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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45. Chapter Thirty-Six—Parties, weddings, and dreams Part 1

As soon as we stepped inside, I swear to God the music scratched and everyone looked up at me, gaping.

I nodded. “Sup?”

Taya was the first to react, galloping over to me from Chrysalis and hugging my leg. I knelt down and pulled her against my metal carapace, which was enough to break the silence and some people returned back to conversations.

I said into her hair, “Sorry for not coming back last night. Some bad shit went down and I got stuck.”

“I know. Pinkie told me.” I looked up and saw Pinkie watching me. I gave her a small nod. She went back to partying.

“Can you heal me and Spike?” My head instantly felt better. I grabbed Spike and pulled him over and she healed him too. “Thanks.” I let her go and stood up. “Spike, mingle or do whatever. If you want to come with me when I leave, you probably can.” He nodded and went over to the food table. Typical. “Did I miss anything, Taya?”

“Nothing big. A lot of people are looking for you, though.”

“I’ve dealt with a few of them. Sorry I couldn’t find you sooner; I looked, I promise you. I even knocked Doppel the fuck out and left you a message in her.”

She smiled. “We found it. I don’t remember it mentioning anything about a fight, though.”

“It didn’t; I didn’t want to get her in trouble. I suppose she’s still out cold?” Taya nodded. “Serves her right. She punched me in the face with one of her hooves. That shit hurts.”

We walked up to Chrysalis, who was standing about as far away from the food table as she could and not be conspicuous about it. “Sorry for leaving you with Taya again. I got drugged because I’m stupid and trusted someone.”

“Navarone, has anypony ever told you that you can be really dense?”

“Yeah. I get that a lot. If it makes you feel any better, I’m pretty sure I got laid. Thirty times. I don’t actually remember… anything from the point where I left the bar.”

“It really does not make me feel any better. I see you found your armor.” She reached a hoof up and tapped it on my chest. “I approve, though I think the symbol would be a lot nicer if it was mine.”

I shrugged, which was hard to notice in the armor. “There wasn’t much of a choice. The only bit of this armor I really got to choose was this here,” I said, pointing to my shoulders. “No one in this world will get the refere—”

“The Band of the Red Hoof?” she asked, looking at them curiously. “Red hand, I suppose, in your case. I’ve heard legends, but they’re just that: Legends. I’m surprised you’ve heard of them.”

“I’m just as surprised that you have. The Band is from a book series back in my world. I swear this place freaks me out with all its similarities.”

She shrugged. “I don’t suppose I could bother you for a light snack? No pony here seems to desire to help sustain me.”

“Go ahead. What are you in the mood for?”

She licked her lips. “I want to earn it. Prepare your mind!” I had just enough time to clear my mind when her horn glowed.

“Don’t take anything I don’t want you to have,” I said, trying to keep things down.

“I know you well enough, Navarone. Let me see…” She hummed lightly as she dug, a small smile showing off her fangs. “Nothing here is ever where I leave it… You are quite rude to your own mind, Navar—What’s this?” She paused. “No, that is not for me.” More humming and her smile grew wider. “There.” Her horn stopped glowing. “I bet you don’t even know what I took.”

“I don’t. I believe I trust you.” I looked around and noticed that we were the center of attention again. I said aloud, “Two ponies walked into a bar. The third one ducked.” There was a chorus of groans at the bad joke as everyone turned back to what they were doing.

Chrysalis just shook her head. “Oh, yes. I needed to tell you something. I will be unable to keep our… arrangement tomorrow night. My presence has been requested somewhere else and I am unable to avoid the obligation.”

“Damn. I’ll save you some alcohol then, and you can drink it when you get out of this depressing place. It won’t be the first time I’ve gotten plastered alone.”

She smiled at that. “Just be careful, Navarone.”

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie! “You two already know each other! Quit hogging her, Nav.”

“Pinkamena—”

“You can call me Pinkie!”

“There is not exactly a queue lined up to talk to me right now. What harm is there in letting Navarone and I have a conversation?”

“Well of course there’s not a queue! Nav’s scaring them away with his creepy armor.” She turned her eyes on me. “Shoo! Go talk to Fluttershy or Twilight, they both wanted to talk to you.” She turned predatory eyes on Chrysalis. “Let me introduce you to everypony!” Chrysalis had time to look scared before she was pulled off by Pinkie.

Her spot was immediately taken by Rainbow Dash. “Lookin’ good, Nav! Love the new duds!” She held out her hoof and I met it. “Nice! I bet you can finally do a real bro-hoof!”

“Wait, what?”

She rolled her eyes. “Ever since you got here, Twilight warned us to be gentle with you with our hooves. She said your skin was a lot more sensitive than a pony’s coat or hoof. But wearing that thing, I bet you can finally take a kick! Now put your hand up again.” I did, and she punched it for all she was worth and immediately brought her hoof back with a sharp yelp of pain that she tried to mask as a nervous laugh. “Yeah,” she said in a pained voice, “you’ll do. I uh… I gotta go.” I saw her go to the kitchen doors, probably to put her hoof in some ice or something.

