• Published 10th May 2016
  • 3,473 Views, 438 Comments

The Titans' Orb: Rising Storm - Mister Horncastle

As Callum and the Mane Six continue their quest to find the shards of the Titans' Orb, the path ahead grows only more deadly, as they are now stalked by a relentless shadow that will stop at nothing to hunt them down...

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Chapter Twenty-Seven: Internal Conflict

Author's Note:

This chapter has yet to be rewritten, and is only semi-canon in the Titans' Orb storyline.

Should you wish to read on, please note that many scenes, plot elements, and lines of dialogue are subject to changes, some of which will be substantial.

The rewritten chapters will be uploaded as and when they are ready.

That is all. :twilightsmile:
- Mister Horncastle

I slammed my bedroom door and flopped onto the bed, the nausea slightly returning as I did so; exhaling heavily, I clenched my fists in frustration. When I released them, I found my palms had begun to bleed again due to the injury they’d received from my fight with Twilight. Sitting back up, I looked around and inhaled through gritted teeth, I didn’t know what to do with this emotion; I was so embarrassed, angry, ashamed, and mortified.

{Jeez, take a chill pill.}

Without thinking, I lashed out and punched the footboard, the rotten wood obliterated and sent small chunks of wood flying out onto the bedroom floor.

“Leave… Me… Alone…” I growled slowly.

Stardust got the message and went silent, while I sat there and observed my fist, a large splinter protruded from my ring finger. I pulled it out and lay back, staring at the ceiling, huffing loudly.

About an hour went by, when I heard hoofsteps approaching, and a knock at the door. I’d hardly calmed down yet, but forced myself to gruffly ask who it was.

“It’s Twilight.”

Inhaling deeply, I said she could come in; the door opened and the unicorn entered, respectfully closing the door behind her. She quickly noticed the broken footboard and tutted, before approaching me and sitting beside me.

“So, I guess you went with my advice.” she said blankly.

“I guess.”

“Were you planning on telling me?”


“Why not?”

I rolled over and faced her, looking up into her purple eyes.

“Things have been bumpy between you and Dash, we’ve started getting close as friends, and I just thought it’d be inappropriate to randomly approach you and say, ‘Hey Twilight, I fucked your friend!’ How does one bring that up in conversation?”

“So, you were afraid of hurting my feelings?”

I broke eye contact and glared at the ceiling.

“I don’t know, sure, let’s go with that.”

Twilight smiled warmly, and put a hoof on my shoulder.

“Callum, that’s really sweet of you, but I think you’re forgetting I was the one who suggested you give it a go with her, and that it might help you move on from Bunnie.” she reminded me.

“I wasn’t sure if you really meant that, or if you were saying it just for my sake without thinking of how it’d affect you. I felt like it was something that would get to you, I don’t know.” I mumbled.

“So, to put it bluntly, you didn’t believe I was being sincere?”

I remained silent, and then rolled onto my side to face the wall.

“Cal, look at me.”

After a few seconds of not responding, I finally sat up and faced her properly, she took my hands in her hooves and gave me a warm smile, before smirking.

“I really couldn’t care less about you having sex with Dashie.”

Huffing, I dipped my head.

“Alright… Sorry…”

She placed her hoof under my chin and forced me to look into her eyes again.

“What are you sorry for?”

I shrugged, and then exhaled deeply.

“For getting angry, I guess? I stormed off downstairs and made a scene.”

Chuckling, she raised her eyebrows in amusement.

“Well, I didn’t help by screaming across the house at you.” She admitted.

We both laughed, and then she offered me a hug to break the emotional tension, I sighed heavily and let her velvety fur against my cheek calm me. We held each other and chatted for a good ten minutes, when Twilight had an idea.

“Hey, how about we use the collars and see how our forests are getting on?”

“Shit, that’s a great idea!” I exclaimed.

She eagerly scrambled out of the room to fetch them, and I patiently waited for her with my legs crossed.

{You need to cut your toenails mate.} Stardust remarked.

“Yeah, I know.” I mumbled.

Come to think of it, my fingernails needed a trimming too; I doubted the girls had any sort of clippers, some scissors would do the trick, but I honestly couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere and ask for them. Instead, I resorted to just picking at them until I made a dent, and then tearing the nail sideways until it came free. Twilight came into the room as I was trimming my last toe, and looked at me with confusion.

