants repeatedly to feed us until I can get a good rotation of crops going."

Vinyl raised an eyebrow at me, unconvinced. "Not to rain on your parade or anything Alex, but we didn't bring that much food with us. I'm not sure-"

"Did you check the storeroom yet?" I replied with a smile. I motioned toward the far wall of the cabin, which had another door the others hadn't checked yet. "I restock all dry goods here every three months, just in case something like this were to happen. We'll have plenty; trust me."

Vinyl stared at me for a few moments before commenting, "Y'know, in any other situation I'd say you were really paranoid."

"Well then," I began, doing my best not to shovel the surprisingly-tasty food in my mouth like a savage, "I suppose it's a good thing this merge is happening, otherwise I'd just be another crazy guy."

"You still are," Vinyl replied smugly, "you just happen to be right this time."

I nodded with pursed lips. "Okay, okay. Don't worry, I'll get you soon." Vinyl only grinned mischievously back at me, so we went back to silently eating. After a few seconds of no talking, I felt the need to attempt to bond once again with the two ponies at the table, so I randomly threw out, "So how long have you two been together?"

Both ponies had the exact same reaction, which consisted of them inhaling, and thus choking on their food. Almost simultaneously, they reached behind each other's backs and gave a few slaps to dislodge the food they had attempted to breathe, which only left me confused, but also laughing.

After a few moments of sputtering and coughing up food, Octavia composed herself enough to squeak out, "W-we're not-- I mean, it's not like-- she's not..."

"We're not special someponies with each other!" Vinyl answered loudly, wheezing at the end as she continued coughing.

I furrowed my brow, but stood to give both ponies a firm slap on the back to further assist the process of them coughing up a lung or two. "Well, besides the fact that 'special someponies' is just about the cutsie-est word I've ever heard, do you mean to say that the two of you aren't dating?"

Both mares nodded rapidly and simultaneously squeaked out, "Yes!"

I stepped away from them, holding my hands up in a helpless gesture and shrugging. "Sorry. I just thought because of how close the two of you were..."

The two eventually got their breathing under control and Vinyl answered, "W-well we're not! She's like my sister, dude; that's weird!"

Octavia's breathing had slowed to a more manageable level, and she glanced to me briefly before adding, "It's true we're much closer than most friends would be, but that is only because of how long we have known each other and how much we have endured together." She then glanced her "just friend" (I'm still not entirely convinced, at this point) and shrugged. "To Alex's credit though, we are quite affectionate; I can understand how he would assume we were more than close friends."

Vinyl's face began to slowly color pink as she mumbled, "W-we're just...comfortable with each other. There's nothing wrong with that."

Octavia reached over to her friend and rubbed Vinyl's shoulder affectionately. "Of course there isn't Vinyl -- it's one of the things I love the most about us -- but you must admit that from an outside observer, certain conclusions can be drawn, regardless of how inaccurate they are." She then glanced to me with a smile. "Vinyl and I are as close as the most loving platonic sisters, but nothing more."

I nodded with a click of my tongue. "Ah, well that explains things a bit better. Sorry if I offended."

Vinyl composed herself and waved a hand weakly at me. "Nah, it's cool. It's not the first time someone has gotten the wrong idea about us, and it won't be the last. At least you didn't ask if you could watch or something."

It was then that my mouth worked faster than my head.

"Well, if you're offering..." I blurted, literally facepalming the exact second after the words left my mouth. A few moments of awkward silence followed until I amended with, "Can we all forget I just said that exceedingly stupid thing?"

I still hadn't removed the palm-'o-shame from my face, so I was quite surprised when I heard snorts of laughter and giggles coming from the two ponies at the table, and I opened my eyes to see that instead of scowling, the two were laughing. It's true that faint blushes were visible on their cheeks, but both Octavia and Vinyl were laughing, which was both worrying and comforting at the same time...somehow.

"Ah-Ale-l-lex," Vinyl choppily wheezed out as her laughter tapered off, "i-it's cool, really."

Octavia had reigned in her giggles much quicker, and was looking at me with an amused, but calm smile. "It's also not the first time such a thing has been said to us, and yet again, it will not be the last." Her warm smile then morphed into something a little more mischievous as she added, "Besides, being flirted with by an entirely new species is an accomplishment, I think."

