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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124. Chapter One Hundred and One—Welcome to the Jungle

As miserable as most of Twilight’s friends were at the news, none was as unhappy as the Pink Menace. Not that she was being forced to stay with us, no. In fact, she seemed to take to that news the best. What pissed her off was the fact that she wasn’t allowed to leave the ship.

So she dragged Fluttershy to my room the next day to make an official protest, glaring up a storm. Sure was a shame for her that I wasn’t there. She and Fluttershy found me a few minutes later, on the deck. I was practicing with Ames and Spike was practicing with Kumani. I should have been reading, but the damn snake/fish man forced me out of my room and into the cursed sunlight.

Anyway, she jumped right in between us, yelling “NAVAR—OWIE!”

Pinkie learned very quickly why it’s a bad idea to step in front of a fucking sword, practice or not. Thankfully it was mine instead of the naga’s, so she just got one hell of a headache instead of a concussion. That said, I still wasn’t about to take a chance with a possible head injury, so I told the naga to drag her forcefully to Zecora’s room, though she tried to struggle and yell at me.

“So what did she want?” I asked Fluttershy, pulling my helmet off.

“Um… She’s a little angry that we can’t leave the ship…”

“Uh huh. How do you feel about that?” I asked.

“It’s… okay. I know you’re just doing it for our safety. But… why me and Pinkie only?”

“What would you do if I swung this sword at you?” I asked, hefting the practice sword slightly.

Her eyes went wide as she stared at it, not uttering a peep.

“That’s why, for you. No offense, Fluttershy, but you’re pretty much a coward. I will admit that you tend to pull through when others are in danger, but you have very little sense of self-preservation. And you just saw what Pinkie would do if a sword comes at her. The other four would do something besides standing there and taking it or purposefully getting in the way. So yes, that order is for your safety. If you ever want to leave the ship, let me know. I’ll see what I can do. Alright?”

“...Alright.”

“So why did she drag you up here, again?” I asked.

“She told me that I was angry about the rule.”

“...But you’re not.”

She looked away, whispering something. Gotta love peer pressure.

Before I could say anything about that, I heard some shouting coming from the door belowdecks. I looked over and saw Pinkie coming back out, a bandage wrapped around her head. She seemed rather angry and was glaring at me. “THIS ISN’T OVER, NAVAR—OOF!”

She walked right between Kumani and Spike’s practice session, getting her caught between two dragons that were slamming into each other. The naga slithered up the stairs a few seconds later, took one look at her very dazed form on the deck, then snatched her by her tail. He dragged her back below.

“What was that about?” Spike asked, watching her get carried back below.

“Pinkie being Pinkie,” I answered. “Carry on.”

“That pink pony has problems with self-preservation,” Kumani said, brushing a small lock of pink hair off her claws. “At least she didn’t bleed on anything.”

“Lord knows I’d never hear the end of it,” I sighed, turning back to Fluttershy. “Can you go keep her calm? Twenty bits says she’d somehow fall off the side next time.”

Her ears flinched back and she quickly nodded. “I’ll make sure she gets better. But… you should tell her why she can’t leave!” That second sentence was said very quickly. I knew she had to be really nervous about it for some reason.

“Alright, I can do that. After she gets better, come get me. I’ll talk to her.”

She happily nodded, pleased she wouldn’t have to try to force sense into the senseless Pinkie’s mind. The naga, bereft of a retarded pink horse, passed her as she went below.

“She will not be fleeing Zecora’s chamber this time,” he rumbled. “Now where were we?”

“You were just about to let me win, I think,” I said, slipping my helmet back on.

“Ah, yes. Thank you for reminding me that the pink one saved you.”

“Hey, she blocked my sword, not yours,” I answered, readying my practice weapon.

“Then prove that you were about to win by winning now.” He lifted his massive stick, a smirk on his face.

...Long story short, turns out I wasn’t about to win.

About two hours later, I was standing next to Pinkie’s bed in her room, out of my armor and missing most of my weapons. Fluttershy stood on the other side, wearing a doctor’s coat and looking strangely concerned. She also had a stethoscope around her neck.

A cardboard box stood next to the bed, connected to Pinkie’s front leg by a string. On the cardboard box was a drawing of a line that went up and down several times, pretending to be an electrocardiogram. A tape recorder behind it was playing some beeping sounds that were very obviously homemade.

Pinkie, of course, looked miserable. She had the bandage around her head and a papier mache cast around as much of her body as she could get it in an hour. The only sign that she was faking was her hair, which was poofy and annoying instead of flat and sexy.

“N-Navarone?” she whispered, her voice sounding weak. “Is that you?”

“Nope. I’m the angel of death, here to snatch you away,” I replied, crossing my arms. Somehow, the beeping picked up and I saw a blue hoof attach a new cardboard cutout onto the box next to her bed.

“Her heart can’t take jokes right now,” Fluttershy uncertainly said, not really knowing how to deal with the situation.

“So a man walks into a bar. He’s an alcoholic and his habit is destroying his family!” The beeping slowed down and another cutout was applied to the cardboard box.

“P-please, Nav. I don’t have much time…” Pinkie whispered, her voice seeming depressed.

I walked over to the other side of the bed. “You aren’t the only one feeling down,” I said, petting Fluttershy. “I’m feeling a little horse, myself.”

Rainbow Dash snorted a laugh from her hidden position before she could stop herself. Fluttershy just blushed bright red and could barely stifle a hidden smile. Pinkie had no reaction.

“Alright, fiiine,” I sighed, walking back to the other side. “Well, what do you want?”

“A last… request,” she breathed out.

“I’m listening.”

“Let me… go off the ship whenever I want.”

“If it’s your last request, why would it even matter?” I asked. “Assuming you’re about to die, that is.”

“P-please… It’s the principle,” she whispered, her dull blue eyes taking on a fierce stare as they met my bored green eyes.

“Eh, nah,” I answered. The beeping thing behind the cardboard flatlined and Dash replaced the cutout with a straight line.

Pinkie’s head fell to the side and her tongue lolled out. “Bleh!”

“Good job, Nav,” Flo said. “You killed her.”

“Who wants to turn her body into a stuffed animal?” I asked. “I bet we can freak everyone out!”

Fluttershy’s head jerked up. “That’s so disrespectful! She was your friend, Nav!”

“Yeah, and she’s your patient, but you aren’t doing a thing to try to bring her back.”

Fluttershy eep’d and jumped to Pinkie’s side, shaking her. “Wake up, Pinkie!”

“Try mouth-to-mouth,” I said, grinning lasciviously.

“I’ll help!” Dash yelled, jumping out of hiding and knocking over the cardboard box. I just shook my head as they tried to ‘resuscitate’ Pinkie.

After a few seconds, I shrugged and started walking out. “Put those boxes back where you found them when you’re done,” I said before opening the door.

Before I could get anywhere, I was tackled from behind. “SHE’S A ZOMBIE!” Dash yelled. “Somebody save him!”

“Om nom nom!” Pinkie was fucking chewing on one of my wings. Not hard enough to hurt—quite the opposite, actually—but she was getting her nasty slobber everywhere.

“No barbequed human wings for you!” I said, turning around and putting my boot on her surprised face. When I knew what was about to happen registered in her mind, I gently shoved her back, trying not to hurt her. “I shan’t be zombie food this day!”

“Too late!” Rainbow Dash said. “She already bit you! It’s every mare for herself!”

“Betrayal!” I hissed. Pinkie sat up then whirled around, backing up to my side. I patted her head and gave her a small sign to go after Dash. “I guess us zombies gotta stick together.”

Dash wrapped a leg around Fluttershy’s neck and dragged her close, glaring at us. “Don’t even think about it!”

Pinkie pounced and Dash shoved a squealing Fluttershy forward, blocking her. So Pinkie got to gobble Fluttershy while Dash grinned victoriously, thinking herself safe. Until, of course, I hopped over them both and caught her in a bear hug, dragging her to the floor. Dash actually squeaked in fear as I began nibbling at her ear.

After I made sure she was annoyed enough, I pulled back. “Congratulations, you’re a zombie now.”

She sighed and nodded. “I guess so… Welp, time to infect the rest of the crew?”

“I suggest against it,” I said, standing. “I mean, I got shit to do. And I’m pretty sure most of them wouldn’t appreciate it. Pinkie, you can stop nibbling on Fluttershy now.”

“But she tastes like banana!” Pinkie said, looking up.

“And she’s squealing like she’s being murdered.” Thankfully, she stopped when Pinkie pulled away. “Now, that was suitably silly for my weekly quota. Pinkie, if you want permission to leave the ship in the future, ask me. Same for you, Fluttershy. I have a good reason for my decision, a reason that you both know, like it or not.”

