• Published 16th May 2013
  • 1,186 Views, 23 Comments

The Masseur - NachoTheBrony



I’m happy today, but I don’t thank Discord for pulling me out from my happy life on Earth.

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Chapter 2: Am I arrested?

The Masseur 02: Am I arrested?

Well, other than in Australia and Canada, I don’t think I have ever seen any police, army or whatever be so polite about a detention: the leader first waved me down when I offered him my wrists and pointed at the chains on his side, then called for a gilded carriage to pulled up the hill and had some of his grunts gently help me load my stuff on board, then ordered the small company into formation and gave a marching order.

By the way, there’s a detail that I hadn’t really registered: these soldiers are all winged. The last order of the superior had everybody open their wings, then take a short running start and take off.

I believe I must mention that I’m quite acrophobic. This explains why I screeched horribly the moment the wheels left the ground, making the carriage (and the whole company) come crashing back into the ground. The leader approached it again and found me cowering inside the railing.

Inwardly, I was half reeling from the scare, and half reeling from my reaction. I mean: I know I absolutely hate to be high up, but I usually endure by closing my eyes and waiting for the ride to be over; on the other hand, now I had just had a panic reaction! And well, as the leader approached the carriage again, I saw that my hands were something else than white-knuckled: my skin was still pink! Through my embarrassment I managed to mimic wings flapping and shake my head at the leader. The leader patted my shoulder, said something that sounded soothing and gave some other orders that once again got the company moving, now with most of it on the ground.

I finally regained my dignity as we were rolling out of the town and into a forest. I took note of my surroundings: the winged ponies around me were in a curious formation: four connected to the front of the carriage, four following it a few steps behind, the leader marching by the vehicle and four hovering above our heads.

It was analyzing these last ones what really gave me pause: their wingspans are barely as long as their bodies (nose to base of tail), and rather than be slender as cranes or flamingos, they were as thick and stocky as, well, Shetland ponies; never mind the plate armour they were wearing. So, by any logic, their wings should be beating away as crazily fast as hummingbirds’, rather than just sticking them out like frigatebirds or vultures riding a nice wind current. Should I mention that these condor-sized wings were supporting the glide not of a twelve kilo New-World Vulture, but a quarter ton of Shetland horse, plus however much that coat of armour weights? Should I also mention that they were slowly bicycling their hooves, and I could distinctly hear a low clip-clopping sound coming from above?

Eventually I quit staring: It wouldn’t be good for my sanity. I tried to entertain myself looking at the countryside, but I couldn’t stop thinking: now that I had mostly sobered up from yesterday’s insanity, I had to face that I seem to have fallen out of my reality and into a world populated by a civilization of Shetlands.

Wherever these guys were driving me to, the drive would be too short, and too long.

-o-0-o-0-o-

About two hours into the drive, the leader shouted something, and the little parade paused. It was apparently a rotation order, as the guys in front unhitched themselves from the carriage and moved to the back, the guys flying above landed and got hitched, and the guys behind lifted off and took the above position.

Considering that I had been doing little else than think in circles for a good hour, I decided to get off, so the little exercise could help to clear my mind.

Besides, the heavily gilded carriage was freaking me out.

So I took off my vest, opened the latch on the side of the carriage and called the attention of the leader. Then I pointed at myself, at the ground and mimicked walking with my fingers. He nodded at me and stepped a little further away; I smiled and climbed down, then closed the latch and just stood there. The guy shouted something, and we were again underway.

Just as I had been seeing, the ponies were moving at a clip slightly faster than the human norm, but not too fast for a fit guy like me to maintain.

-o-0-o-0-o-

About two hours later, I was about ready to step back into the carriage when we arrived at a small roadside campground, where our little parade stopped. I found it quite remarkable: a small fault in the terrain had apparently formed a nice, five-meter waterfall. Then, some engineer had decided to tame it, first pulling it away from the cliff-face via a few arches and then making it feed a bunch of basins, showers and even a small pool before letting it return into its natural creek. And around the tamed waterfall, we had a grassy clearing the size of a small stadium.

Just a few orders were given, and soon the troop was taking turns between four orbiting above, four grazing on the grass and four tossing their armours, stepping into the showers and even dunking into the pool.

By the way, something else that boggled my mind: the WHITE soldiers would stop being white as soon as their armours would come off. And then, once their armour was on again, they would be white again. I pulled my eyes away from the baths, though, trying not to boggle my mind too much.

The leader eventually gave me a nudge, then gestured me to take my turn with him on the waterworks. I could feel enough eyes on me when I went to the drinking basins and rather than dunk in, cupped my hands and caught water from the trickle feeding it, then as I got naked, stepped into a shower, shock the water off the best I could with no towel and got dressed again.

