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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9. Chapter Seven—Mailmares, dancing, and Cutie Marks.

None of the ponies in Ponyville commented on my new wings, aside from Twilight and her friends. Apparently most ponies just sort of do their best to look around me when they see me. Not rude, of course, but not polite either. They knew I wasn’t of their world and didn’t want anything to do with me. At least they weren’t dicks about it, and were actually willing to talk to me if I asked them something.

And as it turned out, Rarity was able to modify my clothing so that it would fit with my wings. Twilight had to actually ask her to come by the library after I managed to come up with several excuses to avoid her shop, and it was a shock to find her rummaging around in my clothing when I got back from wandering around the area outside of town.

I was turning on my heel to head back out when she looked up.

“Nav, wait!”

Yeah, I wasn’t about to wait for shit. The only thing that stopped me was her magic tugging on my wings. I tried to continue walking anyway, but fuck are wings annoying.

“Will you at least look at me?”

“And what would I see? A rapist? I think I’ll pass.”

“Anger or not, I will attempt to make amends until you can forgive me. I shall start by amending your clothing to match your new… additions.” I didn’t reply and after waiting in silence for a few seconds, she released me. Out the door I went without looking back.

On an unrelated note, the forced vegetarian diet I was on was getting on my nerves. Yes, it’s pretty healthy. And yes, the ponies have some excellent cooks that know how to do some wonderful things with plants and tofu. But I was really, really craving a steak, or some beef jerky, or just anything, really.

With that in mind and Rarity in my dresser, I grabbed my crossbow—I was getting much better with it, now that I actually had a chance to do some practicing—and started off towards the forest that all the ponies seemed to fear.

Now, I’m not a professional hunter or anything, but I have killed deer in the past. I’ve also seen them skinned, though I’ve never done it myself. But I was hungry, dammit, and a cookout sounded good. Fluttershy lived close enough to the woods that I could borrow some fire making device from her to start a blaze to cook whatever I killed on. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

Two hours later, I was really, really thinking about changing my policy on ideas that I preface with ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’. Manticores absolutely do not like people encroaching on their hunting grounds.

Coincidentally, I found out why all the ponies are afraid of the forest. There are some really terrible things living there. I saw all manners of nasties that I almost shot, but then tried to imagine myself eating them and said fuck it.

Where was I? Oh yes, getting chased by a pissed off manticore. I don’t suggest it; they are very, very fast. The only thing that saved me was the fact that we were in a forest so it couldn’t go full tilt after me. Despite that, there were way, way too many close calls for my liking. Several trees I ducked around were destroyed with very sharp claws, and occasionally some manner of animal instinct caused me to suddenly jump ahead, only to hear a short pounce and a very annoyed cat-like yowl right behind me.

It was discomforting, to say the least.

At that point, I don’t even know where I was trying to go. I was just running like crazy, through all manner of odd environs. There were  a few openings full of flowers that I avoided, not wanting to give the critter any kind of advantage of level terrain. I saw a mountain stretching in the distance at one point, but I did my best to keep away from it; wings wouldn’t do me any good against something that was born with its own set. There was even a swamp peeking through the trees at one point that I turned away from almost immediately; a swamp wouldn’t do either of us any good.

Knowing that most animals in this place are at least sentient, even if unable to talk, I tried reasoning with the fellow as I ran. “This is all just a misunderstanding! I’m just an explorer! Why are you trying to attack me?”

The only response I got was a very agitated roar. Man, maybe I should have just shot this bastard. I decided then to do just that, whenever I got the chance.

A chance that came sooner than I expected. The thought had barely left my mind when I hit the edge of the forest. I sprinted on a few more meters and almost tripped; I was so used to jumping over roots and whatnot that when no more came I was surprised. I knew I had seconds to react, so I did my best to load the crossbow as fast as I could and bring it to bear.

I just barely managed to get it aimed, just in time for a very loud “No!” to disturb my aim and send the bolt skittering through the forest. If the manticore also hadn’t been stopped by that cry I would have been completely boned. As it was, I managed to force my weary legs to jump high enough for my wings to take effect, and tried to get as far away as possible from that bastard before I looked to see who it was that almost got me killed.

