• Published 17th Apr 2023
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My Next Life as a Pony - Love_Bite



A human is reincarnated as a pony. Let’s hope he makes the best of it!

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Chapter 2: A Loving Family

Being a baby gives you a lot of spare time. For instance, in the corner of my room hangs a calendar that I’ve spent quite some time studying. I’m fairly certain it is a calendar because it’s a booklet of paper with little squares drawn on each page. The squares have little scribbles in the corners where normally the dates would be. Why am I telling you about a possible calendar you may ask?

Well, see this calendar is different from the ones I used on Earth. For one, there are too many days for each month. The current month shows thirty-six days divided into six weeks of six days each. The month before had thirty-seven days, again divided into six-weeks with one day left over.

Since being born, I’ve kept track of the days. It's a leftover from working in an accounting office for years where meeting billing deadlines is do or die. Anyway, my count of days is at two-hundred fifty-five.

Assuming the alternating count of days per month remains constant, that makes me seven months old.

Neat, right? Well, listen if you don’t think so, just remember that the usual highlight of my day is playing with my rubber ducky in the bathtub. And don’t judge. I love my ducky.

The good news today is that Mom is taking me out again. I guess I’m at an age now where she feels more comfortable bringing me out in public. It's better than soiling my diaper in a crib all day, I’ll tell you that.

This morning we are heading to a bookshop a few blocks from our house. It seems Mom is quite an avid reader. I’m pretty sure my room used to be where she stored her book collection as there are still a few bookshelves lining the walls, though they’re mostly filled with picture books and baby toys now.

She is always reading to me. Mostly at night before bedtime, but sometimes she’ll take me to the park down the street and read to me under this big oak tree. I wonder if she’s one of those parents who thinks that constantly reading and playing music to babies ups their intelligence? I suppose in my case it’s helped me get a good grasp on pony talk. Not that she realizes, of course.

Of course, being able to better understand what everyone's saying has expanded my view of their ways and culture. For example, I learned that Dad isn’t cheating on Mom (thank goodness)! The two of them and Starstruck are in a polygamous relationship.

Their word for it is kerda, meaning “group” or “herd.” It has a homophone, kerda, which means “heart” so I’m always mixing the two up. The ponies seem to use the two meanings interchangeably too which makes it even more confusing. Maybe it’s akin to someone saying you are “my love” or “my heart” the way we do on Earth?

I learned all of this thanks to a story Mom read me the other day. The tale is similar to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but Snow White is a Unicorn prince and the seven dwarves are six mares who live in a magical tree in someplace called the Always-Free Wood. I find it funny that fairy tales are even a thing in a world already full of magic.

But, I digress. The main point is that polygamy and polyamorous relationships seem to be the norm here. Starstruck isn’t the only other mare in the herd. There are two others; a Pegasus named Éosari-Skei and an Earth Pony called Boán e’Petari. There’s also another stallion, Seuthe-Kuerdo. He’s a Unicorn.

Their true names are still mostly a mystery to me. In my head I call the Pegasus “Easter Sky,” the female Unicorn is “Good Desire,” and the male is “True Hearts.” I apologize now for bastardizing what I’m sure are very nice names. My only excuse is that I’m a baby and yes, I will fall back on that whenever it’s convenient!

True Hearts is with Mom and me today. He and her chat happily about this and that. It seems there is a party happening tomorrow and True Hearts will be going to perform a song. He motions strumming an instrument with his hoof.

On his flank there’s a tattoo of a guitar-like instrument. I think it might be a lute, but I’m not sure. All I know is that up in my crib I hear him playing music sometimes. I’ve never actually seen him play, but from what I can hear in my room he’s very good. He must play with his magic because hooves seem wholly unfit for fingering stringed instruments.

I like True Hearts. He comes up to my room often to play with me. He uses my baby rattle as a sort of maraca and taps out beats with his hooves while he sings songs. As an entertainer, he’s the best I’ve seen since coming to this world, not that I have a lot to compare him to.

