• Published 27th Oct 2014
  • 1,423 Views, 38 Comments

Breaking Standards - TheGlitchInTheMatrix



Hyper-Intelligent, but stuck in Equestria, a human, hiding among the native humans,named Rick, breaks typical human standards. Inspired by the YHaY-Verse.

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Getting Had, Feeling Sad, and Jamming!

Getting Had, Feeling Sad, and Jamming!

“Tìo! Mirame!” Rick looked over to see Stacy, ten feet in the air, on a diving bored, idly bobbing up and down on the board’s spring.

“I see you, mija! Que estàs hacìendo?”

Stacy just smiled wickedly, then launched herself high into the air with an impressive jump, twirled in the air with a front flip, then suddenly straightened back out, head down.

With a small smile, Rick regained consciousness into the real world, letting the dream fade into his mind. He was dreaming about the time when Stacy had surprised him with a very acrobatic and surprisingly professional dive into the Olympic sized pool they liked to visit whenever they could.

Sighing wistfully, Rick pushed himself out of the little bed he was laying in, rubbed his eyes to clear the sleep from his vision, and finished off the morning ritual of awakening with a massive stretch to his arms and back while yawning.

Lazily—and by force of habit—he reached his arms over to tug his scooter closer to himself, grabbing the air where it usually sits, ready and waiting for him when he awoke. This time, however, it was not there.

With a scowl, Rick finally glanced over and, seeing as his surroundings were not at all how he left them before he went to see Stacy and Ally, finally allowed his mind to catch up with his body.

He wasn’t home anymore and he most definitely didn’t need a scooter to move around on. His legs worked just fine now in this strange, new world.

Rick swung his legs from the bed and planted his feet firmly against the floor, feeling the warm, smooth wood underfoot and relishing the fact that he could feel them again. He raised his arms up and gazed at his palms for a moment before waggling his fingers spastically; smiling at the recovery of the dexterity he lost.

Then he suddenly stood up, a curious expression on his face as he spun about-face. For a heartbeat, he stood still, and then let his upper body wilt backward, as if he suddenly lost his spine. Just before his head slammed into the floor, he flung his hands up and expertly caught himself.

His feet were still flat on the floor, toes facing the bed, his body bent over backward with the back of his head just inches away from his heels, and only a couple inches off the floor, facing away from the bed.

With a lazy shift of his hips and a casual hop off his toes, Rick kicked his lower body up and over himself into a handstand. He held himself still for several seconds, breathing evenly and showing supreme calm and focus. Finally, he let his feet fall back down, this time in front of his body, rocked forward with the momentum, and stood back up in one fluid, easy motion.

“WOW!” Rick whirled around in surprise, eyes wide from being startled. In the doorway stood a bright pink pony with an unbelievably curly mane and tail, staring at him with wide blue eyes and jaw practically on the floor.

They both stood, transfixed at the situation, and entirely unsure of how to advance past that moment in time.

Simply deciding that being stupid might be the smartest thing to do; Rick tucked his legs up in a cross-legged sit, falling to the floor, thumping loudly, and calmly stared back with a neutral expression, simple motions that looked very much like he was trying to intimidate a dog listening to the “Sit!” command.

“I’ve never seen a human do that before! Actually, I didn’t even know a human was even here! What are you doin’ here, boy?” The hyperactive, mare pony asked, trying to force out as many words out as possible in a single second.

“Pinkie!? What was that noise?” Carrot’s voice called from somewhere outside the door.

“The human sitting down! Hey, when did you guys get a human!? He’s super cute!” Super cute? Not quite sure how I feel about referred to as such when I think you’re frikkin’ adorable.

“He’s not ours,” Cup answered, materializing from the nether realm beyond the door frame, “we’re just watching over him for Zecora for a little while.”

“Cool! What’s his name?”

“His name is Ricardo and he’s…” Cup glanced over at Rick who subtly shook his head, when Pinkie’s attention shifted to Cup, so Pinkie couldn’t see, “our responsibility for a little bit until she comes back to pick him up so don’t bother him too much.”

“Okey dokey lokey!” and with that, Pinkie bounced out of the room… literally.

Cup watched after her before turning back to Rick, “You don’t have to worry about her; she’ll keep your secret if you tell her it’s a secret, but she can be a little…hyper.”

“I figured,” Rick responded, slowly standing back up, “but I think I’m gonna keep it all quiet until I find a suitable mediator to help me come out.”

“Of course, Dearie, take all the time that you need. Were you going to go talk to Zecora later?”

“Not sure yet; I’ve been improvising ever since I woke up in this world, so I haven’t really had any use for an itinerary yet.”

“I see, well Carrot and I made breakfast downstairs if you’re hungry.” She turned to leave before faltering a moment and turning her head around, “You… can eat what other humans eat here, right?”

“I would assume so, but I’ll just go see what you have here and just tell you what looks good,” Rick smiled and began following her out the door.

He stumbled before walking out, suddenly more conscious of being naked in the presence of others in broad daylight, "Um, excuse me, Mrs. Cake?"

"You can call me Cup, dearie. What do you need?"

"Are all humans here naked? Nord's have a taboo with nudity when out with unfamiliar company."

"Oh! I'm sorry! If you were uncomfortable you should have told me sooner and I would have found something for you to where!”

“For now, it’s not a big deal, but I want to know if I’d be the only human out there with clothes?”

“It’s not a very common thing, but no, you wouldn’t be the only human around here with clothes.”

“Then I’ll suffer for now; I need to keep a low profile,” Rick sighed.

