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.


83. Chapter Sixty-Nine—What did I ever do to deserve this?

A note from Discord


When I found out there were assassins attacking Skyla…

There is a place I find myself when I get angry. When I am in my usual mood, I bluster and I pretend to be foolish because it’s amusing and it catches everyone off guard.

But when I get angry, you are in the eye of the storm.

“TRIXIE!” She scrambled through the caves to attend me. She didn’t get there fast enough for my liking and I slammed a fist through reality and plucked her from time, bringing her to me. “We’re going on a trip,” I told her. “Make no sound. Watch. Do not act unless I tell you to.” I snapped my fingers, teleporting us into the room where Navarone stood guard over a dead changeling. With time broken, he couldn’t move. I walked over to the corpse and swiped my hand through it, gleaning the information I needed.

My eyes went unfocused as I looked through walls over miles to find the target I sought. I snaked an arm to Trixie, who was glaring at my puppet. I dragged her to another target elsewhere in the palace, a new guard who was fired with the fervor of an old cult I created, not expecting it to ever cause me problems. This guard happened to be watching the courtyard, allowing two assassins to sneak in.

“Watch, Trixie,” I whispered as I casually poked the earth pony on the nose. The color slowly left his eyes as I absorbed the information he knew. “Tell me what I did to him,” I murmured, backing toward her.

She looked him over, parts of her horn glowing in its placement field. “Changed his brain. You took out his standard inhibitors. He’ll experience everything, have no ability to shut any fear or excitement out.”

“Such is the price for helping to ruin my plans. Come, we have a mastermind to find.” I put Trixie over one of my shoulders as I followed a trail of crumbs from the one guard in Canterlot to a donkey in Manehatten to an old sheep in Trottingham to a young unicorn in Ponyville to Manehatten to Maris to Warsow and finally to an extremely old monastery tucked away in southern China, one of two places in the world that had any special significance to me at all.

I want to say it hurt for me to see it defiled so, but I think I gave up the feeling of pain shortly before I memorialized the original Navarone.

Trixie and I brushed past the guards of the monastery, pony warrior monks who trained for a fight they would now never see. We walked straight to the center of the building, Trixie taking time to admire architecture originally made by humans in a time before ponies knew anything even existed.

I stopped in front of the grandmaster of the cult and snapped my fingers, turning time back on. The old pony looked at me, no surprise in his eyes. “So,” he hoarsely whispered, voice weak from disuse. “It will end as it was written.”

“As it was written…” I whispered, thinking. I don’t remember telling this cult their future. “Well, it doesn’t matter to me how it ends or not. I created this cult four thousand years ago through whispers in the wind, and I’ll destroy you just as easily. You’ve served your purpose and now you’re attempting to ruin my plans.”

“Like it or not, monster, there is but one true goddess. We will kill all the other false goddesses or die trying.”

I grinned. “Oh, who said anything about dying? I think it’s about time I started leaving more noticeable clues. I gave Luna enough paranoia that she should be here within two months. Some of you might still be alive by then. Trixie, go toy with the others. The feud I have with the grandmaster is… personal.”

She grinned and walked back, pieces of her horn lighting up as she thought up plans.

The old man glared at me defiantly. “You may do as you like to me, but the true path will never die! The Sun will rule and she will rule alone!”

I held up my talons. “Tell me old man, you who sits in silence and contemplates the mortal you call a goddess… Do you ever wonder what time looks like? What eons feel like? What it is truly like to be a god?” I set a single talon on his forehead. “Let me show you eternity.”

His screams were like music to me.

No one attempts to ruin my plans. Never again.



I was about to put all of my armor back on for another training bout with the naga when my door opened and in walked cat butt.

“Wasn’t expecting to see you back here so soon,” I told Gilda, turning to face her. I only had my greaves on, so far, so it’s not like I wasn’t decent.

“Yeah, me either. I wasn’t expecting to be back so soon. I was planning on selling my old man’s estate and living free off the gold forever, but my mom and one of my new employees convinced me to keep it instead. But I don’t know the first thing about managing an estate, so I got someone hired to do it for me. He gets ten, my mom gets ten, the employees get twenty, and I get the rest. Seems like a fair deal to me for doing nothing.”

“Damn right. Still, with the kinda dosh you’re raking in, I’m surprised to find you here of all places.”

She shrugged. “I figured I could pay my respects to the guy who made it possible. And since I remembered you saying something about making peace with the bug you got here, I found a way to do both at once.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Threesome?” I asked, a smile forming.

She answered my smile with a darker one. “Not quite.” With that, she pounced on me. While I could potentially overpower a griffin and do a ton of damage to one if I could get my hands on them, she knew my capabilities well and stopped me from doing that. “Now, you just sit tight and relax. Doppel said you’re into stuff like this, so chill out!”

I quickly found that she was dragging me to the bed. The ‘chill out’ was in response to me struggling. “She was wrong!” I yelled out as I felt one of my arms clanged against my overly large bed. Gilda pulled out a set of handcuffs from God knows where and that was that for my left arm. She caught my right arm and pulled it over to the other bedpost.

“Well, either way, you told me to make peace with her. She asked me to do this for her and here I am.” When my right arm was secure, she patted me on the cheek. “But honestly, I don’t think you’ll much mind.” She hopped off my body and grabbed some rope from the same places she got the handcuffs and began trying to grab my kicking feet. “This would be a lot easier if you would stop fighting.”

“I would stop fighting if you would stop trying to tie me down!”

Surprisingly enough, she stopped. “Alright, fine. She asked me to make sure you didn’t go anywhere, and you aren’t going anywhere, not unless that bed goes with you.” She let the rope go and slid off the bed. “Maybe if you’re still… ‘up’ for it, I’ll come in for seconds!”


[Sex is coming. Ctrl+f Sex is over to skip]





As I’m sure you can imagine, I was not in the best of moods right then. I think the term for the state I was in when Doppel walked in was ‘pissed as almighty hell.’

So I’m sure you can imagine why she was confused. When she walked in and saw me glaring a hole through her, she sniffed at the air, let her tongue drip from her mouth for a second, and said, “You aren’t turned on by this at all.”

“You think?” That was not my nice voice.

“I could have sworn… What was that taste in the baker’s room?”

“That baker was in heat. And so was one of her friends.”

Her eyes lit up. “Oooooh! Yeah, that makes sense.” She looked down at the keys she was holding to the cuffs. “Well, I wasn’t expecting to use these so soon.” Her wings fluttered out and she flew over to my bed. She undid the cuffs on my arms and I sat up, rubbing at them.

Then I grabbed her by the throat and rolled over on top of her. “You want to know my fetish?” I whispered, pinning down her front hooves. “Turning the tables.” I grabbed one of the handcuffs and fit it through one of the holes in her hooves. Since I knew her hoof span wouldn’t be enough to handcuff both hooves to the front of the bed, I just cuffed her front hooves together.