“Err, what are you doing?”

“Ugh, just sorting out my nails.” I mumbled, finally tearing the nail away.

“What do you mean?”

“They never stop growing until death, so you need to trim them every now and then.” I explained.

“Huh, I see...” she hummed, “They’re rather interesting for claws.”

I chuckled, and decided to explain a little further.

“Well that'll be because they aren’t claws, but they’re very similar. Our fingers have a slightly different matrix of skin construction to the rest of our bodies, lots of keratin builds up there, it’s what allows our fingers to have such a strong grip without snapping. Over time, the keratin cells die, and are pushed out of the fingertip by the new cells that replace them. Our fingernails are essentially just compressed dead cells that have served their purpose inside the finger, so while they resemble claws, they don’t serve the same purpose.”

“Whoa, that’s awesome!”

Twilight’s scientific curiosity remained adorable as ever and she seized my hand without asking and started closely observing my fingers, studying the nails with awe.

“What’s the little white spot there?” She asked.

“That’s called a leukonychia, but they’re often just called milk spots. It’s just a bit of discolouration, usually caused by some form of injury to the base of the nail. I imagine it happened when I fell off the cliff, I got a little bit squished when the rocks buried me.”

At first, she was intrigued, and then snapped back to feeling guilty about our battle, I could see it in her eyes. Come to think of it, I was feeling rather guilty myself, I’d given Twilight some rather nasty injures of her own; sure, her body had been strengthened by the Fel at the time, but I still gave her an absolute hammering. I could comfortably say we’d both be bedbound if it weren’t for Zecora’s healing liquid that Fluttershy had injected into our bodies; it seemed more effective than Oozima, my broken ribs from Hoyt’s gunshot weren’t even aching anymore.

“Right, collars.” I said, changing the subject.

Twilight perked up again and took them off her wrist, which was still quite swollen from where I’d snapped it, I’d noticed she hadn’t been putting weight on it during our walk.

“Which forest first? Mine or yours?” she asked.

“Yours, I want to see how much of the snow has melted yet.”

She smiled and dipped her head, and I put the collar around her neck, and then around my own. I made sure the switch was facing upwards, so we’d go into her brain and not mine.

“Ready?” I asked.

She lay down on the bed, and I did the same, before pressing the button on my collar, activating the connection. Everything went white and I lost all physical feeling…

I opened my eyes to find myself in a wooden shed. Looking down, I found myself in a familiar lavender body, covered in fur.

“Oh, right, this again.” I murmured.

{I’ll never get over your British accent in her wee girly body.} Stardust chuckled.

“Piss off.” I grumbled.

{Piss off.} he mimicked in a girly tone.

Rolling my eyes, I opened the door and ventured outside, I was met with luscious woodland, the evergreen trees were definitely looking a little more alive. Taking in a breath of air, I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t so deathly cold, the harsh breeze of the Frozen Forest had died away, the snow remained, but had clearly been melting as it was more compact.

“Twilight?” I called out.

No response.

“Must be in another part of the forest.” I hummed.

I had to find her swiftly, while the forest was slowly warming up, the snow still left a horrible chill; I didn’t want Twilight to freeze in my body. Deciding I’d find Twilight deeper in, I went in the direction where the trees grew thicker. Along the way, I noticed how the trees remained their black colouring from the Fel’s corruption; I placed a hoof against one of their trunks and heard a crunch, I rubbed the area and was amazed to find the blackness crumbled away like dry pastry.

“The Fel’s completely dead, just a husk of its corruption remains.”

I kept rubbing until the blackened bark had been completely removed, revealing the beautiful creamy brown lumber beneath, it looked perfectly healthy.

{The bark may never grow back, but at least the trees themselves are healing.}

“Does the lack of bark have any consequence?” I asked.

{Just means they’re more susceptible, they’re exposed. She’ll be more vulnerable to anything that affects the brain, from illnesses to cancers, and the like. And if she’s ever subjected to the Fel again, it will consume her almost instantly, and will most likely kill her.}



“Shouldn’t we leave the dead bark on then?”

