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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46. Chapter Thirty-Six—Parties, weddings, and dreams Part 2

“This is the worst she’s ever been, as far as I know,” Twilight said. “I can’t wait for her to get out of heat. This is terrible.”

“Terrible for me, you mean! You don’t even remember what happened to you!”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t know it happened! Navarone, I know this may seem… like, well, a terrible idea, but maybe you should just go and… Ugh. ‘Tap’ Celestia. It might calm her down.”

I looked at her. She looked at me. “It wouldn’t be the first time,” I said aloud. She flinched. “What? Even immortal sun goddesses need to get laid. And if you really think it would help calm her down, I can totally use the spell she put on me.”

“You’re terrible, you know that?” She sighed, shaking her head. “I know it should work, though. It worked for…” She blushed again. “Well, you know.” Twilight has requested my services in the past for dealing with her feelings while she was in heat. I was able to calm her down for a few days.

I rarely know when a mare is in heat, but I’ve begun paying attention to where stallions go and when. Most of them do their best to avoid areas near the mare. In a large town like Ponyville, that leaves a lot of empty spaces since there isn’t an official Estrus season. It’s the reason a lot of stallions don’t bother living in places with a lot of mares, and why there aren’t that many of them in Ponyville. And that’s why couples like Lyra and Bon-Bon are considered acceptable.

Anyway… “I’m willing to take that hit for the team, Twilight,” I answered her with mock graveness. “Just don’t tell anyone. I’ll do it tomorrow before the wedding. Now, I believe I have things to attend to.” A Taya to put to bed and a night princess to play with.

Taya was easy. Luna was easier, but in a different sense. Bow chicka wow wow.

If you ever tell anyone I wrote that… Well, it’s a good thing I’m dead if you’re reading this.

 

The morning found me back at my writing desk, working on plagiarizing more stuff. I was tired of Shakespeare and decided to move on to Lewis Carroll. I was having a lot more fun than I should have, copying his stuff.

And then Taya woke up from the first real sleep my bed had gotten this entire trip. I set down what might well have been the last quill I would ever make from myself and looked around at her. I’ve been here too long. Fillies and colts actually look cute now instead of like small ponies. Still gonna avoid babies, though. “You finally up? Took you long enough.”

“Let me guess: You’ve been waiting all night?”

“How ever did you know? Although I did leave for a bit; I had things to take care of.” She muttered something. “I am sorry to say that after the knighting ceremony, I’ll have to leave Canterlot for a little while. If all goes well, I should get back within a few hours, but then I’ll be comatose for who knows how long dealing with something else. I just wanted to warn you so you could find something else to do.”

“Okay.” Not ‘where are you going’ or ‘will you be safe.’ Just ‘okay.’

“And I’ll also have a few physical changes after the knighting ceremony. My wings should change, my skin color should change, and my eyes should change. The skin color won’t remain changed long, but I’ll keep the wings for a little while to see about them. The eyes, I’ll probably keep.”

“Okay.” That’s kind of starting to get annoying.

“Do you want a hug?”

“Yes.” That’s better. I walked over to the bed and hugged her. She let me go and managed to scamper onto my shoulders somehow. “Now, onwards to breakfast!”

“Fine. But when you finish eating, I need to go and have a talk with Celestia. She needs to correct a mistake she made. You can go on to the library or to Chrysalis or something, but it’s something I need to see her alone about.”

“Okay.” For fuck’s sake.

As we walked through the halls, I started hearing music. “Not again…” We hit a wall of servants, dancing about the halls and singing and whatnot about weddings and marriage and all that fun stuff. We continued, unabated. We ran into Cadance, singing what was probably a duet with Shining Armor somewhere in another part of the castle. It was at that point that I noticed all the servants we ran into were mares. We continued on our way.

When we got to the dining hall, we found all the males and Shining Armor, still singing. I sighed and set Taya down so she could make her way to the buffet or whatever.

The song was winding down around the time she got back. When it finished, I gently clapped. It was pretty alright.

Shining Armor saw me and Taya and trotted over. “Hey Nav. About the bachelor party… what happened? I got woken up by two snickering mares to find out that I was being spooned by a male night guard! And I was in a whole world of pain, worse than anything the changeling monster could have done.”

“You got drunk, dude. That’s what happens when you start drinking flaming shots.”

“What’s… a flaming shot?”

“A shot of alcohol is a small glass of it. Small for humans is…” I reached over and grabbed one of Taya’s forelegs and set it on the table. “About the size of her hoof.” I let her go. “For you guys, it’s about the size of a regular cup. And a flaming shot is a shot of alcohol that is literally on fire. Spike was lighting those bastards up and you were drinking them. It was pretty awesome.”

His face grew pale. “I… drank fire?”

“Kinda, yeah. I’m surprised you have any facial fur left. You’re lucky you woke up next to that night guard. If some of your friends had their way, you would have woken up with me.” He blanched. “I should mention before you think unpleasant thoughts: I woke up in a pile of thirty mares.” His mouth dropped. “Yeah, that was my opinion on the matter. Dude, I left your bachelor party with that mare that showed us all about wings. She took me to a party in some club and I got drugged. I don’t remember what happened, but I’m pretty sure I got laid. A lot. If you had been there, you would have gotten laid a lot too. So yeah, be glad you woke up with that night guy.”

“You got drugged?!” he said, his voice sounding hoarse. “You should have told me sooner, Nav! I’dve locked up the guy that did it and all the mares that participated!”

“Hey, I didn’t say that I regretted it. I can’t get anyone pregnant and pony diseases are incompatible with my body. I’ve gotten so much fucking tail this week, man… It’s been awesome.” I never realized it before, but saying ‘I got tail’ actually has a whole new meaning now.

“They broke the law! They need to be punished!”

“Good luck getting anything out of me. I ain’t gonna tell you a thing, and I dare you to try to read it from my mind.”

He grit his teeth. “You asked for it.” His horn glowed brightly and I felt something invade my mind. This wasn’t like Celestia’s invisible presence, digging around, or like Chrysalis’s presence, ghosting through my mind. This was a brute force, trying to find anything it could get its hands on.

And because of that, he wasn’t expecting me to give him all the images of every time I had sex with Twilight.

Shining Armor recoiled in horror, retching. “You… sick… Ew!” He shuddered one last time. He growled and his horn glowed bright again as he ripped into my mind.

Which made it really easy to give him the images of me fucking Chrysalis. This time he actually vomited.

“If you do that again, I’ll make you scream like a little girl,” I warned him. “I don’t want to do that before your wedding, so please, for your sake, stop.”

With a beastly yell, he ripped his head around and his horn glowed one last time. He entered my mind to find two doors. He looked at them both. “What is this?” he beamed into my mind.

Don’t do it,” I whispered back. The whispers echoed in the emptiness of my mind, thousands of times, and then millions, turning into little more than an inarticulate murmur that sounded somewhat like gentle laughter. His presence snarled and ripped into the door on the left.

