• Published 15th Jun 2018
  • 499 Views, 27 Comments

Redux: The Harbinger's Oath - Ringtael



Twilight's been having odd dreams for months now. Snaps and flashes of a life she doesn't remember, places she';s never been, but thers's something consistent in the dreams. The stallion that isn't a pony she knows, but one she remembers.

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Mr. Lonely

Mr. Lonely

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Dear Diary,

So I went home shortly after seeking Auntie Fleur’s advice, but it’s not like there was anyway I could have slept. Not without knowing whether or not Max was safe. Most ponies would have sworn that I was going to wear a rut into the floors of the basement and the kitchen while I tried to work off some of the anxiety that came with not knowing if the love of my life was even alive. Bitterness started eating away at my heart. Anger. Frustration. I wanted my Max back in my arms because that’s where he belonged, and I was pretty darn mad at Celestia for wresting my love from my grasp. My irritation with Max had cooled off considerably over the course of the night, but I was just as ready to punch Celestia in the flank as I had been when she’d tried to sit me down and explain the fact that she was the reason everypony in town seemed to think of Max as less than a pony. Luna honestly had more of my respect at the moment since she’d been honest about the whole thing, but I knew that Celestia was lying when she said that she didn’t see any other way to make Equestria stick together when times were tough, and that made my heart hurt.

I didn’t do as much crying as I thought I’d do, and when Spike came downstairs to make breakfast, he just left me alone and left breakfast for me in the kitchen before getting his chores done. I know he watched me whenever I paced in the same room as him until he eventually got up and made me stop by hugging me tight like he always used to when I needed it. “Twilight, how long have you been up?”

“Not that long.”

“... Are you okay?” He asked carefully.

I hugged him back, holding him tight. “Celestia… Celestia isn’t the mare I thought she was, Spike. She… She’s the reason ponies were afraid of Zecora, why ponies don’t like Max. She made Equestrians racist, Spike… Who knows what else she’s done and covered up with smiles…?”

“Uh… That’s… That’s pretty heavy.” My precious, naive little brother replied.

“I know, Spike. It’s just… How do I look at her like I used to, knowing that she’s done something so unforgivable?”

“... Um, everypony deserves a second chance?” He tried. “I mean, it’s not like Celestia’s evil or anything, right? Like, she’s kinda the Princess that lead Equestria into being one of the greatest peaceful nations of recorded history, so…”

“And who’s been in control of that history since they took over? There might be other nations more peaceful than Equestria that we don’t even know about because Celestia doesn’t want us to! Spike, this is about more than just one little mistake: This is a whole conspiracy!” I whispered hysterically, shaking like a leaf. “Spike… Who knows what Celestia’s capable of?”

“Um... “

Letting him go, I held my little brothers arms and looked into his eyes, searching for any inkling of understanding, any sign of comprehension. “... This isn’t sinking in, is it?”

He shook his head slowly, his eyes glossy and dull. “... Not at all.”

I hugged him again and sighed heavily, trying not to cry and panic at the same time. “Spike, I-I… I’m going to go sleep for a little bit.”

“Please do that. You’re kinda scaring me, Twilight.”

“I’m sorry, Spike…”

“It’s okay. You know I love you, right? No matter what’s going on, I still love you.” He gave me his warmest little smile.

Just like always, it melted my heart to see him try to make me feel better, making me smile in turn. “I love you too, Spike. Good morning.”

He chuckled. “Good night.”

For once, he didn’t flinch or make a face when I kissed his brow before heading off to bed, which was a little mood booster in and of itself. After a shower so I wouldn’t have to take one later, I climbed in bed and tried my best not to think of Max. I did say that I tried, implying that there was a definite, nearly infinite amount of failure on the path ahead of me. Everytime my eyelids closed, another image of Max would surface; another smile, another morning together, and another night in each other’s arms. I missed my Smokey Bear, and hugging my pillows just didn’t feel the same. I missed the way Max’s thin, delicate fingers snaked through my mane and held my head to his chest. I missed his natural cherry-like scent that just seemed so right for him. I missed his heartbeat and the way it always sped up a little when I let my ear tickle his chin.

There were a lot of things on my mind while I was in bed, but after a couple hours of just lying there, staring blankly at the ceiling, I started to appreciate the peace and quiet, honestly. Maybe I’m just a bit of a loner, but there was a certain serenity in a single moment that just felt so… Right, I suppose. Like Max was supposed to be somewhere else at the moment and that we would be reunited soon enough. I just had to stay strong long enough to see him again and not be mad that he stuck his foot where his tail probably should have gone. In fact, just having that feeling that Max was going to come back safe and sound lulled me to sleep in just a few minutes, making me dream of eating with him in a meadow in the Whitetail Woods.

The dream… The dream felt so real… I couldn’t tell if it was a memory or just a really good dream, but it all started so innocently. I spotted Max sitting around under a tall tree that seemed to hold some kind of globe, snacking on peanuts as he watched me approach. The smile on my face would have beat even the cleverest of devils’, and the grin Max wore made my heart pound in my chest. The violet button-up he was wearing hugged his lean, muscular frame so well that it could have been tailored just for him, and though I’d never known Max to wear shorts, I had to say that he had… Good… They were good to look at. His legs, I mean.

“Cherry?” Dream Max asked. “Aren’t you coming to the picnic?”

His voice was… Dear Stars above, his voice was like one of the bamboo fabric dresses Rarity made last year. It was softer than silk and lighter than cotton, though it still carried a calm, cool, assured tone that bounced around between my ears. Caring about whether or not the scenario was real was beneath me at the moment. “Of course, Amour. Did you pack the good stuff?”

With a questioning brow, Max produced an odd cylindrical thing that I remembered, but couldn’t place. “Always, but I also got your favorite salad and sandwiches from Blossoms and Blooms.”

After that I wasted no time in lightly running over to him and tackling him onto the giant, plush blanket beneath us. “Aww, I knew you were gonna make it a good surprise! I know it hasn’t been that long, but I already feel like it’s been forever…” I propped my head up on his chest and gave him a pouty look…

… Until I saw that the picnic basket had flipped over onto Max’s face, and he was now wearing either the potato salad or macaroni salad. “... Pfft… Oops- Pffft!

My boyfriend reached up and moved the basket and wiped the macaroni salad off of his eyes. “Think this is funny?”

“A little~” I sang before kissing the middle of his chest and sitting up on him.

“Tch. Women.” Max grunted, grabbing a corner of the blanket to wipe his face off.

“Hey, that’s sexist!”

Max gave me a look and stuck his tongue out. “That’s what you get for ruining the macaroni salad.”

I stopped him from wiping most of the stuff off and just let my tongue do the work since we Ponies are good at licking. Ice cream never lasts long with fillies and colts, and Stars forbid you try to make Pinkie settle for anything less than three scoops. “I cleaned up my mess. Happy now?”

“My face smells like wine.” Max grunted.

… What happened next was a little out of character for me, and I didn’t know if it was because it was a dream or what, but for the oddest of reasons, I rolled my eyes and shoved Max’s face into my bosom to dry my saliva rather than hearing him complain about it. “Is this any bett-” Max grabbed my shoulders and pulled me down, twisting so that he ended up on top. “Woah! A little warning, Amour?”

In all honesty, I stopped caring when Max started kissing my neck, his stubby, pointy little tongue dancing along as he place his lips against my fur. “Sorry, I. Couldn’t hear you. Over the sound of. The perfect picnic.”

“Mmm~” I held his his head in place for a moment as he left his lips just under my jaw, making it hard to swallow. “We’re not doing much picnicking.”

“Are you hungry?” He asked shortly before giving me a really, really good, Prench kiss that tasted like sweet, tart wild cherries. After what had to be at least five minutes of nothing but a battle of Max’s lips against mine, he pulled away. I couldn’t help but feel more disappointed than relieved. He cleared the transparent line of saliva that connect us without making it hit me in the face, which was nice.

I licked my lips. “Why’d you stop?”

He raised a cocky brow. “So you’re not hungry.”

With a roll of my eyes, I grabbed the lapels of his shirt and pulled him back down to me so I could taste his sweet, succulent lips once more. As our lips wrestled against each other in a bout to prove who was more keen on proving their love, our tongues were dancing slowly, accepting and exchanging our unique flavors while bringing us just a little bit closer. Time seemed to slow down while we settled into a smooth, relaxed rhythm that didn’t need to be sped up or slowed down. Max already knew me and I already knew him, and we were both certain of how to make the best of our time together.

(Ctrl+f Scene is Over to Skip)

I had a funny feeling that Max wasn’t going to be the one to make things take a turn since he wasn’t doing anything other than kissing me, but soon enough his hand slid from my cheek down to my neck, and then even further down to my chest. I hadn’t been thinking that we would go further than just kissing, but a part of me had already known exactly what was going to happen before we’d even started. His slender fingers felt blunted by my undergarments, but the light pressure he exerted on my breast was still perfect; not too hard and not too soft. For some odd reason, Max knew exactly where the tip of my mammary was without it even being slightly erect, and he even managed to make me a little excited just by massaging my breast and continuing our kiss for a few minutes more.

… There isn’t much of this that I feel like I should write down, but… You’ll keep it quiet, right, Diary? Max should be the only other pony that can read this, so maybe it’ll be nice just to reminisce for a little while longer…

Soon enough, Max undid the top four buttons of my blouse with an ease so strange and alien, he must have practiced it a thousand times before. In seconds my brazier was exposed, but I didn’t care. Max was the only thing in my mind, and his thing was standing out pretty prominently in my thoughts. My mind kept wandering to it, even as he slid his hand underneath my lacy undergarment, so I decided to take a risk and reach for what I wanted. Since I didn’t want to just grab him, I let my hand trail down Max’s chest, past his stomach, and let it rest on his belt, hooking my finger inside to let him know that I was a little more than just ‘interested’.

By way of answering, Max gave my right breast one last squeeze before he grabbed my other hand and lead it to join her sister. Taking the hint because Dream Twilight was evidently experienced with this kind of thing, I unbuckled his belt and Max quickly discarded his pants, showing off a frankly scary thingy that seemed just a little too big to fit anywhere I could put it. Even in my hand… I was regretting the fact that Max stopped kissing me long enough for me to see it, but when he went back to what he was doing, it was so hard to care. His lips missed mine, but they found their mark on my jaw and neck again, but this time, Max was careful to kiss a path up my throat and let his tongue make me shiver as he made his way. Electricity ran through my veins when his hand stroked my knee, starting a small pattern that only reached about midway up my thigh.

The skirt I’d been wearing was already leaving me to be seen by anypony that would have passed by, but I doubted that the dream/memory was going to be ruined by something as trivial as that, so I just let Max pull me to an upright position so we could take my blouse and bra off. I knew that he’d already seen my figure in all its ‘glory’ already, but that didn’t stop me from being shy as I covered myself. Even as my loving, compassionate, sexy coltfriend tried to get me to come out of my shell, I just felt a little too nervous to do anything until Max pulled the best card I’d ever felt out of his sleeve:

He rubbed my tummy.

It started with him sitting behind me, nibbling on my ears and generally teasing me to death, but when he started rubbing my tummy? Bliss is an understatement. If the feeling of having Max rub my tummy is what salt feels like, then I’d be an addict in a day, no questions asked. In mere moments I practically melted into him, my jaw going slack, my eyelids growing heavy, and my Cupcake Castle converted into an Icing Factory during the fifth circle. With every little pass of his hand, Max wound me tighter and tighter around his little finger and I leaked more and more icing until my syrup bottle was emptied and replaced with even more icing. Once I started panting, my lover’s hand started dipping down below my navel, but I was powerless to stop him. Not that I would have at that point, but still. There wasn’t a fraction of me that could have put up a fight at the moment, and Max knew it, which is why he was taking things slow, making sure that I wasn’t getting scared or panicking along the way. The way he hesitated to let his hand slip below the waist of my skirt was both endearing and infuriating since all I wanted was a more satisfying org- rel- Um… Ah buck it, I was trying to have a better clim… You know what I’m trying to say, darn it! Max was giving it to me good, but I knew he had greatness in him. All I had to do was convince him to let it out, or rather, to slip one in.

“May I?” He whispered into my ear, his words like a breath on the breeze.

“Of course~” I crooned, reaching up to snake my fingers through his thick, wavy hair.

