• Published 7th Jan 2021
  • 9,871 Views, 55 Comments

Optics - Uh-hmmm



Caramel decides to promote stallionism at a Wonderbolt performance. In retrospect, bringing Anon along for support may not have been the best idea. (RGRE) {This story has two versions, the last chapter is the first person version.}

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Second Person POV

You are Anonymous (90kg), enjoying a pepperoni sub sandwich at a table outside the recently opened griffin deli. You idly wonder what goes into the pepperoni, pigs and such are sapient here, after all. Admittedly, you aren't entirely sure what goes into normal pepperoni either. For the sake of your appetite, you decide not to look the gift birdcat in the mouth. Catbird? Gift Griffin, ooh, alliteration. Caramel (1 cup sugar, 1 cup of butter, boil in a sasspan until it reaches the hardball stage) prances towards your table.

"You will never guess who got two tickets to the Wonderbolts show!"

You smile at your friend.

"Nice! Are you going to be taking Pierced Pinion then?"

Caramel shakes his head.

"That wouldn't be the right optics, Anon. We have to show the matriarchy that a stallion doesn't need a mare to support him to make a statement!"

Ah. Optics, right. That poor mare.

"So that means..."

Caramel grins at you.

"Boy's night out, you and me! I already booked a hotel in Fillydelphia, and got the train tickets ready."

You scratch your cheek. If turning him down would give Pinion (2whipped10pecked) a chance, you'd do it, but Caramel would probably just cancel instead. And it's not like you don't want to go; the Wonderbolts put on a good show.

"So, when are we planning on leaving?"

Caramel claps his hooves in delight.

"I knew you would have my back! The train leaves this Saturday at 21 AM. We'll only be staying the one night, so I doubt you'll need much more than a suitcase."

You give him a thumbs up.

"Sounds like a plan."


The next morning, you find him by the station, a long cardboard tube strapped across his back, pulling a small wagon with a heavily bedazzled harness. You wave at him and he perks up immediately, trotting over.

"Anon, looking good this morning! I love what you did with your scarf."

You smile.

"Thanks, I like your, uh, harness?"

Caramel preens.

"I made it myself! Well, not made-it made it, but I exercised my stallion's prerogative and made it my own by glitzing it up. Maybe when we get back, we can bedazzle your suitcase too!"

You subconsciously tug your suitcase closer to yourself.

"No, I like it as is. It's...understatedly elegant or something."

Caramel nods seriously.

"Way to go, Anon, bucking societal expectations of accessories for stallions. I like it."

You sigh. He's a good guy, and he helped you find a place to stay when you first got here, but Caramel bases far too much of his identity on "fighting the matriarchy". It's a relief when the train pulls into the station and the two of you have to step quick to find a pair of seats for yourselves. You check the charge on your phone as you sit down.

The thing's a green monocrystal, but slim enough to fit in your pocket. The horn icon is about 3/4 filled in, so it should last at least until tomorrow. You slide it back into your pocket and look up to see Caramel chewing his lip. He sighs.

"I really should get some mare saddlebags, but fiddling with them to fit is such a hassle."

You shrug.

"You could just pay Rarity to adjust them for you. Or commission her to make some bigger saddle bags on a stallion style harness."

Caramel nods ruefully.

"Maybe next month when I have some bits to spare..."

You frown.

“How expensive are these tickets?"

He waves a hoof dismissively.

"It's not that, I recently got a taffy pulling machine for the shop. The cost of the machine itself, then installation, and a warranty... it adds up."

You raise your eyebrows.

"I can imagine. Still, it sounds like a good investment."

He grins.

"Oh, it is! My back is feeling much better, now that I'm not rearing up and stretching candy for hours."

The train ride passed quickly enough with such idle chatter. Once again, he resisted your pitch about buying miniatures and painting them. You thought you might have had a chance since the Dao got an update that made them halfway viable, but it's not like Caramel cares about miniature gaming in the first place.



