• Published 18th Aug 2022
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Alicorn in Canterlot - ramdom_player201

A human wakes up in Canterlot in the body of an alicorn. [Slow-burn Slice-of-life]

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Ch:07 - Tour and Test

That night, I discovered that pony dreams are weird. And I’m not saying that human dreams aren’t weird. What I mean is that pony dreams are different, they just feel so much more detailed and realistic. That is if you can use ‘realistic’ to describe a land of magical ponies in the first place. I cannot remember much of what I dreamt of last night, but I do have some fuzzy recollection of the experience. I also recall the feeling of being watched, not that I noticed at the time. But it’s a little creepy now that I think back on it.

Slowly, I am drawn back into awareness of my surroundings. Another day in pony land I suppose. Letting out a quiet yawn, I blink and open my bleary eyes. The room is softly lit by the sunlight from the window and this bed seems impossibly comfortable… I peer down at the white mass below me. What even is this stuff? It looks bumpy, but doesn’t feel bumpy. It also feels kinda fluffy. It’s weird, yet strangely comfortable. I carefully shift my body upright, before poking the bed with a hoof. The white surface deforms under it.

Pushing harder and at an angle, I carefully wriggle my hoof deeper into the material, before pushing upwards on it. This leads to a puff of white to break free and float away… Wait a second… Is this what I think it is? I push off suddenly with my legs in an attempt to launch myself from the cloud. But trying to jump from a highly deformative surface doesn’t really work. My back legs simply push into it, leading me to flop back down, my wings to flaring out. Pulling my legs from the bed, I crawl towards the edge and drop down onto the carpeted floor.

My ears twitch towards the sound of giggling and I turn to see Snow Blossom with a hoof over her muzzle. “Good morning Jonathan, I see you’re up and eager this morning.”

My ears fold slightly. How long has she been here?
“Good morning Snow…”

“Here, I brought you some breakfast,” she says, magically pushing a trolley into the room. My nose picks up a whiff of apples. I begin to make my way over, but freeze when my wing tips brush against the side of the bed. Glancing over at them, I find them to still be extended from before.

Actually, that’s the first time my wings have moved on their own… Now to make them go back. After simply glaring at them for a few seconds, I find I have to give up. Ignoring them for now, I continue round the bed towards her. I guess Snow took the liberty to bring breakfast up to me this time. She wheels the trolley over to a set of what look like bean bags or large cushions in one corner.

Speaking of which, I haven’t actually had a proper look at my new room. Let’s see… Everything is bigger than my previous one, although the colour scheme is the same. What I thought was a window before is actually a set of double glass doors leading out onto a balcony. There’s a lot more furniture, including a large bookshelf, a desk, a chest and a pony mannequin? Oh and this big pile of cushions. Still feels a little big to me. I’m not even an adult-pony yet, although I guess I’m not that much smaller than one. Regardless, it’s a big room.

Apart from the balcony door, there are two others. One which must be where I came in and another that probably leads to a bathroom. I settle down on a nearby cushion across from Snow. It’s nowhere near as comfortable as that… cloud… bed, but I don’t mind. That thing just goes so hard against the laws of physics that it makes my head hurt thinking about it. I mean seriously, how is that supposed to work? Probably some kind of magic I guess, as everything in this world seems to be. But seriously, why would a cloud even need to magically hold ponies?

Anyway, breakfast. Breakfast was apples, and what looked like a muffin. It turns out that Snow had already had breakfast, but she did want to try to teach me hoof gripping. As intricate as her explanation may be, it didn’t help in the slightest. It’s difficult trying to interact with a mysterious energy you’ve never experienced in your life. She even tried wrapping her magical aura around my hoof, and then my horn. As weird as all that felt, my brain just wasn’t able to process it and I was left no better off than I was before. Still, breakfast was nice, including that muffin. At some point during the meal, my wings had settled back against my side without me noticing.

But now…
“Jonathan, I think you’re going to need a bath.”


“Because you don’t look like you’ve had a bath in days!”

“Huh, I thought I was clean yesterday?”
Actually, that does seem strange, I would have thought I’d be dirty from sleeping in that alleyway, and yet I didn’t seem dirty yesterday.

