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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24. Chapter Nineteen—Affairs of the Heart

Not too long after getting back from dealing with the naga, I noticed a few changes in Spike. Namely, that his attitude had shifted. Our time away from the peaceful and loving land of the ponies changed him. Probably for the worse, if I had to guess.

I decided to have a chat with Twilight about that, since I really didn’t want Spike’s possible future with the ponies ruined by him turning aggressive. If there was anything I could do to change him back, I wanted to know about it.

I found her watering a small garden on a balcony on the second story of the tree. As I approached, I said, “Twilight, have you noticed any difference in Spike’s behavior?”

She sighed. “Yes, I have. His time in the east has not done well for him. He spent more time there among violent beings than at any other point in his life, and you were only able to see him once a day to provide some manner of counterbalance.” Some manner, indeed. I was one of the few people in that camp not itching to kill enemy soldiers. Even most of their children wanted to help in the slaughter.

“And I can’t imagine his forced diet change helped much either.”

“Neither I nor Celestia ever imagined there would be so many carnivorous peoples in Africa. I know the cat people can eat some manner of plants, but they seem to prefer meat or fish. I suppose it should come as no surprise that Spike ended up finally getting a taste of meat, though we all worked so long to keep it from happening.”

“And with that taste came growth.” He wasn’t nearly as tall as I was, yes, but he had grown around a foot since we left for Africa. “I’m surprised all it took for that was meat.”

“He would have grown slower if he hadn’t started eating that. But with that diet came more exercise and a warmer climate and more aggression in the air. Dragons are magical beings, and their growth depends on a lot of factors. Aggression is one of them; the more anger and hate in an area, the faster they’ll grow.”

“So where does that put us now? He went from here to Africa to here again, and now that he’s had a taste of meat that’s all he seems to want, unless he can find gemstones instead. I still get some supplies from Luna and what I can get when I hunt, but that isn’t nearly enough to feed someone for every meal. And I need that, too.”

“Well, Spike living with me never was a permanent thing. He is above all a dragon, and that means he won’t always be content as a helper, little more than a servant, even if he is serving in friendship rather than in bondage.”

“You have to admit, having a tame, fully grown dragon around would be absolutely kickass. I mean, if I could ride him and return home, I could easily convert half the world to thinking I was a god.”

“Yes, in your warlike world, it would be neat, but here it would just be a hindrance. Dragons are a lot bigger than ponies, as I’m sure you can imagine. Where would we get the food to keep him full? And where would he live?”

“I know it’s impractical, but man! I have this picture in my head now of me riding into Washington, DC astride a huge, majestic dragon, my wings fully outspread and a sword held high above my head, proclaiming that spot the new Mecca of the world, where I would rule humanity as a god emperor…”

“You have an overactive imagination. If you have any ideas of how to deal with the real situation we have, I’m open to suggestions.”

I sighed and shook the thought from my head. “At his current pony-driven growth rate, how long do we have until he is unsustainable?”

“Oh, at a pony driven rate, there’s no chance he’ll become a problem in my lifetime. Dragons live for thousands and thousands of years. I don’t even know the last time one actually died of old age. Their natural childhoods last over two hundred years, or at least their childhood how you or I would define it. But I imagine his time in the east cut anywhere from twenty to forty years off that, and that was just in eight months. If anything like that were to happen again, there’s no telling how much time we’ll lose, especially since he’s now open to the idea of such a thing instead of fighting it.”

“And you don’t think him being around me is perhaps accelerating his growth?”

“Not usually, no. You are violent occasionally, yes, but it is rarely an angry violence or an aggressive one. You are violent generally out of necessity, or at least when you think it is necessary. There is rarely any passion behind it. Trixie was just a competition. You did nothing but follow orders in Africa, and from all accounts heard you hated most of what you had to do. You claim so often to be a terrible or violent person, but in all honesty, I think you might be one of the most moral ponies I’ve ever met, depending on how you look at it.”

I was tempted to point out the naga thing, but since Pinkie Pie didn’t want them to know I didn’t bother. “It’s kind of sad that you would think I’m better, morally, than any pony. Different, certainly, but I wouldn’t consider myself better than anyone in any way, other than being the best on this world at being human. And I might be one of the better liars.”

“You have a point, there. Though one of the best ways to lose a friend is to either lie or break their trust.”

“I’m well aware of that, yes. But this isn’t about me, as long as you’re saying Spike isn’t being negatively affected by me.”

