• Published 28th Jun 2012
  • 30,322 Views, 2,546 Comments

A Novice Swordsman in the Canterlot Court - DungeonMiner



Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.-William Shakespear. This story is about the latter. Alan Williams, a man trying to take a peaceful camping trip, finds himself in Equestria. Greatness follows.

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2-Fiction

Chapter 2

Lieutenant Silver Pauldrons would have been adamant against any sort of accusation that even hinted at him being scared at the being next to him, but he decided that instead he would only be slightly annoyed if anyone mentioned that he was uneasy about the human.

It was an odd thing, almost twice as tall as himself, with a black mane, almost no fur to speak off, and very small, brown eyes. He had some fur around his chin, and under that thing that stuck out of his face that Silver could only guess was a nose.

“What month is it?” the human asked, emptying his pack of clothes, crushed boxes and what looked like a metal tube from his saddlebag. If you could call it that.

They were outside, on one of the inner walls. Silver was impatient to be done with the assignment, and eager to get Alan to his room. “It is currently early September,” Silver answered, smirking as he watched the human then empty water out of his bag.

“So the Running of the Leaves is coming up?”

“It is.”

Alan looked straight up at the sky, his...claws moving in an odd fashion as they bobbed up and down.

“Was the Grand Galloping Gala a big hit last year?”

Silver cocked his head at that. What kind of being suddenly appears out of a sovereign's ceiling, produces mass chaos for the brief seconds he was there, gains the favor of said sovereign, and then proceeds to busy himself with the political reports of parties? “The Gala was a massive hit with the nobles.”

“Any, what a noble would call, disasters?”

“No.”

“Huh, interesting, so at least I’ll get to experience season 2.” he said before mumbling something about a coma again.

The coma talk was tiring. Silver at first thought it was perhaps a mistake on the part of the human, meaning to say that he had been perhaps mind-controlled or some other sort of nonsense to expunge any responsibility. However, the way he kept going on about it seemed to suggest different. Silver now guessed that the creature was convinced he was in a coma, on the edge of death, and had been stuck here in Equestria as some sort of purgatory.

Honestly, Silver thought, there were worse alternatives.

“Which way is North?” the human asked, mumbling something about forgetting his compass.

“That way,” Silver said, pointing with his hoof.

The Human then took another look at the sky. “So it’s the afternoon?”

“Yes, around three.”

Alan grunted, pleased that he able to guess that before adjusting his watch. He suddenly stopped though, as another question entered his mind. “Is a day here 24 hours?”

Silver blinked. What kind of a question was that? Where is a day not 24 hours? By Luna's Silver Shoes, if Celestia herself had not given the order, he would have left this stupid being right where he stood. “Yes, a day has 24 hours,” he said, doing his best to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

“Good, I would have hated for it to change. It would have screwed me over in so many ways.”

Silver Pauldrons rolled his eyes.

“Alright, that seems to be everything. Flashlight works, clothes, toiletries, rope and backpack need to dry, granola needs to be repacked, microwave meals need to cooked and dealt with immediately, they are probably going to be the first things to go until I can find something in the pony diet that will suit me. Is that everything?”

“I don’t know,” Silver answered.

“Hm?” Alan said, turning to the white stallion in the golden armor. “Oh, sorry, I was just talking to myself, I do that. Although, I guess talking to you is talking to myself anyway...”

More crazy talk.

Alan reached for the large bump that had formed at the back of his head. “I should’ve known better,” he mumbled before saying, “Can I get to the room I’ll be staying in? I need to drop these off and let them dry.”

“This way,” Silver answered before heading off.

Alan followed, his pack now in a greater state of disrepair than it had started. Canterlot Castle was much bigger than Alan had thought, and Canterlot town itself was a city bordering on the edge of being a metropolis. The City sprawled across the mountainside, held level by level upon level of balconies, each supporting more than enough houses to shelter all of Ponyville.

Or, he thought so, anyway, he hadn’t really seen Ponyville, so he couldn’t be sure.

The Castle, though, was far more impressive. One look and you could tell that the place had been built for aesthetics, but at the same time, Alan could find chokepoints, killing fields, murder holes, battlements, and anything else you would need to hold a fortress. It was actually quite impressive. Not to mention the architecture itself, which had beautiful arches and pillars, each made from the same pure white marble he had seen in the throne room.

It was a shame it wasn’t real.

This was all in his brain somewhere, and had come through in the medium of places that were also fictional. Everything he would experience here could be something derived from his own experiences, everything would just be presented differently is all. If he were to get crushed, it would feel like someone was sitting on him, if that someone weighed 400,000 pounds.