“The staff used some basic hygiene spells since they didn’t want to wake you. But those will have worn off by now and they’re no substitute for a proper bath.”

Hygiene spells?
“Ok, fine, I suppose I’ll have a bath.”

“Do you need any assistance with that?”

“What? No! I’ll be fine on my own.”

“Very well, but I’ll be outside if you call me.”

After that quick discussion, I head over to the door on the other side of the room. Best get this over with. Luckily, these doors actually have usable handles instead of door knobs. Pushing the door open slightly, I slip into the bathroom, then close it behind me. No lock… Oh well, it’s not like ponies have clothes to begin with if anyone were to come in. Letting out a sigh, I turn my attention to the room. Once more, it’s bigger than you would expect, although not really surprising considering the scale of the rest of the room. In one corner is a sink and a small raised platform with a hole which I assume might be a pony toilet. Speaking of which, I feel the need to use it right now. Although it’s strange since I’ve never had to use one of these at all in my time here. Would have thought I’d need it yesterday. Maybe it was those… hygiene spells?

Backing up over the pony toilet, I relieve myself. Although I catch a glimpse of the bath in doing so, and it appears to already be filled with still-steaming water… Did some pony really come into my room while I was asleep to prepare it? Finished with the toilet, I find a small foot pedal to flush it before making my way over to the water filled hole in the corner. As I make my way over, I catch a glimpse of movement in a floor-to-ceiling mirror. I haven’t actually seen my reflection yet… and why the heck is my mane purple?! Turning in the mirror, I can also confirm that my tail is purple too. I’ve even looked at my back multiple times already, how can I have not noticed this? What about my eye colour? Hmm, yellow-gold-ish, at least they’re not pink.

Turning away from the mirror, I step towards the pool and dip my hoof into the warm water. Satisfied with the temperature, I carefully descend the steps. It’s actually quite deep, but thankfully whoever filled it had the sense not to fill it all the way. Feels too big for a pony really.

Now to figure out how to clean myself. Mounted on one wall is what looks like a brush. It’s attached via an adjustable frame, I guess so that a pony can brush themselves without horn magic. I reach up with one hoof to pull it down, barely paying attention to my wing which extends itself outwards slightly to provide counter-balance. I then step under the brush and push forwards against it.

The sensation of the brush, when combined with the warm water, is actually surprisingly relaxing. After rubbing my back and neck against it a few times, I contemplate how to reach the rest of my body. Actually, shouldn’t I have put soap on it first?

Looking around, I spot a bottle which looks like soap. It’s not like I can actually read the label. Or maybe I should use two of them, it could be conditioner and shampoo. Carefully shifting one bottle onto my upturned hoof, I bring the first soap(?) bottle to the brush and, squashing it against the mount-frame, squeeze out a dollop of pink gel. And after repeating that with the second bottle and rubbing it in, I proceed with the brushing processes.

With my head-to-back brushed, I pull the brush to just above water level. I need to somehow get it on my underbelly. Luckily, there’s a stool thing submerged in the pool, for some reason, and I can use it to stand out of the water and over the brush. I then clean each of my hooves.

Okay, now I’m absolutely covered in soap… Also, that brushing was really nice, maybe being a pony isn’t that bad. Maybe. So, getting out this soap, how to do this. Looking around, I find what looks like a shower-head-waterfall-faucet-thing. Using the hoof pedals, I turn it on and begin rinsing the soap out of my fur. And it’s not coming out easily… Guess I’ll need the brush’s assistance again.

I come out from the bathroom after a relaxing cleaning session to find Snow Blossom waiting for me. There wasn’t really anything I could do for my mane, tail or wings, so I decided to leave them as is. Snow is looking a little bored(?), although her mood brightens the moment I step out. And the first thing she asks is…

“Would you like any help brushing your mane, Jonathan!?”

Well, I suppose since I can’t do it myself…
“I guess so…”

“Come on!”
Snow drags me with her magic around the bed to the cushion corner where she seems to have set up a little workstation, with various bottles, brushes and other equipment I don’t recognise all lined up. Hopefully she doesn’t plan on styling my hair. The fate of a pony I suppose. She selects a brush with her green aura and sets to work. This is actually not too bad, just as long as she doesn’t go too overboard.