I looked down at my fist. I barely felt that. I grinned and finally looked up around the party to see who was in attendance. Twilight and all of her friends, of course. I saw Cadance, and I later found out that the new rehearsal would be right after the party. They were planning to do another one because the groom was gone during the first one and they didn’t have the guy to give away the bride either. And the knighting rehearsal was right after that, since that was around the time Luna usually gets up anyway.

Anyway, the party. Two ponies I wanted to avoid and one that wanted me for some reason. Taya and I went over to Fluttershy, though I saw Twilight angling her way to me before I got there. “I heard you were looking for me,” I said to Fluttershy.

I heard her audibly gulp when she turned to look at me. Her eyes took in my armor from the bottom to the top. I saw her eyes widen when they got to my shoulders. She looked like she was actually about to piss herself, like I predicted earlier.

“Fluttershy, are you okay?” I asked. I was actually somewhat concerned. Her eyes were still looking at my armor. “Fluttershy!” She jerked her gaze up. “It’s me.” I tapped my breastplate with my gauntlets. “This is my armor. Relax.” It took her a few seconds, but she slowly calmed down. “Now, what did you need?”

“I… I heard you had some alcohol here,” she said.

“That’s true. Are you interested in getting drunk? Chrysalis just bowed out on me and I need a partner tomorrow night.” Her eyes went wide again and she took a step back. “No, Fluttershy. We would just drink. We wouldn’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.”

“Um… No thanks. I wanted some of it for a different purpose… Do you remember how you said it was used as an anesthetic?”

“I don’t remember saying that, but it’s true. The stuff I have in my room is strong enough to preserve a body with, if you were interested in that.” Her eyes widened even more.

“C-c-c-could I h-h-h-have some?” she squeaked.

“Leave me at least half the barrel. You can go up there and take what you need whenever, though I can’t promise there’s going to be much left after tomorrow night.” She squeaked a response and darted away. “Taya, am I really that scary?” I asked, turning to her.

“You’re not scary to me. I know you would never hurt me.”

“Yeah, but Fluttershy knows I would never hurt her either. Or at least, she should know that. I don’t hurt the weak and helpless unless they deserve it.”

“The same couldn’t be said of me,” I heard Twilight say, and I turned so fast I almost slid to the ground in my new armor. My dagger was in my hand in an instant and a throwing knife in the other. She didn’t react. “Or at least, that’s what you seem to think.”

I noticed I had picked up quite a few stares again and I slipped the dagger away but tucked the throwing knife up into my hand, which was harder to do while wearing a gauntlet. “That depends on the given definition of weak and helpless,” I said. “Given that your weapon of choice is magic and I have no defense against that, then I suppose you do like terrorizing the weak and helpless.”

“But it doesn’t all hurt. Or so I heard.” I saw her horn glow and she did something to my wings that felt too good. She quickly stopped. “I don’t suppose you would know anything about that, would you?”

I stepped in closer to her so I wouldn’t have to talk as loud. “You were drugged. You dragged me into my room against my will and I was afraid for my physical safety to deny you. I’m not proud of it, but I honestly thought you might have hurt me if I tried to stop you.”

I heard her grinding her teeth together. “You’re going to help me get back at Celestia. Somehow. She’s done some strange stuff in the past, Nav, but this… This was actually wrong.”

“Well… Spike and I did send her some really strange stuff on accident last night. But she punished us—sort of—for that. If you can come up with a good plan that wouldn’t end up with us in the brig, I’m in.”

She smiled. Frankly, I was somewhat terrified of that smile. “For what she did, I’ll put my all into it. I’ve always wanted to prank her back. I think I know just what to do. Give me a few months to check and double check and finalize preparations.”

I looked at her in concern. “Twilight, don’t take this too far. And at the same time, make sure you take this far enough to make it worth it; don’t you dare spend all that time and just end up hiding the soap in her bathtub.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make this well worth it. Just be ready.”

“As ever. Is there anything that I need to know before I disappear?”

“The rehearsals are after this. For the wedding and the knighting ceremony. You need to be there, of course. Since, you know, you weren’t there this morning. Where were you two?!” Oh yeah, now she freaks about it.

“Sleepover,” I answered. “It was kind of sudden, and I wasn’t expecting us to be late.” I shrugged. “Spike really wanted to stay, and I wasn’t about to leave him there alone.”

“Uh huh. And the rumors I heard about you coming back today carrying him over your shoulder and smelling like… like…” She shuddered.

“Twilight, I have done some really weird—and stupid—shit this week. Based on all of that, are you really surprised there are some strange rumors going around about me?”

“Fine. But tell me next time! I don’t like not knowing where Spike is at his age.” I wish she understood why I found that funny, but I wasn’t about to point it out if Spike wasn’t ready or willing to. “Also, what did you do to my brother? Apparently he woke up cursing your name.”

“I made sure he slept in a home away from Cadance last night. It’s a tradition back where I’m from, to make sure the bride and groom aren’t together too much in the week before the wedding. I know traditions are sometimes silly, but they were asking me about some of my people’s wedding traditions last night.” I shrugged, again barely noticeable. “I hope he wasn’t too distraught.”

“I see. I was worried that you had… Well, never mind.” Twilight’s an idiot. Although technically, nothing I said was actually a lie. “I’ll talk to you later, Nav. And...” she sighed. “Never mind.” With that, she walked off.

