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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4. Chapter Three—Just Say No

The next day, I decided it might be wise to check up again on Rainbow Dash, to make sure she wasn’t still feeling hung over. I knew it was unlikely, but I figured it was probably a good idea to check.

It wasn’t until I got to her house, however, that I remembered it floats. And that I can’t fly.

I was thinking about trying to get her attention, wondering if a rock would fly through her house or potentially damage something, when I heard a loud trundling behind me, followed by a yelled warning of, “Look out!”

I quickly twisted around, saw what was coming, and just barely jumped out of the way in time.

“Of course,” I muttered, picking myself up off the ground. “It would be Pinkie Pie who managed to latch onto a runaway wagon, of all things.” I saw Fluttershy trying to catch up, alongside Scootaloo on a little scooter. I still don’t know why they made a scooter in this world. Makes no sense. Fluttershy stopped next to me to make sure I was fine. I watched the filly pass, saying, “Scootaloo, I could have expected. Pinkie Pie, yeah, no stretch.” With them passed, I turned to Fluttershy. “But how did they rope you into this, Fluttershy?”

“They asked for a responsible pony for something. I didn’t know what, at the time! Could you please help us?”

I sighed and started running to catch up to Pinkie Pie. “How is she even still going that fast? There isn’t an engine on that thing and the ground is relatively level!”

Scootaloo answered, “We built a ramp way back there somewhere! A very big ramp. Also, what’s an engine?”

“…Never mind.” Far be it from me to give those irresponsible little girls something like an engine. “How are we going to stop her before she crashes into something bigger than she is?”

“I don’t know, but being a rescuer shouldn’t be this hard! Can you see if I have a cutie mark?”

 Only in Equestria does a girl ask you to check out her ass. “Nope.”

“That just means I have to actually catch up to her!” With that, Scootaloo put on an extra burst of speed. I was hardly an athlete back on Earth and I hadn’t done too much exercise since I got here. Hell, I barely managed to keep up with Fluttershy.

“Damn kids. How do you manage them?” I asked her.

“Oh, I’m just good with foals… You know how it is.”

“Whatever. Hey, it looks like Pinkie is slowing down!”

Pinkie thankfully managed to stop right in front of a large lake near the forest. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to dive in that thing, but when I asked the Cutie Mark Crusaders about it, they got pale and changed the subject.

Fluttershy and I finally managed to catch up to the two of them. Scootaloo was showering Pinkie Pie with a mix of accolades and admonishments while Pinkie Pie was trying to get her ground legs back after that hellish ride.

“So,” I said, “what was the purpose of that again?”

Scootaloo said, “We were going to put Angel in the wagon and push him down the ramp. Then I was supposed to chase after him and quickly catch him, hopefully earning an animal rescuer cutie mark. Applebloom and Sweetie Belle were supposed to try to calm him down and make sure he was okay. Instead, Pinkie Pie was walking by, saw the wagon, thought it looked like a roller coaster, and jumped in. We didn’t plan the ramp very well, obviously…”

“You were going to do what with Angel?” Fluttershy asked, obviously somewhat disturbed.

I noticed then that she was actually still holding him protectively, despite his violent protests. I held my hand out for a quick bro-fist bump with the guy. He obliged; say what you want about his size, that little dude was okay sometimes. But only sometimes, as I later found out.

“We weren’t going to hurt him!” Scootaloo protested.

Fluttershy started to reply, but Pinkie Pie interjected, “That was fun! Can I do it again? Oh, hi Navarone! How was your experiment with Rainbow Dash and Applejack?”

“It went better than expected, actually, though I wouldn’t bring it up with Rainbow Dash. I doubt she will remember it fondly. I was actually on my way to check up with her when I was interrupted by a runaway pony.”

“Well, that’s rude! Somepony needs to learn to control his or her speeds!” Typical Pinkie Pie: ignore the obvious in favor of the silly.

“I suppose we should get this wagon back to the ramp,” I sighed. “I think the girls wanted to try an experiment of their own.”

“Not with any of my animals, they won’t!” Fluttershy said. “If… if that wouldn’t be a problem…”

Scootaloo sighed. “Fine! We can be human rescuers instead!”

That got my attention. “Wait, what now?”

Several bruises—and no cutie marks—later, I found myself wandering the marketplace. Their market had none of the hubbub of a busy bazaar, or any other market I’m used to back on Earth. There was no music playing in the background, very little muted speech going on, and all the speech that takes place sounds happy.

It’s like a happy memory of what 1950’s small town America would be like. The only difference is that I’m the communist here, and I’m not ‘your neighbor’ or ‘your best friend,’ but rather, I’m the outsider, the one everyone can tell doesn’t belong just by looking. It is disquieting in a way, though I know by now all the ponies are used to me. They managed to get used to Spike and Zecora, so thankfully it didn’t take most of them long to stop staring at me.

But I digress. I was walking through the marketplace, looking at the small amount of wares available. Ponyville is not a large place at all, so there really wasn’t much to look at. A few pieces of furniture, a small number of antique books, a few cloth stores, a doodad shop, and many food places.

