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.


168. Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Nine Part 2

That actually seemed to take Brook aback, though it did make some sense to me. Brook took several seconds to process that before saying, “When the wise give advice to those who need it, they speak from a true position of authority to one that needs help.”

Thankfully, Flo handled the rebuttal for me. “When the wise are ignorant in other ways, they too need wisdom. It should be equally shared, not meted out like a pittance to those clamoring for succor. And the way you act is motherly, which he despises because it makes him feel weak and small.” Alright, this is starting to get annoying. “And he’s getting annoyed because I’m sharing what he considers his weaknesses with you.” You fucking bitch. “He also just called me a naughty word.” Kill yourself. “And told me to kill myself. If I continued sharing his unpleasant thoughts, we’d probably be stuck in a very long loop.”

“Interesting. That answers several questions I had about his childhood.” You don’t know me, bitch. “I imagine he has a very unpleasant thought when I said that, too.” Flo forced me to nod. “Very interesting indeed. Navarone, know that when a water elemental tries to give you advice, we do so solely for your benefit. We mean absolutely no offense by it.”

I kind of wanted to answer that, but Flo didn’t let me. “He knows, intellectually. But it still rankles because of several deep-seated issues he has yet to open up about and refuses to discuss with me.” Woman, I swear to god! “He’s getting really mad. I think I’ll stop.”

“Anger is good,” Brook said with a small nod. “You rarely show strong emotions because you bottle them up out of fear. You should learn to release that floodgate. The defining characteristic of a man is not the inability to show emotion, but rather the ability to show it wisely. You choose to hide it until it breaks your dam and dangerously spills over. Learn to use your emotions when and where you need them.”

“I don’t need them. That’s why I don’t show them.”

She smiled ever so sweetly. “Tell that to Taya.”

The urge to find out if a water elemental could be strangled was growing quite quickly. Unfortunately, I knew that doing so would likely be unwise, so I forced myself to continue sitting there instead. So I tried a different tactic. “I don’t exactly have the best roadmap in the world for knowing when to show emotions.”

She lifted what would have been an eyebrow if she had hair. “The ponies aren’t good examples, then? It seems like they would be, to me.”

Fuck. “I didn’t exactly have the best home training for knowing when to and when not to show emotions, I should say.”

“Much of what happens in your formative years affects how you become as a person. However, it doesn’t write your personality in stone. People can and do change, Nav. I’m sure you know that well from your dealings with Twilight. It isn’t easy and admitting that it’s necessary can be difficult. Thankfully, I believe that you already did so. Now you just need to start attempting to live up to it.”

“Ugh, can’t I just do it tomorrow?” Her smile deepened slightly. “Alright, look, I don’t like bitches riding my ass about this shit. Yeah, I do want to get better or whatever. But I can’t just jump headlong into being something that I’m not. I want to feel again, but it’s not something I can just force. It’ll be gradual. So unwad your fucking panties and don’t bitch about it.”

“Reminders and helpful suggestions are not bitching, silly.”

“They never seem that way to the person doing it. But that’s the kind of shit that invites wife-beating. When someone spends all day being shit on, sometimes they just want some time of peace. I do want to change and I probably appreciate the help or whatever, but let me do me.”

Her smile cracked just slightly. “I am… unused to sitting by and watching, Nav. Usually, we take a direct hand in assisting others.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage.” I stood and popped my neck. “I’m heading back to the deck. Ask one elemental to keep the hole in the deck plugged. The rest can do whatever they normally do. I have an unfortunate feeling that we’ll be needing them again soon.”

“Likely. Would you be interested in meeting the sister we freed?”

“Anything particularly special about her?” I asked.

“She is a loner, which is why she was here when she became trapped. Even now, aside from thanking us for our assistance, she has said little.”

“Then she’ll have little to say to me. I’ll meet her when I meet her.” She finally let me leave the office in peace, though she did watch me while I exited. Flo, your sisters are really creepy sometimes. She sighed judgmentally, but didn’t say anything.

When I finally got back on the deck, the coastal village was stirring and the guard squads were currently changing over. Watcher and Spike noticed me at the same time, but Spike got there first. “What do you want me to send to Princess Celestia?” he asked.

“Nothing at the moment. She’s still asleep.”

He blinked. “But it’s morning.”

Watcher got to hear that one, and replied, “It’s morning here. There, it’s probably around one or two in the morning.”