“Can I see you in your helmet?” Taya asked.

I slid it off the hook and over my head. Suddenly Pinkie! “Ooh ooh! Now do an evil laugh!”

“You know what… It has been a long, long time since I did that. Hold on.” I pulled my sword out and cleared my throat. I made sure no one was in the way, reached in deep, and pulled out the most evil laugh that any of the ponies had ever—or would ever—hear. It was actually a talent of mine, back in the day, and it was something I practiced.

Do you remember how I said before that the music scratched when I walked in and how everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up?

You could hear a pin drop, aside from Fluttershy’s legs scrabbling against the floor trying to get her deeper under a table that was too low to fit her. I slipped my sword in its scabbard and pulled my helmet off and put it onto its hook as everyone stared. After a moment I pointed at Pinkie and said, “She asked me to.” Their eyes all moved to Pinkie, who had now started to wear a smile that I personally found horrifying.

“I have a great idea!” she said. And I thought her smile was horrifying… ‘Great’ ideas from Pinkie usually do not end well.

“Not interested,” I answered.

“But you didn’t even hear it yet…” She pouted. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Pinkie pout, but they are more effective than Applebloom puppy dog faces. Pinkie’s eyes get large and watery and her entire face seems to contort in a way that just says ‘sad.’

“Still not interested,” I answered her.

“Please?”

“Taya, can you beat her cuteness with your own?”

Taya took one look at her and swished her tail. That was a universal sign among mares of either ‘nope’ or ‘come and get it,’ and it’s only the second one if they leave it swished.

“You can tell me later, Pinkie. Now go party; I think you’ve earned it.” And just like that, her pout disappeared and she went with it, off to make sure someone was happy. We had an agreement of sorts at her parties that was hard-forged over a few years: She left me the fuck alone if I bothered showing up. If I didn’t show up, she was free to complain or bug me as much as she wanted about it.

“Do you know how to tell the truth, Nav?” Cadance asked as she snuck up behind me.

“Yes,” I answered, turning to face her. “You want to go four for three? I bet if I worked hard enough, I could get you to run away again.”

She blushed. “No thank you. I just… wanted to apologize for trying to make you talk about something you clearly didn’t want to. And I wanted to thank you for keeping me safe and for helping keep me sane. And for participating in my wedding, even though you clearly don’t want to.”

“Don’t worry about it. Keeping you safe and sane is my job and you talking to me about love is your job. Even if I hate it. Just stop bothering me; it is not my way to deal with my problems in any way you would think, as I’m sure you quickly found.” I smiled. “Did you ever manage to wash the smell out of your nostrils?”

“Nav, I’m not going to judge… but what was that smell? Honestly, what was it?”

“Promise me you won’t be sick and you won’t tell anyone and I’ll tell you what I think it was.” She bit her lower lip, but nodded. I pulled her head in close and whispered my thoughts into her ear. When I let her go she had her eyes closed and she looked like she was going to be sick. “Cadance, I’m not going to lie: I got drugged last night. I was not in control of my actions at all. I’ll admit that I’ve done some questionable things in the past, but I would never willingly participate in whatever happened last night.”

“You got drugged?!” she whispered fiercely at me, her eyes going wide. “You should have told Shining Armor! He’d arrest the ponies that did it, no questions asked!”

“Cadance, if you think that was the worst thing that happened to me in my time in Equestria, you don’t know a damn thing. Last night was pretty tame compared to some things I’ve been forced into in the past. I spared you some tales in the caves because I knew you wouldn’t want to hear them. Last night was my punishment for trusting a mare I just met.” Though apparently it wasn’t her fault. I might stop by real quick after the knighting ceremony to talk to her. And maybe she could help me out of my armor…

“Nav, what they did was illegal! They should be in jail for that!”

I shrugged. “The only thing they hurt on me was my pride. Well, hurt long-term. And even then, given that I was literally coated in whatever that stuff was, I don’t think my pride was hurt any. I probably gained quite a reputation for that.”

“Why would anypony want that kind of reputation?”

“You don’t get out much. Let’s just say it has uses that your innocent mind has no need of.”

She sighed. “I said I wouldn’t talk to you about it. I’ll see you later, Nav.” I nodded and off she went.

I turned back to talk to Taya but found myself facing yet another unicorn. “That’s not my armor,” Rarity said with an extremely disapproving tone.

“Yeah, it’s my armor,” I answered. “I thought we already knew that.”

“That’s not my design, Nav! Do you know how long I worked on that?”

“Yes. Yes I do. To the exact millisecond. That is how much I pay attention to your marvelous work, Rarity.”

She was not amused. “A long time, that’s how long! Why did you go against it if that’s what you chose?”

“It wasn’t me, it was the armorer. Take it up with him.”

She grit her teeth. “I think I will.” She looked me up and down one more time before visibly relaxing a bit. “Although… It does look really nice. And the handprints are a nice touch. Hm… Put on your helmet for me.” I did. “Now spin around.” I looked at her. “Ugh. Please.” I did. “Hm. Maybe I should offer a deal to this armorer. I might have to talk to him soon.” I pulled the helmet off and stuck it back on my belt. “Ooh, that’s a nice touch. That armorer fellow knows his business. Can you take it off easily?”

