• 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 6

There’s a strange sort of peace and serenity to a quiet snow-laden forest, as the white powder offers a sense of purity to everything around it and seems to bring out the true beauty of the landscape somehow. I’ve always enjoyed winter because of the way it made the world look, even with the often-cumbersome cold involved. It was because of this that I felt myself relaxing quite easily as I walked with Bailey around the surrounding area, scouting the land out to see if anyone was lost, or if there were any signs of unseen dangers nearby. Sure on the outside it looked like I was a hardened man ready for anything, but the truth is I was dreading that I would find something or someone besides the odd bird or small animal.

I’m definitely not some apocalyptic badass, and I make no excuses.

On the other hand, I had a badass currently staying with me -- one that slayed dragons for crissakes. Celestia was every man’s fantasy warrior princess (for those that fantasized about such things) -- or ex-princess as the case may be -- who fluidly combined a great personality with a stunning body, and the instincts of a battle-hardened elite soldier. I mean let’s face it, even though Earth’s new pony guests were technically aliens, they were similar enough in form to be attractive to the human eye, and there was a lot to stare at. Shamefully, I found myself wondering what Octavia and Vinyl looked like under all that concealing clothing.

I’m a warm-blooded man through and through, so don’t judge me.

All of that could wait for later though, as I had a job to do, no matter how unimportant it may seem to the casual observer. Knowing who and what is in your immediate area can mean the difference between life and death after all, and I had not only my own life to consider, but that of Bailey and the three ponies that were depending on me. Sure, I could complain about the pressure being forced upon me, but it wouldn’t solve anything and would only make me sound whiny.

To my immense relief, Bailey didn’t find anything or anyone nearby, but I knew that any tracks would have been covered quickly with the amount of snow that was still falling. I would have to set up a schedule to scout things out every day so that I could keep up to date with the situation of the area surrounding my new home. I didn’t mind the fact that my days would be filled with something other than work and video games since it gave me a stronger sense of accomplishment to actually be doing something important for a change, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t miss what was now officially my past life.

More worrying though was the fact that I only had half a pack of smokes left before I ran out, and it wasn’t like I was going to find any out here in the wilderness. I could readily admit that I was addicted to nicotine, and knew for a fact that I was going to be a nightmare to be around until the withdrawal ran through my system...which I knew by previous attempts could take awhile. I’d have to let my new roommates in on what was going to happen and hope they were understanding and patient enough to put up with me until it was over. I tried my hardest not to think about how much of an asshole I was going to become until the whole thing was over and done with.

With a heavy sigh, I lit up one of the few cigarettes I had left and began to make my way back to the cabin.

A good ten or so minutes later I stomped my boots before reentering the stone-and-wood home, finding the three ponies sitting around the main area of the living room. Bailey happily greeted the three with licks and happy vocalizations, and I struggled to contain my laughter at seeing Celestia receive a face full of dog tongue.

Speaking of the princess, she looked much better after a shower, not that she had looked bad before, but being clean had seemed to lift her spirits, and left her with an apparent glow about her that was very noticeable. If nothing else, the fact that these ponies were in such high spirits despite everything made me feel better.

“Welcome back, Alex.” Celestia greeted brightly, which caused the other two to look my way with equally bright smiles on their faces. “How is everything outside looking?”

“Snowy.” I deadpanned, removing my coat and boots before making my way to the sofa and slumping down in the free place that wasn’t occupied by Celestia’s hooves (it was an obnoxiously large sofa, but now its size made sense to me). “I didn’t find any evidence that there’s anyone else outside right now, but that could be just because the snowfall covered up any tracks. The good thing is that there doesn’t seem to be any sort of devastation caused by large predators, so it appears we’ll be perfectly safe here.” I shrugged, laying my head back and closing my eyes. “I’ll need to scout the area every day just to be sure, but I think it’s clear we couldn’t have picked a better spot to be.”

“The fact that there’s a drake’s carcass left out where any nearby can see it also acts as a deterrent.” Celestia commented smugly, and I didn’t have to look at her to know she was smirking confidently. “Savage though many of the beasts of Equestria are, they are aware enough to know that anything that can take down a mature dragon is to be avoided.”

I nodded lazily. “Thanks for that. I don’t know what I would have done in the face of a dragon.”

“You would have been eaten, likely.” Celestia answered dryly.

I nodded again, finding it useless to deny that fact. I mean, dragons? I could only imagine how many other not-so-mythological creatures were very real. I only hoped some of the more dangerous aspects of mythology hadn’t come to Earth, otherwise the seas could now be infested with sea monsters the size of New York City, or mountains that could uproot and attack at will.

...I’m a gamer; I’ve seen some shit, man.

