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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173. Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Three Part 1

The first thing I did after getting back to my room was put the little Celestia doll thing out of the way, on the bed. Then I stripped out of my armor. It was hot and uncomfortable, even in the late fall chill. The third thing I did was get a fire going in the small fireplace each room seemed to have. Thankfully, it was magic, so I didn’t need wood and making it work and stay working was simple. Then I threw the packet of pictures and notes into it, letting it all burn.

“So, thoughts?” I quietly asked.

“The world is turning for the first time in a long time, Nav,” Flo said. “In more ways than one. I very sincerely hope we are correct about Discord’s nature. If not, we could be condemning Celestia for nothing.”

“And if we are right, she would have condemned herself and all her people. She’s wily. If anyone can bounce back, it’ll be her.”

“True. And my sisters and I will talk with her about taking one of us as an advisor, if she’d have us. And perhaps talk to Luna as well. Having one of us to temper her obvious insanity seems like a wise proposition to me.”

“Yeah, if you can ever find the crazy bitch. If she’s somewhere that not even Reginald can get to, it’s gotta be somewhere bad. And I imagine she’ll be there for a while, too.”

“Perhaps. I imagine if my sisters and I speak to Celestia, we can get the location from her. Especially if we promise to assist her sister in repairing her mind. Where one can go, another can follow… should they prove determined enough.”

“Tch. Good luck with that. I’d just as soon leave her to rot.” Since I had nothing else to do until the stupid dance thing, I slid onto bed. Something felt off, oddly enough. After a moment, I looked at the stupid Celestia plush. “So what’s Taya doing?” I idly asked, cuddling the doll.

“I don’t know. I left the ship a few hours ago. I should get to Canterlot soon, at the rate I’m moving. If I had to guess, I’d say missing you and practicing magic with one of the guards.”

“That was pretty much my guess, too. I was just going to get you to hug her for me.”

“Well, I did hug her before I left, but I did it for me instead of you. Still, you can pretend.”

“I am pretending. It’s just not the same.” Stupid Celestia plush… “Dolls don’t make the same sarcastic and biting comments. They also don’t hug back, or do awkward and cute things that make you smile.”

“Or watch you while you sleep, try on your clothes when you’re not there, or constantly think about having sex with you.”

“So yeah, they do have some upsides. It’s also not nearly as warm.”

“I’ll be sure to remember how much you missed cuddling when I get there.”

I scoffed and rolled slightly before remembering the cast on my wing. “You’re not an adorable filly that also happens to be my daughter. She’s warm and soft and loving. You’re cold and wet and mean.”

She was silent for a few seconds, then I felt something caressing my inner thigh. “I can also do things to you that she cannot.” That caress moved a little higher. “Things you so dearly crave.” Something else brushed against my chest, making me shiver. “I can give you all manner of delights. Don’t be so quick to deny me my cuddles, my lovely little human. They’ll bring you a much… baser joy than hers.”

“You’re just j-jealous…” My legs started to shift without me even thinking about it. “But it… it has been a little while…”

She finally started touching where I wanted her to touch, and I felt something weird brush across my face. “Well guess what?” she quietly whispered.

“...What?”

“You’re gonna have to wait.” All the sensations immediately stopped, leaving me breathing heavily. “I think I learned quite a lot from Chrysalis, don’t you?”

“F-fuck you!”

“You wish, silly!” She mimicked patting me on the cheek, making me growl. “Oh, you’re so adorable. Maybe if you beg, I’ll let you have some fun…”

“Nope, you’re not Twilight. You’re not sexy enough to beg to.” She chuckled. “I’m sure I won’t have to look far to find someone willing to give me what you’re not kind enough to. And of course, I can always visit Celestia’s room. I know where she keeps some things…”

“Oh, by all means,” she said. “Feel free to find a mare or stallion that would be all too happy to spread the word of how you approached them like a mare in heat. Or go into Celestia’s room alone and spend enough time there to give all the guards no illusions as to how you’re spending your time.”

“Yeah, well, joke’s on you: The shower head’s detachable, and I can still pretend it’s you.” I set the doll down and went to go take a nice, hot shower.

Flo was totally jealous apathetic about my desire to spend time with a lifeless object. It’s hardly my fault that the shower head is the only one who understands me...

The clothes Fleur ordered for me came around midday, in several large packages. The castle servants collected them from whoever brought them and delivered them to me, so I didn’t even get to see who brought them. It also means I didn’t have to tip them, so I wasn’t complaining.

Thankfully, Fleur didn’t renege upon her word; most of the clothing I got was normal stuff. Namely, shirts and pants. There were three sets of blouses and skirts, I guess on the off chance I ever needed to look like a chick.

And then there was the dress.

The motherfucking dress.