Mrs. Cake had an apologetic expression on her face and wanted to say something to ease his discomfort, but they had finished their descent from the stairs that led up to the living space above the little bakery that Rick first entered when he initially arrived. Around them, were tables spread out within the shop with ponies occupying a few random seats.

To Rick, that was an interesting sight to behold as the pony’s physiology shouldn’t be suitable for how they were sitting around. That was the least interesting trait to be observed, however, these ponies were all brightly colored with colors not usually found in nature, manes styled in ways you could find on humans, and seemingly random depictions of various items or symbols emblazoned on their flanks.

“Come on, Rick, let’s get you something to eat,” Cup whispered by his side and nudged his leg to urge him forward.

Rick replaced his attention toward the mare, and followed her behind the counter where Carrot was running the register. “Good morning, Cupcake, good morning, Rick,” Carrot warmly greeted the two.

“Good morning, Carrot cake,” Cup replied, hurrying around the counter to affectionately nuzzle her husband, “I’m just gonna find something for Rick to eat in the kitchens.”

“Alright, honey. Pinkie is minding the ovens today so our workload will be light today,” Carrot said.

Cup smiled at the news and continued walking towards the kitchen. She pushed through the swinging doors and Rick followed through to see the same hyper pink pony from before zipping about the place and managing multiple baking projects at once.

“Working on the muffins right now, the bundt cakes just went into the oven, the dough is setting for the sugar cookies, and now I’m mixing up chocolate chip, blueberry, banana nut, and raspberry filled cupcakes and doughnuts,” the manic pony announced when the two walked in, not seeming an ounce overworked.

“Gracious, Pinkie Pie! You didn’t have to overload yourself with so many things; Carrot or I could have helped you if you needed it,” Cup said, rushing over to try and alleviate whatever work she could.

“It was no problemo, Mrs. Cake! You know how much I like working here, and there’s no limit to how many pastries I can handle!”

“I appreciate it, Pinkie, but you know how I feel about our employees.”

“I understand, but this is just my way of saying thank you!” Pinkie smiled impossibly wide at Cup before glancing over at Rick who, at one point in that back-and-forth, decided to sit on the floor, “Is the human going to be here the whole day?”

“I think so; it depends on when Zecora can make it by the bakery today,” Cup walked over to the pantry.

“How old is he?” Pinkie walked over to Rick who just sat there, watching her with a semi-blank stare.

“I’m not sure, but he looks to be in his teens,” Cup called back.

My teens, eh? The humans around here are clearly not the Homo Sapiens from my world then. They have to be some sort of prehistoric human. I wonder if—“Can I watch over him if you guys are too busy later?”

Cup emerged from the depths of the pantry with a canvas sack draped across her back, “I’m not sure, Pinkie. I guess it would be fine as long as he doesn’t leave the bakery.”

“Aww! Why can’t he leave the bakery?”

“In case Zecora comes back, I don’t want her worrying,” Cup deposited the sack at Rick’s feet who promptly began to rummage through it. And mercy of all mercies! Within the sack were assorted fruits and vegetables that he could safely consume, but that wasn’t what caught his attention.

From within the sack, Rick’s probing fingers deftly wrapped around their pray and withdrew it. Keeping up the lame human visage, Rick slammed a piece of jerky into his mouth and retreated to a corner of the room with a bright red apple in one hand and a head of broccoli in the other.

“Guess the guy was really hungry, huh?” Pinkie giggled.

“I’m gonna leave him here to eat, you don’t have to watch over him, but mind yourself around him; he hasn’t had much interaction with ponies.” Cup said aloud before disappearing behind the doors leading back to the store front.

“Okie Dokie Lokey!” Pinkie chirped and smiled a large and toothy smile, watching after Mrs. Cake until she was no longer in sight or earshot.

Quick as a pink flash, once she deemed the coast was clear, she ran to Rick who was alternating bites between the apple, jerky, and broccoli. He was mildly disappointed that the jerky was turkey instead of beef and was plainly seasoned, but it was still exponentially more than he assumed would be available for him at the bakery. “I know you can talk, boy.”

Rick looked up at the pink pony, seeing her watching him with a flat stare. “I heard you the other day with the twins. At first I thought it was another pony, but I never heard anyone leave aside from Zecora. Then I saw you do that weird flippy thing this morning, and my suspicions started growing.”

Rick swallowed the apple and took another bite of the jerky, watching her dumbly and desperately trying to keep up the act in hopes that she would give up.

“But you know what, my two-legged friend? You dun goofed just now when grabbing your food. There was one big thing that you did that told me you were no ordinary human.”

“What did I do,” Rick asked, sighing in defeat.

Surprisingly, the pony had absolutely no reaction at hearing Rick speak.

“You smiled!”

Rick just stared at her, as if she had suddenly sprouted a third eye. “Humans don’t smile, silly!

With a palm to the face, Rick expressed his disappointment in himself, “Of any possible thing for you to pick up on, you found me out with one little grin?”

“No smile, no matter the type or physical size, is ‘small’. To me, smiles are all important and are the things that make my life worth living! Smiles are a power to be responsibly used and a force to be reckoned with when properly utilized! Smiles are Love! Smiles are Life!”

Rick was smiling now like crazy at the dramatic antics Pinkie was displaying for something as simple as a smile. However, she did have a point in the power of a smile: sometimes, that’s all you need to get through a particularly bad day.

“So why are you keeping it a secret?”

“No idea how the locals would react. I might have some guess as to how they might react, but they’d all be poorly.”

