Dadonequus Discord (Book 2)

by CrazedLaughter

First published

With the exodus of Chrysalis, Anon's life finally starts to go back to normal. Or rather, as normal as it can be when being the adopted son of the spirit of chaos. But new problems await him. What they are? Who knows...

With the exodus of Chrysalis, Anon's life finally starts to go back to normal. Or rather, as normal as it can be when being the adopted son of the spirit of chaos. But new problems await him. What they are? Who knows...

But that new school Twilight is having built might be a bad place to start.

Prologue

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Another day passes

Another moon sinks into the distance as the sun rises to brighten everyone’s day.

Well, except for you.

You didn’t exactly live in the happy-go-lucky land of Equestria. No, you lived in a dimension that was adjacent to it through unknown means, the dimension of chaos.

You were no ordinary colt. You were Anon, the cross-dimensional human turned pony and the son of the spirit of chaos himself, Discord.

You wake up on your enchanted bed, it’s warmth as comforting as a hug, and make your way to your dresser with a tired yawn. “Ugh, I can’t believe I’m up. Dammit Rainbow, your training sucks sometimes, I swear. But…” You flex your legs a little bit and do a little stretch. “I gotta admit, I do feel better.”

Months has passed since the exodus of Chrysalis from your basement. Without her, your life began to become more streamlined and less chaotic as your friendship with her wavered from the minds of those who knew.

You look upon your dresser. On it was a myriad of photos of treasured memories. Once before you had wondered how certain photos had appeared without any apparent camera being about, but sometime after Chrysalis had run off, more photos had begun to appear. It made you realize that the dresser too was enchanted, producing photos from your stronger memories. And although not all the photos you had were natural, there were quite a few that came from such magic.

You looked upon the photos that you treasured most, and recalled some of the memories from them. The family photo, taken from your earlier days of Equestria, those were some times. You and Diamond, cuddling together, you had really grown to love her. Of course, you had to watch that libido of yours at times, it was a little wild. You, Lyra, and Bonbon, smiling for a photo.

There was one of you and Daring Do. You remembered that adventure, sad you never got to keep lolizatl, it would have made a cute pet to give to Diamond. Another photo, this one of you and the gang from the other dimension, obviously formed from an especially strong memory. You hoped Mr.Rich had found his family, and that Celestia had kept the world from being frozen from the Windigos.

Another photo, not one you really wanted to remember. This one? It was a photo taken by Spike. It was you next to a pony named Stygian. A pony who was formerly the Pony of Shadows and one you had nearly blasted into dust on the hunch it was just an evil being. When Twilight had saw you were actually killing him, she managed to pull you away from your attack and save the weakened Stygian from his shadowy machinations. Lucky for you, ponies were of a forgiving sort. And they did understand that you were going off Starswirl’s earlier suspicions of Stygian being straight out evil. Truly a set of circumstances you just wanted to forget, but kept a photo of just in case.

And here, a photo taken of you, Starlight, and Trixie. How the hell did this happen? You ask yourself this sometimes. Trixie had taken your suggestion and taken her tour to Starlight’s town. And according to Starlight, Trixie’s curiousness of Starlight’s magic and the strange “item” she carried around led to the both of them befriending one another through their similarities...Which mostly meant their time as outcasts. Still, from what you’ve seen of their friendship, it seems to be true enough. But man, Trixie is quite a trip now that she’s become a member of the town, and her smugness seems to have gone back to normal too.

Oh, you liked this photo. Forged from the memory of you and Tempest after the Storm King’s defeat. Although it seemed your memory may have been a little skewed as it had you and her posing with very happy and warm smiles. You know THAT never happened, but it must have been such a strong thought that it formed as a photo anyway.

And here is one of you, Big Mac, Discord, and Spike as your O&O selves. Ogres and Oubliettes, you still can’t fucking believe that’s what Spike meant by guys night. And as you look at the photo, you could still feel how you weren’t as in to it as they were. Sure, they may have been due to a critical miss with you cutting some rope and instead lodging your battle axe into your skull, but that was neither here nor there. Yep, Spike as the wizard, Garbunkle. Big Mac as the unicorn knight, Sir Biggum, Discord as the archer, Captain Wuzz. And you as Conan the Barbarian, with your big ass axe and viking helmet. Too bad Discord had to also give you the business about using a human pop culture reference for your character. But dammit, you didn’t care, it was just a damn game. Not like he could talk anyway, he wanted to bail too at the start, not your fault he got into it. But, you had to admit, Seeing him have more friends was warming to the heart.

And then there was…

“Mnnn…” You looked at the next photo with a somber look. You and Chrysalis, yelling at each other in an adorable fashion. This was so long ago. You put the photo face down with a sigh, you had moved on with your life since then, and remembering the old times only made you feel miserable. Still, you kept her car in perfect condition, for the just in case.

That was the past, and you only had the future to look forward to. You had friends who wanted to be there for you, and vice versa. Those were the ones you had to focus on now.

You opened your dresser as you recalled one more thing in your mind. Discord, the guy who made it all happen. Your friend, your father, and a true blue asshole, and you loved that about him. Everyday, every goddamn day, he somehow made it both exciting and scary at the same time. But most importantly, it was always interesting. You don’t know what’d you do without him. Discord, he was there for you when you needed him the most, and under that chaotic facade, he really cared. You could see how Fluttershy was able to see his good side when everyone else saw him as just an asshole.

Ahh, but the time to reminiscence was over, for today was going to be a great day! Due to you and Discord becoming closer to Spike and Big Mac, Spike had the brilliant idea of turning a morning where you all were free into a day of team bowling. Heh, you had to chuckle to yourself as you pull your bowling shirt from your dresser and put it on, it was finally happening, and with Big Mac and Discord along, you were sure you’d be able to crush any team that dared challenge the lot of you. God, it had been so long since he originally asked, and to flake out now would be pretty assholish.

Plus, for the last few weeks, you had been training with Rainbow Dash to improve your body as per Mr.Rich’s request. And tomorrow was your “final exam” so to speak, with today being your resting day. So yeah, why not test your newfound skills in crushing some other bowling team in the art of...erm….bowling. Spike had mentioned Big Mac had lined up the perfect team for you all to face, and you were raring to go.

You put on a blue bowling shirt with a black collar and the words “The Guild” on the back of it. It was the name Spike had decided to name the team after winning a die roll between the four of you. You were fine with it. A little TOO nerdy for your taste. But hey, a dice roll is a dice roll.

After putting on the shirt, you looked upon the family photo and smiled at Fluttershy. “I’m gonna make you proud tomorrow, I promise.” Then you look over to Diamond’s and flex your leg “And once you get a load of me, you’re gonna have to ask your dad how you suddenly became so wet, ohhhh yeah.” You were pretty pumped for today,tomorrow, and whatever else the future would bring.

You then look over to your window. Hell, you felt so great that you decided to greet the overgrown meatball… And his newest friend. So you smirked, pulled the line to raise the blinds, and got ready to give out a great big “GOOD MORNING, X-CAPTAIN!”

Chapter 1 - The Punishment of the Storm King

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The large beholder like mutant changeling, with his tentacles full of holes, hovered in his usual spot. Yes, as always, he was there waiting behind the window for his opportunity to barge inside and feast upon your flesh. But this time he seemed rather annoyed. Actually, it was a rather odd and new sight to see from him for once as he did his best to focus on a rather small book he was reading.

He slowly shifted his single eye to you and groaned “What’s so special about the morning? You can’t even tell it’s morning.”

Ok then… “Er, uhhh…” You were speechless, you had expected the usual routine of closing the blinds on him. But he was acting rather unusual. “What’s with the book?”

“Oh this?” He holds the book up to you, it seemed to be a book of old legends. “Something that floated by. But you must be wondering why I lack the desire to enact my perfect plan of destroying you, the queen, and everything else really.”

It was odd hearing him so calm, he sounded almost like his old self. “I-I guess. I mean, are you finally off of that and wanting to become good?”

The X-Captain scoffed at your words “Haha…no. Your destruction will come soon enough. Right now, I’m trying to take my focus away from myself. You know…” He suddenly looks at you with a flaring red eye “BECAUSE THE WRETCHED BEING YOU STUCK TO MY BACKSIDE WON’T STOP WHINING ABOUT HOW HE LOST! HOW HE’S STUCK ON MY BACKSIDE! AND HOW HE HAS THESE HORRIBLE PLANS OF JUST WANTING TO CONQUER THE WORLD! WHO WANTS TO CONQUER IT WHEN YOU CAN DESTROY EVVVVERRRYYYTHING! YOU’LL RUE THE DAY YOU DID THIS TO ME, ANON! I WILL DESTROY YOU, FIND A WAY TO REVIVE YOU, AND THEN DESTROY YOU ONCE MORE! I SWEAR IT! EVEN WHEN HE ISN’T SCREECHING! I CAN STILL HEAR HIS STUPID STUPID THOUGHTS! REEEEEEEE!”

Ahh, there we go. Classic X-Captain.

The being he was talking about was the Storm King. After you and Discord had fun with his head, you had decided to stick him in a place most befitting of his personality...The X-Captain’s metaphorical ass.

The Storm King…

This guy, under his smarmy business like demeanor laid the black heart of a brutal tyrant. He was willing to kill,conquer, and destroy to get what he wants. He was even willing to blast Fluttershy into nothingness without a second thought. They way he brutalized you, the way he treated your friends, his malicious nature cruel enough to blast Canterlot into dust just because he couldn’t have his epic final battle. You felt death was too good for him, and you could never let the princesses know he was still alive either. His evil nature awoke some of your own sleeping human nature when it came to punishment and vengeance. He couldn’t get away with what he had done, and so you felt this was a proper punishment; a punishment even Tartarus couldn’t provide. Sure, you could be malicious and put him through eternal pain. But you felt being stuck with the ever screeching kidney stone may be an even worse punishment than that.

You smirk at the X-Captain and swirl your hoof about “Alright, alright. Turn around and I’ll have a chat with him, I’ll see if I can calm him down.”

“YOU’LL REMOVE HIM, OR ELSE!” The X-Captain slams his tentacles onto the window and slithers them about in rage.

You just shrug “I mean, I could...But I won’t. So it’s either this or you deal with him yourself.”

“ANON! I SWEAR! YOU WILL DO IT OR I’LL MAKE THINGS WORSE FOR YOU! THE IMBECILE WON’T EVEN CALM DOWN ABOUT MY NEWLY ACQUIRED ABILITY TO PRODUCE FECAL MATTER! WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT?! I ONLY GO ABOUT SIX TIMES A DAY! IT RELIEVES ME OF SOME OF THE STRESS OF AWAITING THE DAY OF YOUR DESTRUCTION!” The X-Captain continues to screech without rest.

Lordy, you didn’t realize it was that bad….good, the fucker deserves it. “Well, that ability to relieve yourself came from me. So, you kinda owe me one. So again, either I talk to him or I’m just going to go.”

The X-Captain goes silent for a moment and just gives you a hard stare. Then,with an annoyed grunt, he slowly spins around to reveal the ever deformed head of the Storm King on his back side. His monkey hairs thinned and ghostly white, and his skin grafted with the mutated chitin of the X-Captain’s spherical body. He looked like a wreck, but he was still capable of coherent thought despite his homely form. He looked pretty disheveled at the moment, like he barely slept.

“Yo, Stormy, what’s up?!” You say to him with a cheerful smile “Not getting along with your new friend?”

“Ugh...guh? YOU!” The Storm King suddenly becomes alert as he darts his eyes towards you “You little pipsqueak! Finally! You’re going to undo this spell or you’re gonna suffer real bad. Trust me kid, I know people.” He was putting on a sudden tough front.

Welp, at least he and the X-Captain have a lot in common when it comes to threatening you. “That’s a lot of shit you're spouting there, Stormy. Something I’ve heard you’ve been doing a lot of these days.”

The Storm King’s right eye twitched in anger as he bared his crooked teeth for a moment. Oh yeah, he was super pissed off. But he kept his cool, it was obvious he had been thinking of something to say to you for quite some time. “Kid, it is the worst experience in my life, every time. Look, I get it, you’re still upset about the whole “invasion” thing. I get that, but don’t you think your princesses would get a little testy to know you’ve enacted cruel and REALLY unusual punishment instead of sending me to...Oh, I dunno...Tartarus or something? Last I checked, they kind of frown at this sort of treatment. So, come on, you’ve had your fun. So at least send me there, because you know they’ll find out eventually. And what then? Huh?”

This fucking guy. You wondered how long he was prepping that pathetic attempt to persuade you. You already let the princesses rip you away from a friend. Sure, said friend had a ton of crimes on her back that you couldn’t just make go away, but still. And this guy? He was no friend, and you weren’t going to let the princesses even realize what you’ve done this time. He deserves this. If he had won, you don’t know what you would have done had you survived his attack on Canterlot. And if you didn’t survive, then you were sure whatever Discord would have in mind would be a million times worse. Fuck the princesses mercy, and fuck this guy.

“I don’t care. So deal with it, because the only reprieve you’re gonna get from now on is trying to get along with your new friend you’re stuck with.” You tell this to him with a smile, but your eyes were filled with hatred for him.

“GRRR..Guh...mmnn” The Storm King nearly loses it. But he calms himself again and tries to appeal to your better nature. “C’mon, kid. All this guy talks about is about destroying you. And his screaming? There are days I can’t even sleep! Have a heart, kid. Don’t you think I’ve had enough? I don’t even have a body of my own anymore. C’mon, cut a deal with me. Anything you want? It’s yours, just get me out of here!” He was really scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

“Let me tell you something. You threatened my friends, my home, and my family. I don’t give a DAMN about what the princesses think. I don’t give a fuck how bad your suffering is. This is your new home now, and you’re going to deal with it. And don’t even try to tell me you can better yourself either. Sorry, I don’t care if you can or can’t. You fucked up, and now you gotta deal with it. Or maybe I should put it in a way you can understand.” You look at him with a deathly stare as you put on your horn. Maybe this was a waste of a charge, but you really wanted to send a message to him. Using your magic, you turn temporarily turn your room into a gigantic fireworks display. And donning a tophat and cane, you point to a gigantic elaborate billboard that says “Mercy for sale!”.

You give him a sneaky salesman smirk as you adjust your tophat “See that?”

“Yeah!” The Storm King, being desperate for an out, answers as predictably as you thought he would “How much?”

“Ooooohhhh!” You say with false pained strain in your voice “All out! All sales are final too! No refunds! And that’s the last I’ll ever be sellin’” You then rest your legs on your cane as you rest your head on your legs, giving the Storm King an arrogant smirk “So, get it now?” You say as everything begins to revert back to once it was.

The Storm King finally releases his pent up rage, he could no longer contain himself. “YOU LITTLE! I SWEAR! I WILL DESTROY YOU! YOUR FAMILY! EVERYTHING! YOU THINK THIS IS OVER?! OH NO! IT’S ONLY BEGUN! AND..no...NO! HAHA! I WON’T DESTROY YOU! I’LL MAKE SURE YOU SUFFER SO MUCH MORE THAN I HAVE! OH YEAH! PEOPLE ARE GONNA PAY TO SEE WHAT I’VE GOT LINED UP FOR YOU! YOU HEAR ME!?”

You then hear the X-Captain speak “FINALLY! HE FINALLY GETS IT! TOOK HIM LONG ENOUGH!”

You just shrug as you prepare to close the blinds “Ok then, you do that. Yo, X-Captain, you good now?”

“YES!” The X-Captain yells as he quickly turns around to thank you while the Storm King whines that he wasn’t done screaming his revenge “WE’RE FINALLY THINKING AT THE SAME LEVEL! FINALLY! I mean, that won’t mean I’ll give you any mercy! BUT AT LEAST I DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER ANYMORE! THIS CALLS FOR A VICTORY POOP!”

You just nod to him and chuckle “You do that, have fun!”

You close the blinds as you hear the Storm King beg for his sanity.

You then look to the floor door as you adjust your mane “Well, that was fun. I hope Discord is ready, because we got a game to win.”

Chapter 2 - Bowling Practice and Twilight's Letter

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You made your way down to the living room as you called your faux father’s name. “Discord! Yo, Discord! You ready yet?”

Suddenly, you hear the rumbling of some mysterious large object coming towards you. Another prank? Ha! You were ready this time! You stay alert and look all along the walls, floor, and ceiling for whatever was coming at you. As the sound grew louder, you see a giant bowling ball phase through the wall where the front door was. You dodge it easily, then look back at it with a cocky grin. “HA! Nice try, Discord! But my senses are much sharper now. There’s no way you’re gonna hit MEEEAGGHH!” You are cut short by the coming of a second ball as it rolls over you and brings you along with it until it phases through another wall, leaving you flat on it's wallpaper'd exterior. You slowly slide down and fall on your head as you hear the words “I made the spare!”

“HAHA! Now that’s what I call a practice session!” Discord poofs in with a flash as he looks upon you like an accomplished work of art. “Anon! My dear, Anon! We are sure to win today! Oh yes, whoever dared to challenge us will be in for a rude awakening!” He says as he rubs his talons and paw digits together.

God-Fucking-Dammit…

“N-ngh, t-the hell?!” You slowly rise up and look at Discord with scrunched up annoyance “Discord! You couldn’t have used actual pins or something?! Why me?! Why?!”

Discord shrugged “Why not? You were there, I was over here, and it was the perfect distance in trying out my bowling arts since I apparently won’t be allowed to use magic. What, was it not good enough?”

You sigh, why do you even bother trying to tell him that sometimes he’s too much of an ass. “Did you have to keep throwing balls until you fucking hit me? That really hurt, you know? You don’t think that maybe sometimes you should tone it down a tad?” You say as you brush yourself off.

“What?” Discord looked confused, then pulled out a rulebook of some sorts and thumbed through it “Anon, don’t I get a second chance at rolling the ball if I fail to make the strike? I only threw two balls.” He then sighs and shakes his head with a sigh “There you go again, exaggerating the circumstances.”

“Christ, Discord. If you’re going to pull from a fucking rulebook then you should know that you need to use at least ten pi-.....oh come on now.” You looked around to see nine more versions of you looking around in curious fashion. “Really?”

Discord conjures a normal sized bowling ball and prepares to roll. He eyes you closely as the center front pin as he preps himself “Anon, I never do anything without my magic. Practice for today’s game is important.”

“So, you’re just gonna use me like that, huh?”

“Just for this last roll” Discord says as he pulls the ball back, targeting you with a single eye.

“That’s what I thought...GET HIM!” You point forward like a commander as your clones spring to action and tackle Discord down.

“HEY! WHAT IS THIS?! MUTINY! MUTINY I SAY!” Discord says as he gets tackled down.

Woah, that actually worked?! “Ha! How does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine?”

Discord immediately snaps his talons to make the clones vanish from his person. He slowly stands up and brushes himself off as he looks at you with annoyance. “Now that’s just bad form, Anon. Turning my own magic against me like that? Just terrible. How did you even manage that?”

“I’ve been learning. I’m your protege, remember? You created clones of me using chaos magic, so of course they were going to have some semblance of consciousness. It’s kind of like when you create clones of yourself, they all have this slight variance in personality and consciousness.” You then knock on your head with a smirk “See? I pay attention”

“Indeed…” Discord says in a low voice as he rubs his beard. He was feeling pride build up within him, but he didn’t feel celebratory in an extravagant sense. Rather, he walked up to you and gave you a gentle pat as he looked upon you with a fatherly smile “Good job, Anon. You’re really coming along nicely when it comes to chaos.”

“Well, I learned from the best. Plus, it’s not like my life has been calm or anything like that. There’s always something crazy going on to learn from. So, you ready to go or what? I don’t think the guys would appreciate us wasting time here.” Heh, you felt pretty good right now. You managed to turn Discord’s magic against him with but a simple realization. You were definitely getting better.

“I suppose. But, there is still one more thing.” Discord pulls out a purple envelope sealed with an emblem representing Twilight’s cutie mark “Another one of these arrived in the mail.”

“Ugh…Another one?” You knew what that was. Twilight, in her infinite dumbness, had the bright idea of having a friendship school. It was still under construction, but it wouldn’t be too long now until it was finally ready. For some reason, she felt you should attend. But fuck that, that was stupid. Even you knew something like friendship can’t be taught at a fucking school, that kind of thing comes naturally. Worst yet, this was the sixth letter she fucking sent.

“Afraid so. So, what will it be? Do you want to use a flamethrower or should we blast it with a giant laser?” Discord asks as he looks at the letter with disdain.

You groan, you really didn’t like the fact that she was trying so damn hard with these letters. “Just toss it, I don’t care. Why can’t she take the hint? I don’t want to go to her stupid school.”

“And I back your decision one hundred percent.” Discord says as he puts the letter in a sandwich and guzzles it down like a drink. “And while I hate to make sense of why Twilight is persistent, it is probably due to the fact that you haven’t made any effort to reply”

“Shouldn’t me not replying send the message?” Like, yeah, what the fuck?

Discord smirks at you and pokes at your forehead “Did you suddenly forget where you are? Since when did our purple princess ever get the hint?”

Dammit…

You swipe Discord’s paw away as you realize your own ignorance. “Alright, alright. I get it, I guess I can have a word with her since we’re gonna be stopping by the castle anyway.”

Discord looks at you with a pouty face “Do you mind if I watch? Pwetty pwease? I want to see her reaction when you tell her 'no'”

“You’re actually asking?”

“Yes, but even if you say no, I’m going to listen in anyway. I’m just taking the fifty fifty chance of actually being wanted for this.” Discord says as he straightens his bowling shirt.

“Discord…” Actually, you could see that saying no to Twilight was going to cause some sort of an upset. But goddammit, it better not, she should be able to accept that you don’t want to go….right? Either way, you’d appreciate it if Discord didn’t nose in on this one. “Maybe another time. This is all friendship related. Twilight is going to be all sensitive about it and I’d rather deal with it on my lonesome.”

“Ugh, really? Come now, Anon. I wouldn’t even say a word, I could just watch” Discord tries to appeal to you any way he can. He was coming to respect your decisions...mostly. But he still wanted to have his way. “What if I gave you unlimited charges for a week?”

OHHHHH GAWD. Now that’s tempting.

But…

“Ugh, now that hurts. I’d love that, but Twilight is still my friend, I really don’t want to make things worse than they are probably going to be. Look, we’re supposed to be going bowling with the guys, right? What if you being there wastes too much time? What then?”

“Right! I forgot that Big Mac has that whole delivery thing to the superior Twilight’s town. Alright, alright. But don’t take too long then, because if you’re the reason we miss out on the game then I’ll be practicing on you for the rest of the day.” Discord says as he holds a pin with a head resembling your own. He then lashes at it with his tongue, knocking it down to the floor.

Cripes…

“Yeah yeah, I get it. Oh, one more thing. Are you sure you couldn’t get Fluttershy to see my final training exam tomorrow? She said she was pretty upset that she had to leave to deal with something with Thorax. And...you know...It can’t be that important.” You really wanted her to be there for tomorrow so you could show her just how great you’ve become recently. But apparently Thorax had been wanting to open the kingdom to visitors, and Fluttershy being the kind one, was asked to show the changelings how to be super extra welcoming on that very fucking day. How could they need help? They all became motherfucking pussies since he took over.

“I tried. Oh, I tried. I even went to the extreme of mentioning that you could meet your end from it. And she did mention that she tried to ask the others to fill in for her, but their all so busy now. You don’t even see Rarity at the boutique much anymore these days. Not that I care, but it does cause Fluttershy to leave her usual spots to go to the big city. And then you know how that goes, her being amongst the public means me being there would spook them too much. Ugh, trust me Anon, even I’m annoyed about this whole changeling business. I was sure we were done with them, but apparently not. But don’t fret, I’ll still be there...You wanted that…” Discord suddenly looks at you, in wanting of your approval of his presence “Right?”

“Ok, c’mon. Don’t get worried that I wouldn’t want you there just because of your little bowling prank. I appreciate it actually. I know how you don’t like to sit around doing nothing, so the fact you’re willing to go through that much for me means a lot.”

“Well that’s good to hear. I mean, who wouldn’t want this hunk of chaos rooting them on for victory? And since I am technically your father, I suppose I should say a word of comfort about tomorrow.” He raises his talon and makes a snap.

Suddenly, you are in an audience full of Discords as Discord himself stands at a podium. He clears his throat and speaks into a microphone to the crowd below him “Hello, I am Discord, Anon’s father. I am proud of my son, and I know he’ll do great tomorrow. He has nothing to fear as his progress in his training has been...somewhat...good? Hmm, that’d be the truth, but let’s lie a little and say he has been doing perfectly. Ahrm, anyway, the point is that he has made phenomenal progress due to his natural abilities and willingness to improve. Qualities that every pony should have if I do say so myself. Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without me. So…” Suddenly, he sounds like some kind of rambunctious preacher man. “CANNNN I GET A STAAAAANNNNDINNNGGG OVATION!” He cries as he wiggles his arms up in the air.

All the Discords rise up and cheer, hoot, and dance in honor of the Discord at the podium as you just stare with a raised eyebrow. Goddammit, he just had to do that.

Everything then suddenly returns to normal in a flash as Discord stands there with an arrogant grin.

You just roll your eyes and let out a chuckle. He was such a lovable asshole sometimes. You could read between the lines of his speech, you knew what he actually meant. “Ok buttmunch, you had your fun, let’s just get going, alright?”

“Gladly, I don’t want to use up any of our spare time anyway. I want to talk to Spike a little about our next campaign.”

Ugh...Dammit. “Really? But we just finished one.”

Discord seemed a little offended by that “What? Are you saying you wouldn’t want to start another adventu- Ohhhhhh….” Discord snickered “You’re still upset about that bad roll”

You didn’t want to talk about it “C-can we just go?”

Discord let out another little chuckle “Whatever you say, Conan”

And with a snap of his talons, you both were off.

Chapter 3 - The Twilight Debate

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And in a flash, you both were inside Twilight’s castle, or to be more exact, right inside the cutie mark chamber.

“Oh hey! You’re both here!” You hear Spike say. It seems he had already been waiting and ready for the both of you all morning, not at all surprised by your sudden appearance. “Awesome! I’ve been waiting all morning to show you guys something that’s gonna get you pumped!”

“Woah! Slow down! We just got here” You didn’t even get a chance to look around the area to see who and what was around, and you did notice you were one member short. “Hey, where’s Big Mac?”

“He’s already at the alley.” Spike holds up a bowling bag with a confident smile on his face “As for us, I got us something that’ll show everypony that we mean business.”

“Mean business? Ohhhh!” Discord gets excited and zips over to Spike to look over the bag “Are we going to blow open a tear in reality to send our opponents through with whatever is in that bag?” Discord then stands tall as he shakes his fist in the air “TO SHOW OUR ADVERSARIES THAT THE GUILD IS THE ULTIMATE IN ALL THINGS BOWLING!?”

“Uhhhhh...sort of?” Spike looks a little put off and confused as he places the bag on the cutie map table and takes out a bowling ball made out of emerald that had the name “The Guild” engraved on it with golden letters. It shimmered and shined whenever any light hit it. “I got us all this cool custom bowling ball we can all use. I mean, it kind of shows that we’re going to be the best team there. No…” Spike stands tall and raises his fist along with Discord “IT TOTALLY SHOWS THAT WE’RE THE BEST TEAM EVER! ONE WHICH WILL CRUSH OUR FOES WITH OUR MIGHTY ABILITY TO ROLL A BALL!”

Discord looks over to Spike with a nod and a smirk “Nice way to word it, Garbunkle”

Spike takes a bow “Thank you, Captain Wuzz”

You just put your hoof to your face. “Ok you two, can we not act like nerds when we get there? Please? We’re gonna be in public.”

Spike calls for Discord to lower his head so he could whisper to him “What’s his problem?”

Discord whispers back “He still has a ‘splitting headache’ from our last session”

“Splitting...he-he-HAHAHAHAHA!” Spike loses it and falls over, pointing at Discord with joviality “I get it! Because he got an axe to his head!”

You narrow your eyes towards the both of them. “...That’s not funny, you know…”

Discord shrugs as he gives you a pat “Relax, Anon, it’s not like it killed you. We did agree to give your character a huge increase in defense for all cranial injuries. You’ll be fine! I mean, Conan will be fine.” Discord ends his words with a slight chortle

“Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up you two. It was just a bad roll, that’s all.” Goddammit, it was really humiliating though.

“Come on, Anon, relax! We’re only messing with you a little bit. You’re one of us, one of the guys!” Spike hops down from the table and walks over to you. He then gives you a thumbs up. “You’re the hero colt! And part of ‘The Guild’. We know it was a bad roll. Everypony gets one sometimes, and it’s pretty funny when it happens, right? Are you saying you wouldn’t laugh at Discord if he got a critical miss at something like, erm, knocking on a door?”

“Hey! I’ll have you know that a critical miss on knocking on a door shouldn’t result in something humiliating, at least when it comes to me.” Discord interjects

“Maybe, but what if it was a cursed door or something? It’d probably react by using it’s entire frame to knock you into a pulp. Like…” Spike smacks his fist into his palm multiple times “...Ironically being knocked on BY the door, that’d be pretty funny.”

Discord being physically smacked by a door? Heh, that made you smirk “Now that would be funny.”

Discord crosses his arms and looks away with a gruff snort “Well, I don’t think so.”

“C’mon, Dad. Don’t KNOCK IT until you try it! Eh? HAHAHA!” You break into laughter, sure it was a dumb pun, but it always was extra funny if it cheesed Discord off. Especially when Spike joined in on your mocking laughter.

“Ugh...Whatever. Don’t you have a princess to talk to about your invitation?” Discord says, unamused by the laughter going on around him.

“Huh?” Spike stops laughing when he realized what Discord meant. “You mean the invitation to Twilight’s Friendship School?” Spike looks to you with curiousness “You’re gonna go? That’s awesome!”

“Err...no” You shake your head “I’d rather not. I just want to let Twilight know that I’m declining her offer, that’s all. She’s here, right?”

Spike seemed kind of disappointed by your answer as he pointed towards the other wings of the castle “I mean, yeah, she’s prepping stuff up for when the school is built and ready for classes. But why aren’t you going, Anon? You’re from another dimension, right? This would be a great way for you to learn how ponies do friendship. And I’m talking all the ins and outs of it. I mean, look at me, I’ve learned all about living with ponies by learning from my pony friends here in Ponyville.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t learn that in a school, right?” You ask him.

“Well...no” Spike replies

“Exactly. I think I’ve learned enough through experience just like you have. And it’s not like friendship is a foreign thing to me. I think I’ll be fine” You tell him

“I guess… I mean, I thought it’d be pretty helpful for you. But I can’t force you to go either.” Spike states. But then he looks back towards the inner wings of the castle and then back at you with concern “But Twilight is probably gonna try to convince you, so just go easy on her, ok? I know you kind of got this chip on your shoulder with her, but she only wants to see you get better, you know?”

..Dammit, Spike. He was looking at you with pleading eyes to be as easy with Twilight as possible. This had to mean that Twilight was probably going to be really annoying when you tell her no. “Ok, ok...I’ll do my best, I promise”

“Thanks dude, we’ll wait for you here. Been meaning to go over a few of my ideas for the next campaign with your dad anyway”

“Ahh! I had been meaning to ask you about that.” Discord said as he sat down at Fluttershy’s chair, eager to hear what Spike had to say. “Do tell me everything.”

“Alright, so…” Was all you heard from Spike talking to Discord as you made your way to the main castle library where Twilight most likely was residing.

When you got there, you could in fact see Twilight looking over a bunch of scrolls as she sang silently to herself. She was obviously full of zeal when it came to this whole school business, it almost made you want to not talk to her at all. But you knew it was better to get this over with sooner rather than later.

“Hey, Twilight, you busy?” You ask as you enter the library.

“Huh? Hmm? Oh! Anon! Hello! Good morning!” Twilight says with happy cheer in her heart “Are you ready for that bowling game you’re going to have? I have to say, Spike has been pretty excited about it for quite some time. He felt pretty bad about not getting to bowl with you before, so seeing him so happy to bowl with ‘The Guild’ makes me happy too. Thank you for having the time for that, by the way, I know school and training with Rainbow Dash has left your schedule pretty tight. ”

“Oh...Yeah, um..You’re welcome.” Dammit Twilight, you didn’t have to act so thankful and happy go lucky. You now felt bad that you might be crushing her good mood. But…

No, you had to talk to her about this. If she was truly a princess and of regal status, then she should be able to fucking understand that you don’t want to go to her school. Besides, she and the other princesses already put you through enough shit, you didn’t need any more of it.

“Anon, are you alright?” Twilight looks to you with concern. She seemed antsy about the fact that you didn’t look as cheerful as she predicted.

“I’m fine, I just came up here to talk to you about your school.”

“OH!” Twilight got super excited now and jumped up, hovered, and floated over to you as she looked to you with a happy and near Pinkie-like grin. “That’s great! I didn’t expect you to personally accept, but I appreciate you coming to tell me all the same! I have to say, Anon. I’m already really excited to have everycreature learning everything they need to know about friendship. But to have you, somecreature from the outside world, learning our ways of friendship makes me fee-”

Ok, that’s enough. You put your hoof up at her to get her to stop right there. “Twilight, I’m actually declining your offer...and er…” What the fuck word was she using? “Everycreature?”

“Oh, it’s a very inclusive word for all the kinds of...Wait.” Twilight has a double take when she realizes what you said beforehand. “You don’t want to go? WHAT?! WHY?!”

Here we go…”Twilight, I appreciate the invitation. But I just don’t feel that your school isn't a good fit for me. I mean, what else do I have to learn about friendship anyway? I reformed Starlight, Trixie...sorta, and Tempest. And then there’s the fact I already have so many friends already, including a marefriend. I think I already mastered the magic of friendship.”

“Anon, while I do agree you have an amazing knack for friendship that many ponies don’t, there’s also a few faults you have that I think could use some improvement. The way you approached befriending Queen Chrysalis was-” And then you cut her off again.

Nope, she has no more right to fucking use that against you. “Twilight…” You look at her with a more serious stare as your voice hardens “Don’t you dare. I already admitted I got obsessive when it came to trying to reform her. But at the end of the day, I still managed to BEFRIEND her. I already learned through experience to be more careful, alright? So don’t do that to me.”

Twilight doesn’t reply for a moment as she ponders on what to say. She could see that you were still sensitive when it came to Chrysalis, and decided to try treading softer ground with you. “I understand. But I still think there’s still a few important things you can learn about friendship. I don’t mean to offend you, but you kind of still have a few ways to go to learn about harmony and love. You can sometimes be very mean, Anon. Mean in a way that only the most of the nastier dragons can be.”

“You mean with Stygian, don’t you?” You ask her

She nods “That, and a few other things. For Stygian...Anon, I understand that I was with Starswirl’s conclusion myself when it came to Stygian being the Pony of Shadows. But you were meaning to destroy him even after the truth of it was revealed, you nearly destroyed him. That’s not the pony way at all.”

You’ve had this conversation with her before. You had a good reason to continue your attempt to destroy Stygian. How could you be so sure that his begging and pleading after his shadow form was destroyed wasn’t just an act or a trick? “We’ve gone over this, I didn’t want to take any risks. You said Starswirl was the best of the best and never wrong, so how could you expect me to stand down?”

Twilight sighed, she knew she was partly to blame due to her fangasming when it came to Starswirl and the original six’s return. “I suppose I shouldn’t have. But he was begging for his life, Anon. We’re not like Sombra or the humans you have told me about from your old world. I don’t blame you for your actions, but I still think there are certain facets of your understanding of friendship that can be improved. You’re the hero colt, Anon. I just want you to have more compassion in the way you handle situations like this. Because it’s not just the way you tried to handle Stygian either. You can be mean to other ponies too. I’ve heard you put zippers on Snips’s and Snail’s mouths a few weeks ago, is that true?”

Ugh...So she knew about that, huh? “Yeah, I guess. They were getting uppity again. They thought since I was getting some training from an element that they deserve training from me. They wanted to battle my ‘Bowser’ form for Celestia’s sake! If they couldn’t handle zippers on their mouths then that’s on them, I’ve told them before to stop with the hero worship.”

“I know Snips and Snails can be a little overbearing sometimes, but that’s no excuse to use that kind of magic on them, especially when it lasted until midnight. Their mothers came to me scared out of their wits, Anon. And the way they panicked when I couldn’t undo your spell? Well... Nopony deserves that. Do you understand?” Twilight looks at you with a near mother like expression of sterness.

Nope, you weren’t having none of this shit. “Twilight, look. You are one of the few who even know my true age. Maybe this body has regressed me some, but I still know that when somepony tells you enough and you don’t listen, then consequences will happen. It’s not like I hurt them or anything either, it was simply a punishment. As I said, I have a handle on friendship, just not in the way a pony would handle things. Besides, why do you need a friendship school anyway? You, of all ponies, should realize friendship is an experience, and not something you can learn in a classroom.”

“I beg to differ on that one, Anon. My school isn’t just about learning friendship. It’s to bring unity to everycreature across the world. And more than that, it’s to give those who have felt shunned and alone a place to feel accepted,validated, and have the ability to forge friendships they never thought they’d be able to have. Everycreature deserves to learn, experience, and spread friendship to everycreature else. My school will make sure nocreature feels left out, no matter what.” Twilight explains.

Wut? “Uhm, ok, that’s all well and good. But friendship isn’t that difficult. Again, given how you used to be, and don’t ask how I know, I got a feeling the school might be a little too much.”

“No worries, I won’t question how you knew how I used to be. But do you remember how Starlight used to be? Tempest? Trixie? Your father? And since I know you know, Moondancer? I mean, I’ll even mention Princess Luna.”

What was she getting at? “Yeah, what about them? I reformed like half the ponies on that list myself.”

Twilight nodded “Right. But you also know about the Cutie Map and how it specifically designates one or two or even all of us to fix a specific friendship problem. And then there’s the fact that there could be many others who have felt hurt and abandoned like those I’ve mentioned. You, Anon, know for a fact that someponies just don’t take things too well and are willing to destroy the world just to get even with it. You can’t be there for all of them, just like I can’t be. But with my school, I can bring them all together and bring harmony to all. That’s my goal, that’s what I want. I know you’re smart, so if you think I’m wrong, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.”

Uhh…

Hmm…

Shit, you hadn’t thought of that. Equestria did seemed filled with this kind of shit. Twilight, in that regard, was mostly right. You couldn’t reform everyone nor could you be in everyplace at once. And given how Starlight had become evil over just one friend abandoning her...Ugh, fine. “No, I have nothing. I guess that's pretty solid when you put it that way."

Twilight nodded in triumph, and gave you a warm smile “I’m glad you understand.”

You did, but still… “I do, but I still don’t want to go. I guess I can cool my jets a little, but I still think it’s pointless for me to go. So let’s just let bygones be bygones, alright? I respect your school if you respect my decision not to go, alright? Please? I really don’t want to keep this up, I have a bowling game to get to.”

Twilight sighed, she really wanted you to go, but she knew that she really couldn’t force you either. She nods “Alright, that sounds very fair to me. Thank you for understanding, Anon.”

“Yeah, yeah… I guess. Whatever, good luck with the school, ok? And don’t push me, please? I appreciate our friendship, but my life is my life, and I have a good handle on it these days.”

Twilight nods again “I understand, and thank you. Good luck with your bowling game, alright?”

You nod, and calm yourself a bit now that this was over “Thanks, well, seeya Twilight.”

And with that, you made your way back to the cutie map room. Dammit, she had to mention Chrysalis. Whatever, it’s fine, it’s the past. It was time to bowl, time to win, and time to show off your new found skills.

Chapter 4 - Pregame Bants

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As you made your way back to the Cutie Map room, you couldn’t help but feel a little bad over the conversation you had with Twilight. But this was due to the fact that your friendship with her always gets jumbled up with her princess duty bullshit. Sometimes you wish you were brought in before she got the wings, then you wouldn’t have to deal with any kind of official bullshit when it came to her.

When you met with Discord and Spike once again, Spike couldn’t help but ask the obvious question. “So, uhhh, how’d it go?”

“It went fine, no problems here. So, we all ready?” You ask

Both Discord and Spike were more than ready to go at this point. But Spike still had some reservations on what went on with your and Twilight. “So, like, nothing bad happened? At all?”

You take a long breath, and nod to him once more “nothing happened, Spike. This isn’t like before, Me and Twilight have a better understanding of each other...Mostly. Trust me, if something bad happened, she’d probably be lecturing me right now.”

“Yeah, that makes sense actually. Twilight does tend to do that sometimes when she thinks something went really wrong. Ok then! Let’s get going!” Spike says, his fear of Twilight or you being in a sour mood leaving him with the certainty of nothing going wrong.

The three of you make your trek towards the bowling alley. Discord suddenly becomes curious however, and asks Spike a question. “So, who are we decimating? It can’t be the princesses since Twilight is staying at the castle doing...boring things. And yet I know there has to be a team of four to match our own.” Discord pondered even deeper “Who do we know that could form an even team of four?”

Spike shrugs “Well, I’d tell you if I knew, but Big Mac did all the prep work.”

“He didn’t tell you who we’d be bowling against?” You ask Spike, that seemed a little weird.

“Nope. Big Mac works a lot, remember? It probably slipped his mind or something.” Spike shrugged again, then looked ahead with confidence “It’s not like it matters, right? Whoever we got is gonna get their butt kicked anyway.”

“While I admit that not being able to use my magic does make things a tad more difficult for me, I still must agree.” Discord puts on some sunglasses and holds up a squirtgun as he speaks in a Schwarzenegger voice. “We’re going to terminate them, aughhrhhgree” God, he even did the laugh.

“I’m with you two, I mean, I’ve been training a WHOLE lot. My skills without the horn are as good as any wonderbolt, if my trainer is anything to go by. I gotta hand it to Rainbow Dash, she’s actually pretty good at being an instructor. But that’s probably because Mr.Rich had a hand in paying for some of the gear I got to use. I’m actually excited to see who we’re gonna beat.” You had nothing to worry about. Hell, Big Mac was a fucking farmhorse, so his coordination was going to be second to none. There was no way you all could lose.

“It’s all set then. Heh, now I feel bad for whoever even thought they could tangle with us. I just wanted to win, not embarrass them… Oh well.” Spike shrugged.

Oh yeah, this was gonna be fucking easy.

You all then reach the bowling alley. As it turns out, Big Mac had already paid for the lane you’ll all be using. You were all told to go to lane ten.

And holy shit, when you all got there, you swear you had to be dreaming right now. Because Big Mac was waiting for you all…..With the fucking CMC. And while the others seemed confused as to where the other team was, you could tell by the CMC’s brick red bowling shirts that they WERE the other fucking team. Holy fuck, really? That’s like pigs to the fucking slaughter.

“Heya, Big Mac” Spike is the first to greet Big Mac “Heya, Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo.”

The CMC greet Spike with a friendly smile, then you, and even Discord. Of course they would, he was your dad after all. It’d be rude not to greet him in front of you.

“Heya fellas, paid for the lane, we’re just waiting for one more pony and we’ll be ready to play.” Big Mac says as he takes a seat and waits.

But Spike gets confused and looks around “One more Pony? You mean for us? So it’s five versus five or something? Where’s the other team?”

Discord looks at Big Mac with some discontent “Excuse me, Big Mac, But we didn’t agree to a fifth member. There’s nopony else cool enough to hang with the likes of us. And Spike’s right.” Discord takes a look around “Where is the other team?”

“Guys…” You point over to the CMC “THEY ARE the other team. And their the ones waiting on their fourth pony. Holy geez, Big Mac, really? Seriously? I’m all for a slaughter, but you couldn’t have at least gotten us a team that was a little more challenging? We’re going to beat them so bad that their cutie marks are gonna fall off.” You weren't even laughing, you were serious, you didn’t want to make this TOO easy.

“Hey! That ain’t very nice” Applebloom says with a frown

“Wow, Anon, really?” Sweetie Belle looks at you with a mean look “Just because we’re girls doesn’t mean we’re gonna be easy.”

But Scootaloo doesn’t seem to take offense to your words at all. Instead, she steps up to you and gives you a confident look “I hope you can back up your words, Anon. Because I’ve been training a lot harder too! Ever since Rainbow Dash started training you, I’ve been copying your training regimine to make myself even better than I am now. Also, we got a secret weapon, so don’t think you’ve won just yet.”

You return Scootaloo’s confidence with a rather smug grin “Scoots, I never had a doubt in my mind that you’d actually be a challenge. And ok, I guess Applebloom is good too since she’s a farm pony and all. But Sweetie Belle, really? She can’t bowl for beans. Your scores won’t stack up to ours.”

“What?!” Sweetie Belle is taken aback by your words “You think I’m gonna bring my team down?! High and mighty as always, huh?! Well let me tell you that I think I’m a pretty good bowler! And besides, our fourth teammate is REALLY gonna steamroll your whole team! You’ll see!”

“Erm, can we all simmer down? Anon, why do ya gotta be all mean like that anyway?” Applebloom didn’t like your cocky attitude, but she didn’t want any sort of fight to break out either. “Ain’t this supposed to be a friendly competition?”

“C’mon Applebloom, I don’t think I’m being mean. Scoots took my banter just fine. There is nothing wrong with a little pregame bants. Am I right fellas?” You look around to your teammates for support.

“I mean, sorta? But these are the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Anon. I don’t think we should be mean to a bunch of foals.” Spike says. Although he internally felt it’d be an easy win, he felt a little guilty having to crush the CMC like that.

“A BUNCH OF FOALS?!” Steam nearly blasts from Sweetie Belle’s nostrils as she stomps up to Spike so forcibly that he falls on his back “WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?! YOU’RE A BABY, FOR CELESTIA’S SAKE! SO DON’T GO THINKING THAT JUST BECAUSE WE’RE FOALS MEAN WE CAN’T BEAT YOU!”

“W-w-whatever y-y-ou s-say! J-just don’t h-h-urt me!” Spike had to cover himself with his arms in fear of being stomped on by Sweetie Belle.

“That’s what I thought!” Sweetie Belle said with a nod as she stepped back to her team with a near militaristic march and stance.

Big Mac just frowned at everyone and raised his hooves and lowered them in a motion to tell everyone to calm down “Now no one get ornery now. We’re all here for a friendly game and that's how it’s all going to play out. So no pregame or post game bants or nothing, got it?”

“Oh, no worries big brother” Applebloom looks to Big Mac with a sweeter innocence, she was probably the only one here out of the CMC who seemed to have just come for a friendly game “I won’t start no trouble”

Discord, who had said nothing at this point, finally chimes in. He sounded and looked bored out of his skull. “And while that’s all very nice, we still have yet to see this fourth team member or even start the game. I thought this was going to be quick. And yet it’s taking longer than starting up a game of O&O. I just want to start, win, groove on the dance floor due to our win, and leave. And I’d like to do that as soon as possible.”

“Discord, ah said no pregame banter, this is a friendly game.” Big Mac reminds him.

Discord shrugs “That wasn’t banter…” Discord then suddenly zaps Applebloom with a bolt of magic.

“GYAAAH!” Applebloom yells, and looks around frantically as if something changed about her “What did he do to me?! What happened?!”

“Discord! What are ya doin?! What did you do that for?!” Big Mac suddenly got up, looking like he wanted to slug Discord for attacking his sister like that.

But Discord just holds a talon up to Big Mac to stop him, looks at him stoically, and says “Hold on, wait a moment, it’s coming”

“EWWWW!” Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle cry out as they move away from Applebloom.

“Wha?! What’s wrong?! Why are you girls saying that?” Applebloom starts tapping at her face “I’m not meltin’, am I?!”

“No” Scootaloo puts her hooves over her nose.

“You just really stink!” Sweetie Belle, as well, puts her hooves over her nose.

Discord then points over to the CMC with a bored expression “That’s banter...So, can we start now?”

Big Mac was already getting frustrated as he put his hoof over his forehead and sighed, then pointed over to Applebloom “You mind fixin’ mah sister?”

“Very well…” Discord simply snaps his talons, causing Applebloom’s smell to return to normal.

“Do I smell ok now, girls?” Applebloom asked as she started sniffing herself, it was actually kind of amusing to see herself smell at herself like a dog, but you couldn’t really laugh due to everyone suddenly being so hostile. Why? It really was just simple banter.

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle nod, But Scootaloo looked rather concerned, and like Applebloom, just wanted everyone to get along “Ok, so can we all calm down now, please? This all got all out of hoof pretty badly and everypony is kind of looking at us weird.”

Wut?

You all look around to see nearly the entire bowling alley looking at you with either disgusted, weirded out, or even a few frightened faces. It causes all of you, even Discord, to cough and take your seats without nary another word due to embarrassment.

But then, that still left the fourth member on the CMC’s team. “So...erm..yeah. Where is your fourth member anyway? It’s not Scrappy, is it? I didn’t know he could bowl.”

“He can’t, or maybe he can, ah dunno. But it ain’t him, he’s at home learnin’ everything he needs to know about zap apple jam” Applebloom informs you.

Huh… “I thought he just wanted to be the family dog”

Applebloom nods “He does, but he’s also our friend and a bonafide Apple, that means learnin’ all the ins and outs of our family and our traditions. He takes it all very seriously and doesn’t want to miss out on nothin, he’s even been learnin’ a lot of things from Big Mac too, right big brother?” Applebloom looks to Big Mac for confirmation.

“Eyyup” Big Mac says with a nod.

“Then who is it then?” Spike asks

“Who is it? It’s a Cutie Mark Crusader based team. That means it’s got the best bowler around, that bowler being me.” Said a mysterious voice with a heavy bronx accent.

Who in the…

You all turn to the side to see the pink maned, green eyed, brown coated filly only known as Babs Seed, donned in the same red bowling shirt as the CMC, step to the comfy team sofa they were sitting on.

“BABS! YOU MADE IT!” The CMC cried out in cheer and went to hug their teammate.

Woah, it’s Babs Seed, even you didn’t see that coming.

“‘Course I did, just got a little hung up by your dog...friend...bug? I dunno, but he seemed really happy to have me as a friend and he kinda wanted this really long hug. So yeah, it took me a bit. But hey, I’m ready to wipe the floor with the mooks who want to challenge us.” Babs Seed said with pride and arrogance.

Of course, this just causes Big Mac to once again do a face hoof as he has to tell his cousin to calm down. “Babs, none of that banter stuff, alright? Just had a problem with it before and I’d like this to be a friendly game before I have to get goin’ out of town.”

“Relax, nopony ever got hurt from a little teasing and…” That’s when she eyes you. She looks at you, then chuckles and points “Is that the Anon guy you told me about, Applebloom? He looks pretty scrawny to me, and he doesn’t even look like he has any game! What’s up with that? It looks like if he threw a ball, his leg would go along with it! SNAP! Come clean off”

“Oooooh! I think I just heard my old train fire reignite” Discord said with a smirkish cringe.

Mnnnnnghhh... You look back at Discord, annoyed with his reaction. “Excuse me? Are you implying that was a burn? You’re supposed to be on my side.”

“I am!...It’s just that was a pretty good one.” Discord said with another happy and mocking chuckle.

You look to Babs with an annoyed expression, how could she say that to you when her fucking cutie mark was about fucking hair! “And what do you know about that anyway? Aren’t you a hairdresser or something?”

“The youngest and the best there is down where I’m from. Which is the city, if you didn’t know. And to survive in the city, you gotta be good at everything. And let me tell you, bowling is like THE sport for any city ever. If you can’t bowl then you ain't got no place to stand, not even at your own talent. Yup, you’re not going to win, so don’t even try.” Babs tells you, god...she was so fucking smug, you couldn’t wait to crush her. “Besides, I did hear some of the stuff you were saying, and I don’t appreciate it”

“YEAH! YOU GO BABS! YOU TELL HIM!” Sweetie Belle cheers, which only serves to fuel your annoyance and Bab’s arrogance.

“Woah, woah! Hold on.” Spike jumps up off his seat to face off against Bab’s banter. “You can’t just say you’re going to win. Do you even know who we are? That’s Discord, the Spirit of Chaos. Anon’s the Hero Colt and his adopted son! And Big Mac...err” Spike looks at Big Mac, who only seemed to want this to be over so they could play the fucking game, and didn’t seem too pleased that this was going on at all “Look, point is, don’t count us out. We’re ‘The Guild’! And we always complete our quests, no matter what!”

“Ugh, nerd speak.” Babs said with an eye roll as she goes over to the scorecards and looks at the turn order “Look, you want to back up what you’re saying? Then let’s just play the game and see who comes out on top. And it looks like you’re first, Spike. So just show us what you got already.”

And through Babs leading on, the game finally begun. Well, that was a little less friendly than it could have been. Was it your fault? Nah, Scoots took it pretty well, and everyone else should have too. And that Babs, she really thought she could crush you and your team? Fuck it, if she wanted a challenge, then she was going to see what ‘The Guild’ was made of.

Chapter 5 - The Bowling Game (Part 1)

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Spike pulls out the custom ball from his bag and holds it up “Alright guys, here it is, the weapon we’ll use to fell these foul beasts.”

Big Mac just looks at Spike silently, with judging eyes.

Spike, realizing he still is kind of railing against his sister and her group, eases off for a moment. But this was only a moment until he realized that they were still a team and this was still a competition. “C’mon, Big Mac, you can’t be hard on us just because your sister is on the other team. Besides, you’re the one who even set this all up. How are we supposed to do our best if you’re just gonna complain at us for even saying anything?”

Applebloom hops down from her seat and pats her brother’s side to get his attention “He’s kind of right, Big Mac. It’s us versus you, remember? You can be a little extra competitive if ya want, just don’t be all mean about it, ok?”

Big Mac looks down at Applebloom, who reassures him again that it’s alright, as does the rest of the CMC. He really didn’t want to be super competitive against his kin, but he did start to realize that this was all his doing in the first place. “Ok…” He then looks to Spike with a nod “Alright Spike, Let’s get to fellin’ those beasts then. You don’t mind us callin’ you that, right Applebloom?”

Applebloom shrugs “Ah don’t mind as long as you don’t really mean it”

Babs then jumps from her seat as she gives Big Mac a reassuring nod and a cocky smirk “Don’t sweat it anyway, don’t you all know that being called a beast means you turn all the guys against you into mush? It ain’t no big, because we are gonna beast these guys into paste” She then reassured her team.

And that’s when you notice it. A competitive spark hit Big Mac that, while subtle to everyone else, it was something you could spot due to him giving Babs a quick narrow eyed glance. Finally, there was going to be a game, and no one was going to hold back.

So Spike once again holds up the ball and calls for the three of you “Alright guys, place your hooves and paws...or whatever... onto the ball and let us summon forth the power of the bowling gods to aid us on our journey!”

Big Mac just lets out a “Eeyup” as he places his hoof on the ball.

“Oh, I’m very into this right now. FOR GLORY! FOR ALL THE PATRONS OF THIS FAIR BOWLING ALLEY WILL KNOW OF OUR MIGHT!” Discord completely gets into it, and places his paw on the ball. He was ready to win, at seemingly any cost.

As for you, you were now more focused on Babs then you were Sweetie Belle. She had a lot of sass, but she obviously didn’t realize what she was dealing with. Even if she was good, half her team was donkey dick at this game. This was in the bag for sure. So you place your hoof on the ball, and let out a warcry “FOR ‘THE GUILD’! YEEEAAHH!”

After everyone broke off, Spike stepped up to the lane to throw the first ball. You all cheered him on as he carefully eyed his target and prepared to throw. He stood there for a few moments, nodded, and finally threw. His technique wasn’t bad either, as he ended up knocking down every pin but the 7th and 10th, an easy spare for sure.

“C’mon Spike! You can do it!” You cheer.

He was confident, he raised his hand to signal for silence as he concentrated once more. And again, he shows his skill as he expertly gets the spare. Not bad for a start.

Spike stepped back to the team sofa with a satisfied smile on his face. He sat down, and wrote the spare on the team scorecard. “There we go, not bad if I do say so myself.”

“Indeed, all we need to do is roll at the pace of spares and strikes and we’ll have this game in the bag.” Discord says as he leans back and relaxes, feeling sure that his group can win the game.

“Applebloom, you’re up” Scootaloo says as she stares at her team’s scorecard, ready to write down whatever score Applebloom gets while wishing for a strike.

“You can do it, Applebloom! Get that strike!” Sweetie Belle cheers.

Applebloom nods to her group and takes her generic black ball to the lane. She places it down and tries to figure out how to roll the ball to the lane. When she thinks she’s got it, she goes to put the ball in her mouth and throw. But Babs, upon seeing such a technique, jumps from her seat to give her cousin a few pointers “Woah! Woah! Applebloom, what are ya doing? That’s all wrong!”

Applebloom puts the ball down and looks to Babs with confusion “It is? But uh, how else am I supposed to get it down the lane?”

“Oh geez” Babs puts her hoof to her face and shakes it slowly, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “C’mon, how are you supposed to aim at anything with your mouth? Look, you want to win? Then listen to your cousin.”

“Erm, ok, but what am I supposed to do then?” Applebloom asked, curious as to what Babs had in mind.

“Well, it’s simple really.” Babs holds the flat of her right hoof straight up “You balance the ball on the frog of your hoof like this, use your eyes to mark your target, then with a downward like curve, you roll that ball right to the darn target! Got it? It’s easy, Applebloom. So get that strike already!”

Applebloom nods with determination “Thanks Babs! You can count on me!”

With that, Applebloom carefully lowers herself to get the ball on the frog of her hoof. Holy shit, what a shitshow, she was wobbling and shaking in an attempt to even balance the damn thing. You look over to the other CMC, even they were fucking sweating it now. You started to feel a little bad now, their poor little hearts were going to be crushed if this was a blowout game.

After a few more moments, Applebloom finally balanced the ball on her hoof, eyed the center pin, and with a swift movement, she managed to throw the ball accurately enough to….GET A STRIKE?!

OH FUCKING WHAT?! You could only sit there with your mouth hung open as Applebloom did a little dance in triumph. After she calmed down, she went to sit on her seat with a cute and satisfied little smile.

“Woah, how did you manage to do that, Applebloom?” Scootaloo asked, amazed at Applebloom’s sudden skill.

“Ah just did what mah cousin Babs told me. I could feel it, the balance of the ball on my hoof. All ah had to do was throw it after that. It’s just like doing farmwork back home, ya just got to handle the ball like a farm tool and you’re good to go.” Applebloom replies.

Big Mac was up next. Ok, it’s fine, Applebloom is a farmhorse after all, and that technique Babs taught her can’t apply to someone like Sweetie Belle. Just relax, Anon, it’s still the beginning.

“Interesting…” You hear Discord say

“Hm? What’s interesting?” You ask him, wondering what he meant.

“We could, in fact, have a close game going on here. “ Discord replies, then eyes Big Mac as he misses a few of the pins “Or we could even end up losing.” Discord summons up a drink, and takes a sip while still remaining rather calm despite a guy like him not usually taking well to coming even close to losing.

“I mean, all we have to do is step up our game a little.” You then notice that Big Mac thankfully picks up the spare “What, are you scared we might lose or something? Relax, they may have a strike, but that’s probably one of the few their going to get. Besides...erm.” You start to realize that maybe you were being too much of a dick, it was just a friendly game after all, there was no reason to shake your friendship with the CMC due to it. This was especially true for Scootaloo, who you were closest to out of the three. “It doesn’t matter who wins, just as long as we all had fun”

“Already bowing out of the challenge then, are we? Anon, you may not realize what I’m doing, but I am reconstructing my entire being to make sure that I bowl the perfect game.” Discord says. Despite him saying that, he didn’t really seem to be changing at all. Even then, that didn’t sound right to you.

“I’m not bowing out of the game, Discord, I just think that maybe I came on a little too strong. Also, isn’t that cheating? C’mon, if you want to win, then do it without cheating. Trust me, cheating to win just to win just feels all kinds of empty.” You explain to him. Cheating, really? Even you wouldn’t stoop that low. It’s like hacking in a game. Unless you’re doing it to troll, then it isn’t any fun. And the CMC were not the three you wanted to troll, even if Sweetie herself was kind of a dick.

“It’s not cheating.” Discord says as he eyes Sweetie Belle. He watches her try to make the same attempt Applebloom did, but it ends with only two pins being knocked down. “I will still have to use my own skill to actually throw the ball, but my body will be the equivalent of the best bowler in Equestria. The spin, the power, the technique, all will be available to me when I...AHA! There we go!” Discord raises his talons, only for them not to be talons anymore. No, now it had become a fucking human arm and hand.

“HOLY CELESTIA! WHAT IS THAT FREAKY THING?!” Spike notices Discord’s arm, and freaks out at, what he feels, is bizarre and grotesque.

In fact, many of the others around the bowling alley take notice due to Spike’s shriek and either freak out, nearly puke, or even faint.

Scootaloo however, actually finds it pretty cool and approaches Discord for a closer look. She seemed a little hesitant to ask Discord about it at first. But then she looks to you, she then figures it’d be ok since nothing bad should happen if she asks him, and if it did, that you’d stop it real quick. “So...er...Discord, what’s that? I know you do all kinds of chaos magic, but I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

A human arm? Seriously?! It had burly body hair and ugly crusty nails and everything. But still, it didn’t look that bad! What, does that mean that if you were human that all the ponies would run away from you like you were some kind of monster?! Goddamn it...You remembered your old human form. Come on, one of the ponies would think you’d be sexy, right?...Right?

Ugh, just seeing how the ponies reacted made you put your face on the table.

Discord stands up with a smile and gives Scootaloo a gentle pat with his paw as he grips his human hand a few times. “A bit of an evolution of sorts. A human hand, to be exact. I’m merely going to use it to help me grip the ball and throw it down the lane.”

“A human hand? You mean like that thing Anon...erm..” Scootaloo quieted down,Not everyone knew of your secret, and she didn’t want to be the one to spill the beans. “I mean, cool...but, wait…” She then realized something else, the same thing you thought of actually. “Isn’t that cheating?”

Discord chortles as he picks up the ball and prepares himself “Of course not! Haha! That’s such nonsense. As I said to Anon, it’s simply to help me grip this ball, not to make the perfect strike or anything. Why would I want to roll a perfect game anyway? I wouldn’t want to humiliate you, the fine patrons of this establishment, and everypony who’s ever bowled a perfect game for themselves for the VERY FIRST TIME THEY ACTUALLY PLAYED!” Discord practically screams out those last words. Cripes, he didn’t even care about beating the CMC in all actuality, he just wanted to crush the whole fucking bowling scene. It seemed he actually wanted the perfect fucking score.

“I mean, umm...erm…” Scootaloo just couldn’t hold it in “That still sounds like cheating to me”

“Yeah, something ain’t right around here…” Babs gets up to inspect Discord’s arm, blowing away some of her mane aside to get a better look “How do we really know you ain’t going to cheat? You do know nopony is allowed to use magic in a mixed game, right? If you cheat, then you’re outta here.”

“Aren’t you presumptuous.” Discord didn’t take too kindly to Bab’s words as he looked down at her with a stoic look and half slitted eyes “I’ll have you know that I represent the honorable team known as ‘The Guild’, and I’d never stoop to something as low as cheating. But you’ve seen my body, are you going to tell me that I’m equipped to play the game properly when I don’t even have a way to properly grip the ball?”

Babs just raises an eyebrow at Discord as she shows him the frog of her hoof “Hey genius, does it look like any of us ponies can grip the ball properly?”

Discord actually stopped right there, as if he was beaten in a battle of words. He stumbled a little on what to say next as small beads of sweat came off his head. Really? How could he not see this coming? Ah god, the one thing you didn’t want to happen was being fucking disqualified for something as stupid as this.

“Well...you see...Hmm..Ahh!” Discord finally comes up with a retort “Being a being of chaos, I happen to be right hoofed, but have two left limbs. So this new arm fixes that.”

“Ok...But.” Babs points to his human arm “That’s on your left too”

Discord coughs, and clears his throat as he quickly thinks of another lie “Erm..ahrm..hrm..Ahh, well, as I said, being of chaos. It would be rather chaotic for my right arm to be on my left side, right?”

“...I guess?” Babs replies. You couldn’t believe it, she was actually buying it.

“I mean, that kind of makes sense, in a non sensey kind of way.” Scootaloo adds

“Exactly, now will you two step aside? I’m trying to bowl here.” Discord brushes them both away as he goes back to prepping for his turn.

Christ, he had to make everything so damn difficult. Now he was going to cheat his way to a perfect fucking game. Now whatever glory there was to be had was thrown out the window. Though, that did make you wonder. Could you throw the perfect game? It would be cool to be the world record holder in Bowling. “Anon, the hero colt, rolled his perfect game on his very first try!” Yeah, that would be on your damned trophy. Ok then, that was definitely something to shoot for.

Discord finally rolls his first ball and….oh god, it was worse than a gutter ball. He fucking threw the damn thing over the foul line in a backwards roll, causing it to roll back to him once it had reached halfway across the lane.

Spike slaps his face with his clawed hand “Oh no…”

Big Mac nearly moans in anguish. It was surprising really, but his competitive spirit must have really taken a nosedive after that massive failure.

You? Oh god, considering he was your “Dad”, you felt utterly humiliated. “Good grief…”

Discord could hear the CMC giggling, he looks back at them, rather confused “What? What’s so funny?”

“HAHAHA! You didn’t even score! HEHEHE!” Sweetie Belle laughed, nearly falling off her seat.

“Wait. WAIT! THAT COUNTED?!” Discord looks back at Spike, who was putting a dash on the first frame “THAT ACTUALLY COUNTED?!” He was utterly blown away by the fact his shitty roll counted.

“Y-yeah...It does. What happened, Discord? You were messing around on purpose, right?” Spike had to ask him, he couldn’t believe that someone like Discord could foul something up that badly.

“U-uh…” Discord was stunned. He was frozen there for a moment as he held the ball and looked at it. He could see his failure all over his face through the reflection on the ball. He couldn’t allow this, sure he fucked up the strike, but he had to at least make it look like it was just to be courteous to the CMC “O-of course! I merely didn’t want to cause too much of an imbalance in the score. Now then, watch this! The perfect roll!”

Discord winds up this time, and gives it all he’s got.

And you just watch, your ears drooping when you see the kind of throw he made. “Oh no…”

Really, that was all you were able to say as the ball comes careening backwards towards the team couch and right into the center of your fucking face, knocking you backwards and behind the couch in a daze.

You could hear everyone gather around as stars danced about in front of you.

“Woah, that was one crazy throw” Scootaloo said in amazement.

“Yeah, erm, do you think everything will be ok?” Applebloom asked, she sounded very worried about the situation.

“I dunno, did you hear that noise? That was louder than brass hooves hitting a set of teeth.” Babs said, in as much amazement as Scootaloo sounded in.

“Does that count? It didn’t even go over the lane that time, I think I deserve another throw.” Really Discord? Holy fuck…

“Wait Discord, oh no... Is that?” Spike suddenly sounds super worried about...something.

“It’s a crack?! How can there be a crack?! I didn’t think anything could break through something like that” Sweetie Belle sounded astonished about something...wait, a crack?! Oh no…

“Eeyup, that’s a crack, but it shouldn’t...WHAT IN THE HAY?!” Even the usually calm Big Mac suddenly let out a horrified cry. Oh shit, were you dying?

“OH NO! IT CRACKED IN TWO! NOOOOOOO!” Spike suddenly screamed in hysterical like fear.

Suddenly, you started crying and moaning as you whined to yourself “T-this can’t be it...I still have too much to live for. I-I thought my head was invincible...Mngh..ngh. I didn’t even know it could...wait.” You slid your hooves along your face and realized you were fine.

You hopped up from the backside of the team couch to take a look at what the fuck they were talking about. All of them were gathered around the emerald bowling ball, which was now split in two from colliding with your face. Spike kneeled over it, crying his eyes out as he held up a few of it’s shards.

Are...you...fucking.. “WHAT?! THAT’S WHAT SPLIT IN TWO?! HOLY...GUYS! I THOUGHT I WAS DYING OVER HERE! AND YET YOU’RE ALL GETTING WORKED UP OVER A BALL!? HELLO! IT HIT ME IN THE FACE! WHAT ABOUT ME?! FORGET THAT STUPID BALL!”

Your words only seemed to make Spike cry more as he sobbed all over the broken halves of emerald.

“Anon, why do you need to be so insensitive? We all knew you were alright. But the ball? Look at it! It snapped in two! Poor Spike spent many a bit getting this ball and even more for the customization. I think that was his entire life savings, all spent for us.” Discord says as he looks at you with a snooty frown.

“I DID SPEND MY LIFE SAVINGS! ALL ONE HUNDRED BITS! GWAAAAAAAAH!” Spike fell over again, crying over the ball.

“Erm, Spike, um. It’ll be ok. We can still use one of the balls in the alley to continue the game. And besides, that ball was made of a mighty big gemstone, right? You could at least eat it, I bet it tastes really good.” Applebloom says while patting his back, doing her best to cheer him up.

“WAHH..wait.” Spike suddenly looks up and then at the cracked halves of the emerald ball. “That’s right, this was one of the biggest emeralds I’ve ever seen in my life. And I kinda secretly had been wanting to nibble it since I found it...erm, but is it really worth the hundred bits?....umm…” Spike hesitantly takes one of the halves of the ball and bites down on it. Suddenly he starts salivating and drooling as he mercilessly munches down on the emerald's half. “Ooo-oo-ohhh, yeah...I-It’s totally worth it.”

“Well, that solves that problem, but that’s still a big zero for ‘The Tavern’ or whatever you called yourselves. Which means it’s my turn…” Babs grabs her team ball, throws it like it’s nothing, and immediately hits the strike “And now it’s your turn, Anon.” She doesn’t even say it with arrogance, she simply goes back to her seat and waits patiently.

UGGGGGGGH! You couldn’t believe what just happened. You just find yourself slumping and sliding down back onto the couch with a miserable look on your face. You got outcared by a fucking ball, how does that even fucking happen?! Worst still, Discord’s big fucking zero meant your team was behind, big time.

This game was a fucking nightmare.

Chapter 6 - The Bowling Game (Part 2)

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So far, the game was a major disaster. Your team was now down by a large amount of points right from the get go from Discord’s turn. Goddammit, you should have known that he wouldn’t have been able to do this without ACTUAL use of his magic.

You grumble to yourself as you take a generic green ball from the nearby shelf and walk over to your lane. You had to start out strong, you had to make this throw. Come on! YOU CAN DO IT!

But before you can even prep throwing the ball, you hear Scootaloo call out your name. “Hey, Anon, wait!”

“What, guh?” You look back as you put the ball down. Was she calling for you? God, what could she want? Was she going to taunt you? Was she going to tell you that you have no hope? “What?” You say with some hostility in your voice.

“Woah, Anon...Hey, come on” Scootaloo hops off her seat and walks over to you with a frown, her ears folded. “I just wanted to ask you if you were ok. And, y’know, wish you luck.”

Wut? Now you were confused “You’re wishing me luck? I mean, I’m ok, I’ve taken worse. But why are you wishing me luck? We’re against each other right now.”

“I know, but I’m kind of excited to see how you’ll do now that you’ve been trained by Rainbow Dash. Plus, you’re my friend, why wouldn’t I wish you luck?” Scootaloo slowly begins to smile, hoping you weren’t still in a sour mood.

Wow, finally, a little respect. “Well, yeah...Thanks, Scoots, good luck to you too. And yeah, I’ve been meaning to try out these skills on something practical. I’m really hoping I can get a strike here.” Now you started to feel better, Scoots really knew how to better the situation.

“Thanks! I really can’t wait for tomorrow too! It’s gonna be you and me, racing to see who has improved the most” She then says…wait.

What the fuck did she mean by that? “Racing? You and me? What, during my final exam? Wh-when did that happen?”

“Oh, um, I asked Rainbow Dash if I could try out the exam too. She told me it was a little dangerous for a foal who hasn’t been doing the training. But I managed to convince her by showing her that I’ve been copying the whole training thing you’ve been doing, and that it’d be a great way to test how far you’ve really come. Heh, which I guess would mean how far I’ve come too. It’s gonna be awesome, Anon! I can’t wait to show Rainbow Dash what I’m made of! That’s why I say good luck to you again, for tomorrow this time! It’s gonna be really exciting!” Scootaloo was super excited for this, and there wasn’t even a hint of malcontent in her voice.

But, oh no. That was going to make tomorrow extra tough. What if you can’t beat her? What if she utterly thrashes you? Or hell, what if you crush her so badly that she loses hope in ever getting to fly? “Yeah….Scoots, erm. Are you sure you should race me tomorrow? I mean, what if something goes wrong?”

“What can go wrong? It doesn’t even really matter who wins, it’s more about beating that target time!” And then Scootaloo turns her head to the side to whisper “And maybe winning wouldn’t be so bad also…”

You don’t catch that last part, but you do hold in your sigh so you don’t seem rude. “Ok, erm. Then, uh, good luck tomorrow. Really, Scoots...” You give her a cheerful smile. If this was really going to happen, then you can only hope she at least crushes the target time...Because despite what guilt you may have, you didn’t plan on losing. “You’re gonna do great!”

Scoots gives you a short little hug and walks back to her seat feeling pride and confidence in her heart, something you may need now as you go back to concentrating on your throw. But how do you even throw the ball?

Well, maybe you can borrow a technique?

You try Bab’s technique. You hold the ball easily on the frog of your hoof and try to look at the pins like they were targets. Man, your focus really was better than before, but how about your skill? Only one way to find out! “HYAAAH!” You throw the ball along the ground the best you can, rolling it to the right with a leftward spin. While not as well executed as Bab’s throw, it did in fact get what you wanted as your ball spins just enough to hit the center pin and the third as well, causing enough of an effect to knock all the pins down in one roll. In other words... “YES! YEEEESSS! WOOOOOO!”

You jump back to look at your teammates, who were all applauding your masterful roll. Fuck yes! Even Discord was impressed?! Ohhhh baby! You take a bow before going back to your seat with satisfaction.

You looked over at the CMC, they seemed impressed, even Sweetie Belle. Yeah, life was good.

But then, Babs got out of her seat to say something to you. Was she going to be a dick? Was she going to get angry that you took her tech?

As it turned out, it was none of those things. “Good job, Anon, that was a pretty good throw. And I saw the way you spoke to Scootaloo over there, you don’t seem like that bad a guy, especially with the way my cousin Applebloom painted you as.”

Wut? “What do you mean the way Applebloom painted me as?” The fuck?!

“Y’know, when she had a crush on you and stuff. She sent me a few letters after you told her off that made you out to be this big jerk. She said she kind of exaggerated due to being all angry about it later on, but it didn’t seem like it to me when I first heard you talking when I got here. So hey, are we cool?” Babs holds out her hoof to you for a hoofbump.

You also couldn’t help but think that she also must have had a few whispers with Applebloom just then. The way Applebloom was silently looking at you, Babs may have asked her a few things about you when you were talking to Scootaloo. So that’s what it was, huh? Heh, man, that crush, it was so long ago. It was kind of funny how it still managed to sneak it’s way back in some way.

“Thanks, Babs. You’re not so bad yourself.” You reach over and give her a hoofbump “I’m gonna take a guess Sweetie Belle didn’t help your opinion of me either.”

“Yeah, she kind of said you were really ‘high and mighty’, that’s the words she used anyway. And I can kinda see it, but I’d have to hang out with you to really get a feel for you. Right now? We’re still facing off against each other, which means we’re still gonna bust your chops. So no hard feelings or nothing when you lose.” She then cocks a smirk at you. “So yeah, you’re going down.”

Oh really? You smirk back at her “Against my skill? We’ll see about that.”

A moment after saying that, Scootaloo manages to get a strike on her very first try. As Scootaloo goes to her seat hopping and excited, Babs smirk becomes a wry grin “Can’t win if your team score is lower than ours, Anon. Still…” Babs eases up, and takes a nod at your skill “You seem pretty good, if you can manage a perfect game, I might be willing to say you’re better than me.”

Really? Hmmm... “Funny you say that, this would be my first game of bowling, same as my Dad. So, if I do manage the perfect game, I’d say I’d be better than anypony ever.”

“Woah...huh, I’d actually like to see that. But now I know it ain’t happening. Nopony ever rolls the perfect game their first try. But…If you do somehow manage it, I’ll fix up your mane for free whenever you want, how does that sound?” Babs says as she eyes your mane.

You never really did anything with your mane. All you do is brush it back and it looks cute, especially cute for Diamond Tiara. So if it was cute, then you didn’t really require Bab’s services. Hell, what was wrong with your mane anyway? “Uhhh, what’s wrong with my mane? You don’t think it’s cute?”

“Anon, I’m gonna be real with you. Your mane? It looked like all you did was wipe it back some. Sure, that’s enough..for...I guess, things? Look, just…” Babs is actually trying to be courteous with this. “Handling manes is my talent, I even get paid for it when I go to my friend’s mom’s workplace to do a mane or two. You can say I got a knack for it. And I’m just saying that your mane can use a tune up. There’s...erm..’That’ style, and then there’s...some other styles that are pretty cool. Like, I’m not kidding, I can really get you looking smooth.”

Man, she really didn’t get it. You let out a chuckle as you decline her offer “Look, I’m like...super handsome, even my aunt tells me I am. I’m her little gentlecolt, you know?”

Babs suddenly looked at you oddly, like you said something weird. It was almost like she was trying to hold back a laugh “Gentlecolt...Right. W-well, I guess you don’t need my help then...erm, just gonna sit back down” The more she spoke, the more like she was going to bust a gut. She went back to her seat, shaking as if she was gonna explode.

Humph, she just didn't get it. If even Fluttershy could see your cuteness, then you didn't need any help.

While this was all going on, Big Mac’s turn had already passed as he came back to sit on the couch to tell Spike to mark down a nine. Spike was looking over the scorecard, specifically Discord’s score. “Discord, things aren’t looking good right now, we need you to pull off...like...a ton of strikes.”

“Relax, Spike. It was a practice turn, that’s all.” Discord says as he notices Sweetie Belle’s less than perfect set of rolls, she only gets five pins down this time. “This time, I’m sure to get a strike.”

“We’re gonna need all the strikes we can get, Discord. There’s only ten rounds here, and unless we all pull together, we won’t be able to win past the fifth frame.” Spike said as he tried guessing what the final scores could be just from everyone’s current showings.

Discord scoffs as he takes the ball and walks over to the lane. “Like I said, don’t worry. I’m sure to get it down the lane this time!” Discord says as he preps his throw “I may have lost the perfect score, but I’m not about to lose to a bunch of fillies.”

Discord throws the ball along the ground…and into the gutter.

“....ohhhnnn…” Spike looks on with utter astonishment at such a piss poor roll.

“What? I atleast got it down the lane this time! Again, a practice roll. Don’t worry, Spike, I can at least pick up the spare if I just fine tune my roll, like so...annnnnnnddddd! HA! I knew adding a little more power would get it down the middle…” Discord said as he threw the ball. And boy did he throw it, quite literally. The ball flew just above the middle pin and straight into the mouth of the lane...hitting nothing.

“We’re doomed…” Spike says, frozen from shock on how bad that was before slamming his face on the table.

“Eeyup…” Big Mac said, even he was stunned.

“Oh Discord…you really should have fucking practiced for real…” You say silently to yourself. Surprisingly, your team was pretty rock solid, even you were pulling your weight. But with Discord failing so miserably, it was clear that the win was an impossibility.

Discord sat down, with worry and shame on his face. It was finally starting to sink in that he was a detriment to the team. But rather than say anything, he just stays silent.

Babs does her turn, and pulls off a spare this time. Not bad.

Then it was your turn. You look to Discord, and try to give him some words of encouragement. “Dad, it’s alright. It’s just a game, ok? You’re just not that great at bowling, that’s all. You’re great at everything else though.”

Discord slumps onto the table “But I need to be good at everything.What’s the point of going on if I’m not good at every single thing in the world?”

“What? But Discord, that would mean you’d also want to be the best at being the Princess of Friendship. Y’know, you’d have to be like Twilight to be able to do that.” Spike tells him

“WHAT?! EWWWW!” Discord suddenly springs back up as he shivers and starts spitting out globs of food that looked like Twilight’s head. “Noo! No ! No! No! Noooooo! No! Be like Twilight?! I’d sooner give up my magic and whimsy before I’d even attempt to try something like that. You know what? You’re right, who needs to be good at this stupid game anyway? I’m Discord, the spirit of chaos! I only need to be good at games that actually matter, like O&O.”

Spike nods to Discord, then gives you the thumbs up. It seems he noticed what you were trying to do, and backed you up in cheering up Discord.

Spike was a pretty cool guy. When he was with you, he always tried to get your back, just like when that no good Good News came barging into the castle that one time. You just wish you were able to take his offer for bowling the first time, you didn’t feel that great having to see Discord get depressed.

Hell, the first time he offered, it was for a perfectly rolled game, which even if you didn't do, would have just been a friendly game of bowling anyway. But you gotta admit, you rolling a perfect game right now really would make up for all this losing. But what were the chances of that? Huh?

Well...maybe the chances were better than you thought. Because as you make the roll on the ball, you manage to get another strike.

No way…

When you look back, all eyes were on you, everyone on both teams silent. Not just because you made another strike, but because it was you, who has presumably never bowled before, making that strike.

No way...C-could you do it?

Maybe? No….you could!

Suddenly, this wasn’t a game about beating the other team. If you could manage the perfect game, then glory would be yours. Babs had already messed up, and you were on a roll.

Indeed, even after Scootaloo played her turn, she had only managed a spare this time, just like Babs.

And the game went on like this too. And while everyone was getting varying scores, with the exclusion of Discord, who was just now trying to make his misses look elegant just to save face, you...You...were doing it. With every turn, you were managing a strike. You couldn’t believe it, they couldn’t believe it, even the other bowlers, who were gathering around to see the game, couldn’t believe it.

Frame after frame, roll after roll, you were making consecutive strikes! You were close to the perfect 300 for your very first time playing bowling...In Equestria...BUT STILL! HOLY SHIT! Everyone was excited whenever your turn came up. The CMC, the bowlers, Spike, Big Mac. Hell, Discord was now running around the bowling alley exclaiming that it was his son, the hero colt, that was going to be making this record breaking event happen right now, right here, in this spot.

It was the 10th frame, the bonus roll, you only needed one more strike. Suddenly, the competition didn’t exist as now everyone on both sides just wanted you to pull this off. Even Sweetie Belle was excited and wanting to see you make history here in Ponyville. You were truly a hero… Holy crap! THIS WAS IT! TRUE GLORY!

You must never audibly thank Rainbow Dash for this…

She must never know her training let you pull this off…

“Anon, you almost have this. But don’t be a putz and choke, alright? I ain’t never seen nothing like this before, and I want to see you pull this off. Remember, the only thing that exists is you and them pins, got it? I was serious too, even if you don’t want it, I’ll fix up your mane for free whenever you do decide to let me. I know you can do it! Show them pins what you're made of!” Babs was giving you words of advice, she wanted to see this happen as badly as everyone else.

“Yeah…” You say as you started to sweat profusely. You were telling yourself not to choke, not to let the ball slip, to not let your sweaty hooves to cause you to fumble. You stood there, focusing the best you could as the bowling alley started at dead silence, with the quiet chanting of your name building with each passing second.

It was like time stood still…

It was like your entire life rode on this single moment…

This was it…

You could feel your excitement quaking beneath your hooves…

...Wait…

“What’s that noise?” one of the bowlers in the audience state when the sudden sounds of stomping began to pervade the room.

“It’s getting louder!” Another bowler said as she started to look around frantically.

And then there was a deafening roar, causing everyone to duck down and hide for cover.

No! NO! WHATEVER THAT WAS, IT WILL NOT TAKE THIS WIN FROM YOU!

As if nothing else exists,you throw the ball for that final strike, that perfect game.

The ball was halfway there...THIS WAS IT!

And then suddenly, a ferocious dragon, large and yellow in color, with a hooked mouth and red frills, stomped through the roof of the bowling alley and started to tear everything apart as it sniffed for something.

“A DRAGON! EVERYPONY RUN!” Someone says as everyone starts to run away in a panic.

Indeed, Big Mac himself takes the responsible roll of brother and starts to get the CMC and other scared foals out of the alley. Spike is trying to pull you away as you stare at your ball… The ball had been stopped into a spin by the Dragon’s entrance...but it was still slowly making its way to the pins due to the spin itself. “Anon! It’s a forest dragon! I think it’s sniffed the ball when it cracked open! I think that’s what it’s after! We gotta go! Your Dad can handle this!”

But you were so...NO!

And just like that, the Dragon’s foot comes down on the ball, crushing it into rubble as it lowers its head and starts to sniff around.

Spike is frozen in fear now as the large dragon sniffs near his mouth, picking up on the scent of gems, and then notices one of the halves of the ball on the table. It then stands straight up, and roars at the both of you as it starts to build up it’s flames.

“A-Anon…” Spike gulped “I’m scared…” Indeed, it was too late to run now. And when Spike did look back to see where Discord was, it seemed he left with the crowd. Not because he was scared, but because he was trying to convince them to come back to see your perfect game.

As for you...your eye was twitching.

You felt...pure...fucking...rage.

Chapter 7 - The Dragon Attack!

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The dragon was taking its sweet time revving up those flames, no doubt Twilight would be here soon to deal with the problem herself. Both these points meant nothing to you however. This hulking beast ruined your shot at perfection, and you will not let that stand.

Spike was scared shitless. He didn’t expect this to happen. He could only guess that the ball breaking in half is what caused this. The emerald ball was of a special kind of gemstone with a great taste and alluring aroma, it was the reason he bought it in the first place. The ball splitting in half must have released a greater scent that was sniffed out by this dragon. “A-Anon! W-W-We gotta go! I-I don’t think he knows about dragons being good with ponies n-now.” Spike gulped

“Spike...just go” You put on your horn as the dragon prepared to annihilate the entire place

“Anon, what are you d-doing? ANON! You can’t fight this guy!” Spike suddenly snaps back to reality when he realises what you were going to do “Even with your horn, you won’t do much to this guy! It’s a gold scaled Diamondtooth! Magic barely does anything to it, and it spits balls of fire that explodes! Even Twilight is gonna have trouble with this gu-” But before Spike could finish, you give him a death glare, a stare to rival even Fluttershy’s. “O-ok then...mnngh..” Spike slowly steps away and runs towards the door, but he stops when he reaches it and looks back at you “...I gotta get Twilight, and quick!”

Now it was just you and the dragon. “HEY YOU! YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! YOU DO KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID, RIGHT?!”

But the dragon just prepares it’s flames even further, the light in it’s mouth becoming intense as large flames start to poke out from it. It wouldn’t be long now.

“HEY! SHIT FOR BRAINS! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME! YOU JUST RUINED ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS OF MY PONY LIFE, YOU FUCKBAG! I WAS GOING TO BE THE COLT...YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK IT, AND FUCK YOU! BRING IT ON! DO IT! I’M RIGHT HERE! BURN ME TO A DAMN CRISP!” That’s it, you wanted that stupid fucker to open that big fucking mouth of his. Resistant to magic, was he?

The dragon finally preps it’s explosive fireball, and pelts it directly towards you.

“NOT TODAY! YOU STUPID FUCK! SWING BATTA, SWING!” A gigantic metal bat suddenly floats ahead of you and swings at the ball. The dragon may have been resistant to magic, but the fireball was not. It bounces back from your swing and smashes right back into the dragon’s face, sending the goliath of a beast into the air, with enough velocity to send him a few feet away from town.

Oh, but you weren’t done yet, that fucker was going to pay for fucking up your game. You grab onto the metal bat and launch off into the air. When you spot the dragon slowly recovering from his fall, you spin, grab the bat, and start meteor dropping towards his face “YOU STUPID FUCK! I’M GOING TO KNOCK YOUR FUCKING TEETH IN!”

The dragon puts its hand over it’s eyes to block the sun as it looks up into the sky. When it finally spots you, it was too late to dodge. You use all your power, both physical and magical, to slam the bat at the side of the dragon’s face. The force of the swing was so powerful, that even the magical metal bat snapped in two as the dragon went into a spin and flew off into the horizon. You had put so much magical power into that final swing that you’d be surprised if the dragon didn’t have an aneurysm after that.

With the metal bat broken, it disappears into the ether as your horn returns to normal. “AND IF YOU FUCKING DARE COME BACK! I’LL RAM AN EVEN BIGGER BAT UP YOUR ASSHOLE...Cloaca...Cloica? Cicola? I dunno….Ugh…” You lay down onto the grass, feeling defeated despite beating the dragon. “I was so close to achieving something without magic…and then that happened! THAT HAPPENED! GRAWGR!”

“Anon, are you ok?!” You hear a voice coming in from a distance.

“NO, I AM NOT OK!” You yell out, your rage returning to you upon quick remembrance of your ruined game.

“Rainbow Dash! Check him for any injuries, I’m going to fly up and make sure that dragon isn’t coming back. Oygh, I’m gonna have to send a letter to Princess Ember about this.” Said the voice, it was obvious it was Twilight, but you were too pissed to care.

“Alright, Rockhead, I’m taking you to the hospital after this, so just show me where that guy got you so I know what to tell the doc” Rainbow Dash says as she approaches you “A dragon, sheesh! Should have known a few of them were still jerks.”

When she does approach you, you suddenly grab hold of her face and shake it in rage “I’M NOT HURT! I’M PISSED! THAT DRAGON RUINED MY PERFECT GAME! I WANT HIM BACK HERE SO I CAN MAKE A BOWLING BALL OUT OF HIS FREAKING SKULL! I’LL MAKE A SLUSHY OUT OF HIS BRAIN! AND I’LL USE HIS CLAWS TO PROVIDE CUTTING TOOLS FOR THE LOCAL SCHOOL’S SHOP CLASS!”

Rainbow Dash pulled back from your grasp and looks at you cautiously “...O-K then... So, you’re mad. Erm...Anon, you know you just legit saved Ponyville from a dragon attack, right?”

“BUT MY PERFECT GAME! HOLY CRAP! IS THIS HOW THE X-CAPTAIN FEELS?! I’M GONNA RIP THAT DRAGON’S HEART OUT, I SWEAR IT! REEEEEE!” You were nearly foaming at the mouth.

“Anon!” Rainbow Dash gives you a slap on the face “Snap out of it! You’re creeping me out!”

Ugh! She kind of hit hard on that one. It wasn’t like you were out of it, you were just fucking pissed. “Ouch! Ok, ok! Ugh, so yeah...erm...There was a dragon, and he’s gone now. I mean…” You sigh “Look Rainbow Dash, he ruined my perfect game. I know you’re my teacher and all, but I don’t want to hear it about how I handled it, that guy had it coming.”

“What, you think I’m gonna lay on to you for smacking that dragon? Anon, what you did? THAT WAS AWESOME!” Rainbow Dash said with excitement “I saw you in the air with that huge bat! You sent that guy flying into the stratosphere! It was pretty darn cool! Plus, again, you saved all of Ponyville! I mean, we kind of do that from time to time. But this time, it was you! You should be proud! I am! My student saved the day!” Rainbow Dash had a tear in her eye “I bet this is how my Mom felt about me everyday”

“I-I guess...ugh” You slump down to the ground as your ears droop down “Why couldn’t he attack AFTER I hit the pins?”

Twilight flies back to the ground and notices your position. She gets scared and looks to Rainbow Dash to find out your condition. “Rainbow Dash! Is he ok?! What happened to him?!”

“It’s ok, Twilight. He’s just depressed about some bowling game or something.” Rainbow Dash says “Can you get him to snap out of it?”

Twilight nods “I’ll give it a go” Twilight walks up to you and gives you a tap “Anon, are you ok?”

“No” You say in a slightly hostile way “That dragon ruined my game”

“Ok, and it’s obvious that was really important to you. But you know what’s also important?” Twilight asks you

“Breaking that dragon’s best arm so he’ll never know the joys of bowling?” You say, not really caring what Twilight had to say.

Twilight gulps just a little at that. She knew you could have a violent streak, and tries to see past that. “I-I guess that could be important. But what’s MOST important is the fact that you not only saved the town, but your friends too! Everypony is ok thanks to you. I saw what that dragon was when you knocked him back, I would have had some trouble with him if I had to go against him one on one”

You almost reply with a “I don’t care”. But you realized who you were talking to, and also realized that answer would have made Twilight snap at you for sure. But the truth was, she was right. Despite the fact that your game was ruined, you did actually manage to save the fucking town. Was that a good thing? Maybe. But oh man, your hero status is gonna be at its peak again. And while that was fine, it also meant Snips and Snails were probably gonna come up with another scheme to be your apprentices or something.

But then something else dons on you when you look back at Twilight. You saved the CMC, in which one of its members looked down at you in a way that you didn’t like. You realized there was no way for Sweetie Belle to denounce this shit, she had to full on respect you now.

And oh god, when the Riches hear about this? Oh boy, them respect points. And Diamond? Ohhh yeah, them sweet sweet soft cuddles. “Yeah, I did save everypony, didn’t I? I’m sorry Twilight…” You hide your true thoughts as you give her a tired sigh “I just let my emotions run away with me. So, everypony got out ok?”

Twilight nods “Mhmm, they did. Anon, what you did was very very brave. And heh…” She lets out a sheepish chuckle “I guess I can’t really say something like ‘It’s too dangerous for a foal like you, what were you thinking’ given who you are. In fact, I’m actually really impressed. I didn’t think you could create a physical object to fight him off. How did you know that was going to work, Anon?”

Uhhhhhhhh...You didn’t. “Oh, well, I mean, bats are universal for both games and smashing faces. It seemed obvious to me.”

Rainbow Dash let out an arrogant chuckle as she gave you a pat “See that? He got that kind of thinking thanks to my awesome training.”

“Come on, Rainbow Dash, don’t go trying to take any credit on this one. We know how Anon is, he can be kind of violent at times. But in this case, I’m kind of glad he did. Though I hope that dragon is ok, if only so he can stand trial in Princess Ember’s court...or um...However she does that.” Twilight says.

“I guess...Uh, are we gonna tell Fluttershy about this though? She’s gonna have a fit if she finds out this happened” Rainbow Dash asked, worried that Fluttershy might overreact to you nearly getting charbroiled.

“We have to tell her. Anon is her nephew after all. Plus, it’d be hard to explain why the bowling alley is suddenly demolished without that particular detail anyway. Rainbow Dash, can you take him to Fluttershy’s? She hasn’t left to see the breezies yet, and I’d rather she knows now rather than later.” Twilight asks Rainbow Dash

“What? Come on, Twilight! I’m busy too, remember? That Filthy Rich guy has been asking for me and Captain Spitfire. I don’t even know why, but I bet it’s over something super boring. You know those business types, it’s gonna take forever. I’d rather get it over with now while there’s still a lot of the day to enjoy.” Rainbow Dash protests. But within her protest, something catches your interest. Mr.Rich wanted her and Spitfire? What for? Your training?

Hmmm...Now you were curious.

“Rainbow Dash, there’s a lot of scared ponies out there. As the princess of friendship, it’s up to me to calm everypony down before things get worse. That was a pretty big scare.” Twilight explains.

“Ugh, can’t you have Mayor Mare do it? Then you can take Anon to see Fluttershy while I go meet up with Spitfire for this thing” Rainbow Dash groans.

“Sorry, Rainbow Dash. But I have to do what I have to do. Besides, weren’t you just proud of him for what he did just now?” She moves in close to her and whispers “Please, just stay with him, alright? I can tell from his face that he’s shaken up. You’ve been training him for a while now, so I’m sure you being around him will help calm his nerves. We kind of had a debate that nearly got heated today, I don’t think I’m the right mare for the job in giving him comfort.”

Rainbow Dash, upon hearing those words, suddenly stood up tall and gave Twilight a nod, confirming that she understood and would take this seriously now “Yeah, when you put it that way, it makes sense. Ok, Twilight, you do what you gotta do. I’ll stay with Anon.”

“Thank you, Rainbow Dash. If you need me later for your meeting, let me know, ok?” Twilight gives her a quick hug, and flies off to calm the town.

Rainbow Dash looks back down at you. She couldn’t see any obvious signs of sadness or depression, just what Twilight had said. You were shaken up. But not from the attack itself, you were just fucking pissed at the dragon ruining everything. That and the added curiousness due to Rainbow Dash’s meeting must have made you look rather off in her eyes. “Hey, Rockhead, you alright? I mean for real.”

Rockhead, it’s something she had been calling you since your training with her started. Apparently she had taken to some tradition that the Wonderbolts had in nicknaming their members silly and rather insulting names. And that was the name she had chosen for you, for obvious reasons. You took no offense to it however...Well, not since you started anyway. “Yeah, I’m alright. I just got really angry back there. Sorry if I seemed off, you know how it is. Some dragon ruins your perfect bowling game and you gotta go whack something with a bat…Namely the buttmunch who ruined said game.”

“So it was really that, huh?” Rainbow Dash lets out a gentle chuckle “Man, remind me not to get between you and a bowling ball, huh?” She gives you a very gentle and loving pat “So you really are ok? Not shaken up like Twilight said?”

You nod “Yeah, heh...I kind of feel bad scaring you both like that. But when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll” You let out a chuckle that gradually gets weaker when you come back to the fact you failed at your goal “I am bummed out though. I was gonna be the first colt to bowl their first perfect game on the first try”

Rainbow Dash smiles at you, and actually feels she can empathize with that feeling you had. “Oh, so that’s how it was, eh? Yeah, now I totally know how you feel. I would have socked that dragon into a pulp if he did the same to me too. Sorry, Anon. But hey! You kicked a dragon’s butt! And everypony saw it! If anypony was denying the fact that a colt could be a hero, they can’t doubt it now. That’s good, right?”

While you had already been thinking of the pros and cons of your heroic deed, you hadn’t thought of the fact that you were indeed easily witnessed in your utter thrashing of that dragon. Oh man, that was pretty cool actually. Sure, you helped beat the Storm King too, but no one really saw that. This? It was right in front of everyone’s faces! Meaning the respect was guaranteed! You actually felt anxious on how everyone would react...and you kind of dreaded if it ended up being too much. You embraced your heroship, especially since Diamond found that a really attractive quality. But if it went to the levels of another fanclub war…Well, you were sure you could keep things under control.

“Yeah, that actually is pretty good.” Still...There was a few other things on your mind. “I just hope Aunt Fluttershy doesn’t get too worried about it.”

“Naaahhhh, you’ve been through much worse. She’ll be worried at first, yeah. But if we keep it cool, then things are gonna be ok” Rainbow Dash says, sounding confident that everything was going to stay calm.

“Yeah, I think so too. So erm, can I ask you a question, Rainbow Dash?”

“Sure, let me just…” Rainbow Dash lowers herself enough for you to get on her back “There we go, hop on”

You nod to her, and hop on her back as she kicks off the ground and begins to hover before making way to Fluttershy’s.

“Yeah, so. I heard Scootaloo is gonna be taking the exam too. What’s that all about? I don’t think it’s bad or anything, just curious.”

“Yep, she’s gonna be taking it too. I didn’t know she had been copying my training style, heck, I didn’t even know she wanted my training. We both kind of had a good laugh about that. She never thought to ask, she thought she had to prove herself first. Well, to tell you the truth, she’s pretty quick on her hooves, Anon. She’s gotten a lot quicker and stronger than before. Heh, I mean, that would just be due to her following my training regimine pretty good. But still, it’s really impressive either way. I told her the exam could be kind of dangerous, but she wanted to take it anyway. If you wanna know the truth, I think she can pass it with flying colors. And I want her to pass it, and by that, I mean slugging it as hard as you slugged that dragon. She really tries, Anon. I think it would be one of the most awesomest things ever if she managed to pass this exam with Captain Spitfire watching. You know what I mean?”

Yeah..that would be pretty...Wait. “So Spitfire is gonna be watching us too? For sure? Is that what Mr.Rich wants you two for?”

“I dunno what he wants us for. I know he paid for the equipment, but that was more through Spitfire than through me. Y’know, he paid Spitfire for the extra equipment I could use for you and that was that. The Captain was gonna watch the exam either way since she was interested in seeing you perform. Y’know, Hero Colt who helped kick the Storm King’s butt makes a pretty big impression when a whole team of pegasi wasn’t able to do it. But Mr.Rich? I dunno, I think he’s gonna turn it into a public event or something.”

A public event? Oh god, you hoped not. But given how much pride he had in you, that was actually a pretty good possibility. Which means Diamond was totally, for sure, gonna be there to watch you. You had to make sure to pass this exam, at any cost. Because that also meant, that if that was indeed the case, that the pressure was going to be on Rainbow too. If you fucked up, that was gonna make her look bad due to the fact she was training you. Considering what she’s done for you, you couldn’t fuck this up. “I see. Well, if that’s what it is, then I’ll make sure to put on a good show. You can trust in me, Rainbow Dash, I got this!”

“I know you do! You and Scootaloo are amazing foals, so I already know you both are gonna do fine! But uhhh...Let’s just focus on your Aunt first, alright? Just in case…”

You nod “Yeah…” God, you hoped she didn’t react too badly.

Chapter 8 - Meeting with Fluttershy

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You both arrive at Fluttershy’s cottage.

When Rainbow Dash landed and let you off her back, you take the time to observe the family statues. Obviously, the statue with “Nymous” was no longer there. Rainbow Dash notices where you’re looking and gets a little worried for you. “Yo, Anon, you alright?”

“Oh, uhm, yeah.” You nod back at her and turn your head to face Fluttershy’s door “Just was remembering a few things.”

“Well you gotta get your head out of the clouds because I kinda want to approach this in a way that won’t make Fluttershy go nuts.” Rainbow Dash goes silent for a moment for a quick pondering before she looks back at you “...And I got nothing right now.”

You shrug “I mean, we can just tell her. I know she’s extra sensitive when it comes to my well being, but come on! After dealing with the Storm King, a dragon should be nothing.”

“Anon, she treats you like you’re her kid. I’ve seen her go nuts over even tiny stuff when it comes to you.” Rainbow Dash informs you

“Like what?”

“Well, yesterday, when I was telling her about your final exam, I kind of mentioned this one part with sandbags swinging left and right. You know, to smack you around if you don’t time your run right, and she nearly cancelled her trip to see the Breezies to try to dismantle the whole obstacle course and try to get me and Spitfire to give you something ‘nicer’.”

Really? Over sandbags? Although… “I mean, you’re right, that’s pretty overprotective of her. But if it meant cancelling her trip…”

Welp, you said it. You really did want her to see you pull off the exam. And you didn’t care if Rainbow Dash knew that.

But she didn’t scold you like you expected. In fact, why would you expect her of all ponies to scold you for saying that? She wasn’t Twilight or the other princesses. “I mean, if it wasn’t so important, I would have maybe found a way to get her not to go. Yeah, I guess that’s why you were looking at the statues. It’s a total bummer that she won’t be here to see you tomorrow, but keeping a whole species from falling apart is kinda a big deal.”

Hm? “You’d do that for me, Rainbow Dash?”

“Sure...erm, y’know, it’s not so bad to have the support of your paren-err, Aunt.” Rainbow Dash says as she turns her head to hide her compassionate expression. You really didn’t expect those words out of her, it was like she had some kind of personal experience with it. Maybe she did, Scootaloo has mentioned to you that RD’s parents are pretty cool. But you knew nothing about that. “So yeah, I guess there could have been something that happens, in which I’d so happened to be involved, to get your Aunt to stay...And...yeah” Rainbow Dash’s expression goes from a cocky one to one of compassion, she felt bad for you. “Sorry, Anon, but hey. Your friends are gonna be there, and that still counts, right?”

