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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130. Chapter One Hundred and Seven—The Lost City

When I finally forced myself out of my room the next morning, I was still hellishly pissed. The only good news I had was that the period I was apparently having seemed mild compared to what the girls at home used to bitch about. Yes, I was bleeding from my snatch. Yes, it fucking hurt. But no, it didn’t make me feel like punching the first motherfucker I saw.

No, being trapped in a shitty body that wasn’t mine made me want to punch the first motherfucker I saw. But since that first mofo happened to be Taya, I withheld my fists of fury. And of course, right after I saw her, she began hugging me.

“You better not have been outside my room all night,” I said, trying to curb the rage I felt inside of me.

She didn’t answer, so I just sighed and knelt down to hug her back. I realized very quickly that my legs felt weaker than usual and that kneeling down might not be a good idea while bleeding like that, but that didn’t stop me. She was, as usual, soft and very huggable.

After several seconds, she said, “I love you, no matter what you are.” She waited another second or two before saying, “Even if you do smell kinda… funny.”

“I just took a shower,” I said, lifting an arm to smell it.

“It’s not bad!” she quickly added. “Just… different.”

“Whatever. Maybe Rarity put something in my clothes.” Or maybe it was the makeshift solution I had for the whole bleeding from my pussy thing. Thankfully, it wasn’t squirting blood, so I just folded a towel up and used some panties to hold it in place. I figured it would do as a pad until I found something else.

“...Maybe.”

I sighed and let her go, standing up. “So what were the reactions?” I asked, leaning against my doorframe.

“Well, Pinkie wanted to throw you a party,” Taya said.

“Wanted?”

She sighed and said, “We… made her agree not to.”

“Good,” I growled, my eyes narrowing slightly. “That would have been a very poor life decision on her part. Anything else?”

“Well, the naga seemed kinda upset. And Kumani really wasn’t happy. I don’t know about anyone else, because I’ve been down here, making sure no one bothers you.”

That explains it. “Thank you, Taya.” Then I sighed and looked toward the way up to deck. “Well, ready to pay the piper?”

“I don’t like pipes,” she answered.

“Me either.” That didn’t stop me from starting the walk of shame to the deck. She followed me, of course. As soon as I stepped outside, some people on deck looked my way and then immediately looked away. None of the girls were up top, thankfully.

But Watcher immediately walked up to me. “Sir or ma’am?” he asked.

“Sir. With how I feel right now, I will go to my death looking for a way back. I’d rather be called what I am by nature than what I am by body.”

“Yes sir. Gourd thinks we’re about a day away from our target, but it’s hard to tell over the ocean. No landmarks, after all.”

“Good. The sooner we get Brook off this ship, the better. Do you know any pressure canceling spells?”

“Even if you do go down there with her, you’ll still need a way of dealing with temperature, breathing, and being able to talk with them.”

“Breathing water isn’t a problem, with Flo in my head. Temperature is, though, but surely there’s a spell for that as well. With how elementals work, I can just let them into my head and not really have to worry about talking with them. It might not necessarily be the best of ideas, but if Twilight goes with me, we can just use Aqua as a buffer to keep us safe from potentially insane elementals.”

He shrugged. “I still don’t know the spells for it. Twilight might, though.”

Flo said, “An elemental can keep you safe from the pressure and temperature, if you trust her and wouldn’t mind staying inside of her. But they can only do it for one at a time, so you can’t use Aqua if Twilight goes.”

And I don’t trust Brook. “Anything else going on?” I asked.

“Kat’s little spider is proving useful already. With how he can climb, assisting the crew with things regarding the balloon and the masts is easy for him. And Rarity has professed interest in using him to help with her fashion nonsense.”

“That woman is either really into child labor or secretly has a thing for little boys. Either way, I don’t care. If he’s making himself useful and he’s not being evil, what the fuck ever. Our food stores might take a hit, though.”

“Which might not be too much of a problem,” Watcher said. “I have a feeling that Kumani might not be with us too much longer.”

“What? Why not?”

“She was not pleased by the news. You might be able to convince her to stay. She didn’t exactly seem in a hurry to leave, given that we’re in the middle of nowhere, though.”

“...She’s probably still asleep. I’ll definitely talk to her later.”

He nodded and then asked something very haunting. “Sir, do female humans have heat?”

“...No? Or at least, not technically. Why?”

“Because you smell like you’re in heat. It’s a very different smell than the one from mares and the other races I’ve been around, but it’s there.”

“Is that going to be a problem?” I sighed.

“Not for any of my troops. And I doubt it will be a problem for anyone else on the ship. But if you go to any Equestrian cities smelling like that, it might be. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have a large radius. I only noticed it a minute or so after we started talking.”

“That’s good, at least. If it makes you feel any better, it feels absolutely miserable for me and I’m actually bleeding because of it.”

“No sir, that doesn’t make me feel better at all. Do you need healing?”

“Wouldn’t do any good. This is, unfortunately, a natural thing for women. I’ll just have to hold out.”

He nodded. “Just be wary around predator races. If they smell the blood, things might get… unpleasant.”

“Noted. Anything else to report?”

“No sir.”

“Good. Carry on, or whatever.” He nodded and wandered off. I walked further onto deck, toward the front of the ship.

Ames stopped me before I got there, putting a hand on my shoulder and turning me to face him. “Women in our society do not get trained,” he slowly said. Before I could threaten to murder his family, he offered up my practice sword. “Prove to me you still have a man’s spirit.”

My hand slowly wrapped around the handle of the blade, several conflicting emotions going through my head. First, I was angry that he would even think I was any different and that I would have to prove my ‘spirit’ to him. Second, extremely happy that he’d be willing to go against his code of honor and teach me regardless, assuming I could do well enough. And third, worried that I wouldn’t be able to do very well at all since my legs felt weak and my abdomen wasn’t feeling all that great either.

“Daddy, are you sure this is smart?” Taya asked as I got into a fighting position. “You said you were bleeding!”

The naga lowered his weapon slightly. “You are unwell?” he asked, lifting his nose slightly to sniff at the air. “...Yes, I recognize that scent. It is slightly different, though. Heavier, maybe.”

“It’s a natural part of my new body, naga,” I said. “It isn’t something that can be healed or fixed, unless you feel like waiting a week. And since I very much doubt an enemy will wait on the battlefield, it is something I will have to work around. It hurts, yes, but I’ve been through worse.”

“...So be it. Though I should note that you are without armor, so expect pain.”

“Only if you hit me, naga,” I answered.

He grinned darkly at that boast, lowering his sword entirely. “Your spirit is still very much that of a warrior, Navarone. I will wait until your armor is modified before asking you to fight.”

“Works for me,” I answered with a shrug, passing him the stick. “I have more sensitive areas I need to worry about defending now. Hopefully, it won’t be a problem for long. Surely there’s a spell or something out there to turn me back.” Even if Athena couldn’t do it.

“Perhaps you will get lucky,” the naga said with a nod, taking the weapon. “So are you going to begin looking for a new relationship now?”

“Why? Did Kumani already leave?”

“She is female. You are female. It is not natural or appropriate.”

“And I’m not gay. I’m a man trapped in a woman’s body, naga. My body may be like this, but I’m not. And I’m not going to suddenly start craving dick just because it fits my body better. Unless my mind starts betraying me, I’m going to stick with girls.” Unless Kumani leaves me. Then I might just become a total slut. After all, what’s the difference in a strapon and the real thing? I think Flo face-palmed, but it’s hard to tell with her sometimes.

The naga definitely looked disapproving. “Such a thing will drive you mad, human. Going against your body’s nature will only end in pain.”