Fillydelphia is nice enough as far as cities go, but you are glad to drop off your luggage at the hotel. You only take a water bottle with you to the stadium, but Caramel hauls pretty much half of what he brought in the wagon, that tube still on his back. You frown.

"You're not going to have me handing out pamphlets are you?"

He glances at you.

"Well, if somepony approaches while I'm busy, I certainly would appreciate if you gave them something to read. I know you don't really know the arguments or statistics, so don't worry about debating anypony."

You sigh.

"What if I just pay you back for the ticket instead?"

Caramel laughs and bumps your leg with his flank.

"Come on, a little activism won't kill you. It's not like I'm having you back me up in a court case or something."

The two of you join the line leading into one of the stadium entrances. You shake your head.

"The things I do for a friend."

Caramel smirks.

"I'll tell you what, when we get arrested, you have my permission to blame it all on me."

You shoot him a worried glance.

"Are you planning on getting arrested?"

He shakes his head.

"No, that's step 14 in my grand strategy for a stallionist overthrow of the government. By then you'll be subtly influencing your herd of highly placed mares to corrupt the legal system."

You blink, then catch the little smirk on his face.

"Fine, but I get Horstralia when the times comes."

Caramel grins.

"Deal."

The ticket mare eyes Caramel's wagon, then his caboose as she waves the two of you inside. Caramel snorts but carries on. You find your seats easily enough, and ease into the enchanted fog cushion. It's deliciously cool and soft, you really ought to save up for a cloudbed if this is how it would feel. Caramel pops the top off the tube and removes and unfurls the blue and gold sign.

[More Stallions ]

[In Wonderbolts]

You frown.

"Isn't there one or two? That Soarin guy?"

Your friend nods.

"Sure, but that's one stallion out of twelve wonderbolts, while one in four ponies is a stallion. They can do better, maybe if they lowered the standards for stallion applicants, or-"

You hold up your hands.

"I get it, I get it. Nice choices on the colors, very eye-catching."

Caramel rolls his eyes.

"It's the Wonderbolt colors, of course it's eye-catching. Thanks, though."

He slides the signpole into a fitting on his wagon and grabs a hooffull of pamphlets.

"Save my seat while I distribute these, alright?"

You give him a mock salute and settle back into your seat and he trots into the crowd. You take the opportunity to admire the clear sky and wide open design of the stadium. Your eyes are draw to the four ponds in the middle, unnaturally still in the gentle summer breeze.

Curious.

About half an hour later, Caramel comes back, his head held high like he always does when a mare dismisses his arguments without addressing them. He drops into his seat and crosses his forehooves and grumbles below his breath. You casually take a sip from your water bottle.

"So, what are those ponds down there? Water landings for the 'bolts?"

Caramel shakes out his mane with a huff and answers.

"Scrying pools. For close ups of the fliers."

You nod your head.

"Cool, never seen that before. I'm guessing it would be impractical to grow a display monocrystal that big or use a bunch of crystals to make a big screen."

Caramel shrugs

"Could be, I never studied Information Thaumaturgy. Anypony come by asking about stallionism?"

You shake your head.

"I think the sign looks too much like something a fan would use to cheer them on, so ponies don't actually read it."

Your friend slumps in his seat.

"Ugh, this day has just been one disaster after another."

You really don't want to ask about it, so you just pat his withers comfortingly. It's a relief when the show begins with a salvo of fireworks. The Wonderbolts streak through the sparks, the roar of their magic parting the air resonates in your chest. You look down at the scrying pools and see them salute the scrying focus. Then the pools zoom in on Soarin (1 more apple pie and it'll go straight to his hips) as he winks at the focus and pivots into a steep climb, the tight uniform doing nothing to hide the bulge of his sheath The mares in the audience whistle and stomp their hooves in applause. Caramel scoffs.

"I bet he doesn't make nearly as much as the mares on the team, even though they're exploiting him like this."

A slightly chubby mare nearby clears her throat.

"Well, actually, he gets paid more bits than the mares as compensation to his herd, not to mention the cut of sales he gets from merchandise of him."

Caramel frowns.

