• Published 5th Nov 2020
  • 594 Views, 52 Comments

Scenes From a Life in Equestria - Bicyclette

Ellie finds herself in a world of magical talking ponies. Surely, this is just some weird dream. Or is it??!?

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Part 1: Canterlot

“So, ’Ponyville’, huh?” Ellie said, muffled through a mouthful of carrot cake. She stopped to pick up the spray of crumbs from the ground with her napkin as she swallowed. "Sorry about that."

Princess Luna did not turn her gaze from the night sky over Canterlot to look at the human sitting cross-legged behind her. "Do not worry. As a Princess of Equestria, I have met many different creatures and have seen many eating customs. I am not offended.”

“No, it’s rude in my world, too. I just haven't eaten in front of anybody in person for a few months now.” She smacked her lips. "This carrot cake is amazing, though. It tastes even better after sitting out all day. Lends an extra savoriness to it."

Luna had at first been glad for the company during her usually lonely duty of watching the night, but she admitted that this human creature’s tendency to lose the thread of a conversation was tiring.

“You were asking about Ponyville?”

“Oh yeah, right. So,” Ellie steeled herself to stifle any laughs when saying the name, “Princess Twilight Sparkle is taking me there personally? Isn’t she about to take over this whole kingdom deal and is super busy and important? It just seems like a lot for, I don’t know, just me. I just showed up here, y’know?”

“Well, truth be told,” Luna hesitated. She turned to face Ellie. “She has been… less than helpful in helping direct the rebuilding efforts. We can tell that she misses her friends, but she is too eager to demonstrate her readiness to ask to spend more time with them, even though she is not quite needed here yet.”

She cast a gaze downward at the new jagged edge of Canterlot, scabbed by an angry mess of work sites lit up by safety lights. Webs of scaffolding and pallets of unfinished marble and stone.

“It took a decade for Mistmane to build Canterlot, and that is not counting the expansions it has undergone since. It may take years for the reconstruction to be completed.”

“Ah, so I’m an excuse, got it.” Ellie took another bite of carrot cake, and chewed. “I am going to miss this place, though. Everything is so fancy, and there’s always something new to see. I even met a talking cow!” Ellie said that as if it were a more remarkable experience than talking with the Alicorn Princess in front of her.

“Do you mean Dr. Cudhooves, the Equestria-renowned epidemiologist who was here to give counsel on managing the Parasprite outbreak in Baltimare?“

“Yeah, her!” Ellie chuckled. “A talking cow! How could I eat a burger after that?"

Luna became uncomfortable, though it was not as if she had never met carnivores before. “Burgers are made of… cows in your world?”

“Oh, yeah, but not the ones I eat,” Ellie shrugged. “Glad I became a vegetarian before coming here and meeting all these talking animals. Cows, goats, horses…“

Luna did not want to think too hard about that last one. Beyond the obvious reasons, it just struck her as wrong to think of this strange creature as a predator. If she had been a talking bear, it would be one thing, but this hairless, magicless being with no natural protective layer over its bare skin, no claws or talons to rend with, and flat teeth? The notion just felt creepy.

“It is noble of you to go against your species’ nature for a moral ideal,” Luna remarked tentatively.

Ellie gave a dismissive wave. “Pshaw. It’s not like I’m a vegan or anything. Honestly, I didn’t even do it for the animals.” Ellie paused. “Hey, is your civilization undergoing a crisis where the kind and amount of resources it consumes is contributing to a negative feedback loop that causes a worsening climate and natural disasters, but the people who consume the most resources and the entities that profit from it block meaningful change at every turn so everyone is helpless to just watch it all happen while also paralyzed with guilt for the resources they’re consuming that are certainly contributing to the problem, or anything like that?“

“Um…” Luna blinked. “No?”

“That’s awesome.” Ellie took another bite of carrot cake. “You should really keep that up.”

Luna could not see at all how the second part followed from the first, so she said nothing in response. They were both speaking Ponish, but it felt like they were using completely different languages sometimes.

There was a silence that followed, punctuated only by Ellie’s chewing. She broke it.

“So, uh, I know it’s not my place to comment on how governance works in your magic kingdom or whatever. I mean, especially considering the decisions my world has made!” She chuckled sadly in a way that transitioned to a sigh. “But Princess Twilight Sparkle seems very different from you and Celestia. I mean, meeting her after meeting you two, I thought she was a kid or something.”

“No, she is certainly not a goat,” Luna said, wondering how this human could ever possibly have thought otherwise. “But yes, Twilight Sparkle only ascended to alicornhood a few years ago, so she has centuries to go before reaching the level of experience and maturity of my sister and I. But she and her friends have saved Equestria multiple times, and she has demonstrated her governing abilities in founding the School of Friendship and guiding it through its first year despite great hardships.”

