• Published 9th Jan 2016
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Distorted Resonance - Tangent



Crystal Synergy used to be a middle-aged brony before she appeared in Ponyville in a bolt from the clear blue sky. She only wants to help...

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Distorted Beginnings: Chapter Four

Crystal Synergy was objectively aware that she should probably not be staring at the cat-lady’s boobs, but ten years of total cultural immersion as a member of a different species and gender did not quite trump roughly four and a half decades of previous experience and preferences. Granted, considering that clothing was by and large optional anywhere on Gaia, regardless of species or culture, one might assume that ten years would have been more than enough time to get used to such things as bare breasts. The problem with that assumption is that nopony (or any other creature for that matter) in or around Ponyville actually had anything resembling the breasts of a human female.

Even the (very few) books in the Golden Oaks Library that had any information at all about sphinxes didn’t bother mentioning that the females had breasts. Oh, sure, ancient mythology from back in Crystal’s previous life noted that particular fact, but such features on Gaia apparently didn’t rate mentioning in general information articles unless the race was noted for regularly selling or bartering with their milk, like cows and goats did. The illustrations in those books hadn’t been particularly enlightening either, as whoever had published them had gone with cheap, simplified caricatures rather than more accurate drawings, paintings, or photographs.

The fact that each of the massive mammae were easily bigger than Crystal herself was, wasn’t helping matters. Not that they were overly large in proportion to their owner, who could be favorably compared to a large covered wagon in size (just a bit shorter, not quite as wide, but somewhat longer and definitely built for strength and agility).

“My eyes are up here, kitten,” the sphinx stated dryly.

“I’m not looking at your eyes,” Crystal stated bluntly, causing the sphinx to raise a brow.

“They’re like two humongous warm pillows!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed as her head and forelegs popped out from the sphinx’s cleavage, startling everypony (and the sphinx).

Silence reigned in the clearing for a moment or two…

And then the sphinx began to laugh!

*O o O o O*

Four mares were, very politely, escorted to the Friendship Express, outbound for Ponyville, where they were apparently sharing a car with a squad of EUP soldiers. Unlike the Royal Guard, who were almost always wearing the same well cared for and very impressive shiny golden armor that they had worn for generations, the EUP soldiers were wearing the new armor design that had been introduced recently. It was composed of sectioned strips of some dark material arranged in plates and greaves, worn over a sturdy cloth undersuit that covered everything but the head, hooves, and in the case of pegasi, wings. While neither as pretty as the armor worn by the Royal Guard, nor as sleek as the jumpsuits worn by the Wonderbolts, it nevertheless looked very impressive in its own right.

Every soldier present was nothing but professional and courteous whenever interacting with the four mares, who were quickly and efficiently settled in before the soldiers returned to checking and securing their own weapons and equipment. Among which several large survival type saddlebags were in evidence.

Moondancer hesitantly approached one of the guards that appeared to have finished inspecting and squaring away his gear. He was a (very) large, cream colored earth pony with a fiery red mane and tail. “Excuse me, sir…”

“Corporal, ma’am,” the large earth pony corrected. “Sir is reserved for officers when addressing members of the military. Corporal Carrot Ironfoundry, at your service.”

“Corporal, then,” Moondancer nodded. “Um… if you don’t mind me asking, why is there an EUP unit heading for Ponyville?”

“You would have to ask Lieutenant Vines, ma’am. He’s in charge of the mission. We haven’t been instructed about what we can talk about yet.”

“Which one is Lieutenant Vines?” Minuette asked, curiously.

“He’d be the one up front by the coffee cart, reading the orders, ma’am,” another earth pony stallion informed them. This one was a comparatively stout fellow, just a bit wider than the other soldiers but not excessively so. He was dark brown with an even darker mane and tail. “Sergeant Semicolon at your service. Best not to bother the lieutenant until he’s done with his reading.”

“And I’m Private Bedknobs, ladies! Pleased at meet ya!” the rather scruffy looking… um… other than being vaguely equine, none of the four mares were sure if Private Bedknobs was really a pony or just a set of features that sort of resembled a pony in dim light. “You are female, right?”

“I’m going to go sit over there,” Lemon Hearts stated nervously. “Way over there. In the next car.”

“I think I’ll join you,” Twinkleshine agreed.

The four mares rapidly made themselves scarce.

