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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13. Chapter Ten—The Gala

Some time in late summer, Twilight and her friends were all invited to some event called the Grand Galloping Gala. These ponies sure like their alliteration… Anyway, none of the friends really wanted to go and after hearing their reasons, I agreed. However, Twilight felt it was her responsibility to be there, and decided to drag me along for whatever reason. Fucking women, man.

After some exhaustive preparations that went above and beyond what was probably required, we were off. Since it was just the two of us and neither of us really wanted to be there, we didn’t go all out on the transportation. Fluttershy told me that the last time they went, they used a pumpkin carriage or some crap. We just got a ride from a palace chariot the day before and stayed at Twilight’s old room so we could walk to the Gala the next night.

“Remind me again, why am I here?” I asked her as we sauntered up to the front doors.

“A few reasons. One, so I wouldn’t be alone if it came down to that. Two, Luna sent me a message asking me to make sure you came. Three, I want to see how immune you are to the impromptu song magic that happens occasionally.” My wings twitched at the third reason. God I hate that song magic shit. No random singing for me, no sir. At least Luna’ll probably bail me out, if it comes to that.

“Would it be chill if I just sort of hung out in the garden all night? It’s pretty nice there, as long as the animals will leave me alone.”

“Nope, you’re going to be right where I can keep an eye on you. I don’t know if I’d trust you loose in a room full of some of the most influential ponies in Equestria.”

“You still don’t trust me yet?”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you, but rather that you’ve already managed to befriend both princesses. Any more powerful friends and I might not be able to abuse you so much.”

“Yes, and that would just be such a travesty,” I wryly answered.

“Shush, we’re where ponies can hear us now!”

“The only people that will be listening are the servants. You can bet most of them are in someone’s pocket and some probably report to several people. The rich care too little to listen to the likes of us. Most probably won’t even notice me, since I’m not something that’s supposed to be in their world.”

“Wouldn’t that draw more attention to you?”

“Two possibilities: One, that I’ll be completely unnoticed unless something happens to bring attention to me. Two, I’ll be the center of attention the whole time. And since no one is even looking our way, I’m pretty sure the first will be true.” Now, that wasn’t entirely true. We were getting several sidelong looks, but no one actually addressed me. Most probably knew about me by now; I had been in their world for almost a year at that point and had been at the palace once as a personal guest of the princess. I suspected that if I ever found myself alone during this party, I wouldn’t stay that way for long.

I wasn’t specifically given a ticket, but since none of Twilight’s friends came along, I was given one of theirs. It was enough to get me in, though I was given an odd look by the servant watching the door.

When I got inside, I was somewhat astonished by the changes in the palace. When I went before, it was quiet, regal, subdued. Now, though, it was boisterous and bright, full and fabulous. We made our way to meet the host, Princess Celestia. She didn’t look overly surprised to see me and made little comment on it. Twilight had learned her lesson from the previous year, though, so we didn’t crowd Celestia for very long.

“So now what?” I asked as we aimlessly wandered around the party.

“We mingle!” Twilight happily answered.

“...Do you even know how to mingle?” I asked, already feeling a headache coming on.

“Of course! I read all about it last night, just as a refresher.”

“Oh God, we’re doomed…”

She swatted me with her tail and gave me a disapproving look. “That book was very informative, thank you!”

“You’re welcome.” And there’s the tail again. “You know, you’d probably have a lot more fun if you found a stallion or something to spend the party with.”

She tried to hide the blush forming on her face, but it didn’t work. “I… don’t think so. And uh… What about you? If I was with somepony else, what would you do all night?”

Go home? Hit up the library? Do almost anything other than this? “I’d probably find something.”

She snorted and said, “Like it or not, it’s important that everypony here knows you exist and know that you’re both civilized and relatively harmless. The ponies in the palace right now are some of the most influential in all of Equestria and could possibly have you hurt should they ever run into you elsewhere without actually knowing about you.”

I shrugged and replied, “Then I sue them and make bank. Everybody wins.”

“Except you’d be hurt. Or worse,” Twilight said. “So shush and let me try to find somepony to talk to.”

I cast my penetrating gaze about the room as she did the same, both of us looking for any easy targets with which we could converse. My eyes found someone first. “I see someone I want to talk to,” I said.

“Who?” Twilight asked, but by that point I was already walking. She just huffed and started following. It didn’t take long for her to figure out we were walking straight toward a harried looking Luna that was almost entirely surrounded by rich old fucks.

Luna’s gaze stumbled upon me as she was rolling her eyes and what was probably the first real smile she put on all night appeared on her face. “Ah, Navarone. It appears you received my invitation. I trust the guards gave you no trouble?”

