Diaries of a Madman

When Discord breaks free of his stone prison, he proves to be much older and wiser than he was on the show. A being of ancient and unimaginable power, he forces Celestia to make a deal to save her little ponies. What she doesn't realize is that one of the terms of the deal is that she forgets ever making it. Enter Navarone, a poor human just trying to get by—or at least, to the ponies that's what he looks like. Pulled from his home by an accidental summoning from one Twilight Sparkle, Navarone is thrust into a world of ponies and more violence than he expected from such a peaceful seeming world. These are his adventures—with a few asides from everybody's favorite Lord of Chaos, of course.


105. Chapter Eighty-Five—No, Nav. You are the demons. Part 1

The rest of harvest went swimmingly. I got my percentage of the crops and part of it went to the airship to be stored for later use while some of it was kept at my house. Coffee takes a while to prepare, so I didn’t have any of that for immediate use, sadly.

Cadance left immediately after harvest. We all tried to get her to go home sooner, but she refused to leave a job half finished. Braeburn didn’t stick around much longer; he left a day after she did.

And so things returned to normal for my little dysfunctional family. Diamond Tiara finally stopped fucking around and actually taught Eva to read. All the hints I dropped that I knew Diamond was only taking so long because she wanted an excuse to get into my house finally got through her skull.

The horrible nightmares I gave her helped, I think.

November flew by easily enough, though Doppel was very curious about why I was so insistent on cuddling with her for a week—I’m not so quick to forget Luna’s estrus cycle, not after what happened to me. I refused to be alone during that week. And despite Flo’s looking, we didn’t see hide nor tail of that air elemental. December soon set in with the cold only it can provide.

And with December’s cold entrance came the first sign that trouble was brewing: I opened the beleaguered door to find Rarity standing in front of me in a warm looking scarf and little else. If I know what’s best for me, I think I’d slam this door shut. “What do you need, Rarity?” I sighed, crossing my arms as the warm air inside began leaking out the door.

“Not even going to invite me in?” she tittered. I just lifted an eyebrow. “Fine, fine. I just happen to have a long week off coming up and I was wondering... Do you remember the idea for a little competition you had some time ago?”

“No, I don’t. And I’m sure if I don’t remember it, it probably can’t be that important.”

“Oh, on the contrary! It sounded quite interesting. If I recall, it was a politeness competition, or something of that nature. We would swap personalities for the day and be judged by our peers upon who was more accurate.”

“Not ringing any bells. If that’s all, I was kinda in the middle of something.” No I wasn’t. I was just looking for something to do, at this point; it was too cold to easily practice sword fighting, so I sent the naga home to see his family before we left for the trip.

“I believe it was during the wedding...?”

“Which one?” I asked, scratching at the chin hairs that were coming in.

“The royal one between Cadance and Shining Armor, of course. Surely you remember!”

“That would be why I don’t remember, actually. If you’ll recall, I was struck by several mental spells at that time. I don’t remember shit about that wedding. Like, it’s just a blank hole in my mind at this point. Why would you just bring this up now, of all times?”

“Well, you’ve been sitting at home for a while now. I don’t think anypony’s seen you in town in weeks. You obviously aren’t doing anything and I have a week off coming up. I figured we could both use some excitement!”

“...And you didn’t stop to think about how this would ruin your reputation, if you acted how you think I act?”

“That’s the beauty of my plan, Nav! I have an idea that’ll work out so that neither of us will be impacted negatively, as long as we both stick to our characters.”

I sighed, having a feeling I was going to regret the next words out of my mouth. “I’m listening.”

She grinned and said, “Do you remember that time Twilight messed up a spell all those years ago?” I let the silence build for a few seconds before she realized what she just said. “The time when she made you swap bodies, I mean. I believe you entered Taya’s body.”

“Oh yeah, I remember that.”

“Then you should also remember that I know the spell that Twilight used to swap the bodies around in the first place. I know it and I can cast it. If I use that, we can turn into each other perfectly! Then we just get somepony to act as judges for each of us and we won’t have to worry about ruining my—or our—reputations. Everypony wins.”

“...Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“Oh posh! What’s the worst that could happen? I’m sure this’ll be quite fun, don’t you agree?”

Well, seeing what it’s like to be Rarity would be somewhat interesting. And hell, I was looking for fucking anything to take my mind off the unrelenting boredom I was feeling. So I foolishly shrugged. “Alright, I’m in. How do you want to do this?”

“It’s quite simple, really. Each of us will plan things that the other can do during the day. Somepony we know very well will follow each of us around and rate us based on how we did at those tasks. At the end of the day, we’ll get back together and decide the winner!”

“Cool, that sounds easy enough. So Taya’s going to be following you around in my body?”

“Yes, should you choose to use Taya. I will probably use Sweetie Belle. I would use Fluttershy, but she wouldn’t be very useful as a judge. Oooh, this is going to be so much fun!”

I held up a hand. “Hold on, now. You can’t be requiring me to do something like making a dress. Nothing that we’ll be doing should require us to know skills that the other doesn’t know.”

“I’m aware, Nav. The things I have planned will be very easy, trust me. All you have to do is stay in character and stay on schedule.”