“And Celestia rises with the sun,” I said. “It’s… late fall now, I think, so that’ll probably be around seven or something, so another six hours. I’ll have a report written for you by then. Just chill for now.”

“Uh. Alright, I guess. Find me when you need me.” He wandered off to do his guard duty, not that I really figured we needed it anymore.

That made it Watcher’s turn. “Zecora and I both want to send a delegation to the village. We want to show them Pertz. And we want you to be there as well, as the person that is bringing him to justice.”

“Tell your squad to test their magic thoroughly first. If it all works, find two elementals to ferry Pertz over. I’ll take the squad guarding him, the naga, and Zecora. Watch us from here. If shit hits the fan, the elementals will probably get to us before you can, but I want you to at least try to help.”

“You agreed to that more quickly than I thought you would.”

“Okay. Let me know when all of that is done.”

He shrugged and said, “Yes sir.” He walked back below and I pulled my gun up to check it over. It still looked fine, so I slung it and walked over to the naga.

“We’re going into the village soon,” I said. “I’m not expecting a fight, but be ready.”

“Of course. I would be interested in seeing how more of these beasts fight. The last one was quite a disappointment.”

“And we’re not going to bring that last one up, either. I have no idea how they’d feel about us killing one of them, even if he was working with Pertz.”

He made a rumbling noise deep in his chest before nodding. “A wise decision. Some surface groups seem to take race loyalty too far, even for those who turned their back on the clan.”

“Sometimes. I imagine Pertz is gonna get shafted by the law, though.” And then shafted by a bunch of horny changelings. “We’ll be leaving when Watcher gets his group ready. If you need anything else, now’s the time to get it.”

“I am battle ready, sister.”

“Good.” When I turned to walk away, Gourd was standing there, waiting. “Status?”

“We’ve started repairing the hull. It should be ready within five hours. And unfortunately, Rarity says she can’t do anything useful with the balloon. She could patch it, but enough of it was destroyed that even patching it wouldn’t give us enough lift to get us back in the air, let alone keep us there.”

“Fuck. Talk to one of the elementals and chart a course to the closest port in Europe that can fix this mess.”

“I have an… alternative, if you’re willing to take a risk. There’s a pirate capital—”


He nodded, smiling. “Europe it is. I didn’t really want to go back there anyway. I’ll get a course plotted soon. Should we leave as soon as we get the hull fixed?”

“Probably. We’re sending a shore party to the village. Zecora’s idea. It hopefully won’t take too long.”

“Alright. You want any of us to go with you?”

“Nah. We should be fine. Hopefully they’ll be happy enough to see Pertz in chains that they won’t think of doing anything retarded.”

He bit at the inside of his lip before shrugging. “You’re the boss. We’ll keep an eye on you and teleport over if it starts looking bad.”

“Works for me. Just don’t forget that you’re out of practice.”

He snorted. “Not after what happened to Amber. I’ll go check on repairs and then find an elemental. See you later, Nav.” I nodded and he walked off, letting me finally pick a spot on the rail and watch the villagers as they watched us.

A cleared throat from behind me got my attention, so I turned and beheld the purplest member of my crew. “What do you need, Twilight?” I asked.

“One of the guards told me you were going into the village,” she said. “Can I go with you?”

“Sure. Stay close to me. If shit gets bad, back me up. And try not to offend the locals. You know the drill.”

“Yeah. I’ll try not to ask too many questions.”

“Then let’s go get ready. I have one more thing to grab.”

“Okay!” She started happily trotting below and I followed behind her, watching her tail bounce. What I needed to grab wasn’t in my room, so I just followed her right to hers. When she got there, she grabbed a notepad and a pen with magic and then blinked. “I forgot I had magic! I could have just teleported this up.” Then she turned and saw me. “Oh, did you already get what you needed?”

“Not quite,” I said with a small smile. When I stepped in and closed the door behind me, a look of concern flashed across her face. “Do you remember our little deal?” I asked.

“Um. Which one?”

“If I wear the plug, you have to wear a vibe once a week.” Her face fell and her eyes opened wide. “Well, it’s been a long week and I had to fight a fucking battle wearing it, and trip balls with it in. I think it’s your turn.”

Both of her ears drooped. “I… I um… Maybe I uh… shouldn’t go…”

“Nope, you’re going.” I walked over to one of her drawers and rummaged around until I found the cute little buzzer. “And you’re going wearing this. And I’m going holding this.” I pulled out the remote. “So go ahead and finish getting ready.”

