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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174. Chapter One Hundred and Forty-Three Part 2

“Indeed. I’ve obtained a wonderful daughter, a beautiful house, dozens of friends, and all manner of memories.”

“And you seem to be no stranger to hard times, as it were. I’m sure the monetary requirements of all those means you’re hardly poor off.”

“I don’t tend to measure wealth in terms of money,” I said. “But I suppose in the eyes of one who finds themselves starving, it’s easy to see that way. I’m happy to have what I have, money or not. But yes, I am fairly well-to-do these days.” Though honestly, I had no idea how well I was actually doing. Between the changeling mine and the royalties, the number had to be growing at a pretty fast rate.

“And yet…” Her eyes poked down at Blossom for a moment before looking at mine. Blossom rolled her eyes and settled in a very bored stance. “...I didn’t hear you mention a lover.”

“I haven’t been lucky enough to find someone to settle with yet,” I said. “But I’m certainly looking.” I put my hand back on Blossom’s back. Her wings twitched, but she didn’t say anything.

The mare eyed my hand dourly for a moment before putting on a smile and looking me in the eyes again. “I have a son or a daughter that I’d be happy to introduce you to. Both your age, I believe, and both proper nobles. Neither are any kind of… simple warrior or guard. And of course, it would be nice to add a true lordly title to your already glowing list…”

“I think I’ve had my fill of nobles in a relationship for a while,” I said. “I still have some truly awful memories about my time with… Luna.” Her ears flinched. “Though I am certainly honored by the offer.”

“I… see. Well, I suppose I can make the offer again in a few months. Once you’ve grown tired of…” Her eyes flipped down to my side again before returning to mine. “...simple guardsponies.”

Blossom started walking away without a word. As much as I wanted to tell that greedy bitch off, I decided my date had the right idea and followed her. The mare didn’t follow us, so Blossom soon slowed down enough for me to walk next to her. “Her whole family line is destitute,” she quietly said when I caught up. “They’ve been trying to get a rich commoner family to marry into theirs so they could get money. They were using their noble name to bait them. The Everglots are fairly well known for it.”

“They should try fish merchants.” She lifted an eyebrow. “Never mind. Do you even know where we’re going?”

“Yes. I heard Fleur’s heartbeat when we got close. I’m leading us to where it was when I first heard it. We’ve had too many distractions since then, so she’s probably moved without me noticing.”

Everything about you is fucking awesome, Jesus. “Hm.” She led us into a large hallway and gently tapped on one of the first doors we passed. No one answered, so after a few seconds, she carefully pushed it open.

The room inside was dark, which wasn’t an issue for us. Though given that it was an issue for pretty much everyone else, I don’t know why she bothered walking in; it was obvious no one was in there.

Imagine my surprise when someone asked, “Would you mind getting the light, dear?”

I flipped the light switch as I stepped further inside. A couple was lounging on a couch near the back of the room. Both were unicorns, of course. “Why were you sitting in the dark?” Blossom asked, completely forgetting all decorum.

“The last pony that left got the lights,” the stallion said with a shrug.

“And you didn’t… ask her not to?” Blossom asked.

The mare shrugged. “Didn’t see any reason to. We figured somepony would be along to turn it back on. We’ve only been here fifteen minutes.”

“Would… would you care to join us out in the main party?” I slowly asked, wondering if that was a question that was okay to ask.

“It’s hardly worth the bother,” the stallion said, waving one of those little personal Chinese fan things. Magic took hold of it and he started fanning himself. “Wandering about, holding conversations, standing. Much easier to just stay here and let pleasant conversations come to us.”

Of course, that also forces you to stay there when unpleasant ones find you… “I… see.”

“Would you care to join us for a while?” the mare asked, waving to a couch.

Blossom looked at me and I sent her a very small shrug. These two were fucking weird and I wasn’t sure I was down for it. Her curiosity got the better of her and she tilted her head to the couch. I sighed and started walking to it. I sat on one side and Blossom draped herself across it, putting her upper body in my lap. My hand immediately went to her neck, but I just barely stopped myself from stroking it.

“It’s quite a surprise to see such a hard-working guard as yourself here with us, Captain,” the stallion said. “And it’s stranger still to see a true hero here with us, Lady Navarone. Especially wearing a… dress, though I don’t mean to offend.”

“I found myself forced into another body,” I said. “It wasn’t voluntary, but I’ve learned to accept the past and to live in the now. I see nothing strange in wearing a dress.”

“But still… I’ve heard Captain Midnight never takes a night off. And I’ve heard you’ve been off, living the busy adventurer’s life.”

“That isn’t entirely true,” Blossom said. “I’ve taken a few nights off, but I certainly do have plenty of off time saved up. Keeping everypony safe is very rewarding.”

“But ever so tiresome, surely,” the mare said. “Long hours, hard work, constant training… I couldn’t stand it.”

“The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everypony,” Blossom said, shrugging. “Time off is certainly delightful, especially when I can spend it in good company.” The wing closer to me fluttered, pressing against me for a moment.

“And the life of an adventurer is a dangerous one,” I said, carefully shifting my injured wing. “I’ve been in more deadly confrontations than I care to remember. And I’ve worked harder than I ever thought possible to stay alive. But the rewards are very worthwhile, all things told.”

“For you, perhaps,” the stallion said, almost disdainfully. “I’d much rather stay at home. Hard work is hardly worth it, I’ve found.” I finally peeked at his cutie mark. It was a couch. His wife’s was a bed.

I chose not to comment on that.

“I couldn’t live a sedentary life,” Blossom said. “Staying at home is so… dull.”

“And yet nopony ever sees you in the day,” the mare said. “It’s always at night and always when you’re working.” Blossom’s ears twitched very slightly. “Though I can certainly understand. Avoiding the sun does wonders for a mare’s complexion, after all. Yours is most definitely worth preserving…”

“I’m uh… How do I put it…” After a few seconds, Blossom looked to me for support, like I was supposed to have an answer for her.