{Removing the bark will allow the trees to breathe properly again until the leaves heal, I guarantee it would let her heal faster without the bark, I’d say we should remove it.}

I nodded in agreement and placed my horn against the tree, concentrating hard on my raw magic; building up some kinetic energy, I cast a basic telekinesis spell, sending a small shockwave of vibrations through the tree. All the bark came free and dropped to the ground, crumbling into black dust. The bare tree that remained moaned quietly, similar to my own tree in the Hollow Forest, it was almost as though the tree was thanking me for helping it.

{Good job, now just do that again about a hundred billion more times, give or take, and you’ll have healed Twilight’s brain.} Stardust laughed.

I stepped back and remembered how many trees there were around me, and how they represented each neuron; I’d basically just added a single drop of rain to an ocean.

“Plan.” I grinned.

Stardust remained quiet, waiting for me to reveal my idea. If there was anything I knew, it was that Twilight was an immensely strong unicorn, before the Fel’s corruption, she had been able to clone me twice, and create a portal from England to Ukraine without breaking a sweat. With her full magical capabilities, she was extremely powerful, and in this forest, I had those capabilities. I put my faith into Twilight’s body and closed my eyes, summoning all the mana I could muster without causing harm to myself; I felt my horn converting it into magical energy, and I allowed it to flow through my body, growing stronger and stronger.

{You’re a dangerously intelligent bugger!} Stardust exclaimed.

My horn glowed brighter and brighter, and I felt myself begin to slowly levitate a few inches off the ground as the energy slowly grew too powerful to contain. I remained calm and kept my eyes closed, while concentrating on how to exert my magic, combining its kinetic potential with sound, I prepared myself to ignite the loudest sonic boom known to man. To ensure none of this energy went to waste, I modified the spell to be cast in a ring shape, no sound would be heard if one stood above me, the spell would only ripple in all horizontal directions.

{Are ye done?}

“Yeah…” I growled with a smile.

I threw my head back and my horn seemed to explode, the sonic detonation was so loud that it slightly warped light itself, the ring flowed through the forest and shook every tree vigorously, as the soundwave travelled, the corrupted bark was literally torn from the trees and was scattered to the wind like ash in a hurricane; it mixed with the snow and gusted high into the air.

Fatigue became of me as I grew extremely lightheaded, I stumbled to my knees as the sound drifted into the woodland, I had used literally all of Twilight’s available mana; having used it so abruptly, it had exhausted me to an extreme level, akin to sprinting a mile after not exercising for a month.

{Mmn, you overdid it… Ya bastard…} Stardust mumbled.

I fell onto my side and everything became a blur.


I stirred, and rolled onto my back.


My eyes opened and I saw Twilight standing there, still trying to get the hang of being on two legs again, then I realised…

“Oh shit! I’m… Uh… You’re naked!”

“I noticed!” she growled.

I put a hoof over my eyes and slowly got up, I uncovered my eyes to find she was covering up with her hands, then I realised she was shivering. I quickly cast Thermic Hide onto her, and she sighed with relief as the cold no longer affected her.

“Why are you naked? You were clothed last time.” I asked.

“How should I know!?”

It was interesting that Twilight was so embarrassed, she’s never worried about clothing as a pony, but in my body, she was just as self-conscious as any human would be; perhaps it was because of the fur, because I haven’t felt awkward or embarrassed in this body. Having another set of genitalia certainly felt weird, but I had a tail to hide my rear.

“Stop looking at me…” she pleaded.

“Twi, it’s my body, there’s nothing I haven’t seen already.”

“Well right now, it’s my body, and I’m not comfortable with you ogling at it!”

“Okay, okay, jeez.”

Twilight looked around at all the trees, and then back to me.

“You nearly deafened me, do you know that?”

“Oh shit, yeah, I wasn’t thinking about that.” I admitted.

“Thankfully I was far away, it took me almost an hour to find you.”

“Blimey, I must have been unconscious for ages.” I murmured.

“What did you do? The trees are like this for at least a two-mile radius.” she told me.

{Three and a half to be exact.} Stardust corrected.

“I bottled all your mana and made an audible combustion spell, I basically just made a sonic boom strong enough to shake the trees and get all the corrupted bark off, they’ll heal faster now.” I explained.

Twilight’s eyes opened wide and she stared at me with shock.

“You… You wrote a spell?”

“I… Think so?” I replied.

She rushed at me and gripped my face with both hands.