And he experienced the full feeling of being branded, raped, scratched, violated, tattooed, pierced, and a few other things. He fell to the floor screaming. It’s just as well, I suppose; the other door was me having sex with Celestia.

“I warned you. Let’s go, Taya.” We left as a group of servants ran over to check on Shining Armor. “I really didn’t want to do that to him on his wedding day,” I mused aloud as we walked to the throne room.

“You warned him.”

“That doesn’t make it right, Taya. I could have easily hidden everything from his relatively untrained mind. He may be the captain of the royal guard, but he doesn’t know much about reading minds. He pierced me with brute force, trying to bully his way in. I could have easily hidden everything from him and let him wander the void for hours. Instead, I chose to strike back. Was that wrong of me?”

“I don’t think so, no. He attacked you. He has no right to complain about losing.”

“That is what you and I think, at least. But will the law agree? I’ll ask Celestia before I ask her anything else. Are you going to the library?” She nodded. “I’ll see you there, hopefully. If I do get in trouble… Tell Pinkie Pie I need her to stay sane and to take care of you. Trust me. When the chips fall, Pinkie’s the only one of that bunch I’m willing to trust with my life. If you don’t want to trust her, go to Chrysalis.”

“If you get in trouble, I’m breaking you out and we’re running to changeling territory.”

“You know what… Yes. If I get arrested for this shit, fuck the ponies. They can deal with their own damn problems.” She smiled and wandered off her own way, toward the library.

I got into the throne room with no problem. There wasn’t a crowd to see her because of the wedding. “Celestia, I may have assaulted the captain of the guard.”

She looked down at me from her dais. “Explain.”

“I told him how I got drugged. He demanded names. I told him no and he tried to reach into my mind. I gave him a few memories he didn’t like. When I left, he was on the floor screaming.”

“Navarone, do you even know any names of the ponies that did anything to you?”

“Nope. I just know the name of the mare that brought me to the party, and she was innocent, or so Pinkie and Spike told me.”

“I see. Was Shining Armor in uniform?”

“He was wearing something, but it wasn’t armor.”

“Then he’s not on duty. You defended yourself against an unlawful mental intrusion by what amounts to a civilian. What images did you give him?”

“Promise you won’t be mad.” She just looked at me. “I gave him images of me and Twilight having sex, me and Chrysalis having sex, and everything Kat did to me.” Her eyes widened at that last one. “That’s why he was on the floor screaming.”

“You probably mentally scarred him for life, Nav! Don’t you think that was a little much?”

“I had warned him two or three times. He dug into my mind three times. You really need to train him better; he had no finesse at all.”

She sighed. “I will go and deal with this. You stay here. Where was he last?”

“Dining hall.” She strode out. The two guards with her followed, one of them glaring at me.

I wandered around the throne room, looking for one of the hidden doors that I knew had to be there. I figured they would be well hidden, which is why I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t find anything. Celestia came back half an hour later.

“Navarone, come here.” I went up to her. We disappeared, leaving the guards behind.

I looked around to find that we were in her room. “You, Celestia, need to get laid. And then you need to remove your spell on me.”

She smirked. “You’ve had fun this week, though! Seducing Twilight. Seducing Chrysalis. Making Cadance run away. Seducing an entire party full of mares. Quite a naughty colt, aren’t you?”

I smiled. “So where are my whips and chains?”

Her smile deepened. “I thought you’d never ask.”

 

My duties taken care of, I went to go take a shower, put on my armor and most of my weapons, and then find Taya. Then we went to store my crossbow in the overlook.

While we were in the overlook, I said to Taya, “I want you to not be anywhere near Chrysalis and Doppel today and tomorrow. Now what’s the code word?”

“Bacon.”

“Okay. The code word is now ‘watch.’ If they are going to make a move, they will make it either today or tomorrow. I’m sure Celestia has something planned for them, but I will not take chances. After the wedding, go to the reception. It’ll be public and there will be plenty of food. Avoid Shining Armor, because he’s probably still mad.”

We spent the rest of the day up until the wedding right there in the overlook. There was quite a lot to look at, and I got a bit of practice flying in armor.

The wedding came and went. It was alright. Quite a lot of guests. Really, it was just another wedding. Shining Armor was too busy giving looks of adoration to Cadance to glare at me.

The knighting ceremony, though… “Navarone, come forth,” Luna called. I marched forward, my armored feet making loud thumps even on the carpeted floor. “Kneel.” I went down on one knee. “Navarone, do you swear to serve me, Princess Luna, in all I say and command?”

“I swear to serve you, Princess Luna, in all you say and command.” I wish I didn’t have to say that, and I swear I felt bands of steel tighten around my soul.

“Do you swear to defend Equestria against all enemies from without and within?”

“I swear to defend Equestria against all enemies from without and within.” Easy enough. Ponies are pretty defenseless, and the only real monsters come from the Everfree. Getting sent abroad, though…

“Do you swear to come when needed to assist me in whatever I require?” I don’t remember that being part of the ceremony. From Celestia’s look, she didn’t either.

“I swear to come to you when needed to assist you however you require.” An odd thing to add.

Her horn glowed brightly and came down to my shoulder once. I felt a searing heat on my wings, starting at their base and working their way out. There was a collective gasp from the crowd. Luna’s head moved to my other shoulder. I felt my skin drain of color, turning a very dark grey. My eyes began to water and itch and the few shadows I could see began to draw back. Her horn shifted to the first shoulder she touched. My mouth exploded with blood and I flinched at the pain, letting out a gasp that splattered blood on the floor.

Luna and Celestia were the only ones in front of me, thank God, and even they gasped at that. Thankfully, no one else could see the blood I just spit out and the carpet was red anyway. Luna quickly recovered and her horn glowed again, summoning a red towel for me. I grabbed it with a shaking hand and wiped my mouth, spitting blood and trying to find out what happened. I couldn’t feel anything through my gauntlets.

She used that time to pull a pillow out from behind her. On it was a case. She set the pillow down to her side and pulled the top off the case. When I had my mouth clean and the rag tucked away, Luna’s voice rang out again. “Rise, Sir Navarone, Knight of the Lunar Order.” I got to my feet, finally noticing how different my wings felt. “Your weapon, Sir Knight.” She used magic to pull a massive and very dark looking axe from the case beside her. An axe? Color me surprised. A brutal weapon. I reached out and grasped it from the air with both hands. It was honestly surprisingly light, and I assumed she had it enchanted or something.

“Stand by my side, sir knight,” she called one last time. I did as she asked, holding the axe in one hand. I turned to face the crowd and there was another large gasp; none of them had seen my skin turn colors with all the armor covering me. Given how small my eyes were in comparison to theirs, they probably didn’t even notice the difference there. I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut.

And that’s when I actually felt it. Holy fuck, my canines are gigantic! Luna said her knighting thing makes people more fearsome. What better way to make an omnivore that lives among herbivores scarier than by reminding everyone that he can eat meat?

And that was pretty much that. Everyone left but me, Luna, and Taya. When the last guest was gone, I pulled one of my gauntlets off and poked at my teeth. “Luna, what the fuck is this?” I asked, noting how ridiculously sharp they were.