She sighed and nodded. “Well… if I can’t keep nibbling on her, can I at least tickle her?”

“No!” Fluttershy quickly said.

“You have my permission,” I answered with a nod. Pinkie quickly went back to work, making Fluttershy yelp and start giggling like crazy. “And of course, you have my permission to tickle Pinkie, Dash,” I said.

Dash did a victorious hoof-pump. “I won’t let you down!” she said before pouncing on the unassuming Pinkie, who hadn’t heard that little exchange.

That let Fluttershy have a little reprieve, and she just laid there, catching her breath. “And Fluttershy, you have my permission to tickle Dash.”

“Do… do I have to?”

“Yes. Have fun.” I walked out as the tickle war escalated, closing the door behind me. “Man, bitches be fuckin’ trippin’,” I said as I walked back down to my room.

“Those three, certainly,” Flo said, unable to disagree.

There was a lot of really interesting information in the book about Merlin. One important detail that definitely didn’t escape me was the repeated mention of a ‘lady of the lake,’ something that both Flo and I assumed was a water elemental. Of course, that raised the question of how a water elemental got to the past to talk with him.

Unfortunately, it seemed the book was just the last part of the set. So I was able to find out about Merlin’s final fight with Discord, as well as several other important details, but I couldn’t learn anything about where he got Excalibur or how he met the elemental. Or, more importantly, how he pissed Discord off and then tried fighting him. Sadly, the writer of the book was not Merlin himself, so I couldn’t get any kind of information about his thought process, or any indication of where or when he sent Arthur and Nimue.

I did, however, learn several things that did not work against Discord. Namely, magic in general. The sword was apparently designed to fight against him somehow, but the book I had didn’t specify how, just assuming the reader would already know. That, of course, was useless.

The book also specified numerous times that despite magic not working against him, Discord wanted to wipe it out entirely. Merlin was rumored to be the last mage in existence, with Nimue as only a seeress.

Despite not having too much in the way of overly useful information, the book did have a lot of really cool stories. None of them were overly important, just fun to read.

The next day, I was visited by a mostly master race unicorn. “What do you need, Rarity?” I asked, already dreading the coming conversation. Especially considering I was trying to read another one of the books I got.

“Well, I had a few questions and suggestions, if you have time.” I tossed a bookmark on the page I was at and set the book aside, leaning back on my bed. “The first is about the… food situation.”

“I’m listening, Rarity,” I said when she paused for some reason.

“The food is bland,” she finally said, thankfully getting straight to the point.

“Alright.”

“...I’d like permission to make it less bland.”

“Can you do it without going through more supplies than we already use?” I asked.

“Well… maybe. I suppose that could be a problem I didn’t consider…”

“I appreciate the thought and I definitely agree. But we’re running off the food we have on the ship, nothing more and nothing less. Unless there’s an emergency, we’re not stopping until we get the next elemental. If you can prove to me and the small cooking staff we have here that you can make better food without using more supplies, you’re perfectly free to. Sunny Disposition is the mare in charge of the kitchen. Take that up with her.”

“Very well. Applejack and I will give it a shot, since she definitely agrees. My next concern is… different.”

“Good different or bad different?”

“Navarone, you are essentially declaring yourself independent of Equestria, correct?”

“I’m not trying to make a new nation or anything,” yet, “but I’m definitely not saying that me or my team has anything to do with them.”

“And yet all of your soldiers still use their Equestrian uniforms and armor.”

“...Fuck, you’re right. However, there’s really not much I can do about that. Jak has tools here for modifying existing armor, but not for creating new armor entirely. And we don’t have enough raw thread for creating entirely new uniforms, for the crew or for the soldiers.”

“True, we couldn’t create new armor or clothing, but we could modify that which is already existing. All we’d really need to do is remove the Equestrian images already adorning the equipment, as much as I’d dislike doing it. It would go far to create the proper image, should we ever run into a group that is… anti-Equestrian.”

“Fair point. Do you have enough tools to modify the clothes?”

“Of course. I could probably do everypony’s uniform in a week. However, removing an image wouldn’t be as useful as adding a new one…”

“And that would make it easier to do what I’ve been planning from the start, to disguise as a mercenary company. I’ll bring that up with Watcher the next time I see him. Don’t do anything until I give the go-ahead, because there might be a reason he hasn’t had any of his equipment changed yet.”

“Of course, Nav. And what would you request that I change it to, so I can begin designing a badge just in case?”

I hopped out of the bed and reached up to the ceiling, where I had my armor. The pauldrons were both together, so pulling them down was fairly simple. “See this hand?” I asked, holding one of them up.

“Ah, your red hand image. Are you sure it’s wise to use your heraldic image from when you were a knight?”

“I was the only knight to ever use it and my name was stricken from the records, presumably along with the fact that I used this image. So I don’t reckon it’ll matter.”

“Hm. Very well. I will see what I can do, though I might run out of red thread.”

“Well, there are five squads,” I said. “So you could make a different color for each squad. Or a different color for each race, since there are five of each represented. Just don’t use any colors that are really bright, because these guys specialize in dark ops.”

“I understand, Nav. May I borrow one of these for reference?”

“Sure. Just don’t have it around the edges of the ship. I would look pretty funny in lopsided armor.”

“Hm.” She pulled one of the pauldrons away with magic. I tossed the other one back on the bed. “So.”

“So…?”

She sighed, looking away. “We six are trapped here, Navarone. We’re going to get very bored, very quickly. And I believe that Spike is still rather upset with me, which is… not a good thing, for ponies trapped so closely together for any length of time. I know you… very rightly don’t think the best of me,” she looked up at this point, “but would you at the very least be willing to help me form some manner of working relationship with Spike again?”

“Rarity, that’s really something you need to do on your own. You have a lot of apologizing to do. It’s better if you approach him alone, to show that you didn’t need to be coerced into it. I can’t promise that his mind is the same as mine, but if I saw you took the personal initiative to approach me like that, I’d be willing to at least listen. That said, he was… beyond angry with you. If you approach him and he blows you off, tell me and I’ll talk to him.”

“...Very well, Navarone. I do have another question, one that I hope doesn’t offend…”

“Couldn’t be the worst thing you’ve said to me, either way,” I answered with a shrug. “Go for it.”

“Why Kumani?”

“Don’t know. I mean, she’s fun to be around, I guess. And she was willing. We seem relatively compatible in bed. I don’t really know what else to base a relationship on. I’m sure by now, you know my experience with Luna. That was the closest thing to a romantic relationship I ever really had.”

“I suppose those are decent reasons. I should warn you, though: A certain stallion on the ship has a crush on you, I believe.”

“...I’m aware. I believe he’s finally relenting.”

“I know you’re dating Kumani, but have you ever truly considered it, Nav? Again, I don’t mean to offend, but I believe you won’t be having children no matter the case. Should you not find a partner that you love and loves you?”

I sighed, rolling my eyes. “Rarity, we’ve been over this. I’m not gay.

“...Braeburn?”

“Was a one time thing. Shit, even he told me that I wouldn’t be very good at it, since he couldn’t walk for an hour after we were done. Besides, Smiles tops, and I refuse to have anything inside of me. Drop it.”

“Very well. Celestia knows I…” Her eyes lost focus and she blinked. “Rather, I don’t want to anger you. If you hear me using her name like that, could you let me know?”

“Alright. Trying to cut down on taking her name in vain?”

“Trying to cut down thinking about her. Applejack is not the only one of us that is incensed that we’re forced to go with you, though she has the best reason.”

“...She’s not going to be a problem, is she?”

“Applejack knows full well who the cause of her anger is. Now, I will get out of your mane. There’s much work to be done if I want to get these patches done.”

“Alright. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. But I do suggest talking to Spike before getting started.”

“I will try. I will talk to you later.” I nodded and she left, the piece of armor following her.

You know, Rarity is probably the one I least expected to approach me like that.

“She’s also probably one of the most mature,” Flo answered.

The entrance of someone that I didn’t want to see wiped out any response I wanted to make. “Yes, Smiles?” I asked, my arms automatically crossing.

“Sir, who’s… Braeburn?”

God fucking dammit, you dirty eavesdropping bitch. “Farmer I met in Appaloosa. Why?”

“...Why him?”

“Because he bottomed and that was just a few months after Luna’s estrus. It was right about the time she started making everyone dream about me, so I was really, really pissed and looking for an outlet. He had good timing.” That doesn’t account for the second time, but he doesn’t need to know about that.

“Oh. Master Jak wanted me to tell you that all the siege weapons are finished and he’s going to be focusing on his rune project. He wants permission to melt down some unimportant metal for practice.”

“Define unimportant,” I said, my mind unable to help but wonder what the fuck happened to him so that he wasn’t mindlessly flirting on me anymore.