“Not quite,” I said, crossing my arms. “I never got an invitation. Twilight told me I had to be here, but not why.”

Luna turned a disgruntled look upon the piteous purple pony, who gulped and said, “Oh, hello, Princess…”

“Twilight,” Luna answered, barely sparing her more than a glance before looking back to me. “Are you tied to Twilight Sparkle this night, Nav?” she asked.

“Not really,” I said with a shrug. “She dragged me here and said I had to stay with her, but fuck that.”

“Excellent. Then you shall be tied to me instead. You are a most useful deterrent, it seems,” she said, looking to her side. All of the toadies had scurried off while we were talking, from the looks of it. “Twilight, you will need to find somepony else to use as a social crutch.”

“But—”

“Come, Navarone. We have a party we must attend.” She started walking off without another word.

“Well alright then,” I quietly said. “I’ll see you back at your house, Twilight,” I said, louder. “Until then.”

“But—” I was already hurrying to follow Luna at that point, so I didn’t pay any mind to Twilight's whining. And since it seemed Luna was going outside, I had a feeling Twilight might not be following us. Well, she might have wanted to, but when Luna got out, she lifted her wings and started flying off. I joined her, though I was quite a lot slower. She matched my weak pace and flew next to me.

“So where are we going?” I asked.

“Getting away from the main event for some time,” she said. “Allow Twilight time to forget she was supposed to shepherd you. Maybe allow the foppish rich nobles that desire to suck up to me time to forget my presence.”

“So… where are we going?” I asked yet again.

“To the maze. ‘Tis a place of soothing. And it will give us a momentary place to hide.”

“How long are we going to be hiding?” I asked. “I mean, I don’t much care for parties, myself, but making fun of the rich behind their backs is a lot more fun than just sitting in a garden.”

“True. We shan’t take long. It will give us a moment to converse.” We were coming up on a giant maze thing now that I can’t believe I had never seen before, even though I was only in the castle for less than a day. We both landed in front of it and began walking in. “I started building my court according to the old ways.”

“How’s it working for you?” I asked.

“Exceptionally well. I’ve yet to have a single visitor. At all.”

“Hey, just think of all the time you have for your hobbies!” I joked, not quite liking the tone she had.

“That does little to assuage me, Nav. My reputation is… ruined would be an appropriate word. Most of those that do not think ill of me know little of me. I am beginning to gain some attention from the younger ponies, the… partiers, after visiting a few of their ‘clubs’. Apparently the nightlife is now much more lively. But I have yet to decide if such an… image is worth obtaining.”

“Hey, it’s better than nothing. How do you feel about art?”

“‘Tis a random question, but I do enjoy looking upon it. Why?”

“Well, I don’t know how it is here, but in my world, the night was a time for art and music, a haven for souls that wanted serenity for the perfect picture. I suggest doing some digging, see if it’s true here as well. If it is, become a patron of the arts. Theatre, painting, music, writing. Anything you can find or enjoy. Turn the night court into something exclusive, for the best of the best at the arts. It may not be the image you want, but it’s a start.”

“Once again, that is… something to consider. It does not seem to fit me very well, however.”

“It seems that you’re good with war and battle, but such things seem really uncommon now. Times change, Luna. Are you going to change to match them, or get left behind? Yes, this might not be something you’re comfortable with, and it doesn’t have to be your final choice. But you need to remake your entire image and I don’t think coming across as the princess of battle is the wisest of ideas.”

“...Very well. It is something I shall put to my advisors. We shall consider it strongly. And I suppose you would be the first one allowed into my exclusive court?”

“Oh God no. I fucking hate art. I don’t mind the products, but the actual process? Fuck no. And besides, the courtly life isn’t for me.”

“And once again you mention this… God. What is it?”

I sighed, thinking of ways to get around it. “You ask me who God is, but not what fuck means?”

“So God is a person? Is it your ruler? I believe the common ponies of today use my sister’s name as an expletive of sorts, occasionally.”

“That’s close enough to the truth,” I said with a shrug. Silence creeped its way into the conversation before I said, “You could also keep attending events. Like, Summer Wrap Up is happening in Ponyville in a few weeks. That’s something you could attend. Or plays. Concerts. Keep going to the clubs, I guess. All good ways to get your name out there. Get people talking about you again, in a good way. I can’t imagine being out here in the maze instead of in the party is doing good things to you.”

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “What do you suggest, then?”

“Go back in. Participate in the party. Talk to people. Don’t let your disgust show. As Twilight told me, the ponies in there right now are some of the most influential in the country. It might be a good idea to build your reputation up with them. Or at least, the ones that matter.”

“Perhaps. Again, how would you suggest going about it?”

