• Published 9th Sep 2017
  • 5,944 Views, 220 Comments

Alicorn of Music - Orthoros



James, self proclaimed metal-head and connoisseur of all things music, gets transported to Equestria. Reborn as an Alicorn child, he has to find what fate has in store for him while dealing with his new body and strange technicolor ponies.

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4. Going Into Town

I awoke reluctantly, the shrill cries of the rooster outside piercing my eardrums like a knife and causing me to bolt upright. I grumbled to myself in annoyance, wondering just how I had managed to sleep through this yesterday. My only thoughts were that I just must have been that tired.

I wanted nothing more than to sleep in for a bit longer, but there was no doubt in my mind that Fluttershy would be coming to knock on my door momentarily to check if I was awake. I did promise her to help feed her animals before going into town, after all. Resigning myself to my early-rising fate, I left the warm confines of my bed sheets and threw on my hoodie that had been resting on a nearby chair to make sure that my wings were completely covered.

True to my prediction, a soft knock sounded on the door before it slowly opened. “Beat? Are you awake?” Fluttershy asked while poking her head through the crack in the door.

I regarded her through bleary eyes, realizing that my mane must be a proper mess. “Kind of?” I said after a moment of contemplation. “How could I not be after a wake-up call like that?”

“Oh yes, sorry,” Fluttershy immediately adopted her usual modus operandi, which apparently involved apologizing for things that were out of her control. “Mister Cluck really likes to greet the morning bright and early.”

“That’s okay, I’ll just have to,” a huge yawn interrupted me mid-sentence, “get used to it.”

“Oh my, you do look really tired,” Fluttershy said concerned. “Would you maybe like to sleep a little longer?”

“No, that’s okay,” I immediately replied. “I promised to help you and that’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll just have to properly wake up first… maybe brush my mane or something.”

“I’d be happy to help you with that,” Fluttershy exclaimed. “If you don’t mind, that is…”

“That… would actually be much appreciated,” I said after realizing that it would probably take me an exorbitant amount of time to do it myself. “Thank you.”

“It’s not a problem at all, Beat,” Fluttershy said with a smile. “Why don’t we move over to the bath so we can take care of… your little problem?”

I swear I could see her smile after she looked at my mane, confirming my suspicion of it looking absolutely bonkers up there. Not paying much mind to the fact that she wanted to visit the bathroom with me, I followed Fluttershy out of my temporary room and into the adjacent bathroom where we took care of my situation. After splashing some water on my face, I finally achieved a state that could be compared to being awake.

Fluttershy made sure that we had a healthy breakfast together before we moved on to the task of tending to all the animals that were using her cottage as a home. While there wasn’t much for me to do at all since I was small, weak, and barely able to use my body in the way I wanted to. But Fluttershy, kind as she was, made sure not to make me feel left out nonetheless.

Faster than I’d wanted it to, the time came for us to head out into town. The weather was absolutely perfect, not a single cloud in the sky and cozy temperatures would lure everyone outside. Though, this wasn’t too surprising, since pegasi apparently could control the weather in this world. While this freaked me out a bit when I first learned of this, I very quickly realized the advantages this could bring to a society.

“Alright then, are you ready to go?” Fluttershy asked, both of us standing outside her cottage and about to step onto the dirt road leading into town.

I furrowed my brows and looked myself over once. My hoodie was my only physical possession in this world, which was resting snugly against my body. Since I didn’t even have saddlebags like Fluttershy currently was wearing, the only thing I’d need now was the mental fortitude to go.

“Yes?” I answered, the statement coming out sounding more like a question than I’d wanted.

Fluttershy nodded once and started on her merry way, myself following closely behind. She had told me quite a bit about what I could expect in town and about her friends, so it wasn’t like I was going in blind. On the other hand, I was still about to enter an unknown town in an unknown world. To make matters worse I was about to meet with some kind of authority, where my admittedly weak alibi would be tested.