“Scraps that would otherwise be used for repairs, mostly. He said that he isn’t going to need that much for what he’s doing.”

“Tell him that repairs are extremely important and that we might need to revamp some symbols on all your armor soon, so not to use too much. I understand the desire to practice, but we’re on our own up here. No way of resupplying. If he uses too much and we get in a fight, we might not be able to repair our weapons, armor, or worse, our fucking ship.”

“I’ll tell him to use as little as possible, then.”

“That works. Tell him not to go under seventy-five percent of what we already have.”

“Yes sir. Any other notes for him?”

“Nothing he doesn’t already know. He teaching you this rune stuff?”

“I’m going to try to learn it,” he answered with a nod. “Whether or not he’ll actually teach me, though…”

“That’s on him. Asking wouldn’t hurt, though.”

“Well, maybe. Either way, I’ll go tell him what you said. See you, sir.”

“See you.” He left. I grabbed my sword and was about to go talk to Watcher when Applejack let herself in. “Fuck, is there a damn line out there?”

“Just me,” she said, her voice sounding… bored, almost. “Can I practice with the guards?” That’s not boredom. That’s barely repressed anger.

“...You talking combat practice?” I asked.

“Yep.”

“Go for it. But be careful. I know you aren’t exactly happy right now, and anger gives you strength you don’t always realize you have. I don’t want any accidents.”

“Alright.”

I sighed again, having a feeling where this was going. “Applejack, I have a lot of practice dealing with anger and feeling worthless. I’m going to warn you right now that this isn’t going to make you feel better.”

“Didn’t figure it would. But I’m stuck here, and I ain’t gonna be stuck here twiddlin’ my hooves. I ain’t much one for readin’ or playin’ around. Cookin’s all well and good, but I ain’t gonna be stuck doin’ that, neither. I’m strong. Fast. Honest with myself enough to know I ain’t as smart as somepony like Twilight. Figure I might as well be useful as another soldier, if you ever need one. Better than gettin’ in the way.”

“Fair enough. Follow me.” I walked past her into the hall. She fell into step behind me without a word as I walked on down to Watcher’s room. He was in there, reading through the magic book. Since I never buckled my sword on, I just leaned against the doorframe and tapped the hilt gently against the wall. He looked up. “Any of your troops got a spare set of armor?” I asked.

“We got a few with us,” he answered. “Why?”

I looked behind me, where AJ was just standing there with a relatively dull expression on her face. She saw me looking and stepped forward so Watcher could see her. I looked back his way. “AJ wants to practice with you guys. Figure I might as well suit her up in some armor as well, get her used to it.”

“You sure?” he asked her.

“Yep.”

“Go talk to Sanguine Rose. Tell her I sent you. She’s the only female earth pony we have with us, so she’ll be in charge of your training. She’ll suit you up.”

“Yes sir.”

“No calling me sir unless you’re actually going to become one of us.”

“Alright. She awake right now?”

“Should be.”

“See you, then.” She turned without another word and walked off, looking for her new mentor.

“What do you think?” I quietly asked.

“Everyone has a right to know how to defend themselves. Or to go a bit beyond that, if they want.”

“True enough. Got a question then, about armor and uniforms. You think we should get rid of the Equestrian symbols on your gear?”

“Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially now that we’re getting further away. Being associated with Equestria could be useful, but it could also be useful not to be associated with them. And there might well be laws against us having that heraldry on our equipment. Suggestions?”

“Thinking we might use my red hand. It’s already on my armor, after all.”

He nodded. “I’ll bring it up with my squad leaders. If we’re going to change our group image like that, I want their approval.”

“Fair enough. When you get an answer, let me know.”

“Will do. You need anything else?”

“Nah. Good luck with that magic stuff.”

“Might well need it,” he sighed, going back to his book. I went on back to my room to continue reading.

I would literally give one of my kidneys for the ability to send Luna’s diary back in time about five or six years, before I met her. Not that I have kidneys anymore, but the point still stands. Having that book would have made life a lot easier for me. It went rather in-depth about some of her past.

Assassinations. Torture. War. Crime. Endless lies. Hints of the growing darkness and probable insanity already boiling inside. And that was in a short period of fifty years, the length of that diary. There’s no telling what she didn’t write. Or what she did write in other tomes.

For God’s sake, there were hints of her planned treason in that one book, which seemed to take place between three and four thousand years ago. The worst part is that after reading it, I understood perfectly why she wanted to do it.

Luna absolutely hated herself. Celestia used her position to get Luna to do the dark tasks. Someone had to be loved and someone had to be feared. It seemed that Celestia was the older, and thus she took it upon herself to be the role model. Despite the evil tasks Luna did, she began… enjoying herself. Enjoying the violence, the darkness she was forced to surround herself with.

Of course, that made her hate herself even more.

But none of that is really important. What is important is what she documented about spells. True, Celestia knew considerably more about them than Luna, having been the driving force behind them. But Luna still assisted.

One thing in the explanation is the reasoning behind the spells. Namely, what Grogar the necromancer did to old Equestria. From what I was able to tell, they all used to live around what became the Crystal Empire, in segregated communities. There were the earth ponies, the unicorns, and the pegasi. Celestia understood full well why they were separated, but the diary didn’t explain why.

Note that if they were around the Crystal Empire, that put them in northern Canada, where there should be little but taiga, ice, and frozen death. Instead, it was temperate. I couldn’t help but wonder how fucked up the world’s environment was.

But then along came Grogar, who did… something. If I had to guess, I’d say that he… corrected the environment. I don’t know if he did it on purpose or on accident, but he brought the cold back to the north.

Either way, it fucked with the ponies. So they migrated south. Of course, Celestia didn’t want anyone else to pull that kinda bullshit on her again, so she decided to come up with a way of limiting the power of magic in the world. Her method of doing that was spells.

I’m not going to even try to explain how the fuck Celestia did what she did, because I didn’t even understand it. I resolved to show that to Twilight and let her try to fucking figure it out, because fuck knows I couldn’t.

Long story short, Celestia not knowing how the environment is supposed to work ruined magic for everyone. Horse education, everybody.

The next day ended the period of Taya’s punishment. I debated sneaking in and pulling the ring off while she slept, like a ring fairy, but decided she might freak out if it was suddenly gone. After all, I promised retribution if she took it off.

...You know, when I say it like that, it makes me sound like a BDSM master.

Anyway, I just walked on in her room that morning and yanked it off. “Week’s over,” I said.

“So can I study now?” she hopefully asked.

“Sure, if you want. You’re ungrounded now, so do whatever, as long as ‘whatever’ doesn’t include what made me ground you in the first place.”

She shivered, her tail covering her flank. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still aching from the spanking. “Don’t worry about that,” she said, looking away. And people say spankings don’t work. Getting over her little flashback of horror, she looked back up and asked, “So where’s the book you got about magic?”

“Watcher has it. Shit’s hard as hell. I’d need to dedicate hours a day to even get the basics down.”

“...Daddy, you don’t sleep.”

“And? I didn’t say I wouldn’t try, but reading those other books is more important than trying to figure out some bullshit magic that might or might not even work. And hell, if I have so many powerful unicorns around, I’d rather just use you guys. With you, Twilight, and Watcher, I’m pretty much set for magic.”

“Until one of us isn’t around.”

I shrugged. “Like I said, I’ll start making the effort when I’m not as busy. Between me and Flo, I’m sure we can figure it out.”

“What if she isn’t around, though?” Taya asked.

“Flo lives in my head. It’s gonna be kinda difficult for her to not be around.”

“What about that time in the magic shop, when that lady blocked her out?”

“Eh. I’ll figure something out. Like I said, I’ll make the attempt to learn it. I don’t know what more you want.”

“I could teach you.”

“You said that you barely know it yourself, though. The drunk leading the blind is about as good of an idea as it sounds. And most of my time trying to learn it will probably be late at night, when I ain’t got shit else to do and everyone but the other guards are asleep.”

Flo sighed. “Come on, Nav. Just give her this. After all you’ve done for her, let her try to give something back.”

“That said,” I continued, “if you can learn more from the book, you’re welcome to try teaching me. I do better with a teacher than I do with just reading something. Just expect me to get pissed off when I can’t figure it out.”

“Daddy, are you really that much of a sore loser?”

“It’s not losing.” Technically. “You need anything?”

“A hug?” I wrapped my arms around her, then felt magic hold me as she pulled away with a shark-like grin. “Daddy, do you remember all those times you tickled me when I had that ring on?”

Oh fuck. “...No?”

I do.

That was not a pleasant way to spend about ten minutes.