“Awesome. Just so I’m sure: You know how to fly, right? I remember hearing stories about you with wings.”

She nodded. “I have... some practice with it, yes. But Taya can’t fly, can she?”

“Maybe. It was just a thought. Let me know when you want to do this and give me the schedule beforehand so we can make sure the activities don’t conflict.”

“Of course. I must say, it’s a surprise you actually agreed to this. I figured you wouldn’t be interested at all.”

“Rarity, I’m bored out of my fucking mind right now. The only things I have left to do are write more books that almost no one reads, continue hunting the forest dry, or continue building things. My house is almost empty, so I lost most sources of entertainment. I’m grasping at whatever I can find to keep myself entertained.”

“...You know, everypony in town would love it if you visited more often. Every time we do anything together, we always debate inviting you, but we realize that you’re a knight with important duties. If we knew you were this bored, we would have found ways to keep you entertained.”

“Knight, my ass. I haven’t heard word from Luna since Nightmare Night. Even in the world of dreams, she’s been silent.”

“...World of dreams?”

“Yeah. Being Luna’s knight and having helped her with something a while back means I’m able to do the dream walking shit she does. I’ve been helping her police nightmares for two months or so now. Hell, I’ve even pulled you out of one or two.” That I ‘accidentally’ caused.

“Huh. I trust I won’t be required to do anything with that?”

“Of course not. It takes hours of training even to be able to get out of your own dream. Just trust me when I say that it would be best if we swap back before nightfall.”

“Why is that?”

“What part of ‘just trust me’ do you find hard to understand? It would be bad for me to fall asleep in any body that isn’t this one.”

“Very well... I wasn’t planning on making it last that long anyway. Now, I need to go make plans! Tata for now!” And with that, Rarity began trotting away, her tail bouncing to and fro as she merrily went on her way.

I closed the door, wondering just what exactly I got myself into this time. Then I shrugged and began thinking of what exactly I could get Rarity into this time...

Rarity came by the next day with a schedule and a small list of rules and conditions. “I believe your day should be relatively easy,” she said with a smile as she made herself comfortable on my couch.

I looked over the rules and conditions first. “Let’s see... No going out of Ponyville unless it’s an emergency, sure. Nothing violent?” I looked up and saw her giving me a flat look. “Fair enough.” My gaze moved back down to the rules. “No sex. Good, you better not take advantage of my virginal body.” She snorted as I kept reading. “No purposefully besmirching each other’s name. No shit.” That was it for rules. “What happens if one of these is broken?”

“The contestant that breaks the rule forfeits, of course.”

“Go figure. Is the winner actually going to get something?”

She sweetly grinned. “If I win... you have to do something I want you to.”

“And if I win?”

“A public admittance of what Pinkie and I did. Well, what I did. I won’t drag Pinkie down with me.”

“...Deal, as long as whatever you request doesn’t hurt me.”

“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that. It’ll even be good for you, though I imagine you won’t agree at first.”

“Oh God, I bet you want me to read more of that anime bullshit. Or cosplay, since I’m the only human you have. But I already agreed. Let’s see the schedule...” I pulled it up and started reading over it. “Spa with Fluttershy and Sweetie Belle. Hm, are they going to comment on Sweetie being there?”

“Of course not. I occasionally bring her. And she does have to be your judge, after all.”

Shrugging, I continued reading. “Shopping. Write me out a list and I’ll have no problems. Cup of tea with Twilight, easy enough. Some time to freshen up and maybe some house cleaning—you just want to pawn your cleaning off on me, I bet. And finally, a picnic with all your friends. Easy day. I don’t usually make schedules... but I’ll see what I can do. Quick question: Do you consider Applejack’s farm and Fluttershy’s pad part of Ponyville?”

“Well, technically. But remember: All that time walking comes out of the time I could be in town, losing.”

“Noted. Speaking of that, you’ll have to practice walking. Tripping over your feet and busting my face means serious points docked, since I wouldn’t do that. Anyway, I’ll get a schedule to you in a few days. When are we doing this?”

“In one week from today. I shall be over here early in the morning, so I may get some practice walking before the day begins properly.”

“Cool. Oh, and no taking advantage of having a maid. I’ll give Doppel the day off so you can’t abuse her with your spastic needs.”

“I... actually hadn’t thought of that. But don’t you take advantage of her all the time?” she coyly asked. “And aren’t I supposed to act like you?”

I gave her a dirty grin. “You said sex was against the rules. That’s how I take advantage of her.”

“Well... I admit to being curious about some aspects of a different body... But I wouldn’t do anything without your permission and definitely not before the competition is over!”

“Eh, I’ll give you a BJ before we turn back. Fair warning: my body has deadened physical contact because of nerve damage and being part tree.”

“How... Well, I suppose I could try it... As long as you don’t tell anypony, of course.”

“You of all people know that I’m relatively discreet. Don’t you worry about a thing. You need anything else while you’re here?”

“Well...” She looked around the room, her eyes focusing on the window. “I’ve been meaning to say something. Don’t take this the wrong way, Nav, but... your drapes are awful. Green is such a spring color! So much of your house is like that.... I’ll admit the building is imposing, but there’s so much you could do to fix it!”

