• Published 22nd Dec 2012
  • 4,250 Views, 368 Comments

Dawn of the First Day - Miniscule Literary

A man with nothing to lose finds himself in Equestria. But which version of Equestria is he in?

  • ...

A Game of Wits

After hours of wandering the halls, Alfonz was no closer to freedom.

The primary means of escape was obvious: if one followed the path leading out of the throne room, they would quickly find themselves leaving the palace itself. The obvious nature of this route gave him pause, however; if he was to be stopped, it would likely be here. Looking out some of the higher windows, he knew there were other ways to exit the palace; it was simply a matter of locating them.

Alfonz felt compelled to at least try the front, however populated it may be with guards. Considering he was no closer to finding an unguarded exit, he didn't exactly have anything better to try.

The man emerged at the far end of the throne room, nearest to his destination. Through his wanderings, he had gotten quite familiar with the area surrounding the throne room; he hoped that this knowledge would be useful in an emergency. Many pegasi guards, all mares and all equipped with gleaming golden armor, still lined the throne room, even without the princesses present. With a deep breath, Alfonz started out from the doorway, making a casual stroll to the exit.

Predictably, the guards blocked his path with outstretched feathered wings.

"We cannot permit you to leave, Master Alfonz," one guard said bluntly, her expression stoic and without emotion.

"And why is that?" Alfonz responded, silently assessing the implications of being called 'Master'.

"Princess Luna's orders," the guard replied. "She believes it would be too dangerous to let you out of the palace unattended."

Alfonz's initial frustration was swiftly replaced with a deep contemplation. They did not want him unattended; perhaps he could leave if he agreed to have a bodyguard or two go with him. And perhaps then, with any luck, he could lose them in Canterlot and escape.

"And what if I ask a few guards to keep me company while I'm out?" he asked simply, suppressing the urge to push through their wings to freedom.

"Princess Luna asks that we not permit you to leave without her supervision," the guard clarified, her expression unchanging.

Alfonz cursed inwardly. There was no way he was getting out of that one.

"Right. Thanks," he muttered, turning away; the guards retracted their wings shortly after. He felt more than a little irritated; not only was his chance at escape thwarted, but he felt like a child who couldn't go outside to play without mommy and daddy present.

There was no choice now: he needed to find another way out, and quickly. He didn't know just how early in the night Luna would awaken.

It was already late in the evening; he was running out of time.

Alfonz spent another hour retracing his steps, mapping out as much of the palace as he could, in an attempt to locate any additional exits. Eventually, his search turned up something of potential value: an ornate door, located near to the exterior of the structure, that was guarded by two pegasi. He could have sworn he hadn't seen another guarded passage in his earlier search, but paid it little mind; the royal palace was a massive structure indeed, and even though he had searched for hours, there were likely places left within that he didn't even know existed.

Although not exactly the unguarded passage he sought, it was perhaps the best chance he had. If he could get past the guards and reach the outside, he might be able lose them if they gave chase; if he attempted the same at the front entrance, he would likely be swarmed by guards before he hit the evening air.

As Alfonz approached, the guards, of course, unfurled their wings to block his entry.

"Halt," one began sternly. "You cannot pass."

"Is that so?" Alfonz replied, faking a look of surprise and confusion.

"By order of the Princess-" the guard continued, trailing off as the man placed a hand on either of their shoulders and shoved them aside. Although undeniably strong in their own right, the ponies' light weight and lack of preparation made them easy to manipulate. The two stumbled away as Alfonz grasped the handle and threw the door open, jumping inside with the intent to run as fast as he could.

Instead of the calm evening view of Canterlot, or even another, smaller room that would in turn lead to the outside, he found himself in a white tiled room, with walls outlined in gold; an ornate sink stood to his right, and a large pale cabinet to his left.

A few meters away, in the far corner of the room, rested a massive ornate bathtub, brilliantly decorated with silver and gold. It was filled to the brim with bubbling water, but that was not all that occupied the tub.

A large white pony stood within, its front half partially submerged in the water, while its hindquarters were raised out of it, in full view of Alfonz. A loofah was suspended in mid-air above its lower back, which was partially covered in bubbles, as if in the middle of a wash.