Flo did, thankfully, and chose to voice it. “She’s very photo-sensitive,” Flo said through my mouth. “Too much light hurts her eyes.”

“Yes. That. It’s why I joined the night guard,” she said with a nod, looking back to the nobles.

“Understandable,” the stallion said. “I certainly prefer to stay inside during the day as well. Though I also prefer staying inside during the night, too.”

Why did you even come to this party? “I’m surprised to see you here, then,” Blossom said, taking the thought right from my mind and saying it in a much kinder way.

“We debating coming versus staying at home,” the mare said. “In the end, we decided to come, but so far, it’s been an exhausting affair. Honestly, we might leave soon.”

“Well, it was a delight meeting you,” I said, putting a slight bit of pressure on Blossom’s neck. She took the hint and slowly pushed to her feet.

“And you as well, Lady Navarone,” the stallion said. Where a normal person would stand up to shake my hand or maybe even hug me, both of them just stayed in their places as we left. I considered flipping the light back off, but I decided against it.

When we got outside, Blossom pulled the door shut and closed her eyes for a moment. She slowly lifted her head and seemed to sniff the air for a moment, then her ears shot up. “I hear her.”

“Do you also smell her?”

“No, somepony has a nosebleed. Or at least, that’s my guess; it’s a small amount.” She started walking further down the hallway. I followed my date, of course.

The two of us went through a door that apparently led to a balcony. It looked like it was just a small opening that connected two hallways. My guess is that it was there to let the rich people get some fresh air without having to strain themselves by opening a window. An eave covered the main walkway, but there was an uncovered patio where a single stallion was standing. He stroked a flower hanging on a vine on the side before turning to look at us.

“And what brings you two here, hm?” he asked.

“We’ve been looking for Fleur,” I said.

“That is Lady Fleur de Lis to you,” he coldly said. “And I do not mean here, on this balcony. I mean here, at this party. I was told this party is for nobles only. Not commoners.”

“It seems you were told wrong,” I said.

“So it seems, more’s the pity,” he shot back. “I’ve heard that commoners occasionally get invited to events like these. We typically use their uncultured ways as a means of amusement.” He smiled. “Perhaps that is why you were so graciously extended an invitation.”

My common and uncultured ways are about to fucking wreck your ass. Thankfully, Blossom jumped in. “We may be of common blood, but there is little common about either of us. I’m sure everypony in the realm knows of Navarone’s exploits. And of course, I am the Captain of the Guard.”

“And yet, it matters so little when put next to a noble. I can’t help but wonder how you would have fared if you had strong bloodlines behind either of you. Just think of all that happened while Shining Armor was guard captain! Nightmare Moon, defeated. Egypt pacified. The changeling invasion foiled! The Crystal Empire brought back into the fold.”

“And in all of those, Shining Armor did practically nothing,” I said. “His sister beat Nightmare Moon with the help of five commoners. I pacified Egypt. I helped Celestia beat Chrysalis, and then I helped forge the peace between the two nations. And I defeated Sombra in hand to hoof combat after spearheading the campaign against him.”

His smile turned dark. “It’s amazing what a semi-intelligent commoner can do when directed by a wise noble.”

Oh, you’re fucking dead. My hands balled into fists, so Blossom decided to take back over. “And of course, Nav also brought Pertz to justice. And he helped the princess defeat several powerful demons. And he’s saved Princess Cadance’s life several times.”

“Bringing a crazed and weakened monster to justice means little to me; I’m sure the ravages and diseases of that awful jungle brought Pertz to his knees well before he was dragged back in chains. And the way I recall, she was running from demons and had to be rescued by Prince Shining Armor. Saving a princess would be quite a feat… if she wasn’t more than capable of saving herself. Alicorns are quite powerful, after all.”

Something in my head seemed to click and my eyes took on a strange haze. When I felt whatever it was come over me, the asshole’s breath hitched and he leaned back. “Noble blood and common blood both flow the same,” I darkly said, taking a step forward. “They both flow easily, they both flow red, and for me… they both flow freely. I killed Pertz as he tried to flee. I killed three of his noble friends as they tried to free him. I killed them as they tried to fight me. I cut down each one, letting their rich and noble blood shower me. And I cut down Shining Armor and his entire army in the war games. I broke his army and I shattered his will. I defeated him during the competition at Flankfurt without breaking a sweat. I broke past his guards and killed Princess Celestia at the Gala several years ago. If you continue to test me, I will end you as I have ended so many others. Your title is worthless. Your blood means nothing. It will flow, as others have. You will fall, as others have. All your wealth, all your titles, all your precious fancy blood… will mean nothing if I come for you. Remember that.”

He gulped and opened his mouth to say something. My eyes narrowed and he decided better of it. Instead, he quickly rushed past me and through the door we came through.

Whatever came over me just as quickly vanished and I leaned back. Blossom cleared her throat and said, “That was the second scariest thing I have ever heard somepony in a cute and frilly dress say.”

“What was the first?”

“After we spoke in the hospital wing of the palace, I went to find Fleur. She was already asleep, but was happy to speak when I stopped by anyway. As soon as I told her why I was there, she got dressed and we went to have a conversation with some reporters. To put it shortly, I am never going to get on her bad side.”

“Ah.”

“Of course, you shouldn’t have said it. This is supposed to be the debut of the new you, not you threatening a bunch of nobles again.”

“I’m okay with many things, Blossom. I can tolerate a lot. But I will not be called a liar and I will not be called weak. Well, unless I’m actually lying, then I’m okay with being called a liar. And being called a weak liar with that smarmy bastard’s tone? No thanks. If that’s all that awaits me in my new life in Canterlot, I’d sooner cut that life short and move on than keep dealing with it.”