How did you do that!?” she yelled.

“Whoa! Calm down! I don’t know how I did it, I just wanted to exert the magic as raw energy, so I took the basic telekinesis spell and thought about it producing sound instead of physical matter, I condensed the energy enough to become an explosive, and then cast it into the space of a single atom.”

Twilight released me, and took a step back, gasping.

“Do you know what this means?” She asked me.

I remained silent.

“Callum, you’ve just become a wizard… Like Starswirl the Bearded…”

{You’re a wizard, Harry.}

“I’m a what?”

“A wizard!”

“A wizard!?”

{For fuck sake Harry, listen to me, you’re a wizard!} Stardust shouted.

{Listen here Hagrid, you fat oaf! I’m not a fucking wizard!} I thought back.

Stardust laughed while Twilight intensely stared at me, in shock.

“Do you have any idea how difficult it is to write a spell?”

“Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take you seriously when you’re standing there with my own penis on display?” I teased.

She looked down and realised she wasn’t concealing herself, she growled at me and quickly covered up again, but it wasn’t like I hadn’t already taken a good look.

“I didn’t realise how it looked from this angle, I’m possessing some real big dick energy.” I hummed.

“Fuck off!” Twilight shouted.

I rolled my eyes and chuckled, and brought the subject to my new rare accolade.

“So, what’s so big about me being a wizard anyway?” I asked.

“Spell-writing is really difficult, you have to truly understand magic to write one, because you’re completely rewriting the magical energy created from your mana, you’re programming it for a specific purpose, very few unicorns can understand magic on such a level, not even I can, it’s why I still study it!” she explained to me.

{It’s the equivalent of writing code for a computer or something, but instead of ones and zeroes, it’s a versatile energy that can be manipulated, but you have to understand it to do that.}

I nodded with some sort of comprehension, yet I remained confused.

“But, I don’t understand magic, I just thought about it doing what I wanted it to do.”

“Which is what makes it more bizarre, it’s like it listened to you or something. Perhaps Stardust had something to do with it?” she said, still puzzled.

{You leave me out of this, you did that shit on your own!}

I looked upwards towards my forehead, and then shrugged.

“Apparently he didn’t.”

Twilight sighed with frustration, unable to grasp how I’d created my own spell.

“Well, I’m going to call it… Um… Seismic Resonance!” I announced.

{Aye, that isn’t so bad.} Stardust hummed.

“Right, well, perhaps don’t cast it again for a while, using that amount of mana without a warmup is dangerous, even in this dreamworld.”

“I don’t plan to, I want to find your mana well.” I replied.

A small smirk appeared on her lips, and we headed out together towards the thickest part of the forest.

It didn’t take that long to grow accustomed to Twilight in my naked body, if anything I was curious about how I looked from an alternative perspective; I was rather proud of my arse, I had quite the bubble butt for a bloke. I was distracted from my swiggity roundness upon leaving the forest and reaching a familiar looking tundra, this was where Twilight had distracted the orc while I located the mana well; the hole that led to the well would be anywhere near here.

“Keep your eyes peeled, the entrance should be somewhere nearby.” I mumbled.

“Are you sure this is the right place?”

I hummed to confirm, and we kept walking together.

“I can’t wait to see the well, I want to see if it’s filling up with any mana yet.”

Twilight exhaled from her nose.

“Yeah, it’ll be good. I just can’t wait to find the next sh-AAAARRRDD!

I looked to my right, before looking down the gaping hole in the ground where Twilight had just fallen, hopefully not to her death.

“Hey! You found it!” I exclaimed merrily.

Shrugging, I slid down the hole after her, to find the melted snow had caused a slippery ice tunnel; I whizzed downwards in the dark and squealed with excitement as I slid. I didn’t care how girly I sounded in Twilight’s body, I enjoyed this, and that was that.
The tunnel eventually curved horizontally, and my descent slowed down slightly, I shot out into the cavern and collided with Twilight, whom had only just stood up; I took her to the ground and landed on top of her, I looked up at her to make eye contact and laughed.

“That hurt.” she grumbled.

She frowned at me for a while, before finally seeing the funny side and laughing with me, I got up and we brushed ourselves down, before heading further into the cavern; I was thankful for the Thermic Hide spell as we’d landed in some shallow water from the melted snow above, and would most certainly be freezing if not for it.