Surprisingly, Snow didn’t actually go overboard with my mane, leaving it in its original style; albeit straighter and less messy. She even had a go at my wings. Being a unicorn herself, she admitted that she didn’t have any experience in the matter of wings, but I think she did a good job; certainly better than what I would be capable of.

“Now you’re all set Jonathan, are you ready for the castle tour?”

Wait, castle tour? Eh well, it’s better than just sitting around all day being bored.
“Sure, let’s go.”
Oops, almost forgot a blanket for my wings. I really don’t want those things drawing attention to me.

After quickly grabbing some sheets to drape over my back, we leave the bedroom, coming into what looks like a large living room. It has a large semi-circular sofa, a row of bookcases (complete with sliding ladder), a large floor-to-ceiling window and a small kitchen. Guess I must have overlooked this on my way in. This is definitely feeling less like a simple guest room, and more like a whole apartment.

“And here is your living room, Jonathan.”

“It’s a bit big isn’t it…”

“Well, uhh, I suppose it might be? Anyway, moving on?”


We proceed down the shallow semi-circular steps and follow the wall to the door. Passing the gold-clad guards, one breaks into step with us as before. Although this time, they’re a unicorn male, a different guard from yesterday. It doesn’t take us long to reach our first stop as it’s literally just down the hall from us.

“And this, Jonathan, is the castle library. Don’t mistake it for the Canterlot library, since that’s out in the city. Regardless, we still have one of the best collections in Equestria right here. Would you like to take a look around, maybe you could even borrow a few books to take back to your room?”

As impressive as this library is, I still can’t read Equestrian. But that doesn’t stop this place from being impressive, so I opt to explore with Snow. The bookcases in the library are massive, very long and very tall. The rolling ladders look quite dangerous, I doubt pony bodies are really meant for that kind of thing. Although judging by the way they’re all clustered at the back ends, I doubt they really see much use. I mean, pegasi can simply fly up and the unicorns have magical floaty powers to bring down the books.

The walls, unlike in the rest of the castle, are panelled in dark wood; a welcome change from the intense white marble that the castle seems to be literally everywhere. Probably the most impressive part of the library are the two stained glass windows in the back wall. One depicts Celestia and the other shows Luna, underneath their respective celestial bodies. I wonder what the connection between them is. Celestia of the sun and Luna of the moon. Sure, they’re names match up, but is there maybe something else behind it?

Now walking through the hallways once more, we are on our way to visit the kitchens and then the guard barracks. There doesn’t really seem to be that much to see in the castle, despite its tremendous size. Passing a window, I stop to look outside. I can see the gardens from here, and they’re quite busy at the moment. Weren’t they closed yesterday?

“Snow, when do you think we will be able to go outside?”

“Well, you’ve already seen the gardens yesterday, but we won’t be able to go out until they close for the afternoon, and you have your syllabus assessment then. For now, we’ll just have to stick inside the castle.”

Disappointing… I really don’t like being cooped up inside for long periods of time.
“But why do the gardens close in the afternoon, Snow, and why must I wait for them to close?”

“Well, your presence here kind of complicates matters… Princess Celestia doesn’t really want you out in public just yet, and ponies must have access to the castle in order to attend day-court, which is held in the mornings. It’d be impractical to close the gardens until after day-court finishes.”

I really don’t want to be kept locked up in this castle…
“But how long until I’ll be permitted outside of the castle, and I don’t mean in-the-gardens-outside, I mean actually out in the city? I really don’t like being cooped up inside all day.”

“Well, those details are being sorted out right now. Actually, there’s a surprise waiting for you after the tour, maybe that’ll cheer you up?”

