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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42. Chapter Thirty-Four Part 2

Before Cadance left, she said, “We still need to talk, Nav.”

I gave a dark smile. “Good luck ever finding me. I’m getting run ragged all over the damn place. I was in Ponyville an hour ago.”

“What were you doing there?”

“Recuperating. Ask Twilight or Celestia if you want more details.” Her eyes went wide, but thankfully she walked out.

Leaving Taya and me alone with a person that wasn’t quite happy with me.

Rarity held her smile until the door clicked and then turned a very disapproving glance over to me. Before she could yell at me I said, “Taya quick! Use cuteness!” Taya jumped for a moment and then turned her gaze upon Rarity, who raised an eyebrow and looked at Taya for a moment before turning her gaze back to me. “It isn’t working! Cute harder!”

Rarity face-hooved.

“She’s growing weak. Quick, finish her with a hug!”

“Navarone, please…” She was cut off by a filly hugging her, looking up at her with large, watering eyes. I could practically see Rarity’s heart melting. She sighed. “Okay, fine, you win.”

“Awesome. Taya, you can stop now if you want.” Taya let go and walked back over to my side.

Rarity watched her walk away with a gentle smile before looking back at me. “Only you would think of weaponizing cuteness, Nav. Now come over here. I have four suits of armor planned, two for solar and two for lunar.” I went over to her table and she showed me four drawings.

“Which one is the lightest? As in, weighs the least?”

“Weight isn’t an issue with armor, Nav. All of this is going to be enchanted by either Celestia or Luna when you get knighted. You will be tapped over the shoulder three times. One will be an enchantment that permanently lightens the armor, one will be a spell binding you to the oaths you took, and one will be a complete revitalization spell, signifying a fresh start. Didn’t they tell you that?”

I shrugged. “I wasn’t really listening. But if my load isn’t lightened until the ceremony, it still won’t help if I can’t actually get there because I’m so weighed down that I can’t move.”

“No, that’s when your load will be permanently lightened. Princess Celestia knows of your strength problem, Nav. She’ll help you with that before you go.”

“You know, you’d think that if they could enchant metal to be lighter, they could enchant clothes to be as strong as metal. Hell, just bypass the clothes entirely and make the skin strong.”

She blinked and looked at me. She grabbed my shirt and gently pulled me down to face level with her. Then she used her other hoof to slap me across the face. Not hard enough to leave a bruise, but it did smart. “Stop it.” She let my shirt go. “Now pick two of these, unless you’ve decided which patron you want.”

I rubbed at my face. “Stupid cunt,” I muttered. I turned my eyes down to the drawings. Well, it’s official. Our worlds have merged at some point. One of the armor sets for Luna looked like Daedric armor from one of the Elder Scrolls games while the other one was unfamiliar—I assumed it came some time after I left—the only difference being a crescent moon stamped on the front and back breastplate and shield of each. One of the sets of Celestia’s armor looked like the light plate armor from one of the Fable games, while I didn’t even recognize the other one. The only differences were, again, the sun stamped on them. The second sets of armor that I didn’t recognize looked more badass than the ones I did.

I looked at Rarity. “I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but have you ever been in a large-scale battle?”

She gave me a very womanly look.

“Rarity, I wouldn’t be able to see in any of these if I was wearing the helmet. Honestly, it doesn’t matter given that as soon as the knighting ceremony is over I’m scrapping the armor, but still.”

She gave me a horrified look. “You can’t do that!”

“You would be surprised at what I can and cannot do, Rarity.”

“You don’t understand! One of the oaths that you take as a knight is that you will be the shield of the princess until your shield fails! If your armor gets lost or scrapped, your oaths will be vo—Why are you smiling?”

“Rarity, you just made me a very happy man. So all I have to do is destroy my armor and I’m no longer a knight?”

“Well, I guess you could look at it that way, yes. Why?”

“Oh, no reason…” I looked over the armor with much more interest.

“Navarone, what are you thinking?” Rarity asked hesitantly.

Which armor will be easiest to break? “Just trying to decide which of these beautiful sets I want, Rarity. You’ve really outdone yourself this time.” I pulled the medal out of my pocket while thinking. “Do you think you can do something with this? Or should I just not bother?”

She looked at it. “It would fit more on the Solar sets, but Twilight told me how you won those battles and your methods fit more on the Lunar armor. I can’t incorporate it. Sorry, Nav.”

I shrugged and slipped it into a pocket. “No worries.” I picked out the two sets I didn’t recognize. “One of these two. I’ll get back to you tomorrow about whether I’m going to be Solar or Lunar. Now, do you know who is planning my weapon?”

“Not my department, Nav. Didn’t the princesses tell you anything? They choose the weapon for you when you decide which you want as a patron.”

Huh. “That works. If you don’t need anything else, do you know where Fluttershy or Pinkie is?”

Taya cleared her throat. “I believe you need to see Twilight,” she commented.

I looked at her. She looked at me. I turned back to Rarity. “So yeah, do you know where Fluttershy or Pinkie is?”

“No pony ever knows where Pinkie is until she appears. Fluttershy is probably in the gardens. But if you need to see Twilight, you should probably go to her. Especially given how angry she was with you after that stunt you pulled. She didn’t say what you did to her in the labyrinth, but she was very, very angry.”

“Eh, she’ll get over it. Come along, Taya; we have a busy schedule.” I led her back out and down the tower. I couldn’t help but hum as we kept walking. Despite everything, I still felt pretty good.

“Daddy, what are you doing?”

“Walking. And breathing. Osmosis, mitosis, diffusion. Several other cellular operations. Humming. Thinking. Talking.”

“Oh. I meant… what’s that noise?”

“That’s me humming. I can stop, if you want.”

“No, that’s okay. It sounds… nice.”

“Well, if you knew the song I was humming, you probably wouldn’t think that way.” From what I had seen, Taya preferred classical music. I wasn’t humming that.

“If you like it, it can’t be all that bad.”

“But I’m a bad person, remember. Doesn’t that mean my tastes are also bad?”

“Not necessarily. And that’s also assuming that you are a bad person, which is a lie.”

“Yeah, well, I am a liar.”

She huffed. We walked in silence for a bit. I finally said, “I never did ask. Did Chrysalis hurt you when she looked into your mind?”

“No. It just felt… odd.”

“Are you just saying that because you don’t want me to kill her?”

“No. You can kill her if you want.”

“I’m glad to know you’re so understanding. I think I’ll hold off, at least for now.”

She shrugged and we continued in silence.

It didn’t take us long to find Fluttershy out in the gardens. She was teaching birds to sing or something. Since Fluttershy hadn’t noticed us, we sat back to watch. When they finished their song, I started clapping lightly, causing Fluttershy to jump and scare the birds away.