“Rarity, no one even comes out here to visit all that often. Aside from you, I’ve only had Derpy coming by to drop the mail off as company for around a week now. Until then, it was only Spike every few days for nearly a month.”

“Well... you do live a rather long distance out of town. But that’s no excuse for you not coming into town yourself. Or for your house not looking the best it could look!”

I shrugged. “It’s easy to fall into old habits. Back in my world, I was a recluse. With no excuses to deal with people, I didn’t deal with them. And without Twilight or Cadance forcing me to do shit, I don’t have any reason to deal with people. So here I am.”

“That’s quite... depressing, Nav. You know that Twilight would let you move back in with her if you asked, right? I think anypony would. But you’d probably have to get rid of your changelings, or find rooms for them elsewhere.”

“I’m not bemoaning my fate, Rarity. I knew what would happen when I moved out here. I’m quite alright with it. Besides, now that I’ve actually started supplementing more of my diet with meat, I’ve been feeling healthier and stronger. I wouldn’t be able to do that in town, nor would I be able to help Spike do the same.”

Her gaze narrowed slightly. “You shouldn’t be giving Spike meat, Nav. For Celestia’s sake, he’s just a...” She caught her own mistake without me needing to remind her, making her look away. “I suppose he isn’t a foal anymore, is he? And he is definitely a dragon... A meat eater. I just wish I had seen it all sooner.” She looked down and depressed for some reason.

“Oh well, them’s the breaks. Though I don’t know how you didn’t realize that he was a meat eater. I mean, that should be obvious.”

“You know what I meant! He always was such a gentlecolt... Though I suppose it’s better we each find somepony of our own race.”

“Yeah, have fun with that. I sure won’t have any problems finding me a human wife, I bet.”

“Nav, you know I don’t count you in that. Although it probably wouldn’t be that hard to go back in time again and find somepo—one willing to come back with you.”

“Wouldn’t matter if I could or couldn’t. I’m effectively sterile. Nothing I can do would get a human pregnant. Well, unless I ate that fruit from the Everfree.”

She blinked in surprise. “Fruit? What fruit?”

I shrugged. “Some kind of pink banana or something. If you eat it, you’ll go crazy and rape the first thing of the opposite gender you see. According to Zecora, that will result in a pregnancy, no matter the races.”

“That is... interesting. Why didn’t I know about that?”

“Because Twilight and I haven’t exactly told many people. Something like that could be used as a weapon. And God, just imagine the horrors a half pony, half griffin would face. Although it would be pretty funny if a unicorn fucked a griffin and had a unicorn with griffin wings. I wonder if the kid would be crowned royalty...”

Rarity giggled. “Maybe. There are few enough alicorns... Though I don’t know if we really need more royalty. That would be up to Celestia, though. And Luna, I suppose. It’s still strange to think of there being two princesses in charge.”

“And Cadance.”

“Yes, but what does she actually do, aside from make public appearances?”

“Live in my house and be annoying. Or at least, she used to. Going on two months now without having her here. It’s been... quiet.”

“Oh? Do you miss her?”

“Well, I definitely miss her cooking. I’m not bad at it and neither is Taya, but we’re not her. Doppel can’t cook worth a damn, though. Probably because she doesn’t have a working nose or tastebuds. I’m afraid to allow Eva or any of her personalities near the stove.”

“Why is that? Are you still worried about her possibly hurting you?”

“Nah, I’m over that. No, I just realized that I never asked exactly how old she was when I decided to take her in. I thought she was just small. Turns out she’s just a little older than Taya—not that they ever gave me a year age, of course. And she is, of course, a lot less mature. The other three are better and mostly older, but they still have the whole changeling problem.”

Rarity shuddered thinking about it. “I don’t think I could manage having different ponies in my mind like that...”

“It isn’t really different people. They’re all just different aspects of the same person. Like, say you split your mind up. You could put your creativity and work ethic in one place, your childishness and carefreeness in another, and your mature mindset in a third. That way you wouldn’t be distracted as easily when working on a dress and the moment you get a visitor, you can switch to your mature mindset while your creative mind stays on task, designing the dress in your head.”

“I... suppose I could see the use in that. But it would still be very strange. I just don’t think it would be something I’d want to do. I’m surprised Twilight hasn’t come to talk your ear off about it yet.”

“She has. Multiple times. When I don’t tell her how I did it with Eva, she gets quite upset and leaves in a huff before I could explain anything else. She’s more interested in how it works than why it works and what can be done with it, which I suppose makes sense. The whys and the uses aren’t very helpful if she can’t replicate it.”

“Then why don’t you tell her?”

“Because it has to do with a certain trip you invited yourself along on. I thought it prudent that Twilight not learn about some aspects of our vacation.”

“I still don’t see why it matters if they know. But I trust your judgment on the matter. Aside from spreading the wonders of anime, I haven’t said a word about it. And you know, much of the fandom would be quite pleased if you were to visit a little convention we were thinking about putting together.”

