Dawn of the First Day

by Miniscule Literary

First published

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

Many versions of Equestria exist, both canonical and fanonical. When a man whose life is in shambles finds joy in experiencing the Equestrian world, he quickly begins to wonder: Just what kind of Equestria has he entered?

This is a tale of a man who may find unexpected complications in paradise.

First Encounters

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How fantastic.

The man practically skipped through the rolling green fields without a care in the world. Granted, this wasn't his world, but he couldn't care less. The strange visuals, the strange feelings, the strange creatures who inhabited the world; he knew exactly where he was.

And it was fantastic.

Alfonz was a man of many problems. Living in the heart of the city, in a less-than-stellar neighborhood, he had been struggling to pay his college bills for months now. His light brown hair was unkept, and his clothes were old and wrinkled. Juggling multiple jobs and his education, he had little time to have a social life. And with deceased mother and a missing father, he hadn't seen the luxury of family support either.

But that was over now. He was free. He didn't know how easy it would be to make a living in a fictional cartoon universe, but it sure as hell couldn't be worse than the life he was already living. He was ready to start anew, no matter how abrupt it may be. Besides, exploring the magical universe of Equestria was an adventure in itself. Though one immediate problem remained:

How would he go about introducing himself?

"Direct approach hasn't failed me yet," Alfonz said to himself with a shrug. There was, however, the problem of figuring out where civilization actually was. Observing his surroundings, he eventually determined he was in a random field in a random location in a fictional cartoon world. Perfect.

It was then that he noticed a figure in the distance. A pony, by the looks of it. It seemed to be heading toward the nearby lake with a basket. Almost immediately after this revelation, Alfonz felt very light headed and suffered from a bizarre but extremely potent dose of dejavu.

Not putting much thought into it, he muscled his way through the tall grass and broke out into a brisk jog to catch up with his query. What better way to introduce himself than to start out with a lone pony and work his way up? Things were going well so far. He hadn't been in this new universe for more than a half hour and it was already a massive improvement over his own.

"Excuse me, miss?" he called as he approached. The pony, a pegasus by the looks of it, nearly jumped out of her skin at his words, dropping her basket into the lake. The ducks she was feeding were quick to gobble up the rest of the food inside it, before the basket sunk to the bottom.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you," he added hastily, reaching for the basket just before it disappeared. He looked back at the cowering pegasus and gave a nervous laugh. The longer he watched her, the more he noticed her gaze change. From outright fear, to curiosity, to...something else.

"Oh, i-its no problem," the pegasus replied, speaking barely loud enough for Alfonz to hear. The two remained silent for a few moments. "E-excuse me, sir, if you don't mind me asking...what a-are you?"

"I'm a human," Alfonz explained, placing a hand on his chest. "Don't have many of those around here, I take it?" It was a question more for her benefit. He already knew the answer.

"No, I can say that we don't," she replied, blushing. The man raised a brow at this; it didn't seem like a thing to blush at. Perhaps he wasn't the only human in Equestria?

"Do you think you could point me to the nearest town?" Alfonz asked, glancing all around to see if he could spot some sign of civilization himself. "I'm new to the region, and I'd like to find a place to stay."

"Oh!" the pegasus replied, before she curbed her own enthusiasm. "Y-you could stay with me, if you want, sir..."

Alfonz blinked, surprised at the pony' hospitality. Although refreshing and definitely better than the attitude of any of the humans he used to live by, he felt a little uncomfortable about accepting. It made him hesitate, even though the rational part of his mind urged him to accept.

"I don't want to impose."

"Its no problem," the pegasus assured with a nervous smile. "My cottage is right on the edge of town, so you could come and go any time you would like," she explained, before lowering herself closer to the ground. "But if you don't want to, I understand."

"No, no, that's very generous of you," the man assured with an uneasy grin. "I accept, and I thank you for the offer."

"Great, I'll show you into town," she replied, gaining some confidence only to lose it almost instantly. "I mean, if you w-"

"That's fine, thank you, I appreciate it," Alfonz interrupted hastily. He didn't want to be rude, but that was already starting to get annoying. He felt another dose of dejavu as the two started off back up the hill, away from the lake, and hopefully toward civilization.

Their trek was uneventful and quiet, even uncomfortably so. The pegasus, who he had come to know was, of course, Fluttershy, said very little, even when he tried to make conversation. She would glance over at him repeatedly, as if nervous, but say nothing. All they knew about eachother was their names by the time they reached their destination, and boy was Alfonz relieved when they finally did. It was a small, quiet cottage with impressive natural landscaping and a nice view of Ponyville looming in the distance.

"W-would you like to come in?" Fluttershy asked timidly, gesturing toward the door with a hoof. "You know, see where you'll be sleeping..."

"Thanks, but I think I'd like to go into town for a bit," Alfonz responded as gently as possible, glancing around. He'd rather avoid more awkward silence if he could. Observing his surroundings, however, revealed just how isolated the cottage was. Only a few homes dotted the street it rested upon, though none were nearly as impressive looking.

As he walked away, the pegasus seemed to grow far more troubled, following after him with a few steps.

"I could make you some tea, Alfonz!" she called as he walked away, her words much more urgent than before.

"No thanks, I'll be back soon," the man replied with a wave, his discomfort only continuing to grow by the display. Were ponies this hospitable to such an alien creature? Fluttershy was the most timid of the bunch as far as he knew, and she was getting rather forceful less than an hour after they met. The whole experience made him uneasy.

Alfonz encountered very little signs of life before he got into Ponyville proper. Those he did pass seemed very curious about him, and it wasn't long before he had a sizable crowd trailing behind him as he walked. He could hear murmurings behind him from the crowd, but couldn't make out what exactly the ponies were saying. He couldn't exactly stop and appreciate the scenery either. He felt he were almost in danger if he didn't keep moving at a steady pace.

As he went further into town, the eyes upon him only continued to grow. Eventually he came to a stop near the center of Ponyville, near the town hall. Looking around, Alfonz finally realized the full extent of the situation: he was surrounded by a massive mob of ponies, of all different shapes and sizes, all staring at him and whispering about him. It seemed as though the entire populace had followed him, yet none had come forward to try and make contact.

But that wasn't what unnerved him the most. The stare they were giving him made him feel incredibly uncomfortable. It was not the confused, untrusting stare he had expected. Instead, it almost felt as though they were staring at him...hungrily. Like he was a chunk of meat before a pride of lions.

Suddenly, a figure emerged from the crowd. A unicorn had muscled its way through the mob, and it wasn't just any unicorn. It was the librarian of Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle. Alfonz's favorite pony, by all means.

"What is going on here?" she asked as she forced her way through, before she caught sight of the strange creature standing before her. Alfonz watched as her gaze changed similarly to Fluttershy's: mild fear turned to curiosity, which turned to something far different.

"Uh, hello?" Alfonz croaked, pressed against the railing that ran around the town hall. He felt the need to put some distance between himself and the mob.

"Hi," Twilight responded, giving him a strange, partially quizzical look. "I've never seen a species like yours before."

"Heh, that seems to be the general consensus," he replied with a nervous laugh, inching a little further from the gradually approaching crowd. "Do you think you could, uh, help me, a bit?"

It took a moment for Twilight to snap out of her trance to respond.

"Oh, sure, alright," she replied with a bit of nervousness that seemed, to him, quite out of character. "We can...go back to the library, if you'd like."

The crowd immediately erupted into protest. Alfonz clawed his way up onto the railing just to escape the tide of ponies surging toward him. What the hell was going on? This was not at all going as he intended. But the library was sure as hell better than his current location.

"Yeah, that sounds great!" he replied with another nervous laugh, trying to keep his eyes on Twilight through the crowd. "I'll see if I can find it, meet you there!"

"Maybe I can help!" she called back as her horn began to glow. Suddenly a loud bang sounded in front of him, and a torrent of smoke began to pour out of seemingly no where, obscuring the entire square and causing most of the crowd to erupt into fits of coughing.

"Wow," Alfonz breathed, very caught off guard by the unicorn's actions. He soon realized he was wasting the opportunity, however, and fumbled to the other side of the town hall. Charging off into the city under the cover of the smoke, he waded through it as best he could before he could see again. The library was not particularly hard to find, what with Twilight waiting for him on one street almost as soon as he emerged from the smoke.

"This way!" she called as she trotted off, with Alfonz jogging close behind...


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With most of the populace still caught up in the confusion at the center of town, Alfonz and Twilight made it to the library in no time at all. As they approached, Twilight swung the door wide with her magic so the two could rush inside without slowing down.

"Thanks for the save," Alfonz breathed, leaning against a nearby couch as he caught his breath. Twilight stood not far away, also trying to recover. "What was all that about anyway?"

"I'm not sure," Twilight responded with some hesitation. Alfonz raised a brow, knowing she was withholding some information, but decided not to press the issue.

"Do you mind if I sit down?"

"Not at all."

A few moments after Alfonz sat down, Twilight joined him. She laid herself across much of the couch, facing him, in a position a dog might assume when laying straight down. The unicorn did nothing but stare at him for several moments.

"Could I ask you a few questions?" she said at last. She seemed a bit nervous.

"I don't see why not," Alfonz replied, glad that something had at least broken the silence. After all, she may have saved his life, so it was the least he could do.

"What exactly are you?"

"A human," he responded plainly, not fully realizing how alien a concept it may be. "Er, its sorta like a monkey, but more advanced and with less hair."

"That's very interesting!" Twilight assured, shifting closer to him. "And I see that you wear clothes. Do you wear those all the time?"



"Humility and self respect mostly," Alfonz replied, shrugging. "I guess its a cultural thing."

"How does your species..." Twilight began, tapping her chin with a hoof, "...procreate?"

"Uh..." Alfonz began, clearly caught off guard. "By the usual route I guess?" He hesitated. "Why?"

Twilight inched closer, staring.

"Well I think its about time I get going!" Alfonz screamed as he flew out of his seat and took a few hasty steps back. He didn't realize he was speaking in a very high pitch; when he did, he cleared his throat deeply. "I thank you for your hospitality, but I really must be going."

As he made his way toward the door, a sudden tug on his shirt stopped him in his tracks. Looking back, he found a portion of his shirt enveloped in shimmering energy, as if an invisible hand had grabbed part of his clothes, holding him in place.

"What's the rush?" Twilight said coolly, her front hooves on the arm of the couch as she stared at him, her horn glowing. He did not like how she was looking at him. It was the same hungry expression he had gotten from the crowd.

"I mean no disrespect," he began, pulling sharply on his shirt in an effort to free himself. "But I just remembered I have to...uh...wash my dog."

Twilight blushed.

"No, don't you turn that shit into something nasty!"

"Relax!" the unicorn replied with a sly smile, pulling him back from the door by his shirt. Alfonz struggled to regain the lost ground. "Why are you being so difficult?"

"I just want to leave!" Alfonz growled through clenched teeth, using all his strength to force his way toward the door. Suddenly, his shirt was released, and he collided forcefully with the wooden door, falling onto his backside with a hefty thud.

"D-don't you like me...?" Twilight said suddenly, her eyes welling up with tears as she looked at him from the couch.

"I just met you ten minutes ago. Fuck off," Alfonz snarled in response, seeing through her crocodile tears. She dropped the act a moment later, scowling at him.

"Maybe I'm done asking!" she replied, hopping over the arm of the couch and assuming a combat stance, her horn beginning to glow.

"Oh my god this shit can't be happening!" Alfonz yelled in horror, scrambling toward the door in a frenzy. Suddenly, a flash of light engulfed his vision, and he suddenly found the door a few yards away. As he closed the distance once again, the process only continued to repeat.

Twilight seemed dead set on her course of action. Alfonz ran, teleported, and ran some more for several minutes.

"This happened in the show!" the man said to himself, the sound of the constant teleporting drowning out his words. "Wait how did that end for Spike..."

Distracted, the man didn't realize his path had been altered. Colliding forcefully with a table, Alfonz fell to the floor with a short yell, landing on his back. Twilight, with a pleased smile, advanced toward him, blocking him off from the door. Backing up into a corner, he hadn't any place to hide or put more distance between himself and his aggressor.

"Can't we come to some sort of deal?" he pleaded, his hands in front of his face, ready to defend himself. Twilight ceased her advance and appeared to consider his offer.

"You mean like...a kiss?" she asked, blushing.

"I was thinking more along the lines of a handshake."

Twilight was not amused.

"A nice pat on the head?" Alfonz suggested with a terrified smile, watching as Twilight approached with a scowl. "High five? Hair brush? Hug?!"

The unicorn was practically on top of him. The two were nose to nose, with Alfonz slumped against the corner. Suddenly, he grabbed Twilight by her midsection and hoisted her into the air, standing up as he did.

"Wha-Let go of me!" the unicorn cried, struggling in his grip.

"Oh right I forgot how light ponies are," Alfonz murmured, holding the flailing creature at arm's length to avoid being hit. Suddenly, Twilight's horn began to glow. "FLY TWILIGHT!" he screamed as he hurled the unicorn across the room. Twilight cried out in surprise as she soared away, crashing into one of the bookshelves nosily. A number of books were dislodged from their shelves with the impact and partially covered the unicorn at the base in a small pile.

"That's my cue," the man murmured, moving swiftly to the door. He hesitated, however, looking around the library. Despite all the noise, he hadn't seen any sign of Spike. He wondered where the little dragon had gone.

Closing the door to the library behind him, Alfonz quickly took in his surroundings. A few ponies were wandering about in the streets outside, but there did not seem to be a large number of them like before, much to his relief. With all the strange behavior he had seen, he wasn't exactly keen on any further encounters.

But first he would need a place to stay. A hotel was out of the question, that much was sure. Fluttershy had offered her home, but after his encounter with Twilight, he was almost positive the pegasus would attempt something similar. At least with her, however, he could assert some control. Without magic, and with a fairly submissive personality, she probably would not be much of a threat, so long as he did not make her angry.

Oh what horrors awaited if he did.

Then there was the problem of actually reaching the cottage. Rather than risk a repeat performance of earlier, Alfonz thought it best to leave the immediate confines of the town and circle around until he reached his destination.

Although uneventful, his trek back to the cottage was nonetheless informative. The few ponies he encountered on the outskirts of town were easily avoided, but he began to notice a pattern among them. They were all mares; from his first arrival in Ponyville, he hadn't seen a single stallion. This only made his uneasiness grow. No stallions, strange behavior in remaining population. One had caused the other; the question was, which caused which?

By the time Alfonz had the cottage in sight, the sun was setting in the Equestrian sky. His timing was impeccable: 'home' in time for sundown.

Climbing the winding path up to the front door, Alfonz gave a few forceful knocks on the door and waited. A few moments later, the door swung open and revealed Fluttershy standing just inside with a quizzical expression on her features.

"Hi there," the man greeted with a nervous smile, hoping he knew what he was getting into. The pegasus' immediate reaction was shock, then nervousness, then something else.

"Welcome back, Alfonz!" she replied with a smile, fluttering out of the way to allow him entry. The man entered cautiously, remaining on high alert. He would not be caught off guard again.

"So, if you don't mind me cutting to the chase, where will I be sleeping tonight?" Alfonz asked, clapping his hands together expectantly. "Assuming the offer still stands, of course." Fluttershy thought for a moment, then blushed.

"Oh, well...you could sleep in my bed, if you want."

"You'd really give up your bed for me?" Alfonz asked with mock surprise. He knew it wasn't what Fluttershy meant.

"I mean...with me..." the pegasus murmured, barely above a whisper.


"Oh, alright..." Fluttershy responded, her ears flattened against her skull. Alfonz felt a little bad about letting the poor thing down like that, but he was not about to risk further harm or dignity just to make the damn thing happy.

"This couch looks comfy enough," he declared after a few silent moments. It seemed the pegasus did not really plan for him declining her invitation, so he would find the spot himself. "If you have a pillow and a blanket to spare, I'll be all set."

A few minutes passed before Fluttershy retrieved the requested supplies. The blanket was surprisingly large, he found, though the pillow was painfully small. The couch itself was very unfit for a man his height, but it would have to do. After settling himself onto the couch as best he could, he gave a content sigh and closed his eyes. Fluttershy remained nearby, staring.

"If...you get lonely..."

"Good night Fluttershy. Thanks again for your hospitality."

"Right...ok...its no problem..." the pegasus replied with a sigh, before she retreated upstairs to her room. Alfonz let out a sigh of his own, finally relaxing. Who would've known life in Equestria would be so stressful? And not to mention complicated. These were definitely not the ponies he had been expecting.

Night Terrors

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Alfonz's sleep was anything but easy. Even after contorting himself into a moderately comfortable position, he found it difficult to rest. His mind just would not stop. Rather than worry about how he had ended up in Equestria or how he could get back, he was instead troubled by the ponies' bizarre behavior.

As he debated the likelihood of being dead and enduring some afterlife torment, he barely noticed himself slowly falling into slumber. His thoughts became more erratic, and he found it difficult to focus, until finally, after what felt like hours of waiting, he fell asleep.

And even there he could not find peace.

Alfonz found himself in a beautiful dreamscape, unaware that it was not real. He sat atop a hill covered in soft verdant grass, in what appeared to be the dead of night. The light of the full moon was all that illuminated his surroundings now, casting a dim, atmospheric glow onto the land beyond. He was overlooking a field, apparently on the edge of town. And this wasn't just any town. Ponyville stood silently in the distance, giving no more light than the moon.

The man found himself quite at peace at first. He had never managed to appreciate the starry sky, living in the city as he did. The cool breeze, the dim glow, the beautiful display of stars above him; what else could he ask for?

"Its beautiful, isn't it?"

The voice caused him to jolt. He hadn't been expecting company. Turning his head to investigate, he found a large, blue-black pony sitting next to him, staring up at the stars just as he did. Luna, Princess of the Night, had graced him with her presence, it seemed.

"It is quite the sight," he replied calmly as he turned his attention back to the night sky. "The first time I've seen it so clearly."

"The night has always been so alluring, I assure you. It has driven many to its grasp with such brilliance."

Alfonz rasied a brow, finding the alicorn's words rather strange. She was Princess of the night, though. She obviously knew how best to describe her domain.

"I can see why."

"Oh, really?"

The way the alicorn responded prompted Alfonz to look at her again. She almost seemed nervous. When he saw her face, however, his confusion only continued to grow. She was blushing.

And she was staring right at him.

"What-" he began, before the events of the day rushed back to him. His eyes widened in horror as Luna stared, smiling.

"Are my intentions not clear?" she asked with clear sincerity, rising to her hooves.

"Oh I think I have a pretty good idea," Alfonz responded as he, too, rose to his feet.

"You should feel honored," she declared, taking a step toward him. "To be sought by royalty is a rare thing indeed!"


"'Pass'?" Luna repeated, shocked. "How can you pass on such an opportunity?"

"Sorry. Different species and all," Alfonz explained, slowly putting distance between himself and the Princess.

"I am willing to look past such boundaries!" the alicorn announced, grinning, expecting her words to change everything.

"I...don't think I'm willing to," the man replied with a nervous laugh, almost tripping as he backed away.

"Surely you can be swayed!" she insisted, advancing as fast as he retreated. Soon they were both moving steadily down the side of the hill. "Perhaps if you saw thine posterior..."

"No that's quite alright!" Alfonz replied urgently, waving his arms madly in front of him. Luna was half way through turning before she stopped. "I'm sorry, Princess, but I'm going to have to decline."

Luna did not follow after him. She merely stared at him with a strange look, one of sorrow and confusion. It was as if she couldn't comprehend his decision. He didn't know if she was heartbroken, confused, or ready to snap.

"Perhaps...if we spent more time together...?" she suggested, her horn beginning to glow as Alfonz was enveloped by its power. He slowly wafted uphill toward the alicorn, much to his dismay. "I'm sure, in time, you will appreciate my actions!"

"Wake up, wake up, wake up!" Alfonz practically screamed as he neared, trying to destroy his dream reality to escape. There was no way he could combat the powers of a demigod pony. It was his only chance.

Suddenly, the world went dark. No longer was he out upon the moonlit hill, but instead, inside the cottage, the wooden ceiling looming above him as he lay, mostly on his back, on the couch. He sighed, relieved, before his mind registered the pressure on his midsection.

Sitting up, he saw, even in the relative darkness of the early morning, the idle form of Fluttershy seated on his stomach.

"What are you doing?" he growled, glaring at her through half-closed eyes.

"Oh!" she gasped, evidently surprised at his awakening. "Alfonz...I'm sorry...Did I wake you?"

"No, it was clearly the wind that did," he replied sarcastically, his eyes slowly adjusting. The pegasus' front hooves were near his ribcage, while her back hooves were position on either side of his waist. He had a sneaking suspicion concerning Fluttershy's motives, but his dignity had not been breached yet, that much he knew.

"Oh, good," she replied, not detecting the true nature of his remark.

"So," he continued. "Mind telling me just what in the hell you are doing?"

"I was just...making sure you weren't having any bad dreams," the pegasus assured, blushing as she hid behind the part of her mane hanging in front of her face.

Alfonz casually sat up, grabbed the pegasus by her shoulders, calmly moved her over the side of the couch, and released. Fluttershy hit the floor with a squeak and a thud.

"Sorry...I'll let you sleep..." she murmured from the floor, getting to her hooves and slinking off into another part of the house. A few minutes after she left, the man let out a long sigh.

"Seems I'm destined for shittiness no matter where I go," he muttered to himself as he swung his legs to the floor. The sun was slowly peaking in through the windows by now, casting odd shadows across the floor in front of him. Already he could hear the sounds of voices and movement outside, even in a relatively isolated neighborhood as this. Alfonz slowly rose to his feet, stretching out all his limbs with a yawn, before moving to the window to observe.

It wasn't long before his dreary morning became one of danger.

Almost immediately, he spotted the form of Twilight Sparkle trotting around outside. She zigzagged through the streets, heading left and right as her horn gave off a bright glow. She seemed to be following something, and he had a hunch it had something to do with him. With a silent curse, he darted away from the window and out of the room, hiding behind the corner of the next room to remain out of sight.

A few moments later, there was a series of knocks at the door. Fluttershy reappeared behind him, moving uneasily around him before trotting toward the door.

"Fluttershy, wait!" he hissed, catching the pegasus' attention.

"What is it, Alfonz?"

"That's Twilight at the door," he explained. "Please, do not tell her I'm here. Don't give her any indication I was ever here."

"Why would I need to lie to Twilight?" she asked innocently, confused. "Shes a very understanding pony."

"Please, for me," he insisted, though he could see Fluttershy's indecision. "I'll...hold your hoof or something."

Fluttershy's face lit up at this, then became quite red. Suppressing whatever emotion the idea stirred in her, she took a deep breath and opened the door.

"Good morning Fluttershy," Twilight greeted with a smile. She almost seemed normal to Alfonz. "I just stopped by to ask...do you have any company over today?"

Suspicions confirmed.

"Company?" Fluttershy repeated quite innocently, looking confused. "Its just me and my animal friends here." Alfonz was surprised at how convincing she was.

"Like I thought," Twilight replied, looking unhappily toward her horn. "Thanks for your help, Fluttershy."

"Oh, its no problem," Fluttershy assured with a smile. "Would you like to come in for some breakfast?" What the hell was she doing?!

"No thanks," Twilight responded, much to Alfonz's relief. "I've got some personal matters to attend to. I'll talk to you later, okay?"


And just like that, the unicorn was gone. Fluttershy calmly closed the door, before trotting rather quickly over to where Alfonz was hiding. She looked at him expectantly, like a dog awaiting a treat.

"Thanks for the save," he replied with a nervous chuckle, stepping out from behind the wall. Fluttershy did not move. "Fine," he sighed, reaching out with a hand. The pegasus extended her hoof, and he took it into his palm, as if giving her a handshake. Fluttershy blushed, but said nothing. She merely stood in silence.

After a few minutes, Alfonz noticed his hand slowly being moved closer to Fluttershy, and moving closer to the floor.

"I will punch your face."

Fluttershy ceased her efforts and soon he released her hoof. She looked rather ashamed as he walked back toward the window. He watched as the few ponies that lived nearby went about their business. All mares, just like before. They looked so normal, like you would see in the background of the show itself. But he knew, as soon as they detected his presence, they would become something very different.

Alfonz would need to be careful. He was at threat at all times, even while asleep, if the previous night was any indication. For now, he would focus on the immediate problems. He needed food, and he needed to acquire it without being killed or molested.

Easier said than done.

Deal with the Devil

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"Do you have any food, by chance?" Alfonz asked as he turned back to Fluttershy.

"O-only for the animals," she replied, the hoof he had held still held in front of her. She did not seem to want to put it down.

"Then how do you eat?" he retorted, confused. Surely he wouldn't have to brave the outside just yet.

"I just go out to eat..." Fluttershy murmured, looking up at him like a scolded hound. He sighed.

"Thanks anyway," he replied, walking over and giving the pegasus a firm pat on the head. He knew such an act would not better his situation, but he felt bad for the timid creature, even if she was determined to violate him.

Fluttershy seemed as though she was ready to cry. These would be happy tears, however, made clear by the smile across her face.

Alfonz returned to the window as he considered his options. Going outside in his present state could end very badly. Even if he could outrun the mob that would be sure to form (and he was fairly certain he wouldn't be able to), he doubted he would have a clean getaway like he did before. One or more of the little bastards would likely follow him back to the cottage, and then he would never be safe. He needed a disguise, or some other means to hide his appearance.

But with an appearance unlike anything else in Equestria, what could he possibly masquerade as? And even then, what if the ponies had some other means of detecting him? Things were looking more hopeless by the second. Perhaps if he had access to unicorn magic, he might be able to get by with an invisibility or transformation spell.

Alfonz watched a few ponies milling about outside as he continued to contemplate his situation. He almost didn't notice the purple unicorn still roaming around near the corners of his vision. Despite her confrontation with Fluttershy, it seemed Twilight was not keen on giving up so easily. Although he had just convinced the pegasus to send her away, the unicorn might be his only means of survival.

With a deep breath, Alfonz opened the door to the cottage and stepped outside. Only a pair of earth ponies, moving away from him down the street, were in sight now. He felt himself ease a little, knowing that he was under the radar for the time being. He needed to get Twilight's attention without attracting the attention of everyone in town, after all.

The unicorn in question had moved back into the street some distance away, her horn still glowing brightly as she followed some unseen trail. With considerable uncertainty, Alfonz made his way down the slope to the street itself and let out a sharp whistle. Twilight looked up in surprise before quickly catching sight of him. Her immediate reaction was more than a little unsettling; her expression was that of satisfaction mixed with something far different.

"I was wondering where you ran off to!" she stated as she trotted over. The mare stopped a few feet in front of him, staring up at him with said unsettling expression. There was, thankfully, no indication that he had come from Fluttershy's cottage. His safe haven was still safe, even if he himself wasn't.

"I need to ask a favor of you," Alfonz explained, swiftly getting to the point.

"After throwing me into a bookcase?" Twilight replied, clearly surprised. "That isn't the best way to make friends, you know."

"Self defense," he retorted calmly. "You weren't exactly being very reasonable yourself."

"I don't know what you're talking about!" the unicorn insisted, turning her nose up at him. "You were very rude to break my heart like that."

"I'm not here to debate whether or not you're a rapist," Alfonz stated bluntly. Twilight grimaced, looking around to make sure no one heard what the man had just said, as her face turned a deep shade of red. "I just need a favor, and that's all."

"After your performance in the library, I'm going to need something in return," Twilight replied with a cough, calming herself. She still had that mischievous look in her eyes.

"No, none of that."

"Then I guess we can't come to an agreement," the unicorn declared, closing her eyes and turning away stubbornly. Alfonz sighed.

"How about a han-...hoofshake?" he suggested, though his expectations were low. He had offered the same thing in the library, and we all know how that went. Twilight did not respond. "Fine...How about a...massage...?" Alfonz suggested very hesitantly, enunciating on strange parts of the sentence as he gauged whether or not it was a good idea.

Twilight's smiling face indicated that no, it probably wasn't.

"That sounds wonderful!" she replied as she turned to face him once more, blushing slightly. "I can't wait!"

"Later, it will happen later," he insisted, taking away a little of the unicorn's excitement in the process. "I'm a bit busy right now, but you can hold me to my word."

Twilight was silent for a few moments, giving the notion some deep thought. Finally, she nodded.

"Great," Alfonz breathed, relaxing slightly. He would have a dangerous situation waiting for him, but at least he was making progress. "I need to get around town undetected. Think you have a spell for that?"

"I could try a transformation spell!" Twilight suggested, smiling widely. Alfonz was about to agree to the idea, before the unicorn continued. "You could be a unicorn like me, but a stallion of course!"

"Uhh, no," Alfonz responded bluntly. Becoming a stallion of all things would just make things oh so much worse, and he doubted being made to look like a unicorn would give him access to magical powers. "What about invisibility?"

"I guess I could do that," Twilight replied, disappointed. Suddenly, her horn began to emit a blinding glow, shooting translucent sparks in all directions as she focused her magical energy. Alfonz could feel a strange sensation overtaking him, and for a moment he realized in horror that he was completely at the unicorn's mercy. Thankfully, a few moments later, the sensation ended, and Twilight's horn returned to normal.

"That should do it," she declared, looking proudly at her work; at what wasn't there anymore. The man looked down at his hands, but could only see a faint shimmer in front of the ground beneath him. The spell worked.

"Thank you, Twilight," he replied, causing the unicorn to jump a little.

"My pleasure," she responded with a smile. She turned to leave, but not before making one final remark. "I'll be expecting you," she said coolly, her tail lashing in his direction before she trotted off back into town.

"Well that's horrifying," Alfonz thought aloud as he watched Twilight disappear into the distance. "What in the hell did I do to deserve this?"

Deciding it best not to think about, and realizing that the spell would not last forever, he swiftly followed after her in the direction of Ponyville.

His trek into town was the closest thing Alfonz came to true peace. Protected by the invisibility spell, he was able to walk almost without care through the lively streets. He had to be sure to keep out of the ponies' way, however, as they probably wouldn't respond well to bumping into an invisible entity. No hungry eyes staring at him, no threat of immediate harm of inappropriate behavior; the man was ecstatic.

He did notice something rather strange in the ponies he passed, though. They seemed normal enough until he got close to them. They seemed to scent the air when he did, like lions on the lookout for wounded prey. He figured they must have some sort of scent detection toward him, or possibly males in general. Even so, they did not seem too flustered by his presence. With a quick search, they quickly discovered that the scent had been incorrect, and went back to their normal behavior.

Nonetheless, it was quite disturbing to Alfonz. He felt like an injured swimmer in shark infested waters, always wary of being attacked. It was not a fun feeling.

But Alfonz was on a mission. He needed to get enough food to survive, and quickly; he did not know how long the spell would last. His first thought on the matter was Sugarcube Corner; although other places of food-related business were surely around him, Sugarcube was the only one he could recall from the show. And when time was a factor, he didn't have the luxury of searching for another one.

After a quick jog through the town square, his movements drowned out by the noise of the crowds around him, he quickly spotted the impressive (and quite bright) pastry shop. And, he noted, the library; the site of future torment. But for now, his business was with Sugarcube, and those ponies that may lay within.

Opening the front door, Alfonz quickly realized he had not thought the endeavor through entirely; the bell rang loudly above him, to indicate someone had entered the shop. Panic rising in his chest, the man swiftly darted inside and hid behind a nearby cabinet. Peeking around the corner, he watched a few customers milling about inside, while the familiar form of Pinkie Pie chatted with one at the counter. None seemed to have been alerted by his entrance.

With a silent sigh of relief, Aflonz focused back on the matter at hand. Taking food from the kitchen was a risky maneuver, but one he was forced to take. Breaking into one of the cases out in the front was completely out of the question; thus, he had to brave the kitchen, where the Cakes (and possibly Pinkie) would undoubtedly be.

Taking it slow and watching his surroundings carefully, he gradually made his way to the swinging doors that separated the front of the store from the kitchen. After careful observation, he determined that neither the Cakes nor Pinkie were going in or out consistently, so bumping into one of them on the way in would be unlikely. After a deep breath, he pushed slowly inside, hoping the Cakes would not be nearby.

Thankfully, he was correct. Moving around the far end of the kitchen, Mrs. Cake worked alone, preparing pastries of all kinds. She was far too busy to notice the swinging doors open spontaneously, and hopefully too busy to notice a few missing items.

Alfonz almost lost himself in thought when he saw the lack of Mr. Cake. Were there any males left at all? The danger of the situation swiftly caught up with him, however, and soon he was back on task. Waiting until Mrs. Cake was preoccupied, he gathered a few cupcakes in his arms and retreated into another room.

The room was, thankfully, quite empty; a few decorated pieces were there to greet him, as well as a set of stairs leading to the second story of the building. He took a seat on a nearby chair, setting his spoils on a table situated not far away, and began to eat. He had originally intended to eat a few now, and take the rest back to the cottage, but he quickly realized that the denizens of Ponyville might be a bit alarmed when they saw floating cupcakes drifting through town.

Much to his dismay, Alfonz would need to leave most of it behind. He would eat as much as he could, but continued scavenging would be necessary. Somehow he didn't think it would be as easy to achieve next time, but he had little choice. Leaving the cupcakes to sit on the table, he made his way back to the front of the store. After deciding the customers would likely pay as much attention to his exit as they did with his entrance, he pulled the door open and stepped outside, the bell ringing behind him.

The man had two choices now: return to the safety of the cottage, and risk life and limb trying to get to the library after the spell wore off (or worse: try to forget about the promise and have the unicorn come looking for him), or go to the library now, and risk life and limb getting back home after he was done.

Coming up with a flimsy plan, Alfonz made his way to the library. With a few tentative knocks, the door opened, revealing a dimly candle-lit room beyond. Twilight stared at him, even though he was invisible, with a look that made him want to flee in terror.

What the hell had he gotten himself into?

Predictable Consequences

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"I know you're out there," Twilight stated slyly, staring into his eyes despite his formless state.

"Right...uh...can I come in?" Alfonz replied with extreme hesitation. He had an obligation to return the favor Twilight had given him, but by the look of his surroundings, this was not at all how he intended it to be.

"Of course!" the unicorn responded with a smile, standing aside to allow him entry. Almost immediately after he entered, the door was shut behind him. A loud thunk of metal against wood echoed around him as he made his way inside.

She locked the door.

"Is that really necessary?" he almost pleaded, watching Twilight walk calmly over to him. She only continued to smile.

"I just don't want us to be disturbed, that's all."

"Yeah, right," Alfonz replied, clearly not buying her excuse.

"Well, I guess its time you got to work," she said coolly, flopping onto the couch on her stomach, her front hooves pointed forward and her rear hooves pointed behind.

"Let's set some ground rules first," Alfonz stated, keeping a safe distance from the mare. "First, this is a massage, nothing more. Second, I will not be touching any of your nether regions, no matter what you say or do. Got it?"

"That's fine," Twilight insisted, though he could sense a little disappointment in her tone. "Oh, I almost forgot!" she said suddenly, her horn glowing brightly as the strange sensation Alfonz had felt before returned. A moment later, he was back to normal, his body clearly visible beneath him.

A few silent moments passed as he eyed the sprawled mare before him. He didn't exactly trust her to keep her word, after what had happened before. But he really didn't have a choice now.

Alfonz moved over to the couch slowly, his hands gradually reaching out toward the unicorn, who was being quite patient. Eventually, his hands reached her warm body, squeezing and moving in a fairly gentle motion as he massaged the pony's shoulders and back. He made sure to keep the massage as casual as possible, whistling nonchalantly as he gently elbowed the unicorn's back down the center. He was clearly determined not to make it any more weirder than it already was.

Twilight, meanwhile, seemed to be enjoying his modest efforts far too much. Every so often she would let out a small wince, her eyes tightly shut in an exaggerated fashion. Occasionally a leg would twitch as he moved his hands across her back. Despite his attempts to make it casual, the unicorn's seemingly involuntary response to the massage seemed to be working in the opposite direction. The longer it progressed, the dirtier he felt.

After a particularly loud moan, Alfonz released the mare and took a step back, holding his hands out in front of him as if the limbs were contaminated.

"Well, looks like my work here is done, I hope you enjoyed it," he said swiftly, chuckling nervously as he turned toward the door.

"Done already?" Twilight moaned, lifting her head weakly from the couch.

"Yep, didn't say it would be an all day affair," he explained quickly, undoing the latch on the door. Suddenly, he felt his own weight disappear. Looking down, he found his body coated in sparkling purple energy, slowly lifting off the floor. Slowly but surely he was wafting away from the door, despite his manic attempts to reach out to it.

"Come on..." Twilight pleaded, rising into a sitting position. "Stay with me. I know you want to."

"No, really, I don't!" Alfonz insisted, grabbing hold of a nearby table as he passed. He only succeeded in bringing the table with him. The man began cursing frantically, though Twilight did not seem to care. Soon, he was placed onto the couch, a few inches away from where the unicorn sat. Her mane was messy now, as if she had just awoke from a night's slumber. She regarded him with eyes obscured by parts of her mane; hungry eyes, if not very relaxed ones.