“Nav, you’re back!” She rushed forward and was probably about to tackle me into a hug when Taya restrained her with magic.

“Thank you, Taya. I am getting tired—oh so very tired—of being thrown on my ass whenever a pony wants a hug. Twilight actually broke both of my fucking wings today, she tackled me so hard. Now, if you want a hug, can you be reasonable about it?”

“Oh… Sorry for almost hurting you, Nav… Can I… can I have a hug?” I sighed exaggeratedly and stood, opened my arms slightly, and put on an impatient expression. She flinched and gently extended her forelegs.

I quickly grabbed her and held her in a vice grip. She “Eep’d.” I held her like that for a few seconds before letting her drop.

“Now why did you want a hug?” I asked.

“I heard you went… crazy… today. I saw you sitting there and you looked fine, so I assumed your mind was back to normal.”

“Well, it’s better than it was. Normal is pushing it. Now let’s go.”

“Um. Okay.” She fell into step beside me and Taya. We were at the castle before she asked, “So where are we going?”

“To see Chrysalis,” I answered. “As I said last night, she wants to apologize for threatening you.”

Fluttershy didn’t seem that comfortable with that answer. “Twilight asked us… to not see her. And she did seem awfully mean, Nav.”

“Fluttershy, you would probably be pretty pissed if a plan you were working on fell through in such a spectacularly bad way. Especially if your family depended on that plan being successful. It wouldn’t hurt to give her a chance, would it? I won’t let her hurt you.”

“I don’t know…”

“You’re too kind to refuse to let someone apologize. I think she feels bad for what she did and wants to make sure you don’t think ill of her for it. Surely you can give her that comfort, at least? You don’t have to stay long.”

“…Okay.”

“Cool. Oh, and don’t worry: We already tested the love poison, so I’m not going to get you to do that.”

“You didn’t hurt anypony, did you?”

I snorted. “No, but Twilight sure did hurt me. Like I said, she broke my wings.” She made up for it. “Celestia could have made a much smarter choice than someone as powerful in magic as Twilight. And I don’t even know why she had me drink that stuff when she knows that I’m immune.”

“She gave Twilight a love poison? That seems…”

“Dangerous?” I asked.

“Stupid?” Taya asked.

“Irresponsible,” Fluttershy finished.

“Well, yeah,” I said. “That’s Celestia for you. She tends to do things that would be funny rather than things that would be right. Sometimes, anyway.”

“Nav, that’s not tru—Well… Okay.” She had read my journal and she had a few experiences of her own with Trollestia. “But still, you could have been hurt!”

“She broke my fucking wings. I was hurt. I got better.”

Fluttershy shook her head sadly. “Somepony should really talk to Princess Celestia about her actions. One day she might make a really big mistake!”

“She wouldn’t do that, Fluttershy. She knows when to be serious and when she can goof off. She’s pretty old, remember? I have to say, though, she looks fine for her age.”

Fluttershy turned a funny color and stopped walking when I said that. I kept going, not paying her any heed. After a moment, she caught up and didn’t mention it.

Unfortunately, Taya did. “What does that mean, daddy?”

Now it was my turn to be red-faced. “When you get to be several thousand years old, I don’t think you’ll have a figure like she does,” I answered.

“Oh.”

“Nav… is that what you really meant?” Fluttershy asked.

I scoffed. “Hell no. You’re just too young to hear what I actually meant. I’ll tell Taya later, when you’re at nap time.” Taya giggled.

Fluttershy looked up at me and said, “I’m a year older than you.”

“What? You don’t even know how old I am.” How old were these ponies, anyway? I can never tell and no one ever tells me when I ask.

“I think what she meant,” Taya said, “Is that she’s more mature than you are.”

“Well, yeah. It would be hard not to be, with my mind up in smoke as it is. I mean, even Rarity is probably more mature than me right now, and we all know how zany she usually is.” That got a chuckle out of Fluttershy.

“Fluttershy’s normally more mature than you are anyway, though,” Taya said.

“Well that’s no fun. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to grow up. Fluttershy, you should live a little. I bet if you asked, Pinkie Pie could teach you to be a swinger.”

“What’s a swinger?”

“No idea, but I’ve heard the term back on my world and it was usually associated with partying and whatnot.”

“Maybe I’ll have to ask Pinkie, then. It certainly sounds… fun.”

“Swinging on trees can get old. That’s why I’m a human now and not a chimp.”

“You used to be a chimp?” Fluttershy asked, wonder evident in her voice.

“Not me personally, but my species. We evolved from them.” Not entirely accurate, but fuck all if Fluttershy knew the difference.

“I heard you mention that last night. What’s… evolution?”

I sighed. It was a long walk to Chrysalis’s room.

 

“…So you’re saying that you used to be a monkey?”

“Oh look, we’re here.”

“But then som—”

“OH LOOK, WE’RE HERE!” I knocked on the door, cutting Fluttershy off.

Doppel opened the door. “Why are you yelling at yellow quiet, Nav?” she asked.

“Because she’s asking stupid questions. Is Chrysalis free?”

“Yes. The queen is free.” She didn’t open the door any further and continued standing there.

“Can we… see her?” I finally asked.

“I don’t know. Can you give her proper respect?”

“Let them in, Doppel,” Chrysalis called out. “You know how Navarone is.”

With an audible ‘humph,’ the door opened to let us inside. We entered, Fluttershy gently closing the door behind us.

“I see you managed to escape your paramour, Navarone,” Chrysalis said with a smirk, showing off her fangs. Fluttershy shivered when she saw that.

“Yes. I did. What the hell did you do to her that made her break down the door?”

“That was your precious princess, actually,” Chrysalis said. “She told Doppel to turn back to her shape. Celestia then bent down and whispered something into Twilight’s ear. A few seconds later, the door exploded and your princess giggled.”

“Yep, that’s Celestia.” I turned to Doppel. “I have more memories for you, if you’re still interested.”

“I got plenty from Twilight. It was all fresh, too! I wanted to…” She paused for a moment and then continued. “Well, your princess told me no. It seems she didn’t have any compunctions about giving you the honor.”

“Well, that’s creepy.” I turned back to Chrysalis. “I brought Fluttershy back. I remember you saying you wished to talk with her.”

Chrysalis gave me one of those looks. It was the first one I had gotten from her, and the reptilian eyes really compounded it. Since they don’t have any effects on me anyway, the compounding didn’t do anything, but still.

“Don’t you look at me with that tone of voice.” She rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah, my mind is still a bit beaten up. I’ll just sit down.” She jerked her head to the armchair, which I gratefully plopped down in. Taya joined me a second later. Today has just been a really weird day. I gently pet her without thinking about it, zoning out again. I felt something brush my leg but ignored it.