“I didn’t say that. I said his growth wasn’t being affected by you. Some of his mental changes, though… You’re different, Nav. And you’re more open to the idea of violence, even if you rarely actually do much of it. Celestia knows he can probably smell the blood on you when you come back from a hunt… It’s hard to tell what effects you might be having on him.”

"Well, shit. What should we do?”

“Nothing, for now. Like it or not, you’re one of the only male figures in his life. To that end, he’s going to be getting some tendencies from you, no matter what happens. And we can see if his attitude will start returning to normal, now that he’s back home and away from most of the darkness we left behind.”

A little too far away from the Congo to be speaking of the Heart of Darkness. “Your call. If you wake up one day to find yourself missing a haunch and find Spike smacking his lips nearby, don’t come crying to me.”

“No, he’d probably go after Pinkie Pie instead—with all the sweets she eats, she would probably taste much better.”

“Speaking of people changing, Pinkie Pie has definitely gotten a lot saner since we left.”

“Maybe when she was talking to you, but as far as I could tell she was the same as she always was.”

“Maybe her insanity is just spreading over to me. Or maybe after so much time spent among the insane in Africa, I got better at automatically translating her garbage speak into English.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised at either. Notice any changes about the rest of them?”

“Fluttershy is more assertive and less cowardly, though I’m sure you noticed that. I haven’t spent much time with the others yet, not as individuals.”

“Fluttershy was never cowardly, she was just… well… okay, fair enough. I wonder what happened here that made them just change like that.”

“People change,” I answered with a shrug. “It happens. Spend eight months away, you shouldn’t come back expecting them to be the same.”

“I know… But at least we probably won’t be going away like that again for some time.”

“Thank God for that,” I said with a nod. I don’t know if I could survive another trip like that...

The rest of the day was spent chilling. It was pretty rad, after all the crap I had been through recently, to just rest and contemplate.

I take a lot of walks, if you haven’t realized that already. I have a lot of free time, since I don’t really have much of a job other than assisting Twilight and anyone else that asks me for help. I had proven my use as an agent of sorts, I suppose, so Celestia was more than happy to make sure I never really went hungry. I didn’t really like freeloading, but at the same time I knew without a cutie mark I wouldn’t really be accepted for anything more than odd jobs—which I did plenty of, if any of the ponies were ever brave enough to approach me about helping them.

Anyway, that’s a lot of buildup for saying I was walking in the park in late fall, thinking about something to do and trying to escape the cold through the labor of putting one foot in front of the other. I was bundled up in the warmest clothes friendship and repressed guilt can buy.

There was an early snowfall, brought in for an inane reason that only the weather ponies (led by Rainbow Dash, of course) could think of. Because of that, there are usually very few park goers or the like out enjoying it. I didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy snow as a child, so you can understand that when I first realized this place got snowy I was overjoyed.

Then I found out how much snow really, really sucks. It’s fun if it lands and sticks for a few days and goes away. It’s a lot less fun when it sticks for weeks and you have to constantly shovel it since your damn village doesn’t believe in using magic for anything like that.

But I digress yet again. I was walking through the snowy, cold park when I heard music in the distance. Sad, sad music. It sounded rather familiar, so I made my way to it. I crested a mound of snow that I recognized as a bench in warmer months and found Lyra sitting under her tree, playing a sad song she played the first time I met her. It looked like she had been crying.

I walked over and cleared a small space out on the ground and joined her. She didn’t look up until the last notes faded away. Normally when she sees me, she puts a smile on her face, but today she didn’t seem to be able to manage it. Honestly I don’t know if it’s me she liked or just my hands, but I’ve never brought it up.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

She sighed and let her instrument drop back down to its case. “It’s… Bon-Bon,” she finally said. “I think she might love me so much more than I love her. I really care for her, but… I don’t know, Navarone. I think she might want marriage, but I’m not sure if I’m ready. I don’t know what to do…”

“I’m having a somewhat similar problem, Lyra,” I answered. “If you love her, though, you love her. That’s really all there is to it.”

“I know, but I don’t know if I love her! She’s always been there for me and it always seems like she’s doing so much more for me than I’m doing for her… It doesn’t seem fair, what she does for me. Especially when I give so little in return…”

“If she is still doing things for you then she’s obviously getting something in return just from the simple act of helping. Now tell me, what do you know of love?”

She blinked, not expecting that question. “It feels… good,” she said after a moment. “You never want to leave the pony you’re with. You hurt when they hurt. If things go sour, you care more about patching it up than you do about placing blame.” She gave a shuddering sigh.

