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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25. Chapter Twenty—I am not the love doctor

A few weeks later, I noticed that I was being followed by yet another pony. A brown stallion, this time. I did much the same thing I did with Lyra, to be positive he was following me. When I was sure, I just turned around, walked right up to him, and said, “Hello. Why are you following me?”

He gazed at me in fear for all of three seconds before trying to bolt. My hand shot out and grabbed his tail. Something weird that I’ve noticed is that if you grab their tail they get yanked back in pain. I don’t know why. Anywhere else would have probably yanked my arm out of the socket.

I pulled him back to me and held onto him until he stopped trying to run. I was getting a lot of looks from ponies around me, but none of them actually said anything. “I can stand here all day,” I told him.

He finally collapsed. I walked to the front of his body and knelt down. “My name is Navarone,” I said, holding out a hand. He hesitantly took it. I pulled him to his feet.

“D-d-doctor Whooves,” he answered. You’re kidding, right? His cutie mark was an hour glass. I immediately thought of Doctor Who when I saw this guy. Imagine that.

“So why are you following me?” I asked. “And why did you try to run?”

He sighed. “I… I wanted to ask you something.”

“Running away is not a good way to ask me something. And following me isn’t a good way to ask me something either. You ponies aren’t very smart sometimes.”

He blushed slightly at that. “I was… unsure… of talking to you. You are… well, big! And a hero! I didn’t know…”

I sighed. “I’m not a hero,” I said. “Just someone who was in the right place at the wrong time. What’s your question?”

“Well… You seem pretty close to some of the ponies here,” he said, shyness creeping back into his voice. Well, he’s not quite Doctor Who.

“Some of them, yes,” I said. “Now what’s your question?”

“And you seem to know Derpy Hooves,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. Maybe he’s a Fluttershy clone?

“Yep, I helped drag her heavy ass out of the forest. What’s your question?”

“I… I want to meet her,” he whispered.

I stared at him. He lowered his eyes. I looked up. “DERPY!” I called, looking up at her, flying to her next delivery—she was a mail… mare, I guess. Mailmare. That makes sense, right?

She jerked her head down to me and flew into the side of a building with a disturbing crunch. Whooves flinched and tried to run but I grabbed his tail again. I looked at him as she slid down the building. “You free today at five?” I asked him, still looking at the mare.

When he finally stopped trying to run he turned to me with horror. After a loud gulp, he nodded.

Derpy finally picked herself off the ground from where she had slid down the building. She was, of course, completely unhurt. No, I don’t know how. These ponies, man, they’re made of fucking steel sometimes.

She trotted up to me with a massive smile on her face. “What do you need, Nav?” she asked, one of her eyes on me and the other on Whooves.

“Derpy, this is Doctor Whooves. He’s too nervous to ask, but he wants to take you on a date tonight.”

They both turned nearly luminescent with their blushes. Derpy recovered first and turned to him. “What… What time?” she whispered.

He opened his mouth but nothing came out. After a moment he closed it and looked to me. “Five,” I answered. “Sugarcube Corner okay?” I asked them both. They nodded, looking at each other.

“Congratulations, Doc,” I said. “You got a date.”

I turned to go but turned back after a moment to find them still staring at each other. “Derpy, don’t forget your mail,” I said, reminding her. She gasped and leapt into the air, hitting her head on a signpost that was above her.

I turned again, shaking my head.

“I’m okay!” she shouted as she took off again. I started walking away.

Only to find my new brown friend holding onto my legs. I tried pulling them away from him to no use. I sighed. “What, Doc?” I finally asked.

“How… how do I… date somepony?”

“I don’t know, Doc,” I answered. “I’ve never done it. Can you let go of me? I kind of want to get out of this town for a day.” I was tired of dealing with shit like this; my patience for tomfoolery was much shorter after Africa.

“But… But… I don’t know what to do!”

I sagged and couldn’t help but look up to the heavens. Why do I have to deal with shit like this? “I suggest you ask a pony friend,” I answered. “Failing that, be yourself. Or rather, be the part of yourself that isn’t uncomfortably silent when you come face-to-face with the mare you like.”