“Man, fuck if I know. I ain’t never been to no damn high-roller party. If you were a guy, I’d tell you to dress fancy, have the hottest date, and be the social center of the party. That’s how it works in movies. But for you? No clue.”

“And why would that advice not work for me?”

I shrugged and said, “It might. I have no clue. You’re going to have to go without the hot date, though.” I knew as soon as I said it that I probably just fucked up. Her very knowing look told me as much.

“Are you… sure, Navarone?” she asked, slowly smiling.

“I can’t imagine I’d be ‘hot’ by any pony standard. And I have absolutely no desire to ever be a pony again, so yeah. Looks like you’re shit outta luck.”

“Nav, it will only be for a few hours.”

“That’s a few hours too many. And I wouldn’t even have a cutie mark or anything to wear. Hell, not even you have a dress.”

“I do, actually,” she said. “I just saw no reason to dress up for this occasion until now. And I know where we can obtain a suit that will fit you, but we will have to make holes for the wings.”

“And a cutie mark?” I asked, smiling.

“I can assist with that,” she said, her horn glowing slightly. “So it’s settled.”

“What? No it’s not. I never agreed to shit.”

She rolled her eyes and grabbed my hand with her hoof somehow, stopping me and turning me to face her. “Nav, will you be my date to the Gala?” she asked, her voice going a few octaves higher. She even put on a set of begging eyes that looked absolutely pitiful.

“...If I say no, will you start crying?” She nodded, her eyes already getting teary. “Fucking… whatever. But you better be able to block those damn pheromones. I don’t want what happened last time to happen again. Especially in such a public setting…”

“Worry not,” she said, her voice returning to normal and her eyes losing the tears. “Remain here. I shall be back momentarily.”

“What?” Instead of answering, her horn lit up and she teleported away. “Man, I really need to start saying no to people, I swear…”

I contemplated all the places my life had gone wrong until Luna popped back into existence next to me, wearing a rather strange dress. The front part of it was green with fanciful and flowering night-blue embroidery on it. From around her cutie mark and back, it was a flowing night blue, little sparkles and pinpoints of light appearing like stars. Lace covered it in alternating sections, creating a nice look. And along both sides of the lower back were two large peacock feathers, their colors fitting the rest of the ensemble very nicely. She had what looked like a string of pearls in her hair and a few flowery tendrils sticking out from her crown. Around her neck was a string of black pearls with a crescent moon centerpiece.

“Wow,” is all I could really say. “That’s… interesting.”

“Good interesting or bad interesting?” she asked, looking back at herself.

“I don’t know shit about fashion,” I answered, shrugging. “So it just looks… interesting.”

“Stallions,” she sighed, shaking her head. “Well, I managed to find a suit for you,” she said, holding up a clothes hanger with a normal looking pony suit on it. “Are you ready to transform?”

“I really don’t want to…” I said, trying to give her the same look she gave me.

“Your eyes aren’t large enough to pull off a proper pout,” she said, smiling. “So are you ready or not?”

“I’m going to need to take my clothes off first,” I sighed, already kicking off my shoes. “Since you just have to be so damn picky and can’t settle for a hot human instead.”

“Was it not you who said that you have few qualities we would be attracted to?” she asked, her smile turning to a smirk.

“I don’t remember saying shit,” I replied, pulling off my shirt. “And you better not be molesting me with your eyes when I get these pants off.”

“Don’t pretend you don’t enjoy it. All stallions do. Mmm…”

I tossed my shirt at her head, blocking her view. By the time she was able to get it off, my hands were covering my delicate organs. “Pervert,” I said.

“And you’re saying you’ve never sneaked a peek? I find that somewhat hard to believe, given how rarely mares cover themselves.”

“Not on purpose, no. Ugh, ew. Now are you gonna turn me or not? It may be summer now, but it’s still cold without clothes.”

“Yes, yes. Prepare yourself.” Having gone through the horrific transition at least once already, I knew there was no way to prepare for it. So I just stood there, waiting for the horror to begin.

And soon, the light from her horn reached nearly blinding levels before finally shooting out and slamming against me. The change began and ended quickly and painlessly, though not without discomfort. “Why does that spell have to exist?” I groaned, shaking my head at the sudden change in perspective.

“Because it is convenient, I suppose. You know, I don’t even remember where I found it originally… But that doesn’t matter. Put this on,” she ordered, thrusting the jacket thing at my face.

“That would be a lot easier if I knew how to use these damn hooves,” I said, waving one aimlessly. “Without fingers, they’re worthless to me.”