She quietly gulped, then used magic to pull the toy away from me. “Are… are you sure?”

“Yes. And you’ll be wearing it the next time we see Celestia, too. And a bunch of other awkward times. So might as well get used to it now.” She sighed and floated it behind her. A few seconds later, I stroked the controls, making her squeak. “Alright, let’s go.” I left it on low for the moment, so we couldn’t hear it. Or at least, I couldn’t.

“Okay…” We walked back to the deck. As soon as she got to the stairs, I bumped it up to medium and she almost slipped. She chose not to comment. It went back to low and I figured I’d leave her alone for a while.

Watcher was not idle in that time, thankfully. His squad was ready to go and came to attention when I approached. Pertz was standing next to Flo and Naiad. Zecora was watching the village. The naga was staring at Pertz.

“Any intel about them, Zecora?” I asked.

“I stayed there for a day after I was cast out, on my way to finding passage away from here. They are friendly enough, but territorial. Do not enter any building without permission and do not touch anything without it being offered. They did not like Pertz, and will be happy to see him in chains. If they ask us to leave, we will leave without question.”

“Simple enough. Can we fly right to the village, or should we head to the outskirt first and walk in?”

“Walk in, in case they ask us not to enter.”

“I’ll fly over. Naga, you swim. Twilight, teleport with Zecora when you see where I’m going. Flo, Naiad, you do your thing with Pertz. You three, dynamic entry.” Nods all around, so I took off and rode the coastal winds to a spot near the edge of the village, next to the river.

As soon as I landed, Twilight joined me with Zecora. The guard pegasus dropped the earth horse right as the unicorn teleported in. Ames and the two elementals showed up seconds later. The two elementals held Pertz up by his forelegs so it didn’t look like he had any kind of freedom of movement.

Before I could ask Zecora what to do next, two very large gorillas came thundering out of the village toward us. Zecora didn’t seem overly concerned, so I didn’t move. Sure enough, they stopped in front of us. “What is your business here?” one of them asked.

Zecora stepped forward and said, “We come bearing news. Pertz of Equestria has been dethroned. See him stripped of his power.” She waved behind her. The gorillas both looked and gaped, showing off some impressive teeth. “Navarone of Equestria has brought him to his knees.” Not really of Equestria, but okay.

“Is this truly the scourge of the heartlands?” one whispered, taking a small step closer.

“It is,” I said. “Or rather, was. Princess Celestia of Equestria discovered that he has been abusing the trust she placed in him and sent me and my crew to bring this monster home, to face justice. After I beat him in single combat and we eradicated the majority of his slaves, we are finally ready to drag him back to Equestria.”

One slowly nodded. “It is good to see this blight brought down.” His large eyes focused on mine and I suddenly found myself wishing I wasn’t in plain clothing. “And you are the one that defeated him?”

“Yes. I have skills tailor-made to take down arrogant unicorns.”

“We would love to hear the tale. You are all welcome into our village. Please, follow us.” As much as I really didn’t want to tell the story, I figured following them anyway would be prudent. No reason to make enemies, after all. So we followed them. I took point, with Zecora on one side and Twilight on the other. The elementals oozed behind us and the guard squad treaded behind them. Ames slid along next to the two sisters, grimacing slightly to himself at the feeling of wet dirt getting stuck to his tail.

“We saw your ship when you first showed up,” one of the gorillas said. “It appeared magnificent then, and we thought it heralded some manner of change.”

“It took a beating from their witch doctor,” I replied. “We’re taking time now to patch it up as best we can before we limp to a friendly port.”

“We will likely be happy to assist,” one said. “Though I doubt there is much we can do to help with such a vessel.”

“The thought is appreciated,” Zecora said. I’m glad she spoke up, because I wasn’t planning on replying to them.

When we got to the village, we picked up a ton of stares. The village wasn’t all that large, but it seemed that each hut had several people living in it, and they were all interested in who (and what) we were. The two leading us further into the village didn’t say anything, so none of us spoke either.

Before too long, we reached the center of the village, where the largest hut was. Standing in front of it was a gorilla that stood about as tall as the naga with shoulders just as wide. Honestly, if that thing tried attacking me, I think I’d prefer to fly away, magic sword or not. He didn’t look very happy to see us, either.

