Good Things Come

by Sweet Tale

First published

Human x Luna story - Teen rated.

(Just a quick note - the first few chapters do need re-writing. They were my first works in August 2012)

You know the saying 'Good things come to those who wait'.

Owen, from England, is just about to find out if that's true or not. Besides, he's waited long enough.

A Human x Luna story. This is based in a world where MLP is not known.

Highest Featured Box Position - 8th - 29th May 2013

1. Wishes

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Collapsing onto the sofa after another day of odd jobs with my construction trade neighbour, I thought that my life would get better as I got older - oh how wrong I was.

5 years since I had moved out of my 4th foster home, I was now living by myself with no permanent job, living off the government benifits and struggling to make ends meet.

Wait...backpedal a bit, I'll start from the beginning.

My name is Owen. I was born in 1989 in Portsmouth, England, to two loving parents but was quickly placed in foster care soon after - for what reason? I still don't know. Until I was 18, I was placed with 4 different foster families who took care of me and loved me as if I was their own. I went to school in a run-down area and was constantly bullied for being adopted. Not my fault is it? Due to this, I was always the social outcast and never really got any friends.

When I reached 18, I ended up working odd jobs for various neighbours with one giving me a permanent position in his family construction business. Eventually I managed to save enough money to move out into my own place - a penthouse on the seafront.

At the age of 21, unfortunately the business, like many others, collapsed due to the economic recession and I found myself without a job. Not finding a job soon enough afterwards, I resigned myself to applying for benifits and living expenses.

And it has been that way for 2 years now. Sure there have been a few odd jobs with people looking for a one-day-worker but it still wasn't enough. My life was shit...but I was happy. Happy to still have some money and a roof over my head. Good things come to those who wait, right? Bullshit.

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So, back to the present, here I am, collapsed on the sofa, worn out after a day's work at a local construction firm. Turning off my Ipod, I quickly undressed myself and showered. Once clean as a whistle, I went onto my laptop to check my online bank to see how much money I have to last me 2 weeks. After closing down at least 12 pages of job searches from last night's search session, I got to my bank account and read the screen...although I wish I didn't.

"What? £17.60? Good god..."

I slammed my head on the table, catching a bottle cap which had been left there from the previous night.

"ARGH! You son of a...mother f--"

Stopping myself from letting out an expletive, I retreated to my bathroom to survey the damage. Sure enough, there was a circular indent on my forehead, excreting a familiar crimson fluid.

After applying a bandage to my head, I went to my bedroom and fell onto the bed. I looked at the clock. "18:00. Hmm...yeah, I've got some time."

I turned on my Xbox 360 and started playing Half Life 2. God knows how many times I've completed it before but it'll always keep me amused no matter how much of a shit day I've had.

Playing until 8PM, I noticed it was rather warm for this time of night and decided to go for a walk to the woods about 2 miles away.

Walking down the coastal path, listening to Maroon 5 on my Ipod, I gazed at the late evening sky. Hues of orange and yellow scattered the sky, weaving around the clouds. A beautiful sunset.

Arriving at the woods about and hour later, I found myself reliving childhood memories of running around the woods, playing with my foster siblings.

"Heh...good times....good times..." I felt a tear run down my cheek and quickly rubbed it away hoping to maintain my macho-ness...yeah...I failed. I sat down near a tree close to a path and sobbed.

"Why is life so hard? *sniffle*"

I regained what little composure I had left and started wandering through the woods, using my LED torch I had purchased a few days ago. After about twenty minutes, I came across a wooden stump, which was unsheltered due to a circular gap in the trees. I sat down on the stump and looked upwards, gazing at the night sky. 'It's so beautiful. I could sit here all night', I thought to myself, admiring the view of the many constellations in the dark abyss.

After about ten minutes or so, something flashed just out my line of vision. I looked up to see shooting stars - loads of them. I had never seen such a display!

"Wow! This is incredible. It's...it's so magical.", I tried to think but instead said out loud. Then, an idea. A silly one, childish, but right now, I didn't care.

"I can't believe I'm about to do this but..."

I looked up at one shooting star in particular and said...

"I wish to get away from all of this. I wish for a different life."

Just like that, the shooting star dissapeared and the display was over. 'Weird - it stopped when I made that wish', I pondered. "Meh, never mind...right, time to head back methinks. Should get to bed if...wait...w-w-what's that?"

My vision had locked onto a bright light from where I had looked to make my wish. The light got brighter and brighter and brighter still. Shielding my eyes from the blinding shine, I found myself feeling dizzy. Trying to remain upright, I stepped back from light, only to trip on something. The light was so bright now, I could not see what it was. I waited for my body to hit the ground...but it didn't.

I was falling. Falling faster and faster. Praying for this nightmare to end, I hit and crashed through a wooden structure (I think it was wood, can't be sure with no sight) before falling to ground with an audible thump. I felt the remains of whatever I had crashed into rain upon me hitting various parts of my body.

The white light that devoured me ebbed away slowly and my vision was slowly returning. My hearing was slightly off as every noise was muffled. I managed to lift my head off the ground and saw three different coloured shapes in front of me. Not being able to see or hear what they were, I tried to lift myself off the ground, but my arms gave way and I fell once again. The shapes immediately shrunk into the distance and disappeared.

My head started to pound away and I tried screaming - but to no avail - I blacked out.

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Tonight was a special night in Equestria. For once every one hundred years, stars would rain across the sky. It was common tradition that whoever would witness a shooting star, would wish upon it, hoping it would come true.

In Canterlot, Princess Celestia was just finishing her daily court sessions with various ponies - many coming to ask for help with their lives.

After the last pony was seen to, Celestia stood away from her throne and retreated back to her chambers. Arriving at her door, two unicorn guards gently bowed and opened her chamber door with hues of mint green and orange magic. Celestia thanked them and walked inside. She waited for the doors to close fully before flopping down onto her bed in exhaustion.

"Ugh, what a day. Some of those requests were just...absurd. I mean, I expected something outrageous to come from Pinkie - a cupcake museum? Goodness me...", she stated out loud to herself.

Shortly after a brief conversation with herself regarding the day's events, three sharp knocks sounded on her door.

"Who is it?", Celestia answered in a sing-song voice.

"It is I, dearest sister.", came a voice from the door.

"Oh, Luna! Come on in." Celestia opened the door with her magic and Princess Luna trotted in and stood next to her sister's bed.

"You asked to see me, sister?" Luna quipped.

"Oh, of course, I had almost forgotten. Luna, do you know what day it is today?"

"Uhh...Wednesday?"

"No! Well...yes it is I suppose but that doesn't matter. Tonight is a very special night. It is the Night Of The Shooting Stars!" Celestia stated proudly.

"Oh! Is it that time already? My, how time flies when you're..."

Celestia and Luna's smiles both retracted and looked away from each other for a second. An awkward silence filled the room. Celestia looked at her sister with guilt and remorse.

"Luna..."

"Sister, it is fine. I should not have mentioned it......anyway, what did you want me for?"

"Well, you do know that this night is very strenuous on one of us and I know that I was planned lead the festivities but today has been exhausting. I was hoping that you would be able to manage it tonight."

Luna's face was one of pure shock.

"WHAT? You want me to control the stars tonight? To hear all of the wishes and sift out the correct ones? Umm...I'm not sure. The last time I lead this night was over one thousand years ago..."

Luna sat on her haunches and lowered her head to avert her sister's gaze. Celestia trotted over and lifted a hoof under Luna's chin to meet her eyes once again.

"Luna, you can do this. Don't think for a second that you've lost your talent. I know you can do this. It'll be easy" Celestia said with a warm smile.

Luna shuffled her hooves for a few seconds before contempating an answer.

"Ok, sister. If you think I can do it, then I will" Luna replied with a wide grin.

Celestia embraced her sister with a hug with Luna kindly returning it.

"Oh Luna, I know you'll be just fine. Now, the time is ripe dear sister. It is time for duties to raise and lower our respective lights!

With that, the royal sisters walked to the balcony of Celestia's chambers. Celestia concentrated her magic on the sun, lowering it slowly below the horizon. Luna watched in awe as the colour of the sky turned from a rusty orange to a navy blue. Luna then raised the moon with her own magic, raising it high into the sky, illuminating the city below. Both sisters, done with their duties, retired to the warmth of the castle before tonight's festivities began.



The time arrived all too quickly for the nervous Princess of the Night. Celestia had gone to bed hours beforehand so Luna was left by herself. She paced back and forth on her balcony, waiting for the right moment to start the show. Soon enough, she sat on her haunches and concentrated on her magic. Her magic latched onto the stars in the sky and she began to gravitate them towards the Equestrian sky.

The stars rained over the sky leaving streaks wherever they passed. After a few minutes, Luna began to hear wishes of the many hundreds, if not thousands, of ponies watching this magnificent sight. Some of the wishes were basic, such as asking for some help with a daily routine, wishing for a friend to get better, you know, small things. Some wishes were questions asking for advice for which Luna would offer advice back.

Of course there were the ponies who were selfishly wishing for unfair or unorthodox things such as a winning lottery ticket or wishing that something bad would happen to another pony. Luna would cast those wishes aside without thinking twice.

Over the course of the night, Luna began to grow tired and eventually was agreeing to most of the wishes so that the voices in her head would stop.

"I wish my homework was easier."

*YAWN* "Yeah, sure..."

"I wish I was in the Wonderbolts."

"Huh...maybe...."

"I wish to get away from all of this. I wish for a different life."

"Ye...Yeah ok"

She was almost falling asleep at that point and she figured enough was enough. With that, Luna stopped her magic and the star show was over. She got up slowly, stretching with a groan, picturing her asleep in bed, then remembering she also has her night duties. She walked inside and started thinking about some of the wishes that she accepted.

"Hmm, I gave that child a new friend to play with...yeah that's nice. That businesspony will have some help with his accounts...good for him. I gave that pony a different li--"

Luna froze in shock at what she just remembered. Granting a pony a different life. Luna thought of the possibilities of what could happen.

"Oh no. No no no no no! Anything could happen! But what if--" Luna cut herself off before she drove herself mad with worry.

"No Luna, no. Just calm down. I'm sure he meant a better...lifestyle. Yes, of course! No need to worry......Right, I should get a coffee, begin my duties and forget this ever happened. Everything will be fine." Luna stated to herself, not noticing a bright light soaring towards Ponyville.

A/N - This is my first EVER attempt at writing a fanfic. Any positive or constructive feedback is greatly appreciated!

2. Awakening

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....ver here!

It hit the...

...under the planks!

My consciousness began to reboot and I heard some voices coming and fading. From what I could hear, they were female.

Let's lift up the pla--..............--ee what you were talking about...

I felt the rubble weighing me down being lifted piece by piece. I tried to lift my head and managed to raise it a few inches, lifting what I think was rubble above my head, before it fell again from fatigue. My head started pounding once again, emitting wave after wave of agony.

Aah! Something's moving!

Oh my! It could be really hurt! Get the rubble off, quickly!

My hearing was returning slighlty. The voices sounded concerned for my safety. The weight got less and less before the sound of many planks of wood hitting the ground was heard.

Aah, it's the monster! Run!

Girls, wait! Wai...oh never mind. Now let's see what's so...oh...oh my...what are you?

I opened my eyes as much as I could and saw something bright...something yellow...and it was moving. My vision was still blurred so I couldn't make out what it was. I stared at this glowing colour and tried to talk.

"He...lp...please....help...", was all I was able to mutter.

*Gasp* You...you can talk...

The yellow...thing sounded scared. I tried to respond but the pain in my head was still pounding away, affecting my vision again. I tried to keep focus on this beacon of hope with the angelic voice but to no avail. The world around me grew darker and darker and...gone.

Oh...oh dear.

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*GASP* Of course, Doctor. I'd love to travel with you!

Hey, why is it bigger on the inside?

A trip? Ok, sure. Just let me know when you're going to--*BEEP*--what was that beep just now? *BEEP* There it is again! *BEEP* What is it?

*BEEP*

*BEEP*

*BEEP*

*BEEP*

"Urgh...what the hell?.....Still dark...why do my dreams always cut out at the best moment? Oh well...might as well try and get back to...ARGH! What the...?"

*BEEP*

I tried to move my body to provide a better sleeping condition - bad idea. I moved the slightest inch and my whole body screamed in pain. I tried to move my left arm but it seemed locked in place and any attempt to dislodge it proved painful. I tried the right arm which moved well but my hand felt heavier than usual. I attempted to move my legs. Left one first. "Ok, let's try thi--ARGH! MOTHER FU--". Ok, not such a good idea. I cautiously moved my right leg which moved fine.

*BEEP*


"Ok, what the hell is going on? Is this some sort of stroke?......I must be dreaming...yep, just a normal...pain inducing...dream. Let's try the old 'pinch yourself' technique.", I talked out loud.

I attempted to pinch the skin on my waist but felt a mass of cloth rub against it instead.

*BEEP*

"Errr...what's wrong with my hand?...and what is that bloody beeping?" I asked myself.

Losing myself in my thoughts for a moment, I heard a door open. 'That doesn't sound like my front door...or any door in my flat for that matter', I thought to myself. I heard the 'click-clack' of what sounds like high-heel shoes on a hard floor getting louder and louder, sounding like it was approaching me. Getting frustrated, I decided to speak up.

"Hey! I can hear someone getting closer! What is all this? Is this some kind of joke?!", I shouted, getting a bit riled from the situation.

"I can assure you that this is no joke Mister.", a male voice came from the left.

"Ah! What the...I was expecting a woman. Why are you wearing high-heels?"

"Erm, I don't know what these 'high-heels' are but if I understand what you are thinking is correct, I don't wear shoes."

"Right...ok"

"Amazing...it really can talk. I thought she made it up..."

"What are you talking about? Of course I can talk."

"Well, we wouldn't have known that would we? I mean, the rest of the staff don't have a clue what you are!", the voice replied in a shocked tone.

"...............Who are you? Where am I? Why can't I see?" I asked in, at least, under two seconds flat.

The source of the voice walked around to where my feet where. From what I could hear, he was turning pages of paper.

"Well, my name is Doctor Stitch, you are in a hospital and the reason you cannot see is due to bandaging around your head. We needed to clean up your injuries."

"........"

"Are you okay?"

"Doctor Stitch?", I said, stifling a giggle. "What kind of a name is that? It's ridiculous! I mean, who in their right mind would name...wait, did you say injuries?"

"Yes, that's right. From what I've been told, you kind of...crashed into a local childhood structure and severely injured yourself. I imagine that you've felt the pain in your limbs by now."

"WHAT?! I don't remember 'crashing' into anything. Besides, I can't even drive! Where on earth did you get this story from--ARGH!"

I moved my arm ever so slightly causing a wave of pain to shoot down it. I began to cough and wheeze trying to catch my breath from the pain.

"STOP! Try not to move your limbs at all, they are in very bad shape. I'll get you some water to drink - Nurse! I need a glass of water for bed 6!"

At that point, I heard another set of 'click-clacks' on the floor approach me. "Here you are mister. Open wide.", a female voice asked.

I opened my mouth and the water was poured into my throat slowly. It tasted amazing, even though it was only water. I heard a slight jingling whilst drinking. Finishing the drink, I opted to speak.

"Thanks very much...nice wind chimes."

"Uhh...thanks.", the female voice replied before walking away.

After having my throat cleansed, I asked the question I had wanted to ask the whole time.

"Alright Doc, lay it on me. What exactly happened to me?"

The doctor sighed and dragged something across the floor - a chair I presume.

"Ok. It's probably best that you know. It started on the Night of the Shooting Stars when Miss Fluttershy ran into the hospital."

"Miss Fluttershy?"

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The Night of the Shooting Stars festival was finally over. The ponies of Equestria were retiring to their homes and settling down for the night.

On a hill, on the outskirts of Ponyville, many ponies were packing up their picnic blankets and refreshments and heading on home. The Elements of Harmony and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were walking back towards Ponyville, idly chatting away about how beautiful the night's spectacle had been.

The CMC's, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo had all used their wishes on getting their cutie mark but nothing had happened. Not yet anyway.

"I knew it was a stupid wish.", Scootaloo quipped.

"Don't worry, we've still got time. It might not happen until morning!", Sweetie Belle offered to try to cheer up her friend.

"Hey yeah, that's right! It might happen to us while we're asleep. I don't wanna miss that!", Apple Bloom exclaimed.

Suddenly, an idea sprang into Apple Bloom's mind.

"Hey! Why don't we have a sleepover tonight? That way, we can stay with each other and stay up till our cutie marks appear!"

"Oh yeah! That's an awesome idea. But...isn't it a bit late? I don't think my sis will let me go to a sleepover now...", replied Sweetie.

"Oh, don't worry, I'll go and ask my sis and Rarity. I'm sure they'll say yes."

With that, Apple Bloom sped up to Applejack and Rarity, who were talking about their workload.

"Well I must say darling, you sound like you have your hooves full for the next couple of weeks with Big Mac feeling under the weather.", Rarity stated.

Applejack quickly responded. "Hey! Don't you worry about little old me. Heck, I can take on the whole apple orchard myself!" Applejack felt something bump into her right side.

"Applejack, Rarity! Can me, Sweetie and Scootaloo have a sleepover tonight at the barn? Pleeeeease!", Apple Bloom asked with the best puppy-dog eye face she could muster.

Applejack and Rarity both looked at each other with blank stares, then smiled at each other and nodded.

"Course ya can, little sis. Just remember it's late already so you won't be staying up TOO LATE!", Applejack shouted at the end but Apple Bloom was already back with her friends.

"She said yes! Fell for the old sad face look again, hehe.", Apple Bloom happily stated.

"Excellent!", Sweetie and Scootaloo both responded.



The CMC's ran ahead to go and pick up their sleepover supplies from the clubhouse, where they had left them the night before last. They were about 50 meters away from the clubhouse, when Scootaloo stopped dead in her tracks.

"*GASP* Guys, look up there!"

Sweetie and Apple Bloom looked up to where Scootaloo was pointing to see a bright white light growing bigger and bigger.

"Wooow...", all three of them said, gazing at the sight.

"Uhh, is it me or is it getting closer?", Sweetie exclaimed.

"Nah, don't be silly.", responded Apple Bloom. "There's no way it could be...could be......IT IS GETTING CLOSER!" she screamed.

"Everypony get back!" shouted Scootaloo.

The three fillies, ran away from the light before it soared closer and closer and......*SMASH*

It hit the clubhouse, destroying it in the process. The light ebbed away and the remains of the clubhouse lay in a heap on the ground. The fillies approached cautiously.

"What in Celestia was that?!", Scootaloo shouted suddenly, making Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle jump.

"Ah! Don't do that!", Apple Bloom said angrily.

The CMC's walked up to the remains of their once great clubhouse and noticed something under the main pile of wood and rubble. Apple Bloom lifted up a plank of wood to see what was underneath, only to be greeted by the sight of a creature's face, covered in blood. Dropping the plank back down, she screamed and ran towards Sweetie and Scootaloo.

"What is it? What's wrong?", Sweetie asked calmly.

"There's...there's something in the rubble. It's a monster!", Apple Bloom screamed.

"A monster? Really?....Awesome, I wanna look at--", Scootaloo said inquisitively approaching the rubble before Apple Bloom pulled her back. "NO! It's a monster, don't touch it!", she cried.

"Well, what do we do?", Sweetie asked.

Apple Bloom seemed to calm down slightly and tried to think.

"I...I don't know. It was bleeding so maybe it's hurt. We should get somepony to help!"

With that, the CMC's ran back towards Ponyville, hoping to bump into a familiar pony. Their prayers were answered when they spotted Fluttershy coming their way. Apple Bloom ran up to her, shouting at her a million miles a minute.

"FLUTTERSHYWEFOUNDAMONSTERANDITLOOKSHURTCANYOUCOMEANDHELPIT?!"

"Umm...could you say that again, please...if that's ok..." Fluttershy asked.

Apple Bloom sat down and spoke slowly...slowly for her that is.

"We found a monster. It crashed into our clubhouse and we think it's hurt. Can you come and help it?"

Fluttershy just stood there, mouth agape at what Apple Bloom had said. Thinking for a second, she remembers hearing them asking Applejack for a sleepover. 'Oh, they must have had a bad dream. I'll play along', she thought to herself happily.

"Ok, girls. I'll come and see this 'monster' that you found.", Fluttershy responded with a smile on her face.

Following the girls back to the clubhouse, she was shocked to see that the clubhouse had indeed been destroyed. She followed the CMC's to the pile of rubble.

"It's over here!", Sweetie directed.

"It hit the clubhouse!", Scootaloo stated.

"Look under the planks!", Apple Bloom cried.

Fluttershy approached the pile of planks. "Let's lift up the planks. This is where the monster is? Let's see what you were talking about.", she said.

Fluttershy started lifting a few planks off the pile before a few raised by themselves a few inches before going back down again.

Scootaloo jumped back in fear. "Aah! Something's moving!"

"Oh my! It could be really hurt! Get the rubble off, quickly!" Fluttershy ordered.

All of them started lifting off the remnants of the clubhouse before the CMC's all stopped and dropped whatever they had in their hooves.

Apple Bloom quickly shouted. "Aah! It's the monster! Run!' With that, the CMC's sped off into the distance leaving Fluttershy alone.

"Girls, wait! Wai...oh never mind. Now let's see what's so...oh...oh my..." Fluttershy froze in place at the creature that lay before here. A large hair-less creature with four limbs and five digits on each end of each limb. No hair, apart from a patch on top of the head. "What are you?", she muttered to herself.

The creature started to open it's eyes and they stared at Fluttershy. Still froze in fear, all she could was stare back - oh, she was good at this. A minute passed before the creature made a grunt...then a noise.

"He...lp...please....help..."

Fluttershy gasped loudly, focusing on the now talking creature. "You...you can talk", she stuttered.

The creature's eyes then darted around all over the place, as if they were trying to focus. They then slowly closed and the creature stopped moving. Fluttershy moved forward ever so slightly and prodded the creature on the head. Nothing. She then looked at her hoof which was covered in a familiar red fluid.

"Oh...oh dear.", she mumbled. Her element then kicked in and her motherly instincts took over. She hauled the creature out of the rubble, being careful not to injure it any further. It was only then that she realised that most of the bones in the creature looked out of place, as if they were broken. The creature, being much bigger than she was, was very difficult to carry in her hooves.

Realising her medical care was out of range, Fluttershy decided to take the creature to the local hospital. Dragging the creature about 60 feet towards the general direction of the hospital, she collapsed with fatigue. Not wanting to give up, she picked up the creature below with her forehooves and tried to fly. Although it being tough, she managed to fly at a steady pace, eventually reaching the hospital in about 7 minutes.

Barging through the main doors, she landed with an audible thump.

"Nurse Redheart! I found this creature unconscious outside. It's hurt and it needs help!", she cried loudly.

Nurse Redheart looked up from her paperwork. "Miss Fluttershy, you know better than I that this hospital is for ponies only and I can not acc--" She looked at the creature on the floor in shock. Mumbling a few incoherent words, she immediately called for help and a team of doctors and nurses put the creature on a gurney before wheeling it into the wards.

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"...and that's about it.", Doctor Stitch finished.

I did nothing. I said nothing.

"Err, excuse me. Are you there?", the doctor asked.

"........Yeah....I'm here......so all that happened right?

"I'm afraid so. You've been unconscious for 4 days now. You should be glad that Miss Fluttershy found you when she did otherwise you'd be...well...you wouldn't be here right now.

That hit home. 'I have to find this pony and thank her for saving my life. That's unbelieveable.', I thought to myself.

Wait...pony?!

"Wait a minute. You said that she was a pony......and you also said she flew me here. What in the holy mother of god are you talking about?"

"Well, given what you are, I can assume that you're not from around here...or anywhere close to here in that matter. If you really want to know, we are all ponies here...and I have never seen one of your kind before..."

"......yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a load of crap. You say you're all ponies...I say this is all a massive prank. A pretty elaborate one at that - to come up with that whole 'accident' story. It's brilliant. Must be why I'm blinded - so I can't see you're all a bunch of students!", I said in a laughing voice.

"As I said before, this is no joke and it is certainly no prank." The doctor sighs heavily. "...Right, ok. The only way you'll believe me is if I take off the bandages covering your head. This was to cover up a head wound you sustained in the crash. I'm sorry but...you may not like what you see."

The way he said that made my heart stop - he was dead serious. The bandages on my head slowly unravel and my eyes adjust to the world around me. I sat up slowly to look around. My eyes focus on a brown, moving object close to my left arm. My eyes adjust further...then fully. I froze in fear at what I was looking at. A brown/tan coloured pony wearing a doctor's uniform. It had glasses and even a stethoscope......AND A HORN! I start giggling uncontrollably.

"Ha...hahaha...haaa...this is...ha...unicorn...", I mutter.

"Are you ok? You look a little dizzy.", the doctor asked.

"Hah! What about you? You're not even in focus.....ugh...."

*THUD*

The doctor looked at my body, which was passed out over the side the bed, before sighing.

"Urgh...another fainter..."

3. Explanations

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*groan*

I regained consciousness...again.

"Ugh...ok, this is just getting annoying now.", I said out loud. I lifted my head slightly and found that I was in a upright position, like I was sitting on a deck chair. I opened my eyes slowly and the sight before me was...well...unexpected would have been the understatement of the century.

"Where the hell am I?!", I exclaimed, quite loudly.

The world around me looked like a child's cartoon show. Everything was so bright with all different pastel colours. It looked like one of those old 'paint by numbers' pictures where every bright colour possible was used.

"Ok...I have to be dreaming. This just cannot be real.", I stated before using my right arm to lift a blanket that was covering me so I could look down at my body to survey the injuries that the doctor had mentioned...big mistake.

"OH MY FU--...my god, I'm a mess." I now realised why my limbs hurt when I tried to move them. My left arm was heavily bandaged, lying in a sling across my chest. 'Ok, that must be broken', I thought. My left leg was in a plaster cast being held up by a footrest. "Damn...", I muttered. My chest was wrapped in bandages also which made me think that maybe some ribs were broken.

I sat back, breathing heavily, taking it all in.

"...Well, it could be worse...ahaha...owww...", I tried to joke but my laugh caused a pain in my chest.

"You're absolutely right - it could be much worse.", a voice emanated from inside the room.

"Who's there?", I asked quickly.

That click-clack noise was heard again. From around the curtain, a small horse walked towards me slowly. "Only me, Doctor Stitch."

Fear struck me as it talked and I tried to shuffle away from it as much as I could, memories coming back to me about the previous encounter.

"S-s-stay back. I d-d-don't want any trouble.", I managed to splutter out through my chattering teeth.

"Whoa, it's ok. I'm not going to hurt you. Just calm down", he spoke in a soothing voice...it actually worked. I slumped back down into my seated position, not breaking eye contact with the horse, and tried to think of something smart to say.

"Huh, I didn't realised that horsies could talk-". I face-palmed.

Horsies..great going Owen.

"Oh yes. All of us 'horsies' talk. By the by, we are actually ponies, not horses.", he replied with a smile.

"Sorry, I couldn't think of the right word. This is just...all too much for me at the moment. Everything's so strange..."

Both of us stayed silent for a bit before the doctor spoke up.

"I never asked yesterday. What is your name?".

"I never said? Really? Huh, sorry about that. My name is Owen."

"Well, it's nice to meet you Owen. I'll just put this on the chart.". The doctor scribbled my name onto the chart in his hand...or hoof...not sure.

Silence again.

"So...how long were you in the room for?", I asked.

"Well, I came by to check if you were awake. You started to regain consciousness so I hid around the corner so you wouldn't be scared when you saw me. Seems that it worked." the doctor replied.

"Scared when I saw you?...OH! Of course, I remember. You took off the bandages covering my eyes, then...I saw you and..." Realization hit me. "...I fainted, didn't I?", I nervously asked.

"Yep."

"Sorry..."

"No need to apologise. I said you may not like what you see and I think i was spot on!" he said cheerfully.

"Yeah, haha...so...I managed to look at my body...I'm a bit of a mess. Thanks for patching me up so well.", I said with honest gratitude.

"Well, the other doctors, nurses and myself could only do so much. We have never encountered a species like yourself before. We don't even know what certain parts of your body or what your bones are called."

"Ah, allow me to explain. You may want to write this down."

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After a good ten minutes of using what medical knowledge I had, I had explained what the limbs on my body were called and what bones were in my body. The doctor then explained exactly what I had damaged.

"Ok, so from what you have told me, the Radius and Humerus in your left arm were fractured. The Femur and the Fibula in your left leg were broken and 3 of your ribs were cracked. You sprained part of your right hand so we bandaged it up as well. You also had a small gash in your head but there is no serious damage there."

"Wow...that's pretty bad. Although I must admit, the pain seems to have eased a little since yesterday. More than a little in fact.", I said, inquisitively.

"Ah, now that would be because of me. I used a few healing spells on your broken bones which is making them heal at an exponential rate. You should be fully healed within 3 days."

My mouth hung agape, taking in what he had just said.

"Problem, Owen?"

"Yeah...sorry but...did you just say 'healing spells'?", I asked.

"You heard correctly. How do you think I got into this profession? When I was in school, all my time was spent learning new magic spells.", he replied happily.

"There's magic here...unbeliveable..." I noticed the top of his head, then the cogs in my head started to spin. "I just noticed something. You have a horn. Does that make you a unicorn?", I inquired.

"Indeed it does. Why do you ask?"

"Where I'm from, there is no magic...or unicorns...or talking ponies.", I said, dryly.

"Well...where are you from?", the doctor asked.

"I'm from England - Portsmouth to be precise....actually...here's a question...where exactly am I?"

The doctor had a confused look on his face. He got up and walked towards the main door and poked his head out. I heard him speak.

"Nurse Redheart, could you please inform Miss Sparkle that she can come and see the creature now."

He walked back in and stood next to me.

"Sorry about that, I'm finding this all a bit strange. I've asked for one of the town's most intellectual ponies to come and speak with you. I hope that's ok."

"Err, ok sure. So, can you tell me where I am?", I asked.

"Oh, sorry, I completely ignored you then. Well, Owen, you are in the small town of Ponyville."

I thought for a second. "Hmm, can't say I've ever heard of it. What country am I in?", I asked, slightly confused.

"You are in the Kingdom of Equestria.", he stated proudly.

Not a clue. I had no clue.

"I'm pretty sure there is no country called Equestria. Sounds like a make-believe place for kids."

"Well, believe it. You are in Equestria.". The doctor looked at the clock on the wall, gasping at the time. "Whoops. I was supposed to meet a family upstairs 5 minutes ago. They need an update on their foal. Sorry Owen but I have to take care of my other patients now. I'm sorry I can't help with your questions to the greatest detail but I'm sure when Twilight gets here, she can clear everything up for you.", the doctor said.

"Twilight? Who's that?", I curiously asked.

"She's the pony I mentioned just now. She'll be along shortly I imagine. Ahh, 6 minutes! I really must go. I'll check up on you later!" he called as he dashed out of the room.

I leant back, trying to understand what the doctor had just told me. Equestria? That's not a country. It really does sound like a cartoon setting. With the colours of this world and the odd name, this was becoming all too weird. Especially the whole magic thing.

"Hmm...why is nothing ever straightforward..."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

30 minutes passed. Still contemplating what the doctor said, I heard the door open. I turned my head to see a purple pony wallking towards me. This must be Twilight, I thought.

She stood at my left side and started eyeing my body up and down. I was doing the same to hers. She had a shining purple coat that glimmered in the sunlight which the window was feeding in. She had some hair on her head which was a dark purple with a pink streak running through the middle. Her tail had the same colour scheme. She also had a horn - another unicorn. I looked into her eyes - they were beautiful. A beautiful shade of violet. We were both staring at each other until she broke the silence.

"So, you're the creature that everypony was talking about.", she said, smiling away.

"Yep, that would be me.", I replied with a smile of my own.

"Well then, introductions. My name is Twilight Sparkle and I am the faithful student of Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria.", she stated proudly.

"My name is Owen. I am from England."

Her horn started to glow and she levitated a feather quill and started jotting down notes on a piece of paper. The jingling sound was there again.

"Ahh, so that's what that was.", I declared.

"I'm sorry?"

"Yesterday, when the nurse gave me some water. I was still unable to see and the nurse poured some water into my mouth and I heard a jingling noise. It was her magic making that noise. I thought it was wind chimes!", I replied, chuckling towards the end.

She looked at me with confusion. "You don't know what magic sounds like? You said you are from England. Where is that exactly?"

"England? It's in the UK." Twilight still looked confused. "United Kingdom." Same expression. "Europe?.....Planet Earth?", I laughed at the end.

"I have never heard of the United Kingdom or Europe or Planet Ea--"

Twilight's pen dropped to the floor and she stared at me with her mouth wide open.

'Wow, I could fit my fist in there.', I thought.

She then stood up on her back legs and lent against the side of the bed with her front legs - all the time staring into my eyes.

"PLANET EARTH? You mean to tell me you're from another planet?!" she almost shouted at me.

I jolted back slightly from her outburst. "Err...a different planet? You mean I'm not on Earth anymore?", I asked, scared at what the answer would be.

"I can one hundred percent truthfully say that you are not on Planet Earth. You are in Equestria.", she replied.

My brain tried to process what Twilight had just said. I wasn't on Earth anymore. I was in an entirely different world.

"That explains the unicorns and the magic and the talking...", I quietly said.

"Well yes. Equestria is home to millions of ponies of all varities.". She looks at me. I'm try my best to hold a normal face but I end up just looking lost and confused. "What's wrong?", she asks.

"There's no such thing as magic on my world. Or unicorns or talking ponies for that matter. Unicorns are depicted as mythological creatures and are spoken of in legends. Magic doesn't exist where I'm from - only illusions and tricks are classed as magic in my world. Nothing like what you do with the levitation and whatnot. Ponies on the other hand don't speak. They are wild animals and sometimes kept for pets. They aren't smart and they aren't sentient." I explained.

Twilight's expression was priceless. Looked like 'WTF are you talking about!'. She quickly jotted this all down mumbling whilst she was doing it.

"This is incredible. I've never heard of a place were magic doesn't exist. Truly astounding!", she muttered to herself.

I noticed she was grinning a bit too much for my liking. "Uhh, Twilight? You ok?", I asked with concern.

She quickly reduced the grin to a small smile. "Oh, sorry. It's just this is an amazing discovery......OH! How silly of me! I forgot the most important question. What exactly are you?"

"I am a Homo Sapien or Human for short.". She quickly scribbled it down.

"..and how many humans are there in your world?", she asked.

"Well it fluctuates all the time but I think it's just short of about seven billion." Twilight looked genuinely shocked. "Seven billion? Wow..."

"Ok, next. When were you born and how old are you?"

"I was born on the...wait a minute. What date is it today?"

"It's Wednesday, the 1st of August, 2012.", she stated.

"Ah, so our days, months and years are the same. I was born in April, 1989, which makes me 23 years young, hehe.", I said with a chuckle. Twilight replied with a giggle of her own.

After a few more questions, Twilight finally put down here quill and paper. "Thank you so much for answering my questions Owen. I'll be sure to report this to the Princess at once.", she happily stated.

"Wait, the Princess? That...er...Celerystar you mentioned?, I asked.

Twilight laughed. "Haha! Celerystar! She'll love that. It's Princess Celestia."

"That's the one. You're going to tell her about me?"

"Of course. It was her who asked me to come and see you in the first place. I'm sure you're aware of how you were brought here, correct?" I nodded.

"Well, the Princess was made aware of an unknown creature from the doctor and she immediately came here to look at you. She was unsure of what you were but as I was in close proximity of the hospital, she gave me the responsibility of talking with you once you had awoken. I was also supposed to get some sketches and details of your anatomy but since half of your body is in repair, I think I'll have to wait until you leave the hospital."

"Oh I see. That makes sense. Well, I have a few questions of my own if you've got time to answer them.", I asked.

"Of course. I'll be more than happy to.", she happily replied.

I nodded and tried to sit upright. Doing so, I managed to notice something of Twilight's...rear that I hadn't noticed before. It was a mark of a bright pink six pointed star with five white six pointed stars surrounding it. I asked about that first in the nicest fashion.

"Right, first question. What's with the butt tattoo?".

Butt tattoo? That's the best you could come up with?!

Twlight giggled. "Well, this is what's called a Cutie Mark. A cutie mark depicts a pony's special talent in life. It could be from anything from gardening to reading to painting. The mark normally appears during a pony's adolescence stage of life but sometimes, ponies can go for years before receiving theirs. If you're wondering, my cutie mark depicts magic as I am an expert at it."

"That's pretty awesome. Ok, next question. You mentioned there were different varities of pony. What other kinds are there?"

"There are unicorns, like myself and the doctor, who can use magic through our horns. We can learn a wide variety of spells from levitation, as you saw earlier, to teleportation."

My eyes lit up at that last statement. "Teleportation? Awesome!". I must have looked like a kid in a sweet shop.

"There are Pegasus ponies who have wings. The pegasi fly and are mainly used to control the weather in Equestria. They use magic also but you cannot see it. The magic they exert actually helps them fly and to use their special abilities to control the weather."

"They control the weather? That's amazing. Back in my world, the weather just does it's own thing. Nothing controls it."

Twilight quickly jotted that down on the paper.

"The last type of pony is the Earth pony who have no wings or horn. These ponies are normally used for hard work and labor. Their magic is used as strength to help them within these roles. Well I hope that answers that question.", she said.

"Absouletely, all of this information is very helpful.", I happily replied.

"Well, it was a pleasure to meet you but I'm afraid I must be off. I have to deliver this information to the Princess." Twilight got up to leave.

"Wait.", I called after her. "I'm not leaving here for another three days. Do you think you can come along again some time so we can talk more? I really enjoyed talking with you."

Twilight looked at me with huge smile. "Of course I can. I'll also bring some books from my library so you can learn about Equestria. I can come by tomorrow at about midday?"

"That sounds great. I hope to see you then.", I replied.

"Sounds good. Bye!", she said before walking out of the doors.

I lay back in my bed and rested my head on the backrest. "This is just surreal. New planet, new species, magic, flying ponies...it's just...amazing...", I talked to myself.


Mumbling to myself for the next few minutes, a white pony with pink hair and tail came into the room. She had a first aid red cross with 4 hearts surrounding it as her cutie mark - pretty apt. She came over to me.

"Hello Owen. We are just about to serve dinner. What would you like from our menu?"

She handed me a menu with her teeth (no hands...right) and I scanned through it. "Hmm, I don't think most of this food would sit well with me. My body can't digest flowers or grass or hay. Could I have a vegetable salad, if that's ok?"

"No problem at all. I'll be back shortly." she replied and walked out of the room.

Shortly was correct. Within two minutes, she came back with a plate full of lettuce, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, onion and topped with sweetcorn. Noticing that I don't have cutlery, I had to resort to using my...ah.

"Um, I don't mean to be a pain but could you please unbandage my right hand? I'll need to use it to feed myself...", I asked sheepishly.

She gentley unwrapped the light bandaging on my hand. Looking at it, it was a bit swollen but I was able to flex all of my fingers and twist my wrist so it looks like my hand has healed well.

I pick up a piece of food and take a bite...and what a bite it was. The flavour was astounding with everything tasting so fresh. Finishing the meal, I fought the urge to lick the plate clean.

Shortly after dinner, it was turning dark. Looking at the clock, it read 9PM. A bit early for me but I do need to sleep at some point. Taking to the opportunity to get a rare early night, I rested my head on the pillow. Despite being in a different world with no humans here at all, I could tell that it was going to be good. I was looking forward to seeing Twilight again tomorrow.

Soon enough, I was in the land of nod.

4. Realisations

View Online

*snore*

*snore*

*sno--*

"Owww...."

My slumber ceased as a dull pain throbbed in my side. I lifted my head slighlty and glanced at the wall to look at the clock. "2:45...ugh..."

I lay my head back down to go back to sleep. Yeah, as if. Minutes passed but the pain remained. I could now feel it in my arm and my leg. Everywhere that's damaged.

"Great. I suppose this won't go away easily." I groggily muttered.




Looking at the wall again. "4:15...oh, come on...let me sleeeeeep..."

Many more minutes passed and I eventually gave up and decided to observe my surroundings. Looking around the room, I can see...well...nothing. The only source of light was the glow of the heart monitor next to me.

"Ahaha...it sure is dark in here..." I whispered to myself. I closed my eyes and thought back on the previous days events.

"At least I'm being taken care of......that Twilight was friendly......oh yeah, she's c-c-coming to see me ag...again..." I spoke in a low voice, eventually turning into a tone of fear. I was scared. Terrified.

'Why am I getting scared now? I was fine yesterday. Talking away like they were my best friends...'

I'd never been more scared in my life. The sudden realisation of the whole situation hit me like a freight train. Injured and stranded on an alien world, no other people here, magical talking ponies...this is the stuff of nightmares. I felt something fall down my cheek - like a drop. Tears...tears of fear. I hadn't cried in years, not since watching Forrest Gump. (yeah, yeah, yeah)

I pulled the cover over myself to mask the tears and try to get some sleep before the sun rose.



It never came. Looking at the clock again, it read 6:30. The pain was still there, throbbing away causing me to wince every so often. Glancing at the window, I saw streaks of light shining through the gaps of the blind. Reminded me of the crepuscular rays I used to see over the sea. The beeping of the heart monitor echoed around the room just to remind me of how alone I am...although I wasn't for long.

I heard the echoing footsteps of something. Getting louder and louder, I assumed that it was coming my way. The door slowly pushed open and a familiar tan coloured pony walked in. I immediately focused my eyes on the doctor's eyes and froze in fear. My face would have said it all.

"Good morning Owen, nice to see you're aw...are you ok?" he asked in a tone of concern.

"I...I d-don't know. I'm s-s-scared. I'm in...pain and...and..." I replied with my teeth chattering away.

"Ok, ok, just calm down, you'll be fine." the doctor said approaching me slowly with a hoof outstretched towards me. I recoil slightly.

"N-NO! Just...stay away..." I warned him.

"Ok, you really are scared. What are you scared about? There's no need to be afraid of anything here."

"Well...it's just everything. B-Being stranded on a different world without a clue as to how I got here...the whole 'magical talking ponies' ordeal and...and I wasn't afraid yesterday. Like when I was talking to you and Twilight, we spoke like we'd known each other all our lives...and this pain is killing me!"

The doctor paced for a bit, musing over his thoughts.

"Hmm, well I've probably said this already but you have nothing to fear here, you are quite safe. As for the pain, I have no reason as to why.....ohhhh, of course!" He face-hoofed.

"W-what? What is it?"

"When you were first brought here, I examined your body and deduced that I needed to use the healing spell to heal your bones. Now this is normally a slightly painful experience so I used two spells. I first used the healing spell...then used a sedative spell to quell the pain. I didn't know how your body would react to the sedative so I used an average dose but it looks to have worn off. Also, I think the sedative may have affected your emotions as well which caused you to speak to us as if we were your long-time friends. Now that it has worn off, your true emotions have shown."

"...Right...that explains a lot...wore off at the worst time though. I only had about 5 hours sleep and I've been awake since about 3AM..."

"Oh really? You know, you could have called for a nurse with this buzzer here." He walked forward and rose his hoof to a device on the headboard of the bed. I flinched slightly when he approached which didn't go unnoticed.

"Owen, if you really are that scared, do you want me to use the sedative spell again so you can interact with myself and others? he asked.

I thought about this for a bit. 'Should I do it? It'd give me the chance to talk to the doctor and Twilight again......no. I need to do this by myself. Time to man up.'

I looked at the doctor straight in the eyes. "No. No I don't. I can't have the spell being used on me for the rest of the time I am here. I need to face the situation head on and not be afraid. As you said, there's nothing to fear here."

The doctor gave me a huge smile. "That's very courageous of you. You'll be laughing and joking in no time." He began to walk out of the room.

"Doctor Stitch, wait." The doctor returned to my bedside. "I know this may be a stupid question but you wouldn't happen to know a sleep spell would you? It's just that I REALLY want some sleep and I don't think I could with this pain."

"I do know a sleep spell and a pretty effective one at that. How long do you want to sleep for?", he asked politely.

"Well, Twilight is coming to see me at midday and it's...seven o'clock now so...half eleven?", I replied.

"No problem. Now, lay down flat and rest your head on the pillow. Believe me, when this spell hits, that's it. You'll be out like a light." The doctor charged up his horn and shone a blue light towards me. He wasn't kidding. The moment I saw it...I was out.

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Come on slowpony, we'll only get one shot at this.

I'm coming, I'm coming. Not exactly easy to carry this you know.

Ok, now set it down. This is gonna be awesome!

Shhh! Don't wake it...

Oh it's fine, I saw the doctor use a sleep spell on it. Ohhh, I'm so glad Twilight told us about this thing.

Me too! It's like our own little experiment.

Yeah! Ok, now lift it's hand and put it in.

Okie-dokie-lokie!

It's not working...huh. Maybe it doesn't...oh! LOOK!

*GASP* It worked!

BWAHAHAH!

AHAHAHA!

Quick! Let's get out of here!

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The sun was now nearing it's maximum ascent. The rays of golden light shone through the window, illuminating all in sight. I slowly opened my eyes to the view of clock. "11:30 exactly. Wow, that worked perfectly." I mumbled.

I gazed to the window to marvel in the sun's rays but the light was too bright and I covered my eyes with my wet hand. Wait...wet hand?

I looked to where my hand once was and noticed a small bowl of water. Looking at my hand, my skin was very wrinkly from absorbing a lot of water. "Huh, why would that be here? And why would my hand be in...oh no...please no!" The memory of prank from my childhood flooded to me.

I slowly lifted the blanket and looked down towards my midsection and sure enough...yep. There it was. A huge yellow patch. The bed, blanket and my boxer shorts were just soaked......and it smelt terrible. I put the blanket back down and reached for the buzzer and pressed it once - hearing a bell ring outside of the room. "Who would do something like this? I'm in a bloody hospital for christ sake..."

Nurse Redheart entered the room and walked over to my bedside. "Yes Owen, how may I--*sniff*--what is that ghastly odour?

I pointed to the bowl. "Somebody thought it'd be funny to put my hand in a bowl of water which causes..." I lift up the blanket to show the offending area. "Causes me to piss myself!" I state with a slight hint of anger.

Redheart immediately looked extremely concerned. "Oh Owen! I am so sorry that somepony did this to you. I'll be right back!" She darted out of the room and raised conversation was soon heard between herself and a male.

Redheart and Stitch walked back in. Redheart was pushing a cart. The doctor was first to address me. "I cannot apologise enough for the situation Owen. I swear I'll find whoever did this to you. I have a fair idea who it is already..." he said with slight annoyance.

"Oh, believe me. When you do find them, bring 'em to me. I'll have a few choice words for them." I said with a smirk.

"Noted. Now hold tight a second."

A blue aura enveloped me and I was levitated off the bed and onto a blanket on the floor "AHH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" I screamed at him, completely shocked by my sudden rise.

He looked up at me with a grin. "Relax it's fine. We're just going to clean you up and put you in a clean bed. Nurse Redheart?"

The nurse walked up to me and sat down next to me. Her front hooves were covered in what I can assume is the pony equivalent of a latex glove. She reached towards my boxer shorts and grabbed them with her hooves.

"HEY! Can we leave those on please, thank you!" I scolded her.

"Well how am I supposed to clean you then?", she deadpanned.

She was right. I did need to take them off. I couldn't exactly sit around for 2 days wearing urine-soaked underwear.

"Well...ok, fine. Do you have something I can use to cover up my...my..." I trailed off. "Your what?" the nurse replied. "You know...my...private area" I replied quietly.

The nurse giggled. "Sweetie, look around. Are any of us wearing clothes?" Damn. She's got me there.

"Ok, ok. Just do what you need to."

She gently pulled off my boxer shorts, carefully over the plaster cast on my left leg, exposing my manhood. How I felt at that moment...embarrased would be a massive understatement. I couldn't even move my arm to cover it as the doctor was holding me in place with his magic. The nurse took a bowl of water and a sponge from her cart. She dipped the sponge in the water and turned towards me. Slowly, she began to rub my lower body all over with the warm water.

To be honest, it felt quite nice. I would have thought my first sponge bath with a lady would be in the red light district of Amsterdam but oh well, take what you get given. She began with my legs, working her way up towards my thighs. She eventually got the mid-section. Oh boy.

I thought she'd be embarrassed to do this but I suppose in this profession, this isn't the worst you have to deal with. She washed my backside first. Then came the strange part. She began by scrubbing around my private parts, washing away every offensive mark and smell. I closed my eyes, hoping that it would finish soon. I felt the sponge moving all around going up and down, up and down, up-- 'NO! Stop thinking like that! She's just doing her job!'

I then felt a piece of cloth move around my leg. Opening my eyes, I see that the nurse has got a towel and is drying me off. After a few minutes, she moves the towel back onto ther cart. "There! All done!", she said with a smile. The Doctor moved me towards a new bed and set me down in a sitting up position. He then levitated the blanket over me.

"Thank you, both of you. I really appreciate what you did...although now I have no clothes..." I solemnly said.

"Ah, don't worry about it. I'll get those shorts washed and returned to you before the day is out." The doctor walked away and headed out of the door.

I rested my head on the headrest and let out a huge sigh. "Well, that was a hell of an experience..." I spoke out loud to nobody.

Looking at the clock, it read 11:55. I was looking forward to seeing Twilight again. Even though the sedative had worn off and I had retained my original emotions, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. Maybe that sleep did me some good.

Sure enough, five minutes later, a knock was heard at the door. "Come in!" I shouted. A purple mare walked in with a saddlebag on her back, filled to the brim with various bits and bobs. I smiled at her with a bit of unease. Twilight noticed this immediately.

"Owen, are you feeling ok?", she asked inquisitively.

"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just that yesterday, I was under the influence of a sedative which made me happy and easy to interact with. It's worn off now so I may seem a little different..." I replied breaking eye contact.

"Oh I see. Do you want me to come back later when you feel up to it?"

"No. No, it's fine. I need to do this now or I'll always be uneasy and afraid of everyone." We exchanged awkward looks to each other. Twilight sat down on a nearby chair and set her saddlebags on the floor.

"....So. Did you show the Princess what I told you yesterday?" I asked. This made Twilight's face light up.

"Yes I did. She was amazed with the responses that you gave to the questions I asked. She'd never heard of Earth before and she wants to learn so much more about you. She also wants to meet you when you've fully recovered." she replied, smiling all the time.

"Well that's good to know. I look forward to meeting her." I looked over at her saddlebags. "What's in the bags?"

Twilight picked up the bags and pulled out book after book after book. At least 20 were put onto my bedside stand. "I thought you could do with a little reading. I've bought some Equestrian history books, some books about magic and...oh! Some fictional books. I'm sure you'll like these."

I scanned the books over, observing the titles. "The History of Equestria, The A-Z of Equestrian Creatures, The Equestrian Magic Guide...these'll keep me going for years. It'll take me ages to read all of these." I said in a tone of shock.

"I just thought you could read up on some history of our world whilst you're here. I've read all of these books at least 4 times. I know all there is to know. If you don't want to read history first, try these books. They're a fictional series called Daring Do. It's about a treasure hunter who explores the world looking for the rarest treasures and defeating bad guys."

"Huh...you know, we've got a book series like this too back on Earth called Indiana Jones. Basically the same principle."

*GASP* "Otherworldly books...ohhh I must have them...." She looks at you and clears her throat. I try to stifle a giggle but I laugh anyway, which she joins in. Twilight then sniffs the air and scrunches up her face. "EW! What is that horrible smell? It smells like somepony--"

"Yep, that's right. I wet myself. Somebody thought it'd be funny to play a prank on me. They put my hand in a bowl of water which caused me to...well you know." Twilight looked shocked. "Oh that's terrible. I couldn't imagine anypony working for the hospital would do such a horrible thing. The only other ponies who know you are here are myself, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie and..." Twilight's expression immediately turned sour and her stare could kill a man at a hundred paces.

"I don't believe it! I told them about you in good faith and they go and do this? I...ARGH!" She hits the bed with her hoof, retracting it with pain afterwards. "What's wrong? Do you know who did this?" I asked.

She looked me square in the eye. "Oh...I know who did this...and they will pay for it. Look, I'll go and get them to apologise to you. Nopony deserves this, especially not somepony like you." I blushed at that last statement. At that moment, the doctor walks in.

"What's all this noise then?" he inquires.

"Twilight knows who did the prank this morning." Twilight confirms this with a sharp nod.

"Well, I hope you find them and make them know we're not happy with them. Now Owen, I've been listening to you and you sound like you are coping well."

He's right. I didn't realise it until now. "I do...wow that was fast. I feel much better than this morning."

"That's great. Now, how is the pain?"

"To be honest, it's gone. Slight twinges here and there but the majority of it has gone."

"Excellent. Then I suppose I can take the cast off now then. I can check how your leg has healed."

The doctor enveloped the cast with his magic and it slowly came apart like a frayed lace.

"Ok Owen, now try and move your leg. Slowly." the doctor ordered. Knowing the pain which I caused last time I tried to move my leg, I wasn't so sure but I persevered anyway. I slowly lifted my leg...slowly...a bit more and up....no pain.

"It doesn't hurt at all! No pain!" I happily shouted. Twilight looked at me with a hearty grin.

The doctor looked very pleased. "Wonderful! The healing spell has worked faster than I imagined. Now try and twist your leg along with your foot." I did so and once again, no pain. The doctor then unwraveled my arm sling. My arm was still against my chest. "Ok, now this one may be a bit tricky. Try and extend your arm."

I slowly moved my arm. Straightening it ever so slowly, I could feel a click coming. My arm got to the one o'clock position when a large click was heard. The doctor and Twilight both looked frightened as I continued extending my arm, lifting it and then twisting it.

"Nothing! Doesn't hurt at all!" I was over the moon.

"That's brilliant!" He unbandaged my chest as well, exposing my skin. "Well then, you should be fine to leave as soon as tomorrow morning. Miss Sparkle, I understand that you are to take care of him?"

I looked at Twilight with confusion. 'She was going to care for me? What does that mean?'

"That's right. The Princess has asked me to set up my guest room for him so he may live with me." She turned to face me. "I'll have everything set up for you tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it!"

"I...I don't know what to say. Thank you so much." I leant down towards Twilight and pulled her into a hug. She responding my wrapping her legs around my neck and hugging back. It felt strange but it felt right. I released the hug and faced the doctor. "Thank you for healing me and taking care of me. I really appreciate it." I put my hand out to shake his hand but he looked confused by the gesture. He held up his hoof towards me. Twilight nudged my side. "Close your hand and bump his hoof." she said quietly. I did so and the doctor looked pleased.

"Glad to be of service Owen. Good day to you both." With that, he walked out of the room.

"Well then, I have to be off. I have a spa date with a certain pony and she can't be left waiting. I'll be here tomorrow to collect you." Twilight said to me.

"Ok then. Have fun! See you tomorrow." Twilight began to walk off before a though crossed my mind.

"Wait! Erm...just a thought, but I haven't got any clothes to wear. I haven't got fur like you so I can't keep--"

Twilight raised her hoof. "It's no problem, we've got it covered. When you first arrived here, the doctor asked a friend of mine to make some new clothes for you. She scanned your body with a measuring spell and took the remains of your old clothes for samples. She completed them a few days ago. I'll be sure to bring them by tomorrow." She then walked out of the room.

"She...made me some new clothes? Wow..." This was unreal. Within nearly a week of being in this world, I've been healed from near death, I've made new friends, I've got a place to live and peop--ponies are making gifts for me.

I sat back in the bed, stretching my body. "This truly is a great place."

The rest of the day went by uneventfully. I started reading the Daring Do books. Twilight was right, these are amazing books and they are just like Indiana Jones. Before long, I noticed it had gotten dark and the clock read 10:00. I put down the book onto the nightstand and lay down for a good night's sleep.

5. Introductions

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Doctor! They're closing in! What do I do?

Oh yeah, run faster...I could have thought of that!

Press the red button? OK!

"..en"

It didn't do anything!

"Owen..."

Why isn't it--

"Owen. Time to wake up..."

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"...hnghnn...wha?" I woke slowly to the sound of a feminine voice calling my name. Turning to face the source of the voice, Nurse Redheart was jabbing my side with her hoof. I looked up at her face. "You know, the staff here have a knack for interrupting my dreams at their pinnacle moment, you know that?" I joked.

"Oh, I'm sorry. It's not intentional, I swear!" We both shared a light laugh before she spoke again. "Did you sleep well? Stitch told me that all of your pain had subsided." I hadn't noticed until now but that was probably the best night's sleep I'd had in a long time.

"Like a log. Being able to move at night gave me the chance to find a comfortable sleeping position."

"Well that's good to hear. Now, what would you like for breakfast? We have a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and plants that you can choose from." I was slightly taken aback by this. 'They eat plants?...Oh, they're ponies. Makes sense I suppose.'

"Erm...could I please just have an apple and a glass of water? I asked Redheart.

"Of course. I'll be back momentarily." Redheart walked out of the doors which closed quietly behind her.

I sat up in the bed, stretching my arms and legs also giving my neck a quick twist. Lifting up my arms to stretch again, I noticed something...off. "What is that smell? It smells like..." I slowly sniffed myself, mainly towards the pits. "Ah...it's me." To be honest, I hadn't washed since I had arrived here, apart from the sponge bath I got yesterday.

Redheart re-entered the room, pushing a cart with a tray on it. Lifting it with her mouth, she placed it on my lap. "There you are. One fresh apple, straight from Sweet Apple Acres, and one glass of water. Enjoy!" She began to walk away.

"Err, Miss Redheart? Can I ask you something?" She walked back over to me, smiling all the time. "Is there any chance I can wash myself before Twilight gets here? It's just that I haven't showered since I arrived here and I've only just noticed my body odour..." I sheepishly asked.

Redheart pointed towards a door located towards opposite side of my room. "If you go through that door there, there is a shower that you can use. Although, it may be a bit low for you considering your size. You may have to crouch down to fit under it. There are towels in there that you can use and...oh! Also, your shorts have been washed and dried. They're on your nightstand." I looked towards the door and nodded before turning back to her. "Thanks very much." With that, she walked out of the room.

I picked up the apple that was on my lap and examined it. It looked very fresh, like it had been picked this morning. It glowed a vibrant red and shined in the sunlight. I took a little bite, just to see what it tastes like. "Ohhh...sweet jesus. This is amazing!" Sweetness, the crunchiness, how it melted in your mouth...it..was...incredible. I quickly consumed the rest of the fruit, savouring every bite. "Oh man. Sweet Apple Acres - watch out. I'm coming for the lot!" I said in a mock threat voice.

I turned to the nightstand and picked up my boxer shorts. Giving them a quick smell, they smelt like lavender - my favourite. Quickly putting them on, I put my legs over the side of the bed and put them on the floor. Realising that I haven't used my newly healed legs to stand on yet, I cautiously stood up using the headrest to haul myself upwards. Once fully up, I waited for them to buckle...but they didn't. No pain at all, they weren't even stiff. I walked to the door and opened it to reveal a bathroom, equipped with a shower and a toilet. I closed the door behind me and took my boxers off. Redheart was right, the shower was too low for me. Standing at 6'4, I was quite the tall chap. I lifted the shower head up as far as it would go but it went up as far as the bottom of my neck. I showered quickly, not wanting to add a crick in the neck or spine damage to my list of sustained injuries. Quickly drying myself off, I walked back into the main room and got into the bed again.

'8:30. Twilight's not getting here until 10. Might as well read some more of that Daring Do book.' I was really getting into this book. I wasn't really into adventure stories like Indiana Jones but this one was surprisingly good.

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Many pages later...

A knock at the door averted my gaze from the book. I called for them to come in. Entering the room looking bright and chipper as always, Twilight was levitating a fabric bag full of something. She set the bag down next to the bed before turning to me.

"Good morning. I'm so sorry I'm late. It's just that last night I was studying this new spell and then Spike caused a commotion in the lab so I had to clean that up then I noticed that the library was untidy so I had to clean it up as well and then I had to re-arrange the--" I raised my hand to get her attention.

"Twilight, it's fine. Besides you're not late, it's only 10:05." I said, pointing at the clock. Twilight looked at the clock the looked at me. We both laughed at her little outburst before I nodded towards the bag she brought in.

"So Twilight, what's in the bag?" She quickly levitated the bag onto my lap and opened it up for me to see.

"These are the clothes that my friend made for you. She hopes you like them. She also said that if they don't fit or are too big or if you don't like them, you can take them to her and she'll alter them for you. Your old clothes were kind of destroyed - ripped and torn beyond repair - so she observed the fabric that they were made out of and tried to re-create them with what she could."

I reached into the bag pulled out the first item. It was a navy blue t-shirt with a white diamond pattern on the front. The fabric felt so soft. I loved it. "Wow. This is wonderful, I love it." I tried it on and it fit perfectly. The smile on my face couldn't get any bigger. I reached in again and pulled out another 3 t-shirts, one brown, one dark red and one white. They all the same diamond pattern on the front. Reaching in again, I pulled out pairs of boxer shorts and pairs of socks. Once again, I reached in and pulled out a pair of trousers, black in colour and stitched perfectly. Quickly slipping them on, they also fit perfectly. "These are...no...everything is amazing. Truly brilliant! Your friend did all of this in just 5 days?" I asked.

Twilight smiled. "Of course. She's Ponyville's greatest fashion designer. She was so excited to be making all of these clothes for you...although I can't really see the point in them." She looked confused but I knew why. "Well, I have noticed that not one pony here wears clothes. Judging by what you just said, I can guess that you all don't wear clothes?" Twilight nodded.

"Well, in my world, public nudity is looked down upon. It's illegal to go outside without your indecent areas covered up. In some places, it is allowed but only under strict rules and laws." Twilight looked confused again and opened her mouth to ask a question but I beat her to it.

"Hey by the way. How did your friend...wait, what is your friend called?" I asked.

"Oh! I suppose I never mentioned her name. It's Rarity."

"Rarity, what a nice name. Anyway, how did Rarity know to make shirts and trousers and socks for that matter? There aren't any more humans here to make them for."

Twilight giggled and answered. "Ah, good observation. Well, you're right, we don't have other humans here. Your body shape is similar to my assistant Spike. He's a baby dragon and Rarity has made him clothes before, some of which included shirts and socks."

My mouth hung agape. ".....dragon? You have dragons in this world?" Twilight nodded. "Dragons. The big flying lizards that breathe fire and only exist in mythology?" Twilight nodded again, softly laughing. "Huh......this place gets crazier by the minute, hehe."

We talked for a while, about all of the different types of creatures that lived in this world. Minotaurs, manticores, hydras, cockatrice and dragons. This place is just like a fantasy world.

The clock reached 11AM and Stitch walked in with a clipboard held in his magic. "Ah Owen, good to see you up and about. The new clothes look great! Nice to see you as well Miss Sparkle. If you could just sign these forms, you're good to go." The doctor handed Twilight the clipboard which she signed before handing it over to me.

"Um, what is it exactly that I'm signing here?" I inquired.

"That is the form to say that your treatment has been completed and that you are well enough to leave. Also, I need your signature for the medical bills that you incurred."

My eyes immediately widened at the mention of bills. "Err, I don't mean to cause a trouble but I don't have any money so I can't pay your--" The doctor raised his hoof to interrupt.

"No worries my boy. The Princess has paid for all of your medical expenses. Your signature was just about the treatment so don't worry about it."

"Oh I see. I'll definetely have to thank her for that when I meet her."

I handed the clipboard back to the doctor. "Ok then. You're free to leave. Let's hope we don't see you again any time soon!" he joked.

"Yeah, let's hope not. I want to thank you for everything you did. You practically saved my life." The doctor smiled greatly at me.

"No, no, no. We just did our job. The pony who saved your life is Miss Fluttershy. If she didn't bring you here, you wouldn't have made it."

"Oh yeah. I really have to find her and thank her for saving me. Twilight, do you know her? Fluttershy?"

Twilight beamed at the question. "Of course I know her. She's one of my best friends. I'll introduce you to her later." Hoof-bumping the doctor again, he vacated the room. I looked at Twilight who was putting all of the books back in her saddlebags. I put the clothes back in the other bag and hung it over my shoulder. "Ready to go?" Twilight asked. "Ready as I'll ever be" I replied.

I stood up from the bed. It was only then how tall I really was here. Twilight looked up to me from below. The top of her head only came up to just above my belly button.

"Never really thought how tall you'd be. You may have to duck through a few doors." she chuckled. I laughed back at her and we began walking out of the room. We got to the reception area where Redheart was filing away some paperwork. I walked over to her desk and cleared my throat to get her attention. She turned to face me and looked up at my face

"Oh, Owen. Are you leaving? Well it was great knowing you. Hope to see you again one day."

"Yeah I hope we do. Thanks for all you did for me." Even though I was still a bit uneasy of the ponies here, I had to thank her properly. It was only right. I crouched down and leant over the desk, giving her a quick peck on the cheek as thanks. Redheart immediately blushed, as did I.

"See you around." I said to her before walking back towards Twilight, who was stifling a laugh observing mine and Redheart's reactions. We both walked to the main doors and pushed them open. Here, begins my journey into Ponyville.

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"Hey, Mr Writer. Why am I not in this yet? Huh? Huh?"

"What? Get out of here! I'm getting there!"

"You're taking too long. I need to give him the--"

"NO! Just wait! It's nearly time. Now, go back and wait at home..."

"Damn you and your fourth wall powers..."

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The sun immediately blinded my vision. Covering my eyes I looked up and saw that the sun was at it's pinnacle. "Come on Owen. My house is just down here, through the town." Twilight motioned for me to follow her, which I obliged to. Walking alongside Twilight, I marvelled at all of the sights of the town. It looked like a countryside town from the 1800's. All of the buildings had that rustic charm to them that you only get in rare places nowadays. Something was making me nervous though.

"Uhh, Twilight? You noticing all the stares I'm getting right?" Every pony that we passed stopped whatever they were doing to stare at me as I walked past. Some ran away, some just stared. Some even waved to me with a hearty smile which I nervously returned.

"Don't worry Owen, it's just that you're different, that's all. Everypony in town is aware that you are here. But, no need to worry. The moment they see me next to you, they'll know everything's fine."

We further through the town. I was simply amazed at how some of these buildings looked. One in particular took my interest to the extreme. A house, well a building of some sort. The whole building looked like it was made out of sweets. Gingerbread for walls, chocolate for the roof. It even had a giant muffin shaped spire with three candles on top. "Twilight. What is this place? It looks like something out of a fairytale." I asked.

"That is Sugarcube Corner. It's Ponyville's prestige bakery and supplies some of the finest sweets and confectionery to all over Equestria. One of my close friends helps run the place with the owners." As Twilight said that, the door to the bakery swung open and a pink pony walked...no...bounced out of it. She immediately noticed Twilight and came over.

"Hi Twilight! How are you today? Who's your friend here? I don't think I've seen--" She stopped her hyperactive questions and stopped mid-bounce in the air, staring at me. This gave me a chance to look at her properly. She had a light pink body and a dark pink mane and tail. Her mane looked like candy floss...and she even smelt of it as well. Looking at the back of her body, I noticed her cutie mark - a trio of multi-coloured balloons.

"Uhh...hi. My name is Owen and I'm new around here and..." Before I could finish, she gasped loudly and sped off out of sight at breakneck speed.

I turned to Twilight who was trying her best not to laugh. "Who on Earth was that?!" I asked with a dumbfound look.

"That is Pinkie Pie. She's the friend I mentioned. Pinkie's the most energetic, hyperactive and friendly pony you could ever meet. But I must warn you...she can be a bit much at some times. Like just now. Don't fret about it, it happened to me the first time I met her as well." Twilight stated.

"So you know what that all meant? What's she going to do?"

"All in due time. I know you'll like it." This scared me slightly, wondering what that speedy puffball could do.

We ventured on further and came across another building. Large in size, it sported an array of girly colours such as pink and purple, which coloured the walls. I inquired again. "What's this place? Looks very elegant."

Twilight laughed at my statement. "Oh, she'll be glad you said that. This is Rarity's business as well as her home - the Carousel Boutique. She makes all different types of clothing for various ponies all over Equestria. She supplies for events hosted by the Princess as well."

Looking at the clothes I was wearing, I had to meet her. "Would it be ok if we went and said hello? It's just I want to thank her for the clothes she made me." Twilight nodded and we walked into the boutique, ringing the bell above the door as we went in.

"Just a minute. I'll be out shortly." a feminine voice came from behind the counter. It sounded like an English accent to be honest. Looking around the shop, I could see many displays of many different dresses, all different colours and sizes. They looked very impressive, like they were fit for a member of royalty. *GASP* "It's you! The human!"

I turned around quickly and saw a white unicorn happily gazing at me. She had an indigo mane and tail, styled in a very elegant way. Her cutie mark was three diamonds. Realizing that it was the same image on my t-shirt, I spoke up.

"Err, yes, the human. My name is Owen. I came here to thank you for the clothes that you made me, they're really great." Rarity walked up to me and around me to inspect how the clothes fit on me.

"Oh yes darling, they look fabulous on you. I thought I hadn't got them right but low and behold, I've really outdone myself." she stated with a tone of pride. Twilight stood back and let Rarity fuss over me.

"Yeah, they really are great. I'm very impressed."

"Well, I used the best fabric I could get. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to design clothing for an unknown creature could I?"

We chatted for a bit before Twilight stepped in. "Rarity, we need to go now. I'm taking Owen back to the library and we need to get his room set up." Rarity snapped out of her chatting trance with me and looked over to Twilight.

"Oh of course dear, I wouldn't want to hold you up. Owen, could you come and visit me at some point soon? I have another idea for a design that I could use your help with."

"Well I hate to disappoint but my fashion sense isn't exactly what you call, good. But I'll come by some time during the week." With that, Twilight and myself walked out of the boutique and set off.

"Library? Are you taking the books back?" I asked.

"Oh didn't I mention? My house is the Ponyville library. I had it converted so I could live there."

I was surprised. "You actually live in the library? That's...that's quite impressive. I suppose someone like you with your vast knowledge could benefit from living in one."

Walking through the town in silence, being scrutinised by some ponies stares, I noticed a big tree in the distance which had a balcony on it. "Who lives there Twilight? Looks like a very impressive treehouse."

Twilight turned to me. "A treehouse? Oh no, no, no. That's my home, that's the library." Library? It was huge! About 50 meters away from the library, a voice overhead stopped us in our tracks.

"HEEEYYY TWIIIILIIIGHT!" was all I heard before something zoomed overhead leaving a rainbow trail behind it, scaring the hell out of me.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!" I shouted over the noise of the zoom. Twilight waited for the noise to die down before she responded.

"That's Rainbow Dash, she's another one of my best friends." Before I could inquire further, the previously mentioned pony flew down and landed next to Twilight.

"Hey Twilight, how are you?" Rainbow asked.

"I'm fine Rainbow but you scared Owen half to death here!" Rainbow looked over to me and saw me breathing heavily before bursting out laughing and collapsing to the ground. It wasn't long before Twilight joined in. Waiting for their 'hilarious' moment to pass, I took notice of Rainbow Dash. She was had a cyan coloured body and wings which made her a Pegasus. Her mane and tail were rainbow coloured, each striped a different colour. Her cutie mark was a picture of a cloud and a rainbow lightning bolt. Both mares finished their wheezing and got up. Rainbow as first to speak.

"Ahaha! Aha...the look on your face was priceless! Looked like you had just seen a dragon! Anyway, I'm Rainbow Dash, fastest flier in all of Equestria!" she said like it was a rehearsed speech. Noticing the way she was speaking, she was very full of herself.

"Well, it's nice to meet you Rainbow Dash. I'm Owen, the only human in all of Equestria!" I said matching her boastful tone.

"Uh-huh, well nice to meet you. Twilight, you remember that we have to go to Applejack's tomorrow? She needs help with the orchard since Mac isn't well." Twilight groaned at the reminder.

"Ohhh...I forgot about that.....yes I'll be there. I can't say no really can I?" Twilight didn't look too pleased at the prospect of working on a farm.

I turned my head to notice Rainbow looking at my mid-section. When she noticed me looking at her staring, she immediately looked up and looked like she was trying not to laugh. "Well er...Twilight *snigger*, I, er have to go now. I need to *snigger* need to um...move some clouds so I'll see ya!" Rainbow slowly walked away not looking back.

Twilight looked confused. "Hmm, now why was she so eager to get away. What was she doing?" she said.

"I don't know, she was looking at my mid-section, near my crotch and when I noticed her staring, she looked away." Twilight mused her thoughts.

"Now why would she do tha--" Twilight's facial expression changed into anger and she sped off after the pegasus. I ran after her. "RAINBOW, YOU GET BACK HER RIGHT...NOW!" Twilight caught up to Rainbow and held her in her magic.

"Hey! Let me down! I need to *snigger*...need to go" Rainbow said trying her best not to laugh. Twilight turned Rainbow so she was facing me.

"I think you owe Owen here an apology for what you did." Twilight said in a icy tone.

"What? I didn't do anything!" Twilight moved Rainbow so she was eye level with her.

"Oh really? Then could you explain to me what you did yesterday morning about 10AM? Get into any trouble?....Play any pranks?"

I immediately caught on. "You? That was you?!" Twilight moved Rainbow to face me once again. Rainbow held her head down in shame then lifted it slowly.

"Yeah, it was me. Me and Pinkie. I just thought I could have some fun with him before he went to the Princess for questioning...I'm sorry." Rainbow dropped her head again. It took everything in my power not to 'Awww' at that moment. She looked so cute when she was upset.

I lifted her chin up with my hand and looked into her magenta coloured eyes. "I forgive you. Besides, it was only a prank right? I'll get you back you know. You won't know how and you won't know when, but I'll get both you and Pinkie back. Just you wait." I said with a warm smile.

Twilight released Rainbow from her magic grip and she dropped to the ground. Rainbow laughed at my statement. "Oh really?" She took to the air and hovered so she was eye-to-eye with me. "I'd like to see you try." Rainbow immediately took off into the sky. I looked at Twilight who rolled her eyes.

"She's a bit tomboy-ish isn't she?"

"Oh, don't get me started." We shared a laugh and walked towards the library. Twilight levitated a key out of her saddlebag and unlocked the door. Walking in, the smell of old paper and ink flooded my nostrils. I hadn't been in a library for years.

Looking around, shelves of books lined most of the walls. There must be thousands of books here. There was a desk near the window with many books scattered around it. On the floor, there were many chairs and cushions to sit on. Another room lead out of the main hall which led to the kitchen. Looking left, there was a staircase, circling around the base of the tree leading upstairs to what I assume is the living areas.

"Wow Twilight, this place is amazing. It's brilliant!" I exclaimed. Twilight nodded and looked upstairs.

"Would you like to see your room? It's been modified for your size so everything should be perfect." We both walked upstairs. I noticed various rooms branching off from the hallway. Bedrooms maybe, not sure. Twilight motioned towards a large wooden door. "Well, go ahead."

I turned the door knob and opened the door. The room was...well...perfect. There was a large bed at least 6 and a half feet long to accomodate my height. Two wardrobes were at the back of the room which were very spacious. A nightstand was next to my bed with various books on it already. Two chests of drawers were located besides the wardobes as well.

"This room is excellent. It has everything I need! I...thank you sooo much!" Emotions overtook me then as I picked leant down and gave Twilight a strong hug which she kindly returned.

"Whoa...who's the big guy?" a voice emanted from behind Twilight.

Looking over her, I noticed a small bipedal lizard standing in the doorway. He had purple skin...scales and green scales as hair. Looking behind him, a small spiked tail poked out from his behind. Twilight turned to face him.

"Ah, good you're here. Owen, this is my number one assistant, Spike. Spike, this is the human, Owen." I edged towards him and extended my clenched fist which he knocked with his. Oh yeah...I'm getting used to this. "Nice to meet you Spike" Spike looked a bit uneasy but responded anyway.

"Uhh, yeah. Same to you. Twilight, I'm going to Rarity's for a while. Said she needed me for another task." Twilight ushered the dragon out of the door and walked with him downstairs. I heard the front door open and close and Twilight returned to the room.

"Well, if you want to get settled in here, I'll be downstairs if you need me." Twilight walked out of the room and shut the door behind her.

I sat on the bed and looked out the window. The view was of the path we took to get here. Looking further ahead, I could just make out Sugarcube Corner in the distance. "Man, I will definetely need to go there one day" I said, drooling at the thought of sweets and cakes. I started to hang my clothes in the wardrobes when Twilight knocked at the door. After saying she could come in, she walked in levitating a small box.

"Sorry to interrupt but I was wondering if you could help me with something. You see, when Fluttershy told me about you and where she found you, I went to the clubhouse...well...the remains of it and started searching around. I found this...thing on the ground near where your body was and can't make heads or tails of it. Would you know what it is?" Twilight levitated the box into my hands where I opened it and pulled out a block of cloth. Looking at Twilight, she asked to me open it up. I unraveled the cloth and something fell onto my lap. Picking it up, I could not believe what I was holding.

"This is...this is my Ipod! How on Earth did this get here?!"

6. Socialization

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What I held in my hand was a godsend.

An item which makes every day amazing.

An Ipod Touch. 32GB, full with my style of music.

But today, this was the second apple I had which made the day better.

"This is...this is my Ipod. How on Earth did this get here?!" I was amazed that this ingenious device had made it to this world undamaged...with headphones as well! Well, I say undamaged but it has seen better days.

"An...Ipod? What does...what does it do?" Twilight asked.

"It plays music. Want to have a listen?"

"But...how? How can that tiny little thing produce music? It doesn't even remotely look like a musical instrument!"

"Well it..." I stopped mid-sentence considering something. How was I going to explain this? From all the time I've spent in this world, I've barely seen any technology at all. The only electronic piece of equipment I'd seen was the heart monitor in the hospital. Walking through Ponyville earlier, I didn't see anything electronic. No lights, no electricity pylons, no mobile phones...nothing. I don't have an extensive knowledge of how most technology works but I need to explain somehow. This was going to be difficult.

'Might as well start off with an obvious question' I thought. "I don't really know how to explain it because based on what I've seen, your world doesn't seem to have advanced technology like back on Earth. Do you have any form of technology here?"

"Technology does exist in Equestria but Ponyville doesn't have much of it. The only major pieces of technology in the town that I can think of are the machines I use in my laboratory in the basement...and...oh, there's a pony who owns a club. She produces music of her own with her DJ equipment. She makes a style of music called 'Dubstep' but I personally can't stand it."

"Oh I know the feeling. Dubstep is god awful." (Yeah I said it! Sue me!) We both chuckled at our shared hatred of the music from hell. "Mentioning that kind of helps. So you're familiar with how those machines work and function, right?" Twilight nodded. "Well, this device lets me store music on it and play it back through either these headphones here or through the speakers on the device itself."

I glanced over to Twilight who was scribbling down my words on a piece of paper. She finished quickly then began to eye the Ipod with interest. "Could you please show me how it works?"

"Sure, I'd be happy to. Now, let's see if it still works..." I held down the power button on the top and the Ipod came to life, lighting up showing the Apple logo. Twilight's gaze was transfixed on the screen as it powered up. The background image appeared on the screen which piqued Twilight's interest.

"Is that your home?"

"Yeah it is. Great view isn't it?" The picture was taken from my flat on the seafront. It overlooked the sea between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight on a beautuiful sunny day. "Beautiful day that was...right, so. You probably don't have this in Equestria. Press that orange square with your foot."

Twilight held her foot to my face. "Hoof." she stated.

"Sorry, hoof then."

She pressed the orange square with her hoof and it made the screen change into a list of all different names. Twilight did a double take at what happened. "How did...what...how did that happen?!"

"This is called touch-screen technology. Under the screen here, there are loads of tiny pressure sensors. When you press a specific part of the screen with your finger...or hoof...the sensors feel the pressure and activate, causing what you pressed to open up. What you pressed there opens up the music list. Now, what kind of music do you like?"

"Well, I love orchestral music. When I was younger, my parents used to take me to so many operas. I loved it!"

"Classical music? Okie-dokie, let's see what we have here..." I scrolled through the list, scanning the hundreds of songs I have before coming across a familiar classical piece. "Ahh, Moonlight Sonata. I'm not a fan of classical music but this piece really gets to me and I grew to love it over time." I pressed play and the opening piano chords of the piece began to play. Twilight sat down next to me and closed her eyes. She swayed her head back and forth slowly listening to the music play.

The piece finished and Twilight opened her eyes. "That was beautiful...a true masterpiece. What's the name of the composer?"

"His name was Ludwig van Beethoven. He was one of the greatest composers of all time. What was so amazing is that when he wrote this piece, he was completely deaf." Twilight looked at me like I had just told the lie of the century.

"Completely deaf? That's impossible! How could he compose such a moving piece of music being deaf?"

"I don't know for sure. That's what made him brilliant...want to hear another?" Twilight's rapid nodding was all the answer I needed. Finding another song that would match her liking would be difficult. I mean, I haven't got anymore classic...ah, of course! "Try this one. This is the ending to a piece called the William Tell Overture by a man called Gioachino Rossini. It's much different than the previous piece." I pressed play and the song played. Whenever I hear this song I always starting bobbing my head up and down to the tempo of it.

The piece ended and Twilight was smiling brightly. "That was much different than Beethoven. I loved it!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm glad you like it. Unfortunately, those are the only pieces of classical music I have so I can't show you any more. Want to hear some different music?" Twilight nodded at the question. Scrolling through, I located one of my favourite songs. "This song here is a pop-rock song. You know what that is right?" She nodded. "The group is called Maroon 5 and the song is called Moves Like Jagger." I pressed play and the whistling started.

The song ended after a few minutes and I was smiling away. Twilight noticed my expression. "I tell that that's a favourite of yours?"

"Absolutely. It's been out for a while but I never get sick of it."

"It is good. I can see why you like it. Actually, I wanted to ask. What are those purple things that were attached to it?"

I looked down at my lap and picked up the purple wires. "Ah. Now these are called headphones. You plug the metal end into the Ipod like...so. Then you put two buds on the other end into your ears." I put the buds in my ears to demonstrate. "Now when I play music, it's played through these headphones instead of the speakers on the Ipod."

Twilight was dumbfounded. "The music...comes out of the headphones...can I try it?" she asked with a puppy dog eyed face.

I tried to avert her gaze...but failed. "Ok, ok. Just stop with the look. Seriously, it's one of my major weaknesses. I suppose you could try but your ears are larger than mine and these aren't designed for pony ears...oh well. Let's try anyway." I managed to fit the buds in her ears and replayed the song that just played. As soon as the music started playing, Twilight's eyes lit up and she began to bob her head to the music. She pulled out the buds with her magic and placed them in my hands.

"That's amazing! Such a clever device. I'll need to listen to it more in the future." she said in a praising tone.

"Yeah, well, there might be a problem with that. This runs on a battery which will eventually run out of power."

"What if I use a spell on it to charge it with electricity. Would that work?"

'She's smart, this one.'

"Not a clue. Guess there's no harm in trying. Seeing as it's at half power now, might as well give it a go."

I put the Ipod on the floor. Twilight lowered her horn and it started to glow. A blue jolt of energy shot out of her horn and hit the Ipod. I picked it up to examine it. "Let's have a look here...it worked! Look, 100% power! You certainly know your stuff." I complimented her.

"Oh it was nothing. Just a simple spark spell." She looked at the clock with hung on my wall. "It's 1PM now. Are you hungry?"

My stomach growled in response. I looked down at it. "Aww, are you hungry?" I looked up to Twilight who was laughing. "Well then, I think that's a yes."

"Come on then, follow me." she happily commanded. I followed.

We both walked downstairs into the main lobby where Twilight instructed for me to sit on a cushion. She asked what I would like and she made way to her kitchen. The clattering of plates and cutlery was heard and soon after, she came out with two plates being held in her magic. Twilight had made herself a daisy sandwich while I had a LT sandwich. Twilight began savouring her sandwich, 'umming' and 'ahhing' at the deliciousness of it.

"Why didn't you want the daisy sandwich? They really are tasty." Twilight asked.

"I'm afraid I can't eat it. My digestive system can't digest flowers or hay - they'd just make me unwell. I'm more than happy with the lettuce and tomato sandwich I've got here."

"Umm...can I ask a question?" I nodded. "I noticed that you have sharp teeth. What are they for?"

I was hoping she didn't pick up on that. Explaining the concept of meat to her is going to be nasty. At least it'll finish nicely though.

"I suppose I can explain. Yes, those sharp teeth are called canines. They are used to tear apart tough food such as...meat." Twilight tilted her head in confusion. I sighed heavily. "Meat being......animals." Twilight dropped her sandwich and looked at me with a mix of shock and disgust.

"You mean to say that your kind eats animals? That's horrible!" she cried.

"Yes I know, it is horrible but that's how humans have adapted in life. Now, you don't need to worry about me eating meat as I'm just like you - I hate the idea of it. I'm completely vegetarian." This made Twilight calm down - A LOT.

"Phew, I was picturing the worst then. I'm very glad you don't eat animals."

"Me and you both."

We both finished our lunches and Twilight took the plates away to the kitchen and washed them. She walked back out and looked at me.

"I have to go into town to take care of a few things. Would you like to come with me?"

"Uhh..OK, why not."

"Great! Normally I have Spike take care of most of the errands but seeing as he's incapacitated by Rarity at the moment, I'll have to do them." she said with a hint of annoyance.

"Hmm, she said she wanted to see me again. That was only this morning though."

"She'd be more than happy to see you again. I could tell she had something big planned for you." she grinned.

"I don't know whether to be excited or scared about that."

Twilight walked towards the door and motioned for me to follow.

"Well, is it good or bad?" I asked. Twilight just smiled and walked out.

"Ohhh...this is gonna be just swell..." I muttered under my breath as the library was locked up.

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Twilight and I reached Carousel Boutique. Twilight mentioned that she had to go to the town hall to discuss a problem with the mayor so I had to go here myself. She gave me a spare key to the library in case I finished before her. I gingerly stepped towards the door and raised my fist.

Knock, knock, knock.

"One second!" a voice responded. It was female and it sounded like Rarity but it was a pitch higher. The door opened to reveal a small pony. A unicorn. It was white coloured and had a pink and purple mane. The tiny pony looked up to me. "Welcome to Carousel Boutique. How may...I..." Her voice shrank away as she looked into my eyes. Her mouth then dropped open as a sudden wave of realisation came to her. "IT'S THE MONSTER! EVERYPONY RUN!" She slammed the door in my face and a commotion was heard behind the door.

"Rarity! Spike! You have to run! The monster's here!"

"Whatever are you talking about Sweetie?"

The door opened slowly to reveal Rarity looking a bit nervous. As soon as she noticed it was me, her face lit up.

"Oh, it's you Owen. I'm sorry for my little sister giving you such a...warm entrance. Please come in."

I walked inside to find Spike being used as a mannequin. We both locked eyes and Spike's facial expression said 'You tell Twilight about this and I'll kill you'. Rarity motioned for me to follow her to her back room where piles of fabric lay strewn everywhere. One pile was shaking.

"Sweetie, please come out of there and meet our guest."

The unicorn levitated her younger sister out of the pile of fabric and plopped her on the floor next to me. Rarity stood over her. "Owen, this is my younger sister Sweetie Belle. Sweetie, this is Owen, the human." I crouched down towards Sweetie.

"It's nice to meet you and--" Before I could say another word, Sweetie dashed under my legs and out of the front door. "Was it something I said?" I joked.

"Ohhh, that sister of mine. I'm sorry for her acting that way but she's still a bit scared of you. Ever since she and her friends found you at the clubhouse."

"Found me? You mean, when I crashed here, I was found by your sister and her friends? Her being young, I can't imagine how frightening that must have been."

"She spent 3 nights having nightmares. Said that the monster was coming to get her. Don't worry though, she'll come round in time."

"OK, if you say so. Right, the reason I'm here. I believe you asked me to come back and help out with something?"

Rarity's face changed to a huge smile. "Oh yes, of course! I had this idea for a suit I could make for you. I've made the basic suit already but I would like you to suggest colour, patterns or embroidery to be added to it."

"A suit? That's awfully kind of you Rarity. I'll need to pay you back when I get the chance."

"Nonsense! I'll have nothing of the sort! You don't need to pay me back for anything, I'm happy to provide you with the clothing. Now...where is it?" Rarity went to her clothing pile and picked out a beige coloured suit. "Here it is. Now, could you please try it on for me?"

"Ok sure." I walked into another room to change. Putting the suit on, I felt how smooth the material was. It felt amazing and also familiar. Felt almost like...no way. I walked out of the room towards the unicorn.

"Rarity?" She looked at me and smiled that I was wearing the suit. "It fits like a glove, thank you so much but I have a question. This material, is it...cashmere?" I asked with a hint of shock.

Rarity nodded in confirmation. "Indeed it is. The finest cashmere wool in Equestria."

I stared at her with my mouth agape. "I can't take this! This suit must have cost a fortune to make!"

"A fortune? Not at all! Cashmere wool is very easy to come by. Don't you like it?" she asked with a hint of worry.

"What? I love it! It's just that back on Earth, cashmere suits cost so much money. I mean...a fortune! It's one of the finest materials money can buy."

Rarity looked me over, admiring how the suit fit me. "I can see that the measurements are near perfect. I just need to shorten the waist by 1 inch and it'd be perfect. Now, is there any modifcations you'd like to make?"

Rarity looked very eager to await my answer. I looked at myself in the mirror, noticing how good I looked and how great the suit looked.

"Nope. This suit is perfect." Rarity looked a bit disappointed that I didn't want any changes. I noticed her down look so I looked for anything that could make this suit better. "Actually, could you put some cufflinks on the sleeves here? Just so it tightens the material around my wrist."

"Of course! Would you like the cufflinks to have a gem in them?"

"A gem? A real gem?" Rarity nodded. "Hmm...to go with beige...something light coloured...how about something yellow maybe?"

"Something yellow, something yellow....AH! How about this citrine?" She lifted a giant yellow gem, gleaming with light. It looked amazing.

"That'll be perfect." I replied.

I quickly changed out of the suit, back into my original clothes and handed the suit to Rarity. I sat down on a sofa where Spike was sitting eating handfuls of...what...yes they were! Handfuls of gems!

"Spike! How are you eating them?" I asked.

"Easy! Like this." With that, he lifted a giant red gem and crunched down on it, taking a huge chunk of it. "I suppose Twilight never explained. I eat gems as part of a nutrional diet...at least that's what Twilight says." He went back to shovelling gem after gem into his mouth.

Rarity called me back into her 'creation room' and showed me the finished product. The cufflinks were secured and both had a piece of citrine attached. "Thanks for this Rarity, really."

"Not a problem at all my dear. If you ever need another suit, just come and--"

*RING RING*

The ringing of the bell above the door interrupted her sentence. "Just a moment!" she said in a sing song voice. Rarity walked out of the room to the front desk. I listened in. "Oh hello darling! How are you today?" she asked.

A very quiet feminine voice responded. I could just make out her words. "Oh..um, hello Rarity. I was wondering if I could...um, ask for a dress to be made...if that's ok."

"Of course Fluttershy! What kind of dress--"

"Fluttershy?!"

I heard an 'eep!' before I got up and walked into the reception area. There, in front of Rarity, was a Pegasus pony...well...a curled up Pegasus. She was yellow in colour and had a pink mane and tail. A trio of butterflies was her cutie mark. Her face was hidden behind her hooves as she curled up in a ball.

"Did you say Fluttershy?!" I asked

Rarity looked at Fluttershy, shook her head, then looked back at me. "Don't worry about her, you just spooked her." Rarity walked over to Fluttershy and put her hoof on her head. "It's OK Fluttershy. Be nice and greet my guest." she said in a motherly tone.

Fluttershy shifted her hooves to reveal her eyes...two huge teal eyes. She looked up at me and gasped as she realised who I was. I approached her slowly and crouched down to meet her eyes. We locked gazes before I spoke up.

"I don't know how to put this into words so I'll just say this....thank you for saving my life."

"I..I did?"

"Yes, you did. The doctor said that if I hadn't been brought to the hospital by you, I wouldn't have survived. I..." My eyes started to water. "I...I can't thank you enough Fluttershy. If there is anything I can do to pay you back, please tell me." I quickly pulled her into a hug and squeezed hard.

"Oh...well...it was nothing, really. I did what I thought was right."

I let her go and stood up. Fluttershy was looking me over - a puzzled expression masked her face. "Is something the matter?" I asked.

"It's just...when I found you, most of your body was bending the other way and you were bleeding. How have you healed so fast?"

"The doctor used a healing spell on me which repaired the broken bones. I got some battle scars out of it though!" I said, pointing to my face and hands which had a few scuffs and scrapes. Fluttershy's face scrunched up and she looked like she was going to cry. "Are you okay?"

"Yes...I'm fine...um...Rarity, I have to go. I'll come back later. OK bye!" she exclaimed, running out of the boutique.

"What was that about? Was she alright?"

"Oh, don't worry darling. She's normally like that. Her name says it all really."

"I suppose so. Well then, I think I'll return to the library. Once again Rarity, thanks so much for the suit." I got up to walk away but a pain in my foot reminded me of something. "Ah, actually Rarity, I hate to ask but could please make something else for me?"

"Something else? Of course. What would you like made darling?"

"Well, since leaving the hospital I've been walking around in my socks. I was wondering if you could make some shoes for me. Nothing too extravagant, just something to cover my feet whilst I'm outside."

"Shoes? No problem. Let me just measure your feet." Rarity picked up a tape measure with her magic and held it against my foot, measuring the length, width and height of them.

"OK! That shouldn't be a problem."

"Thanks again Rarity. I'll see ya later!" I said with a smile. Rarity returned the smile and with that, I exited the boutique and began the walk back to the library. It was nearing 3PM and many ponies were out and about doing their own thing. A couple still gave me the odd stare but most greeted me happily. I was walking along and admiring the town when I walked straight into another pony. "OW! Oh, I'm so sorry I wasn't looking where I was going. Are you ok?"

This pony was much bigger than all of the others I has seen. Red in colour, it sported a yoke around it's neck and a large green apple was aside his flank. It was also chewing on a piece of grass.

"Eeyup." he replied and walked off like nothing happened.

'Huh...what's his beef?' I thought, immediately regretting it on the mentioning of beef. I mentally facepalmed and continued my walk. Reaching the library, I took out the key and opened the door. Closing the door behind me, the library was quiet...dead quiet. I walked into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of water before sitting down on a cushion with a copy of a Daring Do book.

Reading away, the sound of flapping wings and a thud interrupted my concentration. Looking up, I see that a small brown owl has flown in through the window and perched itself on top of the bookcase. I locked gazes with it and it stared me down. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to reading.

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5 times the bell in the clock sounded. I hadn't noticed the time fly by since I was immersed in the book. Twilight entered shortly after along with Spike.

"Hello Owen. How was your afternoon?" Twilight asked.

"Oh it was great. I spent most of it at Rarity's." I glanced at Spike and started to snigger. "You should have seen--"

Spike shot daggers at me. I had to think of a diversion.

"...this! Rarity made this suit for me." I held up the beige suit against my body.

"It looks wonderful! I told you Rarity was the best. But...what was so funny?"

"Oh...um...doesn't matter. Just thinking of something."

I looked around the room to avoid making eye contact with Twilight.

"Uh-huh, OK."

"I also met Fluttershy as well. I must admit, the name definetely fits the bill doesn't it?"