You nod “Yeah” You then give Rainbow Dash a quick little hug “Thanks, Rainbow Dash. That really means a lot to me”

“Yeah, yeah...I know” Rainbow Dash doesn’t push you away, instead embracing you in that hug for just a quick moment “I’m pretty great, but let’s not get too mushy, ok? Let’s just get it over with. Ahrm…” Rainbow Dash looks to Fluttershy’s door, and gives it a knock “Yo, Fluttershy! You got a minute?”

The door doesn’t take long to open. Fluttershy opens the door with a cheerful greeting, but she seems a little tuckered out and dirty, what the hell has she been doing? “Oh! Hello, Rainbow Dash. How are you today? And oh, Ano- Oh no…” Fluttershy began to frown “It’s about tomorrow, isn’t it?” Fluttershy began to pout as she looked away in shame “I’m really sorry about that, you know that, right?”

GAH! NOPE! You rush over to Fluttershy and give her the biggest hug you could “Nah! Aunt Fluttershy, it isn’t about that! Nope, not even worried about it anyway! Come on, it’s just a training exam, that’s all. What you’re doing is super important, alright? I get it, I’m mature enough to understand super important duties.”

“Anon…” Fluttershy hugs you close “You’re such a mature colt. You have such a big heart, you know that?” You could hear her nearly stutter on those last words as she hugged you, she must have really felt bad about missing this.

“Aunt Fluttershy… You’re the greatest!” You couldn’t help but nuzzle your head into her. Goddamn it. She never, if barely, ever referenced the fact you used to be human. You were a colt, first and foremost, in her eyes.

“Welp, Fluttershy, I can already see that you’re in a much better mood now...so...erm…” Rainbow Dash rubbed the back of her head with her hoof as she looked around nervously “How do you feel about the fact that Anon had fought off a dragon today from destroying Ponyville?”

“Oh, that’s just wonderfu-WHAT?!” Fluttershy suddenly goes wide eyed as she accidentally squeezes you tight enough to choke you “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?!”

Rainbow Dash could see you choking, and points to you to get Fluttershy to notice “Fluttershy, erm…”

“W-what? OH NO!” Fluttershy let you go, but then she started checking over your body in frantic fashion “Did he get hurt?! Are you hurt, Anon!?! Did he claw you?! Did he burn you?!” Fluttershy then looks to Rainbow Dash “How did this even happen?!”

Rainbow Dash leaned her head back with a heavy sigh, she definitely saw this coming. “The dragon just showed up. But Fluttershy, come on, relax! Did you forget who your nephew is? Did you forget who trained him? And do I even have to mention that weapon around his neck? Anon sent that dragon packing! He totally saved Ponyville from becoming a giant barbeque.”

Fluttershy looked to you, her eyes shimmering with worry. “A-Anon, did you really save the town?”

You give her a soft expression as you gently move her shaking hooves away from your person. “Yeah, I stomped that dragon like he was a parasprite.” You give her a cocky grin “You should have seen it, he didn’t stand a chance.”

“Yeah, it was pretty cool. Anon sent that dragon spiraling into the horizon. That guy ain’t coming back after that, that’s for sure. So relax, alright? You already have enough on your plate.” Rainbow Dash reassures her.

Fluttershy takes a moment to take a breath, and calm down to assess the situation. She gave you one more look over, and she could see you hadn’t suffered a single injury. She then gently brushes her hoof over your mane as she takes a moment to relax herself. “I’m so sorry, everypony. I’ve been so busy getting ready for my visit with the breezies and how all that would go that I guess I got a little jumpy.”

“Heh, you’re always a little jumpy, Fluttershy. Just relax, alright? Anon handled it like a pro. You should be proud of him.” Rainbow Dash says, as she looks to you with pride. “I know I am”

“Oh, I am proud of him. Very very proud. I’m proud of him every day, actually.” Fluttershy looks to you with a gentle smile “And I guess I really was acting a little silly. But gosh, beating a mean ole dragon by yourself? And you said he just showed up?”

“Well, Rainbow Dash said that. But yeah, he just showed up. The bowling alley is gonna need to be rebuilt but, everypony got out ok and I made sure that dragon is gonna think twice before he decides to come back to Ponyville again.” You say to Fluttershy with a bit of an arrogant sense of pride.

“Oh, Anon...I’m just glad you and everypony else is ok. Anon…” Fluttershy gently rubs your cheek with her hoof as she looks into your eyes with a deep sense of love and maternal care “Anon...I love you so much. I’m so glad you’re able to take care of yourself better and able to protect everypony too. I really am so so so proud of you. I know it may not look like it, but I really do sleep easier knowing how strong you’ve become.”

“Aww, come on, Aunt Fluttershy. I’ve always been tough! You’re acting like I’ve always been a softie or something. Heh, ever since I came to Equestria and got to know everypony, I always had this feeling I had to protect everypony.”

“I know...I just remember some of the older days. Things like that nasty Queen Chrysalis or that horrible chimera. Seeing you now, I know things would have been different if how you are now was how you were before.” Fluttershy says.

Ugh, come on now...Don’t mention her… “Yeah...Well, erm. You’re right, I am a lot tougher now, if you put it that way. So...erm, are you ok now?”

Fluttershy nods “I am, thank you both for coming to see me, and telling me about the dragon attack.”

“Hey, no problem, figured it’d be better to tell you now before you left. That way you wouldn’t think that something happened to Anon if he wasn’t around to confirm it himself...Or, y’know, you just getting super scared about hearing from somepony else about that stupid dragon coming in and wrecking the place.” Rainbow Dash says.

“Oh dear, I don’t know how I would have reacted if that happened. Hmmm...Oh, well now that everything is alright, would you two like to help me make sure everything is packed? I was just making sure I had everything in order before I leave.” Fluttershy said as she looked to the two of you cheerfully.

Rainbow Dash however, seemed rather hesitant for something that sounded so boring “Uhhhh, aren’t you going to just see the breezies? How much stuff do you actually need?”

“Oh, quite a bit actually. Although I am going to see the breezies, I will be interacting with a few other species too. It’s very exhausting work and I need to make sure everything is in order. See?” Fluttershy points to a bunch of ridiculously small beds, foodstuffs of various kinds, a bag of bits, some musical instruments, and some other shit….What the fuck kind of trip was this?

“Aunt Fluttershy? What’s with the beds and instruments and stuff?” You ask

“Well, some of the animals the breezies accidently made angry are nocturnal. So, the little beds and soothing music will help calm them down during the day time, and then I’ll speak to them at night. Don’t worry, eventually I’ll get everything settled in just a few days and I’ll be back before you know it.” Fluttershy sure seemed confident about that.

“Yeeeeeeahhhh, well, I got stuff to do...Kinda important for tomorrow. So since I’m done here, erm, seeya!” Rainbow Dash said as she quickly made her way out the door.

“Oh!” Fluttershy giggled “It must be really important to make Rainbow Dash run out that fast, although…” She whispers to you “I know she can just be really lazy sometimes when it comes to something she thinks is silly.” Fluttershy then looks to you with her eyes closed, her smile ever warming. “So Anon, do you want to help me make sure everything is set and ready to go?”

How could you say no? “Sure, Aunt Fluttershy. Besides, the more time I get to spend with you before you go, the better.”

“Anon, awww, you make me feel like I’m more important than I am. Thank you, though, for staying to help. Oh, I know! After we’re done, I’ll make us both some delicious smoothies and some chocolate chip cookies! How does that sound?”

Oh baby! That sounded awesome! “Yeah! That sounds great! What flavor will the smoothies be?”

“Do you remember the healthy herbs and food Zecora taught me to make to help you heal?” Fluttershy says.

wait..WHAT?! NOOOPE! “U-uhhh..e-ermmm..”

Fluttershy let out a cute little laugh as she kissed your forehead “Oh Anon, you’re so silly sometimes. I was joking, I was thinking it should be a strawberry smoothie. What do you think?”

O-oh god...Thank christ. Heh..Oh Fluttershy, you can be so adorable sometimes….and yet scary...god, you still remembered how shitty that gruel tasted. “That sounds perfect.”

Chapter 9 - The Stakes Are Raised

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The next few hours would be quite the contrast to the last few. Calm and pleasant as you and Fluttershy sift through everything she was going to take and making sure it was all packed properly. Double checking, triple checking, and even quadruple checking to make sure nothing was missing or misplaced.

“So, when will you be back, a week? Maybe two?” You ask

“Oh, probably about five days to a week really. That is, if everypony is willing to be reasonable and listen.” Fluttershy says as she finishes securing one of her bags.

“Oh…” That was a little too long for your taste, and Fluttershy notices that is disheartened you so.

“It’ll be alright, Anon.” Fluttershy puts the bag down and walks over to you to give you a gentle hug “It won’t be too long, and I know you can handle yourself without me. Besides, I know you have other friends who can keep you company when I’m not around.”

“Well, yeah, I know. I just like being around you sometimes. You’re one of the few ponies I know who help me feel calm and relaxed.”

“What about your marefriend?” Fluttershy gives you a poke on the nose “Doesn’t she do that for you too?”

Yes...Sometimes...when she was doting over you mostly. “Yeah, I guess so. Erm, so then…” There was one other thing you wanted to talk to Fluttershy about. You had wondered what she thought about Twilight’s school. “So what do you think of that friendship school Twilight is having built?”

“I think it’s wonderful” Fluttershy cooed with a heavenly sigh “Everycreature from across the world learning about friendship? It’s one of the most amazing things ever. And I can’t wait to teach them all about kindness, love, and care. And I can’t wait to have you in my class, Anon. I’ll be able to teach you all kinds of things within a group that I couldn’t just by myself.”

Oh shit! DAMMIT! YOU DIDN’T KNOW SHE WAS GONNA BE A TEACHER! HOW DID YOU MISS THAT?! How could you miss that? Ugh…

“Oh...erm...About that, I kind of declined Twilight’s offer to go.” Fuck man, why did you have to ask for her opinion? You couldn’t even look at her as your ears drooped down from the shame of disappointing her.

“You did? Why?” Fluttershy looks to you with some worry, but not as much as you thought she was going to have. She just seemed more curious as to why you said no.

“Because, I felt a school isn’t really a place to learn about friendship. Y’know, in a practical sense. I feel it’s something you just learn naturally. Plus, I’ve made so many friends already, and even reformed quite a few of them...Except for Stygian, that was a bit of my bad on that one.”

Fluttershy stared at you silently for a moment, then gave you a nod “I respect your decision, Anon. Those are actually very fine points you made. And truthfully, you really have improved since we first met. And reforming Tempest? Oh my, I remember how absolutely mean she was when we first saw her, she was so scary.” Fluttershy then let out a little bit of a giggle “Maybe we should ask Twilight to make you a teacher then. I know you don’t really like the idea of the school, but you do seem to have a way of reforming ponies who just seem really mean and rude.”

“Haha! I guess I...wait…” You as a teacher?! NOPE! You’re not gonna deal with a bunch of dumb kids. Not no way, not no how. “Is that a joke?”

“Yes and no.” Fluttershy has a little bit of a giggle when she notices you get a little frantic “It is a nice thought. But I know how you are, I know it’s not a thing for you...hmm” Fluttershy looked up and across the archway to her kitchen. “How about those smoothies and cookies, hmm? We are pretty much done, and I know my animal friends will help me super duper make sure I’m ready.”

Fuck yes! Just the promise of delicious cookies was enough to get that friendship school out of your mind. “Sure!”

“Alright, let me just...Oh?” Fluttershy’s ear perks up when she hears a knocking at the door “I wonder who that could be? Oh, it might be Pinkie Pie. She probably forgot when I’m actually leaving and came to say goodbye.”

But as Fluttershy got up to check the door, your ears perk when you hear the frantic callings of Diamond Tiara. Diamond? What was she doing here? “Future Aunt Fluttershy! Are you home?! Is Anon home?! I need to speak to him! Right now!”

Right now?...oh boy...What happened now? The way she was sounding, it made you scared that something bad happened...or something bad for you, anyway.

“He’s here, what ever is wrong? Are you alAGH!” Fluttershy jumps back the moment she unlocks the door as Diamond dashes in, darting towards you as if she always knew where you were.

“HIAUNTFLUTTERSHY!” Diamond yells as she rushes towards you, grabs you, and rushes out the door with you “BYEAUNTFLUTTERSHY!”

Fluttershy can only blink as everything happens before her eyes in a near quick flash.

“Gyah! Diamond! Diamond!” You yell as she already has you over the bridge, your back being dragged across the ground by her unusually high strength.

“Huh? Oh!” Diamond stops and let’s you go. She then helps you up and brushes off your back. Despite all this, she was still filled with energy as to whatever the fuck just happened. “Sorry Anon! But something amazing is going to happen!”

Something amazing? “Erm...isn’t the fake wedding at the end of the week?”

“Yes, it is. But it’s not that. I heard you defeated a dragon this morning, something I know I don’t need to ask you since I already know it’s true. And do you know who also knows that?” Diamond looks at you with a snooty but lovestruck smile.

Who else would she really care about knowing unless it was her parents her some princess? “Well, you probably know that Twilight knows...So I’m going to guess your parents, right?”

Diamond let out an adorable little giggle as she taps her nose with yours “You’re always so smart, Anon. That’s right, both my parents know! And that’s why I came to tell you something, because that something is pretty big! Like, totally big!”

Uh oh...Maybe you publicly crushing that dragon may have been too much after all. Because if it involved Spoiled, then it involved something that if it didn’t meet her approval or standard, everyone suffered for it. “So, what is it?”

Diamond looks around, then looks to a set of bushes. “Silver Spoon, are you still there?”

Silver Spoon pokes her head out from the bushes and nods her head “Uh huh, and theres nopony around since you went to the door. So it’s totally safe to tell him.” She says as she hops from the bushes to join Diamond. Oh god, and it’s supposed to be secret too?! What the hell can it be?!

“Errr, totally safe to tell me what? What’s going on?! I mean, I beat a dragon. I know that’s cool and-” Diamond cuts you off as she hops up in excitement.

“YOU MEAN TOTALLY AWESOME! Oh, I wish I could have seen it for myself.” Diamond swooned.

“I know right? Imagine if you were stuck in a tower, and that Anon came to rescue you after he beat that dumb dragon” Silver Spoon says, inciting Diamond enough for her to let out a long doting sigh.

“I know...It’d be super romantic. Oh!” But she snaps out of her love filled haze and looks to you, still smiling, but she also looked rather serious. “So that thing? That secret thing? Well, do you know how you’re doing your final training exam tomorrow? With Spitfire and Rainbow Dash.”

You nod “Yeah...why?”

Diamond looks around, and starts to get giddy “Well, Mother thought it’d be a great idea to make it a Barnyard Bargains sponsored event! With limited tickets and benches and all that stuff! We don’t even have to do any mass advertising since your dad has been running around town telling everypony about how you beat a dragon and that you were his son. I mean, we knew that last part, but it helps let everypony know that it’s you, I guess. Mother is personally going to be inviting her friends for tomorrow’s event! My Anon, the amazing hero colt! The youngest ever to be trained by an element and the Wonderbolts!” She looks at you with dreamy eyes “Ohhhh, is there anything you can’t do?”

Oh no...Spoiled, what the fuck?!

“Erm...Yeah, I do do a lot of stuff. Erm, what do you mean by your mother’s friends by the way?” She had friends?

“Oh, you know, just ponies Mother knows that she wants to rub in their face that she’s the future mother-in-law of the greatest colt in Equestria...You” Diamond says as she tenderly rubs the side of her face with yours.

“They are gonna be sooooooo jealous when they see Anon pass that test like a pro!” Silver Spoon adds, her voice full of smug.

Diamond looks back at her with a nod “Well, they should be. They always try to one up Mother, so this will really show them who is the best! Which would be us! And you too, Silver Spoon, since you’re my best friend.”

“Oh, you don’t have to tell me that. I already know I’m the best since I’m best friends with the greatest filly in Equestria.” Silver Spoon says with a bow “Future Princess Diamond Tiara”

Diamond Tiara giggles as she raises her hoof towards Silver Spoon “Arise, Lady Spoon, you needn’t be so formal. I mean, that’s for everypony else to do...towards us I mean.”

They both started giggling towards each other. But you felt horrid dread fill your soul at that very moment. Tomorrow was going to be a lot worse than you could ever imagine. Now? Now you couldn’t fuck up ONCE! You weren’t even worried about the fucking crowd. You were more worried over the fact that Spoiled was putting her social status on the line over your fucking final exam! If you screw up…

“Erm, Diamond...What would happen if I screwed up? Just asking.” You were near white at this point.

“Oh, that would be pretty bad...Erm…” Diamond pondered on it a bit before looking at you with a cheerful smile. “She’d probably ruin your live so bad that you wouldn’t even be able to show yourself in the badlands...But why are you worried about that? You’re Anon! You never mess up!” She said with ignorant cheer.

You didn’t know how to feel. Dread? Scared? Mortified? Hell, maybe you should have just fucking stalled the dragon until Twilight got there. Or fucking disintegrated the fucker and told her that it flew off. This was worse than Snips and Snails. Oh so much worse…

Fucking Discord. He had to get some glory out of this, didn’t he? Running around the entire fucking town singing of your praises just so it’d make him look good. UGH!

You suddenly felt a lack of confidence in passing your exam tomorrow. Hell, it’s one thing screwing up, you really didn’t want to see Spoiled’s reaction if the crippled pegasus whooped your fucking ass.

You needed emergency training. But without the horn, you had no way of locating Rainbow Dash or creating a quick training exercise to get you focused. You needed to get some sort of quick warm up training to make absolutely sure you were ready for tomorrow.

You needed to make sure you had no way of fucking any part of that exam.

You needed something tougher and more dangerous than that exam to make sure you were at your best.

You needed...Starlight.

“Diamond, my princess, my love...I need to go!” You say, feeling panicky and frantic.

“What?! But I wanted to go out with you so we can go get some ic-” Diamond stops when you give her a quick peck on the mouth “Err...ok…My prince” She says with a drunken giggle.

“Wait! Anon, where are you going anyway? Oh, I guess you were doing something with your Aunt, right?” Silver asks, absolutely making sure for Diamond that you couldn’t be THAT busy.

“err..Yeah, and then I had this other big thing...which was…is...for tomorrow’s training. Super important!” You tell Silver Spoon as you slowly step backwards

“Oh! Yeah, that totally is a good reason. You have to be super ready for tomorrow. Just make sure not to tell anypony what we told you, alright? If anypony found out the reason my Diamond’s mom is doing this, then well...QRRRK” Silver rubs her hoof along her neck to signify death.

How comforting…

“G-got it, take care you two… I love you, Diamond!” You say as you rush off.

Diamond just looks over to you with a smile “...O-ok...wait!” She calls out to you frantically as she snaps out of her stupor “Anon! Wait!”

You stop dead in your tracks near Fluttershy’s door and look back at her “What is it?”

“I LOVE YOU TOO!” She yells back at you from the little bridge.

You just smile at her, salute, blow her a kiss, and frantically dash back inside.

Fucking...dammit.

You never get a day of rest.

Chapter 10 - Starlight! Help!

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Returning to the cottage, you explain to Fluttershy that you had to go for “Training Exam” reasons, and that you could not wait for the cookies or the smoothie. She didn’t take you too seriously at first, stating that there was always time for delicious snacks. But you stress that tomorrow was going to be much worse than you could imagine, and then explain to her what was going to happen.

Fluttershy was caught off guard. She knew how scary it was to perform in front of a crowd, especially in the kind of situation you found yourself in. She nodded and finally understood why you had to leave so early, she also mentioned that she’d have a talk with Discord about his bragging across the town.

You really didn’t want this to be the last moment you’d see Fluttershy for awhile, but this really was important. So with a kiss, a hug, and a loving goodbye, you make your way out of cottage and towards the little bridge. It seems Silver Spoon and Diamond had already gone, probably to respect your privacy with your aunt and to let you focus for tomorrow. Oh boy, you were gonna need all the focus you could get.

Using your map, you transfer to your room and quickly go for your portal door. You shift the dial to Starlight’s town and make your way to her home.

Things had vastly improved over the course of time. The town was now a cross, with the town hall in the center. There were more residents, more greenery, and the overall health and happiness of the town was at an all time high.

Except for the fact that mayorship seems to change within every month or so. No one in town wanted or felt worthy of the title. Sure, there were still elections and some did try to lead the town. But it always ended the same. They quit the position, leaving Starlight to do a bulk of the leading until the next election. She didn’t mind at this point, but she still wished someone would at least take the job seriously and stick with it.

When you reached Starlight’s house, you started knocking on it as calmly as you could. You didn’t want to give her a reason to be on edge or freak out. But the one to answer the door wouldn’t be her, rather it was Trixie in some sort of business suit and top hat. Was that performance wear? Where was the leotard?

Trixie Lulamoon, what a trip she was. Although she had her wagon parked in the back of Starlight’s house, she preferred to live in her home rather than in the wagon itself. Though, she sometimes flips flops on that for some reason. Given the fact she could still be overly smug and cocky, you personally felt that you’d go mad being stuck with her for weeks on end. Still, Trixie was cool in small doses.

“Ah! Anon! What timing! Come and be amazed at the new leader of…” Trixie stops when she realizes something “This place still doesn’t have a name...Ahrm. Anyway! I will change that! For I am the Amazing and Ever Honorable Trixie!”

WHAT?! “G-guh..w-what?!” THEY ELECTED HER?! Your mouth hung open from the utter atrocity of it all.

“Ahh, I can see you are astounded and paralyzed by the utter greatness Trixie exudes!” Trixie gives you a smug grin as she closes your mouth for you with her hoof “Just the reaction I wanted to see.”

“A-a-ahrm..erm..Umm” What do you even say to that? “C-congratul-Ok, wait. How did this even happen? Aren’t the elections still going on?”

“...Yes...But..Erm” Trixie’s bravado began to wane heavily “Considering I am willing to keep the position, I’d like to think that I have a good chance of winning. W-what do you think, Anon?” She was suddenly looking at you for comfort in her endeavor.

“Erm…” She was never going to get elected, you already knew that. She was still much too arrogant and kind of a jerk at times to do that. But, you sigh, give her a smile, and nod at her “I think you’re going to do fine.”

“AHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Trixie breaks out in victorious and boisterous laughter “Trixie is truly the best! Step aside, Anon! Trixie has foals to kiss!”

Foals to kiss? That’s so...cartoonish. It nagged at you enough to stop her. “Wait, Trixie! Erm...What about your policies for when you win? They're good, right?”

Trixie stops, blinks at you, then chuckles “Even if I knew what that was, Trixie has no time for that! Don’t bother me, Anon. I’m busy! HAHAHAHAHA!” She walks off laughing near maniacally to herself.

You just silently look at her as you shake your head. Poor poor Trixie. Though, you too were busy, weren’t you? You rush off inside the house, and call out for Starlight.

It took a bit, but Starlight emerged from her basement wearing safety goggles. “Anon? Hey! Wasn’t expecting you today, what’s up?” She says as she puts the goggles to hang on the wall.

“Starlight, hey...Erm, this isn’t exactly a social visit. I kind of need help”

“Help?” At first she was confused until she realized what you could mean by that “Oh, right. Your training exam. Why do you need my help for that? Last I knew, there was nothing magic related to the test at all.”

Well, at least she was on the same page. “There isn’t, but see…” You explain to her everything that has transpired so far. From the Dragon to Spoiled Rich.

“So...let me get this straight, now you have to do more than just pass to impress your future mother-in-law, or else you’ll embarrass her in front of the other elite ponies, which would mean she would be so upset at you that she’d find some way to ruin your life forever. Did I get all that?” Starlight asked, rather calm about it.

Because at this point, you were looking pretty worried. “It’s more than just that. I’m also competing with Scootaloo! If she even comes close to beating me, I’m going to look like a total loser! I mean, I should be able to stomp her no problem. It’s not like she can...Wait…” Scootaloo wasn’t some rando pony you could easily stomp. Nor was she someone you’d love to show up like Sweetie Belle. This was Scootaloo, who, despite your own stupidity sometimes, has stuck with you through thick and thin and has always...mostly been able to see your side of things whenever you looked like the bad guy.

“Anon, are you alright?” Starlight asked as your expression became more dreadful and even frightening. You were suddenly staring right at her.

Suddenly, you began screaming at higher octaves when you realized one horrible little thing. You then rushed over to Starlight, hopped up, and brought her head down by grabbing at her ears. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I ACTUALLY LIKE SCOOTALOO AS A FRIEND! STARLIGHT! I CAN’T CRUSH HER IN FRONT OF RAINBOW DASH! SHE’S BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH! AND SHE BELIEVES IN ME! AHHHHHHHHHHH!” You suddenly grab onto your own head as you also realize… “BUT I CAN’T LOSE EITHER! NOT WITH EVERYPONY WATCHING ME LIKE THAT!” Before Starlight can even recover, you grab her by the ears again and pull her down “BUT SCOOTALOO WILL BE SAD FOREVER!” You then go back to grabbing your own head “BUT I CAN’T LET HER SHOW ME UP!”

Before you could grab onto Starlight again, she lifts you up with her magic and gives you a heavy shake. “Anon! Anon! Calm down! You’re acting loonier than Trixie right now!”

“BUT!...But…” You calm down as she shakes some sense into you. When she puts you down, you look down in shame and worry about tomorrow “How am I supposed to handle tomorrow now? Ugh...Why couldn’t one of those two idiots be in the exam instead? I could have easily ran circles around them.”

“Ok, Anon...What exactly is going on now?” Starlight needed you to calm down so she could figure out what the hell you were talking about.

You look down, sigh miserably, and look to Starlight, your face representative of a broken soul. “Like I said, I need to pass the exam tomorrow with flying colors to make sure I don’t ruin my future mother-in-law’s reputation. But my friend, Scootaloo, she’s been waiting for a moment like this all her life, to prove herself. See, she’s going to be taking the exam too, and it would mean the world to her to pass it in a way that would impress Rainbow Dash.If she was anypony else, I’d have crushed them. But her? Starlight, I just can’t do it. She’s been through enough already.”

“Wow...Erm…” Starlight looked over to her kitchen, then back at you. “Ok, so I think I see where this is going. You’re asking for my help to figure this all out, right? To make sure you pass while also making sure your friend looks good.”

“Yeah...Originally, I was going to ask you for some warm up training. You know, throwing magical bolts for me to dodge and stuff. But now? I dunno…I don’t even know why I came here anymore. I had been looking forward to crushing this thing for awhile, And I still do, I just need to figure out a way for Scootaloo to manage that too without it making me look bad.” You had to figure out a way.

“Well, I was going to suggest a drink for us to sip while we figure it out. But uh...Why don’t you just tie with her?” Starlight suggests.

….wut? “Holy...How...How did I not think of that?!” HOLY FUCK! IT’S SO SIMPLE! HOLY SHIT!

“Well, that’s what stress does to you. It gets you so worried that the simple solutions don’t seem so simple. And as soon as Trixie gets that, maybe I’ll be able to make some coffee again.” Starlight says

“Yeah, I can’t believe I didn’t think about that at all. I could still crush the exam, all I have to do is slow it down in some parts to let Scoots catch up. She’s pretty athletic, you know? She shouldn’t have…” Wait… “Coffee? What, she broke your coffee maker or something?”

“She did, when I was teaching her a better version of “disappearing” that didn't have to do with a smoke bomb. She somehow accidentally sent a magic bolt right into it, turning it to scrap. But that isn’t the problem, the problem is that she’s really insistent in trying to fix it for me. I already told her it was alright, but she keeps trying anyway. Her last repair job ended up bursting into flames. Right now? Kinda afraid to turn it on.” Starlight tells you, as she glances towards the kitchen again.

“Oh...Why doesn’t she buy you a new one?”

“Because she barely has any money as is and I didn’t want her to waste it on me. Ugh, I know, it’s stupid of me, but I couldn’t let her just go and pay for a replacement with what little she had. I just kind of wish she’d stop trying to repair it...Because, y’know, I have the money to get a new one.”

“...So, why don’t you buy a new one?”

Starlight sighs again “Because it’d upset her. She’s trying really hard to make it work, I don’t want to upset her by buying a new one.”

“Well, erm. I guess you’re kinda in the same shoes I am in that regard. So, why not try it now then? Maybe this time she got it.” You ask Starlight.

“I dunno...It’s all set though…” Against her better judgement, she sighs, gives in, and puts faith in Trixie once again “I guess I can give it another shot.”

“Yeah, come on, I’ll even check it out with you. It can’t be that bad.” You say, calmer now that such an easy solution had been found. Man, were you glad you were human, or else you’d probably spent twenty two minutes trying to figure out the solution yourself and telling Starlight how stupid that plan was.

You and Starlight step into the kitchen. She walks towards a rather shabby and kind of dubious looking Coffee Maker and brings her hoof near the on switch. “I don’t even know why Trixie doesn’t test her attempts at fixing this thing herself.”

You shrug “Because she probably assumes it’s fixed...Y’know, because she’s great and powerful and all”

“Yeah...That’s probably it” Starlight braces herself and prepares to turn it on “Get ready, Anon, I have no idea what’s going to happen when I flick that switch.”

You get ready to duck your head, there was no way you were going to get hit this time. “I’m ready, go for it!” God, you were putting faith in Trixie. But with Starlight’s situation kinda sounding the same as yours in some way, you felt oddly generous enough to give her a chance.

“Ok, here I go!” Starlight flicks the switch and produces a magical barrier around herself.

At first it sputters, causing you both to duck. But after that…

“Wait…” You hear it, it was the cool and calming sound of fresh coffee pouring into a cup. “Starlight. Starlight! Look! It works!”

“W-what?” Starlight opens her eyes, and see the coffee maker pour out a simple cup of coffee “No way...It works. Wow, I...Really didn’t expect that.”

“Heh…” That was a sign, you were sure of it. Put your trust in your friend, and do right by them. That’s totally how you planned to do things tomorrow. “There you go, it looks like you’re going to have no problem getting your coffee now, eh?”

“Yeah, and I’m sure I can fix that sputtering it made when I turned it on. Wow, good job Trixie! Ok, well, I guess I can have a cup now since it all worked out. Let me just turn it off and OOH!” The moment she flicked it off, the coffee maker’s nozzle somehow came loose enough to shoot hot coffee at an angle, smothering the entire top part of your head with burning liquid.

“Anon!” Starlight magically pulls the plug to get it to stop. “Ohhh, that’s not good. I-I think I can fix that myself, actually. But, Anon! A-are you ok?!” She looks to you with heavy worry, she could see steam coming off the top of your head. “Anon! I’m going to get the first aid, alright? That coffee can really leave a nas-” But you stop her as you calmly put your hoof up.

Yup, it burned like an asshole. But you were so used to shit hitting your head at this point that this was fucking nothing. “Yeah...don’t even worry about it. Can I just take a bath, get this gunk out of my mane?”

“A-are you sure? A-anon, there is steam literally coming off the top of your head.” She was stunned, both by the possible burning you were feeling and how well you were taking it.

“I’m sure…” Ugh...Always...ALWAYS...something.

“O-ok then...erm, the bathroom is right there, next to the stairs to the basement.” She points, still utterly shocked.

And so you went, calmly and with humiliation, to take a cold shower.

Chapter 11 - Anon's Reflex Training

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However, when you came out of said bathroom washed and refreshed, the humiliation you felt was no longer there. You had time to think about what’s really important. Also, you couldn’t remember the last time you took a bath, period. It was like just coming and going from your room mostly kept you clean. Or maybe it was some sort of oversight from some deity above, who knows…

Either way, you felt much better now.

When you stepped out, you noticed Starlight messing with her personal taser. “Starlight? Whatcha doin?”

Starlight notices you, and puts the taser down on a table with her magic. She looks at you with a gentle stoic look “Just messing with my taser. Don’t really get to use it much since things have been pretty peaceful, so I like to take it out sometimes and give it a quick examination. I know it’s unlikely, but if a threat did show up and I had to use it as a last resort, I’d rather it not malfunction in some way. Oh, so...How do you feel? Are you alright?”

You nod, giving her a cheerful smile “Heck yeah! As if a simple blast of blazing hot coffee can stop me! Although, I was still interested in getting some reflex training in. I have to be at my best tomorrow, so if I want to be impressive for Spoiled while making sure Scootaloo can keep up, I’m gonna need all the help I can get.”

“Sure! I don’t mind helping you with that, especially since tomorrow is so important for you. So, what did you have in mind for this training anyway?” Starlight asked

“Easy, I want you to hit me with everything you got.” You tell her, ignorant of what that could actually mean.

“Uhhhhh…” Starlight looked surprised, and looked at you as if you were biting off more than you could chew “Anon, you totally definitely do not want that.”

“Why not?” You ask “Starlight, I’m much better thanks to my training. Plus, even before that, I have the reflexes of a master gamer! I can handle whatever you throw at me.”

“Yeah...I saw those reflexes when that coffee shot out at you, which you had time to dodge out of the way, just mentioning.” Starlight raises her hoof and shakes it to further signify how much of a bad idea this sounded to her “Anon, you really don’t want this. I’m an extremely powerful unicorn, you should know that. You’re going to get hurt”

“Starlight, this is the only chance I’m gonna get. This isn’t just for me, It’s for Scoots. Also, I wasn’t in the zone when that coffee shot out. This time? I’m totally in that zone! Trust me, with my superior physique, I’ll be able to dodge anything and everything you got!”

“Anon, I cannot stress this enough…” She starts using both her forelegs to emphasize her following words “You-are-going-to-get-hurt”

“Starlight, I need you to trust me on this, ok? Besides, why do you even think that? I had a major part in beating the Storm King, remember?”

“I remember some mention of you getting clobbered up and down until the very end, or something like that.”

Oygh, that one hurt. “Y-yeah, but just like with the coffee, he caught me super off guard, and that was before my training too. Starlight, come on! I’m not a kid...mostly...sort of! Look, I’m super sure I can handle it. So just don’t hold back, and just hit me with what you got, alright? I’ll just focus on dodging.” You do your best to recover from her words and look at her with gathered confidence “Come on, what’s the worst that can happen?”

“Oh boy…You don’t want to know” Starlight says with a cringe as she goes over her more dangerous spells in her head

It looked like she still wasn’t willing. You could try pouting, being cute, and saying “pwease”....but oh god, she’d lose respect for you, you know it. You needed something to fully convince her.

You only had one more thing you could think of. “Starlight, I’m serious. You’ve met Scootaloo before, she has a lot of hope in her heart, and is putting her livelihood on this. I can’t let her down...So please?” You stare into her eyes, with a half serious, half begging look. “Help me? So I can make sure this all goes down ok, please?

“Oygh, you’re guilt tripping me...But…” Starlight groans as she finally gives in “I guess you’re right...It would be hard to balance showing off and helping Scootaloo if you weren’t prepared. But again, seriously? Are you sure you want me to go all out? I can hold back some, you know, I shouldn’t have to try to incinerate you just so you can get the training you need.”

“I’m su-...Wait…” Did she say… “Incinerate? What?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said. Or did you forget I was willing to do whatever I needed to achieve my old goal? Including having to fight Twilight if I had to. My most powerful spells are nearly undodgeable, Anon, you won’t last. I could have just said yes and not actually tried my hardest, but then I know you’d complain. Plus there is the fact that I do respect you as my equal, enough to actually go all out. So again, one final time, do you want me to hold back? Or do you really REALLY want me to go all out? Because unless your skills have improved that much, you’re gonna get blasted pretty hard.” And she sounded pretty damn serious on this too.

You gulped, this could end up being your end if she respected you enough to really give it her all upon your request. Should you do it?

Should you…?

You have taken beatings before…

But you were planning on dodging everything…

Do it, and don’t look back.

You redouble your bravery on the matter, and nod at Starlight. “Let’s do it!”

Starlight couldn’t say a thing at first. She looked down, let out a breath, got up, and started heading out the door. “Follow me then, I want to be a good distance out of town before we do this.”

And so you both went, travelling out of town a good distance enough that it was just a blur in the horizon, both you and Starlight surrounded by the empty desolation of the rest of the mountainous region. With only a few rocks, boulders, and canyon walls scattered about to set the scene.


Starlight looks at you with a serious glare as her horn lights up. She stands just a few yards away, ready to give it her all. “Last chance, Anon, unless you’re absolutely sure you can handle this, then I suggest we tone it down, alright?”

You couldn’t tone it down. Besides, at this point, it wasn’t even about you or Scoots anymore. Starlight was so damn sure this was beyond you, and during your walk, you built up an absolute need to prove her wrong. “I can do this, Starlight. Bring it on! On my mark! 3…2…”

Starlight looked more than prepared to fire on the word “go!”. But despite her saying she was going all out, as she did plan to, she also did have enough hard to dodge spells that, while high level, were actually pretty safe. She had a pretty quick spell that could encase her target in magic crystal. She was thinking of hitting you with that to get you to realize how foolish you were being.

“1...go!” You immediately rush to the right to try to throw off whatever Starlight was about to fire. But Starlight was ready for you, she fires a laser shot right where you were going to be.

However, your reflexes were, in fact, sharp enough to catch that she aimed towards your direction. You jump forward and above her beam. But suddenly, your lower body gets stuck in some purple crystal roughly twice your size. “G-Guh?!” You try desperately to get out, but to no avail, you were stuck. “What is this?!”

“Gee whiz, Anon, you sure dodged that, huh?” Starlight looked to you with an arrogant smirk as she approached you, and then flicked your nose “I told you you couldn’t handle me at my highest level. This is a powerful concealment spell. Really really hard to learn considering I don’t even need to make a direct hit for it to work. So...” She sighs, and looks to you with a frown “Do you see what I mean now? This is just reflex training, Anon. My strongest spells aren’t going to help you learn anything, ok? So let’s just tone it down like I suggested.”

“Ngh! No! That was just...NGH!” You were struggling to get free “A lucky shot! I can do this! I know I can!”

It wasn’t just the fact that Starlight didn’t believe you could do it, it was something else too. You had been training so hard, to be something more than just a guy with a deus ex machina at his command. You wanted to be able to win fights with your wit and skills alone.

“Anon…” Starlight shook her head “Come on, please, it’s over.” She didn’t even want to continue any more. She wanted to help you, but not while you were being persistent like this.

“It’s...Not...OVER!” With all your will, strength, and even luck, you manage to bring yourself down, grip the ground with your hooves, and flip yourself and the large stone over, nearly crushing Starlight.

Starlight teleports away as she witnesses you bring the stone down hard with your body, shattering it to pieces. “What in the…” Starlight was astonished, she didn’t expect you to be able to do that with just your front hooves.

“I told you I could do it! Yeah! OH YEAH!” You jumped up above the crystal rubble with pride. You then looked to Starlight, more ready than ever. “Come on! I’m still willing to go!”

Starlight had to admit to herself, that was somewhat impressive. “Alright, I didn’t expect you to manage to flip yourself like that, but if that isn’t enough to stop you.” Starlight starts to glow as she raises into the air, looking down at you with an almost sinister glare “Then I’ll have to really up my game!” By that, she meant mostly hitting you with a multishot stunning spell. She wasn’t willing to use explosive projectiles or straight up lasers just yet. “Take this, Anon!”

You witness Starlight bring her head back and swing it forward, launching a shitton of electric balls down towards your position.

Ok…maybe you went in a little over your head this time. “Shit…”

You start darting around the arena, doing your best to dodge every shot that came down near you. You jumped to the left to dodge one shot, then cartwheeled to the right to dodge a few more before backflipping to dodge a particularly humongously large electrical orb. You were diving,rolling, spinning, tumbling, and jumping away from every shot that came upon your vicinity. The worst part of it all was that Starlight wasn’t relenting. Sure, you originally didn't want that, but holy fuck! This really was too much! The truth was that this spell actually didn’t use too much power at all for a unicorn like her. They were magical orbs that simply stunned for a short while. They were being shot out in a ridiculous pace to compensate for it’s less than stellar power. Hell, their trajectory was random as her horn spit them out. But you didn’t know that.

Starlight was actually impressed even further. Despite you screaming for her to stop at this point as you had become fearful of blowing up like she had suggested you would, you were in fact dodging her randomly fired orbs. She knew, if she wanted to, that she could hit you with something like a laser shot or a focused explosive blast. But this was merely training your reflexes, and it looked like it had done its job in preparing you for tomorrow.

Fearing for your life at this point, you jump behind a boulder, duck your head, and hope to god Starlight wastes her magic on whatever the fuck she was doing. Starlight does stop after some time, but you didn’t notice as you continued to hide. Starlight has herself quite a giggle as she slowly lands to the ground and heads over to the boulder to tell you the good news.

To her, and hopefully to you, you did well enough to dodge her randomly shot blasts to consider it a job well done.

Chapter 12 - Starlight Gets Mad

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You fucked up, goddammit! You were the one who asked for her to go all out, but you didn’t fucking expect her to fucking toss a million death orbs. You thought it was just gonna be lasers and simple projectiles, but she became a fucking shmup boss!

“Anon…”

But you were intact. How? Even you don’t know. All you knew was that you somehow dodged ALL of her attacks up until you ducked behind this boulder.

“Anon, hey!”

Fucking dammit, how could you hide here anyway? You were the fucking Hero Colt! You shouldn’t have gotten scared at all. You have more resolve than that! Fuck that noise! You were going to step back out there and try challenging Starlight again!

You turn around and take one step forward, only to come face to face with Starlight herself. You squeal, jump on top of the rock, and enter a battle pose “Came to finish me off, huh?! Well, I’m ready for you this time!”

Starlight’s face twisted into aggravated astonishment “Really? Anon, get down here, I’m not going to try to hurt you.”

“...Oh” Well, ok then. You slide down the boulder and look to Starlight with an embarrassed look “Erm, look...I know I hid like a wuss...but erm...come on!” You let out, trying to sound justified in your feelings “You were tossing danmaku at me like it was nopony’s business!”

“Danmaku? Is that another human term?” Starlight asks, confused as to what you mean.

“Yeah, it means ‘bullet hell’. Basically a ton of projectiles being tossed out that are super hard to dodge.” You explain “I mean, it really was super hard...I’m surprised I didn’t get blown up. Sheesh…”

Starlight hesitates to add to that for a moment as she gets a rather underhanded idea to make sure you wouldn’t get the confidence to try her at her best again. “...Oh yeah, it was the most powerful spell I had too. If any of those orbs touched you? Pffssst! Gone, finished, turned to dust! BAM! Just like that.” Starlight stomped her right hoof to emphasize her point.

Wait...WHAT?! SHE WAS SERIOUS ABOUT THAT INCINERATION SHIT?! “What?! You mean if I got touched once, I w-” But she cuts off your words to finalize the point herself.

“...Would have been utterly destroyed into nothingness? Totally. But…” She puts her hoof on your shoulder as she gives you a suddenly sweet smile “You managed to dodge every single orb. Sure you hid, but you were really moving it out there before you did. I was really impressed.”

Wait...so yeah, you were still alive. And you were diving and juking and all that against the orbs until you felt you were overwhelmed. That meant your reflexes were pretty fucking top tier! “YES! I KNEW I WAS THE BEST!” You then looked to Starlight with confidence borderlining arrogance “Alright, Starlight, let’s do it again! This time, I want you to, like, shoot lasers at me! I need something faster!”

Starlight was perplexed. She expected you to back down to safer magic, not to ramp it up. She thought you fearing her spell was the tipping point in getting you to see reason. “Anon, you nearly blew up! And you want to make it worse on yourself?!”

“I mean, now that I know I have godlike reflexes, yeah! I need to make sure I’m really good to go here! Two lives depend on it! So come on already!” You run ahead of Starlight, about twenty yards, and beat your chest with your right hoof “BRING IT ON! YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN ON THIS!” You then turn around and smack your butt at her.

All she wanted was for you to understand.

All she wanted was for you to realize there are limits, and that you dodging that one spell was already impressive.

She just needed you to understand there was no reason to risk your life over something that didn’t require such a dire sacrifice.

She just wanted to be of help to her good friend, that’s all. She wanted to make you happy, which would have made everyone you knew happy, which would have made her happy.

But now she was pissed at your arrogance, and your obsessive attitude. She knew you had gotten better since Chrysalis, that you picked your battles more wisely, and that while you still obsessed over your friends, such as Scootaloo, you did manage to have more control. But holy crap, did it go all out the window the moment you became cocky as fuck.

Starlight gave you a dark glare as her horn began to glow “So, you want something fast and hard, right Anon?”

You nod “I do, and I’m not gonna hide this time! Everypony is going to see how truly great I am at a physical level!” This rush, this feeling! Maybe it was because of the audience you were going to have. Because proving your physical prowess? It felt more fulfilling than you initially realized. You thought back to the bowling game… That one last roll. This exam would be the end to that perfect game.

“THEN TAKE THIS!” Starlight suddenly fired a straight laser beam right at you with pure raw anger.

...Shit…

You quickly dive to the right as the laser zips past you along the ground, creating a geyser of raw magical energy that surges through the dirt. Ok...Maybe you should have listened to Starlight. “Uh, Starlight? I think SHIT!” You jump forward when you noticed Starlight had teleported above you and shot her laser directly downwards towards you. You could only look on as it just kept going through the ground, cutting through it like butter...Up until it started to come towards you. Starlight was hovering towards you with the laser closing in like a fucking satellite beam. “STARLIGHT, WAIT!”

But she wasn’t listening. “WHAT’S WRONG, ANON!? TOO HOT TO HANDLE?! HUH!” She shouted in rage as she began to chase you down with her laser. You were running for dear fucking life, but she was unrelenting with her pursuit of you. This was now no longer reflex training, this was an endurance test. One in which failure meant imminent death should you tire out and slow down.

“STARLIGHT! I KNOW YOU’RE MAD! I DON’T KNOW WHY! BUT COME ON! I MEAN, WE CAN GO KITE FLYING! THAT’S CALMING! YOU WANNA FLY A KITE?!” Oh please! Let that work!

“SURE! AFTER I USE YOUR BONES TO FINISH FIXING THAT COFFEE MAKING MACHINE! WHAT WAS THAT QUOTE YOU TOLD ME ONCE?! SWIGGITY SWOOTY! I’M COMING FOR YOUR BOOTY!” She said with dark laughter as she started to close in

You started to cry as your endurance waned “OH GOD! STARLIGHT! YOU DIDN’T EVEN USE IT RIGHT! GOD, I’M GONNA DIE! I’M GONNNAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

And so, you failed to elude the laser and got hit on the backside. But it didn’t hurt, it didn’t even sting. Instead, you found yourself in helpless laughter as it tickled along your backside. ‘HAAHAHWHATSTHEHAHAHA?!STHAHAHAP!”

Starlight landed beside you, and looked over you with victory in her heart as she kept her laser on you. She finally had you, and she wouldn’t stop until you ended your crusade. “Ok, but only after you agree to stop. I think we’ve had enough training today, and you did good enough for tomorrow.”

“OHOHOHOK! HOHOHOK! JUSTHAHAHAHA! STHAHAHAP!” You screamed in ticklish laughter from the ministrations of the merciless laser. You had to get it to stop, it was fucking torture!

“Yooouuu suuuuureee” Starlight said in a sing song way, sweeping the laser side to side along your belly as you rolled about.

“YEYSSAHAHAHAHAHAPLEEEASEHEHAHAHA” You guffawed

Starlight finally ended her magical tickle assault as she nodded to herself with satisfaction. “Good, because it’s getting late anyway and I’m hungry.”

You had to lay there as you slowly stopped giggling. God fucking dammit, she got you good. That laser wasn’t going to kill you at all, it just tickled. Wait, so did that also mean…

You sprung up and pointed an accusing hoof at Starlight “You went easy on me the whole time!”

“What?!” Starlight was actually offended by that. Not so much to your accusation, but rather the fact that you still seemed on this whole 'BEST' sthick. “I did not! That orb attack really was a very powerful spell! How many unicorns do you know that can pelt that many orbs! Hmm?!”

“Yeah, but…” You relented for a moment, pulling your hoof back. But wait, that sounded like there was some implication that it wouldn’t incinerate you! With that in mind, you point your hoof again. “But you lied to me! I wouldn’t have died from those orbs at all!”

“W-well...no” Now Starlight began to back off. But then she had in mind that you were being an idiot, and so she called her courage back to finally set things straight. “But I had to tell you that! The way you wanted to train was suicide!”

“No!” You plopped on your butt as you crossed your forelegs, acting as if you knew it’d be safe “I know how this all works. Like I’ve told you before; In my world, this was a TV show. And it is pretty 'TV Y' around here, that means child friendly by the way. Sure, you’re strong, but I think none of your magic really would have hurt me that much. The worst it would have done is sent me flying some, thats all. And a tickling laser? Now that’s just insulting, I’m not a little kid you know! I mean...sorta? But not really! Ahrm…” You calmed down as you cleared your throat “Case in point, your magic isn’t really lethal, and you had no reason to go easy on me.”

Starlight groaned at you as she put her hoof to her face “Ugggghh! Anon, one! That orb spell worked as intended! It was a high level spell that is, for a fact, ridiculously hard to dodge and hard to cast too. And you dodged it! That should have been enough! And two!...Er….” Starlight suddenly looked sheepish as she tapped her hooves together “...That didn’t start as a tickling laser…”

Wut? “What? So what was it at the start then?”

“Yeeeeaaahhhh, I kinda got really angry, because you were being dumb, so I sort of focused all that anger...And...errr.” Starlight noticed she had chased you around in circles, so the original point of impact for when she first fired and when she fired from directly above was still closeby. “See that ditch? That was from when I first shot the laser, which you probably are right, you would have been blown back.” But then she points to the hole from firing the laser from above “But then there is this hole here. You would have been a doughnut if you got hit….Errr...So yeah, you kind of made me a little angry.” Starlight chuckled nervously “I mean, you did ask for it.”

Oh god…

Your ears droop downwards as you realize just how close to death you really were. “Ahaha...ha” You weakly chuckle “Yeah...Let’s call it a day. U-Ummm...You wanna get some coffee?”

“Y-yeah..” Starlight said, a little scared of her own power. But when she saw how scared you were, she softened up and got worried for your well being “Anon, are you alright? I’m really sorry for losing my cool back there.”

“I-I’m fine…It’s ok” And just the same, you realized you were being an overbearing asshole in not listening to Starlight’s warnings “Starlight...I’m sorry for being an absolute shitbag.”

“I don’t know what means...But I assume you mean a jerk, and yeah, It’s alright. It’s ok…” Starlight sighed as she walked closer to you, and let you lean to her side. That really escalated quickly, and you just wanted some comfort, so you took that as an invitation to nuzzle your head into her.

And so you both returned back to the house as the sun began to set. There was still coffee in the pot from when the machine was first turned on. You both took a cup of coffee, sat at two different chairs facing in front of each other, and just sat there, drinking. The air was tense, the room was silent, it was really eerie.

Then, you finally said something. “Starlight.”

Starlight looks back at you with an expressionless stare “Yeah?”

“I don’t really wanna say this, because I know it’s insulting, but…” You hold your cup of coffee up towards her “This coffee is really bad.”

Starlight nods as she puts her cup down “I know, Trixie really didn’t do a good job at all.”

“Yeah…” You almost instinctively wipe your tongue with your hoof “It tastes like ass…”

Starlight sits there, ever silent without a response for a moment. Then suddenly, she points at you with a smile “I KNOW THAT ONE! IT MEANS BUTT!”

HOLY FUCK! SHE REMEMBERED! “FUCK YEAH! THAT’S AWESOME, STARLIGHT!”

“Yeah!...I still keep forgetting what 'fuck' is. I don’t even think you’ve explained it to me. The last time you mentioned it, you asked me if I had fucked Trixie yet. I mean, maybe? You would know, it’s your word.” Starlight was so damn confused now.

It made you laugh, it made you laugh that she said fucking 'maybe'. All that dread and distance you felt towards her just washed away as you went up and hugged her in a giggly yet sad haze. Sad because...Well, that was pretty fucking scary.

Starlight was stunned that you came to hug her at first. But then she felt relieved. She knew, that thanks to this hug, that everything between you and her was ok now. And it happened over something so silly. The word “Fuck”, whatever that meant.

She then realized, at least to herself, what “Fuck” meant. “Anon! I figured it out!” She said in giddy excitement.

Hmm? You look up at her, curious. To you, you thought she meant about the current situation, which you felt needed no figuring out. It was just natural friendship after all.

But then she said it. “You and me, we fucked! We fucked hard! Sure it was rocky with what happened, but then we fucked it out! We just needed a moment to fuck to get it all sorted. It’s a good thing too, I was scared we lost our friendship for a moment. But thanks to a good fucking, we worked it out!”

Oh god, that wasn’t even funny to you. You were just looking at her like you were horrified.

“What? What’s wrong? I got it right, didn’t I? Fuck means to understand each other, or something close to that, right?” She really was confused, because that was dead wrong.

“Er, Starlight. You’re one of my best friends and one of the few who know the secret to my true age. So, I’m just gonna say what it is, and hope it doesn’t break your head.” Oh boy, here we go.

“What is it? It can’t be that bad.” Starlight was curious, she couldn’t understand how she could have gotten it so wrong.

“Ahrm, while the word itself could be used to put an EMPHASIS on something. It also means, and this was context you technically used it for, as was when I mentioned Trixie...Yeah, erm..How to put this...It means, since I’m a guy, putting my peepee into your, you being a girl, pee pee hole....Multiple times” You look to Starlight with an extremely meek smile.

Starlight just freezes in place as her right eye twitches, then finally, with an exclamation that you swear could be heard by god himself, she lets out a mighty “WHAT?!”

She knew what THAT was, she just didn't know that's what the word "fuck" meant. And she was mortified on how you could say a word so freely.

Lordy...

Chapter 13 - A Moment With Starlight.

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Man, with that kind of reaction, you doubted Starlight could get used to any human words that were lewd or insulting. Starlight herself asked you why humans seemed so vile and gross with their wordplay. You explained to her it was just how humans were, and not all human words were like that. You tried explaining a few other words, but it didn’t take. Hell, she thought the word “ass” was insulting to donkeys. But then, there was something else.

“I mean, take the word ‘bitch’. It’s used to insult somepony, but all it means is female dog. It’s like, a quick version of an insult.” You knew it was a little worse than that, but that was the safest explanation you could give without her having a negative reaction. “It’s also commonly used in the phrase ‘Son of a bitch’...And that’s about it. Oh! Wait! It can also mean something is really hard to do.” You explain

“Female dog? And it can mean that too, huh? That doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, definitely better than ‘fuck’...egh. Anyway, that’s definitely the nicest human word out of the ones you told me. I have to say, Anon, humans do seem really extreme. Even their words are pretty intense. Even the meanest ponies wouldn’t go saying words like that if they knew those were the meanings. I don’t even get the word ‘cunt’. I mean…” Starlight blushed in embarrassment just mentioning the word “it’s just a natural part of a mare. I just don’t see how that’s an insult. Humans are weird…” Starlight takes a moment to calm herself from her embarrassment and leans on her side as she looks out the window “...And yet, I admit, kind of fascinating too. Making flying machines out of metal? That move at mach speeds? If you weren’t my friend, I’d call you a liar for sure. Although…” Starlight takes a look at the horn hanging from your neck, she suddenly had this wanting and near hungry look “If you could whip up a blueprint, I wouldn’t mind looking it over myself. That kind of speed, I think, would be beneficial to everypony in Equestria.”

The way she was looking at you, you could tell she just wanted to see it for herself. Despite her reaction to human words, Starlight did seem to have an attraction to human tech. To her, it was the equivalent to high level magic in the form of machinery and technology.The taser was her first ever experience with human tech, and while she was fascinated with it, she didn’t let herself become overwhelmed by the want to see even more of what humans had to offer, but she always kept a secret desire for more of their technological designs, and therefore would ask about something on the here and there.

This was the first time she actually asked for a blueprint though, so it was obvious her curiousness towards human tick was definitely faltering. “Sure, but I kind of used my charges for the day, so you’ll have to wait when I can cast a spell to make one appear. Why are you suddenly so interested, anyway?”

“I admit, from some of the stuff you told me about, like computers,automobiles, and satellites. Airplanes are something that sounds like it requires more of an understanding of magic rather than technological skill. There’s no magic I can think of that can make a construct meant to hold that many ponies and transport them long distances at super speeds.” Starlight explains.

But that did confuse you on something “How are computers not more magical than airplanes?” To you, you always felt that would have been the thing to grab her attention.

“Because, while it sounds impressive, management of files and folders can still be done physically. Long distance communication is also possible through various means. And then you mentioned games, which I think the way you described Discord’s use of magic to create an entire world to play in ‘Ogres And Oubliettes’ already means we outclass that too. So eh...But airplanes? Now that really sounds like something” Starlight explains, and while sounding ignorant to you, did give her a pretty strong point on the most basic of levels.

You just shrug “I guess, but computers are still really cool and makes a lot of what you mentioned pretty convenient. But whatever, you want plane schematics? I can make that happen. But…” You give her a cocky little smirk “You gotta do something for me”

Starlight suddenly feels uncomfortable as she looks back at you “And that is?”

“Oh, not much” You get up from your seat and walk over to her, looking up at her as you wiggle your eyebrows with cool sensual arrogance. “I just want to see if you can handle a word even worse than ‘Fuck’ “

“There’s a word worse than that? I don’t believe it. That word alone is one of the most disgusting words I’ve ever heard, how can it get any worse?” Starlight asks, fearing that may have been a question she shouldn’t have asked at all.

You lean your head up closer to hers “Is that a deal then?” Oh baby, you really wanted to see how this was gonna go.

“...Anon…” Starlight looks left and right, then out the window to make sure Trixie nor any other pony was nearby “...You can really get me those blueprints?”

You nod.

“Ok…” Starlight takes a moment to prepare herself. She takes a few calm breaths and sits down at the ready “I’m ready now, I won’t let myself be surprised this time.”

“We’ll see, because Starlight…” You lean in a little closer “The word is ‘Motherfucker’...And it’s exactly as it implies, mostly used as an insWAHHHH!”

You had little time to actually explain the word, as when it hit Starlight’s ears, her eyes went wide as she looked at you with an intense stare as she screamed. And this scream? Holy shit, the entire house shook, causing pictures on the wall to fall, and glasses to tip over. “WHHHHAAATTT?!”

Well, you got your reaction. While her initial scream spooked you, you started to laugh hard when you saw from her face how utterly bewildered she was. Even her mane came apart and flowed downward from her surprise, as if hearing the word caused her mane to die and go limp.

But Starlight wasn’t laughing. She rose up from her seat and began yelling at you from her surprise. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?! THAT’S A WORD!? ANON, THAT’S THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I EVER HEARD! I MEAN, WHAT THE FUCKING HELL! HOLY SHI-...” Starlight suddenly plopped down on her butt as she looked straight ahead, hoof to cheek, surprised at herself “...Oh my gosh...I’m yelling human words now…That’s not good…”


Holy fuck! Now that’s hilarious! You just kick and sputter in wild laughter, twitching and taking deep breaths when needed.

“Ha ha...Very funny…” Starlight used her magic to toss a pillow at you while she groaned, annoyed with both you and herself “Humans are sick, sick creatures, I swear.”

You do your best to hold in your chuckles as you poke your head out from the pillows. “Hehe, come on, Starlight. It’s just how we are.” You hop out of the pillows and give her a gentle hug “Don’t be uptight, nopony is forcing you to use those words.”

“I know, it’s just surprising to hear them at all...Especially coming from me.” Starlight lowers herself to the ground, placing her chin on the floor as she looks ahead, eyelids halfway down, and with a stoic look. “I couldn’t imagine living there...Or worse, being from there. I could only imagine a human version of me being a crazy loon who would...ergh...Massacre others just to make examples of them.”

“Aww, come on, Starlight. Don’t get depressing now.” You hop up on her back, rest your head on hers, and reach down with your hoof to boop her nose “You’re Starlight FUCKING Glimmer, the most powerful Unicorn I’ve ever seen! Plus you’re fun, understanding, smart, kind... Hell, I’m super glad to be your friend.”

“Heh, so is Trixie...” Starlight lets out a small chuckle “And everypony else in this town.”

There’s a small amount of silence for a moment. You decide to cuddle your head onto hers, making her feel loved enough for her to use her magic to give you the feeling of gentle and loving headscratching on your noggin’.

“Well, it’s getting late. Trixie is gonna be back soon and she’s gonna spend half the night telling me how close she is to being elected mayor.” Starlight says as she slowly stands, letting you hop off without hurting yourself.

“Yeah…” Actually, Fluttershy was going to be going soon. It’d be a good idea to see her before she left. “I gotta go see my Aunt anyway. Gonna be the last time I see her for a little bit.”

“Oh yeah, that Breezies thing. She’s gonna be back for your...Fake...Wedding...thing, right?” Starlight asks.

“She said she’d be back before the end of the wee...Oh man, I didn’t even think of that at all when talking with her! She didn’t mention it at all either. She probably didn’t want me to worry about it since I didn’t seem to be sweating it...Damn...I really do want her to be there, same with Discord.” Fuck, now you felt sad, you didn’t consider the possibility that she might not be back in time.

“I’m sure she’ll do her best to get back. Besides, you and Discord have crazy magic at your side. Why can’t one of you teleport her to where she needs to be, and then teleport her back when she’s done? That already saves a day.” Starlight suggests.

“...Woah…” You hadn’t thought of that “That can work. I’ll actually see if Discord is up for that...Well, he totally will be.” You begin to smile about the idea “He hates it when Fluttershy is away for too long.”

“There you go, problem solved.” Starlight uses her magic to summon forth a water ball made of the surrounding moisture and plops it onto the ground. “Just make sure it’s ok with her too. She’ll probably go for it, but you still need to respect her decision on it.”

“I will…” You say as you take out your map “Thanks Starlight, for the idea and the training.”

“It’s no problem. You take care, alright? And good luck with that exam tomorrow. And don’t forget the blueprints for when you visit again!” Starlight tells you with a genuine smile.

“I got it...So, before I go.” You give Starlight a sultry smirk “Since Trixie does live with you...Do you wanna know how two mares fuck?”

Starlight’s right eye suddenly bugs out and tremors as her horn explodes in magical light. “ANON!”

You let out a nervous chuckle “Ok...Gotta go!” Damn man, she was really sensitive about that word. Still funny though. But not funny enough to stick around for what could possibly be a asswhuppin’ on her behalf.

Chapter 14 - Discord's Gift

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You fell onto your bed after falling through the portal, letting the map fall on your chest as you let out a heavy breath of relief. “Wow, she’s really touchy about that word. Maybe she really did want to fuck Trixie and was too embarrassed to admit it… Hot” You hopped off your bed and put away your map as you approached your portal door.

“Ahh, Anon! There you are!” You suddenly hear a voice from behind you. You look back to see Discord, dressed up in a shirt with your face on it, wearing a blue cap with the word “ANON”.

There you were? What about him? He had disappeared after the dragon attacked to go brag about you. “Yeah, I was busy. What about you, Discord? What’s with you bragging about me all of a sudden?” You really did have to wonder about that. Was it really to boost his own rep and ego?

“Well, I had two reasons for that. But I assume you already know one of them” Discord said as he walked over to your bed and plopped himself on it, resting his head on his arms as he looked back at you with his usual arrogant grin.

“Considering you didn’t do shit to help me, I don’t think you really deserve to be acknowledged at all for something I did.” He really didn’t, and then there was that thing with Mrs.Rich “And then there’s the fact that something is going on with my training tomorrow. Considering Mrs.Rich is involved, whatever that something is isn’t good for either me or Scootaloo.” And you slowly began to put it in perspective for yourself that the situation within itself is not good for you at all. “Discord, I know you don’t realize it, but you really screwed things up for me tomorrow.” And upon that thought, you also realized… “I’m actually upset at you.”

“Pffft! What?! I bet you didn’t even put any real thought into any of that until you saw me just now.” Discord scoffed, poofed behind you, and used the digits of his paws and talons to pull your mouth into a smile. “Well, if that’s the case, the second thing I have to tell you will be sure to brighten your evening!”

You swat his arms away as you look back at him, annoyed. “Yeah? And what’s that?”

Discord reached into his cap and pulled out a small gift box, a simple white box held together by red ribbon, and held it towards you. “Anon, you may not realize this, even after all this time, but with our friendship and our whole family thing, I have come to be proud of you whenever you pull of feats of valor, or make Fluttershy happy, or generally do something that makes us look good in general. But this? This was different. This gift isn’t even for defeating the dragon, no, it’s for your near perfect game of bowling. I admit, I did take in as much glory as I could for you defeating the dragon. But the way you handled the ball, the way you managed to surpass my own brilliant form of rolling the ball, without even the use of your horn might I add! That deserves a gift. I’m proud of you Anon, for your skill, for making Fluttershy happy, and for being my friend. So this is for you.”

You just raised an eyebrow at him “Yeah, no, that’s a trap”

Discord gave you a scowl, as if he was actually insulted, while still continuing to hold out the box “Don’t make me take this back, Anon. On this rare occasion, my word holds true.”

Ouch, the way he was looking at you, he actually looked really insulted. But you knew better, he was very good at faking his emotions if he really wanted to. “Sorry… Alright, let me see what this is” You took the gift box, acting apologetic as you slowly and cautiously removed the ribbon, and then lifted the box. You were prepared to throw it back at him at the slightest sign of it being a bomb. But upon taking a look, you saw not a bomb, but some sort of glowing orb. “What is that thing?”

“Anon…” Discord sighs, leans down, and puts his paw on your shoulder as he looks to you with a gentle and parental look. “Before I tell you, I really want you to know this. I truly, with all my heart, am proud of you. I’m afraid I haven’t been truly honest with you on that, I mean, how could I?” Discord lets out a weak chuckle as he says that “Our friendship isn’t of the normal sort, it lives and breaths chaos. But, for this moment, I must treat it as if I truly was your father. Now then, the true reason I’m proud of you, aside from the things I said, is the fact that you had saved Fluttershy’s life while I was away.”

Away? He meant during the Storm King’s invasion. But… That had happened some time ago, why does he now suddenly care so much? “I mean, I couldn’t let her get hurt, Discord. I couldn’t let anypony get hurt. Besides, it was a team effort too. And even then, it happened some time ago. I don’t want to sound like an ingrate or anything, but...Why now?”

“Hmmm…” Discord let’s out a tired sigh. “I suppose talking to Fluttershy while you were away has something to do with that. In truth, she already let me know that my bragging was rather obstructive when it came to your life, but it really was hard to resist letting everypony know how great my fake son is.” Discord shrugged “But… she let me know that it’s not about the glory, the renown, or anything like that. It really is about being proud of you, for all the good you have done. She had mentioned things she was proud of you for, from that Starlight pony, to being a major force of bringing down the Storm King. It made me think of what could have happened to Equestria, to you, and to Fluttershy during my time away. And it also made me realize that I truly hadn’t done enough for you in comparison for what you’ve done for me, Fluttershy… And I guess everypony else. Please, Anon, accept the gift. It’d make me happy to know that you accept it without any suspicion.” He sounded so genuine, so normal, so caring. This was a rarity, even for him. His voice shook whenever it mentioned Fluttershy, his fear of losing her causing him to shiver.

Alright...You’d do it. You reach for the orb and give it a tap with your hoof. The orb suddenly floats up in a brilliant white light, forcing you to shield your eyes with your leg. “Discord! What’s going on?!”

Discord rose up, arms outstretched as he announced the spectacle of the orb like a grand event. “Anon! Witness the power of this orb as it flows within you! Witness, feel, and become even greater than you are now!”

“What?! What do you mean by...OH SHIT!” You started to float up as the orb’s light began to envelope you. You tried kicking your legs, but at this point, it was no use “DISCORD! GODDAMMIT! FUUUUUCCCKKK!” Was all you could say as the orb’s brilliance silenced all sound, sight, and feeling.

You didn’t know where you were, when you were, or even if you still existed. All you knew was a form of white darkness.

“Anon…” You suddenly hear a voice.

“Anon…”

“It’s me, Discord. I apologize for the theatrics, but the orb, and indeed, this void of nothingness were merely a distraction. Now, don’t fret, what I had told you before is true. I just needed some actual time to properly create the gift I wanted to give you. You’ve been here for about an hour. Still plenty of time to talk to Fluttershy before she goes, so you needn’t worry about that. As for your actual gift, you’ll be happy to know that your horn has received an upgrade once again. Now, I’m afraid it’s still two charges like before, but this gift I have to give you should be more than adequate enough to match my feelings of pride for you. First, I have taken the map’s ability to take you home, and instead placed it into your horn. After much thought, it seemed more practical to give you the ability to return home at your will rather than pulling out a piece of parchment every time. Now, you still will need the use of water to make said portal, but still, it’s much better than having to rely on an item you may very well lose. The map still has its other function, so you don’t need to worry about that either.”

“Now then, on to the second and most important addition to your horn. While I still ultimately feel that giving you too much chaos power could lead to Equestria’s imminent destruction, having no power at all after your initial two charges has led to some bad times for you in the past. So now, even without a charge, the horn will be able to use the basic unicorn ability of telekinesis, along with the power to generate a decently strong barrier. With this little boost to your horn, you should be more capable of handling yourself, especially when mixed with the training you have received from Rainbow Dash. I love you, Anon, as my friend and my son. This is my gift to you, and I hope you use it both responsibly… And chaotically. Now, when you are done with your visit with Fluttershy, please return home, I’ve arranged a meeting with Mr.Rich. Nothing fancy, I just happened to be interested in his wife’s little project she hired over fifty workers for. Now then, it’s time for me to release you from this void.” Discord, his voice, you swear he nearly cracked with sadness during his speech to you.

As if waking up from a dream, the white around you began to dissipate as your consciousness began to return. An upgrade to your horn? You could now use very basic unicorn magic, even without your charges? That was actually pretty cool of him to do. And the portal thing? Yeah, after what happened with your adventure with Daring Do, that was definitely for the best. Discord was actually truthful for once. He cared that much. You knew he did, he’s shown it before, but to hear it all like that… What a guy, he truly was the best.

“Oh, and Anon, watch your head. You still happen to be floating.”

Wut?

And before you could even react, your vision returns to the confines of your room. And a split second after, the floor itself came zooming into your face, causing a really loud thud. Or in truth, you ended up falling down and smashing your face onto the hard ground below you.

You just groaned as you continued to look onto the hard, cold floor. “I’ll kill him...I fucking swear…”

Chapter 15 - The Upgraded Horn

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You slowly stand up as you brush off both your mane and your childish annoyance at Discord. He just gave you an awesome sounding gift, so you could overlook his little trick this time.

But was he being truthful? Or was it really just a lie, with the punchline being yet another slam on your head. You hold up your horn, and eye it closely. “Hm, looks the same…” Then again, you doubt he was going to make any visual changes while it was off your forehead. “In that case…” You plop the horn on your head. But as usual, when it’s out of charges, it keeps it’s Sombra form, complete with the “Dark Magic” effect. And while you usually would have called it a trick right there and then, you decided to give Discord the benefit of the doubt. “Ok, Discord, let’s see if this works…”

You look around, and spot the drawers of your dresser. Those would be a great way to test the horn. You aim your horn at them, and try to focus on opening them all. You remember that you wasted a charge on telekinesis before, on Snips and Snails. So, in theory, you should be able to get this if the rules of the horn still applies to chaos and not actual unicorn magic.

The drawers, one by one, began to glow a sickly green. Woah, it was...It was actually working! You started to feel excited as drawers started to open and close at the mere will of thought. You began to smile joyfully as you then started to open and close them to a latin beat you had in your head. Holy shit, This was incredible! While you were creating the beat, you focused on your blanket, and brought it towards you in a way that made it compress and stretch into the shape of a woman’s torso. You then began to dance with it as the beat played on. “Ratata! Rambaba! Ariba! Ari-..Wait…” Suddenly the drawers stop and the blanket drops and folds onto the ground when you realize something. “I can manipulate reality twice a day, so why is this so great? God, I must have looked like a childish idiot.”

You take the horn off your forehead and head towards the portal door. You open it to Fluttershy’s cottage and step through it, coming face to face with her front door once more. Looking at it, and then up at the moonlit night, you realized that showing it off to Fluttershy would probably make her smile. Yeah! She probably would find it cute! That’d be a great way to open up your visit. So you put the horn back on your head, stand tall, and knock on the door. “Aunt Fluttershy! Are you there? It’s me, Anon!”

Luckily for you, it seemed she was still up. It wasn’t that late, but she did have somewhere to be tomorrow. “Anon? Oh! Let me get the door for you!” She said as she rushed to let you in. As the door began to open, Fluttershy’s adorably smiling face was waiting to greet you. “Good evening, Anon. I’m actually so so...so…so...so...so” She suddenly looked white in the face as she gazed at you.

“Aunt FlutterAGH!” Suddenly, you receive a face full of wooden door as she slams it shut on you, knocking you flat on your ass. “Ow! What in the…” As you rub your forehead, you notice the dark aura emanating over you. Right, she rarely ever saw you with the horn on without charges, perhaps she never really has, you couldn’t remember. But it did make sense that she would have been skittish to see you like that. No need to be upset, Anon, it's gonna be ok. You get up to knock on the door to let Fluttershy know what’s up, but she had already opened it before you could approach. It seems she had already realized what she had done nearly as soon as she had done it.

She was looking down at you with apologetic eyes. “Anon...I’m so so so so sorry, I didn’t realize you were wearing your horn.” She steps out, cautious that you could be angry or upset, and sits just outside the door, her voice becoming more sad and squeaky. “A-are you alright?” She really did feel terrible. She had heard how loud the thud of the door was against your hard head, and the sound itself was enough to make her regret her rash decision.

How could you be mad at an adorable face like that? You do a cute flip, give her an adorable grin, and trot and skip over to her with pride. “Didn’t even feel it, Aunt Fluttershy. And even if I did, it doesn’t matter, I know it was a mistake.” You then nuzzle your head under hers, and embrace her in a hug. “So don’t cry, ok?”

“Anon…” She holds in her tears, smiling warmly as she hugged you close. After the hug, she looked to you, retaining that smile as she gave your nose a peck. “There, just in case you needed a fix for your booboo”

You giggle at that, and waggle your tail as you look to her with your classic adorable grin. “Awww, Aunt Fluttershy, you know I’m a lot tougher than that now. Erm…” You look behind her. Through the threshold of the door, you could see she had all her bags in order and ready to be moved out. It was quite a bit to carry, so she obviously was going to have help to move them when she was ready. But it still made you worry, you look back to Fluttershy with a growing frown. “Ummm, Aunt Fluttershy, I know I forgot to ask, but are you going to be at my wedding thing next week? I know you’re gonna be busy with that breezie thing, and you know I won’t hold it against you if you do miss it. But, you know...I was just kind of wondering if you were gonna be there anyway.”

Fluttershy’s expression became lost as she looked to the side, she held her breath for a moment as she thought of what to say to you. “Hmmm… Anon, I know you won’t hold it against me. But I really do want to be there. To see you so happy with your little marefriend. I want to be able to have a glimpse to what your beautiful future will be like. And as your Aunt, it is my duty to be there.” She then let out a lamented sigh “...Just like it’s my duty to help settle this dispute.”

“Aunt Fluttershy, come on!” You look at her with a cheerful smile “Don’t get upset! If you miss it, you miss it, it’s not that big a deal. What you’re doing is much more important! I’m not even saying that either, you know that I can understand that the safety and stability of Equestria is super important!” You give her nose a gentle boop, your smile becoming more warming as you gaze at her “Really, I already know you’re going to do your best to get back. I even have this feeling Dad would immediately teleport you to where you need to be the moment he got wind that you were done. Aunt Fluttershy, please don’t be sad about it, don’t wrack your brain over it. You need to focus so you can get your job done, ok?” You gave her the sunniest smile you could to try and cheer her up.

She holds you close, and nuzzles her head upon yours as she lets out a little giggle. “Oh, Anon, you’re so mature and understanding. I’m so glad to have you as a nephew! And, hehe” Fluttershy covered her mouth with her hoof as she had herself a silly little giggle “And your marefriend will be so glad to have you as a husband too! I just have this feeling you two will make quite the pair. But oh, look at me” Fluttershy felt a little embarrassed “Thinking far ahead like that. You’re both still very young, you won’t be really married for quite some time. You better not grow up to be a little heart breaker now.” Fluttershy, in her heart, had faith it’d work out. She had no fear, despite her thinking of it as a cute crush, that the love between you and Diamond would never die.

“Aww, come on, I won’t. I’m one loyal guy!” Perfectly loyal...Mostly...Kinda Mostly… Dammit, you suddenly felt like someone out there was judging you. Could anyone really blame you for finding a ton of these mares cute or sexy? Still, the thought of Diamond being a little older, oh baby, she’s gonna be so damn hot. But before you let your mind wander to such things, you hop away from Fluttershy and begin to jump about, excited. “Oh, Aunt Fluttershy! Do you want to see what my horn can do now? Dad gave it an upgrade!”

“Oh, he told me he was going to do that. Sure! I’d love to see what it can do now...erm...He didn’t exactly tell me what it’d be though.” She looks left and right nervously, then back to you “It’s not to make things explode, right?”

Heh, that’s adorable that’d she think that...Kinda scary too. “Nah, just watch this…” You look around, you needed something to move around with your….oh, you got it. “Where’s Angel, by the way?”

“Oh, erm, he’s up in the room, asleep. Why?” Fluttershy asked, curious.

This has been a long time coming. “Oh...nothing, just watch.” You focus, and you focus hard, trying to imagine Fluttershy’s bed and the little rat that was on it. You didn’t hate him, he could be cool, but it was time to even things up with him. You struggled with your thoughts, hoping that you nabbed something as you feel a pull on your forehead. Did you nab him?

Well, as you look up to see Fluttershy let out a quiet gasp, you felt you were on the right track. You look to where she was looking at, only to see a sleeping Angel, hovering just above the rug.

“Anon, couldn’t you already do something like this? And, please be careful with him, please” Fluttershy said, circling Angel, ready to catch him at a moment’s notice...Dammit, you really wanted to let him drop. Maybe next time.

“Yeah, but see how my eyes are still like Sombra’s?” You ask her

“Mhmm, doesn’t that mean your horn has no magic at all?”

“Well, besides the magic it uses to do this effect, yeah. But now? I can use telekinesis and a barrier whenever I want! I haven’t really tried a barrier yet, but I think it’d be as easy as telekinesis, speaking of which.” You sigh, and gently place Angel on the couch without disturbing him. Whatever, maybe it would have been too rude to drop the ass while he wasn’t expecting it. “There we go.”

“You have so much control, Anon.” Fluttershy tilts her head cheerfully, happy and proud of your use of magic. “Erm, actually, I’d like to see if you could use that barrier spell too. You know how I am, knowing you have ways to stay safe always puts me at ease.”

“I could try. Probably is just as easy as having a thought about it. In fact, let’s give it a real test drive. Toss something at me, Aunt Fluttershy”

Fluttershy shakes her head, she didn’t like the sounds of that. She didn’t want to risk hurting you, barrier or no. “Oh no no, let’s not do that. Just seeing it would be enough for me.”

“Well, how do we know how effective it is without testing it? C’mon, Aunt Fluttershy! It’ll be alright, promise!” You felt pretty confident, If you can do telekinesis, then the barrier spell was going to be a cinch!

“Mmmmm…” Fluttershy looked down, shifting her eyes left and right as she gave it some thought. She knew you were right. How could she even know if it’s a good enough spell to protect you without a proper test? “...Ok…” Fluttershy walks over to her sofa, and takes a single pillow while avoiding waking her rabbit. She walks back towards you, and grabs the pillow with her wings, looking oddly determined as she starts to swing it around like a mace “I’ll give it a good swing, Anon. If this barrier is really good enough to protect you, then you don’t need to worry, you won’t be hurt one bit!”

Was she serious? Did little ole Fluttershy even think she could hurt you with a fucking pillow? You had to hold in a giggle, you didn’t want to insult her. Alright then… “Ok, when you’re ready, Aunt Fluttershy” You bent down and wiggle your butt, aiming your horn directly at her and preparing your barrier spell.

“Ok...Here...I...GO!” Fluttershy swings to the side, bringing the pillow down for a sideways smash. It was actually quite impressive, given the speed it was going.

“BARRIER! ACTIVATE!” You let out, not only to sound like a cool badass, but to focus on creating the barrier. However, before the last second the pillow hits, you see that the barrier magic doesn’t actually create a barrier, but rather an impenetrable shield three times your size directly in front of you.

But that wasn’t where the pillow was coming from...

“GYAH! Om-...Oh wait...Never mind.” The pillow hits your side, but it really doesn’t do anything. HOLY SHIT! YOU DIDN’T END UP HITTING YOUR HEAD THIS TIME! THANK GOD FOR FLUTTERSHY NOT BEING THAT STRONG!

When Fluttershy swung, her mane ended up in front of her eyes, blocking her view. When she brushed it back, she looked around, then back down at you to see the illuminated barrier, green in color, in front of herself. “Oh, it worked. Yay!” She cheered, ignorant to the fact that she actually hit you.

“Yep, I dunno if it’s supposed to be that way though. Dad said it’d be a barrier, but it looks more like a shield. It’s kind of cool though, it’s big enough to guard my front.” You start looking left and right, causing the magical shield to turn with you “Oh...That’s cool, it follows my head movemenGAH!” Then you looked down, causing the shield to spark a bright green shine when it touched the floor, releasing a small blast that sends you backwards into the wall and causes the shield itself to deactivate.

“Anon!” Fluttershy rushes over to you, picks you up, brushes off your face with her feathers, and puts you down. “Are you alright?! Speak to me!”

Well, the miracle couldn’t last forever. What was that? Three in the last fucking hour? “I-I’m fine, erm… I guess I better master using the spell a little better, huh?”

Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief as she gave you a quick gentle hug “Anon…” She let you go, and gave you a long worried look “Maybe if you do practice it again, you should wear some padded clothing, and some padded leggings, and a helmet, and some strong horseshoes, and protective goggles…” She went on like this for a little while. If she wasn’t so loving, you’d find it annoying. But sheesh, you were better than that when it came to magic. Just don’t look directly down, easily remembered.

There wasn’t much to the visit after that. You and Fluttershy talked a little more about her trip, but it was pretty boring to actually hear about. Sure you cared, but damn, it was all cutesy politics bullshit. She also spoke to you about your training tomorrow. She wished you good luck, to stay safe, and do your best. You know, typical motherly stuff.

And with a yawn, and a promise to come back as soon as she can, and of course the usual hugs and goodbyes, Fluttershy wishes you a goodnight. She did have to be up soon after all, and you didn’t want to keep her up for too long.

You left Fluttershy’s cottage. You had hope in your heart that she’d be there for your “wedding”, it wouldn’t be show appropriate if someone like her missed it, after all.

You head to the stream by her little bridge, and look into the water. “Uhh, how am I supposed to do this? Same way?”

Well, what else could you do? So, with little hesitation, you give it a shot and jump into the water, trying to focus on a portal.

It doesn’t work.

You end up in the cold water, it’s icy chill piercing your coat, causing you to shiver and shudder. Even as you crawl out and shake yourself off, you couldn’t help but chatter your teeth due to how chilly you felt. “G-g-g-oddammit, w-w-what went...wrong?” You look back at the water, confused and bewildered “He s-s-said it worked the same, right?! S-s-s-so why? W-what..D-do I have to shoot a laser or s-s-...” And just as you say it, your horn fires a laser into the water, revealing a portal to your room.

Your right eye twitches as your coat begins to warm up, then produce steam “Oh...That was the answer...WHY COULDN’T YOU FUCKING TELL ME THAT, DISCORD! HOLY SHIT!” You were red with anger. Really?! Now it requires a fucking laser opening...thing?! Why not just keep it the same! Holy fuck! That’s so damn dumb! “I swear to fucking god! When I...I…” You look around, again, who were you talking to? “Yeah…” You shake your head at your own foolishness “Nobody there...Ugh, why am I angry anyway? Just like with the freaking shield, I should have tested for some differences before hopping in. Right, ok, got it! Just meet up with Discord...And hope things go ok”

And with that, you jump into the portal.

Chapter 16 - The Nighttime Meetup

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Upon falling through the portal once more, you take a moment to calm yourself and warm up on your enchanted bed. Rubbing your body along your blanket like a cat. “Ok, ok...No reason to be upset. I just got these powers and I’m acting unreasonable about it. Don’t do that, Anon, don’t be a sore loser just because you haven’t mastered the mechanics yet.”

“Yes, agreed. If you got angry at me at all because you somehow couldn’t manage the most basic magic possible then I’d suggest a visit to our ‘favorite’ bug colony. I hear they provide excellent group therapy sessions for even the most pathetically natured being.” Discord said as he started to rise from your floor door, dressed in a red suit, a blue vest over it. He was speaking in a rather condescending tone as he looked to you with a smirk.

“Yeah, yeah…” You stand up on your bed and look at him, a little annoyed by his words and your own foolish shortcoming. “It was just tricky having to handle some low level spells, that’s all. I already have it down, so no problems. I mean, even then, you don’t have to be an ass.”

“Kind of hard not to when you’re audibly narrating your failure…” Discord continued act like a asshole, but then he took a few steps towards you, stopped, and gave you a warmer smile. “So then, with that out of the way, why don’t we go see Mr.Rich and find out what exactly lies in store for you tomorrow.” Discord holds his paw out towards you.

You just stare at it, then raise an eyebrow at him, looking at him silently as you grew suspicious of what he had in mind.

“Come on, Anon.” He wiggles his paw at you, getting annoyed at your inaction. “Just give me your hoof, I’m not going to rip it off or anything. How long have we known each other that you can’t just have faith in me?”

“I dunno, was there another draconequus who threw bowling balls at me this morning? Or caused this mess in the first place?” You say, in a way Discord actually finds quite mean.

“Well, that’s a little rude…” But then he chuckles to himself “Even if it was rather funny. Alright, Anon, you have my word. No tricks, no bowling balls, and no lies, on the honor of our friendship.”

You thought about making him promise on Fluttershy. But again, he gave you an upgrade on your horn, so pushing your distrust that far could honestly hurt his feelings if he was telling the truth. It’d probably be best to trust him, if only to use this moment as an example in the future should it be, in fact, a trick.

You place your hoof on his paw, causing you to immediately feel a pull on your mane. “W-what the?! Discord, you said-”

But he raises a single talon upwards to shush, closing his eyes as he then straightens his own vest. “I’m keeping my word, Anon. But this isn’t really a social visit, so I thought you should be dressed a little nicer for this little venture.”

“W-what, huh? Woah, I can feel my mane being pulled back, and getting kinda slick. And...Hey…” You raised your right hoof to see a blue sleeve. You now realized what was going on. Discord was slicking your mane back with his magic, and dressing you in an attire matching his, but with the colors swapped. You had to admit, you looked pretty good. In fact, it kind of reminded you of an ensemble you’d see in the south. “Oh, I get it. Isn’t it a little late to walk the walk though? Mr.Rich already likes us.”

“I know he does.” Discord clears his throat, and starts talking in a southern accent “But as a young southern Draconeequs, I feel that ah need to play the part proper. This is official business after all.”

“Heh, you sound pretty debonair like that actually. But I think I’m just gonna keep it straight. Why are we even seeing him again? It’s night, I’d think this could be saved til tomorrow.” You asked. To you, it did seem rather odd to still go to see him when it was this late in the day.

“Ahh, but then it’d be too late to see the fruits of his wife’s work. We’ve been invited for a sneak peek at the little ole’ obstacle course you’ll be runnin’ tomorrow.” Discord said as he opened the portal door to the town square. Odd, usually he’d just teleport you both to where you need to be. “Now let’s get a goin’”

Yeah, Spoiled Rich. Diamond had made it out to seem she was going to go all out to make you look good. Then why were you both even meeting with Mr.Rich? Why at the town square? And obstacle course? Geez, if it had to with her...Well, actually, you couldn’t think of what it’d be in terms of difficulty. All you knew is that the presentation would be top dollar. “Wait, so we’re not just going to teleport to him?”

“Nope. Where we need to go is outside of town, and in the direction he’s heading. And being the gentlecolt that I am, I’d rather, I say, I’d rather not spook the stallion none” Discord said as he nodded, and raised his head slightly to seem dignified as he slipped through the door.

Huh… Out of town, huh? How fucking big was this course? Well, you’d find out soon, you guess. “Hold on, I’m coming!” You say as you trot after Discord.

After you both pass through the portal door, you both wait by the fountain, awaiting Filthy’s arrival. “So...Discord, what do you think about the wedding. And be real with me, ok?”

Discord taps his nose, causing a white southern mustache and beard to grow out of his face. “Truthfully, Anon, I’m all for it. I normally abhor such things as I am not much of a believer of love. But that marefriend you have has such an attachment to you that if she had access to my home, she’d probably never leave. And that, to me, is quite precious.”

You let out a light groan “Because it stresses me out so much, right?”

Discord chortles a bit from that “A tad, Anon, a tad. But…” He walks up to you and pats your head “I can always see that you’re happy in her company...Most of the time. Your self control over your human side has been quite good when it comes to her, so it makes your actual relationship quite admirable. Besides, seeing Fluttershy happy at that wedding would be a definite plus...Ahrm…” Discord suddenly enters a depressive state as he looks ahead with blank eyes. “If she can actually attend, of course. And, if I may add one more thing… I really do think you’ll make an excellent husband to her, just as I think you’d make an excellent father…Should that ever happen anyway” A single tear came down his cheek as he thought about it. It was a normal tear too, as if the very thought made him purely happy.

...Discord…

You walk up to him, and actually nuzzle your head at his side “She’ll manage it, don’t worry. Relax, ok? Everything is gonna be ok.”

Discord reaches down, and gently scratches his talons behind your ear. It actually felt quite nice.

“Well, don’t that beat all…” Comes a voice from behind both of you.

Goddammit, you didn’t even need to hear the accent to understand who that was. You both turn around to see Filthy Rich, beside the fountain, giving a warm smile towards yours and Discord’s show of affection.

Discord immediately removed his talons from your head, and slapped his tail at your butt hard enough to send you careening into the fountain as he let out a nervous chuckle towards Mr.Rich. He didn’t want to be seen as compassionate, at least, not at the moment. Why he cared? Even you don’t know, he’s just fucking random like that. Something that wasn’t good for your head at all. “I don’t even know what you mean by that, good sir. Ah was just tryin’ to keep the colt from knocking his noggin on that there fountain. He thought he saw a parasprite he could keep as a pet. Silly little colt, that Anon.” Discord then looks at you and waggles his talon “Boy, how many times I got to tell you to not go goin’ after yer imagination.” He had resumed his southern impression.

...You’ll fucking kill him, you swear.

“Oh, well, there ain’t parasprites around for miles…” Filthy Rich says as he looks around, then whispers closely “And let’s hope it stays that way. Nasty little bugs, them Parasprites.”

“Indeed.” Discord says as he straightens his vest.

“Indeed indeed. In any case, since we’re all here, I suppose I should be taking you all to the colisseum my wife is having built opposite the train station.” Filthy Rich explains, but then he takes a look at Discord and gives him a polite nod “But before that, allow me to compliment you on your attire, Mr.Discord. It’s looking mighty fine, mighty fine indeed. And that includes Mr.Anon too. The perfect pair, you two”

“‘Course” Discord picks you up your still recovering form and sets you down next to him as he points out your mane “As you can see, Anon has become quite taken with the southern flair. As have I”

“Ugh…” If Filthy wasn’t present, you’d chew Discord out for his shitty little push. But you really did have business to attend to, especially with...Wait, did he say?... “Mr.Rich, did you say a colisseum ?”

He nodded “Mhmm, just on the other side of the train station. Bewildering, I know. But when you’ve got the money and the means, you can get anything done. Specially if you hire in bulk…” Suddenly he seemed a little nervous “C-course, it may have been a bit more than what I personally would have done. But it’s my wife’s little venture, and I wouldn’t want to upset her none, especially with my little Diamond wanting to see you, Mr.Anon, earn such prestige among the eyes of the elite.”

Oh god, you didn’t even need to ask him what that meant. Essentially, his wife used a shitton of cash to set up some ridiculous colisseum just to show you off to her fucking “friends”. The madmare really did it. It was actually scary to even know that she was capable of setting all of that up at such short notice. You wondered what it fucking looked like.

“Well, erm, so that’s what we’re going to check out, right?” You ask, curious.

“Yes indeedy. Captain Spitfire and our resident element of loyalty are overseeing the project personally as well. Though, part of me says they ain’t likin’ it too much.” Filthy says, as if he himself was truly unsure on his wife’s machinations.

“Why is that? I mean, I’d understand Spitfire. But wouldn’t Rainbow Dash find something like this pretty cool?” You asked, it seemed weird that Rainbow wouldn’t like any way to hog the spotlight.

“Perhaps, but it’s cuttin’ in on her sleep apparently. Not to mention the both of them have some reservations on the opening script.” Filthy explains as he starts leading the both of you towards the colisseum.

Opening script? “Uhhh…What do you mean by that?”

“Mr.Anon…” Filthy looks back at you with a grimace “Let’s just say that you being the star of the show is an understatement.”

Holy shit, Spoiled. What the fuck did you do?! “Ooook then...I guess I have to be really ready for tomorrow, huh?”

“For all our sakes, son, for all our sakes. The missus really did put her integrity on the line for this, so I politely ask that you give it your all tomorrow, Mr.Anon.” Mr.Rich’s voice was a little timid when he mentioned how integral it was for you to perform well.

You pump your chest with your hoof, and give him a reassuring smile “You can count on me, Mr.Rich! Not only for this, but in making your daughter really happy too. Speaking of which, what exactly is planned for the...er, ‘wedding’ “

“Ahh, well. We decided that the town hall will be the venue, and made sure to have some ponies stationed outside to keep away the princesses and the elements. Cancelled the wedding cake with well...erm, the Cakes.” Mr.Rich said, the last one catching you off guard.

“Seriously? I thought Mrs.Rich was friends with them, y’know, after that whole class thing” That was odd.

“You misunderstand, Mr.Anon. The wife feels their work is too perfect for our little wedding preview, can’t be havin’ anything that might not be able to be topped y’know. We also cancelled the reception, and made sure the guest list is small. It’ll be the most imperfect yet adequate fake wedding this side of the continent!” Mr.Rich seemed pretty confident about that. Heh, you thought there’d be some flair to the wedding in some parts, but it seemed he really was going for mediocre.

“Well, that just sounds so…boring.” Discord then hesitates on his next words, as if he was subtly admitting it was fine either way. “It’s a good thing I’ll be there to liven things up, if only by a little bit anyway.”

“Not about you, Dad.” You let out, still a little upset from when he bopped you.

“I know…” Discord says, with some infliction of regret in his tone. Did he realize you were a little mad at him? And did he actually care? Goddamnit. If he was, it meant he was being genuine with his words. It also meant that him bopping you was just his retarded “I’M CHAOTIC!” reflex “I just thought having me around would make things better for you, that’s all.”

You let out a soft sigh, and put aside your petty grudge one last time. “...You will, it wouldn’t be a wedding without you, y’know?”

“Heh…” Discord quickly regains his confidence and straightens his vest as he changes his accent once more “I say, son, you do know the things that you know.” Discord then looks to Mr.Rich as he gives you a head pat “Truly a colt to be admired, if I do say so myself.”

“Too right, Mr.Discord, too right.” Mr.Rich says with a hearty chuckle.

And then you saw it. Across from the train station was a fucking massive colosseum, golden in color, with lights around it more for the construction team than for the colosseum itself. It didn’t really look roman, more like some sort of crude baseball stadium, and that was just from the outside of it. You could see that some of it still needed to be filled in with concrete and such, as some of the scaffolding was still visible. There were tons of fucking workers moving in and out of the colosseum. They were getting tools, having breaks, and some of the pegasi ones were flying about to work on the upper areas of the colosseum. This was impressive as fuck given this was all in one day.

“And there it is. Not the best thing ever built, to be sure, but it’s good enough for tomorrow…” Mr.Rich then gulped, nervous about something “...How much is this gonna cost? I wonder…” He said silently to himself. For his wife, you, and his daughter, this was all worth it. But it still pained him so that his wife may have spent more than he realized to get this all done.

You were just wondering what it looked like from the inside.

Chapter 17 - Safety Concerns

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There seemed to be many entrances leading to the interior of the colosseum, all of them placed a few feet next to each other as arches. Mr.Rich led you down one that led to a set of stairs and took you through a tunnel leading to the bleachers.

“So, erm...Is this free or do ponies have to pay to get inside?” You ask

Mr.Rich cringed harder than ever after hearing that “Y-yes...Not that I don’t mind none, generosity is somethin’ I’m known for...but... Oh mercy, I really hope this all goes well.” Mr.Rich then looks at you. He looked worried and even desperate. “Anon, I really am counting on you in aweing every pony who will be attending. Not just for the wife’s sake… But my own. Ah don’t want to say nothin to put on the pressure, but the entire family line’s reputation is tied to how well you do tomorrow.”

Christ, seriously? “Mr.Rich, calm down, it can’t be that dire. It’s not like any of the princesses are attending or anything, it can’t possibly be that bad.”

Mr.Rich gulped “...Try two princesses…”

Wut? “Two? Uhhhhh, you mean like. Maybe Twilight, since she’s already in town, and err…”

“Princess Celestia…” Mr.Rich said with a gulp

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

GYAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

WHAT IN THE FUCKING SHIT?! Celestia?! How the fuck did she get Celestia?! Hell, how did she get Twilight at all?! Is she insane?! God! Never mind that Twilight could possibly be annoying, but Celestia…

Celestia. She wasn’t too bad in small doses, but her overbearing nature to care for all her subjects over anything else always seems to put you in a dark light somehow. You were nearly stunned to even know she’s coming.

“Interesting…” Discord said as he tapped at his chin. “Now, I could imagine our dear Princess Twilight was suckered in with some sort of book donation, correct?” He guessed.

Mr.Rich nodded “To her school, to Cheerilee’s class, and to the schools in Canterlot...That was also rather costly. Good g-guess, Mr.Discord.”

“Well, I am good at that. But I wonder, how in the wide wide world of Equestria did your wife nab our ever warming sun princess?” Even Discord couldn’t figure that out. “Especially on such short notice”

“The way the wife explained it might just surprise you. She ran into her in Canterlot when she was hiring workers. When the princess asked her why she was hiring so many, she told her about Mr.Anon’s final exam, and asked if she could attend. Wife didn’t even have to make any sort of deal, the princess just said yes. Don’t that beat all?” Mr.Rich tried to think of that as a positive. If you do well and the princesses were impressed, it meant he could dig himself out of this little financial hole his wife put him in.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

She was going to fucking watch you! As in, she was going to evaluate you like she has done in the fucking past! Holy fuck! Why can’t she mind her own goddamn business?! What made this so special to her that she had to come down to see it?! She had no reason at all to come bother you, not one fucking reason! You weren’t hiding anything! You weren’t doing anything evil! Holy shit, her coming down at all for this was worse than anything Discord could muster up. “I-interesting..I-I’ll really have to do well, huh?”

“Come on, Mr.Anon, don’t be getting shaky voiced on me now. Mnnn, well, here we are. Take a gander at that, boys” Mr.Rich said as you all reached the bleachers. He waved his hoof and pointed to the obstacle course in the middle of the colosseum.

It was a field with nine obstacles. Rainbow Dash had told you ahead of time what the obstacles were going to be, and that there were only going to be eight. But this? Only the first four obstacles in the course matched what she said. The hurdles, the tires, the mud trench, and a climb up a very steep board. The other five is where the fucking money went as it looked like some japanese game show in terms of an obstacle course. There was a tube with poles stabbed into it, it had a bend in the middle and rotated at a semi-slow speed. That bend would cause the center part of the tube to be of higher and lower altitudes within it’s spin. What, did they expect you to get through that shit without getting sick?

The next wild obstacle was a wall that looked like it slid along a track when pushed. You could see the workers pushing on it hard, with the obstacle suddenly jutting backwards with a quick thrust every so often. Given their nods, it was supposed to do that.

The obstacle after that were three platforms suspended over a small moat. The middle platform stayed in place as the other two orbited around it in a clockwise and counterclockwise spin. It seemed you had to use the two platforms to reach the middle quickly, wait, and then when they realign on the other side, quickly jump to the next obstacle.

The fourth was two tight walls going straight up to the final obstacle. Holy fuck! Did they expect you to fucking wall climb all the way up? STRAIGHT UP?! Oh geez…

And the final obstacle was a large circular arena, with a statue of a dragon that rotated about, shooting fireballs about. But it had something in its claws, something that was… “Is that a doll meant to look like Diamond in a princess outfit?”

“Ahrm, yes.” Mr.Rich seemed to have some embarrassment about this. “Missus felt the rescue of said doll would be an appropriate end to this thing…”

“Hmmm…” Discord noted the fireballs “And are those flames real as well?”

Mr.Rich nodded “Mhmm, didn’t feel too right about that one. Seems dangerous to me.”

You just scanned the bleachers for a moment, and spotted two royal seats on the other side. Goddammit, they even had their own little spot to watch the whole thing. “Yeah, I’m not worried about something like that.” You were too focused on Celestia’s eventual presence to care about a little flame.

“Well, it’s not just about you, now is it? Ugh… This whole thing is a mess!” Said a commanding voice from above. You all look up to see a rather pissed off Spitfire, garbed in her captain’s shirt. She didn’t have any shades, made sense since it was night. She slowly landed in front of Mr.Rich and started poking her hoof at his chest. “And you! Really? Real fire?! And what’s with those crazy obstacles, huh? That’s not safe at all for foals! I’ve been wanting to have a chat with you all night, Mr.Rich, because this? All of this is just too much!”

Mr.Rich took a few steps back in surprise, and a little confused to what she was talking about. “Miss Spitfire, e-ern, What seems to be the problem with some of them obstacles?...e-erm, aside from the last one, of course. J-just to let you know, it was the missus who commissioned them”

“Have you seen the tube? That’s not regulation at all. Sure, a properly trained recruit could get through something like that with practice. But a foal? If they lose their balance in there they’ll bash their head on one of the poles when the tube’s bend points up!” She then points to the wall climb obstacle “And what about that one? Sure, with the spinning platform they’ll land in the water below. But if any of them lose their footing on that thing, BAM! They could land on their head on the platform below and it’s lights out for sure! And again... The use of real fire. We appreciate the contribution to the academy, Mr.Rich, but I can’t just sit here and let your wife have her way. These need to be changed before tomorrow, for sure!”

Discord snickers at her words as he puts his arm around her, it doesn’t take long for her to push it away as she looks at him suspiciously. But of course, he doesn’t mind that. “Spitfire, Spitfire, you say all that as if it’s a problem. This is Anon, my son. At this point, I think Equestria would be crushed by the folding fabric of reality itself if him bonking his head somehow was a problem.”

You just silently narrow your eyes at Discord for a moment. But he was right, especially since none of that seemed tough to you. “He’s right, Miss Spitfire...erm..Captain Spitfire, Ma’am. I beat the Storm King, remember? And a dragon too!”

“As if I don’t know about the horn. Look, Anon, I’m not going to say you aren’t capable. Considering me and my team...ahrm, couldn’t beat him, it’d be hard for me to believe you weren’t able to beat this course despite half of it not being regulation. But it’s you and a filly out there, on a course you both haven’t even had any practice for. Even if you BOTH get to the final obstacle, those flames are real. I don’t want anypony responsible for scorched foal, you hear me?” Spitfire explains to you. Yikes, you thought she would have been all for this in the first place. But she seemed really concerned for you and Scootaloo’s safety. Come on, it didn’t look that fucking bad.