“Why have you brought these interlopers to me?” he demanded.

The two gorillas bowed and one said, “They bring Pertz in chains, Kerchak!”

That got his attention, of course. He looked over them to the only one of us in chains. “Is this truly the great defiler?” he whispered.

“It is,” I said. “Princess Celestia sent us to capture him when she learned of his actions.”

He snorted. “At least the pony queen can remedy some of her mistakes. What is your name, lady warrior?”

“I am Navarone, sir,” I said, nodding my head. “I pacified Pertz and my host of warriors eradicated many of his soldiers, freeing several captives in the process.”

He leaned back slightly. “You pacified Pertz alone?”

“I did. And I led the warriors who killed many of his troops.”

“Hm. And you freed the true king of the lions. It will be interesting to see the coming power struggles. This is welcome news. But I am very interested in how such a small being could capture someone so powerful. Of course, I’m also interested in just what you are. I have never seen one like you. Or the watery things holding that monster.”

“I am a human,” I said. “A magical mistake brought me here from the past. My kind has long since died out.”

“Hm. My condolences, human. I imagine being isolated in such a way is… painful.”

There was no need to reply to that, so I waved my hand behind me. “These are water elementals. Very intelligent, very kind, very dangerous, and very useful. They can form symbiotic relationships with various beings, directly helping them. They are also figments of the past, brought forth once more.”

A tendril from each elemental moved forward, making the large gorilla jump back in shock. “I am Naiad, and this is Flo,” she said. Since Kerchak didn’t seem interested in shaking hands, the tendrils interweaved before slurping back into their bodies. “We assist Navarone out of thanks for saving us.”

Kerchak stared at them for several long seconds before slowly saying, “We live in interesting times.”

The naga chuckled and said, “Those who live in interesting times create tales of glory to be shared for generations.”

That made the gorilla nod, at least. “True. And how the great kings in interesting times interact with those around them sets examples for those to follow. Would you be interested in telling the story of your fight, human?”

“...Well, I am no storyteller. I could tell you of the deed, but it would not be interesting.” I really didn’t want to have to talk about that shit.

“I am,” Zecora quickly said. “And I would be happy to.”

The big dude actually smiled. “A story about a glorious fight told by a shaman. By all means.” He looked at one of the fellows that led us in and said, “Gather the young ones. We are going to hear the tale of how Pertz was brought down.”

I turned to the elementals and said, “Take him back to the ship. You’re free to come back when he’s secured again.” They nodded and started leaving, dragging Pertz with them.

“Why take him away?” Kerchak asked. “He looks pacified to me.”

“I didn’t fly for three weeks, risk my life and the lives of all my crew, and nearly have my boat destroyed to come back empty-handed because he managed to slip away or we had to kill him because he started acting up. I’d rather have him properly secured.”

“Wise. All of you, come with me.” He started walking to the left. The dude had a pretty large gait, so we had to move fairly fast to keep up. It meant we got to our destination faster, though. It was a decently sized clearing in the village. A group of peasants was already starting to fill in the edges. From the look of it, they were expecting their story-teller to sit in the center.

Sure enough, Zecora walked right to the middle of the group. She knew how to tell stories far better than I did, so I happily left her to it. Kerchak also went to the center. The rest of my group stayed on one of the edges.

When enough villagers showed up, Kerchak slammed his fists on his chest a few times, then said, “Pertz has been defeated!” The gorillas all cheered and started banging their chests like he did. When they quieted down, he pointed at me. “This human warrior is the one that brought Pertz to his knees. She is called Navarone, and has delivered this land from a dark curse.” The apes started whispering. I heard the word ‘she’ several times. He plowed over the mutters. “Her shaman is here to tell the tale of the monster’s defeat.”

I almost wanted to debate her being ‘my’ shaman, but I did kinda tell her that she had a place on my ship until she didn’t want it anymore. So I just sat on the ground while she started her—or rather, my—tale. After a few seconds, Twilight sat next to me and the guards shrugged and joined us.

My hand found its way unbidden to Twilight’s back to rub it. The other hand found its way very bidden to the controller and I bumped it up, making her flinch and then lean against me. The big dude noticed that, but no one said anything.

It wasn’t an overly long story, but Zecora made the telling take half an hour. I kinda wondered how many days it would take to write, and out of boredom, I settled on two weeks as a decent amount of time.