"It's disgusting that a stallion has to have a herd to be paid a fair wage. My worth is not measured by how many mares I cook for!"

You sigh and try to ignore the argument. The Wonderbolts form a V and start spiraling around the center mare. Neat.

"...Wage gap is a myth! Stallions just choose..."

You think to yourself "Do a barrel roll" and smile .

"...Do you know how much makeup costs? Depending on the restaurant, a stallion would be losing money even if the mare pays for everything!"

Finally, you turn and glare at the two of them.

"Be quiet! Argue on your own time, I want to watch the show!"

The mare and Caramel stare at you with wide eyes, then look away. Caramel slumps in his seat.

"Sorry."

You sigh and pat him on the withers. You turn back to the scrying pools and watch the ponies fly. The 'bolts cruise along in a vertical column, and slowly grow closer together. One by one, the pegasi rest their hooves on the back of the pony beneath them. When all twelve are stacked on top of each other, the crowd goes wild. You clap, impressed. Especially when they start weaving around cloud pillars without breaking formation. Caramel nudges you.

"Want some cherries?"

You look down at the tupperware on his hoof and grab a few.

"Don't mind if I do, thanks!"

You enjoy yourself for the rest of the show, clapping and cheering with the crowd. The show ends with the 'bolts buzzing the audience, a bare few meters above the crowd. After the cheers die down, the crowd start to disperse. You stand and stretch.

"Woo, that was pretty cool, I have to say. Thanks for bringing me out here, Caramel."

He gets to his hooves and smiles.

"Glad you liked it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go powder my nose."

You nod to him.

"Don't die in there. I've lost too many friends to the septic oubliette."

Caramel chuckles.

"No promises. Avenge me if I don't return."

You nod gravely.

"On my honor as a murder ape."

Your friend rolls his eyes and trots off for parts unknown. As the stadium empties, you chill by the wagon and nibble on some of the cherries. A shadow falls across you.

"A stallionist, huh?"

Oh Celestia no. You look up and see Spitfire (32 watermelon seeds per second) of all mares. She's smirking at you, her flight suit partially unzipped to release her tuft.

"Uh,"

She swaggers up to you.

"See, I have a theory about stallionists."

You raise an eyebrow.

"Oh? What is that?"

She flaps her wings once, her musk filling the air. She smells like dryer sheets and oranges, and a peculiar, almost spicy fragrance that you can't place.

"Deep down, every colt screaming about mare privilege, wage gaps, and so on..."

Spitfire rears up and puts her hooves on your shoulders, her face a few inches from your own.

"All they really want is a nice, strong mare to rein them in. What do you think?"

You lick your lips, keeping a straight face with some effort. You want to bury your face in that tuft. Maybe give her some smooches.

"And you think that's you?"

Spitfire leans forward, taking a deep whiff of your scent.

"Lemme show you something, colt."

She gets back to her hooves and scoops a cherry out of the tupperware with a pinion. She sets it on the ground and sits on it. You raise an eyebrow, but the mare just smirks. After a moment, she stands up and gestures towards where she was sitting. Nothing remains of the cherry but a carefully knotted stem. You are impressed and a little more turned on, despite yourself.

"Clever, but I don't see-"

"There's more, colt. See that bottle on the hoofrest about one thousfur hooves behind me?"

You grimace. You're still getting used to horse units and counting in base four, but you do see the bottle about 10 meters away.

"Yeah, what about it?"

Spitfire flexes her hips sharply, and something blurs out from under her tail and nails the bottle. You can't help it.

"Hot damn! Nice shot!"

She gives you a smug grin.

"To answer your question, yes. I am mare enough to rein you in and give you the ride of your life."

You find yourself sweating, even in the cool evening breeze.

"I, uh, have a friend I'm waiting for, and-"

Spitfire climbs up on the seat and rears up, her tuft right in your face, the intoxicating mare scent inescapable. She mutters under her breath, "Tall bastard, aren't you?" The Wonderbolt clears her throat.

"Send them a message on your slate, I'm sure they'll be fine."

You swallow.