Just as the worry began to rise in my chest, I felt feathers on my forearm that brought my sight to the large white wing that was attempting to comfort me. Celestia’s pink eyes bored into me as she determinedly stated, “You watch our backs, and we’ll watch yours. Together we will all protect each other, no matter what we come across.”

I then thought it prudent to bring up something that had taken up shop in the back of my mind, uncomfortable though it may be. “But you aren’t going to stay here, are you?”

Silence invaded the room, and caused the two non-alicorns to look to the winged pony hopefully. With a slow sigh and a soft shake of her head Celestia answered, “I cannot, I am sorry. There are still many out in the world who require help, and it is my duty to do all I can to safeguard our mutual futures.”

I nodded slowly, though I couldn’t restrain the disappointed frown that found its way on my face. “I expected that, I guess.” It was at that moment that I started to question just why I wanted her to stay, exactly. Sure she was good company -- and, I’ll admit, beautiful -- but I had known her for only a very short time. I had matured past petty middle-school crushes...right?

Just as Celestia opened her mouth to attempt to placate me and the other two -- who now had expressions akin to scolded puppies -- a loud and clear knock echoed from the front door, instantly putting all of us on edge. Before Bailey could bark I shushed her with a hand motion and faint hiss, unholstering my pistol and slowly approaching the door as another three knocks sounded out. With the curtains closed I had no way of knowing just who or what was knocking, so I approached cautiously as Octavia and Vinyl flanked me, muscles tense.

With a few deep breaths, I yanked the door open and brandished my pistol...only to be bowled over as a sobbing person wrapped arms around me and blinded me with silky red locks of hair.

Her scent and body structure was enough for me to answer the action with a surprised, “J-Jenna?”

Unbeknownst to me, Celestia had quietly advanced with Karyll’a drawn in the form of a golden greataxe, holding it above her head as she prepared to sweep my “attacker” aside. Instead she lowered the weapon and raised an eyebrow at me. “You know this person?”

Jenna’s head shot up in shock and terror as her jade eyes took in the ponies before her, and the massive bladed weapon that was trained on her. “O-oh no, they’re here! Alex, we need to-”

“Jenna, chill!” I shouted, stopping her terrified outburst before it began. I tightened my arms protectively around her before sitting the two of us up. “They’re cool, I promise. No one’s going to hurt you.”

Jenna still gazed warily at the ponies, only slightly comforted by my words. “B-but the radio said-”

Once again, I interrupted her with fingers to her lips and a shake of my head. “I know what the radio said, but it’s wrong. Now,” I stood, pulling her firmly up with me, “let’s get this door closed and get some hot food in you; there’s some breakfast left that I can heat up, and I’m sure that and an explanation will ease your mind.” Her fearful, skeptical gaze made it clear to me she was still unsure, so I said the one thing I knew would get her attention. “Jenna...just trust me.”

Because of the sincerity in my voice and some mutual trials we had been through together (which I won’t delve into at the moment), she immediately locked eyes with me and searched my face for any sign of deception. After a few seconds, she reluctantly nodded and made her way toward the kitchen as I closed the door behind us. I still had faith that given some time to calm down and come to terms with what was happening, Jenna would come around.

“So...you’re not going to kill us?”

Okay, so maybe I was a little disappointed in her.

Vinyl rolled her eyes with a frustrated sigh. “No, we’re not in any way going to hurt you! We didn’t want this whole thing to happen any more than you did; we’re victims just as much as all of your people are!”

“Vinyl calm down.” Octavia admonished loudly, causing the unicorn to wince and shrink away. Octavia then turned her gaze to Jenna as she explained, “We had forewarning about this event, but we are in as dire straits as your people are. We have no malicious intent; we just want to survive this and help build a new home for our people.”

Jenna stared at the three ponies for a few moments before turning to me and sighing. “This is one big clusterfuck, Alex. What the hell are we gonna do now?”

I shrugged. “Survive -- beyond that, I don’t have a clue. We’re just going to have to take this whole thing one step at a time and hope nothing completely horrendous happens.”

“Murphey’s Law.” Jenna reminded me dryly.

“Whose law?” Celestia asked in confusion.

I rubbed the bridge of my nose between my index finger and thumb as I explained, “Murphey’s Law is an unofficial and unproven universal law that states, ‘anything than can go wrong will go wrong’. Basically in this situation it means that since I’m hoping something really bad won’t happen, chances are it will.”

Celestia stared at me for a few moments. “...that’s a rather bleak outlook on life.”

I shook my head as Jenna replied, “It’s been proven time and time again that right when you’re not expecting the worst to happen is when it usually does. We just figure it’s easier to expect it and be flexible to allow for a much quicker response to negative stimuli.”

Celestia again stared at me before shrugging. “So long as it keeps you alive and happy, I suppose that’s fine then.”

While we had all said our parts to Jenna to explain the real situation, we seemed to have only briefly touched on a few things, and she found it prudent to make her desire to be educated known.