The barracks were only mildly interesting, not much to see. Although I did see some pegasus and earth pony guards holding wooden swords in their mouths during their indoor practice session. So the hornless ponies hold stuff in their mouths? Kinda gross, but maybe the ponies have some kind of adaptations to make it safer… I mean, dogs carry all sorts of stuff in their mouths. And it’s a lot easier for me to get my head around than magic…

After that, we explored the rest of the indoor training gym and there was even a large swimming pool, although Snow explained that it was just for the guards and that there was a different one for guests. We also visited the kitchens, various empty ballrooms and dining halls. I even caught a glimpse of the hedge maze I saw yesterday. And it was a lot bigger than I could ever have imagined, no wonder Snow Blossom didn’t want us to go in it. Snow also said that she really wanted to show me the stained glass windows near the throne room, but since that area was open to the public, we had to stay clear.

“And now, Jonathan, for the first part of your surprise. Come on in!”
The room in question was quite small and had a pedestal surrounded by mirrors in the center, almost like a fitting room. Wait, if alicorns are princesses… Do princesses wear dresses? Hopefully she doesn’t plan on putting me in a dress, at least this body’s still male.

“Up you get Jon.”

Hesitantly, I step up on top as she levitates in a tape measure and starts taking my measurements.
“What’re you looking so nervous for? It’s not like you’re getting a dress.”

She must have noticed my ears were down. Even I didn’t notice my ears were down, although they raise slightly with my fears eased. So it’s not a dress. But then what could it be? I doubt Snow would tell me if I asked, she said it was a surprise after all.

With my measurements passed off to wherever, we headed to lunch. Snow once again recommended from the menu, suggesting apple tarts. They were both tasty and easy for me to pick up. And with lunch finished, we were on our way to my afternoon appointment.

Once again, I find myself waiting outside a large and ornate door. Snow says that I’ll be doing the test inside. Oh and she also flung away my blanket again. But that doesn’t explain why this door needs so many guards. At least they seem to notice the wings clasped tightly against my sides. One guard steps out to knock on the door.

“Let them enter!”

I recognise that voice, from yesterday. The door is bathed in an orange glow as one of the unicorn guards opens it. Resting on a large cushion is the princess, Celestia. Wait, so she’s the one testing my abilities? Well this’ll probably be embarrassing… I give a nervous glance to Snow as we step forwards. Snow looks nervous too. The moment the doors close behind us, Snow dips into a bow and I quickly follow suit.

“Ponies, rise.”

We both move back into a standing position
“Jonathan, please come over here and take a seat. And Snow Blossom, you may decide whether to stay or go.”

Snow looks even more nervous, her eyes darting between the door behind and the princess, but after a few moments, she hesitantly follows us. The room we are in is circular, with a tall ceiling and windows on all sides. Tall bookshelves tower over us from their positions between the windows and littered across the floor is a mass of cushions. The biggest is of course, occupied by the large alicorn, but I assume the ones behind that random desk are where I am supposed to sit. There also appears to be a refreshments trolley up against a wall.

I carefully pick my way through the cushion minefield towards the desk, but then my hoof catches on the edge of a particularly big one and I trip forwards, wings flaring themselves once more. Luckily, all the cushions make it impossible to not cushion my fall. Picking myself up, I complete the short trip and sit behind the desk. And… my wings are still out. Well, I still can’t control them so I’ll just have to wait for them to return themselves… in front of the pony princess.

Where did Snow go? Of course, she’s sat in the farthest corner behind me. Turning back to the desk, I find it is now occupied by a piece of parchment and a pencil. Scrawled on the paper is what looks kinda like maths questions? Actually, it looks quite similar to the maths I know. Maybe the ponies use multiple written languages, or is just their maths which looks recognisable… Anyway, 2 x 12, that’s 24. But how do I write that? I shift my attention to the pencil, I doubt that’d be holdable with a hoof. Weren’t those guards holding stuff using their mouths?

I tentatively bring my mouth to the pencil and clamp lightly onto it. Writing with a pencil in your mouth is very difficult. Especially since you can’t really see what you’re doing easily. But I somehow manage to scrawl out a rough 24.

“Jonathan, use your tongue to manipulate the pencil, I think you’ll find that easier,” Snow calls from the back.

Actually, that might work. 24 - 9. Ah, I never was good at counting in maths. And I don’t have fingers to count with anymore either. Ok, so 9 is made up of 4 and 5, so minus the 4 and then the 5 to get 15. This time, I put my tongue against the butt of the pencil and use it to move it around. Not used to moving my tongue like that, the pencil flicks out of my mouth and across the room. Okay, I definitely need more practice with using my mouth to do stuff.