“...Understandable. There are certainly times when I can’t help but wonder why I bother protecting ponies who see themselves as so much better than me. To many commoners, nobles are just nuisances.”

“That’s why my people killed all of ours.” Her eyebrows jerked up. “Anyway, shall we continue? We still need to find Fleur.”

“...Of course. She’s further this way.” We went back into the manor and continued down the hallway. A few nobles passed us, too deep in conversation to really pay us much mind. After that last motherfucker, I certainly wasn’t complaining. At that point, I honestly wanted to find Fleur and then go into hiding until her husband was ready for his announcement.

That hallway led into another large room. This one was also dominated by a large window that has a really good view of the garden. Several more paintings, mostly of famous and probably dead unicorns, dotted the walls. The far side was covered by a full mirror, which did a good job of reflecting most of the ponies in there.

When Blossom saw that, her ears started twitching. “Let’s keep moving,” she quietly said.

As funny as it was to see a walking dress in the mirror, I really didn’t want her secret to come out that way. Fleur wasn’t in there, so we had no reason to bother staying.

Well, Blossom didn’t. “Lady Navarone, I would like to speak with you,” a mare said, quickly stepping up next to us. “Alone.”

“Very well. Go ahead and keep looking, Blossom. I’ll catch up.”

“I’ll find her, Nav. I’m sure she’ll be happy to speak to us.” She nodded to the noble who was borrowing me and left, continuing alone into the den of darkness.

“Shall we go onto the balcony?” I asked. “I believe it will be more private there.”

“This room is fine,” she said. “Though let us go further in.” We walked toward the mirrors. When we got to them, she put her flank to them and faced me. “How well do you know the princess, my lady?” she asked.

“Pretty decently, I’d say,” I replied. “Princess Celestia and I have become friends. I also know Cadance fairly well.”

“How long have you known them?”

“A few years, for both. I just arrived here around five or so years ago. Twilight Sparkle used some kind of spell that brought me here from the past.” She lifted an eyebrow. “I met Celestia a few months after I arrived. I didn’t meet Cadance until around a year after I got here.”

“And Princess Luna?”

My eyes narrowed very slightly. “I don’t want to talk about Luna.”

“That is… understandable, I suppose. What manner of creature are you, truly?”

“I am a human,” I said. “My species used to own the planet, but I’m afraid that changed.”

“And are all of your kind immune to magic? Or winged?”

“No to both. I happen to be an exception. I must admit, I’m happy to find someone interested in my people. But I feel that it isn’t just idle curiousity.”

“You feel correctly, Navarone. There are many among the nobility that are quite worried. Celestia threatened us all when she sentenced Pertz. And some of us feel that you are her chosen tool for… dealing with us, so to say.”

“Princess Celestia feels very secure in her power,” I said. “Or at least, she does as far as I know. She has the confidence of the people and the army answers directly to her. That said, some nobles have ideas above their station, so to say. She’d very much prefer to deal with them in a peaceful way. But some people believe they are above the law and have no need to take orders from anyone, even the rightful princess. Pertz was one of them. I happened to be in a position to bring him to justice. That isn’t always the case, though.”

“You just happened to be there. In the middle of Africa.”

“Yes, I just happened to be there in the middle of Africa. There is more going on in this world than you and the rest of Canterlot know. I was going there for different reasons, and while I was in the area, Celestia asked me to help her with something. So I did. I happen to be of the opinion that people who abuse their power need to be put in their place.”

“And did you happen to be in the right place to deal with Prince Blueblood, too? On more than one occasion.”

“Blueblood got poisoned by a changeling spy to get Cadance out of Canterlot where she’d be vulnerable to getting snatched by Chrysalis. Then he was corrupted by a demon of chaos. He tried to murder me at the Gala and was put down for it.”

“What an interesting coincidence,” she sarcastically replied. “And I’m sure Calix was a similar situation. That’s why he disappeared in the middle of a group of guards on a long and lonely stretch on the road to Catro. And why all of those guards and Emerald all refuse to speak of what happened.”

“...I’m sorry, are you accusing me of something?” I asked, trying to sound insulted.

“I’m accusing you of being an assassin, purpose-built to bring down Celestia’s problem nobles,” she said, stretching up to her full height. “I’m accusing you of being involved in a conspiracy to put several of us in situations where we look bad and then putting us down like dogs so none of the commoners suspect anything. I am accusing you, Navarone, of killing my husband.

“And mine,” another mare hissed, one that apparently snuck up on me while I was talking to the one bitch.

“And my wife,” a stallion growled, next to the other mare.

“When our partners tried to save Lord Pertz from an unjust fate, you killed them in cold blood,” the original mare said.

“I killed three traitors who were going against Princess Celestia’s will after they tried attacking me,” I said, crossing my arms. “I warned them plenty of times what would happen, but they thought they’d fare better than Pertz himself. One of them even tried holding Captain Midnight hostage, which ended poorly for him. I prefer avoiding violence if possible, but they left me no choice. I am a part of no conspiracy. I just kill traitors that attempt to hurt me or my friends. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m afraid I can allow no other outcome when I am threatened.”

“You could have stood aside,” the stallion said, stepping up next to the original mare. “They only wanted Pertz. They had no issue with you!”

“I couldn’t let a traitor go free,” I said. “Not after what he did. Not after what I saw. I should have put him down when I saw what he had done instead of bringing him in alive. Yes, his trial was a farce, but it was also pointless. He was undoubtedly guilty. If you choose not to believe that, especially after the truth spell that was cast on the witnesses, you’re delusional.”

“Anypony that sees Celestia as anything other than a threat is the delusional one,” the mare said, slapping a hoof against the floor. “And we will not live a life of fear!”