“Those are big teeth,” she answered.

“No shit, Sherlock! That hurt like a bitch, too! Still does.” She bent down and turned my skin color back.

“Do you want me to change your teeth, too?”

I ran my tongue over them again. I could hide them for a while. They would be noticed eventually. “Taya, what do you think?”

“Keep them.”

“I’ll let you know later, Luna.” I stretched out my wings, noting how odd they felt. “These things are cold compared to my wings. My other wings, I mean.” The new ones were purple and black, similar to my armor. “So when do we leave?”

“Have you spoken with Celestia?”

“Yeah.”

“Then right now, my loyal knight.”

I looked down at the axe that I had laid against my leg. “Where am I going to put this thing? Also, an axe? Really?”

Her horn glowed and a belt came out of the case. There was a loop that the axe would fit in. I suppose I should describe the damn thing, since it’s ‘my badge of office’ or some shit. It had a long haft that ended in a very broad head. At the top of the haft, above the blade, was a pointy spike. At the bottom of the haft was a dull spike. I ran my finger lightly over the blade and nodded with a smile. Sharp.

I grabbed the belt out of the air. “Yes, an axe,” she answered. I slung the belt over a shoulder and noted how small it was; it wouldn’t fit.

I passed it to Taya. “I need that to fit around my body, like my sword belt.” She did magic to it and passed it back. I slung it around my body easily that time and hung the axe up.

“You know that was supposed to go around your waist, right?” Luna asked.

“I don’t wear big weapons there because I never use them. I keep the weapons I use at my waist. Or around my shoulder. Speaking of which…” I went to where I hid the crossbow and the bolts and grabbed them. I sighed as the familiar weight settled on me.

“I didn’t know you were going to hide… those here,” Luna said with a bit of distaste. “You’re supposed to use your axe!”

“I don’t even know how to use a sword. Why would I know how to use an axe?”

Her left eye twitched. “What kind of knight are you?”

“The reluctant kind. I didn’t want to be knighted. I didn’t—and don’t—want armor. I didn’t want a new weapon. I told all of you this and you made me do this shit anyway. I’ll play your dog and pony game, but don’t expect me to like it.”

“Well. You are mine now. Now let’s go.” She lifted her wings and dove out of the overlook.

“Go to the reception, Taya. I’ll be back when I can.” I jumped, hoping my new wings worked as well as the old. I didn’t hear Taya’s answer, if she had one.

Luna led me to a large courtyard where it looked like a group of her royal guards was preparing for war. We landed among them and they pretty much ignored us. Luna strode up to an area that was raised above the rest for some reason and called for attention. All the guards stopped what they were doing and looked up at her.

She pointed to me. “That is Sir Navarone. He is my only knight. Don’t let him die.” They all looked at me for a moment before turning back to her. She had stopped pointing, at least. “Now, you all are going into the Everfree forest to the site of the old castle. You are going to recover an artifact of immense power. No pony knows what might be residing in the castle right now, but we don’t think there is anything there; that is where the… Well, never mind about that. We believe the site to be clear. But just because we think that does not make it true. No pony goes anywhere alone. If you must break into teams, break into teams so each pony group is represented.” In terms of pony races, the earth pony is the tank, the pegasus is your DPS, and your unicorn is your all-around mage. “Now go.”

All the earth ponies and the unicorns piled into dark, evil looking chariots. The unicorns used their magic to hook the pegasi up. They took off and I went with them, just flying alongside the others. I loaded my crossbow in the air, just in case. I wasn’t expecting anything to fly out of the forest to attack us, but I knew manticores could.

It wasn’t until we were over the forest did I realize she never told me what she wanted me to loot. I figured she gave one of the guards a list. I was also assuming she gave them directions, and a description of the artifact we were hunting.

It took us about forty-five minutes to fly to the location. We set up outside of the castle ruins. There didn’t appear to be anything, but everyone was on edge anyway.

“Alright, so who knows what we’re looking for?” I asked aloud.

They all looked at me blankly. “You mean you don’t?” one of them finally asked.

“No one ever tells me shit. What’s the description?”

“She didn’t tell us. We figured she would tell you.”

I looked at them. They looked at me. I turned to look at the castle for a moment and then back to them. “If any of you feels like flying back and telling her we can’t figure this out, by all means. I’m going in there and exploring. It’s an ancient mysterious magical artifact that’s probably dangerous. How hard can it be to find?” They looked at each other. A few of them shrugged. “Oh, and if we find any riches or anything, you guys get ten percent.” That got their attention.

I looked back to the castle. There was a closed portcullis there. “One of you unicorns get this thing out of my way.” I unslung my crossbow as someone hit the thing with a fireball, sending its corroded form crashing down and burning most of the ancient wood.

Oh, and I’ll go ahead and say this: There were thirty guards here with me. Seven teams of the three races and nine other pegasi for chariots.

“One team stay back here and watch the chariots,” I told them. “Three of the chariot pegasi, stay with them. The rest of you, come on.” Each ‘team’ was composed of one earth pony, one unicorn, and one pegasus. I started into the castle courtyard, walking over the red-hot portcullis without even feeling it in my boots. They followed me, their hooves protecting them from the heat.

I was really hoping there wouldn’t be anything here, if the portcullis was down. But then, nothing with wings should have been stopped from getting in. And it would be a pretty good safe place from things without wings because it’s enclosed.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” one of the pegasus ponies muttered.

“Keep it to yourself,” I told him. “I ain’t gonna have you jinxing us.” I looked around the courtyard. It was very overgrown. “Watch out for snakes and blue flowers. Can one of you trim this grass or something?” One of the unicorns lit up and a blue fire began flying across the ground, destroying all the plants—and hopefully any critters lying in wait. “Not what I meant, but that works.”

We pushed in further. There were doors dotted around. Some of them seemed to lead to the walls while a few of them led into the castle proper. “Does anyone have a map of this damn place?” I asked.

One of them walked towards me and reached into his pack, pulling out a paper. I looked at it and it was most definitely a map. A thousand year old map. I looked at it and looked up and around me. This place had changed in a thousand years. I don’t know if it was Everfree mind-fuckery or if a thousand years of corrosion and whatnot just started dropping the palace to pieces, but it was different. I looked at the map again.

“Okay, this thing was actually labeled for us. That’s good. Alright… Center doors. Go figure.” We made our way up to the doors. They weren’t there anymore, but there was at least a hole we could get through. The dust on the ground was scratched by claws and had a few paw imprints. “Well, we know we have a bit of company. No lights; we can all see in the dark and hopefully they can’t. Anyone know what these tracks are?”

“Manticore,” one guy said. “They aren’t too dangerous if we stick together. They aren’t pack animals, so we shouldn’t run into too many.”

“Good. Who knows how to use a map?” A unicorn raised his hoof. “You’re the navigator. You and your team take point. Everyone else, be prepared to protect them and guide them out if we run into serious opposition.”

“Shouldn’t you lead?” one of them asked as the unicorn and his team went in, grabbing the map.