Max lightly bit my neck and sucked hard enough to let me know that it was supposed to hurt a little bit, but it wasn’t all bad. I was actually a little fond of it since he wasn’t biting too harshly, but I was sure that he did it to distract me from the moment his fingers slipped under my first layer of privacy. “Mmm~ You’re pretty warm down here, Twi.”

“It’s your fault.” I whimpered anxiously. “How’s a mare-” He grabbed my right breast again, though I think it was because he was left handed. Speaking of, his left hand dipped down a little further and pressed between the petals of my flower. “Mmm~ That’s not fair!”

“If you’re not loving it, close your legs.” He teased evilly.

I pulled his face into my neck and he bit me again, making me gasp. “Oh~ Less backtalk, more of that.”

He let out a puff of air from his nose that tickled my chest a little, but between his attention to my breasts and marehood, I was lost in the moment and desperate for release. Just as Max was gently tugging on one of my teats, his other hand slid down the length of my flower, pressing between my lips with the intent to thrill. His little stunt made me let out a moan that I had no idea I had in me, but he didn’t stop there with his teasing.

“Oh my~ I should’ve known I was good, but I didn’t think I was this good~” He chuckled, pulling his hand away from the place I wanted that darn thing to be so he could pinch his fingers together and see a little line form between them. “This is kinda fun.”

I felt my face heat up, so I did the first thing that came to my mind and jammed his fingers in my mouth so he’d stop playing with my syrup and start playing with me. After I’d made sure his fingers were completely clean with my tongue, I removed them from my word maker and turned enough to glare at him. “Stop teasing and start pleasing, please.”

Max chuckled one more time and leaned around me so I wouldn’t have to crane my neck to kiss him back. It’s the little things that let you know somepony really cares, and Max’s immediate return to my syrup-soaked undies was probably more of a big thing, but I really cared about it at the moment. When he let his middle and index fingers squeeze my lips together, it pinched my pink pearl enough to get the syrup flowing all over again. My willpower sank through the floor and my hand slid down Max’s arm, pressing his fingers against me more firmly before I mustered up the courage to make him take his exploring to the Cupcake Castle itself.

“Oooh yesh~” I groaned as the length of Max’s middle finger slid along my exposed pearl.

He ground his finger against me a few more times before he used his index and ring fingers to spread my petals so he could tease my entrance too. “If this gets any better, it’s going to be a wet dream.”

“It’sh not already~?” I mumbled, biting my lip while my coltfriend tested my patience.

“Do you think this is a dream?” He asked, finally giving me what I wanted by way of slipping a finger inside of me.

To be honest, between the radiant heat that was emanating from my breasts and the ecstasy in my softest place, I couldn’t tell if I was just having the stickiest of dreams or if Max and I had somehow met up in the real world and had gone further than before. “Who cares?

“Point Twilight.” He murmured into my fur, stroking my petals and dipping his fingers into the shallows of my entrance.

I could feel one of his knuckles every time it rolled across my love button, but that wasn’t the best part. No, that honor belonged to the fact that Max was still prepared to give me the real deal, and I could feel it pressing against my lower back while he kneeled behind me. Nothing was more enticing at the moment than reaching out for his ‘little’ friend, so I grabbed for it blindly and eventually found it, feeling the heat just boiling inside. I swallowed hard and my mouth filled with saliva all over again, making the cycle continue as I thought about Max piercing me with his spear for the first time. All it took was for me to shrug Max off and my thoughts wandered even further, giving me a great, mutually beneficial idea.

Making Max stop what he was doing was on the bottom of my priority list thirty seconds before it suddenly hit the top, but when I turned around, guilt hit me in the boob at super sonic speeds. Max looked hurt and confused before I pushed him onto his back and put his hot thing near my hot place, licking my lips and gulping one more time. “We can both have fun this way, right?”

He smiled up at me before looking down at where we were touching, a mischievous smile coming to his lips. “Do I have to keep my hands to myself?”

I licked his nose for asking a silly question. “It’s option-” His hands slid up my thighs and squeezed my flank. “Mmm~ optional~”

“I know which one I prefer.”

“Me too.” I leaned down to kiss him, not sure of how to make my hips move to get the most of of being on top. Max helped out a little by thrusting from below, but just grinding against his erect, burning length wasn’t good enough.

In my most daring move yet, I took Max’s member in my hand and slid it beneath my panties, making him part my lips as my nectar slickened his rod. We both moaned in euphoria as we truly met, but the best was yet to come. I figured out how to make his engorged tip press more deeply against my folds, and before long, both of us were panting, though I was far closer than Max appeared to be. Just before I reached the final point, however, I rose and pressed Max against my entrance, the feeling of being stretched on the inside being both a little painful and pretty darn great. It was a delicate dance between fantastic and amazing, but I was careful not to let Max penetrate me just yet. Instead, I rolled his tip around my petals and rode out a little burst of pleasure that still left me wanting more.

Max must have gotten tired of me having all the fun because he suddenly sat up, which spooked me and made me fall further onto his rod. Having him enter me was… Well, I’m sure it would have been a lot better if it had happened slower, but the sudden advent of Max’s unnecessarily large tip into my itty bitty Cupcake Castle was pretty buckin’ painful, and the worst part? He didn’t even get past the gate! I stopped myself before I could drop all the way down on Max, but that was mostly because I was terrified of being split in half. Auntie Fleur always told me that my first time should be slow and that I should control the pacing, but I could really do much other than try and get off of Max while biting his shoulder.

He rolled us onto our sides , but he didn’t pull himself out, which wasn’t exactly a bad thing since I’m sure it would have hurt coming out too. Still, I was very uncomfortable, although Max was doing a good job of distracting me from the pain by sucking on my horn! I remembered the last time he’d done the same darn thing and it had been far less creamy than this time. With Max inside of me and my horn in his mouth, I arrived at the point everypony loves to reach just as Max rammed the rest of his length inside of me.

My eyes shot wide open and my jaw dropped, my breath robbed from my lungs. For a moment, my entire body went numb before it exploded with complete and utter satisfaction, making me writhe and ‘groan’, though my moans were more like hoarse squeaks. I could barely even feel the pain from the tearing of my hymen, so I assumed that Max had been waiting for me to reach the pinnacle of my pleasure to join us completely. Once inside, Max held me against his chest and sucked on my horn extra hard just to be nice. Or mean. Either way, I was full, and the Cupcake Castle was pumping out more icecream than ever before.

(Ctrl+f Scene is Over to Skip)

And then I woke up; my undies and my pajama pants soaked with syrup. After a moment to collect myself, I rolled over to look at my clock and saw that it was five fourteen, meaning that I’d slept for about six hours. It was sufficient, though not really satisfactory. Guess who wasn’t complaining about the dream though? Let me save you some time, because it sure wasn’t me. I wondered if being with Max in real life would feel just as good, and that occupied my mind during the entirety of my morning meandering, meaning that I made a second and third trip to the bathroom to take care of a sticky situation. Unfortunately, leaking meant that I was going to have to wear a longer skirt for the day, but it’s not like it was the end of the world.

Max not coming home would be the end of the world, but he was definitely coming back. He’d said so and he’d meant it, so I kicked myself out of the house for the night and went over to Rarity’s since she usually has good advice about guys, despite taking her own wisdom for granted. The walk there wasn’t too bad, but I knew that I caught a look or two for my pheromones, and that’s just embarrassing. It wasn’t even that time of the month; I just couldn’t get Max out of my mind and the memory of Mini-Max out of my Cupcake Castle. Both were equally distracting, and by the time I got to Rarity’s, it was a little uncomfortable to walk.

I let myself in since who was gonna tell me no? Honestly, the gals have never understood the concept of personal space other than sometimes Fluttershy, but everypony else? They don’t mind just walking on in, and Rarity’s condo doubles as a business open to the public, so it was well within my right to stroll in like I was gonna buy the place. I wasn’t, but I could’ve if I asked Daddy weewy nicewy. Ah, reminds me of the time I used the Sad Eyes to make him buy me a First Edition Copy of one of Starswirl’s greatest works. I still got it, right? I’ll have to try with Max.

After a quick pitstop to Rarity’s client restroom, I found her in the back of her shop, doodling away at yet another marvelous design that I was sure would delight the lucky mare who was going to get to wear it. I’d always admired Rarity’s ability to make her thoughts come to life in the same way that many ponies admire talented Unicorns for being able to control their Magic so well. I just stood and watched her add and remove things from time to time while she perfected her latest masterpiece, and when she put her pencil down, I let out a little whistle that made her jolt a little.

“Twilight! Dear Celestia, you just about spooked the bejeebers out of me!” Rarity tittered.

I gave her a warm smile for not being mad. “It’s nice to see you too, Rarity. I see your latest design is looking pretty interesting and your bejeebers seem to be in place.”

She rolled her eyes and blushed brightly. “Oh, it’s nothing quite yet, but I was wondering…”

“Hmm? You were wondering what?” I asked, more than a little interested.

Well, I was just wondering if you’d like to be my model for the dress.” Rarity teased.

I rolled my eyes and gave her words a dismissive wave. “Right. Did you poke Fluttershy one too many times?”

“Why, nothing of the sort! I just have a vision for a dress that doesn’t involve a mare with a bust fit to break her back, and you just so happen to have the perfect petite physique-”

“Pinkie.” I interrupted flatly.

Yes, but you never model for me, Twilight! Why, I’m sure you’d look fantastic in this, if only you’d give it a chance!”

The odd look I gave her was well deserved. I couldn’t really understand why she’d want me in particular since she’d only asked a couple times before. “Why now of all times? It’s a bit late in the season for any new fashions, isn’t it?”

Rarity gave me a frustrated look. “Twilight, don’t make me say something unnecessary. I just want to make this one for you, don’t you see?”

“I really don’t, but far be it from me to deny a friend a simple request.” She earned herself a longsuffering smile and she gave me one in turn, which confused me.

“Thank you Twilight, but perhaps we could go shopping in Canterlot sometime soon?”
She asked a little hesitantly.

I gave her a suspicious look. “Don’t you usually handle any special orders that come up around Ponyville?”

“Well, yes, but one mare can’t make an entire wardrobe, Twilight…” Rarity bit her lip and looked at me, her implications clear.

“... Wow.”

“Twilight, Darling, I-”

“I mean, is my fashion sense that bad?” I asked, sounding more hurt than I really wanted to let on. It’s not everyday that your most fashionable friend calls you out on your choice in attire, after all.

“No, Darling! Of course it’s not bad, per se, but you just have so much more potential
than you think you do! Honestly, Twilight, you’re easily as pretty as Fluttershy or Applejack and just as cute as Pinkie, but you refuse to see it! There had to be something about your appearance that caught Max’s eye, my dear friend, and I know that it was the beauty you try so hard to downplay! Let me help you release your beauty!” Rarity pleaded, sounding desperate and a little maniacal to be straightforward about it.

To be nicer, I went with, “Um… Wow... It sounds like you’re… Um… Really passionate, I guess, about this. Um… We could do that I guess?”

I barely had time to flinch before Rarity did her best to squeeze the life out of me, indicative of her elation. “Oh, I just know that you’re not going to regret this, Twilight! The first thing we need to do is close up shop!”

“W-Wait, y-you don’t mean we’re going right now, do you!?”

She gave me a flat look before snatching my pinkie with hers. “Last time I suggested something like this you put it off for an entire week. We’re going today.”

I wrestled my finger away from her and gave her my most sternest poutiest pout ever. “Tricky tricks aren’t fair!”

“Too bad! Sally forth, my dear mare! We’re off to the Crowned Capital!” Rarity cheered. After a moment, she raised a finger. “Once I write Sweetie Belle a note, of course.”

With a roll of my eyes, I waited for Rarity to finish up with her last little bits of preparation and did some more pondering about why she cared so much about what I was wearing. I mean, Applejack got away with wearing the same clothes since we’ve met her, and Pinkie’s entire wardrobe doesn’t match itself. Fluttershy can’t count since she gives Rarity ideas, Rarity herself is a hay-baling fashion designer, and Rainbow a stallion on the inside, so her wardrobe is workout clothes and practical Pegasus winter gear. Me? I wear things that are cute and comfortable. Other than that, there weren’t many requirements for what went into my closets and dressers, which is when I remembered the panic that had come over me when I couldn’t find anything cute enough to wear for Max in any of my clothing receptacles.