Of course, it would be Fluttershy. That chick likes animals way, way too much. “Any reason you’re trying to get me killed?” I yelled down at her.

Instead of answering me, though, she flew over to the manticore and said some words to him. He sent a very rage-filled glance my way, snorted out a loud harrumph, and stalked back into the forest. I gingerly landed on my weak legs and waited for some manner of explanation.

“We know each other,” Fluttershy said with a small smile. “What were you doing in the forest, anyway?” That was said with a look at my crossbow.

“Exploring. That place is not fun. I don’t suggest it as a vacation spot.”

“You know, most of the paths are pretty safe; Zecora has some kind of agreement with some of the animals there to keep off the roads.”

“Apparently that doesn’t apply to that manticore; he was on a road when I ran into him.”

“Yeah, her agreement doesn’t hold with everything there… But if you do go back into there, try not to lead any of the animals too far out. We all prefer them in the woods.”

“I was about to attempt to kill this one when you interrupted my shot. If nothing else I would have given him a scar to tell stories about.”

“That wouldn’t have been a good idea…” she quietly said, looking back into the forest.

“I’d rather go down with a fight than go down begging. At least if I had hit an eye it would have been a pyrrhic victory for him.”

“That just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Wouldn’t it be better to try to befriend him?”

“As far as I’m concerned, by the time you’re running for your life, it’s too late to become friends. Especially since he disregarded my attempt at peacemaking.”

“Maybe he was just hungry!”

“That wouldn’t make me feel any better about getting eaten.”

“Well, everypony needs to eat…”

“If you’re really worried about his eating habits, a pony would make a better meal than a human.”

“Oh, no, he likes me too much to eat me!”

“Shame. I wouldn’t mind asking him to carve off a flank for me, on the side.”

“…You wouldn’t eat a pony!”

“Yeah, he probably wouldn’t share…” I honestly don’t know if she could tell if I was joking or not. I don’t know if I was, either. I’ve heard a lot of good things about horse meat, but I don’t know if that would transfer here. Besides, eating a friend would be awkward, and explaining that to Twilight would be hard.

After a few seconds of thought, she apparently decided I actually was joking. “Were you planning on going back into the forest? I was going to visit Zecora, and I wouldn’t mind the company.”

“Sure, I suppose.” I didn’t particularly want to go back into that hellhole, but there was a good chance Rarity was still mulling over my clothing and Fluttershy really didn’t like going into those woods alone. For good reason. Besides, it’s not like I had anything else to do. I cocked the crossbow again, just in case, and we set off into the forest.

While we were walking, I tried dabbing at some of the cuts I took across my body in my mad dash through the trees. Despite the chill, I still wasn’t wearing a shirt, and you run into all manner of nasty things out there when you aren’t paying too much attention to where you’re going. I was bleeding in several places across my chest and my arms were really messed up. My legs fared a little better, but I could feel blood crusting in my leg hair. It was pretty nasty, but it wouldn’t be enough to slow me down; I heal fast, and I’ve never gotten any infections. Still, I made a mental note to ask Zecora for some manner of healing poultice, or at least a bucket of water to wash the crust off.

I wasn’t entirely reassured by Fluttershy’s insistence that the roads were safe, so I found myself jumping at any sounds in the woods around us, dropping the conversation and my attempts to clean myself to aim at it and try to determine what it was. After that happened a few times, Fluttershy politely and very hesitantly asked me to knock it off, though not using those words. I relaxed a little.

Our conversation was fairly routine. Just past experiences, stuff she had done with her animals and her friends, with me attempting to find any of my past experiences to add to hers that she would approve of. That list was relatively short since I fucking hated animals. Being an unwilling farmer gives you an irrational hate for some things.

Then she started asking about my week as a pony.

“How was your dancing lesson with Pinkie Pie?”

Which one, legal or not? was my first thought. Knowing what she meant, though, I said, “The showgirl outfit was unexpected. Why does she even have something like that?”

“She still has that? She got it from a place called Appaloosa a little while ago, while we were visiting some of Applejack’s family. She used it in a… strange dance number there…”

“I can certainly see why that would be strange,” I muttered. I don’t know if Fluttershy heard me, but I thought I saw her smile.