Princess Celestia did recover my pencil for me so at least I never had to go out looking under all the cushions. Of course she just summoned it with her horn magic so she never had to move either. She’s been quite quiet actually.

But back to maths then. The rest of the questions did get progressively harder and there were a few where I had to use tables to work out the sums. There were also multiple sheets of paper to work through. Where the first one was simple sums, the rest each dealt with a different, but more complex topic. I think I got most of it right, but it did take me a while.

After finishing the last paper and checking over my work, the princess stopped us for a break. She brought the refreshment trolley into the middle of the room while she began to sift through my papers. Somehow, she even managed to cut off a slice of cake for herself without taking her eyes off the maths questions.

From the trolley, I took a single cookie but I think Snow was too nervous to even come close. Would have thought she’d have adjusted by now. Oh well, I returned to my desk and Celestia levitated over the next set of questions. Which leads into the next problem.

This is all in that pony language I can’t read. Looking closer, I once again look for any similarities to clue me in on its meaning. But after staring at it for a few minutes, it's still hopeless. Celestia must notice because…

“Jonathan, is there a problem?”

Sighing, I feel my ears fold back.
“Yes, I can’t actually read your language.”

“I suppose that’s understandable.”

What? I tilt my head at her. I mean, we seem to share the same spoken language…

“There are many different places, both in and out of Equestria. While most species know and can speak Ponish, our written languages vary wildly. That is why Ponish is on the school syllabus, to help foals understand the most commonly used written script within Equestria.”
She levitates over a book, dropping it onto the desk with a loud thump.
“Here is a book covering all the known written languages, including those not used any more. See if you can find your own language in there.”

So, despite there being one unified globally spoken language, there are many different ways to write it? I wonder how that works. Flipping through the book, I look for anything resembling English. The symbols used in here vary wildly. Some are simplistic and linear, where others are stylized and complex, some even appear to use pictograms. But I catch no glimpse of the English alphabet anywhere.

“Don’t worry if your language isn’t in there Jonathan, you come from a far away place that we might not know of yet, there’s a chance that you won’t find anything in there. How about you try writing out your alphabet and I’ll see if I can recognise it.”

That sounds like a good idea. Celestia levitates over a fresh piece of paper and I begin to write out the twenty-six letter English alphabet. Once done, Celestia looks over it.

“Only twenty-six letters? There’s really not that many alphabets that short. I must ask, how do you differentiate between syllables?”

“Well, the rules behind pronunciation can get a little bit complex, and sometimes vague. As such, different places, even nearby, can each end up with their own dialects and pronunciation of words. Although I think most other languages add accents onto certain characters to define their pronunciation.”

“That is rather interesting, maybe you could teach us ponies your language. I know somepony who I’m sure would be very interested in learning about it. But in the mean-time, you’ll have to learn written Ponish here. Since this is Canterlot, you’ll find unicorn script to be most common. Most books are printed in unicorn script so you’ll need to know that if you want to do much reading. Although your lack of magical ability may make it quite difficult since it’s not easy to write it without a horn. As such, we’ll skip Ponish for now and move onto assessing what you do know about magic, and hopefully even get you using that horn of yours.”

Magic practice went about as you’d expect. We made absolutely no progress. I barely knew anything of magic to begin with, and most of what I thought I knew turned out to not apply in this world. First, the princess had Snow run through some exercises with me. Although they just turned out to be the same ones as Snow had already tried that morning.

Celestia tried the tests on me herself. I could feel the strange sensations tingling over me, but my brain just couldn’t seem to process any of it. She then tried describing to me what to do, saying to reach out to my magical reserves or mana pathways. But not having experienced magic before meant that I had no idea what I was looking for.

She eventually had to give up on it. I then remembered what Doctor Sage had said about my pathways being a cause for concern and asked her about it. She responded by suddenly enveloping me with her magic for a moment, although nothing else appeared to happen. She finally answered that my mana pathways were underdeveloped from not having magic flowing through and that my magical output would be quite low. She also concluded that while my mana pool was quite large, it still had quite low mana levels that were still in the process of recharging.