It was a very sobering moment.

When Rarity came back to the front of the shop where she left me, her gorgeous smile faded as soon as she saw my expression. “... Twilight? Darling? Tell me what’s wrong.” She furrowed her brow and set her hands on my shoulders.

“... How do I change my style without changing me…?” I asked softly, looking to Rarity for an answer.

While I was marooned somewhere in the middle of the Great Wet Desert, Rarity happened to surfacing in a submarine with sub sandwiches and my old substitute teacher Mr. Hot Trot, which is to say that she snorted and nickered at me. “Twilight. Darling. Would being blue make you any less you?”

“... No?”

She gave me a stern look. “Is that a question or an answer?”

“... An answer?”

“... Sometimes being a Unicorn has it’s disadvantages.” Rarity droned, using the old addage for ‘I wish I could headbutt you and not do real harm’.

“It’s an answer, okay!?” I huffed, now stressed by my friend setting me up for a complete makeover, rather than Max’s favor to Celestia.

“That was technically a question too.”

“And just like that-”

“Oh posh, Darling, don’t be like that! I’ll stop with the teasing, okay?”

I didn’t really believe her and my face mirrored the feeling. “Sure. If you actually keep it light, I’ll be surprised.”

Rarity grabbed one of my hands and gave me a frustrated look. “Twilight, do you even know why I want to do this for you?”

… To be honest, I’d avoided thinking about the obvious, and it’s not because it was shocking or anything. I just thought that Rarity didn’t like to be seen in public with someone without their own unique style, and I have to say that I don’t really have one. Previous to her practically begging to take me shopping, I wouldn’t have thought to go get nicer, newer clothes since Max apparently liked what I wore already and had a different eye for finding stuff. If he chose my outfits and I just stuck to the cute things I knew when he wasn’t around, then I had a pretty solid base to choose from, which is what I tried to explain to Rarity. Well, not just that, but all of it.

When I finally stopped stammering my way through the explanation of my corner cutting, Rarity tilted my chin so that I was looking at her and she leaned down to lock horns with me. “... Are you telling me that you just let Maximus dress you?”

“... Yes?”

“And you weren’t…” She took a deep breath. “Twilight, I understand that there are things that you missed out on in the early stages of your life, but there are some things you should already know. If a stallion starts picking your clothes out for you before you’re married, he either cares to much or thinks he knows better than you. Do you understand what I’m saying here?”

“... If you’re trying to say that Max doesn’t think I have taste, then I think we should put off our trip to Canterlot until we ask him!” I huffed irritably.

“For crying out loud, Twilight. You’re coming.”

“No, I’m not.”

She glared at me. “You are.”

“Am not.”

You are.”

I turned my nose up at her and ignored her.

It was a mistake.

Rarity threw me over her shoulder like a particularly heavy bolt of purple cloth. “Hey!!! Put me down!” I demanded demandingly.

Like a butthead, Rarity flipped my skirt and spanked me. “Stop acting like a petulant filly! We’re going whether I have to carry you, drag you, or track you down!”

I teleported off of her shoulder and into my living room because S Rank Unicorn. I would have dusted myself off with a spell too, but I thought that it sounded just a smidge smug and more than a little uppity considering that most Unicorns couldn’t have managed the Teleportation Spell, let alone anything else for the rest of the day. With that in mind, I knew I had plenty of time to get into my laboratory/basement and lock the door so I could properly hide, so I grabbed a snack before flipping on the lights and heading down the stairs. My cookies were great, and I was expecting to find a way to make them greater (Somehow) in the time I had before Rarity tried to break down my door, but before I could even set my snacks down and step away, I saw Pinkie’s hand dip into my bag of cookies.

My doubletake was a little sluggish, but Pinkie was definitely there. “Um…”

She bit the cookie. “Hi.” She sprayed crumbs on me. She was standing that close.

The Fear of All That Is Pink grasped my Anima. “H-Hi, P-Pinkie…”

Pinkamena chewed slowly before swallowing carefully. “Hi.”

“I-I-I haven’t broken a-”

“If you don’t go back to Rarity’s, you will.” She rumbled, her emotionless eyes making my mind up for me.

“D-Don’t you w-want to come to make sure I g-g-g-go?”

Pinkie beamed and chomped the rest of her cookie. “Ooh, Ooh, why don’t we get all the gals together and go!?”

I breathed a hearty sigh of relief because I was totally just going to hide in a changing room whenever the rest of my friends were leaving a store. “That sounds much better than only half of us going.”

“It sure does! I just can’t imagine how sad I’d be if we didn’t all come back together though…” Her shoulders drooped and Pinkie gave me some lethal Kitten Eyes.

Not even fair at this point. Not even close. “Ha ha ha… Right… Sure would be a shame…”

She gave me a big, sickeningly sweet smile that just made me want to eat her up. “I’m glad to hear you say that, Twilight! Why, for a second there I thought you were going to find someplace to hide so you could come back home and not surprise Max when he comes back with a super cute, maybe super sexy…?” Pinkie wiggled her brows at me and I stared at her. “No? Well, I’m sure he’d love to see you in short skhirt with some tall boots. Stallions like knee-highs.”

“... Pinkie?”

“Yep?”

“... How did you know Max was gone?”

Pinkie smiled.

“Please stop knowing things you’re not supposed to know.” I pleaded, discomforted and disquieted, which basically amount to the same thing, but both apply in their own right. Pinkie makes both my head hurt and my fur stand on end sometimes.

“Eh, maybe later.” She replied noncommittally. “What do you say we get a move on? Rarity should be on her way, so we should be ready when she gets here!”

“Sounds good!” I said awkwardly with an awkward smile. Pinkie didn’t seem to notice or particularly care, but that’s because Pinkie’s crazier than Mr. Foxy whenever the early days of Spring Heat start rolling around.

Instead of trying to escape from Pinkie because I’d already learned my lesson on that topic, I sat her down in my Library where there were fewer possibly-explosive things, though I was worried about the sheer content of flammable things, which is why I made her stick her hot-sauce in the basement in one of my special containment units, made her hand over some odd flint-and-steel device that was tough to use, but still made a flame with oil somehow, and a book of matches because I knew how she felt about the Little Match Mare Fairytale. Other than that, I couldn’t feel anything in her pockets, and I’d found the matches in her bra, so I was sure that we were in the clear until she burped up smoke.

She ate a reigniting birthday candle to hide it from me. This mare is my age. She’s actually seven weeks older.

Once I got Pinkie to cough up the candle, we put it out with a spell and I made sure we spent the rest of our time waiting for Rarity going over the finer points of why what Pinkie had done was foalish, silly, and unnecessary. Unfortunately, Rarity didn’t feel like letting me finish my lecture. “Twilight Starbright Sparkle!”

I paused in the middle of my sentence, turned toward Rarity and gave her the most ‘What the hay did you just say to me?’ look I could muster. “Excuse you, Miss Opalneria Belle?


Rarity’s hand reached her the center of her bosom and she raised her brows. “Excuse me? Why, I don’t believe I’m the mare who intends on reneging on a Pinkie Promise! In the presence of Pinkie herself, no less!”

My cheeks colored as I shot her a glare. “Actually, I was intending on making you think that I broke the Pinkie Promise so I could invoke the Rule of Pinkie Number One dash Three: They who flee from Pinkie’s Promise shall be found by Pinkie, thus making her come to my house so I didn’t have to find her. After all, Pinkie’s already invited the rest of the gals to go shopping with us in Canterlot, haven’t you Pinkie?”

“I sure have!” Pinkie cheered.

I would’ve broken my skinny purple neck if I’d turned any faster. Pinkie either happened to be backing up a bold-faced lie I said for the sake of saving face, didn’t pay attention to what I’d actually said, or actually had done the thing. “Um… Good work, Pinkie.”

She nodded and we both looked back to Rarity who seemed a little miffed. “W-Well, I was imagining it as more of a bonding experience for the two of us, but I don’t mind having the company.”

“It’s better than having Twilight ditch you cold, right?” Pinkie asked blissfully.

You. Traitor.

Rarity raised a brow and I chuckled nervously. “Y-Yeah, it’s a good thing I didn’t do that…”

Right.” My pale, domineering friend said with the steel of a mare twice her age with half her grace.

“S-So… Who wants c-cookies?” I tried.

Rarity narrowed her eyes at me while Pinkie destroyed my favorite snacks. “You weren’t honestly thinking of breaking your promise, were you? And I don’t recommend relying on Pinkie of all ponies to corroborate your story.”

“W-Well, th-that’s not fair! Pinkie’s the only other pony who was here!”

“Hey, I’m reliable!” Pinkie objected through a mouthful of white chocolate, Macaronia-nut cookie. “I’m just bad at lying!”

Rarity started to turn toward me, but I was already gone.

I teleported to a little nest in the top of my tree that I’d made while escaping from Spike one day while he was being really needy about something or other. I forget what it was, but my nest was still perfectly fine and had even grown some fresh moss from the last time I’d been up there. I hopped in and cast three spells, layering them together to create the perfect hiding place. The first spell was an advanced Illusion Spell, which was necessary since I’d tricked Pinkie into confirming that she could see through standard Glamours by inviting her over so that we were alone. She never commented on the fact that I was wearing a ‘Vinyl Sux’ shirt in the Glamour, and Vinyl is her favorite music maker. She couldn’t, however, see through a really good Illusion, which is just a higher tier of a Glamour.

The second spell I cast was a concave shield that gave me enough room to move underneath it, but would prevent anypony from stepping on me if they decided to try the nest out for themselves. After a few tweaks to the texture of the shield, the Illusion took to it just fine and I was clear to cast my third spell. It wasn’t anything super interesting or scholastically intriguing, but tweaking the Winds so that a breeze flowed through the branches of my rather warm nest was much, much better than sweating it out. Sadly, I only got about ten minutes of peace before I heard something bonechilling coming from beneath me.

Dil~i~cu~lum

Kau~Ku

Twi~light

Rosssesss ssso sssweet~

All from the sssame bush~

Dead~

Thorned~

Pruned~

Rosssesss ssso sssweet~

The voice… I’ll never forget that voice. It was dark. Insidious. It crept into my mind, into my very bones. My mind told me to bucking run, but my heart was bursting with a feeling that was like being mad but… It… I just.. It felt like my blood was boiling, like I just wanted to hit somepony over and over and over again until they were hurting on the inside as bad as I was. Then, just as fast as the feelings came along, they vanished and I was left wondering what in Tartarus just happened.

I reached up and touched my shield to see if it was in place before shifting around in my nest to try and see beneath me, but there was no possible way that anypony could have seen through the thick tangle of branches, moss, and then foliage from the tree itself. Fear gripped me before somepony gripped me, and it wasn’t by the shoulder. Turning slowly, I saw Pinkie squinting at me with her hand on my bottom, so I slowly sank back down into the nest. She squeezed my flank far harder than anypony her size should have been able to and almost made me squeal, but then she let go and I exhaled as quietly as I could.

And then Rarity brought her hand down on my poor, poor bottom.

Ow!!!” I hissed, hopping out of my hidey-hole.

“Told you.” Pinkie deadpanned.

I glared at them with tears in my eyes. “I didn’t even agree to the Pinkie Proimise!”

“What a shame.” They chorused mercilessly.

Just to be extra difficult, I went to Canterlot without them since they’d just taken their press-ganging and schoolyard bullying too far. Vindictive was my name and my game at the moment, so I went to the Fashion District without Rarity, despite actually having promised to make my next trip there with her. With my feelings and tail both still hurting, I skulked around, looking into shops from time to time but never really seeing anything I thought looked like me. If I’d been in Ponyville, I’m sure somepony would have stopped me and asked if they could ease the worries on my heart, but in a big, cold city like Canterlot, there weren’t many faces friendly enough to perform that particular kindness.

As I drifted from shop to shop, I eventually found one that looked like it had some interesting wares inside, but the reflection in the shop’s window caught my attention more than the clothes behind the glass. Flash Sentry smiled at me as I turned around and said, “Never thought I’d see you outside of the Castle. What’s brings you to this seasonal snobfest?”

My heart pounded for a moment. “Uh-Um… Just updating my wardrobe…”

He looked at my empty hands. “Taking a bit more effort than you were expecting?”