Pinkie walked away with a hum of contemplation, slowly tapping her chin with her hoof. She took a great deal of time thinking, and would occasionally tend to the baking projects she was working on. For an hour she remained silent, face drawn into a scowl of concentration, but she would still pop something into the oven or walk other things out into the store. She wouldn’t start any new projects though, and just continued with what she already had out. The entirety of the time, Rick would occasionally dip back into the back for another snack. He was working through an unusually juicy pear and cucumber when Pinkie finally decided to speak up.

“I can see why you would be harassed a lot more then accepted. Mainly because of your anomalous nature in reference to Equestreus Simiens, AKA humans, you’d be treated unfairly as many fear the unknown and that which clashes with the norm. Regardless of your potentially assistant behaviors and actions, there are many more who would deny you through mere intimidation whether or not it was your intent to display such a trait.”

Rick absorbed the pink pony’s epiphanies with a shocked expression and a case of Drop Jaw. “Under extreme circumstance of self-sacrifice, it would be the other way around. Acceptance could be a instantaneous feat, or something more gradual,” Pinkie took a moment to remove something from the oven and place it on a nearby cooling rack before replacing it with something else, “but I can see that no matter what, it’s gonna be tough. I can see just by the way you hold yourself, and from what I heard from the other night, that you possess a vast repertoire of skills and an impressive intellect and intelligence. These things alone already place you above the skill and mindset of above-average ponies. That alone will be a large source of isolation as the ponies will be upset that a normally mindless creature being better than most,” Pinkie finished.

For almost a whole minute, Rick just sat there, mouth wide open and half-eaten foods in either hand. To be able to pull such extensive analyses from little to nothing was an astronomical improbability. At least it would have been if that wasn’t the exact same thing that Rick had in his head and he possessed the whole story! To know that Pinkie was able to get all of that was warrant for speechlessness.

“Pinkie Pie, could you please act as my mediator to assist my assimilation into this world?” Rick asked, still with the dumbfounded expression on his face.

She looked up at him with a sad smile and shook her head, “I’m not wise enough to do something like that, as much as I’d like to. I can get a lot from a little, but other than that, I usually rely on my instincts or what I call my Pinkie Sense.”

“If that’s what you would call simple deduction or instinct, I envy you. That right there was probably the most impressive sleuthing I have ever had witness to!”

“Aww, well thanks, big guy! I try. But if you really need somebody to mediate for you, I can recommend you to someone.”

Something about her statement was off. Not it’s stated content, but how she said a particular word, “Did you just say somebody?”

Pinkie shrugged, “It seemed better to say with for some reason. You’re not a pony and to say ‘somepony’ in this case seemed exclusive to only other ponies. I won’t say it around my friends, but with you, it seemed more respectful.”

“You’re a strange one, Pinkie,” Rick commented with a chuckle.

“Again, I try to be. Life is too boring by itself so being silly makes it better!”

“Amen to that.”

“What does ‘amen’ mean?”

“Let it be,” Rick explained while standing up with the sack in hand, “I’m gonna put this away.”

“Okie Dokie Lokey! And if you want that mediator, go to a place called Sweet Apple Acres. It’s northwest from here. You can’t miss it!” Pinkie called cheerily before walking back out to the storefront with the last tray of baked goods balanced on her head.

After depositing the food sack back into the pantry, Rick stood in the middle of the kitchen, contemplating his next move. His priorities were kind of scrambled since he couldn't exactly move freely yet and, thanks to Pinky, he learned that he should greatly increase his attention to the particularly small nuances of emotion he could accidentally sabotage himself with should he let them slip.

"Rick?" Cup's voice called out from the storefront.

Rick swiveled his head and saw the mare subtly trying to urge him over to the swinging doors. He walked over softly and quickly, seeing a somewhat concerned expression on her face.

"Yes?"

"Zecora came by, and she won't be able to get you. She has to return to her home for a little while, not the Everfree Hut, but the land where she came from. She said you could handle yourself and to let you explore the town so that if you ever need anything, you'll know where to find it."

"How am I supposed to explore the town? Won't the ponies notice me without a handler of some sort?"

"Usually, yes. Humans aren't normally allowed around without a leash or collar, and it would feel horribly wrong to do that to you."

"Yeah, I wouldn't feel comfortable walking around naked with only a collar on. But I have an idea; do you have a plain white sheet that you wouldn't mind parting with?"

Cup hummed to herself, eyes cast upward in thought before her face brightened with recognition, "I do! It was torn on the edge but I never got around to fixing it or throwing it out."

"Could you bring it to me, please?"

"Of course, dearie. I'll only be a moment." She smiled warmly and turned around to head upstairs to the living rooms.

“A robe, huh?”

Rick turned to find Pinkie staring at him out of the corner of her eye. “That’s a good move; it seems tribal enough to match Zecora.”

“I feel like sooner or later, you’re probably gonna be able to guess my life story just by the way I hold my spoon or something ridiculous like that,” Rick sighed with a shake of his head.

“Nah, even I’m not that good,” Pinkie said with a dismissive wave with one hoof while she beat some mixture of batter with the other.

For a moment, Rick felt a need to counter that statement with the evidence of her being extremely deductive from even the tiniest of clues. However, seeing as how it should ultimately prove meaningless due to the fact that she was already full of x factors and that he had no idea what she was like overall, he decided to leave his mental files of her unedited until he could talk to her at length later in private.

“Rick dear? I have that sheet,” Cup called out as she walked through the doors, keeping her voice relatively quiet as to avoid alerting Pinkie.

“Ah, thank you, Cup,” Rick said with a grateful smile as he took it from her.

Cup’s eyes widened a moment and darted to Pinkie, silently asking the obvious question.

“She figured it out already, and with the most non-obvious of things to figure it out too,” Rick explained. Pinkie just smiled and nodded rapidly.

