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.

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58. Chapter Forty-Five—Rewards and more spells

I found out why when we got to the surface. I almost dropped Taya back down the shaft in surprise when I saw a wagon stuffed full of gems. “How the fuck?”

The sentient in charge of the drones that were pulling the wagon answered, “The dogs had a shipment of gems ready to be sent home when we killed them. This is a few of the ones they were going to send.”

Wow. Just… wow.

As soon as the three prisoner ponies were set down, we started off down the road to Ponyville. At a walking pace, it took us an hour. The three ponies seemed to grow more and more relaxed as we got closer and closer. When we actually got within view of the town, they all seemed to just… mellow out. It was odd. I also didn’t care, because it was no longer my problem. We got to the town and I sent them straight to town hall and off they went.

“Taya, go get Spike. Bring him and something I can write a letter with to Rarity’s shop.” She nodded and trotted off. I led the changelings down to Rarity’s shop. “So what’s your name, anyway?” I asked the important changeling.

“Xerox.”

“I’m starting to see a trend here,” I commented as the wagon pulled up next to her house. “Come on.” He followed me up to the door which I opened without knocking. You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but meh.

Thankfully, nothing strange was going on this time, and Rarity was actually in the shop. “Just a minute,” she called to us from another room. When she came in, she stopped dead, staring at the changeling. “Uh…”

“Hello, Rarity,” I said. “This is Xerox. Can you teach him a spell?”

Her gaze jerked to me. “Oh. Navarone.” She glanced back to the changeling. “I… could try. What spell?”

“The one that allows them to find gems.”

“Oh, yes! That one is simple.” She turned to the changeling. “Just… can you come closer? And do you have a gem to practice on?” I tossed her an emerald that I grabbed from the cart before we stepped in. She caught it with magic and set it down on a table as the changeling stepped further in. She seemed to grow a bit timid at his presence.

They did something with their horns. After a moment, the stone lit up blue, showing that Rarity was sensing it. It stopped that and a moment later it lit up green. The changeling nodded once and backed up to my side again. Rarity watched him the whole time.

“Alright, Rarity, I have a bit of interesting news for you. You first have to promise me you won’t freak out.”

“Navarone, the last time you had me promise that you put Celestia’s crown on my head! What could possibly top that?”

“Promise me, first.”

She sighed. “I promise I won’t freak out.”

“I now have majority ownership in a very strong gem mine and I have a wagon full of gems outside that are now yours.”

She was silent for nearly a minute, that was spent just awkwardly staring at me. Then she slowly walked to her door, not moving her eyes from the door at all. She brushed past the changeling without even noticing that she touched him. She opened the door and stuck her head out. In front of her was Spike, Taya, four changelings, a wagon full of gems, and several ponies that were standing around wondering what the hell was going on.

The door slowly swung shut. Rarity turned to me with a scary look in her eyes. I quickly reached down and snatched Xerox up, holding him between me and Rarity. “I have a changeling and I’m not afraid to use it!”

That seemed to break her. She just let out a small giggle. “Now I know I’m dreaming.” She giggled again, walked up to me, stood on her hind legs, wrapped her forelegs around the changeling, closed her eyes, and gave it a huge kiss on the mouth. “Ah, that should wake me up…” She opened her eyes and came face to face with a very confused changeling.

I think Celestia might have been able to hear that scream all the way in Canterlot.

When Rarity stopped freaking out, she apologized profusely to the changeling. I honestly don’t think he minded much, personally. They were both blushing quite a bit through the whole ordeal, and I was rather glad Spike hadn’t been there to see it.

Apologies done, she stepped outside to give the wagon a real look. The changelings had unhooked themselves and were standing in front of it, trying and failing to look official. Rarity gave them a cursory look before opening the back of the wagon. Gems tumbled to the ground and all the ponies nearby gasped. Rarity’s eyes were doing their best to bulge out of her head, and Spike was doing his best to not pounce on the gems.

“Spike, take a few. I think Rarity has more than enough.” He looked at me for a moment before turning to Rarity for a longer moment before fixing his gaze on the wagon. He slowly walked over to it and grabbed a sapphire. With a shrug, he took a bite that I couldn’t help but flinch at. That’s just not natural.

He chewed it with every sign of enjoyment, though. Rarity was standing on her hind legs again, peering over the side of the wagon. She jumped down and turned to me with a twinkle in her eyes.

For a moment, I thought I was going to need an adult.

Thankfully, that moment passed without any adults needing to be present. “Thank you for this, Navarone,” she said, her voice quivering slightly.