"Buck yeah! What else ya got, Alex? Lay it on thick and creamy!" Vinyl injected with a batting of her long eyelashes.

I could only assume that for whatever reason "buck" was being used in lieu of "fuck". Her latter comment almost had me in stitches, but I kept from laughing somehow, instead suddenly feeling like my head would explode...but in a good way.

"Thick and creamy." I repeated, my smile twitching from the desire to erupt into guffaws. "Nice." Just as Vinyl was about to respond, we all heard a pained moan from the family room, so we quickly rose from the table and made our way to the injured cabin occupant.

Celestia was wrapped in her own wings as she held her face in a pained grimace, as if she were...

"She's having a nightmare." Octavia muttered with a frown.

I nodded as we watched Celestia carefully to be sure she didn't hurt herself. Luckily she seemed incapable or unwilling to move very much, but the random mutterings of "Luna" and "Twilight" tore at all our hearts, I think. Even without having the alicorn's life story, it was clear to me just by her feverish cries that the two other princesses meant a lot to her, and it was a safe assumption she had been separated from them, since she had been alone when we met.

Suddenly -- and I'm still not sure why -- I had an idea. I brought my right hand up to my face and marveled at the golden, scintillating band around my arm. After a moment's thought, I reached a hand out to the white, spiraled horn of the princess and closed my eyes as the band began glowing even brighter. A brief flash of intense light and a faint *fwoosh* sound accompanied the feeling of the bracelet leaving my wrist, and when I opened my eyes I noticed a small golden ring now resided at the base of the white horn.

"Whoa..." Vinyl whispered from beside me. The three of us watched as Celestia's grimace settled into a far more peaceful expression, and she let out a soft sigh of what could only be relief as her body ceased its movement.

"It appears what we've heard is at least partly true: the Solar Spear is literally a part of Princess Celestia." Octavia murmured before turning her gaze my way. "How did you know to do that?"

I could see the amethyst eyes focused on me, but kept my sight on the calmly sleeping alicorn before us. "I don't know, exactly. Suddenly I just felt a pull toward her, and I reacted."

"The spear was calling to her." Vinyl cryptically explained (as much of an oxymoron as that is). Suddenly a loud grumble issued forth from Celestia's stomach, causing Vinyl to giggle briefly as the alicorn's eyes began to twitch.

A few more moments of tension passed before Celestia's tongue darted out to wet her lips, and she fluttered her eyes open. For a brief moment fear washed over her face when she saw me, but upon noticing Octavia and Vinyl, her features calmed and she released a soft breath.

"Water." Celestia whispered before raising her armored arms. "And help me get this gear off."

Vinyl left the room before I could offer to get the water, which left Octavia and me to shrug to each other before reaching forward to begin unbuckling and removing the rest of the armor.

"I didn't want to undress you more than necessary." I uttered, trying to explain the reason why Celestia found herself still clad in armor.

The alicorn shook her head weakly and smiled in an almost mischievous manner as her eyes closed again. "You will not be the first or last to see my bare fur, and a doctor does not apologize for treating a patient. Besides, if you truly wished for me to rest comfortably, you would have removed it anyway."

"I'm not a doctor," I answered with an embarrassed chuckle, "and I just didn't want to disrespect royalty by accidentally catching sight of something intimate and private." I caught sight of a bright shape out of the corner of my eye as I began to pull off the cuisse and added, "A tattoo, for example."

Celestia's eyes opened and she again weakly shook her head. "It's called a 'life mark', and all ponies of age have one on each hip." She grimaced as her left arm movement stretched the stitching on her side, but tapped her other hip. "There's an exact match on this side as well, and while it is considered intimate for most ponies, I have lived long enough that modesty is merely something I practice for the comfort of others."

"Here's your water, princess." Vinyl called from just behind me, so I shifted to allow her room to get closer.

Celestia lifted her arms in a silent plead for help, so Octavia and I gently and slowly pulled her to a more elevated position so that she could grasp the cup in her hands. She pulled the gauntlets she still wore off of her hands before taking the cup with a nod of thanks and drinking greedily, releasing a sigh of relief afterward.

"How does my chestguard look?" Celestia croaked out, coughing with a wince.

I glanced to the corner of the room where the dented armor lay. "It's a little banged up, but it's still in one piece."

She nodded before looking where I had gestured. "I see...throw it in the fire, if you please."