I snorted and said, “What’s a little bit of pain added to a lifetime of misery? I’ll survive.”

“Foolish. But so be it. I doubt you have much in the way of romance to give anyway. Perhaps you will learn to accept it in time.”

More likely the other way around. Though I know from experience how hard it is to get rid of a lifetime of intolerance. “Whatever. You see anything dangerous out here yet?”

“No, but my body longs for the water. Should I get the chance, I would like to go swimming.”

“Might can do you one better. Your kind can breathe in this shit, right?”

“Indeed we can.”

“Even the salt water?”

“...I have never tried it. Perhaps?”

“Well, if you can and if we can find a way to survive the pressure, you can go with us down to the elementals, unless they feel like coming up to us. I can only assume they have some kind of setup down there, though there’s no telling what it might be. I definitely wouldn’t mind having you down there with us.”

“Good. I would not mind being more included in things. These past two trips have left me feeling like little more than a guard. At least I finally got to bathe my sword in blood, but I would have prefered to be in the actual action, at your side.”

“Everyone has a place,” I said with a shrug.

“Let’s see if you would say that if you were constantly left behind while others did the important things.”

“Hey, if it meant less people would be trying to stick swords in me or eat me, I’d be down with it. I mean, if you want to get turned into a queen and be forced to wear frilly dresses and have makeup put on you, go for it. I’d rather stay on the ship in peace.”

“...Perhaps both spots occasionally have merit. Though I rather highly doubt that there would be many out there willing to turn me into a queen.”

“Yeah, probably not. You keeping an eye on the spider?”

“When I see it, yes. It seems too horrified to do anything dangerous, though.”

“I don’t care. Evil is evil. Watch him. If he stays decent after a week or two, I’ll start actually trusting him. Until then, he’ll be on as short a leash as I can force Kat to keep him on.”

“You should have given him to me, then. I would make sure he does nothing wrong.”

“Nah. He’s used to obeying women. And Kat volunteered anyway. As cute and cuddly as she looks, he’ll be more likely to misbehave with her watching him than he would with you. I’d rather him fuck up sooner rather than later, personally.”

“Hm. She may look weak, but I imagine she’ll teach him quickly that she’s not. Still, I doubt he will be a problem. And if he is, we can just throw him over the side.”

“Yep.”

“Now, what do you do in your free time? It has been boring on this ship, of late. No longer can I just go hunting or explore the area. Being stuck here is… dull.”

“Read. Or spend time with others. Or play around on the laptop. Have you made any friends on the ship yet?”

“I am now… acquaintances with a few. Many of them are very different from the naga.”

“Yeah, but differences aren’t always bad. I suggest talking to more of them. Learning about them, befriending them, whatever. I have a feeling we’re all going to be on this ship together for a while, so it would be a good idea to start now. I know you know some of the girls from Ponyville.”

“Yes, I do. And I do not desire most of those for friends.”

“Well, there are plenty of others. And if you’re bad at friends, just ask Twilight Sparkle for advice. She’ll be happy to give you a very long and stupid lecture about it. Or you could also read. I have a few books with me and I know several others also have books.”

He nodded. “I’ll figure something out. I never expected traveling to be this mind-numbing.”

“It always is. If you ever get suicidally bored, let me know. We could try our luck in Athena’s realm. I don’t advise it, because Twilight and I almost got ourselves killed there, but it’s an option.”

“It sounds like an interesting challenge. I might be interested.”

“Yeah, but I’m currently not. And I’m not about to let anyone go in there without magic. Do you want to try your luck socializing, then?”

“...I suppose.” He looked around the deck, where a few soldiers and crewmembers were just chilling, either talking or looking over the edge. “I am not very good at it, though.”

“Do you want a hug for confidence?” I asked.

He snorted. “Your weak body is already corrupting your mind, it seems. I do not need a confidence boost, especially not a hug. I suggest you get your armor fixed quickly. Practicing in your new body is important.”

“Right. Have fun making friends.” He didn’t reply again, and just slithered back off. I finally made my way to the front of the ship, where I could watch whatever we were flying toward, not that I expected to see too much.

“Why did you offer to hug him, daddy?” Taya asked when we were both standing up there.

“I figured it would be funny,” I answered with a shrug. “It wasn’t as funny as I was hoping. I gotta find some way to stay amused with this horrible body.”

“Being a girl isn’t that bad.”

“For you, sure. You were born in that body. It’s natural and right to you. I was born as a guy. I prefer being a guy. This body is wrong to me, like being a pony is wrong.” Not as wrong, but still plenty wrong. “And it doesn’t help that everyone back in Equestria knew me as a guy, so I’d have some explaining to do if I ever decided to go back. I would much rather be in the proper body and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any way to turn back.”

“Will you at least try to adjust?”

“I have no choice but to adjust. That doesn’t mean I have to give up hope of getting the right body back. I might change my mind later, but don’t hold your breath.”

“...Letting me call you mommy would help you adjust faster.”

“And you saying shit like everypony would help you adjust to life in pony areas faster. There might be a time I’ll be okay with it. That time is not now, when the pain is fresh.”

She sighed and fell silent, allowing me to freely look out over the deck. Several minutes passed in morose silence, my suffering on display for anyone that bothered to look. Then a pair of clawed feet disturbed the relative silence, with whoever it was coming very, very close behind me.

I turned, expecting to see Kumani. Instead, I saw Spike leaning in very close, his eyes wide. Of course, I flinched back. “Dude, personal space!”

“You smell…” His claws wrapped around my arms, pulling me even closer. It was then that I noticed his pupils were retracted. I brought a leg up and kicked him back, making him lose his grip on me.

“Taya, grab him!” Thankfully, she reacted quickly enough that she got him before he could reach me again.

“What’s wrong with him, daddy?” she asked, her horn glowing rather brightly from the effort of holding a dragon.

“Male predator smelling blood and new pheromones. Just hold him here. I’m going to go get Twilight.”

“...Okay.”

Spike’s eyes followed me as I walked around him, heading down belowdecks. Several of the people topside were watching me and alternating their looks from me to Spike, but none commented.

When I got to Twilight’s room, I knocked on the closed door. “Kinda busy!” she called from within.

“It’s important,” I called back.

“Can it wait?”

“Spike just tried to rape me.”

The door slammed open and six familiar ponies looked out. “What?!” Twilight yelled.

I quickly held up a hand. “It was pheromones, Twilight. And also, the smell of blood. He needs the spell I needed when I was a horse.”

“...Oh. He should still have better control than that! He grew up around mares!”

“Honestly!” Rarity said, nodding. “Spike is normally so well-behaved! What manner of passions could have caused such an act?”

“I may have been exaggerating slightly,” I said with a shrug. “But he was very touchy and feely and I didn’t want to see where it would go. I figure, my smell is new, since he’s never smelled a chick on her period before. Taya’s holding him up on deck. So yeah, go magic him.”

“...What’s a period?” Twilight asked.

“Long story short, I bleed from my vagina, it hurts like a bitch, and I get overly irritable and possibly really emotional. I didn’t know much about it from my time back home because it’s really nasty.” Each of them definitely looked either disgusted or horrified. “Basically, it’s how our body prepares to have children. Normally, the uterus lining gets ripped out, along with the egg that would have been used that month for breeding. It all comes out, along with some blood. It’s nasty and talking about it makes my skin crawl.”

“That’s sounds awesome!” Rainbow Dash said. Everyone looked at her like she was retarded. “I mean, it sounds awesome. I wouldn’t want it to happen to anypony. But having your body force out blood like that just to help make foals is cool!”