But, then again, it would be rather insightful to see how his brain had come up with explanations for things.

“Sir,” he said to the pony that was leading him to his room, “can I ask you a question?”

“No one has stopped you so far.”

“Fair enough. My question is, how do ponies grab things?”

Silver shot him a glance. “Excuse me?”

“With your hooves, how do you grab something, I mean, yeah unicorns have magic, but how do pegasi and earth ponies manipulate objects?”

Silver blinked. Suddenly he wanted another how many hours in a day question. “Uh...I...I’m not sure...actually...I’ve never really thought about it. It just sort of happens...”

Alan sighed, he had hoped that his subconscious would have been more creative than that. He wasn’t expecting anything bullet proof, but it would have been nice to have a little explanation.

“Uh...I can answer that,” a familiar voice said behind him.

Alan turned his head to see Twilight Sparkle leading the mane six, following him at a distance.

“Hey girls,” Alan said with a smile. “How are my favorite ponies?”

They did not seem to take that too well, backing up in an awkward attempt to flinch without appearing to be offended. Well, all except Pinkie Pie, who bounced forward. “Are we really your favorite?”

Alan smiled. “Of course you are.”

Pinkie smiled, bouncing high, letting off a high-pitched giggle. “I knew you guys would like me!”

“You guys?” Alan asked.

“Yeah! I knew I’ve seen you guys before, you’re all right there!” she said, pointing straight at the wall that they had been walking next to.

“Uh...”

“Look!” she said, getting real close. “There’s another one, he has blonde hair, ooh, and that one has an awesome mustache, that one has a clock behind him, oh, and that one has a shirt with Rainbow on it...”

Alan approached the wall. “Pinkie...Is this the fourth wall?”

“Yes! No, it was. Now it’s over there,” she said, pointing to a patch of sky. “It’s hard to tell when they change camera angles like that.”

Alan laughed. “Yes, you definitely are Pinkie Pie.”

“Well of course I am, silly willy, who else would I be? Certainly not Bluie Pie, or Greenie Pie, or Purpleie Pie.”

Alan laughed again. “Come here, you random little thing you!” With a big swoop of his arms, he swept up the pink pony into a hug. The rose ball of energy squealed in delight as she burst into laughter. She was far lighter than he had expected, but that really only made it easier to hug the small thing.

It was such a shame this wasn’t real.

That thought must have made it to his face, because Pinkie looked straight at him, a worried look in her eyes. “Are you ok?”

He looked at her, pale blue eyes staring at him in worry. The words he had said so many times now couldn’t come to his throat. He couldn’t tell her she was a figment of his imagination, projected on a backdrop of a TV show his brain had come up with because he was positively bored. He couldn’t tell her that. What if it broke her heart? Her fictitious little heart?

“Yeah, I’m fine, just thinking about home,” he said.

Pinkie jumped out of his arms. “Well, no need to go all mopey wopey on us. I can get you a ‘Cheer-you-up-to-forget-homesickness party’ in a snap! Come on!” she said before bounding away to the kitchen.

Alan chuckled, “Pinkie. I’ve got to put my stuff away first.”

Lieutenant Pauldrons sighed, before perking up suddenly. “Uh, sir, I will gladly take your items to your room for you.”

Alan smiled, “Really? Thanks! Could you please make sure to lay everything out though so it dries?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Thank you, sir.” Alan said, laying his pack before the stallion. “Alright! Let’s party!” he yelled before running after the pink mare.

The other five mares hesitated a second before one, Applejack, said, “Well, ah reckon he seems friendly.”

“He did to take to Pinkie’s manner fairly quickly,” Rarity mentioned.

Twilight said nothing, but followed after the two party-goers, driven once more by curiosity for the odd being that seemed to know so much about them. This thing had inadvertently become her next pet project, and she was going to figure this one out or die trying. In the name of science, of course.

So, with Twilight leading, the four other ponies followed, feeling somehow as though they were marching to their doom.

Silver Pauldrons watched them go, and once everypony was out of sight, he sighed. “Sign up for the military they said, it’s a good job they said, it’s easy they said.” Grabbing the bag’s straps in his mouth he heaved it onto his back. “If I ever see my recruiter again, I’m going to kick his flank.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

Pinkie jumped straight for the bakery of the kitchen, passing three very disgruntled cooks, including one that Alan assumed was the Copper Pots that Celestia had mentioned. “Wonderful!” he yelled, “absolutely wonderful! Never mind me! Never mind the fact that I have to cook for a staff of four hundred, go ahead, make my kitchen a mess! Go on!”