“Ugh. I could explain it, but it wouldn’t do you any good. Don’t move.” Before I could move or ask why I shouldn’t be, something picked me up. My ears flicked back, but she paid that no mind, just dressing me like a child. “Wish we could do something with your mane,” she idly mused, straightening the stupid bowtie I was now wearing. “But no matter. You are presentable, though you may not be the… what was it? ‘Hottest date’?”

“And you’re not even the least bit concerned what everyone is going to think when they see a princess there with a stallion? It won’t raise any kind of problems?”

“My sister informed me that it is semi-common for her to find a date for the Gala. Nothing romantic is usually meant by it, in our case. I assume the same will be assumed of this.”

“Good. Now put me down.”

“Not quite yet. Your disguise isn’t finished.” Something else floated up to me, this time my mouth. “Open,” she said, prodding me with the hunk of wood. Not knowing what to expect, I did so, letting her fit the chunk into my mouth. “Now bite.” Once again, I did, wondering just where she was going with this. “My apologies for this.” What?

And then there was a sudden searing pain on both sides of my ass. My eyes shot wide open as I gnawed at the bit in my mouth, almost silently screaming in pain. Just as quickly as it started, it ended, leaving me with just a raw ache on my sides. I spat the wood out. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

“It had to be done,” she said, moving closer to me, her horn pointed at my chest. I tried shying away from her, but she was still holding me steady. Thankfully, this time a healing wave shot from her horn, easing the horrible pain in my ass. “It is merely a makeshift cutie mark, but it will suffice,” she said, backing away and nodding as she finally let me drop to the ground.

“Did you have to fucking brand me to do it?” I asked, turning my head to see what horrible thing she emblazoned into my flesh. It looked like a black axe crossed with a black sword. Burn marks. Christ.

“I didn’t have to,” she said. “But this is the only way to guarantee it will stick. Now hold still one moment…” I felt something probing under my jacket and flinched as she caressed the outside of my wings with magic. Then there was a small tearing sound and she pulled my wings entirely out of the suit. “There. Now nopony can say that you do not fit well.”

“Since I’m technically a pony, I can say that,” I said, trying to cross my arms before realizing both were on the ground.

“Then I suggest learning quickly how to fit in. Are you prepared to teleport?”

“...Where are we teleporting? I want to practice walking before we go anywhere with people.”

“Just outside the maze. We shall walk in.”

“Wait, aren’t I going to need a new name?”

“...Yes, you shall. Hm… What would fit, I wonder?”

“Well, you seem to be making me out to be a damn berserker, with this stupid ass tattoo, so why not something Nordic? Egill?”

“You are no poet… But I doubt many would recognize his works these days. It will do.”

“Wait what? You actually know who that is?”

“Indeed. I did battle with that warrior-poet on at least one occasion. He was quite a nuisance at times, but his words were impressive. ‘Tis a story for another time. Are you ready, Egill?”

“...Sure. But don’t expect any poems from me.”

“Eye-candy is there to be seen, not heard,” she said. “If anypony asks you a question, answer it. But for your sake and mine, don’t go any further. Forming friendships with these rich ponies while not truly existing is not a wise choice, I do not believe.”

“So boring trophy stallion?”

“Yes. I can’t imagine such a thing appeals, but it is only for a few hours.”

“Hey, it just means I ain’t gotta do shit. We gonna dance as well, or just walk and talk?”

“...Do you know how to dance?”

“Human on pony, yeah. Pony on pony… probably.”

“Then should the need for it arise, we shall. Now may we finally return to the party?”

“You have my permission to take us back, yes,” I said, smiling. She rolled her eyes and teleported us to the entrance of the maze closest to the castle. “Alright, let’s see if I can get these shitty legs to work…”

“Those are very fine legs,” she said. “You shouldn’t degrade them so.”

“Don’t make this awkward,” I warned, slowly starting to walk. “I was not made for four legs.”

“Mm, but they were made for you…”

“I swear to God, if you don’t stop fucking with me, I’m going to leave you for your sister,” I said.

“Wouldn’t be the first,” she muttered. Louder, she said, “Very well, Nav. I shall… behave.”

“Good. This is going to be bad enough without you awkwardly hitting on me all night.”

“...Awkward? True, I have little practice, but I thought I would be better than awkward.”

“That’s what you get for thinking. Alright, I think I’m good to walk. Just don’t ask me to quickly go up or down stairs.”

“Excellent. Then come, Egill. Let us… mingle.” She didn’t understand my sigh of consternation. “Is that not the correct word?”

“You sounded exactly like Twilight,” I said.

“Oh. I shall definitely be more careful in the future, then. Warn me if I begin to sound anything like her.”

“Noted. Now can we go? Sooner started, sooner finished.”

“We shall delay no longer,” she said with a nod, heading toward the entrance to the palace. I fell in step beside her. “Should I feel some manner of nerves?” she asked.