"Right. Yeah."

You take out your slate and text Caramel,

{Got a hot date, gotta go}

Bless the lad, he answers immediately

{You go colt! Let me know how it went!}

Spitfire reads over your shoulder.

"What a good friend. Now follow me, we have a penthouse suite to ruin."


You are Caramel, waking up alone in your hotel room. It's a little lonely, not having anypony around. Makes you wish you had let Pinion come along too, she is a snuggler. You check your slate, no new messages from Anon. Knowing him, he's probably run the mare ragged and topped her like a true stallionist. You could sense that big topper energy the moment you met the guy. It's just a shame he never picks up any other stallionist practices, you're sure he'd be a natural, and a good example to the colts in town. You pace back and forth and look at the clock.

20:101 AM

He should be up by now, right? You let a burst of whimsy propel you to your slate and you draw his sigil. The slate hums like a tuning fork for several long seconds.

"Ugh, uh, who is this?"

You smile, he sounds groggy, but fine.

"Hey big guy. Sounds like the oubliette got you, not me."

Silence.

"Oh, hey Cars. Yeah, I definitely got sucked in, but I had a good time. You get to the hotel alright?"

You sprawl on a lounging chair and hold the slate to your ear.

"Yeah, no problems. Passed out about a third of my pamphlets and five copies of my self-help book, so I count it as a win."

"Aw, that's great. I know it was a rough start, but- what's that, Spits? Yeah, he was the one with the sign and everything."

Spits? Can't be...

"Eh, he says I'm a natural sex-positive stallionist, so maybe it still counts."

Your blood runs cold.

"Your hot date was Spitfire? Bane of Stallion's rights?"

Silence. Faint, marely laughter.

"Well, I can't get an answer out of her now, but she is Spitfire, captain of the 'bolts and all."

You rub your face tiredly.

"When I said you'd be herding with powerful mares, I didn't think you'd actually do it. Well, whatever. I just wanted to make sure you are okay and ready to meet at the station at 23 AM."

Anon chuckles.

"Thanks buddy. See you there."

You hang up and roll onto your back. He swears he doesn't have any whimsy, but he's just as bad as any other colt you've known. You sigh and get to your hooves. Time to ransack the sweets of the hotel’s breakfast buffet, you have a feeling you're going to need the pick-me-up.


You stare up.

"Why?"

Spitfire shrugs from her perch on Anon's shoulder.

"I like it here."

Anon nods

"Not only do I get to pretend to be a pirate, but I also get to bury my face in her tuft whenever I want."

You had worried that Spitfire would corrupt him like she had so many of your peers within the movement, but you hadn't considered the possibility that they would corrupt each other in new and embarrassing directions.

"Get her down, ponies are staring!"

Anon glances around and rolls his eyes. You growl.

"She'll hit her head when you walk into the train."

Anon tilts his head, then sighs.

"He's got a point. Let's get you down."

Spitfire spares you an irritated glance, then flits to the ground.

"Your friend is a real downer."

You scrunch. Anon boops her to assert dominance.

"None of that. He's a cool guy, who just happens to be concerned about, you know, optics."

Spitfire grimaces at the word. Anon sighs.

"You don't have to agree with him, just make an effort to get along, alright?"

You are surprised when she nods and says, "Sorry I called you a downer."

You shake your head.

"It's fine. It's not like either of us has a good impression of the other."

Spitfire smiles ruefully at that. You look between the two of them.

"I just can't believe the Bane of Stallion’s Rights apologized to me, and that the Long Night Stand is actually sticking with a mare."

Anon and Spitfire share a glance. You purse your lips.

"Was the sex that good?"

Instantly, they smile like a cat that drank all the cream and answer in unison.

"Oh yeah it was."

Celestia, there are two of them. You shake your head and turn to watch the train pull in. Maybe your really should have taken Pinion with you instead. Then you glance at Anon rubbing Spitfire's head affectionately. Well, it turned out alright anyways. And who knows, if Anon likes her, maybe Spitfire isn’t as bad as you thought.