“You couldn’t pay me enough to make me go to spaghettifest: pony edition. If you want me to go, you better win the competition thing we have going on and make that your request.”

“Very well... though I heard Princess Luna might make an appearance. I imagine she would be pleased if her knight was there.”

“Don’t care, not going. I absolutely do not want to be squeed over or glomped or anything else you mouthbreathers do.”

“...Mouthbreather? Navarone, I believe you are projecting prejudices from your world over to this world. I can assure you that you would be given the utmost of respect. You might be requested to do a few things, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be anything you wouldn’t mind doing.”

“Don’t care, still not going. God, I bet your request would be me using the gender stones and dressing up as a schoolgirl to get ‘raped’ in a reenactment. You have just the kind of mind that would think of that, you dirty girl.”

She jerked back when I said that, blushing up a storm. I couldn’t tell if she was angry or flustered. “I would not do that! That is just... ugh, disgusting!” She paused for a moment, looking away and muttering. Eventually she said, “Although... Well, Princess Luna’s hair... I know it can be done after that horrid business with Princess Celestia and Fleur a while back. Seriously, what ever could have come over her!? Did you ever talk to her about that?”

I shrugged. “She brought it up once or twice. Seemed rather upset by it. I probably would be too, all things told. She said that her personal business was just that: Personal. It isn’t the business of everyone what or who she does in her spare time.”

“But to have an affair with a married mare! I imagine that scandal will follow her for some time.”

“Probably. She should have known better than to do it on the ground floor, where she would be easily accessed by cameras. Though I suppose that makes the affair all the more risqué and enjoyable.”

“Speaking from experience, hm?” she slyly asked.

“No, of co—Wait, shit. I did have illicit relations with a maid in the same room, but I had a very good reason. She was blackmailing me at the time and I was in a hurry. I don’t think she was married, thankfully. It was just a good fingering, either way.”

Rarity face-hooved. “Nav, you can be so... Celestia, just awful. What was she even blackmailing you with?”

“I was using that room for a prank on the princesses. She caught me in the middle of it and promised she wouldn’t go to Celestia if I proved a rumor for her. One thing led to another and next thing I knew I was hands deep in a mare. These things happen.”

“I... I need to go before I say something I might regret.” She hopped off the couch. “Do remember to make me a schedule, Nav. If I had to play one of your days by ear, I believe that all I would know to do was chase after mares. And,” she finished with a grin, “stallions.”

“Hey, Braeburn was a one time thing. After he couldn’t walk for an hour, he said no more. I figured it would be best if I kept my eyes on one side of the fence.”

“I see. That is certainly good to hear. I already hear some angry mumbles from stallions about you. It would be quite disappointing if the already small number of available stallions in Ponyville dropped because of your habits.”

“Yeah, yeah. Now out you go.”

She sniffled, faking tears. “Just... throw me out into the cold! I see how it is. No, don’t get up on my account! I shall see my unwanted self out!” I just shrugged and leaned back into my seat, crossing my arms behind my head. She huffed and trotted a few steps before eyeing me. “Aren’t you going to convince me to stay?”

“Hey, you were the one that said you were going. I was just expediting the process.”

She seemed to deflate. “Very well... I have many things to do before my week off anyway. I will see you later, Navarone.”

“Have fun, Rarity.” I was already trying to think of ways to make her suffer.

As she let herself out, Flo whispered, “You shouldn’t go too hard on her. Remember, she’ll be in a new body. With me.”

Oh shit, I forgot about that! You can’t go with me, can you?

“I can’t, not without letting Rarity know that I exist. Hiding from her will be no problem, however. And I can even ensure that she does not harm your body, though stopping her from doing something would inform her that she isn’t alone in this body.”

“I’d rather have your secret out than get my body hurt by someone that doesn’t know how to use it. I can explain it away to Rarity, as long as she isn’t too vocal about her surprise. Just tell her you’re a human machine, if it comes to that. She’ll probably buy it.”

“Alright. Hopefully it won’t come to that. Are you sure you’ll be fine on your own for a few hours?”

“...Really? Flo, I’m not helpless. I like having you there to support me, but I don’t think I’ll have many problems.”

“Many of my previous hosts felt the same way, but whenever I left their minds, they always felt... hollow for some time. Hollow and alone.”

“Well, I already agreed to it. I’m sure I’ll be fine. And if not, it’ll probably be for only a few hours. It’s nice to finally have all bases covered.”

If only that had been the case...

The day of reckoning was clear as far as my eyes could see and according to Dash, there was no bad weather planned for a good long while. It was still fucking cold—what, did you expect it to be warm in December?—but at least it wasn’t raining. Given that most of the activities I could think of for Rarity to do in my body took place outside, it was good that I knew I probably wouldn’t get sick.

“Are you sure about this?” Taya asked, flopping down on the couch.

“Hey, I’m really bored here. And don’t say you aren’t, either. I figure this is a good way to get us out of the house for a little while.”

Before she could say anything else, Doppel came down the stairs, wearing a nice little sun dress—having a carapace means you don’t have to care about the cold, I guess. Ganger followed along behind her, not wearing anything. “So what’s the occasion, Master?” Doppel asked.