Of course, the second the chestnut stallion saw the 5’11” bipedal creature enter, he silenced himself. Then, moving off to the side and out of the way of the human, began to mumble, “Celestia never said he’d be so tall...”

The kitchen was carved from the same marble that had been everywhere else, giving the entire place a bright, cheery feeling. The walls had been covered with a few tapestries, mostly simple pieces, probably to trap heat in the room. Other than that, it wasn’t much different from a restaurant kitchen. Long, white counters with a mishmash of cutlery and food left here and there, all of it caught somewhere in the middle between ingredient and entree.

If Copper Pots thought this wasn’t a mess, Alan wondered what he thought one looked like.

With the head cook now out of the way, Pinkie began to bake cupcakes at an amazing rate, getting the batter done within seconds. “This will probably take a bitsie-bit long time,” Pinkie said, throwing the suddenly complete batter into the oven. “So we’ve got to party in the meantime!”

Alan smirked. “Alright, party it is then.”

“Uh,” Twilight interjected, just now coming into the room, “actually, Pinkie, why don’t you get the other girls started on a game? I still have to answer his questions.”

“Okie-Dokie-Lokie!” Pinkie said before pulling out a tarp with a pony pictured on it. “Who’s up for Pin the Tail on the Pony!?”

As Pinkie rounded up Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy, Alan took a seat on the bench, and he was quickly joined by Twilight. “Smooth, Twilight, smooth,” Alan mumbled.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Alan said, waving it off. “So, how do pegasi and earth ponies manage to manipulate things with their hooves?”

“Oh, well,” Twilight began, “it should first be noted that all ponies can in fact use magic, the degree of manipulation, however, is entirely dependant on the medium of the magic.” Twilight suddenly closed her eyes, apparently reciting this lecture by heart.

“Magic has a total of four mediums, alicorn, feathers, hair, and hoof. Alicorn is the most powerful, alicorn being the substance of which a unicorn’s horn is made. In fact, the name of the species that the princesses are had come about due to a misunderstanding where primitive Equestrian scientists, seeing the power of the princesses, had assumed that their entire skeletal structure was composed of alicorn, thus the species name.”

Twilight was smiling as she spoke, taking pride in remembering so much. Oblivious to the fact that Rainbow Dash had just won the first round of Pin the Tail. Rainbow gave a triumphant yell, before passing the tail to Applejack.

“Second, feathers,” she continued. “Magic is much less powerful in feathers than alicorn, limiting itself only to direct weather manipulation as well as aids for flight, including cloud walking. All studies show that this magic is completely subconscious and pegasi are most of the time unaware of ever using magic at all. Third, hair. Hair magic is far less powerful than feather magic, and can only be used to indirectly manipulate tangible objects by forcing the hair into a something akin to a fifth limb. The longer one’s hair, the better.”

Applejack won this time, getting significantly closer to the rump of the pictured pony than last time.

“Finally, we have hooves. This is easily the weakest form of magic in terms of raw power, but is more powerful that hair magic in that it can be used to directly manipulate an object. While with hair one has to form their tail or mane into a grasping device to manipulate and object, hoof magic creates something very similar to a vacuum in order to manipulate objects directly.” She opened her eyes, smiling, apparently waiting for some sort of sign that she had impressed the newcomer.

He gave the unicorn a smile. “Read that book that many times, have you?” He chuckled. “Thanks for the answer, by the way.”

Twilight did her best to hide the offended look that hit her face with a smile. “So, I answered one of your questions, now you answer one of mine.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Alan said. “It sounded to me like the Princess doesn’t want anybo-I mean, anypony asking me any questions until she asks me first.”

“Yeah,” Twilight said, “but, um...She knew what you were, so she obviously has some insight to your culture, so she’s probably not going to ask you anything related to that!”

Clever girl...

Alan was about to retort with a negative when he noticed Fluttershy, slowly approaching him. Her head was hung low, and she refused to make eye-contact, but nonetheless, she approached. This was probably the closest he had ever been to the shy pegasus, and he was sure that it would take a lot of time before he’d ever get this close again. “Uh-um...” she spoke in the tiniest whisper, “Mr. Human...could you please answer some of our questions...that is, um...if you’d want to...”

If you asked, Alan would tell you he used to have willpower, then he met Fluttershy.

Of course, now that both Twilight, and Fluttershy were begging the human for some answers, the rest were soon to follow.

“Yeah!” The rainbow-maned pegasus cried, hovering over his head. “Give us some details, man, you seem to know us, well, we want to know you!”

“Quite, darling,” Rarity piped. “It is rather rude of you not to let us know anything about you when you seem to know so much about us.”