When she was done using me as her tickle whore, she teleported me back to my room, so I couldn’t see where she went. Since I didn’t really feel like getting back at her anyway, that wasn’t a problem. Instead, I pulled out Grogar’s book.

Unfortunately, I got as far as opening it before my door was slammed open by Rainbow Dash and Twilight, who let themselves in. “Well, what do you need?” I sighed, tossing the book aside since I knew dealing with them would probably take some time.

“When were you gonna tell us Kat was Kat, huh?” Dash demanded, getting all up in my face.

“...Repeat that question, and this time listen to yourself,” I said, pushing her away from me.

Twilight used magic to pull Dash away. “What she means is, when were you going to inform us that we were on the same boat as a torture-loving rapist that horribly mistreated you?”

“Oh. I wasn’t planning on it. Why?”

“SHE’S A MONSTER, THAT’S WHY!” Dash yelled, straining against the magic to get back in my face.

“And would you happen to agree?” I asked Twilight.

“She hurt you, Nav. A lot. I think the only reason it took us so long to realize that was her is because we just couldn’t believe you actually took her with you!”

“What’s wrong with you?” Dash asked.

“She is on this boat with us because if she wasn’t, there’s a very good chance that she would be dead right now,” I said. “Before she came aboard, she told Bloodbeak about a plot to assassinate one of his daughters. This made her a lot of enemies. Yes, she mistreated me.” Understatement of the year, perhaps? “But how loudly would you be whining if we had Celestia on board right now?”

“That’s different!” Dash said.

“How?” I asked.

“She didn’t physically hurt you!”

“She slammed me against a wall once when Luna did something she didn’t like. And Celestia is the reason I was in Egypt in the first place. And she was spying through my eyes the entire time I was there. Guess who knew full well what Kat was doing to me.” Although I actually wasn’t certain about that. I know Celestia liked looking through my eyes, but I don’t know if she was watching when she thought things were about to get steamy. “And besides that, she’s done all kinds of fucked up things to me. How is it different?”

“She’s… she’s the princess…”

“Nav, that doesn’t change the fact that Kat is on board,” Twilight said. “Honestly, I don’t feel overly safe having her here. Nopony knows much about her, other than what was in your journals. And those don’t paint her as safe at all. What if she does that to somepony here?”

“Then I will slit her throat and toss her ass overboard,” I answered. “But you say that you don’t know anything about her. Why not go talk to her? Because with as little as you know about her, she knows even less about anyone here, other than me. And she’s probably really afraid of me. Kat has no friends on board. No one to talk to. True, that could be considered justice, in a way, but don’t you think the chances that she might crack increase if she feels completely alone? Why not go try to meet her? Learn about her? Decide for yourself if she’s really bad, or if she was just in a bad spot when she did what she did to me?”

Dash snorted. “I’m not gonna do it!”

“...I will,” Twilight said. “I’ve been there before, when I came to Ponyville. I didn’t know anypony but Spike and it seemed… frightening, in a way. Kat doesn’t even have that going for her. Are you sure she’s safe, Nav?”

“Yeah. If you aren’t certain about her, take someone else with you to meet her. Spike does know her slightly, so you might could use him.”

“And I won’t let you meet her alone!” Dash quickly said. “If you’re going, I’m going!”

“No, Rainbow,” Twilight said, shaking her head. “I don’t want to overwhelm her with new ponies, and you tend to be… somewhat accusatory.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“Remember the crystal ponies?” Twilight asked. “You were supposed to talk to them. Instead, you scared them. I don’t want to do that to Kat.”

“Well, why not? Kat’s a jerk!”

“Try meeting her first, then deciding,” I said. “Imagine you only knew Pinkie from the time she was all depressed with flat hair and shit. What would you think about her?”

“That she needed a hug? Pinkie didn’t hurt one of my friends!”

“Alright, fine. I’ll use Celestia again. What if all you knew about her is what I just told you?” She just narrowed her eyes, looking away. “You know a tiny snippet of Kat’s life. She might be a bitch. She might be evil. But she might just have been in a bad place in her life.”

Dash looked back at me. “Being in a bad place doesn’t mean rape.”

“Depends on your definition of bad. Give her a chance or not, Dash. Honestly, I don’t fucking care. But remember that not everyone comes from happy-sunshine-ponyland. Suffering exists in this world, and Kat’s had her fair share of it. So even if you spend the rest of the trip ignoring her, I trust there will be no incidents between the two of you.”

She snorted and looked away until Twilight prodded her. “Fiiiine. But she better not hurt any more of my friends!”

“Rainbow, the best way to do that is to make them her friends as well,” Twilight said. “Now come on. Let’s go talk to Pinkie. She knows all about making friends with strange ponies!”

“Bad idea,” I said before they could get out. “Pinkie already knows that’s Kat.”

“What?! How does she know?” Dash demanded.

“Because she also read my journals and she met Kat during the Flankfurt party,” I answered with a shrug. “And uh… She kinda threatened Kat so badly that she was completely afraid of even talking to me. It took a while to get Pinkie to apologize. Not too certain she’d be willing to talk to Kat. Or if Kat would want anything to do with her.”

“...Then I guess I’ll talk to her without preparing,” Twilight said. “Well, without much preparing. Come on, Rainbow.”

“Not so fast, Dash,” I said. “Wanted to ask you something. Go on, Twilight.”

Twilight shrugged and said, “Alright. See you both later.” She wandered on out, leaving the two of us alone.

“So… what did you need?” Dash asked.

“Two points. First, Kat is a power dom. I don’t suspect I need to tell you this, but if you ever change your mind, be extremely wary about trying anything with her.”

She looked disgusted at the very thought. “After what she did to you?! No way!”

“Just making sure. You did seem pretty jealous when I gave you hints all those years ago…”

“That’s before I knew…” She trailed off, not certain how to continue.

“Yeah, yeah. The second point is that if I catch you sabotaging her potential relationships, I’m gonna be really pissed. I know how you ponies think sometimes.”

She blushed and looked away, trying to look offended but failing. “I… I wouldn’t d-do that!”

“See to it that you don’t. I’ll ask Applejack and Pinkie both to punish you.” She blushed even brighter. “That’s all I needed.”

She nodded and started to leave, but then turned back. “Hey, do you know why Applejack is practicing with the night guards?”

“Because she wants to?”

“Oh. That makes sense, I guess. Where did she get the armor?”

“Spare set.”

“...Hm. Think I could spar with them, too?”

“Any reason why?”

“Nav… it’s really boring on this ship. I mean, I could fly around and see all the cool sights, but all the bat ponies are saying we’re going places that are dangerous and that I might not be allowed to leave the ship… But if I had training, I might be able to!”

“Alright, whatever. Go talk to Watcher, tell him I sent you. He’s in charge of the training stuff. He’ll probably assign you a trainer or something and a set of armor, if there’s another spare set around here.”

“Cool. Think he’s in his room?”

“I dunno. If not, he might be with Zecora. I know they have something going on. If he’s not with her, then just wander around until you find him.”

“Alright, will do. See you, Nav.” She left, allowing me to finally start reading Grogar’s insidious text.

Grogar’s… I hesitate to call it a diary, since that seems too personal for something as dark as he was. Autobiography, perhaps? Either way, Grogar’s text was considerably different than I was actually expecting. Once again, it didn’t paint me a complete picture, since it didn’t start in the beginning of his prolonged foray into necromancy. But even as a necromancer with a lot of power, he didn’t seem too evil. More… disinterested.

There was a lot of information in that book, most of which was unimportant. It detailed his descent—or ascent, according to him—into lichdom, and how he ripped out his own soul and bound it into a phylactery that he then hid in what he called the shadow realm. His first act as a lich was raising incredibly powerful guardians around his phylactery, and then around his personal… palace? Tomb? Dungeon? Home is probably the best word.

When those guardians and the rumors of a dark power weren’t enough to stop adventurers from stopping by and bothering him, he started becoming somewhat more adventurous with his powers, raising the bodies of those that sought to plunder his dark dungeon (if you know what I mean) and sending them to patrol the general area of his tomb. After all, his research was extremely important, something he seemed to believe would ultimately benefit both the living and the dead.

Sadly for him, his undead patrols picked up the interest of Celestia. In response, she sent a single envoy that demanded he stop his foul magics immediately. This diplomat was better protected than the others, so he was sent back with an unpleasant message.

Before Celestia could attack to put a stop to what she figured was his heinous deeds, Grogar put his research into action. Basically, he used extremely powerful magic to correct the planet’s atmosphere. Even he didn’t fully understand it, he just knew that the north pole was supposed to be fucking cold. This was also supposed to have the effect of chasing off all those annoying living beings that just pestered him.