"Indeed it does. How was she anyway?"

"I never found out. I heard her come in and she mentioned a dress order to Rarity. Then I came out to see her and I think I spooked her because once I thanked her for saving my life, she spoke really fast then ran out of the building. Is um...is that normal for her?"

"It's just because you're new...or different...or both. I wouldn't worry about it to be honest, she'll come around in time."

Twilight walked upstairs to her room and closed the door behind her. Spike grabbed a book off the shelves and sat on a cushion to read.

"Hey Spike? An owl came in her earlier and perched itself up there." I motioned towards the bookshelf.

"Oh that's just Owlowiscious. It's Twilight's pet."

"Ah, fair enough."

"Oh and by the way, thanks for not mentioning the whole 'dress' thing to Twilight. I'd never hear the end of it..."

"No problem man. Don't you worry, I'll keep my mouth shut."

Twilight descended from her room and looked at me with a facial expression that said 'Hey, I've got a great idea!'.

"Hey, I've got a great idea!"

'I bloody knew it'

"Seeing as you've met all but one of my closest friends in one day, would you like to go and meet the last one?"

"That's a pretty good idea. Might as well go for the full house."

"OK then. Let's be off." Twilight, Spike and I walked out of the library and started walking away from Ponyville.

"Hey Twilight? I've noticed that we're walking away from the town."

"That's right. We're heading to Sweet Apple Acres to meet the Apple family. Their farm is on the outskirts of the town."

I remember the apple I ate this morning for breakfast. "Sweet Apple Acres? The nurse told me that's where the apple I had for breakfast this morning came from. It was delicious! One of the best apples I've ever had!"

"Well of course. The farm is world-renowned for having the best apples in all of Equestria. I can take it from your reaction that the reputation lives to it's name?

"Absolutely!"

We reached the edge of town and all that was ahead was a dirt path through trees. The sun was setting and the sky was a burnt orange. Looking over at Twilight, I notice that Spike has climbed on her back and fallen asleep which makes me laugh. Walking down the path, the trees eventually became packed with apples. Hundreds of trees as far as the eye could see, all with apples growing on them. In the distance, a red building came into view. Walking closer, I saw that the building was a small farm house - like one you'd see in an old western film. Twilight walked up to the house and knocked the door twice. The door opened to reveal a small yellow pony wearing a pink bow in it's red mane.

"Howdy Twilight! Come on in." Twilight walks into the house and I walk up the stairs to the house before the pony gasps at me. "You! You're the...the..."

"It's OK, it's alright. I'm not a monster." I crouched down cautiously so I wouldn't scare her. "My name is Owen. Judging by your reaction, I reckon you're a friend of Sweetie Belle's am I right?" This caused the pony to calm down a bit.

"Yeah, I am. Name's Apple Bloom." she said nervously. Twilight walks over to Apple Bloom and taps her head with her hoof.

"It's OK Apple Bloom, he won't bite. He's really friendly." I stand back up and walk into the house. The house had a rustic charm to it and it smelt of apples. I walked over to the sofa where Twilight was and sat next to her. Spike had been put on a chair next to the front door. Apple Bloom walks over to the kitchen door and knocks on it.

"Granny! We've got visitors!"

"Just a moment." a voice replies.

The door opens to reveal an elderly pony. Her fur was an olive green and her mane and tail were as white as snow. She wore a hankerchief around her neck which had an apple decoration on it. Her cutie mark was a pie. I'll give you three guesses to what flavour that pie was. No, go on, seriously...guess. She walked over to us slowly but surely.

"Well hello Twilight. Glad to see you again....and who is this?"

"This is Owen, he's a human from another world."

I expected her to be shocked. Scream maybe. But she just smiled at me and eyed me over. "Glad to meet ya sonny. Always nice to meet new ponies. If you need me, I'll be taking my nap on the porch." She walked out of the front door and sat on a rocking chair, immediately starting to snore.

I chuckled at what just happened. "Haha...reminds me of my grandmother. She was always like that. Strange that she didn't get freaked out by me being different." Apple Bloom was first to speak up.

"She thought you were a pony. Probably why she didn't react. Best keep it that way I guess."

"Yeah, suppose you're right."

The three of us chatted for a bit before we heard footsteps approaching...hoofsteps...whatever. A large red pony walked in covered in dirt. I recognised him immediately and got his attention.

"It's you! The pony I bumped into earlier."

He turned and stared at me. He walked over slowly and held out his hoof. "Name's Big Macintosh. Jus' call me Mac." I clenched my fist and bumped it against his.

"Name's Owen. Once again, sorry for walking into you earlier."

"S'alright. Hey Twilight."

"Hi Mac. You look like you've had a rough day."

"Eeyup." Mac walked upstairs into a room and shut the door behind him.

"He's a bit distant isn't he?" I asked.

"That's Mac for ya. He's a great big brother."

"Oh so he's your brother. Yeah, he seems nice."

"What in tarnation is that?!" a voice came from the doorway. I turned to see an orange pony standing there with a look of confusion on her face. She had a yellow mane and tail and her mane was tied up into a ponytail. Her cutie mark was a trio of apples. She also sported a stetson hat. Twilight jumped to my defense.

"Applejack, this is Owen. You know, the human I told you about?"

I stood up and Applejack walked over to me and around me, looking me all over. Her facial expression never changed which worried me slightly thinking she was going to get angry or something. Walking around to my front, she looked up at me and smiled.

"Well howdy Owen, it's a pleasure!" She tipped her hat at me and took my hand and shook it vigorously.

"It's nice to meet you too."

"Twi told me about you and I must say, she was right. You are something else!"

"Err, thanks...I guess?"

"No problem. I see you've met the rest of the Apple clan."

"Yeah I have, you've got a great family. A lovely grandmother, a great brother--"

"And a great little sister too!" Apple Bloom interrupted.

"Yes, a great little sister as well." I said smiling at Apple Bloom.

"Aw shucks, you're too kind. We've got dinner set up in the barn, do you fancy joining us?" Applejack asked.

"Sure. Sounds great! As long as I can have another one of those apples, I'd be more than happy too."

"Ahh, you've sampled the Apple family apples, eh? What do you think?"

"In all honest opinion, it was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten!" I said with a huge grin.

"Well, you haven't tried nothing yet!"

Twilight, Spike, Apple Bloom, Applejack and myself walked out of the house and through the orchard. There were so many trees...so many apples. Walking for about 10 minutes, we came across a huge red barn. Applejack grabbed Twilight and quickly ran ahead.

"Just need to check something guys! Meet us up ahead!" They both ran off laughing and went into the barn, shutting the door behind them.

"Wonder what that's about..." I spoke out loud. Both Spike and Apple Bloom shrugged. Reaching the barn, I grabbed the door handle and opened the door. Walking in, it was dark...too dark. Spike and Apple Bloom walked in behind me and shut the door, making it pitch black. "Hey, what gives? I can't see a thing." I called out.

"Oh, there's a reason for that." Spike's voice said from somewhere.

"Really? What would you want to do--"

"SURPRISE!"

"AHH! OH MY GOD!" I screamed as the lights came on and a blur of pink appeared before me, shouting away. I immediately jumped back and fell onto my back with an audible thud. Laughs were heard all around as Pinkie's face came into view.

"HI! Did I scare you? Did I? DID I?"

"YES! Yes you did! Nearly gave me a heart attack. Ugh...wha?" I yelped as I was levitated in the air by a magical force. Twilight set me down on my feet. Looking around, I marvelled at what was before me. Pinkie beat me to it though.

"It's your 'Welcome To Equestria' party! I had to throw a party for you as you're new here and everypony new gets a party!" she stated. "Do you like it?"

I glanced around. Across the support beams of the barn was a banner that read 'Welcome To Equestria'. Streamers were flung everywhere. I looked around to see that everybody I had met that day was here. Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie and Applejack were looking at me smiling waiting for me to respond. Seeing all the trouble that these ponies had gone through for me hit me hard. I started to tear up, seeing how nice they were all being. Pinkie noticed my teary disposition.

"What's wrong? Is it too much?" she asked.

"No, it's perfect. It's just...nobody has ever been this nice to me and you've only known me for a day. I...I've never had a party thrown for me before...ever."

"What? Never? Didn't your parents ever throw one for your birthday?" Rainbow asked.

That word...parents. Memories flooded back to me...memories of my foster families, how they never did anything like this. How I never had friends to celebrate with. "No...no they didn't." I mumbled.

"Why not?! Everypony deserves a party!" Pinkie quipped.

"I'll tell you another time. Not exactly a happy subject." Silence filled the room. It needed to end, this was a party for goodness sake! "Never mind about that, let's enjoy the party!" I said with a defiant tone.

"That's more like it! Come on over here and try some of the Apple family treats!" Applejack asked.

I walked over to a table at the rear of the barn. The table was full of all kinds of sweets and pastries. Muffins, cupcakes, pies...apple crumble! My favourite! I picked up one of the cupcakes and examined it. It was engulfed in pink frosting and had loads of sweets decorating it. Pinkie looked at me, waiting for me to take a bite, which I did.

"Mmm, very sweet. Tastes great!" The sweetness was overpowering but delicious at the same time. Everybody made me try many more of the treats they had supplied for the party. A knock at the barn door was heard.

"Come on in everypony!" Pinkie shouted.

The barn door swung open to reveal about 15 more ponies. They all walked in and introduced themselves to me. Some of the names I caught were Carrot Top, Bon Bon and Time Turner. Talking to the various ponies that had just walked in, a large cart was being wheeled in by a white unicorn. The cart held the biggest speakers I had ever seen, along with a turntable. 'This must be the DJ that Twilight mentioned.' I thought.

The unicorn began setting up the equipment. I walked over to the turntable and examined the pony behind it. A unicorn with a two-tone blue mane and tail. Her mane looked like she had been electrocuted. Her cutie mark was a musical note. She adorned a pair of purple tinted glasses. She noticed me looking at her and introduced herself.

"Hey man, nice to meet you at last. Name's Vinyl Scratch - stage name is DJ PON-3!"

I hoofbumped her. "Nice to meet you too. My name is Owen. I was told about you by Twilight, she told me you're a DJ and you produce your own music?"

"That's right! My music is ace! Pinkie asked me to play at this party and I can't say no to a party!"

"That's pretty sweet. Can't wait to hear it!"

I walked away and noticed Fluttershy in the corner of the barn, sitting down with a cup of punch. I walked over to her and got her attention. "Hey Fluttershy, you ok?"

She startled at my voice but answered. "Oh, hi Owen. I'm fine thank you...um...sorry for running away earlier. It's just I remembered I needed to do something and--"

I raised my hand to stop her. "It's no problem. Rarity mentioned that you were busy so I don't mind. Enjoy the party, OK?" She nodded at me and walked off to talk to Rainbow.

Music started to play. It was a soft rock song which sounded like a song from Queen. The music was set at a moderate volume so it didn't drown out everybody's speech.



The clock on the barn door hit 10PM. Spike and Apple Bloom had left the party to go to bed. Most ponies had left the party after wearing themselves out dancing to the music that Vinyl produced. The music had changed into dance/techno. This was more like a party now. Twilight and friends were still here and were sitting in a circle talking and laughing. I walked over to the refreshment table to see that it had been decimated. Only a few nibbles and scraps remained and plastic cups were strewn everywhere. I walked over to the wall and sat on a stuck out block of wood. The block then opened and I fell down. The block was in fact a basement hatch. I fell down the steps and landed on my arse.

"Sugarcube! Are you alright?" Applejack asked.

"Yep, I'm fine. Nothing hurt but my pride..."

Applejack descended and extended her hoof which I gladly took to haul myself up. She turned on the light and the room lit up to show bottle upon bottle upon bottle of liquid. "What is this place?" I ask.

"This is the Apple family cider cellar. We use it to store our cider for when it's time to sell. We also have lots of other types of alcohol. Feel free to look."

Alcohol. Sweet alcohol. I would have never thought in a place like this that strong spirits would exist. I pull down a variety of bottles and look at the labels. Many types of vodka, gin, rum, beer and cider. Applejack cleared her throat and I looked at her. She wore a devilish grin...another idea.

"I've got an idea."

'I'm getting good at that.'

"How about we all have a drink. A proper drink, I mean."

"Uhh...OK sure. Not too many though, I've never been drunk before."

Applejack's face was of pure shock. "You've...never been drunk before? Oh sugarcube, I really wish you hadn't told me that..." She walked back upstairs with a crate of bottles. This couldn't end well.

I walked back up to see Applejack pouring out neat spirits into plastic cups and passing them out to her friends. "Right everypony. This is a party and we need to have more fun. We're gonna have us a little drinking game." she said with a grin. Everyone looked eager to drink...except one.

"Ohh...I don't know Applejack...I'm not a drinker..." Fluttershy weakly said.

"Oh come on Fluttershy! Drinking is awesome! I bet I could drink more than any of you...especially you AJ!" Rainbow exclaimed.

"Oh really partner? I'd like to see you try!" she retorted.

With that, we all downed the neat spirits, immediately coughing at the strength of it. Even Fluttershy downed hers - good on ya girl! Applejack picked up the bottle and began re-filling.

*5 drinkshhh later...*

Everyone was wobbling a bit. The alcohol finally getting to us. Twilight got up and looked a bit dizzy. "Right everypony, I'm going to have to call it a night. I'm feeling a bit dizzy...ugh..." Twilight immediately fell down onto a pile of hay and began to snore. All of us snorted and laughed loudly. Looking around, Rainbow and Applejack were downing cup after cup of vodka, both of them not admitting defeat.

I looked around to see that it was only myself, the main 6 and Vinyl that were still here. I looked at the table and saw that there were 12 plastic cups un-used, just sitting there. Memories of a certain competition down the local pub sprung to mind and I had an amazing idea. I hauled myself off the floor, wobbling slightly. I wasn't drunk...well ok, maybe a little. I cleared the table of the scraps of food and put 6 cups at each end of the table in a pyramid formation. Turning to the girls, I spoke up.

"Hey! Do you want to play a fun game?" They all cheered in approval - bar Twilight.

"OK. One question, do you have ping pong here?" Pinkie nodded. "OK, have you got a ping pong ball I could borrow?" Pinkie pulled a ping pong ball out of the floor...somehow...and gave it to me.

"Right. Everybody come to the table. Now, you're all familiar with ping pong, right?" They all nodded in agreement.

"Alright...what about Beer Pong?"

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Pain...

More pain...

"Uhhh..." The sun shone through the window right into my face. I sat upright and waves of pain shot through my head. "Argh...what the hell..." I looked down at myself to see that I was still dressed in yesterday's clothes. I tried to remember what I did yesterday evening.

*BOOM BOOM BOOM*

The sound of loud thuds started getting louder and louder. Covering my ears to mask the sound, I buried my head in my lap. The door opened to reveal Twilight looking at me, trying not to laugh.

"Morning sleepyhead. How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Ugh...not good...what time is it?"

"It's 6AM. I have to go and help AJ at the farm since Mac still can't buck trees."

I coughed loudly then looked at Twilight. "What happened to me last night?"

"Do you really want to know?" I nodded. "Well, it started when I tried to feign dizziness..."

7. Drunken Mishaps

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*A/N* This chapter is about the previous night's events and will not be spoken in first-person narrative like in previous chapters.

Twilight's plan had worked. Feigning dizziness and collapsing, pretending to fall asleep, had fooled her friends into thinking she was out for the night. Unbeknowest to them, Twilight just didn't want to continue drinking. She waited for her friends to surround the table before getting up slowly and hiding at an unlighted part of the barn. She observed Owen as he began setting up cups on the table.

"What about Beer Pong?" he asked.

The five ponies all shook their heads, trying not to make themselves fall over in the process. Fluttershy stumbled slightly but saved herself by falling onto Pinkie's back before they both burst out laughing.

"Careful, girls. You don't want to miss out on this. Now, we need four ponies to pl..to play this....errr....Rainbow!" Owen shouted startling Rainbow. "Since you're soooo eager to beat Applejack at drinking, you and me can face her and..." Owen scanned the other ponies, judging their sobriety. Fluttershy and Pinkie were still using each other for support so they wouldn't be good. Rarity shook her head when he cast his gaze over her. The only pony left was...

"VINYL!" he shouted over the music, catching the DJ's attention. "We need you for this drinking game! You'll be paired with--ulp" he said, forcing back down a risky burp. "Paired with Applejack." Vinyl put a record on her turntable and let it play while she walked over to where Applejack was, hoofbumping her.

"Right, this is how it works. You see these 6 cups in front of you? Fill them up with whatever alcohol you like and how much you can drink." Owen commanded. The girls and the human began to fill up the cups with whatever alcohol they could find. Owen and Rainbow mostly had vodka and cider whilst Applejack and Vinyl had a different alcohol in each cup.

"OK, now. The idea is to take this ping pong ball..." Owen held the ball up. "...and throw it, trying to make it land in a cup at the end of the table. If it lands in a cup, whatever cup it landed in, a member of the other team has to drink the contents..." Owen leant down on the table and narrowed his eyes. "...in one go...HA!" he said, laughing at the end. "The team who drinks all their cups first...loses. Make sense?"

Applejack and Vinyl nodded and gave battle stances, ready for competition. Owen looked at Rainbow who had a determined look on her face.

"Right, since I am a gentleman, ladies first. Rainbow?" he said, lowering the ball to her. Rainbow took the ball and readied herself, staring intently at the opposing mares.

"Ohhh...*hic*...you're go-going down AJ!" she slurred before throwing the ball, narrowly missing the cup. "Oh man..."

"Oooh, way to miss Rainbow!" Vinyl retorted with a sly smile. Vinyl picked up the ball and threw it, landing it straight into a cup, filled to the brim with vodka.

Owen gave a death glare to Vinyl. "You sneaky little...fine." he said before picking up the cup and downing it's contents, immediately coughing at the strength of it. "God almig..*cough cough*...bloody hell. That's another rule by the way...urgh...if you land a ball in a cup, whose ever turn it is next has to drink it." Owen picked up the ball and threw it, bouncing it on the table and landing it straight into a cup filled with a brown liquid.

"Ohh boy. Nice shot partner!" Applejack said before backing the cider. She looked towards Rainbow and chuckled. "My turn..."

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This was it, the final cups. Both teams had one cup remaining. Many throws had been taken, all off target. The constant arc of the ball was all too familiar with the teams as the game went on. The limbs were beginning to hurt, the annoyance was setting in. It was all becoming too much *PLOP*

"YES! SUCK ON THAT!"

Vinyl and Applejack looked at Owen in defeat as he had just claimed the last of their cups. Vinyl took the cup and downed it. "Oh man...good game Owen...urgh...good game." she said before walking to a seat and parking herself on it.

Owen looked at Rainbow who hovered in the air and gave a high five with her hoof. "That was so awesome! We totally beat AJ and Vinyl!"

"We sure did! No hard feelings, eh girls?"

Applejack and Vinyl offered a smile and a grunt in response.

"Whose next? Anyone?" Owen waited for a response but none came. He looked towards Rainbow. "Me versus you. How about it?" Rainbow's face lit up.

"Oh, you are so on!" she replied.

Owen and Rainbow began setting up the cups again and stood at each end of the table. Owen was about to throw before he was tackled by a certain pegasus.

"Owen! Can I play? Please?!"

"Err...Fluttershy? You feeling OK?" he asked. This was not like Fluttershy at all. Drunk Fluttershy was loud, excited and up for anything!

"I'm more than fine! That game just looked so fun so can I play?" she asked with a massive grin.

"Sure, it'd be great! Rainbow, you need another player!"

Rainbow quickly pulled Pinkie next to her and soon after, another game was under way.

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The clock read 12AM. Four more games of Beer Pong had been played and by now, everyone had played a game. Unfortunately for Owen, he had been in all of them. The five mares and Owen were lying on the floor, resting against a hay bale.

"Guys, seriously...this...this has *hic* this has been amazing. I...I love you guys, ahaha..." Owen slurred.

"Yeah, it's been great! Best party in like, forever!" Pinkie replied, still hyperactive as usual. Silence filled the room as the music had stopped playing. A loud belch from Fluttershy broke it, causing herself and everyone else to burst out laughing at the outburst.

"AHAHAHA! That was amazing Fluttershy!" Rainbow managed to say between breaths.

"I know! HAHAHA!" Fluttershy replied, literally ROFL'ling.

"Ahaha...ha...oh man, we need some more music. I wi...wish I brought my...my Ipod with me...that'd be awesome right now..." Owen mumbled.

Twilight, who was still sitting in the dark corner of the barn, looked up from the book she was reading and cast her horn alight. A few seconds later, Owen's Ipod materialised in front of him and dropped into his lap. "Huh...well would you *hic* look at that? MUSIC!" Owen happily cried before stumbling to his feet. "We need some music...and I have the answer! Vinyl, you got any lights up on there?"

Vinyl slowly got up and walked over to her turntable, flicking a switch which sent multi-coloured strobe lights everywhere. Owen turned to Applejack. "AJ! Turn off the barn light!" Applejack did so and the barn became a club. "Perfect! Now...some dance music..." Owen shuffled his Ipod before playing a familiar tune. Everyone eventually got up and started to dance to the music - despite of how drunk they are.

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1AM now. Everyone had worn themselves out from dancing and were all sitting in a circle around a bottle. Owen's Ipod had been put on a quiet volume and on shuffle. It was playing many tunes from Earth, such as Queen, The Beatles, Crush 40 and Foo Fighters.

"Come on Owen, it'll be fun!" Rainbow said, nudging the human in the side.

"I don't know girls, I've never played this before and I'm not..." Owen muttered, shying away from the group. Rarity put her hoof on his shoulder.

"Owen, look at me." He did so. "This is a great game, it's loads of fun and you're the only stallion here. It'll be most fun for you!"

"Stallion, eh?......Oh, what the *hic* hell." he replied.

"Yes! Good on ya partner. I assure you, this'll be a ton a' fun." Applejack happily cheered. She spun the bottle with her hoof and it spun 3 times before pointing to her. "Ehehe...OK, it's me." She spun it again. The bottle spun and spun, slowing down and ending up pointing at...

"Aw ponyfeathers..."

"You're telling me."

"Go on Rainbow, you have to do it!" Fluttershy jeered. Rainbow looked at Applejack with a nervous glare, which she returned, before they leant in their lips met for a second before pulling away. Everyone applauded and cheered and the bottle was spun again, landing on Pinkie.

"Ooh ooh! My turn!" Pinkie spun the bottle and it landed on...

"Fluttershy!" Pinkie cried.

These two had no problem with the kiss as they practically jumped at each other, locking lips for at least 5 seconds. Parting lips, everyone burst out laughing at the scene that had just played before them. Owen picked up the bottle and spun it. It landed on himself.

"Oh no..." he quietly said - the other ponies sniggering. He spun it again and it landed on...

"You OK with this?" Owen asked.

"It's the rules. Besides..." She lifted up her glasses to reveal her magenta eyes. "I'm more than OK with it." Vinyl said with a smirk. She walked over to Owen and put her hooves on his shoulders before leaning in and kissing him...hard. Owen's eyes opened widely as her lips connected with his but closed slowly when the comfort of it set in. Vinyl leant her hooves around his neck and pulled him harder towards her before breaking the kiss after about 10 seconds. "How was that?" She asked with a blush forming on her face.

"I..uh...it...it was great." Owen stumbled, trying to find the right words. The mares just stared at Owen and Vinyl, smiling at what they witnessed.

"That was amazing Vinyl!" Applejack said.

"Yeah! It was cool!" Fluttershy cried.

"Yeah...it was." Rainbow said quietly, staring at Owen's eyes - his eyes not meeting hers.

The bottle was spun again and again. Rarity had to kiss Pinkie, Fluttershy had to kiss Vinyl and Applejack had to kiss Rarity.

"Right guys, this is it. Last turn. I gotta hit the sack." Applejack said, yawning afterwards.

"I'll do it!" Rainbow shouted. She spun the bottle once and it landed on her. She spun it again and it landed on exactly who she wanted it to land on...but she didn't let anybody else know that.

"Uhh, Rainbow. You don't have to you know, I know how uncomfortable you were earlier..." Owen said, looking into her eyes.

"You can say that again. Never mind, I've got to go to sleep. G'dnight everypony..." Applejack said, getting up and walking out of the barn. Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie and Vinyl all said their goodbyes and left. Only Owen and Rainbow remained.

"Well Rainbow, it was a great party. We need to do this again sometime!" he said, trying to get up but he was held down by something. It was Rainbow.

"I'm not uncomfortable with it..." she said with a smile.

"Uncomfortable with wha...ohhhh. You sure?"

Rainbow walked over to Owen and sat in front of him. She leant up to him, put her hooves around his neck and kissed him. Owen returned the kiss and then tried to pull away but Rainbow relented. She pulled him in harder, kissing him more passionately. Owen was shocked but not disagreeing with it. He put more effort into the kiss whilst putting his hands around Rainbow's body, pulling her towards him, holding her tight.

Rainbow leant into Owen some more and his body gave way, making him fall onto his back, still holding her. About a minute later, they parted lips and looked into each other's eyes before Rainbow laughed.

"Ahaha...that was nice...drunken accident right?" she asked.

"Yeah, for sure. Drunken *yawn* accident..." he replied.

Rainbow remained on top of Owen's chest and before long, they had both fallen asleep.

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"Seriously?! I did that?!" I asked.

"Indeed you did. After I saw that you and Rainbow had fallen asleep, I gently pulled her off you and teleported you back here. I just about managed to put you into bed, he he." Twilight replied.

"Thanks for that, really. I mean it. But you should have said something! I feel bad that you had to wait around for me to finish--"

"Owen, it's OK. You were having loads of fun and I could see that you needed it. I was more than happy to wait for you."

"It sounded like loads of fun...too bad I can't remember any of it."

"I'm going to AJ's in 30 minutes to help out for the day. Do you want to join me?"

"After her hosting that party for me? I think I will...you know...as a way of saying thanks. Just uhh...let me wash first...I smell terrible.

8. A Memorious Occasion

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Twilight smelt the air surrounding my room and her reaction summed up that I was pretty much spot on.

"Yeuch! You do smell terrible...er...no offense. The bathroom is down the hall, second door on the left."

'I seriously did that last night? I'm so stupid! Great first impressions Owen, yeah. They'll all think you're fun to party with only after you've had a load to drink...and why the hell did I kiss Vinyl AND Rainbow Dash? I've never done anything like that before in my entire--"

"Hello? Equestria to Owen?" Twilight shouted, tapping my head with her hoof. I snapped out of my mental argument and faced her.

"Sorry...it's just...what happened last night...that wasn't me. I'm never like that...ever..." I mumbled meekly.

"What do you mean?"

"Last night sounded amazing. I had a party thrown for me, I got drunk and kissed two girls I barely know. I've only been out of the hospital for a day! In my whole 23 year life on Earth, I had NEVER done any of that. I've accomplished more here in one day than my whole life on Earth..." I explained, turning my head away at the end.

Twilight turned me back around and smiled at me. "That's not necessarily a bad thing. Think of it this way. So your life on Earth wasn't great, maybe that changed the way you think about the world. But here, in one day, you gained a whole bunch of friends, had a great time at a party and even had gifts made for you. This isn't normally you? Maybe it's time for a change." she offered with the most kind-hearted expression she could muster.

"Yeah...Yeah! You're right!" I pulled her into a hug. "Thanks Twilight, you always know what to say." I thank her. Twilight immediately pushes herself away.

"I'm OK with hugs but not when you smell like that. Bathroom, now, quick-march!" she commanded in a mock drill sergeant voice.

"Yes Ma'am!" I replied before walking out of the room down the hallway and into the bathroom. Looking into the mirror was a huge mistake. Instead of seeing my handsome good-looks staring back at me, what I got in return was a dirty, dishevelled lump of a man with the worst case of bed head. My eyes were blood-shot from the lack of sleep, accompanied with black rings around the eyes. Looking down, my clothes were filthy. I quickly undressed and crouched under the shower. Turning it on, I washed quickly, using whatever soap or shampoo Twilight had on her shelves.

Finished with the torrent of hot water, I turned off the shower and stood up, stretching my joints in the process. Looking around, I stumbled across a problem. I seem to had forgotten to bring in a towel and I was not getting back in those clothes. Opening the door slightly, I peeked to see if the hallway was clear, which it was. Picking up my clothes, I held them against my crotch and ran for my room, barely getting inside before Twilight appeared from her room. I quickly shut the door and called out to her.

"Uhh, Twilight? Have you got a towel anywhere I can use?"

"Hold on a second!" she called before rummaging was heard. Three knocks sounded the door. "Can I come in?"

"Uhh, sure."

Twilight opened the door and walked in with the towel suspended with her magic. I leant to grab it and the weight in my left hand gave way, dropping the clothes to the floor. Freezing still, I looked at Twilight who was staring at my mid-section intensely.

"So that's what it looks like. I don't know why you--"

I quickly snatched the towel out of her magic and covered myself. "You didn't see anything! Out, out, out!" I shouted, pushing her out of the door. I slammed the door shut and slumped against it.

"It's OK Owen! I won't inquire about it." she said before her retreating hoofsteps were heard.

'Ohhhh...shit. I am never gonna live that down...or hear the end of it...'

I walked to my wardrobe and opened it up, retrieving a daark red t-shirt and a black pair of trousers, along with underwear and socks. Once dressed, I dried my hair and flattened it. Couldn't be bothered to style it. Walking downstairs, I saw Twilight waiting for me. I walked up to her and she stood up on her back legs and embraced me in a hug.

"Twilight? What's this for?" I asked.

"Finishing what you tried to do earlier." she answered.

"Ohhhh. Right. Thanks."

"What would you like for breakfast?"

"Just an apple will do fine. Can't get enough of them!" I answered with a grin.

Twilight tossed me an apple with her magic which I gracefully caught and immediately began chomping into. Twilight made herself some toast and began to eat as well.

Finishing up the morning meal, we both walked out of the library into the crisp morning air, shutting the door behind us. Unknown to us, we had startled the remaining sleeping resident.

"Huh...uh...*snore*...kiss me Mr Kangaroo..."

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The walk to Sweet Apple Acres was uneventful. Along the way, many ponies had greeted us with the common 'Good Morning' before going about their daily business. Twilight and I chatted about the certain ponies we passed and what they did for a living.

'Mental note. Must visit the spa at some point.'

Arriving at the farm, we walked up to the house and knocked on the door. A few seconds later, the elderley matriach of the Apple family opened the door.

"Good mornin' Twilight and Owen. Nice ta see you up and early." Granny greeted.

"Good morning Granny Smith. We're looking for AJ, is she around?"

"Oh yes. She's out in the orchard. Started bucking as soon as the sun rose. Oh Owen, before I forgot. Rarity left this in the barn last night. It's addressed to you."

I picked up the box with was wrapped with a indigo bow. Undoing the bow, I opened to box to find a pair of shoes in it. Lifting them out, they were simple slip-on shoes, light blue in colour and had her cutie mark on the side. I quickly put them on.

"Wow, these are really comfortable. I'll have to thank her for them some time."

"Thank you. Have a nice day!"

We began our walk into the orchard to locate the farm pony. I turned to Twilight.

"Just a question. She did say 'bucking' right? Because I wasn't sure if she mea--

"Yes. She said bucking." Twilight deadpanned.

"Good. Just wanted to clear that up." 'They even have swearing here! That's hilarious!'

Walking further into the orchard, a loud noise was heard.

*THWACK* *RUMBLE*

"What on Earth was that?" I questioned.

"We're getting close. AJ?!" Twilight shouted.

*THWACK* *RUMBLE*

The source of the noise became clear. Looking through an opening, the sought-after mare was kicking a tree with her back legs, causing the apples to fall into buckets around the base of the tree.

"Bucking...makes sense now...bucking of the...yes..." I mused to myself. The farm pony noticed our prescence and looked over to us.

"Howdy guys! Glad ta see your finally here." Applejack greeted, running over to us.

"Morning AJ. We would have been here soon but 'someone' had a bit of a sleepy start." Twilight said, nodding towards me at the mention of 'someone'.

"Hey, come on. I had a perfectly good reason for that!" I looked at Applejack and stared in amazement. "How do you do it AJ?"

"Uhh...do what?"

"You were at the party last night. You didn't go to bed until the early hours. Yet still, you're able to get up at the crack of dawn and begin work and look like nothing happened. It perplexes me."

Applejack giggled. "Well partner, if you're used to what I do every mornin', a hangover is nothin'. I'm guessin' it's bad for you, huh?" I nodded in response. "Well, you look like ya needed the party. Heck, everypony needed it!" We all shared a laugh. Twilight raised her hoof to speak.

"Right AJ. What do you want us to do?"

"Here's the plan. Twilight, you use your fancy magic to put the buckets around the trees. I'll buck the trees. Twi, you put the buckets back on the cart and Owen, since ya look like the strong sort, you can pull the cart along with us. Sound OK?"

The prospect of pulling a heavy cart laden with fruit around all day was not what I was expecting but I didn't want to appear rude.

"No problem AJ. Happy to help." I said with a smile.



Over the next few hours, I watched how the farm made it's profit. Applejack's kick was a hefty kick, definetely a bone breaker. How she made all of the apples fall down in one go, I'll never know. Pulling the cart was much easier than I thought it would be but over time, it got gradually heavier. Still, I managed to pull it along without groaning about it.

The sun was high in the sky and was reaching it's pinnacle. The heat was intense. I began to drag the cart over to the last tree and waited for AJ and Twilight to finish. Loading the last of the apples onto the cart, Twilight turned to me.

"That's it for now. Good work, everypony!" she chimed. "Boy howdy, with you two around, my job was made so much easier. I can't thank you enough."

"No problem AJ, I...myself and Twilight were happy to help" I said, almost taking all of the gratitude.

We all walked back to the house. Well, Twilight and AJ walked, I pulled the cart. But the majority of it was downhill so it wasn't so bad. Arriving back at the house, we all sat down on the porch where Granny Smith had left out some apples and three glasses of apple juice. We all happily relaxed and chatted for a while, mostly about last night.

"...and then, Fluttershy changed after her third drink. Like she was a whole diff'rent pony!" Applejack said.

"That was quite funny. I hadn't really spoken to her yet but she seemed really timid when I did. But last night, my goodness, she was a barrel of laughs!" I chimed in.

"Well, I hate to cut this short but we need to get back to work. Shouldn't take too long. With your help, I think we'll be finished by four--"

"TWILIGHT! OWEN!" a voice shouted in the distance.

Looking for the source of the voice, I spotted a familiar purple dragon running towards the house. Approaching us, he slowed and stood next to Twilight, gasping for breath.

"Spike! What's wrong? Are you OK?" Twilight asked with concern.

"I *gasp* got this *gasp* for you *gasp* Twilight." he managed to squeeze out before collapsing with fatigue. A rolled up scroll fell out of his hand. Twilight immediately recognised it.

"It's a letter from the Princess!" she exclaimed. She unrolled the scroll and read it out loud.

To my faithful student Twilight Sparkle,

Thank you for alerting me to the full recovery of our guest. I am certain he will do well in your care. I would like to invite you and Owen to come to Canterlot this evening. I would like to converse with the human myself and I could do with a personal catch-up from yourself. I have taken the liberty of providing train tickets for yourself and Owen. I look forward to seeing you both.

Yours Sincerely,
Princess Celestia

My mouth hung agape at what I had just heard. The Princess, ruler of all the land, wants to meet me...now.

"I...she...the Princess want's to see us today?!" I asked in disbelief.

"It seems so. It'd be nice for you to finally meet her." Twilight replied happily.

"What time is the train for?"

"Let's see." She levitated the two train tickets from the scroll. "It says it leaves Ponyville at 2PM...and it's first class!"

"First class? Hoowee, that's mighty fancy!" Applejack cried.

"Sorry AJ but this takes priority. You don't mind me and Owen leaving do you?"

"Heck no! An audience with the Princess is more important than this. I'll be fine."

"Thanks AJ. Come on Owen, let's go and pack."

"Sorry to leave like this AJ. See you around!"

Twilight and I ran off back towards Ponyville. Back on the farm, a certain dragon finally came to his senses.

"Huh...Twilight? She left without me! What am I gonna do now?" Spike said to himself.

"Well partner, I've got a couple of jobs for ya." Applejack said with a mischevious grin.

"Oh, darn it..."

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The railway station in Ponyville was pretty basic albiet colourful. A simple ticket hall and a platform with a few seats. A singular track ran alongside the platform. Twilight and I had arrived at the station with 15 minutes to spare and we stood near the edge of the platform, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the train.

In the time we had to prepare, Twilight had packed her saddlebags with many notes, spare quills and various knick-knacks she would need. I packed a change of clothes and my Ipod as I didn't really have much else to choose from. I took my Ipod due to the fact that I'd need to explain it to the Princess one day or another.

"Twilight, can I ask you something?" Twilight gave a hum to answer my question. "This Princess Celestia, is she friendly?"

Twilight turned her head sharply to me and met my gaze. "You have nothing to fear. Princess Celestia is the kindest pony in the whole of Equestria. Why do you ask?"

"Back on Earth, monarchs and royalty are normally considered to be kind of intimidating to normal people like myself. At least I now know that this Princess is friendly and kind."

Before Twilight could respond, a sharp whistle came from the distance as the train came into view. A huge steam train pulled into the station pulling 5 carriages. The train was immaculate, like it had been washed and polished the entire time it had been travelling. It reminded me of a trip I took on a steam train on the East Lancashire Railway (Seriously, Google that railway. It's an amazing journey through the countryside.)

The train came to a stop and let off a hiss of steam, making me jump and causing Twilight to stifle a laugh. Twilight motioned for me to follow her to the First Class carriage where some ponies were departing the train. They were all dressed in smart clothing and looked prim and proper. Some even had monacles! Once everyone had got off the train, Twilight approached an Earth pony guard, who was grinning at her.

"Twilight! So good to see you again. Going to see your parents?" the pony asked.

"Not this time Ground Herder. Myself and Owen here" she said pointing to me. "are going to see the Princess."

Ground Herder looked towards me and gave me a nod. "Glad to meet you, dear boy. I must say, you're not from around these parts are you?"

"No Sir. I'm from...a long way away."

"Ah I see. Glad to see you in the prescence of such a refined mare such as Twilight." he said, winking at Twilight.

"Oh stop it, you'll make me blush! Here's our tickets." she said, handing over the two golden tickets. Ground checked them over and gave them back to Twilight.

"First Class this time, eh? The Princess really treats you well doesn't she? Well, enjoy your trip."

"Thank you." we both replied.

Twilight and I boarded the train and made our way to a private cabin, located towards the rear of the train. I marvelled at the decor of the interior of the train.

"First Class is nice. Real nice!" I exclaimed. The interior was mostly wooden. The cabin supplied two lounge sofas, easily big enough for myself. A table sat aside the window, laid out with cutlery for the passengers. A vase full of brightly coloured flowers sat on the end of it. Many pictures adorned the walls, mostly of other trains and pictures of the cities and towns it passes through.

"I'm glad you like it. The Princess normally doesn't buy First Class tickets for me. Maybe she wants to make a good first impression for you." Twilight said.

"Well, she's definetely done that!" I replied with a smirk.

The sound of doors slamming shut was heard and the 'all aboard' signal was shouted by a male pony. The train suddenley jerked forward as it started it's journey. I sat down on one of the sofa's and laid back into a comfortable position.


* Two Hours Later*


"So Princess Luna was Nightmare Moon? That's amazing!"

Twilight decided to bring me up to speed with some recent Equestrian history regarding the Princesses. She had told me about some of the battles and wars that had raged in the past. She had told me what she knows about Celestia and her sister, Luna. I was quite intrigued to find out that Luna was once evil before Twilight and her friends stopped her and turned her back to normal.

"Sounds like they've both lead busy lives - protecting and ruling Equestria for all that time. Especially for Celestia since she had to do it alone for a millenium."

"Indeed they have. Now that Luna is back to her normal self, things aren't so stressful for Celestia anymore. Sure there are still the mundane duties such as the royal court and paperwork to do but she doesn't let it get on top of her. Celestia is always calm."

"Cool, calm and collected right?"

"Right!"

"Well then, I'm looking forward to meeting them both. I must admit thought, I'm quite nervous but I'm sure that'll--"

*SCREECH*

The train made a horrific screeching sound as the brakes were put on full. The sudden jerk of the train's movements caused everything on the table to fall off, including the vase with it smashing on the floor. The train finally came to a stop. Looking out of the window, we could both see that we were not at our destination. There was just countryside, nothing else. No buildings, no towns, just fields and trees.

Before Twilight could assess the situation, a voice came over the tannoy system.

"Sorry Fillies and Gentlecolts but the train has had to make an emergency stop. A rather large tree has fallen onto the tracks and blocked our path. We have a team of ponies sorting it out as we speak and we should be moving within the next hour. Sorry for any inconvienience this may cause you."

Twilight's eyes went as wide as saucers. "Oh no. No no no no no!"

"Hey, calm down. What's the problem?" I asked.

"We can't be late. I've never been late for the Princess. NEVER!" she shouted.

"Whoa, enough with the shouting. Look, just sit down and wait for the train to move. I'm sure the Princess won't mind if we're late. There's nothing really we can do about it is there." I offered.

Twilight calmed down and sat on the sofa. "Yeah, I suppose you're right." Twilight began fidgeting with her hooves and looking out of the window at the obstruction on the tracks.

About 15 minutes passed before Twilight stood up again. "I'm just going somewhere. I won't be long. Stay here OK?" With that, her horn glowed purple and in a sharp, blinding flash of light, she was gone.

I looked around for her. "Not in the cabin." I walked outside of the cabin to the hallway to try and spot her. "Not out here either. Twilight?" No response.

I walked back into the cabin and sat on the sofa. I pulled out my Ipod and began listening to some Foo Fighters. Singing along to the songs, a bright light appeared again and Twilight re-appeared in front of me. Shutting off the Ipod, I said the first thing that came to mind.

"What the hell did you just do?!" I shouted.

"Relax, I teleported to the Princess' throne room."

"Teleported? You can do that?"

"Sure I can. Now, I asked her if I could bring you to the throne room by teleport. She agreed but only if you say it's OK. Are you alright with it?"

"Will it hurt?"

"Not at all." she replied, placing a hoof on my hand. I grabbed the hoof with my hand.

"OK then. Teleport away."

With that, she charged her horn and the world around me faded into white.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My body felt weightless, like it was falling through the air. My stomach started doing somersaults as I wished for the teleport to end. As I did, I felt the ground beneath my feet again.

"There, that wasn't so bad was it? Although, first time I teleported, I did feel rather sick." Twilight mused.

"You got that right..." I mumbled. The remnants of breakfast and lunch were counting down to launch with only T-Minus 2 seconds to go. I looked around and saw a plant pot which I ran towards. Falling to my knees and leaning my head into the pot, I upchucked...loads. A collective gasp was heard after I had finished.

"Owen! Are you OK?" Twilight's voice eminated from behind me. I turned to face her.

"Yeah...I'm OK...for now. Could have done with a warning about the stomach upset..."

"Ehehe...sorry. I forgot."

"It's no problem. Probably lost weight doing that as well! So...where are we?"

"In my throne room, young Owen." a female voice sounded.

I froze. Turning my head left slowly, I came face to face with the biggest pony I had ever seen. I got to my feet and it sunk in how tall she was. She was at least 6 foot tall. She had a horn and wings so I don't know what kind of pony she's called. A pegacorn...unises?

Her mane and tail was multicoloured and flowed like it was caught in a slight, gentle wind which covered one of her huge purple eyes. A golden crown sat above her horn with a purple gem encrusted into it. She also sported a kind of breastplate with the same colour scheme and gem as the crown. Looking at her rear, her cutie mark was a picture of the sun. I looked back at Twilight who was kind of lying on the floor with her eyes closed.

"Twilight, what are you doing?" I asked.

"Bowing before the Princess."

"Bowing before who now?" I turned to face the white pony who was smiling at us both. "Bowing...that means...*GASP*" I gasped before bowing my head as a sign of respect.

"It's quite alright. I should have thought you wouldn't have been in the audience of a Princess before. I am Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria." Celestia walked towards us and stopped in front of me. I lifted my head to see her bowing hers! "It's a pleasure to meet you at last."

"O-of course. It's good to meet you as well. Twilight has told me all about you." Celestia began to walk back to her throne. Looking around, I marvelled in the decor of the throne room. The room was enormous. It had a red rug on the floor leading from the door to the top of the throne where a large chair was seated. The throne even had water flowing out of it. The room itself was styled in a kind of medieval style castle, only more colourful. Stain glass windows depicting many ponies adorned the walls - I swear one of them looked familiar.

Following Celestia to her throne, I noticed the amount of white pegasus ponies standing around, completely motionless. Looking more carefully, they all looked the same. Completely white with a two-tone blue mane and tail. They each sported golden armour and shoes. They never once broke eye contact with which way they were facing.

Celestia sat on her throne and cleared her throat. One of the pegasus' turned to face her.

"Yes your highness." he saluted.

"Now that the guests have arrived, you may all be excused to outside of the throne room. No disruptions, no exceptions." she commanded.

"Yes your highness."

With that, all of the pegasus' departed the room and closed the door. The room was quiet with only myself, Twilight and the Princess left in it.

"This is a momentus occasion! My first encounter with an alien species. I hope your stay in Equestria has been satisfactory so far?" Celestia asked.

"Oh, more than satisfactory Princess, it's been amazing...you know...minus the whole crash and staying in hospital for near a week."

"Of course. I trust Twilight has taken well care of you?" Celestia said, looking towards Twilight.

"Yes she has. She's given me a place to stay and introduced me to all of her friends. I've learnt a lot from her in my short stay here."

Twilight's face lit up. "I have? Oh, thank you. You've taught me some new things as well. All that information about your world is overwhelming."

"Well, that is one of the reasons I wished for yourself and Twilight to come here today. I asked Twilight not to arise a certain subject with you until we were together." Celestia chimed in.

"Oh, well, I'd be more than happy to give any information you wish about my world. What would you like to know?"

"It's not so much your world we need information of. I want to know about you. Your life."

Oh no. I really, REALLY hoped that I wouldn't have to talk about my past. All the bad memories and all of the problems I faced in my youth. My demeanour changed into sorrow as I turned my smile upside down and hung my head, trying to avoid what the Princess had just mentioned. Unfortunately, they wanted to know.

"Is something the matter, Owen?" Celestia asked.

"No...yeah...yeah there is." I let out a long sigh and looked at the Princess. "My past isn't exactly sunshine and lollipops. My youth was very hard for me and most of it wasn't good. I kind of don't like talking about it to be perfectly honest..."

"If you don't want to, then there's no--" I raised my hand to stop the Princess.

"I'm sorry for interrupting you...but no. I suppose you have the right to know. I must warn you though, I don't like talking about it at all so I aplogise now Princess if I start to get angry about it later."

"Please, call me Celestia." she said.

"OK...Celestia." Celestia lit her horn and two chairs materialised behind myself and Twilight. We both took to them as I composed myself.

"Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning." I took a deep breath and sighed again. "I was born in 1989 to two loving parents. At least, that's what I know. Two weeks after my birth, I was put up for adoption due to a problem with my parents. That problem, I never found out what it was." Celestia and Twilight held a hoof to their mouth in shock.

"I was adopted when I was six weeks old by a old couple who lived near the sea. Janice and Brian. They taught me how to talk, how to walk and how to read. They raised me as if I was their own." I smile as I remember a good memory. "I still remember that morning when I first started school. Janice had given me a stuffed animal toy to take with me to school. A giant stuffed giraffe. I never lost sight of it. It was always near me as I took it around with me anywhere I went."

"When I was 9, they both contracted a virus. Influzenza. They were coughing and being sick all the time. I tried to help but they said they'd be fine. One morning I got up out of bed to see both of them coughing violently in their bed. Everytime they tried to move, they'd cough more and more. Eventually I called for help and some doctors took them to the hospital. They told me that they were very sick and that they were looking for care for me. That's when I met my second family. A middle-aged couple, Abigail and Steven. They took me back to the house and asked me to collect my things. When I asked, they told me that Janice and Brian had gone away and were not coming back. I was devestated that they left me. That afternoon, they took me away to their own home where I was told I was to stay with them. It wasn't until I was 11 when they told me the truth - that Janice and Brian had died." I quickly wiped a forming tear from my eye.

"Abigail and Steven were amazing people and quickly accepted me into their family. They had a son, called Josh. He was a year younger than me and we got on great. Going into secondary school when I reached 11, my life changed. I was immediately set upon by various students who bullied me after they found out I was adopted. I had horrible names chanted at me, objects thrown at me, I was beaten up for my possessions. I always told the staff at the school about it but it always made it worse. Eventually I started taking my frustration out on Abigail and Steven, shouting at them, causing arguements and breaking things around the house. They got me to visit a child psychologist who talked to me about what happened and eventually, I got better and the bullying died down a bit. When I reached 14, Abigail and Steven wanted to move away to another country but I didn't want to go. With that, I was situated with a single mother, called Sylvia."

"How I got put with Sylvia in the first place, I never knew. She was mean, un-caring and she got drunk on a constant occasion. She used to beat me with a piece of wood and constantly harrassed me about my slipping grades at school. The grades slipping was caused by her neglect and the fact that I gained the ability to not trust anyone anymore. This made a social outcast at school and I was normally by myself at breaks or in lessons. One good thing came out of this place. Sylvia's mother. She treated me with the upmost respect and we were really connected."

I held my hands to my face and breathed heavily for anticipation of the next part.

"When I reached 16, Sylvia chucked me out of her home and told me to go live somewhere else as I was 'old enough' to fend for myself. I tried to live with Sylvia's mother but she had no room for me. After going to the social care office, I was given an room in a local hostel which was housing people in my similar condition. We never spoke to one another and I never really gained any social skills from them. A few weeks into my accomodation, a relative of one of my neighbours knocked on my door and offered me a job in the construction trade which I gracefully accepted. For two years, I worked for this guy who provided me with a decent job which paid well. I eventually saved up enough money to rent myself a place near the beach. Not two weeks after I moved in, my employer's company collapsed due to the economic problems of the world and I was out of a job. So then began the arduous task of trying to find another job. But with money problems worldwide, every company was struggling. So in the end, I had to resign myself to apply for benifits from the government. And I've been living that way for 5 years."

"And that's about it. I'm sorry it was so long-winded and depressing but...hey, are you two alright?" I asked, noticing the condition of the two ponies in front of me. Twilight and Celestia both had tears streaming down their face and were wiping them away. Twilight ran up to me and embraced me in a hug, sobbing onto my shoulders.

"That's *sniff* the saddest thing I've ever *sniff* heard..." she managed to squeeze out. "I'm so sorry."

Celestia came over to us and draped one of her huge wings over my shoulder. "Owen, you have my utmost sympathy. I'm very sorry you had such a terrible upbringing."

Looking at the state of these ponies, I realised something. These ponies, who I've known for such a short while, are caring me in a way I've never experienced. Listening to Twilight's sobs made my heartstrings twang and I leant my head onto hers. Tears were falling from my eyes but I kept my composure. I stroked the back of her head with my hand, trying to calm her.

"Hey, hey, it's alright. No need to cry." I feebly said. Twilight looked into my eyes and noticed my teary complexion.

"But you're crying as well!"

"I know, I know. I still feel upset, everytime I think about it."

Celestia leant her head down towards mine. "Maybe it was time to let some of that emotion out."

"Yeah...you're right. To be honest, it felt good to talk about it. I suppose keeping all of that cooped up for too long was doing me no good."

Twilight released the hug and stood up, which I followed. Celestia stomped her hoof to attract attention. A guard quickly opened the door and ran up to Celestia.

"Yes, your highness?"

"Prepare the private dining room for the evening meal. Myself, Luna, Twilight and Owen will be dining."

The guard saluted and walked out of the room. Commanding orders were heard and the guards quickly dispersed.

"I thought that we could dine in the private suite. With you being in the castle, I wouldn't like to draw attention to the other attendees here."

"Hmm, good idea. Are there still some ponies that still don't know about me?" I asked.

"Only a few I can think of. The main pony I want you to steer clear of is my nephew, Prince Blueblood." she replied with a stern look at the end.

"Why? What's wrong with him?"

"He can be a bit intimidating and judgemental against new ponies or in this case, new species."

Celestia led me and Twilight down a hallway, which was styled the same as the throne room, and came to a large set of double doors. The guard on duty opened the door for us, which we thanked him for, and walked inside.

"Celestia, can I ask you something? I know of the three types of pony; Earth, Unicorn and Pegasus. So...what type are you?

"I am a winged unicorn or and Alicorn for short." Celestia answered.

A large table sat in the middle of the room. The table sported a frilly tablecloth, white and pink in colour. Not my choice but hey, not my castle. The cutlery and plates had been set down already for all four of us. Wait...

"Celestia. You mentioned that Luna would be joining us. I heard her backstory from Twilight. She sounds like a troubled individual." I said with a hint of concern. Celestia noticed my concern and frowned slightly.

"Yes, she will be joining us for dinner. And you are right. Since her return to Equestria, she has been a bit anti-social and hasn't really ventured outside of the castle. I do hope she'll take to you well."

We all sat down, waiting for the arrival of either the staff of the castle or the other royal sister. We chatted for a while - Twilight talking to Celestia about some new spells she had learnt. I tried to keep up with them but some of the words she used just confused me. Still trying to keep up with the talking encyclopedia, the doors flung open to reveal another Alicorn.

'This must be Luna. She...she's beautiful.'

I stared at the entrant in awe. I don't know why but my stomach decided to do loop-de-loops the moment I saw her. She was dark blue in colour and had a flowing mane and tail, just like her sister, only hers was dark blue with white dots twinkling in it...like the night sky. She sported a black crown above her horn and wore a similar coloured breastplate. Her cutie mark was a white crescent moon on a black background. Her eyes were a dark blue-green. Luna approached the table and noticed me sitting there.

"This must be the human. Charmed." Luna held out her hoof which I bumped with my fist. She walked around to seat herself next to Celestia.

"Luna, this is Owen. Owen, this is Princess Luna, my sister. Now, I have asked the chefs to prepare us some amazing food for us all. I hope you will all enjoy." she said with a hearty smile.

As soon as she said that, the doors flung open again with 4 ponies walking in, levitating dishes with their magic. A dish was set down on each of our plates. Looking down at the dish, I stared in awe at what it was. Pasta. The dish was piled with pasta in a tomato based sauce. Many fresh vegetables garnished the dish such as onions, peppers, aubergine and even some chilli. Celestia, Luna and Twilight all used their magic to lift their cutlery whilst I used my hands.

I scooped a small amount of the food onto my fork and brought it to my mouth.

'Oh, my, god.'

The taste was almost orgasmic. The pasta was cooked to perfection, the sauce was delicious and the vegetables that garninshed the dish tasted very fresh. I couldn't help but 'mmm' at the taste which caused all three of the mares in front of me to giggle. I smiled at them and went back to eating.

During the meal, Celestia asked more about my world. Many subjects arose such as politics, currency and technology. I pulled the Ipod out of my pocket to show them the only technology I had which amazed them. I said I'd show them how it works later.

I couldn't help myself but continuously give stares at Luna. I don't know why, but she made me feel safe, made me feel happy.

'She's very nice to speak to, such a lovely voice. Why can't I stop staring at her then? Is it because I...NO! I can't! She's a pony for Christ's sake!'

Finishing the meal, we made our way back to the throne room were Celestia and Luna stood before us.

"Owen, has Twilight told you what we do every day?" Celestia asked.

"Uhh, she told me that you take royal court, you help ponies with their problems, you do paperwork...why, is there something else?"

"Follow us." Luna replied.

Following Celestia and Luna, we walked out onto a balcony that overlooks Canterlot. The city was huge and looked amazing. Many houses and buildings scattered my view, all with that rustic charm to them. This really did feel like a medieval time. Celestia and Luna stood at the edge of the balcony looking towards the sun.

"Twilight may have told you our names but not our titles. I am Princess Celestia, Princess of the sun. Luna is Princess of the moon. Together, we control the sun and moon's risings and settings."

"You er...you what now? You...rise and lower the sun and moon?" I questioned.

They chose not to respond. Celestia's horn lit up with a glow and she closed her eyes. Twilight nudged my side to make me look towards the sun which was setting slowly.

"There's no way she can...that's impossible..." I stuttered.

Luna's horn began to glow and just as the sun sank over the horizon causing the day to turn to night, the moon started to rise high into the sky. The town below began to shine under the light of the moon as many home's lights were flicked on. The princesses looked at me to await my reaction.

"I...that...heh, that was amazing! How did you..." was all I managed.

"We've been doing this for thousands of years. Ever since we were young." Celestia said.

Walking back into the throne room, my brain wracked with thought over how they could do that. Eventually the answer came...magic...of course.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Now my dears, the hour is late. I have rooms set up for you both in the castle for you to stay in overnight. I hope they will be to your liking." Celestia mentioned.

"Wow uh...thanks very much Celestia and Luna." I was shocked to see that they had provided accomodation for us both. "I'm quite tired so I think I'll retire for the night." I began to turn around but Celestia called out.

"Owen, wait. There's one more matter we need to address." I turned to face the princesses. "This won't take long but...do you know how you got to Equestria in the first place?" she asked.

"Well I..."

'I crashed...didn't I? How did that happen though...I should remember....ARGH! Why can't I remember?"

"I'm sorry but...I don't remember. I know that I crashed into a child's playhouse but that's it."

"Twilight, I think it's time to remove the spell." Celestia instructed.

"Wait...what spell?"

"I asked Twilight to place a memory block spell on you. I hope you don't mind but we didn't know who or what you were when you were found. To be on the safe side, we used the spell to prevent you from remembering your recent events, just in case you were going to cause harm."

"I...I suppose. Is that why I can't remember then?"

"Indeed it is. Twilight, remove the spell."

Twilight faced towards me and charged her horn. A purple light enveloped me and my head started pounding. I fell to the floor in agony but as soon as the pain started, it stopped. I was levitated to my feet by Twilight.

"Owen, are you OK? I didn't mean for it to be painful!" Twilight explained.

"It's OK. I'm fine, I'm just..."

The memories came back to me.

"I remember now! That night, it was a Friday. That day hadn't been too great and....I went for a walk to the local woods to relax for a bit. I took my Ipod with me as well...then...oh yeah! I came to this clearing in the woods where a tree stump was. I sat down and looked up and there was a circular clearing in the trees where I could gaze at the night sky. It was such a beautiful night."

"The night is always beautiful." Luna chimed in.

"Yeah, it is. It always relaxes me. Listening to my music, something caught my eye. It was bright and it shot across the sky. It was a shooting star."

Celestia gasped and looked towards Luna.

"Something wrong?" I asked

"No...no, please continue." Celestia replied.

"Err...OK. Well, there were loads of shooting stars. I had never seen so many before in my life. Now, it's a kind of good luck thing to do on Earth but if you see a shooting star, you make a wish and hope it comes true. I did just that, regardless if how childish it was. As soon as I made the wish, the stars disappeared. I got up to walk away but a bright white light shone in the sky. It was approaching me and it got closer and closer. Eventually I couldn't see and I felt my body being lifted and thrown about before I crashed into something made of wood...that must have been the clubhouse!"

I looked towards Luna who was trembling. She looked terrified.

"Luna, what's wrong?" I asked.

"W-w-what did you w-wish for? What were your exact words?" she asked nervously.

I thought back to it and tried to remember. "I wished...I wished for..."

Then it hit me.

"I wish to get away from all of this. I wish for a different life."

*THUD*

I looked towards the princesses and saw that Luna had fainted. The only sound that filled the room was the three of us screaming the same thing.

"LUNA?!"

9. We're The Same

View Online

Waiting is always horrible. Whether it be for something important or just for the day to end, watching the clock hands move over and over provided nothing but boredom and low spirits.

But here, this time it was different. Luna had collapsed onto the throne floor and the three of us rushed over to her. Celestia immediately levitated her sister and carried her out of the room, with Twilight and I close behind. We reached a spiral staircase when guards prevented us from ascending further. Arguing with the guards seemed fruitless as we resigned to waiting for any sign of either Princess.

"Ohh...I wish they'd tell us what happened to the Princess!" Twilight exclaimed, pacing back and forth in front of the guards. "Please...please tell me that's she's alright."

The guards stood motionless and said nothing, not even meeting Twilight's teary gaze. She walked back over to me and sat down to my side, releasing a held sigh. I moved my hand to her shoulder in a comforting gesture.

"Just have patience Twilight. I'm sure Luna is fine. Besides, she's got her big sister looking after her." I said with a smile, trying to lift her spirits. Twilight cranked her head towards mine and wiped a few tears away with her hoof.

"I know, I know. I worry too much sometimes...I just get so protective over the ponies I love..." she croakily said.

"And I'm sure both Celestia and Luna both know that. Just...just give them some time. Luna will be fine - I promise."

Twilight didn't respond. Her smily expression gave me the answer I needed - I cheered her up...slightly. Silence filled the hallway as we both anxiously waited for either Celestia or Luna to descend.

*TICK TICK TICK TICK*

Time flowed slowly for us. Looking at the clock, I saw that we had been waiting for about an hour and a half. Looking to my side, I saw that Twilight had laid her head her front hooves and drifted off to sleep.

'Probably for the best. She needs to relax.'

I looked towards the guards. They were still in the same position that they were in about ninety minutes ago. Looking at the armour that they adourned reminded me of a trip to London a few years back. I visited Buckingham Palace to view the 'Changing of the Guards'. I remember asking myself how could someone stand immobile for hours on end. I admired the Princess' guards at that point, admiring the commitment they have towards the royal sisters.

The guards then moved - looking up towards to stairs and then parting, walking towards and standing near the hallway wall. The faint sound of hooves was heard descending the stairs and before long, Celestia appeared, nodding at the guards who parted for her. She made her way over to me.

"Ah, Owen and Twilight! I have--"

"SHHH!" I held my finger up to my mouth then nodded towards Twilight who was snoring away. Celestia noticed and motioned for me to follow her back into the throne room, which I did. The throne doors shut quietly behind us and Celestia stood near the chair that I was occuping earlier.

"Please sit. I have news for you." she said, with sadness in her voice.

I moved to the chair and sat down in it. Celestia sat on her rear and looked towards me.

"How is Luna? Is she OK?" I asked, worringly.

"Luna is well. She passed out earlier. She is awake now but I have advised her to stay in her bed for the time being."

"Brilliant. I'm happy she's alright." I noticed Celestia's sad expression. "Are you?"

"Owen, how long do humans live for?"

"Um...on average about seventy to eighty years. Why?"

Celestia sighed and looked down to the floor, dejectedly. This worried me...a lot.

"What's wrong? I've got many years to go yet!" I joked.

"It's not that. It's the reason on how you came to this world...and how we can send you back."

"Oh...I see. Well then, how are you going to send me back? Teleport? Portal? Another crash landing?" I joked again.

Celestia raised her head to meet my eye level. Her eyes were teary and ready to burst.

"I'm so sorry Owen...I...I-I can't."

"......you...you can't?"

Celestia shook her head as a definite no. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she held her head down again. The room was silent, save for the heavy breathing from myself and Celestia. I held my head in my hands and sighed heavily, thinkinf of the consequences of not going back home. But something more important needed to be known first.

"Why?" I asked.

Celestia raised her head again and stood up. She walked over to the balcony and sat down in the glow of the moonlight. I got up from my chair and followed suit, sitting next to her.

"Mine and Luna's magic is powerful. More powerful than any other pony we know. As you saw earlier, our magic gives us the power to lower and raise the sun and moon. We cannot move other stars, just the sun and moon. Having done this myself for a thousand years, I got used to doing two jobs at once. But since Luna's return, I've been slowly giving her back the control of the night duties. Starting with simple things such as the night court, standing guard on the towers and such forth. About a year ago, she raised the moon all by herself. I was so proud of her. Since then, we both equally shared the royal duties."

"Every one hundred years, the planets and stars align in such a way, it gives us the power to move the stars themselves. We send them soaring over the sky, causing streaks of light wherever they go. This night was eventually called 'The Night of the Shooting Stars'. The magic that is given to us is extremely complex. Even I do not know how to control it fully. When the night arrives, one of us would be sat right here to direct the stars over Equestria. But the magic is tricky and sometimes, things go wrong. Some years have caused stars to crash into mountains nearby and some have even crashed here. One year, back in the 14th Century, ponies started to wish on these shooting stars and we would be able to hear them. I started nodding and agreeing to some of them as a joke but they actually came true. Ponies became rich overnight, some became muscular and some became different genders!"

"A week ago, it was the hundredth year once again. The first shooting star night to be held since Luna's return. Noticing her progress with the royal duties, I gave her the night to control. At first she was unsure but she agreed to it in the end."

Celestia sighed and looked towards me.

"After a thousand years away, Luna had forgotten about how powerful this magic was. At first she was doing well...so well. But the night got late and she was growing dreary. She...she was using the magic whilst half asleep and was agreeing to any wish a pony wished for, just so the night would be over."

Celestia stomped her hoof. Her expression was one of anger.

"I knew I shouldn't have given her the rule of the night! I...I shouldn't have given her it so soon..." she solemnly said.

"I'm sorry Celestia but where do I fit in all of this?" I asked. Celestia sighed again.

"Luna started sending stars all over Equestria. With Luna being tired, the magic acted on it's own, sending stars back in all directions and at many different speeds. We've no idea where most of them ended up...apart from one..."

That's when it all made sense. The star I wished upon, like a child, was sent from Luna! She heard my wish!

"So...the star I wished upon...that was--"

"Correct. That was a star that Luna had sent. That's why she asked you what you wished for...it's also why she fainted. I spoke to her after she regained consciousness. She recognised your voice at the dinner table but couldn't picture where and why. It was only when you explained how you got here that she realised."

"Oh...wow. This is unreal...wait. So why can't you send me back to Earth?"

"The power that was used to pull you to this world in the first place was given to Luna by the lunar alignment. And with the power only coming once every one hundred years, there's nothing we can do to help send you back. That's why I asked how long humans live for..."

I stood up and walked away from the balcony - my head trying to take in all that was explained to me. I walked back over to the chair and sat down on it, putting my hands on my head.

'That's it then. There's no way back...no way back to Earth. I'll never see home again...the sea...the sky...my home...'

Thinking of my predicament, I tried my best not to show any negative emotion. I felt tears begin to form in my eye but I wasn't going to let them leak. I felt a hoof on my head.

"Owen...are you alright?" Celestia asked.

I looked up to her. Her facial expression turned to sadness when she noticed my depressing disposition. Celestia sat down in front of me and reached out her front hooves slowly, taking my hands into them. We looked at each other for a few seconds before she leant forward put her hooves around me, hugging me.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." I heard her mumble. I placed my hands around her back and returned the hug. I was extremely upset about the situation but it looked like Celestia needed more cheering up than me.

"Hey, hey. It's alright. I'll be OK." I said quietly into her ear.

We held the hug for a few minutes before Celestia released it. Her tears were gone and she smiled at me.

"You're taking it better than I expected."

"To be honest, I'm...I'm quite upset about the situation. But...you've explained there is nothing more you can do. So...I've accepted it and I'm gonna live with it. Start a new life as the wish was."

"You're a very brave creature Owen. I'm sorry I caused this."

"No. Don't say that. Don't ever say that. This was not yours or Luna's fault. This was magic that was unexplained and complex to you. As you said, things go wrong and this is one of those instances. But you should NEVER blame yourselves for them...ever. OK?"

Celestia nodded and stood up. She wiped her eyes once again. My statement must have hit the right area.

"I've asked a guard to alert Twilight of the situation and of Luna's condition. She will be led to her bedroom afterwards."

"Oh that's good. Thanks for not waking her, she was fretting so much about Luna......speaking of which, can I go and talk to her. See how she is?"

"Hmm...well...she's resting at the moment so it's probably best for you to talk to her tomorrow morning."

"Suppose you're right."

Celestia stomped her hoof twice. A guard immediately walked into the throne room and saluted her.

"Guard...Sharp Blade. Please escort Owen to his room for the night."

"Yes, your highness. Owen, please follow me." the guard asked.

I walked out of the room with the guard and down a long hallway. Many doors were open along the hallway. Peeking into some, I could make out some bedrooms, a bathroom, a gallery and...an indoors garden?

At the end of the corridor, a large red door was opened and the guard saluted me. I felt a bit...well...upper class when I was saluted.

"Good night Sir."

"Good night." I replied before walking in.

"Oh, one more thing Sir. When you want the lights to go off, just say 'Off' and 'On' for on." the guard said before shutting the door.

The room was huge. It was a similar style to the throne room. A large four-poster bed was situated near a large church-like window. Walking over to the window and looking outside, the view was of the castle grounds. Looking around again, I saw another door. Opening it up, it revealed a small bathroom with a toilet, sink, mirror...no shower or bath...damn. I really wanted a long wash.

The clock on the wall read 11PM and I decided to retire for the night. Undressing myself, I slowly got into the large bed.

"Right, let's just see how comfy you...ooh...OH! Aahhhh...."

It was incredible. I sunk into the bed, reacting to the comfiness of the mattress and pillows. If this was a normal night, I could have fallen asleep there and then. But tonight wasn't a normal night. My thoughts still replayed the whole conversation with Celestia. Learning that I'm actually stuck in Equestria and not being able to go back to Earth before I die really left an imprint on my brain.

"Off!" I shouted. As the guard said, the candlelights in the room all went dark and I was left in pitch blackness. I turned to the side and tried to sleep.

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MIDNIGHT

'Ah, but what about...no. Then how about...no. Maybe...'

I was trying to think of many solutions to my predicament. Everytime a master idea came to me, it was shot down by remembering another fact that Celestia had told me.

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1AM

'Where am I going to live? I can't stay at Twilight's forever. What about money and a job? What about...'

It was at this point that my mind decided to brainstorm all of my future problems at once. I wish it would just shut the hell up and let me sleep.

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2AM

Tossing and turning, i still tried to sleep. Looking at the clock again, it read 2AM.

"Right, that's it. On!"

The candles flickered on and the room illuminated. I got out of bed and stretched me legs, walking over to the bathroom and splashing some water on my face. I got dresses in a t-shirt and shorts and exited the room. The hallway was eerily quiet. I walked towards the throne room but turned left at it to approach the spiraling staircase where Luna was located.

"No guards...weird."

I ascended the stairs quietly. I didn't put any shoes so I could walk around much quieter. I reached the top of the stairs and came across a huge door with a crescent on it. Looking around, there were no other doors so I concluded this must be Luna's room. I walked towards the door and was about 4 feet from it before a spear was shoved in my face.

"Halt! The Princess must not be disturbed." a guard ordered. I knelt down and spoke quietly to him.

"Look, I just want to talk to her. She's really upset about something she's done and I want to reassure her."

"No. The Princess is not to be disturbed. She is sleeping." The guard's eyes quickly looked away from mine.

"I can tell when you're lying. Look, Luna did something a week back to cause me to arrive on this world and she's torn up about it because it was her mistake. Celestia tried to talk to her but said she was distraught. I just want to have the chance to talk to her, to try and calm her down."

"I'm...I'm sorry. I can't allow you to pass."

"Please. Just allow me five minutes with her. I really need to let her know that this wasn't her fault. Please, I'm begging you."

The guard lowered his spear and smiled.

"OK, you can pass. I admire your perserverance. Just a word of warning, Luna can be angry when she is disturbed."

"Thanks. I really appreciate this."

I walk towards the door and raise my fist.

'Surely she can't be angry...right?'

I knock the door three times and immediately regretted it.

"I SAID NOPONY IS TO DISTURB ME! DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!" a bellowing voice sounded from behind the door. I covered my ears with my hands to prevent my ear drums from being burst.

"LUNA! It's me, it's Owen!" I shouted.

Nothing was heard in response. The door glowed with a blue essence and opened slightly. I walked in slowly and the door shut behind me. The room was dark, pitch-black.

"Luna, you in here?" I asked.

The room shone with a blue light as her horn lit up. Candles immediately flickered to life and the room was visible. I noticed Luna sitting down facing the window with her back to me.

"Luna? Are you alright?"

Luna turned to face me...I really wish she didn't. Her appearance caused me to tear up. Her eyes were red and puffy with tear stains down her cheeks. Her mane was dishevelled and messy, no longer flowing. I tried my hardest not to cry at this moment, seeing such an elegant mare in such an awful state. I walked over and knelt in front of her. Luna leant her head down to avoid my gaze.

"I...I-I'm sor--" I raised my finger and placed it over her mouth. I then lifted her chin with my hand so her eyes met mine.

"You don't need to be." I said as calm as possible.

"Yes I do! This is all my fault!"

"I don't blame you. It's not your fault."

"But...b-but it is my--"

"It's...not...your fault"

Luna tried to speak but all that came out were splutters of words and sobs. I placed my arms on her shoulders and she placed her hooves on mine. At the same time, we pulled each other into a hug. Luna broke down and practially sobbed buckets onto my shoulders as my own tears flowed onto hers. I stroked the her mane ever so slightly to try and soothe her. The sobs eventually became quiet whimpers and then slow shallow breathing. I leant back slightly and looked into her eyes.

"I'm so sorry for what I did. Because of me, you're now stuck here..." Luna said quietly.

"It's OK, it's alright. I'm not angry with you at all. What you did was out of your control...no-one could have prevented it."

"I was trying so hard to bring happiness to my subjects. Now look what it's done..."

"And you have. I talked to Celestia and she said that you granted many wishes to ponies all wishing for something good. You did a great job on that night Luna and don't ever deny that." I said with emphasis on 'ever'.

"You're just saying that to make me feel better..."

"I..." To be honest, I was. "I'm sorry, I don't really know the right words to say. I'm saying what I truly think, from the heart. I've never had to console and comfort someone like this before."

"What do you mean? You've never had to comfort your parents or your siblings?"

Oh, not again.

"You weren't there when I explained were you?...When I spoke to Celestia and Twilight, I told them of my life and how I grew up on Earth. You should know as well, it'll explain why. I must warn you though, I'm trying to cheer you up, this isn't going to help."

I explained my youth to Luna, all of the families I lived with, my schooling and my un-social life. I finished up and had a few tears in my eyes, as did she.

"Oh, Luna. Please don't cry, you'll set me off again." I tried to console her.

"It's...that's so sad. How you're parents abandoned you and the horrible life you've had. Now I understand..."

"Yeah, so that's why I don't really know how to socialize on an emotional scale."

"I suppose both of our lives have been similar."

"How do you mean?" I asked.

Luna explained to me the whole concept of her younger life and how she became Nightmare Moon. How ponies shunned her during the night and how she let her negative emotions build up inside of her.

"With all the rage and depression I felt, I turned into Nightmare Moon, an entity of evil which wanted to make the night last forever. Celestia banished me to the moon and I remained there for one thousand years. When I returned last year, Twilight Sparkle and her friends turned me back to normal with the Elements of Harmony."

I nodded as I continued to listen to her story.

"Since then, I've had trouble re-intergrating myself into society as most ponies still fear me. I've lost the ability to trust the ponies that come into the castle as they drop everything at the sight of me..."

I raised me hand and put it on Luna's shoulder as a sign of comfort.

"I'm sorry you're life has been so eventful and foreboding. It must have been horrible being on the moon for a millenium." Luna nodded in confirmation.

We sat there for a while, silent and looking out of the window at the castle grounds, illuminated by the moonlight.

"You know, we're kind of the same." I conjured.

"We are?" Luna replied with confusion.

"Yeah. We've both been sent away to different places, not by our own doing. We've both struggled through life and suffered the worst of it. We both caused problems to our mentors and carers and we both are now struggling to become more social with anyone." Luna leant her head down.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean bad by it. It's...I sometimes just say things that pop into my head. Sometimes they're a bit...out of place."

"It's OK. I understand what you meant." She faced me with a smile. "Thank you for talking with me. It...it really helped." She leant forward and planted a quick kiss on my lips before shying away and giggling quietly. "Thanks."

My mouth went dry as I tried to find the right words.

"I...uh...you're welcome." I managed to splutter out. Luna leant her head towards my shoulder and nuzzled it. My heart fluttered as she did this - it appears that some emotions were trying to wriggle their way out!

"You know...maybe this was meant to happen."

"Hmm?" Luna replied.

"This whole scenario, maybe it was meant to be. Think about it, you did actually grant my wish."

"A different life?"

"That's right. I wished for a different life to replace the crappy one I had and it chose Equestria to place me in. Now I've met you, a being who has had a similar life to me in some aspects and needs a friend, as I do. I think that lunar magic did this for both of us."

Luna put a hoof to her chin and then nodded before letting out a rather large yawn. Yawns are contagious right? Yep, it made me yawn twice as hard. I stood up and stretched my arms.

"I'm beat. Now that I've talked with you, I could really do with getting some sleep."

"Oh, so I'm boring to talk to am I?" Luna said with a scowl.

"What? NO! I didn't mean--" I was interrupted my Luna placing her hoof on my mouth, smiling whilst doing it.

"I'm joking. I know what you meant. I was struggling to sleep as well and this has helped."

"I'm glad to have helped." I began to walk towards her door. "Anytime you want to see me, I'll be there. Whenever you want." I said with a smirk.

"Owen, wait..." I turned to face Luna, who was already in her bed. The covers had been opened on one side. "Could you...sleep...with me tonight? I need someone close to me..." she asked sheepishly.

'A girl asking you to sleep with her? I really hope she just meant sleep because I don't know about the other type...'

"Umm...won't the guards or Celestia notice that I'm--"

Luna's levitation interrupted my speech as she lifted me onto the bed and placed the covers over me. She then snuggled up to my side and smiled at me.

"Never mind about Celestia or the guards, this is my choice. You'll stay...won't you?" she said, staring at me with those beautiful eyes.

'Am I really falling for her? She's a pony...a beautiful one at that...she's more than that...'

I leant down and kissed her forehead, then curled my left arm around her.

"Of course I'll stay. How could I say no to that face?"

Luna laughed softly then put one of her hooves across my chest. It felt...weird...but right. The slow breathing of Luna notified me that she had quickly fallen into the land of slumber. I thought about how this would go down with Celestia when we emerge tomorrow morning. Worrying about it would only do me no good so I dismissed the thoughts and laid my head down onto the pillow.

"Off."

10. Return By Soaring

View Online

The sound of tweeting awoke me from what was an amazing night's sleep. I opened my eyes to see an unfamiliar room around me. Everything was shaped and coloured to look like objects in the night sky.

"Where the hell am I?"

Something nudged my ribs. I turned to see something I wasn't expecting.

'I'm in Luna's bed?!' I screamed internally.

Luna was gently snoozing away with her front hooves splayed out across my chest. Her quiet snores and mumbles were quite cute to listen to.

'Ohhh, of course. I remember now.'

The previous night's events replayed in my mind. Comforting Luna and talking about our lives. Her asking me to sleep in her bed with her. I turned my head back and lay it down on the pillow, waiting for Luna to awaken. I muse over a thought.

'Should I? I'm sure she won't mind...'

I reached my arm around her body and slowly pulled her close to me and embraced her in a light hug, with her head laying on my chest. The feeling of her chest rising and lowering felt soothing against my body. Her fur was incredibly soft - it felt like I was hugging a giant teddy bear. We lay there for a while longer before Luna began to stir and opened her eyes. Raising her head, her gaze immediately met mine.

"Morning Luna. How'd you sleep?"

"I slept well, all things considering." Luna lowered her head onto my chest again and stared at me with a contagious smile. "Thank you for coming last night. I really needed some cheering up and you made it happen."

"You're very welcome, I'm glad I helped."

"How did you sleep Owen?"

"Like a log. That was probably the best night's sleep I've had in a long time. Your bed is incredibly comfortable and soft - I could stay here all day." I said, snuggling down into the bed, making myself comfortable. Luna raised her head a smirked at coyly.

"Well then, let me-" Luna mover her head very close to mine. "make it better for you..." Her horn glowed blue and I immediately felt something.

"Hmm...Ohhh...."

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Celestia walked into the dining room where Twilight was already seated, waiting for everypony else to arrive.

"Good morning my faithful student. Any sign of Luna or Owen?"

"No, not yet. I did try and awake Owen earlier but I didn't receive a response."

Celestia pondered this for a moment.

"Hmm...very well. I will awake them both myself." Celestia then vacated the room and walked towards where Owen was sleeping. Approaching the door, she raised her hoof.

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

"Owen?"

No response.

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

"Owen?"

Still nothing.

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK"

"Owen?"

Yet again, no response. Celestia opened the door with a flash of her horn and entered the room.

"Owen, it's time to arise! We are waiting for you and Luna to join us for...breakfast?" Celestia trailed off as she noticed the bed empty and the human nowhere to be seen. Celestia checked every inch of the room before walking back out.

"Strange...maybe he already went to the dining room...but he couldn't have got past me with me knowing..."

Celestia walked back into the dining room to see that Owen still had not arrived. This worried her slightly.

"Where could he have gone? I do hope that he's alright..."

She ascended the spiral staircase and approached Luna's room. She went to raise her hoof but a voice interrupted her.

"Ohhh...Ohhh...that feels wonderful."

Celestia recoiled in shock and held a hoof to her mouth.

"That's Owen's voice and it sounded like he was-"

"I learnt that a long time ago, I've always wanted to try it out. How about this then..."

"That's Luna! It sounds like they are--"

"Oh Luna! That's amazing! Ohhh...."

Celestia immediately put her hoof down and turned around. She raised her back hooves and lashed out at the door, kicking it open violently.

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The pleasure I was receiving was cut short by Luna's bedroom doors being forced open. Looking towards the door, I was met with the angry face of a particular royal pony. Luna levitated the covers over my head in an attempt to hide me...yeah...like that ever works.

"Sister! It isn't what it looks like!" Luna blurted out.

"Silence Luna!" The covers covering me were flung off quickly with a golden aura, exposing me. "Owen! How dare you engage in mature activities with my sister...whilst...fully clothed?" Celestia's face turned to confusion.

"Celestia, seriously. It REALLY isn't what it seems." I offered.

"But I heard the sounds you were making. All of the moans and groans. She was pleasuring you, was she not?"

"NO!" both Luna and I replied loudly.

"I was trying out a couple of new spells. This spell increases the softness of material, in this case, the mattress and bed covers. The other was a warming spell for said material." Luna explained.

"I can safely say that they both defintely work. The moans you heard from me were of pleasure but of a comfortable pleasure." I added.

Celestia, Luna and I all stared at each other before we all shared a laugh at the confusion. Celestia abruptly stopped her laughter and pointed a hoof towards me.

"Wait, what are you doing here anyway? And in Luna's bed?" I was about to respond but Luna beat me to it.

"That was my doing sister. Owen came to visit me in the early hours of the morning to comfort me. He offered his kind words to me while I was contemplating my actions. We shared our life stories and talked for a while, mostly about how similar our lives are. When we both got tired, Owen was making his way back to his room but I asked him to stay with me for the night, which he accepted."

"It's true. I couldn't sleep last night due to my mind racing with all the facts of the situation. I realised Luna must have needed cheering up as you mentioned she was very upset."

Celestia walked towards me, knelt down and put her hoof on my shoulder.

"I apologise for jumping to conclusions. I do hope you can forgive me."

"Of course Celestia. I'm happy I was able to help your sister."

"It seems to have helped, am I correct? Breakfast will be served soon so please come to the dining room as soon as possible."

Luna and I nodded and Celestia walked out of the room. I looked at Luna who was trying her best not to laugh. My lips began to form a smile as I tried not to laugh as well.

"Now that I think about it...*snigger*...it really did sound like we were..." Luna said before collapsing back in the bed and laughing loudly which I soon followed suit. After using what breath I had to laugh, i got out of her bed and went back to my own room to change into some fresh clothes.

Dressing took minutes and I quickly made my way to the dining room, escorted by a guard. We arrived and I thanked him for his duties. Looking around, I saw that I was the last to arrive. I took a seat next to Twilight.

"Sorry for being late. I had to change."

I got smiles in return as the waiters came out with many carts, laden with many beautiful smells and flavours wafting from them. A female pegasus waiter walked up to my side.

"Good morning Sir. What would you like? We have fresh fruit, pancakes, waffles, toast, oats, many sorts of--"

"Some pancakes would be lovely, thanks. And some fresh strawberries."

The waiter hovered in the air and picked up a plate. She dished 4 decent sized pancakes onto the plate along with a generous heap of strawberries. She place the food in front of me.

"Here you are Sir. Enjoy!" she said with a smile.

"Oh, don't you worry. I most certainly will." This caused her to laugh quietly as she pushed the cart out of the room, followed by the three other waiters. I looked over towards the three mares to see what they had chosen. Twilight had gone for the oats with half an orange. Celestia chose some toast and Luna chose...exactly the same as me. Or I chose the same as her.

'Hah, like we're on the same wavelength and all!" I thought. Luna looked over towards me and nodded her head. I smiled at her in return.

'Wonder what that was about.' I stared at Luna and focused my gaze. 'I wonder if LUNA...chose the same breakfast as me for a reason...' Luna nodded in response. 'Oh my god, can you hear my thoughts?!'

"We both can Owen." Celestia chimed causing me to cover my mouth with my hand in shock.

"That would have been nice to know!" I said in a joking tone. I glanced at my breakfast and drooled over the sight of it. I picked up a fork and cut a small portion of the pancake and stabbed some strawberries to go with it. I lifted it to my mouth and smelt it...it smelt amazing. The food was put into my mouth and I waited for the taste.

'Mmm...ohh...these are incredible! So fresh!'

"I'm glad you like them. Our chefs always make the meals with the freshest ingredients." Luna informed.

"So much taste, so much flavour. Compliments to the chefs indeed!" I declared, raising my fork as a salute. This emitted a small laugh from Luna which I secretly craved.

Once breakfast was over, we all made our way to the throne room. Celestia levitated a small bag towards me which I took hold of. The bag was slightly heavy.

"Owen, as you are going to be staying in Equestria, I supply you with some local currency. These are called bits and are the only currency that is used." I opened the draw-string bag and looked inside. Many small gold coins were inside. I showed it to Twilight who gasped when she saw them.

"Princess, how much did you give him?!" Twilight asked.

"A few thousand bits. This will keep you going for at least a year, taking into account that you will be purchasing your own items and foodstuffs."

"I...I don't know what to say. Thank you so much!" I happily said, bowing to Celestia.

"You are most welcome. Now, I'm sorry to say but both Luna and I have a full day ahead of us and we should have been holding royal court over ten minutes ago so I will need to cut this visit short." Twilight's ears drooped at the sound of this.

"Oh...well, it was nice seeing you again Princess." Twilight sadly said, walking up to her mentor.

"You are both more than welcome to visit again, any time you want." Celestia replied, kneeling down and hugging Twilight. "I have organised a chariot to fly you back to Ponyville. The cart is waiting just outside."

"Thank you Princess. Come on Owen, let's not keep them waiting." I nodded and followed Twilight towards the door.

"Actually, Owen. Could I speak with you for a moment?" Celestia called.

"Of course Celestia. You go on ahead Twilight, I'll catch up." Twilight walked out of the room, followed by Luna. The doors shut behind them. Celestia cleared her throat to catch my attention.

"I want to thank you again for helping Luna in her time of need. You really knew what you were doing, didn't you?"

"To be honest, no. I've never had to comfort someone like that before. I just said what came to me at the time. It seemed to work though...and I gained a great friend out of it."

"Regardless of you knew what to do or not, you really helped her out. And you're right, Luna will be a great friend to you. Although...I can sense that you want to be more, am I right?"

My throat dried up as she said that. Was she right? Did I want to be more than friends with Luna. I mean, she was pretty and all but she's still a pony. I'm not sure how that would go down with the other ponies living here.

"Well I...she is great to be around...and she's an amazing pony..."

"I overheard your thoughts last night. When she kissed you...you felt the same about her didn't you?"

She knew about that?!

"Wait, you knew I was there the whole time?!" I asked in confusion.

"I did. Everything you did, everything you said and thought, I knew it all. Apart from the noises this morning..." Celestia said, sniggering at the end.

"So why did you act like you didn't know?"

"To find out the truth from you. A little test it seems. I was aiming to see if you'd try and lie about why you were there in the first place. But you didn't, you were truthful and I thank you for that."

"So...you heard my thoughts...even when I was thinking about her?"

Celestia nodded. Damn, she had me. There's no way to deny it now.

"......I...I felt attached to her when we were talking last night. I felt an instant connection when we talked about our lives, how similar they were. Because of that, I felt I could relate to her. When I first saw her at the dining table, I thought of how beautiful she looked, how her mane sparkles like the night sky and how it flows in a non-existent wind. I suppose spending some personal time with her in her hour of need made me realise how well I thought of her. I just...I feel that this friendship has been made because I took advantage of her when she was vulnerable..."

"But you didn't. What matters is that in her worst hour, you cheered her up and helped her feel better. That's an amazing friend if I ever knew one. I know you feel strongly about her, especially when she kissed you. Tell me, when she kissed you, you thought she was more beautiful, correct?"

"Yeah..." I softly said.

"And when you woke up next to her this morning and she made you comfortable, did it look like she felt the same way about you?"

"Yeah, I suppose."

"No 'suppose' about it. I know my sister so well. How she spoke when she was with you, how she acted during breakfast, how she was always staring at you. She feels strongly about you as well. I'm sure of it."

"She does?"

"Of course. Don't you believe in love at first sight?"

"I don't know...I've never really experienced it." Celestia put her hoof on my shoulder and leant down towards my ear.

"You have now." she whispered.

That was all I needed to hear. I could tell by her voice that this was truth. She wouldn't make up a lie like this.

"Now go, your chariot awaits."

"Thank you Celestia. Can you please tell Luna that if she ever wants to visit or just to talk, I'll always be avaliable for you, for the both of you."

"Of course. Have a good trip back to Ponyville!" she shouted with me walking out of the throne room. A guard was there to escort me out of the castle and into the grounds surrounding it. We came upon a large, Roman-esque type chariot. Opening the door, Twilight was inside.

"There you are Owen. What did the Princess want with you?" she asked.

"She thanked me again for helping Luna. We just had a small chat about when we can visit next. Celestia mentioned some time next week?" I lied.

"Excellent, I'll make a date!"

I looked out of the chariot window as it started to move. It was being pulled by two pegasus guards who were pulling it onto a long opening between the castle walls.

"Uhh...Twilight? Did Celestia say...fly back to Ponyville?"

"That's right. These pegasus' fly the chariot all the way. Why do you ask?"

I leant my head back inside and huddled into a ball on the seat.

"I'm so gonna hate this."

"Why? We're perfectly safe."

"It's not that. It's that I'm afraid of--" The chariot jerked forward and rose quickly as the pegasus' took off. "HEEEIIIGGGHHHTTTSSS!

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Back in the throne room, Celestia sat upon her throne and waited for the first visitor to arrive. She didn't have to wait long as the doors opened to reveal...

"Welcome my little po-- OH! Luna!"

"Dearest sister. Did you speak to Owen?"

"I did. I spoke to him about last night and what happened and how he felt about you." Luna lightly tapped her hooves in anticipation.

"And? And?"

"He said that..." Celestia narrowed her eyes at her sister who quickly averted her gaze. Celestia let out a laugh and pointed her hoof towards Luna. "You were listening to the whole thing, weren't you?"

"...no...of course I...OK I did!"

"Haha! I knew it! So know you know how he feels about you."

"Yes...I do..." Luna said quietly.

"So?"

"So what?"

"How do you feel about him?" Luna shuffled her front hooves before walking closer to her sister and whispering into her ear.

"I feel the same about him."

Both sisters let out a girlish squeal before Luna exited the room and royal court was brought into session.

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The chariot landed outside of the library and I immediately got out of it and fell to the floor, kissing it.

"Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. Sweet ground..."

"Thank you guards. Have a nice day!" Twilight thanked the guards as she departed from the chariot. She walked over to me as I was still in a heap on the floor. "Come on Owen, it wasn't that bad."

"That bad?! We were flying, at least three thousand feet in the air in a tiny chariot pulled by pegasus'! Does any of that seem unsafe to you?!"

"Those guards have mastered their flying skills. They wouldn't be flying for the royal guards if they couldn't fly well, would they? Maybe next time you fly, it'll be--"

"NO! Not happening! Never again!" I shouted, getting to my feet.

"Was it really that bad for you?"

"When I was fourteen, my carers took me on holiday to France - that's a neighbouring country to England. We had to fly there on an aeroplane." Twilight tilted her head in confusion. "It's a mode of transportation, I'll explain more later. Anyway, going over the sea, we flew into a storm and it caused the plane to shake violently for ages. It was only a few minutes but it felt like hours for me - I was petrified the whole time. I couldn't even fly back due to me being so scared so we had to take a boat. Since then, I've never set foot on an aeroplane again and I never will."

"That sounds horrible! I can only imagine how you must have felt! You should have informed me of this before we left Canterlot."

"I tried to but it was too late. I'm just glad it's over now."

We made our way back into the library and found Spike sweeping the floors. He ran up to Twilight, greeting her.

"Twilight! I'm glad you're home. Hey Owen."

"It's good to see you too Spike. I hope you've kept the place tidy and kept up with your chores." Twilight replied.

"Of course! I was just about to finish sweeping."

Spike went back to his chores as Twilight started unpacking her saddlebags, putting many books back on shelves and sorting out her quills and parchment.

"Hey Twilight. I'm gonna go and lie down for a bit. I still feel a bit dizzy." I said weakly, walking up the stairs. I reached my room and flopped down on the bed, reaching my Ipod out of my pocket. I turned it on to show the time - 11:43. I put the headphones in and pressed play. Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' played and I couldn't help but hum along to the tune and mumble some of the words.

To be honest, relaxing was on my to-do list but it wasn't happening now. My mind once again started to ask all of the questions about my predicament.

'Money? Job? Home? Food?'

I rubbed my temples to try and quell the oncoming headache and tried to relax. The Ipod changed onto one of my recent favourite tunes. I sung along to song at a moderate volume.

If you're strong, you can fly.
You can reach the other side of the rainbow.
It's alright. Take a chance.
Cause there is no circumstance that you can't handle.
When you use your mind.

Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Trouble keeps you running faster.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Save the planet from disaster.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Spinning through a world in motion.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom, Sonic Boooom!

Time is now, you can't hide.
Find the power deep inside and make it happen.
Make it happen!

Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Trouble keeps you running faster.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Save the planet from disaster.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom.
Spinning through a world in motion.
Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom, Sonic Boooom!

*AHEM*

The song ended and the sound of a clearing throat caught my attention. I turned my head to see Spike standing in my doorway with a smirk on his face.

"What?"

"That music is awesome."

"Music? What mu--" I looked down to my Ipod and noticed my fatal flaw. The headphones were NOT plugged in. "You heard all that...even my..."

"You've got a good voice you know. You could make yourself famous!"

"Oh come on, my singing's awful. There's no chance it sounds as great as these guys."

"I don't know. You do sing well though." Spike began to walk out of the door.

"Wait...really? You really think so?" I asked

"Yeah! You could give loads of singers a run for their bits!" Spike walked out of the room and I heard him go back downstairs. I looked at my headphones and plugged them into the Ipod more carefully this time.

"Ugh...that was embarrasing." I leant back onto the bed and pondered what Spike had said. "Do I really have a good voice? I've never sung out loud like that before."

"Well, he's right. You do have a good singing voice." a female voice sounded from the hallway.

"What the...Twilight? Did you hear me as well?" As I said that, she entered the room nodding away.