“Uh… Heh heh heh…” I smiled sheepishly. “M-My friends were supposed to come with me, but…”

Without his armor, Flash looked a lot less imposing and even more handsome. His smile was comforting and calm, like he knew just what was on my mind. “Say no more. Why don’t I join you for a while, see what we find?”

I didn’t see a reason to say no, but the guilty feeling in my stomach that was coming on was warning me against agreeing. “I-I’m sorry, but maybe I-”

He gave me a tender smile, his good looks worming their way into my defenses as he placed a hand on my arm. “C’mon, Twi. I’m a guard. I might not have the best fashion sense, but I’ll at least be good company.”

I started to pull my arm away from him but he held on softly. “I-I don’t think m-my coltfriend would be happy with me…”

Flash took two steps and started pulling me along with him. “C’mon, what’s the worst that’ll happen? Besides, I don’t see Mister Sparkle anywhere. If I had a mare as cute as you, I wouldn’t take my eyes off of her.”

The buck? “Excuse you?” I snapped.

Flash grinned. “Ah, did I touch a nerve?”

“You don’t know Max so act like you know him. If he wasn’t doing a favor for Celestia, I wouldn’t even be in this crummy stuck-up city.” I huffed.

He rolled his eyes and reached into his pocket. “Take a deep breath, okay?”

‘Run!!!’

KILL HIM!!!

Panicked, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, thinking of the place I felt safest. At first it was back home in bed, but when I opened my eyes, I was stumbling through Celestia’s private chambers and I could barely think straight, let alone walk. After falling on the floor, barely recognizing where I was, I fell asleep until Celestia cast an Awakening Spell on me that lifted the veil of slumber. The sleep had been dreamless and my body kind of hurt. My arms and breasts felt bruised and abused, but other than a distinct tenderness, nothing was really registering. Celestia’s voice echoed in my ears even as I came to consciousness, making her words come out unintelligible. However, the more I woke up, the more I was able to actually see. My blouse was open for all to see; every button having been ripped off. My bra was barely on and I was missing some fur, but by the grace of the Heavens above, I was able to get away before my undies got taken off.

I could barely fit the pieces of the puzzle together, my mind foggy and faltering on the the details slightly, but… I remembered enough to be scared. I remembered enough to stop caring about how evil Celestia might have been and just cried. Rape wasn’t something that happened in Equestria, and certainly not by one of my brother’s own Lieutenants! In the bucking Capital! Between being furious and afraid, I didn’t feel Celestia let me go, but I knew whose arms wrapped around me from the moment I felt their warmth.

“Who.”

“Flash Sentry…” I murmured, barely more than breathing.

He squeezed me tighter for a moment before coming around to face me. Max cleared my tears and gave me what I needed the most at the moment: Just a little kiss. Not a long one. Just a little one. One that let me know that he still wanted me. The smile he gave me was devoid of any happiness whatsoever, but it was apt. It was one I’d seen him wear a trillion times before when he was putting on his Big Boy Business suit.

Twilight Sparkle’s heart dropped as she realized that her soulmate was about to go kill somepony.

And then I felt it. The divide.

Diliculum’s essence was neutral. It’s hard to care when you’re technically dead, after all, but Kauku? Kauku’s heart soared when Max’s eye took on that flinty look. The real me just wanted Max to let Celestia and Luna handle it, but Kauku wanted revenge against Flash Sentry for betraying the trust of the Equestrian citizens he was sworn to protect. Nopony stopped Max when he left the room, but Celestia did kneel down to try and console me some more, but now I was wondering why in Tartarus’ hot, rocky depths I was feeling emotions from a God, whatever that’s supposed to be. Still a little shaken, but a little more clear minded than I had been, I explained the day’s events to Celestia as they’d happened so far, and she didn’t say anything to what I’d said. Of course I’d withheld my doubts about her and what she stood for, but I didn’t doubt that Celestia knew that I wasn’t as blinded by her brilliance as I was before.

After a little while of just letting Celestia hold me, I pulled away from her and looked up at the mare who’d taught me almost everything I know. “... Celestia… What if-”

“We don’t think like that, Twilight. You got away, and I’m assuming that there’s a good reason you sent Max to Luna rather than having him here to comfort you.”

I looked away from the Princess, but I didn’t say anything.

“... Twilight, did you tell Max who attacked you?”

My silence held.

“... Dear Heavens above, Twilight, what are you going to do if Max gets himself hurt!? He’s still not as physically capable as a Pony!”

I finally turned back to her and bit my lip. “... That didn’t factor in when you sent him off…”

“Twilight, you can’t tell me that all of this started because I gave Max a punishment for treason! The stallion slandered my name-”

“He spoke the truth and Luna confirmed it. Max was frank, but not rude.” I said softly.

Celestia blinked. “... So you’re firmly against me on this.”

“Princess, can you look me in the eye and tell me that you haven’t cried over some of the things you’ve had to do to make Equestria see another day?” My question came out soft, and my conclusion was already set in stone from the moment I’d decided on what I was going to ask.

She looked at me sadly, her eyes glistening with tears. “Nopony understands…”

“Max understands better than anypony other than you.” I replied urgently. “Just ask him the next time you see him; ask him what struggles he thinks you’ve been through and I just know he’ll know a lot of them!”

The Princess shook her head and sighed. “... So Max really does have experience with rulers like me.”

I reached out and touched her arm, giving her a warm smile. “He just lashed out because he felt threatened and unappreciated, is all. I’m sure things will be better now that you two have had some time to cool off.”

Celestia returned it with one of her own, but it just seemed a little… Off, I guess. “I don’t think Max is going to warm up to me after I track him down before he does something he regrets.”

“You never know. Maybe Max just wants to talk to Flash Sentry?”

She blinked again. “... It was Flash Sentry?” I nodded and Celestia’s face grew stony. “I’ll send Max back to you here momentarily. Your Mentor is going to be taking care of this one, Twilight.”

I nodded slowly and she teleported away, but before two full minutes passed, I was sitting on one of her sofas, trying to get my shirt to stay closed when Max suddenly teleported into the room, shouting, “-cking throat out! Wait, what?” He looked around.

“... Max?” Luckily I was across the room, otherwise I might have been a little more spooked.

He whirled around and held a finger up. “Ah. Not gettin’ a choice on this one. See how it is.”

“... Amour?”

He crossed the room quickly enough, saying, “Hullo, Cherry. I’ve gotta say, it’s been a stressful day.”

I looked at him.

“Yeah, you’re definitely the Queen of Tough Days right now, but now you have the King of Cuddles to hold onto you and stab the fuck out of anything else that tries to touch you.” He sat down next to me and wrapped his arms around me.

“Right.”

Max’s chest expanded further than I thought it would have before he exhaled heavily. “... This won’t happen twice.”

“How do you know?”

“If I don’t let you out of my sight, who’s going to hurt you?”

I held onto him and buried my head into his chest. “... What if-”

“I don’t like what if’s. Life literally has an ‘if’ in it, and I don’t like that either. Variables, anomalies. This event is a nonrecurring anomaly. I’ll make sure of it.” He said darkly, his voice colder and harder than I remembered hearing.

“... Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. If I hadn’t opened my dumb fucking mouth, you never would have been in that situation. I’m sorry, Cherry. I’m sorry for not being able to protect you.”

The current of years upon years of memories guided my lips to Max’s jaw. “It’s not your fault, Amour, and it never will be. I trusted the wrong pony for the wrong reasons and it almost ended in catastrophe…”

“I’m gonna punch him.”

“... Do it twice.”

“If Celestia lets me.” He promised.

For a while, Max and I just sat in silence and I soaked in the comfort of his safe, loving presence while he talked to me and told me a bit about how he had just gotten to the outskirts of Gryphonia when Celestia had told him that he was release from his duties pertaining to her favour. Although he was happy to come back early, he mentioned that he still wanted to go and get the Diadem of Sovereignty because it was important long, long after anyone would have thought that it would be. Eventually Celestia came back, but I’d fallen asleep in Max’s arms after the excitement of the day had worn off and didn’t know that they’d been gone until I woke up in Celestia’s bed with Celestia and Max talking a little ways away.

They spoke softly, but I could still hear them. “... I know, Princess, but… It’s…”

“He swore loyalty to me and betrayed me by laying a hand on my daughter. He deserves no mercy.”

“Can’t you just use Magic to make him super sensitive to everything all the time and let that just drive him insane?”

“That’s a fantastic idea that I’ll save for later... Tell me, Maximus; what is it about the Warbling Blade that attracts you so?”

“It was a knife that never left my side. Other than that, it’s shrouded in mystery.”

“Peculiar.”

“That it is… So… What’s up with the sudden niceness? Don't get me wrong, it’s mucho appreciado, but-”

“If you’d been by Twilight’s side, she never would have been preyed on for being a single mare in a large city.” Celestia answered frostily. “While neither of us were faultless, it was my insistence to keep my lie from Twilight that resulted in your presence in Gryphonia. I do apologize for my stubborness, Maximus.”

I sat up in bed and saw Max nod in Celestia’s direction. “If I’d known of your attachment to Twilight, or rather, if I’d known that I was potentially ruining your relationship with her, I probably would have kept my mouth shut for fear of being killed to death.”

“You didn’t exactly die.” She answered amusedly.


Max scoffed. “We both know that was the point of the mission.”

“I’ll deny that until the day I die, Maximus, and there’s nothing you can do to prove it.”

I stared at Celestia as she smiled at Max, daring him to challenge her further until she met my gaze and dropped her look, altering her smile to fit a different situation. “Twilight?”

Max whipped around in his chair and gave me a much more genuine smile, already getting up as he was saying, “If it isn’t my sweet little Cherry. Did you get some decent sleep?”

Nodding slowly, I waited for Max to cross the room to get out of bed, which is when I realized that I was wearing one of the nightgowns that I’d left at my room in the Castle since I just didn’t see any reason in bringing them to Ponyville at the time. I’d forgotten all about them, despite a lot of them being some of the most alluring things I could have worn for Max. As it was, I was wearing a shimmery pink gown that went far enough down for Max to only glimpse at my thighs before correcting his gaze. I made sure I wasn’t flashing him when he came and gave me a hug and a kiss, but I mostly just wanted to go home and go back to sleep with him.

“How are you feeling?” He asked tenderly.

“... Can we go home?” There was a pain in his eyes that made me regret my choice of words, but then there was a certain acceptance that made me say, “I-I didn’t mean-”

Max placed two fingers over my lips before he kissed me with a soft, carefulness that made my heart pound slowly, like time was slowing down and my mind was trying to calculate the difference. When he parted our lips, he gave me a sad smile. “I lost my home when I was twelve. My home is wherever you are now, Twilight, and I can never apologize enough for being away from home at the wrong time.”

I gave him a teary smile and reached for his hands, getting what I wanted before I could even fully realize what I was doing. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Max pulled me to my hooves and wrapped me up in his embrace and I finally relaxed for the first time since Flash Sentry had blown the powder in my face. “... Home is where you hang your hat, right?” I asked.

Max pulled away slightly to give me an odd look. “... Yeah?”

I gave him a bigger, sillier smile than I wanted to wear, but it was one that Max just brought out in me. “I’ll wear your hat whenever you want me to.”

His face scrunched up for a moment before he burst out into merry chuckles and hugged me again, rocking us back in forth in a little two-step that had me stepping all over his weird paws. “Ow-Ow-Ow but that’s so cute, I’m gonna die!”

“Oh no, don’t die,. Max! I need my huggles and snuggles!” I whimpered pathetically.

I heard Celestia giggle at that and my face warmed up, but the smile on Max’s face, the love in his eyes, and the lack of pain in his expression just made the moment so worth it. I get embarrassed all the time, after all. What’s one more moment between a mare who loves me like her own foal and a stallion who loves me more than anypony else on the planet? After I thought about it for a second, I just couldn’t stop giggling at my own silliness and wondered why I cared so much about the little embarrassing moments in my life in the first place. Looking into Max’s eyes, I knew that there would always be one pony who would never judge me, no matter what, for anything I ever did or said and that made my heart just… I don’t know. I felt like I was overflowing with gratitude and love; relief and love. There wasn’t a part of me that didn’t want to share it, so I let Max go and dragged him over to Celestia so I could give her a hug too.