“You know, this is really unnecessary!”

“Yeah, it is.” I tucked her under an arm and strung the same rope between her back hooves before looping them around the bedposts close to the headboard. “But you were going to rape me, so I figure it’s only fair I toy with you.” I let her go and she flopped down to the bed, belly first, head facing the door. “One more touch…” I walked around and grabbed her hoofcuffed legs and stretched them out before running the rope between the cuffs and tying one end to each bedpost, leaving her very immobile. “I’m no boy scout, but it gets the job done. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re belly down.”

“Meh. I’m just waiting for the fucking, now.”

“Excellent question! As I’m sure you’re probably not aware, I’ve been raped a lot. Oddly enough, that’s given me a penchant for being on the bottom.” I walked over and lifted her up before sliding myself under her, her mouth to my crotch and her bughood to my face. “Now if you give me some good attention—and watch the fucking teeth—I’ll give you a good time.”

“Of course, master.” The sultry tone she said that in put me at half-mast. Feeling her creepily long changeling tongue guide me into her mouth did the rest of the way. Doppel was by no means as good as Chrysalis, but I was still reeling from Celestia’s abuse of me the day before and was just looking for a chance to get relief. As my little changeling maid plied her tongue to my favorite head, I knew I found my relief.

“Ooh, that’s a good girl. Whatever they taught you in maid school was well worth it.” Remembering my end of the deal, I grabbed her legs and pulled her in close enough to get a whiff of her sex. From the wetness, I could tell she was very into it. I took a long lick down the center of her trench and felt her shudder, changing the way her tongue writhed across my manhood. I pushed my tongue inside and tasted a musk that was missing in Chrysalis.

Eat love, you taste sweet. Eat lust, you taste musky. Makes sense. The taste seemed to facilitate and create more lust, because I couldn’t get enough of it, and felt myself slowly start humping into her mouth as I ate her out. I felt myself hitting the back of her throat and her taking me in with no problems, her tongue massaging me the entire way.

I pulled a hand in to rub the inside of her folds as I lapped at her clit before taking it between my lips and pretending it was a little boy and I was Michael Jackson. She began to grind into my fingers and face, leaking light green fluid onto me. I lapped up what I could eagerly, happy to get all the lust I could. I could tell we were driving each other near to the limit.

Oddly enough, I peaked first, giving her a taste of my human seed that she eagerly lapped down, sucking on my slowly shrinking member to make sure she got every last drop. She didn’t last much longer than I did, though, and soon enough I was lapping at her slit, trying to get as much of the musky-tasting liquid from her as I could before I actually had to find out what it was like to change my own sheets for once.

I pulled myself out of her mouth with a little pop and she sighed. “Tasty,” she whispered. “Can I make a request, master?”

“You may,” I answered, slipping out from under her.

“Can I look you in the eye during?”

Well, that would be a new one. I looked her over, trying to determine how I could do it while leaving her tied up. I quickly got an interesting idea. “Yes.” I walked over and untied her front legs, letting her lean up. I pulled the rope out and picked her up, sitting under her. I pushed her back until she was against the head board, scooting forward all the way. Soon, her legs were completely spread and her back was against the wall. I sat in front of her, grabbed her front hooves, and pushed them over my head, leaving them against my back. I pulled her smooth body against mine, leaving us pretty close to eye to eye.

“Another request that we would both like?” she asked. “Let me eat your emotions as you have them.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Do you think I’m stupid? That’s how you guys got Shiny. I see that horn glowing during this, I’m cutting it off.”

She looked insulted. “Master, I would never hurt you.”

“Yeah. And the best way to ensure that is to never give you the chance. Now, shall we?” In the time it took me to get back into position, I got ready to go again. She was in the perfect position as she was, though it probably couldn’t be that comfortable. I didn’t wait for an answer because I didn’t want to hear one, just gently easing in.

She caught her breath as she molded her body to me, giving a nice, tight fit. “Oooh, that’s the stuff,” she whispered, licking her lips. She gave me an Eskimo kiss as I set a nice, slow pace, pushing in and out of her depths with ease. I decided to forego the nose stuff and locked lips with her, teasing my tongue around her fangs.

I was reminded again that Doppel does not care for teasing. Her long tongue slid over mine and down my throat as she pulled me in with the hooves wrapped around my neck. I couldn’t pull back and she didn’t look like she was wanting to budge. So I put my hands on her flanks, lifted her up, and brutally hilted her. She moaned into my mouth, but kept her tongue in place. Hell, she started to gyrate it, just to piss me off. Since she was so light, I was able to keep lifting her up and impaling her, so that’s just what I did.

Her tongue slithered out of my mouth and I slowed the pace down, pushing into her soft insides at an agonizingly wonderful pace. “Ooh, master…” she whispered, biting her lip and closing her eyes. She had a blush visible outside of her carapace, which was just adorable.

I grinned at the slow deterioration of sanity on her face as I tenderized her. Eventually her eyes slammed open and locked with mine and I felt her lady parts undulating. She brought her muzzle in and kissed me again, filling my mouth with her tongue but thankfully not going down my throat. Her tongue wrapped around mine as I slowly picked up the pace of my thrusts, planning to fill my little maid with all the lust she needed.

She appreciated my attempts and started trying to buck in time with my thrusts, though there wasn’t much she could do since I was holding her up.

I heard the door click open behind me and figured it was Gilda, here to watch or take part. I kept going on Doppel to give her a show and Doppel pulled away from the kiss, putting her head over my shoulder.

“Keep going, master,” she whispered before moaning and nibbling at my ear with her little fangs. I took that as indication enough and continued picking up the pace before I had her bouncing like a dryer on high. Unfortunately, this meant I built my pleasure way too quickly. I didn’t really care that much since she came at least twice already and I had Gilda behind me waiting for more. Doppel noticed that I was slowing down and figured I was close. “Fill me up, master,” she said, her head next to my ear and her mouth dripping with lust.

With a few more thrusts, I let myself erupt and paint her pink insides with a new coat of white. She moaned and pulled me tight against her before biting into my shoulder with her fangs. Normally that would piss me off, but the mix of pain and pleasure made me thrust one last time, setting her off again and making her drench me with more fluids.

Then I heard a throat clear behind me.






(Sex is over)


When I heard that throat clear behind me, I realized immediately that it was not Gilda. I closed my eyes wearily and sighed, still holding Doppel up. “Who is that?” I quietly asked her.

“Enjoy the show, Princess Cadance?” Doppel breathily asked, holding me tight.

“Nav, whenever you finish up here, my husband and I are waiting downstairs to talk to you.” With that, Cadance left, closing the door behind her.