“That’s weird, you’re weird, and I’m out,” I said. “Twilight, fix Spike. And come check on me in two hours in case Kumani has the same reaction.”

“...Why two hours?” she slowly asked, possibly dreading the answer.

“So I can enjoy them, duh. But I don’t want to be there all day, so just find me in two hours.”

Rarity snorted and said, “At least we know you haven’t changed any.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to talk first?” Fluttershy quickly asked.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” I said. “Unless Twilight could send a letter to Celestia, at least.”

Twilight’s horn lit up and floated a paper my way. “I already did,” she said.

I took the page and gave it a cursory read over. Long story short, she couldn’t fix me. “Then yes, there’s nothing to talk about,” I said, tossing the paper back into the room. Twilight grabbed it before it could do much. “So I’m going to go see if I can salvage anything with Kumani. See you.” Before any of them could try to stop me, I started walking away. I was very thankful they let me leave, because I had a strong feeling they were in that room planning on how to make me feel better or something stupid like that.

Down I went, into the bowels of the ship. I saw Brook just sitting there in the very back of the cargo hold, staring at me. She was the typical blue of an elemental, not that I paid her too much attention. Instead, I quietly let myself inside Kumani’s room.

She was, as I expected, asleep. Since she slept on her back and her belly was soft and warm, I sat on the bed and then laid down against it, letting my head rest on her. She didn’t even flinch.

After about half an hour or so, she finally realized she had a guest. Or more likely, she just woke up. Either way, she reached up to my head and patted it. “Nav…?” she murmured.

“Yep.”

Her body seemed to flinch slightly at my voice. “So you’re really still a girl.”

I sighed and said, “Yeah. Not by choice, I promise.”

“But you are still one.”

“And it doesn’t look like I’m going to find a way back any time soon.”

“But you’re going to keep looking.”

“Until the day I die. I know you’re not a lesbo, but I’m still mentally a guy. I’m not about to freak out over dresses or whatever girls do.”

“...I suppose I can stick around for a little while. Besides, we’re in the middle of nowhere anyway. But expect even less sex. It’s boring enough with two girls. But with me having no sex drive? I’d rather do nothing.”

“Understandable. I definitely don’t want sex right now anyway. That would just be nasty, given that I’m bleeding down there.”

“That’s not healthy, Nav.”

“It is for our chicks, unfortunately. Every month or so, they bleed down there for a little while. It’s not going to be fun. And it also hurts.”

“Well, I would imagine so, since you’re bleeding. And I guess that does explain some of the smell. Seriously, I don’t know how you humans can stand it on your world if that’s normal!”

“Because we can’t smell it. Your nose is a lot more sensitive than ours.”

“Lucky you. At least it’s not as bad as the ponies when they’re in heat.”

“Unless you’re a male dragon, at least. Spike had a few problems with it. I don’t know what he was trying to do, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t have been wanted.” Though it might have been a lot of fun in the short term. “Thankfully, we got that sorted out.”

“Good. Now, I’m going back to sleep.”

“...Dragons really sleep a lot, don’t they?”

“After producing and pushing out an egg, yes. I should be back to normal within a week or two. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spike was reacting to our combined pheromones, because I know I’m releasing some, too.”

“Poor guy.” I shrugged and hopped off the bed. “Have fun sleeping, I guess.”

“I’ll do my best,” she answered, rolling over to face away from me. A more obvious dismissal I’ve never seen, so I just left.

Since Twilight should have had plenty of time to fix Spike, I went on back to the deck. Pinkie was up there, waltzing with either no one or Aerie. Since I didn’t want anything to do with her at the moment, I looked around and also saw Spike chilling where I had been with Taya a few hours earlier; Ames trying to talk with a few of the soldiers; Kat, the spider, and Twilight standing where Twilight could study the poor kid; and Applejack and Rainbow Dash training with their guard instructors.

I really didn’t want to deal with most of those people at the time, so I turned to go back down to my room. However, as soon as I got to facing the other way, I found Rarity standing behind me. “Ah, Nav, just the girl I wanted to see.” My blood instantly started boiling. “Do you mind if I begin fixing the rest of your clothing to go along with your new figure?”

“Go for it,” I said, trying to force the rage down. “But just alter them so I can wear them. I don’t want anything else done to them.” She grinned sweetly, but before she could say anything, I very coldly said, “I’m warning you, Rarity. Don’t push me.”

“Remember when you said if you wanted to be a girly boy—” My hand shot out and wrapped around her throat, silencing her immediately.

“Don’t. You. Dare,” I hissed, my eyes narrowing and grip tightening with each word. “I will kill you.”

She hastily nodded, her eyes wide. I glared at her for a few more seconds before letting her go and just walking out onto the deck. She very wisely went the other direction very quickly. Since going back down at that point would look bad and make me feel awkward, I just walked to one of the rails well away from anyone else and just started staring out at the ocean.

Of course, I can never stay alone for long, sadly. Not too long after I got back out there, Spike came right on over. “Hey Nav, sorry about… you know.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I casually said. “Just be more careful in the future, I guess.”

“...I’ll try.” He took up a spot on the railing next to me, joining me in staring over the side. I knew what he was trying to do. Sure enough, a minute or two later, he asked, “So do you want to talk?”

“No. I’m stuck for now. That’s all the talking about it I’m going to do.”

He sighed and wrapped me in a very unwanted hug that I didn’t return. “If you ever need to talk, remember that you have friends,” he said.

“I’m well aware.” I’d much rather keep it to myself. Or tell it to the voice in my head.

After another few seconds, he pulled away somewhat awkwardly. “I’ll… talk to you later, Nav.”

“Alright.” Once again, he waited a few seconds before sighing and walking away.

I thought I was going to be free for some time, but of course, that hope got Dash’d. “Sup, Nav?” she asked, putting her front legs up on the railing so she could stand next to me.

“The balloon,” I answered, pointing up.

“Ugh. You know what I meant! How are you?”

“Eh, alright,” I answered, shrugging. “How about you?”

“Kinda bored, actu—Wait, I know you’re not alright!”

“That’s an opinion. I have to warn you right now, if each and every one of your friends is planning on doing some bullshit thing to try to get me to talk about this, I’m going to be really pissed. Like, even more than I already was.”

“...I’ll be back in two minutes.” She shot off, flying across the deck to talk to Twilight. Then she flew off again to talk to Applejack. And then she flew to the door heading down. After about two minutes, she made it back next to me. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she said, laughing nervously.

“Uh huh. See to it that it stays that way. I don’t want to deal with more of you damn ponies trying to ‘help’ me. It inevitably makes things worse.”

“That’s not always true! What about that time Twilight made us tie you up and then we all told you how much we liked you?”

“That was just stupid and a waste of my time.”

“Well, I didn’t think it was so bad. And your hands didn’t seem to think so, either. I still remember them against me…”

“Dash, you’re being weird again.”

“N-no I’m not! It’s just… well, I still remember my time back with the other humans. Mainly, my time with the… girls there. And now that you’re one—”

“Are you hitting on me?” I asked in disbelief, actually turning to face her.

She quickly looked away, blushing. “Well…”

“Un-fucking-believable,” I said in disgust before turning and just walking away.

“Wait!” I didn’t even think about stopping until she jumped in front of me. “Look, the others thought it would be a good idea.”

“What did I just tell you about what I thought about their ideas?”

“...That they were bad?”

“Yes. So why did you think listening to them would be a good idea?” She looked away again, sighing. “You’re lucky you’re too adorable to stay mad at. Just don’t hit on me while I’m dating.”

“I’m not adorable!” she angrily said, putting on her adorable angry face.