He took only a moment to inspect the sheet, noting where the tears were and how big the sheet was. He stood there, tipping the sheet about at different angles for only a few seconds before his fingers twiddled around with the tear. With deft motions and quick tugs, he undid some of the weaving and followed it up the entire length of the sheet’s edge, making it look like it was woven on an old shuttle loom and the ends were left loose. Satisfied with the quick aesthetic modification, he grabbed the opposite top corners, ripped edge towards his feet, and tied it over his shoulder.

“Would you happen to have a length of rope lying about?” Rick asked as he pulled his arm out from under the sheet so both could be free.

“I have some in my room! I’ll be right back,” Pinkie chirped before darting out of the kitchen.

“Why would she have rope in her room?”

“Pinkie is a strange one, sometimes. She also has some balls stashed around Ponyville for what she calls ‘Ball Emergencies’. I’m surprised you’re so comfortable with her already; you were pretty clear about taking your time in revealing yourself. That was pretty quick.”

“Like I said, she figured it out on her own. I guess, given the clues she picked up, it was pretty obvious. This just taught me to be even more careful though.”

“Got it!” Pinkie jumped from behind Rick, even though he was facing the doorway and the only way she could have entered was through there. The doors were still motionless and there was no way she could crawl underneath or jump over.

“Sweet Jesus, Pinkie Pie! How on Earth did you do that?” Rick almost shouted before just harshly whispering.

“Infinite Improbability Matrix,” Pinkie replied as if that made perfect sense.

Rick looked to Mrs. Cake who just looked back and shrugged, equally as confused.

With a wary look, Rick relieved Pinkie of the rope and slowly wrapped it around his waist, never once taking his eye off her. From the length of the rope, he had to wrap it around his waist three times before the ends met evenly on his right hip where he cinched the robe together with a heavy knot.

With a cursory glance over himself, Rick nodded in approval. Pinkie and Cup looked on as well, murmuring their praise in the simple attire. “Well, I guess you’re covered enough to feel comfortable and it’s rather obvious who your handler is!” Cup Cake noted.

“Yeah! It would look better with some black stripes, but this definitely screams ‘Zecora,’” Pinkie added.

“It is pretty comfortable, although, some underwear would be nice. However, seeing as how I’m supposed to look human,—” God it felt strange to say that as if I wasn’t—“I suppose this is the best I can do.”

“Are you gonna explore Ponyville then?” Cup asked.

“I might as well; don’t want to get in the way of your business and knowing the layout of this town in case of emergency was pretty wise of Zecora to suggest,” Rick replied, nodding his head.

“That’s Zecora for you!” Pinkie chirped just as she slammed the oven doors shut after extracting a tray of muffins from it.

“Well, Rick, if you’re going to explore, you can take the back door,” Cup offered, gesturing to the door in discussion with a jerk of her head, “But come back tonight; the kids will wonder where you went.”

Rick smiled, “You know I wouldn’t just up and vanish without saying anything to my favorite little ponies.”

Cup smiled in response before giving a quick goodbye and returning back to the storefront. Pinkie waved bye as well before she tossed a bunch of doughnuts into an oil bath. Rick smiled and waved at them both in turn before turning toward the door and opening it.

“Traverse the White Light?” Rick muttered to himself before slowly passing the threshold of the doorframe and into the other part of the world.

In the light, the little hamlet known as Ponyville was much more vibrant in colors and lush with plant life lining the cottages and houses that made up the town. Stepping forward, shoulders slouched and feet landing flat like how he observed other humans move, Rick continued further into the village, bare feet shuffling against the dirt path.

All the while, Rick’s eyes and brain worked in tandem to catalog and compartmentalize his surroundings and the ponies that passed by. His face and demeanor remained unimpressed and apathetic, but internally, his jaw was left behind on the floor and his eyes had burst from his head in wonder.

Ponies trotted about, going about their daily routines, some with horns on their heads, others with saddlebags, and more still that bore both. Some had cast a curious glance his way, pondering his strange attire before simply deciding that he wasn’t worth the effort to think about. The younger foal’s gaze lingered on him longer and were usually accompanied by small smiles and tentative steps of interest in his direction before a usually accompanying older pony urged them along, much to the foal’s chagrin.

Here and there, were humans shuffling with their pony handlers, mostly naked with but a collar and leash around their necks.

Shorter than Homo Spaiens, but sturdier than Neanderthal, Rick thought to himself as he observed the native humans, their heads are more squashed but with wider and more sloped cheeks. The slight pronounce of the forehead and the weak chin would suggest Homo Antecessor. So pre-Neanderthal and stronger than I am, but their mental capacity should be significantly lower than what I previously thought.

While he analyzed the humans passively, he also watched their mannerisms, Arms and hands sway like a typical Homo Erectus would, but the way they waddle is less sizable than it ought to be. There must have been a pause in their evolutionary progression, instead, they just advanced in dexterity. Their gait is surprisingly similar to modern Homo Sapiens, but they land heavier and the posture relates more to a primate. Neck forward, shoulders back, elbows held bent, chin slightly dropped, and eyes still.

As he noticed each mannerism, he improved his own stride to match them, hoping that the overall disguise looked perfect enough to dupe even the most astute pony. He felt like it was pretty spot on, but he knew he could only do so much just from visually mimicking them; he was born as a modern Man after all.

For the better part of three hours, Rick noted numerous locations around the main square of Ponyville, the center of it all being Town Hall. He saw Barnyard Bargains, Quills and Sofas, Sugarcube Corner—the bakery he emerged from—the path to Sweet Apple Acres, and the one place that he felt he had to go inside: Golden Oaks Library. The place was a giant frickin’ tree!