I raised an eyebrow as I looked to the armor in the corner. "You want me to toss that armor in the fire? Why?"

Celestia rolled her eyes, though I could tell the motion was half-hearted. "It's an alloy of solar obsidian and lunar steel over dragon scales, and it's enchanted to self-maintain in the presence of extreme heat by using the energy to replicate the armor molecules and return to its original shape." At my confused expression Celestia added, "And I realize you don't have any of those naturally-occurring on Earth, but just trust me and do as I say."

I shrugged before leaving Octavia to finish removing the leg armor and fetching the chest armor in the corner of the room. With a moment's consideration, I strode over to the fire and tossed the armor right on top of the crackling logs, placing my trust in the assumption that the alicorn knew what she was talking about concerning her own armor.

"Now," Celestia began, her voice a bit stronger and smoother now that she'd had some water and was more aware, "who tended to my wound?"

I raised my hand as I approached the princess again, attempting (and failing) not to stare at the first nearly-nude pony body I'd seen thus far, since Celestia was currently only clothed in modest underwear. Vinyl and Octavia were still dressed in their dark, concealing clothes, so I hadn't gotten a good look at what a pony's body looked like. N-not that I'd purposefully been trying to catch a glimpse of naked ponies...who were strangely humanoid...

I'll shut up now.

Celestia nodded to me and smiled faintly. "Thank you for your assistance, Alex. I will be on the mend and under the weather for a short time, but due to your quick thinking and assistance, I am safe and sheltered, and for that I am grateful." She then crossed her eyes as he tried to look up to the horn on her forehead. "And thank you for returning Karyll'a to me; I apologize if she was a bit clingy."

It didn't take much thought to determine who "Karyll'a" was, so I nodded as I glanced to the gold ring at the base of Celestia's horn. "You're welcome. I'll admit that I was a little surprised when it-"

"She." Celestia corrected.

I stared at the alicorn for a moment before nodding slowly. "O-kay, I was surprised when she jumped onto my wrist, but I knew I couldn't leave her behind."

Celestia nodded once again, her smile growing as she reached a finger up to touch the shining ring. "And I thank you for that. Her and I have been together for quite some time, so I would deeply mourn the loss."

I nodded absently before taking a seat on the far arm of the sofa. "Well, I'm glad I could assist. Still, I'm a little surprised to see you awake so soon; I was expecting another day, at least."

"And deny you the chance to undress royalty? Perish the thought, Alex." Celestia commented with a grin. Vinyl raised an eyebrow at her which prompted a curious, "What?"

Vinyl fidgeted for a moment before answering, "You're not really what I expected, princess. We met at the wedding of Cadence and Shining Armor, and you were...different."

Celestia nodded. "I was indeed. You see, I was a princess then, and a ruler of all of Equestria. Now, I am just Celestia -- nothing more. I know you and Octavia will likely continue to call me princess merely on principle, but that is not who I am anymore, and I may never be that again." She then smiled faintly, and I watched as her entire body seemed to relax just a hair. "It's liberating, in a way, to know that I no longer need to do things or act in ways that are contrary to my nature. I get to be me again, and I can't tell you how good that feels."

Octavia took the empty cup from Celestia, shaking her head rapidly. "No, you're still our princess and when this is all over you'll-"

"I'll what?" Celestia spat with a glare. "I'll just shrug my shoulders, put the crown back on and again spend my life, day in day out, listening to whiny nobles complain all day?" She shook her head, the motion strong enough to fling her multicolored locks around. "No, I will not. The only reason I ever took up the crown was because Luna was too young, and then I kept it because Luna was banished after our battle. Luna was always the nurturing and loving one, and I've already spoken to her about this before the merge. She is more than capable of guiding our people with Twilight's help because that's who she is. I am a warrior, not a princess -- I never was -- and I'll be damned if I will chain myself yet again simply because other ponies think that's what I should do." Again she shook her head. "There are many I love and many I have nurtured, but having to hide and beat down who I am every day makes me die a little more each time I must do it. When the gryphons rose to conquer Equestria, I signed a treaty when I should have instead removed the head of their pompous warlord and mounted it on a spear. When Chrysalis attempted to overtake Canterlot, I held back to keep from killing her when I should have vaporized her on the spot."

"P-princess..." Octavia breathed in surprise, while I simply let the alicorn vent her frustration.