"I did and I agree with Spike. You could really make something of yourself with that voice and with that music. I listened to the variety of the music you had when we were at the party and some of those songs were pretty good."

"You really think so?"

"I know so. In fact, why don't you stop by Vinyl's club sometime. I bet she'd love to try working with your music!"

I held my hand to my chin in that classic old-style thinking pose. She was right, some of the music is pretty sweet and Vinyl was interested in my Ipod. Maybe this could be a step forward.

"You know what, I think I'll take that option. Thanks!"

"You're welcome." she replied with a smile. She began to exit the room but a thought stopped her. "You know, you seem different since yesterday."

"Different? Different how?"

"Well yesterday you were told that you were stuck here and that you couldn't go back home. I would have assumed that you'd be torn up about it and depressed. But you're not. You seem more cheerful."

I quickly darted my eyes around the room whilst trying to think of a quick answer. Should I tell her about Luna?

"Well...I--"

She's gonna find out eventually.

"I did a good deed yesterday and I felt much better about myself that I was able to. I helped a pony in her time of need."

"Her?"

Oh bollocks. I shouldn't have said that. I sighed and sat up on the side of the bed.

"Look Twilight, if I tell you this, this remains between us. Nobody else must know OK? Not until the time is right."

"I promise. In fact, I Pinkie Promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly. Stick a cupcake in my eye." she recited, making various motions with her hooves, including prodding herself in her own eye.

"What...was that?"

"A Pinkie Promise can NEVER be broken. It's an oath you must undertake whenever you make a Pinkie Promise."

"Uhh...OK. Thanks." I chuckled at the bizarre ritual but accepted it anyway. "OK. Something happened last night and today and it's made me and a certain pony feel very happy." Twilight closed the door with her magic and sat down in front of me.

I retold the night's events and Twilight hung on overy word. It felt good to talk to someone else about this so I could get their honest opinion.

"So Princess Celestia thought you and Luna were--"

"Yeah! She did!" We both laughed hard at that.

I continued telling Twilight what happened until I got to a certain part.

"So, when Celestia asked me to talk to her, she didn't talk about when we could next visit. She talked to me about the possibility of Luna and I. She asked me many questions and asked how I felt about her. After much prodding, I admitted that I had feelings for her since we can relate to each other about our lives. She then told me that she knows that Luna feels the same about me because she saw how Luna reacted around me."

"So, does that mean that you and Luna are dating?"

"I don't know yet. But we both know we have feelings for each other so it's a start."

Twilight got up onto her hooves and walked up close to me. She put a hoof on my hand and smiled at me.

"That's adorable!" she said in an 'awwww' kind of tone.

"What, so you're not freaked out by the idea? A pony and a human having a relationship?"

"Of course not!" She looked worringly at me. "Are you?"

"I...I don't know. It's weird because I know she's beautiful and intelligent and I love her for that. But there's that nagging thought at the back of head. I look at her, past her beauty and I see her as a pony. Like one from my world - ones that are like wild animals with no ability to talk and no sentience. It just feels weird."

"You're right. She is a pony. Let me ask you this. Do wild animals in your world talk?" I shook my head. "Are they able to communicate with you on an emotional scale?"

"Not really."

"Because that is what Luna is. She's not a wild animal. She's just like you but in a different form."

I nodded at her words. It made sense. No animal on Earth is ever like this. No animal could ever have a strong, close relationship with me...apart from cats but they just don't give a shit anyway.

"You're right. She's not an animal at all. She's just like me."

"There you go! So does this mean you'll have a relationship with her?"

"I...I suppose I could..."

My words must have been gold to Twilight's ears and she practically squealed and jumped around like an excited young girl.

"Oh, I'm so happy for you!" she cried at me.

"Thanks Twilight but I'm not sure what the next step is. I'm sure Celestia will talk to Luna about what we discussed but apart from that, there's nothing more to do except wait. I really shouldn't interrupt the Princess' royal duties."

Twilight nodded happily and walked out of the room. I lay back on the bed, pondering my thoughts.

'So this is it, huh? One week I've been here and I'm already in the early stages of a relationship. I just hope I don't bugger it up...

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The rest of the afternoon went by quickly. I remained lying on my bed, still feeling a bit woozy from the flight earlier. I drained the Ipod battery down to about 25% so I changed from music to reading. Still making my way through the first Daring Do book, I heard a knock at the door. Calling for them to come in, Twilight came into the room.

"Hey Twilight."

"Hi Owen. Still enjoying that book?"

"Yeah I am, surprisingly. As I said before, I don't normally read books often but this one has got be hooked!"

"That's good to hear! I was wondering if you were hungry at all as I was going to prepare dinner."

Even though the dizziness made me nauseous, I could do with a decent meal. It'd defintely help.

"Yeah, that sounds great. What do you have in mind?"

"I could make us some steamed vegetables or some salad or some--"

"Wait a minute."

I reached over to my drawers and opened the top one up. An idea sprung to mind.

"Don't cook anything. I want to thank you and all of your friends for accepting me so quickly and for being so nice. So..." I lifted up the bag of bits that Celestia had given me. "How about we all go out for dinner? My treat." Twilight looked uneasy.

"Oh Owen, we couldn't possibly ask you to pay for--" I raised my hand.

"I won't take no for an answer. You have all been so nice to me and have provided me with everything I needed. That's great friends if I ever knew them. I'm taking you all out - no arguing." I shook my finger in a mock scold.

"If you're really sure..."

"I am."

"Then that would be wonderful. I'll inform the girls! What time do we want to head out?

"We should give some time for everyone to get ready so...7?"

Twilight nodded and walked out of the room. I heard the front door slam shut as Twilight has vacated the library. I lay back down on the bed and rested my hands behind my head, smiling triumphantly.

'I'm gonna make this evening the best night ever for them.'

11. Dinner With Threats

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"A meal out with everyone. Why the hell did I suggest it?!"

I panicked as I started to prepare for the evening out. I don't know what compelled me to suggest such a thing in the first place, as I'm not exactly the world number one in socializing with others, but I needed to thank Twilight and her friends for all the help that they had provided.

I opened up my wardrobe and began scanning through the items of clothing.

"Blue with white? No, if I wear white, I'm sure to make it dirty easily. Maybe the dark red and the black trousers." I muttered to myself, holding each item of clothing up to my body to see if it would match. "Damn it! Nothing here is suitable for going out." I said louder, catching attention of a passer-by.

"You OK in there?" Spike asked from the doorway.

"Oh, yeah I'm fine. It's just that I can't decide what to wear for this evening."

"What are you doing this evening?"

I raised my eyebrow in confusion. "Did Twilight not tell you? We're all going out for a meal this evening. Me, Twilight, Pinkie, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow and Rarity. Did you want to come?" Spike scoffed and chuckled.

"No way! I already have enough of Twilight talking to me here. Imagine what she'd be like around all of her friends?"

"Oh, come on. She can't be that bad."

"You haven't witnessed it yet. Just don't mention anything to do with science or history and you'll be fine. Thanks for the offer though."

"You're welcome." I turned to face the wardrobe again. "Come on, there must be something here..." I muttered.

"Why don't you wear that suit that Rarity made you?"

I stood still, stunned that I didn't think of it sooner. I clicked my fingers and nodded my head heading towards the other wardrobe and fetching the suit out of it. I turned to Spike with a huge grin on my face.

"You are a genius! I completely forgot about this! Thank you sooo much."

"Genius, huh?" Spike said, holding a claw to his chin. He turned a 180 and walked out of the room. "Spike the genius...Professor Spike, degree in geniusness..."

I chuckled at how Spike now saw himself. I layed the suit out on the bead and observed it. It was perfect for the evening. I looked at the clock.

"5:30. Too early to wear it yet." I sat back on the bed and pulled out the adventurer novel once again. I was over half way through so I was impressed that I'd made it this far before getting bored.



A half hour later, I heard the door open and heard many hoofsteps coming in.

'Wow. That girl works fast.' I mused, getting up from the bed and walking towards the staircase. Looking down, I saw that everyone had arrived and were idly talking away. I managed to evade any looks and I retreated towards the bathroom, closing the door shut with an audible click.

"Owen, is that you?" I heard Twilight shout.

"Yeah, it's me. I'm just about to take a shower!"

"OK. The girls and I are ready to leave when you are!"

"I won't be long!"

I turned the shower on, quickly undressed and jumped into the shower...the bloody FREEZING SHOWER!

"AH! OH! COLD! BLOODY COLD!" I shouted, swiftly exiting the shower. I fiddled with the dials and the water soon turned hot. Re-entering the shower cautiously, I washed myself with some random bottle of shampoo or gel that I found. Whilst washing myself, my mind drifted back to my time at the castle. Comforting Luna, the morning after, the kiss...

'Oh, what a kiss. Took my first fucking kiss she did...and it was gooooood. It's mad, I barely know her and I'm already falling in love with her. I just really hope that what Celestia told me was true...cause I really want it to...'

I finished washing myself and turned the shower off. Walking out of the shower, I quickly wrapped a towel around my waist and made my way to my room without being seen. Closing my bedroom door behind me, I dried myself off and put on some boxer shorts and socks. Catching myself in the mirror, I looked at my reflection side on and noticed something.

"What the..." I reached for my belly and managed to grip a bit of loose skin. "Must cut down on the sweets, I don't wanna be a fat load again." I thought back to my previous years, how much fatter I used to be. I turned to comfort food to help with the bullying and living with Sylvia. When I got a job, I began to watch what I eat and the weight dropped off with healthy eating and exercise, mainly cycling.

I finished drying myself and reached for the suit. I began putting it on, slowly and carefully so I don't damage the material. Slipping my legs into the trousers, I marvelled at how comfortable the suit was. I quickly put the rest of the suit on, the shirt and the jacket. I looked at myself in the mirror, straightening the suit and making my hair didn't look unkempt. Nodding at myself, I walked out of the room.

I approached the end of the hallway and took a deep sigh. Looking downstairs, everyone was looking away from the stairwell. I started to walk down the stairs slowly, not trying to catch anyone's attention, before a creaky board squeaked making everyone turn round, gasping at my attire. This did not make me feel confident in the slightest.

"Evening ladies." I quietly said.

"Wow Owen, you look great!" Rainbow exclaimed.

"That's a mighty fine suit you got there." AJ said.

"Yeah! It looks super-ific on you!" Pinkie chimed, bouncing on the spot.

"It does look very pretty..." Fluttershy quietly mumbled.

"Good job Rarity, it fits him perfectly!" Twilight thanked her friend.

"Oh, it was nothing." Rarity turns to me. "But darling, it looks absolutely divine on you."

I was quite taken aback with their words of acknowledgement. I cleared my throat and looked upon the group.

"Well, thank you. I really do like it and I have Miss Rarity to thank for it." I said proudly. I then noticed an absentee. "Hey, where's Spike? I was hoping I could twist his arm into coming with us." I was met with an audible gasp from Fluttershy.

"Twist his arm? What would threatening him achieve?"

"No, no, no. It's an expression. It means to help someone change their mind, not literally twisting their arm." I answered with a smile.

"Oh...OK then..." she said, hiding her face behind her mane.

"Spike didn't want to come along. He's going to spend the night with the Crusaders at Rarity's." Twilight said.

"Alright then. I'll have to treat him some other time. Are we ready to go?"

Everyone nodded and we were soon out of the library, walking into Ponyville.

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Celestia had just lowered the sun and was awaiting the arrival of her sister. Tapping her hoof impatiently, Luna eventually appeared behind her.

"I am sorry sister, I lost track of time." Luna apologised. Her horn lit up and soon the moon was hanging in the sky, bathing the land below in it's light. Celestia turned to Luna with a look of concern on her face.

"Is something troubling you Luna?"

Luna looked at her sister and tried to look as neutral as possible.

"No, nothing at all...why?"

"You've never been late for raising the moon. I was wondering if something was wrong."

"I was just...thinking."

"Thinking? About what?"

Luna turned away and walked back into the throne room, standing near the throne. Celestia followed suit.

"Luna, please. What's wrong?"

"What happened last night. What could happen in the future. Is it right?"

Celestia tilted her head in confusion before nodding at what Luna had meant.

"You mean between you and Owen?" Luna nodded slowly. Celestia walked closer to her sister and draped a wing around her. "What happens between you and Owen is your choice. I personally do not have a problem with it."

"But what about our subjects? And the rest of Equestria? How will they react to a pony of royalty engaging in a relationship with a different species? Especially one from another world?"

"It doesn't matter what they think. This is your life and you can live it how you see fit. Don't spend time worrying about what others will think. Just enjoy your newfound friendship to the fullest extent that you can." Celestia beamed, aiming to lift Luna's spirits. Luna looked at her sister with a twinkle in her eye and a smile that could bring joy to thousands.

"Thank you sister. You're right, I shouldn't care what others think. This is my life!" she said with a stance.

"That's the Luna I know!"

Both sisters walked out of the throne room, side by side, smiling at each other, unaware of the presence of another pony in the room. It emerged from behind the throne with a look of pure anger.

"So it's true. Luna has fallen in love with that disgusting creature. Well I will make sure that it will never happen!"

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"So girls, where's a good place to eat around here?"

I immediately got bombarded with many suggestions and names of various places. I tried to listen to each of them but the constant noise was too much. I raised my hand.

"OK, OK! Stop!" The mares all stopped talking over each other. "Clearly there are many places to go, so I need a way to choose." I thought for a few seconds before an idea came to me.

'5.'

"Right, I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 6. I'll point at each of you and you say the number you think it is. OK?"

The girls nodded and I began to point.

"6!"

"1!"

"3!"

"5!"

"4!"

"2!"

"OK. So, wherever you choose, we will go." I said, pointing at the winning pony.

"Oh...um...I was thinking of that nice little restaurant next to the town hall...if that's OK with everypony else..."

"Fine by me. Lead the way, Fluttershy."

We all followed the shy pegasus as we walked through the town, gaining greetings from most of the ponies that passed. Some commented on my suit which I gracefully accepted and gave praise to Rarity for.

The moon was high in the sky by the time we reached the restaurant. It was a simple wooden building, with many styles of flowers and plants surrounding it. Candles flickered in cages around the door and window frames.

"Wow Fluttershy, you chose a great place."

Fluttershy could do nothing but mumble something incomprehensible as we walked in. The restaurant wasn't that busy and there were plenty of tables avaliable. The moment I walked into the building, it all went quiet. The ponies that were already seated stopped whatever they were doing and stared at me in silence. I thought that by now, most ponies in this town would be aware of me. I suppose some still hadn't seen me. I looked at them all and tried to lighten the mood.

"Don't worry everyone, I don't bite. Please enjoy your evening." Surprisingly, they did. A small tan earth pony walked towards our group.

"G-good evening S-Sir. A-are you h-here for--"

"Please don't be alarmed. Owen is a kind and friendly creature and he means no harm." Twilight kindly explained. I mouthed 'thank you' silently at her. The pony seemed to relax at this.

"Thank you Twilight. Sorry for being disrespectful, Sir. Now, are you here for dinner?"

"Yes we are. Have you got a table for seven?"

"Right this way, everypony."

The pony lead us to a rather large table, seated in an alcove next to a window. We all took our seats, Pinkie kind of jumped into hers, and the waiter gave us all a menu.

"Tonight's soup is roasted carrot and celery. I will be back shortly to take your orders."

"Thank you, mister...?"

"Smart Service."

"Thank you Smart."

The waiter quickly walked away before we all looked at our menus. I thought now would be the time to bring up a nice fact.

"Right, girls. You can order anything you like, no matter what the price is."

This brought a smile to everyone's faces. They all looked at each other in shock and then at me with a smile, thanking me for this. After a while, Smart returned to our table.

"OK, everypony. What would you all like?"

"I would like the mushroom and courgette risotto, please." asked Twilight.

"Can I please have the squash and tomato gratin." Rarity added.

"The pumpkin ravioli please!" Pinkie said excitedly.

"Um...the daisy salad please" Fluttershy quietly said.

"The grilled vegetable platter!" Rainbow said loudly.

"I'll have the spicy bean stew, please" AJ asked.

I studied the menu one quick last time.

"And I'll have the lasagne, thank you."

"Very good. Have you decided on drinks?" Smart asked.

All of the girls shook their heads and looked at their menus again. Applejack cleared her throat to get my attention.

"You sure we can get anything we want?" I nodded in confirmation. "Then I'll have a cider!" AJ happily said.

"Make it two!" Rainbow added.

"Red wine for myself, thank you." Rarity said.

"I'll join you on that one." Twilight added.

"Just an apple juice for me please..." Fluttershy meekly said.

"Umm...do you have beer by any chance?" Smart nodded. "In that case, a glass or bottle of beer then please." Smart took the menus away from us and walked back into the kitchen where I could hear him reading out our order to the chefs. I turned to face the girls. One of us needed to start a conversation. Unfortunately, none of us knew where to start.

Conversation eventually started when Rainbow asked about where I was from. Twilight made sure that everyone steered clear of asking about my family and my youth. I began to explain what Earth was like and how different it was to Equestria. Like how different parts of the world were ruled by different people.

"So my country is ruled by Queen Elizabeth the Second. She has been on the throne for just over 60 years." I explained. "There are about 200 other countries in the world aside from mine, each with their own leader. Some have a King or Queen but some have presidents who are elected by the public into power."

Twilight seemed to be most entranced by my explanations of politics. That conversation eventually died down and another one started, this time about nature and wildlife. Fluttershy was very interested into the animal part of it.

"There are hundreds, if not thousands of different species of animal on Earth."

"What like?" Fluttershy asked, getting a bit more vocal.

"Well, you own a lot of animals. Most of the ones you take care of exist in my world. I really couldn't name them all as there are so many."

Smart soon returned with a tray of drinks in his mouth. He placed two glasses of red wine with Rarity and Twilight, two mugs of cider with Rainbow and AJ, an apple juice with Fluttershy and a bottle of beer to me. I thanked him and he returned to the kitchen. I raised my bottle as did the other girls with their drinks.

"To new friends!" I proposed.

"To new friends!" they all replied in unison, all of us sipping our drinks.

"So, I want to know more about you girls. How did you all meet?"

The tale of how the six friends met was an enjoyable one. Turns out that Twilight moved to Ponyville a short while ago and made friends with everyone else. The rest of the gang made aquaintances with each other over the past 4 or 5 years. Rainbow decided to tell me about the Wonderbolts - an acrobatic flying team of ponies.

"...and they're so awesome! That's my dream - to join them one day!" Rainbow stated proudly.

"Well I hope you get accepted. I suppose I have my own version of the Wonderbolts on Earth - The Red Arrows. They're a team of people who fly aeroplanes..." The girls looked at me in confusion over the word. "...it's a flying machine. Anyway, they fly at shows in formation, performing all kinds of acrobatic tricks. It's very impressive. If the Wonderbolts are as great as you say they are, I'll have to try and see them perform."

Our food arrived shortly after. It all looked very appealing. The aromas rising from the plates were beautiful - each dish giving off it's own amazing smell. Once the plates had been set down, we all began to eat. Trying to engage in conversation proved fruitless as most of the girls were more interested in their high-class dinners.

'Meh, fair enough. I'm just glad they're enjoying it.'



Seven empty plates adorned the table with every scrap of food gone from them.

"So, I can take from the lack of food here that everyone enjoyed that?" I said with a smirk.

A group of 'uh-huh's and 'mmm's was all I got in response. I chuckled softly at that. Before long, Smart returned and retrieved the plates.

"Was that good for all of you?" he asked.

"Absolutely. Judging by the happy faces over there, I can assume it was!"

Smart and I shared a laugh as he collected the plates and walked to the washing area. He walked back shortly after.

"Is there anything else I can get you?"

"Girls? Do you want dessert or another drink?"

"No dessert for me, I'm full. Another drink would be nice." Twilight chimed. The rest of the girls agreed in response.

"Another round of drinks then please. Same as last time."



The clock on the wall hit 9:30. We were the only customers left in the restaurant. The conversation between us had gone to AJ as she was explaining the Zap Apple season to me. Smart walked over to the table with a small piece of paper in his mouth. I gently pulled it out.

"Thank you Smart. Worst part of the meal - paying for it." I said, emitting a few chuckles from the girls. "179 bits...is that good?"

"That's actually quite reasonable." Rarity responded.

"Ahh, good, good. Now, let me...let me...huh?"

I felt around my pockets, looking for the bag of bits. I checked every pocket I had, looking for the elusive bag. I stopped looking when it dawned on me, slapping my head in frustration.

"Oh no. I left it in the drawers in my room. Twilight, give me the key to the library. I'll run back and get it."

"Are you sure? Do you know the way back?"

"I'm pretty sure. I won't be long." I said, Twilight giving me the key.

I walked out of the restaurant and back towards the library. At least I thought it was the right way. I reached Carousel Boutique and then Sugarcube Corner. Looking around, I realised I was lost. Nobody was around so I had to rely on my own sense of direction.

'I'm screwed.'

It must have been 30 minutes since I left the restaurant and I didn't know if I was going the right way or the wrong way. I recognised a building in the distance.

"Is that...it is! Sugarcube Corner! I've passed this already so where the hell am I?"

I walked in a different direction of the bakery this time and made my way towards the south of the town. After another 10 minutes of walking, I saw a large tree in the distance.

"Yes!"

I ran for the tree and sure enough, it was the library. I pulled the key out of my pocket, opened the door and shut it behind me. The light was dim in the library and I made my way towards the staircase before something caught my eye. Looking towards Twilight's desk, there was a unicorn standing there...staring at me.

"Uhh...hi. Can I help--"

I was cut off by the unicorn's horn glowing and my vision going black. I raised my arms to my head and felt a thin material, like a bag. Trying to pull it off proved useless as it was stuck there. I stopped flailing my arms and stood still.

"Alright! What the hell is going--"

*WHACK*

I was cut off by a punch to the stomach, causing me to fall to the floor. I held my stomach in agony as I struggled to breathe.

*WHACK*

Another hit to my mid-section caused me to scream out in pain. I managed to stand up slightly and raised my head, still unable to see.

"ARGH! What do you--"

*WHACK*

Whoever this unicorn was hit me again, straight in my left eye, causing me to fall down on my back, hitting the floor hard. I covered my face to protect it from being hit again before the bag was yanked off my head, revealing the attacker. As the light was dim, I couldn't see his face, only a black shape. I couldn't hold back tears of pain and fear and let them flow freely, sobbing quietly. The unicorn began to speak, it was male.

"You listen to me. I don't care who you are or where you came from. But you will stay away from Princess Luna. Never speak to her again. DO YOU HEAR ME?!" The unicorn walked over my sobbing body and stopped just above my head. He chuckled slightly.

*STOMP*

His back hoof slammed onto my face yet again. It hit my hands but was strong enough to push down onto my nose with immense force. The door opened and slammed shut as he walked out. The pain I was feeling right now was immense - it was horrible. I hauled myself off the floor and stumbled to my feet.

I hobbled up the stairs towards the bathroom and shut the door behind me. Still sobbing slightly, I turned on the light and looked at the mirror. I gasped and cringed at the state of me. My nose was heavily bleeding and my left eye had a large red mark around it. My eye was also bloodshot. Looking down at my stomach, there were two distinct hoof-shaped marks across my stomach. I touched the affected area, causing waves of pain to emit from it. I wiped my nose with a tissue, shocked at how much blood there was. I looked down at my suit and noticed the blood stained on it.

I picked up a wash cloth from the sink and dampened it with cold water. I undressed my top half and dabbed the stricken areas with the wash cloth, wiping the blood away. I looked at the mirror once again to see the state of myself and the memories of school returned to me. The bullying, the beatings, the names, all of it. I shed a few tears thinking about it and slumped into the corner of the bathroom, tending to my wounds.

"Owen? Are you here? You're so slow!" a voice sounded from downstairs.

It sounded like Rainbow Dash. I tried to stifle my sobs as the pain increased around my stomach area. I heard Rainbow walking around and gasping at something.

"Owen?! There's blood down here!"

She sounded scared. I would be too if I walked into a house and found blood everywhere. I heard hoof-steps walking up the stairs and approaching the bathroom. They stopped just outside the door. I curled myself up into a ball to hide my injuries. The door creaked open slightly as Rainbow stepped in.

"Owen...what's going on? There's blood leading into the bathroom..." she said nervously.

"I...I was..." I managed to splutter out before releasing a sigh mixed with a sob. A hoof was laid on my shoulder.

"Did something happen here? Look at me..." Rainbow said.

I slowly lifted my head up to meet her gaze where she gasped heavily holding a hoof over her mouth.

"What in Celestia's name happened?!" she shouted at me.

"I...I was attacked." I whispered.

"Attacked? By who?!"

I shook my head before burying my head in my hands again.

"Owen. Who did this?" she asked more assertively.

"I don't know." I raised my head again. "The money is my room. In the top drawer. Take it to the restaurant."

"But Owen, you need--"

"Rainbow please. I can clean myself up. Just...please take the money to Twilight." Rainbow looked uneasy but she nodded with a frown.

"OK. I'll be back real soon."

With that, she raised to the air and out of the bathroom. I heard rummaging before a kind of boom eminated from the hallway. I felt a few drops of blood hit my hand and held up a tissue to my nose again, stopping the blood flow. I slowly got up and picked up the top half of my suit. I walked back downstairs and sat on the cushion, waiting for the girls to return.

Minutes felt like hours as the library was eerily quiet. The only sounds were my wincing at the pain after applying more pressure to it. The silence was shortly broken as the sound of galloping hooves was heard approaching. Louder and louder and...

*CRASH*

The door swung open with immense force to reveal the girls, minus Pinkie and Fluttershy, all gasping for air. Once they caught sight of me, they all recoiled in shock but walked in and started looking me over.

"Why would anypony do this?" Twilight asked.

"Whoever did it is gonna have to answer to me!" Rainbow defiantly stated.

A loud gasp was heard from the doorway as Fluttershy hovered with a box in her hooves. She flew over to me and landed to my side.

"Oh you poor thing. Let me take a look at you." she said in a motherly tone.

I held my hands down away from my face as she opened the box - a first aid box. She examined my nose, touching it slightly and looking up the nostrils.

"You didn't show pain at me touching your nose so it's not broken, just cut an bruised." She reached into the box, pulling out a small swab of cotton and a bottle of liquid. She poured a minute amount of liquid onto the cotton and looked at me. "I'm going to apply some iodine solution to it. I'm sorry but...this will hurt a bit. If somepony could..."

Before she could finish, Rainbow held out her hoof for me to grip onto. I held onto her hoof with my right hand as Fluttershy approached my nose with the cotton. She touched the cut with the cotton which caused me to wince a lot and squeeze Rainbow's hoof very hard.

"Argh...grrr..." I groaned at the pain, squeezing a tear out.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! It's the best thing for it." Fluttershy apologised.

"It's fine. Don't worry about it."

Once the pain had subsided, Fluttershy observed my stomach area and poked and prodded it a few times.

"You're OK here as well. Just some bruising. Nothing that some rest won't clear up." she said with a smile.

"Thanks Fluttershy."

She closes her box and flies out of the library, bidding farewell to her friends. I stand up and observe the blood trail on the flood which the rest of the girls have noticed.

"I'll clean that up." I said. I walked into the kitchen and dampened to cloth before Twilight levitated it out of my hands.

"Don't worry about that, I'll take care of it. You need to come and sit down."

I nodded at her request and sat back down on the cushion. Twilight, Rarity, AJ and Rainbow sat around me.

"Do you know what the attacker looked like?" Twilight asked, levitating a quill and parchment.

"I...not really. All I saw of him was that he was white and he was a unicorn."

"How do you that this ruffian is a male?" Rarity asked.

"He spoke to me...well...threatened me. He uhh...told me to never speak or see Princess Luna ever again." I said, hoping they wouldn't ask why. Twilight noted all of this down and rolled the parchment up.

"What are you doing Twilight?" I asked.

"Writing down what happened. I'll send it to the Princess in the morning when Spike returns. She'll need to know about this. As for now, you need to get some rest."

I nodded and stood up, looking at the concerned faces of the other girls.

"I'll be fine. I just need to rest."

"I do hope you'll feel better soon darling" Rarity said.

"Don't you worry. We'll catch this varmit and make sure he gets punished!" AJ stated, stomping her hoof.

"Thanks for the dinner. It was great." Rainbow quietly said with the other girls agreeing at this.

"It was my pleasure. We should do it again some time. Good night."

I made my way up the stairs as the girls, minus Twilight, exited the library. I walked into my room and lay slowly onto the bed, making sure not to cause more pain. I lay my head on the pillow and shut my eyes, hoping I would be able to sleep.

12. Identity Unknown

View Online

What would you do after being assaulted. Panic? Call the Police? Whinge and moan about it? Have nightmares? That would be normal procedure back home but here, it was different. I didn't do any of it. As soon as I put my head on the pillow, that was it, lights out.

The peaceful world of slumber was my domain. Pure bliss. Absolute silence. Apart from this annoying jabbing on my ribs.

'...-ou awake?'

Oh, leave me alone. I'm so comfortable...

'Owen? Are you awake?'

OK, you win Twilight. I'll check out of El Casa Slumber. I groggily shuffle in my bed and turn my head to Twilight. Opening my eyes slowly, my left eye emitted pain when I opened it.

"Hrng...damn, that hurts." I grumble.

"Sorry to wake you Owen but I want you to read this letter before I send it to the Princess."

"Letter?" Last night's actions return to me. "Oh...right. Let's have a look then."

Twilight levitated a piece of parchment with a note written upon it. I rub the sleep out of my eyes and focus my gaze on the letter.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I am compelled to inform you of an incident that occured last night in the library - Owen was attacked. At the current time, the assailant is unknown as he kept his face hidden during the attack. Owen is injured but recovering as it was not too severe. I fear for his safety staying in Ponyville as the attacker could strike again. Please reply as soon as possible with your best course of action.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle

"Is that enough information, do you think?" Twilight asks

"It's the basic details. I'm sure that Celestia will want more information when she asks for it."

"Very well. Spike!" Twilight rolled up the letter and sealed it; Spike entering the room behind her. "Please deliver this letter to Celestia using the emergency system." Spike quickly breathed a blue fire onto the letter and it disintegrated.

"Why did you burn it? I thought you wanted to send it." I asked, confused.

"That's how the Princess and myself communicate. Spike's breath can send the letter straight to the Princess' castle. Normally we would send it with a green flame but in an emergency, a blue flame is used to indicate a very important message."

I let out a few short sighs as the process was explained. "Magic...still surprises me."

Twilight and Spike exited my room as I got out of bed and got showered and dressed for the day. I caught a glance at my blood-stained suit and quickly looked away, trying to forget about last night. Looking in the mirror, the skin around my affected eye was red and swollen. The bridge of my nose was a mixture of red and purple. The skin on my stomach was bruised in a dark colour.

I walked downstairs and fixed myself some porridge for breakfast. Eating away, I looked up every now and then and caught Spike and Twilight staring at me, averting their gazes when I noticed them.

"Stop worrying about me. I'm fine." I glumly said.

"But your face. Shouldn't you--"

"I said I'm fine!" I retorted with frustration, causing Spike and Twilight to recoil at my outburst. I sighed heavily and looked at them again. "Sorry, I shouldn't have shouted at you. It's just...I'm just trying to forget last night, OK?"

Twilight and Spike both nodded and resumed eating their breakfast. Once the meal was finished, I contemplated on what I should do today.

"Hmm, there must be something I can do."

"Well uh..." Spike stammered a bit, trying to find his words. "You could um...go to the hospital and get some stuff for your face."

"Look, I'll be just--" A sudden pain from my eye cut me off. I raised my hand and touched the skin around it, causing pain to emit. "Actually, that's probably a good idea. Thanks." Spike grinned at me and went back to his shelf sorting. "I know the way to hospital." I walked towards the door and opened it, looking outside. "I'll be back in...a..." I slammed the door shut with much force.

"What's wrong?" Twilight worringly asked.

I just stared at the door, looking out of the little window that sat in the middle of it. "All that open space...he could still be out there...he could get me again!" I shakily said, starting to panic.

"OK, OK. Calm down, it'll be fine." Twilight said, putting a reassuring hoof in my hand. "Do you want me to come with you?" All I could do was nod rapidly. "Alright then. Just stay near me and you'll be fine."

Twilight opened the door and we walked out of the library into the morning sun. I never felt more aware of how much open space there was here. I stood as close as I could to Twilight as we walked through the town. Every unicorn we passed; I couldn't take my eyes off them. Anyone of them could be the attacker.

We eventually reached the hospital and walked up to the front desk where Nurse Redheart was filing some papers.

"Good morning. How can I help..." Redheart gasped as she saw the sight of me. "Owen! What happened to you?"

Not wanting to mention it, Twilight came up with a clever lie. "He fell down the stairs and landed on his face. As you can see, it has swollen quite a bit and we wanted something to help with it."

"Of course. Please come this way."

We both followed Redheart into a room out of sight of the reception area. I was asked to sit down for an examination, which I obliged to.

"Fluttershy examined me yesterday and said that there weren't any breakages. She also cleaned up a cut on my nose." I informed Redheart of.

"I see. I'll fetch a doctor quickly and have them examine you." Redheart exited the room as I was left with Twilight.

"Thanks Twilight. Falling down the stairs? I would have never thought of that."

"The amount of times it's happened, it's easy to remember.' she replied with a chuckle.

A knock at the door interrupted our conversation as a familiar pony entered the room.

"Well, well, well. Look who it is." he said with a smile.

"Oh, Doctor Stitch. Nice to see you again." I said, bumping his hoof. "I had a bit of an accident at home."

"I can see. Let me just examine you quickly."

Stitch began to look, poke and prod the affected areas of my face. He signalled me to lift up my shirt which revealled the bruised area. After a good 10 minutes, he came to a conclusion.

"Good news. Your injuries are minor, very easy to heal. I can use a healing spell for your eye and nose and they will heal immediately. For your bruising, I can't really help with that. I can only advise you to take it easy and not to put much strain on it. Should be right as rain within 2 days."

Stitch's horn lit up and shot at my face. The skin around my eye began to twitch, causing chills to run down my spine. My nose began to go numb as the skin around it was repaired. Soon after, the spell was stopped and Stitch held a mirror to my face. My eye and nose were back to normal.

"Thanks so much Doctor."

"Not a problem. You take care now." Stitch said before leaving the room. Twilight and I got up to leave and walked out of the examination room, through the reception and out of the doors.

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Walking back through the town, I felt less nervous than I had earlier. Many ponies had greeted us and involved us in conversation, which I managed to contribute to, after many tries. Approaching the stretch of street leading to the library, we noticed a rather large group of ponies surrounding the library entrance.

"What's going on here?" I ponder.

Twilight gasps with excitement. "Maybe they all want to use the library! Oh, I've never had this many ponies at once before!" Twilight broke into a gallop as we approached the library but we both stopped as we saw the reason for all this commotion. Standing at the front door of the library was none other than-

"Princess Celestia!" Twilight exclaimed, running up to her mentor's side.

"Ah, Twilight, good to see you." She turned towards me with a stern look. "And you as well Owen. Can we talk inside?" The crowd dispersed as Twilight and I entered the library, locking the door behind us.

"I assume that you are here to talk about last night's events?" Twilight said.

"That is correct my student." Celestia turns to me. "Are you able to talk about it Owen?"

"I...I suppose. I've been trying to block it out all morning." I took a seat on one of the cushions with Twilight seated next to me. Celestia crouched down in front of us, levitating a quill and parchment.

"OK. Whenever you are ready, explain what happened." Celestia said very calmly.

I took a deep breath and looked down at the floor, trying to gain the courage to speak about it. I raised my head to meet Celestia's gaze and closed my eyes.

"We had all been out for a meal at the restaurant next to the town hall. After we finished, I forgot to bring the bag of bits that you gave me. I obtained a key from Twilight and walked back to the library, getting lost on the way. It must have been about 40 minutes later that I arrived at the library. I walked in and noticed a unicorn standing at the rear of the room...staring at me."

"And what did this unicorn do next?" Celestia questioned. I held my hands to my face and let out a large sigh.

"He...he blinded my vision. I tried to feel what it was - it felt like a bag. I then shouted at the unicorn, asking what he wanted. Then he..." I rubbed my temples. "He hit me, here." I lifted my shirt to show the bruising. "Twice he hit me. It hurt so much...I...I fell to the floor in pain. I tried to get up and get away, I tried! But he hit me again in the face, knocking me over."

Tears started to fall as I remembered the ordeal and the pain. Trying to hide my sobs, Twilight put one of her hooves around my shoulders, offering me a warm, hearty smile. Celestia noticed my sudden change in mood.

"Owen, I'm sorry for prying but I need to know as much as possible."

"I...I can't."

Celestia raised her hoof and put it on my hand, pulling it away from my face. "I know this is very upsetting and I know this is hard to talk about so I have an idea. Can I have your permission to use a memory spell on you?"

"What kind of memory spell?"

"It will allow me to see a certain time period through your eyes as you saw it. That way, I can see the rest of what happened last night. Is that alright for me to do?"

"But...OK...sure. Do it."

With that, Celestia lowered her horn to my head and it glowed. I watched as she closed her eyes and focused on her magic. Her face soon scrunched into shock.

'Must have worked then.'

Celestia's magic quickly stopped and she looked at me with solemn eyes.

"My goodness, that's horrible! So, it's somepony who knows about you and Lu--" Celestia held a hoof to her mouth and looked at Twilight worringly.

"It's alright Celestia. She already knows."

"Ah, OK then. It's somepony who knows about you and Luna. From what he said, it sounds like he's either jealous or scared of you. I couldn't see any features that stick out but I know he's a unicorn and he's white." Celestia then gasped and turned away from us. "It can't be, it just can't..." Twilight was quick to notice what Celestia had said.

"Princess! Do you know who it was?" she questioned.

Celestia turned round and faced us again. "I'm not sure. I have an suspicion but I can't be perfectly sure. If it his who I think it is...it just doesn't sound like him at all." Celestia looked worried before looking at my face in confusion. "Wait, if he attacked your face, where are your injuries?"

"Ah. Well that was the doctor who fixed me up. He used a healing spell on my eye and nose to restore them. The bruising on my stomach will go in a few days.

"I see. Now, about what you said in the letter. I understand that your safety is a concern but I can assure you that no more harm will come to you. I will deploy a team of guards to patrol Ponyville until I see fit. This attacker will be caught, I promise you."

"Thank you Celestia. I appreciate all of this."

With that, Celestia nodded to us both and exited the library into an awaiting chariot which flew away with haste. Twilight and I were left in the library, alone. She turns to me with an inquisitve look.

"So, got any other plans?"

"Erm..."

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*2 Days Later*

The past 2 days were pretty uneventful. Rarity had come round to take away the suit for cleaning and repairs. I finished the Daring Do novel, which was pretty damn awesome. Rainbow Dash had crashed into a library window and then challenged me to a hoof wrestling match...I lost. Twilight and I had many conversations about Earth and I treated Spike to a visit to Sugarcube Corner.

I decided to take a stroll around the town, hoping I can explore some parts I had yet to discover. I soon came across a darker coloured building, situated at least a good 50 meters away from any other building. Approaching it, I noticed that the windows were tinted either black or navy blue and the door has a banner over it. I slowly opened the door and walked inside.

The inside of the building looked like what I can only describe as 'Dubstep HQ'. The place was a club, a good looking one at that. Looking around, I noticed a bar, a dance floor and the mother of all turntables. The lights were dim and I could not see anyone inside. Memories of the party came back to me, remembering a certain unicorn.

"This must be Vinyl's place." I pondered out loud. "Hello? Anyone here?" I walked over to behind the turntable to see a hallway leading down next to the bar. I walked down it, looking at the doors as I walked past them.

"Bathroom...Cloakroom...Power Room...Wub Room?...Ah! Office." The door at the very end of the hallway is where I needed to go. Knocking on the door three times, I waited for a response. Nothing. I turned the doorknob and peeked inside.

"Hello? Hmm...no-one here. I'll just leave a note." I picked up a spare piece of parchment and a quill and jotted a note down.

To Vinyl

Popped round earlier to see if you were about but nobody was here. I'll come and visit again soon. If you want to come and see me, I'm staying at Twilight's library.

All the best,
Owen.

My handwriting is not exactly above par, even with a quill but it was legible enough. I set the letter down and marvel at the amount of gold records the adorn the walls of the office.

"Wow, quite a collection."

"It is, isn't it?" a female voice responds. I turn around to find the source.

"AH! Who said tha--" I look at Vinyl - the white unicorn. "AHH GOOD GOD!" I screamed, jumping and falling backwards over her desk.

"Whoa! Are you alright?" Vinyl asks with worry. I look at her and calm myself down by remembering one key fact.

'It was a male. It's not Vinyl.' I get up off the floor and look sheepishly at the mess I created. "Ehehe...I'll clean this up." I began to pick up the quills and parchments and placing them back into neat piles before Vinyl levitated all the mess and sorted it immediately. "Well that saves a lot of time!" I joke.

"Oh yeah, couldn't live without magic!" she responds. "So, what brings you by?"

"Ah, well. Twilight mentioned that you were interested in my Ipod." I reached into my pocket and pulled out the device which Vinyl stared at intensely.

"Ahh yeah! I really wanted to see this! Can you show me how it works?"

I showed Vinyl the basics of how the Ipod worked. She was dumbfounded by the touch screen but soon got the hang of it after using her hoof a few times.

"So, what kind of music do you like Vinyl? I'm certain someone mentioned dubstep."

"Dubstep is awesome! Anything like that or club, dance or techno is pretty good."

"Hmm, I haven't got much music like that but I've got a few. My style of music is more rock & roll, pop and punk rock. I'll see if I can find some music for your tastes..."

I began scrolling through my song collection. I had about 2000 songs on my Ipod, with over half of them being from video games. I eventually came across this tune.

Then this.

And then this.

The whole time that the three tracks were playing, Vinyl paced up and down the room, bobbing her head to the beat. I couldn't help but join in. I swear, I looked like one of those bobble-head figures you see in cars. At the end of the third track, I showed Vinyl the playlist that those songs were in.

"If you go here, and press the playlist name, all those types of songs and music will be in there." I informed.

"This my friend, is amazing. I have a favour to ask."

"Which is?"

"Can I borrow this for a while? I've been trying to create some new beats for the club nights and I've been having some trouble." She lifted her glasses and narrowed her eyes at me. "But THIS! This will solve all my problems! Can I borrow it? Please?!"

I couldn't say no. After all, she referred to me as a friend and this will help her with her work.

"Sure you can. As long as you take care of it."

Vinyl practically launched herself at me and embraced me in a bone-crushing hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"Can't...breathe..."

"Oops, hehe...sorry." she said, releasing her vicegrip on me.

"No problem. Hey, I meant to ask. What on earth is the 'Wub Room' anyway?"

"That's my creation room. It's where I create and test new music before showing it to the paying folk."

"Oh right. Do you get a lot of ponies at your club nights?"

"Sure! Maximum limit is 150 and it's nearly full every night."

I scratched my chin in thought of what she just said. A busy club, lots of ponies and I have just helped her out big time. An idea occured to me.

"Say Vinyl. You wouldn't be able to do a favour for me would you?"

"Depends what it is." she answered, raising her eyebrow..

"I recently found out that I'm actually staying in Equestria, for the rest of my life."

"Oh, that sucks."

"Ahh, don't fret over it. It's just, I'll need to support myself from now on and I was wondering...as I helped you out...could you...give me a job here?" I asked with hesitation.

Vinyl focused her gaze on me. "You want to work here? Why?"

"Because I think working with you will be pretty awesome. Besides, I've always wanted to work somewhere like this but I've never had the opportunity."

"Hmm...do you know how to mix music?" I shook my head. "OK...what about serving drinks? Or being a bouncer?"

"I've never done any of those...not really suited for this am I?" I answered, hanging my head low.

"Oh, not at all. I can teach you!" Vinyl chimed.

"You will?!"

"Sure! It's Wednesday today so why don't you come here on Friday, around Midday and I'll give you the basics."

I leant down and decided to give Vinyl the equivalent of what she gave me a moment ago. "Thanks Vinyl. I really appreciate this." I release her and she chuckles at me.

"It's not a problem. Friends help each other out, right?"

"Right. Well then, I better be off. Twilight's probably wondering where I've got to."

"Sure dude. See ya soon!"

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I exited the club and began my trek back through the town with a spring in my step. Many ponies greeted me as if I was one of their own. It felt nice to be recognised as a safe being. I reached the stretch of path which led to the library. Casually walking down it, I felt the breeze blow upon my face. A cool breeze on a hot summer's day. It was the perfect--

"WATCH OUT!"

"Wha--"

*CRASH*

I barely managed to register what the danger was before it literally hit me. I was thumped to the ground by an unknown force, hitting me square in the back.

"Owww...my back..."

"Mister! I'm so sorry!"

I slowly dragged myself off the ground, turning around to see the perpetrator. A grey, blonde maned pegasus stood before with an extremely worried look on her face.

"Are you OK? I'm sorry for crashing into you! It's just I can't see too well and I--" I raised my hand to stop her voice before she started screaming at me. I noticed that her eyes were crossed. I better go easy on her.

"It's alright. No permanent damage." I held my hand out to her. "I'm Owen." She bumped my hand and her facial expression soon grew into pure happiness.

"I'm Ditzy, Ditzy Doo. Ponyville's resident mail-mare!" she exclaimed, showing off her saddlebags, stuffed to the brim with letters and parcels.

"Nice to meet you Ditzy. So, how did you end up cra--"

"My muffin sense is tingling! Bye!" Her left eye began to twitch and she immediately took the air faster than Rainbow Dash.

"I...er...bye then." I mumbled to the dust cloud hovering to where Ditzy once stood. I turned 180 and made my way back to the library.

'Muffin sense? Wait...Spider-Pony...Muffin-Mare? That'd be freaking hilarious!

Entering the library, Twilight and Spike both greeted me whilst re-arranging the books of the shelves. Judging my Spike's demeanour, this must have been at least the fourth re-shelving of the day.

"Hey Owen. How was your day?" Twilight asked.

"Pretty good. I got myself a job working at Vinyl's club!"

"Oh wow! Well done!"

"Thanks. I've got some training to attend on Friday so I'll see how it goes from there."

It was early evening so I decided to help prepare dinner for my house-mates. Looking around the kitchen properly, I saw that there was a stove with frying rings on top.

Looking through the cupboards, I found many vegetables to all of our liking. I also found some oriental ingredients, like you'd find on Earth. Ginger, soy sauce, even some chilli sauce.

"Hey Twilight. Where did you get these ingredients from? These are just like ingredients on Earth."

"Oh those? The Princess gave me them froma trip she took to an Eastern providence. We class them as Neighponese."

"Huh, we call them Chinese. So many subtle similarities..."

I went back to the kitchen and scoured the cupboards again for a meal I could cook up. A certain recipe came back to me, one I used to cook at home. I got out some cooking utensils. I pulled out some carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and aubergine. That was the main veg out of the way. For the marinade, I got some garlic cloves, a small chunk of ginger, 2 small tomatoes, soy sauce, chilli sauce, some oil and some sugar.

I first got a large mixing bowl and set it down in front of me. I de-skinned the garlic and ginger and then crushed the cloves and grated the ginger - putting them in the bowl. I then chopped and ground the small tomatoes to make it into a puree, also putting it in the bowl. I then added 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, then 1 tablespoon of chilli sauce and oil. I then added a small amount of sugar to sweeten the chilli sauce. Mixing the marinade together produced a dark-red sauce.

I de-skinned the certain vegetables then chopped them all into small chunks. Adding them to the bowl, I mixed thoroughy until everything was coated evenly. I turned on the flames on one of the rings and set a large frying pan down, adding a splash of oil to it. When the pan was heated enough, I poured the entire load of the bowl into the pan and began frying it. The second the food touched the pan, an amazing concoction of oriental flavours wafted into the air, infiltrating my nostrils causing me to 'ahh'.

"Mmm...that smells incredible. What is it?" Twilight asks, trying to peer into the pan. I put my hands over her eyes to stop her from seeing.

"Uh, uh, uh! No peeking. Go and take a seat, it'll be ready soon."

Twilight pouted her bottom lip to try and guilt-trip me. I was having none of it. I pointed my finger out of the kitchen and she walked away with a 'hmph'.

"Hmph.'

See, told you.

After about 10 minutes of frying and stirring, the vegetables were starting to become soft and sticky with the marinade cooking into them. I turned off the stove and searched for three plates I evenly dished up the food onto the three plates and brought them out to Spike and Twilight with cutlery.

"What do you call this dish?" Spike asked, eyeing the dish curiously.

"Hmm...let's call it Sweet and Sticky Vegetables." OK, it wasn't the best but it was the only thing I could think of. "I used to cook this back home, one of my favourites."

Twilight and Spike each took a tentative bite and began to chew. At first, they didn't react, causing me to curse myself internally. They then turned to me with a look of wonder on their faces.

"Oh wow. This is amazing! It's so good!" Twilight cried, taking another mouthful.

"It sure is! Almost as good as my gems!" Spike added.

"I'm glad you like it. Seriously, I'm impressed that I could cook for both of you."

The meal was finished shortly after that and I took the plates away. Three empty plates, three full bellies. The hour was late so I quickly washed the plates and pans and dried them off. I bid goodnight to Twilight and Spike as I retired to my room, collapsing on the bed. Quickly undressing myself, I got under the covers and closed my eyes. I heard Twilight walk past my room as she went to bed.

Either we were all tired or I just invented the tranquilizer meal.

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*snore*

*snore*

*snore*

'Owen.'

*snore*

'Owen, wake up.'

"...huh?" I looked at the clock - 1:39 AM.

'Open the front door.'

That voice was defintely in my head. I closed my eyes again.

'You're not dreaming. Come downstairs and open the door.'

I opened my eyes again and sat up, trying to listen for the source of the voice.

"That voice...it sounded like...!"

I quickly got out of bed and walked downstairs to the front door. Unlocking it, I opened it fully, peeking outside.

"Hello?" I whispered. There was no-one there. Just as I was about to shut the door, a bright light shone in front of me and revealed a hidden creature. "What the...Luna?"

"I'm sorry for startling you. I had to remain hidden so nopony would see me."

"Oh right. Come in, come in." I responded, quickly ushering the moon princess inside. I turned on the light and Luna looked at me with worried eyes. "What's wrong?"

"Celestia told me you were attacked. I had to come and see you." Luna said, putting a hoof on my shoulder.

"I'm fine now. I've healed up and I'm fighting fit." I replied, holding her hoof with my hand. "Come here." I sat down on the cushion and pulled Luna down with me. She sat herself next to me with me putting an arm around her neck, stroking her twinkling mane. We both shared a silent stare before one of us broke it.

"Celestia told me something."

I swallowed hard as Luna said that. "Oh um...did she?"

Luna turns to face me with a smile. "Yes, she did. She told me that she talked to you. About...us."

"Yeah...we did."

"She told me how you felt about me, how you thought of me."

I nodded at her statement.

"I have to know. Is it true? Do you...love me?" she asks, leaning closer to me.

I had never been so nervous in my life. Never being in a relationship before, I didn't really know what to say. My mouth dried up as I tried to find the right words.

"I...I..." I thought back to that fateful night. The evening that changed everything. The talk with Luna, the kiss, sleeping with her. I marvelled in her beauty but couldn't find the courage to say it.

'SAY IT, GODDAMN IT!' my brain screamed at me.

I took my hand and placed it behind her head. I slowly leant forward and placed a kiss on her lips. Holding it there, I closed my eyes as my mind began to drift. Releasing the kiss, I tried to be as suave as possible.

"Does that answer your question?" I said with a smile.

"It does. But..."

"But?"

"I need to hear you say it."

"OK. Princess Luna." I held her hoof in my hand. "I love you."

Luna threw her hooves around my neck and pulled me into a kiss. Pushing herself forward, I fell onto my back, taking Luna with me. We held the kiss for about 10 seconds before she broke it off and looked into my eyes.

"I love you too."

All I could do was smile. Smile at this beautiful creature in front of me. Luna rolled herself to my side and we put our arms/hooves around each other, embracing one another. I stroker the back of her mane as she circled her hoof on my back.

I don't know how long we lay there but it felt like hours. Neither of us said a word as we lay there, embraced with each other.

"I'm starting to get drowsy. I think I need to sleep." I said, groggily.

"Then sleep. I'll stay here with you." She kissed my head as I snuggled down onto the cushion and closed my eyes to try and sleep. A sudden thought came to me.

"Say, shouldn't you be at night court?"

"Pfft. Who cares?"

*A/N* Hey guys. This will be the last chapter for a while. For those of you who read my blog posts, you know why. For those who do not, I'm moving away for a month to care for a physically disabled student at his university campus. As this job will be literally 24/7, I will not get as much time to make new chapters for the story. I may be able to get a chapter out but it seems unlikely. I will return home in the beginning/middle of October. See you in a month!

13. A Day of Leisure, Luxury & Truth

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Bliss

Noun

1. Supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment: wedded bliss.

2. Theology . The joy of heaven.

3. Archaic . a cause of great joy or happiness.

4. The state of which I am in right now!

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Up...and down. Up...and down. Up...and...

The gentle rocking of my head ceased. The rhythm that was keeping me in the land of nod stopped and I instantly woke up, slowly opening my eyes to the view of the library. The first object in my field of vision was of a visibly shocked unicorn who was holding my head up with one of her hooves.

"Hey...why'd you wake me?" I asked, sitting up. Twilight pointed to the 'pillow' that I had been using. "Oh right. She came to visit last night, around two-ish. Sorry for not asking." Twilight smiled in return and walked upstairs.

I turned my head to look at Luna. She had discarded her breastplate, crown and shoes and was effectively naked. I leant back down and embraced her body with my arms, pulling myself close to her. Luna shuffled slightly and rubbed up against me, making me feel an unusual feeling. I looked down to where her chest would be on a human and saw something I wasn't expecting.

'Nipples! She's got fucking nipples!'

I was initially shocked to see them but something Twilight said echoed in my mind. 'She's just like you.' My mind didn't give me much time to get used to the situation as Luna yawned and slowly opened her huge eyes.

"Morning beautiful." I said, rubbing her side.

"Good morning." Luna sat upright and observed her surroundings. "I guess I couldn't stay awake. Excuse me whilst I dress myself." Luna got up on all fours, picked up her belongings with her magic and walked upstairs into the bathroom.

I made my way to my room and got dressed in some clean, fresh clothes. I opened up my curtains to see that the sun had already risen. Walking back out into the hallway, I stopped and knocked on the bathroom door.

"Hey Luna. Did you lower the moon this morning?"

"I just noticed that. I guess my sister took the liberty this morning."

I walked back downstairs and set myself a bowl of cereal. Munching away, Luna came down the stairs and sat next to me, observing my style of eating.

"That looks very complicated. How can you control all ten of those digits individually to hold your cutlery?"

"To be honest, I don't know. How the human body works is not my strong section of knowledge I'm afraid. All I can show you is this - what happens when I flex my fingers and thumbs."

I turned my hand over so the underside of my wrist was shown. I flexed all of my fingers individually to show the bone move under the skin of my wrist. Then all at once to show the muscles move as well. Luna put her hoof on my wrist whilst I flexed and quickly moved it away when she felt the bones moving, elliciting a chuckle from myself.

"Human biology is very interesting. I wish I could know more."

"Well, in time maybe I can explain more but it won't be much."

Luna walked into the kitchen and came back out with an apple which she happily ate. Twilight and Spike descended from upstairs and greeted us.

"Morning you two. Have fun last night?" Spike quipped causing me to choke slightly on my cereal.

"Spike! I'm sorry your highness." Twilight apologised.

"No need to apologise dear Twilight. I have grown accustomed to the humor of the present time. But no, nothing happened last night." Luna explained.

"That's right. We just spent the night together." I leant over and kissed Luna's cheek causing Twilight to 'aww' at us. Spike, on the other hand, made gagging noises.

"Eww, get a room you two." We all chuckled at his statement and went about our morning business. I took my bowl to the sink to wash it before a thought occured.

"Hey Spike. How did you know me and Luna were together?"

A hoof was swiftly brought to Twilight's mouth as she looked more nervous than ever. I walked over to Twilight with a stern look on my face and leant down to look in her eyes.

"Twilight...Sparkle." I said still glaring at her. I immediately sniggered and laughed, putting my hand on Twilight's shoulder. "It's fine. I knew you couldn't keep this secret for long. Everyone's gonna know about it eventually."

Twilight let out an exasperated sigh and went to a bookshelf, scanning for a particular book. I turned to see Luna standing next to the front door.

"I have to return to Canterlot. Celestia is probably worried about where I am."

Well, that's put a cramp in my day...and it's only 8:30. I walked up to Luna and threw my arms around her neck, hugging her. "When are you next free? I'll come and see you or vice-versa." Luna put a hoof to her mouth in thought then her head shot up as if an idea hit her. I swear, I was waiting for the light bulb to appear above her head.

"Twilight. Is Owen busy today?"

"Not that I know of. Why?"

Luna opened the door and walked out, nodding her head as a sign for me and Twilight to follow her. We walked outside where stood straight up, making herself look tall. She was about 6'1" so just a bit shorter than me.

"Come back with me Owen. We'll make a day of it."

"Are you sure? Don't you have royal duties to attend to?" I asked.

"Yes but those won't take long. So how about it, will you return with me?"

I didn't need to think long about this answer.

"Sure. I'd love to."

"Excellent, we'll make haste at once." Luna lowered herself to the ground. "Climb on."

"What?"

"I'm flying back to the castle. The only way I can take you with me is if you sit upon my back."

"WHAT?!"

"Is there a problem?"

My teeth immediately began to chatter as I thought back to that awful chariot ride a few days ago. Twilight walked up to my side and placed a hoof in my hand.

"Princess, Owen has a fear of flying. He explained this to me when we left Canterlot."

"I see. What exactly frightens you about it?"

"I...I don't know really. It's just everything about it. It's not heights, it's just the flying itself. Besides, if I ride you, I can fall off. There's no support. And I'm too big for your back."

Luna chuckled and stood on all fours again. Her horn glowed blue as an aura enveloped her body. I watched in amazement as her entire body expanded and grew. The aura dissapated and Luna was now at least 2 foot taller than myself. I looked up into her eyes and they showed genuine comfort.

"You have no need to be afraid. Whilst you are on my back, I will place a spell on you which will keep you stuck on my back until we reach Canterlot. Will that suffice for you?" Luna asked in a soothing tone. She lowered herself to the ground and I gulped in nervousness.

I slowly clambered onto her back, placing one leg each side of her frame. I placed myself near her neck so I couldn't obstruct her wings. Her horn glowed again and my body tingled and then felt heavier. Luna then raised onto her feet, with me throwing my arms around her neck for support.

"Try and fall off my back." Luna instructed. I leant left, right and backwards but I stayed firmly rooted to the alicorn.

"That's impressive. You sure you're OK with this?"

Before I could get a response, Luna's wings flared open and flapped as we ascended into the sky. I quickly shut my eyes as we rose higher and higher.

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Twilight was sorting out her shelves as Spike came into view.

"Spike. Now that you know about the Princess and Owen, I don't want you to go telling everypony about this." she demanded.

"Come on Twilight, like I'd go and spread gossip around the town. I'm not that type of dragon."

Spike retreated back upstairs with a book and set himself down in his basket at the foot of Twilight's bed. He chuckled evilly to himself.

"I won't gossip...but I know a certain pony who will..." he muttered to himself.

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'I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die.'

"Owen. Are you OK back there?" Luna called.

"Fine! Just fine!"

"Then why are your eyes closed?"

"I can't open them. I can't!"

"Trust me Owen, you'll be fine. Just open them."

"I...can't!"

"Do it!"

The determination of her voice pushed me over the edge. I slowly opened my eyes before the were forcefully opened by the air currents. We were flying. Actually flying.

"Oh...wow. This is..." I looked down. "HOLY HELL! HOW HIGH ARE WE?!"

"About one kilometre. The world looks wonderful, does it not?"

She was right. Looking down, trying not to be scared by the height, I marvelled in the land below. I could see countless buildings and settlements below. Looking ahead, all I could see were fields and forest, stretching on for miles.

"It's beautiful." We soon flew over a rather dark and gloomy looking patch of ground. "Luna! What's that down there?"

"That is the Everfree Forest. It's very different to the rest of Equestria as it houses many violent creatures and the weather controls itself."

We must have flown for at least 2 hours now. I was constantly bombarding Luna with many questions about the current sights which she happily answered to me. Before long, the mountainside city came into view.

"Is that Canterlot?"

"Yes, it is. You've been there before!"

"Yeah I know but the first time I went, I was teleported. The way back we flew and I had my eyes shut the whole time." That caused Luna to burst out laughing. "Oh stop it. It's embarrasing."



Soon after, Luna touched down on the balcony of the throne room. She de-activated the stick spell and I climbed off her body which she then shrunk back to it's original size. While I was trying to re-gain my balance, she sidled up next to me.

"Well? Did you enjoy that?"

"Not at first but it got better. Much better."

"Would you do it again?"

I turned my head to face her and gave her a small kiss on the lips. "Of course. As long as it's with you." A faint blush adorned her cheeks as we opened the balcony doors to see that Celestia was in the middle of a conversation with a pony.

"Ahhh. There you are Luna. I was hoping you would return." Celestia said with a grin.

"I apologise sister. I lost track of time."

"Hold on." Celestia turned to the visiting pony. "Thunderlane, can we please put this conversation on hold for just ten minutes?"

"Of course Princess." With that, Thunderlane flies out of the throne room. Celestia closed the doors with her magic and stood up from her throne. She walked over to us.

"I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with you Luna. Not only did you abandon your nightly duties but you did not inform me that you were leaving. I was concerned for your safety."

"Sister, I--"

"Celestia, can I explain?" She nodded towards me. "Luna came to the library last night to check on me as you told her I was attacked. She was very concerned for me. After I assured her I was fine, we had a talk...about us."

Celestia's demeanour changed into one of surprise and happiness. "How did it go?"

"Luna told me she talked to you. She knew how I felt about her and she told me she had feelings for me as well. I admitted to it with a kiss but it was when I said 'I Love You', that sealed the deal. We remained in the library for a while before I had to sleep. Luna said she would return here early but she fell asleep as well."

"So does this mean that...you two are a couple now?" I could see that Celestia wanted to jump for joy, judging by her facial expressions. Me and Luna looked towards each other, smiled, then kissed. We released the kiss and looked at Celestia before responding together.

"Yes."

Mine and Luna's body was pulled to Celestia by her levitation and embraced in a hug. Celestia was giggling like a school girl and nuzzling both mine and Luna's faces. "Congratulations to you both. I'm so happy for you!" Celstia released the death grip and wiped a few stray tears from her eyes.

"I'm guessing this is good news for you?" I joked.

"Of course! This is amazing news!" she replies.

I look towards Luna with an annoyed expression. "Celestia, Luna said she has some duties to cover. What could I do in the meantime?"

"Nonsense! No sister of mine should need to perform royal duties on a day like today. I command you both to take the day for yourselves and enjoy it to how you see fit!"

"Thank you Celestia."

We both exited the throne room and walked out of the castle. We then arrived at the royal gardens where many types of plants and flowers adorned the perimeter of the gardens. I knew it was cliche but I tried to do something romantic. I picked a vibrant red rose and held it up to Luna.

"For you, my dear."

"Oh, Owen. Thank you."

Before I could place it decoratively on Luna's mane, she quickly took it from my hand and gobbled it down. I tried to string some form of sentence together.

"Why...but...how...are roses a delicacy here?"

"Of course they are. Are they not on Earth?" she asked with worry.

"Well, I'm sure some chefs would find a use for them but normally, they are used as presents...romantic presents."

Luna gasped and quickly tried to spit out the remainder of the rose in her mouth. Except there wasn't any. "I'm so sorry! I thought you were offering me a snack!"

I laughed heavily with a wheeze. "Oh my goodness...I'm sorry but that's adorable!" Luna hung her head which I quickly noticed. I put my arm around her and kissed her cheek. We continued walking until we reached a collection of statues.

"Who are these Luna?"

"These statues commeorate the pioneers of Equestria. This one here is of Starswirl the Bearded, one of the greatest magic users that has ever existed. This one here is of our nanny of when myself and Celestia were children. Her name was Sunny Skies. This one over--"

Luna quickly pushed me away from a rather large statue. "This one is not important." I could tell there was something wrong.

"Luna, what's wrong with this one? It looks a bit...freaky." This statue was of an unfamiliar creature. I was a mix-match of about 7 or 8 different animals. Luna turned around and sighed, looking up at the statue.

"This...is Discord. He is the God of Chaos and a pure evil entity."

"Oh wow...that's pretty deep. What happened to him?"

"Only recently, he escaped from his prison and wreaked havoc and chaos on the world. It wasn't until the Elements managed to seal him again that the world recovered."

"Blimey. So where is this prison?"

"You're looking at it."

I gasped and stared at the statue. So this was a creature at one point, turned to stone by Twilight and her friends.

"So this is actually Discord's body? Just in stone?"

"Correct. Now if you don't mind, can we move on? I don't like being around him."

"Of course. You go on ahead. I just want to study this further."

Luna walked around the corner and I approached the statue. I touched the statue, it was ice cold. The expression on his face was one of horror - as if someone was about to shoot him. I stood back from the statue and stared into it's eyes.

"Huh...weirdo." I turned the corner to find Luna waiting for me. We both walked around the gardens for a bit longer before retreating to the castle.

We entered the dining room and Luna asked the chefs to prepare lunch for us both. A wide variety of sandwiches, salads and fruits were brought in for us. As we tucked in, we both discussed how ponies would accept us as a couple.

"I am not sure how our subjects would respond. I'm sure it'll be a shock to them." Luna stated.

"I suppose that they might be shocked at first but I'm not worried. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

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Once we finished our lunches, Luna guided me to a room, high up in the castle. She wouldn't tell me why but I can imagine it was something good.

"Believe me Owen. I always do this when I have a day off. It really relieves the stress."

"Ummm...OK then." I was quite nervous about what she wanted to do. Part of me thought that she wanted some...activites to exist between us but the other part of me dismissed it. We approached a door which Luna opened with her magic. Inside the room lay two beds with trays seated next to them.

"How would you like a massage from our expertly trained professionals?"

"Sounds good to me. I've never had a massage before."

"Then you're going to enjoy this."

2 ponies, both female, led myself and Luna to the beds. Luna was asked to remove her breastplate and I was asked to remove my clothes...all of them. I went to the adjoining bathroom with a towel and undressed myself, coming back out with the towel around me.

"The usual for myself please and give Owen here the best treatment you can." Luna asked.

"Of course your highness. If you could lie down for us please." one of the masseuses asked. I lay down face first on the bed and wondered how this would feel.

"So what do you do? Do you just rub my back or...ohhhhhhh."

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An hour later, myself and Luna had exited the massage room. Luna was marvelling how she felt much better as was I.

"Wow. Massages are amazing. I feel so relaxed now, you know?" I said.

"Exactly what I was aiming for. Those ponies know how to make you feel good."

"Excuse me a second. I just need to go somewhere quickly." I nodded towards a door which led to the toilet. Luna nodded in understanding and I entered the bathroom, locking the door behind me.

Once I was finished, I washed my hands and was about to exit before I heard chatter outside the door. I put my ear to the door to listen.

'Princess, is the human staying in the castle tonight?'

'I do not know as of yet but it's quite probable.'

'I see. Do you know where he will be sleeping if it has been arranged?'

'I don't know why you ask these questions but he would be sleeping in my chambers with me.'

'Very well. Have a good day Princess.'

That voice, it sounded familiar. Opening the door, I noticed Luna had a thoughtful expression on her face. "Something wrong?"

"It's just that guard. He wanted to know where you were sleeping tonight - like he REALLY wanted to know."

"Huh, how bizarre. Stalker maybe?"

"I hope not."

We began our walk to the throne room to check on Celestia. It was only fair to offer some help if she was very busy. Upon entering, Celestia was sitting upon her throne, drinking from a mug.

"Greetings you two. Are you enjoying your day?"

"Indeed sister. We have explored the gardens, had some lunch and even had some massages."

"Excellent. I hope you enjoyed yourself Owen."

"..."

"Owen?" both Celestia and Luna called.

'That voice...where do I know that vo--'

"THAT'S IT! IT'S HIM!"

My shouting literally scared the shit out of the princesses as they jumped back with fright. Luna was first to implore my outburst.

"What is? Who?"

"I knew I recognised that voice! The guard you were talking to Luna - it was him! The pony that attacked me!"

"WHAT?!" both sisters exclaimed.

"Are you positive Owen? Absolutely sure?!" Celestia cried.

"One hundred percent sure. I'd recognise that voice anywhere! Luna, do you that guard's name?"

Luna shivered at the fact that her lover's attacker had just spoken to her right under her nose.

"LUNA!" I shouted.

"AH! It's Sharp Blade! The guard's name is Sharp Blade." Luna exclaimed.

Celestia summoned a scroll in front of her and unrolled it. She scanned the scroll then put it down. "My tower chamber - that's where he is stationed today. GUARDS!" she shouted. Two pegasus guards flew in and landed next to Celestia.

"Yes your highness."

"Go to my chamber tower. Guardspony Sharp Blade is stationed there. Bring him to me. Now." she commanded with anger in her voice. The guards immediately flew out of the throne room. I began to breathe faster as I became nervous with the fact that my attacker will be here any second now.

"What are you going to do sister?" Luna inquired.

"We are going to ask him some questions before we accuse anypony of this. I hope you can understand Owen."

"Of course Celestia."

We waited in silence for the fore-mentioned pony to be brought here. Our silence was broken by the throne doors opening up and a unicorn guardspony being dragged in. Celestia ushered me behind her throne to hide me.

"What is the meaning of this Princess?" Sharp Blade asked before the other guards exited the room. Celestia's horn glowed and touched Sharp Blade causing him to tense up.

"Guardspony Sharp Blade. I have reason to believe that you have committed a crime. I have binded your body so you are unable to leave until I say so. Where were you on Sunday evening?"

"I was stationed in the royal gardens." he replied.

"Did you perform your duties as instructed by your leader?"

"As always your highness." No change in his voice.

"Did you or did you not leave your post at any point un-instructed?"

"No...no your highness." There it was. The sudden change in his tone of voice.

"Hmm...very well. OK, come out now."

I walked around the throne into Sharp Blade's view and his eyes immediately latched onto me. His facial expression turned to one of horror and fear as he noticed who I was.

"Do you know who this is Sharp Blade?" Luna asked.

"No. I do not." His eyes darted around the room. Luna narrowed her eyes at him and glared. Sharp Blade gulped and hesitated. "OK fine. He is the human that everypony has been talking about."

"Correct." Luna started circling the guard. "Are you aware of the events that occured on said Sunday?"

The guard didn't respond. He could only look at the floor. I looked at Luna - she was angry but she was holding it in. It looked like she was ready to burst. She lowered her head to his face. "ARE YOU AWARE?!" she screamed at him.

"YES!" he responded. A few tears escaped from his eyes as he struggled to hold his composure.

"One more question. Do you know who is responsible for the incident that occured?" she asked in a ice cold tone.

The guard sniffled and looked up at Luna. "Yes."

"And who was that?"

"It...was me."

Luna raised her hoof, ready to strike the guard but I rushed forward and grabbed it before she could. She looked at me with a look of confusion.

"No Luna! There's no need. He confessed." Luna lowered her hoof and leant against me. "Celestia, can I ask Sharp Blade a question?" Celestia nodded in confirmation. I walked over to him and leant down to meet his eye level. "Why? Why did you do it?" I asked in a calm tone.

"I...it..." Sharp tried to say.

"Go on." I edged him.

"I had to do it. I had to do it for my family. We needed the bits."

"Wait, money? How would you get money out of this? And how much?"

"It was an order. An assassination order...for one million bits."

Celestia and Luna gasped at this and rushed to the guard. I held up my hand to stop them which they did. "OK. You know you are going to prison for this right?" He nodded. "Then help me out now. I understand that your family means much to you but we need to know. Who gave you this order? Who wanted me dead?"

"It was...it was..." I placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled at him to show I mean well. "It was the Prince. Prince Blueblood."

All three of us stood back from the guard and mused over what he just said. I can't imagine what Celestia and Luna must be thinking right now. Celestia called for the guards to come back in.

"Yes Princess."

"Place Sharp Blade under arrest. Take him away."

"Yes Princess."

Sharp Blade looked at me and mouthed 'I'm sorry' before being led away by the guards who were reading him his rights. "Sharp Blade, you are under arrest by the order of Princess Celestia. You do not have to say anything but anything you do say could and will be used as evidence. Do you understand?" Sharp Blade nodded as the guards exited the room. I turned to face Luna and Celestia who were crying.

"I can't believe this. I just DON'T BELIEVE THIS!" I've never seen Celestia angry before now and believe me, it's frightening to say the least.

"To think that Blueblood would pay for somepony to be killed! It's unforgivable!" Luna cried. I walked up to Luna and Celestia and embraced them in a hug.

"Don't worry. We'll bring him to justice. Do you know where he is?"

"Most likely to be in the concert hall. There is a social gathering there tonight and he will be talking on our behalf." Celestia stated.

"Well then, let's go down there."

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The concert hall was in sight. A marvellous building - kind of reminiscent of the Royal Albert Hall only looking older. On the left of me was Princess Celestia, god of the sun. To the right of me was Princess Luna, god of the moon and my girlfriend...that sounds so strange to me.

We approached the main doors and the bouncer-type ponies bowed to us as we walked in. I walked into the main room first un-noticed by the upper-class ponies of Canterlot. I tried to spot this Blueblood but I had a flaw - no idea what he looked like.

"Hey, what's he look like?" I asked the princesses.

"He has--there he is! Over there!"

"OK. Just wait here. I'm going to approach him and see what happens. If anything bad starts, please break it up."

"But Owen! He could be dangerous." Luna alarmed me.

"Maybe so. But I've had my fair share of standing up to bullies. Mostly failing but I stood up nonetheless. I'm gonna try and speak to him and get him to confess and come quietly. If not, you two need to come in. I just don't want this to turn into a brawl." The princesses nodded and I moved towards the prince, keeping close to the wall.

He was standing in the middle of a crowd of ponies, talking to all of them. I got closer to overhear his conversation.

"...and it was most incredible that a new species had arrived in Equestria. A human, I hear it's called."

'Hmm. So far so good.'

"I was staggered to hear that the poor fellow had been attacked by an unknown assailant."

'What?! That was your doing you fucking bastard!'

"Believe me, if I was there, I would have stopped the attack. Nopony, not even an alien species, deserves to be attacked for no reason. I highly admire this fellow, even though I have yet to meet him."

'Oh that is it!'

"THAT'S THE BIGGEST LOAD OF BULLSHIT I HAVE EVER HEARD!"

Every single pony stopped and stared at me. My sudden outburst caught the attention of the prince who walked towards me with a grin on his face. He reached his hoof out to touch my arm but I quickly slapped it away, causing the surrounding ponies to gasp.

"Don't you dare touch me." I calmly said.

'Celestia, Luna. I know you can hear me. Do not approach yet. I'm just a bit pissed at him.'

"Whatever is the matter, human?" Blueblood asked

"I have a name. It's Owen and I know everything you just said is a load of rubbish." Blueblood's left eye twitched. He knew that I know about the order. "Listen everyone. Whatever he has told you about me, it's probably true. Apart from the attack that I suffered on Sunday. Unknown assailant? Not anymore. We caught the culprit and he has been arrested."

The surrounding ponies all acknowledged the fact that the attacker had been arrested. "Well there you go. Mystery over." Blueblood quickly said.

"Not quite. You see, the attacker said that he was ordered to attack me. Not just to attack...but to assassinate me. Someone wanted me dead." This ellicited gasps from everyone in the room. "Now, we tried to get him to tell us who ordered him to do it and why. He needed money for his family. This order...was worth one million bits." Blueblood started to back away ever so slowly. I walked towards him at the same speed.

"And he told us who ordered him to do it. Do you want to know? Do you really want to know?" I raised my arm in the air and stretched out my finger. Lowering it slowly, I pointed it straight at the executioner. "You. Prince Blueblood."

Blueblood quickly stepped back knocking over a display of champagne glasses. "Slander! I-I never gave such an order!"

"Really? Maybe we need proof of it then." My anger was building fast. I needed someone to calm the situation. "Princess, can you please come over here." Celestia emerged from the archway and walked over towards me and Blueblood, staring at him the whole time. Blueblood's face said it all. "Princess, I am going to ask the prince here a question. A pretty straightforward one. When he answers, can you read his mind to check if he's lying or not." Celestia nodded.

"Well then. Prince Blueblood. Did you give an order to Guardspony Sharp Blade to assassinate me for one million bits?"

"No. I did not." he replied whilst Celestia hit him with a mind reading spell. The spell ceased and Celestia's face turned to one of disappointment, not anger.

"Liar."

All ponies gasped in the room. The amound of gasps we have had now, we should have run out of air. Blueblood looked frantic, looking around the room for a chance to escape. There wasn't one. Well, there was but it was through his aunt.

"FINE! YES I DID!"

A few ponies fainted and some ran off in shock.

"I wanted this disgusting creature out of our world and nowhere near us!"

Anger levels rising. "Disgusting? You don't even know me!"

"And I don't want to! You don't fit in here and you never will! You're an alien and we don't let aliens live in Equestria!"

"I...am a human. I'm NOT AN ALIEN!" I retorted.

"You're a dirty, disgusting, ruthless alien and you always will be. I heard your conversations about your past. The homes you lived in, the people who cared for you...your parents." he said with a chuckle.

"Don't...you...dare talk about my parents." I said through gritted teeth, clenching my right hand into a fist.

"Why not? Although, now I can see why they abandoned you. It was the right decision for them."

That was the breaking point. I couldn't hold it back anymore. Before anyone could react, Blueblood's face was caught subject of my rather fast approaching fist.

"FUCK YOU!"

Blueblood stumbled for a bit before falling to the ground, unconscious. I towered over him, ready to punch him again but I was stopped by Luna who held me in her levitation. She brought me close to her and held me in her hooves.

"Owen, no!"

"LET ME GO! I'LL KILL HIM!'

"That makes you no better than he is!"

That brought me back down to Earth...Equestria. I let out a huge sigh and lowered my fist. My head rested on Luna's shoulders as my emotions came out in tears and sobs instead of rage. I embraced Luna and buried my face into her shoulder. I overheard Celestia talk to the ponies in the room.

"My loyal subjects. Prince Blueblood here is guilty of attempted murder. He will be arrested and sentencted to prison for his crimes. Guards, take him away!" Cheers and applause, in the style of hoof stomping, was heard as Blueblood was dragged away by four guards.

Luna pulled me away from her to reveal my depression state. She gently stroked my head with her hoof. "It's all over now. Come on, we'll go back to the castle." I replied by nodding and the three of us made our way back to the castle.

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It was around 7PM before we got back to the castle. I walked slower this time just to think about what transpired. We got back into the throne room as Celestia spoke up.

"Are you both OK?"

"I know I am. How about you Owen?"

"What will happen to them? Sharp Blade and Blueblood?"

Celestia hesitated but answered soon enough. "They will both be put on trial for their actions and most likely sentenced to a lengthy term in prison." I nodded in understanding. "Are you alright though?"

"I guess." I winced as my right hand emitted pain. "I can't believe I punched him. I shouldn't have done that."

Luna placed a wing around me for comfort. "But he was making you angry, very angry. We don't condone violence but nopony could have prevented that."

"I could have." I replied sadly. "I could have repressed my rage. I should never have let my anger take control of me. It was just the mention of my parents that set me over the edge...I didn't even know them so why was I angry?" Celestia crouched down to meet my eye level.

"Even thought you never knew your real parents, they are your parents nonetheless. Your reaction was out of respect for them and you needed to protect their name, their rights." I smiled at Celestia for lifting my spirits. She was right, even though I never knew them, I protected their names and fought for them.

"Well, I'm sorry for hitting him anyway." I apologised.

"It's OK. He's not hurt seriously. Although I've never seen anypony get knocked out with one hit before." Celestia mused.

"That'll be the anger..."

Silence filled the room for a while as we sat quietly, musing over the evening's events. I eventually needed to do something.

"I hope you don't mind, but I just want to go and have a wash and go to sleep. Think it's best after a day like this."

"Of course Owen. Come with me, I'll show you the baths." Luna said, helping me up with her hooves. "Goodnight sister."

"Goodnight to you both. I will control the moon tonight Luna. You help Owen with whatever he needs."

"Thank you Celestia." I offered.

Luna led me one floor up and to a rather large set of doors. Opening them up, it revealed a huge bath in the centre of the room, at least 25 feet by 25 feet.

"Wow...that's huge."

Luna walked over to the taps at the edge of the bath and turned them on, letting the torrent of hot water fill the bath at a speedy rate. She also poured in some purple liquid which foamed when it met the water.

"This is theraputic bath oil. It helps relieve stress and calms the mind."

"Thanks. Just what I need."

"On the side there are some shampoo bottles with various bath soaps and wash-cloths. And don't worry about the temperature. The bath is magically enchanted to keep the water hot all of the time."

I put my arm around Luna and kissed her cheek. "You're amazing you are. Simply amazing." Luna blushed and exited the bathroom, closing the doors behind them. I waited for the bath to fill to the right level before turning off the taps. A sea of foam was before me. I quickly undressed and slowly set myself into the bath.

"Ahh...oohh, that's hot...that's...ahhhh..."

I sat down in the bath; the water just reaching my chest. The temperature was perfect. I quickly downed myself under the water to warm up and resurfaced, catching my breath. I lay back and stretched out, letting the fumes and vapours of the oils relax the mind and relieve my stress. I just wish I had an ice pack for my hand.

Minutes passed, twenty I'd say. Hard to tell when you're this relaxed. Any more relaxed and I'd be asleep. I slowly started to drift...more and more and--

*KNOCK KNOCK*

Damn it all. I quickly pulled some foam over my private regions. "Come in!" The door opened to reveal the pony of my life. Luna, in all her finest. "Hey. How are you?" Luna walked over to where I was and sat down next to me.

"I'm well thank you. I came to see how you were."

"I'm good. These oils really helped and I'm really relaxed."

Luna smirked. "Oh...well that's good to know..." she said with a chuckle.

"What's so funny?" I noticed she wasn't wearing her breastplate, crown or shoes. "Err, Luna. Why are you--" Before I could finish, she jumped over me, cannonballing into the bath, sending a wave of suds over me. She surfaced and looked at me, laughing her head off.

"Ha-ha! I got you good!" she chimed.

"You most certainly did." I waded over to her and put my hands under the water. "Hey Luna."

"Yes?"

I raised my hands fast, sending loads of water into her face. "HA! Got you back!"

"Oh, it is on!"

We spent about five minutes, splashing each other and kind of...wrestling in the water. She got me good a few times. After another failed attempt to dunk her head, we both surfaced and sat back against the edge of the bath.

"That was great fun!" I exclaimed.

"Indeed it was!"

We both chuckled and stared at each other. We both leant forward slightly, our lips meeting in a passionate kiss. I put my arms around the back of her head, pulling her closer as she did the same with me. About twenty seconds passed before we broke it. Luna moved to sit in front of me, with her back to me. She leant her head on my chest and I put my arms around her. Her wet mane flopped over her eyes and over my chest. She actually looked better like this...kind of...sexy.

"You know. I just realised something." I said with a smile.

"What's that?"

"I love you even more now. You really showed me that today."

"Awww, stop it. I love you as well."

We stayed there, just listening to each other breathe. Every once in a while, I'd cup my hand and bring water over Luna's head to keep her warm. It was a short while after that an idea came to me.

"Hey Luna?" She responded with a 'hmm?'. "I know this'll sound weird but...can I...wash you?" Luna lent her head up to look at me with a frown. Damn...wait, she's upside down, it's a smile!

"That's not weird. Course you can."

I picked up her chosen shampoo and put some into my hand. I gently began to lather it on her mane, running it through all of the hairs. It felt kind of theraputic to me and I hoped it felt the same for her. She wasn't complaining so I guess so. After washing her hair off with water, I asked her to sit up so I could wash her body. She did so and I gently washed her body, wings and legs. Running my hand through her wings, I felt how soft her feathers were.

I finished washing her body and marvelled at how good she looked, especially with that floppy mane.

"Your turn." Luna asked.

I sat in front of her and leant back into her. She did the same as what I did; washing my hair with shampoo and rinsing it off ever so gently. The soft touch of her hooves was enthralling. It was like someone just got one of those memory foam pillows and started massaging you with it - that kind of plushness. I was in such a trance when she was washing my body, I started humming one of my favourite songs. It was quiet but loud enough so Luna could hear it. Once my body was washed, she embraced me from behind and pulled me back onto her, with me leaning my head on her chest.

"What are you humming there?" she asked.

"It's a song from my world - one of my favourites. It's called 'You Raise Me Up'." (It actually is one of my favourite songs. Don't abuse me for it!)

"It sounds beautiful."

We stayed there embraced for another five to ten minutes before Luna got out of the bath, me in tow. The bath emptied as we both dried ourselves off with towels. I caught Luna staring at me.

"What?" I asked

"Your erm...your..." She pointed a hoof at my mid-section.

"You mean my--" There it was, in all of it's glory...at full attention. I quickly covered it with a towel and I felt warmth flush up to my face. "My goodness, I am so sorry!" It's bizarre that I didn't even notice it. I looked at Luna who was blushing.

"Does that mean that you're...ready to mate?"

"Sometimes yes. It happens to everyone at some point in the day. Sometimes it happens for no reason at all and sometimes...there is a reason."

"Is there a reason now?" she asked with a coy look.

"Umm...maybe."

Luna chuckled and walked out of the bathroom. I followed suit, picking up my clothes and walking behind her. She led me to her chambers and we both entered, with the door shutting behind us. Luna stood very close to me and looked deeply into my eyes.

"Do you want me to...take care of it?" she asked, pushing me onto her bed.

'Oh my god. She's actually wanting to do this. I can't believe it, my first time! This is going to be--'

"No."

'No? What do you mean no?!'

"No, Luna."

'What's wrong with you? Say yes you moronic twat!"

Luna looked dejected at my answer and she moved away from me. I quickly moved up to her and put my arm around her. "It's not that I don't want to, it's just...I've never done this before and I feel that we should do this later in the relationship...not so early into it. Do you understand?"

Luna turned to me and smiled before kissing me on the lips. "Of course I understand my love. I understand completely."

"I love you so much."

We embraced each other in a kiss and hug and lay down on the bed. The covers were quickly levitated over us as we continued our embrace. Breaking the kiss, the lights went out at the shout of 'Off' and the room was darkened. I snuggled close to Luna as she did with me.

"Thank you for stopping me today. I would have probably tried to kill him if you didn't stop me."

"You're more than welcome. I'm glad I stopped it when I did."

"And thanks for the water fight." I laughed softly. "Been ages since I had that sort of fun. It reminded me of--AHAHAHA!"

"What's so funny?"

"Your feathers. I'm really ticklish." Luna gave me a massive smirk. "Don't you dare. Don't you even--" I was interrupted by a barrage of feathers on her wings tickling me in all the right places. "AHAHA! STOP! I SURR-AHAHA! PLEASE STOP!" Luna did so and retreated her wings. I looked at her and chuckled evilly. "My turn."

"No! WAIT!"

The sound of female and male laughter echoed down the staircase leading to the throne room. At the foot of the staircase, Celestia stood, laughing at what she was hearing.

"I think he just found out her weakness."

A/N - Hey all! Got two days off so I finished up a chapter - can you believe it?! Well, course you would, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this would you? Anyway, I have another day off next Wednesday so I'll try to get another chapter up then but I can't promise anything. These days off can be re-arranged at very short notice. Everyone have a good one!

14. Ready For Launch (Part 1)

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"It's beautiful here."

"Isn't it just?"

"I'm so glad we chose to do this."

"So am I, Luna...I love you so much.

"I love you too Owen."

"....hng...just a little closer..."

"Almost...there..."

OWEN! WAKE UP!

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"I DIDN'T BREAK ANYTHING!...huh?"

Being abruptly pulled from my dream, I sat straight up in the bed and rubbed my eyes to remove the intruding sleep in them. Looking ahead, I saw Celestia standing at the foot of the bed.

"Oh hey. Morning Celestia." I said with a groan.

"Morning yourself."

A shuffling next to me made me aware that Luna had been awakened by her sister's bellowing voice.

"And I thought I was loud." she mumbled before raising her head to meet mine, then to Celestia. "Morning to the both of you. Sister, what is the meaning of the rude awakening?"

A warm smile spread itself across Celestia's face. "It was more for Owen's sake than yours. Do you know what day it is today?"

"It's Friday." I replied, shrugging my shoulders.

"And do you have plans for today? Any appointments you made?"

I tilted my head in confusion. "Appointments? No...there's nothing I can think of." Celestia summoned a scroll and deposited it in my lap. I opened it up and began to read it. "Dear Princess Celestia. Can you please remind Owen that he is expected at Vinyl's club today..."

I quickly got to my feet and held my hands on my head. "THE CLUB! I'm supposed to be starting work at the club at noon! I completely forgot!"

"You never told me you got a job." Luna stated.

I started pacing up and down the room. "Oh no. No no no no no! I'm gonna be late, Vinyl's gonna get angry, I'll get a bad reputation..."

"Owen."

"...I won't earn any money and I'll disappoint a great friend..."

"Owen!"

"...The Ipod! I even leant her my Ipod. I'll never get that back n--"

"OWEN!"

That stopped me. I turned to Celestia who just expelled all the voice she could. "Err...yeah?"

Celestia draped a wing over my shoulder to keep me calm. "There's no need to panic. You have plenty of time. I have arranged a chariot to take you back to Ponyville at 9AM. Everything has been taken care of."

I let out a sharp breath as my panic subsided. "Thanks. Thanks very much." Celestia nodded and walked out of the bedroom, leaving me and Luna alone. I fell backwards onto the bed and sighed a sigh of relief. "At least I'm not gonna be late."

Luna's face came into view above mine. "How could you forget about something so important?" she scolded me.

"I got so caught up with you yesterday, I forgot all about it." I placed a hand on her cheek. "Spending time with you is wonderful. Takes priority over everything else."

Luna swatted my hand away in a playful gesture and leant down, giving me a kiss on the lips. "Go on. Go and get washed up and I'll meet you in the dining hall. I hear they're serving pancakes today." she said with a wink.

That brought a smile to my face. I immediately sprang up and made my way to the bathroom, situated near the rear of the room. Whilst inside, I had a quick wash with one of Luna's frilly purple wash clothes. Hey, it may be frilly but it gets the job done.

I quickly made my way to the dining room, remembering where it was after mine and Luna's day exploring yesterday. I sat myself down where a waiter pony came by with a large stack of pancakes, laden with fresh fruit. Thanking him, I began to tuck in, as did the royal sisters.

"So...what was funny between you two last night?" Celestia asked.

"Oh err...you heard us laughing?" Luna said, making Celestia nod in confirmation. "Well, I managed to find Owen's sensitive spot" she said with a laugh.

"And I found hers. Now I know how to get back at her..." I said with a evil smirk, putting another mouthful of fruit in.

We continued to idly chat about the previous days events. Everything, from the flight to the castle and conquering my fears somewhat, to the discovery of Blueblood's deceit. I was asked whether I would like to attend his trial...I didn't give them a direct answer.

Once breakfast had been dealt with, it was time to return to Ponyville. Celestia gave me a warm farewell while Luna and I walked out towards a waiting chariot. I looked at the chariot and huffed.

"At least this won't be as bad as last time." I mumbled. I turned to Luna and gave her a hug. "I'll see you soon, yeah?"

"Of course. I'll let you know when I'm next avaliable."

I climbed into the chariot and sat on the seat, looking out of the window to a smiling Luna. "Hey. Will you come to the club sometime? See how I'm getting on?"

"Sorry but clubs are not my scene. I'm not one for loud, noise-polluting music." she stated. I gave her a despondent stare and quivered my bottom lip. Luna strolled up to the chariot and leant her head close to mine. "Buuuut...I could find time for you." she said, giving me a quick peck.

"I'll look forward to it. Take care...love."

"You too...dear."

With that said, the chariot pulled off and launched into the sky. I never broke my gaze with Luna until she was completely out of sight. I sat back in the seat and watched the world go by. The world looked beautiful from above, even thought my fear of heights was still there. Not as bad but it was there nonetheless.

"Hey buddy! You banging the Princess?" one of the pegasus guards shouted back.

'How can they ask something like that?! It's so rude!' I leant out of the door to shout back a remark about their question but I said the first thing that came to my mind.

"Not yet!"

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The flight back to Ponyville took about two hours and I was moderately OK with the flying. A couple of dips and turns made me feel queasy but not as bad as my first encounter with this flying contraption. Touching down outside of the library, I exited the chariot and thanked the guards. They then took off into the skies.

I opened up the library door and saw Twilight at her desk with her nose in a book. Spike was busy sweeping up what looked like the remains of a vase.

"Hey guys."

"Hey Owen." Spike glumly said.

"What's up with you?"

Twilight turned her head around to look at Spike with a stern face. "He broke one of my favourite vases, so I grounded him for a week."

"Ah I see." Twilight turned her head back to her book. I walked up behind her and tapped her head which caused her to turn around. I put my arms around her and hugged her tight.

"What, Owen? What are you doing?" Twilight quizically asked.

"Thanking you for sending that letter to Celestia. If you didn't, I would have completely forgot about work at the club today." I gently kissed her forehead. "You're a diamond, you are."

Twilight blushed and produced a nervous smile. "Oh I er...you're welcome."

"Anyway, I thought I'd just pop back and see you both before I head off. I'll be back sometime this evening. See you later." I said, exiting out of the library. I started to make my way to the club, walking through the town.

Along the way, I was greeted by a few familiar faces who greeted me with their always-cheery attitudes. Seriously, this town is waaaay too happy.

About 30 minutes later, I came across Vinyl's club which had some sort of scaffolding around it. Not a pony in sight though. I approached the front door and entered the club. As I walked in, music was being played at background volume. I saw 2 other ponies who were seated at the bar, staring at me as I walked in. I approached the two ponies who didn't break their gaze.

"Uhh...hey. Do you know if Vinyl's here?" I asked tentatively.

"Over here!" I heard a voice call. Looking towards the mixing deck, I saw the electric-blue mane of said pony DJ. I walked over to her and saw she was untangling the mother of all knots of wires.

"Having fun there?" I joked

"Oh yeah. Absolutely loving this" she said through gritted teeth. She huffed and threw the wires down on the floor. "Forget this, it can be done later." She looked at the clock, which was a neon light displayed on the wall. "Half hour early, good start." she said with a smile. "Let me introduce you to the two I've brought in today for your training."

She led me over to the two ponies at the bar. The one sitting on the stool was a dark red unicorn with a yellow mane. The one behind the bar was a brown earth pony with a white mane that hung over his forehead. Vinyl introduced me to them both, starting with the earth pony.

"This is Minute Hand, the chief bouncer in the club."

"Hey, I'm Owen." I said, extending my hand to him.

"Nice to meet ya." Minute responded.

"This here is Cherry Spice. She's the best bartender I've ever met."

Cherry chuckled and swung her hoof at Vinyl in a playful manner. "Oh stop it." She looked towards me. "Nice to meet you. Vinyl's said you're a great guy."

