• Published 14th Jun 2012
  • 9,329 Views, 179 Comments

Mare Genius - Samarkand



Agatha Heterodyne comes to Equestria

  • ...
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Naked City

"What are you doing around Ponyville?" the pegasus said.

"It's a free sky, 'Crash'," Gilda replied. "Not like I'm waiting for you to come back from Lame-o-Town. I'm up here with my new best friend, who's fifty times cooler than you ever were. Make that a hundred!"

"Ah, if there's an argument you two need to settle," Agatha said, "it might be best--"

"So you found another pony to fool," the blue pegasus spat out. "You gonna treat her like you did me? Be nice while you steal and yell at my friends?"

"Used to like you because you were better than all the earthworms," Gilda replied. "All you ended up doing was wasting my time. So make like a fly and buzz off!"

"--to discuss your differences calmly, on the safe--"

"Like you said, free sky." The pegasus crossed her forelegs over her chest. "I've got my eye on you. I'll be watching you all day, to see you don't shove your weight around."

"--solid--"

Talons swiped at cyan fur.

"HEY! Watch it, you nearly cut me!"

"Meant to, 'Dork!"

"--ground--"

A hoof lashed out, punching Gilda in the beak.

"Try that on for size, birdbrain!"

"It's on!"

*TWANG*

Gilda and the pegasus froze in mid-fight at the sound of rope parting under stress.

++++

Air whistled past Agatha's ears.

"I've got you," the pegasus said, forelegs twined around Agatha's midsection.

Agatha still had an excellent view of the ground. Which was looming ever closer.

"No, I've got her," Gilda said, talons clutching her forelegs.

"Anyone's going to be doing the saving here it's me, Rainbow Dash. Best flyer in all of Equestria."

Agatha did some calculations in her head involving gravity, air resistance, and impact velocity.

"She's my friend, you lame featherduster!"

"Jerk!"

Mmmm. They should be all be able to survive impact with the--

"Loser!"

"Bully!"

*SPLASH*

--river.

++++

Well, she had been hoping for a bath.

Agatha dragged Gilda onto the river bank with teeth clamped around the griffin's tail. A smack with her hoof to where fur met feathers on her companion's back send a torrent of water out of her beak. Rainbow Dash had managed to crawl out by herself. The pegasus wobbled in circles, eyes rolling crazily in their sockets. Shaking her head, she struck her head several times with a back-hoof. A small fish popped out of her left ear. Agatha noted that the concussed flying pony nosed it back into the river. It waved a fin back in gratitude before diving beneath the surface.

Agatha looked around the surrounding landscape. When not trying to kill her, it was idyllic in a way she had never seen in Transylvania. Split-rail fences and stone walls delineated the bounds of farms with produce that seemed to burst from the ground. The agriculture here was a mix of ploughed fields and orchards. The barns and farmhouses gleamed with paint, rather than the often dilapidated appearance of peasant holdings back home. The air of this land was peaceful. That was a fortunate thing, as it kept Agatha's thoughts away from such notions as ovens and carving knives and stuffing.

"Awwwwk." Gilda staggered upright. Her once-majestic plumage was now more bedraggled chicken.

"Good to see you awake," Agatha said. She clopped her forehooves together. "Are you alright?"

"--dumb--Crash--all--her--" Gilda slumped down. "Ugh."

"Have a history around here?" Agatha asked with apparent sweetness.

"Who are you going to believe," Gilda said, back paws clawing the grass, "that dork or me? Thought we were friends."

"I'm not making any judgements," Agatha replied. "Can I tell you a story? Three months ago, a bullying soldier thought it would be funny to trip up a klutzy town girl and steal her locket. It was petty cruelty and petty theft.

"Because of that, it started a chain of events that ended up with my parents ripped apart like that rabbit you had for dinner. "

Gilda froze, beak open in horror.

"Actions have consequences," Agatha said. "Whatever the truth is between you and Frau Dash, I won't tolerate bullying or thievery among people I call my friends."

"Air under my wings," Gilda replied. "They were only pranks. You know, if I did them."

"Let's meet at sunset here tonight," Agatha said, "after I've calmed down enough to not give in the urge to drop a house on someone."

"Good one." Gilda blinked. "Did you really--"

"Yes." Agatha bared her teeth. "Of course, it was just a small one. While I'm away, you might want to talk matters over with Frau Dash. Work out any differences."