“Well, fuck me.” I murmured.

Twilight’s mana well was still an incredible spectacle to behold, the transparent house-sized organ was beyond mesmerising, even with such a lack of mana.

{Well that explains the problem.} Stardust hummed.

As we approached the organ, I noticed a trail of black fungal growth along the ground, which then grew upwards and had attached to the bottom of the well; it had grown over the incision I’d made previously to drain the Fel. Following the trail, I was led to a ghastly sight, which caused Twilight to shriek in shock.

“Jeez, Twilight, try not to deafen me!” I snapped.


The sight before us, was the rotting carcass of the orc from our last encounter, the same one Hawnu Rey’eng had killed with an ice spike; he was slumped against a pile of rocks and had one eye left, the other had wasted away into a black gloop.
The mana well made a sound and we turned around to see it contracting, and then a football sized wisp of pure mana emerged from the top.

“Whoa…” we both said in unison.

The wisp floated around inside the well for a moment, shimmering and glistening all different shades of blue and purple, before descending to the bottom and into the black fungus; the rubbery plant absorbed the mana and we watched it travel through the roots all the way into the orc’s body, where it turned bright green and disappeared.

{Fascinating, even in death, the Fel tries to feed itself.}

I nodded in agreement, before Twilight took a step back and nearly tripped.

“Callum… The orc just fucking blinked…”

Taking a closer look, I noticed the orc’s eye was indeed moving slightly; not wanting to take any chances, I charged up my horn and coated him with fire, the orc growled faintly with the little life he’d absorbed from the mana, before dying completely and wasting away into a charred skeleton. The black growth also crumbled away into fine flakes of ash, allowing the mana well to heal properly.

“Job’s a good’un.” I announced.

“What?” Twilight asked.

“Don’t worry,” I winked, “It’s a British thing.”

She rolled her eyes and we made our way to the exit, that's when we realised there was no way of getting to the surface again, the ice was too slippery to climb back up the tunnel.

“Well, shit.” I grumbled.

“Need a hand?” a voice echoed from the hole.

I instantly recognised the metallic tinny voice, I rolled my eyes and called back up.

“I thought you had matters to tend to?”

Twilight and I heard a noise and whipped around to see Hawnu Rey’eng’s visor glowing in the darkness.

“And I tended to them.”

His hands shone lavender, and the cave began to rumble, we stood back and watched in awe as the exit slowly expanded, the ice shattered and the rocks shifted and formed into a flight of stairs to the surface; light from outside swam into the cavern.

“Show-off.” I muttered.

Twilight began ascending the stairs, with Hawnu Rey’eng and I behind her; it was quite a long way up.

“Stop looking at my ass, both of you.” Twilight growled.

Hawnu Rey’eng chuckled and flapped his wings, taking him to the air and to the top of the stairs.

“It’s a good arse.” I mentioned to her.

“It’s your ass, of course you’d say that.” she scoffed.

Bursting into small cackles of amusement, we arrived at the top, where the guardian was patiently waiting; he stretched his left wing and then tilted his head slightly towards me.

“Impressive spell, you’d make a good unicorn.”

“Why aren’t I surprised that you’ve been watching me?” I groaned.

“Because you’re barely surprised by anything, you’re a depressed pessimist, meaning you are quick to accept any unfamiliar circumstance, regardless of its anomalism.”

{Woke.} Stardust chimed in.

I rolled my eyes.


“Fuck off, I just don’t like people reading me.”

Twilight put an end to the topic by loudly clearing her throat.

“So why are you here?”

“To help you get to the next location, with your magic temporarily unusable in the real world, and Rarity’s being incapable of group teleportation, I’m going to help you.”

“I thought we had a few more days to relax before moving on?” I asked.

“You do, but I’ve decided to inform you a few days in advance, so you may prepare yourselves, you’re heading to a very harsh climate next.” He explained.

“Where are we going?” Twilight inquired.

Bringing up his hand, the guardian produced a magical hologram, revealing a large barren landscape with no apparent life or structures, not a tree in sight.

{I don't like sand. It's coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere…} Stardust moaned.

“This, Twilight, is the Sahara Desert.” Hawnu Rey’eng told her.

“Egypt?” I queried.