Like most Unicorns, he styles his chocolate mane around his cream-colored horn. His fur reminds me of French vanilla ice cream; white with dotted flecks of dark brown here and there on his coat. His amethyst eyes sparkle with enthusiasm as he explains his upcoming performance to Mom.

The three of us—me in a stroller—enjoy the walk through town. This place really is very beautiful. Birds chirp down from the eaves of the houses. Ponies greet one another with smiles as they pass on the street. A soothing breeze brings scents of pastries and sweets and perfumes from the market square. I’m grateful that I’ll get to grow up in such a warm neighborhood.

After a few blocks, True Hearts bids us adieu and continues down a different street further into town. Mom waves him off with a big smile. Looks like she really loves him. When I see that it makes me understand a little how the whole polygamy situation can work out. “All you need is love.”

Now it’s just me and Mom and we soon arrive at the bookstore. The front facade has a relief of a large elm tree climbing from the cobblestone street up to a mansard roof. A wooden sign hangs over the front door with an image of a book carved into it. Beneath the book are symbols spelling out “Ald-almé Libersta.” The Elder Elm Bookstore.

A bell chimes as we enter. Inside, shelves upon shelves of books creep up the walls of every room. Metal steps in the center of the shop spiral up three floors worth of novels, encyclopedias, scriptures, scrolls, tomes, atlases and more. Some look fresh off the printing press, while others are worn and dusty with age.

An older looking pony, gray with a balding mane, balances precariously on a step-ladder behind the front desk. His wizened ears perk up at the sound of the bell ringing.

Oi-né monemen! Eg’sillo oi-né—ahhh!!”

Rather predictably, the poor old pony slips and falls back in a shower of parchment. Mom rushes over to help him back up. I get a better look at him as she brushes dust and cobwebs from his head with her magic. Luckily, the fall looked more dramatic than it actually was.

He wears a red sweater vest and round reading glasses that sit low on his snout. Smile lines adorn his cheeks and the sides of his green eyes. Most interesting is his horn, or rather, his lack of one.

On his forehead is a small bump where a normal Unicorn’s horn stands proudly. It reminds me of my own little nub. Maybe it stopped growing properly when he was young? It couldn’t have been cut off…

The old bookkeeper shoos my mom off with a few halfhearted “I’m fines” and “no reallys.” He speaks at a calm, measured pace which makes it easy to understand.

“Thank you, myné meran, but I am fine. Yes, really. I have lost count of how many times I have fallen off that old coseré.”

“I keep telling you that you need more help around here, Liber-Wiss. You’re getting too old to take care of all this yourself.”

Rideress! I do just fine on my own, thank you. Now what is it that I may help you with today, Miss Blossom? Buying, renderi, selling?”

It’s obvious Mom has more to say on the matter, but she bites her tongue allowing the change of subject. Seems this isn’t the first time they’ve had this argument.

“I’m buying today. I’d like to see if you have any children’s books in stock. I think Lodestar is getting a little bored with picture books.”

I guess Mom has noticed some things. It’s true that picture books aren’t giving me much new material nowadays. I’ve more or less grasped basic vocabulary and grammar. Getting to read or listening to someone read something more robust would help push my language learning to the next step.

“Ah yes. Your newborn, I see. Curious that a foal that young would even compredari anything past a pop-up book.”

“Yes, I think so too! I don’t know why, but it really looks like he compriedo the words I read him. There’s a light in his eye I tell you. I even saw him out of his crib playing with my old glossaria book from school the other day.”

Maybe I should tone down on the baby genius act for a bit. Seems even in a world of magic ponies, a newborn reading a dictionary is a bit much. It is a shame though, that Mom caught me before I could start to make heads or tails of the contents.

Liber-Wiss—Book Wise, or maybe Book Smart—settles himself behind the desk and pulls a large notebook from a drawer underneath. Adjusting his spectacles, he flips through the pages as he speaks.