All things told, it really wasn’t that bad. Or I should rather say, I’m surprised it wasn’t worse. I guess the gay dude that Photo Finish took me to took one look at my hair and decided I could go with a ‘fall’ look, because the entire dress looked like a forest floor in late autumn. Every few inches had a new color shade, varying from light orange to red, fitting my hair. From the outside, it looked fairly form fitting, so what few curves I had would be in full view. One of its saving graces is that it didn’t come with high heeled shoes. I was already so much taller than the average pony that they presumably figured regular sandals would work. It was one of the flowy dresses with a small tail that dragged at the ground, so I’d have a trip hazard anyway.

So it looked like a nice dress… to see on someone else. I really didn’t want to see myself in that piece of shit at all. But everyone already knew I was a chick and I already agreed to it, so I figured if it ended up being too bad, I could have Flo censor the worst of it in my memories.

To that end, I decided fuck it, I might as well go full retard. Two hours before I figured Blossom would stop by to get me, I started putting on make-up. Fleur also had a kit of that sent to me, though I can’t imagine she thought I actually knew how to use the stuff. The monkeys unfortunately trained me well, and Flo was able to fill in where my own memory failed me.

When I finished the makeup, I started working on my hair. I honestly wish I had literally anything else to do, but a completely clear schedule meant I had time to spend on beautifying. That meant my hair actually got braided, using some of the bullshit Ava implanted on my mind. Braiding my own hair wasn’t exactly easy, but between fits of laughing at me, Flo was able to help.

By the time I was done with all that, I had about half an hour before I figured Blossom might show up. Getting into a dress wouldn’t take me nearly that long, so I chose to chill for a little while, staring at the mirror and wondering where in life I went wrong.

Pondering about my personal failings can eat up minutes really easily. When the time came, I sighed and finally started putting on the dress. “It’s not too late for you to kill me, is it?” I sighed as I pulled it on.

“I’m afraid it’s always been too late for that,” Flo said. “You aren’t allowed to have nice things, remember? That’s why you’re in a beautiful dress, covered in gorgeous makeup, with lovely braided hair, waiting for a date to an adorable vampire bat pony night guard captain. I bet your parents would be so proud!”

“That their son was a tranny or that their son was taking a horse on a date?”

“Yes!”

I eyed one of my knives, feeling my fists clenching. Unfortunately, Flo wouldn’t let me do the honorable thing, so I slowly loosened my fists, then slid the slender silk gloves on over my ring. I’m really surprised I wasn’t also given stupidly risque lingerie, but I guess Fleur decided that having none would be sexier for any potential dates. Or she didn’t want it to show under the form-fitting dress.

“Do you think I could at least get away with carrying a few weapons?”

“Nope. You’ll have to trust any guards there. And your date, of course.” She chuckled and made me feel like someone was patting my head. “Remember, Nav: Words are weapons. Use them wisely.”

Before I could tell her to go fuck herself, someone knocked on my door. I immediately flinched, but I only considered jumping out the window for a second. Instead, I walked over and answered it. Of course, it was Blossom.

As soon as she saw me, she blinked. “What the buck?” Her dress was a lot simpler. It was blue, slightly darker than Luna’s fur. She had no makeup and her hair looked just about the same. The only other difference is that instead of her standard guard shoes, she had some kind of nice sandals and long socks on each leg. So basically, she made me look ridiculously overdressed.

“What do you mean, what the fuck?” I shot back. “We’re going to a fancy party, right? So I dressed up.”

“You… you’re wearing a dress. And is that… is that makeup?”

“Yeah. Fleur asked me to.”

“...Fleur asked you to put on makeup.”

I rubbed the back of my neck. “Well, not so much that part. But the dress, yeah. I figured, you know, fuck it. Everyone knows I’m a chick at this point. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn back, so it’s not like I have anything to lose. Might as well go all in.”

She contemplated that for a few long seconds before asking, “Who did your makeup?”

“Me. Long story, don’t ask.”

“...I won’t ask if you do mine.”

Um. “Alright, I guess? Come on in.” She stepped in, kicking the door shut behind her.  “We might be a little late, though.”

“Being late is fashionable at these things.” She awkwardly stood there for a little while, shuffling her hooves. “So…”

“So what? Come on over.” I walked to where I set the makeup case down. It didn’t have too many options, but I figured I could prettify her up quickly and easily. Horse faces are definitely different from human faces, but I’ve seen plenty with makeup and it didn’t look different enough to matter much.

“I’ve never… had this done before,” she awkwardly said, coming over to stand next to me. “And with my condition, it’s not like I can do it myself anyway…” She looked at the mirror she was standing in front of. All that greeted her was an empty dress.