“Captain Spitfire, ma’am. I’m no ordinary colt. I have dealt with stuff much MUCH worse than some obstacle course, horn or no. Besides, Mr.Rich has already invested a ton of money into this already, having anything changed now would be too costly. If the course is too much for either me or Scootaloo, we can tap out… Or, you could just be responsible and pull us out if it gets too rough or something. I mean, that's what adults do, right? Make sure us foals don’t overdo it?” Your expression is slightly cocky, but you meant what you said. You both could be pulled out if it got “dangerous”. And with the amount of money spent already, you didn’t want Mr.Rich to suffer any more stress.

“Kid… I have managed obstacle courses and special training machines for as long as I’ve been captain of the Wonderbolts. I don’t mind a little rough n’ tumble, that’s fine. But this kind of course was made for adults, not foals. And even if I was ok with it, there’s still the fact the final obstacle could make foal fillet at any time.” Spitfire does her best to explain to you.

Mr.Rich looked a little ragged as his mane started to come apart slowly. He was not a greedy miser, but it really did seem like he could calculate the costs, and it didn’t seem too good for him if this wasn’t a success. But he also had morals, and didn’t want anyone to get hurt.

But Discord slithered along Spitfire’s side, and looked at her closely eye to eye with one of his creepy sultry looks. “Are you forgetting that it’s really his wife that you have to deal with? She’s the one who wanted all of this in the first place. And given I know she’s made quite the contribution to said academy, I don’t think it’d be in your favor to complain.” He then poofs away, and reappears in front of her, looking away from her as his tone became more serious. “And even if you’re correct. You forget that very powerful beings, such as myself, will be attending tomorrow. Yes, I know, that in truth, that the final obstacle is so risky even our rich benefactor is having doubts of how safe this all is. But, Captain Spitfire, could you risk the wrath of a social elite who has been humiliated by her vain and shallow company because you wanted to make changes? What about your fellow Wonderbolts? Come now, I will personally keep a close eye on our two trainees to make sure nothing runs afoul. That way the crowd gets their show, you know the foals are safe, and you Anon...will be able to do what is expected of you.” He says as he looks to you with a wink. Heh, now that was cool. He was on your side.

You looked to Spitfire, who seemed to now be in deep contemplation. You could see she didn’t want anything to happen to the academy or the Wonderbolts. And in truth, even you could tell she was mostly worried about the damn dragon obstacle. Anyone would if it involved real flames. But you were sure things would be fine. “Captain Spitfire, Ma’am, it’ll be ok. Isn’t that right, Mr.Rich?” You look to him for reassurance

Mr.Rich was contemplating things himself. He wouldn’t mind telling his wife himself that this all was too much. And he certainly didn’t want to put foals in danger. But he just knew no matter what the outcome, someone was going to get screwed due to how much of an investment his wife put on this emotionally. He looks to Discord, and gives him a hard stare, having to know the truth for himself. “Mr.Discord, are you sure you can protect Mr.Anon and Miss Scootaloo? I have your word as a businesspony?”

“Of course! I can bend reality, space, and sticks of rubber to my will! How hard can protecting two foals during a silly training exam be? In any case, I can assure everypony here that they are in good hands. So, Spitz McWorrypants, anything else to complain about?” Discord turns back to Spitfire, internally feeling pretty good of granting you this solid.

“Fine… If it’s gonna keep everything together, and you really can do it, then fine.” Spitfire put her hoof to her face and shook her head, she felt this was a mistake “Ugh, can’t believe I’m allowing it. Anyway, I have one last thing to mention, but I’m gonna go get Dash for this one, since we both kinda have different opinions on it.”

And so Spitfire lifted off and flew down, under the large platform with the dragon statue. Was Rainbow Dash there among the workers? Maybe she was checking things out.

And what other thing could it be? You wondered.

Chapter 18 - The Script

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You took the time to absorb the entire course some more. Did you truly have any doubt in your ability to win? Sure, the obstacles Spoiled had put in looked tough at first, but you were the fucking hero colt! You’ve done so much amazing shit already, a goddamn training exam shouldn’t be something you’d have to worry about. No, you aren’t going to worry about it. You got this…

As you gazed, you could see Spitfire coming back with Rainbow Dash. Hmm, differing opinions on this other thing she mentioned. You wondered what that thing was and how they could have different opinions on it.

Spitfire and Rainbow Dash land in front of your group, it appears they were having a small discussion as they flew up here. Because they both looked to Mr.Rich, with Spitfire opening her mouth to say “Right, before we get to this thing.” She points to a long piece of parchment Rainbow Dash was holding. “Just want to say this. Whether your wife wants it or not, Anon and Scootaloo are wearing helmets and knee pads, no ifs, ands, or buts… Are we clear?”

Mr.Rich nods “Crystal, and I’ll make sure, personally, that it’s no issue. Safety first and all that.” He was genuine about this, last thing he needed was for Scootaloo to get a concussion. Not you, of course, you were better than that.

“Good, alright Dash, go ahead.” Spitfire let’s Rainbow Dash speak, and given how annoyed RD looked, she had a lot to say.

“Ok then, so, this is apparently the script your wife wrote for us. And I gotta say, I don’t really like it too much. Like, none of it sounds right at all.” Dash holds up the parchment, looking quite annoyed with it, and points to a particular passage “Check this one out, ahrm… ‘So let us praise Anon, the hero colt who may very well prove to be our savior from many dangers ahead of us. The princesses needn’t worry when he, the future son-in-law of the Rich estate, is around to protect Equestria’. Ok, so what’s up with that, huh? Is she saying that we can’t do it? I mean, come ooooon! if it wasn’t for me, Nightmare Moon would have made everything night time, but...you know, forever.”

Spitfire looks to Rainbow Dash. She looked a tad confused, but only in the sense that she could see she was bullshitting. “You mean you, Princess Twilight, and the rest of the elements, right? Come on, Dash, we don’t need anypony having a big head here.”

Rainbow Dash giggled sheepishly, then have Spitfire a small salute “Sorry about that. I mean, I did mean my friends too, y’know. It was just I found a bridge…” But she could see Spitfire was not amused at all in her trying to play herself up by even a little. Rainbow Dash looks back at the parchment, clears her throat nervously, and continues. “Annnyway, there’s another thing here that kind of implies that he’s better than the elements.”

“...And the Wonderbolts.” Spitfire adds “Not saying the kid isn’t amazing. But the way she worded it, it makes us look incompetent.”

“Well...I guess I can give Twilight and her friends the one with the whole Pony of Shadows thing. But Anon, again, did defeat this Storm King fellow. And he reformed a pony, that I feel I need to remind you took all your cutie marks and locked you in a shed.” Discord said with a shrug. He was right though, you did do a pretty incredible job now that you thought about it. “I see nothing wrong with this so far.”

Rainbow Dash rolls her eyes at him “Sheesh, are you kidding me? This whole script makes us look bad while it makes the Riches and Anon look better than even the princesses! Scootaloo isn’t even mentioned once in this too. She is taking the exam, you know.”

“And? You still haven’t mentioned anything worth changing.” Discord says, staying firm on his words. “Yes, we all know the princesses have done adequately. And when it comes to the elements, it’s really Fluttershy who keeps it all together. But since Anon’s arrival, he has, more often than not, solved many a huge problem by himself. So then, that being said, is the script really a problem when it’s the truth?”

Goddamn Discord. You felt a sense of pride flow through you, it made you stand silently with a smile. No one really noticed it, but you didn’t care. You really were fucking great.

“You’re kidding me, right? We didn’t even get to the-” But Spitfire is stopped when Rainbow Dash puts a hoof to her chest, giving her a smirk and a nod. But of course, Spitfire didn’t get it. “Dash, what are yo-” But again, she is interrupted when Rainbow Dash speaks loudly to cut her off.

“Yeah! Hey! You’re right, Discord! The script is perfect!” Rainbow Dash says, at a near annoyingly loud level. But those words…

Wut? All of you were confused by those words.

“Well, finally! Rainbow Dash, it really is nice to see you come to reason. So then!” Discord looks around, rubbing his talons and paw together as he smiles big “Now that this is all done, I’d like to go. Have to get a big big meal in for tomorrow morning’s festivities!”

“Well, I gotta agree with ya, Discord. There’s no other reason for us to hang around here! I mean...” Rainbow Dash grin curls as she wiggles her eyebrows once at him “There’s nothing wrong with the script at all. Not even this one part where it mentions Anon taming the ‘Big Clown of Chaos” himself. Yep…” Rainbow Dash does a large fake yawn “I’m ready for tomorrow too, so let’s j-” But she is predictably cut off as Discord lets out a short screech and grabs the script, reading and absorbing all of it within a short moment.

“Town fool?! Clown?! Probably couldn’t even drink tea properly?! What is all this?!” Discord was baffled by what he was reading.

Oh ouch. You wanted to laugh, but you could tell Discord was fucking blown away by what he was described as in that script. He probably wouldn’t have minded so much if it wasn’t going to be read out to a crowd.

Rainbow Dash shrugs “I mean, is it a problem? I think it sounds pretty dead on”

Discord immediately rushes over to Mr.Rich and points at the script. “I want this changed, right now! It’s all wrong! Even you can see that, can’t you?! This is a mockery to everything that has to do with me! I mean, at the very least, we can at least make it refer to Twilight!” Oh yeah, he was pissed.

Wew boy, what a mess. You had to turn and look over at the course to hide your smirk. You didn’t really care about the script either way. It was just Mrs.Rich really fucking playing you up for her own benefit. You did kind of wish it gave praise to Scootaloo though. RD was right, she was in this whole exam thing with you.

Mr.Rich, not being ignorant to what was going on and finding his wife’s script appalling, just had himself a bit of a short chuckle as he waves at Discord to indicate he understood what was going on. “That’ll not be a problem, Mr.Discord. In fact, since it would be mostly Captain Spitfire making the opening speech, I feel it’d be right for her to do it her own way, without insult to anypony at all of course. Don’t worry about the wife, I’ll make sure she understands.”

“Good…” Discord crosses his arms as he looks away from everyone “...Because she was clearly wrong...Mostly about me...meh…”

You had to roll your eyes. What a butthurt little dork he can be. “Heh, yeah I guess so. I mean, she was mostly right about me anyway. But to each their own. So, Captain Spitfire, ma’am, are you going to be able to come up with something for tomorrow morning?”

“I’ve come up with speeches in less time than we have now, so it’s not gonna be a problem. But sheesh, I don’t even put that much pressure on my own cadets. I still think you’re really cocky, but in this case, you’re gonna need some of that to ignore all that distraction. For now, I think we should all go and rest up for tomorrow. Everything else is nearly done here, so there’s no reason to lose any sleep. But hey...Anon.” Spitfire gives you a serious look “Don’t get too cocky, ok? This is still a tough course for a foal. I’m gonna give you a word of advice. Even of somepony is the best at what they do, cockiness can still make them mess up. Being blinded with pride makes you blind to what’s in front of you...Ain’t that right, Crash?” Spitfire gives a smarmy little smirk over to Rainbow Dash.

“Ahrm...” Rainbow Dash blushed in embarrassment, but saluted anyway. “Yes, ma’am…”

“Cool, well. Since we pretty much got everything squared away, I’m gonna go. And I suggest everypony else does the same. Seeya tomorrow!” Spitfire salutes, and flies off.

“Y-yeah, I’m gonna go too...But, before I do…” Rainbow Dash looks over to you, and softens up as she comes to her next words “Anon, really, just keep an eye on her tomorrow, ok? Scootaloo is a tough filly, but this might be a little much for her, you know?”

You salute to Rainbow Dash “Trust me, I got this. I won’t let anything happen to her, ok?”

Rainbow Dash let out a reassured sigh and looks to you with such a soft smile, that she was actually alluringly cute. “Thanks, Anon. You’re a good kid, and you’re gonna do great tomorrow.” And after giving you a gentle pet on your head, Rainbow Dash flew off.

“Gonna need to be goin’ myself. The missus is waiting for me, and I want to make sure she understands what changes we’re a makin’. Good evening Mr.Discord, Mr.Anon… And good luck,” And with that, Mr.Rich did a bow, and went on his way.

You wave goodbye to him, then look over to Discord, who hadn’t said a word, not even a goodbye, as he stood there and stewed in his own frustration. “Yo, Discord. Seriously? Come on, you know how she is. You know she doesn’t really like you.”

“Hmph…” Discord says with a gruff “As if I care. I’d just expect a little respect considering who I am and what I’ve done. Not to mention I’m going to be her brother-in-law...or however that works.”

“Come on, big guy…” You walk over to him and give him a tap to his side. “It’s not like she’s Fluttershy...or, y’know...me. I still think you’re cool, and a master of chaos...a king, if I was to give it a title.”

Discord slowly turns his head and looks down at you, he did actually look a little hurt from those words. “A king? You really think so?”

You nod, giving him a sweet little smile ”Yeah! If erm…” You kick your little front hoof forward gently as your smile becomes a little meek “Y’know...I’m the prince of chaos… That works, right?”

“Heh…” Discord lets out a weak chuckle as leans down to give you a pet “I suppose that works. I don’t even know why I feel like this right now. Maybe, perhaps, that I wanted to have a larger part to play in all this. To let everypony know that it’s my son, Anon, who’s proving himself at a physical level. Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?”

Damn Discord...geez. For him, that was actually pretty heavy. “Nah…” You rub your head gently on his side to show him affection. At this point, you could forgive him for when he smacked you into the side of the fountain. “It just means you care. Maybe a little selfishly, but you just want to be proud of me because I’m your friend, and technically your son, I guess.”

Discord pauses, then picks you up and holds you gently for a hug “I suppose it can be that, and that a moment of weakness for it may be happening at this very moment. And given that moment, I suppose I can say I am indeed proud of you and wish you the best of luck tomorrow, with all my heart. I hope that isn’t too sappy sounding.”

Don’t show any hesitation or doubt, Anon. You can tell, he’s being genuine. “It isn’t…” You give him a gentle hug “Sometimes, Discord. It’s nice just to have these moments, you know? You don’t have to be a douchebag all the time. Really, I say that a lot, but I really mean it when I say it.”

“You do…Don’t you? Hmmnn…” Discord looks around carefully, begins to slowly cradle you when he noticed nobody is around.

“W-what are you doing?” Was he holding you like a baby? What gives? And why was it making you feel so sleepy?

“A final gift for the night. A restful sleep, and to know that you can trust me when you are in my arms.” Discord again looks around as he gently rocks you left and right, then looks back at you “I love you, Anon. As much as a chaotic father can love his interdimensional species-changed son. You are a large piece to the masterpiece that is my life.” Suddenly he gives you a very serious look “And if you tell Anypony I said that, I’ll make sure you are stuck with Applejack for a week. I don’t know how much boredom you’d be able to take, but I’m sure it couldn’t be that much.”

Dammit Discord, he was so damn close! Still… It was close enough. And you felt so tired now that you didn’t have the will to argue. You just started to feel a gentle and blissful sense of rest come over you as you nod off in his arms. The very last thing you hear is “Good night, Anon. My son…”

Chapter 19 - A Dreamy Intermission

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Darkness…

Darkness with stars generating simple lights all around you…

You found yourself in an empty space, unaffected by time…

And yet you found yourself quite lucid as you stood on a seemingly empty void…

It was a dreamspace. Emptier than you’d expect, but that was most likely due to the fact that you hadn’t come to dream anything this night. And if you found yourself lucid within a dreamscape, then it only meant one thing.

“Luna…” You lowly mutter to yourself as you look around the emptiness.

You begin to walk forward as you look around. “Come on, Princess Luna, I know you’re here. I always lucid dream when you’re inside my head”

“Indeed...I am here.” You hear her gentle yet regal voice come from behind you as Princess Luna herself steps to your side and looks down at you with a warming smile. “How are you this evening, Anon? It has been some time”

Great, the princess brigade seemed to be on your ass once again… “I’m fine, and obviously sleeping pretty well. Princess Luna, I don’t mean to sound rude or cold, but why are you here? It can’t be a coincidence that you chose to enter my dream now, considering what's going to happen tomorrow.”

Luna frowns from those words, seems she was hoping for things to be rather pleasant considering she did consider you a friend. “I didn’t mean to upset you, Anon. Mnnn…” She really didn’t, but she carries on anyway as she did have some things to say “But no, it isn’t a coincidence. I came to discuss about the going ons for tomorrow, as I will not be there to personally see it myself.”

You thought as much. “Why not?”

“Well, I am technically awake as I do my duties. So I will need my rest when the morning comes.” She explains to you.

“Right… I guess that makes sense. But why do you have to come bother me then instead of asking your sister what happened when it’s all over?”

She doesn’t answer for a meer moment, and after some awkward hesitation, she replies. “You feel as if my sister and I are intruding on your personal business, correct?”

Bingo! Dammit… “Yeah, that’s exactly it. Doesn’t help that your sister decided to just join in for tomorrow without much prodding. I’m surprised Twilight hasn’t had a freak out over the course design yet. And now you’re suddenly bothering me in my sleep. So yeah, excuse me for being a little sore that you decided to visit me specifically for what’s going on tomorrow.”

“Anon, I didn’t mean to upset you like this, but you are also acting out of turn. Do you believe there is a conspiracy against you? Or perhaps we are trying to control you?” Luna didn’t really like the way you were acting. “Because if that’s what you think, then you are sorely mistaken. The only thing that holds true is the partial fact that my sister wishes to attend so she may watch you and young Scootaloo perform in this exam. Mrs. Rich had told her the details of the course, so her other reason is to make sure Twilight does not lose her will of mind from the apparent dangers.”

So then… “Ok, then what about Twilight? If the danger is there, wouldn’t she have shut this whole thing down?”

Luna shakes her head “Not if she has yet to see the colosseum. Twilight has been busy within her own works to see what has been going on just across the train station. She has some qualms about it being such a public spectacle, but her want for young foals to learn and be lost in the world of books was too good for even her to pass up. She will, of course, need calming once she learns the truth of the situation.”

Hmmm, then what about… “Well, if everypony thinks it’s so dangerous. Why is your sister ok with it?”

“She believes it’s not as dangerous as it appears. That you will have more than enough observers who will be able to help the both of you should things go awry. She also believes there is a lesson to be learned about being too boastful. Given my visitations through certain ponies’ dreams, I’ve come to believe my sister is indeed correct. Mrs. Rich has taken your achievement as a way to step above her peers, as she feels she herself has had her dignity diminished by them one too many times. Given how some of the elite in Canterlot tend to act, I can see why she’d feel this way, though I also believe this is definitely not a way to cope with it. But if I had to mention a positive in all this, she does in fact have pride in you, and wishes for you to succeed in a way equivalent to how a mother sees her son.” Luna explains.

“Sounds a little messed up to me. If anything goes wrong, she’ll be a laughing stock. I’m aware she’s being really dumb and cocky about all of this. But I also know how that all works too… sorta… I’ve seen it enough times anyway. If your sister wants to give Mrs. Rich some sort of lecture on something like this, then I can’t see it going all too well if it all explodes in her face anyway. That’d just be kicking her while she’s down. And don’t give me that ‘But she shouldn’t be putting foals in danger’ stuff. I’m well aware, just from looking at the course, that it’s tougher than the norm. But I’m still going for it, and I’ll make sure Scootaloo gets through it just fine… That's a promise. Princess Luna…” You look at her, frowning but determined “I know there’s probably a lesson to be learned somewhere tomorrow. But the way I see it, It’s my duty to make sure everypony succeeds, and that includes Mrs. Rich. I don’t need your sister telling anypony what’s what.”

Luna could sense a cloud of maturity in your tone and words. But she also seemed to know something you don’t. “My sister understands how the social structure works in Equestria. No, she feels it will be more of a personal realization while maintaining the status quo. I’m sure you know, but my sister has premonitions from time to time, and she feels all of this will come about with little involvement from her.”

You roll your eyes. Celestia and her decisions and fucking premonitions. She manipulated you to meet her own ends, and you had to convince yourself that it was for the good of the world. If anything, you’d trade this Celestia for the one from the Flim Flam timeline. She seemed like she would have cared more about your feelings. “Yeah, I bet. I know she has premonitions, but it doesn’t mean it’s always right. Or else she would have seen things like my Dad betraying you all for Tirek coming.”

Luna began to narrow her eyes at you, she started to really notice your hostility towards Celestia. “A premonition doesn’t describe the journey, Anon. Nor is it always set in stone. But I trust my sister, and believe her vision to be true. Is there a reason you hold such hostilities towards her?”

“Whenever she graces me with her presence, it’s always because she doesn’t trust me.” You say, with some scorn in your tone.

“That’s not true, and you know it. You base this on the rare visitations you have with her, and your time with that condemnable queen.” Luna started to sound harsher in her tone “Now you act childish, Anon. It wasn’t my sister who manipulated you, it was Queen Chrysalis who did that. You, the ponies we protect, and even her own hive! How can you still bare a grudge over my sister? The Changelings have become kind and gentle, their kingdom as prosperous as any other. And yet, despite this, you still are angry over the fact that we needed to deceive Chrysalis to make it work?! I would have thought you had moved past this.”

“I am past it. I’m well aware Chrysalis is evil, she’s a villain, and that she had committed grand atrocities. But I still managed to do what you all hadn’t… Have her as a friend. I don’t hold a grudge over your sister, I’m just tired of her always having a reason for, I dunno, something when it comes to me! I paid my dues, haven’t I? Really, the only one I still owe is you considering you saved my life from that tantabus. Princess Luna, please…” You let out a heavy and exasperated sigh “Please understand that it’s nothing against either of you, but I don’t like feeling like I’m being held under a microscope all the time. I mean, I think this would have gone better if you just came to say hello to me, don’t you think? It would have been my bad then had I brought your sister up. Ugh, look… I get Chrysalis was evil, I really do. But she was still one of my best friends, so I’m kind of sensitive about it.”

Luna felt that actually may be true, but also knew had you brought Celestia up yourself, that this conversation would have gone down the same path. But she also felt that, perhaps, a softer approach may be needed “Hmm..Perhaps. And perhaps being sensitive to losing a friend so close is reasonable. I apologize if I have insulted you in that sense, but I still expect you to understand things from our point of view. As for you and my sister… Hm, may I ask you that the next time you speak to her face to face, that you yourself keep things as casual as possible? I know you are always suspicious of her motives, but perhaps not being suspicious and trying to have a normal conversation with her will help move you away from such stressful thinking. My sister can actually be quite a treat to be around and speak to… And sometimes she can be a little overbearing, I admit. But it’s more the former than the latter. And I know you have had some of that former with her before, or am I wrong about that?”

...There was a few times. But those were mostly in your earlier meetings with her, or that one time she came to help prank Blueblood. Hmmnngh, really, Celestia only butt heads with you due to Chrysalis. Dammit… Were you being manipulated again?! You stay silent as you ponder…

And Luna could see that you were in deep thought about that, or maybe something else. Whatever she believed, she tried to circumvent it with a deal. “I would consider it payment for me saving your life. I know what I ask is less than equivalent to that, but it would do my heart good to know that my sister had better relations with you. So please, Anon…” Luna does a short bow to you “Please, honor my request, I ask nothing more than that.”

...Luna...Dammit. Fuck, how could you say no now? A-atleast it got you off the hook, right? “O-ok, ok. Sheesh, you don’t need to bow. Fine, I’ll talk to her tomorrow and see how that goes.”

Luna finally started to smile, and gave you a nod “I thank you for that, Anon. Now, I’d like to get off this subject and move on to something lighter toned. You’d like that as well, correct?”

God yes… “Well, considering this has technically been a nightmare. I really wouldn’t mind a casual conversation with the Princess of the Night...mnnn.” Ugh, just do it, Anon. You felt guilt for your earlier outburst, and felt the urge to apologize. “Sorry, by the way, if I insulted you.”


“It’s…” Luna calmed herself about that, she’d let it slide at this point, it was all said and done. “It’s alright, Anon. Do not let it trouble you further. So, then… What would you like to talk about?”

“Well...erm” You actually hadn’t thought of a topic, you really were too frustrated from before to think of a proper one. But as your mind wanders, it comes upon that of your friend. “Did Scootaloo have a nightmare. Y’know, about tomorrow?”

Luna nodded “She did, but do not worry. I had guided her to a more confident train of thought before visiting you, the same with Discord as well.”

Wut? “Huh? Discord? What? He had a nightmare about tomorrow?”

Luna nodded “Indeed, strong enough that he did not notice me when I came to ease his mind. He cares about you deeply, Anon, more than you think. I know you need no reminder that he worries about you should things become dire. But when it comes to situations such as this, where the stakes don’t seem very high, he can still have worries. Although he tends to keep said worries to himself. “

The fuck? What the hell is worrying him to the point of nightmares? “So what’s bothering him then? Is he ok?”

Luna nods “He’ll be alright. His worry, however, is of his own arrogance. That something may happen tomorrow and he won't do anything about it due to him being, well, in my words, foolish. I soothed his mind however, it really wasn’t that hard to do. For you see, Anon, all he needs is the love in his heart to act without hesitation. That’s all he needed to be reminded of to make such a nightmare flee his mind.”

Discord….godfuckingdammit. You lovable bastard. You knew he loved you. But a nightmare based off his own cockiness? Now that’s on a whole other level. “Woah, well...erm. Thanks for telling me that, I’ll erm… I’ll let him know things will be fine when we get up in the morning.”

Luna nods “He may not remember the dream at a conscious level, as such things are fleeting. But I’m sure, deep down, he’ll appreciate it just the same.”

And you knew, even if he did, he’d be an asshole about it. But you could forgive him, you knew he was putting up a front. Especially after what you have just been told. “Yeah… erm, let me think. So uh, other things… So, how do you feel about Starswirl being back?”

“Well, considering he was my sister and I’s former mentor, ecstatic. But you knew that. I’m sure what you meant was how have things been lately, correct?” Luna asks, as she takes a seat on the invisible floor of the abyss.

“Yeah, that’s what I meant. Sorry, just trying to focus.”

“No need to apologize. Ahrm, well, things have been as one would think. And that being we don’t talk too much, but keep up in letters. Starswirl has taken to being solitary to continue his work, but hasn’t secluded himself from society either. We’ve had tea a couple of times, and my sister and I have gotten him up to speed in recent events. Speaking of recent, I can say that he has a large interest in you, Anon.”

Oh no… “Uhhhh, why?”

“Well, he does know of your origins after all. He’s a scholarly pony, Anon, with a taste for learning that rivals even Twilight. Though, unlike Twilight, he does have a tendency not to respect the boundaries of others…” Luna let’s out a weak chuckle “S-such as this one time he was studying bringing true life to inanimate objects, and turned one of my dolls into an abominable beast. It did insurmountable amounts of damage as well… But, ahrm… That was long ago, and not worth talking about in our current times.”

He turned her doll into a monster? Heh, that must have been when she was much younger. No, this you had to hear. You wanted details! “Oh, I think it is.” You give her a mischievous grin “So, what exactly happened? How big was the monster?”

“A-anon, it is not a tale worth telling” Luna seemed to be getting increasingly nervous about this, why was she so nervous if it happened so long ago?

“Come on, Princess Luna! Tell me! You can’t say something as juicy as that and not give details! How big was the monster? Was it like, as big as a dragon? Or… Even bigger?”

“E-erm…” Luna looked away, red faced and embarrassed

...Oh no. She may have been trying to hide it, but you could tell. She was having the cartoonish reaction of large embarrassment, which meant… “It was smaller than me, wasn’t it? It was, right?”

“W-what?! How did you know?!” Luna looked back at you, bewildered at your seemingly correct guess.

“Well, I didn’t… It was a guess. And now, I know I was right. Eheh” You let out a gentle and meek chuckle “Guess the cat is out of the bag now, eh?”

“Ahh, I know that expression...erm. Yes, I suppose the cat has been let out to rampage across the streets, stealing milk and waking many a pony with it’s terrible meowing tones…” Luna said nervously, looking down in shame.

“Yeaaaah…” Seems she didn’t quite get that the expression doesn’t go that far. Kind of funny, but mostly cringy. “Anyway, so...erm, how exactly did it cause so much damage?”

“W-well, aside from going through my sister’s hidden cookie and cake reserves. It had eaten my crown, my chessboard, some of my other dolls, and…” Luna looks back, her beautiful tail hair vanishing to reveal her bare tail. “It had somehow ate the hairs off my tail…”

That’s it? THAT’S IT?! HAHAHA! That’s hilarious! Her fucking tail? Celestia’s fucking reserve of sweets!? DOLLS?! Now that's fucking priceless! So much so, that you fall over laughing.

“Hmph…” Luna’s tail instantly reverts to normal as she stands and looks down at you, feeling rather insulted “Those were high quality dolls! I really liked them!”

“BAHAHAHAHA!” You were nearly choking, that’s just too funny! Luna! Upset over dolls! Holy shit! That’s too good!

“Hmph, perhaps you can be too much like Discord. Let’s see then…” Luna creates a little window, and reaches inside for something.

Wut?...Wait. A window? But wasn’t this inside your head? You immediately stop laughing and start to worry. “W-what are you doing?”

“Looking for something embarrassing about you so I too may have a chortle.” Luna said as she casually sifted through the window, moving thoughts around like sets of clothing.

“H-hey, that isn’t right, y-you know? I have some pretty private thoughts, some I’m sure nopony should be looking at.” Oh god, please let her be bluffing.

“Oh, it shouldn’t be too horrifying for a pony like me. And these are just your outermost thoughts, the ones you leave unprotected. Surely the thing I find in here never meant too much to you in the...WHAT IN THE?! WHAT ARE THOSE TWO MARES DOING?!” Luna suddenly turned bright red from whatever she was observing. She was utterly stunned.

Two mares? U-u-oh…

You walk over to where she was and raised yourself to gaze through the window. And there it was, Trixie fucking Starlight. As explicit as your little mind could make it… Oh man, she was licking her in the-

“ANON!” Luna pulls you away and closes the window “THAT IS NOT APPROPRIATE! EVEN FOR ONE SUCH AS YOURSELF! HOW...How did such a thing get attached to the outer shell of your mind so easily?! That is usually so deep and intimate, an ultimate expression of love!”

Oh, you knew how. Joking with Starlight must have made you think about it unconsciously at some point. And given your human perversions, it made sense that a thought like this would be so easily seen within your head. “Heh…” You shrug, but then give Luna a smirk “Dunno, but uh, that should teach you a lesson about going through other ponies’ heads like that, eh?”

Luna gulped as she did her best to compose herself “I-indeed...P-perhaps our visit should end h-here. I-I have other ponies I must attend to.”

“Oh...I bet you do” You wiggle your eyebrows at her. Holy innuendos, Batmare! But truthfully, it felt nice getting one over her like this within the dreamworld, especially when you think back on your semi-vague recollection of Nightmare Night.

“A-Anon! I-I don’t know why y-you’d surround yourself in such t-thoughts. But I-I’d suggest you don’t p-pursue them… For everypony’s sake.” Luna didn’t even know if those were the correct words. She had seen all kinds of horrors in your mind. But that?! That’s just unholy to her, on every level.

You give Luna a confident bow “Yes, your highness.” Heh, you really got her good, even if you didn’t mean to.

“G-good” Luna started to wobble a little as she opened her wings, still more red than she was blue at this point “As I-I said, I must be off. T-take care, and g-good luck tomorrow” She said as she began to fade out into nothingness.

You just waved, and gave your goodbye to the defeated princess. Dream or no, the both of you weren’t going to forget that one. Serves her right...

Chapter 20 - Fateful Morning...

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You open your eyes, and blink at the ceiling of your room, a small smile on your face as you yawn. Poor Luna. Even as old as she is, two mares having fun with each other was too much for her.

Hilarious.

You look over at your alarm clock. It was pretty early, nine in the morning in a few more minutes. You really were getting used to getting up when you needed to. You hopped out of bed, stretched, and looked to your portal door.

“Ahh, Anon, good, you’re awake.” You hear Discord’s voice from behind you.

You look back at your floor door as he begins to phase through without opening it. “Eager for that challenge, I see.”

“Yeah well, I’ve been working up to this moment, y’know? Ponies need to know that it’s not just the horn that gives me strength.” You said with confidence, ready to destroy the course. “And besides, there are quite a few ponies relying on me right now. So, y’know, gotta be ready. You mind getting me a quick breakfast? Just a pill that expands into a meal in my stomach or something.”

Discord snaps his talons “Or we can just skip that and get to the point” He walks over to the portal door with a grin, and opens it to the town fall. “However, I have some business to attend to before I take my seat at the colosseum.”

Woah, you suddenly felt filled and full of energy. Discord could really be amazing sometimes. But business? What kind of business could he… oh wait. “You’re going to Twilight’s to see if she’s found out about the course, aren’t you?”

“Of course I am. With her being unable to do anything about it, how could I not? I won’t make a physical showing this time, however. True, it’s fun to tease her now and again, but I’d rather not risk the chance of her shutting everything down. You, however, should head over to that colosseum. I’m sure there’s quite a few things you’ll need to be prepped for before things actually begin. Speaking of which…” Discord points to you, and zaps you with a spell. Mismatched leg guards appear on the knees of your legs, and a helmet with a vague resemblance to Discord on your head poofs right onto your noggin.

It didn’t take any amount of thought to realize why he’d give you safety gear so early on, especially after what Luna had told you. It made you want to talk to him about it. Because you knew deep down, Discord was worried. Yes, he wants to see Twilight spaz, but probably only to help get his mind off any danger you might possibly be in. To you however, you also felt all this fear about injury was unwarranted, it was just simple fire, how bad could it be? “Hey, Discord, before you go. Can I tell you something?”

Discord stops, and looks at you, he seemed… a little shaken. For just a second, he wasn’t his usual jovial self. “Oh, well. Of course you can. What is it?”

“If you’re worried about me, then don’t, ok? Remember. I’m Anon! The prince of chaos! The Hero Colt! Your pal! As if some exam can take me down. I’ll make you proud! Dad!” You hold your hoof up and wiggle it a bit, until you realized one thing “O-ok, I was trying to raise a thumb there but… Y’know.”

Discord let out a quick choking noise with a rapidly vanishing smile. He turned away, and waved his paw at you dismissively. “Well, I knew that. Seriously, Anon, I don’t know why you were-...ahrm.” Suddenly he stopped himself. He still looked away from you, but his tone became a little more worried when he continued “Well… what I mean is… I appreciate your reassurance, and I have no doubt you’ll succeed perfectly. You’re right, it’s a simple exam. I mean, you’ve dealt with sooooo much worse.” His tone starts to return to his smuggish self as he chortles “You’ve nearly even been destroyed a few times. So why would anypony worry about this? I mean, it’s not as if you not being able to use your horn has nearly led to your end or anything like that… Haha…” Discord gulped, and started to step through the portal door “I’ll just be going now, you’re making me waste precious time…”

Discord…

He really was worried. You had to hope that Twilight’s worrying would help calm the guy’s nerves. Sometimes, you really would like to have a glimpse inside his head, to see what he truly thought of you. Given how looking inside heads in this universe works, you imagined some kind of candy land where Discord was actually happy to be your pal twenty four seven.

After rummaging through your thoughts, you grab your saddlebag and head out through the portal door. You take a look up at the morning sky upon stepping through, and breath in the clean air. “Another beautiful DAYAGH!”

Suddenly, you are tackled from behind as you feel a nuzzling on the side of your cheek. “Anon! My prince!” says a familiar cheery voice from behind you. Seems Diamond was anticipating you...somehow. Was she just waiting near the fountain all morning?

You just laid there, allowing her to cuddle on you. You weren’t mad. Hell, after the initial knockdown, her nuzzling was quite welcome as it warmed your soul. “Hello, my princess, what’s up?”

“You know what’s up.” She says as she nuzzles you “It’s your final exam! To show everypony just how great you truly are!”

You continue to lay there as you absorb her loving cuddles. “I’d think they already know after the whole Storm King thing, don’t you think?”

Diamond slowly stops nuzzling and gently rests upon your back, placing her head on yours as she looks forward in a dreamy haze. “But everypony always says you do these things with your horn. Even beating that dragon can be explained by your horn. I mean, ok, they still think you’re great and all. And I know you’re perfect! But some of mother’s friends think you’re just a big cheater. Well, today, you’re gonna prove them all wrong, right?”

Heh…

You nod, letting her head feel the movement of yours. “Yeah, of course!”

“And you’re gonna be careful too, right? T-that’s real fire, you know?” She begins to poke at your helmet, her voice becoming a little meek and shaky. “Mother wanted the course to be kind of dangerous so there wouldn’t be any doubt. But erm, thinking about it now, it’s kind of scary knowing a really big mess up can make you end up being burned.”

“It’s gonna be no problem, trust me. I’ve dealt with worse, and I’m not gonna let a statue beat me! But erm… Hey, Diamond, did you see my dad pass by just now?”

“Mr.Discord? Yeah, I said hi, he said hi, and then he told me you were about to show up. So I got ready to hug you for when you did!” She giggled as she nuzzled right along your neck, her tone becoming a little ‘sultry’. “Eventually, I’ll be able to predict whenever you’ll show up. And I’ll always ready to be there for you...Always.”

Oh, you felt a pleasurable tingle down your spine in the way she said that. But… Did you want that tingle? Did you want her to have the ability to track you down to the ends of Equestria? No… probably not, not at an age where she can’t fuck you yet. Because as much as you enjoy her affectionate company, you don’t think you could handle her when she gets abrasive, not when she can pop out in any place you might be hanging out at. “O-oh yeah...erm, I’d really...erm. That’s pretty cool, I guess. Erm, Diamond? Aren’t we supposed to be going somewhere?”

Suddenly, she jumps up, smashing your back with her hooves as she hops off and gasps in surprise “How could I forget?! How can you impress everypony if we’re still wasting time here!” Diamond suddenly rams her head at your butt as she began to push you along, forcing you to your hooves as you tense up from the quick, yet sharp, pain in your back. “Come on, Anon! You can’t waste any time here! You have an exam to pass! Come on, move those legs! One two, one two!”

Ogh, she didn’t have to smash your back like that. You let out a little bit of a pained groan as she pushes you through town. “O-ok, geez, slow down, a-are we really that short on time?”

“No!” Diamond said as she pushed you along “But I wanna get there before Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight show up! I want a chance to talk to them!”

N-ngh, of course that was worth a slightly aching back. “A-alright then, b-but can you stop pushing? I-I can walk…”

“I know.” Diamond stopped and trotted to your side, looking ahead as you both walked through town. “But what if the princesses get there before we do?”

“Well, I think Twilight is still at her castle, so we already have a good start. Even then, how do you plan to get to them through the crowd?”

Diamond gave you a slick smirk “Anon, did you forget who I am? The princess entrance to the colosseum is closed off to everypony but them… and me.” Diamond giggles “One of the advantages of being a rich pony. If there’s something I want…” She nuzzles her head against yours, giggling softly “then it will be mine”

You try to focus ahead as you spot the train station. Beyond that, several yards beyond the tracks, was the colosseum. However, if Diamond kept her cuddling and sly attitude, you may have to make a beeline back home for some “alone” time with yourself. Even the ache in your back was soothed at this point. “S-sure, so, Diamond… can I ask you a question?”

“Pfft” She chuckles as she gives you a nudge. “As if you couldn’t. You are my coltfriend, afterall. You can ask me anything” There was a slight tenseness in her voice as if she was expecting something wonderful… or terrible.

There was something on your mind as you gazed upon the colosseum’s normal entrance. Ponies entering, in a line that weaved left and right, it made you wonder a few things. “Well, you said there was a Princess entrance. And over there is the normal entrance. So uh, what other entrances are there?”

Diamond hesitated, as if there was a huge weight off her shoulders, and answered accordingly. “A few, there’s also another normal entrance on the other side for ponies who don’t want to wait for this one. Then there’s the princess entrance, as I mentioned. My mother’s personal entrance… Which is also for my father and their friends. Oh, and of course there’s the entrance you and Scootaloo will be using. I know Scootaloo has already gone inside, so really, things won’t start until you and the princesses are ready. Speaking of ready…” Diamond rushes ahead of you, and looks at you as she walks backwards in front of you “What kind of cool move are you going to use to save me? Well...erm. The doll of me” She said, with a hint of jealousy in her voice.

“Cool move?” What did she mean by that?

“You know, one of your cool moves. Like that Showyoucan… Thing… That you do. What? You do have one lined up to wow my mother’s friends, right?” She asked, looking quite pouty as she awaited your answer.

The Shoryuken. Oh god, she thought that was cool? Hell, you did a long time ago. But you’ve used it so many times, usually ending in failure, that you had finally stopped trying to do it unless magic was involved. And even then, she wanted a super cool special move out of you. She wanted to see you be as spectacular as possible, as well as making sure her mother was pleased.

What could you even come up with for a rescue maneuver?

Well, you could just lie…

“It’s gonna be a secret surprise.” You give her a confident yet sly grin as you boop her nose with your hoof, making her stop in her tracks with a heavy blush “Just for you.”

She just stood there for a few moments, giggling and gurgling, most likely imagining you beating up a real dragon to rescue her from her prison. “Oh, Anon, I bet it’s going to be the most amazing thing ever!”

“Oh, I’m sure it will.” Said a snobbish voice from behind… Oh shit.

“M-mother?!” Diamond shook away her love filled haze and immediately stood up straight as she cleared her throat “Mother… Erm, where did you come from? I mean…” She did a curtsy “Hello.”

You felt a dead chill in the air. She managed to sneak up on the both of you.. Somehow. You wondered what she thought of your last words. Was she happy that you could make Diamond smile like that? Or did she not like you basically managing to spirit her away with such simplistic tactics?

You slowly turn, and do a quick bow to her “Mrs. Rich! Good morning! How are you?”

“Bored and miserable… Had to step away from those cretins who think themselves superior. I’m actually glad I ran into you, Anon, there’s a few things I’d like to discuss with you in private before the exam begins.”

S-shit...

Chapter 21 - Spoiled's True Intentions And Something Spooky

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“Wait, private? B-but mother, I was hoping to spend some more time with Anon.” Diamond gives her mother big ole sad eyes. “T-the princesses aren’t even here yet. I wanted to talk to him about a few more things before they showed up. Like asking Anon about, erm…” She blushes deep red “Sleeping over at his house for a night. Like, a real sleepover this time… W-which you wouldn’t mind, right?”

W-w-w-wut?! She was going to ask that?! H-holy fuck, erm…

“Of course I wouldn’t… As long as certain conditions are met. Either way, you are still going to be able to speak with the princesses. Remember, we need a gentle and welcoming filly like you to greet them when they arrive. Perhaps, even sit with them…” Spoiled says, purposely not continuing her words as Diamond’s eyes light up.

“R-really? I can sit with the princesses? Erm…” Diamond gulps “Y-you don’t think they’ll mind, do you, mother?”

Spoiled gives her daughter a gentle smile and shakes her head “No, they won’t mind at all. I’m sure they won’t turn away the marefriend of the colt everypony came here to see.” More like she knew they wouldn’t be rude to her if she was a little insistent. Celestia seemed to find her rather delightful last you remembered.

“eeeeeEEEE!” Diamond hopped around, and gave you a kiss on your nose “Anon! I’m going to be able to sit with the princesses! Yay! Yay! Yaerm…” Diamond notices the disapproving look of her mother, and calms herself “Ahrm, indeed, I will make sure I am a pleasant host.” Diamond does a curtsy once again.

“I’m sure you will. Now get going, the princesses will be here soon and Anon will need to be properly briefed before we begin.” Spoiled says, dismissing her daughter as her eyes shift to you.

Diamond acts as dignified as possible as her body shakes in anticipation. She gives you a giddy little grin before marching off towards the princess entrance of the colosseum.

You then look up at Spoiled, whose smile has now turned into a scowl. You worried about her true intentions.

You wait until Diamond is out of earshot before you ask. “Mrs. Rich, ma’am. A-are you alright?” She mentioned “cretins” from before, she had to be annoyed at those she was trying to trounce.

“Follow me, Anon. We’re going to turn around and walk for awhile…” Spoiled started to lead you back the way you came, towards the regular entrance. Though, she was staying by the outer wall of the colosseum. She must have wanted to go the long way around to where you needed to go so she could properly discuss whatever she wanted to discuss. You nod, and follow her. “Tell me, Anon. You’re prepared to win at all costs, right?” She asks.

Considering it was more than her at stake… “Yes, I am. But Mrs. Rich, is this all really necessary? I know you want to impress a bunch of socialites… But…”

“Anon, let me tell you about the upper crust of society.” She doesn’t let you finish your words as she speaks, her tone sounding rather annoyed. “There is no real friendship among those who want to see you under their hooves. Sure, my husband is able to befriend those who actually have a soul. But as the wife of the household, it is up to me to make sure any and all competitors understand who is the best”

Well, that was rather blunt. So that’s all it really was then? “So you set this whole thing up for just that? I don’t mean to sound rude...But erm, couldn’t you just buy them out or outperform them or something? Again, not to be rude or anything… But you’re putting me and somepony else in the way of injury just for something so… petty…” ugh, you sounded so… moralistic.

“Not all of them are competitors, Some are just acquaintances that bug me. And to answer your question, no, there’s no other way. I don’t think you understand, Anon, but you are the hero colt and my future son-in-law. Everypony knows of your amazing feats already. But there are some who’d rather focus on your origins and upbringing, rather than what you can do. And so they feel the need to ‘politely’ bring it up during dinner conversation” Spoiled lets out a low growl “And, I’m tired of it.” She takes a moment to breath, then continues. “So, after learning about your little tussle with the dragon, I knew word would spread about it rather quickly. Especially with your father ranting and raving about it all over town. That, and the fact you are nearly done with your training with our local Wonderbolt, gave me an idea to show everypony the truth about you, Ponyville, and my family. It took a lot of money to get this all set up within the day, a LOT of money. So much so that failure could bring ruin should something go wrong. Even more so due to the fact we have two princesses among us.”

What the fuck was she on about?

Spoiled smirked about that one, as if you had said something “I know, I am truly amazing for being able to have the princesses over for this event, along with all the Wonderbolts as well. That is why it is especially important that nothing goes wrong. You must be able to beat the target time with little to no accidents whatsoever. I trust in your skill, Anon, I really do. I wouldn’t have made these arrangements if I didn’t trust in your abilities. Which, by the way, brings me to your little friend…”

And that raised red flags right there. “Woah! Woah! Mrs. Rich, I get it… sort of. You want to show everypony you’re the best. But if you think I’m going to mess up Scootaloo for you, then you’re wrong. And if you insist? Well…” Ogh, it nearly made you fearful on your next few words “I’ll walk out, right now.”

Spoiled groans as she stops and puts a hoof to her face “And of course, I can’t let everypony know your actual I.Q. either, because that is one ridiculously stupid remark. I don’t want you to ‘mess her up’. I need you to help her along! I need you to make absolutely sure that you both clear the course. That includes using some kind of teamwork to rescue that doll. You can’t fail…” She grabs you, brings you close, and brings her eyes close to yours “Cannot… Fail.”

You shiver from her sudden grab, then slowly shift your eyes left and right in a meek fashion before looking back at her intense stare. “Y-yeah… Erm, uh. And uhm… Why is this the plan? J-just asking…” Like no, seriously, you didn’t expect that.

She raises her head and groans ever louder as she continues her trek. “Because! They are the aristocrats of CANTERLOT, which they believe to be the best place to live. If you both pass the test, it shows that Ponyville, it’s princess, and even the elements that live here aren’t the only thing we have to be proud about. Ponyville, the supposed backwater town and place I reside in, produces fillies and colts of pure excellence no matter the class. As for you, you make the foals in Celestia’s school look like a joke, horn or no. Everypony seeing you both brave through a course such as this with finesse,skill, and teamwork will know exactly why I choose to live here. Yes…” Spoiled started to cackle a little evilly “They will know that their bloodlines are absolute horsefeathers at every front! Nyahahaha!... Ah… Hmmm… Erm.” She calms down, and straightens her mane “In any case, just do your best, Anon. I know you can do it… Ahh, here we are.” You both arrive at another entrance guarded by two suited ponies, the entrance itself was an arch like every other one. You wouldn’t even be able to tell this was your entrance if it wasn’t for the two ponies guarding it “Rainbow Dash is waiting to brief you inside. But before I let you go, do you have any questions?”

After that laugh, you found yourself stunned and chilled to the bone with the feeling of a familiar aura. You only had one question. “A-are you Chrysalis?”

“What?” Spoiled asked, confused.

“N-nothing… Erm, I’m just… Gonna go…” You walked off, stepping backwards towards the entrance as the two guardsponies let you through, your eyes never leaving Spoiled in case her eyes suddenly glow green or something. Holy fuck, she’s goddamn insane when she puts her mind to it. All this to raise her goddamn social standing and nothing more. Dammit Mr.Rich, how do you deal with her? She must have used an ungodly amount of money, for sure, to set this up. To the point, in her words, would bring ruin if you fucked up… Or Scootaloo did. No pressure, Anon, you just REALLY had to account for two ponies here. You can do it!

When you do step through, you find yourself in a rather large and long lobby with cushy couches, lanterns on the nicely patterned walls, and beautiful red carpeting that led all the way to the other exit, which you could only guess leads to the course. In front of one of the couches was Rainbow Dash, pacing left and right, wearing a coach’s cap and whistle, and speaking to Scootaloo about the course. She was filling her with courage and determination. Well, of course she was, she wanted her to win… In one piece.

Scootaloo was sitting on the couch, looking determined and happy, her usual helmet placed on her head. She looked really joyful to be with Rainbow, And why wouldn’t she? She was being directed by her favorite hero. But then something caught you as off…

Babs was here, sitting next to Scootaloo as she listened to Rainbow Dash’s words. Was she… Competing too? Wut? You’d think Sweetie Belle and Applebloom would be here if she was here, so it could be that. Well, one way to find out. “Hey guys! I’m here!”

Rainbow Dash stops and looks over to you with a grin “Well, it’s about time. Hey, Rockhead!”

Scootaloo looks over to you, grins, hops off her couch, and rushes over to you to give you a hug. “Anon! Look!” She hops back and shows off a badge on her chest. It was a good quality looking medal with the Wonderbolt’s emblem on it. “Captain Spitfire gave it to me! She said it makes me an honorary Junior Wonderbolt! I’m practically like Rainbow Dash now! Isn’t that cool?!” She said as she hopped about happily.

That was pretty heartwarming to you, you give her a gentle smile. “Super cool, why did she give it to you though? Besides the obvious, of course”

“She believes in me! Just like Dash does! She told me it takes guts to take on something like this and, ahrm.” Scootaloo clears her throat, and stands tall and proud “I do got a lot of guts! I am a Junior Wonderbolt after all”

Rainbow Dash giggles as she pats Scootaloo’s head gently “Relax there, squirt. Remember, a Wonderbolt is as careful as they are great. Don’t get ahead of yourself when you get out there, ok?” Heh, that didn’t sound like her at all. You’d think Rainbow Dash would tell her to just be as attention whoring as possible. It was cute, she really was worried about Scootaloo. Or maybe she just matured or something. You dunno...

“Don’t worry! I got this! All I gotta do is smash that time, right?” Scootaloo looked back at her wings and gave them a flitter, she then looked towards the exit with a confident smirk “Easier done than said.”

Adorable. Well, if she was confident, then that meant she was gonna try her best without any doubt. You were going to need that to fulfill both Rainbow’s and Spoiled’s request. But then you look to Babs, wondering why she was here. “Babs, hey, what’s up? Where’s Applebloom and Sweetie Belle?”

“With the peanut gallery. As for me, came to give Scootaloo and you some advice before they throw you to the lions.” Babs said as she hopped off the couch and looked towards the exit, blowing her mane up a little when it got in her face “Yep, Mrs. R really overdid it. She has the whole thing set up like one of those crazy attractions over at Las Pegasus. Good thing I know how they pretty much work or else you guys would have been in a real world of hurt.”

Las Pegasus? Attractions? “What? What do you mean by that?”

Babs walks over to you and knocks on your forehead “Are ya kiddin’ me? Let me spell it out for you, these things are meant to trip up ponies to make em pay more moola to try again. Sure, you ain’t payin’, but if you don’t know the trick to em, then you’re gonna fail for sure.”

You swat her hoof away as you look at her, a little annoyed both at her knocking and the fact she didn’t seem to have faith in your natural abilities. “Hey! Come on, they don’t look that tough. Only real danger is that last one. I can do the rest, no problem.”

“Listen to her, Anon. She knows her stuff.” Rainbow Dash warns.

“Yeah, I know I’m already pretty good. But there’s stuff even I wouldn’t have considered without Bab’s help!” Scootaloo too, urges you to listen.

“Ok… Ok, sheesh. Alright, fine… Ern, so there’s a trick to them, huh? What is it then?” You ask. You found it a little odd Babs seemed to have this sort of insider info on an obstacle course. Even weirder however… “I mean, just saying, seems odd that Mrs. Rich would set us up to fail like that with a course we are meant to lose.”

“She probably didn’t realize it when she had all those worker ponies contracted. Really, you gotta know what you’re buyin’ into before you set these kinds of things up. Makes you look really dumb if everything goes wrong. But that’s what happens when you rush everything. Anyway, as I said, all of those obstacles were meant to trip you up, so here’s how to get past em…” And so, Babs went on to explain to you the tricks to the course.

First was the tube. She told you many ponies would get stuck or end up getting tired trying to get out of the rotating tube. The trick was to go in when the first bend was just about to go down. That way you can slide and push yourself along the poles. Then you are supposed to stop at the middle, and wait until the other half of the bend goes down, and simply repeat.

The next one was the pushing obstacle. Apparently, despite being on a track, it also has a spring that reacted when a certain pressure is reached. It was meant to slam it’s pusher backwards when they press in too much without stop. The trick was simple, stop pushing every few feet and take a few steps back to relieve pressure on the spring, and then keep on going, and repeat until you reach the other side.

The platforms? You felt you could do something like that without help, given your gaming prowess, but you said nothing as Babs went on to explain the trick. As confident as you were, even you knew what was at stake. Sure, you got a little arrogant when she mentioned the tricks beforehand, but that’s natural… You just tend to lose yourself sometimes. Anyway, the trick to the platforms was to wait for them to NEARLY align on the first set of jumps. Then, you had to make a set of consecutive jumps in a particular way. The first jump was at an angle towards the incoming platform, the second jump was to jump at the same angle you jumped the first time rather than aiming for the next platform. You thought it odd, but she explained that the momentum of the first platform will curve your jump enough to land on the platform, and that aiming for it doesn’t work due to said momentum, and the fact that waiting would cause you to miss the jump altogether. Then, it was the third jump that you make aim, as the middle platform didn’t move from it’s spot at all. You then repeat said jumps to get to the other side and to the next obstacle.

For the next two obstacles? Even Babs was at a loss for those two. The dragon obstacle, she admitted, was something that would never be commissioned as an attraction. And the tight vertical space up to said obstacle was just pure skill, and required a knowledge of climbing in the first place to manage. She said that she had confidence in the both of you to clear it anyway. But somehow, you just knew, she had her doubts. “..And there you go, that’s all I know. You can remember all that, right?” Babs asked you, looking into your eyes to see any sign of confusion.

But no, it seemed pretty cut and dry to you, so you nod in confidence. “Yeah, I got it. I’m ready to do this! Let’s go!”

“Yeah, hold your horses there, Anon. Still waiting for em to open that exit over there. As for being ready, did you do any of your morning stretches?” Dash asks you, though she could already see on your dumbfounded face that it was a big no.

“I mean… I walked here.” You say, rather sheepishly. Knowing she was gonna make you do exercises. Ugh, you hated exercising. It was busywork...

“Ugh, Alright, Anon. get goin’, I wanna see you stretch, jump, and get all those kinks out! I mean, sheesh! You’re not me, you know? You can’t just go into an obstacle course without loosening up first!” Rainbow Dash barks at you “Come on! One, two, one, two! Stretch those glutes!”

“Yeah, come on, Anon!” Scootaloo joins along, trying to motivate you. “She’s right! Foals like us gotta stretch it out first! Like this!” Scootaloo started to exercise and stretch with more vigor than you did, obviously trying to impress Rainbow Dash.

“Good work, Scootaloo! Show him how it’s done!” Rainbow Dash cheered her on.

D-dammit, these two. You understood that Rainbow Dash only wanted you to be ready, but her ego and Scootaloo’s fangasms weren’t doing you any favors. Besides, why did you need to stretch so much? You never had to before for anything dangerous and...wait, what is Babs doing?

She was staring at you exercise, rather intently, with a hint of… Blush?

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

HOLY FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK WAS WITH THE GODDAMN FEMALES OF THE APPLE FAMILY?! FIRST APPLEBLOOM! NOW BABS?! AND NOT TO MENTION GRANNY SMITH AND HER SEEING YOU AS A BEAR EVERY FUCKING TIME! AND APPLEJACK?! APPLEJACK?!... Applejack… Man, she really is boring.

When Babs noticed you looking back at her, she quickly looked away as she brushed her mane back and hopped back up onto the couch. For sure, she was admiring your cute yet more toned physique. Ok, now you were glad Diamond had been turned away by her mother. You didn’t need a round two with this shit.

You act casual, and look over to Babs as you did some pushups. “Hey, Babs, you alright?”

“Nothen…” Babs, as well, tried to act casual. “Just thinking about something…”

Probably your ass… “Right, you just looked a little off all of a sudden.”

Babs took a peek at you, then turned away again. “I said it wasn’t anything.” She insisted, huffed, then looked at you with curiousness “But I gotta ask, because it’s been buggin’ me since Applebloom sent me those letters. Why Diamond? I ain’t dissin’ her or anything like that. But you were friends with the crusaders first, right? I know Applebloom had a crush on you, so did Sweetie Belle… Um.” She looks to Scootaloo “Hey, did you have a crush on him?”

“WHAT?!” Scootaloo nearly fell over as all her concentration was nearly lost. “No! Ugh, Anon is cool and all. But his priorities are all messed up! He doesn’t even think Rainbow Dash is that cool! Kinda rude considering she’s been training him all this time.”

“I’m fine with that. I mean, I already know Anon can be super egotistical. But he’s still a good guy. If he was old enough, I’d take him out for some cider. And as far as coolness is concerned, I’d have to put myself… What’s that word Twilight used? Right, iota, Anon is a few iotas under me, which is ok in my book.” Rainbow Dash says, her ego unbroken.

But Scootaloo’s ego takes a hit as she looks to Rainbow Dash with a pout “A-am I c-cool? Rainbow Dash?”

Rainbow Dash snickered as she gave her a little boop on the nose “You’re practically family, Scootaloo. That’s a whole different kind of cool.” These words, it immediatly made Scootaloo cry happy little tears as she embraced Rainbow Dash in a hug, thanking her. You could tell just from Rainbow Dash returning such affection that she was true to her word.

Babs just looks at the two happily for a moment before looking back at you with a smirk. “So, you gonna answer that question or what?”

Right…

You pull your attention from the pair and look to her, trying to seem stoic in your answer. “I saved her life, she adored me, and I… Kinda fell in love with that. If you want a mature answer, Babs, it’s because I know that if I was ever lonely or feeling bad, she’d do her best to cheer me up. Sweetie Belle kinda seems selfish at times, to be truthful. And Applebloom… Applebloom…” You could see her raise an eyebrow from the notion you were going to say something negative about her cousin, you must have killed any attraction she had for you quick just by bringing her up in any kind of negative connotation.

You were silent, prompting her to approach you with a hostile stare “Yeah? What about my cousin? Hrm?”

You went silent. Holy crap, she looked like she wanted to hurt you really bad. And what could you do about that? You couldn’t hurt a girl! Well you could, but everyone and their mother would bitch at you about it. And this wasn’t the best of times for that considering what was at stake. You gulped “U-umm…”

Babs suddenly seems even more furious as she pulls her right front hoof back and… Flicks your nose? “Hah! Did I scare you that bad? So much for the hero colt. Relax, I was just messing with you.”

Dammit! HOW COULD YOU FALL FOR THAT ONE!? You knew for a fact that characters like these never get into a physical altercation that easily! Dammit, Anon! Fucking… “Ugh, cheap move. You’re a girl, I had to be ready in case it wasn’t a trick!”

“Sure, sure… Whatever you say. Relax, Anon.” Babs smirks at you as she backs up onto the couch with a giggle “If I really wanted to spook you, I’d tell you about this bridge back at home. Y’know…” She looks at you darkly “The one where nopony ever comes back from if they roast marshmallows under it. I’m sure you heard the legend. Though, the ways I see it, it seems to be true.”

“W-what?!” Scootaloo said, shivering from those words. “T-that can’t be real!”

Babs shrugs “Dunno myself…” She then really gives you the evil eye “But most of my sources says it’s true. Now that’s pretty spooky, ain’t it?”

But Babs’s disappointment slowly grows when she noticed you didn’t seem to react to that one at all. She found it odd, as everyone she’s told the story to usually seems to fear it. But to you? It was a stupid legend and a stupid attempt to give you another spook. Real childish shit, really. In fact, it gives you an idea. “It isn’t”

“Wha?! Yeah right! It’s practically true! They even say that right under the bridge, you can see chalk drawings suddenly appear, depicting the victims’ last moments before their taken!” Babs again, tries to spook you. But it only ends up making Scootaloo shiver behind Rainbow Dash. “You don’t think that’s crazy scary? You’re joshin’ me, right?” Babs was in disbelief.

She wants scary? Fuck it, time for scary. “Babs, I’ve seen things you wouldn’t even be able to comprehend. Like this one guy? Freddy Krueger. He hurt foals… He hurt them real bad… sometimes to their grave.”

“W-what?” Babs said, with sudden quivers in her voice, her expression showing she was the one now being spooked.

“Oh yeah…” You said with a smirk as you began to pace about, locking eyes with her “Ended up burning alive one day by some of the parents. But he vowed vengeance on their kids, through their dreams. Oh yeah, this guy was the anti-Luna. He would come in your dreams and do terrible things…”

“I-I don’t like this story… W-where did you even hear about this?” Scootaloo asked, scared to high heaven by your words. She couldn’t even hide it, it was much worse than anything she heard before.

“Yeeeeah, this is… I mean, I always wanted to hear a story that was super scary. B-but, this seems a bit much…” Even Rainbow Dash was uncomfortable, was she shivering? You thought you notice her tense for a moment.

“W-what do you mean by terrible things? C’mon, e-even if this was true, y-you can’t hurt nopony through their dreams.” Babs said with a gulp, clearly becoming terrified by your totally not stolen story.

“Oh, it was much worse than hurt. He would skewer, slice, rip their skin clean off, drop them, burn them, BLOW THEM UP INTO TINY PIECES. I mean this guy? He has a clawed horseshoe he uses to scare foals by tapping at metal pipes, or just goring them with it. You could tell he was coming by hearing these ghostly foals sing a song about him getting you, if you heard that song… You were done! And the best part of all this? Whatever he did to them in their dreams, they would scream a bloodcurdling scream in their sleep as their very bodies in the real world become a horrible guts n brain mess! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!” You cackled evilly, causing ALL THREE of the girls to grab each other in pure fright as they all screamed in terrible fear.

Wait… Not three… Four? Four screams?

You slowly look towards the exit to the course, which was now open, as Spitfire stood a few feet away from you. It seemed she had come in to get you all while you were in the middle of your story. But her yellow coat was partially white, her mane looked a little distorted, and her eyes were filled with fear from what you had said. Cleary, she had never heard of anything so gory.

“C-captain Spitfire? Erm, you ok?” Oh geez, you didn’t mean to spook her. Hell, you didn’t even know you could do that.

“W-wha? OH! NGh.. Ahrm” Spitfire very quickly composed herself, bringing her sunglasses down to cover her eyes. “I was just witnessing how your story managed to spook our young junior Wonderbolt. And sheesh, Crash, really? REALLY?! T-that’s j-just terrible, the w-way you reacted. S-should kick you out of the Wonderbolts just for that. Y-you’re lucky I-I’m nice though. Ahrm… Anyway, five minutes everypony, then you gotta get your k-keisters out there. Already did the o-opening speech and everything. I’m a… Ok, gonna go now… Seeya.” She very slowly turned around, and wobbled out. Was she even grossed out by that? Man, ponies are fucking weak… Heh.

“Yeah… I’m just gonna step out for some fresh air. I mean, I wasn’t scared or anything… Just… Wow, it’s really hot in here, huh? Seeya out there, you two” Rainbow Dash said with a weak chuckle as she stumbled out.

“W-wait! I-I feel hot too!” Scootaloo called out, rushing towards Rainbow Dash. Wanting to be by her side for comfort.

You then looked at the stunned Babs, and then smirk at her. “How was that?”

“Yeah… Wow” Babs had to lay her head down on the couch as she slowly gathered her senses “Now that’s s-scary. W-where did you even hear about something like that? I mean, that’s something even adults wouldn’t talk about. It’s crazy”

You shrugged arrogantly “It’s just a story. I don’t see how anypony could get spooked by that. I mean, like I said, I got spooked by your approach because I didn’t know if you were actually gonna hit me or not. As I said, can’t hit a girl.” HAHAHA! FUCKING VICTORY!

“Y-yeah, I think I get it now. I think I get your appeal too, there’s no colt tough enough to hear a story like that without falling over. You really are tough.”

You snicker as you rub your hoof along your chest “I don’t like to brag, but remember, I did do most of the work in defeating the Storm King.”

“Yeah, right, for sure. Anyway, erm, I wasn’t actually upset about what you may have thought about Applebloom. You two just don’t fit, that’s all. You may be Discord’s kid, but I guess that would just make somepony like you just want a way to relax and be comfortable. A filly that loves you and has a ton of cash can do that.” Babs surmises, figuring that to be the only reason as to why you chose her. It was mostly true, but there was also the fact that Diamond could be forceful as fuck if she wanted to be. Truly something you didn’t want to provoke too much out of her, but you did find it rather enticing sometimes.

“Yeah, and considering my Dad, money isn’t a big issue anyway. Don’t laugh, but sometimes I just like to lay down, relax, and enjoy a good cuddle. That doesn’t sound too wimpy, does it?” You ask, genuinely interested in what she thought since it seemed she was connecting with you about how you felt.

“Yeah, I get it. It all makes sense now. And Diamond is pretty lucky.” Babs said as she got up, and gave you a gentle touch on your nose with her own “Because you’re pretty cute.”

DON’T YOU DARE, ANON! DON’T YOU EVEN FUCKING TURN RED!

“But I don’t think I could take all that cuddling stuff for too long, sounds boring. Besides, with all the stuff you can do in the city, who has time to sit around? Anyway, I’m gonna check on Scootaloo, make sure she’s ok. We only got like two minutes left, so if you gotta do a few more stretches, do em quick, ok?” Babs said as she stepped out, giving you one last look to take in your “cute”

She hadn’t noticed that you had frozen in place from her words and her touch. You were frozen for half a minute before you turned red and broke out in a sweat, falling over and twitching. “W-why can’t I just have a harem? I-it’d be so much easier…”

Chapter 22 - The Final Exam

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It was time…

You were finally ready to step out and complete your physical training. To prove to yourself, and now many more, what you were capable off without the horn.

You steel yourself as you finally feel ready to take on the challenge without hesitation.

When you step outside, you could see the colosseum full of ponies as they cheer out loud at your sudden appearance. You could see a platform near the start of the course where Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo, and Spitfire were standing on as Babs started to step off to head back towards the lobby you just exited.

Spitfire had a mic, but she wasn’t saying anything at the moment as she looked at you, waiting for you to step up to the platform. You began to approach as the crowd's cheers began to fill you with determination. As you look up, you could see two fancy booths. One had Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight, as well as Diamond and Spike. Celestia seemed to be having a delightful little chat with Diamond as Spike was doing his best to keep an obviously shaky Twilight from losing it. The other booth held the Riches themselves, and the “dignitaries” that Spoiled was trying to one up. You could also see a few familiar faces among the crowd as well. The CMC, Lyra, Bonbon, Pinkie Pie, You even saw Scrappy… But no Discord, he was obviously watching from somewhere. And also, no Fluttershy…

Mnnnn...

As you further approached the platform, Babs looked to you with a nod and said the genuine caring words of “Good luck” as she passed you by.

When you finally stepped up onto the platform, Rainbow Dash was quick to approach you before you got a chance to do anything else. “Alright, Rockhead, gotta give up the horn for this. Last thing I need is anypony accusing you of being a cheater. I swear, would knock em straight out if they heckled you” She said as she held her hoof out towards you.

Of course you’d have to give up the horn for this. Ugh, you felt very uncomfortable giving it up, but you knew Rainbow Dash was right. You felt, in an instance like this, you could trust her with it. So you give it up, as well as your saddle bag. “Here, so what now?”

“Just go stand next to Scootaloo. Captain Spitfire is gonna signal you both off when she finishes up this whole announcement thing.” Rainbow Dash says as she takes your things. She then smiles warmly towards you, and puts her hoof on your shoulder “You gotta be careful with that final trick, Anon. You and Scootaloo better knock this whole thing out, and show em all what you’re both made of.”

Rainbow Dash…

You could remember the early times you had with her. Her arrogance, her suspicions of you, her jerky attitude. But as you got to know her and hang around her, you began to realize she wasn't as top cunt as you once thought, enough to finally take her training course. For awhile, you had avoided this as you were too stubborn to want to deal with Rainbow Dash. But after losing to Tempest in your first encounter with her, after she had dodged everything you threw at her, even you had to accept there was merit to being athletic and strong. And so, it led to you accepting her offer, bettering yourself and your health, and feeling fulfilled with who you are as a hero. And Rainbow Dash herself was the one who made it happen, and you could feel that through your training with her, you and her had formed a bond you never thought would happen.

Still…

She wasn’t that cool…

You stood next to Scootaloo, standing proud for the crowd. Scootaloo took a moment to look at you with a smile, but she said nothing to you. She may have been instructed to keep focus, or maybe she just didn’t want to bother you. So you look back at her instead and ask “You alright, Scootaloo?”

“Huh? Oh…” Scootaloo looked at the crowd, and felt a bit of a nervous chill “It’s nothing, just thinking, that’s all.”

Scootaloo…

If there was one thing you couldn’t shake off, it was this brotherly feeling towards her. Was it her friendliness towards you? Or was it the fact that you still felt heavily responsible for what happened to her back when the changelings were stuck in your basement? Either way, you give her a friendly smile “If you’re worried about anything, relax. I’m gonna be with you, remember? I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise”

Scootaloo didn’t say anything at first, she looked down, then back at you with a weak smile “Thanks, Anon…”

You meant it. In the end, it wasn’t for Dash or Spoiled. It was your brotherly duty to protect her, no matter what. “No prob, we’re gonna do fine. We’re in this together, and we’re gonna dominate this together, understand?”

She nods, and almost dares for a hug. But with so many watching, she just holds back after taking a step towards you, and stands tall once more with only a single happy tear in her eye showing her true feelings towards your words.

“Alright everypony, I want you all to take note that this isn’t some grand show or anything close to it. This is a test for two young foals, a test to show just how much progress they have gained through their training. Passing this exam will be a sign of proof to themselves and those who witness it that they are truly ready for anything the world has to throw at them. Anon and Scootaloo, these two foals have come a long way in their own way to get this far, and given how this course is beyond the norm one is supposed to take, beating the target time will make their victory unquestionable. So to all of you, you better not blink!” Spitfire had started making the final announcement on her own accord. Although she seemed annoyed in her tone to be talking in such a grandiose way, she eventually got into it, she felt a sense of pride to be presenting two foals such as you and Scootaloo. “Because I can promise you that they're gonna crush this course with blazing speed! Heh, and I should know, one way or another, they were trained by one of my best.” Spitfire looks to Rainbow Dash with a spirited nod, making Rainbow Dash herself feel a buildup of pure pride. To the point that, as the crowd cheered and Spitfire hurried you two along to the starting line, Rainbow Dash flew up high to start the show.

Indeed, Spitfire was telling you both to get ready as quick as possible as she knew Rainbow Dash would cry out to start the run without even realizing it.

You and Scootaloo looked at each other with a fierce nod and sense of victory as Rainbow Dash flew high up in the air and cheered “LET’S GET GOING, EVERYPONY! AND I SWEAR! YOU BETTER CHEER FOR THESE TWO! NOW, ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!” Rainbow Dash signaled as a team of Wonderbolts flew out in a wing formation from a nearby cloud. It seemed they had been waiting inside for a signal to just suddenly fly out and start the run with a bang. They were releasing a rainbow of explosions behind them that entertains and wows the crowd.

As for you and Scootaloo? Well… “Let’s go, Scootaloo!”

“Right!” Scootaloo yelled out as you both charged forward.

This was it, the final phase of your training, Spoiled’s revenge against the upper crust, and Scootaloo’s dream getting ever closer to being fulfilled. You couldn’t screw this up, you just can’t!

First were the hurdles, they were long enough for you and Scootaloo to run side by side and jump without smashing into each other. As you both jumped, Scootaloo managed to start to pull ahead by using her little wings for extra thrust. You were both impressed and jealous at such a feat as she slowly began to pass you up. Were you really unable to keep your momentum after a jump?

As you hopped and jumped, you could hear the crowd cheer you both on. But what about Spoiled? You knew what you had to do, but falling behind Scootaloo was probably not really good at the start of the exam. But how were you going to pull ahead? You had to use your head on this… Oh wait.

Since this was a battle against the clock, you knew there’d be no penalty for missing a hurdle. Or rather, smashing right through them with your head! You leaned your skull forward and started to smash through the hurdles without slowdown. In fact, your brute force was actually getting you past Scootaloo. Yes, it seemed your normal running speed was greater than hers, most likely due to the fact all the running around town you do already. Scootaloo may not have to make any jumps anymore, but she was having trouble keeping up with you as you clear the hurdles. Ha! There you go, Anon, keeping pace!

Next were the tires. Amazingly, you already had this one in the bag as you quickly step your right hooves and left hooves in the appropriate tires as Scootaloo loses even more ground with her attempts of side hopping into them. You thought about slowing down, but dammit, you were actually on a roll over here! HAHA!

After passing the tires, the mud trench was next. When you stepped into it, you found yourself actually slowing down and slipping about as you tried to focus on running forwards. But with your balance so wavy, you found it difficult just moving in a straight line. “D-dammit, w-what’s wrong with me? I should be able to do this one...huh?” As you nearly get halfway, you hear a whirring sound going on behind you. And whatever it was, it was blasting towards you at a wicked pace.

You don’t even have a chance to look back as you are suddenly splashed with mud. Some of the crowd were in laughter and cheers at whatever happened. When you clean off your face and look forward, you could see Scootaloo speeding through, flapping her wings like a hummingbird to jet through the trench like a hovercraft.

“Fuck!” you cry out as you start rushing forward, tripping and sliding as you try to get out of the damn trench! Scootaloo was already on the climb and you were way back here! She was gonna be at the final obstacle at this point! You had to move!

It takes you a bit, enough to make you fear making Spoiled look bad, but you do get out of the trench. Covered in mud, sure, but you were out. You also found yourself frustrated at Scootaloo as you reached the incline board and shook yourself off before climbing. When you looked up, you were surprised to see that she was still climbing it as well. She was having trouble keeping her hooves in place due to how muddy they were. She was sliding back every now and again as she held on tight the best she could. You just stared for a moment, it was just a diagonal incline climb, how could she be having trouble?

But when you heard, even from the beginning of the climb, her whine that she can’t fail Rainbow Dash, your heart sunk. She said it in a strained way that almost sounded like she was in tears, you realized that any jealousy you had was petty at that moment. And this realization was good to have so early in the run too, god only knows what would have happened if you got jealous during the end. “Don’t worry, Scoots, I got ya!” You cry out to her as you quickly wipe your hooves along the board, take a few steps back, and just start running up the incline as quickly as possible. Maybe it was cartoon physics, or maybe it was divine intervention, but you weren’t slowing down as you catch Scootaloo upon your forehead and start pushing her up until your both reach the top and tumble forward, stopping right behind the slow spinning tube.

“Wha, huh?” Scootaloo fell on her tummy, and stood up in surprise when she realized she had reached the top with your help. She looked down at you and noticed you were on your back. And then that's when you yourself could see it, as if looking into her very soul...

As she reached her hoof to you and said “C’mon, Anon! We can’t slow down for even a second!”, you realized that your jealousy, even as short as it was, was still misplaced. You let out a sigh of relief and chuckle as you grab her hoof, thanking deep down that your jealousy was quickly killed as you try to steel your mind as to not let it happen so easily. That kind of stuff had gotten you in trouble before, your emotions to be exact. Even before Tempest, it had led to you getting smashed, namely by a Chimera you wouldn’t have had to be smooshed by had you thought things out a little better.

When you and Scootaloo approach the spinning tube, you look to each other and try to figure something out. “Ok, Scoots. Do you wanna go in first, or should I? I know there are poles in there placed to slow us down. So if we both go in, it’s really possible we might get stuck.”

“Well, the clock is still ticking, right? So we’re gonna need a quicker way through. I saw how you handled those hurdles… so, uh… Think you can do that to the poles too? Your helmet will protect your head enough, right?” Scootaloo asked. It seems she really was impressed with how you handled the hurdles back at the start of the run. “I mean, you were pretty unstoppable back there. Not even that incline stopped you!”

How did you not even think of that beforehand? Your head was pretty damn durable. If it could smash through those hurdles, then some poles shouldn’t mean crap! Hell, you didn’t even need to follow Bab’s advice for this one. “I was pretty unstoppable, wasn’t I? Ok, Scoots, stand back!” You reach up and push your helmet a tad forward as you prepare to step into the rotating tube. “Oh yeah! It’s Anon time!”

“You can do it!” Scootaloo cheered you on as you waited for the bend in the tube to decline downwards. Once it did, you went down head first until you slid into some poles stabbed across the tube randomly along the inside. Holy shit! This really was a quick one night rush job. Even if you were to try to get through it normally, the poles were placed in such a way that squeezing between them was near impossible. Even worse! They were made of metal, when you expected wood.

“Oh no…” You silently whined as you prepared to smash your head on the first pole. You had to remember who this was for, you had to remember that you couldn’t fail. “S-Scootaloo! Follow me!” You said in a shaky voice as you quickly started to smash your head down at the metal poles as hard as you can. Oh god! Even with the helmet, tearing through the poles , this was hurting like hell!

“Woah…” Scootaloo said as she passed by the broken metal “Anon… Are you alright over there? These are made of metal… Geez, you really did get stronger.” She was further impressed by how powerful you seemed.

As you reach the middle of the rotating tube, you looked ahead as you felt your balance and sight begin to waver. And yet, even as the tube turns enough for you to make your way down once again, you found the strength to move forward. Or maybe it was because you had trouble thinking at that point. “Oh, i-it’s no problem Scootabloom Belle. Hey, have you ever been licked in the ponut before?”

“Doughnut? Uh, I normally just...eat them?” Scootaloo said as she slowly followed, finding your question odd.

“...Ugh, I hate vore” You say to yourself as you begin to smash through the last set of poles, finally breaking through as you wobble forward out of the tube and fall forward, right on your face as your body twitches on it's own. “I feel like I was hit by a train… Ugh.”

Scootaloo quickly stepped out of the tube before it rotated back up, and stepped to your side as she leaned down to ask you a question. She didn't seem to think you had a concussion or anything, she probably just thought you were a little dazed, hence her lack of urgency. She was very curious about something though. “Anon? You ok? Can I ask you something?”

You just groan, looking ahead at the large pushblock that was the next challenge. “Y-yeah?”

“What’s vore? Does that have to do with eating doughnuts or something? Never heard of it before.”

Your eyes go wide as you immediately stand up and look at her with crazy eyes, realizing that should she ever find out, her mind would be corrupted FOOORRREEEVVVERRR. As her pseudo-bro, you could not allow this! “THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS! AND IT’S A DUMB WORD! STUPID DUMB! DON’T EVER SAY IT AGAIN! IT’S SO UNCOOL IT MAKES STEVE URKEL LOOK LIKE THE SUAVEST GUY EVER!”

“Ok! Ok! Woah!” Scootaloo stepped back, a little scared from your reaction. “Ok then, a-at least I know you’re ok. Erm… But… I kinda…” Scootaloo felt she was kind of a master when it came to cool and uncool, and there was something you had mentioned yet again that seemed off to her. “I really gotta ask, because I never even heard of that before… But… What is a Steve Urkel?”

What’s a Steve Urkel? Oh god, to be young and of another universe. Sure the character from “Family Matters” didn’t start out so bad when the focus wasn’t on him. But as the show went on, he became a force so powerful and annoying, that you could still hear his annoying laugh and shitty catch phrase echo in your mind. Your crazed phase shatters completely as you let out a heavy sigh and walk past Scootaloo, feeling calm and cool “Don’t worry about it Scootaloo, all it does is bring back painful memories.”

“Did I do that?!” Scootaloo gasped as she rushed up from behind you, looking at you with a sad and apologetic expression “I’m really sorry if I brought up any bad memories from when you were human, Anon. I… forget sometimes, y’know, how bad you said it was for you. You forgive me, right?”

You cringe at her first set of words. But the last set, yeah, you forgot you may have mentioned some things that sounded sadder than what normal foals deal with. You giggle a little as you step up to the push block and put your hoof on it, looking at it with a fierce expression. “Don’t worry about it, Scoots, really, it’s ok. Just do me a favor…”

“Yeah?” Scootaloo asked, as she too readied herself on the pushblock, feeling relieved that you didn’t seem so angry.

“Don’t ever be a Steve Urkel, ok? Ok... Anyway, we have a course to crush, so push!” You began to push on the pushblock as hard as you could.

“Dunno what that first part means… But ok!” Scootaloo said, pumping her hoof as she joined you on the push.

This was by far the easiest of the obstacles. Well, actually, it was only easy thanks to Babs. You both push as hard and quickly as possible, only releasing some pressure every few moments, until eventually you get the pushblock to the other side, allowing you both to stand in front of the next challenge, the rotating platforms… And oh boy, this was much more intimidating up close than it was from afar.

“So, how did Babs say to do this one?” You ask. You were sure you remembered, but at the same time, you needed to make sure you weren’t mistaken.

“We wait for the platform, jump, then we jump straight to catch the next one, then jump towards the middle platform. Easy peasy, I’m not even worried about this one.” Scootaloo said as she prepared herself “I do jumps like these all the time on my scooter, and if I can do it, so can you, right Anon?”

You already got this far, and you felt platforming shouldn’t be too hard. You walk over to the edge of the platform you’re on and look down at the water. There was a ladder that only led up to the side you’re on. So yeah, falling in would definitely slow you down. “Yeah… No problem, righ-SCOOTS?!” You say in surprise as Scootaloo already jumps, makes the second jump, then jumps again to the middle platform. “Scoots?! What are you doing?!”

“What’s it look like? We still gotta do this under the target time, right? So come on! Don’t be so slow, Anon, sheesh! We’ll never make it if you just stand there!” And just as Scootaloo said, she is able to easily make the jumps as if they were second nature to her. To you, it really was quite amazing to see her manage those jumps,she really was more skilled than she appeared. You really thought you were going to have to carry her most of the way, and boy, were you glad you were wrong.

“Alright! Alright! Heh” You snickered as you prepared to make your jumps. “And I thought I was supposed to be the hero colt! Welp, better not disappoint the crowd. Here… I… GO!” And you go to make your own series of jumps. While not as elegant as Scootaloo’s, you still reach the middle platform to the cheers of the crowd.

“Yeah! C’mon, Anon! One more time!” Scootaloo cheered you on “We only got the climb and the dragon after this!”

Alright, just focus, just do what you did last time. Wait for the platforms to nearly sync up and…GO!

You make your jumps once again, however, this time, you lose your footing on the last platform due to a misstep, making your last jump not being enough to clear the gap. “O-OHHH SHIIII… huh?” You felt like you were hanging from something, and you didn’t feel wet at all. “Huh?” When you look up, you could see Scoots struggling with her forelegs to hold your own hoof as she desperately fluttered her wings to pull herself back. “Scoots?”

“A-Anon! GNNNNGH! C-C’mon! S-start g-getting up already! I-I can’t h-h-h-hold you forever!” Scootaloo said as she strained herself to keep you from falling.

You pulled yourself up upon realizing Scootaloo and caught you, and fell on your belly as Scootaloo fell on her back. “Wow! Scoots! That was…” No seriously, you thought that was it for the run. Scootaloo saving you was ridiculously cool! “That was amazing! I’ve never seen reflexes like that before. You saved me from falling. T-thanks…”

Scootaloo stood up slowly, giving you an accomplished grin “Well, I had to save you, Anon. We gotta finish this thing together, right? Nopony left behind. As for my reflexes… Erm.” Scootaloo chuckled nervously “It was more assuming you might mess up than anything else… That’s still ok, right?”

wut? She thought you were gonna fall anyway?! T-that hurt...

...Fine, just roll with it, she still saved you. Smile, and fucking roll with it. But…

No, geez, fuck man! How could she have expected you to screw up that jump?! You’re a platforming master! Y-you just misstepped, that's all. Happens all the time… “Y-yeah, it’s fine. But…” You take a breath, calming yourself as you walk over to the tight chute that led to the dragon platform. “What about this though? how do we get up here?”

Scootaloo looked upon the chute, and began to circle around it as she looked up. “I dunno…” And then her ears perk up, then droop “But the crowd is calling your name…”

Hm? You barely noticed the crowd at this point, but when you gave a listen, you could hear them chanting “Anon!”. But what they weren’t chanting was… “Scoots, you ok?”

“Yeah, i’m fine…” She said with a low whine as she looked up at you with a fake smile “Everypony really just came to see you, right? I kinda butted in on this in the first place, so I understand. I mean, you’re the hero colt and Rainbow Dash’s trainee, that makes you more than amazing a-” But Scootaloo stops when you put a hoof on her shoulder, you looked at her with a smile “A-Anon?” She looked to you with confusion and sadness.

You may have your differences, and you may get jealous and angry, but Scootaloo was a real friend, one of the only CMC would would stand by your side more often than not. To see her sad because the crowd weren’t rooting for her was not something you’d allow. “Scoots, listen to me. Who cares who they root for? I can see on your face that you do, but you know what? Those ponies up there aren’t Rainbow Dash, or the elements, or the Princesses, Spike, Applebloom, Babs, Sweetie Belle… Why, I bet Scrappy is... erm... tearing up some faces right now for not cheering for you... ”

Scootaloo cringed at that “Ow, I-I don’t think he’d do that… But, he would be pretty upset about it, the not cheering for me thing, I mean. Erm, are you trying to say that all that matters is our friends cheering for me? For us?” Scootaloo’s expression changed to wonder, hoping your reply was a positive one.

You just give her a simple grin. “Pretty much, not like you’re gonna see any of these other guys anyway. Trust me, Rainbow Dash is probably already gushing from when you saved me back there. ‘That’s Scootaloo for you, she really is the true hero here in Ponyville!’ She’d say! “

Scootaloo giggled lightly and waved her hoof at you “Ok, ok, now you’re coming on too strong. But, heh, thanks, Anon, I really needed that.” She does a light jump towards you to give you a big friendly hug, you could hear her softly coo as she nuzzles into you a little. It makes you slightly uncomfortable, as you knew Diamond was watching, but you also knew Scootaloo was just being affectionate in thanks to a friend who cheered her up.

After that, you both nodded to each other and looked upon the shaft once more. “So, got any ideas, Anon?”

You just stare at it. You can’t wall jump, and climbing up the shaft seemed rather difficult given how high up it goes, especially since it’s a straight shot up. “I’m thinking…”

Scootaloo tries giving it a few jumps while pressing her hooves on the sides to try to press herself along the wall, but it just wasn’t good enough, the shaft was just wide enough for her not to be able to press herself firmly to keep in place. “Darn it! Come on! Ugh… There’s got to be a way! We’re wasting time!”

You kept your focus on the shaft as you sifted through every tactic you could think of in every video game you ever played. But none of it, NONE OF IT, was of any use! Fuck! You were both going to lose if you couldn’t think of something!

“If the shaft was a little more tight, we’d be able to press our backs on it and walk up. But darnit…” Scootaloo kicks the side of the shaft with aggravation.

Scootaloo gains your attention with the banging sound of her buck. You look over to her and frown about the entire situation. “Relax Scoots, we’re not gonna be able to think of something if we get upset.”

“I know, but how are we gonna get up there?! Ugh, if only I could fly, I’d get us up there for sure.” Scootaloo said as she tried to push her back along the walls again.

You just watched as you pondered, and as you pondered, an idea outside of gaming started to fill your head. You could remember an animated movie where a llama and a human pressed their backs together to climb up walls as close together as the shaft in front of you. Was that the key? Holy crap! WAIT! DOES THAT EVEN WORK?! “Scoots! I got a plan! That thing you’re trying to do? That’s how we’re gonna do it!”

“Wha? But… It’s not working. I’ve been trying to do it, but I just can’t get it right.” Scootaloo said, confused as to why you thought it was a good plan after she herself had failed multiple times.

“Ahhh! True!” You say with a smirk as you walk past her and into the shaft. You then sit down and put your hooves on one side of the wall. “But if we need to make a tighter space to climb, then how about we just press our backs together until we can press our hooves hard enough to stick in place? Then all we gotta do is sync up our pace as we walk right up.”

“Woah…” Scootaloo walked into the shaft and looked up, she was both impressed and in wonderment “You mean, just walk straight up by pressing our backs together?”

You nod “Exactly!” You look at her with the fierce look of deterministic friendliness “If we’re gonna take down that dragon together, then we’re gonna have to get to it together first! You and me, Scoots! We’re gonna bring it on home!” You hold your hoof out to her “You’re with me, right?”

“To the ends of Equestria!” Scootaloo says with a cheer as she puts her hoof on yours “Let’s go!” She breaks contact and preps her back to be pressed against yours.

Scootaloo, a true blue friend indeed. “To the ends of Equestria” she said, and that made you nearly tear up. When it came to the CMC, Scootaloo truly was the best out of all of them, one you’d definitely take back every “simple-minded” comment and thought you had in the past... if you ever got the chance to talk to her about it without hurting her feelings. In any case, you join your back with hers, and with hope within both your hearts, you attempt to move upwards.

“W-woah! It’s k-kinda tough to move, b-but we’re doing it!” Indeed, both you and Scootaloo were straining yourselves as you both strived to maintain asynchronous movement upwards. But it was, in fact, working, you both were moving up through the chute with the power of teamwork!

“Y-yeah, ngh, we’re almost there! Keep at it, Scootaloo!” You were struggling as much as she was. You thought this would be easier, but it really was tough moving straight up. With every step, your legs and hers shook and buckled. Even as you both reached the top, you could feel your muscles giving out. “N-ngh… S-scootaloo, how’re doing? Y-you ok?” You said with a pant.

“F-fine, ngh, n-never better.” Scootaloo was straining her words harder than you were. “W-we’re almost there! D-don’t give up!” Scootaloo was mustering as much energy she could for the last few steps. Even if she was more tired than you were, she wasn’t close to giving up, her spirit was too strong for that. It inspired you to push yourself as hard as you could to make it to the top.

“Almost... a-almost! NGH, THERE!” Both you and Scootaloo, upon reaching the top, push yourselves forward and grab onto the upper edges of the shaft and tiredly brings yourselves up to the final and largest platform of all. You may have felt tired, but you were still determined to win the fucking day with one of your best pals. “S-scootaloo, we did it! We’re at the top!”

Scootaloo took a moment to rest and catch her breath “I-I know! One more obstacle to go, all we gotta do is… is… uhhhh…” When she looked up, she noticed the dragon statue was facing away from the both of you, and very slowly rotating. “This is it? It’s not even looking at us.”

You also took notice of this, you also felt your ears twitch as you caught the distinct noise of what sounded like metal twisting upon itself, but that was probably due to the machinery meant to rotate it. The dragon was meant to be somewhat dangerous to the both of you, but with that slow rotation speed, it wasn’t going to be hard at all. “Yeah, it’s moving super slow too. Is it supposed to be so slow?”

“Dunno, it looked like it was moving faster when I saw it before. Hah!” Scootaloo said with arrogance as she began to stand “And look at it’s flame!” She points to the fire coming out of the dragon’s mouth, it was much smaller than even you remember it. “It’s puny! Anon, this is going to be really easy!”

You also take notice that the edges of the platform started spouting large flames upwards to form an outer ring of fire. It spooked you, but it seemed Scootaloo was expecting it. You could hear the crowd in awe from the spectacle as they await the victory you and Scootaloo so longed for. It was almost disappointing to see how easy this was going to be. All you both had to do was grab the doll from it’s clutches, and it’d be yours.

Chapter 23 - Blazing Endgame

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“So, how are we going to do this, Anon?” Scootaloo asked as she slowly followed the dragon’s rotation as to always keep at it’s backside.

“How else? Just climb up from the back and grab the doll. All this work for something so easy, it almost feels like the exam would have been better in its original form.” You could see from the backside that the black metal dragon has a large torso with fins traveling the spine of it’s back and down to it’s long curled tail. It was also slightly hunched forward, which meant it’d be pretty easy to climb. “Know what I mean?”

“Yeah, it does kind of stink that it’s gonna end like this. I gotta admit though, it was pretty cool running it with you.” Scootaloo chuckled to herself “Actually, I could kind of imagine us beating a bad guy together. It’d be so rad!”

Maybe for her. But it was that sort of thinking that caused her to be an emotional meal for the changelings. “Y-yeah, I guess. Erm, anyway, I’m gonna just climb up there and grab the doll. Just stick behind me in case I lose my grip. If I screw up, then it’s gonna be up to AGHHHHHHHHHHH!” You scream in pain as you touch the dragon’s back. It was beyond scalding hot!

“Anon! Anon! Are you ok?! What happened?!” Scootaloo rushed over to you as you shook your hooves and whined in pain.

“Ngh! Gah! It’s hot! The dragon is like, stupid hot!” You were blowing on your hooves to cool them down. Shit! You could swear you had some burns on your hooves.

“Hot?” Scootaloo approached the dragon and put her hoof over the tail. Her eyes went wide when she felt the hot aura of the metal flow along her leg. “Woah! What the?! That’s way too hot! How are we supposed to get up there?! And…” Scootaloo walks over to you and closer inspects your hoof. She could see small burn marks on your frog. “Anon, hold on.” She hocks up a loogie, and spits on the marks. “There we go! That should help.”

W-wut? I-it did kind of cool down your burns, b-but “Uhhh, Scoots? Why did you do that?”

“Well, how else was I supposed to cool your hoof down? That stuff is hot, Anon, and that’s all I had to cool it down.” Scootaloo said, a little irritated with your questioning, and yet worried about your injury. “Anon, we gotta be careful, ok? But… We gotta figure something out soon.” She looks back up at the doll, and felt time was running out “But what to do? Just… how?”

You slowly put your hoof down back on the ground. You know Scootaloo was just worried, and your hoof does feel better, but that was still kind of weird. But you didn’t have time to wonder about that anymore, you had to figure this out. “ I dunno. It’s too hot to get close, I can’t jump that high, there’s nothing we can use to poke it down and…” You look over at Scootaloo’s wings, it would be really great if she could fly right now. “Yeah… I’m kind of dumbfounded here.” And as you stared, the creeping feeling of failure started to crawl upon you. You could feel frustration nestle into your mind. How could something so close still be so far? “How?! Just how did they expect us to get up there?!”

“I dunno! Grrr, HYAH!” Scootaloo just jumps for it, but even with the little extra height from her wings, the doll is too high. If you were to measure the statue, it was about fifteen feet, with the doll being nine feet up, right in it’s right hand. “DARN! DARN DARN!” Scootaloo’s anger had welled up faster than yours, getting more frustrated with every jump. “Rainbow Dash is expecting us to win! We can’t let her down! Ngh! NGH! COME ON!” She gave it a few more jumps, but she just wasn’t able to clear the gap.

Fuck! You didn’t have an answer for this! How?! What other option did you have?! You can’t jump high enough to reach it. There’s nothing you could do! It’s impossible! You even thought about braving the burns to climb the statue, but even you weren’t that crazy. “I can’t believe this! Why would anypony set it up like…Wha?!” Suddenly, the entire platform shook for a moment as you heard a booming sound coming from inside the dragon.

“What was that? And, wha?! What’s up with the dragon?” Scootaloo steadies herself and points to the dragon as it’s suddenly covered in an emerald green magic aura.

When the aura appeared, the shaking and sounds stopped, as did the minor rotation of the dragon. “What in the…” That glow, it seemed so familiar “I don’t know. M-maybe it’s the magic in the gears or something? U-ummm…” You couldn’t say it, you couldn’t say what you really thought. And what’s worse, the heat coming off the dragon seemed to be growing as you could feel it flow past you. “I-is it getting hotter? Or is it just me?”

“I think it’s the statue. Anon, I-I think something’s up.” Scootaloo said as she started stepping backwards, her ears drooping as she noticed the aura slowly begin to shatter. The dragon then begins to shake “W-what’s happening? Why is the dragon shaking like that?”

You couldn’t answer. That aura, it was too familiar. It just couldn’t…

“Anon!” Scootaloo shouts, pointing at the dragon’s torso as it shakes violently “Something’s happening!”

You both just stare, just trying to figure out what’s going on as the statue makes one more violent shake before spinning backwards at a rapid speed, it’s top half exploding into a spiraling flame that launches metal shards and the doll straight up in the air. All you could do is stare as fireballs started to rain down from the sky as the crowd gasped and cheered.

“Anon!” Scootaloo yelled “Snap out of it!”

You shake your head and begin to step back as the flame of the dragon’s blown body descend upon random parts of the platform. “Crap! It exploded! It freaking exploded!”

“Agh! Ngh! Woah!” Scootaloo hopped about, doing her best to dodge the flames as she drew near you. “What’s going on?! This can’t be part of the test, all this fire is real! What’s wrong with the crowd?! Why aren’t they helping us?! Hey! Somepony! Anypony! Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo screamed out for help, but the roars of the flames were louder than her small voice. She began to whimper as she let out a low. “Help…”

You too begin to weave about the flames as more of the platform began to burn and sizzle with intense heat. You could feel yourself break into a sweat as you try to figure out how to get out of this. As for the crowd… “They must think this is still part of the exam! Darnit… Ngh.” Everywhere you looked was a dead end covered in flames. What were you going to do?!

“But it’s not! This is… This… ” Scootaloo backed up into you, and hid her face on your side as she began to shiver in fright. “I can’t handle this! A-Anon, I’m scared! I-I... “ Scootaloo couldn’t finish her sentence. You could guess she had never been in such a dangerous and lethal situation such as this. It must be even worse for her considering Rainbow Dash, and even the princesses, weren’t too far off and doing nothing to help.

You yourself were scared. Where the fuck was Discord? Surely he could see things were fucked! Dammit, couldn’t Celestia see it?! Surely she wouldn’t let it go on this long without a reason! You look to your side to see Scootaloo, huddling as close as she could for safety as the flames were drawing closer around you both. “Dammit! No! It can’t end like this! I didn’t even get to bone Dia-woah!” Suddenly, you are stopped when the doll comes flying down in front of you, utterly unscathed. You just looked at it, noticing the princess outfit had not received a single burn. It must have gone really high.

High...

High enough to escape the heat and the flames.

Flames create heat…

You look down at the frightened filly’s wings, and it started to make you think. Scootaloo could probably get some lift from the hot air rising from the flames. The poor filly, she barely got to live her life, and now things were coming to an end. Dammit, why was no one saving you two? Could they really not see things have gone to shit? If nothing was done, you’d both be dead soon.

You looked upon the growing flames once more. Holy shit, you were really gonna do this. You already lived a good life, right? And you had enough good times as a pony to be content, right? Scootaloo though? She hadn’t even got to truly fly yet. You had to get her to safety somehow. There was a moat at the bottom of the platform that you knew for sure would be safe for her to dive in, maybe you could make that work.

Well, if you really were gonna do this, at least you’d go to pony heaven right after. “Scootaloo” You move away and then turn towards her “Scootaloo, I want you to listen to me.” You gently place your hooves on her cheeks and raise her head so you could look into her scared crying eyes. “You’re gonna be ok, alright?” You said in a rather calm manner.

“B-but…” Scootaloo looks around “H-how?” She couldn’t see a way out.

“Just flap your wings, alright? As hard as you can.” Oh god, you really were going to do this, weren’t you? You’d think you’d be more scared, but given Scootaloo’s reaction to the flames, all you felt compelled to do was save her. You carefully stand on your hind legs and balance yourself as you forcibly grab Scootaloo and hold her up high with your forelegs. Man, you could even lift her more easily and balance yourself thanks to the training. “Just flap…” You say as tears finally fill your eyes.

“Anon…? ANON!? NO! WAIT! YOU CAN’T! WHAT ABOUT YOU?!” Scootaloo struggled to get down. Heh, despite her fear, she didn’t want to leave you behind. What a good kid.

And as your tears grew, and fear welled up inside you, your final words to her came to mind. “Scootaloo, I could give you a whole spiel about this being what a true hero does, and that you’re more important than me and all that. But really? Please… Oh god… just get somepony before I become cooked beef.” And then you do it, you hurl her as high and as hard as possible, your adrenaline powering your throw further.

“ANON! NO! ANOOOON!” Was the last thing you heard from her as she flew above the flames and past the platform's edge. falling into the moat below.

You look at the Diamond doll, and hug onto it tightly as the flames were close enough to make you feel as if you were melting. “Welp, Diamond, we’re finally alone…” You say with a sniff “It doesn’t get much steamier than this, right? Ha…” You just look at the smiling face of the doll, and chuckle weakly. “T-take that, fucktards. I fucking beat the course…” You said, crying out one last giggle.

And as you waited, you suddenly hear metal twist and fall as the platform began to tilt, crack, and tip. “What in the… OH SHIT!” The flames had began to contort, warp, and melt the metal holding the platform up. It could no longer stand as it tilted backwards towards the platform with the chute. “Gyah! Crap! CRAP!” You start to slide down, unable to grasp anything as the platform snaps off its foundation and falls with you, crashing into the lower platform as you are taken down with it into the moat.

You found yourself quickly entering the familiar embrace of darkness as you sunk into the moat with the fallen course. Indeed, there was no possible fucking way to survive this time.

That is, until you heard a familiar ringing tone in your ear...

Chapter 24 - Anon Emerges

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When you opened your eyes, you could only see murky darkness and the ruins of the platforms you once stood on. When you looked down, you were slightly floating above a dusty ground, and looking up were the lights of the Colosseum breaching an otherwise obscure and wavy vision. You also noticed you seemed rather weightless.

Indeed, when you noticed bubbles going upwards, your eyes widened when you realized you were underwater and lacked breath. Immediately you grabbed at your neck as you held on for the last of your life. And worst yet, your ear was ringing a familiar tone through all of this. As you felt your life fade, you realized that if Discord heard you dying, he may realize what’s going on and come save you. So you weakly bring your hoof to your ear, and utter “D-Discord…”

“Ahh! Anon!” You hear Discord in usual joyous form. “I wanted to call you to let you know that we still had these codec things. I feel rather foolish, actually.”

You just groan and whimper “D-Discord, h-help…”

“Yes, that’s exactly it, Anon. ‘Help’. Do you realize you could have called me right when the whole Storm King thing started? I could have cleared up that whole mess in two seconds. Isn’t that funny? Everything could have been avoided with a single little call. I can tell you, I’m still having a chuckle over it.” Discord says as he has a little giggle.

Your eyes twitched with anger when you realized he didn’t give a damn. You just shook and started screaming at him with every fiber of your being. “DISCORD! YOU FUCK! I’M HERE DROWNING AND YOU’RE JUST NOW TELLING ME THIS?! YOU SHIT! I’LL KILL YOU!”

“Well now…” Discord said in an insulted tone “And here I thought you’d find that funny. But I forget how delusional you can be.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” You screeched.

“Well, if you were drowning, then how am I hearing you so clearly? Plus, you’ve been underwater for over a minute and a half now, not exactly something I’d expect you to be able to do.”