“No problem. I don’t suppose we can get them unloaded and inside or something so the changelings can take their wagon and get back?”

She looked at them now. Xerox had joined the others and was casting the occasional blush-filled glance at Rarity. “I don’t suppose you fine stallions would help a poor little mare like me unload a wagon, would you?”

Xerox actually flinched like he was going to help, but they all turned their gaze to me. I said to Rarity, “If you consider yourself poor after getting a wagon full of jewels delivered to you, I’d hate to see what would make you rich. You have magic. Unload it yourself.”

She rolled her eyes. Her horn glowed and the wagon tipped backwards, dumping all the jewels on the ground, making a pile as high as one of those that I had seen on the dragon’s mountain. The ponies standing around gaped. Even I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrows.

I turned to the changelings. “Wagon’s yours, boys. When can we expect the next shipment?”

Xerox said, “I don’t know. I would say at most a month.”

Rarity looked at me with an expression I couldn’t match. “Next. Shipment?” she whispered.

“Yeah,” I answered. “I told you, I have majority share in the mine now. I’m apparently going to be getting shipments of gems. I know I sure don’t need any fucking gems.”

Taya had to go get Twilight to pry Rarity off me, and it took both Twilight and Taya to do it. Spike was switching between staring at the pile of gems in wonder and glaring at me in jealousy. The changelings were looking around the town, probably wondering if they could get away with sneaking a snack. Most of the ponies had wandered off by the time Twilight got there to help me.

When I finally got up, I dragged Spike inside Rarity’s shop, along with the letter writing materials. I gave Spike a quick apology and then wrote out what happened to Celestia. Well, most of what happened. I didn’t include the bedtime stories.

I couldn’t help but smile when I looked at the header: “Forgive me Princess, for I have sinned.” Then I stopped smiling and I handed the letter to Spike. Mass murder is only funny when it wasn’t you that did the murdering. One day I might be able to make jokes about it, but right now, it just wasn’t sitting right with me.

And off the letter went. “I’m sorry for being a bit of a massive cockblock, Spike,” I said. “I honestly didn’t know what else to do with these gems. I would have given them to you to give to her, but I don’t think she’d buy that.”

“S’cool, I guess. So you’re pretty much the richest guy in Equestria right now, huh?”

“I hope not. Do ponies have charities? I need a way to get rid of all these bits before it comes back to haunt me.”

“Nav, how is all this money going to haunt you?”

“Because the storage room is full of bags of bits right now. I have nowhere else to put this stuff! It keeps rolling in from all the books I’m selling and I’m not spending any of it! It’s just sitting there in that room, mocking me. I have nothing I want and nothing I need. I can’t just give all the money to you for your dragon den because then you’ll freak out and grow huge and evil or something.” He scoffed. I continued, “So I need something to do with it.”

“I think you should—” Spike started before being interrupted by me disappearing.

I reappeared in a very furry white place that slowly resolved into what I would call “squished against Celestia’s chest.” I was held in place by wings, since her trying to hug me with her forelegs would be bad news for me.

“Um. Hi Celestia,” I mumbled into her fur. “Why are you hugging me?”

“Because I know how much you hurt right now.”

“Celestia, you know I’m neither a child nor a pony. Please let me go.” Seriously, what is up with royalty these days? First Chrysalis and now Celestia?

She sighed and did so. “I didn’t think that would work. Sit, tell me more about what happened.”

I sat and proceeded to do just that. I told her the longer version of everything but left out the bedtime story again. She looked close to tears when I told her what had to happen with the dogs.

“I’m so sorry, Nav,” she said when I finished. “I sent you there because I expected peace to be possible. If I had known, I never would have…” She sighed. “It’s done, now. And apparently you have even more riches.”

“Yeah. She said I had to take the damn mine, or whatever. Said you allowed it.” I shrugged. “I gave all the gems to Rarity and Spike. They have uses for them. As soon as I find someone dumb enough to take it, I’ll give most of the bits away as well. Do you know of any charities in Equestria?”

“We don’t have any. All the ponies that go through trauma get by through community efforts, not by private charities. The gems you gave the three that were held by the Diamond Dogs and the bits you arranged the pirate slaves to get helped tremendously. I still get updates from the pirate slaves… Some of them aren’t doing too well, Nav. Though they did start a business together.”

“Sucks for them. What about those three orphans I sent up this way?”

She nodded. “Doing fine. I think they would have been better off in Ponyville, but they’re doing just fine here.”

“Good. Is there anything else you need?”

“What do you think of Chrysalis?”