“And just what are you proposing, Rarity?”

“Oh ha ha, Nav. I know about your shameful activities these past few days. We shall have a talk about your behavior when we return to Ponyville, and the only reason we aren’t having it now is because I think it will take us a while.”

“You know I was drugged last night, right? I didn’t have control over any of my actions.”

“I don’t think you would have been where you were unless you were willing to do what you did, though.”

“Now that is only kind of true. Some of it, sure, I’ll grant you that. But if you had seen—or smelled—me as I walked into the palace this morning, you would know that this was terrible even for me.”

“I see. And why was Spike there?”

I shrugged. “I didn’t know what was going to happen when he came along with me. I was going to drag him away when the party starting winding down, but then I got drugged and it all went to hell.”

“Uh huh. And he would agree with that statement?”

He better. “He didn’t know I was going to drag him away, no. He wanted to stay the entire time. I guess he got to.”

“That is still highly irresponsible, Nav.”

“Yeah. It was. I never denied it. Something bad could have happened. As far as I can tell, nothing bad did happen. I’m biologically incompatible with pony diseases and I’ve yet to see any indication that Spike can get sick either. And I’d be hard pressed to believe that Canterlot has any muggers, so I didn’t think we’d get rolled. Still, something bad could have happened. It didn’t, though. Now I just know not to take drinks that are on the house.”

“I don’t know what a lot of those words were, or at least not how you used them. I’m going to assume they are bad things, in which case you are correct: Canterlot does not have much of a crime rate.”

“Opposite of my home. Where I come from our nation’s capital has an incredibly high crime rate.” She grimaced. “But enough of that. As it turns out, I can’t get my knighthood voided for breaking my armor.”

“Are you sure? All the stories I’ve ever heard have that loophole there…”

“Those are stories. I had Spike look it up for me. Turns out the only way to get voided is to commit a serious crime like murder or something. You got any advice on how I can do that and not end up arrested for it?”

“Nav, I’ve already apologized as much as I could for that!”

“I wasn’t making a jibe, Rarity. I was being serious. How can I commit murder and not get arrested but still lose my knighthood?”

She put her hoof on my chest with a clink. She looked at it for a moment and then removed her hoof. She used magic to pull me closer to her and then slapped me in the face. “Stop it.” She let me go and I leaned up, rubbing my face.

“Fucking cunt,” I said, loud enough that she could definitely hear me. I don’t think she knew what that word meant, but she huffed all the same. “Rarity, that is the second time you slapped me. With your hoof, at least. You do it again and Imma slap you back. And I won’t take my gauntlet off first, either. You damn ponies always tell me that I shouldn’t be so violent, and yet here you are slapping my shit. How do you justify that?”

“You seem to only learn your lessons when pain is applied. I saw no other recourse.”

“Rarity, if that was true, I would never have sex again. I just don’t learn my lessons period, pain or no pain.”

“I see. Well, I shall not cease in my efforts to turn you into a gentlecolt. You are going to be a knight now, and you must learn your manners!”

“I have manners. I just don’t use them. If I ever ended up around any ponies with rods up their asses, I might start, but most of the ponies I’ve met have been pretty chill.”

“If you say you can have manners, you should demonstrate them one day! We could even turn it into a competition, if you would be interested.”

“Alright. Tell you what: One day in Ponyville, we can trade jobs. I can be the polite and generous human and you can be whatever you think my personality is like. We can let one or two of our friends judge us. And just to be fair, because I know you have a real job, we can do it on a day you have off so you don’t lose any business. Think of a prize or something for the winner.”

“That does sound… intriguing. And I’m sure it would give you a very detailed look at how everypony views how you act.”

“No, it’ll give me an insight to see how you think I act. I already know you think I’m generally barbaric, rude, overly direct, crude, and a few other mean things. Oh, and I’ll have to add one caveat to the competition: If something big happens, the game gets postponed; I’ll not have something attack the town and me be forced to fight with honor because I don’t want to lose.”

“That seems fair. I’d hate to force Twilight to heal you because you don’t know how to actually fight since you win all your battles by cheating.”

“Damn straight, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You don’t have to worry as much about getting hurt if you kill your enemy before they know you’re fighting.”

She rolled her eyes. “You really don’t have any manners, talking about killing at a party!” She shook her head. “I think we’ll have to talk later, Nav. And don’t you go about avoiding me like you have been Luna and Twilight!” With that, she walked away.

I blinked at what she said, though. I’m avoiding Luna? I turned to Taya, who had a plate half full of food in front of her. “Have I been avoiding Luna?”

She chewed and swallowed. “If you haven’t been, you’ve been doing a good job disguising it.” She went back to the food.

“I’ve only been awake in the palace for one night. It’s not my fault she sleeps during the day. Do you know if she’s awake right now?” Taya shrugged. I looked around the party. No one else seemed that interested in talking to me. “Fuck this. I’m going to be there when she wakes up. Actually, is that creepy?” She nodded. “Eh, fair enough. I can talk to her after the knighting practice; I’m not planning on disappearing tonight. Anyway, do you like the armor?”