Be myself?” he scoffed. “That never works!”

“Look. Doc. I don’t care. Let me go or I’m going to sit on you.”

“Can you… go with me tonight? Sit near me and help me?”

I fell back on him, since he was still holding my legs. His head went between my legs and I was straddling his upper neck. When I had his head locked I mashed my legs together, constricting his air flow.

“Let. Me. Go,” I said. His arms slowly drifted away from my legs. I pulled my legs out and flipped one over his head so I could easily stand up. “I got you the date. Talk to someone else to help you. Either way, I seriously suggest getting some confidence or something, man. Or harness the confidence that made you hold onto me so long after I threatened you.” I stood up and patted him on the top of the head. “I’m heading out of the village now. If you follow me, I’ll drag you back into town and tie you to a table in Sugarcube Corner until your date gets there.”

I left the village and I left him lying in the dirt.

I’m not going to lie: I was very, very surprised that he followed me. And I had absolutely no way to drag him back to town; he was stronger than me and heavier than me. Fucking ponies, man. I don’t know when I realized he was behind me again, but when I did I started heading to an area I knew well enough that I can sneak up on him.

It took me half an hour to set him up. When he was finally right where I needed him, I dropped down from the tree and onto his back. His mouth opened in surprise and I jammed my belt between his teeth as a bit. I used that to control his head and he quickly fell into line.

“You’re a docile one,” I commented, patting him on the side. “Much easier to break than the horses back home. Now, why did you follow me?” I slid the bit out, making sure I was safely on his back.

“You were testing my confidence…” he gasped, still recovering from his fear. I was what now? “You wanted to see if I was brave enough to follow you out of town!” I closed my eyes, thinking over what I had said and—Yep, you could look at it that way. Fucking ponies.

I patted his neck again. “That’s not at all what I was doing,” I said. He sagged. “Congratulations. You’re either an idiot or a genius. Either way, you’re more confident than I thought. But maybe you misunderstood me when I said that I really don’t care. Because I most definitely don’t. Be happy that you’re normal enough to go on a date with a pony. Derpy’s a nice enough mare, if incredibly clumsy. Hell, she’s probably one of the kindest I’ve met. Makes an awesome muffin, too. If she likes you, good. If not, oh well. Either way, I don’t care. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

He turned his head to look at me. “This is a hard test! It’s almost like… you… don’t… Oh.” He got quieter saying that until he was barely whispering. He hung his head.

I patted him again and slid off his back. I turned to walk away again, but felt something very large and very heavy crash into me, sending me to the ground. My head hit the ground and left me reeling. I realized after a moment that he was holding me down. I shook my head and tried to push myself up but I didn’t budge.

“I need your help!” he raged.

“I am going to count to three,” I said. “If you are still on top of me when I finish, I will hurt you.”

“But—”

“One.”

“You don’t—”

“Two.” I pulled out my knife.

“Please!”

“Three.”

I felt him move. I pushed myself off the ground and turned to look at him. He was looking down, unable to meet my gaze. I grabbed his head and forced his gaze up. “Remember that feeling,” I told him. “That feeling when you struck me. That need. Now go get her. Or something.” I let his head go and turned once more, sheathing my dagger.

I heard him sigh as I walked away.

I get so, so tired of dealing with these fucking ponies sometimes. So dramatic, so full of life and emotion. And it seems like every time they want to involve me with something it’s the fucking clichéd plot of a cartoon or TV show.

Sometimes I just need to get away for a day, you know?

 

The next day, Derpy came by the library with an extra-special muffin and a peck on the cheek for introducing her to such a great stallion. Whoop-de-doo. Doctor Whooves came by an hour or so later and gave me a hoof-crafted clock, which was pretty neat.

Say what you want about my methods, but I get results. Even when I don’t try and don’t care. And apparently I get friends even when I act like a dick. I was starting to wonder what it would take to get a few days of peace and quiet.

 

About six weeks after the naga thing, I found myself looking outside into the dreary winter day, wondering if I should bother stepping outside.