I sighed and pulled myself away from Doppel, letting her flop to the bed. “I’m tempted to let you stew in our juices, but you would probably enjoy that,” I told her, reaching over to where I tied her back legs to the bedpost. I untied her and pulled her up before grabbing the handcuff keys and undoing her front legs. “Clean up. I would help, but apparently I have guests.” With her free, I walked to the bathroom that was connected to my room and washed my lower body off.

When I came back in, Doppel was gone and with her went my bed sheets. At least she can do something right. I threw on a pair of pants and went downstairs, not bothering to try to look formal.

I regretted my decision when a royal guard stopped me in my hallway. “Sorry sir, I can’t let you pass.”

I looked down on him. “Get the fuck out of my way before I move you.”

“That’s him!” Shiny called from my living room. The guard stepped aside, glaring at me as I walked past. He could glare all he liked. You don’t come into my house and tell me where I can and can’t go.

When I got to the living room, I found Shiny holding a happy looking Skyla, another guard, Cadance, and Gilda. I gave Gilda a mean look. “Don’t tell people I’m in my room and they don’t need to knock when you know I’m fucking the maid.” Shiny and Gilda both burst out laughing. Cadance smiled, but didn’t comment. The guard joined the others in sniggering. “Yeah, laugh it up, Shiny. Just remember to keep laughing the next time your wife walks in while I’m balls deep in a changeling and she has your body.” Gilda was really laughing now, but Shiny was down to blushing. The guard was choking back laughter, wanting to but not wanting to risk his commander’s anger. I snagged my armchair and leaned back in it, putting my hands behind my head. “Now what do you need?”

“We were talking to Princess Celestia—” Cadance started before Shiny interrupted.

“Can Cadance live here until the assassins are all caught?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Sure. No guards, though. Tell no one she’s here, don’t let anyone see you leaving or coming, keep the baby quiet at night, and help around the house when you can.” The first two were directed at Shiny, the second two at Cadance.

“Nav, she needs to be protected! I have to leave her some guards.”

I looked over to my occasional bed warmer. “Gilda, how long are you going to be here?”

She shrugged. “As long as I feel welcome, I guess.”

I looked back to Shiny. “I have a griffin, a naga, me, Taya, a changeling, and Cadance herself to protect her. If we need anything more than that, one or two guards aren’t going to make a difference. Those are my conditions, take them or leave.” I didn’t feel like mentioning the fact that I probably wouldn’t be around the house that much.

Shiny looked to his wife. “It’s up to you, honey.”

She nodded. “I trust Nav. If anypony knows how to keep me safe, it’s him.” Well, isn’t that more pressure than I wanted?

He sighed and nodded. “Fine. No royal guards. Though I have to ask… Why not, Nav?”

I shrugged. “I don’t trust anyone in my house that doesn’t have a reason to be loyal to me, especially if they have a reason to be more loyal to Celestia or Luna.” I didn’t want the plans for the generator to get to them, after all.

He jerked back. “Are you plotting treason?”

“Yes, I definitely am. And the first person I’m going to tell is the captain of the guard who is definitely loyal to the princesses and would never be swayed against them.” I let it sink in for a moment how retarded of a question it was he asked before continuing, “No, I just don’t want anyone here that has no obligation to do as I ask or command. If they were night guards, we’d talk. But I have no authority or rank with day guards.”

“Actually, about that…” Shiny started, rubbing the back of his neck. “The other captains and ranking guards were quite impressed with the tale of what you did. There was talk of giving you an honorary rank in the guard.”

I shook my head. “Not interested. I told you this a while ago, but you were drunk at the time so you probably don’t remember. I kill people, not arrest them.”

“Honorary rank isn’t the same thing as actual rank. You will be given the respect of an officer of the same rank, but you will not be given orders and lower ranking guards will be under no obligation to follow the orders you give.”

“Then it’s worthless. Again, I’ll pass. I already have enough meaningless honorifics.” And the fewer ties I have to the royal sisters the better.

“Well, I can’t force you to take it. I can, however, force you to take the Royal Savior star.”

I face palmed. “And what,” I groaned through my hand, “is that?”

I didn’t need to see his face; I could just feel the shit-eating grin. “When somepony goes above and beyond to help protect or save the life of a member of the royal family, they are awarded the title of Royal Savior and given a Royal Savior star as a trophy. They also get a sizable monetary reward.” He paused for a moment and I assumed he was either shrugging or patting Skyla’s head. “Normally the trophy is given by the family member that was saved as thanks, but I think Skyla would be hard pressed to pass you any kind of reward. Cadance will take her place, since Skyla is our life.” That’s just cheesy as fuck.

I looked back up. “When’s the ceremony?”

Cadance answered, “In two days.” Her habitual grin grew wicked. “Time enough to make sure every news agency hears of it.”

I sighed, ruffling my feathers. “You are the worst people…” I needed an excuse to go to Canterlot anyway, though. I needed to drop those bits off with the unicorns and I didn’t want anyone to know I went to Canterlot for just that reason. “My turn for a question, then. Why here, with me? I’m sure you can fortify the palace much better than you could this place.”

Shiny grimaced. “Luna found one of the conspirators very quickly. He was an imbalanced fool that should never have been allowed entry into the palace, let alone the guard. But if he was allowed entrance, it made all of us think. If there was one infiltrator, what if there were more? The guards I would have given you were tested and found to be absolutely loyal to the princesses.”

“Okay, so she couldn’t be in the palace. Sure, I guess. But I mean, why here? Surely there are other castles you have that are more fortified than this place.”

He shook his head. “Castles and fortresses have fallen out of style in most of Equestria these days. There are still a few old ones dotted around, but most are crumbling ruins. The few that still house ponies are turned into little more than manors and tourist spots and are so modified that they have no military or defensive value. This is quite possibly one of the most fortified homes in mainland Equestria right now.”

Before I could reply, my little pet came trotting into the room, a dead mouse held happily in his jaws. The guard scrambled up and jumped in front of Cadance before he realized the wolf was walking to me. He dropped the rat and wagged his wooden tail happily.

“That’s… disgusting,” Cadance said.

“Yeah, it is,” I replied, patting the wolf on the head. “I don’t know how the hell he got inside, because I know there are no rats in the house.”

The naga followed the wolf in. “There are a few ponies in terrible armor outside, Navarone. They attempted to obstruct my entrance.” He grinned, showing off his teeth. “I think they will not question a naga again. Are you ready to train?”

Well, that explains how the wolf got in. “Kinda in the middle of something, mate.” I looked back down at the wolf. “I don’t eat rats.” I pointed at the rat then at the wolf. “You eat it,” I told him. He blinked a few times, clearly confused, before gobbling the thing up. Cadance pressed her hoof to her temple, probably regretting her decision. I looked over to her. “He’s a good dog, just untrained. He won’t hurt Skyla.” I looked down at him. “Don’t hurt the small pink one.” I swear I heard a sigh from him, but I wasn’t going to comment. I looked back up to Cadance. “So when are you moving in?”