“Eh, maybe. I feel general reluctance and some total and abject horror, but that’s normal at this point.”

“I’ve conquered tribes by the hundred, nations by the dozen. Orchestrated assassinations and grand thefts. I shan’t let a party beat me now.”

“And if all else fails, you have a feathery dress and someone that doesn’t want to be here at your side,” I said, smiling at her nervousness.

“Only one of those fills me with any confidence. At least I have a friend with me.”

“That’s the spirit.”

As soon as we stepped inside the palace, absolutely nothing happened. Everyone kept talking to each other or doing what they were originally doing. “I was expecting a more immediate reaction,” Luna quietly said, stopping and looking around.

“Why? We didn’t exactly make a flashy entrance.”

“...Were we supposed to?”

“We’ve already been over this, Luna. I’ve never been to one of these parties. All I can say is that small fry will gravitate to you because you’re a princess. The highballers are gonna hang back, see how the tides are. Just gotta chill and deal with the bourgeois for a little while before the real marks take the bait.”

She was silent for several seconds before slowly saying, “Are we speaking the same language?”

Before I could reply, some female horse said, “That is quite a striking dress, Princess. Who made it?” We both turned and beheld a smiling mare and a nervous-looking stallion.

I barely nudged Luna, getting her to answer. “A fashion designer in Ponyville,” Luna slowly answered. And that is when I stopped paying any amount of attention. I wasn’t getting paid enough to even pretend to care about rich people problems. Since my job was eye candy, I just smiled, nodded, and did my best to look good.

However, sometimes that causes problems…

“I shall be back momentarily, Egill,” Luna said after some time had passed. “Remain here.”

“Very well, Luna,” I answered, already dreading the time until she returned. Oh God, no crutch… Here’s hoping no one decides to talk.

I wouldn’t be so lucky. Not fifteen seconds after Luna departed did the falcon swoop in for its presumed prize. “Poor little stallion with no mistress,” a disturbingly sensual voice whispered next to my face, a caress against my ear. I flinched and turned that way, but there was no one there. Then another whisper came from the other side. “Just waiting for somepony to claim him…” Once again, when I turned that way, no one was there. My eyes narrowed when I felt a very unwelcome weight on my back. “Somepony that can make any fantasy come true…”

“Show yourself or leave,” I demanded, getting very tired of this game.

“Mm, commanding… I love being ordered around!” The weight slipped from my back and a long-legged white mare stepped into view. Her hair was white and pink and her eyes gave me what probably should have been a sexy stare but only looked silly because she was a horse. Every single thing about her screamed ‘SLUT’ to me. “And just who are you, my handsome stallion?”

“Egill, escort of Princess Luna,” I flatly answered, wondering if she’d let me leave if I just turned around and walked away. My guess was no.

“Oh? I don’t see her around here…”

“She went to retrieve something,” I replied.

“Hm. And when do you think she will return?”

“Momentarily,” I said.

“Plenty of time,” she breathed, inching closer. “What say you leave that old relic behind and spend some time with the most beautiful mare in Equestria?”

“Not interested.”

She blinked in surprise. From that blink, I immediately realized that I made a mistake. “A challenge,” she said with a slowly growing smile. “She’s been trapped on the moon for a thousand years. She’s rusty, old-fashioned. What pleasure could she give you that I could not?”

“The pleasure of good company,” I shot back.

Her eyebrows jerked slightly and I knew I scored a point. But the battle was far from over. “I’ve been voted the most beautiful mare in Equestria several years running. Several ponies have compared my beauty to that of a flame. Hot. Dangerous. Entrancing.” That last word was barely whispered, her voice going soft.

“A flame will light a room. The moon lights the entire sky and all the world under it. And what is your flame, that will flicker and die, when compared to the moon, as eternal and unchanging as the stars themselves?”

Her face was slowly becoming apoplectic. “I am rich, powerful, and young!” she practically yelled, drawing many heads our way. From the looks on their faces, they had already been listening, but were surprised to see the ‘debate’ going on for so long.

“Luna owns an entire country, not that wealth or power matters to one such as I. And with age comes wisdom, which is more fulfilling and attractive than any youth ever could be.”

One of her eyes was constantly twitching at this point. “I know every way there is to please a stallion!”

“And I imagine you’ve used every one on a different partner. I’ve no desire to throw a hotdog down a hallway and I imagine your cunt is even worse.”

Her mouth just dropped and her entire face turned red. There were gasps and snickers from all around us. “I will end you!” she hissed, trying to surge forward to throw herself at me.

She didn’t get any closer than she already was as Luna stepped out from the crowd. “I suggest you leave, trollop,” Luna declared, her eyes narrowed in rage. If I had to guess, I’d say her magic was keeping the mare away from me.

