• Published 12th Oct 2015
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A Pony Displaced: Another Path - NoLongerSober



Legend has it that on the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape. There once was a stallion who faced Nightmare Moon and was sealed away with her. Now he returns in the modern age, hoping to find a new path.

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Chapter 22

“Mom, for the last time: We’re. Not. Dating!”

Barrier stared at the table, a downcast expression perched on his face. “It’s okay, Mrs. Velvet. Shiny doesn’t like to talk about our relationship. I think he’s ashamed of it…” Part of espionage was knowing how to act, and Barrier was quite capable.

“Shining, how could you! I raised you better than that!”

Shining Armor flinched back; Night Light shook his head wryly.

“So, what’s your relation?” Night Light asked, tuning out his wife who was now firmly lecturing their son.

“Shining would be my…” Barrier stopped for a moment, pressing a hoof to his chin. “My great grand-nephew twelve or so times back. The same goes you, assuming you carry the Sparkle name as Shining has told me.”

“Well I guess that means your distant enough of a relative to not make it incest. I approve.”
Night Light said with a nod.

“Daaaaaad!”

“At any rate, Shining, you can’t hide it from your parents. Your father and I have known you swung both ways ever since you first brought Gaffer and your other friends over to play Obilettes and Ogres. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of! You should be proud!”

“At least he chose a better-looking stallion than Gizmo. You and Cadance snagged a keeper, Shiny, and it’s okay to be a switch-hitter. We’re your parents and we’ll love no matter what.”

“Ugh, neither of you are listening to me!” Shining moaned as he slumped forward onto the table. “This day can’t possibly get any worse…”

Almost on cue, a familiar voice began to sing aloud, accompanied by the sounds of somebody opening the door. “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a…” the pink alicorn smiled when she saw the family from the front door she had just stepped through. “Hey Shiny!” Cadance beamed happily. “I see you’ve finally introduced our boyfriend to your parents.”

“Take a lesson from this, young Armor, such is the fate of those who tempt the irony of the gods.”

“Not you too!” Shining groaned and covered his head with both hooves, trying to block out the other ponies in the room; all of them had a good laugh at the stallion’s misfortune.

“I must say, your family is wonderful Shining Armor.” Barrier smiled at the dejected stallion.

“Can you guys possibly embarrass me any further?” He had actually started to slide out of his chair and slink under the table.

Velvet smiled almost endearingly at Shining and then Cadance, “Say Cadance, have you shown Barrier your special talent yet?”

Cadance looked slightly bewildered. “Do you mean the one where I use a stick of butter to-”

“Cadance!” Shining shouted, cheeks tinted red. “We swore that we’d never bring that up!”

Velvet tittered into a hoof, shaking her head. “Not that one, though I’ll need details later. I mean your other talent.”

“My love magic?”

“No, I mean the other one.”

“Love magic?” Barrier frowned in consternation, “Aren’t mind-altering spells a felony of the highest degree?”

“I’ll have you know that I know exactly how to use my love magic in ways that it are both legal and ethical,” Cadance humphed slightly. “And to answer your question Velvet, no, I’ve not burped the Equestrian National Anthem for him. Would you like to hear Barrier?”

“Certainly,” Barrier answered with genuine curiosity.

“I’ll get her a can of Tentacle Grape,” Night Light offered, standing and making his way into the kitchen; nopony paid any heed to the sad groan from Shining Armor.

***

“And your grandfather?” Night Light asked as his quill scratched furiously at the charts.

“We never knew him.” Barrier admitted truthfully. “He died to a griffin ambush when my father was a young colt.”

“Not even a name?” Night Light looked up from his papers hopefully.

“I’m afraid not. Many apologies, Night Light.” Barrier began to nibble idly on a carrot he’d snagged from the kitchen earlier. After they’d finished picking on Shining, Velvet and Cadance had both moved to the kitchen to start dinner while Night Light and Barrier sat down in the living room to discuss Night Light’s ancestry, though there was seemingly little for Barrier to add to it as Night Light already knew about him.