“Is it going to stop you from getting hurt?”

“It’s going to help protect me, but it’s probably not going to completely stop everything.”

“Then yes, I like it. I wonder if I could… I’ll have to look some spells up, but I bet I can increase the strength of the metal.”

“If you can, by all means. Just don’t accidentally destroy it; turns out that would be pointless.”

“I’ll be careful. Is it heavy?”

“It’s unbalancing but not wholly heavy. Luna is supposed to give me some manner of enchantment or something to make it lighter. I’m actually going to be her first knight in quite a while. I wonder what all it will entail…” Taya shrugged. “I’m sure I’ve done worse.” If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s to never tempt fate. I just wish that I’d remember that sometimes. “Well, you got any suggestions for things to do?”

“We’re at a party.”

I looked around for a moment before turning back to Taya. “If you feel like playing any of these filly games, by all means. I’ll watch you have fun.” She grimaced at that. “That’s what I thought. I actually do have some stuff to do… Do you know where I can get a bunch of boxes?”

“I bet Applejack knows. She had to use a lot of boxes for all the food supplies she’s been bringing in.”

I looked around and spotted her among a group of ponies. It can wait. I looked around again and sighed. Fuck it, I don’t want to be here anymore. I walked up to Applejack’s small group full of mostly Apple family members. “Hey AJ,” two of them looked up, one of them being Applejack, “do you know where I can get some empty boxes that won’t be missed?” The other one that looked up when I said AJ looked back to the group. I saw that his flank had a glass of juice on it.

“We got a bunch of them in the kitchen. You’re welcome to what you need.”

“Thanks.” I nodded and went off to find Spike. He was talking to Twilight and Cadance. Figures. I went to bail him out. “Hey Spike, we need to do that thing for Celestia.”

He looked confused for a moment before grinning. “Oh yeah! We do need to do that, and now would be a pretty good time.” He turned to the mares. “Sorry ladies, but when the princess calls…”

“But you two need to be there for the practice!” Twilight said.

“Then send someone to come get us,” I answered. “We’ll be in my room. Just have them knock first.”

“Oh no. You’re not going to make us all wait!” Twilight said, somewhat angry. “Do you know how long we waited on you guys earlier?”

“Yes. Yes I do,” I replied. What is it with me and answering rhetorical questions? “I don’t know what your concern with waiting is since you know people that can fucking teleport. Come on, Spike.” He fell into step behind me as I walked toward the kitchen. I think I heard some very dark mutterings from Twilight and some lighter ones from Cadance.

“So where are we getting the boxes?” Spike asked when we were away from there.

“The kitchen.” I pushed the door open and in we went. Taya was apparently still following me. “So Spike, one big box or a few small ones?”

“The mustache needs its own box. The others can all go in one big one.”

“Works for me. And you know what we’re going to do?” He looked at me. “We’re going to follow Celestia’s instructions, but we’re going to add a note of our own in the box. I’m not dealing with the fallout from this, hell no.”

“I like that idea.”

“So what are we doing again?” Taya asked.

“Spike and I are getting punished for being idiots last night. Celestia’s punishments get really weird when she’s in heat. I’m never visiting the palace again when she gets like this.”

“So what did happen last night? I heard some of the servants talking about some strange things.”

“I can honestly say I don’t know,” I answered. “And you don’t need to know. I didn’t get hurt, aside from a bit of soreness from sleeping oddly.” At least, I hope it was from sleeping oddly.

By that time, we had found the boxes we needed and were heading on up to my room. “Taya,” I said, “I’m not really certain you should see what we’re going to be doing in a few minutes. It’s kind of… well, fucked up.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Whatever. I warned you. Don’t go telling everyone I’m a bad dad or guardian or whatever because I’m giving you choices instead of telling you what to do.”

“You can tell me what to do if you want. But I really don’t want to have to start disobeying.”

“You’re way too much like me at that age. Well, at whatever age you are.”

“So are you saying that I’ll turn out like you?”

“Oh God, I hope not. I’d know that I failed as a parent if you turned out as horrible as me.”

“The next time you call yourself horrible, I’m throwing you on the floor,” she warned. “Calling yourself bad counts for that too.”

“What if I call myself that when you’re not around? And will you help me get up?”

“I’ll find you. And maybe.”

“Hm. I think I’ll wait until I’m out of my armor to test it.” We walked in silence for a bit. “Actually, hold on.” I slowly lowered myself to the floor, on my stomach. “I’m a bad person.”

I saw an orange glow pick me up about three feet and drop me to the floor with a really loud clatter. It didn’t hurt, thankfully. I pushed myself up and we continued on our way.

A few feet further down the hall, I asked, “So that was just a one-time thing, right? If I tell the truth like th—” I fell as magic clutched my legs. I hit the ground with another clatter.

“That counts,” she said as I achingly picked myself up. Spike giggled.

“What if someone else says it?” I asked as we started moving again.

“Then I fully expect you to hurt them for lying and defaming your good name.”

I sighed. “Spike, I’ve created a monster.”

“Well, that’s what you get for being a bad person.”

After a moment Taya said, “Well?”

“Well what?” we both asked.