He was rather successful on both counts, though the crystal ponies didn’t go anywhere. Still, it took them a long, long time to become troublesome for Grogar. The war between the two of them went very quickly, because apparently, he didn’t give two fucks about winning or losing. He was researching something and didn’t want to be bothered, and he knew wiping out the ponies up north would bring trouble from the south. So he just said fuck it and left.

Strangely enough, the book didn’t say where he went or what he was researching when he left, other than it was extremely important and the place he was going was dangerous enough that he shouldn’t be bothered. The book did, however, say that he was going to be leaving a certain present behind for Sombra, in the form of a book. I quite wished that I could find that dark book, if only to burn it myself so it didn’t corrupt anyone else.

The autobiography didn’t clear up much of anything in my mind. It was interesting and it had a lot of important history in it, but it wasn’t really all that useful. It didn’t detail where he was going, so I couldn’t ask him more.

But you know, judging by how things in my life tend to work out, I had a feeling I was going to be meeting Grogar some day.

Kumani got me to help lay her egg the next day. I was on the deck, getting some fresh air and trying to find the captain to ask how much longer before we hit the ocean, when Kumani’s scaley arms wrapped around me. “How do you prefer your eggs in the morning?” she whispered, tickling my ear with her tongue as she lifted me up.

“...Unfertilized?” I asked as she started carrying me below. “I don’t think I have any eggs, though. Is there… something about dragon physiology that you aren’t telling me?” Fuck, I hope I don’t have to hold onto that damn egg for a little while.

“No. It’s just time for it to come out. Some are freaked out their first time, so I figured some humor would help.”

“Eh. First time I saw a dude’s head split open was probably freakier. Still, the thought’s appreciated, I guess. So how’s this gonna work?”

“Thankfully, my eggs are still pretty small. Should take less than fifteen minutes. I’ll be doing most of the work, of course, but you’ll be helping me relax.”

“Sounds easy enough. Then we toss it overboard and never speak of it again?”

“Yep.”

She pushed her door open with one arm, still holding me in place. “So why do you carry me like this, anyway?”

“Lets the crew know  not to bother looking for you, I guess.”

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. “Eh.” She set me down and used her tail to push the door shut. I went ahead and divested myself of my shirt, not really sure how we were going to go about this.

(I have a problem. ctrl+f “Sex is over” to skip)

She looked back at me. “Well, go ahead and take the rest off.”

I shrugged and did, soon standing before her completely nude. “So we’re going to be fucking?” I asked. “Won’t that crush the egg or something?”

“It takes a little more force than that,” she answered. “You’d break your dick before the egg, I bet.” She walked over to the bed stand and pulled open its drawer, pulling out a vial. “So you’re going to be doing something… else.” Her hand wrapped around mine and pulled me forward, then pushed me onto the bed. “Sit.” Of course, I didn’t have much choice.

One of her claws popped the vial open and she kneeled down, upending it over my soft manhood. A warm, soft fluid dripped out, slowly coating me. The claw not holding the vial began teasing me, making sure the lube covered all of the length that slowly expanded as I realized just what I was going to be doing.

“Alright. Eggs are hard to get out without a lot of lube,” she said, finishing cleaning me up with a little tap on the tip. “Unfortunately, you’re a little smaller than I am, so I can’t just sit on your lap. That would make things easier.” She put the clean hand on my chest and pushed me backwards, sending me on the bed. “So just relax.”

I had a few seconds to do just that as she draped a towel across my stomach for some reason. However, my attempts to do so were ruined when she fucking sat on me, her tailhole quickly swallowing me and making me gasp at the sudden heat and pressure. Her breath caught as well, the sudden sensation of me inside of her like that taking her a second to get used to.

Then she handed me the bottle of lube. “Your hands are a lot more gentle than my claws,” she said. “So get to applying that stuff. Quickly. I can already feel it getting ready.”

“Just… rub it in?” I asked, pouring some of the stuff onto my right hand.

“Yep. Surprised a sciency guy like you’s never seen this before.”

“Lizards in my world had a cloaca,” I said, moving my hand to her opening and making her catch her breath again. It was fairly awkward, but not too bad. “And dragons here are apparently really secretive.” I gently began rubbing into her trying to apply the lube. “How deep do I need to go?”

“Length of your fingers is good,” she gasped, grinding slightly. “I should get plenty of natural stuff as well.”

The hand holding the bottle pushed the lid closed and I set it aside so I could use that hand to rub her clit. My right hand was still gently spreading the lube, rubbing her inner walls. Between her stretched tailhole, her clit being tweaked, and her walls being caressed, she was getting quite wet.

Then suddenly, her body just tensed, making me flinch when she fucking clamped down on my dick. “Relax!” I hissed, in a small amount of pain.

“Trying,” she hoarsely answered. I doubled my efforts, rubbing faster and hoping she wouldn’t squeeze my ability to have sex away. It seemed my efforts might have been doing something, because her grip on me slowly relaxed and she took a deep breath.

“Feeling better?” I asked.

Her grimace was the only hint I got. Then she started squeezing in time with what I was assuming her heartbeat, starting from the top of my member down to the base. My eyes opened wide as she squeezed at me, torturing me with her control. I got another hint when she coughed up a large smoke cloud, then felt the tension increased for a few very long seconds as my fingers inside of her felt something.

As soon as they felt it, my dick started feeling it as well, an extra spot of pressure from another place inside of her. Not knowing what to do, I pulled my fingers out, trying not to get them in the way. In an attempt to make it more comfortable for her, I continued rubbing her clit, hoping to accelerate the process.

As the egg continued slowly pushing out, she started grinding and slightly bouncing up and down, increasing the pleasure I was getting from being inside of her. A perpetual stream of smoke or steam seemed to be coming from her mouth and nostrils as she breathed, the temperature inside of her slowly seeming to increase.

And her dragonesshood started to dilate, opening widely and seemingly increasing in size. When I looked into her gaping depths, I could see the egg moving inside. Also, I questioned every single one of my life choices that led me to writing that sentence on paper.

“Almost out,” I said encouragingly, hoping I could more easily wipe the image from my mind if I didn’t have to look at it for as long. She just grunted in response, shivering as her body pushed to expel the large embryo.

All I could really do at that point was just watch as the egg inexorably moved forward, slowly escaping the dark dungeon that appeared to be her vagina. She started leaking fluids onto the towel she placed on me a few seconds before the egg finally crowned, getting slightly out of her. It didn’t seem very slimy, but it was definitely wet. The thing was a mottled orange and white, with a few pink polka dots here and there.

“It’s pushing out,” I tensely said, since her body started squeezing like crazy when it felt that thing emerging. Hey, do you see a shadow? Wonder if I can get it to go back inside for six more weeks so we can keep fucking like rabbits. Flo just snorted.

I wisely left that unsaid, because getting hit by a dragon might break a bone.

A few seconds after the egg crowned, it made a sound kinda like a cork and just popped the rest of the way out, landing on the towel and starting to roll until I caught it, shivering slightly at the feeling. Following it was a whole fuckton of natural lubricant and then Kumani orgasming on top of it.

Sadly, I wasn’t anywhere near that stage, yet. Flo, you think you could…? She just sighed and forced some endorphins into my mind, putting me over the edge as well and letting me coat her intestines with my hot white lust. You’re… the best, doll. Thinking was kind of hard at that point, but I think she got the message.

Anyway, when Kumani had suitably recovered, she tiredly pushed herself off me, then just fell onto the bed, curling up. “Sleep time,” she sighed.

“...So you want me to throw this off the side?” I asked, tenderly sitting up.

“Sure, whatever,” she whispered, her eyes closing.

(Why do I write these things. “Sex is over”)

I’m pretty sure she wanted to be alone after that somewhat horrifying event, so I quickly got cleaned up and dressed, then went back to the deck for more fresh air and to hopefully finally find the captain. And also to throw the egg off the side, hopefully to never be seen again.

There wasn’t a captain out there, but there was a Twilight Sparkle, who gasped when she saw what I had in my hand. “Nav, is that…?” she asked, jumping up next to me before I could drop the thing overboard.

“A dragon egg?” I asked, tossing it from hand to hand. “Yeah.”

“Be careful! How am I going to study it if you break it?”

“Study it? Why?” Truthfully, I should have known better to ask that question.

“Because nopony knows much about dragons, that’s why!”

“Hm. And tell me, how many dragon eggs have you studied before?”

“Well, only Spike’s, so far.”

“...So what you’re saying is that you have a one hundred percent success rate for hatching dragon eggs that no one else thought could be hatched?”

“When you put it like that—HEY!” While she was talking, I casually tossed the thing over the side. “Nav! Now I can’t study it!”

“And now you can’t accidentally hatch it, either. I mean, it should be unfertilized, but I ain’t takin’ no chances. And since Kumani wanted me to toss it overboard and it’s her egg anyway, I think it’s only fair.”