“It’s cute that you think that,” I said, reaching down to pinch her cheek. She jerked back and nipped at me. “Aww…”

“Oh, you wanna go?” she asked, jumping into the air and using her wings to push herself up at my face.

I leaned in to rub my nose against hers gently. “Oh Dashie, didn’t I already tell you? Don’t hit on me while I have a girlfriend, silly!”

“That’s it!” She tried tackling me, but I very quickly dodged. Since she disengaged her wings to drag me down, she flew off the side and immediately started falling.

I quickly looked back on deck and saw Pinkie still dancing. Then I looked over the side to see Dash flying at me, looking quite upset. I smiled, stepping back away from the side. As soon as Dash got over, I jumped aside and called, “Pinkie, trade partners!”

Dash, of course, kept flying and missed me again. So she was looking back at me when Pinkie snatched her from the air, pulling her down to dance. I held out my arm and caught Aerie as she flew over to me.

“Masterful,” the air elemental whispered as we began to dance, with me taking the lead.

“I get a lot of practice,” I said over Dash’s struggles to get away from Pinkie. “I don’t suppose you air elementals know of a way to change someone’s gender?”

“We don’t. Though if we did, I wouldn’t change you anyway.”

God, you’re such a bitch. Why are all elementals like this but you, Flo?

“I’m starting to wonder the same thing,” she said in my head.

After a minute or two of dancing with solid air, Rainbow Dash finally got the right idea. “Change partners!” she called, glaring at me.

I gulped as Aerie left my arms… and Pinkie quickly entered them, letting her elemental drag Dash away. “Just like old times!” Pinkie said with a giggle as she took the lead.

“Didn’t I usually lead back then?” I asked.

“Sometimes.”

“Hey, when we trade again, can you drag Dash below and do dirty things to her?”

“Oooh, oooh, can I bring Gilda?”

“Go for it. Just don’t bring me.”

“Silly Navi, you’re dating somepony! I wouldn’t do that! Doppel might, though.”

“She better not. The only rule I gave her is that she wasn’t allowed to go after anyone that was in a relationship.”

“You told her that she couldn’t go after anypony like that. But what if they came to her? I don’t think she made anypony mad, but I know she never had to be picky.”

Dammit, Doppel. “Well, whatever. I’m not going to blame her for being a cum-guzzling cock-whore. She can’t help it.”

“Yeah. And she really has fun with the crew, too!”

“As long as she still has time to do her other duties, she can do whatever she wants with the crew. Gotta stay occupied somehow, after all. Anyway, think it’s a good time to swap?”

“Oh, Aerie already took her to my room. See you later, Navi!” Before I could tell her not to call me that, she spun me and darted off. I caught myself on the railing and looked around the deck. Unfortunately, Twilight, Kat, and the spider were already walking toward me, so I couldn’t just head below without looking like a dick. Instead, I just leaned back against the rail, letting my wings hang off the side.

“So Kumani didn’t try to keep you?” Twilight asked when they were close enough.

“Nope. What do you need?”

“He’s proving his worth,” Kat said.

“The week’s not done yet,” I told her. “And come on. Don’t tell me he doesn’t have a name.”

“He doesn’t, actually,” Twilight said. “Apparently, they use their coloration to tell each other apart.”

“We wanted to ask you about some of our name ideas,” Kat said, smiling.

I looked over at the kid, who refused to meet my eyes. “Why not just call him Spider? He’s the only one of his kind here, so it’s not like there’d be any confusion.”

“That’s so impersonal!” Twilight said.

“Hey, it worked for me,” Kat told her. “I mean, my name is short for Katrina, but no one would know that just by hearing it.” She leaned down to her little spider friend, putting one of her paws on his back. “But it’s your choice, honey. We’ll let you be called whatever you want to be called.”

The spider slowly looked down, not used to making choices. Someone else spoke up, “Anansi.” We all looked over to see Zecora standing there. “That is a name that might fit you,” she said with a shrug. “Do you produce poison yet, young one?”

“Yes, mistress,” the kid said, bowing slightly. “But it is weak.”

“It doesn’t need to be strong,” Zecora said, pulling a vial out of her back. “Can you put some into this?”

“Of course, mistress,” he said, gently taking the vial and attaching one of his fangs to it.

“I recognize that name, Anansi,” I said.

“It is a name with much history attached to it,” Zecora said. “Many stories, many emotions… And it is fitting for any spider.”

“Eh. Doesn’t really matter to me,” I said with a shrug. “A name’s a name. As long as it’s short and easy to pronounce, it’s good.”

“And it’s not your choice,” Kat said. “It’s his.”

“Well, he doesn’t have to pick now,” I said. “It’s a name. Might as well give it some thought to pick a good one.” And if I end up having to throw him over the side, I don’t have to try to forget his useless name.

The kid pulled the little vial from his mouth and passed it to Zecora. “I would like to be called… Spider.”

“...Wait, really?” I asked. “Why not Anansi? That sounds a lot cooler.”

The kid bowed low to my direction, then said, “High mistress, Anansi is a name with history, a name of legends. What deeds might this subject do that could ever be remembered alongside the deeds of such a legendary name-owner? I am a spider. I am your spider. So I shall be Spider.”

Kat sighed, running a paw down her head. “Good job, Nav. You scared him into thinking he had to pick Spider.”

“Hey, I didn’t do shit! That was just a suggestion.”

“You tried to throw him over the side yesterday! He’s probably terrified of you! Of course he’d take whatever suggestion you gave!”

I sighed and asked, “Does he know what hugs are yet?”

“...I’ve given him a few,” Kat said. “Why?”

I knelt down and wrapped the spider up in a hug. His eight legs spasmed around against my back, which felt absolutely horrifying, but I didn’t show any indication that I might be afraid. “I’m not going to hurt you, kid,” I quietly said. “There’s no reason for you to be afraid of me. You just got really unlucky yesterday. And my name isn’t ‘high mistress,’ it’s Navarone.” After a few seconds, he went completely catatonic.

“Good job, Nav,” Twilight sarcastically said as I let the terrified kid go. He fell on his stomach, unable to catch himself.

“...Oops.” I didn’t really feel too bad about it, though. Kat quickly kneeled next to him, trying to soothe him or whatever. “Kat, try to train him away from bowing to every chick he sees.”

She glared up at me. “That wouldn’t be such a problem if you didn’t try to kill him!”

I shrugged. “These things happen. I was in a bad mood at the time. You know how it is.” Thankfully, she knew exactly where that line of discussion would lead, so she turned her attentions back to the kid. “Well, I’m going below. Good luck, Kat.” Zecora walked with me on the way to the door.

“You’re going to have to work hard if you want him not to fear you,” she said when we were away from them.

“I don’t really care if he’s afraid of me or not,” I replied with a shrug. “I don’t like spiders and I don’t want him on the ship. But he hasn’t done anything wrong, so I can’t get away with killing him. Too many goody four shoes on the ship that would get all uppity about it.”

“Surely the one inside of you does not agree. Such a thing would be insanity!”

“Was that a rhyme?”

“Purely accidental, I assure you. But that would be an evil thing to do!”

“Now you’re just fucking with me.” She smirked. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. No, Flo doesn’t like it. But thankfully, she’s leaving that decision up to me. Also, do you include genderbending in your list of voodoo powers?”

“Twilight has already told me of your plight. Sadly, such an act is considered heinous to my kind, for it goes against nature. We don’t have any methods of reverting you.”

I sighed and muttered, “I should have just died at birth.” Thankfully, we were at my room, so I didn’t have to deal with any fallout from Zecora’s extremely shocked reaction. “See you later,” I said, slipping into my room and very quickly shutting the door.