“Was she a good teacher, at least?”

“Surprisingly, yes. I didn’t think she could be serious long enough, but she somehow managed. She also made it somewhat fun, which I also didn’t think was possible. I was never much a fan of dancing, back when I had to learn. I’m not the best at it, mind, and it’s still not my preferred hobby, but I’m better able to tolerate it now. Why? Thinking about learning yourself?”

“Oh, no. I’m much too uncoordinated for that…”

“…You were a model for weeks because of how graceful you were.”

“I… I also don’t have a partner.” That was almost whispered.

“Yes, I could see that being a bit of a problem. But I’m sure Pinkie Pie could teach you anyway, as the lead.”

She looked down, and said, “Probably.”

Thinking back… Nah. It’s Fluttershy. Why would she be interested in me?

The rest of the walk to Zecora’s passed with little incident, though I did almost shoot a squirrel when he jumped out on the path. As soon as it saw me, the poor bastard squealed and dashed back into the forest. At least I didn’t waste a bolt…

“Hello Fluttershy, Navarone. What brings you to my humble home? It appears you are covered in dings. Oh my, and when did you grow those wings?” That last directed to me, I hope.

“A week or so ago,” I replied. “Think you can do anything about them, aside from chopping them off?”

“Cutting them is all I could do. You would not want that, would you?”

I was actually seriously considering it, honestly. Those damn things jutting out of my back had been nothing but a fucking pain ever since they showed up. Leaning back was hard, sleeping on my back was impossible, and flying wasn’t something I really cared to do anyway.

However, Fluttershy saw the look on my face and took it upon herself to comment. “No! Nav, you can’t do that! It’s… just awful!”

“Better gone than giving me pain. But whatever; we’re not actually here for that. I’m just along for the walk. Feel free to talk to her, Fluttershy.” She didn’t seem so willing to drop the point, but she always was a meek one. So instead of pressing it, she turned to Zecora.

It was made rather quickly apparent—politely, of course—that my presence was not wanted. No one said I had to leave, of course, but I thought it best if I took a look outside. I excused myself, thinking about hiding in the woods and stalking Fluttershy on the way back to spook her. I decided not to, of course, but the thought was there…

Zecora had given me a bucket of water and a washcloth to clean the blood off with and I was doing that when I heard a rustle near the edge of the woods. Before my mind could fully comprehend what it was doing, I was aiming at the sound with my finger on the trigger. At that point I was very glad at some of the minor modifications I had done to the crossbow, including a set of iron sights to make sure I know where to aim it and a guard to make sure the bolt goes in and goes out only when I want it to.

Good thing I automatically aimed, too; it was a cockatrice. However, it did not seem to be one that was hostile. It actually came out with its… arms, I guess, held up. The thing even had its eyes closed. I backed up to the house, keeping my eyes on the critter, and hammered the door with my elbow. “Fluttershy, I found a friend of yours…”

I wish I could say they came out to see a Mexican standoff going down, but in reality it was more me pointing a crossbow at something that obviously didn’t want to have to defend itself. “What’s going on?” Fluttershy asked, before seeing the cockatrice.

“Don’t know. I reckon your buddy there wants some kind of help or something. I vote we tell it to fuck off.” Or let me shoot it…

“He might have a hurt friend, though! We can’t just let it suffer!”

“…Why not? Look, it’s getting dark and we still have to get out of the woods. Do you really want to be wandering around this place in the dark?”

“If it means helping an animal, I will! And if you’re too afraid to go with me, then I’ll go alone.”

“Like hell you will. I think you’re a fool for it, but never let it be said I don’t stick my neck out for friends. Probably makes me a fool too, though. Too nice for your own damn good.”

Zecora, who had been silent up to that point, said “It is dark out there in the night. Allow me to bring you a light.” With that, she walked back into her hut and brought out what looked like some glow sticks or something.

“While you’re bringing us party supplies, you got any ecstasy stored in there?” I asked. “I wouldn’t mind dropping some E while wandering around here.” She didn’t know what to say to that, so I dropped it. With that, though, we were off, wandering off the path through some god-forsaken woods.