“Well, there’s a first time for everything and all that.” I popped open the case and said, “Try not to move and do what I tell you…” She actually gulped and then stood stock still. “I guess it’s a little easier when you don’t have to breathe and your heart isn’t beating, huh?” She rolled her eyes and I got started.

About fifteen or so minutes later, she was actually dolled up pretty nicely, making her even more adorable than usual. I had to stop myself from pinching her cheeks. Or, you know, demanding she get on the bed so I could have my way with her. When I was finally finished, she slowly looked back at the mirror. This time, she got to see makeup around her face and an empty dress. She sighed and looked down.

“You don’t need a mirror to tell you jack shit when you have friends. And your friend is telling you that you’re beautiful, Blossom.” That made her smile, though she was still looking down. “Now how about we go get gawked at by a bunch of rich assholes?”

“You’re really pretty too, Nav,” she quietly said. “Thank you for doing all of this for me…”

“I am always willing to help friends, Blossom. I won’t say happy to help in this instance, but I’m definitely willing.” Her ears started twitching slightly, but I didn’t pay them any mind. “Now, have you eaten tonight?”

“Yes. And I don’t… I don’t think I’ll need to get any of yours before we go.”

“Cool. Then shall we?”

“Yes. I have a chariot waiting on us, actually. Hopefully they didn’t mind waiting a little extra.”

“If they do, I’ll just wink, shake my hips, and rub their ears. That’ll make them happy again.” She actually grinned, showing off her cute fangs. “So lead the way.”

“I think if I lead the whole way, your eyes will be in a very wrong place.” She stepped into the hall and waited for me to close the door, then walk next to her. “So let’s just walk together.”

“For what it’s worth, you were absolutely correct. I would have been staring at the ceiling the whole time.” She rolled her eyes again. “Hey, it’s really detailed! You can’t blame me for what the architect did.”

“I don’t know how I always get tricked by your bait. I should really see it coming by now, but you still get me every time.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re being silly.” She snorted. “So before we get to the chariot, let’s go over some shit real quick.”

“Such as?”

“First off, whether we’re going as a couple or as friends. That’s going to be a thing we’re asked and I’d rather go ahead and settle the bill, so to say.”

Silence set in for a few long seconds before she slowly asked, “Has Fleur told you the reason for this dance?”

“So her husband can come out.”

She quickly nodded. “Between the two of us, we are going as friends. To everyone else, we are going as a couple.”

“Alright, cool. Then that brings up two points. First, when we dance—there is no if, because we aren’t allowed to have nice things—I’m taking the lead.”

“Agreed. I know just the bare basics, and those basics are just about following. Point two?”

That made it my turn to be quiet for a few moments. “Aw, fuck it. At some point tonight, I’m going to pet you. Probably play with your ears, pat your head, stuff like that. It’s going to happen. I’m just warning you now.”

“If you make it the whole night without petting me, I’ll make it worth your while.”

God dammit. “Sounds kinky. I’ll do my best, but it’ll probably happen. Ponies are just too adorable, and I tend to get touchy with those I really like. I haven’t done it yet because you pretend it’s really offensive just to be difficult, but that might change tonight, just on accident.”

She didn’t reply for a few moments. Before doing so, she shook her head. “Are all humans this strange, or just the ones that go through Tartarus, almost get killed several times, and get genderswapped?”

“I don’t really have much of a frame of reference for that. But I’m perfectly normal. I think you’re the strange one here.”

She might have wanted to continue that debate, but we passed a pair of guards that both immediately started gaping when they saw us. So she chose to glare at them instead. “Is there a problem, troopers?” she snapped.

That made them both shoot to attention. “N-no ma’am!” one hastily said.

“See to it that it stays that way. And I’m not on duty, so don’t come to attention.” They both gulped and we continued on our way. I imagine their eyes followed us until we turned a corner. “Tch, stallions.”

“Hey, I’ve met plenty of licentious chicks in my time. That is most definitely not a gender-specific thing. In fact, I’ve probably met more sex-hungry chicks than I have dudes.”

She looked at me for a moment before shrugging and looking back ahead. “Maybe. Or maybe you just haven’t been a mare long enough to run into too many straight sex-hungry stallions. There’s always plenty at these parties, in my experience, and not all of them are happy to have their mare of choice decline.”

“Hm. Well, I certainly prefer a more feminine touch, but I’ve been known to partake in pleasures of a more masculine sort. But I imagine doing such a thing while on a date is fairly rude, so I’ll happily stay by your side. So unless you decide to go for a threesome—”

“I won’t.”

“Just sayin’. They may not like hearing a no, but that’s all they’re going to get from me tonight.”