We didn’t talk long, but Celestia did request that I send her a letter as soon as I got home and settled in, and she made Max a promise to get the knife that he’d wanted as long as he stayed by my side. However, Max only agreed to stay by my side until I had to go to the bathroom. Celestia and I giggledde at his reason, which was because he didn’t want to figure out if ‘girls’ or rather, mare, really did go Number Two after all. Celestia and I assured him that mare’s just grew longer tails instead of doing that, which made Max ask if he could brush my tail for some odd reason. Understandably, I was a little stricken by his request and Celestia did some more giggling since she knew that Max probably had no idea that he’d basically asked to bathe me. I wasn’t and still don’t happen to be ready for that level of intimacy, so I shyly told him no, which in turn made him ask if my mane and tail felt the same. They do because duh, so he asked if he could brush my mane. That was fine and sounded like a nice bonding experience, so we decided to do it when we got home since it was already five in the morning.

I was pretty well rested when we teleported home, but apparently Max hadn’t slept in about three days, and he himself admitted that he was mostly running a heavy dose of protective love combined with smaller doses of fear, fury, and happiness. He denied any and all of my arguments that he needed to get a little bit of sleep by saying that there was nothing he’d rather be doing than spending his time with me, so we just sat on my bed and Max brushed my mane until the Sun rose. It was already lustrous and straight thirty minutes into the little event, but Max mentioned that he hadn't felt anything like my mane before and I was tempted to tell him that he hadn’t seen anything like my Cupcake Castle either, but I held my tongue and just giggled about it for a little bit because the thought of Max blushing and sputtering like me was just so cute.

When the Sun rose and Max decided to do something I’d thought was shelved for the time being, ‘thrilled’ wasn’t quite the word for it. My coltfriends advances probably started a while before I started picking up on them, but when Max swept my mane away from my neck so he could kiss, nibble, and lick his way to my heart, I was somewhere between elated and stuck. I froze while he nibbled on my ear, but when his hand met my tummy and didn’t start rubbing it, I cautiously started making his hands to little circles, which was definitely what I wanted. I made a noise I remembered vaguely from the dream I’d had about Max that I told you about, Diary, which was still odd to hear coming from me. It was a moan from a mare that was a lot more enticing than I was, but I didn’t particularly care. I just wanted Max to keep going, and when his hands started dipping down to stroke my thighs, I knew I was in for a good time.

Max still didn’t take us all the way, but he did give me a favor that I wanted to figure out how to return sometime, but at the moment, I was just glad that he knew how to use his mouth and fingers to clean up syrup more effectively that I probably could have myself. However, after Max found a way to make his face seem even more appetizing than usual, it was time for us to put some food in our mouths, but we still needed to get washed up. Max now had clothes to change into, but I still wasn’t ready for a co-shower, so I went and got in first, despite insisting that Max get the first shower for once. Even though I tried to make it quick, I still had to take extra time in the bathroom because I was having trouble washing my legs, but other than that, it was a pleasant morning for some meandering.

My coltfriend, however, took even longer in the bathroom than I did, which made me worried enough to knock and ask, “Max? Are you okay in there?”

I heard something, or rather, somepony fall and start swearing in the shower. “Fucking son of a whore bitch cunt dick- Yeah, I’m good!” Max shouted back.

I opened the door after a minute to see Max getting out of the shower, rubbing his head with a grimace while his Mini-Max was pointing directly at me, bobbing up and down occasionally. I stood and stared until Max grabbed a towel and draped it in front of his waist, prompting me to look up. “Oh. Um... “ I pursed my lips and sighed. “He was staring at me, okay?”

Max raised a brow and dropped the towel before crossing his arms. It was a struggle to look at his face. “Judging by your blush, I’m going to take it that you want a better look.”

I stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind me, gulping hard. “I-I wouldn’t mind.”

Max grinned and strode over to me, stopping just far enough away that his tip was brushing against my tummy. “Moist people say that you can just see what your eyes, but there’s nothing like feeling, right?”

My face was red hot as I nodded, the moment of truth within my grasp. My hand shakily extended, reaching out to fondle Max’s most private appendage. “... It’s hot.”

He placed his hand over mine and made me caress him, the odd smoothness of his member capturing my attention. “I’m sure you already know, but when a guy gets an erection, it’s caused by an increase in the blood-flow due to arousal or whatever. Might be a toaster sometimes, but it’s usually arousal.”

I gulped. “... S-So y-you were a-aroused?”

Max took my chin in his hand and directed my gaze to the potty where I’d left a bra draped over the back and the undies I’d been wearing earlier on the sink. They still had syrup on them. “I can smell you in here. I was a little busy when you knocked.”

It took me a moment to realize just how one could be busy in a bathroom before it clicked. “O-Oh…” I licked my lips and gave Max what I hoped was a sexy look .”W-Well… Maybe I could help you stay busy.”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

My suggestion was that I treat Max like my own personal popsicle, and I have to say that it was actually kind of fun until Max made me stop with a pained expression. I made him tell me what I was doing wrong, and when he told me that he was just afraid of my teeth, I tried again, but this time I was a lot more careful to leaveft my teeth out of the equation. It was a little less fun and a little more challenging after that, but I don’t really want to describe it right now, so I’ll just say that Max gave me some tasty cherry sauce that was super sweet and a little odd to the taste-buds. It was actually more pleasant because of the extra hint of whatever it was, so I tried to get every last drop, but Max didn’t have enough to quite satisfy me, so I just swished it around in my mouth for a little while to commit the taste to memory.

Breakfast was good, but I could still feel Max’s tip in the back of my throat, rubbing against the inside of my cheek and that made me smile like a goofball as much as I could in between eating and drinking, which got Spike to ask me where I’d been yesterday and why I was so happy all of a sudden. I explained that Max just made me feel better, which earned me a kiss on the cheek and the promise of a date later in the day, but I wanted to go back to Canterlot with Rarity and the girls to go shopping. Max was willing to go shopping with me, but he wasn’t willing to go if I took all of the girls with us, so we agreed that he would rest on his own for the day and that I would stay close to Applejack if we ended up going.

Before Max took himself to bed, he walked me over to Sweet Apple Acres to get Applejack to watch over me while he was sleeping. When we got to the farmhouse, Applejack was actually inside for once, helping Granny darn and repair pretty much whatever cloth-based things they had in the house. She was happy to see us, but she immediately took me to her room so we could have a mare-to-mare, heart-to-heart.

“Look, Twi, I heard about what happened yesterday with Pinkie and Rares and I just gotta let ya know I’m on your side a’ hundred percent. Rarity didn’t have no right ta try an’ force ya ta go ta Canterlot in the first place, and Pinkie probably knew she forced the Pinkie Promise on ya too. Both of ‘em are good an’ ready to apologize whenever you’re up ta seein’ ‘em, but I just wantcha ta know that Rarity’s got a lot a’ explainin’ ta do, and that’s the only reason she ain’t got a knot on her head.” Applejack set a hand on my shoulder and gave me an encouraging smile. “Nopony meant ta hurt your feelin’s, Twi. If they ever start pickin’ on ya like that again, remind ‘em a’ good Ol’ Applejack and her policy on bullies, will ya?”

A flash of what happened yesterday passed through my head and I numbly gave Applejack a hug. “I… I forgot all about that, to be honest.”

She hugged me back after a moment. “... Then why’d ya leave town?”

“... Well…” I took a deep breath. “I went shopping in Canterlot to spite Rarity and Pinkie for trying to make me go, but I couldn’t find anything… I was looking at something that actually caught my eye when a Guard Lieutenant I met a couple days ago came up behind me and started talking to me and the- the next thing I knew…” Hugging her a little tighter, I continued before she could say anything. “I got away from him before anything bad happened, but… Well, that’s why Max came over here with me. He’s smart enough to see that you’re the Big Sister of the gals and we just thought…”

Applejack kissed my temple and gave me a worried look. “Anythin’, Twi. You name it: you got it.”

I gave her a shaky, twitchy smile. “C-Can I stick with you for today? Max is working on his fourth day without sleep, and-”

“Twi, he was sleepin’ seconds after he sat down next ta Granny.” Applejack deadpanned. “Y’all can just stay here for a bit with Mac an’ I’ll even go get Spike so he ain’t alone all day.”

I squeezed her again because she was awesome! “Oh, you’re the best, Applejack!”

She chuckled and hugged me back. “What else are friends for?”

We both knew ‘friends’ meant ‘sisters’ at this point. All the gals knew it. Max would come to see it too, in time, but for now, my handsome little Human needed his rest and I needed to spend time in feminine companionship. Well, as feminine as Applejack could get. She really was a tomcolt at heart, but she had a soft side that few enough ponies knew about, and I rather adored it, even if she wasn’t as fond.

While Applejack left to go get Spike since Max and I were evidently staying, I got to talk to Granny and that was as fun as it always was. I just wished that Applejack would have been able to teleport Spike over to her house so that he could take notes as Granny Smith talked so we could compile the data we collected. In fairness, Granny tended to ramble and get sidetracked a lot, but everypony does that from time to time, and it gets worse as time passes. It’s sad, but Granny’s still a joy to be around, and she’s even more fun when she brings out the cider, though I had to decline her offer to start day-drinking.

Big Mac and his ever-quiet self came in while Applejack was gone, saying hi shortly before going off to his room, probably to help Mrs. Cheerilee cook up a new test or several. The stallion’s as smart as they come, but the only time you can ever get him talking is when he’s upset or whenever you mention Mr… Smartypants… That Butthead! I’ll be right back, Diary!

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Max said I was probably right! Oooooh!!!!!!!!

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

… Well, I learned what Big Mac sounds like when he cries through a door, and I learned that Max can be very objective when he wants to be. To take this quick aside, I confronted McIntosh about his larceny and Max came along with me. Big Mac kept a straight face the entire time he dug Mr. Smartypants out of the hiding place he’d put him in, but when we closed the door and started to walk away, I heard the first of many thick sobs that were to follow and my heart just shattered for that poor, poor stallion. Max suggested that we do one of four things: Either go back in and give him the doll, or give him a lecture about crying over a doll. Then he offered up leaving the doll with Granny to give back to him or just leaving with it all together, and I took the kindest route because I try to be the second kindest pony around. There’s no point in trying to be first since Fluttershy’s got that trophy Magi-Welded and riveted to her mantle, but being a close second would be saying a lot.

Aside over.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Alright, same entry, same place. I managed to get Max to wake up just long enough to make him take his boots off and get him to lay his head on my lap for his nap on Applejack’s couch before he passed right back out, but he was just so adorable while he slept that I couldn’t really follow the conversation I was having with Granny some of the time. I still learned a few interesting things about proto-Ponyville and life before the conveniences of Magic were widespread, but I also know that I missed some things about a beast with a spherical body that walked on jointed legs that was basically a maw and nothing else because who wants to hear about that?

Applejack came back with Spike, and he was still munching on a bag of hay fries from Hay Guys!, and of course he’d bought the picnic size, which I’d told him to stop doing a dozen times, if not more. At least he was sharing with Applejack, so I couldn’t be that upset since I knew that the mare could put down at least two pies in a single sitting by herself, thus making her a viable threat to Spike’s ‘snack’... Stars above, it wasn’t even two hours after breakfast. I was tempted to give him a lecture about overeating in general, but I had to settle for giving him a dirty, dirty look so Max could sleep in peace. I continued to give him said dirty look until he gave his fries to Applejack, which got me to stop and allowed him to breathe easy. For the time being.

I’m kidding. Spike’s a good colt with a couple bad habits, but he’s a real sweetheart. When Apple Bloom came home with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, he offered to show them how to repair books since Granny Smith had the supplies and the necessary test subjects that wouldn’t be missed too terribly. I oversaw the experiment with Max still resting on me, and it was a quiet activity in the first place, so Spike was able to keep the Crusaders at a reasonable volume the entire time they were in the house. It was a shame that the fillies didn’t see the obvious, but we can’t all be observant all the time when it comes to our own talents.

Applejack and I talked for a little while before Max woke up to go to the bathroom, giving me a chance to get up and stretch. I was pretty stiff and a little sore, but when Max came back, I was still willing times two and a half to let him nap on me. However, he just sat next to me and looped an arm around my shoulders to hold me close, despite him having only slept for about six or seven hours. His reasoning was that he still wanted to be able to go to bed with me whenever we went home, which was super sweet, and definitely earned him another favor.