“As soon as possible,” she answered. I felt wood scraping against my feet and looked down to see he curled up on my feet. “I didn’t bring much for Skyla in case you said no, but I can get most of the rest when we go back to Canterlot.”

“Awesome.” I leaned back, scratching at the stubble on my face. “So… do you know how to cook?”

“Of course. Why?”

“Because Doppel can’t cook for shit and I forgot most of what I knew. I was planning on bringing Pinkie by one day soon, but I don’t want her anywhere near my kitchen if I can help it.” She’s a good cook, but messy. “If you teach me to cook pony food and Gilda can teach me how to cook meat, I’ll be in a good place.”

Her ears drooped. “I… I can do that. As long as it isn’t at the same time.”

“Cool. Bedrooms are on the middle floor. Take any one you want that isn’t occupied, preferably one away from anyone else in case the baby cries at night. You know where the kitchen is. I’m sure you can explore to find anything else.”

She nodded and walked over to Shiny. I heard them whispering before Cadance kissed him and gently grabbed the baby. Cadance walked over to where the staircase was, presumably finding a room to take. Shiny grabbed the guard and pulled him close, whispering something to him. The guard nodded and walked out the front door.

Then Shiny looked over to me. “Nav, you know how important they are to me. And I know this doesn’t need to be said, but… Please be careful.”

“Hey, you uphold your end and I’ll uphold mine. You don’t draw any attention here and I’ll keep her safe. You start drawing attention here and we might start having problems. That’s another reason I don’t want royal guards. Long story short, though: Don’t worry about it, man. I got this.”

He nodded. “We both trust you. I’ll come and visit as often as I can until we get this mess sorted out.”

“Of course. But if you come and visit too many times, I’ll be forced to start the rumor that we’re gay lovers and you’re cheating on Cadance with me. I don’t want any assassins to get the wrong message.”

He grinned. “I understand.” He stood up. “Be at the royal palace in two days by noon. Bring your armor and make sure it’s well cleaned. And you should also have your axe.”

“Sure, sure. I’m not retarded, Shiny.”

“Just making sure. I’ll see you in two days, then.” With that, he walked out.

“So,” the naga rumbled, “we’re getting a new houseguest? And she is a pink pony princess?”

I sighed and answered, “Yep.”

“I do not envy you, Navarone. Now come, let’s practice.”

Gilda finally spoke up. “Nav getting whooped across the yard by a naga? This I gotta see.”

Sadly, her assumption was proven correct.


The first problem showed up that evening. “What do you mean you don’t all eat together?” Cadance asked in shocked disbelief.

I crossed my arms. “The naga only eats meat. Gilda eats whatever the fuck she wants, whenever she wants. Doppel eats raw emotion. I occasionally eat meat and then whatever else and sometimes I mix it up. Taya is the only one here that sticks to a vegetarian diet. Well, not the only one anymore, with you and your kid. Taya doesn’t like the smell of cooking meat so I don’t fix anything if Gilda or the naga bother using the kitchen.” Usually they just cut up and cook whatever they find out in the woods where they find it, though they both tend to use my freezer to wrap up leftovers. “Whenever I do bother to make stuff, so far it’s just been me and Taya.” Of course, I hadn’t exactly been there that often to cook, given that the past few weeks had been so hectic.

Cadance gave me a rather disapproving look, though it might have been mixed with pitying. “My family almost always ate together. That’s what normal, loving families do, Nav.”

“Taya is the only family I have. Back when I had a real family…” I thought back to that short period of time I could remember when my parents were still married before shaking my head. “We ate together when there were visitors or we were with extended family, just to put on a show. Even before they got divorced, it usually ended up as every man for himself, make what you can when you wanted it.” I couldn’t tell if that was a look of shock or disgust on her face. Before she could say something I didn’t want to hear, I said, “Make something if you want. Taya and I can eat with you, if whatever you make is edible. I won’t ask the others to join us.”

I patted her on the head and walked out before she could reply.


The second problem showed up that night. “Why is Taya still awake?” Cadance asked, walking in on her proofreading something for me while I wrote.

I shrugged. “Because she’s not tired. Duh.”

“Nav, fillies should be in bed by eight!”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Taya, do you want to go to bed?”

She shook her head. “I’m fine.”

“If you want to go to bed, I won’t blame you. You can do this later or I can get someone else to do it.”

“I just got to the part where Mat orders his men to kill the running woman. I want to see what happens.”

“WHAT?!” Cadance yelled, using magic to rip the page away from Taya. “Fillies shouldn’t be reading stuff like this!”

Taya and I both scoffed. “What,” I said, “you expect her to read that shit you guys call books? There’s a reason I’m writing books from my world, Cadance.”

“Pony books are so dull,” Taya said. “The ones Daddy writes are much better!”

“But… violence! Fillies shouldn’t be reading things like that! This is probably why you attacked that griffin!”

We both shrugged. “He was attacking daddy, so he had to be stopped,” Taya answered.

And I said, “These things happen. Chillax, Cadance. Hell, shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“I’m not going anywhere until Taya goes to bed.”

I rolled my eyes. “Taya, when you finish that section, go to bed.”

“But—” I flicked my eyes over to Cadance for a second before looking back to her. She sighed. “Fine.”

“Aren’t you going to read her a bedtime story?” Cadance asked.

“Taya, do you want a bedtime story?”

She gave me a flat stare. “I’m not a child, daddy.”

“There you go, Cadance. She doesn’t want one.”

Now it was Cadance’s turn to give me that flat stare of ‘what are you even thinking?’ “She did not say that, Nav. She said that she wasn’t a child, not that she didn’t want a story.”

I looked back to Taya, but before I could ask, she said, “No.”

I looked back over to Cadance, who rolled her eyes. “I’m still not going anywhere until she goes to bed.” She sat down right in my doorway, staring at us.

Two minutes later, Taya hopped off my bed and walked up to her, staring.

“If you want to get past somepony,” Cadance said, “what do you say?”

Taya teleported past Cadance and walked on to brush her teeth.

Cadance blinked rapidly a few times. “Teleportation? Already?” She shook her head. “Nav, you need to teach her manners.”

“She doesn’t like you, Cadance. You came here and started trying to change things. That earns you no favors from anyone, including me. I’ll admit that in this case you are correct, but that doesn’t change the fact that you did it in the most overt way possible.”

“Nav, if you’re not doing something that’s good for Taya and the rest of your… family, I guess, of course I’m going to point it out. She needs a mother figure, too, but I understand your luck with that and won’t push it.”