“I’d advise you change your inclinations entirely. Once a pony’s reputation in Canterlot is tainted by being too easy, either mare or stallion, that reputation tends to stay tainted. From what I’ve heard, you already have many rumors around you. Giving proof to those rumors would be unwise, should you choose to seek a relationship in the future. Stick to friends and toys, because they won’t talk. Don’t give it up for any stallion or mare that slips you an invitation.”

I sighed, my shoulders slouching slightly. It says something about my character that people have to constantly remind me not to be a slut. Flo snorted. “That takes half the fun out of it… Fine, I guess. But you’re my friend and you just told me to keep it to friends, so I hope that tongue of yours is still plenty willing!”

Blossom smiled back at me. “I did promise you a reward tonight if you behaved, didn’t I?”

The quiet returned for a few moments as I pretended to consider what she said. Finally, I rolled my eyes. “So much for friendship being unconditional.”

She actually chuckled. “Friendship is. Extra benefits are not.”

I wanted to shoot something back, but we finally made it to the chariot pool. A few off-duty guards were milling around and one was talking to the two night guards hooked up to one of the chariots. Blossom only paused for a moment, then set her body in her typical command stance and walked up to them.

Needless to say, we both got ogled even more. And these guards were off duty, so there was nothing she could do about it. There was also nothing I particularly cared to do about it anymore, honestly. I’ve found myself resigned to my fate, for better or worse.

“My apologies for the delay, guards,” she said when we got close enough. The off duty guard that was talking to them dipped as soon as she spoke, probably finding somewhere to stare at us from beyond yelling range. “Are you still willing to take us?”

“Of course, Captain,” one of them said with a nod. “With… um, Lady Navarone’s injury, you’d have to walk otherwise.”

“I may be a woman, but I am no lady,” I said with a sweet smile. “So if you call me that again, I’ll see to it that you join my predicament.” The other guard snickered and Blossom gave me a sidelong glance that probably advised me to be nicer. “But I thank you for the concern and the assistance. Shall we head underway?”

“You’ve been on a boat too long,” Blossom said, stepping onto the chariot. Before I could follow her, she lifted a hoof out for me. I eyed it for a second, wondering if she was actually serious. Then I remembered that I already said fuck it and that I was going all in, so I gingerly took it and allowed her to help me step aboard. To be fair, with that dress, it was probably wiser that I allowed her to help me anyway.

“I believe I’ll soon be on that boat for a while longer. I certainly feel my presence is needed there much more than in Canterlot.”

Blossom let my hand go and placed her hoof on the front of the chariot as the guards started to take off. “That depends entirely upon who you ask,” she quietly replied. The others probably didn’t hear it, which told me that I wasn’t meant to reply.

I did want to ask who thought I was better off in Canterlot, though. Three thoughts came to my mind: her, Celestia, and Fleur. Honestly, they probably all prefered I stayed there, though Celestia was likely the only one who knew why I couldn’t.

Not that it mattered. I decide where I belong, and Canterlot wasn’t it. There were certainly benefits and I had friends there, but I was most definitely needed elsewhere. And honestly, I most definitely wished I was there. I found myself missing my daughter more and more.

“So is there any intel about this party I should have before we get there?” I asked.

“You know the nobles you killed last night?” she asked.

“No. I mean, I remember killing them, but I have no clue who any of them were.” Or at least, as far as she knew, I didn’t.

“Well, they had plenty of friends. If you go far enough back in bloodlines, almost every rich pony in Canterlot is related.”

“I feel like that explains some things.”

The guards pulling us laughed, but she didn’t even crack a smile. “Some of those friends are going to be here. Be very careful about what you say, Nav. Weapons will do you nothing but get you arrested here, with the kind of charges not even Princess Celestia can easily ignore.”

“If she can ignore Luna’s charges, I’m sure she can ignore just about anything.” Her eyes narrowed slightly. “That said, I didn’t bring any weapons for a reason. I have no intention of fighting. This is Fleur’s party. I’m here for her and her husband, not to pick fights with rich assholes.”

“Well, just know that some ponies might well accuse you of murder. After what happened with Blueblood, Pertz, and those three nobles, many of them are probably wondering if you’re some manner of assassin working with Celestia to weed out her troublemakers. I hope you have a thick skin and a good ability to talk around issues. Bluntness will get you nowhere here.”

“You would be very surprised at how far obfuscating bluntness and fake stupidity has gotten me. But I’ll play your pretty little socialite for the night. After dealing with the directness of combat for a few weeks, some time off with some more subtle warfare will be nice.”

She gripped the rail harder for a moment before easing off. “I know you are intelligent, Nav. And I know you’ve hidden that from most of the ponies in Canterlot for a long time. If you want any manner of future here in this city, tonight is your time to shine. Show these ponies you’re more than a warrior.”

“Oh, I very much plan on it…” I quietly replied with what I liked to think was a very sinister grin. The effect was somewhat ruined given that she wasn’t even looking at me, but it felt good anyway.