Someone knocked on the door. Twilight was away and Spike was brooding again, so I went to answer it. Rainbow Dash greeted me. “Oh, hi Navarone. Is Twilight in?”

“Nope. She and Rarity went to do something.”

“Good. Can I talk to you about something… sensitive?”

I thought about Spike, wandering about the building—ostensibly cleaning, but he wasn’t doing that much—and decided we could walk. “Let me grab my coat.”

A few minutes later, we were chilling on a high cloud, trying to soak as much heat out of the sun as it was willing to weakly beat against us. “What do you want to talk about?”

“This might sound odd, but how do you get a mare to like you?”

I laid back into the cloud—wings weren’t an issue for that, up here—and tried to think how I could respond to that.

Finally, I said, “What makes you think I have any experience in attracting mares?”

I imagined her rolling her eyes as she said, “Don’t make me spell it out, Nav.”

What the hell is she talking about? There’s no way she could know about Luna. “If I did attract someone, I can almost guarantee you that it wasn’t on purpose. I can’t imagine that it’s true, anyway. What pony, male or female, could find much romantic interest in something like me after knowing me long enough?”

“You mean you really don’t know? And I thought was slow to figure it out! Well, if you don’t know, I won’t be the one to tell you.”

“Suit yourself. I don’t know how I can tell you what I did with her if I don’t know who it is, though.” If not Luna, though, then who?

“But you have to have some manner of advice, even if it was from girls in your own world!”

“You could get lucky and find yourself fulfilling a personal fetish of theirs. That happened to me, in Africa. I couldn’t tell you if it was more of a curse or a blessing, though.”

“Oh, this I have to hear! What happened?”

I found myself blushing. “I’m not certain you want to know. Your innocent mind might not take it well.”

“Tell me or I’ll sit on you,” she answered, jumping up from her spot.

“And you ponies call me violent! Fine, if you’ll not tell any of the others. There was a crazy cat lady in Africa that had a fetish for wings.” And a few other things. “It was an interesting time I spent in those desert nights.”

“I’m sure you enjoyed yourself, anyway. Why would you consider that a curse?”

“Because I had no say in the matter, one way or another. I was basically her prisoner. I got orders from Celestia that basically amounted to ‘Do anything these people say.’ When I complained to the leader of the cats, who at that point hated me, she pointed out the wording of the orders and told me to suck it up. And when she started going too far and I was trying to say no, they threatened Spike. I eventually… came to an arrangement.”

“Psh. Leave it to you to complain about free, no strings attached sex.”

“The sex, I didn’t mind. I just didn’t like the fact that I had no say in the matter. That, and very often I had to wake up early the next morning to march in the relentless desert sun, or else I had already missed a few hours of sleep to attack a slave camp. And you don’t know what too far means.”

She still couldn’t find much wrong with it, and I decided to let it go. Not something I really much wanted to think about.

“But if that isn’t an option, what else can I do?”

“Are you positive this person is into mares?”

“No, but I think she might be open to trying it, if nothing else…”

“I’ll tell you what I told Spike: Whoever this chick is, try telling her you’re interested. If she isn’t, she’ll tell you and you can stop worrying about it, and you won’t have to do some elaborate scheme to try to get her. If she is, problem solved.”

“If I wanted that kind of advice, I would have asked my mother, or just about any other mare. I want to know how a guy would go about doing it.”

“Depends on the guy, honestly. There is no set way to go about it. It also depends on what you’re looking for. Most people don’t think about what happens in a relationship once the initial passion dies down. Forever is a long time to pledge your life to someone, and over time you get to know them as different than when you first met them. If you’re in love with someone because of the mystery or intrigue they pose, and nothing else, you’re going to end up disappointed in the long run. A relationship with anybody would be a lot different than the wooing process.”

“So what are you trying to tell me?”