Even after he was seated, the field around him did not relent. Both knew that, should it disappear, he would make a break for the door without a moment's hesitation. But so long as he was under the unicorn's magic, he would be at her mercy.

"Relax..." she cooed, rubbing her face against his shoulder. Alfonz's face was frozen in terror, staring down at her with wide eyes. "That massage just felt so good...hooves just can't do that kind've work..."

"I'm...glad...you...liked...it..." Alfonz murmured through his unmoving mouth, silently cursing various deities and the fates for his current predicament. "But...I thought...this...wasn't...part of...the deal..."

"Why do you have to be so difficult?" Twilight replied with a huff, pulling herself away from him. "Am...I not attractive?"

Unlike last time, her words appeared genuine.

"Different...species..." Alfonz growled, growing frustrated. He was slowly inching his way through the field, but his progress was much too slow to be of any real worth.

"I'm willing to look past that!" the unicorn insisted, mirroring Luna's response the night before.

"Bookcase!" Alfonz snarled. "Bookcase...bookcase...bookcase!" he threatened, managing to point a finger at the bookcase he had thrown Twilight into the day before.

Twilight's expression darkened, as if she were ready to cry. Suddenly, her sorrow was replaced with fury as she launched herself at the stricken man, pushing him against the arm of the couch.

"Take me, please!" she cried, briefly losing control of herself, including her magic. This was all Alfonz needed. Grasping her by the waist, he lifted her off him and stood up in the same motion, the unicorn held above him.

"Justice thy name is BOOKCASE!" he cried as he hurled the mare away. Being closer to the bookcase this time, he made sure not to throw her quite as hard as he did previously, but still hard enough to dislodge a number of books with the impact.

Twilight lay in a daze, partially covered by the fallen books, as she slowly regained her senses. Alfonz was not about to wait to see if she was alright, however. Bolting over to the door, he swung it open and darted into the streets, briefly losing himself in his panic, unable to realize the possible consequences of his actions. Almost immediately, the denizens of Ponyville took notice, as they had done when he first arrived. They followed after him, but not quite at the same pace. He was running full tilt, and had no intention of stopping.

Suddenly, he felt a pressure underneath his arms, and found himself not only racing ahead, but also soaring upward. Before he realized what had happened, he was many yards above the ground, apparently flying.

"Lemme help you out there!" a voice suggested behind him, prompting him to turn wildly to see who it was that had abducted him. As if he needed to see her to know; the voice alone told him it was Rainbow Dash.

"NO!" he cried, struggling frantically in the pegasus' grip, her hooves tucked under his arms. If he weren't so angry, he would've been impressed by the pony's strength; despite his struggling, she did not seem very much affected in her flight. "I know how this ends! Put me down!"

"Calm down, stranger!" Rainbow Dash insisted, clearly confused. "I'm just trying to do you a solid! You were being chased by a mob!"

"I don't care! Put me down god damn it!" Alfonz snarled, futilely struggling as the two raced off toward the pegasus' palace in the sky. How in the blue hell would he even stand on such a thing? And better yet, how would he escape?

Rainbow Dash did not seem to have any such concerns as they approached. The man wondered if he would simply fall through the clouds to his death. He almost welcomed the notion at this point. Much to his dismay, however, when the pegasus released him, he found solid footing on the cloud floor. Rainbow Dash landed a few feet away, giving a proud, impressive pose as she did.

"H-how?" Alfonz stammered, his arms out at his sides as if he were balancing on a tightrope. "How am I on...clouds?"

"Oh, I used a special type of cloud to build my house," the pegasus explained. "Makes it so my friends can visit without worrying about spells or wings. Pretty sweet, huh?"

"Yeah...sweet..." Alfonz murmured, slowly falling onto his backside with a soft poof of the clouds beneath him. Resting his arms on his knees, the man stared blankly at the clouds in front of him.

"Are you alright?" Rainbow Dash asked tentatively, craning her neck down to look at him in the eyes.

"Uh...yes..." he replied suddenly, snapping briefly back to reality. "Can I go back to the ground now?"

"What's the rush?" the pegasus replied casually, flexing her wings as she walked toward the entrance to her home. "You should check out the inside. Its even more impressive than the outside!"

"Please..." Alfonz pleaded lowly, falling to the side. He stared forward, blankly, pleadingly. "Ground...please ground...please..."

"Geez, what happened to you down there?" Rainbow Dash asked, taking a step back away from him after his display.

"Twilight...massage...magic...move...bookcase..." he murmured absently, as if he had lost all trace of sanity. "I just want to go back to the cottage..."

"Cottage?" the pegasus repeated, tapping her chin with a hoof. "Fluttershy's Cottage?"

Alfonz was about to confirm when he realized the implications of such a thing. Instead, he remained silent.

"Either way, I have the best place outside of Canterlot!" Rainbow declared, puffing out her chest proudly. "Even puts a lot of Canterlot houses to shame!"

"I'm going to kill something," Alfonz said absently, not moving from his position on the cloud floor. "Or myself. I'm still deciding."

"Come on, I'll give you the tour!" the pegasus insisted, taking the man's shirt collar in her powerful jaws before dragging him into the house proper.

If nothing else, he could say that Rainbow was not lying. Her house, even though it was designed for a pony and made out of clouds, was more than a little impressive. It was much more spacious than it appeared on the outside, and every window seemed to have an incredible view, either of the countryside or of Ponyville in the distance. Cascading waterfalls of liquid rainbows descended outside, casting a brilliant multicolored glow into various rooms when the sun was in the right position.

Of course, much to Alfonz's incoherent dismay, the final stop on the tour was the bedroom. Rainbow Dash released the man near the bed itself, where he lay, on his back, on the floor.

"So," the pegasus began, looking around the bedroom. "What do ya think?" she asked, her tone edged with sly intentions.

"A very nice house," he replied absently, his eyes still glued on the ceiling. "And no, I don't want to bone you. Ground please."

"I'm not sure I follow," Rainbow Dash responded. A spark of hope rose in Alfonz's chest before he realized the context. She was unfamiliar with the phrase, not the act.

"Just push me off the side of the clouds, please. I'll be fine."

Unpredictable Rescues

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"I don't know what they did to you down there, but believe me," Rainbow Dash explained, leaping onto the bed. The pegasus lay on her side, one hoof supporting her head. "Its much more fun up here."

"Why," Alfonz said bluntly, his eyes still locked on the ceiling.

"What do you mean?"

"Why do all this?" he asked, finally sitting up.

"Dunno," Rainbow responded, shrugging, as she, too, sat up. "I just do what feels right."

"How is this 'right'? I'm a totally different species!" Alfonz retorted, growing frustrated.

"Doesn't seem like that big of deal to me," the pegasus replied with another shrug. "Besides, we don't get many males around here."

"I'm terrified to ask why," the man said, mostly to himself.

"I wouldn't be able to tell you, even if you did!" Rainbow assured with a laugh. "They just up and disappeared a long time ago."

"Lovely," Alfonz muttered, laying back down onto the floor.

"So..." Rainbow Dash began, crawling to the edge of the bed to look at him. "Why don't you join me up here?"

"Why can't you take things slow?" he asked, his anger replaced somewhat by curiosity. She gave him a straight answer before, maybe she would clear a few other things up too? "I guess I can understand the whole lack of stallions bit, but why the hell are you all so forceful?"

"You're asking me to take it slow?" the pegasus exclaimed, laughing heartily on the bed. "I do everything lightning fast!" she continued, before suddenly becoming serious again. "Though I hope you can't say the same."

"Real classy," Alfonz snarled, glaring up at the pony looming above him.

"Let's get started, then!" Rainbow insisted, hanging her front hooves over the edge of the bed, with her hindquarters raised behind her, like a lion ready to pounce.

"I think I'm going to have to decline."

"That's no fun!" the pegasus responded, poking at him with a hoof. Alfonz inched away to evade her touch.

"I really don't care," he replied, shifting into a sitting position, away from the bed. "Now can you please return me to the god damn ground?"

Rainbow hopped off the bed, landing within a few inches of the man's legs. She slowly advanced toward him, her eyes staring hungrily into his.

"What the hell is with you ponies and the word 'no'?!" he growled, pushing Rainbow away from him and getting to his feet in the same motion. The pegasus frowned, staring up at him as he backed away.

"You want to do this the hard way?" she said suddenly, glaring at him. "We'll do this the hard way!"

Alfonz, knowing that the encounter had just escalated quite a bit, bolted down the stairs to the lower reaches of the house. Rainbow Dash shot after him, gaining on him in seconds, but not before he managed to reach the entrance. As he threw the door open, the rainbow maned pegasus tackled his legs, causing him to fall onto his stomach, his arms outstretched in front of him. With Rainbow still clinging to his legs, he pulled himself outside with his arms, teeth clenched under the strain.

"You're not getting away that easy!" the pegasus declared, keeping her front hooves around his legs while her back hooves began digging into the cloud floor. The smaller creature's strength was incredible; Alfonz's progress was almost slowed to a halt. He had just managed to clear the doorway, and it seemed like his escape was all but thwarted.

"Fine!" he said at last, keeping his grip on the clouds, but no longer pulled himself forward. Rainbow Dash seemed to stop pulling in her direction as well. "Fine. I give up. Just get the hell off me."

The pegasus hesitated, clearly not trusting him, before she relented.

"Don't even think about trying anything," she warned, releasing his legs and standing up. "I'm the fastest flyer in Equestria. You won't move an inch before I've got you again!"

Alfonz believed her. He slowly stood, eyeing his surroundings warily. It was true that what he said was simply a ruse, but he had little means to take advantage of it. Even if he tried to fling himself off the edge of the clouds, Rainbow would be on him before he ever got near enough to try. He had to think quickly as well; if he hesitated too long, the pegasus would know he was going to try to escape.

As he spent the few remaining seconds he had trying to think, Alfonz suddenly found himself aloft once again. The magnificent home of Rainbow Dash disappeared rapidly behind him, as the pressure on his arms returned; though this time, he was gripped by the shoulders, rather than held under the arms.

"What the?!" he heard the pegasus cry in the distance, before he even realized what was going on himself. Looking up, Alfonz found himself in the grip of a partially mature dragon, its talons wrapped around his shoulders.

It took a moment for his mind to process his new predicament.

"Oh please be a male dragon, please be a male dragon!" he pleaded, closing his eyes tightly. "Or at least want to eat me if you aren't!" He did not want to think about the alternative.

Alfonz watched as Ponyville appeared beneath them. The dragon was flying at an incredible speed, and it wasn't long before much of Ponyville disappeared behind them. They were also at an incredible altitude; far too high up, Alfonz guessed, for any of the denizens below to see them clearly.

That made his chances of rescue, even by crazed, horny mares, fairly slim.

Suddenly, however, the dragon began to descend. It aimed not for the imposing mountains in the distance, but rather the outskirts of Ponyville; specifically, a loose group of houses in an even more remote area than Fluttershy's cottage. It swooped down toward the last house on the street; a large, apparently abandoned manor. Had it not been so bright and colorful, Alfonz would've classified it as "that creepy old house" of the town.

As they neared the ground, the man was suddenly released from the dragon's grasp. He hit the ground running, almost stumbling and falling as a result; he hadn't expected to be freed so abruptly. Looking around, he noticed that he had landed in some sort of grove behind the manor, lined with large trees and with a sizable, overgrown garden at its center.

A loud thud sounded behind him, prompting Alfonz to turn. The dragon had landed not far away, staring hard at him with its reptilian eyes. It seemed much like the adult dragons he had seen in the show, only much smaller, and with a much shorter snout. It was a dirty purple and green in color, which instantly struck him like a blow to the stomach.

"...Spike?" he said quietly, unbelieving. He only knew of one dragon with that coloration, but this was a form he had never seen the baby dragon take.

However, his use of the name caused the dragon's eyes to widen.

"Spike, you're huge!" he exclaimed, gaping in a mix of happiness and horror. "And you have wings! When the hell did this happen?!"

"How do you know me?" the dragon growled, its voice deep and throaty, but devoid of anger. It seemed very surprised, if not alarmed.

"Uh..." Alfonz began, having completely forgotten the consequences of revealing his knowledge. "Twilight told me about you."

This seemed to have a profound effect on the dragon.

"She...she talked about me?" he growled, staring blankly at the ground in front of Alfonz.

"Yeah...shortly before she tried to force herself on me," Alfonz responded, only partially lying. Spike grimaced.

"So I see she hasn't seen sense yet. I should've known."

"Is..." Alfonz began, the thought dawning on him. "Is that why you left?"

"I'll explain as much as I can," the dragon responded, turning toward the manor. "But we should get inside first."

As Alfonz started toward the house, Spike suddenly began to change. With sickening cracks and crunches, the dragon's body began to contort, growing much smaller. His wings disappeared entirely into his back, and his spines became rounded. Before Alfonz's eyes, the sub-adult dragon had transformed back into the baby dragon he had come to expect.

"Since when the hell could you do that?!" Alfonz exclaimed, taking a step back from the newly transformed dragon.

"Inside, first," Spike insisted, pointing toward the manor.

The manor itself was in much better condition on the inside. It seemed to retain the glory of its days in operation, devoid of dust and damage. Small magical lanterns cast a calming glow all throughout the building, whose rooms were extremely large and impressive. Everything seemed to be a reddish brown in color, often mixed with deep golds and yellows. Lavish furniture lay around them as they entered the den area, as well as a crackling fire; the enormous staircase that lead to the upstairs loomed behind them. It almost seemed too good to be true for Alfonz.

"What is this place..." he murmured as he entered, staring wide eyed at the area before him.

"A place that used to belong to somepony else," Spike explained. His voice, in his present form, was more akin to what Alfonz had come to know, though there was a distinct deepness to it as well. "Abandoned a long time ago."

"Who in their right mind would abandon a place like this?" Alfonz replied as he took a seat in one of the large, decorative lounge chairs. Its large size for a pony made it an almost perfect fit for him.

"I don't think they had much of a choice," Spike retorted, smirking, as he took a seat on a couch opposite to Alfonz's position. The fire crackled between them, on the wall to their side.

"One of the stallions, I take it?" the man asked, frowning. Spike nodded.

"And no, I don't know how they all disappeared. They just did."

"That's some weird shit," Alfonz said bluntly, stroking his chin with a hand absently. "Was it because of all the mares going crazy, or did they go crazy because they all disappeared?"

Spike shrugged.

"So this is where you stay now?"

"Yep," Spike replied, yawning. "I saw you running out of the library while I was in town. Thought you might've needed some help."

"I appreciate it," Alfonz replied, blinking. He had almost forgot how close he had come to his own doom. He paused. "You said you were in town...I didn't see any crowds forming to gawk at you, and you implied you left because of Twilight..."

"Oh, that," Spike responded with a wave of his clawed hand. "I just disguise myself and go into town in this form. They usually don't ask, and if I don't get too close, they won't smell me either."

"So they can do that," Alfonz replied, frowning. He already knew, but this was confirmation of his suspicions indeed.

"I take it that wasn't your first...uh...encounter with one of the mares."

"I wish," Alfonz murmured, slouching in his chair. "How long have you been out here?"

"Fifteen years."

"Fifteen years?!" Alfonz repeated, almost launching himself out of his seat. Spike nodded, his arms folded. The man paused. "Have you ever...?"

"With one of the...?" Spike asked, prompting Alfonz to nod slowly, a horrified look on his face. "No, no, none of that. I got out of there as soon as Twilight started getting...pushy."

"Thank god," Alfonz breathed, having held his breath before the dragon answered. The thought was quite disturbing, to say the least. But it didn't entirely make sense. "Didn't you have a crush on Rarity?"

"How do you know these things?!" Spike exclaimed, gripping the arm of the couch he was sitting on.

"You first."

"Fine," Spike huffed, calming. "I did, yeah. But when I became of age, I was only interested in other dragons, you know? I never intended to get...intimate with a pony, even Rarity."

"You don't know how many lives you have destroyed with that sentence, should I ever get back to my home," Alfonz replied with a chuckle, while laughing hysterically in his mind. Spike looked at him as though he were mad.

"So how do you know so much about me?"

"Its really complicated, and it could destroy everything, so I'm sticking with 'Twilight told me'," Alfonz explained bluntly, leaning back in the chair.

"You're a very strange character. You know my name; can I know yours?"

"Alfonz," the man replied, bowing. "Pleased to meet you."

Deceptive Peace

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"Fifteen years, huh?" Alfonz repeated after the two had gone silent for a while. "Twilight and the like didn't seem older than I remembered."

"They're already adults," Spike explained with a shrug. "Ponies can live to be pretty old, you know."

"Alright, so what about you?" the man asked, hoping to get as much information out of the dragon as possible. "How the hell can you change shape like that?"

"Well, it all started when I got particularly greedy one day," Spike began, tapping his chin with a claw. "I grew to my adult size in a day! Apparently dragons can experience growth if they act selfish and greedy."

Alfonz remembered the episode. He was tempted to say so, but his knowledge was already scaring the dragon. He would hold his tongue.

"After getting older, and after I was practically run out of Ponyville, I knew I needed to get smaller to disguise myself," the dragon went on to explain. "So I started experimenting with those feelings of greed and selflessness. One would make me grow, one would make me shrink; if I could control them, that is."

"That's genius," Alfonz said, staring wide eyed at the dragon as he spoke. He hesitated with his next question. "You said Twilight started acting odd when you became of age. No one bothered you until then?"

"Nope," Spike responded with a sigh. "Everything was normal until I started to grow up. I had always wondered why there were no stallions around, but after getting older and being attacked by every mare in Ponyville, I began to understand why."

"That's really messed up," the man replied, frowning. What the hell kind of Equestria was this? He knew the gender ratio in the show was pretty imbalanced, but this was ridiculous. Not only were the stallions gone, but the populace acted as if every sentient male creature was a valuable commodity. How would the pony population keep up with no stallions?

"Spike did say ponies lived pretty long..." Alfonz thought to himself, arms folded as he slumped back into his chair. Finally, he spoke up. "One more question: Do you think I could stay here for a while?"

"Of course," Spike replied with a smile. "That's why I brought you here. I knew what I had to go through, and after seeing it happen to you near the library, I thought you might appreciate the refuge like I do."

"Its definitely a lot nicer, to have a place to stay without horny ponies trying to jump your bones every second."

Spike laughed, shoving himself off the couch and heading for the front door.

"I'll be heading back into town now," he said as he passed. "Rescuing you sorta interrupted by plans for the day. I still need to get some food."

"I'll hold down the fort while you're gone," Alfonz replied with an exaggerated salute. "Might get some rest while I'm at it."

"This place has tons of bedrooms, so take your pick," Spike explained as he pulled a long black robe over his head. The garment covered most of his body, and even the hood obscured his face within. "Should be pretty easy to figure out which one is mine. The rest are all yours."

"Thanks, Spike," the man responded with a grin. He hadn't felt this good in a long time. A huge house, almost all to himself? With no bills, concerns, or horny equines to disturb him? It was a dream come true. "Good luck."

After a few more minutes of preparation, Spike exited the manor through the massive front doors and soon the house grew quiet, except for the crackling fire. Alfonz yawned loudly almost immediately after the dragon left; his body had no intentions of letting him forget what he had promised. He was not complaining either; rest seemed like a very attractive activity at the moment.

Climbing the grand stairs at the center of the house, Alfonz quickly found himself surrounded by doors. Inspecting the rooms beyond, he found most of them to be bedrooms. Each one was incredibly beyond his normal standards, with large king sized beds in some, and multiple twin sized beds in others. The man opted for the larger beds, of course, as he had to accommodate the fact that they were made for ponies; the smaller beds would be hilariously small to the average human.

One bedroom, at the end of the hall, was his choosing. Easy to remember with the door being the last on the left, the bedroom was of plain extravagance, like the others, but with a large king bed with gold and brown sheets. Besides a chair, a full body mirror fit for a pony, and a dresser, the room had little else to offer, but what it did have was more than enough for Alfonz.

Almost instinctively, the man flopped onto the bed. Crawling up to the head of the bed to reach the pillows, he didn't even bother disturbing the sheets. In a matter of minutes, his exhausted mind finally found sleep. No longer was he concerned by the troubles of this world or his own. He was, finally, at peace.

But as fate would have it, peace would not come without a price.

As Alfonz's body rested from the wear and tear of the day, his mind relaxed in a pristine dreamscape. He found himself resting comfortably on a moonlit beach, with nothing but sand, crystal clear water, and the full moon for company. He was sprawled onto a lounge chair, one appropriately sized for a human, with his hands behind his head, watching the starry sky in comfort.

He didn't know why or how he was there. Because of the nature of his surroundings, he did not even wonder. As a part of the dream, it all felt natural, as if he was meant to be there. He hadn't a thought about his concerns in the waking world. To him, all was right; even when it would seem that it was not.

"Good evening, Alfonz," a voice greeted him suddenly. The man calmly turned his head to regard the arrival of Princess Luna, who lay on another lounge chair beside him, her ethereal mane and tail wafted around her. She smiled pleasantly at him, and he smiled kindly at her.

"Greetings, Luna," he replied with a nod, before his gaze turned to the stars. "A very fine night for a picnic."

"It is a magnificent sight," the pony princess agreed, her horn glowing as she pulled a basket closer to the two. Opening the lid, Luna quickly summoned two glasses from within, as well as a bottle of unopened wine. "Would you like a drink?" she asked, pouring herself some.

"Wine? How classy," Alfonz replied with a smirk. "I'd love some, thanks."

Luna smiled and poured some into his glass as well. The man reached down shortly after, taking the glass and sipping from it. The taste was incredible.

"I was thinking," the princess of the night began after tasting her own drink. "After we're done here, we should head back to Canterlot. Perhaps spend a little more time together, mm?"

"Sounds like a blast," Alfonz replied innocently, ignorant to whatever implications Luna had made; exactly as she intended. "I'm game."

"Wonderful!" she exclaimed with a wide smile, before suddenly calming herself. Alfonz did not seem to notice as he watched the stars, clearly transfixed on their beauty. Luna's gaze followed his, and soon the two were enjoying the magnificent, if not fabricated, sight.

Alfonz and the pony princess spent a lovely time on the beach, enjoying the sights, drinking expensive wine, and enjoying each other's company. The man was none the wiser of Luna's true intentions, and had no apparent knowledge of the danger he was in. After what felt like hours, the beautiful dreamscape was shattered, and the man awoke with a jolt.

"Woah..." he murmured groggily, looking around the room through half-closed eyes. It took him a moment to process his surroundings. He felt himself panic initially, before he remembered the events leading up to his presence there. After a few minutes of confusion and gradual understanding, Alfonz recalled his dream.

"Dream about...beach and...and its gone," he concluded, frowning. He felt a little concerned, remembering the last time he had dreamed. But that one was so vivid, as being attacked tended to be. If he couldn't remember the dreams this time, he must have not encountered anything worth noticing. And he was alright with that.

Swinging his legs to the side of the bed, Alfonz decided to head back downstairs. He had no idea how long he had slept, and had no apparent means of knowing; there was not a clock in sight. As he descended the stairs, he noticed the robe had returned to its resting place on the coat rack near the door, but Spike was no where to be seen. The fire had been put out, as well.

Although the lights were still on, without the fire and the company he had experienced before, Alfonz found the manor to be significantly more creepy. As he wandered around trying to locate his dragon host, he noticed, through a quick glance out of the window, that night had fallen. It hadn't even been mid day by the time he had arrived at the manor, so this was more than a little surprising.

Wandering into the kitchen, Alfonz quickly discovered Spike had not returned empty handed. A wide array of foods, some vegetable, some sweets, lay before him. The kitchen itself was just as impressive as he imagined; had it been fully functional and fully staffed, it would have been able to produce food at a rate that would rival small restaurants. Much of what was inside was cleaned out, it seemed, except for what lay before him now. Fifteen years of habitation, even if it was just one resident, would surely have such an effect.

Taking a few pieces of bread and a cupcake, Alfonz swiftly returned to his room with his bounty. He hadn't located Spike, but considering the time of day, he assumed the dragon was sleeping. After finishing his meal, he lay back on the bed, and in time, began drifting in and out of sleep once more. For once, however, his sleep would not be invaded.

Whether or not this was a good thing had yet to be seen.

Goodbye to Safety

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Alfonz awoke with a start, initially confused as he had been before. Almost immediately he caught sight of Spike standing in the doorway of his room; the dragon did not look happy. A few silent moments passed before the man was awake enough to inquire.

"Oh hey Spike...What's up?" he murmured groggily, yawning. He had fallen into a particularly deep sleep at some point, as his body felt stiff and unresponsive.

"We have a problem."

"Could you be a bit more descriptive? I'm still half asleep here," Alfonz replied, blinking a few times to remove the blurriness from his eyes. The urgency with which Spike spoke alarmed him quite a bit, which helped in waking himself up.

"I'll show you," the dragon said simply, waving a clawed hand in his direction before leaving the room. Alfonz, with some difficulty, swung his legs over to the side of the bed and hurried after him.

The two made their way downstairs, and Alfonz swiftly noticed a significant change: The lights, which had been on since he had arrived, were turned completely out. Thankfully for them, it was day outside, making their trek only slightly darker than usual. Spike seemed to move through the house carefully, avoiding windows. Alfonz did the same, and began to wonder.

Eventually, they stood before the massive front doors of the manor, large even for someone as tall as Alfonz. Spike immediately put his eye up to the peep hole, which looked out into the street directly in front of the house. A moment later, he pulled back, frowning.

"Take a look."

Alfonz, crouching down to be eye-level with the hole, did just that. The front of the manor was very clean cut, in stark contrast with the overgrown state of the back yard. He had a very clear view of the street heading into Ponyville; and the three ponies standing on it.

Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie all stood near the center of the road. They seemed to be looking for something; Twilight's horn was glowing brightly, and they were slowly moving closer and closer to the manor itself. Alfonz's heart began to pound in his chest.

They were looking for him.

"This is all my fault..." he murmured as he continued to watch. He was scowling, though the expression was hidden by the door.

"They seem to be a lot more desperate than I remember," Spike said with a sigh behind him. The dragon must have come to the same conclusion. "I guess the best we can do is hide, and hope they don't come inside."

"Its an abandoned house, Spike," Alfonz responded, pulling away from the door to look at him. "They may be horny, but they aren't stupid. Twilight is tracking me with some kind of spell; its only a matter of time before they come inside to investigate."

"What else can we do?"

"You can stay here," Alfonz replied without hesitation. "I'll try to lead them away."

"That's really nice and all, but are you sure you're thinking this through?" Spike asked, looking at Alfonz as if he were insane. "We're talking about a life of...of...really bad stuff, Alfonz!"

"You've been here, living just fine for fifteen years," Alfonz retorted, clearly determined. "I won't let my presence here ruin that, even if it means getting violated by a group of crazy ponies."

"I saw Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash before I woke you," Spike began, looking more urgent by the second. "That's six of them and only one of you! I appreciate the nobility, buddy, but you don't stand a chance!"

"Believe me, I'm not about to hand myself over and kiss my ass goodbye," Alfonz assured with a smirk. "But I have to try and lead them away. If I can lead them on for a while, Twilight might dismiss the spell as a failure. Then we won't have to worry about it ever again."

Spike hesitated, thinking over the idea. Eventually, he sighed, and nodded.

"I still think you're crazy, but I guess we don't have a choice."

"Good enough for me," Alfonz replied, walking toward the back of the house. "Stay low, stay quiet. Be sure the coast is clear before you do anything too revealing."

After confirmation from Spike, Alfonz exited the manor through the back door, where he had first entered. His plan was simple: Use the woods around the manor to hide from his pursuers, and make his way back toward Ponyville. Twilight's spell would, hopefully, bring them after him from a distance. And with any luck, she would eventually get frustrated with it and cease her efforts to find him.

If he was spotted, however, it meant he could never come back to the manor; Twilight would know her spell was working, and he would never be safe from her again.

Setting off into the woods at a swift pace, Alfonz could already hear the sounds of the ponies beyond. They were even closer to the manor, it seemed. Just as he ducked into the foliage, he saw a blue shape shoot by overhead; Rainbow was on the prowl, apparently searching from above. This made things considerably more complicated.

Regardless, the man circled around the manor, jogging from tree to the tree as he slowly made his way to the front. Staying in the thick of the trees, he moved swiftly and carefully past where the three ponies had been spotted, back toward Ponyville. So far, so good; he had yet to be spotted, as far as he knew, and soon Twilight's spell would point them in his new direction.

Satisfied that he was out of immediate danger, Alfonz made his way to the edge of the woods, near to the road, and looked back at the manor while partially hidden behind a large tree. He quickly spotted the three shapes in the distance, but they were not coming toward him as he had thought they would; instead, they were on the stairs leading up to the entrance of the manor, looking at the nearby windows. It was only a matter of time before they entered.

Alfonz cursed; Twilight's spell must not have been quick enough to detect his new location. He waited, as they drew closer and closer to the door, and their direction did not change. Twilight's magic gripped the handle of one of the doors and gave it a swift tug, finding it locked. Somehow he didn't think that would stop them for long.

He had to act, or Spike would be found; fifteen years of habitation, ruined; his new home, forever out of his reach. Alfonz couldn't let that happen.

With reckless determination, the man stepped out from the tree and made his way to the center of the road. His heart pounding in his chest, he stood his ground.

"Looking for something?" he yelled down the street, causing all three ponies to jolt. They each turned to look at him, and immediately their expressions changed. The strange, hungry gaze he had grown accustomed to had returned, though it was mixed with surprise. Even Pinkie, the happy-go-lucky pony he knew from the show, regarded him in such a way.

"For you, actually!" Twilight called back with a smirk as the three began to walk away from the manor in his direction. "We wanted to invite you back to Ponyville!"

"I'm fine thanks," he replied, grinning madly. His heart continued to pound; he felt incredibly exposed. "Not really my kind of place."

"I'm sure, with a little...persuasion...you may be inclined to reconsider!" Rarity responded with a sly smile, narrowing her eyes at him.

"Let me be very clear," Alfonz began, shaking his head. "I don't want anything to do with you, Ponyville, or your demented needs. And if you try to disobey my wishes, I can and will hurt you," he explained, his smile disappearing. "I'm done fooling around."

"Don't be so glum!" Pinkie replied, appearing beside him. The man took a step back, his eyes wide. "We just want to have some fun with our new friend!"

"I don't want to be your god damn friend!" Alfonz snarled, swiping at the air in front of him to bring the message home. "Listen to my words for once!"

Twilight and Rarity had begun to trot now, closing the distance between them gradually. It took a moment for Alfonz to notice. Suddenly, he heard rustling nearby; as he turned to look, he spotted Applejack and Fluttershy standing in the center of the road, on the opposite side of him from the two unicorns. Almost at the same time, he spotted Rainbow Dash in a tree directly behind him, on the side of the road.

He was, effectively, surrounded, and he hadn't even realized it. Alfonz's nerves were almost completely shot; sweating, terrified, and extremely pissed off, he could barely think straight. He had no choice; he would have to fight. The idea of hurting cute little ponies did not exactly appeal to him, but with his dignity and well being on the line, he had no choice.

"Really pulling out the stops for this one?" he growled to Twilight, who was still some distance from them. The unicorn only smiled in response. "I suppose it has to be this way. You would never leave me in peace if it wasn't."

Suddenly, he lunged toward the weakest link: Pinkie Pie. Caught by surprise, the bubbly earth pony could do little to resist as he picked her up by her shoulders and tossed her into a nearby bush, before darting into the woods. The other ponies were slow to respond, as they, too, were taken by surprise. Rainbow was the first to recover, however, and, while expertly weaving through the trees, swiftly gained on him.

"Oh no you don't!" Rainbow yelled as she gave chase. Before he knew it, the pegasus was on top of him, quite literally; landing on his shoulders, Rainbow slammed him into the ground with considerable force. The sudden, abrupt stop caused the pegasus herself to be flung a few yards forward, almost collided with a tree before she came to a halt.

Alfonz, teeth clenched to suppress the pain, got to his feet as quickly as he could. Suddenly, Pinkie appeared under his arm, clinging to the man's shoulders with her front hooves, her face inches from his.

"Why are you being this way?!" she screamed, causing a painful ringing in his ears.

"Why can't you take a fucking hint?!" he snarled back, grabbing the pink pony's midsection before firing her into the woods beyond. Almost immediately after, he felt a powerful force strike his back, hurling him forward into a tree, his mouth agape in a silent scream. Alfonz slowly fell backward, pain radiating up from his lower back. He felt as though he had just been broken in half.

Looking up, he found himself staring at the rear end of Applejack, who was looking quite satisfied with herself. He had just taken a buck from the earth pony and survived. He was quite impressed with himself, even if he was completely and utterly screwed. He remained on the ground, surrounded by grass and fallen leaves, staring up at the approaching ponies that amassed around him. He had failed to escape, but he had succeeded in keeping Spike safe.

"I'm sorry my friend had to do that," Twilight said as she stared down at him with smug satisfaction. "But you just wouldn't listen to reason."

"I'm...going to...kill you...someday..." Alfonz replied weakly, still trying to get his breath back.

"You really need to relax, darling!" Rarity insisted with a pleasant smile. Alfonz only continued to scowl at them. "Why don't we bring you back into Ponyville for some much needed TLC!"

The others voiced their agreement. Alfonz groaned, which swiftly turned into a frustrated snarl, like he had gone feral. Twilight's magic engulfed him, keeping him completely immobile, as the group made their way back to the street and soon, back to Ponyville.

Too Close for Comfort

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The trip back into town was one of unending frustration and disgust for Alfonz. The six ponies casually began to chat about the next phase of their plan, which apparently was quite involved. They, apparently, joined forces after Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rainbow all explained their encounters with the human.

"So its settled," Twilight said at last. "Each of us will get a chance to spend time with our new friend. We will establish an order, and pass him along when each of our times are up." The fact that they continued to act as if it was for his benefit made things oh so much worse.

"How will we decide who goes first?" Fluttershy asked meekly.

"We'll worry about that when we get back to Ponyville," Twilight assured with a smile.

As expected, the group's trek through Ponyville drew considerable attention. With Alfonz's paralyzed form wafting behind them, the group was quickly surrounded by crowds of inquisitive ponies. They seemed to be prepared for this, however.

"Please, we must get through quickly!" Twilight called, standing on a nearby stall to see above the crowd. "Our friend here is very hurt! We are trying to get him some help, so please, make a path!"

The ponies began to murmur all around them, and after a moment, began to clear out. Twilight smiled smugly to herself before hopping down from the stall to join them. Alfonz noticed they were heading toward Carousal Boutique; he wondered why none of the other ponies found this strange, after hearing Twilight's tale of woe. Surely he wouldn't find medical attention in a god damn clothing store.

Once inside, Rarity made sure to lock the door behind them, placing a "closed" sign against the window, before drawing the curtains. With each passing second, Alfonz found himself growing more and more panicked. The slow but steady progression toward his own doom intensified the feeling. Twilight sat him on a nearby couch, her magic still preventing him from moving more than a few centimeters.

"So, who goes first?" Rainbow asked at last, rubbing her hooves together.

"Maybe we should draw straws?" Applejack suggested thoughtfully. The rest seemed to agree, except for Rarity.

"Surely, if it is my boutique he is staying in, I should get the first turn!" she insisted dramatically, placing a hoof on her chest. The others looked at her questioningly. "The rest of you can decide how you see fit."

"I guess I don't see any harm with that," Twilight replied with a shrug. Rainbow and Applejack did not seem happy with the decision, but eventually even they agreed. Rarity looked quite pleased with herself.

Suddenly, they all shifted their attention to him.

"How are we ever going to get him to relax, if he's always so eager to run away?" Rarity asked, gesturing with a hoof in his direction. "Surely you cannot expect to babysit him at all times, Twilight."

Alfonz cursed internally. His intentions were, of course, to flee at the first chance. Unfortunately they had seen this coming.

"I think I have a solution," Twilight replied with a determined smirk, her horn glowing very brightly. A strange tingling sensation spread over his body, before the sparkling purple of the unicorn's magic faded from his view. He was free from her hold, but, strangely, unable to move. "That spell should keep him from running," Twilight explained, moving his arm with her hoof. The limb remained suspended in place, despite his will to move it. It was like he was a giant action figure.

"Its perfect!" Rarity exclaimed, prodding the extended limb with her own hoof. Pinkie, meanwhile, moved his head from side to side rapidly, apparently enjoying herself quite a bit. Alfonz snarled through clenched teeth, wishing with every fiber of his being to lash out against his captors. "You girls can figure out the rest of the order. Me and Alfonz here need to spend some...quality time together."

Alfonz groaned in protest.