Celestia pushed herself to sit up straighter, wincing as she did so but completing the action nonetheless. "The stories foals tell about me are nearly completely accurate. I was a champion for my people who was so mighty even dragons dared not set foot in Equestria beyond the mountains. I took up the crown because ponies needed a leader -- they needed somepony who could guide them as what would become Equestria began to grow -- but they have great ponies to lead them now, and I refuse to live a lie any longer."

"B-but Equestria has been at peace for hundreds of years because of you!" Octavia countered, tears collecting in the corners of her eyes.

Celestia nodded firmly. "Indeed it has, but at what cost? Do you have any idea what it was like to tell the thousands of families that lost loved ones to the gryphons that 'it's okay now; this won't happen again'? Can you imagine the betrayal in the eyes of those ponies when they learned that I valued safety more than justice?" Realizing that she had raised her voice to a near-shout, Celestia settled herself and sighed as she slumped and closed her eyes. "I love Equestria and the ponies in it, and I love what it has become thanks to my leadership, but I cannot and will not overlook injustices ever again simply because I wish to keep from upsetting small, influential groups." She then opened her eyes and looked toward the window that overlooked the wilderness. "The horrifying beasts that seek to destroy and kill humans and ponies will not be offered quarter. I will order them to cease their actions, and if they do not comply, they will die; it is that simple. I was forced to do this same act for Equestria so long ago, and I will do it once again for our two races as the worlds merge."

I raised an eyebrow at her final few statements. "We might not have wings or magic, but I'm pretty sure Earth's collective military has enough firepower to-"

"And at what cost, Alex?" Celestia questioned, staring back at me. "How many innocents would be caught in the crossfire, and what amount of useful natural resources would be expended?" Celestia held out her right had and the ring on her horn flashed brightly before the Solar Spear (or Karyll'a, as she calls it) appeared in her hand. "With one well-placed strike I can end a full-grown dragon, regardless of how powerful they are. Explain to me how your military would plan to destroy a monster that is immune to the hottest fire and is covered in scales that can be stronger than diamonds. You tell me how your military would deal with a threat that is so great, their strongest conventional weapons would only anger it."

"Nukes." I muttered without thinking, realizing afterward that I was right.

Celestia nodded solemnly. "Yes, your most destructive weapons ever created. While these 'nuclear bombs' of yours could hold the ability to end the life of a dragon, they also pollute the environment, instantly kill everything within a half-mile, and are most likely notoriously difficult and expensive to produce." She then frowned at me with a stern stare. "Face it, Alex: your kind is ill-prepared to handle the threats that Equestria poses to it. Our great beasts make yours look like common house pets."

I nodded, understanding the full severity of the situation. "But you can't do that all on your own. There's probably hundreds or thousands of exotic beasts on Earth now, and you might be pretty epic, but even you can only do so much."

Celestia nodded. "You are correct, but I do not expect to destroy all of them, and neither would I want to. Not all dragons are greedy tyrants after all," she then smirked and added, "and I'm not the only dragonslayer on this world."

I laughed and shook my head. "I don't know what you believe, but there can't be dragonslayers in a place where there have never been any dragons."

Once again, Celestia nodded, her grin widening. "True, but at least one of my elite knights has made it to Earth alive, and they can share the burden. Long ago I began training a specialized wing of the Solar Guard to combat threats to Equestria in case all other plans failed, and there are simply too many of them for none of them to arrive on Earth safely." Before I could speak further the princess said, "But we can talk more later. First, I need a good meal and then I must bathe; Octavia and Vinyl, I could use your help with the latter if you're willing."

I immediately shot down the thought of what Celestia would look like completely- DAMN IT!

"You alright over there Alex?" Vinyl asked with a bit of concern in her tone. "You just kinda...left us just now."

I nodded rapidly while clearing my throat. "Y-yeah, just fine. You all go and get Celestia some food; I'm going to take a quick shower while you do that." The two ponies nodded before making their way to the kitchen, which left Celestia and I alone.

It was quiet for a few moments before, "Some sexual release can relieve that tension, Alex." I whipped my gaze to the alicorn on the sofa, and she just stared at me expectantly. "What? It's just a suggestion."

I closed my eyes briefly before taking a deep, steady breath. "I'll be out in a bit; hold down the fort."

I really hoped no one found my stash of liquor I kept in the bedroom, otherwise this is going to be a long day.