And then I heard giggling and looked down. I was petting a filly version of Doppel. Taya was looking up at me with a bit of mirth in her eyes. I sighed and moved Doppel to one knee and patted Taya up to the other. My legs had a lot of pressure on them from two filly-sized creatures, but meh; I had two hands. I quickly had Doppel’s tongue lolling as I scratched at her ears.

Chrysalis and Fluttershy were talking, but again I wasn’t really paying attention. Chrysalis was a big girl; I’m sure she could take care of herself. And Fluttershy was too nice to fly off the handle.

…Probably.

Anyway, nothing bad happened. Fluttershy left after a few minutes, giving me a concerned look before closing the door. Chrysalis turned a disdainful eye to me. Or rather, to Doppel. “Get off him.” Doppel was too busy having her back scratched; she was arching into my hand like a cat. It wasn’t until Chrysalis turned into a large dragon and picked the filly-sized Doppel up by the scruff of her neck that Doppel realized she might be in trouble. Chrysalis glared at her with her glowing green eyes.

Doppel grinned sheepishly and turned back to her regular size with a shrug. Chrysalis unceremoniously dropped her, letting her slam into the floor. That done, Chrysalis turned back to her regular shape and sat back down. Or whatever it is ponies call what they do on couches. Taya moved to take over my entire lap again.

“How have you remained sane here, Navarone?” Chrysalis asked, as though that whole episode never occurred.

“I ask myself that every day. I take long walks and do my best to avoid ponies for long stretches of time. Spending a bit of recovery time in other continents helped as well.”

“And alcohol,” Taya added.

“Yeah, that has helped a bit,” I sighed wistfully.

“What is… alcohol?” Chrysalis asked.

“It’s a human stimulant. Or rather, a human depressant. It distorts the mind temporarily. I don’t know all the science behind it, but it basically does to every race what salt does to ponies. I don’t dip into my stores much, but sometimes I wake up and all I can do is grab a flask and sit on a cloud and drink.”

“I see. I don’t suppose you can obtain some of this substance for me? These ponies are driving me to my breaking point.”

“It’s just going to get worse when I bring in Pinkie. Tell you what: I have a few barrels of that shit at the palace. I’ll save one of them and bring it up here during the wedding reception. We can both get trashed and lament our sorrows together.”

She smiled darkly. Taya said, “Can I have some?”

“No, fillies don’t get to drink booze.”

“What about me?” Doppel asked.

Chrysalis said, “Navarone just said fillies are not allowed to partake.” Doppel pouted.

“Awesome. Now I have a good reason to not be there. The wedding will end, I’ll get knighted, immediately destroy my armor and get unknighted, grab some booze and come on up.”

Chrysalis raised an eyebrow. “You found a loophole, then? Good. At least you will find some freedom. Your princess has yet to discuss terms with me about the use of love poison and her ponies. I hope they will be terms I can find peace with, as I fear I am in no position to bargain.”

“You might be better off than you know. As Taya said earlier, records were found indicating that you did, in fact, come earlier as you said you did. That might be enough to send Celestia into a small guilt trip, giving you more favorable terms. And the more ponies you make peace with, the better light you’ll be seen in by the people here. As long as you keep pretending to be changed, you should be fine. And as long as you don’t come back and try to create trouble here again, you should be free to rule your people as you see fit when you leave.”

“Unless Celestia’s terms are something I find myself unable to agree with.”

I shrugged. “I honestly can’t help you there. She knows I have been spending a lot of time here, so she wouldn’t listen to me if I came to her trying to discuss what she wants to do. I don’t know what she has planned.”

“Then I suppose I shall have to wait until after the wedding.” She would probably be hung over, too. I’ll have to make sure she has plenty of water.

“If it makes you feel any better, Celestia will almost definitely offer you some manner of terms. When she requires my help, my choices are often either prison or doing as she asks.”

“And why does everypony consider her such a benevolent ruler, again?”

“Because she had your ass on the floor and decided to spare you instead of sending you to Tartarus.”

“Because you convinced her to.”

“What would you have done if you had someone that threatened your people on the floor at your feet, knocked out?”

“Imprison them so I could continually feed off their emotions. I am not considered benevolent. She is.”

“Well, she is usually very nice to her subjects. But I’m not technically one of her subjects.”

“Then how can she knight you?”

“Because she’s the princess and she does what she wants. Who the hell’s going to stop her?”

Chrysalis grimaced. “Can you not kill her yourself? As much as she trusts you, I don’t imagine it would be a hard feat.”

“Oh, I could do it in a snap. In fact, I have done it; she asked me to do a training exercise a few months ago where I was an assassin. I killed her easily. I did the same thing to Luna, three times. But if I actually killed them, I would never escape this palace alive. And apparently Celestia has some manner of effect on the planet, even though she lies about controlling the sun; if she dies, there would apparently be some terrible consequences.”

She sighed. “I feared as much. I already know you wouldn’t accept any deals with me, so I won’t bother asking.” I didn’t say anything. She continued, “I don’t suppose you have had any luck finding the pink one? I might as well get the pain over with as quickly as possible.”

“I ran into her earlier when I was running around with the crown, but I don’t know where she is now.” She grinned at the mention of the crown. “I could try looking around, if you want. I can’t promise to find her and bring her back today, though; that one is always elusive.” I could totally see myself walking around the entire palace looking for her, only to find that she was right behind me the entire time and just managed to turn with me every time I looked behind me. “Honestly, I’m surprised she hasn’t forced her way in yet.”

“That persistent pastel purple pony has already proven how difficult that is.”

“Pinkie Pie doesn’t observe the laws of reality. I could honestly see her teleporting in here. In fact, she’s probably watching us right now from somewhere.” I paused as we heard distant laughter. I continued, “She probably has your party fully planned, and is just waiting for you to give the go-ahead.”

Chrysalis smiled. “Now I truly am tempted to ignore her. I remember seeing some of her… abilities… when I was posing as that simpering fool, but to see if she could truly get past the defenses built into this room would be something.” We heard distant giggling again.

“I wouldn’t tempt fate. I’ll bring her here when I find her. I know you know how frustrating she is, so I’ll try to pay attention during that conversation and jump in when I can.”

“I have been handling myself fine so far. Mi Amore Cadenza was difficult to talk to, but Fluttershy was relatively easy. The pink one, though…” She shuddered. “I do not wish to talk to her at all; your help is welcomed.”

“If you really insist upon not using names unless you know the full one, Pinkie’s name is Pinkamena Diane Pie. Calling her that will annoy her, so that should be a plus for you.”

“Yes. That will do nicely. Now, I don’t suppose you’d mind if we talked in private for a little while?”

“Taya, if you return to my room, I’ll pick you up before I go looking for Pinkie. Or you can go wherever you want and I’ll find you later. Just stay out of trouble, as always.”