“And what exactly do you intend to do?” I asked. “Do you think three ex-nobles will be enough to bring down Celestia?”

“No. But I think three ex-nobles will be able to deal with Celestia’s tool while she’s unarmed and unarmored.”

Before anything else could happen, a loud and feminine voice cut across all the other noise in the room. “Oh Naaav!” Fleur called out, practically jumping across the room. She got to my side very quickly and carefully hugged me. “You’re so beautiful! I knew this dress would be perfect!” Then she saw my face and gasped. “And your makeup is perfect! I knew you’d find that kit handy.” She finally dropped the hug before I could muster up the will to return it and looked to the nobles around me. “I do hope you don’t mind, but I simply must borrow my dear Nav for a few moments. We have so much to discuss and there truly isn’t enough time!”

“Actually, we—”

“Great!” Fleur quickly began pulling me away. “My apologies, truly. You can have her back soon!” The other nobles in the room, the ones not in the plot to murder me, were all staring at that point. As quickly and loudly as she moved, it was definitely an attention grabber. Soon, she had me bundled out of the room, where I saw Blossom finally managing to catch up. “So how was the flight over?” Fleur asked before either of us could talk. We continued walking, so I assumed she was leading us somewhere private.

“Calm,” Blossom said, catching my eye for a moment and shaking her head slightly.

“And breezy,” I said. “I didn’t do much with my hair, thankfully.”

“Yes, open chariot rides can just ruin a mare’s mane. Thankfully, the weather is nearly perfect tonight, so your dress was just fine. And I do so adore the way it looks on you, truly!” She pushed open the door to a side room and continued, “In fact, I may commission one for myself soon.” When we were all inside, she pulled it closed with magic and then locked it. “Dear sweet Celestia, you almost got murdered,” she breathed, turning back to me.

“Yeah, I fucking noticed,” I said. “Shit was about to get real bad real quick.”

“I heard some of what happened, but I need the details,” she said. “Several of my nobles are in an upheaval and I need the full truth to placate them. If the princess truly is targeting us, we need to know. But if somepony is lying to turn everypony against her, I need to get the word out immediately.”

“Nav and I dealt with some traitors,” Blossom said with a shrug. “There’s not much more to it.”

“That is not true,” I said. “And I know you’re both smart enough to not repeat all of what I’m about to say. Right?” They both looked fairly worried for a moment, but finally nodded. “After Pertz was imprisoned, Celestia gave me an envelope with six nobles in it. She told me that she believed any of those six would be coming to break Pertz out. And if they did, I needed to ensure that they failed. She knew someone was coming, and she guessed right. Three of the six showed up. Three nobles and a diamond dog mercenary came to free Pertz. I warned them to leave. They told the mercenary to attack me. He refused and left. They tried attacking me. I killed two of them. The last one took Blossom as a hostage and threatened her. She wounded him and I finished him off. Then Celestia came to inspect the bodies and cleaned them up.”

“So they attacked you first,” Fleur said.

“Correct. I warned them repeatedly that doing so would be unwise.”

“He did,” Blossom said with a nod. “They were of the opinion that Pertz was weakened in his time in the jungle and that three against two would be more than even odds. They were trying to free a traitor and paid the price.”

“I probably didn’t have to kill them,” I said. “But leaving them alive would be even more problematic in the long run. Fleur, Celestia is not targeting all nobles. She knows who is working against her and who is not, and she believed this show of force would be enough to cow the others for a few generations, especially when she stripped the titles from their families. I need you to make sure that is true. Right now, we absolutely need all the nobles behind her, or at least not working to cast her down. I can’t tell you all the details, but shit’s about to go haywire for a while and we need—I cannot stress this enough, we literally need—all the nobles behind her. I’m talking about the fate of all civilizations in the world right now, Fleur. Get these assholes placated and make them stop their shit and rally behind Celestia, or at least stop working against her. Work for yourselves if you have to, but don’t try to usurp her and support her in the coming trials.”

Fleur was silent for a few long seconds before slowly sighing. “That goes against quite a lot of what you told me before, Nav.”

“Not really. Help your husband, try to build up unity between the races, work for equality and shit, but remember that a storm is coming and Celestia is your rock in the water. Keep doing whatever you want, as long as you don’t try to usurp Celestia’s authority. She’s about to go through some really hard times and it’s fairly important that she stay on top.”

She pursed her lips for a moment and said, “It would be much easier with you by my side, Nav. You have a certain kind of respect that I lack. I am certainly more powerful in some ways, but my reputation has taken some dings from what my husband has asked of me. Between the two of us, we could run Canterlot.”

“You’ll have to make do without me,” I said, putting a hand on one of her shoulders. “My job is one of the most crucial of all. Celestia is going to work on international relations soon. She needs her home in order while she’s gone. I’m working on finding things, and Celestia’s authority and power have been my main backbones on that journey, so I also need her in power. I can’t be here and there at the same time, and I’m needed there a lot more than here. I need you to fix this for me, Fleur. Keep Celestia in power. Keep working on your own goals. Placate these asshole nobles and get them to quit their shit. Stability and peace are crucial right now.”

She sighed again and placed a hoof against my hand on her shoulder. “I trust you, Nav. But can you give me any information about what’s coming?”

“It’s a long story. Humans used to be the dominant species on the planet. We… created? Awoke? I don’t know, something evil and chaotic rose to power during our reign and killed us. I am among the last. We engineered other races, of which ponies were one, and created beings to guide them. This evil entity was still active then and tried to kill off the other races as well. This cycle continued for a while. The last time it did, it killed all of the alicorns but two: Celestia and Luna. They stopped it with Chrysalis’s help. It’s back and active. Celestia’s trying her thing to stop it and I’m trying mine. So unless you want another few races to go extinct, it’s pretty important that we unfuck ourselves quickly. This thing is currently sitting idle as far as we know, but when he gets bored and we don’t have anything in place to deal with him, that’s it, we’re done. So the last thing that needs to be on Celestia’s mind right now is some kind of uppity noble getting plans above their station. We got bigger fish to fry.”