“I figured we could all do with getting into town for the day. Ganger doesn’t get around much and you haven’t had a day off since the last time you did. And maybe you can show him how to blend in better when in town. I’m expecting a visitor and shortly after she departs, so will Taya and I. Feel free to head on into town.”

“Alright. Come along, Ganger.” She smacked him with her tail, not even looking back. Given how much he seemed to like her, she probably knew how close he would be.

“See you later, Nav,” Ganger said, looking back at the door. I grinned and winked, hoping he might get lucky. Although... a pregnant maid might be a liability. Still, Doppel is probably smart enough to avoid that. Either way, out my two changelings went, leaving the house with just me, Taya, and Freki.

“I know you’re bored,” Taya continued, “but it still doesn’t seem like a good idea. What if something happens?”

“Then it happens. With you and Flo watching my body, it should be fine. And I’m smart enough to avoid trouble in Rarity’s body. Everything should be okay.”

“Daddy, how many times have you said that?”

“A bunch.”

“And how many times did things end up being okay?”

“Hey, I’m still here, aren’t I?”

I’m pretty sure she was going to keep going, but a knock at the door interrupted her. I grinned at her and went to go get it, letting Rarity and Sweetie Belle inside. “Wow, it looks almost exactly the same!” Sweetie exclaimed when she got to the den.

“When have you ever been in here?” I asked.

“Pinkie’s party here, when you first had it built. Almost nothing changed... aside from the thing on the mantle up there.”

“The box with the flashlight? Yeah, that’s a few months old. I don’t put much stock in personal effects. Doesn’t seem like anyone else here does either.”

“...It doesn’t really feel like a home without them,” Sweetie sighed.

“Hush, Sweetie Belle,” Rarity hastily said. “So are you ready, Nav?”

“Yeah. You’ll have to draw up the summoning circle, though. We can use the naga’s room in the cellar for that. He isn’t here and won’t be for another week or two, probably.”

“Very well, then. Lead the way.”

I hopped back up from my seat and started walking to the back. “What’s a flashlight?” Sweetie asked before I could go very far.

“A human invention used to shine light in the dark.” I walked over to the mantle and pulled down the box Cadance gave me, opening it. “This here’s the royal savior star.” Rarity and Sweetie both gasped as the room lit up brightly. I grabbed it, turning the light a dim green, and set the box aside. “Basically just a glorified flashlight. Catch.” I tossed it at Rarity.

She caught it with her magic, turning the crystal a bright blue. “Interesting... So the color depends on the pony holding it?”

“As far as I can tell.”

“What’s it made of?”

“Fuck all if I know. Anyway, let’s get on with this. Freki, you’re on house guarding duties. Anyone that doesn’t belong tries to break in, make them sincerely regret it.” Rarity flew the star over to my hands and I tossed it back in the box, closing it with a snap. All of us but the moody wolf finally set off for the dark depths of my home with me at the head.

“At least the kitchen feels warmer,” Sweetie Belle idly commented as we walked, looking over the decorations that Cadance had put up in her time there.

“Cadance got bored of looking at empty walls,” I replied, opening the door to the cellar. “Mind your step. If you trip, you’ll bump into me, and I don’t want to break anything.”

“Thanks for the concern,” Rarity dryly said, following me and Taya into the darkness. “Though a light would be useful.”

“Damn, I always forget about that. There’s a switch by the kitchen door. I can see in the dark, so I don’t usually notice.” After a second, a light flickered on, shrouding the room with shadows. Still, it cut back the darkness enough that the three of them could get down.

“What’s all this junk?” Sweetie Belle asked, poking at a hunk of wood.

“Some of them are failed experiments. Some of them are successful experiments. That right there is a machine that will hurl a metal pole for about five hundred meters.” Though it’s only accurate to about two hundred. “It’s currently broken down, though. I don’t think that would leave a positive impression if I left it in my yard.”

“Well, if nopony knows what it is...”

“It would be obvious if it was set up. Anyway, through here.” It amused me that Sweetie didn’t ask about the giant fucking reactor right there next to her, instead concentrating on the wood.

“Whoa! I didn’t know you had a pool!” Sweetie’s voice cracked there at the end, which I always thought was kind of adorable. “Why didn’t you tell anypony?”

“No one asked. Is this area fine, Rarity?”

“It is,” she confirmed, looking around. “I must say, I quite like it down here. It’s calm and peaceful and the lighting is nice.”

“Water feels good, too,” I said, stretching my wings. “Anyway, let’s get on with this.”

“Can we go swimming while you work?” Sweetie Belle quickly asked.

“Hey, I don’t care,” I replied. “But remember that when we leave, you’re going to be outside in the cold. You don’t want to be wet in that.”

“Oh... Don’t you have towels?”

I looked to Rarity to have her tell Sweetie to shut up, but Taya quietly said, “I can dry you off. I learned how.”

“Yay!” Sweetie jumped straight into the pool before anything else could be said.

“...I hope that water is clean,” Rarity distastefully commented.

“It’s spring fed,” I said as Sweetie Belle’s head popped out of the water and she spit some water out. “So it’s about as clean as any spring water is.”