“I’ll be right next to them,” I answered as I followed the unicorn in. I made sure my crossbow was ready as we went into the darkness that wasn’t actually so dark with my new eyes. “Where to?”

The unicorn started off down a long hallway. We followed, the rest of the teams spreading out a bit behind us. There didn’t appear to be as many tracks this way, thankfully. We were all still just as careful, of course. After a few minutes we got to a crossing. Without prompting, the unicorn went to the left. We all followed. When we got to a staircase going down, he stopped.

“The map shows this as being our stop,” he said, looking around.

“Does that mean what we’re looking for is down there?” one of his team asked.

“Fuck if I know,” I answered. “Let’s go.” And down we went.

And down.

And down.

“Okay, whoever designed this castle is a dick,” I said after about fifteen minutes of descending.

“I don’t know what you mean by that, but they are a jerk,” the earth pony agreed.

“Alright, fuck this shit. Everybody, hold up.” We all stopped. “Alright. The six chariot pegasi, come with me. Everyone else, continue.” With that, I jumped down and let my wings carry me. The pegasi followed.

We fell for half an hour. Eventually I saw something moving ahead of us. I landed and tumbled a bit on the stairs, and the pegasi behind me did as well. I usually have a bit of a farther sightline than ponies, since I’m a predator. They usually have broader sightlines to make up for it. “Something moving up ahead,” I warned them. They got ready and we began moving down as silently as a guy in plate mail and six ponies with hooves can move.

Which is probably why we didn’t surprise the large group of night ponies going down. “Okay, what the fuck,” I said aloud as we got close enough to realize we ended up behind the other group.

“Magic,” a unicorn answered.

“Someone hit him,” I said, turning around and looking back the way we came. Darkness. I looked back down. Darkness. “I don’t suppose any of you unicorns know any dispelling stuff?” One of their horns glowed. The entire place fucking lit up, causing us all to wince in shock.

“That should do it,” the unicorn said. “Whatever spell was here should be gone.”

Down or up? “We go down,” I said. Down we went. Two minutes later we hit a drop.

Someone stuck his head down and barked a laugh. “We’re back where we started,” he said. “But there’s a new door here.”

Dammit, Luna. “Everyone back in the hall. Don’t touch the door yet.” We all hopped down. I looked down the stairs and saw nothing but darkness. I looked back and saw the same thing. “Fucking magic,” I muttered. “Alright, is that door open?”

Someone checked it. “Locked.”

“Can one of you unicorns remove it without blowing it up? Pick the lock, perhaps?”

One of them tried something. “Try it now.” Nothing. “The door seems to be immune to magic.”

“Well fuck. Can one of you earth ponies kick it in without knocking it off its hinges?”

Three of them walked up to it and gave it an appraising eye. One of them nodded and the other two backed off. The one in the center reared up on his front legs and kicked the door for all he was worth with his back legs. The door bulged but didn’t open or crack. He stepped away from the door with a defeated air.

“Fuck it.” I pulled the axe from my back. “Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in,” I murmured as I took a few steps forward, hefting it. “Not by the hairs of your chinny chin chin? Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your ho—Wait.” I stopped. “This place is magic, right?” I asked aloud. I got several nods.

I politely knocked on the door. It swung open. “Huh.” I slid my axe onto my back and grabbed my crossbow from where I had set it.

“Well then, shall we?” I asked. One of them made to move. “Wait.” They stopped. “I’ve seen this episode before.” I set my crossbow down and pulled out my axe again. I jammed the blade into the door crack, to make sure it stayed open. I left it there and readied my crossbow. “Let’s go.”

I went in first. The door jerked, trying to slam shut. I heard a cracking sound around my axe blade. After a moment, the pressure on the door eased up and stopped entirely. The ponies followed me in. We appeared to be in a large storage room full of junk. “Alright, is there any way to detect magical items or something?” I asked.

“Yes, but it only works for unicorns,” one of them said. After a moment, his horn lit up. Several objects in the room seemed to glow. “For anypony not familiar, the brighter the object is the more powerful it is.”

“So we want that thing?” I asked, pointing to something that looked like a sun.

The unicorn gasped. “You can see it?”

“Yeah. You guys with the bags, grab everything the unicorns tell you is magic. Everyone else, try to figure out how to get the objective out.” Me and a single squad approached it. “Any ideas?”

“Pick it up and take it,” the earth pony answered.

“Works for me. Three earth ponies, over here.” Two more joined our group. “See if you can pick this thing up.” They went over to it and examined it from a few angles. The actual appearance of it was a statue. An odd statue. There was a hole at the base that looked like something could be fitted inside of it. The actual statue itself seemed to be of a kind of demon or something.

Wait. So much in this world seems to be based on mythology… Could it be… “Turn the magic finding spell off and shine some light on this thing,” I ordered. They did so and I gasped. I brushed my fingers across the writing to be sure. “That’s Greek for Morpheus. I’m sure of it!”

“So what does that mean?” one of the unicorns asked.

“That means that whatever this thing is, it comes from my world. Greek? Exact replication of Morpheus? No fucking way.”

“Whatever. Can we get back to collecting this stuff?”

“Yeah…” He cast the magic finding spell again. The three earth ponies somehow managed to pick the statue up and set it down across their backs. The other guys seemed to have collected everything magic already. “Alright, let’s go. Statue in the center, bags around it, everyone else on the outside. Move.” When we got out of the room, I retrieved my axe and slid it back. The door slammed shut.

Someone muttered something about treasure as we walked back out. “Hey, I didn’t say we were done in this castle,” I commented aloud. “I’ll take a poll when we get outside, staying and exploring versus leaving. If you guys vote to stay, we’ll split up a bit and look for treasure.” That calmed them down.

We got out with no problems and everything went into the chariots fine. “Alright, time for a vote. Who wants to stay and loot some more?” A little over half the hooves went up. “Alright. Two squads per group.” That makes three groups, with one squad guarding the chariots. “Two spare pegasi go with each group. Break out the rope. We’ll tie off lines at the entrance so no one gets lost. If anyone finds a frayed or torn rope that seems to lead off in the darkness, tug on it. If anyone finds that their rope is getting tugged, stop immediately and go back to find out why. From there, the two groups can either continue together or go back to tie off again. Any questions?”

“What do we do if we find hostiles?”

“Terminate them with extreme prejudice.”

“What do we do if we find treasure?”

“Send the two pegasi down your rope line to the entrance and get me. I’ll pull the lines and the other two groups will come out so they can help you retrieve it. Anything else?” Nothing. “You have five hours. Go.” Off they went.

An hour after I sent them off, a manticore stalked out of the castle. I don’t know how he missed the groups of ponies, but he was pissed. I readied myself for a fight but he just walked right past me without even seeing me. Neat. He took a few looks around the outside and noticed the portcullis down. With a roar, he charged it.

“Nope.” I shot him in the back. He spun around looking all around for me. I stepped outside as I reloaded. He roared again, somehow not seeing me. I shot him in the throat while he was roaring.