 

It was not a pleasant walk. I had managed to wash most of the blood off while waiting, but some of the scratches were burning. The light from the glow sticks was eerie, casting an unholy radiance about us, sending shadows skittering in my peripheral vision, making me think we were constantly surrounded. And there were plenty of hazards to worry about underfoot as well: roots, bugs, the occasional snake that didn’t bite but rather got in your way and twisted under your feet. Low hanging branches, spider webs, and all manner of things were in our way.

I was pissed at that damn cockatrice. And we had to follow him for a good clip into the woods, too.

And all that work just to save a damn pegasus that flew way off course. She was knocked out cold and had some blood crusted on one of her wings. The poor girl was alive, though, which was better than nothing. So I guess it was probably a good thing that I didn’t shoot the cockatrice, but whatever.

It’s also a good thing I didn’t let Fluttershy go alone, because there’s no way in hell she could have carried the pony into town by herself. She wouldn’t let me just tie a few vines to drag her with, so we had to figure out a way to carry her between us. It was interesting.

We eventually just broke some saplings down, strapped the pegasus to them with some vines, and used that as a makeshift stretcher. It wasn’t pretty and it barely worked, but I know some rednecks back home that would be proud. Then they would ask why I wasn’t having sex with the horse next to me.

Rednecks are weird.

Anyway, the cockatrice wandered off after pointing us in the right direction; he probably figured whatever debt he owed to Fluttershy was gone after he helped us save the pegasus. Good enough for me; I just didn’t want to get lost—even more lost—in that forest. Still, my chances were pretty good, between the master animal trainer with me and my crossbow. If all else failed, there was a decent chance I could run off while whatever it was ate the wounded pegasus we were carrying. Yeah, I’m a bad person, I know.

Thankfully, though, the need never came up. We successfully made it out of the woods with little more than a few extra scratches on my part and several burs covering Fluttershy. And what I assume to be a tick that was on me that got scraped off when we got to the doctor.

On the way out of the forest, I learned it was a good thing I had avoided those large clearings full of flowers. Fluttershy described their effects. Basically, they do to you whatever the most embarrassing thing you can think of would be. I don’t even want to think about what they’d do to me. Probably turn me back into a pony and… Never mind.

The doctor we found was rather professional and he was grateful that we managed to bring a waylaid flier in. After getting her stabilized, he looked us both over, professionally sterilizing all my cuts (which hurt like hell) and dealt with the tick. I was fighting fit, if weary.

While he was checking over Fluttershy, I unloaded the crossbow and decocked it, then quietly made my way out. I ghosted my way to Twilight’s house, even though no one was out; the town was pretty well dark and empty by that time, but all the same, I didn’t want to risk running into anyone.

And then I found my bed occupied by a sleeping Pinkie Pie. I didn’t even want to deal with that shit right then, so I just backed my way out of the room, opened a window, and slept out in the tree.

 

When I woke up the next morning, I remembered why I never, ever did that anymore: Every muscle in my body was complaining at me. And all the cuts I had were itching. Then I rolled over, not remembering that I was still in a tree. Of course, I plummeted down, landing right next to Pinkie Pie, who had just walked out the door.

“Nice of you to dr—”

“If you finish that, I’m going to hurt you,” I groaned. I did a quick physical check, thankfully finding that while nothing seemed to be broken, one of the larger cuts had torn open again. I then staggered to my feet, trying to get inside before Pinkie Pie could remember why she wanted to see me. Almost, but no dice…

“I was waiting up for you last night, Nav. Why didn’t you ever come back?”

“I did. There was someone sleeping in my bed, so I went elsewhere to sleep.”

“Somepony sleeping in your bed? I didn’t see anypony there last night!”

“She was very pink.”

“Somepony masquerading as me, sleeping in somepony else’s bed? Sounds like an impostor is trying to ruin my good name!”

Good name? Feh. And you’re certain that person in my bed wasn’t you?”

“Oh, yeah, I was there too. I thought you meant some other pony!”

“Interesting. Well, I’m sure you had a good reason for it.” With that, I turned back to the door. Before I could scuttle inside, I was answered.