Even if there was anything I’d want to buy, I had no money with which to buy it. All the cash I had was defunct, all the plastic I had was worthless. Coins had some small value, but gold—in the form of bits—appeared to be the common denomination here.

I don’t render any real services, nor do I have the right to say I’m a personal student or friend to the beloved princess, even if I was a new friend to the lesser known princess. In short, I was dependent on Twilight. It was not a comforting feeling.

I wandered through the marketplace, thinking of ways to earn my keep. I had enough ideas from Earth to become a writer, but no pony would want to or need to try to read through a political treatise or any of the books I typically read back home.

If I could find someone to pay bounties, I could become a hunter. There are enough dangerous creatures out there for the job to pay well. I could also become a guide through the forest, or I could collect herbs and ingredients. It would be a dangerous job and a job that not many ponies would really want to pay me for, but it could be profitable.

There’s also the very, very useful fact that I have thumbs going in my favor. Anything a pony would want to grasp would have to be done with their mouth or with magic. That pretty much makes my use nearly infinite. Infinite, if I could get the ponies to stop fearing me so.

And there’s also the possibility of remaining tethered to Twilight. Spike and I have different uses to her. He’s good for manual tasks and being a guinea pig. He is very resistant to both magic and physical problems, and has survived more than one magical accident that would have seared me to the bone.

I, however, am a thinker. I have helped Twilight troubleshoot through some broken spells already, though the actual mechanics behind them remain hidden to me.

Or I could become a wanderer, an adventurer. This world is vast and seems mostly peaceful, though much of it has gone unmapped by ponies. Oddly enough, what of it I have seen shows me that this world is very, very like my own. With that knowledge, I can assume that riches can be found in the same places. Gold in California, diamonds in South Africa. It would be an interesting life.

Then there’s inventions, but I’m not entirely certain that I’d want to bring some of the things humans had to this world. This land is peaceful, its inhabitants kind. Why bring artifacts of war and danger into the world? Although there are plenty of nonwarlike inventions…

This world has only the weakest engines, and having pegasi means no one really developed flying technology beyond balloons. I could create a vastly more successful Hindenburg, or a plane. Given oil supplies, though, a steampunk style invention process would be easier.

Those thoughts were suddenly put on hold when a distracted and heavily laden Rarity bumped into me. Hardly breaking stride, she said, “Pardon, sir, but you simply must learn to watch where you’re going!” She didn’t even see me. Probably just guessed the gender and hoped to be right.

“Rarity, do you need some help?” I asked her.

“What? Oh, yes! These are awfully heavy, and you do look like a fellow that could carry some weight!” I couldn’t tell if that was an insult, so I just took some of the cloth from her back. “Now do be careful with that! It’s going to be a dress fit for a princess soon!”

As I’ve mentioned before, I know nothing of fashion. But if some of the things I’ve seen come out of her shop are considered ‘fit for princesses,’ I’m glad I avoided the industry. I’m sure it’s probably all good, but a lot of it just looks impractical to me.

So I just shrugged and tried to look impressed by her admonishment. She apparently bought it, because she started off back to her shop. I followed, trying—despite myself—to figure out what she was going to make with this batch of cloth. A dress or gown of some kind, of course; I’ve never seen her make clothes for men, aside from that special commission for me to keep me from wearing the same tattered clothing day after day.

“Rarity, if you ever get a bit of free time, would you mind seeing if you could somehow make shoes for me? What I have now won’t last forever and I wasn’t blessed—” or cursed, as the case may be, “—with hard feet.”

“Shoes? What’s that about shoes? I don’t have time to think about shoes at a time like this! I’m going to be absolutely swamped for days! When will I learn to not bite off more than I can chew?”

Probably when you finally fail to finish an order. She liked to complain and I liked to tease her about it, but to Rarity, dresses and fashion are an art, not a career. She is very, very good at it and is very, very dedicated. I’ve heard from Sweetie Belle that she occasionally stays up days at a time to work on an order.

It is my opinion that her cutie mark thing should be a thread and a needle, but apparently whoever decides those things figured diamonds were better. There was a time that I would have made a joke about something being pretty but ultimately useless, but I like to think I’m over that.

When we arrived at her shop, I found the place in complete disarray. To my apparently ‘untrained eye,’ as Rarity put it, everything looked like it was balanced on the edge of falling, awaiting only a sudden movement to break into total bedlam.

To Rarity, it implied a job well on its way, a job that was missing only its mistress, who had stepped out for a short break. I gently set the bundle of cloth where she indicated and wondered if I should try to back out slowly before she remembered I was there, or try to offer any more help.

My mind was made up for me when she turned suddenly, saw me, started, and said, “Oh, hello Navarone. You wouldn’t mind helping me with a few more tasks, would you? I promise, they won’t take too long…”

Oh lord… “I’m not Spike, so I won’t be willing to do anything you ask. But what do you need?”