“A quick opinion or a general overview?”

“Anything you feel like sharing.”

“I think she has some mental problems. I fear she’s partially delusional. I know she has some wild mood swings. She asks me to do some really strange things that don’t fit at all with the rest of her character. She was shooting flames into the Diamond Dog caves with a psychotic grin on her face and then she asked me to tuck her into bed and read her a bedtime story. When she was locked here in Canterlot, she turned into a filly sized version of herself, sat on my lap, and told me to pet her. The entire time we were in the caves, she insisted all the changelings considered me a hero and were wildly expressive of it whenever I wasn’t around, but I never saw a lick of that. I spent hours talking to the changelings in some Q and A sessions. None of them ever showed any emotions or anything like that. When I asked her why all of the changelings had horns but so few could use magic, I think she almost flew off the handle. There’s something wrong with her. Denial, maybe. I don’t know.”

She nodded. “I see. Do you trust her?”

“Do I trust her? As an ally of Equestria… I don’t think she’ll betray you anytime soon, as long as you continue serving her interests. Do I trust her myself? Well. Honestly, I think I do. I think she likes me and is afraid enough of earning the ire of Equestria that she isn’t going to try hurting me.” I thought about something. “Can I trust you with something very interesting, without you telling Luna?”

“Of course, Nav.”

“Apparently Chrysalis is so fertile she can mate with other species.”

“I… what?”

“That’s what I said. She said I knocked her up and she had my eggs. Freaked me the fuck out.”

“I did not know that. Do you think she’s lying?”

“I hope so, but I don’t really know. She said they would be raised and that I would never have to see them if I don’t want to. They’ll apparently look like changelings. I can’t imagine what other features they might have.”

“I will look into this for you. No experiments have ever been done on this, as far as I know. I don’t suppose… Will you let me watch those days, through your mind?”

“Why didn’t you just do that first? Would have saved us both some time…”

“Because I will only see and hear your reactions from watching it. I won’t know what you are thinking about. Either way, I’m going to take that answer as a yes.” Her horn lit up. I gave her the grand tour. “This isn’t right,” she muttered when we were halfway through. Her horn lit up brighter and I felt a sharp pain in my temple. “There it is,” she whispered. She didn’t say anything else about whatever it was, just kept going. When we finished, she said, “I didn’t see any of the memories you were giving Taya and that changeling. And I didn’t see any of what Chrysalis took. I need to know, Navarone, in case they are threats to my ponies.”

“Celestia, I can promise you that nothing I gave Taya or that one changeling will be able to directly harm a large number of your people. They might indirectly suffer from being left so far behind in terms of tech that it isn’t fair, but they should be able to compensate with magic. As for what Chrysalis took, I just gave her all of the most horrible memories I have of my time on Earth. Most of them were from our history. There was nothing she could use to harm you.”

“When it comes to the safety of my ponies, I take nothing to chance. Show me.”

Well, that’s how much you trust me. I showed her everything I could dredge up about the technology. I didn’t give her anything of the evils I showed Chrysalis.

“Navarone, that’s not everything.”

“Please, Celestia. Don’t make me do this. I don’t want to see that look in your eyes. I don’t want you to see what we’ve done. You know it’s horrible. You know it’s terrible. I don’t want you to see it. For your sake, please don’t do this.”

She looked me in the eyes and I could see the sorrow in her, as I’m sure she could see it in me. After a long while, she nodded. “Very well, Navarone. I trust you on this.” I sagged in relief. I couldn’t bear to see an accusation in her eyes whenever she looked at me, and I know she would think ill of me even if it was for the actions of my species rather than me. She would know that it wasn’t me, but she would still think ill of me for it. You can’t help that. “However, I do want to do some things with this electricity of yours. When Twilight sent me the letters about human marvels, they were written as though she believed you were lying. Some of what you said seemed too farfetched to believe without proof. Your memories are proof enough to me.”

“Well, you have the memories now. Do whatever you want. I just want to go back home and try to forget.”

“Oh, I know. I know just the two ponies to give all this information to, as well. But they’ll have to be reigned in a bit, tied to the royal yoke, so to speak. Do you think you could help me with that, Navarone?”

“Celestia, if you need my help in convincing your ponies to assist you, you are failing as a leader. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.”

“I don’t think there is a nice meaning in that statement, Navarone.”

“Then I guess it’s a good thing we’ve already established that I’m not a good person.” My chair flew backwards, tumbling me over. “Dammit, not in the armor!” That actually hurt.