“It’s different based on what you’re looking for and the person you’re going after. If you’re just looking for a quick fuck, it’s simple. You tell the person you’re interested, ask if they are, and then go from there. Your parents, though, were probably looking for love when they got together, and their wooing style probably went with that: They very likely had a long dating process.” Unless you’re an accident after a one night stand and they decided to stay together because of that, like me and my sister. “During that time they got to know each other a bit to know if they were fully compatible before agreeing to anything more. But asking someone on a date is both easier and harder than you’d think. Easier, because there are fewer expectations from a date than there are when you get a girl to love you in one night. Harder, because it implies more intimacy, or at least the chance for more intimacy.”

If you can’t tell, by the way, I’m making about half of this up as I go. I’ve spent some mental time on game theory and stuff like this, but never for practical reasons. Some of this might work, but I’ve never tested it. It’s weird, though, how many people were suddenly coming to me for relationship advice.

“You’re really going to have to tell me the story behind Egill some time, Nav. According to Twilight and some of the stories I’ve heard, Luna seemed pretty happy.”

I sighed. “How many ponies actually know it was me?”

“I dunno. You did have a cutie mark somehow, but it’s really not that much of a disguise for anypony that saw you as a pony before. It’s a good thing Fleur hasn’t figured it out and hurt you for it. Though I still haven’t figured out how you got a cutie mark.”

“If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll tell you the story. And by not telling anyone, I mean telling absolutely no one. I really don’t want to risk it getting back to that hussy.”

She did. I did.

When I was finished, she commented—after she got done laughing, anyway—“I can’t believe you said that to her! No wonder it was all over the papers!”

“...It was what now?” I slowly said.

“Dude, I don’t even care about celebrity gossip and all that stuff, but I still heard about it. Front page news and everything! Nopony told you because Twilight told us not to, for whatever reason.”

“That’s stupid. Well… it’s not like it matters. I wouldn’t have done anything with it. As long as Fleur doesn’t find out, I’m okay. So remember: Not a word to anyone. Feel free to try some of what I did as Egill, but remember that it required insulting the hell out of someone. If it makes you feel any better, I told Spike the same stuff I told you.”

“But he’s not any closer to getting Rarity.”

“He also didn’t try following the advice I did give him, though.”

“What’d you tell him?”

“To tell her that he’s interested.”

“I’m pretty sure she knows.”

“I know that and you know that. Hell, pretty much everyone knows that. Rarity is rather manipulative. She’ll probably keep using his feelings until he admits them, and then kick him to the curb.”

“She’s better than that, Nav!”

“Well, after some of what she did to me I feel that I’m justified in what I think.”

“Oh? Do you have more stories for me?”

“Not on this I don’t.”

“And if I threatened to sit on you again?”

“I’ll starve before I talk,” I answered with a shrug, getting ready to feel a furry pony all over me.

“Well, I suppose I should leave you with some secrets, otherwise there’d be no more reason to talk to you. Though I don’t know why you’re willing to talk about some of this stuff now.”

“No one asked about some of the stuff earlier. Hey, why are you coming out to me, now, about something like this? Instead of some of your other friends, I mean.”

She looked away and muttered something.

“What was that? I must have some cloud in my ear.” She mumbled it a bit louder. “Maybe that cloud is actually some sand from Africa. I still can’t hear you.”

“You’re the only friend I can tell that won’t think I’m hitting on them! Why don’t you seem surprised at all to learn it?”

“Since we’re being honest here, I already knew.”

“YOU WHAT?”

“Remember when we got you drunk, my first year here? Yeah, when you woke up that morning, that thing you thought I said, that I actually did say, was ‘we tried letting Big MacIntosh flirt with you.’ It didn’t work well, though he didn’t specify why. All he said was you didn’t want a stallion.”

That got her a bit steamed and scared at the same time. “You mean… Applejack… she knows? And Big Mac? And… and you LIED to me! Twice!”

“Now, technically, I only lied to you once, because of your wording when you kidnapped me.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better!”

“Well, what else was I supposed to do? What would you have done if we told you what we knew? What would you have done that was different, I mean?”

“…I would not have waited as long as I did to bring this up. How did Applejack react when she found out?”

“So much has happened… If you want, I can show you the relevant journal entries. They go more into detail, and there might be something in them that I wouldn’t think to mention.”