Much to my surprise, I managed to go for three hours without getting bothered by anyone. And that ‘anyone’ just happened to be the sexiest maid I had. “Lunch is being served, mistress,” she said when she pushed my door open.

“It’s master, Doppel.”

She blinked and then shrugged. “Lunch is being served, master.”

“Not hungry, either way. Thanks, though.”

“You need to eat, master. You haven’t since you got back from the monkeys.”

“You can’t tell me what to do, Doppel. You’re not my real mom!”

She rolled her eyes and said, “I may not be your real mom, but I’m not above spanking you. And you know I’d enjoy it, so then we’d both get in trouble with Kumani. Let’s not get to that point.”

I sighed and nodded. “Fine. But only if you bring something here. I don’t want to leave my room because I know I’ll get ambushed by someone and forced to deal with it.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being social,” she disapprovingly said.

“I know. I’ll give you a hug if you bring me something.”

She rolled her eyes again. “Fine. But only because you have really good hugging arms. And it better be a cuddle!”

“Of course, of course,” I quickly said, smiling. She stared at me a few more seconds before nodding and walking off.

A few minutes later, she walked right back in, a tray on her back. I reached for it, but she slapped my hand back, then set the tray aside. “Hug first, then food,” she said. “I know how wily you are.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, opening my arms for a hug. She eyed me cautiously before nodding and glomping me, sending me back onto the bed. Of course, I wrapped my arms around her and held her.

“Mmmm… It’s nice to be held like this,” she sighed, her wings twitching. “Without any expectations, I mean. I miss when we used to do this…”

“You might have your chance again soonish,” I said. “A certain dragoness isn’t overly happy with my forced change.”

“Her loss.” I let the hug go on for about a minute before carefully picking her up and setting her next to the bed. “Thank you, master,” Doppel happily said, nuzzling me as I sat up.

“And thank you for making me eat,” I said, grabbing the tray. Nothing on there looked particularly appetizing and I really didn’t feel hungry, but I knew eating was important.

“You made me eat when I wasn’t hungry, so it’s only fair that I return the favor,” she said with a shrug.

“Yeah, but can changelings even get fat?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen a fat one, but most of us don’t have that much food. Why, master? Did you get a thing for chubbies?”

“You know you’re sexy no matter how fat you are,” I said. “It’s just that I can get fat. And I don’t want that to happen.” Either way, I started to eat.

She, of course, watched in fascination. “No matter how many times I see other races eat, it’s always interesting,” she said. “Chewing. Tasting. Swallowing. So… different.”

“You know, there are fetishes out there that involve food.”

“Not that kind of interesting,” she quickly said. “Just different, and interesting because it’s different.” I shrugged, since I really wasn’t into foodplay, and just kept eating. When I was done, she asked, “Would you like me to take the tray back?”

“If you want.”

She took it and set it on her back, but didn’t go anywhere. “So… why master and not mistress?”

“Because I’m mentally a guy and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise right now. I’d much rather go by what I am rather than what I look like.”

“You shouldn’t define yourself by what you have between your legs, master,” she said.

“...That’s the point, Doppel. I’m defining myself as a man despite not having a penis.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “You also shouldn’t define yourself by what you don’t have between your legs. If you’re a female now, you should get used to it. Accept it for what it is. There’s no reason to hide in the past. Everyone on this ship will follow you no matter what you are.”

“I don’t see how calling me master or mistress really matters, Doppel. You’re used to saying master. I’m used to hearing master. Why would you want to change something that we’re both used to when there’s no problem with it?”

She sighed and shrugged. “Alright, master. But mistress sounds sexier, just so you know.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. See you later.”

“Of course.” She walked on out, letting the door close behind her. I went back to doing nothing, finally.

Well, until Applejack opened the door. “Hey, Nav.”

“Hi,” I said, looking up from the book I had been reading. “You need something?”

“You mind if I sit in here? Don’t want to bother you, just want somewhere quiet to read.”

Weird. “Go for it,” I said with a shrug.

She walked on in and kicked the door shut, then sat down next to the bed. “Thanks,” she said, pulling a book out of somewhere. I went back to reading and she very surprisingly stayed silent. Or at least, she did for a few hours. “‘Bout supper time,” she finally said around dinner time. I jumped slightly, having forgotten she was there. “You want anything?”

“Nah, I’m good.” She shrugged and left, closing the door back behind her. She didn’t come back. “Applejack is a strange pony,” I said.

“I’m sure there was a good reason for that,” Flo replied. “Even if we’ll never figure it out.”

“Bitches do be trippin’, I suppose…”

“Nav, you’re a bitch now. You can’t talk.”

“Bitch, please. It takes more to being one of those than having a vag. There’s an entire mindset that I lack. If I get stuck like this for too long, I might eventually figure it out, but until then, I ain’t no ho.”

“So sensitive!”

“Bah. I suppose I have that to look forward to, at least. Multiple orgasms might be fun. Just gotta get Kumani over her distaste for it.”

“Or just leave her. I believe any chance at a healthy relationship vanished when you permanently changed and found that she wasn’t a lesbian. It already wasn’t healthy, but now I fear it might become toxic.”

“Just let me know if you see it getting too bad. You know I’m not exactly a master at relationships.”

“Yes, I’m aware. And of course I’ll tell you, Nav. I don’t want you to get hurt. Just… don’t expect it to last.” Truth be told, I never really did, but whatever. It’s not like it would haunt me anywhere down the line, after all.

The next day, the inner rage burning inside of me had reached more of a low simmer. I was still rather displeased, but it was starting to dissipate as the usual depression and hopelessness took over. After all, it’s hard to be angry when you’re not used to feeling much of anything.

When I went on up to the deck, Gourd approached me. “We’re about half an hour out, I think,” he said. “It’s hard to judge distances, but Twilight came up a few minutes ago and told us we were nearly there.”

“Excellent. Is there any danger of leaving the ship in the water? Or would it be better to stay in the air?”

“As long as there’s not a storm, we can stay in the water. That’s probably what I’ll do, so we can check the balloon over for wear and tear. Do you know how long we’ll be there?”

“Hopefully it won’t take too long. But honestly, I don’t know. We can probably take as long as you need. Just know that unless things go catastrophically wrong, our next destination will be the Antarctic. So be ready for it to get colder than it was a few weeks ago.”

“I’ll tell the crew to be ready for it, I guess.”

“Awesome. You know where Twilight went?”

“She’s up at the helm,” he said, nodding to the stairs going up.

“Thanks. See you.” He shrugged and followed me up the stairs to the helm, where I found the purple horse I was looking for. “Yo Twilight, we getting close?”

“Pretty close, yes. Aqua says we’re definitely almost there. Do you want to go down with us?”

“Absolutely. Ask her if she can bring up an elemental that isn’t as sociopathic as Brook so I can get down there without having to worry about her trying to kill me.”

“That… might be a problem. But once we get to the bottom, we won’t need to worry about anything else anymore, because there are apparently pockets of air down there, and plants to allow us to breathe. Apparently there are even other ponies down there!”

“What? Like, ponies as in ponies, or ponies as in your racist catch-all for other sapient life?”

“Both! The elementals rule over the seaponies, who rescue sailors in downed ships. Those that are too far from the surface get ferried below, where they live in peace and harmony.”

What is this, Dragonlance? “Sounds miserable. But as long as they don’t try to force us to stay, I don’t really care.”

“You aren’t even interested in learning about the seaponies?”

