• Published 19th Nov 2018
  • 14,902 Views, 1,500 Comments

Bedbound (And Beyond) - Cackling Moron



Freshly-arrived human in a state of some disrepair is tended to by local deity.

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We’ve got a lust for freedom

Author's Note:

I'm coming dangerously close to enjoy writing this. Maybe I'm dying.

And yes, it's meandering twaddle but there will be a point eventually. Probably. I can see it in my head.

Just don't know how long it'll take to get there.

Pretty damn fast, as it turns out.

The first couple goes up and down the corridor were tame to the point of boring, but I got to Celestia in the end. I think it was me calling her a wimp that finally got the results I’d been after, though the look she’d flashed before launching me off still gave me chills even once I’d come rolling to a gentle halt by bumping into the far wall.

We may have gone a bit too far though.

“End to end. One push. Bet you can’t do it,” I said.

Up until then she’d done it by either trotting behind and physically pushing or else trotting behind and magicing me along. The results of both had been a brisk pace and this had been good, but I wanted something a little more thrilling. Something with some oomph! Something where I could see her cut loose!

That, and I was just enjoying pushing her buttons.

“Calls me a wimp. After everything I’ve done for him. I brought him toast! Ungrateful human…” Celestia grumbled as she hunkered down behind me, lining me up, making adjustments. I just grinned and braced myself.

“Don’t sweat it. How you’ve done so far makes me pretty confident you’ll get it on maybe your second try,” I said. She whapped me over the head with a wing.

“Shush, you,” she said. “And stay still.”

I stayed still and grinned wider.

The wheelchair rolled backwards and forwards experimentally a few times. I could see in the corner of my eye Celestia reflected in one of the mirrors that lined the corridor - for the corridor was lined with many mirrors, portraits, landscapes, tapestries and all sorts of other random crap - and I saw she had her tongue just poking out the corner of her mouth in concentration.

This was so adorable to see that I was entirely unprepared for when she launched me. One second I was stationary, the next I really, really wasn’t.

I’ll readily admit that what happened after that was my fault.

Celestia’s aim was fine. Hell, it was perfect. And she managed to eyeball the right amount of push she needed perfectly too. Well, maybe a touch faster than she really needed but that’s forgivable. She did nothing wrong. If it hadn’t been for me she could have got the chair all the way to the end with no problems.

Unfortunately I was there, and I was a rogue element. I leaned. Hadn’t really meant to, but I did. That threw off the whole thing. The wheelchair listed, twisted, turned, tipped and flipped and out I went, smacking into the floor and sliding into the wall. The chair also somehow landed on me briefly before bouncing off somewhere.

Don’t ask me how that even works.

“Oh! Oh are you alright?” I heard.

Ahead of me lay two choices.

On the one hand tell her that I was alright - because I apparently was. On the other, pretend to not be alright just to be play a prank on Celestia for no reason. Quite an unpleasant prank at that.

Decisions decisions.

Well. I was a visitor in a strange alien land. And when was I going to get this kind of chance again?

The doctor’s potion was still holding strong, so while I could tell in some dim and distant way that having slammed into the floor had hurt I wasn’t enjoying the full experience. In my book this was a win. I still stayed limp. I had the edge!

Hooves clattered over at speed.

“Are you okay? Oh I’m so sorry!”

I kept quiet. Maybe a little mean? Probably.

Magic seized me and hoisted me up, turning me around. I just dangled, limp as anything.

“Oh no oh no…”

I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I was never any good at this sort of thing. I cracked and I started laughing. Celestia looked immensely relieved at first, and then immensely annoyed.

“The look on your face!” I said.

“That wasn’t funny!” She said.

Touche. Depended on where you were at the time. From my side it was pretty good!

“I thought it was pretty funny...” I mumbled and she just glared and popped me back into the wheelchair which she’d righted and dragged over. Once she’d done that she moved around to stand in front of me, looming.

“That,” she said, leaning in so that her rather angry looking face was mere inches from mine. “Was very immature.”

There was more mumbling on my part and I couldn’t really look her in the eye.

Our little journey resumed after this, much more slowly and in total, stony silence. She was back to using magic to keep the chair moving, and was walking beside me, glancing down every so often, probably to remind me how immature I’d been.

The tension between the two of us was tangible, the results inevitable.