“Curious though it may be, I never turn away a hungry mind. Let us see… Yes, I do have some in the back. May I ask you to wait here for a moment?”

Mom nods and Book Smart disappears behind a bookcase in the back of the shop. He carries his large notebook on his back rather than floating it with him. With his horn like that, it could be that he can’t use magic well.

While waiting on his return, I hear the doorbell chime and another Unicorn enters. Like my mom, she is pushing a stroller with a baby Unicorn.

“Stellar Blossom! I haven’t seen you for ages. How are you? Is your herd doing well?”

Duwa-li Vella! I could say the same! How are things? You must tell me. Are you still with Nakta-Li? My, is this little one yours?”

The two of them are all over each other the way only longtime girlfriends can be. I lose track of their conversation as I peer over at the baby Unicorn.

His coat is pure white, but interestingly, his hooves are a different color. I rarely see ponies with that feature. They are dark blue matching his mane which is actually striped with a whole gradient of blue tones. His big blue eyes stare back at me with the vacant wonder of an infant. I’m guessing there’s no reincarnation trapped in there.

Seeing as this is the only other baby I’ve met here I decide to initiate contact.

“Goo-gah~”

Take that!

He stares at me for a moment. His eyes study me with great fascination, pondering his reply. Opening his little mouth, a spit bubble forms and pops.

“A-goo—“

A decisive rebuttal. Ah yes, yes, I see. Very astute observation, my fellow baby. Thank you for that much needed insight. I hope we can again combine our mighty intellects and engage in more thought-provoking dialog someday.

“Yes, he is mine. His name is Gellaré-Armo.”

A snippet of the adults’ conversation catches my attention. Gellaré-Armo? That could be Gleaming Armor, perhaps. His mother, Duwa-li Vella, is something like Half-lit Fleece. And yes, I realize I’m probably way off with that second one, but I remind you Faust didn’t exactly offer a crash course in pony talk before she sent me here. So Half-lit it is for now.

Half-lit looks similar to her son. She is light gray with a mane of purple and white stripes. Her flank is tattooed with three five-pointed purple stars of varying size. Her eyes are the same shade of blue as Gleaming Armor’s.

“We are planning to have another, yes.”

“Really? Taking care of Lodestar keeps my hooves busy all day. I can’t imagine having another right away.”

“I know what you mean, but Nakta-li can hardly keep his hooves off of me now I’m not pregenum. Not that I’m complaining. He certainly knows how to use them.”

The two mares share a bashful giggle. I roll my eyes. Please, my virgin ears can’t handle any pony sex gossip at the moment.

I wonder what it would be like to have a sibling though. Back on Earth I was an only child so I never got the experience of looking after a little brother or sister. I did have a hamster named Hambone, but that’s a bit different I suppose. I doubt any future siblings I get would run themselves to death on a hamster wheel.

“We should get together soon. Maybe we can set up a little playdate with Armor and your boy. I’d love it if they became friends!”

“We should! How does next week sound? We could have lunch on Leifdeg.1

“It’s a date!”

Book Smart reappears balancing even more books on his back as he makes his way back to the front desk. He must have some practice at it because he has a stack of at least eight books on top of his big notebook from earlier. There’s even some scrolls resting on top. It reminds me of a circus performer stacking chairs and whatnot on their nose.

“Good day, Ms. Fleece. I will be with you in a moment. Ms. Blossom, I found an assortaré of books that I think will suit you and your foal. Please, take your time choosing.”

He spreads the books out over the desk so mom can look over them. Their covers come in all different colors, but only a few of them have full illustrations. I can read bits and pieces of their titles. There’s “The triaré of Sun Dancer,” “An Apple too Far,” “Starry Eyes in the Chocolate Castellan,” and “Keuthé Flowers.” I can’t make out all the covers from my stroller seat. All of them are about as thick as a chapter book.