“I’ll be next door,” she whispered.

“Remember the code word, then.”

She jumped down and trotted to the door.

“Doppel, I require more books. Go and get something. You know what I like.”

She saluted and opened the door for herself and Taya, leaving me alone with Chrysalis.

She looked at me and stood. “If you tell anypony about this, I’ll kill you,” she warned, before shrinking to a much smaller version of herself and jumping into my lap. I put my hand on her neck and started gently scratching. She sighed lightly and sank down a bit.

One of my hands moved to her wings. I really hoped they weren’t sensitive like mine or those of pegasi, but I’ve done worse things than accidentally pleasure a filly-sized bug-queen thing. They really did feel cool, too; some of the holes were big enough to stick my finger through, and when I did, she gasped. Not thinking about that symbolism. Nope. I traced a few of the veins going down the dragon-fly-like wings.

The hand on her neck went up to her head and I gently scratched at her ears. They weren’t quite like pony ears, and they laid back farther, but they reacted the same to some nice scratching. After a moment, I moved my hand up to the area around her horn, gently rubbing it. Eventually, I moved my hand to under her chin, scratching it. Her leg started gently kicking when I did that. If Twilight could see her now, she wouldn’t be so angry. We all need a bit of comfort sometimes.

I stopped scratching her chin and she said, “So what did you mean earlier when you asked why I would look like Mi Amore Cadenza when I could look like myself?”

“Cadance is so… Eh. Aside from being an alicorn and a distinctive color, she just looks like almost any other pony to me. You, however…” I gently ran a finger down from the tip of her head to the base of her tail, causing her to shiver. “…unique. Striking. Definitely someone I would rather have a conversation with than Cadance. And what can I say?” I asked as I moved the hand working on her wings to the base of her tail and the other hand to her wings, rubbing her flank gently. “Evil is sexy.”

I heard that little chuckle that I thought was so adorable.

And then Celestia walked in. No knocks, no preamble, no nothing. “Ahem,” she coughed.

Chrysalis shot out of my lap like a fucking bullet and was back to her own shape before I could even look up. When I did, I saw that she was blushing a nearly luminescent green.

Celestia looked at her with what might have been disappointment before turning to me. “Navarone, come.”

I went to the door and into the hall. She followed me out. She led me down the hall to my room and then transformed into Doppel, where we proceeded to totally crack up.

“What are you two laughing at?” Taya asked.

“The look on her face!” I giggled. “Oh God, it was priceless!”

“The look on her face?” Doppel cackled. “You thought you were about to get castrated!” I wouldn’t go that far, but I think there was definitely some horror there.

“Oh God, she’s going to kill you when she finds out about this.”

“It was so worth it. Put that on my tombstone. Better yet, put a picture of her face when I walked in! I can just imagine the look on Celestia’s face if she actually was the one that walked in!” She burst out laughing again and I couldn’t help but join her.

“Oh man, it’s a shame I’m going to have to lock you in her room, now. That was almost too funny…”

“Wait, what?”

“You know, the whole no transforming without permission thing? That totally goes against it.”

“But… but… It was so hilarious! It was just the perfect timing!”

“I know, which is why I’ll consider letting you get away with it. But you’d have to owe me.”

She was suddenly on me, tracing a line down my chest with her fucked up hoof. “Oh? I can think of a few ways to make it up to you.”

I gently grabbed her two front hooves and pushed, causing her to tumble backwards. “A favor. I might cash it in later. Deal?”

She leaned up, rubbing her back. “Deal.” I grabbed one of her front hooves and hauled her to her feet.

“Now go back to Chrysalis. I’m sure she’s quaking in her carapace right now.” Her surprisingly soft carapace, actually. “If she asks why you don’t have any books, just tell her you saw Celestia and me going somewhere and you saw the severity on our faces and you rushed right back.”

“You really are good at this. No wonder those ponies keep you around.” With that, she was out the door.

“Welp, that made my entire year. Shall we go find Twilight?”

“What happened to looking for Pinkie?”

I waved a hand. “Are you in the mood for dealing with her right now?” That wasn’t the real reason, of course; if Chrysalis had me return to her quickly enough, she would know that we were fucking with her.

“I’m never in the mood to deal with her.”

“Fair enough. Shall we be off, then? Also, bacon.” She walked to the door and off we were. “Any thoughts of where to look first?” I asked.

“The library?”

“Fair enough.” She wasn’t there. She also wasn’t with Applejack, Rarity, or Fluttershy. “Well fuck. This palace is just unnecessarily big.”

“And it seems to grow occasionally, too. I think we’ve passed a few rooms that weren’t there the last time I passed this way.” THANK GOD, SOMEONE ELSE NOTICES!

“Well, any other ideas?”

“Throne room?”

“Couldn’t hurt.” We went that way. “Wait, what time is it?” We looked at each other and she shrugged. “Have you eaten lunch?” She shook her head. “I don’t really want to talk to Twilight anyway. Let’s hit the royal eatery.” Again, back to the kitchens…

I turned suddenly and swear I caught a small glimpse of a tuft of pink in the corner of my eye, but kept going. If Pinkie was following me, I would never know until she wanted me to.

Thankfully, we bumped into Spike in the kitchens. “Hey Spike, you see those barrels outside?” He nodded around an apple pastry. “That’s all the booze for the party. Leave me one barrel and the rest is yours. I need you to do me a favor, though.”

He swallowed the apple thing. “What do you need?”

“Whenever you get a free moment, look up everything you can about knights and voiding oaths.” I wanted to make sure Rarity was correct before I actually went and destroyed my armor. Besides, there ain’t no telling what kind of shit I can find; in my experience, when Celestia wants you to do something, she’ll tell you the side of the story she wants you to hear. If there was a way around oathing myself to either sister, I was all for finding it.

His eyes went wide with excitement.

“That doesn’t mean for you to look up stories about knights. That means you need to find out about their contracts and all the legalese involved. Learn about the oaths, exceptions and whatnot, and all that jazz. Hell, just finding me the proper books would be enough, but if you could go ahead and look through them, that would be kickass.”

“Sure. I can go and do that as soon as I finish here. What do you need the one barrel for?”

“Assuming you can’t find me a way to get unknighted, I’m going to do something really stupid during the wedding reception.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“I’m going to go get drunk with Chrysalis and hopefully do something stupid enough to force Celestia to drop the knighthood herself.”

“Well, good luck with that…” He scarfed another thing down.

“Oh, and don’t tell Twilight about my plans. If you do, I’ll tell her that you were drinking at the bachelor party.” He spit crumbs everywhere. “Speaking of Twilight, do you know where she is?”

He coughed a few times. “In her room,” he rasped. He grabbed some apple juice.