Agatha turned and headed for the dirt road a few meters away. It was a well-maintained thoroughfare rather than the rough tracks she had navigated with Master Payne's Circus. That was of a piece with her impression of this Equestria. It was at peace. The government had the means and--more importantly--the will to maintain infrastructure. Having the sheer power to fling around celestial bodies no doubt helped in warning off foreign armies. Agatha couldn't take Gilda's statement at face-value. The supposed powers of these princesses could be religious superstition. But--well, this was a world where creatures could stand on clouds. She shouldn't have such a flexible mind that she could tie it under her chin. She also couldn't afford to dismiss anything as impossible.

As a Europan Spark, what was possible was much broader in scope than the usual definition.

Agatha broke into a jaunty trot as the noises of angry argument and shoving broke out behind her. Gilda and this Rainbow Dash would no doubt sort things out one way or another. The strawberry-blonde maned pony nodded to farm-ponies working in the fields. How strange. They smiled at first, then stared in shock at her hindquarters. What on earth had brought on that reaction? She paid more attention to the others. Every single one had those flank marks by each hindquarter, except for the children. Correction: fillies and colts. Keeping to the proper terminology was important. She couldn't afford to stand out too much.

It must be some sort of caste or tribal mark, although there wasn't any consistency among them. Gilda had referred to her derisively as a blank flank. This might cause unwanted comment. Agatha pressed a hoof to the golden ring of fur around her neck, with a patch that reproduced the trilobite sigil. She had assumed at the time the mark had been a dire joke on the part of Lucrezia. It might be enough to convince Equestrians it was her land's equivalent of a flank mark.

Suddenly, she froze.

None of the ponies were wearing clothes. Many of them were quite obviously stallions.

More to the point, she wasn't wearing clothes.

Oh, sweet lightning--she WAS NAKED!

++++

Refined unicorn ladies did not do anything so common as get drunk, nor did they suffer hangovers the following morning. They became giddy, and later felt delicate. Nestled deep her bed, Rarity was a glass slipper being tapped ever so lightly. The ting resonated through every cell of her body with the finality of the world's doom. She had been so elated at catching the bouquet at the wedding in Canterlot that she had celebrated. First champagne with Fancy Pants and Fleur, where she had secured many requests for her haute couture. She was bound to remember those. Eventually. Then wine with her friends. And then there had been a grinning Applejack holding out a Mason jar decorated with a triple X. The contents were notorious throughout Ponyville as "Zap Apple Horse Liniment".

Yes. Very, very giddy. The last she recalled before being hustled on the night train back to Ponyville was singing a hilarious song with Fluttershy about....hedgehogs?

Rarity did not possess Pinkie Pie's eerie precognitive ability. However, in her own sphere of influence Rarity had considerable powers. Blue, slightly bloodshot eyes widened when her horn glowed. Someone was in trouble! She was in a fashion crisis. No, a fashion catastrophe! No! Worse than that--more depraved than Discord, more insidious than a changeling invasion! It was a FASHION APOCALYPSE! TO ARMS, SHE MUST BE SAVED!

Rarity did a quick mirror check.

But not, she decided upon seeing the horrors inflicted upon her mane, like this.

Thankfully, a champion had returned home with her.

"Spikey-wikey!"

++++

A purple dragon with green spikes stepped outside the Carousel Boutique. Dangling from one claw was a spool of thread with a needle thrust through it. The enchanted needle spun before settling in one direction. Spike slipped on a pair of shades. Somewhere, on the mean streets--well, pretty cheerful if one was honest--was a lost soul in need of rescuing. He had a full belly of gems and doughnuts, he was on a mission from Rarity, and he was wearing sunglasses. Time for Spikey-Wikey to do what he did best.

Yeah.

Hit it.

Just not too hard, because that'd be mean and everything.

++++

The slightly bustling metropolis of Ponyville had the naked mix of normal and whimsy that characterized this world. Agatha stood naked naked naked in the central square of the town. All around her naked naked the inhabitants went about their business naked. The architecture was similar to Transylvanian villages: half-timbered houses with thatch roofs. They were spaced farther apart and naked than the close-packed streets she would have seen in Beetleburg. There were decidedly naked strange takes on the Europan architectural vernacular. One shop was shaped from the second floor up as a jester's hat. Another building had been designed with confectionery on the brain. A tree with doors, windows, and naked balconies integrated into its structure was a fascinating naked example of bio-artificing naked naked naked.