“Goodness, will he even compredari most of these. He’s still just a baby, no?”

Mom gives Half-lit the same spiel she told Book Smart about how I’m a little baby genius who needs to be feared by all lest you suffer my future pony wrath. Or something like that. I don’t know, I’m too enamored with the thought of hearing some actual full length stories for once. It’s the little things I tell you.

Half-lit seems amazed in any case. She asks my mom some more questions about me and my reading abilities. Mom answers enthusiastically. Clearly, she’s very proud of me. It’s a little embarrassing, but also feels good.

The old shopkeeper smiles as Mom prattles on to Half-lit. His green eyes twinkle and he gives me a small wink. I don’t really know what to make of that. I seriously doubt he knows what I am, but there is something knowing about his smile.

Clearing his throat, Book Smart politely catches the other two’s attention.

“I also brought the music kata-logen Mr. Hearts ordered the other day. Would you be kind enough to deliver them to him on my behalf?”

“Oh, of course. Thank you very much. And as for the books… I think I’ll take these then.”

A magenta aura surrounds three of the books as Mom makes her selection. She floats them over to an old mechanical register on the desk while pulling out her purse from my stroller. Book Smart taps out the order into the register. It makes some satisfying clicking and clacking sounds as a scroll wheel on top displays the price.

“That will be two-hundred forty bits2, myné meran.”

From out of Mom’s purse, several gold coins—some large, some small—float over to a tray by the register. Book Smart quickly separates and counts the coins, nodding as he dumps them into the register.

It’s funny. When I was an online accountant I used to keep track of electronic currencies like bitcoin. Now it looks like I’ll still be using bit-coins in this world… Ahem. That was a joke if you’re not laughing.

“Thank you for your boánficeré, Ms. Blossom. Will that be all for today?”

“Yes, mestro Smart. We should be heading on now. Still have some coseri to get from the market today. Thank you for your help.”

Mom turns to Half-lit.

“So Leifdeg then. Noon?”

“We’ll see you then. Wave bye-bye, little Armor.”

Half-lit helps poor little Armor wave goodbye with her blue-colored magic as we exit the shop. Thankfully, mom lets me keep my dignity.

We continue further into town. Mom has more of a skip in her step now. I guess since having me most of her free time is taken up by childcare so she hasn’t seen her friends a lot.

“How does that sound, Lodie? You made a new friend today. Your first friend! Oh, that sounds so wonderful!”

Well, if it will get me out of the house more I can’t complain much. Hanging out with an infant is a small price to pay. I never had to deal with kids much back on Earth, but it’s not like I’ll be expected to entertain the rugrat.

I spot the market up ahead. It’s just as busy as every other time we go. Ponies of all races—most of them Unicorns—mill about and barter down prices with the shopkeepers. Mom takes her time perusing the stalls and their goods. She haggles back and forth with a produce vendor on the price of a bushel of carrots.

As the carrot vendor makes his final offer, an unfortunate lettuce seller across the street loses a wheel on his wagon and several heads of the stuff roll out into the square.

Myné galegi!

Ponies shake their heads in sympathy as the lettuce seller scrabbles after his vegetables. I hear some of the more haughty-looking ones snicker after him. Jerks.

“Oh deura.

An Earth Pony walking up to us notices the kerfuffle and puts a hoof to her cheek. It’s Good Desire, one of Mom and Dad’s herd mates.

For most ponies, I can usually appreciate their cuteness, but Good Desire is one of the few ponies I’ve seen that I would consider beautiful.

She’s slender and taller than Mom. Her fur is a dark gun-metal gray. Curled silver locks of mane drape over one of her red eyes giving her a sultry appearance. Her tattoo is a pair of smiling red lips with a little tongue sticking out the side.

Heiyo, Boán. What brings you here?”

Mom greets Desire with a kiss on the cheek. She also spares a sympathetic glance for the lettuce seller.