She giggled as she pulled me and the chair upright. “I got that idea from Twilight, who apparently got it from Taya. It’s funny.” Oh lord.

“Isn’t it bad enough that I get tackled to the ground every time a pony wants a hug? Why do you insist upon throwing me around with your horrid magic as well?”

“As I said, it’s funny.”

“Freaking Trollestia. Don’t you have princess things to be doing?”

“Aww, is the big, bad human upset?”

That’s it. I pulled my gauntlet off and slid my ring on. “I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice.”

“Oh, and what are you gonna do?” She was smirking. That’s never a good sign.

I stood up, walked over to her, bent down in front of her face, and licked her right on the snout. “That’s right, I licked your snout. What’re you gonna do about it?”

Look very, very shocked and surprised, apparently. Surprised enough that she didn’t catch me as I lifted my foot up and kicked her couch over, sending her to the floor and onto her back. I was on her in an instant.

And I immediately began to rub her tummy violently. “That’s a bad pony! That’s a bad, bad pony!”

She was laughing like mad, now. One thing I learned from both my time as a pony and my time as a human is that rubbing pony bellies has some odd effects. Some, it calms down. Some it makes giggle. I don’t like remembering what it did to Rarity.

After a few minutes, I stopped. I don’t think she would ever forgive me if I made her laugh so hard she peed herself. I don’t think I would ever wipe that image from my mind, either. I stood up, stepped back, and nodded. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Ain’t so high and mighty when you’re being tickled, are you?”

She was still having giggle-spasms. It was really funny. I set her couch upright on the way back to my chair.

She was still on the floor three minutes later. “Are you planning on getting up any time soon?” I asked.

“Come help me up.”

“Hell no. You’ll just pull me down on the floor and somehow tickle me through my armor with your hooves even though that makes no sense.”

“Don’t make me tell my guards on you.”

“Psh. You’d have to get up to do that.”

“…Please?”

I sighed and stood again. “I can’t believe I spoil you so. You better not tell Luna I treat you like this, or she might get jealous.”

She smiled as she took my proffered hand. “You know that you’re the most interesting gossip piece we have. What will all the mares think when they learned that you licked my snout? And then rubbed my stomach! The scandal!” She pulled herself up without my help, just holding my hand.

“Just tell them it’s a human tradition common to the liege lady’s sister. Or better yet, don’t tell them at all. I think you’d go through more scandal than I would. But given you want your sister to be happy…” I shrugged. We had returned to our seats by this time.

“What, let her be happy at the sake of my happiness? Does that really seem fair to you?”

“That’s something you’ll have to bring up with her, not me. My biology will only allow me to be with her for half the year. I don’t think I could switch up my sleep schedule in the fall and winter to allow me to sleep at day. My body probably would require some sun. I was only in the caves for a short time and I felt myself growing weary. It was only the trips to the surface that kept me up and about.”

“I… see. That is a somewhat callous approach, Nav.”

“Celestia, I’m not good at this whole love thing. And you know I’m a blunt person. I know you and Luna have been alone for so long… It’s unfair to both of you. Why should one be happy while the other is still not? If my time is so broken up like that anyway…” I shrugged.

She appeared to be in thought for a little while. “I… I might talk to Luna. I could see her taking it the wrong way. I will have to think about this, Navarone. It is not a decision any of the three of us could take lightly.”

“Celestia, I’m a fucking alien in this world. If any of your ponies raises a fit about you and Luna taking the same consort, tell them that stranger things have happened. Like my existence. And even if they refuse to believe that, what are they going to do? You’re the fucking princess. Who’s going to stop you?”

“Well, when you put it that way… I’ll think about it. Now, take your ring off so I can send you home.”

“Promise me you won’t do anything but send me home.”

“Spoilsport. I won’t.”

I nodded and took my ring off. I reappeared back in Rarity’s shop. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but it had been a few hours since I left and I don’t think she was expecting me back.

The shop was empty, either way. I stepped outside to find the wagon and gems gone. It was still light out, but it seemed like the entire town was gone. I didn’t see a single pony there.

That meant one of two things: Monster on the loose or a Pinkie party. I unslung my crossbow and quickly cocked it. I could see Pinkie throwing a party for the gems, but there was no telling what kind of retaliation might have been in place for what was done to the Diamond Dogs.

I stalked through the town as quietly as I could, looking for anything amiss. After a while of searching, I found them all in the library, somehow. I don’t know how they all fit. I heard party music and I could see them dancing and whatnot through the windows.