By this time, the ponies guarding the chariots were pounding their way to me and the body. They froze when they saw me standing over the dead manticore, pulling out my bolts. I waved them back to their positions.

For some reason, when I smelled the blood of the manticore, I started salivating. Well, I have fangs now… I made sure the ponies were gone. I pulled out my dagger and slit the manticore open. I sighed in pleasure at the smell before I realized what I was doing. I pulled the dagger up to my lips and tasted it. Sweet. Luna is definitely removing these teeth when I get back. I wiped the dagger on its coat and sheathed it, standing.

Another hour passed. Then another. A group of ponies came running and screaming out of the castle. They took a while to calm down, and it turns out they had dropped their rope.

When I finally got one calmed, he whispered, “Taraxippus…”

“Yeah, because that was really informative. What the fuck is that? And is anyone injured?” They were all fine, but none of them were able to tell me what they saw or ran into. “Is it dangerous, at least?” I finally asked. They looked at each other. One of them shook his head. “Then why did you run away?”

“We… we couldn’t face it,” one of them whimpered, going pale just at the memory.

I looked back into the castle. “How long did it take you to get back?” I asked.

“Ten minutes,” one of them more clear-headed ones answered.

“And you dropped the rope as soon as you saw it?” They nodded. “Then I’m going to go kill it so you can explore some more.”

“You can’t kill a Taraxippus!” one of them said. “It’s already dead!”

“But it’s not dangerous?” They all shook their heads. “Then I’ll go look at it.” They sighed. “Don’t go back in just yet. If one of the other groups comes back, go with them to help them get the treasure.”

In I went, following the rope. It led off in a completely different direction than we originally went. Knowing that I had a lot of stamina, I just started off running. It was awkward in armor, but I managed. About fifteen minutes after I started, I got to where I was going.

“Hello?” I called out. I saw a bright silver object approaching. “Are you the… Taraxippus?”

“You aren’t afraid,” I heard. It was like a whisper brushing into my mind. “But then, you aren’t equine, though you carry their scent. Part tree… part something.”

“Part man. I might not be afraid, but I am somewhat concerned. What are you, that can scare two squads of royal guards?”

“Equines are terrified of me. I do not know why. There was a creature here, a manticore. It was not afraid, but it was not intelligent. I have been alone for some time. Are you here to relieve my loneliness?”

“I kinda need to leave, sometime. Hey, do you know if there’s any treasure here?”

It ignored the question. “You need to leave?” It pulled in closer, but all I could make out of it was a pale silver mist. “Why would you want to do that?”

“Well, I’ll need to eat eventually. I also have a daughter that wants to see me. And I have a pretty important job that I need to do.”

“I see. What year is it?” I told him. Her. It. Whatever. “It has been some time. I chose to reside in these ruins because I caused fear everywhere I went. I have been alone for seven hundred years here.”

“That sucks. Why not go to the griffin kingdom? There aren’t many ponies there, and I’m pretty sure it’s just a few hundred miles north.” They live in Canada.

“That is… an interesting thought.”

“Or you could go and live with the dogs in the Diamond Dog mines. That’s a few hours… oh, east from here, I believe. Or you could go to the naga caverns about a hundred miles west. Or you could get on a boat and go across the ocean to the cat lands in Africa. Really, if you gave up that quickly and you only scare ponies, there’s kind of a problem, dude.”

It was silent. “Wow. I’m an idiot,” it finally said. “Seven hundred years of my unlife gone because I didn’t explore enough.”

“Well, we’re all stupid sometimes, bro. We’ll all be out of the castle in a few hours. Do you know where any treasure is?”

It seemed to sigh deeply. “Bring your rope. I will lead you to it.” I grabbed the rope and followed behind it. It led me for about five minutes before stopped at a door. “Here.”

I looked at the door. I tried opening it. Locked. I tried knocking. Nothing. “How do you get inside?” I asked it. It floated through the key hole. After a moment, it floated back out. “Okay, how do I get inside?”

“Break it down?” I shrugged and grabbed my axe.

A few swings later, I was able to look inside. “Here’s Joh—Oh shit!” Mounds of bits. Piles of gems. Several cases that contained who knew what. I pulled my head away and reached down to the door handle and opened it from that side. I eased the door open and whistled softly. “Well, ghost, you just made a bunch of rich men.” It didn’t answer. I looked around and saw that it was gone.

I shrugged and tied the rope off to the door handle and ran back to follow it. Twenty or so minutes later, I emerged.

“Well?” one of the guards asked.

“We’re all rich men,” I answered with a grin. They cheered as I pulled the other two ropes. It took one group ten minutes and the other group half an hour. “Go get some more bags, guys. You’re going to need them. Don’t open any of the cases, just stuff them in bags. Take both of your ropes with you just in case something happens to the first one.” They nodded and a few pegasi dashed off to get more bags from the chariots and off they all went.

An hour later, they emerged, smiling ear to ear, each one toting bags.

“Alright guys, lay the bags of bits and gems out. Put the bags with the cases and anything else to the side.” They did as I asked. “Okay. I promised you ten percent. Luna doesn’t know about this. She didn’t even know that I was going to go treasure hunting. So what she does not know cannot hurt her.” There were ten bags of bits, each bursting. There was another ten bags of gems. “Because of that, and given the generous bounty here… Would anyone say no to twenty?” More cheers. With a smile, I continued, “I thought not. Take two bags of coins and two bags of gems and set them aside. Get everything else loaded up.” They did as I ordered.

When they got the bags all loaded, they came back to me. “Okay. Who is the highest ranking officer here?” They all pointed at me. “Who is the highest ranking officer under me?” They pointed at a pegasus. “Do you have your own house?”

“Yessir.”

“Alright. Everyone else, do you trust him to hold onto your loot for a few hours, until you all get off and can go pick up your share?” A chorus of agreement. “Okay. You load up these four bags into your chariot and drop it all off at your house. The rest of us will slow down so you have time to get back without too much suspicion, but hurry the fuck up anyway. Alright?” He nodded. “Let’s go.”

And off we went. By the time we got back to Canterlot, it was dark. The officer took off with his chariot and all the ponies and loot in it and the rest of us slowed down a bit, circling the city. Ten minutes later, he pulled back up and we went to the castle. We landed in the same courtyard we started in. Off in the distance, I spotted the reception still going down.

“I want everything off these chariots. All the money and gems to one area, all the strange cases next to them, all the magical artifacts a bit away, and the strange statue in the center. Then get these chariots back where they’re supposed to be. Five pegasi go and guard the money at that officer’s house as soon as you drop the chariots off. The rest of you guard this area until I can get back with Luna.” They all moved to do as I asked.

I jumped into the air and flew over to the reception, hoping I could sneak in, grab Luna, and sneak out. I started hearing music as soon as I got out of the courtyard. I flew over to a building overlooking the reception and looked down into it, trying to find Luna.