“Poor stallion…”

Hylé, Stellar. Yes, that is unlucky. Perhaps someone should watch his cart for him while he picks up his verdeni?”

Desire tends to slur her words. I think she has some kind of accent compared to the rest of the ponies, but of what, I can’t say. If I had to pick an analogy I’d say it’s similar to a French person trying to speak English. In any case, it makes it a little more difficult to understand her sometimes. Luckily, I’m around her enough that it’s not too much of an issue.

“I came here to help with buying groceries. I also had an idea for supper tonight. Cheese keeshé with rausten esperagi.”

She looks over to the tilted lettuce cart. There’s a group of younger looking Unicorn colts inching nearer to the abandoned stall. They glance shiftily back and forth across the crowd, trying to seem inconspicuous. A frown settles on Desire’s face.

“But that will have to wait.”

Boán, wait a moment—“

Mom calls after her, but Desire’s jaw is set in determination. The crowd parts for her as she marches over to the stall and the colts.

Pardoneré, jentile-kulti. May I ask what you are doing? The good vendor of that stall is busy at the moment. I’m sure if you wait for him to return he will be happy to help you, no?”

The colts are clearly taken aback at the sudden confrontation. They take turns shuffling their hooves and mumbling amongst themselves before one of them—probably the leader—steps forth.

“We saw. We’re just watching over the fella’s shop ‘til he gets back. Isn’t that right, boys?”

The rest of the colts regain a little more confidence at the leader’s words. They nod their heads in agreement. Desire takes the measure of them and is unimpressed. Her smokey eyes study each of their faces in turn and each one of them shifts uncomfortably under her gaze.

“I see. You need not trouble yourselves any longer. I shall watch over the cart in his stead. You may all of you go about your day.”

The leader isn’t so quick to back down.

Tch. And who, may I ask, are you? You supposed to be the galegi guard or something? We’ll be fine just where we are, thanks. You can move along now, Miss.”

Desire stands her ground. Mom is hopping hoof to hoof in nervous jitters wondering whether to leave and go get help or run to Desire’s side.

“You don’t want to make more of a scene of this than it needs to be, do ya?”

The leader’s horn starts to glow as he takes a step toward Desire.

“What is going on here?”

The leader colt stops short and both he and Desire turn to see a stallion clad in silver armor approach from out of the crowd. He carries a short spear and on his flank is a tattoo of a spiked helmet. Dad?

Bramble Helm stands beside Desire, giving her a short nod. He strikes an intimidating figure; his polished armor gleams in the sunlight, the sigil of the Sun emblazoned on his helmet. The tip of his spear looks sharp enough to shave with.

“I’m secuán-louteneré Bramble Helm of her megestari, Princess Kallista, city guard. Is there a problem here?”

Sweat beads on the leader colt’s brow as he considers his situation. When it was just an Earth Pony challenging them he had nothing to fear. He had his magic. But a city-guard, even an Earth Pony city-guard, is not someone he can mess with easily.

“There’s no problem here. We were just trying to be good citizens and watch over the poor ol’ galegi-seller’s stall. This one comes over and starts accusing us of something. If there’s a problem, it’s her.”

“You and the rest of your conpatreoti will remember that I never accused you of anything. I simply said that I will watch the stall and you all should move on. No pony has made any accusations, unless… Is there something you should feel guilty about?”

“No more than you, dirt-lover3!”

A few gasps come from the crowd, and ponies—both Earth Ponies and the other races—give disgusted, disapproving looks to the leader colt. I guess “dirt-lover” is some kind of slur here judging by the reaction. I hear Mom snort in anger and stomp her hoof on the street as if readying herself to charge the leader.

Dad steps closer to the leader colt, his large shadow dwarfing the smaller Unicorn.

“I suggest you watch your mouth, sir. I remember seeing a flash of light coming from your horn just before that cart lost its wheel. Would you care to come with me and explain why that would be the case?”