“Well, where’s her room?”

“Same place it always is, dude. Isn’t that where you stayed during the first Gala?”

“Dude, I’ve seen some shit today, man. I stole Celestia’s fucking crown and booked it across the palace. My mind is fucking gone.” When I mentioned that I stole Celestia’s crown, he coated the table in apple juice. “Jesus, Spike, you’ll never win Rarity over if you keep spitting food everywhere.”

“You did what?!”

“You heard Celestia today when she left me with Twilight. That was punishment for taking her crown. It was hilarious, too. I had Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack chasing me around the grounds while Pinkie and Rainbow Dash played interference. It ended with me and Twilight in the maze. I had already passed the crown off by then, but she didn’t know that. I had to seduce her to get her distracted long enough to get away.”

Spike was cracking up again.

“Well, it’s been nice talking to you, bro. I need to jet. Come find me when you learn anything more about knights.”

When Taya and I got to the door he finally burst out laughing. On the way to Twilight’s room, I sighed. “Today has just been a really weird day, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah. It really has been.”

“Do you think your cuteness will work on Twilight?”

“I don’t think so. It took all I had to beat Rarity, and she was only disappointed at you.”

“Damn. I guess I’ll have to rely on my charm and good looks.”

“So we’re doomed?”

“Oh yeah, we’re fucked. It was nice knowing you, though.”

“I can think of worse places to die…” I can imagine.

“You know, if you hid on my back, you might be able to surprise her with a sneak attack. And you might get another chance to kick me in the back of the head.”

“I’m sold.” I gently lifted her up and gave her another piggyback ride.

We were like that until we got to Twilight’s large spire room house thing. “Now, if you think she’s about to attack me, you jump at her while I get away. She’d never attack an innocent filly.”

“But if I jump at her, wouldn’t that mean I wasn’t innocent?”

“Fuck, I didn’t think this through. We can com—” The door opened.

Twilight stared at me. I stared at her. After a moment, Taya cleared her throat.

Twilight walked back inside, leaving the door open. I followed her in, ducking so Taya didn’t hit her head. I saw a gentle glowing from my head and the door shut behind me.

“So how are the tests on the poison?” I asked.

“We need to talk,” Twilight said.

“About the black shit I coughed up, right? Let’s talk about that.”

“You aren’t running away from this problem, Nav. Not like you do all your other ones.”

“It isn’t so much running as it is—”

“Shut up and sit down.” She pulled a chair out from under a table with magic.

“If you’re going to be rude, I can ju—”

“No, you can’t.” I didn’t much care for the menacing undertone there.

I set Taya down and went to the chair she pulled out for me. Seeing nothing wrong with it, I sat. Twilight came back in a moment with a pot of tea—actual tea, not poison. She set it down and three cups levitated over to the table, sitting in front of each of us. Three different jars flew and landed as well. The teapot poured into each of the three cups. I reached for one of the jars but it leapt away from me. One of the others pushed itself forward. I grabbed it.

“Twilight, what the fuck is… strychnine?”

“Just something else I’ve been meaning to test on you. Try it.”

I poured a bit of the stuff into the tea and stirred it. “As mad as you are at me, I can’t imagine this test is going to leave me very healthy. Is it too late to remind you of what I said earlier about nothing I did today ever being held against me?”

“Try it.”

Taya was looking at me with apprehension in her eyes. I shrugged and grabbed the teacup and drank a bit of it.

“Not bad. Kind of earthy, but I’ve had worse. It tastes kind of like… Why am I reminded of… punch?”

My eyes went wide. The party. The poison used on Blueblood.

Twilight smiled. “You’re doing well so far. Anypony else would have died as soon as they swallowed. This stuff is so toxic that special containers have to be made for it; I’m honestly surprised the teacup survived it.” She gently sipped at her own tea.

I took another sip at mine.

“So why did you want to talk to me?” I asked in a conversational tone. Well, Twilight has gone off the deep end. Play it cool until I can safely get out and warn Celestia.

“Your behavior today has been… beyond inappropriate. You are lucky Princess Celestia told me why you are acting this way. I wish she had done it before we met in the maze, but that has always been her way.”

I took another sip. “So why did you want to talk to me?”

“What Celestia had us do today was bad. Even for her, it was worse than usual. I know you deserved it, but I was wondering if you wanted to know why I did.”

“I don’t. It’s not my business.”

“That’s a shame.” I emptied my teacup and sat it back down. The teapot lifted to refill it. I reached for the first jar I had tried to grab, but she pulled it farther. She pushed the second one up.

“Look, I know what sarin is. How the titfuck did you sick bastards make this stuff?”

“You survived the strychnine. I want to see how much your new body can take. And I’m in a bad enough mood to find out, one way or another.”

“Twilight, the poison at the party didn’t start affecting me until a few minutes had passed.”

“I examined it. Based on what I could tell, it was considerably less toxic than what I have already given you. If you were going to have any ill effects, they should have hit by now.”

“I’m not playing this game with you, Twilight. It took four unicorns to barely save Blueblood, and from what I’ve heard, he’s still not doing too good. I got sick from what he had.” I could feel a slight itching inside me, too. “What do you think fucking sarin will do to me? This is a nerve agent! Even the sick fucks that run my world banned this shit!” The itching was turning to a scratching.

“Fine. We’ll wait a few minutes. But as to your first question, I have discovered some interesting properties from the love poison you threw up. Your guess was right: It is, essentially, liquid hate.” The scratching was turning into waves of pain. “I had to get a small taste to tell even that. I might test it on some of Fluttershy’s animals when I get back… It shouldn’t actually hurt anypony, but I think it will change their mental state a bit. I wish I could test more about how your body created it, though.”

I would have tried to tell her, but my body picked that time to spit out some amber blood. I noticed before I passed out that it was much more viscous than normal.

 

Thankfully, I woke up again. Not so thankfully, nearly sixty hours had passed since I passed out. I was in a familiar segmented bed. I pushed myself up and noticed how incredible I felt. My window showed that it was pretty dark outside. I got to my feet and immediately fell forward; my entire body was stiff. I stood again and limbered up a bit. I used the moonlight to find clothes. There were two sets laid out for me: One of Luna and one of Celestia. I checked everywhere else and there wasn’t anything there for me.

Fuck. Well, I like darker clothes anyway… I grabbed the Luna set. At least they’re comfortable.

None of my weapons were around. I slid the window open and flew out.

I didn’t stop flying until I was at Ponyville. I quickly stripped out of my clothes and put on another set and grabbed three more as well. I stuffed the Luna clothes in the bag I grabbed as an afterthought. I flew back into Canterlot and into the window I left. Round trip, it took about an hour. I left the Luna clothes where I found them. I left that room and flew to my own room. I stuffed the bag under the bed and found all my weapons in a pile on the floor. I loaded myself up and went to find out what the dick just happened.