“And while ah don’t normally agree with frou-frou manners an’ the like, I’ve got a couple of questions I’ve been itchin’ ta ask ya,” Applejack added.

“Ooh, are we playing ‘20 Questions About our Lives?’ I love that game!” the pink baker added.

Alan took a look at all of the six ponies that surrounded him. Each one of them begged him without speaking a single word more. Well, what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like he was going too tell them anything to important. “It seems I have no choice then. Alright, who wants to go first?”

Five hooves quickly shot into the air while a sixth hesitantly followed. “Uh...alright, Twilight, how about you go first, you probably have the most questions and the most we get out of the way the better.”

The purple unicorn squee-ed. “Oh this is exciting, a whole new culture to experience! Um, ok, ok, question...uh...Ok, Alan, it is Alan right?”

“Are you sure you want that to be your question?” Alan asked, smiling as the unicorn blanched. “I’m kidding, yes that’s right, Alan’s my name.”

“Uh, ok, Alan, What is your system of government?”

“We have a Democratic Republic.”

“What does that mean?” Rainbow asked.

“It means that everybod-pon-...no everybody, gets to vote on certain things, whether it is the law or the ruler, the people get to pick, everyone gets their say.”

“Is it like that everywhere?” Twilight asked.

“No, and before you ask another question, it’s someone else’s turn.”

Twilight harumph-ed before passing the figurative baton. Which was instantly picked up by Pinkie. “Ooh! Ooh! Do you humans party?”

Alan laughed. “Yes, we humans party, sometimes too much.”

“Nonsense, you can never party too much,” Pinkie said. “Rarity, your turn.”

“Thank you, dear. Now, Mr. Alan, why are you wearing those clothes, they don’t look particularly fabulous, what kind of a meeting where you going to that required you to dress so...disappointingly?”

Alan chuckled again. “Well, Miss Rarity, it should first be noted that humans, due to more than a few anatomical differences, wear clothes all the time, for the sake of both modesty as well as protection.” Alan noticed the unicorn’s eyes light up at the thought of a whole race that wore clothes every second of every day. “Secondly, these clothes were picked for a camping trip. I honestly was not expecting to meet royalty today. If I were, I probably would have worn my suit.”

The image of himself walking through the forest in his grey, two-piece suit made Alan chuckle. “Alright, next.”

“Uh...um...do you like animals?” Fluttershy whispered.

Alan smiled. “Of course I do, my favorite animal is a dog. In fact, I would have one for a pet if my apartment didn’t outright forbid them.”

“Oh, that’s so sad that you couldn’t have a pet. I can get one for you if you want,” Fluttershy said, her voice getting a touch easier to hear.

“Well, let me worry about getting back first. If I can, then maybe I’ll stop by Ponyville real quick and pick something up.”

“Oh, ok,” she said, smiling.

I just made Fluttershy smile, this is a good day. Even though this is all a dream, his brain shot back.

“Alright, ah do believe it’s mah turn,” Applejack said. “Now, what in Equestria do ya humans eat?”

We were going to get there eventually... “Well, that one’s a little hard to answer...you see, humans are omnivores, we eat anything. We can eat fruit, vegetables, bugs, breads, but a big part of our diet is in fact meat.”

Total silence.

“Although, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, most of the meat we eat isn’t sapient, it doesn’t really think the way you or I do. Besides, you keep feeding me cupcakes and we’ll be totally fine,” he said, smiling, doing his best to defuse the situation.

More silence.

“Uh, that reminds me, I should probably get those cupcakes,” Pinkie Pie said.

“You, uh, don’t eat ponies by any chance, do ya?” Applejack asked, her ears flat underneath her Stetson.

“No. Never,” Alan said. “The only documented times of humans eating any equine was normally when they were starving to death, and I am a long way from there. Besides, you guys are much too cute to eat.”

The Donner Party suddenly sprung to mind.

“Uh, I think we should best pick a different topic.”

Everyone agreed, just as Pinkie returned with the cupcakes.

“So, Rainbow Dash, what’s your question?”

Rainbow hovered close to his face, looking him straight in the eye. “How cool are you?”

Alan smiled. “Cool enough to do this.” Turning, Alan reached for the three throwing knives at his belt, instantly finding a target in an old wooden beam that was thirty feet away. With a flick of his wrist, a knife went sailing, hitting the beam dead center. It was then followed by its brothers, each hitting the beam in the center, making a vertical line of thrown steel.

Rainbow Dash nodded at the display. “I approve.”

Alan smirked as he retrieved his knives, answering more questions as time went on.