"Have fun," Twilight replied with a wink and a smile, before leaving the room with the rest of her friends. Pinkie was the last to leave, quite heartbroken she couldn't continue to play with the immobilized man. Alfonz, meanwhile, knew already that he liked it better when they were all around. At least then they had some sort of decency around each other.

Almost immediately after the door was shut behind them, the lights dimmed. With the curtains drawn and only small lanterns still shining, a dim glow was all they got, casting a rather cozy atmosphere around the room. Rarity, who had disappeared shortly before her friends left, reappeared nearby, two glasses and a bottle of wine hovering around her. She placed all three objects onto the table in front of him, before pouring some of the liquid into each glass.

Setting the bottle down, the unicorn crawled slowly onto the couch, her hungry eyes staring into his. Alfonz's face was frozen in terror, his eyes wide. Rarity was swiftly sprawled across the remainder of the couch, the front half of her body laying across his legs. The man desperately tried to free himself, but the spell was having none of it. The most he could do was avert his gaze, staring up at the ceiling to try and ignore the pony laying across his lap.

"Oh come now..." he heard Rarity purr, a bluish cloud appearing all around him, before his head was slowly turned back toward her. She was inches from his face, her eyes half closed. "You can't say you don't want it now..."

This was a nightmare. Despite all his efforts, despite his personal beliefs, he would, in the end, fall prey to a horny equine. And there was nothing he could do.

"I...don't..." he insisted through clenched teeth, barely able to speak. "Please...stop..." Rarity appeared quite surprised.

"I don't think I've ever been denied before," she said thoughtfully, mostly to herself. Suddenly, the look returned. "Some would take offense. But I enjoy a challenge."

A hoof pressed against the man's midsection, prompting him to cry out in a muffled scream. His heart was pounding; this was too much. If there was a line, she had clearly crossed it; had he not been wearing pants, his dignity would likely already be lost.

Rarity seemed a little off put by his manic response, much to his relief. Perhaps he could convince her to back off after all. Suddenly, a wine glass appeared next to his head, suspended by the unicorn's magic.

"Perhaps a little wine will make you relax," she suggested, gently moving the glass to his lips, before tipping the liquid into his mouth. Rather than risk choking to death, Alfonz readily drank the wine, finding it to be alcohol of the finest caliber, at least in taste. It brought back a feeling of dejavu, though he couldn't explain why. It was as if he had been in the situation before, though he was sure he hadn't.

"Thanks...but...no..." he murmured, evading the unicorn's gaze as best he could.

"I'm sure you'll reconsider," she cooed, pulling herself more onto his lap. Her warm body sent a cold chill down his spine. "In time..."

The unicorn slowly pressed her face into his neck, prompting another frenzied muffled scream from the paralyzed Alfonz. He felt himself receding from reality, as if his mind was trying to escape the situation even if his body couldn't. As Rarity slowly lowered her head to his chest, a sudden knock shattered the atmosphere of the room instantly.

"Can't you read?!" Rarity yelled in response, pulling herself away to glare at the door. Alfonz looked as though he were in a coma, his eyes askew and unresponsive. He could not describe the relief he was feeling. "The boutique is closed! Come back tomorrow!"

Despite the unicorn's words, another knock thumped forcefully against the door. Rarity, with a frustrated 'ugh', pulled herself off of him and off the couch completely, heading over to the door with fire in her eyes. Alfonz was weakly cackling to himself; had he not been frozen solid, he would have slumped over in his seat and passed out.

Rarity swung the door wide with her magic, glaring hatefully at those responsible. Once she recognized who they were, however, she lost much of the fight in her. Before her stood two of the Royal Guard; though they were not male as Alfonz had known from the show. Instead of the brilliant gold armor, however, they wore a dark blue-black variety, and had leathery bat wings instead of the usual feathered wings of a pegasus.

They were members of Princess Luna's personal guard, and they did not look they were in a very good mood.

"Can I help you?" Rarity asked meekly, regretting her earlier words.

"We are here to secure the human 'Alfonz'," one replied, her expression never changing. "By the order of Princess Luna herself, the human is to be taken to Canterlot immediately."

Alfonz let out a loud "HA" from his position on the couch. He did not fully understand the consequences of his new situation, but it bought him time at least. Rarity looked heart broken.

"But, we were just having some personal time together-"

"This is not our concern," the other guard stated. "We are to take the human immediately. Please step aside."

Rarity, with a sigh of resignation, moved aside to allow the two pegasi entry. The strange bat-winged ponies trotted over to him, their expressions faltering somewhat as they neared, before returning to normal. Alfonz silently wondered if, had they not been under Luna's direct orders, they would've responded to his presence like the rest of the mares.

Each of the two pegasi took a portion of his shirt in their mouths, lifting him off the couch with ease. Using their powerful wings to stay aloft, they swiftly placed him in a carriage parked just outside the boutique. Still unable to move, the man could only watch as they returned to the front of the vehicle, reattaching themselves to the carriage before beginning their journey anew. Alfonz knew, from watching the show, that this was no ordinary carriage; it was one meant to fly, hence why it was pulled by pegasi.

Before they took off, he caught sight of his six pony captors standing a few yards away, all either scowling or frowning at the carriage as it slowly rose into the air.

Alfonz couldn't help but smile.

In the Company of Royalty

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Before he knew it, Alfonz was soaring through the skies above Ponyville. The effects of Twilight's spell seemed to lessen the further he got from her, but this amounted to being able to shuffle in place at best. The man didn't move much, however. He merely slumped down into his seat, staring blankly at the two bizarre pegasi at the helm of the carriage.

His mind had taken quite the beating during his near miss with Rarity. He had been in tight spots before, this was true, but never had he come so close to intimacy with a pony. Part of him simply wanted to fall off the carriage and embrace the sweetness of death. Another part of him wished to give in, to give the ponies what they wanted, and perhaps even try to enjoy it himself.

But he could not bring himself to do either. He very much wanted to live, and he had standards. He simply could not stoop so low as to fornicate with cute little innocent ponies, no matter how demented and horny they may be. They were still the happy, funny, adventurous creatures he had grown to love to him.

It was easy to give up. He had remained resolute and resourceful throughout his stay thus far, but his mind simply couldn't take anymore. And here he was, off to another dangerous situation, perhaps even worse than the last. If he couldn't escape the clutches of the Mane Six, how the hell would he evade the Princesses? Perhaps Celestia would be different. Perhaps being an ancient pony deity would give her some sort of immunity. The fact that her sister, Luna, had already proven that false gave him considerable worry, however.

If nothing else, he could hide behind Luna. She seemed to be fairly gentle with her advances, and wanted a sort of relationship, rather than just intimacy. Perhaps he could use that to his advantage, to pit her against the rest in an attempt to keep them all at bay. It was a stretch, one that could easily backfire if he wasn't careful, but he had very few options at this point.

Before the man knew it, they were passing the mountains, of which Canterlot was a part of. The massive capital of Equestria soon came into sight, an impressive beacon of equine ingenuity. At such a height, the city and its surroundings were beyond beautiful, but Alfonz found himself unable to appreciate them. He knew his doom lay within.

The carriage shot gracefully down toward Canterlot, toward the massive and impressive structure that was the Royal Palace. A small landing station lay some distance up one of its towers, leading into the palace proper. The carriage stopped here, of course, the pegasi slowing with surprising ease, before undoing their own restraints to aid in his departure. The man stood uneasily, his muscles still stiff from what remained of Twilight's spell. The pegasi were there to help, perhaps a little too readily; they were all too eager to have bodily contact when he was stumbling away from the carriage.

"Princess Luna has requested your presence. She waits for you inside," one of the guards explained, gesturing with a wing toward the interior of the palace.

"Thanks..." Alfonz murmured with a frown, staring at the doorway hesitantly. As he started toward it, the pegasi followed, pressing their flanks against him as they did. He shot them an annoyed glance, stopping. "Your services are no longer required. I appreciate the help, but I've got it from here."

The guards looked a bit disappointed in response, but nodded. He stumbled on alone, his hair rippling in the strong winds that roared through Canterlot's high reaches. As he made his way inside, he was immediately hit with a pleasing heat; unlike the outside of the palace, the interior was apparently kept warm despite its elevation. This made sense, Celestia being the Princess of the Sun and all.

The palace interior was as impressive as one might think; high walls, incredibly complex and beautiful artistry, and guards (all female) abound. Candles burned softly around him, though most of the light that graced the royal halls came from the evening sun. He found it odd, that he would be meeting the Princess of the Night during the day, but she didn't seem like the type to wait.

A short, mindless trek down the hall gave way to a massive throne room, much to Alfonz's surprise. His eyes wide, he stumbled weakly to the center of the room, noticing that the walls were lined with royal guards. Almost instinctively, he looked up at the throne itself; sure enough, Princess Celestia sat before him, looking quite surprised herself at his sudden appearance.

Alfonz was so nervous he could vomit. This was his last hope, his last chance at peace. If Celestia was like them, it was all over. There was no escape.

"Greetings," Celestia said suddenly, smiling softly at him. Alfonz jolted at the sound, having grown lost in his own thoughts.

"Hi," he croaked, clearing his throat nervously. He felt the eyes of the surrounding guard upon him, and not for security reasons.

"You must be the 'human' my sister was talking about," she continued. "She seems to have taken quite the interest in you."

"I noticed," Alfonz muttered, mostly to himself, with a frown. Thankfully, the princess did not seem to notice his lack of enthusiasm.

"She will join us in a moment," Celestia assured. "But perhaps later, we could get to know one another better."

Alfonz stumbled, catching himself moments before he was about to collide face-first into the floor.

"She didn't mean it that way, she didn't mean it that way..." he repeated mentally to himself, staggering back to his feet. Celestia regarded him with considerable confusion.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah...sorry...really tired," he replied, holding onto his knees as he breathed in and out. He wasn't entirely lying; although, he felt as though he could sleep his life away. As he slowly regained his composure, Luna trotted into the room from the opposite direction he had entered, smiling widely as she spotted him.

"Alfonz, you made it!" she greeted him, resting her head on his shoulder in a brief gesture of affection. The man grimaced internally, but suppressed any outward emotion, much to his own surprise.

"Hello again, Luna," he replied with a weak smile. He felt as though he had been run over by a bus; exhausted both mentally and physically. And he hadn't even been up for very long!

"I apologize for the intrusion, sister," Luna said, looking toward Celestia. The larger alicorn smiled.

"No need to apologize, Luna," she insisted calmly. "A friend of yours is a friend of mine."

"Come, Alfonz, let us leave Celestia to her business," Luna said, a field of magic taking hold of the man's hand and pulling gently to lead him away. Despite the danger, he was inclined to follow her.

The two made their way through the pristine halls of the Canterlot Royal Palace, passing what seemed like hundreds of guards, and almost as many rooms. After climbing a magnificent carpeted staircase, they eventually came to set of blue-black doors.

"This is where you shall be staying," Luna explained, opening the doors with her magic. The interior was a lavish bedroom of incredible beauty; the furnishings and the walls were all various shades of blue and black, giving the room a very cool, calm feel. The circular bed itself, partially surrounded by a thin, dark blue privacy curtain, was absolutely massive; it put even the bed Alfonz had used at the manor to shame. As the man looked to the ceiling, he found an unbelievably detailed view of the night sky, almost as if he was looking into Luna's mane.

He couldn't help but gape at the alicorn's residence. She found this quite amusing, however.

"I hope you find it...satisfactory."

"You could say that," he replied absently, still trying to take in his surroundings. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. "I thought you lived on the moon?"

"I do," Luna replied with a nod. "But I have a room here in Canterlot, and my sister allows me to stay here whenever I wish."

"You don't say..." Alfonz responded, scratching his chin. With the shock fading, the exhaustion he had felt earlier returned in force, almost flooring him immediately. "Not to be rude...but...could you point me toward my bed? I'm about to keel over."

"Of course," Luna replied with a smile, moving into the room with Alfonz close behind. She quickly approached the gargantuan bed situated in one corner of the room, drawing the curtains back some and pulling the sheets partially down the length of the bed.

"This...?" Alfonz asked, disbelieving, as he approached. The alicorn nodded. The man felt as though he could've died on the spot.

Flopping onto the bed, he quickly crawled his way to the pillows, mumbling incoherently as he went. He was practically asleep before he even reached his destination, sprawled out over one half of the bed.

"My own room...in the palace..." he thought, moments before he fell asleep. "She stays on the moon, I stay here...maybe this isn't so bad after all..."

Alfonz slept for a long time. He wasn't exactly sure how long it was, but by the time he awoke, it was well into the next day. He had slept the remainder of the day before, all into the night, and into the following day. This impressed him quite a bit.

Getting up, however, was easier said than done.

His body, stiff from the long sleep, protested noisily as he stirred. He hadn't even pulled himself under the sheets before his sleep, merely clutching a few pillows when he awoke. The bed itself was painfully soft, as if sleeping on actual clouds. This made the process of waking up even more difficult.

He found that most of the candles that illuminated the room had been blown out; only the rays of the mid-morning sun were there to greet him. He found the light to be quite painful, even if it barely reached into the room. With the curtains drawn, he could easily facilitate night, and he thoroughly considered this before eventually deciding against it. He needed to get up and get moving, before something else went horribly wrong.

As Alfonz inched toward the edge of the bed, he heard a soft sound behind him. Turning to investigate, he found the sleeping form of Princess Luna not far away, resting comfortably on the other half of the gargantuan bed. The man instinctively froze, completely at a loss for words at the current situation. After making sure he was absolutely certain he had just been asleep the previous night, he slowly reached the edge of the bed and quickly stood.

"So much for my own room," he thought bitterly, frowning at the alicorn's sleeping form. She seemed so at peace with the idea of the two sharing a room, yet he found it to be sudden and more than a little concerning. This would not be as easy as he had hoped.

Despite it being well into the morning, Luna was asleep. Alfonz assumed this meant that she was, for the most part, a nocturnal presence; that she slept during the day, and only awoke for the night, except on special occasions, apparently.

This meant that, although he didn't have the safe haven he had wanted, it meant that he could move about Canterlot without incident, at least for a time.

Perhaps he could find a way to freedom after all.

It Gets Worse

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Alfonz crept from the room as silently as he could; he had no intention of waking the alicorn, as it would undoubtedly hinder his plans of escape. Gently closing the door behind him, he swiftly made his way down the short staircase that lead back into the palace proper, avoiding the gaze of two passing guards as he went. Although their training made them significantly less threatening than the others, he knew that, if given the chance, they would not hesitate to attack him.

Looking back at the pegasi to make sure he wasn't being followed, he absently turned a corner and collided forcefully with a very large object, bending somewhat as his lower half came to a sudden and abrupt halt. Although seemingly undisturbed from the impact, he quickly noticed that the 'object' was very much alive; a large, white pony with both a horn and wings.

Before him stood the impressive form of Princess Celestia, calmly examining some papers as if completely ignorant of the impact with her backside. Alfonz froze instinctively, after realizing that he was practically bent over the Princess' behind. It was like some sort of cruel joke; that despite all his efforts to avoid such encounters, he found himself stumbling right into them.

It was like a sitcom. A really bad one.

A few minutes passed before Celestia turned, regarding him with a smile.

"Hello again, Alfonz," she greeted the stricken man. It took her a moment to notice that he was not moving, staring, wide eyed and gaping, at the Princess' back. "Are you alright?"

Alfonz did not respond. His mind was fighting with itself to stay intact; after the trials he had faced the day before, he was nearing his breaking point. His current predicament, no matter how harmless, may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Alfonz?" Celestia tried once more, waving a few papers in front of his face. The man did not react; he did not even blink. With considerable concern, Celestia enveloped Alfonz in her magic, gently bringing him into the air as she made her way back to her own quarters.

Alfonz himself was partially aware of his surroundings. Internally, he was arguing like a madman with himself, debating whether or not that he was actually dead, and being punished. It was not an unfamiliar thought, as he had experienced it numerous times before, perhaps not so vividly. Either way, he did not seem to realize that the situation had, potentially, been made worse by his inaction.

Celestia's quarters were seemingly much less extravagant than her sister's. Much smaller, but of no less quality, it was a room of dark blue walls and purple carpeting, with an impressive fireplace in one corner, a large oval shaped bed at another, and a large floor cushion a short distance from the former. A smaller cushion was brought out not far away, which Alfonz was gently placed on.

The Princess took up her own position on the larger cushion, settling down with a content sigh. It was then that she returned her attention to the human before her, staring at him with a quizzical look on her features. She did not seem to know how to proceed. Suddenly, her horn began to glow, and a loud pop sounded in the space between them, followed by a small puff of smoke. The sound caused Alfonz to jolt, apparently returned to the waking world.

"Uhh...what?" he stammered, blinking several times. He felt as though he had just woken up from a coma.

"Welcome back," Celestia replied with a pleasant smile. Alfonz's eyes widened as he realized where he was, and who he was with.

"Yeah...thanks," he muttered, looking around the room nervously. He had been planning to escape, not have an audience with a demigod.

"You seem bothered," the alicorn stated, giving him a curious look. "May I ask why?"

"I've been through some shi-stuff," he retorted, censoring himself for once. He felt it may be in bad taste, as she was the ruler of Equestria. "To be honest, I'm wondering if I'm still in danger."

"I assure you, you are not," she replied with a smile. The princess shifted, giving Alfonz an interesting view of her rear end. "Unless you want to be."

"Uhhh," Alfonz almost yelled, suddenly terrified. "Yeah I'm going to have to pass on that."

"Suit yourself," Celestia responded with a smile, shifting back into a more comfortable position. The man found it rather strange, that it was so easy. It had never been so easy. He felt more than a little paranoid as a result.

"Could I ask you a question?" he said suddenly, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.


"What happened to all the stallions?"

"An interesting story," she replied, looking thoughtfully at the ceiling. "They disappeared over thirty years ago, I believe."

"But what happened to them?" Alfonz insisted, his unease shifting completely into curiosity. "How did they all disappear?"

"A series of unfortunate accidents."

"You mean they're all...dead?" he muttered, the color draining from his face.

"Most of them, unfortunately," Celestia replied with a frown. "I'm sure you've noticed the behavior of the mares. As I understand it, they often got a bit...involved...during their intimacy with the stallions. So much so that many did not survive, through some circumstance or another."

"That's really disgusting."

"Those who did survive have long since left Equestria," she continued, ignoring his comment. "As their numbers dwindled, those that remained found themselves to be highly sought after. Many couldn't handle it."

Alfonz was at a loss for words. She talked about the complete decimation of the male pony population so casually. Not to mention, he was right to fear; had he indulged in the ponies' requests, he could have been another 'unfortunate accident'.

"You must understand, the mares cared very deeply for their mates," Celestia assured, suddenly very serious. "They did not mean to harm them; they simply couldn't control themselves."

"Somehow I find that hard to believe," Alfonz murmured, mostly to himself. The alicorn before him did not seem offended by the comment, however. Suddenly a thought occurred to him. "How do you explain the children? Applebloom, Scootaloo...?"

Celestia simply stared at him, confused.

"Oh my god..." he muttered, staring wide eyed at the floor. They didn't exist. None of the fillies and colts seen in the show existed in this universe.

Perhaps, for the better.

"I'm afraid I don't recall those names," the princess replied, shaking her head. "The last generation of Equestrians were born shortly after the stallion's disappearance."

"Nevermind," he replied quickly, moving on from his shock. "What about you, Princess? You don't seem like them; not exactly."

"I've been around for a long time, Alfonz," she replied with a smile. "Intimacy is nothing more than a hobby of mine. I do not pursue it as vigorously as my subjects do."

"And what of your sister?"

"Luna is...unique," Celestia responded, choosing her words carefully. "She believes in the concept of having a mate, or consort, to live with her the rest of her days. I do not believe she is as dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh as the others are."

"Consort?" Alfonz repeated in a mix of horror and disgust. Was that what she intended for him? To be a...consort?!

Celestia only nodded.

"I have answered your questions," she began, giving him an even stare. "And I would like you to answer mine."

"I'll try."

"Why resist?" Celestia asked simply, innocently. "Why go through so much trouble to avoid such a natural thing?"

A difficult question indeed. To explain with any sense would require understanding of his world in relation to Equestria. Either he would claim that in his world ponies were mere animals, and imply that he is part of some slaver race, or he would try to explain that Equestria is fictional, and likely be dismissed as a madman.

"Two things, mostly," he began with some hesitation, planning his words carefully. "First, the whole species thing. Second, a cultural thing. My race...we regard you Equestrians as happy, innocent creatures that make friends and go on adventures," he explained, leaning back on his cushion seat. "I guess I just don't like viewing you guys in such a way."

"Is that so?" Celestia replied, clearly interested. "So you don't find us Equestrians very attractive?"

"Ehh," Alfonz began, looking to the ceiling thoughtfully as his face contorted randomly in response of such a question. "Not really," he said at last, before his gaze shifted back to the princess, but away from her face for a moment. "Though some less than others."

"You don't say?" she responded, shifting the lower half of her body in response to both his words and his actions. Alfonz frowned. So much for subtly. "That is very fascinating."

"If you say so."

"I do," Celestia insisted, giving him a sly smile. He suddenly felt uneasy. "I can see why my subjects are so interested in you. Your rejection is not absolute; you just make it a challenge."

"I'm going with 'no' for 200, Alex," he replied, knowing full well that no one in this world would get the reference. He really didn't care at this point.

"Oh yes," she insisted, her smile growing. "I do enjoy a challenge."

"Please, don't," he muttered, frowning deeply. What the fuck had he done?

"It won't be that simple," she said suddenly, waving a hoof at him. "It would be too easy to force it."

Normally, he would've responded with a sarcastic "gee thanks", but he was much too horrified to speak.

"The challenge is to make you want it."

"Well its been a good talk," Alfonz said suddenly, rising, clapping his hands together. "You're insane. Good day," he concluded, pointing his clasped hands at the Princess, before making for the door. Celestia did little to stop him, simply smiling to herself as he left.

Great. Not only did he have one pony deity trying to turn him into a consort, but he had another trying to break his will! There were no words to describe how screwed he was, no pun intended.

With a loud sigh that seemed to turn into a hiss, he stalked through the halls of the Royal Palace. He had to find a way out, before things got any worse.

A Game of Wits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"There you are, Alfonz!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Did something happen while I was asleep?"

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

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

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

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

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

Alfonz felt a bit light headed.

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

There went his ace in the hole.

Play to Win

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An hour. An hour was all he had to find a way out of his own personal hell.

And he hadn't a clue where to start.

After Luna departed, Alfonz found himself staring blankly out the window, watching as the sun descended from the sky, soon to be replaced by the moon. His mind was racing, trying to find some overlooked detail that would at least buy him more time. He thought of Shining Armor, captain of the Royal Guard, but after what Celestia told him, he likely did not survive. And even if he did, he would be long gone by now.

Celestia herself was, of course, out of the question; his talk with her earlier made sure of that. To think, if he kept his mouth shut, he might've prevented his current predicament entirely. Alfonz wasn't sure what would run out first: his own will to resist, or Celestia's patience to wait until it did.

Luna was an interesting option. Spending any amount of time with her was dangerous, as she could easily request something he wasn't willing to do, and giving her any amount of attention would only promote the idea of the two being an 'item'. She already considered him Royal Consort of Equestria; he wondered if he could even make it worse than that.

But her affection for him could be beneficial. Although her earlier response shot down his hopes of pitting the two princesses against each other, the idea may yet be salvageable; if he exploited her affection and expressed how much he disliked the notion of being shared by the sisters, she may yet bring it up with Celestia. It was a risky ploy, which may very well seal his fate with Luna even if he was free of Celestia, but it was one of the few viable options he had.

A thought struck him suddenly, while thinking of any more denizens of Canterlot that may be of use. His salvation may not be far off; resting within the royal Canterlot gardens was the statue of a strange, incredibly powerful but also incredibly devious creature: Discord, the spirit of chaos.

But was he really willing to condemn Equestria to misery just to free himself?

Yes. Yes he was.

The royal gardens were not an unfamiliar concept; he had thought of them earlier, in his efforts to escape. Accessible from the palace, and with an entrance of its own, he had seriously considered it for his previous plan. But with its semi-public nature, the place was swarming with more guards than even the front entrance; with massive metal fencing on all sides, it was more a prison than his salvation.

After twenty precious minutes of trying to find it, he eventually came to the door that lead to the gardens themselves. Of course, it was guarded, and he half expected to be stopped by the pegasi standing before him. Much to his relief, they simply eyed him for a few moments as he passed, but did little else to stop him. With a long exhale, he pulled open the door and walked into the cool evening air.

The sun had set by now, and the only source of light that remained came from lamp posts scattered around the gardens. The place, predictably, was incredibly deserted; this wasn't exactly a surprise, considering the equines' apparent lack of nocturnal habits. The guards were still in position, however, and likely would remain that way at all hours of the night. He knew he hadn't a chance to escape from the gardens, but that wasn't his purpose there; he needed to find the statue before Luna returned from her duties.

Navigating the vast area of the gardens was easier said than done in the low light he was given. Every statue appeared the same in the darkness; he could only recognize them when he was but a few feet from them. He passed very many statues, reading the displays briefly to describe what they were: Victory, Honor, Friendship, Sacrifice...

Finally, the bizarre shape of the draconequus came into view. Twisted into a look of surprise and horror, Alfonz quickly recalled the last time Discord was free; it did go so well for Equestria. He silently wondered if, should the spirit of chaos be freed again, Discord would destroy or otherwise impede the Mane Six or the Elements of Harmony, to prevent another incident like the last?

Alfonz was desperate, but he felt hesitant about trying to free the draconequus. He hadn't that much of a choice; should Discord spare him from any harassment, he might be able to use the ensuing chaos to escape Equestria entirely, and simply pray they would subdue the beast again after he was long gone. It was a selfish plan, but it may be his only permanent solution.

Then there was the issue of actually freeing Discord. He was imprisoned by the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful form of magic in Equestria; how could a mere human have any hope of undoing such power? Recalling the episode that freed Discord, the man figured that, perhaps, some sort of disharmony may free him again. He had no idea how to express disharmony, however; the entire world of Equestria felt like disharmony to him at this point.

"Uhh," he said aloud, thinking. Suddenly, he kicked over a nearby pot, causing it to thunk softly in the grass. "Disharmony, woo!" he cried, placing a foot on the pot triumphantly.

Without warning, the stone statue in front of him exploded, sending shards of stone and rock in all directions. The event knocked Alfonz himself to the ground, as he shielded his face with his arms to protect himself from the shrapnel. Strangely, the detonation made no sound; the statue had erupted in complete silence.

"Puny mortal!" a voice cried ahead of him, in the dust and the gloom left by the statue's destruction. "You have freed the fel and terrible Discord with your example of the most heinous of disharmony and chaos!"

"...Really?" Alfonz replied, disbelieving. Suddenly, the dust was sucked inward, revealing the draconequus standing in front of him, his mismatched arms at his sides as he looked at the man, unamused.

"No, not really!" he responded bluntly. "That was pathetic! And it wasn't even disharmony. Do you even know what that means?"

"I guess...?"

"It doesn't involve tipping over pottery, I'll tell you that much."

"Then how the hell did you get out?!" Alfonz asked, his heart thumping in his chest.

"Good old Celestia did it for me, quite some time ago," Discord explained, examining the claws on one of his hands casually. "Don't worry; no chaos for me these days!" he continued, his expression suddenly going sour. "Its part of my...'rehabilitation'," he concluded, sticking out his tongue.

"...Rehabilitation?" the man repeated, slowly rising to his feet. Discord still stood a few feet over him; standing up, the spirit of chaos was quite tall.

"Yes," Discord said, clearing his throat. "It is part of a deal I made with the pretty little princesses, so I would not be stuck in stone for another millennium."

"And the Equestrians are okay with this? After all you've done?"

"Well no," he replied, scowling at Alfonz somewhat. "I am not allowed to appear before anyone not of the royal family, by decree of lord bodacious pretty princess Celestia herself," he explained, faking a regal pose. "And as it turns out, as Royal Consort of Equestria - congratulations on the title, by the way; you should be very proud - that qualifies you as 'royal family' material."

Alfonz gave him a blank look. Discord sighed, a book popping into existence in his outstretched hand. The spirit of chaos donned a pair of spectacles, flipping through the pages of the book.

"'Consort: a spouse of royalty, usually to bare or otherwise produce the children of their lovers'," Discord read in a professional tone, making a face as he concluded. He closed the book; it immediately disappeared with another pop, as did his glasses. "Basically all the fun in the sack without any political power. Kudos."

"Thanks," Alfonz replied with a scowl. "I don't suppose you could help in getting me out of that?"

"And risk becoming a lawn ornament for eternity?" Discord responded with a laugh. "Sorry, bud, you're on your own."

"Why were you a statue just then, if that's what you were trying to prevent?" Alfonz asked suddenly, confused.

"I must remain in the appearance of stone during the day, as to maintain the ruse that I am still imprisoned," the spirit of chaos explained, looking around the gardens. "But on holidays where the gardens are closed, and nights, of course, where all the ponies are tucked into bed, I get free reign over this little patch of paradise."

"Sounds like quite the good life," the man replied with a fair bit of sarcasm. Discord shrugged, unoffended.

"Better than being a ten foot paper weight," he retorted, sneering. "Or being part of the Royal Booty Call."

"I don't suppose they treat you the way they treat me?" Alfonz asked, ignoring the draconequus' comment as best he could.

"Only Celestia and Luna are aware that I still exist," he explained. "And I don't think they see me in that light, sorry. They're all yours."

"Oh great," the man replied, falling onto his backside in the grass. "What a wonderful waste of time this was."

"Rude," Discord retorted, turning his nose up at him.

Alfonz's gaze shifted upward; he finally noticed that the moon had come out in full, casting a pale glow over all of Equestria. His time was up.

"Well I'm off to my own demise," he said as he stood, dusting himself off. Discord went down on all fours, snaking around the man to smirk inches from his face.

"You'll have to tell me all about it," the draconequus sneered. "Make sure to love her gently, dear boy."

"Fuck off," Alfonz growled, pushing the spirit of chaos' face away from his. Discord laughed heartily, slithering away from the man and into the darkness. In time, the bizarre character was completely swallowed up by the dark, leaving Alfonz in cold silence. He wasn't sure if he preferred it this way. He also wondered why there were no guards swarming around him to investigate the noise.

The man set off toward the palace from whence he came, panic and despair rising in his chest. He figured there was no sense hiding from Luna; with guards everywhere, it wouldn't be very long before he was either escorted to her, or his location was relayed to the lunar princess. And that was not even considering locating spells, like what Twilight had used previously.

Sure enough, after only a few minutes of wandering the palace, he spotted Luna heading toward him from the opposite end of the hall. Her regal, majestic demeanor melted away when she caught sight of him, trotting toward him with clear excitement. For once, he felt a little honored to incite such a response from her, but this only fueled his own depression.

"Finally, I am free from my duties!" the princess said as she neared, once again giving him the pony equivalent of a hug. Alfonz's expression turned to a scowl for a brief moment, unseen by the alicorn nuzzling his shoulder. As she pulled away, she gave him a sly smile. "What say we return to the room for a little...personal time?"

"I-I dunno," he stammered, clearing his throat. He suddenly yawned dramatically. "I'm pretty tired."

"Oh," Luna replied, clearly disappointed. "Then we shall return to the room so you may rest," she concluded with another smile.

Alfonz cursed inwardly, hoping that he may have been able to evade the alicorn for a time by using sleep as an excuse. Regardless, he followed Luna back to the ornate blue-black doors that signified her quarters, the alicorn's flank pressed against his side for practically the entire journey. Although a gesture of affection, he felt it may have been a gesture of possession as well. He didn't know how to feel about that.

As they entered, Luna slowed to a halt by the door, while Alfonz speedily made his way to the bed, threw himself on, crawled to the top and immediately turned toward the nearby wall, away from where the princess slept earlier. He was barely clinging to the edge of the bed as well, giving the alicorn a lot of space. He was trying to be very clear with his intentions; he did not want any funny business.

Closing his eyes to better emulate sleep, he listened closely to figure out what his roommate might do. Luna, after shutting the door behind them, calmly made her way over to a nearby bookshelf, selecting a sizable tome from the collection before making her way toward him. Hopping up onto the bed, she made her way to the opposite end, taking up a position painfully close to Alfonz's own; close enough that, when she finally laid down, her flank was one again pressed up against him. He felt as though he may fall off the side of the bed if the alicorn moved too sharply.

As Alfonz cursed silently and repeatedly to himself, Luna happily read her tome right beside him, content in the silence of the situation, much to the man's dismay.

Pillow Talk

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Alfonz tried to sleep, but his body simply wasn't as exhausted as his mind. Despite trying his hardest to ignore the body laying against him, he couldn't bring himself to sleep. He wasn't exactly comfortable, either; with Luna so close, he could hardly turn over to re-adjust his position, without revealing he was awake anyway.

Eventually, he conceded to the lesser evil, turning with some effort to lay on his back, his eyes toward the ceiling. It felt quite nice, not having to brace himself quite so much to prevent himself from falling off the bed. The movement, of course, alerted the alicorn next to him of his waking state; her eyes darted up from her tome as she turned to regard him.

"Can't sleep," Alfonz explained, breaking the silence.

"Perhaps you weren't as tired as you thought," she replied simply, gently closing her book. The man swallowed nervously. "Maybe we can do something about that..."

"Like a midnight jog? Sounds lovely!" he suggested, trying to redirect the conversation as smoothly as he could. Luna, however, was having none of it; the alicorn only stared at him with a sly look about her. Alfonz tried shifting a bit farther away, but had little room left.

"I was thinking something a little more personal..." Luna responded. He felt the mare's flank press hard against his side. "...And more fun..."

"Oh, ah, eh, there might be a little problem with that," Alfonz replied nervously. "I forgot to tell you; us humans have a courtship ritual before...mating."

"Really?" Luna gasped, quickly shifting so her head was where her flank used to be. The man didn't know if this was better or worse. She seemed excited, regardless. "What does it involve?"

"A lot of things," he explained, thinking hard. "But the problem is: it takes around six or seven years before it is proper for humans to mate, when the ritual is complete."

Luna frowned. She looked a bit heartbroken, a bit confused.

"I'm sorry, I should've mentioned it before now."

"Can't you...bypass the ritual? Just this once?" she pleaded, practically crawling into his lap. Alfonz recoiled somewhat, shaking his head.

"Its a cultural thing, you know? Something that's been around for ages; it's not so easily forgotten."

Luna continued to stare into his eyes, inches from his face, with a look of desperate pleading. He almost felt bad for her.


"T-that doesn't sound right!" she said suddenly, turning her head away from him. He breathed out in relief, but tensed when he realized what she said. How would she know? "I've seen your dreams...I know you can mate without any ritual!"

"Wait what?" Alfonz replied, almost yelling. What the hell was she talking about? He hadn't any dreams of that sort for years, even before coming to Equestria! He surely would've realized if he had one now, after what he experienced.

"I know it to be true," she assured herself, growing much calmer rather abruptly. "You are a Royal Consort now, Alfonz! You must forget these traditions, and embrace the Equestrian way!"

"This isn't the Equestrian way!" he barked back, growing frustrated. Luna seemed confused.

"Why wouldn't it be?"

"...Nevermind," Alfonz replied, not wanting to get into any strange details. She likely wouldn't believe him even if he did explain. "The answer is no, regardless."

Luna was not about to concede, however. The alicorn pulled the rest of her body onto his, her hooves on either side of him. He tried his best to pull himself onto the pillows, but soon thunked loudly against the headboard. There was no where left to go; he silently contemplated introducing Luna to the bookshelf.

"You have a duty now, Alfonz," she purred, rubbing her head against his chest, while the man pulled his head away from her own as much as he could. "Relax! It will be fun, if you let it..."

"Fun?!" Alfonz snapped back, surprising the princess with his anger. "Is it fun to feel like a wounded animal in shark infested waters, every hour of every day?!" he continued with rising fury, causing Luna to back off a bit. "I haven't had a moment of peace since I arrived in this forsaken hellhole!"


"No!" he snarled, pushing the alicorn back onto the bed. "The answer is no, god damn it!"

Luna stared at him, frowning, her eyes wide. The man was fuming, breathing heavily as every fiber of his being compelled him to go on a rampage. What remained of his sanity kept him from hurting the princess or anyone else; this was not because of what she might do to him in return, but because he could not bring himself to hurt a bunch of pastel ponies.

Eventually, his anger was suppressed, and the man fell back onto the pillows in a daze. He had used what remained of his own resistance to keep himself in check, in more ways than one. But now, he just didn't care. He didn't want to move, he didn't want to talk, he didn't want to live.

He was just too tired of fighting, of worrying, of sticking up for his beliefs. He wanted it to end.

"...Is it really that bad?" Luna asked tentatively after several minutes of silence. Alfonz did not stir. "I...I didn't know..."

"No one seems to give a shit," he replied, his voice surprisingly neutral. "No matter how much they hear 'no', they just keep pressing. Or they get violent."