“Then why didn’t you let me ask her?!”

“Because I don’t want no fuckin’ half-dragon half-master race running around this damn ship. That would just be silly, Twilight. Now, I’m gonna go take a shower. If you see the captain, let him know I’m looking for him.”

She just sighed, propping herself up on the rails to see if the egg somehow survived being dropped. Not that she could probably see it anyway, but maybe she was just really hoping.

The book about the ‘true’ founding of Equestria—or at least, the downfall of Discord and the subsequent gain in power for Celestia and Luna—was actually fairly boring. I mean, it was a lot more interesting than the lies Celestia had published as truth, but it was still really boring compared to the other books I read.

Basically, when Discord split the alicorns into three, each of the three hated the other two. The writer of the book (who I think was Celestia or Chrysalis) wasn’t entirely certain why, but suspected that each party might have blamed the others for what happened to their glorious forms. Needless to say, Celestia and Luna were looked upon with much suspicion, jealousy, and hate for some time.

Thankfully for them, lifespans were short since famine, disease, war, and murder wracked the land. Monsters caused by Discord or just waiting for a chance to have fun freely walked the lands, unopposed by each group in the hopes that one of the other groups would suffer from them. Needless to say, Luna and Reginald were extremely active during this time, hunting down threat after threat.

While they were protecting the ponies from external threats, Celestia was protecting them from violence within, finding ways to coerce the three feuding pony clans into accepting her rule. She managed to do this by convincing the filthy mud ponies and the pegasi that she controlled the sun and Luna controlled the moon. Since the earth ponies were farmers and the pegasi relied on the sun and moon for their weather or some bullshit like that, they fell in line.

The unicorns were more… recalcitrant. But they did agree to work with her on the condition that they were generally left alone.

So after a few hundred years, Celestia managed to pseudo-unite the three feuding races. For some reason, the pegasi were rather militant, so they made up the bulk of the defense force and protected the earth ponies, who were mostly farmers. The unicorns were the ‘scientists,’ occasionally finding new ways of improving life for each group. Aside from the occasional ambush and hot temperatures, she had them under control. Of course, she left the everyday governing to each race as they saw fit, but she had the final say in anything important.

Unfortunately, not everything good was meant to last. After an indefinite amount of time of relatively good behavior and extremely minimal contact between each group, tensions started flaring for some reason or another. Celestia needed a scapegoat that they could all hate, so she directed as much blame as she could onto Grogar, since he seemed dark and mysterious enough to be scary.

This backfired.

After the cold weather forced the migration of most of the ponies (minus the earth pony splinter group that became the crystal ponies), Celestia really needed a way to get everyone together and stop being bitches to each other. So like any good tyrant that was desperate to keep power, she invented fascism. Anypony, everypony, and somepony became standard. Each pony life was taught in schools to be equal, while just enough was taught about other races to make them seem weak, but threatening anyway.

This also happens to be around the time when relations between the ponies and the changelings deteriorated sharply, for what should be obvious reasons.

Sadly, the history book didn’t have anything else in it. Given that the thing was dated using a year system that didn’t even exist in Equestria anymore, I wasn’t expecting to be able to easily find more information. At least, not without asking Reginald, Luna, Celestia, or maybe Chrysalis.

The next day, we were due to hit the ocean. I was happy we were finally there, myself. Gilda and the naga were also feeling it. Gilda, so she could start stealing fish again. Ames, so he could see endless water instead of terrifying ground under him. It also meant we could fly much lower, since we didn’t have to worry about flyers or hills.

That was also the day I was given two pieces of terrible news.

I was trying to read another one of the books when Twilight let herself in my room. When I looked up, I saw that she was flashing her pearly whites, a somewhat glazed expression on her face. “You find a magic item that gives instant orgasms?” I asked, not bothering to close my book.

“Aqua asked me to be her host!”

“She WHAT?!” I demanded, jumping up.

Twilight opened her mouth, but an icy spike in my brain cut off whatever she was trying to say. “Calm. Down,” Flo said, forcing me back onto the bed. One of my hands went unbidden to my head, trying to fight it. “Elementals are usually extremely picky about their hosts. If my sister chose Twilight, it will be impossible to change her mind. Getting angry about it will change nothing.”

That didn’t do much to abate my anger about Twilight, but it did push it aside for my new rage at Flo for treating me like that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to act on it. One, because she’s in my head and I didn’t feel like punching myself. Two, because Twilight was immediately in my face. “What’s wrong, Nav?” she asked, one of her hooves on my shoulder. She looked concerned, because it’s not every day that you see someone jump to their feet in anger and then slump down like a used condom.

My eyes narrowed and I shrugged her hoof off. “Ask that voice in your head,” I said. “At least I ain’t alone in having a fuckin’ brain leech anymore.”

She blinked a few times, her eyes glazing over as well. “Oh, you can control me?” she asked. A few more seconds passed and I just rolled my eyes. “Well, as long as you don’t do it without an emergency, I don’t really mind that much. Otherwise, please ask first.” She went silent again. “Oooh, this is so cool! I’ll never be alone on those late study nights ever again!”

God fucking dammit. It was supposed to be one of my crew! How the fuck am I supposed to control the girls now?

“Relax,” Flo said. “This is probably for the best. Aqua can only help Twilight grow more powerful in magic.”

Didn’t make me feel any better. But I knew I could say something that would make both the elementals in the room suffer. “So has she told you that she can hurt you and give you orgasms yet?” I asked.

“...She can?” Twilight slowly asked.

“Yep. Flo here likes making me cream my pants at the worst times, too.” I heard a wet slap in my head and knew she was facepalming.

“...You wouldn’t do that, would you?” Twilight asked. “What do you mean, only if it’s funny?!” Twilight quickly looked shocked. “But the princess would never…” Then she looked kinda pensive. “Nav, would Princess Celestia ever tease somepony in public like that?”

“Absolutely. She loves to use her hair and tail for it, because she can pass it off as an accident in case she gets caught. She’s done it to me a few times. She’s also groped my ass at least once in public with magic. She never took it all the way, though.”

“Well, it’s the little things,” she sighed. “So why did you seem upset when I told you?”

“Surprise,” I lied with a shrug.

Twilight’s eyes narrowed. “Aqua says you’re lying.”

“Aqua’s never seen a human before me, Twilight. She’s going to get my mannerisms confused.”

“Were you lying?”

“Of course not.” Her horn lit up. “God fucking dammit.”

“So why were you angry when I told you?” she asked again.

“Reasons. Reasons that aren’t important.” Her horn lit up again. “That’s a fucking opinion, you stupid horn!” It was still lit up. “Oh, you wanna go, bitch? I’ll punch you so har—Wait, you’re a horn. Twilight, get a better lie-detecting spell.”

She was just smirking like crazy. “I wasn’t even casting it,” she said, finally giggling. “I was just using a light spell!”

My face slowly lowered into my hands. I’ve been awake too long for this shit.

“So… why were you upset?”

I just sighed, reached over to my bedstand, slipped the ring on, then grabbed Twilight’s head. “NOOGIENOOGIENOOGIE!” I shouted, grinding my knuckles across the top of her head before jumping off the bed and running the fuck away. She was way too shocked to even think about following me.

Since she was going to need some time to cool down, I just got to the top of the deck, slipped my ring off, then flew up to the top of the balloon holding us afloat. I laid back on it, then slipped my ring back on so Twilight couldn’t teleport me down. It was relaxing up there, with a wide blue sky above me and relative safety from the bullshit of ponies all around.

...The key word there is relative.

I was sitting in silence, aside from the gentle hum of the airship below me, when one of the last things I expected showed up. Of course, it shouldn’t have been one of the last things, given who was involved. Namely, it was Pinkie air-surfing, riding on some kind of wooden board. “Heya, Nav!” she called, swooping in closer. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Chillin’,” I answered, lying back down from where I had looked up. “Having fun with Aerie?”

“Yep! And she feels really weird in my head, too!”

I wonder if anyone would notice if I just slid off the balloon and kept falling. “So you’re her host, now?” I asked, my voice dull and leaden.

“I dunno, I guess? She asked if I wanted to be friends with her forever and I said of course and then she giggled and I heard her in my head and it was so cool! And now she’s taking me surfing! How awesome is that? Ooh, I bet Dashie’ll be so happy that I can fly with her now! Come on, Aerie!”

When Pinkie swooped away, I just sighed and tried rolling off to finally kill myself, but Flo stopped me. “This isn’t as bad as you think, Nav. Yes, it means you won’t have as much control over the two elementals as you were hoping, but this is a good thing. Pinkie can’t be driven insane by Aerie because she’s already insane. And Aqua will help Twilight concentrate, improving her spellcasting and thinking abilities. So really, this might be the best outcome there could be.”