“So…” Jenna began, gesturing to the alicorn currently sat across from her at the small dining table, “you were royalty?”

Celestia shrugged, wincing as she readjusted herself to more properly address the question. “Technically speaking I still am, but I do not see it that way. I have renounced my title and crown in my own mind, and will do so formally when I can.”

Jenna, to her credit, only nodded understandingly. “I guess the royal life isn’t for everyone.”

“No,” Celestia added dryly, “it certainly is not. It has its perks to be sure -- royal consort harems, for example -- but the boring monotony far outweighs the positives. I prefer a more hands-on approach to protecting my people.”

I nodded absently as I took in what she was saying, but it seemed that all at once, my mind processed what had been said. “Wait wait wait, did you say harems?” Jenna’s eyes widened before she silently asked the same question, but with a look.

Celestia nodded to me, and just before she answered I noticed that neither Octavia nor Vinyl seemed surprised by my question, or Celestia’s words in the first place. “I am sure many a male in your world would be in heaven in a world where women outnumbered men anywhere from four- to ten-to-one, depending on the race and location. The only race in Equestria that is equal in numbers is that of dragons, and only because they can use temperature control to accurately decide the gender of a whelp growing within an egg. That being said, ponies and many others in the world have chosen to openly embrace polyamory to ensure the population remains stable and more are satisfied physically and emotionally.”

Physically satisfied...yeah, I caught that.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “I wonder how humans are going to react to that.” Jenna’s wide-eyed look of shock prompted me to explain further. “Well, it stands to reason that, given some time, we’re gonna start seeing humans with ponies-”

“Or gryphons, or thestrals, or any number of others…” Vinyl added with a smirk.

I raised an eyebrow at her, but continued nonetheless. “I predict we’re going to see a lot of people walking in Captain Kirk’s footsteps and getting some alien poon.”

Celestia erupted into laughter for a few seconds before chuckling out, “I-I don’t know who this ‘Captain K-Kirk’ is, but I like him already!”

I shrugged. “Fictional character, but there are quite a few people out in the world that won’t mind the small differences between us. In fact, quite a few of them will find it even more attractive due to the novelty of it all.”

Jenna’s slap to my shoulder brought me away from my explanation to find her narrowed eyes trained on me. “Focus, Alex.” She then glanced over the three ponies before asking, “So what exactly can we expect to happen?”

Celestia chose to answer, seeing as how she likely already had plans put in place before she was brought to Earth. “Until some sort of stability is established, not much. It is likely the many creatures of Equestria are either wreaking havoc on whatever cities they happen to be near, or are attempting to find safe havens where they can. No matter which, the bottom line is that control must be reestablished for any sort of civilized progression to begin.”

I sighed and shook my head. “People are panicking right now -- it could take weeks or even months for things to come back to some semblance of stability.”

“Only if your world’s leaders are adamant on doing everything on their own.” Celestia smugly replied. “After all, forgive any implied arrogance you might sense, but ponies are far more capable of establishing order against creatures we’ve had millennia to become acquainted with. We’ve battled tooth and nail in a hostile world to survive, and were successful in doing so against the worst Equestria and the other territories had to offer.” She then glanced to me and softened her expression, though her tone carried a more stern feel to it. “Your people need us Alex, and the sooner they learn that, the better.” With a long sigh and a wincing shift of her body Celestia added, “I can only hope that Cadence can speak to someone important to help lubricate the whole process.”

“Hehe...lube.” Vinyl chuckled out, causing Octavia to bring a hand to her mouth to stifle giggles, while I bit my lip as staccato breaths of air left my nose. Both Jenna and Celestia simply stared at the three of us until we stopped. I can tell already that Vinyl and I will get along great.

Celestia waited until our quiet laughter petered out before quipping, “Clearly I’m surrounded by children. Nonetheless, we are currently halted at the moment, as until some sort of order is restored we cannot progress with rebuilding much of anything. For the time being, we should stay together and survive as best we can.”

I looked to Jenna and nodded, a smile still adorning my face. “You’re welcome to say, Jen.”

Jenna nodded to me with a grateful smile of her own. “I’d appreciate it. I wasn’t able to check up on Kyle before I left, but his house was intact.”

“That puts my mind at ease.” I muttered, realizing I hadn’t had time to worry about Kyle since I was making sure my new guests were all settled in. “I didn’t have time to go get him before we left the city, so I only hope he’s okay.” Before Jenna could apologize, I preempted her with, “You live on the other side of town Jenna, so don’t worry about it. If you or I had gone to find him, we might not be alive right now.”

“If you’re speaking of the town back the way you came on the road we met upon, it was surrounded by all manner of undesirables.” Celestia chimed, her lips set in a tense line. “At least four dragons and an entire pride of manticores was what I met upon my arrival, and it’s only going to get worse as the beasties realize how helpless you all are.”