“Wha?” You dared to take breath, and found you were able to take in the water as if it was oxygen, or something like that. “How am I breathing underwater? Could ponies always do that?”

“No. No they can’t. But with my special safety gear I gave you this morning, you are able to survive anything lethal, such as drowning. Pretty nifty, hmm? I figured you’d complain if I gave you something that’d protect you from anything, given this exam, but I still decided to plan for the worst, just in case.” Discord explains.

So, is that why no one came to save you? “I see, you just wanted to make sure I passed the exam legitimately while still protecting me and Scootaloo. I guess that’s fine, especially-... Wait. Is that why we weren’t being rescued?! Did you cause the platforms to fall?! Holy shit, Discord. That’s amazing! I bet the crowd were glued to their seats over that one.” But Discord doesn’t speak when you say that, it suddenly made you rather uncomfortable. “Discord?” You say, feeling a chill up your spine.

“...Well, Anon, about that. One, Scootaloo had none of my protection, but she’s safe, you threw her hard enough that she flew all the way passed the platform's edge.” Discord said in a meek tone.

“WHAT?!” You bellowed “ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?! YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HER!” You felt anger once again well up inside you, did Discord really risk her life? Knowing she could die? Why would he do all this?! “Why?! Tell me why!”

Discord takes a breath, and speaks in a more calm manner. Hearing your anger and your accusations, he calmed himself as to clearly explain that you were wrong. “I would if any of that was my doing or intention. I had nothing to do with the dragon statue exploding. A nice touch, but it caught me by surprise, as it did a few others. Namely the Wonderbolts, Mrs. Rich, and the Princesses. And, may I add, Twilight’s reaction was absolutely exquisite, though Celestia is rather sore at me right now, perhaps a little more than sore.”

He didn’t do it? Then that green glow... Could it be? No, that’s impossible. The most likely explanation was that whatever magical force that was operating the statue overloaded. That was probably the source of the metal crunching noises and the slow rotation of the statue. Also, he didn’t mention Diamond, nor did he explain why Celestia is upset at him. Hell, that really doesn’t explain why nobody came to save you or Scootaloo in the first place. “Why? Why would she be mad at you if you didn’t do anything wrong? Mmnnn… Discord, is Diamond ok? Does she know what actually happened?”

“No, but her and the rest of the crowd are getting rather antsy with you being underwater for so long, not to mention that Mrs. Rich is doing her darndest to explain to her peers that it’s all part of the exam. Oh, speaking of, you do have two minutes left to clear it before failure. All in all, still very doable even with your current predicament. As to why Celestia is angry at me, well, that has more to do with your question as to why nopony came to save you.”

Wut? “What do you mean by that?”

“Well…” Discord stopped for a moment “You weren’t wrong when you said they were glued to their seats. Especially in the literal sense.”

Your eyes bug out from anger once again “YOU GLUED THEM TO THEIR SEATS?! WHAT THE FUCK?! DISCORD! SCOOTALOO COULD HAVE BEEN HURT! OR WORSE! WHAT IF I DIDN’T THROW HER GOOD ENOUGH? HUH?! CELESTIA HAS EVERY RIGHT TO BE MAD AT YOU. WHAT THE HELL, MAN?! THOSE FLAMES WERE FUCKING REAL!”

Discord again takes another calming breath. “I’m aware, and as I said, your toss was good enough for our young pegasus friend to dip into the moat and swim to safety. I also happen to know how important this whole thing is to our dear future relatives. Indeed, this extra bit of chaos will do wonders for everypony involved once you finish this exam. Speaking of which, Anon, you need to make a choice at this moment. Either stay there and complain at me, or come up and reap the rewards of victory. It’s your choice. I did what I felt was right, and protected you and what you were striving for. And you, being the hero colt, chose Scootaloo over your own life, and rescued her from the inferno. It’s almost like one of those old plays from the younger days of Equestria, the kind where heroism and sacrifice wins the day in the end. The choice is yours Anon. If you want to talk more about it, then wait until tonight when you return home. As for me, I’m going to take in a bit more of Twilight’s reactions. See you soon, Anon.” And with that, Discord closed the line.

You took a moment to process this new information. Should you be mad at him? He clearly didn’t foresee things going wrong this hard, and most likely had everyone glued before it happened. Hell, it seemed he had everything pre-planned when it came to your guaranteed survival. What? Did he think you were going to break your skull or something? And what about Mr. Rich? He didn’t mention his name, so perhaps he also bought into his wife’s lies. And then there was Celestia. Luna had mentioned that she foresaw something bad happening during the exam. But given her anger at Discord, even she couldn’t guess it was going to be this bad. And then there was the exam itself. Once you came back up, your rep was going to shoot through the roof when everyone witnesses you being able to survive the platforms collapsing into the moat. Sure, Discord’s magic saved you this time, but you still put in the work and effort to even get this far. You wondered what this would mean for you. No doubt Snips and Snails would be annoying to the max again, and maybe you’d be able to get the attention of celebrities in to which you could wow Diamond by having her meet them. Otherwise, like anything else in this world, this shit should calm down for you in about a week or two.

Speaking of victory, you noticed the Diamond Doll floating upwards passed you, some of it’s sewn in yarn pulled out, causing it’s fluff to slowly seep out as it floats upwards. You decide to deal with the circumstances of the situation as they come, and so you take the doll and swim upwards. If you were right, everyone capable of mounting a rescue would be unglued when you came back up with the doll. You swam up towards the edge of the moat, and crawled onto the grass as the crowd spotted you, pointed, and called out to your position, all of them silent. You get up and give yourself a small shake to take off some of the water in your mane and coat.

This was it. It was time. You look up at the crowd and hold up the doll without saying a word. In an instant, the crowd throws up their hooves in cheer as many stomp in place to celebrate your heralding victory. It made you feel a little stunned in all actuality. This was the first time you ever seen such a colossal display of applause for you, and it actually felt pretty damn great. You did another pose, and there was a cheer, and so you did another pose, and there was applause all around. Goddamn, that felt pretty good after nearly dying.

“Anon!” You hear the cry of a familiar young pegasus call out to you from your side. Before you even have a chance to react, she jumps onto you, crying and hugging you tightly. “Anon! Anon! You’re ok! Oh my gosh! I-I thought… Anon…” She started to sob as she nuzzled onto you “I thought you were gone… I saw the whole thing coming down and just… froze. I meant to get help… I really did… But I just got so scared… I just…” She couldn’t speak anymore, and just started crying uncontrollably.

Poor Scootaloo, you couldn’t imagine how scared she felt for you right now. You slowly turned yourself so you could embrace her in a hug and gently pat at her head “Hey, Scoots. It’s ok, don’t even worry about it. Besides, we’re in front of a crowd, remember? We just passed the exam, so let’s just soak up the adoration, ok? I bet everypony is amazed at what we both did.”

“B-both? Anon… Nopony wants to… H-huh?” Scootaloo gets surprised when you break the embrace and stand once more, preparing to address the crowd.

“Hey everypony! That was amazing, right?! Right! You all came here to see me! The hero colt who saved all your butts from the Storm King pass a simple exam!” And that was something that at this point, you found a little weird. Maybe it was just you, but you couldn’t see humans gathering up in bunches to see something like this. To which you meant passing a simple exam, even if it turned into a diasaster. “And pass I did! But let me just say…” You grab onto Scootaloo's side, and hold her close “I couldn’t have done it without my friend, Scootaloo! When I screwed up my jump, she was there to catch me. When I had trouble climbing, she had my back! If I was feeling like giving up, she would give me the pep talk I needed to keep on going! So, come on everypony! Let me hear you cheer her name! SCOOT-A-LOO, SCOOT-A-LOO!”

And that did it, the crowd closest to you started to spread the word about what you said amongst the rest of the patrons. Soon after, they started chanting your name and Scootaloo’s name, over and over again. Scootaloo was stunned. Even with your speech, she didn’t expect anyone to actually cheer for her. “A-Anon, t-they’re cheering for me. L-Like I was a hero, like Rainbow Dash.”

You wrapped your hoof around Scootaloo's side and smirked as you gave her gentle shake “Scootaloo, thats exactly what’s going on. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to do this at all. And now everypony knows it! Including Rainbow Dash.” You guessed at that last one, but given she had to be watching, you felt it was true.

“Y-yeah…” Scootaloo said, her heart filled with accomplishment. She truly felt like a hero, and felt the incoming pride and happiness she’d feel when Rainbow Dash arrives to congratulate the two of you. She even gave a few waves to the crowd, and smiled when they cheered to it. "A-Anon, it's really true. We're heroes!"

As far as you were concerned, that was true for the both of you. "Heck yeah we are. And look! Here comes Rainbow Dash."

As you look up, you could see Rainbow Dash and Spitfire coming down to meet with the two of you as the crowd continued to cheer. But they also looked rather frantic and worried. Of course they did, considering what fucking happened. Hell, they were being rather pushy taking you back to the main lobby while they looked at the both of you for any injuries as you all walked. They both were really amazed, and you were sure they’d be more vocal about it once you all got inside.

Chapter 25 - Aftermath of the Exam

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When you all re-entered the lobby, Spitfire took you aside as she barked an order at Rainbow Dash “Dash! Make sure she’s alright, check for any injuries or burns.”

Rainbow Dash did a salute “Yes, ma’am!” And went to work on checking on Scootaloo very thoroughly for any injuries, cuts, or burns. “Scootaloo, I really gotta tell ya, you had me scared there for a second. You too, Anon. I mean, holy cow! That whole thing just came crashing down! That totally wasn’t supposed to happen, right?” Rainbow Dash said as she carefully inspected her.

Spitfire firmly slid her hooves along your coat as she carefully inspected you for injuries. You did your best not to blush from the attention she was giving you, especially since she was being slow and thorough, even along your rump. “No, that wasn’t supposed to happen at all! I told her! I told her six ways to Cloudsdale that it was going to come out shoddy! Two foals! Two foals in the line of danger and I couldn’t even get out of my seat to do anything about it! Ngh…” Spitfire tensed for a moment “All this under my watch and I let it get this bad. I swear I was trying to get up, but I just couldn’t.” You could feel in her voice that she was upset about the whole thing.

She was right about that as far as Discord is concerned. And that hesitation in her voice, she clearly cared about the well being of you and Scootaloo. You actually felt pretty bad about it considering you were mostly in the know about what really happened. “Hey, it’s alright. Me and Scoots got out ok, so that's all that matters. Besides, that last bit must have looked really cool! The audience thought so anyway, at least.” You say in a cheery way as you let Spitfire inspect your hooves.

“Yeah, it was… Pretty cool.” Rainbow Dash hesitated for a moment, then started to gush as she looked into Scootaloo’s eyes “Like that part where you caught Anon at the last second! That was super rad, it’s really rare to see ponies with reflexes like that!”

Scootaloo was enamored that Rainbow Dash found anything she did impressive. Though by her slight awkwardness, it was easy to tell that she was remembering that it was mostly anticipation of your failure rather than reflex, but she went with Rainbow’s words anyway. “Y-You think so? I-I mean, heh…” She gave an arrogant little smirk as her pride set in her mind “it’s why I was running the course in the first place, right? Because I’m that good, right?” Scootaloo wagged her tail as she awaited her goddess' answer.

Rainbow Dash gave her a gentle pat as she giggled with pride “Heck yeah! And you don’t have a single injury on you!” Rainbow Dash removes her helmet, and gently pats her head “You’re the raddest filly there is, Scootaloo. Considering what just happened, you and Anon more than passed. Ain’t that right, Captain Spitfire?” She looks to her for approval, and only saw a half-hearted acceptance as she continued to inspect you.

“Dash…” Spitfire sighed, then gave a small smile “Ok, fine, I admit that this is really beyond the beyonds in terms of performance. But stay serious, alright? Hmmm…” She then notices the small burn marks on the frogs of your hooves, and a few you hadn’t noticed on your forelegs as well. “Nothing major. Amazing, considering how bad this could have been. But there’s still the head…” Spitfire removes your helmet and tosses it aside as she checks for burns or wounds. Remarkably, or perhaps not as remarkably when it comes to you, you lacked any burns or visible injuries. After her examination, Spitfire sighs and falls back on her butt as she wipes her brow. “He’s alright, thank Celestia. How’s the squirt, Dash?”

“A-ok over here. Then again, I didn’t have any doubt.” Rainbow Dash says as she gives a hoof bump to Scootaloo.

“Good…” Spitfire gets up, and gently wipes at her shirt as she makes a serious face. “Everything seems to be in order then. Might as well get this stupid little show over with. I’m gonna go out there, make a couple of announcements, then you bring them back out, we award them, and we put this all behind us and never EVER make this kind of mistake again.” Spitfire was truly aggravated, even when she put on her sunglasses, she was still visibly irked. “Ugh, I shouldn’t have accepted that donation, even if it really helped. Wasn’t worth nearly losing two foals. I can’t even complain, it really is my fault…” She muttered to herself.

Poor Spitfire, she was really being hard on herself. Even as you reach your hoof out to say something, you couldn’t actually think of anything to say to help cheer her up as she left. So you turn to Rainbow Dash, and ask her. “Is she gonna be ok?”

“Captain Spitfire? Yeah, she will. She’s really tough, you know? I can tell you this though, this kind of exam ain’t ever happening again on her watch. Thinking about it now, I can agree with her. Don’t get me wrong, you two were awesome! But… ngh…” Rainbow Dash began to hesitate again, her ears drooping as a horrible thought entered her mind.

“Rainbow Dash, did you think we were going to get hurt?” Scootaloo asked as she noticed Rainbow’s disheartened state. She then gave her an adorably huge smile “Come on! It’s us! We had it in the bag the whole time!”

“Yeah… I-I guess you did.” With the excitement over and Rainbow Dash taking in Spitfire’s own lament, she realized things really could have gone badly for the both of you. This realization made her more fearful than prideful now, thus causing her to silently join in on Spitfire’s notion of never doing something as ridiculous as this again. “Totally d-did. B-but I knew that…” Rainbow Dash takes a breath, and goes to a hanging saddle bag, your saddle bag to be exact. She takes it, and passes it over to you “There you go, Anon. The horn is inside, safe and sound.”

“Thanks” You say as you put the bag down and sift for your horn. “So uh, where’s Babs?”

“She probably went to join up with the others.” Scootaloo guessed as she looked at you with a great big grin “Anon, you gotta teach me how to break metal pipes like that. I didn’t even know heads could get that strong! What’s your secret?”

You winced at that. Even if she was genuinely curious, it still only reminded you that your head is only that good after going through a whole bunch of painful smacks. “Er, I guess you could try smashing your head on the ground fifty times a day, that’d probably work. D-did wonders for me.”

Scootaloo’s grin slowly died down to a weak frown “O-oh, erm… I-I think I’ll pass on that.”

Rainbow Dash still felt rather down over Spitfire’s melancholy. But she was also trying to convince herself that it’s alright, especially since you and Scootaloo seemed pretty fine. “Well, I’m proud of the both of you. You both did great out there. I mean, heck, the only other time I see a crowd get riled up that much is whenever I pull off a Sonic Rainboom. So yeah, kudos all around. And… Y’know?” Dash started to feel her dreariness drain away as pride wells up inside her “You both deserve the best eats money can buy! I don’t know exactly where the best eats are, but hayburgers on me should be good enough, right? I’m talking as much as you can eat here, my treat, don’t even worry about how much I’ll be paying.”

“Yeah! That sounds awesome, Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo cheered

Free burgers? Fuck yes! “Yeah, that is pretty awesome! Thanks RainBOWHQDDS” amidst your own happiness to devour delicious horse food, Twilight suddenly poofs into the room in a panic as she looks around frantically, catching you completely off guard.

“Are they ok?! Are they hurt?! Please tell me Anon doesn’t have to go to the hospital again! He has to be ok! All that fire, and the platform falling…” Twilight looks towards Rainbow Dash and rushes towards her, shaking her violently with her own hooves “TELL ME THEY’RE OK!”

“T-T-T-TW-TWI-T-T” Rainbow Dash couldn’t even get any words out as she shook in Twilight’s grip.

Twilight let her go and dropped her onto the ground as she let out a sharp gasp of agony “I was too late! Discord! DIIISCCCOORD!” Twilight fell onto the ground and began to sob as she pounded her hoof on the floor “Princess Celestia was wrong! Nothing is alright! It’s my fault! If only i just disintegrated my seat, I would have been able to save them. They didn’t deserve this, to succumb to those kinds of injuries…”

You and Scootaloo just looked at each other as if Twilight was off her fucking rocker.

“Uh, Twilight? What are you talking about?” Scootaloo hazards a question to the volatile alicorn.

Twilight looks over to Scootaloo and drags herself to her, whining and sobbing “You! And Anon! I saw it… I saw it all! Nopony that young could have survived that!”

Oh god, Discord must be in heaven right now, because Twilight was such a wreck that she couldn’t even notice what was right in front of her. “Twilight… We’re not dead. We’re not even hurt. Come on, it’s kind of embarrassing to see you like this.” Like really, to you? This was just sad.

“W-what?” Twilight looks up to see the both of you just fine. Scootaloo takes advantage of her silence to give her a smile and a wave her hoof to cement the fact she’s ok.

“Twilight, sheesh!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she stood up, brushing herself off “They’re ok. Wow! Didn’t you see us walk ‘em in? I get it, it was really scary stuff, but they're ok, see? And they killed that course! Come on, you should be all like ‘Wow! You two are so awesome! Like, super awesome! And your trainer? The best!’ “

Twilight took a moment to wipe the tears from her eyes as she gave a rather nasty stare towards Rainbow Dash that caught everyone off guard. “Rainbow Dash! This is serious! I’m happy that they’re ok, but you can’t just let it be! And don’t think I don’t know who set this up! For social status, really?! I have never EVER seen such disregard for a pony’s life as I have seen today. It came crashing down, Dash. IN FLAMES, DASH!” Twilight barked

Rainbow Dash obviously had no counter argument for that. She even seemed to had forgotten who had set things up, that’s what it seemed like anyway. Really, all Rainbow wanted to do was celebrate both yours and Scootaloo’s victory while trying to forget how it actually happened. Deep in her heart, she was just as terrified as Twilight was. “I-I mean… Erm. mnnn…” Rainbow Dash’s ears folded as she looked away in defeat “Ok… You’re right. That’s pretty bad.”

“It’s very bad! I’m going to go over to Mrs. Rich’s box right this instant and give her a piece of my mind! She didn’t even have the course go through a quality inspection! I cannot and WILL not let this slide!” Twilight was angry indeed, and on a warpath. But what made you alert was the fact that she was going to go after Mrs. Rich.

Ok, morally speaking, she probably deserved what was coming to her. But you also understood the situation she was in and how important it was when it came to her social class. Sure, it was all petty in the end, but she was also your future mother-in-law, and so you felt some need to protect her. You could imagine a princess berating her in front of a bunch of rich shitheads not only sinking her life, but Filthy’s as well. And that you DEFINITELY couldn’t allow. Mr. Rich was a total bro, and not one you’d let down if you could help it.

You took a deep breath, and just let it out. “Twilight. No, I can’t let you do that.”

“What?” Twilight looked at you, confused “Anon, she put your’s and Scootaloo’s life in danger with this. I can’t just let that go.”

“I knew the risks. Scootaloo may not have, but she’s alright, and that’s all that matters. It’s over, Twilight, and everypony came out ok. If somepony has to talk to Mrs. Rich, it’s gonna be me. I’m calm, I understand the situation, and I know her much better than you do. Please, let me handle this, Twilight.” You had to remain calm for this, because it was obvious she wasn’t in the right state of mind.

“Anon, just because Scootaloo is alright doesn’t mean this is anything close to ok. Mrs. Rich needs to understand the gravity of the situation. Because something tells me she doesn’t quite get it, especially if she was willing to overlook safety protocol just to look good in front of a bunch of rich ponies.” Twilight argued.

“And I get that. And I understand you’re upset, but I know her much better than you do and I can keep things calm while I tell her what’s what. I can only imagine how things are going for her after all that, it can’t look too good on her. Twilight, I’m gonna ask you again, please let me handle it.” You plead with her.

“I can’t, Anon. As the Princess of Friendship, it’s my duty to set things right in matters like these. Please try to understand, this is nothing against you, and it isn’t that harsh either. I just want to talk to her, not throw her in a dungeon.” Twilight started to calm down, and tried to tone down her resolve when she noticed you starting to become rather argumentative against her.

Fucking dammit! You weren’t going to let her have her way. Time to up the ante! “I do not care about your title, Twilight. This involved me, I know her, I know how to talk to her, and her investment on this whole thing is more than you realize. Stand down, please, I won’t ask again.”

Twilight was being more wary now. She knew that was a passive threat and knew you might even go through with something if she pushes you. So, she tries a different tactic, if only because she felt that her knowledge of friendship was better than what you have. “Well, Anon, how about this then? This whole thing also involves Scootaloo, so she should have a say too.” Twilight then looks to Scootaloo, who she herself suddenly became nervous “Scootaloo, who do you think should handle this?”

Scootaloo looks to you, then to Twilight, then to you, then to Twilight, and finally back to you as she points at you with a shaky hoof. “I think Anon should be the one. I… kinda know how things are when some other pony butts in when he tries to do something like this, it doesn’t go too well. I think you should give him a chance.”

“See, Anon? That’s ex… wait.” Twilight, who was sure Scootaloo was going to pick her, double takes when she realizes Scootaloo chose you. Hot damn, way to go, Scoots! “What?! Scootaloo, really? A-are you sure?”

Scootaloo nods and walks over to you, pointing at you with her hoof more confidently as she spoke. “Yeah, why not? If he’s that sure, and he knows her that well, then he sounds like the pony for the job, right? I know you’re the Princess of Friendship and all. But erm, Anon has like… erm… this way with really angry mares to make them not so angry.”

“A-ahh..ahm…” Twilight looks towards Rainbow Dash, who immediately throws her hooves in the air to dismiss this whole thing.

“Yo, don’t look at me, Twilight. I get why you’re upset, I get why you wanna handle it, and you can trust me when I say I wanna kick her butt for almost getting Anon and Scootaloo roasted. But you did ask Scootaloo and she does have a point. Anon’s got this weird thing with really angry mares. I mean look at Starlight and Tempest. If that ain’t proof, then I dunno what is. “ Holy shit, even Rainbow Dash was backing you up. That’s… That actually feels amazing.

Twilight goes silent. She was so frustrated, but she also knew that pushing it further after being outnumbered would sour her friendships with the three of you. In fact, her hesitating at this point struck you as odd, especially with her mention of Celestia being wrong. You also remember Luna mentioning to you that Celestia had a vision about today. And then there was Discord’s word about Celestia. She was mad at him? That had to be it, because if she was mad at the situation, she’d be here right now. Maybe she was angry that she couldn’t help, as it sounded like she didn’t expect things to go down so crazily. But after things turned out to be ok, she stopped pursuing it.

Twilight obviously couldn’t let it down. And so, you call her on it. “Celestia told you not to interfere, didn’t she?” If that was it, then for once, Celestia was respecting your space. She doesn’t deserve kudos or anything, but it’s a start in the right direction.

Twilight freezes from those words “H-how did you know?”

“Just a guess that I now know is true. Twilight, everypony can see that you’re highly upset.” One last time, you’d be civil and calm about this, and if that didn’t work, it’d be horn time. “But if Celestia had to say something, then I would think that would mean to just drop it.” Of course, you’d still lay on some guilt just to make sure she backs out “I mean, that's what you'd say to me if I was in your situation, right? Because that is what always happens, isn't it?”

Twilight had no more words to say on the matter. Finally, she had been defeated. Really, if it wasn’t for RD and Scoots, she probably still would have relented. Twilight took the time to look at you and Scootaloo one last time as she did her best to calm herself, your words circling her mind as she did. Finally, she truly backed off. “You’re right. I was letting my worry, fear, and doubt get the better of me. I was so worried about you two that I felt it was my duty to fix what may have not been in my place to fix. So much so that I didn’t care about your feelings on the matter. For that, I apologize. Anon, if you can really handle it, then I won’t bother you more about it. In fact, I’ll consider this a friendship lesson that I not only have to learn, but perhaps have the ability to pass on to my future students.” Twilight takes one more breath and gives a weak but sincere smile “Really, in the end, I’m just glad you both are ok.”

“It’s no problem, really!” Scootaloo said, returning her smile with one of her own “It could have gone bad, yeah. But me and Anon are a team! We always got each other's back! So of course we got out of this, no problem.”

“Yeah, Twilight.” If she was finally backing off, then there was no more reason for hostility. “You just gotta keep a cool head. It’ll be fine, promise, I got it handled.”

“I trust you, and I know you do. Heh…” Twilight let out a weak chuckle as her horn started to glow “I-I guess I’ll go back to my seat then for the whole award thing. I-I am proud of you, Anon, you really have come far. And if Fluttershy was here… Oh wait.” Twilight cringed “Maybe it’s good that she wasn’t.”

Everyone cringed at that as you replied to her words “Y-yeah… Probably...”

Like seriously, that would probably be the first known death in Equestria caused by a heart attack.

Chapter 26 - Spoiled's Worry And Some Creepy Horse

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With that out of the way, the realization that Mrs. Rich might be in a tough spot started to fill your head. You look towards Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, who were still lingering within the moments of Twilight’s untimely entrance. “Yo, I gotta go. Need to make sure Mrs. Rich is ok.”

“W-woah, what?!” Rainbow Dash said in surprised confusion “But what about the ceremony? And what about the thing that just happened now? You seemed pretty tense, Anon. You may want to chillax and do that after we’re done here.”

“Yeah, Anon. You got pretty serious with Twilight. Don’t you wanna cool off a bit first?” Scootaloo suggested, worried about your mental state. Fearing you might do something you might not want to do due to frustration.

The truth is, you already felt pretty ok. Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash having your back on this one really did wonders for your mood, even with Twilight’s persistence. “I’m fine, trust me. I just wanna make sure everything is ok, that’s all. As for the ceremony…” You reach into your saddle bag and get your trusty horn. You place it on your forehead, and immediately use the spell you had in mind. “I got a guy who can handle that.”

Your horn lets out a small pop as you begin to glow. Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo just look on as a copy form of you separated from your main body, then starts to look around rather dumbly.

“Woah, there’s two Anons now!” Scootaloo said in surprise “I didn’t even know you could do that!”

“Yep, I can. And this guy is gonna fill my place while I go see Mrs. Rich. That’s alright with you, right Rainbow Dash?” You ask

Rainbow Dash slowly approaches your clone, and pokes it nose, eliciting a small giggle from it. “I guess” She looks at it inquisitively “I dunno for sure though, he seems kind of dumb.”

“He is. He’ll do whatever you tell him and is smart enough to answer questions and talk at a third grade level. He’ll disappear after the ceremony, so don’t worry about him getting into trouble.” You explained, feeling some pride about creating an idiot-proof idiot.

“Anything we tell him? Hrn…” Scootaloo looks to your clone with curiosity, then gives him a big smile. “Anon, say ‘Rainbow Dash is awesome!’ “

“Rainbow Dash is awesome!” Your clone says with a dopey smile on his face.

“That’s so cool! Hey, Rainbow Dash, why don’t you give it a shot?” Scootaloo asks her, feeling anticipation and a few giggles well up inside her as she awaits to see what Rainbow Dash has planned.

“Alright, heh, let’s see.” Rainbow Dash rubs her chin with her hoof as she looks to your dumb looking clone with intrigue. “I want you to try balancing on one hoof while solving, erm, a real hard math problem. Something Twilight would think of.”

And just like that, your clone starts standing on its right hindleg as it does it’s best to think of something. “Errr, uhhh… Ngh!” The clone suddenly starts screaming erratically as it fails to think of something. “FUCCKKKKKKKKKKKK FUCK FUCK!” It screams as it continues to balance itself “I CAN’T THINK BEYOND THREE PLUS EIGHT! I THINK PI IS A DELICIOUS TREAT, GODDAMMIT! THIS HURTS SO MUCH! PLEASE, ANYPONY, JUST SHOOT ME IN THE HEAD OR AT LEAST SUCK MY DICK UNTIL I ORGASM TO DEATH!”

Scootaloo covered her ears as your clone screamed it’s nonsense from within the lobby “S-sheesh! Rainbow Dash! I-I think you broke him! W-what is he even saying?!”

Rainbow Dash understood some of its lingo, and found it rather appalling. “Nothing you need to listen to, Squirt.” Rainbow Dash rushes over to Scootaloo and helps cover her ears with her wings as she looks at you with a surprised and mean look “Anon! What is with him?! The things he’s saying are things a filly like Scootaloo should totally not be hearing right now.”

You let out a heavy sigh as you get heavily annoyed at the entire situation “That’s not my fault. I told you he was dumb! Why did you give him something difficult like that?! That’s totally on you, Rainbow Dash!”

“I just wanted to see if he could do it! I didn’t know he’d be spewing all those bad words! I mean… Hey… “ Rainbow Dash suddenly gets an evil grin as she gets a devious idea “Man, Applejack would go nuts if we set a couple of these Anons outside her window.”

Ha! That’d actually be pretty… Oh wait, but it’d spell trouble for you though. “Maybe for you, but I’d rather not want to deal with the wrath of an apple farmer.” You walk over to your screaming clone and smack at the back of the head “Shut up already!”

And just like that, the clone falls on all four of his hooves, and shuts his fucking trap as if he was just summoned, just looking around blankly.

Scootaloo noticed the Anon sitting there, and asked "Is everything ok now? Can I uncover my ears?"

"Yeah." Rainbow Dash slowly uncovers Scootaloo’s ears as she stares at your clone with caution “He gonna be quiet?”

You nod “Until you give him another command. Just keep things simple with him, alright? I really wouldn’t want to have to zap him away early in front of a crowd.”

“I’ll try.” Rainbow Dash closely inspects your clone once again as it stands there “Now that I think about it, kind of reminds me of Pinkie’s clones.”

“Oh, you mean when she used that mirroring pool? I remember that…” Scootaloo suddenly shivered in dismay “I kinda don’t want to remember that. All those Pinkies were terrible and annoying. They weren’t as cool as the real Pinkie at all.”

“I may have not been there for that, but I heard the stories. Yeah, that sounds about right. Anyway, just keep things simple with him and everything should be ok. I really gotta go and I don’t want to waste any more time, alright?” Really, the more time you waste, the more something could happen to Mrs. Rich. Hell, for all you knew, Twilight 180’d and went to talk to her anyway. Oh boy, if she did, you may very well use your second charge on her.

“Yeah, yeah, keep it simple, got it! We’ll be careful.” Rainbow Dash tells you, feeling a little insulted that you didn’t seem to trust her.

“Yeah, Anon! You can count on us to not mess up with… Erm… You…” Scootaloo let’s out a cheerful giggle, then salutes to you “Anyway, you can count on us! So, good luck, Anon! I’ll be rooting for you.” But then Scootaloo stopped you immediately after her words to ask one last thing. “Oh, Anon, wait! One last thing!”

Hmmm? “Yeah?”

“What does ‘Fuck’ mean?” Scootaloo asked, tilting her head in curiousness.

Aye geez, not again. And unlike with Starlight, you felt messing with Scootaloo about it would end badly for you. “It’s probably nothing. Remember, that clone is kinda dumb, probably just made it up.”

“Really?” Scootaloo said as she pondered, tapping at her chin “Coulda sworn I heard it before.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOPE! Before she even had a chance to question you further, you make your way out, speaking quickly as you do “Nope! You haven’t! Thanks guys, I’ll see you both later, for real! Gone now, bye!”

And with that, you left the lobby through the front entrance, and asked the guards where along the outside of the circular colosseum might the rich pony’s entrance be. They don’t dismiss you, and actually turn out to be rather helpful as they point along the clockwise direction of the Colosseum, saying it’s a bit of a walk, but less than halfway if you take this path along the outer side of the Colosseum's wall. With that, you thank them, and trot towards the V.I.P entrance.

You had to make sure you stayed focused when you meet up with Spoiled. Stay strong, keep on course, assess the situation, and don’t make her or yourself look the fool. If you had to, you could dazzle the crowd of noble ponies with a spell from the horn, you did still have one charge left.

When you neared the V.I.P entrance, marked with a golden archway, you could see Spoiled looking back towards it, then marching towards the lobby you just left. Due to your paths crossing, it didn’t take you both long to notice each other. What caught you as odd though was the fact she was by herself, without husband or rich assholes following her. Well, whatever it was that caused this, you were about to find out about it. “Mrs. Rich? Hey, how are you?” A weak start, but you’d be able to gauge the situation from how she answers.

But as she silently approached, her pace quickening as she did, you noticed her mane was a little less kept than usual, and her make-up was running down her cheek. She looked rather miserable actually. Did something happen? “Mrs. Rich? A-are you NGH!” You are stopped when she grabs onto you, and hugs you tightly.

“Anon, you imbecile!” She said with a fearful whine “Idiot! W-what are you doing walking around like this? You should be in a hospital!”

Ok, odd first words to come out of her after just meeting up with her. She was hugging you onto her chest, so you had to scootch your face up, still calm as you do, and ask “Erm, why? I’m alright, Mrs. Rich. Are you alright?” She clearly wasn’t, and it was already evident why.

“You’re alright? You’re alright?!” She says with a frustrated chuckle as she begins to gently brush her hoof onto your head “Maybe I’m the idiot then, considering what you had to go through to survive.” She let you go, and sat down as she began to sob “Endangering your life just to be the best. I-I didn’t know that was going to happen. How was I supposed to know?! I only wanted there to be enough danger to impress those fools, and all I ended up doing was nearly…” She looks back at you, and becomes reluctant.

Holy shit, she was a fucking wreck! You didn’t even know what was fully going on. Did her plan work? Where was Filthy? Is she even ok? Her words were not painting a full picture for you. “W-woah, hold on Mrs. Rich! A-are you alright? Did everything work out ok?”

She let out a bit of an insane chuckle as she grabbed onto you again and looked into the bright blue sky. “All that, and he’s asking if I’m ok! Oh my Celestia, my little Diamond truly has a good one, even if he’s an idiot at times.” She says out loud, but given her less than sane mood, you didn’t take it personally “Anon…” She stops, and finally looks you in the eye, lucidity in her expression. “I don’t know if you knew, but what happened with the dragon exploding was not planned. It was an accident… It was…” She looks down, visible shame on her face “It was my own foolish pride. That dragon nearly incinerated you and your friend. And for what? Social status?!...” She stops for a moment as she turns to the side “Ok, that is rather important. But…” She sighs, and looks back at you with tear filled eyes. “So are you. You are my future son-in-law, after all…” Then she lets out a more calm laugh as she did her best to relax “And even after nearly losing your life, you want to know if everything went alright with me.”

You shrug, and give her a hopeful smile. “Well, yeah, I gave you my word I’d do my best. Scootaloo is ok, I’m ok, and everything else is going as planned. But…” She seemed to have learned her lesson, but you also felt she might shirk off some of what she may have learned as a pure accident. You felt you had to cement her lamentable feelings. “Can we maybe never do something like that again? That was really scary.” You say as worried and adorably as possible.

“O-of course… And… “ She gulps, feeling maybe she was overdoing her own plans. She wanted you close to her side for awhile just to know you’re alright, for her own sake. But there was that part of her that wanted to show you off personally to the aristocratic company she kept. “Perhaps after the ceremony, you could join me for a little while? Hmmm… how to put this…” She didn’t want to sound to forceful.

But you got it, and you give her a smirk “Wanna show me off and prove how much better we are in every facet of life? Sure! I’ll even join in right now. Created a temporary clone to fill in for me anyway” You could at least give her this.

“A temporary clone?” It looked like it took her a moment to get it, but once she did, she made a cocky little smirk of her own. “Anon, I really am surprised. Any other colt your age would have just wanted to go home. But you? You truly are a colt of your word. Hmmm…” She suddenly gives a more warming and maternal smile as she gives you a gentle hug. “Thank you…”

“Such a sight to see. Despite your kinship being years off, you both already demonstrate what familial ties are truly about.” Said a voice from the side.

You and Spoiled break off your hug to see…

Uh…

Some pedo pony Dracula looking motherfucker in a purple, high collar, cloak and a red sash with some sort of badge. His mane was black and slicked back smooth, and his coat white. He also has a small beard. Who the fuck was this guy?!

“Chancellor Neighsay! Uhm… Hrm.” Spoiled suddenly straightens up and wipes the mussed up make-up from her cheeks. “Ahrm, I didn’t see you there. I wasn’t aware you had vacated your seat, are you alright?”

Chancellor Neighsay?

“Indeed I am. I apologize for my sudden appearance, I didn’t mean to cause any harm. I just wanted to comment on what I had walked into, two ponies showing care for one another. Something you wouldn’t truly see in any other creature, unfortunately.” Neighsay then stops and looks towards you as he continues to speak to Spoiled. “As for why I left my seat, it was to meet with the Hero Colt Anon himself. I am very impressed with what I’ve seen today, as I have been impressed with what I have heard about him. I suppose you can say he intrigues me greatly.”

This guy irked you. Meet you? You intrigue him? Was he gonna lure you into his van or rape you or something? Who the fuck is he? He unsettled you so much.

Spoiled suddenly whispers to you “Anon, please, be courteous with him. He wasn’t one of the ones I meant to crush. He’s a very important stallion, that’s all you need to know.” She then looks to Neighsay and gives him an awkward smile “Chancellor, I wasn’t aware you were that interested in Anon. But I am truly honored you have taken interest in my future son and, I’d assume, my daughter as well.”

Wut?! Was Spoiled selling you and Diamond to this obvious pedophile?!

“I’m very interested in Anon. And depending on our meeting, your daughter as well. My recommendations are highly sought after afterall, but I’m sure you knew that. However, since I am here, I also feel a meeting with… Ahrm… “ Suddenly, there was disgust in his voice “Princess Twilight is required. So…” He then looks to you “Anon, I hope you won’t find it rude that I have to make you wait, but duty calls. Would you mind meeting with me tonight? At a place of your choosing?”

Rude? Make you wait? This presumptuous creepy ass fuck! You didn’t even say anything and he already fucking assumes you’ll meet with him? And goddammit, if Spoiled’s reaction is anything to go by, saying no might fuck things up. Ugh, the things you have to do for the ones you care about… “Erm, sure… How about at the fountain by city hall.”

“Perfect! Oh, and I’d rather it just be us. True, it may seem off that I don’t want your…” Again, there is disgust in his voice “Father…” And then he speaks respectfully again “There, but what I have to say is very important and for your ears only. That’s not going to be a problem, is it?”

Oh god, you really were too cute! It was only a matter of time before the pedo rapist ponies came after your ass. “S-sure…” If he tries anything on you, you’ll fucking twist his goddamn neck. Though, if he’s a vampire pedo Dracula, you may be screwed as he's already undead. He wasn't burning in the sunlight, but stronger vampires, like this guy possibly is, aren't really affected by the sun.

“Splendid! Now then, I must make my leave. It was truly a pleasure, Mrs. Rich, a pleasure indeed.” He says as he walks off towards Twilight’s castle.

What in the…

“Who was that guy?” You ask Spoiled.

Spoiled just watches him walk off, feeling a small chill down her spine from that meeting. “Chancellor Neighsay of the EEA. The head of the EEA to be exact.”

EEA? “What’s the EEA?”

“Equestria Education Association. They are the highest authority on academics in the land. Even Celestia’s school needed their accreditation before it could truly be erected. Chancellor Neighsay himself is also a very hard pony to please, so him having any interest in your training exam caught me off guard. I had to invite him for this event, if only to try to earn his favor. Having him as a friend works wonders if you are trying to get your foal in a highly sought after school. And it seems I may, in fact, have his friendship. Anon, please, whatever goes on in that meeting? please PLEASE be as courteous and well mannered as possible, alright? This is too good of a chance to be squandered. If you can do this for me. I’ll… mmnnn.” Spoiled sighs “I will think more highly of your father, and not think of him as a gigantic reprobate.”

You felt gross just thinking of this meeting. The guy definitely seemed evil in some way. As for Spoiled’s deal... “It’s fine, I know you don’t really like my dad, so I won’t force you to be nice to him. I’ll still be a gentlecolt towards Neighsay. The only thing I want to ask though…” and make sure she understands “Is, erm, you’re never gonna do anything this crazy again, right? The whole Colosseum and dragon thing? or anything close to it, right? I-I’d like a promise, if you don’t mind.”

Spoiled expression became serious as she gave you a nod “You have my word. I’ll just have to lord over those worms in some other fashion. For now, shall we go?”

You nod, hopefully getting a chance to be an arrogant ass to a bunch of rich fucks will calm you down. “Sure, after you, Mrs. Rich.”

Chapter 27 - The Love of the Riches

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When you both approach the entrance to the V.I.P. box, you start to let out a small chuckle as you realize something.

Mrs. Rich looks over to you, finding your giggle a little off. “What’s so funny?”

You look at her with a cheerful little grin “You haven’t said anything about how I look. I did get pretty dirty back during that exam. Now…” You coyly begin to tap at your chin inquisitively. “Is it because you care more about me rather than how I look? Or is it because you didn’t notice? Hmmm…”

At first, Mrs. Rich looked insulted. But something must have clicked in her mind when she realized one or both of those statements may be true. “W-well, what am I supposed to tell you? Go take a bath or go put on some elegant clothing? No…” She looks ahead, trying to find something nice to say about the subject “If I had to say something, it would be to say that I’m going to overlook it this one time. Not like anypony can say otherwise anyway after what just happened.”

In truth, you only brought this up to see what she had to say and see if she’d go back to acting like her usual self. She mostly did, but it was clear she cared more for you than whatever crowd awaited the both of you. With that in your heart, you take out your horn and place it on your head as you decide to give her one last favor. “You know, Mrs. Rich? I feel like I can give you one more bonus favor. But if I do this, I’d just like one little thing in return. Can you do that for me?”

“Hmm?” She looked at you, confused as to what you were doing. “Another favor for me? What are you doing? What do you mean?”

“I mean I’m not going to go up there looking all dirty and scraggly. Trust me, you’ll be happy with what I’m about to do. But after I do it, I just want you to, well, loosen up a little. Don’t be so uptight, ok?”

Then she just stares a judging stare at you as she raises a single eyebrow “Uptight? What gives you the impression I’m uptight?”

“Well, snooty and uptight mostly. Kind of a mix of both.” You say, unaffected by her gaze.

“Are you trying to get me upset with you? Because it’s working” She says to you, whatever deep care she had for you in the past moments passing by into nothingness.

You give her a cocky little smirk as you begin to glow “Not really, I really meant what I said. But perhaps you need to see my end of the offer first before you reply.”

And with that, your glow began to intensify, causing Mrs. Rich to cover her face with her hoof as you turned into a small mini sun. “Anon! What is the meaning of this?!”

The only sound that comes back in reply is a small explosion from where you stood that releases the light around you into little orbs. When Spoiled looked upon you, you were no longer adorable and dirty Anon. No, you were now an Anon with a smooth and slicked back mane. You wore a black suit with a red bowtie and white undershirt. You also put an illusion on your necklace and horn, making it appear as a rare and expensive pendant with a beautiful red gem. You even had a Dracula like cape for the ensemble. On your head was a black silk top hat that completed the entire look. Oh yeah, you looked fucking hot. And since Dracula seemed to be the epitome of high class in pony society, you decided to fit in. “Meaning? Ha! Like I said, I’m giving you one bonus favor. Pretty swanky, huh? I bet I look a lot more presentable now.”

Spoiled looked surprised and even impressed by your transformation. She stayed silent for a moment, then smirked with a slight chuckle. “Aren’t you overdoing it? No, wait…” Her cocky little smirk softens after a small breath “Alright, I see what you want now. And given everything that’s happened, I feel like I’m the same as the idiots above us with how I've been acting, and have acted towards you.”

You shake your head, and give her a gentle hug “Nah, you’re just used to your social standing. I know deep inside that you have a good heart. That’s why I’m asking if you can relax a little, at least around me and my friends. That’s all I ask, please?” You look up at her with a sweet smile that contrasted your debonair look

She tenses at first, murmuring about something. She then closes her eyes and shakes as she struggles with that notion. Finally, she opens her eyes and groans “Alright, I suppose that’s fair enough…” She then looks ahead and opens the doors, then looks back at you with a gentle smile “You have a good heart too, I’ve told you that before, haven’t I?”

Oof, that’s a big no. “Ermmm… Yes?”

Her muzzle quivers with frustration as she passes through the doors to a rather lavish stairway interior that led upwards to the V.I.P seats. The stairs themselves in this stairway were covered with a really nice red carpet. “Egh… A lie for sure… But, in that case, I’ll make sure to say it more often. Or say it more than twice at least.”

With that you both ascended the stairs to the V.I.P box. You expected Spoiled to go through some ground rules or something as you ascended the stairs, but she kept quiet and stayed focused. Maybe she trusted you enough to handle it on your own? Or perhaps she already started on lightening up. Either way, it was welcome, as you already felt confident enough to handle the situation.

Finally, you both reach the other side of the stairs. What awaited you was an open floor to walk around and a boxed off set of seats, walled away from the common seats other ponies sat at. Around you were the richest, snobbiest, and most well dressed ponies you’ve seen yet. They were all either conversing and taking drinks from a single waiter pony or listening to Spitfire’s announcement, which was already underway.

“Honeylamb! There you are!” cried out the familiar southern voice “Got worried there for a minute with you leaving so suddenly, but I suppose you needed a breath of fresh air. Anyway, they’re already awarding Anon and Scootaloo and… wait a second.” Mr. Rich approaches the both of you from the walking area, visibly confused. “Er, who is that colt you’re with?”

You give Mr. Rich a wide and adorable smile “Heya Mr. Rich, it’s me, Anon!”

“He decided to clean himself up and join us, we ran into each other downstairs and he was so well dressed for it, I decided to invite him up here. And…” Mrs. Rich noticed that her husband mentioned he got worried when she stepped out “You were worried about me? I only left for a moment…”

“Yes, that’s true. But Sweetie Pie, it’s not like you to leave when we’re entertaining the other rich folk. So even a moment scares the horseshoes out of me, and do you wanna know why?” Mr. Rich slowly approaches his wife with a gentle and loving smile

“I-I… Don’t… “ It was clear Mrs. Rich had never just walked out in such a way before. Most likely because she’s never nearly killed anyone before due to her own hubris.

Mr. Rich just continues as if she did answer, and rubs his nose along hers affectionately “Because I love you so much. Love ya more than the business, and I always hope you know that.”

D’awwww, you could see Spoiled blushing as she reluctantly enjoys her husband’s affection. It was cute, and very endearing to see her give in and act like every other pony in love with another. She was returning his affection with a nuzzle of her own, and a gentle kiss on the muzzle. Clearly she didn’t give a shit that anyone saw. “Well, dear, I feel better now, thanks to you. I-I was feeling a little worried, truthfully. N-not because of that completely planned platform collapse mind you, just the fact that I felt I could have overdone it.”

“Well, you better not worry none about that, because I’m impressed, they’re impressed, and everything came out exactly as you thought it did. Gotta say, even you had me fooled into thinking that was some freak accident. But of course I was just the fool when it came to doubting you, even by a little. You forgive me for that, right? Darlin’?” Filthy asked, awaiting for the approval of his wife.

Spoiled felt bad hearing those words. She knew she lied to everyone to save face, saying it was all part of the plan. Her ears drooped when she looked at her husband’s face as she tensed with guilt. “You don’t need to ask me for forgiveness, Dear. It was, well, set up to have everypony doubt. And…” How could he even put himself down like that? She thought. Did he really feel that way? “And please, don’t even think yourself lower than me. We’re married, I’d like to think we’re equals. That’s how it works, right?”

Mr. Rich just plants a gentle kiss on her nose and smiles with a southern chuckle “It does, I’d wager. But I’m still the stallion around here, my job is to make sure you and our princess are always as happy as can be, you hear?”

Spoiled suddenly becomes adorably meek as she looks down and nods “Mhmm…”

“In any case, I think I’ve been ignoring our future son long enough.” Filthy lets out a more hearty southern laugh as he looks to you “Mighty fine clothes you got on there, son. But let me tell you, I think I finally got a hang on this whole chaos magic thing. The Anon down there on the field is a little ole clone, ain’t it?”

Woah, that’s a pretty impressive guess coming from him. “Nice! That’s exactly right. How did you figure it out, Mr. Rich? Most ponies would have found it weird.”

Mr. Rich gives you a cocky grin as he taps at his forehead “It’s my business to figure out the tricks of the trade to any pony, Anon. And I finally got a good hold on how your tricks work. And wow!” He whistles “Gonna take a guess them clothes are all part of the magic too. I get it, came to impress all us business types and such up here.” He winks at you “Very impressive, but you’re trying too hard I think. Ahhh well, I know these ponies, they are pretty easy to impress if you know how to razzle dazzle them some. Well? Let’s get to that then, shall we? With our princess with the princesses and you smashing that there exam, all the ponies up here are primed to be all awed and such.” Mr. Rich then looks to his wife with a gentle smile “And I know that’s what you want. But let’s not overdo it, alright? Don’t want to make no enemies either, no siree”

Mrs. Rich nods, and looks towards the crowd, mustering up her snooty bravado “I can do that, especially since not everypony here is worth it anyway. Even further, if they ever dine with Princess Celestia or Princess Twilight and ask about our dear Diamond, they’ll hear nothing but good things. Yes, no need to crush their pride even further than that.”

Mr. Rich tensed a little at her last words, he wasn’t much for “Crushing”. But he knew his wife, and accepted it this time. And with that, you all went to mingle with the crowd.

Chapter 28 - Challenging Celestia

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And this was the most unfortunate part about all of this. None of the rich ponies were any you recognized from the show, not a single one. Dammit, if Fleur Di Lis was at least among the bunch, you could have at least “impressed” her to get some gentle headpats out of her. Ok, maybe not a good idea with the two wedded Riches watching, but still. And the worst part was that they were all fucking boring and obvious. There were the ones genuinely and ridiculously impressed with your skills, both magical and physical. The obvious jealous ones who nearly ground their teeth to nothing, attempting to smile as they entered a conversation with you, singing your praises falsely as envy raged through their minds. The jealous ones weren’t even that fun to impress either, you didn’t know them and most likely never would meet with them ever again.

There was even an old mare showing you a picture of her granddaughter, a rather adorable blue unicorn filly with emerald green eyes and a cute little bowtie on her platinum blue tail. She was obviously trying to get you to be part of her family instead. You didn't even have a chance to decline. Spoiled’s hearing was a lot sharper than you realize, because she gave that old mare a stare even Satan would fear, causing the old mare to chuckle fearfully and wish you ado. Man, you needed a drink, but the waiters were not willing to serve any drinks to a child, despite being the goddamn hero colt, goddammit.

The only real amusing thing through this whole borefest was when your clone was given a mic to give his victory speech to the crowd. You all looked down towards the clone when he began to speak. “I have a dream! Where mares and stallions, colts and fillies, and whatever else, can come together and spread the love among each other. Yes, where nopony would be afraid to unsheath their fears and plunge into the moist caves of happiness and plant their seeds into those who want it. For mares everywhere to be happy to receive that which we all know you deserve! Everypony, all at once, releasing into the air the cry of true and unadulterated bliss! This is my dream for Equestria, and I hope everypony is with me on this!”

Throughout the Colosseum, ponies everywhere cheered and stomped their hooves in approval of your clone’s message.

You could hear one of the aristocrats say “My, even the magically created double has quite a way with words. A true inspiration indeed.”

You? You retracted the thought of it being amusing. Holy fuck, if ponies weren’t so innocent, you’d be seen as the most perverted being in this world. Hell, that might already be true, but you didn’t need everyone knowing that. “Y-yeah…”

It wasn’t soon after, now that everything was over anyway, that the wealthy crowd began to make their exit. All none the wiser to the truth of things, and leaving on pleasant terms. Some were hiding their anger as they bowed and left in a huff. All that did was fuel Mrs. Rich’s victory, as it was clear she was enjoying their salt, almost like it was a fucking fetish. In any case, she was clearly pleased with the results.

Eventually, the box was empty of both the few waiters and all the rich patrons. Even the Colosseum was emptying up at this point now that everything was over. You could only think of what your reputation was like right now.

“Well, I’d call this a success” Spoiled said as she walked to the right side of you, looking down onto the field with a self satisfied smirk.

“Agreed. Nopony got hurt, Anon passed his exam, and our little darlin’ got to be around her heroes while watching her future husband save her, in a sense anyway” Mr. Rich said as he stepped to your other side, and looked up to the sky, more relieved than anything else. It was clear he was just glad everything was over, he could do without this kind of excitement.

“Well, there’s still that wedding thing, right? How do you think that’s gonna go? I mean, I’m ready for it. I just want to see Diamond happy, that’s all. I really can see her as my wife… Erm.” You stop when you notice a tenseness in Mr. Rich “Y-y’know, if everything works out”

“Everything WILL work out. Despite the few reservations I do have, I’d rather you than some rich snob who only sees us for the bits we have or the businesses we own. Isn’t that right, Dear?” Spoiled look to her husband, not with a look that demanded agreement, but a look in search of approval to her own words.

“That’s true. There are many a pony who’d offer their own young’un just to have a piece of the Rich pie. But if it’s one thing we can say for sure in that regard is that both you and your father don’t really want or have a need for our money and such. If I can sound all philosophical-like for a moment, I’d say that ‘A being of chaos already has everything at their beck and call, except for one to share it with”. Erm, probably not the best sounding now that I think about it, but it rung with me right proper at the time.” Mr. Rich said, agreeing with his wife while trying to sound all wise about it.

“That sounds about right, at least to me, Mr. Rich. I promise to do you proud, and take care of her, and all that stuff.” You say, feeling sure of your words, and comfortable talking about your future with Diamond among her parents.

“Sounds like you already got it all worked out” Mr. Rich says to you, finding your words confident and adorable at the same time.

“Well, it seems to be happening no matter what, right? No other thing to do but try to plan my future out. That’s a good thing, right? Planning I mean.” You ask, wondering if maybe you went too far.

“Well, since it seems to be so guaranteed… Yes, yes, that is exactly the thing to do. Hmm…” Spoiled trailed off there for a second once again, losing herself to her thoughts as she looked upon the burned pillar that once held the dragon’s platform. She knew, and felt, that she could never let something like this happen again. She nearly lost you, her future son, to her own arrogance.

“Mother, Daddy! I’m back and… Oh, everypony left already? Hmph” Said a young and familiar voice “How rude, considering the princess came to make her presence known.”

Hmm? The three of you look back to see an insulted Diamond Tiara, with a slightly embarrassed Princess Celestia behind her. Almost immediately, Spoiled and Filthy bow as you just look at her, and blink.

“Erm, I really just came to drop you off and see Anon, Princess Diamond." Celestia says to Diamond before looking to the Riches, feeling a sense of embarrassment from their respect. "And you needn’t bow, I’m just a spectator today, no need to be so formal.” Celestia was visibly uncomfortable. And fucking dammit, she had to say those fucking words. You did not, DID not want to talk to her if she had something “important” to tell you. Goddamnit.

“Nonsense, your Highness, it’s proper to bow and all, specially since you’ve been takin’ care of our own princess.” Filthy stands after his bow, looking rather proud to be in the presence of someone so high esteemed. “Speaking of, how was your time with our great Princess… Er… Princess.” He asks Diamond.

“Great! We laughed! We cried! Well… Princess Twilight cried more than I did for some reason. And we got to see Anon kick butt! Erm… I mean, pass his exam” Diamond does her best to calm down from her obvious excitement, and sound as proper as she can to impress Celestia and not upset her mother. “Indeed, even with the danger, Anon did splendidly. Wouldn’t you agree, Princess Celestia?”

Celestia was silent for a moment as she gazed upon Spoiled, who she herself was actually breaking a sweat in fright of what Celestia might think, fearing she knew the truth as to what happened. Celestia did, she must have, considering Discord’s words. But she didn’t say anything about it, she just looked to Diamond and smiled “Indeed, you could say I was ‘glued’ to the edge of my seat the entire time” She giggled as her eyes finally meet with you, finally noticing you. But she looked rather confused by your presence. “Anon? Is that you?”

“Anon?” Diamond looks around, then looks at your Dracula garbed self. “That’s Anon? But isn’t he down in the lobby?”

She didn’t recognize you? That actually… Kind of hurt. “Diamond, it’s me! Your prince! Heh, I guess this look is pretty stunning, eh? As for the Anon down there, it was a clone I made to please the crowd while I hang with with your… Our parents.” You give her an awkward grin, and await her approval of your look.

“Stunning is right.” Diamond walks up to you with a huff and looks you over “Anon, do you even know what you look like?”

W-wut? “Erm… Charming?”

Celestia lets out a giggle when she realizes what Diamond is going on about. “Oh, I get it. Maybe it’s a princess’s intuition, but she’s upset because he looks like a villain with that hat and cloak.”

“Exactly.” Diamond says with an aristocratic nod as she whips her hoof up and knocks your silk hat off “Very astute fellow princess. Anon, how can you dress like this?” She gives you a mean stare as she ruffles your mane “There, nice and cute again, just like you’re supposed to look. Don’t EVER...” And she points at you with every word she utters as she gives you a serious stare “EVER dress as a villain again, ok?”

S-sheesh, o-ok, Dracula was definitely not in with the foals. “O-ok”

“Good” She then smiles and gives you a kiss on the nose, blushing from the soft look you were now giving her after the smooch. You just couldn't resist smiling and blushing from her physical attention. “You did amazing out there, Anon. If I didn’t know the whole thing coming down was part of the whole exam, I think I would have shattered like Princess Twilight nearly did.” She then moves in and whispers to you “I think she thought you were really gonna be crushed or drown or something, can you believe it? I didn’t realize she was so paranoid”

You know, it was probably a good thing Diamond didn’t know the truth. Not only could you not visualize the degree of her reaction, but you also couldn’t fathom you being able to do anything with your life ever again as she clamps herself to you to make sure you’re always safe. Yeah, this was totally better than that possibility. “She probably didn’t know. It’s fine though, because the important thing in all of this is that we’re together again. I bet you really cheered for me, huh?”

Diamond nodded profusely “Mhmm! Mhmm! With allllll my heart!”

D’awww, of course she did. You tilt your head very slightly as you smile at her “I knew you did, because I could feel it right here” You bring your hoof to your heart “And that’s what gave me the power to beat this test.”

Those words, Diamond suddenly felt dizzy and stunned as she gasped in amazement “R-Really?”

You nod as you kiss her nose “Yup!”

She started to feel woozy and step about in a daze “O-oh, Anon, t-that means we’re connected for s-sure…” She nearly falls over as she holds a hoof to her chest “B-by the heart.”

You knew that was just hogwash, but damn if it did not make her act more adorable. “Yep, forever and for always.” You say with a sure grin.

“I can definitely tell these two are going to be together forever. I don’t need to be Princess Cadance to be able to see that.” Celestia said with a wholesome giggle.

“Can we take that as your personal blessing, princess?” Mr. Rich asks “Would mean an awful lot since it seems everything is guaranteed”

Celestia nods “Of course. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen such pure love between two foals, so I feel my blessing is well deserved.” Celestia then looks to you with a gentle smile “Anon, you seem well. It’s good to see you. Aside from the exam, and yesterday, how have you been?”

Hmmm, normal so far. Maybe, just maybe, you should keep it cool like Luna suggested. “I’m alright, and the exam nor yesterday was anything special, especially compared to the Storm King. How are you?”

“I’m doing fine, especially now that all the excitement is over. I really do congratulate you on a job well done, as I will be telling Scootaloo the same when I go see her before I go.” Celestia then looks over the vacating crowd as she nears the balcony of the box “Amazing that a bigger deal was made of this rather than the Storm King’s defeat. Then again, Twilight and her friends have gone through similar oddities. Would you believe that despite her princess title, she still has trouble getting a cab carriage in the bigger cities?” Celestia had herself a bit of a laugh “It’s funny actually… Though, I do wish ponies would be more respectful to each other, at least in cities like Manehatten.”

“Hmph, I agree. How could ponies be so rude to a Princess?! Not proper, not proper at all” Diamond says as she tries to sound as sophisticated as possible, still doing her best to impress Celestia.

“Very true, that’s why I’m glad a place like Twilight’s school will be opening soon. Teaching and spreading friendship in the way she dreams will hopefully minimize such a problem to the bare bone minimum. Oh, speaking of which, will you two be attending?” Celestia asks, with a sweet and loving smile on her face.

“No, I think I’ve mastered friendship already. While it’d be an honor to be in Princess Twilight’s school, it might take my focus away from being a real princess myself” Diamond stands tall with a satisfied smile on her face, feeling she took a wise course of action. She made herself already seem like a master of friendship.

“I’m not either, I’d rather not say the reasons.” You just didn’t feel like it at this point. You mastered friendship and you didn’t want to be under Twilight. Ok sure, it can help would be villains find the right path, but that’s all it has going for it.

“I see, well, I won’t pry then. In any case, may I borrow your colt for a moment, Diamond? I promise to return him to you quickly.” Celestia asks

“Promise? You’re not going to use your girly wiles to make him fall in love with you, right? I read princesses can do that! But, you know, you’re Princess Celestia, So I think there's a high chance you won’t do that! You wouldn’t let him passing that test attract you, right?” Diamond said with a shiver, pouting at Princess Celestia, her questions coming out at a rapid pace.

G-guh! D-did she? Was she really afraid you’d fall for Celestia? Well, maybe, Celestia was hot. But the fact that you were still internally mad at her took away any real attraction towards her and her juicy sunbutt.

Celestia was taken aback by Diamond’s worries, even she hadn’t realized that her love for you ran so deep as to fear her in regard of love and attraction “N-no, you needn’t worry. Part of being a Princess is self control. And besides, he’s far too young for me.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right!” Diamond said with relief “I forgot you’re like, ten million years old or something.”

OHHHHHH, HOLY SHIT! You had to turn around to hide your smile, because that was one sick burn.

Hell, Celestia tensed up at those words, and gave her cheek a quick rub as she subconsciously checked herself for a wrinkle. She then looked to Diamond and gave her a meek nod “Y-yes, that’s, sort of right. Ahrm, erm, I’ll be stepping out now. I-it was nice seeing all of you… Hmmm” She took a breath, and gave Spoiled a serious look for a moment, causing her to tense “And Mrs. Rich, I very much enjoyed myself today, I’ll be keeping a closer eye on you.” Celestia’s expression then became pleasant “I wouldn’t want to miss anything else you might have planned.”

Mrs. Rich gulped, and quaked where she stood as she bowed “T-thank you, you r-r-really do honor me, Princess Celestia” Wow, it was odd seeing her shaky like that. You didn't think anything could scare her.

Celestia nods to her, then bows to the Riches as she winks to Diamond “Take care for now, and remember what I told you, Princess Diamond”

“I will! I super will! A-and don’t be too long with Anon, o-ok?” Diamond seemed excited and meek at the same time. And told her? Told her what?

“I’ll remember.” Celestia said as she made her exit, expecting you to follow.

Fucking dammit. Surely this won’t end poorly, right? Why did she even want to speak to you privately? Things went fine! The conversation was fine! Any Gary Stu would have loved this attention. You? Where’s a gun when you need one? you need to suck down on a bullet.

You both step out to the stairway, and head out through the entrance of the V.I.P. box. You were tense, the fuck did she want? “Princess Celestia, why are we alone?”

Celestia lets out a sorrowful sigh as she looks up at the bright blue sky. “Because there’s something I’d like to talk to you about, even though perhaps I shouldn’t”

Wut? What did she want? Why shouldn’t she? “Why talk to me in private then? Why at all?” You really didn’t want to have this conversation if you could avoid it. If it was this level of.. Whatever it was, then you didn’t want to deal with it, not with Celestia involved anyway.

Celestia’s body tensed for a moment. She sensed your displeasure, and whatever she had to say, it seemed even she didn’t like it. “I think you know why. My sister suggested I keep things casual with you, but it’s difficult when you happen to be the second pony I’ve ever known… That I’ve hurt.”

That she hurt? Did she mean…? No, she did, she meant the shit with Chrysalis. So then, now she wants to settle things about that? Well, about fucking time! And the mention of Luna, it was the same thing Luna had spoken to you about. No doubt Luna had some feeling that this topic still haunted you deep inside, as she knew it bothered Celestia as well. She must have felt that avoiding those thoughts altogether whenever you two happen to be around each other would be the only way to avoid an altercation. Well, you can’t be blamed for this, Celestia is the one who started it. The only thing you wondered about, in regard to Celestia's words, was this other pony she hurt. “Do you mean with Chrysalis? Yeah, you did. You threatened me, tricked me, and cost me a good friend. So what, are you apologizing? Kinda late for that, ain’t it? And what do you mean by ‘second pony’? Who else did you hurt?”

“My sister…” Celestia says, without a dubious or shady tone in her two words. “Anon, I wanted to speak to you so I could apologize for how I had treated you when Chrysalis was with you. Like my sister, I treated things as if I knew best, and without thought as to how you truly felt on the matter. And for that, I’m sorry.”

Wut?

No… Wait. She was apologizing? NOW SHE CHOOSES TO APOLOGIZE?! And wait, why? Why compare you to Luna? What’s her sthick? And did she fucking still think she was right? Because you didn’t hear her say she was wrong. “Yeah… Ok. You’re sorry, but you still think you’re right, don’t you?”

Celestia didn’t act like you expected her to, she didn’t seem shocked that you didn’t immediately accept her apology. She let out a heavy sigh, and looked down, as if in shame. “I do, but…” She then looks ahead with determination “Look at the end result. An entire race, enslaved by their own mother, free from her grasp and able to do what is in their hearts. I gave her that same choice, Anon, and she chose to reject it. My apologies are for the way I treated you and Discord only, It was… Deplorable”

You let out a disgusted chuckle “Deplorable? No, it was worse than that” Fuck this, she was the one who decided to start this, so Luna couldn’t blame you for what you were going to say now. For a long time you tried to look past that moment, or more so, the way Celestia handled it. She tricked you, manipulated you, and threatened you. If that was the kind of shit that made Luna into Nightmare Moon, then you too had every right to be pissed off. “You couldn’t just leave it alone!” You angrily point your hoof at her. “I had everything under control until you and the other princesses showed up. From Twilight nearly banishing me, to your sister’s dream spying, to you… You…” You growled, fury building up within you as memories flowed into your head “She was under control! She helped me save another dimension. No matter what you say, no one who is that evil would have done what she did, even given the circumstances!”

Celestia could tell you were going to be difficult. She couldn’t believe the stance you still took after all this time. “Anon, you surprise me” She says, doing her best to remain calm. “She had been working her way to breaking Discord’s curse. Surely you have come to realize that at this point. She may have been your friend, but she worked towards a goal of domination nonetheless.”

“Hmph” You knew that already, she had manipulated a distraught Discord into getting a free pass to wander Equestria as your sister. And she was using Scrappy in finding any way to break the curse. “So? There was only so far she can go. Even if she got to her throne… And? She’d be alone, there’d be no way for her to do anything. Heck, if you wanted to reform the changelings, that would have been the perfect time. With her away, Thorax could have done his thing and I’d still have a shot at reforming her! But no, it was your way or the highway. And only NOW do you want to apologize? That’s screwed up, Celestia, even for you!”

Celestia started to show signs of frustration. She obviously didn’t expect or want the conversation to go down this road. She must have thought her apology wouldn’t have incited such rage in you. “Anon, let me explain this to you in a way you can understand. One, she would have still been uncursed and with a throne that can remove even Discord’s power. Foalnapping somepony you care about to use as a hostage would have certainly been her penultimate move. With no way to penetrate her barrier without going in defenseless, she would have had what she wanted eventually. And no, sending an army in wouldn’t work, especially with her acquired new found cruelty. She would have threatened to take her hostage’s life unless her demands were met, that I’m sure of. And even if she didn’t, there’s still too large a risk.” Celestia gives you a hard stare “Tell me I’m wrong, Anon. If you can tell me that and why, I’ll concede right now.”

It was obvious to you that she still felt in the right. It made you feel that her apology wasn’t as genuine as she’d lead you to believe. Whether that was true or not was not on your mind however. Instead, you met her challenge head on. “You’re wrong! Even if Chrysalis was still evil, she wouldn’t go as far as to piss me off enough to hate her. Despite what you think, she really was getting better. So, you gonna back off now?”

But she would not, Celestia was in for the long haul in this conversation. What the hell?! Why?! Why won’t she back the fuck off! “No, because you can’t be sure of that.”

“Neither can you” You growl “Why, Celestia? Just why?! Really? Because you were sorry? And yet you still want to defend your actions?! Well…” Wait. If that was her reason, did that mean that for all the years she lived, she never pissed anyone off? Was she really doing her best, almost mechanically so, to make everyone around her happy? Now that you think of it, aside from Nightmare Moon, some villains, and Discord, you have never ever heard anyone say anything or think negatively of Celestia. No, they usually treat her as the end all be all of everything. And then there was alternate Celestia. She fell apart to insanity when she felt she failed her kind, Sunset, Luna, and Philomena. You knew Pinkie could lose her marbles easily, and even she was more mentally stable than her in that universe. Could it be that Celestia… Has the same kind of obsession you have? That if she fails someone, that she does her best to fix it? Like, if she didn’t or couldn’t, she’d turn into some being like Nightmare Moon? or some shit like that?

Oh no, goddammit. She really did want to apologize, but she won’t budge because her care also goes to those she’s sworn to protect, which now included the changelings. She’s stuck with a conundrum. She wanted to apologize, perhaps even make sure something like this never happens again. And yet, she felt the end result was the best possible outcome. And giving it a little thought, Luna managed to save you a huge amount of trouble by helping Scootaloo after she got majorly drained. If Celestia had to be right about one thing, is that Chrysalis was able to overstep herself as she pleased without much repercussion. Maybe she really could find a way to win in the end. Still, she was your friend, one you enjoyed your time with greatly.

You had two choices, to tell Celestia off, or meet her down the middle. And to not set off the local Princess, and to maybe finally make good with Celestia, you choose the latter option. You look up at her, and could see both restraint and agitation coursing through her entire body. You sigh, calm down, and hoped this works. Because if you finished the rant you had, you'd have no doubt caused another Nightmare incident. “Well… Ugh, Celestia. Look, I know I did some things wrong, and should have handled things better. But when it comes to my friendship with Chrysalis, despite everything that’s happened, I’d like to at least think that maybe one day, she’d come around. Yeah, things came out better than anypony could have hoped, and for that I’m glad. But I’ll always have that wish that things would have worked out the way I wanted it to, because I care about her. So, if it’s all the same to you, can we just stop talking about this? I accept your apology, I can’t reverse what has happened, but I still wish you had trusted me better. I mean, come on, I helped save Equestria from the Storm King. I don’t wanna sound rude, but considering how well you did against him, I feel like you owe me more of your trust and understanding. So yeah, is that fair? Is that ok? Can you just accept my friendship with her?”

Celestia heard your words. She calmed herself, but she was still frowning as she looked to you with worry. “If you were to run into her again, I assume you’d do your best to help her, rather than to bring her to justice. I’m right about that, correct? Please be truthful with me, Anon.”

“Yeah, if I did run into her again, I’d do my best to reform her or at least try to get her to calm down. I mean, you sort of gave Discord that chance, right? Can you blame me for wanting to do the same thing? Just to remind you, Discord brought Equestria closer to destruction than Chrysalis ever could have.”

Celestia does a slow nod, and sighs “You are correct about that. Even after his treason, he was given a chance. Heh…” Celestia lets out a lamented chuckle “I suppose I’d be a hypocrite to chastise you or try to stop you. I don’t like it, but I can’t stop you either. But please, I ask you, should that happen, please tread cautiously, and do not let her manipulate you. You must remember, when it comes to her, she is capable of anything, and I would…” She stops, and looks at you with great worry in her eyes “I’m afraid of her hurting the ponies I have sworn to protect. That same fear is why I made the threats before. And now I am trying to overlook that fear to say that you have my blessing to try to reform her, should you meet her again. It’s hard, Anon, it’s hard to know she’s out there, possibly hurting others for her own benefit. It’s even harder to try to overlook the relationship you both share. I won’t threaten you, it’s wrong to do so. So all I ask is your promise to take ABSOLUTE caution should you actually meet with her again. Can you do that for me?”

She was struggling. She didn’t want to upset you, and she didn’t want to put her subjects at risk. To even ask you to make that promise, it meant she expected you to not let Chrysalis hurt anyone under you watch, and it also meant breaking that promise would lead to all kinds of trouble and trust issues once again. She had ponies to protect and watch over, so even the promise existing went against her sensibilities. If it meant her calming her shit, then fine, you’d make that promise. “You have my word. But only if you’ll calm down, relax, and chill. We can be friends without you being suspicious of me all the time. Celestia, I never wanted to hate you at all, you know? But everything before really brought me close to it. So, yeah, will you relax a little? I’m a lot smarter than before, I’ve matured, I understand things better. So I can promise you I’ll handle it a lot better this time, if I get the chance anyway.”

Celestia nodded, and raised her wings and slowly brought them to you, to bring you close for a hug. Her voice cracked a little, she was tearing up as she did her best to remain composed. “Thank you, and I really am sorry. If I could, I would have wanted everypony to be happy, even her.”

You believed her, and calmed your own nerves. If she was willing to calm down, then you’d do the same. “I’m sorry too. It’s just kinda hard, you know? It was hard balancing my life way back when. When I had to lie about nearly everything. I was essentially living three lives. My Equestrian life, my normal life, and the life of having to deal with everyone who was suspicious of me or just downright didn’t trust me. I just want ponies to trust me. I want you to trust me. I want to be able to go about my life without somepony getting in my face over my life choices. So, please, I’ve made the promise, so relax ok? Can we just be friends, without all this… crap?” You were sincere, you wanted this. You just wanted to be able to do this, and to be friends with Celestia without her breathing down your throat.

“Yes… Yes, I think so. I’d like to be able to have this friendship with you again, a friendship I’d like to have with anypony, and everypony, if I was able. So… erm.” Celestia ended the hug, and looked into your eyes with a weak smile “is there any more ‘crap’ between us, Anon?”

For now? No “Nah, if you’re willing to trust me, then I’m willing to keep my word. Oh, and…” Now that things were ok, there was one other matter you need to make sure of before anything else. “I think Mrs. Rich learned her lesson, so if you were gonna say anything to her, can you not? I’m sure she understands what she did was wrong.”

Celestia nodded “I can do that. I could already see in her eyes and in her demeanor that she understood her mistakes. I admit, I’m more upset at Discord. Or was. Now that everything's alright, there’s no reason to be upset at him any more.” Celestia then lets out a gentle giggle “Poor Twilight, she nearly tore off the fur on her rump trying to get out of her seat. Looking back at it now, it’s actually kind of funny. Even when she stood, you could see some of her bottom was quite bare”


Heh, you found that a little funny. But believing you were going to die during that situation, you couldn’t blame Twilight for that reaction. “That is pretty funny. Actually, speaking of scared ponies.” Ok Anon, show a sign of goodwill, make a connection. “I wouldn’t mind challenging you to another scare battle for next Nightmare Night. I mean, you kinda cheated last time, and I’d like to have a legit chance in scaring the cutie mark off your butt.”

Celestia, at first, seemed surprised by your words. But then she gave you a warm smile, and nodded. “I suppose those pies were a bit underhoofed, but we did need a way to even out the playing field some. Personally, I didn’t expect the dream realm to limit you and Discord that much. But this time we can face each other in the waking world if you so desire.” Celestia then looked to you as she wiggled her eyebrows “That way my sister and I’s victory can be considered truly official.”

Ohhhhh no, now that was a challenge. You point your hoof at her as you spout off “Screw that! Did you forget how trained up I am now? There’s no way you can beat me and Dad! I mean, you couldn’t even beat him without the elements. So yeah, in the waking world? That win is already in the bag.”

Celestia let out a calm giggle “We’ll see about that. I still have a few extra tricks up my horseshoes. But…” Celestia’s smile becomes warm and sunny, just as it should be “However it turns out, I hope the four of us have fun during the battle, as that is all that matters in the end. Thank you, Anon. I think I’ll be able to rest easier now. I hope you have a good day, and I wish you good tidings on your upcoming ‘wedding’ “

“Going already? Heh, I’m guessing you had to make your schedule tight just to be able to come here today.”

Celestia nodded “I did. Given how quickly this all was planned out, I had to make last minute adjustments just to attend today and I still have to congratulate young Scootaloo. You take care, alright?”

You do a polite bow to her “You too, I’m glad we had this chat.”

And with that, Celestia left. You just stood there, took a breath, and fell on your backside. Holy shit…

Finally…

You got through to her. You were so relieved that you didn’t care that you were laying there and getting your nice clothes dirty. Hell, with the way you handled it, you could now deal with Chrysalis once again if she ever showed up. Give it a much better try now that you were smarter, stronger, and more in control.

Hell, you raise your cloak and pull over your saddlebag to grab your map. Since Chrysalis was mentioned, you wanted to see for sure that she wasn’t here. That green glow from the exam was probably the statue’s magical engine or whatever going awry or something. It couldn’t possibly be…

“OH SHIT NO! NO NO NO!” You saw it, your eyes widened when you saw it. Chrysalis’s dot was moving away from town, away from the Colosseum. “Don’t tell me… Don’t fucking… “. It hit you like a brick. Celestia had mentioned Chrysalis could have possibly pulled off something humanly cruel to succeed in her plans, but you were sure she’d never do anything to piss you off. No, instead, she tried to fucking kill you?! And Scootaloo?! Oh no… No no no… It can’t be true...

Chapter 29 - Scootaloo and Anon. A True Blue Duo

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You were going spastic, just… how?! WHY?! Why would she try to kill you?! Ok, sure, she may feel pretty betrayed, that could be a thing. But goddammit! You two were still good friends, right?! Then why would she publically try to kill you?! Maybe, just maybe you can…

No, you can’t. You already spent the horn’s two charges for the day. God fucking dammit. “DAMMMIIIIIIIIITTT!”. There was no way to find out, no way to know! Why, just…

“Anon? Anon! What’s wrong with you?! Are you alright, are you ok?!” You hear a frantic girly shriek behind you before you feel yourself getting snuggled and hugged “Did you suddenly get attacked by other fillies?!”. Oh, it was Diamond Tiara. She was looking around already, trying to spot anyone who was closeby. But other than the ponies leaving the Colosseum, no one was around you. “Nopony at all. Hmph, nopony even coming to give you a congratulations. That’s just not right!”

Shit… You nearly lost your marbles there. Fuck, how were you going to handle this? How were you going to handle her? You can’t just go and tell Celestia you were wrong. No, no… You had to get more information first. You had to, when you get the chance, speak to Scrappy and see if he knows anything. He still had some devotion to her, so he has to know something. As for Diamond, you began to soften up as she cuddled you close. “I think it might be my getup”

“Maybe, still. Hmph… Mnnn…” She now looks to you, worried. She helps you to your hooves and brushes off your clothes to remove the dirt. “What happened then? Are you ok?”

Do not let her know, Anon, do not let her know. You put on a big fake smile for her and say “I just realized that I… Uhm… used both my charges for the day. I wanted to impress Princess Celestia with a trick, but y’know. Hahah… Heh.”

“Oh… Wait!” Diamond suddenly became frantic, and looked into your eyes with worried desperation “You didn’t embarrass yourself, did you?! Is that why she left?! Anon! You can’t be doing that! What if word spreads and everypony starts treating you badly?! Grrrr…” Diamond growled at the very thought “Which they better not! Or else…”

Oh god, did you really worry her that much?! It was like she was willing to murder… Don’t finish that thought, you don’t want to think of Diamond as a yandere. “No, no! It’s ok. She just had important princess stuff to do, that’s all, she didn’t make fun of me or anything. Heck, she went to congratulate Scootaloo before she actually left. Everything is ok! A-ok! No reason to think otherwise!” You say, obviously lying as sweat came down your brow.

But Diamond still buys it. “Oh, ok then. I guess she did have to squeeze in coming here into her schedule after all. And it’s good she went to congratulate Scootaloo, she deserves it!” Diamond said with a sweet smile “Now come on! We gotta go to Silver Spoon’s and tell her the good news!”

Silver Spoon? “Uh, why? Why isn’t she even here? I’d think she’d have been here to see all this.”

“She got sick! Oh, right!” Diamond giggled to herself “I forgot to tell you that! I erm… I guess all the excitement kind of overwhelmed me. Ah well, doesn’t matter. Let’s go!”

But wait… What about food? “Erm, actually Diamond. I was kinda invited to eat out with Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, that’s ok, right?”

“B-but…” Diamond pouts “Don’t you want to hang with me and Silver Spoon? And… wait, eat out?”

“Erm…” Your eyes went wide right there. What did she think you mean? What did she know?! What did you mean?! HOLY CRAP?! DID YOU INFER…

But before you could say anything else, she whaps you on the head with her hoof as she angrily berates you “You were about to let me take you away from eating and filling your belly?! Oh wait..” Diamond stops, and adorably contemplates on her own words “I guess we could eat at Silver Spoon’s. Then again, you are eating with an element. I could go with you, but then who is going to help Silver Spoon get better? In fact, if I stay with her alone, we can talk about the wedding without you finding out anything.” Diamond nods to herself, then gives you a hard stare as she points towards the direction to the trainee’s lobby, or whatever it was called “Ok Anon, go eat! And you better not show up later and eavesdrop. Ok?”

Thank God, or Celestia, or Discord… whatever. She was willing to let you go and eat. Although, hanging out with her didn’t sound like a bad idea at all. She picked up on your nuances and worry too easily, and you needed some quiet time to sort out your thoughts. Not only on Chrysalis, but this whole Neighsay business. “Ok, thank you, Diamond, you’re the best” You reach your head over to kiss her nose. But she puts her hoof on your forehead and gently pushes back.

She then points at you again, with the same serious expression “Not yet, Anon. You also have to promise to come see me tonight.”

Tonight? Should you ask why? No, don’t ask, that would upset her. “Ok”

“Ok? You’re not going to ask why?” Diamond said, seeming insulted by your answer.

Dammit! But! But you didn’t want to insult her! That’s why you just said ‘ok’. “I just didn’t...erm, want to insult you by asking why. So, erm… why? I guess?”

She then gives you a gentle kiss on the nose as she looks at you with a blush “So you can wish your princess good night, of course! Also, so you can tell me when I can sleep over. I mean, duh, wasn’t it obvious?”

Uhhhh, if it was obvious, then why did she want you to ask about it at all? Ugh, girls, they never make fucking sense sometimes. “Right, you want to sleep at my house… with me. On my bed…” And oh boy, did that make you go deep red.

Even if she didn’t understand it, hearing you shakingly say those words did seem to put a thought in her head that caused her to blush “Mhmm… So we can erm, cuddle, and talk about stuff. Like, totally cool stuff.” She said as she shyly looked away.

Cuddling. You did like to cuddle, and you did want to cuddle with her. It’s not like you’d slip up and do something… lewd. Nah, it’d be ok. And it’d probably feel a lot less lonely having her closeby. “I’ll get that set up for sure, my princess. You have fun with Silver, ok?” You say as you give her a smooch on her nose, which she allows this time.

“I-I will, and you have fun too! And make sure you fill your belly, ok?” She smooches you back. “And make sure no filly tries to get you to go home with her. Got it?” She looks into your eyes to make sure there would be no deceit in your words. Cute, but she really wouldn’t be able to tell either way.

Besides, you had no eye for any other filly, so you give her a sure nod. “I will, and don’t worry. My eyes? Only for you”

And with that, you went on your way around the Colosseum towards the lobby Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo were in. As you circled the Colosseum, you could see some ponies gathered around in crowds. Some were discussing the fate of the Colosseum itself, others about you, some even eyeing you and trying to make an approach towards you. But you made haste, not wanting to stop for anything. Chrysalis’s presence was still on your mind, and you had to focus.

When you reached the lobby entrance, the ponies guarding the door had already gone, and there didn’t seem to be any sign of Celestia either as you opened the door to go on inside. Well, that was quick. You also decide to shed the clothes you were wearing. If Diamond didn't like them, then there was no point in keeping them on.

“...And did you hear her?! Even Princess Celestia thinks I’m Wonderbolt material! That’s… So… AWESOME!” You could hear Scootaloo cheer in the main foyer of the room, hopping up and down on the couch with glee. “I can’t wait to tell the girls!”

Rainbow Dash, as you could see, was just looking upon her with pride. It was a sweet moment to see that Rainbow Dash truly saw Scootaloo as more than just a little kid, as some sort of little sister. She even had a tear in her eye as she watched Scootaloo happily hop about.

But you had to stop this if you wanted to talk to Scootaloo. You knew, you just knew, that you had to get some information somehow, and Scootaloo really is a good way to get it. “Heya guys, looks like Celestia’s visit went well. She just came and went?”

“Anon!” Scootaloo hopped down immediately and trotted in place in front of you happily “It went super well! She thinks I’m Wonderbolt material! Just like Rainbow Dash and Captain Spitfire! That’s soooo awesome! Super awesome! Isn’t it awesome?!”

It was, it really was. But dammit, this was important. You give her a smile and nod “That is super awesome indeed! But erm… Can I borrow you for a second? Hey Dash, can I borrow her for a second?”

“Wha? Why? We were just about to go catch up with Spitfire. Said she wanted to treat us herself. Can’t you save it for later? And why private? C’mon Anon, whatever you got to say to Scootaloo, you can tell me too.” Rainbow Dash says, ignorant of the importance of what you had to say.

“She’s kind of right, Anon. What’s so important that you can’t tell Rainbow Dash? I mean, I know Captain Spitfire made me a Junior Wonderbolt, but Rainbow Dash is one of the best! So she should be in on it.” Scootaloo, of course, agreed with Rainbow Dash. Because why not?

Fuck. Well, maybe you could still convince her. Scootaloo, out of the three CMC anyway, was a good friend, and understood the most how you felt about Chrysalis. So she should hopefully follow your lead if you at least whisper to her the subject of what you want to talk about. So you ease in close to her ear and whisper... “Scootaloo, it’s Chrysalis, she was here. Please, I need to talk to you alone about this.”

Scootaloo’s eyes went wide, her ears stiffen as her body shivers just from those words. She then looks to you, then to Rainbow Dash. What was she going to say? Was that even a good idea?

“Hey, what did you tell her? Scootaloo, you ok? You look a little spooked.” Rainbow Dash asked, worried as to what suddenly got her so freaked out.

“Oh um! Nothing spooked me! Ha ha!” Scootaloo laughed meekly as she started to back up towards the entrance of the course itself. “But erm, I do gotta talk to Anon alone and stuff. Y’know, it’s kind of embarrassing for him.”

Now Rainbow Dash narrowed her eyes at you, wondering even further what the hell you told her “Yeah? Like what?”

Shit. Something embarrassing, something… Oh goddammit, fine! But you were sure Fluttershy would find out about this later and do her best to “help”. You take a breath, and say, as honestly as you can “B-bed wetting issues. Y’know, Scoots is somepony I really tru-”

“Woah! Woah! Say no more, Anon. Erm… uhhh…” Rainbow Dash didn’t know what to say to that as she rubbed her leg with her hoof and looked away with a grimace “Yeah… go… erm… I’m gonna go get Captain Spitfire, so erm… yeah…” And with that, Rainbow Dash left to find Spitfire, leaving you and Scootaloo alone.

“Bed wetting, really?” Scootaloo said as she stopped making her way towards the entrance to the course, looking at you with an eyebrow raise “I’m kind of surprised Rainbow Dash bought that.”

“It was the only thing I could think of! Sheesh! And that’s not important… Scoots, I need your help”

Scootaloo took a long breath as her hateful memories of Chrysalis began to fill her mind. She looked at you, not in worry, but in a bit of suspicion of you instead. “With Chrysalis? You need my help with her? Anon, come on! I thought we were all done with her already! She was evil, and holding back her own kids! She’s not even supposed to be here anymore! Did you see her or something? What’s going on?!”

Dammit Scootaloo, why did she have to be inquisitive? Ok sure, Chrysalis gave her every reason to hate her. And… that’s it really. Ok, just remain calm and explain the situation. “No, I saw her leaving on my map. And…” On second thought, leave out the part where you think she tried to kill the both of you. Without conclusive evidence, and with Scootaloo already on the hate train, that was probably a bad idea. “Erm… Yeah, look. I haven’t talked to her, but she had to be here for a reason, don’t you think?”

“Puh…” Scootaloo scoffed “Probably wanted to try to take out the princesses or something, but realized she couldn’t do anything because she’s dumb.”

“Yeah, well… I need to figure out why she was here, the real reason she was here. So I was wondering, do you think you can ask Scrappy if he knows anything? I’d ask, but he’d probably make me challenge him for the information.” Please Scoots, she has to at least do that.

“If he knows anything? Anon! Scrappy is totally a good guy now. He’d never ever talk to Chrysalis about anything! Heck, he’d try to bring her to justice if he could.” Scootaloo said, insulted that you’d even come close to suggesting Scrappy would even go near her anymore.

“Scoots! Come on! You know that’s not true! He loves all of you, but also loves her. He’d do the same thing I do and try to get her, his mother, to be good. I’m not suggesting he’d betray us or anything, I just need information. If Chrysalis is planning something, I need to know, if only because I am the only one who could properly trace her if need be.” Or rather, you didn’t want the princesses involved, as you were sure Twilight has some magical bullshit that could easily trace her.

Scootaloo sat on her butt and crossed her hooves, silent, and unmoved.

“Scoots, please. I’m asking you as a friend. I know Scrappy would never join her or anything like that. But there’s still a chance she may have tried to talk to him, and asked him to keep it a secret. If he knows anything, then I need to know too. If it’s something dangerous…” As if, if she really wanted you dead “Then I need to stop her. Please, help me out here.”

Scootaloo didn’t budge from her position, but you could tell she was thinking hard on it. After awhile, she finally relented and let out a heavy sigh. “Oh boy, I really hoped she wouldn’t bother anypony ever again. Anon…” She looked to you, with genuine worry in her heart. She hated to even think she'd tried to go near Scrappy, but it also hurt her to see you so distressed over it. Especially since she thought you still thought there was any good in her. “If it’ll help you, then ok, I’ll ask Scrappy. Better we find out than just letting her do what she wants. But you gotta promise me not to do anything dumb, alright? If you’re gonna tell me about all this, then that makes us a team! And… erm…” Scootaloo started to think on all the praise she got today, as well as being given the title of Junior Wonderbolt. “You and me? We gotta stick by each other, no matter what. I know what I did that one time was stupid, but I’ll be more careful this time. If Chrysalis is doing something bad, then you’ll totally need my help, ok?” She holds her hoof out towards you, in trust you’ll shake it “Partner?”

You look at her hoof. Dammit, did she really want to get THIS involved again? You could handle it this time! You knew you could! All you needed her to do was get the info out of Scrappy, that’s all. If you had to shake her hoof, then fine, but you weren’t truly going to let her in on anything important. You had to protect her, so that meant truly facing Chrysalis alone. “Ok, partner.” You reach for her hoof, and give it a shake. “Thanks Scoots, I knew I could count on you.”

“Don’t sweat it, Anon. We’re a hero duo, you and me. The Hero Colt and the Junior Wonderbolt! We’re like, Wonderbolt Hero Duo… or something like that. Erm, heh, I’ll think of a better team name later. But right now, let’s just forget about her, ok? I wanna eat already.” Scootaloo said as she gave her tummy a rub “I’m starving!”

It was clear Scootaloo didn’t want to think about it too much. That she wanted Chrysalis as far away from her mind as possible. She was worried that you were around, yes. But in the back of her head, despite agreeing with you, she felt Twilight and the others would handle it as they always would. But just the same, she felt as well, that if you somehow ended up in danger, she’d be there to help you, just as you saved her when the platform collapsed.

“Alright, I need some food myself. Kind of got a few other things I gotta do today. Erm, thanks Scootaloo, really. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.” You say, being mostly truthful.

“No prob! I don’t like Chrysalis very much, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like you. You got my back, right? Well, that means I got yours.” She says with a friendly grin.

Yeah… Right...

Chapter 30 - Dinner for Four

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While you muddled in your own thoughts. You and Scootaloo are caught offguard when you see Rainbow Dash walking backwards through the entrance, struggling with something. “Sheesh! This is heavy! Was this really necessary?!” Rainbow Dash said with several grunts as she stepped back enough to reveal that she was balancing a huge sealed bowl on her muzzle, but it was also being balanced on another muzzle belonging to…

“I didn’t say I was gonna take you all out, I said I was gonna get take out! You think we’re gonna be able to eat without a crowd rushing at us when they're still hyped up about this whole thing? Besides, what are you complaining about?! I paid top bit for this thing.” On the other side of Rainbow Dash, helping her balance the bowl, was Spitfire. The bowl was fucking massive, it made you wonder how she even got this far without any help at all… but probably best not to think about the specifics. On her back was a smaller bowl of what smelled like warm garlic sticks while her tail held up a bucket with ice and drinks in it. “This meal is more for them than it is for us. So stop bellyachin’ and help me set this thing down!” You and Scootaloo stood in awe as Rainbow and Spitfire carefully placed down the bowl. Spitfire then used her wings to set the breadsticks down. She then, with a quick snap of her tail, tossed the bucket over the bowl, landing right beside it without spill. “There we go! Ok then…” Spitfire used her teeth to grab the seal on the bowl, and pulled it back and then off, revealing a near endless pool of spaghetti. It had sauces, a slight amount of pepper, Asiago, Oregano, and some hayballs. Holy shit, it smelled so damn good.

“Wow… Is this for us? A-are you both gonna eat with us? I mean, right here? As in… Privately?” Scootaloo was starstruck for sure, she didn’t expect a private meal with her hero and the Captain of the Wonderbolts.

“Yeah” Spitfire said with a shrug as she sat down “After all that? I think you two really deserve it. But relax on that attitude, soldier, we’re all ponies here.”

Scootaloo saluted as she did her best to calm down “Yes ma’am, Captain Spitfire” before whispering “Soooo cool”

Your thoughts had been temporarily vanquished by that hulking bowl of spaghetti, it looked so damn good. “So, we can have as much as we want then?”

“Yep! Enough here to feed ten of us really, so don’t feel like you need to hold back on pigging out. Didn’t expect it myself, but…” Rainbow Dash licked her lips when she looked at a single bottle of apple cider sticking out of the bucket “That’s how amazing our Captain is”

“Yeah well, like I said, well deserved. And I kinda didn’t have room to bring bowls or utensils or anything like that, so really, just pig out, I’ll overlook it this once.” Spitfire said as she sat by the bowl and started eating from it like a horse… Grazing on the grass. Huh…

And so the four of you sat, ate, and chatted. There were sodas for you and Scootaloo, Apple Cider for Dash, and Spitfire just had a thermos of iced coffee. Weird she’d be drinking coffee at this time, but she probably didn’t get any sleep due to the test. You also noticed she was the least enthused out of the four of you. Indeed, her answers were small as Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash basically traded how “cool” everything was about the exam and such.

“...Yep, Scootaloo. After today? I can tell you’re gonna make one super awesome Wonderbolt when you grow up!” Rainbow Dash said with certainty as she took a swig of cider.

“T-thanks, Rainbow Dash! That really means a lot to me! You can bet I’m gonna keep training my wings until I’m able to fly just as good as you and…” Scootaloo suddenly quieted down for a moment “Y’know, I mean... mnnn…” Scootaloo just tilted her head to the side as her wings gave a few weak flaps. “I…” Poor Scoots, you knew just connecting such a promising future to her wings always crushed her spirits. You wanted to say something at this moment to cheer her up, but Spitfire and Rainbow Dash were far more on point than you were, most likely due to your own shit you had to worry about.

“C’mon, Scootaloo, how many times do I gotta tell ya? You’re just a late bloomer, that’s all. And considering you beat the tar out of this exam? Yeah, when you do start flying, You’re gonna be the best Wonderbolt ever!” Rainbow Dash says with an enthusiastic wave of her hoof.

“Best Wonderbolt? Maybe. I don’t like to get anypony’s hopes up too high like that…” Spitfire says, already dealing a blow to Scootaloo's ego. Spitfire purposely waited for Scootaloo to hang her head down in sadness again before she said “But you don’t gotta worry when it comes to becoming a fully fledged Wonderbolt. You got the skills, kid. All the years I’ve been Captain and I’ve never seen anypony use their wings to coast across mud like that. That requires some serious wingpower. I’ll be real with you, Scootaloo, it just seems to me your wings are more built for horizontal movement, and trust me, that is some movement. So when you’re able to go vertical? Oh boy, I just hope you don’t make the other cadets look like parasprites, don’t wanna hurt their ego too bad, y’know?”

Scootaloo gulped, confused, yet feeling a huge sense of pride grow within herself “Y-you really think I’m that good?”

Spitfire slurps up a long strand of spaghetti and gives Scootaloo a cool smirk and says “I don’t ‘think’, kid.” Before giving her a wink.

“Woooooooooooooah! I just got super complimented by Rainbow Dash AND Captain Spitfire! And… A-and…” Scootaloo fell on her back, with a cute squee and warm smile as she wiggled about, her voice was now small and weak from too much excitement “S-so awesome…”

You had to smile at that. That was really heart-warming. But as you looked at the pride filled filly, Spitfire suddenly says some words to you too. “So, Anon. You haven’t really said much, something on your mind?”

Gnh! Shit! You quickly look back at Spitfire as you take a swig of soda, keeping your cool. You didn’t need anyone getting into your business. “Not really, other than wanting to thank you. Scootaloo is one of my best pals, so thanks for making her happy.”

That seems to throw her off, if she was suspicious of anything anyway. “I wasn’t making her happy, just stating facts. How she reacts is her own thing.” She lied, she totally meant to make her happy. “Y’know, I’ve actually been wanting to sit down with you and have a little chat.”

A little chat? “Erm. Why?”

“Because, I kinda wanna know how you helped beat the Storm King. I bet it’s one radical story. I also want to apologize to you… Well…” Spitfire lets out a defeated sigh “The both of you actually. The Wonderbolts are about a lot of things. But above else, we value safety. And despite knowing how dangerous this all could have been, I didn’t call it off. As the Captain of the Wonderbolts, I take full responsibility for that, so it’s my duty to not only apologize, but resign from my position if anypony here has any grievances. What happened here is a crime, and I can’t overlook that… So, y’know.” Spitfire gulped “Let me have it…”

Spitfire was obviously harboring a ton of guilt for what happened. Hell, she was complaining about safety issues before the exam even started. She felt so guilty that she just devolved into wanting to resign before you even got to your story. The meal itself must be part of her guilt too. This wasn’t her fault. Hell, you had to take some of the blame, as you could have declined Mrs. Rich and convinced Scootaloo to not take the exam as well, or forced her not to with your horn.

So, you just shrug at her words “Eh, it’s no problem. Trust me, worst things have happened to me. Nopony could have expected the platform to collapse. Besides, if you want the truth, I had an obligation to Mrs. Rich, so I would have done it whether you tried to stop me or not.”

“Woah, Captain Spitfire! It’s totally ok! Things just kind of got nuts, that’s all. If anything, it just proves how awesome me and Anon are. Actually, that kind of makes me think.” Scootaloo looks over to you with a huge cheerful smile and a point of her hoof “Why don’t you make Anon a Junior Wonderbolt too? I mean, he can fly, so he already meets half the requirements!”

“You two, you really didn’t have to acc- Wait” Amidst her appearing tears of joy of hearing she was forgiven, she suddenly found herself confused by Scootaloo’s words as she looked to you “You can fly?”

“Oh yeah! I forgot about that! Yeah, his dad gave him these wings that let him fly for a while. I forgot though, do they still work? Or did the Storm King screw em up?” Rainbow Dash asks you as she takes a garlic stick to munch on.

“They started working after he was defeated. And yeah, I can fly with them, but I don’t think the Wonderbolts are for me. Not insulting you guys or anything but, well, I’m a being of chaos and we don’t do order too well.” An excuse to be sure, you just didn’t want to be part of a team that were as seemingly useful as Celestia and her guards. Meaning, basically useless.

“No offense taken…” Spitfire sighs with relief, still reeling herself in after nearly throwing her career away. “And sorry if I seemed a little lame just now. I know it may not look it, but one of our number one concerns is about the safety of our cadets and members. And I guess today gave me a small reminder why that is. Trust me, I take pride in making sure everything is ship shape in my team and in the academy. Without safety and rules, everypony would be at a huge risk of getting really hurt and…” Suddenly she seemed to be getting all excited, nearly flying up, but Rainbow Dash immediately calls out to her to calm down.

"Woah! Woah! Relax, Cap! Let’s not scare the foals with the whole ‘drinking from a straw’ thing, k? Can we save it for the cadets, please?” Rainbow Dash said frantically, as she even could see Spitfire was really on edge.

“O-oh” Spitfire took a moment to sit back down, and compose herself “Right… Well, to make a long story short, safety is super important. And that platform collapsing on you both is exactly why we usually have much stricter relegations than what went on today.” Spitfire takes a swig of her drink to further calm herself, before looking back at you, cool and composed “So yeah, you mentioned the Storm King screwing up your wings. I mean, if you’re uncomfortable talking about him, I understand, but I really am interested.”

“Eh, the Storm King ain’t a big deal. In fact, you could say he’s just a pimple in the grand scheme of things.” You say with a low chuckle “But I’d also rather not talk about it either. It’d uh… Ruin the legend, I think” Rather, the fact that most of it was you in a fucking cage makes you not wanna talk about it. “And if you’re interested in my wings at all. Yeah, they let me fly for a limited time. I don’t really use them like I do the horn, but they come in handy sometimes. That good enough? The explanation I mean”

“Yep, just sounds like a magical extension to me. As for the Storm King, that’s a shame, I bet it was a really killer story. Sure you’re not willing to talk about it?” Spitfire asks, seemingly really interested in your story.

Which gave you a funny idea. “I mean, sure! If you’re willing to tell me how the Wonderbolts did against him.”

Spitfire and Rainbow Dash’s face grew grim from those words. Sure, Dash was with Twilight at the time, but even she knew she couldn’t do shit to him.

“C’mon, Anon. Don’t be mean. We all know the Wonderbolts are awesome! And Rainbow Dash has helped beat bad guys even tougher than that Storm King guy. Your dad was beat by her, remember?” Scootaloo reminded you, feeling irked by your words.

“Yeah, Scootaloo is right. Helped Princess Luna too, not to mention beat Tirek’s butt! So eh, can’t win em all, I guess, but I’ve still done awesome things” Rainbow Dash said, trying to raise her ego and renown some.

“I know, I know. Was just messing around…” You say with a chuckle. That was worth seeing Rainbow and Spitfire looking all spooked like that. “Anyway, if you wanna know about the Storm King, Well…”

You explain the story in your own way, omitting some of the more embarrassing moments, and making it seem like you wanted to be caged up as to figure out the enemy and their motives. You did keep the part of you getting ass whupped by the Storm King. It wouldn’t be a realistic story without the hero taking his licks. “Really, without Tempest getting in that final hit, everything would have fallen apart. The Storm King would have shown no mercy to any of us, the guy was a serious threat that I, for one, am glad that he was defeated before he destroyed Canterlot.”

“Now that’s quite a story. Yep, I can totally see why they call you the Hero Colt and how you got that mark of yours. I gotta say, Discord did really good adopting somepony like you as a son.” Spitfire commented, impressed by the story.

You chuckle with a sharp grin “Yeah well, I’m not afraid of doing what’s needed to save the day.”