“Aren’t you going to hurt him for lying and defaming your good name?”

Spike and I looked at each other. I pulled my gauntlet off and lightly cuffed him in the back of the head. He rubbed it as we continued in silence and I put my gauntlet back on.

“I wonder how much that suit reflects heat,” Spike mused.

“We’re not going to find out while I’m in it,” I answered. “We can put some popcorn or something in it when I get out and let you heat it up. Assuming you clean the grease out yourself, that is.”

“…I think I’ll pass.”

“For someone who is basically Twilight’s slave, you’re really lazy.”

“Well, I’m getting pretty tired of being shackled to her. At this point, I think I’m with her just because I think it’s more likely I’ll get my wings here than anywhere else.”

“You know damn well I’ll miss you when you’re gone, because it’ll mean I’ll have to stay here with no one but Taya for company. If you bail, I’ll probably get a house of my own, or just move to Canterlot. I’m tired of living with a murderer.”

“Then how do you live with yourself?” I heard an unexpected voice ask.

“I do my best to not pay attention, Luna. You really need to temper your sister. She’s done some pretty fucked up stuff this week.”

She grimaced. “So I’ve heard. Twilight has talked to me about some of it, and you are correct. It gets like this every time she goes into heat, but it’s so rare that there are so many ponies in the castle for her to toy with.”

“Right now, Spike and I are going to wrap sex toys that we’ve been ordered to give Cadance for her wedding.”

That stopped Luna. “What.”

“Well, you may have heard what happened last night. I got drugged and Spike was drunk off his ass. Between the two of us, we ended up sending Celestia something like fifteen sex toys through Spike’s magic. I don’t know if she woke up every time we sent them, but I know she was kind of pissed when we saw her earlier today.”

“While humorous, that is very concerning. Don’t give those nasty things to Cadance. If you tell me where they are, I’ll take care of them.”

“My room, under my bed. I’ll just have Spike destroy them. Saves you from having to wander around with them.”

“No, I will deal with them, in case Celestia asks what happened. Thank you for telling me this, Nav. Now, under what circumstances were you drugged?”

“Spike and I left the bachelor party last night for a wilder party. The bartender gave us both drinks on the house. Mine was drugged.”

“I see. And the name of this bar? And the name of the bartender?” Her tone was icy.

“I honestly don’t remember. I don’t remember anything after the bachelor party. And Spike was too drunk to catch it.” Hint hint, Spike. As it turns out, that was actually true. Or at least, he was smart enough to catch the hint.

“I see.” Oh man, I felt like I should be shivering in my armor from her tone. “Navarone, we have things to discuss.” She looked at Taya and Spike. “Alone, I believe would be best.”

“Go on back to the party, you two. We’ll be there at the rehearsal, probably. And if not, blame the space goblins.”

“…Space goblins?” Spike asked.

“Yes. Now go on.” They went, Spike shaking his head and Taya looking back a few times. I turned back to Luna and said, “I fucked up big time this week, didn’t I?”

She sighed. “Come on, Nav.” We continued walking. What am I going to do with this box? I casually chucked it down the first staircase we passed. Luna didn’t comment. “The only real mistake you made was allowing Chrysalis anywhere near your mind. Everything since then has been a consequence of that. However, what you did kicked the door open for Celestia and me to begin negotiations with her. So I suppose you did your job as a knight well, even before you were knighted.”

“Do you really think that forgives the way I’ve been acting? I’ve done some really strange stuff this week, Luna.”

“Shining Armor has been… off… as well, Nav. More free and wild than he usually is. You just haven’t noticed because you haven’t been around him. We think it’s a side effect of what Chrysalis did. And there’s also the fact that you’re a human rather than a pony. Chrysalis mentioned how your memories alone taste about as good as raw emotions. There have barely been any tests done between her kind and ours, so we have no idea what she might do to a human.”

“That makes me feel a little better, I suppose. What did you want to talk about?”

“What will happen tomorrow. You are going to get several physical changes automatically, upon me knighting you. All of them are reversible should you later decide you don’t like them. I just don’t want you to be surprised by them. They shouldn’t be painful, but some of them will be jarring.”

“What can I expect?”

“I know your eyes will turn dragon-like, so you are able to see in the dark. Your wings will turn bat-like, like my guards. Your skin will turn darker. Your armor will also grow lighter. Those are all the changes that appeared to ponies that took my colors. But… I don’t know about a human. My changes usually made ponies appear more fearsome, so be prepared for anything.”

“Alright. I’ll want my wings and skin turned back. The eyes will be okay.”

She sighed. “The ponies of old seldom kept my gifts either.” Well, get some better fucking gifts.

“It would take forever to explain the significance of skin color to humans, so you’re not winning that argument. I can keep the bat wings for a week, if you want me to try them out. Not having to preen or molt will be nice, admittedly. Do you know if they’ll have the same… Well, sensitivity, as my wings now?”

She blushed lightly. “They should. I’ve never… Never tested them. And none of my knights of old ever told me.”

“I’ll figure it out. I can let you know if you want. I know I’ve liked having wings at all, despite how much I hated them when I got them.” I stretched them out, marveling slightly at the feel. “Something every human on my planet ever dreamed of, and I wanted them gone immediately. They’re nice, I can say that.” I pulled them back in. “Soft, too.”