I uncocked the crossbow and took off to find a nice cloud. When I got a good one, I did my best to get comfortable for a while, despite the armor. Needless to say, the next time I saw Pinkie, she was angry at me for skipping out on yet another of my anniversary parties. Year four in Equestria.

 

“Are you sure about this, Twilight?” I asked, looking at her dubiously.

It was a few weeks after that whole violently murder all the dogs thing. Taya, Twilight, Spike, and I were all in the library, standing within a chalk circle. Runes covered the floor around us.

“I’m… pretty sure,” she answered.

“You don’t sound that sure,” Spike commented. It’s true, she didn’t.

“Well, it should be reversible.”

“Should be? You don’t even know what this spell is going to do!” I replied. I didn’t want to be in this circle at all.

“I’m positive it won’t actually hurt us, Nav. Other than that… who can say?”

“Uh. Celestia, if you stopped being lazy and asked her.”

“She’s too busy to make time for this!”

“Twilight, she sees me every time I send her a letter and every time I need to talk to her. She is willing to reply to every letter you send that needs a reply, and she usually does it promptly. It would take her all of three minutes or so to tell you what this weird spell is going to do. You don’t need to randomly cast it.”

“Well… That’s beside the point! Now stop complaining and let me concentrate.”

Fucking unic—actually, no. Twilight’s the only one that’s like this, I can’t really make a generalization here. So, fucking Twilight.

Her horn lit up. She squeezed her eyes shut and then everything fucked up.

The first thing I noticed was how ridiculously short I was. I don’t know how I noticed that before I noticed that I wasn’t in my body anymore.

“Alright, fuck magic. I’m done with that shit for good.” The three others turned to me. They probably weren’t expecting Taya’s voice to say something like that. “I’m Navarone. Who are you three?”

Spike’s body said, “Twilight.”

Twilight’s body said, “Spike.”

My body shrugged.

“Alright. Taya, sit down. You don’t know how to walk on two legs and I don’t want you to bust my face.” She sat down, doing her best not to fall. “Twilight, fix it. Now.”

“I… I don’t have a horn,” she answered, going cross-eyed trying to look at her forehead.

“Fuck. I don’t know how to use magic, Spike doesn’t know how to use magic, and you don’t know how to send fire messages to Celestia. Suggestions?”

“Rarity?” Spike asked. “She might be able to help.” He was looking at his hooves, probably trying to figure out how to pick things up.

Twilight turned to him. “Do you know where she is today?” Spike tried to shrug but couldn’t.

“Spike, sit down. You don’t know how to walk on four legs,” I told him. “No need to make Twilight uglier by busting up her face.” She shot me a glare. “Hey, I may be down for sex with you guys now, but you’re still ugly as sin. Sorry.” She muttered something dark.

When she got over it, she said, “So. We should probably find Rarity.”

“Well, you and I are the only ones that can walk right now. I would suggest rock paper scissors, but I can’t really do much with a hoof.”

“Well, given that I need to look for the reverse spell anyway, I believe it best if you go.” Fuck.

“I blame you for this, Spike,” I said as I walked to the door. I stopped when I got there. “Twilight, can you open the door for me?”

She looked up from her book. “Navarone, it’s a door. It’s not going to bite.” She bent back down to it. “Ugh, I can’t read this at all!” I guess she ran into the problem Spike and I had with reading spell books. She passed the book to Spike and told him what to look for.

Fucking doors. Why do ponies even make doorknobs? I tried opening it. Nothing. “Fuck this shit.”

I jumped out the window. It was open, so whatever. It was kind of hard to do in a filly body, but I wasn’t going to get stopped by a damn door. I began to walk to Rarity’s home.

The town looked odd as a filly. Everything was bigger. It felt odd to not have wings. I couldn’t even feel my horn. My entire body felt weak. I was a girl—which wasn’t exactly unknown to me, what with the stones and all. Thankfully, the walk to Rarity’s house was uneventful. I kicked the door a few times since I couldn’t actually open it myself.

Sweetie Belle answered. “Oh, hi Taya! Here to try to get your cutie mark again?”

“Not exactly. Is Rarity in?”

She didn’t look amused. “You never want to hang out! It’s just magic magic magic! Well, you’re coming with me, like it or not!” She grabbed one of my forelegs and started dragging me.

“Hold up, this shit ain’t happenin’.” Sweetie Belle froze. She only knew one person that talked like that. “Twilight fucked up some of her fucking magic and I got switched to Taya’s body. Taya will have to find that on her own time. Where’s Rarity?”

She sniffed. “Nice try, but I’m not falling for that one again.” Again? What the hell has Taya been up to?