I answered her sigh with one of my own as I yet again dredged that old quote up from memory, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Maybe I should make a list of good quotes from my world and keep it around for reference.

She nodded slowly. “That sounds like Bon-Bon. But I don’t know if it sounds like me.”

“I can’t help you there, my friend. I have seen you two together and I know you’re happy together, but beyond that, I don’t know. I have no idea what your home life is like. Though I also don’t know what a typical pony home life is like, so I guess that’s not really any different. The only advice I can give you is to not feel pressured into getting married before you’re ready because you feel like you owe Bon-Bon for being there for you. Down that road lies pain and resentment.”

“So what do you suggest I do?”

“I don’t really know,” I answered. “As I said, I have the same problem. I personally suggest talking to her. I know that it can’t be an easy subject, but it is usually better to have such things out in the open rather than leaving them to fester inside of you. You’ll have to make your own decision as to whether or not to do that, though. I know I would have a very, very hard time doing it, and would rather come to grips with it myself rather than risking their feelings by bringing it up. Even though I know that’s a bad idea, of course.”

She gave me a small smile at that. “Stubborn, Navarone?”

I shrugged. “I’m bad at taking advice. Either way, though, I hope you’ll do what will make you happy, because in the long run that’s what will make Bon-Bon happy. Oh, and don’t tell her any of this advice was mine unless it works out for the best; she seems like the clingy jealous type, and might try to hurt me if it goes sour for her in the short run.”

I got a full smile for that. “She always was jealous of you, Nav,” she admitted. “She doesn’t have fingers like you do.”

I held up my hand and slipped my glove off. “Why would she be jealous?” I asked, flexing my fingers. “Sure, having fingers makes me better than most ponies, but I’m sure she has some manner of redeeming qualities!” The way I said it made it obvious that it was a joke.

She giggled. “She’s jealous because of what you told me the first day we met. How having fingers makes things so easy to… stroke.” Oh. Ew. “She’s mad that she can’t touch me like you can.” Welp, this just got really uncomfortable.

“There’s a spell that turns humans into ponies and ponies into humans,” I said. She perked up immediately. “It’s incredibly hard to cast if you have a cutie mark, though.” She drooped a bit.

Only to perk up enough to ask, “Is Twilight strong enough to cast it?”

“I don’t think so. I think she’s strong enough to turn me into a pony, but I don’t think she can turn an adult pony into a human. Celestia or Luna could, but good luck convincing them to. And trust me when I say the change is so jarring that you would probably be too disoriented to enjoy it much.”

She rolled her eyes. “How bad could it be?”

I described the problems Twilight and I had adjusting to different bodies.

When I finished she shrugged. “I could get over it, if it meant having fingers… Especially if I still had magic!” Her horn glowed and I felt my hands go rigid. “I don’t suppose you’d mind if I played with yours again?” she asked.

“Just be careful,” I answered. “Don’t do anything with them that I wouldn’t do if I was controlling them.”

She gave a look of what I thought might have been disappointment before jerking me closer. She spun around and ran my fingers through her mane. Then my hands went to her back. And then they went to her flank.

“That’s far enough, Lyra,” I said before she could pull them anywhere else. She shuddered as my hands returned to my own control. I pulled them away from her and moved back to my patch of cleared grass.

When I got settled back down, I saw she was looking at me. “You said you didn’t know much about my home life,” she said. “So I don’t suppose you knew Bon-Bon is something of a voyeur?” I really didn’t like what she was implying.

“I didn’t know that,” I answered. “It seems odd to me that a jealous girl would be happy watching someone else have sex with you, though.”

“I thought the same thing when I found out,” she said. “We had a bit of a talk about it, though. It seems she gets off to the feeling of protection it instills in her.” That’s really creepy. And it might be a lie.

I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but if it comes down to it I’ll straight up tell her no. “That’s strange, but I suppose to each their own. I don’t really know why you feel like telling me that, though.”

She smiled. “Relax, Nav. You already made your point clear. I’m disappointed but I understand. That was just a warning on the off chance you run into me having sex in a public place and think I’m cheating on her because of the conversation we just had.”

I let out a sigh of relief. “I’ll remember that, then.” So there actually are reasonable women on this planet.

Her horn glowed as she picked up her instrument again. “I still don’t feel perfect about my… love life, but I do feel a bit better now. Would you care to hear me play some more?” I nodded, a smile back on my face. She began to caress the strings with her magic, the song she was playing a much happier contrast to the one I found her playing.

 

 

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