She agreed to that, and we flew back down to the library. Once there, I thought for a second, and then picked a book seemingly at random from a shelf and handed it to her.

“This says… Mating Habits of the Common Cow. Are you calling me fat?”

“Open it.” She did so, somehow, and found that it was hollowed out and full of journal pages.

“Does Twilight know you did this to one of her books?”

“Nope. Seriously, who the hell is going to try to check out something on the mating habits of cows? Who the hell would even write a book like that? Makes about as much sense as rock farming.” Especially since cows are sentient in this place. Fucking disgusting creatures. I was happy to burn the insides of that book when I cut them out.

“I don’t think Twilight would care about the logicality of it as much as she would that you messed with one of her books.”

“True enough. What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her, though.” I grabbed the entries of note and set them out for her. “Oh, and don’t think all the entries are in there, either. I spread them out in various hiding places.” That was a lie, actually. They were all in there. I wasn’t taking any chances by keeping them in an easily found location. I suppose it would be more accurate to call it a half lie, actually. I had chopped up a lot of books and stored things in all of them. Most were false trails, fake entries in my journal, things that weren’t true and never happened. Basically, tells to let me know if someone was actually searching for anything. If they mentioned something to me about what was in one of them, I would move the real entries. If they mentioned something to me about what was in the real entries, I would claim they were part of the false trail I laid out.

I’m a little bit paranoid, okay? And it’s not like I have much else to do in this boring pony world.

She started reading, looking for what, I don’t know. I also don’t know if she found it. Maybe it was reading my attitudes and opinions on the matter that caused it, but whatever, she didn’t answer any of my questions on the matter when I asked them. I probably should have taken the bit about Luna out of them, but I didn’t see what it could hurt and I didn’t want her to think I was hiding anything.

I offered to let her read through until the part where she kidnapped me, but she decided against it. She still seemed in a bit of shock.

She finally asked me, “Are all your entries like this?”

“Not all. I don’t see what was so surprising about it, though. Other than my complete irreverence, I mean. That’s a pretty common theme. Overarching, actually. Even when I first met Celestia, one of my only thoughts was how tired she looked.”

“But… she’s the princess! No way is she ever tired. Just think of how easy life must be for her.”

“...If you say so. She is definitely a person, one way or another. Shame she only seems to want to talk to me when she needs me to do something.”

“Psh. That’s not true! What about that time she summoned us to Canterlot and her sister ended up getting injured? She talked to you for hours, then.”

“Yeah. That was, as it turned out, an interview of sorts. I can’t go over the details, but she was talking with me for a reason.” Fucking Luna, man.

“Oh, come on! You’ve told me so much, what’s a little more going to hurt?”

“Possibly a lot more than you know.”

“You can’t just cut me off there! Come on, what happened?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“And if I threaten to hold these entries hostage? Or read through them?”

“You may be faster than me, but you can’t run forever. And if all else fails, I’ll just get Pinkie Pie to help me catch you. Some of those entries concern her secrets as well.”

“Secret conspiracies with both Princess Celestia and Pinkie Pie? What, are they planning a super-secret Equestria-wide party?”

“No, two different secrets about two different topics, for the most part unrelated. I ended up in Africa because of Pinkie Pie’s secret, but it isn’t for me to discuss.”

“Something Pinkie Pie did ended up with you in Africa? You can’t keep that a secret, Nav!”

“I can and I will. I have heard it said that the best way to lose a friend is to tell a secret of theirs that they don’t want known. I won’t be finding the truth of that out the hard way.”

“Psh, fine. Is there anything else you feel like sharing today, or should I go and wallow in unsatisfied curiosity?”

“If I tell you everything at once, what’s to keep you coming back for more?”

“What if I promise to not come back unless you give me more?”

“Then I might well see that as a good way to keep some of my secrets hidden. But fine. Since I know you’re such a sweet and placid little pony, I don’t think I’ll give you the Africa entries; they’re much too violent for such an innocent thing as yourself,” accompanied by a poke on her nose. She gave me one of those looks for that. “I can’t very well give you either of my naga campaign entries…”

“Wait, when did you fight with the naga? You didn’t talk about that when you told us your Africa stories!”