I was the one who got the giggles first, and though Celestia held on as best she could, there was only so much she could do. She got the giggles too. And that just made mine worse.

To my credit though she was the one who burst out laughing first, which I think means I won. Especially since she snorted and laughed too. It was amazing. I was completely vindicated. Totally worth it.

“I flew pretty good, I thought!” I said.

“You did! Not for long, but it was so majestic!”

“I always thought I was majestic!”

“Breathtaking! Sublime!”

Further wisecracks became impossible due to laughter. We even had to stop moving. Celestia flopped down and held a hoof to her face to try in vain to keep from snorting again, her other foreleg hooking around my shoulders as I collapsed against her.

I, too, may also have snorted.

By the time we were recovered I had to admit I did feel a tiny bit guilty about the whole thing. Only a tiny bit.

“Sorry,” I said, sitting up straight as Celestia stood again, unsteadily. “Chances like that don’t come along every day. I am sorry though.”

Tittering and wiping her eyes with her wings she just shook her head.

“You’re a bad influence on me,” she said.

“Oh, definitely. All part of my plan.”

“You…” She said, smiling. That smile though. That smile! Enough to make a man feel warm inside.

We got moving again.

“Anyway, stop distracting me. We’ll never have lunch at this rate.”

“You may have a point. Onwards, Celestia!” I said, raising my arm as high as I could and pointing. The drama of the moment was less than I might have hoped. I coughed and put my hands back into my lap.

“That might have been a bit much.”

Celestia nodded.

“I won’t tell anyone,” she said.

“Thanks. My reputation would be in tatters.”

“Can’t have that…”

The room we eventually arrived in was another big, fancy room much like the one Celestia had hid me in, only this one had a big, fancy table. This I was wheeled up against. It wasn’t really a comfortable fit, but it worked.

“Is there anything in particular you want for lunch?” She asked, stood behind me.

“Nah, I’m not fussed. Surprise me.”

“So trusting,” she said before nuzzling the side of my face and moving off away from the table.

These horses were a touchy-feely bunch and no mistake.

There was some kind of dangling cord which Celestia gave a tug on and some moments later a small door opened and another of those tiny little ponies poked their head in. Celestia and this tiny pony had a quiet conversation I could not hear the details of and which was over in moments, the tiny pony disappearing back through the door.

“It shouldn’t be too long,” Celestia said, returning and taking a seat next to me. Horses in chairs. What a world.

“So you just pull that thing and ponies appear? That’s pretty cool,” I said. Celestia actually looked a bit bashful from having been asked this.

“It’s for staff. This is a royal dining room,” she said.

‘A’ royal dining room! Not ‘the’ royal dining room! How big was this place? And if there were only two princesses why did this room have such a whacking great table? Were there more princesses? How many?!

“Ah. Luxurious. Guess princesses don’t really have the time to run down to the kitchen personally,” I said. Bold of me to assume there was only one kitchen, too.

I got the distinct impression from her uncomfortable shifting that this wasn’t a subject Celestia really wanted to focus on.

“Is there anything else I can do for you? I mean generally, not right now. Or right now, if you need something,” she said and I could hear the gears of the conversation grinding painfully and it took me a second or so to readjust to this new direction.

“Uh, no. You’ve really done more than enough for me already. You’re still doing too much! I’ll never be able to make it up to you at this rate.”

“The idea is to indebt you to me for life,” she said and I could tell she was already feeling infinitely more relaxed now that the topic had moved away from royalty. Mental note: try to avoid that in future. Happy, snarking Celestia was infinitely superior to agitated Celestia.

Better - far better! - that she was smiling and telling jokes. I liked that.

Well, assuming she even was joking here. Her delivery was flat enough it was hard to tell. It kind of made me enjoy it more. It spoke to me!

“Cunning,” I said. She just grinned.

The food arrived then, that side door opening again and a small bevy of ponies entering at speed. They worked as a terrifyingly efficient unit, laying places for Celestia and me and setting food down with so little wasted time or energy it was like watching some kind of clockwork mechanism. I kept my hands clear and just watched in awe. The whole thing took seconds.

“Wow,” I said. “Those guys are good.”

I then looked down at the food. Perfectly pleasant looking vegetable stew. Smelt great.

“This isn’t that surprising,” I said.

She levitated her spoon, took up some stew and blew on it with extreme and deliberate delicacy, her eyes closed.