“And normally, I’d say that kind of thinking is way too dangerous for a foal like you. But then again, you’re no normal foal. You seem to always manage to get out of the worst kinds of danger imaginable. But you’re also always throwing yourself into those kinds of dangers too. I want to tell you that you should be more careful, but you always seem to come out ok. So let me tell you this, Anon, you can only push your luck so much. Sometimes, you really wanna sit down and assess the situation from every angle first. It can mean the difference between victory and.. Well, you know.” Spitfire said, hesitating to go into whatever mood Rainbow Dash prevented her from entering.

And you knew she was right. When it came to Tempest, you got lucky. You had a million ways to stomp her on your first battle with her, but you chose to try to defeat her in a spectacular fashion, which only ended in failure. Indeed, had you not met Capper afterwards, you would have been royally fucked. “I understand, thanks for the advice, Captain.”

“Eh, can’t any of you just call me Spitfire right now? Not like we’re doing anything official,” Spitfire said, half grinning, and half groaning. “Hey, Dash, good work on training Anon. And Scootaloo, good job on that course. I know I complimented you already, but the fact you didn’t take any training at all from Dash really shows how skilled you really are. And Anon?” She raises her mug and nods towards you “You are one cool colt. Wouldn’t mind workin’ with you if anything big happens.”

You actually took that as quite the honor. Spitfire really respected you, as she should, considering how skilled you have become. And all those compliments to Scoots, Hah! You knew, you just knew, she’d probably be captain of the Wonderbolts herself one day.

Conversations went normal after that. Rainbow Dash cracking a few jokes, Spitfire loosening up about her own guilt and telling some stories about the Wonderbolts and their going ons, Scootaloo just about forgotten about Chrysalis as she enjoyed every moment. You? For a while you were actually into it too, talking about your sweet moves and magical prowess.

Even when dinner was over, moods stayed rather high. There was still some spaghetti in the bowl, but you all had your fill. Spitfire was the first to go, said she had stuff to do. She did give Scootaloo a hug though, something that made Scootaloo especially happy. You? You could still tell that some of today bothered her, she really did hate how it all went down, and how she essentially let it happen. Poor gal.

You looked at your empty soda cup for a moment, and rubbed your tummy. You were full, and for the moment, brimming of happiness and hope. It actually felt pretty good being around these three, well, these two now, since Scoots and Dash were still around. “So, what are we gonna do with the food?”

“No idea. Rainbow Dash, are you gonna take all this spaghetti home?” Scootaloo asked

“Nah, probably just leave a sign so one of the janitors know they got a delicious dinner waiting.” She answered as she stood and took a stretch

Janitors? “This place is gonna get cleaned up? As in, not demolished?”

Rainbow Dash nodded “Yep, Mrs. Rich already had this place ready to be donated to the town for… I dunno what it’s gonna be converted into myself. But it better not be as shoddy as that platform if nopony wants any trouble.”

“Yeah! Same here! There’s gonna be trouble if it’s gonna be like that! Or my name isn’t Junior Wonderbolt Scootaloo!” Scootaloo hopped up, standing heroically for… no reason.

“Oh, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Erm…” You were feeling kind of antsy now. You wanted to go home, talk to Discord really quick, and then see if that weird Dracula guy was near the town hall. “Actually, I kinda have to get going. I kind of got stuff to do, but it was really cool hanging with you guys! And erm… Scootaloo, Erm…” You almost blurted out the reminder to her to check with Scrappy on Chrysalis’s going ons.

She just nods to you with a smile “It’s cool, I’ll remember, but if you don’t mind, this Junior Wonderbolt wants to finish up with the greatest hero that’s ever been a hero ever!”

“Well…” Rainbow Dash chuckles as she looks at her bottle of cider, it only had a quarter of sweet delicious goodness left “I don’t mind hanging around for a little while longer.”

“Alrighty then, take care you two, and thanks Rainbow Dash, really… for all your training and help.” And with that, you tilted the ice bucket over to spill it’s now mostly melted ice cubes, creating a large puddle in the carpet. You put on your horn, with it’s new found abilities, and dive into the puddle… And crash your head on the floor. "AGH! UGH!” Dammit! What the fuck?!

“A-Anon! W-what are you doing?! You’re supposed to use your map, remember?” Scootaloo said in shock, though you could hear a small chuckle from Rainbow Dash.

You got up and rubbed your head, annoyed with yourself. “N-not anymore, Dad said I could use the… Oh no… Right…” You point the still Sombra formed horn at the puddle, and shoot a small bolt of magic, creating a portal to your room.

“You can use chaos magic whenever now?” Scootaloo asked, once again confused and curious to the abilities of your upgraded horn.

“Nah, Dad just gave it a few upgrades. I can’t use chaos magic, since it’s still in its normal form, but I can do light stuff like this. A-anyway, gotta go!” And with that, you slip through the portal, still annoyed that you somehow fucked that up.

Chapter 31 - The Meeting With Neighsay

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When you fell through the portal you generated, you expected yourself to fall into your room as usual. Instead, you fall face first onto the living room floor. How and why? You had no idea. But you weren’t even angry about it either, just par for the course and most likely Discord’s doing. When you cleared your head with a shake and looked up, you found your internal guess correct as you saw Discord humming to himself as he worked on chiseling a… Very accurate looking statue of Twilight.

“Ngh, hey Discord. What are you up to? Also, can we not have me landing on my face all the time? Or at least use a pillow or something?” You say to him as you draw near the statue. Aside from it’s grey color, it looked remarkably like Twilight. Only thing missing was a face. Why was he making a Twilight statue anyway?

“Ahh, Anon!” Discord looked to you with a smile as his arms detached from his body to continue their work. Discord himself walked over to you, and then passed you to grab an oily looking drink...somehow. He then floated above the sofa. “Good to see you! You’re a little early, I admit, but I’m happy just the same. As you can see, I’m in the middle of my greatest project yet! Even more so…” Discord takes a sip, then looks back at the statue with pride “I plan to donate this to our dear princess once it’s done. It will be the centerpiece of her school, isn’t that amazing?”

Wut? “You’re going to donate Twilight a statue of herself? You ok, Discord? This doesn’t seem like you at all”

“What? Anon, come on. Despite how I may act, Twilight is a dear friend of mine. Besides…” As Discord speaks, his arms quickly chisel a face upon the statue. Not only does it cause the stone mane to suddenly fly up like it was hit with lightning, but the statue itself had an expression of pure horror. “I managed to capture the perfect moment during your exam! Look at her, Anon. Never has Twilight ever seemed so lively before. Dramatic, beautiful, full of life, and oh so powerful through the seriousness of her eyes. My best work for sure, but hmmm.” Discord looks at the statue as if it was suddenly not good enough “What do you think?”

Hilarious, but you already knew Twilight would never accept it. “Amazing, but c’mon man, you know Twilight won’t accept it. She doesn’t have a good sense of humor, remember?”

“Hmmmm…” Discord moaned near silently as his arms flew back to his body to allow him to visually ponder “True, Twilight wouldn’t know fun, even if it burned up all her books. At least you appreciate it. That somewhat matters to me, but…” Discord then turns to face his statue “What to do with it then?”

You walk over to the statue and look at it’s ass. Mhmmm, very detailed, very good. You give it’s roundness a gentle rub of your hoof “Maybe you could give it to me, maybe add in something for me to put my di-”

“Anon! How shameful!” Discord waggled his paw digit at you “This statue is only a few minutes old! The age difference alone would have ponies talking!”

You raise an eyebrow at him “I was just kidding… Mostly. Look, why are you even wondering what to do with it? Just drop it off at the school anyway when a ton of ponies are inside. Bam! You embarrass Twilight and get your win. C’mon Discord, even you should have thought of that.”

“I had thought of it, but considering dear Fluttershy is going to be a professor at the school, I’d rather not just drop this all on her all at once. If Twilight accepted the statue, it’d be her fault. But alas, it seems I can’t have my way this time.” Discord sighs as he snaps his talons, making the statue vanish.

What? He gave up just like that? “So that’s it then? Not like you to give up that easily.”

“Me? Give up? Oh no no no no, I didn’t give up. See, Fluttershy had been teaching me about something called compromise. And so, I decided to compromise the perfectness of my plan with Twilight’s delightful shock of everypony’s reaction to the statue.” Discord explains in a way that sounded like he himself was giving a lecture.

Uhhhh… “And what does that mean?”

“It means I had to settle for less. I placed the statue right before her bedroom door, inside the bedroom itself. Not only will she be spooked upon opening it, but the statue will then say…” Discord tapped his neck to make himself sound like Twilight “Hi! I’m Princess Twilight Sparkle! And this is the face I make when I wet the bed! Which I do a lot!”

You let out a snort of mirth. Ok, that’s fucking funny. “Ok ok, that’s good stuff. Hehehe. But what good is that if you aren’t going to… Oh never mind.” You stop your words when Discord holds up a small screen, showing a close up of large double doors. You could already tell the head of the statue had a camera inside. “You better let me see that tape when you get it, alright?”

“Certainly, I’ll have it set for personal viewing in your room when it’s available. Now then, to other business. Namely, getting into your business.” Discord says with a childish smile, batting his eyes at you “Whatcha up to, sonny boy?”

“Gonna meet up with some guy I suspect is gonna try to bite my neck.” You say as you actually give your neck a rub.

“Sounds boring. Anything else? What about setting up that sleepover thing with your marefriend? I have everything prepped for that one, you know? A separate room, two beds in which I’m sure one will go unused, two thrones for use… One being my old one. Yes, I know, it does look a little on the evil side, but it’s served me well and I think it’s high time to pass it down to you. Even got this lovely set of crowns for the both of you…” He opens his paw, revealing two very beautiful golden crowns, shimmering with gems.

“Ugh, please no. We already did the whole royal motif at her place. I’m just gonna keep it nice and simple. Hell, maybe show her what chaos is all about in light doses. That’s alright, right? I mean, if we are gonna get married, she’s going to have to get used to it.” This you were sure of. Every day of your life always had something ridiculous in store for you, so it’d make sense to give her a taste of it in some way.

“I’m not even going to say that’s a bad idea. I’m just going to warn you not to have her open that window, you know the one.” Discord’s eyes form into one ghoulish peeper as his teeth sharpen up.

“I’ll make sure, but I at least want her to meet them. I dunno, seems right to get her used to that now rather than later. Or maybe I’m just being an idiot about that.” Doesn’t seem like a bad idea, anyway.

Discord shrugs “Seems fine to me. Is there anything else?”

Well, there was Chrysalis. But Discord, as far as you knew, didn’t want to deal with her anymore, and considered her an actual poison to your own friendship with him. You’ll keep that detail to yourself. “Nope”

“Well then” Discord tosses you a small golden box that looked really wondrous and intricate in design, with beautifully ingrained alicorns facing each other on the box. “Allow me to present you with this, for a job well done!”

“You mean passing the exam?” You say as you catch the box. You give it’s cover a look over, cautiously, worried it might be rigged with a trap. “What is this? The pony’s equivalent of Pandora’s Box?”

“More like a box of chocolates” Discord retorts

Box of chocolates, huh? Well, if you’re careful, you should be able to avoid whatever trap might be inside. You set the box down, carefully put your hoof on the lid, and open it up as you jump back. Nothing happens however, and as you look down... “Oh… It’s a box of chocolates.”

“That’s what I said, didn’t I?” Discord said with a huff “What did you expect, a bomb?”

“Sorta…” You tap at the chocolates, pick one up, sniff it, then pop it in your mouth. Oh shit, this tasted… “Discord… Holy shit, this is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had! Did you make this?!”

“No, I stole it from Celestia’s secret stash. She’ll never realize it was me either, considering I don’t plan to use it in anything chaotic. Which, that within itself, is chaotic.” Discord snickered

“Nice” You say as you close the box, saving the rest for later. Even if you and Celestia were at an understanding, you didn’t mind having her delicious box of chocolates. “I’m gonna take these up to my room, then go see if that guy I’m supposed to meet is there. Thanks Discord, really. These are really good.”

“No problem, Anon, as long as you don’t mind me pilfering them from our dear Princess Celestia. Which, as I can see, you don’t. As for me, I’m going to watch the monitor for a little bit. She has to open that door sometime.” Discord gives you a wink before he disappears.

What a guy. Already trying to make your sleepover more comfy and giving you chocolates for a job well done. You smile at these thoughts as you make your way up to your room. When you get inside, you toss the box onto your dresser and look at you clock. It was only 8 P.M. at this point, but you were sure that his definition of evening slightly differed from yours, so he was probably already there. Or maybe he did mention a time? Bah, you couldn’t remember.

You set your portal door to Ponyville’s town hall, and hop inside in search of Chancellor Neighsay.

“Alright, time to sWHAAAA?!” When you appear on the other side of the portal, you arrive in Ponyville as expected, but everything was in negative space and unmoving, as if there was a time freeze. “W-what happened?! Where am I?!”

“You’re in my personal thinking space, Anon” Said a voice “Don’t be alarmed, it is merely a realm between realms. Similar to the kind of spell that would let you explore inside a book.”

That voice? Was it the Chancellor? “Yeah well, I’m sort of used to seeing this kind of stuff from my Dad. How are you doing this, anyway?”

Suddenly, slowly appearing as if he was a spirit going into physical form, Chancellor Neighsay stood in front of you, with a smile that was less than calming. His horn was alit, obviously maintaining whatever space this was. “With magic only those as skilled as I can muster. But I’m sure somepony of your caliber is capable of something like this as well.”

You were sure of that actually. Still, you now felt really tense knowing you were on this guy’s literal playing field. “Yeah… Look, I came because you had something to say. But I didn’t agree to this, why are we even in here?”

“Privacy.” Chancellor Neighsay says as he conjures a small table onto the negative grass, with two seats, and two cups of tea on plates. Even had a tea kettle set up as he filled both cups, all through the use of magic. He takes a seat, lifts his cup, and takes a sip. “Ahh, always soothing to the soul, wouldn’t you say?”

What… The… Fuck? Was he ACTUALLY going to rape you?! This guy was creepier than, uh, well, now was no time for comparisons. You remained calm, sat at the other seat, and took a sip of your cup. “Yeah… So, erm, can we get down to business then? Chancellor?” Because, fuck, you felt uncomfortable with how sudden this fucking was.

“Straight to the point. Good, as there’s no use in wasting time. Tell me, Anon, how do you feel about the dragons? Especially considering what happened yesterday. I hear it’ll be some time before the bowling alley is rebuilt.” The Chancellor asked you, very interested in what your answer might be.

Well, that’s an odd question to ask. “Uh, I… What? I mean, why ask me that? What does that have to do with anything?”

“It has to do with everything.” Neighsay said, with a hint of hatred in his voice. “Anon, you needn’t feel the need to reserve yourself or tell me the answer you think I wish to hear. I’ll be honest with you, if you’ll be honest with me. Now, please answer the question”

This really was weirding you out. Maybe you should have stuck with the pleasantries instead of going straight to business. Because this guy not only was creepy, but seemed very no nonsense. “Well, if you want honesty. I’m friends with one dragon, but I’m not a big fan of the others. I don’t mean to sound rude, but they all seem like jerks to me. I heard their new princess is nice, but I never met her. That’s not a problem, is it?”

“Not at all” Neighsay said with a calmed chuckle “Indeed, dragons have been the enemies of us ponies for a very very long time. I cannot blame you for how you feel about them. Personally, I agree, and feel they should stay in their own lands where they belong. Although, I suppose Twilight’s assistant is… Tolerable”

Tolerable? What the fuck was up with that guy that he had to make a nasty comment? Ok, granted dragons are jerks and you wouldn’t mind not dealing with them at all. But Spike was pretty damn cool. The hell was this guy getting at? “Yeah… Erm, is this about dragons then? Are they causing more trouble?”

“More than you know. And not only them, but changelings are as well. I happen to know you have had to deal with them before. I’ve even heard rumors that you’re not fond of them, despite your involvement in their ‘reformation’. Is that true?” He asks you

Dragons, and changelings? Were they causing trouble? Even then, why would some head of some education board care about all that? “I… Don’t really care for them, per se. Glad they reformed and all, but they’re a little too dainty for my taste.”

“Hmmm, dainty you say?” He said as he looked at you with a serious stare, drinking his tea as he did so “And yet, we have no idea what they are actually doing or planning. The same also goes for beings like the griffons, who are suddenly much more accepted despite the fact that’d they’d sell their own kin for a bag of bits. And then there are the Yaks, who would start a war with any country, including Equestria itself, over something minor. And the Hippogriffs? Well, we have yet to see where they stand…”

Uhhhhhhh… Ok. He was, kind of right, in a creepy and evil sort of way. Yaks did seem like dicks, and Griffons, as far as you knew, were actual fucking assholes. But this guy’s hate was unreal, what was his problem? And why did it involve you? “Ok, for the kinda most part, I can agree. But, Chancellor, I don’t mean to insult you or anything. But what does this have to do with anything? What does this have to do with me?”

“Because, you are the ‘Hero Colt’! And not just in name either. While Princess Twilight’s feats are in fact, impressive, I’d have to say that you easily match her skills, despite your age. And you have experience dealing with undesirables and criminals, even dealing with the notorious criminal, Sharpclaw. You, I believe, understand how dangerous these outsiders can be, and that is why I need your help.” Neighsay says as he taps his hoof on the table, some desperation in his eyes and voice.

Sharpclaw? Oh, right. That fucking guy who was robbing Flim and Flam, from way back. It’s true, you have dealt with many creatures that have been less than pleasant to know. But why did it matter to him? Why did he need your help? Just keep playing it up, Anon. Figure out what he wants. “Well, I’m honored that you’d seek my help, Chancellor. But, ummmm, why do you need my help exactly? What does it have to do with all these races?” You kept yourself from asking WHY he hated them, as you felt that may have been a bad trigger of sorts.

The Chancellor sighed as he held his cup. He looked depressed and defeated all of a sudden, as his voice became softer and pathetic. “To be honest, Anon. My unscheduled visit with the Princess today was met with her usual misplaced optimism. Even worse, I had run into Princess Celestia, who shares her pupil’s sentiments. I had a vision, a vision that if I ended up not accrediting the school, and even locking it up, that I would be met with opposition that I’d not be able to contain. I realize just trying to make sure the school is never opened is not the way to go. Equestria’s very survival is now at stake due to her allowing ANYCREATURE to attend her school. Anycreature, that if they choose, can make off with important secrets and artifacts to bring back to their own race. This would spell the end for all of us, Anon. I cannot allow Equestria to fall because our ‘dear’ princess has a naive outlook on friendship. I know, for a fact, that you too have issues with her. So…” Neighsay gets off his seat, and bows to you “Please, I beg of your help. You are the only one I know of who has a desire to protect Equestria through any means necessary. The only one who is capable of mingling with these creatures without arousing suspicion.”

W-what?! Geez! This guy! Ok, so let’s recap this in your brain. He seems to hate anything not a pony, and has this idea that you think the same way he does. He does acknowledge your magnificence, so that’s good. But it also seems he wanted you to be some sort of lackey, or spy, or something. Was Equestria really in danger? Was there something he knew that no one else did? What did he even expect you to do? “W-well, I guess it depends on what it is. Considering your status, I’m not just gonna snub you out. But uh, you’re gonna have to give me some details and stuff.”

Neighsay took a moment to compose himself, and then took a sip of his tea. “It’s simple. I want you to enroll in Twilight’s school, if you haven’t already done so, and keep an eye on her non-pony students. I can feel it, some kind of trouble that could only come from them. I’d leave this all to you of course, at your own discretion. The only thing I ask is that I am not mentioned within your investigation, and that you send word to me once you have gathered sufficient evidence of their wrongdoing.”

Ok, once again, he was jumping ahead of himself. Or he assumed you were on the same page as him. And enroll in that fucking school?! Nope, no chance of that happening. “What do you mean keep an eye on them? And enroll in her school? Sorry to say, but I’d really rather not have to deal with it. Personally speaking, I think it’s stupid.”

Neighsay nodded in agreement “I can understand your feelings on it. But please reconsider, or at least think about it. As for the details of what I want you to do. Her school will play host to many creatures, such as dragons, yaks, griffons, and anything else SHE deems worthy. I refuse to believe that they, especially our 'former' enemies, are going to that school just to learn about friendship. I know you share my feelings on this, it’s why you must be the one keep an eye on things. It’s for the good of Equestria.”

Was this guy for real? Wait! Maybe he was for real. Twilight’s school is a pretty fucking big deal, no doubt, considering how respected this guy must be, that there is some weight to his words. Sure, he himself may end up being the season ender villain, if this was in fact a season of sorts. But if he isn’t, then he could be right. Still, you really would have to think about it, you really didn’t want to become Twilight’s student. “Like I said, I’ll think about it. But, uhhh, I can understand your fears. Especially when it comes to dragons. Considering, y’know, yesterday.”

“Indeed…” Neighsay sighed, feeling your answer less than adequate. Surprisingly, he did respect it, as he looked to you once again. “Then may I ask you to make a visit to the changeling hive tomorrow? They are the creatures I’m most worried about at the moment. You needn’t do much, just see if they are up to something. I’d even like you to see what student they plan to send to the school, see what they are all about. If you find anything, I ask you to send me a letter immediately. If not, then do not bother, as your silence will tell me you hadn’t discovered anything… yet. Are you able to do at least that for me? I will trust your answer if you say yes, and will even see about making sure your future choices in education, for you and your marefriend, are guaranteed.”

You thought that was already guaranteed. Either way, that didn’t sound too hard, and was way easier than signing up for Twilight’s school. You could say yes, go deal with the pussies, talk to whatever student they chose, and you wouldn’t even have to write anything because you already knew they were too wimpy to try anything due to Thorax being a nancy boy. You could just say yes and not bother, but you wanted to make sure no one could say you didn’t try. Haha! This guy, you had this in the bag. He was probably right though, just not about the changelings. If there was gonna be trouble, you could keep an eye out regardless, but you would also have to keep tabs on him as well, just in case. Hmmm, maybe this was more serious than you realized. Best to take it in small steps. Maybe it was nothing, and he was just being a worrywart. Either way, at least it was easy to secure your future in academics. “Ok, I can at least do that no problem. The changelings trust me, so it’ll be easy to go have a look see. I’m pretty thorough, and my magic will make sure I don’t miss anything. But I have your word, that if I do this, and no matter how it ends, I’ll have your recommendation for me and Diamond?”

He nods. “Yes, you helping is already enough to help settle my mind, as many others somehow think the Princesses’ way of thinking is the best way. Mnnnn, and I’m glad you came to a decision as well, as my hold on this realm is just about over” He says as the negative coloring of the area reverts to the Ponyville you knew. Neighsay remained calm as his spell ended, and zapped away the table,chairs, and tea set “Well then, it appears our business is over as well.”

“Yeah, it appears it is.” You looked up, it was night now at this point, you could see the stars “If I find anything, I’ll let you know. But don’t get your hopes up, ok? I somehow doubt they are up to something.”

“That way of thinking is what will be our downfall. I know you are smarter than that, Anon, and I trust you will be thorough in your investigation.” Somehow, he opens up a portal of his own, then looks back at you. This guy, he really was a powerful unicorn. Definitely a guy you didn’t want to get on their bad side. “I have your word, correct?”

Just to be polite, you do a bow “You do, as long as I have yours.”

“As I said, if you are honest with me, then I’ll be honest with you. It’s been an honor to meet you, Anon. While not completely like minded as myself, it is good to know there are foals out there who do not blindly follow the naivete of our princesses’ single minded views. Farewell, until we meet again.” He nods to you, then steps inside his portal as it vanishes out of sight.

You just blinked and stood there, confused. “Ok then… At least he didn’t rape me”

Chapter 32 - A Quick Rich Intermission

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You started to ponder as you made your way to the Rich mansion. Was that guy for real? Did he believe in you that much? Where did he hear those rumors? Was he right? Were all or some of the other races plotting something? Obviously not all of them, but some of their higher ups? Thorax wasn’t capable of shit, you knew that much. But what about his brother? You hadn’t met Pharynx, but he didn’t sound like too good a guy, even if he was turned good at some point.

Well, you’d find out tomorrow for sure. If there was some plotting going on, you and your horn could figure it out. Hell, maybe it wasn’t even the hive. Maybe he was referring to Chrysalis. But then, what of the other races? Chrysalis wasn’t the type to do a team up with someone she didn’t trust, so perhaps it wasn’t her either… But then, during the exam…

You arrived at the mansion mid thought, and looked upon it’s beautiful construct. The pillars, the glamourous front door, the well kept front yard. And inside? Your precious Diamond, waiting for you. You put aside your thoughts as you brush your mane back, head towards the door, and knock. “Hello? Is anypony there? It’s me, Anon!”

Oddly enough, the door opens not soon after you knock, as if someone was waiting for you.

“Mr. Anon, I’ve been waiting for you.” Said the voice of Mr. Rich, as he opened the door, stepped forward, and closed it gently with his hind leg. “But where are my manners? how are you, son?”

Wut? “Mr. Rich? Ummm, I’m doing alright. How are you? And erm…” This was kind of awkward, why was he waiting for you? “What’s up?”

“Doin’ alright, just a bit on the worried side of things. Considerin’ what happened today and all.” He said as he sat in front of you, and gently placed his right hoof on your head, giving it a very slow and gentle rub.

“Oh, you mean the exam? Yeah, but… Why are you worried? I alre-” But he interrupts you as he stops the motions of his hoof without removing it from your head.

“The missus already let me know what really went on, Anon. Can’t say I’m too pleased about it. Even nearly lost my cool…” He goes back to gently rubbing your head “Putting the lives of two foals in danger like that, that ain’t the Rich way at all.” His tone was grim, yet sorrowful. W-was he ok?

You frowned as you looked up at him. Did he get mad at his wife? Him? The ever cool Mr. Rich? Mnnngh, ok, maybe what she did was worth getting mad about in terms of his perspective and reputation, but…

You look up at him with big worried eyes as your adorable ears folded down “You’re not mad at her, are you? I know what she did was not very well thought out, and could have ended a lot worse. But, I’m not mad at her. I mean, as it turned out, I wasn’t in any real danger anyway. My Dad’s gear protected me.”

“And what about little ole Scootaloo?” Mr. Rich asked, seemingly suppressing his frustration in a way that while still seeming pleasant, there were hints of actual anger in his voice.

“Yeah… She didn’t get that. But…” Dammit, fine! Fuck! Ok! So it really was a shit situation, one you knew would make the headlines back in your world. Maybe Mrs. Rich deserved all she got from him… Whatever he did, but everything came out ok, and everyone got something out of it, even Scoots! She’s a Junior Wonderbolt now! Not sure what that entails exactly, but she’s proud of it.

“And what would have happened if she didn’t make it? Anon, I know you ain’t no fool, and I don’t want to lose my cool. But c’mon, son, yer smarter than this and…” Mr. Rich suddenly stopped, sat, and put his hoofs to his face as he shook it “And I’m to blame too, ain’t I? Got all sorts of mad, and I didn’t even take a look at myself. Could have told her no, could have had it stopped, but nope. I let it happen all the same. I’m a terrible pony, ain’t I, son?” Mr. Rich started to sob as he suddenly realized he was just to blame as everyone else. Really, everyone let it happen, from You to Twilight herself. Though, some were more in the know than others.

Poor guy, he just wanted everything to be fine and ok. He probably lost his cool because of what Mrs. Rich told him, not even realizing the full spectrum of what really happened. And now that he has, you felt pretty bad for him, he didn’t know that platform would collapse, and neither did you. “Mr. Rich, c’mon, it ain’t your fault. Nopony knew how dangerous it really was, and we all went into it thinking it’d be ok.” You sit next to him, and gently lean against his side “Mrs. Rich just got in over her head, which sort of caused this domino effect. In fact, you could say it’s like how business works. You can’t make a profit without some risk, right? Well, we all put in the risk, and walked our richer for it. Nopony got hurt, everypony is ok, and I’m sure Mrs. Rich learned her lesson, right? I mean, she looked pretty sad about it, right?”

“Well… She did look rather glum… And, I gotta tell ya, It don’t sit well knowin’ she’s a hurtin’. Really, knowin’ we all got some sort of lesson to learn makes me realize that maybe I should go back in there and sort things out.” Mr. Rich clears the tears from his eyes, and looks to you with a gentle smile “You’re a smart one, Anon, my boy. Thought this was gonna be a big long talk and lots of sortin’ out. But it hasn’t been ten minutes and you already got it all figured out.”

You look back to him with a smile and shrug of your own. “Well, y’know. It just seemed logical to me. Not every situation needs to be a long and drawn out mess, right?”

“Yer right about that.” Mr. Rich said as he reaches into his shirt. “Anon, I’m gonna give ya somethin’. Somethin’ I’ve kept with me since I earned it.”

Since he earned it? “What is it?”

And that when he pulls it out, a shiny but old looking bit. “My first bit, of course. Kept it with me all this time, to remind of when I took over the family business and started earning my keep. Well, right now, you managed to squash this whole messy situation faster than, And I do dare say it, our Princess of Friendship. For that, you earned it.” He places the bit on the frog of your hoof, then gently puts his hoof on your head as he sniffles and tears up “My son.”

Shit, really? All this over somehow solving the problem so fast? And his first bit?! You didn’t even know he had a Scrooge McDuck styled heirloom he carried around. You probably shouldn’t accept it, but you knew it’d make him happy if you did, and that is what’s important, making him happy. “Thank you, Dad, I’ll cherish it always. In fact, check this out” You take the bit, and open up your saddlebag. You then pop it inside for safekeeping. “There we go, safe and sound.”

“Er… Ain’tcha got a near limitless supply of bits in there, son?” Mr. Rich asked, as he stoically blinked, a little baffled by what you did.

SHIT! “U-uhmm! Erm..!” You quickly open the bag, and look inside. SHIT! “Mr. Rich, I-I’m... I didn’t… I… Huh?” You are stopped when Mr. Rich reaches into your bag, takes out a bit, quickly inspects it, and pockets it. Wut? “Is that…?”

“The bit? Yes indeedy. No harm done, Anon. I’ve been handling money for years now, and it ain’t too hard to tell the difference from one bit to another. But I think I’ll hold on to it for a little while, at least til you got a better place to put it.” Mr. Rich said with a soft chuckle. He could tell you were impressed, and played it up a little by being rather modest.

Just… Woah. You were speechless. How the fuck?!

“Wellll” Mr. Rich took a stretch as he gave you a head pat “Gonna go talk to the missus now, get things straightened out and such. Thanks again, Anon, yer a real hero, and don’t let nopony tell you different.” Mr. Rich says, feeling his emotions revigored enough to have a proper talk with his wife.

“Y-yeah. You take care Mr. Rich, and erm, tell Diamond I said hi, ok?”

“Sure will” He said with a wink “You take care, son”

Chapter 33 - Running into Cozy Glow

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You had returned home after meeting with Mr. Rich, not wanting to spend the night on anything else. You had to plan out your day accordingly, as you had a lot more to do than you initially realized. You have to get up, go see Scootaloo, go to the hive and check on the changelings, and then to add to all that, you had to see Diamond. And you realized you should see Bonbon. Why did you have to see Bonbon? Because she probably may have some insight on whatever the fuck that Neighsay guy was going on about. You didn’t know if she’d have any information, but if she did, you had to know so you could act accordingly. You’re the hero colt after all, so if you could squash the problem yourself, then you should make doing that a priority.

You had the day in the bag, it shouldn’t be too hard to pull off if you don’t fall off track.

When you woke up, you gave your head a gentle rub as you yawned. No distractions, just focus and get it over with and… Oh hey! There’s a couple of tickets floating over your bed for some reason, and a note. Might as well see what that’s all about. “Ok Discord, what’s all this then?” You say to yourself as you lean up and grab the note to take a closer look see. “Lesse, hmmm…”. It was an invitational letter to the ‘Basement Theater’ for a screening of Twilight’s surprise. Oh shit! The madman actually did it! Well then, hmmmm. It seemed the premiere is tonight… And to bring a friend? He wants you to bring someone over? Diamond? No, Diamond wouldn’t appreciate seeing Twilight being shocked, especially if it was worthy of being this grand. Ah! But Starlight might get a kick out of it! And she’s been in the house before, so no problems there. You wondered if Discord wouldn’t mind Trix… Oh, suddenly a third ticket? Heh, looks like Trixie is coming too. Seems dear old Dad was giving you ample time to set up a group to watch Twilight’s… Whatever. Man, it has to be good to be this elaborate. Alrighty then…

You slip the tickets into your saddle bag as you get off your bed for a stretch. “Ok, let’s see, should still be set for Ponyville… sooooo.” You go over to your portal door, swing it open, and step through. But when you do, you end up tripping over something… or someone. You land directly, face first, into the grass. Well, at least the ground was soft.

“Owie! Owie! Ogh…” You hear behind you, the adorable whines of some unknown filly. You get up, shake your head to remove the loose grass and dirt, and turn around. Behind you, rubbing her right foreleg, was a small and adorable pegasus filly. She was pale pink in color, with brownish eyes, and a poofy mane, curled into circles every which way and topped off with a cute little yellow bow. Her cutie mark, oddly enough, was a red rook… Like chess? Poor thing, you didn’t mean to hurt her. You didn’t even see her.

“OH shi-, I mean, you alright?” You ask, before making any physical movements.

“Mhmm, I’m ok mister… Oh.” When the filly turns to you, her eyes light up as her mouth forms a rather lively grin. She then puts her hooves to her cheeks in surprise as she stammers “A-are you, Anon? W-wowie! I didn’t expect to run into a hero today! Or…” She lets out an adorable little giggle “really, him running into little tiny me.”

D’awwww! You've never seen this pony before, but you could already tell she was super cute and innocent, and she seemed rather happy just to be in your presence. A fan maybe? Well, maybe you could hang around a little and brighten up her day. “Y-yeah! Haha! Sorry about that, erm…”

“Oh!” The filly gasped in surprise “You actually wanna know my name?”

Geez, was she that starstruck? Well, it’s super cute, that’s for sure. unlike the dumb duo. “Mhmm” You reach over and give her a boop on the nose, causing her to let out a cute squeaky giggle. “I always want to know the names of all the good little ponies I meet.”

“Oh gosh!” She blushed, grabbing her cheeks and swaying her head about “You’re so sweet. Ummm… Oh!” She lets out another giggle, and gives you a sunny smile “My name is Cozy Glow! It’s very very nice to meet you, Anon. I feel so very honored that’d you’d speak to me so suddenly. Erm…” She looks down, and gently kicks her hoof at the dirt, feeling shy about your presence “I hope I’m not bothering you.”

Your heart! Aww! This poor little thing. Ok, Anon, relax. Just really, make sure she has a nice and shiny day. “Oh no no, always nice to meet a fan. I assume you saw the exam yesterday? Pretty cooooool, right?”

“Mhmm!” She nodded “It was so amazing! And looked so dangerous! How ever did you manage to get out of it ok?” She asked, looking absolutely enthralled.

“Oh, you know.” You snickered as you stood tall and arrogant “I’m just good like that.”

And she buys it! Oh man, she’s just too cute. “Gee whiz! It was all scary and stuff and you don’t look like it worried you at all. But I guess that’s why you’re the hero, huh?”

You give her a gentle pat on the head, in which she actually nuzzles under your hoof for the affection. D’AAWWWW! “That’s right! Though anypony can be a hero. Even you” You give her another boop “Being a hero isn’t just about beating baddies, but just being there for your friends and stuff. That makes you a hero in their eyes, and it’s just as important.”

“Golly, that’s really inspiring! In fact, that’s why I’m enrolled in Princess Twilight’s school! So I can learn all about FRIENDSHIP!” She says that last word rather darkly, and you could have sworn her eyes went red there for a moment. But you are just still waking up, so probably just a trick of mind. With all the possible dangers going on, it’s no wonder you’d think such a thing. “Oh! Anon, are you enrolled too? Oh! Do you think we’re going to be classmates? I’d think that’d be really nice. You seem so smart about friendship, I’d love to be your study buddy!”

Ogh… Here we go. Poor thing, you didn’t want to disappoint her, but… “Cozy, erm. I’m not going to the school, I kinda already know everything there is to know about friendship. At least, in my eyes. Princess Twilight’s way is… erm… just not the way I do things.”

“What?!” She seemed utterly surprised, to the point that her adorable tone broke into one that sounded like frustration. Then she just kind of froze there for a moment before she giggled, hovered upwards, and tapped on her forehead. “Oh! I get it! Oh boy, I sure do feel like a wittle dumb dumb not realizing just how great you really are. Of course you’d know everything about friendship already. You helped that pony that was working for that mean ole Storm King, right?”

Oh, so she knows about that? Heh, well given that Neighsay had heard things about you, it shouldn’t be of any surprise. “Yeah, even helped another pony named Starlight. I’m pretty good at things like that. I mean, anypony can be good at making good friends and even helping those who initially seem bad. Even you, Cozy Glow. You want to learn about friendship, but I think you’re pretty friendly already. You must have lots of friends!”


“Erm…” She suddenly floats down to the ground, looking pathetic and depressed. “Actually, I’m not really good at friendship at all. I don’t really have any friends…”

She has no friends? This adorable little thing? WHAT?! Well, you hope Diamond doesn’t get jealous, because this little filly needed your help! HERO COLT POWERS, ACTIVATE! “Well, that’s just not true” You tell her with a soft smile.

When she looks up at you, she has tears in her eyes as she lets out a small sniffle “W-what do you mean?”

“I mean, you have a friend right here! Because, well…” You move in and give her a gentle hug “I’ll be your friend! I’m not always around too much, but when I am, and you see me, I’ll always be willing to talk. And heck, I have other friends you could meet in case you get lonely, and they can be your friends too. Doesn’t that sound awesome?”

“W-wow…” She says, utterly stunned “Y-you’d be my friend? Weeeeaaalllyyy?” She says, her smile returning as she adorably holds her cheeks again.

“Yep! I mean, I’m kinda busy right now, but I’d like to meet up later at some point. I go to Cheerilee’s school, so, y’know, you know where to find me.” Actually, that was really odd, you have never seen this filly before. Maybe she’s from out of town? Twilight’s school was nearly built, and there has been a lot more ponies in Ponyville lately. So, yeah, that could be it.

“Ok! But I thought of an even better idea! It makes me so excited to even think it!” She starts hopping left and right, trying to contain whatever grand thought she had in her head.

A thought? Well, if she was that excited to think it, might as well hear her out. “What’s that?”

She hops up onto the fountain and point towards the direction of the school “Well!” She starts to hover as she speaks, looking directly at you “Since you’re so super knowing about friendship! Why don’t you become a professor? I’d weally love learning about friendship from you. I bet you know things Princess Twilight and her friends don’t at all.” She lands, then shakes her head left and right disapprovingly “Mmm mmm, no sireee. Nopony has what you have, and I’d love to be your first student… erm…” She giggles shyly, blushing “If you’d have me.”

This adorable pony, she’s so… Well meaning. Fuck, and those words. Her belief in you. You just met her and it’s like she put her entire soul into you just now. You, a professor of friendship? Professor Anon, has a nice ring to it actually. It really put you in deep thought too. Despite you telling Twilight her school was pretty dumb, this actually might be something you’d want to try. It’d let you keep an eye out for whatever the fuck is scaring that Neighsay guy, possibly get you out of Cheerilee’s school, and let you actually show other ponies how to do friendship right, the human way. But most of all, you could show Twilight what you’re truly capable of in the art of friendship. Hmmm… You’ll need to see if she’ll even accept you though. She should, you’ve done enough to prove you’re capable. “You know what, Cozy Glow? That really isn’t a bad idea. I do happen to know a lot about friendship, I’m sure I could convince Princess Twilight to let me become a professor at her school. Heh, I’d probably be the youngest professor in Equestria too.” You chuckle as you give it some thought. Eat that, Starswirl!

“Ooooh! That might very well be true! I’d really like that, you being a professor I mean. Do you really think you can become one?” She asks, intent on hearing your answer.

You probably could, especially if you had Spike backing you up. You both were bros at this point. Top that with what you have done for Equestria and it’d be a done deal! Heh, you wonder what being a professor of friendship would actually be like. Eh, probably super easy shit, whatever, still good. “Yeah, convincing the princess shouldn’t be too hard. Considering everything I’ve contributed to Equestria so far, convincing her should be cake.” Oh man, wait til Discord finds out. He’s gonna slap his knee and die laughing when he finds out you plan to outdo Twilight at her own fucking game.

“Oh, I’d like that very much. You’re so nice and sweet, Anon… Erm, Professor Anon, sir.” She did a cute little bow along with that title drop.

“At ease, my student” You strike a rather snooty pose as you pat Cozy on the head “For I am a merciful teacher.”

Cozy Glow had a giggle at that “You’re so silly, Anon. And… Oh!” She gasped in surprise “Weren’t you busy with something? You said you had to go, right?”

Wut? Awww, she was worried that she was taking up your time. Cute, but you didn’t mind hanging out with her. “Yeah, but I don’t mind hanging out with you a little longer. I want you to know that I really care about you, you know?”

“Oh, ummm. I’m really glad to hear that, Professor, truly I am. But I don’t want to take up your time, no I don’t. And besides, I was actually going home right now to get some bweakfast… oooohhh” She whined as she rubbed her adorable tummy. “But if we could meet up later, would that be ok? I don’t mind finding you.”

“Well, I don’t want to hold you from breakfast, and nah, we'll meet up soon. You run along, Cozy Glow. Oh! And for your first lesson, I just want you to stay optimistic, ok? Because I already know you’ll do ok. You’ll have a lot of friends before you know it.”

And then you saw it again, a quick flash of an evil glare. “Oh, I know I will, all thanks to you, professor!” She says as she gives you a gentle hug. “Bye bye!” and with a wave, she was off, skipping along happily on her way.

That glare, did you really see it? Or was your mind really that muddled? Nah, she was just a poor little filly looking for friendship, and as usual, you made another pony happy just by being yourself. Humans one! Twilight zero! Too easy! And Cozy Glow herself? Ogh, you were glad you were able to hold in any sexual feelings about her. Either you were getting better, or you just didn’t even want to risk making such an innocent little pony uncomfortable. As for Twilight, you’ll deal with that when you can, right now you had to get to the clubhouse.

Chapter 34 - Anon Vs. Scrappy

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You continued your trek to the clubhouse, ready to listen to whatever Scootaloo may have had to say. You thought about that cute filly you just met as well, she was so nice. Barely even knew her and she wanted you, Anon, to be a fucking professor at Twilight’s shitty ass school. Probably would be good too, now that you really thought about it, kids these days need realism in their lives. Though, as you woke up a little more and put more focus on the conversation itself, you did realize that Cozy Glow did seem off for a filly her age. Those glares, and hell, just the sudden timing of her being there at all…

“Wait a second… OH SHIT!” You stop, and quickly place down your saddle bag. You quickly sift through it until you find the map. Those glares, you could have sworn her eyes flashed red when she did them, or were they green? Shit! You frantically open the map and take a look near the position of the fountain and… “Huh…” There was nothing there, no dot of any sort. The only dot on the map was Scrappy’s, which was located at the clubhouse. You groan and put your hoof to your forehead in frustration “Dammit, Anon, you really did overdo it last night. Fuck man, she was there though. Am I overthinking things? No, I still have to keep an eye out for her, but I can’t let myself get too obsessed again. I swear, that filly was giving me the evil eye…” You deduced that your tired mind was running away from you at this point, you just had to not think so hard on it. You put away the map, and make your way to the clubhouse once more. “Scrappy is there too, huh? Good, maybe that means he actually knows something.”

When you got there, you wasted no time walking up the panels up to the door before giving it a knock. Your mind once again wandered back to that Cozy Glow filly, and the fact that she had impeccable taste.

“Applebloom? Sweetie Belle? That you?” You hear from the other side of the door, it was Scootaloo, which meant she was alone with Scrappy.

“Nope, it’s me, Anon. Scoots, mind letting me in?” Good, they weren’t here. This information was meant for the three of you and the three of you only, also Bonbon.

“Oh! Ok, give me a second.” Scootaloo opens the door and lets you inside, poking her head out to make sure no one followed you. As you stepped past her, you noticed the clubhouse was covered in Rainbow Dash memorabilia, as well as Scootaloo herself donning a Rainbow Dash hat. Huh, did she have a club meeting before you arrived? “Good morning, Anon.” She said in a rather cheery mood “I just had one of the best club meetings ever! Everypony was treating me like a hero! Isn’t that cool?”

She seemed so damn happy, makes you wish you knew about the meeting, you would have shown up to see it. Or maybe that was a bad idea, didn’t want to upstage her after all. “That's super cool, Scoots, good for you!”

“Yeah!” She said with a triumphant hop “I bet this is how Rainbow Dash feels like all the time! I mean, eheh” She then remembered that she was being treated as a hero for surviving a collapsing structure, a feat she didn’t manage on her own. “I know it really wasn’t over anything too heroic or anything, but still, we managed to beat that thing together, so I know I’ll be doing real hero stuff soon. You think so too, right?” She looked to you, desperate for a yes.

You didn’t, but… “Sure, just remember not to overdo it, Scoots, ok? Hero work can be pretty dangerous and…” You quickly try to shift the topic, you didn’t want to dawdle on her moment of grandeur. It was nice she was optimistic, but the world of Equestria was too dangerous for a pint-sized wannabe hero. “Well, y’know, just remember to start out small. Speaking of small, I noticed Scrappy showed up on my map and that he was here but…” You looked around, you couldn’t see him at all “Where is he? Did he just leave? Did he say anything about Chrysalis?”

“Oh yeah, he’s here. And guess what! He does know something about it!” Scootaloo walks over to the podium near the back of the clubhouse, and taps at something with her hoof, just behind it. “Scrappy, Anon is here for the info”

“I know he is, but I wanted to get this costume off first. I am a ruthless puppy, not a pony! I didn’t want him to get confused.” You hear his childishly naive voice from behind the podium, you notice a single leg trying to shake off something blue with a rainbow tail and… Wut? Was he wearing a Rainbow Dash costume?

“Erm, I mean, you’re a changeling too, right?” Scootaloo asked as she stepped to the other side and picked up the costume, hanging it on a hoof on a wall near an RD poster.

Scrappy popped his head out from behind the podium. He gave you an evil glare that, while in his puppy form, was none too threatening. Hell, ever since he became the same as the other changelings, any visual threat he may have posed was thrown out the window. “Yes, yes I am. I am the captain, and the protector of all my friends. But I am not a pony! Ponies who are not my friend or friends of my friends are still dumb.” He then locked eyes with you, narrowing them as he spoke “You didn’t see me as a pony, did you, Anon?”

Good god, what was this idiot on about this time? “I mean, no, but… Why wear a costume at all? Why not just… y’know… change into whatever you were going to wear a costume for?”

“Because!” He stepped out from behind the podium and stood tall as he put his paw to his chest “I am a changeling and a dog! And nothing else! Erm…” Then suddenly he got confused, and calmed down, almost adorably so “ I mean, I haven’t really tried transforming into anything else since the queen left. I-i guess I’d become something really scary if somepony threatened my family or friends, but other than that, I like being a dog. I get to learn all sorts of things about loyalty, responsibility, love, respect, and fetch! I love fetch…” He just about drooled with a dumb smile on his face at the near mention of it. Still the same ole goof.

“Awww, c’mon Scrappy! You made a great mascot today, everypony loved you! Besides…” Scootaloo walked up to him and began to gently pat his head, causing his ears to fold as his mood pacified. “You didn’t seem to want to whine when you got all those hugs.”

“I do like hugs…” Scrappy murmured as he nuzzled into her hoof “I guess most ponies that are strangers are also good too.”

“There you go! See? Making friends on your own feels pretty good too, doesn’t it?” Scootaloo asked as she continued to gently pet at his head.

“I-i… Yes, it does feel pretty nice.” Scrappy admits as he finds himself lost in the affection. Then, like a switch being flipped, he snapped to attention with a few hops before looking at you with a smile and a waggity tail. “Oh wait! Speaking of friends! I have to tell Anon about the queen!”

Finally, it was a cute moment and all, but this was damned important. “Yes, Scrappy, please. What can you tell me about her? I know she was there, she used her magic on the dragon statue. Please, tell me what you know.”

“Ok! But only if you fight me. I’ve waited a long time for you to get stronger like I have, and so, I DEMAND A CHALLENGE!” He barks out as he pats his chest with his paw, looking at you with hardened determination.

“Scrappy, c’mon, no. Fighting your friends is bad, remember? I mean, you could just challenge Anon at chess again.” Scootaloo didn’t like to see Scrappy get riled up for a fight. She knew how serious he could get, and she knew it could lead into trouble.

As for you, you felt he had to be kidding. Scrappy could barely tap you when he was living in your basement, and with all your training, he had zero chances of beating you now. You didn’t need to go through a back and forth of yes and nos, so you raise your hoof to get their attention and accept his challenge “Its fine, Scoots, if he wants to challenge me then I’ll oblige him. Besides, I’ve been meaning to give my new skills a proper test.”

“Yes!” Scrappy does a hop of excitement before he prepares himself to rush right at you “Finally! He accepts! For the honor of Master Applebloom, I shall crush you!”

Scootaloo slapped her hoof over her own forehead with a sigh “Anon, why? Now he’s going to want to destroy you again. Besides, one of you could get seriously hurt, y’know?”

“Heh, you’re sounding like Applebloom there, Scoots. Look, it’ll be fine. I’ll just pin him and make him give up.” You say with a smirk as you enter a battle stance.

“Ugh, don’t say I didn’t warn you, Anon. Scrappy has been training a lot, both as a changeling warrior and a dog. He’s gotten super tough. But if you’re gonna be that way, then I’ll just be ready with the first aid.”

What? She didn’t believe in you? Goddamn it, c’mon Scoots, you could of sworn you both were closer than that. “Alright, whatever. Come at me, Scrappy, it’s go time!”

“FOR MY FRIENDS!” But Scrappy doesn’t charge at you, instead he reaches under the podium to pull out a basket of Rainbow Dash pins.

Wut?

“What are you going to do with those? Pin them on me? Look, you got three more seconds to make a move before I atomic buster your butt.” Like seriously, what was he planning to do with those?

“Exactly! You say you’re going to pin me down, but it is I who will do the pinning! Take this, Anon!” Scrappy, at breakneck pace, is able to snap off the sharp ends of the pins and toss them at you like a needle machine gun. Without falter, he became as fearsome as a German machine gun.

“W-what in the AGH!” You immediately began dodging the barrage of needles the best you could, jumping and weaving through the onslaught of pricks. While most hit the wall behind you, it eventually became overwhelming enough for you to have to use your saddlebag as a shield to protect you from the rest of the shots. Miraculously, due to your increased reflexes and thinking, you get out of it unscathed, though your bag was now a pin cushion. “Aha...ah..ha… HA! Nice try, Scrappy! But there was… Huh?” When you looked back at the podium, he was gone.

“SNEAKY SPIKE STRIKE!” Scrappy screamed out, suddenly from behind. Did he use that attack as a distraction then? You couldn’t really keep track of him when you used your saddlebag as a shield. You also didn’t have time to turn around when you felt a pin get shoved right into your right asscheek.

“GYYYAH!” You jumped forward, a jolt of pain hitting your rear as Scootaloo’s giggles filled the air. You look back at Scrappy, who falsely yawned as he put his paw over his mouth. “You little! That really hurt!”

“It was supposed to. I have given you, Anon, the pain in the rear you have oh so talked about many a time. NOW PREPARE FOR SALTY TEARS!” He cries out once again as he breaks his smug pose.

“Salty what now? What are you on abAFDFDASDAS” You cover your eyes with your hooves after Scrappy makes another lightning quick movement. As in, he somehow pulled salt out of fucking nowhere and threw it right into your eyes, causing you to fall. “HOLY CRAP! WHERE DID YOU EVEN GET SALT FROM?! GYAHH GEEZ!” You could barely see as you tried to wipe your eyes clean from the salty pain.

“I have been carrying around salt with me for many months! I was originally going to save it for my friends in case they forgot their own salt for use on delicious food, but it seemed good to use it now to open you up to my final attack!” Scrappy said as he prepared himself for a pounce.

“Months?” This confused Scootaloo greatly, as she never saw him with any kind of carrying case. “Scrappy, where were you keeping the salt all this time?”

“The perfect hiding place! Up my butt! It didn’t sting or anything thanks to my exoskeleton. The perfect hiding place!” He said with a happy little hiss.

Scootaloo cringed at that, that was gross. “Y-yeah, oogh… Sorry, Anon.”

“Wait. WHAT?! N-NGH?! MNGHHHH.” You could feel it, a sickening rumble in your stomach. That was too gross, you had what was essentially bug turd in your fucking eyes. Did changelings shit? You didn’t know, and you didn’t want to know. But the image was still in your head. “I-I don’t feel… so…” You just couldn’t hold it in, or really pay attention to what was going on. You hadn’t even realized Scrappy had finally made his charge forward towards you to pin you down. The moment Scrappy moved in close, you began to hurl,and hurl, and puke, and throw up, and everything else dealing with the action of spilling your guts out. Hell, it didn’t even make sense! How did the salt not dissolve after all that time?! It was too much, you fell unconscious just from the grossness of it all. It was in your eyes for christ sake!

“Agh! NGH! WHAT IS THIS?!” Scrappy cried as you puked all over his face during his charge. He stepped back as he shook his head, gagging from the smell of your vile bile. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get much of the liquid or it’s smell off his face. “It smells so bad! I-is this what Anon’s insides smell like?! Ngh, so… smelly… Anon smells worse than… Yak fart...nghaaaa” And he fell, and he fell hard, right onto his chin. Scrappy was out like a light so hard he reverted to his colorful changeling state upon unconsciousness.

Scootaloo just walked over and looked at you, and then Scrappy, and sighed. “Tie? I guess? Uhh…” Scootaloo could not only smell the puke coming from Scrappy’s face, but the salt he threw onto you had a pungent odor of its own which most likely contributed to your vomiting. “Ogh, that smells… Erm…” Scootaloo walked back to a set of drawers near the corner of the clubhouse and pulled out a lemon scented deodorizing spray. She walked up to Scrappy and gave his face a spray, instantly killing the odor. She then looked to you and gave you a spray as well. “There we go, that’s uh… Much better.”

Chapter 35 - Chrysalis - Friend or Foe?

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“Anon? Hey, Anon. You ok?” Ugh, you could hear Scootaloo’s voice. But you couldn’t remember what happened after Scrappy challenged you. Did you get knocked out? Did you knock him out? And why did your eyes hurt?

“Ugh, Scoots? Ngh… what happened?” You opened your eyes to a blur of colors. You could see you were under a blanket marked with rainbow lightning bolts, and you could feel a pillow under your head. “D-did I win? Or lose? Erm…”

Your vision began to clear, and you could see Scootaloo looking rather unsure as she looks behind herself. It seemed Scrappy, as well, was knocked out due to… something. “Oh um, well, it was a tie actually.”

A tie? “Wha? How did that happen? I remember accepting his challenge but… Nothing right after that. Also...” You licked at your muzzle, tasting the bitter taste of something soapy and lemony “Why do I taste lemony fresh?”

Scootaloo put on a false looking smile as her voice jittered a tad “Oh um, you headbutted him and you both got knocked out. As for the smell, erm…” She shrugged “Wouldn’t know. Maybe you’re just tired or something” Huh, it was like something much worse happened and she didn’t want to let you in on it. Weird, especially since you don’t get knocked out by headbutts so easily. But then again, you were feeling rather woozy today. First that weird filly, and now getting knocked out by a headbutt. C’mon, Anon, you can do better than that!

“Yeah, maybe. I have been feeling really off, ngh. Can’t believe it was a double K.O. though.” You leaned upwards and gave your head a rub. Huh, you didn’t feel any kind of head pain. “Anyway, ugh… Can you wake him up and ask him yourself to tell me the info on Chrysalis, it’s really important that I find out.”

“Well, actually, Scrappy did tell me everything he knew about it.” Scootaloo said, as her sudden timid nature began to subside.

“What?! Then why did I have to fight him?!” You bellow

“I mean, he has been wanting to challenge you again for a really long time, Anon, especially after you finished your training. I didn’t wanna tell him no.” Scootaloo explained.

Of course, the little bugger must have been begging for a fight for awhile, ever since your training started most likely. “Right… Ok then, so, what’s the news then?”

“Well, there’s good news. And there’s some bad news. In that order” Scootaloo said

Huh… He knew enough to have both kinds? This oughta be interesting. “So what's the good news then?”

“Well, Scrappy says Chrysalis actually… well… saved us.” Scootaloo said, her voice not as cheerful as it should be given such news.

But you? Hah! You knew it! Or you felt it anyway, despite your previous fears. “Hah! I KNEW IT! Told you! Chrysalis may still be evil, but she’s still my friend. Plus, she must be learning something if she saved the both of us out of the blue and… wait” How did she save the both of you? From the glow of the statue, it looked like she blew it up herself. “How did she save us exactly?”

“Well, that’s the thing, she tried to save us. Scrappy says if you could notice her aura, then she was using a lot of magic on the statue. And the reason why she was using magic on the statue was because the gears were mangling each other at that point. Chrysalis tried to stop it altogether, but couldn’t hold it for long.” Scootaloo explained.

So the sounds of the gears, before the aura, that was the entire platform falling apart. Well then, the bad news didn’t sound too bad, and didn’t hold a candle to the good news. “Well, the bad part is behind us. Good to know we don’t have to worry about her now, now if only I could find her…”

“Erm, Anon, wait. That statue blowing up wasn't the bad news, I didn’t even say what it is yet. Actually…” Her ears began to fold and droop as she prepared her next words “You’re probably not gonna like this next part.”

Relax, Anon, you already know she tried to save you. Good enough to make whatever bad news you were about to hear to be pretty insignificant. “What is it?”

“Well, the reason Scrappy said she tried to save us in the first place was because he knows how she is. And so, he said there were actually two possibilities why she tried. The first was because you’re her best friend, and the other… erm… She um... “

“C’mon, Scoots, out with it. What other possibility could there be?!” Like, what else could it be?!

Scootaloo sighed, and looked at you with intense worry “The other possibility is that she wants to destroy you personally. Scrappy says she might want to get her revenge for what happened to the other changelings, personal revenge, as in she won’t let anything happen to you until she can destroy you herself.”

Shit, how could you forget that possibility? But, it can’t be that, right? She was stupid pissed when she ran off, but she was still your friend, right?

...Right?

Scootaloo could see you mentally trying to rationalize the news, and it was something she hated. She hated seeing you still try to hold onto such a friendship. She knew even when you verbally say you were over it, that you still clinged to it for reasons even she couldn’t understand. “Anon, I’m worried about you. If she wants to destroy you then we can’t keep this to ourselves. We have to tell somepony, she’s too dangerous.”

You sat there, silently, pondering. You couldn’t really tell anyone else, not even Discord. The only person you felt comfortable telling was Bonbon, and this was due to two reasons. Her skills, and the fact that in the show she really has done next to nothing when it comes to saving the world, which meant in the end, she wouldn’t get in your way. Still though, if Scootaloo was going to be worried so much about it, perhaps looking at Bonbon’s skills in a more optimistic light might be needed, if only because it could come to a surprise at how good she actually is at her job. Hell, if there happens to be some sort of final showdown, maybe she’d have the means of subduing Chrysalis without you even having to be there. All this, of course, if Scrappy’s second possibility turns out to be true, as she could have still just saved you due to friendship. “You’re right, Scoots. Thats why I’m gonna tell Bonbon about it. If anything, she should be able to help me out.”

“Anon! You can’t just… Oh wait” Scootaloo’s ear twitched as her face made an expression of pure confusion “You’re actually going to tell somepony?”

You nod “Yeah, I mean it’s dangerous not to, right?” It really wasn’t, as another thing you had was the horn, something she had no chance against anyway.

“Yeah… Ok, I guess that's alright. You’re not messing with me? You are going to tell her, right?” Scootaloo questioned

You nod again as you wave your hoof at her “Yeah, yeah, you have my word and my promise. But I’m gonna do that after a few errands. I gotta see the changelings today, and then Twilight.”

“The changelings?” Scootaloo was once again confused “Why? I thought you found them creepy.”

You shrug “I just wanna make sure everything is on the up and up, especially now that we know Chrysalis is skulking about. Better safe than sorry, right?”

“Yeah, that’s actually pretty true. I mean, Thorax seems nice, but we really don’t know what goes on over at that hive.” Scootaloo said as she rubbed her chin. Scootaloo, while she loved and trusted Scrappy like a little brother, still had trust issues with the rest of the changelings. It made sense, given that there still had to be some tension deep down within her after being attacked by them so long ago.

“Exactly.” You nod

“Ok, but what about Twilight then? Why see her? Unless you’re gonna tell her about Chrysalis too, which I kinda think you should, just in case” Scootaloo asked

“That's sort of a last resort kind of thing, Scoots. I just wanna see her about… Well… Don’t laugh.” Oh god, she’s gonna laugh. “I want to ask if I could work as a professor at her school.”

“You mean, teaching others about friendship stuff? I don’t think that’s funny, that’s actually kind of cool.” Scootaloo said, looking at you with an uplifting smile

“Seriously? You think it’s cool?” Woah, you expected her to laugh at you.

She nods “Yeah. I mean, you’re a kid like us, but you’ve managed to do so much in terms of friendship. Sure, you didn’t reform Chrysalis, but you reformed really scary ponies like Starlight and Tempest. I mean Rainbow Dash could have done it too, but you managed to do it before her, or even Twilight even. You have this knack that other ponies don’t have. So yeah, I think you could do it. Heck, I even got a cool title for you. You could be a professor of ‘Alternative Friendship Techniques’. Pretty cool, right? Just came up with it now!”

Wow, that was really encouraging of her, it made you feel like you could actually do it. “Yeah, that’s actually a pretty darn cool title. I think I’ll use it, thanks Scoots.”

“No problem, Anon. Though, if you do this, I’m gonna miss you. I mean, you know, at school.” She said with a soft frown

Wha? “You and the girls aren’t going to Twilight’s school?”

Scootaloo shook her head “Never got an invite, so nope. I guess she thinks we’re already good at friendship or something. I dunno, I guess. I don’t even know how that school is going to work. But if it's about teaching friendship, then you’d be perfect for teaching alternative techniques and stuff.”

Ok, why does she keep mentioning “alternative” techniques? It was kind of irking you. “Why do you keep saying that? Are you saying I can’t teach any normal friendship stuff?”

Scootaloo hesitates at first. But she does indeed nod with a slight grimace. “Erm… I mean, ummm… You kind of do ‘not so friendly’ kinds of things sometimes, Anon. I’m not knocking you or anything like that, but you know how Twilight is. That’s why I said ‘alternative’. Because one, you really are good at reforming bad guys, and two, its nothing like anypony else has ever seen, which makes it 'alternative'. See what I mean now?”

Huh… Well, while you still felt you were good at friendship all around, but you couldn’t deny that dealing with especially bad guys seemed to be mostly your strong suit. “I think I do, and… Thanks, Scoots. It’s good to know I at least have your support.” You tell her with a smile as you put on your horn.

“No problem, Anon, we’re a team, remember? We gotta get each others backs and support each other too. So, you going to the hive already?” She asks as she steps back, and opens up a cooler at the side of the podium.

You nod “Yeah, gotta get it done as soon as possible, you know?”

“Yeah, especially with what we know now. Here!” She takes an apple juice box from the cooler and tosses it towards you “In case you get thirsty, because… you could get thirsty.” She said, as her smile suddenly became awkward. What did she mean by that? You did feel rather parched, now that you thought about it, as if you had expelled a ton of liquid. But even then, it was odd to see her acting weird. But whatever, she was probably just worried.

“I will, thanks, Scoots, seeya soon” You wink at her as you catch the box, and then disappear in a flash of light.

“I really, really hope he knows what he’s doing.” Scootaloo remarks before tending to Scrappy, worried about your mental state and health.

Chapter 36 - The Cute Bug, Ocellus

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In a flash of light, you appeared before an ominous yet rather cheerful mound that towered quite high. It was full of holes and had a large gaping entrance, all covered by beautiful flowers and greenery. Even around you, gardens were being well kept despite the outer area being a dry husk of a wasteland. Indeed, this was the changeling hive under Thorax’s rule. You stood there, and started sipping from the straw of the juice box as you thought internally to yourself out loud. “Ok, so that Neighsay guy said they are probably up to something, but what? This place is actually coming to look like a rather nice place for a giant termite hill.” You then put the juice box, half empty, into your bag. It’d be good to use to return home once you were finished.

But you did have to be careful, as you have only been inside once before during the time they moved back in. Who knows what they might be doing now, especially when they aren’t expecting company. You took a breath, and headed on inside.

Inside, you could see a network of tunnels and holes, along with sprawling large rooms between them. It looked like being inside yet outside, as everything was rather organic in its make. In the patches of sunlight coming from the outer walls, more greenery and flowers could be seen, and yet this isn’t what catches your eye. “Christ…” You could see many a colorful changeling, merrily giggling, having fun, and being generally merry, if a little pathetic. You also overheard such strange things such as “I tried throwing more sponges into the bath, but I didn’t feel any more relaxed” or “Being cool is really hard, y’know? I can only handle having so many ice packs on me before I get chilly. Maybe I should take a few off next time, right?”

For the most part, they seemed rather busy, so busy that they just didn’t notice you. Were you invisible? Or were they plotting something so hard that they failed to notice a foal in their midst? And if they were plotting, why did they seem as fucking stupid as Scrappy?

“Anon?” You hear from above. That voice, that pathetic voice. You look up to see the king of the color bugs, Thorax, hovering down in front of you “H-hey! Welcome to the hive!” He carefully lands in front of you, looking a little irked at your presence, but still generally friendly. “Didn’t expect to see you here… ever actually, but its very nice to see you”

Wut? “Why didn’t you never expect to see me here?” You say, noticing other changelings have finally started to take notice of you.

“Well, because, last time you were here, I could feel a lot of hate coming off of you. And erm, well, it was like you blamed me for what happened to the former queen leaving. Which, erm, I think was kind of a good thing because… Well… she was pretty evil and oh… erm…” As if he could sense a sudden anger in you from the mention of Chrysalis, he stopped in his words, and tried to be more inviting “Well, welcome to the hive… again. How may I help you?”

Indeed, you did have those feelings before, and perhaps you were still a might sensitive. But dammit, you had a lead now, and since Chrysalis was focused on you, there was no reason to worry about her for now until you could figure out a plan. “Well, I actually came here for business. Friendship school business”

“Oh? Oh!” A happy little smile formed on Thorax’s face when you said those words “You’ve been invited to Twilight’s new school? That's wonderful! I’m sure she’ll be able to help you with your… Your…“ Thorax stopped himself when he realized he was going to say “everything”, he really did feel that, most of all, your meaner demeanor and unhealthy obsessions were a detriment to your health. “Yeah! That’s great! And I’m glad you came to tell me too, as we ourselves are learning more about friendship everyday, and would not mind sharing it with you.”

Wut? Did he think you came to have some wimpy pow-wow or something? “Yeah, right. But I’m actually here for a reason. See, I heard you had a changeling prepped up to go to the school or something, and I’d like to meet him, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh! You want to meet your future classmate! That’s nice of you. Sure I can get Ocellus if you want. Erm, she’s a girl by the way.” Thorax mentions as he begins to flitter his wings.

Wut? “A girl? You mean, like, a queen?”

“What? Oh no no, she’s just a female changeling, Anon. That doesn’t make her a queen though, why would you think that?” He asks as he stops his wing movement, confused by your statement.

“Erm, well. Aren’t all the changelings boys? With the queen being a girl?” What is this nonsense? You don't remember any other girls.

“Uhhhhh, um. Anon, we always had girls in the hive, didn’t you know that? I mean, you had the hive in your basement for a long time, so I’m sure you noticed.” Thorax just looked really confused now, he couldn’t figure out how you could be so ignorant.

You start to laugh falsely, trying to downplay your mistake “HAHA! Right! Just messing with you, Thorax. Just a joke among friends, of course I knew, was just… A joke.” Holy fuck, how did you not notice?!

Thorax was even further confused “Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?”

Ugh, you could feel the embarrassment run right through you, you just put your hoof to your face in shame. “C-can you just go get Ocellus, please?”

And Thorax could feel it, your embarrassment that is, and didn’t wish to push it further. “Right… I’ll go get her.” And with that, he flew off into one of the many holes of the hive.

You had female changelings the whole fucking time?! THE WHOLE TIME?! Females that you could have… No, wait, don’t get ahead of yourself. The changelings were a rather ugly sort aside from Chrysalis herself, and pretty dumb to boot, there was probably no way you’d fu-fu-fu-fu-fu…

As Thorax came back through the hole above, a gentle looking light blue bug, with soft eyes, followed behind. She was adorable, with a pink tail, and a pink head frilly… thing. Even her wings were cute. THAT’S OCELLUS?!

Thorax landed in front of you, and presented Ocellus to you with whimsy in his voice. “And here she is, your future classmate, Ocellus. I hope you both become fast friends!”

Ocellus looks to you with a childishly cute smile as she waves her hoof “Hey, Anon. It’s nice to see you again, I’m… actually surprised you remember me.”

Remember? How the fuck were you supposed to when you have never seen such adorable bugginess before?! HOW IS SHE SO CUTE?! “Oh, erm… Ahrm.” Be polite, Anon, she looks fragile. “I’m afraid I don’t, but I wouldn’t mind getting to know you now. Erm, Thorax, would you mind if I spoke to her alone? Y’know, ease things a bit for when we see each other again at the school?”

“Oh, um, ok! Ocellus, you don’t mind, right?” Thorax asks her

Ocellus shakes her head, still having that sweet smile “Not at all, if anything, this will help me further the friendship studies I’ve already been reading about. I’d love a chance to make friends with Anon, especially since he doesn’t remember me.” Huh, seems she didn’t seem hurt at all that you didn’t remember her… Weird, you’d think she would.

Thorax took his leave, leaving the two of you alone, though there were still other changelings about. It prompted her to invite you outside so you both could have a private chat. “So you’re going to Twilight’s school? That’s wonderful, Anon. I feel, personally, that there are so many more things to learn about friendship, more than what I can learn than just staying at the hive and reading about it.”

Man, she wasted no time in being adorably friendly. “Yeah, erm… you’re not hurt at all that I don’t remember you?”

She shook her head “Not at all, especially when you were dealing with so many other things at the time. But look, now we have a chance to not only be friends, but to be friends with so many others too! Isn’t that nice?” She said in a soft yet sickly sweet tone.

How could she be so nice and into friendship if she was down in your basement all that time? And even furthermore, being stuck with Chrysalis even before that. “Yeah, that sounds awesome. Though, I gotta ask, what got you so deep into wanting to go to the school in the first place?”

“Oh, um, a lot of things.” She looks up in the air and tilts her head as she starts to name things off “Being nice makes me feel better, having all kinds of friends seems nice, learning about the world around me is something I’ve always been interested in, and most of all…” She looks to you with a cheery smile “Knowing you, even from a distance, gave me a lot of courage to want to try.”

You? Wut? “Me? What did I do?”

“You managed to become friends with the queen, Anon. Ok, she’s sort of mean and really nasty, but you still managed to become her very first friend, which is incredible! I felt if you could make friends with her, maybe I could make friends with everycreature too!” She was really cheery about this. Hah, your own amazing abilities precede you.

“I mean, I am pretty great. Heh, glad I could help. Yeah, friendship is a pretty good thing, Ocellus, and I’m glad to have been an inspiration.” Yep, you were awesome and… wait, why is she blushing? “Ocellus? You ok?”

“Erm… um. Actually, I was thinking back…” She sat back, and started to shyly tap her hooves together “To when me and my sisters had a crush on you.”

WUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT?! THIS CUTE BUG, AND HER SISTERS, HAD A CRUSH ON YOU?! AS IN, MULTIPLE GIRLS?! “U-um, what do you mean?” You started to feel that familiar heat wash over you, did she still have a crush on you?

“Well, you were the only one to be friends with the Queen. And my sisters and I, I guess because we were the youngest, and kind of naive, kind of latched onto you and how cool you were. We were kind of always talking about how we could get close to you, and maybe, cuddle?”

You let out a huge breath of air, and started to slowly wheeze. “C-cuddle?”

“Mhmm, I remember you really liked to cuddle. Sometimes we thought about cuddling with you all at the same time, taking forms of things you found really nice.” She said.

GYAH! YOU COULD FEEL IT! THE MISSED OPPORTUNITY SHOOTING YOU TO DEATH WITH A MACHINE GUN! You felt dazed, your breath becoming heavier as you felt like crumbling right there. “A-all of you? A-at once?”

“Mhmm, we just wanted to make you feel really nice, and do whatever you asked us to. I-I mean, we also wanted to feed off you, but we still… Really wanted to be around you.” Ocellus said, her voice never becoming lustful, still retaining that soft innocence.

You were crumbling, you couldn’t handle this. You had multiple girls, MULTIPLE GIRLS, WHO COULD BECOME WHOEVER! WANTING TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD! HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE?! NOOOOOOOOOOOO! FUCKING NO! DEAR GOD, PLEASE, NO! WHY DID YOU MISS OUT ON THIS?! “E-erm, w-would it be weird if I asked why you didn’t come to me sooner?”

“Oh, well, that’s easy. We were afraid the queen would do something really bad to us. She kind of seemed like she wanted you to be her and the captain’s friend only, so we never tried. Really, back then, I was kind of scared to do anything. Or talk to anycreature else, even when I was… erm… bad.”

G-G-GUH. You were losing it! You couldn’t hold it together! “W-what about now? D-do you still feel the same way?”

She shook her head “Not anymore, everything is different now. I only have a crush on friendship! And wanting to learn as many new things as I can. That’s why I can’t wait to go to school, and it's all thanks to you, Anon! It’s the same with you, right?” She looks to you, then gasps in fright “Anon?!”

You were down on the ground, your color dulled, your libido crushed by the giant rocks of missed opportunity. It was right there in front of you, and you somehow just did not notice it. “Death, come unto me, for those who hesitate are lost. What am I, but a man with a lust for the tender flesh of the female form, to indulge in the fruit of pleasure at least once, as I’d not be able until I come of age. My life is nothing, I am nothing, the world is nothing, all due to the faltering of one’s own mind. Here lies the fool, defeated by his own ignorance. Leave me, for I am done.” You say in a grim tone before slamming your face to the ground.

“Erm, Anon…” Ocellus looked left and right, confused at your sudden poetry, thinking you were trying something for class. “T-that was sudden. I-I don’t really get it, b-but it sounded very… Poetic? A-are you alright?”

You said nothing, you just laid there, looking dead.

“I-I’m going to get King Thorax now. Erm…” She couldn’t say anything else as she could feel a dread in your heart ever growing. She went back inside the hive to get Thorax for help.

“Diamond, forgive me, for I have sinned… Or just really wanted to, that one time, god… fucking… dammit!” You slam your head the moment Ocellus was out of earshot.

Sometime after, Ocellus and Thorax came back outside to check on you. By that time, you were already up, brushing yourself off and highly frustrated with the fact you missed out on harem sex. Still though, if it’s one thing you could say, the changelings weren’t up to anything bad. Ocellus herself just seemed like an eager if naive little bug girl who just wanted to be studious and learn about friendship even further than what she could learn here at the hive.

With that, your mission was complete. You apologized to Ocellus for your shambling demeanor, explaining to her that you were just tired. Something she agreed with given how she remembered how you had trouble waking up in the morning. Thorax however, now knowing you were ok, seemed pretty pleased that you and Ocellus hit it off, as he could sense nothing but an odd sense of joy from you when you looked at her. He offered you a drink, and extended an invitation to some feelings therapy like...thing. But you declined.

You found it weird, however, this Ocellus. Maybe it was her eyes, or maybe it was her tone, but you felt that had you not influenced her in any way at all, that she would be this shy and timid creature afraid to show her own face. If that was the case, you must have really been something to break her out of that shell.

It made you think, maybe more good things came out of your friendship with Chrysalis than you thought. Hell, it’s not like she would have been an actual character or anything whose shyness would have been broken by five other misfits and their misadventures or some shit like that. You really were a hero. But if that was the case…

Dammit Chrysalis, were you not inspired enough? Could you really not see it?

As for you, was that obsession coming over you again? Maybe, Scoots and the others really were right. You had already done so much good already. This refocus on Chrysalis could bring everything down, especially if she somehow manipulated you through this. You can’t, you can’t let yourself ruin what you’ve already managed to do. So you look to Ocellus, and give her a nod. “It was nice meeting you, Ocellus, and I really am glad I could help inspire you to want to make more friends. You stay awesome, alright?”

“Ok! Thank you, Anon! It was really nice getting a chance to know you, erm, again! Also, drink more liquids, ok? I got scared there, and if I’m correct, drinking lots of water helps ponies stay hydrated and healthy.” She said to you, still worried about your health,

“Y-yeah, I-I’ll remember that. T-take care, you two, seeya when I sees ya” You used the remaining juice you had to return home. Welp, he was wrong about the changelings. So no worries there. And that Ocellus, she was alright. But just remember Anon, you have a girl already, just stick with it.

Chapter 37 - Professor Anon

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Upon returning home, you had a few choices available to you. Go to Bonbon’s or go see Twilight. True, you were going to do both anyway, but the temptation to ask to be a professor at the school was growing within you. But, these thoughts are broken when you could hear heavy machinery coming through your floor door. “Huh?” You hop off your bed and head towards it, opening it to peer downward.

There wasn’t much of a sight, just the usual oddities. But you did see Discord, donned in a suit and sunglasses and using a cell phone, pacing angrily around the trap door to the basement. “What do you mean you won’t have the snacks for the concession stand ready for tonight?! Don’t you realize Anon takes forty chapters just to go to the bathroom? That should leave you ample-Hmm? What? No, no… I can’t actually think of a time I’ve seen him use a bathroom, but my point still stands! If the stand isn’t ready by tonight, I’ll have your beard!” Discord growls as he hangs up the cell phone, and throws it to the ground, causing it to explode. “I swear, magically created clones are so lazy these days.”

Well, it seemed he was taking tonight very seriously, in his own way anyway. You decide to slowly close the door and head to your portal door, opening up to the city hall setting once again, near the center of Ponyville. You step through to make a trek towards the castle, but luck manages to favor you as you see Twilight walking by nearby, accompanied by Rarity. If anything, that makes things easier. They seemed to be heading towards the direction of the spa, which given Rarity’s presence, was probably exactly where they were headed. You decide to slowly follow, and trail from behind unnoticed by dashing behind poles and bushes to listen on their conversation.

“...Trust me, darling. You’ll feel like a new mare after all this. Really, you shouldn’t stress yourself too much about yesterday or Discord’s vulgar little stunt. Anon and Scootaloo are quite alright, so no need to worry about that. As for the statue, well, at least it was lemonade.” You could hear Rarity trying to pep up Twilight, who upon closer inspection, seemed pretty stressed out.

“I know, I know it was all part of the show, but it seemed so real and so dangerous to put those two through that, especially Scootaloo. As for Discord, ugh, UGH, that was worse than vulgar! And to even suggest using it as the centerpiece of the school?! Sometimes he just goes too far, especially these days. Rarity, I’m telling you, Anon has something to do with it, Discord would have never done something… egh, that gross.” Twilight whined, acting like a little bitch as far as you were concerned. How bad was it that she had to blame you?!

“And I told you I’d hear no such thing. Yes, Anon is a little rough around the edges, but he’s a good and courteous colt as far as I’m concerned. Besides, given the statue’s expression, it was clearly all Discord’s idea, I highly doubt Anon had anything to do with it. Twilight, I know you’re a little high strung right now, but you can’t both worry about him AND accuse him with such baseless accusations. Why would you even suggest such a thing?” Rarity asked. Yeah! Rarity stepping up to defend you! Well, you did know about the statue, but you had nothing to do with it, so Twilight could, in fact, fuck off.

“I… Hmmm. I guess I’m just not thinking clearly.” Or Twilight was still keeping the full truth about you a secret. Many in your friends and friends’ circles knew of your origin, but not of your age, so of course Rarity still thought of you as an innocent colt. Which you were, for the most part. It also was pretty much your cue to come in.

“Girls! Hey! Hey! What’s up!” You yell out with cheer, bouncing from the bushes behind before they notice, and trotting over to Rarity’s side to give her a quick nuzzle “Hey Twilight! Good Afternoon, Miss Rarity! I hope you both have been having a wonderful day today!”

“Awww, good afternoon, Anon. And yes, I have, and so will Twilight once I get her to the spa. She’s been having a bad couple of days, you see, and needs a little freshening up.” Rarity explains as she stops to give you a friendly little headpat.

Twilight’s ear flicked as she looked at you both with suspicion, and yet with some relief. She was torn with being happy to see you physically alright, while still suspecting you of wrongdoing. But it seems better judgement won with her this time as she greets you with a friendly demeanor “Hello, Anon”

“Heya, Twilight!” You look over to her with a cheery grin. You could be an asshole, but you needed to butter her up just a bit to increase your chances with what you were about to ask. “I hope what happened with the test didn’t scare you or anything. I mean, I knew Scoots and I could handle it. And whatever else is worrying you, don’t even worry about it. I mean, think of it this way, Now you get to hang out with one of your best friends at the greatest spa in Equestria! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.”

“Well well, now that’s the kind of optimism everypony needs nowadays.” Rarity once again gives you a gentle little headpat. “See, Twilight? You’re stressing over nothing. Speaking of stress. Anon, I’m sure all that training and whatnot has left you rather fatigued as well, would you like to accompany us to the spa? My treat.”

Ohhhhh, that was an offer you felt you shouldn’t refuse. But dammit, you did make plans with Discord and you didn’t know how long you’d be with Bonbon, as you knew she’d get on your case the moment you mention Chrysalis. You felt bad for rejecting, but you were sure she’d understand if you still sounded cheery. “Sorry, Miss Rarity, but I have a few important things I have to do today, but would I be able to take a rain check on that, maybe? Oh!...” IDEA! “For me and erm… Diamond, maybe?”

Rarity stopped for a moment, and then gave you a rather tricky grin “Oho, I see what you’re doing, Anon.” She let out a soft chuckle “Alright, I accept. I could make it as part of your false honeymoon after the false wedding. You won’t even need to pay me back, as the blossoming young love you two share will be payment enough.”

Fucking score! You were sure Diamond would be ecstatic to spend the day at the spa with you, getting relaxed and extra cozy with you and… erm… ho boy, things might get steamy. Still, thanks to Rarity, you not only scored a relaxing afternoon, but a relaxing afternoon you get to share with Diamond.

Though, thinking about it now, and the childishness of it all being part of a false honeymoon. It made you realize that the love she has for you, most of all, is genuine. It made you feel that perhaps you should use that time at the spa to get to know each other a little better, non sexually. Sure, you both had been close for awhile, but you really should get to know more about her likes and dislikes and such. She may be a foal, but there’s more to her than just being a Rich with a dream of becoming a princess. Noted.

You take a bow, appreciative of her generosity “Thank you, Miss Rarity, you’re always way to kind to me. I really appreciate the offer.”

“You’re very much welcome, Anon. It’s a pleasure to be of service.” Rarity herself, does a cute little curtsy towards you. Though, looking at Twilight, she was once again looking at you with slight suspicion. Christ, you had a feeling she’d say no given that look. But hell, if you present her with logic, she may very well come around.

“Again, thank you. Um, actually, it’s good that I ran into you two. Well mostly Twilight anyway. I wanted to ask her a question about her school.” You keep up the cheery act, hoping a positive attitude would help your chances at least by a little bit.

“Hrm? Oh?” And that immediately catches Twilight’s attention, and positively so too, and she suddenly becomes happy and energetic “Did you change your mind about the invitation, Anon?”

“Er, sorta? I was actually wondering if you’d, well, given the fact I managed to reform quite a few dangerous foes and become their friends and all, um, y’know… Ahrm” Just let it out, Anon! You look towards Twilight, and give her a confident look along with a commanding stance “I’d like to become a professor at your school. I think I have the experience to teach, what I’d like to call, alternative friendship techniques. In other words, ways of friendship that are additive to the six basic elements that could help those who might have trouble understanding said elements.”

“What? Anon, I can’t let you become a professor at my school.” Twilight says, surprised by your sudden question “Especially since the elements themselves are a proven method of friendship!”

Did she just ignore everything you just said? “Sure, but it doesn’t always work! C’mon, we had this discussion before and we even agreed the school could help those who might have the same troubles Tempest and Starlight did. Well, who better to help them but the guy who can manage it in the first place?” C’mon Twilight, even you can’t deny that shit. What argument could she possibly dish out at you?

“Anon, that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach. The kinds of students we’ll be having will be from across the entire world, many who may have not even heard of the elements in the first place. It’s important for them to learn about the elements over anything else to help them along the path of friendship. You can join along with them, but I can’t let you teach them your ways.” Twilight explains. She wasn’t angry, but she was adamant on not letting you teach at her school.

“Twilight, to be fair, you…” Dammit, your eyes shifted to Rarity’s, who was observing and already becoming growingly distraught at the situation. As if she could feel the tempers rising. You wanted to slam the whole Yak thing back at her again, as well as losing to Tempest, Starlight, and apparently pissing off those Hippogriff things. You did, but you didn’t want to upset Rarity. “You don’t know that for sure. I’m not flaunting my title here, I’m merely saying sometimes the elements aren’t enough, and you know I have methods others have never even thought of here in Equestria. Doesn’t that at least warrant me a chance?”

Twilight shakes her head, still remaining calm “Anon, I’m not saying what you managed to do isn’t impressive. But it has no place in my school. I’m sure if you took the classes, you’d understand that. You could at least give that a chance, right?”

What?! Fuck her! You already knew enough about the fucking elements, what else was there for you to learn?! “Twilight, I practically understand all the elements as well as I understand basic math, it's all elementary to me at this point. Hence why I feel my class could ADD to the elements, really help those who want to further better themselves beyond just knowing the elements.”

Both you and Twilight looked to each other, with Twilight readying herself for her next set of words. But Rarity, sensing the tension between the two of you, decides to speak up. “If I may interject, and indeed throw in my own opinion, I’d say you’re both correct”

Wuh? Both you and Twilight look to her, confused by her words.

“Well, think about it. Twilight does have a point, as is there another not mentioned. The school hasn’t even opened yet, therefore it is a new frontier for not just it’s future students, but for us as well. We ourselves don’t have any experience actually teaching as professors, yet all of us are working hard to come up with a curriculum centered around the elements of harmony. To say the least, to further add on an alternative class from the get go might be confusing for everycreature. Then there’s the fact that you are rather too young to teach, Anon, and I mean that with no disrespect. I simply mean it in a way that you are not only gaining experience in friendship, but in life too, in a way a foal usually does… Even if it’s out of the ordinary in your case. However, I do have to say that you are quite mature for your age, more than any other foal I’ve known. And your heroic deeds are genuine and great, especially when dealing with foes we as a team of six, could not. And truthfully, I would be interested to see your methods brought forth in the classroom. Perhaps, and this is only a suggestion, we could have a trial run of this class next year, after we’ve managed to settle in ourselves. That doesn’t sound too bad, now does it?”

A year? Well, if it was definite, that wouldn’t be too bad. “I… wouldn’t mind that.”

“Twilight? What do you think?” Rarity asked

“...” Twilight was silent, deep in thought. It took a few moments, but then she finally nodded and looked to you with a stoic glare “If he agrees to take the classes, then I’ll have something set up for him next year. Does that sound fair?”

G-guh?! Really?! REALLY?! Ngh… Why?! You didn’t need her stupid fucking classes, you already knew about the elements. You felt tense, you felt disgusted, and yet… Hell, if that's what it’d take, then she better fucking keep her end of the bargain. “Yeah, but no take backsies. Friends don’t lie to friends like that, right, Twilight?”

“...Right.” Twilight was a little hesitant on that, but she seemed to really want you to attend those classes, and so she bit the bullet. “In fact, if it’d make it easier on you, you could enroll a week after the school opens. Given we’d start with the basics you already know, there’d be no reason to take up your time with it. Just know that if you want that class, you’d have to be ready for school after that week.”

A week off, eh? Well, if it let you avoid the boring ass basics… “Deal!”

“Hurrah! See? Now everypony is happy. And with that, we really do need to be going, Twilight. Don’t want to wait too long, as the spa will be closing in an hour.” Rarity said, before looking at you with a smile, and then a wink. “As for you, Professor Anon, I’m already curious as to what your class will bring to the friendship table.” Heh, as in, she already felt you’d get through the year just fine.

“Don’t worry, I’ll have it all worked out by the end of the year. In any case, I don’t want to keep you two.” You bow to them “Goodbye Miss Rarity, Princess Twilight. And thank you for this opportunity.”

“I admit, I’m surprised you want to teach at all. But if you really mean it, and you’re willing to put in the effort, then you’re welcome, Anon, from the bottom of my heart.” Twilight says, with a sense of hope and serenity in her heart. As if she felt things would be ok thanks to you finally agreeing to take the classes. For you, you just managed to get what you wanted, even if you had to wait a fucking year. You all bid farewell to each other. And as they went off to the spa, you 180’d towards Bonbon’s house.

But, as you pass by the fountain, you hear a familiar adorable voice “Professor Anon, hi again!”

Wuh? You look back to see Cozy Glow, who was suspiciously ducking behind the fountain out of sight of Twilight and Rarity. You thought she left, why was she here? “Cozy Glow?”

She looked to you with a cheery smile, then raised her head and hovered up to see that Rarity and Twilight had gone before looking back at you “Mhmm! Just little ole me! Hi! How did it go with Princess Twilight, are you going to be teaching us when the school opens?”

Ok, that’s weird, was she trailing them? Or was she trailing you? Or did she really just wait here the entire time? How would she have trailed you, anyway? You just got here. “Uh, before I answer that, what are you doing here?”

“Oh! Hehe” She giggled, then looked left and right with suspicion “I noticed you were playing some kind of spy game, and I thought I’d play too! But then when I noticed you talking to Princess Twilight, I decided to hide here so I wouldn’t get caught. Or um…” She suddenly looked really confused “I guess I dunno how to really win the game actually. And since Princess Twilight walked away, I kinda guessed I won. So I thought I’d pop out and ask you if you got the job, since I think that is what you were talking to her about.” She said, giving you an innocent grin.

Well, that was convoluted as fuck. Is she a, well, a special needs pony or something? “I see, erm, well I didn’t get it unfortunately, at least not for this year. I kind of have to attend the school first before Twilight is willing to let me have a chance at teaching at her school. Not the best result, but all it means is I’ll have to show her that I have a real mastery over the six elements. That way Twilight knows that, y’know, that I’m the best. Sure, that sounds arrogant sounding, but I think I deserve a little recognition in the friendship department considering all I’ve done.” Indeed, you were agitated that Twilight still couldn’t see how well you managed yourself in the face of adversity, at least as far as friendship is concerned.

“Oh, I agree. I think you’re oh so amazing at it! I’d say super duper amazing! A lot more than… erm…” She suddenly looks down, feeling shameful “Me. I know we’re fwiends but… I feel like I haven’t done enough to show how much I appreciate you accepting me. Golly, I’m a really bad friend, aerwn’t I?” She looks at you, with tear filled eyes. Christ, she’s a super sensitive little thing.

“Hey, hey, don’t cry, alright? We just met, remember? Besides, it’s not like I’ve really done anything for you too. Look, Cozy Glow, friendship with me really is more of a ‘when you run into me’ type of thing. I’m always coming and going and that hasn’t really given you a chance to get to know me too well. I uh, I mean, if it means that much to you…” You open your saddlebag and look inside to give her something, a present, to hopefully cheer her up. Unfortunately, all you had were the usual stuff, and you weren’t about to hand her your grappling hook or wings. Hmmm…

Well, it’s not like you really needed it for anything else today. You put on your horn, and hold out your hoof as it begins to spark. Cozy Glow stares at your sparkling hoof, amazed “Ohhhh? What are you doing, Anon?”

“Forging a gift with my horn, looks pretty neat, huh?” You ask

“Mhmm, wowie, you do look pretty nifty being all cool and glowy like that. B-but a gift?” She suddenly seemed rather antsy “A-are you really using those super limited charges you have on me? Are you sure you should do that?”

“Heh, I see you know about my charges. Nah, it’s fine, they recharge every night at midnight, so it’s no big deal.” With focus, power, and ingenuity, you craft a doll of yourself onto your hoof. A little self serving, but it should let her know that she’ll always have a friend in you, even from a distance. “Here you go, a doll of me, to remind you that we’ll always be friends, no matter how far apart we are.” Oof, you almost grimaced at that last bit, you realized this action could easily have her develop a crush on you.

She looks at the doll for a moment, then grabs onto it and hugs it tightly, letting out an adorable “eeeee! I love it!” It was heartwarming to be sure. She hovered upwards, holding the doll as she cheerfully says “I’ll always make sure to take good care of it, Anon! You’re the bestest best friend ever! And I promise to always make sure to be the bestest friend to you!”

Ogh, oh yeah, maybe that was a little too much. You give her an unsure grin and an unsettled chuckle “T-that’s great, Cozy Glow. Um, just remember that we’re just friends, ok? Don’t want to overcomplicate things, right?”

“Oh… Because of your marefriend, right? No, no, I understand!” She slowly hovers down, gives you a wink, and then smiles brightly as she presses on her cheeks “I really do understand that you’re really lovey around each other, and I promise not to do anything to ruin that or make it seem that I am lovey with you. Just friends, I got it, weally I do. Erm… Actually” She then moves a little closer, seemingly excited to ask her next question “Would you mind if I followed you around right now? You seem super busy and I’d really not mind, really really not mind, helping you with whatever you need!”

Understanding, adorable, and wanting to be useful and helpful. This filly was a pretty good friend already, made you wonder why she had to go to Twilight’s school at all if she was this eager and nice. Hell, you almost accepted her offer right there and then, but then you remembered why you were going to Bonbon’s. It seemed so hurtful to you to decline her offer that your ears folded as you prepared to give her the bad news. “Sorry, Cozy, this is kind of a thing I gotta do alone. But, we will be running into each other a lot more in the future it seems, so we could probably work as partners on some project or something. That ok with you? I mean, it’s not you or anything, it’s just that I’m doing-”

And then she cuts you off, seemingly unphased by your hesitance to bring her along “Secret hero work? Gee willikers, and here I was being selfish and nearly ruining things. But don’t you worry, Anon, I understand.” She salutes to you, with a militaristic stare “And you can count on me on not being an annoying or overbearing friend. I fuwwy understand, and I promise to never get in your way or make your marefriend jealous. As your friend, I will always do my best.” She then looks to you with a shy giggle, then presses on her cheeks once again “Was that a good way to make a promise?”

Yeah, actually, that pretty much covers all your bases. Wow, why couldn’t the CMC be this on point. Well, Scootaloo mostly was, but not the other two. “That was perfect, Cozy. Anyway, I gotta go, but I promise to meet up with you the moment I can, alright?”

“Ok! You take care, alright, Anon? And don’t stress yourself either, you look awfully worried” She said as she gave you a gentle pat on the head.

Did you? Then again, you were about to share some rather sensitive information on Chrysalis with someone who could either be a major help or a major hindrance. It was a gamble, but if Bonbon really cared about you enough, then you were sure she’d keep it all a secret from the likes of Twilight and the others. “It’s fine, just worried about a few silly things. I get like that sometimes.”

“Oh, ok. Well, good luck then! Can’t wait to see you again!” She happily waved to you, doll held close.

You say your goodbyes, and head off to Bonbon’s. You felt a little more optimistic than you’d usually be. Maybe that was thanks to Cozy Glow and her understanding yet incredibly cheerful nature. Hell, she seemed pretty smart too, given she knew to keep a romantic distance from you. You’d have to see about inviting her to the fake wedding, if only to make the poor little thing feel more included, and hopefully allow her to make friends.

Chapter 38 - The Revised Ultimatum

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You made your way to Bonbon’s house, with the thought of professorship leaving your mind and being replaced with having to be a student and having to deal with Chrysalis. For now, you’d focus on the more important latter. Chrysalis was focused on you now, possibly in such a way of wanting you dead. But is that what she truly wants? If it is, that would mean you might have no other choice than to…

No, Anon, don’t think about it.

No, you’ll be able to talk about it when you talk to Bonbon about it. Speaking of Bonbon, you probably had to prepare for Lyra to be with her as well. They are rarely apart and you could feel Lyra was going to be rather nosy about it. Then again, she was very good hearted, so you knew she wouldn’t say anything to hurt you.

When you reached Bonbon’s home, you took a moment to prepare yourself, take a breath, and then knock on the door. “Hello? Bonbon? You there? It’s me, Anon!” You shout as you plop your butt down, wagging your tail about as you wait for the cute mare to open the door.

The door opens, but Bonbon is not the one to pop her head out. Instead, it’s Lyra. She looks left and right, then looks down at you with a cheery smile “Well looky here! Long time no see, Anon. How are you doing today?”

You look to Lyra with a smile as you give her a gentle wave of your hoof “Heya, Lyra. I’m doing alright, just came to talk to Bonbon. She’s here, right? I mean, it is her house.”

“Yup, she’s here. Come on in, we’re playing ‘Doctor’! Would be nice to have a colt like you play with us.” Lyra says as she turns around and walks inside, leaving the door open for you.

“D-doctor?” You immediately blush, there’s no way… “I mean, I-I guess I can play, What kind of game is it?” You ask as you follow Lyra inside.

“Hm?” Lyra stops, and turns to look at you, she could see you were blushing red. “Anon, why are you blushing like that?”

Shit! Were you blushing?! “U-umm, just had a thought.”

“Oh, is it because you’ll be playing with us? C’mon, Anon.” Lyra giggles at you “I know its a bit of a silly game, but me and Bonbon like playing it from time to time. And there’s no shame in losing to mares like us.” Lyra gives you a wink and a cocky grin as she enters the living room. A simple room with wooden walls, a couch, some cabinets, and a small table for drinks and such.

Damn, looks like it’s not the “Doctor” you were thinking of. Why would it be anway? In fact, as you follow Lyra into the living room, you could see Bonbon over a table, with some tweezers in her mouth, as she tries to pluck something from a game board with a sleeping pony with holes in it. Oh, this was just “Operation: Pony Edition.” . “Nah, it’s not that. Erm, it’s more like-”

“SHHHHHHHHH!” Bonbon gives you both an evil glare, then went back to trying to pick out what seemed to be the heart. Christ, she’s taking it seriously.

“Wow, I didn’t expect her to be this into any game” You whisper to Lyra “She must really be good at it if she can focus that much”

Lyra stifles a giggle, and whispers to you “Not really, Bonbon actually isn’t good at this game. But she wants to be, she gets kinda angry just thinking about it. I think it has to do with her agent stuff. Y’know, as in she’s probably really precise when she’s working, but she somehow can’t do it when she’s just being herself.”

Huh… “Interesting, so then, how is this game going anyway?”

“Oh, I got the leg bones, the ribs, the tailbone, the horn, and the wing bones.” Lyra whispers

“And what does Bonbon have?” You ask

“Well, if she manages this? The heart” Lyra replies

Oh christ, poor Bonbon. “Oh. Oh geez,I didn’t think she’d be that bad.”

“Shhh, don’t be mean. Bonbon just has trouble not touching the sides. She’s still really amazing at-” Lyra is suddenly cut off by a loud buzzing noise “not that”

“EVERYTIME! EVERY DANG TIME! I CAN EASILY SLIP A SLEEPING NEEDLE RIGHT INTO THE CENTRAL POINT OF A BUGBEAR, BUT I CAN’T REMOVE A HEART?! A FAKE PLASTIC HEART?! THAT’S IT! I’M DONE WITH THIS STUPID GAME! TO TARTARUS WITH ‘DOCTOR’ AND TO TARTARUS WITH ’MARETTEL’! YOU WON’T GIVE ME YOUR HEART?! THEN I’LL BREAK YOU IN TWO! RAGHHH!” Bonbon furiously flips the board into the air with her hooves. It flies, spinning, right into your head. However, the board was so light and rather flimsy, that it splits into two and still continues at a blazing pace into the next room with no sign of slowing down. As for you, you didn’t even feel it.

“Anon! Are you alright?!” Lyra gasps, watching the split board fly by as you continue to look towards Bonbon, undeterred by such a hit.

“Yep, gonna take more than a flimsy plastic board to phase me. Hey, Bonbon, you alright?” You ask her.

Bonbon was still obviously upset as she just looked forward in rage. After a moment however, she snapped out of it, and looked at you. Though, she wasn’t as fearful about the smash as Lyra was “Yeah, I just needed a moment. So, that didn’t hurt at all, huh?”

“Nah, I’m fine. Can’t say the same for the board though, that alicorn won’t be doing any princessing any time soon. Can’t imagine how many ‘patients’ you’ve been through already” You say with a gentle chuckle, giggling at your own joke.

“Yeah, yeah.” Bonbon groans as she walks towards her couch and hops on top of it, sitting as any normal pony would as she rests her head on the arm rest, defeated. “It's just a stupid game anyway.”

“Awww, Bonbon, don’t take it so hard. I know! How about I go grab your cards from the closet and we all play ‘Go Fish’ “ Lyra said, in an attempt to lift the spirits of her friend.

“Eh, I guess. Anon, you wanna play?” Bonbon asks you.

“Um, actually you guys. I really did only come to talk about something important. And since I guess Lyra is gonna find out anyway, it’s about Chrysalis.” You decide to just flat out say it. You didn’t have time to play a few rounds of ‘Go Fish’ and you didn’t want to seem dodgy either, especially around Bonbon, who’d probably figure out you had something to hide.

Bonbon just hides her head on the arm of the couch and shakes it from side to side “Oh good, here we go again.”

“Oh wow, Anon. Erm, I’m kinda with Bonbon on this one. Not that any of us should hate our good friends and all… It’s just she’s not really good at all. Didn’t you say she had the look of vengeance in her eyes when you last saw her?” Lyra says, her cheerful demeanor changing to that of worry the moment you said those words.

You figured you’d get these reactions. “Sorta, yeah. Look, I already know how you both feel about it. I know I should drop it, but there’s been an update recently that kind of plays into my favor… maybe.”

“Wha? An update that plays into your favor? Anon, did you run into her recently?” Bonbon asked as her raised. She hopped off the couch and slowly approached you, awaiting your answer.

“Not really, look, let me explain…” And so you explained. From what happened at the test to what Scrappy revealed to you and Scootaloo. Needless to say, it worried Lyra. But Bonbon, she was deep in thought about it.

“Hmm, so that's what you meant. She’s solely focused on you, either as a reluctant protector or a rider of vengeance. Which means she won’t make a move until she has your undivided attention.” Bonbon says as she ponders your words.

“Wow, really poetic Bonbon! But uh, what does that mean exactly?” Lyra replied, ignorant to what Bonbon meant

Bonbon shrugged, with an awkward smile on her face as she raised her hoof to explain. “It means Anon is in a better situation than even he may have realized.”

Better situation? “I mean, yeah if she’s protecting me. But I’m kind of stuck on what to do if she just wants to destroy me. I want to find at least one more way to convince her to the side of harmony, but until I know what she’s actually doing, I can’t make a move.”

“And I mean yeah no matter what she’s doing. Look, Anon, you have to realize you’re at the advantage here. Don’t say a word, just let me explain.” She says as she puts her hoof to your muzzle before you can retort. “You have to realize that you have a ridiculous advantage with that horn of yours. Really, if you use it properly, she can’t touch you. She doesn’t have her hive nor does she have home advantage, meaning she’s pretty weak on the power scale right now. If Scrappy’s intel is correct, it means, at the worst, she’s going to try to destroy you. But here’s the beauty of it! How can she when you actually outrank her in power? You just need to be dutiful with your horn and have it prepped at the ready at any moment’s notice. Which, unfortunately, comes the part you might not want to hear…”

“Wha? Bonbon, are you saying Anon should actually put himself in danger? Isn’t that the opposite of making sure he’s safe?” Lyra asked, still lost on the whole matter. “I mean, what if she hypnotizes him? Then what?”