“I can’t just tell you everything about me, Dash! How else am I supposed to stay aloof and mysterious?”

“After reading some of these, I’m starting to think you need to step off your high pony. Fine, keep your secrets. How about the Egill thing? I already know about that, so there’s nothing more to hide.”

“You’d think that. It’s not like it matters, though. Nothing in those entries would do you any good, and there’s nothing in there that you need to know.”

“Sounds to me like you’re actually trying to hide something, now.”

“I wonder why.”

“Psh. What are you hiding, a secret love affair with Princess Celestia?”

That would be more interesting than one with Luna, if nothing else. I laughed her off, though, and answered, “Nah. My cutoff age for cougars is thirty years older than I. I believe Celestia is a little bit past that.”

“What’s a cougar?”

“An older female that romances younger males.”

“I dunno, Nav… After what I’ve heard about Egill and Luna, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find you secretly loving her. Especially after all of that with the cat in the desert! Sounds to me like you attract domineering mares.”

“A curse, that is. I’ve technically been raped by four chicks in this world, though I probably could have stopped the naga if I truly wanted to.”

“Oh man, you are making this naga story sound cooler and cooler!” ...You find rape cool?

“It’s a shame you’ll probably never get to hear it, then.”

“You’re no fun sometimes, Nav!”

“Only sometimes. At least on a funness scale, I generally score higher than spoil sports like Rarity or Twilight. I swear, those two try their hardest to never let me have any fun.”

“What about that competition with Trixie that Twilight took you to help her with? Aside from ending up as a pony, you probably had a lot of fun there!”

“True. It was actually pretty fun, for the most part. But as you said, I ended up as a pony because of it.”

“You seemed to have a lot of fun there, too. I mean, you learned how to fly, you started taking dance lessons that you never seem to miss now, you for some reason helped Rarity with fashion stuff, and you even managed to seduce Luna! Which I would have loved to have seen, by the way. I mean, you? Suave and charming? Yeah right!”

“It definitely wasn’t a seduction. I just happened to say a few things that made her happy. But it was an interesting night, by all accounts. I heard Fleur acted as slutty as possible this year to make up for it.”

“Yeah… But it was kinda disappointing, without Celestia or the mysterious Egill there to liven things up. Though it was also kinda boring even when Celestia was there.”

“Formal parties like that aren’t supposed to be fun. They exist for politics. If I went there as a newly rich pony, I could probably form massive alliances with some of the more prestigious members of society. In a situation like that in my world, I might arrange marriages, arrange commodity trades, settle border disputes, flirt, and generally just connive my way to power. Here, though, I have no ambitions because no one would accept me as any manner of public leader.”

“I don’t know about all that. Politics are so boring! I just go to try to be seen by the Wonderbolts.”

“Have you ever, I don’t know, tried applying for entry?”

“I’m too young… I just want them to know about me before I can actually go to the academy, so I can get in easier!”

“Dash, you managed a Sonic Rainboom twice. They probably aren’t allowed not to take you. Though I don’t know if your trail is what they’re looking for. They tend to leave lightning behind them, I’ve heard, while you leave a rainbow.”

“I’m sure that’ll be the least of my problems!”

“You’ll do fine. Just don’t forget what’s truly important in life.”

“I’ve already had that lesson. Don’t worry, I know friends are important.”

“Friends? Yeah, I guess those are important, too. Probably better than what I was thinking, anyway…”

“What did you mean?”

“Oh, nothing. It’s probably better it isn’t said aloud.” Actually, friends are what I meant, but I just like being difficult sometimes.

“You’re weird, Nav.”

“Yeah, I am. It’s fun.”

She thought for second. “You know, if you were still a pegasus, you could help me train better.”

“I’m not good with speed. I get where I’m going when I get there and not a second sooner or later.”

“I don’t see why most ponies don’t seem to care anything for speed. To me, if you’re not moving as fast as possible, you’re just wasting time!”