“You two coming in?” Sweetie asked, looking at me and Taya.

Taya looked up at me. I shrugged and jerked my head at the water. She shook her head. I knelt down, wrapped my arms around her, and tossed her in, thanking the naga for making me work out. “I don’t want to get my clothes wet, sorry,” I told her as Taya surfaced, glaring at me. “Have fun, you two.” I looked back over to Rarity, who was pulling a set of saddlebags off her back. “You need any help?”

“No, I’m quite alright. I just need to make sure I get the circle right. It’ll probably take... oh, fifteen minutes.” Her horn lit up and some chalk floated out of her bag. “I haven’t drawn one of these in years.” Following the chalk was a spellbook. “Now, let’s get started.”

I heard a splash from behind me as Taya pulled herself out of the water. An orange glow surrounded her and all the water in her fur just fell away from her, suspended in a field of magic. She tossed it behind her, dropping it into the pool. The aura disappeared around everything except for her horn as she pulled another stick of chalk from Rarity’s bag.

“I can draw it in half that time,” she confidently said. “Go play with your sister.”

Her horn lit up brighter and Rarity was tossed into the pool, squealing as she soared over us. Taya nabbed the spellbook from the air before it could hit the floor and walked over to an open area. She immediately began drawing while opening the magic book and looking for something.

“Taya, what have I told you about acting like a bitch?” I said, crossing my arms.

“I learn by example, daddy.” She stopped flipping pages and nodded, going back to paying attention to whatever she was drawing.

“Just because I’m a dick doesn’t mean you have to be. It’s the goal of every parent to make a child that is better than they are, and I’m doing my best to make that easy for you. However, you seem to be fighting my efforts. You need to stop that shit and behave.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” she absentmindedly said as she drew. I am getting sick and tired of her bitchy behavior. Just one more push. I dare you. I imagine some human punishments would teach you a lesson.

Flo sighed. “Nav, she needs to be able to walk. Don’t punish her until you get back tonight. Maybe she’ll learn a lesson today or something.”

Yeah. Right. I know Flo was getting just as tired of it, though. Yeah, I know I’m not exactly the best example, but that doesn’t give her an excuse to follow me.

Anyway, Taya got the circle done relatively quickly. Right after she did so, a shivering Rarity removed herself from the pool, dripping water and looking somewhat traumatized. Her normally very styled hair was hanging limply down her head. When Taya’s horn lit up and dried her off, Rarity’s coat immediately poofed out, standing straight up, while her hair turned into an afro.

One of her eyes twitched a few times before she snatched her bag closer and ripped a brush out of it, running it over her head first, somehow going from a fro to its normal style, and then on her coat, doing the same thing.

“We shall never speak of this again,” she flatly said, tucking the brush back into her bag. “Navarone, to the circle.” We both walked over to the runic circle that Taya drew. I sat down in it, since Rarity would probably lose her balance quickly if she transferred when I was standing. “Are you ready?”

“Nope. Do it.” She blinked, but shrugged and her horn lit up. A second later, my soul was violently ripped from its mortal husk and sent through the void into Rarity’s body. “God, why do I suddenly feel like whining?”

“And why do I suddenly feel like having sex with anypony that moves?”

I grinned at what she said. “Watch that, Rarity. I don’t say anypony.”

“And I don’t say anyone. You better not ruin me, Navarone.”

“Oh come now. Your sister is watching me. Surely she’ll be able to keep me in line.”

“...I’m sure. Now, how do I work these legs?”

“We’ll get to those. First, the fingers. Can you stretch them? And pick things up with them?”

She slowly unfurled her fingers, lifting them up to her eyes to watch them in awe. After a second, she reached over to where Taya had left the chalk, twisting her newfound fingers around them. She gasped. “It’s so rough!”

“It’s chalk, of course it’s rough. So you can grab things, good.” I walked over. “Put both hands on my back.”

She did so. “So soft!”

“Yep. This is what you spend all that time on your coat for. Now bend your knees so they’re pointing up. Push up with your hands and pull on my back.” She slowly did so, lifting herself off the ground. Soon enough, she was all the way up. “There. Now slowly let go of my back.” I stepped away as she did so.

“I’m so... tall! And Celestia, everything looks so weird! And it all sounds weird, too. I don’t really remember that back when I was you before.”

“The looking weird is because of your predator eyes. The sounding weird is because of your different ears. All of your senses are totally out of whack right now. Give it some time and you should be fine. Can you take a step?”

“I can... try.” She lifted one foot in front of her and her back leg buckled, almost sending her to the floor. Taya caught her before she smacked her head on the stone, thankfully.

“Remember, your knees don’t bend backwards anymore. Now, try again.”

“Wait, before I do... Taya, is your horn glowing?”

“Yeah, humans can see magic,” I said. “She’s the one that caught you.”

“Interesting... Thank you, Taya.” Of course, that’s when Taya dropped her. Rarity yelped as she hit the ground, a sound I’m not used to hearing from my mouth.

“No problem,” Taya answered.

“Can you stand up on your own?” I asked.