I saw Cadance and Shining Armor saying something to Twilight. After a moment, Cadance threw something. I followed whatever it was she threw and saw it land right at Luna’s feet. There she is. She was bending down to pick it up as I leapt from the building. I landed right in front of her has she was standing up with a thing of flowers somehow attached to her front hoof. Flowers at a wedding? Wh—Oh. I hope she doesn’t see any symbolism there.

She dropped them in shock when I landed, anyway. Celestia was giggling. “We’ve got the statue thing,” I told Luna. Her eyes widened. “And who knows how many other magical artifacts. And a shitload of treasure. It’s all ready whenever you are.”

“Good. Let’s get out of this cursed party.” She jumped into the air, leaving the bouquet there.

I tried following her, only to get stopped by a bit of magic holding my leg. “Are you just going to leave that there?” Rarity asked me, looking at the bouquet. “The way Luna was looking at you…” She smiled. “I think she might need one of her own soon!”

“Rarity… Let me go.” She did with a huff and I followed Luna to the courtyard.

All of the chariots were gone by the time we got there and all of the bags were laid out, with the statue standing in the center of the courtyard. Luna was in front of it, grinning ear to ear. I landed next to her.

“Undamaged, unchanged, after all this time. Did you find it easily?”

“Yeah. There was a fucking illusion cast that made an endless staircase and hid the real door. We were going down that thing for nearly an hour before we figured it out. Then it took us a little while to figure out how to open the door. We ran into a manticore and something called… Taraxippus or something.”

She gasped at that. “Those are rare! Very, very rare! How did you get around it?”

“I talked to him and gave him some directions.”

She just gaped. After a moment she managed to say, “You talked with it? How?”

“You know, with my mouth? Words, and all that. Poor thing was lonely. Apparently all ponies are afraid of it as soon as they see it. Odd, but whatever.”

“Interesting. Now, what is in the rest of these bags? You mentioned treasure.”

I pointed to one grouping of bags. “Coins.” I moved my finger. “Gems.” I moved my finger again. “Cases of some kind. We didn’t open them, just in case.” I pointed to the last pile. “Magical items in the storeroom with the statue.”

“Money and gems...” She looked at me, beaming. “I can finally have my own treasury! I won’t be dependent on Tia anymore!”

“It’s not much, though,” I warned her. “I bet it cost that much to hold this fucking wedding.”

“No, just one of those bags. But this money is old, Nav. Really old. It is worth quite a bit more. Now, these cases you spoke of. Where are they?” I pointed. We walked over to the pile of bags. She ripped one open with her magic and picked up one of the cases. “Books. Some are probably records, some are probably histories, some are probably spell books. Somepony else can go through them all later, after preserving spells have been cast on them. The magical artifacts?” We went over to them and she opened a bag and pulled something out. “Yes, everything of mine that I owned before… the exile. Perfect.”

“So what now?” I asked.

“Now we move all of this away from this area and get it all stored away.” She turned to her guards. “Take everything but the statue to my personal store room. After that, you are free until your assigned patrols. Thank you, guards.” They all bowed and began to do ask she asked.

“So what do we do with the statue? I thought you wanted to connect to it as quickly as possible.”

“We are going to take it to my room and connect there.” She walked back over to it and picked it up with magic. “Heavy, as always. Shall we, Nav?”

With that, we began the trek to her room. On the way there, I remembered something. “Luna, there’s something about that statue I think you should know.”

“How could you know anything about it?”

“I recognize it from my world.” She stopped and the statue slipped in her grip.

“Explain.”

I walked over to it and pointed out the Greek word. “That says Morpheus.” I pointed at the statue. “That’s a version of his mythological body. He was a Greek god, and had the ability to enter dreams.”

“This isn’t the first such instance of this, Navarone. It is odd, I grant you, especially given how old this statue is—or at least how old we think it is—but then, everything about it is odd. Now let’s go.” We continued on.

We made it to her room with no problems. She set the statue up in her personal bedroom and put a cushion down in front of it. “It has been a very long time since I did this, Navarone. Taking this thing over again will be difficult, even with your assistance. Are you ready?”

“Is there anything more you can tell me about it, before we start?”

“It is a dream world. Just remember that it is all a dream. I don’t know what will happen when we start this.”

“Can we get hurt?”

“Oh, definitely. We can’t die, of course, but there are worse things in life than dying. And whatever guards the statue knows that. Are you ready?”

What can you say to something like that? “Sure.”

“Just hold onto my horn, then.”

“Whoa now, I thought we got all that out of your system last night!” She gave me a look and rolled her eyes. I sighed and grabbed her horn. She lowered her head to the hole above the sign that said Morpheus and plugged it in.

 

I was in an ocean. I looked all around me wildly, trying to see anything. There was nothing but water as far as the eye could see. I looked down and saw blackness. The water was so deep I couldn’t see the bottom; anything could be lurking in the depths and I would never know.

I felt something brush my leg and my body jerked.

I’ve never mentioned this before, but something like this is one of my deepest fears. To be surrounded by nothing on all sides but water, unable to see anything but the darkness below, where anything can live… It is a terrifying thought.

I tried pushing myself up high enough to use my wings, but I was still in my plate armor. The only reason I was afloat at all was because of how light it was, but I didn’t think I would be able to actually fly out of the water with it.

I felt something else brush my legs, harder.

This is just a dream, she said. I closed my eyes. Take me to Luna. I will open my eyes and I will be there next to her.

I opened my eyes. Still in the ocean. Fuck you too, Luna. That something hit my legs again. “Fuck you!” I pulled out my dagger, waiting for it to strike again. For a while, nothing happened.

I closed my eyes. I have wings. They will work, water be damned. I started beating them, trying to get higher. I slowly rose out of the water, and that thing brushed me again. I raised my legs out and continued pushing with my wings until I was fully above the water, when I gave one more great thrust, clearing the water entirely and getting several feet above it.

Holy shit. I looked down to where I was and saw masses of jellyfish. Another great fear of mine. Fun. I was now very thankful for this armor. Fuck your cnidocytes, jellies! Oh God, I can’t believe I still know that word, after all these years away from biology.

I soared away from the area, sheathing my dagger. Water leaked from my armor, falling to the ocean in salty drops. That’s gonna rust so hard. I looked around and hoped that since I was higher I could see more. Nothing.

There’s going to be an island ahead of me. On it will be some very sexy native chicks that will worship the winged metal man and give him all the sex he could want.

I looked ahead again. There was an island, all right. I grinned, hoping the rest of it came true. I landed on the beach and walked in a bit, looking around. I spotted a chicken peeking out of the mass of trees.

Wait. I wanted sexy chicks here. Oh fuck. The chicken darted its head back in the foliage for a moment, and suddenly the tree line exploded with chickens rushing at me, clutching makeshift spears.

Nope, I’m out. I jumped into the air and flew away from the island.

“Alright, let’s try that again but with humans.” I paused in the air. “Wait, I should be finding Luna.” I thought back. If I was in some place I was afraid of… Then Luna would be on the moon.

I closed my eyes. The moon will have atmosphere. An atmosphere I can survive in. When I open my eyes, I will be on the moon. I opened my eyes and saw black and white all around. I took a hesitant breath in, and slowly let it out. “Smells funny, but I’m here. Now, where would Luna be on the moon?”