I was actually pretty nervous because of this and was constantly trying to calm myself down. The method that seemed to be working, for now, was to imagine it as an upcoming job interview. Thankfully, I possessed a skill that I learned in my early school days, that had been an incredible boon throughout my school- and adult-life up to this point and it was indubitably going to come in handy now as well.

The power of bullshit.

Thanks in part to my vivid imagination powers I was generally able to come up with what sounded like well-informed facts, while generally just being bullshit I’d just thought up. I felt like no matter what I’d be able to come up with a somewhat convincing answer to any and all questions as long as they weren’t overly specific, which they shouldn’t be since I was technically “just” a small child. Or foal, I guess.

“We’ll be able to see it shortly,” Fluttershy suddenly said, ripping me from my thoughts and making me realize that I hadn’t been paying attention to my surroundings at all. I really hoped she wasn’t talking to me up to this point or things might get awkward.

“Woah,” I exclaimed as we’d crest a small hill, which brought Ponyville into full view.

During the info dump I received yesterday I began to picture Ponyville as this underdeveloped hick community, but all of my expectations were immediately smashed upon actually seeing it for the first time.

True, it was nowhere near an advanced level of technology, or even building code for that matter, but it was definitely further along than I’d thought. Aside from that, it looked like an absolutely amazing place to live in. The cozy vibe it gave off only disturbed by the occasional eccentric house sticking out like a sore thumb, which I now knew almost exclusively belonged to Fluttershy's friends, for some reason.

Thanks to our slightly elevated position we were able to take in the entirety of the town without issue, and Fluttershy didn’t mind indulging me while I did just that, patiently waiting next to me.

The houses of her friends were relatively easy to spot in the sizable town due to their special nature. Carousel Boutique, the home of her friend Rarity, was the easiest since it was one of the only houses painted white. The previously thought impossible gingerbread house near the center of town was the home of Pinkie Pie, which would no doubt want to throw some kind of party immediately upon seeing me. Close to it was the circular town hall which would be the most important destination for us, aside from shopping and maybe dropping in on some of her friends.

On the far left of the town was Sweet Apple Acres, home to Applejack and her family, the town's biggest farming family. Curiously enough, the only produce they farmed were apples, and the rows upon rows of apple trees lining the hills around their home were a testament to that.

Various pegasi of all colors could be seen lazily flying over the thatched roofs of the towns buildings, but they weren’t the only thing catching my eye that was soaring through the sky. Floating a respectable distance above the town was a house made entirely of clouds, which apparently belonged to Rainbow Dash. No doubt I’d run into the prismatic pegasus today as well, since she’d probably drop in if she saw us from above, quite literally.

Another interesting landmark was a big tree growing in the middle of the town, according to Fluttershy, it was the towns library and home to what was probably Fluttershy's most surprising friend, Twilight Sparkle. Twilight was quite literally a princess, and with her added title as one of Equestria’s most recognized scholars, would probably prove to be either my greatest friend or my biggest threat.

“It’s amazing,” I said truthfully. While it most certainly lacked the comfortable level of technology humanity achieved, there was no doubt in my mind that this was an amazing town to live in. “A lot more than I thought it’d be.”

“And I’d agree with you,” Fluttershy replied. “It’s really nice to live here. Well, aside from the occasional event…”

“Occasional event?” I asked, confusion apparent in my voice.

“Well, Ponyville is kind of like a magnet for trouble…” Fluttershy admitted reluctantly. “But don’t worry, my friends and I usually take care of any problems pretty fast.”

“O...kay?” Apparently, I had discovered a previously unknown side of my host and her friends which would require some more investigation at a later point.

“Why don’t we continue on?” Fluttershy asked gently and gesture towards town.

I accepted her suggestion, of course, and started moving once again. Now that I’d seen Ponyville from afar, I really wanted to see it up close. I suddenly found myself not only interested in the town, but also the many ponies going to and fro within.

“So, what are we going to do today?” I tentatively asked my guide.

“Well, aside from the visit to the mayor, we can do whatever you’d like,” Fluttershy answered. “I will have to go and buy some feed for the animals back home at some point, though, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not,” I replied instantly. “But I’d definitely not be opposed to a tour and maybe meeting some ponies.”