The man froze instantly, his eyes widening as he realized his own folly. The guards rushed in on either side of him shortly after, shoving him back a few feet as he continued to stare at the floor, blankly, unblinkingly.

"A thousand apologies, your highness!" one guard pleaded as they gave Alfonz another shove. "We told him he could not enter!"

"That's alright," Princess Celestia replied calmly, standing to her full height inside the tub. The loofah floating above her was suddenly rung out, dripping water and soap onto her back. Dripping wet and partially covered in soap, the alicorn did not seem at all bothered by the intrusion; nor did she have any apparent humility. "He may stay if he wishes."

The guards stopped suddenly, looking to their princess with wide, confused eyes. Alfonz, meanwhile, immediately turned to the door.

"TAKE ME AWAY!" he yelled, the sound echoing around the bathroom. Celestia smirked, gently lowering herself back into the water as the pegasi forced Alfonz out of the room, closing the door behind them.

"What do we do with him now?" one of the guards asked, earning a shrug from her counterpart. Normally they would temporarily imprison or otherwise punish someone for such an intrusion, but this was a man favored by Princess Luna; Celestia herself did not seem bothered by the incident, either.

"I'm going to go gouge my eyes out," Alfonz interrupted, starting off down the hall like a zombie. The guards were inclined to go after him, but they were as confused as he was toward the whole thing. After a few indecisive moments, they returned to their posts outside the door, not saying a word to each other.

Alfonz wandered like this for some time. He didn't know where he was going or why; he was simply lost in his own thoughts. All that time, all that preparation, simply to play a part in Celestia's twisted game. He was no closer to finding a way out, and the day was almost over. The only thing that had changed since he awoke was a drastic decline in his own sanity.

"There you are, Alfonz!"

The voice pierced his thoughts like a knife through butter. He was slowly shambling through another hall when it interrupted his internal torment, and only succeeded in deepening his own depression.

As he turned, he was greeted by the smiling face of Princess Luna, trotting toward him down the hall. As she neared, she laid her head against his shoulder affectionately, causing him to grimace inwardly.

"I was wondering where you went," Luna explained as she pulled away.

"I've been...around..." Alfonz muttered, avoiding the alicorn's gaze. He felt more and more helpless by the second; what Celestia had said about her sister had turned the affectionate, yet harmless creature into one with bad intentions. She wanted him as her consort; he had to remember that.

"I hope you didn't have too much fun without me," she replied with another pleasant smile. He returned the gesture; he just couldn't bring himself to crush the pony's spirits. Although her intentions may be disturbing, she was far more mild than the others. He felt that, if he shunned her outright, he could seriously damage her; that may or may not work in his favor.

"I wouldn't exactly call any of it 'fun'," he responded somewhat bitterly, prompting a concerned curiosity from the alicorn; just as he intended.

"Did something happen while I was asleep?"

"Sort've," he began, thinking carefully. Celestia was playing hard ball, that was sure; if he had any hope of surviving, he needed to do the same. "Your sister...she's been acting very forceful lately."

"Really?" Luna replied, clearly surprised. "That's very unlike her."

"Yeah, its pretty weird," he responded honestly, frowning. "I just don't feel comfortable..." he trailed off, hoping he would not need to elaborate. He did not want to lead Luna on if he could avoid it, but he needed her to understand, and perhaps feel a bit of jealousy to pit her against Celestia.

Luna thought for a few moments, looking out the nearby window.

"It may be strange, Alfonz, but as you are the royal consort of Equestria," she explained bluntly, as if it were common knowledge. "Your role extends to Celestia as well."

Alfonz felt a bit light headed.

"Ah, it is time for the moon to rise!" she said suddenly, happily, as she noticed the time of day. "I will return in an hour. Perhaps then we can spend a bit more time together, mm?" she continued, giving him a sly look as she turned away. Flicking her tail in his direction, the Princess of the Night trotted off to who knows where, leaving Alfonz in stunned silence.

There went his ace in the hole.