After offering us each some refreshments, to which Snow politely tried to decline (and I say ‘tried to’ since Celestia wasn’t going to let her be left out), we were dismissed for the evening. I had actually underestimated how long we were in there for so it was quite late when we were on our way back to my room. We did stop in an empty cafeteria for a light dinner, where I asked Snow why it was Celestia who was holding the meeting. I mean, surely she must have princess duties, such as that day court she was at in the morning. But Snow cleared that up by explaining that she was a teacher in her spare time and often spent her free afternoons teaching magic at her school: Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns; which despite its name, actually offers a few classes to non-unicorns. Although the majority of the courses still require a horn to take part in.

Standing outside the door to my room, me and Snow part ways for the night. The guards are once again the night-variant. I guess there must be a day-guard and night-guard then. I suppose it makes sense to have two different guard units since there are two different princesses; one of which rules the day and the other the night… Not literally I hope.

Walking through the living room, I stop to admire the night sky through the massive window wall. Night-time, so peaceful and quiet. I stand gazing out over the breathtaking view for a solid five minutes before a yawn reminds me that I’m tired. Turning away from the stars, I step up to my bedroom door and make my way inside, only for a puff of white to squish into my face. Right, that cloud I pulled off the bed. I use my hoof to push it one side where it bounces against one wall before drifting towards the ceiling.

Stepping up to the bed, I prod its surface. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me. I grab a book off the bookshelf using my mouth and drop it carefully onto the cloud. It sits on the surface with little problem. That is until I push the book down with my hoof. Then whatever surface tension was keeping it up breaks and the book falls straight through with a loud thump. So clouds are definitely only solid through magic. I don’t particularly know how to feel about sleeping on something that supports me only through magic.

Maybe I could sleep on the cushions instead. But then if Snow comes in, then she’ll probably question me on it. This world is full of magic, so much so that it’s practically unavoidable. Best to just go with it I suppose, the cloud is comfier anyway. With a sigh, I climb onto its surface, although I stay as close to the edge as possible. It’s actually quite sparse, with only a few random blankets, but no pillows. Not that it needs any with the way it deforms to fit the body. Although I suppose the pillows would probably just fall through anyway.

Once settled, I begin to feel sleep claim me. Hmm, I wonder if I’d be able to retrieve that book that fell through…

I am pulled out of sleep by a harsh pink light penetrating my eyes. Lifting my head, I try to look for the source. It’s still dark outside, still night time. Where is that light coming from? As my head turns this way and that, the light shifts, causing shadows to dance around the room. Wait a minute… I lift a hoof up to my horn. Ow, hot! The adrenaline rush forces me into full consciousness and I slip out of bed, landing on all fours. My horn is glowing! How do I make it stop?! I try to concentrate on my horn, trying to force the heat away; but it only serves to make the light brighter. How do I get it to extinguish? Right, extinguish! My horn is hot, so maybe water will cool it down!

I rush into the bathroom and thrust the hoof pedal up to start the tap. Dousing my head under the water, there is a loud sizzling before everything is plunged into blackness. Great, how am I supposed to find my way back now?

Author's Note:

More than a week Two whole weeks since the last chapter. Honestly, I was starting to run out of confidence in this story and started to think quite critically of how it's going so far. This may or may not be why I was lacking in inspiration and motivation to work on it over the weekend. But whether the story is good or bad, I've decided to keep writing it regardless. The best way to improve is just to keep practicing.

I had a small burst of inspiration Monday morning, but didn't have the time to get more than a few notes because College+homework+after-school club. Tuesday, I had some free periods but I couldn't bring myself to get started, plus I had homework.

Started writing on Wednesday. Gone back and reread the previous chapters as well as a applied some minor edits.
Continued Saturday and Sunday. I've spent a lot more time on this chapter, and even made it double length (5k words) to make up for the missed week. Hopefully it's up to quality this chapter. I know the last one seemed a little rushed. Also introduced a few minor plot points or something.

So, what did you think of this new chapter? What might happen next? I don't particularly know since I'm making this up as I go along (mostly).