Of course, he didn’t waltz inside as most humans probably couldn’t waltz in this world anyway, but he also didn’t walk inside either. But God knew he oh so desperately wanted to; he loved reading and he loved acquiring new information about the unknown. Obviously, this place would give him a massive assist in assimilation if he could get his meat hooks on one or three…hundred of those books.

“Shoo, boy, go back to your owner,” what sounded like a little boy’s voice called out behind Rick.

Turning in a jerky fashion, Rick lazily eyed the owner of the voice, resisting the urge to chuckle. There before him was a small purple dragon with a light green belly and lime green spines along the top and sides of his head. His claw was extended to compliment the shoo’ing motion and he had a gentle smile on his face.

“Come on, boy, Twilight doesn’t like humans near her books,” the dragon urged again.

Turning around completely, Rick faced the little dragon and continued staring at him, interested that there was a docile baby dragon in a pony area. Slightly contradictory to what Zecora mentioned when they first discussed this world and his.

“You’re a strange one, aren’tcha? I’ve never seen a human with hair and eyes like yours. Also, you’re really tall and kinda skinny,” the dragon noted, running his gaze along Rick’s body, “I wonder if you belong to Zecora; that robe thing you have looks like something she’d have.”

Glad to know the disguise works then. As well as knowing that Zecora has some acquaintance around town, Rick noted.

“Hmm, I wonder if you’re trained. Sit!” the dragon barked suddenly.

An idea suddenly hit Rick and he prayed it would work if this Twilight was who he thought they were. Quickly, Rick tucked his legs up and fell to the ground in a sit, cross-legged.

“Cool! How about Roll-over?” Smiling internally, Rick reached out quickly, snatched the small dragon and flipped him sideways before depositing him back onto his feet.

The dragon had gasped in surprise before giggling, “Never had a human do that before! How about shake?”

Rick shuddered violently in response instead of taking the dragon’s offered hand, who giggled even more at Rick’s antics, “That’s not how you do it! You’re supposed to shake my hand! Here’s an easy one then: Speak!”

“Speak!” Rick barked out in a guttural voice as if harshly mimicking him. At the same time, he was cheering internally that his luck worked for him; he was hoping that command would come up!

The dragon’s mouth dropped and he leaned forward in shock. Never before, in recorded history, was there a human who could actually talk. “Wow! You can talk! Do it again!”

Rick remained silent; sitting there quietly as if waiting for a command he recognized which came after the few seconds the dragon realized what was needed. “Speak!”

“Speak!” Rick barked again.

“I gotta show you to Twilight! Follow me, boy!” The dragon jumped up and dashed into the tree that was Golden Oaks Library, and Rick followed him inside, sticking close to the dragon in hopes of mimicking a domesticated human.

“Twilight! You have to see this!” the dragon called out excitedly.

While they had entered, Rick gazed around the place, mapping it out and marveling at the architecture and amount of books within. The dragon had directed his call to the second story of the tree that was an open loft area that overlooked the main room. It seemed a little dangerous that the second floor just dropped off to the main room, but what was life without a little danger?

“What is it, Spike?” a woman’s voice called from above, out of sight. Spike, huh? Cute name.

“Something that’ll blow your mind! Just come down here!” Spike called out again, this time turning to stare at Rick and bounce in place from excitement.

“Ugh, I’m trying to catch up on my journal; this had better be good,” the voice responded with an exasperated sigh, followed by hooves clopping toward the edge of the drop to the main room. From beyond the edge, a purple, furry head popped out that was brandishing a horn. Her eyes were narrowed menacingly when she noticed what Spike was trying to present to her, “Spike, why the buck is there a human in my library?”

“He’s different! Just watch!” Spike turned to Rick, “Speak, boy!”

“Speak Boy!” Rick barked, putting harsh emphasis on the vowels.

Spike did a victorious fist-pump and chuckled with glee just as a flash of purple light burst behind Rick, causing him to yelp in fright and back away. “What in Equestria was that!?”

The purple unic… She has wings too? The fuck? What the hell are ponies like her called? Rick thought to himself, highly confused.

“He can talk! Isn’t that cool, Twilight!?” Spike hopped form foot to foot.

“Spike, you don’t understand,” Twilight said with a shake of her head and pulling him away from Rick with her magic, “Humans don’t have vocal cords that can do that!” Well shit. Rick groaned internally.

“Who are you? Are you a changeling?” Twilight asked as her horn glowed and she glared at him menacingly.

Rick slowly crouched defensively, feet pointed toward the door to facilitate his getaway, eyes fixed on her glowing horn. “Twilight? What’s going on?” Spike asked nervously, alternating his gaze between her and Rick.

“Human vocal cords are too full of muscle to do anything else but bark or growl. That means there is more grey matter in his cords to allow him to speak. Obviously not human,” Twilight explained.

Cursing himself for that stupid gamble to attain information, Rick held his ground, unable to make a move without blowing his cover. “Again: who are you?” Twilight’s horn glowed brighter, and Rick took a step back, fear now apparent on his face.

“Twilight, what if he’s just special? He look’s different from all the other humans after all!” Spike tried to defend Rick but Twilight wasn’t budging. “His appearance shouldn’t be genetically possible, even more proof that he isn’t a human. Last chance, creature; who and what are you?”

Practically shitting his robe, Rick didn’t dare twitch a muscle, so it came as quite a surprise when he suddenly found himself being lifting by a purple glow and a piercing pain ripping through his skull. Within his mind’s eye, a picture flashed through his head of Stacy smiling up at him, in her leotard, presenting her 1st Place Gymnastics Medal to him.