“...Oh.”

“So yeah, that’s why I can’t be in town right now. I don’t even need to be here now. Celestia just needed my help to put Pertz away. I have revenge to plan. This motherfucker killed my people and he turned me into a chick. I’m going to do more than end this demonic piece of shit: I’m going to make him a fucking unperson. There won’t even be a mention of this bastard anywhere by the time I’m done. He will be totally and utterly forgotten.”

“And you’re… sure about all of this?” Fleur asked.

“Yes. You want your mental and emotional revolution of Canterlot, now’s the time for it. Get the nobles concerned with helping people and not with being selfish fuckheads. Make them honest, make them good. Make them truly noble. The rest of what you wanted will come in time, then. It’s time for you to take charge, Fleur. Can you do that for me? Will you?”

She nodded. “I will do it for all of us. Regardless of the reasoning, demon or not, this is what I knew was coming. Now I just have a less selfish reason for doing it. I suppose the time for my great crusade has come. And it will begin tonight, when my husband finally unshackles himself. That will be the first of many truths to come.”

“Baller as fuck.” I finally pulled away from her and stretched. “So is this thing gonna happen soon or what?”

“...Soon, yes. I was waiting to speak with you, because… Well, I don’t suppose the reasoning matters now.” She sighed a third time and said, “It is strange, feeling urgency. I haven’t felt anything like it in a long time. I… like it, truthfully. I have purpose, finally.”

“Well, I’m glad at least one of us is happy about our possible imminent doom,” I said with a smile. “Shall we go collect Fancy, then?”

“I just have a question first, a personal one,” she said. “And I don’t mean to offend and if you tell me no, I’ll never discuss it again. But you said your one hangup about… relations with me was that I was married. When that is no longer the case…?”

“We’ll talk,” I said.

“Very well. I am, if nothing else, a patient mare. Let us go obtain my soon-to-be ex-husband. And Blossom?”

My vampire date flinched. She had been staring at me with a strange look on her face. Her eyes jerked to Fleur. “Yes?”

“Do not leave Navarone’s side again while we are here. Until I can make alliances and speak to several ponies, she will be in danger.”

“I will guard her,” she said, coming to attention. “Er… him.”

“It’s her,” I said. “I’m in a dress, wearing makeup, and supposedly in a lesbian relationship with you. I figure at this point, it is what it is, and it is that I have a vagina.”

“And while I am here, you will be safe,” Blossom replied. “My apologies at leaving you in the first place. Had I known—”

“Don’t worry about it. Nothing happened. You can let me pet your belly later to make up for it.” She snorted. “It’s going to happen and we’re both going to love it, just you wait.” She rolled her eyes. “Let’s go get this announcement done then, shall we?”

“Happily,” Fleur said. “It’s a long time coming. I just hope Fancy isn’t having a cold tail…”

“If he is, we’ll light a fire under his ass,” I said. “I made a point to dress up all fancy-like for this bullshit, so he better not pussy out.”

“We already made an agreement,” Fleur said. “If he tries to back out, I’ll expose him and all of his friends. It shan’t be an issue.”

“Good. All the truth does is set you free,” I said. “Let’s go.”

Fleur started walking to the door, but Blossom turned into mist and rematerialized at it. “Let me,” she said. “Just in case the nobles followed us.” She pulled it open and we all casually piled out. No one was in the hall, so Fleur took the lead. Since she knew where we were going, neither of us saw a problem with that. Blossom and I fell in next to each other. We were still doing the couple thing, so I placed a hand on her back.

When Fleur got a meter or two ahead of us, Blossom whispered, “I envy that mare.”

“We’re all prisoners to something,” I quietly replied. She chose not to reply.

When we got to the first room, we got to truly see her at work, too. She immediately dipped off to speak to nobles, throwing out some flattering words here, some mindless niceties there, and playing the crowd like a fiddle. We met her at the other side of the room and she took the lead again without a word.

“Some prisons are better than others,” Blossom muttered. I definitely couldn’t deny that.

That process continued two more times without anyone else trying to interact with the two of us. Fleur continued doing her thing while we just made an appearance. Finally, we got to the end of the line, so to say. It was the grand dance and meeting hall, taking up two full floors. One was the floor itself and the other was a viewing balcony. Since we were on the upper floor and everything else was on the bottom floor, we took the first staircase we came to. Fleur managed to look stately going down it, while Blossom and I just looked like soldiers pretending to be pretty ladies.

“You two find a place to stand near the stage,” Fleur said as we walked. “I shall go obtain my husband. We should be out soon.”

Blossom and I went on to stand over to the right of the stage, while Fleur took one of the side doors next to it. “So after this, we can leave, right?” I asked. “I’m not a fan of possibly getting murdered.”

“You will be safe while I am here,” Blossom replied. “And of course, I imagine you’ll be safe from unicorns whether I’m here or not.”

“Yeah, probably. But that doesn’t mean I’m safe from being stabbed. Especially in this dress.”

“You’ll be fine. After what’s about to happen, I imagine all the nobles will forget about you for a few hours anyway.”

“...True.”

We only had to wait for about another minute for Fancy Pants and his wife to come out from behind the curtain on the stage. From the way it was moving behind them, I figured there were several more ponies behind it.

Fancy’s horn lit up and loud bell rang once. Soon, everyone started turning their attention to the stage. After half a minute or so, Fancy took a deep breath and started talking. “Hello to all of you. I’m happy to see so many kind and familiar faces tonight. Thank you all for attending the party my wife so wonderfully planned. Unlike many of her parties, this one has a great ulterior purpose.”