"Oh she did, did she?" I glanced at Vinyl and laughed. "Well, I'll prove if that's right or not soon enough" I joked.

Vinyl sat herself down on one of the stools. "Right, well it's up to you Owen. What do you want to learn first? Bar work with Cherry or bouncing with Minute?"

"Let's go for the bouncing first."

"Follow me big guy." Minute instructed. We walked into a room that was next to Vinyl's office. Inside were a few chairs and a table. Minute sat down at the table and opened up a folder which was on the table. "This here is the health and safety procedures you must follow whilst working on the door or even in the club at all. I want you to spend as much time as you need to get yourself fully versed with the contents of the file. Once you've finished, we'll move onto some practical work."

"Alright then. I'll get to reading then."

"Good. I'll come back in half an hour." Minute said, walking out of the room.

I started on the file. As Minute had said, it listed the health and safety procedures of the club such as what to do in a fire, moving and handling, rules on behaviour and whatnot. The default phrases to use in conversation were in there as well. Slowly making my way through the folder, it brought back memories of being in school. The constant drone of silence and the arduous task of reading a 400 page book word for word.

Half an hour later, just like he said, Minute re-entered the room with a neutral look on his face. "Have you finished reading the file?" I nodded. "OK then. I'll just ask you a few questions to see if you were really paying attention. First, where are the fire exits?"

"One is located through the bathrooms, one is located at the rear of the club, next to the seating area and the front door can also be used."

"Correct. Next question. If a patron is being unruly and is causing distress in the club, what is the first course of action?"

"Talk to him calmly and ask him to stop causing trouble."

"Very good. Last question. If a patron is to be escorted out of the club by means of force, what is the best way to hold them?"

"You need two ponies to help carry him or her out. To carry them, hold the front hooves towards their chest and half bear hug from behind, walking towards the door. Also make sure that you will not cause harm to the offending pony on any unsafe objects."

A smile crept onto Minute's face and his attitude changed. "Excellent! You really do pay attention. Now that we've got all that boring stuff out of the way, how about we try some practical exercises?"

"Sounds good to me!" I chimed.

He led me to the outside of the club, to where the customers would queue. Another pony was waiting there; a familiar cyan pegasus. "Rainbow Dash here has volunteered to help out for this exercise. Vinyl asked her to help as you two were on good terms."

I walked up to Rainbow and greeted her. "Hey Rainbow, nice to see ya."

"You too. This is gonna be fun." she chuckled.

"Well then, let's get started. Owen, you stand here, as if you were on duty." I moved into place, between two posts. "Now, Rainbow. I want you to be an ordinary patron who wishes to enter the club. Owen, you have to tell her that the club is full and she'll have to wait, which she will not be happy about. Just play along and I'll add some scenarios as you go along."

"Right." both me and Rainbow said. Ranbow walked about 20 feet away from me and walked between the queuing posts as if she was a patron. She approached me and I held my hand out to stop her.

"I'm sorry Miss but the club is full at the moment. You'll have to wait until someone leaves." I said bluntly.

"What? But I've been waiting in this queue for ages! You have to let me in!" Rainbow said with a hint of anger.

"Sorry. The club can only hold a maximum of 200. Please wait in line until there is some room."

"Ugh! Not cool!" Rainbow stood firm and stomped her hoof.

"Good. Now Rainbow, start to get a bit agitated and confront Owen. Really get in his face, threatening almost." Minute instructed.

"You sure?" Rainbow asked. Minute nodded. "OK then." Rainbow walked up close to me and cleared her throat loudly. "HEY! You gonna let me in or what?!" she shouted at me.

Seeing Rainbow angry like this was quite frightening; something I wouldn't like to see in real life. I persevered onwards. "Please lower your voice Miss. You will be let in when there is room."

Rainbow took to the air and got nose to nose with me. Pressing one of her hooves on my chest, she snarled at me. "Listen here. You let me in or you are gonna wish you never worked here."

Wow. She was deathly scary. "This is your last warning Miss. Please calm down or I will have to restrain you." I said with annoyance. I was impressed with myself that I managed to keep this going.

"You, restrain me?! HA! No way!" She lightly punched me in the chest, as if it was a real punch. "Now get out of my way!"

This was it, moment of truth. I quickly grabbed Rainbow's torso, turned her around and held her front hooves against her chest, pushing her wings against my chest so she couldn't fly away. I could almost swear she tried to nuzzle against my chest with her head.

"Brilliant! That was very good!" Minute happily said. I let Rainbow go and she landed on the ground, laughing at the whole scenario.

"That was awesome! You're really good at that!" Rainbow chimed.

"Oh, thanks. I was actually quite nervous about doing that."

"You shouldn't have been." Minute responded. "That was a very good exercise and you pulled it off very well. You'll make a good bouncer here." he said with genuine praise.

"Nice." I turned to face Rainbow. "Thanks for helping out. Looks like you enjoyed it as well." I said, noticing her blushing cheeks. She quickly tried to get rid of the blush by wiping her face with her hoof but to no avail. She chuckled nervously before taking to the air and flying off and a great speed.

"You're a lucky guy." Minute said.

"I'm sorry?"

"How she acts around you. How she looks at you and her blushing. She's got a thing for you, you know?"

"Wha...seriously?" Come to think about it, he could be right. The party at AJ's, the VERY long kiss. The time when I was attacked, she comforted me so much, she never left my side. She let me hold her hoof when Fluttershy applied that iodine. That hoof-wrestle we had; the looks she gave me...and she did nuzzle me then! "I'm such an idiot..."

"How come?"

"All the signs she's been giving me. I was too stupid to realise them at the time. It took someone else telling me to realise......damn it."

"What's the problem? I'd be ecstatic if I had a marefriend like her!"

"Well that's the problem. I've already got a girlfriend...marefriend." I said, rolling my eyes.

"Ah, right. Who's the lucky mare?"

"Princess Luna." I said bluntly.

"Oh right, that's--WHAT?!" I nodded to confirm it. "Wow. You really are lucky. Even so, it's not a problem."

"Why not?"

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Minute made his way back into the club and sat at a bar stool, motioning me to do the same. The speakers in the club were playing some LMFAO, which I started nodding at.

"I'm sure you've noticed the gender ratio here isn't exactly balanced." Minute stated.

"Yeah, I did notice that. Way more females here than males."

"Right. About 1 male in every 6-7 females. Due to this, sometimes, males have more than one partner. Just so it shortens the amount of single females."

"You serious? Polygamy is practiced here?"

"Absolutely. Has been for years. Why, is it not where you come from?"

"No way. It's illegal where I come from. Most of my world is entirely monogamist."

"That's a strange world you come from. Anyway, you don't have a problem. I'm sure you can date two mares at once."

"I don't know. It just seems so weird."

"Eh...it is at first. Give it some thought, I'm sure you'll come to a decision. Right, I'll be off then. Cherry should be around somewhere. See if you can get some bar training from her. See you around."

"See ya." Minute walked off and out of the club. Not soon after, Cherry walked behind the bar and handed me a small book, about 10 pages long.

"NIce to see you did well with Minute. I saw your display and I gotta say, you were pretty good."

"Thanks Cherry."

"This booklet in front of you explains all of the cocktails that we serve. On a busy night, we mostly serve beer and spirits but somepony will want a cocktail from time to time. I want you to take that home and try to memorise the lists. Can you do that?"

It didn't seem too complex. Some of them I actually knew how to make. Ones like Vodka Sunrise and Cuba Libre I knew how to make. "Sure, no problem."

"Great. Now come round the bar here and I'll show you where all of the drinks are."

I made my way around the bar and looked at the wide array of beers and spirits that were stored there. Vodka, rum, ciders, beers, alcopops and many more.

"Through here--" Cherry pointed to a door behind the bar, only accessible by the bar workers. "--is where the storeroom is. If you ever need anymore alcohol, it's all in there. Now, let's say someone ordered say...a Vodka Sunrise. This is what you do. First you--"

"Actually. I know how to make this one. Want me to show you?" Cherry nodded and stood back. I poured Vodka and orange juice into a mixing glass and shook well. I poured it into a glass and added a shot of grenadine syrup. I passed it to Cherry who sipped it and tasted it.

"Hmm...very good. Very nice. I can see you know how to measure out the right liquids as well. OK, let's try something else. Somepony just ordered 6 bottles of beer. How quick can you get them served.?"

I quickly pulled out 6 bottles of beer, 3 in each hand. I used a bottle opener and opened them all quickly, setting them in a neat line on the bar. Cherry nodded in approval.

"Very good. You'll do just fine here. That's all there is that I can show you. Just try and memorise the cocktail list and you'll be perfect."

"Thanks very much."

I made my way out of the bar area and made my way to Vinyl, who was once again trying to untangle the ungodly mess of wires.

"Any luck Vinyl?"

"TO TARTARUS WITH THIS!" she shouted, throwing the wires down again.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt." I apologised.

"No, don't worry, it's not your fault. How did your training go?"

"Pretty good. Both Minute and Cherry were impressed with my training."

Vinyl stood up on her hind legs and pulled me into a hug, which I returned. "Nice going dude! I knew you'd be good here!" We released the hug and she stood on all fours. "Now, I have a favour to ask" she asked with a sly smile.

"Uh-oh."

"Oh, don't fret. Here, take this." She levitated my Ipod into my hand.

"Ah, thanks very much!"

"No problem. Now, to that favour. Since you leant me your Ipod, I've got a whole, brand new playlist, ready for a club night! I've been advertising this night and ponies from all over are interested. I sold out all my tickets yesterday!"

"Nice one."

"Indeed. I advertised it as 'An Outer World Experience'. Anyway, it's tomorrow night. Can you work for it?"

"Tomorrow night?" I was surprised she wanted me to work so soon but I reckon I could handle it. "Sure, why not."

"Great! If you can get here for tomorrow at about 6. Club opens at 9 and closes at 2."

"No problem. See ya tomorrow." I began to walk away and made it to the door. I opened it but a blue aura closed it.

"Here, take these." Vinyl levitated 2 slips into my hand. "These are two queue jump tickets for tomorrow night. Bring some of your friends. Sorry I can't give you more, that's all I had."

"Oh wow, thanks. I'm pretty sure I know who to invite."

I exited the club and started to make my way back to the library, walking through the town.

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My first ticket was going to a pony that knew how to party. It only seemed right. I made my way towards Sugarcube Corner and entered the bakery. It was empty, save for a blue earth pony behind the counter.

"Good afternoon dear! You're Pinkie's friend, right?"

"That's right. I'm Owen, nice to meet you."

"My name is Cup Cake. Me and my husband, Carrot Cake, run this bakery along with Pinkie. Did you want to buy anything?"

"Uh, no, sorry. I was actually here to see if Pinkie was here."

"Of course, she's upstairs in her room...I think. I never know with that mare. Go ahead and make your way up there, third room on the left."

I walked up the stairs and entered the room as instructed. Nobody was there. I walked in further to notice...yes...there was no-one there!

"Pinkie?"

"BOO!"

I jumped out of my skin as Pinkie somehow appeared from nowhere to scare the living shit out of me. Pinkie thought my mini heart attack was hysterical and began gasping for air from laughing too much. Getting my own breath back, I helped her up. "Yeah alright, you got me."

"I sure did!"

"Yeah you did." I pulled out one of the slips out of my pocket. "Pinkie, what are you doing tomorrow night?"

"Tomorrow night? Nothing! Why? Is there a party? NO WAY! I always make the parties! How could somepon--" I covered her mouth with my hand to stop her hyperactive vocal tyrade.

"Yes, there is a party, at Vinyl's club. I have a ticket for it. Do you want to go?"

Pinkie gasped heavily and snatched the slip out of my hand at breakneck speed. "YES YES YES!" She embraced me in a bone-crushing hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I managed to break her off.

"You're welcome. Now, I've got to go, so I'll see you tomorrow night?"

"Sure!"

I walked out of the bakery, bidding farewell to Cup as I exited.

"Now, for the next one...where are you Rainbow?"

I walked around Ponyville for what seems hours, although it was only about half an hour. I spent ages looking in shops, looking at the sky for any rainbow streaks...but nothing.

I gave up and began my trek back to the library. Just coming into the library's view, I spotted a rainbow tail sticking out of a cloud. Knowing it could only be her, I shouted up to her.

"HEY! RAINBOW!"

The cloud shifted and Rainbow became visible. She flew down to greet me.

"Hey...don't you ever nap?"

"Uhh...no. Sorry."

"It's cool." she said, rubbing her eyes. "So, what's up?"

"I'm working at the club tomorrow and I have a ticket for you, if you want to go. It's gonna be a big night?"

Rainbow's mouth hung open. "You want...me to go?"

"Sure! I think you'll enjoy it!"

She gingerly took the ticket and looked up at me with a beautiful smile. She looked left and right to see if anyone was looking. When she saw there was none, she flapped her wings and hovered near my head. She quickly pecked me on the cheek and flew away with much speed.

"Damn...maybe Minute's really right. She is kinda cute anyway..." I mumbled.

I walked up to the library and entered it. Noticing no-one inside, I sat down on one of the cushions and leant back to relax. That's when I noticed a scroll on the table. I looked up at it. It had a note with my name on it. I picked up the scroll and unrolled it.

Dear Owen,

Myself and Spike have had to take a trip to Canterlot on urgent business. We should be back by Sunday evening. There are plenty of supplies in library for you to keep yourself going.

Take care.
Twilight Sparkle

"Huh, fair enough."

The rest of the afternoon went by quietly. I read a few of Twilight's books. Some were completely alien to me (yeah, alien) but some were understable.

I decided to go to sleep early tonight. I needed a good sleep to prepare for tomorrow. I entered my bedroom and lay down on my bed. Minute's conversation replayed in my mind.

'I'm sure you can date two mares at once.

Was it right though? Is it good to even out the gender ratio?

"Maybe I should discuss this with one of the girls...or Luna. I just hope that they don't jump to conclusions straight away.

I undressed and got under the covers, aiming to sleep quickly with anticipation for the night tomorrow.

"Tomorrow night...damn, it's gonna be great."



*A/N* Hey guys. Got some unexpected time off so, you guessed it, another chapter. I was determined to finish it tonight but it's too much for one chapter. Part 2 will be up sometime over the next 2 days. Enjoy!

15. Ready For Launch (Part 2)

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Tonight was the night.

My first day of work in an age. Something new, something fun. I mentally prepared myself last night and I feel that I'm ready for anything! There's just one small problem.

Why do beds always feel so much more comfy when you really need to get out of them? I'd been awake for about 20 minutes now and it had just hit 11. I really needed to get up and get ready for the day but the bed was more like a prison at the time. A comfortable...soft...unable-to-leave prison.

I tossed and turned for a while longer before hauling myself out of the bed. Showering quickly, I got dressed and started to make my way downstairs. I set myself a bowl of cereal and sat at the table, re-reading the cocktail list that Cherry asked me to memorise.

"Right then, let's see. Vodka Sunrise, Manehatten, Maregarita..." I scanned the names of the cocktails and chuckled at the similarity of the names to the Earth equivalents. "1 part tequila, 1 part orange liqueur..."



It was around 12:30 and I was still reading the list, over and over. Needing the knowledge in less than 9 hours time, I needed to cram this into my head and cement it there. I closed the list and tested myself.

"OK, Mojito. 2 shots rum, mint leaves, lime and...2 teaspoons of sugar!" I turned to list over to read and check - I was right. "Yes!" I air pumped and tried the next one.

"Manehattan. 2 shots--"

"Hello? Anypony in?"

I turned to the door and saw a friendly face. "Oh hey Rarity. How are you?"

"I'm fine dear but I was looking for Spike. Is he around?"

"Afraid not. Him and Twilight are in Canterlot till tomorrow night."

Rarity's expression changed to a frown. "Oh bother! Never mind then. Have a good day."

"Yeah you too." Just as Rarity was about to leave, I let out an annoyed sigh as I realised I had forgotten a certain cocktail. Rarity caught notice of this.

"Something troubling you?" she asked.

I held the list up to show her. "It's this cocktail list. I'm working at Vinyl's club tonight and I need it memorised by 9PM. Otherwise I'm gonna mess up. I keep forgetting certain things." I held a hand to my face in exasperation. I heard approaching hooves and I felt Rarity sit next to me.

"Do not panic darling. I will help you with this."

"No, I couldn't have you do that. You must be very busy with your boutique."

"Well, yes I am." she said with a sense of pride. "But one of my friends is in need and I am here to help. What kind of Element of Genorosity would I be if I didn't live up the name, hm?" she questioned with a smile.

I softly placed a hand on her shoulder. "Thanks. I really appreciate it."

"You're very welcome. Now, read that list again. When you've finished, read it twice more. I'll then ask you some questions and we'll see how you've done."

I nodded and set myself upon the list, scanning the cocktails word for word. I was in such a trance that I didn't realise Rarity had gone into the kitchen and made 2 mugs of tea for us both. I started to mumble the ingredients for each cocktail over and over. I then closed my eyes and tried to say it again to see if I remembered.

After about half an hour, I gave the list to Rarity, who had remained silent for the whole time. "OK, I think I'm ready."

"We'll see." She scanned the list and nodded. "What are the main ingredients in a Manehattan? And how is it prepared?"

I closed my eyes and thought hard. "Manehattan. 2 shots whiskey, half shot sweet vermouth...er...3 dashes of bitters. Pour into a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir well. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a cherry."

"Correct. Next one will be...Sea Breeze. Just the ingredients."

"Sea Breeze...um...2 shots vodka, 3 shots cranberry and grapefruit juice, 1 lime wedge and crushed ice."

"Very good."

We continued like this for another 2 hours. I got a few wrong so I re-read the list again and again. Eventually I managed to memorise them all, all 10 of the cocktails. My mood was seriously uplifted when I got them all right.

"Excellent! I can't thank you enough!" I thanked Rarity whilst giving her a hug.

"You are most welcome darling. What will you do with the rest of your time?"

I looked at the clock and noted the time. "It's only 2:30 now, I have another 3 hours before I start. Do you fancy getting something to eat somewhere?"

"Oh. Well I am flattered that you would ask me but I have to go back to the Boutique. I have a very large order of dresses to make."

"Ah OK. Once again, thanks very much for helping me with this."

"Have a good day!" Rarity said exiting the library.

I read the list just once more to be absolutely sure I had them all down - I had. Knowing I had about 2 and a half hours before I really needed to leave, I looked outside for something to do. The weather was beautiful; pure sunshine and not a cloud in sight. Knowing I couldn't be inside on a day like this, I got my shoes on, picked up my Ipod and vacated the library.

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This time, I walked in the opposite direction of the centre of the town. I really didn't know what was this way but I ventured onwards. Before long, I cam across a small stream which led further and further out of Ponyville. Following it, I came across a pile of mess. Wooden mess.

I approached the pile and picked up a few of the pieces of wood, trying to see if there was anything underneath. Unknown to me, the sound of wood clashing together had attracted a group of young ponies, who were approaching me from behind.

"Owen?"

I jumped slightly and turned around to see Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle staring up at me. A third pony was there as well - an orange pegasus with a purple mane.

"Hey Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and...?" I leant down and extended my hand to the unknown pony. She quickly retreated behind her friends and ducked.

"Scootaloo! Ah said he's safe." Apple Bloom said with annoyance.

"Yeah. Rarity told me he's really nice." Sweetie chimed.

The unknown pony, now identified as Scootaloo, approached me slowly and tapped my knee with one of her front hooves.

"I'm Scootaloo." she said, looking me in the eyes.

"Hi. I'm Owen. Nice to meet you."

"What are ya doin' out here anyhow?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Well I've got some time to kill before I go to work and I thought I'd explore a bit more. What used to be here?" I asked, looking at the pile of wood.

"That was our clubhouse." Scootaloo glumly said.

"That...was your clubhouse?" I stared at the pile of rubble. I leant down and observed it. "So this is where I crashed...where you and Fluttershy found me."

The three young ponies stood close to me and looked upon the rubble. Scootaloo held a hoof to her chin and hummed whilst in thought.

"I GOT IT!" she shouted, surprising us all. "Ehehe...sorry. I got an idea for how we can get our cutie marks!"

"Excuse me?" I asked.

All three of them looked at each other and nodded. Apple Bloom stepped forward. "Ah suppose we never told ya what we do. We three always spend time together to try and get our cutie marks! Together..."

"We." Sweetie said.

"Are." Scootaloo added.

"The Cutie Mark Crusaders!" they bellowed.

'Aw, that's cute'.

"So what's your idea Scootaloo?" I asked.

"Why don't we build our own clubhouse? We can get our cutie marks in construction!" she happily stated.

"Yeah!" Apple Bloom and Sweetie responded.

"Cutie Mark Crusaders Clubhouse Builders YAY!" they all chimed.

I couldn't help but chuckle at their childish routines. Althought it was adorable and clever that they managed to think of a scheme like this on their own, I couldn't help but think this could be dangerous for them. That's when an idea of my own surfaced.

"Listen girls. Construction can be dangerous and I really wouldn't want to see you three get hurt." The three each frowned and kicked the dirt with their hooves. "But, back on my world, I was a construction worker. If I can find the tools and the supplies, how about we all try and build a new clubhouse?"

"You want to help us?" Sweetie asked.

"Of course. It's my fault that your old one was destroyed anyway." The three fillies started giggling and jumping for joy. "OK. This is what I want you to do. I want you three to draw up some designs for your clubhouse. Draw whatever you want and I'll see what I can do. Sound good?"

"Yeah!" they all responded before running off back towards Ponyville.

"Cute little things." I got up to leave but a glimmer in the corner of my eyes caught my attention. The gleam came from a small opening in the rubble. I began to scour through the pile before the shining object was found. Picking it up, I was surprised to what it was.

"My keys! What are they doing here?" I began to think why they would be there. "Wait...Twilight found my Ipod and my keys were here. What else did I have on me when I went out that night?" I thought hard for a second and then it came to me. "My phone! I'm sure that'll be here...somewhere. It can survive anything." I was being serious there; I owned an old Nokia, i.e. the brick.

I dug for a bit longer but couldn't find anything. Giving up, I walked away from the rubble and followed the stream uphill. Walking for a bit longer, I came across a small bridge and a cottage in the distance. The calls of many animals filled the air. I didn't want to intrude the resident of the cottage so I saw myself down on the edge of the stream and took of my shoes and socks, dangling my feet into the running water.

The water was cool but not freezing. This was a perfect way to relax before the night ahead. I leant back and lay down on the grass. The lack of ponies around made the place very peaceful and quiet, save for the sounds of animals and running water. I got my Ipod out and put on some Verve, putting the headphones in my ear.

Closing my eyes, I started to drift off. Not the smartest thing to do since I was on a time limit. I began to sing along to any of the songs that came on. I was in my own little world, my own music, my own rhythm and my own pressure on my chest. Wait, what?

I looked up to see a white rabbit sitting on my chest, tapping his foot. "Hey there, little guy." I said, raising my hand towards it. The rabbit quickly swatted it away with force. "Ow. Son of a..."

The rabbit raised it's paw and pointed at the cottage behind the stream, then pointing to his chest as to say 'That's my place'. It then pointed at me and shook his paw violently as to say 'Stay the fuck away'. It hopped off my chest and made it's way to the cottage. I stood up to watch it hop back to it's home, which it did by knocking on the door. The door opened slightly and it entered, with the door closing afterwards.

The behaviour of the rabbit intrigued me so I decided to approach the cottage. Getting close to it, the sounds of many birds filled my ears. I looked to the side of the cottage and saw a wide variety of animals, from birds to rabbits and mice. I knocked on the door. The door opened slightly to reveal a pair of eyes, but nothing else.

"Um...can I help you?" a familiar voice asked.

"Fluttershy? You live here?"

The door opened fully to reveal said pony. She hid most of her face behind her mane but continued to look at me with her uncovered eye. "Oh yes. How are you today?" she asked sweetly.

"I'm good thanks. I was just taking a stroll along here and I was...greeted by a white rabbit which came back here. He didn't seem that pleased to see me."

Fluttershy turned around to find said rabbit. "Angel Bunny! Come here, right now." she said with annoyance. Angel hopped down from a perch and stood in front of Fluttershy, looking nervous. "What have I told you about being nice to my friends?"

Angel folded his paws and looked away from Fluttershy. She cleared her throat to get his attention, which it did. He turned back around and immediately cowered under an amazingly stern stare from Fluttershy. Angel hung his head, hopped over to where I was and rubbed my leg with his paw.

"Thank you Angel." Fluttershy said before Angel scampered off.

"You've got some serious power there. Does that stare always work?" I asked

"Most of the time. I only use it on rare occasions."

For the next hour or so, Fluttershy showed me around her home and introduced me to her wide variety of pets. Seriously, there were so many animals, I couldn't imagine how she coped.

"You look after all of these animals?" I asked

"Oh yes. I take care of sick animals and nurse them back to health. Most of the time, I let them go back into the wild but sometimes they don't want to leave so I adopt them."

"That's amazing. Looking at how many animals you take care of and what such good condition they all look in, you must be a hell of a great carer."

Fluttershy giggled quietly and tried to hide her face. "Oh um...thank you."

I looked at the clock on her table. "It's 4:30. I should make my way home, I've got to work tonight."

"Oh ok. Thank you for dropping by."

"Any time. If you want, come by the club tonight. That's where I'll be working. There's a big party going on."

"Oh...um...I'm not too big on clubs. I don't think I will...if that's OK with you." she sheepishly said.

"No worries. I'll see you again some time." I said to her, walking out of her cottage. I then began the trek back to the library to prepare for the night ahead.

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5:30. Time to go.

I had dressed myself in a black t-shirt with navy blue trousers. I was going for the dark colours as I was going to be in a club all night. I exited the library and locked up. I made my way to the club and soon enough, it came into view. The scaffolding that I saw yesterday now made sense. The front of the club was adorned with neon lights, advertising the club and shining into the skies.

I approached the club and tried the door - it was locked. I knocked on it twice. Soon after, an earth pony opens the door and he greets me.

"Hey Owen. Just in time."

"Hey Minute." I said, walking into the club. The insides looked completely different than they were 24 hours ago. The walls were covered in a kind of material that reflected UV light. Neon lights and spotlights were scattered around the ceiling and walls, all pointing in every direction. It wasn't long until Vinyl appeared with a group of ponies, all of different types. She wasn't wearing her shades as she normally would.

"Owen! Glad you made it! Ready to have some fun?" she asked.

"Absolutely. Nervous but ready for it."

"Nah, don't be nervous. You'll do fine. Here, take this." Vinyl levitated a lanyard with a card on the end of it. "This is your staff ID card. Wear it at all times."

I looked at the ID card which showed my name and a picture...

"Hey, when did you get that picture of me?" I asked

"Yesterday when you were doing your training. You were so immersed in it, you didn't realise."

"You sneaky little...nice one."

Vinyl winked at me and walked onto the dancefloor. "Right everypony, gather round." We did so; everyone stood but I sat on a chair. "Here's the shifts for tonight." Vinyl levitated a clipboard in front of her and read out the names of staff and their assigned positions for the night. Eventually she mentioned me. "Owen. From 9 to 11, you'll be on the door. From 11 onwards, on the bar." I nodded at her request.

"OK. Now listen up. Tonight is gonna be huge. The busiest night you will have probably ever worked here. All tickets sold out within an hour and there's gonna be more ponies queueing at the door. It's gonna be busy, it's gonna be hot and it's gonna be tough. But you are all push through it and give it your best! Am I right?"

"YEAH!" we all cheered.

"Nice! Great team spirit here! Now, the club doesn't open till 9 and we still have stuff to set up so let's get to it." Vinyl finished.

For the next two hours, the club's interiors were set up to Vinyl's orders. I helped carry parts of her mixing station to the right position as I had upper body strength. Glasses were set up behind the bar, fridges were stocked and surfaces were cleaned.



At 8:55, the club was ready to open. Everything was ready. Vinyl gathered us all once more for another quick talk.

"OK everypony...and Owen." Everyone chuckled at that, as did I. "That's gonna get old soon. Anyway, we're ready to open. Are we all ready?" We all nodded. "Great. Then let's this party started! Owen!"

I looked at Vinyl who was levitating her shades onto her eyes. "As this night is all thanks to your music, I'm giving you the honor to open the club for me. Open those doors and start this show!"

"Yes Sir!"

Me and Minute walked to the door, ready for our duty. Every part of me was screaming in nervousness but my exterior only portrayed confidence and determination. I put my hand on the door handle and pulled them open, revealing a 2 very large queues of ponies.

"Bloody hell..." I mumbled.

Even Minutes was surprised. "Wow, I've never seen this many ponies before. Right, I'll take the ticket queue and you handle the paying queue."

"Right. So how is this gonna work?"

"The ponies who bought tickets get to go in first. I'll be checking all of the tickets and keeping track of how many are going in. Once they are all in, you can slowly let in the paying customers."

I nodded and made my way to the front of the queue, standing in front of the entrance. A light green earth pony smiled at me as I approached the queue.

"Hey there. I haven't seen you around here before."

"I'm new here. Only been here for about 2 weeks."

"That would explain it. I'm Neon Burst."

"Owen." I said, hoof-bumping her.

"So when can me and my friends go in?"

"When those ponies over there are all in. They bought tickets ahead of the night and they sold out really quickly. We'll start letting you all in soon enough." I said with a smile.

Whilst Minute was busy letting the other ponies in, I got into chatting with a few ponies who were at the front of the queue. I found out they were all from a place called Fillydeplhia and they know all the clubs. A few times, a pony further back would shout out why they are not going in which I responded to the same way every time.

About 9:30, the other queue was empty and Minute approached me. "We've got 132 inside at the moment. Only another 68 can be allowed in for the time being."

"OK, cheers mate." I unhooked the velvet rope that was stopping the ponies entering and stood in front of the queue. "OK everyone! I'm going to start letting you in, small groups at a time. Please don't push forward as you will all get in soon enough." I motioned for Neon and her friends to enter. Followed by another group of ten and another. Eventually, the maximum was reached and I stopped the approaching ponies.

"OK, please stop there. You'll have to wait for a bit until some ponies leave."

"You serious? I've been waiting for at least an hour to get in!" an arrogant red earth pony shouted at me.

"Please lower your voice Sir. You will get in soon enough."

"Always happens when I'm right at the front..." he mumbled to himself.

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10PM

An hour has passed since the club opened. The music pulsed and shook the building much to the amusement of the queuing ponies. A few ponies had gotten restless and started to become rude and obnoxious. Myself and Minute quickly saw to them and asked them to leave the queue.

Minute and I had swapped places so I was covering the door while he did the queue. It wasn't long until I was greeted by a familiar sight.

"Hey Rainbow. Decided to check this place out?"

"Sure did? You gonna be inside later?"

"Yeah, I will be. Around 11. See you in there."

Rainbow walked into the club and disappeared into the crowd. I looked back outside to notice Minute staring at me, grinning intensely.

"I told ya. She likes you." he said.

"Yeah I can see that now." I retorted.

We both went back to manning the doors and the queue.

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11PM

As I was about to go inside to start the bar work, I heard a bit of a heated arguement.

"Get your hooves off me!"

The club doors swung open violently and another bouncer was holding a pegasus in a bear hug whilst pushing him out of the club. The pegasus was struggling with all his might and swearing at anyone he saw. Just as the bouncer set him down a safe distance away from the club, the pegasus swung a hoof at him, hitting him in the stomach, making him fall to the floor in agony.

Minute and I rushed over and held the offending pegasus down while the other bouncer got to his hooves again.

"Weight! You alright?" Minute called to him.

"Yeah...I will be." he replied, holding his stomach.

"Owen, can you hold him down while I get the police?"

"Sure." The pegasus was flat on the floor, on his stomach. I placed my knees either side of him and held him down, one hand on his back and one on his head, completely immobilising him.

"Get off me! I didn't even hit him!" the pegasus shouted at me.

"Calm down Sir. The police will be here shortly." I said in a calm tone. The pegasus continued to try and struggle but he couldn't shift my body weight. Eventually a small chariot arrived with some uniformed ponies exiting from it.

"Evening Sirs. A pony giving you trouble?" one of the officers asked me.

"Yep. This one here. He was causing trouble in the club and was evicted by Weight over there. Once he was released, he punched Weight in the stomach."

"Dear me, not a good night for you is it?" he sarcastically asked the pegasus. One of the officers, a unicorn, levitated the pegasus into the chariot and locked it shut. "Any more problems, don't hesitate to get us."

"Thanks. Have a good night." I replied.

The chariot pulled away and the three of us returned to the club doors, to the applause of the crowd. Weight relieved me of my duty and I made my way inside the club.

Good fucking lord. The place was packed, the temperature was boiling and the music was deafening. Yep, this is a real nightclub. I approached the bar and Cherry was working behind it.

"Hey! Time to swap!" I shouted over the music.

"Oh hey! Good timing! Not busy at the moment!" Cherry replied, walking away from the bar, leaving me to run it myself.

'Right. Here goes. I damn sure hope I don't fuck up.'

For 10 minutes, no-one came to the bar so I started cleaning up the mess left on it. Many glasses and bottles lay strewn over the bar. The glasses were put into trays which were then taken by a unicorn into a back room, which I assumed is where they were washed.

A large group of mares approached the bar and eyed me curiously. One of them decided to speak up.

"Can you serve drinks?" she asked, confused as to who or what I was.

"Sure can. Otherwise I wouldn't be here would I? Now, what can I get for you lovely ladies?" They all giggled at my remark and all ordered cocktails...oh great. At least it will give me the chance to test my memories.

"2 Manehattens, 2 Mojitos and 3 Vodka Sunrises!" the assumed leader ordered.

I nodded and set up 7 glasses along the bar. I knew Vodka Sunrises so I made those first. I then prepared the Manehattens and the Mojitos at the same time, at a fast speed, which I didn't realise I could do until I did it. Once the seven drinks were made, I took their payment and they all tried their chosen drinks. One of the mares looked up at me with a smile.

"This is really good! Thanks!"

I nodded to her and my mind screamed 'YES! GET IN THERE!'. I guess the lessons this morning with Rarity really paid off.

The time rolled by and by midnight, I had served a huge amount of drinks to many different ponies. The till was full of bits and there were satisfied ponies everywhere. For once in my life, I had provided a service to others which benifted them and I could have not have felt better.

"Hey Owen!"

OK, maybe a little. Rainbow approached the bar and sat on a stool. "Hey Rainbow! How you enjoying it?"

"It's pretty awesome...and I-I have had a few drinks, haha..." she slurred at the end.

"It sounds like it! Have you seen Pinkie here? I was hoping she'd turn up!"

"Oh yeah...she's around here some...somewhere. No id-dea where she is now...I...I gotta go to the bathroom..."

Rainbow hopped off the stool and drunkenly made her way to the toilets. To pee or to throw up, no idea. My guess would be the latter.

The amount of ponies in the club had dwindled slightly and was at about half capacity. Still pretty busy but not as bad as earlier. A quiet spell went over the bar and I was leaning on it, tapping my fingers to the beat of the music Vinyl was playing. She looked awesome on that mixing deck. She was in her element and enjoying every minute of it. The track changed onto a favourite track of mine.

"Good evening Sir. Can I trouble you for something?"

I turned to see a hooded pony, a large one at that. The voice was female and sounded somewhat familiar.

"Of course. What can I get you?"

The pony leant closer so I could see inside her hood.

"A kiss would be nice."

"Anything for you Luna." I leant closer to her and kissed her softly. "Why are you covered up? I'm pretty sure that ponies here would love to see a royal princess in a club, having a good time."

"The townsfolk here are still scared of me. They all still think I'm Nightmare Moon..." she quietly said to me.

"Right. So they'd all freak out if they saw you."

Luna nodded. "Nightmare night is coming up soon and I'm coming to visit then. I'm going to show the town that I'm not who they think I am." she defiantly said.

"Good. They need to meet you, the real you." Luna leant in and gave me another kiss.

"I need to go back to Canterlot. I shouldn't have left in the first place but I just had to see how you were getting on." she said with a smile.

"Alright then. I'll see you soon then, yeah?"

Luna nodded and sunk back into the crowds, eventually making her way out of the front door. I was staring so much, that I completely blanked the stallion in front of me trying to order a drink.

"Sorry mate. What can I get you?"

"Me and my friends here all want a load of beers. Make it...twenty!" he asked.

20 beers? Well this guy's out on the lash ain't he? I eventually got all of his beers out and he levitated them to his friends, who all cheered as they got them. Another 40 bits into the till.

Another quiet spell hit the bar and I was once again re-stocking and cleaning. The music suddenly got quieter and feedback was heard.

"Hey everypony! Are we having a good time!" Vinyl shouted to the audience who all screamed and cheered in response. "I'm sorry, what was that?" A even louder cheer erupted from the crowd, something that I didn't think was possible.

"Great! I want to thank you all for coming tonight to the launch of my new music! Well, I say it's my music but none of this could have been possible without help from a certain someone in here!"

Oh no.

"It's thanks to him that this night is going ahead in the first place!"

Please don't.

"Please give a huge cheer to my friend, the one and only human, Owen!"

A spotlight shone in my direction, illuminating me for everyone to see. Everyone cheered at the sight of me and Vinyl put on some of her own dubstep music, mixed with a bit of mine. She got down from her mixing deck and approached me behind the bar.

"Hey! You alright?" she asked.

"Yeah I'm good. Thanks for the recognition!"

"Not a problem. I had to make ponies aware of how awesome you are!" I chuckled at her remark. "I gotta get back but give me a beer, I'm choking over there." I passed her a beer which she levitated and walked back towards her deck.

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1:30 AM

The music was still pulsing but there were only 3 ponies on the dancefloor. The rest of the club was empty. For the past half hour, I had re-stocked the bar, cleaned everything down and had only served a few more drinks.

Soon after, the remaining ponies had left and the club was empty. Vinyl toned the music down to a quiet volume and changed the music to something more mellow and slow. She then walked over to the bar and sat on the stool.

"I think that's it for the night. There's nopony left." she said, lifting up her shades.

"Suppose so. It's been a good night though right?"

"Sure has. Hey! You lot, close up and come over here!" she called to the door workers. They closed the door and locked them up. The bouncers approached the bar along with the rest of the staff.

"Right! Now that you're all here, there's something I've got to say. This has been one of the most amazing club nights I have ever put on and you all worked amazingly well."

"Same as always boss." Minute chimed.

"Nah, no way. Not the same, way better. Seriously, I'm really impressed with all of you. Especially you Owen."

"Aw, thanks." I said.

"This was your first night and you worked the door, the bar and you stopped an attack. Great first day in my books." The rest of the staff all nodded in agreement. "OK, everypony. Here's your payment." Vinyl levitated various envelopes to us that all had a weight in them.

Opening them up, they were full of 10 gold coins. Each coin had a 10 on them. "100 bits? Thanks Vinyl!"

"Deserved payment that is. Now, how about we--" The front door opened again to reveal a pony beginning to enter.

"Sorry, we're closed." Minute stated. "I thought you locked the doors Weight."

"Not cool." a familiar voice replied.

"Wait! Is that you Rainbow?" I asked. Rainbow entered the club and walked up to the bar. "Hey you. I thought you passed out somewhere."

"Psshh, no! I left about an hour ago and sat outside to get some air."

"How you feeling?"

"Pretty good. Not so drunk as earlier."

This emitted a laugh from a few staff members, including Vinyl. "Seeing as you're here Rainbow, how about we all have a drink? Anything you want."

Most of us went for a beer but Rainbow had water, to help her sober up. We all stayed in the club for a while longer, chatting about how the night went and of any upcoming events. I was asked to work Wednesday night for a few hours, which I agreed to.

Around 2AM, we all decided to call it a night and started to head home. I was just about to leave when Rainbow tugged at my shirt.

"Hey, what's up?" I asked.

Rainbow looked nervous. "I can't fly back home because I've been drinking. Can I stay with you tonight? If it's OK with Twilight..."

"She's not here, neither is Spike. Sure you can stay." Perfect. This'll give me the chance to talk to her about that issue.

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We both walked side by side back to the library. A few times, she would kind of rub up against me whilst we walked and nuzzle my leg. This confirmed it, she was into me. Well, in my mind she was. I just had to be sure.

We entered the library and Rainbow immediately began to make her way upstairs. "I know where Twilight's room is. I'll see you in the morning."

"Wait Rainbow. Can we...talk about something?" I asked. Rainbow nodded and returned back down the stairs, sitting herself down on a cushion. I pulled a cushion in front of her and sat down, looking at her.

"There's something I've got to ask you and I want you to be honest with me, OK?"

Rainbow scratched the back of her head nervously. "Uhh...yeah sure."

"Rainbow...do you like me?"

"Of course I like you. You're a great friend!" she said, quickly looking away.

I took one of her hooves into my hand and got her attention.

"Rainbow..." I stared into her eyes.

She hung her head low and sighed. "OK fine. Yes...a little. It's just...I couldn't say it to you before because you were always around somepony else." She leant forward to try to kiss me but I pulled back to prevent it. "What's wrong? You never stopped me before."

"I know but..." I sighed, resting my hand on my forehead. "Look Rainbow, I think you're a really sweet girl and I really like you, as a friend, but...I can't. I can't be in a relationship with you."

"Why not?" I could hear a change in her tone of voice. It was hinted with anger.

"Because...I'm already in a relationship."

Rainbow gasped and hung her head once again. "Who with?" she mumbled.

"I'm sorry?"

"WHO WITH?!" she shouted at me, raising her head to show tears in her eyes.

"It's with Luna. The Princess."

Rainbow stared at me with her mouth agape. She started to sniffle and I raised my hand towards her, which she slapped away with her hoof before running upstairs.

"Wait, Rainbow! I'm sorry!"

"Don't talk to me!" she shouted back, slamming a door in the process.

I lay back on the hard floor, contemplating the actions of what had just happened. I tried to talk to her but only ended up making it worse. I put my hands behind my head and sighed heavily.

"Damn it..."

16. Lazy Sunday

View Online

The morning sun was glowing down upon the peaceful town of Ponyville. Being a Sunday, the town was quiet and empty. The only busy part of town was a clean-up operation, surrounding a popular club.

There's one thing I hate about the sun. Sure it keeps you warm, it brightens your day and it makes things grow. But one thing it does that I'm pretty sure everybody hates, is that it shines a beam of light, directly into your eye when you're trying to sleep in!

"Damn light." I mumbled with a groan, lifting myself off the floor of the library. Turns out I didn't have the energy to climb a flight of stairs last night and my body gave up.

I stretched and cracked my back, ready to start a new day. I made my way upstairs and proceded to my room to fetch a clean set of clothes. Doing so, I exited the room and walked into the bathroom. Taking my clothes off, I looked at myself in the mirror - I looked like shit.

"Damn...I look terrible." I rubbed my chin with my hand. "I wonder if I can find a shaving kit in this town?" I never like facial hair and I always kept it short. But in the past fortnight, I haven't shaved it once and it's grown into an un-manageable mess of bumfluff.

I turned to the shower and noticed a stray hair on the floor. Normally I wouldn't notice stuff like this but this hair stuck out like a sore thumb. "A blue hair? Why would there be a blue--" I immediately covered my mouth with my hand as I remembered what happened last night. "Ohh...fuck...."

I exited the bathroom in my boxer shorts and proceeded towards Twilight's room where Rainbow had rushed to. I raised my hand to knock the door but retreated it, thinking better of it. I re-entered the bathroom, showered and dressed myself. I grabbed my Ipod from my room and went back downstairs to the kitchen.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid...why the hell did I tell her?" I scolded myself, slapping myself on the forehead. "We are gonna be seriously awkward now..." I set my Ipod on the kitchen side and put it on shuffle. This tune started to play.

Thinking of a way to be neutral with Rainbow, I decided to cook some breakfast for us both. I gathered 4 eggs, 4 slices of bread and 4 oranges. I turned the gas stove on and set a pan on the open flame. I cracked the four eggs and set them into the pan, causing them to fry immediately. I turned the lower stove on to heat the bread for some toast. Setting the bread on the lower stove and watching the eggs, I located a reamer and grinded the oranges making some juice.

The music changed to a different tune, which I instantly recognised. I started placing cutlery on the table in the main room and began to start singing along to the music.

"If you take a life do you know what you'll give?
Odds are you won't like what it is
When the storm arrives would you be seen with me
By the merciless eyes of deceit?"

I pulled the bread out and flipped them to cook the other side.

"I've seen angels fall from blinding heights
But you yourself are nothing so divine
Just next in line!

I set the OJ down on the table.

"Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you willing to die?"

I pulled the toast out and set it two plates, with the eggs on top. I brung the plates out and set them on the table. I heard a door open upstairs so I shut the music off and sat at the table, waiting for Rainbow to appear, which she did soon after. She gingerly walked down the stairs, not making eye contact with me. She sat herself down at the table and marvelled at the food before her.

"Morning sleepyhead." I said with a smile.

Rainbow looked up at me and smiled softly. "Hey...did you make this?"

"Sure did. Everyone needs a good breakfast."

Rainbow nodded and started eating her food, as did I. During that time, not a word was said between us. A few awkward glances here and there but nothing substantial. Breakfast was quickly finished and I grabbed the plates to put them in the kitchen. I returned to the main room to see Rainbow making her way towards the door.

"Rainbow, wait. Can we talk?" I blurted out.

Rainbow stopped and hung her head. She turned around and walked back to the table where we both sat across from each other. Her eyes still not meeting mine, I tried to engage in conversation with her.

"So...did you sleep well?" I asked. Rainbow looked up at me and raised an eyebrow. "Alright, look. I want to talk about what was said last night."

"I really don't want to." she replied quietly.

"Well I do." I said, reaching my hand across and grabbing hold of her hoof. "Look, we need to talk about this otherwise things are gonna be really awkward between us...and I don't want that."

Rainbow sighed heavily. "I'm sorry I said anything."

"It's OK. You can't keep stuff like that cooped up for so long...Celestia made me notice that..." I said, drifting off. "But I want to thank you for telling me. Takes a lot of courage to do something like that."

Rainbow smiled slightly at my remark. "Yeah...guess it was courageous."

"Exactly. And I am happy that you have feelings for me, I genuinely am. Knowing that I'm making great friends with everyone is an amazing feeling and you further cemented that fact so thank you for that." Rainbow nodded slowly, smiling more. "I'm sorry you had to find out about me like that but...me and Luna are together and we love each other...but that doesn't mean I don't want to be a great friend to you. You're too much of a great friend to lose."

"I am?" Rainbow asks, blushing slightly.

I release her hooves and set them down. "Of course you are! You're always there for me, we always have fun with each other and you make everyone smile! You're an amazing friend if I ever knew one."

Rainbow chuckles slightly. "It's always nice to hear that from someone else."

"I'm glad. Besides, you're training to be a Wonderbolt. Being with me all the time will slow you down...unless I can figure out how to fly with these bony things..." I said, flapping my arms in a silly way. This made her laugh loudly. I know I was only feeding her ego but it was making her feel loads better.

"So, how about this. We'll remain great friends...no...best friends and I'll make more of an effort to hang out with you a lot more. Sound good?" I said, holding out a hand.

Rainbow shook my hand with her wing. "Sounds good to me. I gotta go!" She took to the air and opened the front door to leave, before stopping. "Oh, hey Owen?" she said, not looking back.

"Yeah?"

Rainbow turned her head to face mine. "Thanks." With that, she took off and disappeared with the door slamming shut behind her. I heard a crash and rushed outside to see Rainbow in a heap on the floor.

"Rainbow! You OK?" I called to her.

She got herself up very easily. "Yeah, I'm fine." I walked up to her to see if she was really OK. "Seriously I'm good. I think I've done something to my wing because I keep mis-judging my direction. Only slightly but it's a little annoying. Anyway, see ya!" She shot off again into the sky.

I walked back to the library and sat myself back down on the cushion thinking about what just happened. 'It was the right thing to do. You only need one love and that is Luna.'

"Suppose you're right..." I answered my own thoughts, now I'm losing it. I got myself up and began to clean up the mess I had created.

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The dishes were washed, the kitchen was spotless and the library was mess free. Apart from what I'm doing now - sweeping. Thinking about it, I always see Spike sweeping the library again and again so I thought I'd save the little guy a job or three. The broom isn't exactly built for my height but I was making do with what I had.

In the middle of sweeping, three knocks sounded on the library door. I answered the door to reveal a brown earth pony with an hourglass as a cutie mark.

"Good morning. How can I help?" I asked.

The pony walked in past me, staring at me as he did. "Ah, so you're living at Twilight's. I met you at your party but I wouldn't think you would have remembered me." He held out his hoof. "The name's Time Turner."

I bumped his hoof with my fist. "Nice to meet you...again. So, how can I help?"

"Well I was hoping to check out a book that's not very well known. Knowing how many books this place has, I thought that the best pony to ask would be Twilight. Would you be able to help?"

"I can try. I'm not sure of the order that these books are in but I'll certainly help. What's the name of the book?"

"It's called 'Time: A Guide To Travel'.

I turned my head sharply to meet his gaze. "Time? A book on time travel?!" I asked with anticipation.

"Don't get your hopes up. This book is very old and nopony has any proof that it really works. The book contains theories about time travel but nothing has been proven."

"Oh...right. Well, why do you want it?"

He nodded towards his cutie mark. "Would my cutie mark explain it? Well no, it doesn't. When I was younger, I worked in a clock-making shop in Phillydelphia. It's just that the thought of time travel has always intrigued me and I love reading about all the theories."

"Good reason. Now let's have a look here."

Both myself and Time Turner scoured the shelves for the elusive book. We searched high and low but we still couldn't find it.

Thirty minutes had passes and we were still looking. Time was looking on a low shelf as I was on a pedestal, checking a top shelf.

"Must be a good book if we can't find it." Time called.

"I'm sorry?"

"My father always told me that the best books are the hardest to come by." I nodded at his statement but I noticed his face cringe at the mention of his father.

"You OK?"

"I'm OK, thank you." We went back to looking. "Just...mentioning my father is a bit troublesome."

I climbed down from the pedestal and sat on it, looking towards Time. "Tell me about it. I've got the same problem."

"How come?"

I explained my backstory and my lack of parents. Time listened to every word and never interrupted.

"So I never really knew him at all but I still feel bad when I talk about him. So what about you?" I asked

Time sighed heavily before beginning. "I was born to unicorn parents and as you can see, I'm an earth pony. My father always despised me for not being a unicorn and hated my mother because he thought she cheated on him. Eventually my mother left and my father was left to raise me on his own. I don't remember much from my early childhood except the shouting and abuse my father gave me."

I put my hand on his shoulder as comfort.

"As I got older, my father began to change. His behaviour would switch from friendly to erratic in a matter of seconds for no reason. Eventually I got old enough and left my home in search of somewhere new. Before I left though, I asked him why he was angry all the time. He told me it was the Princess' fault."

"The Princess? Celestia? Why?" I asked.

"I never found out. He said that he hated her and how she ruled over Equestria. Also, he was another reason I love reading about time travel as he was as fascinated in it as I am. He always went off on his rants, saying that he would one day take over Equestria when he figures out how to travel in time. Naturally I called him crazy but that just made him angry."

"So eventually, I moved out and came here where I have been living for the past ten years."

I went back to looking for the book. "Wow...that's some serious craziness right there. Sounds like he had a screw loose."

Time was also searching another shelf. "I don't think he had one screw fully tightened to be perfectly honest with you."



The searching went on for another hour. We had searched the entire library and we still couldn't find it.

"Sorry about this but I don't think we're gonna find it." I said.

"Never mind. It's quite a rare book so I imagine it's very difficult to come by but thank you for helping me look." Time replied.

"It's no problem." I chuckled slightly. "You know, i bet if you ask Twilight when she comes back she could find it in a heartbeat."

"You're probably right! Anwyay, it was nice talking to you and thanks again." Time exited the library and I went back to sweeping.

Not long after, I had finished cleaning the library and it was only 1PM. Looking outside, I saw that it was another beautiful day.

"Does this place never have rain?" I asked myself. I grabbed a few cushions and set them outside in the sunlight. I then brought out a few reading books and sat down, enjoying the hear of the sun.

It really was a perfect day. The temperature was just about right and there was a slight breeze as well. I took my shirt off to try and really enjoy the heat. Maybe get a tan as well - I never really got a tan before so I guess I could try.

I closed my eyes and drifted off to the sound of the wind in the trees, the sound of birds chirping up high, the sound of hooves getting louder and louder...wait a minute.

"OWEN!"

That got my attention. A collected bellow from three school age ponies interrupted my peace. I sat up to observe the crusaders at my side with Apple Bloom carrying a saddlebag.

"Hey girls, how are you?"

"Ah'm swell! We got those designs you asked for!" Apple Bloom responded.

"We spent all day yesterday drawing these!" Sweetie quipped.

"They're so awesome!" Scootaloo added.

"Alright. Show me what you've designed then."

The girls unpacked a collection of drawings from the saddlebag and laid them out in front of me. All of them had the same basic house shape so that was easy to build. Every drawing had a different colour scheme and many different decorations. I scanned them over, asking them whose was whose and questioning them about it. I seperated the drawings into two piles.

"Right girls. All of your designs are brilliant and very well drawn. I can see you all want the same shape clubhouse so that's easy. I did notice you all wanted different colours and decorations as well." They all nodded in agreement.

"Right, here's what I want you to do. Take these drawings-" I passed them each their best drawings. "-and decide between you what colours you really want. I would love to do them all but there won't be enough space and it'll be very difficult. So I need you to draw one more design - a shared idea that you can all agree on. Sound good?"

"Yeah!" they all replied.

"What I'll do is find somewhere to buy some tools and some supplies and then I can start building."

The girls began to run off with more design in their mind.

"Girls wait! Come here a second." They gathered round. "Closer." They did so. "This is gonna be a clubhouse right? So do you want a secret entrance?" I asked quietly to them.

"A secret entrance?" Apple Bloom replied loudly.

"Shh! Don't go telling everyone." They all giggled at that. I loved this - being able to make kids laugh. "Every clubhouse needs a secret entrance you know. Try and design that as well but keep it a secret (!)" The girls then scampered off to destination unknown and I sat back on the cushion.

"Adorable little things." I mumbled.

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Thinking ahead, I grabbed my bit pouch and made my way to the centre of town. Knowing that I need to find a place to buy lumber and tools, I need to get addresses and locations for said places. To find them, I need to go to...

"Town Hall. Pretty impressive." I said as I looked at the huge building. Certainly the biggest building in Ponyville. I entered the hall and walked up to the main desk where a light brown earth pony was working behind a desk, filing papers into a drawer. I approached the desk and got the pony's attention.

"Good afternoon."

"Ah, hello to you. I don't think we've been acquainted yet. Mayor Mare, mayor of Ponyville." She extended her hoof out to me which I bumped with my fist.

"Nice to meet you. Name's Owen."

"Well a pleasure to meet you at last. Now, what can I do for you today?"

"I was hoping you could give me the addresses or locations of any construction companies in the local area." I asked.

"Oh? Are you planning to build something?"

"Yes I am. You may know this, maybe not, but I was the reason for the destruction of the kid's clubhouse. I felt really bad about it and I want to build a new one for them."

The Mayor smiled at me. "That's very generous of you but...do you know how to build?"

"Absolutely. Back where I am from, I had much experience in the construction trade. I'm sure a child's clubhouse will be no problem for me."

The Mayor reached down and pulled a large book up onto the desk. "Well then, let's have a look here. Carpenters...chefs...colonists...demolition...oops! Too far...ah! Construction. There's a small company just a buildings to the north of here. Run by somepony called Shift Bar."

"Thanks very much. Also, do you know of any removal companies that can take away rubble? Like the remains of the old clubhouse?"

"One of my dear friends works for a removal company. Would you like me to submit a request on your behalf? I can get her to do it tomorrow if that's good."

"That would be brilliant, thank you so much."

"If you could give me the payment for it, I will pass it on. That'll be 50 bits."

I handed the bits over to her and bid her farewell.

"Have a good day." she replied.

"You too!"

I exited the town hall with the construction company destination in mind. Going in the direction of which the Mayor said, I sure enough came across a small house with an attached yard, full of timber. Perfect. I walked up to the door and knocked on it twice.

The door opened to reveal a bulky looking pegasus with a neutral facial expression. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, are you Shift Bar?" The pegasus nodded. "The Mayor told me that I could purchase some lumber here? I need some for construction."

He smiled at me. "Ah of course. How much will you be requiring?"

"Well it's a small build. I'm building a new clubhouse for the kids. From what I know so far, it'll be 7 meters long, 5 meters wide and 3 meters high with a pointed roof. Might also have stairs as well."

The pegasus did some quick math in his head and started counting to himself. "No problem. That'll cost you around 500 bits."

I exhaled at the announcement of the price but I needed to do this. "That's good. Also, do you sell tools?"

"Indeed. What do you need, basic construction tools?" I nodded. "Well I have a full set of everything you will need including hammers, saws and whatnot. Also have nails and metal strips for support. I can give that to you for another 100 bits."

"Sounds good to me." I counted out the bits and handed them over to him. "Thank you very much. Where do you want it delivered to?"

"You know where the kid's clubhouse is...was?" He nodded. "Deliver there sometime after tomorrow and that'll be great."

"No problem. You know, you'll need some place to keep this stuff safe so I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll bring along a secure store unit you can use until you're finished. Consider it a freebie."

"Thanks so much. That'll be a real help."

We bid each other goodbye and I started to walk back home.

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I made the decision to check out the rubble one more time before the removal team arrive tomorrow. I reached the rubble and began carefully sifting through it to see if there was anything of salvage.

By now, the sun had started to descend the light was growing dim. Continuing my search, I started lifting up the planks of wood, rotting with decay and searching the piles of dirt. I came across a few coins, some £1 and 50p coins, and put them in my pocket.

Still searching, my head was dripping with sweat from the heavy lifting. I stood up straight and wiped my head and looked around. My vision was fixed on a section of bushes that were rustling. The bushes were about 30 feet away from me so I kept my distance and just stared.

Not too long after, a black shape crawled out of the bush, into a clearing behind some trees. I slowly walked closer to examine what it is, thinking it was a wild fox or something. I got close enough to see that it wasn't a fox. I couldn't see what it was at all as it was rolled up into a ball. Maybe defending itself?

I slowly backed off trying not to frighten the poor thing whilst keeping my gaze on it at all times. Before I could get too far away, it began to rise off the ground onto two legs.

"What the hell...a bear maybe?" I pondered.

It was too small to be a bear. The creature stood up and I could see it's figure for the first time. It looked like...like...

"Is that..."

I slowly walked back towards it to see more of it. Before I got close enough, I trod on a twig which snapped and caught it's attention. It turned to face me and gave me the shock of my life. It was human in shape, same height as me, same build, same everything except it's left arm was missing. I couldn't see it's face due to the lack of light.

I closed my eyes and slapped my head hard, thinking I was delusional. I opened my eyes to see nothing there. No trace of it.

"...Time to go methinks..." I mumbled to myself.

I began to walk back in the dusk light and the image of that creature filled my mind. What was it? Was it human? Why was it there?

Before long, I reached library and noticed that the lights were on, indicating that Twilight and Spike had returned. I entered the library to come across Twilight unpacking her saddlebags.

"Hey Twilight and Spike. How was Canterlot?" I asked.

"Very good. The Princess informed me of a rare book she found so she asked me and Spike to visit." Twilight said.

"Ah, nice. You hungry?" Both Twilight's and Spike's bellies grumbled. "I take that as a yes. What would you both like?"

Spike was first to answer. "Can you make that sticky vegetable dish again?"

"Ooh! That sounds good." Twilight chimed.

"Very well. Sticky veg it is!"



An hour later, dinner was finished and Spike had retired to bed. I had stayed downstairs to help Twilight with her unpacking and noticed her eyeing some of her bookshelves.

"Did you re-arrange the books here?" she asked.

"No, not at all. A pony came in this morning to look for a book and I helped him look for it. We must have been looking for ages." I answered.

"Did you find it?"

"Unfortunately not. He said it was quite a rare book. It was called 'Time: A Guide To Travel'."

"You mean this one?" she said, levitating a book in front of my eyes. I face-palmed causing Twilight to laugh and drop the book.

"Yes...that one. Where was it?" I asked, my hands muffling my voice.

"Right here." Twilight replied, giggling again.

We spent another 5 minutes putting stuff away before we both sat down with a mug of tea that Celestia had given Twilight.

"So, anything interesting happen while I was away?" she asked.

"Oh sure. I had my first day of work which went really well. I bought some supplies to help build a new clubhouse for the Crusaders and..." I remembered last night. "Oh yeah...Rainbow dropped by and...laid down the truth."

"What do you mean?"

"She admitted that she liked me...more than a friend would."

"Rainbow said that?! That's not like her to openly confess." Twilight pondered.

"Yeah it's not. I noticed something was wrong and questioned her about it which caused her to open up. Anyway, I told her about me and Luna and...she didn't take it well." I looked down when I said that last bit.

"Oh no! Is she OK?" Twilight worringly asks.

"Oh she's fine now. We had a talk this morning and decided it would be best if we remained good friends...best friends even." I said with a smile.

"Thank you for that. You've gained a great friend there."

"Yeah, I have."

Twilight got up from her cushion. "I think I'll have to call it a night. My bed is calling me. Goodnight." She began to walk away but a thought stopped her. "Oh of course! Luna asked me to give you this." She levitated a scroll into my hands before walking upstairs to her room. I unrolled the scroll and began reading.

My dearest Owen

I'm sorry my visit to you yesterday was so short-lived but I could not afford to be away from Canterlot any longer than I was. You looked so happy behind that bar and it looked like a lot of fun! Although frankly, the music could have been better.

I am unable to see you again until Nightmare Night is upon us due to many royal issues I must attend. I can't think of how you and I will cope without each other for so long. I have asked Twilight to remind you to write letters to me often so we can keep in touch.

Nightmare Night is in four weeks time and I will be coming to Ponyville. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Nightmare Night, please ask Twilight to explain. I'm sure she can explain it all to you very easily.

Till then my love
Luna

I rolled up the scroll and made my way upstairs to my room, flopping down on the bed. I set the scroll down on the bedside table and got under the covers.

"Nightmare Night...Halloween maybe?"

17. Meet The Nightmare (Part 1)

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The plan was all set. It was a last minute plan but it was going to work, I just knew it. Luna had been worrying about this night for too long but she was adamant that she was going to attend Ponyville and meet the townsfolk.

Just like she said, her carriage began to descend from the...

Damn it, I've skipped forward haven't I? Well to be honest, the last four weeks weren't as hectic as my first two weeks here so there isn't much to tell. Just for shits and giggles, I'll recap for you, week by week.

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Week 1

Monday. The start of a new week. I woke up early for a change and quickly got myself showered and dressed, hoping I could be up before Twilight for a change.

Yeah, fat chance of that. By the time I got downstairs, she was already throwing her gaze into another dusty old tome. I set myself some breakfast and sat down at the table.

The previous night's actions came to mind and I remembered the strange bipedal creature I saw. It certainly looked human but I couldn't be sure. I mean, this world is like the world of make-believe. I pondered asking Twilight about it but decided against it, concluding that it had been a long day and my mind was playing tricks on me...I hoped.

I got into a conversation about Nightmare Night and Twilight explained the premise behind it. Overall, it was nearly the same to Halloween and I hated Halloween. That's one thing I was glad about back home; I lived on the top floor of a block of flats so no child would be able to get in! The only difference is that there is a old mare's tale behind the night. A statue of Nightmare Moon is located in the Everfree where a local Zebra called Zecora takes the children to tell them stories. When they arrive there, Zecora would tell the tale of Nightmare Moon, saying she wants to eat up the young ponies unless they offer her their candy.

I chuckled at the idea of it and labeled it childish much to Twilight's disdain. I would normally brush off a night like this but Twilight kind of talked me into attending it...well...forcing me into going. I can't fight back to magic.

The rest of the day was spent building the foundations of the new clubhouse. When I got to the site, the removal firm was just finishing up their clearance job which I thanked them for. Shift had delivered all of the lumber, tools and the safety shed.

I worked until about 5PM before I called it a day. The clubhouse, at the current time, was about a foot tall. Just the foundations built today. I made my way back to the library, passing Minute once again. I called out to him but he completely blanked me. I wanted to try and see what was wrong but I left him to it.



Tuesday and Wednesday morning was the same. I went back to the clubhouse and continued adding to it. On the Wednesday, a couple of familiar faces arrived to lend a hand/hoof. Big Mac said that he had some free time to help his younger sister and she asked him to help me - fair enough. The other was Ditzy. Now, from what I've heard from the ponies of the town, she's a bit of a klutz but I couldn't let her know that. Both of them set to work, surprisingly knowing how to build. Mac was good at heavy lifting and upper body strength and Ditzy was good at co-ordination and measuring.

I was skeptical of Ditzy at first as she struggled to keep up with me and Mac but she eventually got into it and did a pretty good job. She may be a bit of a klutz but she's a great handyman...handywoman...handymare, whatever.

In the evening, I had a shift at the club from 6 till midnight. It wasn't such a busy night as the first time I worked there which was a relief - I was knackered. Minute hadn't shown up for work which worried me. I informed Vinyl of it and she noticed he was acting a bit strange as of late. As it wasn't that busy, Weight was fine to work the doors by himself as I worked the bar most of the night.



Saturday rolled around and I had another shift tonight. Mac and Ditzy had helped me once again on Thursday and Friday and we managed to get the clubhouse to about 50% completion. I thanked them for their work and offered to pay them, which they amazingly declined. Seriously, the ponies of this town are far too friendly and kind.

The shift tonight was from 6 till 2...a long one. When I arrived, I noticed Minute who had shown up at last. I didn't say anything at first until he explained he was having some trouble at home with his missus. Throughout the night, he cheered up and we were eventually happily conversing with one another. At the end of the night, all of the staff had a drink and a talk about next week. I was given 3 shifts to work...good god.

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Week 2

I had shifts on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I wanted to try and get this clubhouse done by the end of the week. On the Monday and Tuesday, me, Mac and Ditzy once again set to work on the partially built building.

By Wednesday afternoon, the clubhouse was nearly complete. It just needed a few more additions here and there and it would be finished. I worked in the club that night and it was a quiet one. Minute seemed a little depressed - must have been about his wife - so I didn't really engage with him.

Friday morning was a great morning. Mac brought the crusaders along with him to the nearly complete clubhouse. Turns out they had come up with a colour scheme that they all agreed on. Since the last bit of the clubhouse to be finished wasn't exactly dangerous to work with, I let the crusaders help out for a bit. A few hammered in planks here and there and a few edges sanded down and...

"Done! It's finished!"

The moment they heard that, the crusaders were literally jumping for joy. Their new clubhouse was built and ready to use. All that was left was to paint it. I said that I'd get some paint at the start of next week so they can help paint it after they finish school. Mac and Ditzy still refused any payment after I profusely thanked them for all their help. In the end, I treated the five of them to anything they wanted at Sugarcube Corner...BIG mistake.

The crusaders all wanted the most sugary thing they could get their hooves on. I did say they could have anything they wanted so I kind of brought this problem on myself. Sitting down at the table, the crusaders dug into their so-called 'Pinkie Pie's Extreme Cupcake' and made a complete mess of themselves. What followed was what I can describe as 'Road Runner, Speedy Gonzales, Sonic the Hedgehog and Pinkie Pie combined'.

The shrills of high pitched screaming and laughter echoed through the town as the three young'uns sped about, causing havoc wherever they lay hoof. Eventually, the sugar rush ended and they collapsed in a pile in the middle of the street. Mac took all three of them back to his farm so they could sleep it off. I thanked him again and he was on his way.

The shift tonight was moderate. End of the week kind of thing so most ponies were here just to have a drink. Once again, Minute was a bit frowny but he actually engaged in conversation this time. He mentioned he 'can't take this much more' and he needed to make a decision. I was never one for offering advice on marital situations so I said the only thing I could think of.

"Do what your heart tells you."

I mentally hated myself for saying it - what a cheesy thing to say. But it worked! He chuckled slightly and a small but permanent smile found it's way onto his face for the rest of the night.

Vinyl pulled me away from the bar at about midnight for a chat. Turns out, she was just as worried about Minute as I was. I mentioned that he was having trouble and he couldn't cope. She said she'd fix it and I went back to work for the rest of the night.

On Saturday, I bumped into the local primary school teacher. Literally, bumped into. I was running down the street and ran straight into her. A purple earth pony, with a two-tone pink mane and a trio of smiling faces as a cutie mark. She introduced herself as Cheerilee and that she was the teacher at the school. This was the first time I had ever met her and I suppose it was the same for her so I was slightly taken aback when she didn't run screaming.

Then I found out it was because that the crusaders had talked about me in their classes saying how awesome I was. The moment I heard that, I felt so happy. Happy that I brought joy to young children and became their friend. The subject of their clubhouse came up and I mentioned that me, Mac and Ditzy had spent the last two weeks building their new one and that the crusaders are painting it next week.

Cheerliee mentioned that nearly everyone in her class uses the clubhouse and she asked if they could all help paint. I happily agreed to it before she came up with another idea. She asked me to come and introduce myself to the class and ask them myself, so it looks like I'm trying to get on good terms with them all. A good idea but I'm not one for public speeches so we settled for a Q&A session on Monday next week.

That night was a long shift again. From 5 till 2 this time. When I first got there, I asked Minute how he was but he didn't really give me a confirmed answer. At the end of the night, Vinyl pulled us all together for next week's rota, except there wasn't one. Vinyl said that with the increased income over the past 3 weeks, she can afford to close the club for a week so everyone can have a week off. That was met with thunderous cheers, even from Minute.

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Week 3

Monday was the only day when I actually needed to do anything. Cheerliee asked me to come in the afternoon around 2PM so the kids could have something fun for the end of the day. I can't see how talking to me can be fun but if she says it will be, I'm not one to complain.

It was an early start and Twilight and Spike were already up. Spike was shelf-sorting and Twilight was reading, as usual. Glancing at Spike, whilst eating my breakfast, I noticed the look of boredom on his face. Doing these tasks again, again and again must be strenuous for the little guy so I thought I'd treat him since I don't really spend any one-to-one time with him.

I asked Twilight to give him the day off so I can treat him to something. She initially declined, stating that the whole library needs re-shelving. I made it clear to her that he needs some time off to have some fun as whenever I see him, he's always working. After much bantering, Twilight agreed and me and Spike were out of the door like a flash. I asked Spike what he wanted to do as it was his day off and his decision. He recommended going to the spa for some relaxing treatments.

Now, I've never been to a spa before so I've no idea what it's like. Nevertheless, I agreed to it and Spike led the way. We eventually came across a small building which we entered. We were greeted by two very brightly coloured ponies. One was bright blue with a bright pink mane and tail whereas the other was the same but inverted colours. I was introduced to them and found out their names were Lotus and Aloe. Spike asked me what he could have, to which I told him he could have anything he wanted.

Did I say anything? Spike asked for everything! Mud baths, seaweed bath wraps, massages and the steam room. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. We started off with the massages which were surprisingly good. The constant thumping of hooves on my back was really relaxing. Next we moved onto the steam room. I'd been in a sauna before but that was at a crappy leisure centre. This was the real thing. I never really saw the point of just sitting in a room, sweating away but I guess that the room works - I do feel more relaxed.

After that, we showered and then had a mudbath each. Again, I couldn't see the point and yet again, I was proven wrong. It was soothing, warm and relaxing. Me and Spike started conversations with the spa ponies - just general chit-chat but it was nice that I can actually talk to these ponies now without them asking who or what I was.

After that, we had a seaweed bath wrap. Won't bother saying how I thought about it because you probably know. As I had to be naked for this, the spa ponies were having a bit of a giggle wrapping the seaweed around me. I wonder why...



We finished in the spa and I treated Spike to lunch at Sugarcube Corner. We both had a savoury pastry and a milkshake. I swear, this bakery is run by gods. They KNOW how to bake properly. Our lunch break was interrupted by a rather large crash from outside. I rushed outside to see that a pegasus had crashed into a stall. Soon after, another pegasus did the same thing. Some doctors quickly examined them and said there was no damage. Soon after, they both took off again and flew away normally.

Me and Spike returned to the library to find Twilight struggling to levitate some books. I asked if I could help but she refused, wondering why she couldn't lift them. After a while, she effortlessly did it, confusing all of us. Why couldn't she lift them a minute ago?

The time eventually came for me to attend the local school. Approaching it, I took in the view. A quaint little building, like a cottage with a thatched roof. I entered the building and spoke to a pony behind the front desk. The receptionist asked me to wait whilst she entered the classroom. Not a second later, she returned with Cheerilee in tow. She said that she gave the children a five minute break before I came in. We discussed what would be said and what could be asked.

Five minutes later, the children were once again quiet as Cheerliee entered the classroom. I listened at the door to what she was saying.

'Quiet down everypony. Now, for the last pary of the day, I have a special guest for you all. He is new to Ponyville and I want you all to be very kind to him.'

Cheerliee looked at the door and nodded at me to walk in, which I did. The moment I walked in, three familiar faces greeted me with cheery faces. The rest of the class looked...flabbergasted. Some were scared, some looked in amazement while two in particular did...nothing.

I took a seat on the desk and gave a brief introduction, telling them my name, where I was from and what I did for a living. The moment I mentioned I was from another world, all of the children took full attention. Once my very brief speech was over, Cheerilee asked if anyone had a question. How many hooves went up? All of them.

Many questions were asked, like 'What's Earth like?' and 'What are the ponies like there?'. I tried to answer the best that I could to most of the questions. There were some obscure ones but I managed to get through them.

Eventually, it was time for the class to end. I bid them goodbye and began to make my way out of the door before Cheerliee caught my attention again, mentioning the clubhouse. How that skipped my mind, I'll never know. I explained that a new clubhouse had been built and I needed help to paint it. I said that the crusaders were already helping but anyone else can help if they want to. All of the kids agreed apart from two who I were told were Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. I had a few questions from them both and the way they asked them was a bit rude. I could tell they were upper class and looked down on everyone else so eventually I thought 'nuts to them'.

On Tuesday, in the afternoon, the whole class, including Cheerliee and various family members of the kids, showed up at the clubhouse, ready to paint. I let the crusaders show them their design and let them say who was doing what. They commanded very well and soon enough, the children and even the family members were painting the clubhouse. Cheerliee pulled me off to the side to thank me for letting her class do this to which I said I was more than happy.

The rest of the week went by smoothly. Since I wasn't working at the club this week, Applejack asked if I could help on the farm to which I agreed to. For some reason, Mac wasn't strong enough to pull the cart for long periods anymore. Applejack said that he was getting older and just needed some rest. Later in the week, Applejack started getting frustrated because she couldn't get all the apples down in one kick, which she could always do.

I tried to help out as much as possible on the farm to which the Apple family was very grateful. So grateful in fact that I was treated to some of Granny's cooking and my goodness, this was food of the gods. Well, it was apple with everything but still, it was amazing!

On Saturday, the crusaders came by to mention that the clubhouse was finished. I followed them to it to see the finished product. And what a sight it was. No more than three weeks ago, all that was here was a pile of rubble and now, there was a fully completed children's playhouse. I've never felt a bigger feeling of accomplishment in my life. The crusaders gathered the rest of their friends to have a small opening ceremony. Apple Bloom gave a quick speech and thanked me for helping to build it. Soon after, they were all inside, doing god knows what. I made my way back home, feeling higher than I'd ever been.

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Week 4

I had two shifts this week - Wednesday and Friday. From Monday to Wednesday afternoon, I worked on the farm to help out as their problems were still persisting and no-one had figured out why. Applejack thought it could be a health issue but I said they look perfectly healthy which she agreed to.

Wednesday night's shift was another quiet one. The first thing I did was to see if Minute was back to normal, which he was...kind of. I approached him and asked him how he was, to which he answered that he was great. He always kept a rather forced smile on all the time which freaked me out a bit.

It was the same with Friday night. Although, when I struck up a conversation with him, he said he 'made the decision' and that everything is going to be fine from now on. For a moment, I was considering informing a mental health expert about him but thought better of it. Best to just see how he gets on for now.

Sunday night's events were a surprise for me. Just before I was about to go to bed, there was a knock at the door. Opening it up, there was no-one there. Remembering last time, I stepped back, opened the door fully and then shut it after about twenty seconds. Sure enough, Luna un-cloaked herself and we embraced in a hug and kiss.

Luna explained to me that she was dreading tomorrow night and wasn't sure if she could go ahead with it, no matter how much she needed to. We talked for ages, with me explaining that if the ponies of Ponyville knew her for who she is now, not for what she was, then she'd gain so many friends. She was still skeptical at first but I started to concoct a plan. A plan to give the residents of Ponyville the scare of their lives and for them to gain a friend in a high place.

"Right. Here's what you're going to do..."

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The plan was all set. It was a last minute plan but it was going to work, I just knew it. Luna had been worrying about this night for too long but she was adamant that she was going to attend Ponyville and meet the townsfolk.

Just like she said, her carriage began to descend from the clouds and the lightning began to strike.

18. Meet The Nightmare (Part 2)

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The shrills of childish screams sounded from the distance. I glanced over in that direction to see said children running towards the centre of the town, where most of tonight's entertainment was taking place.

From what I had just witnessed, the first part of the plan was in effect - the arrival. We agreed on giving the town a bit of a scare first--

"RUN! IT'S NIGHTMARE MOON!" a pony, dressed as a pirate, screamed as he ran past me. Yep, that's a good scare straight off the bat.

Speaking of bats, lightning began to fill the sky with the thunderous booms following. Luna's chariot came into view just over the ridge of a hill and made it's way towards the centre of town. It was being pulled by two of her night guards, who I hadn't actually seen before, and they actually looked pretty damn awesome. Grey in colour with yellow slit eyes, dark purple bat-like wings and a lilac armour.

The chariot set itself down with Luna exiting in a hooded cloak - the same cloak she wore the night she came to see me at the club. She removed her hood to show her face with a bolt of lightning striking in accompaniment. Everyone looked hugely afraid of the royal princess that stood before them. Many bowed, many shook with fear and some just downright fainted. Seeing everyone elses reactions, I put on my best 'scared' face and blended in with the rest of the crowd.

"Princess Luna!" Twilight called out before being pulled to the ground by Spike in his...dragon costume...

I fought the urge not to facepalm. 'Damn it Twilight! You're supposed to be scared!'

From what I could see, Spike was giving a lecture to Twilight. Well that's new. Luna began to approach a lilac pony dressed as a witch, who screamed and cowered under her scrutinous gaze. It was then that Luna started her speech.

"Citizens of Ponyville! We have graced your tiny village with our presence, so that you might behold the real princess of the night! A creature of nightmare is no longer, but instead a pony who desires your love and admiration! Together we shall change this dreadful celebration into a bright and glorious feast!"

Another bolt of lightning struck at the end of her sentence. She was pulling this off like a pro. The plan was for Luna to greet the town as she would have done a thousand years ago. She had told me that when her and Celestia had greeted towns in the past, they would speak in the 'Royal Canterlot Voice' which I assume THAT just was.

I slunk away to the alley of a nearby building and watched the scene unfold. Pinkie seemed like she was the ringleader for the group of children as they all seemed to follow her after her accusations that 'Nightmare Moon' was going to gobble them up. I noticed this made Luna a bit upset as this is not how she wanted the ponies to react but she pressed forwards to have a conversation with the Mayor. Seeing how Luna walked off into the woods made me think that it didn't go so well.

All of the ponies went back to their previously interrupted activites as Twilight made a beeline for the direction that Luna left in. I followed shortly behind her, but not giving my position away as I wanted to remain behind the scenes for this. Luna wanted to try and do this all by herself and I'm under instruction to help but only if she really needs it.

We eventually came across Luna who was standing under a statue of her evil self. Twilight approached Luna and tried to talk to her while I ducked behind a large group of bushes.

"Princess Luna?"

"Oh, Twilight. Good to see you again." Luna observed Twilight's costume. "Starswirl the Bearded. Thou even got the bells right..."

I made a mental note to read up on Starswirl. Sounds like it could be informative. One thing that Luna had trouble with was switching from her Royal Canterlot voice to her normal voice. Twilight took note of this and tried to teach Luna herself, albiet with no luck.

"Try and speak like you do when you around Owen. That's the kind of voice you need to use."

"But...he is my lover, that is different. I must address my subjects with the Royal Canterlot voice. It was how I was taught to speak by my parents!" Luna spoke in two tones, bellowing into Twilight's ear, knocking her jingly hat to one side which she corrected.

I could see that this was going to be a problem. I was about to step in to help out but Twilight beat me to it by suggesting that she get lessons to talk normally all the time from Fluttershy.

Oh yeah, great idea Twilight...

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I followed suit and soon enough, I was observing Twilight and Luna approaching Fluttershy's cottage. I hid just under the bridge, far enough to avoid detection but close enough to hear what was going on. Twilight raised her hoof and knocked on the wooden door.

"GO AWAY! NO CANDY HERE! VISITORS NOT WELCOME ON NIGHTMARE NIGHT!"

I couldn't believe my ears. That was Fluttershy? No fucking way. No way in hell she could ever shout that loud. Twilight approached the door again.

"Fluttershy. It's me, Twilight!" she called out. The door opened slightly to reveal Fluttershy looking out nervously. I couldn't hear what she said but as soon as she saw Luna, she slammed the door in both of their faces. Twilight entered her house and managed to push Fluttershy outside to greet the lunar princess.

"Charmed." Luna offered but Fluttershy was quick to run back inside, only to be caught by Twilight's levitation.

Watching Luna and Fluttershy converse was hilarious and I tried my best not to laugh. Judging by the pony shaped impact on her door, I guessed that Fluttershy had enough again and tried to bolt back indoors, only to be yet again stopped by Twilight.

"A little quieter, Princess." Twilight asked.

"How is this?" Luna tried.

'Yes! Come on Luna!"

"Better. Right Fluttershy?" Fluttershy managed to peel her face off the door and agree in a slur.

"How...about...now?" Luna tried again. Still loud but getting there.

'Come on Luna! Nearly there!'

"Now you're getting it!" Twilight happily approved.

"And...how about now?" Luna said in a normal, quiet voice.

'Brilliant!'

"Yes, well done." Twilight praised. Luna scooped Fluttershy into her hooves and hugger her tight, thanking her for helping her with her voice. That happy moment was cut short by a rambunctious, hyperactive pink pony who came to warn Fluttershy of Nightmare Moon.

"She stole Fluttershy's voice so she can't scream when she GOBBLES HER UP!" Pinkie and her horde on children ran off screaming, much to the dismay of the four of us.

"Damn it Pinkie!" I shouted, immediately covering my mouth knowing I've given up my location. I walked out from under the bridge into the view of Twilight and Luna. I walked over to Luna and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Hey you. You doing alright?"

Luna looked at me with teary eyes. "Not really. Those children and the pink one are still scared of me."

"I know, I know." I put my arm around her neck. "But they're kids. They get scared way more easily than adults do. Just...keep this up, OK? We've still got a whole evening to get through and I promise - Ponyville will love you at the end of it."

"You think so?" Luna asked - a smile creeping onto her face. I leant towards her and planted a kiss on her cheek.

"I know so." We started to make our way back towards the town but a thought occured to me. "By the way, sorry about giving myself away. I've been trying to remain hidden from you all night but Pinkie got me a bit annoyed. Do you want me to go around with you now or do you still want to try by yourself?"

"I can give a helping hoof." Twilight offered. Luna nodded at Twilight and then looked at me.

"I think it's best if our relationship status stays unknown for now. Think of how the ponies will react when they see 'Nightmare Moon' and the human together. They'll think the worst." Luna explained.

"Good point. I'll just blend in with the crowd."

Twilight looked towards Luna. "Luna, I'll get the ponies to show you their games. I know you probably know all about them but try to act like you don't so you can converse with everypony else."

*RUSTLE*

That caught all of our attention. A loud rustling to the left was heard and I went to go and have a look. Before I got close, a large shape jumped out of it and ran off into the woods.

"That's..." I looked back towards Luna and Twilight. "Wait here." I ran after the creature and managed to spot in the moonlight - it looked familiar. "It is! Hey, stop!" The creature stood firm and I stopped a good few meters away from it. It was the creature that I spotted a few weeks back that looked human. I studied it again and couldn't see anything new. But it still bugged me that it was the same height and build as me, minus the left arm.

"Owen? Where are you?" I heard Twilight call. I turned around to see both Twilight and Luna approaching.

"Look! Over there!" I turned back around to show them the...empty space. "NO!" I ran into the space where the creature once stood. Nothing, not a trace. "Damn it, not again!"

"What's wrong?" Luna asked.

"I saw a creature, it looked like a human! It was right here!" I stuttered out. Both of the girls looked a bit surprised.

"There's nothing here now..." Luna said.

I put my hand to my forehead and tried to think of a logical explanation. "But...it was right here. I swear!"

"Maybe it was a pony playing a prank." Twilight offered.

"It's not the first time I've seen this creature. I saw it a few weeks back. I thought I was going barmy but..." I looked around again. "I don't know now..."

Luna walked up to me and draped a wing over my shoulder. "I'll have some guards to search the area tomorrow." Luna pulled me away from the scene and we were back on the path, going towards Ponyville. I was still agitated and kept stopping to look around for the elusive creature.

"Owen. Look at me." Luna asked. I did so and a blinding light me. Just for a second. "Ready to carry on?" she asked.

"Absolutely. You go on ahead, I'll keep to the shadows." I walked off and made my way towards the town. Little did I know, Twilight and Luna were talking about something.

'What did you do to him?'

'Just a simple memory spell. He won't remember the last five minutes until tomorrow morning.'

'Probably for the best.'

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had made my towards the town hall, which is where a wide variety of games was set up. I could see that AJ was keeping an eye on most of the ponies playing the games. One particular game got my attention. A large web was set up and a bucket of fake spiders about 5 meters away from it. Your basic aim and throw game and it was certainly gathering the attention of quite a few ponies.

It wasn't long until everything went quiet and most of the ponies were cowering or bowing at the approaching princess. I caught Luna's gaze for a second and gave her a wink which she returned with a smile. They both approached AJ who cowered at the sight of Luna. I could overhear their conversation.

"Fit in? Really?" A stern gaze from Twilight gave AJ all the answer she needed. Luna portayed herself as not knowing what fun was which gave AJ the opportunity to explain it to her. After a few encouraging words from Twilight and AJ, Luna had a go at the spider toss. She failed at first, the spider only going a few feet. Another concentrated throw and she was bang on target, elliciting cheers from surrounding ponies.

'They're getting used to her. Brilliant!'

The next task for Luna was a kind of catapult game. Put an object in the catapult, aim for the target and launch. Luna managed to hit it dead centre on her first try. Lucky girl. I really wanted to go and join in but I knew I'd bugger things up and reveal it was all a setup.

"The fun has been doubled!"

Hearing Luna's cheery voice and the cheers of the other ponies really made me proud of her. She really pushed the boat out and tried her very best to get on Ponyville's good side - and it worked.

The next item was the apple bobbing. Of course AJ would do this game - it only seems right. Luna was making her way over to the bucket before noticing that the pirate-costumed kid from earlier had fallen into the water. Luna grabbed the kid by his costume near his backside and held him in the air.

"Anypony seen Pip? We lost him the last time we had to run..." Pinkie stared in shock at Luna, who was still holding Pip with her mouth. "Nightmare Moon is gobbling Pipsqueak! Everypony run!

'Oh for god sake...' I thought as I facepalmed.

"Help! My backside has been gobbled." Pip screamed as Luna let him go. Pip ran off with Pinkie and left Luna standing there, flabbergasted at what just happened.

"Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled thou ungrateful whelp!" Lightning struck at the end of her sentence, illuminating her angry expression.

I tell ya, she looked downright pissed. The surrounding ponies began to retreat from Luna as she tried to entice them to play games again. Regardless of her actions, the ponies were back to being scared again and kept trying to run away fron Luna which irritated her further.

Twilight tried to calm her down which only resulted in the return of the ear-raping Royal Canterlot voice.

"Nightmare Night shall be cancelled! FOREVER!"

Everyone had run off at the volume of her voice, leaving me, Twilight and Luna alone. I walked up to Luna, who was still seething, and tried to console her.

"Luna, are you--" Luna turned her head to me to show her sad expression. I embraced her in a hug. "Don't worry about it. They'll come around." Luna broke the hug and began running off towards the edge of town once again, quiet sobs sounding from the shrinking princess. "Oh Luna..."

"We've got to help her." Twilight said.

"We are." I quickly replied. "We just need to get a certain pony to see straight then we'll fix it."



Twilight went off to go and find Luna, to try and encourage her to come back. Whereas I stayed behind to help the town clear up the mess caused by Luna's booming voice. A disgruntled AJ was picking up some of the fake spiders so I went over to her to give her a helping hand.

"That didn't go so well did it?" I murmured.

"Ya can say that again. We had everythin' goin' our way. Luna was happy, everpony in town was happy and now look at 'em." AJ replied sadly.

I looked around at the dejected looks of the costumed ponies and the crying kids. Seeing those kids really made me feel guilty. "It's my fault this happened. Me and my stupid big mouth..."

"How can it be your fault sugarcube?" AJ asked.

I froze at her question. She didn't know that me and Luna were a couple. I tried to think of a valid excuse to use but as she was the Element of Honesty, she could spot a lie a mile off.

"If I tell you something, keep it to yourself. I want it to remain secret...well kind of a secret until we're ready." AJ nods. "Me and Luna have been dating for about 5 weeks now."

"You what now?!" AJ exclaimed.

I quickly put my hand over her mouth to shush her. "Keep it down!" I whispered harshly taking my hand away. "Luna and I realised we had feelings for each other when I helped her in her time of need and it kind of went from there."

"Well look at you, loverboy. But ah still don't get how this can be your fault."

"Luna came to my home last night to talk about today. She was really scared about it and very nervous. We then made a plan of how this night would go and how she would act. It was all going smoothly until a certain friend of orus decided to scare everyone at a critical moment." I sighed heavily. "It's just...I really thought I was doing the right thing, planning this ahead so she could be accepted into the town. But look, all I've done is make it worse. I ruined Nightmare Night. I...I made children cry..."

I brought a hand to cover my eyes. Saying those last words caused me to choke up slightly. I felt a weight on my shoulder and looked to see AJ putting her hoof there.

"That's not your fault. One thing ah've always known is that if you plan somethin', it's bound to go wrong and there ain't nothin' you can do to stop it." AJ withdrew her hoof and brought it to her chin in thought. "Ah got an idea. We need to get Pinkie to be not scared of her anymore, right?" I nodded. "Then here's what we're gonna do..."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We were in position. Twilight, Luna and me were waiting in the shadows in an alley, down the side of the Quills and Sofas shop. Why just quills and sofas? Not a clue. Seems pretty stupid to me.

A trail of wrapped sweets led out of the alley to entice the plan-wrecking pink party pony. Just like a kid in a sweetshop, she fell for the bait - individually pecking at each sweet, getting closer and closer to the alley.

'Ooh, piece of candy. Ooh piece of candy. Ooh, piece of--' James Woods was awesome.

Pinkie finally came into the alley, eating the last piece of candy and ended up being rugby-tackled by Twilight and held up against the wall with Twilight jabbing a hoof in her mouth.

"No. No shrieking. No screaming or squealing either. OK?" Twilight ordered. Pinkie muffled a reply. "There's something me and Owen want to show you and I promise it's safe but you really can't shriek? Do you promise?" Pinkie muffled another reply.

I stood back from the pair. "OK, come on out." I said. Luna emerged from the shadows into Pinkie's view, who immediately began to shake.

"Ah, the ringleader of the frightened children. Have you come to make piece?" Luna asked.

"Nightmare Mo--" Pinkie began to shout but held a hoof to her mouth. I moved back into the shadow to watch from afar. Luna outstretched a hoof, as did Pinkie. They got closer and closer together, almost cementing their friendship.

'Come on...come on...nearly there...just a little--'

*CRACK* *BOOM*

"NIGHTMARE MOON!"

A lightning bolt struck inches from us causing Luna to be illuminated in a somewhat scary pose. This caused Pinkie to scream and run off towards the exit of the alley. I turned around to hear an all too familiar laughter.

"Rainbow!" both me and Twilight shouted at her. In a flash, Twilight teleported in front of Pinkie and pinned her down, screaming the odds at her. I realised that Rainbow needed a word as well and as her thundercloud was low to the ground, I managed to jump up and grab her off her cloud and hold her in front of me, under her hooves.

"What the hell Rainbow! Pinkie and Luna were about to make friends until you scared her off!" I said rather loudly at her. She only giggled at my voice.

"Oh lighten up. I got all of you good." she stated, laughing once again.

"OK, fine you did but we really didn't need that." I put her down on the ground. "Just...don't prank us again tonight, OK?" I asked, giving a disappointed look. As I could only see Rainbow's mouth, it turned into a frown as she flew away. I think I may have hit a nerve.

*CRASH* "OW!"

I looked over to see Rainbow had crashed into a hanging sign. "Rainbow! You alright?" I asked. Rainbow was rubbing her head over and over.

"Yeah, I'm cool. That just keeps happening. Anyway, see ya!" she replied, flying off again in a straight line this time.

"Princess Luna! I've finally figured out why you're having so much trouble being liked!" I heard Twilight call out.

"Forgive me if I withhold my enthusiasm" Luna replied. Wow, she was really downtrodden.

"Luna, Owen, follow me. I'll explain on the way."

Did I miss something?



"That...sounds ridiculous Twilight. How will that work?" I asked.

"Believe me, it'll work." she replies. "Quick hide! Here they come! Now Luna, you know what to do?" Luna nodded and took to the skies, cloaking herself.

We watched from the bushes as Zecora, AJ and the Mayor were leading the kids to the statue of Nightmare Moon. Twilight explained that the last part of Nightmare Night is to offer candy to the statue. Cute.

The pirate-costumed pony, Pip, approached the statue and dumped a heap of candy next to it. He then hung his head and spoke. "Goodbye Nightmare Night...forever." Aw, damn it! I felt so sad at the state of this child. If this plan didn't work, I'd feel terrible.

It was then that a gust of wind began to swirl around the vicinity of the statue. A booming voice echoed around us. "Citizens of Ponyville. You were wise to bring these candies to me. I am pleased with your offering. So pleased that I may just eat it..."

This was it. I hope she can pull it off.

"Instead of YOU!" she bellowed as she revealed herself to the crowd in her evil form. Damn, she looked good. The crowd screamed at the appearance of the real Nightmare Moon and they all bolted from the scene. She laughed manically at the retreating ponies before shifting back into her normal self, taking out the fake fangs she had worn. Me and Twilight emerged from the bushes and stood next to Luna.

"I'm not sure that worked too well Twilight." Luna said.

"Just wait." Twilight replied with a smug grin.

"For what?" Luna answered but she soon found out what for as she felt her mane being tugged at. Little Pip was trying to get Luna's attention. Why the hell did he come back? I thought he was scared of her.

"Can you come back next year and scare us again?" he asked with a smile, shuffling his hooves.

"Are you saying you like me scaring you?" Luna asked, confused as much as I was. This was Twilight's plan?!

"It's really fun! Scary, but fun!" Pip replied.

Luna looked back towards me and Twilight for an answer. We both nodded with a smile. Luna turned back to Pip and noticed the group of kids in the distance. "Well then, we shall have to bring Nightmare Night back!" she replied with her booming voice.

Pip looked up at Luna before running over to her and hugging her leg. "You're my favourite princess ever."

Hnnggg...new heart please...serious overload of 'Awww'.