“I did, actually. Where are you going?” To get away from you is what I was thinking, and I was tempted to answer something about the blood, but instead I just waved her to continue. God, I need some coffee... “Why did you become a human again? I thought we had plans!”

“If you’re talking about the whole you raping me thing, I don’t really think that counts.”

“That isn’t what I was talking about at all! I’m talking about the dance studio!” I’m starting to get tired of this conversation very quickly.

“That dance thing? I said I’d think about it. I did. I decided against it.”

“You didn’t like it?”

“I’m not that much of a fan of dancing,” I flatly said. “I thought we went over this.”

“I was hoping…” She sighed before shrugging, a smile returning to her face. “So why are you covered in bandages?”

Is this bitch serious? My eyes narrowed in anger, but she didn’t seem to notice a thing. God fucking damn, I hate Pinkie sometimes. “I went exploring in the forest yesterday. It didn’t go well. I got chased by a manticore, had to be saved by Fluttershy, and then was forced to go on a hunt in the dark for a downed pegasus. It was a long day, full of thorns and trips.”

“Is the pegasus okay?”

“Fuck if I know. She was fine when we left her with the doctor last night. She’s probably still there if you really want to find out.”

“Don’t you want to know?” she asked.

“Not really. I kind of want to see if Rarity ever finished modifying my clothes, so I can get a shirt on over these damn bandages.” I turned again to go inside, only to find myself getting dragged by my wings. Yet another disadvantage to them. “I take it I don’t have much of a choice in the matter, do I?” But I swear to whatever god might be listening, if we start getting anywhere near Sugarcube Corner or Rarity’s pad, I’m cutting the fucking wings off to escape.

Answering would have required spitting my wing out and letting me get away, so she just plodded on. I sighed. We got a few odd looks from other ponies, but they all knew Pinkie Pie by now and they generally tried to avoid questioning anything that I was involved in.

Thankfully, the doctor wasn’t that far from Twilight’s house. I decided that while I was there, I could get him to check me over after falling out of the tree anyway.

The nurse sitting in front of the waiting room saw me get dragged in and remarked, “Usually the only ponies that get dragged in here are here for pregnancy tests…”

“If Pinkie is fucking pregnant and I’m somehow the father, she better hold on to my wings tight before I slip away and hide for the rest of my life.”

Pinkie Pie finally spit my wing out. “We’re just here to visit that pegasus he brought in last night.”

“No, you’re here for that,” I said. “I’m here because I was literally dragged here. And while I am here, do you think you could get someone to look at some of my cuts? And make sure I didn’t break anything when I fell out of the tree?”

“How did you fall out of a tree?” the nurse asked. “You have wings…”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

The nurse shook her head, smiling, and led us to the room the pegasus was recovering in, where we found Fluttershy and the doctor. Fluttershy said, “Navarone, where did you go last night? You just disappeared on us!”

“I went home. I tried to go to bed, but there was a pink furry beast in my bed. So I had a brain fart moment and decided to sleep in the tree. That ended up with me painfully falling to the ground. I don’t think anything is broken, but I ripped open one of the bigger cuts.” While I was telling Fluttershy that, Pinkie Pie was talking to the doctor about the chick we found, which turned out to be Derpy Hooves.

I didn’t really get a good view of her the night before, I was so fucking tired. I took a few steps closer to get a better look at her. The doc was saying something about being surprised she wasn’t awake yet. I was peering closer to her face, when she suddenly popped her eyes open and yelled “Hello!” right at me.

That made me jump back and holler something impolite. In my haste to get away, I bumped into a curious Pinkie Pie and almost knocked us both over. The patient sat up, giggling.

“Jesus, just give me a heart attack, why don’t you!”

“Ah, she’s awake,” the doctor said. “How are you feeling, Derpy?”

“Much better,” she said, “now that I’m not trying to fly above a never ending forest of evil.”

“Yeah, someone seriously needs to burn that fucking place down,” I muttered.

My opinion on the matter was thrust aside, of course. I did my best to quietly extricate myself, but Pinkie Pie seemed to have some kind of tracker on me; every time I got near the door, she gave me such a look of pure malevolence that it made me pretend I was just adjusting my stance. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but that chick can be really, really scary. I don’t even know why she wanted me to stay; I barely knew the mare. All I had done was help Fluttershy carry her from the forest.