"I'm sorry, Alfonz," she muttered, staring at him with a look of pity, rather than selfish desire. Alfonz sighed.

"Yeah, yeah," he growled, shifting into a more comfortable position. "Apparently you can't help it. You lot are like a bunch of fucking vultures when it comes to males."

"I guess so," she replied, her frown deepening. "I really do care about you, Alfonz. I want this to work."

"You don't fucking know me," Alfonz responded with some hostility. His internal inhibitions keeping himself fairly tame had been blown apart by the ordeal; he just didn't care anymore.

"But I would like to!" Luna assured, moving closer to him. He only continued to stare, his eyes narrow.

"This isn't you," he retorted simply. "I know it."

"How?" she replied with a laugh. "Do I not know myself, or my own intentions? Alfonz, there is no sorcery at work here. These are my feelings, and my desires."

Alfonz only continued to glare. In his mind, however, he began to wonder. Perhaps this was just how the Equestrians were? Surely this wasn't the Equestria he knew, but maybe this Equestria didn't have a choice. As unnatural as it seemed to him, perhaps it was natural to them.

"Please..." Luna murmured, laying her head on his chest. "I did not mean to offend you."

Alfonz found himself hesitating to lash out. Maybe, just maybe, Luna would listen to reason. She was determined to see him in a romantic light, but perhaps now she may not be as forceful. Or perhaps he was just naive. Either way, he wasn't in any mental condition to fight.

As if in response, a knock echoed from the door.

"At this hour?" Luna asked aloud, pulling her head away from him. He was thinking the same thing. With a mutual, somewhat awkward glance at each other, the two parted and quickly moved off the bed. The princess trotted over to the door, while Alfonz remained a few feet from where he was just laying. He had a bad feeling, more so than usual.


And rightly so.

"I'm so sorry, Luna!" Celestia said, noticing Alfonz not far away. "I did not mean to interrupt you..."

"It's alright, sister," Luna assured, opening the door wider. "Please, come in."

"Thank you," the elder sibling replied with a smile, making her way inside. Alfonz couldn't help but glare at her.

"What are you doing up this late?" the Princess of the Night asked, clearly confused.

"Oh, I've been finishing up some paperwork for the last hour," Celestia explained, with no apparent ill intentions. "I came by to retrieve Alfonz."

"That didn't last long," thought the man himself, scowling at her.

"Whatever for?" Luna asked, even more confused; perhaps even a little distraught.

"For his services, dear sister," she replied, giving her counterpart a soft smile. Both Luna and Alfonz reacted in horror, but for obviously different reasons.

"B-but sister, we were just having some time alone!" the younger princess insisted, as Celestia made her way toward the 'royal consort'. Alfonz took a step back. It wasn't going to be this forward, he knew it, but whatever game Celestia had planned for him would be too much. He did not have the mental fortitude to endure any more.

"And for that I apologize," Celestia replied simply, stopping a few feet in front of Alfonz. "But you have all night to make up for it. I must sleep soon, little sister, so I must insist."

Luna only gaped at her, floundering to find some sort of reason to stop her. Eventually, she bowed her head in defeat, earning another smile from Celestia.

"Come Alfonz," she said, turning to him. Before he could even tell her off, he found himself engulfed by her magic, slowly levitating from the room with her strolling casually behind.

Luna did not look up as they passed. The doors were shut forcefully behind them as they left, as the younger princess disappeared before his eyes.

They went, of course, to Celestia's own quarters. Alfonz did not even try to struggle; at this point, he had gotten quite used to a unicorn's magical embrace, and knew it could not be fought physically. Closing the door behind them, Celestia emulated what she had done previously; while she herself sat comfortably on her large decorative floor pillow, Alfonz was released onto a smaller variety not far away.

The two stared at each other in silence for a number of minutes; Alfonz scowled, and Celestia smiled smugly to herself.

"What do you want," Alfonz growled at last, growing irritated with the inactivity.

"To break you," the princess replied quite bluntly, but also quite pleasantly. "My sister may have already done so, however."

"Don't be so sure," the man responded, giving her a weak but nonetheless defiant grin.

"I must admit, you are quite a tough nut to crack," she began, summoning a small cup to drink from. "It has definitely livened things up around here."

"At my expense," Alfonz retorted, glaring at her.

"I'm sorry, Alfonz. I do not mean to torment you," Celestia insisted, lowering her cup to give him a sincere look. It gave him more pause than it should have. "But even a mare of my stature has needs. You have made this a new experience for me, with your resistance, and its something I myself cannot resist."

"That doesn't excuse anything."

"Perhaps not," she replied, shrugging, before taking another sip. "But all you need to do to make it stop is indulge me," she explained, setting the cup on a table a short distance away. "I am not so careless as to cause you harm in the throes of passion. It will be an experience of mutual pleasure, I assure you."

Alfonz hesitated for a split second, but it was enough to cause him deep concern. What the fuck was he thinking? Would he really be willing to go against his own beliefs, and hell, even his own preferences, to free himself now? It was a matter of principal at this point.

The phrase "never say die" came to mind, and he desperately tried to draw power from it. But after so much persistence, so much temptation, so much distress, and so much frustration, he found it quite difficult to do so. He just wanted it to end.

"You haven't told me off," Celestia said suddenly, bringing Alfonz back to his senses. "I'm making progress, at least."

"I...I can't," the man replied at last, holding his head in his hands. "I just can't!"

"I admire your restraint, but enough is enough, Alfonz!" the princess insisted, rising. He found himself almost unable to move. "Perhaps a more forward tactic will move things along..."

Princess of Love

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After hours of agonized waiting, spending almost all her waking hours worried sick, Luna could at last go searching for her lost love.

The ordeal had taken quite a toll on her; the alicorn felt her heart breaking at the thought of Alfonz being intimate with anyone else, even with her own sister, whom she loved and trusted beyond any shadow of a doubt. Luna knew the code of the royal consort; Celestia was well within her rights to ask this of Alfonz, but it did little to soothe the princess' woes.

When the human had failed to return, the feeling only intensified. She wanted to believe that Alfonz was still hers; that he and her sister had done nothing throughout the night. But why else would they be gone for so long? It was past the time the sun should have risen, however, which gave Luna a valid reason to hunt her sister down and find out for sure.

The Princess of the Night trotted through the halls of the palace with suppressed anxiety; had it been up to her, she would have bolted to her sister's quarters in seconds. She needed to remain calm and collected, and not draw any more attention to herself. With a short greeting to a pair of guards, she turned a corner and, at last, Celestia's room was within sight.

Her excitement did not last long.

A large, pink form strode some distance down the hall, making its way toward her sister's quarters. A pony with both a horn and wings; an alicorn, and one that filled her with dread.

Princess Cadance was here. But why? What business did the ruler of the Crystal Empire have in Equestria? Cadance was notorious for her ravenous appetite for stallions; her power over love made roping in new mates child's play. The alicorn had even gotten a bit conceded as a result; both Celestia and Luna regarded her with considerable distaste, for many reasons, namely: she had taken most of the stallions that remained in the palace, before they had all disappeared.

And now, here she was, only a few days after they had brought Alfonz to stay with them. Luna felt a fierce anger boiling within her; she was fully prepared to fight for her mate.

"Cadance!" she called, trying to suppress her feelings for now. The other alicorn stopped at the sound, turning to the one who had spoke. Upon realizing it was Luna who had called for her, the princess assumed a sly grin.

"Princess Luna! So nice to see you!" she said as Luna approached. "It really has been too long."

"What are you doing here?" the Princess of the Night asked, her voice laced with spite; Cadance seemed to enjoy it.

"A little birdy told me there's a new Royal Consort in town," she explained, her grin widening. "It has been quite some time indeed! I was hoping for some...personal time of my own."

"I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen," Luna stated bluntly, glaring at her relative.

"Why is that?" Cadance asked innocently, though she clearly loved the other alicorn's aggression.

"Alfonz is mine for the day. Celestia has taken him from me already; I cannot allow any more delays."

"So he's here?" Cadance asked, gesturing to the door with a hoof, as if completely ignoring what else Luna had said. "We'll just see what Celestia has to say on the matter."

Confident in her sister's judgement, Luna agreed. The two made their way to the door and gave it a few loud knocks. Even after a few minutes of waiting, no response came.

"Where is she? Doesn't she know its time to raise the sun?" the pink alicorn said impatiently, scowling at the door.

"I'm sure she won't mind if we let ourselves in," Luna added suddenly. "This is an important matter. The sun, I mean."

With a small field of magic around the handle, the Princess of the Night gently pushed the door open. The two alicorns poked their heads inside, looking around the darkened room for their wayward kin, and Alfonz. Almost immediately, they spotted the brilliant white form of Celestia laying on her floor pillow, her back to them as she slept soundly.

There was no sign of Alfonz.

"Sister!" Luna called, stepping into the room alongside Cadance. "It is time for you to assume your duties! Wake up!"

Celestia jolted, raising her head wearily. After a confused look around, she eventually spotted the two alicorns in the doorway.

"Oh...oh my," she said, slowly realizing what her sister had said. "I'm terribly sorry. I was up most of the night..."

Luna's heart sank. Celestia yawned widely, stretching her luxurious wings as she woke up her unwilling body. As the alicorn rose, both Luna's and Cadance's eyes widened. Hidden beneath their kin's body was the prone form of Alfonz, laid out on his back, his head where Celestia's hindquarters had been. He appeared to be sleeping.

"Alfonz!" Luna cried out in shock as Celestia stepped off of him. She seemed almost as surprised to see him as they were.

After a moment of silence, the man suddenly shot upright, inhaling deeply as if it had been his first breath in years.

"I DIDN'T DO SHIT!" he yelled at no one in particular, heaving in place as he tried to catch his breath. Celestia, Luna, and Cadance all stared at him; Luna looked on with horror, Celestia with embarrassment, and Cadance with enjoyment.

"What were you two doing last night?" Cadance asked with a laugh, looking from each of them to fully enjoy their reactions.

"Not much," Celestia murmured, her mood souring. Luna felt a spark of hope rise in her chest.

"Nothing," Alfonz corrected smugly, laying back down on the floor pillow with his arms behind his head. Internally, the man felt as though he wanted to commit suicide from the atrocities he had to endure the night before, but his victory aided in lifting his spirits.

"I'm so glad-" Luna began excitedly, before she realized what she was saying. "I mean...oh. That's too bad, sister."

Celestia grumbled to herself as she made her way to the door.

"We've been meaning to ask you for your input," Cadance said as she passed, stopping her in her tracks. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm back in Equestria!"

"I noticed," Celestia replied with considerable distaste.

"I'm here to partake in some 'royal consorting', if you get my drift," the pink alicorn explained with a nudge of her shoulder.

"And I have told her Alfonz is still mine for the day!" Luna added, appearing beside Celestia, opposite to Cadance. "You interrupted my own time, remember, sister?"

"This is true..."

"But Luna should be sleeping now!" Cadance insisted, smiling mockingly at the other alicorn. "I will have him back by nightfall, then he's all hers."

"You will be sleeping soon, sister," Celestia said, turning to look at Luna. She had a look of 'I'm sorry' about her; there was little she could do.

"But...! But...!" Luna stammered, trying to find a way to turn the situation in her favor. Yet again, she was left with nothing but defeat. But Alfonz had resisted Celestia; perhaps he wouldn't be like the others? Perhaps he would return to them, and they would spend the rest of their lives together.

"Its settled then!" Cadance said cheerfully, trotting over to where Alfonz lay, oblivious to the conversation. "'Alfonz' will come with me for the day, and will return to Luna's care by nightfall. I trust it is okay for me to use my room here for a while?"

"Wait what-" Alfonz began, sitting up.

"Yes, Cadance."

"Wonderful!" the pink alicorn said, engulfing Alfonz in her magic.

"Wait wait, who the hell-what is going on here?!" the man protested, struggling in vain against yet another entrapping snare. He finally realized just who he was dealing with; Princess Cadance was here, for whatever reason. His mind was too weak to understand the true depth of his situation at the time.

"See you around," Cadance said lowly as she passed the scowling Luna, Alfonz, cursing and yelling, in tow. She watched the man float away, her eyes welling up with tears.

"We're going to have so much fun, Alfonz," Cadance assured him as they went, the man now floating in front of her, his arms folded.

"Yeah I doubt that," he growled, glaring at her. "Don't I get a say in this?"

"Of course!" Cadance replied happily, giving him some hope. "But I'm sure I can convince you, should you decline."

"I have some bad news for you," Alfonz began, thinking back to his encounter with Luna. "As a human, I can only breed after six or seven years of courtship."

"Funny and cute!"

Well, it was worth a try.

In time, the two arrived at yet another corner of the palace, one that Alfonz wasn't exactly familiar with for once. Before them stood a single large door, much like the entrance to Celestia's quarters, with a brilliant crystal heart inscribed on its surface. With a short burst of magic, Cadance threw the door open and brought him inside.

The room was not unlike the ones he had come to know from the royal family; very high quality furniture, if not a bit dusty and without use, stood before him, inside a room of a dull pink and gold. The bed was smaller than those seen in the previous rooms, however, but was also surrounded by a thin curtain, much like Luna's bed.

"Home away from home!" Cadance mused as she entered, giving a content sigh. Almost without conscious thought, her magic brought Alfonz over to the bed, releasing him a few feet over it; he collided with the mattress with a soft thud.

"If you say so," he commented, scowling, as Cadance slowly advanced toward him.

"Let's skip the formalities," the princess began, throwing back her head to push her mane from her face. "I'm Princess Cadance. I'm a mare; you're a male. Let's have some fun."


"Some fight in you!" she said with a grin. "I like that."

A short burst of magic knocked Alfonz onto his back, his legs still hanging over the bed. Almost immediately, he felt Cadance's body pressed up against his legs, prompting a short yell of surprise from him. Looking down, he saw the alicorn practically on top of him, her hooves holding herself up on either side.

"No thank you!" he insisted, pushing himself further up the bed with his feet, out of his attacker's immediate reach. "Fair warning: I am not beyond punching you in the face."

"And I'm not beyond using a little force myself," she retorted, giving him a sly chuckle as she crawled sensually up the bed. The man recoiled, his fist clenched. After the things Celestia had tried on him, this was considerably tame, at least.

"Last warning," he growled, readying himself for a fight. "I am not in the mood for more of this shit."

"Oh, you want to play hard ball?" Cadance said suddenly, growing a mix of angry and excited. "We'll play hard ball..."

One Man's Pride

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"I have more than a few ways to convince you, Alfonz," Cadance explained, rising to her full height. "I do hope you reconsider. It may not be a fun process..."

"Bite me," the man replied, though he wasn't sure if that would be taken as rejection or a suggestion.

"Alright!" Cadance said, sticking her nose up at him. "You asked for it."

Suddenly, the alicorn's horn began to glow. Before Alfonz could hurl himself out of her reach, a shimmering, phantasmal heart shot into the man's chest, taking his breath away as he slumped against the headboard of the bed. Alfonz lay still, expecting some sort of reaction. At first, it seemed his foe's spell had failed.

Looking back at Cadance with a snide smirk, he quickly realized this was not the case. He no longer saw the alicorn as yet another crazy pony trying to shag him; instead, he saw her as the most beautiful creature he had ever had the privilege to behold. The shape of her body, the brilliant colors of her mane, her enticing smile; he felt as though he could've died happy, just by being in her presence. It was agony, just to be as far as he was from her.

"Feeling better?" she purred, displaying her luxurious form on the bed. Alfonz stared in stunned silence, his mouth agape. "Make love to me, Alfonz."

Every fiber of the man's being told him to do just that; to throw himself upon her and become consumed in the pleasures of the flesh. But something held him back; a nagging voice in the back of his mind, telling him all was not so. It started as a whisper, drowned out by the intense passion for the alicorn, but eventually grew in volume. This voice was his own thoughts; these feelings for Cadance were nothing more than the twisted creature's attempts to manipulate him.

And it seemed to be working.

Alfonz slowly inched toward Cadance's stunning form, taking in her every detail of every curve with his eyes, infatuated by her beauty. The voice, however, was becoming deafening. He had to fight it; this was not him. She was trying to turn him into some love-sick zombie. He had to fight.

Suddenly, the man cried out in pain, clutching his head as he fell from the bed. Cadance, surprised, crawled to the edge of the bed to look at him; she found him writhing on the ground with his arms over his head, as if experiencing a horrific migraine. The man screamed and snarled, clearly in intense pain.

"Alfonz?" she called, trying to get his attention. The man only continued to struggle, his muscles tense as he forced himself to his knees. He moved as if there were several tons of weight on his back; every inch was agony to him. Just as soon as he got to into a kneeling position, he fell forward, his head pressed against the carpet, twitching and writhing as he fought.

"Alfonz!" Cadance tried again, growing frustrated. "Don't fight it, my love! You're making it harder than it needs to be!"

"...No...!" Alfonz growled in his agony, picking himself up with extreme effort. His teeth were clenched, his gaze furious; he stared, defiantly, at Cadance. "I...can't...I won't...!"

"Enough!" the alicorn replied, her horn beginning to glow. Alfonz's screams intensified, causing him to collapse forward once again, convulsing violently. "Your resistance was amusing, but its really getting old. Get up here now."

The man only continued to scream and gasp, his temples throbbing across his skull. His hands grasped in vain against his head, trying to find some outlet to make the pain stop. He would not allow himself to give in, no matter how easy it may seem; but as the pain continued, he found it harder and harder to resist. He was losing strength at an alarming rate, and his mind swiftly, desperately, searched for more.

"I...already told you..." Alfonz snarled, pushing himself up once again. His body quivered with the strain, as if he were about to break, but he found his speech coming easier to him. "It will take more...than head games to break me...You may have invaded my mind and my body, but there's one thing a sayian always keeps-"

"A what?"

"HIS PRIDE!" Alfonz roared, screaming incoherently into the heavens as he tried to drown out Cadance's influence on his mind, body, and soul. On his knees, fists clenched, muscles tense, the man screamed with all he had left, summoning an impossible amount of will to break the alicorn's magical hold over his mind. Cadance herself, taken by surprise, retreated back from the edge of the bed, her eyes wide.

After a full minute of screaming, Alfonz fell silent, letting his body go limp. The light seemed to fade from his eyes; although he continued to stare upward, his head held back, his gaze had no focus. All struggling ceased; it was a miracle the man had not yet fallen over.

After another minute, Cadance finally approached the edge of the bed to look at him. Confused and even a little bit frightened, she had no idea just what the hell had happened.

"Alfonz?" she said lowly, prodding his shoulder tentatively with a hoof. The man did not respond. "Alfonz?"

"Princess Cadance!" a voice called from outside the door to the bedroom, followed by a number of forceful knocks. "Is everything alright in there?"

Guards. She couldn't even begin to explain what was going on...

"Yes, fine, thank you!" she called back, hoping it would be enough. After a minute of silence, she assumed it was. Her focus swiftly returned to the vegetable in front of her.

"Alfonz, please don't be dead!" she pleaded, jumping off the bed and landing directly in front of him. Her usual smugness was replaced completely by fear and confusion. The alicorn tried waving her hoof in front of the man's face, lifting him up herself, and even use her magic to detect what ailed him. In the end, he simply fell over, staring blankly at the carpet without any response.

"Oh no," Cadance cried softly to herself, breathing deeply. "Oh no, no, no! How can this happen to me?! I just wanted...Celestia and Luna..." she trailed off, burying her head in her hooves. She had killed him, she was sure of it! Somehow, the man's efforts to resist her had taken his life, and it was all her fault.

She had to bring him to Celestia. Her kin knew best; she would know if there was any chance of undoing the damage.

Placing the man on her back - she could barely concentrate, and didn't trust herself to carry him with magic - the alicorn demonstrated a surprising amount of strength as she carried him from the room. As she made her journey through the palace, numerous guards asked if they could lend any aid, but she paid them no mind. Too many questions; she would talk to Celestia and Celestia alone.

It was only then that the thought of her kin's whereabouts occurred to Cadance. Surely, Celestia would be in the throne room, conducting the daily operations of Equestria. She couldn't exactly drag the lifeless corpse of her would-be suitor into the room, then. Thinking swiftly, she flung open the door to Celestia's quarters, placed Alfonz on the larger floor pillow, and raced out of the room to find the alicorn herself.

"Celestia!" she called as she ran into the throne room, looking around wildly. Of course, the ruler of Equestria was at her place on the throne, looking to Cadance with considerable surprise. She was not alone; numerous royal officials were milling about the throne room, and they, too, turned to regard her.

"What is it, Cadance?"

"Please...I need your help...it is very urgent," Cadance pleaded, pointing to the route she had just taken with a hoof. She didn't exactly seem to be in the best of condition; her mane was frayed and unkempt, and her stare reminded Celestia of a pony who had been awake for several days straight.

"I can see that," Celestia observed, lowering a stack of paper to the ground beside her. Standing, she trotted over to her kin and continued down the hall, Cadance trailing behind her. "So what exactly is the problem?"

"Its Alfonz," Cadance began, shaking her head. "He's in serious trouble."

The two quickened their pace. In no time at all, they were at the threshold of Celestia's quarters; inside, they found Alfonz laying on his back, exactly where Cadance had left him, staring blankly and lifelessly at the ceiling. Celestia approached swiftly, looking him over with a frown. She lowered her head to his chest, listening closely for his heartbeat.

"Is he...dead?" Cadance asked, bracing, as if about to be struck, for the answer.

"No," Celestia said with a short sigh, her gaze shifting to her wayward kin. "He seems to be in a coma. What happened, Cadance?"

"I don't know!" the pink alicorn lied, feeling significantly more relieved. "We were getting to know each other, and suddenly he just went down! I didn't know what to do!" Celestia only stared at her, scowling. The smugness had returned somewhat in Cadance's tone; from experience, Celestia knew that she wasn't telling the truth.

Almost immediately after, her eyes widened as a very dangerous thought occurred to her: who would tell Luna? And more importantly:

How would she take it?

"Ok..." Celestia began, breathing out deeply. "We need to proceed very carefully."

"What do you mean?" Cadance asked, growing concerned.

Luna couldn't sleep. How could she? Her mate was taken from her, against her will, possibly never to be seen or heard from again. Cadance always had a tendency to take their suitors away from them. It was that damn power over love! Not that she really needed it; with their previous suitors, as stallions, they were usually more than willing. Cadance just used her power to keep them from her and her sister, for whatever twisted reason.

At first, Luna thought it was out of spite, but after a while she thought perhaps Cadance couldn't help it. She was drunk off her own pleasure; she couldn't resist the temptation, especially when it came so easily. Celestia, meanwhile, was far too disinterested in the subject to care, and Luna...

She was not exactly the most normal pony. Ruler of Equestria or not, many of the stallions found her to be either too much to handle, or too bizarre to deal with. The former was especially the case during the time shortly after her redemption at the hands of the Elements of Harmony; she wasn't exactly very easy going. By the time she had gotten a grip on the new ways to socialize, the stallions had already begun their disappearance. She felt she would be alone forever, until she found Alfonz while wandering through Equestria's dreams.

And now he, too, could be taken from her. Luna would damn well fight, should Cadance try to take him back to the Crystal Empire. She hoped it wouldn't come to that; if it did, Alfonz would likely be too far gone to be brought back. The thought alone made her shift uncomfortably in her bed, staring with a frown at the nearby bedside table.

"I can't take it any more!" she said suddenly, throwing off the blanket. Crawling to the end of the bed, she stepped off with a huff. A few particles of light seeped in from underneath the blinds; Celestia had finally raised the sun, it seemed. Perhaps she would go for a walk. It wasn't often that she was awake enough to enjoy the sunlight, after all.

Finding it to be more productive than sitting around in bed, Luna set off down the hall toward the royal gardens. She had always enjoyed the gardens; less so at night with Discord around, but it still had its moments.

"I'm not sure what it was about."

Luna's ear twitched at the sound, slowing to a halt before turning another corner.

"I heard a lot of noise coming from her room, and then a few minutes later, she came out with the 'human' on her back!"

"Why in Equestria would she carry him like that?" a second voice joined in.

"I'm not sure, but he wasn't moving. I think something may have happened. You heard all those reports when the stallions were still around."

"But could a Princess really be capable of something so careless?"

"Hey, they're mares, just like us. I'm sure they can get lost in their own pleasure sometimes. A shame, though. He was such a looker."

Before the other guard could respond, the two suddenly found themselves in the presence of royalty.

"Princess Luna!" the first exclaimed, the two bowing their heads. "If I may: what are you doing up at-"

"Where are they?" Luna snarled, expelling a gust of air through her nose like a bull about to charge. The guards took a step back as they noticed the alicorn's enraged state.

"...Where are who, your highness?"

"Cadance and the human," she explained with another snarl, her gaze burning with fury. "WHERE ARE THEY?"

"I-I don't know!" the guard stammered, recoiling. "I saw them head down the hall, toward the northern end of the palace!"

Without another word, Luna shot off down the hall, her teeth clenched. If Cadance hurt so much as one hair on Alfonz's head, there would be hell to pay.

Beneath the Moonlight

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"What do we do now?" Cadance asked, showing, much to Celestia's surprise, genuine concern, though likely for herself.

"I'm not sure," Celestia replied honestly, sighing. They had made the comatose Alfonz a bit more comfortable; he now lay in a proper position upon Celestia's own pillow, his eyes closed, as if merely sleeping.

"Aren't there spells to wake him up?"

"I will have to consult the archives," Celestia responded, turning away from where the man lay. "But I think it is best we leave Alfonz to resolve this himself. I will speak with Luna, to see if she can enter his dreams and determine his well being."

"Wait," Cadance said suddenly. "You intend to tell your sister?"

"Of course."

"Are you insane?" Cadance replied. It took her a moment to realize who she was speaking to. "Sorry...I just mean that Luna cares deeply for Alfonz. As familiar with love as I am, I can say without a doubt that she worships the human!"

"We will have to proceed carefully, as I said, but she cannot be kept in the dark like this, Cadance," Celestia retorted, adamant in her decision. Her kin did not seem so sure, however.

A series of violent knocks echoed throughout the room, interrupting the alicorns' conversation. Both of them held their breath for a few moments.

"I am very busy!" Celestia called in response, hoping it was merely a concerned guard. "Please, come back later!"

"Sister, open this door or will remove it entirely!" Luna furiously yelled back, the sound causing them to jolt, despite the heavy wooden door between them. Celestia and Cadance exchanged worried glances.

Hesitantly, Celestia unlocked the door and pulled it open with her magic, revealing the enraged visage of her sister. Another jet of air shot from Luna's nostrils as she entered, glaring daggers at the two alicorns before her.

It wasn't long before she spotted Alfonz.

"...No!" she cried, her anger melting away as she rushed to the man's side. Luna crouched protectively beside Alfonz, looking as if she were on the verge of tears. Celestia and Cadance frowned; they hadn't expected such a morbid reaction.

"He is in a coma, sister," Celestia said quietly, making her way over to her grieving kin. Cadance remained at a distance, frowning. "Perhaps, if you look to his dreams, we can help-"

"How did this happen?" Luna said suddenly, her voice becoming dangerously calm. Almost as soon as she finished her sentence, her horn began to glow, and Cadance found herself launched into the air. The alicorn collided with the ceiling with a surprised yell, unable to move as she was subdued by the princess' magic.

"Sister, please-!"

"HOW?!" Luna roared, tears streaming down her face as she looked up at Cadance, her expression a mix of anger and despair. Her starry mane churned violently, as if depicting the night sky under threat from a hurricane.

"We don't know," Celestia replied, looking scornfully at Cadance for a moment, who was utterly terrified at this point. "But that is not what we need to focus on, sister. Alfonz is in danger; we must figure out a way to help him."

Luna continued to glare at Cadance through tear-filled eyes, her teeth clenched as she fought the anguish that gripped her. Every part of her being wished to hurl the deceitful mare out of the window, as she knew Alfonz's condition to be her doing, but the calm words of her sister resonated throughout her mind. She was right; they needed to help her mate, above all else.

Revenge would come later.

With a resigning snarl, Luna released Cadance, closing her eyes as she rested her head against the man's chest. Celestia watched with a frown, wishing she could ease her sister's pain, but knew she couldn't. Cadance, meanwhile, hit the floor with a short yell and a loud thud, her legs splayed at her sides as she regained her senses.

"I will look into his dreams and try to bring him back to us," Luna explained after several moments of silence, looking up at Celestia with a worn but determined gaze. "Be sure to show her the door while I work."

"Good luck," Celestia replied with a soft, concerned smile.

Luna closed her eyes and bowed her head near the side of the man's resting place, entering a sort of meditative state. The process was difficult; with her emotions raging within her, she couldn't hope to sleep until they were calmed. The effect was finally achieved after a few minutes of concentration; the alicorn clung to a single thought, that which would aid in her efforts. The idea of seeing Alfonz again, alive and well, drove her onward. Eventually, she entered what seemed to be a sleeping state, though she was aware of everything around her at the same time.

The waking world melted away as she sat there; despite the somewhat violent change of her surroundings, the mare did not budge from her position. With deadly determination, she endured the transition; in a few moments, she found herself, much to her surprise, on a moonlit hill; the same hill where she had first encountered Alfonz.

The soft green grass beneath her hooves, the cool midnight breeze wafting through the air, the beautiful display of stars above; Luna remembered the location quite well. So, too, did Alfonz; she quickly found him in the exact position she had found him before, laying, silently, on his back atop the hill, his arms behind his head.

Luna couldn't help but smile widely as she approached. She felt as though her love had come back to life. The man noticed her as she drew near, giving her a casual wave of his hand, as if he was expecting her. The princess laid down beside him, pressing her side against his own, while Alfonz laid his arm on her back, comfortingly, as they both watched the stars in silence. She felt as though she could have remained there forever, without ever saying a word; she no longer cared about intimacy with the man. All that mattered was that they were together.

"I love you."

The words escaped her mouth before she could stop herself.

"I love you too."

Her eyes widened. Turning away from the brilliance of the night sky, she looked back at Alfonz, disbelieving. The man did not look away from the display above, simply smiling contently to himself. It was almost too good to be true. Just about drowning in bliss, Luna swiftly found herself pulled from her paradise. This was just a dream to Alfonz; did he really mean what he said? Was he even aware of the situation?

She frowned. As much as she wanted to cherish the moment for as long as possible, she knew it couldn't last. Alfonz was in danger; if he remained in a coma for too long, he would eventually starve or perish from thirst. They could try to feed him, but it could easily cause him to choke. He needed to wake up as quickly as possible.

"Alfonz..." she began, feeling her heart breaking at the thought of destroying the moment. "This is a dream. I'm sorry if this disturbs you, but-"

"I know."

Luna's mouth opened, looking to Alfonz yet again with utter astonishment. The man only continued to smile.

"...You're in danger," she replied, summoning all of her willpower to continue. "You must wake up, Alfonz."

"Why?" he responded simply, calmly. His eyes never left the stars.

"'Why'?" Luna repeated, confused. "You wish to remain in a coma?"

"I'm happy here, just like this," Alfonz explained, finally averting his gaze to give the alicorn a stern stare. "This is the first time I've felt true peace in ages. I don't give a damn about the real world, and all its depravity."

Luna was inclined to agree. Here, it was just the two of them; as artificial as it was, they were both happy, and she would not have to endure the heartbreak of sharing him with the others. But it would not last forever, as once Alfonz's body failed, the dream would cease to exist, and he would be gone for good. She couldn't even bare the thought.

"Alfonz...you do realize what that would mean?"

His silence told her all she needed to know.

"I can't let you do this," she said, shaking her head. "I can't watch you fade away."

"I'd rather be happy for a short time, than be miserable for a long time," Alfonz retorted with a sigh, frowning, as his gaze returned to the stars. "I can't live in your world. Not the way I want to live."

"I can help you!" Luna insisted, giving him a desperate gaze. "We can talk with the others, and my sister, so we can make sure you are safe."

Alfonz did not reply. The man merely watched the stars, frowning. The alicorn beside him watched him for some time, her gaze pleading him for some sort of response, but none would come.

"I can't be without you, Alfonz," Luna said suddenly, giving him a sorrowful stare. "I can't."

"You've done just fine for thousands of years before I came along," he retorted with a chuckle, trying to remain lighthearted. "You'll do the same once I'm gone."

"I don't think you realize how much you mean to me," she replied, praying the man would see sense. "Please, Alfonz. If you have any love for me at all...Wake up."

Alfonz frowned, staring into the alicorn's pleading blue eyes. Normally, he would have no problem telling her off. But now, he felt he was really in a bind. He did not wish to return, that was sure, but he did not wish to break Luna's heart either.

The two simply stared at each other in silence; two hearts, two minds, two souls, each pleading with the other to give in; neither willing to deny the other.

Compromise, With a Twist

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Alfonz had been so certain. It was frustrating to think about; to think that he had been swayed this much by Luna's words. In truth, some of what he said may not have been truth, and it was something he would have to own up to should he change his mind. But even if he did not feel the same about Luna as she did about him, he couldn't help but notice he was taking her words to heart. He found himself struggling to deny her.

"Should I rethink my course of action," Alfonz began, choosing his words carefully. Already, Luna's eyes seemed to light up. "There will have to be changes. I can't live like this anymore. I don't have the willpower."

"I'm sure it will be fine," Luna responded with an eager smile. "Could you give me some examples?"

"First, I am allowed to go where ever I please, when ever I please," Alfonz stated firmly, watching as the alicorn's expression grew significantly more worried. "Unescorted."

"That can be arranged, I suppose," Luna replied, clearing her throat. He knew she was fearing for her hold on him, and he was fine with that.

"Second, should I run into trouble with the populace, I cannot be blamed for any injuries sustained defending myself."

"You are fully within your rights to defend yourself, should you believe you are in danger," Luna explained, pausing. "Within reason."

"Of course," Alfonz replied with a nod. He didn't exactly intend to maim any would-be attackers; they were small colorful equines, after all. "And you can forget the whole "Royal Consort" bullshi-...business."

Luna appeared openly alarmed at this. She gave the man a pleading, confused look.

"You no longer wish to stay in the royal palace?" she asked, trying to compose herself. "No longer be treated as a member of the royal family? No longer stay with...me?"

"I'm alright with staying in the palace, even in your room with you," Alfonz explained, conceding a bit in his demands for Luna's sake. "But if your sister or Cadance come after me again, I won't hesitate to pop them in the nose. Got it?"

"I...believe they will understand," Luna replied hesitantly, unsure. "I hope..."

"Good," Alfonz concluded, returning his gaze to the stars. "I think that will be all for now. I'm sure I'll think of something later."

"Does this mean...?"

"Yes," the man replied shortly with a sigh. "But let's just enjoy the moment, eh?"

Luna smiled widely, rubbing her head affectionately against his leg. Alfonz stifled the urge to react to his discomfort, and resigned to watch the stars with the only pony to ever show him some sense of true understanding. After what felt like eons, Alfonz released the hold he had on his own mind, watching as the dream began to melt away. Luna, still smiling contently to herself, disappeared with it, only to return a moment later, bowing her head at the man's side.

Initially, Alfonz wanted to vomit. His head was pounding, as if he had taken a serious beating; truly a far cry from the pristine, relaxing world he had just left. He groaned softly to himself, rubbing his head with his hands, trying to subdue the pain before he attempted to move.

"You're awake!"

The sound caught Alfonz by surprise, as well as sent a spike of pain through his body as the noise reacted with his headache. He held up a hand, attempting to signal for the speaker to quiet down, as he slowly sat up to observe his surroundings.

A short distance from his bed was the impressive form of Celestia herself, smiling softly at him as he turned to look at her. Initially, the man recoiled, having more than enough of the mare's presence in the past, before he remembered the conversation with Luna. Should the alicorn follow through with her end of the deal, he would no longer have a reason to fear Celestia, or any other pony for that matter.

"...Hi there..." he muttered groggily, shielding his eyes as they adjusted to the light. The pain in his skull had become a dull throbbing at this point. He noticed Luna lift up her head a few moments later, in a condition much better than his own. "How long was I out?"

"Half the day," Celestia replied, looking over to the nearby window. The sun was casting an orange glow into the room; dusk was approaching. "I presume everything has been...worked out?"

"Alfonz and I spoke for some time, and came to an agreement," Luna explained, moving around to the other side of the bed, closer to her sister. "The coma was a result of Alfonz's own inability to cope with his situation. I have assured him that I will do all that I can to make his life in Equestria easier."

"I did not realize you were under such stress, Alfonz," Celestia responded with a surprised blink. Her reaction appeared genuine; this did not stop Alfonz from scowling at her.

"Not like I tried to tell you or anything," he muttered angrily to himself, laying back down onto the pillow to rest. Despite being more or less asleep for half the day, he was already exhausted.

"Shall we discuss this agreement, while our guest recovers?" Celestia suggested, gesturing to the door with a wing. Luna nodded, and the two made their way to the exit.