He cried out in pain, as did Twilight as her spell faded away. They both buckled at the knees and collapsed to the floor, but Rick was quick to recover and bolted out of the tree before Twilight could even utter a syllable and before Spike could check on her to see if she was alright.

From years of martial arts training, he was used to shrugging off intense pains and being able to function perfectly shortly after doing so, but keeping track of where he was running while trying to maintain an indigenous human visage and keep the pain out of his head was a completely different story.

And here my luck just takes a dump all over me. To think that the humans here are that underdeveloped is just… impossible! There must be different evolutionary laws in effect here than from my world, Rick slid alongside a house and collapsed onto his butt, leaning against the wall to try and catch his breath and clear his head from the lingering ache of whatever that horned pegasus or winged unicorn just did to him.

For that minute, he didn’t try to collect and organize the data floating around his head, just allowing him the moment’s respite and to relax to the soothing cello music… wait, what?

Rick looked around, curious as to where the sound was coming from, until he stood back up to search. Just above his head was a small window where the music was gently pouring from.

Reaching up to grab the sill, Rick slowly pulled himself up to see through the portal, and found a grey pony with a long, black, straight mane, standing next to a grand cello, and swaying to the motions of her bow along the strings as they produced a beautiful harmony of notes.

Whatever the pony mare was playing, it was in a minor key, mellow and almost saddening to listen to, with long wilting notes and gentle transitions between chords. The images she played were some of heartbreak and betrayal, and now that Rick really was paying attention to her, he noted that the fur under her closed eyes were matted with tears and her mane had stray strands of hair stuck out at odd angles.

She was in pain.

Against all better judgment, Rick snuck back around to the front door, gently worked it open and eased himself inside, careful not to disturb her. The entire time, she kept up her mournful melody, eyes still closed and leaking their distress.

She kept up the melody for a few more minutes before gently scaling down on the chords to a sad and tragic ending with a five second long still note. With a sniff, the mare set the bow down and rubbed her eyes, gently sobbing from the pain she was experiencing until she opened her eyes and gasped.

There, sitting on the floor just before her with red rimmed eyes, was a strange human she had never seen before.

“Where did you come from?” she asked.

Rick just sat there, staring at the mare, eyes burning from the pain he felt in her heart as she played.

It was a strange sight for the mare to witness, as humans were generally hard to upset and most definitely harder to upset with mere music. It wasn’t unheard of to see a human crying, but not exactly a common occurrence either.

“How did you get in here? Where is your owner?” the mare asked.

Rick cocked his head to the side, allowing a single tear to spill, eyes trying to express the concern for the poor mare.

Gently, the mare sat the cello down into a velvet lined case and approached Rick, a sad but curious expression on her face, “You don’t bite, do you?” Rick almost answered vocally, but kept his silence and just huffed a very low bark.

She chuckled at his response, which only tugged at Rick’s heart more because her sad expression mixed with the amused chuckle seemed to accentuate her need for release from her heart’s suffering, “That’s good. You really shouldn’t go into other pony’s houses like that, though; you could get hurt, especially if they’re a unicorn,” she said, gently running her hoof along Rick’s head, much like how humans would stroke the mane of a horse.

Calmly and slowly, Rick reached a hand up and gently grasped the mare’s hoof. She watched him curiously as he set her hoof down and stood up, in a low crouch, and began to walk to the cello. She followed him with a concerned expression, hoping the human wouldn’t do anything damaging.

Tenderly, Rick touched the bow to the cello first, than lightly plucked the first string of the cello, letting it secrete its tones. “You like music, huh? That makes one pony,” she huffed in annoyance. Rick could tell that her annoyance wasn’t at him, though.

Then, much to her surprise, Rick jerked up and stepped quickly to another instrument that was lying nearby. There was a dingy violin in a worn and cracked case, nestled under a low sitting table. Its box was still in playable condition, but the neck looked slightly warped and the action on the top of the head was chipped, allowing the third and fourth strings to hang loosely.

Keeping up a lame human’s image, Rick whimpered softly, and gently tapped the instrument’s case with his knuckles.

“It was a gift from somepony I used to call my friend. I used to play it everyday when I could, but as you could see it’s fallen into a state of disrepair and there isn’t anypony in town who could fix it.

You’re strange, do you know that? I’ve never seen a human who looked like they could understand ponies and identify musical instruments. Or even cry to music! It takes a lot to get a human to cry, and it’s usually by physical discomfort rather than emotional,” the mare noted, standing next to Rick as they both looked down upon the once proud violin.

A once-called friend, eh? She must have hurt her somehow and that’s why this mare is so pained. Welp, fuck me for being a fool but I was never one to let anybody suffer. I can’t just out myself with speech, but I have a way to make my intelligence be known in a much more…mundane manner, Rick began to whip his head around, glancing around the humble little cottage, and targeting various objects.

“What are you looking at? Shouldn’t you be getting back to your owner? I’m sure they must be worried sick about you. And for land sakes, could you kindly leave my house? It is rather rude to enter one’s domicile without being invited,” the mare said, a hint of irritation invading her tone.

Rather than do what she asked, Rick launched himself into action, snatching various items faster than the mare could keep track, but she was voicing her distress at what looked like a wild human randomly ransacking her home. “What are you doing!? Stop that! Put that down this instant! Keep your paws off of that! Cut it out! Have you gone mad!? I’ll call the authorities right this moment if you keep this up!”

Than Rick slid over to the violin and faced the mare, one hand raised in what he hoped was the universal sign for ‘Stop’. The mare in discussion quickly halted in her tracks and gazed, open mouthed at Rick.