Apparently Fleur wasn’t using her own house for this party. We put down in front of a mansion that was definitely larger than hers. This place was decked out in all kinds of opulent shit. The gardens were covered in blooming flowers, with small birds and bees flitting between them even though it was dark. Two massive flags hung out in front, one with Celestia’s mark on it and the other with the same mark Fancy Pants had on his armor during the war games. Several towers jutted out of the palace, symmetrically placed on both sides. Every other one seemed to have a pegasus at attention, though none of them wore any kind of armor that I could see. The ones without pegasi had more flags, all smaller than the two at the front.

A few nobles dotted the areas in the gardens that I could see, and a few more were entering when we arrived. It took a moment or two for the word to spread, but when they all realized that someone was coming in on a royal carriage pulled by actual guards, conversations halted so everyone could see who had arrived.

I’m ashamed to say I found a sick joy when all of their mouths dropped. Between Blossom actually showing up to a party and me dressed like a chick, each one of the nobles was absolutely floored. In the dark, it was hard to tell where eyes were pointing, but it looked like several of them were looking back and forth between me and Blossom. It was a lot more amusing than it should have been.

When the chariot stopped moving, one of the guards looked back at his captain. “We’ve arrived. Do you have any other orders for us, ma’am?”

“Return to the palace for now. The party ends in three hours. Come get us then.”

The guards looked at each other for a moment before they both looked at her. The other one said, “Are you sure you don’t want us to stay, ma’am? Nav’s injured, neither of you are in armor, and, well…”

“This is a party of the elite. There is nothing to fear here but hurt feelings and dashed reputations.”

One of them looked at me. Or rather, my chest. “The Gala two years ago was also a party of the elite…”

I rubbed at the spot where Blueblood stabbed me and grimaced for a moment. Then I said, “Blueblood was corrupted by a demon of discord. I don’t think something like that will happen again. We’ll be fine.”

They looked at each other again before shrugging. “We’ll come to get you in three hours, my lady.” Before I could tell them to go fuck themselves again, they took off.

“Well then, shall we?” Blossom sweetly asked, putting on a blank smile.

“Let’s, my dear.” I spent enough time as a queen to know how to lock an empty smile on my face. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that to be a skill Blossom had, but whatever.

We walked toward the palace together, both of us going fairly slow. Ladies never had a reason to hurry, after all. And of course, hurrying in my dress would have been pretty difficult anyway. Somewhat surprisingly, none of the nobles spoke to us, so we got to the doormen without stopping.

“Captain Midnight Blossom and Navarone, Royal Savior and Defender of Harmony,” one of them said, smiling. “We’re pleased that you decided to come. Would you like to be announced?”

“No, thank you,” Blossom said. “Our entrance will likely attract plenty of attention on its own. More is unnecessary.”

The fellow that spoke bowed his head for a moment. “As you command, Captain. If you need any assistance or have any requests, there are plenty of servants to accommodate you. Missus Fleur de Lis requested that you both seek her out when you arrive. If you need help finding her, one of us will happily join you.”

“The offer is appreciated, but we’ll be fine,” I said. The way I figured, finding the most social person at the party probably wouldn’t be all too difficult. Especially given how fucking tall she is compared to most of the ponies.

The dude bowed his head again. “Then please, feel free to enter at your leisure.” The other guy slowly pushed the doors open for us. Blossom looked up at me for just a moment before we both finally entered the ridiculously stupid party.

The first thing I noticed was a strange cacophony of really nice scents. Someone obviously had a large buffet set up somewhere, but I also picked up a heavy undertone of perfumes and colognes. The second thing that hit me was the heat. It felt like there was some kind of magical heating, because a fireplace wouldn’t suffuse even the entryway like that.

And then I got to see the guests. The ones inside were apparently either more subtle or higher ranking than the ones wandering about outside, so none of them openly gaped at us. But we definitely got a few heavy looks, and this time a lot more of them were directed at me. I saw some anger instead of surprise, and those looks tended to last slightly longer before their owners turned their attention back to whatever they were doing before. There were maybe a dozen couples in the first room alone, so I couldn’t help but wonder just how many little horses Fleur invited to the shindig.

The room itself was a lot more fancy than the outside, surprisingly. A few magical globes of light slowly circled around the ceiling, leaving almost no shadows. Each wall was lined with alcoves that had large flower pots full of all kinds of magically-grown flowers. One side seemed dedicated to things that grew during the day, and had a portrait of Celestia as a centerpiece. The other was governed by things that bloomed under the shadow of the moon, and had some ugly donkey-looking portrait on the wall.

Flo has informed me that was a rude thing to write, and that I should call Princess Luna by her proper name.