She grinned at that. “Nav… are you doing anything tomorrow night after the wedding?”

“I’m getting knighted after the wedding.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I was planning on going to my room and getting very, very drunk.”

“Nav, that’s not healthy!”

“And I never wanted to be a knight. I want to do this so I get so drunk that I do something stupid enough to get my knighthood revoked.”

“I’m not going to let you do that to yourself, Nav.”

“What did you have in mind to stop me? Dinner? We can go out if you want.”

She caught her breath. “Of cou—No. As my only knight, you have a very important job, a job that I have been looking forward to dealing with for a long time.” She sounded excited with her initial outburst, but that excitement died down and then slowly built up a bit. “You see, it is not only my job to bring up the moon.” Yeah, right. “I also have some manner of control over dreams. I can, at the very least, see into them. But doing so requires an object of extreme power that has been abandoned.” She snorted. “I want to say lost, but my idiot sister knew where it was the whole time but didn’t feel like telling me until you decided you were going to be my knight.” Ah, sibling rivalry. “After the wedding, you—and a group of my guards—are going to retrieve it.”

“Why do I need guards?”

She looked at me like I was stupid. “It’s big. And since it’s in the Everfree forest, I figured a bit of extra protection would be nice.” Oh fun. I’m going to that hellhole.

“So you said I had a job to do or something. Is my job to just help them ferry this thing back?”

“Very funny.” She didn’t sound amused. “I have been disconnected from it for a long, long time. You and I are going to reconnect to the device.”

That sounds ominous. “So uh… why was it abandoned?”

“Because Celestia was too afraid to connect to it.” Oh yeah. That was totally ominous.

“And what’s the point of this thing again? I’ve still been having dreams since I got here; why do we need this thing?”

“Yes. You have been having dreams. You are not a pony. Most ponies do not dream anymore, Navarone. There are a few isolated incidents and there are a few ponies that have the occasional dream. I believe your friend Pinkie is one of them, though she wishes she were not. Most ponies know of dreams, of course, but they don’t actually have them. We are going to change that tomorrow night.”

“So what exactly does connecting to this thing entail? And why do you need me?”

“I need you because you are going to keep me safe while I do the hard work. We enter into a world of dreams and fight our way to the dream master, essentially. There is a lot more to it than that, of course, but it is impossible to describe. Just be ready for absolutely anything.” That’s really, really ominous.

“So what kind of control do you get over the dreams when we wrestle this monster down?”

“I can do anything, really. I usually leave it on a pleasant setting, trying to minimize nightmares. However, I can take active control if I want, inserting messages at will. And I can enter individual dreams as well. Normal dreams are chaotic and unformed, but when I enter, they become more normal and the pony dreaming gains control.”

“That’s pretty neat. So if we’re both connected to this thing, what will that do to me?”

“I don’t know. You might be able to use it afterwards, if you learned how. It uses surprisingly little magic; I honestly don’t know much about the artifact, and Celestia knows even less. There are no books anywhere about it and there is nothing else to indicate what it does. We learned what it did through trial and error.” She blushed. “A lot of errors. Ponies were dreaming about… About Celestia and I doing… things to each other… It was horrible.”

“Are we talking sexy things or scary things?” At her blush, I knew. “Nice. Can we do that again?” She gave me a look of horror. “Just asking! I mean, I know she’s in heat because she’s been hitting on me all week. She suggested a foursome with you, me, Chrysalis, and her.”

“She told you about that?” She sounded rather disturbed.

“Yeah. In front of Chrysalis, who seemed to like the idea.”

She sighed. “I told her you wouldn’t be interested.”

“Whoa now, who said that?” Her head jerked up at me. “If you’re interested, I’d totally be down.” Her blush seemed to be creeping down her neck. “Uh… Are you okay? We don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, Luna. Honestly, I think the two of them could probably do it together and never miss us.”

“You’ve had a busy week, haven’t you?” she asked in a strained voice.

“Yeah. It has been interesting. I regret some of it. Some of it I don’t. I hope Pinkie has those pictures of Rainbow Dash in Celestia’s crown saved somewhere…” Some of the tenseness in Luna’s body dissolved at that. “You need a masseuse or something. You’re really tense.”

“I’m fine, Nav.” Her body eased up a little more. “Perhaps after we take control of the dream artifact, you can… help me relax.”

“I like the sound of that.” I paused for a moment. “Damn, I think I have some kind of spell on me or something. All this week, I’ve been thinking about getting laid, even though I’m still not sexually attracted to ponies.”

“You know… there might be a spell on you. Celestia sure did take her time testing you that morning. I can check if you want.”

“By all means. I’ve been feeling weird for a while. I thought it was just Chrysalis’s mind-fuckery.”

We stopped and she leaned her head in, touching my forehead with her horn. After a moment she gasped and pulled back, reeling a bit. “There are four spells on you! All of them increase libido, both in you and in mares near you! How…” Her eyes narrowed. “Oh. I can’t dispel all four of these right now. Two of them are monstrously powerful. I can, however, get rid of two of them.” She leaned in close again and her horn lit up even brighter. I felt a tugging at my mind as something went loose, and a ripping as something else was torn away. She pulled away and I shook my head, trying to clear it a bit. “I know one of them was from Celestia. I suspect one of them was from Twilight. Do you know where you got the other two?”