“This beast impugned my honor!” the mare shouted. “I demand dueling rights!”

“And you impugned mine when attempting to steal him from me,” Luna coldly answered. “I suggest you rescind your demand or I will press my dueling rights.”

I don’t know how much Luna’s reputation had to do with it, but the white mare’s ears flicked down. However, her eyes narrowed as her head turned to me. “You missed out,” she said as some stupid attempt at saving face or possibly getting the last word, since she turned around right after.

“On a disease, maybe,” I replied as she stalked away. “Well that was fun,” I said with a smile, turning back to Luna. She was also wearing a smile, but hers was… somewhat more sinister. “Uh…”

“Come, Egill. Let us walk.” Oh boy… We started walking through the party again, getting considerably more looks this time. When we were away from the place where the incident occurred, she said, “So… Not a poet, hm?”

“Uh… How much of that did you hear?”

“Oh, all of it…” she said, for some reason sounding very pleased with herself.

Fuck. “I’m acting as your date, right? It would be remiss of me to not support you.”

“But so vehemently? And with such wounding words to the poor mare… I imagine her pride will smart for some time.”

“It probably also made her your enemy. And mine, not that it matters. If she’s as popular as she thinks she is, we might have just cut off a major avenue for you.”

“Maybe. But my honor is more important, I believe. Now, would my champion like some boon for protecting his princess’s honor?”

“Nah,” I replied after a second of pretending to think. She actually froze a step in surprise, throwing her off balance. “So now what?” I asked, ignoring her shock.

She recovered quickly, I’ll give her that. “Most ponies know better than to deny a princess when she offers you a boon,” she slowly said.

“I’m not a pony,” I quietly shot back. “So again, now what?”

“We find something to dine upon,” she said, seeming somewhat disappointed. “Thankfully, there is little lack of variety.”

“You want me to find us a table while you go get something?” I asked, casting a short glance around the seemingly full room.

“Make it somewhere more… private,” she said, nodding. “I will have no troubles finding you. What would you like me to bring back?”

“I’m not hungry. And you would have to feed me anyway, with these damn hooves. So nothing for me.” I actually was hungry, but I really didn’t want her to have to feed me.

“Fine,” she said, almost coldly. “Find us a private table.” Jesus. Went from her good graces to making her upset that quickly? Bitches be trippin’, man.

Anyway, I quickly left her presence, allowing her to take her pick of whatever the fuck she wanted. Since I had a goal in mind this time, I wasn’t too terribly worried about anyone trying to confront me.

I was a fool.

Barely half a minute after I escaped Luna, a group of about five mares approached me. That put me on my guard immediately, given my past experiences, but they all giggled when they saw my face harden. “We aren’t here to steal you away, good sir,” the mare in front said, putting on one of the first genuine smiles I had seen all night.

“That’s… nice to hear,” I answered, not trusting it in the slightest. “How can I help you?”

“You already have,” another one answered. “It’s good to see that hussy put in her place.”

“Manners, dear,” another one said, patting the mare on the side with a hoof. To me, she added, “Fleur has a… habit of seducing stallions. Those she desires rarely put up much of a fight. Those that do… find bad things happening to them. With that reputation...”

“So we’re here to warn you,” the original one said. “What you did was well-needed, but be wary. Fighting against somepony like her is honorable and finding a stallion so loyal is commendable, but should you leave your princess’s side for long in the coming weeks…”

“You may have poor luck,” one mare finally finished.

“You needn’t worry about me,” I said. “This slut may be powerful and have some pull, but she would need a very long reach to bring any harm to me after this night is over. And my cutie mark is two weapons for a reason. She may attempt to harm my reputation, but she would be very hard-pressed to physically wound me.”

“Just be wary, good sir,” one of them said. “It would be a shame for something to happen to somepony so loyal and… handsome.”

“I’ll be fine,” I replied with what I hoped was a winning smile. “But I do need to go. My date has requested I obtain something for her. It would not do to keep her waiting.”

“It wouldn’t,” the original chick said with a nod. “Come, girls. Let’s see how Fancy Pants is taking it.” Each of them smiled and nodded before the whole group took off.

Bitches. Be. Trippin’. Anyway, with that little thing out of the way, I successfully managed to find a table in a relatively empty side-room that had a privacy shield should anyone want to use it.

However, it seemed my troubles were still not quite over. A servant came by moments after I sat down and dropped off a note. “Who’s this from?” I asked him, since there were no names on it.

“A nameless benefactor, sir,” he answered. “Now I’m afraid I must depart. There is much work to be done.”