With that in mind, I went to the throne room. A few guards flinched when I walked by, but no one said a word. The guards standing at the throne room doors actually gaped when they saw me. Without a word, one of them pushed the doors open for me.

I walked in and nodded to Luna. “Sup?”

She also gaped. “How are you up and moving?”

I shrugged. “You know. Legs. Wings. Stuff like that. How long was I out?”

“About two and a half days. Seriously, how are you up? You shouldn’t be able to stand!”

“Look, I heal fast. Now what the hell happened?”

“I’ll spare you the details and just get to the meat: You had about three organs left when Celestia got to you. We actually had to break the spell on Chrysalis to save you; it took all three of us to bring you back.”

“Cool.” I pulled a knife out. “Now where is Twilight Sparkle? I am going to mount her horn on my wall.”

“Her punishment has been dealt out. She was incredibly remorseful; she honestly did not expect you to react as you did. It appears Celestia exaggerated when she discussed the effects of the poison you got at the party, and Twilight’s curiosity and anger was compounded by the small taste she had of that hate poison you spit up, though Celestia only knows why she was stupid enough to drink it. It also appears as though changeling magic melds well with alicorn magic. To be up already is quite a feat.”

I put the knife up. “What did I miss?”

“Honestly, nothing much. After Chrysalis helped you and did not make any attempts to flee, she has been given the run of the castle and its grounds. I do not expect her to be out much, but she has the option if she chooses. Twilight was punished.” She shrugged. “Come. It is time for me to lower the moon and for Celestia to raise the sun.” She led the way to their special chamber for it. It was a pretty fancy place, even though it was built around a lie; I still had yet to see any proof they actually controlled the sun and moon.

We got there before Celestia. “This is an honor, Nav; it isn’t common that somepony gets to see us move the heavenly bodies while in the palace.”

“Cool.” I really wasn’t that impressed. Twilight had taken me to what was called the Summer Sun Festival one year during the longest day of the summer, or something like that. Celestia jumped in the air when the sun rose. Big whoop.

But again, I’m wise enough to know that there are some things that it isn’t smart to say, and my mind was back in control enough to keep my mouth shut.

When Celestia got there, she took one look at me and shook her head. “Navarone, do humans know how to die?”

“We’re slow learners. I’ll figure it out one of these days.”

She smiled. “Take your time. Shall we, Sister?”

They did a ritual. It was alright.

Luna led the way to wherever we were going next. Celestia and I walked side by side. “So Navarone, what exactly happened?”

“Twilight gave me something called strychnine for my tea. She tried to give me a nerve agent next. Taya wasn’t hurt, was she?”

“No, she is fine. Understandably upset, but fine. Your friends—and Chrysalis—have been worried about you.”

“Chrysalis is one of my friends. You wouldn’t happen to know where all of my clothes have gone, would you?”

“I’m afraid not. I don’t micromanage my subjects down to the clothing they wear. I know there was one fine set of clothes laid out for you in your hospital room, though. Oh, and one ratty, moth-eaten set; I don’t know who had that nasty thing put there for you.”

“I see. Why was my blood amber?”

“That would be your liquefied organs,” Luna merrily answered.

Celestia darted a small glare at her sister, who hadn’t looked back anyway. Her gazed softened when it turned to me. “That is one belief. The other is that you are reacting further with the spell we cast upon you and turning more tree-like. We didn’t really know how to te—”

She cut off at the sound of my dagger drawing. I drew another slice across my hand. After a moment, reddish-amber blood leaked up.

“So why did the mutation occur so quickly?” I asked. “Just a few hours before that, I had been bleeding red blood, and it was just fine.”

Celestia grimaced and healed my hand. “We think it is because your body had to. If it hadn’t done that, you would have died. Slow moving blood is probably one of the things that saved you. Innate magic like this always seeks to benefit the pony that it resides inside, unless it was specifically made as a curse. By all rights, Nav, you should be dead.”

“I’ve heard that before. More and more, it seems. How long before everyone starts waking up? I have things to attend to.”

“Navarone, please. You don’t need to continue your actions with Chrysalis. From her behavior thus far, I know her mettle. I saw your first day with her, remember?”

“Yeah, but I like watching her squirm, and bringing Pinkie to her is a great way to do that.”

“And you call me sadistic. I will not forbid you from talking to her, but remember that it is her fault that all of this occurred.”

“Meh. Do you happen to know what Spike is doing today?”

“I believe he has a party planned. Other than that, I do not know.” Awesome, I woke up in time for the party.

“So, any idea where I’m going to be living from now on? Or do I need to find a place myself?”

“You are still living with Twilight, last I heard,” Celestia said.

“That crazy cunt just tried to deep six my ass.”

“I didn’t understand half of the words Nav just said, but she tried to kill him!” Luna said.

“No, she was trying to test something. It was my fault you almost died, Nav. I was the one that told Twilight how you survived being poisoned and I was the one that allowed her to keep the hate poison you spit up.”

“I’m not even going to bother going into everything wrong with that statement because we both know it’s bullshit. As long as she isn’t going to go that crazy again, I can continue living with her.” Though I will definitely start looking for houses for sale.

“Good. I was hoping you would be reasonable about it.”

“Oh, and thank you both for saving me. I’m really starting to wish I didn’t end up in so many positions wherein I needed saving.”

“It’s a good thing you’re going to be one of our knights, soon,” Luna said. “Then we’ll have a reason to keep saving you!”

“Yeah. Right. Celestia, the next time you see Twilight, tell her that I will never under any circumstances talk about what happened and that trying to make me do it increases the chances of her horn getting mounted on my wall. I am going to do my best to pretend it never happened because if I don’t, I’ll probably fly off the handle.”

“You humans have some really strange phrases,” Celestia commented offhand.

“Are you going to tell her?” I asked.

“Navarone, you two really should talk about what’s bothering you both.”

“What’s bothering me is that she just tried to kill me. I don’t know what got her panties in a twist.”

“Really, really strange phrases…”

“Are you going to tell her or not? If you won’t, I’ll get someone else to do it.”

She sighed. “I will. After breakfast.” Thankfully, we were at the door.

“I’ll see you both later. I believe I have things to take care of and a daughter to find.”

Luna said, “I can tell you where to find Taya.” I looked at her. “If you eat with us.”

“Very well. I haven’t eaten in some time.” I let them in first, what with them being princesses and all. They sat at opposite ends of the table. There wasn’t a chair in the center, but rather two on either side leading up to both ends.

So that’s how it’s gonna be. I smiled, pulled half of the chairs out of one side and pulled the other chair to the center of the table, so I was directly between the two.