“Yes, close to the corner border of Libya and Sudan.”

“Shit, right in the middle?”

The guardian nodded, before continuing.

“I’m going to set up a portal beacon there, but you’ll still need to find your way alone, the Equestrian artefact blocks portals and teleportation within a certain radius, so I’ll have to place you a few miles away. This is the last time I can help you for quite some time, you’ll be on your own upon arrival, but I trust you’ll succeed.”

Twilight and I nodded with understanding, I decided not to question him about anything, I knew I’d receive no proper answer, so I accepted the help I was given and said nothing further.

“I’d also recommend keeping the collars equipped from now on, should either of you be separated, staying in communication is of paramount importance.”

Again, we nodded, and Hawnu Rey’eng stood back; without warning, he shot Twilight with a laser blast, going straight through her head and killing her instantly without pain.

{Oh my god! They killed Kenny!} Stardust screeched.

“What the fuck is wrong with you!?” I shouted angrily.

“She was embarrassed about being trapped in your naked body, and you have no reason to dwell in this forest, I’d suggest making amends with your friends.”

He pointed his hand at me, ready to execute me.

“Wait wait wait wait!” I swiftly cried out.

He hesitated, and allowed me to speak.

“Can I cast another Seismic Resonance before I go? I want to help Twilight heal as quickly as possible.”

The guardian’s visor darkened with irritation, but he permitted it; we walked together into a denser patch of woodland, side by side.

“You care about her.”

“Of course I do, she was a slave to the Fel, she was tortured by Nah’Lek for months!”

“That warrants sympathy, but you show compassion, you have affection for her.”

“No shit, Sherlock, she’s my friend.”

“After all she’s done?”

I stopped dead and looked at him with disbelief.

“Are you taking the piss?”

“I’m just analysing your actions and emotions, I want to know why Celestia chose you.”

{Oh fuck, off. You know why, stop being a dick!} Stardust shouted.

“Quit the exposition and just get to the point.” I growled.

“Hurry up and cast your spell.” He replied blankly, avoiding the point entirely.

{God, I hate this metallic sack of anal glands…} I thought.

The guardian chuckled and took to the air to avoid my spell, I forgot he could hear my thoughts too. Groaning with annoyance, I charged up my Seismic Resonance, once again drawing all the available mana within my body and charging my horn with it, until there was enough magical energy to spark another burst, I lifted my head up and unleashed the spell, once again the trees were stripped of their dead bark and the snow was taken up into a savage blizzard.

Dropping to my knees from exhaustion and dizziness, I waited patiently for Hawnu Rey’eng to finish the job; it didn’t take long until I heard the sound of his magic, and everything went black…

Sitting bolt upright, I turned to face Twilight, who was looking around with anxiety. I held up my hands and flexed my fingers, boy did it feel good to have my own body back; I rolled my shoulders and allowed my body to recalibrate itself.

“Did he really just kill me without warning?” Twilight asked.

“I’m afraid so.” I mumbled.

She looked to the floor and huffed with annoyance, before I decided to poke the hornet’s nest.

“So, about your clothing situation.”

“Please, I really don’t want to go there.”

“I’m just curious, why’d my body end up naked? Did you take your clothes off?”

“No, I woke up like that.”

Thanks to having the collars on, we could both hear Stardust chuckling to himself.

“And what do you find so funny?” I grumbled.

{Isn’t it obvious? She appeared naked in the Frozen Forest, because right before entering the dreamscape, she was picturing you naked!} He hooted loudly.

Twilight quickly grabbed my shoulders and scowled at my forehead, trying to glare at him.

“You have no way to back that up!” she spat angrily.

“So, it’s true…” I breathed.

“What!? No! I… I…”

I put a finger against her lips to shut her up, and spared her the embarrassment.

“Is it because I fucked Rainbow Dash?”

She sighed, and nodded, before admitting what had been on her mind.

“I couldn’t help but picture it slightly, I’ve got a scientific mind, I’m curious all the damn time, I wanted to visualise what a naked human actually looks like! It was nothing sexual, I promise, I swear on my loyalty to Princess Celestia, I was only curious!”

“Well, did you get a good enough look?” I smirked.

She nodded, before burying her head in her hooves, blushing like a cranberry. I got off the bed and stretched, and she looked up at me with confusion.