“For we are crunchy and good with ketchup.” I quipped, the line making its way out of my mouth before I could think about it. After a moment of the three ponies staring at me like I was an idiot I explained, “I have thoughts…”

After a few more moments of awkward silence Vinyl announced, “Well, I need a shower. Joining me Tavi?”

Jumping to her hooves behind Vinyl, Octavia nodded as she fished a small brown sack from out of her voluminous clothing. “Coming Vinyl!”

As the two ponies left Jenna queried, “Are they…?”

I shook my head. “They both denied it, but I still have my doubts. Nonetheless it’s none of my business, so until they break something by having crazy lesbian pony sex, I’ll leave them to it.”

Jenna was silent for a few moments before snarking, “You’d watch, wouldn’t you?”

“I would so watch…” I muttered honestly, completely forgetting Celestia was in the room with me. A glance at the alicorn revealed a smirk and shaking of her body as she tried to hold in her laughter, though a snort did escape here and there. “Oh shut up; I’m allowed to think pervy thoughts so long as I don’t make pervy actions. My mind is my sanctuary, and it has no laws.”

Celestia held up her hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. I was simply going to say that I myself have been both the target and perpetrator of some rather lewd actions myself, so you need not fear censoring yourself around me. In fact, I prefer an unfiltered Alex to the one who would attempt to keep from offending me.”

“So you don’t want any filtering between us?” I questioned, readying a response that would either get me killed or praised. Either way, the next few minutes would be a first for me and humanity, likely.

Celestia nodded. “That is exactly what I’m saying, Alex.”

Jenna’s wide eyes pleaded with me to stop, but I turned away from her and locked my gaze on Celestia. “Okay, here goes: I find myself both confused and excited whenever I’m around you, and I’m not sure whether to worship your awesome or dat ass. Oh and by the way, don’t ever place my hand near your tits again because I’ll probably squeeze them and motorboat for a good five minutes or as long as it takes you to pry me away.”

To my utter surprise, Celestia was not enraged or upset at all. Other than a brief look of surprise, she smiled at me and answered, “There, now was that so difficult?”

Jenna’s head turned back to me comically slow as her eye twitched madly “Alex...WHAT THE FUCK?!”

I shrugged in a manner that contradicted just how loudly my brain was cursing at me right now. “What? She asked for it, and I delivered the goods.”

“I apologize, Jenna was it?” Celestia asked, and Jenna slowly nodded to her before she continued. “I have been placed on a pedestal both physically and metaphorically for thousands of years. Now that I have the chance to be treated as just another person, I choose so. I am so tired of always being told what others believe I wish to hear instead of the truth, so much so that I wish for complete truth in all forms.” She gestured to me, while I threw a surprised yet cocky smile Jenna’s way. “Alex has just said what I am sure many have thought, but very few have ever allowed to cross their lips. Though it may seem petty, his honesty even in something somewhat lewd is appreciated. Besides,” she threw a wink my way, “it’s always nice for a girl to hear she still has it after a few millennia.” Celestia then frowned. “I haven’t overstepped any bounds, have I? Are you two…?”

Jenna vehemently shook her head. “No...God no.”

“Well fuck you too, then.” I quipped, shoving her with a grin. I then turned back to Celestia and explained, “Jenna likes clams.” Yes, I realize that’s not the kind of thing you would normally say about someone’s sexual orientation, but Jenna was one of those precious few who didn’t care who knew.

Celestia shrugged, and I could tell by her expression that the true meaning of my words were lost on her. “I too enjoy meals of the sea from time to time.”

I snickered to myself, fighting hard to keep from outright grinning like an idiot. “D-do you? So you like clams too?”

Jenna’s mouth hung open in horrified shock, as if she were watching a plane full of children crash into a kitten-only animal shelter. Celestia, on the other hand, either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “Well...I suppose I do, yes.”

Immediately I stood up laughing, shaking my head as I wheezed out, “Oh shit, I can’t! Hahahaha!”

Though I couldn’t see her because of the tears in my eyes, I could hear the confusion in Celestia’s tone as she asked, “Clearly I’m missing something; what exactly is a clam here?”

Jenna’s face pinkened ever so slightly in embarrassment, but she explained, “Well it’s also a sort of mollusk here as well, but it’s also slang for a girl’s bits.”

“Her…” Celestia muttered before, “Oh. Oh! Oh…” I then felt her surprisingly soft hand shove me hard as she chuckled mirthfully. “Very nice, Alex. I’m impressed. Wait,” she glanced to Jenna, “so you mean you’re-”

“Gay, yes.” Jenna answered with a nod. “I hope that’s not a problem, ma’am.”