"I cannot believe that worked. Nice job Twilight." I put an arm around Luna's neck. "And to you as well. That display was amazing."

Luna chuckled under her breath and showed me one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen on her. "Thank you both. I can not have done this without you." She pulled Twilight and me into a bone-crushing hug, which we returned at half-force. Damn, this girl was strong.



We made our way back into Ponyville to see that everything had been set up again. Even better, the residents were welcoming Luna with open arms and conversing with her. Seeing as the plan was complete, I joined in with the fun, playing all of the games with Luna and many other ponies.

The kids had gathered another pile of sweets and presented it to Luna, which she accepted kindly. She then tried bobbing for apples...or swimming for apples. Yeah, she fell in but she took it with good stride, elliciting a few laughs from the other ponies.

After a while, I followed Twilight and Spike back to the statue of Nightmare Moon to overhear Twilight giving her report for Celestia. She really does know what she's talking about and the lesson really made a whole lot of sense to me as well. Once she finished, another lightning bolt and thunder boom was heard along with a scream. We looked up to see a rainbow trail zooming off into the distance.

Looking back, Luna descended on her own personal thundercloud and we all laughed at her payback. Rainbow deserved it, she got us all good earlier, even though it was a bit of an inconvinience.

We made our way back into Ponyville and saw that the night was drawing to a close. Not everything went according to plan but it ended up being amazing. I was about to branch off from the group to see if there any sweets left before a pony caught my attention.

"Excuse me, Owen. Have you got a minute?"

I turned to see that the Mayor wanted my attention. "Of course." I walked over to her so we could talk privately. "What can I do for you?"

The Mayor looked a bit nervous and was struggling to find her words. "Well um...you see...I wanted to ask a question. About what I saw this evening."

"What you saw?" I asked, confusedly.

"Oh, it's nothing bad. I can't thank you enough for helping the princess throughout the night." She saw me? "But I did noticed something. You were spending an awful lot of time around Luna and I think I saw her...saw her..."

I gulped as I wondered what she saw. "Saw what?"

"She kissed you."

Ah. I'm gonna need some help. "Hold on." I walked over to Luna and brought her over to the Mayor who bowed in her prescence. "Luna, the Mayor saw you giving me a kiss earlier and wanted to know why."

Luna's eyes bulged as she realised that their secret may have been exposed. I put my arm around her and looked her in the eyes. "Shall I tell them? It's gonna come out sooner or later." Luna brewed her thoughts for a moment.

'Are you sure you want to tell everypony?'

'I think so. It'll be good for them all to know now instead of them knowing later, thinking we were hiding a secret for so long.'

'Very well. Do what you will.'

Our mental conversation ceased and Luna looked at me with an honest smile. I turned back towards the Mayor. "Miss Mare, have you got a stand or a stage where I can make an announcement to everyone?"

The Mayor looked at me, then at Luna, then to me again before realisation hit her. I shushed her from making a scene and she led us to where a band was playing music. Even Vinyl was there with her mixing deck. They were all in costume as well and I thought that was a nice touch. The Mayor climbed up on stage and stood next to a stand where she asked the musicians to quieten down.

"Can I have your attention everpony?" the Mayor called out. Only a few ponies heard her, the rest heard nothing. She tried shouting again but to no avail, It was then when Vinyl came up and gave the Mayor a microphone which was plugged into her speakers.

"Attention everypony!" That got everyone's attention. All the ponies gathered around the stage and took notice of the Mayor. The microphone was turned down slightly for this bit. "Thank you. I want to thank you all for giving us one of the best Nightmare Nights yet. More importantly, I want to extend my greatest thanks to Princess Luna who joined us on this memorious occasion." This was met with the stomping of hooves as applause.

"Now, I'm sure you have all met Owen. He has been in our town for over a month now and has been accepted by all of you." Ponies turned to nod at me and smile which I returned with my own. "He has an announcement to make to you all so I will hand the floor over to Owen."

I gulped and made my way up onto the stage. Standing at the stand, I looked upon the myriad of colours I saw before me. Probably over 150 ponies were here, all looking at me. Now was not the time to get stage fright!

"Hi everyone." Feedback sounded causing us all to groan. "Whoops, sorry." I said with a chuckle. "Thank you all for gathering round. First off, I want to thank you all again for showing me what Nightmare Night was all about. It's been amazing. Secondly, I'd also like to thank you for accepting our dear Princess Luna into the society. I know at first it wasn't going smoothly but you really showed her how nice you all were."

This caused the crowd to cheer and applaud. I responded with my own applause. "Lastly, this is where I'm gonna tell you all a secret." I moved away from the stand and approached the front of the stage. "As you know, I'm not from around these parts. In fact, I'm from a place so far away you can't even believe to imagine. When I first came here, I arrived in...not good circumstances."

"I was thrown into this world and I was damaged. Thankfully, I was saved by many of the townsfolk and I thank you all so much for that." More applause. I was loving this, even though I was as nervous as hell. "Soon after, I was given a home to live in and a job. To get that in such short time, I was amazed at the friendliness of you all. It wasn't long until I was invited to be introduced to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna."

"This world has never seen one of my kind before so they really wanted to meet me. So, me and Twilight went to Canterlot and I met the Princesses. It was there that I found an amazing friendship, one I had never experienced before." I pointed my hand at Luna. "Princess Luna. Could you please join me on stage?"

Luna approached the stage and stood next to me, giving a huge smile. "That friendship was with this pony here. Princess Luna. The moment we met, we found out we had so much in common. We talked for ages and we both found out that we had similar upbringings and we could relate to each other, emotionally." I put my arm around Luna's shoulders and looked into her eyes. "It took me a while to realise that...we were more than just friends. More than close friends even..."

I looked upon the crowd and they were seeming to catch on but some seemed unsure. "What I want to announce to you all is that...me and Princess Luna..." Dramatic pause, dramatic pause. "...are in love with each other."

The crowd gasped at my statement and silence reigned. It was then that I thought that I had made a huge error so I tried to fix it. "I know this is shocking and I'm do not know how inter-species relationships are viewed here but answer me this. If a boy and a girl love each other, regardless of species, do they deserve to be with each other?"

A few hooves started stomping. Then some more. Soon, the crowd was applauding and cheering. I couldn't believe it - they accepted it! No pitchforks for me tonight! I then decided to prove it by doing something spontaneous.

"Want me to prove it?" I shouted out before dropping the microphone, turning to Luna, putting my hands on her shoulders and giving her a passionate kiss on the lips, much to the joy of the crowd who whistled and shouted in glee.

I broke the kiss and disembarked the stage along with Luna. We walked through the crowd who offered their congratulations and support. Soon enough, we found our way back to the library and myself, Luna, Twilight and Spike entered.

"Well that went better than I'd hoped. Much better in fact." I said.

"I'm amazed at the crowd's reaction. They really accepted us!" Luna chimed in.

Spike was the first to retire to bed. After all, he was younger than all of us and he needed his so called 'beauty sleep'. The three of us spent another hour talking and drinking tea.

Twilight soon went to shelf-sorting a few books before she went to bed. I thought of an idea for me and Luna.

"Do you want to stay here tonight Luna? If that's alright with you Twilight." I asked.

"Of course!" they both replied, laughing at their unison. Me and Luna began to walk upstairs before an unusual noise was heard.

*CRACKLE* *SPARKS*

"Huh?"

I saw Twilight was unable to lift the books again. "Twilight, you alright?" I asked.

Twilight tried to levitate the books again but they didn't budge. "Argh! Why won't these books move!" she angrily stated. I walked over to her and knelt down beside her.

"Come on Twilight, go and get some sleep. I'm sure it's just fatigue." I said.

Twilight mumbled a response before slowly making her way upstairs, with me and Luna following. We entered my room as Twilight did with hers. As soon as my door was shut, I turned to Luna.

"Luna, can you soundproof the room?"

"Why?"

"I need to talk about something private. Do you know a soundproofing spell?"

Luna's horn glowed and then stopped. "It is done. What is it?"

I sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. "There's no such thing as fatigue for unicorn magic is there? I mean, for levitating books."

Luna sighed as well and sat on the bed with me. "That worried me also. It shouldn't have happened then. There's no way Twilight could have used that much magic in one day."

"That's what worried me." Luna turned to face me. "Things have been happening around here and I don't know why. Pegasi keep crashing and flying awkwardly. Like Rainbow Dash did earlier. Applejack and Big Mac are losing their strength and Twilight's magic keeps failing. Anything like that happen in Canterlot?"

"Only a few isolated cases. Mostly unicorn guards who had trouble lifting their armor off but I thought it would have been due to the weight of the new sets."

I shook my head and thought hard. "What do you think can cause this?"

"Nothing that I know of." Luna replied.

I lay back on the bed and sighed heavily. "What can we do about it?"

"Until we know what it is, there's nothing we can do about it. Let's just sleep on it and try to rationalise something tomorrow morning."

I put my hand on her back, stroking her wings. "You're right. Come here you." I lifted up the covers of my double bed and got under them, with Luna following suit. She placed her front hooves over my chest as I put the covers over us. I kissed her on the cheeks and stared at her longingly.

"I'm so proud of you. You did really well tonight and it all turned out for the best." I said.

Luna moved one of her wings and draped it over me, pulling me close to her. I put my arms around her as we embraced each other. "I'm proud of you as well. Talking to all of those ponies at once, that's real courage."

"Well I hope I never have to do it again. Seriously, I was bricking it up there!" Luna gave a confused look. "Human term, never mind. Means I was really scared."

Luna nuzzled me affectionately and closed her eyes. "You still did it and look what it did. Every...*YAWN*...everypony was so...happy." Luna sleepily said.

Before long, she fell asleep and started snoring lightly. I chuckled at her at closed my eyes, thinking of the day ahead.

But also fearing the worst.



*A/N* - Hey guys! This chapter just kind of follows Luna Eclipsed but with a few changes. Sorry for the lateness of this chapter but I have been, and still am, sick with the flu and I've been addicted to playing Castle Crashers over the past few days.

Little spoiler - next chapter is going to reveal what the hell is happening!

19. Time Is Of The Essence (Part 1)

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Exiting the smell intoxicating building, I had a spring in my step as I carried a box of freshly baked goods. I don't know what brought it on but I felt like doing something nice for my friends.

"Luna should be at the library by now. She's gonna love these cupcakes!" I happily said.

I carried on my merry way, glancing at the many ponies who decorated the streets in one of the brightest days of the year. Many greeted me as a normal being. Supposed I've fit in now - I'm no longer an inval--

"AAAAHHHHHH!"

"What the? ARGH!"

A extremely white light blocked my view, causing me to shield my eyes with my hands. I could hear the screams of every pony in town, screaming at whatever this was.

"AAAHHH--"

And like that, it stopped. I uncovered my eyes to see the light had diminished. I look around to see no-one here. Turning to look again and again, I saw nothing. Not a single pony was to be seen. No sounds. Nothing.

"Hello? Anyone?!"

*BOOM*

A earth-shattering thud was felt and a booming sound echoed.

*BOOM*

It was getting closer. I dropped the box of baked goods and sprinted off into the opposite direction that the sound was coming from.

*BOOM*

"Not that way!" I shouted at myself, turning around and running again, sweat dripping from my face.

*BOOM*

"I...I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO!" Fear was setting in and I fell to the floor, curling myself into a ball, whimpering slightly. "SOMEONE HELP!"

*BOOM*

"ANYONE?!"


"ARGH!" I screamed as I jolted upright into a seated position. My vision buzzed as I tried to regain my focus. When my sight returned, I looked around the room and to my still sleeping partner. I sighed and lay back on the bed.

"Just a dream...a god awful nightmare more like!"

"hnng...huh?"

I looked to my left and saw that Luna had awoken, trying to fix her gaze on me.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" I asked, caressing the back of her head.

"That's quite alright...*YAWN*...Are you alright? You look worried." she asked with concern.

I rubbed the back of my head. "Uh...yeah. I'm alright now. I just had a bad dream."

Luna leant towards me and pulled me into a hug, kissing my forehead. I responded by returning a kiss onto her cheek and nuzzling against her. I loved her so much. It's moments like these that--

*BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM*

"What the?" I sat upright again with shock. It sounded just like it did in the dream. But now it made sense and I recognised that noise. "Someone's at the door. I'll get it."

I got out of bed and put on some boxers and a t-shirt. Making my way downstairs, I chuckled at the revelation of the noise. All that scary stuff in the dream was someone knocking on a door. Unbelievable.

"Why won't it work?"

"What's going on?"

Listening carefully, I could hear a plethora of voices coming from outside, along with a bit of screaming. Something was wrong. I got to the front door and opened it up, to reveal a worried Applejack.

"Hey AJ. What's with everyone?" I asked.

"It's everypony! We can't do anything right!" she shouted at me with worry.

"Can't do anything? What are you on about?"

"Come an' have a look here!" She led me outside to a cacophony of mess and noise. Ponies were running around all over the place, screaming the odds. Some were crying, some were in the foetal position but most were just running about screaming.

"What's going on? Why is everyone going crazy?!" I shouted to AJ above the noise.

"Ponies are panickin' because we can't do our natural abilities! Look!" AJ walked over to a nearby cart and hoisted herself to it. She attempted to pull with all of her might but the cart didn't budge. "Ah can't pull this cart anymore!"

I walked over and inspected it. The cart was near empty and looked like nothing was stopping it from moving. "You sure it's not just broken?"

AJ unhoisted herself and pointed towards the screaming townsfolk. "Just look around! See for yourself!"

As she instructed, I looked around and observed the scenes. Many earth ponies were struggling to lift/pull/balance things. The pegasii weren't flying, as they normally would. I spotted Rainbow spreading her wings and jumping in the air, attempting to fly but she fell straight back down again as did many other pegasii. Looking further, I could see that a group of unicorns were trying to conjure spells, only to rewarded with nothing. I walked over to the group and saw that Rarity was among them.

"Rarity! You having trouble as well?!" I asked her with a shout.

"It's most troublesome! I cannot levitate anything, even the simplest of fabrics. Nopony here can do it either!" she replied, her voice teetering between panic and sobbing.

I turned back. "Rainbow! You got problems too?!"

She flexed her wings to their full extent. "I can't fly! I can stretch my wings but I can't take to the air! Being grounded is not cool!" As she attempted again, all of the group tried together, all producing the same result.

I walked back to AJ and rubbed the back of my head. "OK, what the hell is going on?" We both looked around again at the carnage before us. This town was on the brink of social collapse and everyone needed to calm down, otherwise ponies were going to get hurt. "AJ, go and gather the girls and bring them here!"

"What good will that do?" she retorted.

"Princess Luna is still here, she stayed here last night. She could provide some information and we need you girls together. From what you've told me, the Elements of Harmony set things right! This could be another one of those times!"

AJ nodded and set off into the crowds. I returned to the library to see that Twilight, Luna and Spike were standing there waiting for me. I looked at them, panting heavily. "We've got a BIG problem."

Twilight walked over to the window and saw the mayhem outside. "What's happened? Everypony's gone beserk!"

I turned to Luna and narrowed my eyes. "Luna, you mentioned the isolated cases of magic problems in Canterlot. Please tell me the truth, were there more?"

Luna shuffled her hooves and looked a tad worried. "Yes. Even with me and Celestia."

I turned back towards Twilight. "Twilight, can you use a levitation spell on those books there." Twilight attempted to do so. Her horn lit up, which was surprising, but the books only moved a few inches before she collapsed.

"I...can't." she weakly replied.

I turned to Luna. "Luna, now you try." Luna did the same and managed to levitate them a little longer before her magic fizzled out.

"The same..." she sadly replied.

"What about flight? Just try to hover for me." I asked. Luna flexed her wings and flapped them, managing to gain some height before she dropped like a stone after a few seconds. I walked over and helped her up. "Alright, OK. Thank you." I said with a smile.

"What's happening here?" Spike asked.

I notioned for them to sit down and they did so. "I don't know. But we're waiting for the girls to arrive, then we'll talk about it." Soon after, AJ, Rarity, Rainbow, Fluttershy and Pinkie all piled into the library, sitting down next to us.

"Of course!"

Twilight's sudden outburst caught us all by surprise. "What's wrong?" I asked her.

"I think I know what's happening!" We all stared at Twilight, listening to her reasons. "Unicorns can't use magic. Earth ponies can't use their strength and dexterity and Pegasii can't use their wings to fly. What do all of these have in common?"

"Natural pony magic." Luna quietly said, the realisation hitting her.

Twilight pointed a hoof towards her. "Yes Princess! Ponies can't use their natural abilites. Something is affecting pony magic, causing it to cease completely."

A collective gasp was heard as everyone thought about it and agreed. I turned to Luna. "Luna, has this ever happened before?"

She shook her head. "Not that I am aware of. Even Celestia and I do not know what happened before our time so it may have happened in the past but it has never happened during our lifetimes."

"And how long is that?" I asked.

"Just over six thousand years."

I stared at her with wide eyes at her statement. 'Six thousand years?! That's one hell of an age gap!'

"So what are we gonna do about it?" Rainbow asks.

Twilight walked over to Spike. "Spike, take a message. We need it to go to Celestia as soon as possible." She monologued her letter as Spike scribbled it down. The others and I all shared worried looks and stayed silent as Twilight spoke.

I was then that I noticed that everyone's demeanour. All of them were terrified. Focusing on one particular pony, I walked over to her and leant down so that I was face level with her. I put my hands on her shaking shoulders. "Hey...everything's gonna be fine, alright?"

The pink maned pegasus quickly jumped at me, throwing her hooves around my neck whilst whimpering quietly. I put my hand on her back, stroking her neck trying to get her to calm down. I lifted her up and sat down on a chair, resting her on my lap. I'd never done something like this before so I had no idea if I was comforting her or scaring her. With the result of her whimpering ceasing, I think I did the trick.

Fluttershy looked up at me with those adorable teary eyes and gave me her best smile. It was forced but I was happy to receive it. She hopped off my lap and went back to the girls.

"Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle." Spike read back. He breathed his flames onto the letter, sending it on it's way. Weirdly enough, once the flames subsided, the letter was still in Spike's claw, un-singed by his breath. "Huh?"

"Why didn't it send?" I asked.

"Maybe it's to do with the magic. Spike's letters are sent to the Princess with a certain magic that she bestowed upon him. With magic not working, I don't think it'll work." Luna replied.

"So, how are we going to contact the Princess? She needs to know about this!" shouts a shaking Twilight.

I stand up as an idea came to me. Although, it's the only option. "Can't teleport, can't fly, only one option. The train."

"But it takes up to five hours! We need to get there now!" Pinkie pipes up.

"No other choice, except for walking." The girls murmured in agreement. "We're leaving now. No time to waste. AJ and Rarity, you need to make sure you're sisters and family know where you're going. Go and see them now. The rest of us will meet you at the train station as soon as possible."

"Let's go!" Rainbow shouted, before running out of the door with all the girls, bar Luna and Spike in tow. I looked back towards Luna and sighed.

"This can be fixed, right?" I asked.

"We can only hope."

We started making our way for the door before my vision started getting fuzzy. "Hng...whoa..." I groggily say. It was like a hangover. A sudden pain in my head, loss of vision and a sick aftertaste in my mouth. My vision returned as one thing came to my mind.

"The creature! Why did I forget?!"

"Umm..." I look towards Luna, who looks worried. "That was me. You said you saw a creature last night and wanted us to try and see it. We couldn't see anything but you were determined to show us, getting very frustrated at the time. So I...um..."

I placed a hand on her shoulder. "Go on."

"I used a tempoary memory spell on you." Luna took notice of my shocked look. "The night was going to get better and I knew if you were focused on that...it might have ruined our plans..."

She was right in some aspects. "Luna, I'm not happy that you used a spell on me without asking but...I suppose you're right. That would have distracted me. But now that I remembered, I bet it's got something to do with the magic problem!"

"We don't even know if that creature exists. For all we know, it could be your mind playing tricks on you."

"I know what I saw!" I retorted loudly to her, causing her to flinch. I regretted it instantly. "I'm sorry. It's just...this is a really big problem and I'm really worried about it."

Luna walked up beside me and gave me a small kiss on the cheek. "We all are. Come on." With that, we exited the library and into the mass of chaos.


Walking along with a Princess had many problems. Nearly every pony bombarded her with questions, most of them screaming at her, not caring for royal etiquette at the current time. We managed to fend most of them off before we got to the train station.

Making our way onto the platform, we came across the six girls and Spike as they were talking to the driver of the train.

"But Sir! We need to get to Canterlot right now! This is for royal purposes!" Twilight explained.

A short, black maned earth pony answered back to her. "Look here missy. The train leaves when I say it does and for your--" He turns to see Luna standing just mere meters away from him. "P-P-Princess Luna! It's a honor." he says, bowing.

"I have no time for formal greetings. We need to get to Canterlot immediately. Can you take us there?" she asks with a stern look. The driver raises from his bow and opens up the front carriage for us, with us all getting in. Closing the door behind us, he ascended to the cabin and set the train in motion. On our way to Canterlot at last.

The carriage we were in was the equivalent to first class. We all made our way to a booth, where we began to discuss our options.

"So, when we get to Canterlot, what are we gonna do?" Rainbow asks to anyone.

"I don't know Rainbow. What do you think Princess?" Twilight asks.

"The first course of action would be to meet with my sister. All of us will need to discuss the problem and brainstorm the possible actions to take to rectify the problem." Luna replies.

"I do hope it will be easy..." Fluttershy meekly adds.

The carriage fell into silence as we all pondered what would happen. I got up and walked out of the booth, walking up and down the carriage, examining the rest of the seating. I returned to the booth and spoke up.

"Right girls-" I turned to the baby dragon. "-and Spike. Canterlot is four to five hours away and we could spend that whole time worrying about the situation...but we're not going to. I've looked in this carriage and there is enough space for everyone here to go and relax for a while."

"Relax? How can we relax at a time like this?!" Pinkie shouted, shaking me by the shoulders. I pulled her off and set her down again.

"Because we are going to need our energy for later. I know it's morning but I think we should all try and get some sleep. We need to be mentally invigorated for when we reach Canterlot."

The girls all agreed and walked out of the booth, some going left and some going right. Luna sat down next to me and leant on my shoulder.

"You certainly know what you're doing." she says quietly.

"Not in the foggiest." Luna gives me a quizzical look. I get up to close the booth door. "I'm serious, I have no idea what's going to happen but I do know that you feel more able to think when you have had some rest. Panicking about this situation is only going to make things worse." I sat back down next to Luna, who lay down over my lap.

"Well it seemed to work." She looked up at me with those beautiful eyes of hers. "You're not upset with me about earlier are you?"

I stroked her mane softly with my fingertips. "At first, yes I was. But after thinking about it and what you actually did for me..." I leant down and kissed her. "...no, I'm not upset at all." I said with a smile.



Not thirty minutes after that, Luna had drifted off to sleep whilst I was watching the moving scenery out of the window. Watching the trees and the fields go by was releaxing enough for me.

Luna's weight on my lap started to make my legs go numb so I softly lifted her off me and placed her on the booth seating so she could stretch out. I exited the booth and decided to see how everyone else was keeping up.

First, I found Rarity and AJ, huddled on a sofa together, kind of hugging each other as they slept. Seeing how adorable they looked, I left them to it and continued my walk.

I then came across Twilight and Spike who were doing exactly the same thing, but on a section of booth seating. I thought about how it was cute that these ponies have a kind of go-to-friend when they feel upset about something.

Looking into another booth, I saw Pinkie and Rainbow sleeping soundly but not together. Pinkie had herself sprawled out over one side on the booth whilst Rainbow was curled up into a corner of the other side of the seating.

Lastly, I came across Fluttershy who was lying down, facing the window. I didn't know if she was asleep or not but I didn't want to wake her, just in case she was. I walked out of the room and began to walk back.

"Owen?" a voice eminated.

I know that voice. I re-entered the previous booth to see Fluttershy looking back towards me with a neutral expression. This was odd for her, she normally tried to shy away from everyone or she'd give a small smile. I walked over to her and sat down next to her.

"Hey. Not sleepy?"

Fluttershy turned away and shook her head in response.

"Yeah, me neither."

We sat in silence, listening to the click-clack of the rails beneath us. The silence was broken by the unmistakeable noise of a sniff, followed by short shallow breaths.

"Fluttershy? Are you alright?"

'Of course she's not alright you idiot! Comfort her already!'

Fair enough, brain. I reached my hand out and placed it on her back, just above her wings.

"EEP!"

I quickly retracted my hand as she spun around to look at me. "I'm sorry! It's just..." That's when she broke me. Her eyes were red and puffy. Tear streams marked her fur as she tried her best to hold it all in. Seeing this pony in such a state really got to me. Even started to make me tear up. I held my arms open and nodded at her. "Come here."

Fluttershy walked over to me slowly and sat in front of me. More tears were falling from her eyes as she fixed her gaze on me. I used my thumb to wipe away her tears and smiled at her. I placed my arms around her shoulders and pulled her close. She didn't resist which told me that she needed this...as much as I did as well.

"Everything's going to be alright." I said, trying my best not to make my voice break. It was tough.

Fluttershy leant into me more and put her hooves around me neck, burying her face into my chest. I stroked the back of her head and whispered to her. "I'm here for you. You don't need to be...scared" That break in my speech, made my voice finally break on the last word spoken. I felt a tear drop from my eye and roll down my cheek.

Truth be told, I was scared. Terrified of what could happen, terrified of what caused this and terrified of what could happen to my friends. I'd never admit it to them - I need to be strong for them.

Fluttershy and I remained like that for a while, not a word being said from her. Everyone was still asleep so we had no risk of being disturbed. In a time like this, you just need to be there for someone, just to hold them, to care for them.

Fluttershy pulled back from our embrace and looked at my face, gasping at what she saw. She used her hoof to wipe away a few tears that had fallen. I smiled at her, which she returned with another hug, more forceful this time. Her sudden addition of force sent me onto my back. She lay across me and nuzzled my chest. Soon enough, she had fallen asleep and was snoring softly.

I wasn't going anywhere.


The train pulled into Canterlot, letting off steam and scaring a few ponies with the sudden hiss. The jolt woke me up and I opened my eyes, to see the gaze of Luna over me. Knowing where I was and who was on my chest, to say I felt nervous would be a massive understatement.

"Hi Luna." I said, darting my eyes around the room.

Luna chuckled and put a hoof on my shoulder. "No need to worry dear. I saw what happened earlier. You really are a true friend to these ponies."

I smile and put my hand on Fluttershy's head, stroking it slowly. "She really needed a hug. I'd never seen her so upset." The gentle stroking caused Fluttershy to wake up and view where she was.

"Oh I..." She noticed she was on my chest with her hooves still around my neck. "EEP! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to fall asleep on you. Please don't be mad..."

"Whoa now, don't worry about it. You needed some comfort and I don't mind you fell asleep on me. I was happy to be a cushion..." I said with sarcasm. This caused both Fluttershy and Luna to giggle. "How long till Canterlot?"

"See for yourself." Luna replied. I got up and looked out of the window.

"Ah...good."

The three of us walked out of the booth and met up with the others. Disembarking the train, the city's residents were in panic mode, just like Ponyville. Even some of the Royal guards were having a meltdown.

"We need to go to the castle. Let's go!" Twilight ordered, running off in the direction of the castle. We all followed suit, trying not to crash into any of the plentiful plethora of pretentious panicking ponies.

Soon enough, we reached the castle doors and were met by two guards, who immediately parted when they saw Luna. Running through the castle, we came across the throne room with it's doors closed. The guards wouldn't budge.

"Sorry but the Princess is meeting with the Canterlot High Council, adressing the current situation. Not to be disturbed. Not even by you, Princess." a guard said with a drone.

I decided to take the initiative. "Look here. We have travelled five hours by train to talk with the Princess about the current situtation. With me here are the Elements of Harmony and Princess Luna. We have information that the Princess will need as we know what is going on. Now, are you going to let us in or am I going to have to scream the door down, hmm?"

The guards looked at each other and nodded. "Very well. Please enter." The guards knocked and pushed with all of their might to open the doors. They swung open with a great groan and we all entered, minus the two guards who pulled the doors shut again.

Looking ahead, I saw no High Council. Just Celestia sitting on her throne, hastily sorting through papers. She looked up from her sorting to see the nine of us approaching. She arose from her throne.

"It is good to see you all. I'm glad to see that you got here safely." she said calmly.

"Just about. Save for the few hundred ponies who are literally losing their minds at the moment." I reply.

"Indeed. I must thank you all for coming so quickly."

Luna stepped forward and held her head high. "Sister, we know that what is causing this problem. It is what we feared the most." Celestia sighed and hung her head and sighed.

"So it is true. I figured it out this morning but to hear it from you as well confirms it. I have never experienced this before so I do not know what we can do."

"Come on Princess! There must be something!" Twilight shouted out.

Celestia pondered her thoughts and came up with something. "Gather round my little ponies...and human." I chuckled. "We, the ten of us, will do our best to come up with the solution!"



An hour we sat there. An hour we spent debating many possible solutions to the dilemma, only to be thwarted by a point of fact or something completely oblivious.

The conversation went onto spells and I asked whether a spell had caused this. Celestia was quick to explain.

"The only known spells for draining magic permanently were used long before Luna and I were born. In the archives, I remember reading a book that explained that it was used as a method of torture." Gasps were heard all around. "I know it is hard to hear but it probably didn't happen. The book explains that these spells were mythical and could have been fictional but it does go onto explain how they worked. A simple version - just enough to get the idea but nowhere near enough information to use said spell."

"How could somepony have created a spell like that? And for torture no less!" Twilight exclaimed.

"Sounds pretty horrific to me." I added.

"Um...excuse me..."

"As I said, the spell was deemed to be fictional." Celestia said.

"Could it be Discord again?" Rarity asked.

"No way! He's sealed in stone!" Rainbow quipped.

"Indeed he is. There is no possible way he can escape from the prison." Celestia confirmed.

"Pardon me...excuse me..."

"What about the Elements? Can they fix this?" Applejack asked.

"The Elements are sealed behind a magically protected barrier. We cannot even get to them." Luna stated.

"Can you still summon their power? Even if they are unreachable?" Spike asked.

"Unfortunately not. We need to be physically touching them to unlock their power." Twilight informed.

"EXCUSE ME!"

We all turned to look at the source of the loud noise. Fluttershy quickly hid behind her mane, to cover her face. "I'm sorry for yelling everypony but...you said there were ten of us, yes?"

"Yeah so?" I said.

"So...why are there eleven?" she meekly said.

All of us gave her puzzled looks before something caught our attention.

*AHEM*

We all looked towards the throne room door to see a cloaked pony standing there, laughing softly.

"Hmmhmmhmm...it's about time you noticed me."

20. Time Is Of The Essence (Part 2)

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"Hmmhmmhmm...it's about time you noticed me."

The cloaked pony lifted it's head and chuckled, walking forward ever so slowly.

"I'm surprised I was not noticed sooner."

Celestia rose to her hooves and gave a stern stare to the unknown approaching pony. "How did you get in here? My guards should have been protecting the entrance."

The cloaked pony stopped in his tracks, a good thirty feet away from the group of us, and chuckled again. "Something troubling you Princess? Nothing new there..."

Luna rose to her hooves and stomped one of them. "Answer her question!" she bellowed.

"Oh. The Princess of the night, nice to meet you as well. How was your trip to the moon?" he asked in a mocking tone.

I glanced at Luna whose face showed nothing but anger. "I said...answer her question." she said, her voice being ice cold.

"Simple really. Teleportation. What else?"

"How? How did you do it when there's no magic?" I called out. The hooded pony cocked his head in my direction and gasped.

"Ohhh...the human as well. Oh this is too good, just the right time as well. Tell me, how is the Princess in bed?"

"WHAT?!" I clenched my fist as that question burnt right through me. I was not happy. "Who do you think you are asking those type of questions?"

"Oh give over. From what I know, the Princess could use a good rut. It's been waaay too long, haha."

That sent me over the edge. Directed at me, it would have been fine. But not to the woman I love. I sprung forward and charged the offending pony.

"Take back what you said!" I shouted at him, raising my fist back. "You have no right to--"

A sparkle of light eminated from within his hood and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I tried to move but not a single muscle would budge.

"What is this?!" I barked at him.

"Simple freezing spell." he stated matter-of-factly.

The sound of approaching hooves filled my ears. I could hear a group of ponies approaching, fast.

"Stop this right now!" I heard Luna shout. They reached where I was before another glimmer of light shone and the group was frozen in place, just like me.

"Tsk. Pathetic really."

"Let us down!" Rainbow ordered him. Hearing that from Rainbow made me chuckle internally, regardless of the anger I was emitting. Rainbow asking to be put on the ground? Never heard of!

"How are you doing this? There is a problem with magic! Nopony can use it!" Twilight stated.

The cloaked pony nodded. "Indeed there is. You can blame your precious Princess Celestia for that. No magic at all...apart from ME!"

"Celestia? Why?" I asked. 'His voice sounds familiar...'

The pony walked over to where Celestia was frozen and looked up at her face. "You. It's your fault this is happening. You never helped."

"Helped? With what?" Celestia asked.

The pony got right in her face. "Don't act like you don't know! Hearth's Warming Eve, 1987! The night you made my life worthless."

"I'm sorry but...I don't know what you mean." she apologetically said.

'Where do I know that voice?'

"OI!" The hooded pony looked my way. "Why don't you tell us who you are?" I ordered him.

"Indeed. Know your enemy." The hooded pony stepped back from Celestia and walked towards me, laughing softly. "I know you recognise my voice. It's quite funny really, all this time I've been right under your nose."

"Under my nose? I recognise your voice but..." I trailed off, with a familiar night's memory returning to me.


The shift tonight was moderate. End of the week kind of thing so most ponies were here just to have a drink. Once again, ****** was a bit frowny but he actually engaged in conversation this time. He mentioned he 'can't take this much more' and he needed to make a decision.


And another...


From Monday to Wednesday afternoon, I worked on the farm to help out as their problems were still persisting and no-one had figured out why. Applejack thought it could be a health issue but I said they look perfectly healthy which she agreed to.

Wednesday night's shift was another quiet one. The first thing I did was to see if ****** was back to normal, which he was...kind of. I approached him and asked him how he was, to which he answered that he was great. He always kept a rather forced smile on all the time which freaked me out a bit.


And then it hit me. Realisation. "I really hope it isn't you under there--"

Before I could finish, the pony beat me to it. He uncovered himself and threw the cloak off to the side. I looked on in shock as my fears were confirmed.

"Minute Hand." I said in a low tone of voice.

"The one and only!" he declared.

"Are you the one responsible for all of this? The magic problems?" Celestia shouted out.

"OHHH! At last! The most powerful pony in all of Equestria and her idiotic cohorts finally figure it out! Congratulations to you all." Sarcasm to to the nth degree.

"How can you even use magic? You're an earth pony!" Rainbow calls out.

A glow emitted from under Minute's mane, which covered his forehead. His 'mane' became etheral as it literally faded away, to reveal a bald head and a rather noticeable horn.

My patience was wearing thin. "Alright! What the hell have you done!" Minute all but laughed at my statement, sitting himself down on the floor. "MINUTE! TELL US WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" I bellowed at him.

"Owen, please, you're scaring me..." a extremely frightened Fluttershy whispered from next to me.

"Yes Owen, don't scare the most fearless pony in all of Equestria." Minute said before laughing again. "Oh this is too funny. OK, you want facts?" Minute walked up to me and put his face close to mine. "I'll give you facts."

"The whole of Equestria is going to change. Magic as you know it, will cease to be with myself being the only user in existence. All because of that stupid bitch there!" he shouted, signalling towards Celestia.

I tried to swing for him...no luck. All of us started to defend Celestia by shouting and screaming at Minute. Minute was clearly getting agitated and his horn shone, causing us all to stop speaking simultaneously. Our mouths were now frozen in place. The only noises we could make were quiet grunts.

"That's better. All because of your precious Princess, On one night in 1987, she performed an act which crippled my entire family and ruined our lives. The day that happened, I didn't love the Princess anymore. I hated her. I LOATHED HER!"

Minute started pacing back and forth. "So I decided that with this newfound hatred, I would rise against the Princess, to destroy her reputation, to ruin HER life as she did mine. Now that time has come."

His horn shone again to unreveal one mouth - mine. "Time to do what?"

"I studied the Princess. How she ruled Equestria, how she dealt with her subjects. It's wrong. It's all wrong. Her day court proves it's just a waste of time. Granting ponies everything they need? Oh sure, why not. Get made a fool for by every pony in Equestria. That's when I decided that somepony else could do a better job. Somepony like...me."

"You?! How would you fare better than Celestia and Luna?" I asked.

"Very easily! I'd treat everypony equally, regardless of race, magic ability and gender."

"So all of this is down to some racial issue you have?"

Minute snapped his head in my direction and scowled. "Racial issue? Can't you see that unicorns are treated better than pegasi and earth ponies? That they get all the praise for being able to use magic?! I don't like that!"

"What the hell are you on about? Everyone is treated equally regardless of race!" I stated.

"Clearly the Princess is treating you like royalty, you can't see through the lies. With me ruling the land, I will see that everypony is the same! That's why I got rid of magic!"

Strange how that question skipped me by. "How? There's no way you could have done it by yourself."

Minute's horn shone again and a chair was summoned out of thin air and placed behind him, which he placed himself on. "When I was a young colt, I discovered a book. A dusty old tome. It listed hundreds of spells that I was intrigued by. Being a child, all of the spells seemed like a gold-mine to me. Especially one of them - time travel."

I gasped at the revelation. "Time travel? You mean to travel throughout history right?"

Minute shook his head in a 'of course, you idiot' way and then looked over to Twilight. "Oh, Element of Magic. You're going to have fun with time travel. Give it a while." Twilight's eyes widened. "Hmm. That's right. Time travel. Throughout my childhood years, I learnt the spell and managed to get it working. It only went back or forward a week so it was pretty useless."

"It wasn't until that night with Celestia that I started researching it more. Over time, I perfected it and was able to travel to many different time periods and along with the teleportation spell, I could travel anywhere, anywhen. The past, the future, everywhere. One time, I travelled back further than I had ever been and came across a unicorn tribe, living it what is now Las Pegasus. The ponies there were...well, let's just say they're not your average pony. They lived to torture. They believed that inflicting pain on another pony was deemed correct and righteous."

"During my time there, I was introduced into their tribe, the Unicronos. They taught me how to torture ponies with spells and it...felt...good!"

"You're sick!" I shouted at him.

"Maybe so, but not as bad as them!" he bellowed back in anger. Seems I hit a nerve. "They eventually gave me a book to learn from, which I did. And one of those spells..." Minute rose from his seat and leant towards my ear. "...nullifies all magic in a pony."

"Mmmfhmm!" a muffled voice shouts. Minute shone his horn and another mouth was unzipped. "That's not possible! Those books were lost long ago!" Celestia shouts to us.

"And why were they lost?" Minute looks at me, then at Celestia. "BECAUSE I TOOK THEM!" MInute walked back slowly towards his seat and sat back down. His horn shone again and Celestia's mouth was shut again. Still mine remained open.

"Then what?" I asked.

"I studied the spells. Especially the nullifying spell." He chuckled. "Now here's the funny part. You needed ingredients for this spell which were quite horrific. One was a unicorn horn!"

All of us gapsed at his revelation. "They killed unicorns for a spell?"

"Of course not you fool. They just removed the horn. It divides the unicorns brainpower by half but they live like earth ponies for the rest of their life. The second ingredient was...you're gonna love this. The second ingredient was as follows - flesh from a creature, not of this world."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"Don't you get it? YOU, are not the first alien in Equestria! And do you know why there aren't anymore of you? Because we found a use for you!"

My mouth hung open in shock.

"I don't know if it was human or not but it was not of this world. It was a kind of crab-like creature that stood on two legs. The tiniest bit of flesh and the tiniest chunk of unicorn horn was all that was needed for the spell to work...and work it did!"

"You're a sick freak!" I shouted at him.

Minute rose from his seat and raised his hoof at me, swiping me across the face. "Don't you call me a freak! I..." Minute turned away and sighed heavily. He then turned back round and faced me with tears in his eyes. "You don't know what I did to make this spell work! I...the stuff I did..." he trailed off at the end. His voice was becoming quiet.

"What did you do?" I asked in a cold tone.

"I needed to test the spell in the current time. So I did what I could. For the unicorn horn I...I used my son."

"Your own son?! How could you do such a thing? You're a monster!"

Another hoof across the face. "SHUT IT! Don't you think I feel guilty enough? I tried to live with my guilt but...I couldn't do it." His voice settled again. "In the end I created a life around the lie. My son was only weeks old when I took his horn so he never remembered. I raised him as an earth pony and loved him. But my guilt got the best of me and I took it out on him, saying he was a mistake. He left me in the end and I've never seen him since..."

The cogs in my brain began to spin. "Wait a minute..."


Time sighed heavily before beginning. "I was born to unicorn parents and as you can see, I'm an earth pony. My father always despised me for not being a unicorn and hated my mother because he thought she cheated on him. Eventually my mother left and my father was left to raise me on his own. I don't remember much from my early childhood except the shouting and abuse my father gave me."

I put my hand on his shoulder as comfort.

"As I got older, my father began to change. His behaviour would switch from friendly to erratic in a matter of seconds for no reason. Eventually I got old enough and left my home in search of somewhere new. Before I left though, I asked him why he was angry all the time. He told me it was the Princess' fault."


"Time Turner! He's your son!"

Minute turned to me and stared in surprise. "How did you know that?"

"He told me. He said you were crazy and now I BELIEVE HIM EVEN MORE! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!" I screamed at him.

Minute said nothing as he just sat there and cried silently.

"Wait...what about the second ingredient? The 'flesh from a creature, not of this world'?" I asked.

Minute perked up and looked at me with a demonic grin. "Ohhh Owen. This is where it gets interesting. I tried going back in time to take some of the crab's flesh but I couldn't travel to that time period anymore. So I went to the only other place I could think of."

"Do you know why I worked at the club as a bouncer?" I shook my head. "It was because of you. I travelled through time looking for another alien before I came across you one night. There you were, lying in that hospital bed, all battered and bruised. I had a good mind to take you there and then but your purple friend here interrupted me."

"So I studied you for the first week you were here. You made friends with mostly everypony in Ponyville so I realised I couldn't just take you under the eyes of so many ponies. I realised what I needed to do. I needed to get you to know me and treat me as a friend. To gain your trust. So when you applied for a job working with that annoying musician, I went back in time and applied three months prior. Made it seems like I was a long serving staff member. And it worked."

Minute paced back and forth, talking more and more, with hatred and venom mixing into his tone. "That day you came in, oh how great that was. Putting you through those exercises, being...ugh...friendly to you. I hated it. Hated every second. But I persevered because you were my ultimate aim. Remember those nights were I was being odd and evasive? I was so close to just taking my prize there and then. But I realised that it would raise suspicion. So I waited. Waited and waited."

"Are you getting somewhere with this?" I asked in humour. One more swift hoof across the face told me he didn't appreciate that. Oh well.

"Five years passed. Five fucking years!" The rest of the group gave muffled gasps at his language. His voice was full of hatred. "All that time working with you was hell. You were so delusional, believing me to be your best friend. Pfft."

"So?"

Minute laughed under his breath. "SO...five years into the future, I gave you an offer. You accepted it."

"What, I gave myself to you? Why the hell would I do that?" I asked.

"Why don't you ask yourself that?" Minute spat back. He shone his horn again and a light eminated from next to him with a small hum. Before long, the light ceased and a large thump was heard. A lump of furry mess was where the light once was.

"It's a pile of fur." I stated.

"Rise...Owen."

"Wh-what?"

The mass of fur began to rise upwards. The mass raised higher and higher until it was at least six foot high. It looked like--

"The creature!"

"Creature? This is no creature!" His horn shone again and the fur evaporated, leaving the creature exposed. Collective gasps were heard, mine included. "This--" He levitated the creature so it was face to face with me. "--IS YOU!"

The creature was indeed me. Behind the rough facial expression and tatty wears, I could see myself. I looked like hell. Seeing myself in such a state made me crack. My eyes began to water as I looked upon the dishevelled state of my future self.

"How...why...but..." I managed to stutter out.

"Five years from now, I give you an offer. The offer was this. Give yourself to me to save your loved one's life." Minute explained.

That brought my attention back. He was going to try and kill Luna. "You touch one hair on her and I'll--"

Minute's horn shone again and my mouth was resealed. "Enough of you voice, goodness it's irritating. Now, you may have seen yourself crop up from time to time. I gave him a bit of my power so he could time travel. Nothing serious, just to mess with ponies. Also, have you seen this!"

Minute levitated the tatty rags that adorned my left shoulder which revealed a bloody stump. I wanted to puke so much but my mouth wouldn't allow it.

"Flesh from another creature? Have a guess what I did!" Minute un-summoned my future self and he disappeared in a flash. "The spell only needed a tiny amount, so I took a finger at first. Then I needed a test subject. I tried to find the most gullible pony in the whole of Equestria." Minute looked over to Celestia. "Your nephew, Blueblood. He was the test subject."

I mouth an un-audible 'WHAT?' through my sealed lips which got MInute's attention. "I first tricked him into arranging a pony to try to kill you. I figured that your past self had no further use so I told Blueblood that you had fallen in love with Luna and made him angry about it. A small thought-control spell may have altered his anger to multiply - thank you very much tome of wonder!"

"Little did he know that I used the nullifying spell on him as well without him noticing. Then he hired that ridiculous excuse for a guard to try to kill you. Sharp Blade I think it was. After his failed attempt, you had him arrested then you confronted Blueblood. Why do you think Blueblood didn't fight back after you confronted him?" I shook my head in confirmation. "That's right, he couldn't. He never uses his hooves so he uses magic...if he had any at the time!"

"That was the test over and done with. So I went onto something bigger. Reading the tome again, I learnt that the more flesh and horn you use, the bigger the radius of the nullification would be. But with a bigger radius, it takes time to work. Approximately a month. And something even better? With a large scale nullifcation spell, the caster would be immune from it's effects!"

Minute's horn unsealed my lips once again. "So that was it then huh? All those problems with Ponyville - the pegasi crashing, magical spells not working and earth ponies losing their strength - that was your bloody spell working?"

Minute chuckled again. "Absolutely. Now that magic has been eradicated across all of Equestria, I will rule this kingdom as I see fit, being the only magic user in existence! HAHAHA!" he bellowed with a manical laughter at the end.

Minute's horn shone again and we were all released from our freezing spell and our lips were unsealed. I stood up and gave Minute a staredown.

"Was it worth it? Using your own son and an alien visitor as tools?" I shouted at him.

"More than you could ever imagine." Minute charged his horn with an orange glow and a large tome was summoned, which landed on the floor with a thud. "Just to be on the safe side." He blasted the book with his spell - a fire spell. The book exploded into thousands of pieces, all of them disentegrating into ash. "Now you can't stop me." he said with a menacing glare.

The group of us stood firm and stared him down. I stepped forward. "We won't stand for this you monster!"

Minute stiffled a laugh and looked at me with a grin. "No, you won't. Why don't you relax and LIE DOWN!"

All I saw was a bright yellow light which struck me in the chest, sending me flying. I felt myself slam against a wall and fall to the floor before fading into unconsciousness.

21. Time Is Of The Essence (Part 3)

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Entry 1

I don't know what happened. The last thing I saw was a flash of light and then feeling a lot of pain. I woke up about an hour ago in a rank, depressing cell, with nothing but the clothes on my back and a notebook with a quill and ink. I guess Minute didn't want us around. I tried banging on the steel door and shouting for anyone's attention. It never came.

As I realised I was alone, I decided to keep a track of my thoughts in this notebook. I guess that's why it was left here. I pray for my friends safety. Sitting alone in this cubic prison, a lit sconce is my only source of light. It dimly lights the area around me - four walls made of stone, no window, a large steel door, a hole in the floor (toilet probably) and a bundle of cloth. I guess that's where I'm supposed to sleep.

I still can't wrap my head around it. Why would Minute want all of this? Surely there must be some flaw in his logic. I remember him mentioning that Celestia had ruined his life but this is way too far for a bit of revenge, right? I feel that if we stop him when we stop him, he's gonna get punished to the nth degree. Normally I don't think of these thoughts but...I hope the death penalty is legal in this world.


Entry 2

It's cold. The heat of the torch isn't remotely close to keeping someone warm. Some weird-ass magic fire, I bet.

I keep thinking about my friends. Where are they? Are they alright? I do hope they are safe and un-harmed.

I don't know how to keep track of time in here. A lack of a window to the outside world denies me the knowledge of knowing if it's night or day. Come to think of it, how are the sun and moon going to be raised and lowered? Celestia and Luna can't do it because of no magic...surely Minute can't do it?

Wherever you are my friends...I wish you all the best.


Entry 3

The door opened a while ago. An armor clad pony walked in with a bowl of...something in his mouth and set it on the floor before walking back out. All the time he had this smug little grin on his face. God I wanted to hit him.

Whatever was in this bowl was not fresh, no way in hell. It was a kind of green soup with lumps of vegetables in it. I'm all for veggie soup but this smelt awful. I'm not touching that abomonation.

Why was the guard smiling? Has he/she pledged their allegiance to Minute already?! Yeah, sure, great soldiers here. The moment their ruler falls, they follow another. They make me sick.

I'm quite tired so I'll try and sleep.


Entry 4

I dreamt. Dreamt of my friends. I could see them...crying. I tried to rush to them to comfort them but...I couldn't. Something held me back, dragging me further away from them. I need to help, I NEED TO SAVE THEM!

I wonder how long I've been here. I've slept 4 times but...it may have not even been the night.


Entry 5

I'LL KILL HIM! THE MOMENT I ESCAPE, HIS LIFE IS OVER!

Oh god...why...

I got a visit from the big man pony himself. Minute entered my cubic slice of hell and just stood there staring at me. He started rambling on about how well things were going for him. According to him, the citizens are happier and they are used to the weather controlling itself. He also said that the creatures from the Everfree have left the forest and started roaming the lands. Manticores, timeberwolves and even a hydra were seen. He's destroying this world!

I asked how long I'd been here. Turns out I've been in this place for two weeks. Two weeks unconscious and one day awake. Why is he keeping me alive?

I then asked where my friends were. He summoned a newspaper and threw it at my feet before leaving the cell, sniggering quietly. What can be so funny?

'EQUESTRIA MOURNS ROYAL PRINCESSES AND ELEMENTS OF HARMONY'


Entry 6

I don't know why I'm still writing this shit. My life has been torn apart. My friends killed. My lover...the same.

I can't do this anymore...


Entry 7

Well, I can't kill myself. That stupid prick used a healing spell on me. I tried to smash my head against the wall, just to end this nightmare once and for all. At least I could join my friends...

Why the hell am I being kept alive?

An apple was summoned to my cell earlier. I can't. I just can't.


Entry 8

It's been a while. I lost the will to do anything after my attempted suicide. I just curled into a ball at plonked myself in the corner of the cell, hoping I could starve myself. No chance.

Three weeks he told me. Three weeks he's being using spells to keep me healthy. I just don't get it. Another thing - I could really do with a shave - this beard and moustache is driving me mad.

Another apple was summoned to me. That fucker's got a sick sense of humour.


Entry 9

It's my fault. All of this. If I wasn't so stupid and naive, I would have noticed something was wrong and I could have fixed it. Rainbow...

Damn it.

Rainbow crashing after we had the talk. That was the start of it. Four weeks it took me to notice and when did it hit me? Right when everything went wrong. Right when the shit hit the fan.

I suppose I found out something though. I gave my life to save Luna five years from now. At least we would have lasted that long. Better then any relationship I've ever had.

That doesn't matter anymore. All I want is my friends back.


Entry 10

Woken up by a water balloon. Yeah, real mature. Minute just stood there, cackling away. Suppose I should thank him - first wash I've had in over a month.

He told me that I'm being taken outside tomorrow to work. Work? Doing what? What do I fucking look like - a slave?

I guess that's true right now.


Entry 11

DID I MENTION HOW MUCH I HATE MAGIC NOW?!

I tried to make a run for it. Minute arrived about ten minutes after I woke up. He ordered me to walk out of the cell and up some stairs. I was being escorted by a couple of guards who were carrying spears with their mouths.

Going up the stairs was my chance. I got two steps ahead then kicked back with my leg, hitting Minute on the nose. God that felt good. I ran. Ran as fast as I could. I got to an archway, which led to the throne room. I ran inside and glanced at the room. It was a state. The windows were smashed. The floor was filthy. The tapestry was torn and burnt. There were even blood splat stains on the walls. This nutjob's gone fucking insane.

I glanced too long. I froze mid-step and was levitated by the betraying arsehole. He said nothing as he levitated me all the way back to my cell and chucked me inside. He said that he was seriously considering releasing me.

Damn it.


Entry 12

This is gonna be my last entry. A guard came in earlier to say that Minute is taking me somewhere tomorrow and I'm never coming back here again.

Releasing me? If so, then what? Live in a world of constant day, surrounded by citizens offering their sympathy to me for the rest of my life?

I don't want to be released. To be perfectly honest, I don't even want to live anymore. I've lost everything and it's all down to my mistakes.

I don't know if you read this Minute, but if you do, when you take me away tomorrow, just do one thing. Do the right thing.


The door swung open to reveal my hoping-executioner. He still had that god-awful smug grin on his face. His horn glowed and a shackle was put around my neck and my legs.

"Time to go. You are needed." Minute said.

I nodded and slowly walked out behind him. I was led onto the same route as before - up the stairs and through the throne room and then out of it.

Before long, I noticed this route. "Where are you taking me?"

Minute said nothing and continued his walk with me following behind. We eventually came across a familiar sight. The exit.

"I'm giving you another chance. You can work for me and do exactly as I say or you can rot in that cell for the rest of your life." he said to me.

I thought about this for a second. Did I really want to go back to that cell? Or should I do a dastardly fiend's demands? Ugh, this sounds way too textbook.

"I'll do your work." I replied, looking down at the floor.

"Good answer. Follow me."

He opened the door with his magic and the intense sunlight blinded me temporarily. Being holed up underground and excluded from natural light for near two months has made sunlight harmful to my eyes.

After a while, I began to regain my focus. I really wish I hadn't. In front of me was Canterlot. It looked like a complete and utter shambles. The streets were bare, litter strewn everywhere, houses collapsed. It looked like it had been hit by a hurricane.

"You call this improvement?! What happened up here?" I asked Minute.

"Oh, so one city failed to adjust. So what. Plenty of other places are doing just fine. Canterlot failed to adjust due to the high population of unicorns. With magic failing, the townsponies struggled with daily life. Business failed and closed, jobs were lost. This is the only city that has lost out. I hear your hometown Ponyville is doing quite well."

"Really. What makes you so damn sure?"

"If you didn't notice, the major population of Ponyville was earth ponies. The only aspect in their life that has changed is the weather and the sunlight. It's a shame really, I miss the night sky."

I shook my head and continued observing the ruins of Canterlot. A once vibrant and beautiful city, reduced to nothing. It was dead quiet.

Before long, I heard wings flapping. A pair of flying creatures landed side by side me and dug their claws into the ground. I immediately cowered and covered my head with my hands.

"Oh get up. I summoned these griffons here to guard you to your workplace."

"Griffons?"

I looked up to see said mythological creature standing right beside me. The body of a lion with the head and claws of an eagle. Even in this depressing time, they looked stunning. Graceful creatures.

"Right. Just in case I break out of these shackles with my mighty human strength" I sarcastically quipped.

That resulted with a punch to the gut from one of the griffons. Hunched over, Minute stood over me. "You will speak, only when spoken to. Is that clear?"

All I could do was nod. My head was forced up by Minute's levitation. "Is. That. Clear?"

"Yes."

I groggily got back up and we continued our walk. We were circling around the castle, leading towards the mountainous region that was Canterlot was situated on. The path led uphill at a steep angle and I struggled to walk up. The rocky outcrops kept obstructing my feet causing me to trip on several occasions.

We reached a high altitude and I looked back over the land. As before, Canterlot looked terrible. But further on, I could see Ponyville in the distance. The town looked like normal. I could even see the apple orchards which were vibrant in colours. Maybe Minute was telling the truth. Why did I care...it's not like anyone I know and love lives there anymore.


We eventually reach the top of the mountain, to a flat surface. It was circular in shape, kind of, and was about one hundred feet in diameter. In the middle of the circular plain, was a statue, surrounded by a floor of soft dirt. A giant statue depicting...oh great. He loves himself way too much doesn't he?

Minute walked up to me and stood next to me. "What do you think? I think it's rather stunning if I must say."

"How did you get this built in six weeks?" I asked

Another punch to the gut by the griffon. Minute chuckled. "That's not the answer I was looking for. But if you must know, it was built by some ponies that you may know. In fact, it's being built right now."

What? "What do you mean? It's finished."

Minute walked to the statue and rested his hoof upon it. The griffons nudge me to walk to the statue. Even closer, it looked bigger. At least twenty feet high. Minute took my hand in his hoof and his horn glowed and the world around us began to glow with it. The ground became distorted as it started to wobble and shake. I looked at Minute who had his eyes closed. The light was too bright for me once again and I shielded my eyes with my hands. The sound of rhythmic tapping began to sound, eventually growing into loud thuds.

The light subsided and I unshielded my eyes. Minute motioned for me to look up. The statue was incomplete. It was only three feet tall at the moment.

"How? It was finished a moment ago!"

"OWEN?!"

Those voices.. It couldn't be. I turned around to see a wonderful, albiet horrible sight. There they were, in all of their glory.

"GIRLS!" I shouted as I tried to run towards them. The shackles on my leg tripped me again and I fell flat to the floor. I was levitated up by Minute who also removed my leg shackles. I ran up to the closest pony, Celestia, and basically tackled her in a giant hug. "You're alive! You're all alive!"

"So are you!" Celestia responded with her own hug.

The hug broke and I could see that everyone else had surrounded us. I hugged each one of them individually before the reality hit me. They looked awful. All of their coats and manes were filthy and tattered. Their bodies looked like they had just run twenty five miles through a sea of dirt. They each had a metallic neck collar on, which was attached to a large rotary device near the statue. They were chained up. Even in their states, I couldn't be happier to see them. Even if Minute told me they were...

"YOU!" I shouted as I turned around to face Minute, who was now laughing on the floor. I chose not to approach as I could risk being hurt again. "YOU SICK FREAK! WHY DID YOU TELL ME THEY WERE DEAD?!"

Minute recovered from his laughing fit and stood upright. "That was a hoot! I was trying to demoralise you, trying to destroy your soul. I figured you had no use to me anymore so I thought I could try and destroy you in the toughest way possible. It worked...until now." His horn glowed again and a collar was summoned around my neck. "You will now work along with these ponies to build the statue."

"Why? It was finished a moment ago!" I retorted.

"Did you not see the spell I conjured? I have placed this entire area a few years out of sync with the rest of the world. Nopony can see it and nopony can enter or leave it. You see here?" Minute pointed towards a white glowing portal. "This is the gateway back to the current time. I'll come back in the future to inspect the work...or should it be the past?" he said, laughing at the end. MInute exited through the portal which closed afterwards.

I thought about this for a few seconds. 'Sounds a bit Doctor Who-ish to me.'

"Owen, I'm so sorry for what he did to you." a voice spoke up.

I turned to see Luna approaching me with a tearful disposition. Seeing her again made me choke up. I struggled to hold back sobs as I embraced her in a tight squeeze, nuzzling her shoulder with my cheek. We broke the embrace and sat down as did the rest of the group.

"I can't believe you're all alive. I seriously thought you were dead."

"So did we. When Minute hit you with that spell, he checked your body and said there was no pulse." Twilight answered.

"Damn, I remember that spell. That hurt!"

"So how long were you kept prisoner for?" Spike asked.

"I think it was about six weeks. It was hell."

"Didn't you try and escape?" Rainbow asked.

"Don't you think I tried that?!" That shocked the group as they all recoiled at the volume of my voice. "I'm sorry, I really am. It's just these past weeks have been the worst time of my life." Fluttershy leant over to me and placed a hoof on my lap which I covered with my hand, offering her a smile. "So how long have you guys been here?"

"Long enough. The sun and moon still rise and set here. We have been here for over two weeks." Celestia answered.

"Damn. And he wanted you to build this statue?" I said, pointing back towards the unfinished statue.

"Yes. That ruffian is forcing us to build a monument of himself. Quite egocentric if you ask me." Rarity said. She's still got her ladylike attitude - that's amazing.

"I've seen the finished product. Not that this is a good thing but it looks really good."

"We have to. Everything has to be perfect. Ah swear, the slightest chip here and he goes crazy!" AJ retorts.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying each other's company. Even in this depressing situation, we can still find solace within each other. Eventually I had enough and tried to start a conversation.

"Just wondering, have any of you thought about how we can escape this place?" I asked.

"Duh. We tried thinking of a way out but that big meanie-pants trapped us here. He's really sneaky." Pinkie answered. She's still got her attitude as well. I love it.

"I know, I know. There must be a way." I got up and walked over to the edge of the circular area. Feeling the collar, I felt the line it was attached to. Like a kind of retractable lead, like a dog lead. I reached my hand out, only to touch a flat surface, like a wall. Walking around, I found no gaps. Not one. "OK, no way out this way. The only way we can leave is through that portal right?"

"Yes. But how do we get through it without Minute stopping us?" Twilight asks.

I itch my neck as the collar is annoying the skin. Wait...

"The collar! Let's look at this thing." We all walked over to the rotary device which our collar chains were hooked up to. "Any idea what material this is?"

Celestia looked over it. "This is a form of iron. A weak one at that. Nowhere near as strong as the iron in these supports." Celestia pointed towards the circular iron disks, which were about two foot in diameter. Her face then lit up.

"What is it?" I asked

"This certain type of iron is weak against magic! A strong enough spell will break through it!" she replied.

This brought a smile to everyone's faces. I looked over the device again and located where our lines were hooked up. "Oh he is not bright. Look here." They all peered in and 'ahhh'ed' at what I was pointing at. "All of the hooks on one point. That makes it easier."

"So how are we gonna get that varmint to shoot a spell at it?" AJ wondered.

I thought back to my time with Minute and came to a solution. I ran over and picked up one of the disks. Slightly heavy but easy to carry. "From what I have seen, he only uses magic to harm when he gets angry. If I can agitate him enough and kind of move towards this disk, maybe it'll deflect off this iron and onto the device!"

"If YOU can agitate him?" Luna asked with worry.

"Yes, me. It's my responsbility. It's my fault this happened and I'm taking the risks for it."

Luna nodded sadly and nuzzled me affectionately. "If you say so."

"OK, so I'll agitate him when he comes through the portal. He'll hit the device and then..." I face-palmed at a thought. "Damn it. He can use levitation can't he. He can stop us running."

"I'll stop his magic. I know a way." Celestia offered.

"Are you sure? He could...kill..." I tried to say.

"I am sure Owen. Perfectly. The magic needed to harm creates smoke. I can use that against him." she replied with a stern gaze.

"Alright then." I turned to face the rest of the group. "Until then, we're gonna have to work on this statue. Make it look like we're working properly, as per his wishes."


The lot of us were busy at work. We each had a set of tools to use. Twilight, Rarity, AJ and Pinkie were using their mouths. Celestia, Luna, Rainbow and Fluttershy were using their wings. After some explanation, it turns out they can still move their wings to use as hands but not to fly.

Not soon after, a familiar eerie glow began to emit from near the statue. Minute soona arrived through it and marvelled at how his statue was coming along. "Ahh...very good, very good." He began to approach Luna, who was chiseling some stone. "And how are you my dear?" he said, getting very close to her face.

"Get away from her!" I shouted. Step one was in effect.

"Excuse me?" Minute said, walking over to me. I slowly made my way to the locking device and stood next to it, picking up the iron disk. I hoped Minute didn't catch on. "Who are you to order me around? I am the ruler of Equestria!" he said in a slightly raised tone.

"Ruler of Equestria? What have you done since you took over? Destroyed Canterlot and ruined ponies lives. Yeah, great ruler in my eyes." I said to him. Minutes eye twitched at my statement. Getting there.

"How dare you talk to me like that! After everything I did for you!"

Now, I was seriously confused. "Everything you did for me?!"

"I fed you, I gave you shelter. I even gave you that notebook." he replied.

"And that's enough?! You tricked me into believing my friends were dead! You traumatised me beyond belief and now you say you helped me? What a load of shit!" Minutes eyes were flaring. He lowered his head towards me. He was getting close. "You helped me as much as you helped you son." I said with an ice cold tone.

"GRRRAAHHH!" Minute screamed as his horn glowed and shot out a spell at speed, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it. I quickly lifted the disk and tilted it downwards towards the locking device. The spell rebounded off the disk with tremendous force, knocking me back, but it did hit the device which shattered upon impact. The lines on our collars retracted into the device and we were free. I saw Celestia run through the smoke and heard an impact.

The smoke cleared to reveal Celestia shoving and burying Minute's head into the soft ground, using her entire body weight. His entire head was submerged in the soil. "Quickly! A unicorn can not use magic when the horn is buried! Quickly, go through the portal!"

The lot of us all ran towards the portal. The Elements quickly ran through, followed by Spike and Luna. I stopped just short of it and looked back towards Celestia with tears in my eyes. "Thank you." I mouthed to which she nodded. I entered the portal and hoped that our plan had worked.


Exiting the portal, we were all standing next to the completed statue. We all let out a cheer of joy as we had escaped but Twilight stayed silent.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Look." She tried to use her magic. "It's still not working. Something's not right."

Rainbow tried flying but she fell to the ground. I looked out over the land, everything was the same. Nothing had changed.

"What's going on?" I wondered.

'Run my little ponies, run! I can't do this much longer!'

"Celestia!" Luna cried, rushing back towards the portal. I grabbed her, just short of the glowing gateway.

"No! If you go back, you'll never return! I know it's hard but please don't go back!"

Luna relented and held back, hanging her head.

'He's going to get back!"

"We've got to go!" I shouted. "We can't go down as ther are griffons everywhere. We have to go up!"

"But we don't know where that way goes!" Rainbow shouted back.

"Got any better ideas? There's only one path that way. It must lead somewhere!"

We all began to run along the mountanious path. It was like a reverse ridge - the path was inbetween two raised walls. None of us could see what was ahead but it was the only way to go.

We ran and ran. Never looking back. Before long, we came to an opening and came out onto a ledge. Not the best place to be. I looked over the edge of the ledge.

"Whoa! Long way down. No way to get down either."

"So where do we go now?" Twilight asks.

Running along that path, I couldn't see anything else. No turn-offs, no other paths, nothing. The only way back was towards the portal.

"Nowhere. We're stuck." I dejectedly said.

"What? Come on! There must be a way!" Rainbow states.

"Look around you Rainbow! There's nowhere to go! The only way back is towards the portal and we can't go back that way!" I retorted back with volume. The rest of the group solemnly assessed the situation and realised the same. We were stuck with nowhere to go.

"We failed." Pinkie says quietly, her mane all deflated.

I sighed and pulled her close. "I'm sorry."

I fell to the ground onto my backside, leaning back against the rock. I couldn't believe we messes this up. I tried my very best to save these ponies and look what I did. Led them to an early grave. Surely Minute would get back through and surely he would try and kill us.

I leant my head into my knees and began to sob softly, attracting the attention of the group. They all huddled around me and started to quietly cry as well. I think by now we all knew we were fucked.

*BOOM*

A huge noise alerted all of us. I stood up and looked back to where the portal was. A huge white light was emitting from there, pulsing at an alarming rate.

"I'LL KILL YOU!" a voice echoed.

Minute sounded pissed. The light started to advance in our direction.

"Is that Minute?" Fluttershy asked meekly.

"Yeah."

"What do you think he'll do?" Rarity asked.

"Seeing us at the edge of a cliff? What he said." The girls all shivered with fear. Spike clung to Twilight and hugged her profusely. "I'm sorry guys. I really am. I really fucked this up."

"I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE!"

"I don't know what to do...I...I'm..."

Then, realisation. I've watched enough Sci-Fi in my lifetime and I thought of an idea. An idea which may be entirely stupid but we didn't have a choice.

"Guys? I have an idea. It's just for me to do and I need to know you are OK with me to do it. Do you agree?"

"What's the idea?" Twilight asked.

"No details. Just please say yes." The girls nodded. "Thank you." I stood up. "Minute kidnapped me from the future right? He used my future self to use the nullification spell right?"

"Yeah?" they all responded.

I walked up to the edge of the cliff and turned my back to it, looking upon the group. "What if I was never there? What if he couldn't take me in the future?"

"What are you insinuating?!" Luna shouted at me.

"I'm saying that if he can't kidnap me in the future then there's no way all of this can happen. A paradox! And when a paradox occurs, everything resets! Everything will go back to normal!" I said with a manic grin. Finally, Sci-Fi was going to save the world instead of destroying it.

"That's ridiculous! How do you know it's going to work?" Twilight asked.

"I don't! But is there any other option right now?"

"But, how are you not going to be there in future? You're here now." AJ asked. I point to my chest and then point to the cliff. The realisation hits them all.

"I CAN SENSE YOU!"

"We haven't got time! I need to do this!" I say, my eyes starting to tear up.

"Owen, no! I can't let you do this! What if you don't come back?" Luna shouted at me, gripping me with her hooves.

The tears were now flowing. I couldn't believe I was doing this. "Then you will continue without me. It'll be hard but..." I let out a few sobs. "You can manage. All of you, you will do well." The rest of the group were as teary as I was. Luna pulled my face close to her and pulled it into a kiss. I responded by kissing back hard.

"THERE YOU ARE!"

"HMPH!" I muffled through the kiss. That's when I noticed the world moving fast upwards at an alarming rate. Luna was still kissing me. I broke the kiss and looked around.

"LUNA! WHY?!"

"TOGETHER! OR NOT AT ALL!" she screamed back.

We embraced once again, waiting for the inevitable to happen. The wind rushed past us with awesome force. I looked around and saw the scenery change into greenery. Tops of trees. Tree trunks. Hous--

*BOOM*

*A/N* - There we go. Re-edited. Some of you may recognise the last bit from a certain show. There will be a twist in the next chapter!

22. Time Is Of The Essence (Part 4 - Finale)

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'Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.'

Martin Luther King Jr.

That was the last thought I had while I plummeted to the ground. I knew death was inevitable. Falling from near one hundred and fifty meters towards solid ground - there was no way to survive.

But still, I have awoken. I am unsure of where I am. I don't even know if I'm anywhere. All I can see is black. I can feel my eyes blinking but nothing ever comes into view.

I tried to move around but I found no solid ground upon which I lay. It was like I was suspended in mid-air. Even so, I managed to struggle around and lurch myself forward. At least, I think it's forward. I don't even know if I've moved.

"Luna?!"

I couldn't believe she jumped with me. I was going to save her, considering if the paradox worked or not. The last thing I heard was Minute's rage-induced voice scream at us before she pushed me over the edge, clinging to me. The world rushed past us and then...boom. That was it. I didn't feel a thing. I guess death must have been instantaneous.

So if I'm dead, where the hell am I?

"Is anyone here?!"

Once again, my voice echoes until it dies down. Nothing responds. I keep shouting again and again, hoping someone or something can help me out of this place. I once again lurch myself forwards. It was like trying to doggy paddle in mid-air. After a while, I stopped. Nothing came into view. Nothing was here.

Then a thought occured. I fell from an incredible height and splatted on the ground. My body should have exploded like a watermelon filled with dynamite. I felt my body over and it was strangely still in once piece. Everything was where it should be and nothing seemed out of place.

There must be a reason for this. I didn't believe in religion, therefore, I didn't believe in heaven, hell or purgatory or stuff like that. I believed that when we die, that's it. Done. Finished. No afterlife.

But this. I don't know what this is. It's definetely not heaven. It could be hell. Being stuck in a dark place with no-one else around for eternity would be hell enough for anybody.

Did I really do that many bad things to be sent to hell? I mean, sure I wasn't the best kid in the world but that's how I grew up. It took me until my late teenage years to realise it was all wrong. There was the fights I got into...boy, they were a bit gruesome. I did swear a lot...

Maybe I do deserve this. But I did good things as well! I treated my foster families well...most of the time. I got myself a job and became independent. I suppose when I was on benefits I was a little lazy. Quite lazy in fact.

But what about Equestria? I've made friends with so many ponies, I helped a princess out of a depression and fell in love with her, I even sacrificed my life in an attempt to save the world! Was that good or bad?

I didn't know. I remember once something Abigail told me. She and her partner were deeply Christian and tried to invoke their views onto me. I remember her saying that one bad thing can stop you from going to heaven. You need to apologise for all the bad things you did in your life at Purgatory. 'Confess your sins' I think it was.

So I thought I'd give it a go.

"Um...if anyone can hear this. If...ugh, God, can hear this, then please listen to what I have to say." I waited for some form of reply but it didn't come. "Alright. I'll start anyway. I'm sorry for the way I treated my foster families. You understand thar right? Sometimes they were mean but...I only reacted out of anger and I apologise for that."

Still no answer. "More? Right, I'm sorry for fighting in school. It was only out of self defence! I never meant to break thay guy's nose!" Still no reply. My breaths became ragged as I started recalling memories of my youthful times. "I...I'm sorry for not trying hard enough in life! I tried! I...I really did!"

The darkness that engulfed me proved nothing to my pleas as they still went unanswered. Now, I was panicking. "Come on! Someone please! Do you want more?! FINE! I'm sorry I ruined Equestria! Is that what you want to hear?!" I screamed out, tears now streaming from my eyes.

Silence reigned. The only sound was my sobbing. I curled myself into a ball and just wept. "Please...I don't want to be here."


I don't know how long I've been here. Nothing has changed. I can't see a thing and my aplogies went un-answered. So much for the Purgatory.

I lay still, musing my own thoughts. Mostly about whether the plan worked. Whether my sacrifice caused a paradox. I bloody hoped so.

I closed my eyes and breathed slow shallow breaths. At least there's air here. Don't know how long for though. I might not be even breathing. I guess--

"What the?"

The sound of twinkling caught my attention. The first sound I have heard since awakening here. I opened my eyes and saw a faint white light in the distance. A sign! Maybe a way out of here!

I lurched myself forward and slowly approached the light. The closer I got, the bigger it got. The sound was getting louder as well. I started to laugh uncontrollably as I made my way towards the shining beacon. I was approaching it more and more but it suddenly moved rapidly to the left. I turned and started my struggling once again. The light moved to the right.

"What is this? Are you toying with me?!" I shouted at it.

The light remained still. I heaved myself towards it again and it launched itself upwards, out of reach.

"Oh come on! Stop doing that!" I stopped and hung my head. "Please..."

"Please relax."

"HUH?!" It spoke. That light spoke to me. The voice was angelic almost. Definetely female but not familiar. "Hello?" I called out.

The light descended and hovered in front of me. "Hello Owen."

I recoiled in shock. It really did talk! The light was no more than a meter in diameter and it hummed with a twinkling sound. Like wind chimes ringing in a summer breeze.

"W-who are you?"

"I have been observing you during your duration here. You are a strange individual. Apologising for all your mistakes in life."

The voice spoke to me in a calm and soothing manner. It sounded like Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy. I loved her voice, even though she only spoke a few words.

"Are you God?" I asked, nervously.

The voice chuckled. "No human. I am not a God."

"Where am I? Am I dead?"

"Yes, you are dead, but not fully. You are a resident in my domain. The plane between life and death."

"Like 'in limbo'?"

"I guess you could call it that. You are neither alive nor dead."

This was all too much to take in. The fall did kill me but I'm not dead - how the hell does that make sense? I wonder if...

"Why am I here? Do I do some kind of ritual to be dead fully or something?"

"How your mind works, it's funny." The voice laughed softly, causing me to smile. Smiling in the face of my so-called non-God. "You are here because your life ended. Every creature that dies in the world - their souls are brought here. I look over these souls and reintroduce them to the world as a lower form of life. Say if a pony died, I would bring them back as a manticore or a cow or chicken. Then that creature, into a lower form such as a fly or a slug. And so on until there is nothing more to revert back to."

"So you reincarnate the souls of ponies?"

"That is correct. But in your case, it is different. Your entire body is here, not just your soul." The light circled me a few times, as if it was observing. "I am aware of how you arrived here. I am amazed at your courage and bravery in the face of certain danger. Your sacrifice was extremely noble.

She knows how and why I died. "Did it work?! The paradox?!" I shouted back.

"The moment your body arrived here, the world changed dramatically. As you predicted, your death meant that Minute Hand could not take your body in the future. Everything that he had caused was undone and the nullifcation spell was erased with everything returning to normal."

"I knew it! I-"

What about Lu...

"What about Luna? Princess Luna? She died with me!"

"No she didn't. Even without magic, Alicorns have immense body strength and integrity. She did suffer major damage but she survived. With the paradox in effect, that never happened. She is in perfectly good health."

I sighed a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness." I needed to know more. "So exactly what happened to the world when the paradox worked?"

"This will be hard to explain so I suggest you listen well. The magic with which I live and work affects the whole world. When you died, that exact moment was erased from time, leaving every creature in limbo."

"So wait, everyone else died?!" I asked with worry.

The light rested on my shoulder. It really did feel like there was a hand on my shoulder. "Do not worry. They were not dead, they just had no place to go. I placed them back into the world with their lives intact. I even put Minute back in Equestria."

"Why? He did all of those awful things!"

"Do you want to know why he did it? Minute said that it was Celestia's fault, correct?" I nodded. "That 'fault' that Celestia made was a simple request. Minute approached the Princess asking for funding for growing crops in his home as his family was struggling. Celestia said no which caused Minute to argue with her. He eventually left and in the following years, his family suffered many problems with money and ill health. It nearly destroyed him."

"All that from a simple request?" I asked.

"Yes. But! When I put Minute back in the world, I may have altered Celestia's decision."

I was speechless. "You can do that?!" OK, maybe not that speechless.

"My power allows me to alter the timelines of the lives of every creature. Every decision that had been made, every action they committed. I know of them all and can change them at any time. Normally I would never do such a thing but that needed to be done."

"So why didn't you do it before all of this mess?"

"Because something Minute did restrained me from doing so."

That left me speechless. I really didn't know what to say.

"Now, Minute would have received the funding and lived a happy life with his family."

"That's great."

"Do you realise how important your actions were?" I answered with a 'huh?'. "When you apologised earlier for destroying Equestria. Dear human, you did not destroy it. You saved it."

"But...it was my future self that caused this mess. Surely it's my fault as-"

"Those actions were not of your own accord. You were under Minute's control. It was not your fault. I stayed silent as the voice comforted me. "Your body arrived in this plane because I made it so."

"And for what reason?"

"So you may live again." I brought a hand to my mouth at the voice's words. It was going to bring me back! "I feel your emotions. You long for your friends and for a certain pony in particular. Do you want to go back?"

I didn't even need to think about this at all. "YES! PLEASE YES!" The voice laughed heartily at my outburst. "Sorry but...it would be amazing if you could do it."

"Then it shall be so. I will place you in current time, the day the paradox was made. The memories of those forgotten times will be remembered only by yourself, the Princesses, the Elements and the dragon. I have given every other creature it's own life events for all of the time that the spell was in place. Nopony will remember - a good thing."

"Why?"

"I do not want to cause mass panic with the citizens of the world. If you could keep those memories with each other, that would be safe. A lesson learned from the experience."

The light began to expand and fill the darkness, stretching in every way possible. To every corner and every nook and cranny, the world was a sea of white.

"Thank you." Tears were now freely falling. "I can't thank you enough."

"You saved the world. I should be thanking you."

The light intensified and I shielded my eyes. I had to ask one last thing. "Who are you? What is your name?" I called out.

"I am...what you think I am. Use your best judgement. Enjoy your life Owen the Human. And one more thing. A reward will soon be with you. Farewell Owen, saviour of Equestria."

The light enveloped my body as I felt my body go weightless. A shrill piercing ring sounded as I felt myself falling. Just like when I first arrived here.

"I HOPE I DON'T HIT ANOTHER CLUBHOUSE!"


I landed with a thud. My focus came back to me to see where I had landed. I was somewhere familiar and thank god I was. I looked around to see that I was in an alleyway. I got to my feet and walked out of the alleyway into the hustle and bustle of a busy market street.

'Oh my god, I'm really here aren't I?'

I began to walk up and down the market street, touching various surfaces to see if I was here. I got a few odd looks but I didn't care. I even saw unicorns using magic and a pegasus flying. Everything was back to normal! I was happily walking until I bumped into a pony.

"Oh I'm so sor--" I said, looking down at the pony.

'Holy shit.'

It was him. Minute Hand. He looked up at me with an honest smile. "Excuse me? Aren't you the human that everypony was talking about?"

'He doesn't remember a thing!' "Err, yes, that's me. Sorry for bumping into you."

"That's quite alright." He held out his hoof. "Minute Hand. Expert in watchmaking."

I gripped his hoof and shook it. "Owen. Err...human." I said, causing a laugh from both of us. I looked up from him and saw a glorious sight. "Oh my...I have to go! So sorry!" I called back to him after running away from him.

I couldn't believe it, the world had gone back to normal and Minute forgot he did anything. I approached the familiar sight and marvelled before it. Canterlot Castle.

"I'm coming!" I shouted before running towards the entrance. Two guards quickly stopped me.

"Halt! What business do you have here?" one of the guards asked.

"I haven't got time for this. CELESTIA, LUNA! ARE YOU THERE?!" I shouted, hoping to catch their attention.

"You will address the royalty as such. I must ask you to--"

*POP*

"leave? Where did he go?"



My vision became blurred. The next thing I knew I was tackled to the ground by an unknown force. "Look you pair of idiots. I'm trying to get into the castle to see the Princesses because I--"

My vision returned to see what I was being held down by. My eyes began to water as I saw the object of my desires.

"LUNA!" I screamed at her, pulling her close and planting a deep kiss on her lips. Tears from both mine and Luna's eyes flowed as we embraced. After all of this mess, after everything that went wrong, we still ended up back together.

Luna broke the embrace and helped me to my feet. I looked around to see that I was in her bedroom. Luna put her hooves around my shoulders again and hugged me. "You're alive! You're really alive." she said through strained sobs.

I returned the hug and nuzzled her. "Hey come on...I'm here now. Everything's back to normal." We stayed like that for a while, just listening to each other sob quietly. The sombre embrace broke and we both sat on the bed.

"What happened to you?" we both asked together. Luna nodded for me to go first.

"I don't know. I woke up in a void of nothing. Literally nothing. Until I was met by a voice. The voice told me that I was dead but she brought me back to life. I found myself in an alleyway not far from here. What about you? And Celestia and the girls and Spike?"

"We all found ourselves in the throne room about four hours ago. We contemplated what happened and figured your paradox idea must have worked. We didn't know if you were alive..." Her eyes became watery again.

I placed my arm around her. "I'm sorry. Should we go and find them? I can guarantee I'm gonna be dog-piled by the lot of them." I said with a laugh.

"Wait here." Luna teleported away and I was left alone on the bed. I lay back, contemplating the idea of everything that happened.

"Thank fuck it's over." Yep, that pretty much summed it up.

The sound of approaching hoofsteps gathered my attention. It sounded like the Epsom Derby approaching the door. I thought I'd play a prank on them and hide so I quickly stood in the space which the door would conceal when it is opened.

The door swung open and the hoofsteps stopped.

"Where is he Princess?" I heard Twilight ask.

"You said he was here!" Rainbow. Feisty as ever.

"But...he was here. I swear it!" Luna sounded upset. OK, time for the scare. I put one foot forward, ready to pounce and--

"BOO!" I shouted as I leapt from behind the door. Everyone jumped but immediately charged me after they realised I was here. I was in the process of an eight-pony-one-dragon-dogpile-hug attack. Kisses included!

After everyone had their fair share of me, we all sat down and huddled together. I had to tell them what happened.

"OK...Luna told me what happened to you but let me tell you about what happened to me. When I woke up in complete darkness...



"...and then I was teleported here by Luna and here we are." I finished.

"That's astounding!" Rarity chimed.

"Indeed. Just who was this voice you heard?" Celestia asked.

"Not a clue." I remembered something else. "The voice also said that only us would remember what happened the past few weeks. No-one else knows - it never happened. And we have to keep this to ourselves - we can't tell anybody."

"Why?" Spike asked.

"Well, the voice said that it didn't want to cause panic among the ponies so she made up their life events for the past six to eight weeks or so. They all think that the past two months were just going as normal." I replied.

The girls all nodded and we sat huddled together until something brought us out of it - my belly complaining.

"Somepony's hungry!" Pinkie said, pointing at my stomach.

"He sure is!"

"Come now my little ponies. I will prepare us a feast!" Celestia ordered. She exited the room, with everyone bar me and Luna following.

Luna turned to me and gave me a quizzical look. "Who do you think the voice was?" she asked.

"Honestly? I think it was...no that's rubbish."

"No please, do tell." she insisted.

"It's not even worth saying." I replied with a neutral expression.

"Is something the matter?"

She was being ridiculous right? "Something the matter? Think of what happened over the past few weeks. It was hell. It's just...what if happens again? I don't mean the same magic but something different...something worse."

She draped a wing over my shoulder and kissed my cheek. "Celestia and I are already into it. We are gathering all of the forbidden spell books and tomes and destroying them."

That perked me up. "Good. That's good."

Luna walked past me and stopped, turning back to face me. I stood firm and gave her a certain look. "Aren't you coming Owen?"

"Yeah I will but..." I walked up to her and whispered in her ear. "That gurgle wasn't of hunger. It was of...something else..."

"Something else? Whatever do you...OH! Oh I'm sorry! Um...meet me downstairs yes?" Luna said with a blush on her face.

"Yeah sure."

Luna quickly shut the doors and walked away. I walked towards her en suite door and opened it up, revealing my porcelain god. My stomach grumbled again, even louder this time.

"Alright already! Sheesh..."

*A/N* - Well, there you go. I was going to finish it here but I have a few more ideas up my sleeve. If you would like to see the alternate ending to this story, please say and I will make type it up. All the best!

23. Catching Up

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That voice had a sick sense of humour. Don't get me wrong, I cannot thank it enough for bringing me back to life and erasing all of Minute's disastrous actions.

But seriously, I get brought back to life, I bump into the pony who caused all of this mess who has no recollection of said events, I rejoice with my friends AND...at the exact moment when I was surrounded by my friends, my stomach starts screaming 'Shit! Help, It's Trouble!' and yesterday's dinner wants to come out and meet the world.

Really? Right then, at THAT moment? Whoever you are 'voice', I tip my imaginary hat to you. You may have saved mine and everybody else's life but you are a massive troll.

Walking out of Luna's en-suite after losing my bowel weight, I set about making my way downstairs to where the girls were all waiting. To be quite honest, they didn't tell me where they were going to be so I tried to use my best judgement.

Arriving at the bottom of the staircase, a duo of guards noticed my presence and turned to face me. They were guarding the throne room as instructed but I've never seen them turn their gaze when they are duty. I slowly walk up to them and stand in front of them.

"Good evening Sir." greets one of the guards.

'Sir? Never been called that before.' "Good evening. Can I please enter the throne room?" I ask.

"Of course Sir. Let me get the door for you." The guard's horn glowed and the throne room doors swung open. I thanked the guards and walked in. I looked around to see that the room was empty. A cough caught my attention and I turned my head in the direction of said noise. I walked over to the balcony and saw that Celestia was standing tall, looking over her kingdom in the dusk of the night.

"Celestia?"

"Ah Owen, there you are. Luna said you were in a spot of bother." she says, smirking slightly.

"Err...yeah. I guess you could say that." I said sheepishly, rubbing the back of my head.

"I have informed the royal chefs that we are to dine together. The Elements, Spike and Luna are waiting in the dining room if you would care to join them." I noticed Celestia's tone of voice was a lot lower than usual - like a kind of melancholy tone.

I reach my hand and rest it upon her shoulder. "It's all over now. You know that right?"

Celestia sighed and closed her eyes. She opened them slowly and turned to face me. "My actions caused that to have happened. If only I wasn't so stubborn, I could have seen that he was practically begging me to save his home." She tore her gaze away and looked over Canterlot once again.

"Celestia, look at me." She closed her eyes and stayed firm. "Look at me." I said with a more forceful tone. She obeyed and gave me a teary stare. "There was no way you could have known this was going to happen. Please don't blame yourself." I rubbed the back of her neck in a comforting way.

Celestia leant her head into my hand rubbing and smiled slightly. "I know. It'll take me a while to convince myself but I'll believe it for now. Thank you."

I leant forward and hugged her tightly around her neck. She responded by draping a wing over me and holding me close. "I always said, I'll be here for you. Both you and Luna." I released the hug stared out over the balcony. "Wow...it really is beautiful."

Celestia said nothing as we remained there, looking out over her dimly lit kingdom. The sun was nearing it's descent, turning the sky a wonderful burnt orange. The sun's rays shot through the gaps in the clouds, illuminating the sky in a most intricate pattern. Soon enough, it sunk below the horizon and disappeared.

I heard a distinct twinkling from behind me. I turned to see Luna stood behind us, raising the moon with her magic. Looking at this awesome sight, I marvelled in the raw power of these creatures. I swear, this sort of display could earn a fortune back home...although astronomers would be baffled beyond belief.

Once the Moon had been raised, Luna began lighting up certain stars in the sky. No distinct pattern but she did make the sky look beautiful.

"Nice work Luna." I complimented.

"Thank you." she said, walking up to my side and nuzzling my cheek. "The chefs have prepared our feast. Shall we join the others."

"Lead on." I replied. I followed Luna out of the throne room and along a corridor, with Celestia following behind me. "Sorry about earlier Luna...I erm...I...thanks for the privacy."

A couple of laughs from the sisters was what I got as a response. I couldn't have wanted anything better. We soon came across a large set of double doors. I remember this place.

I stepped forward and lay my hand upon the doors. "Allow me ladies." I curtly said, pushing the doors open to reveal the six girls and Spike. They were all sat around a large table, eagerly waiting the succulent treats that the royal kitchen staff had prepared. I took a seat inbetween AJ and Fluttershy whilst Celesta and Luna sat at the head of the table.

A door to the side of the room opened to reveal a unicorn mare, dressed in a maid's outfit. "Your Majesties. Are you ready for your meals?"

"Yes my dear. Please bring it through." Celestia replied. No sooner than she did, the doors swung open to reveal carts upon carts of food making their way in. The unicorn waiters levitated the dishes onto the table and then left the room, leaving us to drool over what lay before us.

"Oh my...this looks great!" I stated.

"Can we start? Huh HUH?!" Pinkie cried out.

"Yes of course you ca--"

That's all I heard before Pinkie literally dived into the food and began shoving loads onto her plate. Rainbow soon followed suit along with Spike.

"Hey! No fair!" I called out.


Fat. That's how I felt. After eating nearly twice my body weight in food, I slumped back in the chair and patted my belly - a job well done.

"Where did your chefs learn to cook? They should be knighted..." I asked with praise.

The group of us laughed and Celestia cleared her throat. "They were taught by the chefs who worked before them. From your statement, I can tell that they were taught well, hmm?"

"Mmmhmm. Indeed." I glanced over the rest of the group. They were all in the same position I was in - slumped back and too tired to move on account of how much food they had consumed. But hey, if you were surviving on nothing but scraps for six weeks, seeing this amount of food is a godsend.

"Now, I have news for you all. Please join me in the throne room." Celestia said, raising from her chair. She and Luna walked out of the dining room and left us to it. I looked around and one particular pony had a dumbfounded expression.

"She wants us to walk...after all of this food?! No way!" said a disgruntled cyan pegasus.

I raised from my seat as did the rest of the group, minus Rainbow. I walked over to where Rainbow was sitting and placed my arms under her front legs and lifted her onto my back into a piggy back ride position. I placed my arms under her back legs to support her body.

"What are you doing?" Rainbow asks in confusion.

"You said you couldn't walk. So I'm taking initiative - you can ride on my back. Just hold on." I replied with a smile and a laugh.

Rainbow wrapped her hooves around my neck and squeezed tight. "Don't you dare drop me." she said, icily.

"As if a gentleman would." I replied with my best posh voice - it was crap but I didn't care. We began to walk out of the dining room with the rest of the group giggling at me carrying Rainbow. I felt her shuffling a few times before she rested her head on my left shoulder.

It was only then that I realised my actions could have had unpredecented meanings. I just really hoped she thought this was a friendly gesture, nothing more.

We came across the throne room and saw that the sisters had laid out many stylish cushions and chairs in a wide array of colours. I set Rainbow down carefully as we examined the room.

"Wow Princess. What's all of this for?" Twilight asks.

"You didn't think I'd make you all stand did you? Please come and sit down." Celestia instructed. We all took a seat on either a chair or a cushion as Celestia levitated a stack of papers into view. She set them on the floor and then cast a spell on the door. "I have just soundproofed the room and we are not to be disturbed. This...this is very important to us."

"This stack of papers?" Rarity inquired.

"When I returned to the throne room after Owen had re-appeared, I was met by one of my high-ranking guards. He handed me these papers saying that this is the report I asked for. This is a report of what each and every one of us has been doing for the past six weeks I have not read this report yet so you are the first to hear it."

"But...that doesn't make sense. How would they know what we did? They don't remember what Minute did." Twilight asks.

"That was my thought exactly. But I remembered what Owen told us about the voice. He said that nopony would remember as--"

"Their lives would have been made up by the voice's power." I interrupted.

"Exactly."

"Ooh ooh! So we have two lives now?" Pinkie asked with a bounce.

"No my dear Pinkie. Just the one. Remember, you cannot tell anypony about what Minute did. Do you understand?" Luna asks with concern. Pinkie motions a zipper over her mouth and nods. "Very well. Please continue sister."

"Thank you Luna. An individual life has been made for all of us. I shall now read them out to you. To start with, this report states that the Elements of Harmony, Twilight's assistant Spike and Owen the Human were invited to our prescence. This meeting was to inform you of various trips that we were all going to take which meant we left Canterlot for six weeks. In that time, the High Council took control and did a very good job. Mine and Luna's job was too look after you on your journies."

"Twilight. You and I travelled to the birthplace of Starswirl the Bearded in a small town just outside of Fillydelphia. There, we visited his home, which has been kept in one piece and in tip-top condition. In this house were some of Starswirl's original calculations for his time-related spells. You and I spent most of our time here, savouring the knowledge of one of the most influential ponies of our time."

Twilight sighed and thought about what could have been.

Celestia turned the page and handed the stack to Luna. "Spike. The report says that you inquired about other dragons of your age living in Equestria. I escorted you to a family of dragons who resided just east of the Badlands. The family consisted of a mother, a father and two children who were a similar age to you. Over the time you spent there, you learnt many things about how a dragon lives and learns. The family say they will one day see you again."

"Awesome!" Spike cheered.

Luna handed the report to Celestia. "Applejack. You and your family took a trip to Appleoosa to visit your relatives. Whilst there, you and your cousin, Braeburn, helped fix another crisis with the buffalo herd. Also, you family took part in an apple eating contest in which you came second place, behind your brother."

Applejack just laughed at the revelation that her brother beat her in a contest. "I bet Big Mac is so proud to have won."

"Rarity." Celestia began. "Your trip took you to Baltimare. There, you stayed with a retired world-famous fashion designer by the name of Cashmere. She showed you all of the old designs that she had designed in her youth and showed you how she made them. Cashmere also taught you how to do several tasks without the aid of magic. When you left, she gave you one of her first ever dresses as a thank-you present."