“Oh, I have no doubt you won’t be able to avoid meeting Pinkie, at the very least,” Fluttershy giggled. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she already knew you were here and was looking for you right now.”

“Did Rainbow Dash tell her I was coming?” I asked, my interest piqued. “I thought I was being kept on the down-low for the time being?”

“And you are,” Fluttershy explained. “As for how she would know you’re here, well… we decided to at least tell our friends about you, and Pinkie Pie... is a bit special. She’s friends with everypony, and her Pinkie sense usually lets her know if there’s somepony new is in town.”

“Pinkie sense?” I pried. “What’s that?”

“Pinkie just... knows things sometimes,” Fluttershy answered cryptically. “Just know that if she has a twitchy tail, you should run for cover. That usually means something is about to fall.”

“So it’s like a sixth sense kind of deal?” I asked for clarification.

“I’d say more like a seventh or eighth, but that’s a pretty accurate way to define it,” Fluttershy said. “When you’re with Pinkie, just try to go with the flow. It will save you a few headaches.”

“Alright, I’ll try to do that,” I replied. I had heard about Pinkie a bit yesterday, and she was starting to sound more and more like my kind of friend. Randomness and laughs to be had in spades.

At some point during our conversation we’d entered Ponyville proper and the other ponies were starting to throw the occasional greeting towards us, which we responded to in kind without fault. They were giving me specifically a few odd looks, but they probably thought I was some sort of relative that was visiting Fluttershy.

A loud thud behind us announced the arrival of a certain polychromatic pegasus, startling Fluttershy in the process. “Hey Flutters, hey squirt, how are you guys doing?”

“Good morning, Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy said after she recovered from her shock. “We’re doing just fine, thank you. How about you?”

“Oh you know, just finished setting up the amazing weather for today and was planning on taking a nap,” Rainbow explained. “I spotted you guys when I was flying overhead and decided to drop in and say hi. You guys going to the mayor now?”

“Um… we were certainly planning on it, but I thought I’d leave it to Beat to decide where we go first,” Fluttershy replied. “What do you think, where would you like to go first?” She added after turning towards me.

“Whoa, hold on!” Rainbow Dash interjected. “Beat? You finally revealed your name?”

“Sort of,” I answered. “I don’t really remember what my name used to be, or if I ever even got one to begin with, so we just came up with a new one.”

“You gave him a name?!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed with a shocked tone, taking to the air a bit.

“Well, he sort of gave it to himself,” Fluttershy said, hiding behind her bangs. “I just helped him come up with one.”

“Oh,” Rainbow Dash deadpanned, settling back down on the ground. “Thought you were going to adopt him there for a moment.”

“Is it really that important that a pony receives their name from their own mother, that you’d immediately count them as adopted if somepony else gives them one?” I asked with disbelief.

“Uhh… no?” Rainbow Dash stammered. “It’s not that extreme, but it definitely holds a big meaning. Even if it’s not official, you might as well be, after receiving a name…”

I blinked a few times, trying to understand why giving out a name was so special in this world. Sure, a name was important and all, and Fluttershy already told me about how a mother kind of magically knew the name their child should have, but they seemed to make it an even bigger deal than it should be.

“Well, whatever,” I said eventually. “I do believe putting the visit to the mayor first would be a good idea, get it out of the way and all that jazz.”

“Alright, if that’s what you’d like,” Fluttershy nodded.

“You guys mind if I tag along?” Rainbow asked, starting to hover above the ground again instead of just walking. “I’m kind of interested in this as well.”

“Sure, I don’t mind,” I replied to her.

“Cool,” Rainbow replied, following as we set off in the direction of town hall.

It didn’t take long for us to reach our destination, with Fluttershy and Rainbow pointing out interesting places and generally introducing me to a few ponies along the way. Town Hall was smack dab in the middle of Ponyville, taking the form of a large, circular, wooden building. Double doors stood wide open and ponies leisurely filed in and out of them, minding their own business. We made our way inside as well, entering into a rustic greeting area.