A great amount of muttering started happening in the audience, and several of the rich horses looked at me for a few moments, until he started talking again.

“The word noble has many meanings. To most of us, it is just a title, a thing that separates us from the common ponies. It is a gift of the blood, something that sets us apart. But it has another, better meaning: It means to have a high moral standing and to uphold great ideals. We are supposed to be above others, not solely by blood, but by our actions. We must be virtuous, and abstain from dark deeds. Gluttony, lust, greed, laziness, pride, wrath, envy, lying… All these and more must be beneath us. With that in mind, I have decided that I can no longer live a lie.”

The muttering quickly picked up in volume as he paused. It seemed that not many people had any idea what he was talking about. After a few seconds, Fleur’s horn lit up and the bell went off again, silencing them.

Fancy didn’t let the silence last long. “I am a homosexual.” The room instantly flooded with gasps. Fleur put a hoof on his side.

Before anyone in the audience could shout out any questions or whatever, the curtains parted and a dozen more nobles stepped out, some male and some female. Each admitted to the same thing.

As soon as the last one did, Fancy continued talking, “I know there are others like me out there. Others that are living a lie and tired of it. There is nothing to fear in coming out. The truth shall set you free. Taboos only exist if everypony finds shame in something, but the only shame in life is living a lie. Be who you are. Be happy about who you are. If those you love do not support you, they do not share your love. Cast them aside and find those who will love you for who you are. And if you are afraid, speak to me. I was terrified, but with the help of my wife and my friends, I overcame that fear. I am now free. The only regret is how long it took me to come out.”

“What about your marriage?” someone called out.

Fleur took a step forward to field that one. “We are having it absolved soon. We never truly consummated it, so it shall be easy for us.”

Fancy stepped forward as well and said, “Before Fleur and I were married, I struck a deal with her. She knew beforehoof that I was gay. I gained a smokescreen. What she gained is her own business.”

“I am infertile,” she said, making even more ponies gasp. “I agreed to take the blame for us having no foals if the question was ever asked.” Fancy looked at her in shock. She sadly smiled back at him. “I, too, am tired of living a lie. When I am no longer tied to you, I do not wish anypony to attempt to court me without knowing the truth.”

Fancy looked at her for a few moments longer before nodding and looking back into the crowd. “This is a night of revelations, everypony. It is a night of freedom and happiness. Be who you are, not who others believe you are supposed to be. Now, I believe I shall finally do what I should have never stopped myself from.” He turned to one of the stallions on the stage with him. “Would you care to join me in a dance?”

“Happily, Sir Fancy Pants.” Fancy took one of the guy’s hooves and led him onto the floor as music started to play. They quickly fell into the rhythm and started dancing. They stayed alone for about fifteen seconds before I shrugged, took Blossom in hand, and walked over to join them.

That opened the floodgate. I know a lot of nobles were reeling from the news, but coming out like that wasn’t illegal and with so many people doing it at once, it could hardly stay too taboo. Couples, both straight and gay, joined us as we danced.

After a few sets, the mood in the room was much closer to what it had been before the announcement. Since neither Blossom nor I actually liked dancing that much (especially in a dress), we dipped out when there were enough couples going. Instead of leaving the room, we took up a position back near the stage, where we could watch.

“So, thoughts?” I asked, staring at Fancy with a different guy on his arm. Or front leg, in this case.

“I think noble society is stupid,” Blossom said. “So what if somepony is gay? It means nothing to a commoner.”

“To a noble, it means you can’t pass on your blood,” I said. “Which is a pretty big deal, usually.”

“Tch. Whatever. You want to get out of this room? I’m sure we could find something actually interesting to do here.”

“Just a sec. Fleur’s walking over.”

She was heading to us alone, somewhat surprisingly. Despite being infertile, I figured she would have had a few possible suitors lining up already. I guess that’s what comes from being a complete slut for so long, though.

When she got to us, she reared up to gently hug me. “Thank you, Nav,” she said. “I knew you would be able to support him tonight.”

“All I did was help get the ball rolling,” I said, hugging her back and secretly enjoying her fluffy warmth. “But I’m definitely happy to help.”

“I know he’d like to talk to you before you leave, if possible,” she said, then let me go to slide back to the ground. “But after this announcement, I’m sure there will be quite a few nobles lining up to speak to him. It might be some time before he can get to you, so if you need to leave, he’ll definitely understand.”

“I am happy to wait for a friend,” I said. “Though I do kinda want to get out of here soon. At the moment, it seems that he’s happy right where he is.” All three of us turned to look at him. He was slow dancing with a stallion, a large smile on both their faces. “I can’t understand why anyone ever thought hiding who you really are would be healthy or good. With one life to live, there is no time to waste trying to be someone else to appease others. But I guess that’s just the opinion of an idealist.”

“I think it’s a good opinion to have,” Blossom said.

“As do I,” Fleur agreed with a nod. “I shall let him know you need to get back to the palace soon, then lead you to a sitting room. He’ll finish this dance and then join us.”

“Thank you, Fleur. It’s a little past my bedtime, though I’ll happily stay if Blossom wants to.”

We both looked at the bat mare. Her wings fluttered slightly and she shrugged. “I’m uncomfortable in a dress. I certainly wouldn’t mind staying, but I believe we’re nearing the three hour mark that I gave our guard escort; they should be here to pick us up fairly soon.”

“Then I shall go speak to Fancy. Wait right here.” She departed, slipping through the crowd of dancers with practiced ease.

“So how do you like wearing a dress?” Blossom asked.

“It’s not as bad as it could be,” I said. “And it’s… liberating for everyone to finally know for sure that I’m a chick. It also feels really good that everyone is so accepting of it. I honestly expected to have people making fun of me. It’s weird. I still have a guy’s mind, but there’s something about being… being pretty that I like, I guess. Maybe it’s just because I’m a slut.”