The doc was talking about boring things and I wasn’t really paying attention, so I started concocting a plan to escape. Phase one was as such: “Look over there, a distraction!” And when that inevitably failed—wait, what? How did that work?

“What are we supposed to be looking at?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Just keep looking, you’ll see it,” I assured her, as I very, very quietly backed out the door, then bolted and ran. How the hell did that work? That wasn’t supposed to work!

Now, I’ve heard stories about Pinkie Pie’s ability to catch up to people that run away; she has somehow managed to keep up with Rainbow Dash at least twice, which is just something that isn’t supposed to happen. She cannot, however, actually fly, unless she gets a device to help her. Thankfully, I can. And, as a test recently showed, I was able to stand on clouds, despite not being an actual pegasus. So as soon as I got out of the doctor’s office, I took off and alighted on a low-flying cloud to wait and see what would happen.

I mean, if she doesn’t know where I’m at, she couldn’t possibly catch me. I figured, you know, I could sort of chill out on the cloud for a few minutes and she’d lose interest. I had a lot of aches and pains to work out anyway, so it was a decent setup.

 

A few hours later, I was starting to wish I had just waited at the doctor. This chick was stubborn! Like, I knew she was manic depressive, but this was starting to get really, really scary. I was somewhat afraid of what might happen if I actually came down, at that point. She had probably asked everyone in the town if they had seen me at least once.

I was peeking over the edge of the cloud when a very chirpy—and dangerously loud—voice said from behind me, “Whatcha doing, Nav?” It was thankfully Rainbow Dash.

I very quickly turned and motioned her down. “Pinkie Pie is stalking me. Bitch is crazy! I know when she picks a day to hang out with you, she likes to be with you all day, but this is getting ridiculous! I’ve been up here for hours!”

“Yeah, she does that. She’s very good at finding you, too. How have you managed to stay hidden for so long?”

“I stay out of sight. She is restricted mostly to two dimensions, the x and the y axis. I have the z axis to play with, now, and there’s not much she can do with that.”

“…What?”

“I can fly and sit on clouds. She can’t. Break the line of sight with her and go straight up and she’ll never be able to find you.”

“She always manages to find me up here!”

“You stick near the ground, or in places she can get to, and she’s able to watch you go to where you hide. If you can lose her for a second and get to Cloudsdale or something, you’re set. That doesn’t mean she’ll give up, though, apparently. What happens if she doesn’t find me?”

“The last time she thought her friends ditched her, she went crazy. Literally. It was scary. Let’s not find out.”

With that, she made as if to push me off the cloud. “Wait! If you strike me down now, I will come back more powerful than you can possibly imagine!”

“…What?” Damn ponies.

“Look over there, a distraction!” I pointed behind her, hoping it would work. She gave me that look women give men when we say something that we should be ashamed of even trying, and then kicked me off the cloud.

I wish I could say she yelled something like “This is CLOUDSDALE!” but she didn’t know that reference either.

“You Benedict Arnold!” I yelled as I fell, until I caught myself. By then, though, the damage had been done: I had been spotted. It was too late to run and I’d just be caught and dragged back by Rainbow Dash if not by Pinkie Pie herself. Besides, Pinkie had such a look of pure joy at seeing me that I would probably feel guilty running from her. When I looked up, I saw that Rainbow Dash was peeking off the cloud, giggling. I sighed and descended.

“Where were you?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“I was looking for you. I stepped outside for some air and when I went back you were gone.”

“But if I was looking for you and you were looking for me, why did it take us so long to find each other?”

“Bad luck?” Holy God, she actually bought it. This chick is simple, man. “So, why were you looking for me?”

Without answering, she bounced off, then suddenly looked back. “Are you coming?”

This. Bitch. Is. Crazy. But I followed. What other choice did I have? She was the Pepé Le Pew to my Penelope Pussycat. The only way to escape the madness was to play along.

 

Which, as it happens, isn’t always so bad. My only punishment for escaping her so long was having to help teach Fluttershy to dance. Though it is a whole lot harder when you’re a completely different species than the person you’re helping. But Fluttershy wasn’t wearing a showgirl outfit, which definitely reduced the awkwardness.