I didn’t reply, since he was already leaving. That said, I couldn’t exactly open the letter, either, what with my shitty hooves. God, why would anyone want to be a fucking pony? This is awful.

Thankfully, Luna arrived shortly after, levitating two plates next to her. When she reached the table, she set them down and pulled down the shield thing. “There. Now we may finally converse once more in private,” she said, smiling faintly.

“We could’ve just left,” I said as she pushed one of the plates toward me. I didn’t even consider touching it.

“You were so insistent earlier that we—or at least, I—attend,” she said. “And yet now you seem so eager to depart. Is the party truly so deplorable?”

I lifted one of my hooves. “I am not a fucking horse, Luna. Being in this body practically makes me sick from how different it is. Look, I can’t even open this fucking letter!” I said, poking the thing with a hoof to no effect.

“Hm, a letter?” she asked, grabbing it with magic. “Who is it from?”

“Nameless benefactor,” I sighed. “Either one more to add to the long list of shitty pony names, or just some random guy that wanted to stay anonymous. A servant dropped it off.”

“Well, let’s see what it says,” she said, opening it and pulling out the precious contents before beginning to read to herself.

“Where I come from, it’s a felony to read someone else’s mail,” I said, my eyes narrowing slightly.

“I don’t think that is the case here,” she absentmindedly answered. “But it’s just an invitation. One on a date coming soon. It is for Egill, not Navarone.”

“And Egill will not exist past this night, so it doesn’t matter,” I said.

“Are you… sure?” she asked, looking up to me.

“Positive,” I nearly growled. “Might as well burn the invitation. Or just throw it away.”

“So be it.” And just like that, the paper disappeared in a flash. “Now, let us dine.” She began to pick at the random stuff on her plate. I just closed my eyes and relaxed, pretending to attempt to meditate but probably not really doing anything other than looking stupid. After some time, she sighed. “Really? Are you not going to eat?”

“I told you I wasn’t hungry,” I answered, opening my eyes. Her plate was empty and she seemed annoyed. “And the only way I could eat is if I shoved my face to the plate or you fed me. You don’t want to feed me and I don’t want to be fed, so there’s no reason for me to eat.”

“It is… disappointing that you have no desire to even try to use your hooves,” she said.

“And it’s disappointing that you expect me to try after me saying repeatedly how awful it is to be in this body.”

“...Well, for me, the party is almost over. You shan’t be trapped in such a form for long. There is just one more thing that needs doing ere we depart.”

“Good! Let’s do it quickly, then.”

...I didn’t like her smile. “Come then, Egill. Let us dance.” All I could do in response was sigh. “‘Twas you who made the offer, earlier in the night,” she said, grinning. “I was merely waiting for the opportune time… or for you to ask me.”

Good thing you didn’t hold your breath. “Then let’s find the dance floor, I suppose,” I said, pushing the plate away from me.

“You’re my date, Egill,” she said, pushing the shield thing up. “Try to sound more enthusiastic.”

“No promises,” I flatly replied. “But dancing will be… interesting. For better or worse.”

“Then come,” she said, standing. My wings twitched, but I joined her anyway. What the fuck else was I going to do? Though for some reason, she seemed to prance slightly as we walked, something that was rather disconcerting to me.

I didn’t comment on it, though. It didn’t seem like a wise idea. Soon enough, we reached the dance floor. “Should we just jump in?” I asked, eying the dancing couples. “Ballroom etiquette isn’t my thing.”

“We wait for the perfect moment,” she quietly said, watching the slowly moving mass of dancers. “...And insert ourselves,” she added, grabbing me and pulling me onto the floor. “Get your rhythm quickly,” she said, positioning herself appropriately.

As much as I hated to say it, the lessons Pinkie was forcing me to take paid off. It was different as a filthy horse, but the steps were similar enough that I could make do. So I fell into a rhythm, dancing across the floor with the princess of the night… her hair constantly falling into my face because of how it moved. Not the most pleasant of things, but she seemed to enjoy it well enough.

We got through one song and danced on through the next. And then the next. And then we got to one where partners were swapped. Personally, I was rather relieved about that. Not that dancing with Luna was entirely unpleasant, but she was a lot taller than me as a pony and it was really awkward and uncomfortable.

So it was unfortunate that one of my partners ended up being Celestia. “And how are you enjoying the night, ‘Egill’?” she coyly asked, putting a particular emphasis on the false name.

“Eh, it’s alright,” I answered, trying to hide the small surprise I felt to be dancing with someone as big as Celestia. “Wish it was over, though.”

“If you want, I’m sure I can arrange something more… entertaining for the two of us.”

“Not interested. I just want to get turned back as quickly as possible.”

“I suspected that was you,” she said, smiling widely. “I’ve a small warning, Nav.”