Since there was still time in the day and Max was awake enough to get moving, Applejack suggested that I go see Rarity and have Max wait somewhere while the she and I had a private conversation about her abuse of Pinkie’s ritual and my posterior. It sounded like a good idea to me, which is probably because Applejack is wise beyond her years. Max didn’t mind taking a detour, though he did have to ask what the whole deal was about and I explained the abridged version to him until he grilled me about Rarity hitting me. Applejack stepped in and promised to get her back on my behalf for him since she didn’t want him to ruin the tenuous bond he and Rarity already shared, but I didn't want any pony hitting anypony in the first place, and Applejack probably knew that, so I felt safe enough leaving it there.

When we left Applejack’s house, Spike and Sweetie Belle left shortly after we did and passed us on the way to the park for something or other. Max waved them off and told them that first base was the only one they should be able to see at their age and I had no clue what he was talking about, but Spike gave him a thumbs up and promised to ‘keep it kosher’, whatever that meant. However, I was a little beyond caring as I took in the slightly shiny, growing apples that hung from the trees all around Applejack’s farm. The air was rich and sweet with the scent of apples and wheat from the fields, though Max just grumbled about the smell of animals on the air, which was odd because I couldn’t smell any of the farm’s inhabitants at all, and to my knowledge, nopony had ever brought it up.

The walk was wonderful and crossing paths with so many friendly ponies that were mostly female made me feel at ease and far more comfortable than when I’d been in Canterlot. There was a slight spring to my step that Max commented on by saying, “Walk any faster and you might give me a run for my money, Honey.”


I giggled at that, bumping him lightly with my shoulder. “I’m just happy I get to spend another day with you. It’s nice to stay in and relax, but I like coming out and walking around. I get to show you off~” I stuck my tongue out at him and he rolled his eyes, breaking eye contact, which set off a small alarm in my head.

“Tch. You just like me for my good looks.” Max said jokingly. At least, most ponies would have thought it was a joke.

I gripped Max’s hand to get his attention and gave him a disapproving look. “I like that you’re cute, but that’s not why I love you, Amour.”

He returned my look of reproach with one of annoyance. “Men aren’t cute, we’re handsome. Haven’t we been over this?”

I stopped us and I could see a muscle in his jaw twitch like he was biting back a sigh. “Maximus, I’m not laughing here. Do you really believe that I think of you as some kind of trophy?”

“If you don’t, then why are you showing me off?”

I groaned. “Can’t I just be happy that I’ve got one of the greatest stallions ever and leave it at that?”

“That doesn’t answer the question in the slightest.” He answered, his voice flat and soft. It was telling me something along the lines of, ‘I don’t believe you, and that used to be my fault. It’s now your fault.’.

Max’s face was placid and calm; calculating and decisive while I’m sure my expression showed my frustration and disquietude in spades. I’d always been easy to read since I wear my heart on my sleeve like most Ponies, but Max seemed to be a master at shielding his thoughts and feelings from ponies, and that just didn’t sit right with me. “So you’re saying that I can’t be proud to have a stallion that loves me and cares for me? One that’s sweet and courteous and-”

He shut me up with a kiss that I was so tempted to hit him for since he misunderstood my adoration for some kind of obsession, but then he looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t doubt that you love me; I don’t like being put on a pedestal. I’m just Max. Trust me, Twilight, I struggle to be a half decent guy and even then moments like this pop up because I’m confrontational. Ye’, I look pretty decent, but I jus’ don’ see what you see, and it makes me fuckin’ skin crawl when yeh’ parade me around, an’ I’m really not diggin’ the looks we’re gettin’ so can we am-scray?”

I put a hand on his chest and teleported us into Rarity’s shop. “Now lookee here, Mister: I’m going to make this as plain and simple as I can because you’re smart, but you’re being silly. I love you, and I want everypony to see that I love you because you’re special, Max! Is it really that bad that I want ponies to see the proof of the best thing that’s ever happened to me? I mean, I just…” I shook my head, unable to explain it any other way.

He closed his eyes, pinched his nose, and inhaled deeper than I thought he could, letting the air out slowly. “Twilight, what you said as that I’m special and what I heard is that I’m an exotic pet.”

“Dear Heavens, I’m talking to an emerald-eyed wall. I’m actually talking to a wall.

“Look, maybe I’m reading too deep-”

“You think?” I deadpanned. “It’s really not that complicated.”

“Or maybe you’re- Nevermind, that’s an argument waiting to happen.” He ended in a murmur.

It was my turn to close my eyes and take a calming breath. “Maybe we should talk about this later?”

“Maybe we should kiss again and hug thereafter?” He counter-offered.

I gave him a little smile and stood on my tip-hooves, resting my hands against his chest to help me balance during our make-up kiss. It was nice, and Max’s aura was as soothing as always, so I can’t even say that the anger in my heart stayed around for more than a few seconds after the initial contact. During the hugging portion of our bargain, Rarity cleared her throat while Sweetie giggled and Spike stared at the ceiling.

“I see you two are finished with your first fight already?” Rarity said warmly.

Max snorted. “It wouldn’t have been a big deal if I hadn’t made a mountain out of a molehill.” He kissed the base of my horn, making me blush and grin a little. “I’m sorry for-”

With a gentle whack to the neck with my horn, my silly coltfriend shushed. “Don’t apologize for the way you feel, Max. Thank you for opening up to me, even if I didn’t like your tone.”

“I’ll try to be a little more pleasant if there’s a next time.” He leaned down for another kiss

Rarity squeed, her alto definitely shining through. “Oh, you two are so precious! If you get any sweeter, I’m going to need a trip to Colgate’s office!”

Sweetie smiled brightly at Spike. “Aren’t they super cute, Spike? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Special Somepony you could talk things out with?”

Spike gave her a look. “Well, yeah, I guess? Don’t we talk a lot?”

Rarity’s ‘innocent’ little whorse of a sister made lovey-dovey eyes at my widdle Spikey-Wikey. “We do, don’t we? We also go on a lot of walks, right? Kinda like dates…”

“Beg pardon?” I asked blankly.

Max broke out into maniacal laughter for no reason. “I AM BLEEMYARNOK THE COOKIE KILLAH CORRUPTION KING! ALL HAIL BELGIAN BELUGA BAGUETTES! MWAHYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-” So on and so forth for a solid six minutes.

When he finally stopped laughing, he started panting. “Ho-ly shit, I’m never going that hard for another distraction again.”

“... What?” Rarity and I chorused.

Mr. Butthead smiled and snickered as he tried to catch his breath, wincing as he laughed. “Heh-ow. Heh-ow. God, it hurts to laugh.”

“Max, what are you talking about.” I demanded.

“Where’s Spike?

I looked over to where he’d been standing, and all I saw was Rarity with a dropped jaw. “You ASS!!!

He gave me a weak, barely remorseful smile. “Sorry, Cherry, but a big brother’s gotta look out for his little brother.”

I glared at him with everything I had. “You’re in so much trouble right now. So much.”

Max blew me a kiss and said, “I’ll rub your hooves.”

“You’re sleeping in the guest room.”

“Beaver house.” He grunted.

And you just got Spike grounded for a month.”

“... For what?” Rarity asked.

I turned my gaze to her and she winced. “For running away!”

“Yes, but he ran away because you appeared upset for a reason that I’ve yet to discern, Darling. I know we’re at odds at the moment, but I can’t help but want to know your side.”

“Spike knows he’s too young to be dating!” I huffed angrily. “Even Shining didn’t start dating until he was seventeen!”

“Okay, but who is that?”

“Not important right now! What is important is that baby Dragons have no business dating until they’re an adult!”

Rarity looked at her like she was crazy. “... I had my first coltfriend at twelve. Are you trying to imply something here, Twilight?”

My face betrayed me and Max did too when I looked at him, his raised brow indicative of his stance on the matter. I turned back to Rarity and said, “Wh-Wh- That’s not important either! Dragons are different from Ponies!”

“And yet you have him on a Pony diet and he’s never actually met another Dragon.” Max droned.

“Do Dragons not eat the same foods as Ponies?” Rarity asked.

“From the people I asked near the border of Gryphonia, Dragons are predominantly carnivores and only eat gems for curative effects in most cases.” Max answered blithely.

“And you’re just going to trust knowledge from a stranger over your fillyfriend!?” I asked in utter disbelief.

He nodded. “When their knowledge correlate with what I already know, then it’s just confirmation.”

Bias. It’s confirmation bias.” I snapped.

“Um…” Rarity said softly.

I glowered at her too, but apparently Max didn’t like her enough to save her. “Yes?”

“... Perhaps you should ask Princess Celestia?”

I nodded sharply. “We’ll write a letter when we get home!”

“Right.” She responded awkwardly. “So… About us?

I let out a little puff. “Keep your hands to yourself and let me make my own choices.”

“Of course, Darling. I’ll remember where the line is in the future and be quite mindful to avoid crossing it again. I am truly sorry, Twilight.”

There wasn’t any point in holding anything against her, so I gave Rarity a smile and walked over to her to give her a hug. “You’re forgiven, Rarity. Now I just need to talk to Pinkie and figure out why she grabbed my poor booty so hard.”

“It’s probably because it’s perky and cute.” Rarity gave me a conspicuous wink, though she’d spoken softly. “I’m sure Max is a little more gentle, hmm?”

She got herself a little whack for being a lecher, but it was all in good fun. “Gosh, Rarity, it’s almost as if you want me to do stuff with Max just so you can hear about it.”

“If the ring fits…” She giggled.

I joined her after a moment, glancing back at my coltfriend. “Well, maybe I’ll do a little story-telling when we have our next slumber party…”

“Oh, I’ll host one tonight if you’ll leave your beau at home.” Rarity said, grinning.

“Ah, tonight is no good. Max up for a few days and only got a few hours of sleep so he’d be able to sleep with me tonight…”

“Oh posh, what’s one little night away from home?”

“Rarity, he did something specifically for me. I know it’s an obligation, but I love that Max is willing to push himself just to spend a little more time with me…”

“Then we’ll bring the party to you and do the talking when he falls asleep!”

“Gossip is rude.” Max called from across the room.

“Eavesdropping is even more so.” Rarity replied blandly.

“Isn’t the hostess supposed to be polite to her guests?”

I pursed my lips and Rarity colored. “Only when her guests are polite in turn!”

“You didn’t say a word to me until just now and I’ve been here for like, ten minutes.” Max deadpanned.

Rarity sputtered, her blush spreading. “I-I wanted to clear the air between Twilight and I first-”

“So much so that you decided to forgo basic courtesy. Right.” If Max’s tone was any more condescending, He’d have been looking down on Rarity from the Moon with a telescope.

A lesser mare would have stood by while Rarity struggled to find a defense against Max’s caustic observations, but Twilight Sparkle always stands up for her friends! “I really don’t appreciate you talking to Rarity like that, Max.”

“She’s literally plotting to talk about me while I’m asleep. How am I not supposed to be offended by that?”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, Amour.” I chided.

He gave me a look. “Are you still going to talk about me behind my back?”

“Well, you can’t be around for all of my conversations, Max. You have to be realistic here.”

The eye roll definitely ticked me off something special, but he had a valid point when he said, “You’re probably going to be talking about our bedroom life, yeah? Saying shit I’d rather not be said, regardless of whether or not it’s flattering?”

I couldn’t really say anything to that.

“You can’t honestly expect a mare to keep the details of her life away from her friends-”

“So if a ‘mare’ found out her ‘stallion’ was talking about their sex life to his friends, she wouldn’t be at all uncomfortable around them?” Max asked lethally, his tone making the answer painfully obvious.

Rarity and I looked at each other before looking back to Max, neither of us knowing what to say. “... I’m sorry.” I said softly.

My coltfriend nodded. “I can’t hold a grudge against you, but try and be more aware of things like that, Twilight. Your friends also happen to be the only friends I have.”

“... Oh.”

Rarity’s hand went to her chest and she gasped. “Oh, Max! I never considered how little time you’ve had to make friends around Ponyville! Why, I simply saw you as Twilight’s coltfriend!”

He nodded. “Thanks.”

“... For what.”