We muddled through it. And the reasoning of forcing me to be her partner was apparently because, as Pinkie Pie put it, “Duh, you’re a guy!” My mention of using, say, Big MacIntosh, was shot down with “He doesn’t know how to dance, silly!” I was somewhat tempted to offer to find Rainbow Dash, but that might raise questions.

All in all, though, it wasn’t that bad. It was odd, certainly, dancing with a pony as a human, but not the worst thing I had ever done.

 

The next day, I cheated and got all three of the fillies their Cutie marks. Yes, horrific, I know, but they were literally about to cut off some random part of my body for a ‘surgery and/or doctor oriented Cutie mark.’

I shit you not.

Now, I don’t think they were actually trying to hurt me. They had no idea what real pain is, never having known much of it themselves. Minor aches, yes, but until you have something either separated from your body or broken, you don’t know what true physical pain is. Like, I had been fucking shot back on Earth. Now that right there is some real pain, and I’ll never forget the sight of my life fluids leaking from my body as my vision slowly darkened.

These girls, though, had never felt anything like that. They had never even imagined what it would feel like. But when they suddenly found a specimen that had more extraneous extremities than usual, that were also possible to remove, they got an idea. Fluttershy apparently refused to allow them to play with any of her critters.

They figured me for a better sport. My answer to that was hell no. They might not be crazy so much as ignorant, but I thought it was better to end that shit before they actually hurt someone else, or themselves.

To that end, this conversation happened:

“Alright, I’m tired of almost dying. I was told not to mention this, but the person that told me isn’t the one getting chopped up. You want to get your Cutie marks? Here: Sweetie Belle, you’re a singer. Trust me. Scootaloo, you’re a scooter champ, or something to do with coordination or sporting. Trust me. Applebloom, you’re some kind of decorator, be it costumes or just art. Trust me. Now focus on those and please stop trying to kill me.”

“How do you know what our Cutie marks are supposed to be?” Scootaloo asked.

“Because it’s fucking obvious for everyone else. Those damn tattoos are things you’re good at and like doing, things you could see doing the rest of your life. A whole part of discovering who you are and crap.”

“Are you sure?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“No, but if I were you I’d put a lot of time and effort checking it out. I’m pretty sure, which is more than you are at this point.”

“Who told you not to tell us?” Applebloom asked. “We asked everypony for help getting our Cutie marks!”

“If I wanted you to know that, I would have mentioned it when I said I was told not to say. Just don’t tell anyone who gave you the advice when you find your talents. Go now in peace, and learn who you really are.”

It wasn’t as simple as that, of course. Sweetie Belle was not much one for singing to crowds. Shy, in a way, I suppose. She also really, really wanted to be like her sister, for whatever stupid reason.

Applebloom didn’t want to steal Sweetie Belle’s thunder by becoming something akin to Rarity and she also wanted to be more like her sister, even though apples are boring. Scootaloo was somewhat disappointed that she wasn’t a singer, but took the news the best of the three.

A bit of one-on-one counseling was needed for Sweetie Belle, so I started there and sent the other two off a bit to play around with what I told them. Though to be honest, I don’t know why it was me that was doing the damn counseling.

“Alright, think about it this way,” I said. “If you were a clothing designer, you would be in front of a crowd as much as a singer would be, just in a different way.”

“What do you mean?” the tiny marshmallow asked.

“Your clothing, your work, your heart, and your soul would be on display for everyone seeing your designs. Fashionable clothing isn’t made to be worn alone, it’s made to be displayed. Crowds will see what you make, just as surely as crowds would see you singing. And they would know you just as well either way.”

“But singing is just so much more personal!”

“Not hardly. Have you listened to half of what your sister says? She probably puts more personality in those dresses than most singers in my world put in songs. And you can be sure there will always be work for a good singer. Trust me when I say that this is probably what you need to do. Just do me the favor of trying it.”

She tentatively agreed, still somewhat fearful of the idea. Imagine her surprise when she walked away from me to find Scootaloo already sporting a Cutie mark. Yeah, I’m a bad person, whatever. But I’m a bad person that gets results.