"Luna," Alfonz called, stopping the mare before she strayed too far from the bed. "I have a request."

"Yes?" Luna replied, giving him an anxious smile.

"Is there any way I can counter a unicorn's magic?" he asked, giving her a stern look. Freedom was great and all, but if he could be manhandled by any unicorn with a brain, he wouldn't exactly get very far outside of the palace.

"An interesting request," she commented, surprised. "I shall look into it. For now, you should rest. You've been through a lot."

Just before the alicorn walked away, Alfonz stopped her with an arm across her chest.

"One more thing," he began, noticing that Celestia had already left the room. "About what I said, in the dream..."

"What about it?" she asked, frowning.

"I thought I was going to die," he explained, hoping that he wouldn't have to address it any further. Luna's confused stare told him otherwise. "I thought that that hilltop was the last thing I would ever see. I figured, what the hell? I had nothing to lose."

"Oh," Luna said simply, the implications gradually dawning on her. "Oh..."

"I'm sorry."

"That's alright, I suppose," she sighed, giving him a soft smile. "All that matters is that you are here with us again. Perhaps, in time..."

Alfonz stared at her, unsure what to say. Luna smiled wider, and trotted out of the room.

The man spent the next hour drifting in and out of sleep. His worried, indecisive mind kept him from obtaining any peace, however. He was so close to a decent existence in Equestria, but there was still so much left uncertain. Would Celestia comply with his demand, and leave him alone? Would Luna really allow him to leave the palace grounds without an escort? Would he be able to hold off the population of Canterlot even if he did leave?

The return of Princess Luna interrupted his thoughts rather violently. As she entered, he noticed a brilliant gold necklace floating in front of her; it was adorned with various gems and other precious materials. Truly, a piece of jewelry fit for royalty.

"Here you are, Alfonz," the alicorn said as she approached, dropping the necklace into the man's lap shortly after he sat up. Alfonz examined the artifact quizzically, confused.

"This is supposed to help ward off unicorn magic?" he asked, holding the necklace in the light to better look at it. Luna nodded.

"While wearing this amulet, you will be unable to be influenced by unicorn magic," she explained. "This means that they cannot cast spells directly on you. This does not mean you will be immune to magical attacks aimed at you, however."

"That should work," Alfonz replied, pleasantly surprised. A thought occurred to him, however. "If that's the case, how did you bring it in like that?"

"The amulet will make the wearer and itself immune, but should it be removed through some other means, it can be manipulated with magic just like everything else."

"Right," he responded with a nod, carefully placing the amulet around his neck. Much to his surprise, despite being made for ponies, it fit quite well. "And you just so happened to take this priceless artifact for yourself?"

"Perks of being a princess," Luna retorted with a smile. Alfonz returned the gesture.

"I can't thank you enough," he said, striding over to look into a nearby mirror. Luna soon joined him, giving him an approving nod. He paused. "One more thing: this may protect me from unicorns, but there's still the issue of earth ponies and pegasi. I don't think I have to strength to contend with some of the more athletic kind."

"You wish to become stronger?" Luna asked, giving him an unsure look. "Isn't that overdoing it a little, Alfonz?"

"Believe me, its not," he replied, recalling the strength of Rainbow Dash and the pain he felt at the hooves of Applejack. "Besides, you want me to be safe out there, right? It's not exactly practical to train my body the usual way just to go for a stroll or go to the market."

Luna thought for several moments, pacing in a short circle around him. Eventually, she conceded.

"I think I have a spell that might help you," she explained, though she seemed unsure. "It should allow you to increase your physical attributes at will. But you must not abuse this power, Alfonz."

"I just want to live without constant fear of being attacked, not rob pony banks and steal candy from fillies."

"I trust you, love, but it is not your motives that are in danger," Luna retorted, shaking her head. "Too much could destroy your body."

"Everything comes with a price," Alfonz replied with a sigh. It didn't discourage him much, however. "I'm ready when you are."

Luna escorted the man - slowly - out of Celestia's quarters and across the palace, to a place more equipped to deal with intense spellcasting. The room itself was incredibly plain; a generic tan in color, it was completely barren other than a series of intricate runes inscribed across the floor. His alicorn guide made her way over to one near the center and stood in front of it expectantly. Alfonz joined her, standing directly on the rune itself.

"These markings are designed to make the casting of spells less taxing on the caster," she explained with a pleasant smile, while Alfonz glanced around nervously.

"Quite the creepy place, to be honest."

"It is the perfect place to conduct our business," Luna retorted. "Are you ready to begin?"

"Yes," Alfonz said, calming his own nerves. "Go for it."

Just before Luna began her work, she stopped. A few moments later, she coughed, gesturing with a wing to the amulet that still hung from the man's neck.

"Oh right," he murmured, giving her an embarrassed grin as he removed the amulet and set it aside. Luna, smirking, entered an intense focus. The princess' eyes suddenly began to glow a solid white, while her horn became a fountain of brilliant blue energy.

The amount of energy at her command made the man shrink back in fear. He knew Luna was powerful, as an alicorn pseudo-deity, but he had been lulled into thinking she was harmless, mostly by her behavior around him. The sight before him now was eye opening, to say the least.

Suddenly, all of that energy was directed toward Alfonz. He felt every muscle tense; he felt every hair on his body stand on end, energized by the spellwork. He found himself slowly rising into the air, strange energies clouding his view as he did. Despite the somewhat violent display around him, the process did not hurt; it merely left the man with a strange, almost indescribable sensation all across his body, as if he were struck with lightning, minus the pain.

Almost as soon as it had begun, it was over. Luna's form returned to normal, and Alfonz slowly returned to the slick runed floor, the energy around him fading. Despite feeling as though his hair was as rigid as a board, he didn't really notice a difference.

"Did it work...?" he asked, examining his arms. Alfonz suddenly tensed his muscles, watching in surprise and horror as they grew rapidly in size. As soon as he relaxed, his arms returned to normal, and he felt quite sore as a result.

"It speaks for itself, does it not?" Luna replied with a grin, proud of her work. Suddenly, she grew very serious. "Remember what I said, Alfonz. Do not abuse what I have given you. I do not wish to lose you again."

"I promise to use this responsibly," Alfonz assured with a nod, not sure what to think. He was a little frightened by his own display, and didn't exactly like the idea of doing it again...

On Wings of Light

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"What will you do now?" Luna asked, looking uneasy. She feared the man's new freedom.

"Go out, I guess," Alfonz said with a shrug, adjusting his amulet.

"And I suppose you would not wish for me to join you?"

"I appreciate the offer, but I'll be OK," Alfonz assured the alicorn, smiling. "You should be getting what little sleep you can before your shift starts."

Luna didn't exactly seem comfortable with this decision.

"Relax," he said, resting a hand on her back comfortingly. The princess smiled weakly, sparking a little hope in the mare.

"I hope to see you soon, Alfonz," she said, staring deeply into the man's eyes. Her gaze was pleading, desperate even. He could practically feel her heart teetering on the brink of collapse.

"You will."

With that, the two parted ways. While Luna returned to her quarters for an hour or two of rest, Alfonz made his way toward the front of the palace, assuming the guards were already informed of his new-found freedom. The man walked with a renewed sense of purpose and will to live; a drastic change to the depressing, hopeless manner he had grown accustomed to. He had nothing to fear now, and he intended to enjoy his stay in Equestria.

Even if a few ponies had to break in the process.

As Alfonz reached the throne room, he glanced up at the throne itself for a moment, spying Celestia going about her business. Paying her little mind, he made his way down the length of the enormous, incredibly elegant room; just as he was about to exit, the pony princess finally took notice.

"Alfonz!" she called, causing him to freeze. A sense of dread filled him; it was time to see if Luna's promises would hold true, it seemed.

"Yes?" he called back, huddled near the door. He had no intention of sticking around any longer than he needed to.

"I must speak with you," Celestia replied, giving him a stern look. "It is quite urgent."

"Oh great..." he murmured, scowling. Either this was a ploy, or yet another disaster had struck to ruin his day. Would he ever get peace?

As Alfonz approached, Celestia kindly dismissed her many attendants, setting down a stack of papers baring the royal seal of Equestria. With a single glow of her horn, she summoned a tiny scrap of paper from behind the throne itself. It was wrinkled, torn, and even singed; the remains of an exploded library, perhaps?

"What is that?" the man inquired, suddenly curious.

"A letter," Celestia responded, frowning. "Addressed to you."

"How is that-" Alfonz began, before he truly understood the situation. His heart sank; what the hell was Spike doing?! The man had risked his life to preserve the dragon's way of life, and in return, Spike throws it all away by contacting Celestia? Just to send him a damn letter?!

"I was not aware he yet lived," the alicorn stated, giving the man an even stare. Alfonz only continued to frown. "Though the future does not look bright for our draconic friend."

Alfonz swiftly snatched the tattered parchment out of the air as it was given to him, looking it over with a frown. There was only one word scrawled awkwardly across the wrinkled page:


The man's heart sank even further. This wasn't just a lapse of judgement on the dragon's part; he was in danger. How it could have happened, Alfonz had no idea.

"One would think a dragon would be able to survive in a world of ponies," he muttered to himself, frowning at the name scrawled before him. Then again, he was almost twice the height of most of the ponies he had encountered, and yet found himself at their mercy at every turn. Magic was no joke, for human or for dragon.

But Spike had been hiding for fifteen years. The only thing that had changed since he first fled from the library was Alfonz's own involvement; the man, then, felt quite responsible. Perhaps the Mane Six had discovered Spike after all, having returned to the manor after he was taken away for one reason or another? Perhaps they had used a spell to try and locate another male? The possibilities were almost endless, but one thing was certain:

He had to act.

Whether it be for a sense of guilt, or senseless heroics, his mind was made up. He needed to return to Ponyville, find Spike, and free him from whatever fate that had befallen him, if any.

"I don't suppose you can take me to Ponyville?" Alfonz asked suddenly, earning a surprised expression from Celestia.

"...Personally?" she asked, disbelieving.

"I was thinking a carriage," Alfonz replied, raising a brow. He had thought his implication was obvious. "Though now that you mention it..."

"I'm sure I can arrange a transport," Celestia said hastily, smiling. Alfonz was not so easily dismissed, however.

"Actually, that could be pretty dangerous," he explained, stroking his chin with a hand. "Those guards have been eyeing me since I got here. They brought me here without incident because Luna was expecting me, but if I should leave on my own, who knows where they'd take me!"

"Nonsense, Alfonz, you're being awfully paranoid!" Celestia insisted with a forced chuckle and a dismissive wave of her hoof.

"C'mon, Princess. You have wings, maybe its time to use them?"

The remark seemed to strike a little close to home. Celestia's eyes narrowed, her brow furrowing. Alfonz briefly worried about being attacked, before he remembered his own defenses.

"I am exactly that, Alfonz: a Princess," she retorted sharply, staring hard at him. "I am no mount of yours."

"Wow, to hear that from you, after the shit you put me through?" Alfonz replied with a condescending laugh. Celestia blushed. "You do owe me, after all. That coma was partly your fault, as much as it was Cadance's."

Celestia's embarrassment quickly shifted to a partially controlled form of shame. His words seemed to be gnawing away at her, at least.

"I'll even throw in...a kiss, I guess," Alfonz said after a moment of hesitation. This really got Celestia's interest, much to his dismay. "That's something you freaks want from me, right?"

"You are quite persistent," the alicorn observed, frowning at him. After several minutes of thought, she sighed, hanging her head. "I suppose I can take you to Ponyville before my duties end..."

"That's the spirit!" Alfonz replied with a grin. Admittedly, he took some sort of sick pleasure out of manipulating Celestia; payback, he guessed.

Celestia hesitantly rose to her hooves, gesturing with a wing for him to follow. The two climbed the enormity of the palace, making their way to the landing he had encountered during his initial journey there. It was unoccupied at the time, leaving them alone amongst the howling, high altitude wind. As the alicorn neared the edge of the platform, standing before the setting sun, she unfurled her wings and nodded in his direction.

Alfonz slowly and carefully climbed onto the Princess' back, thankful that he was a fairly light individual. Although much larger than other ponies, Celestia was still much more frail than a horse in his own world. The mare herself seemed glad for this as well, and adjusted to the added weight with some discomfort. Despite the burden, she was trying to suppress a smile.

"Don't read too much into this," Alfonz warned, scowling at her. "But I appreciate the help nonetheless."

"Just remember what you promised, Alfonz," she replied with a smirk, launching the both of them into the air with surprising force. In seconds, the two were hurtling away from the grandeur of Canterlot, kept aloft by the Princess' magnificent wings.

"Huh," Alfonz said as they flew, his voice mostly drowned out by the wind. "So you can fly!"

"You seem awfully eager to spend some quality time with the mountainside!" Celestia retorted loudly. Alfonz frowned, hoping she would not have heard him.

The journey was considerably shorter than his trip to Canterlot, much to his surprise. Despite her apparent lack of flying, Celestia was indeed very capable at it, even with added weight on her back. Alfonz found himself hanging onto the alicorn's neck as securely as he could without hurting her, fearing on numerous occasions that he would fall off. To further his torment, he noticed the mare's mildly disturbing response to his actions, and was tempted to risk his own demise rather than play further into her hooves.

In what appeared to be an impossibly short time, Ponyville began to rise before them, positioned directly in front of the sunset. With incredible speed, Celestia shot down toward the town, prompting more panicked bracing from Alfonz, much to the alicorn's delight. She barely slowed as they neared the ground, landing in a complete gallop, flexing her wings as she slowed to a run, and then into a trot, before finally coming to a stop just shy of town.

Alfonz damn near threw himself to the ground, thankful to be out of the sky. He hadn't expected such an intense flight from the alicorn, that was sure.

"I will be going now," Celestia stated, smiling smugly to herself as she observed the man's haste to dismount. "I'm afraid you'll have to find another way back to Canterlot."

"That's fine," Alfonz breathed, trying to catch his breath. "But I must ask one more favor."

"I think you've run out of requests," she retorted, furrowing her brow at him.

"Please, don't tell Luna where I am, or about the letter," the man asked, giving her a very serious stare. "If she asks, simply tell her I will return as soon as I can."

Celestia stared silently at him for some time before she finally agreed.

"You will stick to your word, then?" she questioned as she prepared to depart. "You will return to Canterlot?"

"Yes," Alfonz replied confidently, nodding.

"Good luck, Alfonz."

And with that, she was gone.

It took Alfonz a moment to realize just what the hell happened.

"...Oh god damn it she can teleport!" he exclaimed, grasping his head with his hands. The entire ordeal...what he now owed to Celestia...could have all been avoided.

This was not a good start.

Man VS Ponyville

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After regaining his composure, Alfonz quickly got back to work; remaining on the outskirts of Ponyville, he began to circle around the town in the direction of the manor. Naturally, he would check the dragon's home first; he would avoid entering Ponyville itself if he could, especially if the entire situation was a misunderstanding. Once he was sure his friend was in danger, he would brave the pony populace.

The approach of night was quite motivating for Alfonz. Although it meant a certain alicorn deity may be out for blood, it also meant that most of the town's denizens would be indoors. But with at least another hour or two before the sun completely disappeared from the sky- and also assuming Luna would not delay it further to get more rest -the chances of evading contact completely, should he need to enter, were slim.

As the man fought internally about the next phase of his plan, he almost didn't realize the swift appearance of the manor and its lonely, distant neighbors rising before him. In a few yards, he entered the sparse woods that surrounded the dreary, abandoned outskirts of Ponyville. The depressing old buildings were like a monument to the disappearance of one half of the Equestrian race, forever immortalized in their forgotten homes. So far from town, they were slow to repopulate, it seemed.

Alfonz had wondered numerous times about the future of Equestria. With their stallions dead or fleeing, how could they hope to sustain a population? He guessed, from what little he knew about the Equestrians' anatomy, that their life spans were fairly large. As a race of fictional equines in a cartoon universe, it was not outside the realm of possibility for them to live hundreds of years on average. But that would only slow the decline of the population; eventually, they would die out, should they do nothing to solve their situation.

So lost in thought, he almost fell flat on his face as he reached the staircase leading up to the imposing front doors of the manor. Initially, the man frowned, noticing the building's abandoned nature, before he remembered what it was like inside. Even while the dragon was staying there, it appeared like this on the outside; for good reason, no doubt. Few ponies would want to enter a creepy old mansion, after all.

Ascending the stairs after dusting himself off, he approached the doors and gave them a few forceful knocks. Although he would normally not expect a dragon in hiding to come to a knock at the door, he knew that, if Spike really was inside, he would at least see who it was that had come knocking. Hopefully, once he saw it was Alfonz, he would reveal himself.

No such revelation came, however. After twenty minutes and numerous knocks, Alfonz had his answer: the manor was empty, and Spike was no where to be found. He had no choice: he had to enter Ponyville and find him.

As for where, exactly, he was, Alfonz wasn't sure, but had some ideas. The Mane Six were a good starting place, considering his own encounters with them, and their proximity to the manor at times. Normally he would fear seeing them again, but with his new enhancements, he was almost eager to find them, especially if they had anything to do with Spike's disappearance.

Giving the manor one last lingering look, Alfonz set off down the road, toward Ponyville. The evening glow of the sun at his back, the man was prepared for a tough time; perhaps, he even hoped for one.

The outskirts of town were completely still by this point in the day. Only a few ponies lingered in the distance, usually on their way home. Few paid him any mind, but those that did were quick to follow, muttering to each other as they had done when he first arrived. By the time he reached the more active parts of town, he had a sizable crowd around him, watching his every move. He couldn't help but smirk.

"Hey, mister!" one pony spoke up, approaching him eagerly. It was a unicorn, light blue in color, with a blue and white mane.

"Fuck off," Alfonz replied bluntly, pleasantly, without even looking at the mare who spoke. The pony recoiled at the harsh response, confused. It had to be this way; he had tried the gentle method far too much, with little to no results.

With the crowd muttering around him, the man turned and set off toward the library. A horde of ponies stood in his way however, and did not disperse as he approached.

"Move," he commanded, giving them a deadly glare, as if daring them to disobey. The ponies hesitated, but eventually all of them complied; all, except for one: an older, dark tan mare with a grey and white mane.

"Excuse me sir, but as Mayor of Ponyville, I would like to-" she began with a grin, gesturing to the crowd, shortly before being hoisted into the air. "What are y-" she asked, but was interrupted by the roaring air around her, suddenly airborne. The Mayor screamed in surprise as she shot through the air, crashing into the side of the town hall with a loud thud.

"Anyone else?" Alfonz called, looking around at the assembled ponies. All of them, despite their murmurings of disapproval, took a large step back, giving him a wide path to the library. "Smart choice."

Although gushing on the inside at his own form of revenge, the man kept his cool as he walked, noticing quite quickly that he was no longer being followed. The display had warded them off for now, it seemed; he knew that, should he remain in Ponyville, even with the attitude he was carrying now, it would not be a permanent solution. Twilight was living proof of that, with all her encounters with the bookcase.

As Alfonz approached the library, he thumped loudly on the door and waited. It wasn't long before the door opened, first a tiny crank, then opened completely. Rarity stood before him, her eyes wide and her mouth agape.

"Evening," he said lowly, cracking his knuckles. "You wouldn't happen to know where my dragon went, would you?"

"Uh..." the unicorn stammered, clearly searching for an excuse. "TWILIGHT! WE HAVE A PROBLEM!" she screamed suddenly, slamming the door in his face. Catching the door with his foot at the last moment, the man forced it open with a bang, watching Rarity huddle against the opposite wall, near the staircase leading to the basement.

"Just give me Spike, and we won't have any problems," Alfonz warned, his smug smirk quickly turning into a manic grin. Revenge was a dish best served cold, after all; he hoped they would make things difficult.

Suddenly, the door to the downstairs was thrown open and the remaining five ponies poured in, assuming combat stances. Their battle-ready expressions quickly shifted into confusion as they saw their would-be attacker, though.

"Alfonz?" Twilight asked, disbelieving. The man simply scowled at her, his arms at his sides. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm here for Spike," he replied with a growl, eyeing Rarity as she slowly inched toward her companions.

"How do y-" Twilight began, before silencing herself. "S-Spike? I haven't seen him in almost sixteen years!"

"Cut the bullshit," Alfonz snarled, glaring. "I'm not an idiot. Hand him over and I won't open up a can of whoop-ass."

"...Do you know what this means, girls?" Twilight said suddenly, relaxing. The rest of the assembled ponies did the same, causing the man's fury to shift into confusion. It was like they completely forgot he was a threat! "We won't have to wait as long with two of them going around!"

The other ponies voiced their joy, and Alfonz's rage was quickly beginning to boil. Just before taking a step forward, he found himself shrouded in Twilight's magic. Immediately, the man froze, his eyes wide.

"It was so nice of you to drop by, Alfonz!" Twilight cooed as she circled around him, her horn glowing brightly. "We thought you were gone for good!"

"Wee! This is ganna be fun!" Pinkie cried, joining Twilight in circling him, though with frenzied hops instead.

"Was a pretty dumb move, coming back here," Rainbow commented as she hovered by, chuckling. Her tail cracked against his nose as she passed, causing him to scowl. Twilight ceased her pacing, slowing to a stop in front of Alfonz. Her eyes hungry with anticipation, she drew very close to him.

"Oh yes...this will be fun..." she purred, her eyes closing as she drew in for a kiss. Alfonz's horrified visage immediately turned into a manic grin, drawing his arm back, despite the unicorn's magic binding him, and smashed his fist into Twilight's cheek, causing her face to contort in pain and surprise. Launched away by the force, the unicorn collided forcefully with the nearby bookshelf, causing a torrent of books- and almost the shelf itself -to crash down onto her.

"Twilight!" Applejack cried, rushing to her friend's side as the magic disappeared from around Alfonz, who was looking quite satisfied with himself. Pinkie stopped her bouncing, and soon all of the ponies were staring at Alfonz, either staring daggers at him or fearing for their safety.

"Get Spike, unless you wish to join her," Alfonz warned, trying to quell his righteous fury. Although entirely motivated to continue his rampage, he still felt a twinge of guilt at the idea of laying the smack down on a bunch of pastel ponies.

"How dare you!" Rainbow Dash yelled in response, hovering in front of his face with her front hooves raised.

"Am I fucking mute? I warned you all, she didn't listen, she paid the price. Get the dragon."

"I don't think so, chump!" Rainbow growled in response, lashing out with her hooves. Alfonz swiftly ducked, reacting faster than he could have imagined, and grabbed the hovering pegasus's legs, pulling her down to slam her back against the floor. Momentarily stunned, Rainbow Dash quickly regained her composure with a shake of her head and launched herself at the man with reckless abandon.

Colliding with his chest, Alfonz was floored almost instantly, though he managed to grab the pegasus's waist in the process. Despite the extreme strength of his foe, the man was able to force her off of him, his arm muscles pulsating with renewed strength, growing larger as he called upon the power of Luna's spell. With a cry of surprise, Rainbow Dash was hurled into a nearby table, knocking it over in the process.

"This is your last warning!" Alfonz snarled as he stood, his shoulders, legs, and chest growing in size to match his arms. A thin vapor began to rise from the man's shoulders and back, as if he were melting. His muscles were large enough to seen quite clearly, causing his shirt to stretch and almost tear under the transformation.

"'Ave had just about enough of you!" Applejack yelled, charging toward him. Rainbow had since recovered from his latest attack, and swiftly joined in from the air. With the earth pony trying to take out his legs, and the pegasus trying to attack his head, the man was in quite the bind. Despite his increased size, however, he moved with an incredible swiftness, leaping above the charging Applejack and, at the same time, catching Rainbow's hooves in his palms.

With a surprised "woah!", Applejack narrowly avoided colliding with another bookshelf, while Rainbow Dash struggled in vain against the man's intense grip. Pulling his head back, Alfonz brought his skull forcefully against the pegasus's own, the two colliding with a loud crack. At the same time, he released his grip, causing Rainbow to jerk back in the air, bumping awkwardly into a nearby vase.

"Why are you hurting my friends?!" Pinkie cried as she appeared on the man's back, flailing her hooves around to no real effect. Jerking himself forward, Alfonz caused the pink pony to tumble down into his arms, where she looked to him with wide eyes. With a sigh, he dropped Pinkie onto the ground; she landed with an anticlimactic thump.

A sudden force connected with his back almost immediately after the pink pony left his arms, as if struck by a car. Despite the force involved, he barely felt the pain, turning to see Applejack's hindquarters before him, the earth pony's head looking back expectantly. At the man's lack of reaction, her face contorted in confusion, her brow furrowed. He was quite impressed with himself, too.

As Alfonz grinned manically at Applejack, Rainbow Dash slammed into his back, barely moving him as she once again became the focus of his anger. Swinging around with an arm outstretched, he swatted Rainbow from the air like a fly, knocking her into a wild spin before she slammed into the bookcase emptied earlier by Twilight, collapsing down onto her unicorn friend with a dazed look in her eye.

"Stand back, girls!" Rarity declared suddenly, stepping forward. She had, up until that point, been cowering in the corner with Fluttershy. Her horn began to glow brightly, and her light blue magic flooded over Alfonz, trying to hold him in place. With a content smirk, he walked through the field of magic, bending down until he was eye-level with the frightened, confused unicorn.

"Boo," he growled, flicking Rarity on the nose. Suddenly, her nose grew painfully red, and she let out a pained cry, her magic ceasing as she returned to the corner covering her face.

Fluttershy, looking from Rarity to Alfonz in horror, slowly went from a terrified, timid creature, to an extremely angry force to be reckoned with.

"DON'T HURT MY FRIENDS!" she roared, launching herself at Alfonz. Colliding with his stomach with a hoof outstretched, the air was forced from the man's lungs with the impact, causing him to double over in pain. He was more than a little surprised at the pegasus's strength, that was sure!

Fist clenching, Alfonz lashed out with incredible swiftness as Fluttershy prepared for another attack, catching the pegasus in the stomach. Almost instantly, the fight was drained out of her as she was sent careening into the bookcase, collapsing on top of Rainbow Dash and Twilight shortly after. Alfonz frowned as he righted himself, feeling particularly bad about hurting the normally gentle pegasus.

Looking around, the man observed the tattered library, the stunned Applejack, the cowering Rarity, and the three unconscious (or very nearly so) ponies before him with considerable distaste.

"I'm done," he declared, still frowning, as he made his way to the staircase. He was almost too afraid to descend into the darkness; afraid of what he might find. With a deep breath, and a burning desire to leave the library as soon as possible, Alfonz swiftly descended the stairs into the library's basement.

What he found there was almost as bad as he expected.

Dimly lit, the basement was devoid of the usual lab equipment he had seen in the show, and instead had a number of floor pillows, with bits of food and drink scattered around the floor. At one end of the room, Spike, in his larger form, was bound to the wall by large metal restraints, keeping his hands, feet, tail, and neck completely still. He was not moving as Alfonz approached, and for a time the man feared that he may be dead.

"Oh god..." Alfonz breathed as he neared, looking over the dragon's tattered form with horror. He had been like this for at least a few days, that was sure. They hadn't exactly given him proper hygiene either, and to make matters worse, Alfonz could see a few stains on and around the dragon that did not seem to be made by food or drink.

"They got you," Alfonz observed in disbelief, kneeling mournfully before the bound Spike. "They finally got you..."


The man's head jerked up as the dragon spoke. Spike seemed to be struggling to stay awake, his eyes half open as he stared at Alfonz weakly.

"Oh thank fuck you're alive!" the man cried, rushing over to the dragon's restraints. Pull as he might, the heavy metal would not be loosened. "Damn it!"

"Alfonz...did they get you too...?"

"No, Spike. I'm here to get you the fuck out've here."

"...Oh..." the dragon replied, his eyes shutting for a moment as he drifted out of consciousness. "I'm...glad you came then..."

Alfonz poured more of the magic's power into his muscles, trying to summon enough strength to free the dragon's limbs. The metal began to groan and creak as the man's muscles bulged, burning intensely as he struggled. With a loud crack, the metal restraint exploded into pieces, freeing one of the dragon's arms. Despite the incredible pain radiating from his arms, Alfonz repeated the act with each of Spike's restraints until he was completely free.

Falling forward, the dragon barely managed to stop himself from colliding face-first into the floor, barely conscious. Almost at the same time, Alfonz staggered into a kneeling position, crying out as he cradled one arm with the other as his muscles returned to their normal size. The man could feel nothing but pain in his arms, along with a searing pain radiating from almost every other part of his body, and with Spike barely functional, all he could do was pray the ponies upstairs hadn't recovered.

"Spike..." Alfonz began, his arms hanging limply at his sides as he hobbled toward the dragon, who was still staring at the floor. "Spike, we need to go."

The man's words seemed to spark something in Spike, snapping him out of his trance. Instinctively, the dragon shrank back into his smaller form, much to Alfonz's dismay. Although he probably wasn't fit to fight anyway, the baby dragon was of little use to them, should they meet resistance.

"Come on," Alfonz called, gesturing with his head toward the stairs. Spike nodded, weakly climbing the stairs as the man followed behind him, hobbling as best he could back to the ground floor.

To their horror, they discovered Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie all crowded around their incapacitated brethren. Upon reaching the landing, all three ponies immediately looked to them, and the five of them shared a few tense moments staring at each other in silence. Alfonz tried to raise his arms to hide his weakness, but they were completely unresponsive at this point, and continued to hang limply at his sides.

Their eyes locked on the ponies before them, Spike and Alfonz slowly inched their way to the door, their foes' eyes never leaving them either. Without a word, the two left the library and shut the door behind them, both sharing a sigh of relief as they did. The success of the moment did not last long, however.

They were out of the library, but still inside Ponyville; out of the frying pan, and into the fire.

Until We Meet Again

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"Ok..." Alfonz began, making sure the coast was clear with a quick glance to his left and right. "We need to proceed very, very, very carefully."

Spike did not respond. The dragon still seemed to be shifting in and out of consciousness; his gaze seemed unfocused and hazy, and he teetered ominously, as if about to faint.

"Damn it Spike, snap out of it!" Alfonz growled, trying to grab the dragon by the shoulders. When his limbs didn't respond, he opted to crouch down to Spike's level instead. "I know you've been through some shit, but if you don't focus there is a very good chance that both of us will die."

Spike's eyes widened a bit, and for once Alfonz felt as though he was actually looking at him.

"Good enough," Alfonz said, giving the dragon a firm nod. "As long as you can keep up and shut up, we may make it out of here alive." The man stood slowly, making sure they were still alone. He felt the door behind them would open at any moment, and a horde of very angry, very bruised ponies would pour out and drag them to their doom.

They needed to get moving. But where could they go? The only remotely safe place - and he used the term "safe" lightly - was Canterlot. Even then, it was trading one evil for another; he still owed Celestia, after all. Getting to Canterlot was easier said than done. Without wings of their own - Spike being far too out of it to be of use in that department - they had very little options available to them. Alfonz had no clue how to get to Canterlot on foot, if such a thing was even possible.

"The train!" Alfonz exclaimed, trying to make a gesture to coincide with his epihany, only to stare hatefully at his unresponsive limbs. "You know, this is getting old."

A short yell shattered his concentration. Muffled and incomprehensible, it clearly came from the library. Now was not the time to wait around.

"Come on Spike," Alfonz began, nudging the little dragon with his foot. "We've got a train to catch."

Progress was slow. Spike moved like a zombie, shuffling slowly through the streets of Ponyville without much conscious thought. The speed Alfonz had seen him move in the library - a slow trot - seemed like wishful thinking at this point. Although he himself moved with determination and care, he was not without his own hangups; his ruined limbs burned mercilessly, and the sensation seemed to grow more intense the longer they walked. He found himself grinding his teeth to suppress the pain, even with adrenaline and fear pumping through his veins.

Alfonz had chosen their path wisely. Instead of cutting through the town square to reach the train station - an arguably quicker route, but many times more dangerous - he decided to circle around it instead, keeping them in deserted-or-very-nearly-so streets to avoid detection. Things had gone quite well for most of the journey, but of course, Alfonz's good fortune would quickly run out.

"There he is!"

The sound made his blood run cold. Looking back, Alfonz quickly spotted the source: a lone earth pony mare, pointing in their direction, her head turned down around street corner. The low rumble of a crowd sounded in response, and the situation became quite clear quite quickly. An angry mob of ponies - all mares, of course - poured into the street, arguing loudly with each other. Once he and Spike came into sight, however, their behavior took an even darker turn: the front of the herd broke out into a stampede, screaming their displeasure as they charged toward the man and dragon.

"SPIKE!" Alfonz cried, turning back around. The dragon had not stopped his shambling, and was several meters ahead of Alfonz at this point. Even so, it took only a moment for the man to run to his side, desperately trying to urge the dragon to speed up. "Spike, please! Gems! Rarity! Freedom! Twilight! Other good things! Not dying!" the man screamed in rapid succession, trying to spark some life in the dragon.

Spike finally stopped, looking at the man through glazed-over eyes.

"We are going to die!"

Spike's eyes widened, the dragon shooting a glance behind them. The mob had reached the half way point in their direction. With a short shout, Spike broke out into a frenzied sprint, waving his arms hysterically as he went. Alfonz took off after him, his arms moving limply at his sides as he went. The sound of the charging crowd lit a metaphorical fire under his feet, allowing him to push his own limits as best he could. Spike was surprisingly fast; despite the dragon's stature, he moved with incredible haste, much to Alfonz's delight. The train station was barely within sight now.

Maybe, just maybe, they would make it.

"...But what if there isn't a train?" Alfonz asked himself as he ran, his eyes widening at the horror of the revelation. How had he been so stupid! It wasn't like there were trains there at all hours of the day! And even if there was, who could say that there was one going to Canterlot? This plan was looking more like wishful thinking with each passing second. But with a mob of furious, horny ponies behind them, where else could they go?

"I see it!" Spike called ahead, almost causing the man to trip. He did not expect the dragon to be capable of speech, let alone aware of the situation. "There's a train pulling into the station!"

"Hot damn you're right!" Alfonz replied with a wide grin as the station drew closer and closer. Indeed, a multicolored train, like he had seen in the show, was chugging its way to the station. At this rate, it would arrive before they did, and without a moment to lose. Now they just had to get onto it before being torn apart by the town's residence.

The sound of their pursuers had been growing progressively louder as they went. Despite their best efforts to outrun them, and despite their generous head start, the ponies were gaining on them at an alarming rate. There was no way they could reach the station before being caught, not at this speed. Alfonz could think of only one solution.

With a short yell, the man channeled the Princess' magic into his legs, tripling his own speed in seconds. In but a moment, he was at Spike's side, hoisting the dragon off the ground with both arms, which trembled weakly under the strain. The pain was excruciating, but Alfonz willed himself onward. His body could not take much more, but he refused to let it fail. Not yet.

The man's new speed allowed them to easily outrun their pursuers. In a few moments, the man was within a few meters of the station itself. It was only then that he noticed the train was still moving. Not only that, but they were alone on the platform; the train must not be stopping, as it had no ponies to pick up.

"No, no, no!" Alfonz cried in despair as the train began to pull away. Slowing to a stop at the edge of the platform, the end of the train car was already several meters ahead of him, and increasing in distance rapidly. They had been too slow after all...or were they? The man hesitated. He knew what he had to do, but damn it, why did it have to be this way?!

"This is the last time I'm going to save your dumb ass!" Alfonz yelled to Spike over the cavalcade of noise, from both the train and their pursuers.

"What're you-" the dragon began as he was lifted above the man's head.

"Get to Canterlot, get to the palace!" Alfonz explained, taking careful aim. "Keep out of sight! If you get caught again, I swear to God...!"

"Alfonz, wait!" Spike cried, but it was already too late. Using what remained of his strength, Alfonz launched the dragon into the air like a football. Soaring the distance to the train, Spike collided with the door leading into the end car with a loud thud, slowly sliding to the base of the door shortly after.

Alfonz immediately cried out in pain and collapsed onto his knees. Blood trickled down from his forearms, creating small pools beneath his hands. The man's head was pointed back, staring into the heavens, breathing heavily. If his arms were totaled before, they were beyond redemption now. He almost didn't notice the crowd circling around him, murmuring angrily amongst themselves.

"Good work, ladies!" the proud voice of Ponyville's Mayor echoed over the lot of them. The crowd parted, allowing the older mare through. "Now this ruffian can finally face up to his crimes!"

The crowd yelled their approval.

"What...crimes..." Alfonz breathed, looking at the Mayor weakly. His vision dropped in and out of focus, and he feared he would lose consciousness.

"Disturbing the peace! Assaulting a public official!" the Mayor replied, earning a cry from the crowd with each sentence. "You thought you would get away with it, too! And we even tried to make you welcome here. I hope you're proud of yourself."

"What do we do...now?" Alfonz asked, trying to rise, but found his legs to be almost as bad as his arms. He was powerless.