My surprise at seeing a picture of Luna still up disappeared fairly quickly as I forced myself back to calmness. Showing any signs of weakness in front of that many vultures wouldn’t be wise.

Just as I forced my hands to unclench, a couple approached us. “Captain Midnight, we’re all quite surprised to see you here. We were under the impression that you thought such gatherings were… distasteful,” the stallion said with a wide smile.

“Ponies change, my lord,” she replied. “Fleur approached me privately recently and we’ve become friends. She requested that I attend a few of her parties. I decided that I have lived aloof for long enough. It is for the good of all ponies that the guards meet and learn more about those we serve.”

“I am pleased to hear that, Captain,” he said, bending his knees ever-so-slightly. “There are many among the nobility that were of the opinion you thought very little of us. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to hear you merely prefered your own company.”

Blossom’s eyes narrowed very slightly, but before she could say anything, the stallion’s wife said, “And you as well, Sir… or shall I say, Lady Navarone. It isn’t often that we see you attending a party in Canterlot. Especially one hosted by Lady Fleur de Lis…”

“Fleur and I had a very personal and private talk a few months ago,” I said. “After that, it was decided that silly feuding is beneath us. She is a very intriguing mare. When she decided to invite me to a party as a friend, I took her up on it. I may be a warrior by trade, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some of the finer things—and people—in life.”

“You’ll certainly find no finer delicacies than here,” the stallion said. “Though truth be told, it seems that you’re both lacking a certain… guest for this particular party. No offense to either of you, but did you have difficulties finding dates? If you’re interested, I know plenty of stallions that would be quite happy to meet either of you.”

“We had no difficulties at all, actually,” I said, gently laying my hand on Blossom’s neck with a smile.

The look on his face went from welcoming to shocked very quickly. “I… I see. My apologies, then.” He looked away for a moment before his eyes found mine again. “Ah, excuse me, please…” He quickly made himself scarce, though his wife remained.

“What a pleasant fellow,” I calmly said, removing my hand from Blossom. She just barely stopped herself from snorting, and covered it up with a cough.

His wife watched him leave for a moment before looking at me. “There are not many mares… or mares that were once stallions… that would so freely admit to dating another mare.”

“I see no reason to hide it,” I said with a shrug. “What two or more adults freely do with their own bodies is of no concern to others, as long as all parties are consenting. And the heart wants what it wants. To deny it based solely on the gender it prefers is denying yourself happiness. We have one life to live, so we must live it as fully and as happily as we can.”

Blossom lightly brushed a wing against my arm. “You just love that thing I do with my tongue.”

“Also true.”

The mare seemed to be following along with what I was saying, until Blossom threw in her filthy talk. That broke the illusion and the mare blinked. “You have a… very progressive mind, Lady Navarone. Perhaps we can talk more later. I believe I should go tend to my husband.”

“Until later then, my lady,” I said, bending my neck. She answered with a bend of her knees and then hurried off after her husband. “That doesn’t count as petting, by the way.”

“I’m well aware.” She started walking deeper into the house. I followed, of course. We were supposed to be a couple for this thing, and all the other couples were together. It would look weird if we allowed ourselves to be separated, I guess.

And of course, I didn’t really trust her to behave on her own.

The next room was set up as the dining hall, it looked like. There were rows of food along each wall and several round tables set up in the center of the room. Where most of the couples in the previous room were standing in one spot, many of the couples here were roaming about seemingly randomly. But as I watched more closely, I noticed that there was a very specific order to it, like a ballet of fat people revolving around food.

So basically, any southern family at Thanksgiving.

I knew that song and dance very well. “What do you think?” I quietly asked my date.

“Regular food tastes like ashes,” she softly replied. “I think I’d rather avoid eating.”

Oh yeah. That. “I’ve eaten today. I can last a while on that.”

Before I could start trying to lead the way through, two fairly rotund unicorns with a few plates floating around them stepped in front of us. “It’s not common to see soldiers at a party like this,” the stallion said.

“We live in uncommon times,” I replied. “And on the same vein, we’re hardly common soldiers.”

“That is certainly true… ah, Lady Navarone,” he replied. “Truth be told, the food itself is worth the attendance.” To punctuate his statement, he took an uncomfortably large bite of some kind of spinach bun.

“Truly, Lady Fleur has quite a taste for delicacies,” his wife agreed. I thought about pointing out the alfalfa stuck right in between her front teeth, but decided I didn’t care enough.

My date took a small step forward. “It seems that many of the nobles of Canterlot have quite an eye for the finer things in life,” Blossom said.

“That is an eye and a taste that I regretfully lack,” I said. “My diet is… different from that of a pony. In respect of that, Fleur warned me beforehand that it would be unwise for me to partake, so Blossom and I ate before coming.”