I very quietly bailed while they were still celebrating. There would probably be hell to pay when they inevitably broke trust and told everyone I gave them advice, but whatever; at least I still had all my toes.

 

“Navarone, you never cease to amaze me,” Twilight said. “A surprise summoning, an amazing discovery. An interesting intellect, a new perspective. You managed to win all of our trust in an astoundingly fast time, and all of my friends became yours as well. You made friends with a reclusive princess and young ponies apparently adore you. So why, then, are you incapable of following simple instructions?”

This was, if you hadn’t noticed, part of the ‘hell to pay’. I figured, you know, the fillies would wait at least a few days before accidentally spouting off about how I said so and so. Nope, they immediately went and celebrated by telling everyone that “Navarone helped us get our Cutie marks!”

Note that at the time, only one of them even had the damn thing. Upon further questioning, instead of properly lying about how I helped them dance or some crap, they repeated most of the conversation, tactfully forgetting the part where I said ‘don’t tell anyone.’

There was now a queue of ponies lining up to make semi-angry/sideways pleasant remarks at me. Rarity and Applejack were first, of course, followed by Cheerilee, their teacher. I think Pinkie Pie just saw the line and figured that whatever it was for was worth it, and jumped in. And Rainbow Dash was also out there, for some reason. Maybe Pinkie Pie just attached herself to Rainbow Dash today.

“Well, in my defense, I did tell them not to tell anyone that it was me.” Twilight didn’t look very impressed by that. “I also had a good reason for telling them: They were asking if they could chop off a part of my body to try for a surgery Cutie mark. They were getting dangerous and I didn’t want to risk getting anyone hurt. This is safer.” She still didn’t look that happy, but I was winning her over. “It’s not like I can undo it anyway. It would have happened eventually. Those damn tattoos don’t show up unless it’s what you’re meant to do. Is it so bad that they were discovered from the advice of someone else, rather than on their own?”

That one struck home. She sighed. “I’m convinced, sadly. It’s about time it happened, though. I will say that in your favor. Still, how are you going to convince the others?”

“I was planning on hiding and letting you do that. I can go out through the balcony and be gone before they realize I left.”

“I’m starting to think it’s a good thing I accidentally brought you here. If you ever got a human pregnant, you would only show up after the kid was born and fully grown. Why are you the most dangerous species, again?”

“Because when you piss us off, we fuck shit up. And when we think we’re in the right, we have no compunctions against doing it. You’re probably right about the pregnancy. Well, good luck dealing with this one.” I turned to go, but I was forcefully detained by magic. “Going to help me hide? Good idea!” If only…

So I spent the next half hour explaining myself to some angry ponies. Well, sort of angry. They all agreed, even if only after they spent their anger, that it was about time someone set those fillies straight. As it turns out, Pinkie Pie heard the line was forming up to yell at the human, but she wasn’t told why, so she spent ten minutes yelling to me about her day. I nodded strategically, not really paying much attention. Rainbow Dash just wanted to high five me for finally doing what needed to be done, which I thought was neat.

Thankfully, I know how to play people, and was able to get out of too much abuse from Rarity and Applejack. Cheerilee was another story, but I managed to guilt trip her away. I also avoided any promises of doing anything of that manner in the future, which was a decent bonus; I wouldn’t, of course, unless I was in danger again, but it was good to know that I could. Not like I’d really need to; most of the younger kids here already had their Cutie marks, or their parents kept them away from me.

 

After that, things sort of died down for a while.

Fluttershy’s dancing lessons continued and I was typically her partner. Not my preferred activity, but it passed the time. And since we both had wings, Pinkie Pie found a few… interesting… things for us to try.

All three of the fillies ended up getting their Cutie marks.

Luna continued visiting me off and on. She didn’t seem as desperate for companionship as she had when I first met her, but she did seem to really enjoy spending time with me. She also told me about a few of the other friends she was making in cities around Equestria, other night owls of all kinds.

And I kept practicing with the crossbow when I had nothing better to do. I was getting ridiculously good with it. No more accidentally becoming a pony for me, not if I could help it. I’d shoot any motherfucker that tried.

 
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