"You heard him, citizens of Ponyville!" the Mayor cried, looking around at the crowd. "What shall we do with him?"

Good Night, Nurse

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“Shouldn’t…there be a trial?” Alfonz asked weakly, blinking a bit of blood from his eyes. The man swayed uneasily in the center of the mob.

“And waste more time and resources?” the Mayor replied with a scoff. “This is your trial. You are being judged by a jury of your peers.”

“You…aren’t my peers…” Alfonz corrected with a feeble smile. “Different…species…”

“Would you rather be tried as an invader from a foreign nation?”

Alfonz didn’t reply.

“Well then! Where were we?” the Mayor called to the crowd with a smug smirk. The ponies had been arguing amongst themselves during the man’s brief interaction with their ringleader. Upon closer inspection, however, he found they were not arguing over the means of his punishment; they instead were arguing about who would go first. Needless to say, it didn’t take any detective skills to figure out what they were planning.

“I’m warning you…” Alfonz said suddenly, glaring at the Mayor and her posse. “I don’t care…how many of you there are…I don’t care how…fucked up my body is…I will not go down without a fight.”

“Oh please,” the Mayor replied with a roll of her eyes. “We can work out the details later. Let’s get him to the town hall, ladies.” In response, a unicorn mare stepped forward. Despite a commendable effort on her part, the unicorn was unable to lift the man with her magic. After a few minutes of continual failure, she was eventually replaced by a pair of pegasi; the two winged ponies took up positions on either side of him.

As the first reached toward him, Alfonz threw himself at his would-be abductor. The man’s head cracked loudly against the pegasus’ own, causing the mare to recoil with a shout of pain. Alfonz, meanwhile, collapsed onto his chest, even more disoriented than before. His attack caused a brief swell of confusion and chaos in the crowd, and before he could even see straight, he found himself squirming his way to what he hoped to be freedom. The crowd had encircled him in every direction, however, so his escape was primarily through the legs of unsuspecting ponies. This caused an even larger disturbance in the mob, as arguing equine bumped into arguing equine. Before he knew it, a large part of the crowd had erupted into outright (although quite cartoonish) violence.

“How is this working…” the man thought as he inched his way through the tangle of legs. Occasionally he would get stepped on in the frenzy; this was all well and good until they managed to hit one of his ruined limbs. The resulting pain begged him to cry out, but his determination to free himself kept him from doing so.

“Where do you think you’re going?!”

Before he could even guess who had spoken, the Mayor of Ponyville threw herself onto Alfonz’s back. The man had just reached the small staircase leading up to the station; the resulting attack sent both man and pony tumbling to the ground at the base of it. Alfonz clenched his teeth as his bloodied limbs collided forcefully with the ground, and for a moment he thought he was going to pass out from the pain.

“You’re not getting out of this that easy!” the Mayor cried as she once again hurled herself at him. The man was more than a little shocked to see the Mayor of Ponyville engaging a fugitive like this, but he figured this was less “crime fighting” and more “attempted rape”. With the sound of the brawling mob roaring in the background, the two rolled further and further away from the station. Although he had no limbs to help him out, the man had a significant size advantage on his opponent; the two kept rolling for some time before the Mayor finally pinned him to the ground.

“Will you fuck off already?!” Alfonz growled, smashing his head against the Mayor’s in defiance. The blow dazed the pony enough to cause her to fall to the ground beside him, but the man was in no condition to take advantage of it. The continual abuse to his head, coupled with his previous injuries and loss of blood, were really starting to take their toll. He wondered if he would have any brain cells left by the end.

By the time he recovered, his attacker had already climbed partially onto his chest again. Alfonz tried to repeat his assault, but even lifting his head overwhelmed him with pain and nausea. He was truly at the end of his rope.

“W-wait!” he coughed, causing the Mayor to hesitate. “The reason…I can’t…is because I have no…uh…’apparatus’.”

The pony jammed a hoof into his crotch, causing him to choke loudly in both pain and discomfort.

“Well that says differently!”

The man’s frenzied thoughts grasped at any possible way out, some way to weasel out of a bad situation, like he always had. Try as he might, the man could think of nothing; the mare sitting atop him began gnawing at his jeans in a barbaric attempt to remove them, and he could only watch. Slowly, the man’s desperation turned to anger. This wasn’t about his morals anymore; this was about his survival and by God, if nothing else, he was the master of his own fate, not them.

“I’d rather die by my own hand then go out like this!” he cried, dredging up strength he certainly didn’t have. The Mayor barely had time to look up before the man’s head came crashing into her own. The blow sent a wave of pain through her body, causing her eyes to tear up, but her position on his body kept her from falling. Before her vision could regain its focus, Alfonz went in for another attack, spattering the earth pony’s head with his own blood in the process. Again and again the man struck, ignorant to his own suffering as he lashed out against his foe. With each hit, the Mayor’s body shifted, and by the fifth, she toppled off the man’s body in a heap, her gaze blurry and disoriented.

Alfonz slumped back, thick streams of blood trickling down his face. The man’s eyes were dark and lifeless, but he had a smile across his face. The world around him began to fade away, as if he were falling. The sights and sounds before him grew fainter and fainter until finally they were gone, and he was left in nothing but silence and the prevailing dark.

He was dead, he was sure of it. This wasn’t so bad, actually. It was quiet, tranquil even, though quite bland. He no longer felt the pain of his injuries, even if he couldn’t actually move to enjoy it. He felt himself relax for the first time in what felt like years. He wasn’t worried about what to do next, or even some deep-seeded sense of impending doom. He wasn’t about to let himself die, or do something stupid and get himself killed; he was already dead! The hard part was over! Now, truly, he hadn’t a care in the world.

But that sense of fulfillment quickly got old, and his mind began to wander, though it didn’t wander in a way he expected it to. Before him he could see snapshots of his life in his own world; this was the first time since he left that he even thought of his life before. This wasn’t exactly surprising, though; with no family, a shitty job, and a failing education, what the hell did he want from his old life? Even after his terrible ordeals in this twisted version of Equestria, he was hesitant to say it was a worse existence. At least he didn’t have bills to pay.

An image of a beautiful young lady flashed before his eyes suddenly. The woman stood in a field of grain, smiling confidently at the camera. Her clothes were of a style that he could scarcely recall; of a time long passed.

It was his mother. She died so young, only a few years after he was born. His heart ached at the thought; his father was already gone by the time he had entered the world, and couldn’t remember any extended family. His mother was all he had, and the feeling was mutual. After she passed away – to something as horrifying as cancer, no less – Alfonz was sent to various foster families. His life wasn’t all that bad for a while; none of the foster families treated him badly, at least, but they never really showed him any attention, either. Despite being surrounded by other foster children, he felt alone all throughout his childhood. As soon as he turned 18, without ever finding a new family to call his own, he was thrown out into the world and expected to survive.

Everything that was dear to him was already gone there, but he couldn’t exactly say he ended up any better in Equestria. He had come into it like it was a dream come true; like he was finally being rewarded for the shitty life of isolation and obligation he had to suffer through. He was in a world of friendship and adventure, where the obnoxious realities of life did not apply. But this wasn’t his paradise; this was a world of perversion and depravity. And it wasn’t even like that all the time! It seemed normal, for the most part, until he revealed himself. He really did have the shittiest luck in the universe; he finally got to Equestria, and it turns to shit only when he’s around.

A blue and black pony appeared before him now, standing proud and confident atop one of the towers of Canterlot. Luna, Princess of the Night, at work; of all the God-forsaken perverted ponies, she was probably the least shitty. Although he could never return her interest in him, Alfonz felt that her affection for him was genuine, rather than purely instinctual like the rest. She was definitely a curious case. He wondered why she was so different, when even her sister fell prey to the nature of the universe. If nothing else, she was the closest thing he could call a friend now.

Alfonz’s mind continued to wander. The events that led him to his inevitable demise were displayed before him, as if he were subconsciously trying to diagnose what went wrong. He felt as though he wandered through this emptiness for days, watching memories float in and out of view, from both of his lives. Try as he might to suppress it, in the back of his mind, the man wished his life did not end. Even though he had suffered for so long, the idea of just letting his story end was agony to him; it simply wasn’t something he would do. He was a fighter, even if it made more sense to lie down and die. It was honestly one of the few things he was proud of; one of the things that made him…him.

Alfonz sat up suddenly, inhaling violently as if he had held his breath for days. The man’s senses slowly began to return, and he found himself not in the abyss he had descended into, nor the patch of grass near the train station.

He sat in a bed, hooked up to various machines, in a hospital.

Come and Get Me

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“Ok…” Alfonz began, shifting into a more comfortable position as he took in his surroundings. “Pony hospital or human hospital…”

A quick glance at the end of his bed, which ended abruptly at his forelegs, told him all he needed to know.

“Now how in the hell did I get here…” he murmured to himself, raising his arms to examine the various cords hanging off them. It took him a moment to realize the implications of this. His limbs – including his legs, which he tested with a few idle kicks – appeared to be functional again. Upon closer inspection, he found that they were completely devoid of any obvious wounds, but radiated a fairly intense soreness upon moving.

The room around him seemed fairly standard, despite its place in a fictional universe of ponies. It was large enough to house two patients comfortably, with a retractable curtain – currently bunched up at the end of the track – to give them privacy from each other, should they desire it. Alfonz was wholly alone, however, as the bed opposite to him sat empty. The rest of the room was bland and uninteresting, with a chair in the corner closest to him, and a nightstand at the side of both beds. The windows, he quickly noticed, were barred; not exactly the best of signs, surely.

The cords leading to and from his body were connected to a number of monitoring equipment, measuring his heartbeat, temperature, and other information. Lightly adhered to his skin, none of the instruments were embedded in his flesh, thankfully, and he removed them all without incident. Freed from his bindings, the man gradually pushed himself out of bed. His initial few steps were shaky at best, as his legs groaned and cracked in stiff protest. Just how long had he been out? He felt as though he were in a coma for years.

Limping unsteadily over to the door, the man slowly turned the handle and gently pulled back. Although initially giving way, the door was swiftly halted before any real progress was made. Locked, but not by the handle itself; after a quick glance up and down its frame, Alfonz found the source of the disturbance. A bolt lock was in place, locking the door from the inside.

“What the fuck…” the man muttered to himself, glancing over his shoulder nervously. After making sure he was, in fact, completely alone, he pulled the bolt back and slowly opened the door. With just enough space to see out of, the man peered through the crack at what lay beyond. The room appeared to be at the corner of two hallways, with one directly ahead, and one directly to his left. Both, although brightly lit, seemed to be deserted, with no immediate activity in sight. At the far end of both, however, Alfonz could barely make out the imposing form of some sort of equines; guards, by the look of their armor. Royal guards.

“Ok,” Alfonz said quietly to himself, closing and locking the door once more. “What in the blue hell is the Equestrian Royal Guard doing here? They must’ve rescued me…right? I’m in the safety and care of the royal family…right?” he murmured, trying to convince himself. “Royal guards aren’t just another a regular occurrence in Ponyville…right?”

He honestly didn’t know.

By his estimate, this could either be very good or very bad. Perhaps Luna had rescued him from his peril sometime after his blackout; or perhaps Celestia had done so instead. Or, perhaps it was Cadance who had found him, and put him under lockdown. Or maybe, these guards had no influence from the royal family at all. Maybe they were working with the rest of the mob, and simply using their natural talents to keep him contained.

That day…he was trying hard to remember the events of it. He remembered his desperate attempt to get Spike to safety; he remembered his capture by the mob. He remembered the riot that had broken out as a direct result of his actions, and he remembered his encounter with the mayor of Ponyville. But after lashing out against his would-be captor, the man couldn’t remember anything. He had thought, for all intents and purposes, he was dead. Now, he thought it might’ve been better if he was.

He didn’t feel like he had lost his dignity. Although nursed back to – relatively – good health, the man could not be sure if the mob had…had their way with him, so to speak. Who knows what went on after he blacked out? It was a highly disturbing absence in his memory, one that he did not like thinking about.

But that didn’t matter now. He had to find a way out of here first and foremost, and then head to Canterlot; for Spike, of course. For Spike.

First, he had to take inventory of just what he had at his disposal. Still in his muddy, blood-stained, partially ruined t-shirt and jeans, the man was in desperate need of new clothes. Predictably, the dazzling pendant that had been around his neck, tucked away in his shirt during most of the fighting, was nowhere to be found. This meant that, should he come across any unicorns, he would have little chance of escape.

He was almost too afraid to test his remaining trump card. Luna’s spell, although allowing him to free Spike effectively, almost destroyed his limbs in the process. He did not wish to put himself at that risk again, but he had to know if it was still there. Thankfully, after a tense few minutes, he had no apparent change in his muscle mass; the spell must have run out of energy, or someone must have dispelled it. Use of the spell had, however, increased his strength in a passive sense; his body must have retained a portion of the increased muscle. It was nothing like he had summoned during his daring rescue, but it might just give him a chance against the stronger equines.

So, with all that out of the way, Alfonz had a grand total of: not much. He would have to rely on his quick wits to get out alive and unsullied, then, which may or may not be a good thing.

“Which way…left or straight…” he mused as he grabbed a small potted plant off one of the night stands. Judging from the isolation of the room and the deserted nature of the halls beyond, he had a feeling he was deep within a hospital. Whether it was Ponyville’s hospital, or Canterlot’s, he hadn’t a clue. He would just have to find out.

But which way was closer to the exit…

“Straight!” he decided, undoing the latch on the door and swinging it open with a loud bang. Without a moment’s hesitation, the man charged down the hall, stumbling the first few feet as his legs struggled to adapt to the sudden speed. Within seconds, he was directly behind his query, who had, strangely, not detected his approach. By the time she did, it was far too late; Alfonz hurled the vase at the mare’s head, shattering it into thousands of pieces upon contact. Although the blow had hit the bulk of her helmet, it did surprisingly little to lessen the damage. A moment after impact, the royal guard was slumped forward awkwardly, dazed and confused.

Alfonz was so caught up in his plan – as well as the apparent success of said plan – that he remained oblivious to the scene in front of him. Standing before the fallen guard, in a deathly silence, were an assemblage of mares, numbering at least a dozen. They were crowded in what appeared to be some sort of waiting room, and some seemed to be holding signs. It took Alfonz a solid ten seconds of tense staring to realize what he had gotten himself into.

“Uh…take THAT!” he cried suddenly, causing the ponies to jolt. “If you don’t want to be next, I suggest you get the hell out of here!” he continued, standing triumphantly over the fallen guard with an almost feral grin upon his face. Coupled with his blood-soaked clothes, he hoped his display would be enough to scare the crowd away.

“That’s him!” a mare shouted, stepping up onto a bench to better direct the crowd. “That’s the creature that attacked the mayor!”

“….You’re right!” Alfonz replied, trying to maintain his threatening appearance. “I took down your mayor because she stood in my way! I’m warning you: clear out of here, before it’s too late!”

A tense silence fell over the waiting room.


“Oh balls!” Alfonz cried as he turned and ran back down the hall. The mob quickly trampled the royal guard separating them from their prey and followed him down the hall, shouting loudly as they went. Despite their superior speed, the man’s head start proved to be just what he needed; upon reaching his room, he immediately slammed the door shut and applied the lock. A moment later, the first of the mob impacted with the door in a senseless frenzy, banging and screaming their desire for entry. Alfonz, feeling the lock was not sufficient, grabbed the chair in the corner of the room and jammed it under the handle, further fortifying the door.

He had chosen poorly. Not only was he still in the hospital, but now his room was under siege by an angry mob. He could only hope the remaining guard would hear the commotion and restore order, but he somehow found that very unlikely. With a mob like that, it was unlikely anything short of the miracle or several days of waiting would bring them back to their senses.

He had to find another way out. Somehow.

“The window!” Alfonz said suddenly, rushing over to his barred overlook of the courtyard below. He hadn’t even bothered with it after noticing the bars, finding it to be a futile effort, but now he had no choice. He had to get the bars off.

Straining with all his might, the man could feel no budge from the bars. His arms screaming in protest, he collapsed onto his backside as he released them, breathing heavily. Maybe, if he still had Luna’s spell at his command, he could have removed them with his bare hands – and likely ruin his arms in the process.

Thinking quickly, Alfonz rushed into the bathroom – accessible by both sides of the room – and snatched the thick ceramic lid off the back of the toilet. Wedging the lid between the middle bars, the man pulled back with all his might, trying to pry an opening. Try as he might, though, his efforts made no progress.

With a loud curse, the man stepped back, swung the plank of ceramic around to pick up speed before suddenly releasing it in the direction of the window. Upon contact with the bars, the lid exploded into a cloud of shrapnel, forcing Alfonz to shield himself with his arms. Unfortunately for him, the attack did little to better his situation.

“God damn it!” he cried, rattling the bars in frustration. He had just got a new lease on life – and was feeling pretty damn good about it, too – and now he had screwed himself over once again. He was so damn sick of being in danger; it seemed like it never ended. At least at the start of his journey, he had some down time between strokes of bad luck. Now, his situation got progressively worse with little reprieve.

Alfonz slowly looked back at the door, which was still under assault by the screaming mob outside. The man’s gaze was furious; he was tired of running, he was tired of weaseling his way out of situations. Perhaps he could wait and the situation would solve itself, but what then? It would never end; there would always be a terrible fate awaiting him, and he would not always be in the condition he was in now. Last time, he hadn’t been able to put up much of a fight, but now?

If he was going out, he was going out in style.

“I am really sick of this melodramatic bullshit,” he muttered to himself, a manic grin across his face. “One last stand, with feeling this time.”

Alfonz threw the chair aside, pulled back the lock, and swung the door open wide. As the tide of ponies poured in, he took a step back, silently assessing the situation. Two immediate targets; unicorns, one in the center of the visible group and one currently on the floor.

“You want me?” he cried as the ponies floundered to recover. “You’ve got me…”


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With his first move, the man stepped heavily onto the downed unicorn, knocking the breath from its lungs, while also using it as a springboard to dive further into the crowd. Hands outstretched, Alfonz tackled the second unicorn just as its horn began to glow, slamming the mare against the wall opposite to the doorway while knocking many ponies aside in the process.

If nothing else, his decision to attack his pursuers benefited from the element of surprise. The ponies really did not expect him to open the door, let alone jump into their midst. It took them quite some time to recover from this, allowing Alfonz to briefly disrupt his most pressing adversaries. After his initial strike, however, the mob began to regain its composure and launched its own attack.

“Bring him down!” one of the mares cried as she tackled the man’s shoulders, wrapping her hooves around his neck to try and topple him over. He knew that, should they succeed in bringing him down to their level, he would stand little chance.

And this wasn’t a suicidal last stand. He had no intention of losing.

“Go for the legs!” another pony commanded, shortly before the man felt at least three bodies smash against his lower extremities.

“You know I can understand you, right?!” he growled, elbowing a nearby pegasus in the chest. With each passing second, his body was becoming bogged down with the weight of furious, horny mares. He could barely move his legs, but managed to keep himself upright by using the wall beside him as support. An earth pony and pegasus snatched desperately at his arms, which were currently trying to free his neck from the mare wrapped around it, but failed to get a hold on his limbs as they moved about.

As the mare around his neck struggled to resist his efforts, the man noticed one of her hooves around the side of his head, rather than his neck. With little hesitation, he brought the limb close and sunk his teeth into it; the mare released the limb with a shriek of pain before falling back into the crowd. Alfonz struck out against one of the ponies wrapped around his leg with his newly-freed arms, forcing the release of the limb with the force of the blow. For every pony he shook off, however, two more swiftly replaced it.

The man felt his body beginning to the give out. If his aggressors weren’t clinging to him, they were kicking and biting frantically to help their brethren. As he lined up another attack, one of the unicorns latched onto his arm, pulling him down from yet another angle. With a short yell of defiance, the man toppled over, bringing down many of his adversaries with him. Partially pressed up against the wall, the man thrashed about wildly in an attempt to throw off the ponies around him, which piled onto his legs, arms, and chest to try and overwhelm him.

Headbutting an earth pony mare trying to pin his arm with her backside, Alfonz swung his fist in a vicious uppercut against a pony on his chest, hurling her off and into the crowd. As the man struggled to get up, resisting the efforts of what seemed like innumerable enemies, two mares leapt onto his back, each hanging off his shoulders in a display of reckless determination. The man was partially on his feet now, supporting most of his weight in a lean against the wall. The furious equines screamed their displeasure and continued to pile on, but were deterred by a number of decisive kicks to the chest and neck. The ponies upon his back were swiftly getting familiar with the wall, as the man pushed harder and harder against it.

“Get off!” the man roared as he grabbed one of the mares’ hooves. Unable to resist his influence after the previous attack, the mare was swiftly hurled over his shoulder and into the crowd, bowling many of her allies over in the process. Despite his love for the ponies as a whole, and how bad he felt about hurting them, the fight was unbelievably therapeutic. Unlike his trek through Ponyville, he hadn’t a pressing objective that needed tending to.

This was purely for his benefit.

“Feel free to give up any time!” he yelled with a short laugh, punching another pegasus across the cheek, sending it sprawling down the hall. With an almost insane cackle, the man lifted a retreating earth pony over his head and hurled it into the crowd, causing a domino effect in their midst. He was getting lost in his own demented pleasure, but he didn’t care. This was his revenge, and he was going to enjoy it.

Because of this, Alfonz almost didn’t notice the sudden lack of fight in his foes. With a feral look upon his face, the man looked around wildly for more enemies, but found the tide of ponies receding instead. Looking around, he quickly found out why; standing in the center of the left hall was none other than the gleaming white form of Princess Celestia, looking quite confused and perhaps even frightened. The assemblage of ponies quickly skirted around him like frightened rodents, leaving nothing between him and the Princess of the Sun.

Still lost in his frenzied stupor, Alfonz marched confidently over to Celestia, pulled her close by her golden necklace, and kissed her. Initially, the Princess looked on with an expression mirrored by her subjects; complete surprise and a fair bit of horror. But as the gesture continued for quite some time, she slowly closed her eyes and, seemingly, enjoyed it. The two remained locked in this embrace for at least a minute before mutually pulling back.

Whatever fight Alfonz had left in him died in that moment.

“I’m…just ganna go…sit here…” he murmured, quietly seating himself against a nearby wall. The ponies around him just stared at each other in stunned silence, and it was at least another minute before Celestia spoke.

“Well, then,” she began with a cough, straightening up once more. “Just what is going on here?”

“The human attacked a guard!” a mare cried from the crowd.

“He said he was going to hurt us if we didn’t leave!”

Celestia looked down at Alfonz, whose eyes were closed and arms were folded.

“Eh,” was all he said, giving her a halfhearted shrug.

“I’m sure there is a logical explanation for all this,” Celestia insisted calmly, trying to soothe the raging emotions of the crowd.

“He still hasn’t paid for the damage he caused in Ponyville!”

Alfonz made a loud “pfft” sound at this, but did not stir.

“I will make sure he stands accountable for his actions,” Celestia replied quite sincerely; so much so that Alfonz opened his eyes.

“Say what?”

“Please, return to your homes. Everything will be taken of.”

After a few begrudging signs of acceptance, Celestia took up a position in front of Alfonz, and the two disappeared in a bright flash of light.

The next thing the man knew, they were back in the Princess’s quarters. He had somehow been sprawled out in the journey, as he found himself face down on the lavish carpet. By the time he righted himself, Celestia was already looming over him, frowning.

“Oh come on,” he growled, shifting into a sitting position. “You know I did all of that in self-defense.”

“You wake up after nearly a week-“

“A week?!”

“-in a coma, and the first thing you do is pick a fight with a bunch of mares?”

“The last thing I remembered was being attacked by a group of mares,” Alfonz retorted. “I didn’t know what the hell happened to me after that. I just wanted to get out of there and get back here.”

“Spike sent me a letter informing me of the situation from the train,” Celestia explained, though her words did lose their spitefulness. “I arrived a few minutes after your run-in with Ponyville’s mayor.”

“Good to know,” Alfonz said with a short exhale. Boy, was that a load off his shoulders. “Thanks for that.” Celestia was not amused.

“Do you know how much damage you’ve caused?”

“I warned them,” Alfonz replied with his own dose of venom. “I told them over, and over, and over to stay out of my way. Do you know what they did to Spike? They almost killed him in that basement!”

“You went on a rampage and nearly incited a riot!” Celestia retorted with a stamp of her hoof.

“They were going to kill me or worse! I had to defend myself, defend Spike!” Alfonz insisted, rising to his full height as the argument escalated. “If you have such a god damn problem with what happened, tell it to them!”

“You don’t understand how hard it is for them to stop themselves.”

“And you don’t understand how hard it is to deal with this shit day after day!”

The two remained silent for several moments. Both their words hit home, it seemed. Alfonz found it easy to fight against the horny bastards when they were just deviants. He didn’t like to think of them as victims of their own nature.

“What you did was beyond foolish,” Celestia said after a few minutes, shaking her head. “Not only did you seriously injure – directly or indirectly – at least ten different civilians, you almost got yourself killed.”

“Yeah well that’s my problem,” Alfonz growled in response, trying to ignore the first part. He really, really didn’t want to hurt a bunch of pastel ponies. It made his most recent actions all the more appalling…

“But it’s not, Alfonz,” Celestia murmured. “You need to understand that.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” he asked, some unknown horror dawning on him. He had a bad feeling about this.

“Alfonz…you are the only male we have seen in Equestria for the last 15 years,” Celestia explained lowly. “I don’t know about your kind, but us Equestrians cannot survive with just mares.”

Alfonz couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He had thought the same exact thing during his first talk with the Princess, and wondered why she didn’t seem to give a damn about the end of her race. Now he knew; she was grooming him to fill the role.

“And you were just going to keep this from me?” he asked with rising anger. “Just fill me in when the time came?”

“After I knew how you felt, I didn’t think it necessary,” Celestia explained. “But I can’t have you endangering my subjects and yourself in these reckless adventures of yours. It’s time you know what is at stake.”

“And what does your sister think about all this, hm?” he retorted, remembering Luna’s jealousy in the past.

“She understands what threatens to destroy her race,” Celestia replied with a deep frown. “As I’m sure you do too. Do you really wish to let our species die?”

“How dare you say that shit to me,” the man said lowly, glaring daggers at the alicorn.

“I’m sorry to ask this of you, Alfonz, I really am,” she insisted, bowing her head. “But I have no choice.”

And neither did he, really. He wanted to tell her off, but, supposing she would take no as an answer, it would mean the demise of their entire race. He also wanted to pass the buck; simply implicate Spike instead, and get off scot free. But he couldn’t bring himself to condemn Spike like that…Damn, did it suck to have morals.

“I don’t think you understand species very well,” Alfonz said at last, praying that he had found a flaw in this otherwise hopeless situation. “Humans and ponies are not compatible. It doesn’t matter what I do, you can’t conceive foals like this.”

“We have spells that will solve that for us,” the Princess explained.

“If that’s the case, just transform a squirrel or something,” he retorted. “I’m sure they won’t mind.”

“It’s not that simple, I’m afraid.”

“What about transforming some of the mares-“

Celestia shook her head.

“God damn it…” he cursed, covering his face with his palms.

“We will make sure the process is as safe as can be managed,” the brilliant white alicorn assured, placing a wing comfortingly over the man’s back. “I’m not sure when it will be necessary. It could be weeks, or it could be years. What I know for certain is: we will need your help, Alfonz.”

“Is this why you brought me here?” he said suddenly, looking up at her from behind his hands. “Find a human with a shitty life to be the solution to all your problems? I mean, who would miss him, right?”

“I’m not the reason you are here,” the Princess said with another shake of her head. “But I know that, had you not come here, there may have been no hope for us.”

The man sighed. Great. He was no closer to finding how he got there, no closer to finding a way back, and no closer to even finding a safe place to avoid all the shit. He was destined to become a slave to ensure the future of an entire species, and there wasn’t a god damn thing he could do about it.

And now he couldn’t even punch pastel ponies to feel better.

“What will you do now?”

“Make the best of it, I guess.”

And that is where his story ends, I’m afraid. I would like to tell you that Alfonz went out in a blaze of glory, fighting until the last breath like he had always envisioned, never compromising his morals, but it simply was not so. With the destruction of the Equestrian race looming over his head, the man was forced to stay his hand and remain in the Royal Palace, protected by the Royal Family like a treasure of inconceivable value.

Princess Luna, who had been unaware of Alfonz’s most recent adventures thanks to her sister’s meddling, was thrilled to have her love return to her. Opting to leave the mare in darkness concerning the events in Ponyville, the man explained to her his concern about his future, but, understanding the gravity of the situation as she did, she was unable to help him.

Knowing what they did about the man’s future, the Princesses ceased their efforts to get into Alfonz’s pants…more or less. Every so often, the two would test the man’s limits, but found that his fate had largely strengthened his resolve.

Spike, meanwhile, had been allowed to stay in the palace with Alfonz. Equipped with the pendant the man had lost during his battle in Ponyville, the dragon was free to come and go as he pleased, disguising himself as he had done in during his stay at the manor. As per the man’s request, Spike was never approached with the offer in place of Alfonz, and remained oblivious to his friend’s fate.

As for Alfonz, he could only wait. He knew what fate had in store for him, but could never know when his time would come. Although he searched for a solution in the months and years that followed, and although the lone human in Equestria never found an answer to his plight, the man would never stop searching. It just wasn’t him.

Some stories simply don’t have a happy ending.

BONUS: The X Files

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I should warn you; this following tale is pretty out there. I mean, I’ve been through some shit, but this is entirely on another level. Viewer discretion is (mildly) advised.

My name is Alfonz, and since arriving in Equestria, I have seen some terrible things. Beset on all sides by mares so horny they are often driven to madness – a darkness where morality has no place – I often consider myself to have the willpower of a saint to not have succumbed to my own forms of insanity. You see, despite my personal beliefs and inhibitions, my fate is sealed. I am damned. But I try my best and resist, and I think that’s only because my stubbornness outweighs just about everything else. I never thought I’d see the day when that is a good thing, but here we are.

Now, about those terrible things…


Alfonz strolled down the lavish halls of the Royal Palace of Canterlot much like a man strolled the hallways of his apartment complex. The man had gotten so familiar with the seat of power in Equestria that, despite its intricacies and impressive architecture, it had long since lost its awe factor. Although he might not be as easily impressed as he was when he arrived, time had not been entirely cruel to Alfonz.

After the begrudging acceptance of his fate, Princess Celestia had tried her best to make the man’s day to day life leading up to the call of duty as easy as possible. The alicorn had made a formal declaration to the ponies of Equestria, calming both their woes and Alfonz’s own as best she could. In the end, she encouraged her people to control themselves as best they could in the man’s presence, and he was quite surprised to find that she appealed to their sense of morality, of all things, to seal the deal. Celestia had been quite clear to him, however, in the true nature of his situation. Although the denizens of civilized Equestria might not be so barbaric in their pursuits, there was no real guarantee of safety at all.

And it didn’t take long to realize how true that was.

Alfonz no longer had to fear a random mob of violence and molestation every time he went into town, this was true, but it did not stop the ponies from more “civilized” means of courtship – and he used that term lightly. The only time he was not besieged by requests of varying degrees of perversion was when he was accompanied by Princess Luna, and these experiences were perhaps even further from normal. The alicorn would spend most of her time prowling around him like a lion protecting a carcass, raising her hackles – quite literally – whenever another mare so much as glanced in his direction.

Life in Equestria was not easy for him, and he knew it would only get worse. Despite numerous suggestions and workarounds, he had little to show for his efforts. Apparently, being forced into the form of the natives was for more than just ‘biological compatibility’; there was also a matter of ‘equipment’. Pregnancy, surprisingly enough, had been a difficult task indeed. The problem had largely been overshadowed by the rate at which the denizens of Equestria made their attempts before the removal of the stallions, and Alfonz wondered if the inability to conceive had anything to do with the mares’ strange behavior.

Whatever the case, artificial means would simply not cut it, according to the Princesses. The man urged them to at least try, and, perhaps – someday – they would, but this did little to brighten his immediate future.

And now, he was on his way to endure yet another tedious and pointless endeavor. With his residence at the palace known all across Equestria due to the Princess’s announcement, the desperate population had been given a direct means of contact with him. Although they were not permitted to loiter on the grounds, it did not stop them from sending copious amounts of letters and packages addressed to him. Most of the letters, of course, were simply requests for his company, in varying degrees of filth. The packages, on the other hand, could be anything from photographs – varying in the same way as the letters in their content – to actual, useful items. The man had built up quite the collection as a result, with some things being from very esteemed ponies indeed.

And did he feel remorse for taking advantage of these desperate mares?

Hell no.

His royal hosts insisted he not meet with any of those that delivered their gifts personally, and he was quick to agree. The royal guards would typically hold them in a private quarter of the castle where he could pick them up, or, if he failed to do so by nightfall, they would usually deliver them straight to his quarters. Although the thought of being lazy and allowing the guards to do all the work was enticing, Alfonz was generally an impatient man, and he always did like getting things in the mail. Thus, there he went, moseying through the halls on his way to retrieve his loot.

Upon arrival, Alfonz took immediate count of his spoils: a number of letters – completely worthless, by all means – and only a single package. What a disappointment. Stuffing the plain brown rectangle beneath his arm, the man dropped the letters in the trash on his way out, musing to himself how strange it was that the package had not come with its own. He figured there would be a note inside, or, to his dismay, an inscription on the item itself. Bastards couldn’t even brown nose him correctly.

Although the man returned to the higher floors, he did not make for his quarters. With Luna sound asleep in preparation for her own duties – for he had yet to receive his own room, of course – he did not want to disturb the Princess if it could be helped. Celestia’s quarters would suffice; its owner consistently busy with diplomatic and political issues, the room would be empty and ripe for the taking.

Tossing the package onto a floor mat with little regard to its wellbeing, the man flopped lazily onto the cushion after it, the plain brown container positioned precariously on the raised edge of the mat. With no semblance of grace of restraint, Alfonz casually tore the package apart in order to get at what was inside. Cleaning would come later; for now, spoils.

Turning the eviscerated package over, the man’s disappointment in the day’s haul only continued to grow. Tumbling out of the wreckage to rest on his outstretched hand was a tiny, yet incredibly ornate, crystal. Normally, one should be elated to receive such a treasure, as the possibility of it belonging to some far string of royalty or power – and thus, being incredibly valuable – was a serious one indeed. But to Alfonz, surrounded by royalty and the extravagance that came with it, was unimpressed. He would have preferred something practical or, hell, something just plain fun. Like a board game.

Bored and disappointed, the man lazily began to turn the glimmering object over in his hands, looking for signs of an inscription. No note had been stuffed in the package, so there had to be one…Except, there wasn’t. Why had such an expensive-looking object been sent to him with no one to claim the glory? It seemed to defy the entire purpose of showering him with gifts. Perhaps it was a fake, meant to insult him?

He found it considerably more interesting that way.

As he studied the gem with newfound interest, he noticed a dull glow emanating from within. At first, he had thought it simply refracted light, but now, he wasn’t so sure. Perhaps the stone was magical in nature?


Well played, mysterious sender. Well played.

With that admittedly amusing thought, Alfonz’s vision was shrouded in abrupt darkness, as if someone had thrown a punch squarely between his eyes. The man could feel solid ground beneath him, but his other senses remained a blur. His nose felt as though it were under siege from several hundred painfully strong scents at once, and his vision made no sign of its return. Alfonz wondered if his ‘admirers’ had finally taken their affection for him one step too far, as a few human beings of note had done in his own world. Would he die here, because of a mysterious, anonymous package? After all he had been through?

It was sickening to think about. But perhaps it wasn’t the only thing making him sick.

The feeling only continued to intensify, and the man suddenly felt as if he were hurtling through a void. It was as if he was skydiving in a dream, only blind, and definitely without a parachute.

And, as suddenly as it had appeared, the feeling was over. The man’s senses returned with abrupt violence, and he felt as though he wanted to throw up on the spot. Although he could see, he found it difficult to focus on anything, as if this was his first moment of sight after a lifetime of blindness. His senses reeled with the effort, but slowly, surely, he returned to functioning form.

Alfonz was no longer in Celestia’s quarters; hell, he was no longer in Canterlot. By the look of his surroundings, he was somewhere in Ponyville. And, by the look of his perspective, he wasn’t at all as he should be.

Initially, the man thought he might have taken another form. He found it difficult to stay above the grass, and estimated he stood only a few inches tall. He wondered if he had been turned into some sort of insect, doomed to wander Equestria in such a vulnerable state for the rest of his days. Looking down at himself, however, quickly put that fear to rest.

Alfonz was definitely himself, but much, much smaller. The crystal was nowhere to be found, of course. Silently he hoped it had been destroyed in the process, as he feared others might suffer the same fate should they come across it. The how and the why of the situation would have to come later, as he realized the extent of the danger he was in. Perhaps life as beetle would have been a more merciful one.