Her answering smile was enough to make me want to grind my teeth. It said, I know what you think you’re doing and it’s cute. I managed to answer back with my own smarmy bring it on smile.

“Well, you see, my cat, Opalescence—”

“I’m not cleaning out a litter box.”

“Would it help if I said please?” My flat stare answered that for her. “Well, that’s not the only thing I needed help with. I was also wondering if you’d be willing to supervise the girls while I’m busy with this project. I’ve heard how they talk about you; you’re an enigma to them and they have many ideas about how to use you to get their cutie marks. I know you’re often busy helping Twilight or one of the others, but if you have the time maybe you could help me?”

“I already have a few bruises from some of their plans involving me from today. Are you sure I’d survive anything more they have in store for me?”

“Oh, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much of a problem for ‘the most dangerous creature alive,’” she said with an amused titter.

“You see, it’s that alive part I’m worried about,” I sarcastically said. “I’d like to keep it that way, but their ‘human rescuer’ plans seem to desire to put that life at risk.”

“So THAT is why they were building a ramp… I was wondering what they were planning on doing with it.”

“How did they even build that damn thing, anyway? None of them can do magic that I’ve seen and none of them have thumbs! And I’ve heard Fluttershy talk about their less than stellar carpentry skills in the past, too. How the hell did they build a giant ramp in the middle of town?”

“Well, no pony says they had to build it well. I’m sure the ‘rescuer’ part of the plan could cover fall damage as well as runaway cart problems.”

“You are not making me any more eager to help you with this, you know,” I said, crossing my arms.

“You hardly seemed eager to begin with, Nav.”

“Yes, and about half the words you seem to say confirm I was right in my initial conception of the idea. From everything I’ve seen of the girls, they hardly need watching over anyway. They don’t listen to half of anything anyone tells them, so it would hardly help to have someone like me around, who would only tell them off half the time for stuff they’re doing wrong.”

“I think you’re stretching, Nav.

“You’re not making me want to say yes any more. Why me, anyway? I know you said they were hoping to experiment on me, but surely there are other, more responsible ponies you could leave them with. Like… Fluttershy, or… well, Fluttershy is really the only truly responsible one of your main group of friends. Maybe Applejack or Twilight? Well, Twilight is usually busy with studies and isn’t too much a fan of kids as destructive as they are in her library. And after that experiment with Rainbow Dash I somewhat question Applejack’s responsibility…”

“Hm? What happened with the experiment? Twilight told me you were doing something with her, but didn’t say what.”

“Oh, nothing…”

She raised an eyebrow, but let it go. “Fluttershy already said she couldn’t. Something about house sitting? And Applejack is always busy with her trees.”

“It’s late fall and she got harvest done early. What kind of tree is she growing now?”

She opened her mouth to respond, looked pensive for a second, and shut it again. Finally, she said, “So, do you want to go ask Applejack a question for me?”

 

Half an hour of trudging through broken leaves and fallen limbs later, I found myself back at Applejack’s house. Her granny was on the front porch, waddled up in a load of clothes. I asked if she knew where Applejack was.

“What?”

“I said, do you know where Applejack is?” I’ll spare you the details of how long it took to get this message across to the old lady. Some things are better left forgotten.

When she finally understood me, she pointed right at me. I turned around to find Applejack trying her hardest not to laugh.

“Yeah, thanks for the help there,” I flatly said. “Anyway, Rarity wanted to know if you could watch the girls for her for a little while. She’s a bit busy with a big order.”

“I reckon I could do that for a bit, though I hardly think they need it.”

“See, that’s what I said. Though honestly, they do seem to have a bit of a problem thinking about consequences of their actions. Damn near killed me, Pinkie Pie, and Angel today. Until one of the set gets a bit of common sense, it’s probably better that someone is around to supervise ‘em.”

“What kinda scheme did they think up that could have hurt a human, a pony, and a little bunny?”

“The kind that involves a giant ramp and a wagon. Apparently the plan was to put Angel in the wagon and to push him down, then catch up and become animal rescuers. Pinkie Pie jumped in the wagon at the last instant, thinking it was some kind of ride. I almost got run over, then somehow got roped into helping them be human rescuers instead.”

“Sounds like you have a hard time saying no to ponies,” she chuckled.

“Let’s see you say no to Applebloom’s puppy dog face,” I said with a small snort.

“I’m her big sister. That’s my job.” As she said that, she lifted her head up, closed her eyes, grinned deeply, and crossed her front legs.

“Psh. Cheater.”

When I said that, she dropped her cutesy little angelic stance and said, “Oh, that reminds me of something. Rainbow Dash came by earlier, asking about what happened when we gave her that alcohol stuff. I didn’t tell her nothing, but I’m thinking she might have a bone to pick with you about that comment you said about Big Macintosh.”

“God, I was hoping she was too hungover to remember that… I hope no one else told her anything.”

“We didn’t say a word. I couldn’t hold back a smile, though. She probably thinks we did something.”