“No, I’m pretty good at resisting her hypnosis. And, I…” Huh, how did you not realize you outpowered her that hard? She didn’t have an anti-magic throne or an army of bugpones anymore. She can’t even remove your horn from your neck in any way. You could totally take her one on one if she tried to take you down. But then, what did Bonbon mean by 'you might not want to hear…’ “Guess I can outmatch her. But, what do you mean by not wanting to hear?”

“Anon, Chrysalis is dangerous and has committed crime and crime across Equestria. She wants to conquer us all and use us as food… At least, that’s what we knew about her before she lost her children. The part you may not want to hear is that you’d have to give Chrysalis an ultimatum. Either harmony, or Tartarus. You have to realize that even if your friendship with her was genuine, she was still trying to stall for any time she could borrow to try to make her plans come to fruition. If you can’t convince her now, then there’s no convincing her at all. She still has the potential to be dangerous, Anon, to any and all ponies. Letting her go after having your chance at her at this point is just outright stupid. Do you understand?” Bonbon gives you a sagely yet demanding stare, hopeful that you understood what was at stake.

Your ears droop as memories of Celestia basically telling you similar shit filled your head. Sure, Bonbon wasn’t forcing you, and if anything, made you realize you have quite the advantage in the situation as a whole. But there was that whole ultimatum thing again. Then again, if Chrysalis had lost a few of her marbles due to the loss of her children, it really may be the final chance you’d get. You look to Bonbon, and give her a more determined nod as you quickly come to terms with the situation. One chance, because letting her go would do nothing at this point. “Alright, I understand. But just so you know, I don’t want any lip if I manage to do it.”

Bonbon shook her head at you “You won’t have any lip from me. I’ll be happy for you actually. Heck, she can’t even really trick you either, given she’ll transform like the rest of the hive if she accepts your offer. She could fake it, sure, but if your Dad could lock up her abilities to transform at her own will, then so should you. It’d make it easy to tell then.”

“Wow! Bonbon, that’s true!” Lyra sat and clapped her hooves together for her friend “Amazing as always!”

Bonbon takes a bow to Lyra’s words “Well, I may not be good at ‘Doctor’, but I’m good at my job, which includes figuring out all the possibilities. So, Anon, you’re alright with all this then? You’re not just going to tell me you are, and then back down from it later, right? I mean, you’re still free to try it your own way, I won’t stop you. But I just want to know, honestly, what you plan to do.”

“Unless something else opens up, it looks like all I can do is confront her when she makes her move. I really hope she just wanted to protect me, it’ll make it a lot easier then. Thanks Bonbon for the ideas, It’ll help me figure out what I want to say to her.” You move in close, and give Bonbon a gentle hug.

“Just let her know what’s in your heart, alright? If she’s really your friend, she’ll make the right choice.” Bonbon says, as she returns your hug.

Lyra got teary eyed, she sniffed as she wiped her cheek with her hoof “This really hurts, y’know? You’re both besties, but you can’t be friends because of something as silly as good and evil.”

“I wouldn’t say silly. But the situation could be better, I know I’d have a hard time with my feelings if you suddenly turned out to be evil, Lyra.” Bonbon said, the philosophy of the situation making her wonder what would happen if she was put in your situation.

“Ohh…” Lyra’s ears folded as she frowned, looking to Bonbon with hurt in her heart “I feel the same way. If you were evil, I don’t know what’d I’d do. But I’d do my best, I’d never let anypony hurt you until I could show you the goodness of friendship again.”

Bonbon let out a melancholic chuckle “I appreciate that, but it just goes to show that Anon is gonna have a harder time than even I made it out to be.” She then looks to you, and sighs “I guess I can’t really blame you if you let her get away, but just try not to let her take advantage of you, alright?”

You nod, at least they both understood how hard it really was. “I promise. Thanks guys, I really needed this.”

“Aww, Anon, it’s no biggie. You’re our friend! So we’ll always do our best to steer you right!” Lyra grabs you, pulling you in with her magic, in which she then snuggles onto you gently. “No more worries, alright? We know you’ll manage it! So cool your head, and come play a game with us! We can talk about your whole wedding thing! It’ll be fun!”

“Well” How could you resist the company of this cuddly mare? Though, her mentioning the fake wedding did make you feel bad you were enjoying her affection a little more than you should. “Ok, but just one game. I still have something else I gotta do.”

“Well, I guess I’ll grab the cards then, a few drinks, and a small flask of water for you to use. Just give me a sec.” Bonbon says as she walks off to her room.

You probably needed this anyway. You needed to destress before talking with Starlight and Trixie, didn’t want to be all strung out before Discord’s little show after all.

Chapter 39 - Inviting Trixie and Starlight

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Well, your visit with Lyra and Bonbon went pretty well after the Chrysalis business. Sure, you didn’t win the game, but you all had a rather good time anyway. The three of you also talked further about the upcoming “wedding”, Bonbon even warning you that Chrysalis could make her move during the wedding itself if she was willing to make a spectacle of it. It was something you’d have to keep in mind. You also decided to mention Neighsay, the mission you were given, and how he turned about to be wrong about the changelings’ intentions. Bonbon thought it was off someone like him would even enlist you for help in the first place, but she did agree that if there was some issue grave enough to require spy work, then there might be some legitimacy to his claim. She also told you to keep on your hooves, because despite not having to report your findings, she has heard he does have a habit of appearing all of a sudden in matters that concern him. You kept to yourself, however, your thoughts about him being a possible villain. His appearance is a little too convenient, and it’s possible he might be trying to manipulate you. This time however, be it pony, foal, or changeling, you wouldn’t let yourself be tricked or manipulated.

After the game was over, you made your goodbyes as you left through a puddle spilled from the flask Lyra gave you, you waste no time in setting your door to Starlight’s town. You step through, and head towards Starlight’s home. It was getting dark, so you surmised Discord was probably done setting up by now. Really, he could have had it set up in a second, but he sure does love his theatrics, even when there is no one around to see it.


Not many ponies were out and about at this time. Shops were closing, foals had headed inside, and quiet had began to settle in. Well, quiet for everyone else, because as you neared Starlight’s door, you could hear heavy sobbing coming from the other side. That crying… That was Trixie. I-is she alright? You knock on the door, and make your presence known. “Hello? Trixie? Starlight? Is everything ok in there?”

“NOPONY IS HOME! IF YOU COME THROUGH THAT DOOR, I’LL… UH… TURN YOU INTO A TOAD!” Trixie screamed, near incoherently, before going back to her crying hysterics.

Well then “Trixie, it’s me, Anon! what’s wrong? Why are you cry- O-oh, hey, Starlight”. Your words are interrupted as an annoyed Starlight, with cotton in her ears, opens the door.

“Hey, Anon, Uhhh… You came at a really bad time.” Starlight said, her annoyance in her tone as visible as it is on her face.

“CLOSE THE DOOR! BEFORE THEY FIND TRIXIE!” Trixie screeched

“Trixie! Relax! It’s just Anon.” Starlight barked back at her, before turning back to you, pressing her hoof between her eyes as she groans.

“They? Find? What’s going on? What happened to Trixie?” This was worrying. The hell happened to her?

“She became mayor by default, since everypony else jumped ship. THEN she realized she had a ton of responsibilities. She’s been hiding here crying ever since. Wailing that she’d never be able to hang out with me or do another show again.” Starlight said with a tired groan.

Welp, seems she really had zero policies… or anything planned really. “Considering how small the town is, that’s not really true. Even then, can’t she just opt out like you did?”

“I have tried to tell her that, but then she keeps saying that everypony would get angry and run her out of town.” Starlight says

“IT’S TRUE! IT’S HAPPENED BEFORE! THEY’LL ATTACK ME WITH TORCHES, PITCHFORKS, AND ROTTEN FRUIT! I THOUGHT IT’D BE EASY, LIKE SUBJUGATING AN ENTIRE TOWN TO DO MY WHIM, BUT I WAS WROOOONG!” Trixie wailed from deep within the home.

Well, that’s not exactly how it went, but still, if Starlight and, hell, everyone else can jump out of being mayor… “Huh, does she know others before her dropped the job too? I mean, like, without any repercussions?”

“Yeah, I told her WAGH!” Starlight is suddenly cut off as Trixie climbs up from behind her, and rests her head upon Starlight as she looks upon you with tear filled eyes.

“Are you saying, Anon, that nopony is going to get mad if I just quit?” Trixie sniffled as she clung upon Starlight. Starlight herself just stayed silent through her aggravation as it became apparent that Trixie was now actually listening.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying” Heh, you nearly smiled at this. It was cute looking at Trixie ontop of a standing Starlight like that, especially when you noticed the cute mayoral top hat on her head.

“What a relief, and here I thought I’d either have to leave.” Trixie slides off Starlight, quickly wipes her eyes, and tosses the mayor’s hat upwards. The way she tossed it though, caused it to turn inside out, revealing her usual wizard’s hat right before it plops on her head. “Or crush anypony foolish enough to tangle with the Great and Powerful Trixie”

“Yeah... “ Starlight, again, groans “Because that was going to happen. Well… Uh… Thank you, I guess?” Starlight then whispers sharply to herself “Even though I told you that like a million times” She then shifts her eyes to you, and steps aside “Anyway, come on in, Anon. I could use the extra company.”

“Actually, the reason I came here is to invite you guys to a short but most likely memorable little film.” You say as you hazard a grin. You reach into your saddlebag, and pull out two tickets. “I promise the both of you it’ll be worth it.”

“I… Really could use that right now.” Starlight says as she takes one of the tickets and inspects it. Nothing out of the ordinary, until she notices the title “Statue? That’s the title? Doesn’t sound like any movie I ever heard of.”

Trixie approaches you as well, taking a ticket to inspect for herself. “Obviously it’s an artsy type of a film. Not my forte, but Trixie is willing to come if it means Trixie is able to enjoy it with her friends… as long as snacks are bought for Trixie” She says with some snoot in her voice, trying to act above, what she thought, was a boring film.

“Well, it’s a film made by my Dad. The reason I thought of you two is because it deals with him totally humiliating Twilight. I mean, you guys wanna see that, right?” You ask, expecting a double yes.

“Uhhh, not really” Starlight replies, but at the same time, Trixie let’s out a…

“Yes!”

“Wha? Trixie, come on. Don’t you think we’re above that? It’s not worth holding on to an old grudge.” Starlight found Trixie’s answer a little disdainful, she didn’t want to feel like she’d be betraying her reform by going back and hating Twilight.

“Starlight, Starlight, it has nothing to do with grudges. Twilight is still our friend, but you can’t deny that she has this air of pretentiousness and know-it-allery. Would it be so bad to perhaps enjoy watching her have a bad moment? I’m sure it’s nothing too terrible.” Trixie says as she hangs her hoof around Starlight’s neck, giving her a smug grin.

“I dunno… Don’t you both think it’s kind of mean?” Starlight says, hesitant still to take the tickets.

You shrug “I mean, Trixie is right. Besides, I heard Twilight say kite flying was dumb. Off topic, I know, but I was like ‘Man, there she goes, being judgemental again’.” This of course was a lie, but you knew Starlight did love to fly kites when she got the chance.

Starlight’s eyes narrowed as anger flickered on her face. “Hmmmnn, I guess Trixie does have a point. And I’m not just saying that because of what Twilight said. It’s just I’ve been in a bad mood and need a good laugh.”

“Then it’s settled! To the Ponyville theater!” Trixie points forward, until looking dumbfounded about what she just said “...Uh, how do we get there?”

“I doubt it’s even there, Trixie. I’ll go get a cup of water. Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve been to your house, Anon.” Starlight turns around to venture into her kitchen to fetch a glass of water.

“His home? In the Dimension of Chaos? How do we even get there?” Trixie asked, confused about the whole thing.

“Oh, you’ll see. Trust me, Trixie, it’s gonna be cool.” You say with a smirk.

Chapter 40 - Anon's Room

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And so, through your usual puddle antics, you lead the two mares through the portal and into your room. Upon entering your room, you hop off your bed to let Starlight through, and then Starlight hopped off to let Trixie fall.

Starlight herself took a look around, and began to feel a little more calm with the change of scenery. “Just like I remember, I thought you were supposed to be chaos based. I would have expected some kind of change by now.”

You shrug as you go over to your alarm clock. “Eh, rather not want to deal with anything crazy when I usually just use this room to sleep and portal through to somewhere. Hey, Starlight, have you seen my alarm clock? I know you have an interest in human tech, and this baby is a bonafide digital clock.”

“Digital clock? Huh, well, it certainly is telling the time like any other clock, But I don’t hear any clicking noises. I assume it doesn’t have any gears.” Starlight said as she approached your dresser, and used her magic to hover over the clock for a closer look. “FM? AM? I mean, I know what AM is… But what is FM?”

You chuckle, feeling rather cool despite the object itself being rather mundage. Impressing ponies with stuff like this always made you feel smug. “It works through electricity and a bunch of doodads and… chips… Erm.” Shit, you actually have no idea how the clock actually works. “Erm… Ahrm, anyway. AM and FM are actually to pick up radio stations for when you want to listen to music or the news. But, well, can’t work unless there are radio stations to transmit that.”

Starlight lets out a light hearted chuckle “So half of it is worthless, and the other half, you don’t even know how it works. It’s cool to have it tell everything by the exact number, but we already have alarm clocks already. Still, I do want to take it apart to see what makes it tick” Starlight snickers at her own pun, then looks around for Trixie “Hey, Trixie, what do you… Trixie?” She was nowhere to be seen.

But she could be heard. Coming from your bed were giddy sounds of happiness and giggles. When you and Starlight took a look, you both could see Trixie snuggling on your blankets, turning left and right on your pillow with glee “Mmmm~, This is the warmest, most snuggliest bed Trixie has ever had the pleasure to lay on! Ohhh~, Starlight! You have to hop on and try this!”

“Erm, I already have. Trixie, are you alright? I know the bed is extra comfy but, you’re acting a little weird here.” Starlight said, confused and surprised by Trixie’s reaction to your enchanted bed.

“Starlight, you need to understand that while my wagon is the most magnificent wagon that has ever existed ever, sleeping in it most of the time makes you kind of wish for something like…” And she hugs and snuggles onto your pillow as she longingly says “thiiiisss~. Anon, Starlight! Come on! We gotta have a quick nap on this thing!”

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, OHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Did she just…

You blush quite a bit as your ears fold, that sounded like an amazing idea. You, sandwiched between two beautiful mares on a nice warm bed. Trixie Lulamoon, she truly had some great and powerful ideas.

“Trixie, don’t be silly. If we take a nap now then we’ll miss the show. Besides, don’t you think it’s kind of weird for all of us to sleep on Anon’s bed? Seems a little rude to me.” Or what she actually meant that it was incredibly awkward, she also knew how you’d take it, given she knew the truth.

Trixie turned to the both of you, giving you both bedroom eyes as she laid on her belly, rubbing her right hoof along the top of the bed. “C’mon, it’s just a little nap. Please? It’s sooooo comfy! Hyaaaannn” Trixie rolled on her back, cuddling on the blanket, her tongue out as she enjoyed the soft warmth of the bed.

“Um, I actually agree with Trixie. I mean, you can lay there, Starlight. And Trixie here…” You point to either side of the bed for each of them. “And I can lay in the…” But you are stopped the moment Starlight’s horn glows, her eyes giving you a horrible and threatening glare of death. Indeed, she knew what was up. And she knew you enough to know what you really wanted. “Seat, at the theater, which uhhhh, I agree with Starlight that we need to go to. So, Trixie, if you please…” You say with a shakiness in your tone, sweat coming down your brow. Starlight usually was tolerant of your bad habits, but she really hated when you did or even implied such things.

“Poo, you’re both no fun. Very well, Trixie will comply and follow you to said theater.” Trixie says as she finally stands, and hops off the bed.

“Yeah, it’s down through here. So, all you gotta do to get down the floor door is to-” But you are cut off as you hear Trixie shout out…

“After I see what is behind these blinds! For Trixie is sure…” And when she opens those blinds, those forbidden blinds, she is met with the horrifying sight of a smiling, one eyed, orbular beast. Looking at her as if she was a delicious treat. “...That there is something that will cause Trixie to have to change her sheets for at least three weeks… GYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! HELP!” Trixie rushes backwards, opens the floor door, and falls through, yelling as she falls down before she lets out a painful grunt from landing on her head in the living room below. Huh, given she was now nearly out and seeing stars, it made you kind of happy you’ve developed a huge resistance to head blows.

Starlight too looked to the creature both in awe and in fright. “A-Anon, is that? I-is that the old changeling captain you mentioned?! YOU ACTUALLY KEEP HIM RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW?!”

You shrug as you approach the window, nonchalant about the whole thing. “More like he just hangs around because he has nothing better to do. Heck, I attached the Storm King’s living head to his butt to give him somepony to talk to and he still complains.”

“Of course I still complain!” His smile breaking into that of annoyance “I have a world to rule and changelings to corrupt! As for my ‘new’ friend, he’s annoying again! He was crying earlier today, whining about how he’d be like this forever. What a wimp. I say that fury and rage just fuels ambition. AND I’M ALREADY FULL OF IT! SO LET ME IN ALREADY!” He shrieks.

You then point to him “Starlight, meet X-Captain. X-Captain, meet Starlight. I told you about her, y’know, she’s the one who got further than any of you did when it came to defeating Twilight.”

“Huh? Oh, right. Hi!” He suddenly calms down as he waves his tentacles at her, grinning.

Starlight reluctantly grins at him as she waves back “Um, hi?”

“A little meek, are you sure she nearly crushed Twilight?” The X-Captain said, looking rather confused.

“Yep, and she was on her way of bending time and space to finish the job too. Yup, she’s pretty powerful.” You say, still calm, still rather cocky about it.

“A-Anon, what are you…” But you hush Starlight by raising your hoof, before looking back at the X-Captain to await his reaction.

“Time and space, you say. Hmmm, interesting. Yes, quite…” He murmured to himself as he rubbed the underside of his form with a tentacle. Suddenly, his yellow eye turns red with rage as he screams “HOW DARE A PONY COME UP WITH A BETTER PLAN THAN MINE! HOW DARE SHE NEARLY DESTROY EVERYTHING IN ONE FELL SWOOP! THAT’S MY PLAN! THAT’S MY LIFE! HOW DAAAAREEE SHHHHEEE!” The X-Captain was in a pure rage as his tentacles wiggled around violently. He locked his eye onto Starlight, and flew back a few meters. Suddenly, without warning, he let out a mighty war cry as he flew at lightning pace towards the window, smashing his head upon it. However, the only result from that was a defeated whiny moan before falling unconscious. He rammed himself so hard, he conked out.

“Finally! Sheesh! Been waiting for him to shut up all day. Guys like me, you know, the guy with REAL brains, needs some quiet to plot out his plans.” Said the Storm King, talking from the backside of the fallen beholder-esque creature.

“Don’t think too hard, or else you’ll pop yourself like a pimple” You say with a snicker.

“Why you little-” But the Storm King is unable to let his voice be heard as you close the blinds, and let out an accomplished sigh.

“Ahh, that was fun. You have fun, Starlight?” You look to her with a cocky grin. At this point, you considered this subtle payback for her not letting you get your cuddle on.

“Yeah… Fun…” Starlight said, with worry and confusion in her tone as her right eye twitched from the ridiculousness that she witnessed. “I-I mean, I’m not going to have nightmares about that. But, erm… I don’t… I, umm… I don’t know what to even consider that, and may need a therapy session or two to figure that all out.”

“Probably… Anyway, we should go check on Trixie before she goes exploring the house.” You mention as you head to the floor door. “You remember how to get down these steps, right?”

“Yeah, but… What’s wrong with the rest of the house?” Starlight asks, afraid of what your answer could be.

“Well, one room I think is a flooded aquarium. And I think Discord may have or may have not taken out this train fire that started a while back. Could be bad if she stepped into it” You mention, nonchalantly

“...What do you mean ‘a while back’ “ Again, Starlight asks with a worried tone

You shrug “Um, around the time I got here, I think.”

Starlight’s eyes went wide as her voice became ever so fearful “Y-yeah, l-let’s go make sure she hasn’t wandered off. Ahaha... ha.”

Chapter 41 - The Chaos Theater

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Trixie however, was still on the ground, dazed from her fall. You, and especially Starlight, were able to descend from the stairs with ease, relieved to see Trixie still in one piece. “Trixie, you alright? Um, should have warned you about the whole invisible stairs thing. It’s all in the mind and-” But you are interrupted when she suddenly gets up, and starts to shake you in the air with her magic.

“WHY WOULD YOU KEEP A PET LIKE THAT?! HOW DO YOU EVEN FEED IT?! WHY WOULD YOU LIVE IN A PLACE LIKE THIS?!” Then she notices the stairs in the corner of the room “WHY DO YOU HAVE STAIRS THAT LEAD TO NOWHERE?! WHY WOULDN’T IT GO UP TO YOUR ROOM?! WHY, ANON, WHYYYYYYY! THIS IS A MAD HOUSE! A MAD HOUSE!” Trixie bellowed in pure fear as she shook you about.

“Trixie! Trixie, calm down!” Starlight used her magic to pull you away from Trixie’s grip. “This is Discord’s house, remember? Nothing is supposed to make sense. You’re just going to stress yourself out if you keep panicking like this”

“Starlight! We’re at the mercy of this home! How do we even get out of here?! Where even is the theater?!” Trixie said frantically as she tries to stay in the center of the room, looking around for anything hazardous that might strike.

“Yeah… Anon, where is the theater? Is it down over there? Where that hallway of doors are?” Starlight asks as she gently puts you down, and dusts you off with her magic. She then leans in and whispers “Kinda need to know as soon as possible before Trixie loses it.”

“Uh, whuh? Ugh” You shook your head to get your senses in order. Christ, Trixie can shake damn hard. “O-oh, yeah, the theater is down there.” You point to the trap door next to Trixie “In the basement.”

“The basement? As in…” Trixie looks over beside herself, and sees the trap door. She gulps, and points to it before carefully lifting the door. Her eyes then go wide when she sees a set of stairs heading down into a cavern below. Though it wasn’t dark like it usually was, as a cavalcade of lights shone through the threshold. You could even hear the sound of distant music coming from below. “Wait, it sounds like there's a show going on down there. Hmmm…” Trixie began to calm herself as the way down seemed welcoming to her, as if she could see a place welcoming to her. “Well, it doesn’t seem that bad, especially when compared to what you have floating outside your window. Erm…” She then becomes a little nervous as she thinks about her next words “There’s not going to be any crazy surprises down there, right?”

You shake your head “Probably not. When it comes to Twilight, Dad wouldn’t waste any time trying to get to the main event. So, yeah, should be ok to go down.”

“Alright then...Ahrm.” Trixie then looks to Starlight, and gives her a meek smile “C-could you?”

Starlight nods, giving Trixie a warm smile as she steps through the threshold of the door and down into the depths below “Don’t worry, Trixie, I’ll take point.”

“A-ah, thank you, Starlight. And, Anon, although Trixie feels she can handle it on her own anyway… Erm…” She then shoots you a meek smile as well “Would it be too much trouble to cover my rear?”

Heh, of course. “It’d be an honor, oh Great and Powerful Trixie” Not only did you feel those words would help her mood, but it also meant you could check out her butt for a bit.

Trixie, hearing those words, couldn’t help but put on an arrogant grin. “Thank you for the kind words, Anon. It’s good to know you recognize my true power. Now please, follow Trixie.” And so, Trixie went down, following Starlight.

As the three of you went down, you simply could not shift your focus away from Trixie’s rear. It looked pretty soft and flexible to her hind legs. Oh, so juicy… Dammit! Why is everypony so damn sexy! How is anyone supposed to be monogamous when everyone is so damn hot!

However, your thoughts, and indeed everyone’s thoughts fade away once you reach the bottom. Standing before you all was a modern looking grand theater that looked chinese by design. Huge golden Discord statues sat side by side near a golden arch entrance while discordant music filled the air. Different colored lights shot out of every which way from the building itself as a red carpet was laid out to you all, from the stairway to the doors that lead inside. “Oh, wow, he really went all out.”

“Amazing! I wasn’t expecting this. I gotta hand it to Discord, he can pull off some pretty amazing visuals when he wants to.” Starlight said, stunned by how amazing everything looked.

“Finally, something normal, if quite stunning and… Hmmm?” Trixie looks to her right to see an odd wagon she’s never seen before. Sleek, black, modern, and out of this world. “What kind of wagon is this?” Trixie starts to approach it, noticing it didn’t really seem able to lug things around or be lived in “Is this one of those fancy wagons for rich ponies to be picked up in? It’s really weird looking.”

When you look to see what caught her eye, you immediately feel a sense of shock when jolts you ahead of Trixie to stop her from getting any closer “Trixie, wait! Don’t worry about this wagon, alright? It’s off limits to everypony but me, I’ve been taking care of it and it means a lot to me.” Of course, this wagon actually happened to be Chrysalis’s car, a car you have kept in perfect condition since she left. You didn’t really have to, but the car symbolized the one time you and her worked together to save the world, even if this wasn’t the world you both ended up saving.

Though, Trixie’s next action came to an even bigger shock to you than her approach to the car “I see. Well, I can totally understand that actually. A wagon can be like a friend, a home, and family all at once.” Trixie gives you a gentle headpat as her words became softer and more sincere “It also looks really unique, I can see why you take care of it so well. And, well… now that things are more calm. I kind of want to apologize for how I was acting earlier, the situation just slipped away from my hooves for a moment. A moment I hope nopony but the three of us will ever know about.”

Trixie, wow, you did not expect her to respect your wishes like that. It caught you so off guard that you couldn’t be cocky about how she didn’t want others to know how she got scared of your house. “Yeah, it’s no problem. Thanks, Trixie. Anyway, let’s get heading along inside, we got a show to see, and I want to see what it looks like inside. Dad really seemed to want to wow us with this stuff.”

“I noticed, I almost want to ask if he could set something up for me and Starlight. Just Imagine it. Lights, blaring sounds, fireworks, a grand stage, adoring crowds, a beautiful venue, and the most important piece of them all! THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE!” Trixie loses herself to her grand thoughts, and raises herself up on her hind legs to announce her final words.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Trixie. Knowing Discord, there’d probably be some horrible trick to it. I have to admit though…” Starlight puts her hoof on one of the Discord statues, and gives it a rub. It felt like real high quality gold to her. “If he could keep it straight, it would be one heck of a show.”

“It wouldn’t be a trick, I think. More like it’d be all about him. If it’s one thing Dad likes just as much as his tricks is himself. Only thing that trumps that is Aunt Fluttershy and myself… Mostly myself. Anyway, let’s head on inside. I wanna see if the inside matches the outside.” You say as you open the large doors to the inner sanctum to the theater.

And inside was quite glorious as well. The main lobby had fountains on either side, with giant marble statues of Discord that spewed water from their mouths. Banners with the large letter D hung in rows leading deeper into the lobby. The carpeting was soft, and almost comfortable enough to sleep on. And movie posters like “Gone with the chaos” , “Me, Myself, and More of Me”, “Grumpy Old Draconequus”, and “My Little Discord: Disorder is Hilarious” plastered the walls. There was a single hallway that led deeper into the theater, but it was blocked by velvet rope. Beside the rope was Discord himself, in a red suit, behind a ticket booth.

“Ok, all this set up just to show off him tripping up Twilight? Heh…” Starlight let out an impressed little giggle “I kind of feel honored to be here, he didn’t have to do all this for us.”

“Yeah, if he’s doing all this then he really REALLY wants us to enjoy the show. He’s gotta have something really good for a set up like this” Really, it could have just been a couple of seats and some popcorn. It was obvious he had something big up his sleeve. What the fuck did he do to Twilight to have Rarity bring her to the spa? Or suspect you for ‘something’ for that matter.

“Well, what are we waiting for then? Let’s get go- Hmm? Mmmngh!” Trixie, obviously just wanting to get to the main event, found herself unable to lift the velvet rope. “Stupid thing, why can’t I lift it?”

“Ahrm…” Discord brought his talons to his mouth as he coughed. “Tickets please… No tickets, no access. That is the rule of this establishment.”

Simple enough, obviously Discord being Discord. So all you have to do is turn in the tickets and it’ll be fine. You had yours, so you walk up to the booth, and slide it over “Here, Dad. Want to do everything all classy and official, huh? What are we in for?”

Discord started to sweat as he murmured in fear “Oh no, it’s the boss’ kid. He’ll fire me if I screw this up. Ahrm…” He suddenly calms himself as he smiles awkwardly at you “Ah, erm. Well, you must have me confused for somepony else, clearly superior pony child. As for what is in store…” He snaps his talons, raising the velvet rope. “Come in, and see.”

“Superior wha?” Did he just call you a superior pony child? Well, you were superior, but wut? He wouldn’t ever say that straight out unless he felt terrible about something, or he was in a caring mood. Unless… Ooohhhh, this is part of the act. Haha, probably another Discord at the concession stand, and the manager is your Discord. He really IS going all out then. Best no to spoil it for him.“Yes, right. Thank you, I’ll do that.” You wink at him, but all he does is give you nod. You look back at the girls as you pass the velvet rope “Just give him your tickets, girls. And you can step through. ”

“Why can’t we just step through now? Seems kind of silly just to give him the ticket when we were invited.” Trixie says. She then raises her head high, and snorts from her nose as she speaks arrogantly. “Considering how important I am, I should just be let through. I am a mayor after all.”

“Oh? So you DO want to be the mayor then?” Starlight gives her a slick grin as she passes her ticket to Discord. “Or did you forget the responsibilities of being a mayor again.”

Trixie suddenly buckled to those words, then turned her head with a “Hmph” as she pulled out her ticket. “I-It’s not that, it’s just that this place gives off this feeling of importance and I… Erm, just wanted to feel like a V.I.P., that’s all” She slides her ticket over, and passes by the velvet rope. “I have been doing my shows for a very long time, and I guess I just wanted to feel important. Especially in a grand place like this.”

Starlight smiled at her friend, and gave her a gentle nuzzle of her head. “I know, you just got caught up in how nice everything is. Just relax, Trixie, you’ll have your day, and I’ll be right there with you. For now, let’s just enjoy the night and watch the movie. We came as Anon’s guests, so we should act more like it.”

“Right… Right… Can’t let myself get caught up in the glitz and glamor. Ok, I’m calm. I apologize, Anon, if I made you feel uncomfortable at all.” Trixie said, as she finally calmed herself. You couldn’t blame her for acting like that. She must have heard you being called ‘superior’, and wanted to feel the same way.

“It’s alright, no problem. You just got overwhelmed by this place. Heh, but if you’re still feeling tense, then I know a way to calm you down.” As you three walked down to yet another lobby, you could see a set of double doors leading to the viewing room. And just before it, was a gigantic concession stand filled with popcorn, drinks, candy, snacks, chips, and another Discord, garbed in simpler clothing and a popcorn hat, standing behind the counter. “Snacks! Oh… OH WAIT, IS THAT!?” Imported soda… From Earth. Oohhhh shit, Discord, you just keep on rocking. “Pepsi! Dr. Pepper!” in fact, there were tons of snacks from earth as well. Hot diggity damn! You couldn’t help but rush over to the concession stand and press your face at the glass.

“Heya Brah, see somethin’ ya like?” Discord said, in a rather unconvincing surfer accent.

You didn’t care anymore, you wanted a smorgasbord of unhealthy eats. “Yeah! Can I get the largest cup of Pepsi you got? Huge tub of popcorn! Some of that hershey’s chocolate! Oh, oh! Elephant ears, Gimme one of them! and that little box of gobstoppers!”

“Sure thing, dude, lemme get it all rung up for you. Lesse…” Discord said as he started to tap at his cash register.

“Wow, so a lot of this is from your dimension, huh? Seeing how excited you are… Um…” Starlight gave a rub of her tummy, as if she was winding her weight “ I guess I’ll make the same order.”

“Coolios, I’ll just add that up. What about you, Mint Fresh?” Discord asked as he continued to press keys into the cash register.

“Mint Fresh?” Trixie looked rather insulted to be called by ANY name rather than her own, but her feelings quickly faded when she realized she was about to mouth off to Discord. So she caught herself, calmed down, and made her order “Trixie will just have some popcorn and a drink. Equestrian-Cola, if you don’t mind”

“Rightyo, Mintz. Ahm, Hmm, Hrmmm…” And finally, the price for everything pops up, and… There was no fucking way he was serious “Three thousand bits, my dude. And that’s with the family discount.”

“You can’t be serious. C’mon, Discord, you’re really going to make us pay?” Ok, maybe he was going a tad too far. That was a huge fucking number.

“Sorry brah, but imported stuff costs more than my skateboards. You’re the boss’ kid n’ all, so ya get the discount. Them the rules, so ya can either take it or order the inhouse stuff.” Discord said as he leaned his shoulder onto the counter, placing his head on his paw as he awaited your answer.

You went sifting through your bag, counting your bits. Sadly, you actually didn’t have enough, nor did you have any charges in your horn to produce your own food. “I only have two thousand” Your ears folded as you looked down, disheartened at the fact you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your treats.

“Ok, Discord. I get this is part of your pretend game, or whatever. But don’t you think you’re going too far? Look at Anon, he clearly was excited to to indulge what you clearly brought over just for him and us to enjoy. Why make him pay for it? Heck, you’re wasting our time by keeping us here. Don’t you want us to see the big movie?” Starlight stepped up to the plate for you, trying to reason with Discord’s ridiculous ploy.

“Sorry, babe, bossman would kill me if he found out I sold his stuff at anything lower than that. Either take it up with him or change the order.” Discord said as he took a look at his talons, inspecting them for dirt.

“Discord! Stop fooling around! You don’t have to be a j-huh?” Starlight is cut off, as Trixie gently taps at her back as she steps in front of the concession stand to face Discord.

“Excuse me, you poor excuse of a… whatever you’re supposed to be. But we are the customers, aren’t we? As in, you do whatever we tell you to do because we are ALWAYS right. Which means give us the food, or else.” Trixie was being demanding. But her words seemed confusing not only to you, but to Starlight as well. Who did she think she was talking to?

“Look Pepz Mint, you’re only a customer if you buy something. So that’s on you. You can’t touch me, I got job security.” Discord said as he crossed his arms, looking down at her with a dismissive look.

“First of all, the name is Trixie, the GREAT and POWERFUL Trixie. Second, you say your ‘bossman’ would get upset if you undersell us your interdimensional food. And yet…” She points directly at Discord, with a loud booming voice “TRIXIE HAS WITNESSED YOU EATING SAID FOOD DURING YOUR BREAK!”

“W-wha?! N-no you haven’t, you weren’t even here to see me eat that box of Nerds!” Discord said as he pointed back at her, angrily.

“Aha! Trixie may have not actually witness you do that, but the GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE HAS MADE YOU ADMIT THAT YOU HAVE! BOW TO TRIXIE! FOR YOU HAVE LOST! PREPARE TO BE REPORTED!” Trixie yelled, feeling triumphant that she had defeated Discord. But then she calmed down, and gave him a slick smile “Unless you have something to appease us.”

Discord raised a talon at first to say something, but then lowered it when he realized he didn’t have a counter. “A-Ahm. Erm… Look dude and dudettes, it’d be radical if you didn’t mention any of this to the bossman, ok? I’ll uh, just pay for it myself here…” Discord says as he opens the cash register, and fills it with his own bits. “And erm… Get your order ready, I’ll even throw in the extra to have it delivered to you before the movie starts. Erm, we square?” Discord said, shaking as he began to sweat.

“We’re square. But don’t you dare cheap out on the butter, or you shall feel Trixie’s wrath!” Trixie threatened, gave Discord a dark look, and then started to make her way off towards the door to the movie room. “C’mon you two, Trixie does not want to miss a second of Twilight’s humiliating defeat.”

You and Starlight were just silent, blinking in shock and confusion. What in the fuck?

“What just happened? Did Trixie… Just beat my Dad?” H-how?! That was amazing, but… wut?

“I t-think she more, outperformed him? I uh… I don’t know whether to be impressed or… scared.” Starlight really was impressed, and yet confused by what happened. Though, perhaps even quicker than you have realized, she managed to figure out that Trixie had, in fact, outperformed Discord. While Trixie isn’t an actor, she still has to play a role and make a show out of it. “Though, now that I think about it. Discord was playing his part to a ridiculous T, and yet she really did outperform him anyway. She played the part of an actual disgruntled moviegoer and got the upper hoof. I gotta applaud her for that, that was really nice of her to do for us.” Starlight slowly began to smile as she tapped her hoof on the ground.

“Yeah, I didn’t expect that. I gotta remember to do something nice for her later. Bravo, Trixie.”

Chapter 42 - 'The Twilight Movie'

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Everything was set up. You were all at your seats, with the snacks brought to all of you as promised. The room itself was rather similar to the one you created for you and Chrysalis for ‘Starship Troopers’, but with a ceiling painting of Discord waving to the audience below. The three of you had chosen to sit in the middle of the room itself so you wouldn’t be too far or too close to the screen. You yourself couldn’t help but stuff your face while Starlight patiently waited for the movie to begin. Trixie on the other hand, was just laying back with a smirk on her face, something Starlight took notice of. “Trixie, you were really amazing back there. Considering how you were up in Anon’s room, I really didn’t expect that from you. How’d you know Discord would give in like that? Was it really just a performance thing?”

Trixie chortled “That’s exactly what it is. I mean… Well... “ At that moment, Trixie’s arrogance lightened up as she looked to the two of you with a gentle smile “I knew he was putting on a show, given how he was at the booth and… well, this entire place, that part was obvious. As for why I decided to step up and outdo his poor acting was because… Because... “ Trixie sighed as her smile became brighter, and more cheerful “He was upsetting my friends, and I couldn’t let that slide. What the hay was with him anyway? Isn’t he supposed to… I don’t know… care about his family and friends?”

“Dad REALLY likes to play the parts he takes on, doubly so if he is using his cloning magic. I can almost guarantee that whatever Discord owns this place would have taken offense too. It’s just how it is.” You say as you take a sip of soda

“Seems like it, the one at the ticket booth seemed pretty worried when it came to you. I guess Discord is just being a gigantic goof. So when does the movie start? Only thing I see on the screen is Discord’s head in black and white” Starlight asked, taking a gentle nibble of a single popcorn puff.

“Well, I’d have thought he’d have previews and such prepped. you know, since he’s going all the way. Either we missed them or he just wants to get to the good stuff.” You mention. It’d be sad if there were no previews, you kind of want to see Discord acting parts in movies you know you have at least seen. Ah well…

“Well, get on with it then. I came here to see Twilight get utterly humiliated, not watch previews.” Trixie said as she grew impatient. And just like that, the lights began to dim as the screen changed, and Discord’s voice started to fill the room.

The screen showed a gigantic X on both cell phones and unicorn horns. “Thank you for choosing the Chaos Theater for your viewing pleasure. Please respect your fellow movie goers by shutting off your cell phones and magical horns, if you please.”

“Cell phones? What are those?” Trixie asked, confused. “They kind of look like one of those taser things.”

“I can explain that. It’s from my world, used to be able to talk to others from almost any distance. But they can be kind of noisy when they ring or when you are talking through them.” You explain. Trixie already knew as well that you were from another dimension. Being a friend of Starlight and yourself kind of meant it’d be ok to let her be in the know.

“Wow, I could use one those. “ Trixie giggled to herself “I bet I could spook Twilight by talking to her while she slept.”

“Actually… you and Twilight would have to have one to be able to do that. It’s like the intercoms and walkie talkies we use in Equestria, just not so close range.” You tell her

“...Mnnn…” Trixie then immediately lost interest, and slumped in her seat “So is the movie starting or not?”

The screen changed to Discord roaring like a lion, within a circle marked ‘Discord Productions presents’. Starlight giggled at Trixie’s annoyance as she began to relax. “I think it is. Well, I’m ready. Let’s see if the movie is as good as all this set up.” Starlight said as she popped a gobstopper. She let out a soft moan as she looked over to you. “Anon, this is pretty good. Is it true it lasts forever?”

You shake your head “Nah, sadly the everlasting part is false advertising.”

“Oh… Ok then.” Starlight then quickly popped half the box in her mouth, and started to gently suck. It then became apparent to you that she REALLY liked the taste.

“You alright there, Starlight?” You say as you notice the screen change to show a loudspeaker that said ‘presented in super realistic and ‘Hi-Def-ening’ quality’. Oh shit...

Even then, she started to pop a few more as her cheeks began to puff up with the candy “Mhmm, ahm pewfewctwy mfine mmm”

“Ok, because the screen just had a pun in it and OH NO!” You cover your ears as the sound suddenly becomes ultra loud for a moment. So loud, glass could be heard shattering around the room.

While Trixie got the same idea you did, Starlight was caught off guard, falling backwards off her seat as all the gobstoppers flew out her mouth and onto her and her mane. When the screen went dim again, things quieted down.

“Starlight?” You said when you looked back to see if she was ok. But she wasn’t, she was heavily annoyed as her mane frazzled every which way. Her fur and mane was also littered with gobstoppers and saliva.

Starlight slowly began to climb back on her chair as she groaned “That was uncalled for…”

But both you and Trixie let out a little giggle as Starlight did her best to straighten her mane. “C’mon Starlight, it’s Discord, remember? You must always be on your hooves” Trixie said, trying to hold back another little giggle.

“Yeah yeah…” Starlight was now pretty damn grumpy, and yet she still popped a few gobstoppers in her mouth, and began to gently suck.

“Starlight, c’mon, Trixie is right.” You say, hiding your smile “besides, the movie is about to start now, don’t let it ruin your mood. If it’ll make you feel better, I can make you more boxes of gobstoppers when I get the chance, You look like you’re pretty addicted to them.”

“Shush… I’m fine, and I’m not addicted to them…” She then shifted her eyes left and right, then whispered “But, if you could get me one that’s actually everlasting, I wouldn’t mind… I’m just saying.”

“Sure thing” Heh, adorable.

The movie finally began, with Discord standing in a spotlight in an empty void, microphone in hand. “Hello Everypony, Anon, and welcome to the show! Now, I don’t want to take too much time getting to the good stuff, but we all know a movie never ever starts at the climax. So, to get everypony in the mood, we’ll be looking through the eyes of Princess Twilight Sparkle herself. Everything you see will be in her perspective, so try not to get confused. Really, it’s the only way to get the best reaction out of all of you. So sit back, relax, enjoy the snacks, and prepare to laugh!” Discord then started rubbing under his chin as the spotlight began to dim “Hm, that almost rhymed, perhaps I can do something with that later.”

And so, the movie opened up in the cutie map room…

“Spike, I just don’t know. You don’t find anything suspicious about that exam or Chancellor Neighsay doing a one eighty like that?” You said, sitting at your chair in front of the cutie map as you nervously tap your hooves on the map itself.

Your trusty assistant, Spike, just shrugged, calm about the whole situation. “I mean, Princess Celestia would have totally told us if something went wrong with that exam. But she didn’t, so there’s nothing to worry about as long as Anon and Scootaloo are ok. Besides, everypony thought it was totally rad! I think it was just a stunt to rile up the crowd. As for Neighsay, the guy probably just realized how important your school really is. It’s not like you’re gonna screw up or anything. You’re Twilight Sparkle, you wrote the book on friendship, literally! What’s he gonna do? Get somepony to spy on some of your future students just to find out one of them isn’t on the up and up? Pfft, c’mon, that’s not gonna happen. One, everycreature that’s coming is doing it to learn about friendship, which has nothing evil about it. Two, even if he did manage to get somepony to do it, it’d probably be some total dunce who wouldn’t know anything about anything. C’mon Twilight, you’ve had a rough day, why don’t you just take a nap and relax? You won’t be able to focus on opening up that school if you’re all tense like this.”

“I don’t know, I really should go and make some final checks.” You said, feeling tense about the quality of your plans for the school.

“C’mon, one nap ain’t gonna do anything to your plans. Besides, how are you supposed to focus when you’re worried about that weenie, Neighsay? C’mon Twilight, it’ll be ok, I promise.” Spike assures you, patting your back to help release your tenseness.

You sigh, and slowly begin to stand “Maybe you’re right, Spike. I just need a nap, that’s all. Then I’ll be all ready to go” You take a stretch, and try to put on a more positive and determined face.

“That’s the spirit, Twilight! C’mon, I’ll even take a nap with you so we’ll both be ready when we wake up.”

And with that, you and Spike made your way up the stairs to your room. You just had to get Neighsay out of your head, he had no reason to do anything suspicious behind your back. And Anon and Scootaloo were ok, so it really wasn’t anything to worry about. When you see your bedroom doors, you let out a sigh of relief and begin to open them. “Thanks, Spike, really. If I put any more thought into all this, I think I might have Poppedagha!? Ow!” When you open the door, and step forward, you find yourself knocking your head onto something hard and falling back on your butt. “Hey! What gives?” And when you look up, you see a peculiar looking purple circle of some kind. It had two legs going down, and some kind of raised lever of some sort, colored in other types of purple. The main circle itself had a familiar two holes coming out of it. “What in the hay is that?” You say as you begin to stand.

“Dunno, wasn’t there before. Did you order anything, Twilight?” Spike asked, looking at with, confused about it’s presence.

“No… I don’t even… What’s it doing?” Suddenly, out of nowhere, a brown substance started to come out of it’s upper hole. You carefully go over to the brown sludge is was dropping, and lower your head to give it a sniff “Chocolate? Hmmm… two kinds of chocolate actually…” You carefully dip your hoof into it and get a glob, and then upon tasting it… “It’s definitely chocolate. Huh… It must be some kind of chocolate dispenser. I’ve never seen anything like it before, do you think Rarity sent it over? Or maybe it was Pinkie Pie, she does love sharing sweets. I kinda wish it’d stop making chocolate though, it’s getting all over the floor.”

“I dunno, something seems really off about it.” Spike stepped inside the room, looking upon what this thing may have been. As for you, you just stare at the other hole, what was that one for? Then suddenly, Spike started to speak out in a timid tone “Uhhhh, Twilight? This is… a statue.”

“A statue that dispenses...Wha!” Suddenly, a yellow liquid started spewing onto your face from the other hole. You haphazardly open your mouth to taste it, then let out a gentle moan when you realize it’s a really tasty and sweet lemonade “Mmm! It also makes lemonade, Spike! And it’s actually kind of tasty, you should try it. Definitely has to be Pinkie Pie.”

“T-Twilight, I don’t think it’s her… I think you should come take a look.” Spike really sounded shocked for some reason, what was troubling him?

You decide to enter your room, and notice that from the side, it really was some sort of statue. A four legged statue in the shape of…. Wait… “Spike?” When you got to the front, you saw that the statue bore a gigantic resemblance to you. However, it looked shocked, frightened, and as if it was trying to get up from a seat. It’s pupils were thin, and it’s wings were spread out frantically. That was… “Is that, me?”

Spike nodded “Y-yeah, and erm… The side we were looking at…”

“The side we were looking at? What does…” And that’s when it hit you. Your pupils shrank to the size of peas as your fur became pale. The yellow liquid coming out of that hole… And as you look at your brown stained hoof, the chocolate was… That was all… This was… This statue was when you thought Anon and Scootaloo were in danger… But you didn’t let loose anything… maybe a little of… but… no… NO! WHAT YOU WERE TASTING WAS!... “DSFDFDFSADSAAGROOOOOSSSDAFSAD” You couldn’t handle it, you fell over, gasping, wheezing, and spitting. “Spike! Spike! H-help... “ You coughed weakly “I can’t…”

“W-woah, hold on Twilight, you said it tasted like chocolate, didn’t you? And lemonade? Erm…” Spike quickly went to the other side to do something out of your sight.

“S-spike… w-what are you doing?” You said, feeling the horrid embrace of what you could only guess was death.

“Um, Twilight. It really is just chocolate and lemonade. It’s really tasty too, actually. I-I know it’s kind of gross, given what the statue is, but I don’t think it is what you think it is. I do think Discord did this though. Oh wait, no, it was him, there’s an inscription here: To Twilight, to use as the centerpiece of your school, your biggest fan, Discord. Wow, gotta say, Discord usually doesn’t do anything this vulgar. Wonder what made him do it.”

You slowly stood up, using your magic to quickly bring every toothbrush and toothpaste imaginable to you. But in your haste, you screw up, and get slammed by a sudden army of mint and scrub. “Gyah!”

Spike ran back to you, and quickly swatted the toothbrushes and toothpaste dispensers away from your mouth. “Twilight, you ok?”

You gargled, spit, then groaned. You felt fresh now, but your face felt like it was hit by a huge wagon. “...mnnn”

“W-well, at least you smell minty fresh. Heheh… But seriously, um. I can tell you’re super upset right now. Um, but don’t worry, I’ll take care of the statue myself. And uh, talk to Discord next time I see him.” Spike, as he said this, looked a little eager to be alone with the statue. He wasn’t gonna eat from it, was he?! As for the statue itself…

You slowly stood up, and wiped at your mouth one more time. “Don’t bother, he won’t listen. Besides, you’re right, it is weird for him to pull off something so… yugh… I think somepony else may have given him the idea.”

“Somepony else? You don’t mean, Anon, do you?” Spike asked, feeling that is definitely what you meant.

“I… mnnn…” Did you really just want to outright blame him like that? Was this his way of celebrating? Was he mad at you again? Or was it really just Discord, who obviously did have some influence from Anon? “I dunno, I’m tired… I’m gonna take a na-GYAH!” Suddenly, the statue started to ‘cry’ without movement, shooting out creamy tasting tears from its eyes. Creamy or not, you once again felt disgusted and full of rage. “THAT’S IT!” You grab the statue with your magic, and throw it through the window and into the lake outside.

“Noooo!” Spike ran to the window and held his arm out “I-I could have made a bunch of delicious chocolate gem cake out of that… wait.” He then turned to you, confused “Isn’t that eventually gonna make the lake into a chocolatey lemonade?

Your eyes twitched as every fiber of your being shook in rage. You ran over to the window as Spike jumped to the side. Using your magic, you pull up the statue right as it hits the water and hurl it upwards with all your might into the sky. You then blast it into a thousand pieces with a powerful bolt of anger fueled magic. “There, it’s gone forever, nothing to worry about.”

“Y-yep, that statue is pretty gone. Um, I think it sent some chocolate and lemonade every which way though.” Spike noted as he saw the explosion.

“Doesn’t matter, everypony can get over a little GYAH!” And with that, some of the choclatey blast fell back and smacked into your face. Your anger had already piqued, so you just felt a sense of a cold and deathly calm as you laid down on the floor “Spike, I’m going to take a nap now. Please have everything cleaned up before I wake up”

“Um, Twilight what about the chocolate on your face.” Spike asked

You were too stressed out and nerve wracked to really make an attempt at cleaning it off “I’ll take a shower later…”

“Yeah, but Twilight, that chocolate is just gonna harden up and-”

“I’LL TAKE A SHOWER LATER!” You shout, before losing all your will, causing you to fall unconscious on the floor.

Spike just sighed, put his claws to his hips, and shook his head. “Good going there, Discord. Sheesh… Well, better get this cleaned up. Gotta find a way to clean Twilight’s face too without disturbing her. Poor Twilight, she didn’t deserve this. Her and the statue version of her. So many chocolate gem cakes…”

The End

Chapter 43 - Wedding Plans

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The movie was over, and the lights in the room began to brighten up as a loud cackling boomed throughout the room.

“Gyahahaha! H-Help! I can’t! I’m going to fall over! HAHAHAHA! THAT WAS BEYOND THE BEST! HYHAHAHA!” Trixie was in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, twisting left and right in merriment from what she just witnessed “ENCORE! HAHAHA! ENCORE!”

You did have a few laughs yourself, that was really surprising to see out of Discord. No wonder Twilight was suspicious of you, that was a really out of character prank from him. Still, seeing Twilight put in her place was always worth a laugh and she didn’t come out on top throughout the whole thing, a rare thing for Discord to accomplish from start to finish. “Man, that was pretty worth it, right Starlight… Starlight?” When you look over, you could see her hooves to her mouth. Did she not like it? Or worse, did she think it was too much? “Starlight, you alright?”

She was quivering in her seat, mumbling, her eyes watering “A-Anon, I feel really bad… But I also feel like laughing, which would make me feel worse. I-I…” Oh, she was trying to hold it in.

Trixie had fallen to the floor at this point, trying to regain her composure. She was still having a few laughing fits, but not as strong as before. As for Starlight, you get the sneaky idea of just reaching over with your hoof and giving the side of her belly a little tickle, just enough to get her going. Starlight’s own composure cracks as she starts laughing “Hahaha! Nahahat fairahaha! Finehehe! It was hilarhahahaious! I-I hahahehe… mmmm…. Okhehe, I’ve never seen anything like thahat, it was pretty funny…” But unlike Trixie, she regained her composure when some guilt hit her from just enjoying the moment that much. “But she seemed to be really stressed as is. I dunno, maybe she could use some extra help, especially with that school. If she’s that stressed now, handling a whole school will cause her mane to fall out.”

“Whahait, wait… How is that a bad thing?” Trixie’s laughter stops upon hearing that, confused as to why Starlight would feel that much for Twilight. “It seemed to me like she deserved it. I mean, she accused Anon of doing that whole thing, just outright blamed him. That’s not right.”

“C’mon, Trixie, don’t be like that. We’re friends with her, remember? Besides, that is something I’d kind of expect out of Anon rather than Discord. Either way, everypony had fun, but I think Twilight could use a little extra support given how stressed she is. I’ll see about paying a visit to Ponyville when the school opens up, see if I can help out.” Starlight said, as she started to use her magic to gather her snacks into a packed floating entity.

“I dunno about that. I wanted to try to be a professor there, since I’m awesome at friendship. But the best I got from that is a week break at the start and having to survive a whole year through her school before I can actually start teaching myself. I don’t think she’s really keen on having anypony else help out, aside from her close friends.” You explain to Starlight, feeling sure Twilight would refuse her help.

She just shrugs to your words “You never know. Besides, it’s not like I need to take a teaching role. Just something that can help lift the load off the others.”

“But Starlight, if you do get a job there, or whatever… Then what about me?” Trixie’s jovial mood drops as she looks upon Starlight with glistening sad eyes “What about Trixie? I’d be alone…”

Starlight rolls her eyes, and tells her calmly “Trixie, your house is mobile… You could just bring it with you so we wouldn’t be apart.”

“...Oh.” Trixie just looked expressionless as her eyes blinked “Right… Well then... “ Trixie started to yawn, and began to stretch herself “Trixie has had a wonderful time, but she would like to go now and get some sleep.”

“Yeah, it’s probably pretty late at this point. Still, have to admit, this all was still pretty entertaining. I also got to look into whoever that Neighsay guy is, he sounds like trouble.” Starlight noted to herself as she looked down at you “Anyway, thanks Anon, and thank Discord for me when you see him.”

“I will, he probably already heard all the praise and laughter already, so he should be good. C’mon, I’ll take you girls to the portal door.”

With that, you lead both mares back to your room… Almost. It actually took nearly ten minutes to get Trixie used to the idea of using the gravity stairs, something even then, she had no grasp on. Starlight had to use her magic to hoist her up to your room. Something she deemed as “unnecessary” as she arrogantly felt the next try would have been successful. After that however, you said goodbye to the two mares, and promised to see them soon. Ugh, but in the back of your mind, you knew Starlight getting involved might be trouble. Should you have mentioned that you knew Neighsay? Nah, probably not a great idea.

“Wonderful performance, wouldn’t you agree?” You hear Discord’s voice from behind. When you turn around, you see him with a small golden award of himself as he sat at a director’s chair, proud of himself. “It got me a bedlam award! For best picture, of course.”

You chuckled at him “Gotta admit, it was top notch. Good work, Discord.”

“Well, masterful work really. And it’s all thanks to you, the style of prank was directly based off something you would have done had you been more inclined to pull off a dastardly deed or two.” Discord tells you as he starts to shove the statue up his nose “There we go, nice and safe.”

“So that’s why it was so gross. I thought it may have had something to do with that, just the same, it was pretty damn funny. But you’ll probably have to lay off Twilight for awhile, if only not to overdo it.” You caution him as you jump onto your bed and roll about a little.

“Oh trust me, I had my thirst for fun quenched with that one, should keep me going for awhile. Ah, but Anon, on to business. Your wedding is approaching soon and…” Discord stands up, and shoots fireworks from the tips of his paws and talons “We need to make sure your big scene is magical! So here’s what I’m thinking.” Discord starts to lead the lights generated by the explosion on like an artist, forming shapes and scenes to illustrate his words “Everything needs to be less than perfect, so town hall is the perfect venue. However, as I have been informed by Mr. Rich himself, it still needs to play out like a real wedding anyway. Now, Mrs. Rich is dealing with the more boring visual details of the wedding while I handle well… You.”

Wut? “Me? Why just me?”

“Because you’re ridiculous to manage, so it takes one just as ridiculous to actually handle you.” Discord retorts.

“Hey! I just complimented you, let’s not get mean here. Especially since I haven’t been trapped in stone yet for being so ‘ridiculous’.” You say, feeling a little miffed at his attitude.

“Hmph, that’s because you’ve never tried the role of villain yet.” Discord shrugs “You couldn’t even handle the villain you tried to reform.”

You begin to grumble, feeling a tad hurt from those words “Yeah, well, mngh… You didn’t have to be mean like that…”

“Hmm…” Discord moves up over you, and starts to gently pet you upon your head “ I apologize, things just slip sometimes… All the time. But I am being serious, I want this to be a happy time for you, and… For Fluttershy as well, which is why we need a team.” Discord snaps his talons, the lights from the fireworks forge the likeness of three beings: Discord, Scootaloo, and Starlight Glimmer. “And that’s the team. With the three of us at your back, you simply can’t fail.”

Wait, wut? “Scootaloo and Starlight? Why them? Why a team exactly? I think I can handle a wedding.”

“Perhaps you can, but I want to guarantee everything works out for you. Now, pay attention. For me, I’ll have to do an emergency retrieval and fetch Fluttershy. Trivial, but I’ve already guessed she won’t be here in time unless I intervene. Then there’s the gift you plan to give to Diamond. You do have one, don’t you?” He asks you.

“Uhm… I could just get her a diamond ring, right?” You just blurt out, as if muscle memory to how weddings work.

“Excellent idea… except” Discord holds up his talons as they fall apart, one by one “Where are you going to put it?”

Right, ugh… you felt pretty dumb about that one. “Ok, ok, I get it. But what do you get a girl that can afford anything she wants? I mean, I’m kind of the perfect gift now that I think about it.” You grin arrogantly to yourself as you say those words.

“Cute, but a traditional pony wedding requires a gift of some sort. I’d say a rainbow gem would be perfect, given how incredibly rare they are. But then again, we’re going for less than perfect, aren’t we?” Discord says with his own slippery grin.

“So what do you suggest? And don’t you think I should get this gift myself? It’d make it more meaningful, I think”

Discord shrugs at you “True, it would, but it’s not uncommon for those getting married to have help from their friends. Remember, this whole world thrives on harmony and balance and all that nonsense, so what I’d suggest is taking said help, and taking this.” Discord holds out his paw to you, in it was a golden heart locket “Simple, easy to keep track of, and the pictures inside are…”

You take the locket and open it up. What you see makes you smile, as one part has a picture of Diamond, and the other had you. Both of you looking at each other as if you had been in love for years. Considering these pictures must have been fabricated in some way, it should surprise Diamond enough for her to really like it. Still, shouldn’t you really get a gift yourself? Thinking about it… Nah, god only knows you might fall into the trope where she hates it and she shatters all your hopes. You doubt she’d actually do that, but you never know. What you did know though, that if a real wedding happened, you’d need to make sure the gift was meaningful and well earned. “Of me and her… Alright, since this wedding doesn’t matter, then this will work perfectly. But when and if I really get married, I’m going after that rainbow gem myself.”

Discord shrugged, bearing a cruel smirk “Your funeral. Anyway, moving on, let’s talk about little Scootaloo and her duty.” The little bright Scootaloo light starts to circle around, yipping “She’s technically going to be your ‘best stallion’, unless you have any objections. I’m open to suggestions”

Damn, you did need a best man, didn’t you? But Scootaloo is a girl, and… Ugh, who else did you really have other than Spike that was male? Fuck man, you really didn’t have anyone close to you as a partner other than Discord and Scootaloo. “Alright, she’ll work. Wasn’t aware how close things were to human weddings, but she’ll work. But then, why Starlight?”

“She’s responsible! Admittingly more responsible than I am. She’ll be able to make sure you’re prepared, well groomed, presentable, and on time. She’ll bring you to town hall, Scootaloo will wait for you to acquire the locket, and Fluttershy and I will be in the gallery with such hopeful eyes.” Discord says, batting his eyes as the lights in the air disappear.

Wow, he really did care. He was more prepared for this than you were. You get up, and carefully put the locket in one of the drawers of your dresser. “I’m sure Fluttershy is gonna be really happy about all this. Discord, do you really care about this? About everything going orderly, despite your own nature?” You look to him with soft eyes “Do you really care about my happiness.”

Discord groans at you “Ugh, I should have just left it alone. I can’t even do something nice without you asking such an inane question.”

“And yet you’re not skipping out on me this time to avoid the question, nor are you making me owe it to you as a favor. So, I’ll take that as a yes.” Heh, what a guy.

“You said it, not me. Hmmm… Yeah…. Hmm…” Discord just started mumbling, crossing his arms as he looked about. “Anon, we’re still partners, right? If there was some mischief to be had that we could do together, or perhaps a scheme to make Fluttershy happy… You’d be with me all the way, right?”

“Before I answer that, would you say that you care about me as much as Fluttershy? Considering all you’ve done for me, you can’t really say no to that, but you have the option to.” You felt so smug there, so cocky, you knew that unless he wanted to seem like an ultimate asshole, that’d he budge, if at least by a little.

Discord, surprisingly, didn’t hesitate or deflect. Instead, he waggles his talon at you as he smiled more warmly. “We’ve done this song and dance before. You know how I feel. You, me, Fluttershy, we’re family. If anything ever happened to you, or to Fluttershy… Well, let’s not ponder on that. You are important to me, that is a fact. I care about you, and see you as a partner, but you’re also a plaything should I so choose. It’s complicated, but I’m sure you understand by now.”

“I do, gotta take the good with the bad when it comes to you. Still, thanks for the help, and thanks for the show, Starlight really appreciated it too. Seeya tomorrow, and have a good night” You say as you hop back into bed, and snuggle into your warm blanket. Heh, now that you put more thought into it, Trixie was right, this is really nice feeling.

“You as well. And be prepared, Anon, you have a filly to please in a couple of days.” Discord flashes away as you already begin to drift off.

Then again, when you open your eyes, you find yourself in a night sky sort of void.

OH COME ON! WHAT DID SHE WANT NOW?!

Chapter 44 - Diamond's Dream

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The empty void, a telling sign that Luna was inside your head. At this point, Luna never tried to hide her visitations inside your head given you entered lucidity whenever she did. If something was amiss and you were aware of it, then it meant the Lunar Princess was somewhere nearby. But why this time? Dammit, it was getting so tiresome. Why couldn’t she mind her own damn business! “C’mon Luna, I know you’re there. What? Why are you bothering me this time, huh? I already spoke to your sister about Chrysalis, alright? I’m aware of the stakes this time, I’m aware I can’t give her an inch, and I’m aware I can’t falter just because of my friendship with her. Geez, please, just leave me alone about it. I get that I messed up before, but I promise, I have a handle on it this time. She can’t even take me on at this point, I’m more powerful than she is.”

“Anon, please relax” Luna’s voice echoes through the void, a gentle,soothing, and understanding tone vibrating through your ears. “I am aware of the situation, and as usual, I am wary. However, I have come to trust, to a point, in you. That, I still owe you a debt for saving Equestria from the Storm King, something my sister and I should have been able to do from the start. You have matured quite a bit since the first incident with Queen Chrysalis, so you deserve one more chance. As for why I am here, it happens to be two reasons, none relating to what you fear.”

Huh? So, she’s ok with it this time? Well, to a point, as she said. So what was she here for then? “Well, thanks for that, I guess. But if you’re not here for Chrysalis, what are you here for? Is this the fact I’m helping that weird Neighsay guy?”

“No, it’s unrelated to that as well. In fact, I was completely unaware that Chancellor Neighsay had any contact with you at all.” Luna said, her presence to you still a mystery.

She didn’t know? Then she wasn’t even searching around through your head for secrets. A respect to privacy? Or does she only really pry when she feels it’s important. Also, was it a good idea to mention that guy? Actually, maybe it was, since you barely knew anything about him. You could ask for some information, but you should probably keep what you’re doing to yourself, if only not to stir any trouble. “Yeah, he’s been asking me to help him on a few things. The thing is, the guy is a little creepy to me. I’ve never even heard of the EEA or anything like that, do you know anything, Luna?”

“The only thing I know about the chancellor is from my sister has told me. He apparently has a powerful sense of justice, and wishes to protect Equestria and lead those willing to learn to their true potential. However, he is also arrogant, and prejudiced to those he sees as a threat, mostly any being that isn’t a pony. A good pony who seems rather short sighted in some areas, if I do say so myself. But I assume that since he has asked for your help, then it must be something important. I’ll leave that business to you as I am limited on time, and I have come here for very specific reasons.” Luna tells you as stars begin to align into an image of herself. There is then a flash at the epicenter of the gathered stars as Luna appears a few feet away from you in her usual majestic form.

Not that either? Holy shit, you didn’t expect that. And here you were ready to bite her head off the moment she berated you on anything. Ok, good, that’s good. But then, why was she here? “Specific reasons? What do you mean?”

“Allow me to explain” Luna’s horn begins to light up as the starry void slowly changes to that of the Rich Mansion, in Filthy’s study to be exact. However, there were a few key differences, namely in the fact that a large portrait of what appeared to be you, as an adult, and looking quite handsome with a regal position and a nice robe. And yet, why was that there? This was still a dream, it had to be, Mrs.Rich would have had a cow if something like that hung in the study. “The first reason I am here, is to give you a message from young Diamond Tiara.”

Wut? “Diamond? A message? Hold on, that doesn’t make any sense, why would she send me a message through you? What message? What even is all this?” This was already ridiculously confusing. Even more so as you notice an adult version of you, and a… wew, a longer mane’d, and sexy adult version of Diamond Tiara appear on the couch, nuzzling into each other tiredly as if they had a rough day. “Uhhhh, what’s all this… Woah! AGH!” Suddenly, a small filly, that despite a fur color and mane matching yours, showed signs of being in the style of Diamond Tiara, ran towards the both of you in disress. “Ah geez!” You had to rub yourself for a moment as your legs suddenly turned to cloudy dust from contact with the filly. You didn’t fall over, you still stood in place, but it felt awfully weird seeing your legs turn to dust for a moment before slowly reforming back into place. “The hell is going on, Luna?! What is all this?!”

Luna watched as the filly started hopping about in front of the adult couple, watching as they nod and let the young filly cuddle between them. “This is Diamond’s current dream, after I pulled her away from an atrocious nightmare.”

“Diamond’s dream? Nightmare? Wut? What are you getting at? Wait…” You look upon the trio again, watching them cuddle with each other lovingly. “That’s me, isn’t it? And Diamond… and… Wait, this is a dream of the future, or a future she wants. But that’s weird, where’s the castle and royal stuff?”

“Gone, she no longer wishes for such things” Luna says

“What? I mean, I know it was unrealistic in the first place, but this… I didn’t even know about any of this, what happened?” Like, this was one hell of a sudden shift. If this was really Diamond’s dream, then you needed to know the details of what the fuck caused it. Though, it’s not like this was bad, this actually seemed pretty cozy.

“The final exam, it caused nightmares in the little one, fear of something happening to you.” Luna says, in a way that sounded cryptic to you.

“What? The exam? Why would she have nightmares about that? She seemed fine right after it, so what gives?” She was ok, you remember her being alright.

“Ahh, but Anon, I’m sure even you can realize that once excitement and celebration has washed away from the mind that fear and worry can settle in due to how dangerous the situation itself seemed. But allow me to be exact. Young Diamond’s nightmares, they consisted of horrible outcomes for the both of you within the future she felt you both should have. Indeed, watching you nearly meet your end, and that fact you hold the title of ‘hero colt’, had caused her mind to second guess herself on her dreams and aspirations.”

“Second guess? You mean the whole Prince and Princess thing she wanted? I kind of felt she was getting over that, what kind of nightmares was she even having?” You ask

“It appears she still believed that there was still a chance of such a future. But now, due to the nightmares, she has changed her mind on the matter. The nightmares themselves consisted of horrible visions of you meeting your end during a heroic quest, or leaving her for true royalty, such as a more matured Flurry Heart, and even an ever expanding distance between each other due to the duties of a prince.” Luna explains “Her subconscious started to collapse within itself as more and more fears began to pile upon itself. Wars, enemy raids, managing the government and, even being ponynapped only to be rescued suddenly seemed like a torturous ordeal to her. While rescuing her from this was easy, easing her mind was not. You see, Anon, we had a discussion with how royal life is actually like. I had admitted to her that my duties, and my sister’s, does indeed hinder our time together. And, given the times my sister and I have been imprisoned in some way, I had to admit to her that royal life can also be quite dangerous. This dream you see was conjured through rationalization of the future. Just as her own parents have had more time for each other, and for her, she wishes to take the mantle as head of the Rich estate, and live with you in harmony. This is how she wishes the future to be, and…” Luna watches as the apparitions fall asleep peacefully on the couch as everything begins to dematerialize back into the starry void. “To me, seems like a much better future to dream about for the both of you. However, the message to you was to ask if you do not mind such a future as well, as she feels you truly are dead set into wanting such a regal future for the both of you. She didn’t want to upset you, you see. So then, what is your reply?”

THANK FUCKING GOD! Holy shit, the whole princess and prince crap was finally over! Hopefully now she’ll mellow out in general. “I’m not even mad, I’m perfectly ok with this. In fact, tell her that after I saw the dream for myself, I’d like nothing better.”

“Well, Anon, you can tell her that yourself tomorrow. I’m sure she’d like it a lot more to hear it from you than me. In fact, I’d suggest spending some time with her tomorrow, make a whole day of it. Considering your wedding is coming up, false or not, I’m sure it’d ease her mind to be able to spend the day with you, especially after being haunted by such ghastly thoughts.” Luna suggested. And, y’know, that probably wasn’t a bad idea. You had been doing a lot of other miscellaneous shit lately, so why not spend the day with Diamond to let her know you care.

You nod to Luna “Yeah, I’ll do just that when I wake up. But then, what are the other reasons you wanted to see me then? Or was all that explanation the reasons?”

“Well… Actually” Luna gulped, suddenly became uneasy, and even began to have a jitter in her voice “I had been haunted myself from our last meeting… About what you showed me. Never before had I seen something so absurd. And so… Erm… Ahrm.” She just couldn’t keep it together as she tried to get to her reason “I… Normally have myself more composed in any matter such as this… But this matter is rather, off to me. I… Mmmm… Alright, calm down…” She tells herself as she takes a breath, but even as she composes herself, she still seemed nervous “Alright… The other reason, the reason I’m here… That reason… Is… Why?”

Why? Wut? “What? Luna, what do you mean by why? What’s up with you all of a sudden?” Like really, it looked like she thought you were about to kill her or something.

“Yes.. Erm… Why? The Why… The why that is… Why two mares?” Luna finally coughs out “It makes no sense, no sense at all. For what reason would you even dream about two mares doing such… private acts? It doesn’t seem natural to me, and I… I need to know why you’d even think it is! It confounds me!” Luna started to speed up her speech as she seemed rather frantic on the whole thing. But to you? Ohhhhhhh….

Goodie fucking gumdrops, was she serious?! Was she seriously that bothered by the concept of a colt such as yourself imagining two mares fucking each other? Oh, Anon… You simply can’t pass this up, you cannot pass up getting a little something over Luna this time around. It’s too fucking perfect, and you were going to milk it for as long as it bothered her. Ok, she did do a nice thing for Diamond, so maybe you shouldn’t go too far…

Nah, let’s do ALMOST exactly that.

Chapter 45 - Why Two Mares?

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“So you really wanna know, huh? I mean, it’s going to take a bit to explain. So unless you have time to spare, there really isn’t enough time to tell it to you, is there?” Take the bait, Luna. You give her a sinister little smirk as you await her answer.

“I started my duties early enough to extend myself in the pursuit of this answer. I… Probably shouldn’t pursue it, really, but it’s simply too mind boggling to let it linger inside my head.” Luna looked reluctant, yet eager to learn the truth. Well then, if she insists.

“Alright then, I’ll tell you. But really, Luna, I think that thousand year imprisonment may have made your thinking a tad outdated. For a stallion, or heck, a human even, seeing two females do the nasty is very very alluring. How do you not get that?” Just reel it in slowly, Anon.

“If ‘doing the nasty’ refers to procreation, then no, you’re wrong, it’s not alluring. Such acts are of an intimate nature, between a stallion and a mare that have fallen deeply in love with each other. It may be enjoyable, but it also for the purpose of producing a wonderful foal into this world. That is the absolute truth!” Luna nearly yells that last part out in her royal canterlot tone. Clearly she had no concept of lewd and deviant thoughts.

“As true as that may be, you can’t honestly tell me a stallion wouldn’t surround himself in pleasurable company if he was able. Or, in the case of a lavish mare like,say, Rarity, are you to tell me she doesn’t gather the attention of multiple Stallions at once?” You ask her, just throwing out that bait for her to bite into.

“Hmph” Luna holds her head up high, looking down as if she’s figured something out “You seem to be mistaken. It is normal for multiple stallions to attempt to court a mare, with only one usually winning out. Just as well, a stallion who finds himself in such company will always settle for a single mare. Your logic is flawed. Perhaps it’s simply a ‘human’ thing.” Luna was quick to dismiss you, faster than you expected even. Clearly she didn’t want to believe in the notion that a pony would engage in such sexual acts.

“Ah, but is it?” You raise your hoof as your smug levels begin to rise “Sure, you might be right when it comes to courting and stuff. But this is more of the mind, a fantasy, rather than something a pony would be brave enough to actually engage in. But let me put it in a perspective you can get. Ok, so, what do you think of Big Mac? I know he’s in a relationship and all, but what do YOU think of him, and I mean in a way that suggests… Courting.”

Luna froze for a moment, and then pondered. After a few seconds, she nodded to you and answered “He is a strong stallion. Dutiful, loyal, and family centric. I’d say he’s a fine stallion. Where are you going with this?”

“We’ll get to the point in a moment. Alright then, now what do you think of say… Soarin.” C’mon, Luna…

“Of the Wonderbolts? Hmmmm…” Luna, again, began to give it some thought “He can be heroic at time. He’s a little absent minded, but good hearted. Fast, athletic, capable. And a pure enough personality for a mare to know he’d never do anything behind their back.”

“Right. Two stallions you have some interest in, even if hypothetically. Now then, and I’ll be blunt, how would you feel about them fondling themselves?” You hold back a grin that would even put the Grinch to shame.

Her reaction was golden. She nearly fell backwards as her face blushed at the thought. But despite the embarrassed action, she also seemed rather insulted. “Anon! That is more than wrong! Why would they even do that?! What do I gain by thinking such a thought?!”

You shrug “Oh, you know, self pleasure in imagining Big Mac playing with Soarin’s unmentionables for a little bit before they climb onto your bed, cuddle you, lick you all over, and ‘procreate’ with you… both of them…. Possibly at the same time, if you dig that sort of thing anyway.”

Luna’s upper part of her body turned red as her pupils shrank from shock. At first, she was fumbling her words. Finally, unable to take it mentally, she starts yelling in her ‘Royal Canterlot Voice’ “ANON! YOU DARE INSULT ME?! YOU DARE TRY TO PLACE SUCH UGLY AND CONTEMPTIBLE THOUGHTS INTO MY MIND?!”

You shrug again, and walk up to her with the surest as fuck smirk you’ve ever given her. “I didn’t try, I did. Look at you, Luna, you’re as red as a tomato. You’re the master of dreams, right? Are you telling me you wouldn’t partake in such pleasures?”

Luna growled at you as she realized her own increase in body temperature. “You dare mock me…” Her horn began to glow as you suddenly found yourself surrounded by clouded forms. “And yet you do not realize the folly of your own hubris. I have now realized that you only tried to trick me for your own humorous machinations. Well, Anon, I too can play such games. Prepare yourself, for you shall now suffer your own lies!”

Oh shit! Was she gonna hurt you? Cause you terrible nightmares? Oh dammit, she was worse than Discord when it came to taking a… Hold on a second, what’s this? The clouded forms change into the CMC, all slowly approaching you, silently, with bedroom eyes. “What in the...?”

“That’s right, Anon, now it is you who will be red and full of embarrassment! HAHA!” Luna attempted to turn the tables on you, to make you realize your mistake.

You found yourself a little stunned as Applebloom immediately began to nuzzle on your side. Sweetie Belle was gently climbing onto your back, nibbling your ear. Scootaloo was kissing under your chin as she nuzzles you from the other side. Holy crap, now this was tops. Sure, it wasn’t too lewd, but you had three imaginary fillies nuzzling on you… All because Luna still didn’t get it.

“How does it feel, Anon? Do you realize now how unnat- W-why are you looking at me like that?” Luna, so sure of her victory, is caught off guard when you give her bedroom eyes, and beckoned to her with a hoof.

“There’s room for one more, Luna. C’mon, I’d like me some belly rubs” You snicker at her. You had this, you had the advantage, the momentum, and the play of the damn game.

“I… No! It’s… How?! Aren’t you bothered by the fact they are cuddling you? All vying for your attention? You have a marefriend, but even if you didn't, you can only claim one! And yet, not only do you choose all three, but you also want me to join in on this?! It doesn’t, no, it can’t make any sense!” Luna couldn’t process what she was witnessing. At first she was curious, then she meant to beat you out, now she had no clue what to think.

“It’s just a fantasy, Luna. I love my Diamond, but a colt like me has needs, just like you. You can’t tell me a thousand years on the moon didn’t make you a little in the wanting for some male attention, right? Or even…” Something struck you as enlightening just then. This was still your dreamscape, even if Luna was manipulating it. But, given her state, would this give you control? Hmmmm… “Some regal and adorable company”

Luna suddenly jolts when she feels something rub on her side. When she looked, what she saw shocked her. It was an obviously horny Twilight, nuzzling Luna for her attention. “W-what is t-Guh?!” Luna found herself sandwiched and unable to move when she felt something cuddling on her other side. “P-princess Cadance? I uhhhngh!” She suddenly let out a gentle moan when she felt her ears being licked and nibbled upon. “S-sister? Wait.. n-no…” When she felt it, she thought it’d be the whole ensemble of princesses, but it wasn’t. Floating overhead, as if no gravity existed, was Big Mac and Soarin. They both had eyes for her, and had reached their heads down to lick and play with her ears. At this point, Luna’s whole body was red, and she was unable to speak properly.

“See? While I’m not big on guy on guy… Like, at all. It kind of works when there's a beautiful set of mares in the middle, don’t you think? Oh, girls, right there… Oh, Sweetie, you know how to work the kinks out of my back.” As you spoke, you felt yourself relaxed as you laid on your belly, the girls still giving you their attention as Sweetie gently massaged your back.

“En-Eno...Hnnmmmn...Eno…” Luna was letting out soft whines and moans as she was cuddled upon. Every caress on her body was weakening her resolve.

“Eno? Eno what, Luna? You can stop this if you want, I was just trying to prove a point. You get it, right?” God, she was fighting it so hard. You swear, if you could just look at her rear, you know she’d be wet.

“Eno… Ngh… ENOUGH!” Luna bellowed out, a magical burst obliterating all the dreamy phantoms and causing you to tumble back a few feet. After her magical blast, she found herself panting, out of breath from both the release of her magic, and the attention she received.

“Ugh… What was that?” You fell flat on your belly after that tumble. You shook your head, and stood up as you looked upon Luna, who was just panting, staring off into space, and most importantly, still blushing. “Luna, you alright?” But no response. Did you do it? Hook, line, and sinker? You slowly approach her, and tug at her leg “Luna?”

“H-huh? A-Anon?” Luna looks down at you, still shocked from the whole thing as she flinches backwards. But as she started to snap back to her senses. She began to calm down. Though, that didn’t remove the feelings she felt from what she just beared witness to. “Anon… I” Suddenly, she took another step back from you “Your… subconscious aura… I can feel it. You were serious, you really found that… To your liking... “

Did you go too far? Nah, don’t step back now, Anon! Go for the finish! “Yeah, I guess. The other princesses appearing was more for me, really. Big Mac and Soarin was for you. See, the answer is simple, Luna. Stallions like mares, so the more mares, the better. Sure, there’s a proper way of doing things, but you can’t tell me it’s not fun to fantasize such… ‘absurd’ scenarios, am I right?” You give her a gentle nudge to the leg “Eh? Ehhhh?”


“Then you felt it. My horrible desire… For it to continue.” Luna gulped, stunned by her own words and realization. “What horrors have I unleashed upon my own mind?”

Uhhh, yeh… “Yep… I totally… Er… Felt it within you. Totally could tell. So, you get it though, right? Because… Y’know…” You float up to her ear, controlling yourself through your own dreamscape, and whisper to her “I’m into a lot more forbidden things, if you want to have a go. Just a dream, right? You could age me up and everything. I mean, not like I wouldn’t know how to ‘act my age’.”

Luna backed off from you, mortified from your words. “What?! I would never! Could never! Oh no, this was a mistake! The highest levels of indecency! Nopony… No, nocreature is capable of such thought within this realm! I… It… Was merely a moment of weakness!”

“Y’know you loved it” You smooch at her, and giggle adorably.

“I… I... “ Luna began to disappear “Must be going! I… Will not be visiting for quite some time… I…. Must reflect once my work is done this night! I… I…” And then, when she noticed you wiggle her eyebrows at her, her eyes begin a solid glowing white as she yelled “IT’S NOT FUNNY, ANON! THIS IS NOT A JOKE! THIS REALLY IS A THOUGHT ONLY AN OUTWORLDER WOULD THINK OF! AND IF YOU THINK I’LL GIVE THIS ANY FUTURE THOUGHT, THEN Y-YOU’RE W-W-WRONG! I WISH YOU WELL WITH YOUR MAREFRIEND, BUT BID YOU CAUTION TO YOUR OWN MIND! BECAUSE IT IS OF THE HIGHEST REALM OF VILE! AGAIN! THESE THOUGHTS WILL NOT, NOR WILL THEY EVER, HAUNT MY MIND! IN FACT, STALLIONS ARE NOW OF A DISGUSTING NATURE TO ME!”

“So… you’re into mares then?” You dare to ask

“YES! I MEAN… NO! I MEAN! I MUST VACATE YOUR MIND! I HAVE IMPORTANT WORK TO DO, AND CANNOT STAY ANY LONGER! AND AGAIN, THESE THOUGHTS WILL NEVER SHOW UP AGAIN! NOT EVER! FARE THEE WELL, ANON, AS I CAUTION YOU AGAIN ON SUCH THOUGHTS! THE THOUGHTS WHICH I WILL NOT BE IMAGINING!”

You just wave to her, and cheerfully say “Well, in case it does, I just want to say that in my universe, a rule exists that if it exists, there’s an opposite gender version of it. Just saying, the elements of harmony can be really appealing if you give it some thought.”

“NO! THERE WILL BE NO MORE THOUGHTS ON THIS! EVER! YOU WILL NEVER THINK SUCH THOUGHTS EITHER! OR ELSE YOU WILL BECOME RIDDLED WITH HORRIBLE GUILT! REMEMBER! ONE MARE!” She bellows as she nearly disappears out of sight.

“I mean, I guess I can stop when I feel guilty.” You shrug

“OH, YOU WILL FEEL GUILT, ANON! TRUST ME, YOU WILL! NOPONY CAN TRULY BE SO DEVIANT AS TO ACTUALLY FOLLOW SUCH THOUGHTS! I KNOW NOW THAT YOU HAVE ONLY DONE THIS TO SURPRISE AND SHOCK ME! WELL, IT DIDN’T WORK! AND NOW I AM GOING BECAUSE I HAVE NO MORE TIME! AGAIN, I AM NOT SHOCKED, AND NONE OF THIS WILL BE GIVEN ANY THOUGHT. I HAVE SPOKEN!” And with that, Luna disappeared as the stars began to vanish from the void.

When you opened your eyes, you blissfully yawned, and stretched out on your bed. “What a nice dream.”

Chapter 46 - A New Morning

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Though, as good a dream as that was, you now found yourself in some dark chamber, with a window wall leading out into space, and various controls consoles to the sides. Directly in front of you was a small set of stairs that led to a throne of some sort, but it was facing away from you and looking towards the window wall. And despite all this, you were still on your bed. Were you still asleep?

“I sensed a disturbance in the dreamscape, my young apprentice” Said a voice that came from the throne. The throne turned to face you, sitting on it was a disfigured Discord in a dark robe and red glowing eyes. What became even more ominous was some sort of space age stick he was holding, it suddenly emitted some sort of red beam sword from it’s hilt… though it looked more like a spatula.

“Star Wars? Really? You couldn’t do better than that?” You raise an eyebrow as you cross your hooves at the disfigured draconequus. “Gonna take a guess you eavesdropped on my dream, huh? I mean, not like it wasn’t a bad thing for you to do that, considering how hilarious it was.”

Discord started to nonchalantly swing his light spatula around as he leaned back on his throne. “Actually, I didn’t eavesdrop, but you do have my attention.” Discord then gave you a dark smirk “I can only guess you toughened up your backbone and pulled one over the princess of the night, that would be the only way to explain why there was such a sudden blast of magic through the realm of sleep. Well, I’m listening, my apprentice. Tell me of your hilarious, yet not as hilarious as what I did to Twilight, meeting with Princess Luna.”

You let out a soft chuckle. Man, you were going to blow him away with this one. He may have been able to pull off a better than average prank on Twilight, but you PERFECTED the human art form of blowing somepony the fuck out. “Well, hold on to your robes, my master. Because this one is gonna force push you away!”

And so you tell Discord everything that happened within the world of dreams. As you told your story, he started to smile warmly, and even chuckle at Luna’s misfortune. “...And that’s it. Guess we both got to have a grand ole time, wouldn’t you say?”

“Indeed, you have learned well, my apprentice. In fact, I’d say that was NEARLY as good as the trick I played on Twilight.” He then gives you a more intense look before he smirks “We could go for a four pair, if you know what I mean.”

You shrug, as much as you would think messing with Cadance and Celestia would make the day complete, you knew Celestia was a tad sensitive lately and that Cadance would just make your life hell by sending a letter to Twilight. Well, maybe she’d do that, she does seem to have a much lighter sense of humor than her. “Not in the cards, my master. Besides, I gotta see Diamond today, wanna talk to her about a few things.”

“Ah yes, of course, you did mention that. Alright then” Discord throws off his robes as he gets up from his throne and stands, looking battle ready as he holds up his saber. “Then it’s time for action”

“Action? W-WHA?!” You duck your head when you suddenly hear blaster fire coming from behind you. You crawl to the other side of your bed and pop your head up to see lightning clouds shooting some goopy looking shots at Discord. “Ah geez, c’mon Discord! This seems a little dangerous!”

“Hush! Concentrating…” Discord readies himself, then jumps to the other side of your bed as he starts deflecting the shots with his saber, either knocking them straight up, or hitting them back at the clouds, causing them to burst. When the last of the clouds blew up, Discord holstered his saber as he unholstered a plate and held it up, catching the blaster shots as they fell. As it turned out, as they fell, you noticed they were now fully formed pancakes, and that Discord was catching them as a stack. After his last catch, he then holds the plate towards you and smiles “Pancakes are done, here you are.”

When you raise your head, you start to put things together as you take the plate. “That was pretty cool. And let me guess, those were ‘Storm Troopers’, right?”

Discord nodded as he opened the tip of his talon, pouring a small amount of syrup onto the stack. “Yes, quite accurate, wouldn’t you say?”

“Yeah… except for the fact they work for the emperor. What you should have done was have a duel with a pancake pony named ‘Pancake Skywalker’, who literally would walk in the sky.” You say as you start to dig in

“Look at you, criticizing me after such a performance. Well, I’m sorry I wasn’t accurate to your silly space opera. Maybe next time I should imprison myself in a cage and tease your brain with riddles before I eat it.” Discord said, not pleased with your criticism, even hurt about it.

You let out a lighthearted chuckle, you didn’t mean to sound mean, you were just messing with him “C’mon, Discord. I was just joking… Also, that’s not how ‘Silence of the Lambs’ went either. Just relax, alright? Thanks for the breakfast, and thanks for your help, I really really appreciate it” You look up at him with a childish smile, and even wag your tail to add to your cuteness. “You are the greatest, y’know?”

Discord’s look of discontent broke into a small smile from those words as he gave you a gentle pat “I know, I’ve always known. Ahh, Anon, you are good son.” Discord snaps his talons, returning the room to your normal one. “Hmm, if we’re not going to be messing with the princesses, perhaps I can arrange a guy’s night. You’d be up for that, wouldn’t you? Conan?”

“We’ll see, that really is more your guys' thing than mine. But if things go well today, sure, why not? It’ll take some tension away from the wedding, which I’m sure I’ll hear a lot about today.”

“I’ll take that as a definite yes, I know you have the moves to continue to charm that darling filly. But just in case” Discord points at you with his talon, zapping you with a magic that puts you in a business suit akin to Mr.Rich. Your mane even slicks back. “This should help, given her new dream.”

You look at the cuffs at the end of your forelegs, then take a touch of your mane. If it’s one thing you remembered, she doesn’t seem to like your hair like this if she can help it. So, you just muddle it up a bit, then look to Discord with a nod “Heh, didn’t even ask this time. Thanks, Discord.”

“No need to thank me, consider it a small gift for getting one over our dear moon princess. Hmmm, as for me, I realize I can’t just go see Spike due to Twilight most likely still being quite sore at me. I’ll have to see Big Mac instead.” Discord lets out a light and quick laugh “Maybe I’ll go see Scootaloo right after, I’d imagine she’s probably at the clubhouse with her friends right now. Heck, since I’m going to be there at all, I might as well see if Applejack needs my help, I’m feeling right helpful this mornin’”

Ooohhh no, he’s going to far with that thought. “Just stick to the first two, you know how you get when you get too orderly, or worse, really bored.”

“Oh, right, yes!” Discord chuckled to himself “Good idea, Anon. Wow, I really did go too far with that thought, didn’t I?” Discord, with a smile, put his arms to his hips and shook his head “My my my, shame on me. I was this close to entering a series of events that would have ended in flying pigs and a huge tub of apple juice to swim in. Not a bad idea actually, apples do have a great scent! But we all know that Applejack, she’s just as uptight as a wedgie caused by a hot air balloon.”

Wha? “Wedgie caused by a hot air balloon? How does that even fit?”

Discord rolled his eyes at you “Obviously you have never felt your underwear tighten up by the force of an ever rising and very large hot air balloon. That is a perfectly valid countryism and you know it.”

Oh, it was a pun “Alright, alright, you got me. In my defense, I just woke up, not exactly quick thinking right now.”

“It’s alright, Anon, I forgive you.” Discord gently pats your head “In anycase, I’ve got some work to do. Hopefully Big Mac can ask Spike to set up a campaign for us tonight. Again, I’d do it myself, but Twilight is probably still cranky about the statue. You’d think she’d act her age and stop whining, eh?”

You laugh at that, as if! “Twilight can’t even get over a smudge on her favorite book, she’s such a kid. Also, don’t go and smudge her books. Don’t want to upset her too much, she might get so angry she’ll burst into flames and burn her castle down.”

“I didn’t know that was possible, I’ll have to remember that's a thing. Anyway, fare thee well, Conan, we will meet again at camp!” Discord said to you with a bow

“Ummm…” Eh, fine, you’ll do it. “Seeya there, Captain Wuz.” You salute to him as he disappears.

With breakfast done, you get out from bed and open your portal door to Town Hall. You do stop, and take a moment to look around. You felt that Cozy Glow might be around and ready to greet you, but it seems she wasn’t waiting around this time. A sweet filly to be sure, you wouldn’t mind having a daughter like that in all actuality. Very nice and very well behaved.

Heck, your entire walk was encounter free, for the most part. There were a few ponies who greeted you, some seeming star struck seeing you walk about, and the rest of them just being their usual friendly selves. Heh, it made you feel prideful, you are the Hero Colt after all.

When you got to the Rich Manor, you did your usual prepwork of at least brushing your mane back once and standing tall. Ok, maybe messing with your mane was pointless back in your room if you were just gonna do this anyway. Ugh, ya dingus. Whatever, you knock on the door, and wait for an answer.

It didn’t take long for the door to be opened by Filthy Rich himself, who seemed rather surprised by your presence. Surprised, but pleasantly so. “Well, good mornin’, Anon. Looking rather sharp, I see. Don’t suppose you somehow knew I was goin’ to go pick up some cider from the Apple family. Be mighty glad to have you tag along, specially after that training exam business. I’m sure them barrels are nothin’ to you now.” Mr.Rich said with a bright and optimistic smile. Hmm, it may have been awhile back, but you were sure Mr. Rich felt you still may have felt some shame over what happened before, and felt you would be able to handle the work now and pick yourself up over any lingering thoughts. Really? You were way over it by now, and you did want to help him out. But…

“I actually would love to, Mr. Rich. But I came here to see my ‘future wife’” You said with a wink.

Filthy laughed heartily at that “That’s a good one! Haha! Well, she’s with her mother at the moment. Dunno what’s going on really, she suddenly was asking to know this and that about Barnyard Bargains and the way we run things. Makes me proud n’ all, but she’s still a bit too young for the finer points of big business. Still, she’s being really eager, and I can’t say no when she’s got her mind on somethin’. Now that I think about it, it’s a shame you ain’t coming with. Would be fitting with the mares doing one thing while we stallions bond over hard work.”

“It does sound pretty fitting, but I really need to see her about something. Nothing bad, mind you, I just gotta talk to her about a few things. But I’d love to be able to do this with you some other time, maybe you could teach me more about other businesses you have your hooves in. I’m sure that’s plenty important too.” You didn’t want to hurt his feelings or anything, but you had to see Diamond, at any cost.

“Oh, well now. Ah didn’t even think of that. Hmmm, that is mighty important. Alright, I’ll make up a little ole dossier on the subject for next time. But you better take to being all kinds of serious about it, Anon. Our business ain’t no joke. I know I don’t have to tell you that, but if you really want to learn this early, then you gotta take it serious just the same.” He sounded pretty dead serious about the more he spoke on it. He seemed to even realize it as he took a moment to stop and smile once again. “Well, that ain’t anything to worry about now. You have a good day, Anon.” He steps aside to let you inside “Now go and give my daughter a hearty good mornin’.”

“Will do, Mr. Rich” What a friendly guy. Filthy Rich, probably the most honest business pony in Equestria. And a guy you hope to make proud when and if you do actually acquire the business. You don’t want to let him down.

Chapter 47 - Partnership

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Welp, you were inside. The maids seemed to be busy cleaning this and that, not paying attention to you at all. You start to step towards the stairs in the main hall when you notice a few maids carrying plates of confectionaries down towards Filthy’s study. With Mr. Rich out, it made you wonder who that was all for. So with some curiousness, you follow them into the study.

When you step inside, you could see Silver Spoon lounging boredly on the couch near the fireplace, barely moving when a plate is set on the small table in front of her. At the desk however, were Diamond and Spoiled. From what you could hear and see, Spoiled was guiding Diamond through some sort of ledger for the company. She also sounded somewhat frustrated, as Diamond seemed to be focused but too young to understand some of the things she was mentioning. Should you interrupt and announce yourself? Maybe, for now you’ll walk over to Silver Spoon and ask her in a whisper “Heya, Silver Spoon, whats up?”

“Like, the most boring thing ever…” She says with a low groan. “I wanted to take Diamond with me to find a sorta ok bouquet of flowers for the wedding. But she’s totally doing boring stuff, I don’t even know why. She just said she wanted to learn how to run the family business or something like that.”

Oh shit, she really took her dream seriously, huh. “I see, but why does her mom sound frustrated?”

“Because she was all like ‘Diamond, you’re too young to learn this’. Mrs. Rich also said she only does work when she has to, but the lady of the company usually does all the social stuff. I mean, even I know that. But Diamond? She like, totally wants to do everything her Dad can do all of a sudden. You didn’t say anything to her, did you, Anon?” She asks you, still looking quite bored on the couch.

“Can’t say that I have, but I don’t think it's bad that she’s so eager to learn, even if it is sudden. But if she’s having trouble understanding… Well… “ It was obvious to you now that Diamond must have thrown some sort of tantrum or begged really hard to have Mrs. Rich taking her through some sort of crash course. You even wondered if she could teach her with it being all of a sudden and having nothing prepared for her to actually learn. Most likely, she was just humoring her daughter to the best of her ability. “I’ll talk to her.”

“Thank you” Silver says with a huff “This is just way too boring for me.”

Alrighty then, you head over to the study, a few steps off, while listening to what was going on. Spoiled was really trying to get through to her daughter. “Diamond Tiara, will you calm down? At this rate, you’d sink the company for sure. I’m going to tell you one last time. You are too young to learn the ins and outs of the company like I have. Like I said, I started learning AFTER I married your father, and he was taught the financial side of things when he came of age. And even then, you are a young mare, you need to learn the more soci-”

But Diamond wouldn’t have it, she slams her hoof on the desk and starts making demands “No! I want to be able to run the company as good as Daddy does! Since I’ll be marrying Anon for real, I want to be able to be his perfect partner!”

“And you will be… In the future, as in not now. Diamond, be reasonable, I have an appointment at the spa in half an hour. I’m still stressed from a few days ago and I don’t need any of this.” Indeed, her patience was thinning, it was time to say something.

“Um, Hey! Sorry to interrupt, but erm, came to see Diamond, if that's alright.” You say as you wave your hoof.

Spoiled has never looked as happy to see you as she did now, she even came to give you a hug “Anon! Good morning! How are you? Very good of you to see my precious daughter. I’m sure you both will have a pleasant morning. You’re free to do whatever you all wish. Goodbye.” Yep, she hugged you, stepped back, and stepped out within that whole sentence before anyone could even react. She did look pretty stressed though, perhaps she still had some guilt over that day. Or maybe it really was the stress of it all.

“Anon?” Diamond froze when she looked at you, then looked down as she got off the chair. She didn’t move out from behind the desk however as she suddenly became timid. “... Did you talk to Princess Luna? Is that why you’re here?”

“Yep” You say to her in a cute and confident tone “I was worried about you. You ok? You looked pretty intense just now, really focused.”

“Y-yeah… Um, I just want to focus more on Daddy’s business. Not only for me, but for you. For the both of us. I k-know I wanted to become a princess in some way… But…” You could hear her suddenly begin to tear up “I just… Well, y-you know. She told you about the nightmares, right?”

“She did.”

You hear her gulp, as she suddenly sounds more weepy about it “Uh huh… Erm, you’re not upset, right? I-I know you had your heart set on being my prince.”

You shrug “Eh, whatever. Being a prince sounded dull anyway. Besides, your dad seems really set on me learning the ins and outs of…” You do your best to sound like Filthy himself “Barnyard Bargains and all its affiliates and outside businesses, y’hear?” You then chuckle, feeling a tad silly about it. But then, when you noticed no response… “Diamond? You ok?”

Before you knew it, Diamond came running from behind the desk, and jumped on top of you, hugging you and bringing her head under your chin for comfort as she nuzzled “Anon! Y-You’re the greatest! I’m so happy to hear that! I was so scared you’d be upset! A-Anon…” She started to sniffle as she cuddled, and so you started to comfort her by holding her close, and tapping her nose with yours.

“Yeah, I know I’m the best. But hey, relax, alright? Your mom is right, you’re taking things in too quickly. Just tackle em’ as they come, ok? For now, let's hang out! You’d like that, right?” The poor thing, you had to do your best to get her to smile.

“Mhmm, I’d like that… Very much.” She said in a low voice, obviously still as infatuated with you as the day you ‘saved’ her.

“Oh my gosh! This is like, the most romantic thing ever! You two really are perfect for each other!” said the voice of Silver Spoon, as she just kind of stood over the both of you, making things kind of awkward. Awkward enough for you both to let out a small cough, and stand on your hooves.

“Yep, eheh. Ummm, anyway. You alright, Diamond? I mean, really alright.” You ask her, composing yourself from such a show of affection.

“I definitely am now. Oh, um… Hi, Silver Spoon, how are you?” Diamond asks, now in full realization that her best friend is present.

“Was kinda bored, but seeing you two so happy with each other has really inspired me! Diamond, have you ever thought of getting Anon a makeover? Oh! We could totally, like, make him look super cute in time of the wedding!” Silver Spoon said, with heightened excitement over such an idea.

“No, Anon is already perfect the way he is. Hmmm… “ Diamond said as she began to ponder to herself as she looked at you with loving eyes.

“Well, ummm…” Silver Spoon seemed disappointed by that answer, but would say nothing to upset her friend. So she decides to go with the original reason she came by “We could find a sorta ok bouquet for you. Something that screams ‘This is not as nearly as great as I thought it was’. How does that sound?”

“No… no, Mother and Daddy already have everything ready for the wedding, so we don’t have to do anything ourselves. Although, since I do want to learn more about the family business, maybe I should learn about how Anon does things.” Diamond then looks deep into your eyes, as if she was looking for something “Like… Hero work.”

Not only you, but Silver as well, step back with a “What?!”

“Well, it’s just like Anon said, we should hang out! And since we’re future partners, not only will we be equals at business, but also at heroing! Makes sense, right?” Diamond said with a wide and closed eyed smile.

“U-uhhmmm, Diamond, what happened to the other thing I said? The ‘take things as they come’ part?” She can’t be serious! That’s even worse than the royalty thing!

“Well, adventures are always coming and going, right? I’m not asking to go out doing hero work with you everyday, just this one time to learn how it’s like. Then, like a responsible mare, I’ll wait until we’re married for us to do it on the regular. Besides, your dad already told me I’d get to go on your next adventure anyway, so why not do it now and get it over with? And besides…” She steps towards you with longing eyes “They say lots of romantic stuff can happen on adventures too, it sounds really exotic.”

Goddammit, you do remember SOMETHING about that. And even then, given Discord’s personality, he’d really make it happen if he found out.

But wait… Wait. WAIT! Holy fuck, Anon, you were an adult before you came to Equestria, why are you bending to Diamond’s demands? She had those nightmares for a reason, and goddammit, even then, she did not fully seem to understand WHY she actually had them. Goddammit, Anon, stop being a pussy and stand up for yourself! Just do it carefully. So, you look over to Silver Spoon, and give her a heavy glare “Silver, you mind giving me some privacy? I need to speak to Diamond alone.” Your stare was intense, so much so you accidently seemed to have instilled some fear into her.

“Anon? What’s wrong?” Diamond asked, confused about your sudden serious demeanor.

“Umm… Erm…” Silver started to back up as she looked at you, then shifted her gaze towards Diamond, unknowing of what to do.

Diamond, both worried and yet intrigued, just nods to her “Do what he says, Silver.” Diamond then looks to you, she went from happy and lovey dovey to shaken and subtly distraught. This attitude was familiar to you with the last time you had a major argument with her, so you knew what to expect.