He turned back to the violin, and with the utmost care and nurturing motions, he began to repair the violin.

The mare stammered and stuttered her disbelief as Rick expertly worked the bolt in the violin’s neck, resetting the warped state into its more natural and erect state. He dropped the screwdriver and picked up the wooden coaster he took, and set it under the strings, wrapping a rubber band around it to hold it in place and using a pilfered fork as a sort of clip to keep the strings stuck in the rubber band. With deft fingers, he unwound the tuning nuts, just enough to remove the damaged action and replace it with what looked like an ashtray. He gauged its height and the way it curved, seeing where the strings would sit and took it back into his hands.

He took up a comb he had taken and than what looked like an oversized nail file. With an even more inventive used of rubber bands and some tape, he fashioned a heavy file and used it to score a cleavage line onto the ashtray. Once he finished that, he raised a sturdy picture frame, and firmly cracked it against the ashtray, perfectly splitting the ceramic plate where he intended. Then he reset it into the action, fiddled with it a moment more, than once again withdrew it.

Once more, he brought the file to the ceramic, and filed four notches into it at certain depths. Finally, he set the improvised action into its spot, reset the tuning pegs, removed the jerry-rigged place holder, and moved onto the bow.

Overall, the bow was fine and just needed to be tightened and dipped in more rosin which was resting in the violin’s case.

Just as quickly as he repaired the violin, he tightened the bow, ran the strings through the rosin until they were adequately coated and proceeded to do what he believed would be the stupidest thing he could potentially do all day.

The mare, still suffering from her extreme case of Drop Jaw and Shockinitus, watched on as Rick lifted the newly repaired violin, set it under his chin in an expert stance, and set the bow to the strings.

With one more wary glance at the mare, Rick began to play the violin, in the same key that the mare had used on the cello, and tried to the best of his ability, to play what she felt.

It shouldn’t have to be said that the mare was extremely confused and baffled by the unexpected turn of events, but she quickly found herself absorbed by the music Rick exuded.

He played the images of heartbreak and longing for something that he could not have; gently swaying with the rising and falling of the emotions of the notes he played. The chords he played were gentle and full of emotion, and they smoothly transitioned between each other.

Quickly, Rick fell into the music he played and forgot his audience of one, feeling the pains of losing his family in his notes and releasing his sorrows through the bow, allowing the strings to vocalize his own suffering, trying to tell the mare that she wasn’t alone in her suffering.

For about five minutes he played before he ended the sorrowful melody with a long wilting note. He stood there, eyes slowly opening once again, tears gently flowing from them, and watched the mare watching him with a sad gaze.

She sniffled when she realized he had finished, wiped her face of the fresh tears she cried, and smiled softly, gently clopping her hooves against the ground in mild applause.

“Bravo. Absolutely beautiful. I’ve never before heard such an amazing song come from that violin. And never would I expect a human, of all creatures, to be able to play it. But now this raises the very obvious point: you’re not what you seem to be, are you?” she asked.

Rick smiled softly and shook his head.

“So you can understand me than?”

A nod.

“Can you speak?”

Another nod.

“Please, could I have the honor of knowing your name? If you have one that is.”

Rick smiled once more, sat down while putting the violin back into its case, and offered her his hand. She gazed at it for a moment before tentatively placing her hoof into it, “I’m Octavia,” she said, a smile on her face.

Taking a deep breath, Rick steeled himself before opening his own mouth and allowing his vocal cords to work, “Ricardo Johnson.”

Octavia flinched when she heard his voice, almost crying out in fear at hearing it, but was quick to regain her composure, “My word. A human that can speak? How quickly this day has turned from depressing to eventful.”

“Not human. I’m a Nord,” Rick explained.

“Nord? I’ve never heard of your kind before. But it would explain why you’re much easier on the eyes than the humans here,” Octavia replied, gently extracting her hoof from Rick’s grasp.

“I’d be surprised if you had. Nords aren’t from this world; I got here by accident when I was traveling dimensions.”

“Not from… this world?” Rick nodded. “Traveling dimensions? What kind of magic does your kind possess to be able to do that?”

Rick laughed, “It was actually an accident from another being. Our kind doesn’t have magic, but I made a pact with that being to be sent here where I would be safe from an affliction that would kill me had I stayed home.”

“That sounds silly,” Octavia gave him a quizzical frown.

“I look like a talking and intelligent human, your argument is invalid,” Rick retorted.

“Oh, come on! How are you ‘accidently’ sent to a different dimension?”

“Simple,” Rick replied with a shrug.

“Oh? And how do you propose that is,” Octavia demanded, sitting back on her haunches and giving him a demanding stare.

“Took a wrong turn on Mulberry,” I told Zecora I was going to stick to that alibi and by The Nine I will! …Goddamn I spent way too much time on videogames.

Octavia’s stare turned flat, she remained that way for a few seconds, and then planted her hoof into her face with a longsuffering sigh, “Of all the potential Nords I’m sure there are, our world had the un-privilege to be graced by a goofball.”

Rick sniffed haughtily and turned his nose upward in a very snooty manner, “Such harsh insults coming from one so unkempt! Gad, madam, gad!” He started laughing mentally at her scowl.

“Like you are one to talk, with that haggard rag of a robe you have for attire!” Octavia retorted.

“At least I have the dignity to robe myself, you nudist barbarian!” Rick spat back, the hints of a smile coming to the edges of his lips.

Octavia crossed her hooves across her chest, but a smile began to pull at her lips as well, “I’ll have you know that the coat I’m wearing currently has been maintained with the utmost care! I’m hardly nude, you primeval oaf!”