“Let her keep on suspecting. Don’t mention it at all, even if she does tell you later.”

“I don’t see why we can’t talk about it. I mean, I don’t see no harm in it.”

“The way I figure, if she hasn’t told anyone, she probably doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m perfectly willing to respect that. If she wants to bring it up, she will, and we can talk about it freely then. Not like it really matters, anyway, unless you were planning on playing matchmaker with her.”

“I don’t think that would go over very well…”

“Agreed. I was actually trying to find Rainbow Dash this morning, but I got sidetracked by the girls and then by Rarity. But I guess if she made it here then she’s pretty well okay. I’ll just have to try to avoid her now, so she won’t be able to get me back for it…”

“I’m sure if she does try to get you back, it’ll just be a harmless little prank. That’s most of what she does, like when she painted mah apples! Harmless, but annoying.”

“True enough, I suppose, but I’d still rather avoid any retribution for what I, at least, consider a real experiment. It may have been hatched as an idea for a prank, but I was honestly interested in the results.”

“Well, that either makes you more or less honest than me. I was in it to get her back for that apple incident.”

“I’m sure it was well deserved and it hopefully concluded the matter. Anyway, I should probably get back to Rarity to tell her the news before she gets completely absorbed in whatever she’s doing. You know how she is.”

“I sure do. See you around, Nav.”

While I was on walking back to Rarity’s house in the weak light of the fading day, my nearly worthless combat instincts—honed from more time than I would ever admit playing more games that I’d ever admit—warned me to duck. Sadly, my body is not as fast as my mind, especially after the beating I had taken earlier that day at the hooves of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

So I found myself unceremoniously lifted and flying through the air, held aloft by two recognizably blue legs—I swear, I don’t think these ponies have joints or bones in their legs. There was laughing from right above me and looking up confirmed my suspicions.

“I hope you don’t mind heights, Navarone!” Rainbow Dash yelled to me over the wind.

I did, in fact, mind heights, but I’d be fucked before I let her know that. I just grit my teeth and hung on for dear life, trying not to imagine myself as the first and only human to have become a pancake in ponyland.

After a while flying, I shouted up at her, “If you drop me, I’ll drag myself out of whatever afterlife I land in and haunt you. I don’t imagine your house is ghost proof!”

“So I just have to make sure the drop doesn’t kill you!” I didn’t much like the sound of that.

Long story short, after several faked false drops, I found out that it was, in fact, possible for a human to be in her house. A very, very small part of her house. Feeling around the base of the room I was trapped in revealed that most of it was immaterial. I immediately took a dislike to the tiny area that was in one of her closets.

“So you have me trapped,” I said, sitting on the small platform. “Now what?”

“I could just let you stew for a few days, you know. The spell I asked Twilight to cast here should last at least that long.”

“Should is the key word there. You may be a bit rash, but you’re no murderer. You brought me here for a purpose, one that could very likely have been taken care of on the ground in a more… mundane… discussion.”

“Yeah, I probably could have kept you on the ground for that. But there’d be no guarantees you’d tell the truth down there!”

“Just as you have no guarantees I’ll tell any kind of truth up here, of course. I’m assuming that you want to know more about the tests we ran with you. There were a very small number of witnesses and they’ll all agree with what I say and what I told you after we conducted it.”

“There was a teensy, tiny thing you might have said that I want clarification on. I think you know what I’m talking about.”

“Might have said? You kidnapped me for something I ‘might have said?’ I have a problem with that.”

“I’m sure you’ll get over it. Now, I’ll ask again: What happened that night?”

“Again? You never asked in the first place. I just guessed—correctly—that you were going to ask about it, and told you my piece before you said anything. But since I can see that you are considering pushing me to see what happens, I will tell you. Applejack and I ran a few experiments. You gave us information. As it turns out, Applejack was more into it for the prank side of the equation than for the scientific side, but I’m still pleased with the results.”

“Funny. She said the opposite was true of you.” I shrugged at that. “Whatever. Tell me more about the… tests.”

“You tried to fly despite what we told you, which was very amusing. We also tested your mental processes, which was also very amusing.”

I could tell she wanted more, but I knew I could outwait her. Dash did not seem to be at all the patient sort, given how quickly she turned to just snatching me off the ground.

Sure enough, she impatiently asked, “And?”

“And what? That’s pretty much all that we did.”

“You’re not telling me what I want to know!”

“No, I’m not telling you what you want to hear. There is a very big difference.” I shouldn’t be trying to have this discussion with a woman, should I? 

“Maybe I will leave you up here for a few days! I bet some time spent with your head in the clouds will put something more in that stupid logical mind of yours!” Stupid, logical, pick one.

“There is plenty enough emotion in my mind. I just choose not to show it when explaining experimental procedure. Trust me when I say that if I wanted to take the lid off, I would rather quickly inundate you with anger. However, that would be a bit of a bad idea, as you’ve kidnapped me and are the only person that knows I’m up here. But it would be satisfying for a short while.”