“To me, life is a journey. If you don’t take some time to look around and enjoy it and to make sure you know where you’re going, you’ll miss something. You only have one life to live, so there’s no reason to risk wasting any of it by skipping something you might enjoy.”

“What if all I enjoy is going fast?”

“That is different, but if that’s truly all you enjoy, you might want to try something else. If you ever do want to, I’m sure Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy wouldn’t mind overly much if you joined us for a dance lesson one day.”

“I don’t know…”

“What, afraid you’re not agile enough? I know you used to go by Rainbow Crash, but I didn’t know it applied to when you were also walking…” I knew the easiest way to get her to do something was goading her like that, and it worked. Personally, I didn’t care one way or another if she wanted to try, but I figured it would be funny, and since there were two chicks and me there, she would probably end up dancing with a mare, possibly giving her some manner of confidence.

“Oh, you’re on! I’ll be there, and I’ll be the best dancer Pinkie Pie has ever seen!”

“Good. Oh, and you’ll probably end up dancing with Pinkie Pie, so that’s a plus, I suppose.”

“Goo—wait, what?”

I pointed the number distribution out to her. She grimaced slightly, but she couldn’t back out now. “Relax,” I said. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I could end up banished from her presence or possibly as her eternal slave.”

“See, I told Spike that could happen! And he didn’t believe me…”

“Huh?”

“Oh, just a conversation we had about Rarity a long time ago, when he asked me for girl advice. We ended up joking about worst case scenarios involving women. One ended up with him banished from Rarity’s presence and me as her eternal slave.”

“Oh, I’m sure she would love that.”

“I would kill myself. I can’t abide being bound down like that. My potential wanderlust is too high.”

“I know that feeling. That’s part of the reason I live in the clouds: I can move my home around if I want.” I snorted at the idea of her living in a mobile home. “What?”

“Nothing, just something back from my world.” Just then, I heard someone coming up the steps to Twilight’s house. I looked at the desecrated book that still held most of my entries and said, “Oh shit, we need to hide this!”

As quickly as we could, we shoved the entries in it and closed it back. I got it ready just as the door opened and Twilight entered. “Oh, hello Rainbow Dash. I didn’t know you liked reading…about cows,” she said when she saw the title on the book I was somewhat scared to hide, thinking she might think we were hiding something.

Now, I’m a pretty decent liar, if I do say so myself. But I was completely lost at how to go about explaining this one away. I could tell from the awkward silence next to me that Rainbow Dash was just as lost. Thankfully, Rarity followed Twilight in and I was saved from having to. I think that’s one of the few times I was thankful to see Rarity.

Before Rarity could say anything, though, Rainbow Dash fled, saying, “I’ve gotta see a bear about a thing!” She left me completely holding the bag on that one. If there was any chance of me dropping the book and fleeing as well, I would have been right behind her, but I couldn’t take it without logging it and I couldn’t leave it without Twilight checking it.

“What was that about?” Rarity asked.

“She had a question she wanted answered,” I said.

“A question about… the mating habits of cows?” Twilight asked.

“How much of what Rainbow Dash does ever make sense?” I replied. I also resolved to move my hiding places around. Twilight and Rarity would suspect this book now, and Rainbow Dash knew for sure about it. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really need to get back to… what I was doing.”

“Not so fast, Navarone,” Rarity said. My back was already turned and I was heading to the stairs. I closed my eyes, annoyed, and counted to ten in my head before slowly turning back with a half-smile on my face, eyes once again open. I could feel my wings twitching slightly, which they sometimes do when I’m dealing with something I’d rather not be. I still had the book in hand, to be stashed in my room until I could deal with it safely.

When I looked, she had that sweet smile on her face that I had seen her use on a few stallions about town to get them to do what she wanted.

I hated that fucking smile.

I decided to remind her about something. “You should know by now that your feminine wiles do nothing against me, woman. I’m not attracted to ponies, remember?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” was the expected answer, and I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t tell if Twilight was amused or confused. “I was just hoping to ask you for a favor.”

“I’m listening, but I’ll make no promises until I hear the task.” I had learned my lesson about that.