“I can try. Give me a moment.” She stretched her legs and slowly picked herself up, probably something she had watched me do in the past. “Good! Now, to walk...” She tenderly stretched a leg out, making sure her back leg didn’t crumble behind her. “I did it!” she exclaimed after going a single step.

“It’s a start. See if you can keep it up. Taya, explain this magic bullshit. How do I levitate things?”

“Basic levitation is easy,” Taya answered, lifting the chalk. “You have to know the layout of the area, though, and build the layout in your mind. Then you just concentrate on the item and imagine it moving somewhere else. Heavier items take more concentration. Twilight said it’s harder for fillies and colts to learn because they can barely concentrate. For you, it might be easier.” I closed my eyes and built the room in my mind, trying to get it as close as possible. “It’s definitely easier when your eyes are open, especially if someone is moving.”

“And you talking isn’t helping,” I said, not opening my eyes. With Rarity’s bag in my mind, I concentrated on lifting. I felt a... warmness on my head. When I opened my eyes, I found that the bag was a few inches off the floor. “It actually worked!” When I said that, it fell.

“Of course, believing in yourself is one of the main components,” Taya said offhandedly. “If you don’t think you can do something, you definitely can’t.”

“That’s... strange. I honestly wasn’t expecting magic to work for me. I guess that’s what I get for not paying attention. Well, now I know I can.” I narrowed my eyes and concentrated on the item lifting in the air again. It slowly pulled itself off the ground and floated over to me. I settled the saddlebags over my back, rolling my shoulders as they fell into place. “There. At least I can function today.”

“Don’t you want to learn how to do more?” Taya quickly asked. “I can show you how to make a fireball!”

“That’s like asking a bishop to learn heresy. I’ll pass. If I get into any situations where creating a fireball is important, I’d rather just run the other way.”

Rarity flinched, looking around. “Did somep—one do something? I thought I just heard a wet smack...”

“Probably Sweetie Belle in the water,” I said, not buying that for a minute. What did I do this time, Flo? Looking back to Taya gave me the answer to that. She... didn’t seem overly happy with my answer. Thinking about it, I can see why. All that time I spent teaching her and helping her, she just wanted to help me with something. The one time she had the ability to teach me something she was passionate about, I shot her down. I looked back over to Rarity. “Is there any combat magic that you know? For self-defense reasons?”

“Well, Princess Celestia made the six of us go through numerous self-defense classes. I learned a few spells there. A chain lightning spell that stuns ponies is one I learned. Why? Surely we don’t have time to learn something like that.”

“You know that spell?” I asked Taya.

She seemed to light up as she nodded, smiling. “It’s not that hard!”

Look, I don’t like or even understand magic. I won’t even try to explain what she did and how she taught me that spell because honestly, I don’t want to remember it. I’d rather have a sword or a gun any day. Sharp things cut, gunpowder ignites and creates enough force to propel a hunk of metal toward an enemy, and both are natural. Shooting lightning from a bone sticking out of your head is not normal or natural and it just felt wrong to do. I only learned it to please Taya.

“Oooh, if only we had more time!” Taya bemoaned when I was able to arc lightning a few feet away.

“Even if we did, I couldn’t learn more,” I said. “Remember, I’m pretending to be Rarity. I don’t think she’d break out a huge array of combat spells even if they were called for.”

“And one of the rules is no violence,” Rarity said, gently flapping her new wings. “These are quite different from the ones I temporarily had. Feathers are... interesting.”

“I trust you know about pegasus wings. Mine are the same.”

“Then I’ll be careful. Wait... so when I walked in on you and Rainbow Dash—”

“Yes.” She chuckled, her wings extending. “Yeah, and watch out for that. They extend like that when you’re aroused. And so does something else,” I said, looking down to a certain place. “Be careful with that.”

She very quickly blushed a bright red. “I... I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

I looked up at her face, giving her a flat stare. “Rarity, that’s my body you’re talking about. I know my body. And I’m more careful about that, so you better hide it or you’ll lose points.”

“Ugh. Do you have to deal with this all the time?”

“Welcome to having a dick. Sweetie Belle, you ready to go?”

“Aww, do we have to?”

“I’m afraid so, dear. We have quite a day ahead of us, after all. And Sir Navarone here still has to get ready to go. Now come out of there before you wrinkle and let Taya dry you off.”

She sighed and paddled over, getting out of the pool. “So when are you two going to switch?” she asked as Taya did magic to her.

“When everything on the schedule is finished,” Rarity answered with a shrug.

“No, I mean for the first time. Shouldn’t you two swap before we leave?”

“They already did,” Taya said. “Now I think I see why you said this would be fun, daddy.”

“I’m glad I reminded you, then,” I said with a grin, looking to Rarity in my body.

“Eh, I can be forgetful sometimes. All those blows to the head, you know,” she replied. “Anyway, we should get going. We got stuff to do, Taya.” Oh man, this might be harder than I thought.

“Come along, dear,” I said to Sweetie Belle. “We have an appointment at the spa to make!” I led the way out of the room and up the stairs. Rarity had some trouble with the steps, but she managed well enough. “When shall we meet back here?” I asked.

“When we finish everything on the schedule,” she replied. “Whoever gets here first can just wait. I imagine that there’s no shortage of things to do here.”