Celestia glanced to me before shaking her head. “Not at all. If I were to find issue with your sexual orientation, I would find myself quite the hypocrite. I think the term the young nowadays use is, ‘I bat for both teams.’”

With how relaxed and open the ex-princess had been thus far, I was not the least bit surprised...which was surprising. Here I was talking to an eons-old alien who was not only a goddess of sorts -- akin to Horus or Ra of Egyptian mythology -- but also a magic-wielding warrior of epicness that happened to have a great figure. I was glad that my mind appeared to be so malleable when it came to the acceptance of everything that was happening, for I knew in another timeline, I was probably curled up in a corner carving happy faces into my arm and humming “I’m a Little Teapot…” repeatedly.

Thank the stars for small mercies, eh?

I randomly thought about a multitude of things at that moment, somehow arriving at band-aids, and then the bandage on Celestia’s side. I leaned ever so slightly to the side and checked it, noticing that it needed to be changed to avoid an infection, or even sepsis.

“Celestia,” I announced, garnering the attention of the tall pony, “we need to change your wound dressings. It’s a large wound and if we don’t keep a clean bandage on it, it’s going to end up infected.”

Celestia nodded and stood, wobbling briefly as she held a hand to her head. A worried look from me prompted a reassuring smile and nod from her before she allowed me to lead her to the family room once more. I methodically fetched the first-aid kit and brought out the scissors, cutting away the bandage and inspecting the wound. It was mildly inflamed and warm to the touch, but it didn’t appear to be massively infected, which was good considering the size of the wound itself. I found myself subtly proud of the stitching job I’d done, but shook the thought away as I focused on my task. Wetting a cotton ball with alcohol, I offered Celestia my hand to squeeze as I prepared to clean the outside of the gash, which she took with a thankful nod before bracing herself. Luckily for me, she lacked superhuman strength at the moment since she was recovering (I was convinced she must have such an edge to take down a dragon) which meant that while uncomfortable, her squeezing didn’t break any of my fingers as I dabbed the cut. After that, I unrolled a fresh dressing and set about wrapping the pad in a fresh length of bandage before tying it off and breathing a sigh of relief.

Jenna had been silent the whole time thankfully, so as not to break my concentration, but thought it prudent to suddenly ask, “What the hell did that to you?”

Celestia looked to my normally-quiet friend and smirked triumphantly. “A dragon that felt overconfident. It believed it would be able to eat an alicorn; I proved it mistaken. Its likely still-smoldering corpse serves as a warning to any that would attempt the same.”

Jenna nodded silently for a moment before leaning in close to me and whispering, “Did we just end up in some sort of epic rpg or something?”

I shrugged helplessly as I went about gathering up the soiled materials. “I guess so. The only difference is that we’re definitely not the heroes of said game. Something tells me that if I held a sword at a dragon, it wouldn’t wait its turn to attack, and I wouldn’t be able to run away. It would be Dark S-”

“Don’t say that name!” Jenna hissed conspiratorily, glancing around in mock nervousness. “It can smell fear!”

I glanced to my patient to see she was staring at the two of us in the way one would a potentially volatile drunk. “O-kay...while I am sure there is a story behind that little exchange, I feel it prudent to mention that night will be falling within the next few hours. Also, we should keep someone on radio duty to be sure we don’t miss any important announcements.”

“I’ll do it.” Jenna volunteered quickly, glancing to me with a pleading expression. “I need my alone time; you know how I get.” At Celestia’s questioning look she explained, “I have a bit of social anxiety. I get uncomfortable if I spend too much time around others without being able to go off and be by myself for a bit.” She shrugged. “The only reason I’m talking so much right now is because I’m still kinda in shock over everything that’s happened. Give me a day or two and save for there being an extra body around the cabin, you won’t even know I’m here.” She then stood from her kneeled position and added, “Oh, by the way…”

Jenna walked to the front door and opened it, heading out into the moderate snowfall -- in nothing but a pair of cargo shorts and a tee, might I add -- before returning with a military surplus rucksack that was nearly as large as she was. She grunted as she carried it in before dropping it on the floor, pulling open the top flap so that I could see what was inside.

“Whoa…” I breathed out, awestricken by the sheer amount of dry goods inside.

“I figured if I was going to be staying here, I should bring something to help out.” Jenna explained with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders.

“Shower’s free!” Vinyl’s familiar voice announced to the room as she and her totally-not-girlfriend followed behind silently...but I wasn’t focused on that at the moment. For the first time since I had met them, I had a clear view of what Vinyl and Octavia looked like, and I was not disappointed.

While I already knew Vinyl was petite, seeing her without such bulky clothing on only confirmed it. She had shining white fur -- brighter than Celestia’s, honestly -- and a two-toned blue tail to go with her mane. She was dressed in snug jeans and a tank top that showed off her toned body, and it gave her an air of relaxed nonchalance about her appearance.