“Oi! Carrot!” Bedknobs complained. “You’re huge size done run off the fillies again!”

“Yes, I’m sure that was why they ran off, Bedknobs,” Sergeant Semicolon commented with dry sarcasm.

“I’m sorry?” Corporal Carrot replied uncertainly. He missed his home town of Dot-on-the-Map in the Shetland Hills, but the whole community had agreed that a pony with his talents would best serve everypony if he joined the military. Which was all well and good, but city pony customs were so damn confusing…

*O o O o O*

“Hoo! I haven’t had such a good laugh in a long time!” the sphinx admitted to the flummoxed mares. Well, six of them were flummoxed anyway, while Pinkie pie was laughing right along with the giant feline. “Most ponies are too nervous to relax around Big Mama. Nice to see a pride willing to be more sociable around li’l ol’ me.”

“Well, shoot, ma’am,” Applejack spoke up. “I’ll admit to feelin’ a might intimidated by your size, but seein’ as you’re willing to be friendly, I reckon it’s only fair if we extend th’ same courtesy.”

“And I find your honesty refreshing, kitten,” Big Mama said with a smile.

“Crystal! Manners! You’re staring!” Rarity scolded her foster sister.

“Of course I’m staring,” Crystal replied in a distracted tone. “They’re huge!”

“Oh, I don’t mind, kitten! Big Mama knows she’s big. It comes from being Big Mama.”

“This is all good and all,” Rainbow Dash stated impatiently, “but we’re kind of in a hurry.”

“Oh, kitten, you’re going nowhere for a while yet,” Big Mama chided as a lightning fast paw scooped up Crystal and held the pony against her bosom like a baby as she sat up on her haunches. “You still have to pass my test. Pop Quiz! Two trains are traveling in opposite directions between Manehattan and Baltimare…”

Crystal's muzzle flushed in embarrassment as she was held like a baby against Big Mama's bosom.

*O o O o O*

“I got here as soon as I could, Shiny,” Princess Mi Amore Cadenza stated worriedly as she entered the Grand Hall and approached her fiancé. “Has something happened to Princess Celestia? The sun should have been raised hours ago.”

“Your Highness,” Captain Shining Armor bowed in greeting as Cadence drew close to him.

“Please don’t bow to me, Shiny,” Cadence pleaded, fear evident in her voice.

“Had to at least once, Cady,” Shining Armor informed her. “With Princess Celestia missing, I have to show that I am loyal to the acting Princess Regent during a national emergency.”

“But…”

“He’s right, you know,” a cultured voice interrupted Cadence, causing both her and Shining Armor to turn and look at the speaker as he stepped out of one of the Grand Hall's many alcoves. “The Captain of the Royal Guard has to be able to demonstrate his loyalty to the Crown during this or any other crisis, or he would lose whatever legitimacy his emergency powers otherwise give him over the generals and the admiralty.”

“Prince Blueblood,” Shining Armor acknowledges the other stallion’s presence with a barely acceptable nod, earning a chuckle from the immaculately groomed pony.

“Captain-General Armor," Prince Blueblood returned an ever so slightly lower nod before returning his attention to the Princess of Love. "I really do suggest that you try to put up with these silly little shows, cousin.” Blueblood stated with a smirk. “At least in public. Otherwise, there is a very good chance that some idiot noble will remember that I’m the current heir-apparent of House Platinum and try to stick me with the job. While I would like to believe that Equestria wouldn’t fall into civil war immediately upon a unicorn once again assuming the throne, there are ample reasons why the original council stepped down in favor of granting an alicorn the authority to rule over us all as a united people.”

“Do you really have to be so blunt, Bluey?” Cadence asked in an annoyed tone.

“If I want at least two thirds of the emergency council desperately wanting to avoid placing my flank in that chair, then the answer to that must be a resounding yes,” Blueblood replied with a superior drawl. “You, at least, would have popular support, both as an alicorn and as who you are, while you learned on the job. I have neither of those luxuries. Every bad decision I might make in my inexperience would be promptly ripped apart by my detractors. And believe me, I would make mistakes!”

“And you think I wouldn’t” Cadence asked, arching a brow.

“Oh, you’ll definitely make mistakes, Cad..." The old nickname drawing a rueful chuckle from his distressed 'Cousin'. “Even Aunty has made mistakes from time to time over the past millennia. There’s no avoiding them, really. But like Aunty, you have buffers available. Once of them happens to be the loyalty of the Royal Guard, who need to see that their Captain remains a loyal servant of the Crown.”