I didn’t answer, but I also didn’t bother trying to fall off again. Instead, I just closed my eyes and thought.

The book about the elementals really didn’t have that much information, either. The main idea behind the book was to list names of those lost in the war, as well as those that survived, either free or locked away. Since the list of those that survived was longer than those that Flo said currently existed, minus the air elementals, I knew the book wasn’t quite up-to-date. At least reading how some of them died was pretty interesting, as it went into detail. Better than the Begats section of the Bible, at least.

What was considerably more important was the world map of the locations of where the air elementals were hidden. The pages seemed to have some kind of encryption on them and none of the locations looked like any place I had seen. Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t been everywhere on the planet, so that’s not too surprising, but I didn’t even recognize these from a world map. Flo didn’t seem to know where any of them were, either.

Since neither of us knew what the hell those pages were talking about, I took them down to Watcher, hoping he might before Flo had to break out some decryption bullshit. “You make heads or tails of this?” I asked, dropping the open book on his desk.

“That phrase means something very different to ponies than it does to humans,” he idly said, looking over it. “Map. Encrypted. I’ve never seen this encryption scheme, though…”

“Think you can crack it?” I asked.

“Maybe. It would probably take a while, though. What is it?”

“Map of the air elementals,” I quietly said, hoping Aerie wasn’t nearby. “They got locked up by the other elementals. These are supposedly their locations.”

“Hm. I actually have an expert on this kinda stuff on my team. Maps, encryption, finding hidden things, cracking passwords. All that fun stuff. Want to give it to him?”

Flo said, “I can probably figure it out, Nav. I have all the information on encrypting things in the laptop. It’ll just take me some time.”

“Better two minds than one, Flo,” I said. “And you have a photographic memory, so you already know what all the pages look like.” Watcher didn’t seem nonplussed to be sitting in front of someone talking to himself.

“Fair enough. Though I’m wary of allowing the book that we do not have other copies of on board to be handled by indelicate hooves.”

“That’s a fair point, but Watcher wouldn’t have called him an expert if he didn’t know what he was doing.”

“Very well, Navarone. I suppose it will give one of the ponies on the ship something to do, at least.”

I nodded. “Go for it, Watcher.”

“He’s asleep right now, or I would have you drop it off, but I will get it to him as soon as he wakes up,” Watcher answered with a nod. “I assume he’ll need a translation spell to read this?”

“Yeah. That shit’s in some hella old language. Tell him to come to me if he has questions. Aside from the elementals, I’m probably the only one here that knows anything about this stuff. Oh, and Aerie is not to find out about this book.”

“Yes sir. You need anything else?”

“You look like you could use a hug.”

“I probably could. I’ll see you later.”

I shrugged and left, since he didn’t seem interested in me hugging him. While I was walking back to my room, I found Gilda. “Yo Nav, we’re hitting the ocean in five. You mind if I take Dash out, show her how to ride the ocean winds?”

“Go for it. Just don’t get too far from the ship. We’re not going to be stopping, so don’t get distracted and lose us.”

“Awesome. You want to join us?”

“Nah. I’m slow as hell on these wings. I could ride some winds, but I’d never keep up.”

“Alright, whatever. See you.” She went on back to the deck and I made a turn to head to the cargo hold, where Aqua was.

Thankfully, she was alone when I got there, though she wasn’t the same blue color she normally was every time I usually saw her. “What do you require?” she asked when I got close enough, though she didn’t look up to face me.

“We’re coming up on the ocean in a few minutes. You alright with just jumping over the side, or do you need to be lowered down?”

“I would prefer that we be low, but being able to change one's body shape allows for easy and graceful dives from almost any height.”

“Awesome. Well, say your goodbyes and shit. Get topside when you can.”

“Hm.” I took that as a sign for me to leave, though it seemed that she disagreed. When I turned my back, several tendrils of water shot out and dragged me backwards, holding me in place. “So what is your problem with my host?” she asked, her voice low and somewhat hostile.

“Zus, laat hem nu vrij!” Flo shouted with my mouth.

“Nee, zus. Hij zal mijn vraag beantwoorden. This has plagued Twilight’s mind for a while, human,” Aqua said, her bands of water tightening across me.

“Secrets and private thoughts are not meant to be shared,” I said, struggling against her fruitlessly.

“Meant to be or not, you will tell me. This is for Twilight’s mental well-being as much as it is yours. My sister has had her mind colored by the darkness in you. Harboring secret dislikes is toxic. Airing your differences is the first step to getting around them.”

“And lying holds civilization together!”

“But destroys individual relationships. Secrets are important, but lies are dark, insidious. I could pull the information from your mind, but do you not see that it is more important to tell me yourself? How can you deny such wisdom?”

“I will not be coerced, elemental! Release me!”

“You fight against something that would help you? That would make you feel better? I know you ache, I know you are depressed. Any that is well-versed in reading others can tell. Such an action would do you no end of good.”

The only warning either of us had was growling before two scaly hands wrapped around me and ripped me away. “And it is not his choice, you watery freak,” Kumani said, pushing me behind her. I could see smoke coming from her nostrils as she said, “And if you even think about putting another one of those tendrils near him, we’ll see how well you survive being evaporated!”

Aqua drew herself up to tower over Kumani, her body becoming more narrow and much more red. “Do not think you can cow me, dragon! He is your lover, is he not? Would you not want him to get better? To be more loving? Resolving his differences would help his mind!”

“His differences are who he is! And dragons don’t care as much about love as we do strength, even if it’s not physical.”

“How can you be stronger than being willing to overcome your personal fears? What sign of strength is better than improving yourself against the odds?”

“Being willing to fight back against a bully like you!”

Aqua reeled back, almost as if struck, and instantly turned a deep blue. “How is it bullying to make him help himself?”

“Using strength to make someone do what you want is what bullying is!” Aqua looked away and shrank back. “Come on, Nav.” She backed away from the elemental, making sure I stayed behind her. Shit, I wasn’t in a hurry to get caught by it again. Those tendrils were fucking tight.

“What a bitch,” I said when we were out of the area she took to calling her own.

“Yeah. I thought you said those water things were supposed to be nice. That one in your head doesn’t do that, does she?”

“Not like that.” Of course, you don’t have a body to make me do things.

Flo used my mouth to say, “I have mellowed with age and being trapped, conscious, for so long. Aqua was in the mind of the evil Sombra for some time. But for the rest of her time trapped, she was frozen, unable to think. She was trying to help him, but she was doing it in a way that was monstrous.”

“That was Flo, right?” Kumani asked me.

“Yeah. When she uses my voice, she puts inflection and life into it. Otherwise, it’s pretty dead.”

“Oh, so that’s what those tones were. I’m just so used to not hearing it from you that I stopped listening for it.”

“So anyway, were you looking for me?” I asked now that we were in her room. All the gold and gems that decorated her bed before were now gone and the room seemed at least slightly cleaner. Her scales also seemed slightly less shiny, but that might have just been the relatively poor lighting.

“I just heard shouting. But I guess while you’re here, you might as well teach me more letters. It should go faster now that my mind isn’t so clouded and you don’t have to eat me out.”

“Hey, I don’t mind doing that. You don’t have a bad taste…”

She gave me an odd look. “Why would I want you to? Mating season’s over.”

“And? Doesn’t mean we can’t have sex.”

“Well, I guess we could, but I really don’t feel like it. I mean, you did help me through mine, so I guess the least I can do is help you until yours ends.”

“...Kumani, humans don’t have a mating season.”

She blinked a few times. “So when do you mate?”

“Whenever we want. Shit, we’re pretty much horny from the time we hit puberty until the time we die. Are dragons not like that?”

“When our mating season ends, we have absolutely no sex drive. At all. How can you possibly live like that?”

Shit, I was going to ask you the same. “By having sex whenever we want? Most other races seem to be the same.”

“Huh. Well, you have hands. And I guess if I get really bored, we can go at it. But hopefully that won’t happen much, now that you’re teaching me to read.”

“Welp, good thing you didn’t really want to learn. So, wanna fuck?”

“Good one. Here, let me get the paper.”

As she pulled out some sheets of paper and a pencil, there was pretty much one thought on my mind: Oh god, why have you forsaken me? And just what the fuck did I get myself into?

Since I finished all the other books that Twilight said weren’t magical in nature, I began looking over the three random books I found in the bag, collected by someone who came before us in the book world. When I spared them a glance when I first found them, I didn’t recognize the language offhand. And since I was still under the influence of the translation spell, I didn’t bother looking at the languages a second time.

So I was quite surprised when each one turned out to be human books.