Now, how do I explain Octavia nicely? Well, she was built like an amazon warrior, and was tall with broad shoulders. I found myself surprised that other than her size though, she had a delicate feminine form with pronounced curves and DEAR LORD SHE’S STACKED!

*cleared throat*

Anyhow, it seemed that Octavia had taken to fashionable yet functional clothing consisting of a black knitted sweater and a matching skirt, along with black tights with violet accents. She looked like the type of high-class girl who was both sophisticated yet approachable, and I-

“Alex, you’re staring.” Celestia commented from off to the side.

Octavia nodded as she smiled softly. “Use your words, Alex.”

For a few moments I honestly couldn’t get my mouth to work. After that, all that escaped was a rather unintelligent, “Wow.” I shook my head as Octavia coughed nervously as her cheeks pinkened. “I-I mean I just...didn’t expect you two to look so…”

“Human?” Celestia offered, her tone alone smirking.

I cleared my throat loudly, glancing away. “Y-yeah. I just figured the first aliens would be a little...I don’t know, alien.”

I caught sight out of the corner of my eye of Celestia grinning like a loon and subtly inching her thumb underneath the hem of her modest bottoms. “Should you so wish, I can prove to you just how similar we are.”

Reaching over, I did something that surprised both my tormentor and myself: I grabbed the hem of the blue underpants and held it tightly, so that I wouldn’t accidentally see anything that I shouldn’t but kinda did want to see and…


“M-maybe another time.” I mumbled as I tried to diffuse the awkward feeling that was crawling just under my skin, feeling like I had an entire colony of ants in my body now. Had I really just purposefully grabbed a woman’s underwear to keep them on? What the hell was wrong with me? I mean, with just one yank down I could-


I wrenched my hand away as if I had been holding a hot coal and, on autopilot, reached in my pocket, pulled out a smoke, and popped it in my mouth. “I-I’m going out for a minute. Don’t wait up.” Without turning around or waiting for a response, I grabbed my coat and walked outside into the cold.

One left.

I’d just chain-smoked three cigarettes, and now I only had one left, all because of three attractive aliens that I now found myself living with, one of which seemed to take the opportunity to tease me at every turn. Teasing in such a way was not something I was unfamiliar with, but I wouldn’t say it was common either. After all, save for a few parties that Kyle would invite me to, I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, nor was I a charismatic hunk who could get whatever he wanted with a word and a gesture. I was glad that I got along with Celestia -- more than glad, actually -- but I wasn’t sure if she was just teasing, or if she was serious.

A part of me wanted her to be serious, while another was terrified.

Then there were the other two: Vinyl and Octavia. While they weren’t quite as forward as Celestia -- or at all, for that matter -- the fact that I now had three decidedly-attractive females in my house that depended on me brought to mind all sorts of random fantasies, such as my guests showing their appreciation for what I’ve done for them, or thanking me with far more than just words. Not to say I was hoping for that, but I admit it was a nice scenario -- a fictional scenario, because in what world would that ever happen? This was real life, not a porno.

The sound of the front door closing brought me out of my silent musings, and though I didn’t turn my head to look, I heard the familiar gait of Jenna as she plodded over to me. After a moment of silence she asked, “You alright there, Alex? You look a little...frayed.”

“She’s been flirting with me like that since she woke up after I first brought her here.” I muttered, sucking in another drag and exhaling with a sigh. “I don’t know what to make of it, really. I mean, I know I should take it in good humor -- or even as a compliment -- but...well, you know how I am.”

“You get nervous around girls.” she observed. “You always have, though I don’t know why exactly. You’ve had girlfriends before, nothing spectacularly traumatic has happened in your love life, so it just doesn’t really make sense to me...but whatever. We all have our own demons.” She then placed her hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Don’t worry about it for right now. At the moment, there’s no time for any fooling around or alien sex-fests. We’ve just gotten somewhere safe, and we need to work together if we’re going to survive. Focus on that for now, because it’s the most important and it’ll keep your mind off of it.” She then released me and stepped away, back toward the door. “I’ll be in your room with the radio if you need me. Chin up, Alex.”

As I listened to the door close behind me, I looked out once again to the frozen landscape.

Jenna always seemed to know the right thing to say to me that would both calm me down and appeal to my common sense. She was right: I didn’t have time to be worrying about any romance or things of the sort. While it was true we had shelter, we wouldn’t be truly safe for awhile, and I still had things to do to prepare us. As long as I focused on that, I would be able to power through everything else.

Still, I would have to address what was or wasn’t going on between me and the ex-princess. It was clear she found herself quite comfortable with me for whatever reason, which meant that things would either turn out awesome or awkward in the end. Time will tell I suppose, but until then I see the potential for a powerful friendship between us.