By the time Zecora finished, Twilight was very weakly grinding against the ground and it looked like she was gritting her teeth. The gorillas turned to stare at me, all smiles. When the main gorilla took the stage again, he said, “Truly, a hero has graced us. Thank you, Navarone. And many thanks to your host of warriors as well. Now we can live our lives without the fear that Pertz will come for us.”

Unfortunately, that was my cue to actually do something. So I stood (and bumped up the remote) and said, “It is always the duty of the warrior to protect others. I am happy to fight so that your village does not have to, Kerchak. And upon behalf of Equestria, I’m sorry that Pertz was even allowed to become so powerful. I hope that his transgressions will not color your opinions of Celestia too negatively.”

He snorted. “While we would all prefer him to have never appeared, it is good to see that the ponies can clean up their own messes. And while I would never give this prize to a pony, you are something different. Something…” He took a deep breath before smiling. “...special.” Oh boy. “On behalf of all of Africa, my village awards you the diadem of the conqueror, stolen from Pertz himself.”

He waved to his side, where a gorilla was approaching with a crown in one hand. Twilight loudly gasped and for a second, I thought she actually came. Then I took a closer look at the crown and realized that the stone on it matched her ass tattoo. Huh. Maybe that’s one of the elements of harmony or something.

When the random gorilla got close enough, Kerchak carefully picked up the golden crown and lifted it up before him. “Step closer, Navarone the human.” I really didn’t want that ugly thing on my head, but I figured it was for the best. Twilight started to say something, but I bumped the controller again and she chose to stay silent instead of risking a moan.

Soon enough, I stood before the giant. Each of his hands was probably about the size of my head and even standing near him made my skin crawl. The dude could probably tear me to pieces without even breaking a sweat. Thankfully, he chose to just gingerly place the fugly crown on my head. “Thank you, Kerchak,” I said.

One of his hands clasped my shoulder and I felt my knees almost buckle just from the weight and pressure, but I managed to hold it together. “Thank you, Navarone. You and your warriors are welcome in my village as long as you would like to stay. And if you require any aid fixing your boat, we will help as we can.”

“I will ask the captain if there is anything we need that you can provide. I will also possibly send over traders, if you are interested. And one of my crew members would be interested in asking some of your people questions, if that would be permitted.”

“We are happy to share our culture,” he said, finally removing his hand. “I will assign a guide to you, if one is needed.”

“I think we’ll be fine,” I said. “But my presence is needed back on the ship. I have skills that assist in keeping Pertz pacified and I need to be there in case he tries breaking free.”

“Of course. If you or your crew has any need of my help, I should not be hard to find. It was a pleasure to meet you, Navarone.”

“And it was nice to see such a kind village,” I said with a nod. He smiled and very carefully ran a finger down my face, then started walking back to the center of the village. I kinda wondered what that meant, but I honestly didn’t care. “Zecora, do you need anything from them?” I asked.

“Perhaps. I will need to check over my inventory. I believe Rarity would also be interested in perusing their fabrics.”

“And the quartermaster will want to check over their food. Naga, you can return to the boat. Guards, stay here for now and watch over the ones we send over.” They saluted. “Twilight, feel free to ask all the questions you want.”

She gulped and forced down the pleasure, though she was still blushing up a storm. “N-nav, that’s the… the element of magic.”

“I kinda figured. Can you teleport Zecora back to the ship? I’ll fly—” Her horn lit up and Zecora and I both appeared on the deck. “That also works.” I went ahead and lowered the intensity on the remote.

Before I could go find the captain, the captain found me. “It seemed to go pretty well, judging by your new crown,” he said.

“Yeah. If you have anything to trade, they said we’re welcome to. They also said they’d be happy to help fix the boat, if there’s anything they can do.”

“I doubt it, but I’ll head over myself to ask. I’ll also bring my quartermaster. And I’m sure some of Twilight’s friends would be interested.”

“Yeah, probably. How’s the repair coming?”

“Well. Should be about four hours or so. Properly waterproofing it is time consuming.”

“I bet.” I finally pulled the stupid crown off my head. “I’ll go find Twilight’s friends.”

“And I’ll find my quartermaster. “ He went off to do his thing while I did mine.

Since it was Twilight’s element, I dumped the crown in her room then went to Rarity’s. She wasn’t in there, so I poked around until I found her in Fluttershy’s room. “We’re next to a friendly village, if you guys want to go say hi,” I said, leaning against the door frame.