“You… You really aren’t a pony, that’s for sure… So that’s all that happened? Just tests? No flirting with Big MacIntosh?”

“As far as I know, you didn’t do any flirting with Big MacIntosh.” Doesn’t mean he didn’t try any flirting on you, though… 

“As far as you know? That’s comforting…” She harrumphed. “But I really wasn’t planning on keeping you here that long. I’m sure Twilight would say something if her new favorite… ugh, study buddy disappeared.” With that, she wrapped her front legs around me again and took off.

It is an interesting feeling, flying like that. I wasn’t paying as much attention before, thinking she’d still want revenge of some kind. This time, though, I tried paying a lot more attention.

So it was a lot more surprising when we were passing over a lake and she dropped me. My reflexes woke up this time and pulled overtime as I managed to grab onto one of her legs as she was sailing away snickering, and I somehow pulled myself up and onto her back. No, I don’t know how. I wasn’t really paying attention at the time.

That was a mistake. I rode a few horses and even a cow or two when I was a lot younger. Before I…er, developed. Those encounters did nothing at all to prepare me for a wild bucking flying mare that’s doing her utmost to remove an indignity from her proud back.

I held on for dear life as she did her best to remove me. Everyone at any rodeo would be cheering for me, even though I didn’t handicap myself with one hand in the air. Both were wrapped around her neck, trying to make sure I didn’t fall off as she did everything she could to dislodge me.

Finally, as we were both getting completely exhausted, I tried reasoning with her. “You could just set me down!”

I was very surprised when she suddenly seemed to click on and say, “That’s… that’s not a bad idea…”

So it was that we found ourselves with both of my feet and all four of hers planted firmly on the ground.

We both said something at the same time that painted a completely different picture. “Never again!” and “That was awesome!” Guess who said what.

“I never knew you humans could do that!” Rainbow Dash shouted.

“I… I didn’t know I could, either. Remind me to never ride any of you again… God, I’m going to be feeling this for weeks.”

“What do you mean, never do that again!? How else are you going to help me train for the sky rodeo?”

“If the sky rodeo is a real thing—and God I hope it’s not—why on earth would you want me to help you train for it? I’m the only human here!”

“It’s not a real thing. Yet. But just think! You’re the only human here, right? If we were to have some kind of competition like that among pegasi to see who can knock you off the fastest, it could be a huge spectacle sport! We could get the Wonderbolts here and they could all see ME in all my glory, showing everypony who’s the best in yet another sport!”

“I see a few glaring flaws in your plan. First, as soon as I got bucked off, I’d go falling to the ground to crack my fucking skull. Second, since I’m the only human, I’d get more and more tired as the event goes on, making it harder for me to keep up. Third, despite what you may think, I’m actually a bit terrified of heights. I don’t think I’m at Fluttershy’s level of fear, but there’s a reason I reacted so quickly when you tried to drop me.”

“As many fliers as we’ll have up there, you won’t have to worry about falling more than a few meters. You’ll be caught almost instantly by somepony. And we can easily have Twilight find a spell that completely revitalizes you! And surely you can get over a small bit of fear in order to help me succeed with my dream! Think about it as a way to make up for that splitting headache you gave me.”

How do I keep getting roped into this crap? I sighed. “If, and I do stress the if, you manage to get enough pegasi interested, I’m in. But if I die, I will haunt you. And it won’t be a pleasant haunting. There are a lot of very, very scary things in my world that I haven’t mentioned to anyone here and my imagination is vast, besides.”

“You won’t regret it!” With that, she flew off. I knew almost immediately that I would likely regret it. Hopefully I’d at least live long enough to regret it. Not like I wanted kids anyway. After a rodeo, I’ll probably never have them for sure.

I sighed and tried to get my bearings. In the waning light, it was a bit difficult. Soon enough, I found I wasn’t that far from the town and could probably get back to Rarity’s shop before night fell. Though honestly, why she’d even want to know if Applejack could watch the kids before they needed it was beyond me.

When I finally made it back to Twilight’s library, the last bit of sunlight had faded and it felt like the moon was watching me as I opened the door and made my way inside. Twilight and Spike were already in bed, so I had to waste no time with idle pleasantries. I happily sighed and went to find a place to rest my weary and battered body.

When I finally sat down, but thankfully before I could get comfortable, I heard a sound as of someone gently rapping at my door. Hoping it was Rainbow Dash to tell me she had a change of heart, I made my way to the door.

Instead, it was someone decidedly more raven-like: Luna. Look, I know I made the offer to the poor girl to come and talk any time, but really? She obviously didn’t have any other friends, if she came to talk to me two nights in a row. I reached over to grab my coat and joined her outside.

“You’ll have to excuse me if I walk a bit slowly and stiffly,” I told her. “I’m battered and bruised from two encounters with overenthusiastic torturers today.”

“Thou wert accosted?!” she boomed, forgetting both her inside voice and to speak properly.