That body though...mmm…

“She’s right, you know…” the strangely melodic voice of Celestia chimed in, and it took me a few moments of head-swiveling to find her clothed in a long white furry jacket and perched on a pile of firewood beside the house, “and wrong.”

I gulped as I felt blood rush to my face. “H-how...how much of that did you hear?”

She tilted her head slightly and shrugged. “I followed your friend outside, so everything. Strange how she didn’t notice me coming out from the back.”

My face was on fire, and I found myself unable to hold her gaze as I looked away. “I see...what did you mean?”

“She’s right that we all need to focus on surviving and looking after each other.” Celestia explained softly, the sound of her hooves crunching in the snow as she approached. Her hands then grasped my shoulders as she settled just behind me. “However, what would be the point in surviving if you shut yourself off from others?”

While I didn’t pull away like an asshole, I didn’t turn around to look at her either. “If you have something you’re trying to say, I suggest you just say it. I can handle the truth.”

For a few moments of silence, neither of us moved or spoke. Then, slowly, Celestia adjusted until her arms were crossed behind my head and her elbows rested on my shoulders. She then rested her head beside mine and let out a sigh.

“I have the distinct impression that what I explained to you about Karyll’a and I was not necessarily clear, and for that I apologize.” she began, face just beside mine, but not touching. “When I say that Karyll’a has accepted you as a friend, and that you are one of only a few she has ever accepted, I don’t believe you understand just how few that is. For your sake, I’ll tell you: you are one of only fifteen in three thousand years that have been marked by Karyll’a, and considering that seven of them are alive in this time, that is saying something.”

“What does that mean for me?” I questioned, the gravity of what she was saying slowly sinking in.

I felt Celestia gently shake her head, her locks of multicolored hair meshing with my own briefly. “You’re not stupid Alex, so I know you’ve easily picked up on just how comfortable I am with you. While it’s true this is who I am as a pony, I don’t feel comfortable sharing this part of me with just anyone.” I then felt a smile take over her face. “When you touched Karyll’a, you touched a part of me that was pure and untainted by culture or society -- a part of me that is who I am at the base level. No matter what fronts I may put up for my people or anyone else, the core of who I am found kinship with you, and that is something so rare that I treasure it more highly than all of the jewels in both of our worlds. When Karyll’a marked you, however briefly, my connection to her showed me that not only are you one that can be trusted, but that you will both understand and accept who I truly am, where others would not.”

While it’s true she initially sounded very professional in her explanation, halfway through I couldn’t help but notice just how lonely she seemed. If what she had told me was accurate, she was likely a few thousand years old at least, and only a handful of people in her life had allowed her to let go of the crown and just be herself. Having to hide yourself from nearly everyone you came in contact with seemed impossible for someone like me, so I could understand just how important it would be for Celestia to find someone she could confide and trust in. Exactly how or why this connection with Karyll’a worked -- or how she had “seen” me through just a touch -- I wasn’t sure, but if Celestia was adamant that I was important because of that, then…

“I understand.” I answered softly, just loud enough so that Celestia could hear me. “Not all of it of course, but if you feel that I’m someone you can trust, then I’m fine with that. I’m here for you if you need me.”

Celestia’s head moved almost imperceptibly to the right until our cheeks were touching, and I felt her smile against me. “Thank you, Alex. I cannot tell you how much this means to me.” She then sighed softly in silent thought for a few moments before, “There are some things I wish to discuss with and reveal to you tonight, if you would be willing. Nothing incredibly imperative, just…” she then seemed to slump a bit against me, and I was glad I was strong enough not to crumple like paper underneath her as she whispered, “I have been isolated for so long, and I could really use someone to talk to.”

The playful and confident pony I had known so far -- brief though it’s been -- was gone, replaced by someone who was tired and utterly pleading for me to be there for her. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t unnerving, but I will also admit it was nice to see that there was more to Celestia than flirting and teasing. I liked to know that under all the badassery and playing, she was still just a person that felt the same things the rest of us did, even though she was thousands of years older than I was.

Still processing that last part.

“Okay.” I said with conviction, smiling as well. “After dinner tonight and after we’re all cleaned up and I’ve changed your bandages, we’ll go to my room and just...talk. If that’s what you need, I can do that.” Before she could speak, I reached over and placed two fingers on her lips to silence her response. “But, uh...I kinda need you to be decent at the same time. If you’re hanging around me half-naked in my bedroom, my mind’s going to be only one place. I know my limits, so I know I won’t be able to focus and give you the listening ear you deserve if my head’s in the gutter.”

“I think I can do that.” Celestia answered after I removed my fingers, smiling in a gentle way that I hadn’t seen before. She then cleared her throat and added, “I’m also sorry if I make you uncomfortable. It wasn’t meant to be malicious; I was just having some fun.”