“Surely there’s something here you could eat,” the lady insisted. One of the plates floated up in front of me. “Cupcakes directly from a bakery in Ponyville?” Sure enough, the plate definitely had some shit that came directly from Sugarcube Corner.

“I have a strict sugar limit,” I said. “My body can’t process it nearly as well as a pony can.” She sighed and plucked it from the plate to eat it whole.

“Blue oat grass, perhaps?” the husband asked, floating over another plate that was covered in some kind of fluffy blue grass.

“I can’t eat grass at all. It makes me sick.” He looked down for just a moment before gobbling all that shit up.

“Maybe delphinium, then?” his lardass whale of a wife asked, floating up a flower by the stem.

“Same for flowers. I can’t even stomach the taste of them.” She lifted an eyebrow before biting off the flower part and leaving the stem.

“What about hay?” the fatso piece of shit asked, proffering a plate of, sure enough, hay.

I just barely managed to keep my tone civil, and replied, “Hay is dried grass. I can’t eat grass, I can’t eat hay.” The dude shoved that down his gullet, too.

“So what can you eat?” his wife finally asked.

“Meat.” Blossom’s ears twitched. The husband and his wife looked somewhat sour for a short moment. “It is my nature, just as it’s a cat’s nature to hunt mice or a dog’s nature to hunt cats. And I put that nature to good use. There are many monsters in the Everfree. I hunt them and other monsters.”

“And yet…” his wife quietly said, looking me up and down.

“...You seem so skinny,” her husband finished, eyeing my stomach.

“A healthy weight for humans and a healthy weight for ponies are two different numbers. I eat to satiety and stop. That way involves less killing.”

“I suppose it’s easy, being a pony,” the wife said, moving one of the plates in her magical grip. “Hunting isn’t a necessity, nor is risking our lives to obtain a meal. I certainly can’t complain…”

“And I certainly wouldn’t trade places,” her husband said with a nod. “There are far too many flavors in which to partake. I doubt I could live without trying them all!”

“Meat has its own flavors,” Blossom said. “Though I imagine it tastes quite differently to Nav than it does for us.”

“That is true,” I said. “I have the fortune,” ill or not, “of being friends with some powerful unicorns. Some of their spells allow for body trading or body changing. I’ve tasted pony foods in a pony body. I wouldn’t trade them for what I can eat. The benefit of being raised in a society of meat eaters is that you see no taboo in eating it. I know that Luna, at least, enjoyed eating meat. I found that out much to my misfortune.”

“So ponies can eat it…” the stallion slowly said.

“We can,” Blossom said with a nod. “Though it’s not the most healthy thing. I’d advise against it, for the most part.”

“I believe we’ll take our leave for now, my ladies,” the mare said, a strange look in her eyes. Both of them left, giggling slightly to themselves.

“So how long will it take for a news report saying two ponies turned feral after eating too much meat?” I asked.

“Judging by the look of them, tomorrow,” Blossom replied with a shrug. “Now let’s keep moving. The smell of cooked food makes me nauseous.”

I gingerly placed a hand on her back and slowly led her through the dance of dining. We didn’t grab any food, but getting to the other side was still no simple task. It involved some dodging, dipping, thankfully no diving, some ducking, and some more dodging. It was nothing I was unfamiliar with, given my past, but doing it in a dress was different.

The next room we entered seemed to be the main wing of the palace. There was a massive window on one side of the room that showed the front gardens and gates. The other side had a grand staircase that branched off on two sides. It led up to a second floor that had a loft where several noble couples were standing around, doing typical horse noble things.

There were a lot fewer nobles on the lower floor, which is where we happened to be. The rich marble from the dining hall was replaced with lush carpet, so the noise in that room was much more muted. The smell of food was replaced with the smell of perfume. The scent quickly grew stronger, to the point of being disgusting, as a couple walked over to us.

The stallion immediately struck me as a douchebag. I’m not gonna say it was the polo shirt or the khaki pants. Nor was it the spiky hair or the sunglasses he had pressed up over his horn. What made me think he was a douchebag was the way his mare simpered over him while he completely ignored her, and the extremely slutty dress she was wearing.

I hate it when I’m right.

“So what brings two lovely mares like yourselves to a party like this?”

“An invitation,” I coldly answered. I used to have a penis. I knew the game, and I had a feeling this dude’s mare wasn’t going to stop him from trying to play it on us.

“So how you likin’ it so far, huh?” he asked, looking down to Blossom.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked.

“I’ve seen hundreds of pretty mares. But I guess I left quite an impression, heh.” He reached up and popped his collar, then lifted a hoof to look it over. “Yeah, I hear that a lot.”

It’s amazing how easy it is to remember disgust. “I’m sure you’ve heard of me, though,” I said, crossing my arms.