I grinned. “A mother figure would be hard-pressed to find acceptance with Taya. When I told her about the engagement with Gilda, she was… less than impressed. Now, you need to go to bed. I’ll probably go work on that trebuchet some more.”

“You aren’t going to read her a story?”

“She said she didn’t want one. I respect her wishes.”

She sighed, shaking her head before standing up. “Fine. But before you leave, can you show me how to open my window, just in case? I won’t do it unless I need to sneak out, after what happened.”

I waved her over as I walked to my window and demonstrated how to open it. She thanked me and walked out. The wolf followed me around my room as I grabbed some of the things I’d need and he followed me outside as I went to build.


And the morning just brought more problems. “Nav, are you just going to leave all these nails lying around?” Cadance asked disapprovingly.

“All of the nails are lying within an acceptable distance of the project, meaning that anyone that steps on one deserves the pain they’ll get because they’re too close to an unfinished project.” I was having more trouble with it than I thought.

“That doesn’t excuse you of not being safe! What if Taya steps on one?”

“Then she’ll pull it out of her hoof and keep going because you guys don’t really feel pain in your hooves?” Now, some of you are probably wondering why the jacks hurt the assassin’s hoof. The answer to that is that it didn’t actually hurt, it’s just really uncomfortable and it makes walking very awkward. Or at least, that’s how it was explained to me.

She lifted a hoof and opened her mouth to respond, but her mouth clicked shut after a moment of silence.

I smirked. “You were saying?”

“Fine! What about your weapons and tools? What if Skyla hurts herself on one of the weapons you leave just lying around?”

Now that was a fair point. “Maybe you shouldn’t leave her around where weapons are left?”

“Navarone, I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with baby unicorns or baby pegasi. Alicorns are worse. Their magic can go out of control and they can fly. Unless things are hidden, they can find them just about anywhere in the house while they’re awake.”

“Well, that changes things. I have a valid reason for leaving weapons around, but I’ll make an effort to hide them where I left them. Just don’t move any without telling me where you put them. I live next to the forest and evil things occasionally wander out of it.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”


And at lunch... “Nav, where’s Taya?” Cadance asked.

I shrugged, letting my sword down from its weary grasp. “Probably with Twilight,” I answered. “Why?”

“You don’t know where she is? Nav, you should know where your filly is at all times!”

I could hear the naga making a sound deep in his chest as I turned to Cadance. “Woman, if you don’t stop nagging me, I will beat you like a fucking redheaded stepchild.” The naga grunted an approval. “I let you stay here, putting me, my tenants, and Taya in danger. The last thing I need is you bothering me about every little thing. The system we’ve had so far is working well for us. If you see something that might need to be changed, fucking tell me. Don’t nag me about it. Give me a clear, logical reasoning behind it, and if I agree, I might change it. But if you keep bothering me about this shit, I’m going to give my pimp hand some exercise.”

There was a long moment of silence before, “Nav, what’s a pimp hand?” she asked.

I demonstrated for her, backhanding the air.

She was about to reply when the naga spoke up. “Navarone is correct. If you were a female of the clans, you would know very well to keep your mouth shut. You may be a princess, but among the naga, that just means you are first among women and given respect by the men. You would still be silent when not spoken to, however. But we are not in the hold, I suppose. That does not excuse the fact that you bother and bother. I hope I do not hear you cry when you are smacked.”

Cadance was giving him looks of horror and I was very close to the same. Fuck, maybe I should have married a naga after all. Apparently their women are nice and subdued.

Eventually, she looked back to me and said, “There is a reason. If an emergency happens, you need to know how to find her and where she is.”

“Nah, she’s smart enough to stay out of the way of the emergency and get away from the trouble. I had a talk with her about that already. We already have three rendezvous locations planned.”

And now the confused expression was back. “You two actually sat down and had a talk about this?”

I nodded. “Several. She’s more paranoid than I am. I have a small bag of gold buried near a landmark we both know so she can catch a train or hire protection if she ever needs to. Don’t you worry about her. She’s more likely to come out of an emergency alive than I am.”


And another complaint before they went to bed. “Nav, you need to hug your daughter more,” Cadance told me.

I let an awkward silence build for a few moments before kneeling down and hugging Taya.

“You’ll hear no complaints from me on that one,” I said as I stood.

Taya mumbled something that sounded like, “Me neither.”


The next day heralded a covered carriage pulled by six pegasi guards. I really didn’t want to go to Canterlot at all, but I knew I had to. With me went Cadance, Gilda, Skyla, and seven thousand bits that Cadance was very confused about.

“So why exactly are we carrying so much dead weight?” she asked, poking the bag with a hoof.

“None of your business,” I answered. Gilda just grunted, preening her wings.

After a moment, Gilda sighed and shot her wing out to me. “Nav, can you help me out? I ran into a mean one in the woods last night.” I pulled my gauntlets off, closed my eyes, and carefully ran my hand over the wing, feeling for any irregularities. After a few seconds of that, I stopped and slowly pushed her feathers aside, pulling out a twig. I dropped it on the floor and kept feeling around.

“You know,” Cadance commented as I worked, “if you were a pegasus, this would be a lot more intimate.”

“Yeah, but I ain’t no ruttin’ pony,” Gilda snappishly answered. “And I’m not interested in any intimacy.”

“I didn’t mean to imply…” Cadance started before clearing her throat. “I was trying to inform Navarone of pegasi rituals. If one pegasus asks somepony else to preen her wing, it’s meant as a sign of ultimate trust and love. I didn’t know if he knew, is all.”

“I figured,” I answered as I pulled the last little twig off Gilda’s wing. “Almost all pegasi use their wings in their livelihoods and to get to the clouds, so fucking up with them is not an option. It also feels really good.” Gilda passed me her other wing and I got started on that. “Shame that most people without wings know so little about them.”

Cadance nodded, eyeing my hands at work. “Shining Armor doesn’t know much other than that they feel good when rubbed correctly.”

“Teach him how to preen, then,” I said. I furrowed my brow as I felt something squirming around. I pulled out a fucking worm. “Disgusting.” I went to throw it out the window, but Gilda’s beak swooped in and snagged it out of my hand.

Cadance and I both gave her looks of disgust as she swallowed it whole. “What?” she asked. “I’m half-bird, remember? And I’m missing breakfast for this.”

I shrugged and went back to combing her wings. “You’re already plowing him in the ass with a strap-on, there’s no reason not to sit him down and make him learn how to please you as well.”

“She’s WHAT?” Gilda shouted, bursting out laughing.

Cadance groaned, face hoofing. After a moment, she sighed and said, “Shiny and I engage in… alternate forms of sex, yes. But that is the most disgusting… Ugh. Nav, you’re terrible.”

I answered her with a shit-eating grin. “I know. Ain’t I great?”

Cadance and Gilda shared a look and I knew I was about to be teamed up on. To prevent that, I grabbed Cadance’s wing. “I saw those little jealous looks,” I said as I pulled it taut. “Are your wings bothering you?” I asked as I gently stroked her just the right way.

Her ears drooped and she bit her lip to stifle a moan. Gilda grinned and grabbed the other wing, pulling that one tight and readying her talons.

“I-I’m fine, thank you.”

“I don’t know, you seem kinda… jumpy.” As soon as I said that, I poked one of the main nerve clusters on her wing and she flinched. She jerked both of her wings back, but had a hard time forcing them against her body. Her face was a very bright red. “Eh, we probably shouldn’t do anything in front of the kid anyway.” I looked back to Gilda. “You got anything in your plumage, or are you good?”

“I don’t feel anything in there, but check anyway.” She presented her chest to me.

I sighed as I ran one of my hands over it. “This would be so much nicer if you were a human.”

“Why’s that?” Cadance asked, eager to get off the topic of us molesting her.

“This is where humans have their breasts,” I answered with a smarmy grin.

She just shook her head. “You’re incorrigible.”

I giggled, but Gilda didn’t seem amused. “I don’t get it. What does that word mean?” she asked. Some of us are not scholars, I suppose.

“She told me I’m sexy.”

And that got me backwinged by one of Cadance’s wings. “It means he’s terrible,” she explained as I spat out a pink and purple feather. “So why isn’t Taya coming?” she asked me.

“I didn’t tell her I was going. I don’t plan to be here long and as soon as I’m done with the ceremony thing, I need to get into the air. I don’t want her on the streets of Canterlot while I’m way above them.” I looked out the window to the rapidly approaching city. “In fact, we should probably bail out now. No reason to let anyone know that we got here in the same carriage that’s coming from outside of town.”

“That’s… probably a good idea,” Cadance answered, nodding. “Just be at the castle in an hour, Nav.”

“We’ll be there. Gilda, grab the bits.” She wrapped a talon around them while I kicked open the carriage door. I held it as Gilda jumped out. I followed her, both of us shooting ahead of the relatively slow carriage.

I led the way to the massive flying ship and landed on its deck, making a loud thunk as my metal-clad feet touched down. Gilda followed me, making an even louder sound when she dropped the heavy bag of bits.

“See, this is why we started using paper as money,” I said to no one as I walked to the door. I let myself in and walked down to the captain’s cabin, hoping he was in. Gilda waited on the deck, stretching.

I knocked on his door. “WHAT?!” He did not sound pleased.

“I brought the money you need,” I said, crossing my arms and waiting. The door burst open and the captain walked out, glaring. He seemed… off. I narrowed my eyes. “If you’re high, the deal’s off.”

“Withdrawal,” he answered with an annoyed tone. “Where are the bits?”

“In a bag on the deck. That much money is heavy, man.” He brushed past me and started walking down the hall.

“The ship’s going to need more modifications than I thought,” he grumpily said as he walked. “It shouldn’t cost any more, but we’ll be out of commission for at least half a year.” He stopped at the door and looked back to me. “The princess might ask questions, and if she does, I can’t promise to lie for you. I’ll tell her that we’re doing it to go to new places. I’ll try not to mention your name, but if she asks, I will not lie. I owe you, but she’s the princess.” He turned back and muttered, “Don’t know why it matters anyway,” as he pushed the door open and flinched at the sunlight. “Who’re you?” he warily asked, eying Gilda.

I answered, “Friend of mine. She might go with us, might not.”

“Go where?” she asked, sizing the unicorn up.

“We can talk about it later. There’s your money, either way. That takes a big, big chunk out of my reserves, so spend it right and don’t make me spend this much again. I have a lot of money, but I’m not made from it.” Losing that much actually made me wish I had kept the money I gave to Pinkie and Kumani.

He nodded. “Don’t worry about it.” He looked back at me. “So what’re you so dressed up for?”

I grimaced. “A ceremony. You save one princess’s life and suddenly you get all kinds of rewards or something.” I sighed. “Stupid babies…”

“You’re just saving everypony, aren’t you?” the unicorn asked. “Which one was it this time?”

“Cadance’s kid. A little brat, if you ask me.”

“She sure cries a lot,” Gilda added, puffing. “Now, we gonna wait here all day? I wanna find something to eat before the ceremony.”

“Yeah, yeah. Take care of that money, man. I’ll stop by when I can to see how the ship is coming along.”

He nodded. “I will see you when you come by, then.” With that, Gilda and I took off.

If she had her way, we would have gone hunting in a small copse of trees relatively close to the city. However, Cadance told me about a small restaurant that serves meat, so instead we went there. It was alright.

By the time we finished there and had the bill paid, it was about time for the ceremony. We flew over to the castle and that’s when I knew I was in for hell. “Why are there reporters everywhere?” I asked as we circled the castle. They hadn’t noticed us yet, thankfully.

“Save a princess, you get famous,” Gilda answered with a shrug. “I had to deal with a few when the griffins realized I got my dad’s estate.”

“Well fuck. I guess this’ll be interesting.” We flew down there and landed in the courtyard and immediately got swarmed.

I had a mic pushed into my face. “Which princess did you save?” some mare asked.

“Sorry, I don’t speak Equestrian,” I answered.

The look on her face was priceless. Another mic replaced hers. “Why was the princess attacked?”

“Look, I don’t understand what you’re saying!”

I think they were starting to get angry. A third mic was pushed at me. “How did you stop the assassins?”

I looked over at Gilda and said, “Do you have any idea what they’re saying?”

She shrugged and answered with a few Avian clicks. I turned back to the reporter and shook my head.

I wish I had a camera, because I don’t think I could ever get anyone that confused again.

I think the reporters were about to give up when Celestia walked out, flanked by her guards. Most of the reporters decided they would have better luck with her.

Not all of them did, though. A fourth mic was pushed at me. “Sir Navarone, what do you know about the new policies being put into place in Gryphonia?”

“There once was a man from Nantucket with a di—”

“Navarone!” I looked up to see Celestia giving me a disapproving stare that disappeared less than a second after I saw it, replaced by her typical motherly smile. I got the message and stopped talking. She walked over to my side and wrapped a wing around me, leading me away from the reporters. Gilda followed, not wanting to be left alone after she was seen flying in with me. The guards stopped the reporters from following us, thankfully. “Do not leave after you get your star. I have a… surprise… waiting for you.”

“A good surprise?” I cautiously asked. She smiled and I added, “What I would consider a good surprise?”

She giggled. “You’ll see, Nav. Now, you just wait right here until Cadance calls you out.” We were right next to the big ceremony room, with me in a little offset area probably designed for stuff like this. “Do you have any questions before I leave?”

“One, actually. Why am I getting this award for saving Skyla but not for saving Cadance back in Gryphus?”

“Because you were assigned to her as a guard, then. Guards that protect the lives of those they are assigned to protect are doing their duty. Citizens that protect the lives of royalty at risk to themselves go above and beyond what is expected of anypony. Now, I will see you in a few minutes.” She left me and Gilda in that little side room.

“You know,” Gilda said, “that sounded like a crappy way to say ‘no one was paying attention and forgot to give you an award.’”

“Or they just didn’t think about it. I don’t want this shit anyway, so it’s not like it matters. I’ll take the bits, but they can keep the fucking title.” ‘Sir’ was more than enough for me.

I should know better than to jinx myself like that.

When the moment arrived, I heard Cadance’s voice whisper through my skull, calling me to the room. I was tempted to ignore her summons, but I knew it probably wouldn’t end well. I rolled my shoulders and went to the door, saying, “I’ll see you in a few minutes, Gilda. Hopefully we can get home quickly.” Whatever Celestia’s ‘surprise’ is, I hope it doesn’t take too long.

When I walked up to the double doors, a pair of guards pulled them open. I walked in, trying to control the twitching of my wings that showed I didn’t want to be there. There was cheering and smiling and all that as I walked down the red-carpeted center aisle. I couldn’t hide a secret smile on my face for some reason.

Dignitaries of all kinds lined my path, reporters mixed among them. At the end of my path was Cadance. Shiny stood next to her with a smiling Skyla on his back. What did they have to do to make her smile instead of cry? Celestia flanked her other side.

I stopped at an appreciable distance from the royal family, standing at ease. “Navarone,” Cadance said, “I thank you for saving the life of my—” She spared a glance back for Shining Armor. “—Our daughter.” Before she could continue, Skyla made some happy sounding baby noises and she grinned. “Skyla thanks you, too. For your heroism in defending her against the odds from ponies that wanted nothing but to take her life, I award you the title Royal Savior and the star that goes with it.”

Her horn lit up and a very ornate obsidian box flew forward from behind them. It opened right in front of me and I flinched back from the sudden brightness that flooded the entire room. There was a number of oohs and ahs behind me from the actual star that was hovering in the center of the box.

How in the hell? I reached a trembling arm out to take it, somewhat expecting my arm to be wreathed in fire when I touched it. What actually happened was a lot safer but less expected: The white light that was coming from it changed to blue-green and dimmed considerably. I pulled it from the box and as I brought it closer to myself it dimmed more and more until it was just barely putting off light.

“Through darkest night and day most bright,” Cadance was saying aloud, “the star will help you in all you plan to do.” Oh God, she’s rhyming. “Because of the life you have saved, the path you walk will always be paved.” Just what the hell does that mean?

It seemed that her little spiel was finished. She bent low to me, presumably some manner of ritual that I wasn’t informed of. I knelt in front of her.

After a moment, I heard several loud gasps and a coalescing of something in front of me. I jerked my head up to find Luna stepping out of shadows that fought with the light from the star still in my hand. That’s when I knew something bad was about to happen.

She looked over my head to the crowd. “There are many things about Navarone and his career that many ponies do not know. He was accidentally stolen from his world and given every reason to despise every pony there is. Instead, he rose above that and grew to become one of Equestria’s most staunch defenders. Without going into many details, exploits of his include helping stop a dangerous unicorn, saving a mailmare from the monsters of the Everfree, destroying a den of naga and saving a farmer and his family, assisting to broker a peace and trade treaty with the cats while releasing many ponies from slavery and servitude, stopping another den of naga from starting a war in our territory, saving two of the elements of harmony from the dragons during their migration, saving a group of unicorns and a mail ship from a band of pirates, stopping Chrysalis from taking over Equestria and then heavily assisting in the peace efforts with her changelings, saving Cadance’s life from a griffin, saving two foals from the Everfree, capturing the infamous dogfather, shutting down over half of the crime in the region of Germaneigh, saving two fillies and two more of the elements in the Everfree, and most recently saving the life of Princess Skyla.”

Has it really been that much? This has been a busy few years.

Luna was continuing, though. “And all of this was done in very harsh conditions. Not everypony was happy with Navarone and his performances. And not everypony was happy with the fact that he’s so very different, despite the fact that it was his difference that made what he did possible in the first place. It is in recognition of his service to Equestria through the hardships he’s been through that Princess Celestia and I, along with Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor, bestow unto him the title Defender of Harmony, the highest honor we can give anypony.”

Fucking ponies, man. There were murmurs in the crowd behind me upon hearing the ridiculous title I just got. That puts me up to, like, three. Sir, Royal Savior, and Defender of Harmony.

Luna’s horn lit up and my body jerked upright, her magic controlling my form. I’m not okay with this! With a flick of her horn, my armor was replaced with some of the gayest shit I have ever fucking seen. Purple helmet, yellow greaves, white gauntlets, pink shield, orange breastplate, and blue boots. What. The. Fuck.

Luna answered my silent question. “May the boots of loyalty never turn you away from a friend in need. May the gauntlets of generosity always give freely to all in need. May the shield of laughter protect you from wounds both physical and emotional. May the breastplate of honesty guard you from lies and deceit. May the greaves of kindness stay you from sitting on the backs of those that helped you arrive where you are.” Now that one just sounds forced. “And may the helmet of magic bring all the elements together within your body and soul and keep you on the path of harmony.”

Really? I mean, really? Come on, guys. I later realized that the cutie marks of six certain mares in Ponyville were embedded into the ugly armor I was forced to wear. Celestia did mention that they were the elements of harmony, and if I was now the defender of harmony or something, I guess it makes sense that I wear their marks. Still, it sucks.

The rest of the ceremony was… ugh. Thankfully, I didn’t have to swear any more oaths or anything like that. Also thankfully, almost none of my friends were there to see me suffer. Gilda was in the back row, though, cracking up at the horrible color scheme on my armor.

When I was finally allowed to leave, Celestia cornered me in a small room of indeterminate purpose. “What the fuck was the point of that?” I wearily asked, trying to get out of the shitty armor.

That was for helping the griffins. I can’t punish you the traditional way, so I had to get creative. Luna and Cadance were very cooperative, though neither of them knew the real reason behind what we did.”

“Celestia, you are a terrible person.” She grinned. “Now what’s the point of this stupid star?”

She shrugged. “It’s a flashlight. A very fancy, magical flashlight. It glows different colors for different ponies. It’s supposed to be controllable, though I can’t explain how.”

“So basically it’s useless for me.”

“It’ll make a good mantelpiece.”

“Have I ever told you how much I hate you?”

“It’s been a while. But you know you love me.” She shot her wings out, enveloping me in an unwanted hug.