With a sigh, Prince Blueblood turned, and then paused, looking back. “Let your fiancé bow to you when he needs to, my dear cousin. Let him be your shield. You will need him.” And with that, Prince Blueblood of House Platinum walked back out the door.

*O o O o O*

For all her massive size, Big Mama moved through the forest with silent, graceful elegance, never once taking a step out of place or making a sound she did not intend to be heard. Not that she wasn’t heard or seen, as she continued to ply the pursuing ponies with problems to ponder as they sought to secure the freedom of their companion. Or companions as the case may be at any particular moment, as at seemingly random intervals Big Mama would abruptly swap whichever mare was cuddled carefully against her bosom with apparently casual ease.

It didn’t seem to matter how fast or agile any of them were, or how strong, or if they could fly or use magic, or even whether it was one or two of them being held at a time. It was clear that Big Mama was directing this dance, picking and choosing her partner or partners of the moment as whim or opportunity provided.

And the problems Big Mama quizzed them with were various in both type and complexity. There were word problems, logic problems, questions concerning history, conundrums of philosophy, probes of their personalities and moral fiber, riddles, jokes, and even puns. Some questions had only one right answer, while others had many or none, or would have different correct answers depending on who was asked and when.

“What get’s wetter the more it dries?” Big Mama asked, hugging a squirming Rainbow Dash against one of her breasts. This was not the first time Dash had ended up being held firmly against one boob or the other, or occasionally between them, as she had made several attempts to directly rescue whichever of her friends the large sphinx happened to be holding at the time. Honestly, she wasn’t sure which she found more embarrassing: being babied or the frustrating ease that Big Mama had caught her with each time.

“I know! I know! A sponge!” Pinkie called out cheerfully. Over the course of the chase her mane and tail had become less and less limp, until they were once again frizzy masses of curls. Big Mama wasn’t hurting any of them, and the game was both challenging and fun! Even if some of the questions were kind of hard while others were ridiculously easy.

“Correct!” Big Mama replied, letting Rainbow Dash go as Pinkie Pie willingly leapt into her waiting arms, once again, in order to accept a victory belly rub and congratulatory tickle. “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”

“An explosion!” Rainbow Dash stated with conviction.

“Two explosions!” Pinkie Pie Proposed gleefully from her current position being carried.

"I really doubt that anything could explode twice, Pinkie," Rarity pointed out, only to be deftly scooped up into a hug against Big Mama's other breast. "Well, there goes my dignity. Again." Rarity didn't bother trying to get away. It wouldn't help, and the sphinx would most likely be exchanging the two of them out soon enough. The fact that being hugged by Big Mama was kind of comforting after their near brush with the satyr had nothing to do with it.

Really.

"Yay!" Pinky cheered. "We're bosom buddies!"

Rarity's eye twitched as her sister laughed out loud at Pinkie's proclamation.

“The unstoppable force changes vector without changing velocity?” Crystal Synergy suggested, wondering if this was one of the questions that didn’t have an answer.

“They pass through each other without effect, as they are both forces that acceleration can not be applied to,” Twilight Sparkle stated after a moment’s thought.

“I’ll accept that last answer in this world,” Big Mama said as she adroitly swapped Rarity and Pinkie Pie for Applejack. “What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”

“About twenty-two knots!” Rainbow Dash announced confidently.

“Correct!” Big Mama agreed with a disarming smile.

“Ha! I finally got one right! Ack!?” Rainbow Dash found herself being cuddled in one of Big mama’s arms as Applejack looked over at her from her place against the large sphinx’s other breast with a bemused expression.

“Y’know, maybe you should congratulate yourself from a mite further away?” the apple farmer proposed.

“Not again…” was Rainbow Dash’s only reply as she began to struggle and squirm in an effort to free herself from the embarrassing situation.

“How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Big Mama rattled off, blithely ignoring the byplay between the ponies she was carrying.

“About seven hundred pounds on a good day, with a tailwind,” Fluttershy replied, earning her stares from each of her friends and Big Mama. “What? It came up in a conversation with one during a tea party a week or so ago. I would like my hug now. If you don’t mind that is?"