I blinked a few times before shrugging. “Why would I be? We seem to be finding new sapient life every time we turn around. What’s one more? I mean, cool I guess, but it’s not like it’s that surprising anymore.”

“...I guess. You get jaded really easily, Nav.”

“It comes from being let down too many times,” I said, tousling her hair. “Think we can bring the naga down?”

She glared at me for a moment before shaking her head quickly, making her hair go back to normal. “We probably can, but one of you will have to use Brook to get down.” Before I could say not it, she added, “And it’ll have to be you, so she doesn’t leave another little present in him.”

“Dammit. Why can’t Aqua just bring another two elementals up instead?”

“Because these are… a little more paranoid, it seems. And they like their spots at the bottom of the ocean. Getting them to move to save the other elementals might be problematic, not that Aqua isn’t trying. It might be better to bring Taya than the naga, since she’s actually seen Discord.”

“I don’t want her down there. And if there are sailors down there, I want the naga as protection, just in case. He’s a lot more intimidating than two cute girls and you.” It took her a second to catch the insult, but I was already talking again. “I doubt we’ll have any problems, but having him there reduces the chances. Besides, I told him he could come. I mean, could you say no to his cute face?”

“...I think those hormones might be messing with your brain, Nav.”

“Probably. I’m more huggy than usual, at least. And that bleeding thing is getting really annoying now. Been through three or four towels now, even with my more viscous blood. It’s pretty nasty.”

“It definitely sounds nasty. Please don’t tell me about it again.”

“But Twilight, don’t you want to be a good friend? Why don’t you care about my girl problems?”

“Because you’re only telling me about them to make me feel awkward instead of actually wanting to get help? Come on, Nav. I know how you work by now.”

“Yeah, remember that next time you get Dash to try flirting on me. Or getting Applejack to do whatever she was trying to do last night.”

“What Rainbow Dash did was Rarity and Pinkie’s idea, thank you very much. I asked her not to, but you know how they are. And Applejack didn’t tell us she was going to do anything, so you can’t blame me for that.”

“I’m still waiting for what Fluttershy’s gonna try. I have a feeling it’s going to be more subtle.”

Twilight shook her head. “Rainbow Dash got us to cancel all the plans we had, don’t you worry. Though it would have been really cute and you would have loved it.”

“Yeah. Sure. And Spike is deeply in love with me. Pigs fly. Airplane food is actually alright.”

She just sighed. “You’re always so difficult.”

“It’s all been practice for being a woman,” I said, smiling. “Gotta keep up the tradition, after all.”

“...Are all females like this where you come from?” she asked, sounding like she dreaded to hear the answer.

“No. Guys just like saying that. There are good girls, bad girls, and naughty girls, just like there are good and bad guys. But the human mind specializes in seeing only the worst and generalizing based on those, which is why everyone thought the crime rate was rising even though it was rapidly decreasing when I left. People were just more exposed to bad things due to things like TV and computers, so it’s more present on their mind.”

“...Okay. Does that mean you’re going to change and start being really nice?”

“Psh, no. I don’t change who I am, Twilight. Especially not over something so minor.”

“If it’s so minor, why are you so upset about it?” she asked.

“Because fuck you, that’s why. I’m gonna go make sure the naga is awake. Don’t seduce any of the crew, now.”

She rolled her eyes and didn’t reply as I walked off, back into the bowels of the ship. The naga’s room was right across the hall from Kumani’s, so I got to see Brook silently staring again, not that I paid her any mind. I would deal with her later, when I wasn’t alone. Maybe once I had the naga’s rippling muscles next to me, keeping me safe from all harm…

I pushed his door open, because I honestly wasn’t expecting him to be jerking off or anything. He didn’t disappoint, and was just reading a book he found somewhere. “I remember again why I don’t like reading,” he said, closing the book with a snap and tossing it onto his bed. “It’s boring. And the words run together in confusing ways. I dislike reading.”

“Well, we’ll be getting to where we’re going within an hour,” I said. “So get ready if you still want to go.”

He reached over and grabbed his sword that was leaning against the wall. The massive thing rested comfortably across his back, with the belt running over his huge chest. “I am ready.”

“You might want to bring a jacket or something. I don’t know how cold it’s going to be, but I know we’re supposed to be in caves or something. I can cuddle with Twilight if I have to, but I don’t think you’d appreciate that very much.”

“Perhaps it would do your mind good,” he said slithering up to me. “Having a proper male to hold you. As I have said, this refusal to follow your new nature will bring you nothing but pain. Maybe holding onto me will awaken your proper desires.” He stopped right in front of me, making sure he was displaying his chest properly.

“You’re not my type,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Grab a coat or not, I don’t care. Just do it quickly, because we still need to talk to Brook.”

“I will be fine,” he said, not moving back.

“Aren’t you married?” I asked. “Why would you even want to try to seduce me?”

“I would not be seducing you, Cain. I would simply help you return to nature. After all, I’m quite sure I would split you in half were we to try anything.”

“I’m sure your wife would look at it the same way. Now let’s go. Craning my neck to look up at you like this is annoying.”

“You will cave eventually,” he said, following me out. “They always do.” So what do the naga do with their own gays? Somehow, I suspected I didn’t want to know the answer to that. I had a feeling it would be somewhat reminiscent of a straight camp, which tend to be epicenters of gay sex and abuse.

...Not that I had ever been to one.

Anyway, he followed me to Brook, where we both took up positions in front of her. “So my queen has returned,” she said.

“Does that mean you’re going to bow down and start doing whatever I want you to?” I asked.

“What authority does a queen have compared to a god?” she replied.

“Gods are immortal and don’t feel pain. Spike killed a part of you and you screamed as it died. Doesn’t seem very godlike to me.”

“Insolence will get you nowhere,” she said, barely reacting.

“And lying will get you just as far. Everyone on this ship knows exactly how far your divinity goes.”

“Lesser beings need something to believe in, Navarone. Should you not know that from your time with the humans? If you really lived back then.”

“The Scandinavians were doing just fine without a god,” I said with a shrug. “Better than fine, in some cases. And of all the races in the world, I have only met two so far that have anything like a higher power to believe in. Monkeys and spiders. The monkeys are a small, stagnant race and the spiders are a large, hateful race full of infighting. Doesn’t seem to me that a god did either of those any good.”

I am the reason those monkeys survived, Navarone.”

“And Arachne is the reason you were required. But I’m not here to discuss the merits of religion. We’re almost there. Get ready to go.”

“I have nothing to ready. And I am well aware that we are almost there. It feels like two of my sisters are already on the surface, waiting on us.”

“Good, we won’t have to wait on them. Get up on deck before we get there.”

“I am not some peasant to be ordered around!”

“You’re free to stay behind if you want,” I said, turning to leave. “Not like I give a fuck.”

She didn’t reply as the naga and I let ourselves out. Ames did, as we were heading up the stairs. “Are you sure it is wise to antagonize her?”

“It’s probably not, no. But these elementals need to be taught humility. They need to remember what it’s like to be afraid, to be alive. Otherwise, how else are we going to convince them to help us fight Discord?”

“That is a fair point, I suppose. But you are doing more than just trying to remind her that she can fear.”

“Yeah, well, she’s also a bitch that tried to kill someone close to me.”

“Oh ho! So I should use Spike to awaken your proper desires!”

“God, you are such a fucking pervert. Next I bet you’ll try to get me between you both, your hard, strong body holding me against his warm, lithe one while you use your tail to gently tease me and he uses his tongue to tickle my lips.” He noisily cleared his throat. “Well, that’ll only happen in your dreams. Spike’s a friend, not a pervert like you.”