“It’s just a spot at the table, Nav,” Luna said with a smirk.

“Right. And I’m a fluffy pony.”

“Well, your face is looking a bit fluffy,” Celestia mused. “But if you’re a pony, I need to get my eyes checked.”

I looked to her plate. “You really like cake, don’t you?”

“There’s a reason she’s so much bigger than everypony else, Nav,” Luna slyly commented.

“Are you calling me fat?” Celestia demanded.

“I know where this is going,” I said. “Cool it.”

Neither of them listened. “I wouldn’t say fat.” Celestia nodded once. “Corpulent might fit, though.”

Celestia glared down the table. I calmly reached out and grabbed something. She followed my arm to me and grinned. “Navarone. You don’t think I’m fat, do you?”

I looked Celestia up and down. “I think that this is childish.” She pouted. “Celestia, you’re… x-thousand years old. If you are getting your feelings hurt by being called fat, there’s a problem.”

“He didn’t say no,” Luna whispered.

I bit into the banana I had grabbed with a sigh. Silence reigned at the table for a moment.

“So did you really steal ‘Tia’s crown?” Luna asked with a grin.

“Yep. I can only imagine the look on her face when the Cutie Mark Crusaders ran into the throne room with it.”

Celestia let off a loud humph and looked to Luna. “You wouldn’t think it so amusing if it had been your crown he stole.”

Luna stuck her tongue out. “He likes me too much to take it.”

Celestia grinned. “Or he’s too afraid. I think he just trusts me enough to know I wouldn’t hurt him for it.”

I grabbed something else from the table. I think I was the only one actually eating.

“You know I would never hurt you Nav, right?” Luna sweetly asked.

I bit into a roll. I looked at her and eyed her crown as I chewed. When I swallowed, I said, “I know what you two are doing and it won’t work.”

As I finished off the roll, Celestia whispered, “He didn’t say yes.”

Silence ruled the table as I grabbed something else. The other two actually started eating. After a few minutes, Celestia said, “So. Navarone.” She stopped.

Luna picked up, “Have you given any thought as to which of us you are going to swear to yet?”

I looked at Luna for a moment. I shifted my gaze to Celestia for just as long. I pushed myself back from the table. “I have eaten with you. Where is Taya?” I knew they were both just fucking with me, but it was getting old.

Celestia looked up from her cup. “Hm? Oh, yes. She asked to stay with Chrysalis until you were better.”

“And you denied her offhand, right?”

“Do I look like I have hands?”

“Wow. This is the first time I have honestly, seriously considered murdering you. I’ve said I was going to do it before, but holy shit.”

Luna said, “Nav, Chrysalis isn’t going to hurt anypony you like. You are probably the only pony here she respects. Taya requested to stay with her, so we allowed it.”

“Taya is a lot smarter than anyone gives her credit for,” I said. “Twilight thinks she knows how smart she is, but even I don’t know how deep her mind goes. I trust her, really I do, but… wow. Still, I applaud her decision. A lot.”

“And why is that, Navarone?” Celestia calmly asked.

“Because it insults everyone here,” I answered, smiling. “Of every one of the people I know here, she chose to stay with the fucking evil bug thing that just tried to kill everyone. She trusts the one everyone should trust the least and snubbed the hell out of everyone else in doing it. That’s something I would have thought to do.”

“So you are saying she’s learning from you,” Celestia happily asked.

“Yeah. Yeah, I suppose she is.” I thought back to when we were on the boat together, right after we got attacked by pirates. I remembered her devious suggestion to use herself as a shield against the unicorns. I don’t think she learned that much from me that quickly. I think her mind is just fucked up.

I liked it.

“I’ll be off, then,” I said with a nod to the two of them.

“You never answered my question, Nav,” Luna sweetly said.

I was already headed to the door. “You’re right, I didn’t,” I said as I opened it and left. I went straight to Chrysalis’s room.

Doppel answered at the first knock and let me in as soon as she saw me. I entered and sat across from Chrysalis, noting Taya napping on the other couch.

I crossed my fingers in front of me. “Are you still interested in taking over Equestria?” I asked.

Chrysalis looked at me. I wasn’t smiling or frowning. I don’t know what my face looked like, but it probably wasn’t pleasant.

“No,” she finally answered. “I believe I am content.”

“Can you be convinced otherwise? I believe Equestria might need a change of management, and I am not fit to rule.”

“And I am not fit to rule ponies. I have learned much in the time since we last spoke. No, Navarone. I will not help you stage a coup.”

“Disappointing.” Her eyes widened momentarily. I think she thought I had been joking. “I trust Taya has not been a problem.”

“She is quiet. And she has had several visitors, all of whom she sent away without a word. I have had considerably fewer come by to see me. Whatever was done to Twilight Sparkle was not enough, I believe; you were on death’s doorstep when Celestia and Luna conceded to allow me to aid you.”

“I have been assured that she has been—or is being, I am not certain which—punished. She has had bouts with crazy in the past. I do not wish to discuss this any longer. Have you found Pinkie Pie, or does she continue to elude you?”

“I have not. I also have not looked, but I have let word get out that I would like to speak to her.”

“Then allow me to try something. Don’t freak out if this works.” I waited for her nod. “Pinkie, you can come out now.”

Pinkie stuck her head out of my shirt. “Aw Nav, how’d you know I was in here?”

I.

Don’t.

Even.

Know.

The rest of her popped out of my shirt. Chrysalis actually gaped.

“Wow, you’re really warm in there! No wonder you wear those clothes!” She giggled and then turned her gaze upon Chrysalis. “Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie!”

Chrysalis was still trying to work this out in her mind. I leaned out of my seat and gently pushed her mouth closed. She shook her head, sending her mossy hair everywhere. “Hello, Pinkamena,” she finally said. “I am Queen Chrysalis.”

Pinkie suddenly had Chrysalis’s hoof and was shaking it very vigorously. “You can just call me Pinkie!” She suddenly gasped very loudly. “Oh oh, can I call you Chrissy?”

Chrysalis jerked her hoof back. “No, you may not.”

“Pinkie, take a chill pill. You’re dealing with someone as highly ranked as Celestia or Luna.”

“They make pills that make you colder?” she asked me, somehow sounding even more excited. She seemed to deflate a bit as she said, “Or did you just mean ice?” She inflated again. “Because chill pill is a much cooler sounding name for ice! I think I’ll start calling it that!”

“Can I talk to the sane Pinkie now? Is she in there today?”

“Nope, just me!” She turned back to Chrysalis. “So do you whistle when you fly? I bet those holes help you go really fast!”

Chrysalis looked like she was in physical pain at the moment. “You are worse than Navarone when I started messing with his mind.”