His eyes immediately shifted to a place they were most definitely not welcome, and he replied while still looking there. “Can’t say that I have. But I know a pair of fun-loving fillies when I see them. You two wanna ditch this place and come to my place? I think the four of us could have… all kinds of fun…” The chick hanging off his body had been essentially rubbing herself against him, but when he said that, she turned her gaze on us. I couldn’t tell if it was empty because she was stupid or empty because she was afraid of being replaced.

Either way, I didn’t have to bother answering. “And what kinds of fun could we have with a stallion, hm?” Blossom asked, pressing her side against my leg. I smiled and warmly placed a hand on her head.

The dude actually smiled wider. “I’m sure I could come up with a few things… But honestly, I might be happy just to watch! Well, if you don’t mind letting me possibly make a guest appearance… Though of course, you’re free to watch instead…”

“You’d have to offer quite a lot for me to tip all that way,” I said, poking at my chin with one of my index fingers. “I mean, I used to be a stallion, too. I can’t imagine doing something like that with one…”

“Well, there’s certainly a first time for everything,” he said, his grin dropping to a smirk. “I’d happily be your first. And I bet you would love it enough that I’d be your last, too.”

“Bold claims, sir,” Blossom said. “And what makes you think I’d let you take her away, hm?”

“Oh no, you misunderstand me,” he chuckled, lifting a hoof to his chest for a moment. “You’re both welcome! I’ve heard mares like you two just need a good stallion to set them straight. I’d be happy to put that to the test!”

Holy shit, I thought he was just a horny douche. He’s actually a real piece of shit. Time to end this. “I’m afraid we’ll have to decline, sir,” I said, slightly tightening my grip on Blossom’s back. “I’m quite alright being with Blossom here.”

His grin immediately vanished. “I’m must insist you… reconsider. Maybe you don’t know who my father is.”

“And I guess you don’t know who I am,” I hissed, drawing myself to my full height and shooting out my unbroken wing. He leaned back for a moment, eyeing me up.

Then he leaned forward again and smirked. “I think you’re a broken, lucky, ex-knight slut that tries to go through all the mares in the palace… and plenty more, besides. I’m quite surprised to see you next to a common night guard instead of another noble, though.”

Blossom finally did what she should have done a while back, and smiled. “And what makes you think I’m a common guard, hm?”

He was glaring at me, but finally looked down when she finished. He looked at her eyes first, then his eyes shot down to her mouth for just a moment before surprise took over and he found himself staring right down at her fangs. His eyes slowly opened wider.

“Your father’s influence won’t keep you out of jail forever, colt,” Blossom snarled. His ears flinched. “If I catch you harassing another mare, I’ll make sure the charges stick.” That made his ears shoot straight down and his eyes widened. “I’m not on duty right now, but if I say the word, a group of guards that are will be on you in an instant and drag you right to the dungeons. Now leave us alone.”

He quickly realized he had somewhere else to be and left without another word, his breathing sex toy following without a word. “So…”

She sighed and said, “He’s another one that thought guards existed to serve the people in every way we can. I disabused him of that notion. And then did it three more times. I have no idea how he didn’t recognize me. Typical loser noble brat that uses daddy’s money and power to do just about whatever he wants.”

“Oh, one of those pieces of shit. Yeah, I kinda figured. I can’t help but wonder what my reputation must be like among these people for him to call me out like that.”

“That’s what we’re here to fix,” she said, finally continuing to walk. She led me to the stairs and we slowly went up. After the first few steps, I realized she was going slow for my benefit, which was definitely thankful given that I could barely take one step at a time in that awful dress.

It seemed that someone was waiting for us at the top. This mare lost her husband somewhere in the crowd, it seemed. Or he was off doing his own thing. “Lady Navarone, it’s a delight to see you at this party,” she said, bending her front knees slightly.

“I’m happy to finally make an appearance at one,” I said, smiling. I had no idea who this chick was, but as I got closer, I noticed her dress seemed… somewhat threadbare, actually. For some reason, that surprised me. “So far, it’s certainly been an interesting affair.”

“From what I understand, you certainly happen to have a habit of making matters interesting. Or perhaps you just have a knack for finding interesting events.”

That’s certainly the understatement of the year. “I suppose uniqueness attracts uniqueness, so to say. Or another way of putting it, strange attracts strange. I am, after all, a stranger in a strange land.”

“Not so much a stranger, these days,” she said. “A knight, once upon a time. And from other whispers I hear, an artist and a writer… And of course, a servant to our great princess.”

“Your whispers are inaccurate. I am a… translator. Not a writer. But those are whispers I’d prefer not to be heard.”

She looked to the side for a moment before looking back, her smile seeming somewhat more strained. “Those are quite rewarding positions, I’m sure.”

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