“Says who?” Spike asked, stepping out of a door in front of us. “And what are we talking about?”

“The naga’s trying to make me interested in boys. I told him you wouldn’t help him.”

“Well—”

“I mean, sure we had to pretend back with the monkeys, but I know you hated that as much as I did.” He didn’t reply. “Anyway, we’re going to be there soon. You should go fishing with Gilda, Spike. And hey, see if she’s interested in the horizontal tango. Griffins are good lays.”

“...I’m going back to bed,” he morosely sighed, turning right back into his room. He slammed his door behind him.

“Wonder who peed in his cornflakes,” I muttered, continuing the walk to my room. Ames didn’t reply, so we got to my room in silence. Since we were going into the fucking ocean, I didn’t grab any weapons but Excalibur. I also grabbed my goggles, so I could see without hurting my eyes trying to look through an elemental. There was nothing else I wanted to bring since I didn’t want to risk getting anything wet, so I just took all that and went back out of my room. “Why are you following me, anyway?” I asked the hulking figure.

“...I don’t know. I just realized I was. I will see you on deck, human.” He turned back and slithered on out.

Everyone’s acting so weird lately. I just shrugged and walked over to Taya’s room, then knocked on her door. It pulled open a few seconds later. She was using her magic so she could be lazy and just chill on her bed. “We’re nearly there,” I said.

“Can I go with you down below?” she excitedly asked.

“Unfortunately, no. Only a few can go, and there are other things down there besides the elementals. I’d rather have someone large and hulking at my side than another cute and cuddly one. It’s better to dissuade attackers than it is to fight them, after all.” She sighed and looked down. “That said, if we end up being down there long enough, I’ll see if I can get an elemental to bring you down. Hopefully, though, we can get in and out of there in a day or so. I really don’t want to be down there for very long.”

“Me either. It feels almost like… we’re wasting our time, kinda. Why don’t we just drop Brook off and go get the next one?”

That’s not too bad of a question, actually. “Because if the water elementals that are already free are pissed that we’re freeing more, they won’t help us anyway. Freeing two more will only make them angrier. We need to make sure they understand that fighting back against Discord is possible and necessary. Otherwise, we’ll just be wasting our time.”

“...What do we do if they don’t help us?”

“...I’ll figure something out. I’m going topside. Feel free to join me after you eat breakfast.”

“Did you eat breakfast?”

“Look over there, a distraction!” I said, pointing behind her. She didn’t even flinch. So I just quickly grabbed her door and slammed it shut, running up the stairs to the deck. Thankfully, she didn’t follow me.

Not so thankfully, that was because she teleported ahead of me. “Daddy, this isn’t healthy,” she said, giving me a very disapproving look.

“Neither is teleporting everywhere. I already know I need to take you running, because you get winded way too easily.”

“You’re part tree! Of course I get tired faster than you do!”

I reached down and tousled her hair. “Then we’ll just have to work on that, honey. I’m sure we can find some time to do a few laps around the deck. And you can ask Doppel for good breathing exercises.”

She blinked a few times before rapidly shaking her head. “No! You always do this! You’re coming with me to go eat and that’s final!” Before I could distract her again, she teleported the two of us down to the kitchen.

“No seconds, Nav,” Sunny said. “You’re the one that put the rule up, so you should know better.”

“Hey, that wasn’t me,” I hastily said. “I didn’t know that rule was in place, either. I thought we weren’t on rations.”

She shrugged and said, “It came in a few days ago. I figured it was you that said it. Either way, orders are orders. Now what can I get for you, dear?”

“He already ate?” Taya asked, looking at me in confusion.

“Sure did,” Sunny answered with a nod.

“Then why didn’t you just tell me you ate?”

“I never said I didn’t. You just assumed.” I knelt down to hug her for a second before standing back up. “See you later, Taya.” She finally let me go back up to the deck in peace.

“What was that all about?” Twilight asked when I got up there.

“Just Taya being silly,” I said with a shrug. “You know how she is sometimes. We there yet?”

“Does it look like we’re there?” she asked.

“We’re in the middle of the fucking ocean. How the fuck should I know? I mean, we’re not in the water yet, so I assume we aren’t, but you never know.”

“Well, you assumed right. But we’re close. Probably about five minutes away.”

“Good. You mind talking to Spike? He seemed kinda upset by something.”

“I was just on the way to tell everypony I was leaving soon anyway. Do you mind taking over at the helm?”

“Yeah, Flo can guide us in,” I said, nodding. “Just make sure to tell Watcher, too. I’ll want him to know we’re leaving so he knows he’s in charge.”

“I can do that. See you in a few minutes.” I got out of the door so she could walk past, and then went up the stairs to the helm.

“We’re getting pretty close,” the dude on the wheel said.

“I heard. I’ll be guiding us in.”

“Yes ma—Wait, do you want sir or ma’am?”

“Sir.”

“Yes sir.”

Things got quiet at that point. Flo assured me we were heading the right way, so I didn’t have to correct the guy until we finally got where we were going. And then, all I had to do was tell him to slow down and lower the ship until we were finally stopped in the water.

“Well, according to Flo, this is the place,” I said.

“Doesn’t look like much to me,” the helmsman said with a shrug. “All these water elemental things. Seems like a bunch of hooey to me.”

“You have a magic horn that can do anything.”

“Yeah, so?”

Before I could tell him to keep an open mind, two fountains of water shot over the side of the ship and landed down on the main deck. “Looks like our guests are here,” I said before vaulting over the front of the helm, landing in front of one of the new elementals. “Howdy, ladies,” I said.

“Hello again, Navarone,” the one that I assumed was Aqua said. “This is my brother, Ice.”

Oh wow, so some of you do come with penises. “Nice to meet you,” I said, nodding at him. “I don’t suppose either of you know how to change someone’s gender?”

“I’m afraid not,” Ice said, taking on a humanoid form. “Aqua told us of your predicament. Our mages have already told us that such a thing is not possible for them.”

“Well, I was planning on killing myself soon enough anyway,” I said with a shrug. “Guess this just gives me a good enough reason to do so. Ice, meet the naga. You’ll probably be carrying him down, if you don’t mind.” I nodded at the hulking form that was standing behind both elementals, his arms crossed.

Neither of them turned back, though. “What did you just say?” Aqua slowly asked.

“I was introducing your friend to the naga,” I said. “Naga, no reason to be shy. Come say hi.”

Aqua surged forward, her head touching mine. Ice turned back to the naga, at least, but I couldn’t hear whatever they were saying over the sound of Aqua talking in my head. “Is this true, Flo? Does the last human truly desire death?”

“...Yes, sister, he does. Given his life, it is a desire I can understand. However, he and I both know that I won’t allow it.”

“I’m standing right here,” I said.

“Should the others learn of his desire, they may attempt to replace you,” Aqua said. “I happen to have a feeling that would end poorly for all involved. So keep your desires to yourself. Though don’t think I will forget.”

“...How much do I have to pay for you to not tell Twilight I said that?” I asked.

“Unfortunately, I know exactly how she would react, and then how you would react to her reaction,” Aqua said. “So I shall stay silent. For now. But remember that I know, and remember that we will not let you harm yourself. We’ll be watching.”

Before I could make a perverted comment about showing myself off, Twilight happily shouted, “Aqua!”

The elemental pulled away from me and turned to Twilight. “I am here, Twilight Sparkle. Is Brook in the cargo hold?”

“She was supposed to be up here by now,” I said as Twilight jumped forward to hug her elemental. After a few moments of awkwardness, Aqua returned it. “But she’s kind of a complete and total twat, so I’m not surprised.”