“Taya knows where the study is. There are a ton of books there you can busy yourself with if you get back first. Now, you need to get ready to go. You’re going to want to put a jacket and some shoes on. Taya also knows where all of that is. Get out of here in fifteen minutes. Sweetie and I will leave now.”

“The game begins when you go outside,” Rarity told me. “Do have fun!”

“Quick question before I go outside, then. The spa chicks won’t be too offput if I don’t know any gossip, will they?”

“They’re my main source. I learn most of what I know from them.”

“Bitchin’. Let’s do this, Sweets.”

I stepped out the front door as she answered, “What does bitchin’ mean?”

“Such barbaric language! Who taught you such a thing?” I asked, doing my best to put on the accent Rarity used.

“But you just—”

“I assure you, I did no such thing! Such uncouth words would never cross my lips. Now come along before that ruffian corrupts you any further. And be sure to get the door.”

Sweetie sighed. “Yes, Rarity...” She pulled the door shut behind me and fell in next to me.

Is it bad that I really only know how to react as Rarity, but not start a conversation as her? I did my best on the way to the spa, but I don’t think my best was really all that great.

As it turns out, I do not like spas. My innate dislike of being touched probably has a lot to do with that. I dealt with it as best I could, but I believe they all knew something was off. I did my best to keep up with the gossip, at least.

Thankfully, little of it was about me. “We haven’t seen Navarone or his delectable hands in town recently,” Aloe sighed, plastering some green shit on my face.

“It’s quite a shame, too,” Lotus lamented. “Even when he is in town, he never stops by the spa. I wonder why...”

“Not to belittle your skills,” I said, “but would you be able to give him a treatment anyway? I mean, his body is so different from ours!”

“In a good way,” Aloe whispered, earning a chuckle from Lotus. “We would be able to, yes. He is different, but similar enough to a minotaur.”

“And it would not be the first time we gave him a... private showing,” Lotus added, smirking. “Ah, if only he had taken our job offer... We believe that relationship would have gone far.”

“Relationship?” Fluttershy whispered.

“Business relationship, dear,” I answered. “Navarone and his fingers would be quite valuable to our hosts. I believe you’ve been a recipient to one of his belly rubs, haven’t you? He is unpracticed, but if he was trained... Well, I believe there would be patrons from all across Equestria!”

“It’s true,” Aloe said with a nod. “But at this point, his fame has spread in such a way that he could work as a janitor and still bring the business’s name up.”

“He doesn’t seem the type to work, though,” I said, trying to keep Rarity’s general disapproval about my life in place. “Even before he fell into money, all he ever seemed to do was the occasional odd job. And a single father... Well, he needs to spend as much time with his filly as possible.”

“True,” Lotus said. “But I’m pretty sure he has marriage prospects. The only reason a stallion like him wouldn’t be in a relationship is because he doesn’t want to be.”

“I wonder why, though...” Aloe said, curiosity evident in her tone.

“Maybe he is in one?” I suggested. “He seems secretive about a number of things. It’s possible he’s in a long-distance relationship and simply didn’t tell anypony. It would be quite romantic of him to hold out for her, if that was the case.”

Lotus shook her head. “If he is, he’s cheating on her with his maid. Everypony knows those two share a bed more often than not.” Now that’s just not true. Or at least, not anymore. “Maybe he’s in love with her?”

“I doubt it,” I answered. “In lust with, maybe. I don’t think he would make her be a maid if he loved her.”

“Unless a certain human has a maid fetish,” Aloe giggled.

“That is... possible,” I said, thankful that the green goop was hiding my blushing face. “I suppose we won’t know unless we ask him. I certainly wouldn’t do so, myself. I admit to curiosity, but prying just seems impolite.”

“It’s hardly prying,” Lotus said. “Just asking a question. It’s only prying if he refuses to tell you but you keep trying to figure it out.”

“...Fair enough. Either way, I believe I respect his privacy enough not to ask. But if somepony else were to find out... By all means, let me know.” And that was all there was about me before we moved on to something else that I didn’t care about.

Shopping was boring as fuck. I bargained for stuff, bought some stuff, ate a bagel, and nothing of note happened.

The picnic is when things went to shit. I was very much looking forward to turning back, at that point. Pretending to be Rarity was fucking tiresome as hell. I learned how well I didn’t know her and her history when I started talking to her friends. I was able to fake having had a long day to pass some of it off, but I had a bad feeling that I would be losing the damn competition based on that alone.

I knew I should have had her hang out with some of the friends I had. Christ.

But the picnic was almost over when a certain purple dragon and a filly came sprinting our way. I knew something was wrong instantly from the look on Taya’s face, and the paper Spike was holding gave me a hint as to what the problem was. God fucking dammit, Celestia. Why today, of all days?

Spike immediately ran to Twilight, shoving the paper at her and breathing deep. Taya ran to me, trying to catch her breath. Note to self, take Taya jogging. “What’s going on?” I asked, still hoping the situation could be salvaged.

“Rarity... teleported... Celestia!” Taya panted.

Nope, this can’t be salvaged. “Fu—”


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