“I didn’t take your crown, though. What is that made of, anyway? It looks really neat!” Before Chrysalis could answer, though, Pinkie was gushing over her wings. “Oh, they’re so cool! Can I touch them?”

Chrysalis enveloped Pinkie in a green aura and pushed her back several feet. “I would be grateful if you stayed over there,” she said. “I am not used to being touched.”

“Oh, so you’re like Nav. He never got over that either!”

“I swear I’m going to fucking kill Twilight,” I said.

“Oh, relax! She didn’t tell me, I read it from your journals! I got bored after I finished planning the party and I was just wandering around the palace when I came across some interesting looking papers. I didn’t know what they were so I just started reading!”

“I left them in Celestia’s private room! What the hell were you doing in there?”

“Oh, you know.” She turned back to Chrysalis. “You guys can change into anything, right? Can you do me?”

Chrysalis closed her eyes and I swear I heard her counting to ten. “Doppel, come here,” she said when she opened her eyes again. Doppel hesitantly stepped forward. “Turn into Pinkamena.”

“You can call me Pinkie!”

Doppel and Chrysalis looked at her for a moment. Chrysalis turned to Doppel. “Turn into Pinkamena.”

“You can call me—Ooh!” Doppel turned into Pinkie, but with a darker shade of pink and straight hair.

I looked from Pinkie to Doppel and back. “Pinkie, you should totally straighten your hair. I know it’s just a personal opinion, but you look better that way.”

“I’ll think about it,” she answered. “You can do Pinkamena, but can you do Pinkie?”

Doppel looked to Chrysalis and shrugged. Suddenly, her hair poofed and she grew a few shades brighter.

Pinkie giggled for a moment before saying, “Eh, I’ve seen better. Can you do anypony else?”

Chrysalis scowled. “Pinkamena, we are changelings. We can turn into any animals.”

“You can call me Pinkie!” Chrysalis looked at her. Pinkie was wearing a massive smile. “Can you turn into a—Ooh, can you do a dragon?”

Doppel turned into Kumani.

“What about a human?” Doppel turned into me. “What about… a female human?”

Doppel looked at me. I scratched at my beard and leaned back a bit. “If you really want, I can give you a memory. But if I ever see that form outside of this moment, I’ll kill you in the most painful way I can possibly imagine.”

“I can take that deal,” she said, walking over to me in my own body. She held out my hand and I grasped it. I thought back and back… I haven’t seen you in too long. Doppel shifted and I felt the hand in mine grow lighter, softer. Doppel sighed happily. “Tasty.” I looked at her and saw the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen standing there.

I won’t describe how I felt.

“You look different from Twilight when she was a human,” Pinkie mused, holding a hoof to her face.

“Lilith was not—” I stopped when I realized how dark my voice sounded. “Continue.” I’m glad I couldn’t hear my own voice, but I know Chrysalis looked pained to have heard it and Pinkie looked like I slapped her. I was trying not to look at Doppel, and I was very happy Taya was still asleep.

“Um… What about… a clown?” Pinkie was trying but it was obvious she wasn’t into it anymore. Doppel shifted into a clown pony.

“Navarone, are you okay?” Chrysalis asked, some concern actually showing in her voice.

“That memory… That event. Never discuss it. Some things should never be remembered. I will leave it at that.”

They all nodded, surprisingly; I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pinkie bothering me about it later, but I think even she has some manner of impulse controls when it comes to that.

“Now, continue,” I said, nodding to Pinkie.

Her smile and normal attitude reappeared as she turned to Chrysalis. “So when can I throw you a party?”

“When Tartarus freezes over,” she answered.

Pinkie got a calculating look on her face. “I’m going to need a bunch of chill pills… Can we push it to tomorrow instead? I know everypony is busy with the wedding and all, but tomorrow should give most of them time to be there and still make the wedding with no trouble!”

Chrysalis sighed. “This is inevitable, isn’t it?” she asked me.

“Yeah, sadly. I was able to get out of a welcoming party, but it took more time than I would ever care to admit to manage it, and I don’t even want to go over the reasoning behind it.”

“You lied and told me you were allergic to parties and didn’t tell me you were lying until everypony already knew you!”

“Yeah, but do you remember how long it took to convince you the allergy I had was actually deathly?” I looked at Chrysalis. “She wanted me to push through the allergy attack to have the party.”

“And they called me barbaric,” Chrysalis answered. “I suppose I would be wasting my time telling you that I am allergic to parties?”

“You were at the wedding,” Pinkie said. “That’s kinda like a party.”

I looked Pinkie dead in the eyes. “Pinkie, how do you think Chrysalis started looking like that?” I said, waving my hands to her body. “I mean, holes in her hooves and wings? Do you really think that’s healthy? Did she look like that before the wedding?”

“Well, now that you mention it… She did look a lot different before the wedding. And then there was that big green explosion.” Pinkie gasped again. “Was that you sneezing? That’s so cool!” She reached over and somehow plucked one of my feathers and tickled Chrysalis under the nose.

Chrysalis didn’t move or react at all, just stared at Pinkie. After a moment of that, she turned to me. “When should I tell her that I can turn feeling on and off in my carapace?”

“Give her a few more minutes. She looks so happy.”

Chrysalis turned back and looked at Pinkie disdainfully. After a moment, Pinkie pulled the feather back and gave it a funny look. She rubbed it under her nose and gave a massive sneeze that woke Taya up.

She sat up, bleary-eyed, and smiled when she saw me. Then she looked around the room really quickly and saw both Chrysalis and Doppel and smiled even wider and cleared the entire carpet between her couch and my chair and landed on my lap.

“Oh, there you are Taya!” Pinkie said, watching her. “Wow, you even sleep silently!”

“Well, someone has to, the way my dad snores,” she answered, making herself comfortable.

“Nav doesn’t snore,” Pinkie said with some confusion.

“How would you know that?” Chrysalis asked.

“Oh, I watch him sleep sometimes.” Chrysalis and Doppel both blinked at that. “Anyway, your party! There isn’t that much we can do in this room, but since you can go wherever you want now, we could have it anywhere!”

“Wait, you watch him sleep?” Doppel asked.

“Only sometimes. Princess Celestia doesn’t like it when I host parties in the throne room anymore, so it shouldn’t be there. The dining hall is usually free, so we can do it there! I still have my party cannon, so it shouldn’t take me long to set up.”

“Pinkamena—”

“You can call me Pinkie!”

“I don’t believe it is healthy to watch ponies sleep.”

“Yeah, well, Nav isn’t a pony. At least, not anymore. Now, about the party—”

Doppel asked, “When was he a pony?”

“Oh, it was only for a week or so. It was a lot of fun! Here, let me show you!” Pinkie grabbed Doppel with both of her front hooves and brought their heads together.

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