“Yes, Ice and I are here to talk with her about that,” Aqua said. “Alone. We should not take long.”

“Have fun,” I said. “And don’t destroy my ship. I need that for things.”

“We’ll be careful,” she said, nodding. “Ice! Let us go give our sister a proper family greeting.”

“Coming, sister,” he said. Together, they flowed down the stairs toward the cargo hold.

“I do not think I want him around my body,” Ames said when they were gone.

“Dude, you were just talking about coiling up around me,” I said. “What’s the difference?”

“I distrust him.”

“Well, your choices are Brook or Ice. One’s a twat that might infect you with herself. The other is a guy. Take your pick.”

“...I shall take Brook,” he said. “After all, I am supposed to protect you. If I use her instead of allowing you to use her, I will be protecting you from her.”

“Man, whatever. Twilight, you speak to Spike?”

“He was in bed. I didn’t want to bother him.”

I shrugged. “Whatever. None of your friends coming up here to see you off?”

“They said they’d be up in a few minutes. Aqua told me her talk with Brook might take a little while, so I figure we have some time to spare.”

“Then if either of you haven’t eaten, I suggest doing it now. We don’t know what manner of cuisine they’ll have down there.”

“I ate when I woke up,” Twilight said.

“As did I.”

I shrugged. “Whatevs. I’ll be waiting by the railing. Maybe I can catch a glimpse of where we’ll be going.”

“Have fun,” Twilight said. I just walked over to the side, Ames following me.

“I would not mind hunting in such a vast void,” Ames said, peering into the black depths with me.

“It’s definitely fucking awesome,” I said, nodding. “I only ever did it once, though. We might have time for it before we leave, though. I definitely wouldn’t mind spear-fishing again.”

“Why use a spear when you have hands?”

“Because I don’t have a strong tail that makes swimming really easy. My ancestors and I were not made for swimming. It’s fun, but only if I have the right equipment for it.”

“And a spear is part of that equipment?”

“If I’m planning on getting any fish, yes. I’m not about to wrestle a fucking shark like Gilda. We have things called flippers that we attach to our feet that allow us to swim faster. And we also have air tanks and an inflatable suit that we use to regulate our position in the water, by either making us go lower or higher. Of course, we also need masks to see and a regulator connected to the air tanks to breathe. Even then, staying down too long and too deep will kill you. Give you the bends, where you get bubbles in your blood. Or nitrogen narcosis, where you essentially get high off nitrogen.”

“...And your people voluntarily did this?”

“Shit dude, I voluntarily did that. Despite all the things that could go wrong, it was a lot of fun. Well, until the pressure gets to you and it feels like your head’s about to explode. Still, the sights you can see are amazing. Truth be told, I can’t wait to get down there again.”

“How did your species survive, again?”

“By being badass enough to know we can beat the shit out of any challenge that we run into as long as we pour enough experiments at it. We may lose people trying to figure out if something will kill you, but you better believe we’ll learn from the mistakes of those that died.” It also helps that our race was the only sapient one out there, but he doesn’t need to know that.

“Your loyalty to your race is always amusing to me,” he said, patting me on the back. “I would quite like to meet more of you some day, to see if they truly live up to your description.”

“Memories rarely do,” I sighed, looking out into the ocean. Thankfully, he shut up until the elementals got back on deck. By that point, all of Twilight’s friends, Applejack, and Taya were also on deck. Taya was next to me, but she’s gotten good at reading my mood, so she wasn’t talking. Or she just realized that nothing really needed to be said. Either way, she was pressed against my leg.

“Are you ready, Navarone?” Aqua asked, moving up next to me.

“Yeah. I’m taking Ice, the naga’s taking Brook.”

“Very well. We’ll be going quite deep, but you’ll be completely protected from the pressure while inside of us. So don’t move. Just let yourself be dragged along.”

“Alright, I can do that. What kind of lighting are we dealing with down there?”

“The magical kind. You’ll all be able to see.”

“Then let’s do this.”

She nodded and motioned to Ice. “I love you, daddy,” Taya whispered, hugging my leg.

“I love you, too,” I said, patting her head. “I’ll see you soon.” She let go and I walked over to Ice and Ames slithered to Brook.

The male elemental bowed slightly. “I want you inside of me,” he said, spreading his arms.

“Then I’ll be gentle. After all, I imagine it’s your first time.”

“With a human, yes… I’ve heard they’re so different!”

“I’m just gonna love proving you’re right.” I put my goggles on and stepped into his hug, letting him absorb me. Oh baby, I love the feel of you all around me.

“So warm,” he sighed, his body quivering slightly. “Everything down there is so cold! And I’ve never had anyone fill me up like this before…”

Try not to move too much, then. It’ll make adjusting easier.

Flo finally face-palmed. “Navarone, for the love of whoever. Do you ever listen to yourself? And Ice! Don’t encourage him!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, sister,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure your host will not be hurt on the way down. If his wings are sticking out, bad things might happen.”

And I’m just trying to help him get used to me. There’s nothing wrong with that.

“Ugh!”

You’re so weird, Flo. She muttered darkly. Since she was inside of my head, I heard everything clearly, but she threatened to do things to me if I printed them here. Ready when you are, big boy.

“Then let’s get this ride done quickly. I just know the others want a piece of you!” If Flo had teeth, she would be grinding them. As it was, she was just slamming her head against something inside of my mind.

The sensation of Ice moving was… different. And when he launched himself over the side, I almost freaked out until I realized he was still covering me entirely. Then he began to descend into the depths.

So why you? I asked. Aren’t there two others down there?

“Because I’m just about all the support you have for wanting to help fight Discord. The other two are… reluctant.”

Well, we’ll just have to persuade them otherwise. I don’t suppose they believe in democracy?

“I doubt it, but we could propose a vote.”

Well, we persuaded Brook, who seemed about as much of a queen bitch as a bitch can be. Surely these two can’t be that bad in comparison.

His silence was not reassuring.

As we sank deeper, I started noticing more and more life. Fishes were the most common, of course, but plenty of everything that swam was down there. Thankfully, everything left us the fuck alone. I would have asked why they didn’t bother us, but I honestly didn’t care.

And besides, I was starting to see something far more interesting ahead of us, an outline of something appearing out of the foggy ocean ahead of us. It began as little more than a hint of shapes, but quickly started resolving into what looked like actual buildings. Soon enough, I was able to see individual buildings, along with roads separating them.

Most of the buildings themselves weren’t too strange, but the decorations on them ranged from shells to metal trinkets to what looked like bones to coral to who knows what else. Gardens of seaweed and other underwater plants grew in many of the yards and on a few of the roofs, with what looked like seahorses gardening a few of them. And after looking more closely, I could see that the main population was, in fact, made of seahorses. Large ones, of course, with upper bodies that reminded me very much of the ponies.

They were actually kinda creepy, in a way. There looked to be three races, as with the ponies. One had a horn, one had larger fins, and one was just shafted. You know, same as the ponies.

Aside from them, a few other races littered the area. I saw octopi, squids, more fishes, a few kinds of sharks and dolphins, and in one place a fucking whale. There were also a number of other things that I didn’t pay that much attention to, because I didn’t expect it would matter and I honestly didn’t care that much.

What really caught my attention was the very large building at the center of the city, what looked like a castle or something. It rose from the bottom of the ocean and went up several hundred feet, with towers and useless walls and all that other fun shit, even though they were all completely useless underwater. That’s where we were headed, of course.

“Welcome to Atlantis, Navarone,” Ice said as we got closer. “My own personal hell.”

If that wasn’t ominous, I didn’t know what was.

 
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