“No! Nothing like that! It was a joke, Luna.” Jesus. I really need to teach her social cues or something. “I just had a run-in with some people and did a lot more stuff than I’m used to. My body is aching because of it.”

“I see. I am still somewhat unused to this time’s… humor. I assume there was a story behind your interesting day?”

“Yeah. Can’t promise it’s interesting, though… There are three fillies here that are looking to score their cutie marks. Their curiosity upon meeting me quickly turned into a desire to experiment upon me. To that end, I was put in a cart on a tall ramp, pushed down, and left to roll until one of them was able to catch up and ‘rescue’ me. I know this reference won’t mean much to you, but they remind me of the three stooges. Poor girls can’t do nothing right and they always manage to screw up more extravagantly when they’re dealing with someone else. In this case, I was that someone else, and I was dumb enough to sit in that cart for them three times, and only once did they manage to catch up to me before I hit a rock and tumbled out.”

“Foals will be foals, I suppose. It’s somewhat… cute that you’re helping them out, though. Twilight Sparkle doesn’t have you performing errands all day?”

“Thankfully, no. I’m usually left with free time, unless she asks me to help.”

“The incident with the fillies was one of your mentioned encounters. What about the other?”

“I had to ride bareback on a rampaging and flying mare as she did her best to dislodge me with all her might.”

“That… also warrants more explanation, I believe.”

“I don’t know how much you know about Twilight’s friends. In every group there is at least one prankster, and Rainbow Dash is one of the ones in this group. She took it upon herself to lift me up and try to drop me in a pond for a perceived slight upon her. I wasn’t expecting to be dropped, so I managed to barely catch myself on one of her legs and pull myself up. She tried to dislodge me. It didn’t work and I finally managed to talk sense into her long enough to get me on the ground. Then she lost that sense and decided that it would be awesome to have a ‘sky rodeo’ with me as the main victi—er, star.”

“A sky rodeo? Who would be participating and what would be the rules?”

“I don’t know and the only rule I’m concerned about is the one that involves saving the human before he falls to his death.”

“You actually agreed to it? I’m surprised! You seem like you might have more sense than that.”

“I agreed to it under the condition that she could get enough pegasi interested in it. I rather doubt that she’ll be able to, thank God. Most of them probably haven’t seen a human and wouldn’t want to be ridden by one if they had. Good riddance to that, too.”

“What, you didn’t enjoy your time in the sky?”

“I might not be opposed to the idea of riding a pegasus as they flew regularly, just from point A to point B. Trying to hold on as they kick and buck is a bit more than I’m interested in, especially if I’m high enough up that falling is deadly.”

“It sounds interesting to me.”

“If you can ever find a spell that will turn you into a human, be my guest.” Hey, maybe she’d even be cute as a human.

“I meant for the pegasus. It would be a fun test of skill.”

“You are not making me any happier that I agreed to it, even if it was under such an improbable condition.”

“This would be a way to get you exposed to more ponies, Navarone. They’re unused to you now, but if you were to appear in a contest such as this, their views would change. And I’m sure you’ll survive, if Rainbow Dash manages to get the support. Surely I or my sister can find a spell that would, if nothing else, make you fall a lot slower.”

“A spell that was made to work on ponies, who have a bit more mass and a very different shape than me. I’ll be risking a lot just letting Twilight revitalize me in between rounds. I’m going to ask her to experiment tomorrow with the various aches and pains I have now.”

“If you want, I could try now.”

“If you heal me now, I’ll have to get new aches and pains for Twilight to experiment on before the actual event happens, unless you’re planning on showing up to see it and can heal me there instead of Twilight.”

“And miss my favorite human get thrown about? I wouldn’t miss that for the moon.”

We were nearing a fountain. I sat on the edge and told her to try if she wanted.

She smiled and lowered her horn to touch me lightly on the arm. A very concentrated black orb pulsed out of the tip of her horn and into my arm. Suddenly, all my muscles froze up for an instant, with my eyes seeing white. When I was able to see and feel again, I found myself thrown against the statue in the fountain, smoking lightly. My entire skin felt like it was on fire. I opened my mouth to scream, but the burning sensation left as soon as it came and I instead let out a discontented warble. I noticed that, at the very least, all the pain was gone.

“What… what did you do?” I managed to stammer.

“I healed all your physical impurities,” she told me.

I checked my body over quickly. I was missing the small collection of scars I had picked up in my life. They were from nothing big, just accidents and a surgery, but I liked to occasionally lie about how I got them. I also noticed that I was missing the occasional rheumy cough that I had spent all my life with.

“I don’t know why it hit you so hard,” she continued. “You must have had a lot more wrong with you than just aches and pains.”

I continued checking over my body. All the missing skin around my fingers was back—just a nervous tick I have, picking at it. The slight arthritis I picked up due to my genetics appeared to be gone, as my habitual knee ache was gone. My nose was no longer half clogged. I couldn’t even feel the phlegm that was constantly at the back of my throat. As she said, I appeared to have been fixed of each and every physical problem.