Rarity looked fairly excited about it. Fluttershy looked somewhat worried, since she’s a little pussy. “What are the residents?” Rarity asked.

“Gorillas.” Some of her excitement dripped away. “They’re friendly. Twilight’s already over there and I left a guard squad. I figured you’d be interested in seeing their fabrics.”

“Did they have pets?” Fluttershy quietly asked.

“I dunno, probably? I wasn’t paying attention. You two are welcome to go if you want. And feel free to spread the word around to anyone else that might be interested. Just, you know, don’t do anything stupid.”

“Perish the thought,” Rarity sarcastically replied. “I am interested, at least. I shall pop over and see some of the sights. Can anypony go with us, or are you still worried about the ship being assaulted?”

“Man, I can’t imagine there’s much that’ll fuck with guests of the gorillas. Feel free to ask anyone to go with you. As long as I have one squad on deck and one watching Pertz, I’m happy.”

“Excellent. Fluttershy, would you be interested in joining me? After spending so long cooped up in the ship, I’m sure you’re feeling some manner of cabin fever…”

“Getting out would be nice,” she said, a small hint of a smile gracing her face. “Are you going back, Nav?”

“Nah. I’m not down with the hero worship shit and it seemed like it was heading that way. If shit gets bad, I’ll head over there, but it should be fine. Oh, and before you leave, ask that chick we picked up to go with you. Silver Quill or whatever her name is. The soldiers she had with her said she’s depressed and getting out might be good.”

“Happily,” Rarity said with a nod. “But I think I’ll prepare her a quick hat before I ask her. It’s quite bright out there. It really can’t be good for the eyes.”

“We’ll probably be leaving in around four hours, so be done with the village around then.”

“We shan’t take long, don’t you worry.” Since she seemed to have things in hand, I went on back to my room and beheld Taya on the bed in one of my shirts.

When she saw me enter, her eyes went wider than your mom’s ass, but she didn’t make any other movements. I chose not to comment and set my sword and gun down, then joined her on the bed.

After a few seconds, she cleared her throat.

I didn’t say anything.

She quietly removed the shirt, flew it over to one of my drawers, then sat on the bed next to me.

After a minute of silence, I pulled out the remote and said, “I’ll forget about that if you do me a favor.”


“Show this remote around and ask if anyone can figure out what it goes to. Tell them not to do any magic to it aside from holding it and not to take it apart. They can only play with the dials.”

“...Alright.” She took the remote with magic and then spent a second fiddling with it. “Um. Do you know what it does?”

“Yes. Take your time, and bring it back when you’re done.”

“Okay, daddy.” She walked out, her tail wagging. For some reason, Flo was giggling richly in the back of my head.

Five hours later, we were finally getting ready to go. The hole was repaired and it had been fairly thoroughly tested, everyone was back on board, Twilight was blushing up a storm as Spike confusedly messed with a strange remote, and my report for Celestia was ready to go.

“Are we ready?” Gourd asked when he found me on deck.

“Not quite,” I said. “I want to let Celestia know what’s what before we get into the ocean, in case she can grab this asshole for us.”

“Well, we’re ready whenever. Just let me know and I’ll tell the elementals to cast us off.”

“Yep.” I walked over to Spike, who had the controller up to his ear. It looked like it was on max and he was trying to tell if it was making a sound. “Spike, stop fiddling with that thing. I need you to send something to Celestia.”

“Huh? Oh.” He pulled it away from his ear and said, “Taya just asked me to look at it. Do you think Celestia’s awake now?”

“Yeah.” I held up an envelope for him. “If you would…” He took it and sent it away in a blast of flame. “You figure that thing out yet?”

“Nah. It’s kinda interesting, though. I like puzzles.” He started fiddling with the settings again. Twilight started walking over, a very strange look on her face. “Do you have any ideas?”

“One or two,” I said.

But before I could lie, Twilight grabbed my arm. “A word, Nav?” she asked in a tone that brooked no argument.

“Sure,” I said. She picked me up with magic and started dragging me away. Spike shrugged and twisted the dial back up to max, making Twilight flinch.

When we got to her room, she pressed me up against the wall. “WHAT THE HAY IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, smiling. “The deal is that I got to control the remote. So I used that control to let other people play with it.” She really looked like she wanted to argue, but I was kinda right and she knew it. And of course, the way her back legs were shaking, I could tell she was feeling too good to stay angry. So I put one of my hands on her head and started rubbing her ears. “A deal’s a deal, silly,” I said as I leaned in for a kiss.