Rarity fainted onto a convientently placed chaise-longue. We all chuckled at that.

"Pinkie Pie." Luna started. "Your time was spent in Vanhoover, at the Annual Bake Off. You were invited because one of your friends submitted a recommendation. You were placed in the competetion with nineteen other citizens and your goal was to create something spectacular in taste and style. You came in third place, earning a tremendous amount of praise from the thousands of citizens who attended. You were also rewarded with a medal and a cookbook by a master chef."

"That's super-ificly amazing! I wonder what I baked? Ooh! Maybe it was my famous cherrychanga, or maybe it was my chimicherry. Wait, maybe it was those cupcakes with the three hoof tall--" Pinkie rambled on, walking around in circles.

Luna handed the report back, giggling at Pinkie's motormouth. "I'll just continue. Rainbow Dash. You were invited to travel with the Wonderbolts on their travelling show. According to this report, Spitfire asked you if you'd like to travel with them and you..." Celestia turned the page. "You fainted. When you came to, you were onboard a chariot along with the Wonderbolt team. During your time with them, you helped out on a few occasions with a few tricks and even got recognition from the team for your display. After you left, Spitfire said she would invite you to the next Wonderbolts trials."

"So awesome! I can't believe it!" Rainbow exclaimed; her mouth now in the shape of a horseshoe smile.

"Fluttershy."

"Eep."

"Do not worry my dear. Your trip was most enjoyable." Luna started. "You took a trip to Los Pegasus, where you visited the wild animal sanctuary."

Fluttershy's ears pricked up at the mention of this.

"This animal sanctuary holds at least one of every species known in Equestria. You were given some hoofs-on training on how to take care of the more exotic animals such as a baby hydra. It says here that you even helped cure illnesses on certain animals that were baffling the keepers there. It seems you had a very fun time!"

"Oh...I...that sounds really great..." Fluttershy meekly said.

"And last but not least, Owen." Celestia said. I turned my head to face her. "From this report it says..."

'Oh I wonder. Faraway places, meeting new creatures, learning new skills! It's gonna be awesome!'

"Oh my."

"What? What is it?" I asked.

"It says here that you were in an accident and injured your head." Celestia looked up to me and looked worried. "It says that during a walk through Ponyville, you fell and hit your head on the edge of the statue, knocking you unconscious. You remained in Ponyville Hospital for five weeks before you were released. You then remained home to rest."

"That's...um...that's a bit anti-climactic don't you think?" I said with confusion.

Luna walked over to me and sat beside me, examining my head. "How do you feel?"

"I feel fine. To be quite honest, there's no pain at all." I ran my hand over my head and tried to feel for any bumps or stitches. I managed to feel a small bump which ellicited a small bit of pain when I touched it. "OK, maybe there is. This is really confusing."

"How so?" Twilight asked.

"Think about it. The voice said that it would give us lives for the past six weeks to cover up for what Minute did. That report tells us what we did but did you listen to what it said? It said you learnt something on your trips - all of you did. Do you remember anything that it said you learnt?" I turned to face Fluttershy. "Do you remember taking care of a baby hydra and curing illnesses in Los Pegasus?"

"Um...no."

I turned to Rarity, who had now recovered from her faint. "Rarity, do you remember meeting Cashmere and learning new skills?"

"I do not."

"Then did it really happen?" I pondered.

"There is only one way to find out." Celestia pointed to AJ. "Applejack. It said that your family went with you. If you try and ask them without raising suspicion, then maybe they will be able to confirm it. The same with you Rarity. When you get home, see if you can find the dress that Cashmere gave you."

"I guess that'll work. I suppose I should go to the hospital and ask about my incident." I turned to Twilight. "I bet I know who treated me." I said with a snort.

"Who?" Twilight thought about it for a second. "Ohhh...of course."

"There is only one more thing I have to ask you to do." We all turned to face Celestia. "You must act as if nothing happened. Go along with the lives that have been supplied for you. And please, please do not tell your friends and family about what really happened."

We all nodded in approval. But I had another question.

"Does anyone know what the day or date is? I really don't know since I just stopped caring in the cell."

"It's Saturday 15th December." Luna informed.

"The 15th? Christmas is only around the corner..." I mumbled.

"Um...what's Christmas?" asked Pinkie.

'You've got to be kidding.

"You don't have Christmas here?" They all tilted their heads in confusion. "You know...national holiday on the 25th of December?"

"Oh you mean Hearth's Warming." Rainbow called out. I shrugged my shoulders in response. "Ugh. OK, tell us what this 'Christmas' is."

"Well the name 'Christmas' comes from a religious term - that religion being Christianity. I won't go into huge detail but there are thousands of people who believe that in the year 0, a child was born by the name of Jesus Christ. This child was the son of God. I really don't know the rest of his life as I never looked into it but the child was born on the 25th of December. From that, we got the term 'Christmas' and that day is known as Christmas Day. On this day, people exchange gifts with one another and spend the day together playing games, cooking a nice family meal..." There's that word again.

Luna immediately noticed. "When was your last Christmas?"

"About seven years ago." I replied without looking her way. I received a hug from Luna which did help me cheer up.

"Hearth's Warming is similar to your Christmas." Celestia rose from her seated position and stood over us. "On the day before which is called Hearth's Warming Eve, Canterlot produces a play which depicts the history of ponykind and how Equestria was founded. Each year we put on this play and it receives thunderous reviews and is praised heavily. We do invite certain ponies to portray the characters each year. Which brings me to ask the Elements a question."

The girls all focused their attention on Celestia. "Unfortunately, this year's parts have already been casted but I would like to invite you to take part in next year's production. Would you all like that?"

A plethora of 'YES' and 'WOW' filled the room as Celestia was bombarded with confirmations from the girls. Even Fluttershy was screaming - it looked very strange.

"Very well, it shall be so." Celestia cast her gaze to the glow of the moon in the night sky. "My goodness, the hour is late. I have prepared rooms for you all."

The girls and Spike got up from their seats and greeted me and the princesses goodnight before leaving the throne room. Once they had left, Celestia opted to speak.

"Owen. I trust you know where my sister's chambers are. Please make yourself comfortable. Luna, I leave the night to you."

"Goodnight Sister." Luna reached over to me and embraced me in a hug. "Goodnight my love." I returned the hug which Luna released a while after. Celestia was on her way out of the room before a thought occured to me.

"Actually, Celestia." She stopped and turned to face me. "As much as I'd like to rest right now, I'd like to spend my time with Luna. If that's OK."

"It is fine Owen. I can manage by myself." Luna offered.

I turned back to face her. "I know you can but..." I put my hand upon her shoulder. "Those weeks without you really made me feel how much I loved you and how much I need you. I...I want to spend more time with you, starting now." I finished with a kiss on her lips.

"It is Luna's decision Owen."

"Thank you." Celestia began to walk away again before another thought crept into my mind. "One more thing!" That emitted a groan from Celestia. "I'm sorry. I'll let you go soon but I have a question. When I spoke to the guards earlier, they addressed me as 'Sir'. They've never done that before, do you know why?"

Celestia turned and smiled at me. "That...will wait till morning. I assure you that you will be pleased. Goodnight." Celestia finally managed to leave the throne room. I returned to stand next to Luna who had sat herself on the throne.

"So. Tell me, what does the night shift consist of?"

"Well, it mostly consists of night court which can be very quiet at times. I really must insist that you sleep. I guarantee that you will find this time with me most monotonous."

I put my arm around her neck and leant into her. "No chance. I missed six weeks with you. Any time spent with you now is going to be amazing. I don't care if it's boring."

Luna looked at me and smiled. Her horn glowed and a smaller, velveted chair appeared next to her throne. "Then please my dear, take a seat. Indulge in what the night court has to offer."

I sat myself down and got myself comfy. "Indeed I shall."

*A/N* - Hey guys. Bit of an informative chapter and leading the plot on further. The next chapter MIGHT not be out for another week as I'm taking a small break.

Credit to Drefsab's story Sophistication and Betrayal for the use of Cashmere (I really couldn't think of a name but the one mentioned in his story came to me so I thought I'd use it. Please give this guy's story a read - it's amazing!)

24. A Man's Worst Nightmare

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Watching Luna conduct her night court was very informative. Listening to the pleas, requests and questions of the ponies who come to visit her during their nocturnal lifestyle.

Something confused me though. I was told by Twilight and Celestia that the day and night courts are very serious tasks and must be dealt with promptly. So, when ponies came into the throne room to talk to Luna and saw me sitting next to her, they didn't react in the way I had assumed. I originally thought there would be an exclamation of some sort, lines like 'Should he be sitting there?' and 'Why is there a human in the night court?'. But they never came. They bowed to Luna and then to me!

Someone bowing to me...it didn't feel right. Besides I'm not royalty so why should they bow to me? I waited until the room was empty until asking Luna about it. Had to wait till 2AM though...

"Luna?"

"Hmm?" she responded with a turn of her head.

"Why are these ponies bowing to me? I'm not royalty."

"I'd tell you if I knew. It confused me as well." Luna faced back towards the door again. "Are you enjoying yourself?" she asked in a sarcastic tone.

"I know you said I'd be bored." I stood up and put my hand on the base of her neck. "And I am. But that doesn't matter because I'm with you. There's no way you could be boring. No way at all."

I saw a blush appear on her cheeks. 'Ha! I'm so smooth."

Luna snorted with laughter. "You call that smooth?"

"What the..." Then I remember what she could do. I playfully pushed her in the shoulder. "I should really remember you can do that."

We both shared a chuckle before we noticed a rather timid looking pony standing before us. I nodded to the visitor and sat back down in my chair. Damn was it comfy.

"Good evening subject. What matters do you bring before me?"


4AM. I was starting to feel the fatigue now. Luna looked none the wiser - looked like she's running on Red Bull. I yawned loudly which alerted her to my state.

"My love, please rest. You are in no state to remain here." she offered in a motherly tone.

I slowly craned my neck towards her and met her gaze. "I may be tired and bed may be the best for me. However, no matter how much you tell me, I am staying with you. Only a few more hours then we can both sleep to our heart's content."

Luna tutted and broke her gaze from me, shaking her head with a giggle. "Are all humans this stubborn?"

"When we want to be." I replied with a smirk.


My eyes were starting to droop. I could feel my consciousness slipping away. It was getting harder and harder to stay awake. What I really needed to happen right now was--

"Good morning you two."

'Oh, thank Celestia. Seriously!' The elder sister strolled into the throne room, locking eyes with her younger sister.

"How was night court?"

"Slow. Some strange requests as well. Remind me to ask you what a..."

Their voices dimmed as my eyes closed shut. I was teetering on the edge. I needed to sleep...NOW.

"OWEN!"

"Huzza...hmm?" I sleepily responded, opening my eyes again to see both Luna and Celestia smiling at me. "Did I fall asleep?"

"No, but you were close. Come now, we shall retire to my chambers. Good day to you sister." Luna got down from the throne and stood next to me. "Up you get."

Groaning ever so, I used the arms of the chair as support. Standing up straight, I began to walk out of the room with Luna. Ascending the stairs, I felt my legs starting to buckle. Slowly making it to the bedroom door, Luna opened it with her magic to reveal the object of my desires.

"Bed..."

Luna giggled and her horn glowed blue. Before I knew it, I was no longer on the ground - Luna was levitating me towards the bed. Another glow of her magic opened the covers up before she placed me on the soft...so soft...mattress before climbing in herself. She then pulled the covers over us and snuggled close to me. Another glow of magic dimmed the flame-lit lights on her walls.

"Comfortable?" she asked.

Staring into her beautiful eyes, I answered in the only way I could. I leant forward and placed a small kiss on her lips. "Extremely."

I put my arms around her body and held her close to mine. She responded the same way, also using her wings to envelop me. I rested my head on top of hers, which was nuzzled into my chest. I stroked her back with my hands - I had to make sure she was comfortable before I dozed off. Turns out she was as after only a minute, she was snoring. And I don't mean quiet snoring. I meant proper snorting snoring.

"Cute...kind of." I mumbled before shuffling my body and resting my head on the pillow. It was luxuriously comfortable and I sank right into it.


"Huh? Where...where am I?"

I'm in mid-air. I'm looking down on what appears to be a road junction near where I used to live.

"I know this place."

It was. I was looking at somewhere back home. A certain busy junction near the town centre. The lamp-posts were on, illuminating the area below from the darkness of the night.

"Am I really here?"

I moved my arms and legs to get a look at them. They looked real to me. I stretched my arm to nearby tree branch and tried to touch it. Nothing. My hand passed straight through it.

"OK, seriously, what the hell."

Before I could determine what was happening, I noticed a man and a woman pushing a pram. Looks like a mother and father. I leant tried to move forward to look closer but I remained stuck.

*SCREECH*

That got my attention. I turned my head to see a small red car skidding round a corner and speeding down the road towards me.

"Jesus mate, slow down. You're gonna kill someone if you..."

I turned my head back to see that the couple with the pram were edging towards the pedestrian crossing.

"No. STOP!"

My screams went unheard as they walked out onto the crossing. I looked back to see the red car pass under me at frightening speed. Following it's path, I saw the scene unfold.

"NO!"

A flash of light blinded me. Another screech was heard followed by a several thumps. I knew what had happened and there was nothing I could do. The light dimmed to reveal the sight before me. The two adults lay strewn in the road...not moving. The pram was still upright, albiet still in the road.

A few tears fell from eyes. I just witnessed death.

"WAAAHHH!"

The baby was crying. Thank god it was alive. How I could be happy at the moment was beyond me. I was distraught over what I had saw but relieved and over-joyed to see that the baby survived.

"ANYONE! HELP THEM!"

I looked around to see a crowd of people surrounding the bodies. The light grew bright again and my eyes began to close. As I started to drift off, I heard the faint sound of sirens in the distance. At least the baby will be seen to...


I bolted upright. Frantically looking around the room, I found myself back in Luna's bedroom. Clutching my chest and feeling my heart beating at a hundred miles a minute, my breaths became slower as I calmed down. Looking down, I saw that Luna was still asleep but had curled herself up on the edge of the bed. Not wanting to wake her, I quietly got out of the bed and exited the room. I don't know how much sleep I had but I can definetely saw I'm wide awake now!

I approached the throne room and the guards nodded to me and opened the door. Celestia was sat upon her throne, reading through a list of scrolls that were piled at her feet.

"Good afternoon Owen. Glad to see you." she says in her always cheerful tone.

I nodded and began my approach to her. I kept my gaze on the floor as I reacher her throne. I just couldn't make eye contact with her, not the way I was feeling.

"Is something wrong?"

I had to look up. I raised my head and met her gaze, shaking my head from side to side slowly. Celestia raised from her throne and stomped her hoof. "Guards. Please vacate the room. I wish to speak to Owen alone."

A chorus of "Yes, your highness" later and the room was empty, bar for me and Celestia. She walked up to me and looked me straight in the eyes. "I know that is a lie. Please tell me what is wrong."

Those eyes, they were piercing my soul. I struggled to maintain my composure as I tried to form a sentence. "It's just...this is stupid...I had a n-nightmare." I said quietly. Admitting it, I leant my head down as my eyes got teary. Just remembering the sight...

"A nightmare? Is that all?"

"Is that all?" I raised my head to show her my emotions. "You don't know what I saw! It was horrible! I--" I covered my mouth with my hand, realising I was shouting at the ruler of Equestria. "I saw people...die."

I closed my eyes, trying to shut out the images that were flashing in my mind. It wasn't long before I felt something touch my forehead. Opening my eyes, I saw that Celestia's horn was lowered to my head. "Will you allow me to see what you saw?" I nodded, remembering she did this before. Her horn glowed and my mind replayed the scenario in my head.

I closed my eyes, wishing the re-enactment would stop. The same as last time, the last thing I heard was the ambulance or police sirens. The nightmare stopped and I opened my eyes again to see Celestia staring at me with a solemn gaze. She stepped forward and embraced me in a hug with her wings.

"I'm sorry Owen. I didn't realise." she quietly whispered into my ear.

I brought my arms around her body to return the favour, letting a single tear drop down my cheek. Breaking the embrace, Celestia motioned for me to sit, which I did. She sat down beside me and never broke her gaze with me.

"Do you know who they were?" she asks.

I shake my head slowly. "Not a clue. I do know where it was though. It was a street in the city I used to live in."

Celestia raised a hoof and lay it in my hand, which I gripped thoroughly. We stayed like that for a while, just sitting alone, silently.

"I know what it is like to witness death. If you ever want to talk about it, please do not hesitate to ask." Celestia offered, raising from her seated position. I followed suit and placed a hand on her back.

"Thank you."

"You're most welcome. Now, I must return to my duties...unless there was anything else you needed?"

"Actually yeah. Where are the girls and Spike? I would have imagined Twilight wanting to spend heaps of time with you."

Celestia chuckled. "Oh, she tried. They left this morning after I explained what you did last night. They should still be on the train home to Ponyville."

"Ah right. Well, I'm gonna wait until Luna wakes up till I leave. Think it's nice if I say goodbye before I leave."

"Of course. Please feel free to explore the castle or Canterlot."

I turned around to exit the room until another thought occured. "Actually, I need an answer from you." Celestia raised her eyebrow at me. "Oh, nothing intimidating of course but, you told me you knew why the guards were treating me differently."

"Oh, of course! I assure you it is a good thing!" Celestia sat down on her throne. "After you gave your announcement in Ponyville about yourself and Luna, the news spread fast and soon enough, everypony knew about it. To cut a long story short, in the last six weeks, you were given a title. You are Princess Luna's 'Royal Courter' and you have also been made an ambassador."

"An ambassador? What does that mean?" I ask in confusion.

"It is a noble title. It means that you are representing your race in this world. Even though you are the only one." she replied, laughing at the end.

"Ah...fair enough. So...ponies know about me now? I'm not gonna be looked upon and stared at by anyone else?" Celestia shook her head. I clapped my hands together. "Perfect. Then I have an idea."

"Please do share."

"First of all, I ask about your magic abilities. Do you have the power to summon my bag of bits from the library to right here?

Celestia's horn glowed for a brief second and my bag of bits appeared in my hand. I looked up at Celestia who looked very smug.

"Show-off." I said with a snort. "This is for something I need to do this afternoon but before that, I need to see two specific ponies. Do you think you could direct me to them?"

"Of course. Who would you like to see?" I mentioned the names of who I wanted to see. "Ah, I can see why. Very well. Guard!"

An armor-clad pegasus flew into the room and landed next to Celestia. She told the guards to fetch the two ponies and let them in individually. The pegasus flew out of the room.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked.

"Absolutely. It never happened, right? So naturally, they should both be welcoming. Apart from the latter, he may be a bit unnerving. Also, I'm going to need a reason for speaking to the first pony so please just go along with what I say."

Celestia nodded before the doors opened to reveal another armored pony walking up to the throne. "You asked to see me Your Majesty?"

"Correct. But it is not I who wished to speak with you. Owen?"

The guard turned to me. "And what do I owe the pleasure Sir?"

'I don't like that word.' "Thank you for coming. First of all, I must ask you to spread the word of something. Although I am humbled by my title, I do not wish to be referred to as 'Sir'. Mainly because I don't feel I've earned the right to be called that. So please, treat me like one of your friends, not like royalty."

"Of course Si...um, Owen."

"Thank you." I smiled and laughed softly at his correction. "Second of all, I would like to praise you. I have been told by Princess Celestia that you have been working exceptionally hard as of late and I wish to thank you for all of your hard work."

"It was nothing Your Majesty." he replied, bowing to Celestia.

"Oh but it is. It seems that you have been working more hours than everyone else and are committed to your role." I added.

"I work for the Princesses and my family. We need the money at the moment."

"And caring for your family by working to the maximum that you can do is amazing. For that, I wish to reward you." I opened my bag of bits and pulled out ten gold coins which each had 100 imprinted on them. "This is a gift from me to you. Please use it wisely." I placed the coins into his hooves. He looked over the coins in shock before a smile crept onto his face. He walked up to me and put one hoof around my neck in a sort of half-hug.

"Thank you so much. It means everything." he said quietly, full of emotion.

"You are most welcome. And please, keep this to yourself. We wouldn't want the other guards getting jealous, eh?"

"Very well. Farewell Your Majesty. Farewell Owen."

"Have a good day...Sharp Blade."

Sharp quickly left the room and shut the door behind him. I could hear him sniffling on the way out. Seemed I hit him right in the emotion-spot.

"Why did you do that?" Celestia asked.

"Because he needed it. His family needed it. Remember when we interrogated him about the attack? He said he did it for his family as they were broke. I just thought he could use a little help."

Celestia's wing stretched and the tip of it rest upon my shoulder. "That was a very noble act. You truly are a good person."

*KNOCK KNOCK*

"Please enter." Celestia answered the knocking.

The doors opened to reveal the second requested pony. There he was, white in colour, light brown mane and tail with a large horn protruding from his forehead. "Please to see you Aunty." He turned to see me. "I do not believe we have met."

Celestia stood up. "Prince Blueblood, I introduce you to Owen, the Ambassador for the Human Race and Princess Luna's Royal Courter."

I extend my hand to him and clench my fist. "A pleasure to meet you Prince Blueblood Sir."

Blueblood looked down at my fist and back up to me. He then slowly put his hoof up and gingerly bumped it on mine. "Forgive me but, I was not aware that Aunty Luna's royal courter was not a pony."

"But surely you must have heard about it from your variety of friends and acquaintances." Celestia asked.

"Yes but I was not aware that he was a...a...what do you call yourself again?"

"A human." I reply, coldly.

"That's it. Well then, I welcome you to Canterlot and hope you bring joy to my dear Aunts. Now, I am on a tight schedule and I must depart." With a flick of his mane, he turned 180 and exited the room.

I looked up at Celestia who offered me an apologetic look. "Don't be sorry. You told me he was judgemental and I can see it...a lot."

We shared a laugh. "So, what was your other plan for the bits?" Celestia asked.

I immediately pulled out the bag once again. "I have around three and a half thousand bits here. From the five thousand you gave me, I have spent quite a bit on treating the girls and Spike. I have topped it back up with my payment from work but I've got enough to do what I want to do."

"Which is?"

"I need your help Princess. The Elements of Harmony liaise with you often so you should know about their lives, their hobbies, their likes and whatnot?" She nodded. "Then please help me. I need ideas for Hearth's Warming presents."


I exited the castle and began my trek into the hustle and bustle that is Canterlot. This being the capital, I can only imagine it to being very busy...like central London on a weekend.

Thankfully, this wasn't the case as the streets seemed quiet. It was about four in the afternoon so I guess parents would be picking their kids up from school or shops would be closing.

Picking up the pace, I made my way into the main precinct to do something men fear and women love. That's right - shopping. I hated doing it back home even though it was for myself. Just the idea of browsing shop after shop made me tired. I stuck to internet shopping - that was much easier.

I was armed with a bag full of bits and a scroll of suggestions that Celestia gave me. She already helped me get Twilight's present - a book from her archives about transformation magic. I made a mental note to make Twilight she'd never use those types of spells on myself or our friends.

I unrolled the list and looked at the first name - Luna. Of course she's first on my list, I wanted to get hers first before I forget. My memory's like a sieve.

Walking through the marketplace, I was surprised to see how prim and proper these ponies looked. I mean, I visited Canterlot before but most ponies weren't aware of me then and kept their distance. Now, they didn't even stare at me. Some even greeted me with 'Sir' which I replied back.

I came across my first location - a jewelery store. Entering the shop, the bell above the door jingled and caught the attention of the stallion behind the counter. He turned to face me. Looking at him, he looked like he was in his later years, thanks to the wrinkles on his olive green fur. His wings unfurled at the sight of me but he quickly snapped them back.

"Oh, greetings Sir. Thank you for gracing my store with your presence." he said, offering a bow.

"Please raise. I don't like being called Sir - it makes me feel old (!)" He chuckled at my remark, good. "Now my good friend, I wish to purchase an item of jewelery."

"Then you've come to the right place. None finer than Shining Jewels! What are you looking for?"

"Well Shining, you know I am Princess Luna's royal courter correct?" He nodded. "Well, I'm after a necklace with a pendant on the end which opens up."

"Of course. If you care to look over here." He led me to a display in which it's displays shone brightly. "What material are you looking for?"

"Hmm, well I'd like something to match Luna's colour."

"I don't believe I have anything of that variety...hold on." The elder pony exited the room and went behind the counter, sorting through a variety of items. He came back up to me with a necklace in his hoof. "How about this?"

I looked at the necklace. A chain made out of inter-twining links of gold and silver with a pendant at the bottom in the shape of a heart. Cheesy I know, but it will display my love for her. "This is perfect."

"Excellent. Now, would this gem colour match Luna's colour do you think?" He held up a navy blue and purple gem.

"That's it! That's the colour."

"Very good. If you would like, I can encrust the necklace and pendant with this gem."

"That's brilliant! That would be amazing if you could do that."

"Of course Sir. Leave it with me and come back in about an hour. I'll have it ready by then. Would you like to pay now or later?" he asked

"I think now. Then at least I know how much more I have to spend."

"Of course. That will be six hundred bits please."

Ouch. That bit into my bits - huh huh, get it? Ugh. Forking over the money, I realised I had only 2,100 bits left to spend. One present and one gift and I'm down 1,600 bits already.

"Thank you."

"No, thank you. I'll be back later." With that, I exited the store and eagerly set off to my next location.


Next on the list - Applejack.

From what Celestia told me, AJ is a hard working girl who loves nothing more than her family, Great, what can I do with that?

I walked around, looking at shop-fronts, examing their wares. Nothing stuck out to me until I reached a certain shop. It specialised in clothing. In the front window, there lay something that I knew she would love.

Entering the shop, I walked up to the counter. "Good afternoon madam." I greeted the mare behind the counter. She turned to face me.

"Good afternoon to yourself. Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Yes actually. How much is that Stetson in the window?"


Next was Rarity. 2,000 bits left.

Walking out of the shop, I glanced at the advertising board that lay outside. Turns out this shop makes dresses to order. Just like Rarity does.

I walked back into the shop and greeted the mare behind the counter again. "Hello again." The mare laughed and caught her breath.

"Did you forget something?" she asked, giggling.

"No, I came to inquire about dresses. See, my friend is a dress-maker and I was wondering if you sell materials that I could buy as a present for her.

"Of course! What material would you like?"

My mind went blank. What the hell did I know about fabric and material. "You're gonna have to help me out with this. I know nothing about it."

After a long in-depth conversation about fabric and materials, the mare led me to the stock room where rolls upon rolls of material were stacked.

"This one here is a luxury item - the smooth sapphire silk. A roll of ten meters of 250 bits."

"Deal."


Next was Fluttershy. 1,750 bits left.

I knew that she like animals more than anything. From what I saw in her home, she housed hundreds of animals. Celestia suggested something animal related - no, really?

Walking around the shops again, I came across a travel shop that organise holidays. Remembering how downtrodden she looked when she found out she never went to the animal sanctuary in Los Pegasus, I chose then to make it a reality.

I entered the shop and was immediately greeted by a mare. "Good evening Sir. Are you looking to plan a vacation?"

A vacation? Nope. It's holiday, damn it. "Err, yes I am. I was hoping to book a holiday for a friend of mine. Do you do trips to Los Pegasus?"

"Why yes we do!" she replied, right in my face. I do like the customer support but this girl was way too friendly. "When are you looking to book?"

"Well this friend of mine loves animals and I hear there is an amazing animal sanctuary in Los Pegasus. I want to book the holiday for spring time for about three to four days. Is that OK?"


Next was Rainbow Dash. 1,300 bits left. Damn that was expensive. But thinking about it, you got a holiday and hotel accomodation for 450 bits.

Both I and Celestia immediately thought 'Wonderbolts' when Rainbow was mentioned. Celestia informed me that there was a Wonderbolts store within Canterlot.

I eventually found it, towards the entrance of the city. Suppose if it's at the entrance, ponies would notice it. I entered the shop to see countless items merchandise from posters to stuffed toys to pictures.

The shop was quite busy - full of young ponies who were trying to get to something. Must be a new toy or something. I approached the counter and greeted the stallion behind it.

"Good evening. What can I do for you today?" the stallion asked.

"I'm looking for something special that I can give as a Hearth's Warming present. It's for a great friend of mine."

"Very well. Do you know what she likes the most?"

"To be honest, I'm not quite sure...wait. How did you know it was a she?" I asked with confusion.

"You told me it was for somepony special. I assumed it was a mare."

I raised my eyebrows at his reasoning. "Fair enough. Yes it is but she's not my partner. She's just a great friend. Biggest Wonderbolts fan I know of."

"I'll probably know her as well. Is she anypony famous?"

"I'd imagine so. She's one of the Elements of Harmony, Rainbow Dash."

"Did you just say Rainbow Dash?" a female voice called from the side of the room. I turned to see the kids had parted to reveal a pegasus pony walking towards me. She sported a blue skin-suit with yellow lightning bolts on it.

"Yeah, that's right."

The pegasus eyed me up and down. "Hey I know you. Rainbow mentioned you when she came on tour with us. You're Princess Luna's royal courter, Owen, right?"

Someone else who recognises me. "That's me, the one and only. And can I ask who you are?" The young ponies around me gasped, along with the pegasus and the store owner. "What?" The all pointed to the walls where the posters were. I scanned them to see said pegasus on nearly every single one.

She held out her hoof. "Spitfire. Captain of the Wonderbolts."

I facepalmed and bumped her hoof with my fist. "I am so sorry. I really didn't know."

"That's alright. It's nice to introduce someone to the Wonderbolts. Have you ever seen our shows?" she asks.

"Not yet. I'll have to at one point." That's when a thought occured to me. "Hey, do you know how much tickets cost? I mean the best tickets avaliable. VIP standard."

The store owner cleared his throat. "Those would cost 200 bits each or 300 for two tickets. Would you like to buy some?"

"Absolutely. I think Rainbow would love these."

Spitfire stepped up to the counter. "Those are for Rainbow?" I nodded, handing 300 bits over and getting two golden tickets in return. "Wait here." Spitfire ran back to her table and russled in her saddlebag. She came back with something golden in her mouth which she dropped into my hands. "Here's two more VIP tickets, courtesy of me."

I was in shock. "I can't take these!" I tried handing them back to her but she wouldn't have it.

"No way. You keep them. Give them to Rainbow, she'll love them." she said with a wink.

I leant down and hugged her tight. "Thanks so much." I released the hug and admired who I was looking at. "Look at me, meeting a celebrity. That's a first."


Next was Pinkie. 1,000 bits to go.

Something to do with baking or sweets. This shouldn't be too difficult. I came across a confectionary store which displayed a very wide array of baked goods and sweets in the window.

I entered the shop, taking in the wide variety of smells that flooded the air. The smell was intoxicating. I observed the many varieties of items in the store before a pegasus mare made her way over to me.

"Good evening Sir. How can I help you?"

"I'm looking for something for my friend. See, she's a baker and I think something here will be brilliant for her. Got any suggestions?"

She asked many questions about what Pinkie likes and what she does in the bakery. Bakes, I don't know. Eventually she came to a conclusion.

"How about this here?" She held up a book. "This cookbook is by Chef Mareco Pierre Blanc and she is a master at baking. World famous recipies are in here."

"Perfect. How much would that be?"

"100 bits."


Lastly, Celestia. Now, what can I get for a Princess who can get anything she wants and when she wants it?

Walking up and down the market place, I struggled to think of a single thing that she would like. Shops around me were closing and I was running out of time.

She needed something that's rare, something unusual, something...

I got it. I didn't know if it would work but it would be an amazing present if it did. Knowing what I had to do, I set that aside for another day. Besides, it's only the 16th, 9 days to go yet.

I made my way back to Shining Jewel's shop as it was just about to close. I entered the shop to see the elder stallion locking his cabinets for the night.

"Oh, there you are. I was beginning to think you weren't coming back."

I held up the variety of bags I was holding. "I got a bit busy. So, is it complete?"

The stallion held up a velvet box. I contemplated opening it but restrained myself. "No, I know you did a great job. Thanks so much." I opened my bit bag and pulled out a golden coin. "Here, a bit more for your troubles. Once again, thank you."

"Good day to you Sir!"

I exited the shop and the stallion locked it behind me. Just in time. I got everything I needed, minus Celestia's present, and all I needed to do now was to wrap them up. 900 bits remained in my bit bag. Not bad considering what I bought and what I was given.

I began my trek back to the castle.

"OWEN!"

I looked up to see Luna circling above me. She lowered herself to the ground and embraced me in a hug. "Hey you. How did you sleep?"

"Very well. I've only just awoken. Did you?"

"Same here. I woke up hours ago so I went shopping for Hearth's Warming."

Luna eyed the bags longingly. "Ooh. What did you get me?" she said, leaning towards the bags.

"Uh, uh! If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise would it?" I said, yanking the bags away.

Luna groaned and playfully nudged me in the shoulder. "I came out to tell you something. What was it...OH! The last train to Ponyville leaves in ten minutes!

"Oh bugger. Can we get there in--"

*FLASH*

"--time?"

I realised I had changed position as I was now on the train platform. I looked at Luna who looked proud. "Thank you very much."

"You're welcome dear." she replied, kissing me on the cheek.

As we waited for the train to arrive, I noticed the decor of the station. Beautiful plants hung everywhere, all over the white marble which the station was made out of. Looking towards a particular flowery part of the station, I saw a unicorn with a flash camera.

"Hey, follow me a second." I asked Luna. We walked over to the unicorn who bowed in our presence. "Hi there. I was wondering if you could take a picture of me and the Princess against these flowers here."

"O-of course Sir."

Luna and I walked over to the flower-adorned wall and stood next to each other. I put my arms around her shoulders and she draped a wing over me. We both faced the camera and it flashed. The camera produced a photo shortly after which the unicorn levitated to me.

"Thanks so much."

"What do you want that for?" Luna asked.

"I bought a picture frame a while back and I now I have something to fill it with." We both looked at the photo which was perfect. A perfect picture. "It's lovely."

"It is...OH! Look!"

We looked at the platform to see that the train had arrived. I picked up my bags and walked towards to the train. Luna walked over to the guard.

"Please find it that my courter here has the best seating avaliable." she instructed.

"Yes your highness."

Luna strode up to me and embraced me once again. "I'll see you on Hearth's Warming Eve yes?"

"Wouldn't miss it." I answered with a kiss. I broke the embrace and boarded the train. The train door shut and locked and the train quickly set in motion. I watched Luna wave goodbye as the train pulled out of the station and into the countryside.

Sitting back on the seat, I observed the picture. "Brilliant. Now, how do I shrink it?"


The train pulled into Ponyville station at around midnight. I disembarked the train and saw that I was the only one left on the train at that point. Leaving the station with my bags, I made my way to the library.

Entering, I saw Twilight who was still awake at this hour.

"Hey Twilight."

"Owen, you're home. Did you enjoy your night with Luna?"

"Of course. Bit sleepy but I enjoyed it nonetheless."

I walked upstairs and set my bags on the bed. I quickly hid all of the presents in the only place I could - in my locked set of drawers. Except for the fabric which I stuck under the bed.

I pulled out the picture and thought that I should ask about it now. I went back downstairs and approached Twilight.

"Hey Twilight?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you know a shrinking spell?"

"Why? she responded, not looking in my direction. I pulled out the photo and showed it to her. "That's a lovely picture. Why do you want to shrink it?"

"That, my dear Twilight, is for me to know and for you to find out in ohh...9 days."

Twilight thought about it, then her eyes lit up with anticipation. "For Luna?"

"For Luna."

25. Hearth's Warming

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It's cold. Oh good god is it cold!

Setting my feet onto the wooden floor, I immediately regretted it. It felt like stepping onto ice with your bare feet. I quickly made my way to the bathroom and turned the handle on the shower, letting a torrent of steaming water shoot out of the metallic structure.

Whilst showering, I thought about how today and tomorrow would turn out. See, today was Hearth's Warming Eve and me, the girls and Spike were all travelling to Canterlot this afternoon to go and see the Hearth's Warming Paegent. I was really looking forward to it as it could really give me an insight into how Equestria was formed. A nice history lesson is good from time to time.

I stepped out of the shower and quickly dried myself with the nearest towel. Stepping back into my room, I sought after suitable clothing for this time of year. Peeking out of the window, I looked on in awe at the sight. The landscape outside was beautiful; a pure white blanket of snow covered the land, transforming Ponyville into a winter wonderland.

I grabbed a pair of boxer shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of socks, putting them on quickly. I then picked up a long-sleeved jumper which Rarity had made for me. A mildly dark shade of red with a thick neck. Perfect for a day like this. But that wasn't the only thing Rarity made. She also constructed a scarf, a pair of gloves, a woolly hat and an overcoat to help with the cold. I tried to pay her for the items but naturally she wouldn't take a bit off me. Element of Generosity? One hundred percent truth.

I quickly unlocked my wardrobe to check on the gifts for tomorrow - still there. Both Spike and Twilight have been very inquisitve into why I keep it locked to which I answered "Something personal is in there." They seemed skeptical but accepted it...after barraging me with questions.

The day after I arrived back from Canterlot, I felt like a complete idiot for forgetting to get something for Spike! Not wanting to leave it till the last minute, I quickly went out into the market and asked the vendors what dragons like as gifts. After hearing some fairy-tale nonsense about dragons liking to eat ponies - at least I hope it was fairy-tale - Rarity informed me that Spike loves to eat gems. So that's what I went for. Rarity sold me one hundred bits worth of gems to me. Quite a hefty pile!

And for Celestia's gift? I explained what I was hoping to get her to Twilight who seemed a bit puzzled.

"Why would you want to give that to her? There's only one of them and it's yours."

"Yeah I know but I want to give her something that she doesn't have. Being the ruler of the world gives her the power to have anything she wants so I want to give her something she CAN'T get."

"It seems like loss on your behalf."

"Not neccessarily. Do you know a duplication spell?"

She did. She managed to clone the gift for Celestia and I wrapped it up with decorative paper. I really hope that she will like this. The biggest reaction I'm hoping to get is from Luna. Twilight shrunk the photo and I managed to insert it into the pendant with minimal effort. I'm hoping that she will be able to show her true emotions in front of someone else. Whenever she was upset or angry or really happy, she'd only show her true emotions with me and no-one else.

Making my way downstairs, my nostrils were flooded with the aromas of something sweet, something more-ish, something...

"Pancakes!"

Music to my ears. I sat myself down at the table, across from Spike, and Twilight came in levitating three plates stacked with pancakes. I ogled the dish as it was set down in front of me.

"Syrup?" Twilight asked.

"Silly question. Of course!" I responded happily.

Twilight levitated a bottle of syrup and gave me a generous helping. I immediately pounced the meal with my cutlery and began to chow down this amazing breakfast. I never used to like pancakes but for some reason, they taste better here. I'm gonna have to introduce a Full English breakfast to these guys - vegetarian option of course.

Finishing the meal, I cleaned my plate and then sat back at the table, where Spike and Twilight still were seated.

"So, what's the plan?" I asked.

"We meet the girls at the train station at 1PM. Then we arrive at Canterlot for 6PM. We meet the Princesses and make our way to the theatre for the paegent at 8PM. After that, we return to the castle and dine with the Princesses. Finally, a chariot will be taking us back to Ponyville at Midnight."

"Wow, busy day then huh?"

"Yuth ca thay thath agaith"

"In English please?" I asked the small reptile, who still had pancake stuffed in his mouth. He swallowed them down and caught his breath.

"I said, you can say that again."

"What's gonna happen with gift-giving? Are we taking anything to Canterlot?" I asked.

"Only what we need. The girls and I are giving the Princesses a joint gift from all of us. A large assortment of winter flowers, spelling out their names in a circular pattern. Each of our cutie marks illustrate the array and I have enchanted them so they can last much longer."

"They're gonna love that. What about you Spike?"

Spike hopped down from the table and walked over to a bookcase where an empty spot was. Reaching in, he pulled out two large gems. "I got the Princesses these. Rarity gave them to me as a reward for helping her but if you look at them, they are the same colours as the Princesses' cutie marks."

I observed the gems and he was right. One gems was a mixture of red, yellow and orange, with a spiral pattern. The second gem was purple, navy blue, black and white. "That's a very thoughtful gift." I said, handing the gems back to Spike.

"Well, we have three hours to go until we need to leave. Anypony have any ideas?" Spike asked.

I looked outside and a fiendish idea came to me. "Wait here." I went back upstairs and retrieved my hat and gloves, slipping them on. Walking back downstairs, I grabbed my coat and put it on also. "Come outside for a second."

I opened the door and was immediately greeted by a breeze of sheer cold. Bracing myself, I ventured out into the snow. The snow came up to just above my shoes. Looking back, I saw Twilight and Spike coming out - Spike riding on Twilight's back.

"What did you want to show us?"

I looked around and saw that Rainbow and AJ were close by, giving a wave. I waved back. I turned to Twilight and gave an innocent smile.

"Say Twilight? Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, you can ask me anything."

Oh this was good, she's completely oblivious. I turned back around and bent down, scooping up a small portion of snow with my right hand, out of view of the lavender pony. Raising myself, I slowly turned around.

"Have you ever heard of a--"

*SPLAT*

What? I wiped the snow off my face to see Spike already holding another one ready. "Heard of a what?" Spike asked, grinning evilly.

I grinned back, winking at him. I stood firm before bending down quickly, scooping snow up and quickly throwing it at Spike, hitting him square in the face.

"SNOWBALL FIGHT!"

As soon as that was shouted, all hell broke loose. Kids appeared out of nowhere and soon enough, snowballs were flying everywhere.

My main target was Twilight as she seemed to me like the one who wouldn't take part in this. I noticed she was looking nervous as Spike had abandoned her to start a war with some local kids. I stared her down before scooping up snow and throwing it at her. My accurate shot was stopped short as it became encased in a purple glow.

"Hey, no fair!"

Before I could make another ball, she beamed the suspended one at me, hitting me in face. Right on the nose. Wiping it off, I glanced at Twilight and laughed.

"Oh, it is on!" I turned back to see Rainbow and AJ approaching me.

"Did you start all this?" Rainbow asked in anger.

She looked pretty pissed. "Err, yeah. What's the big--"

*SPLAT*

Wiping yet another load of snow off my face, I saw Rainbow and AJ guffawing on the ground. Then I did something stupid.

"EVERYONE FOR THEMSELVES!"


I think the odds were not in my favour. During the fight, the rest of the girls joined in. Well, except Rarity - something about her mane being ruined, I don't know, I was busy being bombarded by snowballs to focus my attention.

After the chaos had simmered down, the eight of us retired to the library to warm up. Twilight and Spike made several cups of cocoa or hot chocolate for all of us. Sipping it gently, I listened to the various conversations between the girls. Fluttershy and Rainbow were talking about the paegeant. Twilight, AJ and Rarity were talking about a slumber party they once had which went wrong and Pinkie was just bouncing around the room, bumping into many things. Probably the sugar she was consuming in the form of a sweet drink.

After a while, Twilight became erratic and began to tidy up her library very quickly. "Hurry, hurry, hurry!" she exclaimed.

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"It's 12:30! We need to be at the train station in thirty minutes!"

"Calm down egghead. We've got plenty of time." Rainbow responded.

Twilight glared at Rainbow and then went back to her tidying. After about ten minutes, we were all ready to make our way to the station. I quickly gathered my belongings, along with Luna and Celestia's presents. I was really looking forward to giving the gifts to them and I was secretly craving their responses.

Exiting the library, we were once again greeted by the cold front of the weather. That and it was windy as hell. All of us had dressed aptly for the occasion - scarves, hats and saddles (except me and Spike of course). We approached the train station and saw that there was a queue for the train, a long one at that.

At first, I thought Twilight was being rude, walking past the ponies in the queue, but then the reason showed. Twilight approached a train guard and spoke to him, pointing a hoof in our direction. Twilight motioned us to come over, which we did.

"Princess Celestia booked a booth for all of us to share. This way we will get there on time, guaranteed." she proudly stated.

We all climbed on board and entered the booth, which was in first class. Even though I had travelled in first class before, it still stuns me at how beautiful it looks inside. Our booth was the largest of the four in the first class coach so we each had ample space to stretch out and relax. Before long, the train set in motion and we began our trip to Canterlot.

I opted to stay in the booth whilst the rest of the group decided to have a meander around the train. I was pretty sure I saw Pinkie walking back and forth with different assortments of food rested on her back. It perplexes me how she can do that. Maybe it's the magic of the earth pony.

Thinking about magic, my mind drifted back to the time that never was. It reminded me how special and efficient magic is in this world. Just seeing the consequences would make anyone see it but to actually live it? It was a whole different deal.

I remember my time in the cell. All I could think about was Luna and the girls. Every time I went to sleep, I'd dream of her. Every time I woke up, she was the first thing on my mind. And when I got that fake newspaper, it killed me inside. How I would have never saw her again, her smile, her radiance. I remember lying on that mound of hay I was given as a bed, thinking about all the things I never told her. How much I really loved her, what I planned to do in the future, how our--

"Y'all with us Owen?"

"Huh?" I turned my view from the moving landscape to see that AJ had come into the booth. "Oh yeah, I'm...fine." I said with a sigh.

"Then what's with the tears?"

I reached up to my eyes and sure enough, tears were falling from them. I didn't even notice. Wiping them away with my hand, I re-focused on the country mare. "Didn't realise. I was just thinking."

AJ hopped up onto the seat beside me and sat down next to my lap. "Wanna talk about it?"

"Close the door a second." AJ jumped off the seat, closed the door and returned to her previous position. "I was thinking about my time in the cell."

AJ set a hoof upon my shoulder. "You have to let it go sugarcube. It's all over now."

"I know, I know. It's just...when I was in there, all alone, all I could think about was you, the princesses, the girls and Spike. You were my first and last thoughts of the day. My mind was wracked with ideas of what could have happened to you. What could have happened to Luna..."

"You really love her don't you?"

I nodded slowly. "Love isn't a strong enough word. It's so much more than love. When I read the fake newspaper he gave me, saying that you were all dead, I never felt more dead inside in my life. So imagine how I felt when I saw you all in the flesh again. All of the things I've wanted to say to Luna, things I was too nervous to say."

I pulled out the velvet box that was in my coat pocket and opened it up, causing AJ to 'ahh' at it's glow. "This is my Hearth's Warming present to her. When I thought about it, I needed to let her know how much she means to me." I flicked open the pendant, revealing the photo. "I know this will show her how much I love her but, there's something else that's been itching away at me. Another thing I want to tell her but...I don't know if I want to yet."

"An' what would that be?" I whispered the information into her ear. She raised her eyebrows at me and a smile formed. "Ah see." she said with a giggle.

"I just hope I can decide before it's too late. I'd hate to keep her waiting for so long."

AJ rose to her hooves and jumped off the seat. "Only you can decide what to tell her, as long as it's from the heart. Ah've known you for months now an' from what ah see and hear about you an' the Princess? Ah reckon you'll know just what to say an' she'll love you even more for it."

I reached over and put my hand on her shoulder. "Thanks AJ. I needed that."

"Anytime sugarcube." she responded with a wink, making her way out of the booth, shutting the door behind her. My gaze found it's way back to the window and I began to once again observe the landscape streaming by.

"PINKIE! STOP THROWING THOSE CUPCAKES!"

That was Rarity's voice. If Pinkie was throwing cupcakes at her, there was gonna be hell to pay.


*5 Hours Later*


We had arrived at the castle. The train had pulled into Canterlot at 6PM sharp, just like Twilight said it would. We were being escorted by a couple of guards along the marble corridors of the castle. The amount of time that I have spent here now, it all seems so familiar. I reckon I could find my own way around by now...well, maybe. We were led into a waiting area, near the foyer, where we were seated and asked to wait for the Princesses.

"How long until the paegent starts?" I ask to anyone.

"About an hour and a half. We got plenty of time." AJ responds.

"Nice. I'm really looking forward to it. How about you guys?"

"It should be good..." a quiet reply came from the obvious pegasus.

"It's always amazing to see. I really think you'll learn something from it." Twilight interjected.

The doors of the waiting area swing open to reveal Celestia smiling at us. The girls and Spike bowed in her prescence. Normally I would have not done so but seeing as I was the only one not doing it, I bowed my head to her.

"Greeting my subjects. I trust your journey here was a pleasant one." Celestia greeted us. Greetings between us all carried on for a few minutes before I asked the obvious question.

"So where is Princess Luna? Is she still sleeping?"

"Oh no, she awoke a while ago. She should be with us shortly." Celestia answered.

"OK then. Um...can I please speak with you in private for a moment?" I asked, rewarding myself with confused looks from the girls.

"Of course Owen." Her horn lit up and the world around me changed into a brighter room, decorated with many knick-knacks. "Welcome to my chambers."

I rubbed my head as I struggled to re-focus after the teleportation. "Please warn me before you do that. It really throws me off."

"I apologise. Will you be alright?"

"Yeah, sure. Just a bit dizzy. Now, as for the talk. I have a favour to ask." I lifted the bag off my shoulder and set it on the floor. "Two things. One, if it is OK with you, can I stay with Luna tonight? There's something I need to talk to her about and I feel it would be best if I spend the night with her."

"That would be Luna's decision. But I would see no problem with it, as long as it's a good thing you are planning to talk her about." she responded, looking concerned at the end.

"Oh no, no, no. Nothing bad, never! It's...well, it's kind of embarrassing. Can I just..." I leant forward and whispered in her ear what I told AJ earlier. Celestia reared her head back and then gave me a very hearty smile.

"Owen, I am pleased that you are going to mention this to her. Are you certain it is time?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Very well. And the second subject?"

I held up the bag. "This bag contains my Hearth's Warming gifts to both you and Luna. I need to keep this somewhere safe till when we come back from the paegeant."

Celestia levitated the bag and teleported it somewhere. "It will be safe. I have made sure of it. Are you ready to return?" I nodded and her horn glowed again, teleporting us back to the group.

"What was that all about?" Rainbow asked.

"Something...important." Rainbow opted to speak again before I beat her to it. "Really, it's nothing. You'll find out later anyway."

"Did I miss anything?"

I know that voice - the voice of an angel. I turn to the door to see the love of my life standing there, sporting a rather large smile at the sight of me. I walked over to her and embraced her in a hug. "It's good to see you."

Luna leant her head back so she was looking in my eyes. "Just good?"

I reponsded by kissing her on the lips. "OK...ummm...amazing, spectacular, brilliant, lovely...I can go on." Luna replied by hugging me tighter. Yep, I think that worked.

"Come along everypony. We shall set off to the paegeant." Celestia ordered.

We all started to make our way out of the castle and into the cold breeze of the mountainside city. About six guards were escorting us through the streets, with all of the citizens bowing as we passed them. Some recognised me from the shopping spree I had committed a week prior and gave me a prompt wave which I happily responded with a wave of my own.

We soon came across the theatre and my goodness was it big. If you've ever seen the illustrations of what Shakespeare's globe theatre looked like, that would be it, but only square and a lot bigger. Walking in, I admired the plushness of the interior. It reminded me of the King's Theatre where I used to live.

A couple of ponies, dressed in red suits, led us up some stairs near the side of the main entrance to the hall. Walking up the stairs took a while as I imagined our seats were quite high up. Twilight said that we were sitting in the royal box which has the best view of the entire theatre. So best seats, best view...I imagine quite high up.

After a couple of minutes, we entered the box through some red curtains and I laid my eyes out on the stage in front of us. Twilight was right, it was an amazing view. I waited for Celestia and Luna to take their seats before I took my own next to Luna.

Before long, the curtain was drawn on the stage and a young pony stepped out in a Shakespeare-esque costume. This must be the start.

"Once upon a time, long before the peaceful rule of Celestia, and before ponies discovered our beautiful land of Equestria, ponies did not know harmony. It was a strange and dark time. A time when ponies were torn apart, by hatred."


The paegeant was brilliant. It really DID teach me history about Equestria and it was performed in such an amazing way. There was only one slip-up on my behalf during the entire show and it was right at the beginning. When the narrator mentioned the name of the leader of the earth pony tribe, I tried my best to stifle a giggle.

"I can't believe you laughed at the beginning." Twilight lectured me.

"Oh come on. How was I not supposed to laugh when the name 'Chancellor Puddinghead' came up?" All of the girls gave me a stare and it made me uncomfortable. "Err, look I'm sorry if I caused offence."

One perticular pony started laughing. "It is funny! Puddinghead sounds funny!" With Pinkie's outburst, the rest of the girls, Spike and the Princesses even started laughing softly.

"You did not cause offence dear. It's just we do not find it as funny anymore." Luna explained.

"Ohhhh....right, that makes sense."

We conversed during our walk back to the castle. With it being 10:30 at night, it was damn cold so we didn't dawdle. Entering the castle, we were lead to the dining room where food was already being set out for us.

We all took our seats and began to tuck into our food. This time is a roasted vegetable platter and it tasted good. And I don't mean good, I meant frickin' amazing. These chefs know how to cook everything perfectly. Well they should, otherwise they wouldn't be working in the royal kitchen now would they?

After we had all finished our food, Celestia rose from the table and made a speech about Hearth's Warming Eve. Traditional in their sense but it didn't make a lick of sense to me. Even so, when the speech ended, I applauded with the rest of the girls.

We were led to the foyer where three chariots were awaiting for us. "Thank you for inviting us to the paegeant Princess!" Rarity thanked the sisters. The rest of the girls thanked them as well.

"You are most welcome. By your reactions, I can say that you enjoyed it, yes?" The girls nodded vigorously. "Good. These chariots will take you back to Ponyville. I do hope you enjoy Hearth's Warming Day tomorrow."

I cleared my throat to get Celestia's attention. Celestia turned to me and nodded. "My little ponies, I want to thank you for your floral wreath. It was a beautiful display. And Spike, thank you for the gems."

"Indeed. I must say it was most wonderous." Luna added.

*DONG*

"Midnight." I murmured. I turned to Celestia. "Celestia, if you please." She nodded and her horn glowed; my bag summoned into my hand. "Thank you. Now, for those of you who don't know, I have in this bag, Celestia and Luna's Hearth's Warming gifts and since it is now Hearth's Warming Day, I'd like to present you with them."

I reached into the bag and pulled out the first gift - Celestia's. "Now, I had real trouble trying to think of something for you Celestia. My initial thoughts were that because you were a ruler, I thought you could get anything you wanted in all of Equestria. So, I got you something that you couldn't get."

I handed the box to her which she carefully unwrapped. The item was discovered and Celestia's face lit up. "Isn't this yours?" she asked.

"Not exactly. I had a little help from Twilight with this. Because I only have one, I asked her if she knew a duplication spell which she did. What you hold there is an exact copy of my iPod. I remember you were enthralled by it last time I brought it here so I thought you'd like one." I held out my own iPod just to prove it.

Celestia walked over to me and opened her wings which she then wrapped around me in an embrace. "Thank you Owen. Never have I received a gift like this before. I am truly thankful."

I returned the embrace and hugged her tight. "You're most welcome." We broke the embrace and I turned to Luna. "Before I give this to you, can I please spend the night with you? There is a reason for it."

"Of course you may." she answered.

"Is that alright with you girls? I'll come back first thing in the morning."

"I'll teleport him back." Luna added.

The girls nodded and agreed. "Thank you. Now, Luna." My legs started to shake as I got really nervous. "Over the time I have spent here, I have learnt many things. How to make friends, how to live..." I took her hoof in my hand. "How to love." I reached into my bag and pulled out the velvet box. "This is my gift to you. To show how much I truly love you."

Luna levitated the box out of my hands and opened the case. Her mouth fell open like the speed of a mouse trap setting off. For a while, she did nothing as she stared at the box. Did I do something wrong?

"Do you like it?" I asked.

I stared into her eyes and saw that tears were beginning to form. Her magic crept into the box and levitated the item out for all the ponies to see. As soon as it was in view, the girls stared in awe at what I had bought Luna.

"I...it's beautiful." Luna spluttered.

"Open it up." I instructed her.

Luna did so and she held a hoof to her mouth. A stray tear fell from her eye, rolling down her cheek. I wiped it away with my hand and then held me hand out to the necklace. "May I?"

Luna levitated the necklace into my hand, which I then put over her head and mane and around her neck. The pendant hung at the bottom, opened up, with the picture of me and her inside. The girls gathered round and admired the necklace.

"It's beautiful!" Rarity chimed.

"It's so shiny..." Fluttershy quietly said.

"Aw, that's adorable." AJ said, giving me a tap on the shoulder.

"That truly is a beautiful necklace. Don't you agree sister?" Celestia asked.

"It's...it's..." Luna looked up at me before launching herself at me, embracing me in a full hoof and wing hug, which I returned. "It's so beautiful! I love you too!" she pleaded to me, sniffling up a few tears.

I stroked the back of her head. "I knew you'd love it." I leant my head back and wiped a few tears from her face with my hand before giving her a kiss on the lips, earning a few 'awww's' from the girls. I turned my head back and laughed at them. "Oh stop it."

Luna broke the embrace and stood on her hooves. "It truly is beautiful. I can't thank you enough."

After a few minutes of idolizing Luna's necklace from the girls, we went our seperate ways and the girls took flight in the chariots.

"Luna, Owen. I will rule the night tonight. Please enjoy your night together." Celestia informed us.

"Thank you sister."

"Thanks so much Celestia."

Me and Luna retired to her chambers and we both got comfortable in the bed, under the covers. Luna never took her necklace off.

"So that's what the photo was for." Luna murmured.

I turned my head to meet her gaze. "Yep. I saw the opportunity and took it. Turned out for the best, don't you think?"

Luna leant up and gave me a small kiss. "Yes, it did." We kissed for a while before Luna pulled back. "Owen, what is wrong? You seem distracted."

Damn, I was hoping she didn't pick up on that. I sat up and sighed. "I've got something on my mind that I need to voice. Something that I've been thinking about for a while now."

Luna sat up and put a hoof around my shoulder. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

I pulled the hoof off my shoulder and held it in my hand, turning my body so I was facing her directly. "Today has given me a lot of answers. How Equestria was formed, how you would have liked my gift and the answer to my dilemma. I can't believe it's taken me this long to realise how much I truly love you."

"I know that. You tell me that all the time."

"I know but...when I was in the cell, all I could think about was you. All of the things I never said, all of the things I never did and never could do. But...when I saw you again, I had another chance. Another chance to let you know how much you truly mean to me. I guess what I'm trying to say is..." I gulped. "I'm ready."

Luna gave me a quizzical look. "Ready? Ready for what?"

I leant forward and gave her a kiss on the lips. I pushed hard and held it for about ten seconds before breaking it and lifting my hand up to her cheek, cupping it. "I'm ready."

Luna still held that look before she thought hard and realisation came to her. She took my other hand in her hoof and held it tight. "Are you certain?"

I kissed both of her hooves. "More certain than I'll ever be."

Luna leant in and wrapped her hooves around me, locking lips with me, with me mirroring her actions. Our bodies fell down onto the bed, firmly entwined and ready to take the next step.


I know you are still waiting.

The reward is still yet to come.

Keep waiting, hero.

The light is about to be shone.


My body was starting to come back into consciousness. Opening my eyes, slowly, I struggled to see as a thin beam of sunlight was protruding through the curtain, right into my face. One again sun, you have awoken me from my slumber.

I sat up and stretched and cranked my head from side to side. I caught a glimpse of Luna who was still in her own little dreamworld. I lay back down and cradled her body in my arms, loving the contact between us.

Speaking of contact, the night before was...well...I'll put it this way. Why did I wait so long to do that?! It was incredible! I was a little nervous at first but Luna got straight into it and started on me. It did feel a bit weird, that I lost my virginity to a pony, but god damn it was good!

I thought about what this meant for us. Did it mean we took a step further into our relationship or was it just a spur of the moment kind of thing?

"Good morning beautiful."

I'm gonna vote for a step further. Her angelic voice caught my attention as she slowly rose up from the bed, and leant her head on my chest. "Did you sleep well?"

I leant down and kissed her on the forehead. "Very well, thanks to you."

Luna blushed and giggled. "Oh please, you were better than I was."

"Rubbish. Absolute nonsense. You were leading the entire time." Luna opened her mouth to speak but I quickly put my hand over it. "And I loved that you were the leader."

Luna leant up and met my lips in an embrace. Breaking it, she looked into my eyes and half closed hers. "I live to please."

*KNOCK KNOCK* "Luna, Owen, may I come in?"

"Yes sister!" Luna replied. The doors opened to reveal Celestia. She walked up to the end of the bed and smiled at both of us.

"DId you enjoy your night together?" she asked.

"Sure did." I answered with a wink.

Luna sat up and looked at me, then at Celestia, then back at me again. "Owen! Please do not tell my sister what actions we--"

"Oh please Luna. I heard your screams from halfway across the castle. Goodness knows how your door guard must have felt last night."

"I did no such thing!" Luna exclaimed, turning her gaze to me. "Owen?"

I really didn't want to say this. "I err...I think they were mostly mine." I shyly said.

Celestia recoiled in mock shock as I said this. "But...they sounded like female screams..."

"It wasn't just me but...some of them might have been."

Silence reigned. We looked all looked at each other for a while before I started to snigger, causing a chain reaction for Luna and Celestia. Laughing ourselves silly, we regained our composures and calmed down.

"Owen. I believe you were to travel back to Ponyville this morning." Celestia spoke.

"Yep. Just let me get dressed then I'll be good to go."

"Won't you stay for a while longer?" Luna asked, quivering her bottom lip.

I put my arm around her. "I'd love to but all the girls and Spike are waiting for me. I can't stop their day just on my account." Luna leant into me again. "You're too cute, you know that?"

I got out of the bed and re-dressed myself with the clothes from yesterday. Luna did the same - putting on her regalia along with her necklace. It looked stunning on her.

"That necklace suits you perfectly." Celestia said with praise.

"Thank you sister." Luna turned to me and embraced me in a hug. "Are you ready to go?"

I broke the hug and stroked the back of her mane. "Sure. I'll write to you this evening. I'm sure today will be eventful to say the least."

"One more thing Luna." I turned to Celestia who held out a small wrapped box. "Twilight asked me to give this to you. According to Twilight, you and Owen have a gift which must be opened at the same time. Under Twilight's instructions Owen, you are to send a letter to Luna saying you are about to open your gift. When that scroll arrives, Luna will open hers."

"Fair enough. I'll make sure to remember that." Luna's horn glowed and she pointed it towards me. "Goodbye my love."

"Have a great day, my dear." With that, her horn shone brighter and the world around me began to change. I swore I heard voices though.

"So, how was he?"

"Better than any stallion, that's for sure!"


My vision returned and I was back in Ponyville, standing outside of the library. I quickly straightened out my clothes and knocked on the door. The door was swiftly answered and opened by Spike.

"Morning Owen. Glad you made it back in time. Happy Hearth's Warming."

I knelt down to him and opened my arms wide. He took the action willingly and jumped towards me, wrapping his tiny arms around my frame in a hug. "Happy Hearth's Warming to you to."

I walked into the library and set Spike down on the floor. "Twilight up yet?"

"In here!" her voice sounded from the kitchen. She entered the room and noticed my extremely happy demeanour. "You look like you're in a good mood."

I nodded strongly. "Indeed I am. Last night was something magical."

"You mean the paegeant?"

"Erm, yes. That was a great show but it was something else. I--" I thought about what I was going to say but realised Spike was standing right next to me. I walked up to Twilight and whispered in her ear. "Last night, me and Luna had...sex."

Twilight shook her head back at what I said before she smiled greatly at me. "That's wonderful! Such a deep commitment."

'Deep, hur hur.'

"Yeah it was a great night. So, what's the plan for today?"

"The girls are coming over at Midday. They are spending time with their families this morning so we have the next few hours to ourselves."



Midday came around soon enough. One by one, the girls began to arrive, each with a gift. Some were big, some were small, one was huge.

After a while of idle chatting, Twilight instructed us to sit around her fireplace, which we did. I took a seat between Rainbow and Rarity.

"Who would to go first?" Twilight asked.

"Actually Twilight, I'd like to give my gift out first." I pulled over a sack which had been hidden from view. "Or should I say gifts." The girls all marvelled at the sack which contained their presents. "Last week, I had a bit of a shopping spree and got each and every one of you a gift."

I reached into the sack and pulled out the first gift, a small box with Rarity written on it. "For Rarity." She quickly levitated the box out of my hand and looked confused as to how light it was. Nevertheless, she opened it up and revealed it's contents.

"It's a...piece of parchment."

"Turn it over." I said, rolling my eyes.

She did so and read it out loud. "Look in the cupboard under Twilight's staircase." Putting down the paper, she rose to her hooves and walked over to said cupboard, opening it up. She froze in place at what was there and turned to face me. "Is...is that?!"

I walked over to her and pulled out the large roll of fabric. "Ten meters of luxurious smooth sapphire silk. I was told this was hard to MMPH!"

I was interrupted by a barrage of kisses coming my way from the fashionista. "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! This is marvellous!"

"You're most welcome." I walked back over to the group and pulled out the next gift - a medium sized box labelled 'Applejack'. "Right, AJ. This one is for you."

"Thank ya kindly." She took the box from my grip and opened it up, pulling out the brand new stetson hat. "That's so thoughtful." she said, walking over to me and giving me a one-armed/legged hug.

"I'm sorry it's nothing more exciting. I had a bit of trouble thinking of something for you. But I saw that in a shop window and instantly thought of you."

"Well ah love it. Thank you sugarcube."

I pulled out the next gift - a small box. "Pinkie, this one is for you." She quickly took the box away from me and tore at the wrappings. Opening the box, her eyes lit up. "Ooh! A book!"

Twilight looked at me. "A book?"

"Not just any book. That there is a recipie book from a world class baker - a master. I hope you like it."

"Yes I do! I love it more than I love baking! Or more than I love cakes! Or more than I..."

Leaving Pinkie to her verbal tyrade, I reached in for the next gift. This one was pretty heavy. "Twilight. Now this is a present that Celestia helped me get."

Twilight levitated the gift and tore at the paper, un-masking the book within. Her face was one of shock. "How did you get this?!" she asked, her voice trembling.

"From the royal archives. Celestia said that you admired that book but you could never take it out. She said she feels that you are responsible enough to own it now."

Twilight stared at the cover and ogled it. "The Advance Teachings of Starswirl the Bearded. Do you know how long I've wanted this book?!"

"Judging by your reaction, a lot?" Immediately, I was pounced upon by Twilight who gave me a bone-crushing hug before releasing me and setting her face into the book. "Three left. Let's see who's next." I reached in and pulled out a small sack. "Ahh, Spike, this is for you."

"Thanks!" He opened up the sack and peered inside. His eyes turned to the size of dinner plates whilst his mouth started flooding with drool. "All of those gems...thanks Owen!"

"No problem. Last two gifts." I reached in and pulled out two envelopes. One marked Rainbow, the other marked Fluttershy. "First, I want to give Fluttershy's gift." I handed the envelope to her which she opened. A collection of papers fell out. She picked them up and began to read out loud.

"One week stay at the Stargazer hotel in...LOS PEGASUS?" she exclaimed. She picked up another piece of paper. "One week admittance to Los Pegasus Animal Sanctuary?"

"I saw how heartbroken you looked when you found out you never went. So I decided to make that a reality. You've got a holiday booked in the Spring."

Fluttershy's eyes began to water as she re-read the items laid out in front of her. "I don't know what to say. I...thank you."

"You're welcome. I knew you'd like that."

She rose her head and looked me in the eyes. Raising to her hooves, she slowly walked over to me and stood in front of my face. "Um...can I..." Before she finished her sentence, she quickly leant forward and kissed me on the cheek. "Thank you so much."

I rubbed my cheek where she kissed me. "Awww, that's OK. I'm glad to make you happy." I turned my gaze to the eagerly awaiting pegasus. "Now Rainbow. This one is for you."

"Sweet!" She opened up her envelope and scattered the contents on the floor. She stared at them in shock as she realised what they were. "You got me these?!"

"Yep. Four tickets to ANY Wonderbolts showing. And that's not all. Look closely at them."

"Huh?" She did so, then a huge smile appeared on her face. "VIP TICKETS?!"

"Right. I also managed to meet Spitfire in Canterlot and she complimented you." Rainbow stared at me and then promptly fell onto her side. I walked over to her and leant over her head so I was in her gaze. She was still conscious. "Rainbow...you alright?"

She sat herself back up and shook her head. "I'm doing great! Thanks for the tickets!" she exclaimed, throwing her hooves around my neck.

"No problem." We broke the embrace and I looked upon the girls and Spike, enjoying their gifts. "Well, that's everyone. I hope you're all happy."

Twilight's head rose from her book and met my gaze. "Indeed. Now it's time for our gifts." She walked over to the pile and levitated it towards the group. She then lowered them down so they were in front of me. "For you Owen."

"What?"

"Me and the girls had a talk and realised that you've never had a Hearth's Warming before. Normally, we buy one gift for one of our friends and that's it." Twilight explained.

"But this year, we decided to give our gifts to you." Rarity added.

"You got all of these gifts...for me?" The girls nodded. I was in awe. They really are great friends. "I can't believe it. I...I can't thank you enough."

"You can thank us later. Now open them!" Pinkie ordered.

"Yes ma'am!" I reached for the first gift, a small pink box. It was slightly heavy. "So who is this one from?"

"That's from me!" Pinkie said. I opened up the box and felt around it. Feeling something solid, I pulled it out...a rock. "This is my pet rock. It's name is Rocky and it tells me all types of stories! I think you need it more than I do now." She quickly exited the library.

"Uhh...is this normal?" I asked the girls.

"It's just Pinkie. Just be grateful you got a present from her." AJ offered.

The door then burst in; Pinkie pulling in a cart with something covered by a cloth. "Pfft! HAHAHA! Did you really think I'd give you a rock for a present?! This is your real present!" She pulled off the cloth to reveal a 4 foot tall, chocolate cake in the exact shape of Canterlot Castle.

"That's brilliant! Wow!" I cried out. I examined the cake over - every detail was so perfect. "We have all got to try this later. Even if it does mean cutting into it. Thanks Pinkie!"

Pinkie bounced over to me and hugged me. Breaking the hug, I saw that she had taken the rock back. "It's all OK Rocky. You can talk to me later." I heard her murmur. Surely she wasn't--

"My present next!"

"OK, sure Rainbow." She handed me a small box, wrapped in paper the same colour as her fur. I unwrapped it and pulled out two items. One was a small piece of paper.

"That is a certificate, entitling you to one free Sonic Rainboom." she proudly stated.

"Nice! It'd be great to see one of those!" I pulled out the other item - a small pendant, illustrated with her cutie mark made out of gems. "Ohh...that's beautiful."

"Yeah, I thought so." she said, flicking her mane out of her face. I walked over to her and put my arms around her.

"Thanks so much."

"Yeah, yeah, don't go all mushy on me." she said, pushing me away with a chuckle.

"Ah'd like to give my gift to you next." AJ said, handing over a heavy container and a wrapped up jar. I eyed the container suspiciously. "That there is a gallon of the Sweet Apple Acres Cider."

"How did you get that? You only do it once a year!" Rainbow asked.

"We keep some in reserve. Enjoy it while it lasts."

"Thanks AJ." I then unwrapped the jar to reveal the contents - a mixture of the colours of the rainbow. "And what is this?"

"Zap Apple jam. Same, we only make it once a year but we keep some in reserve. Ah hope you enjoy it." she said, raising her hoof to me. I bumped it with my fist.

"Thanks AJ. Very thoughtful of you."

"I'll um...be back in a moment." Fluttershy said, raising to the air and flying out of the door. I turned back to the group.

"Is she OK?" I asked.

"She'll be fine. Probably just forgot about one of her animals or something." Rainbow said with a flick of her hoof.

"Here's my gift to you Owen." I heard Spike say. Looking down, he handed me a small wrapped box. "Please be careful when you open it."

I carefully unwrapped the box and peered inside. In the box, there were seven shining objects. I reached in and pulled them out, marvelling at their beauty. "Spike...these are incredible."

I pulled out seven figures. Each figure was of the girls and himself, carved out of a colour gem. They were stunning, I mean litereally stunning. "You've got serious skills here. Where did you learn how to do this?"

"In my free time. Some of the gems I get to eat, I don't. I once tried carving it with my claw and I managed to create something. These took a long time to make."

"I bet! Thanks a lot!" I said, giving the dragon a high-five. Funny really, he's the only other creature with hands and he knew how to high five.

The library door opened up again to reveal Fluttershy carrying a small container, draped with a cloth. "Sorry for taking so long. I um...I want to give this to you Owen. But please...be careful."

I carefully took the container from Fluttershy and set it on the ground. I slowly pulled off the cloth and was actually shocked at what was in the container. "Fluttershy? Is this a...a snake?"

"I remember you saying you liked them and this little guy was all by himself without a family. I thought he would be a great gift for you...if you want him that is."

I pulled off the container lid and slowly leant my hand into it. I picked up the snake ever so gently and draped it over my arm. The snake slowly coiled itself around my arm for grip. It wasn't a big snake, more like a corn snake.

"He's brilliant! I've never owned a snake before." I uncoiled the snake and leant him back into the container, replacing the lid. "Thank you very much Fluttershy."

"Oh...you're welcome."

Rarity handed a rectangular box to me. "This is for you darling." I opened the box to reveal a pair of hand-crafted shoes. Hard soles as well.

"Beautiful. I really need these. Thanks!"

Twilight then rose to her hooves and uncovered a small box. "This is my gift to you but first I want you to write to the Princess." she said.

Remembering what Celestia had said, I quickly grabbed a quill and wrote a message on a piece of parchment. I gave it to Spike who sent it off with his flames.

Not soon after, a return letter came stating that Luna was ready. "Good. Happy Hearth's Warming Owen." She handed me a small box. I opened it up to reveal a gem the same colour as Luna. Pulling it out, I admired it well.

"Thanks Twilight. It's the same colour as Luna."

"That's not all." I turned my head to her. "Speak to it."

"I'm sorry?"

"Introduce yourself." she said with a smile.

What the hell is she on about? Had she finally gone off the deep end? Nevertheless, I brought the gem to my face and stared at it.

"Uhh...hello?" I said.

"Owen?"

"HUH?" I said, surprised by the response. But I knew the voice. "Luna?"

"Yes, it's me. Can you hear me?"

"Yeah I can...Twilight, what is this?"

"That gem has been magically enchanted so that you two can keep in contact with each other, no matter where you are."

That got me. I felt my eyes well up as it sunk in. I leant down and embraced Twilight in a hug. "This is the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me." Realising I'm just praising Twilight, I look back at the group. "All of you. Your gifts mean everything to me. I can't thank you enough." I wipe a tear away as I finish talking.

"That was very moving my love. Twilight, I thank you for this gift. It truly is a wonderous thing."

"You are most welcome Princess."

"Owen. Please enjoy the rest of your day. I will speak with you later this evening."

"Yeah of course. I'll speak to you later. I love you."

"I love you too."

"Tap the gem twice to end communication." I did so and Luna's background noise ceased. "If you want to talk to her, tap it twice and wait for her response. If she will try to contact you, the gem will emit a beep until you answer it."

"Got it. Thanks for this Twilight. This will really help." I looked back at the group who were smiling at me. I nodded towards the sugary monstrosity that was positioned out of the way.

"Who wants cake?!"


It was long after everyone had left. Me, Twilight and Spike were cleaning up the mess, left by the girls. I decided to strike up a conversation.

"I still can't believe we ate the whole thing. Seriously, I've never eaten that much chocolate in my life." I said, picking up a few stray bits of paper.

"It's a special day. It's good to let go once in a while." Spike replied.

"Exactly. And it was delicious!" Twilight added.

After about half an hour of cleaning, it was 9PM. "I don't know about you, but I am beat. I'm gonna head up to bed if you don't mind." I said.

"Of course not. It's been a busy day." Twilight replied.

"Yeah it has. Once again, thanks so much for the gifts guys."

"No problem!" both Spike and Twilight said.

I retired to my room, where I had put all of my gifts from earlier. My pet snake was positioned on the chest of drawers along with my Luna gem. I placed the crystal ponies (PUN INTENDED) on the windowsill so that they glistened in the moonlight. I placed my certificate, the jam and the cider in my cupboard, waiting for the day I use them.

Thinking back, it's been an amazing day. I wake up with my lover after an AMAZING night. I spend the day with my closest friends giving and receiving gifts. Then we spent the afternoon playing games and eating cake! Pretty good day if you ask me!

I lay down on my bed and closed my eyes. I knew sleep would come to me easily, especially after a day like today. It wouldn't take too long to--

*BEEP*

Actually, that would be nice right now. I picked up the gem and tapped it twice. "Hello?"

"Hello dear. Are you free right now?"

"I'm always free for you. So...how was your day?"

*A/N* - Well, there you go. This has been my longest chapter so far with over 9K words. It took me a while but I love how this chapter turned out. Next chapter should be up by next weekend.

I also want to thank Chaotic Pony, Ralfil, DrakeDragon13 and shirotora for giving me some helpful ideas with this story. Credit to you guys!

25. Hearth's Warming (Mature Ending)

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Not going to post it here.

Please click HERE for the chapter. Credit to GeodesicDragon for the chapter!

26. Claiming My Reward (Sad Tag)

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*SCREECH*

I try and reach out to push them out of the way. Once again, my hand passes right through them.

"JUST MOVE!"

I close my eyes as the car speeds towards me and I hear the audible thump of an impact. I could never keep my eyes open when this part happened.

Opening my eyes again, I was looking over the bloodied bodies of the adults whilst the baby in the pram started wailing. A crowd of people began to gather and my vision slowly dissipated.


My nightmare once again ceases at the exact same point bringing me back to the awake side of the world. I sit up and rub my eyes with my hands. The room was dimly lit as the sun had just begun to rise.

That was the fifth night in a row that I had lived that scene in my dreams. Each time I would be in a different location but a little closer to the adult couple. I wrapped my arms around my body and hunched forward to regain my composure, letting out a few ragged breaths.

'Why the hell am I seeing this? It's bad to see it once but five times?"

The first time it happened was during my sleep with Luna on the week before Hearth's Warming. I brushed it off as a standard nightmare but every night after Hearth's Warming, I'd have the same nightmare again and again. Every time it got more unbearable to witness as I knew I could do nothing to stop what was going to happen.

*KNOCK KNOCK*

"Owen? Are you awake?"

I wiped my eyes again to get rid of any residue that may have gathered. "Yeah, I'm awake. Come in."

The door opened and Twilight slowly walked in looking concerned. "I heard you whimpering. Are you alright?" she asked, standing next to my bed.

"Just that nightmare again..." I said, sighing heavily afterwards. Twilight stood on her back legs and leant on my bed with her front ones.

"I can help, please. Just tell me what you saw." she asked calmly.

I shook my head and stared back at her. "No Twilight. The things I see are not pleasant. I...I just can't, I'm sorry." I look away from her and stand up from the bed. "Look, no need to worry about it. I'll get up, wash, get dressed and then live today like every other day." I said with a half-hearted smile.

"If you say so. But remember, I'm always avaliable to talk."

"I know Twilight, I know. Thanks." Twilight excused herself from my room as I began to undress. I quickly had a shower and re-dressed myself. I walked downstairs and found that Spike was up as well and he had cooked breakfast for us.

"Morning! Pancakes?" Spike cheerfully offered.

"Wonderful. Thank you very much." I replied with honest truth, taking the plate from his grasp and setting it down on the table. I began munching away on my pancakes, only to look up and see Twilight and Spike both giving me worried looks. "What?"

"It's ruining our sleep you know." Spike said quietly. Twilight gave him a stern look.

"What is?"

"Owen, I didn't want to mention this to you but every night, you say you have these nightmares. Well every night, you make noises in your sleep. Whimpers, sobs, shouting even. One of us has to come into your room and comfort you until you stop." Twilight explained.

I was dumbfounded. "I...really? I do that? I thought it was just in my dreams."

"Those noises are quite real. And it worries both of us that you're suffering." Spike retorted.

I brought my hands to my face and rubbed it, groaning whilst doing so. "I'm sorry. I really didn't know."

"It's alright. Just let us help in any way we can." Twilight offered with a smile.

We finished out breakfasts and cleaned up after ourselves. Looking at the time, it was only 6:30AM. Thinking about it, I realised Luna would still be awake at this time. Walking back into my bedroom, I shut the door and pulled out the purple gem and tapped it twice. Before long, a voice answered.

"Good morning Owen."

"Hey. You had a good night?"

"I suppose. Night court was a tad slow but the night went swiftly. How did you sleep?"

"Oh you know...good." I answered hesitantly. Luna picked up on that.

"What's wrong? You sound worried."

I inhaled and exhaled loudly. "The nightmare. It happened again."

"Are you OK?"

"I...I don't know. It was worse this time. I was right next to them and they still couldn't hear me."

"I'm sorry. I wish I could be there with you right now."

"It's alright. I know you're just about to sleep so I won't keep you waiting." I quickly answered.

"It's OK, I can talk for as long as you want."

"Yeah well...I...I'm s-sorry Luna, I've got to go." I quickly tapped the gem to stop the communication. I had to end it - just talking about it made me remember and my mood was quickly changing to distraught. I set the gem down and huffed quietly.

*BEEP*

I couldn't answer it. I just couldn't talk to her in my state. I quickly gathered my boots, coat and hat and quickly put them on, ignoring the continuous beeping of the gem. I exited the room and walked downstairs.

"Where are you going?" Twilight asked.

"I just need to clear my head. I'll be back later."

"Do you need some company?"

"No. I just need to be alone." I said, opening the door and walking out into the winter air. I was met with a cold wind as I trundled through the snow. I started walking away from the library, uphill, towards the acres. It was there that I knew I could find a place to be alone.


Twilight had her face in yet another book as she was researching for something. Spike walked in carrying a duster in his hand and strolled up to Twilight.

"Heya Twilight. The lab's all dusted." he happily said.

"Hmm? That's great Spike." she replied in a monotone voice.

Spike peered at the book Twilight was reading and began scanning the pages. "Night terrors, nightmares...are you researching this for Owen?" he asked.

"I really want to help him. You could see that he was upset on his way out. I'm trying to find out if there is a solution for his nightmares. Besides..." She turned to him to show bags under her eyes. "I don't think either you or me wants to be woken up in the middle of the night again."

"Oh boy...you can say that again." Spike replied, shuddering at the thought of it. "But how are we gonna help him?" Twilight didn't answer. Her face was one of realisation as she kept reading a sentence in her book over and over. "Twilight?"

"I know just what to do. Spike, take a letter for Princess Luna."


I had walked for about an hour now. An hour, trundling through the thick snow that lay on the grounds of Sweet Apple Acres. The trees were devoid of their fruit, making the area look so much different. After a while, I managed to find an Evergreen tree with a hollowed out section in the bottom.

I crawled into the space and sat down inside. The space was just big enough for me to get into and it left a little space to stretch. The tree above me restricted the light from filtering through.

As I sat there, contemplating my thoughts, the wind blew in through the gaps in the trees, chilling me to the bone. I shufled my clothing closer to me and hugged myself to keep the body heat flowing.

"Why is this happening? Surely there must be a reason for it."

I closed my eyes and tried to think happy thoughts. But all I got was the screech of the car and the thumps of the bodies. No matter what I did, the sounds and memories would not go away. I needed to let go. I needed to vent my frustration.

"WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?!" I screamed, before holding my head with my hands and took long, heavy breaths.

"Because this is part of your reward."

My head jolted upwards at the sound of a voice. It sounded familiar. "Who's there?"

"No-one. I am here. Within you."

"What?" I thought about it for a second before recognising that voice. "It's you isn't it? The one who saved me."

"Once again, I must correct you for it is you who saved me."

"Right...why are you here?" I asked in annoyance.

"To guide you. Do you remember what I told you when we parted before?"

"Um...you thanked me and said I would be rewarded."

"Correct. Are you understanding it?"

"Understanding it? I was given two titles within the royal family and I've had it explained to me. Apart from that, there's nothing more that I know."

"I do not mean that. Do you understand your dreams?"

"My dreams? My..." My anger flared as I realised what it meant. "YOU? These nightmares are your doing?!" I shouted.

"Nightmares? My dear, those are visions of your home world."

"Yeah I can see that. Why do I see those people's deaths? WHY?"

"This is all to help you. When you were in my domain, I examined your very existence. I saw everything. What you see in those nightmares - you will understand eventually. Please try to figure it out."

"What are you talking about? How can this help me - seeing a couple's death over and over? Trying to help me become traumatised? Because that's what it's doing!"

"I'm sorry. I cannot tell you. This is something you have to figure out on your own or with help from a friend."

"Great. So I'll keep having these nightmares until I understand what they mean...fantastic."

"I believe your friend Twilight is trying to help you. Maybe you should accept her help."

"Wait, are you telling me or asking me to accept it?"

The voice chuckled. "And there it is. Good luck Owen."

"Wait!" No answer. The voice in my head ceased talking. "What do you mean? Come back!" Still no answer. "Shit..." I leant back on the base of the tree, thinking about what the voice meant. It was responsible for the nightmares and they were for a reason. It also said that Twilight was trying to help me and I should accept her help.

"I suppose it's right. She's just looking out for me."

"Owen?!"

Someone was calling my name. I didn't answer as I wanted to focus on what the voice said. Like when it said that these nightmares were trying to help me. How can a nightmare help?

"Owen? Come on partner, ah know you're out here."

Now I recognised who it was. Not wanting to worry any of my friends, I slowly crawled out of the tree and stood up with AJ noticing me. "Hey AJ."

"There ya are! What in tarnation are you doing out here by yourself?" she asked, walking up to me.

"I needed to be alone for a while and I figured there'd be no-one out here. How did you know I was here?"

"Ah saw ya walking out here earlier. Ah wanted to let you know that Twi's lookin' for ya."

Maybe I should accept it. "Thanks AJ. Sorry for worrying you."

"Think nothin' of it. Now come on, get back indoors before ya catch somethin'!" she ordered.

"Yes Ma'am!" I saluted. We shared a laugh and I followed AJ back through the acres towards her home. We talked for a while - mainly about how we both were. I kept the nightmare information under my imaginary hat and mentioned how I was loving all of my Hearth's Warming presents. Soon enough, we reached the Apple household.

"Ah got some fresh apple fritters if ya fancy 'em." she asked.

"As much as I'd love to, I better not keep Twilight waiting. You know how she can be." I said with a laugh. I parted with the southern pony and started walking back towards the library.

Walking back through the town, I once again thought about the inner conversation I had with the voice. I was thinking about it so much, I actually started thinking whether I was going mad. Maybe it was my own thoughts saying those things. Maybe my head is just making me hear what I want to hear. Considering my sanity, I dismissed these thoughts as I quite clearly remember talking to the voice in that limbo realm.

I reached the library and walked in, shaking off any loose snow that was on my boots. "Hey Twilight. I'm sorry about earlier but I--" I was cut off by a tackle from the unicorn.

"Where were you? I was worried!" she said loudly, glaring at me.

"Wow, you're strong. I just took a walk and had a think about what's been happening."

"Well...alright." Twilight got up off my body and stood up. "I have good news. I have found a way to help you with these nightmares."

"I accept your help." I quickly say.

"But...you don't know what I'm going to do. Why accept so quickly?"

I thought carefully about what I should say. "Let's say I had an epiphany. I need your help Twilight."

She smiled and put a hoof on my chest. "Thank you. I promise to do my best. Spike?"

Spike entered the room from the kitchen. "Yeah Twilight?"

"Can I trust you to look after the library until tomorrow evening?" she asked.

"Of course Twilight! I can do it!" Spike happily responded.

"Good. Now Owen." she said, turning back to me. "We are taking the train to Canterlot to visit the Princess. I may have found a solution to your problems and the Princess agrees."

"Right...OK then. When do we leave?" I ask.

"Due to the snowfall over the past few nights, the train has to travel at less than half of it's normal speed. We are taking the 8PM train and we should arrive in Canterlot at around Midday the following day." she stated.

"Wow...a fifteen hour journey? Damn..."


The train started it's journey, 8PM on the dot. Me and Twilight had gotten a cabin to ourselves as this train included sleeping berths. They were bunk beds. Reminds me of my childhood. I took the bottom bunk whilst Twilight took the top one. I brought along a Daring Do book to help pass the time.

"So, how are you feeling?" I heard Twilight ask.

"Good I suppose. A tad nervous." Truth be told, I didn't know how I was feeling. I was happy because we were trying to find a solution to my nightmares and that I was going to see Luna again. I was nervous because I knew I would have to talk about it and I really don't want to.

"There's no need to be nervous. I'm sure the Princess will help you as calmly as possible. She knows of how upsetting these nightmares are making you."

"Yeah...but..."

Twilight leant her head over her bunk to look at me. "But what?"

I sat up and stretched my limbs. "I had a conversation with something today. Something that knew about my nightmares."

Twilight hopped down from her bunk and landed on mine. "Something? What do you mean?"

"The voice. The voice spoke to me in my head."

"When did this happen?!" she said with alarm.

"When I went out this morning. The voice said I was seeing these nightmares for a reason but it wouldn't tell me why. It also said it's rewarding me with these nightmares. How can this be a reward?" I explained.

"I'm not sure." she said, bringing a hoof to her mouth. "But the Princess will be able to explain it further."

"I hope so. Because it said that I'll keep having the nightmares until I understand the meaning behind them."

"Understand them? What do you suppose it meant?"

I sighed. "Not a clue. Maybe it's trying to show me something."

Twilight nodded and returned to her bunk. The sound of pages turning filled the room as I lay back down and immersed myself in the Daring Do book.

A couple of hours later, I put down the book and looked out of the window into the night. The train was moving at a very slow pace. Looking out, I saw that the vast fields and trees that illustrated the lands were blanketed in snow. A beautiful sight.

I sat back on my bunk and realised, even though it was only 10PM, I was quite tired. "Hey Twilight. I'm gonna go to sleep. You don't mind do you?"

"Of course not. Have a pleasant rest."

"Thanks." I got under the covers and lay my head on the pillow. "Oh and Twilight? I'm sorry if I start making noises."

She poked her head over the edge into my view - she had a very heartfelt smile. "It's not problem. I don't mind one more night."

"Thanks. Night."

With that, I closed my eyes to hopefully have a peaceful sleep.


I opened my eyes to see that I was in a void of nothing. "Huh? Where am I?" A bright light shone in front of me. The light that looked familiar.

"Hello again."

I grit my teeth. "You. What do you want now?"

"Such anger in your voice. I am preventing your nightmare for tonight. You should sound pleased."

I sighed and rubbed my eyes. "Sorry...I am. And please don't think I'm not grateful for you making me live again. I can't thank you enough for that. It's just these past few nights have been horrible."

"I understand. Please believe that this is for your own good. You will learn a great deal when you understand what the visions mean."

"But how long will that take? I really can't re-live that same dream every night."

"You are close. The Princess will guide you. From her, you will understand."

"You mean it's tomorrow? I'll finally get it tomorrow?"

The light dimmed and the world turned dark again. "This is the last time I will speak with you. I wish you the best but remember this. Although it will make sense to you, you may not like what you see. Farewell Owen, ambassador of the human race."

I felt my eyes begin to droop as I slowly became drowsy, if that was even possible in a dream. "Thank you."


The gentle rocking of the train woke me up. Opening my eyes, I caught sight of light outside. I sat up and stretched my arms and legs before slowly getting off the bed and standing up. I glanced over to where Twilight slept and found her reading once again. She turned to face me and gave a heartfelt smile.

"Good morning Owen. How did you sleep?"

"Brilliantly. No nightmare at all. Did I make any noises last night?" I ask.

"Not to my knowledge. I slept through the night, not waking up once."

"Great! What time is it?" She pointed her hoof at a clock on the wall. "Holy sh...sugar. 11:30? I've slept for over twelve hours!"

"You looked so peaceful so I didn't wake you."

I reached up and pulled Twilight into a small hug. "Thanks Twilight. You're a good friend."

Twilight broke the hug and stared back at me. "The train will be arriving in fifteen minutes. You may want to get dressed."

"Right, right." Following her instruction, I quickly got myself dressed in yesterday's clothes. I mentally cursed myself for forgetting a change of clothing. To be honest, more important things were on my mind. I put on my communication gem around my neck. Rarity had done me a wonderful favour as she fixed a chain around the gem so it could be used as a necklace. "Whatcha reading there?"

"More information about nightmares. Funny really because I never read into in before until now." she replied.

"Well let's hope that the information that you and the Princess found help me."

Before long, the train pulled into Canterlot station and we disembarked the train. When we got off, a couple of armor-clad unicorns approached us.

"Her Highness asked us to escort you to the castle. Please follow us." they both said in unison. Not wanting to disobey their orders, we both followed them whilst they led us through the busy streets of Canterlot. Passing through some of the market stalls, some of the ponies would part like the Red Sea for us to walk through. I still didn't like that. I'd rather be treated like a normal person, not like a higher member of authority.

We soon reached the castle where the guards led us through the windy halls and towards the throne room. At least, that's what I thought. They led us through a side set of doors into a large open room with a few tables and chairs scattered around it.

"Please wait here. The Princess will be with you shortly." one of the guards said before they both exited the room. I turned to Twilight who was examining the room.

"Do you know where we are?" I asked.

"Of course. This is the training chamber. I used to practice my spells in here but judging by the state of the room, I guess it hasn't been used for a while." she said, looking around.

*BEEP*

Both Twilight and I looked down at the beeping gem on my chest. I smiled at Twilight and tapped it twice. "Hey you. I thought you'd be asleep by now."

"I normally would be but something came up. Something important."

"Oh? What's that?"

The door to the room opened up to reveal both Celestia and Luna. "My lover was suffering." Luna said with a smile. I walked over to her and pulled her into a hug. We held the hug for a while before I rested my head on her shoulder.

"I'm sorry about yesterday. I had a bad moment." I glumly said.

"I understand." She broke the hug and looked me in the eyes. "We all have bad moments in our lives. And we are going to help you during yours." She leant forward and planted a kiss on my lips.

"Thank you." I turned to Celestia who was hugging Twilight. "All of you. I really appreciate this."

"It is our pleasure Owen." Celestia replied. She led us to the centre of the room where several cushions were placed in a circle. We all sat down, with me sitting next to Luna. "We understand you are having repetitive nightmares."

The moment that word left her lips, I frowned quite heavily. "Yeah...that's right. You've seen the nightmare haven't you? I remember you looking at it."

"That's correct. It wasn't a happy sight at all." Celestia replied.

"Has anything changed during these nightmares?" Luna asked.

"Well, each time I'm at the same scene but I move a little closer to where it actually happens. But apart from that, it's still the same."

"Is there anything else you can tell us?" Celestia said.

"Tell them about the voice." Twilight interjected.

"The voice?" Luna question.

"Yeah, you know, the voice which spoke to me and fixed time?" The sisters nodded. "Well, yesterday morning, I walked around trying to find a quiet place to be by myself. I needed time alone. It was then that the voice started speaking to me, in my head. It told me that it was responsible for the nightmares and apparently, they are trying to show me something. It also said that I'd keep having these nightmares until I understand why what they are supposed to be showing." The sisters both looked at each other with a worried look. "The last thing it said to me was that the Princess will be able to show me the answer but I won't like what I see. So...that's what I'm hoping you can do."

Luna shuffled on her rump and turned to face me. "Owen. Turn and look at me." I did so. "Why do you think Twilight asked me for help?"