When I was able to get over the shock and see that she was still looking at me, concerned, I managed to flash a weak grin. “Don’t worry about me. Just trying to sort out what all you actually did to me. Trust me when I say that it’s a lot more than you know.”

“Magic is a wonderful thing.”

I didn’t answer. Instead, I tried to get to my legs and managed a shaky stance. I picked my way off the frozen fountain and got my feet back on the dirt. Before she could say anything else, I hugged the princess around the neck. Holy shit, she’s really soft! Her flowing hair was like silk and her wings were like velvet.

I could tell she wasn’t expecting a hug. When I let her go, she still had a look of surprise on her face and her wings were flared.

“You removed pains I’ve had for so long that I didn’t notice them anymore. I figure that was justified,” I told her.

“How do you… stop noticing pain?” she asked, her wings slowly lowering.

“It’s like breathing or blinking. It’s just something that’s always there and becomes normal for you. You don’t notice that you’re always blinking or always breathing until you stop to think about it. The pain I was carrying was constant, so I eventually phased it out. I had to actually concentrate to see if I could feel it anymore.”

“Humans are very, very odd.”

“How do you know that it isn’t just me that’s very, very odd?”

“Because I’m pretty sure if what I said wasn’t true, you wouldn’t have said what you just did.”

“Odd is relative. I’m surprised there aren’t plenty of ponies that are hiding pain like this as well. Applejack’s grandmother is old and has a bad hip. You can’t tell me she’s not in some kind of pain because of that.”

“I’ve… I’ve never really thought about it like that. I just know that I’ve never felt much physical pain. I never thought that it might actually be common…”

“You also don’t spend much time around the regular ponies. If you want to rule your subjects, you need to know them. It would also help if they knew you more.”

“And you expect me to come to a festival designed around fear of me—or rather, Nightmare Moon.”

“When better?” At her look, I tried explaining, “Let the people see you as you are in contrast to what they fear. You’ve yet to cause me any manner of harm, and you don’t even look the same as Nightmare Moon anymore.” Though admittedly, I could barely see Luna in the weak light. And I had never seen Nightmare Moon. The only reason I knew is because Twilight mentioned it in her ramblings about the festival. “Hell, didn’t you just tell me that I should do the stupid sky rodeo thing for the same reason?”

“As I said, Navarone, I will think on it.” She readied her wings again and yet again I stopped her.

“You know, you didn’t tell me anything about your day. Or rather, your night. Or when you were practicing talking.”

She lowered her wings and said somewhat coolly, “You are correct. I did not.”

“Friendship is about give and take. You don’t have to tell me anything, of course. But I will listen if you want to.”

She looked at me for half a minute, and finally said, “I will answer a question or two.”

“Who have you been practicing talking with?”

As a side note that’s relevant to the point at hand, ponies are truly terrible liars. Every one of them I have seen tell a lie—the very small number of them—has so many tells that you know automatically when one is lying. And the funny thing? Not a single one of them notices. A pony can lie to another pony all day long and unless the one getting lied to can obviously tell the other pony is lying by looking at evidence, they’ll always believe each other.

I have abused the hell out of this.

Anyway, I just put that in there to explain how I immediately knew Luna was lying when she said, “My other friends.”

“You don’t have to lie to me. Mind, you also don’t have to tell me the truth. I won’t judge you either way.”

She sighed. “My servants…”

I nodded slowly. “Come on by the festival, Princess. We’ll find you some ponies to talk to.”

I think she smiled. I know she flew off.

The next day found me in another small adventure, this time with the resident dragon.

“Navarone,” Spike started, “how do you get mares to notice you?” Oh God.

“That is a loaded question and one that I’m not sure how to answer,” I replied. We were out in the middle of a field, looking for some kind of alchemical supplies or something for Twilight. I wasn’t really paying attention when she told us what to do; I knew Spike was and she wrote it all down anyway, so I figured we would be fine.

“What’s a loaded question?” he asked.

“A question that, in this case, is something that I can’t answer without getting in some kind of trouble. I’ll do my best to answer it, but follow any of the things I tell you at your own risk. First things first: Have you tried telling her how you feel?”

“I’ve made it as obvious as possible! I’ve done everything she’s asked, even the really nasty stuff, I always show my love and adoration on my face and it’s always evident in my voice. She still doesn’t seem to notice!”

“Spike, for the most part, women are very, very bad at picking up stuff like that. A lot of times, when a guy likes a girl, he’ll do all sorts of big things to impress her. She never notices, or just thinks it is kindness. On the flipside of that, when a girl likes a guy, she does all sorts of little things to impress him. He never notices. Both sides have very different methods of showing affection and love for the other and because of that, both sides have a hard time telling when the other likes them. Your best bet to make her notice is just telling her straight up.” Look, I’ve never had a girlfriend. I have, however, seen way too many romantic comedies, and I figure I can look at everything they do in movies like that and as long as I do the exact opposite, I should be fine.