Just like the outside, everything inside was also made of wood and had a cozy feeling to it. Official looking ponies carrying ledgers were hurrying all over the place, a few of them engaged in complicated discussions pertaining to this world's laws, while the common folk was either bored out of their mind while waiting their turn or currently talking to one of the three receptionists.

We made our way over to the reception area as well, patiently waiting in line for our turn. I took the lull in our conversation to look more closely at the residents of this world and their behavior. Aside from them obviously being ponies, it was almost scary how human-like they behaved in general. If I didn’t know better they could be humans in disguise, living in a magical land.

Just like my host and Rainbow, every pony I’d seen on my way here was the proud owner of a cutie mark, which took on all shapes, sizes, and colors. The ponies themselves were extremely colorful as well, with every imaginable color represented in either coat or mane. I had yet to see any black or white ponies, but there was no doubt in my mind that they existed somewhere.

“Umm, hello,” to my surprise, it was Fluttershy that talked to the receptionist pony and not Rainbow. “We have an appointment with mayor mare today, with no specific time set. Would you happen to know when she has time?”

“Let me check that for you,” the green mare behind the counter smiled as she ran her hoof along the writing of a large book in front of her. “It looks like there’s an opening in about forty minutes, would that be okay for you?”

“Oh, yes,” Fluttershy smiled happily.

“Alright, please make sure you’re back by then. Of course you’re also welcome to wait here,” the mare gestured towards the seating area behind us. “Somepony will come and get you.”

“Thank you very much,” Fluttershy nodded and turned around, going for the seating area, a bored-looking Rainbow and me hot on her tail.

“So what exactly can I expect from this?” I asked nobody in particular as we sat down on the simple wooden chairs. “Who is Mayor Mare? And are we really just going to sit here for forty minutes?”

“Oh, would you rather do something else while we wait?” Fluttershy asked timidly.

“I know I sure would,” Rainbow remarked, seemingly desperate to do something that wasn’t sitting around for forty minutes and doing nothing.

“Is there anything we could do without being late?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Well... the market is close by, so we could go and buy that animal feed I need, and we could visit Applejack at her stand as well,” Fluttershy suggested. “If you don’t mind, that is.”

“Applejack is your farmpony friend, right?” I asked, even if the name was a dead giveaway.

“Yeah, and she’s almost as awesome as me!” Rainbow said. “Almost.”

“Well, why not? Sure beats sitting around here,” I replied, ignoring Rainbows boasting. “Meeting ponies was on the list of things to do anyway.”

“Alright then, let’s go!” Rainbow said enthusiastically, already back to hovering above the ground.

Having decided on a way to pass the time, we got back up from our seats and made our way outside, turning to go down a street to our right, where I could already see a mass of ponies in the distance along with what looked like simple market stands selling various produce.

“So back to my other questions,” I said once we were well on our way. “Who is Mayor Mare and what can I expect from this meeting?”

“Well, Mayor Mare is the mayor of Ponyville,” Fluttershy explained. “And what most likely will happen is that she’ll ask you a few questions about where you are from and if you remember anything. She’ll probably be able to look up a list of missing ponies to look for any possible matches to your case.”

“So why are we going directly to the mayor with this?” I asked slightly confused. “Wouldn’t there be some kind of police we could go to?”

“What’s a police?” Fluttershy and Rainbow asked me simultaneously and I immediately realized that I’ve tripped up.

“Umm… you know, like, ponies that protect other ponies?” I stammered out.

“Oh, you mean like the guard?” Rainbow asked from above. “Ponyville isn’t big enough for a guard force. We just have to make do with what we have, and that’s the local government.

“Oh,” I simply replied, filing away the fact that the local force were referred to guards.

“Yeah, the guards usually get dispatched from Canterlot in case of a big event, since it’s not too far away,” Rainbow explained further, thankfully not prying into the police thing.