I looked around again and saw nothing. “Fuck. This is gonna take a while. Wait…” I closed my eyes. When I open my eyes, I will be able to see considerably farther and around the curvature of the moon. I opened my eyes and looked around again. Still nothing.

“For fuck’s sake.” I closed my eyes again and slowly began to spin around. When I open my eyes, I’ll be pointing at Luna. I opened my eyes.

I was looking at Earth. “What? How is that eve—Fucking dreams. Screw it.” I closed my eyes. Take me to Luna, fucking dream.

I opened my eyes a bit and they widened exponentially when I realized I was falling. I put my wings to use and flew back up to Luna. “There you are, Nav! Where did you go?”

I looked around and saw that we were over a familiar island. “I went to the moon looking for you,” I answered.

“That’s where it put me, but I got to you as quickly as I could. I was hoping you’d escape on your own. I guess you were able to.”

“Aye. Where to now?”

“My bedroom.”

“Again? I know you’re frisky, but I think we have more important things to do.”

“I thought you had my sister remove that spell!”

“I did, but you’re cute when you’re flustered.” She blushed. “Shall we?”

“Just hold onto me.” I gripped her tail and we appeared in her room. I saw her room as we had left it, including me and her sitting around the statue. “This is the hard part, Nav. I have to fight to take control of my body. The things I fear are going to appear around me while I fight. You have to stop them.”

“And I can summon anything to help me do that, right?”

“Yes.” I closed my eyes. When I open my eyes, I will have an AK-47 that never runs out of ammo. I opened my eyes and racked back the bolt. “Nav, what is that?”

“A human weapon. In a range like this, it will destroy anything I have to fight.”

She sighed. “It isn’t just fighting you’ll have to do, Nav. Get ready.” I looked around and shrugged. She reached out with her horn and touched the horn of the other Luna.

Celestia appeared. I immediately ravaged her with bullets and she dropped to the ground, leaking blood from about a dozen holes. I appeared and I killed myself. Twilight and her friends appeared. Each of her friends was wearing a necklace and Twilight had some tiara thing. I killed Twilight and Rarity first and Rainbow Dash next, before any of them could react.

The other three gasped. “What are you doing, Nav?” Fluttershy whispered. I cut Applejack down and killed Pinkie Pie next.

“Nothing personal, Fluttershy,” I answered, killing her. “But your jewelry was ugly.”

I went over and kicked Twilight. “That’s what you get for trying to kill me, cunt!”

Some strange black pony appeared in some kind of armor. I noticed that she was an alicorn and that’s about all I saw before I killed her too.

“Shit, this is easy.” The floor was getting soaked in blood and other stuff, and the smell was pretty terrible. The armor was keeping the gun from kicking against me too terribly, thankfully, so I wasn’t getting hurt at all.

Some ugly amalgamation of animals appeared and I killed him too, though he laughed before he disappeared. Sick fuck probably enjoyed it.

Two more alicorns appeared and had time to look surprised at the amount of bodies before they died. Then a kitten showed up and I killed it too. “Good God, why is she afraid of a kitten?”

“Hm.” I spun, tracking the target with the AK. My finger was on the trigger when I realized it was the real Luna. She was looking at the carnage in front of her with indifference. “I suppose that’s one way to deal with the problem.”

“...You aren’t freaked out?”

“I’ve caused worse carnage. Now it is your turn.” She concentrated on the bodies and they disappeared, taking the blood with them.

With a shrug, I tossed the gun aside. It vanished before hitting the ground. “You sure you can handle my fears?”

She gave me a blank look. “Yes.”

I pulled a gauntlet off and walked up to my body and put my hand on my head.

Who knows how long later, I opened my eyes, noticing I was sitting on the floor, arm outstretched. I achingly got to my feet.

“N-n-nav?” Luna weakly said.

“Yeah?” I asked as I popped my back.

“I’m so sorry.” I walked to her and wrapped her in a hug.

“It’s okay, Luna. Whatever you saw, it’s over. But we need to keep working. What do we do now?”

“No, it’s not over! The things I saw from your mind… What was that?!”

“No, Luna. I’m not having this discussion. I warned you that it would probably be bad. We need to keep moving. Where do we go now?”

She took a moment to collect herself, which thankfully didn’t take long. “We need to go where we originally found the artifact. It is an ancient place of power. We discovered it after an earthquake, I believe.”

“I’m ready.” We appeared in what looked like a steel chamber. My eyes could see fine, but Luna’s couldn’t. She created a light and we pushed forward. Without much thinking, I created another gun. A Vintorez, this time. I casually racked the bolt back as we walked.

She looked at it and asked, “What does that one do?”

“This one is like the previous one, but quieter and less messy. For all the fuckups of the Soviet Union, they knew how to make guns. Since that’s all they ever spent money on, I suppose that makes sense. What are we expecting here?”

“The artifact is going to try to truly repel us, here. I don’t believe it will use physical constructs, but keep that thing handy in case it does. Just… kill anything you see that isn’t us.”

I made good on that order when something rounded a corner ahead of us. It plopped to the ground, dead. “What the fuck?” I said aloud, looking at the horrid critter.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Luna said. “This came from your mind, Nav.”

I looked at it. “Yep. That’s a monster from a game. I’m gonna need a bigger gun. I can make anything, right?”

“Well, I suppose.”

She had time to see me grin before I was in a suit of power armor holding a fucking bolt gun. “Thank you, Warhammer 40k. Luna, you might want to watch your ears.”

“Your voice!”

“That’s not my voice. Those are speakers on the side of my helmet. Watch my six, I’m going in.”

I walked into the doorway the monster came out of and shone my headlamps around. “Cle—Wait.” I saw two familiar looking people. “Oh, just my parents.” Two trigger pulls and they were paste. “Clear.”

“Navarone! Did you just… did you just kill your parents?

“No, I just killed two constructs. I don’t think this simulation thought this through.” We heard laughter echoing through the halls. We continued. I saw another person that I recognized as my sister before I killed her. “Keep sending them forward. I have all the bullets a dream me can make.” When she came, I killed her too. “I’ll admit, that one twinged. But there’s no memories in my mind more painful than her, so you might as we—” Then Taya came and I turned her into paste without a thought. “Keep it up.”

“Navarone… are you okay?”

“Yeah. None of this is real. When are we going to start running into your loved ones again?”

“You already killed them all!”

“Oh yeah.” I giggled. “Well, I wouldn’t mind shooting myself again. You hear that, architect?” A mirror appeared and I shot it. The bullet went clear through and came back at me, hitting my armor and leaving a massive dent. “Oh you cunt!” I popped the dent out with barely a thought.

Luna gasped. “Are you okay?”

“Just hit my armor. Nothing much.” I reached out and tore the mirror down and we continued. Luna appeared ahead of us and I cut her down without a thought.

“Nav. Did you just kill me?”

“No, you’re standing right there.”