“Come on.”

“Where’re we going?” She asked.

“I’m going to apologise to everyone downstairs, and you’re going to come with me.”

She smiled and hopped off the bed, yelping as she had put too much weight onto her fractured wrist.

“Sorry I broke you.” I apologised sheepishly.

“Sorry I set you on fire and threw you off a cliff.”

We both laughed a little and headed downstairs together, side by side.

“Just in time! I was about to call y’all down for dinner!” Applejack exclaimed.

“It smells wonderful, as always.” I replied.

She dipped her head in thanks, while the others in the living room watched me cautiously, Pinkie had come back downstairs and was clearly ready to roll away again.

“Let me start by saying I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to freak out, I was just embarrassed.” I sighed.

“Let me stop you by saying I’m sorry too.” Rainbow Dash spoke.

I tilted my head and allowed her to continue.

“I shouldn’t have told everypony, I got carried away, and it wasn’t cool.”

Opening my arms for a hug, Dashie came forward and embraced me, and we made amends; I sat down next to her on the sofa and let small talk commence until dinner was ready.

As per usual, Applejack’s cooking was superb, we ate our fill while discussing mine and Twilight’s meeting with Hawnu Rey’eng in the Frozen Forest, and that we were headed to a desert next; obviously, Rarity went on about what kind of outfit to wear, and if she had any beige clothing to suit the occasion.

After dinner, we decided to hit the hay, as we were all still recovering from the previous night, Twilight was unsure about sleeping with me again after having recently walked around in my nude body, I presumed she was still embarrassed from it all. That was when Rainbow Dash made an interesting proposition.

“Dude, can I have a chat?”

We waited until the others headed upstairs, before she exhaled heavily and looked at me.

“This might sound weird, and please feel free to punch me in the face if it is, because I’m shit with boundaries and stuff, but… Would you like to stay over with me tonight?”

I looked at her blankly, showing no expression, analysing the suggestion; one would have been able to hear the cogs turning in my head.

{I’m in your head, and I’m not hearing any cogs mate.}

{It’s metaphorical. Fuck off, Stardust.}

This was quite a conundrum, after the awkwardness of today, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to accept such an invitation; to stay in her bed again? It was quite an ask, and it took me a while of silence to think over all of the possible outcomes, and if they’d end up with further consequences.
After a moment’s thought, I decided to take a chance, and smiled.

“I’d… I’d like that.”

The pegasus couldn’t help but emit a small grin of delight, we headed upstairs together and entered her room; we flopped onto the bed and I looked into her pink eyes.

“So, truth or dare?” she suggested playfully.

“I can still punch you in the face if you like?” I offered.

She chuckled and rolled onto her back, I decided to strip down to my undies and hop in bed; as my top came off, I felt Dashie’s hoof against my upper back, and stroke downwards.

“You’ve got so many scars dude…”

That was one thing I should have done in the Frozen Forest, I should have looked at all my scars, instead of ogling at my own privates! I wanted to see the damage that had been done.

I turned around and looked at Rainbow Dash once more, her eyes quickly wandered to my chest, charred and wrinkled, like Freddy Kruger’s face.

“I’m ugly.” I mumbled.

“What? No! Gosh dude, no, you’re hot!”

I raised an eyebrow at her, and she looked me dead in the eye with an intense stare.

“You heard me, you’re frickin' hot.”

Her hoof made its way towards my chest, and I raised my hand to catch it, knowing she had sensitive hooves, I held her wrist instead; her velvety fur felt so smooth and warm against my palms and fingertips. Sliding my hand up her foreleg and up her neck, I cupped one side of her face and smiled.
Before leaning in to kiss her.

Our lips met, and she very quickly ended up on top of me, Applejack was right, there was nothing wrong with this at all, she was just as human as I was, (if that even meant anything). We kept kissing until she eventually pulled back, and her face became contorted with endearment and concern.

“Before this goes any further, um… Are you sure you're okay with this? Because Applejack said stuff to me earlier about boundaries, and consent, and that I didn't really respect either of those last time... So uh, I just want to make sure you're okay with this, you know?”

I took a few seconds to answer, processing the question within myself.
Eventually I gave her a truthful and honest answer, smiling warmly as I did so.

“I'm okay with this… Now shut up and kiss me…”

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