The man struggled through the grass with some effort, his body sore and his balance unsteady. The extreme change in perspective made it nearly impossible to tell where, exactly, he was – the architecture of the buildings in the distance being the only indication he was in Ponyville at all. The man was on high alert, trying to keep track of every angle to detect incoming threats. Unfortunately for him, this was easier said than done.

He could hear it before he could see it. The pony’s hooves made an impact that reverberated through the grass and into his bones. He felt like he was in Jurassic Park, and this was where the cup of water would start to twitch ever so slightly, alerting the oblivious cast of their impending doom. It was a terrible feeling, needless to say. Fearing what the encroaching equine might do if they found him, Alfonz endured the serious risk of being crushed as he dove into the grass, lying flat against the jungle of blades in an attempt to hide.

The sound of the pony’s approach grew louder and louder – the grass that held Alfonz in place seemed to shift with each fall of the creature’s hooves – and then, without warning, as it reached its loudest, it stopped. The man held his breath.


The sound was like thunder, but the implications were far worse than the ringing in his ears. How the hell had he been seen already?

“Are you still there?”

Alfonz was not an idiot. As innocent as the voice sounded, he knew that his doom lay beyond if he replied. He would risk being trod upon with the equine’s departure a thousand times before he gave himself up. But, unfortunately, the decision was not up to him. The grass around him, that which engulfed his vision, suddenly grew darker, as if stormy skies had rushed in out of nowhere.

“There you are!” the voice said with notable satisfaction, almost relieved. Alfonz, unwilling to meet his fate, did not stir. The man was slowly pulled from the safety of the grass, the impossibly large world around him rising up before his eyes. A thin veil of cyan energy hung around his view; the telltale signs of a unicorn’s magic at work. If nothing else, he had become quite familiar with it.

“I saw a really bright flash, and then I saw you in the grass!” the voice explained, turning his limp form around. If Alfonz wasn’t sure of his doom before, he definitely was now. “I had heard the others talking about something like you. But they said you were a giant! Were you always this small?”

The mint skin; the cyan mane; the lyre cutie mark looming an impossibly large distance away; yep, it was Lyra alright.

“Hey, can’t you understand me?” the mare questioned with a sincere look of concern, jostling the tiny human to try and wake him from his stupor. “Don’t tell me you don’t speak our language!”

“Uh…no hablabla engliese,” the man responded in a shameful butchery of the Spanish language. Lyra gave him a strange look.

“I guess I’ll just have to teach you,” she concluded with subdued gusto. Alfonz grimaced. Every time the unicorn opened her mouth, he felt as though he were in a wind tunnel. Even the slightest breeze – or the mare’s breath – was more than a little disorienting. And with her voice so close, he wondered if he would go deaf before she realized what she was doing to him.

“Would you like to come home with me?” Lyra asked suddenly, giving him an expectant grin. She spoke as if he were more a toy than a potential mate. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Regardless, his course was clear.

“No!” he cried, shaking his head frantically while waving his arms for dramatic effect. He had a feeling it wouldn’t be enough, though.

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll warm up to the idea once we get there!” Lyra insisted with a smile, as if failing to register his refusal at all. “And does this mean we do speak the same language?!”

God damn it.

The trip to the pony’s abode was surprisingly uneventful, given the fact that he, a tiny representation of a race with no natural place in Equestria, was suspended in front of the face of a unicorn that, from some angles, looked as though she were talking to herself. And there was definitely no shortage of Equestrians on their journey. Besides the occasional glance or the frequent blood-in-the-water look when they passed, they seemed genuinely uninterested in the bizarre scene before them.

Lyra’s home was as generic as it could be, mirroring the architecture of those buildings around it. The inside shared in the plainness, but Alfonz found it surprisingly cozy. Or, he would, had he been there under different circumstances. His unicorn captor made a clear path to the staircase, chatting away about how she had found him or why she was so interested in him. She didn’t even give him the common decency of a “would you like to join me in the bedroom?”, even if it was just the illusion of choice.

“I know it isn’t much, but it’s home!” she explained as they entered the bedroom proper. From Alfonz’s perspective, the room looked more like the Grand Canyon than a place of dwelling. With a large dresser to their right, a lounge couch at the opposite wall, and a large bed and nightstand looming in the distance, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where they were going next.

Except, maybe it did.

Instead of making a beeline for the bed as the man expected, Lyra instead brought him over to the couch. The mare crossed the massive expanse of the room in a few seconds, and it was only then that Alfonz truly realized how absolutely enormous the unicorn was on this scale. The revelation threatened to drain away any hope of escape, and he fought desperately to convince himself otherwise. His size, though, may yet be his salvation. If he was able to evade her sight for only a few seconds, he could hide in any number of places around the room.

Alfonz’s progress slowed to a half a few feet from the couch. The man was left hovering, confused and disoriented, at what felt like several hundred feet in the air. Just as he was about to question the mare’s motives, a flurry of movement shot past him, resulting in a gale that would have sent him soaring across the room if not for the unicorn’s magic.

By the time the man had regained his senses, he was already making a descent. Lyra was sprawled across the couch on her back, grinning up at him as he wafted over. The magic that suspended him cut out abruptly towards the end of the journey, throwing him into a free fall down toward the waiting mare. The man cried out in surprise, arms and legs flailing as he tried to position himself to any sort of degree. The impact was as sudden as the fall, but it definitely didn’t hurt as badly as he thought it would. Eyes closed tightly in anticipation, the man could feel the tight bristle of fur beneath him, as well as a warmth that seemed to engulf his entire body.

Eyes opening, Alfonz found himself balanced precariously on the mare’s snout, his arms and legs splayed on either side. The monstrously huge equine beamed at him with golden eyes, and although he couldn’t see it – for he dare not move – he could tell the unicorn was still grinning excitedly.

“Hi there!” she said with far too much enjoyment, going nearly cross-eyed in her attempts to look at him. The man only continued to stare in horrified awe at the sheer size of his abductor, at a clear loss for words. “You’re not very talkative, are you?” Alfonz shifted uneasily on his perch, the mare’s continued attempts to communicate jostling him about.

Everything seemed to slow to a crawl as the man weighed his options. He could try to communicate with Lyra, as she definitely didn’t seem as malicious as the other mares. He doubted he would get very far, however, if her previous dismissal of his woes was anything to go by. But would he have any greater chance trying to make a run for it? Sure, he could hide, but that would imply she would take her eyes off him for any amount of time. And, lying before the enormous sunglow orbs, he found that hard to believe.

But he had encountered such crappy odds before. Quite a lot, actually. It was basically standard procedure at this point.

Grasping clumps of fur, the man struggled to pull his legs up onto the mare’s nose. Crouched upon the snout of a monster, Alfonz released his hold on her fur and straightened, his arms out at his sides like a tightrope walker. Each breath of the gigantic equine threatened to send him tumbling down the side of her head, but he managed to keep his balance by some degree of miracle. With a deep breath, the tiny human hunkered into a squat before throwing himself into a mighty leap.

Time slowed again as he passed over the unicorn’s chin and neck. The man had never been one for parkour or, hell, even climbing trees. He saw his life flashing before his eyes, but shoed the images away with a snarl. No more self-reflective bullshit. He was getting the hell out of here, alive.

With this thought, reality caught up with him as he touched down onto Lyra’s chest. The man crumpled into a crouch upon impact, barely correcting a lack of balance that would have landed him on his back. Although his knees protested loudly, the man stood and took off down the minty fur of his captor, hoping to put some kind of distance between himself and her horn. Even then, he found it strange the mare had barely even reacted to his attempted escape; then again, he didn’t exactly turn around to confirm she hadn’t.

Upon reaching the unicorn’s waist, Alfonz turned and dropped onto the edge of the couch not occupied by his host. Grabbing another handful of fur as to not tip over the edge, the man once again considered his options, of which there was but one: he needed to get down. The drop seemed an impossibly large one, though, and he wondered if his legs would survive. With only a second of hesitation, the tiny human dropped off the couch and plunged through the air on a violent collision course with the floor.

To his absolute and complete surprise, Alfonz managed to roll as he landed, expertly negating most of the damage he would have suffered had he fallen straight down. Finally, video games had taught him something useful! Take that, naysayers!

Unfortunately, he hadn’t the time to appreciate yet another miracle. Alfonz couldn’t hear or feel any movement from his foe, and he wasn’t about to throw away such an inviting opportunity. If he could just reach the dresser, it might prove a large enough distraction for him to escape downstairs. The man took off in a sprint yet again, arms moving in almost perfect symmetry with his legs in a sloppy attempt at “professional running form”.

Despite pushing himself to his limits and beyond, Alfonz saw the world around him only continue to grow. No matter how fast he ran, the massive span didn’t seem to get any shorter. And then he heard it: a massive quake on the hardwood floor behind him. Lyra was moving, at last. He pushed himself harder, sweat building on his brow as he ran. He could feel – and hear – the movement of his abductor; the booming “clop” of hooves, followed by a shockwave that seemed to shake the entire room. At first, it was slow and isolated, but now, it was growing deafeningly loud and terrifyingly close.

A shadow descended over Alfonz as he ran. Looking up, he could see the gargantuan equine passing over him in one quick hop that seemed to last an eternity. Her underbelly blotted out the light like a solar eclipse, plunging him into a darkness that disappeared almost as quickly as it came. Lyra turned after stepping over him, pressing her head against the ground. Alfonz had a few seconds at best to stop himself from colliding with the immense cyan head, and he very nearly did just that. The man fell back onto his hindquarters, grasping in vain at the slick wooden floor to stop his progress.

He succeeded, but with only an inch or two to spare.

“Where do you think you’re off to, mister?” the unicorn asked playfully. Alfonz was spared the full effect of her voice due to the bizarre position of her head; although her eyes were pointed directly at him, her snout was pointed away at an angle. This did little to stop the sound from vibrating his bones, however.

“Please,” Alfonz began, still frozen in a display of recoiling horror. “Let me leave.”

“But we just got started!” the unicorn insisted with another wild grin, shifting so her chin was enduring most of the weight of her head. Before Alfonz could reply, he found himself under the mare’s magical influence yet again. Lyra’s ridiculous grin followed him as he ascended, finally coming to a rest when he was at eye-level of the pony at her full height. With a particularly bright glow of her horn, Lyra gently pulled the man’s limbs to their maximum, as if inspecting the individual parts of his body.

“So formal!” she exclaimed, her magic tugging tentatively at the man’s clothes. Alfonz instinctively pulled his shirt back into place, wondering silently if things had just taken a darker turn. Lyra seemed to find this amusing. Ceasing her poking and prodding, the gargantuan equine placed her captive back onto her snout and giggled as the man instinctively wrapped his arms around her to keep his balance. The unicorn began to prance about, like a small child playing with a toy. Even though he was just sitting in terrified silence on her nose, she acted as if she was having the time of her life. He almost felt bad about poking her in the eye.

Immediately, the mare yet out a yelp of pain. Even with an iron grip on her fur, Alfonz was dislodged from his perch with the resulting jolt and was sent freefalling toward the floor. Thankfully, due to the position of her head when he fell, he was not far from the equine’s enormous body. The man used his hands and feet to try and stop his descent, but found himself losing his grip repeatedly on his abductor’s short, slick hair.

And despite the enormity of his aggressor, he was swiftly running out of fur to grab.

As the man closed his eyes in anticipation of the impact, he found himself, instead, clinging to the mare’s side, his feet dangling precariously over the open space beneath him. Thankfully, his position on her flank was not far from one of her legs, giving him a means down that didn’t involve another leap of faith.


With only a few more feet left to descend, the man was abruptly launched across the room. Lyra had kicked out her leg – almost out of instinct, as he accidentally pulled too hard on a clump of fur – and sent the man sliding across the hardwood on. Alfonz’s mouth opened in a silent cry of pain as he landed, his shoulder sending a wave of pain across his body. But it wasn’t all bad; the tiny human had come to rest a foot away from the stairs and, beyond them, freedom.

With no time to spare on his injuries, Alfonz struggled to his feet and hobbled over to the stairs. Although he could feel only pain radiating from his right arm, he could still move it, and that was good enough. Sliding into a sitting position as he neared, the man swiftly dropped down to the next step and repeated the process as quickly as he could. His progress, much like before, was painfully slow, however. It was only a matter of time before Lyra caught up with him.

As he completed that thought, he felt the advance of his abductor and heard the thunderous sound of hooves on hardwood. It was moving at a faster pace than ever and, a moment later, he felt the shadow of the monstrous horse looming over him from the top of the stairs. By now, he had barely cleared the first four steps, and had no way to speed of his progress sans throwing himself over the side, to certain death. He could hear Lyra descending the stairs, and, for a moment, he thought she would overtake him and crush him underhoof. As the sound reached deafening levels, he found himself caught in another shimmering field of azure, suspended mid-way through his fall to the fifth step. His descent down the stairs continued, though, much to his surprise. He could feel the breath of the equine behind him, and it came in short, powerful bursts.

She wasn’t happy.

“That was very, very rude!” she fumed as they reached the landing, the man held at around chest level. The magic that held him suddenly jolted, slamming the tiny human against the wall opposite the stairs with a force that tore the air from his lungs. His shoulder stung with renewed pain, and he could feel the gargantuan pony drawing closer. “I’m sorry, but you made me do this!”

A look of wicked pleasure flashed across Lyra’s features as she spoke, and it did not go unnoticed. She maintained her false anger as she turned her back on him in a huff. It was only then that Alfonz noticed he was dangerously level with the mare’s hindquarters.

And then, with abrupt violence, his field of view was filled with the unicorn’s minty fur. She had slammed her rear against him, pinning him to the wall as soon as her magic released its hold. The short fibers of hair he was pressed against felt like knives poking holes in his skin, and the pressure on his chest, waist, and legs was enormous. Thankfully, she had aimed well enough to keep his head relatively free, but he found himself having to fight to take a clear breath of air every now and again.

And the heat. The mare’s body warmth alone made him feel as though he was in a sauna.

The pressure only continued to grow as Lyra lowered the front of her body to the ground. All four hooves appeared to be aiding her in her efforts now, the mare twitching and shifting at random, as if trying to smear him across the wall. At this point, each breath the man took came in desperate gasps. Alfonz wasn’t sure if the unicorn was trying to kill him, or had simply lost herself in her own ecstasy; from between the fur slowly driving itself into his skin, he could see her face contorted in a bizarre and intense form of pleasure.

“Please,” he gasped, tugging on clumps of hair as hard as he could. “I can’t…breathe!”

The mare was too far gone to care, if she cared at all. The tiny human could feel his bones breaking, the strain so intense he let out a silent, defiant scream. And then, suddenly, it was over.

Lyra teetered unsteadily, her eyes unfocused and misty. With no magic or equine rump holding him up, Alfonz slid to the base of the wall in a heap, grasping at his chest as he tried to regain his composure. A moment after he reached the ground, the unicorn’s rear smacked against the wall with a loud thump, where she continued to twist and gyrate as if he were still in her possession. The man coughed as he rolled over, his hands jumping to his mouth in an effort to stifle the noise. The oblivious mare hadn’t noticed the loss, and he had no intention of giving himself away.

Alfonz swallowed what remained of his pain and crawled his way toward freedom. The door, his glorious salvation, was just down the hall. At first, all he could muster was a struggling crawl. But as he moved closer and closer to freedom, he found his strength returning. If he could just get through that door, he would be free. The man stood up, transitioning into a limp. There would be so many places to hide, and the unicorn would not find him again. He broke into a hobbled run, the glorious doorway before him shifting in and out of view as his head bobbed. Lyra was finally preoccupied, but he didn’t know for how long. This was his only shot, and by God, he was going to take it.

Although it felt like an eternity, the man finally reached his destination, and hesitated before it. He couldn’t exactly open the door, but perhaps he didn’t have to. Light was bleeding into the hallway from underneath the door; apparently, ponies didn’t care very much about airtightness. Alfonz lowered himself to the ground with a wince of pain, flattening himself as much as he could. Perhaps the events prior had been a blessing in disguise; the crazed mare’s rump had certainly made him more compact than he had been prior.

The man pushed through the crack with his legs, managing to get his head and chest out with little difficulty. The rest came even more easily as he used his arms to pull the remainder of his body free. Free. Just like that, he was free from a nightmare.

Or was he? He was still tiny, still stuck in Ponyville, and still surrounded by gargantuan horny pastel colored ponies. He was far from home free, but at least he wasn’t suffocating under the arse of a monster horse.

His immediate course of action, if nothing else, was painfully clear: get the hell away from Lyra’s place. When she found he was no longer there, she would undoubtedly come looking for him, and he wanted to be as far away as possible when it happened. Hopping off into the grass, the man found himself once again engulfed by the greenery. Progress would be even slower than usual, but at least he had the element of stealth on his side. As the tiny human determined his next course of action, he struggled through the grass as best he could, intent on leaving the foul lair of his abductor far behind.

A few ponies moseyed about not far away – to a creature of normal height – but appeared deceptively far away to the microscopic man. None of them seemed to be aware of his presence, however, and he felt himself relax a little. If he kept low and remained in the cover of the grass, it was unlikely he would be discovered. Regardless, he hadn’t a clue how to proceed. His one place of safety – Canterlot – was beyond him in his current state, and without magic of his own or a friendly face to courier him, what the hell could he do?

Alfonz was so intent on his thoughts that he almost didn’t notice the new arrival. A few of the ponies had already come and gone around him at this point, and normally he wouldn’t have paid much attention, but this one was more than a little peculiar. A unicorn mare of a light red color and darker red mane was sweeping from side to side with her nose to the ground like a bloodhound on the hunt. The unicorn’s underbelly sagged abnormally low to the ground and, in a moment of profound confusion, Alfonz had thought her pregnant. When the excess girth reverberated with a sharp movement, however, he realized the truth.

How strange. Although many body types existed in Equestria, most nameless “background ponies” had been – almost to the point of being eerie – cut from the same mold. Now, for the first time since he had arrived in Equestria, he was seeing a pony that was actually overweight – even if said weight only seemed to collect around her stomach.

Was her abnormal behavior connected to this somehow? Was he about to witness some cartoony display about a chubby pony on the hunt for pastries and other foods? Alfonz chuckled at the thought, but the sound died in his throat as he realized the mare was drawing closer. Ducking into the grass, the miniaturized human only allowed for his eyes to peek over the greenery, watching the red mare weave back and forth. When she first appeared, her hoofsteps were lost in the distance, but now, he could feel them vibrating his bones. The unicorn seemed incredibly focused on her task, almost tearing the grass from the ground with each sniff. She was definitely hot on the trail of something, and Alfonz could feel his uneasiness building.

In moments, the shadow of the mare had plunged him into darkness. The equine herself was looming not far away, and throughout her search her nose drew very close at times, but always veered away abruptly before reaching his hiding place. Eventually, after several tense moments, she turned her back to him and stalked off, her sniffing only intensifying. Alfonz finally let out a breath, but abruptly choked on it as the mare swung around and lunged.

Alfonz’s world became pitch black as the unicorn’s mouth closed around him. He could feel the monstrous horse’s teeth press against his waist, and feared for a moment that this would be his end. The feeling was deliberately gentle, however, and he found himself ascending rapidly as the red mare raised her head. She was carrying him now – he could feel the rhythmic shift of his new abductor as she walked – and, although he couldn’t see it, he could sense how pleased she was with herself.

The man found himself giggling in oblivious relief, the sound almost seeming to echo in the dark confines of the unicorn’s mouth. Another near death experience to add to his ever-growing list! Why a unicorn, with all their obnoxious magic, would be carrying him around in her mouth like a filthy mud pony was beyond him, but he didn’t care. He was a prisoner again, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t dead, and that was enough for now.

“I appreciate the ride, but can you let me down now?” he asked, ignoring the fruitlessness of his actions. He was feeling a bizarre rush of hope, and just couldn’t help himself. “Really, it’s fine. Just let me out of here, it’s disgusting.” His head and chest were already coated in saliva, and it was more than a little gross.

The mysterious red mare relaxed her jaw slightly, giving him some much needed breathing room. As Alfonz opened his mouth to give her a sarcastic “thank you”, the mare gently tilted her head back. “Wh-what the hell are you doing?!” he cried, trying to find some sort of purchase on the unicorn’s slippery tongue. He tried to hook his feet on her teeth, but found himself far too late. With a sudden intake of air, the man was sent sliding rapidly toward the back of her throat. Despite all his efforts to stop his descent in the seconds that followed, he could only manage to turn himself around. In moments, his legs dangled over the edge of the abyss, and the man lunged for something – anything – to save his life.

His desperate grabs finally found salvation in the form of the unicorn’s back teeth – the very last tooth, to be exact. Clinging for his life, Alfonz’s surroundings were sparsely lit by the light seeping in from the mare’s partially opened mouth. The gargantuan equine’s tongue twitched a few times in an attempt to dislodge him, but had little effect.

Alfonz screamed, incoherently and relentlessly. He could barely think, his mind clouded by a mix of fear, desperation, and confusion. What the fuck was this? Of all the possible outcomes of his life in this twisted version of Equestria, he had never expected “being eaten by a pony” to be one of them. Not in a million years. And for good reason; they were herbivores, extremely strict herbivores. None of this made sense. It was maddening.

The tiny human tried to calm down; losing his shit now would not help the situation. He needed to think. He could feel the unicorn moving, her pace unaltered despite the circumstances. Did she think so little of her actions?

Alfonz hung there, his grip gradually losing what remained of its strength, for what felt like an eternity. He tried calling out to the mare, either to plead for his life or damn her to the deepest bowels of hell, but received no response. Only the distant sounds of his host’s beating heart, and the occasional muffled sound from the world beyond, reached his ears now. Light would come and go as the unicorn opened and closed her mouth, raising his hopes of possible rescue numerous times in the process, only to see them crushed before him. He had tried to be the architect of his own freedom – trying to pull himself up from his doom – a few times, but the pain in his arms and chest barely allowed him to maintain his grip, let alone climb.

And then, without warning, the mare stopped.

Alfonz held his breath. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, he couldn’t tell. The unicorn hadn’t attempted to dislodge him so far, no matter how easy such a thing would be in her position. But she had also tried to kill him; he doubted she had suddenly grown a conscience.

The man was abruptly blinded as the mare opened her mouth wide, his eyes having grown accustomed to the disgusting dark. Before he could brace for what was to come, the unicorn dropped her head down at an angle. The sudden shift in direction threw Alfonz’s legs over his head, and the man was forced to relinquish his grasp on the tooth or risk breaking his wrists.

He found himself falling along the slick surface of the monstrous pony’s tongue once again, but, to his relief, he was headed away from the dreaded abyss that was the mare’s throat. His world suddenly became painfully bright as he spilled out of her mouth, landing with a soft thud in the grass. Even before his eyes regained their focus, the man was already crawling; he didn’t have the luxury of waiting around to leave at his convenience. This was a miracle of an opportunity – one of many today – and he prayed it would have as much success as the others.

The sharp greenery of hillside grass slowly faded into view all around him. The tiny man was pushing and groping his way through the sharp blades, like a newborn unfamiliar with the world around it. He couldn’t tell where he had been taken to, but the grass told him he was still outside, and not being confined to a crazy horse’s domain was already a major plus.

A sudden pressure on his back abruptly forced him deeper into the grass. Alfonz winced as the blades cut into his skin in places, but the true pain had yet to come. As he reached the bare dirt beneath the grass, the object above him only continued to press downward, sending a spike of pain through his chest. His ribs had not come out of his previous encounter unscathed; the pressure on him now only continued to remind him of that fact.

“Now now, don’t be like that,” a voice cooed from above. The man watched as the familiar haze of a unicorn’s magic bled into his view, this one a light red in color. The pressure relented at last, and he found himself ascending. This gave him a chance to observe his surroundings, at least; they were on some sort of a hill in the country, with a large apple tree situated at the top. Alfonz was slowly turned to face his captor, and found that she had taken up residence underneath the shadow of the tree. The mysterious red mare laid herself out on her side luxuriously, drawing considerable attention to her weightier midsection.

Before his aggressor now, Alfonz quickly found the strength to speak.

“What…the hell,” he began lowly, staring, unblinkingly, at the gargantuan pony before him. She only continued to smile. “What the fuck was that?” he asked, his voice dangerously quiet. “You’re a horse. Horses don’t eat meat.”

“I’m willing to give you a chance-“ the mare began, giving him an amused roll of her eyes.

Alfonz was half a second from laying into the mare with all his remaining strength, but hesitated at the last moment. Apparently, his plight wasn’t over, and this wasn’t as surprising as it should be. “What do you mean, ‘a chance’?”

“You’re a tenacious little thing! So I’ve decided to give you a head start. Play a little game, mm?”

“Well thank-fucking-god for that. You’re too kind,” the man replied bitterly, scowling at her. “Can you at least tell me your name, so I can find you later and turn you into glue?”

The mare thought for a moment. “No,” she said at last, relinquishing her magical control and allowing him to fall – quite painfully – back to the earth below.

“Real…fair,” he muttered, loud enough for his aggressor to hear. “Damn near break my legs, then expect me to get away from that horn.”

“Oh, I won’t be using any magic, silly!” the unicorn replied with a playful wave of her hoof. Alfonz wasn’t sure how to respond to that. With her magic out of the way, things should be much easier for him. But the fact she felt so confident without it made him uneasy.

A tense silence descended over the two.

“I would get moving if I were you,” the mare said at last, her concern surprisingly genuine.

Alfonz started with a jolt, realizing that his life was in danger. The tiny human took off into what could have been a run, had he been on level footing – with the grass constantly in his way, it looked more like “drunken falling in the direction of freedom.”

His progress was slow, of course. He had come to appreciate how much effort it took to get around at this scale by now, that was sure. If you didn’t have wings, grass was damn near your mortal enemy. And being human-shaped probably didn’t help; he wasn’t exactly designed to move up and down blades of grass at the speed an insect would. Even after five minutes of grueling, unrelenting foraging through the greenery, he could still see the top of the mare’s head looming in the distance.

If she was expecting a challenge, she would surely be disappointed.

Even as Alfonz hurried over another clump of grass, he wracked his brain for some kind of an answer to the situation. Simply outrunning the unicorn was out of the question for very obvious reasons. He could try and hide, and, normally, he would have guessed it would work. But given how the mysterious red horse had found him in the first place, it was unlikely to do more than delay the inevitable.

Unlike his previous encounters, where he had a handful of stupid or otherwise ridiculous ideas that would sometimes work out, now, he had none. Unless Princess Luna fell from the sky and suplexed the mare into oblivion, he was beyond screwed.

And, for once, he wasn’t making a pun.

“Ready or not, here I come!” the cheery voice of his executioner echoed behind him. By now, at least, he could no longer see her. He estimated it would take about twenty seconds for her to reach his location, though.

All Alfonz could do was press on for as long as possible. Pushing another collection of blades out of the way, he stole a quick glance over his shoulder. Sure enough, the unicorn’s head reappeared just above the grass around him, swerving from side to side in long sweeps. Instinctively, he stopped; she appeared to be scanning the grass for movement, and he wasn’t going to make it that easy for her.

Slowly, he lowered himself deeper into the greenery. The enormous equine disappeared behind the towering blades as he sank, thinking. Moving was too dangerous now, but perhaps he had gotten as far as was necessary. Lowering himself onto his stomach, Alfonz found a sizeable space between the grass blades and struggled through it. Normally, he had moved through the foliage by pushing what stood before him to the side, or mashed it down so he could step over it. Doing so had the side effect of making a small indentation in the grass itself, at least until he passed and the grass sprung back into place.

Now, he was doing the opposite; he hoped to hide in an undisturbed patch, and maybe, by some miracle, pass by the mare’s searching gaze. He also crawled back the way he came, hoping that if the unicorn was hunting him by scent, she would travel the length of the trail to seek him out. If he simply hid at the end of said trail, his detection would be inevitable.

His plan, as hasty and ill-advised as ever, was beyond a shot in the dark, but it was all he had.

Alfonz felt the approach of his foe. His face buried in the grass, he felt somewhat safer knowing that he could not see his doom, much like how an ostrich feels safer with its head in the dirt. A second after the feeling began, it reached a new level of strength. Only now, with the red giant looming over him, did he realize how serious the danger of being crushed was. Perhaps hiding wasn’t as safe an option as he thought.

The man’s heart began to race as the thunderous progress of his enemy did not continue. Did his ploy about the trail fail? Or was she completely oblivious to where he was, and her proximity was simply a coincidence?

A sudden gout of air washed over the man’s back, and for another fear-stricken moment he thought his time had come at last. A moment later, he felt a renewed radiance shine upon him, and summoned just enough courage to take a glance at the source. The grass that had been directly above him, shielding him from his doom, had been completely stripped away, revealing him to the sun. The monstrous equine he had been hiding from loomed overhead, chewing contently.

She looked him right in the eye as she swallowed.

“Oh come on!” Alfonz cried, rolling onto his back. He had barely lasted a minute! What the hell kind of a chance did he really have?!

“Hi there!” the unicorn greeted with an innocent smile. “That was fun!”

“It was a blast,” the tiny human replied sarcastically, glaring up at her.

“Now I think some quality time is in order,” the mare declared. Alfonz watched in horror was the equine’s gargantuan head descended upon him, engulfing up to his waist within her dripping maw once more. His legs flailing outside her lips in protest, the tiny human was brought back up the hill with his captor. The experience was many times more horrifying than the last; instead of merely holding him in place with her teeth, she assailed him with her tongue like he was some sort of living popsicle.

After one particularly violent jostle, the mare’s jaws relented and he spilled out of her mouth with a gasp. Falling a short distance, Alfonz’s impact was a surprisingly soft one. Instead of the jagged vigil of grass blades, he found himself on the soft bristle of pony fur; instead of the hard earth beneath his arse, he found only cushiony flesh.

The monstrous equine was seated beneath the tree once more, in the same position as before. He was perched on her distended stomach with her enormous head not far away, her luminous emerald eyes putting a tangible weight on his body with their gaze. Quite the lazy position for someone about to kill him, surely, but with the horn of hers, she wouldn’t need very much to do it.

“Why?” he asked, falling to his hands and knees. “This is not how ponies work…”

“It’s nothing personal. Really!” his captor assured him with a surprising level of sincerity. “I just can’t help myself.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that before…” he muttered. He paused. “Wait what– “

The unicorn’s magic gripped him before he could complete the thought. The following seconds were a nightmarish blur. He was hoisted above the mare’s head, suspended by his arms like some sort of offering of grapes to bedridden nobility. Her mouth opened beneath him, its gargantuan width only adding to the horror of the moment. It was a sickening fate. After all he had endured, this was how Alfonz’s life would end.

The unicorn’s magic cut out, and the tiny man was thrust into a free fall. Seconds later, the mare’s jaws slammed shut around him, plunging him into the grotesque darkness he had longed to escape from not long ago. Alfonz could feel a brief impact he had with his foe’s tongue before he entered another free-fall. This time, there would be no last ditched effort that saved him from his fate. The enormous equine swallowed, and the man was pulled down to his doom.

What happened next, he could scarcely remember. With no light inside the interior of a pony, he could not see his hand in front of his face. With no oxygen inside the gullet of a living creature, he quickly found himself choking on his last ounce of air. And with corrosive acid all around him, it didn’t take long for him to start feeling its sting. What his host had done after her victory, he hadn’t a clue. With only the rhythmic beating of her heart to console him, Alfonz struggled to maintain consciousness in his toxic environment.

And then it was over…and not in the way he had expected.

With a bright flash, a rush of air filled his lungs. Sight returned to his eyes, blinding him with sudden light and color. The sounds of birds chirping in the distance reached his ears, and the gentle – perhaps less so at this scale – caress of the wind blew by his face. All the wonders of his senses returned to him, filling him with astonishment and confusion.

As his eyes gradually adjusted to the sudden change, he found himself staring into the gigantic orbs of the pony who was to be his doom.

“Wha…Ho…I don’t,” he stammered, his mind reeling from what had just transpired. Alfonz manically examined himself to confirm that he was, in fact, alive; besides minor damage done to his clothes, the man was intact and unharmed.

“What?” the unicorn asked. “You thought I was going to…? Haha!” she laughed, giving him a wild smile. “I’m a pony, silly!”

“I don’t even brain can’t am fuck,” Alfonz deadpanned, his eyes wide and his face contorting in the deepest frown he could muster. This was madness. This was a place of pure insanity.

The red glow of the monstrous horse’s magic returned, gently lifting Alfonz off his perch on her midsection. The man hardly resisted, his brain fried and desperately attempting to maintain its place in reality. His leg slowly bent at the knee, exposing the bottom of his shoe. The bright glow from the limb seemed to snap him out of his delirium, and he turned to regard it. A bright green rune, etched in blazing magicks, was positioned dead center on the sole of his sneaker.

“What…” he muttered, unsure how to process the new information.

“So I could find you,” the unicorn explained, “when you were…inside,” she concluded sheepishly. “I didn’t cheat in our game earlier, promise!”

Alfonz slowly looked from the rune to the one responsible, completely dumbfounded. “I want to go home…”

“Oh, but didn’t you have fun today?” the red giant asked, seeming almost desperate. “We can keep having fun together. You don’t have to leave.”

The tiny human gave her a strange look, one of both disgust and confusion. Then, it dawned on him. Even if she didn’t want to truly eat him, she wanted this to become a regular thing. To endure that, over and over, only to be retrieved and forced through it again…

“I’m sure you’ll warm up to the idea!” the mare said at last, giving him another wide smile, in the same refusal-denying tone he had come to expect. Just the sight of her grin gave him the creeps.

This was a fate worse than death.

“Can you put me down, please?”

The nameless mare hesitated for a moment before relenting with a nod. Alfonz was gently lowered back into the grass, and the mare made no move to guard against possible escape. Branded as he was, even if he somehow evaded her, she would surely find him again in no time.

That didn’t stop him from running, though.

Flinging himself through the greenery like a wild man, Alfonz didn’t care about the pointlessness of his actions. He had been pushed beyond all reason. He just wanted to get away, to leave this waking nightmare behind.

In the distance, he could see another pony coming toward the hill; a plain, tan-skinned mare with a deep blue mane. At first, he paid it little mind, but then something caught his eye. There was something strange about this pony, and for a moment he thought it might be another chubby variant. No, that wasn’t it, but he could see something between its legs. No…not just one; there were two of them.

They were…they were…

Alfonz A. Clyde, a man who had been beset by horny equines for months, fought in many a fierce pony-punching battle, survived being robusted with a giant horse’s arse and endured the descent into another’s gullet, screamed in horror and fainted on the spot.

BONUS: The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

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“I never thought I’d be glad to see this place.”

The man gazed out at the little town in the distance and smiled. Dressed in an uncharacteristically fine outfit, Alfonz squirmed restlessly at the back of the flying transport that bore him. It surprised him how much he yearned for familiar territory, despite the horrors that plagued him in the past.

“Oh, it wasn’t that bad,” insisted his traveling companion. Beside him sat none other than the Princess of the Night, Luna. The alicorn herself was even more finely dressed, with an ocean blue dress that skirted the ground at all times. How she could move as well as she could in such a thing was beyond him.

“You were off having grand old time with royalty and noblemares,” Alfonz retorted, taking his eyes away from the scenery. “I was busy beating off thousands of mares with a stick.” The man shuddered. “And don’t even get me started on the kind of shit Cadence was up to!”

The carriage swooped through the air like a gleaming, golden bird of prey, drawing them ever closer to Ponyville, and ever closer to Canterlot. Alfonz yearned for the boring familiarity of the castle grounds, after a weekend of chaos and uncertainty the likes of which he hadn’t experienced since before the Princess’ proclamation. Of course, it was only when the boredom was gone that he realized how much he valued its presence.

“Don’t you enjoy getting away from that dreary old castle every now and again?” Princess Luna asked, sighing longingly as she gazed back the way they came. She acted as if their weekend getaway was the honeymoon of her dreams.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

With a roll of his eyes, the man returned his gaze to the ground below. Although they had already flown thousands of miles by now, it seemed as though this final stretch of their journey would last an eternity.

Abruptly, the carriage rocked.

“What was that?” Luna thought aloud, looking quizzically over the side of their transport. The guards pulling the carriage took an equally abrupt change of course, weaving their way through the sky in a complicated fashion. “What is going on?” the alicorn commanded, shifting forward to make sure her inquiry was not lost in the commotion.

“A thousand pardons, your highness, but we’re taking fi-“

One moment, they were shooting through the skies in an evasive pattern. The next, Alfonz was plummeting to the ground at a blistering pace, the smoking and ruined remains of the carriage shooting by overhead, with the pegasi commanding it struggling for control.

As the man opened his mouth to shout incoherently his disapproval of these turn of events, the air was forced from his lungs as he landed against something small, but sturdy. A moment passed before the man could see straight, and realized he was across the back of Princess Luna, her magnificent dress as tattered as the transport they had just escaped.