Once he stepped out of the pool and turned from red back to white, he pulled me to the fields and pointed at the grasses, his mouth and me. I in turn pointed at the grasses, then at my mouth and imitated gagging. He frowned, then gestured me to follow him to the carriage, where he opened a small trunk off the back of it and produced a few apples. I took them with a smile, which he returned before turning back to the field and his own lunch.

Ten minutes later he shouted a few orders and the company assembled again. This time I climbed on the carriage and gestured him that I would be okay with flying. He gave me a searching look, to which I replied by pulling off my belt and rolling it around my head, covering my eyes, and sitting very still.

A few seconds later the leader gave an order, then the carriage accelerated and I had to bite back a whimper as I felt how the vehicle became disconnected from the ground.

-o-0-o-0-o-

An eternity later, somebody nudged my shoulder.

Uncurling slowly from the shivering mass I had become on the floor of the carriage, I pushed up my belt and saw that we were back to solid ground.

I accepted some help as I was pulled out of the carriage and onto a cobbled surface. Slowly looking up and around, I saw that we apparently were in a gardened courtyard at the palace I had seen yesterday in the distance, at least judging by the multitude of towers and spires in view. Also in view were a lot more soldiers than the squad that had picked me up, looking at me inquisitively from the walkways up the outer wall. Much more friendly looks were directed at me by my escorts and by the few apparent civilians dotting the garden.

I had been given a little time to collect my dignity, but I was eventually nudged to move once some clerk-like female came down from the palace. The guys helped me to collect my stuff, even two of them offering to help me carry around the Sigma and the video tripod (the heaviest items), before I turned to follow the lady around the castle and into an apparent event hall.

The hall was huge and beautiful, but amazement at works of art is the first thing that an art critic becomes trained out of. Thus, I could immediately focus on the apparent assembly on the centre: a circle of something like a dozen beanbags surrounded inconspicuously by a ring of soldiers. A ‘zany’ bunch of humans occupied five spaces to one side:
The first one (to the right) was a blue-haired, purple-skinned oriental guy in an ugly suit and a cheap tie.
The second one was a lump of blubber with rainbow hair, royal blue skin and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
The third one was an orange-coloured prune in cardinal-red robes.
The fourth one was apparently a Chinese noblewoman, considering her silks and tiny shoes, except that she also had paper-white skin and amethyst-coloured hair.
The fifth one was pink haired and had butter-yellow skin, but also had the uniform of a 15th Century Spanish infantryman: a Conquistador.
And the five of them seemed to be high on something strong: one would say something and the rest would laugh, despite me recognizing at least four different languages on the group: Japanese from the oriental guy, some type of Chinese from the old lady, English from the blue blob and Cervantine Spanish from the Conquistador and what I could now identify as an Inquisitor.

And I was being guided to the cushion following the Conquistador, but I detoured and sat on the opposite side, by the purple ‘sarariman’. The clerk lady didn’t precisely smile when she noticed that I had given her the slip, but didn’t say anything and let me sit. Then the couple of escorts that had followed me from the carriage left my stuff by me, gave me a reverence and walked away.

With nothing better to do, and no intention of joining the ‘discussion’ of the ‘zany bunch’, I let my eyes wander over the hall: it was truly a beautiful structure, even if some features, like the glass walls shuttering the outer arches, clearly where poorly matched add-ons. Somehow, I found my critique to be hilarious and started giggling. This attracted the attention of the purple Japanese, who apparently asked me what was so funny; I replied in Tepito Spanish, a dialect that the Spaniards were not going to understand. The Chinese lady replied in Chinese and everybody, me included, laughs.

Somehow, I had been sucked into the collective insanity.

-o-0-o-0-o-

After hours of non-communication and senseless laughter, a new group marched into the hall and up to us: six pony mares that looked mostly unremarkable except that, somehow, they looked like they had been turned into greyscale. I managed to push down my senseless mirth and stood up to welcome them into the circle, but I was beaten to the punch as one of them raced ahead and pulled me into a silly dance.

Halfway down the dance, my skin started fuming a thick pink mist, which then landed on my impromptu dance partner. Soon enough, my dance partner was pink with magenta hair and, looking at my hands, I saw the beautiful sight of my reddish-bronze skin colour. I wasn’t allowed to wonder on it, as the now pink pony continued pulling me on a happy dance.

How could it grab my hands using her hooves, anyway? And how was she standing so easily on her hind legs, towering slightly over me and even so managing to remain completely unthreatening?

Anyway, she was eventually scolded and made to sit on one of the opposite cushions. The one who scolded her then approached the purple fellow and stuck a hoof to his chest. The process was slow, but eventually the purple mist disappeared and the fellow’s purple tones had been transferred to the mare.