They sat there, giving each other mock glares for a long minute. Suddenly, both snorted, trying to hold in their amusement before just bursting out into laughter.

“Thank you, Ricardo,” Octavia said, giggling slightly from the aftershocks, “I’ve not had a very easy time in light of recent events and it feels good to know there’s somepony there that cares.”

“I think your friend probably still cares,” Rick offered.

Octavia huffed indignantly, “Of course she doesn’t; if I was any sort of priority, she’d attend just one of my shows!”

With the way her tone began rising, Rick decided that this went way beyond what a simple pep talk could fix. He dropped the subject and instead remained silent until Octavia cleared her throat, catching his attention.

“I don’t suppose you would mind visiting for a little while. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a music session with a partner,” Octavia’s eyes were full of hope and her lips fell into a very subtle pout.

“Of course not. Honestly, I haven’t had the privilege to play any music in years. If you wouldn’t mind, however, I would like to ask if you have any other instruments on hand that I might be familiar with,” Rick asked.

“That you’re familiar with? You seemed perfectly comfortable on the violin just now.”

“I don’t play the violin. I was mirroring the motions you were using on your cello and improvising the notes every bar to reflect a different feeling.”

Octavia’s mouth looked ready to fall again, “You did all that… just from watching me?”

Rick just looked away and nodded weakly, praying that she didn’t feel intimidated. But after a moment, he heard her laughing again, “How impressive! Not am I just graced by a different sort of creature I’ve never heard of before, but he’s also wildly intelligent!”

“It doesn’t bug you?”

“Not at all! One pony could envy your mind, sure, but I’ve always believed that the only way to improve oneself is to be around those better than you are in order to learn!”

“Even if I look like something supposed to be stupid?”

“Never judge a book by its cover,” Octavia sagely responded.

Rick just chuckled, amused by how lucky he was to find another level headed pony. “What instruments are you familiar with?” Octavia asked.

“Strings, or percussion. In particular, I prefer guitar, bass, drums, piano, and the theramin when I’m feeling silly.”

“Theramin? Not quite sure what that is. How about any winds?”

“The ocarina, saxophone, and oboe were the only ones I was really into.”

“Ocarina? My, you have such different instruments. I would love to be able to know what that is.”

“Actually, I can improvise one right now!” Rick stood up, “Do you have a sweet potato?”

Octavia looked at him like he was an idiot, “Er, yes, I do, but why would that matter for an instrument?”

“I can fashion one from it. Usually, they’re made of ceramic, but for today, a potato would hold.”

Octavia gave him another stare that was very obviously a stare that questioned his sanity. But she stood up anyway and went out the room through a doorway that led, presumably, to her kitchen.

“A knife would also be necessary, preferably one with a point,” Rick called after her.

“You’re very strange, do you know that?” her voice called back, “I’m questioning you’re mental health as we speak.”

“I question my mental health as well, I mean, why I haven’t ran for president yet is beyond me—“ oh hey, a butterfly!” Rick jeered, hoping to get a sort of reaction from Octavia.

“…Should I fetch a needle and a straight jacket as well?”

Rick just laughed at her joking tone, happy for that reaction. He began to calm down when Octavia entered the living room again, a medium sized sweet potato balanced on her head and what looked an awful lot like a steak knife in her teeth.

With a gracious thank you, Rick took the offered items, inverted the knife in his grasp, and began to carve away at his victim. Again and again, he plunged the knife deep into the flesh, decapitating it, goring its insides and removing its innards. Twelve times, he twisted the tip of the knife into its skin, extracting more flesh and casting it aside. With a final slash into his prey, he scored out a line of a hole.

“That was quite a messy process,” Octavia muttered, annoyed at the mess he made on her table.

“But fun. Now, to tune it,” Rick declared.

“Tune it? This is how you make it?”

Rick didn’t answer; instead, he blew into the slit, his pinkie finger covering the hole on the far right of the top row of four holes. To Octavia’s surprise, a clear, high-pitched note rang from the lobotomized spud.

After a second long note, Rick covered a hole on the bottom of the potato with a thumb, blew again, then covered the other bottom hole with the other thumb, “That one is off,” He stated before grabbing the knife, scoring the hole to a slightly larger bore, than blowing through the slit again, “There we are.”

For two minutes, Rick blew through the potato, slowly covering each hole, adjusting their size when he claimed they didn’t sound right, and testing the scaling to make sure everything was in tune.

Octavia listened intently and noticed something, “It plays perfectly into a Tenor C octave! What an interesting idea for an instrument! And quite a pretty sound too.”

“I had one at home that had four chambers in it. I could play Bass, Tenor, Alto, and Soprano on it.”

“A wind instrument that plays all four ranges!? Impossible!”

“It could play in those ranges, but they were usually stuck in their respective keys. Mine was C, but I had two other that were in G and A Minor.”

“Ah, so if you wanted to play in different keys, you needed another ocarina that was built for it?”

“Exactly, but in my opinion, it was the clearest and purest sound of any wind instrument. You can’t tell from this hobbled together version, but once I have one properly made, I could show you.”

“I can’t wait, but for now, how about a song?” Octavia smiled while taking up her cello once again.

“Please,” Rick agreed politely before inhaling deeply and playing the ocarina as Octavia played her cello.

This melody was happier and played at a comfortable tempo that could be danced to. They both expressed their gratitude toward each other and shared their compassion in their instruments with sophisticated scalings and note transitions.

All in all, both Rick and Octavia could agree that that was one of the most interesting duets the two ever had! After all, it was a pony and a human playing together… MASS HYSTERIA!!!

Author's Note:

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