I ripped my hoof away from hers. “I know you don’t know how to use magic. I can barely use this pony body, but I’m more than a match for a jumped up filly, even if I am in a filly’s body. You try bringing me with you, you’re gonna have a fight on your hands.”

Her eyes went wide and she took an involuntary step back. “You weren’t lying! Taya always just used magic to hold me in place.” She gulped. “I’m sorry, Nav… Rarity’s with Fluttershy at the spa today.”

“For fuck’s sake… Tell her to come by the library when she gets back. I ain’t gonna be stuck in the body of a filly any longer than I have to be.”

“It’s not that bad, is it?”

“Yes. Yes, it is that bad. I’ll see you later, Sweetie Belle.”

I started walking back to the library. My trip was not as uneventful as the last one. “Oh hello, Taya!” Cheerilee said. “Are you up to anything important? I would like to talk to you, if you have the time.”

“Sorry, Ms. Cheerilee, I don’t. I need to get home.”

She sighed, rolling her eyes. “You say that every time. What’s so important today?”

“Twilight fucked a spell up, putting me in Taya’s body,” I said. “I’m Navarone. If you want to talk to Taya, you’ll have to come with me to the library.”

She smiled. “You don’t have to lie to me, dear! I just want to talk, not hurt you.”

“Well, if I was lying, that would make me feel better. ”

She just kept that little smile. “Well, it’s good to know you’re such a good actor! What I want to talk to you about is kind of important, though. You really shouldn’t keep putting it off.”

“I’ll tell Taya to talk to you at the first opportunity, then. This is my stop, though. Until next time, Ms. Cheerilee.” With that, I jumped back in the open window of the library.

Of course, it’s harder to dissuade Cheerilee than that. She followed me in, actually opening the door. She turned to Taya, using my body to sit on the floor. She was fiddling with my hands. “Hello, Sir Navarone. Would you mind if I talked with Taya?”

Taya turned to Cheerilee. After a moment she looked at me before turning back to the teacher. “Can it wait until Twilight manages to reverse her spell?” It was odd, hearing my voice say that.

The look on Cheerilee’s face was priceless. She turned a very blushed face to me. “I’m sorry, Na—Sir Navarone.”

“Please don’t call me sir. I hate titles. If Taya doesn’t want to talk, she doesn’t have to.” I turned to Taya. “Even though I told her to.” I turned back to Cheerilee. “I would offer to let you talk to her now, but she doesn’t know how to walk on two legs so you two can’t exactly go anywhere private.”

“Couldn’t she… walk on all four?”

“No. No she can’t. We’re just going to hunker down here until we get a unicorn that can remedy this situation.” I stopped for a moment. “Hey, does the school have any use for bits?”

“Uh… why?”

“Yes or no, please.”

“We’re always looking for donors to have more field trips and the like. There’s only so much you can learn in class.”

“Awesome. Come with me.” I led her back to the storage room. “Open the door. I would, but I don’t know how to use these hooves.”

“It’s easy, Nav. Here, let me show you.” She casually pushed the door open like it was nothing.

“Yeah, because that makes sense. Take all the money you need. Close the door when you’re done.” I left her there as I walked back to the library proper.

She quickly came running out. “Nav, there’s a load of bits in there!”

“Yeah. I don’t want most of it. Take what the school needs. And then take whatever you want. I don’t know how much is in there right now, so just take however much you need. Leave me with at least a hundred bits.”

“I… I can’t take your money, Nav! You earned that!”

“I earned some of it. Some of it I got from plagiarizing the works of my people.” I smiled. “Celestia was really pissed about Hamlet, too. It was funny. So yeah. You just turn around and march right back to that storage room and take some bits.”

“But—”

“Augh, will you please just take the money?” Twilight asked, looking up from her notes. “I need to find the counterspell, and you two going at it is killing my concentration!”

“Twilight, I’m not going to ‘go at it’ with Cheerilee in my daughter’s body. Please get your mind out of the gutter.” That got them both blushing, and Spike was giving a sly grin. “Now go get your bits. The sooner Twilight can figure this out, the sooner I can have my fingers back again.”

She bit her lower lip, looking at me with some concern. She finally sighed. “Fine. We can really use it… If I can ever pay you back in any way, just let me know.”

“Of course.” She slowly walked back. We just chilled in the front room for a few minutes.

Cheerilee came back with a sack of coins on her back. She looked down on me with a smile.

“Please don’t hug me,” I said as she took a step closer to me.

She stopped. “Why not?”

“Do I need a reason?”