“Make it fast,” I said, noticing we were close to swapping partners again.

“Be mindful of your interactions with my sister. I heard what happened earlier…”

“It was taken care of, Princess.”

From the smile she gave me, I had a feeling that wasn’t quite what she meant. Before I could ask about it, however, she was swept away, getting replaced by a purple mare I was more familiar with. “You look… familiar!” Twilight said, seeming rather shocked.

“I wonder why,” I answered, smiling and taking her into my pseudo-arms.

“...Nav?” she slowly asked.

“And here I was, thinking you didn’t even know how to dance,” I said, tossing her off to the next partner. And so the dance went until Luna was once again in my possession. “I’m getting tired,” I said when that dance ended.

“One more,” she said. “Then we can get you turned back.”

“Deal.”

And of course, it turned out to be a slow dance. Since there wasn’t much else to do aside from control the few steps I had to make, I let my eyes wander across the floor. Oddly enough, many of the couples I saw were either kissing or nuzzling or other weird things. When I looked back to Luna, I found that she was looking at me.

In the light and with the smile on her face… With the night we had and all the fun we had before… It made me realize something. Man, Luna’s a fucking horse. Good thing she doesn’t want me kissing her.

Soon enough, the dance ended. She pulled me from the dance floor quickly enough. “So we’re done?” I sighed in relief as she began leading me toward the maze, where I left all my clothes.

“Perhaps,” she said, flashing me a secretive smile.

“As long as I can get turned back, I don’t give a fuck,” I sighed, popping my neck. We were nearing the maze, at least.

“You need not worry,” she said, moving closer to me as we walked. I unconsciously backed off from her. By the time we got to the maze, I was almost touching the wall and she was actually leaning into me. My ears twitched when she draped a wing over me to stop me from going any farther. “This was… nice,” she said, pulling me back to the middle as we continued walking to where I left my clothes.

I didn’t respond.

“We possibly made an enemy or two, but we made more friends, I think,” she continued. “And it was quite nice, hearing you defend me so.”

I stayed quiet.

“Ah, here we are…” she said when we found where we left my stuff just lying on the ground. None of it had been molested, thankfully. “Allow me to… unwrap you,” she said, biting her lip slightly. Before I could say anything, she grabbed me with magic and slowly started pulling the suit off me, smiling all the while. Soon I stood before her, naked but for my fur.

“It’ll feel good to be back in my skin,” I said, smiling and trying to ignore the growing pit of nervousness I felt in my stomach.

“Hm.” I felt the change overtake me as my body corrected itself, turning into the proper form. It felt… very right and much, much better. Of course, I immediately reached for my pants… But was stopped by a blue aura. When I looked up to ask her about it, there was suddenly a pony face in mine, pressing her mouth against mine.

Oh God! Oh God oh God oh God!

Thankfully, the horrifying moment ended quickly, a blushing Luna pulling away from my very shocked form. “Did… did you just…” I stammered, lost and confused.

“Is that not how dates end?” she asked, her blush subsiding slightly.

“But we… W-what?”

“We are—or were—acting as a couple, a date. I believe it is custom for dates to end with a kiss, is it not? Consider that the end of our… act.”

A sigh of relief flowed through me. “You had me worried there for a second,” I said, a nervous chuckle escaping my mouth. “So can I put my clothes on now?”

“By all means,” she said, looking away. For a second, I thought I saw some reaction on her face, but when I looked again she seemed relatively impassive, though slightly amused.

Either way, I wasted no time putting some clothes on, their familiar weight and warmth settling over me and protecting my naked form from the world. “Feels much better,” I happily sighed, checking all my pockets to make sure I had everything I should.

“Hm. Is there anything you desire or need from me before I depart?” Luna asked, looking back to me with a hint of hope.

“Not really. But are you okay? You seem… I don’t know, off.”

“I’m just… tired,” she said, though I had to say it sounded like a lie to me. “I had to wake up early for this party. Some rest will do me good.”

“Then go rest,” I said. “And don’t forget that Summer Wrap Up is coming soon, if you’re interested in attending. I imagine the ponies in Ponyville would be happy to see you.”

“I will make an effort to attend,” she said. “But farewell for now, Nav.”

“See you later,” I replied, nodding. Her horn lit up and for a second I thought I was about to get hugged again, but instead she just teleported out. “Man, she keeps teleporting instead of walking, she’s gonna grow as plump as Celestia…”

But that wasn’t my problem. I just started walking out of the maze, looking for the exit and whistling an old song. Despite being stuck as a horse for so long, the night wasn’t really all that bad.

...If I was smarter, I would have foreseen the beginnings of a very big problem that night.

 
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