“Ah well.” Night Light sat the papers down and stretched out, falling onto his back. “So, anything in there that doesn’t belong?”

“No…” Barrier spoke through the carrot in his mouth as his eyes roamed the documents that littered the table. “At least not that I can see. Obviously I wasn’t around for more than maybe a half-generation of the family though. I’m sorry I can’t help you out more.”

“Eh, that’s okay. Truthfully, it’s just exhilarating to actually meet you in the flesh, even if you’re a bit different than what I expected.”

“Not what you expected?” Barrier also fell onto his back, stretching out on the floor.

“You seem…carefree. Sorta happy. All of the records I found depicted you as a serious stallion. Career soldier, no nonsense, that kinda stuff.”

“In that case, I suppose you’d be right. In truth, I don’t know how I should act, so I act many different ways.”

Night Light rolled onto his side with a grunt, facing his great granduncle. “What do you mean?”

“I was a serious stallion, for the most part. There were exceptions with certain ponies, but for the most part I had to be a no-nonsense pony. Lives depended on it. I spent almost twenty years stuck as a serious pony. It was all I knew. But then I woke up in this era where everything is peaceful. Truthfully, I don’t know how I’m supposed to act, so I just…act.”

Night Light didn’t reply, uncertain what words would suit the situation; Cadance’s voice saved him from the awkward silence.

“Dinner’s ready!”

Both stallions made their way to the kitchen in silence, Barrier’s carrot still dangling loosely from his mouth.

***

Dinner started as a quiet affair quiet affair consisting of a giant pot of vegetable stew and grilled cheese sandwiches, but still exceptional in its simplicity.

“So Barrier,” Night Light was the first to break the silence. “How long will you be in Canterlot?”

“Only for tonight,” the stallion confessed. “I leave tomorrow for the Frozen North.”

Shining was too focused on shoveling stew to give any input.

Cadance swallowed before joining the conversation, “The Frozen North?” Her right eyebrow raised itself. “Whatever for? It’s miserable up there, nothing but snow and ice.”

“I’m acting as an escort for a Miss A.K. Yearling.” Barrier tore off another piece of his sandwich and popped it into his mouth.

“Yearling?” Twilight Velvet joined the conversation with her eyes narrowed in confusion. “What the hay would she need to do in the Frozen North?”

“I’m uncertain,” Barrier lied smoothly, glancing briefly at Shining Armor who had decided to forgo his spoon and simply try to drink the stew. “I was simply asked to escort her by a friend who was aware of my experience. I agreed.”

“Well, tell her she needs work on her grammar. She keeps writing ‘stallion’s” instead of “stallions” for one thing. Also be sure to tell her that that love scene between Daring Do and the griffin prince may be a bit too risque for the teen rating she wants. Oh, and tell her she can’t use commas for crap either.”

Barrier thought back to Octavia mentioning the A.K. Yearling was an author. “I’ll tell her, though I’m afraid I don’t know the context.”

“It’s something from her latest book, but it’s not released yet.”

Shining sat his bowl down cleaner than the day it’d been bought and finally spoke. “I’m going to get an early night. Thanks for dinner, Mom, Cadance. I’ll see everypony in the morning.”

“I’ll be up in a minute, Shiny,” Cadance grinned lasciviously, “I hope you will be too.”

Night Light snorted in amusement when his son’s face erupted into a blush.

True to her word, Cadance departed as well, a noticeable hop in her step; as soon as she was gone, Twilight Velvet groaned.

“I love that my son’s dating a princess, but those innuendos...”

“Are just like the ones you spouted off when we were their age, dear.” Night Light before sipping on his stew, making Velvet glare at him.

“I suppose I should turn in as well,” Barrier yawned and said his good nights as well his thanks before he too departed the kitchen, leaving the couple alone in the kitchen.

“Oh, guest room’s the third door on your right, up the stairs.” Velvet stated, drawing an appreciative smile from the darker unicorn.