The process continued without a hitch, apparently following the sitting order, but by the time the Conquistador would have had his turn I had sobered up enough to see that the fellow had his weapons with him: a blunderbuss, a sword and a spear. I had also had time to see how the colour-transfer had been affecting us: I had my usual rock-solid self control back in place; the Japanese had become subdued and had adopted the kind of smile that I had come to recognize from Japanese tourists on a tour: a neutral smile and passive pose that was meant to try to blend in the background and not attract attention; the fat man was staring at the ground and had an expression that looked between dour and constipated; the Inquisitor had hardened his face and was seemingly deciding to get angry; the Chinese noblewoman was still blinking, but she was also turning aloof and trying to sit on her beanbag like a throne. Thus, I had every reason to worry about what an average Conquistador’s bloodlust could do, especially if an Inquisitor was here available to give orders.

Therefore, I looked back at the ring of soldiers and, waving my hand near the floor, discretely got the attention of a bunch of them. Then I waved them closer, gesturing with my head at the Simpson’s yellow soldier while I also pulled off my ‘normal’ tripod and shrugged off my vest, preparing for anything ugly happening on the other side of the circle.

As usual, Spaniard ugliness rarely disappoints: the yellow mist had barely vanished when the Inquisitor jumped from his seat and, pointing at the now yellow pegasus, shouted at the Spanish soldier:

“Desenvainad vuestra espada y atravezad a la hechicera, idiota!”
{“Unsheathe thy sword and run the sorceress through, you idiot!”}

The soldier blinked a couple more times, but then he shock his head and made to pull out his sword. I surged out of my seat, but was beaten by a mile by a couple of pony soldiers jumping clear over my head and pushing him down before even half of the sword had been unsheathed. A lot more ponies then surged in and seized the Inquisitor and me, but I was quickly cleared and let go, while the two Spaniards were dragged out of the place kicking and screaming.

Once things settled down again, one of the other ponies kept consoling the yellow one while the rest huddled together to converse, and we humans just sat back, waiting for something to happen.

These four mares apparently reached a decision, as they eventually stood up and made for us to follow. The guards quickly pulled up a palanquin for the Chinese lady, two more helped me with my extra equipment, and we then followed the mares back into the gardens, around the palace and up the main entrance, where we first entered an entrance hall, then a hangar-sized throne room.

We were quickly ushered up through the disperse crowd and deposited at the foot of a dais. Up on the dais, there where two thrones, one gold and scarlet and one silver and midnight blue, on which were seated a properly-horse-sized white mare and a smaller, dark-blue mare. The ponies who had guided us in bowed down in reverence; I hurried to bend at my waist, but then glanced at the Japanese guy by my side, who was nearly kissing the ground, and corrected into a knight’s genuflection: I laid down on my knees, pulled my tripod off my back and stood it on end in front of me, then laid my hands crossed on it and curled down my neck until my forehead pressed on top of my hands. And I also tried to make my movements as exact and economical as possible: I may not be a trained warrior, but our hosts don’t need to know that.

In due course, a gold-clad hoof nudged my shoulder. Looking up, I saw the white queen standing in front of me, smiling at me and gesturing for me to stand back up. I did so, rapidly slinging back my tripod and thanking that I had literally had hundreds of repetitions of slinging and unslinging my tripod to make it look perfectly martial and natural. The queen turned to make raise the Japanese guy, then the Chinese lady (who, still sitting inside her palanquin, had bended down and was grabbing her ankles), and finally the tubby one, who, rather than vow down on reverence, had sat down on the floor and just bent down his head.

I think I detected a hint of mischief on the queen’s face as she made the lardy boy stand up without assistance, but he eventually managed and her face returned to a serene smile. She then turned to the purple pony and one of the soldiers and spent a few minutes in discussion with them. Finished with this, she returned to her throne and, after calling for attention, made some pronouncement while pointing at us humans.

From the back of the crowd came a couple of apparent maids (judging by the fact that they were the first ponies I had yet seen wearing aprons), and they led us away from the throne room, up a few staircases and hallways and finally to some quarters. One of the maids guided me into one of them, which could well be described as some ambassadorial suite: a combination of study and tearoom connecting with a bedroom, a bathroom and a balcony, and all of it so heavily ornamented that it just felt like somebody had been trying to make a point of just how much budget can be spent.

Yeah: a typical awe tactic usually used on visiting dignitaries. After watching the white queen naked but for a plain tiara and collar, looking grand rather than many grandiose characters I glanced at in her throne room, I could imagine her scoffing at this flamboyant façade of an apartment and living in a sensible suite.

So, once I was left alone inside this gilded abomination, I sunk into the bed and let my mind wander around a simple question:

“So, if I am really stuck in this pony world/land/whatever, what will I do?”
At least I knew I would be treated favourably, but that only meant that my mind didn’t wander into darker… possibilities.

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