The leader finally backs down. He shies away from Dad, his tail curling up between his legs like a scared puppy. His reply comes as a chagrined mumble.

“Just a coincidence…”

“I see. Then kindly go about your day, citizen.”

The leader and the rest of his posse trot away in defeat. Dad gives Desire another quick nod before turning and telling the crowd to disperse. Desire smiles and politely curtsies as Dad leaves, presumably to return to his post.

At home, Dad is always full of kisses and hugs for me and the rest of the family. He often picks me up and tosses me up and down the way that fathers do to their kids. On the job, it appears he likes to keep things strictly professional.

It becomes clear to me why he’s always covered in sweat when he gets home from work. That armor didn’t look very breathable. And policing the city out in the Sun all day wearing that was bound to make you perspire.

Mom pushes me over to where Desire is standing by the lettuce stall.

“Oh my, Boán. Are you okay? Don’t ever do that again! You saw his horn, he was about to—“

“Peace, Stellar. I'm fine, see? Bramble had my flank.”

Desire smiles, mischievously.

“And he will have more of it tonight. Mmm, I love seeing him in his armor like that. What a stud!”

Mom sighs, exasperated.

Ugh, why must you always be so—so you?”

Desire looks mildly affronted.

“Why if I was not myself, who would I be? In any case, we still have some shopping to do, no? Come along, Stellar. I doubt any pony will mess with this cart after all that.”

Damn. She is one cool customer. Way to go, Mama Boán!

With my newfound respect for Desire firmly set, we follow after her to complete our grocery shopping. Mom tells her about the new books she bought for me. Desire tickles my chin as she picks out the ingredients for her keeshé.

The rest of the day goes by without incident. Before long we are heading home, hooves full of grocery bags and new books.

That night the rest of the family returns home for supper and every pony agrees the food is perfect. Of course, I only get to enjoy a mashed up baby food version of it. Still, anything is better than formula.

True Hearts and Easter Sky listen to the whole tale of how Desire stood up to the market square bullies and how Dad came and chased them off.

“I would’ve picked that one up and dropped him like the dumb bag of rocks he is if I were there!”

Easter is very offended when she hears what the leader had called Desire. She bangs a hoof on the table rocking everyone’s drink glasses.

“A pity you weren’t there, myné deura. That would be a sight to see.”

Desire smiles warmly at Easter and pats her hoof soothingly.

“A pity if you were. I don’t want to think about how I’d explain that one to l’Caputé.”

Dad grabs his wine glass before the contents spill over. He doesn’t usually drink, but he told Mom that today had been a particularly long day
at work and he needed some good wine.

I can empathize with that. I lost track of how many days I came home from the office after being chewed out over this thing or the other by my boss just wanting nothing more than to sit down and crack open a cold one. It’s eerie sometimes how similar this place is to Earth.

Once dinner is done, Mom brings me back upstairs to my crib. She told the rest of the family over dessert how she set up my first playdate with Gleaming Armor and how she’s so excited that I’ll be making a friend.

I’m excited too, in a way. Maybe once little Armor grows up he really will be my first friend here. Time will tell, I suppose. For now, I’m just thankful for being born to such a loving family.

My dreams that night are full of more visions. The Sun and the Moon. A vast spreading rainbow. A white castle with stained glass windows. A strange stone statue. And six glowing orbs.

Faust, what does it all mean?

******************************************************

Hoofnotes

  1. In this story, a week is divided up into six days. Suwendeg, Leifdeg, Erdeg, Skiedeg, Estadeg and Lundeg. You can think of Leifdeg as their equivalent to Monday.
  2. In the show canon, the value of a bit tends to be quite volatile. For the sake of consistency, I’ve standardized a single bit to equal $ 0.25 USD. This means Stellar spent the equivalent of $60 USD for the books.
  3. A slur specific to Earth Ponies. The Equish word is drither-slot.