When Silver finally left the room, Diamond looks to you with a frown, with worry in her tone. “Did I say something wrong? Why are you so serious all of a sudden?”

Just stand your ground, Anon, she is just being a child .”Diamond, you’re being unreasonable.”

“What?!” Diamond said, in shock you’d be so direct “How am I being unreasonable? Do you mean on going on an adventure?” Suddenly, she began to look at you with a hard stare “I said ONE adventure! Just one. How is that unreasonable?”

“Because adventures are dangerous, Diamond. Almost every single one I’ve ended up in has lead to somepony getting hurt. Yes, usually it’s me, but sometimes it's one of my friends. And sometimes it's a situation where nopony is going to walk away from if a mistake is made.” You explain to her, keeping your cool the best you can.

“But I wouldn’t make a mistake. I’m actually very good at coming up with plans, so I’d totally be able to help out so we don’t end up getting beaten.” She retorts, her voice desperate for your validation.

“Diamond, you know I know about what you had nightmares about. I understand you wanted to tone things down to a more realistic future for us, and I’m really happy about that. But when it comes to adventures and heroing, you don’t just go looking for trouble and expect to come out on top. Ok? I don’t just walk up to something dangerous and say ‘Hmm, I should get involved in this despite it possibly being really dangerous’. I do what I do when I’m needed, that’s all.” Ok, so that wasn’t exactly the truth. You’ve gotten yourself into danger many a time due to arrogance or ignorance, and only got out of it mostly due to luck or the power of your horn. But you couldn’t let her know that.

“But then… How am I supposed to be your partner? I thought with us running Daddy’s business together, that we’d be able to go on adventures together too. I just wanted to help you, so it wouldn’t be so dangerous for you… Like when I nearly got…” Diamond gasped, and brought her hooves to her mouth “When ‘I’ nearly got fillynapped. You got hurt only because I…”She looks to you, tears in her eyes “Because I got you into it”

Well, that wasn’t exactly true either, there was no way either of you could have foreseen Discord coming in to cause all this in the first place. You sigh, and slowly approach her for a hug. “That is a little different, you didn’t go looking for trouble when that happened. But…” And you really could use this to your advantage “With inexperience, that kind of thing could easily happen if we go adventuring, or something even worse. I’m not saying it’ll never happen, I’m just saying that, well, that I’m happy the way things are now, and look forward to helping you run this company. Because, really? I may be good at being a hero, but if your Dad gave me the reigns to his livelihood… Erm.” You raise your hoof, then spiral it down to the ground, accompanying it with a sound similar to a plane in a falling tailspin.

Diamond had a small giggle at that, but then seemed rather surprised “Really? You really think you’d do that bad? I know I don’t know too much, but I got through most of the basics just fine. Really, I know enough about running Barnyard Bargains itself… Just not when it includes all those other stuff Daddy owns. It’s all just numbers, projections, predictions, and well, as mother told me, socializing with the right ponies. I don’t understand how you'd have trouble with that, you seem so good at it, and you always get very high grades in Miss Cheerilee’s class.”

Only due to your true origins and your current status. In truth, you’d never be able to put that altogether to run a business by yourself, at least not the financial side of it. “Yeah, but I can’t put it all together like you can. I mostly live in the moment, and I have more of this ‘intuition’ than I do financial sense…” Or more really, you use tropes you know about to your advantage “But that's what I’m talking about, we can still be a team, be business partners, and IF the situation arises… We could go on an adventure together. We can do all those things, Diamond…” You look to her with a gentle smile, and put your hoof to her cheek, prompting a blushy gently nuzzling from her “But we have to be smart about it, ok?”

She nods, finally agreeing with you “Ok, I think I understand now. I still totally can’t really believe you can’t handle business stuff, but if you really can’t, I can run you through the basics. Then I can teach you the more advanced stuff when I learn it. Ok…” Diamond takes a breath, and calms herself “I’m over it now, and I’m really sorry, Anon. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s alright, Diamond. Heh, can’t be worried now since our wedding is so soon.” You say with a sunny smile

“Yeah… I know it’s not a real one, but it does sort of feel real. I… Really can’t wait.” Diamond says with a long hopeful sigh, before a thought pops in her head “But Anon, what would be a situation that we would go on an adventure together?”

You already had a perfect example for that one “Well, if we had a daughter, whoever foalnaps her will be in for some pain.”

“Yeah!” Diamond jumped forward “They totally will! I’ll finally be able to try those moves I learned when Mother put me in those self defense classes! I’ll just use my hind legs to grab them like this!” And without even realizing it, Diamond grabs you by the neck with her hindlegs, and twists your entire body with a spin before throwing you down. “And then slam them down like that! Much better than just bucking them… Or thats what I… ANON!” Diamond gasped “A-Are you ok?!”

You were dazed, and even confused, from such a sudden spin and slam to the ground. Hoo, you were even turned on a little bit, that was the first time you’ve ever really been between her legs. “I-I’m good, eheh. J-just peachy.”

Chapter 48 - What to Do About Boredom

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After a quick recovery, and Diamond having the maids bring both snacks and tea for everyone, and some sort of ointment for your neck, in which you had to prevent any lewd thought from entering your mind as one of the maids expertly and soothingly rubbed it into your neck, the three of you decided to sit on the couch and discuss a few things. What those things were…

“Well, I guess bouquet hunting isn’t a thing anymore. So, like, what are we going to do today?” Silver asked, looking to Diamond for guidance as she took a sip of her tea.

“I don’t know, but I kind of didn’t feel like going out anyway. Then again, my reason for staying in has gone to the spa. Hmm…” Diamond began to ponder to herself, trying to come up with an idea. It actually didn’t take her long at all to think something up when her gaze came upon you. “Well, actually, since we’re here. Anon, why don’t you tell us about how your life is. I mean, y’know, I know so much about you, but I don’t know enough. I realized that since I don’t live with you, or really see you when you’re alone, all I really know about you is that you’re a hero, that you’re amazing, and loving, thoughtful, cool, strong, and… mmmm, well that’s it.” Diamond then nods, as her expression becomes more determined “And that’s not right! My gosh! How can we even get fake married if I only know so much about you!?” Diamond hops off the couch and starts marching about “Argh!” She yelled to herself in frustration “How could I be so stupid!? All this time, all this time... “ She then looks to you, her frustration then becoming sadness. “I mean, I didn’t even know where you were from until…” But what was unexpected, is that she didn’t break down crying this time. Instead, she looked to the both of you, and started to make commands “Alright then! Silver, Anon, I need suggestions on how to learn more about other ponies, like, right now!”

W-what?! Actually, she really didn’t know too much about you when you thought about it. Then again, there were parts of you she could never learn about until her attitude matured. And her fierce look, it looked like you had to give her something or she might shatter. But her demand itself, its not that hard to resolve. You really should give her more to go on at this point of the relationship since you already have to go through the madness that is a fake wedding. “Well, I mean, just hanging out with them is how to do it. You know everything about Silver, right? She’s your best friend, isn’t she?”

“She is!” Diamond suddenly points to her, startling her “Silver! I know everything about you, right?!”

“Agh! Um! Sure, mostly.” Silver says, her eyes shifting about as she collected herself from the shock.

“Mostly? Mostly?! I’ve known you for almost as long as I’ve lived! How do I only know ‘mostly’ about you?!” Diamond shouted, demanding an answer.

“U-uhh, umm. Well... “ Silver shrugged as she gave her a sheepish smile “I know we always do stuff together, but sometimes I kind of do things by myself. And sometimes… sometimes…” Silver hesitates, afraid to say her next set of words.

“Sometimes? Sometimes what?” Diamond approaches her, her tone becoming more inquisitive by the second

“Umm… Sometimes…” Silver’s ears fold in, as she brings her hoof to her mouth, biting at the edge of it until she finally blurts it out “sometimes I feel you’ll just make fun of some of the things I like, so I keep it a secret, ok!” She yelled, before ducking her head behind her forelegs “Y-you’re not mad, right?”

“No, in fact, I think I get it.” Diamond said as she once again thought on the subject “Ponies have insecurities and fears, and not everypony knows about everything when it comes to their friends. I’m not mad because I also had things I didn’t want to talk about. And I kind of acted out in the wrong way for the longest time because of it. So maybe I know enough about Anon for it to work out after all. But I also know that despite going to his house once, I didn’t really get to check it out too much. Daddy says you can learn a lot about a pony by the way they live, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn a little more about Anon, I’m sure there’s a few things I still need to know. Anon, that’s ok, right? I mean, you’re here in my mansion, so it’s ok if we hang out at your house, right?”

Uhhhh, is that even a good idea? Well, it wouldn’t be too bad if it was just your room. She seems to have things mostly figured out, so it wouldn’t hurt to maybe give her some more insight. Just gotta watch those window blinds. You’ll do it, but she’ll have to respect a few rules first. “Sure, why not? But there are a few rules you’d have to follow. My house can be kind of dangerous.”

“Dangerous? As in, the ‘get hurt’ kind of dangerous?” Silver said, feeling worried over your words. She didn’t like the sounds of that.

“Pfft” Diamond waved her hoof in dismissal “It’s not that dangerous, I’ve been there before.”

“You’ve been there before, yeah, but things have kind of changed. But the rules are also really simple to follow. All we have to do is stay in my room, and not open the window blinds. It won’t be dangerous if you both follow those two simple rules. My room has a some stuff I can show you if you really wanna learn about some other aspects about me, so it really is no issue.” You say, hoping to god they understand your rules. Well, you knew Silver did, but Diamond seemed rather miffed by such a thing.

“Why can’t we step outside? Or explore the rest of your house? You’re the son of chaos, Anon. When I said learn more about you, I not only meant about where you came from and what you do, but also how you live. I mean, your dad is Discord! And I’ve always wondered about things like, maybe…” She looks to you with an expression of suspecting something, and yet she cocked a smirk. “You’re a bit of a prankster like your dad? Hmmm? I’m right, aren’t I?”

Wut? Where did she even get such an idea? “I mean, erm, but I-”

Diamond’s smug look became smuggier when she held her hoof out towards you “Save it. if you think I didn’t take the chance to ask Princess Luna a few things about you, you’re wrong. She told me about what happened last Nightmare Night when I asked her about how you and your Dad get along. Don’t worry, I’m not mad, I know how bad it’d look if everypony knew you were capable of such mean pranks. I mean, a paint bucket over a door? Filled with some sort of skunk juice? Very naughty.”

WHAT?! You weren’t that bad! Ok, wait, no, you did just fuck with Luna pretty good. But wait… YOU’RE NOT THAT BAD A PRANKER! WHO EVEN DOES THE PAINT BUCKET OVER THE DOOR? Wait, you did? No you didn’t. Ugh, Luna must have told her some childified version of the real events of that battle. Though some of the details are a bit fuzzy to even you, you remember that damn Cazaclaw and Nightmare Galaxia or whatever her name was. “Ok, I admit, I do pranks from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that.”

Diamond nods “I agree, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Wut? She agrees? You’d think she’d find that a bad quality, or be mad you tried to prank the princesses at all. “You’re not mad about the fact that I prank ponies, erm, from time to time?”

“I’m just glad to know it’s true. At first I didn’t really believe it, and then I realized I didn’t care, AND THEN I realized I actually did care in the sense that it’s another thing I know about you. I don’t even think it’s that bad a thing, especially since the princesses also seem to be into it. Erm… not that it’s me wanting to be a princess, I’m over that, I just think it seems pretty cool. Maybe cool enough for me to um…” She looks over at you, her eyes seemingly begging for your approval “Try it once? With you?”

Hoo baby! Now we’re talking! Ok, before you get ahead of yourself, you need to realize there is a chance for her to either flake out mid-prank or just be really bad at it. But most importantly, you have to remember not to get her overly involved as well, especially with Discord becoming more daring with his own pranks. “Sure, but there’s really nopony to prank at the moment. As for coming to the house, if you REALLY want to explore it, then you both gotta stick really close to me. I can use the horn to get us out of a jam in case anything happens, but I need to know where you both are so I can be quick about it. Also, we won’t be exploring for long, this is just to learn the kind of place I live in, that’s all. After that, we go back in my room, talk a bit, and that’s it, got it? I'm not really willing to take it further than that.”

“I got it. I got to do something later with Daddy anyway, so just a short exploration is fine. Oh, now I’m excited! Now I get to really see how your house is like! You better be ready to answer all my questions, Anon. Because if it has anything to do with you, then I want to learn about it!”

“Well, actually... “ again, giving it some extra thought, there are a few issues with that “I rarely explore the house myself. Like I said, it’s kind of dangerous, so I stick to my room, the living room, and the basement”

“It’s because the other rooms are super dangerous, right? If that’s what it is, then I vote we just see the places that Anon has been in! I-I mean, like you said, we’re trying to learn more about him, no point in exploring the house if it has nothing to do with him, r-right?” Silver was clearly worried to be exploring any place that might actually be dangerous. She was in no way willing to risk her life in any capacity.

“That’d be cool if I knew how to get to some of them, they shift around from time to time. Even then, only a few are worth… or even safe, to go into. You know, really thinking about it, there really wouldn’t be much to learn about me unless we actually take a risk.” Really, upon thinking about it, if your fate was to be with Diamond, then she was going to have to get used to something that was chaotic in nature. But it also had to be safe. Well, if that’s the case, you’re gonna retract one of your other rules. Who knows, it might actually be fun to spook them. Is that mean to think of? Scaring two little fillies? Well, you really don’t want to spook Diamond too much, you just wanted to give her an idea of how things in your house really was. Silver though? Ehhhhhh… “Alright, I take back the window blinds thing. If you really want to learn about what I do in my own time, you’re gonna have to see what's behind it.”

“Is it really that important?” Diamond asked, skeptical on how something like that can be in any way relevant.

“Yep. Just know this, it’ll be pretty scary. But it’ll be ok, as long as nopony opens the window.” Showing them the X-Captain and the Storm King. Thinking about it, it filled you with pride. To you, they were pretty much living trophies. Accomplishments of things you managed to do. Well, maybe not the X-Captain, that was Chrysalis. But you definitely played a big part in taking down the Storm King. Showing them off. What could go wrong? “Got it?”

Silver, once again, did not like what she was hearing. “Are you serious? If it’s so dangerous, why keep it outside your window? Couldn’t it break in at anytime?”

But Diamond chimed in, curious and ready to see this mysterious danger. “Really? Come on, it’s totally obvious Anon has some barrier or something to keep it from going in. It’ll be fine, come on! Let’s go! Let’s go right now!”

“Diamond, a-are you sure? It kind of feels like, whatever it is, we shouldn’t get it mad or angry. I don't even feel like we should do any exploring either. A-Anon said it's not even worth it." Silver said, still shivering at the thought.

“Well, Silver, you’re welcome to stay if you’re scared. Really, I don’t mind it just being me and Diamond.” You then shrug, and act rather coy. Really, you wanted her to come at this point, this could be funny as fuck. “I really do understand that you’re too chicken for this.”

“Chicken? I-I’m not chicken!” She shouts, still scared, but unwilling to take such an insult. “I’m Diamond Tiara’s best friend! Anything she can handle, and you can handle, I can, like, totally handle!”

“Then it’s settled.” You say as you place your horn on your head. "Oh, Diamond, I have a new way of getting home now. Not much different than the map, but you might find it pretty neat. You remember how it works, right?”

“Mhmm, first you just make a spill, like this.” Diamond tips over the teapot, and makes a puddle on the floor. This, of course, weirds out Silver Spoon.

“Uhhh, I remember how this works and all. But won’t your mom and dad get angry that you stained their floor with tea?” Silver asked.

“No, it disappears when we jump in the portal. Right, Anon?” Diamond asks you, feeling no regret for what she did.

DID IT?! DID IT DISAPPEAR?! Oh cripes, you always jump through it so you never know if it actually disappears or if it gets cleared up. You begin to sweat, and let out an unsure “Y-yes?”

“See? It’s totally ok! So, how does it work now, Anon?” Diamond looks to you again, with big expecting eyes.

“Like this, it’s like real unicorn magic this time. I just aim the horn, and BAM!” And just like that, you open a portal to your room. “Doesn’t even waste a charge or anything.” Unfortunately, both ponies seemed rather unimpressed by this. It killed your enthusiasm pretty quickly. “W-what’s wrong?”

“Ummm, I mean, that’s just you using your horn to open the portal instead of the map. Really, it wasn’t that different.” Diamond says unapologetically.

“Yeah, you kind of made that seem like a really big thing, but it was just kinda the same. Huh, makes me wonder how bad that thing behind your window is.” Silver said, almost smugly, as if not only she was scared for nothing, but if she should make fun of you for making it seem so scary. "You exaggerate too much sometimes, Anon. Like, no offense, but when you're socializing with other ponies and you do that? You'll just make Diamond and yourself look bad."

You just grumble to yourself, silently saying “I’ll show you bad, you little...mngmhnm”

Chapter 49 - Double Header

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So there they were, in your room, looking around. Silver, having never been in your room before, was of course more curious than Diamond when it came to exploring your room. And yet, she seemed unimpressed. “Um, aside from the whole warm bed thing, this doesn’t seem really cool or chaotic. It just seems like a normal room to me, except for that weird clock and… Hmmm?” And then she came across it, the floor door. “Why do you have a door on the floor?”

“Because that’s how I get to the living room. The room isn’t really meant to be chaotic, Silver, it’s meant to be homey. I also wouldn’t try opening that door if I were you, most ponies tend to fall right through.” You tell her. You didn’t really care for her acting snooty, but you didn’t need her falling and hurting herself.

Diamond was going through your drawers, she noticed they weren’t really filled with any clothes, and one had a whole set of Power Pony cards. You remember getting them at your ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party, and then utterly forgetting them. “Anon, where’s your wedding tuxedo?” She asked.

“Erm, it’s not ready yet. But it will be, really soon. What, you have your dress ready already?” You ask. You don’t really know why, maybe it was because you felt you didn’t need to be that ready yet, and would feel more ok finding out she wasn’t ready either.

“Had it ready for weeks. Anon, come on” She turns to you, and pouts “You’re ready for the wedding, aren’t you?”

Ugh, never mind, of course she’d be ready. Why did you think otherwise? “I am, really! Even got a best stallion… Erm, who happens to be Scootaloo. That’s ok, right? I mean, there’s Spike, but I’m not as close to him as I am Scoots.” If there was one thing you had to thank Discord for, was setting you up with at least that. Really, he was more ready for the wedding than you were… Kind of scary, really.

“I… Guess? Well, it isn’t meant to be perfect. But you better be ready with a proper ‘best stallion’ when we actually get married, got that?” She doesn’t say it too harshly, really, she just found it off you had a filly filling in for the spot.

This girl, it made you smile a little how much she wanted this test wedding to go not perfectly, if only to get her hopes up for the real thing. “I got it… Anyway, girls, this here is the window I was talking about. But prepare yourselves, for what lies behind these blinds is a chaotic being of such horrible proportions that you will scream in fright.” You approach the blinds, then wave your hooves at the girls to emphasize how frightful the experience it might be. You also realize you sounded like Trixie there, or perhaps like Flim and Flam. Ergh, how could you resist being show offy with something like this? It’s pretty big stuff.

Diamond just sat down a few feet away from you, excited, and with a gentle smile. Silver sat next to her, skeptical, and not expecting much. The way she looked, her expression of boredom, you hated it, and couldn’t wait to show her your great trophy.

“Are you two ready?” You ask, trying to sound all grand about it.

“Ready!” Diamond says with enthusiasm, holding her hoof out in an adorable fashion.

“Yup, I’m ready.” Silver just waited, this time not being a cunt, but not all excited either.

“Alright then, here...we...GO!” You move the blinds aside to reveal the giant floating mass that was the X-Captain. But just your luck, it seems he was turned around, because what you saw was the Storm King, who was seemingly moving tentacles on his own, and was tossing and catching a rock he was was bouncing off your window.

“Ewww! What is that?!” Rather than frightened, Silver Spoon was grossed out. Of course she was, anyone would be. The Storm King’s head wasn’t anything frightening when all he is now is a pimple on a round eldritch horror’s ass.

“Hey! HEY!” The Storm King yelled as he missed the stone he was tossing, causing it to bounce off his body and drop downwards into the abyss below him “C’mon, really!? I just learn I can control this body when the screwball is asleep and you’re gonna bother me now!? I was at five hundred thousand bounces too! never gonna beat that record, I’ll tell you that.” The Storm King groaned, frustrated that of all times. Now is the time you choose to open the window blinds.

“I-is that… Is that the Storm King? Anon, why is the Storm King outside your window, and why is he a ball thing?” Diamond was confused, she never would have guessed that you would have someone like him even close to your vicinity.

You really wish he showed up AFTER scaring Silver with the X-Captain. Still, she was at least disgusted, and surprised. “That’s the Storm King?! Why is he even here?! I thought he broke into a million pieces! Anon, like, he’s a really bad guy! Are you… working with him or something?”

But before you can reply, the Storm King lets out a horrendous laugh, as if that was some sort of joke to him “Hahaha! Are you serious?! Work with that pipsqueak? Look, I have no idea what's going on here, but you’re two sensible little fillies, right? As in, you know right from wrong? Well, haha…” Then suddenly, he started yelling frantically, and in a panic “GO TELL SOMEONE, ANYONE, THAT THIS CRAZY KID HAS ME LOCKED UP OUT HERE! LISTEN, EVERYDAY, EVERY STINKIN’ DAY, I GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS MEATBALL SCREAM ABOUT HIS REVENGE. I’M TIRED OF IT! I DON’T EVEN WANT REVENGE ANYMORE! YOUR PRINCESSES WOULDN’T SUBJECT ANYONE TO THIS! SO WHY DO I HAVE TO?! I’M BEGGING YOU! I’M SORRY, ALRIGHT?! HELP-” But his pleas are cut off when you close the blinds. Holy shit! You did not expect that!

Both Diamond and Silver looked bewildered. What they saw was the cries of a pathetic hasbeen king begging for mercy, something you didn’t even expect after his earlier claims of wanting to end you. Diamond looked to you, shocked and worried about what she just saw. “Anon? W-what was that? What did you do to him?”

Why did you detect a hint of empathy? Did she feel bad for him? No way, not only is he evil, but that plea for mercy was total garbage. “I personally punished him. What? What’s the matter? The guy was a tyrant who was going to blow up Canterlot just because he wanted to be dramatic, so I imprisoned him on the body of this other guy who is just as bad, and nearly destroyed me.”

“Another guy? Is that what he meant by ‘meatball’?” Silver wondered, then speculated on what it all meant “Anon, are you,like, keeping bad guys as pets? Isn’t that unethical?”

“Erm, not really. They can’t get through my window, or even leave the chaos dimension. Plus, its just two of them attached to a single body. And again, they totally deserve it. You both understand that, right? I mean, look at Tirek, that guy is meant to be imprisoned forever in Tartarus, right? Same thing! Bad guys are not meant to get rewards, they are meant to be punished, which is exactly what I’m doing. Except my way has to do with really horrible guys, like him.” You explained it the best you could, while in the back of your mind, you wondered why you had to justify this at all, they fucking deserved it!

Diamond looked unsure about the whole thing, and rather uncomfortable. But you could also see she was debating with herself. She knew he tried to hurt you, hurt your friends, and destroy the very capital of Equestria. That seemed like a pretty hefty crime in and of itself. And then, to her, you were her partner, someone she knew she should stand by. And so she stood up, and nodded, deciding that the Storm King did indeed deserve to suffer whatever you did to him. “You’re right, Anon! He’s a bad guy! Besides, I shouldn’t even jump to conclusions, I should have known you were right the moment I saw him. He even said he wanted revenge on you, clearly he’s still evil and needs to be punished!”

And Silver seemed to follow suit, if a bit reluctant about it. “I totally agree, but don’t the bad guys usually just continue to be evil? He was begging us to help him, and he seemed to want to be a better guy.”

“So?” And Diamond, being loyal to you, begins to argue with Silver over that line of reasoning. “That doesn’t mean anything. Look at… Erm, look at…” She had to think hard about her next set of words, clearly she was trying to come up with a good counter point. “Anon’s Dad! Discord. He said he was reformed too, and he still betrayed everyp-” Suddenly Diamond grimaced, not only due to the fact she was insulting her future father-in-law, but because… “ummm… Yeah, and then he was forgiven. And he's actually a pretty great guy.”

Oof, despite that being pretty bullshit, as Discord didn’t really deserve the forgiveness he got, you also know that Chrysalis probably deserved to suffer a similar fate to the X-Captain, as far as your logic was concerned. But they didn’t know the truth about that, so you didn’t need to worry about that point being brought up. “I mean, he was tricked, and didn’t understand friendship despite wanting it from my Aunt. The Storm King is not only as bad as Tirek, but he’s as bad as Sombra too, and that guy didn’t even get imprisoned the second time, he got straight up blown up! The same thing the Storm King was gonna do to all of us if I didn’t help stop him. He doesn’t care about friendship, he just wants a free ride out of here.” Again, the fact you had to justify this was insane. And yet, you were glad Diamond had your back on it. Hell, you were surprised Silver had an actual moral fiber. Then again, she’s a stooge who follows anything Diamond does, so she must have become more moralistic when Diamond started to.

“It makes sense to me. See, Silver? How can you argue that?” Diamond asks, nodding her head in a dominant fashion.

“I guess that makes sense. I just, I dunno, sometimes I think about the times we made fun of Applebloom and her friends, we totally did that a lot, and we kind of got away with it in the end. I was just thinking maybe he’s not so bad. But if he is, then that other guy must be just as bad, right? I mean, the Storm King even apologized, that seems like he wants to make things right.”

Was this bitch fucking serious? Fine, fuck it, she wants to wonder about the ‘other guy’? Then you’ll show him to them both. Given the X-Captain’s eternal rage and great lunacy, they’ll have to see, for sure, that what you did was right. The guy is a menace that you could never let free, and you need to make sure they both understand that one hundred percent. “Trust me, he’s pretty bad. In fact, let me wake him up, and you’ll see exactly why their stuck in this dimension.”

And with that, you had the girls sit down and prepare themselves once again. What you planned to do was just yell out for the guy, surely he would hear you and turn around before the Storm King could say anything. Once the girls see this asshole, they’ll see that you’re in the right, for sure.

However, when you do move the blinds, it already seemed the work was done for you. The X-Captain was pressing his entire body on the window, sliding and scraping his tongue on the glass as his horrible yellow gaze fell upon the girls, his sharp teeth glistening with his saliva “Anoooon, you brought treeeats, hahahaHAHAHA!” He cackled in delight.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH!” Silver shrieked in pure fright, her grey coat becoming pure white. While the Storm King just looked like a head on a sphere, the X-Captain was truly a horrifying sight that you have since become accustomed to. “I DON’T WANT TO BE EATEN!” She screamed and ran towards the bed to hide under it. But, so blinded by her own fear, she ends up smashing her face onto the bed post and walking back in a daze, walking onto your floor door. When she snapped out of it, she made another yell, opened the floor door, and like the ponies before her, seemed to forget that a door on a floor would lead to a fall. And man, did it never get old for you as you heard her shriek and plummet with a thud.

Now, for Diamond, you would have caught her if she somehow ended up making that mistake. But she didn’t seem scared, nor did she act it, she just stared at him, intrigued and rather angry. “Hey! That’s my best friend you just scared! You jerk!”

“Scare? I didn’t do that to scare, I really do plan to eat you, him, and everypony in my future kingdom. And tell me, why aren’t you scared? Don’t you realize that your destruction is guaranteed once I am free of this place? Or are you a blockhead like Anon?” He says with a low and cruel chuckle.

“Oh pleeeeeeeeeeease, you’re just a floating beach ball with teeth. I already know you can’t get in here, you’re Anon’s prisoner after all. You can’t do anything. So there! Hmph! Now apologize.” Diamond raised her nose to him, finding him a disgusting sort and already not worth her time. Really, her bravery was kind of cute. Normally, especially when she was an ass, seeing something so grotesque would have scared her. You must have really been leaving a mark on her at this point.

“PRISONER?! APOLOGIZE?!” The X-Captain’s eye turned red with rage, unable to handle both the demand and the great insult “HOW DARE YOU! I AM-”

But then Diamond, suddenly releasing a rage of her own, hops up and starts screaming in a girlishly shrill voice. “NO! HOW DARE YOU! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DID, BUT IT WAS OBVIOUSLY BAD ENOUGH TO KEEP YOU OUT THERE! DO YOU EVEN REALIZE HOW PATHETIC YOU LOOK?! SCREAMING ALL THAT ABOUT BEING A KING WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN GET THROUGH A WINDOW?!”

The X-Captain’s eye went back to yellow, suddenly disarmed from being yelled at. He opened his mouth and raised a tentacle to try to say more or interrupt her. But Diamond was having none of that. “I AM NOT DONE! IT’S OBVIOUS TO ME THAT YOU’RE JUST A RUDE AND THOUGHTLESS BALL THING THAT TOTALLY IS SO FULL OF HIMSELF THAT HE CAN’T EVEN SEE WHAT’S IN FRONT OF HIS ONE STUPID EYE! WHO ARE YOU EVEN TRYING TO IMPRESS, OR EVEN SCARE?! YOU MUST BE ALONE OUT THERE, LIKE, NINETY NINE PERCENT OF THE TIME! AND EVEN THEN, FOR THAT ONE PERCENT, EVEN ANON THINKS YOU’RE A DRIP! BIG, BAD, AND UTTERLY STUPID! WHY DON’T YOU GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL?! NOPONY CARES ABOUT YOU, NOPONY CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, AND EVEN THE STORM KING THINKS YOU’RE DUMB! SO STOP THINKING YOU’RE SCARY, BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT! AND GET A LIFE, YOU LOSER! YOU’RE A LOSER, AND YOU’LL ALWAYS BE A LOSER! FOREVER!” Diamond finally ended her rant, breathing hard, panting, furious that something like that filled her friend with fright and threatened you in any capacity.

You just… stopped. You blinked, expressionless, and looked over to the X-Captain, who had fallen silent. The X-Captain himself just stared at her, silent, stunned, and unable to speak. Then slowly, his yellow eye began to turn a dark blue as it filled with tears. And then finally, he began to sob and cry. “You didn’t have to be so mean about it! I-I was trying my best! Being a horrible mutant thirsting for domination is really hard when you can’t even… even…” Then suddenly he became wracked with grief as he brought his tentacles to his eyes, crying harder as he thought about her words “You’re right! I can’t even get through the window! But what else am I supposed to do? I already tried reading the books that float around here, and they don’t help, all I want to do is get revenge and rule the world. Is that so wrong? I know it is, but I just want it soooo bad! Why can’t anypony understand that?”

“It’s not that hard to understand, it’s just really wrong and nopony wants to be ruled over by a jerk like you! Everypony gets it, you’re a bad monster, but you’re a bad monster who will NEVER rule anything because you’re trapped here, by my partner, because you’re an evil loser who can’t even get through the window! Now go be stupid somewhere else!” Diamond barked at him, and pointed towards him, to imply to leave.

“I-I… I… I… NGWAAAAAA!” The X-Captain became hysterical at this point, and flew off, crying. Hell, you could have sworn you heard him call Diamond a meanie, as if he was just a stupid child.

Diamond just nodded, wiped her brow, and took a small breath “Whew, I sure showed him. Big jerk, who does he think he is scaring Silver like that? Right, Anon?”

Did… That just happen? That wasn’t real, how could that be real? Wut? “Uhhh-uhh, Y-y-yeah. You really weren’t scared of him?”

“Well, at first, I kind of was. But then he scared Silver so badly that she ended up hurting herself, and then he insulted you! I just couldn’t let that fly. It’s not like he could hurt any of us, right?” She asks, feeling proud of herself.

“U-Uhhm, yeah, he couldn’t really do anything from out there.” It really did happen, holy fucking shit.

“And that’s why I realized there was nothing to be afraid of, because I trusted your word. If you say he can’t hurt us, then I’m going to believe it. The guy is just full of hot air anyway, a real lame brain. Oh! Erm…” Suddenly, she gets a bit sheepish. “We better make sure Silver is ok.”

“Yeah…” Good god… She beat the X-Captain.

Chapter 50 - The Truth? (revised version)

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Amazing, simply amazing. You had never seen the X-Captain so defeated before. And his eye, it changed blue for some reason, as if to represent the intense feeling of sadness. It made you wonder then, did it turn red when he was in an intense rage? You’ve seen it happen, no question, but you could have sworn that was just his blood gathering into his eye or something. “Diamond, that was pretty cool. I’ve never seen him bend like that. I’ve taunted him before and all it ever did was make him angry, how’d you do that?” No seriously, how did she do that?

Diamond opens the floor door, but waits, and looks to you with a cheery yet cocky smile “I just told him how things were, It’s something I’ve always been able to do. Though…” She frowns for just a moment, lamenting her past misdeeds “It wasn’t all for the better though, sometimes I just really hurt ponies who didn’t deserve it. But now? I’m much better at it, and he clearly deserved to know that he’s just a no good and rotten evil ball.”

Huh, you should be pretty good at that too, right? It makes you wonder how you never managed it. Must be because you’re not a girl or something. “I see, well, heh, gotta remember to really stay away from your bad side then.”

“Oh, Anon” Diamond giggles “You never make me angry, so that isn’t anything for you to… wait, where’s Silver Spoon?” Diamond looks down through the threshold, but there was no filly in sight.

You felt a quick prick of fear, feeling she may have run off or even tried leaving the house through the front door. But just as you felt that startling feeling, it is quelled when you start hearing, what sounded like, movie previews. “I um… What’s that noise?”

You both decide to carefully descend the invisible gravity stairs. Luckily for you, it seemed you didn’t need to remind Diamond how to use them. When you both reached the bottom of the living room, you both saw Discord himself, sitting on his couch, watching a big screen tv with surround sound. It seemed he was watching some sort of movie preview about himself. But the most notable thing about this was that he had Silver Spoon held close to his side as he pointed to the screen. “I can’t wait for this one to come out. Who doesn’t enjoy an epic adventure story about a Draconequus and his dog?”

Silver however, was squirming, trying to escape, scared out of her wits. When she eyed the both of you, she couldn’t even get her words out, but her lips could be read as “Help me…”

Diamond however, was all too happy to see Discord, and was especially curious as to what he was doing. “Daddy Discord! Hi!” Diamond said in an especially cute manner, obviously vying for his attention. “What are you doing?”

“Oh, enjoying my movie, that’s all. Just recently came out on Blu-ray and I wanted to watch it on my big tv. And look, even your friend was curious too! She’s simply stunned at my amazing setup!” Discord said jovially.

“Um, I think she’s just really scared. Did you just pick her off the ground and sit her next to you or something?” The poor thing, you didn’t mean for her to get scared that much. She looked like she could faint at any moment.

“Of course not! I greeted her, hugged her, then picked her off the ground. I’m a gracious host, you know that! Although…” Discord curves his head to look at Silver, who ducks her own head and begs him not to hurt her “She does seem rather distraught. Ugh…” Discord grabs his remote and pauses the screen as he plucks Silver and sets her down on the floor “No use watching the movie if she’s just gonna go looney at any second. I know Anon has seen it on the silver screen, but Diamond, would you care to watch it with me? I promise it’ll be quite hilarious. Call it a father-daughter bonding. You’re invited too, of course.” Discord said as his eyes shifted to you “And don’t hesitate to ask for snacks. I have plenty for everypony!”

Silver rushed over and ducked behind Diamond, stuttering frightfully in her speech “H-he’s off h-h-his r-r-rocker! W-we gotta g-g-g-go home!”

“Oh, relax.” Diamond said with an eye roll “He’s just being himself.” She then looks to Discord with a smile “What movie are we watching? And what is all this? I’ve never seen a theater screen like that before, where’s the projector? And what’s a blue ray?”

“Oh, just a few things from Anon’s old place, if you know what I mean. As for the movie, it’s a-” OH holy shit no, you interrupt Discord before he could finish that sentence. The prank on Twilight? You knew for sure that’d upset Diamond.

“Ummm! Actually, we don’t have time for that! Maybe we can go back upstairs and check out…” Check out what, Anon? You fucking looked at everything already. Something Diamond notes as well.

“What’s more to check out? I want to watch the movie with you and your dad, it can be a family kind of thing.” Diamond says, curious as to what the movie even is, and enthralled by Discord’s set up.

“Yes, Anon, why wouldn’t you want to watch a movie where I prank Princess Twilight. Like a true expert, I might add.” Discord says, immediately getting into what the movie was before you could cut him off again.

“Oh no…” You whisper to yourself. Why is he doing this?

“You pranked Princess Twilight? Why would you do that?” Diamond, still curious, sounded a little hurt that Discord would do such a thing. Her voice becoming meek due to the words he had said.

“Why else?” Discord shrugs “It’s fun! Oh, come on, Diamond Tiara. I do know you are curious about our family doings and all that. And Twilight herself can be quite the prude who could use a good prank every now and again. Can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t expect I, Discord, the master of chaos and fun, to not do such a thing? Would you denounce me for even thinking it?”

“Actually… No, I wouldn’t.” Diamond said, as she slowly began to approach him. “I did say I wanted to try it myself. I just never thought anypony would treat pranking Princess Twilight so lightly. That actually sounds…” She stops for a moment, reaches the couch, climbs up, and sits next to him, facing the screen “Really fun! A princess’s life is usually pretty boring after all, so I don’t think there’s any harm in it. Anon, why didn’t you tell me you pranked Princess Twilight?” Diamond asked you.

“Oh, he didn’t. This was all purely on me, I just provided him a good place to watch it. I would think he would tell you about it though. He had so much fun watching it, so it hurts me, just hurts me right here…” He points to a boil on his neck “to know Anon wouldn’t tell you such a thing in the first place. Or the fact he messed with Princess Luna last night. Got her good too, with just his words.” Discord then looked to you, as his eyes subtly glowed green as his head became vaguely like Chrysalis for a second “I wonder what other things he hasn’t told you”

“Luna? Other things? Anon, what is he talking about? What other things? If it’s just you pranking other ponies, I-I don’t mind. I’d like to hear about it, actually. As long as it’s not too mean of course.” Diamond now looked worried, and you were fucking pissed. For a moment, you almost thought he was Chrysalis. But given the home theater system, you knew that was him.

“Diamond, I need to talk to my Dad for a moment. Just for a moment, please? I’ll be right back.” Stay calm, Anon, don’t get tense. He has to have some reason he’s doing this to you all of a sudden. “Dad, if you don’t mind, please?”

“Oh, very well. Seems you don’t seem to understand what I mean anyway. Here girls” Discord snaps his talons, producing a huge bowl of popcorn on the floor. “Enjoy, I’ll be back in a minute or two and we can enjoy the show!” And with a snap of his tail fur, and before Diamond could interject, you are transported to an open and beautiful field of green grass and clear blue skies. Discord appears at your side, and takes a deep breath “Ahhh! Smell that air! Enough to calm you down and make you realize you’re being idiotic. That’s towards you, by the way.”

“Towards me?!” The serene scenery and Discord’s nonsense was doing nothing for your temper “The fuck is wrong with you?! Why are you telling her about last night like that?!”

“Well, I figured you didn’t tell her everything that happened. And given you both are supposed to be so close, it’s concerning she doesn’t know about your old bug friend. Even the crusaders know about her. What do you think would happen if you waited and waited and waited, and she found out some other way about it. A blurb there, a blurt here, it would really sour the relationship.” Discord said calmly as he began to rest on his back in mid air.

“Y’know, if Fluttershy didn’t already know, you’d fucking kill yourself before admitting you put me in danger with her.” You remind him

He falls to the ground with a grunt, then coughs nervously “Well, erm, that’s a tad grim, isn’t it? Besides, it wouldn’t be ok just to tell her straight out, it would have shattered her”

“But it’s totally ok to freak Diamond out, right? I have it fucking handled and you just suddenly want to fuck everything up! Even then, how am I supposed to explain to her that I was friends with Chrysalis?! Huh? Why even bring that shit up? It’s not that easy!” You bark at him, furious at his behavior.

“Well, aren’t we rude? Then again, I was going to take all the credit for the idea myself. But…” Discord stands up, and turns away from you as he ponders and mutters to himself “Why did I even listen to her?”

And you managed to catch all of that. Take credit? Her? Wut? “Discord, what the hell are you talking about? Take credit for what? Who is her? You don’t mean…” Fuck, did he run into Chrysalis? And worse, was he doing what she was saying for some reason?

“Twilight Two? Oh, what’s her name? Ahh, Starlight, yes, that’s it. This was all her completely garbage idea! I went to recruit her, we got into a conversation, and she basically told me that she was worried about the whole thing and felt you should tell Diamond sooner rather than later or something like that, I can’t remember the full details.” Discord said as he began to clean his ear with his talons.

WHAT?! STARLIGHT?! “So what you’re telling me is, instead of doing exactly what she said, or better yet, not doing anything at all, YOU DECIDED TO HALF ASS IT?! ARE YOU CRAZY?!”

“Oh, we all know the answer to that one. But if it means that much to you, we could just check with her and find out exactly what she meant.” Discord raises his talons as he prepares to snap “Ta-Da!” And he snaps them, causing a flash of light, and then Starlight to appear.

“...And you just thrust it forward, like this! And it should discourage whatever monster or crazy animal that might want to eat you for lunch.” Starlight, unaware of what just happened, seemed to have either been teaching a class or just a group of ponies how to use the taser. Too bad for you, when she appeared, she was right in the middle of thrusting the taser forward and right at you with her magic.

“WGDSAFRGRASRGFDGYAH!” Oh shit! Holy crap! That stung like a bitch! You spasmed from the shock before falling over, your mane frizzled, and your leg twitching “Agh! Ogh! I’m dead! I’m freaking dead!”

“Anon?! Oh my gosh! What are you doing there?! I didn’t even know you were with that caravan I was teac… Wait a second.” She looks around, and notices she was in an open field rather than the town. When she realized this, she grimaced, and sighed “Let me guess, you just decided to rush into things…” She then turns her head until she spots Discord, giving him a sour look “Didn’t you?”

“U-ugh, s-still feeling numb here…” You said as some sparks fizzled off from your mane. Even as Starlight helped you up and dusted you off, she didn’t pull her stare away from Discord.

“Can you blame me? Your explanation was so incredibly boring and nonsensical that it was better to get things over with right away. Besides, I only came to tell you about what to do for the wedding, not a lecture.” Discord, in his usual form, felt insulted by Starlight’s words.

After Starlight fixes your mane, she gently stands you up, then turns to Discord, her patience waning. “Don’t give me that! You came to me, worried, that something could go wrong and that I was the only one Anon knew who could help him in a pinch in case something happened. You told me you were afraid of her asking more personal questions as the wedding came closer. And what did I tell you?” Starlight asked, tapping her hoof on the ground as she awaited his answer.

“I dunno” Discord shrugged

Starlight’s eyes nearly flared up from anger as she shouted at him, furious at his nonchalance “I TOLD THAT CHRYSALIS WAS PROBABLY THE ONLY REAL BIG THING HE SHOULD TELL HER! AND I TOLD YOU TO HELP HIM THROUGH IT!”

Discord just calmly yawns, and flicks his ear with his talon “Excuse me, what was that? You totally lost me there for a moment.” Discord shrugged with a smirk “I mean, had you not suggested anything at all, Anon wouldn’t be in this mess, now would he?

“GRRRR, GMMNNN, mnnngh!” Starlight was fuming, about to shout his name. But unlike Twilight, she managed to calm herself when she thought about the more important matter of making sure things don’t blow up on you. So, she turns to you, and hopes you are willing to listen. “Anon, look, I know he is paying attention, and I know he’s only being a jerk because he wanted to prove some kind of stupid point. He just wants to prove not saying anything at all ‘is the best option’, but I know in my heart he wouldn’t just abandon you. So, please, just convince him, before I use my taser on him.”

You were in no forgiving mood yourself after what he did. You knew what he was doing, even if he himself didn’t weigh the consequences. He wanted to prove Starlight wrong by showing things would go wrong by mentioning something, not realizing how much shit it’d put you in. Well then, even if he would help you in the end, he’s going to need a rather stern talking to. “Oh no, I totally get it. Thanks for making things clear though, Starlight.” You then turn your head towards Discord, you weren’t having this. “Discord, you’re my pal, and chaos buddy. But you decided to step over the line like a total douche. You owe me your help at this point, you got that? That means not disappearing on me just because you felt you did enough. You gotta be there the whole way through.”

Discord groans, he hated being told that he owed anything to anyone, even you in situations like this. “And why should I? As I tried to tell Starlight, telling Diamond anything at all could ruin everything you have with her. Yes, I got lucky when it came to Fluttershy, but that just doesn’t happen twice in a row. And she needs to see that. So I ask again, why?”

You look at him, deep, serious, and even with a hateful sort of gaze. “Because I will never forgive you for ruining her heart like that, and even ruining my relationship with her family. They’re good ponies, Discord. Do you understand me? I really mean it, and I know deep down, you are terrified of that.”

Discord stopped, like, frozen in time. Then began to shatter from the bottom up until his bodily shards littered the ground. And yet, his voice could still be heard. “Y-you’d really hate me over something like that? No…” You didn’t even need to answer as he began to realize what he did wrong. “Of course you would, even Fluttershy wouldn’t talk to me for quite some time if I didn’t see this through. For you two to hate me. Yes, that would be worse than losing an argument.” And with that, time reversed on his fallen form, his shattered body reforming right back to here it had broken. “I apologize for being difficult. And to you, Starlight. I should have paid attention.”

“It’s alright, Discord.” It did take quite a bit of energy for Starlight to let this one go, given how assholish his motives were. But she knew how he was like, and knew, in the end, he didn’t mean any real harm. “Just, be more mindful of other ponies feelings, ok? At least when it comes to serious stuff like this.”

“Indeed, I will keep that in mind. Oh, and Anon” Discord tapped his talons and paws together sheepishly, his voice meek “We’re still chaos buddies, right? I-I do mean it, I’ll help you through this all the way. I understand how important this is to you.”

You took a breath, calming yourself, and look to him with a small smile and a slow nod. “Yeah, we’re still chaos buddies. Just don’t be shifty or cryptic about this either, alright? I want to get through this without any hassles. Please?”

“Noted, you will have no hassles out of me” Discord says with a courteous bow before turning to Starlight “I very much thank you for your time, Starlight. And as thanks, I present to you a token of my appreciation. It’s a blu-ray copy of my movie! Y’know, to preserve the moment for everypony, something I deem as very important when it comes to alicorn affairs.!”

“A what ray? You mean, a film reel? It looks pretty small” Starlight looks at it curiously, and gives it a tap. “Not that I wouldn’t mind having it, I know Trixie would still get a kick out of it.”

Discord closes his paw, and chuckles as he holds his talons over his forehead “Oh silly me, I forgot you need a television and a Blu-Ray player as well. I’ll have those magically delivered with some instructions as soon as I am able.”

“I uh… Ok. It sounds like more human technology though, which I wouldn’t mind having a look at, so I’ll be ready.” Starlight says

“I’m sure you will, ta-ta for now!” Discord says as he prepares a snap of his talons. “I have a son to help!”

“Goodbye Discord. And goodbye Anon, good luck! Though, I know you won’t need it.” Starlight waves to you.

And with a goodbye to all, you and Discord prepare yourselves to confront Diamond with the truth.

Chapter 51 - The Truth!

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And so, there you both stood, in your room, ready to descend the gravity stairs to tell the truth of what happened with Chrysalis to a little foal who may not understand. Discord looked down at you, showing a fatherly expression on his usually smug face as he gave you a head pat. “Are you ready to face your destiny, Anon?”

Those words, it felt a little too over dramatic and annoying to you. “Do you have to say it like that? You make it feel like it’s the last thing I’ll ever do”

Discord shrugs, obviously not understanding what you meant. “What? Destiny doesn’t mean the end, it’s simply a course of events that usually lead to a foretold path.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You’re really gonna help me with this though, right?” You ask him, wanting to make sure he was going to keep his word. “No poofing away?”

“Yes, Anon, Yes!” Discord groans as he throws his arms up in the air in frustration “You and Starlight made it very clear how important this is. I may like to toy with you from time to time, but I understand the gravity…” Discord flattens into the ground at a quick pace, becoming a puddle “Of the situation. You can count on me” He says as he reverts back to his usual self.

“Yeah…” You say, partly to yourself, as a thought clicks in your head. “Y’know, Discord. I’m gonna be serious with you this time. Why don’t you marry Fluttershy?”

“Oh… This again.” Discord says with a groan, annoyed by the question “Must we do this now? You already know Fluttershy and I are friends. Friends who enjoy tea together. Friends who will have a picnic together every now and again…”

“Friends that if she was in danger and you knew, you’d probably raise hell just to get her back safe and sound.” You add to his list, not even smugly, but rather seriously in tone.

“Friends that if she was in danger and I knew, I’d probab… Hold on.” Discord stops, taps the air a little bit, then realizes what you were leading him into. He then begins to wiggle his talon at you dismissively “Anon, no, just no.”

“Even though you WOULD do that?” Now you begin to get a little brave and cocky as you look at him with a smirk.

“Mnnngh.” Discord crossed his arms at you, and grit his teeth as he spoke “You know I would.”

“Then? You obviously love her.” C’mon Discord, why did he have to be so stubborn?

“Noooo, I am obviously her best friend is what you mean. Higher than Twilight even, if I do say so myself.” Discord says, arms still crossed, nodding his head in assurance.

“Discord, think about it. If you married her, then you could live with her and everyone else wouldn’t be able to say shit about it. Every night, she’d be there waiting for you, ready to cuddle with you and massage your head to help you sleep. And besides, I wouldn’t mind having a little sister or brother. It would be pretty cool to teach a younger version of you and Fluttershy a few human tricks.” Yeah, that actually sounded pretty alright.

Discord took a deep breath, put his paw and talons together, brought them to his forehead, then pointed at you with a serious look. “One, Fluttershy can cuddle with me just fine. Two, I don’t care what her friends think-” But you cut him off right there.

“Right, that’s why you didn’t bring me here in the first place, right? Because you didn’t care what others thought? What her friends think? I mean, we did harass Twilight about it.” You remind him

He takes another deep breath, and starts to growl as he speaks “Three, producing a child would require acts I’d rather not think about. And four, I’m fine with just one child. That child being you, Anon, my son.”

Fine with one child? You? Ergh, you had to put a hoof to your chest. Sure, he’s said this many times before. But for him to put you over what would essentially be his child by blood, it stunned you there for a moment. “You mean, I’m good enough to be considered, like, your birth son?”

“Yes, Anon” Discord calms himself, and puts his paw on your shoulder as he leans down to look at you “You are. You are an expert at chaos, you treat Fluttershy with as much respect as I would, you treat Twilight with as much respect as I would, and most of all…” He then gives you a cheeky grin “You really are a child, always whining about something, so what else could I consider you?”

Ugh, you walked right into that one. Still, that was a really nice thought. You let out a light hearted chuckle as you nudge your leg into him. “Alright, alright, fine, I’ll drop it. So, um, we should probably go down now before she gets antsy about us”

“Indeed” Discord says as he begins to slither through the open door, downwards towards the living room. “Allow me to go first, I think it’ll soften the blow when she starts inevitably jumping to conclusions.”

“After you, dad” You say, with a polite bow, as you follow down after him.

As Discord and you entered the living room, Diamond Tiara stood at the ready, flustered, with her patience strong but wearing thin. Silver Spoon was… Wait, where was she?

“Where did you two go?” Diamond asked, looking sour that she was just left there without much of a word. “I want to know. Something fishy is going on now, and I want to know what it is.”

Discord stops, and bows to her apologetically “I’m sorry, my dear, I was just making sure everything was just right for what Anon and I are about to tell you. As for the fish part, well, I do have a failed aquarium somewhere in this house if you’d like to see it.”

That’s when you noticed it, the large popcorn bowl started to shake as if frightened by Discord’s words. That was probably where Silver Spoon was hiding. “Diamond, ummm. Is Silver Spoon in there?” You point to the popcorn bowl, and await her answer.

“Yes, now tell me what’s going on.” Diamond said, as her patience began to waver even further.

“Diamond!” Silver Spoon popped her head out, startled and angry that she had been called out. “W-why would you t-t-tell them where I am!? That film box thing, it wants to eat me, I know it! That’s why it went running around the house!”

The fuck? Actually, when you looked around, you did notice the TV was missing. Then Discord himself began to chuckle as he put a paw to his cheek and shook his head. “Oh, oh, my my my. You really can’t sit foals in front of the television these days. I’m guessing it saw her as a rich pony and tried to sell her something in earnest.”

Diamond nodded “Mhmm, it tried to sell us both something, actually. Something about sets of boxes and,like, ten seasons. Pretty sure we only have four so I don’t know what it was talking about. Then when Silver hid, it started running around looking for her, and now it’s just gone. I have no idea where it went.”

“Diamond! Shhhh!” Silver Spoon ducked her head, shaking as she darted her eyes about “It’ll hear you.”

If the situation wasn’t as touchy as it was, you’d laugh. But at this point, Silver was just being annoying and a detriment to the situation. “Silver, do you just want to go home?” You ask her.

“Y-Yes! D-Diamond, C-can I go home, please? T-this really has nothing to do with me, right? Right?” Silver looked to her friend with big frightened eyes as tears slowly began to flow from them.

Diamond could see it too, her friend was simply too afraid to take the insanity of the house any further. Although, to you, everything that has happened has really been rather standard and mundane. Diamond nods, then looks to Discord. “Can you send her home, please?”

Discord nods, and doesn’t hesitate to snap her away. You’d think he’d do one last thing to terrorize her, but it seemed he really was going to take this seriously. “Your wish is my command.”

And with that, Diamond planted her butt on the ground, and looked to the both of you with a demanding stare. “So is anypony going to tell me what’s going on? Why is everypony is being so secretive?”

You take a moment to compose yourself. Here you go, Anon, about to tell her something that might shatter her. But before you could say anything, Discord steps forward, and holds his paw towards you to keep you from stepping forward, as he really did mean to start this first. “Again, my apologies, but the story you’re about to hear will be quite a doozy. So…” Discord points to Diamond, lifting her up gently with his magic as she lets out a small 'eep'. He places her slowly on the couch, right on top of a pillow. She didn’t seem startled for long as she quickly made herself comfortable, laid on her belly, and continued her stare. “There we are, comfy?”

Diamond just narrows her eyes at him, and says in an inquisitive tone “Stop stalling, or are you trying to hide something from me?”

“Oooh, things have gotten rather serious, haven’t they? Then again, I suppose I would be acting the same way if things suddenly seemed so mysterious and ominous. Well, Diamond, what do you think about Queen Chrysalis?” Discord asked

“Queen Chrysalis? I thought this was about Luna.” Diamond, said, confused as to what Discord could have meant by that.

“Ahh, we’ll get to that eventually. But this is much more important. So again, what do you think of her?” Discord asks, taking things more seriously than you anticipated.

“Easy, she tricked everypony, including Anon, and tried to take over Equestria. But that King Thorax guy managed to make all the changelings good with what he learned from the princesses. Then Queen Chrysalis somehow escaped… Wait” Diamond came to a realization “Do you guys know where she is? If you do, you have to let me know! I want to give her a piece of my mind! Using Anon like that? Using me? And everypony else too! That’s just despicable!”

You look to Discord, wondering if you should speak. But he just holds a single talon to you, and prepares his next set of words. “Well, your attitude on that might change when I tell you there was a little more to it than that. Furthermore, that you have no reason to get angry at Anon at all about it, as it was my decision that caused all of it to happen in the first place.”

“Cause all of what? And what do you mean get mad at Anon? Why would I get mad at Anon? Even I was fooled when she was acting like his sister, so I could see how he’d get fooled too. D-daddy Discord, why are you even blaming yourself? Is that the secret? That you blamed yourself for everything that happened? Because I can tell you, that is totally not true!” Diamond said, shocked that Discord himself would blame himself for something, that she felt, was out of his control. Even she knew how manipulative and evil Chrysalis could be. Well, from what she had been told and what she felt anyway.

“Diamond, it’s a little more than that.” You finally take your chance to take the lead, and decide to just start with one of the biggest bombs of the conversation. “I knew Chrysalis way before she showed up as my sister, I was living with her before that.”

“WHAT?!” Diamond said, shocked and even appalled by your words. “You knew her before she was your sister?! What’s that supposed to mean?! Wait…” Diamond’s expression became venomous, soul piercing, and full of anger. Hell, it almost felt she could eat your damn soul with the way she was growling. “You didn’t fall for that hussie, did you?!”

“What?! No! Never! That’s not what happened! I didn’t fall for her, not even once!” Well, you did, but it wasn’t that kind of relationship! “Diamond, I tried to help her! Geh! “ Wait that sounds even worse! “I mean, Help, as in, reform her! Like how Aunt Fluttershy helped reform my Dad!”

“It’s true.” Discord said with a calm shrug “Don’t get mad at him, little Diamond, I did force the both of them to be roomies of a sort for my own personal amusement. And then things changed, odd friendships were formed, worlds were saved, and things were actually more pleasant than one would think. We even got a demented mutant pet out of it, but that is neither here nor there.”

“B-but… Why, how, when?” Diamond went from angry, to hurt. To know you were friends with such a vile creature, to have even maybe colluded with her, all behind her back. She didn’t know what to think. “She’s like, the most evil thing in Equestria. Why would Anon ever try to help her? Even her hive hates her. So why?”

“Diamond, things aren’t so black and white when it comes to all that. Look, relax, please? Let us tell you everything, from the beginning to the now, and then hopefully you’ll understand.” And so, began one of the hardest moments you had in this world. Explaining to a very volatile foal your relationship with an evil tyrannical queen. You and Discord took turns explaining to her nearly every detail that was pertinent and safe for her ears about what went on between you and Chrysalis. Discord even called back the TV to show visual representations, all acted out by alternate versions of himself, of what you and Chrysalis would do together. You both answered all of Diamond’s questions the best you could, and kept her calm on any moment that sounded more shady than it ever had any right to be. Hell, Discord even got the bright idea to have most of what happened in the other Equestria played out through the television, still acted out by other Discords. But even with that performance played out by silly looking Draconequus, one moment stook out to Diamond that pierced her heart. A moment she had to ask about after it was all over. “W-was that supposed to be Daddy? The guy in that car thing? S-so, he really did lose me and mother? T-that’s not an act?”

“Yeah, I know I mentioned it to you before. But this is how it really went down. Even I don’t know what’s happened to him now. But I’m pretty sure he has to be ok. Thanks to me and Chrysalis, and everypony that helped out.” You explain to her, and notice she was starting to get it. She looked sad, but she looked like she was beginning to understand as she just stood there, thinking.

“Hmmm, mnnnn…” Diamond murmured to herself before looking upon the two of you again. “Keep going. B-because it sounds like she was just having trouble being good because she was just used to being evil so much. B-but then, why would she pretend to be your sister? And why would she still want to rule Equestria after helping save one? And that other Chrysalis, she didn’t seem so bad… so erm… Erm… I-I dunno what else to think about, it’s all so confusing.” She really didn’t seem to know what to think about everything she has heard thus far.

“Relax, my dear, relax.” Discord slowly approached her, and began to gently massage behind her ear. You notice Diamond ease her head into his scratching talons slowly, but then went back to a depressive slump as her thoughts began to trouble her once more. “Now then, as to the whole sister fiasco. Well, that would also be my fault…” And again, the explanations continued. This time going into Chrysalis’s goals, how she also saved your life from the X-Captain, and even the fact she actually had a form of respect for you and Diamond’s relationship. Even the fact, that in some way, you really did see her as a sister, and that it hurt you that you couldn’t do more for her and help her see that being evil was a pointless endeavor at that point. The more the both of you spoke, the more Diamond seemed to calm down, nodding along with all your words.

Then finally, it came to an end. “And that’s what happened. So erm, if you have any questions… Y’know…” You were nervous at this point. She was calm, her eyes somewhat watery from the sadder moments, but still she was calm, and most likely processing everything Discord and you told her. “I-I mean, if you’re angry with me, I’m sorry but… mnnn” You hang your head in shame, you really should have told her, given the fact that in the end, she was going to be the one you would marry.

“As I said, you shouldn’t be angry at him. Not all beings that were and are still evil are as refined as I am. It was simply too much for either of us to handle. As much as I hate to admit it, even my charms failed to win her over.” Discord says, trying to act rather humbly as he speaks in your defense.

“I’m actually not angry.” Diamond said, plainly, calm, and collected.

“What?!” Both you and Discord said in unison “You’re not?!”

“No, why would I? You both explained it pretty good. Daddy Discord, you went and pulled a bad trick on Anon because you don’t know any better.” And then Diamond looked to you, as her eyes became ever sharper, a venomous glare that made you take a step back “And the only dumb thing Anon did was not even tell me that I let one of the evilest evil bad guys into my house.” Diamond then hopped off the couch as she stepped towards you, her eyes never leaving your own “Nope, I’m not mad at all about any of it. I’m not even mad at Queen Chrysalis, since it looked like she really was trying to be good in some ways, which I’ll get to in a second. No, the one thing I’m mad about is…” Suddenly her glare becomes fiery as she gives you a heavy slap on the cheek “THE FACT YOU DIDN’T LET ME HELP, YOU DUMBY!”

You nearly fell to your side on that one. Damn, she hits hard when she’s angry, you had trouble re-orienting yourself from that.

When Discord was about to say something, she turned to him, still filled with rage “AND YOU TOO! EVERYPONY KNEW! THE CRUSADERS KNEW! THE PRINCESSES KNEW! BUT I DIDN’T?! I COULD HAVE HELPED! DO YOU BOTH NOT REALIZE SHE COULD HAVE EASILY GOTTEN TO HER HIVE, LIKE, AT ANYTIME?!”

Both you and Discord were silent. Holy shit, she was on a tirade. And what did she mean she could have escaped at anytime? Chrysalis herself said she couldn’t, so how could Diamond just say that? “I mean… Erm, like we said. She was pretty much stuck, and we could track her movements.”

Diamond then angrily points at Discord “Except I know that he doesn’t like to do actual work most of the time, and you weren’t checking that map twenty four seven! If she really wanted to leave, then she could have just convinced some wagon pulled by some strong stallions to take her where she needed to go, with some sob story as to WHY she needed to go there! Uggggh! How could you have not thought of that?!” Diamond groaned angrily as she brought her hoof to her forehead “Boys, I swear, sometimes they can be so dumb! She taught you to dance, Anon, TO DANCE! WITH ME! SHE WAS ACTUALLY TRYING! I COULD HAVE TALKED TO HER!” She growled at you, stomping up to you again as she pointed directly at your face “SHE REALLY WAS PLAYING A GAME WITH YOU! GIRLS DO IT ALL THE TIME! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT?!”

You shifted your eyes left and right, shaking and sweating, and just shrugged.

“Ugh, I just can’t believe anypony didn't tell me. I know even the princesses wanted it to be a secret, but come on! I mean, they totally aren’t innocent either. Ok, maybe the changelings becoming good was a good thing, but Queen Chrysalis could have probably become good too with a little more time AND WITH MY HELP! Anon, just... “ She gives you a lighter slap this time, as she begins to wind-down, and start to sniffle and cry, until finally hugging onto you, weak “You could have told me, she didn’t seem so bad, she kind of felt like a real sister to me too…”

You just gently nuzzle onto her, letting her rest on your side. You had no idea she felt that way, nor had you ever considered Chrysalis truly had a chance to escape her confinement. Was she just blind to it? Or was she just trying to find a reason to stay a captive. If Diamond really felt this way, you really should have said something. But really, how could you have known she would have been this ok with it? “I’m sorry, Diamond. I didn’t really know what to do either, y’know? I had a lot of pressure on me, I didn’t even want the Crusaders to find out either, it just sort of happened.”

“I know, I just wish I had known. I guess I kind of cared about her too, even if she was just acting as your sister. I-I mean, if I’m wrong, then she really does need to be imprisoned. But you don’t think she’s one hundred percent bad, do you? Do you think she could still be reformed? You said she tried to save you during the test, that’s a good sign, right?” She asks as she continues to nuzzle onto you, now hugging onto you to support herself.

“Yeah, I think there’s still a chance. I really didn’t expect you to care this much either, Diamond. Everypony else pretty much wants her gone, even her own children.” This was true, even the changelings, sans Scrappy, wanted her to be gone forever.

“I know, and that’s sad to me. If she is anything like that other Chrysalis, then she really does care about them, even if it’s an evil kind of caring. Moms always care about their foals, even if they don’t know how to act themselves… Kind of how Mother used to be. I can’t imagine how hurt I’d feel if my foals suddenly just hated me. I just feel kind of bad for her too, even if what happened was a good thing for them.” Again, Diamond was pretty much right on that. Those were her kids after all, and she was fucking pissed when they all basically turned on her. She was always the first to infiltrate, always for their sake, just to provide them food. Even if your heart is evil, you still have to have one to care about such a thing.

“Yeah, you’re right, Diamond. If I see her again, and I can get something set up, I promise to let you help. But only if it’s safe. I don’t know what her state of mind is, but if she wants to confront me over what happened, or vice versa, I still have to make sure everything is ok before I involve everypony else, alright?” You gently rub your hoof through her mane, to help her calm down.

“Alright, I trust you. Please, don’t break your promise, alright?” She asks, with a small whimper.

“I won’t…” You hoped, anyway.

Chapter 52 - Mission 2

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While the conversation seemed to have gone rather well, it did seem to tucker Diamond out emotionally enough to want to make her go home and skip out on both the movie and the explanation of Luna. She wasn’t mind shattered or anything of the sort, it was just a lot to take in and she wanted to sort things out herself. She also asked if you could take her home, something you jumped on immediately so you wouldn’t upset her further. Discord was even kind enough to open a portal directly to her house, in front of her front door. Though, in her emotional state, she chose to hang back with you for a moment, to nuzzle into you and talk. “Anon, how do you do it?”

What? “Do it? Do what?”

“Y’know… balance your life like you do. I’m only hearing about Chrysalis and it’s got me all shaken up, but you had to live it and you don’t seem tired at all. You have had to go through so many things, and yet you still manage to keep going like it’s nothing. So… how do you do it?” She asks again as she closes her eyes, her head settling on your side.

“Always been this way, I guess. Living with Dad helped a lot, but truthfully, I was kind of used to chaos before I even came to Equestria. Things can get tough, but I can usually work it out…. Usually.” That was as truthful an answer as you can give. As long as something was in your favor, you always had a way to make it work. Well, you felt so anyway.

“You are really amazing to be able to handle all that then...mmmm” Diamond let out a love filled sigh “I’m glad that I am with you, for always and forever. Oh!” Diamond suddenly raised her head, as some adrenaline seemed to seep into her body and will. “You do have your vows ready, right? That’s super duper important! It is our future promises after all.”

SHIT! You didn’t have them ready at all! But wait, why are you worried? You still had time, and it’s always easy to come up with sappy shit. “Totally, I have it all set and ready to go. It’s gonna be perfect.” You say with a confident but dishonest smile.

“No, Anon, No!” Diamond whapped your head gently as she berated you, her face suddenly have a cute sense of anger about it. “Not perfect! It has to be ‘just ok’! How can you have perfect vows for the real wedding if you already said them at the fake one? Trim that fat, mister, and make sure your vows are subpar, got it?” Diamond stared hard at you, awaiting your answer.

Uhhhh, errr. Well, at least it made planning your vows that much easier… you guess. Still, she can get so scary sometimes despite being a cute little filly. “I-I meant perfect imperfect! Eheh.”

“Good!” Diamond leans forward, and plants a kiss on your nose before reeling back with a blush on her face, her smile becoming somewhat goofy “Y-you have a good day then, I-I think I’ll just take a small nap, then do some more planning when I wake up, and check up on Silver too. Remember, don’t make your vows perfect.”

“Trust me, I got it covered already. You have a good nap, my sweet. I’m gonna go see if I can scrounge something up to do myself.” Really, your stuff to do was kind of at zero today, you had no idea what to actually do.

“Ok, my love.” Diamond says with a little giggle as she knocked on her door, and awaited an answer. As for you, you gave her a wave, and headed out through the front gates to see if there was anything else you could do for the day.

“Greetings, Anon. I’m glad the spot I chose to wait at was-?!” Suddenly, a voice from behind started to speak to you without you realizing its presence. You end up jumping to the side and slamming your head to the outer gate wall of the mansion grounds and falling to your side. “Anon! I… Are you alright?”

Holy fuck! That came out of fucking nowhere! Hell, it had been such a while since you last bonked your head, probably a day or two, that you actually somewhat felt that. “Ngh, who in the…” You get up rubbing your head with your hoof, only to be staring at the head of the EEA himself, Chancellor Neighsay. Oh booooyyy. You straighten yourself out, and try to get answers while seeming polite “Chancellor Neighsay… Uh, not to sound rude but, why are you here and… being creepy?” Nailed it!

Chancellor Neighsay, surprisingly, was being more polite than he was last time, even a little humble. “My apologies, with the eve of Twilight’s school opening upon us, I decided to seek you out for another mission while also finding out the results of your findings on the changelings since I didn’t receive a letter from you”

Wut? “Another mission? Um, I dunno, I mean, the changelings weren’t up to anything at all, so that ended up being a bust. It’s why I didn’t send a letter… Because you said not to send a letter if I couldn’t find anything.” What is up with this guy? Seriously, not a word from him ever during every other incident, but a school opens up and suddenly everything not a pony needs to be dead, or something like that. And was he really just walking around Ponyville looking for you all this time? Nah, he must have had some way of detecting you or having some idea of where you’d be. “And even then, aren't you an education guy? Shouldn’t these kinds of investigations be left to Celestia or Luna?”

Whatever humble or pleasant formalities Neighsay was willing to show went out the window with your line of questioning as his expression became a look of disappointment and annoyance. “Yes, well, we’ve all seen how well they’ve been able to handle situations like these as of late. As for being an ‘education guy’, that is indeed what I am, but of a much higher order and a deep sense of preservation, love, and duty to protect our fair land of Equestria from those who’d see it destroyed. It saddens me to see you not taking things as seriously as I hoped, and makes me wonder how well a job you even did investigating the changelings, and your commitment to protecting those who need it.”

Now you felt insulted. You did a damned good job checking up on those technicolor pussies, and you already saved Equestria before, two of them in fact, so where did he get off?! “Excuse me, sir, but I put my hundred percent in making sure Equestria didn’t get taken over by the likes of the Storm King, or even Ponyville being destroyed by that gold scaled whatevertooth dragon...guy. Look, I went over there and they weren’t up to anything. Heck, I doubt they are capable of taking down a single rabbit with the way they are now. Without their queen, they are as weak and docile as a foal. You have my word on this. It’s not that I’m even defending them, they are just kind of pathetic, if you wanted my truthful opinion”

“Pathetic… I see.” Neighsay said with a nod, as he seemed to re-evaluate the situation. It seemed he didn’t expect you to say something so harsh, or as harsh a pony would expect. “Perhaps I was wrong about your commitment. Which is why I ask you to do this one last investigation for me, Anon, I need to make sure there isn’t some sort of hidden plan to destroy Equestria. And if the changelings are not planning anything, then perhaps the Dragons are, especially with some information I happened to pick up. Given your run in with the Diamondtooth, I imagine you’ll jump at the chance to see what the dragons are possibly scheming.”

New information? Dammit, you really didn't feel like feeding into this guy’s propaganda and looney conspiracies. But again, if Equestria has a chance of being in danger, and you’re in the know of it, then you can’t just say no. “I might, I wasn’t aware they had the capacity to scheme at all. Always seemed rather dumb to me” You say this for two reasons; to stay on his good side, and because dragons did seem pretty damn stupid.

Neighsay’s tone becomes more pleasant to you, but he doesn’t chuckle or laugh arrogantly like you thought he would. “Indeed, but there is always that chance. Princess Twilight had sent a letter a few days ago to their princess. I don’t know the contents of this letter per se, but it seems quite suspicious to me. I want you to find out what it might contain, and what the dragons are up to, that is all. However, I want you to be discreet about this. We are trying to prevent a war, not start one. I assume, with your magic, you have a way of disguising yourself?”

“I do, and... “ Bah, he didn’t even ask if you actually agreed to it all. Whatever, don’t mention it and shift to something else “What if I turn up with nothing? Plus, I know I’m great and all, but don’t you have any agents or anypony that could have done this? At all? Like not even one guy?”

“No, and it shames me to have to seek a colt’s help for such an endeavor. But you aren’t just any colt, and have proven yourself enough for me to trust in your skills. I shall await your return by your aunt’s cottage. As I understand it, she’s not home, so it will be a safe place for a debriefing. Don’t let me down, Anon, you’re the only one I can trust.” Neighysay says, his tone showing that he actually meant it.

“No problem, I won’t let you down.” You tell him as you place the horn on your head, already figuring out your plan of infiltration “Just no more skulking around me after this, alright? It’s kind of creepy.”

“You have my word, as I’m sure we’ll be too busy dealing with the school soon after, should anything go awry. I mean it, good luck, and stay safe, those dragons won’t hesitate to attack you for stepping on their lands. In fact, I could, perhaps, quickly teach you how to use an artifact I own to make an escape.” He really did seem to trust you, as you’d think whatever artifact he’s talking about might be of great power. Then again, your horn was probably one of the most broken and overpowered ‘artifacts’ there ever was.

“Nah, I’m good, my horn is pretty all-purpose in that regard, even in escapes. Besides, I won’t be caught, so don’t you worry.” You tell him, feeling confident of yourself.

“Right, but I felt I had to take some precautions in case the worst happened. Well then, I shan’t underestimate you again.” Neighsay says

“Trust me, I got this, inside and out. I’ll just go in, check the place out, go out, no problem.” Really, it shouldn’t be that difficult with the proper disguise. Dragons really did seem rather stupid.

“I hope so”

With that, you bid Neighsay a goodbye as you focused your first magical charge of the day to take you to the dragon lands. And oh boy, what a place it was, exactly as you remember it from the show. Barren, volcanic, boiling, with the sea beyond the high mountains. You then took a look at yourself, to see the disguise you had donned on yourself during the warp. You were standing upright, and had bright green scales with charred black edges. You also had spikes going along your back with the same charred motif, though the spikes were a darker green color. Your mouth was longer and pointy, with sharp teeth, but most of all…

“Ahh dammit…” You say as you look at your puny claws and down to the ground, noticing how close it is. “I’m puny, I fucking overdid it”

Chapter 53 - Princess Ember and the Smoldering Dilemma

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Welp, you were here, now what do you do? You take a moment to look around the area once more. Yep, still barren, with some dragons flying around or sparring with each other and some others taking dips in the small pools of lava. All of this seemed normal enough, for a dragon anyway. Still, you were going to have to finally find and meet this Princess Ember and see if you could find out what kind of letter Twilight sent to her.

You decide to begin walking around, looking for any sign of the princess. You had no idea where to look, but then again, it didn’t help you weren’t asking around either. But why would you when every dragon here was ugly,pushy, and downright mean? Fuck that shit, you didn’t need one of them noticing your size and calling you puny or some shit like that. You climbed boulders, looked in craters, and slid down declines, but so far you hadn’t been able to find anything. “Where is this bitch? I just wanna do this and ge-WOAH!” And with one misstep, you end up hurtling down a rather steep cliff, smacking your head on boulders as you make your way down the side of a small mountain towards a beach. “AGH! OOF! CRIPES!”

You finally hit the ground, creating a small crater of your body within the sand. You lift your head, dizzy, bruised, and mouth full of sand. Upon spitting it out, you look back in a daze to see how far you fell. It was pretty high, you also noticed a green pair of wings behind you with charred tips… OH GODDAMMIT! “F-fucking…..n-ngh…” Had you known you had wings, you would have… goddamn it, that sucks. You stand up and start to brush yourself off as you mutter angrily. Then you hear it, a voice coming from a cave behind you, and it sounded angry.

You could hear a dragon bitching at some other dragon. What about? Was it a secret? Was this what you were looking for? You decide to venture inside the cave, following the angry voice. Upon making a turn through the open tunnel, you saw… OH SHIT, IT’S THAT GOLD DRAGON GUY YOU BEAT UP! You duck behind a large pair of rocks, trying to calm your now rapid breath. Given the yelling hadn’t stopped, you could surmise you weren’t caught. You slowly look beyond the rocks to see what was going on. That dragon, he seemed rather upset as this small,blue, sleek, and...hot dragon, especially with those sizzling red eyes. She was flying around him at eye level. Even with her downward horns and leaf ended tail, she looked… Holy crap, you didn’t realize how hot dragons could be. Too bad she was super angry looking right now, it actually unnerved you to see that gold dragon upset and scared by such a small dragon. Then again, you also notice her wielding some sort of scepter, did that mean…?

“So let me make sure I got this clear. You left your gem, which you have a million of back in your cave, out in the middle of nowhere. Then somecreature took it and it ended up in a pony bowling alley, which you decided to track down the entire way there despite the fact it was your fault you left the gem out there for anycreature to take. Then, instead of asking for it nicely, since you know, WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FRIENDS WITH THE PONIES! Ahrm…” The blue dragon calmed herself from explosive anger back to her loud agitated tone “You decide to destroy the bowling alley and attack a colt. A colt, I might add, that kicked your butt so hard that you cried the whole day. Incen, I am really REALLY angry right now. Not only for the fact that you decided to just attack our allies for the dumbest reason, but you totally got crushed by like… what, a six year old or something? There’s making us look bad, and then there’s making us look like a bunch of fuzzy bunnies.”

The gold scaled dragon, who was now meekly tapping his claws together, looked to the blue dragon with a pathetic expression “Yeah, but that gem was really tasty, and that colt was the hero colt for sure! I mean, I could have taken him if I was full and-” But Incen was cut off by another burst of anger from the blue dragon as she pointed her scepter at him.

“HEY, WORM FOR BRAINS! WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ATTACKING PONIES AT ALL! THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, F-R-I-E-N-D-S, FRIENDS!” The blue dragon then smacked his forehead a few times with the scepter “That means we don’t hurt them, and even try to help them if they can’t help themselves, which surprisingly, a lot of them can! How many times do I need to explain this to all of you!?
Geez! I know we hated everycreature for like, ever, but that was then and this is now, and I just want everycreature to just make nice. There are plenty of other losers in this world in need of a real thrashing; I’m talking real big jerks like that Tirek guy. So here’s the deal, Incen, if I hear about you attacking any of those ponies again, I’m going to take your gem hoard myself and give it to a bunch of carpenters, are we clear?” The blue dragon said as she awaited his response

Incen gasped, horrified from what he heard “You wouldn’t! They don’t even eat the gems! They use it as decoration! DECORATION! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! GEMS ARE NOT A CHAIR!” Incen cried, wiping his eyes as he wept incessantly.

“Sheesh, this is just embarrassing. Just get out of here, and remember what I said.” The blue dragon sighed as she pointed to the exit of the cave.

“Y-yes, Princess Ember...ngh...Carpenters, ngh, they don’t even let you eat from their houses. I-it’s not like taking one gem would cause it to fall apart… Nghhhmmm” Incen said with a whine as he stomped out of the cave, still crying from Ember’s threats.

“What a baby” Ember huffed as she hovered down to the ground “Ok kid, come on out, it ain’t cool to eavesdrop on private conversations, you know. The guy has already suffered enough, well, maybe not enough. But as princess, I gotta draw a line somewhere.”

Fuck! She knew you were there the entire time?! Ok, play it cool, Anon, try to gain this cutie’s respect. You slowly slide out from the side of the rocks, acting confident. “Heya, yeah, about that, I was just walking around and just ended up in this cave. Didn’t even know what that’s all about, but it ain’t my business. So, uh, you’re Princess Ember, right? Lookin’ cool”

Ember just raises an eyebrow at you, finding you rather odd “Yeah, sure, ok then.” She was in disbelief that you seemed so ignorant to the point she didn’t really believe you “So you weren’t sneaking around to find out how badly I was chewing out Incen just so you could run back to Garble and his… Wait” Ember steps up to you, crouches down to about your eye level, and narrows her eyes towards you “I’ve never actually seen you before. And you’re way too puny to be hanging out with any of the tougher dragons. What’s your name, squirt?”

“Uhhh-uhmmm” Shit! You didn’t actually think of a name for yourself. Luckily, pop culture has given you many a cool dragon names to use for such an occasion. “I’m uh, Trogdor! The Burninator!”

“Ohhhheewww” Ember grimaced, even her arms shivered as if she just experienced something wretched “Definitely not hanging with any of the tougher dragons. Look, er, Trogdor? I am the princess, you know that. I could totally give you a new official name that won’t get you beaten up by like, everycreature. Because seriously? Even squirrels would laugh at you.”

The hell?! What was wrong with the name?! “What do you mean?! That name is wicked cool!”

“Yeah, sure. Look, I’m serious. How about, Burner? Or Grimstone! Yeah, that’s much better than... whatever you want to call that.” She actually felt sorry for you, as if that name was really that bad. Ugh, dragons just have no taste.

“I’m fine” You say with a grumble

“Not really, but whatever. Look, why are you really here? Can’t be for sightseeing, and it really can’t be to bully Incen, so what is it? Did you just want to talk to me about something?” Ember asked, keeping her patience, as she still felt rather sorry for you.

To talk? TO TALK! PERFECT! You can now use this opportunity to find out all the information you need. “Yeah actually, I heard a rumor something was gonna happen soon that was pony related? I dunno if it’s a good or a bad thing. But…” You kneel, acting polite “For you, Princess Ember, I will act as needed.”

“Oooook, now you’re just getting creepy. Relax, alright? Yeah, there’s something going on but it isn’t anything you have to worry about. It’s more of a matter of friendship. You know, that whole thing I’ve been wanting us all to try. If you heard some rumor about something, then you gotta know about that friendship school, right?” Ember asks you

“Princess Twilight’s school that’s opening up? Yeah, I heard about that”

“Well, there’s a dragon named Smolder I’m gonna enroll in the school. She’s pretty cool, but she’s got a bit of a mean streak that I feel is just her putting up a front. I want her to learn everything there is about friendship, and y’know, hopefully the others will follow. Though, making it public did start to get her messed with by the other dragons, and I kind of feel bad for that. Don’t peg me as mushy though, it’s totally not like that, It’s just, y’know...stuff.” Ember admitted, trying to act aloof and tough about it, when really, she was kind of showing that dragons did have a heart.

Huh, that actually kind of tugged at your heart for some reason. You were ready to write dragons off as major assholes altogether, but this sexy dragon chick, she didn’t seem as bad as the other dragons from the show. And although you haven’t met Smolder, if she’s another candidate like Ocellus, then she might be worth checking out… For reasons. Hey, you had good reasons! She sounded like she needed a friend! “I mean, I could go see how she’s doing, maybe be her friend if it’s really that bad.”

“You’re not gonna mock her or anything, right? Because dragons don’t typically say that kind of thing. Again, kinda creepy. Then again, with a name like that, Well…” Ember sighed and walked over to you, leaning down a bit to give you a pat “Gonna guess you’re probably looking for a friend yourself. Well, Trogdor, I would appreci- er, I give you permission to do that. She’s probably around somewhere, I think she was hanging out with Garble’s gang, something about a magma splash contest.”

“No, I’m not like that. And thanks, for the permission and for talking with me. Now I know why you’re the princess” You say with a grin, she really was kind of cool. And oh, even her headpats was kind of nice.

Ember shoots you a wink and a finger point “You know it, now get out of here, I gotta practice my rock smashing. Been kind of reading th- Just get out before I talk anymore. Already gotta do some writing too, and I really hate that.” Ember says, shooing you away out of the cave.

Well, that was actually a pleasant experience. And Ember was as cool as she was blue. But this Smolder girl, you wondered what kind of dragon she was if she was hanging out with Garble. You remember him from the show, well, that one episode of the show. He was a red dragon with yellow spikes and a bad and nasty attitude. So obviously he wasn’t a good influence when it came to friendship. Though, you had to really wonder why you cared so much as well. Was it due to Neighsay? Ok, sure, you shared some of his sentiments. But this didn’t seem as bad as he made it out to be, nor as much as you thought it could be. Relax, Anon, you’re not out of the woods yet. Ember was a princess, it was her duty to play it cool. But this Smolder can be a real bitch.

Using your wings, you slowly fly up to the sky to scan the area around you. There were many dragons around, flying and doing stupid shit, but you just needed to find some sort of lava pool and….there we go, you spot a group of dragons diving in a lava pool near the volcano in the distance. You decide to fly in low towards their position, and upon getting there, hide behind a few rocks yet again to listen in on what was going on… Hopefully not getting noticed this time.

“And that’s how you do a magma splash boys, pay up, I’m starving here!” There he was, Garble, simmering in the magma. He must have been one of the dragons that just dived in. Having seen the lava splash, it did seem rather impressive. There were a few other dragons, they all seemed rather miffed that they lost some sort of bet as they started pulling out gems. But then, a small orangish dragon with a yellow underbelly and purple spikes stepped up, her light blue eyes filled with anger and determination.

“Hey! I didn’t get my turn yet, Garble. What’s up with that?!” She said with a stomp

“I already told you, you already lost since you’re going to be hanging out with ponies. Besides, you weren’t gonna beat that anyway. Just give me your gems already and save yourself the embarrassment” Garble said, relaxing himself, laying back as if it was all good.

“I told you! I’m not ok with even going to that stupid school! And I’m not giving you anything until you let me have a try! Or are you scared I might be better than you?” The dragon said in a mocking tone. Huh, that had to be Smolder. And once again, unlike the other dragons, she was kind of cute.

Garble suddenly growled as he crawled out of the magma pool “Ain’t no dragon here who is better at this than I am. Fine, give it your best shot, so we can all laugh at you.” Garble said, already tapping his foot with impatience.

“Gladly, just make sure to have your gems ready.” Smolder said as she crouched down, flapping her wings hard as she jetted off into the sky “Here I come!” She said as she began to spin downwards into the lava. And true to her word, the splash she made was colossal. She sprang up from the magma, with a cheery smile, and held out her claws. “And there we go, the perfect splash. Pay up! You lost.”

“Nah, not really…” Garble said, feeling unsure and defeated as he shifted his eyes. Then a cruel smile was planted on his face as he looked to his friends. “Because you still lose points for being a sissy dragon.”

“A sissy what now?! Listen Garble, I won fair and square! Give me your gems and admit I’m better than you!” Smolder growled as she stepped out of the pool, demanding and furious as Garble played it cool.

“Since when do dragons care about ‘fair and square’? Wow, You really aren’t a cool dragon. Especially since you’re going to that school, so that means you lose points. Isn’t that right, guys?” Garble says as he gives a fierce glare to the other dragons. And of course, in typical fashion, they all start to agree with him out of either respect or fear, probably fear, or maybe they really were as much of a jerk as he was.

“Are you kidding me?! I still made the bigg-.....” But Smolder stopped when she could see on everyone’s faces that they weren’t going to change their minds. But it also only served to make her angrier “How about we see how fast I can knock you to the ground? How about that, huh?”

“You wanna go, Smolder? Come on then, bring it! Oh wait, hah, can’t even fight ya.” Garble says with a chuckle, looking at her arrogantly. “I mean, I would, but then the princess would get all up in my face. Not that I’m scared, but I like having a place to live, you understand. You’re the princess’ chosen one, the one who’s going to be all nice and proper when she gets back”

Smolder smacked her knuckles together as smoke started to flow from her nose “She doesn’t have to know.” She was really itching for a fight here, as if she really hated that comment more than she should.

“She doesn’t, but she will. But I’ll be nice, you can keep your gems… If you admit that I’m better than you.” Garble says, crossing his arms as he awaited her answer.

Smolder was shaking her fists. It was clear she just wanted to deck the guy, but she was holding back, as if there seemed to be some weight to his words. Smolder took her gems, and threw them at Garble’s face. It stunned him, but he was still pleased. Smolder kept in her rage as she started to turn around “Take em, I’m never gonna say you’re better than me.” Smolder says as she starts to flap her wings, hovering upwards to fly away.

“Whatever, I still got what I want.” Garble said as he began to laugh, the other dragons joining him as Smolder flies off.

Shit, maybe you should have jumped in and said something. But given your current look, it probably would have made things worse. Still, Smolder was separating herself from the group. You could fly after her; yeah, that is exactly what you’ll do. Make sure she’s ok, and help her out. It wouldn’t be just for her. That Garble, you wanted to make him pay.

Chapter 54 - Smolder, The Cute Dragon

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You followed Smolder up the higher end of a volcanic mountain, flying low to stay unnoticed as she growled and grumbled her entire flight. There was a long cliff she had flown up to let her frustrations out, pacing and grumbling about how much of a moron Garble was. You yourself was not spotted through any of this, probably because she was so fixated on her anger. You found a smaller cliff above her, and watched stealthily as she paced and complained. “... He thinks he’s so great! He’s gotten shown up before, so what is he even talking about?! It’s not like I wanted to go to that school either! Ugh, why was I even picked?! Just being nominated ruined my cred with everycreature else! Ughhh…mnnn” Smolder began to calm down, and became melancholic as she sat at the edge of the cliff. She rested her head on her hand, and kicked her legs to and fro “I bet if I clobbered that hero colt before Garble could, they’d see me as the coolest dragon ever. I mean, it’s not like I care or anything, but there is that huge pot going on, wouldn’t mind having all those gems.” She then sighs “But what are the chances of even having a shot at the guy?”

Well now, that is interesting. You’d think you’d feel worried, but you actually felt rather honored that there seemed to be some bet going on involving you. You don’t really know why though, and what the stakes really are. As for Smolder herself, the situation made you wonder something. Spike, as a whole, was a pacified dragon already, so it was easy to befriend him. You wondered if you’d be able to make friends with Smolder, a dragon who has yet to meet any pony. Considering how Garble treated her, and Neighsay’s own bias, you wouldn’t mind seeing how things would go. You slowly pop your head out, and wave “Hey! Hey! Up here!”

“And then I, wha?” Smolder looked up, and spotted you. She seemed startled for a moment before angrily pointing up at you “Hey you! What are you doing up there, huh!?”

You open your wings and hop off the cliff, slowly hovering down towards Smolder so you could calmly and coolly introduce yourself “I was following you actually. I saw the way Garble was treating you and thought it was wrong, your splash really was the best.”

Before anything else, Smolder seemed caught offguard by your overall appearance “Oh geez, you’re tiny. But uh, thanks? It was the best but… uh” Smolder really seemed uncomfortable with your presence “Hold on, are you saying you followed me all the way up here for no real good reason? Just to say how good my splash was?”

You nod “Mhmm”

“Creepy…” Smolder said, weirded out by both your casual nature and the fact you followed her

“What’s so creepy about that? I just wanted to let you know that I thought you were right, and that your splash was great!” You said, with a cheery smile.

“So you’re telling me you don’t see what’s so creepy about following anycreature sneakily like that? Or even complimenting them? You do know you’re a dragon, right? Since when did any dragon care about how another one feels?I mean besides Princess Ember” Smolder asked, both intrigued and a tad mortified by your state of mind.

You were about to answer, until your eyes popped open and your body stiffened at the thought that you had no answer for the former question. Given how pedo pony dracula seemed to follow you, you had no right to say sneaking around wasn’t creepy. As for the latter question. “Ok, I’ll give you that first one. But for the second? Come on, are you really gonna ask that after what you just went through? I feel your plight, and I want to help you out in anyway I can. Garble is jerk, but you’re not, right?”

Smolder just looked at you like you were the oddest and craziest dragon on the planet. “You’re right, he is a jerk. And, ergh, how am I even supposed to answer that? I can be a jerk, I’m a great jerk and...ngh! Why do you want to help anyway?! I didn’t ask for it, so the only reason is that you want something from me. What is it? Gems? Because I’m not giving any.” She crossed her arms at you, standing her ground as she looked down on you like you were nothing. But that hesitation in her speech, you knew what trope this was, she wasn’t fully serious about her stance.

“Don’t want any, I just wanna help…” Yes, yes, you do start to develop quite an idea on how to make this all work. An idea that works in befriending Smolder and teaching Garble a lesson. “But if I did have to get something from you, then how about your friendship? You don’t seem like a bad dragon, and I think any badness you got might just be a front.”

“Friendship? Ugh, there’s that word. Maybe you should be the one to go to that school instead of me. Why do you want to be friends with me anyway? I’m the sissy dragon, remember? Considering how puny you already are, if any of the dragons see you with me, they might beat you up.” Smolder sighs, and waves her hand at you to shoo you away “Just leave me alone, alright? It’s not that I care about your safety or anything, I just want to er… Plan how I’m gonna crush that Hero Colt guy.”

Time to find out why that is. “The Hero Colt? Huh, why do you wanna beat him up so bad?”

“Because, after he beat up Incen, it made the rest of us look like weaklings. So a bunch of us decided to pool our gems together as a big bet to see who could take him down! Only problem is that the guy lives really far from here, and then there’s the fact that a lot of the dragons kind of realized how stupid the bet was in the first place. Really, the only reason I threw my gems in was because Garble couldn’t keep his stupid mouth shut, saying how great he is and stuff. Considering how he’s been treating me, I just wanna bring him down, the gems are just a bonus. Realistically though, I doubt the hero colt is gonna show up any time soon. I know he lives in Ponyville, but I gotta play nice when I get over there. Really, the whole situation just stinks.” Smolder said with a sigh as she sat down, huffing about the situation.

So that’s really what it was, hmmm. She just wants to stick it to Garble, now that is something you can work with. She doesn’t seem too bad, she hasn’t really treated you like shit over your size, though she isn’t aware of your ‘dragon’ name yet. You wonder how’d that would go. “I see, I see. Well, Smolder, I mean what I say. If you’d be my friend, then I’d be happy to not only be yours, but also get you all them gems. How does that sound?”

Smolder just burst out laughing, nearly falling on her back from how hilarious that was “Hahaha! Oh man! Are you serious?! That’s the best joke I’ve ever heard! There is no…” But when she saw that you weren’t laughing, and really standing there with an eager face, she realized right then and there that you were serious, and it irked her to no end. “Oh wow, you really meant it. Look, errr, whoever you are, you’re shooting too high here. You can’t just say you can make something happen when you really can’t. Well, you could, I would if I got something out of it. But all you’re asking me for is some stupid friendship between the both of us. Look, I…” Smolder sighs again when she notices that you wouldn’t relent with your adorably toothy grin smile. “I appreciate it, ok? Nice dragons are usually dumb to even think about, but… It does feel kind of good to know one dragon out there cares. What’s your name anyway?”

You stand tall and proud “Trogdor! The Burninator!”

Smolder nearly chokes when she hears that, and has to look away as she felt a huge amount of embarrassment for you “Ow, wow, that’s… Y’know, Princess Ember might be able to change that name for you if you want. Because it’s pretty bad, your parents must really not like you.”

Her too?! “What is wrong with the name?! It’s totally cool!”

But she didn’t agree “You want me to be honest? It sounds like a name some loser came up with. The kind of loser even a moron could run circles around. Heck, he’d probably make some dumb theme song to go along with it just because he would think it sounds cool, when really, it’s just annoying.”

You raise a claw to try to make a counterpoint. But then you realize the truth of the situation, and remembered that’s exactly what it was. Ogh, Anon, why do you forget such things? “O-ok, b-but that’s just an opinion. Look, I can help you, I swear, but let’s just drop the whole name thing, ok? I get it, my name is bad.” And then you mutter to yourself, making sure she can’t hear “But the song is awesome... don’t knock the song”

“Alright, I guess.” Smolder shrugs “You already know who I am, so that gets the lame introductions out of the way. But I really gotta ask again, are you even sure about wanting to be friends with me? Even though it’ll look bad on you?” Smolder asks you again, this time sounding more genuinely worried for you.

And you could sense it, the fact that she seemed to be worried about your well being, it made you feel rather shmuckish to have come at all if it really turned out she wasn’t all too bad. Neighsay wasn't gonna be too happy with your report, but whatever. “I’m absolutely sure, that’s why I’m willing to help you get that Hero Colt guy.”

Smolder let out a doubtful chuckle as she put her hands to her hips, looking at you with humored disbelief “Really? Now this I gotta hear since you seem so sure. How do you plan to help me get him? We don’t got a lot of time, and it’s not like he’s just gonna show up. Plus, what’s in it for you?”

“Nothing, I really don’t want anything other than being your friend, that's it. In fact, I want to ask that no matter what, from now on, if I can bring you the hero colt, you’ll be friends with me. That fair?” You started to feel smug, oh man, she won’t see this coming.

“Trogdor, if you could somehow get him here right now, I’ll uh… I dunno, marry you or something.” Smolder was obviously joking about that, she was just that sure you wouldn’t be able to do it.

You chuckle at her “You may wanna take that baaaaack” You say in a cocky sing-song way.

“Ok, don’t get obnoxious on me. We both know you can’t actually do it. Sheesh, what’s with you anyway? I thought you were just being stupid optimistic, now it feels like you’re just messing with me.” Now Smolder was starting to find you annoying, not wanting to feel any worse than she already was due to Garble’s asinine ways.

“You can kind of say it’s both.” You say as you begin to glow, magic shooting out of your body the moment you turn into a bright light.

“Woah! HEY! What the?! Trogdor?! What’s going on! Why are you glowing like that?!” Smolder had to take a step back, the bright light becoming overwhelming.

“Behold, Smolder. For I am not actually Trogdor, or even a dragon!” You bellow in a deep voice as the light begins to dim. “BUT I AM THE ONE YOU ACTUALLY SEEK! I AM THE GREAT! THE POWERFUL! THE AMAZING!” And there you stood, standing heroically with a strong leaderly look “HERO COLT, ANON! Hold the applause.”

“What?! No way! NO WAY!” Smolder was utterly bewildered, she hadn’t even been able to process what exactly happened yet “You’re not even a dragon?! You’re THE Hero Colt?! That… That’s impossible!” It looked like she refused to believe it, she didn’t even seem hurt that you were fooling her all this time.

“How is it impossible? I would have thought my ridiculous magic powers would have been well known at this point.” You tell her, still standing as majestically as possible.

“Because, you’re puny. You look like a doll or something. I’m afraid that even touching you might pop you like a- What a second! You’re a pony!” Smolder points at you in surprise.

“...Uhhh, yeah. And I’m not that small! Ok, I am sorta small! But I am the hero colt! Yes, the same hero colt who sent that dragon guy packing. If I wasn’t the hero colt, how else would I get here?” Like damn, now she noticed?

“I don’t know! But what I do know is that… That…” At first, Smolder looked like she was now ready to fight you. But then suddenly she just stopped herself, and began to rub her head in confusion. “Nope, can’t do it, even if you are the hero colt. I mean, look at you, how am I supposed to hit you without breaking you into a million pieces? I mean, yeah, if you’re him I wanna crush you and all, but this is kind of ridiculous.”

WAS SHE SERIOUS?! You began to hop around like a toy poodle as you barked at her “I’m not that weak! Or small! Or easily broken!” Actually, it kind of surprised you that she wasn’t following a certain trope “And aren’t you surprised I wasn’t who I said I was?! I had this whole thing going and you don’t even acknowledge it!”

“You do know where you are, right? Dragons mess and lie to each other all the time, the fact that you did it doesn’t surprise me. Though, now that you mention it. What was your plan, anyway? To fight me? To fight all of us? A vacation? Finish off Incen? I really can’t guess, because I already kind of knew in the back of my head that you really didn’t want to be friends with me. I mean…” Smolder, as confident in her words as she was seeming, suddenly stopped when the prospect of being lied to about friendship suddenly hit her, she didn’t even have any words to finish that sentence with.

So you decide to finish the thought for her, to let her know the truth about how you feel. “But I do want to be friends with you, Smolder. Yeah, I’m a pony. And, ugh, I guess I am a THAT small. But I did beat that Incen guy, and I do mean it when I say I want to beat up Garble and help you win all those gems. Please, believe me, you seem cool enough to be friends with.” Well, you didn’t know if she was actually cool to be friends with, given how she has insulted you thus far. But she seems tough, quick witted, and nice to be around. Again, kind of the opposite of what you expected.

Smolder just stood there, silent for a moment as she contemplated the information in front of her. Finally, she calmed down and tried to assess the situation verbally “So let me get this straight. You really are the hero colt, you want to be my friend for some reason, and you wanna… Wait.” She then realized something extra “Are we just going to do the dishonest thing and do a fake fight that I’m gonna win? I’m right, right?”

“I mean, yeah. Then again, I think dragons have some honor code, right? Sorry if it sounds insulting.” Really, you didn’t mean to offend.

“Woah, hold on, you’re confusing things. I’m totally down for being underhanded and sneaky to win those gems. But two things, one, I really wanna see you beat the snot out of Garble. And two, Well… Are you really the hero colt? I mean, you’re not pulling my leg or anything?” Smolder, again, started to sound worried.

“Yeah, I really am. I promise. Also, beating Garble is no problem. In fact, he’ll make a good test dummy for all my newfound skills.” You say, feeling confident in your abilities.

“Yeah, yeah, sure. It’s just, you’re kind of going really out of the way for a dragon who wants to beat you up. I mean, you were attacked by a dragon not too long ago, so it really doesn’t make any sense to me at all why you care.” Smolder says, with some doubt still hanging around herself.

“Like I said, you seem pretty cool, and I want to help. Beating up Garble is just a bonus. I’m not usually an advocate for silly friendship stuff. But if you are willing to be my friend, then I’m willing to be yours. That alright with you?” You say as you give your legs a few stretches to get them ready for a fight.

“Yeah…” Smolder starts to feel unsure, rubbing the back of her head as she looks up “I mean, friendship is kind of different for a dragon, just to let you know. So, the second thing I wanted to mention is, well, if you do wanna be friends and do this for me, then just know I won’t owe you anything and…” She looks at you, still feeling some doubt that you were able to topple the dragon known as Incen. “I just have this annoying feeling in my chest. I kinda don’t want to risk you getting hurt. Because, well, you seem pretty cool too. I’ve never heard of any pony ever wanting to help a dragon win by cheating, and I never met a pony so small who was willing to do something dangerous just to help me out. Look…” She sighs, annoyed with the entire situation “Just promise me you actually have this handled. Because you’ll owe me big time if I have to save your butt, you understand?”

You nod to her, and give her a cheerful smile “I understand. So uh, can I have a hug from my beautiful wife?”

“What?! H- oh… I wasn’t being serious, you know” Smolder blushed there for a moment, feeling utterly embarrassed about her deal from earlier. Even then, you didn’t stop giving her that sunny smile “How was I supposed to know you were him?! A dragon’s word is not binding! Stop looking at me like that! Ugh, do you really want a hug? Will you stop if I do?”

Well, she was cute. You totally wanted to feel how it would be to hug a cute dragon, so you just silently nod your head up and down.

“Great… Really gotta watch your words, Smolder.” She says as she knocks on her own head with her fist. She then looks over the cliff, and in the sky, for any dragons that might be about. “Ok, here we go.” She says when she sees that the coast is clear. You get eager as she picks you up and gives you a surprisingly gentle hug, her belly being quite warm. But then she whispers “If anycreature finds out about this, I’ll break every bone in your body. You got me?”

You let out a half worried and half satisfied chuckle “G-got it.”

Chapter 55 - Anon Vs. Garble

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“So this is where we’re gonna be fighting, huh? It seems ok, kind of beat up though.” You stood on a small rock island a few ways away from the coastline. It seemed to be an old fighting arena of some kind. No seats or anything fancy like that, just some broken rubble on the floor and beautiful but rustic and slightly broken gem spires on the four corners of the island. It was small to be sure, plenty of room to fight and observe, but that was about it. “And you’re sure I can fight here without it causing an issue to any of the other dragons?” You had mentioned to Smolder that if the fight was going to go down, that it had to somehow happen without some war breaking out. Conveniently, she had a place to fly you to that would solve such a problem.