"That answers my next question. She just said 'Princess'. Um...I don't know really." I quietly said.

"Let me explain. Celestia rules the sun and the day whilst I rule the moon and the night. What do most ponies do at night?"

"Um...sleep?"

She nodded. "Yes. Whilst Celestia has powers that can help ponies whilst they are awake, I have powers that can help ponies when they are...?"

"Asleep. You know about dreams!" I said in realisation.

"That's right. If you will allow me, I will see your dream and help you understand what it means."

I nodded vigorously. "I'll do anything. Please, do what you have to."

Luna lowered her horn and pointed it at my forhead. "Sister and Twilight, you may view what I am able to see but you cannot interact." Her horn shone bright and I soon found myself feeling drowsy. My eyes drooped lower and lower and...


(Music)

"Hng...uhhh...huh, what?" I opened my eyes to find I was standing on pavement. I looked around to see that I was here again. Back in the nightmare. "No. NO! Luna?!"

"I'm here!" she called from behind me. I turned around to see her standing there, marvelling of the world around her. "Your world is very different."

I began to panic. "I-I don't want to b-be here!" I shouted at her - ragged breaths making their way out. She pulled me to her body with one of her wings and held me close.

"It's alright, it's OK." She nuzzled my cheek affectionately. "Just remember, this is only a dream."

I stood back from her. "Then why do I feel like I'm here for real? I mean, look!" I stomped my foot on the pavement and it made an audible clack. "I can feel the floor."

"That is my doing. I am able to re-live a creature's dreams as if it were real life. I can also control the dream. Like so." Her horn glowed and the world around us stopped. Trees were frozen in place, birds were stuck in mid-air and leaves were caught in a frozen breeze.

I slowly walked around, looking at the frozen scene. It wasn't long before I bumped into something solid...but there was nothing there. I was on the corner of the road and I could not walk any further. "What is this?"

"We cannot leave the vision of your dream. Only what you see is what we can explore." I nodded and walked back to her. "Do you want me to start the dream?"

I shook my head. "I can't watch it. I never have. I always close my eyes." I nervously said.

Luna put her wing around my shoulder. "Then close your eyes. And hold your hands over your ears. I will watch it."

I did what she asked and waited. This was horrible - knowing my partner was watching the death of two random people. I wanted to stop her but I knew she wanted to help and this was the only way. After a while, she spoke to me in my mind.

"It's OK. I have seen it. If you open your eyes, nothing will happen."

I did so and saw that the dream had reversed a little to show the two people with the pram waiting on the side of the road. I looked back at Luna who looked upset. "I'm sorry you had to see that. I haven't had the guts to watch."

Luna blinked slowly and rested a hoof on my shoulder. "Come with me." she said quietly, almost solemnly. She led me over towards the couple with the pram and stopped about ten feet from them. "I watched what happened and was deeply shocked. That thing you call a car didn't even stop!"

"Yeah, it's called a hit-and-run." I looked at the couple then back at Luna. "What are trying to show me?"

She looked in my eyes. "Owen, please listen. After watching and studying the scene and the humans involved, I understood why you would see this. And the voice was right, I'm sorry but you will not like it."

I placed a hand on her shoulder. "Please Luna. What does it mean?" She took my hand with her hoof and led me over to the couple, stopping in front of the man. "Owen, look at this human." I stood in front of him and looked at him, observing his clothing and his style. "What do you see?"

"Um...he's an average guy. Early twenties, average build. His style's a bit odd, looks kind of 80's."

Luna placed her hoof on my shoulder. "Owen...look closer." I did so and began to observe him more thoroughly. He was quite tall, he had short hair, he had a mole on his neck...

I raised my hand and felt my neck where a large mole has been for most of my life. "Luna..." Luna walked in front of me and summoned a mirror, holding it up next to the man's face so I could see my reflection in it. I looked at my reflection, then at the man, then my reflection again. The similiarities were plentiful. "He...he looks like...me." I said in a whisper.

Luna nodded and put the mirror next to the woman. "Now look at the woman." I did so and examined her. Shorter than the man but something was similar. I looked down and saw that she had large feet. I studied her face and saw she had green eyes...like mine.

I stood back and shook my head - my emotions building. "Luna...wh-who are these people?" It couldn't be what I thought. It just couldn't.

"I know what you are thinking and I'm sorry but your thoughts are correct." She stepped besides me and put a wing on my shoulder. "You know who these people are don't you?"

My bottom lip quivered as I couldn't bring myself to say those words. Those two words. I shut my eyes to prevent the tears from falling but they seeped out through my eyelids. I looked up at Luna and tried my best to hold my emotions inside. "M-my...my pa..." I couldn't do it. The floodgates opened and I held my hands up to my face to cover my tears. I felt Luna pull me close and hold her wings around me.

"You have to say it Owen. You have to speak the truth." she said in a calm tone.

I pulled away from Luna and approached the two adults, looking at both of them. "Mum...Dad..." A smile formed through my teary disposition. I turned to look at the pram to see a very young baby inside, sleeping soundly. Luna walked up to me and peered in the pram, observing the young child.

"You did it. Well done." she said, leaning on my shoulder. "He is adorable isn't he?"

"Y-yeah." I said through ragged breaths.

"There is one more thing you have to do. To fully accept what you have learnt, you have to watch what happens."

I stood up sharply at the absurd request. "WHAT? You want me to watch my parents die?"

"It's not just that! Something else happens that will make you feel respect for those you have lost." she offered. I tried to come up with an excuse not to watch but I knew she would make me. I nodded slowly before she led me back to the pavement. Her horn glowed and the dream started again.

*SCREECH*

There it is. I turned to see the car skidding around a corner at speed. It sped past us at a high speed. I wanted to close my eyes but I knew I had to see this for it to be finally over. I watched as the couple, who were already halfway across the road, saw the oncoming car and realised they were in trouble. There was no time for them to get out of the way so they pushed the pram away at the last second before the car hit them.

I gasped as I watched their bodies topple to the ground whilst the car sped off around the corner. The baby in the pram started crying. So that's what she wanted me to see. I leant my hand on her neck and looked in Luna's eyes.

"They...saved me."

Luna nodded and kissed my forehead. "Now you know. Your parents saved your life at the cost of their own." I nodded slowly and leant my head on hers. "Do you want to go back?" I nodded again. Luna's horn glowed and the world around us faded into white before my eyes drooped and I felt like I was sleeping again.


I opened my eyes to see we were back in the practice room. Twilight and Celestia were both teary as they had viewed what had happened. I looked at Luna who had a proud smile on her face. I leant over to her and embraced her, letting out a few strained sobs.

"Shh, shh, it's OK. It's over." she gently said in my ear. I buried my face in her shoulder, letting out a few muffled sniffs. After a bit, I had stopped the waterworks and leant back from Luna. Celestia and Twilight both walked over and sat in front of me.

"I'm sorry." Twilight said. I stretched over and pulled her close to me, giving her a quick squeeze.

"Thanks." I looked over to Celestia and felt a new wave of emotion, only this time it was of relief and joy. "Are you alright?" I ask her.

"I'm fine. I'm sorry for what you saw." she offered.

"Thank you." I said, wiping away my flooded eyes. "To be honest...I'm relieved. This is what the voice rewarded me with. I know about my real parents and what they did for me and I feel closer to my friends because they cared about me in my time of need." The ponies before me all gave huge smiles as a response from my praise. But there was one more thing I needed to say...but it needed to be in private.

"I will have the chefs prepare us a lunch." Celestia said as she rose. We all got up from our seated positions and walked out of the room. Twilight started a conversation with Luna and they both walked ahead from me and Celestia. Perfect. "I am glad that you have uncovered the truth...but I feel sorrow for what happened."

I stopped and sighed, causing Celestia to stop and turn around. Luna and Twilight were oblivious and kept walking. "I didn't want to say this in front of Luna because I felt you would understand more. I am happy that I know this but...I just can't help but feel upset that I know I'll never be able to thank my parents for what they did. If only I could just talk to them...just once."

Celestia opened a door and motioned for me walk inside. I did so and she walked in behind me, shutting the door. "I can tell you are hiding something." she said with a neutral look.

I shuffled my feet and rubbed my eyes. I looked at up at Celestia and found the courage to say it. "Celestia, ever since I came to this world, you have always been there for me. You help me in my time of need, you always know the things to say, you accepted me into this world like I was an Equestrian. You even risked your life to save mine and everyone else's. All of these things you do for me, I feel this bond with you. This...strong bond that I've just realised what it means."

I stop and think about what to say next. "I suppose after all this time, I see you as this kind of...protector. Someone who will always have my back and who will always help and protect me. Something a family member would do. Something...a mother would do. Do you see what I'm saying?"

Celestia nodded and smiled at me. "I do. You see me as an authority figure in your life. A mother figure."

"Yeah...I hope that doesn't sound weird." She laughed softly. "It does, doesn't it? Look forget I said anything." I began to walk away from her, only to be levitated by her magic so I was placed in front of her.

"Owen, that is not weird at all. I know how you feel and I applaud you for admitting your feelings to me." She stretched her wing out and draped it over my shoulder, setting me to the ground. "Everything you've done, the friends you've made, how you have made my sister feel, your sacrifices, your technology, the goals you have achieved here. Owen, I'd be proud to call you my son."

I leant towards Celestia and put my arms around her frame. My eyes began to tear up again at her kind words. "That's one of the most sweetest things anyone has ever said to me."

"Why don't you talk to me like that anymore, sister?"

"HUH?!" I looked down to see that the gem was still glowing. "I didn't turn it off earlier...she heard everything."
"Yes I did. I think what you both said was very moving."

I looked at Celestia who burst out laughing, which caused a chain reaction with both me and Luna. After we stopped belly laughing, we walked out of the room and made our way towards the dining area. "Come on Owen. I can just taste those pastries." Celestia said, drooling.

"Sure. Hold on." I tapped the gem twice and looked at Celestia. "Just to be sure."

*A/N* - This was my first time at attempting a sad chapter. Don't worry, there won't be any more like this...for now. Hope you all enjoyed it!

27. A Night With A Friend

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*2 Months Later*

"Then after that...it was...oh yeah, back to the club." I scribbled it down and tapped my chin with the pencil. "Then...me and Luna began seeing each other regularly. Twice a week. Could be more if it wasn't for her royal duties."

Twilight had suggested that I keep a log of things I have done since living in Equestria. It's been six months now so this notebook was filling up. Twilight had helped me remember some of the things I had done when I first got here, such as introductions, the dinner out and so forth. I had drawn out a grid to list my past activites.

"Next line, January 14th...umm...Twilight, help me out here."

"Your pet, perhaps?" she offered, lifting her gaze from her book.

"Ah, yeah of course. Shame about that really." I wrote that down, thinking back to the day. I had a bit of trouble looking after the snake - I'd never looked after one before. After getting some hints from Fluttershy, I tried out the new ideas but the snake was a little aggressive. He actually managed to bite me one time! After more talks with the animal caretaker, we both agreed that I didn't have the right skills to look after such a creature so I glumly gave him back to Fluttershy, who praised me for trying. One day I'll try again but it's something that I won't obsess over.

"Do you ever want him back?" Twilight asked.

"Can't happen. I think Fluttershy released him back into the Everfree. Right, next week." I continued writing down my activites from the previous couple of months. Everything from Pinkie's New Year's party to helping out Applejack when she sprained her hoof. Soon enough, I was at the last week.

"I'm sure you don't need any help remembering what happened in the past seven days." she said with a smirk.

"Too right!" I began to write down the events of Winter Wrap-Up. It was one of the most bizarre, yet amazing, spectacles I had ever seen. I mean, the whole idea about it is ludicrous but it makes sense since the weather is controlled here, not like on Earth. I did offer to help out but...well, let's just say I can't ice skate and my artistic skills are absolute zero. Nearly every pony in town was helping out with the annual clean up. Ice was skated on so it could melt quicker, bird nests were constructed for the birds flying back from the south, waking all the animals from hibernation - it was a busy day. But thanks to Twilight's job as 'All-Team Organiser', everything went smoothly. I was told what happened last year and that did not sound pretty at all.

"OK. All done." I closed the notepad and set the pencil down, looking over to Twilight. "I've got work in a little bit but do you need any help around here before I go?"

"Thank you but no, I should be fine. I suppose it is a little busy with Spike being away in Canterlot but I'm sure I can manage. You do what you need to." she replied.

I walked up to Twilight and rested a hand on her shoulder. "You're too kind, you know that?" Twilight turned her head and blushed at my statement. "Don't work yourself too hard alright?"

"Oh please, when do I ever work myself too..." A questionable look from me stopped her md-sentence. "OK, maybe I do. But I won't this time!" she stated, stomping her hoof in emphasis. Rainbow had enlightened me of an incident, before I arrived here, where Twilight fretted over not sending a report to Celestia. When I heard that, it made my day.

"Good." I said with a nod. "If you do end up working too much and can't sleep, just use that spell you used on me. I'm sure that'll work." Twilight nodded at my words. I walked upstairs and went into my bedroom, undressing myself to change. I ended up putting on a navy blue t-shirt, black trousers and a light jacket.

Walking back downstairs, I glanced at the clock which read 4PM. The club opened at 6PM. "Shouldn't be a late one tonight, should be out of there by eleven. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Wait!" I turned around. "Don't forget that a rain storm is scheduled for tonight. Rainbow told me it would start at 11:30."

"Thanks Twilight. I'm sure I'll be back before then. See ya!" With that, I exited the library and made my way through the town. The wind was still a little cold but it the weather was gradually getting warmer every day. Even in these cold times, the club was as busy as ever. Ponies would queue outside for up to an hour to get it - all the time standing in the cold.

After a good fifteen minute walk through the town, I reached the club and walked inside, greeting the staff on my way in. All the regulars were there, except for Minute of course. It seemed strange without him there but I remember why he was there in the first place and all thoughts of him are pushed away.

"Owen! Half an hour early, I like it." said a pleased white unicorn.

"Oh hey Vinyl. Yeah, I thought I'd come sooner as Twilight's studying...again."

"That mare never takes a break does she? Hey, by the way. Can you just work on bar tonight? I'm putting Cherry through the bouncer routine."

"Sure, no problem. As long as I...we can get out of here before the rain hits, we should be alright."

"I'd imagine that everypony will do the same so it'll be a quiet night...quiet as in, you know what I mean!" she said, rolling her eyes.

I chuckled at her word stumble. "Good. Right, I'll go and stock up."

After an hour and a bit, the doors opened up and the ponies started piling in. There wasn't that many so I could see this was going to be an easy night. After working here for four months, bartending has become second nature to me. Also, sometimes Vinyl lets the staff have a sneaky drink whilst they work. Best boss ever!


*10:30 PM*

There were only a few ponies left now and the club started to die down. The music was a little quieter and ponies were just generally talking. There were a few on the dancefloor and there was one particular pony at the bar. One who has had...well, to say he's had a few drinks would be a huge understatement.

"And...then s-she chucked me out. W-w-why'd she do that, huh?" the unicorn stallion slurred, waving an empty bottle at me.

"Did you treat her right?" I asked sincerely.

The stallion gave me an incredulous look. "Of course!" he said, slamming his hoof on the bar. "I gave her the *urp* best years of my life and what does she do? Huh?!" He swigs the last of his beer and sets the bottle down. "Give me another."

I shook my head. "I can't. You've had way too much and I think, judging by your current state, if you have one more drink, you're gonna collapse and I'm gonna have to be the one to carry you home. And I really don't want that." I explained.

The unicorn levitated the empty bottle and held it completely immobile for at least ten seconds. "See! I can h-h-hold my drink...see what I said there? Ahaha...now give me another."

"No can do. Now go on, get yourself home before you hurt yourself." I offered with a smile.

The unicorn stood up shakily and gave me a mean look. "Fine! Then I shall take my...business elsewhere. G-good day Sir!" he said before turning around to walk away. I heard laughing from the door and saw Cherry giggling at the situation. I responded by shrugging my shoulders and laughing as well.

I turned away from the counter and went back to re-stocking the fridge with a variety of beers and alcoholic drinks. After a while, I heard someone clear their throat behind me. "Be with you in just a second!" I called out. I put the last beer away and stood up. "Sorry about that. Now, how can I help--"

*THUNK*

"ARGH!" I fell to the floor as something hard collided with my face, right between the eyes on the bridge of my nose. The pain was excrutiating. I closed my eyes and held my hands to my face to protect me from anything else but I was mainly focused on how much this hurt! I overheard shouting from in front of the bar.

"What happened here?" That was Vinyl.

"That unicorn threw a bottle at Owen!" At least Cherry can verify it.

"I did no such th-thing!" Yep, that's the drunken idiot.

"Weight! Hold him down!" I heard a few thumps. "Cherry. Go and alert a guard."

"Get off me!" Weight must have him pinned. He's good at that. I still remained on the floor, wincing from the pain. A couple of hooves were felt on my side.

"Owen, are you alright?" I shook my head slowly and hissed as another wave of pain hit me. "Come on big guy, sit up for me." I did so and rested my head on the fridge behind me. "Take your hands down a second."

I did so and opened my eyes. Vinyl had discarded her shades and was looking over my face with concern. "How does it look?"

"Where did it hit you?"

"Right here." I pointed to the section of my face. "Right between my eyes, on the bridge of my nose." I felt around the hit area and it did hurt a bit. Feeling the bones, I could tell that nothing was broken. "Nothing's broken."

"How do you know that?" she asked with confusion.

"I've broken my nose before. Got in a fight..." Vinyl laughed softly and shook her head. "How does it look?"

"Looks a bit red but there's no cuts. You OK to stand?" She offered her hoof to help me up which I accepted, pulling myself off the floor. "Well look at you! Attacked by a bottle and still standing...even smiling!"

I didn't realise I was smiling. "It's because you helped me. You stopped the attacker and then came straight to me. Thank you."

Before we continued talking, Cherry walked in with a guard. The guard walked over to us and looked at the unicorn on the ground. "Is this the perpetrator?"

"Sure is! He attacked one of my employees after he refused to serve him." Vinyl explained, motioning towards me.

"And why would you not serve him?" the guard asked.

"Because he was too drunk. I felt obligated to stop him from drinking himself unconscious." The guard walked up to me and examined my face. "You can see where the bottle hit me."

The guard nodded and walked over to where Weight had the unicorn pinned. "I will take him from here." Weight lifted the unicorn up, who had since fallen asleep. The guard took him out of the door and that was the last we heard of them.

"Never a dull moment with you around, eh?" Vinyl said, jabbing my side with her hoof.

"Let's just hope that future events are happy ones then."

"How are you feeling?" she asks with a hint of concern.

"To be honest, I'm alright. Just a little headache. I'm still good to work."

Vinyl gave me a questionable look. "Only if you're sure."

"It's no problem. It's only another half hour anyway."

"Alright then. Just let me know if you need anything." Vinyl walked away, back to her mixing deck. She began to turn everything off as all of the ponies had left, following the fiasco.

I went back to work cleaning the bar and helping where it was needed. I got a few more 'Are you alright?' from Cherry and Weight but I explained I was fine.



After a while, Vinyl gathered us up. "Great work tonight guys." Vinyl looked at me. "Sorry about your little incident."

"There's no need for you to apologise. Besides, it was that fu--"

*CRACK* *BOOM*

"Holy sh...." The sudden lightning and thunder caught us all off guard. "Wait...aw no! No, no, no!" I ran to the window and peeked outside. Sure enough, it was..."Raining. What time is it?"

"11:45." Cherry answered.

I leant my head against the window frame. "Damn it. Twilight told me there was a storm tonight. Now I'm gonna get soaked."

"You and everyone else. Right everypony, gather up your things and let's get outta here." Vinyl instructed. We all went to the back room to collect coats, umbrellas, bags and so forth. I put on my coat and hat and shook my head at the impending run home.

We all walked back to the front door and walked out, with Vinyl locking it behind us. She looked around to see the immense downpour that was in motion. The noise was incredible. "Good luck everypony! Goodnight!" she said, before running off into the rain.

I looked at the others who were staring at the rain. "Well, might as well get it over and done with. See ya later!" I called as I ran out of the shelter and into the torrential rain. It was horrible. The rain was cold, the ground was muddy and my clothes were getting filthy and soggy.

'If I run, I can get home in about five minutes.'

That was all the motivation I needed. I continued running through the town, getting soaked throughout. After about five minutes of running, the library came into view. With my destination, in view, I picked up the pace and before I knew it, I was at the front door. I turned the handle and pushed but the door wouldn't budge.

"Huh, she locked it. Guess she decided to sleep after all." I put my hand in my pocket to get out my key....only to stumble across a small problem. "OK, where is it?" I started frantically searching for my key in every pocket of my clothing, with it still getting more and more wet as the rain continued to pour. "COME ON! WHERE IS IT?" I started to try and think about where it could be after not finding it in my pocket.

"It's not here and it's not there, then...oh no." My bedside table. I hammered on the door. "TWILIGHT! TWILIGHT, LET ME IN!" I kept banging but she never came down. "TWILIGHT! TWI...damn it! She used that spell! Me and my fucking big mouth!" I cursed out loud.

Knowing that the library was impenetrable, I knew I had to find somewhere else to try and stay for the night. The closest resident would be Pinkie. I ran back out towards the centre of town. By now, my clothes had soaked through and it was making me shiver. Continuing my run, now slowed to a jog, I soon came across Sugarcube Corner. I reached the door and raised my fist to knock but stopped.

Did I really want to wake up Mr and Mrs Cake and Pinkie Pie just so I can find a place to sleep for the night? They run this place all day so they must be worn out by the end of it. My good senses stopped me from knocking and I set off towards another building.

'I know she would say yes but I can't wake up Pinkie Pie. She'd never go back to sleep!'

Thinking of who was next closest, and most likely to let me in, I immediately thought of the perfect pony. I started jogging again, this time towards the outskirts of town. Jogging up a hill, over a small bridge and down a winding path, I soon came across the small cottage. I stopped to catch my breath and raised my fist, knocking it on the door three times.

No answer. I knocked again, louder this time. "Fluttershy! If you're in there, please answer the door! It's Owen!" Still no answer. Another flash of lightning and a crack of thunder sounded loudly which scared the living crap out of me. I started hammering on the door. "FLUTTERSHY! PLEASE!"

Still nothing. Knowing it was pointless and that I had probably scared her beyond her limit, I slowly began to walk back towards the small bridge. Maybe I can shelter under there for the--

"Owen?"

Oh, that sweet, sweet voice of an angel. I turned back around to see Fluttershy standing in her doorway in a nightgown. Must admit, she looked cuter than usual. I walked back to her and sighed heavily.

"Sorry for waking you but I'm locked out of the library and I have nowhere to stay. Would it be alright if I slept on your sofa for tonight?"

Fluttershy shuffled her hooves a little before looking back up to me. "OK...please wipe your feet." she said quietly. Salvation! I slowly walked in, wiping my feet as instructed, before closing the door behind me. The warmth of her home quickly gave me a hot flush. I heard Fluttershy gasp as she looked me over. "Oh my! How long have you been out there?"

"About half an hour." I said, spitting some water out of my mouth which had dripped down from my hair. She took to the air and began to take off my coat.

"Let me take that for you. You must be so cold!" she exclaimed. I took off my coat and she gladly took it, hanging it up over her window. She then noticed that the rest of me was soaked through. "Wait right there." She flew out of the room and I was left standing there, dripping water all over her floor. I kind of felt guilty that I had woken her and made a mess. She returned to the room and grabbed my hand with her hoof. "Come with me."

She led me through her hallway towards a room at the end. Getting closer, I could hear water running. Walking into the room, I saw that it was a bathroom and her bathtub was filling with hot water and foam. "The best cure for being out in the rain is a nice hot bath."

"You sure?" She gave me a bit of a stare. "OK. I believe you. Just...don't use that stare, it's a bit...scary."

She giggled and handed me a large towel, before leaving the bathroom. The tub had filled up quickly so I turned it off and felt the temperature. Undressing myself, I grimaced at how my clothes came off. They stuck to my skin and they were freezing cold. Finally naked, I stepped into the bath and sat down. Oh, how nice it was. Even though the bath was too big for me, I managed to sit down in it with my knees bent.

The thunder and lightning boomed and flashed outside as the storm raged on. None of that mattered now. I was lost in the tranquility of this beautifully warm embrace with water. I soaked myself in the warm water, also scrubbing myself with some of the various shampoos and soaps that Fluttershy had around her bathtub.

Soon enough, I got out of the bath and dried myself. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I exited the bathroom with the pile of wet clothes. Walking back into the living, I caught my breath at the sight before me. Fluttershy had set out a bed for me by combining her two sofas into a kind of couch-bed. She had lit her fireplace and set up a clothes line near it. She saw my clothes flew to me, taking them off me and then she started hanging them up!

"Fluttershy, you don't need to do that. I can do it." I walked up to help her but she stopped me with her hoof.

"It's OK. I don't mind. How was your bath?" she asked with a smile.

"You were right. I feel much better." I looked at the bed again and thought how generous she has been. "Thanks again Fluttershy. I really appreciate this."

A blush appeared on her cheeks as she finished hanging up the last piece of clothing. "Oh it's nothing, really...I, um..."

I walked up to where she was hovering and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you." She returned the hug at full strength. I really like having her has a friend, she's always helpful, kind and caring. She broke the hug and looked at the makeshift bed.

"Will this be comfortable for you?"

"Let's find out." I sat down on the sofas and lay down on them, putting myself under the covers. "Oh, ohhhh. Yes, this'll be fine." I sat up and saw Fluttershy laughing.

"You're funny." she said, slowing her laughter down. "I can make you a hot drink...if you want one that is..."

"Oh no, I couldn't possibly ask you to--"

"It's not a problem. I'll join you if you have one."

"Then sure. That'll be great." She took off into the kitchen. I couldn't believe how kind she was being. She soon returned with a tray in her mouth. On those trays sat two mugs of steaming brown liquid. I took the tray from her mouth and set it down. I took one mug and she took the other. She looked around for a seat but noticed I was laying on them both.

"I'll just...sit here." she said, landing on the wooden floor, sitting down on it.

I shook my head and patted the side next to me. "Nonsense. Come and sit up here." She looked a bit uneasy. "I don't bite, I promise." I said, holding up my hand.

She giggled and gingerly stepped up onto the makeshift bed, sitting herself down next to me. I took a sip of what I thought would be tea but was caught off guard by a sweet drink. "Mmm...nice hot chocolate."

She took a sip herself and nodded in agreement. "Rarity bought me this from Canterlot. She said it was the best around."

"Well I have to agree with her." I took another sip and leant back, reaching my arm around Fluttershy's shoulders and bringing her close to me. "You don't have to stay up for me. You can go back to bed if you want."

She looked where my hand was and then back at me, before scooching herself closer and resting her head on my arm. "I know. It's just...I don't normally get visitors and it's nice when I do."

*CRACK* *BOOM*

"EEP!" Fluttershy quickly cowered at the sound of the thunder and huddled closer to me. I kept my arm around her.

"You OK?" She raised her head again and looked around carefully. "I used to be scared of storms as well. When I was younger I was petrified of them. Now I just see them as a light show." I say with a smile, which in turn causes her to smile at me. A couple more flashes show causing Fluttershy to duck for the impending thunder. It didn't come. "Huh, strange. Maybe the storm's dying down."

We stayed that way for a while. Fluttershy kept herself low to avoid being startled by the flashes. I remained sat up, relaxing in the makeshift bed.

"You know, I'm glad I came here. I was thinking about asking Pinkie but I didn't want to wake the Cakes. Also, I think she would have kept me up all night. And she would have never treated me like you did. Well, maybe, I don't know. She confuses me that girl. Do you ever understand all the crazy things she does?"

No reply.

"Fluttershy?" I looked down to see she had fallen asleep, using the side of my chest as a pillow. I fought the urge to wake her and let her sleep. "I wonder why you haven't got a partner. You'd be perfect for anyone. Kind, caring and friendly as hell." I got light snores as a reply. I chuckled and gently lay down, trying not to move Fluttershy. As I got myself comfortable, Fluttershy shuffled her body and moved her head onto the top of my chest, with her front legs dangling over me. "Guess I'll be your pillow for tonight then. I owe you that I suppose." I yawned quietly and lay my head back down. "Goodnight."


Morning came too quickly. Then again, I didn't go to sleep until around one-ish. Waking up, I was a bit disorientated as my bedroom didn't look the same. A small shuffle from my side revealed that Fluttershy was sleeping next to me, curled up in my arm. Not knowing what time it was, I set my head back down and relaxed in the bed. I tell you something, I never knew sofas could be comfortable. I yawned loudly which caused Fluttershy to stir.

"Mmm..." she groaned as she stretched. She raised her head and opened her eyes. "Hmm? This isn't my bedroom."

"Morning." I casually said. She sharply turned her head to look at the source of the voice and her eyes widened.

"Um...good morning." She looked around, noticing the still burning fire and my clothes hanging up. "Did you sleep well?"

"Sure did. The sofa was amazingly comfy. Did you?"

"Um...yes. Why am I sleeping in here though?"

I chuckled and sat up. "You made some hot chocolate last night and we sat and talked for a while. You fell asleep, using my chest as a pillow. You looked so peaceful so I didn't want to disturb you."

"Oh, well...thank you." She stood up and gently descended from the bed before walking over to my clothes and giving them a feel. "All dry. Sorry they're not clean."

"There's no need to apologise. I can't thank you enough for helping me out last night." I said, slowly getting out of the bed, holding the towel against my private region. "I'll just get dressed, I'll help you clean up and I'll be out of your hair."

"Oh, you don't need to clean. I can do it..."

I held a hand up to stop her. "I insist. It's the least I can do to repay you." Fluttershy nodded and smiled before she left the room to give me some privacy. I gave the clothes a feel over and she was right, they were completely dry. Thank you fire. I quickly got dressed and the heat of the clothes immediately warmed me up. I folded up the covers from the bed and set them down neatly, before moving the sofas back to their original positions. I walked into the kitchen to see Fluttershy chopping up some vegetables.

"I've cleaned up in there and put your sofas back. Did you need any help in here?"

"Oh no. I have everything under control. Um...Angel doesn't like it when other ponies prepare his food." she said meekly as I felt a tap on my leg. Looking down, I saw said rabbit giving me a stare. He nodded his head at me and hopped away. "See? He agrees."

"Well then, if you're absolutely sure you don't need any help, I guess I'll head back to the library. Twilight's probably wondering where I've got to."

"Oh I'm sure, thank you. Um...give my best to Twilight."

"I will do. Thanks again!" I said as I opened up her front door and walked out. Outside, the extent of the storm was visible. Large puddles were everywhere and many trees and bushes' leaves had been blown off. I started my walk back towards the library. I still could not believe that I forgot my key. But at least I had a friend to count on.

I reached the library and knocked on the door three times. It opened almost instantaneously, revealing a worried looking Twilight.

"There you are!" She looked over my trousers which were covered in dried dirt and mud. "What happened to you?"

I walked in and she shut the door behind me. "Long story short - I forgot my key and couldn't get in last night. I managed to sleep at Fluttershy's last night."

"Why didn't you knock? I could have let you in."

"Did you use that spell on yourself?" She opened her mouth to speak but then closed it as she remember what she did. "That's why. Did you sleep alright?"

"Um...yeah." she said, rubbing the back of her head with her hoof. "How did you get Fluttershy to open the door in the middle of the night?"

"I kept banging and banging on her door. I gave up and walked away but she called me back. I'm glad she did because she did so many kind things for me. She ran me a bath, made up a bed for me on her sofa, hung up my clothes to dry and made me a hot drink."

"Well she is the Element of Kindness." Twilight stated.

"Indeed she is. You know, it was quite cute." I chuckled. "She sat with me whilst we drank our hot chocolates and ended up falling asleep on my chest." Twilight laughed softly. "But anyway, she told me to say hi to you from her."

"That's nice of her. I'll make us some breakfast." She began to walk away but stopped abruptly. "Oh. A scroll arrived for you this morning." she said, levitating a sealed scroll to me.

"Thanks." I began to unroll it. "From Celestia or Luna maybe...Luna's got the gem so it's probably Celestia." I began to read.

Dear Owen,

I have come across a spell which may be of some use to you. I will come to Ponyville tomorrow afternoon to inform you of it.

Yours Faithfully
Princess Celestia

P.S. Luna knows you're hiding her favourite quill. Hide it well!

"Oh bugger." I snorted and laughed at Celestia's extra message.

"What's wrong?" Twilight asked.

"Luna knows I've hidden her favourite quill. I've got to find another place to hide it!" I said, trying not to laugh.

"Why would you do that?"

"Payback. She hid my Ipod from me for three weeks as a joke. Now it's my turn." Twilight shook her head and walked back into the kitchen. "Oh, and Celestia said she's coming here tomorrow afternoon."

*SMASH*

"Think you dropped something."

28. Slander! Lies!

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Chowing down on my morning meal, I laughed to myself observing Twilight rushing around the library cleaning anything and everything. Ever since I told her yesterday that Celestia was visiting, she took it upon herself to do a thorough clean of her home.

"You sure you don't want any help?" I ask.

Twilight stopped mid-step and turned her head to face me. "NO!...I mean, no thank you. I have everything under control. All I have to do is dust the bookshelves, re-organize the section on Equestrian History, I have to move the--"

"Hey, whoa there." I said, standing up and walking over to the frantic unicorn. I knelt down so that I was eye-to-eye with her. "Celestia just coming to visit, she's not doing an inspection. She knows how hard you study and I'm pretty sure she knows how messy a student's work area can get." I put my hand on her shoulder. "Just calm down for me, OK? If you want to clean, then I'm not gonna stop you but you don't need to be so frantic about it, alright?"

Twilight breathed in and out heavily and shook her head a little. "OK...it's just I always get nervous when Celestia wants to visit me. It's always something really important."

"Well, to be honest Twilight, it's not you she's coming to see. It's me."

Twilight's eyes widened as she gazed at me. "The Princess is coming here NOT to visit me?" she asked.

"Well the letter said she has come across a spell which be of use to me. That's why she's coming."

"Oh...OK." Twilight huffed to herself and continued her cleaning. Something bugged me about her reaction but I was sure that she would perk up once her mentor arrives here.

I finished my breakfast and washed the plate up. I started helping Twilight clean before a distinct noise caught my attention. It was like a small beeping noise.

"Ah, that's the gem. I'll be back in a minute." I quickly darted upstairs and into my room, picking up the noisy jewel and tapping it twice. "Hey you. Thought you'd be asleep by now."

"..."

"Luna?"

"I need to talk to you. Face to face. I will be arriving with my sister this afternoon."

"Uhh...sure. What's with--"

The talk was cut off as the gem stopped communicating. I tapped the gem twice to re-establish the contact. No reply. I set the gem back on the counter and wondered what just happened.

"I don't get it. She sounded angry. With me maybe?" I pondered, tapping the counter with my fingers to concentrate. Shaking my head, I put the gem necklace around my neck and went back downstairs to see Twilight had sat down, stopping her OCD cleaning.

"Something wrong?"

My facial expression could clearly show I was confused. "Yeah. Luna said she wanted to talk to me in person and she said she's coming this afternoon with Celestia. And she sounded a bit...angry. Then before I could respond, she cut the communication."

"Did you do anything to anger her?"

"Not that I can..." I smacked my head as it dawned on me. "The quill. Damn it."

"Are you going to give it back?" Twilight asked.

"Yeah I will. It's been two weeks so it's been long enough." I looked at the clock on the wall and examined the time. "Giving it's only eleven, they won't be here for another couple of hours so I'm gonna go for a walk. Do you need anything from the market?"

"If you could pick up some tomatoes, that'd be a great help."

"Tomatoes, right." I put on my shoes and coat and walked out of the library into the warm Spring morning. I made my way into the town. But something seemed off. Many of the ponies were giving me a harsh glare as I walked past them. I waved hello to some of them but they simply turned their noses up at me.

Soon enough, I came into the market which was heaving with ponies. Walking through, many conversations dulled when I was in close proximity. Something was wrong and I had a hunch it was something to do with me.

"...how could he do that to the Princess?"

"Just like any other stallion."

That piqued my interest. I turned my head to the two ponies in conversation who quickly shut up as they noticed me looking at them. "What are you two talking about?" I said to them. They both stayed silent and continued to stare at me. "Come on. Why are you talking about me?" I turned around to view all the other ponies. "Why is everyone avoiding me?"

The ponies remained silent and started to walk away. I shook my head in disbelief at the situation, just what the hell was going on? I walked up to the tomato vendor and smiled at him. "Good morning. Can I have a dozen tomatoes, please."

The stallion huffed at me before reaching into his basket and pulling out the tomatoes, setting them down on the counter with a little force. I put the correct amount of bits on the counter and he took them quickly, still glaring at me.

"Thank you." I said, gathering up my produce.

"You're a disgrace."

"What?!"

The stallion turned around and remained silent. That was it. This was starting to really piss me off. "Alright! Just what have I done to make everyone angry at me? Just why--" I stopped mid-sentence as I caught sight of a butter-yellow pegasus staring at me with teary eyes. "Fluttershy, you OK?"

She quivered her lip before running off at a high speed. "Wait!" The ponies surrounding me tutted and I heard some of their remarks.

"Disgraceful."

"How awful."

"I think she's quite pretty."

I didn't have a fucking clue what was going on so I quickly ran back to library, holding onto the red fruits as tight as I could. Why were they angry? Did I do something wrong? I reached the library and barged inside, slamming the door behind me.

"Excuse me! I do hope you know that...Owen?" I started pacing around the library. "What's wrong?"

"Have I done something illegal in the past two days?"

"Huh? What do you mean?" she asks in confusion.

"I went out. Ponies were avoiding me and talking about behind my back. Some of them called me disgraceful. Have I done anything that bad in the past few days?"

"No, of course not. Well, that I know of."

"See, this is confusing and worrying now. Luna said that she wants to talk to me face to face, she sounded angry and now ponies are avoiding me and bad-mouthing me. Even Fluttershy ran away from me! What the hell..." I said, slumping onto a cushion and sighing. Twilight walked over and sat down with me.

"Do you think this is about the quill?"

"The quill?" Could it? "I wouldn't think so. Would it really be that bad, that she'd tell every creature in Equestria about it?"

"You know Princess Luna's temper better than I. The question is, do YOU think she would make a big deal about it?"

I thought for a moment. I really didn't want to imagine that Luna would freak out over something like this but it does make sense. One of the ponies in town did say 'how could he do that to the Princess'. "I hope not...but it looks possible." I put my head in my hands. "Oh man...I've really made her angry."

Twilight set a hoof on my shoulder. "Come on now. I'm sure this is a big misunderstanding. When the Princesses get here later, talk to Luna alone and find out what the problem is. I'm certain it'll be alright."

I nodded slowly and tapped her hoof. "Sure. That's a good plan. I'll just..." I got up onto my feet. "...go and wait upstairs." I slowly walked upstairs and into my bedroom. Closing the door, I sat on the bed and pondered my thoughts.

'That quill.' I reached into my drawers and pulled out said quill. It was a dark blue, decorated with a feather the same colour as Luna's. 'Damn. Why did I take it? It was only a joke.'


The touching down of a chariot alerted me from my seated state. I hadn't moved in the whole time I spent up here. I gulped and rose to my feet as I heard a conversation downstairs.

"Princess Celestia! Princess Luna! It's so good to see you both."

"My faithful student, hello to you to. How have you been?"

Well, she was down there. Bracing myself for whatever the Princesses had to throw at me, I walked towards the door and put my hand on the handle. My legs started to shake as my nervousness grew. I swallowed my fear and opened the door.

"You. A word. Now."

Luna pushed me back into my room and slammed the door behind me. "L-Luna! I'm sorry I hid your quill. Here!" I picked it up and held it out to her. "Please take it back. It was only a joke!"

Luna took the quill with her magic but she still had a mad look on her face. "This is not what I wanted to talk about." She paced the room and turned away from me. "How could you?"

"As I said, it was only a joke. I was only getting you back for taking my I--"

"THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE QUILL!" she said in the Royal Canterlot voice, sending my body into a new shiver of fear. I walked back slowly.

"Then w-what? I don't know what I've done!" I replied back with volume, my lip quivering.

Luna's horn glowed and she summoned a newspaper. She threw it at my lap. "Does THAT look familiar?" she icily said.

I picked up the paper and looked at the front, examining the headline. "What the?!" I could not believe what I was seeing. On the front, in huge bold letters, it read 'Royal Courter: The New Mare' and showed a picture of me and Fluttershy from the other night. "How the?!" The image was misleading. The picture showed me sitting up in bed, without clothes on my top half, with my arm around Fluttershy who was looking up at me smiling with her eyes half closed. "Luna, this is not what it looks like!" Oh damn it, that fatal sentence. Why the hell did I say that?

"Then do tell!" she said, stomping her hoof. "Explain why you are in bed with one of the Elements!"

My eyes started to get teary as the situation hit me. "I got locked out of the library two nights ago, when that huge storm hit. She gave me a bed for the night." Luna's scowl didn't lower. "I was soaked through as I'd been out in the rain for about half an hour. Fluttershy ran a bath for me so I could get washed, she hung my clothes up to dry and she made her sofa into a bed for me. If you look there..." I pointed to where I was holding a mug. "...she made me a hot drink. She was only sitting next to me because she was scared of the storm. That's why I had my arm around her, so she wasn't scared."

Luna's glare softened slightly. "It still doesn't explain why she was looking at you like that."

"If I remember, that was when..." Then a sudden thought came to me. "Hey, wait a minute! Who took this picture?!"

"I will answer that when you answer my question. Why was she looking at you like that?" Luna repeated.

"Because I was telling her about how I was afraid of storms when I was younger. You know, I told you that one time. I was only trying to comfort her." My eye let out a stray tear and it rolled down my cheek. "Luna, I would NEVER cheat on you. Ever."

I reached my hand to stroke her cheek but she moved away and sighed. "There is only one way to determine if you are telling the truth. Come with me." She walked out of my bedroom and I followed suit. We came downstairs into the library foyer where Twilight and Celestia were waiting.

"Are you two OK?" Twilight asked.

"Sister." Luna said, completely ignoring Twilight's concern. "I will ask Owen some questions. Can you please use a spell to determine whether he is telling the truth or not." Celestia nodded and pointed her horn at me. "Owen, did you get locked out of the library two nights ago?"

"Yes." I answered. Celestia's horn glowed as her magic enveloped me. It stopped after a few seconds.

"Truth." she said.

Luna nodded. "Next. Did you spend the night at the Element of Kindness' home because she offered you a bed for the night?"

"Yes." Another glow.

"Truth."

Luna's eyes became watery. "N-next question. Did you engage in any form of mature activities with the Element of Kindess?"

"NO!" I shouted. Another glow.

"Truth again."

Luna began to smile. "L-last question." She sniffed loudly. "Have you ever cheated on me?"

"How can you even ask that question? I have never cheated on you and I never will." One last glow.

Celestia nuzzled her sister. "Honest truth dear sister."

Luna practically launched herself at me and wrapped me in a hug, sending me to the floor. She started planting kisses on me. "I'm *kiss* so so *kiss* sorry! Can you *kiss* forgive me?" she said through tears.

I reached up with my hand and wiped her tears away with my thumb. "I can always forgive you. No matter what." We remained on the floor in an embrace. "You may have to do something for me though."

"What's that?"

"Tell the entire town that I didn't cheat on you. They all hate me at the moment."

"Why those.." Luna said through gritted teeth. She got to her hooves and made her way for the door. "I'll teach them to--"

"Luna stop!" She froze and turned back to me. "They didn't know. For all they knew, it was true. All I need is for you and me to go and talk to them."

Luna nodded and opened the door. "Owen, could you come here please?" I did so and walked up to where Luna was standing. In front of the library was what looked like the entire population of the town. As soon as they saw me, the barrage began.

"Booo!"

"Disgrace!"

"Banish him!"

"QUIET!" Bloody hell, she's got a right set of lungs on her. "Citizens of Ponyville. I have been made aware that you treated my courter with disrespect following what was printed in the Canterlot Chronicle. My sister and I have performed truth dectection spells on my courter and the truth was revealed. The printing is a lie!"

Gasps were heard all around the crowd.

"I told you!" a pony shouted.

I looked over the crowd to see a pink mane bobbing up and down. "Fluttershy? Is that you?" I called out. The pink mane approached and the crowd parted to reveal said pony. "Is that why you ran off earlier?"

"I saw the paper...it was terrible..." she quietly said.

I walked up to her and knelt down to her level. I reached forward and hugged her. "I'm sorry I put you in this mess. Everything's sorted now. It's all good."

"Oh...good."

"Citizens of Ponyville!" Celestia said loudly. "Please return to your daily duties. And please treat Princess Luna's courter with the same respect you would give us." The ponies all bowed at her words before walking/galloping away.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I looked at Luna who gave me a mean look and punched me in the arm. "OW! What was that for?"

"That was for taking my quill." she said with a smile.

"OK, fair enough." I thought about the newspaper. "Actually Fluttershy, did you see any photographers yesterday?"

"Um...no."

"See, that confuses me. That picture was taken during the storm which means someone must have following and watching me."

"We will investigate this matter. As for now, my sister wishes to speak with you." Luna said.

"If that's all then I'll be on my way...if that's alright with you..."

"Course it is Fluttershy! Once again, sorry about all that and thanks again for putting me up." Fluttershy smiled at me, bowed to Luna then retreated from the library. Me and Luna walked back in, shutting the door behind us. "Phew! I'm glad that's sorted. I've never seen you so angry." I said to Luna.

"Yes well, the implications on the newspaper were quite strong. I'm glad that we resolved it and found the truth. And believe me." She took my hand with her hoof. "We will find whoever took that picture."

"I'm glad." I looked at Celestia who was smiling at me. "So, you had a spell you wanted to inform me of?"

"You are correct. Please sit." I sat on a cushion in front of Celestia, who in turn sat in front of me. She looked at Luna and Twilight and motioned for them to sit as well, which they did. "The spell I have become aware of could be of great use to you."

"In what way?" I ask.

"Say, you are outside. Far from your home and you need something from it. This spell will allow you to teleport an item from your home to yourself, no matter how far away you are."

"Wow! That could have been useful the other night." I said, rolling my eyes. "But, how can I do it? I don't have magic."

"Well yes, that is a drawback. But if you are with a unicorn, they can perform it on you." Celestia explained.

"Alright, that sounds really useful. Shall we try it?"

"That is why I am here. But we will do it away from the library." Celestia said, getting to her hooves.


"Right, how's this gonna work?" I ask.

We had walked north for about three minutes until we were in an open space. I couldn't see the library anymore so this must have been far enough.

"I will conjure the spell on you and all you need to do is think of something from home that you need. Something small." Celestia asked.

"Something small from home, OK."

Celestia lowered her horn to me. "Are you ready? This may feel a bit strange."

"Strange? How so?"

"When this spell had been used before, the ponies it was cast upon mentioned slight dizziness and nausea. But this spell has never been used on a human before so I do not know how it will affect you."

"Great. Well, let's hope I don't puke. Go for it." I replied, giving a nod.

Celestia's horn glowed yellow and it enveloped me. I did what she instructed and thought about something from home.

'Home...home...something from home...home...'

As she had said, I started to feel dizzy and my stomach started doing loop-de-loops. I looked up to see her horn had stopped glowing. I looked in my hand for anything that might have appeared.

"Nothing." I glumly said.

Celestia tapped her hoof with her chin. "Shall we try again?" she said, lowering her horn again.

"No thank you. I think if you do that again, I'll either pass out or throw up. We can try again another time."

"I am sorry Owen. I thought that would have worked."

"No need to apologise. Thanks for trying. And hey, it might work another time." I offer, trying to lift her spirits. It seems to work as a much needed smile appears on her face.

We walked back towards the library to retire for the day. I must admit that Celestia's got some decent spells. I mean, this one would have been great to use if I ever needed something when I spent a night with Luna.

Approaching the library, an unfamiliar noise started sounding. Almost like a stampede of animals. We all turned to see masses of ponies running towards Sweet Apple Acres. One of these ponies was a small filly who was familiar.

"Hey, Scootaloo!" I called out. She stopped in her tracks and turned to see me.

"Hey Owen! Did you hear?"

"Hear what? Is there a huge sale on at the acres?"

Scootaloo scoffed and laughed at me. "No! Something's appeared near our clubhouse. Something big! We're all going to see what it is!" She returned to following the other ponies.

"Something big has appeared?" I turned to the three beside me. "Any ideas?"

"I think it would be best if we all went. If it starts to get out of control, the Princesses' prescence will calm everypony down." Twilight stated.

"I agree. Let's go." Luna replied. We took off after the galloping ponies, following the path towards the acres and also, the CMC's clubhouse.

"I sure hope it hasn't destroyed that clubhouse! I've already destroyed and rebuilt it!" I shouted over the sound of the galloping hooves. Soon enough, we came across a huge crowd of ponies who were surround something huge. A large, cream coloured, rectangular...thing. "What is that?" I say to myself.

"Look, it's the Princesses!" a pony shouted causing everyone else to turn and bow to the approaching royalty.

"Please stand back my little ponies. We will investigate this object." Celestia walked in front of us and motioned for us to follow. Following her, the ponies remained bowed but their eyes were following wherever we went.

Getting closer, the object was much bigger than it looked. At least eight or nine feet tall and twenty foot long and wide. "Can I look closer?" I asked Celestia, to which she nodded. I approached it and looked over the object. Walking around, something caught my eye - a gap. I approached it and observed it. It wasn't what I was expecting.

"Hey, come round here!" The two sisters and Twilight came to me and spotted what I was looking at. "A window. The curtain's are closed though...wait..." I looked on the windowsill to spot something familiar...very familiar. "Is that a..." I ran around the other side of the object, and saw something else familiar. "Oh my goodness..."

The three ponies approached where I was and looked at what I had seen. "It's a door. 7A? What does that mean?" Twilight wondered. My jaw hung open at what lay before me. "Owen!"

"Wait right here. Don't let anyone touch that." I ran away from the object. Many shouts of 'Wait!' were heard but I ignored them all. I ran faster than I ever could, dodging still approaching ponies. The library was in sight so I sped up. "Oh my god. If this is real then...AHH! Oh my god!" I said in a fan-boy tone.

Reaching the library, I swung the front door open and saw that a pony was inside, reading a book. "Don't mind me!" I shouted at the pony, before running upstairs to my bedroom. I searched my drawers until I came across the item I was searching for and descended the stairs again.

"I was wondering if I could check this--"

"Blue book! On the counter! Sign your name! Gotta go!"

I knew it was rude but in fact, THIS was something extraordinary. Running back towards the clubhouse area, I started to get a stitch in my side. "Oh come on! Not now!" I ignored the pain and continued running. I soon reached the crowd of ponies, which had at least tripled in size since I left and started to push my way through.

"Excuse me. Pardon me. Stand aside please! Excuse me!"

Soon enough, I reached the Princesses who were still guarding the object, not letting anyone touch it. I leant down to catch my breath. "Owen? What did you run away for?" Twilight asked.

"I...I had to...give me a second here." I coughed loudly a few times and got my breath back. "Right, rememeber when I crashed here and destroyed the clubhouse? You found my Ipod here right?" Twilight nodded. "Before the rubble was taken away, I searched through it to see if anything else was there. And sure enough, there was." I held up the retrieved item. "These. I had these on me when I was transported here."

"Keys? Why do you need them?" Luna asked.

"Don't you see? What do you see here?" I ask.

"A door."

"Right! A door with 7A on it. Look at this!" I held up my bunch of keys which had keyrings on it. "What does this one say?"

Luna squinted her eyes and read the writing. "Owen - 7A."

I walked up to the door and put my key in the lock. Turning the lock, I heard it click. "Wait here. Don't follow me a second." I opened up the door and walked inside, shutting the door behind me. I walked through the darkness and reached the window, opening the curtain. The window let in the light and it illuminated the room. Smiling at what this was, I laughed. I laughed with joy. I walked back towards the door, smiling still and opened it and walked back out.

"I think that spell worked."

"It did?" said a bemused Celestia.

"This here, this object is something from my world." I pushed the door open wide and walked inside again. "Follow me." They did so, slowly and walked in behind me.

"What is this place?" Luna asked, looking at the room.

"I don't know how but...this..." I put my arm around Luna. "This is my home."

29. Inspections

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"YOUR HOME?"

The trio of voices caught me by surprise. They each had a look of shock and of wonder at what they were standing in. All with mouths agape.

"Uhh..girls? You're gonna catch flies like that." They each turned to me, before realising what I meant and closing their mouths.

"B-but how? How is this possible?!" Twilight excitedly barked.

"Your guess is as good as mine." I replied, shrugging my shoulders. "My guess is that the spell that Celestia used actually worked."

"Something small...this is not small. What were you thinking of when I cast the spell?" Celestia asked.

"Umm..." I thought for a moment. "I was saying 'something from home, something from home', over and over. I didn't say...small." I hung my head at my stupid mistake.

Celestia shook her head and walked a few more steps forward, stumbling on something unseen. "It's hard to see anything."

"Oh right, hold on." I walked over to my light switch and flicked it on; the lightbulb illuminating the room. "There we go. Sorry about the..."

The girls were all looking at the lightbulb that hung from the ceiling in curiosity. "How does this work? What powers it?" Luna asked.

"Electricity. When I pressed that swi...wait a minute..." I flicked the light switch on and off, turning the bulb on and off. "What the...how does that work?" I walked over to my lamp and pressed the plug switch on, which turned the lamp on. "Again. How the hell..."

"What's the problem?" asked a bemused Twilight. I was lost in my own thoughts to even listen to what Twilight was saying. "Owen!"

"Huh? Sorry. It's just, these bulbs are powered by electricity." I point to the wire that's connected to the lamp. "The electricity goes through this wire, first coming out of this plug socket here. That socket is connected to the main power line. But there's one thing missing. Where's the power coming from?"

The three turned to each other and gave each other looks. "Any ideas Princess?" Twilight said.

Celestia gave a hum and looked over the plug socket. "This socket. The wire is leading through the wall. Where does it lead to?"

"I don't know. I've never really thought about it." Suddenly, an idea sprung, just like a light bulb lighting up over my head. Actually it was, Luna was playing with the switch. I walked outside and was immediately greeted by two guards and a massive onslaught of noise from the crowd.

"What is it?!"

"Is it dangerous?!"

I leant close to the guards so they could hear me over the noise. "The Princesses are inside at the moment and it is safe. Just make sure no-one tries to get in until we say so." The guards nodded and made a perimeter barrier around the entrance to the home. I walked around to where the wire would be on the other side of the wall and sure enough...

"Princess! Please come here!" Celestia and Luna exited the home and walked over to where I was knelt down. "Look here." I pointed to a part of the wall which had a few tiny holes in it. On further inspection, inside the holes were wires but where it met the outside world, they stopped. Like someone had chopped through them with a knife. "Those are the wires from inside."

"So this is the power supply?" Luna asked.

"I...pfft...I assume so, yeah." I say, rubbing the back of my head. I start walking around the outside of the home again and spot another hole, this one was bigger. "Here's another one." I leant down and inspected it. This wasn't a wire, it was a pipe and it looked wet. "No way...water as well?!"

I got up and went back inside to the kitchen. I turned on the tap and sure enough, water began to pour out of the tap. I left it for a while to see if this was just water that was left in the pipe but no, it kept flowing and flowing. "This is mad! How is this possible?"

The Princesses came back in to see what I was looking at. "Look! Running water! I don't know how but...there it is. It's been running for about three minutes now and it hasn't run out!" I exclaimed.

"This is most confusing." Celestia muttered.

"I know, right?!" I bellowed back at her, causing her to flinch. "Sorry." I then thought of something else. "Oh. Ohhh! Let me try this. If this works, that'll be unbelieveable." I pressed the igniter on my oven and turned the gas knob to the left. The igniter clicked and the gas set alight, lighting my stove. "Oh wow...this is beyond confusing. This is downright insane! Is this part of the spell?"

"I have never encountered something like this before. To bring an actual home using a teleportation spell is most unusual. And as for your power, water and gas, I have yet to think of a reason for this happening." Celestia explained.

"I have a theory." Luna added.

"Go for it." I reply.

"Think back to when I helped you with the nightmares. When I was in your mind, I heard the conversation you had with the voice. And I do remember one particular sentence very well. It said 'this is only part of your reward'."

"You think this is the other part?" I ask with a smile.

"It's possible. What do you think sister?" Luna asks, turning to Celestia.

"What you are explaining does offer some truth. I find it a little far fetched to be honest."

"Well say it is. That voice gave me my home with power, water and gas. I for one wish to thank it." I walked over to my fridge and opened it up. "Everything's still fresh." I picked up some red peppers and observed them. "Perfectly fresh." I looked around the kitchen, then in the living area. "It looks the same as when I left it in August. Nothing's changed." I walked back into the kitchen. "Do you really think the voice did this?" I opened up the freezer. "Did you write that?"

"Write what?" Luna asked. I pointed to the frost on the freezer door which had the word 'Yes' written in the ice. "That was not me."

"Huh...strange." I shut the freezer door and walked back into the living area to see Twilight holding a book in her levitation. "What have you got there?"

She set the book on the sofa and opened it up. "A book about Planet Earth. It looks fascinating!" she exclaimed, scanning through the book at an alarming speed.

"Oh that. I got that years ago. Feel free to keep it if you want." Twilight looked up and gave me a toothy grin before submerging herself back into reading. I looked around the place and noticed it wasn't exactly tidy. "Wow. Can't remember this place being so...messy." I started lifting things up; bits of clothing, plastic bottles, general bits of rubbish.

"What is this?" Luna asked. I looked up to see she was pointing at one of my most favourite items.

"Ohhh...this!" I walked over to it and tapped it softly. "This is called a television. It...actually, instead of explaining it, I'm gonna show you what it does."

I picked up the remote that lay on the table and pressed the big red button on it. The TV buzzed and came to life, attracting the attention of the three girls. The screen soon came up, displaying it's white noise show. "Now normally, you can watch live shows on it which are provided by big companies. Let's see if it works." I pressed the AV button to turn on the Freeview but nothing came up. Every channel was a sea of black. "OK, programs don't work. Makes sense really. OK, I'll try something else."

I walked over to the drawers that were underneath the TV and began rummaging. "Nope...nope...nu-uh...Nightmare on Elm Street? Hell no...ah! That'll do." I pulled out a DVD and held it up for them to see. "This here is called a DVD. A Digital Versatile Disc." I handed it to Celestia who held it in her magic.

"David Attenborough? What does this do?" she asked.

I took the DVD out of her magic. "It plays a movie or a show. Let me show you. This one is about nature on Earth." I opened up the DVD player and put the disc in. The player made some odd noises but the screen soon started to flicker.

"What's going--" Luna said before I placed a finger over her lips.

"Just watch." I said with a smile. Before long, the TV started to show images of many varities of animals and plant life. The look on their faces was a sight to see. The end of the world could have happened and they would still be watching this.

"Your planet looks beautiful." Celestia said.

"Yeah it does. Shame I've never been to the best parts of the world." We continued watching for about ten minutes before the small clip ended. I stood up and walked over to the TV, switching it off. It was then that I had what can only be described as a 'freak-out'. I started laughing, a lot.

"What's so funny?" Twilight asked.

I turned to her and gave a grin. "What's so funny? THIS!" I shouted, pointing to everything around me. "My home is here! I have power, water, gas and it all works! IT'S BRILLIANT! But...what if there's more? What if the voice brings more stuff here?" I sped over to Twilight and got right in her face. "What do you think Twilight, hm? Do you think there will be more?"

"Owen, what's wrong with yo--"

"WELL?!"

*THWACK*

"Twilight!" Celestia shouted.

I got up from my hit and shook my head. "No...no Celestia, it's alright. I was freaking out there. I needed that." I looked at Twilight. "You've got a good punch." I complimented her.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I've never hit anypony before!" she frantically said.

"What happened to you Owen?" Luna asked.

I turned to her, still rubbing my cheek. "I think the whole gravity of the situation just hit me all at once. It's not the home or that everything works that freaked me out. It's...it's the voice. What if it's controlling my life? Making me do what I do and say what I say?"

Luna got up from her seated position and put a hoof on my shoulder. "Look at me." I did so. "There is no way that the voice is controlling you. I truly believe what it said. All of this is your reward. OK?" I nodded and patted her shoulder. "Good. Now, what do you propose we do now?"

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"What I think my sister means is, we have crowd of ponies outside trying to get in here. What do we do?" Celestia added.

"Why are you asking me?"

"It's your home." Twilight bluntly stated.

"Fair enough. Um...is there anything you two need to do? You know, like checking it or inspecting the place or something?" I ask the sisters.

"If you insist. I will have the guards inspect the property and direct all questions to you, is that OK?" Celestia asked.

"That sounds good. At least I'll know it's OK by your standards." We walked out of the flat into the wall of noise once again. A few more guards had shown up since last time I came out here.

"Go ahead. Address the crowd." Celestia whispered in my ear.

"Me?!" She nodded. I swallowed hard and walked up to the crowd. "Can I have everyone's attention please!" Nothing. No decrease in volume at all. "Everyone! Please be quiet!" Still no change. I turned back to the Princesses. Luna's horn glowed and I felt my throat tickle. She nodded at me. I turned back around and opened my mouth. "CAN I HAVE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION!"

The crowd, including the guards, held their hooves to their ears. I loved doing that - I had a temporary Royal Canterlot voice!

"Thank you." Aww...it's gone. Looking back, I saw the guards enter my home. "Thank you for waiting! I suppose you're all wondering what this is!"

"What?!" a voice called from the back.

"I SAID--" I turned back to Luna again who cast the spell on me. "I SAID! Oops, sorry." It was loud, but not ear-rape loud. "As I said, I suppose you're wondering what this is. To be put bluntly, this is my home. A spell was used by Princess Celestia which brought my home from my planet to here. At the current time, the Royal Guards are inspecting my home for any dangers and risks that could harm any of you. When they have finished, I will answer some questions. Thank you."


"What is the nature of this device?"

"That would be an electric razor. You know, for shaving?" I rubbed my hand over my impressive beard. Ever since living here, I haven't shaved it fully once. I had used some scissors to cut it short but not all the way.

"And this?" another guard asked. I flipped open the levitated object. The reflective surface made him realise. "A mirror. Very well."

"Anything else?" I asked.

"Just one more thing. If you wish to invite a Princess into your home, please clean up first. It is rather untidy in here."

I scoffed. "Well how was I supposed to know my home was gonna get sent here?...But yeah, it is a bit of a tip. I'm probably gonna clear out most of this stuff anyway."

"Very well." He turned and approached Celestia. "Your Majesty. This property has been inspected and no dangers have been found. Except for the knives."

"I need those! I only use them when I cook." I plead.

"The Royal Courter may keep his knives. He has no intention of using them as weapons." Thank Celestia! The guards brought over my knives and set them on my table, next to the kitchen.

"Thank you." The guard nodded at me and then walked out of the flat, followed by the other guards. "Glad that's over. At least everyone knows that you have approved this place." Celestia smiled and walked out of the flat, with me following her.

Walking outside, the crowd bowed before Celestia. Noticing some absentees, I neared her ear. "What happened to Luna and Twilight?"

"They returned to the library. I think Luna wanted to get a little sleep."

"Ah right. Probably for the best." My eyes were drawn to the holes in the wall where the wires were. I also looked over the whole building, it looked rather bland. "Probably gonna cover up those wires and the pipes. Could cause some unwanted interest." She nodded. "Also, I might make the outside look more appealing. It just looks so boring and basic. What do you think?"

"Why don't you ask them?" she said, motioning towards the crowd. I pointed to my throat and Celestia cast the loud spell.

"Attention!" Just the right volume. "Thank you all for waiting. The Princess and the Royal Guard have inspected my home and it has been approved. I will now answer some questions. Please raise your hoof if you have a question."

About twenty hooves went in the air. I pointed at one at random. "Yes, you. The brown pegasus with the green mane."

Said pegasus took to the air and approached me. "Can I look inside?" As soon as he said that, the crowd screamed at me, all of them asking to go inside.

"OK, enough! I can see that you are all intrigued by what is inside. Just give me a second." I leant over to Celestia. "What do I do? I can't just let them all storm the place."

"How about this..." She whispered her plan into my ear. It was good, damn good.

"You are a legend. That's brilliant!" I turned back to the crowd. "OK. The Princess and I have come to a solution. I understand that you all want to see inside my home but it is not fit for viewing. Over the next week or two, I am going to be cleaning, decorating, even rebuilding parts of this place so it looks better. Until then, it will be off limits to anyone. But, when it IS ready, I will advertise times and dates for when you can see it."

The crowd conversed between themselves before dispersing. When the last pony had left, me and Celestia breathed a sigh of relief. "Wow...I didn't think that would work to be honest."

"Are you keeping your promise on what you said?" she asked.

"Sure am. I mean, look at this place. It's not exactly nice to look at is it? What I was thinking of is decorating the outside - maybe covering the walls with wood panel to make it blend in with the town. I can ask Rarity for advice on colours and design as I know she's great at that. What do you think?"

"Fashion is not exactly my forte. As for decoration, what you said sounds good."

"OK then." I reached for the door and closed it, locking it as well. "No-one can get in for now. I'm a bit worried though. Even if it is closed off, it'll attract attention"

"Allow me." She lit up her horn and the glow enveloped my home. "A specific magical barrier. Nopony can get in except for you, my sister and I and the Elements."

"Wonderful. Thanks very much. Come on, let's go back to the library."

By now, it was nearly evening. On our way back, Celestia lowered the sun like it was nothing. Still amazes me no matter how many times I've seen it. She also raised the moon, saying that she wanted Luna to sleep peacefully. I admired her for that, it's great sister love. Reaching the library, we walked on in to see Twilight reading the book I gave her.

"Still enjoying it?" I asked.

"It's very informative. The history of your planet is amazing."

"I think I've got a book on the history of the human race. I'll have a scavenge for it another time." Twilight's eyes lit up at that.

"You have?!" she said, getting right in my face.

"Yes! Now calm down. One book at a time, eh? Where's Luna?"

"I let her sleep in your bed. I hope you don't mind."

I shook my head. "Not at all."

"We need to leave soon." Celestia said.

"Sure. Just give me a few minutes." I walked up the stairs and opened the door to my bedroom slowly. There, on my bed, lay the love of my life. She had discarded her regalia as it lay on the rug near my bed. I closed the door quietly and tiptoed over to the bed. "Hey...Luna?" I whispered.

She didn't react. I quietly and softly crept onto the bed and lay beside her, stroking her starry mane. "Lunaaaa...come on." I said, planting kisses on her neck.

"Hnnggg..." Ah, that got her attention. I continued kissing her neck, causing her to mumble and shuffle in the bed. Looking up at her, she had her eyes open the tiniest bit and had a smile on her face. "Why'd you stop?"

"Oh I'm sorry. Let me continue." I moved my lips straight onto hers. She gladly accepted my advance and pushed back with force, her tongue making it's way into my mouth. After a few minutes of mouth wrestling, I broke the lock between us and smiled at her. "Celestia's waiting for you. You've gotta go and do your duties."

She threw her hooves around me and pulled me close. "But I don't want tooooo." Just like a kid. "Can't I stay here with you?"

"You know I'd want nothing more but I don't think your sister would be very happy about it. Besides, she needs to go to bed." Pulling a pout, I pulled her close to me, hugging her strongly. We soon got up from the bed and made our way downstairs. "Sorry. Someone didn't want to get up." I said with a smirk. I got a playful nudge from Luna in return.

"We must return to Canterlot. The night is upon us."

I walked up to Celestia and gave her a small hug. "Thanks for everything. You do not know how happy you've made me."

"You are most welcome. Enjoy your new home." Celestia walked out of the library, followed by Luna, me and Twilight. They both boarded the waiting chariot and closed the door. Luna leant out of the window to see me.

"Goodnight my love." I leant up to her and kissed her.

"Goodnight dear." The chariot then took off into the sky as me and Twilight waved goodbye to the royal sisters. Sitting back down in the library, I was joined by Twilight who looked upset. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, it's...it's nothing."

"Twilight..."

She looked up at me with a teary look. "Now that you have your new home, does that mean you're going to leave?" She looked ready to burst. It turned my heart to mush. I put my arm around her and pulled her close.

"Now where's this come from then, eh?" I gave her a few reassuring strokes on her shoulder. "Listen. I've always said I'll eventually find a place of my own. Now I have but that doesn't mean I'll stop seeing you. You were my first real friend here and nothing can change that. You're my best friend, you know that right?"

"I am?" she said, wiping a tear away.

Her emotions were hitting me. "Come on, stop the tears. You'll get me going in a minute." I wiped another away with my thumb. "You will always be my best friend. Don't ever forget that." We sat there in silence for a while before an idea came to me. "Over the next few weeks, I'm gonna be redecorating my home. It's gonna be hard work but it'll be worth it."

"Do you want my help?" she happily asked.

"If you can, yeah. I'm gonna ask Rarity for help with design and decorating ideas as I know she'd ace it. Maybe you can help me re-organise stuff cause I know you're good at that. And I'll make you a deal. No matter what happens, no matter how I feel, no matter where I am or what time of the day it is, you will always be welcome in my home."

"Really?!" she said, holding her front hooves to her mouth.

"Absolutely. In fact, I'll make a key for you. Since you were kind enough to let me stay with you for six months, I think I should repay the favour. My home is your home." She leapt up and encased me in a bone-crushing hug.

"Thank you so much!"

"Yep, it's fine...*urk*...hard to breathe now."

"Oh, sorry." She released the hug.

"So, any plans for tonight?" I ask.

"Not really. All of my work is done so I might do some more studying."

This pony does way too much. I'm gonna give her an entertaining night. "No. No studying tonight. You are coming with me."

"What? Where are we going?"

"You know that DVD I showed you earlier? Well that was just one. I've got around fifty others."

30. Come One! Come All!

View Online

"Alright, lower...lower...aaand there! Hold it steady."

*BANG BANG BANG*

"OK, you can let go."

A week had passed since my home appeared. Since then, I had asked a local construction firm to lend me a couple of their workers to help me with my home. The plan was simple; the wall in my living room was to be knocked down so I could extend it and I was to apply a wooden surface to the outside of the house so it blended in with the rest of the town. I couldn't leave it at that dull beige colour. Also, after talking with Applejack, she suggested I build a porch in front of my door. She said that the evenings around here are great for lounging outside with a cool drink. Hey, I can't fault that.

I also asked Celestia to change the magical barrier surrounding my home. No-one tried to enter so I asked her to remove it completely. Besides, the place is locked up and it has a fence around it because of the construction.

Another good thing was that my former job was in the construction trade so I knew plenty on said subject. Even better, I had stashed some tools and equipment if I ever need to use them again and what do you know, I did. Anyway, during one week of work, the wall had been taken down and rebuilt about four meters further out. The outside of the house was half finished as the wooden panelling was surrounding at least half of the wall.

The instance I asked Rarity to help me with decoration, she jumped at the chance and immediately started planning. From what I heard, she was suggesting new carpets, paint colours, furniture and all sorts. I have a hefty amount of bits in safe keeping so I was open to all the ideas that she suggested. I can guarantee by the end of this, I'll be near broke.

The contents of the inside of my home had all been taken out and stored safely by Twilight. She said she knew exactly where to keep everything. She was ecstatic that she was allowed to help out but I couldn't say no, could I? I think I overloaded her with information when I invited her to watch more DVD's. After about two hours of more David Attenborough, I put in a comedy DVD and tried to explain it to her the best I could. I tell ya, she's smart and she catches on. We made it through the entire collection of Fawlty Towers and there were only a few questions. Like 'Where is Barcelona?' and 'IS THAT A MOOSE'S HEAD?!'. OK, that one creeped her out. I tried to explain but she dismissed it and kept on watching. I had never seen her laugh so much.

During the week, something bamboozled me. Something confusing. I remember Minute explaining that due to the ratio of males and females in Equestria, males have more than one female partner. Polygamy. So why, when I was falsely accused of sleeping with Fluttershy did the townsfolk call me a disgrace? Wasn't it the same? Well, actually, no. The title 'Royal Courter' means many things. It means you are the partner of a member of royalty, you have some royal duties to carry out (althought mine have never been said or shown), and, oh yeah, here's the kicker, you cannot have more than one partner. Doesn't make sense. Turns out that Celestia made this law when a previous partner of hers attempted polygamy with her by a forceful nature. Yeah, I wouldn't be too happy either.

"Good afternoon Darling."

Craning my head up, I saw the friendly alabaster mare approaching me with her horn lit. "Hey Rarity." I turned back to the two workers. "Let's call this lunch. See you in two hours?"

"Thanks!" the two stallions replied. They set their tools down and walked away from the site.

"What brings you by?"

"I have your new carpets." She levitated said carpets from around the corner of the house into my view and unrolled it slightly. "Is this the colour you wanted?"

A slightly dark shade of red. "Perfect. Spot on! How much did you get?"

"Enough to cover your floor space. This is top quality!" she said with a grin.

"Fantastic. Just set it down on that table over there." Rarity set the roll down and walked up to the wood panelling, observing it.

"A fine job you have done here. It looks positively divine!"

I rolled my eyes. "It's just wood Rarity but thank you. Any news on the paint?"

"It should be delivered within the hour. Unfortunately, they cannot apply it today as something has come up." Rarity said, looking a bit annoyed.

"Oh man...I really wanted to get that done today. Do you know anyone who's good at painting?"

"Not personally no."

"Well what about--"

"US!"

The sudden shrill of high pitched voices caught us both by surprise as the CMC's suddenly appeared using Pinkie's law of physics. "Where on Earth did you three come from?" I ask, still catching my breath.

"Uhh...there?" said Scootaloo, pointing at their clubhouse not ten meters from my house.

"Oh...right, yeah sure." I slapped myself on the forehead and laughed. "Now what was I...oh yeah. You three? Have you ever painted before?" I asked.

"Sure! We paint all the time in school!" Apple Bloom responded.

"Yeah, I know that. What I mean is, have you ever painted something big before? You know, like a building?"

"Uhh...that?" Scootaloo once again deadpanned, pointing to the clubhouse.

I shook my head and leant down to the girls, ruffling Scootaloo's mane. "You're too smart you are. Or I'm just getting stupider." The three girls and Rarity giggled at my joke. "Alright girls, I'll make you a deal. You can paint the inside of my home."

"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS PAINTERS!"

"IF!" That caught their attention. "If you will be supervised by a responsible adult. I would offer but I have to finish the outside work."

"Ah know! I'll go get Applejack!" Apple Bloom chimed before running off towards the country house.

"Sis, can you help us?" Sweetie asked Rarity. A look of horror crept onto her face.

"Moi? I cannot and will not reduce myself to painting. My mane and coat will get dirty." she replied. More like whined.

I crouched down near Sweetie and looked up at her sibling. "Oh come on. It'll be fun. Besides, you'll be spending some great quality time with your younger sister." I said with a smile.

Rarity shuffled her hooves. "Well...I..."

"Anyway, you got caked in mud at that Sisterhooves Social event anyway. This can't be any worse can it?" I added.

Her face scrunched up in annoyance. I had her. "Oh fine! If you insist." She was tackled by Sweetie who embraced her in a hug.

"Yeuch!"

I looked over to see Scootaloo making a gagging noise at the display of affection. Time for some fun. "Aw, what's the matter Scootaloo? Don't you like that?"

"No way! I don't like all that kissy stuff!" she exclaimed.

"Oh really? So what if I were to do..." I walked slowly over to her and knelt down. "This!" I picked her up and put my arms around her, hugging her tight.

"Hey! Let me go!" she said, pushing her hooves against my chest.

"Oh come on. You can't honestly say you don't like a hug? I think it's nice."

She kept pushing and pushing. "No! No I don't!"

"What if Rainbow Dash wanted to hug you?"

The pushing stopped. Hah, got her now. "She...she would never do that." she said.

"I know but what if she did? Would you hug her?" I replied with a smile. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she thought about it.

"I...guess so." she quietly said.

I leant down and let her go. "That's what it'll feel like. Except without the hands of course. Now, if that was Rainbow, I think you'd enjoy it. Don't you?" Scootaloo nodded slowly and smiled at me.

"Mr Owen?" I turned to the source of the voice to see a young mare pulling a wagon. Inside the wagon were--"Did you order some paint?"

"Yep, sure did. Let me get that for you." I unloaded the six cans of pain and set them down. "Thank you very much Mrs?"

"Treble Cleft. Mrs. Treble Cleft."

"Well thank you Treble Cleft. Have a nice day." The mare nodded and walked away from the site.

"Applejack's busy!" I heard Apple Bloom shout. She quickly arrived at the house. "She can't help us. She said there's too many chores for her to do."

"No problem. I'm sure Rarity will fine by herself. Right?"

She rolled her eyes and smiled at me. "Of course. Come along girls, we shall begin!" The four girls went inside the house, each carrying brushes and paint cans. I wondered if I had made a mistake letting those three paint the inside of my house. The carpet had been lifted and discarded and the house was empty apart from the fridge and oven. I suppose a few specks of paint on floor that's going to be covered won't matter.


It was the end of the afternoon. The end of work for the day. Me and the two stallions had finished putting the wood panelling around the wall. It looked pretty good. Looking at it from afar, it did look a bit strange without a pointed roof. I'll mentally decided to do that another time, it wasn't important. The porch was partially built; the columns to hold a roof up had been planted but the floor and roof still needed to be fitted.

"Good job today guys. Do you think we can get the porch done tomorrow?"

"No problem boss. We'll get it done." one of them replied.

"Nice one. Well, that should be it for today. See you tomorrow morning." The two stallions said their goodbyes and walked off. Over the past few hours, I had heard many shouts, thumps and laughs from inside the house. I opened up the door and walked inside and what greeted me was amazing.

"What do you think Owen?" Sweetie asked.

All of the walls were painted with a yellow/beige colour. I didn't like it on the outside of the house but it looked good inside. Everything was immaculate. Nothing missed, not an inch wasted. "Incredible. You girls have out-done yourselves this time!" I praised.

The three young fillies gasped and looked at their flanks. After a few seconds, they all sighed dejectedly. "Still nothin'." Apple Bloom glumly said.

I felt a pang of guilt. Not only did they succeed at their task but they still didn't get their cutie marks. "I'm sorry girls. It'll happen one day. Just you see." They looked up at me and smiled slightly. There was still sadness in their eyes. I needed to fix that. "I tell you what. For helping me out, why don't I treat you? Something like, oh I don't know, Sugarcube Corner?"

"Really?!" Scootaloo happily replied.

"Of course. You girls have done a great job and you deserve a reward. Now, go on ahead and order what you like. Me and Rarity will meet up with you in a bit." Three dust clouds replaced the crusaders as they bolted out of the door towards the bakery. "Thought that would work. You gonna join us?" I ask Rarity.

"Oh I couldn't possibly intrude."

"Nonsense. You helped as much as they did."

"Well then, to Sugarcube Corner!" she said. I walked out of the house and locked it behind me.

"So, what's happening tomorrow?"

"As far as I know, you're new furniture is being delivered at midday. A new dresser, drawers, sofa, dining table and chairs."

"Hmm..." I thought about it for a moment. "Do you think you could help out tomorrow? I've got an idea."

"Do tell." she replied with a flick of her mane.

"What's left to do is the porch which can be finished tomorrow, the carpet, moving the furniture in and moving my stuff from the library. Then that's it. I reckon if we can get enough help, I think we can finish this, tomorrow."

"As busy as that sounds, it sounds plausible." she replied

We soon reached the bakery and entered the premises. The crusaders had each bought a giant ice cream sundae that was bigger than them. I had to say anything didn't I?

"Enjoying those girls?" They all nodded in return. I walked up to the counter and greeted the blue mare behind it. "Hi Mrs Cake. What do I owe you?"

"15 bits for the sundaes please dear." Handing over the bits, I looked back at Rarity.

"What can I get you then?"

"Your finest hot chocolate please." she asked.

"Make that two."

For the next half hour, we sat and talked about random subjects whilst the crusaders ate their own weight in ice cream. Subjects ranged from fashion, my home, past adventures, me and Luna, all sorts. When the subject of Luna came up, I grapsed the gem on my necklace and held it tight. It had been a whole week since I saw her last and I did miss her. Hopefully she and I can see each other again soon.

When the subject was about my home again, we both decided to talk to the rest of the girls to see if they can lend a hand. We parted with the crusaders, who had sprawled out on their seats after engorging themselves. Pinkie followed us as we asked her to. On the way, we found Rainbow and Applejack but no sign of Fluttershy. Reaching the library, Twilight was busy studying as Spike was busy cleaning.

After explaining my idea to them, we tried figuring out who could do what.

"So I need someone to help laying carpet. Rarity can do it but she will need someone to help her." I asked.

"Ah'll lend a hoof Rarity." AJ offered.

"Brilliant. I'll need..." My brain suddenly kicked into gear as another idea struck me. A promise I had to keep to the town. "Actually, I need something else. Pinkie?"

"HI!" she shouted, getting right in my face.

"Yeah, hi. Look, I know you are the best party planner in Ponyville."

"In all of Equestria!" she stated.

"Of course. I need you to prepare something for me. Can you do that?"

"Sure can! What do you want me to do? Is it a party? OOH! Is it housewarming party? I could make signs and banners and--" A purple hoof inserted itself into her mouth.

"Let him speak Pinkie" Twilight instructed.

"Thanks. I promised the town that they could look in my home once it was finished and it looks like that'll be tomorrow. What I need you to do is to make invitations for a look around my home. If you put on the invitations that they will need to come to you to book a time for a look, that'll be good. I think half an hour will be good for a group tour - take bookings after 3PM. Also, no more than, let's say ten, ponies at one time. Do you understand?"

"Sure do! Invitations to your house, half hour slots and no more than ten ponies. Got it!"

Wow, I was sure she wouldn't remember that. "Excellent. Now, the rest of you, once the carpet has been laid, I'll need some help moving furniture in when it arrives. After that, we'll need to bring stuff from here to my house. Once that's all done, that's it, job done. You all up for it?"

"You can count on us!" Rainbow offered.

"Yeah, we can do it!" Applejack added.

"Excellent. We'll need to start early so how does 6AM sound? Meet at the house?" The girls nodded and started to make their way out of the library, all wishing us goodnight. It was only 6PM but still, it was dark. After they all left, Twilight, Spike and me were left alone. "Can't wait for tomorrow. It'll be great to get it all finished."

"It's a lot of stuff to bring over. Do you think we can manage it all?" Twilight asked.

"Sure we can. In fact, I have another idea. Come with me." I opened the door to her basement and walked down the stairs with Twilight and Spike following. All of my stuff was neatly stacked against the walls. I walked over to the piles and looked over them. "You are right. This is a lot of stuff but we're gonna make it not so much."

"How do you mean?" Spike asked.

"I mean, I'm gonna go through it all and get rid of the stuff I don't want anymore. I'll give it to anyone who wants it or I'll chuck it away."

Over the next hour or two, we managed to sift through the piles and reduce it by half. I never knew I owned so much crap. I kept all of my video game consoles. Most of them were retro. When I had a paying, permanent job, I managed to save up enough cash to buy a SNES, a Mega Drive, a Sega Saturn and and a Dreamcast. I also had a PS2 and a 360. Other things I kept were DVD's, kitchen appliances, clothes, plates and cups, a few books and some bed covers.

Stuff that I didn't want anymore included loads of books which Twilight happily accepted, some old toys from my childhood that I never threw away and electrical computer parts which I salvaged some time ago.

After we finished, we returned to the main part of the library where we sat and talked for a while. We reminisced about the times I spent here. Twilight was a bit upset that I could be moving out tomorrow but I told her again, she can always come and visit whenever she wants.

"By the way, do you know where Fluttershy is? I couldn't find her earlier." I asked.

"Rainbow told me she was looking for her rabbit. Apparently Angel has been running off frequently and she doesn't know why."

"Poor girl. I know how much she cares for that...sweet rabbit." I had to bite my tongue. That rabbit was an arsehole.

I looked at the clock which read 9PM. "Well, I think I need to sleep. Got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow. I'll see you in the morning." I said, walking up the stairs.

"Goodnight!" she replied.

Walking into my bedroom, I flopped onto the bed and yawned. The work had worn me out today. Undressing myself, I quickly got under the covers for what could be the last night I spend as a resident in this home. During our time this evening, I felt bad that Twilight was upset over me leaving. Althought I comforted her, I still felt this sadness and I knew was the one who caused it. I just hope she'll be alright tomorrow. I leant my head down and closed my eyes.

*BEEP*

Sleep was going to have to wait. I picked up the gem and tapped it twice. "Evening beautiful."

"Good evening my dear. How was your day?"

"Busy. Veeeery busy..."


"Hold it up a little more your end Rainbow!"

"I am! You just need to get more muscles!"

"I'm getting there!"

Me and Rainbow had been moving my stuff from the library into my home for the past hour or so now. Unfortunately, we left the heaviest object till last - the wardrobe. Twilight had levitated it to the house for me but getting it in required manual lifting.

"Careful, careful. OK, now lower it down."

*THUMP*

"Perfect. Thanks Rainbow."

"No sweat!" she said, flicking her mane.

I walked back out into the living area and observed everything. "Right everyone, could you all come here please." The six girls, the two construction stallions and the crusaders all walked into the living room. "This is it. It's done. Everything is completed!"

The group all cheered and started thanking one another for helping. "Thank you all for helping. I could not have done it without your help." I turned to the bouncing mare. "Pinkie. Do you have the list ready?"

"I sure do." She reached into her mane and pulled out a clipboard. "Here!" she said handing me to clipboard.

I took the clipboard and looked at the list. "Thanks Pinkie. Now, how many...oh dear lord." The clipboard had over ten pages of names. At least six hours of showing ponies around my home. "How many ponies did you hand invitations to?"

"Everypony!"

"Alright, let me...let me think here." I rubbed my temples and tried to contemplate what to do. Six hours of showing around - it's only 2PM now. That gave me an hour till the first showing. "Alright. I think I can handle it from here."

"Do you want any of us to stay to help with the visitors?" Twilight asked.

"That would be nice but you've all given me so much of your time already. I couldn't ask you to stay longer."

"I'll be more than happy to help out." Twilight offered. "Anypony else?" The rest each had their own excuses which I humbly accepted.

"No problem guys and girls. Once again, thank you very much for all of your help. I'll treat you as a reward in a few days." I said with a wink. The group dispersed and left the house, except for one who looked a bit worried.

"Fluttershy? You alright?"

She refused to meet my gaze as she found the floor more interesting to look at. "Oh...it's nothing."

I walked over to her and rested my hand on her shoulder. "You sure? Doesn't look like nothing."

She raised her gaze to meet mine. "It's Angel. He keeps trying to run off. I found him yesterday, walking out of the Everfree Forest."

"I'm sure he can take care of himself. He's a big boy." She smiled softly at me. Damn...she's adorable. "You gonna be alright?"

"I'll be fine...thank you." She excused herself and walked out of the front door, closing it behind her.

"That rabbit sure is a handful. I hope she'll be alright." I mention to Twilight.

"I'm certain. I was just thinking, should we put on some music or one of your DVD's for when everypony is being shown around?"

"Hmm...good idea. What's best as background music though? If a DVD is on, they won't go anywhere else." I opened up a cabinet and looked through the CD's that I owned. "Aerosmith...Led Zeppelin...Queen...hmm, this'll do. Air." I turned on my ancient radio/cd player and put the CD in. "Can't believe someone left this on the beach. Works perfectly fine." Before long, the music kicked in and it gave the place a calm atmosphere. "Let's just chill out for a bit. Got a while to go yet."


"I hope you enjoyed the little tour of my home. Any questions?"

A small unicorn filly raised her hoof. "I found this earlier. What is it?" She held up a small piece of paper which I took from her grasp. Looking at it, I smiled at what she had found.

I leant down so I was eye level with her. "I've been looking for this for a long time. This is a picture of my..." I had to choose the right words. Even if it wasn't true. "My parents. Janice and Brian their names were. They were lovely people." I put the photograph in my pocket and looked back at the group. "Thank you all for visiting. Did you enjoy yourselves?"

A chorus of 'Yes' or 'Of course' was their response. They all walked out of the door which was left open behind them. I flopped down on the sofa and groaned. "Twilight! Any more?"

"No! That's the last group." she replied, walking back in. "Are you alright?"

"Fine...just really tired." I sat myself up and patted the sofa for Twilight to join me. She did so and sat herself next to me. "Crazy day but it's finally over."

"You did really well with the groups. They looked so pleased when they left."

"Really?" I asked. Twilight nodded with a smile. "Well isn't that something. I never saw myself as a public speaker but hey, I did it and I did a good job. And you did a great job as well. You really didn't need to stay and help out."

"I didn't mind. It was quite fun."

"Fun? Letting people in and out of a doorway? How can that be fun for six hours?" I asked.

"Well, I knew more about your home than they did and a lot of ponies were asking me questions about it."

"Huh...fair enough." I yawned loudly. "You know, I could just fall asleep right here."

"Me too..." We sat there for a while and before long, Twilight had drifted off, curled up on the edge of the sofa. I closed my eyes slowly, trying to drift off into--

*KNOCK KNOCK*

"More visitors?" I groaned. Mumbling away, I got up and opened the door to reveal a shaking pegasus. "Fluttershy? What's wrong?"

"Angel ran off again. He ran into the Everfree Forest!" she said through tears.

I leant down and embraced her. "It's alright, calm down." She sniffled a few times before I leant back to look at her. "What can I do to help?"

"Well...can you come with me? Into the...Everfree?"

I couldn't decline. I think it'd destroy her. "Alright. Just let me find something quick." I went to my cabinet and started rummaging for something. Soon enough I came across it and turned it on. "Good, torch still works." I walked over to the door but stopped as I rememberd Twilight was still asleep. I retrieved a blanket from my bedroom and draped it over her. Turning back, I walked out of the door and closed it shut.

"Lead the way." And with that, we set off towards the Everfree Forest in the dark of the night.

31. Follow The White Rabbit

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"Fluttershy, slow down!"

"Angel could be in trouble! We have to hurry!"

We were running. Running back through the town and out towards Fluttershy's cottage. I was struggling to keep up with the pegasus as she galloped ahead. I suppose if a lifelong friend of mine was in trouble, I'd be pretty worried too. But this rabbit of hers is such...such a dick. Seriously, it hates visitors, it treats everyone like crap and it always gets it's own way. But this wasn't my friend, it was hers and I had to help, even though I knew that white furball would never give any appreciation.

The town was pretty empty, then again it was after 10PM now. We soon reached her cottage where we stopped at the edge of the forest. I had never ventured inside of this dank and depressing place but seeing it up close? Damn it look creepy.

"So Angel went in there, right?" I said, shining my torch into the darkness of the forest.

"Yes. I have to find him and I can't do it alone..." she replied, hanging her head.

I shone the torch around a bit more, looking at what I could see before switching it off and turning to face the nervous pegasus. I did the best thing I could given the situation. I lied. "We'll find him. I promise." I felt bad lying to her but I had to give her some hope. Given what Twilight and Luna told me about what lurks in that forest, a small rabbit is an easy meal. She rose her gaze to meet mine. She looked terrified of what could have happened to her pet. "You really love him don't you?"

"Of course. More than anything." she defiantly confirmed.

I switched the torch on again and pointed it towards the entrance. "Then let's go find him!" I ordered. Treading carefully, we both moved into the forest, keeping close to each other. Every few steps or so, a rustle would sound in the bushes or a twig would snap when stepped on. Each of these times, Fluttershy would jump slightly and whimper. She is not the perfect pony for this type of task.

About ten minutes in, we had reached the point of no return. We couldn't turn back. We both called out Angel's name repeatedly to see if anything would respond. Nothing. The only noises were the leaves rustling and the trees creaking in the hollow wind. But she was determined, she kept on walking and searching.

"Angel! Please come out!" she called out.

"Angel?!" I tried. A sudden roar echoed through the forest, startling both of us. We both huddled together until the noise subsided. "What the hell was that?"

"I...I don't know...I'm scared..." That last sentence caught me off guard. She went from determined to scared in a heartbeat. Truth be told, I was quite scared as well. I put my arm around her and pulled her close.

"Me too...me too." I couldn't move her, she was firmly stuck to the ground, shivering. I had to do something, something to lift our spirits and cure her fear. Thinking quick, I looked down at my chest and smiled. "We're gonna be fine. We're gonna find Angel. You know why?"

She looked up at me. "W-why?"

I brought my hand to my chest and pointed at the gem on the end of my necklace. "That's why. She'll protect us and she'll help us conquer our fears."

"Oh, I don't know..."

"Come here." I took her hoof and placed the gem on top of it, holding my hand over it. "Can you feel that? Can you feel Luna watching over us?"

"I can't...I don't..."

"Just think about what makes you afraid and Luna will push it away. She'll make you brave again!" I said with encouragement. "Come on...really think."

She shut her eyes and breathed slowly. I could feel her hoof twitching in my grasp. This had to make some dent in her fear, even though it wasn't true. Or was it? I always thought that Luna would be watching over me - like a guardian angel. Fluttershy's eyes shot open and she smiled.

"I feel it. I'm not afraid." she said happily.

I let go of her hoof and the gem fell back against my chest. "So you're feeling up to the challenge?" She nodded vigorously. "Then let's carry on." We both stood up and continued our trek through the forest.

'Wow, I cannot believe that worked. Maybe...just maybe it was truth...'


*1 Hour Later*

"ANGEL!"

Not a sight. We've been going around these woods now for over an hour and we still have not seen hide or hair of the missing rabbit. I was starting to fear the worst. I just hoped that Fluttershy didn't.

"Angel! Please come home!" she called out, seperating some bushes. "If you've done something bad, I won't be mad! I promise!"

We soon came across a clearing, illuminated by the moonlight. "We should stop for a bit. My legs are aching." I sat down on the floor and stretched my legs, earning a satisfying click from each of them. "Ahhh....I need to exercise more." Fluttershy came up and sat down next to me. "How you holding up?"

"Oh...I'm OK. I just wish Angel bunny would come home. I'm so worried about him."

"I know, I know. We'll find him, we're not leaving until we do." She looked up at me and smiled. It was nice to see a smile in such a dark and depressing place. "Has he done anything wrong recently? Anything that was bad or that could have caused damage? I only ask because I ran away from home a couple of times so I could avoid being shouted at."

"Oh no. He's been a very good boy. He helps me clean up, he feeds some of the animals. He even helps me prepare the food. He's always been good."

"Are you sure? Anything at all? Even the slightest thing?" She shook her head and looked down at the floor. "We'll find him OK? We will find him, I promise."

"I just can't think of a reason why Angel would run off like this."

"Neither can I." We sat there for a few more minutes in silence. "Well, come on. We should get--" I moved my legs to get up but my calf muscle immediately started cramping. "ARGH! Son of a..."

"What's wrong?" she asked, looking at me with worry.

"My leg's cramping up. Moved it too quickly..." I closed my eyes and winced at the pain until I felt pressure on my right leg. I opened my eyes to see a pair of cream coloured hooves rubbing up and down my calf. "Uhh...what are you doing?"

"Massaging the muscle. Could you stretch your leg please?" I did so and she kept on massaging the muscle. To be perfectly honest, I could feel the pain ebbing away quite quickly. When it stopped completely, I chuckled.

"Wow, nice one. Thanks a lot." I got to my feet, this time without any pain. "Wait a minute. How did you know which muscle to work on? It's not like you've done it before."