“I see.” Her tone was icy.

Onward we went. “I thought you said this would be hard,” I commented as I killed one of my only friends back home.

“It is, for anyone with a heart.”

“Then it’s a good thing you have me here,” I replied as I killed Derpy, Doctor Whooves, and a filly standing between them.

She didn’t answer.

“So just how far in do we need to go?”

“Another few miles, I believe.”

Miles? Fuck that noise.” I dropped the bolter and picked Luna up with the enhanced strength of the armor and just ran down the halls, trampling anything that got in the way.

“I always wanted a strong stallion to lift me off my feet, but not quite like this,” Luna remarked as we ran over something.

“Well, I’m always defying expectations,” I answered.

I saw a closed door at the end of the hall and bent to let my shoulder take the brunt of it. “Nav, wait!”

Too late. I slammed into the door going full speed and blew straight through it, Luna still in my arms. I slid to a halt inside.

“W… What?” Luna whispered, looking around. We appeared to be on a catwalk. “Last time it took me ages to get past that door!”

“Luna, I’m wearing fucking power armor. Point me at something you want dead or destroyed and consider it gone.”

“I see,” she said with a tinge of respect. “Can you put me down now?”

“What kind of dashing hero would I be if I didn’t carry the beautiful princess?”

“Well, when you put it that way… You’re still not a hero. Put me down.” I sighed and set her down. “Better. Now, we are nearly done. It took nearly a week to traverse this artifact last time, as I recall. I think we’ve been here for maybe a day at the most.”

“A day? How is that possible? I guarded you for maybe an hour, and this run took two at the most. Before that we probably spent half an hour finding each other.”

She looked down. “I had… a hard time dealing with your fears.” I suppose abstract things are harder to deal with than constructs.

“Oh. Let’s go.” I pulled a bolter back out and we started down the catwalk. “You know, this looks kind of familiar, though I can’t say why.” I continued looking around. “Hell, it looks like something humans would have built, honestly.” I looked down and saw massive empty vats. Alongside the walls were several pods. “What is this place in real life?”

“This is a forbidden area, Nav. We are only here because we are in the dream. But this place is guarded so closely by almost every race on the planet that not even Celestia is allowed inside.”

“That’s odd. Why?”

“No pony knows anymore. The artifact came from here, but no pony knows when or why it was removed.”

“That’s really odd.”

“Quite. We have always wondered, but we respect that there are some things that can’t be known. Since most ponies don’t even know about it, we don’t bother.”

“Fair enough. So what are we looking for?”

“The storage room. It’s just at the other end. There shouldn’t be any more opposition.”

“Should and would build no bridges.”

“I’ll have you know that most of the bridges in Equestria are built out of wood.”

Bitch please. “Whatever.” We were nearing another door. I casually lifted my bolter and destroyed it. “So much easier than opening them.”

“Lazy. That door was easy to open!” We entered, but I had to duck a bit.

I whistled lightly, and giggled as it came out as a weird sound from my speakers. “If I knew this was back here, I wouldn’t have shot!” It looked like a museum or a storage room or something. A lot of things right behind the door were destroyed. We pushed in.

“It should be… Ah, there!” She led me to a twin of the statue. “Get out of that armor, Nav.”

“You ready to go again? Damn, Luna, you just really want my body, don’t you?”

“If you don’t stop it, I’m leaving you here.” I sighed and let the armor vanish. “Hold onto my horn.” I giggled as I reached out and grabbed it. She stuck her horn into the hole.

And we were back in her room. I stretched. “So, a day?”

“Yeah. I’m famished. Let’s go eat.”

“I’m down with that.”

“Celestia will also need to know about the statue. Actually, wait, I should probably turn it on before we go anywhere.” She bent back down to the statue and plugged her horn in again. After a moment, she pulled back. “Sweet dreams, everypony,” she whispered. “Let’s go eat, Nav.”

“You know, we could stay here… I can think of something very edible right in front of me.”

She blushed, but said, “Later. We need to see Celestia, if she’s still awake.”

“Oh yeah, that does remind me: You need to take my teeth away. They changed my taste buds to love meat and blood. I already liked the taste of meat, but I don’t need to start craving it again.”

She grimaced at that. “Yes, that is something I need to change.” She bent her head in and removed my large canines. “How are you liking your wings so far?”

“They’re fine, so far. But we’re going to have to test whether or not they’re still sensitive later. After we eat and see Celestia, I suppose.”

“Well then, let’s go.” And off we went. As soon as we opened her bedroom door, we stopped.

“Hello, Taya,” I said.

She jumped at me and knocked me back a few steps with a hug.

“How can ponies jump so high?” I asked no one as I propped her up.

“I thought you said you were only going to be gone for a few hours,” she whispered.

“Code word?”

“Watch. What took you so long?”

“I wasn’t expecting this to take so long. Luna didn’t tell me. Apparently last time it took her a week to do it. I just sped up the process so much because I’m awesome.” Luna snorted at that. “Have you eaten yet?” I asked her.

“No. It’s been about twenty hours since you disappeared from the reception,” she said.

“Then let’s go eat,” I said. She scampered back onto my shoulders.

With a loud hmph, she jumped down. “The axe is in my way.”

“Blame Luna. The only use that thing has gotten so far is as a door stopper and a door opener.”

Luna growled at that. “You should have thought of that before becoming my knight.”

“My other choice was Celestia. What would she have gotten me, a dildo sword?”

“I don’t know what that is,” Luna answered. “But it would have been either a sword or a spear. Now come on, I’m famished.” We continued out. “Taya, your father is a very brave stallion.”

“No he’s not,” Taya answered. Luna looked at her in shock. “He’s a very brave man.”

“And a bad one,” I answered, receiving the expected answer of getting knocked to the ground.

“Taya! That wasn’t very nice!” Luna said, pulling me to my feet with magic and glaring at her.

“Nah, it’s okay. I knew she was going to.”

Luna gave a look of surprise to me. “You allow this behavior?”

“Yeah. What am I going to do, forbid her from doing something she believes in?”

“If it’s wrong, yes!”

“That’s assuming it’s wrong.”

“If she’s hurting you, it’s obviously wrong.”

“What if I deserve to be hurt, though?”

“If she’s doing it because you deserve it, she isn’t hurting you nearly enough.”

“So you want me to hurt him more?” Taya asked. “Because I can, if the princess demands it.”

“You’re all sadistic!” I sighed. “Damn ponies call me a terrible person!”

“Well, you kind of are,” Luna answered. I just sighed.

After a moment, Taya said, “Well?”

“I’m not hitting Luna, Taya.”

“She defamed your good name!”

I sighed, pulled my gauntlet off, and slapped Luna’s ass. “There, happy?”

Luna gave me a shocked look, blushing brightly. Taya nodded with a smile.

“Man, why are we walking to the mess hall when we could be teleporting there?” I asked.

“Because you just… slapped my flank!” Luna growled.

“You’re the one who’s hungry, not me,” I said with a shrug. I had gotten good at that in armor. “Why not just take all three of us down there?”

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