“Aw, of course, kitten!” Big Mama agreed, smiling warmly as she let Applejack and Rainbow Dash go and gently accepted Fluttershy into her waiting arms.

“Well, that just happened,” Crystal commented unnecessarily.

“Demons and rogues know nothing else, save starlight,” was Big Mama’s next announcement.

“The night,” Crystal proposed.

“Darkness,” Twilight offered.

“Parties!” Pinkie insisted cheerfully.

“My two back hooves meeting their faces,” was Applejack’s suggestion.

“Well, I suppose those are all technically acceptable answers," Big mama admitted as she casually swapped Fluttershy for Twilight Sparkle.

“Seriously, how does somepony that big move so fast?” Rainbow Dash complained.

“I have my ways,” Big Mama replied easily. “It's a part of Heaven, though it touches the Earth. Some say it's valuable, others say no worth.”

“Oh, like I haven’t heard that one before,” Rainbow Dash snarked. “The answer to that one is a rainbow.”

“Correct! And sorry about the slight dig, kitten. It wasn’t intended with any cruelty in mind. What falls but never get’s hurt?”

“Rainbow Dash!” Pinkie offered with a grin.

“A rubber ball?” Crystal guessed.

“Rain,” Applejack stated with confidence.

“Rain is the correct answer,” Big Mama stated, earning a smile from the orange mare.

“I look down on you, but I do not notice if you look back. Though no embarrassment or shame befalls ones I gaze upon, still all become flushed eventually when I do so,” was Big Mama’s next riddle.

“The sun,” Applejack and Twilight Sparkle announced at the same time, causing them to look at each other and giggle.

“Correct! Who put the bomp in the bomp shebop shebop?” Big Mama sang out.

“Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?” Crystal Synergy sang back automatically, then froze. “How!? Ack!!” the short maned unicorn found herself being cuddled against one of Big Mama’s boobs yet again.

“What is the difference between a cat and a complex sentence?” Big Mama asked as Crystal wriggled ineffectually in her comforting embrace.

“Not another one of these,” Rainbow Dash complained. “They’re too hard! Ask an easier one!”

“A cat has claws at the end of its paws, and a complex sentence has a pause at the end of its clause,” Twilight answered, shaking her head at Rainbow Dash’s complaint. If anything, she thought that this one was too easy.

“Correct. What is the ultimate answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything?”

“Forty-two,” Crystal stated flatly from where she was being held, pretty sure that she was being trolled at this point.

“Correct, although you should probably not mention that to any mice you happen to come across, kitten,” Big Mama stated as she set Crystal down. “One final question for you all: What is the task I set for myself upon meeting you?”

“To waste our time,” Rainbow Dash stated.

“To set us back on the path when you knew we wouldn’t have trusted anypony right after what we had just gone through?” Applejack offered, noticing that they were once again back on the road. Or at least a road, although if there was more than one road through the Everfree, she had never heard tale of it.

“To get us away from the miasma in that clearing, clean us, heal us, and set us on our path again,” Fluttershy smiled at the large sphinx. Seeing the inquisitive expressions as her friends looked at her curiously, she continued. “Even if Applejack and Pinkie Pie took care of the satyr, we were still under the lingering effects of its magic, as well as intoxicated from the alcohol and drugged food. If Big Mama had let us go right then, we would have been too distracted and out of it to be able to defend ourselves properly. Big Mama is really very kind.”

“Aw, thank you for the kind words, kitten!” Big Mama hugged Fluttershy again briefly. “I’ll have to visit sometime the next time I pass through Equestria. For now though, I must be on my way.”

The seven mares watched as Big Mama disappeared into the forrest.

“Does everyone still have their automaps?” Crystal asked, realizing that all their gear had been left back in the satyr’s clearing, where they had mindlessly discarded it while under his spell. Even Applejack’s Stetson had been left behind, much to the orange mare’s aggravation, although she was still wearing her ribbons. Fortunately, they were all still wearing the clips Crystal had given them.

“Okay, according to the map, Ponyville is back that way,” Twilight announced, having called her own projected map up before even Crystal had thought to do so. “So we should head in the other direction.”

Author's Note:

Special thanks to DragoLord19D, for assistance in my interpretation of Prince Blueblood.

The new EUP uniforms worn by Lieutenant Vine's squad were inspired by the Crystal War portion of The Cutie ReMark, and the following pictures: