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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75. Chapter Sixty-One—Tournament and goodbyes

I knew I couldn’t go back to my apartment and I knew Kumani was busy doing whatever she was doing to prepare for the tournament. I was not going to visit Kat with the chance that I might run into Miguel.

I didn’t have any other people here to do anything with now that Pinkie was missing. I don’t know how to party or have fun at parties, especially when I’m alone, so that wasn’t really an option.

I took to wandering around the city, never staying in one place for long; I didn’t want Celestia to find me, after all. I was still getting plenty of odd looks from the ponies, and several nonponies were staring at me just as much. I was used to stares, but this was worse than usual. After an hour or so of being stared at, I did what anyone would do: started staring back in the creepiest way possible.

The first victim of my creepy stare turned out to be Vinyl Scratch, who I saw was waving at me from a table. When she saw my look, her mouth dropped. I quickly smoothed my face over before her companion—Octavia—saw it. Vinyl went back to grinning and gestured me over. I walked to their table and took a seat.

“What’s going on, Nav?” Vinyl asked, her voice unreasonably chipper.

I shrugged. “You know how it is. Celestia’s estrus kicked in early, so I’m hiding in the city. I’ve been getting the weirdest fucking stares, though.”

Octavia and Vinyl shared a look. They both turned back to me and Octavia said, “You’re bleeding, Sir Navarone. Or rather, you were bleeding. It looks to have stopped some time ago.”

I lifted a hand to my forehead and felt around. When I pulled it away, my hand came away with some dried blood. “Ah fuck me,” I muttered. “Do you see any glass?” I asked them.

Vinyl grinned. “Jumping through windows?”

“Damn right. I’m not going to get caught by Celestia, not after what I went through. I wish I could go back to my apartment to clean myself up, but I’m not risking it.”

“Hey, you could use my place,” Vinyl offered. “If you really jumped through a window, Celestia knows you need to get cleaned up.”

“Yeah, she does,” I answered. “She watched me do it. I’d hate to break you two up, though. I don’t imagine your careers allow you to meet one-on-one that often.”

“Oh, it’s no problem,” Octavia said. “She and I were just—”

“About to go to my apartment anyway,” Vinyl finished with a dirty grin. Octavia gave her a scandalized look, her grey cheeks reddening into a blush.

I raised my eyebrows. “I definitely wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.”

Vinyl’s grin grew. “Oh no, you wouldn’t get in the way. In fact…” She looked at Octavia. “Whattaya say, Octy? Wanna let Nav play with us?”

Octavia’s blush deepened as she looked me over. “I… I remember… dreaming…” she whispered, not being able to look at me. I moved my hands to where she was looking and wiggled them. Her eyes widened and her entire face lit up red.

Vinyl and I laughed at that. I reached into my pocket and said, “Vinyl, you remember what I showed you while we were in Ponyville?” I pulled out the blue stone and she gaped.

“Can I?” she whispered. I grinned and nodded. Vinyl turned to Octavia with an almost predatory look in her eyes.

Octavia shrank back from her friend. “W-what’s going on? What’s with the stone, Sir Navarone?”

“First, call me Nav. I hate being reminded that I’m a knight. Second, why tell you when showing you is so much more fun?”

Octavia was silent, just looking back and forth between me and Vinyl. After a moment, she sighed. “Oh, very well.” Vinyl squee’d and pulled us both into a hug somehow.

When she let us go, her smile was somehow even dirtier. “Let’s go make some music!” she called, getting us several looks from the surrounding people. Octavia just sank her head into her hooves, sighing.

I grinned. Not very often I get to be part of a threesome.

 

Thirty minutes later, I was bored out of my mind. I thought they were using euphemisms for sex. But nope. There Octavia sat with a massive stringed instrument—a cello, she told me with a smile—while Vinyl was throwing a few switches and plugging in some cords.

When she got everything set up to her standards, she turned to me and said, “So Nav, what’s your poison?” She waved a hoof at a wall of instruments.

I opened my mouth to tell her that I didn’t play a damn thing when Flo said, “Take the piano.”

I blinked and looked at the wall. That’s a keyboard.

“Does it play like a piano?”

I conceded the point. “I can try the keyboard,” I answered. “No promises; it’s been a while since I did anything. And don’t expect me to sing.”

Vinyl grinned. “With those stones, I have the singing covered!”

Octavia sighed. “Just what are these stones you two keep talking about?”

Vinyl turned to me. “Nav?”

I pulled out the blue one and tossed it at Vinyl. It hit her and she turned into a guy. Octavia’s mouth dropped and her hooves let her massive instrument go. I jumped to catch it; I know how expensive shit like that is.

“H-how?” Octavia whispered.

“Magic,” Vinyl said with a shrug. “Now come on, don’t make Nav hold that massive bludgeon you use.”

Octavia’s head shot to me, holding the cello just off the floor; I barely caught it. She blushed yet again and took it from me. I went back to my seat and had a keyboard thrust into my hands with magic. I pushed in a random key and it made a random sound.

“Gonna need the other stone, Nav,” Vinyl said.

I looked at him. “Are you sure you aren’t related to Shining Armor? Maybe your parents confused you and Twilight at the hospital and took the wrong one home.”

“I won’t say it isn’t possible, but it also doesn’t matter. Now c’mon, gimme the stone.”

I shrugged and tossed the pink one at her. She caught it and set the two down in front of her turntable. “Let’s do this!”

Octavia said, “Wait. Does that mean Sir—Er, Nav is a female now?”

“Sorta,” I answered with a shrug. My voice was different.

She looked me up and down. “So what… what do you look like, under the clothes?”

“He can give you a strip tease later, Octy,” Vinyl said. “It’s music time!” She pushed a button and a beat started. “Keep up if you can!”

Flo whispered, “I’ll not let anyone beat the memory of those that came before. Put your hands on the keys. I’ll handle the rest.”

I grinned and did as she asked. Octavia seemed to be waiting for a cue that I couldn’t hear. Flo didn’t wait, she just jumped in, using my hands to depress what to me were random keys that produced a sound that would have made me gape if I had much control over my body.

After a few moments, I heard the deep notes of Octavia’s cello kick in as she added her own notes to the song we were producing.

If I knew more about music, I would make a better attempt to describe what it was like. As it stands, I can safely say that it sounded amazing to my ears. Vinyl sang some, using the stones to swap her voice around. It was awesome, all things told.

When the beat finally stopped, Flo was silent in my head. I assumed she was used up. I shook myself loose, popping some joints. “That was fun,” I said.

“No, that was awesome!” female Vinyl answered. “I’ve never heard anypony play the keyboard like that, Nav!”

“That’s because I ain’t a pony,” I answered, standing. “Unfortunately, though, I need to get going; I can’t stay in one place for long right now, in case Celestia finds me.”

“Nav, come on! You can’t just leave me here like this again!”

I raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

She poked the blue stone. “I wanna try the real thing!”

I sighed. “Fine. It shouldn’t take you too long. Assuming…” My eyes flicked to Octavia for a second and I smirked. Vinyl nodded. “Well, I’ll go make sure all the glass is out of me. You do what you gotta do.”

“What?” Octavia asked. “What are you two talking about?”

Vinyl turned to her. “Come on, Octy. I have something I need to show you.”

“Uh… Okay?” She looked a little confused, but she gently set her cello in a case and followed male Vinyl back. I nodded once with a smile and went to the bathroom, making sure I had gotten everything out of me. Fucking windows, man…

 

Twenty minutes later, Vinyl and Octavia came back out of the room. Octavia was visibly disturbed. Vinyl was wearing a massive smile.

“W-why?” Octavia whispered, eyeing me.

“Wanna get revenge?” I asked, holding the stones up.

Octavia’s eyes took on a fierceness and she nodded, grinning darkly.

“This’ll hurt for a moment,” I said before tossing the blue stone at her. Her eyes went wide as she changed.

“Whoa now, Nav!” Vinyl exclaimed. “We don’t have to do all that now!”

I tossed the pink stone at her as Octavia recovered. Her horn lit up but she was too slow to catch it. Octavia grinned when she recovered and walked over to Vinyl, dragging her back to the bedroom by her tail. I collected the stones again and began juggling.

Fifteen minutes later, a visibly disturbed Octavia walked out. Vinyl followed her with a massive smile. I giggled at that before I turned Octavia back. She curled into a ball on the floor and sighed. Vinyl and I shared a look. I lifted a fist. She met it with a hoof.

I looked back down to the grey mare on the floor and knelt next to her. I put a hand on her back. “Octavia, do you need a hug?”

Her eyes flicked to mine and she nodded. I wrapped my arms around her. After a moment, she turned and wrapped her front legs around me.

And then her grip got tight. “Quick, get his pants!” she said. I felt a tugging on my pants that I was not liking.

“They won’t come off!” Vinyl said, tugging harder.

That’s because of the belt. “I’m not comfortable with this,” I said.

“Oh come on, Nav!” Vinyl said. “We just want to show our gratitude. And who better to please a mare than a mare?”

“No thanks,” I said. “Now, let me go before I start fighting back.”

Octavia smiled. “I may not look it, Nav, but I know my way around the bedchamber. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

It would be a lot of fun… I sighed. “Fine. Just abide by my limits and I’ll be okay.” Octavia’s legs loosened around me and I stood. I reached into my pocket and poked the pink stone. “Now, where to?”

 

Sometime later, I was lying on the floor of my apartment, waiting for Pinkie to come home. I didn’t feel like writing without Flo dictating to me and I didn’t feel like continuing to explore the town. It also didn’t help that my legs were a bit touchy, not wanting to work correctly. I tried to get to a bed, but it didn’t work well. That’s why I was on the floor.

I was contemplating trying to stand up when my door slammed open. “IT’S PARTY TIME!” pony Pinkie yelled, falling into my room.

“No Pinkie, no!” Wait, what? “I mean, hi. Also, can the party wait?”

“Not after what you did to me, it can’t!” he said. “Now come on!”

“But… my legs feel funny!”

“And I can barely stand, but this is a party and we’re going to PARTAY! We can do this the easy way or the hard way, Nav.”

“…What’s the hard way?”

His voice turned cold. “You don’t want to do it the hard way.” With a twitch, his cheery demeanor returned. “Now turn me back and let’s go!”

I sighed and dug the pink stone out of a pocket. I achingly got to my feet and touched Pinkie with it. I slipped it back into the pocket and touched the blue stone. “Now come on!” she said.

I took a few steps and got my rhythm back. “Alright. What’s the plan, Pinks?”

She smiled at the nickname for her nickname. “We’re going to party!”

I dreaded the answer to my next question. “What kind of party?”

My kind of party.”

I rolled my eyes. “Where did you find a six-year-old’s birthday party?”

“The princess let me host a party. I just spent hours setting it up. You shoulda been there, Nav!” She giggled. “And now you’re gonna be there.”

Goody. “Well, lead the way.” I know what happens when you try to avoid a Pinkie Party when she shows up personally to bring you to it. It doesn’t end well.

She grinned and began bouncing out the apartment. I followed, a pit of darkness in my stomach. “So who else is going to be there?” I asked when we got outside.

“Oh, the princess and Shining Armor, for sure! And probably a bunch of other ponies too!”

“Just ponies?”

“Yep! For some reason, they’re the only ones that seemed to be interested… Well, except for you!”

“I’m not interested. I just have no choice.”

“Silly Nav! You always have a choice. It’s just that in this case, choosing not to go would be infinitely worse than choosing to continue following me.”

“I don’t suppose there’s any way for me to get around this?”

“Not anymore there’s not.”

“Aren’t you supposed to want to make ponies smile? How is this making me smile?”

“You said it yourself, Nav: You aren’t a pony.”

“Let me rephrase that: Don’t you want to make your friends smile?”

“You haven’t been very friendly these past few days.”

“Do you blame me?”

“You are going to this party, like it or not, so I suggest you do your best to like it.”

“On a scale of one to yes, what are the chances of me getting laid from going here?”

“After that stunt you pulled with the princess, I’d say yes.”

I sighed and slouched down as we walked. Well, as I walked and she skipped. Thankfully, I wasn’t bleeding this time and didn’t get nearly as many looks.

Honestly, at this point, I was sexed out. I didn’t feel like it anymore. Hopefully if it came to that, Celestia would be willing to listen to reason.

When we arrived, the party was already well underway. Ponies were doing all kinds of pony things. It was horrible.

When Pinkie finally remembered the unspoken rule we had at her parties—if I showed up, she left me alone—I found myself in a corner, glaring at anyone that came close. That dissuaded more than a few interested ponies from bothering me.

It did not, however, dissuade Shining Armor. He plopped down next to me. “I hate parties,” he said with a sigh.

“Until you live in the same town as Pinkie for a month, you can’t know what it means to hate a party,” I replied, glaring away another pony.

“And until you have to go with the princess to function after function, you can’t understand either.”

“Meh. Any news about that library safe house I cracked?”

“There was a massive hidden room in the janitor’s closet attached to the central room. We only discovered it by blowing the closet up. We found records, bits, drugs, and a few other unimportant things.”

“How bad was the smell?”

He grimaced. “Those bodies were terrible. And that dragon… Ugh. You left a terrible mess, Nav.”

“Hey, just be glad that most of them surrendered. Otherwise it would have been a lot worse. How’s everything been since then?”

“Quiet. Disturbingly quiet. This place isn’t like Canterlot or most of the other mainland cities, Nav. There’s crime here. Now, though… Whatever you did, it looks like you stopped a lot of bad things from happening. You did good, Nav.”

I just shrugged.

“Hey, none of that!” he said. “You did something wonderful for this place, Nav. You should be happy. I know you’ve had a rough time of it, but from all I can see the dark is over. Your life looks like smooth sailing from here on.”

“I thought that once,” I answered. “When I first got to Equestria. I didn’t have an easy life on Earth. After a few months here, I thought I could make this place a nice home. Sure, the locals were wary, but they slowly warmed up to me. And then it all went to hell. I thought it would get better. Then it went to hell again. That repeated a few times. Now?” I waved a hand. “Fuck it. Life isn’t going to get better for me here, Shiny. Not until I get out of Equestria, at least.”

“Way to kill the mood.” He drank a little punch. “But if you’re sure you want to get out of Equestria… Well, my wife and I are going to our little principality. We’re still technically a part of Equestria, but she pretty much does as she wants. You are welcome there, if you help around the kingdom.”

I snorted. “And trade one mistress for another? No. I had something else in mind.”

He looked at me, worry in his eyes. “So you meant it? You’ll really leave Equestria entirely?”

I nodded. “I’m thinking about it. What known civilization wouldn’t want me? Where would I not be welcome? Where would I not be treated considerably better than here?”

He sighed, looking down. “When?” he asked after a moment.

“A year, if things don’t get better. You and Celestia are the only ponies that know. Don’t let the word spread. If I catch any hint that anyone knows I’m leaving, I’ll be gone the next day without a word.”

“I understand. Just remember that you owe me and my wife a conversation when we get back.”

I waved a hand. “Yeah, yeah. Any hints as to what you want to discuss?”

He shook his head. “Only that I think you’ll probably say yes.”

I sighed and pulled a flask from a pocket and took a nice draught from it. “Shiny, where’s a good place to learn to use a sword in mainland Equestria?”

“The naga. Now that the Diamond Dogs are… gone… the naga are the only ones that use swords in combat. Don’t you know how to use a sword?”

“I know that the pointy end goes in the bad guy. That’s all that I know.”

He looked at me, shocked. “How are you still alive if you can’t even fight?”

“Because I’m fucking smart. But I almost died fighting the criminals because I couldn’t fight. It’s high time I learned.”

“So, what, you’re going to live with the naga when we get back?”

I smiled. “I have something else in mind.”

He rolled his eyes. “You always do. Do I need to worry?”

“Well, naga are mercenaries, right? I’ll go to the clan I’m friends with and hire one to come to Ponyville to teach me. That’s not illegal, is it?”

“Well, it’s not illegal, but it might scare some ponies that have never seen a naga before, which most haven’t. They are big and evil looking, after all. Is there any way you could hire one and keep him away from Ponyville?”

“I… could. I know of a few caves in the Everfree that he could probably take up residence in. Or he might be able to live with Fluttershy. I’ll look into it.”

“Eh, whatever. After the war games, I’ll be leaving Equestria for a while anyway.”

“Man, where is your wife’s kingdom, anyway?”

“It’s—”

“HEY GUYS!” Pinkie shouted, bouncing up. “Why aren’t you two having fun?”

“Because fuck you, that’s why,” I answered.

“Well sorry, Mister Grumpy McGrumperson! What about you, Shiny? You should be playing games, like pin the tail on the pony!”

Shining Armor grimaced. “I think I’ll pass.”

Pinkie giggled. “You say that like it’s an option. Come on, Shiny!”

He looked to me. I met his gaze and shrugged. He sighed and set his punch down before standing and being led off by Pinkie.

His place was quickly taken by Celestia. “You know, that game does sound fun,” I said, standing. Her hoof shot out and pulled me back to the chair. “On second thought, maybe I’ll wait.”

“Breaking and entering is a very serious crime,” she quietly said. “Especially breaking and entering into the princess’s personal chambers. And I still remember that little stunt you pulled during my speech.”

“That wasn’t me!”

“Of course it wasn’t.” I felt her hair start to drift to my lap. “But you still owe me, I think.” Somehow, some of the hair got through my belt and into my pants.

I caught my breath. “Celestia, I’m really aching. I’ve had way too much sex this week. I know you think I owe you and that’s cool or whatever, but I really need some time to recover.”

She giggled, not letting her assault up. “And what about my needs? I haven’t had anypony inside of me in months. What your friend did after Cadance’s spell hit her woke up my estrus, and I really need it.”

My hands balled into fists as I tried to ignore what she was doing. “Tonight, then,” I said. “I’ll come by your chambers tonight. I just really need a few hours, Celestia.”

Her hair stopped. “Only tonight?” she said.

“We’ll see about longer. After Luna’s estrus, that is all that I will promise.”

Her hair withdrew. “That is fair. I have one rule: Don’t bring your ring.”

“I’m not certain I’m comfortable with that.” Her hair moved toward me again. “But I suppose it is something that I can deal with.” Her hair went back to doing whatever. “How do you even do that, anyway?”

“Do what?” she innocently asked.

“Whatever. So am I competing tomorrow or not?”

“I have decided to lift your ban, at least temporarily. If you misbehave during this tournament, your ban will be returned.”

“I didn’t misbehave during the last one!”

“Keep telling yourself that. I will confirm that it is a setting you will be able to fight in.”

“Cool. I’ll fuck some bitches up, then.”

She sighed. “Must you be so vulgar all the time, Nav?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t lie to me, Nav. It’s unhealthy.”

“So is eating cake for breakfast, but I see you doing it every time I stop by.”

“Spare a princess her comforts, Nav. Solaire alone knows I have few enough.”

“And apparently I’m one of them.”

“Well, you are fun to work my aggressions out on. You actually fight back.”

“I suppose you’ll feel quite comforted tonight, then. Just make sure your bird isn’t watching.”

“I don’t think that will be an issue. After the stunt you pulled, Philomena is not pleased with you.”

“Boo hoo. Your bird is a dick.”

She rolled her eyes. “Philomena has always been pleasant to me. It’s hardly my fault that she enjoys games.”

“Games she learned from watching you. She’s a cunt to everyone else because she can get away with it; who would hurt the princess’s pet?”

“Oh, you’re always just looking for the worst in others.”

“That’s because the worst is so often the side of others that I see.” She couldn’t really answer that.

She sighed. “I will see you tonight, Nav. Try not to be seen, if it is possible. If you are… Well, I don’t suppose it really matters.”

I nodded and she went back to the party, leaving me alone once again.

As much as I knew I wanted to, I couldn’t make myself look forward to the night. Although… If Luna was watching, I would give her a nice little show. I know that I shouldn’t taunt her, but if she was going to be a bitch about the breakup then I saw no reason to hold back.

 

For some reason, Celestia put me to sleep when we were finished. I honestly don’t know why. When I woke up, I found that I was apparently spooning her. I knew she had to have put me in that position herself, because I don’t move when I sleep.

Either way, I quickly pulled away from her silky-soft side and started looking for clothes. Thankfully, they weren’t that hard to find. Not so thankfully, she was awake when I put my hand on the door. “Leaving so soon?” she purred.

I turned to her. “Yeah. We both got things to do today, I’m sure.”

She sighed. “Can we turn this into a regular thing?”

I crossed my arms. “How regular?”

“Whenever one or the other of us needs to work some stress off.”

“Celestia, I would be fucking you every minute of every day.”

She giggled at the idea. “That would certainly liven up some of those dull meetings I have to attend every day… But I would try not to be unreasonable, as I’m sure you would as well. We both have very different lives to lead.”

I thought about it. “I’ll agree on a few conditions. One, keep feelings out of it. It’s sex, not a relationship. Two, if either of us wants to stop, we stop, and that’s the end of that. Three, if you do any experimentation without asking me, we’re done. I might think of more later.”

“Those are acceptable. Sadly, it will be some time before we can begin properly, but that is no matter. Now, I have an awkward question that I fear I must ask. Are you avoiding Luna?”

“Not really. I mean, I live in a different city, so I don’t have many chances to see her anyway. I just don’t really like being around people that I’ve had a conflict with like that. Especially not since I know she did the dream thing on purpose. I think that she might be more than a little bitter.”

“Well, she’s certainly not pleased. She loved you—or she believed she did, anyway. Honestly, I thought she was above what she did.” It amuses me that she didn’t try to deny that Luna did it on purpose. I’ve about given up on getting a fair deal in this damn place. “I also thought she was above turning into Nightmare Moon, so I suppose that shows how much I truly know her…”

“I’m tired of sticking my dick in crazy. If you go off the deep end, don’t take it out on me. And if you start getting attached because of the sex, let me know so we can work that out and fix you before it gets worse.”

She blinked. “Is the thought of a relationship with me truly so horrible?”

“No. It’s the thought of a relationship with any pony. I know why Twilight and all of her friends are single. The few stallions in Ponyville know better than to go near them. Same for most of the rest of the mares. You are all crazy. Braeburn and Smiles have the right idea but a poor execution. I think I’ll keep any romantic relationships past sex to races that aren’t ponies.”

She sighed. “I suppose that is fair. After what you’ve been through… Well, I suppose it’s a wonder you’re able to do even that much.” She was silent for a moment. “So what’s your plan for winning the tournament?”

I grinned. “Why Celestia, telling would take all the fun out of it.”

 

I had no idea how I was planning to win the tournament. I honestly wasn’t planning to do well at all. I just wanted to enter to see how long I would last.

When I got to the staging area and had all of my weapons magically castrated, I was given a map. It was an underground cave. Celestia, you bitch! So much for it being a jungle… Thankfully, I wasn’t wearing my armor either way; I was expecting a jungle and black armor in the canopy would not work well.

I looked around to see my competition. Kumani was heading the dragon group. Jocasta, Miguel, and Rock were the cat group. Shining Armor, a pegasus in a gay looking jumpsuit, and some random earth pony were the pony group. Minerva headed the dog group, with what looked like two of the squad leaders next to her. I didn’t recognize anyone leading the changeling, naga, or griffin group.

No one so much as looked at me the entire hour before the tournament started.

I teleported into the end of a long passage. I held my crossbow in a ready position and creeped forward, making as little noise as possible. I stopped at the end of the hall and saw that it T-boned into two other ways. I got against one wall and looked around one side as far as possible, seeing nothing. I poked my head around the other and saw a griffin. I shot back around and listened.

“I can’t believe that bitch put us in a cave! Maybe her magic ponies can create light, but we sure as Tartarus can’t,” one whispered.

“Can the whining,” another one said. “The only way we’ll get anything is by hearing it coming.”

I looked around me and saw a few decent sized rocks. I grabbed one and chucked it down toward them, trying to get it past them. It obviously worked, because when I looked around again, they were all tensed up facing that way. I grinned, grabbed another rock, threw it, and quickly aimed the crossbow. Right as the rock landed, I shot one of the griffins.

That griffin disappeared just as the other two bounded down the hall toward the sound. They let out squawks when they realized they were attacking nothing. “Sound off!” one of them quietly called after a moment of confusion.

“Here,” the other one said.

There was a moment of silence as I lined up another shot. “Oh feathers, we got duped!” He took a bolt to the face as the other one bounded down the hall. I reloaded and walked a bit farther into the tunnel where I spawned, just listening. I could hear sounds of fighting echoing through the walls. Only naga and the changelings could find anything in this mess; of the races, they spend the most time underground.

Knowing that the surviving griffin might have a trap set up for me, I went the other way from where he was. Again, I held my crossbow at the ready and was walking as close to a wall as I could get without touching it.

Slowly, I became aware of a light farther down the tunnel. I knelt down and held the crossbow up, aiming at it. As it got closer, I slowly saw the shape of Shining Armor leading it. He and his crew were surrounded by a shield.

I turned and saw that the path behind me was clear as far as I could see. I began walking back, a plan forming in my mind. When I got to the fork, I took the turn and waited.

Three minutes later, the ponies showed up. “Sir?” the earth pony whispered as they stopped.

“We pass it,” Shiny answered. “Just keep watching our back.”

I chose that moment to burst from the shadows, dual wielding knives. I sprinted through the shield and vaulted over the very surprised pegasus. While I was still in the air, I kicked Shiny in the face and then slit him open while he was down before sprinting back up the path they came from.

“GET HIM!” the pegasus roared as I disappeared. I got as close to the wall as I could while they sprinted and flew past me, completely unable to see in the dark. I imagined that they would quickly be picked off by someone else.

I grinned as I turned around and came face to face with a dragon. “Oh fuck me,” I said.

“Later,” Kumani answered with a grin. I jumped back as she swiped at me and tossed one of the daggers at her. She flinched as it embedded itself into her stomach. “These things aren’t supposed to hurt me!”

“I hope you like naga steel!” I yelled as I ran the fuck away. She bounded after me.

I quickly caught up to the ponies, who were charging my way. “There he is!” They dropped into fighting stances as I jumped right over the pegasus.

“Have fun with that!” I yelled.

“GET BA—” His yell was quickly cut off by a yelp of surprise as Kumani found them. I heard sounds of unpleasantness as I stopped cold and pulled my crossbow up. I aimed it down the hall and saw Kumani slamming a pony into the wall. I shot at her head just as the pony disappeared.

She looked my way with a bloodthirsty grin just in time to catch a bolt right between the teeth. She clutched at her throat as I quickly reloaded and shot her again, sticking a bolt out of her forehead. She ripped it out with a snarl and bounded after me.

I sighed and pulled my axe out. I was hoping to avoid using it, but if steel is what it took to bring a dragon down, steel is what I would use.

She dove at me, talons first, several hundred pounds of dragon coming right at me. I dove to the ground and spun over just enough to rake her belly with the axe as she cleared me. She landed hard, clutching at her stomach.

“Sorry doll,” I said as I stood. “You know how it is.” I quickly reloaded the crossbow and aimed at the eyes that were looking up at me with rage. I sent her back to the staging area with a nice sounding twang from the crossbow.

Now if she’s here, where are the other dragons? I looked back down the way we came and saw no one. I looked back down the way the ponies came and also saw no one. I’d rather run into the unknown than more dragons. I reloaded the crossbow and grabbed my weapons from where they fell and continued down the pony path.

I was walking for two minutes when I came to a four-way crossroad. I took my time checking every direction that I could before using the corners to sidestep into the left passage, spending as little time in the middle as possible. That done, I sprinted down the left passage for a few seconds; crossroads are great places to set up ambushes, especially in dark tunnels.

It didn’t take me long to find a dead end. I sighed and walked back to the crossroads, repeating the slow procedure to make sure nothing was coming. This time, as soon as I was ready to move, two changelings materialized out of nowhere. I spun around and kicked the one that I knew was behind my back and shot him before sprinting down the hall to let the remaining two come to me.

I heard them scuttling down the way I originally came as I readied myself for an attack. They were going toward my spawn, to where I assumed more dragons were. As I quietly walked back up to the crossroad, I saw why.

“What do you smell?” Minnie asked.

“Human. Pony. Changelings.” I knelt down as they looked up each path. Dogs don’t have very good night eyesight, but they have really good smelling and hearing. I controlled my breathing as I watched the two dogs.

“After the cat surprise, I don’t know if I want to run into the human. They have similar styles, or so the dogs on his squad reported.”

“Changelings are that way,” he said, pointing down the path to where I spawned. I hefted the crossbow.

“Then that’s where we’ll go,” she said with a nod. I shot the smelling dog right as he nodded. He disappeared and Minnie whirled around to face my direction. She eyed the darkness as I reloaded before sprinting down the tunnel toward the changelings.

From the sounds of things, the cats were taken care of, the griffins were gone, the ponies were gone, the changelings were wounded, the dogs were almost gone, and the dragons were missing at least one. That left the naga. Assuming the dragons ran into the naga, that means they were taken care of as well, if Kumani was the sole survivor. It was a lot easier the year before when we could just look into the sky for scores.

So all of the enemies are in one direction… I hefted my crossbow and began walking back to the crossroad, aiming toward the direction I knew the enemies would come and sliding along the wall away from the right way.

Minerva came sprinting out of hall and just kept running. The changelings followed her but they veered off to the side that I wasn’t in, quickly disappearing. I knelt down, aiming the crossbow to where I figured something was chasing them.

Lo and behold, a very pissed off naga was slithering down the cave. He stopped right at the crossroad. “There you are, little puppy,” he hissed. I assume that Minnie stopped right at the edge. The naga drew himself up to his full height. “Are you ready to meet your end?”

“Come and get me!” was the answer and I heard the ringing of two swords hitting each other. I grinned and readied myself. The naga slipped out of the tunnel. The changelings pounced on him and I shot him in the neck. They dragged his body to the ground as it thrashed madly, trying to escape the impromptu ambush.

Minerva stepped into the hall just as I remembered something very, very important.

I reached into one of my pockets and pulled out one of my last flash bang grenades. I grinned as I tossed it toward the center, just as Minnie slammed her sword into the naga’s chest. I pulled my goggles down as the world erupted in white. Three cries of pain rang out and I heard Minerva’s swords clang to the ground.

I pulled out my axe. I walked up to the group and saw that the changelings were on the ground, trying to open their eyes but finding it too hard. Minerva was scrambling around for her swords. I casually swung the axe down at her, sending her away. I rolled one of the changelings over onto his back with my foot and sent him away too.

I looked at the last one and thought about asking if he had any last words, but figured it would be stupid to say in case anything else was still around. I ended his career in the game with another axe swing.

I looked around to find that I was still in the caves.

“So who the hell is still alive?” I asked aloud.

Only Flo answered me. “We know the griffins, ponies, dogs, and changelings are gone. We can assume that the naga and dragons are gone. Which just leaves…”

“Cats,” I answered with a sigh.

I heard an evil laugh coming from all four sides. I pulled my crossbow up and reloaded it as I looked around. Miguel.

I began walking down the path that the dogs came from. Keep an ear out, Flo. I don’t want this fucker anywhere near me.

“I understand that,” she answered.

Logically speaking, I already have the most kills. Even if I get killed, I’ll still get something.

“So if you kill yourself, will that count as another kill?”

I shook my head, clearing it of our idle musings. I’d rather win two things than just one, selfishness be damned.

“Come into my lair,” I heard the walls whisper.

“Said the spider to the fly,” I answered in a voice just as quiet. “I have a feeling that I won’t be as easy bait as the fly.”

I heard Flo shout a warning and I felt a numbness along my back as I spun and slammed the crossbow forward, knocking Miguel back. I aimed the crossbow as he recovered and pulled the trigger, but somehow missed as he leapt to the side. I kicked out as he jumped forward, only to have him slam his knife into my leg, making the entire thing numb.

I grabbed the paw with the dagger and wrenched both it and the dagger out of my leg, dropping the crossbow in the process. He swung his other paw at me and I saw it had a dagger as well. I caught that arm and slammed his paws together, making him drop both of the knives.

He jumped up and slammed his feet into my chest, making me lose my grip on him and sending us both to the floor. I pulled out my spare dagger and spun around, slamming my dagger into his head just as his entered mine.

We both teleported back to the staging room on the ground, thankfully in different places. Kumani hauled me to my feet. “About time!” she growled.

I shook the numbness out of my head, shivering at the feeling.

Someone from the crowd called out, “So who won?”

“It was a tie,” Celestia answered, making herself known. “The prize money for winning will go to the cats, since Navarone also has the most kills. Navarone, come with me.”

There were a lot of angry mutters from the crowd about that. First, that it was a tie. Second, that they couldn’t yell at me for ruining their competition yet again. I gathered up my weapons from around me and followed Celestia.

When we were away from everyone, she asked, “So how did you create that light?”

I grinned. “Human secret. It isn’t magic, so don’t worry.”

“And does anypony else know how to do it?”

“I doubt it. The materials that I couldn’t loot from Twilight’s lab, I got from Zecora. Twilight was looking over my shoulder as I did it, but I don’t think she could do it by herself. She probably couldn’t even name everything that went into it.”

“And it can’t kill anypony?”

“It would probably hurt like a bitch if it exploded right in your face, but I don’t think it could kill.” The mustard gas, however…

“Very well. I will allow this. It will be interesting to see how it is used during the war games. And between you and me, that cat’s dagger hit you first.”

“Then why call it a tie?”

“Because we’ve never had a tie before. I just wanted to see it happen and this was close enough to one.”

I sighed. “You’re a terrible person, Celestia.”

She shrugged. “I learned from watching you.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Somehow I find that hard to believe.”

“That’s probably because it isn’t true. Now, I fear I have business to return to. Try not to get murdered by angry competitors.” With that, she merrily trotted away.

I just shook my head and turned back around to find Pinkie with a wide smile. “Can I hug you?” she sweetly asked.

“I’d prefer you didn’t.”

“Too bad!” Thankfully, she didn’t plow into me. She just stood up on her hind legs and wrapped her front legs around me. My suffering was not prolonged and she quickly pulled away. “You did great! Well, up until the end.”

“I’m surprised you were watching. I didn’t figure you’d find it interesting.”

“One of my friends was playing. Of course it was interesting!”

I raised an eyebrow. “Which one of your friends?”

“Nav, you’re too smart to play dumb. Now come on, you have fans to talk to!”

“I doubt that. I imagine most of them are mad at me. I’m the only human here, meaning that instead of earning glory for my people, I stole it from everyone else. Last year they were outright pissed. I can’t imagine they’ll be very happy this year either.”

“You’ll never know until you find out!” She somehow grabbed my hand with one of her hooves and dragged me down the hall toward the staging room.

Thankfully, it was empty when we got there. “Well, I guess that’s that,” I commented as I freed myself from her oppressive grasp. “I’m just gonna go.”

“Go where?” she asked as she followed me out.

“To eat, probably. The last thing I had was some chicken or bread or something a few days ago. I wonder if anyone has steak.”

“What’s a steak?” she innocently asked.

“A kind of meat. Not important. Remember, today is our last day here, so party to your heart’s content. I know I’ll be saying bye to a few friends.”

“Can I come?”

“Trust me, Pinkie: If I find a steak, you don’t want to see me eating it. I know you’re okay with meat eaters, but it won’t be pretty.”

She sighed. “Okay…”

“I’ll see you in a few hours, then.” I spread my wings and jumped into the air. I coasted around, looking at various areas that dealt in meat. I followed my nose, in some cases. It took me half an hour, but I finally found a place with steaks. I landed and happily ordered one from the griffin at the grill. Thankfully, he didn’t seem to care who I was and in no time I was merrily eating away.

When I looked up from the shredded steak, I saw Kumani sitting across from me. “I see you enjoyed yourself,” she idly said, likely looking at the bits of meat stuck in my grinning teeth.

“It was like an angel came in my mouth. What do you need?”

“What is an… angel?”

I waved a hand. “Not important. So what happened to the other dragons in the competition?”

“We split up at the beginning, reasoning that any one of us was worth at least three of some of the other races. We were not expecting to run into naga and a griffin at the very start. The other two were taken down by naga, but gave as good as they got. I took down the griffin with no real issues. Then I bumped into you. I’ve never seen you fight, not really. That was disgraceful, Navarone.” She didn’t sound disapproving, though.

I shrugged. “I won. Sort of.”

“And in doing so, you removed the chances of just about everyone else of winning the team award. It looks like the changelings will likely win it.”

“That’s hardly my fault. I mean, I can’t win that award anyway.”

She shook her head. “So selfish. It reminds me of myself, in a way. Now come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”

“Do I really have a choice?”

“Of course you do. You can either come willingly or I can carry you.”

I sighed. Fucking women, man.

 

When all of my goodbyes were properly said to Kumani, I unsteadily took off to visit Kat. Unsteadily, because Kumani took a very fun interest in saying goodbye to my wings.

I landed outside the cat mansion and walked up to the door. The guard at the door stopped me. “What do you want?” he asked.

“I want to talk to Kat,” I answered.

He crossed his arms. “And why should I let you in?”

I blinked. “Why would you stop me? I just want to tell a friend goodbye.”

He looked me up and down before shrugging. “Not like I could stop you anyway. Go on in.”

I went on in. There were a few cats bustling about, looking like they were getting things ready to go. Most of them looked up at me as I walked past them to Kat’s room. Thankfully, none bothered to challenge me.

Kat was, of course, in her room and in her bed. Alone. It was kind of depressing when I knocked and she just flatly said to come in. I saw her lying there looking all sad. She perked up when she saw me.

“So what happened in the tournament?” she asked.

I blinked. “Did no one tell you? Really?”

She grimaced. “No. Aside from a servant to feed me, I’ve been here almost entirely by myself. Jocasta came in twice, once to see if I was here and again to deliver my pay.” She waved a hand at a bulging sack.

“That’s seriously depressing. Miguel and I killed each other at the same time, making the tournament a tie. I got the most kills. Speculation is that the changelings will get best team.”

She sighed. “So you won again. Sort of. How did you learn to fight so well so quickly?”

“I didn’t. I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag. I’m just really good at using a crossbow and I’m not stupid. I also have a few human tools that make taking down groups very easy. I’m planning on learning how to fight soon, though.”

“If you come with us back to Egypt, I could teach you how to fight my way.”

“I would, but I have a daughter to look after and she doesn’t have good memories of Egypt. I plan to hire a naga from a clan near my home and have him teach me. Hopefully the learning process won’t be too painful.”

She grinned. “Learning from a naga, it probably will be. Still, it will do you good to know how to do something other than shoot that evil toy you have. Especially if you have to ration bolts again.” That happened during the March. It sucked.

I grabbed a chair and set it near her bed and sat down. “You really don’t seem that happy in Egypt,” I commented. She sighed and looked away. “Look, there’s a good chance I’m leaving Equestria in a year. Like, right after next year’s party. I have a fun plan for transportation. If all goes well, would you be interested in coming with me? I might need your talents where I’m going.”

“And where will you be going?” she quietly asked.

“First, to a place with a lot of cold. After that, I’ll probably be going to uncharted lands, south of mainland Equestria. Then, if all continues going well, I’ll be going to an ocean. After that… Well, I don’t know. It depends on how those first few meetings go. If it goes well, the epic journey of a lifetime will begin. If not… I’ll go exploring.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Just what is this about?”

“I’m helping a friend. That’s all I can say for now. I can’t offer you any kind of money. If you want to go, you can go. If not, then that’s that. I know Kumani is planning on going and I’m going to offer to let a few friends from Equestria go as well. And this is, of course, assuming I can provide transportation. I do have something in mind—” A floating pirate ship paid for by Celestia’s promise or my bits— “but I don’t know if it will go over.”

She was silent for a moment. “I’ll think about it.”

“And don’t tell anyone else, please. I don’t want it well known that I’m planning on leaving. It’ll be a relatively small and select group that goes with me. If I go at all, of course.”

“Don’t worry, Nav. I won’t tell anyone. Though… why now?”

“Because the princesses found my breaking point. I no longer care about Equestria at all. I have mostly good memories about it, but the ponies are essentially dead to me. I would leave right now, but I have things to take care of before I go.”

“What did they do this time?”

I grimaced. “Luna abused the hell out of me and then made all the ponies dream about me. Sexual dreams. It was not amusing. Celestia knew and didn’t do a thing. If you are royalty or a useful tool to Celestia, you won’t be punished.” Though that has saved me in the past, with Calix. And probably a few other times, actually. Of course, I wouldn’t have been put in those situations at all if it wasn’t for Celestia.

“I could see why that would upset you. But let us talk on happier things. Tell me, do you have any new stories for me?”

I looked at a clock on the wall. “I have a few hours.”

 

 

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