Without another word, Max turned and left, but when I went to go after him, I couldn’t really find a reason for him to be mad. Rarity hadn’t said anything mean or called him a name, but a sharp lance of pain still struck my heart just as I saw Max’s facade harden. Something had made him upset, or rather, had hurt him, and it was my duty to make sure he was alright. I made a quick plan with Rarity to go out with the gals for a wine tasting before heading out to go find Max, but I only just managed to catch sight of him before he slipped down an alley and broke the line of sight. I didn’t have any of his things on me, so I used a Clairvoyance Spell to lead me to him.

After fifteen minutes of walking, my spell lead me to a tree in the middle of Ponyville Park for no apparent reason. There was no sign of Max anywhere around the tree and nopony could have reached the lower branches unless they could already fly. “Amour? Are you here?”

The empty air didn’t answer me, but the sound of something heavy dropping out of the tree did. I whirled around to see Max rising from a crouch, regarding me coolly. “If I wanted to be bothered, I wouldn’t have left.”

I at least waited until he was done talking to give him a hug, but I was still frustrated with him for not letting me kiss his boo-boo the second he got it. “Just tell me what’s wrong, Max. You know I’m here for you if you need me.”

He hugged me back after a moment. “I know, Twilight, and I appreciate that.”

I looked up at him, but the facade was still there and now there was also a dull ache in my chest, and I just knew that it was a sympathetic pain rather than it being my own pain. “... You’re hurting, Max. Please… We can talk about this, can’t we?”

Sighing, he asked, “Can’t we wait until later, then? I’d rather just be left alone for a little bit.”

I gave him an odd look. “... Why would you want your heart to keep hurting if we could could talk through it?”

Max looked me dead in the eye and said, “Because looking at you is just another reminder that I’m the only thing of my kind on this planet. At least if I’m alone I can pretend otherwise.”

“... Oh.”

He nodded and walked off again.

I didn’t follow him that time, but I did walk back to Rarity’s and wait for her to finish up with whatever she was doing to walk into the back of her shop. She was hanging a freshly hemmed dress as I walked in and turned to see me, giving me a small, cautious smile. “I’m taking it that it didn’t go well?”

“... Not really, no. Max is feel- Er… Well, I don’t know if I should say…”

“Well, one would think that your hypothesis about how he’s feeling and how he performs in the bedroom would be two completely different matters.” My fashion-focused friend reasoned.

“In that case, I think he’s feeling lonely because he doesn’t think he has any friends on Equus and it kind of just hammers home that he’s the only Human around…”

“Oh my… That poor stallion.” Rarity murmured, her face painted in the perfect picture of grace and concern. “And here I not only made him feel like less than a pony, I reminded him that he was the only one in his particular predicament…”

I sighed. “I can go find him, but it’s really best to just leave him alone for the time being. Seeing another Pony probably isn’t going to help in this case.”

“You’re most likely correct, as per the usual.” She sighed. “However, Max does like to drink, no?”

“... I’m worried about that, actually. Nothing good ever comes of Max drinking in public.”

“Oh dear, he’s not one of the rowdy types, is he?”

“No, but he’s better left alone when he’s in a bad mood in the first place and Ponyville isn’t really the place to be left alone.” I lifted my thumb to my lip and nibbled on the grippy fur near the tip. “... I don’t like not being able to help him, Rarity. Max and I do better when we’re together than when we’re apart…”

“Um… Perhaps we could have Fluttershy help?” She reasoned.

I gave her a frustrated look. “Fluttershy doesn’t exactly look like a Human either, Rarity.”

“What if we don’t need somepony, but rather some… Um… Well, it would still be somepony, I suppose, but one of Fluttershy’s creatures is what I’m getting at. Does she not lend out some of her patients as therapy pets to Ponyville Hospital sometimes? And even more as therapeutic pets in the Tri-Hamlet area?”

“Well, yes, but-”

“Could one of her creatures not track Max down and lend him a small shoulder to cry on?”

“... Yes, but I’m pretty sure that it can’t be a bird. Max hates birds that can’t talk.”

“... What?”

“... I don’t even know.” I admitted. “Something about Hizketan Baia or something of the sort. And snakes. Something about snakes.”

Right. Freaky memory thing. I remember now.”

“Freaky indeed. Shall we go to Fluttershy’s, or are we going to-”

You’re going to teleport the letter I write to her instead of using Spike for once and then you’re going to try on this marvelous dress I’ve made for you!” Rarity ran off as soon as she finished speaking and I lazily followed until I almost ran into her when she came around a corner. I stood back and she held out her newest creation. “So? What do you think? I know you’re more fond of dark colors when it comes to the more elegant creations; especially when we’re all trying to appear as if we’re already taken, you know? An I thought navy would just be superb with our coat, and was I right or what!?” She gushed. “Oh, and I can’t wait so see the way the sheer lace sleeves mingle with your coat~! Blending coats and colors is all the rage these days, and there are even gloves and a complete set of livery to match-”

“Wait, what.”

Rarity gave me an innocent smile. “Yes, darling?”

“... Nevermind. Thank you, Rarity, sincerely!” I gave her a bright smile.

She saw straight through it. “I’ll make you go to Canterlot with this dress and go on a proper dater with Max, Twilight Sta- Er, I mean, won’t you please consider wearing my creation on a date with Max:? You know know it would mean the world to me.” Rarity batted her lashes at me.

Blushing and smiling were none negotiable, my stress levels appreciating her sudden change in tone. “Thank you, Rarity, and I’ll definitely try it on for both you and Max at the very least.”

“I can’t get you to Pinkie Promise on a date?” Rarity asked, grimacing.

I offered her both my pinkie and another smile. “When Max comes back, I’ll ask him if there’s anywhere fancy he wants to go.”

Rarity hooked my pinkie with hers and used it to pull me into a hug, careful to be cautious of the dress she’d made for me. “Oh, Twilight! To think that you’ll be the first of our friends to wear one of my creations on a real date with a decentish stallion!”

I pinched her side and made her ‘Yeep!’. “Don’t say backhanded things about my Amour. He’s just dealing with a complicated situation at the moment.”

“It’s so easy to forget that he’s not just a strange looking Pony.” Rarity admitted. “I mean, he’s obviously different, but he almost feels like… Well, like he’s been your coltfriend forever already.”

It was a feeling I shared, but then again, I remembered having foals with him. “I know the feeling, Rarity. Trust me.”

She sighed and gave me a patient look. “Maybe we could write that letter now?”

“Let’s.”

And so we wrote the letter to Fluttershy, teleported my dress back to my house, and then gathered the rest of the gals for a Huggle, which is like a Huddle for the Hoofball thing, but for mares. Anyway, Rarity, Fluttershy, and I all spent our time at my house going over the things we wanted to talk about in the Huggle since we were the most experienced with Max, but when Pinkie came over, she wanted to have a word with me in private that ended with me apologizing for breaking a Pinkie Promise because there’s no such thing as winning with Pinkie unless you can guilt trip her hard enough. I had a feeling that Max could have easily done it, but that wasn’t important. What was important was that Applejack and Rainbow arrived together about twenty minutes after Pinkie, so we were able to get the Huggle started in a decent amount of time, given that snacks and beverages were distributed.

“Alright girls: I’ve got a problem.” I announced once we were all settled in the library.

“Ears up, gals.” Applejack vouched, beating Rarity and Fluttershy to the punch, oddly enough.

“Ears up.” Rarity nodded, making sure her support was evident.

As you might know, Diary, you only need one supporting vote on any Equestrian Council of less than ten members to get the floor, but I was surprised when Pinkie threw her assent into the circle too. It was rare, even amongst a circle as close as ours, for half of the council to lay down their rights to interject during the statement of the case. With that, the only pony I had to actually worry about interrupting was Rainbow since Fluttershy never interjected.

We were all a little surprised, but we kept things moving. “Alright. The Motion is to be determined. The Ordeal is Maximus,” I almost paused because somepony normally would have interjected, but I had the floor almost entirely, “and the cause to date is technical extinction as well as friendlessness.”

“Damn.” Rainbow muttered since she was allowed to.

I nodded. “The current Action is pet therapy, but there needs to be a Motion so we can move forward. Rarity, Fluttershy and I did some brainstorming already, although I’ll happily take suggestions.” Pinkie’s hand was in the air before I finished ‘although’. “Diane has the floor.”

“Thank you, Starbright. My Motion is that we have a Human Day for Maximus!” Pinkie exclaimed. Rainbow’s hand went up alone. “Wonder has the floor.”

Rainbow Dash nodded. “Thanks, Diane. As nice as that sounds, how would we do it? Starbright has the Magic to turn a couple of us into Gryphons, but we don’t know if we could all do it. We should take volunteers.”

There were nods of assent from a few of us, and after ten or so seconds, Applejack’s hand went up. It was my Huggle, so it was my responsibility to announce, “Applejack Faith Apple moves to take the floor. Are there any objections?” There were none. “Faith has the floor.”

She nodded. “Thank you, Starbright. Now, I hate ta be the mare ta say this, but how are we supposed to bring this up ta Max? I mean, we show him some Human faces for a day and turn back tomorrow, then…? What exactly? I been thinkin’ about what I’d do if I was in that poor guy’s shoes since I met ‘im, and this exact thing came up. I’d be crushed ta see fake Ponies for just one day in a world full a’ aliens.” Everypony other than Applejack had a hand go up, but she pointed at me. “Starbright has the floor.”

I nodded stiffly, a little incensed by Applejack’s casual dismissal of a good idea. “Thank you, Faith. Do you have a Counter-Proposal?” Hands went down except for Fluttershy’s. “Oh? Um... “ I looked at Applejack and she nodded. “Okay. Fleur de Tulipe has the floor.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Th-thank you, Starbright. M-My C-Counter-Proposal i-is that w-we… Um… Well…” It took her a moment to get a breath and say, “Why don’t we treat Max as a friend? W-We invite him to our next slumber party, b-but we a-ask if he would m-m-mind being a-a-a… W-Well…” Hands shot up and she flinched, looking around. Her go to, Rarity, kept her hand down this time since Fluttershy had said something silly. Her next choice was, surprisingly enough, Applejack. “F-Faith has the floor.”

“Thank you, Fleur de Tulipe. I support your Motion.” Applejack declared. Rarity’s hand went up and everypony else’s hands went down. “Opalneria has the floor.”

She nodded. “Thank you, Faith, Fleur de Tulipe.” Uh oh. “I veto the motion.” My hand went up. “Starbright has the floor.”

“Thank you, Opalneria. I too, veto the motion. Changing Max’s gender while his psyche is already strained could cause a fragmentation as has been documented in numerous cases.” I said frostily.

There were no hands in the air for another ten seconds, so I raised my hand. “Are there any further motions other than Human Day?” There were none. “Alright. All in favor?” Rarity’s, Pinkie’s, and my own hands went up. “All opposed?” Fluttershy and Applejack put their hands up. “All abstaining?” Rainbow’s hand was the last to rise. “Primary Motion carries. Human Day begins tomorrow at eleven O’clock sharp at Golden Oaks. Everypony who wants to volunteer is welcome to stop by!”

There were a few assurances and a couple of sighs, but all in all, the Huggle turned out for the better, though Fluttershy and Applejack were doing an awful lot of private chatting during the time after the Motion was set in stone. I didn’t doubt that they were planning on helping Max in their own way, which was fine. I just hoped that they didn’t try to interfere with our plans since we all just wanted to help Max. I mean, it got a little awkward when Max made his presence known in the library by clearing his throat around thirty minutes after we’d agreed on the plan of action, but it’s not like he should have been able to hear anything terribly vital, so I wasn’t super worried or anything.

Well… Up until he gave me the flattest, least amused look I’d ever seen on him, I wasn’t all that worried. “M-Max, it’s not what you think! I-I just wanted to know how I could help you!” I cried desperately, not wanting him to think I’d betrayed his trust after he’d made his standpoint clear.

His gaze softened and he nodded a few times. “Sorry, I should’ve trusted you more... I’m going to bed.”

“Did you eat while you were out?” I asked, just to make sure.

“I’ll eat a big breakfast.” He answered.

“Max, please eat something.” I requested softly.

He sighed and scratched his head. “Alright. Hey everyone.” After a casual wave, he walked away and I watched him leave, still concerned about his well-being.