“Probably. I’m glad you’ve finally accepted who you are, even if you aren’t necessarily happy about it.”

“...Well, if Fancy Pants can do it, so can I. Maybe one day I’ll finally be happy about it.” I slowly ran my hand down my side, feeling the soft fabric. “At least the clothes are usually really comfortable. And I definitely like the way the tight ones rub across my—”

“Are you ready?” Fleur said, skipping back.

“Yep. Lead the way.” She used a much more sedate pace to lead us down a large hallway. Blossom and I continued walking side by side, my hand once again on her back. “This is a lovely party, by the way.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying it,” Fleur replied. “I truly do wish you had joined us at the anime convention. Everypony would have been so overjoyed to have your support. And of course, Rarity would have been happy to make you a wonderful outfit.”

“Rarity just likes making me suffer. She takes any chance she can get to do so.” Fleur chuckled, possibly thinking I was joking. I decided not to disabuse her of that notion. “But anime really isn’t my thing.”

“Nor mine, truthfully. But no matter. Here we are…” She pushed a door open and led us into a very nice and lush sitting room. A fireplace was going on one side and a large mirror dominated the other. Three couches sat in a small circle in the middle. I sat on one and Blossom carefully laid across my lap again. Fleur took up residence on another. “You two make such a beautiful couple.”

“Thank you,” Blossom said with a small smile. “Several of the nobles we ran into tonight didn’t seem to agree too much.”

“Then they’re wrong,” Fleur said, casually waving a hoof. “You’re both stunning and seem absolutely perfect together. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were actually dating!”

“She won’t let me pet her, though,” I sighed. Blossom rolled her eyes and Fleur giggled.

“Then the next time I visit, I’ll happily let you stroke me however you like,” she said. “I’ve heard good things about your belly rubs…”

“They’re all true,” I said with a smirk. “Maybe we can let Blossom watch so she can feel jealous.”

“Let’s not and say we did,” my date said, weakly slapping me with a wing.

Before I could call her adorable and snuggle her close, the door opened and Fancy Pants joined us. “My apologies for the delay,” he said with a large grin. “I was sharing a moment that has long been denied me.”

“No problem at all,” I said. “I’m sorry to take you away from the party and the dance. But I need to leave soon and I figured you’d want to talk, so…”

“I am happy to talk,” he said, walking over to the final couch. “To the one who gave me the chance to come out in peace, I will happily make time. The first thing I would like to say is a thanks, for talking to my wife behind my back and getting her to sell out my secret. The second thing I would like to say is a thanks for getting her to talk me into coming out.”

“You’re welcome to both,” I said with a nod. “I hope you can find happiness now. And so can dozens of other people who repressed and hid their nature over the years.”

“We will. The dozen others that publicly came out with me tonight are just the beginning. I spoke to at least fifty others that will come out over time, to help encourage those that were too afraid to do so tonight. Soon, the club that I fostered over the years will be unnecessary, though I believe I’ll keep it going anyway. As its clientele is both male and female, you are most definitely welcome.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, though I’m not a true lesbian; I’m happy with both, though I do prefer females.”

“Regardless, there is a place for you there should you desire it. It is not just sex, though that is a part of it. And of course, all the patrons are masters of secrecy, so anything you do or say would be completely private.”

“Noted. If I’m ever interested, I’ll ask you for more information.”

He nodded. “The next thing I’d like to discuss is the truth of what happened last night. I have heard that three nobles attempted to free Pertz. All three were cut down by your blade, and their families were stripped of titles, land, and wealth. What truly happened?”

“That’s pretty much it,” I said with a shrug. “Fleur already asked. Celestia had a suspicion that some nobles she thought were traitors would attempt to free Pertz. She asked me to make sure they failed. Sure enough, three of them did try. I tried to talk them down. They attacked Blossom and I. I killed them all and Celestia declared them traitors. That’s pretty much that.”

“For trying to free Pertz, they are most definitely traitors. But I’m afraid I must warn you that traitors or not, hurting them might have consequences.”

“Yeah, I know. Their widows already tried to kill me tonight.”

His eyes widened and he shot off the couch. “When?! How?!”

“About an hour or so ago, before the announcement,” Fleur said. “I managed to save her and got her away from them. They’ll likely try again, if I had to guess; I’d imagine they think they have so little left to lose that any attempt at revenge is worthwhile.”

“They will soon find themselves disabused of that notion,” he growled. “Captain, by your leave, I’d like to lead a contingent of guards to where they are hiding and arrest them before the night is out.”

“You have it,” Blossom said with a nod. “I will make the arrangements when the two of us return to the palace. Be careful; one of those mares is a professional duelist.”

“I may be old, but I am still plenty able to fight,” he said. “If they try to resist, I will put them down. Violence should not answer violence, but I will not allow them to harm my friend.”

“If you want, I can gear up and go with you,” I said. “I specialize in taking down unicorns.”

“I remember full well what you did to Shining Armor,” he said. “But no, you cannot go. A knight has the authority to arrest somepony. You are no longer a knight. And you getting involved might only make things worse, since it will seem like you’re getting revenge. I will be able to arrest them with no issue.”

“...Alright. But be careful. I can’t stand the thought of you getting hurt on my behalf.”

He smiled and bowed. “I shall come to no harm, my lady.” My wings twitched slightly. “Now, I’m afraid I must take my leave. I must dress myself for a battle. Fleur, can you handle the rest of the party without me?”

“Of course, Fancy. I shall easily take it in hoof. If anypony asks where you are, I’ll just tell them you were exhausted from the ordeal of finally coming out.”

He nodded. “Excellent. Farewell for now, Lady Navarone, Captain Midnight. I shall see you both later.” With another bow for both of us, he trotted out, pulling the door shut behind him with magic.