Agatha was aware that she was preoccupied. Nay, even obsessed. It did not help matters that Equestrian ponies did wear clothes. Most were like her MEIN GOTT NAKED. But several of the traders in the market stalls wore aprons. Several customers sitting at haystack chairs at a nearby cafe had fetching hats which would not be out of place on a Parisian boulevard. The general custom when it came to fashion seemed to be a garment which covered the front half of the body, leaving the hindquarters bare and naked. Agatha's sickly smile became ever more frantic as she cast about for something--ANYTHING--to cover herself with. Oh look. A rain barrel! She sidled over to it. It wouldn't be stealing. She was a pony in need--

"Are you the pony I'm looking for?"

Agatha looked down. Purple scales, green spikes, lizard morphology.

It was a dragon, with a spool dangling from its claw.

"Are you here to announce," Agatha asked, "that I have a great destiny which will decide the fate of thousands, while those who oppose me will hunt me down should I fail?"

"Uh....no?" The dragon scratched its head. "I was sent by Rarity out with this magical fashion compass. You have some kind of clothes related problem?"

"I'M COMPLETELY NAKED!" Agatha screamed, shaking the little dragon between her forehooves.

Crickets chirped.

"Ah-heh." Agatha grinned at the now-staring crowd. "This Rarity--she sells clothes, then?"

"Only the best fashion designer in Equestria!" The dragon puffed out its less-than-impressive chest. The effect was of a scaly pigeon. "Name's Spike. Hey, are you Germane? I head that accent up in court when Twilight and me were living in Canterlot."

"Sprechen sie?" Agatha said.

"Ja." Spike continued in...Germane? Ach, the pun! "There's also some Maregyar in your accent, too. Pretty cool combination."

Agatha followed Spike through the morning throng of Ponyville. The others didn't pay her much attention despite her outburst. Perhaps they were used to crazy pony outbursts? Several did react to her unmarked flanks. Well, if pressed, she could say that she came from a remote region of--Germaney?--where flank tattoos weren't practiced for religious reasons. The dragon lead her a short distance to another of Ponyville's whimsical buildings. It was akin to a castle keep constructed of wood, with a festive paint scheme of blues and violets. A yellow carousel horse was painted above the doorway; several more were mounted on the posts surrounding the narrower second storey. It was quite cheerful, really. As if it were out of a child's storybook.

Agatha's thoughts about public nudity were shunted aside by the realization.

Talking ponies. Mythological creatures. The fairy tale nature of the land.

It really was as if she was in a young girl's fantasy. Well, not the ones she had had. They had involved gears and steam engines--

The interior of the dress shop more than matched the outside. Violets and purples dominated the colour scheme, including the drapes covering the arched ceiling from top to above the windows. The effect was akin to standing inside the royal pavillion of the House of Valois. Rococco gilt frames around the mirrors and the ornate designs about the changing screens enhanced the French motif. Or was it, in this world, Prance? As her Hassidic aquaintances back home might say: "Oy". Carousel ponies acted as dress dummies. Here and there were salon tables and racks of clothes. It was all much more haute couture than usual for Agatha. Lilith had usually sewn the family's clothes herself from bolts of cloth bought from the market.

With a flourish, a delicately-framed unicorn with a pearl-grey coat and limpid blue eyes stepped into the main room of the boutique. Her eyelashes and the flowing, curled purple mane and tail were a decided contrast to Agatha own tousled mane and stubborn cowlick. Oh, no. Was this another Zulenna? The shop owner's demeanour was far friendlier than the haughty princess of Holfung-Borzoi had been on first meeting. With a studied flourish--as an actress, Agatha recognized the signs of a dramatic performance--this Rarity waved a foreleg with grace at her sole customer.

"Welcome to the Carousel Boutique," Rarity said in a plummy British accent, "where every garment is chic, unique, and magnifique--OH DARLING, I'VE RESCUED YOU JUST IN TIME!"

Agatha yelped as an aura surrounded her, picked her up, and plopped her at a salon table.

"Spike! Tea and biscuits!" Rarity commanded, eyes full of concern. "Sit still, it will be alright. Rarity will take care of everything. What tragedies you must suffered!"

"I did fall in a river--"

"Shhh!" Rarity pressed a hoof to Agatha's lips. "Say no more. We will not discuss such painful horrors. No, there is only the future. I am sure Aloe and Lotus can accomodate you at the spa at short notice."

"Spa?" Agatha shook her head. "Frau Rarity, I have no money--"

"Don't speak of lucre, darling," Rarity said. "This is my duty! I cannot, will not let a fellow pony suffer!"

Behind her, scissors and curry combs and hair brushes rose into the air.

It was eerily similar to Der Kestle's personality fragment in the kitchen, levitating all manner of sharp objects to julienne the cook.

"First," Rarity said, eyes becoming blued steel, "your hair!"