“So you’re suggesting I just… tell her how I feel? Won’t that feel awkward?”

“Yes, it will. But—and don’t take this negatively—it’ll also quicken the process. If you tell her straight up you like her and she snuffs out your hopes, you know you don’t need to waste any more time on her. If you’ve done all you said you have for her, by now she either feels the same way or she probably never will.” I won’t lie, I know who he’s talking about. I’m also pretty sure she knows and I’m thinking she’s using him because of his affection. Rarity isn’t necessarily a bad person, but she is somewhat manipulative. With all her workload, though, I do kind of understand it. I figured this would be a good way to cut Spike off her leash, though.

“If she says she isn’t interested in me, what then? What if it’s somepony I need to work with often?”

I decided to tease him a bit about it. “Don’t tell me this girl is Twilight.”

“What? No! It’s Ra—I mean, this is all hypothetical!” I smiled.

“In that case, if she says she isn’t interested in you, just drop it. Feel free to help her if you want, but just note that you’ll probably never be able to make her feel the same way you do about her. It’s a painful thought, I know, but it’s also the truth. Besides, how long do dragons even live? And how long until you’re fully grown?” I could tell I hit a bit of a soft spot, and I immediately regretted the words. “Don’t worry about it, man. Even if this girl isn’t the one for you, you’ll find one someday. Besides, you haven’t even asked her yet!”

“I think I would feel too nervous to ever ask her out with me…”

I almost made the cardinal mistake of relationship helping. I almost offered to ask her for him. My mouth was open and the words were forming before I managed to strangle the words away. I disguised the sound with a cough.

Much good it did me. “Navarone, you think you could, I don’t know, maybe ask her for me?”

Well, shit. “Before I answer that, I want to tell you a few things. First, that’s basically the cardinal mistake in relationship planning, and it could go one of a few ways with about an equal chance of each happening. Possibility one is complete success. I ask her and she answers. Possibility two is partial success. I ask her and she refuses to answer, because I’m not asking for myself. Possibility three is partial failure. I screw up somehow and ask her in a way that makes it seem like I’m asking about her opinions toward me instead of toward you, and she answers that way instead. Possibility four is complete and total failure. Don’t ask me how it happens, because I don’t even want to think about it, but it ends with you banned from her presence forever and me as her eternal slave.”

“Those don’t seem very likely.”

“And this doesn’t seem very hypothetical.”

“…Okay, but you have to promise not to tell anypony about it. The last pony I told blabbed it to somepony.”

“I don’t tell secrets, Spike. If I did, I would have told Rarity a long time ago that you liked her. I honestly don’t know how she hasn’t figured it out, or if she knows and is just waiting for you to make a move.”

“Okay, the secret is—wait, what? Did Twilight tell you too?!”

“Dude, it’s incredibly obvious. I mean, I don’t do relationships at all and even I figured it out as soon as I saw you near her.”

“But… but… what?”

I saw an interesting chance to get out of work I wasn’t planning on doing anyway. “If you really want me to go ask her, you’ll have to finish this work yourself.”

“On second thought, I think I’ll just keep to my method, and hope for the best…” Well, it was worth a shot.

Now, I read a lot, and I never really thought about time passing in books. But when I decided to write up this journal, I ended up really thinking about it. An hour working in silence, digging through leaves, is a long, long time. Odd how stuff like that doesn’t end up in your perspective until you actually have to live it.

After that hour, I decided a different approach. “Well, maybe human women are different from pony mares.”

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe stuff that would work in my world wouldn’t work here. I don’t know, I’ve never thought to try it. I don’t even know how interracial stuff like that would work here, nor do I really want to know.” I mean, the cockatrice had to come from somewhere. “You’d honestly be better off asking a pony. A male pony, not a female one. A male pony that’s in a stable relationship.”

“I don’t actually know many stallions. Twilight doesn’t hang out with them and I don’t get out of the library much. The only one I know is Big Macintosh, and he’s not in a relationship.”

“I’ve noticed that too, actually. Have you ever met Twilight’s parents? If nothing else you could ask her dad.”

“He’d probably assume I was asking to try to get Twilight to like me, though!”

“What people think doesn’t usually matter that much. Let him think what he wants, as long as he gives you the results you need. If he doesn’t want to help you, assure him that it’s for one of her friends, or something.”

“I don’t know…”

“What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I get banned from Rarity’s presence and Twilight’s dad becomes her eternal slave?”

The rest of our search passed with us thinking of increasingly random and off the wall possibilities of things that could happen if someone botched a relationship. It was pretty amusing. One ended up with the guy exiled to another continent, one ended up with him almost dead and then in love with her sister, one ended with the guy going through a complete and total hell only to realize he never really liked her in the first place, and one ended up with the girl saying yes on accident and then being completely passive aggressive for the rest of the relationship.

I didn’t see much more of Luna after that. She stopped by one more time before the festival, and that was just long enough to tell me she was definitely going to be there. And let me tell you, that festival ended up being quite an interesting night...

 

 

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