She moaned as her lips met mine. It looked like her tail was raising and I kinda wanted to do a little more, but the moment was ruined by Spike walking in.

His eyes immediately went to a place they shouldn’t. The way her tail was angled, he pretty much saw everything, from our kiss to her goods to the buzzing thing lodged in her goods. After a small blue screen of death moment, he slowly turned his head to the controller in one of his hands. Then he looked back to the buzzing thing. Then back to the controller.

When he looked back up, he got to see an extremely embarrassed Twilight and a smirking human. “So what did you need?” I happily asked. From the expression on his face, he knew exactly what had been happening, and didn’t really know what to make of it. He slowly turned the controller off. The buzzing we could all hear stopped and his ears dropped. He slowly put the controller on the floor. When it was out of his hands, he backed up, pulled the door shut, waited a few seconds, then knocked.

Twilight slowly pulled it open with magic, but refused to meet his gaze. Both of their faces were burning red and neither said anything. He just held up a return note from Celestia.

I walked around Twilight and grabbed it.

I need to speak to you alone. Return to your room.

“Thank you, Spike,” I said. “And we can have that discussion later, Twilight.” Neither of them said anything, so I scooped up the controller and walked on down to my room.

As soon as I closed the door, Celestia teleported in with an unusually loud pop, then shivered and lifted a hoof to her head. “It’s been some time since I teleported that far,” she said with another shiver.

“Can you get back with Pertz?” I asked.

“Yes. But I would also like to return with you. There’s been an emergency in the mage’s tower and I need you, your ring, and your key, if possible.”

“I’ll need to talk to Gourd and Watcher and see if they need me and if they have enough bits to cover repairs. But I should be able to go.”

She shook her head. “Your ship took damages in service of the crown, Navarone.” She magicked up an official-looking document and continued, “Give this to any shipwright at an official shipyard in Europe and they can bring it to a royal bank to be reimbursed for all repairs and materials.”

I tooked the document and quickly looked it over. It said pretty much the same thing she did, with a lot more fancy wording. “Neat. I’ll still need to talk to some people. I’ll show you to Pertz and then go find them.”

“Very well, though I would like to see some others before we depart.”

“Yeah. Twilight has some stuff for you. Shit got weird on this trip, man. Like, super strange. Shit was bananas.”

“Hm. You can tell me more when we have a moment’s peace. For now, take me to Pertz. I have words for him.”

“Right this way.” I led her out of my room and then down into the cargo hold. Thankfully, no one was out and about, so I didn’t need to explain why the hell the princess was there.

The one guard that looked up when we entered punched the other two, so they all dropped their cards to see who it was, then immediately gaped and started bowing.

Celestia paid them about as much attention as one would normally give a trash collector, and focused all of her attention on the dude in the chains. “It seems you… understated your treatment of him,” Celestia quietly said.

“That piece of shit didn’t want to leave,” I said with a shrug. “It was worse, but the elementals patched him up.”

“Do you still have his horn?”

“Zecora has it at the moment,” I said. “She wanted to study it and I told her she could, as long as she didn’t damage it.”

“We will take it with us, though he likely will not have it restored. Is it possible to speak with him?”

“Yeah, but I’d prefer if you waited until we’re back in Equestria. This dude had what appeared to be true magic. He can fuck up your palace all he wants, but I want my ship to survive.”

“Very well. I will converse with the elementals for a moment, then find Twilight.”

“Alright. I’m gonna go find Gourd and Watcher.” She started talking to the waters, so I figured I was done there. My first stop was Watcher’s room, since I figured he would be in there. Sure enough, he was, though he wasn’t alone. The door was open, so I didn’t feel too bad walking in on him and Zecora. They also weren’t doing anything lewd, thankfully.

“What do you need?” he asked as soon as he saw me, cutting Zecora off mid-sentence.

“Celestia teleported in and needs me back in Canterlot,” I said. “She also gave me a voucher to get the ship repaired for free. Do you need me for anything at the moment, or am I free to go back?”

“I believe we can handle Europe, sir. It’s best to keep Celestia placated. But if she just wants you there as a booty call, I am going to be very disappointed.”

“Agreed. And Zecora, she wants Pertz’s horn back.”