A tense silence hung over them as the two descended toward the ground. The alicorn had no trouble staying aloft with her new cargo, but did not continue on for Canterlot. With one look at her furious expression, Alfonz knew why.

Hell hath no fury like a mare’s romantic journey ruined.

The two touched down not far from the town center. Without saying a word, Alfonz shifted off the Princess’ back and stood, thankful, on solid ground once more. The smoking trail of the carriage was all they could see from such an angle, and the fate of their pegasi operators was a mystery indeed.

The mid-afternoon crowd began to form around them, some concerned, others frightened, others still with that blood-in-the-waters look that Alfonz oh so loved.

“What is the meaning of this?!” Princess Luna roared, pointing a hoof at the gray line that zigzagged across the sky above them. “Who dares…?!”

The ponies looked around in bewilderment, most at a loss for words. An ever-climbing number of them were joining the “terrified” category now, after witnessing the Princess’ wroth.

“Are you guys under attack? Is anyone hurt?” Alfonz asked, surprising himself with his own concern. Regardless, he wanted answers. The crowd parted, and six very distinctive shapes rushed through, each adorned with an elaborate piece of jewelry.

The bearers of the Elements of Harmony had arrived, with their elements in tow.

“Ah,” Luna said with a fierce smile at the sight of them. “It is good you are here, Princess Twilight. Our transport to Canterlot has been shot from the sky!”

“Wait, Princess-“ Alfonz began, giving the new arrivals another, closer look.

Holy shit, she has wings.

“Whe - Ho - Wh - “ Alfonz stammered, contorting in various ways as he tried to wrap his head around this newest revelation.

“I know the situation seems dire, but I do not think it is necessary to bring the Elements-“ the lunar Princess continued, giving Alfonz a sympathetic look in response to his minor breakdown.

An eruption of light followed; so intense was the blaze that he man was forced to cover his face with his arms or risk losing his sight. His ears offered no sense of what was going on either, as they were engulfed in a cavalcade of sound and violence. The attack continued for what felt like an age, then abruptly ended.

Princess Luna was gone from his side.

In fact, she was soaring upward, carried on a fount of light so bright and enormous it mimicked the sun in the sky. The alicorn Princess was leaving Ponyville behind, sent to some far off land in the shortest of time possible.

“Twilight…this doesn’t feel right.”

The statement brought Aflonz’s attention back to those not yet in orbit; all six elements of harmony were just beginning to dim, with each bearer – sans Twilight – looking a mix of confused and afraid. The newly crowned Princess herself looked determined, even angry.

“It has to be done, Applejack. I’ve – ...we’ve – waited long enough.”

“Will…will the Princess be OK?” a meek voice inquired from the alicorn’s left.

“She’ll be fine,” Twilight replied dismissively. “We just need her out of the way for a while.”

“You’ve gone mad,” Alfonz laughed, grinning like a madman. The surreal nature of the situation put him in a state of total disbelief. “At long last, you’ve been driven insane by your own desire.”

“Cute,” Twilight sneered with a condescending smile. Her response was far more disturbing than it should have been. Even by the low standards he had set for the world, the former unicorn was acting strange. She had been pushy in the past – to an extreme – but now she seemed almost…spiteful. Selfish. Dangerous.

Of the many days he regretted giving away his anti-magic pendent, he had a feeling this would be the foremost for a long time to come.

“If you think I’m going to make it easy for you, you’ve another thing coming,” Alfonz said, taking a few steps back in preparation for hasty retreat.

“Can we skip the foreplay?” Twilight replied hotly, rolling her eyes. “I think we can both agree we’ve danced this dance one too many times.”

“But Princess Celestia said we have to wait!” protested a voice from the crowd, earning the audible agreement of others. The other denizens of Ponyville, who had stood mostly in silence as the events unfolded, had just realized the nature of the opportunity before them.

Alfonz was fair game…for now. Long term consequences did not seem to be a strong suit for any of them.

The crowd began to collapse around them, ponies of all types shoving and arguing with one another. In moments, the bearers of the Elements were buried under a sea of angry, sexually frustrated mares.

“Piss off!” Alfonz snarled as a few mares approached, apparently the smartest of their lot to go after him rather than argue and fight with the rest. The resulting hesitation gave the man enough time to dart into a nearby alley between two cozy looking structures, his destination unknown.

“Luna – gone,” he breathed as he turned sharply, trying to complicate his route to throw off any pursuers. “Carriage – also gone. Canterlot – too damn far. Ponyville – hell on Earth,” the man listed rapidly, trying to formulate some sort of plan. To be honest, despite the disastrous circumstances, he was far more well off than expected. He had definitely been in tighter situations in the past-

The earth shook beneath his feet, and a plume of smoke rose up from the town center. Even from his position a few blocks away, the man could hear the roaring anger of a single voice. And it wasn’t the furious return of his alicorn companion.

“Good lord, she’s really going for broke with this one,” he muttered to himself, looking wide eyed over his shoulder at the blatant display of power beyond.

His odds were suddenly not looking as good as he thought. The man had enough problems dealing with ordinary unicorns – even ordinary ponies in general. Sure, he had evaded alicorns in the past, but none of them had been quite so straight forward. Twilight was not only deadly serious, but apparently willing to risk damn near everything to get her way. Just how the mare had gotten that bad was a mystery, but not one he felt like solving with any urgency.

Regardless, he hadn’t the slightest chance of resisting them. Any one of them was a significant threat, and together, especially with Twilight’s new status as an alicorn and the Elements of Harmony in tow, they were unstoppable. He had to play for time; if Luna was still alive, she might return to aid him, and she might not come alone.

As Alfonz turned another corner, a bright flash of light exploded into life directly in front of him. The man forced his feet into the grass to halt his advance and tore up a long line of the greenery with the effort, but by the time he came to a stop the light had faded, and in its place stood a very desperate, very angry Princess Twilight Sparkle.

Before he could take a breath, another commotion behind him heralded the coming of another enemy. With both avenues of escape now out of reach, the man thrust his arms in either direction, plunging his hands into the mouths of the ponies that surrounded him. The act took both by surprise, giving him precious seconds to act. Crossing his arms, the man took each hand out and gripped the opposite equine’s horn, dispelling the magic that surrounded them before a spell could be cast.

“What – !” Twilight cried out as her intended prey readied himself for the offensive. The man grabbed the newly crowned Princess by the chest and neck and hoisted her over his head. Much to her audible displeasure, the alicorn found herself soaring into Rarity, knocking them both to the ground in a cacophony of noise.

Alfonz bolted down the freshly-cleared alley with a defiant, “Be glad it wasn’t a bookcase!” Months of dealing with unruly and aggressive mares had taught him a few things indeed.

With another sharp right, the man found himself in a clearing not far from the library. Much to his surprise – and relief – it seemed to be deserted; most of Ponyville’s population had gathered at the town center by now, and were thus preoccupied. But, of course, he was not dumb enough to think he had seen the last of his pursuers.

As if on cue, a blue speck appeared in the sky behind him, followed reluctantly by a yellow one.

“Damn,” he muttered, looking around for signs of further trouble. Out in the open as he was, it would be a matter of seconds before the two found him. But if he took refuge in the library or any other nearby building, he might as well be a rat in a trap. Alfonz was out of options, and the game had only just begun.

The man took off down the street in a wild sprint, trying to put as much distance between himself and his foes as possible. There was a slim chance he could deal with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy before the others became a factor again, if he managed to encounter them alone. The rush of air and the sound of wings swiftly announced their arrival, and soon there was no question that he was, once again, being pursued.

Just as the sound reached its loudest, Alfonz turned and rolled. The blue pegasus shot by, unable to correct her dive at such a speed; the man stood and lunged for the other pegasus that he knew lagged behind the first, grabbing her by the waist. With a startled squeak, Fluttershy was forced under the man’s arm and the two hurtled back down the street like a quarterback on the charge.

“Quiet!” the man snapped, silencing the mare’s protests for the moment. “You and me are going for a little jog. If your friends value your health, I hope for your sake they give this shit up.” Of course, these were empty threats.


“P-please!” Fluttershy cried in response, terrified. “It doesn’t have to be like this!”

“Oh shut up.”

The two made their way through alley after alley with surprising ease. Alfonz had taken the pegasus on the assumption he would be cornered quickly, and might benefit from a hostage; this did not seem as immediate a concern as it had before.

“Please Alfonz,” Fluttershy muttered meekly from under his arm as his pace slowed behind the shelter of a nameless bakery. The pegasus seemed almost ready to cry. “You don’t have to hurt anypony else.”

“Look, I didn’t want any of this sh-“ he snarled, glaring down at her. But instead of the shy, vulnerable pony he had expected, he was faced with the ominous, wide-eyed gaze of a pegasus on the offensive.

“Ah…shit…” His body became abruptly rigid, almost statuesque, and he quickly found his grip on the pony’s waist fading. Fluttershy fell to the ground and got to her hooves without ever breaking eye contact. Alfonz, try as he might, could not look away. He was ensnared.

“I thought…this shit…only worked on…animals…” he said as he slowly crumpled toward the ground, as if an incredible weight was forcing him down.

“Now listen here!” Fluttershy shouted, her voice furious and commanding. “You are going to stop all this nonsense and come back with me! Do I make myself clear?”

“Aahhaa!” Alfonz cried out incoherently and strained himself to resist. His very being, mind and body, urged him to concede and follow her like a loyal hound. Such an experience was not unfamiliar, but he hadn’t the time for a coma right now.

“Alfonz!” the pegasus shouted, her eyes widening even further. The feeling intensified. Alfonz grasped desperately at his face in attempt to force his head away, or his eyes shut; the limbs struggled in vain to bring his wayward mind back under control.

“Ye-yes!” he breathed at last, now on his knees before his intended hostage.

“Good.” The pegasus turned, her tail snapping in his direction for effect. “Now let’s go.”

The eye contact gone, Alfonz breathed in sharply, as if he had been suffocating. Although he could think far more clearly now, his mind was scarred by the experience; he actually had some inkling to follow Fluttershy’s orders.

But by the time the pegasus glanced back to ensure his compliance, the man’s hands were already wrapping around her tail.

“Going to have to do better than that!” Alfonz shouted triumphantly, swinging the pegasus around by her tail. As the terrified pony revolved for a third time, he released, sending her careening back down the alley. The man darted onward without looking back to see the results.

By now, Alfonz ran along the outskirts of Ponyville. The train station was finally within sight, but, as a quick glance proved, the train itself was nowhere to be found. The man hadn’t the luxury to wait around and see if it would arrive, so his salvation must lie elsewhere. In the opposite direction was one of a few small tributaries that drained into and out of the various lakes that dotted the landscape around Ponyville. In yet another direction, Sugar Cube Corner and a few other shops like it – such as Rarity’s boutique – stood ominously in the distance.

Thus, his course of action was clear: he would throw himself into the river.

Although the plan was rightly stupid, the man had come to accept these ridiculous notions as viable options. If it worked once, it can work again. Probably.

As the small body of water drew closer, Alfonz hazarded a glance over his shoulder. Finally, his enemies made their reappearance. Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity were charging valiantly in his direction, while Rainbow Dash soared on ahead. Even Fluttershy had wafted unsteadily into the air far behind the rest. Only Twilight was missing now, and, due to having at least half a brain, Alfonz knew this would not last for long.

The river was so close. Just a few more yards…

The inevitable arrived with a bang and a flash. Alfonz, in his desperation, threw himself at the water with one mighty leap, soaring narrowly past the furious form of Twilight Sparkle and plunging haphazardly into the churning waters.

The act took all six ponies by surprise. The man did not resurface, despite the shallow depths and moderately brisk pace of the water in question. For the briefest of moments, the ponies hesitated.

Alfonz, meanwhile, tried his best to hold himself together. The plunge had already taken its toll; the man’s leg had slammed painfully against the bottom, and the cold waters were quickly sapping what remained of his strength. And, his specially-tailored suit was a wreck. But, priorities.

But he had gotten away, for the moment. He knew it wouldn’t last, but if he had any chance of surviving the ordeal, he had to live in the moment. “Play for time,” he thought to himself, scrambling awkwardly through the water. “Play for time…”

Eventually, his lungs at their limit, Alfonz was forced back to the surface. Even without paddling his way along, he was swept down the length of the river at a decent pace. Thus, the man took a moment to assess the situation; vague shapes moved upriver, and a few sparse buildings loomed further down. He was not foolish enough to think the ponies had given up, but he hadn’t a clue where they were, or what they were doing. Or, most importantly, how long he had before his free ride came to an end.

Alfonz was snapped out of his thoughts by a sudden splash upstream. Before the man could rightly assess the cause, a blue speck appeared on the horizon; Rainbow Dash shot toward him at an incredible speed, and the man was forced back underwater to avoid detection.

But he was no longer alone beneath the waves. Glancing back as soon as his head went under, the pursued human could see a bizarre shape moving steadily downstream in his direction. At first, it looked like an oddly colored assortment of debris. As it grew closer and closer, he could make out limbs, and the strange structures attached.

Pinkie Pie was swimming toward him, complete with snorkeling gear.

Eyes wide, Alfonz thrashed his arms and legs in a sloppy, frenzied breaststroke. Clever bastards…with Rainbow Dash above and Pinkie Pie below, he was cornered. It was only a matter of time before one of them caught up with him-

A sudden weight on his legs and lower back sent a chill down his spine. The man swung his head back, and found himself face to face with the goggled pony that pursued him. The pink earth pony smiled beneath her mask and sent up a plume of bubbles in an attempt to speak. Alfonz, horrified, thrashed even harder to throw her off.

Ignorant to his woes, Pinkie wrapped her hooves around his waist and continued her bubbly proclamations. The man’s lungs burned, desperate for air. Swinging his legs forward, Alfonz pried the pony loose and held her high enough to disturb the surface of the water. A few tense moments followed, with the oblivious creature chattering away, before a blue shape appeared overhead and, a moment later, shot off with the pink pony in its clutches.

Now was his chance. While Rainbow Dash was busy with her unintended cargo, he would climb out of the water and pray he did not run into the rest. He had no idea how far he had traveled down the river, but he had no choice. He had to leave, now.

Alfonz breached the surface with a loud gasp and a desperate lunge. The man’s soaking hands gripped clumps of grass along the bank, resisting the current well enough to stop his trek further downstream. After a brief moment to recover, Alfonz clambered his way onto solid ground.

To his relief, none of the other ponies were in sight. To make matters even better, he had ended up not far from those buildings he had spotted earlier – houses, by the looks of it. Interestingly, the structures appeared not only abandoned, but looted; the contents of each was strewn about the area, ranging from furniture to silverware.

Instinctively, the man hobbled toward the nearest of them. Already, he knew he was on borrowed time. The sounds of splashing water, shifting grass, and vague shouts told him his pursuers were already on his trail. Had his leg been in better shape, he might have been able to reach the shelter of one of the houses in time, where he could hide away in its recesses – assuming, of course, it could be entered at all.

But there were no rivers to dive into, no crowds to delay the inevitable. Although he had thought so many times before, he was finally, truly, at the end of his rope.

“Play…for time,” he reminded himself, searching for a solution; for a place to hide. He would be found, of course, but those precious seconds might just be the difference between life and death.

As the sounds grew louder and louder behind him – and he dared not take the time to look – Alfonz spotted a large, ornate armoire – large even for a human. With no better solution before him, the man threw open the wooden doors of the central compartment and climbed inside. Forced into an awkward crouch, Alfonz closed the doors behind him and held them as steadily as he could. He had to make this last…

The sounds of pursuit continued, and then abruptly stopped; for the briefest of moments, Alfonz thought he might have lost them. Then, a muffled whisper sounded from one side, and was cut off by a quiet hiss.

They were surrounding him. They were acting carefully, deliberately, making sure he was not laying a trap or attempting a convoluted escape. It was impressive, just as it was disturbing; they had never been so thorough.

The wood creaked, and the armoire began to move. The man hiding inside felt weightless, and knew immediately he was in the grasp of a unicorn's magic. Interestingly, despite the magic enveloping the armoire itself, he was free to move around inside. The doors, however, were kept tightly shut; there would be no sudden spring to freedom.

This continued for some time. Alfonz's leg thumped painfully, and his contorted body began to ache in protest of his ridiculous position. The man even began to feel very claustrophobic as time drew ever onward. But, alas, there was nothing he could do. "Play for time, play for time," he whispered over and over, using the words as a mantra to keep his mind focused.

Finally, his trip was at an end. With a loud groan, the armoire touched down on solid earth once more.

Silence followed. If he listened closely, Alfonz could barely make out the sounds of movement beyond his wooden confines. The words "too big" reached his ears at some point, but the context was lost on him.



"We know you're in there! Get out here, now!"

The Princess made her decree, but the man was not inclined to answer, let alone comply.

The armoire shuddered, and Alfonz felt a sudden tug on the doors. His death-grip on the wood abruptly returned, and the man could only pray he had the strength to resist. After a tense few minutes of tug-o-war, the assault suddenly ceased; the doors slammed shut and nearly scared Alfonz half to death.

"Damn it!" the enraged voice of Twilight Sparkle cried. A few additional voices followed, and suddenly the armoire began vibrating. The wood creaked and groaned, and cracks began to form all around him. Alfonz cursed, knowing his time was up.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

"W-wait!" he called, as loudly as he could to overcome the noise of his collapsing shelter. The destruction halted, but the man could feel it was only temporary. "Enough. You win. I'll come out."

Murmuring followed. In some small regard, it pleased him how cautious they were. He was a slippery little bastard, for sure.

The ponies grew quiet again, and that was his cue.

Alfonz pushed the doors of the armoire open. He was back in Ponyville - right outside the library, to be precise - and his abductors were poised for war. The six ponies surrounded him from every angle, poised to chase the man down at a moment's notice. Twilight stood directly in front of him, her wings extended, her horn alight. The lot of them seemed more like assassins than lusty mares.

But rather than take off running, or launch himself intro fray, Alfonz did something completely unprecedented; he began unbuttoning his shirt.

The man said nothing, but his eyes, body language, and, most obviously, actions seemed to indicate a drastic change. His chest and stomach exposed, the man took off his soaked jacket, threw it to the ground, and began loosening his tie in a sultry manner. To his credit, though he was far from model material, his adventures in Equestria had given him a respectable physique.

The assembled mares were stunned. This was what they wanted - a willing participant of their desires - but their familiarity with his resistance made it just too much to handle. For minutes, they stood, watching him in silence, undressing in an exaggerated and cliched manner like history's worst Chip N Dale dancer. Even Twilight, who had, moments prior, been primed to lob a spell at his face for the slightest signs of escape, was left speechless.

As his undershirt hit the floor, the ponies began to change. Their posture changed, their eyes glazed. The man had seen such a look many times before; it seemed almost a chemical reaction to his presence in all its forms. Gone were the soldiers on the march. Instead, he once again stood before a pride of lions closing in for the kill.

Except one.

Twilight noticed the change in her allies as they began their slow prowl toward Alfonz's increasingly exposed frame. She, too, seemed to glaze over for a moment, her fury lost; but it did not disappear for long.

"Do you think I can't see what you're doing?" Twilight asked loudly, defiantly, as her horn exploded into a fountain of magical sparks. The other mares flinched and halted their advance, turning to regard her with confusion and, in some, fear. "He's tricking you! Again!" she continued, the air fluctuating wildly around her enraged body. Alfonz's altered gaze disappeared in an instant.


With a yelp of surprise, the man dove behind the armoire as the alicorn before him turned into a miniature sun. A bright field of magic snatched his shield up as if were nothing, ripping it into the sky with violent force. Alfonz, legs moving almost on their own, scrambled away in a frenzy. The lone human circled the library, knowing he was as good as dead if he didn't put something in between himself and his murderous pursuer.

The alicorn roared in fury again, and violently splintering wood followed closely behind. Alfonz expected Twilight to appear before him in a flash, frothing with rage, but as several tense moments passed, there was nothing of the sort. So focused on the coming attack was he that he almost didn't notice the sounds of other, calmer voices from the other side of the tree.

Maybe, just maybe, the others were trying to distill some of Twilight's madness. He knew their efforts were in vain, though; the alicorn was well and beyond reason at this point. This was the Final Showdown, as far as she was concerned.

Play for time....play for time....

Alfonz took off down the street, sprinting, half naked, harder than he had ever done before. His progress was slowed more than usual by his aching leg, but the adrenaline that flowed through his veins helped to quell his pain. As always, he had no idea where he was going, or what to look out for, or how long he had before they were on his case again; but he had to keep going.

He ran for some time. The streets were oddly deserted - surely, the townsfolk weren't still clustered around the center? - and made for easy travel. Streets passed, shortcuts were taken; the man kept running. As he turned another corner, his legs stopped dead against something solid, throwing him up and over whatever it was. The man almost landed on his head; avoiding that, but still colliding painfully with the ground, he was left in an awkward, and vulnerable, position.

But it was not a pony that he had run into.

"Alfonz?" Spike asked, his head obscured by his cloak.

"Spike!" the man cried. He scrambled to get back on his feet and threw down the dragon's hood to look gratefully into his eyes.

"What's going on? Why are you here? I thought you were-"

"It's a long story," Alfonz interrupted, putting a finger to his lips to communicate the danger. Spike nodded. "It's Twilight, and the others. They're god damn serious this time, that's for sure."

"What about Princess Luna?" Spike whispered, looking grim.

"Busy. She'll be back...I think."

"I could fly you to Canterlot if you'd like," Spike offered. "I am a dragon, after all."

"Are you stupid?" Alfonz growled, looking over his shoulder to make sure his outburst wasn't drawing attention. "I've stuck my neck out for you already, remember? I almost got my ass killed to keep your ass safe. Like three times now. If you transform and fly off, they'll shoot you down. In seconds. Then we're both dead."

Spike frowned. "What are you going to do, then? I want to help!"

"Do you still have that amulet I gave you?" Alfonz asked, thinking quickly.

"Yep!" Spike replied with a grin, patting a spot on his chest. "You...want it?"

"Yes," Alfonz said with a nod. "I'll give it back after this shit has passed, but right now I really need a way around a unicorn's magic."

"Done!" The little dragon took the chain from around his neck and deposited it in the human's outstretched hand without hesitation. "Listen, Alfonz, about Twilight..."

"Thank you," Alfonz replied with a grateful smile. The man was far too focused on what was to follow to let Spike finish. "Just do me a favor and get the hell out of town. And keep a low profile! I don't want them after you too, got it?"

"Fine, fine," Spike muttered with a wave of his claw.

With one final look at Alfonz, Spike pulled the hood back over his head and disappeared down another alley. The man, after placing the amulet around his neck, gave the dragon a few moments to clear the area. Then, with a deep breath, he took off in the opposite direction.

He was near the edge of town now. After one final line of buildings, Alfonz found himself in the open grassland that surrounded Ponyville, opposite to the Everfree Forest, and a considerable distance from the river he had traveled not long ago. The trail some meters to the side would lead to Cloudsdale - at least, beneath it - while the route to Canterlot remained far from his grasp. Alas, such displacement was necessary if he wanted to avoid the library and the center of town.

A loud crack sounded behind him, and his vision was abruptly blurred with a sparkling purple. A triumphant "AHA!" followed, and that was followed still by the clatter of hooves and the beating of wings. Alfonz stood, motionless, his back turned to the arriving ponies. Only when they began surrounding him did he turn to face Twilight.

"What-?!" the alicorn gasped, her eyes wide as she watched the man's unimpeded movement within the field. Teeth clenched, Twilight poured even more magic into her spell, but, try as she might, the man would not be bound. "Get him!" she roared at last, panting with the effort of her spellwork. "Take him down!"

"Wait!" Alfonz yelled as Applejack and Rainbow Dash began their lunge. Surprisingly, the two ponies halted awkwardly, one mid-step, one mid-flight. Twilight was even more furious at this, but the man did not give her the opportunity to speak. "Look, I think we're both tired of running all over Ponyville by now. Why don't we settle this, once and for all?"

"Where did you get that thing?! Why didn't you have it earlier?!" Twilight fumed, not giving the man's offer any consideration what so ever.

"It doesn't matter. I have it now, so your trump card is out." A puff of vapor shot out of Twilight's nostrils, but she said nothing further. "Hear me out. You six could keep chasing me, and I'll damn well keep running. Maybe, you'll get me. Seems the odds are in your favor, after all."

The ponies seemed a little confused by his reasoning, but allowed him to proceed.

"Or," he began again, his hands clasped in front of him, "we could have ourselves a little showdown. Me, against you six; one on one, mano a caballo. As many participants as you like."

"And why would we agree to that?" Twilight chimed in, no less angry. "You're outnumbered. Magic or no magic, you don't stand a chance!"

"As I said, we could continue," Alfonz replied calmly, shrugging. "But I think we all know by now how good I am at getting out of tough situations. You hold the advantage, sure, but there's no telling how it will go..."

Even Twilight paused at this.

"If I win, I go free, and you all leave me the hell alone until judgement day," the man explained. "If I lose, I will go without a fight."

"And how do we know you won't just run away again when you lose?"

"I assume the first thing you're going to do, should I lose, is take this here pendent off anyway," Alfonz responded, flicking the immaculate piece of metal that hung against his bare chest. "And if I lose, I won't be in any condition to do anything about it, now will I?"

"Maybe we should think about his offer, Twilight," Applejack suggested after a few moments of silence. Most of the other ponies seemed to agree.

"Ooh! I wanna play! I wanna play!" Pinkie bounced excitedly around the group, ever the infinite source of bubbly innocence.

"I bet I could take him with two hooves tied behind my back!" Rainbow Dash added, bringing her hooves together with a resonating clop.

Twilight took a deep, calming breath. "Fine," she said at last. "But we don't have any time to spare. Rainbow Dash, end this please."

"Aw, no fair!"

"Yes!" the pegasus cried, doing a celebratory loop. With a look of unflinching confidence and a casual toss of her Element, she flapped over to Alfonz and waited. The others, in response, stepped back a few yards; although they were still in ring formation, their new position gave the two combatants some more space.

"Great," Alfonz thought as he bobbed from foot to foot in preparation. "How do you fight one of the fastest flyers in the world, and one of the strongest ponies to boot?" He had hoped one of the others - namely Twilight herself - would be the first to take up the challenge. Rainbow Dash outclassed him in every regard...except one.

"It's on!" the pegasus roared, shooting up into the sky like a bottle rocket. Alfonz scarcely had time to think before she was hurtling toward him in a wild dive. The man, in response, fell forward and kicked back with one of his legs, as if he had tripped. The speeding mare narrowly adjusted her course, which would have brought her face into his shoe, and instead received only a glancing strike to the belly.

Alfonz, meanwhile, caught himself with his hands and collapsed on the grass. The leg he had used in his haphazard attack was his only good one; the other, the injured limb, barely maintained his weight long enough to be useful, and thumped its disapproval now that it had been relieved. Rainbow Dash, without missing a beat, flew up and then down in another dive, this time straight down where he was laying.

The man rolled to the side in a frenzy, and the pegasus impacted where he had just been a second prior. Even though he was on his feet in but a moment, the man was already under siege. With blazing speed, Rainbow Dash smashed into his injured leg and threw it out from under him, flooring him in an instant. A sharp, stabbing pain replaced the dull throbbing now, while the man's face was pressed into the dirt.

He was beginning to think this might be ill advised.

Struggling to his feet once more, Alfonz received, unceremoniously, a speeding kick to the gut. The man gaped in silence, hunching over, as the pegasus drove her hoof further and further into his ribs. But now, at least, he had her.

The man swallowed his pain and lunged. Grabbing the agile creature by the leg and the chest, the man managed to maneuver her around with only a surprised "H-hey!" By the time she knew what was going on, Alfonz had wrapped his arm around her neck. With her hooves flailing uselessly below her, and her wings pinned to her back, the pegasus could do little but struggle.

"Submit!" Alfonz commanded, gradually tightening his hold on her neck. Although he did not like manhandling a small multicolored horse, he was determined to win, even if it meant Rainbow's lack of consciousness.

But the pegasus was stubborn. Her hooves kicked against his thighs and ribs, but did little other than give him mild discomfort. Her strength was draining fast, even if her will wasn't.

"That's enough."

Twilight took a step forward with a frown. Alfonz, looking from one pony to the other, reluctantly let Rainbow Dash go. Freed, the pegasus gasped for air and shot her opponent a scornful glare. Then, she assumed another battle stance.

"No, Rainbow. You had your chance." Twilight looked incredibly displeased. Rainbow Dash looked incredibly bewildered.

"But - ! I - ! But he - !" she stammered in dismay. Try as she might, Twilight's decision was final.

"Now then. Let's get this over wi - "

"Me next!" Pinkie cried, overtaking Twilight in a single bound. The alicorn seemed ready to give out to her about it, but the earth pony paid her no mind.

"Ugh, fine!" Twilight huffed, impatiently stomping her hoof.

"Alright then," Alfonz replied with a pleased look. Pinkie was dangerous and unpredictable, but hardly the worse option. With his slight victory over Rainbow Dash, he was one major step to freedom.

"Ready set go!" Pinkie squeaked suddenly, doing a strange jig that left her hooves almost a blur. Despite the speed at which she moved her limbs, she didn't seem to be going anywhere.

"Um..." Alfonz was about ready to question just what the hell she was doing when the pink pony came dropping down onto his shoulders. "What-!" he cried as he came crashing down, throwing out his arms to stop himself from colliding face-first with the ground. Pinkie wormed her way under his arm to stare at him face to face, beaming.


The earth pony wrapped her hooves around his shoulders, and shot her rear hooves into his stomach. Pain erupted from Alfonz's stunned form like a fountain, and the man could do little but collapse to his side, his hands clasped around the mare's midsection.

Just as soon as he blinked the pain from his eyes, Pinkie was gone from his grasp. "HOW - ?!" he gasped, as the earth pony once again dropped on him from above, forcing his face into the dirt.

"Woo, this is fun!" she cried, smiling incoherently as Alfonz slowly suffocated beneath her. Summoning what remained of his strength, the man threw himself back up into a sitting position, hoping to send the ridiculous mare soaring. But, just as those times prior, she was missing - until she collided with his face and wrapped her hooves around his head and neck like an alien parasite. The force of her arrival sent him onto his back, and though the man struggled to remove her, it was all in vain; she would not budge an inch.

"This is embarrassing, Alfonz," Twilight said with a chuckle from her position at the sidelines.

Alfonz roared muffled obscenities and shifted onto his hands and knees, Pinkie still adhered to his face. The man was desperate, both for victory and for breath. Pulling his head back, the man threw it recklessly toward the ground, using the pink pony's body as a buffer. But, instead of sweet satisfaction, he was met with the cold, hardness of the ground uninhibited, then the cold darkness of his fleeting consciousness. The mare was gone, again. The man had knocked himself out cold instead.

By the time the man awoke, things were very different indeed. While their grassland arena may be gone, his current location was not unfamiliar to him; the raw wood walls and odd shape told him he was back in the library. Alfonz was still clothed, thankfully - at least, in what little he had left. In fact, he seemed to have even more, in the form of thick iron manacles around his wrists and ankles. If that wasn't enough, he could see out of the corner of his eye bright, shimmering structures that ran along his shoulders and neck - some sort of magical containment method, no doubt. They really were serious this time.

Alfonz was seated on a couch on the library's main floor. Unsurprisingly, it was the same couch that had been involved in previous episodes of his misbegotten experience in Equestria. The man also made note of the bookcase along the opposite wall. He would need it soon enough. Though, unfortunately, he was not alone in the room.

Twilight Sparkle stood nearby, silently inspecting the gargantuan selection of books before her.

She had him right where she wanted him. He was powerless to stop her. And yet, here she was, ignoring his existence as if it meant nothing. What happened? Where was the desperation? Where was the urgency? Her and her ilk seemed ready to strip him right then and there a few times during their mad chase through Ponyville. But as curious as the man was, he wasn't about to say anything. If Twilight wanted him conscious, he'd make sure he appeared otherwise.

"I know you're awake."


"You did it," he spat, bitter beyond reason. "You fucking won. You won fair and square. Congrats. I suppose this means I'm fucked, right?" It took a moment for him to realize his own choice of words. "Ha!"

"Yes, Alfonz," Twilight replied calmly. The alicorn turned and made her way over to him. She sat, her expression unreadable, right beside him. "You and I are going to make love. And it will be glorious. It will go on for days, until I've had my fill of you."

"That is absolutely horrifying."

"Why?" Twilight responded, loosing her cool a little. "Why is that so bad, Alfonz? Do humans not mate? Is that why you're the only one of your kind?"

"You...are not...a human," Alfonz growled through clenched teeth. "Believe me, if this were a world of horny human females, I'd be of a very different mind. I might even be OK with dying over it. Maybe. I don't know."

Twilight sighed. "I wish you would reconsider. You aren't a stallion, yet I find you attractive."

"I bet you find anything with a pulse and a thing between their legs attractive." The man shifted violently in his seat. "Haven't you had your fill when the stallions were around? They died because of how crazy this shit was."

The alicorn was silent. For a moment, she even looked depressed. "That's enough talk," she said at last, getting to her hooves on the couch itself. "I've waited too long for this."

With that, the mare launched herself at him. Alfonz was thrown against the arm of the couch, the pony on his lap and draped across his chest. Her lips were already adhered to his, and the man could do little to keep her at bay. Doomed as he was, the lone human tried to enjoy it. But even here, at the very end of his long struggle, he couldn't let it go. It was wrong. He knew it to be true. It just wasn't him.

Even as Twilight was mouth to mouth with her captive, her horn began to glow and the man felt a tug at his pants.

And then the door to the library flew open with a bang.

"Twilight Sparkle!"

Twilight opened her eyes and looked, wide eyed, at the doorway.

Princess Celestia herself stood within, flanked by the tattered but intact form of Princess Luna. The rest of the Mane Six stood behind them, each looking mournfully at the ground, their Elements gone.

"Alfonz!" Luna gasped, regarding the scene with horror.

But instead of addressing either Princess, with greed, with scorn, or with a plea of forgiveness, Princess Twilight Sparkle turned to Alfonz. Her eyes burned with an incredible pain that took his breath away. She looked as though she were ready to cry - for real this time.

"Please," she whispered. "Please, Alfonz."

The man was at a loss for words.

A bright aura spread over her body, and she began floating away from the couch.

"Please!" she cried, desperate to reach him.

Alfonz sat in silence. There was no joy in this rescue anymore.


"What were you thinking?"

Twilight was suspended in front of a very angry Princess of the Sun before what seemed like the entire populace of Ponyville.

"Your actions were reckless, selfish, even insane! We can only be thankful nopony was killed!"

Twilight floated in silence, tears streaming down her face. Alfonz, freed of his bonds by Princess Luna, stood beside the Lunar Princess in observing the younger alicorn's scolding.

"I just..."

"You just what? You went against my word, you put yourself, your friends, and all of Ponyville in danger! What can you say for yourself?"

"I just never...I wanted to..." Twilight muttered, her head hanging in shame and sorrow. "It's just...so hard to..."

While her words were lost to most of those assembled, she spoke loud enough for the Princesses, her friends, and Alfonz to hear. All of them seemed a little surprised.

Princess Celestia, especially, lost a bit of her fury. "You've never - ?"

The smaller alicorn's silence was answer enough.

Celestia sighed. "I know it is difficult to suppress these...urges, Twilight Sparkle, but you are a Princess now. You cannot turn an entire town into a war zone just to please yourself."

"You never mentioned this before, Twilight," Applejack chimed in with some reluctance. The others nodded.

"You should have told us, darling. We could have helped you through it!" added Rarity, giving Twilight a sympathetic smile.

"Your friends have always been there for you," Celestia agreed with a smile of her own. "And I as well. Although you are no longer my student, you need only ask for my aid. You know this."

"For what it's worth," Alfonz began, taking a tentative step forward. "Nothing happened. I understand these urges are tough to deal with, probably even more so for a mare like Twilight. I'm...willing to look past this."

Though her friends looked hopeful, Twilight did not stir.

"So long as you agree to repair the damage your chase has done to Ponyville," Celestia proclaimed, standing tall before them all as she lowered Twilight to the ground, "and promise never to try something like this again, you will receive no further punishment."

All the assembled ponies broke into various murmurings, but the consensus seemed good. Twilight was not as tyrannical as previously thought; they all understood the pain she was going through, even if they did not approve of her actions.

"I'll stick around to help you guys fix the town up," Alfonz said with an affirming nod. "And if you're friends are busy and you need an ear, don't hesitate to ask. You've got wings now, after all; Canterlot shouldn't be too far a journey."

Princess Luna was noticeably surprised at this, but approved with a nod of her own. "I will look past this unsightly incident as well, Twilight Sparkle. I hope that we can still be friends."

Twilight looked up from her shame and smiled. For the first time, Alfonz felt like he was, truly, in Equestria. Despite the terror, the hardship, and the horror, they came together in the end as friends.

And it was just this kind of sappy end that he would expect from the show he loved.