“Thought it best to play it safe,” she said.

I stared at the stew. It appeared perfectly innocuous.

“Hmm. Unless you’ve had something hidden in here. Is that the surprise?”

“Well I’d hardly tell you, would I?”

“True, true.”

Only one way to find out. My own spoon - along with half a dozen other more confusing items of cutlery - sat before me. So close! I could totally do it. Raising a numb and sort-of-but-not-quite aching arm I reached out. Celestia’s eyes were open again, and she was now watching me closely.

Picking up the spoon was not as easy as I might have wanted it to be. My fingers seemed to be operating on a second or half-second delay and they closed before I’d meant them to at first, and then the second time - when I actually did manage to get hold of the damn thing - I made a mistake and dropped it.

In the otherwise-silent fancy royal dining room, the noise of a dropping spoon was deafening.

“Do you need me to-” Celestia offered but I, gritting teeth and glowering at the spoon, cut across her.

“No. no, I can do it. Watch, see?”

Reaching out and trembling only a little I took up the spoon from where I’d dropped it. This time I concentrated. This time I did not drop it. This time I managed to it into the stew, out of the stew and then most amazingly of all into my mouth.

The stew was really good, actually.

“There? See? Did it. Totally did it,” I said. I think I was sweating.

Why did horses need cutlery, exactly?

“I’m very impressed. Are you sure I can’t help though?” She asked, hovering in close and watching me intently. My spoon paused mid-way back to the bowl. The trembling in my arm was starting to graduate towards shaking. Still couldn’t really feel any of it.

“You’re very keen to help me.”

“I like looking after you,” she said, pouting. The pout was obvious enough that she meant for me to notice. Her bottom lip was even wobbling. My eyes narrowed.

“I get the distinct impression you’re trying to manipulate me somehow.”

The pout intensified, and eyes become exceedingly puppy-like. I was powerless to resist.

“Ugh, fine. But let it be known that this is kind of weird,” I said, putting the spoon back into the stew and taking my hands away. Celestia hopped in place but then recovered her poise and cleared her throat. My spoon hovered up into the air, stew-laden.

“Noted.”

Once again found myself being fed. Yes it was weird. Yes it was also weird how much Celestia obviously enjoyed doing. Yes it was probably the most weird that I was starting to enjoy it a little, though in my defence most of that enjoyment comes from Celestia’s enjoyment. So really if you think about it she’s the weird one. I’m just a victim.

“I wouldn’t let anyone else do this, you know,” I said after a spoonful. Celestia hummed happily and gave me another nuzzle. Touchy feely wasn’t so bad.

“I know, I feel very special.”

“You are very special.”

Okay, I could kind of see how that sort of statement, taken out of context, might look a little strange. But I hadn’t meant it in any way that was bad. I had only meant it in a good way. And not in any good way that might seem weird. Only the good good way.

Celestia clearly needed a moment to work this out for herself as she paused, went maybe just a touch pink, and turned away.

“Thank you,” she said, quietly, while I sat and kept my damn mouth shut.

A knock at the door had just both yelping in surprise. It opened a fraction and the doctor appeared, peering around.

“Princess?” He asked. Then he saw the two of us, flinched, and gave a bow. “Princess, I heard you were in a royal dining room, I just wasn’t told which one.”

“Come in, come in,” Celestia said, waving the doctor in with a wing, not dropping the spoon.

“Ah, yes, forgive the intrusion it was just that I had heard you had, ah, relieved one of the nurses of duty only that was, ah, some time ago now and I was wondering whether you would like to have the patient taken off your, ah, hooves? Now?”

Kind of seemed weird to me that the doctor was so keen to make more work for himself, but then again there were probably wheels within wheels here. Motivations behind motivations I wasn’t even aware of. Was I some kind of hot potato? Probably not. I’d never be that important.

“It’s quite alright. I will send for you after lunch,” Celestia said, taking a tone and a poise that I only ever really saw when we weren’t alone. It was kind of unusual to see. The doctor bowed some more.

“As you wish, princess,” he said, but just before he was about to leave he paused, eyes flicking to me.

The doctor was looking at me oddly, head cocked. He then pointed a hoof at my face.

“Did he have a black eye earlier?” He asked.

“Yes,” Celestia and I said in perfect, instant unison.

Same wavelength on that one.