Fluttershy shuffled her hooves and avoided my gaze. "Um...when you were at the hospital, I saw your charts. The doctor labelled your body parts and your muscles. Also, Spike's leg muscles are nearly the same as yours and he has had cramp before."

"Ahhh...clever. Anyway, thanks a lot. Right, shall we--"

*RUSTLE*

"What's that?" I said, pointing at the bush about ten meters in front of us. It was shaking and something was inside it. Given that the bush was only about a meter tall, it had to be something small, something harmless. I crept up on the bush and turned my torch on. Reaching for it slowly, I raised my hands and pulled the bush apart.

"A-HA! There you are!" Right before my eyes was the missing rabbit, who gave me a deathly glare before hopping off at a great speed. "OI! Get back here!"

"Angel!" Fluttershy called. We both ran after the rabbit as it retreated from us through shrubs and bushes. "Angel, come back!"

"Listen to your carer! Get back here you furry bastard!"

The plethora of pointy objects and nettles scraped and stung at me as I barged my way through the brush, keeping the torch on the speeding rabbit. This one was not getting away! I picked up the pace a little and leapt at the rodent, grabbing it and moving it out of the way of my falling body.

"Got him!" Angel didn't think so. He sunk his buck teeth right into my thumb but I kept him held. "OW! Will you...Fluttershy, get him to stop!" It started to really hurt.

"Angel bunny!" Wow, I didn't think she could shout that loud. Did the trick though as the rabbit pulled his teeth out of my skin. "We do NOT bite friends!" I set the rabbit on the ground and he hung his head. "Now, what do you say to Owen?" The rabbit looked back at me and rolled his eyes before hopping over and rubbing my leg with his paw.

"Thank you." I said.

"Thank you Angel." She replied in a sweet voice. "But what are you doing out here in the night? Don't you know it's dangerous out here?"

The rabbit lifted his paw up and bent it towards him twice as if to say 'Follow me'. We followed the rabbit back the way we came and soon came across the bush where we found him.

"What is it Angel?" Fluttershy asked. The rabbit pointed to the bush and lifted a tiny portion up, hoping Fluttershy would do the same. I took the initiative and lifted a hefty portion of it up to reveal what was under it. Although, I wasn't expecting what I saw but it was stereotypical.

"Carrots? A load of carrots?" I said with bemusement.

Fluttershy walked around to see it in full view. "Oh my."

I walked around and saw what she was looking at. Not only was it just a pile of carrots but there was a hole dug into the ground. It was a huge load! "So he's been hoarding them. Why?"

The rabbit got Fluttershy's attention and started making random movements with his paws and the rest of his body. "Oh...I'll help translate for you, it's mine and Angel's special way of communicating. OK...um...hiding food...because...the other animals...are eating it? Well, yes Angel. All of the animals need feeding, not just yourself."

'What a selfish little thing.' I thought. The rabbit shook his head and started signing again.

"Oh, not eating...um...taking? The animals were taking your food?" One more sharp signal from the rabbit. "Stealing? The animals were stealing your food?" she said, sounding shocked.

'Oh...maybe not so selfish.' The rabbit nodded and then his visage changed. He looked genuinely upset. "Poor thing." I leant down and looked in the rabbit's eyes. "So...you hid some extra food for when the other animals take yours?" The rabbit looked up at me with that same old mean look but that soon softened and he nodded. "But...when I've always seen you, you were like their leader."

Fluttershy quickly swept him up with her hooves. "Oh Angel, why didn't you tell me?" More signing. "Because it...only happened when...I wasn't looking." Now that really tugged the heartstrings. I really did feel for this little guy now. I stood up and signalled back towards Ponyville.

"Come on. Let's get out of here. I'm sure a nice warm house is better than this place." I said with a smile. The duo both nodded and walked/hopped towards me.

*RUSTLE RUSTLE*

"Hmm?" Another bush was rustling. Although this time it was a larger bush, at least three meters in height. "You two, come here. Something big is nearby." The two friends stayed close to me as we listened for any more noises.

"Are you sure? I didn't hear anything..."

"I was certain..." I looked at the bush but it stayed still and silent. "Huh...strange. But be careful. Twilight told me all about what types of--"

*THUD*

"Holy shit."

Right in front of our path, something big had landed with an almighty thud. It was huge, taller than I was. It...it was...I don't know what it was but it looked like a lion with bat wings and a scorpion tail.

"Fluttershy? What is that thing?" I whispered just loud enough so she could hear me.

"Oh, it's just a Manticore. They're really very sweet." she replied, walking slowly up to the creature. Both me and Angel stared on in disbelief.

"Fluttershy! What are you doing?!" I called out in hushed tones. "That thing'll hurt you!" I felt a tapping on my leg. Looking down, Angel was looking up me and was pointing towards Fluttershy. "What can I do?" I say to him.

Fluttershy kept approaching it and stopped about two meters in front of it. "Hello Mr Manticore. Can you please move to the side so me and my friends can get by?" she said in her most sweetest and angelic voice.

The Manticore stood it's ground and roared at the brave pegasus. "Fluttershy! Get back here!" I shouted at her.

She turned around and faced me. "There's no need to worry. He might have another thorn in his--"

"LOOK OUT!"

"Huh?"

*THWACK*

The manticore's tail swung round and hit Fluttershy on her chest, flinging her to the side of the path, next to a tree stump. "Fluttershy! Are you alright?!" She groggily lifted her head and murmured some strange noises. The manticore started to approach her dazed body. I had to do something. Looking around with my torch, I saw the only thing I could use to get it's attention.

"OI!" I threw a rock at the creature and hit it on the side of it's tail. "Leave her alone!" I threw another one, this time it hit the left wing but it still kept approaching. "I said LEAVE HER ALONE!" I threw one more and hit it square on the head, right above his left eye. The creature roared out in pain and held it's face with it's paw. It stumbled back and fell onto it's backside, still clutching it's eyes making it blind for now.

I rushed over to Fluttershy with Angel in tow and helped her to her hooves. "You alright?" I asked.

"I...think so."

I looked at her chest - it had a mark on it but there was no blood. "Good. Now." I lifted up Angel and put him on her back. "Let's go before it's vision returns." We began to walk away from the blinded manticore and we were quite a distance away. "Should be safe now. Let's pick up the pace. You never know when--"

*ROAR*

"Oh shit, RUN!" We all broke out into a speeding dash as we retreated from the rampaging creature. Must have got it's sight back. Thinking on my feet, I thought of a plan but it was bloody stupid. "Split up! You two go back towards Ponyville, I'll lead it into the forest and I'll escape it!"

"You can't escape it! He'll catch up!" Fluttershy shouted at me.

"Got any other ideas?!" I looked back to see the manticore gaining. It was now or never. "Take flight! NOW!" She did so and she soared into the sky. Whilst running, I spotted a few more rocks which I managed to pick up. I turned my head and threw one back at him, missing completely.

"Oh shit...big mistake." The manticore noticed the heavy projectile I threw and saw me as the primary target, now that Fluttershy and Angel had sped off into the night sky.

I ran. Oh god I ran as fast as my legs would take me. I looked back occasionally to see that the manticore hadn't given up and he was gaining on me ever so slowly. Needing to escape quickly, I turned a sharp left and entered what I like to call 'The Thorn Gauntlet'.

Every. Single. Branch. It's like they were magnetically attracted to me! Each one hurt more than the last. Exiting the thorns, I looked over my arms and saw that they had be slashed and scratched. Nothing serious but damn it hurts. I looked back to see the manticore just piling through them like a freight train.

I kept on running through the woods. This thing would not give up! The fatigue was setting in and I began to slow. "Come on legs! Don't fail me now!" My breaths became ragged and heavy. I now knew that he was not gonna give up and it will catch me. I looked over my shoulder to see it only a few meters behind me.

I just had to escape. I couldn't die like this! "Come on, keep going...keep going *wheeze*...christ..." My legs were starting to give. It was only a matter of time now. "I can't...I...I MUST!" I tried to kick it into overdrive which seemed to work. I picked up the speed and I was running again, away from the--

*SLASH*

"ARGH!"

Something sharp pierced my side and the pain was excrutiating. It was too much and my legs gave way, causing me to drop and tumble into a heap on the ground.

"OHHHHHhhhhh...."

"Grrrrr...."

I could feel the manticore's breath on me. It was hovering right over my head. 'Oh my god...please don't kill me.'

*ROAR*

I heard a dog-like whine and the sound of something running off. Whatever that noise was, it scared the hell out of both of us. I opened my eyes slowly to see that the manticore had indeed scarpered. I tried locating the source of the one hundred decibel roar but I couldn't see a thing. The torch was nowhere to be seen.

"What the...ARGH!" The pain hit me again, right on the left side of my body. I put my hand down to feel where the pain was only to be met with something wet. I brought it up to my mouth and licked it. Blood. And a lot of it. Looking around, I saw a patch of ground that was lit with moonlight. Using my hands, I dragged myself towards the patch, enduring the agony that emitted from my wound.

"Come on..." Drag. "COME ON!" Drag. "AAAARRRGH!" I reached the patch and managed to get a glimpse at my wound. "Oh my..." Three big gashes had torn through the skin and blood was pouring from the wound. I was in trouble. A lot of trouble. I tried getting to my feet but the pain was too much - I fell back down onto my un-wounded side. Thinking quick, I took off my shirt and held it against the wound. Not that it did much.

Using what last strength I had, I tried to call out for help. "SOMEONE! ANYONE! I NEED HELP!" My calls echoed through the forest and all I got was silence in return. "PLEASE! IS THERE ANYONE...anyone..." I couldn't keep it up. I lay my head on the ground and winced from the pain.

'What do I do...no-one heard me...' I thought. I tried to think of happy thoughts to take my mind of the pain. 'The party...drunken kisses...first day at the club...that night with Lu...'

My thoughts stopped as the thought of Luna gave me my answer. Looking down, I saw that my necklace was still attached! I reached for the gem and tapped it twice, hoping she would answer.

"Come on...*cough*...please..."

"Hello dear. You're up late."

Oh thank the lord. "Luna...Luna...help..."

"Owen? What's going on?"

"Need...help...*cough*...man...manti...manticore..."

"A manticore?! Owen, are you alright?!"

She got the message. "Luna...I'm hurt..." My vision was going and I could feel my eyes drooping. "Ever...Everfree..."

*THUD*

"Owen?!"

"..."

"OWEN!"


"...vit...gns...re impro..."

"Is...e..lose to....king up?"

"Ooh! I can...ow...rise...ty!"

"No Pink...."

"Look!"

My eyes opened very slowly as I rose from slumber. Yawning loudly, I re-focused and looked at where I was. "What the...not again..."

"Welcome back."

I turned to see Twilight standing next to my bed with a giant grin on her face. "Hey...I thought I heard Pinkie..."

"Oh you did. You can come out now girls!" The curtain slid back to reveal AJ, Rarity, Pinkie, Rainbow and Spike all looking happy.

"Hey guys. Wait...where's...OW!" The sudden jolt of pain interrupted me. I lifted the blanket to see bandages surrounding my stomach area. "My god that hurts..." Then the memories came back. "The manticore! How did...how did I get here?"

"You're awake!" I looked over to the door to see Luna - her face beaming. She galloped over to me and practically latched onto my face, giving me a long and meaningul kiss. I was happy to respond. She broke it and looked at me with teary eyes. "I thought you'd never...never w-wake up." she said, sniffling a few times.

I raised my hand and stroked her cheek, offering a smile. "I'm OK...I think. What happened to me?"

"You were indeed attacked by a manticore. The injury was quite severe. After you contacted me through the gem, my sister and I rushed to find you. I managed to locate you by tracking the gem to pinpoint your location." Luna explained.

"You're lucky Twilight gave that to ya both!" Applejack added.

"Yeah...yeah we are. So what was the injury?" I asked.

"I think I can answer that or you." came a familiar voice. The tan unicorn walked up to the side of my bed.

"We've got to stop meeting like this, ahaha...oww." Apparently my laughter is limited.

"Indeed. Now as for your injury, you received three large cuts to your stomach area and lost a significant amount of blood. Also, you had fractured your right arm and broken a rib." Stitch explained.

I prodded my chest and moved my right arm. "Magic healing right? So how long have I been here?"

"Just over three days. Now, I have something to inform you of. Blood loss is something magic cannot fix. When you were brought in, close examination deemed that you needed a blood transfusion. Fortunately, one of your friends was kind enough to offer her blood."

I looked at Twilight. "Not me." Applejack. "Getting there." Rainbow. "That way." Rarity. "Getting warmer..." I looked up at Luna who was smiling greatly. She nodded slowly.

I sat up slowly and wrapped my arms around her, squeezing her tight. "Thank you. I love you so much." I whispered into ther ear. I leant back and remained upright on the bed. "So, how long do I have to stay in the hospital?"

"You were free to go the moment you woke up. Your body has healed and your blood levels are back to normal."

"Excellent. Once again Doctor, thank you for taking care of me." I said, extending my fist to him which he bumped.

"You are most welcome." He made for the door but stopped short and turned back. "See you again?" he said with a smirk.

"I hope not!" I replied back. He left the room and I breathed a sigh of relief. "Well...I'm amazed that I'm alright. Seriously, when that manticore got me, I thought I was a..." The absence of a particular pony caught my attention. "Of course! Fluttershy! Is she alright? Where is she?" I asked in a panic.

"She is fine." Twilight said. "A bit of a bruise but she is otherwise fine. As for where she is...well..." She nodded to the corner of the room. I looked over the girls and saw a yellow mass huddled behind a chair.

"Right. Listen girls, can you give me a moment with her? Please?" They all accepted my request and filed out of the room. The room was silent, save for the breathing of me and the hidden pegasus. "Fluttershy?" No response. Not a sound. Carefully, I put my legs over the side of the bed and hauled myself up. Catching my balance was a doozy as I had been lying down for three days.

I slowly approached the chair and stopped about four feet from it. "Fluttershy, please come out." Still no answer. I slowly brought myself to the floor and sat down, causing a small jolt of pain but not enough to make me wince. I stared at the chair as I could just about make out her body.

"Why are you hiding back there?" Still nothing. She only moved an inch this time. "Fluttershy please. Come out from behind there so I can talk to you properly."

"It's..."

"Hmm?" A response! One word but still.

"It's...all my fault." I heard her say.

"No it's not. It was my idea to make the manticore chase me." I was keeping my tone calm and friendly. There was no need to scare her, not at a time like this. "Fluttershy, don't blame yourself for this. You weren't to know that this was going to happen."

That seemed to get her attention as she slowly made her way out from behind the chair. Her eyes were red and puffy and she had bags under them. She hasn't slept in days. She walked up to me and stared at me. "I...I nearly got you ki..." She couldn't finish her sentence as her voice choked on the last sentence. Her tears started to flow freely and she hung her head.

"Look at me." She didn't. "Fluttershy, look at me, please." She raised her head slowly and fixed her eyes on me. "This is not your fault. You needed someone to help you in your time of need and an unfortunate series of events caused this. I don't care about this injury. I cared for yours and Angel's safety. Nothing else mattered at that point."

"But...but I..."

"I don't blame you at all. This wasn't and will never be your fault. OK?" She nodded slowly, sniffling once or twice. I reached my arm out and stroked her mane slightly. "Just...get those carrots back, eh?" I said with a wink. She smiled before lunging at me and wrapping her hooves around my neck.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" she shouted through tears.

I patted her back with my spare hand. "It's alright. I'm OK now. Luna saved me." I leant back and looked in her eyes. "See, I told you she'd protect us."

Fluttershy got up from her hug and walked to the window, opening it up. "OK, you can come in now." Before I could ask, the root of all of this hopped up onto the window ledge and jumped down onto the floor. "Angel bunny has something he wants to say."

I looked down at the rabbit who nodded and started signing. Fluttershy was quick to translate for me. "Angel says...he wants to...thank you...for saving his...mommy." Angel hopped over to my hand and rubbed it before signing again. "He also says he's sorry for...biting your hand."

I chuckled and looked down at the rabbit who was smiling back. I leant down and picked him up, placing him in my palms. "Don't you worry about it. Your mommy is a great friend." I used my finger to tap him slighty on the nose. "And so are you."

The rabbit smiled even wider before jumping off my hand and back to the window, before jumping out. "Animals aren't allowed in the hospital." she said with a smile.

"Of course. Well then, you ready to go?" I asked the pegasus. She nodded in response. "Right then. Let's go meet with the others." I picked up my necklace and put it on before we walked to the door and opened it up, revealing the waiting ponies and dragon. "I think we're all done here."

"That was a very kind thing you just did." Rarity said.

"Hmm? What are you on about?" Twilight cleared her throat and pointed to the gem on my chest. I looked down at it and then to Luna who winked. "You heard all that?"

"We sure did." AJ responded.

To be honest, I was happy that they did. "Then I have something to say to you all. Something that I should have said before. All of you are my most closest friends and you can have this promise from me - I would give my life to save each and every one of you."

Luna walked up to me and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. "That is very noble of you."

"Thanks. I really mean it." I breathed in a lungfull of air, only for it to smell a bit off. Mainly...me. "Whoa! I need a wash when I get back."

"Maybe you and the Princess can wash together." Spike chimed.

"Spike!" Twilight said, whacking him on the back of the head.

"That could be useful actually." Luna added.

"The Princess never left your side during your time here." Twilight said.

I looked at Luna and smiled. "You see, that's why I fell in love with you. You're so considerate and caring." I said, nuzzling her cheek. She seemed to like what I said as a blush appeared on her cheek.

*BURP*

"A message from Princess Celestia!" Twilight exclaimed. She took the scroll and read the top before closing it. "It's for you Owen."

"Ah, alright then." I took the scroll from her magical grasp and unrolled it.

Dear Owen

Once again, you have proved yourself a brave and noble being. The details of your valiant efforts in the Everfree Forest have spread quickly and you are being spoken highly of in various places!

Luna informed me that you needed a blood transfusion to survive and that she gave her blood to you! Words cannot describe how proud I am of my sister. I am sure that you are most grateful for her donation.

I cannot fully express my gratitude enough for your actions as you protected and saved the life of one of the Elements. When you visit Canterlot again, please inform me of your visit as a commendation will be awarded to you upon your arrival at the castle.

Yours Faithfully

Princess Celestia

"A special commendation? What could that mean?" I ask out loud. I got a chorus of 'I don't know' as an answer. "I'll find out when I next go to see her. She's very proud of you Luna."

"Hey! I know what this calls for!" Pinkie shouted out. "A PARTY!" She then went on another verbal marathon and then zoomed off out of the hospital.

"So...what's going on?" I ask.

"I think she said she wants to have the party at the library." Rarity answered.

"WHAT?!" Twilight exclaimed before rushing out of the doors with the rest of the girls and Spike in tow.

"This is gonna be good. Ready to go?" I ask Luna. She nods to me and walks alongside me towards the door. "You know, I just realised something."

"What is it?" she replied.

"Now that you gave your blood to me, there'll always be a part of you." I pointed to my heart. "In here." Luna smiled sweetly before kissing my cheek again. "Hey, can I ask you something?"

"Of course, you can ask me anything." she answers in that sweet voice I've come to love.

I walked in front of her and held her hoof up with my hand. "I was just thinking...Luna, will you..." I stayed silent for a moment before setting her hoof back down. "Never mind."

"That looked important, what's wrong?" she asked.

"Nothing's wrong. It can wait." We walked out of the double doors, into the fresh air. 'It can wait for the perfect moment.'

32. The Time Is Right

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BRAIN START-UP SEQUENCE ACTIVATED

- BREATHING: CONFIRMED
- DREAMING: CONFIRMED
- MOVEMENT OF LIMBS: IN PROGRESS

"Hnnnggg...." No way was I getting out of bed. It was too comfy. I stretched and moved my arms and legs and shuffled under the covers.

MOVEMENT OF LIMBS: COMPLETED
EYES OPEN: IN PROGRESS

It wasn't to be. I'd moved now so my body was saying 'Come on! Time to get up!' and I couldn't disobey. I opened my eyes slowly and sat up, rubbing my eyes. "Hmm...ohhh my head..."

EYES OPEN: COMPLETED
MEMORY OF PREVIOUS EVENING: NOT FOUND - SEARCH COMMENCING

I looked at my clock - 11:30. "Whoa, what the hell. What did I do last night?" I rubbed my head to try and quell the pain. "Last night was...I did..."

MEMORY OF PREVIOUS EVENING: FOUND - NOW PLAYING

"Party...and drinking. Of course..." Last night's party was a blast. The one Pinkie threw for me last week was more of a social affair that just included the Elements, Spike, me and Luna. The one last night however, was thrown by Vinyl. She told me she was totally amazed at what I did for Fluttershy so she organized a more adult party. Music, dancing and drinking...so much drinking.

"No more drinking for a while. Remember that brain, no more drinking for at least a month." I stated out loud.

COMMAND TO MEMORY: FAILED - UNKNOWN ERROR

I got up out of my bed and looked around my room. I still couldn't believe I was actually sleeping in my old home again. It felt a bit lonely but I saw a friend nearly every day. I had a quick shower and got dressed before making breakfast - bowl of Corn Flakes with sugar. My home had brought everything with it along with my food. I had to savour it though because once it was empty, that's it, there is no more of it's kind in the entire world. Man I'm gonna miss Sensations crisps.

I glanced over at my calender and saw that it was Saturday. 2nd of March to be precise. Today was a day of rest. I didn't have to work till Monday and I had no chores or errands to do.

"Yeah, today is gonna be awesome."

*10 Minutes Later*

"There must be something to do!"

That's one of my main problems in life. I can never find something to please my needs. During the last week, I had tested every console I owned to see if they still worked - they did. But even though I have them, I don't really have the urge to play them. I had my laptop but there was no internet. I don't think Wi-Fi has been developed enough to pick up laptops millions of miles away. Could be billions...who knows.

Stretching out on the sofa, I lazily flop onto my belly and let my hand fall off the sofa. I felt under the sofa with my hand, just to feel the plush carper underneath. "Hmm...feels good...rough and thin and...wait." I grabbed whatever what was under the sofa and pulled it out. It was a newspaper, a specific one at that. "Ohhh...why did I keep this?"

I started to read it. Inside was the picture of me and Fluttershy along with the most idiotic piece of journalism I had ever seen. "Is this it for Princess Luna? Rubbish. Complete bollocks." I took the paper into the kitchen and chucked it in the bin. It was then that my plan for the day came into my mind. I promised myself to find whoever took the picture and give them a piece of my mind. It shall be done.

Thinking about it, I needed to do several things in Canterlot. One, the newspaper. Two, I wanted to see Luna as we hadn't seen each in a week and I wanted to know something about the blood transfusion. Three...now three was a difficult subject. I needed advice on something. Something that only Celestia would be able to give me.

I grabbed my coat and shoes, slipped them on and was out of the door into the bright sunshine. To get all this plan into motion, I would need at least two days in Canterlot so my first stop was to a friend of mine. I walked into the town, through the market greeting the ponies who said hello, and out towards the residential area.

I came across my destination soon enough - a two storey house with a balcony. Sounds like any other house right? Nope. This one was noticeable by the rather large 'DJ-PON3' painted on the side of the house. I walked up to the door and knocked on it twice. Before long, it opened and a grey earth pony with a pink bowtie opened the door.

"Yes?"

"Oh uh...sorry. I'm looking for Vinyl?" I asked. I hadn't a clue who this pony was.

"She lives here. Would you like to come in?"

"Sure, thanks." The grey pony moved to the side and I casually walked in and stood in the living room. "So uhh...sorry, I haven't met you before. Are you Vinyl's room-mate that she tells me about?"

She looked irked at this and raised an eyebrow at me. "Indeed I am. I hope it's good things she mentions."

"Oh of course, of course, nothing but! You have to forgive me, you're name escapes me." I said, shaking my head.

She held out her hoof. "Octavia. Pleasure to meet you Owen."

I bumped her hoof and smiled. "See, you're good with names. Vinyl mentioned that. Anyway, I need to ask her something about work. Is she around at the moment?"

"She is but she's incapacitated at the moment." Octavia states.

"Oh." I remembered that she was at the party last night and smirked at Octavia. "Hungover?" She nodded and we both shared a laugh.

"Please wait a moment and I will get her for you." she said, walking away up the stairs. I chuckled as the thought of a hungover Vinyl sounded like a funny sight. The only other time I saw her drunk was way back in August when we had that party at AJ's.

"Come along! One of your friends is waiting for you downstairs."

"Don't talk so loud...ohhhh...."

I struggled to contain my laughter as I heard Vinyl's attempt to talk properly. She sounded horrendous.

"This had better be good..."

The sound of hoofsteps increased as she descended the stairs. Vinyl soon came into view and I could not hold it back any more. Bellows of laughter erupted from my mouth as the sight of her was incredible. Her mane was more messed up than usual, her eyes had bags under them and someone had drawn all over her face with a black marker. "H-hey Vinyl...*snort*...how ya feeling?"

She shook her head and sighed heavily. "Bad dude...bad. Party was good though right?"

"Brilliant. I think you drunk your own body weight in alcohol though." I said with a smirk. Vinyl nodded and plopped herself down next to me on the sofa. Octavia soon came in, carrying a mug of coffee for the hungover DJ. She gladly took it and sipped from it, gasping at the taste. "Feel good?"

"It's helping...so, what are you doing here?" she replied.

"Well, it's about the next few days. Would you please be able to give me Monday night off? I need to go to Canterlot to sort out a few things and it's kind of important."

Vinyl tapped her chin for a moment before smiling. "OK Owen. I'll give you your days off on one condition." I tilted my head. "From the look on your face, I can tell what you're going to do is real important. Tell me what you're gonna do then it'll be fine."

Surprising but reasonable. "Four things. One, I'm going to go to the offices of the Canterlot Chronicle to have a 'friendly chat' about what they printed about me. Along with their...photographer." I said, getting annoyed thinking about it. "Two, Celestia said that she had a commendation for me for my efforts in the Everfree."

"Oh dude, that was awesome!" Vinyl exclaimed. Wow, the coffee worked fast.

"Yeah, it was...kind of. At least the bandages are off now, eh?" I rubbed the spot where the manticore got me. "Three. I never really asked about my blood transfusion. See, since I have pony blood in me now, I'm curious if there's any side effects so I want to ask the Princesses about it. And four...four is kinda private."

"Oh come on...you can tell me." she said. "It can't be that bad."

"It's not bad at all." I sighed. "Alright, I'll tell you but you cannot tell anyone, alright? Not a soul. Not even...wait, you know what? You have to Pinkie Promise."

"Do I have--" I glared at her. "Cross my heart, hope to fly. Stick a cupcake in my eye. There, happy?"

"Thank you. What I want to do is..." I told the rest of my plan to Vinyl. Her jaw hung open in shock. "It's the truth."

"Wow...are you sure?" she replied, shutting her mouth.

"Absolutely. It's something that needs to be done. But please, Vinyl. Not a word to anyone else." I said with pleading eyes.

"I already Pinkie Promised, what more do you want?" she said with a laugh. "But yeah, I won't tell anypony. And you can have your days off. Next night on is Thursday, OK?"

"Thanks a lot Vinyl. You're a good friend." I got to my feet and stretched my arms. "Well, I'm off to the station. Got a long journey ahead. Thanks again Vinyl." I walked to the door which Octavia opened up for me. "And a pleasure to meet you too Octavia." The door shut behind me as I made my way towards the train station.


Back in the Vinyl and Octavia household, the cellist sat next to her friend, watching her drink her coffee.

"So? What was that all about?" she asked the DJ.

"I can't tell you, I Pinkie Promised."

"You do realise I was in the same room at the time he said it?" she said with a sly smile.

"Then why did you ask?" Vinyl retorted.

"To see if you would keep your end of the promise. But what I heard, that's shocking!"

"I know! To think, he's gonna ask Princess Celestia about......"


It's still a bit cold. The wind is blowing down the platform as I wait for the train to arrive. It's gonna be a much longer journey than I thought as the last train was about to depart - only problem is that it's a sleeper train. Despite it only being two in the afternoon, I'm not gonna get to Canterlot until tomorrow morning.

"I could walk there faster." I mumbled to myself.

"Tell me about it." a voice sounded. Looking left, a light brown unicorn stood a few feet away from me, staring at me. "I don't see why this train has to take so long to get to Canterlot."

"Yeah, it's a bit odd." He looked familiar but I couldn't match a name to the face. The unicorn held his hoof out to me.

"Time Turner."

"..."

"Are you alright?"

I couldn't believe I didn't recognise him. I craned my head to the left and looked at his flank and sure enough, there was his cutie mark - an hourglass. 'Oh my god, it is him! I haven't seem him since...'. I shook my head and focused on the unicorn.

"Sorry, nice to meet you. Name's Owen." I bumped his hoof. "Sorry about that. It's just I knew I had seen your face before but I couldn't remember where. You don't happen to live in Ponyville do you?"

"I'm afraid not. I live and work in Canterlot with my father, Minute Hand. I came to this charming town to visit a friend."

'So it really is him! And he's got a horn! Just like Minute said.'

I thought of a lie to make it sound like I did know him. "Ah I've met your father, a charming stallion. He owns a watchmaking shop doesn't he?" I asked.

"That's right. Our family have run the business for over fifty years now."

*WHISTLE*

"Ah, the train arrives!" Time said with a nod to behind me. I turned around to see the colourful train pulling into the station, watching it slow to a halt, letting off a gush of steam. Depsite the bright colours, it is a wonderful machine.

"Right then, best go find a cabin to stay in for the next...sixteen hours." I groaned. I began my walk to the train.

"One second! Are you travelling alone?" Time asked from behind me. I turned around and nodded. "To save on space, shall we share a cabin? There will be plenty of room and we will have company during the journey."

I nodded, thinking about it. "Yeah, why not. Let's go find a cabin." We both entered the train and started searching for an empty cabin. This being the last train of the day, it was busy so we looked as fast as we could. Soon enough, we came across an empty cabin and made ourselves comfortable. "This'll do nicely." I said, sitting back on the bed/sofa.

"Indeed. Tell me, I am intrigued by that item around your neck. What is it?"

I looked down and smiled, picking up the end of my necklace. "Ah, this is my communication gem. This allows me to talk with Luna when we are far away from each other."

His eyes widened and he nodded. "Ah, so YOU are Princess Luna's Royal Courter. Do forgive me, I rarely have the time to keep up to date with modern events."

"Haven't got the time? You work in a watchmaking business!" I joked. He took the joke well and laughed. "Sorry, couldn't resist. But yes, I am Princess Luna's courter."

"Well it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." he said with a bow. I still hated that but I didn't want to complain. "So, are you visiting the Princess tomorrow?"

The train jerked forward as the overnight journey to Canterlot began. "Sure am. I haven't seen her for a while. Might have a look around the shops as well."

"You are a lucky stallion." I raise my eyebrow. "Err...human, is it?" I nodded with a smile. "You are a lucky human. The Princess is a beautiful mare."

"She sure is. So what about you? Do you have a special somebody?" I asked.

"Hold on." Time rose from his seat and walked out the door. Did I do something wrong? Did I upset him? What if I struck a nerve? Great Owen, your big mouth has once again--"Here we are." Time returned levitating two bottles. I took one from his grasp.

"Beer? They serve beer on this train? How did I never notice?" I say to myself, forgetting who just got the beer for me. "Oh, sorry. Thanks very much."

"If we're going to talk about mares, then it's best to have a beer beforehoof." he said, taking a sip.

"You know, I promised myself this morning that I wouldn't drink for a month." I stared at the beer for a while before swigging it. "I'll start tomorrow."


*SUNDAY - 8AM*

"Canterlot! At last..." I shouted as I poked my head out of the window. The journey turned out pretty good. Me and Time spent most of the time talking and having a couple of drinks. Turns out we weren't the only ones doing that - the cabin next to ours was full of mares who were smashed off their faces and kept trying to get Time's attention. I tried encouraging him to go and speak to them but he never did. I can respect that, I was crap at talking to girls at one point.

The train pulled into the station and stopped with a jolt. Me and Time headed departed the train and walked out of the station. "Well, I'm off to the castle. It was a pleasure Time." I said, holding out my fist.

"Quite right. Please feel free to stop by my shop in the future. Until then!" Time walked off in the opposite direction of the castle. I started my walk and thought about memories past - mainly to do with Minute.

To be honest, I don't ever recall seeing Time in Ponyville after the Voice changed everything so I suppose it all makes sense. Minute got his funding, kept his business and never lopped off his son's horn to use as a spell. It made me smile, knowing that his dad's life is better now.

I reached the castle in a short time and greeted the guards who began to escort me into the castle's interior. Soon enough, we reached the throne room in which the doors were opened by the guards. I followed them in and saw Celestia sitting upon the throne.

"Owen! What a pleasant surprise!" Celestia beamed, looking towards me. I bowed to her to stood firm.

"Morning. How are you today?" I asked her.

"I am well, thank you. I take it you are here to see Luna?" she said, lighting her horn up.

"Actually!" Her horn stopped glowing. "I'm here to see you. It's kind of a...private matter that I need some advice on."

"I understand. Guards, please vacate the room. We are not to be disturbed." she ordered. The guards all heeded her words and filed out of the room, closing the door behind them. "Please sit." Her horn glowed and a sofa materialised behind me which I took a seat on. Celestia walked over and lay down in front of me so she was eye level.

"Thank you. And thanks for talking with me on such short notice."

"You are very welcome. Now, what is it that you wanted to discuss."

I rubbed the back of my head and sighed. "OK, the first thing I wanted to ask is about the blood transfusion." She raised an eyebrow. "It's nothing bad...well, I think not. I mean, I can't thank her enough for donating her blood but now that it's in my body, are there gonna be any side effects?"

"What do you mean by 'side effects'?" she replies.

"Well I hope nothing but just hear me out. I have the blood of a hugely powerful alicorn in my body. Taken into account that I have no idea how the pony body system works, having that blood in me, will it change me in any way?"

"Hmm." She held a hoof to her chin and nodded her head slowly in thought. "This has only ever happened once before, long before your time. A fellow colleague of mine, a unicorn, donated her blood to save her dying husband, an earth pony. The only change for him was that he could sense when magic was being used nearby. Now, I would like to say that would be the same for you but with alicorn blood, I do not know. I'm sorry I cannot give you any more information."

"Hey, don't apologise. You've given me all the information that you know and I thank you for it. Now, if I was to start sensing magic, how would I know? What does it feel like?" I asked.

"From what I know, you will hear a faint high pitched noise and you will feel it in your head, like a headache but without the pain."

"A headache without pain? That doesn't even sound possible. Let's try it. Perform some form of magic." I asked. She lit her horn up and levitated a cushion on the sofa. I tried listening. No high pitched sound and no painless headache. "Not a thing. That's worrying..." I said, brining a hand to my chin.

"If I remember correctly, it took time for the earth pony to begin sensing the magic. I think it was over a couple of months." I nodded slowly. "Please do not worry about it. I am sure you will be fine." I looked up and smiled at her.

"Thanks. Right, the second thing. Umm..." I had to think about it for a second. "Oh yeah. I remember you stating in the letter about a commedation for me."

Celestia's smile widened as her horn lit up. A small metallic object was summoned in front of her. "I would normally award this to you in a ceremony but as you are here short notice, I hope you don't mind it like this." She levitated the metallic object towards my shirt and pinned it on. I looked down at it.

"A medal..." I held it in my hand to get a better look at it. It was a small round golden medallion, with the sun on one side and the moon on the back. Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks. "This is beautiful." I said in astonishment.

"For saving the life of one of the Elements of Harmony, I award you the Equestrian Star of Bravery. You willingly risked your life to save another - an utmost splendid act of courage." she said in an authorative tone.

I got up from the sofa and gave Celestia a hug, holding her tight. "Thank you. This means so much." I stepped back and sat back down, admiring the medal. "Wow...awarded a medal for bravery. Never thought that would happen." I said with a snort.

"You deserve it, you really do. Is there anything else you wish to discuss with me?" Celestia asked.

I rubbed the back of my head. "Uhh...yeah there is one more thing. It's about Luna."

Celestia tilted her head at me. "Is something wrong? You look worried."

I shook my head. "No, no, no it's fine. It's just..." I breathed in heavily and let it out slowly. "I need advice on something and you are the only pony who will be able to give it to me." She nodded and stayed silent, waiting for me to carry on. "OK, what I want to know is what Luna's most favourite things in the world are. Things she gets so happy about."

Celestia gave a confused look. "Is that all? Well, let's see now. She has always loved the stars, ever since she managed to control them. She...ooh! She loves a particular bottle of wine that is made right here in Canterlot - Berry's Brook. She likes to read...is there anything in particular you want to know?" she asked.

"Something close and personal to her. Something that requires someone else to enjoy." She opened her mouth to speak. "Apart from the obvious of course..." I said, laughing at the end. She got a good chuckle out of that.

"Oh you are too funny. I do happen to know that she loves a massage on her wings." Celestia opened one of hers and pointed at a certain part with her hoof. "Right there. She'll say she's ticklish but she actually loves it."

"Good...yeah, that's good. What about jewellery?" I asked.

"I remember her saying once that she always wanted a ring to wear on her horn. Owen...why are you asking this?"

"It's something I've wanted to do for a while now. I was hoping to--"

*BEEP BEEP*

I looked down at my gem and huffed with a smile. I looked up at Celestia who was smiling back. "Two seconds." I tapped the gem. "Morning lovely. How are you?"

"Good morning my love. I am well, thank you. Are you free to talk?"

I looked over to Celestia and held a finger over my mouth - the 'shh' sign.. "Yeah, I'm free. I'm just at home at the moment." I got up from the sofa and signed for Celestia to follow me. We started to make our way out of the throne room. "It feels lonely without you here."

"I miss you too. It must be strange waking up in your old home again."

We started to ascend the stairs, both of us trying not to laugh. "Yeah it is. Still, I've got a piece of home with me now." We come across Luna's bedroom door. "Are you about to go to sleep?"

"In a moment, yes. Last night was a bit long-winded." I raised my hand and knocked on her door twice. "I am not to be disturbed!" Both me and Celestia both stifled out giggles. This was too good. I knocked twice again. "Did you not hear me?!"

"Luna, you alright?" I asked in a serious tone.

"I am fine. Somepony is knocking on my door. They know well enough not to disturb me in the daytime." I couldn't help myself - I knocked twice more. "Hold on dear. The pony behind this door is about to be shouted at."

"Oh come on, that's not nice." The door opened to reveal an angry Luna. "I don't like being shouted at." Her mood instantly went to it's opposite as she embraced me in a hug and kiss. Celestia started to laugh behind me which in effect, started me going and then Luna.

"That was mean! When did you get here?" Luna asked me.

"About thirty minutes ago. I thought I'd surprise you both." I sat down on Luna's bed. "And I'm also gonna go to the Canterlot Chronicle office to have a word with the editor."

Luna's expression turned sour. "Those..." I put a hand on her wing and stroked it softly. "I'm coming with you."

"No, you need to sleep. Besides, I can do this by myself."

Luna's horn lit up and her body glowed for a second before stopping. "Sleep is good for my body but magic will do just fine." She got to her hooves. "We will make way to the Canterlot Chronicle!" she stated.

"Only if you say so. Honestly, I can do it myself."

"Or you could make a day of it." Celesita offered. We both looked at her. "Once you finish in the offices, why don't you spend the day together? See the sights?"

I looked back at Luna and smiled. "Sounds good. What do you think?" She kissed me on the lips. "I'll take that as a yes." Luna walked out of the room and out of earshot. I began to follow behind her until Celestia cleared her throat. "Yeah?"

Celestia started to walk past me and leant down to my ear. "Golden ring, around her horn." She draped a wing over my shoulder and pulled me close. "Good luck."

I was gonna need it.


"And here it is. The Canterlot Chronicle." The building looked like the town hall in Ponyville, only more square. Above the doorway, the sign spelt out the name of the newspaper in big, bold letters. "Shall we enter? I'd like to ask why those journalists decided to--"

I stopped her mid-sentence by tapping her shoulder. "Look, I know you want to rant and shout at these ponies but I'm not here to do that." Luna looked confused. "Originally, yes, I was going to be angry but thinking about it, I'm gonna try and reason with these ponies and be calm with them. Now, I'm gonna go in, see if I can speak to their chief editor or someone important. If they refuse and start to get cocky, can you come in and demand that I see someone. Be demanding but not angry." I tapped the gem twice to get it working. "You'll be able to hear everything I and they say."

Luna nodded and nuzzled my cheek. "OK love. I'll be right here if you need me."

I leant over and kissed her before entering the building. The lobby looked kind of plain. A boring, sterile white room with a few chairs and a single desk at the end. An light blue earth pony mare sat at the desk, filing some papers. I straightened my shirt and walked up to the desk, where the mare took notice of me.

"Good morning. I'd like to speak with your editor or chief editor please." I asked nicely.

The mare shifted her eyes a second and gulped. "Um...do you have an appointment?" she asked.

"No, I do not. I'm here regarding a story that your paper printed about me that was complete lies. Also, a picture was taken of me without me knowing and I'd like to know why." I stated. I kept the facts simple.

"I'm sorry but you have to have an appointment to meet with our staff. Would you like me to arrange one for you?" she asked. Her tone was sinking into an annoyed tone.

"Listen. I'm not happy about what happened. Please just let me see them now and I'll be out of here in no time at all."

The mare put her front hooves on the table and glared at me. "Look. I cannot let you in without an appointment. Now, arrange one for another time or I will have to ask you to leave." She breathed a bit fast after that - she sounded nervous.

I sighed. "Alright, you leave me no choice." I picked up the gem and held it to my mouth. "I'm gonna need your help dear. Please come in."

The front doors opened and an unhappy Luna walked up towards the desk. "I, Princess Luna, order you to allow Owen to speak with your editor." she said. It was authorative, not an angry tone. The mare behind the desk bowed, then rose and dashed to the next room. "Was that too mean?" Luna asked.

"I don't think so. She was getting a bit angry at the end but that subsided when she saw you." I replied.

The door opened again to reveal a white earth pony with a worried look on his face. He bowed to Luna then looked at you. "I apologise for my receptionist's actions. Would you care to follow me please?"

I looked back at Luna. "Thanks for that. Listen, I might be a while, why don't you have a look around Canterlot or meet me back in the castle later?" She nodded with a smile and walked away and out of the building. I tapped the gem twice to end the communication. "Right then, after you?"

I followed him into the back room, where dozens of ponies were writing. They all looked very busy. Approaching a staircase, I swore I could hear muffled sobs. "Hey, wait one second."

There was a doorway to the side of the stairs. I put my ear to it and the sobs were louder. I opened the door slightly to see the receptionist mare, sitting on a chair with a tissue in her hoof. I walked in quietly and approached her. The white stallion followed me in. "Hey." I said, kneeling down. "Are you alright?"

She looked up at me and shuffled back in shock. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I didn't know you were with the Princess!" she bellowed through her sobs. She rubbed her muzzle with the tissue.

"Is this because of what me and Luna..." Damn, there goes my day. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you." She stared at me and sniffled a few times.

"I didn't think my first day would be this bad..." she murmured.

I shut my eyes at the revelation of that. I've made myself look mean and I felt terrible. I looked back up at the mare. "I'm sorry, I really am. You were only doing your job and I respect your for that. I never meant to upset or scare you." The mare nodded and sighed heavily. I needed to make it up to her. "Hold on a second." I walked out of the room and tapped my gem twice. Luna soon answered.

"Finished already?"

"Haven't even started. Look, something's gone wrong. The receptionist we talked to's in tears right now. She feels really bad about what she said to me and what she did and it's only her first day. Can I ask you to do something for me?"

After my conversation with Luna, I walked back into the room and sat myself down next to the light blue mare. "What's your name?" I asked.

"Summer Breeze." she replied quietly.

"Summer Breeze." I turned to the white stallion. "Would you mind if you gave her the rest of the day off? I have somethign for her."

"Of course, anything for the Princess' Courter." he answered.

"Thank you. Now, come with me." I helped her to her hooves and we exited the room and went back towards the lobby area. Walking into the area, I saw that Luna was waiting for us. Summer immediately bowed at the sight of her. "Summer, it's alright. Stand up for me." She did so but she kept her distance from Luna. "Me and the Princess talked and we both feel bad for what we did. To make it up to you...actually, Luna?"

Luna walked up to Summer and lay down so she was level with her. "As a way of saying sorry, you will accompany me to the castle where upon various treats await you."

"W-w-what kind of treats Your Majesty?" Summer asked.

"A wonderful lunch prepared by our finest chefs and an afternoon of pampering from our very own spa ponies."

Summer's eyes lit up. "Really?" She looked at me and I nodded. "Thank you so much."

"If you would follow me please. Owen, I will meet with you later." Luna said.

"Of course. See ya!" Luna and Summer exited the building. I turned to see the white stallion waiting for me. "Sorry about that, I really am. I just hope this'll make up for it."

He snorted and laughed. "No doubt! And thank you for cheering her up. I've known her a few years now and she can get a bit emotional."

"Right, right. Sorry, I never caught your name, Mr?" I asked, extending my fist.

He bumped it. "Golden Skies. I am the chief editor of the Canterlot Chronicle. If you care to follow me." I followed him once again and this time, we actually walked up the stairs. We soon reached a private office in which I walked in, with Golden shutting the door behind me.

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice."

Golden made his way into the chair, opposite from mine. "You are most welcome. Now then, down to business, I understand you have a problem."

I re-positioned myself to get comfortable. "Yes I do. I am referring to one of your editions that was printed about two and a half weeks ago regarding me and Princess Luna."

"Ah yes...that printing. We have certainly had a hefty amount of complaints about that prinitng." he replied.

"Well I imagine you would because all of it was lies! Also, someone took a picture of me and Fluttershy. Now I normally wouldn't mind but the photo was taken through her window!" I retorted with a hint of anger. The stallion didn't answer. He only sunk into his chair a bit and look more nervous. I rose to my feet. "And another thing. Not once have I seen any form of apology for this."

"W-would you like us to?" he muttered.

I realised I was still standing and I guess I looked intimidating. I sat down and sighed. "That would be nice, thank you." He started scribbling down some notes on a notepad.

"I am sorry for all of this. We go by what our photographers bring us."

"Then maybe you should check your resources before printing them first. You have no idea how much hate I got from the residents of Ponyville. Also, if you wanted a picture, then all you had to do was ask." I explain.

"I understand." He tapped his chin with his pencil. "I will print an apology in our next issue if you would kindly do something for me."

"Depends what it is." I said.

"Can we please get a picture of you, by your consent, and can I have an interview with you? So you can let everyone know how you've settled in and whatnot."

"Hmm..." I thought about this for a moment. To be honest, it would be quite good to do this as it would let people know that the newspaper made a mistake. "Sure. Why not." I said with a smile.

"Excellent!" He opened up a fresh notepad and cleared his throat. "OK, we'll treat it like a conversation. Good morning Owen, thank you for coming along."


*3PM*

Wow, that took longer than I thought. After an hour or two speaking to Golden, he then proceeded to give me a tour of their offices. Even though I didn't ask for it, I went around anyway and it was interesting to see and learn what goes into a newspaper. Golden also mentioned that he knew which photographer took the picture of me and Fluttershy and said he would be sternly spoken to. After all that, Golden handed me a printed copy of their printing for tomorrow.

It was now getting on in the afternoon and I needed to find a few things. First up was the bottle of wine that she liked. After a while, I came across a small shop that had a myriad of coloured bottles in the window. Nodding at the display, I walked into the shop, armed with my bag of bits.

I walked up to the counter and acknowledged the unicorn stallion behind it. "Good afternoon. I was wondering if you could help me." I asked.

"I shall try my best." he replied, his smile never fading. "What are you looking for?"

"I am after a specific type of wine. Berry's Brook it's called."

The unicorn nodded. "Ah, a fine wine that is." He began to search in a rack behind him. "A rare wine this is. I'm afraid it will not come cheaply. A-ha!" He levitated a dark bottle out of the rack and set it on the counter. Is this the one you were after?"

I picked up the bottle and looked it over. "Berry's Brook, yep, this is the one. How much will it cost me?" I said, getting out my bit bag.

"Sixty bits please." I was expecting a lot worse. I took out the correct change and handed it over to him. "Thank you very much. Is there anything else I can help you with?

I took the bottle under my arm. "Nope, that's everything. Thanks!" I walked out of the shop and shut the door behind me. I knew Celestia had a blanket I could borrow so all that leaves is the jewellery. Remembering my last shopping spree, I made my way towards the jewellers. I soon came across the familiar shop and walked through the door. The same stallion was behind the counter and he grinned when he saw me.

"Good day my friend. How did the Princess enjoy her necklace?" Shining Jewels asked.

"More than you can imagine. How has business been?" I replied.

"Average. It could be better. But enough about me, how can I help you today?"

"I'm looking for another piece of jewellery. A ring this time. One to go around a horn."

Shining leant down and picked up a tray from under his counter. "Here are the selection of rings I can offer you. Are you looking for anything in particular?"

I looked over the rings. Most of them had a coloured gem fixed on them - not what I wanted. "Hmm...what I need is a gold ring, no gems or additions. Just the ring. When I give it to her, I'll ask if she wants a gem for it, then I'll have to come back to get it fixed."

He put the tray back down and pulled out a small velvet box, opening it slightly. "Like this?"

It was perfect. A small golden ring but big enough to fit around the base of her horn. It glimmered in the sunlight that filtered in through the window. "That's perfect. Just what I need. How much?"

"For you my good friend, two hundred bits." Three times as much as the wine, ouch! I pull out my bit bag and hand him over the correct change. Damn, now the bag feels light. "Thank you very much and uh...good luck."

I smiled at him, picking up the box and pocketing it. "Thank you." I walked out of his shop and back into the streets. I had everything I needed.

Re-entering the castle, I made my way back to the throne room and walked up to Celestia. She was currently talking to a rather prim and proper looking unicorn.

"Thank you for your visit Fancy Pants. I will be sure to take your words into account." she said with a nod.

"Thank you Your Majesty." Fancy said. He bowed and then turned around and walked out of the throne room.

"Did you have any luck Owen?" Celestia asked.

I held out the bottle of wine. "One Berry's Brook." I then took out the velvet box and opened it. "Will this be OK?" She took the ring from my grasp and examined it.

"She'll love it. I for one know what she'll say." she said with a wink. "How did your meeting with the Chronicle turn out?"

"Overall it was OK. Started off terribly, I made a pony cry." Celestia's facial expression didn't change. "I raised my voice at her then I asked Luna to help me out. Thought it was OK but I then found her crying and then I found out it was her first day. To make up for it, me and Luna had a talk and we treated her to lunch here and a session with the spa ponies. I don't suppose you've seen a light blue earth pony around?"

"I did happen to see her. Summer Breeze wasn't it?" I nodded. "Luna was walking around with her telling her about the castle and what she and I do. She certainly wasn't upset when I saw her.

"Good, good." Celestia handed the box back to me. "Right, I need one more thing. Do you have a blanket I can borrow? One for sitting on that is?" Her horn glowed and a large rolled up piece of fabric was summoned into my hand. "Perfect. Now there is only one more thing I need to ask of you if that's OK."

"Ask away." she replied.

"For this to go ahead, I need Luna to spend some time with me after the moon has been raised. Do you think either you or you high council of ponies can cover for her for a little while? Only an hour or two." I ask.

Celestia got to her feet and walked over to me. "Of course my dear. I will ask the high council to cover for Luna for the entire night. If I may suggest something?" I nodded. "The perfect place will be at the top of the watchtower. There is a balcony which can accomodate you both and it will be illuminated by the moon."

I put my hand on her neck and rubbed it. "That's a great idea. Thanks." She smiled and nodded. "Right, I'm gonna set it up." I took a piece of parchment out of my pocket. "If you could give her this note when you join to change the day into night, that'd be very helpful."

"It shall be done." She took the note from my hand with her levitation and hid it in her mane. I laughed at that, I'd only ever seen Pinkie do that. Seriously, it's like a TARDIS...or Mary Poppins' carpet bag. "I wish you the best of luck...but I know you won't need it."

"I appreciate it. Thank you." I walked out of the throne room and towards the kitchens. I picked up two wine glasses and set off for the watchtower.


"Good evening Luna. How was your day?" asked Celestia.

"Wonderful. Summer Breeze is a marvellous pony and she greatly appreciated her time within the castle."

"Shall we?" Both of their horns cast ablaze as the sun started to descend from the sky as Equestria's satelite began to rise. The colours of the sky slowly faded into darkness as the day changed into night. "The night is yours Luna." Celestia began to walk away. "Or, it would have been."

"What do you mean?" Luna said turning around. Celestia was levitating a folded piece of parchment. "What is this?"

"It is a message for you dear sister. Please read it." Luna took the note from her elder sister's magical grip and opened it up.

Luna,

After you have raised the moon, please meet me at the top of the watchtower.
Celestia will explain more.

And please, do not teleport or fly.

Love Owen.

"Explain more?" Luna asked.

"The high council will watch over the throne for tonight. For now, please go to Owen." she said with a smile, walking away from Luna.

Luna decided not to question further and started her walk towards the staircase of the watchtower. Whilst ascending the staircase, she started to wonder what this was all about. Was it a problem? Was Owen OK? Pushing those thoughts aside, she kept on climbing. Before long, faint music started to sound.

Reaching the top of the stairs, she looked out at the balcony to see her love sitting there, watching the night sky.


"Owen?"

I turned to see Luna looking at me with most confusion. "Hey." I got to my feet and walked over to her, giving her a warm hug. "Glad you could make it."

"What is all of this?" she asked.

I led her over to the blanket. "Come and sit down for me." She did so. "I've been thinking about us a lot recently and I've come to a conclusion that we don't do many romantic things with each other. So, I thought we could spend some quality time together under the stars-" I pulled out the bottle of wine. "-with a bottle of your favourite wine and just...chill. How's that sound?"

She levitated the bottle of wine and smiled greatly when she saw the label. "How did you know this was my favourite?" she asked, still smiling.

"Thank your sister for that. Shall I?" I took the bottle from her grasp and opened it up, pouring it into two waiting glasses. I picked one up and handed it to Luna, and one for myself. I raised mine. "A toast." I leant over and kissed her. "To us."

"To us." We both took a sip of the wine.

"Wow...that is really nice." I wasn't lying, it was a wonderful taste. A sweet red wine with a hint of spice. "I can see why you like this."

Luna shuffled over and leant on me. "Mmm..." She leant her head onto my chest. I could feel the blood rush to my face. Even though we had done this plenty of times before, this time is different. "Your heart."

"Hmm?"

"Your heart is beating so fast. Are you alright?"

I wiped my forehead. "Uhh...yeah, I'm OK. I'm just happy to be spending some quality time with you. And wine gets to my head really fast." I said with a snort of laughter which she giggled at. "Yep, I'm a lightweight."

She took another sip of her wine. "How did your meeting go?"

I had forgotten all about it. "Oh, it went well. At first I got a bit agitated at talking about it all again but I gave him a...small piece of my mind. After that, we had a proper interview. I've got it here actually." I pulled out the newspaper and showed it to Luna.

"Read it to me." she asked.

"Really?" She nodded. "Alright. I haven't actually looked at what he put in yet so bare with me." I opened it up, turned to the correct page and started to read.

(For those of you that want to read the interview, the link is here.)

"That sounded pretty good. At least they apologised about what they did before." Luna said.

"Absolutely. He kept most of the important stuff in. We spent most of it just chatting to be honest." I looked up at the night sky and marvelled at the amount of stars in the sky. "Hey, Celestia said you can control the stars."

"That is correct." she replied.

"Can you show me?"

Luna turned to me, nodded and then her horn lit up. Looking up at the sky, certain stars began to glow brighter. Some moved into another place to form an intricate pattern. "Wow! That's incredible." I continued watching. How the stars moved and shone, it was a sight to see. And sitting next to the one responsible for it all made me respect her that little bit more, if that was even possible.

"Would you like to see more?" she asked. I nodded as a response. Her horn brightened further and I looked back at the sky. One particular empty part of the sky started to shine brighter and brighter. I covered my eyes just in case. The light subsided and I uncovered my eyes. The empty patch of sky was now not so empty.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I created a new star." My jaw hung open at her statement. "And we shall name this star. We shall name it..." She turned to me and kissed me. "...Owen."

"You did that for me?" She nodded. My iPod changed onto another track. I stared longlingly into her eyes.

'Now is the moment. Ask her.'

Listening to my brain, I reached into my pocket with my hand. "Luna..." I tried to pull the box out but my hand stayed firm. Chickening out, I reached for the wine instead. "More wine?" She nodded so I refilled her glass.

'Get on with it Owen. Stop stalling.'

"Luna." She turned to me. "I need to...I need..." I couldn't do it. I got up and walked over to the railing and leant on it. I smacked my head in frustration. "Come on Owen, do it. Get it together." I muttered under my breath.

"Is something wrong?" Luna asked.

I had to do it. Now was the time. It was now or never. I turned around to see Luna had risen to her hooves. Just what I needed. Taking a deep breath, I walked towards her and stood in front of her.

"Luna, there's something I need to do. Something important."

"Oh? What is it?"

I shut my eyes, re-gaining my courage. Opening them, I fixed my gaze on her. "Ever since we first admitted our love for each other, I found myself more...joyful. Happy. Amazed. I was amazed that I had found the courage to admit my love to a girl...or mare. And then recently, I started thinking. Whenever I need help, you're there. Whenever I feel down, you comfort me. Whenever I just need to talk, your ears are always open. I have never found that in anyone I have ever known...apart from you. I love you." I kissed her softly. "So much."

"I love you too." she responded.

I cleared my throat and wiped my forehead again. This was sapping all of my courage. "There's something I've been thinking about for the past couple of weeks." I took put my hand on her shoulder. "Our future. And I've been trying to think of what our future would be like. And...what I'm about to do is the answer to my thoughts." I put my hand in my pocket and held it over the velvet box.

"I don't know how it goes in Equestria so I'll do it the old-fashioned way, the Earth way." I knelt down on one knee and pulled out the velvet box. "Princess Luna." I opened the box to reveal the gold within. My eyes started to water as the moment had arrived. "Will you make me the happiest man alive...and marry me?"

Luna gasped and brought a hoof to her mouth. Her eyes began to water and she started breathing rapidly. Her eyes darted from mine to the box and back again. I daren't say anything. She slowly brought her hoof down and stared at me, her tears now falling.

"Yes."

A single tear fell from my eye. She said it. "YES?!"

"YES, I WILL MARRY YOU!"

I stood up slowly and took the ring out of the box and slowly slipped it onto her horn. It hit the base and glimmered in the moonlight. Both of us were now streaming tears from our eyes. I immediately gave her a full, loving kiss and threw my arms around her. My sudden force on her sent us to the ground, still locked in a kiss. Breaking it, I stared into her eyes intently.

"You have no idea how happy you've just made me." I said, still smiling at her.

"I have a fair idea." she said, chuckling. She kissed me again and then rose to her hooves. "So you planned all of this? For me?"

I took her hoof into my hand. "For us." I laughed and stared at her again. "We're gonna be husband and wife. Husband and wife!" I called out. Luna laughed at my outburst. I walked up to the railing and threw my hands in the air.

"YOU HEAR THAT EQUESTRIA? ME AND LUNA ARE GETTING MARRIED!


Celestia was lying in her bed, reading up on some reports that her subjects in Ponyville had sent her. She chuckled at the one she had just read.

"A lesson learnt dear Apple Bloom. Your cutie mark will come."

"YOU HEAR THAT EQUESTRIA? ME AND LUNA ARE GETTING MARRIED!"

Celestia's head shot up at the outcry. Smiling at what she just heard, she giggled like a schoolfilly and sighed. "A Royal wedding. There hasn't been one of those in centuries." She went back to reading some more reports.


A tired Shining Jewels was just retiring to his room after spending an evening with his wife at a local eatery. Apparently asparagus soup didn't agree with his stomach.

"Bugh...that's the last time I go to that restaurant."

"YOU HEAR THAT EQUESTRIA? ME AND LUNA ARE GETTING MARRIED!"

The unicorn's head shot around to his open window. "That sounded like..." He slapped his side with his hoof. "Well I'll be. Good for you friend."

32A. CC/Owen

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Just a foreword here. This chapter is basically the interview with Golden. The chapter will be set out as an interview, not as a narrative. CC is Canterlot Chronicle and O is Owen.

INTERVIEW WITH THE ROYAL COURTER

CC: Good morning Owen. Thank you for coming along.

O: Thank you for having me.

CC: To start with, I'd like to ask some basic questions. So, first of all, how long have you been in Equestria?

O: I arrived in Equestria in August of 2012 so that's around seven months now. Doesn't feel like that at all though, the time's just flown by.

CC: What were your first days like in Equestria?

O: Well, not the best I have to admit. When I arrived here, I crashed into a wooden clubhouse and was severely injured in the process. I was in Ponyville hospital for nearly a week where the doctors managed to heal me. But aside from that, I was a lot to take in. I mean, this was a whole new world, much different from my world. When I first woke up and looked around to see unicorns and pegasi and that everything was brightly coloured, I think I fainted.

CC: Oh dear! That wasn't a good start was it? OK, so you say that Equestria is much different to your world. Can you elaborate on that?

O: Oh, it's much different, let me tell you. In my world, there is no magic. We have to rely on technology to help us with our daily routines. As for unicorns and pegasi? They don't exist either, only as a myth. We did have ponies but they couldn't talk. Now, the weather, that really stumped me. Back on Earth, the weather isn't controlled, it does whatever it wants and we can't do a thing about it.

CC: Your world sounds most strange indeed.

O: So would yours if you explained it to someone on Earth.

CC: I imagine it would! I'd like to ask about your social life, if I may. Have you made many friends since you came here?

O: Oh, more than you would imagine. At first, ponies were skeptical of me as I was something new. But after they got to know me, they were very friendly. The first friend I ever made was Twilight Sparkle, the Element of Magic, who lives in Golden Oaks Library in Ponyille. She taught me everything there is to know about Equestria and magic and so forth. Over time, I was introduced to the rest of the Elements of Harmony as they were all close friends with Twilight. I even got to become good friends with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.

CC: Sounds like you're quite popular in Ponyville! You mentioned Princess Luna there. We have recently heard that you have become Her Highness' Royal Courter.

O: Yes, that's right. I met Princess Luna about two weeks after I arrived in Equestria and our friendship grew ever since. And yes, eventually we admitted we had feelings for each other so Princess Celestia bestowed the title upon me.

CC: Do you ever regret any decisions you have made so far?

O: Regarding Princess Luna? No way, not a chance. Admitting my love to her was one of the best things I ever chose to do. I suppose there was one thing I do regret about my time here though.

CC: And that would be?

O: Trying to out-drink a certain pony. The cider here is stronger than back home.

CC: I see, you best stick to the apple juice from now on! So, we know how you are making do in Equestria. You have made a wide array of friends, you are the Royal Courter for the Princess. What else can we expect from you?

O: Ooh...nothing big I'm afraid. I've already done too many big things here. Who knows, maybe some time in the future, something will crop up.

CC: We will look forward to it. Now, one last thing. As most of our readers and you alike are aware, a story was printed about you and the Element of Kindness, Fluttershy, becoming an item. For those who do not yet know, this story was not true as it was a result of mis-communication. I would like to extend a formal apology from myself and the journalists to you, Fluttershy and Princess Luna.

O: I accept your apology.

CC: That's all from us. Owen, it has been a pleasure.

O: Thank you very much.

33. Daytime With Luna

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The tweeting of birds. The gleam of sunlight. The sound of morning.

Yep, it was that time. The time most people hate - time to get out of bed. I opened my eyes and saw...nothing. The bed was empty, save for me. I sat up and looked around - Luna's regalia was gone and her side of the bed was made.

"Luna?" I called out.

"In here!" her voice responded. It came from the bathroom. "I'll be out in a moment."

I got out of the bed and set my feet on the floor, feeling the warm plushness of the rug. Stretching, I stood up and looked out upon the shining city below. Another beautiful morning, just as it should be. Getting my clothes on, I heard the bathroom door open and looked to see Luna walking out with a smile on her face.

Walking over, I leant down and kissed her. "Well, good morning to you." I caught a whiff of something sweet. "Mmm...you smell wonderful."

Luna giggled and shook her mane slightly. "Why thank you. It's a new shampoo that I tried - five different fruits!"

"It suits you." My eyes glanced at the ring that was resting on the base of her horn. "As does that." I cupped my hand on her cheek. "We're gonna get married...I never thought I'd see the day..."

"That day will come soon my love." She kissed my cheek. "And when it does, we are going to be happier than we have ever been. Now come along, we have the day to ourselves. We should make the most of it." She began to walk out of the room.

"Actually Luna, there is something I want to ask." She stopped and turned her head. "It's something I was thinking about last night and I think it'll be a great idea...but it'll limit what we can do today."

"By how much?" she replied.

"Quite a bit." Luna hummed to herself before nodding at me. "OK, here's what I propose." I told her my idea and how we should do it. "What do you think?"

Luna walked up to me and draped a wing over my shoulder. "To be that considerate of others...that's what I love about you. I think it's a wonderful idea." We began to walk down the stairs, her wing still over my shoulder. "Hold on." She stopped for a second and her horn glowed. A second later, the ring on her horn disappeared. "I think we should keep this quiet for know, best to wait until the right moment."

"Good point. Morning gentlemen." We came across the throne room doors and greeted the guards. We followed the red rug towards the throne and addressed the pony sitting upon it. "Good morning Celestia." I said.

"A fair morning to you both and may I be the first to say." Celestia got up and walked over to us, leaning her head down close to ours. "Congratulations on your engagement." she whispered.

Luna gasped. "How did you know?"

Celestia laughed and looked at me. "Thank Owen for that. I heard his shout all the way from my chambers." I sniggered slightly and held my hand over my mouth. "You have a very loud voice when you want it to be."

"You can blame stress related evenings back home for that." We all shared a laugh at that. "Celestia, there is something me and Luna want to propose to you."

Luna stepped forward. "Indeed sister. Owen informed me of an idea which can be performed today which would benefit you." Celestia raised her eyebrow at me.

I held my hands up to her. "Nothing bad, don't worry. It's just that you have covered for Luna so many times so that she and I could spend time together. I've lost count how many times it has been. So I wo...no, WE would like to offer to take charge for the day and give you a day off."

"That is very kind of you to offer but I simply cannot accept. There is too much for me to do." Celestia explained.

Luna stomped her hoof. "Exactly! All of this work for you to do constantly cannot be good for your mind. Please sister, please take some leave. Owen and I truly know you deserve it."

"Besides. You know it's true anyway." I added with a smirk and a wink.

Celestia shared her gaze between the both of us, eyeing us both up. After a while, she laughed softly. "Very well. I accept." Luna stepped forward and nuzzled her sister before walking past her and sitting upon the throne.

"Owen, join me up here please." I followed her order and stood beside the throne. Luna stared at Celestia. "As I am running the day, I order you, sister, to take the day off and to not return to the throne until tomorrow morning." she said with a smile.

Celestia laughed heartily before nodding. "As you wish sister. Enjoy your day...if you can" she said, smirking. Celestia turned and walked out of the throne room; the guards shutting the doors behind her.

"What do you think she meant by that?" I asked.

"I...don't know." Luna replies, putting a hoof to her chin.

"Huh...what was that order for anyway? She already said yes."

"As I am in control of the day, I give the orders and my subjects must follow them. Giving the order to Celestia, she HAD to follow it."

I nod my head in understanding. "Ah I get it...clever. Very clever." A flash of light behind me reveals a large chair that has been summoned. Luna nods at me and then at the chair. "Thanks." I sit down and..."Ohhh...this is plush. So, what's on the agenda? I don't think I've seen how the day court operates before."

"It's pretty much the same as the night court, only more busy." Luna summoned a scroll and began reading through it, muttering to herself. "9AM - Morning court...12PM - Meeting with bla-bla-bla....*GASP*"

"What? What is it?" I asked with worry. She pointed to a section of the scroll. "What are you trying to...ohhh...that." I looked back up at Luna who was rubbing her eyes with her hooves. "Come on, it can't be too bad. I've done taxes before when I worked for the construction company back home."

"Did your taxes include taxes for the entire country?" she asked in deadpan. I opened my mouth to answer but closed it as I realised how much work this is. "Damn...wait...remember what Celestia said?"

"Enjoy your day...if you...CAN! That sneaky..." Luna's lower lip was trembling, either with rage or fear, I don't know. "I knew there was a reason she looked smug."

I rested my hand on her shoulder. "It's alright, it'll be fine. If it's OK, I'll lend a hand. I know the basics of taxes so I might be able to understand it."

"That's so generous." Luna replies, nuzzling my cheek. "But I am afraid that only myself of Celestia can do it. It is a rather confidential task."

"OK, no problem. So, first up is morning court right? For three hours?" Luna nods. "Right then, shall we begin?" Luna went to call for the guards but I beat her to it. "One more thing. Um, just wondering, do I have to input on any of the issues that are put towards you or am I not allowed to?"

Luna thought about it for a second. "To be perfectly honest, I really don't know. But." She turned her head to face me. "You have done before in the night court. If you do have any advice or opinions then please voice them but only if they are necessary." I nodded. "Very well. Guards, please let it in the first visitor."


*11PM*

I sat there, listening to the visiting pony's issue. Turns out it was something I had experience in. I raised my hand before Luna started speaking. "May I? Please?" Luna nodded with a smile. "Thank you. Miss Ruby, I understand your problems as I myself have been in a similar situation before. Please tell me, what does your neighbour exactly do to disturb you?"

The fire-red maned pegasus huffed. "Where do I begin. He attempts to sing every evening as he said he's trying to get into a music group. This goes on for at least a couple of hours and believe me, his singing voice is NOT good at all. He likes to throw parties in his house that go on until the early hours. It's all noise related problems really and it's affecting mine, and everypony elses, sleeping pattern."

"Wow...party animal. Have you tried communicating with him to inform him of how he's affecting you?" I ask.

The pegasus shot me a glare. "I've tried that, many times! He ignores anypony who addresses him about his noise."

I held a hand up to my chin in thought. "OK, so you've attempted to talk to him and he's completely ignored you. And there's no sign of him changing his ways?" The pony shook her head. "Right. Well, I can only advise you on the next step. If the offender is not making any effort to change after repeated requests, then may I recommend...hold on." I leant up to Luna's ear and whispered a question to which she positively answered. I turned back to the pegasus. "Sorry. I recommend legal action. I am aware there are various places in Canterlot you can go to, to help with this kind of situation. This can lead to official warnings to the offender, then fines and then eventually, if nothing changes, eviction."

"Eviction?! To be free of that noise-polluting idiot?" Opal Ruby questions with glee.

"Please remember that eviction is the last resort. Hopefully after a warning, he will tone it down a bit." I offer with a smile.

"Of course. Thank you both." Ruby responds, bowing and then leaving the throne room.

"You handled that really well. Is it true that you had a similar problem?" Luna asks.

"Oh yes." I said, chuckling at the memory. "Some thirtysomething guy in the flat below me like to bellow out heavy metal music every day. He got evicted in the end. Turned out it was heard from six floors down." The doors opened to reveal the next visitor walking up slowly to us. "Ready for the next one?"

"Mmmhmm." The visitor was a pegasus - olive green in colour. A cloak covered most of his body, only his head and wings were visible. "Greetings fellow subject."

The pegasus bowed before her and the raised. His facial expression was one of happiness. "Greetings your Highness. This err...turned out better than I expected."

I recognised the voice. Looking closer, I saw who it was. "Jewels! Good to see you." The pegasus smiled greatly at me as I approached him and gave him a hoof bump. "How've you been? What's with the cloak?"

"You do realise it's cold out?" he replied with a laugh. "And as for me? Ehh...could be better I suppose. But I'm not here to talk about me. I heard a rather loud shout last night and thought I'd come and see it for myself."

I rubbed the back of my neck sheepishly and motioned for him to follow me. We stood close to Luna so no-one could hear us. "Luna...this is the pony I got the ring from. Can you please show it to him?" I asked. Luna's horn glowed slightly and the golden ring became visible for a few seconds before disappearing again. "We're keeping it quiet at the moment. Can I ask you to do the same?"

Jewels nudged me in the side. "Of course. Congratulations to you both." he replied in hushed tones. "I must be off now. I hope to see you both again soon." With that, he exited the throne room.

"What a guy. Salt of the earth he is." Luna gave me an confused look. "It means he's trustworthy, reliable and friendly."

"I see. He is a charming individual. So he was the pony that you..." Luan stopped talking and stared at the throne room doors intently. Her eyebrows narrowed as she stared.

"What? What is it?" I ask with worry.

"Something...magical. Something with a strong level of magic is approaching."

"It could just be Celestia." I offer.

Luna shook her head. "No. I know my sister's magic level - what I'm sensing is much lower but it is still high. It's...familiar..."

Before we both could talk further, the doors opened to show the guards bowing at the visitor. Looking, I saw the visitor approach. "Is this who you could--"

"Cadence!" Luna rushed over to the pony and nuzzled her, with Cadence doing the same. "It's been too long. How have you been?"

"I am well, dear Aunt."

I stayed silent as the two conversed. It gave me time to examine the pony. Bright pink in colour with a long, three-tone mane of white, purple and pink. A set of wings with purple tips...and a horn? Another alicorn? Her cutie mark was one of a blue shining heart.

"Owen? Are you there?"

"Hm?" I broke out of my stare to see Luna and Cadence both looking at me as if they were waiting for a response. "Sorry, I didn't meant to drift off."

They both laughed at my daydreaming before Luna spoke. "Owen, I would like to introduce you to Princess Cadence. Cadence, this is Owen, my Royal Courter."

Not wanting to seem disrespectful, I raise from my chair and give a bow to the pink princess. "A pleasure to meet you your highness." The sound of giggling made me look up. "What's funny?"

Cadence walked forward and rested a hoof on my shoulder. "They said you were polite but I didn't imagine this much! Please rise and we'll try again." Confused at her words, I stood up straight. I saw that Cadence was about the same height as Luna so I was a little taller than her. "Let me show you how I greet everypony where I come from." She quickly threw her front legs around my neck and embraced me in a hug. I glanced over at Luna who nodded with a smile so I returned the gesture and hugged her back. "It's wonderful to meet you at last." Cadence said before breaking the hug and setting back down on all fours.

"I err...I would like say the same but this is the first time I've ever heard about you, or seen you for that matter." I explained.

"I suppose it never came up, what with everything that happened since you arrived here." Luna said to me. Cadence gave a look to Luna. "I'll explain later." Cadence gave a nod. "You said that it was good to meet Owen 'at last'. I haven't seen you for so long, I was wondering if you even knew about him."

"Of course I did!" she responded, smiling. "Words travel fast. News of a new creature, never before seen in Equestria, was startling to hear at first but was surprised me more is when I heard that he had become your Royal Courter! How did it come to that?" she asked.

I looked at Luna. "Is it my turn to tell the story? I've lost count." Luna playfully nudged my arm with her hoof. "Well Cadence, it started when I first came to Canterlot..."

*15 Minutes Later

"...and since then we've been dating. And I tell ya something, it just keeps getting better and better." I finish with a wink at Luna.

Cadence stepped forward and stared into my eyes intently. I backed away slightly due to the fact it was creeping me out a little. "I can see more. I can feel it too." Cadence says quietly.

"I-I'm sorry?" How could she know?!

"Love. There's more love between you two." she replies, looking at between me and Luna.

"Wait, you can feel love? How?" I ask with interest and confusion.

"Remember what I told you about Celestia and I?" Luna said. I turned my head to face her. "Celestia is the princess of the sun, I am the princess of the moon. Cadence here is the princess of love. It is her special talent as she spreads love wherever she goes."

"Really?!" Luna nods. "Wow." I turn back to Cadence who is smiling greatly. "So...what can you feel from us?"

"The connection between you two is extremely strong. You radiate love and I can feel all of it...although, I feel there is something that you are hiding..." she says skeptically.

I scratch the back of my neck. "Oh um...there's nothing really. We're just--" I was stopped by a hoof over my mouth - Luna's to be exact.

"We can't hide this from her Owen. She can feel the extra love between us." Luna leant her head down in which Cadence and I followed suit. "Promise to keep this to yourself?" Luna asks Cadence - she nods. Luna's horn glowed slightly to reveal the ring. Cadence's eyes lit up as she realised what this mean.

She quickly put a hoof around each of our necks and pulled us close. "I knew it...congratulations to you both. Although, this proves a problem."

"How come?" I whisper. Cadence's horn glows slighty to uncover-- "You as well?!" I shout in whisper (if that's even possible).

Both of them shush me and cloak their rings once again. "A month ago. He proposed to me under the night sky on the hills outside of the city."

"Well congrats to you as well. Who is the lucky stallion?" I ask.

"He should be along any minute now. I believe he's meeting with Celestia at midday." Cadence said.

"That'll be me now. We offered her the day off so we're covering for her." Luna answered. "What did he want to discuss?

"It's regarding the wedding. We have an idea of when to set it." The throne room doors opened again to reveal a white unicorn making his way down the path towards us. "Shining!" Cadence called out.

The unicorn reached us. I remember seeing him a couple of times before but I never got his name as he was always on duty. He had a two toned blue mane and he was wearing his uniform. Seriously, it looked awesome. Then again, it needed to if you were the Captain of the Royal Guard.

Cadence nuzzled her fiance affectionately before looking back at me. "I don't believe you two have met. Shining, this is--"

"Owen, Princess Luna's Royal Courter. I am Shining Armor." he answered. He approached me and bowed his head before looking back at me. "Please forgive me for not introducing myself sooner."

I chuckled at his formality. "Oh please, don't worry about it. I know how busy you are and I could have introduced myself to you at any time so it's my fault as well." I held out my fist which he bumped with his hoof, smiling whilst doing it. "Nice to meet you."

"Likewise. Good afternoon Your Highness." he said, bowing to Luna.

"Please rise Captain. I am aware that you need to speak to me regarding your wed..." Luna sighed and cast a spell quickly. "Owen, can you do something for me?"

"Sure, what?"

"I want you to call for those guards as loudly as you can." I tilted my head. "Go on. Shout for the guards."

"Err...OK." I cleared my throat. "GUARDS! GUARDS!" They didn't move a bit. Not even a flinch. "What did you...soundproofing spell right?" I ask with a smile. Luna nodded and chuckled. "Clever. Now we can speak normally."

"Indeed. Now, about the wedding, we may have hit a stump." Cadence said to Shining who looked confused. "I was right about Owen and Luna."

"Oh...OHH! You two are engaged?!" We both nodded. "Brilliant! I've seen you two together for months now and you really suit each other! But..." He turned to Cadence. "What do you mean by a stump?"

"We wanted to plan our wedding, right?" Shining nodded. "Well now, there are two weddings. And err...I know that bits are tight at the moment..."

"Hmm...that is true." Luna replied. "When were you planning on having your wedding day?"

"Near Hearth's Warming or early 2014." Shining replied. "It's the next time we are both free to do so."

Cadence shuffled her hooves. "But if you two have a wedding also, then I guess we can move it further back..."

"No." I said. All three of them looked at me. "That's not fair at all. You guys got engaged first so you two should be married first." I looked up at Luna with a smile. "We can wait, can't we?" I ask.

Luna smiled and leant forward to kiss me. "We've got all the time in the world." She looked over to Cadence and Shining. "I agree with Owen. You should focus on your wedding only, not ours." Cadence walked forward and nuzzled Luna before doing the same to me.

"Thank you both. We appreciate this, really." Shining added. "I just hope Twily doesn't find out about this."

"Who?" I ask.

"Twilight. You know how she is - she'll try and organise everything for us and run herself ragged doing it."

"Twilight? As in Twilight Sparkle, perhaps?" I question. Shining nods. "How do you know her?"

Shining laughed loudly before slapping his forehead with his hoof. "I'm sorry, I suppose I never said. Twilight's my younger sister."

"You're her brother?!" He nods whilst laughing, as do Luna and Cadence. "What a family. A unicorn who is the student of the Princess, her brother who is the captain of the Royal Guard. And a Princess is being married into the family. I bet your parents are really proud of you two."

"I'm sure they are. I heard you lived with Twily for a while, how was it?" Shining asks.

"It was brilliant. She taught me so much about Equestria, she taught me about magic, she gave me a place to live and food to eat. And most importantly, she's my best friend...even though her study antics drive me insane sometimes. I can hardly think how Spike deals with it 24/7."

Cadence laughed at my observation. "She's always been like that. Even when I was foal-sitting her, she always had her--"

"Wait, you know her as well?!" I shook my head in disbelief. "That's bizarre, why would she never mention either of you two? I mean I can understand not mentioning sitter but I find it surprising she didn't mention you Shining."

"Well, you know how Twily is. She's always too busy to mention social matters."

I sigh. "Yeah I suppose. Anyway, I won't mention anything to her."

Luna taps me on the shoulder. "Speaking of Twilight, didn't you mention yesterday that you were meeting her today?"

My eyes widen at what Luna said - she's right. I put my hands over my face and sigh angrily. "Oh sugar honey iced-tea. I completely forgot! I was too pre-occupied with last night!" I start pacing up and down the marble tiles. "The train...no, I won't get there on time...what about...oh no, she'll me angry that I'm late and she'll lecture me and--"

My sentence was cut off short as I was levitated in the air. Not by Luna, but by Shining. He set me down on the floor, which I sat down on, before he came over and sat down with me. "What are you worrying about? Twily wouldn't berate you for being late. She knows you spend a lot of time with the Princess."

"Yeah I know but she does like to lecture. I'm sure she's lectured you in the past." I said, smirking.

"Oh don't get me started. When I was training for the guards, she--"

"Shining honey, I think Owen needs to leave." Cadence offers.

"Yes you do." I look up at Luna. "I can arrange for a chariot to take you back to Ponyville."

"No, I can't. I want to stay here with you. Besides, it was my idea to give Celestia the day off. I can't have you doing it all by yourself."

Luna stretched her wing out and rested it on my shoulder. "I will be fine. If you stay, you become bored within the hour, I'm certain of it. I'm sure you will have a better time back home with Twilight and your friends."

I stroked her wing with my hand. "Only if you're sure." She nodded. "Alright. I'll stop an angry Twilight from happening."

"I will arrange for a chariot to take you back immediately." She pulled me close and kissed my cheek. "I will see you soon, yes?"

I returned the kiss, this time on the lips. "Of course." I began to walk away before thinking of something. "Here." I passed her my iPod. "For when you're doing the taxes. I'm sure some music will help."

"Thank you. Have a safe journey!" Luna replied. I walked out of the throne room and out into the castle courtyards, where a chariot was waiting for me.

"Good afternoon. We are ready to depart." a pegasus guard says to me.

"Thanks." I climb in and shut the door behind me. "OK, ready to go!" I call to the pilots. They immediately begin to run down the courtyard and take off into the sky. My stomach instantly learnt acrobatics. "Still hate this..."


"Come on, come on, come on..."

I could see Ponyville in the distance and we were approaching at a steady speed. I didn't know what time it was as I used my iPod for time. Judging by the sun in the sky, it must be near 3PM. I just hope I'm not late.

Touching down outside the library, I quickly disembarked the chariot, thanked the guards and entered the library. "Twilight?" I called out.

"You missed her dude." I looked up to see Spike standing on a ladder, dusting a bookshelf. "She left about thirty minutes ago."

"Oh man...what's the time?" I look at the clock. "3:15! Damn, I'm late. See ya Spike!" I exited the library and began sprinting towards my home. It was at least a mile to my home so I slowed it down into a jog.

Ten minutes later, I reached my home. Out of breath, I reached into my pocket for my keys...only to find..."Come on, where are ya?" I started rummaging through every pocket, still not finding them. "Damn it! Where are my keys?!"

"You mean these ones?" a voice eminated. The door opened and Twilight stood there, levitating my keys. "You left them in your door."

I sheepishly took them and walked inside, closing the door. "Oops, my bad."

"Yes, your bad! Do you not realise what could have happened? You could have been robbed!" Twilight barked at me.

"I know, I know, I'm an idiot. It was just I was in a hurry and I must have forgotten them." I explained.

Twilight huffed and sat herself down on the sofa. "And you're late. You know I like to keep to a schedule." she said annoyingly.

I was starting to get a little miffed at her. "Look, I'm sorry OK? Something came up yesterday and..."

"And what?"

I sighed heavily. I couldn't lie to her. "I kind of forgot about today." Twilight's eyes narrowed. "I'm sorry, I really am. As soon as I remembered, I rushed back here. It's just something important came up."

"You forgot?" She looked angry now. "How could you forget? What was so important that you forgot about this?!" she exclaimed

"Oh I don't know, maybe it was me proposing to Lu--" I covered my mouth quickly and cursed myself mentally for what I just said. Hopefully she wouldn't pick up on--

"What did you say?" She looked fully intrigued. Her shocked mouth turned into a small smile. Bugger. "Did you...propose to Luna?" I tried to think of something to say. There was nothing. I slowly removed my hands from my mouth and nodded slowly. Twilight's smile increased. "And? What did she say?"

I closed my eyes and breathed heavily. "Yes." Opening my eyes, Twilight looked like she was ready to burst. I quickly darted towards her and put my hand over her mouth. "Twilight! Please don't--"

*POP*

I fell forwards as Twilight teleported out of my grasp. I looked up to see she was jumping for joy. "This is so exciting! I can't believe that..." She gasped loudly. "Wait right there." She opened the door and ran out.

"TWILIGHT, WAIT!"

34. Catch That Unicorn!

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"TWILIGHT! WHERE ARE YOU?!"

She got away. I couldn't believe it. She bolted out of the door and back towards the town. With her still in my vision, I quickly ran after her, losing her again and again as we went over hills and such. But now...now I can't see her anywhere.

"Fucking...teleport..." I said through wheezes after slowing down to a jog. I had to think where she would have gone. The look on her face was unique - I had never seen her so happy. But I knew that Twilight wasn't one to gossip and spread news. "Why'd she run..."

Reaching the town, I went to the first place I thought of - the library. I approached the door and swung it open with force, much to the surprise of the resident shelf stacker/cleaner/assistant.

"AHH!" Spike screamed. He turned around to face me, clutching his chest. "Oh...it's you Owen. What gives?"

"Twilight. Where is she?" I demanded from him. I took a step towards him and he retreated from me. "Spike, seriously, where is she?!" I shouted.

"She's not here! Didn't you find her earlier?" he replied, cowering in the corner.

I clutched my head and dug my fingers into my hair. "I DID find her! She ran off after I told her something I shouldn't have! I thought she would have come back here!" I turned back around and my shouting ceased after seeing the state before me. Spike was huddled in the corner, trying to edge away from my raging. I sighed heaving and walked slowly over to him and crouched down. "I'm sorry mate, I didn't mean to scare you and I don't mean to shout at you." I raised to my feet again. "It's just that I blurted out something that was supposed to be a secret and...I have this feeling she's telling everyone."

Spike placed his clawed hand on my arm and smiled at me. "If I see her, I'll stop her. You can count on me."

I rustled his head and nodded. "Cheers Spike, that'd be a great help." I exited the library with haste and set off towards the centre of town. I had to think where the closest place would be that Twilight could go. Running past several buildings, one came into view which was a viable option.

I burst into the building and saw the familiar mare behind the counter. "Ooh! Twilight just told me the MMMPPHH!" Her sentence was cut short by a gag, also known as my hand. I stood behind Pinkie and held my hand tight over her mouth. Looking up, I saw the confused looks of the various patrons of the bakery.

"Sorry about this. Please continue your meals." I dragged Pinkie out into the back room and shut the door. Slowly removing my hand, I noticed it was wet. Pinkie giggled and licked her lips.

"Your hoof tastes funny." she said.

I wiped my hand on my jacket to remove the pony dribble. "Pinkie, was Twilight here?" She nodded very fast. "When did she leave? What did she say?"

"She left five minutes ago when I asked her to try my a new cupcake with cinnamon frosting but she said she wasn't hungry and I asked why and she said--"

"PINKIE! What did she say before that?" I ask, pinching the bridge of nose in frustration.

"What did she say before...ooh! It was about you!" Pinkie happily stated. She started to bounce around me in a circle, laughing.

"Well?"

"Well what?"

I slap my forehead. "What did Twilight say about me?" I ask as calmly as I can.

Pinkie bounces towards me and puts on her hooves around my neck, pulling my close. "That you and Princess Luna are having a wedding! Are you planning a party? Can I come? Oh, please let me come. I'll bring cake and cupcakes and--"

"STOP!" My patience was wearing thin - I needed to finish this conversation now. "Pinkie, I need you to do something for me. You know what Twilight told you?" Pinkie nodded. "It was supposed to be a secret. Luna didn't want anyone to know until later. So I have to ask you, can you promise me to not tell anyone else?"

"Okie-dokie-lokie!" she replied.

I had to be sure. "Pinkie Promise." I demanded.

"Cross my heart, hope to fly. Stick a cupcake in my eye." she recited, performing all of the necessary motions.

"Thank you." I said, resting my hand on her shoulder. "One more thing. Do you know where Twilight went?

"Sure! She mentioned she was going to see Rarity."

Oh hell no. Not her. I bolted out of the store room and into the main area of the bakery again, only to be met with the owner. "What's wrong Mr. Owen?" asked Mrs Cake.

"Something important. Something that needs taken care of as soon as..." My eyes glanced down at her mid-section which was a bit plumper than usual.

"Ah, I see you've noticed. Only a few months to go now." she said with a smile.

I smiled as I realised what she meant. "Ohhh, congrats to you both. Sorry but I have to go, something terrible is about to happen!" I called back as I ran out of the bakery. I was on my way to confront the biggest gossiper in Ponyville...no...the WHOLE OF EQUESTRIA.


*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

"Just a minute." replied the voice of Rarity as always. The door opened to reveal said unicorn. "Welcome to Carousel Bou...oh Owen! I've just heard the--" I quickly shoved her inside and slammed the door shut behind me. "How rude! You could have just asked instead of forcing me!" she berated.

I held my hands up to her. "Look, I'm sorry but I'm in a real rush right now to stop something happening. Rarity, has Twilight been here?"

"Of course! She informed me of the good news. Congratulations to you!" she happily replied.

I hung my head and cursed under my breath. 'I'm gonna kill you when I find you.' I took a few deep breaths and looked back up at Rarity who was smiling greatly.

"I have such wonderful ideas for a dress for Luna and a suit for you! Just think, to be able to design for Royalty. Oh it's--"

"Rarity, stop." I bluntly said, causing her to stare at me. "I appreciate it, really I do but..."

"You don't like my designs?!" she retorted, placing a hoof over her chest.

"No, it's not that! It's...ugh." I was getting sick of explaining myself. "This was meant to be a secret. Me and Luna decided we'd keep it quiet until the time is right. Twilight only knows because of my bloody big mouth." I hung my head again and let out a big sigh. "Luna's gonna kill me when she finds out..."

"Nonsense!" Rarity exclaimed. I looked up at her to see her giving a sympathetic look. "The Princess will understand, I'm sure of it. And I promise you, I will not tell a soul."

"Pinkie Promise?" I asked with a smile. Rarity did the actions and spoke the line. "Thanks. Do you know where Twilight went?"

"I'm certain she was talking about getting something from the market and--"

I didn't need to hear more. I dashed for the door and sped out into the sunshine. The market wasn't too far so there was a chance I could catch her. During my run, many thoughts went through my head. Like 'Why is she telling everyone?' and 'Why the fuck did I say it?'.

I reached the market and looked around. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, no-one was congratulating me but Twilight was nowhere to be seen. I started walking around the stalls, asking everyone I saw.

"Have you seen Twilight?" Another stall. "Twilight, you know, Element of Magic?" Another stall. "Purple unicorn, lives at the library." The next stall's owner I was glad to see. "AJ! You seen Twilight anywhere?"

"Sure have. She was runnin' around here like nopony's business. I 'aint never seen her so worked up over somethin'." AJ replied.

"Did she speak to you directly?" I asked.

"Nnope. But she was calling out Fluttershy's name a lot."

"Oh what?! Ugh...alright, thanks AJ." Time for another run. I started running towards the Everfree border. My body was starting to feel tired and my running pattern started faltering. I had to stop various times to catch my breath. Finally, I reached Fluttershy's cottage and staggered up to her door. I knocked it on it repeatedly.

"Fluttershy...*cough*...Fluttershy, are you there?" I asked through ragged breaths. No answer came so I tried knocking again. "Fluttershy, open the door!" I called out. I was about to knock again when I felt a tugging on my trouser leg. Looking down, I saw Angel looking up at me. "Oh hey Angel. You haven't...*cough*...seen Fluttershy anywhere have you?"

Angel shook his head. I thanked him and started walking back towards the town. I was starting to lose hope of ever finding the elusive unicorn. The only pony she hasn't tried to find is Rainbow and there's good reason for that - she can't fly, except for that balloon of hers.

Reaching the town, I couldn't run anymore and slowed down to a walk. I had entered on the opposite side of town, near the club. Walking past it, I remembered I had to work there tomorrow night which didn't lift my mood much. Don't get me wrong, I like working there but thinking of work at a time like this is quite demoralising.

It was then that something took my eye. A large crowd of ponies were gathered around the restaurant where me and the girls went out before, way back last year. I sauntered up to the crowd and tried to find out what was going on. I then saw a familiar pony.

"Hey Cherry!" Cherry Spice turned and waved at me. "I thought that was you. What's going on here?"

"The Royal Guards are in there, circled around a table. We're trying to see who it is!" she replied with a smile.

"Royal Guards?" Luna was in Canterlot, as was Cadence. It could only be one pony. "Hold on." I said to Cherry. I moved through the crowd and reached the restaurant door. A guard quickly stopped me, without looking.

"Halt! Nopony may enter the--" He looked up at me and realised who I was. "My apologies Royal Courter." He opened the door and let me walk through, which I thanked him for. Walking into the restaurant, I saw that it was bare, save for one table in an alcove which was surrounded by guards. I walked over to them slowly and greeted them.

"Good afternoon. May I ask who is seated there?"

"Owen? Is that you?" her voice sounded. The guards seperated and allowed me to sit down. "I thought you were in Canterlot with Luna."

"I was until she reminded me I was supposed to meet up with Twilight. She practically ordered me to go home!" I said with a laugh. "Anyway, what are you doing here?"

"You gave me the day off so I decided to come to one of my favourite restaurants. A fabulous place this is." She looked at me with concern. "You looked troubled. Are you OK?"

"To be honest, no. Twilight found out about...you know..." I leaned my head towards Celestia's ear. "Me and Luna getting married."

Celestia drew her head back in surprise. "But how? How did she find out?"

I scratched the back of my head and sighed. "I may have...told her by accident." Celestia put a hoof to her face. "I was late meeting her and she wasn't happy so she started berating me and she really got on my nerves and I blurted it out without thinking and now Luna's gonn hate me and--"

Celestia quickly put a wing around me and pulled me close. "Calm down, calm down. It'll be alright." she whispered to me. I slowed my breathing down melted in her embrace. She really did have soothing powers, I swear. "Now you listen to me." I sat back up. "So Twilight knows, it's not like she's telling everypony."

"Yeah...about that..." I sheepishly said.

"You're...you're serious aren't you?" I nodded. "I swore she knew better than this." She rose from her seat and walked out of the alcove. "Follow me." I did so and followed her out of the restaurant. We continued our walk, surrounded by guards,