“That guy needs to get laid.” Rainbow said bluntly.

“Rainbow, that’s not going to fix anything!” I said irritably.

“It might. You never know.”

Applejack sighed. “If the guy wanted some, I’m sure he woulda asked by now. The best bet is to just try an’ be there for him as best ya can. If ya were a drinkin’ mare, I’d suggest ya get a couple glasses a’ cider in ‘im and go from there.”

I sighed. “Yeah, he warned me against trying to drink at his pace…”

“Then don’t. Keep a glass of water and some wine an’ ya oughta be fine.” Applejack assured me.

I nodded. “Okay. I’ll see if I can get Max to open up some more about his feelings over a drink.”

“Or maybe I could do that?” Applejack suggested apprehensively. “I mean, ya mentioned that he doesn’t feel as welcome as he could be feelin’, right? What better than a night of Apple Family hospitality to-”

Pinkie gasped loud enough to make my ears hurt, thus causing me and the rest of the girls to close our eyes and cover our eyes for a few seconds while Pinkie did as Pinkie does. However, when we opened our eyes, my frigging library was full of frigging-fragging ponies! Just- Just- They were- I mean… Pinkie doesn’t make any sense on a good day, but how she managed to decorate and fill my house with ponies in the time it took her to gasp left me speechless. And confused. And tired. Very, very, very tired. I meandered through the sudden crowd of ponies who were all asking each other how they got there when I finally managed to spot Pinkie slurping down a jello-shot just before munching on some watermelon that I was sure was spiked. Applejack was calmly sipping from a wax paper cup, looking rather resigned to her fate and Rarity was looking around, blinking rapidly.

“Pinkamena Diane Pie! What did I tell you about throwing reality breaking parties in my library!?” I shouted furiously.

“To only do it when Max needs a pick me up? And besides, Twilight! He never got a Welcome to Ponyville Party!”

I gave her a stern look, but she just gave me an adorable smile. “I’ll let it slide this one time, Pinkie. One. Time.”

“Oh come on-”

“You know how I feel about parties.”

“But-”

Especially surprise parties.”

“Twi-”

“And the ones that break the laws of physics are the worst!

Pinkie sighed and gave me a fed up look. “Are you done yet?”

Applejack pulled her mane and made Pinkie’s head jerk to the side. “Knock it off, Pinks. Twi’s right; you threw a party in her house without her permission. It’s pretty messed up.”

Our mutual, miniature friend gave both of us stern looks in turn. “If either of you are trying to say that Max didn’t deserve a party right here, right now, then say it!”

My mouth dried up and I looked at Applejack. She licked her lips and looked away, sipping her drink. “Um…”

hat’s what I thought.” She said levelly. Her smile came right back and she gave me a conspicuous wink. “Why don’t you go and get Max since he can’t hear anything from the kitchen?”

She’s scary…

Do the thing.

‘I’m gonna do the thing.’ “Sure Pinkie. I’ll be right back.”

Pinkie waved me off, so I skedaddled to the kitchen where Max was frying some potatoes with a stony expression, looking like he’d rather be doing anything else at the moment. I approached cautiously, speaking softly. “There are plenty of herbs and flowers in the fridge…”

“I can’t eat them.” He replied neutrally.

“Oh… Um… P-Potatoes just sounded best, I guess?” I giggled awkwardly.

“I need to go shopping with you next time we go. There isn’t much I can eat in the house.”

I blinked a few times. “... I… I kind of forgot that you can’t really eat many Pony foods…”

“I need to go fishing. Or see if Applejack doesn’t mind one of her chickens coming to an early end.” He sighed.

Dear Star, I keep forgetting that you eat meat… “... Well, if you’d like to have some sweeter food, apparently Pinkie decided to throw a party in my house without my permission in the last five minutes.”

“I knew I felt more people in the house…” He murmured. Sighing, he said, “The food’s almost done. I’ll be right with you.”

“You… You wouldn’t mind if I stayed a little while, would you?” I asked tentatively.

Max snorted lightly, giving me a small smirk. “I’m living in your house and you’re asking me if you can stay?”

I put my hands on my hips and gave him a look, completely forgetting that I was trying to be sensitive. “Now you look here, Mister! If I want to give you a little space, I’ll give you a little space!”

“What if I want you to come give me a hug?” He asked half-heartedly, like he didn’t really want one at the moment.

“That would make me feel better, but would it help you at all?” I asked, trying not to sound too high-strung.

“We won’t know ‘til we try, right?” He chuckled, moving his potatoes from the burner to an unlit aisle before turning the stove off.

I came over and gave him a hug, enjoying the odd feeling of Max smelling my mane. “So Pinkie threw me a party?”

“Nopony understands how they got here.” I sighed.

“... What?”

“Pinkie’s Pinkie.”

“That explains nothing.”

“It’ll tell you everything you need to know soon enough.” I pulled away and looked up at him, hoping to see something in his eyes that would make me feel a little better.

There it was. A slight hint of warmth, the admiration and love for me that Max always carried with him. I didn’t see it long since he closed his eyes and bent down for a kiss, but I know that I felt slightly better about Human Day and how it was going to cheer Max up. After our little smooch, he gave me another weary smile and asked, “Is there booze?”

“Plenty.”

“Then why are we still talking?”

“Because maybe I want another kiss?”

He gave me a little smooch and asked, “Satisfied now?”

“Hmm… One for the ro-” Max rolled his eyes and gave me what he calls a ‘proper snogging, robbing me of my breath and train of thought for a solid three minutes. “Mmm~ That’s good. That was a good one.”

Max chortled and lead me out of the kitchen by the hand, leaving his food behind in favor of throwing himself into the party. It wasn’t hard to tell that Max didn’t want anything to do with the party in general before we ran into Pinke. She shoved a big glass thing of some tind that stood about a foot tall and a big bag of a green substance that made Max face light up. The next thing I know, we have a circle of ponies all waiting on Max to show us how to use the odd device. Apparently you were supposed to put the herb in some kind of bowl with a hole that had a stem that lead down into a reservoir of water and light it on fire so you could inhale the smoke, which made no sense to me until Max made me ‘rip the bomb’, or whatever it was he said. After that?

After that, life got real pretty and we just cuddled on the couch and talked to whoever wanted to come say hi to Max for the rest of the party. I felt really good and super relaxed, despite having a ton of ponies in the library at once, but I blame the ‘Magic Herb’ as my coltfriend called it. It was a real mood booster, and before I knew it, the party was over and it was time to clean up the mild mess that had been left behind, which Max made a little more fun by sneaking up on me and giving me a peck here and there or by coming around a corner to spook me with a surprise hug. It was cute and my hazy mind didn’t think twice of Max’s mild advances, but the gals definitely noticed that I often seemed even more distracted than I did when I was just being ‘high’ whenever Max was around.

Fluttershy and Rarity took me aside with smiles on their faces after the majority of the mess was picked up and Rarity asked, “So…?”

I gave her a silly smile. “So what?”

“Do you think it’ll happen tonight? Make up sex is supposed to be the best there is~” Rarity gave me a big wink

Fluttershy giggled. “Doesn’t it sound nice, Twilight?”

I tittered and giggled like a madmare for a little bit. “You two are so lewd! We don’t plan that sort of thing, gals! It’d be weird if we did.”

“Oh posh, Darling! You can’t tell me that the mood hasn't’ been setting itself for a nice night~ You do look quite fetching, after all, and I’ve noticed that a certain somepony-” Max came out of nowhere and pecked my cheek. “Speak of the demon! We were just mentioning how much fun you seemed to be having!” Rarity cheered, smiling brightly.

He moved to wrap his arms around me so he could set his chin on my shoulder. “It’s pretty fun when weed’s involved. Next time we have to have moire weed and less people.”

“What is people anyway?” She asked, giving him an amused smile and setting her hands on her hips.

“What do you mean? That’s like asking ‘What is ponies?’.” Max replied, sounding rather confused.

“Oh, so Humans use people instead of pony or ponies! I always wondered, but I didn’t want to make it seem like I didn’t understand you.”

He chuckled. “It’s fine. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.”

“Oh, it’s no problem, Darling. Say, would you be interested in doing some work for me, perhaps?” Rarity batted her eyelashes at Max and he gave me a little squeeze.

“Depends on what it is.” He answered hesitantly.

“Oh, it’s just a little bit of modeling~” She crooned. “It’ll hardly take any effort at all on your part, and whenever you don’t have bruises, I daresay that you’ll be a hit on the Canterlot scene should you choose to make an appearance~”

“Is this a favor or a job?”

“Well-”

“Actually, I don’t really like the idea of my face being everywhere if I do get any kind of famous from it. I’ll be your mannequin if you need one, but I’m a real private kind of fellow. I’m sure you understand.”

She gave him a pout that probably would’ve worked if he was single. “Oh, you won’t even consider it?”

He chuckled pleasantly. “I did consider it, Rarity, and I decided that I prefer my anonymity, as relative as it is, to remain intact.”

My pale friend gave him a disappointed smile. “Well, I suppose I’ll have to take what I can get.”

Fluttershy smiled bashfully at Max. “W-Well, m-maybe I-I could i-i-interest you in a p-p-pet…?”

Max rocked us from side to side. “Maybe. I like canines.”

“I-I have a fox!”

“Mr. Foxy is smelly.” I objected.

“Lupa isn’t-”

“Lupa’s perfect!” Max exclaimed in my poor ear.

“Hey!” I complained.

“Sorry, Cherry, but yeah, I’d love to meet Lupa!” He said happily.

“Then I’ll bring her over tomorrow bright and early!” Fluttershy beamed.

“Glad to hear it!” I replied excitedly. “I can’t wait to meet whoever Lupa is.”

“Oh, you’ll really like her! She’s a very well behaved wolf!” She assured me.

All I needed was Fluttershy’s approval to accept it as it came, and after that, Rarity, Flutters, Max, and I just chatted until the rest of the gals came over to join the conversation. He seemed to have an easier time talking to Fluttershy and Applejack than anypony other than me, which was odd to say the least. The way they conversed seemed like Max knew exactly what to say to get Fluttershy out of her shell and to remind Applejack of the fact that he was a real sweetheart instead of being a little sketchy. Rainbow loved his weird jokes and kept breaking out into raucous laughter with Applejack and Pinkie while Rarity and Fluttershy were fond of his story about the time his Dad took him to ‘Wacky Warehouse’. It was a pretty fun time, but once the rest of the party was cleaned up, however, it was bedtime and nopony wanted to walk home, so Pinkie and Rainbow took the couch, Applejack got my favorite chair, and Fluttershy and Rarity agreed to share the guest bed because I honestly think that they kiss each other for fun.

When Max and I settled down for bed, he cuddled up close to me, but then I remembered that I had to get all this written out since I haven’t actually touched my diary in a little while. Celestia’s actually raising the sun as we speak, but I can stay up for at least fifteen more hours before I need a nap. I’m looking forward to Human Day and all it’ll entail, but I’m a little nervous.

Meh, it’s probably nothing. Anyway, it’s time for the conclusion!

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

In conclusion, it was a blessing that Max didn’t have to fulfil Celestia’s favor, but now I can’t help but wonder what exactly the favor was… I’ll have to ask. I missed Max during the short time he was gone, but I think that the troubles we’ve been facing recently as far as how he thinks I view him are worrisome to say the least. I don’t know if Max thinks I believe that he’s some kind of trophy or something. Either way, I don’t know what his problem is, and I don’t want it to get out of hand, so I’m going to keep trying to talk to him.

As far as Max feeling more lonely than I thought… Spending more time with the gals and our pals will help him feel more at home here in Ponyville and in Equestria as a whole, I just know it! There were a lot of townsponies that really seemed to like Max for his jokes and general joviality that he exuded, but I can’t help but worry about the ponies that never seemed to want to get near him. I don’t know if it was just my imagination, but Max still seems like a bit of a pariah, even though the party was supposed to show that he’s a Ponyvillian like everypony else now… Well, hopefully things change…

Here’s hoping Human Day goes well and that Max appreciates some of the testing I’ll have to do to get it right. Ah, a labor of love~♡ Until next time, Diary!

Author's Note:

I mean, I totally didn't put editing this off for two days. Nah.
Questions, comments, and concerns below, as per the usual

As Always,Stay Cool, Kids

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