“I really don’t,” I answered, not participating in the hug. “I very much meant what I said when we started this sex thing.”

She nibbled on one of my wings. “Would it really be so bad?” she eventually asked. “Sure, Luna would be upset, but she’d get over it.”

I pulled away from her. “How about this: If I come back and if I’m not in a relationship when I do, we’ll talk. But first, I need a fucking break from this place.”

I really didn’t want a relationship with Celestia after what she had put me through, but I figured those conditions were somewhat unlikely. And I didn’t want her hounding me, either.

“That is… acceptable, I suppose. I’ve waited this long for somepony. What’s a little while longer?” If she had paid much attention to my journals, she would have recognized that it was the same line I used on Fluttershy and Kumani.

“That’s the spirit. Now what’s up with this gay fucking armor? I don’t actually have to wear this, do I?”

“Your other set should be at your home. You are supposed to wear this for public functions since the Defender is a higher rank than a knight, but I don’t suppose you have to. You know… if you keep this up, I’m eventually going to have to make you a lord. I suggest you start behaving, Nav.”

“Bah. You wouldn’t dare. Besides, you have no proof it was me that did anything with the griffins.”

She nodded. “Correct, I don’t. However, I’m also not a fool. You ruined a number of very old plans, some of which were set in place before Luna was banished. I couldn’t just let you get away with it, which is why you’re now a Defender of Harmony.” She grinned. “Have fun with that.”

“I won’t, trust me. I’m tired of these shitty titles. At least I’ve come up with a good way to pay you back, or at least get rid of some of what you owe me.”

“Oh dear… Do I need to be worried?”

“Yes. But we can talk about that more later. Now I just want to get home and take this damn armor off.”

“I could help with that, you know…”

“As enjoyable as that would be, Gilda is waiting for me somewhere.”

She smirked at that. “For as eager as you were to get out of that engagement, she seems to be around you a lot.”

“Yep. Anyway, I’ll see you later, Celestia.” I didn’t feel like getting into that conversation with her. It just didn’t seem worth it.

“Of course… Sir Navarone, Royal Savior and Defender of Harmony.”

I rolled my eyes and left the room, leaving her to wallow in her typical loneliness. It didn’t take me long to find Gilda, who was being surrounded by reporters in the courtyard. It looked like the only thing stopping her from going violent were the guards that were eyeing her with looks of ‘do it, faggot.’

“Gilda, what are you doing out here?” I asked, walking up.

The paparazzi ocean around her folded to include me as well, and we were soon the only island in a sea of ponies.

“Getting questioned,” she answered, smacking away a microphone. “Can we go or what?”

“One moment.” I looked around the group of annoying reporters. “The first one of you pegasi that tries to follow me will be beaten up in the air and then arrested for harassment.” I don’t think I actually had the authority to do that, but I was hoping they didn’t realize that. “Gilda, shall we?”

She wasted no time jumping in the air. I joined her before the group closed in and cut off my ability to use my wings without smacking someone in the face.

Some of the pegasi in the group stretched their wings, but after taking a quick look at the guards around the courtyard, decided against following us.

We made good time back to my happy little home. Taya wasn’t back yet and didn’t even know I had left, hopefully. There were no visitors and the naga was doing whatever he does when he doesn’t train with me. Cadance wasn’t back yet.

All of that meant no one but Doppel saw the hideous armor I was wearing when we walked in. She joined Gilda in mocking it as I put the star on the mantel.

“The ponies have such terrible color sense,” Doppel said.

“I don’t know about that,” Gilda shot back, “but that armor is just made of gay! Nav, if I hadn’t turned over a new leaf, I’d call you a dweeb and punch you for daring to wear that.”

“And I wouldn’t blame you,” I sighed, going upstairs to change.

By the time I came back down, Cadance was back. “Well, Nav?” she merrily asked with that evil little smile on her face.

“You’re a terrible person,” I answered. “And that armor looks gayer than you do. Trust me, that’s saying something.”

“I’m glad you think I look so happy! And it’s good you think your armor does, too.”

“…You know that wasn’t a compliment, right?”

Her smile deepened as her horn lit up. “Watch Skyla for a minute, please. I need to go do something.” Her spawn levitated toward me.

“Do I have to?”

“Yes.” I very reluctantly grabbed the smiling foal.

Her smile disappeared as soon as I touched her. She watched my face with soulless eyes as her mother happily trotted away from my living room.

“I’m onto you, demon spawn,” I whispered, staring at her. Her eyes narrowed as I walked her to the center of the room and set her down on the rug. I left her there and walked to my armchair, keeping my eyes on her. Eventually, I leaned back, took out a knife, and began cleaning my fingernails while still watching her.

She looked at the knife and smiled an evil, devious smile. Her horn lit up and I felt a tug on the knife. I jerked it away from her magic and put it away before pulling out my ring and slipping it on.

Her horn stopped glowing when she realized I was immune. That just got her to unfurl her tiny little wings. I jumped up and grabbed her before she could get two feet in the air.

I took my ring off and slipped it around her horn before she could do a thing, then set her back down on the floor.

I saw a look of concentration on her face and assumed she tried to do magic. Nothing happened. She looked disappointed, but then tried flapping her wings. Nothing happened.

She gave me a look of such pure hatred that I couldn’t help but laugh.

When a baby finds itself helpless and can’t do anything else to torment their captors, they have one primal response. She burst into tears, screaming and crying and all that horrible stuff.

I knew exactly what would happen if Cadance walked in with me laughing and her daughter on the floor crying. I sighed and picked her up, putting her in my lap and trying to calm her down.

Thankfully, Cadance didn’t waste much time coming back in. “What did you do?” she yelled over the crying.

“Nothing! She’s just the spawn of Satan!” I, of course, removed my ring as soon as I heard Cadance entering.

“I don’t know who Satan is, but I know neither of us are that!” She floated the crying baby over to herself, quickly calming her down. “Nav, you really aren’t that good with foals, are you?”

“I am not. I’m telling you, though, your child is evil. When she gets a cutie mark, it’s going to be three sixes.”

“That’s a silly cutie mark. I’m sure it’ll be something fun, like a flower! Or maybe something more loving, like another heart.”

“…Right. Just keep her away from me. She doesn’t like me and I don’t care enough to get her to.”

“Come on, Nav! That’s no way to talk about something you aren’t good at! You’ll never get better with foals until you try.”

“But why would I ever need to get good with them? Not like I’m ever planning on having kids.”

She grinned at that. “Every stallion always says that. Then you meet somepony special and you change your mind. I think it’s better to be safe than sorry, don’t you?”

“Sure. But not with your spawn. I want as little to do with her as possible.”

“So stubborn… Fine. I’ll figure something out, then.”

I had a bad feeling in my gut.



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