By now we had entered into the market proper with Fluttershy guiding us towards the first stall she had to visit. Due to the somewhat big crowd of colorful ponies milling about, nobody really paid too much attention to us, aside from the occasional friendly greeting coming towards either Rainbow or Fluttershy.

“Not too far away?” I asked. “Must be pretty close if they can just send over help in an emergency.”

“Yeah, it’s right over there,” Rainbow said, casually pointing off to my right somewhere.

The movement caused me to turn around, following the direction of her hoof. Off in the distance was a mountain and for a moment I was confused as to what exactly it was that she wanted to show me. It took me a moment, but eventually I saw that the ponies had built a whole town towards the base of the mountain. But not like one normally would do it, no. This one was hanging straight off the side of the mountain like some giant pimple. The odd positioning aside, I could tell that this was most likely an incredibly wealthy settlement, even from this far away.

Large spires could be seen rising from the town, and each and every one of them seemed like their roofs were capped off in gold, judging by the yellow glint that could be seen. I took a moment to take in the town that was a marvel of architecture and probably ignoring every building code regulation at the same time. Knowing ponies there was most likely an incredibly simple explanation as for why the town hadn’t simply plummeted to its demise ages ago.

Magic.

“Well, that’s…. pretty incredible actually…” I stated in a monotonous voice. “Different, to say the least.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome, at least from the outside,” Rainbow replied, sagely nodding her head. “The inside isn’t. All that frilly frou-frou stuff is more up Rarity’s alley, to be honest.”

“Lot’s of nobles?”

“That’s one way to say it…”

“Alright, I’ve placed my orders,” Fluttershy suddenly said from next to us. “They’ll deliver it to my home later, so why don’t we go visit Applejack now? Rainbow Dash, can you see her stand anywhere?”

“Yeah, it’s at her usual spot,” Rainbow said from her elevated position.

Fluttershy nodded while Rainbow Dash took the lead, guiding us through the marketplace. While we passed the various stands I tried to gain some understanding of the worth of their currency. Most of the stands had some simple signs declaring their prices, although I could hear quite a bit of haggling. The conclusion that I came to was that I had absolutely no idea how it compared to earth's pricing.

Sometimes stalls offered a whole bunch of their produce, like carrots for a single bit, while other things like pears or beets cost a whole bit each. Of course, there was such a thing as supply and demand which could change prices heavily, but everything seemed just a tad to skewed for me to completely grasp the worth of a bit.

“Howdy Rainbow, hey Fluttershy!” A voice with a southern accent suddenly said next to me. “What brings you ‘round here this time a day?”

I turned to face the speaker, her being a earth pony mare with an orange coat. blonde mane, and an old fashioned stetson resting on her head. Much to my surprise this pony actually had freckles, which, again, made no sense to me since ponies had fur all over their faces. Maybe it was some sort of very specific fur discoloration in this case?

“Hey, Applejack, just showing the squirt around the market,” Rainbow greeted back, actually landing for once. “We got some time to kill until we can meet with the mayor.”

“Oh, you must be the young feller Rainbow told me about yesterday then,” Applejack said after giving me a once over. “Heard about your little… uhh… situation.”

“I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal…” I muttered trying to get her to stop tiptoeing around my ‘issues’. “Pleased to meet you, my name’s Steady Beat and I’m new in town.”

“Steady Beat? Last I heard you couldn’t remember your name,” Applejack remarked with some confusion.

“Yeah, Fluttershy gave him one yesterday,” Rainbow Dash commented with a shit eating grin on her face.

“You did what!?” Applejack exclaimed, shock apparent while staring down Fluttershy.

“Eep,” Fluttershy squeaked, hiding behind her mane.

I rolled my eyes, the reaction to this whole name giving business growing really old really fast. I could see that Rainbow was having the time of her life, trying her hardest to contain her laughter.

“Actually, I picked the name myself,” I tried to disarm the situation. “Fluttershy was just kind enough to help me find a fitting one.”

“Oh,” Applejack said. “Sorry fer that. Just thought for a moment Fluttershy was trying to mother you.”