“Yeah, this place is an ancient battleground where dragons used to fight each other just to be right in an argument. Heck, there’s even an official dragon law that says that whatever happens in this arena is between the two fighters and that’s it. This place is pretty legendary, it is said that the dragons that fought here were the best of the best, and always fought with honor and integrity.” Smolder explained to you as she walked to one of the spires to give it a tap, taking notice that the gem was still pretty steady for being so old.

“I mean, it exists. How can it be legendary if it’s right here where everycreature can see?” You ask, not understanding at all how that makes sense.

Smolder turned back to look at you, shaking her head in response to your ignorance “It’s not the place, it’s just the story of it. How many dragons do you know fight with ‘honor and integrity’?”

“Ohhhh, I guess that kind of thing would be legendary to you guys, huh? Well, either way, it just means we can make sure we go by that legend by making the fight physical only. Really, I’m sure I can outsmart and outclass Garble despite my size. It’ll be funny” You say as you start to play with a pebble, actually being skilled enough to maneuver it around the stone floor with ease. It made you feel more confident to be so dexterous with your hoof.

“Yeeeeaaahhh, I doubt Garble would agree to that. And even if he did, he’d probably cheat. Though, considering you did beat Incen, I’m gonna take a guess you have a cheat of your own. It’s that weird horn around your neck, right? How does that thing work? I know you can turn into a dragon, but it has to do more than that.” Smolder said as she looked upon your Sombra Horn, nearly bringing up a claw to give it a tap.

“It lets me do anything of everything. You ever heard of Discord? Well, I’m his son!” You say, grinning as you spread your legs for a pose, looking high to seem greater than you were.

Smolder just stared at you, unimpressed. “Uh huh, no idea who that is, but I’ll take your word for it. So then, sounds like you have plan. Just so you know, once the fight starts, it’s just you and him, nocreature can step in or anything like that. So, are you ok with that? Can you really do this?” At this point, you could sense the small worry in her voice. You could tell you gained her reluctant friendship, but you also understood it really would most likely be one on one once the fight starts, she wouldn't step in at all to help unless it got truly serious. Still, no worries, the moment the asshole tried anything, you’d show him real chaos.

“I’m fine with it, I’m feeling pretty confident. And trust me, I can get him to agree to physical only…” You shrug, feeling rather arrogant “I mean, how soul crushing would it be if he couldn’t even beat me with his bare claws? Am I right?”

“Huh, good point. Heh, now I’m really excited! Ok, I’m gonna go get him and his cronies, so get ready!” Smolder said as she crouched, and prepared to fly off.

“Gotcha, I already feel like celebrating my victory. Haha!” You wish you could grip a hand like some anime guy, the flatness of your hoof did a poor job of empathizing your excitement.

“So do I, just, Y’know, make sure you win. I’d… erm. Look, I guess we really are friends now, because…” Smolder looks around to make sure no one was looking, and stands back up “I’m just gonna say it, I am worried about all this, and I don’t wanna see you get hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I wanna see you smack Garble silly, that’ll be fun, but I don’t want to see you get pounded because of it. So, just promise me you’ll be ok, ok? I’d hate to lose a friend I just made.” Smolder was finally looking at you with a soft and gentle look, with yet a sense of toughness still about it. She accepted you, and for that, you’d make sure Garble’s loss would be more than spectacular.

“I promise. It’s nice to have you as a friend too, Smolder, you’re pretty cool. Maybe…” Ogh, oh man. There it was, a pain in your heart. You now had to internally admit that you were now going to attend Twilight’s school for the sake of a friendship, maybe even more than one as far as Ocellus was concerned, what a bother. “...We can hang out at Twilight’s school. It’ll be a week after opening, but I’ll be attending there after that.”

“You are? Well…” She hesitated once more, and even tensed for a moment, feeling unsure about her next words. She tensed more and more with every half moment, until finally she went loose, slumped, and sighed. “Yeah, way too late to act any kinds of tough. Sure, it’d be cool to hang out, and be in the same classes, however those are. Only thing is that, and I am putting my foot down on this, we aren’t any kinds of married, alright? I don’t care if it’s a joke, I don’t want anycreature even thinking it, Ok? It’d be really weird walking around school with everycreature thinking we’re a thing. Other than that, it’d be nice to hang, do homework together, skip school if it gets too boring, stuff like that. Anyway, I’m gonna get the moron now, so just be ready.”

You nod “I will, trust me Smolder, this is gonna as smoooooooth as butter.” You say with a wink. Thankfully, she doesn’t seem too doubting, especially since she gives you a thumbs up before finally flying off.

You decided to do a few hops and jumps at first, bucking into the air and speedily moving from side to side. You felt lighter, stronger, and your movements were much more quick than before. Man, you may not have been able to crush that dragon statue with your skills, but Garble will be the next best thing. After some time, you finish your warm up routine and get an idea. You decide to hide behind one of the spires, and await your ‘cue’. Basically, you wanted to give Garble a sense of dread before you pop out, most certainly to be laughed at. You’d play it cool, and then show that fuck whats up when the fight finally starts.

After what seemed like another ten minutes, You could see Smolder returning to the island with a small group of dragons, four of them to be exact, with one of them being your target. They all land, and as expected, Smolder already seems tense from your ‘absence’. Garble just steps forward, looking around, smacking his fist into his palm. “So where is he? You said he was right here, right?”

“Garble…” in the group, was a rather muscular and larger dragon with thick arms and smaller wings. And yet despite this, he looked as scared as a kitten. “M-maybe we shouldn’t be here, what if it’s a trap? What if he’s ready to strike from around the corner?”

“Maybe you all should stop being wimps and get your act together! It’s just one pony! One pony who I’m gonna flatten in a few seconds, if I can even find him.” Garble, not being too bright, started overturning rocks and pebbles, and pushing around the very few human sized boulders in his vicinity.

“But what if he bites you with his razor sharp teeth!?” A meek and long orange dragon cries out, with panic in his eyes and twisted horns.

“Or he snaps you in two with his beefy legs?” A fat and portly black dragon says as he looks around nervously, he was only a little bit bigger than you, and nowhere near as cute.

“Or just eats us all?! Garble, I’m just-” But the beefy dragon who tried to warn him is once again shut down by Garble's arrogance and growing agitation.

“Will you all shut it already!? It’s embarrassing, c’mon, it makes us all look bad. I’m not Incen, I’m Garble, the greatest and coolest dragon that has ever existed ever! And you’re all going to see that today. Smolder, where is he?!” Garble practically had smoke coming out of his nose as he grinded his fist into his palm. Ok, so he wasn't scared like you thought. Still, you could work with this, it meant he'd totally agree to whatever deal you gave him if it made him look better.

“He was here, I know he was. And just to let you know, I could take him too. I’m not afraid of him at all.” Smolder said, as she began to feel betrayed by your sudden disappearance.

“Yeah? Well good, at least you have some backbone, even if you’re still a sissy dragon. But if he was here, and he’s gone now, then I guess that means I technically win, since I was the one who wanted to challenge him first.” Garble said as he crossed his arms, already trying to greedily take an unearned victory. And that was exactly your cue.

“Now hold on there! A jerk like you deserves nothen but a good butt beating. Prepare yourselves, as I, Anon, the Hero Colt, makes the scene!” You shout from behind the rightmost gem spire.

Immediately, the three cowardly dragons grab hold of each other as they hear your voice. Smolder calms down, and not only realizes what you're doing, but shakes her head in embarrassment from your cheesy bravado. Garble however, steps closer to the ring, demanding your presence. “So you are here, huh? Where are you?! Come out so I can give you a beat down!”

“I’m right here!” You finally make your grand reveal, hopping out to the side, and stepping up to Garble as you give him an intense and scary stare… which no one found scary. In fact, the moment you hopped out, everyone but Smolder began to laugh and point at you.

The portly one was rolling on the ground laughing. “That’s him?! He’s smaller than I am! What a runt!”

The long one nearly tied himself into a knot “Oh boy! Incen lost to him?! And here we thought that guy was tough!”

The buff one began to crack his knuckles as he looked at you hungrily “Well, if that’s the case, I guess that means I'll have to take him d-” But before he can finish that sentence, Garble points at him, growling, acting as the dominant one of the group.

“You chumps aren’t doing anything! You all were ready to wet yourselves on the way over here, and now you want to fight? Too bad, I said he’s mine, and that's how it’s gonna be. And sure, maybe this won’t make me the coolest dragon ever, but I’ll be eating like a king for weeks.” Garble said this with so much fierce authority, that the other three actually buckled to his words, and withdrew from stepping forward. Garble nodded to himself, victorious and proud, and then looked to Smolder with a grin “Now I see why you were so ready to fight him. Step off, Smolder, you don’t deserve anything! He’s mine!” Grable pointed at himself.

Smolder made a fist with her right hand, she wanted to punch him so much. But she looked to you for a moment, and saw your confidence. She knew she’d have her chance, so she took a breath, cooled down, and shrugged as she walked back to join the group “Whatever, would be a shame if you lost though.”

“Me, lose? Ha! If I lose, then I’ll put on a diaper and ask for binky, which, by the way, ain’t gonna happen. Either way, every dragon here is obligated to give me everything once I obliterate this shrimp.” Garble reminded everyone as he walked over to you, feeling so sure of himself that when he finally stood close to you, face to face, he just let out a small cackle as he put his arms to his side “Heya, Hero Colt, I’ll be your butt kicker today. Any last words? I’m feeling pretty generous today, so it can be lengthy if you want. I don’t care, we already know who’s gonna win anyway.”

Hm, this guy was pretty tall compared to you. But don’t falter, Anon, just stick with what you know and remember your training. Rainbow Dash may be pretty dumb, but she’s an athlete for a reason, and she did have the backing of the Wonderbolts… Even though they are kinda worthless. Whatever, magic if things go awry, remember that. “Yeah, I got a few words. I heard this place was some ancient dragon fighting arena or whatever. With rules and everything. So how about this, we fight using physical attacks only. No magic, no fire breath. That way, we can see who really is the best fighter in the land. Remember, I did beat that other guy, so you can’t just brush me off as weak. Or are you scared that you can't beat me 'drago y ponyo'?”

“What?! I’m not afraid of anything! Especially not scrawny little freaks like you! Fine, I’m game. I’ll be nice and hold back from turning you into ashes, just because I’m that awesome. So, you ready then?” Garble said as he pounded his fists together and spread his legs, seemingly ready to strike.

“You bet” You say as you crouch, wiggling your tiny butt and getting ready to dodge.

“Cool, but since this is all honorable and stuff, I’ll be sportsdragonlike and give a countdown. On my word, we let the scales and fur fly, got it?” Garble said, with an unsettling and dishonest air about him.

“Sure, go ahead, I’m ready on the word ‘go’ “

“Alright, cool. So, Ready, seeeeeeeeet” But before he even says go, he lunges at you, and grabs you with both his hands. Admittingly, this actually caught you off guard. You were now in his grip, your legs just loose enough to flail about.

“What the?! You said on your word!” You pointed at him angrily, what the fuck?!

“Yep, I just didn’t say what word that was. Time to go night night, Hero Colt!” Garble cackled, and reared back his head for a mighty headbutt. Before you could even react, he smashes his head right onto yours in an attempt to knock you out in a single blow. “r-r-RAGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AGHHHHHHHHH!” But what happened instead was Garble dropping you, holding on to his own head as he staggered backward, crying out in pain as it felt like his skull nearly split. Hell, the smack was so hard, you even felt a physical sense of the pain he was in, but not so much yourself.

You let out a soft grunt as you hit the ground. Other than a tiny bump however, you were fine, you just sat on your butt and gave your head a cute little tap with your foreleg to make sure everything was intact. “Huh, everything seems ok. How ya doin there, Garble?”

Garble didn’t answer, he just continued to whine as he held on to his head. The other dragons were confused and even cringing, as the sound of a crack echoed into the distance. As for Smolder, she was already smiling to herself.

“That’s what I thought, BELLY SMASH!” You rush up towards Garble, hop with a 180 spin, and buck Garble’s gut. It seems with your newfound abilities, you were finally able to do some aerial damage as he ended up grabbing his stomach with a groan.

“Hnnngh, NGHHH! Y-you’re gonna….NGH, Ogh… P-pay…” Garble was doing his best to recover. You wanted to make another attack, but you could tell he was getting ready to counter in someway if you approached again.

“Pay? Is that before or after I kick your butt? And what hospital do I have to pay upfront for your care? I’m not familiar with the area.” You say, laughing at him as you do.

“T-that’s it! Y-you're dead!” Garble finally loses it, and rushes you, claws bared. His temper was short to be sure. He has had enough, and turned to his more feral instincts as he rushed you to tear you apart.

Oh man, you had this in the bag.

Chapter 56 - Going Postal

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“Left, Left, Right, Dodge, Roll, haha!” You were announcing your movements out loud as Garble blindly tried to take swipes at you, demanding that you hold still. Indeed, the battle was on, but the match up was unbalanced. You were small, and due to your training, much quicker; Garble was unable to land a single blow while he rushed you blindly, and was too large and lumbering to be accurate. On the other side of the coin, however, when the guy decided to rush at you on all fours to try to keep up with you, you found yourself able to counter with a few bucks to his face whenever you hopped his swipe; the problem was that even with your power up, it barely even stunned him. Your head truly was your greatest asset.

“Hold still, you little punk! I’m gonna turn you to soup once I get my claws on you!” Garble said with a growl, becoming near feral as he randomly swings his arms whenever he gets near. Man, he must have gotten really angry real quick after that head bash. Then again, even when the fuck cheated, he ended up outplaying himself. And as uncoordinated as his attacks were, you couldn’t dodge forever. You had to think of something, but what? Oh wait, you could start with his stupid sentence.

“Woah, hold on there!” You hop backwards as far as you can and hold your hoof up at him “Turn me into soup? How would you even do that? I’m solid and meaty.” You pound at your chest “See? Puuuure muscle!”

Garble, in all his idiotic glory, actually stops and stands on his two feet as he looks at you, annoyed, yet intrigued. “What do you mean I can’t turn you into soup? I’m Garble, I can do anything! I’ll just grab you and, er… Um.” He stopped to ponder, but unlike most combatants you had to deal with, his brain fried in nearly seconds “Look! I’ll just throw you in a cauldron and cook you IN a soup! That way it still counts! So there!” He sticks his tongue out at you.

“But that’s just putting me into a soup, not making me a soup. Although…” You tap the bottom of your muzzle as you falsely ponder. Oh yes, you were gonna give him quite a revelation indeed. “I may know a way to turn me into a delicious soup. But ah, you wouldn’t want to hear it, you like ponies too much to do something like that.”

“What?! Who even said I liked ponies?!” Garble looked back at his group with divine kinds of hatred as he pointed at them inquisitively “DID ANY OF YOU PEABRAINS GO AND TELL EVERYCREATURE THAT I LIKE PONIES?!”

The group steps back, shaking their hands and saying none of them ever thought that. Smolder just chuckled, enjoying the show.

“It’s not funny, Smolder! Stop laughing! Grahh!” Garble then looked to you, pointing angrily and stomping his foot as if he was throwing a tantrum “I HATE ponies! I hate them! I hate them so much! Alright?! It’s not funny because it’s not true! So you know what?! Tell me how to make you into soup, then you’ll see how much I really hate ponies!” Oh yes, he was demanding those answers.

“Well, you see, it’s a pretty big secret. So…” You beckon him to lean in with your hoof “Come super close so I can whisper it to you.” Holy shit, no way, he really was dumb enough to fall for this!

Garble slowly leans in, turning his head so he could hear you. “Ok, I’m listening. It better be good, pony.”

Oh god, he really did it. Ahh well, might as well oblige him. “Well, the secret to turning me into soup, is getting a skull splitting headache.”

“What? Did you say aaaaHHHHGHHHH!” With the sound that could be compared to a meteor, Garble screams as his head smashes into the ground. You slammed your head so hard into his that it actually was comparable to being hit with a small truck, or that was your guess. You cackled as you took the advantage.

“Hahaha! You actually fell for it! Moron! Oh, ever heard of the one-two? Well here comes the two!” Just as Garble was raising his head, you used your own as a mace and side swung it to the side of his face, knocking him back to the ground as he rolled a few ways away from you before stopping flat on his belly once more. Holy shit, your head was a fucking wrecking ball. Hold yourself, Anon, don’t start singing now.

“I can’t, ngh… I can’t lose…” Garble was having a hard time getting up, his vision was blurry and spinny. It was actually kind of admirable that he was still willing to fight, but it was clear you now had the perfect weapon to beat him, and you were going to make sure he’d go down. Garble balanced himself, raised his arms, and tried to stabilize himself as he prepared for another go.

“Garble, you’re done. Just admit you lost already. Sheesh, it’s embarrassing.” Smolder taunted, enjoying so much that you had the upper hand. “The way I see it, the Hero Colt is more of a dragon than you are. And I’m gonna say it, much cooler too. If I actually knew him, eh, I’d be his friend.” She looks to you, and gives you a wink. Awww, she really was pretty cool.

“No! N-NO! H-He’s not even a dragon! Grah! I’m r-really gonna pound you now!” Garble staggered backwards, in a daze, and tried pouncing at you. But he was so out of it, he jumped too early and landed and slid right in front of you.

“Oops! Looks like you stopped a bit short there, buddy. Hmm, is this too crude? Hmmm… A lot of people would cringe pretty hard if this happened in the show. But fuck it, it’d be so satisfying to do it personally. Hey Garble, Time to smell the brimstone!” You just had to, you simply did. You turn around, and release a heavy fart right into his nostrils. The reaction was immediate, Garble got up like he was fully rejuvenated and wobbled back as he covered his nose, his eyes watery. “Ahh, love the smell of chaos in the afternoon. Give it up, stupid, you can’t beat me. Why don’t you let that girl dragon have a try? She’s got some spunk. Well, you might have some of that on your nose too, but I digress.” You said as you laughed at him, god he was dumb.

Garble’s eyes nearly burst into flame as he looked upon you, recovering from his haze and shaking his fists in rage. He wanted your blood now, and he was using everything he had to stay focused on your demise. He entered a charging stance, and prepared to rush you once more, taking a deep breath as he did so.

This strategy again? Was this all he knew? Fine, time to finish this off. You prepare yourself for one more head bash, this time you’d jump and bring your head down with enough force to shatter steel. Just prepare yourself, Anon, just watch his movements. He was almost in position, no changes, go for the knockout!

“Huh, what? Oh no! ANON! GET OUT OF THERE!” Smolder, however, had noticed something you didn’t. She had seen that Garble had opened his wings. She was already quick to deduce that he wouldn’t be able to hit you if he was too high in the air, not with his fists anyway.

“Wha, huh?” You step back in surprise, but it was only a step, and not enough to dodge what was coming. Garble feinted back with a hop and flew up in the air. He wasted no time in immediately exerting a line of flame towards you. It seems the breath he took before his charge was to prep his stream of flames. Smolder’s callout was enough to make you wary and try to dodge out of the way, but it wasn’t enough for you to utterly avoid it, especially since Garble’s flame attack was rather large in size. You feel the immediate burning pain of fire across most of your body as you fly back and slide across the floor. You avoided death, but now you were hurting really bad, you could barely move. How?! How could one attack do this to you? You were so close… “N-Ngh…” You were scorched, burnt badly, and even your lungs felt like they were on fire. Had you moved a second later, this could have been it.

Smolder, and even the group of dragons gasped in surprise from Garble’s action. The three that followed him were jerks to be sure, but they either didn’t want to deal with the consequences of his actions or they actually felt bad for you. Smolder, however, was utterly livid as she rushed over to you and looked at Garble with anger. “What’s the big idea?! What happened to this being a clean fight?” Smolder said as she looked upon you, she could see patches of burnt fur and skin on you. “Anon, hey, come on! Snap out of it! Are you ok?!” You were barely moving, she had half a mind of just picking you up and taking you to Ember for help.

“I knew it! I knew you were in league with him!” Garble said as he landed, and pointed at Smolder with hurtful accusation “I knew you were a pony lover! Look guys, didn’t I tell you?!”

But the other three? Yeah, even they knew, for sure, things were going too far. The portly one stepped back, and waves his hands at Garble “I-I didn’t see anything, and I heard nothing. I don’t want to deal with Princess Ember.”

The long one ducked behind the strong one, afraid of what the situation has become “C-can we just go home? This is too much for me.”

And the stronger one? Even he knew what was up. “Yo, Garble, this is ancient ground, and you just roasted a colt. I don’t want anything to do with this anymore.”

“Cowards! We’re dragons! We’re not supposed to play fair! He wanted a fight? Well I gave it to him, so you all better not think of jumping out of the bet now! I’m the best, I’m the coolest, and I’m the winner!” Garble stood there triumphantly, but then began to wobble as his adrenaline flow began to slow down. He started to rub at his head as it began to hurt “B-but now I got a headache, ugh, it really stings.”

Smolder was about to get ready to get up and smack the living shit out of him. But she stops when she notices you turn your head to look at her. You were barely able to mouth words as you began to point at your horn. “Head….h-head.”

“H-hey, relax, you’re really hurt, ok? I’m gonna get you some help.” Smolder was blaming herself for this, her selfishness of wanting to win the bet was scathing her soul. She just wanted to best Garble, even if it was an underhanded way of doing it. But despite your one meeting with her, you had treated her with more respect than any other dragon she had met before. But you yourself wouldn’t relax, and you just kept repeating the same word as you pointed to the horn. “Huh? You… Anon, you’re really hurt, ok? This isn’t the… I said relax! Geez, fine! If it’ll get you to calm down, then I’ll do it!” You just wouldn’t stop, and tried harder and harder to communicate with her, even trying to wiggle out of her grip. It was enough for her to finally give in to your strained demands. She grabs the horn and gives it a tug, noticing how restrictive it was when she held it, as if the necklace connected to the horn was enchanted. But she didn’t need to take it off, just place it on your head. And when she finally did so, your eyes began to glow yellow and red as you floated out of her grip. “Anon? W-what?!”. Indeed, what was happening was imperceptible to those who didn’t understand. But you understood, you understood it was time to raise hell.

You hovered there, glowing as your body began to crack and fall apart. In truth, it was more like you were shedding your skin in a way only those who understood would find comical rather than those who did not know of chaos just viewing it in total awe, or to put it simply, like a snake. No one knew what to do, what to say, or how to approach you. You yourself was in full embrace of your chaotic side, perhaps in a way you should have back during the invasion of the Storm King. When your shell finally cracked and broke off, you returned to the ground, garbed in adorable mailman gear. “I’m back! And ready to go postal!”

Everyone was taken aback, even Garble. What they all witnessed should have been impossible. Smolder herself, while just as confused, started to tap her palm with her claw, then slowly raised it to her forehead and gave it a gentle tap. That’s when she realized it. Just like with your transformation into a dragon, the horn must have transformed you, or rather, given you some clothes while completely healing you. But then, she was confused yet again, but relieved you suddenly seemed alright. “Anon? Woah, I-I don’t really know what happened but… Are you alright? What’s with the getup? How did you even fix yourself?”

You let out an arrogant chuckle as you adjust your hat “Chaos, what else? I let myself get too comfortable with that fight, should have known Garble would have cheated. I’m alright now though, just needed to shed myself into something else. As for what that is, just stand back and watch. I’m about to deliver some pain. I’ll win Smolder, I promise.”

And Smolder indeed stepped back as she saw you look towards Garble with newfound determination. Deeper inside her soul, however, she actually felt pretty bad that you were hurt at all. She was still somewhat confused, but she could see that whatever you were planning, it was about to blow Garble out of the water. But what then? Even if you won, she still felt an annoying sting of guilt that you got yourself hurt for what was essentially her benefit. As a dragon, she knew it shouldn’t bother her, but it just… did.

Garble, however, stunned, angry, and somehow still standing, began to shake his fist at you in raging disbelief “How?! How are you still standing?! You should have stayed down, pony! Now? I’m really gonna let you have it! No holds barred! So either walk away, or face the wrath of the best dragon ever, Garble!”

“Oh hoho, really? Well, I’ll be happy to go a round two with you… After I do something. Kind of forgot to do something back at my house.” Although you sounded confident, to Garble, it sounded like an admittance to defeat.

“Oh? Running home to mommy then? Well, good! Looks like INHHAWWAAAAAA!” Suddenly, Garble is launched a few feet in the air as a mailbox on a post springs from the ground, right between his legs. With powerful force, he is hit right in the crotch, causing him to let out a horrible puppy like whine as he rolls on the ground in pain. Everyone but you cringes hard from such a hit, but then…

“Where did that come from?!” The portly dragon cried

“T-this place is haunted! We gotta go!” The skinny one said.

“I’m with you! I’m not about to get blown to bits by whatever this is!” The buff one cried out, which prompted the group to leave.

But Smolder? She stayed behind, she had figured out that the post must have appeared by your hand. As in, you must be using the magic you had in your horn. She didn’t care about the other dragons, Garble, or the gems, she just wanted you to win. “Go, Anon! Keep being weird! It’s working!”

You cantered over to the mailbox as a box appeared and floated ahead of you. You stopped for a moment, and looked down at the whining dragon. “Heh, you ain’t making any wishes with those dragonballs no more.” You say with a chuckle as you push the package you had conjured into the mailbox. You then raise its small flag. “There we go, totally forgot about the airplane blueprints for Starlight. Two birds with one stone, no problem. Now then…” You eye Garble as he tried to get up to pounce on you, but he was moving so slow due to his injury, that you were able to react near instantly by using your magic to rip the post out from the ground and making a rising swing at his face, making him launch upwards “Special Delivery!”

Garble started to spin upwards into the sky, but amazingly, his rage kept him in the fight as he opened his wings and caught himself. He was heaving, tired, fatigued, and yet he still wanted to go at you, only able to move due to his arrogance and fury. “GRRRRR! YOU CHEATER! I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LOSING TO A PONY!”

“Shut up, Garble! You cheated first! You nearly turned the guy into burnt toast!” Smolder pointed out, annoyed at his double standard.

“Dragon! Drag-on! How does nocreature get that we're made for cheating?! Grah! D-darn it! Whatever! I’m gonna melt you this time, pony! And ha! Then I can make a soup out of you!” Garble reared his head back, and again, released a heavy stream of flame at you, he was giving it all he got this time as your entire body was covered in his flaming breath.

“Anon!” Smolder said as she held her hand out towards you, but it was too late, this time you were hit dead on.

Oh ho, but you weren’t going down this time. When Garble ended his breath attack, he took a deep breath and slightly limped in the air as he tried to regain his strength. He felt safe enough, as there was no way you could have survived. Within the lasting smoke, was probably your ashes. “H..ngh, grrr… Finally, I finally won. Those gems are-WHAT?!” But of course, as the smoke cleared, Garble was surprised to see you still standing, unharmed. “HOW?! YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN SOUP!”

You just lightly dusted yourself off, and looked up at Garble with a calm and collected look. “I’ll tell you how. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor your shitty ass bad breath is gonna keep me from kicking your ass. I’m invincible, you moron! Now take this! From me to you, Garble!” You jumped up and started to pull out glowing envelopes from your shirt as you threw them like shurikens towards Garble.

Garble himself, using the last ounces of his strength, managed to dodge every single envelope you threw at him. After you threw your last envelope, he looked around, then looked to you, and laughed. “Hahaha! Take that! I dodged all of your stupid pieces of paper! Now I’m gonna go down there and finish you off!”

Was this guy for real? Seriously, what the hell? Ah well, it’d be over soon. “Hey, moron, I didn’t put stamps on any of those envelopes, you know that right?”

“Yeah? So what?!” Garble questioned

You give him a dark and smug look as your eyes shine a quick yellow and red. “Return to sender.”

“What? Hu-AGH!” Garble, at first, doesn’t figure it out. But when he turns his head back, it’s already too late to defend himself from the onslaught of returning envelopes as they hit and explode on him, sending him straight down towards you.

“Alright, let’s see, how do I wanna end this? Ah ok!” You raise the post with your magic and get ready to swing. “Alright, time to send this fight off, first class!” You call out as you prep your final attack. The moment the falling dragon gets into range, you swing the post into him so hard, it snaps in two as it send Garble hurtling into a gem spire. Surprisingly, the spire stands as Garble slams flat into it, and slowly slips to the ground. He couldn’t move at this point, only groan until he fell unconscious. “Thank you for using UCS, United Chaos Services, haha! Hey Smolder, I did it! You wanna fight now?” You turn to Smolder with a goofy smile as your clothes disappear and the horn falls off your head.

While Smolder, at first, was amazed by your skills; She was now utterly stunned as she pointed at the fallen Garble, and then looked to you, bewildered “Woah, that was… How?! Did that all come from your horn?! A-ah, I mean, is Garble gonna be ok?! Are you ok?! Is the world gonna blow up now?”

Heh, it was rare to see anyone react like this to your chaos magic. Then again, they either already knew or were cool and collected enough to handle it. You waved her hoof at her, and did your best to calm her down. “Everything is alright, and uh, it looks like he’ll be ok. That though? That was the full power of my chaos magic that I can use with the horn. He wanted to cheat? Well, I just upped the ante is all, so I think that’s a legit win.” You were pretty proud of yourself with this one, you managed to manhandle Garble physically, and then when he cheated, you managed to pull out the ace in the hole. In fact, it was kind of strange. You managed to not only to stay on point with your attacks, but you didn’t quite feel all like yourself when you were doing so. Either way, however, you pulled out the victory.

“Yeah, I guess it is. Wow, heh, and here I thought it was mostly hooey. I… Er, you alright? I know I asked that a lot, but you got kind of crazy there.” Smolder put one of her hands to her hips as she began to relax, just wanting to unpackage just what happened. Ha, unpackaged, another good pun.

“I am, I just really wanted to win, and to help you out. Although…” You look around, it was only you, her, and Garble “I don’t think it’d count without witnesses.”

“Yeah…” Smolder looked away from you, and let out a disappointed sigh. “Can’t believe I’m saying this. But I stopped caring about that, the gems I mean.”

“Wha? But I thought it was a large amount of gems. It’d keep you fed for a long time, right?” You were confused, why did she not care about the gems after you went through all that trouble?

“Eh, I already got enough gems for that. No, look…” Smolder was getting agitated with herself. She thought it was crazy that she was giving up the gems, but when she looked at you again, she did feel there was something more important to hold on to than just food. “I asked for everything and you did it for nothing. Heck, you nearly became toast and you still fought for me. When you said we were friends, I didn’t really think it’d be THAT deep or serious or whatever. And you know what? I realized I got something better than gems, I got a cool friend, that despite being a pony, can kick butt and is pretty rad. Not to mention you still beat Garble, a total plus. I guess what I’m saying is that, well…” Smolder looked around at the arena, and the base of the gem spires, and nodded to herself “This is an ancient place of honor and all that, heh, I guess I have to honor our friendship forever in that case. I mean, I’d even trust you with my own gem stash at this point. You’re the coolest pony, Well, the ONLY pony I ever met. And for helping me out, if you ever need anything, you just let me know, ok? Helping friends out is gonna be one of those lessons I have to learn, right? Might as well get that out of the way.”

“Smolder…” You were in awe. Aside from Spike, you had never really met a nice dragon before. And she had a coolness factor that most others didn’t, and a willingness to not take the goody two shoes route should you two meet again and decide to do something else. Still, as happy as you were about gaining her friendship… “Come on, just take the gems. They’ll probably give it to you now that they know you and me are buddies.”

Smolder chuckles, and shrugs to herself “I was just trying to act all nice, but yeah, I’ll totally pick up those gems. Might be tough explaining it to Princess Ember though, she’ll probably find out what happened and want to ask some questions. Ancient dragon law or not, this might still cause a one heck of a stink.” Smolder noted.

“Not really, considering I saw and heard most of it. Geez, now I know how Incen lost, that colt is packing some real power.” Said the voice of Princess Ember herself, who was sitting on top of one of the gem spires. “Also, you gotta be more careful with these, understand? They’ve been standing here longer than even my own dad has been around.” Ember said as she gave the one she was on a knock before hopping off and hovering down in front of the both of you.

“Oh no…” Smolder seemed more aggravated than surprised as she covered her face with her hands in embarrassment. “You saw me make good friends with Anon, didn’t you? Ugh, that’s so embarrassing.”

“Hey! Don’t even think that, the whole point of sending you to that school in the first place is to learn about friendship stuff like this. Besides, what do you have to be embarrassed about? It’s not like you just got blown up by a bunch of mail or anything. Garble needed a reality check, you needed at least one good friend, and I just needed to see what this hero colt business was all about. All in all, it all seems good to me.” Said Ember, unphased by the events that have transpired.

“Wait, so you’re not mad at all about this?” You asked “I dunno if you know or not, but I was that Trogdor guy. So, y’know, I sort of fooled you when I first met you.”

“Yeah, and? You only fooled me for awhile before I realized that Trogdor was such a bad name that not even a dragon family would be jerkish enough to give that name to their kid. It’s what made me suspicious in the first place. Besides, now I know Incen losing wasn’t a fluke. Really, I thought it was super embarrassing to lose to a colt, even if he was famous. Now?” Ember cracks her knuckles with a determined smirk on her face “I wouldn’t mind a fight. I’ll keep it clean, but I’ll let you know right now, these fists can break boulders.”

You versus the Princess? Well, she did seem pretty honorable, so this time, it’d be a perfect way to test your skills. You raise your hoof to challenge her, but then Smolder grabs it and puts it down. She looks to you, then to Ember, with a worried look on her face “Yeah, as much as I’d like to see a good scrap, I feel sort of uncomfortable with any kind of fighting right now. You saw what happened when Garble torched him, right? I’m not squeamish, I just think the guy needs some rest or something.”

“Yeah, I guess. Nearly jumped in on that one to smack Garble around myself, not cool.” Ember noted as she looked into the sky, noting the fact it was getting dark “It’s about to be night anyway, so whatever. Actually, now that I think about it.” Ember then looks to you, rather suspicious about something “Why are you here, anyway? Like, REALLY here. Ain’t walking around and looking for caves, that’s for sure.”

Smolder stopped for a moment, and looked to you, wondering the same thing.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! You nearly forgot that you were originally here to spy and gather intel. Hell, you still had to report back to Neighsay. Alright, fuck, this isn’t too bad, you still had one angle you could play. “Ahm, well. I just wanted to see what was up. You get attacked by a dragon, it makes you wanna investigate why. I didn’t mean to be intrusive really, though… I’m glad I did, you two are super cool dragons.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Ember nods, believing you without a second thought. “I guess I’d be in a mood to kick butt if I got attacked by a moron like Incen. Ok then. And uh, you said you’d be going to Princess Twilight’s school too, right?”

Woo, safe. “Yeah, a week after it opens.”

“There ya go, Smolder. Haven’t even gone to school yet and you made a good friend. Now all you gotta do is not lose him as a friend, make more friends, and learn more about friendship. Shouldn’t be that bad, considering how ‘legendary’ this kid is.” Ember actually sounded pretty serious, rather than mockingly, as she pointed to you.

“Geez! Ugh…” Smolder covered her face, embarrassed by the fact she already seemed to be progressing in studies she wasn’t even participating in yet. “Come on, it’s not like we’re best friends or anything! We just met today.”

“And yet you’re both already good friends, made a deal to trick Garble, and don’t think I didn’t see you worry about him when he got burnt. This is why I’m princess, because I always make the right choice.” Ember said, standing with pride.

Wut? “Spike told me you became princess because he gave up this staff thing. I forget.”

Ember grumbled, as she narrowed her eyes at you “Yeah, well. I still made the right choice in picking Smolder. Annnnyway, how do you plan to get home? You don’t seem to have wings or anything. Unless you’re gonna turn into a dragon again.”

“Actually…” You tap at your head, you still had your postal worker hat on, you also still wore the shirt. You make a large open box to be sent to Neighsay magically appear, and point to it with a smirk “Might as well mail myself home, with express postage, I might add.”

Ember groaned “Egh, these puns are killing me. But whatever” She shrugged “I’m not gonna question it.”

Smolder walks over to the box, and gives it a tap. “You sure this thing is safe? It’s not gonna explode on you or anything?”

“Nah, my magic should make it send me exactly where I want to go, it’ll be fine. So, Smolder, I guess I’ll be seeing you in a week, huh? I bet you’ll make more friends at school. Actually, there’s this changeling that’s going there I sorta know who seems pretty nice, you might like her. Her name is Ocellus” Ocellus was pretty cute, and if both of them were friends... Ogh, Diamond might be jealous though. Ahh, it’ll be fine.

“I dunno, heard changelings were kind of wimpy these days. But sure, I guess I can check her out. Well, I’ll see you soon I guess… If you don’t blow up” Smolder really wasn’t too sure about your travel methods.

“It’ll be fine…” You say as you adorably climb into the box, and grab the lid. “Well, it was super cool to be here and meet you all. And really fun crushing Garble." You give another look at the unconscious fool, then back to the pair "Gotta do it again sometime.” You say as you wave to the both of them.

“Tch, sure, sounds fun” Smolder said as she gave you a small wave, trying to act somewhat aloof

“Unofficially, I have to agree. Officially, let’s not.” Ember said with a chuckle as she waved.

And with that, you closed the lid, and vanished into the winds.

Chapter 57 - Chaos Theory

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“Oh sheesh, this is kind of rough. Thought I’d teleport there instantly but…” You could feel the box flying and moving at a generally good pace, but you had no idea what was actually going on outside of your surroundings. You pop your head out and look around only to find yourself flying away from the dragon lands and flying above the sea, it was kind of cool. The water was vast and glowing from the light of the rising moon, and the sky was beginning to alight with stars that stretched upon an endless space. “Heh, this is much cooler than just warping there. First class flight, baby, yeah!” You just lean over the box’s edge just a bit to enjoy the winds going through your mane as you comfortably enjoy the view. After some time however, you hear a familiar ringing in your ear. It was the codec. Discord?

“Yo, what’s up? Pretty random for you to be calling me. Usually I’m the one to use this thing.” You say as you plop back into the box and put your hoof to your ear.

“Not much, I’m actually on a train with Fluttershy right now. Which really, if it wasn’t for her, I’d be bored out of my skull, literally of course.” Discord says, sounding a tad annoyed. “But if you want to know the reason I’m calling, it’s because I felt a certain oddity with my magic. An anomaly, if you will. Yes, I know chaos is all about anomalies, but this particular one felt… pleasant.”

He’s on a train, with Fluttershy? Huh, you’d think he’d have just teleported her back home. You’d ask, but the mention of an anomaly got you curious, could he mean that he felt something when you used your horn? You do remember feeling rather off when using it. You could describe it as exhilarating, with a hint of loving the absolute dominance you had over Garble. “Um, you felt it a little while ago, right?”

“Yes, it was as if somepony managed to use the full potential of my magic. Oh, what’s the point of acting ignorant? What did you do? How did you do it? And tell me you used puns! Puns always add a bit of classical flavor when you’re gallivanting around and spreading chaos over all you survey.” Discord, after dropping the facade, sounded overjoyed to find out you apparently used the full potential of your power. Wait, that was the full potential of your power?

“Uhh, I guess? I mean, I got in a fight with some stupid dragon again. Only this time I just pounded the fuck out of him with some envelopes and a mail post. And yeah, I used some puns but… How does that all mean I used the full power of chaos?” Really, it was confusing to you.

“Not full power, but full potential. Oh Anon, I feel so much joy in my heart that I could nearly flood the train with my tears… But not wanting to hurt Fluttershy in anyway, I won’t. But yes, full potential, I can still feel it. Even now, and with a single charge I might add, you have defeated a dragon in a rather bombastic but thematic way while now finding yourself… Hmmm.” Discord paused for a moment, as if he was feeling you out “Ahh, yes. Now you are flying somewhere in a container, still with the same charge. Amazing really, you’ve never done this well before. It really does sadden me I couldn’t see it all for myself.”

You still didn’t get it, you’ve done shit like this before. “I mean, I guess? What about the Nightmare Night where I went on that whole Noir thing? Or what about when I went anime on the Flim Flam brothers? Isn’t that also using the full potential of chaos?”

Discord chuckled, as if you told a joke “Oh, hahahaha, Anon, so hilarious sometimes. Neither of those instances were anywhere close to it. You had to use hope to even power that rather charming spirit you summoned, and you yourself lacked full control of your little Noir episode, not to mention summoning beasts and shooting off your legs, while unexpected, didn’t fit the theme. Yes, I know it sounds off, chaos having to stick to themes and rules. But it’s not that either, it’s how you manage to bend such themes to cause absolute havoc! Like say, a hedge maze built upon the entire purpose of ruining the friendship of six friends with lies and misdirection.”

Huh, well, you did remember losing some control over the Noir thing. And you lacked the force to really beat the knight mech the brothers had. Interesting, but then… “So, in that case, what does using the full potential of chaos cause? I felt a little more powerful than I usually do, and I kind of just wanted… I dunno, to keep going? Sorta? I had this feeling of just wanting to be on top.”

“Power corrupts, Anon. Though, in your case, your natural resistances to the adverse effects of chaos works in your favor this time. Anypony can use chaos magic, Anon. But overuse or allowing yourself to be completely engulfed in it has consequences to those who are incapable of understanding it or lack the body to retain it in perfect form.” Discord said, his voice growing ever so ominous “Although I could be wrong about that, I only know of one being who suffered the full effects of chaotic power.”

“You mean the X-Captain? I thought he mutated because he fell into some sort of chaotic radiation in some portal or something like that. I mean, you make it sound scary, but I remember when you had me sneak into Cadance’s castle. My resistance made me slowly change back at the worst time.” God, you were so glad you managed to escape that, Shining Armor was ready to tear you apart. “Hell, you transport everyone around and change them into things all the time, so how come nothing happens to anyone else?

“Indeed, it was something like that. But he wields chaotic power now, although it’s fairly pathetic and unable to do what we can do. As for your other question, it’s because chaos magic is still self contained within itself. Yes, it can change things to the user's whim, but it’s still not spreading the core essence of chaos itself among the populace.” Discord explains

So basically, only the ‘lifeforce’ of chaos can cause mutations. “Y’know… You could have just said it’s the lifeforce or soul of chaos that causes a mutation. Which… wait, if that’s even the case, why didn’t Tirek mutate like crazy when he sucked in your magic?”

“You answered your own question, Anon. He drained my magic, but he didn’t drain my ‘lifeforce’. I could have regenerated my magic had I had some time, by the way. Also? Why even bring him up? Even with my magic, he couldn’t topple Twilight, who hadn’t even mastered the magic of the Alicorns she had. Meanwhile, I was able to easily subdue two of them before being hit by the Elements of Harmony, which I let happen by the way. The horn I’ve given you gives you access to my magic, and is connected through me. In fact, if we were to come to a conclusion to the theory, I’d say anypony who has chaos magic could use it safely, but anypony connected to a strong chaotic force is susceptible to chaotic mutation.” Discord said, sounding rather annoyed you’d bring up Tirek at all. Still annoyed he’d let himself fall for his ploy.

Wait, then by that reasoning, it’s not chaos magic at all that causes the mutation, it’s just being connected to a chaotic force. Not only did it mean half that conversation was an incorrect dead end, but it also means that Discord, from the very get go, had been risking your very physical being with that horn. “ARE YOU FUCKING TELLING ME I COULD HAVE TURNED INTO A GIANT MEATBALL AT ANYTIME USING THIS DAMN THING?!”

“No need to shout, Anon. Here I was proud of you and now you’re yelling at your dear old daddy as if he did something wrong.” Discord said with a soft chuckle

“YOU FUCK! DON’T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME WHAT THE RISK WAS BEFORE YOU GAVE ME THE DAMN HORN?! WHAT IF I FUCKING DID THIS FULL POTENTIAL SHIT DURING NIGHTMARE NIGHT WHEN YOU PUKED YOUR ESSENCE INTO THE HORN, HUH?! HMMM?!” Goddammit! What the fuck was his problem?! All this time and you never fucking knew!

“Relax, Anon, relax. As I mentioned, I could be wrong about a few things. Take note that a perfect being such as myself doesn’t have to worry about it, and I know my magic itself is perfectly safe. In all the time I have ever lived, I had never had to deal with a case of full chaotic mutation before, not until our dear X-Captain happened anyway. I know enough by now to know how chaos magic and how the core essence of chaos affects things. Furthermore, your special resistance works on both. It’s able to purge your body of chaotic anomalies through the virtue of being a pure chaotic being yourself, ponification or not. As I said before, it takes a constant stream of chaos just to keep you in any state that changes you in any way. Like say, a constant stream that would come to you from keeping your horn on during a use of a charge. And like the case with the X-Captain, he slowly mutated into the being he finds himself as today. For you, the worst you’d feel is the symptoms you described before. Though, if Twilight knew you’d felt such symptoms, she’d probably nag on about something like ‘What if the lack of inhibition makes him go too far? What if he, even for a moment, does something he’d regret?’. But, as mentioned, you need to bring out the full potential of chaos to even be in such a state, and… Well, as if beings such as you and I ever go ‘too far’, wouldn’t you agree?” Discord, while sounding rather sure, made you feel uncomfortable with how it all sounded. Hell, the fact he mentioned Twilight in such a way made you feel as if maybe, just maybe, he did actually understand the consequences, even if the chances of it happening were quite low.

It also made you think of something else. “Ok, I guess. So let me ask, what would happen to somepony who unlocked the full potential of chaos doesn’t have my resistance?”

“Hmmm, well, it depends. Those who are filled with harmony would dispel the lesser effects in just a moment as well. Overuse while being at such a potential would warp one’s mind before it ever started warping their body. Though, again, a steady diet of harmony could eventually fix that. It’s those nasty curses you have to be careful with, there’s no naturally fixing that. Though, I do have a small theory that if the user that isn’t you has a grand understanding of chaos itself, they’d be able to resist the effects for a much longer time, perhaps near indefinite depending on how crafty they really are. I say this due to you sounding like your usual self despite still using said potential, it’s clear that both your understanding and resistance of chaos is keeping your mind fully intact after the first sudden jolt of chaos. You do feel normal now, don’t you?” Discord asks

You feel normal now, despite flying in a box. “Yeah.”

“Then there you go, absolutely alright.” Discord said, sounding rather delighted that you seem ok.

“I guess. So uhh, why are you on a train anyway? Why not just teleport home?” You ask

“I wanted to, but Fluttershy was given the ticket for free and she didn’t want to seem ungrateful by not using it. She isn’t even aware I’m here, as if I’d reduce myself to paying for such inferior transportation. I’m just keeping an eye on her since she’s going to be arriving on time and I had nothing better to do but watch the tail end of her negotiations with the breezies and the animals.”

Wut? “I thought she was going to see Thorax about some friendship lessons or some shit like that.”

“Apparently it was both, I didn’t even realize she had gone to see the changelings until I noticed what was in her bags. I’m in her bags, by the way, in case you were wondering. Really, it seems like the universe itself wasn’t able to notice such an oversight.” Discord comments

Weird, you’d think Thorax would have mentioned that when you went to spy on them. But perhaps he wasn’t thinking about it at the time. And considering it was between you and Neighsay, you decided not to mention it to Discord. Thankfully, he wasn’t even asking questions about your going ons and your whereabouts. Clearly he cares more about the chaos you wrought than the finer details of what you’re doing. Still, best to end this call quick before he gets curious. “I see, ummm, actually, Discord, I’m a little busy at the moment, do you think we can talk some more later?”

“That’s fine, I was going to sneak up on Fluttershy anyway and have a friendly chat with her without outing myself as a stow away. Really though, Anon, I am proud of you. Ahh yes, one last thing, the wedding is tomorrow, another flagrant oversight I’m afraid, I wasn’t keeping track of time. But you didn’t need me to tell you that, right?” He tells you.

THE WEDDING?! IT’S TOMORROW?! “WHAT?! HOW?! I THOUGHT IT WAS THE DAY AFTER!”

“Yes, troubling, as if the crafter of the universe itself was so terrible with time management that we all somehow ended up out of the loop. Either way, I was actually prepared for this. Head of Security Starlight, and Best Stallion...er, filly...mare? Bah, I don’t know how it works, but Scootaloo, as well, will be waiting in your room tonight. A fun sleepover in which no multiple foalnapping was required to bring it all together. Really, given how out of order things seem to be, a little closeness might be just what you need.” Discord said, sounding rather untrustworthy yet trustworthy at the same time.

“You totally did do that, didn’t you?” He was being so obvious.

“Well, truth be told, I mean to, but Scootaloo was all for it and Starlight decided to be rather difficult and quite capable of herself. Ended up making a compromise, I help her and her friend move to Ponyville, she agrees to sleep in your room tonight. Really, part of me thinks she was willing to do it either way, but just wanted something out of it.” Discord mumbled a little there, as if he was displeased about it.

“Move? She’s moving to Ponyville? Does this have anything to do with Twilight or anything?” You ask

“Did you expect me to ask? Well, I didn’t. Really, Anon, does it even matter? Not everything centers around you, you know? It’s like how that emotionless pony just ended up living in the caves near Ponyville, even Pinkie was unaware until she showed up with her unpresently presence. Irks me sometimes though, as if that was somehow supposed to go a different way.” Discord said, wondering about his own words.

“Oh, you mean Maud? Yeah, I wasn’t even there for that, no one was… She just showed up and moved in without any fanfare. Something about passing some class and Pinkie never receiving a letter about it. She was pretty apologetic the whole day, Pinkie I mean… From what I hear, anyway.” Yeeeah, Discord was right. Events did happen without your input as well. Though it made you wonder where the letter went to remind Pinkie about Maud’s graduation. Either way, everything seemed to work out. You also have barely seen Maud personally, very barely. You both didn’t quite click as well as you thought you would, as if she could see something about you she didn’t really like.

“Well, either way, you’ll have some company when you get home as I will be catching up on tea time with Fluttershy soon. You have fun, Anon. I’ll be seeing you tomorrow. And really, I am truly proud” Discord said, with a positive affliction in his voice

“Yeah. Heh, Thanks! And see you too. Take care” And with that, the codec calls ends. Christ, the wedding is tomorrow, how the fuck could you lose track of time like that?! Well, at least Discord thought ahead, having Starlight and Scootaloo’s help should guarantee no fuck ups. First though, you had to deal with Neighsay. Speaking of which, you hadn’t realized it, but you had come to a complete stop.

Chapter 58 - The Report

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Where the fuck were you? You poke your head out of the box just a bit to get a view of your surroundings. “Let’s see…” Well, this didn’t look inviting. You found yourself on top of a large desk, looking like one a business owner would own, with a quill dipped in an inkwell. Behind the desk was an elaborate looking chair with velvet red padding of the highest quality, and behind even that was a window surrounded by royal red curtains, the curtains open just enough to give you a peek through the night sky beyond. Ahead of you were dark red walls with shelves for various kinds of books and old scrolls. Torches hung higher up above, lighting the room with an ominous glow. And finally, the large wooden door with ponies etched upon it… Began to open. OH SHIT! WERE YOU IN SOME BOSS ROOM OR SOMETHING?! You decide to put on your horn, which, despite its upgrade, just like before, gave you the aura of Sombra. Still, basic unicorn magic and clever footwork should take down anyone who gets close to you. After placing the horn on your head, you duck back into the box.

“I can’t believe this, I knew reevaluating everything was the correct course of action. Buckball indoors, birthday parties for every student, constant field trips. What does this have to do with friendship?” You hear a familiar voice sneer as a door slams. “But what am I supposed to do? I could just bar the school from opening anyway, but I have already been too indecisive and such an action now is unbecoming of one such as myself. Ponies would talk...” Suddenly, the loud sound of books and scrolls slamming onto a table can be heard next to you. “I even guaranteed her full accreditation, with a pass on such a farce of a curriculum. The most I can do now is simply ask for some changes. That is unless, Anon has managed to find something substantial, something that would let me put an end to this dangerous- Hm? What’s this package?” You could tell now, that it was definitely Pedo Dr- Ah, you meant Neighsay. However, due to you being invested in his monologuing, you failed to remove your horn during the lifting of the lid. When Neighsay spotted you, he jumped back, startled, and immediately stood battle ready “What manner of creature is this?!”

Ahh fuck. You popped your head out of the box and waved your hooves at Neighsay frantically “Wait! Wait! It’s me WOAH!” Neighsay was quick to fire magical bolts at you the moment you sprung up. As if by thought, however, you create a defensive barrier that barely blocked his bolts. The force of his attack was strong enough to knock you back and off the table. “Gyah! Mr. Neighsay! Geez! It’s me! It’s me! Sthap!”

“What?” Neighsay, still cautious, was puzzled by what he heard “That voice, it sounds so-” And then his eyes went wide when he realized who you were. “Anon?! What in the wide wide world of Equestria were you doing in that box. And why such a horrifying disguise? Are you aware of what I could have done to you? What are you even doing in my office?”

T-thank god for your horn upgrade, that type of shot would have sent you straight through the damn window. You pop your horn off and look at Neighsay from the side of the table, being cautious yourself of his movements. “I dunno, I thought I’d be at my aunt’s cottage. I used my magic to deliver myself directly to you, so why don’t you tell me why we’re here! And yes, I’m danged aware...sheesh, you’re a shoot now and ask questions later sort of guy, aren’t you?”

Neighsay actually seemed rather subdued, perhaps even horrified by his own actions as he finally calmed himself, seeming more pleasant than he did when he was complaining about Twilight. “I see, it was your chaos magic then. My apologies, I was delayed by some of Princess Twilight’s ridiculous ideas she has for her school. I take full responsibility for being late for our meeting. As do I apologize for my rash behaviour. But we are now both here. So if you are willing, we can conduct our business if you wish. I’d like to think my office is a more pleasant place to speak anyway.”

Mnnngh, at least he was apologetic. But this creepy place ‘more pleasant’ than the cottage? Yeah no, he was full of shit. “It’s fine. So, I heard some of what you were talking about, did you go see Princess Twilight after I left?”

“Indeed I did, I wanted to perform a thorough evaluation of her lesson plans. But I also extended my good will to her, explaining that she has the support of the EEA and that if any changes were to be made, they would be minor. I decided to let her do what she wishes on an experimental basis and as an EEA accredited school. Of course…” Neighsay walked over to his chair and sat down, looking rather dark as he looked straight ahead. “Should any of her students pose a serious threat, or to be found out as one, it is within my power to not only close down her school, but make sure she can never reopen it or even create another. This, of course, is the consequence of besmirching the EEA and our high standards and… Oh…” Neighsay noticed, or rather, didn’t notice you at all. You were too small to be seen from over his desk. He realized he usually spoke to anyone he had to speak to from a certain distance, and even then, they usually weren’t so small. “Again, my apologies, Anon. Would you like me to get you a seat?”

“Can I just hop onto your desk?” You ask. For some reason, you felt sitting on a seat would be dangerous, like there’d be a trap door under it.

“No… This desk is expensive.” You couldn’t see it, but Neighsay was using his magic to open his door and slide in a less impressive wooden chair with green padding. He raises it, and gently plants it down in front of his desk. It was just the right height to meet him eye to eye. “Please sit.”

You do so, looking at the ground for any crease or crack that could mean it’d be a trap door. Nothing. “Alright… So, yeah… business.”

“Yes. So…” Neighsay looks you straight in the eye as he puts his forelegs together in a thinking pose. “What did you find out there? What are those creatures up to? Tell me everything, and do not leave out any details.”

Oof, he was dead serious on this one. What were you going to tell him? That you fought a dragon, made friends with one, and blew your cover? As much as you hated Twilight’s shit, this guy was clearly out to fuck her up in ways you never would. Friendship is something important to her, and you don’t think you’d go as far as to actually fuck that up. So you decide to just tell him certain details. “Yes sir, this is my report…”

And so, you gave Neighsay the cliff notes version of your investigation, a version in which you didn’t involve yourself in any compromising way. You told him you hid yourself as a dragon. That he was somewhat right in his thinking, as some dragons are indeed against ponies. But then you go on to how Incen was disciplined by Ember, and that she had no ill will towards ponies as well, and merely wanted to be friends. This, of course, extended to Smolder. “...I was even able to learn that Twilight’s student was outcasted by some of the other dragons due to being associated with ponies. I admit, with my disguise, I did speak to her one on one. Not only was she none the wiser, but she told me if just being associated with ponies and other creatures would get her hated, then she’d rather just be friends with ponies. Sir, it is clear to me that Princess Ember is making an effort to reform the dragon clans, as they seem to be ready to abandon their own over such matters. The student herself, as I mentioned, is of no threat, and only seeks to make friends with those willing to accept her.”

Neighsay sat there, quiet, and even lost in thought. You felt he was going to ask you some annoying questions, but you must have sounded official enough for him to buy what was mostly true anyway. After another moment, he finally spoke. “So, do you mean to tell me that this student is so despised by her own that she just so happens to accept us as possible friends? Are you sure? As with the changelings, this all could have been a ruse.”

Oh come on! Ok ok, just remain respectful and objective, Anon. “My disguise was perfect, sir, and even then, what reason would the dragons have to act that way without an outsider present?”

Neighsay said nothing, he merely leaned back on his chair and pondered. But even after a few minutes, he said nothing.

“Sir?” You say, more calmly, and even a little worried. Though, more of the situation than of himself.

Neighsay still said nothing as he got off his chair, and walked to his window, looking down onto the moonlit streets of Canterlot. “Anon, let me explain something to you. As Chancellor… No, as myself, all I wish for is the safety of every student in any school, and for them to reach peak excellence we all know they are capable of. And yet, whenever I go to see the students in any of our schools, they look at me with fear or scorn. Very rarely do I hear even the childish words of ‘You’re the greatest, Mr. Neighsay’. And as uplifting as it is to hear, it comes to me, as I said, very rarely. Even within you, I see that scorn despite you having the same honesty and integrity as I…”

Geezes christ, this guy has no fucking idea what he’s talking about when it comes to you. Except maybe that part where you see him with scorn. He was kind of an asshole.

“And then you come into my chambers, and tell me that a creature I view as our very enemy, is seen as one herself by her own peers, just because of the position she finds herself in. Furthermore, instead of seeking vengeance or proving herself among them, she wishes to attempt the same civility as us ponies. I’ve never heard of such a thing before, especially about a dragon. So for a moment, I thought you were telling me falsehoods. But I can see it in your eyes, it was indeed the truth. Am I a monster, Anon? For condemning those who I feel would jeopardize the safety of our fellow ponies?” Neighsay looked back at you, he was calmer, softer, but still stern in his appearance.

You also had no idea how to feel after that little speech. Was he coming around, just because of that? And even then, it’s not exactly evil to want to protect your fellow man… Or rather, ponies. Obviously, he was still kind of racist, but it seemed he was willing to budge. At least a little bit. “Well, sir, I don’t think you are. And there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. But if there’s a chance to have new friends and allies, I don’t see the harm in allowing that either.”

“Indeed… I am reminded on stories I read of Tirek’s original defeat, where his own brother, a non-pony, aided in his downfall. I am reminded of the union of buffalo and pony in Appeloosa, and indeed, you wouldn’t be where you are without your draconequus father. Perhaps I have been too judgemental, too rash in my decisions. And yet, the danger is still there, just like most of the enemies we still have in Equestria. Perhaps…” Neighsay looks over at the books he had taken for evaluation, and comes to his final conclusion “This can be propped as the ultimate test.”

Wut? “Ultimate test? What do you mean, sir?”

“It’s just as the name implies, a test. The Princess will have not only the full support and funding of the EEA, but she will be allowed to do exactly as she wishes. If by year’s end that she and her school have shown stupendous results, then her school will be considered the standard for any and all future friendship schools. But…” Suddenly, his very expression became ominous and near cruel “Should any of those creatures cause us misery and harm, then Princess Twilight will NEVER be allowed to teach her ways within a classroom ever again, and even her teachings outside of it will be banned. Only one of us can be right, Anon. Only one.”

Wellllll then, that’s quite the fucking gamble considering you only know the dragon and the changeling. Who fucking knows what the other students could be like. Considering younger ponies are mostly innocent, there couldn’t be one to turn this on top of it’s head by somehow being ridiculously evil. So, what could you even say? That is both the best and worst possible scenario anyone could hope for. Considering what this guy may have done without the information you gave him, this is probably for the best. “I see. Well, sir, I agree with and fully back your decision. But let me ask, what if the infractions are only minor? It’s not that I’m with the Princess or anything, but it sounds like you’d ban her for even the smallest thing.”

“Quite the contrary. Like with any good school, she should be able to discipline her students like any other head mare. These conditions are more for, say, if the students themselves revolt, conspire, attack, and other such things. And yes, if her disciplinary measures are inadequate, then that can also lead to the closure of her school. Anon, I only wish to do what is right. And as ridiculous as Princess Twilight’s ways of doing things are, they have yielded results before. But to involve such violent creatures… I’m still torn. Anon, I ask you for one last thing. Please reconsider your decision on joining her school, I’m sure the Princess would be glad to have somepony like you. And with you there, you’d be able to make sure no incidents occur… Or at least get out of hoof. You’d be able to make sure the students are safe. It’s the last thing I ask of you, and you too, will have the EEA’s full support and any resource you may need from us. What say you, Anon?” The way he looked at you, it was as if he was begging.

Well, it’s not like you weren’t. Probably would be a good time now to let him know you’d be going to the school. “Yeah, that’s not a problem. I didn’t mention it before, but I’ll be going to school a week after it opens. So I could probably check things out beforehand too if you’re really that worried. The only thing I ask, Chancellor, is for you to relax a little. I can tell it really worries you, but I promise not to let you down.” You do a polite bow to him. It was clear this guy wasn’t evil at this point, just ridiculously lawful good. He just wanted everything to be ok on his terms. Really, it was pretty admirable to you compared to the princesses. This guy, a hardass and unwilling to give others much of a chance, looked to you with absolute trust and respect. It started to blow you away when you came to this realization. “I really do promise that, sir, as I understand that you just want everypony to be safe.”

“Thank you.” And finally, Neighsay relaxes completely, even letting out a small tired yawn. “You have eased this old stallion’s heart. I knew you had initiative, Anon, and your honesty is something everypony should strive for. But…” He looks over at Twilight’s books and scrolls. “I am sadly still very busy, and have much more work to do. I must ask you to take your leave, but if there’s anything you need, perhaps even some food, I’d not mind having it fetched for you. I can’t imagine how tired you must be after such a day.”

D’awww, he offered you food. Wait, why is that cute? Either way, you had two ponies waiting for you, so it was probably good not to meander around. “I’m good. But can I get a cup of water? I need it to go home, unless there’s another water source nearby.”

“Ah, well, there is a fountain outside you can use. Are you sure you don’t need anything else?” Neighsay asked again, sounding like he wanted to at least give you something.

“Really, it’s fine. Trust me, I got food at home and my horn can pretty much get me whatever I need.” You say.

“Well, alright then. Goodbye Anon, until we meet again.” Neighsay says with a small respectful nod of his head.

“Goodbye sir, and don’t worry, I won’t let you down.” And with that, you left his office in search of the fountain.

Chapter 59 - The Discord Clones

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“Urgh… What happened? Dammit, shouldn’t I have fell on my bed? What is this place?” You said to yourself as you looked around in an oddly false looking forest. You had just used your horn to open a portal back to your room, but what ended up actually happening was you falling on your face into some odd wooded area. Sure, the trees looked real enough, but they were all kind of uniform in their placement, and all of them were sameish; a thick trunk that led up to a cloudy looking set of leaves. And the night sky, those stars, they looked almost drawn in. This certainly wasn’t the Everfree, that’s for sure. “Hello? Anypony out there?” You call out as you begin to make your way forward through the forest.

No paths, no stones, hell even the grass was uniform and nice looking, something about all this just didn’t feel right. Worse, as you ventured into this false forest, you started to feel something was watching you. You could hear the leaves shifting despite there being no wind. “Hello? Discord?... Chrysalis? Luna? Dammit, Luna! I don’t even know if I’m asleep, and this ain’t funny!”

Left, right, left, up, and back to right, and yet you still noticed nothing. You began to slowly reach for your horn, but as your hoof came upon you, you suddenly felt a horrible jolt as your body filled with electrical energy. You started flailing on the ground as you made incomprehensible noises. “AFSDASFASDFCSAD”

Suddenly, Discord, garbed in a fancy black suit and sunglasses while holding a yellow gun towards you, puts his paw to his ear and began to speak. Oddly enough, he also had a badge on him with the number ‘2’. “Commander Star, come in Commander Star, I have neutralized the intruder.” He said with a very cold and monotonous voice. He just looked upon you as he stood there, then answered when an apparent voice spoke to him. “Yes, the intruder is a colt. Yes, he has a chaos cutie mark. Hmmm…” He looks to you, and asks “Is your name Anon?”

“DSGFFDFSDFDFS” Was all you could say as you shook and sputtered from electrical shocks.

“He isn’t giving me a name. Hrm? Yes, that would be a good reason for you to be angry, as I did neutralize him after all. Let him go? Are you sure, Comm-... Well alright then.” Discord presses a button on his gun, retracting an electrical line that had apparently connected into you when he fired. He holsters his powerful stun gun and gestures at you with two taloned fingers. “My apologies, sir. Please, go on, I shall continue my duty.” And with that, like a ninja, he hops backwards into the upper parts of a tree and disappears.

“N-ngh...W-what… Discord, why? G-g-ghhhhhhhh…” You said as your body let out a hint of chicken as a scent. Christ, you felt like your body was lit up and wasted at the same time. You were shaky as you stood, every hair on you standing on end. “D-dammit, that wasn’t even funny. The hell was wrong with him?” You started to walk, but your body was still feeling rather short circuited, you zig-zagged towards a tree and held on to it to steady yourself. “Where the hell is this? Who was he talking to?” You groaned, took a few moments to rest, and tried to walk forward once again. This time, you were able to maintain yourself, but your anger was more focused as well. “Fucking prick, I’m totally gonna rat him out to Fluttershy. That’ll… What?”

Moving forward through the forest, you notice a lantern light ahead of you. You duck behind a tree, and take a peek at what looked like a large and basic wooden table where four figures were playing a card game. Three Discords, and a… Wait, is that Scootaloo? Goddammit, you were at the house?! Then, why? Why did Discord zap you? Wait, there are multiple Discords on that table, all dressed like the one who attacked you, but with the badges marked ‘3’,’4’, and ‘5’. Goddammit, of course, Discord was with Fluttershy, so these must be individually minded clones or some shit like that. So what? Did the one who attacked you really not know who you were? Dammit Discord, quality over goddamn quantity, LEARN IT!

“Young Scootaloo, would you have any fives?” ‘4’ asked, politely, with a soft spoken yet intelligent sounding voice.

“Nope, go fish!” Scootaloo said, in a rather snarky and upbeat tone.

“Ah, well, seems my luck is rather terrible today. Well, not as bad as Number Three’s anyway.” The Discord who’s name was literally number four said as he took a card.

“Nyeh, don’t be a wise guises, Numbah Four. I’m just playins the long game, Ain’t I Numbah Five?” Number three said. Despite his appearance being exactly like Discord, his voice was an annoying mobster-like Italian accent.

Then there was Number Five, an apparent strong and silent type that merely shakes his head as he focused on his cards.

“Eh, who askeds yous anyway?” Number Three said as he flipped down his sunglasses to hide his very apparent frustration.

“Well, Number Three, I got something to ask. Got any threes?” Scootaloo looked to him with a cocky look.

He shrugs “Tough luck, short stuff. I ain’t gots no threes, other than mah badge of course.” Number Three said with a rather cocky response of his own.

“He’s lying, I’ve already managed to deduce most of the cards and the owners of said cards in this game. He, in fact, has a very high chance of having at least one three.” Number Four says as he starts to reorder his cards.

“Ohs yeah? And what’s that chance exactly?” Number Three said, raising his sunglasses to give him an intimidating stare.

“Oh, just a small number that I’d like to call… One hundred percent.” Number Four said with a chuckle

Three’s eyes burst into a red fire as he throws the table upwards in a rage “I DON’TS GOTTA TAKE NOTHIN OF THIS! I’MS GETTIN’ BACK TO WORK NOW! AIN’TS GOT TIME FOR KIDS' GAMES.” And with a snap, he disappeared from his chair in a near fiery teleport.

Number Five simply looks upwards and stands. He then jumps upwards and expertly catches the table and all the flipped cards, able to throw them back down to the ground in the exact same placement with a 'table throw' as he flings the cards like they were shurikens back onto the top of the table. He then lands back on the ground, in front of his chair, and sits calmly and silently as he catches the last remaining cards in the air, which happened to be his hand, and goes back to looking at them with nary a word.

“Woah…” Scootaloo just sat on her seat, amazed at Five’s amazing feat.

“Indeed, Number Five is a sight to behold when he’s motivated. My apologies, young Scootaloo, for Three’s actions. He is of a rude sort.” Four, sensing the game was over, put his cards down and looked to Scootaloo apologetically.

“It’s ok, he’s just a sore loser. You guys are cool though, erm, you’re much nicer than him and, uh… Can I say you’re nicer than Discord? Since you’re all technically him?” Scootaloo said, worried if she was going to offend the pair.

“It’s quite alright. Despite us being his magically created doppelgangers, we are, in fact, capable of independent thought. And for the record, we enjoy your company. Isn’t that right, Number Five?” Four asks Five, his pleasantness never faltering for a moment.

Five nods, then reaches over to gently pet Scootaloo on the head. She just lets it happen, smiling and accepting the affection. But then she looks to Four, and frowns. “So, what about when it’s all over then? What will happen to all of you?”

“Oh, we’ll disappear into the ether, as is the fate of anything our originator usually creates at his own whim.” Four says, with no worry or fear in his voice, as if he didn’t mind disappearing from the world.

“But you guys are pretty cool! Why can’t you just exist? Doesn’t it scare you that you’ll just disappear? What about our friendship?” Scootaloo sounded rather distressed, it seems during her time here, she had actually made good friends with the Discord clones. “I don’t wanna sound mean or anything, but Discord is kind of a jerk. And you guys? You guys are totally not jerks! So why?!”

Four looked to her calmly, but his voice, there was some lament growing into it as he looked to Five “It doesn’t scare us, we all already understand that it is just the natural disorder of things. As for our friendship, it will always remain true, even upon our disappearance. Every time Discord creates versions of himself, he actually creates extensions of himself. Once we disappear, our memories will be his memories. And at that point, he will only be in denial about it. Not much will change on the outside, but you may notice a few subtle changes. The fact he made the choice to make you Anon’s ‘Best Stallion’ shows he actually has quite a bit of trust in you. I can only imagine that trust will expand after the night is over.”

“Yeah, well…” Scootaloo looked down at the table, still visibly upset about the situation “He’s still not you guys. Well, he is you and the others, but y’know…” Scootaloo sighs and closes her eyes for a moment before feeling a gentle pat on her head. She then looks up to see Five silently sitting next to her, gently patting her head to let her know it’s ok. “I’m really going to miss you guys…”

“It will be alright, we promise. For now, I suggest we forget such unpleasantness by pointing out the fact that Anon has been behind that tree since Three’s temper tantrum.” Four points behind Scootaloo, right at the tree you were peeking from.

Goddammit, how did he notice you?! He probably noticed you from the very start to be honest. Even if it’s a Discord clone, you wouldn’t put it past him or any other not to be observant. Still, considering what you witnessed, it was probably safe to pop out. it also seemed Scootaloo was getting along with a few of them just fine, even befriending them. In a sense, it did kind of suck, since they’d probably not exist beyond tomorrow.

“Anon? Are you really back there?” Scootaloo looks behind herself from her seat, curious to see if you were really there.

“Yeah, I’m here. Hey, Scoots, how’re you doing?” You make yourself visible, and wave to her with a smile.

“Doing better than you, what happened?! You look like you got into a fight with an electric eel and lost.” Scootaloo said as she pointed to you, half shocked and half amused by your appearance. Indeed, you truly were frazzled from the other Discord’s attack.

“Hey! It’s not my fault! One of these guys attacked me when I got here!” Goddammit, just no fucking respect. She just had to point out how goofy you looked.

“Ah, that would be Two. He is the type to attack first and ask questions later. Ahrm, Number Five?” Four says calmly, snapping his talons.

Five calmly stands, and looks over to you. Just the way he stood, almost statuelike, it felt imposing. “Woah, woah, hey! What’s he gonna do?”

“Oh, I can guess this one! He’s just going to fix Anon’s mane and coat, right?” Scootaloo said excitingly “Man, it’s always totally cool when Number Five does anything.”

“Correct! Very good, Scootaloo, very good. Anon, if you please, stand still and allow Number Five to do his work.” Four asked you as he praised Scootaloo’s accurate guess.

“Are you serious? That guy is cracking his… Knuckles? Look, I can fix it myself, I don’t need any more Draconequus clones touching me today.” You started to back up. Fuck this, the guy looked like he was gonna bruise you up.

“C’mon, Anon, don’t be a baby! Number Five is really good! Look!” Scootaloo hopped off her chair and showed off her wings. At first, you thought he made them flight worthy, but it was something more conventional. Her wings looked cleaner, every feather properly placed, and most of all, they looked perfectly preened. “Number Five fixed up my wings really good. Not only was it relaxing, but I can almost float now!” Scootaloo hops up in the air, and managed to maintain her small increase in height for at least ten seconds before gently landing. “See? He’s amazing!”

“I… Guess? I mean…” You had to admit, it was pretty good work. “Erm… Ugh, fine. But it better be as good as that wingjob. Alright, uh, Five? Do your work.” You say, still sounding reluctant in your tone.

Five nods, and jumps in a spiraling spin and lands behind you. You jump forward, startled, as you then get instantly grabbed and fondled in a way that made you think of a cat being overloved by its owner. “Hey! Get off! Don’t touch...wait, nnmmmmm… T-this…” Wow, he was… Really good. No homo or anything, but your body started to feel limp from the relaxing feelings caused by his handling of your body. “T-this is really… Nice.” You just kind of hung there as Five did his work. You were in a dreamlike state at this point.

“Woah, I’ve never seen Anon so calm before. Well, except when he’s asleep.” Scootaloo was impressed, she really hadn’t seen, or at least remembered, seeing you so serene.

“Oh, I’m sure he’s had his moments, depending on his current company anyway.” Four says as he snaps his talons, producing a basic looking chess board. “Young Scootaloo, you had mentioned you had an interest in chess. Would you care to have a go?”

“Oh, uh, sure!” Scootaloo’s attention went back to Four as she tapped at one of the pawns on the board “Maybe if I play with you, I can get good enough to beat Scrappy. He’s really REALLY good at this game.”

“Indeed. Well then, perhaps I can give you a few tips to help you as well.” Four says as he readies the pieces, choosing to start as black.

“That’ll be really cool! Maybe I can stand a chance against him then. Oh, wait, what about Number Five and Anon?” Scootaloo asked.

“Five won’t mind just watching, he’s actually quite poor at the game. As for Anon, he’ll most likely want to speak to Starlight.” Four says as he looks to Scootaloo with a calm smile.

“Oh, because of that thing, right? Ugh, could you believe what she said? About some weird flying machines that can move faster than Rainbow Dash, RAINBOW DASH! Like, that’s totally dumb. Rainbow Dash is waaaayyyyy faster than some stupid machine.” Scootaloo says dismissively, crossing her forelegs with a huff.

Four chuckles to himself as he takes a glance at you “Balderdash indeed, at least in the fact that such a machine does not yet exist in our realm, or may ever exist despite what she has said. By that fact alone, Rainbow Dash is indeed the fastest.” Four was being deceptive in his words. He was being 'truthful' while still sounding like he was on Scootaloo’s side, which Scootaloo did not catch on as she nodded and completely agreed with him.

As for you, Five finally put you down after that massive grooming massage. You felt calm, cool, collected, and at ease in your mind. You also looked damned slick, with your coat nice and shiny and your mane cute and well combed. “Geez… I feel great! That was pretty good… Er, Five, right?”

Five simply nodded, and gave you a thumbs up.

“Y-yeah, thanks." These guys, they were all so unique despite looking the same. You wondered if you had their personalities pegged, and if there were any more of them. "So like, let me get this straight then. Two jumps the gun, Three is… I dunno, a sore loser? Four, you’re smart and polite, and then Five here is silent but pretty cool. So does that make Starlight Number One? And are there like, a Six or Seven?” You asked

“No, Number One is Starlight’s close associate. And Five is the last of us” Four states.

Ah, so only four of them then? “Oh, Trixie? She's Number One?” Huh, that makes sense.

But Scootaloo turns around again, and shakes her head “Nah, I think Trixie is still setting up her wagon in Ponyville. Number One is another clone. I dunno about him, he’s kind of a wimp. He’s creepy too, he always does what Starlight tells him with a smile. Who does that anyway? Like, he does whatever she says and just smiles about it.” Scootaloo states with a small shudder.

Wait… “Hold on, are you telling me my Dad made a subservient clone? Why would he do that? That doesn’t sound like him at all.”

Four takes off his sunglasses and cleans them with a cloth from his suit’s front pocket “He was in a rush to see Fluttershy, I do believe that is enough said about that subject.”

Right, that does make sense. “I see, yeah, that sounds about right. Man…” Scootaloo was right, these guys really were nice. It made you feel a sense of melancholy knowing they wouldn’t exist for much longer. “You guys are pretty cool. I’m with Scootaloo on this one, it’s gonna be kinda sad to see you all go… Cept for Two, that guy is a buttmunch.”

“Well, to be truthful, we weren’t supposed to have much of a personality due to the chance of you being attached to us. But again, Fluttershy. Yes, I admit, I do have a lament in my heart over having to go. But I can look forward to becoming a good memory. For now, I say we just enjoy our time together. As for you, Anon, I do believe you have some business with the Commander, correct? You were the one who sent her all those aviation plans, right?” Four asked you as he watched Scootaloo make her first move.

You nod “Yeah. I also want to see what she has planned for tomorrow. So, what? Did she go crazy over those blueprints or something?” Did she really become that much of a technophile?

Four nods as he takes his turn “She did, it seems she has truly become enamored as Chrysalis when it comes to human creations.”

“Puh, why did you have to say her name? Bug Breath is so awful and uncool. The only good thing to come out of her was Scrappy and the other changelings… Y’know, after they became good. I mean, if she tried to save Anon then I guess that’s ok. But then she could be just saving him to finish him off herself. Grrr… If she even tries it, I’ll tear her apart!” Scootaloo says as she stomps her hindlegs down on her seat. It was obvious, even after all this time, that she still just hated her guts.

“Relax yourself, Young Scootaloo, you let your prejudices cloud your judgement. While we may not know her current status right now, the fact that there is a chance for her redeeming herself is something we should hope for. Better an ally than an enemy. And besides, with a changeling, it is obvious to know when they have changed into their pleasant form. In that sense, we’ll know where she currently stands once she does show herself. Now, let us relax. You won’t be able to focus on your movements if you fret over this. As for you, Anon, if you wish to see the Commander, simply head east. The campsite isn’t too far, and the light from the fire is easy enough to spot.” Four says as he patiently waits for his turn.

Well, goddamn. The guy is even hopeful, how weird. “Yeah, he’s right. If Chrysalis turns into a weird color bug, then everything should be fine. It’ll be ok, Scoots, she won’t do anything to me.”

“What if she fakes it? What if she just pretends to redeem herself to get close to you and destroy you?!” Scootaloo demanded an answer for this. To be fair, it was a pretty good question.

“I’ll take this one. Young Scootaloo, Chrysalis does not make compromises nor will she ever compromise her feelings in such a way. She would never be willing to fake THAT transformation, most likely due to the anger she most likely feels towards it. But, on the same coin, her not transforming into it could be bad if her heart is filled with said rage, as it'd make it more difficult to help her. Anon, you really should caution yourself should you have such a meeting with her.” Four calmly advises. Damn, he had the situation pretty well assessed.

“Mnnn… I guess. Either way, I just don’t want her to hurt anypony. Sometimes I think she’d even hurt Scrappy if she ever saw him again, I really think she's angry enough to do it. I just… I just don’t really like her, that’s all.” Scootaloo calms herself, but still grumbles as she haphazardly takes her turn.

“I promise it’ll be fine, Scoots. Look, I can see the subject is getting you really upset, so I’m just gonna leave you to your chess game. You’ll be ok, right?” You ask. You just wanted to let her cool off at this point. She was obviously really sensitive about the subject and you felt just being around her, with your feelings being positive towards Chrysalis, wouldn’t help her mood.

“Yeah, I guess I’ll be ok. Just…” Scootaloo gets up from her chair, and walks over to give you a hug, she then gives you a stern look “Don’t let yourself fall for her tricks, ok? You promise?”

Man, the way she was acting, it was almost like she was the one you were going to get fake married to. “I promise, I got a good handle on how she is. If anything, I think I know her more than she knows me at this point. So yeah, nothing bad is gonna happen, promise.”

“Good… Erm, ok. Also, when you go to see Starlight, just tell her the truth about those plane things. That they can’t go faster than Rainbow Dash. Got it?” Scootaloo looks at you with the most soul piercing look she could muster. Dammit, how were you supposed to get around this one? Well, you could just try what Four did and just make it sound dodgy and complicated.

“I’ll make sure to tell her the absolute truth about it” Ok, not so complicated, but just as dodgy.

“Good! C’mon, Number Five, watch me beat Number Four at chess!” Scootaloo, feeling calmer already, and quite competitive, instantly enters the mindset of a champion.

Five simply nods, and calmly sits back on his chair. While looking stoic, he did have this aura about him that showed he was really rooting for Scootaloo.

With that, and a few goodbyes, you head east to find Starlight and Number One.

Chapter 60 - Challenging Starlight

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Wow, five completely different clones as security detail. Two of them that, to you, are ridiculous in their own right. One that seemed to be lazy and a cheat, the other being a gungho professional. You really had to hope Starlight would be able to direct them properly. At least they seem to follow her directions.

Speaking of, you notice the flickering light of the camp up ahead. You once again decide to hide behind a nearby tree as you gaze upon the campsite. There were two medium sized tents, a picnic table, and a campfire that burned bright enough to light the entire area. And then you saw the pair, Starlight and her current cohort, Number One, who was dressed like all the others.

Starlight was sitting at the picnic table, tons of books and blueprints at her side, as she took her time to read through the schematics of some super fast jet. “Is this even possible, Number One? Can this ‘X-15’ really break the sound barrier? It says here in the history pamphlet that it can reach a speed called mach six. That’s kinda far fetched, I could see why Scootaloo had a hard time believing it, even I’m skeptical.”

“Oh yes, Commander, I agree, very very unbelievable. But it isn’t a lie either, that vehicle is able to break the sound barrier six times over, its truly remarkable. Second only to you.” Number one said, his movements and manner of speech rather flamboyant as he sucked up to Starlight.

“Six times over, huh? Well, if that’s the truth, then it really is pretty crazy to think about. Rainbow Dash is fast, but this jet plane could fly from my old house to Canterlot in less than an hour, maybe minutes. I’d really like to build one of these but…” Starlight sighs “The materials, and the fuel needed to run it all, not to mention all the gadgetry, it kinda makes it near impossible to put together. Also, it’s not only beyond anything I’ve managed to learn, but I doubt even Equestria’s best aeronautics teams would be able to figure it out. Gyro-copters and magic powered propellers are one thing, but this? Not even the alicorn princesses could power this unless they became a literal battery to it.”

“Agreed, very much agreed, Commander.” One says with constant nods.

“Then there are these jumbo jets and commercial planes. These things could transport so many ponies and so much cargo at once, that it also seems ridiculous. Sure, we have blimps and balloons that function the same way, but they lack the speed these things have. If only I had all the tools and all the materials to make these, I’d at least try to build a sizable prototype that uses magic to power it.” Starlight lets out a soft chuckle to herself as she sat back “I bet if I actually studied crafting, or at least had a cutie mark in it, this would be so much easier for me. Actually, I wonder if Sunburst would be able to do anything with these.”

“Well, Commander Star, I don’t wish to sound like a yespony, but the skills you have been developing thus far has been extraordinary in terms of growth. Ever since you acquired that taser from Anon, you have managed to improve yourself as you applied yourself.” Number One said enthusiastically, swinging his arm around to really bring it home.

“Yeah, I am pretty great, aren’t I?” Starlight said, relaxing as her confidence overtakes her a bit. “Well, anyway, making one of these helicopters might be doable. But again, I need materials and a way to move the helicopters themselves. But they are close enough to our gyrocopters to at least substitute some of these materials with our own to make some sort of prototype. And… Oh, another weapons schematic, throw it in the fire.” Starlight, as she looked over the various schematics, uses her magic to hand a particular one to Number One for him to burn. It seems she wasn’t too privy on the weapons some of these planes were meant to have. “Can’t let anypony even see any of those. If it’s one thing Anon has said to me that is now perfectly clear, it’s that humans are horribly destructive creatures. Did you see the schematics for the weapons meant for those bomber planes? Horrible…” Starlight, it seemed, really wanted nothing to do with human weaponry at all.

“Yes, I did. Truly horrible, I agree. As you mentioned before, these weapons could easily decimate entire populations in little time. A knowledge nopony should have.” Number One said as he threw the schematics into the flame.

“Yeah, that’s totally right, which is why we're burning them. And that should be the last weapon schematic too, so no worries about that. And speaking of Anon.” Starlight begins to frown as a thought of destruction comes upon her mind “He’s got a pretty dangerous weapon too, and it’s from our universe. I’m glad he’s on our side, he’d be worse than Discord if he suddenly went nuts. I can see it in him sometimes… Just, y’know, this willingness to go further than even most monsters would.”

“Well, we needn’t worry. Anon cares about his friends and this world. And even then, it’s not like you couldn’t stomp him if he ever tried. You are one of the most accomplished Unicorns in Equestria. Just as great as Starswirl and much more powerful than Twilight Sparkle.” Number One said like any suck up would, encouraging Starlight just because she was his superior.

“Y’know, I think that’s true. I mean, it wasn’t a good thing, but I was powerful enough to rip Cutie Marks away from ponies. Anon? Sure, he passed his training, but if it was just me and him? I think I could beat him. His chaos magic is powerful, that’s for sure, but he isn’t very practical with it and usually monologues about something before casting a spell. I wonder how skilled he’s really become at this point.” Starlight said, almost to herself, as she tapped her chin in thought.

“Not as skilled as you, Commander. I’d say you’d be able to take him down in a fight. Anytime, anywhere, and without much effort. You truly are the best unicorn ponies have to offer.” Number One said with a bow.

Starlight snickers at that “I don’t want to blow my own horn, but that could be true. If I had a little more time, I would have had a much better time spell than Starswirl. As for me against Anon? Again, I have the skill and the power. Is that bad to even say? I feel kind of bad, but it just seems like something Anon would think about all the time.”

“Don’t feel bad, Commander. Anon is very usually quite arrogant. He usually thinks he could beat anypony in a fight, even you. Which we both know just isn’t true.” Again, Number One says like the kissass he is.

As for you, you were insulted. How could she say that?! Sure, she was good at magic, but you were even better with a limited double charge. Besides, you had strategy, cunning, skill, good looks, and you could hop around like a damned Mexican jumping bean. And you were a hell of a lot better now than you were before the training. Dammit Starlight… No, you know what? Fuck it, you could beat her without your charges. You were goddamn ANON! THE FUCKING HERO COLT! And you just beat the shit out of a goddamned dragon. Hell, you’ve beaten two! You weren’t about to let yourself get downplayed by a pony and her goon! So you finally decide to reveal yourself, approaching the camp calm, but with a fury burning deep inside. “Hello, Starlight. How’re you doin?”

“Anon?!” Starlight nearly jumped off the bench in surprise at your sudden appearance, and then realizing what she had said and talked about with Number One, she suddenly felt self conscious and even guilty about what she had been saying. “Hello, Anon. Didn’t notice you… at all. Erm, I was just looking over all the schematics you sent me. I have to say, it’s really amazing stuff.”

“I know, trust me, I’ve seen it all a thousand times back in my old life.” You say as you sit on the bench opposite of Starlight on the picnic table, and just look at her with a hard stare.

“Yeah, really neat, haha.” Starlight said with a nervous chuckle, noticing you acting off. She doesn’t sugarcoat it, and realizes why you seemed so miffed. “Yeah… You heard what we we’re saying, didn’t you?”

“I did. Didn’t know you wanted to actually fight me. Then again, it seems you think you could actually beat me in a straight up duel.” You say as you look at your own right hoof stoically.

“Ok, Anon, come on. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that I have experience you don’t have. I mean, I worked hard to become as skilled as I am. Sure, you’re powerful too, but it was all pretty much given to you. And ok, you trained, but that was more physical than mental OR magical… Ok, that sounds kind of bad, but you get what I’m saying. I just think I have an edge when it comes to actual combat. It’s nothing against you, you’ve proven yourself. But without your charges, you’re left at a big disadvantage and… Ok, I’m gonna be quiet now.” Starlight was realizing that no matter how well she tried to put it, she was making herself out to be better than you.

“Yes, Anon, she’s right. You needn’t be jealous of the commander, she simply is too good for you to truly understand.” Number One said in a mocking tone.

Starlight slapped her face with her hoof and slowly dragged it down, bewildered by Number One’s words. “...Not...Helping.”

“Well, considering how skilled I’ve become lately, I think we should have that fight you want so badly. I’m out of charges too, so you’ll really be eating your words when you lose to me.” Like, seriously? Where does she get off? Where does HE get off? You worked hard! You worked hard to get where you were at, so what the fuck were they talking about?

“Anon! Will you relax?! I’m sorry, alright? I didn’t even mean to say those things! It’s just...Ugh, you just… It’s him!” She points to Number One “He brought out the worst in me! I get a little in over my head when… Ugh, I’m not gonna say it. I’m just saying, my ego may have been inflated a little. I’m sorry, ok? I really am.”

“Ah… I apologize as well, to the commander of course. I didn’t mean to be the cause of these hostilities. I only meant to praise the one who deserves it, which is her, of course.” Number One said, like the little bitch he was.

“Ok, but I still want to challenge you. Let’s just say you’re the true final boss to all my training. If you’re as good as you say, then I’ll need to pull out all the stops to be able to trounce you. I mean, if you were just all talk, then I understand. No worries.” You say with a shrug, hoping for her to agree, so you could prove yourself proper to those who you associate with. You really didn't care for her apology.

“Anon, I’m not going to fight you. Come on, you’re acting crazy. We’re good friends, remember?” Starlight tried talking sense into you, bringing up the friendship you both share. As if that’d work.

“What are you, chicken?” You say as a retort.

“Uncalled for, but I get it, and I deserve that. I’m super sorry, Anon. Come on, I just don’t want to end up hurting you and… Oh no…” Starlight slapped herself when she said those words “Why do you keep saying these things, Starlight?” She says to herself before looking back at you with great concern. “Anon, c’mon, please? How about we just talk about these schematics? Or maybe we can talk about why I’m moving to Ponyville? I’m sure you heard about that from Twilight or something, right?” Starlight says, trying to look at you with a nervous but pleasant grin. "We could even fly a kite and relax if you want."

So, she thinks she’d end up hurting you, eh? Time to pull out the big guns. “Yeah, you’re a chicken. The kind of chicken who goes back to her wife named Trixie to get fucked in the butt!”

Starlight went wide eyed, her eyes shifting towards you while she herself was in utter shock “What did you just say?”

“I said you take it up the butt from Trixie every night because your pussy, which is where you pee from just to let you know, is too filled with chicken shit to let her plow you the normal way!” That oughta do it it.

Starlight just started silently nodding, then she looked over to Number One. “ Uh huh… Hrm. Number One, you mind getting Anon’s gear? I want to make sure he’s ready for the… How would he put it?”

“Ass-whupping, Commander.” Number One tells her, unshaken by you or your words “And might I say, that you totally have this in the bag.”

“Right…” Starlight then looks to you, suddenly angry and determined. “ASS-WHUPPING, ANON! BECAUSE I’M GONNA BEAT YOU SO HARD, THAT EVEN YOUR NON EXISTENT GREAT GRANDFOALS WILL KNOW WHO IS THE BEST! AND AFTER THAT!? I’M GONNA RAM TRIXIE SO FAR UP YOUR BUTT THAT YOU’LL BE COUGHING UP HER GREAT AND POWERFUL HAT!”

O-oh, oh shit. Erm, you may have gone too far with that one. Her face was practically red with rage. You didn’t know you could piss her off enough to say something like that. “U-uhm, Starlight? I-I don’t think that’s how it works…”

“I DON’T CARE! I’M ANGRY! I CAN SAY WHATEVER I WANT! NUMBER ONE, SUIT HIM UP! I… MNNGRR… Mngh.” Starlight was doing her best to calm down. She lost her head there, and part of her didn’t care. Either way, she realized, like before, that she could come to do something she’d regret. But even with that guilt in mind, she still wanted to fight. Her mind was now made up to see who was actually better in a fight. “I’m gonna need a minute to prepare. Also have to call up the other guards and ask them to stear clear and guard Scootaloo. And as for being ready, you better be ready to back up what you say, Anon. Because now you’re gonna get that fight. Oh yeah, you're gonna get it.” Starlight was revved up, peeved, and ready to throw down for sure. She walked off into one of the tents to calm herself further and make the call.

You just stood there, blinking, as your saddle bag appeared on your sides. Now you were wondering if you went too far. Sure, you wanted to prove you were strong. But Starlight, in retrospect, is pretty scary when it came to magical power. “I uhh… Ok, erm… “ Like really, the thought of proving yourself still hung in your mind. Hell, given she asked to bring in your saddle bag, she obviously wanted you to use the tools you did have to level the playing field. Given that Garble decided to force you to use your horn, you never had a chance to prove just how great you were without it. You knew Starlight was a fair fighter, or at least you hoped she was, this could be the fight you were looking for. Still, you turn to Number One, and ask him. “Do you think this is a good idea?”

“I do” Number One says with a nod

“Really?” You ask

“Indeed, it’ll prove that the commander is the best unicorn in the land, and I’m all up for that.” Number One said as he gave you an evil grin.

….Oh boy.

Chapter 61 - Anon Vs. Starlight

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“So, they really gonnas do it? They gonna scrap?” Asked Number Three as he approached Number One, who was leaning against a tree. One himself was watching you and Starlight face each other, unmoving, both of you ready to strike on the word go. You both decided to fight in a spot away from the camp, and away from Scootaloo’s sight. She didn’t need to see the violence, and so she was not even told about it.

“I’m afraid so, Anon is about to learn why the Commander is the strongest unicorn in the land.” One said, confident in Starlight’s abilities.

“Uh huh. Wells, I do loves a good scrap. But eh, be a shame if nothing came out of it when it comes to the twos of us, you get what I’m sayin’?” Three asked as he moved to One’s side and nudged him a few times with his elbow.

“Are you asking for a bet, Number Three?” One looked to Three, interested in his preposition.

“Suuuure, that’s exactly it. C’mon Number One, this is yer chance to make some real moolah. Who do ya think is gonna win? How much I’ms puttin’ ya down for?” Three asked as he pulled out a suitcase of… Well, you wouldn’t know now would you? It just looked like some strange green grubs.

“It should be obvious that I’m betting on the commander.” Said Number One as he pulled out a sack and tossed it onto the ground next to Number Three, it squirmed and wiggled as if in distress.

“Figured. Wells, bettin’ on Anon right here, he’s a real shoe in!” Number Three said with confidence.

“How do you figure?” Asked Number One, highly doubtful of his words.

“The kid is a regular crackerjack! One of them Mary Sue types. Youse be an idiot not to pick the kid.”Number Three said with certainty “Can’t beat somepony that everypony loves n’ all that”

“Love? Mary Sue? Are you on something, Number Three?” Number One said with a scoff.

“On somethin’? What are you implyin’? I’m as straight as spaghetti!” Number Three said with sudden agitation, shaking his pawed fist at Number One.

“Truly…” One said with a whisper before informing him on how wrong he was “Anon is no mary sue, despite his powers being given to him. You see, Anon is actually quite the failure when it comes to his time here in Equestria. Instead of getting Pinkie Pie, he has to settle for Diamond Tiara. Instead of being adored by the four princesses, they instead are either suspicious of him, don’t treat him seriously, or force themselves to be very friendly with him at times… That last one mostly goes to our fair Twilight Sparkle. Not to mention that the friend he identified with the most, you know, the one he failed to properly protect, is now public enemy number one to the ponies. So tell me again how he’s a Mary Sue.”

“Huh… E-erm, well. C-can I switch out my bet?” Three asked, as he began to sweat on the fact he made a bad choice. Or a choice he felt that was bad anyway.

“Of course not! You already made your bet, you can’t swap it out now. Too bad for you, Number Three.” Number One said with a chuckle “To think, you’d bet against the Commander like that. What a fool you are.”

“I’ll also bet on Anon.” Said a voice, as a giant platinum case falls to the ground, between Three and One, with a loud thud. “Chances for him winning are high, better than the Commander’s.”

Both Three and One looked up to the bushes of the nearby tree, and saw Number Two poking his head out, his eyes on the both of you. One, not liking the fact that Two nearly crushed his foot with his platinum box, looked up at him with pure annoyance at the fact that he too would bet against Starlight. “Excuse me? But what makes you so sure about that?”

“Human element.” Two says simply and concisely.

“What babadaloo are ya talkin’ about, Two?” Three asked, confused by Two’s reasoning. “Anons a pony”

“Simple. What humans do, say, and think are always contradictory. A true chaos. Anon is willing to go further than the Commander should he so choose, and humans always go as far as necessary. I’ve seen it before out in the field, really dark stuff.” Two said with his monotone voice as he darted his head back into the treetops.

“What?!” One smacked his own face with his paw at Two’s logic. “How does that even make sense?! We ALL have only existed for a day! Since when did you see it ‘out in the field’ ?!”

“You doubtin’ him, Number One? Like the guy said, out in the field. Oh ho ho, they’s gonnas be callin’ me Number Best by the end of the night!” Three said with a light and almost dumb sounding chuckle.

“That’s not even a number! Ugh, I’m calling Number Four, surely he can explain why such nonsense reasoning is flawed.” One put his talon to his ear and called for Number Four “Number Four, Number Four. Come in, Number Four. Yes, this is Number One, and I have a question for you. We’re all in a bet to see who is going to win this fight, Obviously the Commander is going to win, But Number Three and Two are say- Hmm? What do you mean such matters are beneath you?! What do you mean both Anon and the Commander are being stupid?! Don’t insult the commander you… YOU! YO- Hmnnnn.” One looked back to Three with a gruff grunt

“So, what did the know-it-all gotta says about all this?” Three asked.

“He said that everypony involved were being unintelligent. Then proceeded to tell me that his focus on teaching Scootaloo proper wing exercises is more important than this. Then he told me that Number Five thinks we’re all being children! Can you believe the nerve of them?! Us, children?! For a simple wager?! Preposterous!” One said with a stomp, rageful over Four’s words.

“So, whatcha sayin’ is… That Anon gots a chance afterall?” Three said with a smirk “Because it didn’t sounds like Four gots nothin’ to say about it.”

Number One just crossed his arms, gave Three a nasty look, and then looked upon you and Starlight “We’ll see who’s right. It’s obvious everypony here didn’t get the brains like I did…”

As the clones argued on, you just looked straight into Starlight’s determined eyes with a sense of domination of your own. You weren’t going to lose to her, and you were going to show her that not only have you improved, but improved enough to beat her ‘superior’ magic. You had on your wings, which you gave a few flaps in a slow and threatening manner. You had on a holster, for your taser. Your grappling hook was attached to your right leg, and your bravado you wore on your face. “You ready yet? Starlight?” You looked to her with your dark green eyes that bellowed with false dark magic. Yes, you even had your horn on, for the sake of telekinesis and barrier magic.

Starlight had just been standing there staring, but in truth, she was already having some regret over this. She didn’t want to hurt you, she didn’t want to humiliate a good friend in such a fight. But your cocky attitude and boorish behaviour had brought her to just wanting to prove to you that there is more to fighting than just passing some training test. She had you fully equipped to give you some sort of chance, but she felt that your arrogance would cause you to lose. And through that, she’d hope you’d learn your lesson. “I’m ready. I was just thinking of something to say first. Anon, I want you to think about what you’re doing. This is a REAL fight we’re going to have, there is no room for error. Sure, it won’t go too far, but you could still get hurt. If you really want to prove how great you are, you’ll need to find a way to get past my magic. It won’t be easy, but I’ll be interested to see what you can do.”

You just roll your eyes at her. Goddammit, she was patronizing you and making it sound like a fucking tutorial boss fight. She really thinks you’re gonna be stupid and lose, didn’t she? She may be good at magic, but ponies are pretty trash in a fight, Starlight included. She didn’t need to treat you like a child! Or maybe she knew you’d win, and she was stalling. “Same to you, Starlight. Just to let you know, I’m gonna win this fight. This isn’t going to be like that training session. I’m totally in the zone, and super psyched. So, all in all, YOU’RE the one going down! I’ve dodged your magic before, and I’ll do it again! I’m fucking Anon! And you’re gonna be kissing the ground in a second. That, or you’re gonna be kissing my ass!” You flip around, and pat at your ass as you look back and stick your tongue out at her.

Starlight’s eye twitched when she heard that last part. She immediately threw out any idea of mercy. You were one of her best friends, but the way you were acting, she felt you needed to be brought down a peg. It was almost like it was back when she helped train you. But before, she realized she lost her head over a small amount of your arrogance. Now, you were going full throttle with it and it was really driving her to crush you. Unlike that training session, she wasn’t going to hold back the tiniest bit this time… Well, maybe a little. “O-ok then… Same as before. On the count of three… One… Two…”

You leaned down, and wiggled your butt as you prepared to strike. You remembered she held back for a huge majority of the reflex training, so this time you would put all your effort to bringing her down within seconds before she casts some big spell. You would prove you didn’t need your chaos magic to win. You WILL prove that not only are your reflexes top notch, but so is your fighting skill. And you WILL show that you can topple her best magic.

“Three! GO!” Calls out Starlight.

You prepare to make a side hop and rush right towards her. But within a split second, you find yourself completely encased in the same crystal like concealment spell she used last time. Somehow, she had casted it faster than before, and you didn’t even get a chance to react once she fired it off. Did she have it prepped the whole time?! Goddammit! How did you not see it coming? You were stuck with a stupid shocked expression on your face as you stood frozen in the crystal prison.

Starlight just approaches you slowly, laughing at you. “Hahaha! Anon, you didn’t even last a second! I TOLD you, and I WARNED you. My magic isn’t some basic spells foals would use, they are the result of YEARS of training that somepony like you would have no idea where to even begin to understand it all. And seriously? You did a better job dodging this the first time I used it on you, guess your reflexes really didn’t get better, eh?”

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! How could you let yourself instantly lose like that?! All you had to do was dodge to the right or left and move in! That was the same fucking move she opened up with last time and you somehow didn’t even guess she’d use it again like this! DAMMIT! You were full of rage and frustration, enough to shake your prison slightly, but not nearly enough to break it.

“Yeah, you’re not breaking out of that.” She smirks as she leans against your prison, and chuckles at your predicament “Yeeep, looks like being cocky really doesn’t do well for your skill, now does it? I tried to be nice, I tried to tell you what you were in for, but you just wouldn’t listen. And now, I beat you in less than a second. I’m sure Number One has the time of defeat by the exact nanosecond. I tried, Anon, I really did try. But for some reason, you just had to act like a jerk. Serves you right.”

You just shook, and shook, and shook… But you just… GODDAMMIT! You can’t break out of this damn thing! And what’s worse, Starlight was acting as if she won the fight! Well she hasn’t! SHE HASN’T! You could shake this damn thing, bu