“I shall leave it next to him post-haste,” she said, sliding off the bed.

My next stop was the deck, where I figured Gourd probably was. Sure enough, he was talking to two of his crew members when I got up there, but stopped when I got close. “Are we ready to go?” he asked.

“Yeah. But Celestia needs me in Equestria. She also sent me this.” I passed him the free repair document. As he started scanning it, I said, “Money for repairs shouldn’t be an issue. If they try to refuse this thing, either find a different shipwright or send word through Spike.”

“You got it, Nav. I’ll send word when we start heading back to Canterlot to pick you up.”

“Works for me. I hate that fucking city. You need anything else?”

“Nah. This should be plenty. I think we can handle getting a ship repaired.”

“Good. Then I need to talk to Taya and then get ready.” He nodded and I walked over to the front of the ship, where Taya was staring at the ocean. Her horn was lit up and when I got next to her, I could see that she was lifting water up and tying it in knots. She heard my footsteps approaching and turned around with a smile across her face. “Bad news.” That smile dipped slightly. “Celestia needs me back in Canterlot.” That slight dip became a large dip. “I’ll probably be leaving as soon as I get my stuff ready.”

“...Can I go?” she asked.

“She’s either in the cargo hold or with Twilight right now. Go ask her.”

“She’s… here?”

“Yeah. Teleported in to get me and Pertz personally. I need to go start packing. Let me know what she says.”

“Of course, daddy.” She started purposefully trotting off.

My next stop was Pinkie’s room. Thankfully, she was in there, drawing in a coloring book. She looked up with her typical smile when I walked in. “Can you do something for me?” I asked.

“What do you need, ol’ buddy ol’ pal?” she asked, hopping up.

I held up the remote. “This goes to a vibrator in Twilight. I need to go to Canterlot and I won’t have time to play with it. Can you tease her for the rest of today and give the remote to her tonight for me?”

The typical smile on her face grew and she snatched the remote away. “I’d LOVE to!” She jerked the dial up and sighed in joy. “This is gonna be the best!”

“Enjoy. I’ll see you later, Pinks.” Before I could escape, she hugged me.

“See you later, Navi!” And just like that, she let go and went back to coloring, though she had the remote sitting next to her.

I finally went to my room and started packing. I had no idea what I would need and my armor wasn’t repaired yet, so I packed the carbon nanotube armor and several sets of clothes. I also grabbed the key and panicked about the ring for a moment before remembering that it was still embedded in Pertz.

By the time I got ready, a glum Taya joined me. “She said no…”

“I’m sure she has her reasons,” I said with a hug. “It shouldn’t take the ship too long to get repaired, and hopefully this business won’t take too long and she can teleport me back.”

Taya sighed and returned the hug. “I’ll miss you, daddy. Just promise me that you’ll stay safe.”

“Always.” After another several long seconds of hugging, I let go and pulled away. “Where is she now?”

“With Twilight…”

“Then that’s where I’m going. I’ll see you soon, Taya.”

She didn’t reply, sadly.

I found Celestia right as she was leaving Twilight’s room. I could see the hint of a blush on her face and she was carrying several pages of notes with her. I decided not to comment and instead asked, “Ready?”

“Yes. Let us go and collect Pertz.” We went back down to the hold. The guards immediately came to attention this time. Celestia noticed them just as much as before. “Elementals, can you please put him to sleep and remove the ring?”

None of them said anything, but his eyes closed and then they all oozed out. When each one was free, they slid up to his ear and did… something to it to make the ring slide right out, and healed the ear behind it.

“If you would, Nav?”

I reached over and caressed the elementals gently, making them turn pink. They held up the ring for me and I took it. “Thank you, girls. I’ll see you in a little while.” They all slid off Pertz and then through the wood on the bottom of the ship.

“Are you ready?” Celestia asked.

“Yep. Let’s go.”

Her horn lit up and the world seemed to shift and then I fell to my knees. She gently put a wing on my back. “That much magic buildup at once for someone who has not experienced magic in some time feels quite unpleasant,” she said.

At least I recovered quickly. I achingly pulled myself back up and shivered for a few seconds. “Fuck, that was bad.”

“My apologies. But Shining Armor can only hold his shield for so long. We needed to return sooner rather than later.”

“Shit, Shiny’s here? What kind of emergency did you say this was, again?”

She grimaced slightly. “Tell me, what do you know of demons?”

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