He talked about his life, his job, he briefly touched on his family before redirecting that conversation elsewhere. He talked about Georgia, and he talked about soda, he talked about Walmart and toast, and camping and granola. He spoke briefly of TV and the internet, and even more briefly on fast food restaurants. He told them about computers, and bicycles, of keyboards and cars. Anything they cared to ask, he would tell them.

Alan checked his watch. 11:24 pm. “Well girls, this chat was great, but I should be getting to bed, more will be explained tomorrow.”

“Aw, man, but you were just getting to good stuff about those ninja guys,” Rainbow whined.

“And I wanted to hear more about National Parks.”

“I would love to hear more about Fashion, darling.”

“I want to hear about clubbing!”

“And ah’d like to hear more about this vacuum machine that picks apples.”

“And this George Washington character fascinates me, do you have any books on the subject?”

“Another day guys, another day.”

A collective moan echoed through the mane six.

“Come on, it’s nearly midnight, and we all have to see Celestia tomorrow, go on. Go to your rooms. We’ll talk more later, I promise.”

The mares left in single file, each mumbling to each other about their discoveries of this new world that Alan had come from. Once they had all left, Alan followed after, smiling.

It’s a real shame none of this was real.

Not a second of it.

Alan wandered for a bit, trying to find his room, when he suddenly realized that he had no idea where that was because the Lieutenant was supposed to lead him there.

Alan mentally slapped himself for that one.

“Way to go, genius, you have someone assigned to you, and you let them go before they finish working. Brilliant Alan, brilliant.”

“I’ve seen worse,” a stoic voice said behind him.

Alan turned, and sure enough, the lieutenant was right there, standing stock still with a hint of having a better attitude. “Oh, really?” Alan asked, “Someone worse than me?”

“Yes, a Prince, actually,” The Guard said, leading the way. “The foal wouldn’t shut up. ‘Oh, you must lead me to the so-and-so house before the late tea appointment.’ You’re nothing compared to that guy.”

Alan smiled, “I’m going to take a guess, is his name Blueblood?”

Pauldrons gave him a look. “How’d you know?”

“Let’s just say he’s so bad even humans know it.”

Pauldrons chuckled. “You know, human, you’re not half bad.”

“Thanks,” Alan said, “But please, call me Alan.”

“Then call me Silver, you know, when I’m not in the presence of officers, they don’t take first names that well.”

“Will do.” Alan said.

“Well, here we are,” Silver said, motioning down a corridor, “third door to the left. I’ll come pick you up when the Princess wants you.”

“Alright, thanks again, Silver.”

“‘Night, Alan.”

“Night,” the human replied, heading down to the room. Opening the plain wooden door, Alan walked into the dark room. He spotted an oil lamp in the corner, its flame burning with almost no fuel, just enough to keep it alight. Looking the lamp over, he found the gas valve and gave it a good twist. The room lit up with the flame’s light and Alan took a quick look at the room.

It was roughly 10’ by 10’ and had a bed that was too small for him. On the bed there were his clothes, laid out neatly to dry. They were dry and ready to wear now. Alan quickly folded them up and looked for something to lay them on. He found a counter with a pitcher, bowl and mirror on it. Next to the bowl lay his toiletry bag, and Alan laid the clothes there, next to his bag. Using the water in the pitcher, Alan brushed his teeth, and, stripping to his boxers and undershirt, climbed into bed.

Alan suddenly sighed; he forgot his sleeping bag. Why did he keep remembering things after the fact?

Well, it doesn’t matter; I’m sleeping in this bed.

No you’re not; if you’re lucky you’re sleeping in a hospital cot. This isn't real, remember that, Alan.

No. None of this was real.

Not Pinkie, not Rarity, not Fluttershy, not Rainbow, not Applejack, not Copper Pots, not Silver, not Celestia, and definitely not Twilight.

They weren't real.

None of this was.

--------------------------------

Alright, guys, comments, questions, criticism, etc.

“I’ve got one!”

Pinkie, I thought I said not to talk to me during the story.

“Silly billy, this is after the story, see it’s up there.”

...I knew I should have hired a lawyer...

“But my question, what-how-how is-did-did going-Alan-Celestia on-get-know to Equestria?

Did you just fit three questions into one?

“...Maaayyyybe....”

Next Chapter, Pinkie, I promise. See you next time guys!

“And Hey! If you thumbs down, tell him why, you can’t expect him to get better without telling him what’s wrong. He’s not a mind reader, you know.”

Pinkie, stop harassing my readers!

“Okie-Dokie-Lokie! Bye!”

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