“Well, yes. I get that a lot today,” I answered with a shake of my head. “Doesn’t help that Rainbow seems to be getting a kick out of making everypony else misunderstand.”

As Fluttershy came out from behind her mane to confirm my statement, we collectively ignored Rainbow Dash who was, by now, rolling around on the ground and laughing her ass off.

“Well, you don’t worry none,” Applejack said. “If’n ya just tell everypony the truth, I’m sure they’ll understand just fine.”

“I plan on doing that,” I commented dryly, mentally crossing my fingers behind my back. “It would be rather inconvenient for me otherwise.”

Applejack seemed to squint at me for a second, seeming unsure of herself, but the moment passed as fast as it came and her usual cheery attitude returned.

“Well, I guess I can give you an apple on the house, consider it a welcome to Ponyville present,” Applejack said, picking up one of the meticulously displayed apple from her stand and throwing it to me. I caught it, albeit with some difficulty, thanking her. “Although I think you’ll be getting more of these kinds of presents in the near future. You met Pinkie yet?”

“I don’t think I have,” I replied honestly.

“Oh you’ll know when you do,” Applejack chuckled. “Kind a weird that she hasn’t showed up yet, to be honest. Usually she’s faster than this.”

“Well, I’m sure she’s got her reasons,” Fluttershy said, confusing me even further.

I knew that this Pinkie Pie character was supposed to throw me a party sooner or later, but these two were acting as if she was supposed to actually be hunting me down for it. Apparently Rainbow had already spilled the beans about me to Applejack, which would probably make it safe to assume that Fluttershy's other friends already knew about me as well, including Pinkie Pie.

“Well, as I said before,” Applejack said while winking at me. “You’ll know her once you meet her.”

I just blinked a few times before I noticed Fluttershy trying to get my attention through my peripherals. “I think it’s time that we returned to town hall now.”

“Alright, then,” I replied, the original nervousness I felt about this particular upcoming conversation returning full force. “It was nice meeting you, Applejack. And thanks for the apple.”

“The pleasure was all mine, Steady Beat,” Applejack replied with a smile. “Best apples in Equestria; I’ll look forward to seeing you again.”

With the pleasantries out of the way we started making our way back towards town hall, with Rainbow Dash gliding lazily along beside us the entire way. Carefully walking on three legs I tried a bite of the apple I just received and was almost blown away by the taste. Much like every other food I had tried up to now, this world's food seemed oddly more potent in the flavor department compared to earth. This apple was juicy beyond belief and tasted more like an apple than any other apple I’d ever tasted.

Pleasantly surprised, I devoured the apple as fast as I could, core included, without tripping over myself and face planting. Before I even realized it the apple was gone and we had arrived at our destination and went inside to wait.

It didn’t take long for somepony to come and get us, leading us to a room that was easily identifiable as Mayor Mare’s office by the large nametag on the door. We entered the seemingly regular office which had a large desk in the center containing lots of drawers, with unfiled documents lying about and and a rather bored looking official sitting behind the desk. In this case this was the highest official of Ponyville, aside maybe from Princess Twilight, the mayor.

“Hello, everypony,” the elderly looking pony greeted upon seeing us enter. “So good to see you made it.”

“Good morning, Mayor Mare,” Fluttershy greeted back, Rainbow Dash doing the same.

“Good morning,” I followed suit, starting to question whether Mayor Mare was her actual name or some sort of job title. Either way, it was weird. I mean, her mother must have had a field day when picking out her name.

“And you must be the young colt that I've been told about!” Mayor Mare said cheerily, almost slipping into a baby voice. If she started treating me like a child who had no clue about anything I would probably leave immediately. “What happened to you is just simply terrible! Terrible! But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be able to help you.”

While her motherly smile was quite soothing, it seemed to me like she was over-acting a bit. Kind of like an amateur actress that wasn’t good enough for the stage and ended up in an office instead. For now I simply nodded, unsure of how things would proceed from here or what was expected of me.