She blinked. “Well… thanks, Nav. I’ll see that this gets used right.”

I sighed in relief as she passed me by. My sigh was short-lived when she quickly snatched me up in a hug. “Spike, help! She’s hugging me right in the filly!”

“You’re on your own, dude,” he told me. “I still haven’t figured out walking.”

“You treacherous cur! Release me, you vile pink temptress!”

Cheerilee did so, setting me back down with a smile. “Don’t you feel better?” she sweetly asked.

“No, I feel worse! Now I know how weak and helpless this body is without magic! Hurry up, Twilight.”

“It would be going a lot faster without these INTERRUPTIONS!”

That was enough to get Cheerilee to leave. I sighed as I sank to the floor. “All in all, though, I think I prefer Taya’s problems to mine.”

“You would say that,” I heard my voice mutter. “Those annoying fillies you stuck me with always want to do such boring things, and never listen when I tell them what I want to try.”

“That’s because you’re too quiet.” I closed my eyes, rolling into a filly ball. The floor wasn’t that comfortable, but I really don’t like stairs as a pony and all the beds are upstairs.

A few minutes later, Twilight let out a grunt. “I found the counterspell. I don’t know if Rarity will be able to cast it, though. And… it might take several tries to get right.”

“What do you mean, several tries?” Spike asked.

“Well… it looks like the body swapping is somewhat random. And if you add another pony, the chances of getting it right decrease.”

“Well, if Rarity can manage it once, the chances of you and Taya getting returned to the correct bodies—or a body that has a horn—are close to one," I said. "Even if you two screw up again, having three unicorns means there will always be one of you able to cast magic. We can just repeat it until you get it right.”

“Hmm… Yeah, that should work.”

“Good. Now get your nose out of the book before Celestia sends a message and you flame the fucker.”

She looked up at me. “The chances of that happening are really lo—” She convulsed, belching and sending out a scroll. Normally, Spike would be quick enough to grab it, but Twilight has no experience with that, so it flew across the room and smacked me in the face.

I rubbed at my face while Twilight walked over to the scroll and opened it. Her eyes widened, then narrowed. She crumpled the scroll up and threw it at me before walking back to the book. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she growled before anyone could ask what it said.

I curled back up and continued trying to sleep. Apparently Taya doesn’t get enough, because I really felt tired.

Taya was going through my pockets. I heard a coin clatter to the floor from her direction. I looked up and saw her picking the coin up before trying to roll it across her fingers like I do. I curled back up. “Be careful around your shoulders,” I warned.

“I already felt them,” she answered. The coin fell several more times before she presumably gave up.

After what felt like an eternity but was probably more like fifteen minutes, I said, “You know, this is something that would be a cartoon plot in my world. The only difference is that each of us would have some kind of plan or something that we had to get to right after the event happened. We couldn’t tell anyone the truth so we had to pretend to be each other. At the end we would all learn a valuable lesson about not judging others or some stupid crap like that.”

Spike answered, “Well, we could do that if you really wanted to. I mean, living as Twilight can’t be that hard, can it?”

Twilight scoffed. I replied, “Yes, it can. That’s the valuable lesson you’re supposed to learn. Even if you think someone has it easy, you may just be wrong. Hell, you probably are wrong. If it makes you feel any better, I know that I definitely have it the worst, all things told.”

“Well… yeah,” Twilight said. “You kind of do. That doesn’t mean any of the three of us have it easy, though!” The other two nodded.

“I never said that. I just said that I honestly have it worst.”

The silence returned.

“As much as I like Aloe and Lotus, they take way too long,” I sighed.

“Oh? How do you even know them? You never come with us to any of our spa dates,” Twilight said.

“I’ve bumped into them on occasion.” The things they can do with their hooves shouldn’t be possible. “They’re pretty cool girls. Tried to hire me because of my fingers, but I passed up on it. I don’t want to get paid to touch ponies, even if it is professionally.”

“Do you think they’d give me a job?” Spike asked. Twilight shot him a quick glare.

“Fuck all if I know,” I answered. “You have claws, not fingers. You could ask, though.”

“Don’t encourage him, Nav!”

“Why not? You can’t keep him tied to your apron strings forever, Twilight. He’s a dragon, even if he is hiding in a pony body.”

“Yeah, but…” She sighed, looking down.

The silence returned with a vengeance.

It was Taya that broke it this time. “Can I touch you?” she asked. I don’t know who she was talking to, so I looked up.

She was looking at me. “I’d prefer you not,” I answered. “Touch Spike. He should be just as soft.”