“’Ascended to alicornhood’? Huh.” Ellie paused in thought. “So you’re neither a biological stage nor a pony subspecies like unicorns and pegasi? It’s a state that is… induced?”

“When a pony accomplishes something truly amazing, demonstrating her worthiness of the title and its powers, she is granted alicornhood and becomes a Princess.”

“Neat.” Ellie paused to think. “Wait, ’she’ and ‘Princess’? Are you saying that alicorns have to be female?”

“Well, yes.” Luna was taken aback, as the fact was so natural to her that it seemed strange to have to explain it or even consider it as unexpected.

“And that’s a prerequisite to be a leader in your world?”

“Well, no.” Luna started to feel uncomfortable with this line of questioning, though she did not quite know why. “Our leaders are elected by the communities they lead, and they can be mares or stallions.”

“Sure, sure.” Ellie smiled. “But, y’know, at the very top it just so happens to be that the head honcho has to be an Alicorn Princess.“ She winked.

“Well, yes, but…” Luna was flustered, and starting to feel oddly defensive. “We are a nation of millions! Statistically, any mare has about as much chance as any stallion to become an Alicorn Princess, and everypony knows this. Stallions become mayors, scientists, doctors, and statesponies. Their ambitions are not a hair curtailed by their biological limitations-”

“Biological limitations!” Ellie said excitedly, sounding as if she were savoring those words. She held up a brofist to Luna. “That’s awesome, dude.”

Luna did not return her gesture or her enthusiasm. She did not seem to want to respond at all, for fear of exciting the strange creature further.

“Ah, sorry, Princess.” Ellie withdrew her fist. “It’s probably problematic just how cool I find that. It’s just nice to be on the other side for once, you know?”

Luna did not know. Ellie’s excited smile turned into a wry grin.

“It’s actually even nicer that you don’t know what I’m talking about.” She went back to eating.

Luna was just glad this part of the conversation seemed over. There was another stretch of silence, which Ellie broke again.

“I gotta come clean about something, Princess Luna,” she said hesitantly. “I mean, I’ve been afraid to say this just in case it took me out of the Matrix or something.” Ellie regretted how specific that cultural reference was even as she said it. “But I’m pretty sure this world isn’t real.”

That intrigued Luna.

“What makes you say such a thing?”

“Oh, you know. That it’s all some creation of my subconscious in a deep dream. Or maybe a coronavirus coma or something. Though if that’s the case, I don’t know what my subconscious is telling me with all this magical talking horse kingdom stuff. Sorry, I mean, pony kingdom stuff,” she corrected herself. “I mean, I was never really into that kind of stuff as a kid. But maybe I’m being told that I was and didn’t admit it? Or maybe that I should have been more open to it, and not had a whole complex about it? Or maybe the horse thing comes from Alicia? I don’t know. Sorry, pony thing.”

Luna was struggling to keep up.

“Sorry. I mean, beyond that. Things are just nice here? Like, I’m just some rando, you know? But here I am, just hanging out with a really cool pony lady who has the power to raise the Moon and is co-ruler of this whole deal. It seems, I dunno, Mary Sueish.”

Luna tried to guess what that last bit meant from context. “It is not so strange to me. The Wonderbolts found you unconscious in the woods. Here you are, lost in this strange new world with not a bit to your name. Getting you settled in and familiar with this place until we figure out how to send you back home is the least we can do.” Luna paused to think. “Though considering how you talk about your world, you may end up deciding to stay, if you wish.” She paused. “Is that not how such guests are treated in your world?”

“Sometimes,” she admitted. “And it’s awesome when we do. But not always.” Ellie frowned, but did not look like she wanted to elaborate.

“Besides,” Luna continued. “If you do feel out of place here in the capital, Ponyville will be a nice change of pace.”

Luna thought but did not say that, additionally, she would be relieved to no longer have this strange creature wandering around the provisional royal offices crammed into the surviving bits of the castle, weirding out the dignitaries and staff.

Ellie considered. “If this is a dream, I do look forward to seeing what my brain comes up with for the architecture of a small town, given the level of technological development of this place.” Which she did not understand at all, having already seen record players, color photographs, quill pens, and scrolls in her time here so far. “I don’t know, probably something medieval, but based on my own limited understanding of the period, like houses with thatched roofs or something.”

Luna smiled.

“I do admit, I find it amusing that you still think you may be in a dream. You are sitting on the floor, eating a carrot cake, and talking about architecture.” She straightened up, adding a layer of authority to her voice. “I have seen tens of thousands of dreams in my role as Princess of the Night. I have never seen one so mundane as this.”

Taking a moment to look at the magical talking winged unicorn goddess with a flaming aura for a mane and tail, Ellie burst out laughing.

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