One of them was completely useless, just filled with a collection of poetry in various different languages that I tossed aside and decided to give to Rarity. I didn’t bother reading more than a few.

The second was about some monastery in China. It seemed boring and unimportant, so I decided to either give it to Twilight or just throw it off the side to save space. Then I remembered that Kumani had no sex drive at all and decided to hold onto it for reading later, if I ever got really, really bored.

The third was some legends about dragons in ancient China. Since I doubt it showed any kind of reproductive habits to help me convince Kumani to put out, I didn’t bother reading it and just decided to give it to Spike or something. Not like I cared about old dead legends that don’t mean shit anymore. Equestrian dragons are big and bulky, not thin and spindly.

All in all, I figured those books were a complete waste of fucking space. Ah well.

Spirits seemed fairly high as we got closer to our next destination. Twilight was somewhat depressed that Aqua was off the ship, but she was still able to talk to her new friend in her head, though apparently she didn’t get the memo that she could just think at the elemental and not have to talk to her. That made for a few awkward moments, all of which I took advantage of exactly as you would expect me to.

Pinkie continued Pinkie-ing around the ship with Aerie, doing her best to get into as much trouble as possible while pretending to be innocent. Since that was normal, I didn’t have to punish her any more than necessary. Still, she seemed more… manic than usual. Whereas before, Pinkie had a few sane moments of extreme clarity, she didn’t seem to have even those, or at least not as often as usual.

And of course, our stock of fish went way up as Gilda got bored and went fishing. Since she could fly with Dash while doing it, that happened often, though Dash didn’t often partake in the fishy rewards.

It was a fairly pleasant half-week or so that we spent flying down the coastline, staying well away from the land, both the relatively lifeless wastes of western Equestria and the lawless wastes of Mexico. I didn’t want the ship to run into any trouble, so I made sure we stayed well away from those places, and that we increased our altitude whenever we saw a boat in the water. We already had one pirate ship, after all, and didn’t need another.

As soon as we got around Central America, I had us keep well away from the land, because all of South America was supposed to be a hellishly dangerous black hole that steals the lives of anyone that tries to explore it. Since we had a dragon and a griffin on board, I had them guide us around it, making sure we stayed close enough that they could see the land but hopefully whoever was on it couldn’t see us.

I have to say that I was somewhat disconcerted by what they had to say about the place. “Looks like… snow,” Gilda said, peering through Watcher’s telescope.

“Snow?” I asked. “The fuck you smoking?”

“Hey, I didn’t say it was! I said it looked like snow.”

Kumani took the telescope and looked through herself, her eye narrowing in the hopes of getting a better sight. “She’s right. It’s not covering everything, but there’s a lot of white over there. Plenty of trees, too.”

“You see anything flying?” I asked.

“Nah. You?” she asked Gilda, passing the scope back.

Gilda peered through with her hawk eyes. “Hm. Really hard to tell, since we’re so far. Doesn’t look like anything flying, though for all we know, could be a ton of birds up there.”

“Anything shiny?” I asked. “Or looks like it might be emplacements?”

“Too many trees and snow in the way,” she answered. “The white stuff is kinda shiny, but that’s normal for snow, right?”

Rainbow Dash, who was with us on the deck, scoffed. “Can’t we just fly over there real quick, Nav?” she asked. “Nothin’ can keep up with us!”

“No. We’ll fly in when we’re as close to our destination as we can get. If me or Watcher thinks it looks too bad, we’ll just scrap the mission and come back with more water elementals. Still plenty of frozen ones I can save that might not turn out to be total bitches. Maybe some can even help us fight our way through whatever’s there.”

“Then why aren’t we just doing that first?” Kumani asked.

Flo hijacked my voice to say, “Because they would feel obligated to help us if we saved them in such a manner. This elemental is free. If we can convince her to assist us, it will look much better to the other free water elementals.”

“Seems pretty stupid to me,” Dash muttered. No one else commented on it.

But Gilda did comment on the land, though. “As far as I can tell, it’s safe.”

“I’m sure that’s what all the other explorers said,” I answered. “We still have a day until we get where we’re going. Maybe we can see more later. Kumi, let’s go read some, eh?”

“Alright, whatever. Though next time we’re going to practice sparring. You really need some more claw-to-claw training.”

“Man, I don’t even have claws,” I said.

“Then what are those things at the end of your fingers?”

Fuck, she got me there. “Finger nails. They break very easily, though.”

“How in Tartarus did your species survive, again?” I just sighed as we went belowdecks.

As I said, the next day heralded our journey into the forbidding land itself. Since no one really knew what to expect, I had everyone on deck, combat ready. Thankfully, it was around fall or so in the southern hemisphere. So for one, I was back to sleeping. For another, instead of being monstrously hot, it was just somewhat hot. Still hellishly humid, though.

Needless to say, wearing armor was hell.

I had my two spotters watching the land as we got closer. We were going to come in over the trees, of course, but if there were flyers, they could still get to us. Or if there were ranged weapons or emplacements, they might be able to attack our ship. None of us had any idea what to really expect as we got closer.

“Huh. That snow stuff is kinda… everywhere,” Gilda said. “I can see some green poking through it, though.”

“Can you see anything else other than green and white? Hey, maybe they just have some Christmas spirit.”

“See some sand,” Kumani said. “And a few clearings, though not many. That place definitely looks like a jungle.”

“Well, it is the fucking rain forest. Or at least, that’s what it should be. Hey, maybe we’ll find the fountain of youth.”

“That would be really interesting,” Twilight said. “But isn’t it rumored to be in Equestria instead?”

“Feh. Who wants to live forever, anyway?” I asked. “Anyone else see anything? Any ships around us? Flyers on any of our sides?” I got negatives all around from the other groups I had watching. “Good. Captain, make this ship go as fast as you can. I want to hit that land as hard as possible as fast as possible and not stop until we’re at our destination.”

“Aye aye. You heard him, helms. Kick it into overdrive.”

“With pleasure.” I felt some kind of engine rumble to life under our feet and the ship shot ahead, picking up speed. “We can’t hold this speed for long and we’ll need to refuel at the next pony port we find, but if our map is right, we should be able to maintain this speed for long enough to get to the target.”

“Excellent,” I said. “Watcher, can your troops put up a shield?”

“Not covering the entire ship,” he answered. “But if we’re going to get attacked, it’ll be from the bottom. We can cover that area. But note that it’ll make us worthless if we have boarders.”

“Think it’s worth it?”

“Hard to board a ship going this fast, sir. And that’s what we have repellers for. And a well-trained crew, Twilight, and your daughter.”

“Do it.” His horn and those of the other two guard unicorns on deck lit up, then beams of light flew off the sides, bending over the railing, aiming down.

“Hittin’ land real soon,” Kumani said, her wings spreading in anticipation.

“You want a flight screen out?” Watcher asked.

“Defeats the purpose of the shield,” I said, shaking my head. “If we get attacked, feel free to take advantage of your wings. But be very wary about attacks coming from below. Gilda, Kumani, can you tell what that white stuff is?”

“...No,” Gilda said, poking her head over the side. “I’ve never seen anything like that…”

“Me either,” Kumani said. “Well, nothing like this.

“Anyone else?” I asked. We were flying over the first rows of trees, now. A few heads hesitantly poked over the side so they could get a better view.

“Looks… familiar,” Twilight said. “I think we should get Fluttershy on deck, Nav.”

“...Applejack, go get Fluttershy,” I said. She shrugged and started trotting down below. “Why, Twilight?” I asked, thinking I might well regret hearing an answer.

“I’m… not sure. But I think she’ll be able to tell us what that stuff is.”

“Well, we’ll find out. Assuming Applejack can get her scaredy ass up here.”

There was a tense silence as we continued passing over the forests. We should have been high enough up that nothing could really pose much of a threat unless we saw it first, but should and would don’t build no damn bridges. Still, I was crossing my fingers.

It didn’t take Applejack too long to drag Fluttershy out. She didn’t seem too frightened, but looks can be deceiving. “What did you need?” she quietly asked, her eyes slightly wider than usual.

“Poke your head over the side. Tell me what you see,” I told her.

“But… didn’t you say this place was dangerous?”

“We’re just fine, aren’t we?”

“Um…” She just looked over to the railing, not moving.

I rolled my eyes and walked over to her. “I’ll stand next to you. Ain’t nothing gonna hurt you with me there, alright?”

“...Okay.” She timidly walked to the side, then peeked over. “Hm. Nav, why are there so many spider webs down there.”

“So many what?”

Just as that last word left my mouth, I saw several black masses below us shoot a ton of white strings at our ship. My eyes widened as they flew up with unerring accuracy, bypassing the shielded bottom of the ship entirely and settling on the railings all around the boat.

“BOARDERS!”

 
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