“I was drugged last night. There’s no telling what happened.” One of them was probably Chrysalis. The other… who knows?

“Hm. Well, I feel better already. I was wondering why I heard so many servants whispering about you. Now I know.”

“Do you know how old any of the spells are?”

“The strongest is over two weeks old. I suspect Celestia hit you with it before you left for the Maris party. It will be hard to remove even when I am at my best. Tell her to remove it tomorrow, before the wedding. I’ll remove the other one later tonight.”

“Later tonight? Ooh, does that mean you’re going to wait until after you and I… relax?”

“Ugh. I should just remove it now…”

“That’s not a no.”

She smiled. “You’re right. It’s not. You’ll have to show me how your armor comes off… For now, though, we need to get to the rehearsal thing. Just one more thing before we go.” She bent in and touched my breastplate with her horn. It glowed brightly and the entire thing felt insanely lighter.

She pulled her head up with a small smile that turned into a gasp as I grabbed her in another embrace and pulled her forward to kiss me. Again, her tongue didn’t fight back as mine explored her mouth. After a moment I pulled back. She was panting lightly.

“What did I tell you about eating cupcakes for breakfast?” I asked with another smirk.

“One of these days you’re going to have to tell me why you keep invading my mouth,” she panted. “But for now… I like it.” She used magic to push me against the wall, grating my armor against the stone. She walked up in what was probably a seductive manner and planted a kiss on my face. She pulled back almost instantly, grinning. “That’s all you get for now. So let’s go.” Her magic let me go and her horn glowed again as we teleported to the Royal Overlook thing where the wedding was to take place.

We were actually the first ones there. I was tempted to ask her to continue, but I didn’t really want to risk anyone stepping in on that.

“So where exactly is this dream thing in the Everfree forest, anyway?”

“It is in our ancient castle. It has been a few years since anypony that I know of has been there, and it is in that horrid forest. It is possible that some forest creatures have taken residence in the castle. You and the guards will clear them out if they have.”

“Easy enough. While we’re going there anyway, is there anything else we need to loot from that place?”

“Yes. There are many magical items I had then that I don’t have now. I would like as many of them back as possible.”

“So, what? We looking for thousand year old panties or something a bit more substantial?”

“What are these panties you keep speaking of?”

“They’re things chicks from my world wear under their pants or skirts. Unless they’re whores or just like going commando like me.”

“A whore like you, or somepony that likes going… commando?” I shrugged. “But no. You are looking for things other than clothing.”

“Cool. Any specifics?”

“Yes. But I will not tell you what just yet.” I shrugged again. “Ah, here they come. Tell me, have you ever been at a wedding before?”

“Yeah. I’ve been the best man, the camera man, a guest, a ring bearer, and a groomsman. And now I get to give the bride away. The only thing left for me is to get married myself, now.” With that, I walked down the long red carpet to meet the group coming in.

If you’ve seen one wedding rehearsal, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The three Crusaders were the flower girls. Twilight was apparently the best ‘man.’ Her friends were the bridesmaids—I don’t know what happened to Lyra, Colgate, and the other chick. Spike was the ringbearer. Celestia was the ‘priest.’ Cadance and Shining Armor were getting married. And I was giving the bride away.

Pretty simple, all things told.

The knighting ceremony was just as simple. Luna took Celestia’s place and called me forward. I went, knelt, repeated some words after her, she tapped me a few times with her horn, and then she passed a pillow with a broomstick on it. My real weapon wouldn’t be given to me until tomorrow. I didn’t even know what it was, though I suspected a sword. I was told to not bring my sword, crossbow, or bolts, though I was going to stash my crossbow in the Overlook before the ceremony began, just in case.

Anyway, that was that. It took nearly an hour, too. Celestia and Luna left to go ‘change the sun and moon,’ leaving the rest of us to our own devices.

I tracked down Twilight. “I need you to look at my mind,” I told her.

She looked at me blankly. “With the week you’ve had, no.”

“Luna told me Celestia and three other unicorns did something to me. Something about spells that increase libido. Luna was able to remove some of them, but I want to know if you can find anything she missed.”

Twilight’s eyes went wide. She stepped closer and her horn lit up. “Oh my. Yes, this does explain quite a bit. These two are frighteningly strong, too. This one is somewhat old… Celestia’s, probably. This one is newer… Chrysalis, maybe? It looks odd, so I’m going to assume yes. I might be able to… No. I can’t budge them, Nav. Why would Chrysalis have done this to you, though?”

“Twilight, I’m not gonna lie: I totally tapped dat ass. And my God, it was hot.” She looked disgusted. “I wasn’t in my right mind, so it’s okay! And you put one of the four spells on me, so you can’t judge.”

“I WHAT?!”

“There were four spells in there. One of them was yours, or so Luna thought. It would make sense, given the horrible things you did to me when you were under the effects of love poison.” And why they hurt but felt so good. “One of them was probably fr—Well, never mind about that. Is this really something Celestia would do, though?”

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