“I wonder when I’ll get used to being called a lady,” I mused aloud.

“Your reactions are so cute,” Fleur said with a small smile. “Though when your injured wing twitched, I think you lost a few feathers…” I looked to my side and sure enough, a few white feathers were stuck on Blossom’s dress. I idly picked them away.

“Now we actually have a good reason to leave,” Blossom said. “I was going to try to detain them myself, but it’s probably better that a noble lead the task force, especially one as respected as Sir Fancy Pants.”

“What if they already fled Canterlot?” Fleur asked. “Nav could still be in danger.”

“I’ll be fine,” I said. “Tonight, I am in a dress with no weapons and surrounded by their allies. Later, I’ll be armed and ready for a fight. Trust me, I don’t die easily.”

“No, I suppose you don’t,” Fleur said, looking to my chest. “Many of us were surprised when you recovered from what Blueblood did.”

“That was probably the worst injury I’ve had, but certainly not the only one,” I said. “I’ve been stabbed, shot, burned, poisoned, dropped, beaten, crushed, and who knows what else. It takes more than some kind of pissy ex-noble trash to put me down.”

“I suppose knights of Equestria must be tough. Or perhaps it’s humans that are tough.”

“Humans are survivors,” I said. “We can come back from almost anything, and we’re usually stronger for it. But anyway, I’m tired. I didn’t get any sleep last night and it’s fall, so my body really needs it. If you wouldn’t mind…”

Blossom slid off my lap and Fleur shook her head. “By all means. I’d certainly hate to keep you up. I know you’ve had a busy schedule and I know how little you like these parties. Thank you both for attending. It really means a lot to Fancy and I.”

“I’m happy I could help you both,” I said, standing. “I know what it’s like to try to live a lie. Nobody deserves that. It’s good that you’re both finally free.”

“It certainly feels liberating,” she replied. “Do you need me to show you the way out?”

“If you don’t mind,” Blossom said. “I know I certainly got turned around in here.”

“I’m happy to have your company,” I said. “By all means, lead the way.”

She did, with gusto. I probably didn’t need her to find the way out, but with her guiding our path and mindlessly chattering with us, all the nobles that might have wanted to speak to me shied away.

Soon enough, the three of us got to the entrance of the great manor. When we all stepped outside, we saw that our chariot was already waiting on us. “It was a pleasure, Fleur,” I said, rubbing at her ears.

She beamed up at me. “The pleasure was all mine, dears. I’ll call on you at the palace in a few days, Nav. Fancy Pants might come see you tomorrow, too.”

“I’ll be waiting,” I said with a nod.

“And I’ll come see you tomorrow night, Blossom,” Fleur said. “To discuss moving arrangements, if you’re still willing to help.”

“I am. I’ll be in my office early tomorrow night and early the next morning. And of course, you’re welcome at my home when I awaken.”

“I believe I’ll stop by your home around when you awaken,” Fleur said. “I’ll be sure to bring you a snack, too.”

Blossom’s ears twitched and she uneasily grinned. “That would be nice.”

Fleur happily nodded. “Then it’s a date. Tata for now, both of you!” She did a weird horsey curtsy and then went back into the party.

“Well, that was certainly a night,” I sighed, turning to walk to the chariot. Blossom joined me without a word.

When we got there, one of the guards asked, “How was it?”

“Interesting,” I said. “Fancy Pants and a few dozen nobles admitted to being gay and I almost got killed.” Both of their heads shot toward me, of course. “You’re free to say ‘I told you so,’ if you want.”

“Er… Well I mean… I did kinda tell you so…”

“Yeah, yeah.” Blossom stepped into the chariot and held out a hoof for me. I took it and let her help me up. “Just take us back to the palace.”

“Of course… my lady.” The other guard chuckled and I couldn’t help but grind my teeth as they took off.

When we got back to the palace, there was no one else at the chariot pool. That wasn’t too unusual for that time of night, so we didn’t think much of it. Blossom helped the guards unhook themselves and they wandered off to the barracks, quietly talking about how cute we both were.

Once they were out of earshot, Blossom turned to me. “So you made it all night without petting me.”

“I did.”

“Do you know what that means?” she asked, grinning slyly.

“That I get a fun reward?” I hopefully asked, my uninjured wing unconsciously spreading. She waved me lower and I bent down, letting her whisper in my ear. My eyes widened and the wing shot fully out. “Yeah, let’s go back to my room!”

Before we could start moving, someone cleared a throat behind me. Blossom’s eyes went as wide as saucers and I slowly turned around. Princess Celestia stood before us, wearing a very interesting expression. “Hello, Navarone, Captain. Am I interrupting something?”

“Um. No, Princess,” Blossom said. “Nav and I… Er, Navarone and I were just… getting back from something.”

“From a party,” I quickly said. “Fleur wanted two more of her friends there, so we both went.”

“As friends!” Blossom quickly added. “We went as two friends, there to see another friend!”

“Hm. That is a very beautiful dress, Nav. And your makeup is absolutely gorgeous. I’m surprised to see you dressed up so nicely to go to a party with a friend.”

“It was a fancy party for fancy ponies,” I said with a shrug, trying to hide any nervousness. “And I figure, you know, fuck it. Everyone knows I’m a chick at this point. Why bother hiding it?”

Celestia finally grinned. “I’m ever so happy to hear you say that, Nav.” She looked over at my date. “It was nice to see you, Captain. I believe Nav and I have something to discuss on my bed. I’m sure she’ll be happy to speak more with you later.”

“Of… of course, your highness. I’ll uh… I’ll talk to you later, Nav! I mean, Navarone…” Just like that, she fucking bolted, leaving me alone with Celestia, whose eyes quickly turned lustful.

“I’m going to enjoy this so much,” she breathed, stepping closer and leaning in.

She did not wait until she got me onto her bed.

 
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