“Yeah, but… I always wanted to try something.”

I sighed and stood up. “Just stop if I tell you to.” I walked over to her. I was not expecting her to pick me up and put me in my body’s lap, but eh.

She began to pet me. It felt disturbingly good. “I’m really soft,” she said after a few minutes. Thankfully, she stopped.

“Yeah, you are.” I started pulling myself off her lap, but she stopped me.

“And I’m warm. Stay there.”

“I’d really rather not.”

“Please?”

I sighed. The silence returned yet again, aside from the sound of Twilight’s dragon feet slapping the floor as she paced.

That was how Rarity and Fluttershy found us. They both let out little squee’s at seeing me in Taya’s lap. “How cute,” they both said.

I poked my head up. “Fluttershy, I know you’re nice. I don’t wanna have to slap yo shit. Rarity, though… she wouldn’t hurt a filly, so I could finally get revenge on her.”

They gasped. Rarity glared at my body. “Navarone, what have you been teaching your daughter?!”

“As amusing as this is,” Twilight said, “I’d prefer to get this fixed sooner rather than later. Rarity, that is Taya,” she said pointing to my body. She pointed to each of us in turn as she called us out. “Nav, Spike, Twilight,” she said, finishing. “I have the counterspell here, ready to cast. I just need your help.”

Rarity blinked. “That’s… oh. Sweetie Belle said something odd was going on, but she didn’t specify what.” She walked over to the book. Fluttershy walked over to me and Taya.

She looked down at me with a smile that frankly scared me a little. “Fluttershy, what are you doing?”

Without turning her head, she said, “Rarity, do you know what would be fun?”

“What’s that, dear?”

“Makeover.”

“I swear to God, that I will find out how sharp this horn is if you even dare,” I said, clenching my teeth.

“They’re not very sharp,” Rarity said, stepping up next to Fluttershy. She looked down at me with a smile I could only call evil. “You know Fluttershy, I think you’re right…”

I felt Taya move. Fluttershy’s eyes widened massively as she backed away.

“Come now, Taya, I know you wouldn’t hurt me!” Rarity said. She didn’t sound that sure, though.

“She would if I told her to,” I answered with a grin. That made Rarity stand down.

I turned back to see Taya wearing my ring and holding knives in both of her hands. “All is well,” I told her. She slipped the knives back up. I turned back to Rarity. “Shall we begin?”

She nodded, gulping a bit. “Everypony to the circle, if you would…”

“Actually, I’ve got a better idea,” I said. “If we do three of us at a time, it won’t take as long. Me, Taya, and you should go first. Then you can help the other two.”

“Why would that go faster?” Rarity asked.

“Because there are fewer variables,” Twilight said with a grin. “Instead of four options, our souls will only have two. It should cut the time in half.”

“If you say so…” Rarity muttered. “Well, come on up you two.”

“We’re already in the circle, Rarity. You’re the one that’s out of it.”

She looked down. She stepped into the circle and her horn began to glow. I felt myself rip out of my body and into Rarity’s. I don’t know what else happened.

“Why do I suddenly feel uptight?”

“And why do I suddenly feel uncouth and rugged?” I heard my voice say.

“Well, I guess at least one of us won. Cast the spell, Taya.”

“I don’t know it. Hold on.” She walked over to the spell book. I tried swinging Rarity’s insanely styled tail around.

“Man, this thing is heavy. Not at all like mine.”

“Well, maybe that’s because I prefer style!”

“Are you saying Taya is unstylish? Because her tail was light too.”

She scoffed. “It’s much better than that thing you had when you were a pony!”

“You seemed to like it well enough, as I recall.” That got her blushing.

“Just because one part is bad doesn’t mean the rest is!” she muttered.

Taya rejoined the circle. Her horn glowed. I got to the right body this time. “Finally!”

“Well, one of us got it,” Taya’s body said. “I guess we can try again.”

I jumped out of the circle before her horn could finish glowing. They switched bodies, ending up in the right one.

“Well, I feel… drained,” Rarity said, looking a bit down. “Can you help the others, Taya?”

Taya nodded. Rarity stepped out of the circle and the other two stepped in. Taya’s horn glowed. It took them four tries, but they all got to the right body.

“Well, that was not at all enjoyable,” Twilight said as she returned the book to a shelf.

“Got that right,” Spike said. “So what did that letter from the princess say?” He started walking over to it before it burst into purple flames.

“Not important,” Twilight answered through clenched teeth.

I was beginning to think Twilight had some issues she needed to deal with concerning the princess.

 

 

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