“Third door on the right…” Barrier muttered softly to himself, counting the doors as he went.

“Seriously, what kind of princess has belching a song as a talent?”

The unicorn’s ears perked as the soft whisper of Shining Armor reached his ears.

“The one who loves you,” Cadance’s voice replied with an equally soft tone. “The one you love, the one who holds you close on those cold winter nights…”

Barrier could almost hear Cadance grinning.

“The one that brought the Ultramare costume tonight…”

Nope, I don’t want to know.

***

Barrier almost shot upright when he felt a weight settle into the bed alongside him, but a soft shushing sound halted him.

“Easy, it’s just us.” Twilight Velvet whispered as she nestled under the covers.

“What are you do-” Barrier craned his head around as another weight settled on the other side of him.

Night Light answered as he too crawled underneath the covers, leaning lightly against the charcoal unicorn. “Shining and Cadance kept us awake the other night, this is payback. Just play along.”

With a tired nod, Barrier fell back onto the pillow, shifting to his side in an attempt to get more comfortable only to end up spooning the light-gray mare.

“Barrier, buy me dinner first.” Velvet teased as she felt the stallion’s hoof flop tiredly on her side.

“Make sure it’s not the Critic’s Special.” Night Light advised.

Barrier only grunted, already losing himself to sleep once more.

***

“Barrier,” Shining rapped sharply on the door before sticking his head in. “Cadance has breakfast…” Words left the younger stallion as he saw Barrier slowly waking up, as well as his mother and father whom were on either side of the charcoal stallion.

“Oh man,” Night Light was the first to speak. “You were fantastic last night Barrier, you really lucked out, Shiny.” the dark-blue unicorn rolled upright and made a show of departing the door tired and with a slight waddle.

“I’ll say,” Twilight Velvet was the second to speak and climb out of the bed. Unlike Night Light, who had left tiredly and with a waddle, she almost jumped up, seeming to practically thrum with energy and satisfaction. “I wish he had used protection, but honestly, it was so good that I don’t really mind. Besides, I think Twilight would like being a big sister anyways.” Velvet too departed, extra energy in all of her movements.

Shining Armor simply stood there in the doorway dumbstruck, his mouth moving similarly to that of a goldfish, only no words accompanied it.

Barrier climbed upright last and departed with nothing more than a pat on the back for his younger counterpart before heading down the stairs; Cadance’s voice was the first to reach his ears.

“So it turns out I bought the wrong comic book company. Still, Shiny did enjoy his birthday present, even if we ended up selling it to a film studio.”

“Mornin’” Barrier yawned out as he rounded the corner into the kitchen and came to see the most intense glare he’d seen in quite some time.

“Barrier, how could you!” Cadance suddenly shot up from the table, chair scraping loudly as she did so.

“...very carefully?” Barrier asked, muzzle scrunching up in confusion.

“We heard what they said, Barrier.” A.K. Yearling also frowned at him from her spot at the table.

“You’re here early, Miss Yearling.” Barrier ignored the fuming Cadance.

“How you could cheat on Shining and I with his parents!” Cadance stalked towards Barrier, gaze intense enough the unicorn actually tensed.

“I thought you were better than that, Barrier…” A.K. shook her head as if she were ashamed.

“I thought what we had was sp…” Cadance closed her mouth in an attempt to stop her snicker; it failed and she collapsed in a fit of giggles. “I can’t do it…I just can’t. They got Shiny too good. I bet he’s still up there standing in the doorway!” Further speech was lost amidst her laughter.

“Gotta say, I never took you for a prankster,” The pegasus dropped the false tone she used while in disguise. “Nice to know you’re not all doom and gloom.” She wore a genuine smile.

“It was his parents idea, but…” Barrier smiled softly, “it was…fun, I believe the modern term is.”

“Glad you had a good time,” Daring’s smile morphed into a grin. “Ready for the Frozen North?”

Author's Note:

The first person to figure out what Cadance was talking about when it comes to owning a comic company gets to see Chapter 23 early. :3 Post answers in the comments.

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