I shrugged, shaking my head slightly so as not to head-check the alicorn currently draped over me. “I have an attractive pseudo-goddess that likes to wear next to nothing flirting with me. Dear God, how will I cope?” I smirked and turned slightly to look at Celestia. “The discomfort is worth the show, I assure you.” Before she could fire off what was sure to be a flirty comment, I added, “And no, that’s not an invitation for you to ‘give me a show’. We can’t go from ‘heavy talk’ to ‘striptease’ without a sense of impending wrong invading my entire body.”

“Perhaps your sense of discomfort is from lack of experience.” Celestia noted, seemingly to herself. She then placed her lips right next to my ear as she whispered, “Maybe you just need some hands on study with a willing subject.”

“Aaand Molestia is back.” I quipped with a sigh, but couldn’t keep a grin from crossing my lips.

“And my mission: to diddle the humans! Muahahahaha!” Celestia exclaimed in the way one would expect a comic book villain to do. It was remarkably spot-on.

We lapsed into silence after her chuckle-inducing proclamation echoed around the landscape. A part of me just wanted to be direct and ask what I was thinking, but coming right out and asking if a millennia-old alien was attracted to you could make things really awkward, and I wasn’t quite ready for that just yet anyway. It was already clear that she saw something special in me to make her so comfortable in my presence, but I wasn’t going to push the bounds of that new trust and familiarity.

And suddenly, I felt two rigid tips of flesh pressing into my back.

“Oh my, it’s a little cold out here it seems.” Celestia commented off-handedly.

I rolled my eyes, though she couldn’t see it. “It’s only snowing; who would have thought, hm?” I then raised my eyebrow and turned, forcing her to relinquish her grasp on me as she took a step back. “Wait a minute, you’re still healing and you…” I pressed my hand to her forehead, “you still have a fever. What are you even doing out here?”

Don’t look at her chest, don’t look at her chest, don’t look at her chest.

Celestia rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “I have survived over fifty wars, eight major plagues, famine, and innumerable natural disasters. If a mere fever and some cold could kill me, I would not be here right now.”

I shook my head and pointed to the door. “Well as of now, you’re in my care. Get your ass inside and rest. Once you’re healed up, you can be as obstinate about this as you want.” Without waiting for a response, I proceeded to shove her toward the door.

“You’re acting like a mother hen, Alex. I’m fine.” Celestia assured, though she didn’t do much to fight me.

I grunted as I opened the door and pushed her inside. “And you’re acting like a child, so sit down and rest. I don’t care if you sleep, but you’re not going to be straining yourself or standing out in the cold.” I pulled off my jacket and hung it on the hook on the back of the door, then pulled off Celestia’s coat to reveal… “Of course. What sane person would actually wear clothes outside when it’s snowing? That’s just crazy.”

Celestia, in nothing but her skivvies, stood quite shamelessly in front of me with her hands on her hips. “I had a coat on. I’ll be fine, Alex.”

I glared and pointed to the sofa in front of the fire. “Sit, and don’t get up again unless you have to use the restroom, or dinner’s ready. I’d spank you if I wasn’t sure you’d enjoy it.” I glanced around the room briefly before making my way to the master bedroom. “Is Jenna in the bedroom?”

Vinyl nodded as she continued to move her hands around in a strange rhythm -- gloving, I think it’s called. “Yeah. She took the radio and has been in there ever since she came back in.”

I nodded before making my way toward the bedroom, opening the door to enter and shutting it quickly and quietly behind me. Jenna was sitting in the middle of the bed, slowly winding the dynamo of the radio to keep it going. Upon noticing me entering the room, she sat up straighter and set the radio aside, patting the spot next to her.

“Sit down, Alex. We need to talk.” she asserted, though not unkindly or accusingly. I did as she asked and waited for only a second before she launched into an explanation. “Things are getting bad out there, Alex. There’s talk all over the radio of entire cities and nations having fallen apart, and it’s only been a few days. The military’s been mobilized, but Celestia’s right: we can’t handle this alone. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re pretty helpless against these things.” She shook her head with a grimace. “Planes are being brought out of the sky by fucking dragons, ships are being sunk by sea monsters, and anything on land is susceptible to things like hydras -- hydras! What the fuck are we going to do, Alex? This is like every disaster movie ever made combined with a garnish of ‘fuck-you’ on top!”

I had nothing to deny what she was saying, so I just sat back against the headboard and nodded as she fell on my lap. “I know Jenna, but there’s not much we can do at the moment. We need to try and weather the storm, so we’ll figure out what to do next after everything’s calmed down. Once this ‘Cadence’ person is able to do her job, some form of order will probably be established once Celestia’s people are no longer on the radar as the bad guys. Until then, we just have to wait.”

I sighed as Jenna did the same. Yeah...we just have to wait.