“I’m sure you’re wondering what we’re gonna do today,” Mayor Mare continued. “But don’t worry, I’ll just ask you a few questions and then I’ll be out of your mane. We’ll try to find out where you came from and get you back to where you belong in no time at all!”

’I wouldn’t be so sure about that…’ I thought to myself and put on the most innocent smile I could manage.

“First off, would you happen to have remembered your name?” Mayor Mare asked, a tint of pity in her voice.

“Sadly, no. But I go by Steady Beat now,” I replied somewhat honestly. “A name I picked for myself,” I said somewhat harshly, cutting Rainbow Dash off before she could even think of pulling the same stunt as with Applejack again.

“A wonderful name to be sure!” Mayor Mare said. “Sadly, it probably won’t be of much help to us in finding out where you are from. Would you happen to remember anything about your parents?”

There it was, the million dollar question. Of course, I could just say something random, throw some imaginary color palettes together and call them my “parents”, but there was a possibility I would accidentally bullseye some parents who were missing their child. But simply saying no would mean that my “parents” abandoned me at an age where I physically wasn’t able to remember anything in the most dangerous forest in all of Equestria. Which would also make my survival impossible in said forest while simultaneously making it impossible for me to speak their language as fluently and eloquently as I could, meaning there was only one way to talk myself out of this.

“I do not,” I said. “The earliest thing I remember is me waking up somewhere in the forest with my head hurting somewhat fierce.”

A collective gasp of shock could be heard around the room, as this piece of information was new to even Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. Amnesia background = Check.

“Oh my, would you happen to know how long ago this was?” Mayor Mare asked.

’Three to four days’ I thought. “It was kind of hard to keep track of time, but I’d say around half a year or so.”

“Well, that will certainly narrow down our search criteria…” Mayor Mare mumbled. “This development kind of makes most of my other questions moot, since you probably won’t remember anything from before the… event. Although there are two questions I still would like to ask.”

“Go ahead,” I nodded, pointedly ignoring Fluttershy's fidgeting next to me.

“First, just how is it that you were able to survive for so long inside the Everfree forest?”

“I have become quite proficient at hiding myself and sneaking about,” I explained. “Though, there were a few close calls. To be honest, the forest doesn’t seem as bad as you make it out to be. If you leave the inhabitants be and stay out of their way, they’ll generally leave you as well.”

My explanation was kind of a shot in the dark, as I hadn’t encountered a single denizen of the forest while I was in there. For all I knew they were more aggressive than RPG mobs that auto-aggro on anything that moves and isn’t a monster. Guess I got lucky this time.

“That’s a bit hard to believe, but since you’re sitting right in front of me there must be some truth to it,” Mayor Mare nodded. “And then for my last question. The hoodie you’re wearing, have you had it with you ever since… the event?”

“This?” I asked, pulling on my hoodie a bit with my hoof. “Yeah, I always had it.”

“Then, would it maybe be possible for us to take a closer look at it? It might provide us with a clue of your origin. Could you please take it off?” Mayor Mare asked with a smile.

My smile on the other hand, instantly vanished. Taking off my hoodie would display my wings for all to see, and I quite honestly wasn’t ready for that kind of big reveal. I was still severely lacking in the information department, after all. Of course, they almost worshipped Alicorns as their gods, making them their de facto rulers, but there was no guarantee what they’d do to me. No matter what happened there would be a huge uproar over my existence, and everything would be out of my control.

Considering I found myself on an alien planet, albeit a very friendly one, I valued what little control I had over my course of action above all else. I simply wasn’t ready to be thrown into a maelstrom of events that were out of my control. Which meant I needed to keep my physical traits a secret at all cost, even if I might be looked at as a weirdo.

“No,” I denied firmly, going so far as to take a step back.

Confusion spread around the room at my statement, an Fluttershy shot me a worried look.

“Why not? This could help us find out where you are from,” Mayor Mare asked gently.

“I don’t want to take it off,” I denied strongly. “There’s nothing on it that would give any clues. No labels, no nametags, no designs, no symbols that could be cutie marks. It’s just simple black fabric.”