“Let’s walk, shall we? I’ve been cooped up inside all day, and I’m sure Twilight doesn’t want to be bored by our little discussion.”

I raised an eyebrow, but said, “Give me a minute.” I went to put the book in my room, grabbed my cloak—it was freaking December, after all—and after half a second of thought I grabbed a dagger. I wasn’t expecting to need it, but it did me well when near Rarity to keep it by my side. For sanity’s sake, if nothing else.

When I walked back down, I could tell she was itching to go. Twilight was apparently continuing a conversation they were having before they walked in, about one of the finer points of unicorn magic. Rarity used her magic for her arts, but beyond that she didn’t much care about exploring it, at least not that I ever saw. I didn’t know if I should hurry to help her escape Twilight or take my time to watch her suffer some more.

Eh, the sooner I get this over with the better. Never let it be said I don’t have some room for mercy in my heart.

So we bid Twilight farewell and went on our way, me with trepidation in my heart and her with a practical prance in her step. That did nothing for my mood.

“So, what did you want to say to me that you didn’t want Twilight to hear?”

I don’t know if she was surprised that I managed to pick up on that—women are often surprised to find that men actually understand them sometimes—but she answered it all the same: “Remember the modeling you did for me as a pony?” I almost, almost turned around and walked away. If I didn’t know she would follow me saying Pleeeeease! everywhere I went, I would have. I just nodded, a ball of trepidation forming in my stomach as she continued: “Well, the pictures all caught on! And it wasn’t just Fluttershy’s old fame that did it, or my extravagant outfits!” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at that one. “No, Navarone, the fashion industry wants you as a star! Just think of it!”

“As I’ve said before, I do my best not to think of it. I see no advantages to be gained in doing something like that, at least none for me.”

“I don’t see why you have such an unreasonable detestation toward the fashion industry, Navarone. You really must get that sorted out. Maybe this is a chance to do that!”

“I’m quite fine with my irrational hatreds, actually. They help keep me warm at night, when I’m alone and unable to sleep.”

“Well, I think such things are unhealthy, and would be happy to help you deal with them. Come on, Nav, when have I ever let you down?”

“You must have a bad memory. It’s only been two years.”

“I thought you were over that by now! Come on, it was just one time!” Fight. Down. The anger.

“Where I come from, you’d still be in jail for that,” I coldly answered. “But we digress. I’ve no interest in your fashion industry. I don’t want to become a pony again and I don’t want to play dress up. I did that out of boredom and because I knew I would hate it enough that it would help pass the time and I wouldn’t have to worry about risking a cutie mark.”

She stopped and started toying with some pebbles on the ground with her hoof, then looked up and said, “I didn’t want to have to do this, but… I know about Egill.”

“Congratulations. And what does that do for you?”

“You’re not even going to try to hide it?”

“Why bother? You have no proof. You can know about it all you like, but who’s going to believe you?”

“Is the idea of doing things with fashion so horrible that you wouldn’t even do this for a friend?”

So you wanna play like that, huh? “And is your fashion industry so important to you that you would beg a friend to go out of his comfort zone to help you in something he doesn’t want to do?” Not much you can say to that, I was hoping.

“I didn’t want to use this either, but… I already contacted the ponies interested. They’ll be here in a few days. I really need your help here, Navarone!” I didn’t know if she was telling the truth or not, but I know she looked sincere about it. And she was starting to look worried. That convinced me more than anything. Merde... I wasn’t going to go down without some swings though.

“And what were you planning on telling them if I said no?”

“I wasn’t expecting you to actually say no! Not like this! Please, Navarone, I need you!” I hate seeing people beg. I sighed. She smiled, seeing that she had won. “You won’t regret this! I swear it!”

 

A week later, we were both sitting in a jail cell. She was regretting it more than I was, as she was moaning something about, “Ruined, ruined!” I was expecting we would be let out shortly; as a friend to both princesses, I didn’t expect the charges against us would hold. Especially not when we got to explain.

Still, it was fucking cold in that cell, so I was kind of regretting having to snuggle against Rarity to keep warm.

 
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