“Oh, umm…” Mayor Mare was looking towards Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash for help, with Rainbow Dash simply shrugging.

“Well, he didn’t take it off at all while he stayed at my house…” Fluttershy said weakly. “At least not when I was around to see.”

“Oh!” Mayor Mare suddenly exclaimed, seemingly having come to an understanding. “Is there maybe something you don’t want us to see?” Shit! “Like scars for example?” Phew!

I simply averted my gaze and awkwardly dug at the ground with one of my hooves. Well, this would just be one more addition to my list of half-truths at this point.

“Oh my,” Fluttershy said silently to my right, while I just heard Rainbow whisper “wicked,” next to me, causing me to roll my eyes.

“Oh, in that case I wouldn’t want to force you,” Mayor Mare said soothingly. “But I still feel that we should take a look at it, just to make sure.”

“We could go to Rarity with it,” Rainbow said next to me. “I’m sure she’ll respect the squirts privacy, and if anypony can figure something out from his clothes, it would be her.”

“A wonderful idea!” Mayor Mare exclaimed. “What do you say, Beat? Would that be okay with you?”

Seeing as there was no apparent way I could talk my way out of this, I found it hard to disagree with them. At least I would be able to hide my wings in a controlled environment, if I was careful.

“Alright,” I said, letting the tension flow out of me. “I’ll do it.”

“That’s wonderful news,” Mayor Mare said. “Now, I’ll just have to fill out this form here about your appearance and we’ll be done in a jiffy.”

The next ten minutes were spent filling out the form, with me being asked all kinds of things that any regular pony with two working eyes could see without asking. Things like my coat and mane color, race, sex, height, and so on. Well, of course my race was wrong, but it wouldn’t matter either way, unless some cosmic coincidence made it so I perfectly matched a kid that went missing half a year ago.

“And that would be everything,” Mayor Mare said, putting down her quill, which she had used with her mouth, much to my amazement. “Rest assured, we’ll do everything in our power to find out where you’re from and where your parents are.”

“Thank you very much,” I replied, indicating a little bow of appreciation.

“Thank you, Mayor Mare, we’ll take our leave now and let you get back to work,” Fluttershy said next to me.

I suddenly found one of her wings resting over my back and I looked back at it a little confused. Was this supposed to be some kind of hug? Due to my slight distraction I hadn’t paid attention to the “adults” exchanging pleasantries and I was guided out of the mayor's office. Shortly after, Fluttershy’s wing disappeared from my back and I looked towards her, fully intent on asking what that was all about, but saw she was hiding behind her mane once again, and decided prying would just make things worse. Probably was a hug then, and she did it somewhat unconsciously and was now embarrassed.

“So now that the boring stuff is out of the way,” Rainbow said while walking down the hallway with us. “What are we gonna do next?”

“Well, we could go and visit Rarity next,” Fluttershy said, coming out from hiding a little.

Rainbow seemed to deflate slightly at the prospect, and I wasn’t exactly feeling to keen on that encounter either. Stumbling from one delicate situation into the next just wasn’t my style, I needed some R&R.

“Could we maybe do something a little more fun first?” I said almost desperately. “This whole talk was kind of draining on me”

“Hey! I could show you some of my moves!” Rainbow Dash suggested enthusiastically. “After all, I’m the best flyer in Equestria.”

I considered the offer for a moment. This was a chance for me to see just what a pegasus was capable of while being simultaneously entertained and not having to do much myself.

“Yeah, that sounds nice,” I replied, smiling up at the airborne pegasus.

“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘awesome’, squirt,” she said while ruffling my mane.

“Well, if that’s what you want…” Fluttershy commented, now fully emerged from her mane-cave.

“Alright! I know just the spot! Let’s go!”

Author's Note:

Took another three months, but here's a new chapter! I can't promise the next one is gonna be faster, but who knows? It might be ^^

Once again, thanks to my editor ScootalooFTW, as well as my proofreaders Kilobytes and Soren Mercer.

Today's chapter was brought to you by this song.

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